Pop Culture Nostalgia and Book Recs with Helena Hunting and Sarah Skilton


Want to binge Veronica Mars? Join the club.

Today we’re sharing an epic showdown between authors Sarah Skilton (Fame Adjacent) and Helena Hunting (Meet Cute). By day, Sarah and Helena give fanfiction a whole new meaning by dreaming up romances featuring former child stars from fictional TV shows that give us major 90s throwback vibes. By night, they’re rereading old faves and Netflix and chilling with the classics because they love nostalgia but can do without a VHS.

We’re not sure how (it’s so hard!), but Sarah and Helena managed to narrow down some of their fav pop culture moments and recommended books for each of them. If you are prone to random late-night thoughts about ex-celebrity couples and whatever happened to The Babysitters Club collection in your old bedroom… don’t forget to share your own recs on twitter to us @onfrolic.

Sarah #1 pop culture pick: Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes

I’ll fully admit I was fascinating by the phenomenon that was TomKat. IMO, it had everything: attractive celebrities falling in love, getting married, and having a beautiful baby, and then–burner phones and a literal escape to New York. I saw Ms. Holmes referred to as a “divorce ninja” once and I’m convinced Hilary Liftin’s fictional account is accurate 😉 

HH book pick: You by Caroline Kepnes    

SS book pick: Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper, by Hilary Liftin

Helena #1 pop culture pick: The Vampire Diaries

I missed the Buffy craze back in the late nineties, but I sure didn’t miss the vampire phenomenon that was Twilight and then came The Vampire Diaries (although the books came out in the 90s). How could I resist the whole angsty vampire brothers in love with the same girl? This series ticked all my “I wish I was still a teenager buttons.” Plus Ian Somerhalder and that smirk-n-smoulder thing he had going on was gold

HH book pick: The Black Dagger Brotherhood (because no fade to black)

SS book pick: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno (for the love triangle with brothers)

Sarah #2 pop culture pick: Veronica Mars              

Kristen Bell can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned. She knocked it out of the park with her portrayal of a cynical teen (who’s secretly a marshmallow) solving weekly crimes for her dad’s PI agency while also following the compelling and disturbing clues to uncover the mystery of who killed her best friend, Lily Kane. The first season is perfection from start to finish.

HH book pick: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

SS book pick: Langdon Prep mystery series by Kimberly Reid

Helena #2 pop culture pick: The Baby-sitters Club

Who doesn’t love a sassy group of female entrepreneurs? Especially those of the teenage variety. The Baby-sitters Club, an iconic series from my childhood turned into a movie, explores the ideas of friendship, family, teenage crushes, falling into puppy love and heartbreak. So much nostalgia all crammed into two hours of teen angst makes my soul happy.

HH book pick: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

SS book pick: Genie Wishes by Elisabeth Dahl

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About the Author:

Sarah Skilton, the author of Fame Adjacent, grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, where she and her older sister loved recording their own radio shows onto cassette. They wrote and performed serialized dramas, comedies, soap operas about cats, talk shows, and of course advertisements. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sarah graduated with a TV/Radio degree from Ithaca College in upstate New York before moving to sunny Los Angeles, where she’s worked as a production assistant, a TV extra, a film reviewer, a blogger for a Japanese marketing company, and a script analyst. She currently blogs for Barnes & Noble and lives north of L.A. with her husband and 7-year-old son. When Sarah was eleven, she auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club despite not having any discernible talent for singing or dancing. Visit SarahSkilton.com for more information.

Fame Adjacent by Sarah Skilton

Holly Danner has a complicated relationship with fame. It’s not easy being the only cast member of a 1990s song-and-dance show who didn’t become famous. When she was eleven, she used to do anything for a laugh (or at least a laugh-track) on “Diego and the Lion’s Den.” If she talked about it–which she almost never does–Holly might explain how her childhood best friends came to dominate the worlds of pop music, film, and TV while she was relegated to a few near-misses and a nanny gig for her niece. She’d even be telling the truth about making peace with the whole thing years ago.

But when she finds out there’s a 25th anniversary for the show planned–a televised reunion, clip show, and panel–and she wasn’t invited, it’s time for an impromptu road trip to crash the event and set the record straight. Three problems: she’s currently in Internet Rehab (perhaps she’s not quite as well-adjusted as she believes…), she has no cash, and the only person who can get her across the country in time is Thom Parker, a handsome, infuriatingly level-headed patient who doesn’t think she should confront her famous ex-friends.

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

Kailyn Flowers was always calm, rational, and controlled–until she ended up sprawled all over Daxton Hughes, the former actor she totally crushed on as a teenager. Then she did the unthinkable: She became a mortifying fangirl in five seconds flat, which may or may not have included professing her undying love. And oddly, he didn’t run away. In fact, their meet cute led to a friendship she never saw coming. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming, either…

Now Dax needs her help. As guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister, he’s in way over his head. And though Kailyn hasn’t forgiven Dax, she isn’t heartless enough to make him fend for himself, either. Soon their friendly meetings turn into flirty dinner dates, and Kailyn can feel their chemistry is as explosive as ever. But how can she possibly let down her guard again to a guy who has heartbreak written all over him?


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