Think back to the days when making plans were as simple as picking up your see-through phone and dialing up your BFF. When your best accessories were butterfly clips and scrunchies. The days when MTV played your favorite music videos and you sat around eating Dunkaroos for snacks. It was a prime time to be alive, and for every '90s child at heart, it will always be the best generation. As adults now, we have to cherish those days of simplicity by remembering that era in the best way we know how — by reading fly books set in the 1990s.
One of the best perks of reading is being transported through time — sometimes to other worlds. So why not read a book that'll bring you back to the punk-rock and note-passing days of your youth? What better way to fuel your nostalgia than to re-visit the time of your youth from a new perspective?
While there are definitely things we'd all like to forget about the '90s (like the sound of the dial-up tone while connecting to the internet), there are plenty more things we should still celebrate. Here are some of the best novels that honor the best, worst, and most iconic things about the '90s:
1. Forgive Me If I've Told You This Before by Karelia Stetz-Waters
Triinu Hoffman doesn't just take on the occasional bully or lose a close friend — she's up against her entire rural and homophobic community who believes people like her shouldn't exist. Realizing that what sets her apart can also set her free, Triinu has quite a few battles to face before she can truly be herself. Set in the '90s, this coming-of-age tale is still relevant today showcasing the angst of adolescence, the desire to fit in, and how wonderful it can be to have one true friend at your side.
2. Confessions of Georgia Nicolson Series by Louise Rennison
You probably read these growing up and lived through Georgia vicariously. The first book was published in 1999, and the rest follow that great '90s glory. Her embarrassing moments with cute boys and totally hilarious thoughts on make-up, family, and friends are what got you through your worst moments as a teen. These books never stop being great, no matter when they're set.
3. The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley
This one of my favorite books, and it just so happens to take place in 1993 while Nirvana was on its last international tour. Did that hook you in yet? This is the story of Maggie Lynch, a 16-year-old who was recently forced to uproot from her beloved home of Chicago to the abnormally green and rural world of Bray, Ireland. And when first-love and first-death strike nearly at the same time, Maggie runs away to Rome to fulfill a dying wish, and finds herself in an adventure that will truly change her life forever.
4. Althea & Oliver by Cristina Moracho
This layered and complicated story of friendship, love, and identity is set in the middle of the '90s. It's the story — you guessed it — of Althea and Oliver, two best friends since age 6. When Oliver wakes up one morning and can't remember the last three weeks, it's Althea who makes a choice that'll shatter their friendship and alter their lives drastically. This novel will bring you back to a world without constant communication and what that can do to even the strongest relationships.
5. Office Girl by Joe Meno
This story is set in 1999, right before one world ends and another begins. Odile, a 23-year-old art school dropout meets Jack, a 25-year-old artist, and together they begin an artistic movement of their own. These two ride bikes through the snow, watch old French movies, swear too much, and record the sounds of the city. They're the original hipsters, and this book will have you relating with the all-too-familiar notion of having no idea what to do with your life while the rest of world seems to have already figured it out.
6. Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O'Porter
Buy a spare copy of this for your BFF, because it's all about the strength of female friendships and the craziness they entail. Renée and Flo, two teenage girls growing up in the '90s are drawn together by their loneliness and dysfunctional families. This gritty novel will bring you back to the days of high school when small problems seemed to be the size of mountains and how no matter what happened, as long as you had your best friend at your side, you'd get through it one way or another.
7. Class of '98 by A.L. Player
Jackie Dunn and Matt Stewart attend their 10-year class reunion, still nothing more than strangers to each other. But then a weird storm appears out of nowhere and transports them back in time to their senior year where they then agree to do everything the same as they remember — until they start to become close friends and change the history of their high school days. This hilarious time-traveling and late '90s filled novel will surely become one of your favorites as a '90s kid yourself.
8. In Some Other World, Maybe by Shari Goldhagen
Three sets of teenagers around the country all head out to see the movie version of the famed Eons & Empires comic books. Adam, in Florida, goes in an attempt to spark a relationship with the girl he's been crushing on for years. Sharon, in Cincinnati, skips school as a die-hard fan of the books. And Phoebe and Ollie, in Chicago, simply want to have a nice first date together. So what do they all have in common? Over the next few decades, they'll cross paths and create a story unlike anything you've ever read before. This is the novel that'll make you think back to the good ol' days and how your teenage memories stay with you throughout your entire life.