Throwback: Teen Novels set in the 80’s

Eleanor and Park book cover

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
YA ROWELL, R.
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits–smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

aristotle-and-dante-discover-the-secrets-of-the-universe book cover

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
YA Sáenz, B.
Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions he has never asked before about himself, his parents, and his family.

BitterMelon

Bitter Melon by Cara Chow
YA CHOW, C.
With the encouragement of one of her teachers, a Chinese American high school senior asserts herself against her demanding, old-school mother and carves out an identity for herself in late 1980s San Francisco.

the boy on the bridge book cover

The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford
YA STANDIFORD, N.
It is 1982 and nineteen-year-old Laura Reid is spending a semester in Leningrad studying Russian, but when she meets Alyosha she discovers the dissident Russia–a world of wild parties, underground books and music, love, and constant danger.

GoingOver

Going Over by Beth Kephart
YA KEPHART, B.
In the early 1980s Ada and Stefan are young, would-be lovers living on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall–Ada lives with her mother and grandmother and paints graffiti on the Wall, and Stefan lives with his grandmother in the East and dreams of escaping to the West.

Karma

Karma by Cathy Ostlere
YA OSTLERE, C.
In 1984, following her mother’s suicide, 15-year-old Maya and her Sikh father travel to New Delhi from Canada to place her mother’s ashes in their final resting place. On the night of their arrival, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated, Maya and her father are separated when the city erupts in chaos, and Maya must rely on Sandeep, a boy she has just met, for survival.

Carrie Diaries

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
YA BUSHNELL, C.
Tells the story of Manhattan columnist Carrie Bradshaw’s high school years, her relationships with her peers, and how she became a writer.

Butterfly book cover

Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett
YA HARTNETT, S.
In 1980s Australia, nearly fourteen-year-old Ariella “Plum” Coyle fears the disapproval of her friends, feels inferior to her older brothers, and hates her awkward, adolescent body but when her glamorous neighbor befriends her, Plum starts to become what she wants to be–until she discovers her neighbor’s ulterior motive.

PaperCoversRock

Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard
YA HUBBARD, J.
In 1982 Buncombe County, North Carolina, sixteen-year-old Alex Stromm writes of the aftermath of the accidental drowning of a friend, as his English teacher reaches out to him while he and a fellow boarding school student try to cover things up.

SummerILearnedFly

The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt
YA REINHARDT, D.
Thirteen-year-old Drew starts the summer of 1986 helping in her mother’s cheese shop and dreaming about co-worker Nick, but when her widowed mother begins dating, Drew’s father’s book of lists, her pet rat, and Emmett, a boy on a quest, help her cope.

scarboys

The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos
YA VLAHOS, L.
Written as a college admission essay, eighteen-year-old Harry Jones recounts a childhood defined by the hideous scars he hid behind, and how forming a band brought self-confidence, friendship, and his first kiss.

ScreamingDivas

Screaming Divas by Suzanne Kamata
YA KAMATA, S.
A teenage girl band in 1980s South Carolina becomes a local sensation, but just as its members are about to achieve their rock girl dreams, tragedy strikes.

RevengeNotPrettyGrl

Revenge of a Not-So-Pretty Girl by Carolita Blythe
YA BLYTHE, C.
Fourteen-year-old Faye, an African American living in 1984 Brooklyn, New York, copes with her mother’s abuse by stealing with her friends, but when robbing an elderly woman almost turns to murder, she gains an opportunity to learn new truths about life.

SummerYesterday

Summer of Yesterday by Gaby Triana
YA TRIANA, G.
As she struggles with her parents’ divorce, seventeen-year-old Haley is mysteriously transported to a theme park in the past where she finds love and meets her teenaged mother and father.