The Nostalgia Project

Posted November 8, 2015 / Book Challenges, Features / 13 Comments

I recently read Hollywood is Like High School with Money by Zoey Dean because I couldn’t resist a $4 paperback from Amazon. She used to be one of my favorites back in the day because of her super long series (The A-List). I don’t know why, but I had some weird nostalgic feeling about those books and all of the others I would indulge in during high school. When I read the book in question (which wasn’t a reread), those feelings only intensified. I started thinking about how weird it is that our book tastes change over time, and how much that is increased for bloggers compared to regular readers (in my opinion). I’m curious to see how much blogging has changed my reading opinions and tastes, and why. Introducing…nostalgiaIt’s pretty common for us as bloggers (and avid readers) to go back and reread books to see if they still “hold up.” Are your old favorites from high school still good now that you’re no longer in high school? How much have your reading tastes changed since then? Do you have a lower tolerance for some plots or character traits now than you did back then? Within the past few months, I’ve been itching to revisit some of my old favorite series, books, and authors to see how much I still enjoy (or maybe not enjoy) them and their style. I thought I would share my little project with everyone and see what their thoughts are. Maybe it’ll be interesting for you too!

HS tatesI know plenty of bloggers that didn’t really read much when they were younger, but that was not me. I inherited my love of reading from my parents and that continued throughout my life. I did have specific reading processes and genres that I followed when I was a young adult, which have since changed in some ways.

High School

Young Adult books, maybe a few Adult books thrown in
→ Books about rich/mean girls, boarding school, Hollywood; a few fantasy books/series
→ Ridiculously long ongoing book series
→ Writing book release dates on my whiteboard for the next book in all of the super long series
→ Going to Barnes & Noble to buy the books when they came out


Young Adult books, New Adult and Adult books thrown in
→ Contemporary romance and some fantasy/paranormal
→ Mostly standalones, some series
→ Using Goodreads obsessively to track book release dates
→ Ordering (or preordering) on Amazon or buying Kindle books

As you can tell, my general book-buying process has changed a lot. I read the same kind of books (young adult) but have strayed away from some of the cliche books that were popular around 2008-9. I vividly remember googling release dates for the books I was anxiously awaiting and writing them on my little whiteboard to keep track. It was wonderful for a while because it seemed like with the insanely long series I was reading, I was able to grab a new book every month. It’s interesting to see what series I ended up finishing. This project won’t include Pretty Little Liars because even though it was arguably the most important series out of all of these (for me personally), I just finished it last year. I don’t feel the need to revisit it quite yet.faves hs67% of those series aren’t finished yet! Even less (50%) of the spinoff series are finished either. (I honestly don’t remember if I ever finished The A-List: Hollywood Royalty series…)

I’m interesting to investigate some of these books again and figure out why I dropped them, if I still even like the books I’ve already read, and just how much my tastes have changed.

projectThis will be an ongoing, indefinite project. I’m not going to force myself to read a book off of this list every month or anything like that. I think it will just carry on organically and spice up the blog whenever it happens. I am currently finishing up the Gallagher Girls series right now, so that will probably be the first Nostalgia Project review and analysis by the end of the year. The rest is up in the air! Here’s my general plan of attack…

1. Reread and/or casually revisit some old favorites.

I can guarantee right now that I probably won’t reread all of the books above. First of all, they’re all HUGE series. Second of all, I can kind of already tell how I’m going to feel about them upon revisiting. Here’s a breakdown of what I anticipate will happen and my status on each series:


Secrets of HW Life
Gossip Girl
The A-List
The Clique
Gallagher Girls
The It Girl
The A-List: HWR


Not finished
Not finished
Not finished
In process
Not finished
Not finished

Books Read

3 out of 6
13 out of 16
14 out of 14
10 out of 10
12 out of 15ish
5 out of 6
2 out of 6
10 out of 10
1 or 2 out of 3?
0? out of 4


Reread → finish
Finish w/ refresher
Already reread → finish
Reread → finish
Finish w/ refresher
Maybe read

As I said, I don’t think I’ll reread or revisit all of these books… but who knows. Some of them need to be finished off still, and I do think I’ll finish all of those ones. For longer series, I’ll probably seek some recaps online or refresh my memory by flipping through the books. For shorter series, I’ll just reread them. It’s hard to imagine rereading a 10 or 14 book series that I already finished though.

2. Compare my initial ratings & reactions to how I feel now.

Once I decide which books I’m actually going to work with, I’ll be able to compare how I felt during high school and how I feel now. Even after finishing just one Zoey Dean book this week, I can already tell how much my tastes have changed. I did generally enjoy the book, but if I had never read that author before and didn’t already appreciate their work (for nostalgic purposes, mostly), then I probably would have rated it much lower.

3. Consider the implications of my current age, culture when the books were released vs. today, etc.

I know that it’s a totally different experience to read YA books now as a 24 year old. My life experiences allow me to read these books from a different perspective. How did the books make me feel in high school because I was the same age as the main character? How do they make me feel now that I’m older? I also want to think about what culture was like back in the publishing year of these books compared to 2015. I think things are a lot different. Slut-shaming was not even a term I knew of at 16 years old; now I think about it all the time!

4. Draw conclusions and compare to current YA faves.

I’m curious to see how this all pans out. I know that there will always be a BIT of bias for these books since I loved them so much back in the day. I’ve talked about how important Pretty Little Liars was to keep me reading through college, even though the books dragged on for a long time. I definitely let my heart get in the way of a solid rating sometimes. In any case, I do also want to compare these books and their themes/characters to today’s YA. I think there will be some major differences to explore!

Hopefully you enjoy joining me on this journey for closure and nostalgia. Stay tuned for upcoming posts and reviews over the next year or so!

13 responses to “The Nostalgia Project

  1. Sounds like a fun project! I’m trying to remember what I liked in high school. There wasn’t a lot of YA back then. At least not that I knew of. I did read a lot in high school.

    I’ve been thinking of re-reading some of the books on my shelves this coming year. They’re from about 8-10 years ago maybe, so it would be similar to your project. 🙂 We’ll see if it happens. I’m also curious how my tastes have changed.

    Kate @ Mom's Radius recently posted: Book Review: Eight Hundred Grapes
  2. Almost ALL of these series were SO important for me in middle school/high school (I’ve actually been wanting to reread the A-List for a long time now…) And several of these I never finished because they just went on for far too long (Like the It Girl and Private!) I think if I go back and reread these that I’ll have a very different perspective now that I’m older than the characters in the book (whereas when I read most of these books the first time around I was much younger) and I have a much more critical way of thinking.

    • Exactly! I’ve become more critical in my reading nowadays so I don’t think I would view these books the same anymore. They may be good to reread via audio, but it’s hard to justify spending all the money on such quick books!

  3. Cee

    This sounds like a great project! I’ll be cheering you on!

    Oh god, I can’t even remember what I read in my spare time in high school. I did spend a lot of time in the Young Adult section in high school, so I read a lot of Gossip Girl and The Princess Diaries book. (I realized that majority of those books during that period were packaged books, and that makes total sense looking back.) There were soooo many books in the mid 2000s that were about rich/mean girls and Hollywood. I think it’s one of the reasons why I have a hard time reading them nowadays because it was so oversaturated back then.

    • Thank you 😀 I definitely read GG and other similar books in high school and totally agree – the market was completely saturated with the same types of books. I think that’s why I liked them so much – it was all there was, for one thing, and I knew I could breeze from series to series and enjoy them the same!

  4. This project sounds amazing! I started working on my bookish resolutions for next year, and have resolved to go back and finish some series that I started many years ago, but never finished. Sometimes I hesitate to go back and read a book that I loved a long time ago because I know that my reading tastes have shifted in recent years, but I’m also intrigued to see if I’ll still like the books when I revisit. Some of the ones on my pile are Angie Sage’s Magyk series (I only read the first one, but haven’t read much middle grade since then) and Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s Shadow of the Wind series (I read the first one and ADORED it, but it’s been years and I know I’ll love the other two, but I just need to read ’em already!)

    Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads recently posted: On My Nightstand - November 25

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