The girls are Jan Bateman the likeable average girl who longs at times for a taste of popularity , Karen Fisher who loves sci-fi but often feels put upon for her sensible, quiet nature , kooky Amy Danner who expresses herself with wild clothing and the twins Beth and Sara Greenfield. Fair Weather Love – Carla Bracale First Love From Silhouette FIRST LOVE FROM SILHOUETTE – Put out by Silhouette the grand daddy of all romance publishing this series debuted in October of 1981.
) The other main writer was Lisa Norby who had been writing for lots of teen series like Cheerleaders , Heart to Heart , Turning points and who knows what else. Fifth Grade Stars featured the sudden friendship of five girls who have one thing in common – they share the purposed stigma of riding the Sugar Tree Acres bus Route to and from the ex-boondocks-now-new subdivision.
The stories are fun , interesting and above all believable, even though Glenda works two hard years to lose weight and still isn’t what you’d call skinny she must battle, double hard, with a mother who is also overweight and at times not the most sympathetic especially when sending Glenda off to pick up a big cheesecake. The characters were lively and the action though typical , fun.
After creating a likable , relatable character with Glenda Waite , overweight but struggling to lose it , Lila got so many letters from fans wanting to hear more about Glenda’s diets and success, she created three more books. Being unencumbered by linking the stories the authors had the freedom to be fresh and find their own tone.
The books start out with sweet-natured and gullible Linda Ellis being talked into entering the Miss Crandalls beauty pageant, hosted by the posh Crandalls store. A reader asked about it and said that the main character Lexi Turner moves to New York to live with an aunt – Possibly due to becoming an orphan or to escape her parents messy divorce. , and trimmed down sentences, sometimes just a one word neatly placed – Smooth. All of the boarders however are seemingly young and hip- Angelo De Furie a.k.a Fury a wicked surfer , pretty but secretive Pamela Easton , talkative Jed , and aspiring country Western singer Tracy. The series revolves around the head butting between two rival cliques in Wakeman – ahem Wacko Junior High – The Fabulous five – Jana Morgan – their sweet likable leader whose been going steady with sensitive hunk Randy Kirwin since sixth grade, Beth Barry – the theatrical show-off , Christie Winchell – the tennis loving brainiac , Melanie Edwards – the dreamy , boycrazy sweetheart and Katie Shannon – the ridged , opinionated feminist.
Instantly hooked on beauty pageants despite the back biting , the spaced out drugged, out contestants , Linda Ellis seems to ignore these horrors but none so especially as Arlene Mc Vie who will do anything to win that includes whipping up a special facial complete with strawberries even though Linda’s deathly allergic to them , spreading a rumor that Linda and her attentive teacher are having an affair and rubbing Ben-Gay into her eyes for quick sudden tears to ensure instant forgiveness for her awful behavior of which , sweet, gullible, naive , stupid Linda is only to quick do. Anyhow , there in New York she develops a hot new look and starts a band called Electric High. Elizabeth Gail and the Missing Love Letters 1982 14. The characters revolved around a set of friends – likable popular Jenny Sawyer , brusk , bossy and abrasive Diane , tag-a-long Sharon who always puts her foot in her mouth , Jack the trouble making red head and the star Elsie Edwards who starts in the first book as a fat lonely girl , who steals the other kids lunch money when she is forced on a diet by her unsympathetic mother. Most of the action takes place on the beach with Leslie , proud to be the only girl lifeguard. The Fantastic Four ( thank god it’s not the Sensational Seven!
Fast Forward – 1989 The Fabulous Five This series was put out by Bantam Skylark as a evolution from an ongoing successful series of non-numbered books at the time, dubbed the Taffy Books , about the same group of girls only one year older.
One story featured a popularity driven girl seeking to score mythical Duran Duran tickets, another girl spending the week at her ultra rich friends house for a week to see how the other half lives , a class clown trying to cope with her parents divorce, a girl who discovers her assigned ‘big sis’ might by only using her , to best friends threatned when boys enter the mix to a girl mortified that her social climbing might have plummeted when she is banished to the nerdish West Wing with the creepy computer whiz’s.
The series was written by Jane Foster Thornton who, unlike some other series authors seems to have written little else for preteens or teens ( though I have been anticipating this read more than any other series that has escaped my clutches – Roots of Love , Dawn of Love , and Changes.) This cover is Bantam’s publishing concept however on sellers offer the series published by Warner. The stories carry Elizabeth from her arrival on the Johnson family farm when she is called Libby till she begins to blossom into an young woman who is then called Elizabeth, changing the plots to accommodate her age and interests. Elizabeth Gail and the Trouble at Sandhill Ranch 1980 6. ( I say this because Susan Saunders was borrowed for two of the books which have some similarities to her series the Sleepover Friends. – Bullesye a division of Knopf released this short lived series in 1989 after Sleepover Friends had been going for almost two years. Even as First Love was being turned into Keepsake , a few books were reprinted and two new Blossom Valley books were put out. The stories were such a hit they were released with ( instead of the First Love From Silhouette arch ) a Blossom Valley Book arch. A curio in that it bore more likeness to a thematic series that a character driven series. Loyal readers urged returning characters from Dorothy Francis who had a hit with Vonnie in Special Girl and even series with-in a series – Nicole Hart’s Hart mysteries , Becky Stewart’s ( a.k.a Stuart Buchan’s) Kellogg and Carey mysteries , Elaine Harpers 18 Blossom Valley books which took one character Janine through highschool romance to marriage , pregnancy , and child. Fat Glenda Turns Fourteen – 1991 Fifteen Series- Peppy shortlived series put out by Signet Vista in the mid-80’s. The stories were the usual blend of romance and light drama and the packaging was nice albeit the fuzzy soft focus close up shots were a tad unusual, all in all bad timing hampered this series more than anything. First Love From Silhouette never just focused on romance but rather on a character’s adaption to a new environment , situation or boy , a situation usually already crackling with adventure and mystery. ***NEW*** Click on the series title for ULTIMATE PAGES – which will include book covers and book descriptions*** It’s a work in progress so only a few are ready *** Enjoy! Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You – 1985 Endless Summer – Released by Ivy and written by Linda Davidson who would go on to write some interesting teen horrors in the 90’s , Endless Summer featured a plot theme basically lifted from a Family Ties episode. Expanded and altered from first person point of view to omnipresent and written by Betsy Haynes, the series shows the most glowing report of school life outside of a Andy Hardy movie and even manages to one-up Sweet Valley High with their loyalty. Dream Girls – Put out by Archway in 1986 this series was written by Rosemary Joyce, whom were are told participated in pageants – if so, one wonders, what in the world was she thinking?! Up To No Good – 1987 ELECTRIC HIGH Don’t know much about this series – It has been doing it’s best to elude me! Elizabeth Gail and the Summer for Weddings 1983 18. Elizabeth Gail and the Great Canoe Conspiracy 1991 20. Elizabeth Gail and the Secret of the Gold Charm 1992 Elsie Edwards – Put out by Viking , and Apple , and Point , who offered reissues as new stories were added. Barthe De Clements is one of those writers that in tone, resembles Judy Blume but without half the cruelty or self absorbed characters , her stories throb along with laid back lingo like Awe Right! While their parents are away Leslie’s brother gets into a car accident and to pay for the repairs they take boarders into their beach house. It features a cast of characters that grows like the blob and yet still manages to keep such a balance , your head doesn’t spin by the sheer numbers, probably because each character manages to rise above the usual cliches. The girls battle the Clovers a bunch of snobby rich girls lead by Holly Hudnut who demands all of the Clovers wear side ponytails. It seemed only the strongest had survived – Sweet Dreams which wouldn’t last long into the 90’s and even Sunfire would end the next year in 1989. And though it’s debatable as to wether this series or Sweet Dreams is better I’ll always have a bit of a sweet spot for First Love. Beth is energetic and craves excitement while Sara the more introverted of the two continues a never ending project of writing her own romance novel. The Goofy Gamble – Anna Douglas – 1989 First Kiss – Put out by Ivy in 1988 this series was rather ill-timed, with First Love repackaged as Keepsake and ready to turn in, along with Crosswinds and all of the other thematic romance series since long gone – Wildfire , Wishing Star , Windswept etc. With a plethora of interesting , unique writers they offered up romance and adventure four times a month!