Saturday, July 13, 2019
Sweet Valley High Super Thrillers
Welcome to the 7th installment of Summer of Fear, a weekly series of posts where I will review/revisit a classic YA Horror/Thriller from the 70s-90s. This week I’m looking at Sweet Valley High’s Super Thrillers. Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal (who like James Patterson came up with the stories for all the books then got ghostwriters to actually write them) was a publishing phenomenon in the 80s before ultimately ceasing in 1998 with 181 titles in the series.
My favorite Sweet Valley High book, Murder in Paradise, is part of the Super Thrillers collection. Super Thrillers were special editions that were longer than your average Sweet Valley High book and usually involved the twins in mortal peril.
In May of 1993, the Sweet Valley High series “jumped the shark,” after the publication of A Night To Remember. After that book, the series was kind of like a telenovella with numerous miniseries following that which took normal high school drama to unbelievable, campy heights.
All the Super Thrillers prior to 1993 were great because they could all conceiveably happen in reality aside from the fact that the twins had summer internships at the local newspaper for four different summers yet it was still a summer following their junior year in high school. Lol. They all revolved around one of the twins either witnessing or investigating a crime they heard about in the newsroom and then getting into disasterous situations as a result.
After 1993, the Super Thrillers went wild ultimately producing my aforementioned favorite, Murder in Paradise which was published in 1995. Are you ready for the plot??! I’ve got to spoil the ending for once because it’s just THAT bananas and you’ll want to read the book even more because you’re not going to believe it.
Jessica and Elizabeth’s mom wins a trip to an all inclusive spa resort and invites her daughters but instead of also inviting actual friends of her own she invites Jessica’s best friend Lila and Lila’s mother Grace and Elizabeth’s best friend Enid and Enid’s mother Adele. Adele can’t attend as she couldn’t get time of work which is the only element of reality here. So the group sets off to the spa. Upon arrival the normal SVH shenanigans ensue. Lila hits on an older man and is embarrassingly rejected, Enid has many “woe is me” allow self esteem moments and Elizabeth sticks her nose in everyone’s business. Liz’s nosy nature leads her to uncover the dark truth about the spa - spoiler alert 🚨 🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨 the spa is run by a deranged former college classmate of Alice’s who is obsessed with plastic surgery. In fact nearly all the teenagers she “rescued off the streets” to employ there have undergone intense (like Heidi Montag) levels of plastic surgery and to top it all off, she wants to murder Alice and STEAL HER FACE!!! 😂😂😂😂. After the twins and company finally rescue Alice, the book closes with them all making jokes and getting ready to return home to Sweet Valley while Jessica gushes about what was actually good about the spa. No trauma ever lasts long in Sweet Valley.
Murder in Paradise 🌟🌟🌟🌟/5 for snark-tastic fun. I must confess that the “newspaper” Super Thrillers are more realistic they don’t quite rock the entertainment scale. Did you ever read the Super Thrillers? What was your favorite?