Could there be two different girls who look the same at Sweet Valley, Sweet Valley Hiiiiigh….

Sweet Valley Confidential is out next year. A sequel’s been talked about for years, so actually seeing it become a reality is slightly bizarre.

I’m kind of intrigued to see how it actually turns out. I was not overwhelmed by the Babysitters Club prequel, The Summer Before, but then again it’s a prequel – we know how it all turns out. I liked seeing a new BSC book, ten years after the series ended, but at the same time there was a sense of “well, but what happened next?”

Elizabeth, who is wise on such matters, noted back then that in many ways a prequel was preferable, if there had to be another book – it means the ‘what next’ is still left up to the reader. Unlike, say, the Harry Potter epilogue.

Still. There is so much continuity to grapple with in the Sweet Valley universe. Olivia manages to be in the SVU (which will always be Sweet Valley University to me, I don’t care how many crime series turn up on the TV) universe despite being killed off in the earthquake in SVH. The Senior Year stuff doesn’t seem to quite fit with the University books, in the same way that The Unicorn Club series (my personal favourites) clashes with the Junior High series. I can’t imagine there’s anyone who’s read all the books, or if such people exist, they must be few and far between. Has Francine Pascal read all the books? Is she actually writing the sequel herself? (An aside: Francine Pascal’s Victoria Martin trilogy, actually written by rather than created by her, is terrific. Fabulous.) She seems to be, which has got to be a strange experience after having overseen rather than write the various serieses.

The way it’s been marketed – 10 years on from Sweet Valley High, rather than any of the later spin-offs – has me thinking that mostly the spin-offs will be ignored. And then, how much of the original series to take on board? How many of the murders, the intrigues, the werewolves, the dead boyfriends, the beautiful-girls-gone-too-soon, the European princes, the love octogons, can you possibly take into account? How many impossibly-glamorous internships at fashion magazines or an inexplicable number of summer vacations and Christmases at age sixteen can you reference in a single book?

I hope the sequel references Margo. Oh, I so hope it does.

About clairehennessy

Writer (mostly YA fiction), creative writing teacher, tea drinker, book junkie. View all posts by clairehennessy

14 responses to “Could there be two different girls who look the same at Sweet Valley, Sweet Valley Hiiiiigh….

  • Helen

    How many of the murders, the intrigues, the werewolves, the dead boyfriends, the beautiful-girls-gone-too-soon, the European princes, the love octogons, can you possibly take into account? How many impossibly-glamorous internships at fashion magazines or an inexplicable number of summer vacations and Christmases at age sixteen can you reference in a single book?

    I now want to reread the entire SVH series. EVERYTHING. I forgot about the French noble falling for Elizabeth when she and Jessica were in France.

    Also, yes, definitely a Margo mention!

  • Tweets that mention Could there be two different girls who look the same at Sweet Valley, Sweet Valley Hiiiiigh…. « Claire Hennessy -- Topsy.com

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  • Margaret

    *grins at all the murders* There was actually a line in one book (the one where a guy Mr. Wakefield got jailed or failed to defend or something got out of prison and came after his kids in revenge) where Mr. Wakefield said “a lot of people aren’t trying to kill my daughters” and I was just thinking “um, yes, actually a lot of people are.”

    I mostly didn’t like the number of mini-series with murders and all in them. It got a bit over the top after a while. Not that Sweet Valley wasn’t over the top anyway, but still after about the 100th book, they kind of went off in a more dramatic direction than ever before. I did like the werewolf mini-series though, despite the fact that it made absolutely no sense whatsoever. A couple of teenagers, one of whom wasn’t even a good student, getting jobs on an important British newspaper and getting caught up in a murder case, where the murders turned out to be done by a werewolf. But I liked the way the murderer was kind of a sympathetic character.

    One of my favourite books is The Christmas Ghost. I still read that every Christmas Eve.

    Olivia turning up in Sweet Valley University amused me.

    I like the idea of a follow up, although all the contradictions in the series could make it a little difficult to have it make complete sense.

    • clairehennessy

      *Everyone* is out to get the Wakefield twins! Possibly because of their beautiful identicalness and their perfect size 6/4 figures and their eyes the colour of the Pacific Ocean…

      The more thrillery Sweet Valley books don’t quite do it for me. But I liked some of the mini-series and trilogies – there’s a great one about cheerleading and another one about summer camp. My not-so-secret weaknesses. 🙂

      I’m very curious to see how much is just glossed over in the sequel…

      • Margaret

        Yeah, I agree with you on the more thrillery ones. I wasn’t really as into Sweet Valley High as I was into Sweet Valley Twins anyway, I think. I read a fair few of them, but I didn’t have the number I had of Sweet Valley Twins books.

        Oh, one thing that always confused me, and where there is definitely a lack of continuity is that the twins are in 2nd grade at 7, 6th grade at 12 and 11th grade at 16. It doesn’t add up; well the 2nd and 11th grades do, but the 6th grade doesn’t. Plus Steven was in his Freshman year at High school when they were in 6th grade, which would have made him three years ahead of them, when he was only two years older than them and was two years ahead of them in the other series. I think there was a mistake there somewhere.

        • clairehennessy

          Sweet Valley Twins had a lot going for it! I also loved the Sweet Valley University books… they gave me a completely warped idea about what college would be like, but anyway. 😉

          It’s a continuity nightmare when it comes to the ages/years!

        • Elizabeth

          This bothers me so much (like, more than is rational) also. It’s even worse when you factor in the ages/grades/birthdate from Kids. I mean, rationally I know it’s because the spinoffs were written later, but I’m always trying to figure out a way to make it make sense in my head.

          • Margaret

            Yeah, I do the same. Plus, when I started reading Sweet Valley Twins, I was 10 and I started reading Sweet Valley High a year or so later, and I was still trying to figure out how they managed to fit Middle School and Junior High between Elementary and High School. I didn’t realise they were pretty much the same thing!

            Isn’t there one book where Janet gets a crush on Steven and people are talking about how a High School boy would never go out with a Middle School girl. But she is two years above the twins and Steven is supposed to be two years older than them, so that didn’t really make much sense.

  • Elizabeth

    I do feel very wise and quotable, indeed.

    I find this whole thing more bizarre and amusing than anything, possibly because I’ve never read any High/University/etc. (except the family sagas, which are awesome). Possibly also because I feel like if there were a BSC future-quel, 10 years (age 13/23 or 11/21) makes a much bigger difference than 16/26 (or 22/32 if they were counting from University), especially considering that I think of the Wakefield twins being about 30 in college anyway.

    And yes, there are so many continuity issues among the multiple series. I love Twins (the only series I ever really got into), but it’s one of those things where you sort of have to enjoy the bizarreness of some of the books and not try to make them make sense.

    • clairehennessy

      So wise, so quotable, so marvellous. 🙂

      The family sagas… I mean, you know my love for them. You know. But AWESOMENESS SQUARED. I think you’d have fun with some of the High and University books, though the continuity stuff (especially from Twins to High) would drive you a tad demented.

      It’s strange actually, half the stuff the Wakefields get up to in the series is the sort of stuff that 16-year-olds would never in a million years do – so them at 26 is either going to be pretty similar, or else they’re going to feel middle-aged. Yeah, it’d be strange seeing the BSC in their twenties… (though in some ways very cool).

  • Maeve Frazier

    Hi Claire – I enjoyed reading your website. I have not read one of your books yet but, after visiting your site, I look forward to picking up one of your books to read! – Maeve

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