Remembered fondly by women who grew up in the 70s and 80s, but still relevant today, the US tween writer’s best-loved heroine is about to hit the big screen

‘It felt like she was writing for me.” It is a sentiment I hear over and over again, talking to women in their 40s and 50s about the American writer Judy Blume, one of the world’s bestselling authors, who started writing young adult fiction in the 1970s, long before that even existed as a genre.

As a 12-year-old growing up in Bath, my Judy moment, discovering her novel Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, due to be released as a film in the UK on 19 May, was revelatory. There I was, in the stonewashed denim jacket and matching jeans that my mum had bought me from C&A, feeling like the only girl in school who might never grow a decent pair of boobs or start her periods. (At 46, I’m still waiting for the boobs.) Then along came Margaret. Never mind that she was living more than a decade earlier, when they used alarming-sounding contraptions called sanitary belts; she was feeling the same anxieties, and everything she felt was right there on the page.

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