If you were of the age that wasn’t quite to the reading or maturity level of Sweet Valley High, then the Twins were for you. The original series was for the high school set, created by Francine Pascal, but ghostwritten by many different writers. We can talk about Sweet Valley High later, but today we’re looking at the Twins.
The Sweet Valley Twins series was not as popular the High series (which went on to have a TV show even) but it did capture the audience of middle school to older elementary school kids, akin to the Baby Sitters Club series. The series stars the same set of identical twins, Elizabeth and Jessica, the only tell tale difference between the two was a mole on the shoulder, but were complete opposite in every way when it came to personality. Thus offering a little something for every reader, be they the bookworm that came to identify with Elizabeth or the social butterfly that would identify with Jessica.
Through this series, the twins whether their differences and learn to become independent people with distinct interests but having the same basic nature. While Elizabeth’s friends were more from a bookish and more modest background, Jessica had wealthy friends who were more interested in material things and more flighty in their choices. Each story would have a different issue that they would have to solve, eventually together and teaching their young readers the value of family and what basically comes down to doing the right thing.
I do recall piles and piles of these books at the local library, but today the resources on the series is scarce, lots on Sweet Valley High, but not so much on the counterpart. This reminds me a lot of the Saved by the Bell television series, that actually started with a junior high school show, originally titled “Good Morning, Miss Bliss.” Luckily the title didn’t stick and we had Saved by the Bell for the junior high years, but didn’t really catch on until the “class” moved to high school.
The series did have a bunch of extra side stories, mystery extras, Christmas specials and stories told from the point of view of supporting characters, eventually the series evolved from “Sweet Valley Twins” to “Sweet Valley Twins and Friends.”
I do remember that the books from this series was one of the few things that I was ever able to share with my sister without pulling any hair.