Francine Pascal’s Iconic ‘Sweet Valley Twins’ To Be Adapted As Graphic Novels For A New Generation

If you’re a child of the ’80s and ’90s, you’ll be familiar with the phenomenon that is “Sweet Valley High” – the story starring twin sisters Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield. While you linger for a while in your nostalgia, there’s news to get excited about because Francine Pascal’s bestselling series ‘Sweet Valley Twins’ will be published in graphic novel format by Random House Graphic, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books (RHCB). ‘Sweet Valley Twins #1: Best Friends’ is scheduled to release on November 1, 2022.

Writer Nicole Andelfinger and acclaimed artist Claudia Aguirre (‘Lost on Planet Earth’) will launch the graphic novel line with an adaptation of ‘Sweet Valley Twins #1: Best Friends’, the first novel in the series, which was originally published in 1986. Fans of ’80s and ’90s pop culture will fondly remember twins Elizabeth and Jessica from Sweet Valley, California, and their navigation of friendship, school, crushes, and more. 

The graphic novels will be available simultaneously in hardcover and trade paperback formats.

In ‘Sweet Valley Twins #1: Best Friends’, Jessica and Elizabeth are ready to take on middle school . . . but are they ready to take on each other? Jessica and Elizabeth have always been inseparable, but starting middle school means a chance for new beginnings. Elizabeth is excited to organize a school newspaper, but Jessica is more interested in joining the exclusive Unicorn Club. Middle school is hard enough, but with these twins each dealing with becoming their own person, will they be able to stay friends? 

“I remember absolutely devouring Sweet Valley Twins as a preteen and felt like I couldn’t get enough of the drama, the shenanigans, and of course the sisters ultimately having each other’s backs,” said writer Nicole Andelfinger in a press release.

“Being able to take the twins into the modern age has been an absolute joy. I can’t wait for a new generation of preteens to fall in love with Jessica, Elizabeth, and their friends!”

In anticipation of the November 1 release, Nicole wrote a poignant guest post for us below, talking about her love of books as a young girl growing up, her relationships with her own sisters, and what she can relate to with the Wakefield twins.

By Nicole Andelfinger

The first big difference I noticed between myself and my sisters was books. 

One of the things that no one tells you about having siblings is that, when you’re young, you inevitably end up with the same interests. There were three of us girls in my family, so where one went the other two of us followed like ducklings. That included everything from an obsession with horses to mutually deciding the creepy animatronic in my grandmother’s antique store was definitely haunted. It made family outings easy and gifts even easier to shop for.

But books were where I started realizing that no matter how well I got along with my sisters, we’d always have a difference in opinions.

My middle sister loved sci-fi and fantasy, diving into both and pretty exclusively only both. Her book shelves were lined with the likes of Mercedes Lackey and K.A. Applegate and Piers Anthony. I still look at some of her old favorites today and am reminded of dragons and shifters and all manner of creature that could only be conjured up in the Legos we shared or the television screen.

My little sister, on the other hand, read what she had to for school. Books had never been her love; the same devotion my middle sister and I had for reading she had for the stage. And even to this day, her wit exceeds my own. It makes me wonder who the writer in the family honestly is; her humor has always put mine to shame.

As for me, well, my taste was eclectic. If it was required reading, I was done weeks before the class even picked up the book. A new hyper-fixation meant pulling every book in the library on pirates. A particularly chilling anthology of horror? It was ruining bedtime for sure. Slice of life stories with at least fifty books in the series were my bread and butter. 

For sisters who shared everything, when it came to our bookshelves we differed wildly. And the differences only grew from there.

In many ways, I know exactly what Elizabeth Wakefield is going through. Back then, I couldn’t understand why my little sister would rather go to the mall than stay in and read, or why my middle sister had no interest at all in the Sweet Valley Twin series. Much like Jessica and Elizabeth, it felt a bit like I was drifting apart from the two people who had been there for nearly my entire life. It’s a hard concept to grasp when you’re eight and you just want to giggle about the newest horse series you found at the library.

Yet I’ve been fortunate that, as I’ve grown, I’ve come to realize that growing up doesn’t necessarily mean growing apart. It’s a theme at the heart of “Best Friends”; the idea that different interests don’t mean separate lives. That being your own person, doing your own things, doesn’t mean that the connections you forge with your siblings ever actually have to end. It’s the latter that is an important reminder for me even to this day, and also why “Best Friends” has been a joy to work on. Where else can I remember the good times I’ve had with my own sisters, while also celebrating the people we’ve now become?

These days, my sisters mostly know me as the writer of the family. An ironic title because if you asked me, I’m not the most clever or funniest or most imaginative one in the family. Stories have always been an escape, and even to this day I find myself gravitating to the stories that I see parts of myself in; including this one.

Because no matter how much I finally start to recognize myself in the mirror, there’s always going to be a bit of that quirky elementary school kid, that awkward, shy high schooler, and that quiet loner from college staring back at me. “Best Friends” may be about tweens, but in a way it’s for all those who are looking at themselves and coming to terms with just who they want to be when they grow up.

These days, I’m still close to my sisters. We talk regularly via social media, sometimes we talk on the phone; I even live with one of them now and see her every day. We still fight, we still disagree, and we have wildly different interests. But there’s a thread that always connects; and while perhaps not a twin connection, like Jessica and Elizabeth, it’s a lifeline that keeps me humble to the person I was and the person I want to be.

Author Nicole Andelfinger

Nicole Andelfinger was crafting stories back when jelly shoes were cool. When not changing her hair color or writing comics for some of her favorite franchises—such as Jim Henson’s ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’, ‘Regular Show’, ‘Rugrats’, ‘Steven Universe’, and more—she works a day job best described as “emails.” She lives with her absolutely, most decidedly perfect cat in Los Angeles. You can pre-order a copy of ‘Sweet Valley Twins #1: Best Friends’ by clicking HERE.

Comments are closed.