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Oh God, please no.

July 15, 2010

I stopped reading Sweet Valley High somewhere in the 70s, I think, which would’ve made me all of thirteen.  Yes, at thirteen, Sweet Valley High was too unsophisticated for me, despite the constant threats of rape from Bruce Patman and everyone who lived on the wrong side of the tracks, and blah blah Regina died blah blah.

I remember when Sweet Valley University came out, I thought I’d give it a chance, and I think I lasted all of six books.  It didn’t feel right.  It seemed like someone was just using the characters to play out random dramas, rather than give the readers something that made sense, especially character-wise.

You know what else doesn’t make sense?  The first chapter of the new Sweet Valley Confidential book, which you can get by signing up here:  I’d avoid it like the plague, though, because the phrase “I need brain bleach” will immediately come to mind when you hear about Liz’s weepy orgasms and how she’s now bffs with her former would-be rapist.

If that weren’t enough, the writing is just plain godawful.  If ever we needed a decent ghostwriter, it would be now.  Every paragraph is awkward and over-detailed, with the pathetic name-dropping that’s supposed to make it sound “hip” but really just makes me feel like the book was started back in 2002.  The book also begins with Liz, the character who has, upon review, become the least sympathetic; her twin may be a sociopath, but at least she’s interesting and rarely as condescending as her irritating, irritating sister.  Perhaps Liz’s loneliness is supposed to make us feel she’s had her comeuppance, but it doesn’t.  Not at all.

I always knew I wasn’t a die-hard fan, and this sort of puts a nail in that coffin.  I might read the book when it comes out, but forget spending money on it.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Serena permalink
    July 30, 2010 12:02 am

    Oh my. I own a bunch of Sweet Valley books (I started reading the “Twins” series first ’cause they were aimed at my age group… well, it wasn’t my idea though. A friend gave me the very first book as a birthday present and started me off on my sick, sad addiction. Thanks a lot Tammy!) Actually, Sweet Valley Twins was well-written, compared to “High”, “University”, etc. And Elizabeth was much more likeable then.

    I went crazy a few years ago and bought more of those later books on ebay. Sad. Now you’ve saved me from further future shame and regret! I *thought* I’d have to check out this new Confidential thingy out of curiosity but you make it sound so unappealing. I mean, not even fun as a guilty pleasure read. (I don’t want to hear about *Liz* having orgasms! Ew!) And I hate brand-name dropping or trying-too-hard-to-be-hip pop culture references in books.

    Now I’ve gotta go look for Sweet Valley recap blogs and find more snark about this. I hope the internet really lets Francine Pascal have it! She’s gone this long and comes back with something this bad? Tsk.

    • July 30, 2010 9:06 am

      1bruce1 is okay (because it’s got so many recappers, it can be hit or miss) but The Dairi Burger never lets me down. Links on the side of this blog, actually.

      Did you know the first Sweet Valley Twins book was ghostwritten by Ann M. Martin of the Baby-Sitters Club fame? That’s why it’s so good, people say.

      But yeah, Confidential was a stinky pile of rejected chick lit. SO awful.

      • Serena permalink
        July 30, 2010 9:17 pm

        WOW! I had no idea! That’s incredible! I collected the BSC books too (and they’re definitely much better written than Sweet Valley High)… now I don’t have to feel guilty about still liking Sweet Valley Twins. 🙂 I re-read them a few years ago and found myself surprised by how not-sucky they were, even having good messages for kids… Wow. I just can’t get over it. Ann M. Martin rocks. Thanks for letting me know. How did I not learn about this before? I’m weirdly excited over this revelation… I actually jumped up and down like a dork …good thing it’s the weekend and I’m home alone. 😉

  2. July 30, 2010 10:00 pm

    I can’t remember who said it–maybe IHateWheat over at The Dairi Burger? No, no, I found it:

    • Serena permalink
      July 31, 2010 12:21 am

      Thanks for the link…I’m off to read. 🙂

      P.S. I consider Friday-when-I-get-home part of the weekend, just to clarify. 😛

  3. April 3, 2011 4:34 am

    Hey Bookslide III, I too began reading Sweet Valley when I was 13 but by the time I was barely 15, I stopped reading Sweet Valley because the whole SV appeal totally worn off me (and never looked back 13 years ever since). 13 years later, Sweet Valley returns with Confidential which just hit the shelves and I never went for the book knowing how my young adult brain recalls how I cannot stomach Francine Pascal’s writing anymore like I used to as a 13-year-old.

    • April 3, 2011 8:27 pm

      I read the book the day it came out (thanks to recapper Sarah!) and it was…uh, quite the experience. I guess I’ll write about it soon, but since we’re discussing it in my book club this month, I’m not really saying much yet here.

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