Nostalgic Bookshelf

Snarky recaps of nostalgic media, including Making Out, Baywatch, Blyton and Baby-Sitter's Club
14
Nov 2018
Making Out #10: Nina Shapes Up by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out #10: Nina Shapes Up by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Nina Shapes Up

Front Blurb: At first Nina thought Ben was fooling around with Aisha. But then she discovered the truth: Ben’s facing a decision that could change his life for ever and she’s scared he’ll leave unless… Nina shapes up. [Dove: That is literally fuck all to do with this book. That’s a recap of the last book, and a throwaway line in this one.]

Back Blurb: They’ve all grown up together on a tiny island. They think they know everything about one another… but they’re only just beginning to find out the truth.

Nina shapes up because she’s desperate to keep Ben’s love. She’s terrified that if he regains his eyesight, he won’t need her any more. And if Ben can see Nina, will he still love her? [Dove: as before.]

Initial Thoughts:

This is where everything starts to blur together for me. The titles, beyond Zoey Fools Around, Nina Won’t Tell, and Aisha Goes Wild, don’t really have much meaning, to be honest.

I’m going to tell you right now: Nina does nothing that comes close to shaping up in this book. But in her defence, she wasn’t unshaped to begin with.

Don’t get me wrong, I continue to love the hell out of these books. I just find the titles to be word soup. $name $verb $thing [Rosey: The blurbs and titles are so inaccurate for the most part. I get that they had a formula they want to stick to, but surely they could have come up with things that actually reflected the book?] [Wing: I wonder if the person writing the blurbs wrote them early on, without having read the books and only a synopsis of the overall series.]

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11
Apr 2018
Making Out 4: Ben's In Love by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out 4: Ben’s In Love by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Making Out #4: Ben’s in Love by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Tag line: …with two girls (who just happen to be sisters).

Summary: First Zoey Fooled around with Lucas, and Jake found out. Then Claire wanted Jake, so she broke up with Ben, but ended up alone. Now Nina is in love with Ben and Claire wants Ben back. Will Claire try to steal her boyfriend back from her own sister?

Initial thoughts

I have such fond memories of these books! I first encountered them when Mizz magazine or Just Seventeen or something gave away a free copy of Zoey Fools Around. The first 6 books were released in 1994, so I was somewhere around 11 years old. I had been a devotee of SVT, but SVH never grabbed me and when these books came along I was hooked! I recently found out that the authors had been ghostwriters of some of my favourite SVT books, so I guess it was a natural transition. I’m excited to see how they hold up!

This is the books where Ben and Nina get together, and really, that’s all I care about because Nina is my Fave and after book 3 I just need her to have some happy.

[Wing: In fab timing, I met Katherine Applegate over the weekend, and one of the things we briefly talked about was Nostalgic Bookshelf, these recaps, and how wonderful Nina is as a character. (I also had her sign a copy of #3 Nina Won’t Tell for Dove, because of course I did.) Applegate was charming and friendly and smart, and seemed utterly delighted that I wanted her to sign a Making Out book, which was, she said, a blast from the past. If you ever get a chance to talk to her or listen to her speak, I highly recommend it. She was terrific.]

[Wing: Oh, right, this is a book recap. For all that I love Nina and Claire, I still deeply dislike Ben, so. This is a thing. As long as Nina is happy, though, I persevere.]

[Dove: I know for certain this is the first book I read, despite the early ones being free with Mizz. I can’t remember why I did that – I probably lost the first one before I got a chance to read it, and back then I was used to Sweet Valley, where you could just jump in and start reading anywhere. I don’t like Benjamin, but gosh do I love Nina, and I would follow her through a billion Benjamin-heavy books if necessary.]

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14
Mar 2018
Making Out 3: Nina Won't Tell by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out 3: Nina Won’t Tell by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Nina Won’t Tell

Front Blurb: First Zoey fooled around with Lucas and Jake found out. Then Claire broke up with Ben to be with Jake, and ended up alone. Now Nina is thrilled because she’s always loved Ben, and she’s finally got her chance. Only they’ll never get together if… Nina Won’t Tell.

Back Blurb: They’ve all grown up together on a tiny island. They think they know everything about one another… but they’re only just beginning to find out the truth.

Nina won’t tell that she’s in love with Ben. Ben used to belong to her sister, Claire, and who knows what Claire would say if she found out. But even worse, if Nina discovers that Ben doesn’t love her back… it will break her heart.

WARNING: This book and recap contain references to sexual abuse of a minor. If you have triggers, proceed with caution or not at all. This is the only warning you will get. I will be as tactful as I can, but you never know for sure what can trigger someone, so please consider this warning. If you see “A Note From Nina” as a heading there may be some of Nina’s dreams. Some may find the imagery triggering. I have labelled the dreams with a header, but they’re not hidden behind spoiler tags (as we don’t have such a thing on this site).

Initial Thoughts:

This was one of the last – if not the very last – in the series that I read. As I’ve said in my previous recap, I bought these in piecemeal in the pre-internet days. There was usually a selection of about five available and I would buy at least one, based on which sounded most interesting. However, this one I wanted desperately, because it was about Nina, and she was my best friend, because I didn’t have one in real life, and we already had so much in common (Guns N’ Roses, smoking, fashion choices that made me people roll their eyes, being inferior to family members, etc.) I just had to read this book. Our only difference is that she thinks highly of Benjamin. [Rosey: This book was the one I had the clearest memories of, coming into this re-read. because Nina! but also because Nina :,(]

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