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HON 1000: ‘Going Steady?’: Documenting the History of Dating in American Culture, 1940-1990 (Anderson/Fall 2016)

This Week's Assignment

You will be assigned a number in class.

Number 1s: Read the Two and the Town excerpt FIRST. THEN read the Seventeenth Summer excerpt.

Number 2s: Read the Seventeenth Summer excerpt FIRST. THEN read the Two and the Town excerpt.

Be prepared to talk about how the order in which you read these excerpts affected your thinking about the boy-girl dynamics described in each. 

* * *

Want to know what happens?

  • The full text of Two and the Town is readable here (HathiTrust Digital Library)
  • Seventeenth Summer is available in the library; for location/call number click here.

cover, Two and the Town, first edition, Scribner

The Many Faces of Seventeenth Summer



1962? 1968? 1972?

Late 1970s? 1980s?




Examples: Other YA Fiction... Among Many Others


cover, Betty Cavanna, A Time for Tenderness


(A Southern teen girl's interracial romance in Rio. . .  1962 style)



(Classic passed-around-the-schoolbus teen-sex YA novel)


(African-American girl in the foster system
sorts out various kinds of relationships)


(One of the earliest YA lesbian love stories,
notable for its somewhat happy ending)

Searching for YA Fiction

Unfortunately, there isn't a great way to search specifically for love stories. Historically, the earliest YA novels (from the late 1940s-early 1960s) tended to be dating stories about white, straight couples. Dating stories falling outside of those norms may be more likely to include subject headings pointing the categories represented. If you click on the cover image for Annie on My Mind, above, you'll see the library's catalog record--and one of the subject headings there is "Lesbians Fiction.

What does it mean that novels about heterosexual, white couples (consenting or not) often have no subject headings, and novels about couples outside of that model are more likely to have specific subject headings? 

Helpful Secondary Sources

These are books that can help you identify relevant historical young-adult fiction: