Windswept Mystery-Romance #26: The Secret By Carol Beach York.
Lost Classics of Teen Lit: 1939-1989 » Vintage YA Fiction
by mondomolly
1M ago
Was the ghost of a dead girl seeking revenge? Teen romances with a photo cover were a staple throughout the 1980s: we have variously looked at Wildfire, Sweet Dreams, First Love and Caprice’s versions of this YA staple on a regular basis. Occasionally publishers would get creative, and try out a new format, like the he said/she said Two By Two series, or the Choose Your Own Adventure-inspired Follow Your Heart books. At some point a reader recommended Scholastic’s Windswept imprint, which billed itself as “A Mystery Romance”… …But first things first, what do you think? Is that a young Meg R ..read more
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Choose Your Own Adventure #42: The Mystery of Echo Lodge By Louise Munro Foley
Lost Classics of Teen Lit: 1939-1989 » Vintage YA Fiction
by mondomolly
2M ago
Be on the lookout! Echo Lodge is surrounded by danger. You may be attacked by a killer hawk, get trapped under a roaring avalanche, or save the day by solving the mystery!  I truly appreciate that readers indulged my flight into the early 90s with Generation X two weeks ago- this week we are back to our core competencies, and it involves weird 1980s PBS series, The Bookmobile and highly commercial paperbacks targeted at young readers. Background: The brainchild of writers Edward Packard and R. A. Montgomery, the Choose Your Own Adventure series was first published locally in Vermont in ..read more
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Generation X: Tales For An Accelerated Culture By Douglas Coupland
Lost Classics of Teen Lit: 1939-1989 » Vintage YA Fiction
by mondomolly
3M ago
“Everyone’s such a mess. Nobody turned out normal.” When selecting titles for this space, I try to think of “young adult” in as expansive a way possible: not just as a marketing category as to who publishers thought would read a book, but also who was actually reading the books- it is the one point I have been (very, very rarely) taken to task for over the past 12 years: “__________ (book and/or author) isn’t YA!” I was finishing up Coupland’s book while in the midst of a totally unrelated research project when I came across a quote from the great Samuel Z. Arkoff, longtime head of  Am ..read more
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Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley Saga: The Wakefields of Sweet Valley
Lost Classics of Teen Lit: 1939-1989 » Vintage YA Fiction
by mondomolly
3M ago
Follow the riveting stories of the women who came before Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield… Did any 1980s series spawn more sub-series than Sweet Valley High? Even excluding the hundreds of books featuring the Wakefield twins at different ages (your Sweet Valleys Kids, Twins, Junior High, University… and also that short lived series where they join the Olympic gymnastics and beach volleyball teams as middle schoolers…) The original Sweet Valley High series ran for 143 volumes published over 15 years (a terrifyingly long time to stay in high school, even if you are a perfect size six with aqua ..read more
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James Budd #2: The Secret of Operation Brain By Dale Carlson
Lost Classics of Teen Lit: 1939-1989 » Vintage YA Fiction
by mondomolly
5M ago
Brilliant scientist Shepherd smith seems to have gone berserk: he’s been blowing up missile bases all over Europe, bring the world to the brink of nuclear war… As an epilogue to Whitman Season, I thought we’d revisit the James Budd series for the first time in a decade, a 4-volume series of paperbacks published by Golden which, like Whitman, is a subsidiary of  Western Publishing. Background: The only reason why I even know about this short-lived series is because in the mid-1980s it was advertised in the back of Golden’s Trixie Belden paperbacks (presumably because both series in ..read more
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Nurses Three: Tracy’s Little People (#6) By Jean Kirby
Lost Classics of Teen Lit: 1939-1989 » Vintage YA Fiction
by mondomolly
6M ago
And how could she defend herself against an accusation so terrible that it could end her career as a nurse, even send her to prison? Continuing our annual fall retrospective of Whitman girls’ series books with the 6th volume in the series by Jean Kirby, AKA Jinny McDonnell AKA Virginia Bleecher McDonnell. Background: I’ve noted before the reasons for the enduring popularity of Nursing as profession for YA heroines, so it’s no surprise that in the mid-1960s Whitman would take a pass at the genre. To their credit, they came up with a rather ingenious marketing concept ..read more
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Robin Kane (#5) Mystery In The Clouds By Eileen Hill
Lost Classics of Teen Lit: 1939-1989 » Vintage YA Fiction
by mondomolly
7M ago
“Who’s going to shoot at a girl? Don’t be so scaredy. Come on!” Mindy sighed. “I might as well. If you get shot, I’ll just get shot, too.” Background: Usually, fall means a look at the “girls’ series” published by Whitman in the 1940s through the 1970s- those thick, cellophane-clad hardcovers featuring teen girls sleuthing around Westchester County or California’s Bay Area. Constant readers, after more than 10 years of this, we’re really scraping the bottom of the Whitman barrel around here, having run through all of the Ginnies, Donnas, Kims and (ugh ..read more
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The War Between The Pitiful Teachers And The Splendid Kids By Stanley Kiesel
Lost Classics of Teen Lit: 1939-1989 » Vintage YA Fiction
by mondomolly
8M ago
The Status Quo Solidifier, the insidious plan of scheming Mr. Foreclosure, would turn kids into Perfect Young People before they knew it… I am approaching the back-to-school title this year with a lot of trepidation. I am the first to admit that there are certified YA Classics that I just don’t connect with (and I’ll even admit that two of them are A Wrinkle in Time and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler!). I’ve also written here about my impatience with AGGRESSIVE WACKINESS as a ploy to hold readers’ attention, and how I have to get past that with even some of my favorite ..read more
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Crazy Mary By John Benton
Lost Classics of Teen Lit: 1939-1989 » Vintage YA Fiction
by mondomolly
10M ago
The dramatic story of a young girl’s faith that conquered alcoholism and insanity… As far as I’m concerned, John Benton’s YA Christian-scare novels of the 1970s and 80s are legendary around here: in 2014, we were introduced to Debbie, a shit-talking Brooklyn teen who encounters all of the hardships of 42nd Street in 1981: drug addiction, Satanists, prostitution, and of course, exactly six face-eating rats. We were also introduced to the do-gooding Bentons, a couple who runs a home for wayward girls in upstate New York with a delusional level of optimism (when Debbie’s pimp shows up to murde ..read more
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Going To Camp Part 1: Fireworks (First Love From Silhouette #101) By Elaine Harper
Lost Classics of Teen Lit: 1939-1989 » Vintage YA Fiction
by mondomolly
11M ago
From the archives: celebrate July the 4th with aggressive square dancing and recitation of owl-facts! Lost Classics of Teen Lit: 1939-1989 Patti was a serious student; Spencer was an irresponsible playboy! Background: Is it a major holiday? You can bet that Elaine Harper and First Love From Silhouette have got us covered with another appropriately-themed teen romance set in the northern California town of Blossom Valley! 236 First Love titles were published between 1981 and 1987 by Silhouette, “AMERICA’S publisher of Contemporary Romance” (distinguishing itself from its main com ..read more
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