Standing the test of time

I just watched Clueless for the first time since I was a teenager and I was pleasantly surprised to see that (at least for me) it has stood the test of time – there are obviously a few things about it that have dated, but I still loved it, if for nothing else than for how young Paul Rudd is in it!

But it got me thinking about whether the books I loved as much as I loved Clueless have similarly stood the test of time. I’m not talking about the classics – Pride and Prejudice delights me as much now as it did the first time I read it, but that’s not really a surprise, they call them classics for a reason.

I’m talking about the books I read as a teen that were new then – the ones that haven’t been branded as ‘classics’, and may never be. I’m talking about Bridge to Terabithia, The Lake at the End of the World, Tomorrow When the War Began (and pretty much everything John Marsden wrote), Looking for Alibrandi, Just as Long as We’re Together (and pretty much everything Judy Blume wrote, except for Forever – Judy Blume’s ‘adult’ book, that we used to whisper about because it had, wait for it, sex in it. I was too young to read it when it came out and somehow I never got around to it). And I was about to add The Baby Sitters Club to this list, but then I realised that they don’t really count cos I know they’re still awesome.

When I progressed past Judy Blume and Paula Danziger, I was obsessed with The Bronze Horseman. Actually obsessed. I’m pretty sure that when I finished reading it the first time, I went straight back to page 1 and started it all over again. I read it numerous times – back in those heady days when my TBR pile didn’t make me nervous and I felt like I had time to read books more than once. I thought there was no greater love than the one Tatiana and Alexander had for each other, which is fairly tragic given how it panned out for them (in the first book only – I try to block out the fact that there were two, frankly horrific, sequels to this absolutely perfect book).

But what would happen if I went back and read all of these books now? Would I be able to recreate the perfect moments I had with them 10, 15 (ok, 25) years ago? And is it silly to expect the books that moved me in my youth to have the same effect on me as an adult? It’s not like I’ve matured that much – I’m still reading YA and loving it. But are actual young adults looking at me like I’m some sort of sad sack trying to relive my long-lost youth. I’m not that old am I? I mean, Johnathan Taylor Thomas is still a babe right? ;o)

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