Posted in Making Out

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)
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 :,(]


Posted in Enid Blyton

Secret #1 – The Secret Island

The Secret Island by Enid Blyton
The Secret Island by Enid Blyton

Title: The Secret Island (Secret #1)

Summary: Four runaways, Mike, Peggy, Nora and Jack, find a secret hiding place – a deserted island on a lovely lake. They build a willow-tree house, make their beds of heather and bracken, and grow their own vegetables. And Jack even manages to bring his cow, Daisy, and some hens to the island for fresh milk and eggs every day! But one day invaders come to the secret island…

Initial Thoughts:

This is my favourite Blyton of all time. I’m not sure what’s so special about it, since it’s Blyton’s standard fare of “some kids and some animals live parent-free for a bit, and really enjoy lettuce”. Maybe it’s the lack of smugglers that makes this so special. Kind of like when fandom quite enjoyed Lost, because it was a bunch of people on a desert island, just trying to get along, before the writers jumped on the wacky bus and stuck two fingers up a plotting, pacing and structure.

Also, I’ve never managed to get past the first few paragraphs of any of the sequels.

[Wing: This is my first Blyton experience, and it is adorable. I grew up reading things like Robinson Crusoe and Swiss Family Robinson and My Side of the Mountain and Black Stallion and the Little House books and Baby Island, which were all about people surviving on their own in the wilderness, at least for awhile. I love stories like that, and this was an utter delight along that vein.]

[Raven: I’ve read a lot of Blyton. Never read this before. Huh.]


Posted in Making Out

Making Out #1: Zoey Fools Around by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out 1 - Zoey Fools Around by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)
Making Out 1 – Zoey Fools Around by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Front Cover Blurb: Ben heard it first, and he told Nina, who told Claire not to tell… but now EVERYBODY (except Jake) knows, and Claire’s wondering if she ought to say something because Jake ought to know that… Zoey Fools Around.

[Dove: Yeah, um, that’s not really what happens, that’s sort of the path of Ben’s theory of the crash, but no, doesn’t relate to Zoey fooling around.]

[Wing: I think it’s like that game where you write something, cover it up, and the next person writes the next scene without seeing what you wrote. No one writing the cover blurb got to see what was written for the back blurb or for the book itself.]

Back Cover Blurb: Zoey fools around and it turns their world upside-down. New couples are formed, friends become enemies and secrets are unearthed…

Initial Thoughts

One thing I love about this series is the wacky formats they throw in there, journal entries, quizzes, one week squashed into a daily countdown. I’m not being sarcastic, I genuinely love this about them.

[Wing: I used to work in publishing, and while this sort of thing can be difficult to work with when designing the book itself, as a reader, I love when publishers include it, including pieces in the character’s handwriting, as long as it’s legible (unlike in the original Baby-Sitters Club books). The daily countdown is probably my favourite formatting trick the authors use.]


Posted in General/Admin

Welcome to Nostalgic Bookshelf

Welcome to, where we recap all sorts of nostalgic media from our childhoods. After much debate, Wing set the hard rule that “nostalgic” means it must be at least ten years old. [Wing: Oh, yeah, throw me under the bus. This is starting off well.]

We currently recap: The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin, Making Out by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant), Enid Blyton books (including Famous Five and Malory Towers), the Dungeons & Dragons television show, and anything else that strikes our fancy. In the future, we’ll add Baywatch, Dawson’s Creek, My Little Pony (generations 1-3), Fighting Fantasy by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson, Jem, and more.

This site is owned by Dove, Raven, and Wing, who you may know from their recaps on The Devil’s Elbow or Sweet Valley Online, which are both now a part of the Nostalgic Bookshelf network. (Devil’s Elbow: Where evil twins and friends come together to lovingly snark Point Horror and other teen genre fiction. Sweet Valley Online: Evil triplets take on Sweet Valley one book at a time.)

We have a number of guest recappers across all three sites, including: Bat, Dade, Donna, Jude, Necromommycon, Rosey, TheeCountOlaf, Tuesday, and Virgin.

Our format: One person writes each recap, but any of the other recappers may comment throughout, which adds to the discussion, snark, and Wing Goes Boom moments that make up this fun nostalgic community. We’ve had a great experience with readers.

Our schedule: At least one recap a week posted here and at Sweet Valley Online and The Devil’s Elbow. At the beginning of each month, we’ll update the recap list for that month in case you want to read along with us.

If you have ever wanted to be a part of this nostalgic recapping, podcasting, and discussions, or if you have any questions or comments, email us at


March Recap Schedule

9 March – Podcast episode: Sweet Valley Twins #42: Jessica’s Secret by Francine Pascal (Dove, Raven, Wing) (at Sweet Valley Online)
12 March – Sweet Valley Twins #43: Elizabeth’s First Kiss by Francine Pascal (Raven) (at Sweet Valley Online)
13 March – Friday the 13th: Final Nightmare (Virgin) (at Devil’s Elbow)
14 March – Making Out #3: Nina Won’t Tell by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant) (Dove)
15 March – Last Vampire #3: Red Dice by Christopher Pike (Wing) (at Devil’s Elbow)
16 March – Graveyard School #7: Slime Lake by Tom B. Stone (Jude) (at Devil’s Elbow)
16 March – Podcast episode: Sweet Valley Twins #43: Elizabeth’s First Kiss by Francine Pascal (Dove, Raven, Wing) (at Sweet Valley Online)
19 March – Nightmare Hall #10: Sorority Sister by Diane Hoh (Dade) (at Devil’s Elbow)
20 March – American Girls: Molly by Valerie Tripp (Jude)
21 March – Famous Five #2: Five Go Adventuring by Enid Blyton (Necromommycon)
21 March – Dungeons & Dragons #2: The Eye of the Beholder (Raven)
22 March – The Mermaid Saga #3-4: The Village of Fighting Fish by Rumiko Takahashi (Jude) (at Devil’s Elbow)
23 March – Podcast episode: Famous Five #1: Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton, Making Out #3: Nina Won’t Tell by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant), Dungeons & Dragons #1: The Night of No Tomorrow, and review of available recaps (Dove, Raven, Wing) (at Sweet Valley Online)
26 March – Sweet Valley Twins Super Chiller #3: The Carnival Ghost by Francine Pascal (Wing) (at Sweet Valley Online)
28 March – A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (Zachary)
30 March – Podcast episode: Sweet Valley Twins Super Chiller #3: The Carnival Ghost by Francine Pascal (Dove, Raven, Wing) (at Sweet Valley Online)
31 March – Goosebumps: Screams in the Night by R. L. Stine (Jude) (at Devil’s Elbow)