Friday, October 10, 2008

Sweet Valley High Obsession

When I was in grade six at Mount Nelson Primary School in 1986 (see the pattern? It was always so easy to remember what year it was/what grade I was in. Lucky me. I really feel for all those people who wander around school in a daze not knowing cause the numbers are different) I had what one might call a minor SVH obsession. My friend Lisa Donahoe (shout out if you're googling yourself) who lived across the road from the school owned all of them. Zoe and I would borrow three each at a time, take them home, read them with the energy of the fanatic IN ONE NIGHT and then swap the next day. I still sneakily read them right up until my early twenties, I think I've even read them since Martin and I got together (cough *research* cough), because the first SVH Senior year wasn't published till 1999 and I know I've read a few of those (Jessica Wakefield gets called a slut. I KNOW!)

Anyway, I stumbled across the Best. Site. Ever. last night and I had to come and share it with my lovely Cake readers because I KNOW some of you are closet Jessizabeth fans. Warning this site contains totally addictive and hilarious recaps of the SVH series. I never knew there were so many of them - Junior High, Middle School, Sweet Valley Kids (is that primary school??), as well as of course Sweet Valley High (which was the first), Sweet Valley Seniors, Sweet Valley University and then some series called Elizabeth which is apparently about her going to England and being a servant or something to some rich Duke dude - oh you funny Americans with your weird arse anglophilia. Then there are the specials and the thrillers...what a franchise. The community has a few different contributors, all of them funny, all of them sharing the same passion for the pure, unadulterated, beautiful crappiness of the series.

But wait, there's more. Apparently Francine Pascal, creator of the series (who lives in France, hated high school and never went to her own prom), is creating a new series - oh yes oh yes - called Sweet Valley Heights Confidential about the SVH clan living in a gated community in their late 20s/early 30s - omigod. How do I sign on to be a ghostwriter for that? Who do I send my resume to? I'd do it just for art's sake, you don't even have to pay me. She's been waving this tantalising idea around for a few years (since about 2005, when it was called Sweet Valley Heights) and the most recent mention I found online was from April '08, which sported the name change to Confidential. No sign of it on Amazon yet. Which is weird because the idea is so HOT I would have thought the books would practically write themselves.


  1. I could totally ghost write these too. Imagine the hilarity...

  2. This post totally cracked me up--especially the "Shout out if you're googling yourself" and the part about Americans and our Anglophilia.

    And the SWH books were great....

    Did you guys get the soap opera Another World there at all? It kind of reminded me of SWH. They had the whole good/bad twin thing going on. Victoria was the Jessica and Marly was the Elizabeth. Although I guess the good/bad twin thing is a common theme.

    I'm trying to remember Elizabeth's boyfriend. Was it Todd??? Now I'm wondering what happened with them......

    Did they ever have sex in the books?

  3. Anonymous2:12 PM

    OMG. WHY did you draw my attention to that website?! I just spent fifteen minutes reading the synopsis of Dear Sister (one of my all time faves) and now I don't want to do any more work, I just want to read more hilarious wonderfulness.

    There is certainly shelf space in my imaginary beach house for the entire series of SVH. or any twenty/thirty-something sequels she (or someone) may write.

    Is Todd the wettest boyfriend in all of teen fiction? Although, now I think about it, Nancy Drew's Ned Nickerson does give him a run for his money.

  4. Sex? Well, Jessica got married at University so one imagines there was some degree of expectation that she would consummate it. Actually reading through the recap of the first one (Double Love), Bruce Patman takes her bikini top off in the pool! I so didn't remember that. Meanwhile, I read the last SVU one and Lizzie was still a virgin. They 'made out' a lot, which is such a USian term, I never was quite sure exactly what that meant.

    OMG Susannah, Dear Sister was TOTALLY my favourite. It was one of the few I actually owned and I loved everything about it.

    Todd might be the wettest boyfriend in all fiction, except I think Jeffrey (Liz's other boyfriend) would probably closely rival him. In fact Liz has had a string of duds, including William White the poet who was secretly poisoning Bruce Patman in order to steal his screenplay. Or something. But he was so obviously totally repulsive, even in fiction.

  5. (Jessica may well have consummated her marriage with some serious making out or vigorous handholding or something - I have some memory that her husband beat her and then Steve Wakefield - the twin's older brother - shot him and then he saved Steve from a fire and then they became friendies...or something)

  6. You have me totally cracking up over the "vigorous handholding"

  7. Anonymous9:41 PM

    I feel old. I totally miss the SVH thing. Or rather it missed me. Which is a shame, I bet I would have been obsessed.

  8. Thank you for this - I had forgotten how much I loved these. Penni, I had them all. My favourite was a special: Sweet Valley Summer (? or something), where the girls were nannies for rich kidlets in Malibu and Elizabeth fell in love with a rock star (who has also totally wet and was pretending to be a college English major; no idea where Todd was at this time).

    On bathers and bikins: Jessica always wore a bikini and Elizabeth a 'tank'. Elizabeth was so nice, it's not fair she was always dowdy.

    On what I never got: those lavalier necklaces that were mentioned in the start of every book (along with Elizabeth being 4 minutes older, and the distinguishing mole,their height (5'6'' or 5''6') and sunkissed tans).

    Am going to buy one at the second hand stores and relive the good times.

  9. Okay, just went to the site and clearly didn't have them all. Not. even. close.

    No wonder Pascal lives in France, presumably in a chateau with many servants.

  10. I remember that Special. I loved the Specials because they were longer than the regular ones. I'm going to check out the library when I'm there next. I could so go a SVH festival of reading. I also want to write Francine Pascal a letter.

  11. I used to LOVE those books! I think my parents still have my copies somewhere...or maybe I Salvoed them...