Friday, 26 October 2018

Review: Paperback Crush by Gabrielle Moss

Every twenty-or thirty-something women 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 commerical success of Sweet Valley High and the Babysitters Club, these paperbacks were cheap, short, and utterly beloved. Paperback Crush revists this golden age with affection and just a little snark. Readers will discover (and fondly remember) girl-centric series on everything from correspondence (Pen Pals and Dear Diary) to sports (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). Some were bllatant rip-offs of successful series (Sleepover Friends), some were sick-lit tear-jerkers (Abby, My Love) and some were plain perplexing (Uncle Vampire?)? But all of them represent that time gone by of girl power and sustained silent reading.


Review: Oh I absolutely loved this book and I knew that I would. This explains the history and the cultural context of so many of my favourite middle grade and YA novels from the 90s. It mentions more well-known books like Babysitter's club and Sweet Valley High but also delves into various other lesser known series and standalone novels from the time centred around specific topics. 

I love how the book is broken into the different topics and isn't written chronologically so if you wanted to start with the horror novels and then move onto books set in and around schools then you could. The author also references where series or books are mentioned in other sections and gives specific page numbers so you can flick back and forth. 

There are awesome photos of the original (and sometimes other editions of) covers of these books and series on every page and each of them comes with a caption which is usually hilariously snarky and made for very entertaining reading. The book is also interspersed with interviews with authors, cover models and publishers as well as some top ten books and subjects so it is never very heavy reading. 

I like the way the book is structured because I didn't read a lot of horrors or thriller when I was a teen and so I didn't get as much from those sections as I did from the sections about friendship, sex and schools. I also the love the way the various jobs that teenagers have in these books is covered, when you see them all collected together in one publication like this, it really is mind-blowing. I learned a lot from this book about the culture at the time these books were published, which books were banned and which were just re-purposed ideas from earlier on in the twentieth century so if you've every picked up a Babysitter's Club novel, a Sweet Valley High Novel or been obsessed with Judy Blume, this is a must-read for you!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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