Throwback Reads: 8 Book Series That Will Take You Back to Your ’90s and ’00s Childhood
Jul 17, 2023   •   Cristina Morales
8List.ph is published by ID8, Inc.
Jul 17, 2023   •   Cristina Morales
Back in the ’90s and early ’00s, before social media consumed our every waking hour, we had paperbacks to keep us entertained in between episodes of our fave TV shows. These books were our companions on long car rides, lazy afternoons, and rainy days spent indoors. We would borrow them from each other, trade them during recess, and stay up way past our bedtime just to see what happened next. And while we may have moved on to other books and interests as we got older, these beloved book series will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Who wouldn’t want the ability to shapeshift into any animal they wanted? (Okay, maybe not a cockroach, but you get the idea.) Those covers? The bizarre (often ridiculous) transformations? The holographic images that changed when you tilted the book just right? Iconic. Beyond the cool factor of the animorphing itself, the books also tackled some pretty heavy themes, like war, morality, and the price of power, and they basically were our gateway to sci-fi and fantasy.
Jessica and Elizabeth had us all dreaming of being a Wakefield twin and living in a perfect world with perfect hair and perfect clothes. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t exactly realistic, but as kids, we didn’t care. We were too obsessed with the drama unfolding in Elizabeth and Jessica’s seemingly idyllic lives. And let’s not forget the cover art – the big hair, the bright colors, the oh-so-’80s fashion.
This series had us all planning our business empires as preteen entrepreneurs. Who wouldn’t want to have a club with your best friends where you get paid to hang out with cute kids? Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, Stacey, and Dawn taught us plenty about friendship, responsibility, and growth. Plus, they made us feel like we could conquer the world (or at least the local babysitting scene).
R.L. Stine had us all sleeping with the lights on and checking under our beds for monsters. For many kids, these books were their first foray into horror and suspense, and they made us feel extra badass. Sure, they gave us plenty of nightmare fuel, but who needs sleep when you’ve got a healthy respect for ventriloquist dummies?
Goosebumps kids also gravitated towards True Philippine Ghost Stories is found in its title: they’re REAL. Or at least, we were made to believe that they were. Sleep? Who needs it! They made us feel like we were part of a secret club of ghost hunters, armed with nothing but our bravery and a flashlight. Plus, they gave us plenty of material for ghost stories to scare our friends (and maybe even ourselves) during sleepovers.
The world must have been starved for inspiration in the ’80s, because in the ’90s, motivational media was everywhere. Chicken Soup for the Teen Soul sure made us feel like we could conquer the world (or at least teenagehood with just a little bit of inspiration. And we don’t know about you, but based purely on what’s going on in the world right now, we think a Chicken Soup series comeback is long overdue.
These comics had us all believing in girl power and the magic of friendship. Will, Irma, Taranee, Cornelia, and Hay Lin drew us into a world of magic and mystery that we never wanted to leave. These books were ahead of their time, with their diverse cast of characters and their message of unity and empowerment. Plus, they gave us some serious style and hair goals (who wouldn’t want Hay Lin’s purple locks?).
Young love is often awkward and hilarious, and Psicom’s Stupid Love series made us feel seen. As we pined over unrequited crushes and/or navigated our first relationships, we devoured these pages like they were our lifelines. Were they actually helpful? Debatable, but at least they were entertaining.
Though a chronic dabbler in whatever tickles her fancy, Cristina claims she can count her passions on one hand: feminism, literature, the environment, embroidery, and the power of a solid pop song. She lives in Uniqlo lounge pants and refuses to leave the house without a winged eye.
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