Paperback Crush by Gabrielle Moss

Luckily for us, author Gabrielle Moss hit a personal and professional rut in 2016 and in an act of wanting to remove herself from reality for a bit, she purchased a crate of Sweet Valley High paperbacks on eBay. Her birthday gift to herself put her on a path to give us the perfect present-Paperback Crush is an absolutely delightful walk down nostalgia lane.

Moss takes a deep dive into the impact the early days of YA fiction had on our expectations of friends, family, and school. She lets us in on the secrets and life lessons those early novels taught us as we followed the antics of the Babysitter Club. How we learned that young love is both amazing and frustrating and if you’re not careful, you may end up kissing just like those in a Judy Blume novel. Moss does an incredible job of covering everything related to these wonderfully awkward tweenie series-the novel covers, character diversity, life lessons, and how the story lines evolved over the decades. What began as sweet little stories in the post-war boom of the 40’s, by the 80’s, readers were learning how incredibly scary the real world is.

Paperback Crush also has author interviews from YA authors Candice Ransom, Rhys Bowen, Caroline Cooney, and Christopher Pike. I really enjoyed the behind the scenes look at how many of those iconic covers were created and how the models were chosen.

I found Paperback Crush to be a fun and honest take on the novels that so many of us grew up with. It’s an absolutely delightful read and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more.

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