Monday, December 20, 2010

Guilt Valley High

It’s been probably fifteen years since I read my last Sweet Valley High book but I’m anticipating a return to the series. Sweet Valley Confidential is coming out in March and, according to its blurb on Amazon, it’s about the grown-up challenges that Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield—the series’ heroines—face. It’s a grown-up book about the Wakefield sisters! My first thought was that I needed to read it. My second thought was that this was the kind of book that would be perfect for an e-reader. No one would have to know my guilty pleasure.

Normally, I’m not shy about my love for young adult literature. I’ve proudly read the
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books on the subway. But Sweet Valley High books are different. Don’t get me wrong – I loved Sweet Valley High. The concept of such different twin sisters is always appealing and there was always the excitement of walking into the bookstore and finding a new book. I also really liked that the characters had very well-developed back stories that stayed consistent throughout the series and loved the drawings on the front covers. They were detailed enough that the characters’ faces were clear in your head.

Despite this, there is a stigma against series books of this kind that I can’t help absorbing. Similar to the Nancy Drew books, the
Sweet Valley High books were written by a series of ghost writers. As a writer, this makes me take them a little less seriously because my sense is that a series of ghostwriters wouldn’t logically have the same ownership in and love for the story that an actual creator would. That makes them a little more disposable (despite my box of the first seventy or so that I can’t part with) than a series of books like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Am I being silly? Probably. Should I just buy my copy of Sweet Valley Confidential and flaunt it for everyone to see? Definitely. Will I read it without stopping once I get my copy? Absolutely.

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