(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Maureen Daly 1921–

(Has also written under the name Maureen Daly McGivern) American short story writer, novelist, and nonfiction writer for children and young adults, and editor.

Maureen Daly's first novel, Seventeenth Summer, published in 1942, became the prototypical young adult novel. In this story of first love in a quiet Wisconsin town Daly describes the emotions of her protagonist, Angie, in a skillfully artless way, and through her makes all the intricacies of adolescent relationships come alive. Daly displays an intuitive sensitivity to teenagers and an ability to convey the sense of immediacy and urgency her characters feel. Some critics believe these aspects were due to the closeness of Daly's own age to those of her protagonists. However, her later stories and novels show her to be no less skilled in capturing the changeable moods of adolescence.

Daly has also written several works of nonfiction related to her extensive travels, such as Mention My Name in Mombasa and Spanish Roundabout, which exhibit a characteristic understanding of the people she meets and describes. Her most recent works of fiction have also been set abroad, many of them intended for younger children.

Daly has based her career on writing about what she has personally seen or felt. "I seem to travel far for the subject—or else write microscopically about things that happen right at home," she has written. Her consistent popularity with young people has proven both the universality of her experience and the success of its communication. (See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 9-12, rev. ed., and Something about the Author, Vol. 2.)