Cover Crush: 80s/90s Series YA Part 1

There was a joy with some of these covers that are slowly evolving to vintage (I'm feeling old saying this.) I love the modern covers but in a completely different way. There's something about the stylish, drawn and artistic older covers that suits me even better. Also check out the 80s/90s YA and Children's Horror List, which was my top favorite of the group.

I admit I hold on to some of these mainly for the artwork alone, and have sought out specific older books to match the cover I remember.

The Babysitter's Club

Like most readers of that age, I read the Babysitter's Club. The series didn't draw me in strongly enough to make me a completionist or a lifelong fan - I was drawn to the darker or riskier YA stuff at that age, and there was something that felt a little false sometimes about the writing. Still there were enjoyable stories and I had my favorites - some of the themes are pretty serious, such as the type 1 Diabetes - and it was nice to see so many different personalities becoming friends and surviving the ups and downs of life together as a unit. From sick grandmothers, to tutoring smaller kids, to divorce and moving, it was joys and trials for the Babysitter's Club.

The covers did an excellent job of taking a scene from the story that gets the point across and slapping it on the cover. Instead of a general shocked look or something fun just thrown in there, it was usually a moving or fun scene (depending on the type of story) that almost looked like a photograph. I'm not the only one into these covers, though - there's even current lists out there about them such as The Definitive Ranking Of All 131 Baby-Sitter’s Club Cover Outfits. If you're a fan of the series, you may also be interested in The Baby-Sitters Club: Where Are They Now?.

Let's go to school with Scholastic and Puffin

There were a lot of fun covers with groups of kids at school or from school. A lot of these seemed to focus on third to sixth grade. There are several others I could have put up in place of these, but these are my favorites that I've ran across. I remember loving 'Nothings fair in Fifth Grade' and reading that one a few times.

Sweet Valley Twins

Even I was drawn into a few of these. I wasn't a huge fan of them, though - the sisterly bond could be fun, but there was a simplicity I didn't enjoy in the ones I sampled. Still, the covers were tempting. Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield came across as pretty on the cover as they did described in the stories. There is a Harlequin vibe in the circled image.

The Fabulous Five

One of my favorite teenage series, I preferred these over Sweet Valley High. Didn't read a lot of them unfortunately.  There were a lot to collect and I only had limited funds. I enjoy the details of the scene and how well the artist captured the emotion of the characters.

The Girls of Canby Hall

Very sadly, I didn't read any of these, but they sound like they may actually be the best. I love boarding school stories, so I may actually look these up sometime just to see if they are decent reads now. There were 33 in the series. I'm going to be hunting at least one of them down - count on it. I especially like the shocked face of the girl hearing the secret for 'Boy Trouble'. It's almost Pin-up quality exaggeration. Here Come the Boys reminds me of Fabulous Five and Tabby Sinclair type covers.

Taffy Sinclair

I don't know how well these would stand up if I re-read them today, but I loved Taffy Sinclair growing up and had/read all of these. They were typical teenager girl experience books, mainly focusing on school.  I have to wonder why there's so much space between the ceiling/title and the girls in the last one, but I remember liking that book.


I heard this series was actually well and done and more for older YA. The covers are classic - love the shocked expressions and color detail. Written by different authors, there were 20 books written over 3 years. Filled with drama and early college life, this is another one I'd like to read now. I just ordered the first one, All-Nighter. These were written by different authors so the experience in reading them may differ. I especially like the zoomed in, larger than life illustration focusing on the characters.