Friday, February 13, 2015

February Firsts: Tamara - Susanna Sigelbaum

Welcome Tamara from Traveling with T to the blog today!

When Rebecca  put out the call for guest posts for the February theme February Firsts- I at first thought I would write about the first book I loved in the women’s fiction category. Or my first Southern Lit book. Or…. And then.. The book gods smiled upon me and gave me an idea- where I could get a little soap-box bookish and take a trip down memory lane….

Do you remember the Scholastic Book Fair coming to your school when you were a kid? I vividly remember it! Now, if you know me at all- you know it’s been well established that I love the BSC books as a kid and my mom kept me well stocked in them, so I used my allowance at the Scholastic Book Fair for other books. Some were duds. Some were not. But this book was def not a dud. And it’s got some lessons for life- if you are willing to embrace them.

What is this book? It’s SUSANNA SIEGELBAUM GIVES UP GUYS by June Foley!

Being in the 4th/5th grade at the time when I got this book, I was already beginning to see that the smart girl didn’t necessarily get the guy. Why that was I could never figure out- but the jump from lower elementary to upper elementary didn’t just change the recess schedule- it changed the structure in our class.  I was smart (not like super-genius smart- just smart. Like straight A’s smart).  I was already seeing that, a girl, I was expected to downplay my grades to be more appealing and it hurt- because who wants to repress a side of themselves? So, I opted to be smart. To do the best I could in class- to not worry about being popular. Already being known as the bookworm (another ghastly sin), I often wondered why the girl can’t be both smart and popular?

Then Susanna Siegelbaum in her fictional glory entered my life.

The cover shows a pretty girl with a knowing smirk. The cover doesn’t even do justice of revealing what is inside the book. Within the first chapter or so- June Foley has Susanna talking about Heathcliff and Wuthering Heights. The Bronte’s!  And so much more! Susanna was smart AND popular- she dated! She didn’t just date the nerdy guys- she dated the jocks, the regular guys, the hot guys!
And hold on to your hat: SHE LIKED TO READ.

In fact this is a quote:
“In fact next to boys and Cassidy and my family, I liked books better than anything.”
I felt like I had found my soul mate. There was someone out there who knew it was possible for a girl to be smart AND popular. That reading books was not a bad thing.

Did this knowledge help me in my day to day life? Ehh, not so much. But I knew that someone out there knew smart and popular could coexist in the same girl- that there were people out there in the wide world that knew this- and I knew one day I would find these people.

So, thank you Susanna Siegelbaum for being smart and popular. For letting this small town girl know that it was ok to be smart. It was not something to be ashamed of. To hide. To downplay.

Thanks to Becca and Book Bloggers International for letting me talk about the first book that showed a girl who was smart, liked to read, was popular and dated!

Thanks so much for sharing, Tamara!

Please leave a comment for Tamara below!


  1. I love this! So great.

  2. Enjoyed reading this so much! I had never heard of this book before, but it's always great to hear when a book gets into a reader's hands at just the right time!

  3. Love this!! I was one of those smart girls who liked to read in a small town. It can be hard!! Wish I had found this one at my book fair, but then again, I probably wouldn't have picked it up with this cover. I was more into reading Christopher Pike at that age.

  4. Ya'll THANK YOU so much for commenting!

    @ The Englishist Thank you! I was a little nervous writing from a place of my past- but I felt it all needed to be said!

    @ Laurie C- This book came into my hands at exactly the right time! I just loved it to pieces!

    @ Tif S- Ahh! I knew I liked you! Small town gals unite! It really was so cute and at the time it made an impression on me, but later, I realized how much it made an impression on me. Susanna is not perfect- but her traits really helped me realize that girls don't have to choose between smart/popular!
    I never did read Christopher Pike- I was a RL Stine girl!

  5. Maybe Susanna is just too smart for all of the dummies! Keep those standards high sister!

  6. UUU I had never heard of this character! I would've loved to have that one with me when I was at school.


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