With strong plotting, a brisk pace, and a humorous touch, Conford creates dynamic scenes through which her main character moves toward realizations about love, friendship, and herself. We Interrupt This Semester for an Important Bulletin is intended to be a relatively easy book with a solid story. Although it lacks the emotional intensity of tougher realistic novels, it articulates relevant themes for young adult readers, and it does so with sensitivity and sympathy.
Conford’s themes resonate through the entire novel. The primary theme of young love, and the confused emotions that accompany it, is expressed through several characters and situations. At the beginning, Carrie is secure in her relationship with Chip. Why then, she wonders, does she feel so tingly in the presence of the young, good-looking teachers? She seems to recognize a rather basic sexual attraction but perhaps is not quite ready to admit it. When Chip criticizes her work, not only is her pride hurt but the security of her relationship is shaken as well. Prudie’s arrival demolishes that security, and Carries feels inadequate, rejected, jealous, confused, helpless, and hopeless—all the symptoms of heartache. In other developments, Carrie’s best friend also breaks up with her boyfriend because he paid more attention to football than to her, and the helpful freshman reporter, under the influence of a couple of Manhattans at Prudie’s party, proclaims his love for Carrie....
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We Interrupt This Semester for an Important Bulletin is a sequel to Ellen Conford’s Dear Lovey Hart, I Am Desperate (1975), in which freshman Carrie Wasserman wreaks havoc as an advice columnist for the school newspaper. These books, and others such as Seven Days to a Brand-New Me (1981), a novel of self-esteem, represent Conford’s move to a somewhat older audience than the one for which she had been writing. Conford began with the picture books Impossible, Possum (1971) and Why Can’t I Be William? (1972). Later books such as Dreams of Victory (1973) and Me and the Terrible Two (1974) are aimed at mid-to upper-elementary students, to whom Conford continues to return in, for example, her Jenny Archer books.
Conford’s high school novels have found a legitimate niche in young adult literature, and their popularity is a sign that she hits the mark pretty closely with the thirteen-to fifteen-year-old audience. Conford understands that high school life, especially the first two years, is dominated by peer relationships. While it could certainly be argued that these works are not serious literature, there is no doubt about their value for young readers. They are intended to be light reading, easily accessible with strong plots and recognizable, sympathetic characters. Although the issues are not tough and there are no hard edges to the stories, Conford’s novels do focus on what, for a large number of young people, are serious concerns and problems.