If you know me, chances are you’ll know how much I love the Sweet Valley High book series, published during the 1980s-1990s. These books have been a constant in my life since at least middle school (i.e., for 20 years now), and yes, I still read them. Thanks to eBay and public library book sales, I own an almost complete run of #1-100 of these 1/2 inch paperbacks. The series continued after that point, but it lost some of its innocence and appeal to me around #95.
The reason I write today, though, is to exclaim over the latest edition to the SVH oeuvre – a book called Sweet Valley Confidential: 10 Years Later. Written by the series’s creator, Francine Pascal, who by my count never wrote one of the original books, this sequel catches up with the characters in their late 20s. In short, I loved the book. But there were some obvious problems that I simply cannot accept, and I created an errata list. This is not in any particular order, though the first few are particularly egregious mistakes:
1. Though he’s only mentioned once, the correct name of Lila’s father is George, not Richard. p. 119 Lila was a major supporting character, as Jessica’s on-again off-again best friend. She barely appears in this book.
2. The twins’ parents could not have been members of the country club since the girls were 12. see p. 215 I don’t think I’m stretching my knowledge to say that belonging to the club is never mentioned in SVH. This is especially important because belonging to such a club was the kind of life Jessica aspired to in high school. Also, there’s the fact that in book #1 the family gets a “new in-ground pool in the backyard.”
3. See pages 164-166 and 277. This is simply an problem of continuity, in which we learn that Bruce’s parents died when he was a senior in college. The book later implies that this happened 10 years ago, which is not possible – more like 5 years ago.
4. Continuing the Bruce problem, on page 26 he is referred to as a high school junior, when actually he was always a year older than the twins. Change to senior.
5. What does the new book mean by the restaurant called “Pizza”? Is this supposed to be Guido’s, or the Dairi Burger? Why not just keep one of the old names?
6. On page 193, A.J. Morgan could not have been in 7th grade with the twins, because he moved to Sweet Valley in HIGH SCHOOL. There’s a whole book about Jessica pursuing him as a new student (Slam Book Fever, #48).
7. Similarly, to my knowledge, Todd does not appear in the series Sweet Valley Twins (which was created after SVH). Therefore, he could not have been in kindergarden with them. (as I said, I’m a purist)
8. Back to A.J. Morgan for a sec – on page 223 he is described as having blond hair. No, sorry, he was a red-head in high school. If he’s going to have blond hair ten years later, I want to see the word “dyed” in front of blond.
And last but not least, in the recap section at the end of the book, p. 283, Mr. Collins’s son was named Teddy, not Sam. I also would have liked a recap on the members of the high school rock band The Droids.
If there’s one reason I have a problem with all of the above mistakes, it’s that the author supposedly has a “bible” of facts about her characters that should have prevented many of these simple errors.