After trolling around the internet reading about Sweet Valley High’s triumphant and soap opera sounding return, I found a blog that not only revealed that Elizabeth is sleeping with her boss in the new, decade later novel, but also included pictures of the covers of old books, and a picture of the cover of the new book.
The information about the sexy plot twists was great but these pictures are amazing, and I have spent the rest of my pre-determined internet procrastination time looking at old covers and old plot descriptions, reveling in the big hair, cheesy titles, and awkwardly sexual blurbs.
Now that I think about it…. Maybe I am better acquainted with the younger, more innocent Sweet Valley girls, from their junior high days.
I mean, come on. If this doesn’t define what I thought being seventeen would be like, I don’t know what did. My image of teenagerhood was so sculpted by the Sweet Valley books (along with Babysitters Club and other like-minded series) that I couldn’t ever reconcile actual high school with the idealized version we would real about and then act out during play dates. (Side note: in my imaginary version of being 17, I was named Marcia and had a perm.)
And though at first I was shocked to think of Elizabeth and Jessica doing adult things in the adult world, I’m now seeing just how advanced they actually were. These were not the sweet, naïve girls in Babysitters Club or on Saved by the Bell. I’ll leave you with my favorite blurb on Amazon.com, describing the book Too Good to be True.
“The Wakefield twins are wild with excitement. Glamorous, sophisticated Susan Devlin is coming to Sweet Valley from New York City. For two weeks, Elizabeth will show her around town while Jessica has the time of her life in New York.
At first, Suzanne seems to be the most perfect girl in the world. She’s beautiful and friendly and not the least bit stuck-up. All the boys of Sweet Valley are absolutely crazy about her. But when Suzanne accuses Mr. Collins of trying to seduce her, Elizabeth knows there’s more to Suzanne than meets the eye.”
I mean, come on. There’s something here bigger than my old innocent “what will being a teenager be like?” fantasies. These are the essential questions of feminist theory, female sexuality and Madonna/whore complexes. I just didn’t realize it at the time.
Upcoming critical thesis on the influence of 1980s teen fiction over pre-adolescent girls’ sexual development and self-image struggles?
Yes, please. I am just that kind of dork, the kind who will suck all the fun out of something smarmy and wonderful and nostalgic like SVH.
But not until after I devour the new book in one sitting over a glass of wine.