Today's poll question asks which throwback series you loved best. My criteria was simple: books had to be actually numbered and not be a beginning, middle and end of a single plot arc (in other words: no Harry Potter, because that was always intended to be a single narrative told over seven volumes, despite the individual adventures.).
The Baby-Sitter's Club is an obvious choice, if only for the infinite amount of spin-off series (BSC Super Special, BSC Mysteries, BSC Little Sister, California Diaries) you get in the package. Did I have all of these books? Up through about the first 100. Did I have the board game? Yes. Have I seen both the TV show and movie? Five words: Say hello to your friends.
Sweet Vally High. Please do not underestimate the appeal to a teenager of a book where one of the protagonists shares your name. SVH also comes with a healthy dose of spin-offs (SV Kids, SV Twins, SV University, The Unicorn Club, SV Mysteries, not to mention the recently published "adult" books.). For a nerdy girl in Upstate New York, nothing could have been more glamorous than twin California girls with eyes the exact color of the Pacific Ocean and matching lavaliere necklaces. I also had this board game, watched the TV show, etc.
The American Girl Collection is discussed in more detail in the book report below, but my love for it is well-documented. History! Dolls! Peeks Into the Past! A catalogue! A magazine! Plays! If you haven't pretended that your free-standing garage is the frontier cabin where Kirsten lives with her family, well then, I feel sorry for you. I did not have the dolls, but I did subscribe to the magazine for years, which featured such things as an excerpt from The Princess Diaries before it was published, and the vocab word of the month (where else do you think I learned what "kudos" means?).
Goosebumps: Can I be real here for a second? I didn't read these books, because I was and am a baby. I religiously watched the excellent Nickelodeon show Are You Afraid of the Dark, as well as terrifying episodes of normal shows (the term "Zeke the Plumber" still strikes fear into my heart), and I felt like, you know what? I'm good. I don't need books to scare the shit out of me, too. But among braver classmates, these books were more in demand than a black market kidney.
Girl Talk: I'm not sure, but I think this is a rare case where the board game inspired the books and not the other way around. Girl Talk had an impressively diverse cast for an 80's series, including nerdy Sabrina, Native American model/bookworm Allison, punk New York transplant Randy, and a generic blonde I can't remember. They did things like run for class president and embark on various modeling/musical careers -- typical high school stuff. These books are really hard to find, but they're a hidden gem if you love 80s/90s series.
The Girls of Canby Hall: Do I need to say anything other than that these are boarding school books? That is (and will be) a whole other post, but any time you have rooming assignments and no parents, that's a book worth reading. Excellent 80's standbys.
So tell me: which was your favorite series? Did I miss a good one?