Then Came November - the perils of changing yourself to fit
Dulcy isn't quite sure where she fits. But then she gets in with the in-crowd in her high school -- in crowd known for their “short skirts, bright clothes, charge accounts” -- and one the guys even drives a sports car. “For Dulcy there would never be another October like this one! She was riding high and no one, but no one could stop her ascent. ...Then came November.”
I loved that book and re-read it several times. One of Darcy's obsessions is that she does not have a coat with three-quarter length sleeves, which means she's not cool. I remember a climatic scene where her mom helps her tailor an old coat to meet the new styles.
I remember not relating at all to her obsession - why would anyone want shorter sleeves on a winter coat? But still, that longing to fit in resonated with me. When I was in sixth grade the girls would coordinate what they wore - everyone would wear a mini, a midi (am I the only one who remembers those?) or a maxi skirt. And if you didn't have one, you were a loser. Once, I begged my mom to let me cut up the corduroy crazy quilt my great grandmother had made (the same quilt that now tops our bed) and let me make a maxi skirt out of it. It seemed reasonable to me.
Luckily she said no.
Nan Gilbert was the author's pen name. Her real name was Mildred Gilbertson. Feeling like you belong must have been something that personally resonated with her, because she wrote another book called The Unchosen, about three girls longing for love.