We Interrupt This Semester for an Important Bulletin Critical Context - Essay

Ellen Conford

Critical Context

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

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.