Judy Blume has announced that she’s adapting one of her lesser-known teen novels, Tiger Eyes, for the big screen, and that her son, Lawrence Blume, will be directing it. This is exciting news for those of us who grew up on the Blume canon; surprisingly, none of her young adult classics has ever been made into a feature film before now. Which got us thinking: which one of her beloved books should be next? We’ve nominated five heavy contenders after the jump. Weigh in with your own picks in the comments.
Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret (1970)
Back in the day, this book was the menstruation bible, a place where future Pre-Teen Sensations could find out about sex, bras, and periods without having to actually talk to their mothers. Margaret Simon asked many of the coming of age questions that we didn’t even realize that we had — even tackling the complicated issue of identity in a half Jewish household — without ever feeling like the condescending invention of some adult. We only foresee one issue: Where is the wardrobe department going to find belted sanitary napkins?
In Blubber, Blume tackled the issue of bullying, making this novel even more relevant today than when it was published. Our run-of-the-mill protagonist, a stamp collector named Jill Brenner, joins the rest of her class in making fun of an overweight loner named Linda — who has been dubbed “Blubber” after giving an oral presentation on whales. But after some stuff goes down which causes Wendy, the most popular girl in the class, to give Jill the nickname “B. B.” (“Baby Brenner”), she realizes how fast the cafeteria tables can turn in life. There’s no happy ending here (thank god), but getting teased by Linda gives Jill some much needed perspective.
The super scandalous sex book! A favorite target of censors, Forever tells the story of two high school seniors, Katherine and Michael, who are trying to decide if they are ready to have sex with each other or not. Spoiler alert: they do it (on Michael’s sister’s bedroom floor, no less!). Rather than bonding them together forever, like they’d assumed, sex doesn’t change much. Thanks to a brief separation over the summer, and a tennis pro named Theo, their relationship actually proves rather short lived. Frankly, we’ve always blamed the fact that Michael referred to his penis as “Ralph.”
Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself (1977)
While not as racy as some of the others, this book is Blume’s most autobiographical novel, tackling some important issues, like anti-Semitism and racism. The year is 1947, and an Esther Williams-obsessed 10-year-old named Sally Freedman just made the move with her family from New Jersey to Miami Beach. There, she learns some important lessons: Walking around in a wet bathing suit will make you sick. Segregation is infuriating. If you ignore the “Latin Lover” at school who has a crush on you, he’ll move on to another girl. And your nice old neighbor isn’t Hitler, so just take his candy.
Then Again, Maybe I Won’t (1971)
It’s the classic Blume puberty tale, but from the male point of view (think hard-ons and wet dreams instead of periods and bras). When Tony Miglione’s family falls into a bit of money, they move from a working class neighborhood in New Jersey to a wealth one on Long Island, where everything (and everyone) seems different. The only thing that makes Tony happy is spying on his new friend Joel Hoober’s hot older sister, Lisa, while she gets undressed every night. When it turns out that Joel has a major shoplifting problem, Tony starts having panic attacks — and briefly lands himself in the hospital. Eventually Joel’s sticky fingers get him sent away to a military academy, and Tony kind of sort of decides to put away his binoculars. Maybe.