Well, they're definitely no BSC: Original Formula. That said, I read them for the first time as an adult the first time this fall/winter and they weren't as bad as I thought they'd be. While the plotting is pretty lame (with the possible exception of "Kristy's Big News") I don't think the writing in and of itself is horrible (at least on the relativity scale--then again, I was shopping for middle-grade chapter books and YA books for my cousins and some other kids on my Christmas list, and ye gods, there is some awful stuff for kids (especially girls) out there these days. I found lots of good stuff, too, but it took a lot of digging behind copy upon copy of "Gossip Girls" and "The Clique." I don't think I'm a prude, but it seemed awfully hard to find books for teenage girls that WEREN'T just about sex and clothes, especially for someone who's not a big fan of fantasy/horror).
Anyway, the plots are pretty lame, but I think there are occasional nice details in the writing, and that the voices of the girls actually sound more like thirteen-year-olds. Like, Mary Anne's Big Break-Up is largely a retread of Mary Anne vs. Logan, but I like the details of Logan actually crying when they break up (hah hah I'm a b*tch, but that's priceless, and the scene is actually not bad at capturing a bit of the spirit of the total panicky freakiness of that moment), and Logan's jock friends being jerks in the hallways (I mean, the break up itself seems obviously exaggerated in importance, but the packrat nature of kids in that situation is, in my experience, often true), and Kristy's total bitchiness--it's all so much more middle school than the gooshy soap operatics of the Valentines' Dinner and the big reunion date in 41/46.
I also like that, in general, I think we see the girls' families a lot more in FF. Maybe it's because they're SO buddy-buddy in the BSC, but in FF, you actually SEE Sharon and Mary Anne having a relationship. Kristy actually talks to her mother (and her older brothers). Claudia's mom hugs her before she leaves for school! (I would argue Stacey and her mom probably have the best relationship in the original series, at least in the later, post divorce books, so it's not as much of a shift with her). I'm one of the people who likes the baby-sitting plots in the original series, but I like that they aren't mini-adults here, too.
On the other hand, from a publishing/editorial standpoint, I'd love to know how some of those decisions got made. Maybe if I ever get to be buddies with David Levinthal (hey! we have the same taste in music! And I giggled when I read his dedication pages! That's enough to start a friendship, right?) he'll be able to give me some inside secrets. I don't know THAT much about the actual business end of publishing, but there is something kind of odd about the whole Friends Forever series. Considering how long it usually takes a book--even a short series book--to get through proofing and cover design and printing and distribution, they must have at least half the books already plotted, if not completed when they decided to put out "Graduation Day," and that really contributes to the half-heartedness of the series, I think. (Actually, I think it's the last half of the series that really careerns into inanity, especially the total waste of paper and ink that is "Kristy and the Kidnapper.") It's not long enough to really settle into the "newer" voices, and WAY too much time is spent on that stupid Jeremy thing. If the series was longer, for example, I think the plot of Stacey's Problem could have been stretched out over a couple books. As it is, everyone just seems kind of dopey. We also could have at least caught up with other people--Mallory makes an appearance in Stacey's Problem, and Abby hangs around some, but instead we spend a lot of time with Stacey's friend Rachel and the not-all-that Jeremy.
I don't have dates or stats to back this up, but I seem to remember that around the end of the BSC-era, there was a big boom in YA/kid series based on TV shows. There were two based on Full House I know, plus series for virtually every show on the network-formerly-known as-the-WB. Anyway, I wonder if some of the physical redesign was meant to make the books physically resemble those other series, since those usually featured actor photographs on bright garish backgrounds. And especially with the e-mail and the abbreviations and everything.
I was shopping for middle-grade chapter books and YA books for my cousins and some other kids on my Christmas list, and ye gods, there is some awful stuff for kids (especially girls) out there these days. I found lots of good stuff, too, but it took a lot of digging behind copy upon copy of "Gossip Girls" and "The Clique." I don't think I'm a prude, but it seemed awfully hard to find books for teenage girls that WEREN'T just about sex and clothes, especially for someone who's not a big fan of fantasy/horror).
My cousin is a fan of fantasy. Her wishlist said books 250-860 pages long. Heh, look what you've done J. K. Rowling! I was thinking about getting her some books I liked as a kid, but they seem so dinky compared to books nowadays. She's eleven and I ended up getting YA books. It's just not the same anymore. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing. When she was younger, I used to cringe at the silly 40 page books she had.
I thought I read that the FF series was always meant to be the end, but it also seemed like they were trying to revitalize the series. You're probably right about the covers. But I think at that point the books were just from an era that didn't exist anymore.
Post by sotypical42483 on Jun 5, 2007 21:19:50 GMT -5
I had no clue the FF series even EXISTED til I joined the BSC lj community so my opinion is really biased... I love them because I was so freaking stoked to find out about BSC books I'd never read before. Any new BSC books are so exciting to me. Later series books that I haven't read... I eat those up like Claudia eats up twinkies.
The first time I thought I ever heard of the FF series I was about 8....which would have been 1997 and thats totally not right. So I tried to remember this 'series' I was looking at that was definately the BSC girls but it was sort of a spinoff and it wasnt California Diaries either...and I realise now that I dreamt it and never knew. Not saying I dreamt the FF series in particular but it was strange all the same. It was just funny me trying to find the books from my dream
Post by blossom114 on Jan 19, 2008 14:40:55 GMT -5
i dont mind the FF's too much, though they're definitely different, and i've only read a few of them (the two SS's and Kristy adn the Kidnapper, and the ones i've pulled off the internet for ebooks). I just read Welcome Home Mary Anne for the first time, and surprised at how much I liked it. I liked reading about Sunny, but she's definitely got some bi-polar issues going on in this book. (that could be because of her mom, which is understandable, but was she like this before her mom got sick and died? The girl needs medication). I loved the sound of the "barn/house". It sounded gorgeous, and wouldn't mind living there myself
I don't think she is bipolar. She is just grieving for the premature loss of her mom. Before her mom got sick she was always impulsive and outgoing though. I think she is trying to overcompensate for her pain by acting like her old self, but then her grief creeps up on her.
"You may not believe this, but I was good at acting evil."--Karen Brewer