December 12, 2014

Saturday Night by Marjorie Holmes (1959)

 Carly is wearing a green Paisley skirt and an off-the-shoulder peasant blouse which she has bought with the first pay from her job at Deal's general store in the little Midwest town of Windy Lake. She is a junior in high school, but somehow her girl friends have outgrown her. She is timid adn feels left out of their fun, but she is terribly eager for life. Especially for whatever strange thrill may lie in wait for her during the hours of this magical Saturday night. "Something might turn up," she says when her mother asks her why she has changed to her new clothes.  And, sure enough, something does, "turn up": Danny Keller discovers her.

Danny is the most popular boy in town, a Peter Pan who won't grow up, with faunlike ears and merry, carefree chatter. He takes her to the Copper Kettle, where the high school crowd hangs out, for grilled cheese and a Coke. Carly knows that the really popular girls have in turn all been his steady dates, but he sweeps her off her feet and she now becomes "his girl." As such, she finds that she has become popular ... she belongs. She feels, however, a strange misgiving in the welcome she receives from the others, and her forebodings prove to be all too well founded.

Much of the action of the story centers about the lake, beautiful, fascinating, but able to assume a dark and tragic aspect too, as Carly learns to her horror.

The reader who follows this typically American girl through the experiences of her first love will learn, as she learns, the truth of what her father says to her: "Hurt is simply a part of growing up.  It's as inescapable as -- as cutting teeth." (from the inside flap)

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