The film adaptation of best-selling YA novelist Judy Blume’s “Tiger Eyes” is coming to select theaters this week. And while we’re excited to see “O.C.”/”Gossip Girl” alum Willa Holland take on the role of Davey “Tiger” Wexler, a New Jersey teen transplanted to New Mexico after her father is murdered, we’re still in disbelief that no one has ever made a movie out of a Judy Blume book.
After all, she was doing it waaay before it was cool—and probably way before most of us were even born. Despite the time gap, her books are filled to the brim with young-adult drama, fish-out-of-water angst and coming-of-ageiness—all the fixin’s for a swell theatrical experience! And thank goodness, Judy Blume’s director son, Lawrence, put an end to this absurd lack of JB adaptations with “Tiger Eyes.” We hope it’s the start of a something wonderful.
So before you take in this inaugural flick, here are five things you really must do.
Read the book
Judy Blume was already super-famous as a writer when she published “Tiger Eyes” in 1981, and it was well-received then among young-adult readers. The story depicts some sobering and very grown-up themes like depression, suicide, alcoholism and murder, leading many overprotective activists at the time to try to keep it out of the hands of impressionable young readers. The backlash clinched it a spot on the American Library Association’s hotlist of the 100 Most Challenged Books.
Travel to New Mexico
The story unfolds amid the surreal, arid landscape of the “land of enchantment,” in particular the city of Los Alamos. While you’ll get an eyeful of the New Mexican scenery in the movie, you really do have to experience it yourself to see the power of the place.
Go for a long bike ride
Make like Davey Wexler and pedal around town for a few hours. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and clear your head.
Volunteer at a hospital
Our heroine spends part of her soul-searching journey in New Mexico working as a candy striper—a.k.a. a non-medical volunteer—at a local hospital. It’s a gig that’s guaranteed to help you meet new people and gain some valuable perspective on life. And the candy-striped uniform is totally optional. Bonus points if you can dig one up and wear it.
Give yourself an animal name
Wolf, Tiger…what majestic beast would you choose as your pseudonym? Which one best represents the totem that strengthens you by masking your inner turmoil?
BONUS: Read “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret”
Why? Because it’s arguably Judy Blume’s most iconic work. And because it’s a rite of passage for you as a young woman.