Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Sweet Valley High

Ah, Sweet Valley High.

For those of you unfamiliar with this book series, it dealt with the exploits of sisters Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, who lived in the fictional SoCal town of---wait for it!---Sweet Valley. Jessica was the “bad” twin, always scheming to get this boy or that dress, and Elizabeth was the “good” twin: friendly, smart, and hopelessly devoted to hunky Todd Wilkins. Jessica and Elizabeth shared a zippy Fiat Spyder convertible and stereotypical California girl good looks. They fought occasionally, but always made up, and were fiercely loyal to one another. Nothing truly awful happened to either one of them, for Sweet Valley was a veritable utopia. The haves and the have-nots coexisted peacefully (save the occasional snippy comment), nobody had sex, and people who tried drugs met a tragic demise (cf. Regina Morrow). Everything was back to normal and peachy-keen by page 200.

These books were insipid and formulaic, and I was absolutely obsessed with them.

Every single month, I would beg my mom to take me to the local bookstore, where the proprietor would keep the latest one aside for me. Back in my room, I’d flop face down on my pink butterfly-patterned comforter, kicking my legs in the air as I read it cover to cover. Then it would go up on my bookshelf with all the others, neatly lined up in numerical order, never to be read again.

Of course, eventually I grew out of the Sweet Valley High series, and my beloved collection was unceremoniously dumped in the Goodwill donation bin. I didn’t even think about Elizabeth and Jessica until years later, when I was at the library and saw Sweet Valley University. Despite being far older than the target audience, I checked one out, just for old times’ sake, and read it with arch amusement, with “too-cool-for-you-anymore” detachment. It seemed so antiquated, a relic of my past best left with tattered copies of Bop and posters of John Taylor tattooed with lipstick prints.

Well, the other night at Borders, I read an interview with Sweet Valley High creator Francine Pascal in Bust, and I actually let out a yelp of glee when she mentioned that she’s got a book called Sweet Valley Heights set for release in late 2005, in which the gang is grown up and living in a gated community, and she promises it will be “outrageous”. (Dare I hope for---gasp!---sex scenes? Maybe even NON-VANILLA sex scenes?)

It’s going to be so cheesy you could melt it and use it as nacho dip.

Will I preorder a copy?

Hell yeah!