PROFESSIONAL READING

Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction

256p. notes. photos. Quirk. Oct. 2018. pap. $22.99. ISBN 9781683690788.
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RedReviewStarBustle features editor Moss (Glop: Nontoxic, Expensive Ideas That Will Make You Look Ridiculous and Feel Pretentious) takes a chatty and nostalgic dive through the history of the frivolous yet formative and influential genre of popular tween and teen series fiction of the 1980s and 1990s. Introducing readers to the early pioneers of modern-day YA literature, which began to solidify in the 1970s, the author then explores the themes and historical context of the paperback frenzy that resulted in the first book for young readers to make the New York Times Best Sellers list (a "Sweet Valley" entry, of course) and the career-making stardom of some its authors—including Ann M. Martin, R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, Caroline B. Cooney, Susan Beth Pfeffer, and more. Moss points out the lack of diversity of most of the series and problematic story lines but also highlights works that were ahead of their times in representation and themes. Full-color reproductions of classic covers, interviews with cover artists and models, and profiles of editors and authors scattered throughout add visual interest.
VERDICT YA history buffs and academics alike will want to read, reminisce, and chuckle through this fun and well-done work.

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