Underhyped Stars (of Yesteryear)
I’m a day late (aren’t I usually? haha!) but I wanted to do this topic as there are many books that I have read that I loved but hadn’t really heard any buzz about before in the book community.
I have compiled variations of this topic before (here, here, here, and here) so I’m going to do something a little different with this week’s prompt. I enjoy reading and collecting vintage YA books, mainly from the 1980s and 1990s but the occasional 1960s and 1970s novels too. There are so many that I feel have been forgotten, left behind, lost to time… and I would love to see them given a new lease of life. It would be amazing to see them re-released for today’s market.
There are a few publishers that do re-release older YA titles (Open Road Media for example) and I think that’s great but I would love to see more of it. This will only happen if more people become aware of these forgotten tomes. So, that being said, here are my top 5 picks of books I wish more people in the book community knew about (vintage YA edition!):
1. Nowhere High series by Jesse Maguire
A little gem of a series, Nowhere High seems to have become a victim of time – it is so hard to track down copies of this series. I managed to find books 1 through 7 but there is an elusive 8th book that I haven’t been able to find anywhere. In fact, I’m not sure if it even exists despite the fact it has an ISBN and does come up in a Goodreads search – there are no copies in the wild and I haven’t ever seen anyone who owns a copy or even remembers anything about it. A mystery unlikely to ever be solved… unless they get re-published. 😉
2. Chrystal Falls series by Meredith Hall et al.
Another little forgotten classic, the series is very much like a soap opera but also very charming and nostalgic. There were only 7 books but I managed to track them down about five years ago (some were on the more expensive side but definitely worth it!) I’m glad I did because several of them are really hard to get and the last book (by frequent Point Horror writer Diane Hoh) is impossible to find now. This series could definitely get a new coat of paint and thrill the YA market all over again.
3. Sunfire series by Candice F. Ransom et al.
This series is pretty timeless given the fact that each book is set in a specific time in American history. The books are well-written and a little soapy but that’s not a criticism at all. There are 32 books in total so plenty of material. I really enjoyed Nicole (which was set on the Titanic!) and Emily (where the setting was the turn of the 20th century in New York) but all the books are worth reading with moving stories and informative settings.
4. Caitlin series by Francine Pascal
There were 3 trilogies in the Caitlin saga (the first written by Joanna Campbell and the following two by Diana Gregory) and they were all brilliantly campy and melodramatic fun. The plots were dynamic and over-the-top and completely and utterly enthralling to my teenage self. I know that there is an audience out there that would appreciate the hell out of them nowadays too! From the same mind that sprung the more famous Sweet Valley High (Francine Pascal) this series was not quite as well-known but equally as wild. I would love to see this get re-discovered…
5. Senior Year series by Janet Quin-Harkin
I actually only read these books myself for the first time a few years ago but I was blown away by how good they were and it’s a shame that more people haven’t been able to discover this series because it is both out-of-print and hard-to-find. The series was so hard-hitting and moving – I was surprised but then again I wasn’t – because Janet Quin-Harkin was an author well-known to me and her books are always excellent even when they are on the frothier/sillier side. This series definitely needs to be more popular and it is a shame it fell under the radar (even during its initial run).
So, those were my choices for ‘underhyped stars’ – I twisted the topic quite a bit but I stand by my choices! I deliberately didn’t pick more well-known YA writers like Christopher Pike, Lois Duncan, or the Point Horror or Sweet Valley High series etc. because they have already had some re-released titles (mainly on Kindle but some have had paperback runs).
Some have also had big/small screen adaptations: Duncan’s I Know What You Did Last Summer and Down a Dark Hall have had movies for example, Pike’s The Midnight Club is getting the Netflix treatment as is Point Horror (well excited for both!)
My choices are sleeper titles – not necessarily big hits but they have stood the test of time and hold up well (in my eyes anyway). Hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane!