9 Things You Didn’t Know About Sweet Valley High
“Sweet Valley High” was a novel series created by Francine Pascal that followed the lives of Wakefield twins, Jessica and Elizabeth, who lived in Sweet Valley, California. It was the stereotypical teen drama following the lives of two high school siblings and covering all the drama that ensued around them from boyfriends to friendships to teachers. It first emerged in the early 1980s and continued on until 2003 with over 600 books in the series. SVH became so popular it led to several spin-off series and a television show that ran for four seasons from 1994 to 1997. Since there have been whispers of a reboot in the works, here’s a look at 9 things you probably didn’t know about “Sweet Valley High!”
9. How It Came to Be
When Francine Pascal wrote the proposal for the “Sweet Valley High” series, she was already an accomplished writer with three successful adult books under her belt. Originally she had shopped around the idea as a soap opera until a friend suggested books would be a better vehicle. She created twins as the main characters because she “always felt they were two sides of one person, the good and the bad.” The concept was sold almost immediately after she sent it to her publisher. “She sold it practically by return mail. I wrote six more outlines, and six more and six more, until I finished with 144 Sweet Valley High books. And with the help of others who worked from my stories that’s how it came to be,” said Pascal in an interview with The Guardian.
8. Pascal Used Ghost Writers
Even though Pascal technically came up with the idea of “Sweet Valley High,” she had no interest in actually writing the books, so her agent, Amy Berkower, sold the idea to Bantam. While she didn’t write the books herself, she supervised the whole production. She’d write detailed outlines and references for ghostwriters to follow and called it a “paint by numbers” for books. Ghostwriters would get a book outline with plot points to follow and then fill in the blanks. It was all approved by Pascal before print because her name appeared on every entry in the series under a “Created By” credit.