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Sweet Valley Twins by Francine Pascal

26th Jul 2010

Sweet Valley Twins Francine Pascal Sisters At War

There are certain books from my childhood that every girl my age will remember. Depending on how ‘cool’ you were (as much as any ten year old can be ‘cool’), there were two series to suit the discerning pre-teen: The Baby-Sitters Club (snooze), and Sweet Valley Twins. A spin-off from the widely-successful Sweet Valley High books, Sweet Valley Twins was definitely the ‘cool’ kids’ choice. Chronicling the middle-school years of California-based, identical twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, the series comprised over 200 books by the time it disappeared from our bookshelves.

With hindsight, it was fantastically terrible and riddled with cringe-inducing clichés: Elizabeth, the older twin, was conscientious and hard-working, always did the right thing and held the moral high ground. Jessica, “two minutes younger”, was devil-may-care, superficial and popular. They were both “blessed” with blonde hair, blue-green eyes and year-round tans. The rest of the family consisted of mischievous but protective elder brother Steven, and cool, youthful, understanding parents. Elizabeth dated walking snore Todd, and Jessica was romanced by loveable jock Aaron. So far, so vomire.

Yet, somehow, these books managed to be the literary equivalent of kiddie-crack. On our far-too-frequent-for-my-mum’s-liking trips to the bookshop, my sister and I would hunt down the newest tome, the missing volumes, the rare specials with hunger. We would tear them open and start reading before our long-suffering mother had even paid for them, and on more than one occasion, we would have finished the last page by the time we returned home (at this point, my darling mother attempted to re-acquaint us with the pauper’s best friend, the library). Identifying just what it was about these saccharine-saturated, far-fetched, melodramatic stories that so engaged us is a task I’ve long given up on: they were just plain great. The Unicorn Club, the sixth grade paper Elizabeth edited (The Sixers), the colour schemes of the twins’ separate bedrooms: I remember it all vividly.

Once we’d exhausted the entire Sweet Valley Twins catalogue, it made perfect sense to move on to the Sweet Valley High series, yet it just wasn’t the same, and as pre-teen wholesome enthusiasm turned into snarling hormones and fledgling lust, our interest in the twins’ escapades waned. A brief foray into the 90’s TV series momentarily reignited our affection, but the books have long since been relegated to Mum’s dusty attic. However, a chance conversation a few weeks ago revealed that not only is a film adaptation of Sweet Valley High being made, but a new series detailing the twins’ lives in their late twenties is also being released! Expect to find me first in line for both…

You can pick up Sweet Valley Twins books on Amazon for only a penny!

Post by Annette Barlow

Comments

  • Sara says:

    Wow, how strange…. I’m sure we didn’t have “Sweet Valley Twins” where I was in school, we had SVH and also “Sweet Valley Kids” which was them when they were in middle school! I wonder if this is a US/UK difference? Ha, this makes me want to read them now. I loved the series so much. Whenever I could name some playgroup or club “The Unicorns” I always would. =P

    • Jane Bradley says:

      You didn’t?! Really? That seems so strange that you’d have all the others and not those – we had the Kids series but I don’t think they were anywhere near as popular. Maybe you had the Twins books under another name? Long live The Unicorns though, good to know you’ve been keeping the memory alive!

  • Lindsay says:

    I loved those books!! Sweet Valley Twins and High, the Sweet Dreams romance series and Judy Blume’s Forever – that’s my adolescence right there!!

    • Jane Bradley says:

      Thanks for the comment Lindsay, I don’t remember the Sweet Dreams books though! That said, my teens were all about Point Horror, maybe that’s why a lot of the romance series passed me by!

      • Lindsay says:

        I read the Sweet Valley & Sweet Dreams (which I discovered at my local library!) books mostly when I was at middle school I think and maybe early high school, when I was a teen I was all about the Point Horror too! And Christopher Pike, and the Vampire Diaries – which aren’t as good 16yrs later unfortunately!!

        Weren’t Sweet Valley Kids about the twins at elementary school? I remember them but never read them.

    • katharine bisset says:

      I read the sweet valley twins books and still kept a few faves and am 28 years old now! the humour of the stories are funny and my sister did go on further but i never took to the sweet valley high. it was 1995 when i read my first twin book although it’s difficult to buy them anywhere now apart from the internet…!!

  • Hmm, curious indeed! I’ve done a little rummaging but can’t seem to find the US equivalent of Sweet Valley Twins. I don’t seem to recall Sweet Valley Kids though: not sure this is such a bad thing! The covers along look like they could make me barf. Am now desperately trying to find someone to re-sell me the entire SVT collection. Sudden fierce yearnings to re-read them all…. And Judy Blume! Forever, Blubber, Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? Oh, I am swooning hard.

  • CHLOE says:

    SWEET VALLEY TWINS IS SO AWSOME WISH IT WAS STILL ON TV

    • Alex Herod says:

      I was always a Babysitter Club girl myself (for some reason, I was obsessed with wanting to be the Treasurer. What an exciting child I was!), it’s interesting to see all the love for Sweet Valley on here!

  • Margarita says:

    This is an old posting, so you may have found the answer. The United States had Sweet Valley Kids, which was the girls in elementary school. We had Sweet Valley Twins, which was the girls in 6th grade. There was The Unicorn Club, which was the girls in 7th grade. There was Sweet Valley Jr High, which was the girls in 8th grade, after being forced to change schools, and was not really popular. Seriously, by the time that series came out, they were beating a dead horse. Then the original series, Sweet Valley High, which was the girls in junior year. Then there was Sweet Valley High Senior Year, self explanatory. Then there was Sweet Valley University, the girls freshmen in college. There was some other very short lived series after that were Elizabeth moved to England after being betrayed by Jessica for some reason or another. I was way over SV by that time and never bothered to read it. Now, of course, Sweet Valley Confidential.

    I think the other poster was confusing Sweet Valley Kids and Sweet Valley Twins.