I was a big reader growing up – especially in during my middle school years. I was a super-awkward tween – shy and self-conscious and totally clueless about clothes and makeup. I eventually found my way in high school – but those early teen years were hard. During that time, I took so much comfort in curling up in my bed with a book. I devoured all sorts of 80s series: the Sweet Valley High books, Christopher Pike mysteries, and ALL of Ellen Emerson White’s books (I read these on repeat – for years). They were such a source of comfort and enjoyment for me – in a stage of life that was not so enjoyable.
I miss those books – and now that my kids are nearing tween age – I am searching for those old copies to hand down to them. I feel like book publishers are really picking up on this ’80s nostalgia. First came The Baby-Sitter Club graphic novels, then the success of Paperback Crush last year, and the re-release of The Baby-Sitters Club series – in a special “retro set.”
Next month, Caroline Cala (a contributor at Cup of Jo) is out with her debut middle grade novel called Best Babysitters Ever. It’s about three best friends start a babysitting business, after reading one of the books in the original Baby-Sitters Club series. (Retro and Meta!)
The New York Times reviewed Cala’s book last week and I thought this comment was spot-on:
Sure, the Baby-Sitters Club books have been successfully adapted into graphic novels that today’s kids gobble up, but given that “Best Babysitters Ever” plays off some serious ’80s nostalgia, a question lurks: Is the book bound to entice parents and librarians who harbor dear memories of cuddling up with their own super-special editions, more than it will speak to children?
What do you think?
Did you read any of these ’80s series? Are there any books you get nostalgic for?