1974 young adult novel by Paula Danziger about Marcy Lewis, a girl in ninth grade who has to cope with emotional abuse from her dad, being fat, coming to terms with unfair treatment from authority figures, going on her first date, and other crises. She comes up with increasingly hilarious alibis to explain why she's not going to change into her gymsuit in the locker room for phys ed. (The real reason, of course, is that she's not comfortable changing in front of everyone because she's fat and flat. I remember those days, although I wasn't too concerned about being flat.)

Author Paula Danziger, according to the front material, is a teacher; she created a great teacher as a major character in this story. Ms. Barbara Finney -- Ms., can you believe it? Remember, this is 1974:

First of all, she'd written "Ms." Was she just trying to be sharp, or was she really into it? And she'd written her first name. Teachers never do that. They never admit to having first names. They're always Miss or Mr. or Mrs., hardly ever Ms., and never with first names. It's supposed to be a big mystery, like do teachers really have to go to the bathroom or do anything but teach and go to meetings?

Ms. Finney is suspended following a dispute with the principal, and when Marcy and her friends try to stand up for her (think Dead Poets Society here; I did), they get suspended too. What will happen at the school board meeting? Will Marcy's dad say one single kind word to her, ever? Will her mom accept Marcy's newfound sense of self? Read the whole thing and find out. At 119 pages in my paperback edition, it's a quick read, and well worth a trip to the library. I wish I'd read this back in ninth grade.

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