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Books That Helped Us Grow Up

Jul 23, 2009 (Talk of the Nation)

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They are books that girls stuffed in the bottom of their bookbags, the well-handled, much beloved books that chronicled the moral certitude of childhood all the way to the desperate longings and stifled angst of adolescence.

They range from the ups and downs of the March sisters in Little Women, to the push and pull of puberty in Are You There God It's Me Margaret. They are, for a lot of women, the books that shaped them on the rocky road to adulthood — the books they read and re-read again and again. They are pre-Twilight, pre-Potter, even pre-O-M-G — a private phenomenon, that can still make a grown woman squeal — "I LOVED that book!"

Author Lizzie Skurnick has compiled these much beloved tomes — from the 60s, 70s, and 80s — into a pack of re-readings of the classics that she devoured as a girl, with a little help from other similarly affected writers such as Gossip Girl maven Cecily von Ziegsar, Jennifer Weiner, and Princess Diaries author Meg Cabot. Based on her popular "fine Lines" column at the website Jezebel.com — her book is called Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading.

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