Books: Packaging the Facts of Life

Teen lit: sex, drugs and divorce on the shopping-mall rack

"I have clothes to wear, my own room, a TV and a pushbutton phone," says Marcy Lewis, 13, heroine of The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger. "Sometimes I feel guilty being so miserable, but middle-class kids have problems too." Indeed they do, and from Back Bay Boston to Bel Air, Calif., Marcy 's dilemmas and the perils of her fictional peers are avidly shared by a growing legion of juvenile readers. Once limited to such fare as Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys,...

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