Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An introduction...

Well, I guess I'm going to give this a go, a little hobby blog for the kind folks of my generation.

What are Young Adult Thrillers? Well they are those paperback books that were EVERYWHERE in the late 80s and especially in the early and mid 90s, R.L. Stine cut his teeth writing scary stories about teenagers dealing with murder and terror long before his series Goosebumps took off for younger readers. Christopher Pike and Diane Hoh also ran with the genre and churned out literally dozens toward a hundred books, they have outrageous cover art to boot!

I was born in 1986, so I really wasn't a "young adult" when these were so hot, but what I did have was an older sister and a lot of free time alone as a kid. I remember being seven years old, handed a xerox box full of books my sister didn't want anymore, it was around Halloween and I could not get enough of anything scary. I popped the box open and was terrified and excited by the cover art of these books. Threatening skulls, pretty pictures with tiny droplets of blood, and terrified faces of pretty teenage girls all looking back at me. My mind would race with ideas of what could possible be in these books.I was addicted to them, I was scared so bad, reading them up all night. Stories about internal fear, developing sexuality, and feelings I hadn't really been made aware of before. These books freaked me out and I couldn't stop, I had 20 of them to gnaw on and I planned to feed my need. Eventually I got to a very dark series called "The Last Vampire" by Christopher Pike, which I did a book report on in elementary school. The teacher was shocked because the book dealt heavily with a world of vampires where HIV is killing them off and causing them to starve, and the main character suffered a very, VERY unpleasant end. Also, tons of sex.

Eventually my sister got rid of her books, and I was left with a void of sorts, but I noticed Goosebumps was picking up steam and had remembered R.L. Stine's name, he had written The Boyfriend which had scared me so badly I would have bad dreams about the main character chasing me off a cliff. So I started reading Goosebumps, which wasn't bad, but a little watered down, I still loved them, I used to have them everywhere with me.

For those who don't know, horror movies are my thing, have been since I was a kid, but these books left a real impact on me. So many years later, at nineteen years old, I am at a used book store, and I recognize a paperback or two. Hell, they were only fifty cents, why not, right? I remembered them being scary, but figured they were probably pretty cheesy considering how their artwork looked at the audience they were aiming for. But you know what, these were scary, and they had some depth. Now, there are certainly a few stinkers, but for the masters like Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine, they didn't screw around.

I got a strong sense from these books that the authors were filling a market quota to get their books read and earn money, but were also remaining to true to the stories they wanted to tell and their integrity. A lot like how Nickelodeon shows in the early 90s were, as they hired hungry artists to fill their entertainment slots so we got all kinds of incredible and timeless work.

That isn't to say that all of these books are good, but it is to say I think they deserve a little nostalgia and love. So I am going to use this tiny space on the web to share my thoughts on these books as I read them again as an adult. I have well over 150 books to go through, and I'll also try to find some back story and context to when the books came out. I might even beg R.L. Stine for an interview, that would be epic wouldn't it? Regardless of all of that, these books remind of being a kid again, and that is what it is all about.

So here it goes, please have fun and participate in any way you see fit. And if you like any of the books, most of them are still floating around on amazon for PENNIES, so give them a shot as a grown up.
Beware, you're in for a scare,


  1. Nice Blog I remember all those books from my son reading them

  2. I still love those R.L. Stine books and have about 100 in my collection. My favorites will always be the Fear Street series.