According to Dictionary .com the term “tween” gets its origin from the Middle English (A.D. 1250-1300) word “twene”, “atwene” or “betwene” a contraction for the word between but today, in more resent years, it has become associated with the 8-14 year olds, those that are in-between childhood and the teenage years. There are many good books that were written before publishers targeted the tween label one of which is Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh.
Harriet’s life ambition is to become a writer, in the meantime she practices by being a spy. She has a route she follows after school where she bounces from house to house with her notebook and writes down every thought that enters her head. Harriet brings her notebook everywhere!! One day she loses her notebook just for a few moments and it is picked up by her friends and read aloud, the unfiltered truth out there for the public to hear. Naturally this doesn’t go over well. The rest of the story is Harriet’s struggle to overcome the chaos caused by the public début of her notebook.
The thing that most people remember about this book is that there was a girl obsessed with writing and spying and all the trouble that can cause, but it is so much more . It is a book about a girl growing up and learning some not so fun lessons.
This book has all the common themes of a tween book; friendship, family, and growing independence (Harlan, Maryann SJSU ). Harriet has to deal with the backlash of the notebook from her friends. She has relatively absent parents who only seem to get involved after the nanny Ole Golly leaves. Ole leaving, drops the floor from under Harriet’s feet and forces her to take charge of her life. Overall this book is well worth the time and effort. You will be amazed with the unique and realistic characters Louise Fitzhugh has created.