Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Reads: Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal

Continuity, people.  It's all about the continuity.

I'm going to be quite upfront about this...I didn't care for this one.  I bought it solely as a guilty pleasure.  As an "I wonder what's happened in their little fictional lives since I was 14" kind of way.  I didn't have high expectations for it - I just wanted something to read on vacation.

This is two hours of reading I won't get back :(

Ok - here's the synopsis in point form for y'all:
  • Elizabeth and Jessica are no longer speaking
  • Elizabeth ran away to New York
  • Todd Wilkins and Jessica are engaged
Ok - can you tell how the story plays out yet? I'm normally not one for giving major spoilers but this book pretty much writes itself based on those few points.   Todd cheated on Elizabeth with Jessica and, when Elizabeth found out years later, she ran away to work in New york and be as far away from California as possible without leaving US soil.

As Jessica's wedding date approaches, she wants to know her twin will be there.   Enter the journey to healing...

Oh, and it ends with Elizabeth in Bruce Patman's arms. 

Sorry if I ruined it for you.  I didn't tell everything.  There's still the journey to how all of this came about in case you want to read it.  The story itself, while predictable, wasn't horrible.   It was the continuity errors throughout the book that had my hackles up.   First Pascal talks about how Jessica had one marriage and it was annulled.  Then, a few chapters later, she refers to her upcoming marriage to Todd as being her third.   That is just one example, but the book was sprinkled with similar instances.   In the acknowledgements, Pascal credits her daughter with helping her decode the new technologies that are available, but to anyone familiar with the technologies it is apparent that she didn't take the time to check them out herself so she could write about them convincingly.   Overall, it had the feel of a book that was written to either fulfill a contractual obligation or to try to make one last buck on nostalgia.  Good for her.  I paid the money so I can't really say it didn't work out for her.

Perhaps I was a more forgiving pre-teen.  Maybe all of the Sweet Valley books were like that and I just skimmed over them in search of the next sweet kiss between whomever and her latest crush.   Maybe I'm being unjustly harsh.  Maybe, instead of marketing the book to adults who loved the series 20 years ago, they should have marketed it to teenagers who are still enjoying it.   To a group who could overlook these discrepancies and just see the story.

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