I SAW HIM FIRST by Marjorie Sharmat not exactly Dynasty but wry fun

TITLE – I Saw Him First by Marjorie Sharmat


ALTERNATE TITLE –Broad shoulders do not an entire person make.

AGENDA – Two girls go bananas over a boy named Seymour Finkelstein and play – don’t you steal my pretend boyfriend, hussy for over a hundred pages.

MY HISTORY WITH THIS BOOK – When I was nine I had to read this book – the cover promised a juicy premise with a peek at life as a teenager if they were living an episode of Dynasty. On a wire spin rack with the likes of Don’t call me Sugarbaby and The Girl with the Silver Eyes I gave up a Thornton Burgess animal story for this … but I don’t recall it. I’m going in fresh.

PLOT – Yowers, in the first page we’re introduced to six names – hopefully I can keep them straight but I have a feeling some may never be heard from again.

Dana is the narrator who introduces herself in that chummy 1st pov that 80s YA authors liked to use. The set up is clear; she’s gone bananas for a boy with the unfortunate moniker of Seymour Finkelstein and blurts it to her bff (well the forever’s about to be put in jeopardy), Andrea, which she regrets. It happens as they’re mocking some beauty pageant, goofing on the contestant’s goal answers. Dana, rather than wishing for world peace, wishes for Seymour. Her ‘joke’ is seen as truth by Andrea and after talking about Seymour, Dana begs for tips on how to get him to notice her and Andrea says – eye contact.

Dana tries it out and manages to snag a hello out of the finkman which is mission accomplished. Of course there are sharks circling for this hunk. Possibly Jennifer next-door, who is beautiful and knows-it. As for Dana, she’s exhausted the novelty of that one hello over the weekend and is hungry for more. She asks Andrea for suggestions and she has plenty like taking all your clothes off in English class adding but that’s tacky of course. Instead, how about a big party. After daydreaming several scenarios of how that could go she manages to ask him (the plan is the usual – there is no party if he says no) and when he says yes, her pleasure is deflated by him asking her name.

She tries to reboost her joy by telling Andrea – who claims she can hardly wait. And there’s the rub … the title itch coming on and Dana blurts – “He’s mine Andrea.” And though Andrea can factually say – “You mean you own him.” Dana should have reminded her of Best Friend etiquette – hey, no claim jumping.

Her parents offer Dana an opportunity to come on their talk show and Dana talks the idea over with her dog Melvin who saves the day when she does the interview which felt like not only a wasted scene but one shoehorned in to give Dana clout; becoming a minor celebrity at school.

Jennifer, who is hated by Dana’s mother, drops a bomb that people can’t relate to her because she’s so spectacular looking (modest, I know but …) Jennifer goes on to wish she weren’t so conspicuous and tells Dana that she probably wishes she’d grow a mole or something which Dana had, and so respects her. So far I’m o.d-ing on quirk because the plot is sloooow going for saying the book is only 123 pages. But after this revelation thinking it could broaden their friendship she finds Andrea and Jennifer yelling in the cafeteria and Andrea calling Jen a conceited spoiled brat over … a spot in line. Dana doesn’t like to see this side of Andrea – a determined core bent on getting what she wanted. Little bit of foreshadowing.

But then Buzz Somebody (a tennis star) shows up to arrange to be on her parents talk show and fickle Dana is now thinking he’s pretty darn good looking and his hello is not the crumb Seymour tossed to her. And when she is invited to hang out after their schedule and contract for appearing is arranged, as soon as Buzz laughs at one of her jokes, she wants to know all about him. Seymour is practically history – but as the him of the title and us being 42 pages in he’s already a bit of a cardboard figure; a shrugging whatever Adonis. There’s a profound thought at the end of this scene – I thought about letting things happen and making things happen. There’s a big difference. An underrated idea in the new millennial – a fall-back for the fairy-tale ideal of love finding you.

Dana finally gets around to sending out invites to her spontaneous party (and squeals with Andrea every time someone turns it down) I guess the idea would be to have a forced ‘date’ with Seymour if nobody showed up although that to me would seem obvious and embarrassing. Andrea is still pretending to have never laid eyes on Seymour which has Dana on high alert and I’m picturing the party being a showdown hinted at on the cover – poor Dana and Andrea the lone guests with Seymour as the party favor. But before that can (or won’t) happen – their next big thing is to walk six miles past Seymour’s house in the chance meeting of saying another whoop-de-doo hi. (Three miles there, three miles back.) Despite Andrea pushing for this and chatting up his father who is outside and willing to go get Seymour who is inside the house – Dana bails on this obvious plot maneuver.

The party night finally arrives and Dana finds herself introducing Andrea to Seymour and getting a little green eyed that she’s never seen Andrea so toothy or Seymour so talkative. The debating team she invited (because they would be out of town) suddenly shows up and after playing hostess to an overflowing pack of guests, she finally has a moment to talk with Seymour alone. And then Andrea waltzes over to insist don’t let me interrupt. She can’t get anywhere with Andrea around worse she knows what her friend is up too and then the fink (Andrea not Finklestein) doesn’t even stay to help her clean up after the party.

Andrea calls fishing to find out how it went, does she still like Seymour meanwhile Dana is lying (I’m not sure) and vowing never to confide in her again. Andrea avoids her and then to pretend she’s not invites Dana to go shopping who’s startled that her friend is actually interested in clothes and is buying a fancy red dress – (by the end of the book this will be a really insensitive move on Andrea’s part.) They’re snippy on the bus ride as Seymour is brought up.

Later there is an awkward call to make up but Andrea brushes off an invite because she has homework and when Dana goes out with her parents to a restaurant bumps into Andrea in the bathroom wearing the red dress she bought.

As she blurts she’s out with her parents – this could be solved quite easily only we’re supposed to believe this restaurant is constructed of each table/booth is its own room and in this massive labyrinth of room/booths Dana can’t spot them?! The following imaginary scenario of Andrea’s nervous parents meeting Seymour is equally strange because Dana tells us Andrea like to call Planned Parenthood for … kicks? At first I wasn’t sure if that was an idea applied to Andrea because Dana was upset and it was a cruel daydream or to hint that Andrea was on the verge of being sexually active.

Buzz returns for his interview and asks out Dana. She’s so shocked that after all her fizzled attempts with Seymour that just being herself got her a date with a gorgeous older (he’s 21) celebrity. They go out for pizza and though she allows herself to acknowledge how natural this feels (Seymour is a fake dream) – in walks Andrea with Seymour. After all that dodging in the restaurant she’s caught in the doorway of a pizza parlor. The tension of this final revelation is much easier to handle being with a tennis star who even impresses Seymour (he asks for his autograph.) Meanwhile Andrea says nothing.

The rest of the weekend is just as much fun as she hangs out with Buzz at his book signings until she realizes when he leaves, she has to face two things – no more Seymour, no more Andrea.

And the biggest insult is that Seymour preferred Andrea over her.

She finally confides in Jennifer who says she should talk to Andrea – hear her side but the talk is more a fight when they meet up in a store. Dana is trying to return a pair of jeans and the title makes an appearance when Dana accuses – “… you knew I liked him. And I saw him first.” To which Andrea says – “I can’t steal something that doesn’t belong to them in the first place.” The gist of it all though is exposing which relationship meant more to Andrea – a year of friendship with Dana or a chance with Seymour – although Andrea denies this she admits she had to try even though she exposes her future with Seymour is shakier than she believes her friendship with Dana is – harping that Seymour hasn’t called her since they bumped into Dana with Buzz and she’s furious and jealous.

After this Dana sees Andrea with new bft (best friend for temporary) Ingrid, and is stung and later chagrin when they start stalking Seymour. When he begins to walk away from Andrea, Dana can’t decide if he’s a worm or has discovered, like she has, the truth about her. One day he walks over to Dana while Andrea’s trailing him and Dana for a moment feels a transference of power – (that she will have Seymour) but he only asks for her to get another autograph from Buzz for his little brother. It’s a moment in the book when after the build up has popped, one still wonders if Dana would’ve dated Seymour if only to grind her heel in Andrea. In some ways the reader isn’t too sure if every girl hasn’t got a little boystealer in her. That although Dana prides herself as the one who got burned we’re unsure if the roles couldn’t have just as easily been reversed.

The end of the book dangles the treat of a resolve. Dana goes for a walk heading for Andrea’s house but then seeing the boy Jennifer like parking at Andrea’s house, stops her in her tracks. Maybe Seymour might have been forgivable but Andrea’s starting to develop a pattern and says a silent goodbye to Andrea in her heart. And the question the cover asks – Is Seymour worth fighting for? is pondered by Dana who realizes she may never figure it out as he hasn’t pursued her and she’s still thinking about Buzz deciding their age difference will melt away in a few years, and when she gets home, it’s he who calls her.

SUB-PLOT – Her parents job as co-hosts on a talk show called Small Talk (cause their last name is Small) is in jeopardy throughout the book. They joke that maybe their mean boss has a nephew to take it over – and that turns out to be true. And it’s resolved by an offer for a syndication.

CHARACTER QUIRKS – Mr. Carlin her parents TV producer is such a creep that Dana wonders about his parents – I bet they kicked sick dogs.

PROSE – Once you’ve confessed something to someone, they’ve got a piece of you, and you can never get it back.

Color me rosy.

Some of the humor works some of it falls flat. Case in point; the one idea that fell flat for me – Dana does a lot of scene imagining and she imagines several conversations as how Seymour could react to being asked to her party, one is over-the-top romantic/silly, one is over-the-top insulting but for some reason, even in her mind, in this non-existent conversation she doesn’t react to the insults and in fact replies – “Is it possible that you love me, Seymour?”

Another flat moment is the tongue-in-cheek, I guess, interview with Dana but it’s too arch as if the typical teenager remarks are filled with hidden depth, or drollness or something. I didn’t get it and was as relieved as she was when Melvin, the typical teenager’s dog, interrupted.

FUNNY – Have you met him?”

No but I saw him. Andrea pointed him out today.”

Andrea? What business did she have pointing out my prize? (meaning Seymour.)

My favorite – One boy said he liked my shirt. The worms would have been proud. (the silk worms.)

COVER – do you think the models wore those outfits to pose for that artwork – I’m thinking nobody could make up Dana’s bumblebee socks those have to be real.

CLOTHES –Dana buys a green silk shirt and pairs it with jeans for her party – to ensure she doesn’t look as though she tried too hard.

SUMMARY/OPINION – I see why this book left no real lasting impression on me as the events are pretty ordinary gussied up by Dana’s tone and her imagination. To nine year old me this would’ve been frustrating especially when the cover promised a Dynasty blow-out cat fight.

The idea of the book shines better than some of its scenes – why would you sacrifice dignity, friendship, loyalty on the mere chance of dating a broad-shouldered cipher? Why also would you keep the fake ‘ownership’ of a boy you didn’t know and allow your friend to turn into a traitor to pursue him?

It’s such an unusual curio I don’t know what to make of it – it’s simultaneously dull and kooky, the humor either makes me laugh out loud or feels too forced. It’s like a Sweet Dreams romance turned on it’s ear. Seymour is kept deliberately vague which gives the idea a definite edge. But the subplot of the parents being talk-show hosts who happen to invite a dreamy young hunk tennis star was surreal. It’s like sorry you don’t get Seymour instead maybe you’d like this TOTALLY AWESOME TENNIS STAR WHO TOTALLY DIGS YOU AND YOU CAN TOTALLY UPSTAGE ANDREA TOO. And the end note of a friendship lost is bittersweet in fact it’s the only loss in the book and the scenes are too tilted to acknowledge Dana had played a part in making that happen. This is a tough one for me.

**1/2 maybe even two ** – the cover promised fireworks but the showdown was a little bit of a fizzle. Also the only loss was Andrea as Dana was given Buzz who wasn’t even some Sweet Dreams boy-next-door-who-drives-a-Honda – she was given a celebrity. And there was a point in which Dana could have said – you can have Seymour I don’t want him but she never did.

80’S COMPARISON – Tennis Stars! Anyone recall Carling Bassett – a blonde teen tennis star in the 80s? Back then they attempted to capitalize on her name by giving her a movie – Spring Fever in 1982. From the circulating posters and advertising you’d think this was a typical raunchy sex comedy and would be surprised to find it’s actually a banal if sweet story about tennis competitors becoming fast friends during their tournaments. It was one of my fave rainy day movies. I recall Carling being called K.C.


Caprice 80s Ya Romance Ultimate list page – Francess Lin Lantz, Judith Enderle, Harriette S Abels, Janet Quin-Harkin and more!

Various authors
Ace Tempo (PB)
Thematic: contemporary romance

I don’t know a lot about Caprice novels they started with dull photo covers and a lackluster logo angled on the edge of a corner before splashing out with bright colors and a logo that resembled a choker or belt buckle. Although on the very first book Jenny – the logo is white and resembles something more along the lines of an interactive romance.

They were put out by Ace Tempo and were giving Wildfire and Wishing Star a run for their money. The authors were good – some would move on and become known for other genres – Carol Ellis in Point Thrillers, Gloria D Miklowitz in highly charged topical novels – some were also drawing fans in Wildfire and Sweet Dreams – Deborah Kent, Janet Quin-Harkin. Some became the series top writers – Harriette S Abels, Judith Enderle and Francess Lin Lantz. There’s not much storywise that separates a Caprice romance from Wildfire or Sweet Dreams although because the font is smaller it was often a denser read (than their competition) and offered the writers more freedom to be more stylish or offbeat with their prose.

On the back of the books, in later editions, was a Proof of Purchase symbol that the reader could cut out – like cereal box tops – to send away (once they had racked up the heart points) for various Caprice branded items – a cosmetic bag, a keyring, a choker and an ankle bracelet. I wonder if sometimes the cutting up of the back cover didn’t lead to a lot of copies being thrown out, as Caprice’s have become some of the hardest books to find. Though I’ve never found one missing a chunk. A couple of the books were also reprinted for the hardcover Weekly Reader books – I keep coming across Sheary Suiter’s The Right kind of Guy in that edition rather than Caprice’s.

*Sorry for the missing covers and book descriptions. This has been a long haul. I only have a little over 30 books from this series so the rest of the information and covers I’ve had to scour the internet for. It’s taken years to compile especially since these books are, or rather they feel, rarer than some of the other romance series.

1. Jenny – Natalie Johnson – 1982 – Everyone knows opposites attract but could Jenny, who loved to dance, and Ben who was the high school’s star quarterback, really bein love? They didn’t have anything in common besides going to the same school. Jenny might not even finish the term at Tremont high. Falling in love when you least expect it is like dreaming you’re a princess and waking up to realize it’s true.

2. Small Town Summer – Carol Ellis – 1982 – Maggie is bored with life in her quiet home town until a special friend and an urban renewal project begin to affect her life.

Some of the earlier editions have two covers one for the original and a vibrant cover for the reprint

3. Dance with a Stranger – Elizabeth Van Steenwyck –1982 – Laurie loved her life on the ice and when she met Rick she knew he would be the perfect partner. Rick had a style and rhythm that matched her own, and skating together was like sweet music. But even though Rick was a perfect skater, the rest of his life wasn’t so wonderful. All he cared about was having a good time, and Laurie wasn’t so sure she was willing to live only for today.

the earlier editions can come in two different covers their original with the cover sash logo or the vibrant reprint

4. Terri’s Dream – Margaret Garland – 1982 – Losing twenty-five pounds (approx. 10kgs) really changed Terri’s social status. She finally landed the gorgeous Jeff Connors and decided to follow in her sister’s footsteps–Terri wanted to become a model. Terri was on easy street. With her sister, Lauren, knowing all the right people, Terri’s modeling career fell into full swing. Then came the big break … and the big heartbreak. She had a chance to make it in New York, but was it worth losing Jeff?

5. Before Love – Gloria D. Miklowitz – 1982 – Everyone thought traveling around the world was fun, Gina thought it was the pits. Especially since this year she’d be returning to the school she left a year ago. Coming back was like starting over again – it was just like having to meet everyone for the first time. Gina wanted to be part of the gang and dating Brian would secure her place in the crowd. She was attracted to him but hoped there was more to the magnetic feeling that drew them together.

6. Pink and White Striped Summer – Hazel Krantz – 1982 – Winning Ben’s heart was one of Mindy’s summer priorities, and working together meant the opportunity to get better acquainted. But Mindy’s rival for Ben’s affection is a worn photograph of his former girlfriend, a girl he still seems to cherish. With determination Mindy sets out to repair Ben’s broken heart and help him to love again.

7. Sunrise – G. C. Wisler – 1982 – At sixteen Valerie thought moving to Colorado from Houston would mean being stranded and alone. But when she met Jerry who shared her interest in music, she knew the summer would be special. Valerie and Jerry and their friends often gathered at the lake to play the guitar and sing. When they did this Valerie and Jerry shared an intimacy that neither of them had ever known before. By summers end they sealed their love with a kiss and a promise of everlasting friendship.

8. Three’s a Crowd – Nola Carson – 1982 – Karen and Spike, who were childhood friends, rarely saw each other once Marc Rodgers moved into town and started dating Karen. Even though Marc and Karen’s special relationship blossomed, she and Spike remained constant friends which upset Marc. Forced to chose between her friendship with Spike or her relationship with Marc, Karen wondered if having a boyfriend meant you couldn’t have any boy friends.

9. A Special Love – Harriette S. Abels – 1982 – While Tina was struggling to keep her average high enough to get into art school, most of her friends were majoring in boys. She never would have believed that falling in love would help her grades. But it did. Having Nick as a friend helped her get through the subjects she didn’t like so she could excel in art. Taking the bad with the good isn’t as hard as it seems when you have someone like Nick to make the rough times sweet.

10. Someone for Sarah – Judith Enderle – 1982 – Wishing for your hearts desire helps … but sometimes it’s not enough.

11. Cheer Me On! – Judith Enderle – 1982 –

12. A Love Song for Becky – Francess Lin Lantz – 1983 – Becky and Mark enjoyed each others company and shared a common interest in music. But that’s where the similarity ended. Becky was a concert pianist who sang in the High School Glee Club and Mark was an electric guitarist for a rock and roll band. Can they possibly put their personal preferences aside to make music together.

13. Don’t Forget to Write – Patsey Gray – 1983 – Terri was confused. She liked Bruce and wanted him to be her foster brother, but she also felt as though he were special, more than just a brother. She knew he liked her, too. But neither of them could explain their feelings. The time they shared was special. But would their unique love survive a year apart.

14. S.W.A.K. Sealed with a Kiss – Judith Enderle – 1983 – Beth kept discovering love letters while working in the library. They always had her name on them and were signed with S.W.A.K. She was dying to know who they came from. Beth hoped they were from Sandy Grange, the most gorgeous guy in school. But her friend Ginny, was sure they were from Matt Morrow, a quiet boy in the library. The mystery began to unravel as Beth landed the lead in the play Oklaholma! While Sandy and Matt were competing for the male starring role. Could Beth’s love on stage turn out to be her love in real life.

15. Color It Love – Amy Lawrence – 1983 – Marni couldn’t believe it. Her so-called best friend had stolen her boyfriend! Now she knew that her best friend was no friend at all and her boyfriend was ninety-nine percent dog and one percent puppy. In her despair, Marni decided to go away to a camp in Connecticut and be a counselor; getting away from New York for the summer would do her a world of good. At camp, Marni met Nick and the relationship between them began to grow. Then came Dawn: a new camp counselor who was as beautiful as her name. Was history going to repeat itself.

16. Carrie Loves Superman – Gloria D. Miklowitz –1983 – Carrie was really surprised when her and Matt Baldwin were chosen to work on the schoo newspaper. Matt was the gorgeous “hunk” she always daydreamed about. He was the inspiration Carrie needed to become a top-nothc reporter. But when Carrie’s parents decide to separate, Carrie’s fantasy world was shattered. Even though half the kids at school were products of divorced families, Carrie never dreamed it could happen to her. It will take a miracle for Carrie to capture the happiness she once knew. But Carrie’s miracle may be sitting across the room, at the typewriter, writing the story of her life.

17. Programmed for Love – Judith Enderle – 1983 – Penny, Tim, Chris and B had been good friends for years. But now it was a confusing, lonely time and Penny felt lost. The computer dance was announced. Just fill out the questionnaire and the computer would do the rest. So Penny completed her form with a few “innocent” lies. The promise of a perfect match was too irresistible to resist.

18. A New Love for Lisa – Harriette S. Abels – 1983 – Deeply resentful, Lisa refused to share her mother’s love just as she resolved to never accept Dave, her new stepfather, as part of the family. Then Lisa met Paul – strong, handsome Paul, who taught her what real love was all about. The lesson became the most important part o her life when she finally realized how much she had to lose.

19. Wish for Tomorrow – Pam Ketter – 1983 – If people could be colors, Linden thought she would be “gray.” She was not a cheerleader or most popular or a great dancer like her closest friends. Linden was only shy, serious and very reliable. But then one night her smile caught the eye of Rob Wayland the senior football star. And from that moment on, Linden discovered not only her first love, but how to make wishes come true.

20. The Boy Next Door – Wendy Storm – 1983 – Christie thought all her dreams had come true. Steve Michaels, the best-looking boy in school, had asked her to the dance – and she had finally gotten to dump Cliff Carson, the conceited idiot who lived next door. But Christie was in for two surprises. The first was the night of the Spring Parade Moonlight Dance, when her prince turned into a toad. The second was when a guy she thought was a toad turned out to be. . .

21. A Hat Full of Love – Barbara Steiner – 1983 –

22. Two Loves for Tina – Maurine Miller – 1983 – Tina Sorenson is about to be tested. Her heart is beating to the tune of Ricky McKay, the star of the high school basketball team whom every girl is dying to get her hooks into. Tina is willing to do anything to make Rick hers … even if it comes to using someone who really cares for her. Tina has learned to use what she’s got to get what she wants – and what she’s got is a talent for dancing. So with a little flirting and body language, Tina is on her way to learning a second valuable lesson …

23. Love in Focus – Margaret Meacham – 1983 – An old girl friend comes between Jenny Whitlock and Mark Watson, the handsome junior she meets when she joins the photography club at her new high school.

24. Do You Really Love Me? – Jeanne R. Lenz – 1983 – Jill Pembroke enjoys her job at the school for emotionally troubled children – and working with two gorgeous guys like Bruce and Kevin makes it even more enjoyable. Bruce is a natural with kids, but he can be rude, and he has an unnerving way of getting on Jill’s case. Kevin is on an ego trip being a super jock and driving a silver corvette. In spite of their difference, they have one thing in common – how they feel about Jill. Jill will have to decide which one she wants before Bruce and Kevin come to blows!

25. A Bicycle Built for Two – Susan Shaw – 1983 – When Mark first pedaled into Kathryn’s life she considered him her big brother’s friend. But then things changed. She started to like him … a lot. His handsome face occupied her mind all the time. She was desperate to make him see her as more than someone who tagged along bike riding. But how? Then … she thought of a surefire plan.

26. A New Face in the Mirror – Nola Carson – 1983 – Josie Ann Barker was confused, from her scuffed toes to her grease-streaked nose. She knew she loved football and fixing cars. She was sure she would never bend over backwards to please a boy, like her cheerleader sister, Louise. No, Josie Barker was going places; she was a doer! So what was this strange new feeling whenever she was around her old buddy, Ross? What was that quivery feeling whenever he was around? Maybe she was coming down with a new kind of flu …

27. Too Young To Know – Margaret Scariano – 1983 – Cindy Howard’s senior year in high school was becoming a little boring since she didn’t have a boyfriend. Then, Clay Fontano, a transfer student, came along and captured her heart. It looked as if Cindy’s senior year was going to be the best ever. Clay was everything that a girl could want. But there was one hitch to this relationship – Clay was only a sophomore, and Cindy didn’t want to be known as a “cradle robber.”

28. Surfer Girl – Francess Lin Lantz –1983 – Kate’s relationship with her boyfriend, Chris is threatened when she spends the summer away from him at the beach.

29. Love Byte – Helane Zeiger – 1983 – Amy Ross tries to become an expert at video games in order to find a boyfriend at the video arcade.

30. When Wishes Come True – Judith Enderle – 1983 –

31. Heartbreaker – Terry Hunter – 1983 – When Molly met Kent in her new school, her heart skipped a beat! Ken was very good-looking, and Molly had him on her mind. Kent felt a special attraction for Molly too – and the love bug bit them both. But Molly was horrified when she found Kent and his friend Red hunting on her farm. Nature was something to be cherished, and Kent being one of the hateful hunters was too much for Molly to bear. Molly had to decide what was more important … loving nature or loving Kent.

32. Love Notes – Dionne Leah – 1984 – a rock star asks Jeanine out for a date and she flips but is he all he’s cracked up to be or is Max, the slightly weird looking guy better because at least she doesn’t live in his shadow. Max makes her feel beautiful.

33. Never Say Never – Ann Boyle – 1984 – Moving from the lakeshore city of Chicago to the dry California desert was quite a shock for Betsy. It was like watching Lake Michigan turn into the dust bowl. And the fact that she had to tussle with the gang of snobby girls that ran Desertview High didn’t help Betsy adjust any faster. But the desert did have it’s good points: There was the older, wealthy, fun-loving Dudley deShon, and Pete, a guy at school who was gung-ho about desert living. Maybe the desert wouldn’t be so dry after all …

34. The Hidden Heart – Barbara Ball – 1984 – Amanda Prescott is having the time of her life. She’s in love and she’s going to New York to be in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. High-stepping up Fifth Avenue and gazing into the eyes of John, the chivalrous trumpet player – what more can a girl ask for? No wonder Amanda has so much glide in her stride! Maybe this trip to the “Big Apple” will put a little romance in John’s heart and he’ll ask Amanda to be his steady while he’s away at college. And that for Amanda will be a dream come true. But John is marching to the beat of a different drummer and Amanda is about to find out why all the girls call John “untouchable.”

35. Tommy Loves Tina – Janet Quin-Harkin – 1984 – An ugly duckling turned swan was the perfect description for Tina Walters. Not only did her looks change, but she finally got her hooks into Grant Hollister, superjock of Valley High. Everything was going fine until Tommy Van den Berg, joker gone wild, got a bug in his heart for Tina. Tommy’s clowning embarrassed Tina so much, she tried to pass him off on her best friend. Tommy would have given his life for Tina … and almost did.

36. Heartwaves – Deborah Kent – 1984 – Is it possible to fall in love with a guy you’ve never seen? Melanie meets a gorgeous sounding boy on her ham radio. They exchange pictures but Melanie sends Gary a picture of her best friend, a real beauty. Complications ensue when they met up.

37. Stardust Summer – Pam Ketter – 1984 – Lazy days on the beach, parties at night, and Todd the lifeguard – whose indigo blue eyes send Ramona reeling. Summer on Tybee Island was brimming with fun and the promise of romance. But the home scene wasn’t too cool. She had to cope with her mother, who was having a baby; a new stepfather, ad her wacky cousin Margaret. If it wasn’t for Todd, Ramona would be a bundle of nerves. Then Ramona heard that Todd took Lorelei, the island flirt, bike riding on the beach. That did it! Ramona wasn’t going to let Todd get away with this one – she was going to get even …

38. Last Kiss in April – N. R. Selden – 1984 – Tricia was excited about her class trip to New York. Maybe she would stop having dreams about the “Charlie Chaplin” boy. Matt, Tricia’s boyfriend, would be furious if he knew she was dreaming about someone else. But when Tricia stepped off the bus in “The Big Apple,” there he was – her “dream boy.” Vic was his name and he did pantomime in the streets for a living. To Tricia, Vic lead an exciting life, never a dull moment; and best of all, he had his freedom. But was freedom so important when he had nothing else – no family, no future, nothing definite in his life? When Vic asked Tricia to stay with him in New York, that was the turning point; her dream became reality … or did it?

39. Sing a Song of Love – Judith Enderle – 1984 –

40. Rock ‘N’ Roll Romance – Francess Lin Lantz – 1984 – Singer wanted for an all-girl band. No boys need apply! When Jess saw the notice on the bulletin board at Bainbridge Valley High, she thought it might be fun to be in a band – especially since she loved rock ‘n’ roll. Jess didn’t know that being a lead singer of an all-girl band could bring so much zest into her life. It even gave Jess the inspiration to bring up her grades! But she didn’t count on her girlfriends becoming jealous of her newfound popularity, or her boyfriend, Greg, threatening to break up with her. Keeping the harmony when she sang was easy for Jess – but why was it so hard when it came to her life?

41. Spring Dreams – Nola Carlson – 1984 –

42. Change of Heart – Charlotte White – 1984 – Ribbons and lace for Cindy, camping and motorcycles for Mark – that was the way their parents wanted it, but not Cindy and Mark. So they decided to pull the ultimate scheme – switch parents for two weeks! Only best friends could have come up with something so harebrained! While Cindy was away with Mark’s parents, she realized she really cared for Mark. But how was she going to get Mark to see her as more than just a buddy? Was Mark worth giving up T-shirts and jeans? Cindy knew she would have to do something drastic!

43. Prescription for Love – Judie Rae – 1984 – Spending every Saturday working as a nurse’s aide wasn’t Jordan’s idea of fun – especially since she was the type who got woozy at the sight of blood. But weak knees was a small price to pay for a chance to be near tall, blonde and very interested Drew Richards. Who cares if Jordan’s wacky friends a sabotaging her romance? So what if Drew’s sense of duty makes him spend more and more time with his pretty patient, Susie? But when Drew starts making house calls to Susie, Jordan learns the real meaning of lovesick!

44. Cupid Confusion – Harriette S. Abels – 1984 –

45. Will I See You Next Summer – Judith Enderle – 1984 – Julie was looking forward to meeting new boys the summer before her senior year. But the scene at Lake Margo was strictly for couples – and it didn’t help that the only boy making passes was her cousin Nancy’s boyfriend! Then Julie met Ben. She like his dark eye and his mane of dark hair. But he kept his distance, as if he had a chip on his shoulder. What if someone knocked it off? Someone like Julie …

46. Senior Blues – Francess Lin Lantz – 1984 – Claire felt cooped up in Miller’s Creek. It was a dull scene, and her boyfriend Alan was just a little too nice. Claire knew she was cut out for city life, and she was going to find some action no matter what. Then she met Doug; her ticket to excitement. He lived in the city, he was really cool and wasn’t afraid fo a a little action. And what a hunk! But there was one problem. Doug was the quarterback for the rival football team, and that means crossing enemy lines!

47. New Kid in Town – Jean Thesman – 1984 –

48. A Hard Act to Follow – Charlotte White – 1984 – Janet was sick and tired of being the sister of Michelle Lindquist, the beauty of Barkley. The was enough competition around – who needs it coming from your own sister! Janet’s solution was to avoid boys. When Steve moved next door, Janet knew he would fall for Michelle the second he laid eyes on her. He did, but it didn’t last long; Michelle dropped him like she did all the rest. The Steve turned to Janet. Was he using her to get back with Michelle? Janet really liked Steve, but she wasn’t about to play second fiddle to her sister!

49. Wanted: A Little Love – Stephanie Gordon Tessler – 1984 – Freddie’s basketball-star boyfriend, Darren, hit the roof when she told him she had a job. It was bad enough that she was going to miss all his games – but babysitting a chimpanzee? It was too much. Darren told Freddie that no chimp was going to make a chump out of him. Then Darren met Freddie’s co-worker, Jon, and things went from bad to worse. How could she convince Darren that Jon was just a friend – when she wasn’t sure herself?

50. First Impression – Harriette S. Abels – 1984 – “My first big assignment, and I have to do an interview with an egomaniac!” Laurie had seen him in movie magazines all her life – Skipper Simpson, child star – and now he was a junior at Monroe High. As reporter for the school paper, it was her job to get the full scoop on this heartthrob of the silver screen. Everyone kept telling he that she was lucky to get a chance to meet Skip, but as far as Laurie was concerned, he was a Hollywood has-been, and probably conceited, too. No way was she going to ask for his autograph and hang all over him like everyone else. But when Skip opened his front door to her defiant knock, she was in for a real surprise.

51. T.L.C. Tender Loving Care – Judith Enderle – 1984 – Carolyn Dawson is worried about Chad, the boy she has a crush on, because he has been gone for hours, looking for her runaway dog.

52. Not Your Type – Carol Beach York – 1984 –

53. Winner Take All – Janet Quin-Harkin – 1984 –

54. Ski Bum – Harriet Zeiger – 1984 – When Kim Silver wanted to go on a ski trip, a family vacation was not what she had in mind. How could any girl find a boyfriend with her little brother tagging along? Scott Benson was the perfect answer. He was crazy about Kim and would do just about anything to please her. He could keep an eye on her brother, Eric, while she kept an eye on the gorgeous Todd. But when Scott and Eric were lost in a blizzard, and Kim asked Todd for help, it didn’t take long to discover that Todd wasn’t worth the time of day!

55. Third Time Lucky – Judie Rae – 1984 –Annie has consulted all the beauty magazines, sought expert advice from the most popular girl at Kingfield High – and still, no boyfriend. It seems as if Les Rankin likes her, and she definitely likes him, but the road to true love is a little bumpy these days. Annie’s scheme is to steadily improve her looks until Les can’t help but notice the new her. But when Les’s best friend falls for Annie, she is sure nothing else can go wrong. Little does Annie know, this is only the beginning!

56. Winter Break – Margaret Garland – 1985 – Lori must compete with her super-confident cousin Stephanie, a girl who has it all, for the chance to be with the handsome sailor, Bobby McPhearson, while on winter vacation in St. Croix.

57. I Double Love You – Stephanie Gordon Tessler – 1985 –

58. To Take Your Heart Away – Jody Sorenson – 1985 – Her name is Heather Michaela Macaulay but everyone calls her Mike. She’s more comfortable in cowboy boots that high heels any day, and her Colorado life has just been invaded by a stranger from New York city: Jake. He brings out something in Mike that she didn’t know existed. She still feels like a kid, but around Jake she’s growing up so fast, it’s making her head spin. So while Jake is trying to become a cowboy, Mike finds herself trying to become the kind of girl a cowboy really likes. Or maybe she already is …

59. Two of a Kind – Susan Shaw – 1985 – Beth was new in town, and Ted was the totally gorgeous track star in a small high school where everybody knew everybody. Except Beth. And every time Ted smiled, Beth had to keep herself from floating away. That was true love, all right. But there was Emily – exciting, outrageous Emily, who had dibs on Ted. Or so it appeared. Why were they together all the time is she wasn’t his girlfriend? On the other hand, if she was his girlfriend, why did Ted act so friend with Beth? Maybe, just maybe, Beth had a chance.

60. Straight from the Heart – Karen Crawford –1985 –

61. A Dream Come True – Charlotte White – 1985 – When her boyfriend, Kevin, tells her he will be competing against her for a college scholarship, Susan’s heart skips a beat. Will she lose Kevin if she wins the scholarship?

62. A Good Sport – Harriette S. Abels – 1985 –

63. Sixteenth Summer – Nola Carson – 1985 –

64. Ready, Set, Love – Judith Enderle – 1985 – When Kaite’s so-called boyfriend starts spending more time with Kaite’s six brothers and sisters than with her, she knows she has to do something to get him back on the right track.

65. Vacation Blues – Margaret Meacham – 1985 – Total boredom. Will this summer ever end? All Jessie’s friends are away, her boyfriend David is away, and she’s stuck at home going to summer school. Than Clay Wheeler appears on the scene, cool, perfect, and a little laid back. Jessie is immediately attracted to Clay even though she knows David will be back at summer’s end. Suddenly, the summer is far too short, and her love life is too complicated.

66. Just Like a Dream – Eileen Stacy – 1985 –Kari is torn between her present boyfriend, the selfish, vain, and inconsiderate Tim, and the generous John Garrett, who shares her love of horses

67. Summer Romance – Linda Wirkner – 1985 – It looks like it’s going to be a perfect summer for Jenny, the camp counselor. Tennis, swimming, riding … and boys! There’s Brian, the sweet, sincere guy who is crazy about Jenny. Then there’s Eric, gorgeous, outgoing, popular – the guy of Jenny’s dream. But there’s also Suzanne, the storm that can ruin anybody’s summer … who’s Eric’s girlfriend. Then Eric drops Suzanne and starts to date Jenny. But she soon finds out that Eric’s idea of romance is like playing with fire. Should Jenny stick with good old reliable Brian or risk getting burned?

68. First Comes Love – Rosemary Vernon – 1985 – Wendy didn’t think the marriage class was so hot, until she out out super-sensitIve, ultra-kind Darryl was her “husband!” Going through the motions of “getting married” wither Darryl was going to be very easy. Then, Wendy’s parents separated and she became disillusioned with the concept of love and marriage. There wasn’t anything in the world that could convince her that it could work. But Darryl was determined to help his partner get that “A” and to believe again in a thing called – L-O-V-E!

69. Two Letters for Jenny – Jean Thesman – 1985 –

70. Heart To Heart – Rose Blue – 1985 – Emily falls for Tony, the handsome star of the school play, but is disillusioned when she discovers that the ambitious Tony has been unscrupulously using her to gain the attention of her father, who has friends in the entertainment industry

71. Learning to Love – Jan Boies – 1985 –

72. The Right Kind of Guy – Sheary Suitor – 1985

73. Madly in Love – Amy Lawrence – 1985 –

74. Lucky in Love – Harriette S Abels – 1985 –Beth never thought a new yellow dress would change her life. But it did and it started a perfect romance with the gorgeous student council president, Jeff. Then trouble started and the perfect romance was about to go down the drain. Beth knew she had to do something to get the love-spark burning under Jeff again. But what? She couldn’t wear that yellow dress every day. Or could she?

75. That Special Someone – Gail Jarrow – 1985

76. Long Distance Romance – Alice Moon – 1985 – Tall, lean and graceful, Jennifer loved being a champion runner. So when she found out her new school didn’t have a girl’s track team, Jennifer was in a state of shock. If ever there was a time for the Equal Rights Amendment, it was now! Even if she could make the boys’ team, she knew she would be considered an oddball. Then Jennifer found out that the gorgeous hunk of a track star, Matt Hendley, was in her corner all the way. With his help, Jennifer broke the barrier. Now, Jennifer has a new challenge … to place first in Matt’s heart.

77. A Secret Love – Jean Thesman – Jocelin thought it was really super to be part of her best friend’s family. But when Trudy’s gorgeous, six-foot-four cousin Matt moved in, Jocelin couldn’t decide whether to consider him a “relative” or a new love! But there was something mysterious about Matt, and he used practical jokes to hide his true feelings. Jocelin knew it was going to take a lot of work to convince Matt that love was no laughing matter!

78. A Dream for Julie – Hope Goodwin – 1985 – Julie takes up skiing in hopes of sparking Eric’s interest, but although he takes no notice, Julie gradually realizes that Steve always seems to be there when she needs help.

79. With All my Heart – Rosemary Vernon – 1985 – Meet Jessie, the sixteen-year-old junk food fanatic who has fallen in love with Mike the serious super jock who loves health food. Even though their eating habits aren’t the same, it won’t get in the way of true love. But there’s something that puzzles Jessie about Mike. His feelings for her run hot and cold. Could it be that Mike is afraid of love? Jessie is determined to find out and take a chance on ruining a perfect romance!

80. Head Over Heels – Charlotte White – 1985 –This isn’t the average buy-girl relationship! Daydreams and boys are usually the first things on any girl’s mind, but not Laney Jessen’s – running was her life. Then a knee injury stopped Laney from doing what she loved the most. But Laney’s sweet, lovable boyfriend, Jon, had an uncanny way of making major problems seem trivial. It didn’t take Jon long to convince Laney that she had only one more race to run – the one to his heart!

81. Love and Kisses – Judith Enderle – 1985 – Terri Bates is all nerves on her first day in her new school. Ever since leaving her old friends behind, Terri can’t seem to shake a bad case of the blues. But a curious keeps hanging around Terri’s house and it’s owner just happens to be the cutest guy at Wood Glen High, Bill Graham. It’s a wonderful welcome to the neighborhood – especially when the fuzzy feline becomes her connection for true love.

82. 1-800-LOVE – Terri Fields – 1986 –

83. Boy-Crazy – Sheary Suiter – 1986 –