Meet Julie: An American Girl

Book review by
Pam Gelman, Common Sense Media
Meet Julie: An American Girl Book Poster Image
Plucky '70s American Girl fights for her rights.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive messages

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.

Language

What 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.

User Reviews

Parent of a 9 year old Written byCubFan November 30, 2008

I laughed and got sad, great book!

Very touching, funny, and just great! I did feel bad for Julie when her parents divorced, lost her best friend, Ivy, got teased at school, but it was wonderfull...
Adult Written bysflan April 9, 2008
Kid, 9 years old December 19, 2010

Julie ROCKS!

I think it was a like a really good book but did Julie have any other friends besides Ivy and TJ?I don't think Tracy really helped at all! But Julies...
Teen, 15 years old Written byOlivia Swan December 9, 2015

Great Book!!

I think this book is great for anyone (even adults) who like books with happy endings. My sister had to read it and she loved it. It is very relatable and eve...

What's the story?

Nine-year-old Julie Albright moves with her mother and older sister to an apartment in San Francisco, above her mother's shop. Her parents are divorced. She starts the 4th grade at a new school and feels lonely -- her best friend Ivy is still back in her old neighborhood.

At school, she befriends a boy and learns of basketball team try-outs that are only for boys. Julie feels this is unfair and learns how to take a stand from her sister, mother, and friendly neighbor, a Vietnam veteran.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the political and social events addressed in this book. How does Julie react to these events? How do you think you would react?

Book details

Our editors recommend

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 and learning potential.

Learn how we rate