I would've finished this book in one day, but I decided to take my time with it. I think when you can read fast, you sometimes miss a lot of the metaphors and innuendos that are in a story.
Summary: The book centers around Margaret, who is an only child and is moved to a new neighborhood where she doesn't know anyone. She has to become acclimated to a society that believes everyone should belong to a religion. Her parents were raised in different religions, but decided to not have a religion when they fell in love and eloped. They told Margaret she could choose a religion when she's old enough, but only if she really wants to. So, because of a school assignment, Margaret spends her sixth-grade year studying various religions trying to figure out which one suits her and lets her "feel" God.
Favorite Line/Passage: "...I've been looking for you God. I looked in temple. I looked in church. And today, I looked for you when I wanted to confess. But you weren't there. I didn't feel you at all. Not the way I do when I talk to you at night. Why God? Why do I only feel you when I'm alone?"
Banned Reasons: No real definitive reason. Various research suggests book is challenged/banned due to religious overtones and puberty references.
I disagree with the book being challenged/banned. Yes, the book references various religions. Yes, Margaret talks with God on a regular basis. Yes, the girls in the book discuss periods and bras and boys. But, what 12-year old girl doesn't discuss these very things? That's a time in a girl's life when their hormones are starting to take over and they're in the transitioning stage when they want to be grown up. So, of course they're going to discuss periods, bras and boys. I applaud Judy Blume for taking this awkward time in a girl's life and putting it into a story form.
And, as for the religious aspects... it's not like Judy Blume is promoting one religion over another. She simply told the story of a little girl searching for a religion that suited her. As it turns out, religion wasn't for Margaret because it didn't make her feel as close to God as talking to Him one-on-one every night. I think if more people were like Margaret and talked to God about every situation they were in, they wouldn't be in as bad of a predicament as they are in.
Overall: I would recommend that pre-teen girls read this book. I think they would be able to relate to the main character in the book.