The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Books of My Childhood: YA Books of the 80s

I love to sit back sometimes and reminisce about the days of yesteryear.  Remember back when you went to the library to check out books?  Of course libraries are still around today, but I was a regular at my local library.  The staff knew me by name and would even hold new books that would come in just for me, because they wanted to ensure that I would get first dibs.  That's how much of a rapport I built with the staff.  In my teens, I was a YA (Young Adult) fanatic and that section of the library was my basecamp for all of my literary resources.

Let's take a trip down memory lane and peruse through some of the books of my childhood.  I'm certain that these very books were most likely a part of your childhood too:

Sweet Valley High series: 

This series created by Francine Pascal, narrates the lives of twin sisters Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield who reside in Sweet Valley, California and attend a school called Sweet Valley High.  The books addressed every issue you can possibly think of what a teen would encounter in high school from cheating boyfriends to popularity cliques.  The series was so successful that it spawned into a TV series and even a board game!

Baby-Sitters Club series: 

Written by Ann M. Martin, this series takes us on a journey of four best friends who form a club to help local friends and family in their neighborhood find babysitters.  The best friends consist of Stacey, Mary Anne, Kristy, and Claudia.  The beginning of the series started out with four girls and later expanded to 10.  Jessi in particular was the only black member of BSC and she encountered some racism in the small suburban town of Stonybrook, but is welcomed by the end of the book.  She also learns sign language when she babysits for a little boy who is deaf.  

Fear Street series:

R.L. Stine was so intuitive to the mind of a teenage girl, that for many years I thought R.L. Stine was a woman.  He has written several other books and series including the horror for teen series called Goosebumps.  In the Fear Street series, it was more gory and tragic than the lighthearted Goosebump series targeted to pre-teens.  The Fear Street books take place in a fictional town called Shadyside.  The street in Shadyside was named after the Fear family who have been cursed beyond several generations. The Fear Street Saga chronicles the lives of the Fear Street family all the way back to the 19th century.

V.C. Andrews series:

These books were not exactly age-appropriate for most teens, but many of us read them anyway.  I remember when I first saw a list of banned books in the library and felt inclined to read what this book was all about.  V.C. Andrews' most provocative series of all time features the Dollanganger family.  The first book in the series called Flowers In The Attic, tells the tale of a mother who confines her children in an attic after moving into her mother's mansion as a result of losing both her husband and her home.  Her children are forced to become a dirty secret and Corinne (their mother) eventually decides to keep them in the attic forever and plots to kill them by poisoning them with sugar cookies.  The book eventually turned into a film and is still one of the most controversial YA books of its time.

Christopher Pike books:

I loved his books.  The Christopher Pike books were also very similar in terms of gore and death that was featured in the Fear Street series.  Many of his novels centered around high school students getting into some sort of mischief that would lead to an accidental death and cover up or some crazy stalker looking to ruin a fun weekend with friends.  He also created a vampire series called The Last Vampire.  It was the Twilight of its day....but hella better than the actual Twilight series itself in my opinion.

These are just a few of many I read as a teen...hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane.


  1. Yes! Yes! Yes! That's all I have to say. All my favs LOL

  2. What? No Judy Blume on this list ...

  3. candice frederickMarch 5, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    OMG i think i've read all of these!!!

  4. Blast from the past...Such good books. :) You even remembered Flowers in the twins. Did you read the "Remember Me" series by Christopher Pike?! Those were my favorites!

  5. Can't forget about Diane Hoh, Carol Ellis (both wrote in the vain on Stine and Pike) and the 18 Pine Street and Nancy Drew Series! I was big book nerd and used to be apart of book clubs that would send a few books a month with these series. Sweet Valley and BSC were my absolute fave because even then I knew the books were totally ridiculous but still fun to read. It's sad to see that most of these books are out of print, replace with the paranormal teen romance stuff.

    Recently there's been a surge in blogs by women in the their late 20s and 30s. They re-read YA books that they read way back in when they were teens and comment on them. LOL fun blogs to read but also reminds you of just how bad some of those books were!

  6. Oh my goodness I read every single one of these series. I have a whole shelf on my bookcase of SVH/Twins books. I also loved the Saga series that followed certain families back to the 1700s or later. Whenever I go to a used booksale I buy the SVH suspense ones. I also have the first 20 of the Twin series, will I reread them, probably not, but I am on this kick of getting books from my childhood that I used to own.
    I loved the Fear Street series and the Christopher Pike books. I read the first 3 books in the Flowers in the Attic series, got too deep for me, so I dropped it. BabySitters Club-me and my friends started one until we realized our schedules couldn't make it work.
    Thanks so much for that trip down memory lane, I love that I read all of them. BGN rocks!