When my oldest son hit the age of sixteen, it brought back a lot of memories about my own teen years. I realized I had probably not been the easiest kid to raise, especially when I reached that wonderful age where I saw that the world was not perfect and figured people would want to hear my opinions on this subject. In writing about being this age, I ultimately decided to stick to my own era where I could be confident about the details. And 1968 was such a year! All the assassinations, the War in Vietnam, the unrest and turmoil in the streets... Ours probably wasn't the only house where the generations divided at the dinner table over politics.
Against this backdrop, I wanted to write about a girl exploring her talents and finding her way to becoming a writer. Kathy Shay's story isn't really mine. I had no high school boyfriend like James. But there's a lot of me in her and many of the incidents and details are things that happened to me, or somebody in my family somewhere along the way.
In the book, Kathy and James play Mary Warren and John Proctor in "The Crucible." This was my favorite part ever. At that time in my life, there was nothing more fun than going to rehearsals every afternoon, getting up on the stage and screaming my head off in the girls-get-hysterical scenes.
Kathy's school puts on "The Miser," by Moliere. This is the cast of the Corvallis High School production of the play in the spring of 1969. I'm in yellow in the front.
"Kathy, a high school sophomore in a small Oregon town, decides to change her life to show her independence and her talents. Crew, an award-winning author (International Reading Association and the American Library Association), skillfully weaves such teenage rites as ear piercing, cheerleading tryouts, play tryouts, and being "in" with the drama group, together with the development of Kathy's first love-of-her-life friendship with James. Set in the late 1960s, the novel's political environment includes the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War and its protests, and the Haight-Ashbury drug and free sex era. This novel is captivating and uplifting, well written and easily understood. Yet it is also refreshingly morally correct--highly family-oriented and respectful of both parents and children. A must purchase for all libraries. Highly recommended." -Book Report
"Realistic dialogue and well-drawn characters convincingly convey universal adolescent anxieties, conflicts, and moral dilemmas. The pop culture, happenings, and influences of a momentous decade are effectively blended with fiction. Youngsters seeking insight into their parents' generation will enjoy this entertaining read.--School Library Journal
"An amiable love story, lit by a likable cast and underlaid with reassuring, deftly inserted messages."--Kirkus Reviews
"This thoughtful, humor-laced book will give young readers a taste of life in the '60s. It will reassure them that when it comes to growing pains, some things never change."--Kansas City Star