The best YA books from the 20th century that will give you all the feels

The Books I Picked & Why

Remember Me

By Christopher Pike

Remember Me

Why this book?

I’ve read this book more times than I can count. A girl has to solve her own murder from beyond the grave with a cute dead boy who was her friend before he passed away? Sign me up! Though I don’t write paranormal, I’ve always had a fascination with “the other side”, and this book more than delivers a big dose of murderous intrigue and belly-dipping romance. And it has a real ghost story behind it! Christopher Pike is quoted as saying that when he wrote the book’s final words, “I just want to be remembered”, he felt a hand on his shoulder and a voice said, “I’ll see you later.” He realized the story had poured out of him, without pre-plotting, like it had been dictated to him. Plus, it was the first story he’d ever written in first person. Is this story really from beyond the grave? We’ll never know…


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Roxanne

By Jane Claypool Miner

Roxanne

Why this book?

I have loved many a Sunfire historical Romance. Danielle (pirates!), Caroline (Gold Rush!), Amanda (Oregon Trail!), Nicole (Titanic—way before there was a movie). There’s always a kick-ass heroine and a love triangle and fun outfits (also a must for me—I was a fashion designer before becoming a writer and styling the wardrobe and “sets” is very important to me when crafting a story. I keep a Pinterest board for all my books and unlock it once a book/series is fully published). Anyway, I especially loved Roxanne because I’ve always loved Old Hollywood and old movies (much like Elisha in Keystone). I moved to Orange County, California from Pittsburgh when I was a kid, and on day trips to Los Angeles, I preferred seeing Hollywood through Roxanne’s eyes. It was her story that connected me to my new home. 


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Anne of the Island

By L. M. Montgomery

Anne of the Island

Why this book?

The best kind of books are books that are your friends, aren’t they? As a reader, I usually feel connected to characters and don’t think much about authors (and I feel this is how it should be. I think once they leave an author’s hands, books belong to the reader!) but in this case, I also feel like Lucy Maude and I are kindred spirits. We both had two imaginary friends growing up, after all. That’s enough to make us BFF’s, right? 😉 Anyway, I have visited with all my Anne book friends many times, but the one I always come back to is Anne of the Island. This is probably because I love a slow-burn romance, and this is the book where Anne and Gilbert finally get together. After three books of will-they-won’t-they banter the payoff is totally worth it! (And on a side note, would this book be considered “new adult” today?)


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The Wakefields of Sweet Valley (Sweet Valley High)

By Francine Pascal

The Wakefields of Sweet Valley (Sweet Valley High)

Why this book?

I devoured everything in the Sweet Valley world as a teen, though I was more into Sweet Valley Twins than Sweet Valley High for some reason. Maybe it’s because I liked the twins’ innocence, and the high school drama was too much (or too relatable!) to me. I like to escape to a happy ending! And in complete seriousness, I debated naming my daughter Lila because I didn’t want her to be associated with mean girl Lila Flower. In the end, I named her Delilah (Lilah—with an h!—for short) and that eased my worries.

At any rate, I’ll read a family saga any day. And we’ve established that I love historical romance and costumes, so give me all the Wakefield history.


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The Initiation: The Secret Circle, Vol. 1

By L. J. Smith

The Initiation: The Secret Circle, Vol. 1

Why this book?

I love an underdog. I love a fish out of water. I love a character who discovers a secret power they didn’t know they possessed (be it other-worldly or grounded in reality). I love being on the inside of a secret society (especially a teenage one). The Secret Circle series is all these things and demanded many a re-read! 


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