Librarians Love: 80s-Inspired Books

YALSA-bk is a listserv with lively discussions among librarians, educators, and beyond about all things YA lit. Sometimes one listserv member will ask for help finding books around a certain theme or readalikes for a particular title. This post is a compilation of responses for one such request.

my little 80s pony by merwing

The original request
I am putting together a 1980s party for winter break and I want to have a book list or display to go along with it. Can you help me think of any books that really have to do with the 1980s? So far I have Eleanor and Park and Ready Player One. Thanks everyone!


  • White Lines by Jennifer Banash
  • Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
  • Revenge of a Not-So-Pretty-Girl by Carolita Blythe
  • The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
  • Rose Sees Red by Cecil Castellucci
  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m. danforth
  • Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd
  • Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
  • Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy by Elizabeth Kiem
  • Scowler by Daniel Kraus
  • Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
  • Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford
  • Zero Fade by Chris Terry
  • Summer of Yesterday by Gaby Triana (to be published June 2014)

Nonfiction topics

  • AIDS
  • Princess Diana
  • Michael Jackson
  • Breakdancing
  • MTV
  • Boy George
  • Bill Cosby
  • Valley Girl speak
  • Rubik’s Cube


  • ET
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • The Breakfast Club
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Out of Africa

Additional booklists

Have more titles you think should belong on these lists? Add them on the YALSA wiki or leave a comment! Looking for more compiled booklists? Check out the YALSA wiki or other booklists here at The Hub.

— Gretchen Kolderup, currently reading Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones

3 thoughts on “Librarians Love: 80s-Inspired Books”

  1. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, an Alex award winner, is also a great book set in the 80s and dealing with the topic of AIDS.

  2. Non fiction topics: How about an (age-appropriate) biography about Madonna? What 80s teen didn’t completely idolize the Material Girl?

    As far as movies: The Goonies, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Dirty Dancing, anything starring Molly Ringwold… Also, The Wedding Singer (PG-13) is set in the 80s.

  3. “I love the 80’s” by Megan Crane is a fantastic book to add to your fiction list, telling the story of an 80’s fan travelling back in time to that era.

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