Going Old School: Sweet Valley High

 Have you ever thought you had… say, sweet tea, in your glass–you’re craving tea–but you take a big swig and it’s lemonade? 

You turn your nose up because it wasn’t what you expected in the least. It’s a shock at first. It’s not what you wanted, but you drink it anyway because you like lemonade and you’re thirsty. 

That’s how I felt about Sweet Valley Confidential.

If you know me well, you know I loved the Sweet Valley High books growing up. While many girls were reading Babysitter club books, or Anne of Green Gables, I was all up in Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield’s business.

When my mom told me I could go to B. Dalton books, the only bookstore in our small town, I remember being giddy all day. I’d march straight back and buy 2 or 3 books. Sometimes, I’d get to purchase 4! I couldn’t read them fast enough. I’d trade with friends, if we were missing one of the consecutive book stories. 

I fell in love with the Wakefield twins and their lives. I was always partial to bad-girl sister, Jessica Wakefield, but I adored Elizabeth and her boyfriend, Todd’s romance and true love. When the series ended, I knew they’d be together forever. They’d endured so many things, for so long. 

I could relate to a little of each character. I was invested in their lives and what they went through. I knew what it was like to have a sister to occasionally…or often, fight with. Stealing clothes, shoes, and jewelry from a sibling made sense. I swooned over Todd and even Bruce. Which is really odd saying that last statement because my dad’s name is Bruce and something about the word swoon with his name in the same sentence freaks me out slightly.

When I found out that Francine Pascal was writing a ten-years-later book, I thought I’d come out of my skin, but so much was going on I didn’t have time to nab it. Last night. I did. Sent it right to my kindle, and it’s so odd how quickly it all came back as I started reading. Things I thought I’d forgotten, nope. All there. Right back into their lives and you know, it brought back memories of my youth that I enjoyed. 

But it was like drinking lemonade when I thought I was getting sweet tea. Can you be disappointed in something and yet still like it? I dare say…you can. Because it happened to me. Those teenage dreams of having true love, all those books that I sighed with satisfaction, gone. Doused with the ice-water of reality. Fictional reality. 

I was angry for half the book, yet I kept reading because I’d poured half my teenage life into those books and that young girl had to know what the heck was going on and why? 

Sweet Elizabeth wasn’t so sweet anymore. In fact, she made her away around men more than Jessica ever did. Friends with Benefits. That’s not Elizabeth! I did love reading what happened to everyone, especially the way Pascal did it at the end. I smiled because I remembered those crazy kids. Not all of them had happy endings, but let’s be honest. The stars sometimes don’t go on to do these amazing things we think they will. In fact, some of them do very little. She resolved the conflict, and while I was happy to see them sisters again and Elizabeth happy, I could still taste the lemons and not the sugary goodness of southern sweet tea. 

I did learn something new about my writing from this book. I have another author besides Nora Roberts to blame for my former head-hopping. LOL I had no idea that’s what she was doing all those years ago, but I caught it quick last night and I thought, “So you did this to me! You and Nora.”

Here’s a small peek:

The Wakefield Twins—and the whole gang from Sweet Valley High—are back!
What terrible secret has torn Jessica and Elizabeth apart?
Ten years after graduation, the Wakefield twins have had a falling out of epic proportions. When Jessica commits a complete and utter betrayal, Elizabeth flees to New York to escape the pain and immerse herself in her lifelong dream of becoming a serious journalist.
“A perfect storm of decades past, and we are LOVING it.” —MTV
Jessica remains in California, dealing with the consequences of her heart-wrenching choices. She’s built a full life for herself but dearly misses her sister. With Elizabeth as her enemy, Sweet Valley is no longer the idyllic town of their youth.

What series books did you read as a teenager? Did you read Sweet Valley? Who was your favorite character/s?