"Like my mother said, you can't go back to holding hands."
Katherine is a senior in high school when she meets Michael Wagner at a New Year’s Eve party. The two quickly begin to spend a lot of time together and are accompanied by Katherine’s friend Erica and Michael’s friend Artie. As their relationship becomes more series, the issue of sex is brought up both on a physical and emotional level. When Katherine and Michael finally do have sex for the first time, they promise each other that they will be together “forever.” As their senior year draws to a close, they each are forced by their parents to work summer jobs out of state. Even though they try to keep their relationship strong by writing letters, Katherine becomes attracted to a fellow camp instructor and her relationship with Michael is questioned.
This was one of the few books from the course that I read as a young adult. I generally enjoyed reading the book again, and have a different perspective on the novel reading it as an adult almost ten years later. When I read it as a teenager, I remember liking the story, but being disappointed that Katherine and Michael broke up in the end. Now, I appreciated the book for giving a very realistic portrayal of first love in high school. It didn’t portray Katherine’s first experience with sex as glamorous as some young adult books do and it also didn’t leave out details either (I can see why this book is very controversial!). I also liked that the story was told from Katherine’s point of view and gave readers a complete since of her thoughts and emotions as she was going through the relationship with Michael. I would recommend this book to others, but with caution. I don’t see too many boys enjoying the novel and the sexual content makes it potentially inappropriate for young and less mature students. Since the book was written in the 1970s, it is also a bit dated and does not include correct information on the importance of protection during sex from sexually transmitted diseases.