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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

Class of ’89: Junior

Class of ’89: Junior
by Linda A. Cooney

Four girls. Friendly, good-hearted Bets. Laurel, lonely and unsure. Micki, who tries to hard. And Page, who has it much too easy.

Bets is throwing herself at every boy in school. She doesn’t care about her reputation…much. Laurel wants to be with Jed all the time, but why is he making so many demands on her? Page has taken Micki’s place as class leader. Micki’s so jealous that she tries to ruin Page’s one romance…and almost wrecks her own.

Now that they’re juniors, they want everything to go right. Aren’t these supposed to be the best years of their lives? (transcribed from back of book)

I leave these books beside my bed in case I have trouble sleeping. I tend to read them a chapter at a time so it takes me a while even though they are super short books (by today’s standards, anyhow). The farther I read into this series though, the more I think I never actually read all of the Class of ’89 books when I was a kid. I KNOW I read (and re-read!) the Class of ’88 books a lot, but I didn’t recall much past the Freshman year of ’89.

I have to say I really don’t seem to care much about the main characters in this series. I find them all very petty, self-involved and shallow. I also don’t like the way the years of high school are so emphasized. Now that the class are Juniors they are all “Well, back when we were Sophomores, this person did that and that person did this”. And if you think about the time frame they are referring too it’s only a span of a few months. They make it sound like it was YEARS ago. Ugh. Is American high school really like this? Or did it used to be in the 80s?

Bets and her throwing herself at every boy, was pretty much a make out fest with two boys over spring break. Yep. The summaries for these books are just so overdramatic it makes me laugh.

I’m only reading these for nostalgia’s sake and to be honest, this Class of ’89 isn’t working for me. Ionly have one book left though, so you know, it’ll get finished this summer. One chapter at at time. Maybe I’ll like these kids more the year they graduate? Maybe they’ll have different priorities. All I know is that this series is not what the first one was to me!

Class of ’89

  1. Freshman
  2. Sophomore
  3. Junior
  4. Senior

Class of ’89: Sophomore

Class of ’89: Sophomore
by Linda A. Cooney

Four girls. Friendly, good-hearted Bets. Laurel, lonely and unsure. Micki, who tries to hard. And Page, who has it much too easy.

Page could have any boy she wants. But she wants Nick Rhodes, and he doesn’t want her. Now that Micki’s class president, she thinks she’ll be happy – instead, she’s just unpopular. Laurel’s father has forbidden her the one thing she cares about. Maybe it’s time t0 defy him. Bets has fallen for a boy whose heart is with someone else. The only one who can’t see it is Bets herself.

Some people say every year gets a little easier. Some people aren’t going through sophomore year. (Transcribed from back of book)

Hey, another crappy photo with this post! I don’t have time to go down and scan my cover and make my regular image. I’ll have to update that at some point. I’m just surprised I found an image of this book that wasn’t uploaded by ME on the net.

I don’t recall nearly as much about this series as I did the Class of ’88 one. I think that’s because I just don’t find these four main characters all that exciting. I didn’t find the characters of Class of ’88 as self-involved and petty as these girls. I just don’t care about their stupid problems. The friendships aren’t as tight and the dialogue isn’t as fun. There are fewer pop culture references to the ’80s as well than the previous series. I miss that.

Since I was having trouble reading other books I have had this one on my night table for those restless nights where I just wanted to read something and not a lot of it. So it took me a month or so to get through this book at only 219 pages. It’s a small dose read since it’s being read merely for nostalgia sake and not for any other reason. I now have Junior by my bedside in case I fall into a lull now that I have finished all 3 Gail Carriger books that are available. (Those reviews to come!)

One thing that struck me is no matter the year (1987 or 2011) teenagers always seem to be focused on the same things. It’s weird how your entire world view is made up of what goes on in high school. I feel like we need to change that. Maybe the internet will help with that a little?

Class of ’89

  1. Freshman
  2. Sophomore
  3. Junior
  4. Senior

Class of ’89: Freshman

Class of ’89: Freshman
by Linda A. Cooney

Four girls. Friendly, good-hearted Bets. Laurel, lonely and unsure. Micki, who tries to hard. And Page, who has it much too easy.

Micki wants to make her mark freshman year. She’s pulling the class together and doing all the work. No wonder she can’t stand it that gorgeous Page gets all the credit – without lifting a finger. Laurel’s caught between two friends. One’s the most popular girl in their class; the other’s a boy who doesn’t fit in – which one has to go? Bets just wants to be Doug’s pal… She doesn’t know what to do when he says they should be more than friends.

Freshman year means they can be anyone they want to be. Why is it so hard to find out who they really are? (transcribed from back of book)

Ah, my readers! I am sure you have been longing to get back to the halls of Redwood High have you not? Now that I have found the missing book in the Class of  ’89 series* I can gladly take you there over the next month! Our first stop of course is with the Freshman year of the Class of ’89 and if you were paying attention to my Class of ’88 posts you’ll know that they are the second ever Freshman class to attend the shiny new school! So exciting!

Also the summary on the back of the book is really very wrong compared to what you read between the covers. And this is something I have wondered about since the first time I read the book in the late 80s – what girl is supposed to be which character on that cover?! I have tried once more to try and fit the cover girl with the description of the characters in the book and I am still uncertain. I think that Page is the tiny dark-haired one on the far left of the cover but I’m not entirely sure. The other three? They are interchangeable as far as I am concerned. All of them seem to be blond. Only one apparently has “cornsilk” coloured hair… is that supposed to be blond or red? Gah!

This book also has the most amazing example of how pop-culture references don’t exactly hold up over time – at least not always with the same meaning. *clears throat* and I quote:

But finally on Wednesday, Jason decided to take things in hand. Just moments after the final bell rang, Jason did what had become to be known on campus as his  ‘O.J. Simpson’;

Wait… so he murdered a bunch of people and then got away with it? Or, he led the police on what was possibly the slowest car chase in the world?

his energetic sprint from his last class to his locker, where it seemed he dashed over, under, and around about half of the Redwood student body.

Ohhhh! Right! Before 1994 O.J. Simpson was known for FOOTBALL! Riiight. And this book, though written in 1988 was actually set in 1985! My bad!

Bets doesn’t really play a large role in this story, it’s mostly Micki and Page. There are some horrible and mean things these girls do to each other and I felt like this book actually portrays the unknown and trying to fit in feeling that we all have entering the ninth grade – whether it be your first year in high school or your third (like in Quebec). Close-knit groups do not let new people join in the fun and the new people resent the close-knit kids and the close-knit kids generally feel that the outsiders think they are better than them. So sad.

There was this one quote at the end of the 15th chapter that I found really summed up high school to a “T”.

“I don’t understand why the world is the way it is,” Jed said. “School is this bizarre place that we have to go to every day, where all kids seem to care about is who has this and who lives there and wins this and loses that. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with what we feel inside.”

Good ol’ outcast, different Jed. That one paragraph pretty much sums up why I felt so connected to these books. Even if I had nothing in common with the rich kids and California and the age difference was there, there were parts of this book that GOT what I was feeling even if it wasn’t like that in real life. No one admits to feeling different than their classmates. People try so hard to fit in and make an impression and care too much about things that don’t really matter.

Being a teen is hard and it sucks and as cheesy as these books from 1988 are, they got it back then. Books today also get it but I don’t relate to them as much for a couple of reasons. First, I don’t have the same way of thinking as I did when I was 12 or 14. I’m not as passionately emotional about everything I do or say. I still know how I FELT about these things but I don’t react to new things with the same gusto. Second, the emotions may be the same but the technology is different. I’m not saying that I don’t get books that have cell phones and internet in them, I’m just saying that I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to grow up surrounded by all that extra noise. It’s got to feel different than growing up with pen and paper and rotary phones, I know it does. I just can’t put myself in that situation. Likely because it terrifies me.

But I digress!

I remember now that I did not care as much for the Class of ’89 as I did for the Class of ’88. Not sure if it was just that I had no connection to the year or just that the characters were slightly more bland. I’m trying to remember if I read all 4 books back then or if I wasn’t able to find them all to complete the set. I shall see as I continue through the years with this four girls as they prepare to graduate high school.

* I found my missing Sophomore book at BetterWorldBooks and it’s on its way to me! I know this because the book wrote me to tell me it was on its way! I think I might write a post about how much BetterWorldBooks impressed me.

Class of ’89

  1. Freshman
  2. Sophomore
  3. Junior
  4. Senior

Class of ’88: Senior

Class of ’88: Senior
by Linda A. Cooney

Five friends. Nick, the golden boy, Celia the beautiful, Sean the thinker, Allie the wild, Meg the brave.

Meg and Nick have stayed away from each other for four years. Finally they want to be together… and someone’s stopping them. Celia and Allie are trying to be friends again. But they both have a date for the prom – with the same guy. Sean is a BMOC and valedictorian, yet he still wants revenge for freshman year.

In high school they lost some hopes, some dreams, some fears. Now they have to hold on to the one thing they’ve got left – each other. (transcribed from back of book)

Dude. I can assure you I did not buy this book because of the summary on the back. How awful is that to stomach? Yeech. I bought it of course, because it’s the final book in the series. Closure! And it’s SENIOR YEAR! Which means SENIOR PROM! *squeeeeeeeeeeee*

Yeah.

There is so much to say about this book, much of it is how cheesy the story is. Ok, so I never did expect this series to be unpredictable and original. I am fairly certain I remember rolling my eyes at 12 almost as much as I did at 34. I do still relate to the underdogs and their wanting to fit in with the rest of the crowd, though it’s not as passionate and emotional as it was then. I was different. I was the Allie in real life. I recall crying when Allie tells her father she wants to study at Theatre college rather than going to real university. I remember crying when Allie and Celia become friends again (even though I think Celia is a moron). I remember not really caring when Meg and Nick finally admitted they loved each other (so not a spoiler since it’s lead up to pretty heavily from Freshman year). I remember feeling slightly vindicated when Sean gets a job at the, er, stereo/tech shop and realizes the guy that taped him to the flagpole his Freshman year is the janitor.

I liked Brooke. I don’t think I ever really paid much attention to her when I first read the books but she sticks out now as one of my favourite characters even though she’s not one of the original five friends.

At one point I thought I was reading a Lisa Mantchev book:

Allie lifted her paperback copy of Romeo and Juliet. “Ever heard of it?”
“Very funny.” He inched closer. “You know, you remind me of Juliet.”
“Must be my eyes like stars.” She crossed her eyes and giggled again. “Or my star-crossed eyes.”

Ha ha! I never noticed that line before, and of course that was not one of the Shakespeare plays I covered in high school.

Speaking of that scene. I had to love/hate Derek, the dumbass University student that Celia was dating. They describe him has having a light blonde mustache, wearing a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches and – get this – smoking a pipe! A PIPE! Even when I was 12 I thought he sounded like a loser and was trying way to hard to be a “cool” university student. (I have never liked facial hair. I don’t like any body hair to be honest, on your head and eye brows are ok, but other than that? Why the hell do we have so much hair? Ick! Ew! Don’t get me started!)

Derek wants to be a poet and he writes crap poetry and he wants to impress his potential Frat brothers (I have never gotten the concept of Fraternities or Sororities either). Celia is dating him because she’s tired of the immature high school scene and she thinks she’ll make an impression by bringing University Stud to her senior prom. Lame.

Of course then Derek meets Allie outside of her father’s classroom at the university and he thinks she’s a university student and he hits on her, realizes she’s still in high school and is miffed when she doesn’t return his attention. He also thinks that artsy Allie is just what he needs to help is poetry career! So he dumps Celia and asks Allie to the prom with her tickets! Jerk.

He was the lamest character ever, and it was meant to be that way. I have to laugh at how pathetic he is and sounds.

In the end all 5 friends spend one last night in the tree house they used to spend all their time in and think about how they have each other and that’s all that matters as they all go off on different college paths.

And now? There’s a Class of ’89, people! Just waiting for their stories to be heard! Of course I am missing the Sophomore year of that series and I can’t seem to find it online. If I see it on Bookmooch people never send to Canada. If I see it on eBay it’s like $14 to ship! What the hell!? Grr. I need that Sophomore book! I cannot read the next series without it.

Fun Fact!: Linda A. Cooney is actually TWO people!  Linda Alper and Kevin Cooney. Tricky, eh? I just learned that while rereading this series.

Class of ’88

  1. Freshman
  2. Sophomore
  3. Junior
  4. Senior

Class of ’88: Junior

Class of ’88: Junior
by Linda A. Cooney

Five friends. Nick, the golden boy, Celia the beautiful, Sean the thinker, Allie the wild, Meg the brave.

— Summary to be transcribed when I get home and have the book with me. Oops!–

I have to admit that although reading the first two in this series triggered memories of reading the books the first time (in 1987/1988) I don’t recall much about this Junior year of the five friends at all. But what struck me was this – the book fit in very well with a guest post I wrote for a blog this week. It was all about how tough it is to be a teen and the stuff I went through, and that others go through and how hard it is to be yourself in high school and not just the person the “cool kids” think you should be.

Although the cover of this third book depicts Sean and Nick, the book has a large focus on Allie, who after spending 6 months in New York City (because her father was transferred) has come back to Northern California and Redwood High and has changed considerably.

The funny thing I realized as I was reading (and I think I felt similarly when I was 12) was that the way they described Allie’s clothing and look (all black, combat boots, black dyed hair) is similar to the way I dress now (ok so I don’t own combat boots) and the way I have always WANTED to dress and envied when I was a kid (when I had no guts to follow through). Wow that was a long sentence with a lot of parenthesis. Oh, well.

Celia, the blond-all-about-being-popular one, is constantly shamed by her hair stylist mother who wears her hair with blue or purple or pink streaks in it. HOLY COW did I WANT that kind of hair when I was 12 and here is a book that promotes preppy and following the crowd and shuns her. Had they never watched Jem and the Holograms? (I was totally going to be in that cartoon band, by the way.) The fact that most of the kids in these books look down on those whose style and expression is different is a HUGE point in this series. It’s hard being in high school and it’s very hard to walk to the beat of your own drum when 90% of the population is telling you that makes you a loser and uncool.

Allie discovered while she was away that she didn’t like the same things her best friend since they were born liked. She felt because she didn’t like school or dressing in the latest fashions she had no future – a slogan that was printed on her black jacket which she sported daily. Celia shunned her and made it a project to get Allie back in the good graces of the cool and popular, but Allie didn’t want anything to do with it. The only person she could talk to was Sean who went from being bullied and being called a nerd in Freshman and Sophomore years to being respected because he was smart and able to repair computers, amps, tech stuff. He was finally “cool” and because of this almost lost his first girlfriend – a girl named Brooke who was PROUD to be different and quirky and lost his friendship with Allie.

Meanwhile Meg and Nick were on the back burner for this book. They are still in love with each other but won’t admit it and continuously date people they don’t really want just to make the other jealous or have someone. Yawn. Boring.

What struck me the most was how much this book resonated with how I felt growing up and even though this is one of the stories I remember the least in the series, I know that I must have felt the same way when I first read it – EXCEPT! – I would have been way too insecure and shy to be that punk, alternative, new-wave girl that I longed to be. These days? I wear what I want, when I want and I will opt for comfort over fashion 99.9% of the time. I am the Allie that was emerging in this book, only a lot less moody. 😉

Allie does find something she loves to do in the end – acting. She joins the drama club and gets the lead part in a play. She is shunned for this by her now former BFF, Celia because only lame losers join drama and don’t focus on dating college boys, prom, or cheerleading.

Celia has always been my least favourite character in this series. I have always loved Allie and Sean. Nick, although he sounds dreamy (and constantly refered to as “blonde good look” and yet always drawn with dark brown hair and eyes on the covers) and Meg have always just been background, never really thought about characters. Do not like or dislike them. They are just there. Rather bland.

I’m just starting the final book out of the four – we’re about to enter Senior year and finally become the official Class of ’88!

Oh, and I am so sick of basketball ALWAYS being written as “b-ball”. Not once is anyone referred to or the game mentioned as a fully written out word. Did Americans really talk like that in the ’80s? I don’t remember. I am pretty sure that here in Canada we often used the full word. Say it with me now, “BASKET – BALL”. There now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Class of ’88

  1. Freshman
  2. Sophomore
  3. Junior
  4. Senior