Paperback Crush

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 07 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

This book is perfect for those that grew up loving the Babysitter's Club era of tween series fiction. It discusses and analyzes the common tropes and themes found in so many of these titles of the time in an engaging and humorous tone. This book was a fun, informative read.
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Oh, nostalgia.

I loved The Baby-sitters Club so much. And Nancy Drew! Oh, man, The Nancy Drew Files! So good. It's too bad that Moss didn't mention Nancy Drew On Campus - I loved that series! A good chunk of Paperback Crush is devoted to Sweet Valley High, too. I personally missed the high school books, but I read every Sweet Valley University book - and thankfully those were included in this book.

Because of Paperback Crush, I found at least four books that I missed and absolutely have to read based on Moss's descriptions. She had a fun writing style and didn't hesitate to tease the books and characters that we loved so much. I also appreciated that she was honest when a book didn't age well because of its outlook on gender, race, or sexual orientation. Overall, Paperback Crush was a fun look back on 80s and 90s YA.
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This book was rather delightful. It was a "grab some popcorn, put your hair in a scrunchie, and prepare to take a trip down nostalgia lane" kind of read. It let me experience the joy of all my old favorite reads over again, and made me feel the love of all of us who enjoyed them so heartily. Would definitely recommend to anyone who loved the serial reads of the 90's.
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I had a lot of fun reading this book.  The book takes a look back Teen books of the 80s and 90s. Many of your favorite books and authors are included even if a few are missing.  I enjoyed the short history of YA books and the inspiration behind some of the series.  I liked seeing the covers of many of the books I had forgotten about.  Read this book as a fun look back. Enjoy
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This book takes me back to the best years of my adolescence checking out as many paperbacks as I could from the YA section at the library. The perfect trip down memory lane for those of us who grew up on Sweet Valley High, Baby-Sitters Club, Fear Street and so much more!
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This book is a great walk down memory lane for those of us who grew up in the early 90s and loved the tween and teen books of the period. It does a nice job of reviewing them critically so that we can look back on them from a more mature headspace. It made me appreciate, at the same time, how much that area of literature has evolved and how lucky use of today are to have so many fantastic and well written books at their disposal.
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A must-read for any teenage girl who consumed all things teen lit. Gabrielle Moss has crafted a fun book as colorful and secretly insightful as the books she's describing. A funny and pithy blend of history, analysis, and including insightful interviews with the people behind the paperbacks.
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I loved going back in time to all the books that made me a reader! This is a great book to share with those who are reading BSC and Sweet Valley now, to understand where it all came from!
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Favorite line: "Luckily, not every YA book about abortion at that time reads like an entry from Mike Pence's dream journal." I LOL'd. Literally. Repeatedly. 

This is a solid 4.5 stars, but I'm rounding down, mainly because it just ends kind of abruptly. I wish there was a conclusion. But otherwise, I loved this. (And to be fair, I read an ARC, so maybe it changed?)

I'm a sucker for all things 90s. It was an awesome time to be a kid, and to be a nerdy avid reader of YA books. I heard about this and had to read it, and I'm glad I did because it brought back so many beloved memories (all things Sweet Valley. If SVH ever gets a DVD release, I will be the first to buy it). It also brought back some classics I had forgotten about (Christopher Pike, Lurlene McDaniel where everybody dies of cancer, and Lois Duncan). There were also a few mentions of books I tried to read but never got into (Babysittter's Club, RL Stine), some that were before my time and I never read (Judy Blume), and some that I had never heard of. 

She didn't go too deeply into any one series, but instead grouped everything by theme (teen pregnancy, terror/ghost stories, stalkers, family drama, books that take place at schools, friendship focus, career focus, depressing death stories, etc.). It was a high level overview of the heavily saturated 80s/90s YA market, and I'm here for it. She did a great job covering a range of books while touching on the major themes that permeated the YA literature at the time. 

I read a few reviews after I read the introduction to this book, and I'm not sure why so many people are commenting that she focuses too much on the lack of representation and diversity. Yes, she rightfully mentions it in the introduction, because almost every book was about straight white women, but she doesn't harp on it nearly as much as I expected her to based on the reviews on here. I wonder if some people only read the introduction and not the rest of the book, because she mentions it like 3-4 times in the introduction and then like maybe once or twice in the rest of the book, except when she was writing about a book that did include diversity (a few LGBT books, books written by people of color, etc.). It didn't read like a "SJW" wrote it. It's not like every time she mentions a book written by a white chick or featuring a white character that she's like "Oh, reminder. Everyone in this book is white and representation matters and there's no diversity." Outside of the intro where there's maybe a paragraph or two specifically about lack of diversity, it's really not an underlying theme. She acknowledges that it's an issue and then moves on. 

Thanks Netgalley for the e-ARC!
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3.5 stars

I had so much fun paging through Paperback Crush and spotting the covers of books I had forgotten long ago. I read a ton of YA series as a pre-teen (much to the distress of my librarian aunt, who wanted me to pick up more substantial literature), often burning through a book or two a day during the summer. I read a lot of the standards that Gabrielle Moss discusses in Paperback Crush—Sweet Valley High, Baby-Sitters Club, Lurlene McDaniel tragedies—but I also inherited many volumes of short-lived ‘80s series from my older cousins. It’s easy to reminisce about SVH or the BSC with my friends now, but much less common to find other readers my age who remember Cheerleaders or Swept Away, which are almost entirely obscure these days. But Moss pays attention to a wide swath of teen fiction from the pre-internet era, and her analysis brings to light trends in publishing that completely went over my head at the time but seem obvious in retrospect.

One element of the reading experience in the ‘80s-‘90s that Moss doesn’t touch on is that it was actually really unusual (for me, at least) to read an entire series, and/or to do so in order. Amazon didn’t exist, and Borders and Barnes & Noble hadn’t yet spread everywhere, so I was dependent on the Free Library of Philadelphia and small local bookstores to get my reading material. They didn’t always have every single volume of an ongoing series, and I had almost no chance of finding missing books from discontinued older series. Occasionally I would get lucky and strike gold at a used bookstore, but more often than not there were big holes in my reading list, which frustrated me so much! I would have to piece together what happened in the missing books from details mentioned in later ones, and longed to know exactly how events had played out. This is probably why I’m now compulsive about reading series in order.

Paperback Crush is a fun, light walk down memory lane for those of us in “Generation Oregon Trail” who consumed great quantities of YA fiction in elementary school. Yes, a lot of the books sound ridiculous now, but Moss makes a good argument for taking them seriously; their stories reflected the values and concerns of the times when they were written. My biggest challenge after reading Paperback Crush was persuading myself not to go online and start buying new copies of all my old favorites! Especially since now I could make sure I’m getting the whole series, in order …
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Amazing!!! I love the feels from this book from all aspects.  It takes me back to my childhood and the books I loved back then.  I will highly recommend this to ALL readers and friends!
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I loved this book! At the grand old age of 26, I may be slightly too young to have read some of the books mentioned in their heyday, but there were many I did use to love reading when I was younger (Sweet Valley High being my favourite as I am a twin myself...!). This book is not only engaging both visually and narratively, but it is so well researched I think one would be hard pressed to find any other book/website/source of information that covers this fascinating subject in such a detailed and captivating way. It's so interesting to me to see the development in this particular genre of literature, and thus I imagine there are many others that would enjoy reading this delightful book. Would also make a great gift!
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This was so much more than I expected it to be. I requested this book because I thought it would be fun to look at older teen fiction and have a nostalgic trip down memory lane. I got that, but I also got so much more from this. I learned that R.L. Stine wrote some romance before going in a horror direction, and I also learned more about the implications an affects on storylines due to social expectations at the times.

This is the sort of book that would work well for birthday or Christmas gifts.
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As a tween and teenager, I devoured Sweet Valley and Baby-sitters Club books. I just couldn't get enough! I was constantly at my library and I remember being very jealous a friend of mine got one of the Unicorn Club books out of the library before I had checked it out. I still love Sweet Valley stuff, I recently bought copies of Elizabeth and Jessica's Secret Diaries and the Double Love podcast is one of my favourites. So when I discovered Paperback Crush, I felt that same excitement I felt when seeing new Sweet Valley books: I just couldn't wait to get my hands on it!

Paperback Crush was an interesting look at 80s and 90s teen fiction, with some mentions to YA in the decades before then and how cultural changes in the 80s changed YA novels from that time. It is packed with nostalgia, full of series and covers of books popular from that time. As someone born in the late 80s, a lot of the books I wasn't familiar with but it was still fun to see the covers and learn about them. I was mainly familiar with Sweet Valley books, BSC, Point Horror and Fear Street but this book reminded me of the Anastasia Krupnik series by Lois Lowry (yes, she of The Giver fame!), I remember reading some of the Anastasia series. And THANK YOU for reminding me of those Isla Fishe books! Completely forgot they existed. 

Favourite parts:
-Nostalgia through the roof
-Seeing some of the ridiculous covers and laughing at them
-Interviews with authors, cover models, ghost writers
-The design is perfect, beautiful and I liked how the book was focused on different sections
-Calls out the lack of diversity in these novels, how they often centred around white, rich middle class kids
-A list at the end for the publisher and cover art designer for each cover shown in the book. Which was great as I couldn't BELIEVE how similar the Dream Girls series by Rosemary Joyce looked compared to Sweet Valley ones, only to discover they were both done by the same artist James Mathewuse. 

Dislikes:
-The books tries to balance between looking critically at these books and being snarky and funny and made it fall flat in places. I think I would have preferred it to poke fun more at how ridiculous these books could be.
-I felt it ended abruptly, there was no conclusion or wrap up. Once the Terror chapter ended, that was it, except for a list of Extra Reading and the credits cover art used in the book.
-At one point the All That Glitter series by Kristi Andrews is mentioned 'All That Glitters .... eponymous six book series' yet the cover shown on that page is for Award Night, which is book 8 (and you can clearly see it on the cover). As my copy is an ARC, I thought it might been corrected, but a friend send me a picture of her finished copy and it also says 6. It makes me wonder if there are other slips like that

If you grew up reading these books or want to know about the trends and history of YA books in the 80s and 90s, this is a good place to start. If you want something snarkier, there's plenty of blogs and podcasts that will have you covered.
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I truly loved Paperback Crush by Gabrielle Moss. I am a child of the late 80s early 90s and I was very big into The Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High, and Lois Lowry. This title went in depth into the books I devoured and those that were unfamiliar to me. If you've been craving a trip down the memory lane of your childhood, I highly recommend this one.
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I was super excited about this book the moment I heard about it – books about books are always fun, plus this is about teen fiction! While I haven’t read as much as the author, I’ve read my fair share of Judy Blume, Sweet Valley High, and even Sweet Valley Kids.

Paperback Crush takes us through the history of YA literature in the 80s and 90s. The book isn’t a comprehensive look at the genre, rather, it subdivides the books into the following seven categories and gives us an overview of each: Love, Friends, Family, School, Jobs, Danger, and Terror.

As the author notes in the introduction to the books, these YA books are often about the same set of people (i.e. rich, white). But as the book shows, there is some diversity within the series – you just have to look a little harder for it. These books were also useful in explaining zeitgeist of the time, by looking at what people wanted to read.

It was so fun to see books that I recognised here! One was You, Me, and Gracie Makes Three. The author’s synopsis doesn’t sound like the book I read, but it makes me want to hunt down my copy and reread it!

Tone-wise, I thought the book was slightly more snarky than it needed to be. I’m all for unabashed fangirling, and I thought this book was going to be an appreciation of the genre (which has been overlooked and looked down upon by many), so the snarky tone was a bit of a surprise and disappointment.

Overall, this is a charming look at the history of YA literature geared toward girls. There are lots of nostalgic covers in here and it provides a great overview of the genre, covering both some of the more widely read books as well as a few, slightly more obscure titles.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.
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This book is for anyone that grew up loving to read in the 80’s and 90’s.  It was so fun to take a trip down memory lane and remember those old books I read! I had forgotten about most of them and was fun to see those book covers that reminded me of my middle school years! I would probably not have bought this book for myself, but I am thankful that NetGalley gave me the opportunity to read it.
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"The Babysitters Club" was my childhood. I would go to my local library and get out stacks of the series, obsessively reading through them every chance I've got. Some scenes in particular really stuck with me and those books absolutely shaped my experiences growing up. So when I heard someone had written a history of teen fiction of that era, I had to read it.

Gabrielle Moss's style of writing is perfect, the right balance of fact and fangirling over what made us all love those books so much in the first place. I particularly enjoyed the interviews with key individuals in publishing in the period. Another highlight was hearing about series that I hadn't read (though now the issue is that I want to read them and copies are seldom available). A fantastic book, absolutely would recommend to anyone interested in YA fiction or 80s culture.
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Paperback Crush is such a fun dive into the teen fiction of the 80s and 90s. While I sort of missed the curve with the seemingly endless installments of the Sweet Valley High series and the Babysitters Club, I did read several books from the younger version of the Babysitters Club as well as every single volume in the Star Wars Jedi Apprentice series, the Boxcar Children, and many Goosebumps titles. I love the concept of continuing series for readers, especially when you get involved with the characters and the stories. You as the reader want to continue going on adventures with them and seeing what other high jinks they get into.

I really enjoyed Gabrielle Moss's dive into the various forms teen fiction took between the 80s and 90s and how it developed. Her dives into the various genres that were popular were interesting, fun, and short. It's easy to devour this in a single sitting or read each section at a time. My only real quibble with the book is that it ends so abruptly. The rest of it flows like a well-structured essay, but it lacks a conclusion tying everything together and giving a little insight into where these popular series of the 80s and 90s took YA into the 00s and beyond.

And even though I read only a handful of the titles mentioned in the book, Paperback Crush makes me want to go back and revisit some of these series and take a trip down nostalgia lane.
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I truly enjoyed this trip down memory lane, as I was the target age for these books and remember (most of) them quite fondly! It definitely made me visit my bookshelves and reflect on the titles I still fortunately had. We've come a long way in publishing but I'm happy to remember this turning point!
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