My parents, like many of their peers in the 1990s, believed that summer camp was a thing for rich kids without imagination. So, almost every day, I would convince my grandma to leave a re-run of the Young and the Restless behind for a trip to the library — a cool, dark refuge from the hot-AF, bored-AF reality that was still somehow far better than going to school.
I’m still a regular at the library, but this book didn’t catch my eye until I was there for — shudder — actual work, on a day my office was without wi-fi. Someone had made a display featuring Paperback Crush, by Gabrielle Moss, and it hit me right in the nostalgia.
I don’t have to tell you why. You get it. This cover is everything —from the hyper-realistic 3d horse poster, to the dirty socks, to the classic friend trio engrossed what’s likely a copy of J-14 while in a room clearly designed for a 10-year-old. But the best content was inside the book. I’ve compiled some of my favorite covers below so you can see what I mean.
1. Covering The Awkward Stage
Are you there God? It’s me, Megan. I’ve entered the time in my life when everyone I know forbids me from carrying anything important because I drop it immediately. And, the cheese on everything I touch slides right off. I’m like an anti-dairy Midas.
“Is tennis the only game she knows how to play?” Yes. Yes it is. That racket (and that haircut) is more than enough to keep mortal men at bay.
2. Explaining Why Food = Life
Same, girl. Same. Which is why the next book resonated with me (and why the 3 p.m. cashier at CookOut knows me by name).
As a side note, I am really pulling for Pardon Me, You’re Stepping on My Eyeball! as my book club’s next pick.
3. On Sex Education
I think I can figure out what Bunk 5 is, but is he the bat? Is this a connection based on sonar or simply some weird camp counselor code for hanky-panky? Thanks Paula Danziger. This is is a euphemism I will now be using for the rest of my life.
Ok, great message here — love is love. But the execution? TERRIBLE. Because, you know what? Happy Endings are all alike. And they’re called Happy for a reason that Sandra Scoppettone doesn’t understand.
Come ON, Eve Bunting. We all know that Johnny hasn’t made enough dough from his paper route to buy these girls a single Yoo-hoo.
4. On Learning Hard Lessons
She’s about to discover that no amount of tears will stop this train.
Thanks to Francine Pascal, we were all taught about boys who wear white shirts and acid-washed jeans in a way that may or may have not backfired. Clearly, the one in the leather jacket is the leader here. That’s who you set your sights on, Jessica.
When a blond-haired bully strikes, it’s best to tame her with a well-placed hallway baby in a basket. Also, if I had a name like Taffy, I also might be led to a history of petty violence.
5. On Things That Keep You Up at Night
Is the one in the air a levitating ghost? Or a tumbler who, based on her trajectory toward the floor, is about to become one? Why is this hotdog being comforted by a rhinestone cowgirl, who is wearing boots on a gymnastics mat? I have so many questions, Elizabeth Levy.
You turned down the volume on Tom Brokaw one too many times, Karen, and grandpa’s coming for you.
6. And, on Leaving for Good.
A simple wave will do. We couldn’t be happier to see you go.
All images sourced from Paperback Crush by Gabreille Moss. This post is in no way affiliated with the author, and we hope she doesn’t make us take it down. Read reviews of the book here.