I've been a diehard bookworm since I could hold a book in my own two hands, and because of that life-long obsession, there are a lot of authors I credit with influencing the reader (and woman) I am today. J.K. Rowling made me believe in magic and the power of love, Octavia E. Butler showed me the worth of a woman, and Margaret Atwood taught me to challenge everything. But I can't help but be thankful for all the ways Judy Blume shaped my childhood. Without her books, growing up would have been a whole lot harder.
Though she began writing for kids, teens, and adults a full two decades before I was born, Judy Blume's books were a huge part of my youth because she just totally got me as a young adult. Her heroines were relatable girls who seemed to understand exactly what it was like to be me: awkward, confused, and overwhelmed with hormones and emotions I didn't quite understand. And unlike so many other YA authors, Judy Blume never seemed to talk down to me, a teenager reader, but instead used her books to engage in real, mature conversations I wouldn't dream of starting with either of my parents.
Judy Blume was like that cool big sister you always wanted, the one you could talk about sex with, ask boy questions to, or talk about your body with — all without feeling weird, ashamed, or awkward. Her books were like guidebooks through my teenage years. Without her, I'm not sure if I would be the young woman I am today, because it's undeniable that Judy Blume shaped my adolescence in these 5 ways.