Lois Duncan. Paula Danziger. Richard Peck.
If all of these names ring a bell, you’re likely over 30-years-old and spent your tween years gobbling up one young-adult novel after another, living vicariously through characters navigating puppy love, puberty and out-of-touch parents. While today’s YA fiction has taken a different turn—series about vampires, werewolves and aliens are all the rage—the book industry has caught on to the fact that Gen Xers and Yers want to revisit the books of their youth. The popularity of blogs about bygone series such as The Baby-sitters Club and Sweet Valley High has proven that.
Now a new imprint, Lizzie Skurnick Books, is reissuing YA classics from the most beloved authors in the genre. The imprint will kick off its launch with Lois Duncan’s 1958 novel Debutante Hill about a teen from the right side of the tracks who gets the cold shoulder when she opts not to be a debutante. Is anyone else reminded of the “Gilmore Girls” episode when Rory makes her debut? But I digress. In addition to Duncan’s work, Lizzie Skurnick Books will give fans of classic YA the opportunity to read the works of Ernest Gaines, Lila Perl and Ellen Conford, to name a few.
“From 1930’s classics to teen horror, a Louisiana plantation to a cross-country road trip in a blue Pontiac, this diverse selection of genres, characters, and authors will appeal to all lovers of great storytelling,” the LSB website states.
If the chance to fill your bookshelves with your favorite childhood novels doesn’t make you want to jump for joy, take a look at the original covers of the books LSB is reissuing. It will take you down memory lane, or at least down the path you took to hunt down the bookmobile as a kid. Scanning the old book covers I remembered having read books I haven’t thought about in years. But most importantly I remembered how much these books shaped my character in many ways. I enjoyed them so much they surely contributed to my decision to write for a living and they shaped my moral character, too. Protagonists in the YA books of yesteryear fight against narrow-minded adults, prejudice against those who are different and the impulse to conform so the cool crowd will accept them. Rape, racism and feminism are the respective topics at hand in classic YA literature such as Peck’s Are You in the House Alone?, Judy Blume’s Iggie’s House and Duncan’s Daughters of Eve.
The strain of social consciousness that runs through this fiction is another reason to support LSB’s move to reissue the classic books. The new imprint isn’t the only one capitalizing on the retro YA trend. In recent years Sweet Valley High creator Francine Pascal has written a series about the Wakefield Twins and Co. as adults. Call me a pearl-clutcher, but I’m not really sure I enjoy reading about the protagonists of my favorite childhood series sleeping with each other’s men and using four-letter words. I’d rather remember them as I did in my youth, as Lizzie Skurnick Books gives readers the chance to do by reissuing YA novels as they were. You can sign up to get a subscription to the imprint here. A reissued book from the series will be sent right to your door. It’ll be like when you were in fourth grade and used the Scholastic catalogue to get books from your favorite authors delivered to your classroom.