Thursday, August 4, 2011

Review: Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal

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.

Like most girls who grew up in the '90s, I was a fan of the Sweet Valley series. I loved the Sweet Valley Kids, Twins, and Senior Year series, in particular.

For the uninitiated, the Sweet Valley series revolves around identical twins Elizabeth and Jessica and their friends. Elizabeth is the bookish, smart and responsible twin, while Jessica is the popular, sociable and more irresponsible twin.

Like most women who grew up on these books, I was looking forward to this book, if only because, well, I grew up and I wanted to see what happened to these girls I grew up with. So what happened?

Well, Elizabeth is in New York, like I imagined. Everything else, though, was not. After a betrayal by Jessica (shocker, I know), Elizabeth runs away to New York and tries to start a new life. She's a writer at a small "Zagat-style" paper for Broadway. Definitely not glamorous, but she has settled in to that world.

Meanwhile, Jessica is still in Sweet Valley, and uber successful and contented, except for the guilt caused by hurting her sister. It seems, actually, that most of the Sweet Valley characters still live there. Hmm... Anyway, after Jessica's ultimate betrayal, I thought that there would be a lot more friction between the other characters and Jessica. No such thing. Or maybe it just wasn't mentioned. In any case, it makes it seem like everyone was okay with what she did, which I don't understand. I mean, seriously? Seriously?

The bulk of the book is mostly about Elizabeth plotting revenge and Jessica feeling guilty. Anxious Jessica is not really fun to hang out with but angry Elizabeth was quite entertaining. :P

Anyway, like most Sweet Valley books, this ends sort of happily. I mean, I'm not thrilled with the ending, but I don't know, I guess nostalgia made this book better for me.

1. We get to see what our favorite characters are up to. Some have changed for the better and some for the worse, sometimes uncharacteristically so.
2. They're adults now, so you know what that means. :P
3. There's an unexpected plot twist!

1. Lots of inconsistencies within the book and with the rest of the canon.
2. Lots of out-of-character characters.
3. Why, Jessica, why?

The room was still. And silent. Until she hit the replay button on the answering machine.
“Lizzie. Pick up. Please. I really need to talk to you.”

  • You're a Sweet Valley fan.
  • You're looking for an easy read.
  • You're bored.





Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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