Image | Posted on by | Tagged | 3 Comments

No Coins, Please By Gordon Korman

How much trouble can six 11-year -old campers cause on a tour across the U.S.A.?

No Coins Please

Background: Canadian writer Gordon Korman retains a cultish appeal among a certain segment of Middle Readers, in part because (as stated in the Scholastic Book Services biographical blurbs) “he wrote his first book, This Can’t Be Happening at McDonald Hall! when he was twelve years old”.

Korman had published a half-dozen books by the time he graduated from high school, including the hysterically funny summer camp tale I Want to Go Home! (the Citizen Kane of the genre, which would make Joel Schwartz’s contribution the literary equivalent of The Beast of Yucca Flats…)

Three years later, at the tender age of 19, Korman would publish another book very much in the same vein, featuring another dry-witted, overly-gifted young hero whose scheming nearly drives his camp counselors to a nervous breakdown. Continue reading

Posted in Vintage YA Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Upchuck Summer By Joel L. Schwartz

What promised to be Richie’s best summer ever is turning into one giant disaster thanks to A-Number-One Nerd, Chuck.

Upchuck Summer

So, the basic questions I start with when writing these pieces is “How does this story reflect the time in which it was written?” and the follow-up “Why was this deemed a suitable subject matter at the time for a YA readership?” (Sometimes the latter comes out more as ‘WHY WHY OH GOD WHY WOULD THIS EVER BE DEEMED A SUITABLE SUBJECT MATTER FOR ANYONE???’) Continue reading

Posted in Vintage YA Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ten-Boy Summer By Janet Quin-Harkin

If Jill wins the contest, she’ll lose Craig forever…

Ten Boy Summer

The number of different authors means that Bantam’s Sweet Dreams romances vary in quality; in this case the author keeps the focus on the wildly divergent personalities of the heroines and their wacky schemes, so it falls firmly into the “not as asinine as you would expect” category.

The Plot:  Narrated by shy and sensible Jill Gardner, she opens by explaining that after an anti-climactic Junior Prom, she and her impulsive BFF Toni have decided to dump their boring steady boyfriends. Toni suggests they spend the summer before their senior year engaged in a little gentlewomanly wager, to see who can get dates with ten new boys first. Jill is skeptical, but has a long history of going along with Toni’s crazy ideas, even when they cause her more headaches than they are worth. Continue reading

Posted in Vintage YA Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Billion For Boris By Mary Rodgers

Enclosed please find a detailed account of a most unusual experience recently undergone by me, my brother and a friend of mine who lives upstairs in our apartment building…

A Billion for Boris

Background: Broadway composer Mary Rodgers (daughter of composer Richard, mother of composer Adam Guettel) introduced readers to sophisticated, unapologetically slovenly, teen Annabel Andrews in 1972, in the classic Freaky Friday, in which the generation gap is bridged when Annabel swaps bodies with her mother for a day. Ten years later, Annabel’s younger brother Ben (“Ape Face”) would undergo the same transformation in Summer Switch, swapping bodies with his father, discovering that a 12 year boy makes a pretty good Hollywood executive.

But in between all of this body-swapping, Annabel, Ape Face and Annabel’s boyfriend Boris Harris had an entirely unrelated set of adventures on the mean streets of 1970s New York, this time involving a magical television set. Continue reading

Posted in Vintage YA Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Announcing the 2015 Edition of Molly’s Imaginary Summer Book Club

Full name: Molly’s Imaginary Summer Book Club Featuring Classics of Women’s Literature Defined As Books Authored By, About or Widely Read By Women in the 20th Century, Yes I KNOW We Never Got To Pretty Poison Last Year! 

This year’s titles are…


Rebecca By Daphne du Maurier Is your husband NOT WHAT HE SEEMS? Of course is! (Isn’t?) (ISN’T IS?) Hitchcock movie to follow. (June)

The Sheik

The Sheik By E.M. Hull The godmother of all bodice-rippers (and movie). (July)


Heartburn By Nora Ephron A thinly-veiled account of her marriage to and divorce from journalist Carl Bernstein, played by Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson in the movie. (August)

The Bad Seed

The Bad Seed By William March  And finally, just in time for Halloween, plus movie. (September)

The Imaginary Summer Book Club FAQ can be found here. 

Posted in Non-YA Fiction | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Vintage YA Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments