On select Sundays I will be reviewing some of the old Apple Paperback titles from my childhood. These titles were published, or republished by Scholastic during the 1980s & 1990s and were written and set in the United States. In Australia, these books were typically only available from libraries or could be ordered through catalogues that were distributed through primary schools. Most of these titles are now long out of print or have been updated and republished for later generations ...
This Sunday I am cheating just a little. In Australia, New Zealand and UK The Sleepover Friends series was published by Bantam, a division of Random House that was also responsible for all of the various Sweet Valley series and The Saddle Club. In the United States and Canada however, the series was published by Scholastic under the Apple Paperbacks imprint.
The Sleepover Friends revolved around a basic but fun premise--a group of four fifth grade girls who liked to have sleepovers, and some of their quirky adventures. All up, there were thirty-eight titles in the series, although I can really only remember the first four or five. Anyway, book number two is about a video contest. Or, more specifically, a new band called The Boodles is filming a new film clip in Riverdale (the smallish town where books are set,) and whomever discovers their secret location gets to star in the clip. Initially Stephanie is interested, but forgets about it when she and Patti have a fight over a part in a school play. At the same time, the old house that lies between Lauren and Kate's house seems to be haunted ... It doesn't really take much to put two and two together.
I remember this one quite clearly, mostly because my well-intentioned grandmother bought me a copy when I was about fourteen. (The only books in the series I remember reading are this one, and one title Patti's New Look.) At the time, I remember thinking the final scenes where the video is shot seemed kind of dumb and it's hard not to think so as an adult reader--specifically it seems kind of creepy to have a group of adult male rock stars singing a love song while a group of ten year old girls dance. But, I suppose if I were a ten year old reader, I would love the fantasy element.
A little bit silly, a little bit daggy and a little bit dated.
About the author: Susan Saunders is a prolific author of books for children. As well as the Sleepover Friends series, she penned several Choose Your Own Adventure books and several other series. She was born and raised in Texas.