In case you didn’t know, sign up on The Sweet Valley Confidential site, and you will get a (not so) secret link to read Chapter One of the book, coming out in March.
The way I am approaching SVC is similar to the way in which many Star Wars fans approached Episodes I-III. I am happy to have more of the Sweet Valley story fed to me by its creators, but it is not the same canon as the first few. They are Star Wars movies, but they are not STAR WARS movies. It’s too far removed from the originals to be considered part of the series. Similar to Confidential, there has been too much social commentary, too much fandom (and criticism) for it to be considered an “untainted” and a true part of the series.
I am certainly not denouncing St. Martin’s Press or Francine’s choice to write it (did I just defend Francine?). Clearly, I am looking forward to it. I am just considering it a novel based on the characters of Sweet Valley, not a book that continues the series. As we know, the twins are frozen in time, both in our childhood experiences and both because they were juniors in Sweet Valley High for infinite amounts of time (and similarly in college for SVU, and in some weird alternate-universe for the Senior Year series). Wouldn’t advancing them in time totally negate the whole idea that these twins are timeless and really exist not to tell a chronological story, but to be put in differing situations for our own amusement (and snark?) No matter what Francine writes, it can’t change this; this is not her fault. The time and era that the originals came out, and the subsequent nostalgia will forever prevent this from being a true continuation.
But shall we get to the chapter? I want to say….fantastic. Fantastic! Yes, I liked it! I was thinking the worst: Liz waking up in Sweet Valley next to her hunky husband Todd, looking at the Pulitzer prizes for journalism, living right next door to Jessica, and still hanging out with the same exact people she did in high school. ugh. UGH! Can you imagine? But no, Liz has been humbled. She’s moved away from Sweet Valley, IS working in writing, but not at the dream job she suspected she would; she’s at a measly periodical. Guys aren’t falling at her feet. And god, it is so cheesy! And just like a so-good-it’s bad romance novel! And using BEYONCE as the most current cultural reference? It’s so trademark Francine to be out of touch with current pop culture references. The jury is still out on if Francine is in on the joke.
Ok, Ok, there’s the bit about Bruce suddenly being Liz’s best bff. I’m not happy about that. And of course she is having a fight with Jessica. I’ll bet you dinner at Cote D’Or that they are fighting over a guy. Is it Todd? Jeffrey? Ken? Some new character they are throwing in?
We can only just wait until March, I guess.