I was a preteen traveling to meet my idol. Naturally, a few thought-provoking conversation starters crossed my mind.
For example: “Will Elizabeth Wakefield and Todd Wilkins get married?”
Unfortunately, “Sweet Valley High” author Francine Pascal didn’t answer that question during our one-time meeting.
After all, it was just a standard book-signing. I stood in a long line, exchanged standard greetings with Pascal and got her autograph. I left even more confused about the complexities of the Sweet Valley universe.
The memory crossed my mind when I contemplated a possible resurgence of Sweet Valley fandom.
The young-adult series, which debuted in 1983, focuses on California twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield. They navigate life with friends like rich Lila Fowler, snobby Bruce Patman and, of course, dreamy Todd Wilkins.
Fans have buzzed about a possible film version of the books. Diablo Cody is reportedly working on the project.
But I also recently stumbled upon “Sweet Valley Confidential,” Pascal’s upcoming novel that updates readers on Elizabeth and Jessica 10 years after their high school days. It’s slated for a March 2011 release.
Based on a sample chapter available online — which I may or may not have already read 10 times — the book seems to primarily target the nostalgia crowd. Access the sample chapter by registering for free at the link above. You'll get the chapter via e-mail.
Its portrayal of relationships makes it more suitable for adult readers, as opposed to preteens covertly reading about the high school world.
A teaser from the sample chapter? Elizabeth lives in New York and has a possible romantic relationship with her boss.
Jessica has her own set of emotional baggage — enough to make Elizabeth ambivalent about answering her sister’s phone calls.
I’ll jump back on the Sweet Valley bandwagon, but with minor hesitation.
The Sweet Valley universe impressed me when years separated me from the series’ two lead characters. They were cool teenagers whose lives I hoped to model in high school.
Now that we’re the same age, there’s a chance my starry admiration might transform into jealousy. Especially if Todd Wilkins is involved.
(Don’t mess with my man, Elizabeth!)
What’s more, I’m not sure if I can deal with an onset of new Sweet Valley fans.
I’ll have to resist an urge to counter their literary infatuation with lines like, “You think you’re a fan? I walked 10 miles in the snow to score a copy of ‘Dangerous Love.’”
Despite my fears, Elizabeth and Jessica shouldn’t stay frozen in time. The fans who adopted the sisters as their fictional friends need an update.
And maybe my hard-hitting questions will finally be answered.
Sonya Sorich, reporter, can be reached at email@example.com or 706-571-8516.