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Just between us girls

Teen Girl Talk
Douglas
1990

How about a little girl talk?

This book has the info you need to grow into a successful woman. Naturally, that means deep introspection and analysis of make-up, hair, fashion, and diets. It’s “frank and fun!”

I think today’s teens and preteens would find this book ridiculous. Miss washing your face completely last night before bed? Hello acne and awful skin. What does the author think these preteen girls are doing? Out clubbing with heavy makeup and smoking?

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Don’t make a dating mistake!

Dating
Narramore
1961

Looking for some old fashioned advice about dating? Here is an option for you from the early 1960s. I found this in a university library which is probably the most appropriate place for this material.

Considering it is the early 1960s and geared to Christian teens, you can probably guess how the advice goes:

  • Don’t date someone who isn’t a Christian
  • Save your sexual purity for marriage
  • Don’t go out to clubs, movies, and do other “non-Christian” activities
  • Listen to your parents

It is important to remember that getting pregnant out of wedlock was pretty much the worst thing that could happen to a woman. You could get fired from a job, kicked out of school, shunned by family or shipped off to an “unwed mothers” home. Hence, these books were really about putting the literal fear of God in teenagers.

Teen Legal Rights cover

Teen Legal Rights for the 1990s

Teen Legal Rights
A Guide for the ’90s
Hempleman
1994

Some books are so obvious to weed. This one practically has a neon sign over it saying “weed me!”

When you are my age the 1990s seem like yesterday. In terms of a public library teen collection, the 1990s should be considered ancient history. A good rule of thumb: books should be no older than the teens, and definitely not older than parents of teens.

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Who are you?

Who are you?
Teenager’s guide to self-understanding
McGough
1976

Teens! Do you know who you are? Are you stressing over friends, parents, and dating? This book is for you. The content is mostly anecdotes, quizzes (if you were the president, what would you prioritize?), and “exercises” (write your own obituary!). I really don’t get how any of this stuff is going to help you find your inner self.

Obviously, this book is dated. I actually liked these kinds of books when I was a young teen. For all I know, I might have even read it since I was the right age in 1976. To use the vernacular of the late 1960s/1970s, the book was pretty square.

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Teen Guide to Birth Control

Teen Guide to Birth Control
Nourse
1988

Another teen guide-to-life book. We have prolific health writer Alan Nourse again instructing the kids on various methods of birth control. For 1988, this isn’t a bad choice. His writing is pretty-plain spoken and doesn’t get bogged down in judgments, unlike a lot of publications, both older and newer. The info is mostly focused on the female perspective. It’s pretty clear that if a woman wants to avoid pregnancy, it is up to her. Boys seem incidental to the conversation.

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Babysitting Basics

Babysitting
Dayee
1990

I’m going to have to award this book “most boring cover art.” Seriously, this book design looks like they had some bad wallpaper laying around and someone said, “Hey, put that on a book, the teens will love it.”

Cover “art” not withstanding, the content isn’t too bad. The book is written in scenarios, followed by a brief discussion. There is also a business-like theme so kids think about this professionally, including interviewing. The general advice is okay, but the technology available these days (cell phones, nanny cams, etc.) definitely needs to be discussed for 21st century babysitters.

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Get some help!

Get Help
Solving the Problems in Your Life
Gilbert
1989

This is essentially a directory of agencies and organizations aimed at young people with problems. In 1989, this would be a reasonable purchase for a teen nonfiction collection. However, in 2022 it is simply taking up shelf space. It would never occur to a teen to use a book to look up an organization. This book should have been tossed with all the telephone books and other directories when the Internet took over the job of being a giant directory.

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Boys are important people!

How To Talk To Boys
and Other Important People
Winters
1983

Girls, here is your chance to get a boy to like you. Are you shy? This book has all the right things to say, so you can get the boyfriend of your dreams!

This book was a bit much for 1983. I am not sure that today’s teens would find anything remotely useful in this book. I doubt this advice worked in 1983 either. This book gives advice on what to say, with some help from Barbara Walters! There is advice on how to be a good listener (aka shut up and let the boy talk). Good grooming is essential. In other words, looks count.