I read all the Sweet Valley books when I was younger. It was like a rite of passage; You read the Sweet Valley High books before moving on to the Judy Blume stories (which were more realistic to my teenage mind) and then you moved on to things like Danielle Steel or if you were lucky your Mum's Mills and Boon (I so want to write a Mills and Boon story) where sex was more than just the fluttering of eyelashes and more the throbbing desire and burning looks of lust dancing over the heroine's perfect nakedness. Never mind the put a condom on a cucumber sex education lessons and the "how to use a tampon" talk in the school hall this was the real stuff.
Then this week I was in Tesco when I saw a book that I didn't know existed. Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years On. Finally a book that I can buy that is going to bring back my childhood memories, that is going to transport me to California and to the people I know and love and oh look it's in my trolley already. It took me less than two days to read it (I read a little under half of the book on Tuesday and the rest Wednesday) and I was a little confused to be honest. This one was written by the Francine Pascal not a ghost writer the creator of the blonde haired, aquamarine eyed (reminds me of Flowers in the Attic children) perfect, pretty, popular and loving twins and their athletic older brother and devoted (but a little boring) parents.
The problem was that Francine Pascal has forgotten a lot about the twins and the people around them and suddenly they are all acting out of character, more than the time that Elizabeth woke up from the coma with the bitchy selfish personality. I mean having Alice Wakefield (the Mom) shouting "Bring out the Fucking Cake" isn't something that would have happened in Sweet Valley with I was a girl. And yes I know that the stories had to incorporate modern things like Facebook and Twitter (Jessica uses both in her job launching green make up for big brands) but it just seemed out of place.
I knew these girls, heck I had read every single book ever created about them, I had watched the TV series and whilst I didn't go as far as some and dress up as them for Halloween (for the downtown Cincinnati library event just in case you wanted to know) I knew them well, I knew that they weren't going to be the women in this book when they grew up even if they had dealt with evil twins trying to avenge their own evil twins death, friends with drug issues, alcoholics, coma's, accidentally killing your twin's boyfriend and having to work out that the nice English teacher didn't touch up the stupid teenager girl...
So what happened? Well with only the spoilers the blurb on the back gives this is the book in a nutshell.
Jessica commits the ultimate betrayal for Elizabeth and this time Elizabeth can't forgive and turns in to the evil Jessica type character. Jessica is heartbroken (so is Elizabeth really) and is leading a good life, or at least trying to whilst erm planning something which isn't actually mentioned that she is planning and I would have thought there would of been more mentions of the something she is planning considering by the end of the book it is one of the biggest social events of the year...
So some more spoilers but not saying too much so as not to spoil the book for you. (Skip this if you plan on reading it!)
Two people come out.
One of the Twins sleeps around a bit.
Alice Wakefield is actually more manipulating than you ever thought.
Nobody has had kids.
Money makes you a git and then you die.
Sex in California is a lot like in a Mills and Boon story (pg 280 if you have the book)
It was a nice trip down memory lane, even if the twins have gone from being older than me to younger than me and nothing really ended the way I dreamt it would. I only spent £4 on the book as part of a buy two for £8 offer but it is in Tesco for £4.48 (RRP of £6.99) and whilst I an annoyed about a few aspects of the book and how a few characters turned out it's nice to know that Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are out there still, turning heads and doing their thing.
So what about you? Are you going to read it or are you going to let your memories stay the way they are?