What a treasure to discover now! This is one of the Lizzie Skurnick books and it’s a reissue of Lois Duncan’s very first ever published novel (from 1957.) I really enjoyed beginning by reading Duncan’s introduction, which explained all about how she came to write this story, first as a short story, and then to develop it into a novel, which then went on to win a literary contest which launched her writing career.
The daughter of a doctor, Lynn lives a pretty golden life. She’s pretty, popular, and part of the “the Hill”, which is where the privileged families live. She’s never really thought about that much before, though, happy just to enjoy her circle of friends and her boyfriend. But now it’s her senior year and her boyfriend has gone off to college (giving her his ring when he leaves) and the big news in town is that they are going to have debutantes. All the debutantes will spend all year having special parties, complete with a full week of daily events during the Christmas break, concluding in the spring with the big formal coming-out. Lynn is excited until her father expresses his disapproval of such a divisive activity, pointing out it will only worsen the class divide in town. So Lynn is not a debutante and all her friends are and she’s left out of parties and of course discovers that the the “lower class” kids are all perfectly nice and there’s no reason not to be friends with them. For all the novelty appeal of reading about the dating conventions, Lynn spending a morning ironing and doing her nails, and the like, there is a lot of substance to this story and pretty impressive that Duncan, as a young writer, managed to weave in issues of class and privilege. I really enjoyed this!