Nostalgic Bookshelf

Snarky recaps of nostalgic media, including Making Out, Baywatch, Blyton and Baby-Sitter's Club
3
Oct 2018
The Baby-Sitters Club #9: The Ghost at Dawn’s House by Ann M. Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club #9: The Ghost at Dawn’s House by Ann M. Martin

Title: The Baby-Sitters Club #9: The Ghost at Dawn’s House by Ann M. Martin

Summary: Dawn has always thought there was a secret passage hidden in her house. But she never thought there was a ghost… until now. All kinds of creepy things go on whenever Dawn’s at home. There are even spooky noises behind her bedroom wall!

Dawn is sure there’s a ghost in her house. And so are the other baby-sitters. But they’re so busy with their baby-sitting jobs that they hardly have time for a ghost hunt. Will Dawn and her friends ever solve the mystery, or will Dawn have to share her house… with a ghost?

Tagline: Creaky stairs, spooky noises, secret passages — it must be a ghost!

Initial Thoughts

That tagline sure did escalate quickly! I’m thrilled to be recapping this one. I love Dawn, I love ghost stories and secret passages and spooky noises. It’s September, which means my Halloween horror season has already begun, because I believe in long celebrations. [Necromommycon: Me too, me too! I’m already into my ancient-horror-movie binge, which starts up in late summer with monster beach movies and continues on through Halloween. And we’ve got costumes and some interior decorations happening, too. I hold off on the outdoor stuff until the end of the month because the neighbours have enough to put up with, I think.] [Wing: Some of my neighbours have put up their decorations and I am so thrilled I’m actually considering sending them a thank you card.] [Dove: *sigh* Being English sucks.]

We’re going to have a good, good time.

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20
Sep 2018
Famous Five #7: Five Go Off to Camp by Enid Blyton

Famous Five #7: Five Go Off to Camp by Enid Blyton

Title: Famous Five #7: Five Go Off to Camp by Enid Blyton

Summary: Spook trains in the dead of night! And they seem to vanish into thin air – but where do they go? The Famous Five are on to it! But discovery of an unusual underground tunnel system, and a secret train-service, has them puzzled. If they follow the tracks, will they solve the mystery?

Initial Thoughts

Spook trains, secret, underground tunnels, and a mystery? Sounds like a typical Blyton holiday. And also like an A++ story for me to recap. Halloween season starts 1 September and so we are well into it. SPOOK TRAINS AND GO.

[Dove: I always wished that we could have a supernatural Famous Five – like the way Sweet Valley would leap off into the supernatural and then do an Etch-A-Sketch reset.]

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29
Aug 2018
Making Out #8: Aisha Goes Wild by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out #8: Aisha Goes Wild by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Making Out #8: Aisha Goes Wild by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant

Summary: Aisha goes wild when a chance encounter rekindles all her old feelings about a guy named Jeff, who was her first great crush. She’s promised her whole heart to Christopher, but will a part of it always belong to Jeff?

Tagline: After Zoey breaks up with Lucas, and Jake breaks up with Claire, Aisha and Christopher are the only couple left on the island–until Aisha’s old boyfriend, Jeff, comes back into her life. Everything changes on Halloween night when… Aisha Goes Wild. [Wing: UMM. Nina and Benjamin say WHAT THE HELL.] [Rosey: RIGHT?]

Initial Thoughts

I am still shook that Jake is my favourite of the Island boys this read through. Also, I remember basically nothing about the plotlines in this book even though I know I’ve read it more than once. [Rosey: This is the one where Claire Gets “Catfished”. ]

[Dove: This is the last of the Grapplegate books, after this they are ghostwritten. Also, I have to admit, this is my least favourite for the “lead” story. I’m sorry, I don’t really like Aisha’s story – the amnesia plot does not work for me. At all.]

[Wing: WHAT I DID NOT KNOW THAT EITHER. Ghostwritten? My heart is broken.]

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13
Aug 2018
Sweet Valley Twins 57 Big Brother's in Love by Francine Pascal

Sweet Valley Twins 57 Big Brother’s in Love by Francine Pascal

Title: Big Brother’s in Love!

Tagline: Jessica and Elizabeth have made the perfect match! [Wing: Considering that girl looks even more like a Wakefield than Steven does and that they are wearing weird matching outfits, I’m pretty sure Jessica and Steven are dating now.] [Dove: I had never noticed how much she looks like the twins.] [Raven: It’s been established before that the cover artist can olny draw two faces.]

Summary: Playing Cupid.

Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield usually find their older brother, Steven, annoying, but now they feel sorry for him. He’s been wandering around the house in a daze because he’s in love with Jill Hale. His problem is that Jill likes Steven’s best friend, and it looks like Steven’s going to be lovesick forever! The twins decide to help Steven get over Jill. Maybe Cathy Connors is the solution…

The twins think Cathy and Steven make a perfect couple, but Steven only sees Cathy as his friend. Can the twins help turn a friendship into true love?

Initial Thoughts

I don’t really like matchmaking stories, and I’m already annoyed by the mere premise of this book. This is going to be great.

[Dove: I hate Steven. But… I do actually like this book.]

READ AT SWEET VALLEY ONLINE

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16
Jul 2018
Sweet Valley Twins Super Edition 4: The Unicorns go Hawaiian by Francine Pascal

Sweet Valley Twins Super Edition 4: The Unicorns go Hawaiian by Francine Pascal

Title: Sweet Valley Twins Super Edition #4: The Unicorns Go Hawaiian

Summary: Aloha, Unicorns!

Just when Jessica Wakefield becomes bored with Sweet Valley, [Wing: So every book then?] she wins a trip to Hawaii. [Wing: Wut. Already starting off with a Wakefields must win trope? Damn it.]  She takes five of her best friends from the exclusive Unicorn Club and they’re ready to have the time of their lives.

But things don’t turn out the way they had planned. Jessica has a streak of bad luck, Janet Howell is convinced she is a Hawaiian princess, [Wing: WUT. GOD DAMN IT.]  and Mandy Miller, Mary Wallace, and Ellen Riteman find out a secret they must keep from Lila Fowler.

The girls don’t understand why their trip to paradise is turning out to be the worst holiday ever… until they discover the curse of the Hawaiian volcano goddess! [Wing: WHAT THE EVER LOVING FUCK ARE YOU SHITTING ME RIGHT NOW. I DON’T WANT TO RECAP THIS.]

Tagline: It’s the trip of a lifetime! [Wing: Considering how rich most of Sweet Valley is, I doubt that.]

Initial Thoughts

WHAT THE FUCK I WANT TO BURN EVERYTHING DOWN OH MY GOD.

Over on Twitter, Dove encouraged me to post a list of the things I rage-feared would happen in this book. I did that right before I read anything about the book.

Here is my list:

  • Some sort of bullshit Hawaiian princess storyline
  • Only white people live in Hawaii except for the SUPER SPECIAL magical native.
  • Someone (probably Jessica) will be amazeballs at surfing without even trying.
  • Someone (probably Jessica) will be amazeballs at hula, just as good as the “locals.”
  • People who live in Hawaii will be called Hawaiians indiscriminately from Hawaiians being actual native peoples.
  • Everyone will wear cheap tourist “Hawaiian” shirts and plastic leis.
  • All the food will be “Hawaiian” simply by adding pineapple to it. There will be no mac salad, loco moco, malasadas, or L&L (oh my god I’m so hungry right now).
  • WW2 references + American imperialism.
  • Fucking haoles the whole entire lot of them, in that terrible stereotypical loud, brash, rich white American tourist way.

CLEARLY I DID NOT SET MY EXPECTATIONS LOW ENOUGH VOLCANO GODDESS CURSE OH MY GOD I NEED STRONGER LIQUOR AND MORE FIRE. [Raven: This is gonna be AWESOME.] [Dove: Or she’s going to drink so hard she falls off her chair and doesn’t finish the recap.]

Shallow: The girls on that cover are not wearing nearly enough purple. 

READ AT SWEET VALLEY.ONLINE

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5
Jul 2018
Making Out #6: What Zoey Saw by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out #6: What Zoey Saw by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Making Out #6: What Zoey Saw by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant

Summary: Zoey broke up with Jake after she fell in love with Lucas. Claire used to go out with Lucas, but now she’s with Jake. Are Zoey’s feelings for Jake really gone? Is Lucas totally over Claire? Their hidden desires are about to explode, all because of…What Zoey Saw.

Initial Thoughts

My god, the front of book summaries are kind of terrible and terribly dramatic, too.

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4
Jul 2018
The Baby-Sitters Club #7: Claudia and Mean Janine by Ann M Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club #7: Claudia and Mean Janine by Ann M Martin

Title: Baby-Sitters Club #7: Claudia and Mean Janine by Ann M. Martin

Summary: Claudia’s participation in the Baby-sitters Club is curtailed when Grandmother Mimi suffers a stroke and Claudia finds herself “Mimi-sitting” and fighting more frequently with her sister.

Tagline: Claudia’s sister is an impossible person to live with!

Initial Thoughts

I really love this book, despite the fact that it has some heartbreaking moments and also, I adore Janine. The cover I have, Claudia looks like she’s thirty, what the hell, cover artist? And that is not the right kind of teapot. And why do they have stained glass windows? I think I’m focusing on the wrong things here.

[Dove: That’s Claudia? I thought it was her mom!]

Enjoy the fireworks, USA! And remember: the Kishis would be screwed under our current political regime, so let’s celebrate what we could be and fix the shit that we actually are.

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18
Jun 2018
Sweet Valley Twins 52: Booster Boycott by Francine Pascal

Sweet Valley Twins 52: Booster Boycott by Francine Pascal

Title: Sweet Valley Twins #52: Booster Boycott

Summary: No boys allowed.

Winston Egbert wants to join the Boosters, Sweet Valley Middle School’s cheering squad. No way, the girls say! A boy as a cheerleader? So what if Winston happens to be a terrific gymnast? So what if he makes up fantastic cheers? Jessica Wakefield and the other Boosters vow they’ll do anything to keep Winston off the squad.

At first Winston endures the girls’ nasty pranks, Charlie Cashman’s bullying, and his classmates’ giggles. But something happens to make Winston give up for good!

When the state cheering competition arrives, the Boosters are surprised to see that almost every other squad has a boy as a member. Without Winston, they’re sure to lose! Is there any way the Boosters can get Winston back?

Tagline: Winston Egbert wants to join the Boosters! [Wing: We get it, book. WE GET IT.]

Initial Thoughts

Oh, good, I bet this book is filled with gender essentialism. Y’all know how much I love that. BOYS? In CHEERLEADING? Heaven forbid.

READ AT SWEETVALLEY.ONLINE

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11
Jun 2018
Jurassic Park (1993)

Jurassic Park (1993)

Title: Jurassic Park (1993)

Summary: Genetically engineered dinosaurs run amok at a tycoon’s island amusement park.

Tagline: An adventure 65 million years in the making

Initial Thoughts

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO I GOT THE GREATEST GIFT: JURASSIC PARK.

Of all the things I’ve recapped that I love, this may be the one I love most. Yes, even more than The Howling which was my very first werewolf movie and therefore will always have a fond spot in my heart. Jurassic Park has been a huge part of my life since it came out; my dad was a truck driver, and I spent summers on the road with him. The summer the movie came out, I read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, and I used to daydream about seeing dinosaurs running alongside the big truck, crossing fields and mountains. When I was in high school, one of my favourite concert season included playing the Jurassic Park score. (A friend of mine played the oboe, and it was one of the most haunting and beautiful bits of music I’ve ever heard.) To this day, a hint of the theme song can make me verklempt.

I love the entire original trilogy completely unironically, but Jurassic Park remains my most beloved. You’ve been warned. This is maybe less of a recap and more an explosion of feelings.

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

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21
May 2018
Sweet Valley Twins #49: The Twins' Little Sister by Francine Pascal

Sweet Valley Twins #49: The Twins’ Little Sister by Francine Pascal

Title: Sweet Valley Twins #49: The Twins’ Little Sister by Francine Pascal

Summary: Baby-sitting blues…

Since they were seven, Elizabeth and Jessica have wanted a little sister. Now that they’re twelve, the twins know they’re responsible enough to help out with a new baby, and they’re determined to prove it to their parents.

The twins get their chance when neighbors go on holiday and leave their five-year-old daughter with the Wakefields. Chrissy is so cute and sweet that Jessica and Elizabeth think it’s going to be easy to take care of her.

But from the moment Chrissy arrives, it’s clear that she’s spoiled. Before long the twins begin to wish she would just disappear!

When they get their wish and Chrissy does disappear, the twins are faced with their biggest problem yet .They’ve got to find Chrissy before her parents come back! [Wing: Why does anyone ever trust the Wakefield twins with any living creature? WHY?]

Tagline: Are Jessica and Elizabeth ready to be big sisters? [Wing: NOPE.]

Initial Thoughts

We already know that Jessica hates to baby-sit and isn’t all that great at it. Why are we having yet another story where she tries? What is her obsession with having a little sister? Why does this book even exist?

READ AT SWEET VALLEY ONLINE

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