the best friends you’ll never have

In the 90s, I remember seventies stuff being pretty cool. That is how we ended up wearing bell bottoms and velveteen tops in 1997. The last few years have been all NEON! RAYBANS! LEGGINGS!, culling its sartorial influences from the 80s. There’s a 20-year cycle of fashion, when things have faded from memory just long enough to stop seeming hideously ugly.

Thus, we have started to see a 90s revival, both in fashion and in entertainment. Beverly Hills, 90210 is back on air, as is Melrose Place. Of recent book releases, the book I’ve heard the most about is Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music by Melissa Meltzer, which has insipired even those who weren’t even alive at the time to listen to Bikini Kill.

It’s no surprise, then, that both the Baby-Sitters Club AND Sweet Valley are coming out with new books. (Yes, the long-awaited Sweet Valley Confidential is being released.) Had these books been released five years ago, only those of us diehards in the fandoms would have cared. The sales would have resembled those of the attempted revitalization of the series that was Friends Forever, if that. But now enough time has passed since the heyday of these series to mean that people who were readers the first time around might have kids of their own of BSC/SV-reading age. Those who don’t have kids might check out the books just out of pure nostalgia, and old enough now to not be embarrassed about being seen buying them Teachers and librarians, also of the first generation of readers, can introduce the books to the kids they work with. When the graphic novels came out, I think it was just slightly too early for all of this. Only the hardcore fanbase seemed to be interested, for the most part, and I don’t remember as many writeups across the internet. Jezebel, for one, has been following the reissues/prequel story for as long as the fandom has.

While ten years ago, Ann said she was simply “done” with the characters, perhaps the real implication of her words were that, outside of her hardcore and aging fanbase, the public was done. They were a relic, overshadowed by new phenomena like Harry Potter. Even a graphic design upgrade and less focus on baby-sitting couldn’t obscure the fact that their time was over. They were innocent books without anything supernatural. But now twenty- and thirty-somethings seem to all be infected with a sense of early 90s nostalgia.

Maybe Ann saw the marketing opportunity and seized it, or her editors gently suggested it to her. Or perhaps, she, too was nostalgic for the BSC’s heyday, and wanted to revisit these characters.

4 Responses To This Post

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nikki said, February 23rd, 2010 at 1:55 pm

I’m trying hard to wrap my head around the fact that 1990 was twenty years ago. I can’t believe how freaking old I am!!!

Also, I’m totally buying the sequel and reissues for my niece’s ninth birthday. I don’t see her that often and I seriously hope we can do a little BSC bonding. :)

Charlotte said, February 24th, 2010 at 12:03 am

*I’m trying hard to wrap my head around the fact that 1990 was twenty years ago. I can’t believe how freaking old I am!!!*

Oh, me, too!

I don’t have kids of my own; but I do have students, and I would love for them to get hooked on the BSC. :)

Great post!

WickedWonder said, March 10th, 2010 at 7:53 pm

That 1990 thing blows my mind every time. I remember thinking that kids born in ’90 were so much younger than me, and they’re grown now, ew. Anyway, my niece is only 2, a little young for the BSC, but that won’t stop me from buying the new books.

charmecia said, March 17th, 2010 at 4:48 pm

i miss the 90′s also
great year too
i was one when the babysitters club became popular in the 1990′s
now im only 21
(lol im getting old)
i would love to see the books get rereleased
as well as others too

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