Sweet Valley High was my ultimate favourite book series. I was hungry for stories about teens whether they were realistic or aspirational so it was like a dream come true when the launch of the series was announced 1983. The saga of Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield and their glam friends gave me many hours of entertainment. Sweet Valley High ran for twenty years in which the twins hardly aged.and there were even spin-off series about the twins when they were in High School and also when they were at college. I was not alone with my love affair with the Wakefield twins judging by the sales of the books and since the pending arrival of Sweet Valley Confidential was announced hundreds of fellow bloggers have come out to declare their love. The premise of the series is that Elizabeth was the kind and caring twin who is in a steady relationship with basketball high school star, Todd Wilkins. Elizabeth was a gifted writer and her side kick was the geeky Enid Rollins. Jessica on the other was selfish, manipulative and kind of shallow. She was head cheerleader and her interests consist of flirting, socialising and gossiping. Her inner circle comprised of the snooty Lila Fowler and catty Cara Walker. Despite their huge different personalities both twins did love each other dearly and were very close to their family unit of Alice and Ned who is Mama and Papa Wakefield and older brother Steven. Life in Sweet Valley has been very quiet since 2003 so I was really surprised to hear that Francine Pascal had written another title about the twins in their 20s. The release of the book last month is the US sent Twitter into meltdown and Francine was all over the net giving interview after interview. I decided that I needed to get my hands on a copy to see what my favourite blonde and blue/green eyed twins are up to.
Sweet Valley Confidential starts off in New York with Elizabeth coming back to her empty apartment after a long day at work. The phone rings and it is a voicemail from Jessica begging her to speak to her. Elizabeth ignores it. It becomes apparent that something is very wrong and all is not well with the twins. It turns out that Todd has left Elizabeth for Jessica - yes Jessica - betraying her sister in the most awful way. Elizabeth fled to NYC to escape the humiliation and lick her wounds. Jessica and Todd are living together in Sweet Valley and planning their wedding while Elizabeth plans her revenge. Also Elizabeth is no longer best friends with Enid Rollins in fact her bestie is Bruce Patman who she actually could not stand in school. As Elizabeth carves out a name for herself in NYC she finds it hard to let go of the pain and anger that she is harbouring against her twin and ex boyfriend so she hatches up a plan to make them pay. So I guess you all want to know one thing - was this book as good as I expected it be? Hell yes! Time may have moved on for us and Elizabeth and Jessica but Francine Pascal"s ability to tell a good story has not, Sweet Valley Confidential had me gripped from beginning to the end.
I love the way they have taken the book into the 21st century with splattering of pop culture with mentions of Blackberrys, Britney Spears and Facebook. Ok some of it was a tad clumsy but the effect was great. Moreover we get to see more character development with Elizabeth and Jessica; while the original series was very black and white with Elizabeth being the good twin and Jessica being the bad one, this new book shows the good and bad traits in both. We witness Elizabeth being bad and devious and also learn that Jessica has a heart and can be very selfless. I have read a few blog reviews and a lot of people have been dissing the book because of its massive inaccuracies in the characters names and events. I will admit that I did not even notice these things but I guess it shows how long ago it was since I read the book, either that or I am getting really old. I really did enjoy this book and I can describe it as meeting an old school friend and catching up on the good old days despite the fact that both of your lives have moved on. Now I cannot wait to see the movie. Roll on 2012 and the Diablo Cody effect.
Check out a couple of wicked videos about the Sweet Valley High phenomenon. The first one is the trailer for the new book and the second one is about the cultural impact of the series.
Sweet Valley Confidential is available to buy on amazon.
Happy birthday Cy Twombly!
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