Edge of Seventeen

I just reread How Sassy Changed My Life by Marisa Meltzer and Kara Jesella, on whom I have a total writer crush. (Whenever I see her byline, I have to check out the article, since she almost always writes about things I'm into—like sexy clavicles and A Hipper Crowd of Shushers.) I turned 13 the year Sassy was sold to the publisher of Teen, so I was never a reader during its heyday. But all '90s pop culture holds a special place in my heart, and I'm a fan of the book as well as the magazine.

That said, I have to give props to Seventeen ...even if it was lame before Sassy came along and any coolness it ever developed was because of Sassy, as Kara and Marisa claim. The first issue I ever owned was, I think, April 1994. Brandy was the cover girl, and there was a guide to "alternahunks" featuring Beck, Pavement, Thurston Moore and Green Day. (It said, "If we were Chelsea Clinton, we'd invite them to dinner at the White House and start a food fight!")

I was a subscriber all through high school, although I outgrew it by the end. I loved the trend watch, where a reader once wrote in that girls in my hometown were using Happy Meal boxes as purses, and where I later got the idea to make a bangle bracelet out of an old sparkly toothbrush.

Some other things I remember: I always wished my friends and I could be in "School Zone." Seventeen was the first place I ever read about Sleater-Kinney. It helped me understand girls I knew who were cutting or otherwise hurting themselves. I thought it was really funny when an essay about meeting new people in college used the phrase "as alternative as Mariah Carey."

There's a box of old Seventeen issues in my parents' attic; my mom has been threatening to throw them away for years, but I won't let her.

6/22/08: Edited to say my first Seventeen issue was April 1994, not 2004!