Author: Francine Pascal

Review: Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later by Francine Pascal

Posted on 04/09/2011 in Book Review / 2 Comments

Review: Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later by Francine PascalSweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later by Francine Pascal
Published by St. Martin's Press on 3/29/2011
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 293
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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.  WANT MORE SWEET VALLEY RIGHT NOW??  Become a fan of Sweet Valley Confidential on Facebook or Twitter.

I’m not sure how to rate this. So I’m going to give it a mid-grade rating and tell you why I loved it and why I hated it.
Come on! It’s Sweet Valley! Who doesn’t love our favorite all-American twins and their escapades? Reading Confidential and seeing all those characters’ names on the pages again was like going back in time to my tween and teen years and reliving the old books. They were my favorite growing up and honestly, I’d read them again. Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield sparked my interest in reading and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve always wondered what happened to them…did they marry and have children? Is Jessica as wild and unpredictable as she’s always been? Has Elizabeth learned to cut a little loose? What about the supporting cast, like Lila Fowler and Bruce Patman? Are they as rich and obnoxious as they’ve always been or has time changed them, eroded the sharp edges into a nice, smooth flow? Is Todd still the perfect boyfriend and all-around good guy?  Winston?  Steven, the twins’ older brother?  Enid/Alex? I loved this book because it took me back to those characters I loved so much and connected with when I was young.

I also hated it. It was very poorly written and completely unlike the past books in flow and rhythm. As I understand it, Pascal employed ghost writers for the previous books and I wish she had done that here. This was such a deviation from my previous experiences with Sweet Valley and I didn’t enjoy it. The abrupt narration changes didn’t help, either. Narration shifts from 1st to 3rd, as well as from different perspectives and it’s distracting to the reader (at least, THIS reader). I often found myself having to go back a page to find out who was narrating that particular segment, because there’s no obvious break. There’s also a lot of deviation from character traits. It made me wonder if Pascal is banking on reader’s just accepting that the characters grew into different people as they aged over the ten years from graduation.

I recommend this if you are a Sweet Valley fan. It wraps everything up tidily enough (although I was pretty disappointed that it appears to be one book and not a new series, something I’d have been pretty over the moon for). There’s enough intrigue if you know and understand the characters to keep reading, but don’t expect to be wowed. It’s not exceptional…it’s mediocre at best.

But I’d probably read it again. 😉

About The Author:  FRANCINE PASCAL is the creator of the Sweet Valley High® series and one of the world’s most popular fiction writers for teenagers and the author of several best-selling novels, including Fearless, which was also made into a television series. She has written several novels, including My First Love and Other Disasters, My Mother Was Never a Kid, and Love & Betrayal & Hold the Mayo. In writing her stories, Ms. Pascal is inspired by her own memories of growing up and by the experiences of her three daughters. Francine Pascal lives in New York and the south of France. As a theater lover and Tony voter, Ms. Pascal is on the Advisory Board of The American Theatre Wing. Her favorite sport is a monthly poker game.

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