Welcome to Chatham Island: Making Out

While I’m waiting for Zoey Fools Around to get here from PaperBackSwap, here’s an introduction to the Making Out series.

Katherine Applegate’s romance series have serious naming problems. The first eight books of this one were published in the early 90s (pre-Animorphs) as the “Boyfriends/Girlfriends” series, which is admittedly an awful title.[1] They were a self-contained series that had a pretty satisfying, wrapped-up ending. But then, in the slightly later 90s (post-Animorphs), they republished them all as the “Making Out” series (slightly better), and then added 20 more books for some reason.

I have some disdain for those 20 extra books, because the original series was so good on its own, and some ridiculous stuff happens in the later books that I hate. A certain tired ableist trope is dragged out, and more characters are added that I don’t like as much as the old ones. Or at least, that’s how I remember it. I haven’t read the later ones in years. Maybe they were ghostwritten, like a lot of the later Animorphs books apparently were, but that’s no excuse for ableism.

Here are the titles:

Boyfriends/Girlfriends, later Making Out:
1. Zoey Fools Around
2. Jake Finds Out
3. Nina Won’t Tell
4. Ben’s in Love
5. Claire Gets Caught
6. What Zoey Saw
7. Lucas Gets Hurt
8. Aisha Goes Wild

Zoey gets two books here, but that’s okay because it means Christopher gets none, and I hate Christopher.

Making Out continued:
9. Zoey Plays Games
10. Nina Shapes Up
11. Ben Takes a Chance
12. Claire Can’t Lose
13. Don’t Tell Zoey
14. Aaron Lets Go
15. Who Loves Kate?
16. Lara Gets Even
17. Two-Timing Aisha
18. Zoey Speaks Out
19. Kate Finds Love
20. Never Trust Lara
21. Trouble with Aaron
22. Always Loving Zoey
23. Lara Gets Lucky
24. Now Zoey’s Alone
25. Don’t Forget Lara
26. Zoey’s Broken Heart
27. Falling for Claire
28. Zoey Comes Home

Zoey gets a lot more books here. I suppose she is kind of the main character, but come on. Nina, Ben, and Aisha only get one book each, Claire gets two, Lara gets WAY TOO MANY for a character I don’t remember liking all that much, and who the hell are Kate and Aaron? I don’t remember them at all. Poor Lucas and Jake get no books.

The series is told in the third person, and every character gets their perspective in, so I suppose it doesn’t really matter who’s in the title. I SUPPOSE. *grump*

The original eight characters:

  • Zoey is Our Heroine. She’s been dating Jake since the dawn of time and thinks their relationship is perfect, but that will soon change. She likes to collect inspirational quotes and write the first chapter of a romance novel over and over. She’s a hopeless romantic, basically, and is kind of naïve, but she Has A Good Heart so we’re supposed to like her.
  • Jake is Zoey’s boyfriend and kind of a dick. He likes working out and beer. His older brother Wade died in a Tragic Car Accident before the beginning of the series, so he gets all riled up when Lucas, who was driving, gets back from juvie. He basically acts like Lucas should have been sentenced to death. He has anger issues.
  • Nina is Zoey’s best friend and awesome. She’s snarky all the time, wears ripped fishnets, and “smokes” unlit cigarettes because she’s allergic to the real thing. She sekritly has a huge crush on Ben, but he’s dating her gorgeous sister Claire, so she doesn’t do anything about it. She feels like she can’t compete with Claire, but that’s obviously false because, as mentioned, she is awesome.
  • Ben is Zoey’s brother, and also pretty awesome. He’s going out with Claire. He’s usually very perceptive of what’s going on with everyone else, but for whatever reason he’s oblivious to the fact that Nina likes him. He’s been completely blind since he was twelve.
  • Claire is Nina’s sister, dating Ben. She’s the Ice Queen of the group, beautiful but cold and manipulative. She wants to be a climatologist and spends a lot of time watching the sky on her widow’s walk (I wanted a widow’s walk so bad after I read these). She was in the car when Jake’s brother Wade died, and she sees a shrink.
  • Lucas has just returned to the island after doing time for Wade’s death. He used to be part of the group, but now they ostracize him. He’s a Sensitive Bad Boy and is not-so-sekritly in love with Zoey, because she was nice to him even though he killed Wade, and she gave him ice cream (seriously). His house is next to Zoey’s, so he spies on her a lot. But not in a creepy Edward Cullen way.
  • Aisha moved to the island a few years ago and is friends with Nina and Zoey. She’s very practical and likes to think she’s logical about everything. She’s black, and at first she thought people were ignoring her because of that, but Zoey told her it’s just because she was new to the island. (Yeah, because I’m sure an island that’s 98% white people has no racism problems at all.) Now she considers herself a local.
  • Christopher is the new guy. He’s also black, and spends a lot of time hitting on Aisha and trying to get her to go out with him. She thinks he just likes her because they’re the only black teenagers on the island, but he thinks they’re “destined” to go out. Whatever. Christopher is Motivated and has like twelve jobs, but he’s kind of a womanizer and he sucks.

So all these people live on Chatham Island, a tiny crescent-shaped island off the coast of Maine. Most of them have grown up together, and they’re all up in each other’s business. They take the ferry every morning to high school on the mainland, but they don’t have any mainland friends, because they are ISLAND KIDZ 4 LYFE. Also, it’s really convenient that all the kids on the mainland are in their late teens at the same time. I think only one younger kid is ever mentioned, and that’s Aisha’s brother. Are there no young couples moving to the island to start families?

Honestly I’m pretty excited about starting these books. I remember them as being remarkably good and funny for a series called “Boyfriends/Girlfriends.” They also deal with a lot heavier subjects than the titles and covers would have you believe, but I’ll get to that in the individual books.

[1] In Germany they’re apparently called “Boyz ‘n’ Girls.” Why the random Z? I have no idea.


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