Hillary Busis
November 14, 2012 AT 04:08 PM EST

What’s the secret to The Baby-sitters Club‘s phenomenal success? According to Scholastic editorial director David Levithan — who began working on the series as a 19-year-old Scholastic intern — it’s simple: “Girls have always connected with The Baby-sitters Club [because] they feel it’s real. It’s not amped up, action-packed drama or mythology or something that has no bearing on their lives,” he says. “And reading the books now, it’s amazing how relatable it all still is.”

Levithan is right. Any girl — any person, for that matter — can empathize with the struggles BSC members faced, from dealing with divorce to experiencing your first major crush. Relive all of middle-school’s trials, tribulations, and triumphs throughout the following pages, in which author Ann M. Martin selects her favorite titles from the 20 BSC books that are getting an electronic re-release in December. Martin has also added personal commentary about each of her picks, which are accompanied by their classic cover illustrations. You want side ponytails? We’ve got your side ponytails right here.

So, which books made the cut? Find out below!

Book 1: Kristy’s Great Idea

“This book will always be my favorite BSC book because it started the series and the four original main characters — Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, and Stacey — were established here. The character, Kristy, was based on my best friend, Beth.”

NEXT : Stacey’s big secret

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