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4.3 123
by Beverly Cleary

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Jane Purdy is fifteen and a sophomore in high school. No one has ever asked her for a date except George, an unromantic boy who is an inch shorter than she is and talks of nothing but his rock collection. Then she meets Stan: tall, good-looking, resourceful and sixteen years old-all she ever dreamed of. The circumstances are trying. Jane is baby-sitting for


Jane Purdy is fifteen and a sophomore in high school. No one has ever asked her for a date except George, an unromantic boy who is an inch shorter than she is and talks of nothing but his rock collection. Then she meets Stan: tall, good-looking, resourceful and sixteen years old-all she ever dreamed of. The circumstances are trying. Jane is baby-sitting for Sandra Norton, the toughest assignment in town. Stan appears just in time to prevent Sandra, by a skillful use of pig Latin, from emptying a bottle of ink onto the Nortons' blond living-room carpet. But I'll never see him again, Jane tells herself despairingly the next day. I'm just not the type to interest an older man. And then one evening the telephone rings....

No reader can fail to share Jane's breathless excitement or the shattering ups and downs of her friendship with Stan. Because Jane's problems are their own, girls approaching fifteen will take her to their hearts. So will everyone who has ever been fifteen.

How Jane emerges from the agonizing awkwardness of adolescence is the theme of a book whose humor matches that of Mrs. Cleary's earlier stories and whose warm understanding carries it to a new height. It is hard to think of any other American writer who has so successfully put on paper the sorrows and joys and absurdities of girlhood.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathryn Erskine
A reprint of the original published in 1956, this novel provides a fascinating window into the past. The thoughts and desires of fifteen-year-olds may be the same today as they were over fifty years ago, as are the disagreements between protective parents and their teenagers who want privacy and freedom, but the look and feel is definitely very different. It may be hard for today's teen readers to relate to the quieter lifestyle focused on baby-sitting and on girls not socially able or expected to ask boys out or even be open about their desire to be asked out by boys. Today's young readers are generally used to greater freedom of expression than their counterparts in the early- to mid-1950's. This is certainly a book that can be appreciated today, particularly by those looking for a calmer, less edgy book for teenagers about high school, growing up, and dating.
Children's Literature
In this blast from the past, Cleary offers a crisp, albeit dated, portrayal of Jane's first dating experiences. Not part of the in-crowd, Jane has never dated anyone¾then popular Stan moves to town. Much to her surprise, Stan asks Jane out for a date. As their relationship begins to develop, Jane must overcome her parents' overprotectiveness, her difficulty joining the in-group and her insecurity over Stan's commitment to her. At times, the book presents overly traditional views of women. Nonetheless, Jane's struggles transcend time. 1996 (orig. 1956), Avon Books, $5.95. Ages 9 up. Reviewer: Rebecca Joseph

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Today I'm going to meet a boy, Jane Purdy told herself, as she walked up Blossom Street toward her baby-sitting job. Today I'm going to meet a boy. If she thought it often enough as if she really believed it, maybe she actually would meet a boy even though she was headed for Sandra Norton's house and the worst baby-sitting job in Woodmont.

If I don't step on any cracks in the sidewalk all the way there, Jane thought, I'll be sure to meet a boy. But avoiding cracks was silly, of course, and the sort of thing she had done when was in the third grade. She was being just as silly as some of the other fifteen-year-old girls she knew, who counted red convertibles and believed they would go steady with the first boy they saw after the hundreth red convertible. Counting convertibles and not stepping on cracks were no way to meet a boy.

Maybe, when she finished her job with Sandra, she could walk down to Nibley's Confectionery and Soda Fountain and sit at the counter and order a chocolate coke float; and if she sipped it very, very slowly a new boy might happen to come in and sit down beside her. He would be at least sixteen-old enough to have a driver's license-and he would have crinkles around his eyes that showed he had a sense of humor and he would be tall, the kind of boy all the other girls would like to date. Their eyes would meet in the mirror behind the milk-shake machines, and he would smile and she would smile back and he would turn to her and look down (down-that was important) and grin and say . . .

"Hello there!" A girl's voice interrupted Jane's daydream, and she looked up to see Marcy Stokes waving at her from a greenconvertible driven by Greg Donahoe, president of the junior class of Woodmont High School.

"Hi, Marcy," Jane called back. People who said, "Hello there," to her always made her feel so unimportant.

Greg waved, and as the couple drove on down the hill Marcy brushed a lock of hair out of her eyes and smiled back at Jane with the kind of smile a girl riding in a convertible with a popular boy on a summer day gives a girl who is walking alone. And that smile made Jane feel that everything about herself was all wrong. Her yellow cotton dress was too-well, too little-girlish with its round collar and full skirt. Her skin wasn't tan enough and even if it were, she didn't have a white pique dress to show it off. And her curly brown hair, which had seemed pretty enough in the mirror at home, now seemed childish compared to Marcy's sleek blond hair, bleached to golden streaks by the sun. The trouble with me, Jane thought, as the hill grew steeper, is that I am not the cashmere-sweater type like Marcy. Marcy wore her cashmere sweaters as if they were of no importance at all. Jane had one cashmere sweater, which she took off the minute she got home from school. Marcy had many dates with the most popular boys in school and spent a lot of time with the crowd at Nibley's. Jane had an occasional date with an old family friend named George, who was an inch shorter than she was and carried his money in a change purse instead of loose in his pocket and took her straight home from the movies. Marcy had her name mentioned in the gossip column of the Woodmontonian nearly every week. Jane had her name in the school paper when she served on the clean-up committee after the freshman tea. Marcy belonged. Jane did not.

And if I were in Marcy's place right now, Jane thought wistfully, I wouldn't even know what to say. I would probably just sit there beside Greg with my hands all clammy, because I would be so nervous and excited.

Jane reached the end of Blossom Street and paused to catch her breath before starting to climb the winding road to Sandra's house. She looked back through the locust trees at the roof of her own comfortable old house in the center of Woodmont. In recent years this pleasant village had begun to grow in two directions. Toward the bay, on the treeless side of town, there was now a real-estate development called Bayaire Estates-block after block of small houses, all variations of one ranchstyle plan, which Jane thought of as the no-down-payment-to-veterans neighborhood, because of the advertisements on billboards along the highway. On the other side of the Purdys' part of town, where Woodmont rose sharply into tree-covered hills, there were also many new houses, referred to in advertisements as "California modern, architect-designed, planned for outdoor living." These houses were being built into the hillside among the gracious old redwood homes, now called "charming rustics."

It was toward one of these new houses in the hills that Jane now walked so reluctantly. Sandra Norton and her parents had lived in Woodmont only a few months, having recently returned to this country after two years in France, where Mr. Norton had been the American representative of an airline. Already Sandra was notorious among Woodmont baby sitters. The last time Jane sat with the eight-year-old girl, Sandra had grabbed a Flit gun full of fly spray and aimed it at a new chair upholstered in pale fabric. Before Jane wrested the Flit gun from Sandra she was drenched in fly spray. Afterwards she had laughed about the incident and turned it into a funny paragraph for a baby-sitting (baby-running was really a better word) article she had written for Manuscript, the Woodmont High literary club. Never theless, it was not an experience she would care to repeat.

Fifteen. Copyright © by Beverly Cleary. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Beverly Cleary is one of America's most beloved authors. As a child, she struggled with reading and writing. But by third grade, after spending much time in her public library in Portland, Oregon, she found her skills had greatly improved. Before long, her school librarian was saying that she should write children's books when she grew up.

Instead she became a librarian. When a young boy asked her, "Where are the books about kids like us?" she remembered her teacher's encouragement and was inspired to write the books she'd longed to read but couldn't find when she was younger. She based her funny stories on her own neighborhood experiences and the sort of children she knew. And so, the Klickitat Street gang was born!

Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the American Library Association's Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, presented to her in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature. Dear Mr. Henshaw won the Newbery Medal, and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and Her Father have been named Newbery Honor Books. Her characters, including Beezus and Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Ralph, the motorcycle-riding mouse, have delighted children for generations.

Brief Biography

Carmel, California
Date of Birth:
April 12, 1916
Place of Birth:
McMinnville, Oregon
B.A., University of California-Berkeley, 1938; B.A. in librarianship, University of Washington (Seattle), 1939

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Fifteen 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 123 reviews.
Tressa-Book-Review More than 1 year ago
Fifteen, was a great book. It was old fashioned, but I like things that were set back in the day. This book was a romance book, and I loved it. I usually don't like to read romance books, because I am a little young to understand, but this book explained everything so well for all ages. It helped me to understand what love really is. The main idea that the author is trying to get across the minds of teenagers, is that love is sometimes love is hard at times, but once you cross the bumps, the road ahead is really worth looking forward to. Stan is obviously a wonderful kid, and Jane really deserves that because Jane is a wonderful girl. They are really great together and deserve each other. Fifteen gives you a warm feeling inside when reading all the romantic parts. This book is a very thrilling, and enjoying book. Jane is like my fictional idle. She waits a very long time to find that one special person, and she did. It was like love at first sight to her. She had always planned out what her first boyfriend would be like. "He'd be at least sixteen, old enough to have a driver's license, and he'd have a sense of humor, and he'd be tal." and she found the perfect match. Fifteen is not like other romance books, it honestly better. All the goals the author was trying to reach, was definitely reached. Even though it was set back in the day I absolutely loved it. It was defiantly one of the best books I have read. There was not one part I did not like about this book. My last statement is, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!
bdkrwalker More than 1 year ago
It starts of with young Jane Purdy who feels left out,but when she meets the boy life get intersting,and ends so greatly I wish it would never end at all.Jane doesn't know how to act on her first date,what sould she order icecream or coffee,and how will she go to a Chinese restaurant if she doesn't know how to use chopsticks.If only she was older than fifteen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I serisly read this book in less then a day. I couldn`t put it down. It is the best puppy love story ever. I recommend to any and every teen girl thats loves romance stories!!!!You will regret if you don`t get it!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good i want to read more like this one! : )
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great for teen girls who are just starting to crush. In this book, a girl named Janie who just turned fifteen is looking for a boy. Well, she found one! A great one named Stan. Janie really likes him and she thinks he likes her. When they get to know each other and go on a lot of dates, Janie starts to get annoyed when another girl is getting in the way. After the date in the city, Janie is having second thoughts about Stan and is not quite sure anymore. Then the class barbeque comes and Janie goes with Stan. Will Janie and Stan get serious? Read to find out. I thought this book was a really good book and new teens and middle school kids would enjoy it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book because many teenage girls can relate to Jane's hardships. Beverly Cleary doesn't miss a thing, there's the pretty popular girl, the average girl who is desperately wanting to be noticed and the rest of the High school student body. When you read, you follow Jane through her ups and downs of her first relationship. The book is a great story and has an outstanding author! Must Read!
Anonymous 5 months ago
Awesome book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You are lying about being a grandma and enjoying this story for 50+ years because it was published in 2009.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best way I can think of to tell you how wonderful this book is, is to say that I have fondly remembered it for 50+ years (yep, I'm a Grandma now). BUT PLEASE DON'T LET THAT STOP YOU FROM READING THIS BOOK!!! I wish I had granddughters so I could buy it for them to read. I see that many reviewers have labeled it as "outdated", and yes, it was written many years ago in a much simpler time. So you'll see "the way it used to be." But the story is truly timeless (Shakespeare anyone???? LOL). When a teen's worst worries were, "Will he ask me to the dance?", and "What do I do if he tries to kiss me?", not "Do I have to do drugs or have sex to be popular?" But as smart kids today, I'm sure you can see how situations still relate. PARENTS, you will want to get this book for your young teen daughters, especially. Hopefully you can read it "together", and it can be an excellent opening point for discussion about appropriate relationships between boys and girls, and how yesterday's worries really haven't changed much, except for the ages of today's children. That "good kids" don't expect nor give/receive sex, among other topics.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
12th result
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whenever i read this book when ive gotten almost seriously hurt ( like now ) it makes me feel so much better! This book makes me cry
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fifteen is a really goid boik
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I lended this book and cant returne it so if u want it then just by it or u will habe it forever and ever and ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If u you dont give this book a 5 star i'll hunt u down-jk jk Or am i???-LoL
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Where is the next 1?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
yethe book would be fine if youre 15, I was younger than you when i read this book and it wasnt gross or anything. It was a cute book and i just wanted to read more and more!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago