I really think that the things we loved when we were kids – be they books, movies, television shows – remain the most precious to us when we are adults. Of course, every once in awhile, I come across something I LOVE, but it really is never quite the same as that which I grew up with. Singin’ in the Rain and Back to the Future will probably always be my favorite movies, regardless of what other movies I see and adore throughout the rest of my life because they so enchanted me at age 8.
When I found out that there was a new Sweet Valley book coming out, I ordered it online immediately. And yes, I devoured it and it made me feel as if I were in 6th grade again. (I mean, it’s Sweet Valley, it took an hour.) I loved the Sweet Valley High and Twins books when I was a kid; they are such wish fulfillment for an 11 year old who imagines that high school will be glamorous and exciting with impossibly pretty people and also, in California, where high school kids hang out at the beach (THE BEACH!) and can actually go outside in the winter. (Contrast: my friends and I were really excited in high school when we discovered a rock in the middle of nowhere with Snoopy painted on it. This was our stimulation.)
Anyway, Sweet Valley Confidential was kind of bad and kind of awesome, which is exactly how it should be. It won me over with the nostalgia factor, and it made me sad when some characters didn’t turn out as they should have … which I guess is a part of adulthood in general. You look back and reflect on your image of who you would become and who your friends would become and it never is as you imagined it would be, but always both better and worse.
I am digressing and I know I am making it seem like reading a Sweet Valley book was a profound experience, which it was not, but it did make me think about how all of the characters in the young adult novels we read growing up become a part of us, a part of our growth. They impact our impressions of the world, our fantasies, and shape who we become.