Allison's Book Bag

New Imprint to Reissue Vintage Young Adult Novels

Posted on: June 25, 2013

Ellen Conford. Louis Duncan. Earnest Gaines. M.E. Kerr. Lila Perl. Some of those names are familiar to me. Others are not. What about you?

This spring, Publishers Weekly shared the news that a new imprint will “bring back the very best in young adult literature, from the classics of the 1930s and 1940s, to the thrillers and social novels of the 1970s and 1980s.”

At first, this news excited me. Young adult literature first started to gain attention in the 1950s and eventually came into its own with the rise of problem novels in the 1970s and 1980s. I’m thinking names like J.D. Salinger and S.E. Hinton along with names like Judy Blume and Paul Zindel.

Cover of "Shelf Discovery: The Teen Class...

Cover via Amazon

When I read the report a second time, however, I found it misleading. While the title claims “New Imprint to Issue Forgotten Young Adult Literature,” the acquisitions editor says something different. She explains:  “These books are not for teens. Teens’ tastes have changed. It’s for adults who want to read, re-read, and collect these books.” Ah, well, that paints a different picture.

Still, it’ll be interesting to see what novels make the cut. Lizzie Skurnick, the author of Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading and a freelance journalist, will handle all acquisitions and edit the books, roughly twelve to fourteen titles per year. She told Publishers Weekly that many of the books of that era beloved by teen boys are still in print (such as The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier), but many of the books that were embraced by teen girls are not.

Sounds promising except, although like Skurnick, I came of age in the 1980’s, only a few of the titles even sound familiar to me. From their descriptions, most of them also sound like romances. I personally then don’t think the series will interest me, but I’ve been wrong before about my reading choices. What do you think of the news?

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