Favorite Authors

Although there must be hundreds of these teen romance novels which have faller into obscurity over the last few decades, the work of a few authors continue to live on in fans and collectors' hearts.

Helen Dore Boylston wrote a kind of book that was quite popular in the 1940s through the 1960s--the career novel. And one of the most-written about careers was nursing. No career seemed to offer as much variety and dramatic tension as nursing--unless it was acting. Boylston's two career novel series gave a fascinating look at the life of the mid-century career girl. Plenty of excitement and romance followed both Sue Barton and Carol Page through all their endeavors.  

From the back cover of Carol Plays Summer Stock:

Two Famous Young Heroines from the books of Helen Dore Boylston: Sue Barton, the lively redhead who pursues her nursing career with vim, vitality, and constant adventure. A vivid picture of a nurse's life seen through the eyes of a highly individual girl whose career is complicated, as a student, by her affection for a young intern--Dr. Bill Barry--whom Sue eventually marries.

The Sue Barton series:
Sue Barton, Student Nurse
Sue Barton, Senior Nurse
Sue Barton, Visiting Nurse
Sue Barton, Rural Nurse
Sue Barton, Superintendent of Nurses
Sue Barton, Neighborhood Nurse
Sue Barton, Staff Nurse

Carol Page, who wants to be an actress. Attractive, full of spirits, but serious underneath, Carol treads the difficult path toward a career on the stage, finding all the hardships--and thrills, too--that the theater has always provided for the girl who wants to reach the pinnacle. 

The Carol Page series:
Carol Goes Backstage (1941)
Carol Plays Summer Stock (1942)
Carol on Broadway (1944)
Carol on Tour

Books by Betty Cavanna tend towards the introspective heroine who learns something about herself. Unlike many authors of fifties teen novels, Betty Cavanna did not write series books. Her books were stand-alone novels that focused on one particular girl and her ambitions, her personal journey, and, often secondarily, her love life. Cavanna created vivid, endearing characters in vibrant, memorable settings--from a Swiss boarding school to an artist's colony on Cape Cod to an Eastern horse ranch.  These books contain slightly more angst and less humor than Rosamond du Jardin's, but are filled with fifties sensibility.

Beverly Cleary may be best known for her books for younger children such as the Ramona books, Henry Huggins, Ralph S. Mouse and other children's classics, but her teen romance novels are truly classics of the genre.

Rosamond du Jardin, whose Practically Seventeen was the first book that I remember reading in this genre and her books still stand up to this day.  Du Jardin wrote several memorable series, following her young heroines through high school, into college, and frequently on to marriage. Her novels mostly revolve around the romantic travails of her heroines in a humorous way and are peopled by vivid, charming characters.  Du Jardin's series include the following:

The Tobey Heydon series:
Practically Seventeen (1943)
Class Ring (1951)
Boy Trouble
The Real Thing
Wedding in the Family
One of the Crowd

The Marcy Rhodes series:
Wait for Marcy (1950)
Marcy Catches Up
A Man for Marcy
Senior Prom

The Pam and Penny Howard series:
Double Date (1951)
Double Feature
Showboat Summer
Double Wedding

Janet Lambert predates the fifties teen romance novel by a few years; her first novel was published in 1941. With war as a dramatic background, her two main series focus on two sprawling army families (the Jordans and the Parrishes) who repeatedly and complicatedly intertwine through marriage.

From the About the Author jacket copy on Candy Kane (1943):
Janet Lambert, author of the delightful Penny Parrish and Candy Kane books and creator of Just Jenifer and other stories, was born and brought up in Crawfordsville, long known as the Athens of Indiana and a town still proud of the number of authors it produces.
Long interested in both the theatre and in writing, Janet Lambert effected a happy compromise by early deciding to become an actress and to write her own plays. During her acting career, she achieved her dream of playing with Walker Whiteside and appeared on Broadway.
Marriage to the boy from back home, Colonel Lambert--then a captain--put an end to her stage career. It was then that she turned again to writing, this time creating the stories for her daughter that would soon endear her to a much larger audience. The backgrounds of many of Mrs. Lambert's stories are the various Army posts across the country which she came to know so well as an Army wife.
Janet Lambert's characters--from Candy and Jenifer to Penny and all the rest--are a captivating group, with the natural, irrepressible vitality of teen-agers, plus their usual complement of problems, surprises and romance. And it is a happy discovery to find that you can follow their lives from one entertaining book to the next.
The Lamberts, now that Colonel Lambert has retired from the Army, live on an island off the coast of New Jersey.
Candy Kane - dust jacket back cover
Lambert's series include:

The Penny Parrish series:
Star-Spangled Summer (1941)
Dreams of Glory (1942)
Glory Be (1943)
Up Goes the Curtain (1946)
Practically Perfect (1947)
The Reluctant Heart (1950)

The Tippy Parrish series:
Miss Tippy (1948)
Little Miss Atlas (1949)
Miss America (1951)
Don't Cry, Little Girl (1952)
Rainbow After Rain
Welcome Home, Mrs. Jordon
A Song in Their Hearts

The Jordon Family series:
Just Jenifer (1945)
Friday's Child (1947)
Confusion by Cupid (1950)
A Dream for Susan (1954)
Love Taps Gently (1955)
Myself & I (1957)
The Stars Hang High (1960)
Wedding Bells (1961)
A Bright Tomorrow (1965)

The Parri MacDonald Series:
Introducing Parri (1962)
That's My Girl
My Davy

The Candy Kane series:
Candy Kane (1943)
Whoa, Matilda (1944)
One for the Money (1946)

These just happen to be my favorite series by Janet Lambert. She has many, many more books and series out there.