High school may be over, but Sweet Valley is forever. (Or, at least a few decades long and counting.)
For those who grew up devouring the Sweet Valley High book series, a literary version of Gossip Girl-meets-Veronica Mars, a few things are branded into the brain: 1) Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are popular, beautiful twin sisters with a perfect Southern California life, 2) though the twins are clichéd opposites, both will always be BFFs and 3) high school is drama.
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Turns out, so is adult life. Sweet Valley Confidential, Francine Pascal’s spinoff of the teen series she created in 1983, was released this year and quickly became a bestseller. In the book, the twins are now 27 years old. But their lives aren’t so perfect. Jessica is in the doghouse for (gasp!) having an affair with Elizabeth’s fiancé, Todd. Needless to say, the twins have a falling out and no longer speak to each other. In Chapter One, Elizabeth listens to a voice message from Jessica, who pleads, “Lizzie. Pick up. Please. I really need to talk to you.”
Elizabeth’s mental response: Never! (Read the full chapter here.)
The book received intense criticism from readers and fans, many of whom cited inconsistencies and expressed shock that the twins were now drinking and having casual sex (two innocuous acts given that their high school peers were murderers, psychopaths or OD-ing on cocaine). Yet the most disconcerting aspect for fans was the book’s portrayal of the Wakefield twins as estranged siblings living on opposite coasts.
But none of this criticism seems to deter the Sweet Valley empire from churning out more books. According to the New York Times, St. Martin’s Press said on Thursday that it would publish a digital-only follow-up to Sweet Valley Confidential, tentatively titled The Sweet Life. The series, which drops next spring, will be released in monthly installments published online.
The storyline has not been disclosed, but readers should expect the plot techniques the Sweet Valley franchise is known for: drama, dysfunction and scandal plastered on a pretty face. Actually, two faces.
What do you think the new chick-lit spinoff will entail? (via New York Times)
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