Like most every girl about my age, I spent years wrapped up in the goings on of the Wakefield twins of Sweet Valley, Jessica and Elizabeth. Oh sure, people try and decide if they are a Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha or Miranda. Or maybe which one of Tara Gregson’s alters they might be. Team Edward, Team Jacob, which True Blood character, insert Harry Potter reference here, blah blah blah. But in the end ladies… you are a Jessica or you are an Elizabeth. I learned that when I was 10 years old and it hasn’t failed me yet.

Last week, Francine Pascal, the author of all but the very first Sweet Valley Twins/High/University books (Ann M. Martin wrote the first one, she of “The Babysitter’s Club” fame… by the way) released the long-awaited (at least by me) “Sweet Valley Confidential…ten years later” and it was like a love letter to those of us who grew up with those blonde haired, aquamarine eyed, perfect size six twins for so many years. I pre-ordered it and devoured it while Patrick was running the Knoxville Half-Marathon on Sunday morning… it was as close to a Sunday worship service as I’m going to get.

It was…well, actually if I’m honest, it probably wasn’t a great book. But that wasn’t the point. It was complete. I was satisfied. It covered the bases and I know what happened to everyone. And until there is a made for TV movie, I can close the Sweet Valley chapter of my childhood.

But that started me thinking about the other books I read and wondering what happened to the rest of those characters. Some of them were series and some were just books that were near and dear to my heart; books I would read time and time again. So here we go…

Whatever Happened To…

Anastasia Krupnik.
I loved Anastasia Krupnik and her bohemian family above all others. She was awkward and funny and fully versed in the smartass and snarky remark even at the tender age of 13. I wanted her to come to my slumber party and I wanted to sit with her in the cafeteria. I was envious of her room in a tower and wondered why my dad didn’t conduct opera on his stereo in the living room with his eyes closed. I DEMAND to know what happened to Anastasia. The possibilities are endless but I have no doubt that there were plenty of good stories.

The Sleepover Friends.
Kate, Lauren, Patti and Stephanie were in fifth grade and had sleepovers at each other’s houses every weekend. Their parents went collectively broke buying pizza and I loved these books… in secret. Because they were truly awful but damn if I didn’t want that long curly hair like Stephanie had. Four girls? You know there was a serious falling out once they hit high school… you just have no idea what it was over.

Anything by Christopher Pike
I still maintain, to this day, that “I Know What You Did Last Summer” is loosely based on the Slumber Party books by Christopher Pike. And those people were twisted. Mainly I just want to know how many of them ended up in prison or OD’ing…

Margaret Simon.
Are you there god, it’s me Margaret. TOTAL pre-teen angst. Again with the four girls (and Michael Patrick King thought he was an original…I scoff at you, MPK). Margaret, Gretchen, Nancy and Janie. In my ideal world, Margaret Simon and Anastasia Krupnik were roommates in college. I think those two would have hit it off. Those other girls were bitches…

Katie Welker.
I ADORED “The Girl With the Silver Eyes” by Willo Davis Roberts about a girl with oddly silver eyes and the ability to move things with her mind. Turns out her mom worked with a bunch of chemicals when she was knocked up with Katie and fucked her kid up but good. Katie wasn’t alone either… there was a whole herd of silver eyed kids with paranormal powers. Like little pre-teen X-Men.

Sure, more often than not, it’s better to use your imagination. (Although I was completely in love with “The Babysitter’s Club” as envisioned by Bret Easton Ellis and that’s the only reason those books aren’t on this list) But reading about Elizabeth and Jessica all grown up and getting caught up on all their friends and seeing that shit sometimes wasn’t all wrapped up with a big red bow wasn’t all bad. I like to think that these authors grow as attached to their characters as the readers do. Surely Lois Lowry wonders what Anastasia is doing right this very minute… (pause for brief google search to make sure Lois Lowry is still alive… she is but she also swears Anastasia was born in 1979 at the age of ten and is now only thirteen… party pooper)

Anyone you’d like to re-visit?