But Skurnick says there’s much more to classic YA than just ’80s-baby nostalgia. “These were really books about America, about England, about China, about wherever they were set and they were about political movements and emotional movements,” she says. “They were a way that I think many of us learned about something like World War II, or someone like Betty Grable, or the feminist movement.”
Skurnick says these books represent a moment in literature that needs to be recognized and preserved. “As much as I love nostalgia — and I like to eat Lucky Charms — I would never work and reissue a series of books for nostalgia. It’s to make sure that this enormous and vibrant body of work, and bunch of authors, doesn’t get forgotten.”
Lizzie Skurnick wrote several books in the Sweet Valley High series. Her new imprint aims to celebrate and preserve classic young adult books from the 1930s through the 1980s.Enlarge image
Lizzie Skurnick wrote several books in the Sweet Valley High series. Her new imprint aims to celebrate and preserve classic young adult books from the 1930s through the 1980s.
And they are almost entirely forgotten — except by a few people, like me, who remember those long still afternoons in the library. Skurnick says that’s because most of these books were written by women, for teenaged girls — and written off by everyone else. “I’ve never met anybody who didn’t know this period of literature and doesn’t immediately assume that it’s cutesy and about romance.”