Why Our Paperback Crushes Deserve a Netflix Makeover

Posted by Danielle Mohlman

[Image from Pixabay on Pexels]

The Baby-Sitters Club is getting a total makeover this summer with a new Netflix series that premieres on July 3. And while '80s nostalgia is very big these days (attention Stranger Things), The Baby-Sitters Club promises to be a 2020 update of the characters we know and love. Just take a look at the teaser trailer! There are smart phones littering the floor of Claudia Kishi’s room. That see-through landline is definitely a business decision. (Thanks, Kristy.)

And while we love the Baby-Sitters Club, we can’t help but think about all the other book series we fell in love with in the '80s and '90s. For an exhaustive list, be sure to check out Gabrielle Moss’ Paperback Crush. And for a deep dive into how some of our faves might fare on Netflix, read on!  


The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny always felt very '80s to us, but that’s probably because the Scholastic versions that we kept on our shelves featured Jessie in a pink jumpsuit and the boys in jeans. (Jeans! For a book about orphaned kids in the 1920s.) In many ways, this series has already been rebooted – for 80s and 90s kids at the Scholastic Book Fair. But we think it’s about time for a television series. A Netflix reboot would set these kids squarely in the present day, navigating the foster care system as they solved crimes in their small town. (In addition to being orphans with a grandfather who keeps an eye on them from a distance, they’re also amateur detectives with a very good track record.) We picture the boxcar itself as more of a symbolic gesture – an abandoned railway car that they use as the headquarters for their detective agency. And we insist that Jessie wear a killer jumpsuit in the pilot.

Buy the first book:

AmazonBooks A MillionBarnes & Noble | Bookshop



The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

We fell in love with The Princess Diaries the moment the first book in the series was published. And while we absolutely loved the 2001 movie that introduced us to Anne Hathaway and confirmed, once more, that Mandy Moore could actually act, we think it’s time for a reboot. And we’re not even going to come up with a short list of who should play Mia because the princess makeover reveal only works if she’s a complete unknown. (Thank you, Garry Marshall for giving us the gift of the only good makeover sequence in film history.) We’re gunning for a Netflix adaptation, mainly because they have a track record with shows about royalty – and also because we want to make sure the storyline isn’t Disney-fied as Mia gets older.

Buy the first book:

Amazon | Books A Million | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop



Dear America by various authors

We loved the Dear America series because it made moments in American history feel more accessible to our middle grade selves. And it worked! But looking back on this series, the protagonists are overwhelmingly white, excluding BIPOC narratives from this deeply imaginative historical fiction series. We’re still pushing for a Netflix series, but one that centers people of color – including and especially black and indigenous voices. We see this as an anthology series, with each season dedicated to a different protagonist and a different time period. Dear America always centered on telling personal stories from difficult and complicated periods in our country’s history. And we hope that it will continue to do the same in this new medium.

Buy the first book:

Amazon | Books A Million | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop



The Mediator by Jenny Carroll

Okay, okay. The Mediator is technically written by Meg Cabot, but we’re really tickled by pseudonyms and the idea that James Patterson pretends to write a gazillion books a year while Meg Cabot felt moved to write her ghost books under a different name so that her Princess Diaries fans wouldn’t be confused. (Spoiler alert: we read under all her pseudonyms. Meg Cabot, Meggin Cabot, Patricia Cabot, Jenny Carroll – we loved it all.) The Mediator is such a natural fit for Netflix because who doesn’t love a spooky romance? And sure, paranormal fiction was definitely a fiction craze in the early 2000s, but we’re ready to see some post-Twilight TV. We have only one request: please cast Lexi Underwood from Little Fires Everywhere as Suze.

Buy the book:

AmazonBooks A Million | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop



Amelia’s Notebook by Marissa Moss

As young readers obsessed with documenting our lives in diaries and, later, on our Myspace blogs and LiveJournal accounts, Amelia’s Notebook spoke to our very souls. And while Eighth Grade could technically be seen as a reboot of this beloved series, we’re excited about Netflix investing in an entire animated series drawn by Amelia herself – one that centers on what it means to be a middle school girl with artistic talent. We’d want Tuca & Bertie’s Lisa Hanawalt to head up this series – and if Netflix isn’t the right home, we know Comedy Central will step up to the plate.

Buy the first book:

Amazon | Books A Million | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop