Paperback Crush
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.

Paperback Crush Details

TitlePaperback Crush
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 30th, 2018
PublisherQuirk Books
ISBN-139781683690788
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Writing, Books About Books, History

Paperback Crush Review

  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    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 history, including the first YA mystery, YA career books, etc. This was an ARC, so I don't know what the notes and bibliography will look like until it comes out in a finished form, but I so want it in the finished form. The pictures in this are only in black and white and I would love to see them in 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 history, including the first YA mystery, YA career books, etc. This was an ARC, so I don't know what the notes and bibliography will look like until it comes out in a finished form, but I so want it in the finished form. The pictures in this are only in black and white and I would love to see them in color. A few pictures were missing from this, so seeing all of the pictures would be great too. If you grew up reading the books discussed in this work, you will most likely get a kick out of this. It is written in a very engaging, yet educational way. I completely enjoyed it, completely recommend it and completely will be buying the finished copy and hand selling the heck out of it at my store when it comes out!5, take me back to my youth, stars. :)
    more
  • Lexie
    January 1, 1970
    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 down in between running for class prez and prom Queen and baby-sitter of the year and fending off an ancient curse brought on by your family's inability to be decent human beings for one second.While th majority of the coverage is for the 80s/90s, Moss goes into the history of these books (primarily a 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 down in between running for class prez and prom Queen and baby-sitter of the year and fending off an ancient curse brought on by your family's inability to be decent human beings for one second.While th majority of the coverage is for the 80s/90s, Moss goes into the history of these books (primarily a female audience) as cultural stand ins for young girls to get an idea of being a not quite adult. This is not meant to be a dictionary of every single series or author to write in the category since the earliest days. This gives a very broad overview, often discussing well known titles and authors, of the category with some lesser known variables.I am disappointed there wasn't a section devoted to fantasy/sci-fi, but then these were much less common. Still wanted to see the Secret of the Unciorn Queen books mentioned tho. But I could name at least a dozen series that weren't mentioned here because again this is a broad overview not a comprehensive compendium. (I would so buy that though, can we kickstart it?).Lots of fun for the nostalgia and even more for the laughs. Moss is witty and snarky, while still maintaining an academic tone.
    more
  • Stacy Fetters
    January 1, 1970
    "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 found myself pulling out my phone to read this. I laughed, I cringed, I remembered how old I was, and then I laughed some more. I remember reading some of these books when I was a kid. It was definitely a perk from being a 90’s kid. Some of these titles I have never heard of and they were instantly adde "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 found myself pulling out my phone to read this. I laughed, I cringed, I remembered how old I was, and then I laughed some more. I remember reading some of these books when I was a kid. It was definitely a perk from being a 90’s kid. Some of these titles I have never heard of and they were instantly added to my forever growing tbr. Some of them should be coming in through request at work and I can’t wait to see the look on my co-worker's faces. They already know how weird I am. Each chapter brings something new and hilarious to the table. Gabrielle has a way of making you want to read a book and laugh hysterically at the same time. It was pure genius. I really enjoyed this book. Her wittiness and that nostalgia feeling is definitely a force to be reckoned with. I’m glad someone else shares my love for these amazing titles, which can now be found at your local thrift store for cents. And always remember that "Teenagers and romantic love go together like a drunk person and a six-day-old piece of pizza: it’s a pairing destined to lead only to pain, but you try to keep them apart."
    more
  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    **I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.**loved this! moss won me over in the intro by making me laugh out loud. i also loved that she referred to reading these books in your 30s as a form of self-care. (i agree, it's surprisingly relaxing.) with how much i absolutely love the teen creeps podcast (which gets a shout out, yay!) it's no surprise that i thoroughly enjoyed this book. i will be buying a physical copy of this as well.
    more
  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved this book. It is a sweet and truly hilarious trip down memory lane--one that also continuously recognizes the more problematic elements of '80s and '90s teen novels. No book about that era in YA lit can succeed without understanding the cultural period in which these books existed, and that's what I loved most about PAPERBACK CRUSH. Gabrielle Moss has done a really thoughtful job of interspersing nostalgia and sociological context. I can't wait to pick up a finished copy to se I absolutely loved this book. It is a sweet and truly hilarious trip down memory lane--one that also continuously recognizes the more problematic elements of '80s and '90s teen novels. No book about that era in YA lit can succeed without understanding the cultural period in which these books existed, and that's what I loved most about PAPERBACK CRUSH. Gabrielle Moss has done a really thoughtful job of interspersing nostalgia and sociological context. I can't wait to pick up a finished copy to see all of these classic covers in full color--and to read the epilogue that is to come.
    more
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    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. Bummer Summer! Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You! If This is Love, I'll Take Spaghetti! Old friends, these books. Once home, I eagerly delved into reading what I was certain would be a "good read."On the nostalgic front, Paperback Crush certainly delivers. Author Gabrielle Moss traces the rise of tween a 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. Bummer Summer! Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You! If This is Love, I'll Take Spaghetti! Old friends, these books. Once home, I eagerly delved into reading what I was certain would be a "good read."On the nostalgic front, Paperback Crush certainly delivers. Author Gabrielle Moss traces the rise of tween and teen fiction focusing on the era after Judy Blume's controversial Forever and before J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter made it cool for adults to read children's literature. Critics have often bemoaned this period for its lack of authenticity, claiming the books lacked both educational and moral values. Moss is quick to point out these novels, despite their faults, had merit. I would agree. Those of us who cut our reading teeth on such fare developed a positive association with reading. When The Baby-sitters Club debuted, I became an instant fan. Each time I visited B. Dalton or Waldenbooks at the mall (this was the '80's, after all) I immediately checked the shelves to see if a new installment of the series had been published. I knew it was not high brow literature. I recognized it as predictable and formulaic. However, this was comfort reading. Tidy, easily resolved, all loose ends tied up fare; a welcome respite from the mean halls of Totem Junior High. So, yes, classic literature it was not, But, I believe children who are allowed to read for pleasure become adults who take pleasure in reading.However, Paperback Crush is not without its faults. It felt as though Moss sometimes tried too hard to be witty, some of her puns fell flat. Additionally, the times when she injected her personal political beliefs seemed unnecessary. Digs against President Trump and Vice President Pence are out of place in a discussion of books written decades before these men took office. Most distressing was the repeated strategy of employing the standard feminist victim card. Over and over, she harped on the books for the way they portrayed girls. Though I would agree some of the novels do not ring true to life, playing the victim rarely results in any meaningful change of opinion but rather further cements the belief that women are weak.Overall, this was a fun read. As stated above, the author and I have differing opinions. However, not only was this a nostalgic trip down memory lane, I also learned quite a bit about the rise of teen literature. For the record, in order to preserve my reputation, it must be said that I have never read Sweet Valley High. This shall not change.
    more
  • E
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this. It's in my sweet spot of thoughtful cultural commentary, laugh-out-loud-snark, and earnest appreciation for what, at times, is basically a completely banana-pants cliche-filled genre.I remember reading and loving so many of these books! Seeing the covers, and remembering the plots described to help draw out the themes and contexts of different trends in YA lit was a fun exercise in nostalgia. Made even more fun by the way they were put all together, to draw out different t I really enjoyed this. It's in my sweet spot of thoughtful cultural commentary, laugh-out-loud-snark, and earnest appreciation for what, at times, is basically a completely banana-pants cliche-filled genre.I remember reading and loving so many of these books! Seeing the covers, and remembering the plots described to help draw out the themes and contexts of different trends in YA lit was a fun exercise in nostalgia. Made even more fun by the way they were put all together, to draw out different themes, parallels and to trace the evolution of the genre. Got this as an ARC from the Book Expo, and I'm planning on buying my own copy once finished copies are out in November. Because I'm looking forward to seeing all the familiar and new-to-me covers in all their eighties pastel painting glory... And because I'm hoping that the finished version will be even longer, with more written about more different YA books. i'd read this book just as delightedly if it were twice as long.
    more
  • Erikka
    January 1, 1970
    Holy nostalgia, Batman! Being a tween/teen girl in the 1980s/90s was seriously the best. All the angsty music, poor fashion choices that seemed so rad at the time, and of course, teen girl YA lit! Moss takes you on a hilarious tour through all of the highlights of this amazing genre. Babysitters and twins, streets full of fear and books with girls dying tragically, if it could happen, it did in late 20th century teen schlock. And even if it literally could not ever happen, it still did. All girl Holy nostalgia, Batman! Being a tween/teen girl in the 1980s/90s was seriously the best. All the angsty music, poor fashion choices that seemed so rad at the time, and of course, teen girl YA lit! Moss takes you on a hilarious tour through all of the highlights of this amazing genre. Babysitters and twins, streets full of fear and books with girls dying tragically, if it could happen, it did in late 20th century teen schlock. And even if it literally could not ever happen, it still did. All girls my age (mid-30s) need to pick this up and take trip down memory lane. Or Fear Street. Or a little jaunt to Stoneybrook. Or to New York which, as we all learned, is a personality type more than a city (looking at you, Stacey...)
    more
  • imabookmagnet
    January 1, 1970
    Was super excited to get an ARC at BookCon, but I do hope to see some changes in the final version. I’m hoping there will be something to wrap up everything at the end, as this just...stopped. Also can’t wait to see the pictures in color. I would recommend to anyone looking to go down memory lane.
    more
  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Quirk Books.Today’s post is on Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction by Gabrielle Moss. It is 256 pages long and is published by Quirk Books. The cover is a picture of three girls on a bed with a horse poster behind them reading a book. The intended reader is someone who is interested in the history of young adult books and publishing or someone who read and loved those books as a teen and tween. Ther I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Quirk Books.Today’s post is on Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction by Gabrielle Moss. It is 256 pages long and is published by Quirk Books. The cover is a picture of three girls on a bed with a horse poster behind them reading a book. The intended reader is someone who is interested in the history of young adult books and publishing or someone who read and loved those books as a teen and tween. There is some mild foul language, talk of sex, and no violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.From the back of the book- 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.Review- I read Paperbacks from Hell and loved it so much. It was funny, the history about the books was interesting, and the writing was engaging. Quirk Books did it again with Paperback Crush. Moss starts in the 1880’s with the first book about a young adult and moves forward to the 1990’s. The book is broken up by genre like jobs, family, taboo topics, and of course teen slasher novels. Within the sections Moss discusses quirks of the particular genre like troublesome siblings or ghost boyfriends, the covers and what made them so unique to the YA field, and the writing style as it changed from very realistic to vampire boyfriends. The only sex talk is very basic and is just covering what is in the books themselves without being sensational. This was a wonderful romp in some of the best and worst YA fiction and I highly recommend it.I give this book a Five out of Five stars.
    more
  • Jaime
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this, for the most part. While not scholarly, in-depth examination of the genre, this was a fun trip down memory lane with the middle-grade and YA books of my 80s and early-90s childhood. I do think there could have been more clarification with YA, though. Some books I think would clearly be considered more MG than YA, and I’m not sure I’d lump all of them together. I really loved seeing all of the book covers and this book reminded me of so many series that I’d read and loved. Some big I loved this, for the most part. While not scholarly, in-depth examination of the genre, this was a fun trip down memory lane with the middle-grade and YA books of my 80s and early-90s childhood. I do think there could have been more clarification with YA, though. Some books I think would clearly be considered more MG than YA, and I’m not sure I’d lump all of them together. I really loved seeing all of the book covers and this book reminded me of so many series that I’d read and loved. Some big ones were missing, IMO - ie, Cynthia Voight’s Homecoming/Dicey’s Song novels - but I know there will always be favorites missing when you take on a big project like this one. It did end quite abruptly, though. Granted, the ARC I have does not contain the Epilogue - but even so, there is no final chapter tying everything together or a proper conclusion. It sort of felt like there was a chapter missing at the end.
    more
  • Megan Houde
    January 1, 1970
    I was given this book as an earc from Netgalley for an honest review! OMG I squealed when I was granted access to this book! I grew up reading YA books of the 90s, and some 80s. I didn’t know what this book was fully about when I got it, but knew it had the topic of Baby Sitters Club and I loved those books. This book talks about how YA came about and the revolution it took. I loved seeing how different publishing companies branded their books for them to compete on the market. I devoured it in I was given this book as an earc from Netgalley for an honest review! OMG I squealed when I was granted access to this book! I grew up reading YA books of the 90s, and some 80s. I didn’t know what this book was fully about when I got it, but knew it had the topic of Baby Sitters Club and I loved those books. This book talks about how YA came about and the revolution it took. I loved seeing how different publishing companies branded their books for them to compete on the market. I devoured it in one sitting; it completely intranced me. This book was seriously hilarious and gave me hardcore nostalgia!
    more
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Id like to thank netgalley and Quirk Books for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review. More like 4.5. I had to immediately request this book as soon as I saw it. I have been impatiently waiting for this book to come out and it did not disappoint. When I was reading this, I truly felt like the author wrote it just for me, someone else understands my love of 80s and 90s YA fic. Gabrielle Moss, you are my spirit animal!
    more
  • Verity W
    January 1, 1970
    ****Copy from NetGalley in return for an honest review****I enjoyed this book - but as a reader from Britain there were a lot of series here that I hadn't come across and obviously a lot of series that were integral to my childhood in the same era that weren't included. But it was nice to be able to revisit and learn more about the US series that I had loved so much - and I liked the author's loving but irreverant tone.Fun.
    more
  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a lot of fun to read. It seemed very well researched and brought back some memories for me. A lot of the books that were discussed were before my time (70s and 80s), but it was fun to read about the various themes in YA books. I think I need to go back and revisit some authors/book series!
    more
  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    This was a great blast from the past, touching on BSC, SVH, and goosebumps, among many, many other titles. However, it reads a little bit like a textbook, so it got a little harder to read toward the end.
  • Melinda
    January 1, 1970
    So fun! Worth it for all the reproduced cover art alone! I'm sure I'm not the only person finishing this book and then running to drop $$ on a bunch of Lurlene McDaniels on eBay...
  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this! If you're a child of the 80s and a teen librarian like I am, this book was meant for you.
  • Hanna Fogel
    January 1, 1970
    I was a huge fan of BSC, Thoroughbred, and The Gymnasts, so that hit of nostalgia was great. I may be a tad too young to fully appreciate the sections on “problem novels,” etc., but still really enjoyed the book overall.
Write a review