I don’t know what it is about high school stories, but they always get me – I love them! I love any teen movie, TV show or book. So when I sat down to read 49 Mix Tapes by Jeff Tompkins I already had a feeling that I would enjoy it.
The novel tells the story of main character Will’s high school journey, set against the backdrop of 80s movies, music and ideals. The story joins Will on his first day of high school and follows him as he experiences the highs and lows of friends, girlfriends, school and adolescence in general. Will is also in love with his best friend, Belinda Carlisle look-alike Abby, who is adamant they are just friends and nothing more. Do they end up together in the end? You’ll have to read the book to find out!
Because I am so unashamedly 80s and high school obsessed, I devoured this book and its many period-accurate details. The hair and clothes are right. The music is right. But most importantly, Tompkins has managed to capture the attitude of youth in the 80s. Will is the sort of hero you will naturally root for, the kind of awkward but introspective teen I think a lot of us can relate to (male or female). The lovely Abby is sharp as a tack, but of course completely oblivious to what is right in front of her – if you’re like me you’ll want to reach into the book and shake some sense into her! Will and Abby’s social circle is fun and a good secondary cast to support the main characters.
In general, the whole story should leave you with a case of the warm and fuzzies. This is a fantastic 80s book that I highly recommend, and I hope Jeff Tompkins will choose to revisit the decade in another book soon!
And, since it was so great, for my fellow 80s lovers I have a copy of the book to give away! Just sign up for the 80s Time Machine to enter (and to be automatically entered into all future competitions).