By Francine Pascal
March 29, 2011
St. Martin's Press, 304 pages
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.
— Amazon.com description
In the past year or so, two of the best series from my childhood have staged a comeback: The Baby-Sitters Club (Ann M. Martin) and Sweet Valley High (Francine Pascal).
Baby-Sitters Club succeeded awesomely. Sweet Valley, not so much.
The main difference was in approach: Martin took readers back to a pre-Baby-Sitters Club era and reintroduced us to the characters we loved for so many years. It was sweet and nostalgic, while opening the door for today’s young readers to fall in love with the series.
Pascal opted to jump to the future, setting her book in the Sweet Valley of the future, with aging the Wakefield twins up to their mid-20s. What does that mean? Sex, drinking, cheating, lies. To be honest, it grossed me out. Plus, it left no opening for a younger generation to get to know the Wakefield twins, which is such a shame.
Granted, Sweet Valley has always been more soap opera and Baby-Sitters Club more Sesame Street, so perhaps it's unfair to compare the two. But I felt this book was, sadly, a missed opportunity and -- unless you're a superfan -- not really worth the time.
Many thanks to St. Martin's Press and Get Red PR for my review copy of this book.