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P.S. Longer Letter Later Paperback – May 1, 1999
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
When I was a kid, one of my FAVORITE books which really influenced how I saw the world was P.S. Longer Letter Later. I don't necessarily recommend giving it to your kids if they struggle with anxiety, because after I read the sequel I was terrified (completely without reason, mind you) that my parent would commit suicide (as, spoiler alert, one of the parents in the sequel does), but the idea of a penpal stuck with me, and I dearly wished for one.
Through reading about those girls, I felt less alone. They prepared me when my parents got divorced, because one of their parents divorced so I didn't feel so alone. I could relate and felt a common bond with one of the two girls, and it gave me a connection at a time of my life when I had little.
And why do I say it still impacts me to this day? Because when I became an adult, I was inspired by my experiences reading this book to form a penpal program online to help every child find the friendship that these two fictional characters share. So, yeah, it's a pretty deep impact. I owe the authors a huge thanks for touching my life.
Spoiler Alert -- this paragraph includes some details you discover later in the book. The parents really don't look good, but the issues are heavy for even a ten year old. One girl has parents who had to get married at 18 because they got pregnant with her. The other girl's dad goes from normal to becoming an alcoholic who then suddenly out of nowhere abandons his wife and two daughters. There is talk of whether he's having an affair.
These are serious issues that I don't need my daughter reading until we're ready to sit down and have some long conversations about teen pregnancy, alcohol, infidelity. Another problem with a 9 yr old reading this, well, my daughter is still the Santa age if you know what I mean. She may have her questions about it, but the magic is still alive, and she's the oldest of three so I'm not going there yet.
I enjoyed the book, and I concur with what some of the top reviewers said -- it's a sensitive portrayal of a friendship, with lots of poetry and an innovative narrative style (the book entirely consists of the girls' letters). I'll definitely give it to my daugther to read when she's ready!
Most recent customer reviews
Warning: if you don't want the story to be ruined, don't read this. The main characters are Tara Starr, Elizabeth, Barb, Lucas, Emma, and...Read more
My book review is on P.S. Longer Letter Later by Anne M. Martin and Paula Danziger. The book is about these two girls named Terra*Starr and Elizabeth.Read more