Friday, October 22, 2010

teenage kicks

The rumour mills have been buzzing for months, and I admit I'm curious. Okay, more than curious. Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are, apparently, back. And 27. And doing things like having sex and eating caviar and getting divorced. I'm not sure how to feel about the twins growing up.

I devoured the Sweet Valley High books for a good chunk of my preteen (and, she types, blushing, teenage) years. If I started reading after school, I could finish a book in a night (leaving a half hour for dinner and two hours for homework). They were engrossing - partly because I thought my junior high school was kind of like Sweet Valley but in Kansas, and partly because I hadn't read a book where I saw myself in both the good and not-so-good protagonists. After reading the first dozen or so, I began a project called "The Backs", where I wrote jacket copy for future SVH books. I had the twins traveling to Paris, learning to skydive, going to their first party where people were drinking - I was sure that one day I'd be the X on the title page (written by X, created by Francine Pascal).

Perhaps one of my most embarrassing moments was finishing Crime and Punishment for my IB exam and immediately opening Starring Jessica (number 71), and being busted by two of the guys in my class. Ahem.

Pascal's series spans over 150 books (I stopped at number 74), has spin-offs for all ages of kids and tweens, and is now targeting the Sex and the City generation. It's a clever time to do it - SATC is no more, and those of us who miss the show can now watch our beloved twins become Samantha and Charlotte. If we can stomach it.

See, the Wakefield girls, and Lila Fowler, and Cara Walker, and Todd Wilkins - they're in this time capsule of coziness in my head. They're beside springtime days in the backyard and getting picked up from the mall in my parents' minivan. They're glued into the memories of my posse, when we'd talk about the characters like they were our friends. Before cell phones, and digital cameras, and YouTube, and all the things that would have gotten us in much more trouble if they'd been around when we were young.

I'm afraid my little bubble of sweetness in middle America might just pop if I let them grow up.

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