I loved Sweet Valley High as a young teen. The series about two California twins Jessica and Elizabeth, who was gorgeous and popular. It was completely unrealistic and often laughable but strangely compelling (like a bad soap opera) and mainly focused on their love lives and twin squabbles.
Last year, the series was reprinted making changes to bring it up-to-date, for example, adding in mobile phones. Completely pointless in my opinion. What I enjoy about books is they capture a moment in time, making tweaks to appeal to the “youth today” defeats the object. Alongside SVH, I used to read older school books like Malory Towers or Famous Five and the thought of adding Facebook to a midnight feast scares me!
The reason I brought this up was there’s been two recent developments in the Sweet Valley High franchise. Sweet Valley High has had a new book added to the series. Sweet Valley Confidential covers the twins as grown up women. I won’t be reading this. Some reviews on Amazon describe what I thought it would be – a lesser addition to the series, breaking the twins up and bringing them back together. How many times can they do that? There’s no need for us to see them as adults, the whole point was to experience their growing up years with them. We want to remember them as teenagers!
The other development is a film is in the pipeline. At first, I thought ooh no. Anyone remember the TV series back in the 90’s? It was really poor. Obviously the source material wasn’t Shakespeare but they made the characters vain and shallow and unlikable and didn’t follow the book story-line.
However, they have brought in scriptwriter Diablo Cody, who penned the fantastic Juno. This means the SVH movie may actually be trendy and fun with witty dialogue and well rounded characters. Of course, it’s likely to mean it’s not similar to the books, which were very cheesy. And what plot will the film follow? After all, there were about 100 main line books in the series plus spin-offs following the twins at middle school and college.
I vote for my favourite of the SVH storylines – the Prom killer series where after Elizabeth kills Jessica’s boyfriend in a drink driving accident (after Jessica spikes her drink), the twins are estranged and new girl Margo appears on the scene – she looks exactly like them expect she has dark hair and plots to kill Elizabeth then steal her identity. Brilliantly crazy!
Were you a SVH fan? What do you think about updating series and turning them into films?