A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Parents are divorced but demonstrate good communication and caring. Her best friend is Ivy Ling, an Asian girl. She befriends a boy at school who encourages her to play basketball. Julie uses a petition to demonstrate her point about fairness.
Violence & Scariness
Mention of Vietnam veterans and seeing hard things in war.
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Products & Purchases
Plenty of merchandise surrounds this new American Girl character: dolls, clothes, etc. Mentions from the 1970s: Brady Bunch, VW Beetle, Bewitched, Twinkies, Olga Korbut.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the main character, Julie, is part of the American Girl series that has its own stores selling all things American Girl: dolls, clothes, DVDs, etc. This first book in the series features a 9-year-old living in San Francisco in the '70s and captures issues and historical events of the era: President Nixon resigning; Vietnam veterans needing support; parents getting divorces (like Julie's); and the changing rights/roles of women, especially regarding Title Nine.
Is It Any Good?
Written by Megan McDonald of the popular Judy Moody series, MEET JULIE provides just the right amount of detail to give readers a taste of the fantastic 1970s. She doesn't skimp on what was hard about the era and provides positive examples of important people to Julie during this time, including her single mother and a veteran.
It's ironic that the squeaky-clean American Girl brand has added a child of the '70s as the latest in their family of period characters. Yes, it's the psychedelic 1970s with fatigue-wearing Vietnam veterans and teen girls throwing out labels like "male chauvinist pig." But Julie is a model 9-year-old with shiny blond hair, a strong sense of fairness, and an insatiable amount of energy -- in other words, she fits right in with the American Girl image.
There are also plenty of references to things that American Girl readers will like: lava lamps, pet rocks, mood rings, and apple seed bracelets. (This seems like a marketing hook, too, so parents watch out.) Julie's life, though, is not an easy one for any 9-year-old. Her parents are newly divorced, she's changed schools, and she sees her dad every other weekend. Despite these challenges, Julie is, perhaps unrealistically, strong and overly confident. She presents the coach with a petition -- since there's no basketball team for girls, it's not fair that she can't try out for the boy's team. Her complaints go all the way to the School Board. Now that's some American Girl pluck.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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Our Editors Recommend
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