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P.s. Longer Letter Later (hc) Hardcover – April 1, 1998

130 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Shy, quiet Elizabeth likes whole-wheat doughnuts, but her best friend, Tara*Starr, likes custard ones with vanilla icing and multicolored sprinkles. When Tara*Starr pictures the two of them together as old ladies, Elizabeth is knitting, and she is sewing sequins and beads on everything! Despite their differences, the two seventh-grade girls are inseparable--until Tara*Starr moves away, spurring the warm, winning correspondence that scampers across the pages of Paula Danziger and Ann M. Martin's P.S. Longer Letter Later: A Novel in Letters.

Elizabeth and Tara*Starr's junior high school world is one of corny jokes, words like "gazillion," and awkward moments (a New Year's Eve kiss happens at 12:08, and "it was sort of gross because the Chee-to in his mouth ended up in my mouth"), but it's also a world where both girls are dealing with their evolving--and sometimes derailing--families. Danziger (writing Tara*Starr's letters) and Martin (writing Elizabeth's letters) are friends in real life, and both have done a masterful job of creating the distinct, realistic, endearing voices of their characters; developing a profound, emotional, and ever-changing relationship between two young girls; and crafting a page- turning story to boot. Young readers--half-laughing, half with lump in throat--will "totally relate" to this feisty pair! (Ages 9 and older) --Karin Snelson

From Publishers Weekly

If Danziger and Martin had been childhood pen pals, their correspondence might have read much like this strikingly insightful epistolary novel. Each known for a finely tuned ear to her audience, the venerable authors here do a splendid job of creating a story based on the letters exchanged between 12-year-old best friends, one of whom has just moved to another state. The authors' distinctive voices give the collaboration a rare spontaneity and realism. Impulsive, outgoing Tara*Starr streaks her hair purple, can't resist a pun, pens an irreverent column for her school paper and fancies creme-filled, frosted doughnuts with sprinkles. The whole-wheat variety is the doughnut of choice for quiet, thoughtful Elizabeth, who enjoys cross-stitching, launches a poetry journal at school and isn't quite ready to pierce her ears. Tara's life, which had been chaotic prior to her move, hits some unanticipated twists: her mother and father?who had Tara at 17?begin acting like parents for the first time (taking steady jobs, setting rules around the house) and her mother becomes pregnant. Elizabeth, meanwhile, whose life was quite predictable and steady, faces cataclysmic change when her spendthrift father loses his job, struggles with alcohol and abandons his wife and daughters. Her crises spawn some moving passages, including her response to Tara's ironic complaints that her life is "a shambles" because snow postponed the school play; "It better turn around soon," writes Elizabeth, "Your life is the only good one I have." Readers will also readily identify with Tara's confessions of inadequacy about how to console Elizabeth (e.g., "Zounds! Zounds! Zounds!/ A million times Zounds!/ I don't know what to say. Your news is soooooooo awful!"). Even when the girls argue and the time between letters grows, readers can appreciate what goes into the erosion and rebuilding of friendship. Given Danziger's and Martin's penchant for continuing story lines, readers can only hope that this will be an ongoing correspondence. Ages 10-13.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; Apple signature ed edition (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590213105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590213103
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,844,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in New York, Paula Danziger knew since second grade that she wanted to be a writer. Beginning her career as a teacher, Danziger taught at the junior high, high school, college levels. She received her Masters Degree in reading and during that time she wrote her first bestselling novel, The Cat Ate My Gymsuit. She returned to teaching, but the success of her book encouraged her to become a full-time writer. It was non-stop for Danziger since then. Among her titles are: the enormously popular Amber Brown books as well as Remember Me To Harold Square, The Divorce Express, and Can You Sue Your Parents For Malpractice?Danziger received numerous honors, including: Parent's Choice Awards, International Reading Association - Children's Book Council Awards, a IRA-CBC Children's Choice Award and many nominations for state reading and library association awards. Known as a flamboyantly funny and deeply honest writer and speaker, Paula Danziger knew how to relate to young readers at their level. She was vital, funny, and compassionate. She knew how kids felt, what made them laugh, what they wore, collected, read, and played with. From collecting novelty toys that would make any teacher cringe, to wearing jangly earrings, funky glasses and shoes covered with beads and sequins, Paula Danziger had a direct line into kids' hearts and funnybones. She will be missed always.In Paula's memory, The Amber Brown Fund has been established to bring authors and illustrators to schools and libraries which otherwise could not afford them. Donations may be sent to The Amber Brown Fund/ SCBWI Museum of Children's Books, 8271 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048. "I want people who want to become writers to read lots, write and rewrite lots, take acting lessons to learn about character development, observe people and not to be afraid of not being perfect. As for those people who don't want to be writers, I hope that you will always continue to read and also not be afraid of not being perfect." "I have two sets of heroes: One--bright, creative teachers, who manage to stay in the classroom. And, two--people who have difficult childhoods and manage to use the experiences to grow into caring, understanding adults."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 4, 2000
Format: School & Library Binding
Love it, go grab it and read it! Rate it 5 great giganticstars! Wonderful, fantastic, magnificent book! By two great authors,Paula Danziger & Ann M. Martin. If you like writing letters, you shall love this book. This whole book is written in letters, which is amazing. If you're into friendship you'll love this book as well. That's because this book is about these two girls named Elizabeth and Tara* Starr who are best friends but Tara* Starr had to move because their parents say they needed to move for a reason. However they are totally different. Elizabeth is shy adn quiet, hates being the center of attention, and lives in a house in which possesstions are more important than feelings. Tara* Starr wears glitter and sequins, loves to be the center of attention, and is the only child of the young parents aho are takinga long time to grow up. But even through they are different; their frienship is really good. So now they have to communicate by letter because long-distances calls are too expensive. While Tara* Starr's family settles down in a good position, Elizabeth's family fall apart. But can they still stay friends forever or will the distance between them tear them apart and away from each other? After you read the book you'll want to know more. This book can be a never-enging written letter story response between two girls. This book is an active and charming story written through a letter layout. It's letter to letter back and forth talking to each other but not by meeting each other. The letters have feeling and emotion written in it. The events and action happens inside the letters. This book gets thrilling and more exciting by the moment you read it. You'll want to keep reading till you finish the book. This book is a wonderful, emotional, touching, and a sad book at the same time. I say after you read this book you'll love it and it'll inspire you to love writing letters and be a true friend. Just like it inspired me to do that.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Marisa on August 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
--Elizabeth Richardson is in for a difficult seventh-grade year. Shortly before the year starts, her best friend Tara-Starr Lane moves to Ohio, leaving Elizabeth lonely and angry. After getting over the shock of her best friend's moving, Elizabeth watches in horror as her father, fired from his well-paying job, sinks into alcoholism and depression. Elizabeth knows her family is falling apart, and she writes about all this in letters to her best friend, now calling herself "Tara*Starr" with the star in the middle, whose life is drastically improving: her previously childlike parents are now acting like parents, and her family is making enough money not to have to use food stamps and other such charities: the girls' lives are rapidly changing and they are becoming different as well: can they still survive being best friends with their changing lives and the distance between them? --I found this book very realistic, probably because it was written letter by letter, just as it would have been done in real life! Paula Danziger and Ann M. Martin are different people, and although they aren't exactly the same as their characters, their traits show up in their characters' writing, forming an intriguing relationship both with the characters and with them. And, of course, they have dedicated the book to Kathy Ames, the pen pal of Ann's who introduced Paula to Ann. --Marisa
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was awesome! Usualy I don't really like to read but this book was awesome.I finished it in 2 days.The same thing happened to me too.I had to move too but my friend and I still keep in touch with each other by writing letters.So if you like to read a book were best friends keep in touch by writing letters this is a great book for you to read.I hope you read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lissy Bouvier on March 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
I read a book lately called "P.S. Longer Letter Later" and I thought that it was a great book. The book is about two twelve-year old girls that are best friends, Elizabeth and Tara (or Tara*Starr, what she prefers to be called). In the book, the two friends are totally happy, until Tara*Starr moves to Ohio, and they have no choice but to continue their relationship through letters. The whole book is Tara and Elizabeth sending letters to each other. I recommend this book because I could relate to the characters and I liked them, and see if their friendship lasts, and see if they survive.

The characters in this book aren't perfect, so they're pretty much like the typical teenager. Tara*Starr and Elizabeth are the opposite of each other, for Tara*Starr is loud, loves to be the center of attention and loves to act, and comes from a richer family; and has parents that are irresponsible and act like children. Elizabeth is genuinely quiet, loves to write and recite poetry, has a poor family, and her dad is an alcoholic. It's interesting to read about how Elizabeth puts up with everything and always survives.

The book starts out when the girls both go back to school for 7th grade. Tara*Starr has to start all over again; with a new house and friends. Meanwhile, Elizabeth goes back to school without her best friend. The interaction between Elizabeth and Tara make you really want to keep reading. Sometimes they talk about what they did at school or how their family is doing. Some exciting events happen along the way, and they both travel through hard times. Elizabeth's dad buys stuff that their family can't afford; and Tara*Starr has problems with the boys that she's dating. With all this going on, it is interesting to see if their friendship lasts.
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