Recently I’ve been doing a lot of editing as a Goodreads librarian. I started by adding book covers to all the novels on my shelves that were missing covers, which led me to find some of the missing covers to my favorite middle school series like Sleepover Friends on the blog Cliquey Pizza. Looking through all the series they list, I found that some of my favorite teen horror authors from the 90s (my high school years) had started out writing those 80s romances.
Long story short, this trail of bread crumbs led me to rediscover the books that inspired me to want to be an author. I found myself hunting down some of the Point Horror classics by those authors at a used bookstore.
I selected some titles that I didn’t think I had read… only to discover that I had! The first of these was Freeze Tag by Caroline B. Cooney. The story was very simple, yet effective, and took me only a couple of days to read. There wasn’t really a subplot, and Lannie’s ability to freeze others with a touch is never really explained. But there was a lot of atmosphere, and romance didn’t rule the book – as in, the story wasn’t all about a happy ending for the couple.
Next up was The Fever, by Diane Hoh. It was only an extended description of the main character’s best friend that reminded me that I’d read this book. Certainly this was the sort of book I devoured in high school – over the top horror, complete with cheesy tagline on the front and a murder mystery with a full cast of suspects. Although the main character seemed interested in a couple of the male characters, there wasn’t a romance at all. It took me only a day to read this one.
These books were as easy to devour back when I was a teenager as they are now. I always imagine myself writing series of books like these, fast-paced and full of action, mystery, and gore. What happened to those days of YA literature? It seems like every book on the shelf these days is over 500 pages and always includes a romance, or worse, a love triangle. While I think YA these days has more fleshed-out characters and I do appreciate staying in the world of a particularly good novel for a long time, sometimes I feel nostalgic for the old days…