Little Willow (slayground) wrote,
Little Willow
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Sweet Valley Confidential

Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are all grown up. At least, they will be in 2011, when St. Martins releases Sweet Valley Confidential, an all-new novel by Francine Pascal which takes place a dozen years after the Wakefield twins' graduation from Sweet Valley High.

To quote The Guardian, which, in turn, quoted the publisher, the book will see "the real world intrude after a perfect childhood."

Will it, though, acknowledge everything that happened in followed SVH? In other words, will this book mention events from Sweet Valley Senior Year, Sweet Valley University, and the short-lived Elizabeth series?

Will a year be mentioned? Sweet Valley High began in 1983, so if the new book takes place 12 years after the books began, that would be 1995. If we put it 12 years after the publication of the final book in the Sweet Valley Senior Year line, Sweet 18, that would be 2015. Will it, perhaps, be 12 years from now, or even later? We shall see. In the meantime, I'm amused by the idea of Elizabeth and Jessica being From the Future, making friends with Jenna Fox (from The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson) or perhaps riding on hoverboards with Tally Youngblood (from the Uglies books by Scott Westerfeld).

Something else to consider: The book's potential audience. It will be about adults and shelved in adult fiction. Will it attract teens, or mostly just the adults who read the original series growing up? Will new readers (and Gossip Girl and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants readers and watchers) feel the need to pick up the old series after reading the new book?

When the publisher re-released some of the early SVH titles in 2008, they didn't just put new covers on them -- they also updated some of the text to reflect brands, technology, and trends that had changed since the books' initial publication twenty-five years earlier. I did not read the new editions because the press release emphasized that they had made the girls skinnier. Yes, you read that correctly: They changed the girls from "a perfect size 6" to "a perfect size 4." See the chart of changes from the official press release. I was appalled. From then on, I launched into a "Just be healthy!" rant every time a customer picked up these new editions.

Also in 2008, series creator Francine Pascal mentioned her hopes of opening Sweet Valley High: The Musical in the fall of that year. The musical has been in the works since at least 2002, when it was tentatively titled Fastbreaks. I wonder if they are still working on it. It would be interesting to see how it was done, and if they made it serious or a delightfully self-aware comedy, both teasing and respecting the original novels.

More from the recent article in The Guardian: "A film based on the Wakefield twins' high school years is also in the works, written and produced by Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody." I wonder how much of it will be from the original books, or if it will simply be loosely based on the series. It could be like the TV series Sweet Valley High, which had the same main characters and occasionally used some basic plots from the books but incorporated new stories, elements, and characters as well. Again I say, we shall see, and acknowledge the fact that Gossip Girl fans would be drawn to that movie.

Want a sneak peek at Sweet Valley Confidential? Visit http://www.sweetvalleytenyearslater.com/

Question:
Which Wakefield twin did you prefer, Jessica or Elizabeth?
Leave your response in the comments below!

Related Posts at Bildungsroman:
Article: Flashback Romance
Booklist: Juvenile Series of the 80s and 90s
Tags: articles, books, movies, pr, series
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