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Marissa Flaxbart
Writer, artist, brainstormer, podcaster, culture enthusiast, compassion advocate.
Recent Activity
More like "Illustrated NIGHTMARE Dictionary" amirite? In FAMILY SECRETS, Kelly Bates is plagued by a recurring dream. She only remembers scant details, but hey, that's all you need when consulting 1996's ILLUSTRATED DREAM DICTIONARY, a book Marissa has had on her shelf since middle school (probably). What does the book... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Sweet Valley Diaries
THEY'RE MULTIPLYING See No Evil...never before has one phrase simultaneously served as the rear cover headline, the main character's flaw, and the costume that she wears to the Big Dance. Guest reader (and former Sweet Valley High reader!) Shey Lyn Zanotti joins Marissa to dissect all the ways that long-lost... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Why are Steven and Cara even together, amirite? Marissa and guest reader Katie LaDue bring their personal baggage to bear on Steven's behavior, then on Abbie's. Then things turn to the baggage that other people (like the Wakefield Twins, say) bring into their assumptions about others. All the armchair psychology... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Basically just a fancy word for "LIES" Cara and Steven grace the outside of PRETENSES, and they are certainly featured on its inside. But Marissa and her return guest, Steven Wakefield romance specialist Katie LaDue, agree that this is really is really Abby Richardson's story. Who is Abby Richardson? Listen... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Nanas Being Nanas Adaora Nwandu Earl returns to discuss pre-reading predictions for Book 43: HARD CHOICES, the challenges of asserting yourself with family, and strong female relationships in Sweet Valley...all in just over 10 minutes. Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
“Yep, I think that is proper Munchausen” "Enid's grandma moves in" might sound like the least interesting chapter of our soap opera, like, ever. But think again: Nana's a citizen of Sweet Valley now and she brought the drama along with her from Chicago. Guest reader Adaora Nwandu Earl returns! Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Manuel Lopez, Paragon of Virtue... Manuel Lopez is the first Latinx character in Sweet Valley who gets any kind of spotlight. And he's the greatest guy in history! Aisha Bhoori is back for a quick look at Manuel's perfection and how it illustrates the "model minority" myth. Sweet Valley Diaries:... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
A love triangle where the third party is Parental Prejudice Sandra Bacon and Manuel Lopez may not be the stars of the Sweet Valleyverse, but if SVH is going to attempt to dip its toes in the murky waters of racial prejudice and interracial romance, you'd better believe that Diaries... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
She host wanted to throw a party. She never meant for anyone to die. Marissa and her guest, expert in melodramatic Lifetime Original movies Megan Tripp, brainstorm the LOM version of Molly Hecht’s ON THE EDGE/OUTCAST saga. Listen to more Lifetime movie talk on Megan's Not Another Bad Movie Podcast Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Molly, shmolly. WHERE IS JAN? Season 5 Premiere! We’re back, baby! And all our Sweet Valley Friends are back too. Except…you know…Regina. Who better to focus on in the aftermath of a beloved character’s untimely death than the background player everyone is holding responsible for said death? Lifetime Original Movie... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
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Hiatus is nearly over...Season 5 of Sweet Valley Diaries is returning on August 13! That means you have just over a week to catch up on the on going drama at Sweet Valley High...and if you haven't tuned in to hear what happened in the Season 4 finale (aka Book... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
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Season 5 of Sweet Valley Diaries is returning on August 13! That means you have just over a week to catch up on the on going drama at Sweet Valley High...and if you haven't tuned in to hear what happened... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2020 at Marissa Flaxbart
Was this episode all a dream? Listen to find out! What’s so special about Special Editions? Usually it’s travel to an exotic location, or an old enemy returning to town for Christmas. But WINTER CARNIVAL is the Super Edition that proves all it takes to be Super is a Super-Duper... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
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I wanted to write down this memory, and this is the form in which it came out. When I write about my mother, I tend to write about the loss of her (I have a lot to say on the... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2020 at Marissa Flaxbart
The world is in quarantine. The podcast is on hiatus. But promises were made. Now, one woman must take on the personalities of two California teens in crisis...but not the California teens you're thinking of. In this world, Valley is the rival high school. Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
At last, a Very Special Episode Lessons literature/life taught Marissa and guests Anjali and Greg Kasunich this week: Don’t do cocaine Don’t gossip As a society, let’s take a guilt Pprsche. Check rich people’s mailboxes for car keys. Seriously, don’t even think about going near anyone who knows about cocaine... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Last week, one of my two roommates had a birthday. In any other year, Kat would have arranged for a picnic outing in Malibu or a chicken parm dinner at Little Dom’s, maybe. But this is 2020, and we live... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2020 at Marissa Flaxbart
hot-looking bods and big-ass houses Guest Megan Collier has probing questions, and Marissa has probing answers. With so much deep thought about the mechanics of Sweet Valley, this episode is a veritable "Sweet Valley University!" Err, no, that's already a thing. A veritable "Sweet Valley College!" Shit. No. "Sweet Valley... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Kirk is a jerk. Neil is for real. Not sure which Book 39 the rest of you read, but Marissa and her guest, Megan Collier, read the version where Penny Ayala has a crush on Elizabeth, Neil Freemount (FREEMOUNT!) has eyes for Kirk Anderson, and Jessica and Lila both learn... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Senior Year is a whole other series Nora and Marissa talk about studying abroad, just to drive the gravity of Liz's mistake home. Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
//senior year doesn't exist// Elizabeth Wakefield has the opportunity of a lifetime on her hands: get out of Sweet Valley and see the world (specifically, Interlochen, Switzerland). Obviously, she must be stopped. The only way out of Sweet Valley is if your parents move to Vermont, or in a body... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Mind your betters Meridith and Marissa discuss the parallels between the Sweet Valley of RUMORS and the worlds of Jane Austen and Regency Romance. Somehow, the obvious comparisons to Emma go unmentioned. Also, serious question: Why didn't Mrs. Reister just tell everyone she was a widow? Research discoveries: The Debutante... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Giving new meaning to the word "upperclassman" Susan Stewart is somebody, but is she *a* somebody, or is she a nobody? Nobody knows. Until somebody shows up and shows everybody who’s anybody what it really means to be somebody. Meridith Halsey is our guest. Murphy Brown and Dan Quayle This... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
We are what we read... What is a social enterprise? What if your host had an older sister who was bad at humanities? Who is the bigger asshole in LAST CHANCE, Peter or Jessica? Though it may be hard to believe, answers to these questions AND MORE await when Marissa... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Stay in school, kids. Did you hear that Johanna Porter is coming back to Sweet Valley High? Oh, you didn’t even hear that she’d dropped out? Or that she even existed? Well it’s a good thing Sweet Valley Diaries is here to help you get a clue. In this episode,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries