Monday, July 4, 2011

Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later
Francine Pascal

rating: 3.5 out of 10 "books"

“Sweet Valley is back ... What terrible secret has torn Jessica and Elizabeth apart? Ten years after graduating from Sweet Valley High, the Wakefield twins have had a falling out of epic proportions. After Jessica commits a complete and utter betrayal, Elizabeth flees to New York to escape the pain and pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a journalist. Jessica remains behind in Sweet Valley, dealing with the fallout of her heart-wrenching choices and longing for forgiveness. But Elizabeth can't forget her twin's duplicity. Uncharacteristically, she decides the only way to heal her broken heart is to seek revenge. Always the 'good' twin, Elizabeth is about to turn the tables” – Review

Imagine my surprise when I found out Francine Pascal was writing a Sweet Valley book. It’s like it came out of nowhere, although I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised with all the reboots of everything from television to film to books. Even the Babysitter’s Club author is apparently writing more BSC books. If anything, Pascal’s novel is long overdue. I feel out of touch with this series since it’s been so long since I’ve read a new Sweet Valley book. Much in the same way, I feel like Francine Pascal has gotten a bit out of touch when it comes to young people. While I don’t mean to slam Francine Pascal, especially since her books were my main lifeline during my early childhood, Sweet Valley Confidential just feels too late. I barely remember which character was which, let alone their personalities or actions from the early Sweet Valley books up through the college years. As many readers stated on the website too, there were a ton of inconsistencies within the book and major disparity between characters then and now. It was as if Pascal herself forgot to refresh her memory by revisiting all her previous books prior to writing Confidential. The most laughable parts that I found however had to do with the more intimate moments in the book, more specifically one that happened towards the end of Sweet Valley Confidential. The way Francine Pascal described the situation read like a cheesy romance novel, convincing me even more of how far removed from her audience she must be. While Sweet Valley was never anything remotely intellectual, Sweet Valley Confidential seems to have really missed the mark this time. While it was fun to read a new Sweet Valley book and revisit the Wakefield twins for nostalgia’s sake, I think this book would have been better if it had never been written to begin with.

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