Love And Betrayal & Hold The Mayo! By Francine Pascal

Has Victoria’s summer ended before it’s begun?

Love and Betrayal

Background: Victoria Martin, Francine Pascal’s sophisticated Upper West Side teenager, previously appeared in Hangin’ Out with Cici (in which she traveled back in time to the 1940s to learn a valuable lesson about not becoming a juvenile delinquent from her teenaged mother) and My First Love and Other Disasters (in which she traveled to Fire Island to work as a “mother’s helper” for a swingin’ divorcee and try to steal her crush away from a rival). Continue reading

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Birthday! Birthday! Birthday!

This week marks the 3rd birthday of this blog. As thanks to all of my loyal readers, please enjoy this stock photo of a cupcake:

Birthday Cupcake

You can take a trip down memory lane by reading the review for Francine Pascal’s meddling-mother time-travel tale, Hangin’ Out With Cici; as well as that book’s follow-up, My First Love and Other DisastersAt the end of this week we will continue the tradition and see how Victoria Martin has fared after having her labor exploited by a swingin’ divorcee.

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Ode to Billy Joe By Herman Raucher

Now, years after the whispers and rumors, the muddy Tallahatchie River gives up its secrets- the secrets within the haunting ballad that swept America.

Ode to Billy Joe

This week, another case of “What the hell did I just read?”

Background: Well, to start off with, it is a book, based on a movie, based on a hit song: Continue reading

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Truth And Consequences By Miriam Young

Kim finds out fast that when you insist on speaking the ugly truth, the consequences can be disastrous!

Truth and Consequences

Scholastic Book Services titles can range from the weird to the weirder, but at their best they showcase relatable, kid-centric stories. So is the case with this week’s book, which has an eye for detail that is reminiscent of Beverly Cleary’s work.

The Plot:  12 year old Kimberly opens railing against the goddam adult phonies of the world:

What had set me off on this truth business was the lies I found all around me, including my own. I began counting once and gave up. I decided you’d need a computer to keep track of them. They’re all around, like germs.

This includes her mother telling people they look wonderful when they look like they have the plague, her father telling early-morning callers that he was totally already awake when the phone rang, her little brother’s overactive imagination and her teenage sister’s sparing the feelings of nerds who want to date her. She has a special contempt for the suburban subdivision that her family lives in, Squires’ Park Estates, which contains zero squires, parks or estates. Continue reading

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To Nick From Jan By Julie Campbell Tatham


This week, from the archive!

Originally posted on Lost Classics of Teen Lit, 1939-1989:

Background: When doing some fact-checking for last month’s Whitman extravaganza, I came across a reference to this stand-alone (non-series) title by everyone’s favorite series author, Julie Campbell Tatham.

Enticingly described as sharing a lot of similarities with Campbell’s flagship Trixie Belden series (trust me, it all comes back to Trixie around here sooner or later) with an older protagonist, I was immediately intrigued.

It turns out to be a very sweet-natured romance similar to Beverly Cleary’s YA work (Fifteen, Sister of the Bride, etc) with some surprisingly sophisticated plot elements.

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Dirty Dancing #1: Baby, It’s You By N.H. Kleinbaum

Could there ever be a future together for Baby and Johnny?

Dirty Dancing #1

Background:  Does Dirty Dancing NEED any introduction? Well, I like this one, which really highlights the minor characters of Robbie the Evil Waiter, and Neil the Smarmy Schmuck: Continue reading

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Magazine Madness and/or Mania: 16 Magazine, August 1966

I’ve talked before about the how difficult it must have been to get the tone right when writing for teen mags. Act too much like the actual adult you are and you sound outright contemptuous about the-kids-these-days, what with their constant doing of the twist; too far in the other direction and you’re the the old person at the party, trying too hard to be cool (“No, 1991 Jane Pratt! I do not want to do drugs with you!”)

16 Cover Aug 66

(Click all to enlarge)

Personally, I think 16 got it right most of the time, enthusiastically, unironically embracing whatever teen girls were into. This is entirely due to the 20 year reign of the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Gloria Stavers, who presided over a golden age of teen fandom.

While 16 hyped its fair share of bubblegum acts and teen idols that never really caught on outside of the pages of the teen magazine world, Stavers also regularly catered to teens who had more offbeat tastes, and preferred their HUGE FULL COLOR PIN UPS to feature the likes of Leonard Nimoy, Jonathan (Barnabas Collins) Frid or Iggy Pop. Stavers also personally penned an obituary for Lenny Bruce for the magazine.

Let’s go to the headlines: Continue reading

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