Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We will return on January 15, 2015!

betsyxmas

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Someone Else (First Love From Silhouette #173) By Becky Stuart

“No matter how happy you are, you always want to be someone else.”

someone else

First Love From Silhouette (“America’s Publisher of Contemporary Romance”) can always be counted on to provide a holiday-themed title…

Dammit, is this one of the ones with the talking dog?

Background: Silhouette pumped out four YA “First Love” titles per month between 1981 and 1987; while the vast majority of these were stand-alone romances, a few “miniseries” appeared with continuing settings and characters. The most prolific of these sub-series was Elaine Harper’s “Blossom Valley” books, but Becky Stuart (the nom de Silhouette of Stuart Buchan) contributed four volumes as “A Kellogg and Carey Story”.

The author was kind of short-sighted in structuring the series: each book was about how life-long friends Kellogg Brown (“a small-town boy, fair-minded, down to earth”) and Carey Ashton (“a rich girl from the big city, a girl with crazy dreams and a quick temper”) begin to realize that their feelings are SOMETHING MORE and a romance develops between them. Then at the beginning of the next book they’re back at square one, and have to realize that their FEELINGS ARE SOMETHING MORE THAN FRIENDSHIP all over again.

The action is commented upon by Kellogg’s dog, Theo (“a big hearted shaggy dog”). Continue reading

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For Girls Only Edited By Sylvie Schuman

Just for girls… but about boys, too!

For Girls Only

Collections of YA short stories are great, because at least a few of them are going to turn out to be completely bonkers. Maybe someone will drop dead at a square dance! Or just drop dead, period! Maybe an 11 year old will get drawn into the Army’s germ warfare plot! (And of course, we must mention crazy PTA moms agitating for nudism!)

This paperback collection from TAB (Scholastic) has a copyright date of 1957, but is clearly a reissue- if mademoiselle’s groovy eyeliner didn’t tip you off, the back cover identifies the photo as the winner of the “1967 Scholastic-Kodak Photography Award”.

The stories are all reprints from various publications, including Seventeen, Deb and Co-Ed, and date from the late 1940s through the mid-1950’s, and it shows. Sorry, teens! It may be the Summer Of Love outside, but Scholastic wants you to settle for the first dude that comes along.

Any dude. Continue reading

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Turkey Trot (First Love From Silhouette #117) By Elaine Harper

Martha would have to wing it!

Turkey Trot

Another holiday, another seasonally appropriate title from First Love from Silhouette author Elaine Harper!

Background: 236 First Love titles were published between 1981 and 1987 by Silhouette, “AMERICA’S publisher of Contemporary Romance” (distinguishing itself from its main competitor, the Canadian-based Harlequin, which would fold Silhouette into its own operations in 2012). While I have complained before about the lack of effort that goes into these titles, I have to give Harper credit for creating an extremely complex universe for her “Blossom Valley” sub-series. Continue reading

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The Taking of Mariasburg By Julian F. Thompson

She made a dream come true… now she has to defend it.

The Taking of Mariasburg

This week’s title comes courtesy of my friend Carrie (author, bird enthusiast, endlessly patient soul in the face of my many philosophies regarding Cold War teenage werewolves… truly a class act all the way) and was suggested to me in the wake of the last spring’s YA apocalyptic adventure story-slash-Objectivist political screed The Girl Who Owned a City.

The Plot: Seventeen year old Maria (that’s Muh-rye-ah, not Muh-ree-ah) is introduced in the office of Bryon Godfrey, Esq., the executor of her unseen late father’s estate, informing her that she has inherited an unimaginably vast fortune while simultaneously trying to look down her blouse. Like all things, Maria takes this in stride, although she has big plans for all of that dough: she sees the money as literally a way to buy some time, a way to develop her true self before being corrupted by the influences of the adult world. Continue reading

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The Late Great Me By Sandra Scoppettone

My name is Geri Peters. I’m your average girl next door: an alcoholic at seventeen.

The Late Great Me

This week’s title comes courtesy of Michele, the Lost Classics reader who supplied the answer to “What was that Sandra Scoppettone book where the heroine hides her liquor in a Jean Naté bottle?” Continue reading

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The Deep Six: A Kim Aldrich Mystery (#3) By Jinny McDonnell

Kim Aldrich once again proves that trouble and danger just naturally seek her out…

The Deep Six

Time to wrap up this year’s month-long look at vintage girls series published by Whitman in the 50s, 60s, and 70s; and (as usual) we will conclude with the strange Kim Aldrich Mystery series.

Written by Whitman house writer Virginia Bleecher McDonnell (her other credits for the publisher include titles for the Trixie Belden and Nurses Three series) as “Jinny McDonnell”, the brief (4 volume) series is packed with action, danger and romance, as 20-something Kim investigates various crimes in an unofficial capacity for the World At Large insurance company (WALCO), where she works as a secretary.

And those crimes are of much stronger stuff than her fellow Whitman heroines are involved with: thus far, Kim has found herself in midst of plots involving murder, kidnapping and drug trafficking. Continue reading

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