What she reads if she’s an ’80s girl

We are taking it back a few decades with this round-up of what she reads if she’s an ’80s girl. From horror to sex, drugs and siblings stuck in their grandma’s attic, this list will bring back all the memories! Here’s what you read if you were an ’80s girl – and what you can read now too!

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

A really provocative read back in the day, Flowers in the Attic is the story of a mother who basically sends her kids to live in their deranged grandmother’s attic, where the two oldest kids, Cathy and Chris, take charge over their younger siblings. Days become years and an unhealthy relationship begins between siblings.


Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

Go Ask Alice was one of those books that felt like a secret that everyone knew about but didn’t really talk about. Written by an “anonymous” person, the book claimed to have been the real diary of a drug-addicted teen who runs away. It’s been in continuous print since it was published in the early ’70s and back when I read it in the ’80s, its references to sex and drugs kept all the teen girls intrigued!


Pet Sematary by Stephen King

Stephen King was all the rage back in the ’80s with books like Carrie, Cujo and Pet Sematary. In Pet Sematary, Dr. Louis Creed moves his family to an idyllic home that is on the edge of a strange graveyard where children are buried with their pets. I remember reading this one and being terrified of our pet cat for months afterward.


The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye seemed to have been required reading for most high school students then and now, yet I actually didn’t understand the fascination with Holden Caulfield. But the book must have impacted me somehow, because there are not many books I’ve read where I can remember so much detail about the main character.


The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

The Thorn Birds is a book that, after my mother read it, I swiped it from her as fast as I could. While it’s hard to remember exactly everything about this book, I was enthralled by the forbidden relationship between a woman and a priest. At nearly 700 pages, I am sure I read through from start to finish in my early teens, fascinated by the story.


Wifey by Judy Blume

A forbidden book for sure back in the ’80s, I snuck Wifey out of my aunt’s bookcase and read it while I was babysitting my twin cousins. I remember it being quite the juicy read from the very first scene on the very first page. And well, any of Judy Blume’s books felt a little illicit and fun to read back in the ’80s. I mean, don’t we all remember Ralph from Forever?


Where Are the Children? by Mary Higgins Clark

This book was one of the first suspense novels I ever read and I remember it being a book that mothers would chat about in the aisles at the grocery store when I was younger. The idea that a mother could murder her children, and then move on to a whole new life, captivated and destroyed me at the same time.


The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The story of two sisters, one a missionary in Africa and the other a child wife in the South, this is a classic in its own right. Touching upon family, loyalty, love and loss, The Color Purple is compassionate and passionate, and also a must-read.


The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

I wonder how many English classes have The Outsiders as required reading still to this day. One of the first books in the YA genre, the story follows a bunch of “greasers” and the gang they are up against. A story of family and friendship, everyone should read The Outsiders at some point in their life.

Stephanie Elliot

Contributing Writer and Copyeditor

Stephanie Elliot writes for a variety of websites and magazines on topics such as parenting, mental health issues, relationships, and of course, books. She is an editor and book reviewer. Stephanie is also the author of the young adult novel, Sad Perfect, which was inspired by her own daughter’s journey with ARFID, Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband and their three children. For more info, visit www.stephanieelliot.com.

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