This week: from the archives!
Originally posted on Lost Classics of Teen Lit, 1939-1989:
This week, we’re going to start at the beginning, literally. First published in 1942 and continuously in print ever since, Maureen Daly’s Seventeenth Summer is widely credited with being the very first work of YA Fiction, the genre that would go on to spawn a gazillion age-inappropriate romances, would-be Olympic Ice Dancers and the Wakefield Twins.
Background: Written by the precociously talented Daly when she herself was 17 years old and published before she was 21, Seventeenth Summer is an interesting read in the wake of Fifteen, and otherbooks which make a convincing case that being a teenager has been pretty much the same since the dawn of time (or at least since the mid-20th Century). In contrast, the contemporary reader picking up Seventeenth Summer unaware of its vintage is going to feel like she has been abruptly dropped down amongst the Moon-people. …
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