California girls — they really are unforgettable. The Olsen twins of teen lit, Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield of Sweet Valley, CA, are making their return to Sweet Valley High in an ereader release of the first 12 novels in the Sweet Valley High series.
Young adult novels are definitely not just for young adults; when we asked you which YA novel you'd read again, you had no shortage of suggestions. But what if, rather than staying frozen in time for you to nostalgically revisit, your favorite YA series grew up along with you? That's what the Sweet Valley High series is doing, and creator Francine Pascal tells the NY Times it's getting mixed reactions.
In Pascal's new series, Sweet Valley Confidential, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are now 27 years old (OK, so they're not exactly aging in real time), and have had a serious falling out. Plus — brace yourselves — they drink and have sex. And orgasms.
If you read the Sweet Valley High books as a teenager (which 88 percent of you say you did), you'll remember that although there were a few miniseries-within-the-series that got a little intense, the books and their plots were pretty tame. Arguments were petty, reconciliations were quick, and relationships were chaste. Even "bad" twin Jessica was basically just a snotty and self-centered teen. The new series is definitely a departure from that, but if the Wakefield twins are going to grow up, their plotlines have to grow along with them.
Are you interested in reading the series? Or would you rather stick to the original and leave well enough alone?
The Harry Potter series spawns yet another film when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 comes to theaters on Friday, but it's certainly not the only collection of literature that you love. We recently asked you for your favorite book series of all time, and you suggested some current offerings along with some beloved picks from the past. Check out the ones that made your top five!
Sweet Valley High, a book series that had a twenty-year run starting in 1983, centered on the lives of teen twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield from — you guessed it — Sweet Valley, CA. There was even a television show based on the books.
Word on the street is that Jennifer's Body screenwriter Diablo Cody will be at the helm of a project to produce and direct an adaptation of the Sweet Valley High books. Something tells me she'll be perfect for this.
She's tackled pregnant teens, monster teens, and now Diablo Cody is going for . . . sweet teens? Yes, the dialogue diva herself has been tapped to produce and direct an adaptation of the Sweet Valley High books.
Even though the manufactured slang in Jennifer's Body started to get to me, I'm interested to see what Cody does with the beloved books. I read a lot of the series (and even watched the TV show), and I'm happy to see the books get revived in the pop-culture domain, even if it does involve Jessica telling Elizabeth that she's "Jello, so lime-green Jello."
UPDATE: Diablo herself replied to my tweet about made-up slang with "Thinking I might play it straight." There ya have it!
Our network partner, Catwalk Queen, was having an nostalgic moment when she created a modern outfit inspired by Sweet Valley High. The 1980's cult book series is reportedly being revamped by Random House to include new book covers and marketing strategies. Being fellow children of the eighties we thought to take a cue from Catwalk Queen by creating other looks based on the Sweet Valley Covers of our childhood. Below, check out the various stock character looks, the nerd, the jock, and the sorority girl, all fashioned after our favorite covers.
I spent a good portion of Thursday afternoon being horrified by the fact that, in the newly updated versions of the Sweet Valley High books, the gorgeous Wakefield twins' oft-referenced clothing size has been reduced from a "perfect" six to a "perfect" four — a fact the publisher proudly trumpeted in a press release. It's as though Random House sat down with the '80s editions and thought, "huh, these unrealistic expectations just aren't quite unrealistic enough!"
The Wakefield waistline isn't the only thing they've changed: Instead of a red Fiat, the girls now drive a red Jeep Wrangler (I thought they said 2008, not 1998!), and brainy Elizabeth edits her school's website and blogs rather than working for those boring dead tree things we used to call "newspapers."
This reminded me of an interview with Judy Blume I heard last Fall, where she talked about deleting some of the menstruation "equipment" from updated editions of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (and taking a mimeograph machine out of Fudge). She said she didn't want to confuse kids and make them ask their parents to explain how things were back in the day.
Do you think it's necessary to update references in older books so they make sense to a younger crowd? Or is the tinkering just unnecessary?