Saturday, May 25, 2019

Wildfire #26 Nancy and Nick and #27 Tori/The Best Summer

Wildfire #26 Nancy and Nick, Caroline B. Cooney, 1982
Whenever I see a good-looking boy, I am impressed first and embarrassed second.  I am never quite sure what embarrasses me, but I start blushing as if I had written about him in my diary and he had just read it...
Nancy has lots of dream dates—but no real ones.  She never knows what to say or how to act around boys.

But with Nick it's different.  The first time they meet, they laugh and talk and joke, but Nick thinks of her as just a friend—and Nancy begins to wonder if all her dates will be dream dates... If only they didn't live so far apart.  They never get to see each other.

Then Nancy invites Nick to the Final Fling at her school.  She's so excited!  The last thing she expects is a disaster...

I never felt anything about the relationship in this book.  It was mostly nothing to me.  The book is overall good but just marginally interesting.

Wildfire #27 Tori/The Best Summer, Diane McClure, 1982

TORI—Tori has a quick answer, a joke, or an insult, for everyone—except Dom, the one boy she really cares about.  She never knows what to say to him and feels so confused and uncomfortable.  Does he want her to change?  Be more "ladylike"?  Can she become someone else?  

THE BEST SUMMER—For Sandy, summer is rowing and swimming and picnics... and Greg.  This should be her best summer ever!  She and Greg have both entered the community boat race.  But suddenly the race doesn't matter to Greg anymore—and maybe Sandy doesn't either.  She feels so hurt.  What went wrong?  Why doesn't he care?

And why should I care?

Tori/The Best Summer contains two stories, and I found both of them to be uninteresting and boring.  I read a little of each, skimmed, and abandoned both of them.  I do not like this book.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Wildfire #24 Lisa and #25 Secret Love

Wildfire #24 Lisa, Arlene Hale, 1981

Brad and Lisa.  Lisa and Brad.  The most popular couple in Centerville High.  Always together, the center of attention.

Lisa is crushed when her parents announce that they're going abroad for the summer, and Lisa will be staying with her grandparents in tiny Reynolds, Iowa—on a farm.

Lisa hates Reynolds from the start.  She thinks she hates Charlie, too, the "country boy" from down the road.  But after a few weeks she's not so sure.  Charlie is caring and strong and sweet.  And by the end of the summer they're in love!

But Lisa is going back to Centerville.  Will Charlie still be important?  Or will Lisa get caught up in her old life... with Brad?

This is another misleading summary.  The book is about Lisa being rude to her grandparents, running around with horrible people, and ignoring people who are worthwhile.

Lisa is far too interested in being popular and being seen with popular kids for me to like her much.  She is clueless for practically the entire book.  The growth needs to happen a little sooner for me to enjoy reading the story.  I also didn't find Charlie that alluring.  The book is just okay until near the end when it gets better once Lisa finally gets a clue.

Wildfire #25 Secret Love, Barbara Steiner, 1982

The first red rose arrives after Mandy sprains her ankle.  The second one comes on her birthday.  The cards are not signed. 

Mandy hardly has time to think about it—her sophomore year is so confusing!  Matt wants to go steady, but Mandy’s not ready.  Pris, her best friend, is only interested in dating, so she and Mandy are growing apart.  And Ted,  her longtime friend, is acting distant and cool.

The roses remain a mystery—until ten more arrive the day of the Christmas dance, and Mandy
learns that secret love can be true love...

Mandy has no idea who is sending her roses, but it's pretty obvious to the reader which boy really likes her.

This is a good book.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Wildfire #22 Sixteen Can Be Sweet and #23 Take Care of My Girl

Wildfire #22 Sixteen Can Be Sweet, Maud Johnson, 1978

Jenny West is so happy—sweet sixteen and summer on the way!  But her life turns sour when her father's illness sends the Wests off to an isolated beach for the whole summer. 

Jenny's miserable until the bright morning when she looks up and finds herself face to face with Keith Ericson.  The golden days stretch ahead of them—days of walking on the beach, holding hands, sharing secrets. 

But too soon it's September—the summer is over—and Jenny wonders how can she bear to leave Keith...

This story reminds me somewhat of Augusta Huiell Seaman's books that are set on the Jersey coast.  Jenny's family is staying on the coast in order for her father to recover his health, and Jenny is lonely.  Seaman's coastal books feature similar plots.

The cover art amuses me.  The girl is so close to the fire that it appears that the fire is licking at her legs.  Yikes.

Wildfire #23 Take Care of my Girl, Carol Stanley, 1978

Kate never makes trouble—she does all the right things.  But her life is boring.  Then she goes to live with the Myers for a year and her whole life changes.  Aunt Caroline hangs loose about routine and rules.  But she makes Kate try things she has never tried before.  And her older cousin Laura shows Kate a new world of dating and boys.  And Andy?  Well, Andy teaches her all kinds of things—especially how to get a hard-to-get boy.

Neither of these books is special, but I enjoyed both of them.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

An Exciting Library Edition Find

A woman has been selling her deceased sister's series book collection in the Facebook groups.  The deceased collector was known to me, and I sold her a number of books years ago.  I decided to purchase an eclectic mixture of the books, focusing primary on library editions.  The books were purchased solely based on short descriptions provided in a number of spreadsheets.  I did not have pictures of the books.  I selected every library edition since I figured there was a chance the collector might have owned some variants that I did not have.  I also purchased some other miscellaneous books.

The books arrived today.  Here is a photo showing what I received.


The books were in small stacks wrapped in plastic, and I unwrapped one stack at a time.  I was dumbfounded—and rather excited—when I saw the following library edition of The Message in the Hollow Oak.



This binding is known as either the "Magnifying Glass" or "Cameo" library binding.  I have collected these books for 18 years.  I have 182—now 183—of them for Nancy Drew #1 through #34, except for one title that I have never seen anywhere.  Guess which title that is?  The Message in the Hollow Oak!

I have never understood why this one title has never before surfaced for me.  It wasn't logical that it would have been skipped in the sequence, but binderies do not necessarily rebind every title in a series.  I had pretty much decided that The Message in the Hollow Oak did not exist in this binding.  I am thrilled to be wrong.  The copy I have is pretty rough, but at least I now have one.  I never reject rough condition copies.  They are always stepping stones to better copies.  Most importantly, this copy proves that this title does exist in this format.

I also really like these library editions.  I like the spine design, and the books are in excellent condition.



This next book is neat.




All three outside edges are stained red.  This is the first library binding I have ever seen in this style.

As I gazed at the group of books, I wondered if I had just repurchased any books that I had sold to this collector.  It's been too many years to know what she purchased from me.  My eyes immediately fell on the Bound to Stay Bound binding of The Clue in the Diary that is seen in the top right corner of the first picture in this post.  Hmm.  The lettering "F" with "Kee" right beneath looks mighty familiar.

I opened the book, and it is from Houchin Elementary in the Moore Public Schools.  Moore, Oklahoma, is a city just to my south in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.  That just about clinched it.  I immediately went to my set of Bound to Stay Bound books and spotted multiple books with the same lettering on the spine.  They are all from Houchin Elementary.  While I cannot remember any details, I know that I must have purchased a bulk lot of books that came from Houchin Elementary and sold all the extras.  The other three Bound to Stay Bound books that I just received today also came from Houchin Elementary.

It's likely that some of the other library editions came from me as well, although I will never know for sure.  Anyone who buys and sells series books over the years will end up with the same books coming back at times.  It probably happens more often than I realize, and I only know when the books have distinctive markings that are memorable.

Wildfire #20 A Kiss for Tomorrow and #21 A Place for Me

Wildfire #20 A Kiss for Tomorrow, Maud Johnson, 1981

A lightning bug flew between Nick and me.  Both of us reached out for it, our palms cupped.  We missed the bug, but our fingers touched and somehow Nick was holding my two hands in his, and he didn't turn them loose.  

The summer Edie dreaded turns out to be magic!  When she leaves Chicago to visit her father in the little town he's moved to, she doesn’t expect to meet someone like Nick—serious, sensitive, and tender. 

But he's older, a college student, and already has a girlfriend.  Even so, Edie's never felt so attracted to a boy, and wonders if she's falling in love...

This story has as subplot in which Edie and Nick end up solving a mystery.  This is a very good book.

Wildfire #21 A Place for Me, Helen Cavanagh, 1981

Jonathan is Colleen Kelly's secret!  He's her first boyfriend—sensitive and serious, and he understands her need for privacy.  Colleen doesn't want to share Jonathan with anyone, especially her big, noisy family!  So they meet alone, taking long, quiet rides on their horses.

But Colleen can't keep her secret forever.  Soon the Kellys find out about Jonathan.  They meet him, make him part of the family—and Colleen is scared.  She doesn't want their special relationship to change.  Can she hold onto him?  Will they still have enough time for themselves?

This story is quite compelling.  This is a very good to excellent book.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Wildfire #18 The Voices of Julie and #19 Second Best

Wildfire #18 The Voices of Julie, Joan Oppenhemier, 1979

Julie can stay out with Nick as late as she wants.  She can skip homework or chores— she's got it made!  She lives with her easy going aunt Roz who lets her do anything.

Her only problem is Tony, her best friend's brother.  Tony doesn't approve of Julie.  He keeps trying to get her to shape up.  And he makes her so mad!  Julie wishes he would stay out of her life—until the unforgettable night when she gets lost in the fog...

The first half of the story is annoying and partially boring.  Julie does impressions, and they aren't funny in the book.  If I could have seen a live action version of Julie doing the impressions, then I might have found them entertaining.  I skipped over all of the impressions as well as the parts where Julie is the class clown.

Later in the story, Julie quits doing the impressions as she experiences personal growth.  This part of the story is much better.  The first part of the story is just okay, while the later part is very good.

Wildfire #19 Second Best, Helen Cavanagh, 1979

Shelly Barr thinks she's boring and plain, and always feels second best.  But Ryan Gallagher thinks she's someone special and wants to go steady with her!  She’s excited and happy—until her sister fixes her up with Nick, a sophisticated college boy.

Shelly tries to keep the date a secret, but Ryan finds out and angrily breaks up with her.  And Shelly's not even sure she likes Nick.  Their first date was such a disaster! 

Shelly's so worried.  All she wants is Ryan, but she wonders if a second-best girl can wind up in first place...

This story seems to have inspired the Sweet Valley High book, Lovestruck.  Shelly tries to act sophisticated, like Ken Matthews.  Shelly doesn't get her paper written, so she plagiarizes someone else's paper, just like Ken does.  As is typical, the back cover summary of the Wildfire book fails to mention these plot points.

This is a very good book.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Wildfire #16 I Want to Be Me and #17 The Best of Friends

Wildfire #16 I Want to be Me, Dorothy Bastien, 1978

Starting over in a new school is hard for anybody.  But it's a disaster when your father is the new principal!  Donna's miserable at school—and at home.  Her parents don't trust her, and never let her go to parties or dances.

The only bright spot in Donna's life is Tack—strong, sensible, happy-go-lucky Tack.  Everybody likes him—except Donna's father.  He says Tack's too old for her, and forces Donna to break her very first date with him.  She's crushed and Tack doesn't understand.  Does Donna care about him enough to face her father's anger?

This book is not really a romance.  The story is about Donna's excessively strict parents who do not trust her at all.  As Donna copes with her loneliness, she becomes aware of the plight of the wild horses, which are being killed by ranchers.  Donna must go against her parents in order to help the horses.  Donna also does a little investigating as she tries to discover what a neighbor is doing in his old barn.

This story is quite compelling.  It is excellent.

Wildfire #17 The Best of Friends, Jill Ross Klevin, 1981

Allison Lawrence has given up hope.  She's convinced that Bobby Stern, the boy of her dreams, will never notice her.

It takes gorgeous Susannah Ellis to turn Allison's life around.  The girls agree to swap—Allison will help Susannah improve her grades, and Susannah will help Allison improve her looks... and win Bobby!

Before she knows it, Bobby asks Allison for a date, and soon they're going steady.  But Allison's dream bubble bursts when Bobby starts mentioning a friend named Judy... and breaking dates. 


Miserable and confused, Allison decides to break up with Bobby—and has the surprise of her life!

I had previously tried to read the two books by Jill Ross Klevin that came earlier in the Wildfire set.  I was not able to read either book due to finding them to be completely boring.  For that reason, I didn't want to give this book a chance.

I started reading it and noted the same excessive detail about the physical attributes and personalities of both Allison and Susannah.  I quit reading and read a few other books.  I tried again and finally managed to get out of the first chapter, which is terribly boring.

The story greatly improves after the first chapter.  While the synopsis does describe the general plot, the book is more about Allison becoming friends with Susannah, who is completely different from her, than it is about romance.  I found the girls' relationship to be fascinating as it developed through the story.  This is a very good book.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Wildfire #14 Yours Truly, Love, Janie and #15 The Summer of the Sky-Blue Bikini

14. Yours Truly, Love, Janie, Ann Reit, 1981
GOOD LOOKING COWBOY, sensitive, intelligent, 21 years old wishes to correspond with equally understanding, sophisticated, city girl.
Janie Downs, unsophisticated, small town, sixteen-year-old, sees the magazine ad and knows it's the "something exciting" she's been waiting for!  She begins writing secretly to Duke McCoy and pretends she's all the things he wants—including older.

Peter, Janie's boyfriend—good-looking, smart, fun, and the star of the basketball team—adores Janie.  But when she loses herself in her dreams of Duke, Peter gets tired of being second best... and walks away. 

Then Duke writes that he's coming for a visit, and Janie panics!  What will Duke think when he meets the real Janie?  And has she lost Peter forever?

This book is hard to enjoy because Janie is a complete idiot.  When Jessica Wakefield pulls stunts like this, the reader is in for a lot of fun.  Janie... not so much.  I cringed my way through the entire book.  I only marginally enjoyed this story.

15. The Summer of the Sky-Blue Bikini, Jill Ross Klevin, 1978

"I guess what it comes down to is I'll have to choose. Guy—or Stacy and the other kids.  Them or Guy.  I can't have them both.”

Abby's summer on Castle Island is a lot of fun—at first.  She's popular with the kids.  They invite her to parties, and Abby is the center of attention! 

Then she meets Guy.  He's Abby's dream-boy, with blond hair and a terrific smile!  But the other kids don't like him.  He's an outsider to their in-group. 

Abby knows she must make a choice... and it won't be easy.

I could not read this book.  I found it uninteresting.