Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s I read the Sweet Valley Twins High School series by Francine Pascal. There were a few others that would come along over the years, such as I seem to remember reading about the middle school years or at least seeing them on the shelves of the bookstore I would later work at and/or on my sister’s shelves. I think maybe I was just reading about the high school years and then a few college days, but I know I did not stay too long with them. Therefore, when I saw that there was going to be a graphic novel series, I was both excited and felt it might be dated. Especially if they kept to the pure letter of the text as they did with the Babysitters Club graphic novels (with the scene of one of the girls with a landline phone in her room. Do kids today even know you could have a phone in your room that had a cord attached? Well they do now if they read the BSC books and/or graphic novels).
And Sweet Valley Twins: Best Friends The Graphic Novel is an almost pure 1980s version of the before stories, just with cell phones. Nothing has been updated (the cool club, the Unicorns, are the same Mean Girls seen before, thought something tells me that today girls might talk about other things than just clothes and fashion and general gossip. Not to mention, the twin Jess (of Liz and Jess) is still clueless about being a nice person). The entire set up is sister/twin troubles, with “mean girls” and the clothing styles feel a smidgen dated, but yet, maybe that look is coming back. This book could be set anytime and any place. You do not have to be twin sisters to have the issues, just close friends or siblings. There was nothing new or fresh that other authors have not done before, and in my opinion, better. I appreciate the hard work that went into this book and the adaptation Nicole Andelfinger tried was pleasant enough if you have not read a lot of this genre, or need “one more book” like this. If you are an adult who as a kid/teen liked any version of the Sweet Valley books, you might enjoy this for nostalgic reasons.
And the art was okay. I appreciate the hard work that went into this and Claudia Aguirre had some fun things on the pages, but this adaptation into a graphic novel did not “work” for me on that level either. It was too bright, and pastel. Things were upbeat with a simple tone. I recently was thinking of how some things work for us and others don’t as “flavor choices” (which just means some people like strawberry and some chocolate ice cream) and the illustrator’s choices for the artwork was chocolate ice cream over my preferred strawberry.
Overall, this is not for everyone, but most readers aged 10 to young 14 would be okay