Before The Olsens, the Mowrys, and Zack and Cody, there were the Wakefields--the most popular girls of Sweet Valley High. Like most youth-oriented twin figures: Jessica and Elizabeth couldn't be more different, despite their identical looks. Throw in a guy named Todd and a b---- named Lila Fowler and you got yourself an epic book series that spanned two decades.
Now the Wakefields are making a comeback: Diablo Cody is adapting the series for the big screen. And author Francine Pascal just announced her plan to release an adult update of the twins in April. "The book's preview hints at sexual exploits, a bitter betrayal between the sisters and adventures in the Big Apple," according to the Washington Post. It already sounds like a flashback to a simpler time. The issues of the early books in the series centered around the competing for the same guy, and switching identities Sounds a little squeaky clean for new teen order where the dark, metaphysical romance of "Twilight" and the hyper-sexuality of "Gossip Girl" reign supreme.
But don't underestimate Pascal. After the wave of early books in the series, things got really dark for the Wakefields and by the time they turned 17, they'd mourned the death of countless friends, been on trial for murder, and become embroiled in an international diamond heist. Also, someone dated a werewolf. Fans in the 80s will be surprised to learn how much went down by the end of the 90s when the series came to a close. And you thought your high school experience was brutal...
The first year (1983) The first few books of the series are how veteran readers of SVH remember it: In "Double Love" Elizabeth and Jessica fight over the same boy, Todd Wilkins. In "Secrets," Elizabeth's dorky friend Enid is afraid of being dumped. And in "Playing With Fire," Jessica falls for a boy named Bruce who runs with a fast crowd.
Life gets heavy (1984-89): Aside from a boyfriend with a motorcycle, things are pretty swell for the Wakefields until older bro, Steven falls in love with a girl with leukemia and learns what it feels like "When Love Dies." It would be one of those things that would be hard to move on from, if his sister Elizabeth wasn't "Kidnapped!" shortly thereafter. Thank god she's saved but before long she gets some more bad news: her best friend Enid was in a "Crash Landing" and is paralyzed. But the worst has got to be behind the kids of SVH, right?
Dear god, put these kids in foster care (1992-1993): What are the odds that both twins would get abducted in two different instances? 100%. In "Kidnapped by the Cult!," Jes meets a magnetic personality named Adam. He's got of group of Good Friends he introduces her too. No really, they're called the Good Friends, and they're hellbent on getting Jessica to commit a gruesome crime. Elizabeth tries to de-brainwash her sister. That Liz is always so perfect and such a goody two-shoes. Yikes, except when she drinks and drives. In "The Arrest," she goes to trial for killing Jessica's boyfriend, when she accidentally mows him over on a booze-fueled joyride. When "The Verdict" comes down, she's acquitted, thank god. And from now on, the twins are going to live the straight and narrow. No more booze, no more psychopaths, no more murders. Cue "The Evil Twin," a girl named Margo, who pulls a single white female on Elizabeth and ends up dead. In the end Liz and Jes reconnect and put their bad blood behind them. But isn't it kind of weird that people keep dying around Elizabeth? Oh well.
Scratch foster care, how about an in-patient mental institution: (1994-1996): It's really amazing that they've come out of that trauma unscathed. Sure it's a bit odd that Elizabeth thinks her sister's new boyfriend is a werewolf, but once they sort it all out and Liz pins a string of London murders on her friend Luke in "Beware the Wolfman," the girls return to California. It's time to hit the books for real this time, but first they're just going to check out this buried treasure in Death Valley they keep hearing about. As luck would have it, Elizabeth is left hanging from a cliff and Jes is held at gunpoint by deranged escaped convicts also in search of the treasure.
Actually, maybe a maximum security prison is best (1996-1997): In "A Kiss Before Dying," Jessica gets all Bloods/Crips when she falls for gang-member, Christian Gorman. Too bad he dies. (Has anyone seen Elizabeth?) In "Camp Killer," Jessica gets the hell out of Sweet Valley for a nice relaxing summer camp experience. Golly, if there isn't a deranged killer on the loose...When she comes back to school, admittedly shaken, she takes up with a new guy who happens to be "Tall, Dark and Deadly." Liz of course thinks he's a vampire. She really needs help people.
Things are going to be alright...but first, the apocalypse (1997-1998): In "A Model Flirt," Liz is interning at a fashion magazine when her boss tries to kill her. That sucks, but at least there's a prince who wants to marry her. Too bad she's been accused of an international jewel heist. Thankfully her name is cleared in "Happily Ever After" and both girls get back to school to start their senior year! But it ain't over yet. After the longest year of anyone's life, ever, the girls finally turn 17. To celebrate, their friends throw them a blow-out surprise bash. Wouldn't you know it, Sweet Valley is on a major fault line and there's a large-scale "Earthquake" just as the party's getting good. As hoards of guests are scalded by molten lava and fall to their deaths in the Earth's core, Liz and Jes's dreams of a drama-free senior year are dashed. Now, in the "Aftershock," their friend Olivia Davidson and some other not-so-popular people are dead. But in their passing, the girls can finally put their past behind them and embark on completely productive, baggage-free adult lives. Just so long as Liz stops killing people and then blaming their deaths on werewolves.
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