Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction

Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction Review

A hilarious and nostalgic trip through the history of paperback pre-teen series of the 80s and 90s.

Every twenty- or thirty-something woman knows these books. The pink covers, the flimsy paper, the zillion volumes in the series that kept you reading for your entire adolescence. Spurred by the commercial success of Sweet Valley High and The Babysitters Club, these were not the serious-issue YA novels of the 1970s, nor were they the blockbuster books of the Harry Potter and Twilight ilk. They were cheap, short, and utterly beloved.

PAPERBACK CRUSH dives in deep to this golden age with affection, history, and a little bit of snark. Readers will discover (and fondly remember) girl-centric series on everything from correspondence (Pen Pals and Dear Diary) to sports (The Pink Parrots, Cheerleaders, and The Gymnasts) to a newspaper at an all-girls Orthodox Jewish middle school (The B.Y. Times) to a literal teen angel (Teen Angels: Heaven Can Wait, where an enterprising guardian angel named Cisco has to earn her wings “by helping the world’s sexist rock star.”) Some were blatant ripoffs of the successful series (looking at you, Sleepover Friends and The Girls of Canby Hall), some were sick-lit tearjerkers à la Love Story (Abby, My Love) and some were just plain perplexing (Uncle Vampire??) But all of them represent that time gone by of girl-power and endless sessions of sustained silent reading.

In six hilarious chapters (Friendship, Love, School, Family, Jobs, Terror, and Tragedy), Bustle Features Editor Gabrielle Moss takes the reader on a nostalgic tour of teen book covers of yore, digging deep into the history of the genre as well as the stories behind the best-known series.

Title:Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction
Edition Language:English

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • HFK

    I was kinda wishing that Paperback Crush would be this fun take on the 80's and 90's teen fiction. A work that would devour, laugh and celebrate history that was a product of its era. That literature ...

  • Cameron Chaney

    I will have a video review for this book up soon, but you can read on for an early look at my (very mixed) thoughts…Paperback Crush by Gabrielle Moss… where to begin? I’ll start by saying that a...

  • Lexie

    Pretty much everything I wanted. It's s fun pop cultural dive into the history of Teen/Tween fiction from Nancy Drew to the Wakefield Twins. The format is fun, lively and perfect to pick up and put do...

  • Jen

    I really loved this book. I grew up reading YA from the 80s and 90s, so this spoke to me re: memory lane, but it also felt well researched. The author mentions YA books from other eras from American h...

  • Kelly

    This was just fun. Thoughtful reading on nostalgic teen and tween book series from the 80s and 90s, peppered with interviews and insights into the trends and themes of these ubiquitous books. I extra ...

  • Sarah

    Thought it would be lighter. And funnier. It was a woman trying to be oh so hip and giving commentary on books that weren’t really meant to be more than they were on the surface. Disappointed there ...

  • Chris

    Somewhere between the YA ‘problem’ novels of the 1970s and the record breaking premiere of Harry Potter, publishers targeted tweens with a very specific kind of book. They were often short paperba...

  • Stacy Fetters

    "This is R.L.’s world; we just make out with our dead, hunky ex-boyfriends and have psychotic breaks in it."This was a blast from the past and I couldn’t stop reading it. No matter where I was, I ...

  • Anna (Curiosity comes before Kay) Partrick

    Very much through a modern lens, which is both good and bad. I hate the constant cries of how 'problematic' and 'racist' things were. It was an age pre-hyper political correctness -- of course these t...

  • Sarah

    I squealed in excitement when Paperback Crush was first brought to my attention. I pounced upon the advanced copy, flipping through its contents, waves of nostalgic recognition brightening my day. Bum...