Introducing our new summer blog series: Book nostalgia! First up, Sweet Valley Twins
By Nadia on June 7th, 2012
During my adventure in the library’s sub-basement (seriously, it’s a magical place!) I noticed so many of my favorite books and series from when I was growing up. And summer is a great time to capture that nostalgia and re-read some old favorites. All of us at OOM have decided to give it a go. Starting today, and once a week throughout the summer, one of us will be re-reading an old favorite and then recapping it here on the blog!
I decided to start with Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley series. You may remember, the brand started with Sweet Valley High, then expanded into Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley Kids series. I re-read Sweet Valley Kids – Sweet Valley Slumber Party (book 22) and Sweet Valley Twins and Friends-The Gossip War (book 80).
Reading the Sweet Valley the books were just as fun as I remembered, filled with sleepovers, pillow fights, real fights, middle school drama, three-way calling, cliques, and communism (really. There’s a social studies lesson about the Cold War and the gossip drama between the Unicorns becomes their example for an oral presentation about McCarthyism!).
Slumber Party: Twins Jessica and Elizabeth have their friends over for a sleepover, and two of the girls have the same stuffed unicorn. Typical sleepover shenanigans ensue, and during a pillow fight, one unicorn goes missing and the party-goers fight over whose unicorn they have and whose is missing. Great Aunt Helen saves the day with a scavenger hunt to find it, and all ends well – everyone is friends again and they go to the ice cream parlor.
Gossip War: Now in middle school, Jessica and Elizabeth have different friends and interests. Elizabeth is smart, athletic, likes school, and avoids drama. Jessica is the opposite – she doesn’t like school or sports and loves being part of the popular crowd, known as “The Unicorns.” The Unicorns nearly break up when Jessica has some trouble with three-way calling…she thinks she’s disconnected with someone and says something hurtful about them. Gossip begins to spread and the group is divided. But not to worry, all ends well with a birthday party!
My takeaway: When I read the books again, I still connected with the same characters – I’m definitely more like Elizabeth, who likes school and reading and is definitely more down-to-earth than her twin. Reading about middle school when I was in elementary school gave me an image of an idyllic (and unrealistic) middle school experience I thought I wanted. Not that my middle school experience was bad…it was just average.
And as I read it as an adult who finished middle school years ago, it made me more grateful for my average middle school experience – nothing too dramatic to deal with. I remember some of my peers and their drama, and I know things didn’t always work out perfectly and end with ice cream or a party.
What books did you love reading growing up? Have you reread any of them lately?
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