Have I got a treat for you today! Courtesy of Sweet Valley superfan Jessica Poschel, I am sharing her photos of what I will dramatically call the long-lost second issue of The Oracle newsletter! This is the newsletter Bantam sent out to Sweet Valley High Fan Club members back in 1994. Thank you SO much Jessica; this is like early Christmas for me! And a hat tip to Snark Valley reader F. Musa for tipping me off to this, and the fact that this issue does in fact exist (as I had my doubts!).
If you want to take a look at the first issue of The Oracle, check out my post on that here. Without further ado, on to the second (and last?) issue …
Overall, the format seems pretty much the same as Volume I. Although this time, the theme color is pink! Once again, we have a theme letter from Elizabeth. Liz promotes the Sweet Valley University series (at that time brand new), as well as the new SVH TV show. A sidebar urges us to pick up SVH #93, Stepsisters.
On page 2, there’s a small article attempting to encourage kids to stay optimistic if they have to move to a new place. As part of the prep work for your big move, you’re encouraged to answer a series of questions about what your life would look like if you moved to Sweet Valley. Is this really supposed to help? Isn’t this setting people up for disappointment since everyone knows Sweet Valley is the most perfect place on earth? There are no criminals or rainstorms there unless it’s convenient to the plot. How is any other place supposed to compare? Well, now that I’ve womp womped all over that, let’s look at the questions. If you moved to Sweet Valley, “who would you want to be your best friend?” I pick Lila Fowler because she’s the most interesting and hopefully she’ll take me on some of her whirlwind vacations with her. As long as she doesn’t pull that shit she pulled on Jessica with the kids’ camp in Jamaica, I mean. The other questions ask you to imagine which boyfriend, clubs, teacher, car, house and curfew you would have. I find the last one kind of odd since that’s not something my parents would’ve changed just because we moved, but then again, it kind of feels like the Wakefield twins do pretty much whatever they want and get away with it so …
The awkwardly-named “Treats for the Sweet” feature is back and this time the recipe is for Frozen Pudding Pops. My thing during the COVID-19 pandemic has been whipping up all sorts of random recipes, so I’m absolutely doing this one. Sounds pretty basic. (Say I, right before I manage to make a huge mess in my kitchen.) I never got around to making those “Crispy Dogs” from the first issue so I’m gonna tackle that too whenever I realize it’s been too long since I had indigestion.
“Personal Profiles” is also back, and this time our featured Sweet Valley-an is Todd Wilkins. I can’t help but crack the fuck up that they once again call his eyes “coffee-colored.” Oh excuse me, technically it’s supposed to be Todd filling out his own profile which makes it even funnier. I assume for anyone else that eye color would just read “dark brown” but Todd’s eyes have been special since the beginning and he is not about to let go of that claim to fame. I am also cracking up that Todd described himself as “Kind, sensitive, intelligent!” Yes, with the exclamation point ’cause he’s feeling smart AND fancy!
Jessica’s “Eye for Fashion” column is missing this issue which is a shame because I really wanted to see what kind of dubious tip she might give next. Instead we have an ad for the new SVH dolls followed by a “Dear Sweet Valley U.S.A.” section which is essentially letters to the editor.
There’s an interview with Cynthia and Brittany Daniel, the actresses who portrayed the Wakefield twins on the TV show. Cynthia notes that Dangerous Love is her favorite. Next to their interview, there’s a “Sneak Preview” section which gives blurbs for books 106-111. I like how each Jeremy / Sue book blurb essentially spoils the book before it, lol.
Lastly, you get a word search!
On the back page, there’s an order form for some Sweet Valley merchandise, plus a Sweet Valley I.Q. Test! (The answers are upside down at the bottom of page 2.) I remember the answers to all of these except #5, although I’m positive I had that book in third grade, and #6, which I never read myself but I think I recall it was Liz fighting this “battle of the bulge.” (Can I just add that I feel really weird they put it that way in a kids’ newsletter?) If there were any justice in the world, it would’ve been Jessica after how she treated Robin Wilson and Lois Waller (and countless other people).
Well, that’s it! All snark aside, that was awesome. Last time I closed my review of issue 1 by saying I didn’t think issue 2 existed, and was delightfully proven wrong. So let me end this one by saying I’m very sure there’s no such thing as the third issue of The Oracle 😉