Are You There God? It's Me Margaret.

Book review by
Katherine Olney, Common Sense Media
Are You There God? It's Me Margaret. Book Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Classic coming-of-age story rings true decades later.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 25 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 96 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

This book could be used by parents to start many tricky discussions, from periods and bras, to boys, religion, and more. See our Families Can Talk About section for some specific ideas.

Positive Messages

This is a classic coming-of-age novel. Tweens learn that they're not alone in feeling unsure of who they are or in wishing that they could hurry up and grow up (normally). Margaret's greatest strength comes from her willingness to grapple with her feelings and identity, even if she doesn't always reach a conclusion.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Readers will find it easy to relate to Margaret, who says "I want to be like everybody else." In her one-sided conversations with God, she's very honest with her feelings, even when she has to admit that she's jealous. She's not perfect, but she feels badly when she hurts other people and is quick to say she's sorry.  


Margaret sneaks her father's Playboy for her friends to look at. She and her friends talk about periods, bras, and the boys in class that they like. They also gossip about the most-developed girl in class, even saying that their male teacher can't stop looking at her. At a party, the kids play "Two Minutes in the Closet" and other kissing games. 



Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book presents a pretty realistic take on what it's like to be a sixth-grade girl (which means it's fine for girls a bit younger since they are always looking ahead): Readers will find it easy to relate to honest Margaret, who says "I want to be like everybody else." There's some talk about periods, boys, bras, and bodies -- and Margaret sneaks her father's Playboy for her curious friends to look at. She and her friends gossip about the most-developed girl in class, and, at a party, the kids play "Two Minutes in the Closet" and other kissing games. Margaret grapples with some big questions about growing up, including what religion she should be (if any). She talks to God in a very personal way and at one point even gets so angry at him that she refuses to talk to him anymore. Ultimately, tweens learn that they're not alone in wishing that they would hurry up and grow up. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJkc1514 January 5, 2019


I read this when I was a kid so when my 9 year olds grandmother sent this for Christmas I almost threw it in the trash. I totally remember this book from when I... Continue reading
Adult Written byleekp June 3, 2013

Website reviewer got this one wrong.

I have a real issue with the reviewer for CSM - not a parent or kid, the actual website reviewer - for saying "this book presents a pretty realistic take o... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bylannaia1 October 12, 2014


so I know alot of oher girls like this book but seriously, i really dont care about getting "boobs". If you care about that kind of stuff go ahea and... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byBook_Worm313 February 24, 2010

Every girl should read this before if not during 6th grade.

I absolutely love this book. Margaret is the type of girl we can all relate to. She has friendship problems (i.e. Nancy) and she has problems with coming into h... Continue reading

What's the story?

When Margaret Simon moves from New York City to the New Jersey suburbs, she's swept up into a group of sixth-grade girls abuzz about all the stuff that fills most teen and tween minds: boys, bras, bodies, friendship, and more. In addition, Margaret, born to a Christian mom and Jewish dad, is also trying to figure out which religion she should be, if any. She has frank one-sided conversations with God in which she discusses not only the changes she's going through, but her search for a religion that feels right.


Is it any good?

Although this was first published in 1970, tweens will find that it still it pretty much rings true today. (It helps that this updated version has the girls using pads instead of sanitary belts to deal with their first periods). Margaret is such a relatable character -- she worries about being normal, sometimes says the wrong thing, and even hides her true feelings to be accepted by her friends. Readers will appreciate her honest narration -- which will make them feel a whole lot better about that their own anxieties about growing up.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the fact that author Judy Blume is the author of five books that appear on the American Library Association's Top 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2007. Are you surprised that this book is on the list? What do you think makes it controversial?

  • Margaret worries a lot about being normal, and she wants to grow up -- but she still gets embarrassed by things like bra shopping. This book was written in 1970 -- do you think a lot has changed since then? Do you feel like you relate to Margaret?

  • Margaret's friend Nancy spreads gossip about Laura -- she says that Laura lets boys feel her up and that even their teacher can't keep his eyes off her figure. What do you think it's like to be Laura? Do you think girls who develop early still get targeted in this way?


Book details

  • Author: Judy Blume
  • Genre: Coming of Age
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Yearling Books
  • Publication date: January 1, 1970
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
  • Number of pages: 149
  • Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle
  • Last updated: December 4, 2019

Our editors recommend

For kids who love tween reading

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate