To today's teenagers, books set in the 90s seem like historical fiction. I know -- seriously?
The 90s don't seem that long ago. Who can forget club kids and raves? Beanie Babies. The Spice Girls. High waisted, acid-washed jeans. Scrunchies and banana clips. Flannel. Dawson's Creek. Parachute pants. "Rachel" hair. Overalls. Boy bands.
While I think that a lot of YA has 90s influences, there aren't a ton of YA books that are actually set in the 90s. Given the demographic of YA readers, I think there should be more. Some of us would love to relive the 90s. And actual teenagers are fascinated by the idea of a primitive world without Facebook, iPods, and texting.
Below is my round-up of 90s YA. Tomorrow on Freebie Friday, you can help me relive those days -- or make fun of them-- and you can win a paperback of Drain You by M. Beth Bloom or an ARC of Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone.
by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Published by Razorbill
November 11, 2011
The year? 1996
My review (from Goodreads December 2011)
I laughed out loud as I read The Future of Us and remembered the brave new world of computers in 1996. I'd forgotten that, back in the 90s, you couldn't be on the internet and the phone at the same time.
This book is about two friends, Josh and Emma. Emma gets a new computer and an AOL CD-ROM. When she puts the disc into her computer, and logs onto Facebook, she can see her future ... and Josh's. She's not entirely happy with what she sees, so she starts to try to change the future. And of course, we all know from time travel movies, that can be a dangerous thing!
Best 90s reference? dial up internet, pagers
by Meagan Brothers
Published by Henry Holt BFYR
on April 24, 2012
The year? Unclear. There are VCRs and subway tokens. Kurt Cobain and Jeff Buckley have died, so ... late 1990s?
I liked Meagan Brothers' first book, Debbie Harry Sings In French, and I was excited to read this one. Supergirl Mixtapes is a gritty contemporary read that doesn't sugarcoat either the 90s or the adolescent experience. Sixteen year-old Maria has always been curious about her mother, a talented artist who left her husband and young daughter to live in New York City.
When Maria arrives in Manhattan, she's swept up into the excitement of it all. Travis, her mom's 22 year-old boyfriend, shows her around the downtown scene. She meets Gram, a college guy, at a record store, and he seems really into her. But then reality starts to seep in. Her classmates at school are more into Mariah Carey and the Spice Girls than Sonic Youth and Sleater-Kinney. Maria wants to get to know her mom, but her mother disappears a lot. Maria also hasn't told Gram that she's just in high school. As things start to fall apart, Maria will have to face some hard truths about her mother and herself.
Best 90s references? Repo Man, Beavis and Butthead
by Tamara Ireland Stone
Published by Hyperion
On October 9, 2012
The year: 1995
Anna lives in Chicago in 1995. She's drawn to Bennett, the new kid in school, who frustrates her with his erratic behavior, then finally tells her a secret: he's from the future. He's traveled into the 1990s, trying to find a missing person, when he falls in love with Anna. With almost two decades of time and half a continent between them, can the two of them ever find happiness?
Best 90s References? All of them are musical -- Pearl Jam, Blink-182, Smashing Pumpkins...
by M. Beth Bloom
Published by HarperTeen
On July 24, 2012
The year: unclear. But again, Kurt Cobain has died, so post-1994.
Quinlan "Quinn" Lacey is a 1990s L.A. princess, an only child who sulks her way through shifts at the video store and torments her co-worker Morgan with her skimpy outfits and her refusal to acknowledge his infatuation. She's spoiled and bored, the VJ of her own MTV universe. One night after work, she spots a classmate, Naomi Sheets, crying by the side of the road. But when she meets James, Naomi's mysterious brother, Quinn has finally met her match. He's frustratingly unavailable, enigmatically aloof. But no one denies Quinn anything, so she sets out to have him. She doesn't even care that he's part of a sinister world of the undead.
Best 90s references? Too many to name. Of all the books above, I think Drain You is the one that's really steeped in the 90s.
Did I miss any YA books set in the 90s? Let me know in comments! And be sure to stop by Freebie Friday tomorrow so you can get a chance to win your choice of Time Between Us, Drain You, or Supergirl Mix Tapes.
Such a fun post, Jen! You're making me all nostalgic and stuff. :P We've come a loooong way, huh? Kids these days don't know what they missed out on, though...gawd, I already sound like an old fogey! :DReplyDelete
I love that Kurt Cobain's death is a timestamp. I remember my bff being hysterical and crying when it happened. I liked Nirvana but I think I would have cried if Warren G died...lolReplyDelete
Yay for the 90's!!!!! I haven't read any of these books yet, but they are all on my TBR list. Seriously the 90's rocked and there needs to be more 90's out there. Though it does freak me out that the 90's are now retro. I'm not that old people!ReplyDelete
I read a book earlier this year that I think took place in the 90's but for the life of me I can't remember the title, I will double check when I get home :)
I was having a blond moment and forgot about Goodreads! It's Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert. Early to mid 90's. It was really good, though it totally made me cry.Delete
Ooh, I've had that one on my list forever. I'm going to go see if my library has it!Delete
It just blew my mind to think that today's kids think of the 90s as an era of historical fiction. I don't really remember much since I was a little kid but it still doesn't seem that long ago to me. Haven't read any of these but they're on my to-read list for when I need a 90s fix.ReplyDelete
Well, my kids do. They love to ask me stuff like how I did my homework without the internet.Delete
I mean, going to the library to look up stuff in the Encyclopedia Britannica seems about as archaic as butter churning or the horse and buggy!
I love these discussion posts! Its really great to see how historical fiction weaves into ya! It used to be my favorite genre too :))ReplyDelete
Happy Reading Jen! :)
What a fun post. I really like The Future of Us; a gimmicky concept that ended up working; I like how it implied the progression of social media, too. We like to think teens today aren't that different from those of us who grew up in the 90s, but AOL discs... yeah. That seems so long ago! I'm interested in the mixtape book, sounds cool.ReplyDelete
Technically, any book set in the past is historical, although something 15 years ago does seem kind strange to label that way.
I blogged about the 90s today too at: a girl and her diary
Well, 1990 was 22 years ago. Hard to believe! And I think the huge changes in technology during the last 15 or so years make the pre-internet days seem like ancient history!Delete
Great 90s posts on your blog - thanks for linking!
Great post! I loved the "flashback" things from the 90's you mentioned, especially "Rachel Hair" Lol! The Future of Us is another book I have on my shelf that I haven't gotten to yet (as well as Drain You). TBR to big? I think so! hahaReplyDelete
LOL, the Rachel hair was HUGE.Delete
Yeah, I want to see a picture of your TBR stack. Maybe I'll make up a fun challenge in November and December so we can get those piles down!
I really think I might need to do one of those challenges! My TBR is no where near a stack :( I need book therapy, I tell ya! I read both adult & YA, so there's both.Delete
Yes! I loved my Rachel hair and flannel. The good old days when MTV played videos. The only one of those books I've read was Drain You, but I'm definitely going to read the others.ReplyDelete
They were all great books!Delete
Ah! The Rachel! My 14 year old sister got that haircut after I showed her a picture, because I'd always loved Rachel's hair! You know I don't think I've ever read a book set in the 90's that wasn't written in the 90's. I'm going to have to check these books out.ReplyDelete
P.S. I totally read the post title in the VH1 I Love The 90's voice. Lol!
I have really stick-straight hair and it would not do the Rachel.Delete
I want to read The Future of Us and The Time Between Us -- I love a good 90s read!ReplyDelete
As far as the 90s go, I liked the banana clips and scrunchies the best. And the boy bands!
Loved the boy bands, and I am not ashamed to admit it!Delete
Ah, the 90's! My teenage years! Remember the french roll on your jeans? LOL I admit, I still wear scrunchies around the house. I haven't read any of these books yet. I didn't even realize The Future of Us was from the 90's! I'll have to check these out. I think more books should take place in this time period. :)ReplyDelete
Scrunchies will come back. I'm sure of it!Delete
Ahh the 90's references!! Pagers, scrunchies, Beavis and Butthead! Lol. Dude the 90's rocked. I really need to check out some of these books.ReplyDelete
Fantastic post, while I raised my babies in the 90's I can certainly relate and remember a lot .. incidentally my girls have thousands of beanie babies!ReplyDelete
Some of them were worth crazy amounts back when!Delete
It seems so weird to set books in the 90s... I think I'd rather forget that decade maybe... I'm all about the present and the future though.ReplyDelete
Hahaha, oh beanie babies! I just cut all of the tags off mine (it was so hard :( ) and gave them to my daughter.ReplyDelete
I find it sad that the 90s are considered historical fiction as well, I guess we have come a long way since then..lol
Also, I had dial up right up until 2006! :( Stupid country living!
Yeah, the first time one of my kids ripped the tag off, I was like "Ahh." Then I reminded myself that they're not worth anything anymore.Delete
I also had dial-up for quite a while!! I was cheap...
I loved The Future of Us! After I finished me and my brother were reminiscing about those AOL cds and even did some googling about them. Good times! Everyone was in the aol chat rooms like they were the greatest thing ever. I miss those days. Not it's just facebook. Time Between Us was great too but I felt like the time period was more down played.ReplyDelete
I agree -- I wished there had been more 90s references in that one!Delete
I had the overalls & the scrunchies. I still have quite a few scrunchies actually.ReplyDelete
I definitely had overalls. Hopefully no photo evidence of that!Delete
And I do think scrunchies will make a resurgence!
Nothing better than the 90s! Except maybe the 80s, it's a tough call! When I went to that music fest a few weeks back and got to see Pearl Jam it was the most awesome nostalgia filled event! They ROCKED:)ReplyDelete
Great post! I really would like to read Supergirl Mixtapes. It looks like my type of book. I can't think of any others that take place during that decade but I feel like there is one out there I just can't put my finger on. If I think of it I'll get back to you!
I'm actually watching Dawson's Creek all over again on Netflix and their clothing is totally cracking me up. They are all relatively attractive people but their pants! So huge and baggy and the sweaters, so square! I read Supergirl Mixtapes a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed it, especially the honest portrayal of the mother-daughter relationship. I really want to read Drain You! It looks awesome!ReplyDelete
The 90's!!! How I miss those days. I love reading books that throw me back to that time. Love this :)ReplyDelete