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Sweet Valley High

The twins’ school sends out a daily grade report so you can always see their grade on each assignment as well as the overall grade in the class.  Once upon a time, I looked forward to report card days because I had no clue how they were doing in class.  But now report cards are somewhat meaningless because I’ve been getting daily spoilers through the whole marking period.

I guess it’s a good idea if your child is likely to not hand in homework.  But the numbers and letters feel a lot like site stats, another thing I don’t like to check more than four times per year.  I want a general sense of how things are going, but the focus on concrete numbers makes me feel anxious.


When I was in middle school, my dad promised to buy me the entire Sweet Valley High series if I could get straight As.  If I couldn’t, I could get the books one at a time with my own babysitting money or wait for birthdays.  Oh, and by the way, I couldn’t.  So I never got the series delivered to me in a giant stack.

Poor me.

I was telling the twins this, wondering if my dad would still buy me the Sweet Valley High series if my kids’ got straight As.  Was the offer still valid if fulfilled by the next generation?

“What is Sweet Valley High?” the ChickieNob asked.

What is Sweet Valley High?  Are you kidding me?  It is THE guide to how to behave in high school.  What if you suddenly became as rich as Bruce Patman or Lila Fowler?  You would know that you’re supposed to sneer at nerds and drive a fast car.  What if someone offered you drugs?  DID YOU LEARN NOTHING FROM REGINA MORROW’S HEART ATTACK?  What if your best friend’s boyfriend just got his pilot license and says, “Hey, want to go on my first solo flight?”  The answer is no.

Everything I needed to know about high school I learned from that series.  Was it garbage?  Yes.  Yes, it was definitely garbage.  But it was my garbage, and I loved it so much.  I still buy copies if I see them at used bookstores.

Did anyone else read Sweet Valley High?


1 Raven { 09.13.16 at 7:38 am }

I loved them! I think it was a lot like Degrassi (the first series from the 80s)…you were addicted because it taught you about life but it doesn’t necessarily mean it was high quality material! I loved them both.

2 nicoleandmaggie { 09.13.16 at 8:07 am }

Nope! My interest level and reading level never really meshed up. I did read a summary on wikipedia when all the nostalgia started happening and was shocked at how sordid they are. I hope that’s not teaching about life!

Especially since I was and still am a nerd…

I did read a lot of Trixie Belden… Honey never sneered at anyone even though she was rich.

3 Ashley { 09.13.16 at 9:03 am }

I LOVED Sweet Valley High! I never thought to wager good grades for the whole series, but then I just got stacks of them out of the local library, so I never wanted for more books to read. To me, the Sweet Valley books are like Danielle Steel books are for adults – simple, easy-reading fodder to devour like old-fashioned potato chips cooked in lard. So gross, yet so addicting-ly good! 😛

4 Sharon { 09.13.16 at 9:08 am }

My sister and I were in high school when those books came out and we loved them.

5 Jodi { 09.13.16 at 9:09 am }

I was OBSESSED with the Sweet valley High books. And I remember how some of them seemed so risque!

6 Elizabeth { 09.13.16 at 9:38 am }

I am slightly embarrassed to admit this, but I literally just named my 2 month old Lila after Lila Fowler. I also have a twin named Caroline, so I pretty much thought that the books were directed to me and me alone when I was young. haha

7 Charlotte { 09.13.16 at 9:42 am }

I am impressed you can recall actual names and storylines about them. But YES! I read them. I remember going to the library and checking out the maximum allowed amount of books and them all being SVH. We would take turns sharing them if it was a hard to get copy. And when I new one came out I remember ooohing and AAAHHHing over their covers in Caldor.
Thanks for the memories!

8 Lori Lavender Luz { 09.13.16 at 10:29 am }

I remember hearing about it, vaguely, but I thought it was a TV show, like Saved By the Bell or something else a little after my time. Maybe I should check into this for my next generation…

9 a { 09.13.16 at 10:49 am }

I was too old for Sweet Valley High – although I don’t think it would have been my thing anyway.

Why would anyone need daily updates on their kids’ grades? That’s craziness. If your kid is struggling, of course you need the info, but otherwise it just seems like too much pressure. Especially in grade school.

10 Beth { 09.13.16 at 12:08 pm }

Oh, the Wakefield twins! I loved SVH. I thought they were all so glamorous, so different from myself. I hadn’t thought about them in so long.

nicoleandmaggie – i read Trixie Belden, too. I just found my box of Trixie books and am saving them for my daughter.

11 loribeth { 09.13.16 at 12:13 pm }

I am relieved to see from the comments above that I am not the only one who was too old for Sweet Valley High. 😉 I Googled it & learned the first book was published in 1983… which is when I got my undergrad degree & went to grad school. Erk!!! I was even a bit too old for Judy Blume books by the time they reached my community, although I do remember reading “Forever” when I was in high school. 😉 My own favourite reads about teenaged life were books mostly written in the 1950s & 60s, which I found at my local library… Rosamund Du Jardin, Anne Emery (the Dinny Gordon series) and (especially) Betty Cavanna. One of my favourites of hers was set in Rio de Janeiro — I couldn’t think of the title, but I was thinking about it during the Rio Olympics & Googled it — “A Time for Tenderness.” Ah, Carlos!! 😉 And “Stars in Her Eyes,” about the daughter of a famous television star who blossoms while spending a year in Paris. Memories!!

12 Kasey { 09.13.16 at 12:21 pm }

I loved those books so much. That and Babysitters Club. My mom still has a full shelf of my books in her “grandma closet”

13 Jjiraffe { 09.13.16 at 12:56 pm }

Oh Lord, those books! So many important lessons learned. Like, when an identical twin hits her head on a coffee table, she can get amnesia and think she is actually her twin sister and start acting like her. Who knew? Also, did you know that both Elizabeth and Jessica drove a red Fiat and wore a “perfect size six?” The author/s repeated that a lot. 😉

14 Chris { 09.13.16 at 3:42 pm }

Oh! Have you read the adult versions of the books?? Well, the twins are now adults anyway….I discovered them about a year or two ago and binged on them on my kindle. Because yes, somewhere in my garage are what about a 100 of those from my junior high years. LOL. I know I stopped reading before the series was done, but oh how I loved them. Side note: I was always a serious reader and I took one of those books to my first day of 7th grade at a brand new school (We had moved for the billionth time). I went to my science class and I finished the assignment (wrap your science book) so I took out my SVH book to read quietly. My crazy science teacher came out and THREW my brand new book on the floor and told me there would be NO READING IN HIS CLASS EVER! HOW DARE any one read. He broke the spine of my book and couldn’t understand why I cried. One of only two times I ever got in trouble (the other was for not running in PE when I had a doctor’s note) I was sent to the principal’s office. The principal thought it was very odd indeed and I was transferred to a less crazy class.

15 Cristy { 09.13.16 at 5:05 pm }

I loved Sweet Valley High! I started on the Sweet Valley Twins books and graduated around 6th grade. Set the stage for my love of Rom Coms.

This online grade reporting reminds me of the systems we use at the university level (Moodle, Canvas, etc). I started posting all my grades online because my students were generally clueless how each assignment added up to their final grade total. It alievated a lot of arguments at the end of the quarter/semester, but I still had panicked students who tried to get points back months after an assignment was completed and regrade requests were closed. So I’m sad to inform you this is the new norm.

16 nicoleandmaggie { 09.13.16 at 5:17 pm }

My mom GAVE MINE AWAY. I mean, sure that new rural elementary school library needed books. And yes, Trixie Belden is awesome and now more kids at that school had a chance to discover her magic, but… oh heck, I may have to just re-buy them.

17 Chris { 09.13.16 at 7:21 pm }

Here’s the link to the adult version…there are 6 of them, and I for one having loved the series as a tween really enjoyed seeing the characters as 20somethings. https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Life-E-Serial-Valley-Confidential-ebook/dp/B006ZLAFXU/ref=la_B00DCMH1BY_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1473808878&sr=1-2#nav-subnav

18 Jess { 09.13.16 at 8:51 pm }

I LOVED Sweet Valley High! I also loved that one of the twins was a Jessica, and she was sort of the naughty one, so I could live vicariously through her even though I was more like Elizabeth in real life. A friend of mine is on a mission to find them all at used bookstores, and she found a thing where you can have your portrait painted in the style of a SVH cover. THAT would be amazing!

At our school, we have report cards but no 5 week grades because we have School Tool — all our gradebooks are “live” and so you can see individual assignment grades in real time. I can see how that makes you anxious… It’s a lot of numbers. It also has a constant running average for each class. It’s great for progress monitoring, but kids can get obsessed with checking their grades constantly and it can get unhealthy. Everyone knows exactly why their grade is what it is though, which has benefits. I miss paper 5-week reports and actual physical report cards you didn’t have to print yourself.

19 Justine { 09.13.16 at 10:32 pm }

Sadly, I never read them (think very strict house with no thoughts permitted about high schoolers behave), which probably explains a lot about my high school experience. 😉

20 md { 09.15.16 at 11:54 pm }

i loved SVH and the sweet valley twins. i guess there is a time for reading them though, as by the time i got to reading the couple of college books they had, i wasn’t interested at all. i moved on to other stuff then, thank god! i would love to reread a couple and see what i think now.. 😛

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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