Nostalgic Bookshelf

Snarky recaps of nostalgic media, including Making Out, Baywatch, Blyton and Baby-Sitter's Club
10
Oct 2018
Making Out #9: Zoey Plays Games by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out #9: Zoey Plays Games by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Zoey Plays Games

Front Blurb: Life was bliss for Zoey and Lucas until Aaron showed up on the island. Now Aaron wants Zoey. Claire wants Aaron and Zoey’s got a secret that EVERYONE is talking about. How long before Lucas finds out that Zoey Plays Games

Back Blurb: Zoey plays games with Aaron and sets off a wave of broken hearts. Because Lucas is in love with Zoey, Claire has vowed to make Aaron her own. But the island is too small for big secrets.

Initial thoughts:

I don’t remember this book. It’s Zoey story, so that’s probably why.

Fun fact- this is the first Making Out book that wasn’t written by Grapplegate – they handed the series over to ghostwriters from book 9. Also, there are also no more reprints for these later books, so it’s firmly nostalgia from here onwards.

[Dove: Oh good, a Zoey book. You know how highly I regard the Passmore family in general, and Zoey in particular. This is the point where I really got sick of her nonsense, I think.]

[Wing: I’m pretty sure life wasn’t bliss for Zoey and Lucas, book, but cool. Coooool.]

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Making Out , , , , ,
7
Sep 2018

That Alisa's so hot right now

Title: Alisa of the Silver Hair

Japanese Title: Gin’iro no Kami no Arisa

Author/Artist: Shinji Wada

Translaions: The Distaff Side & 4chan

Summary: As a child, the eponymous heroine is betrayed by three jealous friends who throw her into a pit and leave her to die. But Alisa perseveres: She trains herself to be smarter, faster, and more beautiful than any of them and returns for revenge. Years of living underground have left her with the silver hair of the title, so her victims can’t be sure whether the resemblance is real or only the product their guilty consciences…

Initial Thoughts

For July I wanted to do some more comic related posts for Point Horror and Nostalgic Bookshelf since it’s Comic Con International time. For Nostalgic Bookshelf, alongside the Molly recap I wanted to do a manga recap and a comic recap.

So “Alisa” is an obscure gem I learned of because of its creator, Shinji Wada. He’s the genius who created “Sukeban Deka,” a.k.a. “Delinquent Girl Detective.” It’s the story of Saki Asamiya, a juvenile delinquent recruited by the Japanese police force as an undercover detective within the country’s school system. Armed with a special yo-yo, Saki goes up against drug dealers, rapists, and international terrorists while the threat of her condemned mother’s execution is hung ovee her head.

But that is not this story.

“Alisa of the Silver Hair” is a very short story, only two chapters long, and came out years before “Sukeban Deka.” While I would’t say I’m the total authority on “Sukeban Deka” I’m familiar enough with it to realize “Alisa” appears to be some sort of prototype for “Sukeban.”

Alisa by Retrosofa

(Alisa by Retrosofa: Sal’s a big fan of Sukeban Deka so I thought he’d be a natural for a commission of Alisa)

Wada’s style evokes the shoujo tales of the 1970s, but his use of the tropes masks some truly sinister and depraved villains, many of whom are teenage girls. In fact, as pointed out over on Empty Movement, one of the later stories is eerily predictive of “Revolutionary Girl Utena,” a 90s anime masterpiece that deconstructs misogyny and incest in fiction through picking apart the Prince/Princess/Witch dynamic.

(Analysis on the story seen here: https://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?id=2740)

Because no one talks about this story, and “Sukeban Deka” is pretty niche itself (the manga still hasn’t been officially distributed through English markets), I decided to do a recap to shed some light on this beautiful little story of vengeance. But no, I have no idea if her name is supposed to “Alisa” or if it’s “Arisa” and the name was romanized by the translation.

You can read the entire story here: https://mangadex.org/manga/6931/alisa-with-silver-hair

(TW for suicide)

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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

Sweet Valley , , , ,
6
Aug 2018
The Baby-Sitters Club #8: Boy-Crazy Stacey by Ann M Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club #8: Boy-Crazy Stacey by Ann M Martin

Title: Boy-Crazy Stacey

Summary: Stacey and Mary Anne are mother’s helpers for the Pike family for two weeks at the New Jersey shore. Things are great in Sea City: There’s a gorgeous old house, a boardwalk, plenty of sun and sand… and the cutest boy Stacey has ever seen!

Mary Anne knows that Scott the lifeguard is way too old for Stacey, but Stacey’s in love. She fixes Scott’s lunch, fetches his sodas, and spends all her time with him… instead of with the Pike kids.

Suddenly, Mary Anne’s doing the work of two baby-sitters, and she doesn’t like it one bit. But how can she tell Stacey that Scott just isn’t interested—without breaking Stacey’s heart?

Tagline: Who needs baby-sitting when there are boys around!

Initial Thoughts:

I unabashedly love Sea City and wish it were real and I could vacation there, so this is going to be difficult to recap just because I love it all so much.

That said, I do have some issues with the title.

On the one hand, yes: I vividly remember that age when my friends’ group were getting interested in boys, only we were all doing that on wildly different schedules, so there were frequently times when one of us was visibly making a fool of herself and the others saw it and discussed it. I’m not sure “boy-crazy” was ever a term we used, but it fits the perspective and attitude I remember having.

But on the other hand: I kind of hate that we do this at all. It’s easy, looking back on this as an adult, to see that Stacey isn’t trying to be selfish (and definitely isn’t trying to look foolish!); she’s just grappling awkwardly with new feelings and experiences.

And I wish that, as a culture, we gave girls a little more guidance not just on the crushing/dating stuff, but on the “being an honest but also kind friend to the person currently wrestling with hormones and emotions.” Because really, I don’t remember anyone ever giving me clear instructions about not falling into the “not like the other girls” mindset, and I could have used them.

Besides, she’s not “boy crazy.” She’s making an ass of herself over one particular guy. It’s not, like, a generalized thing she does with every guy she meets.

My only memories of this book aside from Sea City itself were being mad at Stacey for not doing her share, but even more mad at Scott the lifeguard for taking advantage of her (and his other fans).

[Wing: So word to all of this and thank you for saying it so well. Unlearning the drive to reject “feminine” things so as to be “not like other girls” is a terribly hard thing to do, but important. It took me forever, and I rage at all the time I lost to it.]

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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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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

Sweet Valley , ,
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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Making Out , , , , , , ,
7
Feb 2018

The Baby-Sitters Club 2: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls by Ann M. Martin

Title: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls

Summary: Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne and Stacey have had some strange adventures since they started the Baby-sitters Club. [Wing: Considering this is book #2, I think that’s a bit of a stretch, blurb writer.] But nothing’s been as spooky as what’s going on right now. The baby-sitters have been getting mysterious phone calls when they’re out on their jobs. When a phone rings and they pick up, there’s no one on the other end of the line.

Claudia’s sure it’s the Phantom Caller, a jewel thief who’s been operating in the area. Claudia has always liked reading mysteries, but she doesn’t like it when they happen to her. So she and the baby-sitters decide to take action – with some very mixed results!

Tagline: Claudia’s not sure she wants to find out who’s on the other end of the line.

Initial Thoughts

What the everloving hell is Claudia wearing on the cover of my copy of this? That’s the one pictured up top there. That vest looks like it was made by a commune of llama-breeding hippies in the 1970s.

Also, we might as well get this out of the way: Kirsten Dunst modelled for the cover of this. I don’t even know why I know that, but I do. [Wing: Wait, what? Did she really? I had no idea.] Not the cover I have; this one:

I love these books too much to be properly snarky about them, particularly the early ones. I thought maybe rereading them I’d be more cynical, but no; if anything they’re even more adorable. So apologies in advance for that. [Wing: It’s so difficult to be snarky over something you love! I still adore these books so, so much, and I feel your pain.]

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