By: Gabrielle Moss
Feeling a little nostalgic for non-fiction November I decided to read Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of 80’s and 90’s Teen Fiction and wound up having quiet the little trip down memory lane. This is actually one of two books I’ve read that said Jessica Wakefield (my fav from Sweet Valley High) was a sociopath.
Honestly it doesn’t surprise me a bit.
Looking back I always say that the three big childhood reading things I remember: The Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High and Stephen King (which yeah he’d probably stand out.) My mother says I read everything I could get my hands on but yeah, those three stuck so it was weird to read through this book and see the pictures especially and boom! It just all came back.
I also remember reading all the Christopher Pike “thrillers.” And must face the honest fact that I would never pick up these books today or I would look at them with my nose upturned and be like, “Ew who would read that?”
Well, I did once upon a time!
Could one even find a phone booth these days to hide from a crazy stalker?Not in my area.
Paperback Crush is divided into sections covering things like school, hobbies and hot button issues. We’ve never not been problematic- even before it was popular to label everything as such. Some of this stuff would make peoples heads spin these days.
It’s quick but it’s actually pretty informative and Moss keeps it fun. She also searches and finds examples of diversity and talks to those authors about their experiences. And there’s little asides like how the covers were put together. Baby Kirsten Dunst is on a Babysitter Club cover!
It was also a little sad to learn how cynically some of these books were put together. A great deal of them churned out in cycles. Ah, I remember them with rose-colored glasses.
Even though this stopped at the nineties I think it’s still pretty easy to see how it shaped the YA and New Adult novels we get now. For better and worse.
And Jessica wasn’t a sociopath! She was just… spirited and a little spoiled. Yeah, let’s go with that. 🙂 If I ever have kids totally buying them both series.