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Marissa Flaxbart
Writer, artist, brainstormer, podcaster, culture enthusiast, compassion advocate.
Recent Activity
Sweet Valley Diaries is a year old! Happy Anniversary, podcast! What a first year. For listening, for telling friends, for rating and reviewing, and to those who participated and helped and advised and supported: THANK YOU. Because of you, there is more to come. Now have a ton of fun... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
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I have a way with children. By which I mean, there is a way in which I am with them, and that way rarely wavers regardless of age or intelligence or even how well I know them: I pay attention... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2018 at Marissa Flaxbart
Enid's superpower is denial. Popular fiction podcast (and soon to be YA series!) The Bright Sessions might just be the opposite of Sweet Valley High. Creator Lauren Shippen and Marissa speculate on what would happen if the two universes collided (hint: DRAMA!). This is the Season Two Finale! Make sure... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Mayday! Mayday! This is not a test! A TEENAGER IS FLYING THE PLANE!! What’s worse: your boyfriend cheating on you; your boyfriend crashing the plane he’s flying you in; everyone agreeing that your cheating boyfriend should stay with you because you’ll never walk again without his love; you convincing yourself... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
🎶 Imagine all the people, looking like your crush 🎶 Mark Sullivan sits down at the microphone and before Marissa can even hit record, Pandora’s Podcasting Box cracks open. For a few minutes, this Sweet Valley High podcast becomes a movie podcast, a history podcast, a theater podcast, a politics-of-representation... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Jessica and Lila are in love...ahh, if only that were the end of the sentence. Frenemies Lila and Jessica think they're duking it out over a secret scion, romantically masquerading as a construction worker. Marissa and her guest, actor Mark Sullivan, walk you through it all, from the poolside objectification... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Talking about it is vulgar though... Bruce is a changed man. Jessica is certifiable. Caitlin is Francine’s Mary Sue. Only one question remains: Who are the Vanderhorns??? CJ Hoke is back again to delve in to these and other DRAMATICALLY PRESSING ISSUES!!! *** Notes: All joking aside, the symptoms of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Isn’t it exciting when rich kids fall in love? Regina Morrow and Bruce Patman, in love? But…that would only work if Bruce had a total pod-person level personality shift! Marissa and her guest, CJ Hoke, discuss Bruce Patman’s pod-person level personality shift and (because this is a 33-year-old work of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Alternate title: "Ned Wakefield's Bok Choy Allergy" Marissa and guest Jeremy talk about the diverse lessons of LOVE LETTERS, from "be yourself," to "once you have a boyfriend everything will be okay," to "San Francisco is a cesspool." To top it off, Marissa reads a love letter of her own...kind... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
The George Glassification of Caroline Pearce... My Dearest Caroline, Oh to love so, be so loved, yet so mistaken! What had I on earth to do With the slothful, with the mawkish, the unmanly? Like the aimless, helpless, hopeless, did I drivel —Being—who? Your fake boyfriend, that's who! Maybe don't... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Regina's secret is about to be front page news. No, not the open secret that she's deaf. The other one. Guest Mike Yarksy returns for a little bit of sensitive discussion of how we portray disability...and a little bit of ragging on Lila's stupid flat face. Stay tuned till the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Roger Barrett is SO last week. The new hotness is Roger PATMAN. Fate has forced Roger Barrett to trade his mother's life for a fancy new last name, a fancy new mansion, and a fancy pile of money. Meanwhile, his girlfriend (frizzy haired Olivia Davidson) is feeling SO NOT money,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
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For the 20th anniversary of my mother's untimely death, I wrote this story, my first on the Medium.com platform. Click to read. Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2018 at Marissa Flaxbart
When I started the Sweet Valley High Podcast, my aims and questions were much the same as when I started the blog of the same name: Wouldn't it be fun to examine these frivolous, over-the-top books through a tongue-in-cheek-but-still-very-powerful microscope?... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2018 at Marissa Flaxbart
"What you put on paper can be very personal and revealing...that's what art is all about. It's a way of communicating." When Jason made this innocuous statement to Betsy in Sweet Valley High #15, PROMISES, he had no idea that over 30 years later two moody Pisces artists would record... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Cancer, death, secrets, Luke Skywalker, alcoholism, teen drug use, threesomes at Miller's Point...and that's just Chapter One! Marissa is joined by guest Kali Baker-Johnson to unpack what PROMISES to be the greatest SVH book yet...or at the very least, Jessica's worst. Download Issue #1 of ZAHRA: THE SHADOW FLAME Sweet... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Speaking of DECEPTIONS: When is telling a dude you don't want to date him secretly a coded message that you DO want to date him? And is it NEVER? Marissa and guest Elizabeth Yarwood consider and fail to answer this question, then read a delightful letter about a young girl... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
After several weeks of non-stop crisis in Sweet Valley, Marissa returns to the relatively placid territory of bad decisions and new boy problems (Nicholas Morrow, to be exact). But as guest Elizabeth Yarwood can attest, sometimes it’s the seemingly placid ones that really get you yelling into the microphone. Ladies... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
(Listen to the main KIDNAPPED! episode first!) Marissa and guest Mischa Stanton eavesdrop on an upsetting conversation between Jessica Wakefield and Cara Walker, then travel in their mental time machines back to the days before cell phone ubiquity. Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Q: What happens when you’ve just published a book about impending girlfriend death and every fiber of your being says, “Can we go darker?” A: “KIDNAPPED!” Marissa is joined by accomplished podcast producer Mischa Stanton (in a real recording booth!), and together they try and explain what the hell happened... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
If you happen to have been reading this blog for the long term, 2011's Sweet Valley Confidential may have been spoiled for you back in...well...2011. If not, MAJOR SPOILER ALERT FOR SWEET VALLEY CONFIDENTIAL! Katie LaDue joins Marissa once again, this time to examine WHEN LOVE DIES (and a few... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
This is what it sounds like...when love dies. Sweet Valley High goes full soap opera and Marissa talks through the pain with teen television drama aficionado Katie LaDue. Oh, and file this one under "Very Special Episodes" because the topic of facing one's own mortality made us accidentally get a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Are modern day teens woke enough to laugh at Suzanne Devlin? Were 12-year-old readers in the '80s indoctrinated into the grand tradition of victim-blaming and rape culture? Does Jessica Wakefield know what sex is? Marissa and guests William J. Stribling and Sinead Persaud answer none of these hard-hitting questions in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Sweet Valley Diaries, my podcast (and long-running, if somewhat neglected blog) about Francine Pascal's Sweet Valley High book series, returns today for its second season. I'm delighted to share this labor of love with the world; this new season, which... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2018 at Marissa Flaxbart
It's the premiere of Season 2 of Sweet Valley Diaries! Let's celebrate by shipping Jessica to New York and getting beloved teacher Roger Collins fired for unspecified sex crimes! Don't panic, everyone. Marissa and her guests, William J. Stribling and Sinead Persaud (of Shipwrecked Comedy!) are here to hold your... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries