We Interrupt This Semester for an Important Bulletin Critical Essays

Ellen Conford


(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

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....

(The entire section is 565 words.)