(Essential Studies in Young Adult Literature, Revised Edition)

About David was voted a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association and is probably Susan Beth Pfeffer’s best-known work. Pfeffer’s young protagonists are often the strongest characters in the book, with either an unlikable parent, as in Marly the Kid (1975), or parents who cannot cope with the situation at hand, as in The Year Without Michael (1987), or parents with whom the protagonist feels he or she cannot communicate, as in About David. Pfeffer’s young protagonists are also resourceful in the situations in which they find themselves, which are often unusual. Like Lynn in About David trying to deal with the complete destruction of a family she has been close to for years, Jody Chapman in The Year Without Michael tries to pull her family together when her younger brother disappears without a trace somewhere between home and the softball field. In Marly the Kid, Marly runs away from her mother—who is constantly telling her how unattractive she is—to her father and his new wife. Lynn, Jody, and Marly all make discoveries about the person they are or will become. Pfeffer’s characters are able to adjust and grow despite the problems caused by adults. She is a very popular writer for the young because she offers hope and a better understanding of their lives.