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Literature / Here's to You, Rachel Robinson

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You choose your friends - but you're stuck with your family.

Here's to You, Rachel Robinson (1993) is a Young Adult novel by Judy Blume. It is a sequel to Just as Long as We're Together, here written from Rachel's perspective.

On the outside, Rachel is a straight-A student any teacher and parent would love to have, but unbeknowst to the others, she grinds her teeth during her sleep and dreads dinnertime now that her troublemaking brother Charles has been expelled from Boarding School; her older sister Jessica has issues with acne and job hunting, and in addition to this, she has a collection of clubs and other obligations.

In addition to this, she has to manage her friendships with Stephanie and Alison, who are both less stressed than she is, and who try to make her lighten up.


Here's to You, Rachel Robinson contains examples of:

  • Adult Fear:
    • Charles personifies this for his parents as a trouble child who has been kicked out of at least two schools.
    • Jess can't get a job because of her cystic acne, and she gets angry at her parents when it turns out she can take Accutane instead of living with painful pimples.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Charles is this to Jess, making fun of her acne, and is the inversion to Rachel, making fun of her perfectionism.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Rachel asks Charles after the big family blowup, "What do you want from us?" He's unable to answer.
  • Berserk Button: Don't call Rachel a prodigy.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Between Rachel and Jeremy "Dragon" at the book's climax.
  • Hot for Teacher: Rachel has a crush on Paul, Charles's tutor. He remains Oblivious to Love and doesn't reciprocate.
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  • Jerkass Has a Point: At one point, Charles calls the family out for having incredibly high expectations of both themselves and each other and being so focused on being "perfect" that they pretend any problems they have aren't happening. He's actually completely right on both counts. Of course, as Rachel then is quick to point out, it's not like Charles making everyone miserable with these statements is actually helping, and the family doesn't know what Charles wants from them since he gets all the attention and energy.
  • Misery Builds Character: Jess is furious when she finds out her mother didn't tell her about Accutane, believing Jess learning to live with her acne would make her a stronger person. Her mother denies it but it's left ambiguous whether or not Jess was right.
  • Morality Pet: Dana for Charles, though ironically Dana becomes quite bitchy towards Rachel once she becomes her brother's girlfriend.
  • Never My Fault: When Rachel recalls the big fight that she had with Stephanie and Alison in the previous book, she doesn't remember her Kick the Dog moment towards Stephanie and calling Alison an "immature, insensitive baby".
  • No Sympathy: Charles has none for his mother when she loses a court case and causes a huge family blowup.
  • Private Tutor: Paul, on whom Rachel has a crush.
  • Shout-Out: The title of the book is a play on a lyric from the Simon & Garfunkel song "Mrs. Robinson".
    "Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson."
  • The Shrink: The family acquires two during the book. First there's Dr. Sparks who evaluates Charles, and then there's a family therapist named Dr. Ember when Charles causes a big blowup at a family dinner after his mother loses a case. Dr. Ember has better success in getting Charles to sign a truce agreement that lasts for six weeks.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: Averted. Though this book is ostensibly a look inside Rachel's head and her perspective on things that happened in Just As Long As We're Together as well as the present storyline, Rachel really comes across like a condescending jerk, particularly to her "friends". She constantly belittles Stephanie and Alison, scornfully commenting on how gullible the former is and how "dense" the latter is, refuses to participate in their conversations but then complains when they talk to each other instead of her, conveniently forgets the hurtful remarks she made to both Stephanie and Alison during their big fight in the first book and just generally talks down to her peers (except Jeremy) consistently.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Rachel's cousin has an affair with an older professor, before getting together with Paul.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Dana from the previous book when she starts dating Charles, towards Rachel. Rachel is cordial if neutral about Charles being "a surprising person" and Dana calls her a bitch.
  • Troll: Charles pretty much does this constantly with his family.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Rachel's brother Charles has exhibited a lot of this his whole life, according to Rachel.

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