Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later by Francine Pascal
St. Martin's Press, March 29, 2011
Summary from Goodreads:
Now with this striking new adult novel from author and creator Francine Pascal, millions of devoted fans can finally return to the idyllic Sweet Valley, home of the phenomenally successful book series and franchise. Iconic and beloved identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are back and all grown up, dealing with the complicated adult world of love, careers, betrayal, and sisterhood.Confession time: I LOVED Sweet Valley when I was a kid. After devouring the Nancy Drew and Babysitters Club series, I tore through Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High. I remember knowing that they weren't examples of great literature, but they were fun reads. I wanted to be Jessica Wakefield, although I had more in common with Elizabeth. Certain book scenes are still fresh in my mind--like when Regina died after trying cocaine for the first time. And once Jessica was carting around these younger twins and got pulled over by a cop for speeding, but the twins were able to get her out of the ticket because they get carsick when someone's speeding, but they weren't sick, ergo, she wasn't speeding. Riveting stuff, I tell you. Recently discovering Forever Young Adult's Sweet Valley reviews and drinking game reminded me of just how over the top these books actually were.
So I was absolutely thrilled to revisit Sweet Valley in this adult novel, apparently the first Sweet Valley book actually written by Francine Pascal. I knew going in that it wasn't going to be great literature, but nonetheless, Sweet Valley was a great escape for me as a younger reader, and I was excited to revisit.
I have to be honest here--there is no way this review will ever be as awesome as Erin's review, which you can read here on the Forever Young Adult blog. I'm not even going to attempt to compete with that level of awesomeness. Suffice it to say that this book was written so poorly that it was laughable. The whole book revolves around Todd Wilkins, Sweet Valley's golden boy, who has had intimate relations with BOTH Wakefield twins. Elizabeth has angst and hates Jessica and Todd, and moves across the country to escape them. Jessica, like, talks like this, like, all the time. BUT like without the like commas so like it's really like awkward to read! And there's tons of exclamation points! For no reason! And the book is made up of flashbacks! From all different people! The flashbacks take the point of view of the person the present tense is following, so we learn about the past not only from the twins, but also from Steven, Todd, and Bruce (who's apparently had a complete lobotomy because he's not even remotely the same person he was ten years ago)!
Seriously, it was pretty painful to read this book. I didn't really have high expectations for this book, but I was expecting that the characters had, I dunno, grown, somehow? I mean, they're all STILL IN SWEET VALLEY. How incredible must that town be that no one (except for Elizabeth) has any desire to EVER LEAVE? No! You know what? It just hit me--I'm disappointed because the WHOLE book was about Elizabeth and Jessica fighting over Todd. Other characters made appearances, but they were just filler, and some of them were simply described, not even given any dialogue. I mean, why have characters in the scene if they don't add something to the scene? It was just so obvious that Francine Pascal was dropping names just for the sake of dropping names. Plus, Elizabeth is a bitch and Jessica is a crybaby. We can all just hope that this book is a standalone and not the start of a hideous adult series. But really, thanks for the memories!
Enjoy your reading!