Guilty Pleasure: ‘Sweet Valley High’

Studio 360

"Sweet Valley High" — a wildly popular YA book series first published in the ‘80s  — is about the Wakefields, a pair of perfect blonde twins from a fictional town in California called Sweet Valley.

The books were so popular, they spawned over 600 books including multiple spin-off series, audiobooks, a TV series — and now, in 2019, a comic book and a movie that's reportedly in development.

Some of the series now may seem dated and far-fetched, with unlikely plot twists for the twins including multiple kidnappings, murders, and a set of duplicate evil twins coming to steal the Wakefields' lives.

But at the all-girls boarding school in Nigeria that writer Bim Adewunmi attended, these bubble-gum pink covered books were a very hot commodity.

"I’d just read it out, you know, on my bunk and sigh dramatically," says Adewumi, "like, ‘God, imagine the things I could do if I wasn't trapped in this fortress.’”

Bim Adewunmi

Bim Adewunmi


Courtesy of Bim Adewunmi

Adewunmi is currently a producer for “This American Life” and was the co-host of the podcast "Thirst Aid Kit," which explores the ways in which women express their desire. And as part of our Guilty Pleasure series, she explains why the Wakefield twins were so awful, and why she still loves them today.

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