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Product Details

  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Woodward Avenue Books (April 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615594786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615594781
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,565,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"...an overall great, imaginative story with some real, unexpected twists and a wholehearted appreciation of '90s music." [4 stars] -- Romantic Times

"Lost in the '90s offers a historical snapshot and sweeping theme that things often aren't as bad as they seem." -- Metro Times (Detroit)

"LOST IN THE '90s is a humorous and touching coming-of-age novel filled with modern day and past pop culture that may appeal, not only to teens and young adults, but also their parents... Author Frank Anthony Polito's writing is smooth and accurately captures the jargon and social consciousness of the '90s in addition to modern day techno-speak, with its SMS language acronyms." [5 stars] -- IndieReader

"This novel was nothing like what I thought as I started reading it. I loved it! The 'back to the future' theme has been done before, but Frank Anthony Polito has written a wonderful novel that caught my attention and interest from the first page... The characters were fun, interesting and we cared about them. I loved all of the scene setting '90s references from music to television to other cultural things."  -- 20th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards

From the Author

The writing of this book has been a journey for me, and it's taught me a lot -- about who I am, as a person, and how harsh the realities of the Publishing World can be. After publishing two "award-winning" novels featuring teen characters, but targeted toward adult readers, I decided I wanted to try my hand at writing a true Young Adult book.

For inspiration, I turned to an old favorite book of mine, Hanging Out With Cici, aka My Mother Was Never a Kid by Francine Pascal of Sweet Valley High fame. Growing up, I always wondered what it would've been like to travel back in time and meet my parents, who aren't that much older than me, actually. If you've read Band Fags! you'll know that my dad was 18 and my mom was 15 when I was born. At present, I have friends who are 15-18 years younger than me, and I can't imagine being their parents!

I started writing the book in the fall of 2009 and finished it in the late summer of 2010. The plan was to find an agent who would help me sell the book to a "major" publisher. For my first two novels, I didn't have an agent, and my then-current publisher wasn't publishing YA books, so I needed to find another option. Again, being an already-published, "award-winning" author, I figured I wouldn't have a problem a) finding an agent to represent me, and b) landing a contract with a "major" publisher.

Fast forward to April 2012... After almost two years, I ended up self-publishing Lost in the '90s via Amazon's CreateSpace platform, under my own imprint Woodward Avenue Books. While I did find an agent to represent me -- after querying a good 50-60 in total -- after an entire year he was NOT able to find a publisher who was interested in LIT'90s.

90% of the editors at the "major" publishing houses agreed that it was a fun read, that all the '90s pop culture references were spot-on, and that I am a talented writer. BUT... 90% of the editors also agreed that there were way too many '90s pop culture references, and that "kids today won't want to read a story set in the 1990s." I can't remember, offhand, what the other 10% thought... Some said they didn't like the "narrator's voice" -- to which I said, "Which one? There are three." The bottom line is: you can't change an editor's mind once they've passed.

My hope is that some editor out there somewhere will eventually hear about LIT'90s and want to publish it... In the meantime, this entire process has been a major life lesson. And I have yet another book out there for readers to discover and enjoy -- and I made it all by myself :-)

More About the Author

Frank Anthony Polito is an award-winning author and playwright. He holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon and a BFA in Theatre from Wayne State. Published novels include BAND FAGS! (2008 "Best Fiction" - InsightOut Book Club), DRAMA QUEERS! (2009 Lambda Literary Award), REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS (featuring the sequel to BAND FAGS!), LOST IN THE '90s, and THE SPIRIT OF DETROIT.

His plays ANOTHER DAY ON WILLOW ST and BAND FAGS! (based on his novel) have been produced in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Columbus, Omaha, Annapolis, and New York City, where he resided for 18 years. His other writing has been featured in Instinct magazine and online at The Advocate.com and AfterElton.com. He is also a regular contributor to the popular New York City lifestyle blog Kenneth in the 212.

Frank grew up in the Detroit suburb of Hazel Park and currently resides in Pleasant Ridge with his partner, Craig Bentley. Readers can visit him on the web at www.frankanthonypolito.com

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
Grunge defined the music of the decade and Kurt Cobain was its most visible symbol.
Ryan Ludman
Polito uses a liberal smattering of 90's references but also manages to make the story feel universal and modern.
Heidi Champa
So if you're into nostalgia, or just up for a good ol' romance with a twist, then this is the read for you.
The Kindle Book Review

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By biblio lupie on March 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
Now this is the story all about how
Kurt's life got flipped-turned upside down
And I'd like to take minute
Just sit right there
I'll tell you how Kurt became proud
of his town called Hazel Park.

Ok, so it doesn't EXACTLY rhyme along with the Fresh Prince theme song, but hey I gave it a shot.

No lie, Kurt's life does get flipped upside down when he takes an adrenaline filled stage dive during Hillbilly High's "Lost in the '90s" dance. Soon after he meets two teens from different walks of life. But unknown to all involved this pair of teens will be the most important people in Kurt's life. They might even help him find his way and tackle a very important problem in his future.

Polito weaves an entertaining and nostalgic (to those of us lucky enough to experience the '90s in their full glory) tale of love. Not just romantic love, but love of friends and the importance of family. The tale brings back memories of just how much our society has changed yet remained true to our roots in these past 20 years. Lost in the '90s poses the question, if we could step back in time and experience the world as our parents saw it, how would it change our feelings about the world at current.

Lost in the '90s is full of trivia and nods to all the things that made the '90s so great. The fashion, the music, the language. All of these things explode in this treasure of a novel. No cell phones, no Internet, and music was just then available on Compact Disc. As the story is narrated through three distinct voices, we see that not everything is so cut and dry when it comes to our future. Sometimes we have to make tough choices before we believe we are ready. And these decisions will shape who we are as a whole.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Ludman on March 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
For those who grew up in the 1990s it was a decade of peace and prosperity. Before the internet, cell phones, Netflix and iTunes, there were 'zines, pagers, VHS and record stores. Grunge defined the music of the decade and Kurt Cobain was its most visible symbol. Polito has captured the cultural zeitgeist of this decade in his new book "Lost in the 90s". It is at once a throwback and a love letter to the decade between the Cold War and the War on Terror. However, this Young Adult novel stays away from the politics and focuses on the pop culture of the '90s, specifically in suburban Detroit.

Kurt is the son of two "children" of the '90s and through a mix up with his allergy medicine is transported back to April of 1994. At first, Kurt is understandably confused when he wakes up in his high school with some major differences (do schools still have pay phones?) Soon he finds himself tangled in the origins of his own story, the courtship of his parents. This crazy premise works because Polito doesn't worry about the physics of such a journey but focuses on the tremendous transformation of the world in less than 20 years. The story is compelling and interesting. The '90s references highlighted throughout lend nostalgia and humor to keep it light. From the dedication at the beginning "To My Parents" through the entire story, this novel is as much about the parents as it is about the children. The story shows us that we make decisions during a moment in time and though our lives may turn out differently than we had expected, we still wouldn't change anything if we had the chance.

"Lost in the 90s" is a novel full of heart. The characters are interesting and funny. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to read a charming story about the struggles of growing up in any decade.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JennRenee on June 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I first heard of this book I was really excited. I was a teenager in the 90s and I thought this should be good for nostalgia. The synopsis sounds funny and I should give it a try. I was not as pleased as I hoped I would be but it was still a bit of fun.

The short version of the story is a boy, Kurt, who is obsessed with the 90s, he loves the clothes, the media, and the icons of the 90s. He is a few weeks away from graduation and he receives some life altering news. He hits his head and finds himself in the past. He is now in back to the year his parents graduate. Before finding his way back he must make sure that his parents get together and stay together. He also discovers a lot about his parents' lives that he never knew. The time traveling adventure changes everything for Kurt.
The story was ok, the characters were ok. I didn't feel the bond that I love to have with my characters. I didn't dislike Kurt, but didn't love him either. The characters fell flat for me.

The story was a great idea but felt a little bit rushed. I think that I would have enjoyed the story more if there would have been a little more development. The writing style was good, the idea was there, just lacking enough to make it an ok book. On the bright side, I did get quite a laugh over the all the 90s mentions. It was fun to be taken back to my high school years just for a while.

I did enjoy the read, just didn't love it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Champa on April 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Ah, the 90's. When Jennifer Aniston was Rachel on `Friends', flannel was a fashion statement and the only Kardashian we had to keep up with was OJ Simpson's lawyer. It is also the setting for a fabulous new book by Frank Anthony Polito, (author of Band Fags and Drama Queers) called Lost in the 90's.

Kurt Peregrine finds out his ex-girlfriend is pregnant with his child at the 90's themed school dance where his band is supposed to play. After a mishap during their performance, Kurt winds up back where it all began for him, literally. 1994. Smack dab in the middle of his parent's heyday in high school and in the middle of the tenuous beginnings of their relationship. Kurt learns more than he ever wanted to know about his family history and finds himself deeply involved in the courtship of Michelle Darling and Dave Peregrine or as he knows them, Mom and Dad.

Using three narrators and three unique voices, Lost in the 90's takes us through not only the fabulous era that brought the world Beverly Hills, 90210 and Nirvana, but also through the formation of a family. Polito uses a liberal smattering of 90's references but also manages to make the story feel universal and modern. It is smart, tender and laugh-out-loud funny (or LOL in today's parlance).

I highly recommend Lost in the 90's, not just for people like me, who graduated high school in 1994, but for anyone looking for a lovely, well-written and fun book.
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