Quiz: Which YA Book for ’90s Kids Should You Read Next?

This is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey, published by Quirk Books.

The year is 1998 and like any other teenager Jess Flynn is just trying to survive high school. Between a crush on her childhood best friend, overprotective parents, and her sister’s worsening health, the only constant is her hometown of Swickley…until the day she discovers a mysterious device, causing her to question everything she’s ever known. As more cracks appear in Jess’s world, she faces a choice: can she live the rest of her life knowing it’s a lie or should she risk everything for the truth?

I try to be sort of measured with my nostalgia. I had a pretty great childhood, and sometimes I like to look back on some of my favorite toys and games, but I try not to make it too much of a habit. I like being an adult, and I like caring about what I’m into right now. But with so much unrest in the world, sometimes it’s nice to crack open a rereleased Clearly Canadian, buckle on a fanny pack, and take myself on a stroll down a pog-strewn memory lane. 

I had a lot more fun than I expected researching the questions for this quiz. I had completely forgotten about some of my favorite board games, and now very clearly remember the hours it took to set up a game like 13 Dead End Drive. I remember McDonalds announcing their new, fancy burger, and being very excited to eat a “grown up” new thing like the Arch Delux (even though, to be honest, it didn’t taste so great. Very mustardy, in a bad way, I think? And the meat was weird). 1990s breakfasts seemed to be just a little more exciting than they are now. I don’t usually let myself have a breakfast corn dog (we called them breakfast bundles) and I certainly don’t have any Wild!Berry anything. 

It was fun to remember how preparing some classic ’90s kid foods made me feel very responsible and like I could cook for myself if I needed to. Kid Cuisine was so fancy (French!) and I always dragged my chair over to the stove top to make myself mac and cheese. Maybe a little nostalgia now and then is a good reminder to be grateful for where you’ve come from. It nice to remember being small and feeling safe, and it makes me want to make sure that other people can have those memories, too. 

I hope this quiz is a nice walk down memory lane for you, too, and that at the end you find the just-right book set in the ’90s to give you that nice nostalgic glow. So take a minute, get in your 1992 headspace, and take a quiz: