April 2, 2011

Sweet Valley Confidential: What the Crap is This?

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:13 pm by Jenn

Why would you put your name on this, Francine?

Summary: The twins are 27 and haven’t spoken in eight months. Elizabeth lives in New York and writes about off-Broadway plays; Jessica lives in Sweet Valley and works for a green makeup company. Oh, and she’s engaged to Todd, which is why Elizabeth won’t talk to her. Through flashbacks we learn about Todd and Jessica’s affair, Elizabeth’s discovery of it, and the twins’ falling-out.

Long story short, Jessica and Todd fooled around in college, but Elizabeth never knew about it. Jessica wound up moving to L.A., where she met a guy named Regan and married him after only a couple of months of dating. He turned out to be a jerk, and she ditched him while they were in Europe and ran back to Sweet Valley. She moved in with Elizabeth and Todd, and Elizabeth remained oblivious to their sexual tension. Regan showed up to see Jessica, got in a fight with Todd, and announced that it was obvious Jessica and Todd had something going on. Elizabeth finally realized it and left Sweet Valley.

Alice wants Elizabeth to come to Sweet Valley for her mother’s birthday, so Elizabeth decides to bring along Liam, a hot bartender, hoping Jessica will be so interested in him that she’ll show Todd her true colors. Except when Liam flirts with Jessica, Elizabeth gets mad. There’s also some stupid stuff about a playwright named Will who Elizabeth is writing about, and they hook up, but then he gets back together with his ex, and seriously, I can’t believe that was supposed to pass as a storyline.

Jessica decides she’d rather have Elizabeth than Todd, so she leaves him and heads to New York. Elizabeth suddenly forgives her and decides she approves of Todd and Jessica’s relationship. She agrees to be Jessica’s maid of honor. Once again, Jessica gets what she wants, even when that’s HER TWIN SISTER’S BOYFRIEND. And Elizabeth ends up with her best friend, Bruce, which…just…whatever.

The most interesting stuff is what happened to all the lesser characters, but the book barely spends any time on them. We barely learn:

  • Steven married Cara but keeps having affairs. Jessica catches him with Aaron Dallas and tells Cara, which means she’s ruined another relationship with a sibling. And of course, she gets forgiven again.
  • Todd writes a sports column.
  • Ken (and NFL player) and Lila got married two years ago and are separated.
  • Caroline is a real estate broker and runs a gossip website. She’s described as “the Perez Hilton of Sweet Valley.” She also battled cancer, but that doesn’t stop everyone from trash-talking her (Jessica even does it to her face).
  • Jeffrey is a dentist.
  • Enid is dating A.J. Morgan. She’s a Republican, an OB/GYN, and a recovering alcoholic.
  • Robin is a caterer and a food critic.
  • Winston is dead. Bleh.

Thoughts: I hated this book. Hated it. It was like reading about a bunch of people with the same names as SVH characters who act nothing like them. And with all the continuity issues, it’s not hard to think of them as not being the real characters. The book is also horribly written, as if Francine decided a third of the way through that it was a bad idea and then rushed to finish it so she could cash her checks. She has Jessica say “like” 137,000 times, and she’s obviously delighted that she can use whatever kind of language she wants, so she does. This isn’t an SVH book, it’s a book masquerading as an SVH book. It’s not worth your time.

Francine seems to have forgotten that Elizabeth and Todd dated in middle school.

“It’s a body I would know anywhere, even from the back: broad shoulders, neat waist, good legs.” No, Jessica isn’t talking about Todd – she’s talking about Steven. Say it with me: EWWWWWW.

Francine also forgot that Jessica and Aaron dated in middle school. I guess in her world, the whole Sweet Valley Twins series doesn’t exist.

Apparently Amy doesn’t exist either, since she’s not mentioned at all, but I can’t say I’m sad about that.

Trivia: Aaron has one blue eye and one brown eye.

Will thinks Elizabeth is horrible for wanting Liam to seduce Jessica. Oh, really, Will? You know what else is horrible? STEALING YOUR SISTER’S BOYFRIEND. Shut up, Will.

A.J. is described as a blond “bad boy.” Uh, no, he had red hair and he was a southern gentleman. He also dated Jessica. Shouldn’t Francine know this stuff?

There are a ton of other inconsistencies, but I don’t want to spend another minute thinking about this book, so I’m not going to address them. I’m also going to forget this book ever existed.

6 Comments »

  1. juz_a_reader said,

    Yes I’ll say it with you: EWWW!This blog is the coolest. When I saw an advertisement about Sweet Valley Confidential, I looked forward to it. Although I’ve been warned from somewhere that this isn’t the same ideal cool and fun teen series like what the fan reader’s (like me) have collected, I still hoped that I’ll see the characters with what they became after so many years, or series, rather, that they were portrayed, introduced and bonded.

    I mean, the numerous series from SVK, SVT, SVH, and SVU not to mention SVJH and SVS, is no joke, and almost too many to believe that it would all happen in just one life. But I never complained because I enjoyed reading them. Yes it’s all fictional, but considering that those series are Sweet Valley characters’ pasts, SVC must be written with vivid connection with SVH and other SV series. Perhaps the writers of SVC are all new staff and non readers of the series .A brother being a homosexual, and stealing a boyfriend of the closest someone, isn’t it familiar? Perhaps, the writers have something to do with Gossip Girl Series.

    It’s almost as if it’s not connected with Francine Pascal at all. I can’t believe that the publisher stated they were “reviving a beloved series and directing it not at a new generation of readers but at the people who were devoted to it the first time around.” It looked more like the other way around. The new generation of readers might appreciate it, without knowing the character’s background.

    It’s not that there are fans that are “preservationists,” or that “they don’t want anything to change,” like the publisher said. As for me, I think its okay that Jessica and Elizabeth turned sexier at 27. They are adults after all. But they should not write like they don’t have morals learned from their past, or no friendship they have earned to treasure. I mean, for what were the volumes of these series for, Ms. Francine? So the characters will make mistakes like Jessica, Elizabeth, Todd and Winston did? Bringing it to “present tense,” as the editor would say. Can’t they think of any conflict that will make a better story? The conflicts are not that original anymore.

    I have collections of Sweet Valley Series at home. If I am a preservationist? I will read my old Sweet Valley Collections while thinking of characters’ future at 27, argh! Even if there would be succeeding SVC book, I won’t be interested, even if it’s for the characters to redeem themselves. I will also just think that SVC never existed. Sweet Valley Confidential is a total stranger to me.

    • Jenn said,

      “But they should not write like they don’t have morals learned from their past, or no friendship they have earned to treasure.”

      Exactly. Jessica did a lot of horrible, stupid, reckless, and/or just plain mean things, but she would never do something that she knew would hurt Elizabeth (unless she felt provoked), or if she did, she would try to fix it. Stealing Todd from Elizabeth for no reason is not in character for her.

  2. beckyboo said,

    Wait. Wasn’t Bruce the one who almost raped Elizabeth in a previous post?

    • Jenn said,

      Yeah, but in the books after that happened, it kind of gets laughed off, like, “Oh, Bruce, you’re such a jerk! Ha ha ha, let’s go to Guido’s!”

  3. Adair said,

    This is by far the worst book I have read in a very long time, which is unfortunate since the initial plot and setting could have been brilliant. I think it was a great idea to create a series where the twins are out of school and living lives as adults. The key word here is “adults”. The author has them acting as if Jessica and Elizabeth are preteens that have been transported into 27 year old bodies. That would have been more believable. I think the estrangement was a great idea, and I don’t mind seeing Todd finally get removed from Elizabeth’s life. Let’s face it. He’s always been a static character, and if Pascal is going to being anyone out of the closet, it should be Elizabeth, not Steven. I agree with an earlier post that Pascal must have forgotten about SVM, which is the series that got me to fall in love with readings a child. Oh yes, and let’s not forget that while Jessica might now know what Google is, apparently no one told her that she sounds like she’s still in the 90s. No one expects her to become “the smart twin”, but phrases like “I so love you” died over a decade ago. Lastly in my long list of grievances, I would like to point out that the constant change in perspective and timeline was confusing and unprofessional. Sometimes it would be half way through a scene before I knew who was leading the scene. I cannot think of a single redeemable quality in this trash called fiction.

  4. ahmunmun@hotmail.com said,

    I still can’t believe that Jessica stole Todd in the last spin off of the Sweet Valley Series. I mean, the writers built up decades of Elizabeth and Todd, for NOTHING? The idea of Jessica and Todd together is just gross, not just because Todd is her twin sister’s ex, but also because Todd and Elizabeth were together for decades (back and forth). Also is anyone forgetting that Aaron Dallas was Jessica’s boyfriend in middle school? So Steven is now dating his sister’s ex-boyfriend? What is going on in the Wakefield family? Why did they have to ruin it like that?


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