Posts Tagged ‘sweet valley’

Fluff.

Posted: May 7, 2011 in books
Tags: , ,

Yes, I’m perfectly aware it’s been quite a while since I wrote on this space, and yes, I have been reading. Following the heaviness of “Blindness”, I decided to shift gears to a couple of easy reads. In honor of Sophie Kinsella’s “Mini-Shopaholic” and Francine Pascal’s “Sweet Valley Confidential: 10 Years After” (books which I was excited to acquire), this post is entitled, “Fluff”.

Let me start with “Mini-Shopaholic”. It’s the 6th installment in the series, and by such time, you begin to ask yourself, “Why am I putting up with this?” Don’t get me wrong, Becky Bloomwood amused the heck out of me (and Luke Brandon forms a part of Mr. Perfect), but after the first three books, things have gone downhill. What used to be charming and funny was now downright annoying. The humor now feels contrived. I just hope this is the last in the series. Sophie Kinsella is much more enjoyable in her other novels.

As for “Sweet Valley Confidential”, it had to be consumed for the sheer nostalgia, and it went totally the route of “Gossip Girl”. Compared to this generation’s contemporary young adult literature, Sweet Valley was squeaky clean and aspirational. Now that the twins are 27, let’s just say they kind of got fucked up more at a time when they have got things supposedly figured out. I wouldn’t go into the details anymore, since the actual book will land my shore this month, but I just have to say WHAT THE DUCK WAS THAT?! Jessica ends up with… Elizabeth ends up with… And _____ ends up _____!

Yeah, the fluff post? It turned into a rant post.

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Between you and me, this is the best gift for us grade schoolers of the 1990s, who hid the books in their bags, for fear of getting confiscated, who smuggled the books in the library, and under the guise of reading larger books, devoured the adventures of Liz & Jess during free periods of reading time.

Call the series trivial and fluffy, but Sweet Valley will always have a soft spot in my heart, kind of like an extension of our circle of friends back then, since most of my classmates were reading the books and swapping titles was commonplace.

And really, from Sweet Valley Kids to Sweet Valley Teens to Sweet Valley High, it was as if the series grew up with us. Now we get a glimpse of what happens 10 years later—I hope it will be epic.

And I hope Steven Wakefield (hottie that he was and always will be) will make an appearance.

I grew up at a time when Young Adult fiction was dominated by average, white kids with perfect lives in suburban neighborhoods whose dilemmas ranged from finding a name to their baby-sitters’ club or losing a pet hamster or making a fool out of themselves in front of the boy/girl they liked or not knowing what to wear for Halloween.

Last I checked, vampires were part of the Halloween costumes lore.

These days though, when I find myself drifting into the young adult section of bookstores, I can’t help but feel agitated that most titles on these shelves have vampire or werewolf undertones. I lost track of the titles after Twilight—the covers all look the same to me anyway.

Surely, this is the new norm these days, right? Does this mean that the lives of the average kid have become too boring to be considered for fictional tales? Or that the times have really changed and kids these days now tend to be more escapist? Since when were vampires and werewolves romantic anyway? When I was a kid, they scared the daylights out of me.

Really, I do miss seeing titles like this:

Image credits: http://community.livejournal.com/1bruce1

Yeah, I do miss the Sweet Valley series and even The Baby-Sitters Club series. I remember swapping books with my friends back in Grade School and even asking my grandparents who were in the U.S. to send me the titles I couldn’t find in Manila. I remember crying my eyes out on all the Sweet Valley Saga titles. Ha, I even remember Blooey and I lining up to have our Sweet Valley books autographed by Cynthia and Brittany Daniel, who played Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield in a spin-off TV series. I was just reminded of this post when I saw my friend Dianne’s bookshelf in Tagaytay, lined up with her Sweet Valley Twins collection.

My only consolation these days is that most bookstores continue to carry the original Nancy Drew series, but Nancy Drew, in all her awesome sauciness, deserves a separate post from me.