Title: Seventeenth Summer
Author: Maureen Daly
Publisher: Simon Pulse (October 3, 1985)
I would have to say that this is the cleanest and most innocent first love young adult romance novel I have ever read! The format was easy to follow but unfortunately this book was also the slowest read I have experienced. The story was fine but lacked that certain action / in depth romance feeling for me. I realize this could be attributed to the era of the 1940s when this book was written.
It's not that I disliked the story, I just did not have a connection. The story of Angie and Jack falling in love was very sweet with a few upsets along the way. For example, Angie accepted a date with Tony who was considered "fast" by their peers and this was upsetting to Jack when he found out. At least Jack came to his senses and decided to forgive Angie and date her again.
This story lacked sexual tones that are present in today's young adult romances. I don't even remember any bad language, which was a nice change. I did however get a kick out of the part of the story where Angie's sister Lorraine asked Angie if she has ever "necked" with a boy! Apparently that was a serious thing to do with a boy back then! I did not care too much for Lorraine's sometime boyfriend Martin because he was a real jerk! For example, it was sad when Angie looked out from her booth in the diner and saw Martin leave with another woman!
In conclusion, I felt that the language was an issue due to the time period. In the end I was glad that Angie still went off to college. I had to admit I was moved when Jack gave her his class ring while they were out on the water in the boat for the last time. I do not think most teens would just choose this book for leisurely reading purposes, especially male teens.
Horn Book (The Horn Book Guide, Spring 2003):
"Often casually lumped with the formula teen romances it inspired, Maureen Daly's novel of more than sixty years ago was and remains a true original. The story of Angie's first love is richly textured by the evocation of its small-town Wisconsin setting; Angie's relationships with her parents and sisters also add depth. While references clearly reveal the book to be an artifact from another era, the writing is lyrical but spare, not florid but intensely romantic. Category: Older Fiction. 2002 (orig. 1942), Simon, 312pp, $17.95. Ages 12 to 14. Rating: 3: Recommended, satisfactory in style, content, and/or illustration" Retrieved from Chidren's Literature Database (Accessed Septmenber 10, 2009).
This book would be great to use in a teen book club to help open up discussions on relationships. This would be a good book to recommend to parents that do not want to have their teens reading young adult romance novels that contain sexual content or bad language.