4.2 752
by Judy Blume

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Is there a difference between first love and true love? Judy Blume’s groundbreaking novel about teen sexuality has a fresh new look.

The bed is brass, covered with a patchwork quilt, and “nice and firm,” Michael says, “in case you’re interested.”

Katherine is interested.

Katherine and Michael are in love, and


Is there a difference between first love and true love? Judy Blume’s groundbreaking novel about teen sexuality has a fresh new look.

The bed is brass, covered with a patchwork quilt, and “nice and firm,” Michael says, “in case you’re interested.”

Katherine is interested.

Katherine and Michael are in love, and Katherine knows it’s forever—especially after she loses her virginity to him. But when they’re separated for the summer, she begins to have feelings for another boy. What does this say about her love for Michael? And what does “forever” mean, anyway? Is this the love of a lifetime, or the very beginning of a lifetime of love?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
More than thirty years ago, Judy Blume's sensational teen romance debuted to much controversy. A candid account of young love that provides details about everything from a young couple's first meeting through sexual curiosity, exploration, and activity, this book is as relevant for teens today as it was to teens in the seventies. From the moment Katherine and Michael meet at a friend's party, the sparks fly. Although they attend different schools, the pair get together every chance they can, and their relationship deepens. Before long, things are getting serious: they are thinking about sex, talking about sex, and planning for sex. It feels like they will be together forever. Then, summer comes, and family plans pull them apart. They write each other often and plan to reunite as soon as they can, but life—and love—can be unexpected. While employed as a camp counselor, Katherine meets Theo. She is surprised by the attraction she feels for him. What do such feelings say about love? Commitment? Forever? Michael? Modern readers may giggle at the lack of cell phones and other modern accoutrements, but they are sure to be drawn into this time-tested tale of first love.
From the Publisher
"A convincing account of first love."
The New York Times Book Review
Children's Literature - Julia Beiker
This story has become ageless. In this riveting plot, young Katherine and Michael struggle with their morals and sexuality as they evolve from friendship to potential lovers. As they seal their relationship as forever, something changes that makes it clear for one of them that nothing last forever. This character-driven plot pull readers into the emotional rollercoaster called teen romance, where everything changes at the drop of a hat. No one can deny that Judy Blume captures all the essence and drama of what happens when hormones explode. This book shows the reader how it feels to be on both side of an ending relationship, so each one can root for the character they can relate to at the time. The timeless story will hopefully live forever. Be aware this book deals with mature content. Reviewer: Julia Beiker; Ages 15 up.

Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)
HL590L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


  • Sybil Davison has a genius I.Q. and has been laid by at least six different guys. She told me herself, the last time she was visiting her cousin, Erica, who is my good friend. Erica says this is because of Sybil’s fat problem and her need to feel loved—the getting laid part, that is. The genius I.Q. is just luck or genes or something. I’m not sure that either explanation is 100 percent right but generally Erica is very good at analyzing people.

    I don’t know Sybil that well since she lives in Summit and we live in Westfield. Erica and I decided to go to her New Year’s party at the last minute for two reasons—one, because that’s when she invited us, and, two, we had nothing better to do.

    It turned out to be a fondue party. There were maybe twenty of us sitting on the floor around a low table in Sybil’s family room. On the table were a couple of big pots of steaming liquid Swiss cheese and baskets of bread chunks. Each of us had a long two-pronged fork, to spear the bread, then dip it into the cheese. It tasted pretty good. I had gotten about two bites when this guy said, “You’ve got some on your chin.”

    He was on Erica’s other side, sort of leaning across her. “You want me to wipe it off?” He held out his napkin.

    I couldn’t tell if he was putting me on or what. So I told him, “I can wipe my own chin,” and I tried to swallow the bread that was still in my mouth.

    “I’m Michael Wagner,” he said.

    “So?” I answered, as Erica shot me a look.

    She introduced herself to Michael, then tapped me on the head and said, “This idiot is my friend, Katherine. Don’t mind her . . . she’s a little strange.”

    “I noticed,” Michael said. He wore glasses, had a lot of reddish-blond hair and a small mole on his left cheek. For some crazy reason I thought about touching it.

    I looked away and went back to spearing chunks of bread. The guy on my other side said, “My name’s Fred. I live next door to Sybil. I’m a freshman at Dartmouth.” Unfortunately he was also a creep.

    After a while I tuned him out but he didn’t know and kept blabbing away. I was more interested in what Michael was saying to Erica. I wondered where he went to school and hoped it was some place close, like Rutgers. Erica told him that we’re from Westfield, that we’re seniors, and that we’re spending the night at Sybil’s. Then Michael introduced her to somebody named Elizabeth and I turned around in time to see him put his arm around this pale dark-haired girl sitting next to him. I pretended to be interested in Fred the Creep after all.

    At midnight Sybil flashed the lights on and off and Fred wished me a Happy New Year, then tried to stuff his tongue in my mouth. I kept my lips shut tight; while he was kissing me I was watching Michael kiss Elizabeth. He was much taller than I first thought and thin, but not skinny.

    After the party we helped Sybil and her parents clean up and somewhere around 3:00 a.m. we trudged upstairs to bed. Sybil conked out as soon as her head hit the pillow but Erica and I had trouble getting to sleep, maybe because we were on the floor in sleeping bags, or maybe because Sybil was snoring so loud.

    Erica whispered, “Michael’s a nice guy . . . don’t you think so?”

    “He’s much too tall for you,” I told her. “You’d only come up to his belly button.”

    “He might enjoy that.”

    “Oh, Erica!”

    She propped herself up on an elbow and said, “You like him, don’t you?”

    “Don’t be silly . . . we barely met.” I rolled over, facing the wall.

    “Yeah . . . but I can tell anyway.”

    “Go to sleep!”

    “He asked me for your last name and your phone number.”

    I turned around. “He did?”

    “Uh huh . . . but I guess you don’t care about that.” She buried herself inside her sleeping bag.

    I gave her a half-hearted kick. Then we both laughed and fell asleep.

    Erica and I have been friends since ninth grade. We’re a good pair because she is outspoken and uninhibited and I’m not. She says she has to be that way to compensate for her size. She’s just four-feet-ten—so when I said that she would come up to Michael’s belly button I wasn’t kidding. Everyone in her family is tiny. That’s how her great-grandfather got their last name. He came to this country from Russia, not speaking a word of English. So when he stepped off the boat and the man in charge asked him his name, he didn’t understand. Instead of just calling him Cohen or Goldberg, the way the immigration officers did with so many Jewish refugees, this man sized him up and wrote down Mr. Small. Erica swears if she ever marries she will choose someone huge so that if they decide to have children the kids will at least have a chance to grow to normal size.

    Not that being little has hurt anyone in her family. Her mother is Juliette Small, the film critic. You can read her reviews in three national magazines. Because of her Erica is positive she’s going to get into Radcliffe, even though her grades aren’t that hot. I have a 92 average so I almost died when I saw my college board scores. They were below average. Erica scored much higher than I did. She doesn’t fall apart over really important things and I’m always afraid I might. That’s another difference between us.

    The phone rang at noon the next day and woke me. Sybil jumped up and ran to answer it. When she came back she said, “That was Michael Wagner. He’s coming over to get his records.” She yawned and flopped back on her bed. Erica was still out cold.

    I asked Sybil, “Does he go with that girl, Elizabeth?”

    “Not that I know of . . . why, are you interested?”

    “No . . . just curious.”

    “. . . because I could drop a hint if you want me to . . .”

    “No . . . don’t.”

    “I’ve known him since kindergarten.”

    “He’s in your class?”

    “My homeroom.”

    “Oh . . . I thought he was older.”

    “He’s a senior . . . same as us.”

    “Oh . . .” He seemed older. “Well . . . as long as I’m awake I might as well get dressed,” I said, heading for the bathroom.

    Sybil and I were in the kitchen when the bell rang. I was picking raisins out of a breakfast bun, piling them in the corner of my plate. Sybil leaned against the refrigerator, spooning strawberry yoghurt out of the carton.

    She answered the front door and showed Michael into the kitchen. “You remember Katherine, don’t you?” she asked him.

    “Sure . . . hi . . .” Michael said.

    “Oh . . . hi,” I said back.

    “Your records are still downstairs,” Sybil told him. “I’ll get them for you.”

    “That’s okay,” Michael said. “I’ll get them myself.”

    A few seconds later he called, “Who’s K.D.?”

    “Me,” I answered. “Some of those albums are mine.” I went downstairs and started going through the pile. “Are yours marked?”


    I was making a stack of K.D.s when he said, “Look . . .” and grabbed my wrist. “I came over here because I wanted to see you again.”

    “Oh, well . . .” I saw my reflection in his glasses.

    “Is that all you can say?”

    “What am I supposed to say?”

    “Do I have to write the script?”

    “Okay . . . I’m glad you came over.”

    He smiled. “That’s better. How about a ride? My car’s out front.”

    “My father’s coming to pick me up at 3:00. I have to be back by then.”

    “That’s okay.” He was still holding my wrist.

  • Meet the Author

    Judy Blume, one of America’s most popular authors, is the recipient of the 2004 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. She is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of beloved books for young people, including Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, and novels for adult readers, including Wifey, Smart Women, and Summer Sisters. Her work has been translated into thirty-two languages.Visit Judy at or follow her on Twitter at @JudyBlume.

    Brief Biography

    New York's Upper East Side, Key West, and Martha's Vineyard
    Date of Birth:
    February 12, 1938
    Place of Birth:
    Elizabeth, New Jersey
    B.S. in education, New York University, 1961

    Customer Reviews

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    Forever... 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 754 reviews.
    jb-_straight_up More than 1 year ago
    this book is defiantly one of the best books i have ever read! i passed it round to my friends and about 20 of us read it in about 4 weeks. did not like the ending very much so my friends and i wrote out own endings in the book. this book is not for people under the age of 13. my mother wanted to read it after me so i just told her i lost it at school because she probably would of taken it away. a great read. a little much for a Judy Blume novel but still loved it and especially Ralph!!lol
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    this book uses many discriptive's like teen porn??..very descriptive..i overall liked it.yet i was very disturbed ...anyone under 15 should NOT read this book....
    DANIELLEAT More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    i bought this book yesterday and man i could not put it down. Its a great book and i was really thought it was interesting. I really hated that ending. IT LEFT ME HANGING i wanted to know what happened after Theo called. i wouldnt recommend this book to people who dont want to be left hanging.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is one of my favorite books of all time. I'm not one to read a book more then once but this book is an easy read and i can read this book over and over again and never get bored. i wouldnt however reccomend for anyone under 14 there are some racy parts but it is an excellent book i really enjoyed it!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Yes, the book was pretty sexual; and I wouldn't recommended it for younger people. But, it did share a life like situation between two people. This book was amazing, and it is very much so worth the time to read it.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    At first I wasn't liking the story that much but the story got better as it went along but I wish that the story felt more real. I mean it was good but I never believed that Michael loved Katherine like he said he did. He only wanted to have her, that was obvious. The other stories and characters are much more interesting than Michael and Katherine also. Their stories had my mouth drop to the floor so that definetly kept me reading. And it saved the book from being boring. The ending was predictable. Sorry Judy, ok book, but not her best. For my taste, I am searching for more depth, more soul and passion from the writer and characters. Like from Sarah Dessen, Kristen Tracy, K S Michaels...
    angolagirl More than 1 year ago
    This book was descriptive but I think it needs to be. Judy Blume took a chance to inform her readers what teens go through. I read this as a teen and even though the wording may seem "gross" or "teen porn" to some it couldn't be farther from the truth. It is a great read about how teens view romance and how sex should wait because you very rarely find your 'forever' as a teen.
    inuyasha-lover More than 1 year ago
    i think its a goood book.i just dont know if it's good for pplz under 13 or more well some parts are a little over detailed .~_~( too detailed for my mom)she asked for a little summary of what i was reading and so told her.she freaked out so maybe peope older than 13(thats my age).
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    This book was disgusting. I would not recamend it for someone in middle school because it was way toooo detailed. If you have read the book you would understand what I was talking about. For example - they go wayyyyyy to indepth about sex and it is tooo mature for a young adult. :]
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    i read this book, about a month ago. my mom had to give me permission to read it, because its so graphic. dont get me wrong i love guys and the and all the romantic things they do for girls. but this book just went too far. even though im only fourteen, i still do not believe in premarital sex. this book was way too graphic for my taste,i used to love judy blumes books. but this one made me feel dirty after i read it. i know what your thinking. a teenage girl that isnt turned on by a book full of sex. thats right, and im proud of it.
    JayLambertx3 More than 1 year ago
    My friend let me borrow the book and I began to read it that night. The first three pages got me interested in the book too. I shut my laptop after chapter one and it took me two days to read the whole book. It's an amazing story with a great story line. I recommend this book to anyone!
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    It was addicting I must admit. However, it was felt like it was physical. I didn't feel any emotional connection. The ending is very quick. It was very disappointing.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    The book I come back to read time and time again. Starting with Super Fudge and growing up and reading these.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I would say I was a little young to read this book. But even for a person thats young its still a great book!! I am not a big reader and my mom bought me this book and I didnt talk once till I finished this book cover to cover. I would totally recomend this book!!!!!!!!!
    Dollienaz More than 1 year ago
    As I look at this book and the picture of Judy Blume i feel such an overwhelming feeling to burst out crying..with joy. Its amazing how this one book has affected my life. I am now 45 years old and I began reading at the tender age of 4yrs old. I grew up Holiness, so everything that seemed fun to me was a SIN. So my reading material was always sensored. When I heard some school friends in jr. high talking about this book I just knew my mom would noy get it for me; it had kissing in it. Well after my mom read the book she gave it to me and said if I had any questions I could ask her. I finished this book in two days and was awarded, "Are you there God, its me Margaret". I will always love Judy Blume and the help she gave me through my awkward years.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    this book is great i could not put it down i read it in like 2 days i lend it to my best friend and she read it in a day i love this book because it really brings reality to life and its about even how true love cant last forever .... its all about a girl and the real everyday problems that i think any teen really deals with friendship,family and most of all experincing 1st time love i honestly REALLY REALLY recommend it
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    The characters in this Novel illustrate real events and how a young women would behave in a first love situation. The book got me a little emotional because it reminded me of some of the challenges I face in my own relationship.The book is wrtten so realisticly and that first love is never forgotten an amazing amazing book to read;and a very lovely ending.
    swalden More than 1 year ago
    It took me a few to read this book since i am in high school and have a ton of school work. i cried when i got down to the end. it was so much like mine and my boyfriends love life. only a little opposite. i read a chapters to my boyfriend. he wants me to read the whole book to him. i WILL REREAD IT!!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    this book was so good i finished in one day , it is so romantic. the only thing is that at the end its not what you want to happen.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    This book was good but needs to have an age limit warning. I was thirteen when I read this book and it was a little much. I also think it gives a little bit of false hope to girls that all their relationships will be this way.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Michael sounds HIDEOUS!!!!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    It was a great book I didn't like the ending to much. But over all I would totally recomend it.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book was amazing back in the late 70's when it was originally released. I read it when I was in high school and thought it was fantastic then, It still is. HOWEVER...times have changed and I owuld love to see this book re-vamped for today's ideas and concerns. The book was so honest in it's portrayal of first love and being responsible in the choices that go with it, I would love to see it address the issues that young poeple have to think about today.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I am not a big reader. However, I read the whole thing,from cover to cover, in one day. I also passed the book along to many of my friends who zoomed through it as quickly as i had. Several of us wish we would have read it on our death beds because every book we read from this day forward will be compared to Judy Blume's greatness. Nothing has even come close.