Due to The New York Times’ paywall, I am now forced to get information on newly released books from the pages of Entertainment Weekly. Recently I learned that Francine Pascal is publishing Sweet Valley Confidential, a “Ten Years Later…” update on my generation’s favorite blonde twins, Elizabeth and Jessica. The EW reviewers gave the book a C, the lowest grade I’ve ever seen them assign, so it must be a real turd. I think where Pascal went wrong was hiring the wrong ghostwriters (she hasn’t written in years), and I’d like to nominate the following authors and imagine how they’d rework this classic novel about the life of the Wakefield twins.
1. Jonathan Franzen’s Twindom
Picking up where Party Weekend left off, Franzen follows this all-American family through the drama and challenges of their decent into middle class. In keeping with the original series, all the characters are unlikable and thoroughly unappealing. At 3,000 pages, I’m going to go ahead and tell you: I’m not going to read it (but will feel like I did due to the raving, then angry, then accepting reviews).
2. Stephenie Meyer’s Blood Sisters
After 143 books, if it seems like these twins have been in Sweet Valley High School forever, it is because they have. When the Cullens have to leave Washington state and move to the Sweet Valley, which vampire clan will survive? Wakefields vs. Cullens. There will be moody staring, super fast running through the Valley, nouveau riche settings, and absolutely no kissing on prom night… if anyone makes it to prom night.
3. Mary Roach’s Tweens: The Curious Science of Life in the Void
Roach delves into the young-adult serialized book business and immerses herself in the world of America’s youth. There are chapters on body odor, drinking urine, and diet tips. Exhaustively researched and plagued with footnotes, it begins as a scientific study of teen marketing and ends as an expose on the sex life of popular girls.
4. Chuck Palahnuik’s Invisible Identicals
The book opens up with Elizabeth’s boyfriend, Todd Wilkins, with a gun pointed at the twin’s older brother, Steven Wakefield. Over what feels like an inordinate amount of chapters for always the same result, the reader learns that the twins died a long time ago in a terrible car accident. Devastated, Steven underwent exhaustive plastic surgeries to look identical to his sisters so as to live out their lives. In the end it would appear Todd has learned the secret of his “girlfriend,” but again the joke is on the reader. Todd was the one driving the car the fatal night the twins died and he didn’t survive either. Steven is just standing in front of a mirror, with a gun, because he is crazy. No one is who they appear to be because they are all really the same person! Does it ever make any sense?
5. Danielle Steel’s The (Love Synonym) + (Twin Pun)
Probably the most qualified to finish the Wakefield twins’ journey, this book has already written itself. The Steele machine plugs Elizabeth and Jessica into every winning romance novel formula. Marriage + Incest + Bar Fight + Cheating + Long-haired Men + Horseback Riding + Divorce = Wait for the Lifetime movie!
One can only hope this starts an exciting trend and we’ll get to finally see Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of the Babysitters Club or Pope Benedict XVI’s Choose Your Own Adventure.