Guest Post by Miss Karin Rez, a.k.a. The Book Pimp
Author: Francine Pascal
Redonk Nutshell: The Sweet Valley twins make their return…TEN YEARS LATER!
Official Synopsis: Iconic and beloved identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are all grown up, and navigating the very complicated world of work, love and betrayal in Francine Pascal’s long-awaited return to Sweet Valley.
I grew up on the Sweet Valley High books. With their blonde hair, blue eyes, and perfect size 6 figures, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield seemed so glamourous (In recent reissues, they were slimmed down to a size 4, but I won’t get into how heinous that is right now). I was excited when I heard about Sweet Valley Confidential, which is set ten years after the original series. I wasn’t expecting great literature, but I figured it would be a fun, nostalgic kind of read.
I was wrong.
Sweet Valley Confidential is easily one of the worst books I’ve ever read. The writing is terrible, the characters are unlikeable, and the plot is practically nonexistent. As the novel opens, Elizabeth is settling into her new life in New York, where she has fled from Sweet Valley after a huge betrayal by Jessica and Elizabeth’s ex-fiancee Todd. The skimpy plot of the book deals with the backstory of this event and the Wakefield twins’ inevitable and gag-inducingly sweet reconciliation. The flashback passages alternate between Elizabeth and Jessica and are written in the first person.
One of my biggest problems with the book were Jessica’s passages, which are peppered with so many unnecessary “like”s and “so”s that they distract from the story. Example: “Strangely, it’s Winston, the insensitive clown, who so saves the moment for us by doing a really funny bit about mistaking his girlfriend for her dog. He like tells it so fabulously that Elizabeth practically falls off the ladder.”
Sweet Valley Confidential is supposed to be set in the present, but it has a decidedly old-fashioned feel. Note to Francine Pascal: throwing in the words “Facebook”, “Twitter”, or “cell phone” every few paragraphs does not a modern novel make. Elizabeth certainly does not talk like any modern woman I know. After she discovers that her twin sister has been banging her boyfriend, the best she can come up with is, “You’re both despicable lowlifes!” I hope that a modern, enlightened woman could come up with a few stronger words (and maybe actions). The few sex scenes also have a prudish, old-fashioned feel. All that said, if, like me, you enjoyed Sweet Valley High as a youngster, you might want to revisit old friends in Sweet Valley Confidential, but you may find that you don’t like who they’ve become.
Romance: 1/5 Raunch: 1/5