Monday, May 13, 2019

Paperback Crush

Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction. Gabrielle Moss. 2018. Quirk Books. 256 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence from the introduction: Are you an adult with a full-time job who still dreams of switching places with your (nonexistent) identical twin?
First sentence from chapter one: Where there are teens, there are love stories.

Premise/plot: Paperback Crush is a book about books, or, if you prefer a book about reading books. Specifically it is about (paperback) book series published in the 80s and 90s that were geared towards tweens and teens. Moss examines trends and quirks and presents her findings with a little perspective that only time can provide. She addresses books categorically. Chapter one focuses on LOVE. Chapter two focuses on FRIENDS. Chapter three focuses on FAMILY. Chapter four focuses on SCHOOL. Chapter five focuses on JOBS. Chapter six focuses on DANGER. Chapter seven focuses on TERROR.

Each chapter begins with the roots of the genre or sub-genre. Is this a topic or subject that has a long past? (For example, books focusing on family and friends and school). Is this a new topic or subject that has not been openly talked about before? (divorce, abortion, drugs, alcohol, rape, stalking, etc.) How diverse are the books being published? What was the appeal then? Does it still hold appeal now?  How long did the series last? Were there copycat series? Did the series have one author or many contributing authors? Each chapter includes many examples--dozens--of books. You can expect to find book covers, synopses, the occasional excerpt, and critique. The critique often addresses issues of realism and sensitivity. Moss never expects series to be realistic exactly. But some are more over-the-top than others! Another fun aspect of critique is when Moss talks book covers!

You might be thinking what are the differences between DANGER and TERROR. In the 'danger' chapter, the focus is on problem/issue novels. Sexual abuse and assault, kidnapping, drug or alcohol abuse, sexual orientation and/or coming out, teen pregnancy, abortion, terminal illness, death. In the 'terror' chapter, think werewolves, vampires, ghosts, suspense, thrillers, murder mysteries, etc. Stalking, I believe, may be mentioned in both chapters.

There are a handful of interviews sprinkled throughout the book.

 My thoughts: You could read this book in one of two ways. I could definitely see someone reading it cover to cover. (That's what I did.) But I could also see someone skipping around and reading the chapters out of order. It doesn't lose anything, in my opinion, if you approach it in this way.

The book title suggests the focus is TEENS, but I didn't find that to be totally accurate. A good many of the books were geared towards a younger audience (upper elementary). Still over half the books are geared towards teens.

There were three series that I read growing up: The Gymnasts, The Babysitters Club, and the Sunfire Romance "Name" books. I don't necessarily regret selling the Babysitters Club books. But I very much regret selling The Gymnast series. I would never, ever, ever sell my Sunfire books.

I liked the narrative approach. This one is very visual. So many book covers. It was a treat to read.


© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 comments:

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP