Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Revitalizing Old Series

June 3rd, 2010 by Debbie's World of Books


I recently finished reading The Summer Before which is a prequel to The Baby-Sitters Club, one of my favorite series when I was growing up.   The amazing thing is the first book in this series came out 24 years ago and it’s been ten years since the last book in the series was published.  I’ve noticed this seems to be a trend lately or maybe I just haven’t noticed it before?  A lot of the great series I loved what seems like ages ago seem to be making strong come backs.  Late last year we heard that Diablo Cody was going to be adapting Sweet Valley High into a film version.  Christopher Pike’s Last Vampire series started back in 1994 and was recently reprinted in the omnibus, The Thirst.  Probably the most well known come back is L.J. Smith’s Vampire Diaries.  The first book in this series was originally published in 1991 and there were originally four books in the series.   Then nearly 20 years later book 5 in the series was published and the CW has had great success with the tv series adaptation.

What do you think about all this?  Especially if you were fans of these series when they first came out? I thought the Baby-Sitters Club prequel was well done and slipped right back into the old feel of the series and was still enjoyable.  I will admit upon re-read I didn’t enjoy the Vampire Diaries books as much so I’ve put off re-reading Christopher Pike’s Last Vampire books again in fear that it might ruin my fond memories of the series.  I have pulled out a couple of my old Sweet Valley High books to re-read though because even a few years ago there were some favorites that I was still re-reading and enjoying.

The other thing I feel has changed or maybe my view point has just changed now that I am an adult is I feel the style of writing in YA books has matured a lot.  When I reread a lot of the books I enjoyed as a teenager the writing style is much more simplistic than today’s YA books and I feel like the plots were a lot simpler or straight forward.  I wonder if books like Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl or The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins came out in the early 90s would they have been as big of hits?  Do authors feel like today’s teenage audience are a more mature audience than previously thought and can handle the longer, darker plotlines?

I’m glad to see these series making a come back and I hope even though they aren’t the chunksters in comparison to today’s YA books and have a simpler story line that they gain a whole new generation of fans.  If you have read these series for the first time recently what do you think about them compared to the new YA book series?

Posted in Books, Young Adult

7 Responses

  1. Allison

    The Baby-Sitters Club books are pretty close to my heart, I grew up reading them and could never bear to give them away so I have two huge plastic tubs full of them in my garage. I have been planning to pick up the prequel at some point, but I was scared I wouldn’t feel the same about the girls so I’ve been wary of picking it up. Your post makes me think I should get to it sooner rather than later :)

  2. Michelle

    I finished The Summer Before Last night, too and I loved it! I kind of wish I’d bought the first three reissues when I saw them last week.

    I’m afraid to reread The Last Vampire series because I adored it when I was younger.

    I’m just reading The Vampire Diaries for the first time and I’m not in love. I like the show a lot more.

    I think it’s great that they are reissuing theses series. A whole new generation gets to experience them now.

  3. melissa @ 1lbr

    I think it’s a good thing to roll them out again. Usually the stories aren’t so far removed from current culture that new generations can’t love them as well. The covers on the other hand…

  4. dsuzuki

    Allison-I wish I had kept all my old books. I’ve actually picked up a few BSC books from our Half Priced Books.
    Michelle-Glad you liked it too! I really have to watch the VD show. I saw the first episode & wasn’t impressed but I heard it got really good. I do hope today’s tweens/teens enjoy these books as much as we did.
    Melissa-lol. I totally agree about the covers. I especially like the new Christoper Pike covers.

  5. Mystee

    I used to love Sweet Valley High. I really wish that I’d have kept them.
    The others I never read.

    I think what is considered PG now, is way different from what was when I was 12-16. Although, it’s had to change with the change in *times* so to speak. My daughter’s friend most all have boyfriends and they were only in 6th grade. I didn’t have one in 6th grade and I sure didn’t want one. The school start dances in 5th grade now….we never had then till 7th.

    I think it the changes are appropriate, although I’m very open with my kids. I never want them to feel they can’t come to me with something. SO they pretty much read and watch most anything they want. I figure I’ll worry about the big stuff {sex, drugs} and let the little stuff slide by. :)

  6. Icedream

    I’m a little older so these weren’t the books I started with but I love your question. I do think that YA books have “matured” a lot – just as with all media. We can still appreciate them for the nostalgia they bring us but I often wonder if today’s actual young adults would find them old fashioned. I came of age with Judy Blume and S.E. Hinton and they were so controversial at the time! Like Mystee said, they are very PG now. Which also brings up the reverse of this scenario, I think more adults are reading YA’s now. I think because the material in them is so mature that adults don’t feel as though they are much different in content then regular fiction.

  7. dsuzuki

    Mystee-Tweens/teens definitely are different these days from when I was a teenager and boy does it make me feel old to say that. LOL. I know at least I am enjoying these new YA books.

    Icedream-I do think today’s teens might find these older series old fashioned or at least tame and too simple. I love S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders! I think the fact that it dealt with deeper issues help keep it a must read even today. I think adults reading YA books also really helps the market since we have a little more spending money and I think that helps to increase book sales and keeps this genre going.

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