Of course I have an opinion on the Sweet Valley Confidential e-series. Head over to Forever Young Adult to read my review.
I stumbled upon this by accident, but it seems that Sweet Valley Confidential will continue as an ebook miniseries.
A pat on the back to the publishers, who I think made a good decision after (what I am assuming) was disappointing sales and reviews of Sweet Valley Confidential. These seem to be mini-books, which is easier to swallow since too much Wakefield fuckery really gets my goat. But enough of stating the obvious, let’s check out the summary for book #1, The Sweet Life (of Zach and Cody?…sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
From Francine Pascal, creator of the bestselling Sweet Valley High series and author of the NY Times bestselling Sweet Valley Confidential, comes the continuing adventures of beautiful blonde twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield in an exciting new six-part e-serial, The Sweet Life.
Three years after the events of Sweet Valley Confidential, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are back in Sweet Valley and inseparable once more. Things are looking up for both twins: Elizabeth is a star reporter at the LA Tribune with a popular blog, and Jessica’s PR career is on the fast-track.
Oh god. Of COURSE Elizabeth is a star reporter. They probably hired her after her two-week high school internship at Flair Magazine. And because of her internship at The London Times! Her blog will be ridiculous. I am sure she write lifestyle pieces, like “what should I do with all my boyfriend’s money?” or “is it awkward that my now-boyfriend Bruce tried to rape me when we were in high school?”
Also, I love how Francine and co are STILL out of touch. If she were really popular, she’d have an active twitter/tumblr. But ok, blog it is. Somehow I am seeing it at Bachelor contestant Jenna’s blog. Or, even better, it will be like the privileged, ridiculous and condescending GOOP.
Jessica is in PR. I love how “social” people are assumed to be good in PR. Just like Heidi “I want to party for a living!” Montag gets a job at Bolthouse. Jessica’s advice to her clients: “Act like a total sociopath so that you get all the attention! Put yourself in harm’s way as much as you can to get more attention! ”
But while the professional lives of the Wakefield sisters are secure, their personal lives may be in jeopardy. Jessica, now a mother, finds that managing parenthood, marriage, and a job is harder than she expected, while Elizabeth and Bruce must face a scandal that could strengthen their bond…or tear them apart for ever.
Someone PLEASE call social services for the sake of Jessica’s child. I’ll bet that she leaves the child at home until she feels like coming home, because “child-rearing doesn’t really start til she arrives anyway.” If this child has aqua-blue eyes and a perfect-sized newborn-3 months figure, I’ll kill myself.
From what I interpret, it seems like she and her hubby Todd will be fighting a lot about the time she has to put into her family. Of course, the only thing more INTERESTING than reading about teenagers constantly fighting and breaking up, it’s reading about miserable married couples fighting over how to treat their children.
Meanwhile, life goes on in Sweet Valley. Families are made, hearts are broken, and…Lila Fowler is a reality TV star? Some things never change.
The Sweet Life takes Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield through a new chapter in their well-chronicled and beloved fictional lives. This dramatic first installment and cliff-hanger ending will leave readers breathless for the next episode.
I would like to point out that Lila becoming a reality star was my idea a while ago. Francine, if you want me to write plotlines for your books, all you need to do is ask! I have a great idea about a Super Special called “Mass Suicide Madness!”
Anyhoos, it comes out in June, and now that we’ve all suffered through the trainwreck that was Sweet Valley Confidential, I’m actually looking forward to this. By my calculations, the twins should be almost thirty. I can now compare my life to theirs once again.
I almost forgot to post this on here:
Please join us live on Twitter (@SVConfidential) and Ustream for a live Fan Chat with Francine Pascal on Wednesday, May 18 at 8pm EST. Feel free to post your questions in advance to Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=197578483619537) as well. We’d appreciate your assistance in helping to promote this unique opportunity for Sweet Valley fans to interact with Francine.
Ustream Event: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/fan-chat-with-francine-pascal
Things I want to ask Francine but I probably won’t:
-What do you think of my blog?
-Why do you dislike overweight people?
-Can I pick your brain for an hour?
-Did you ever actually read any of the books after they were completed?
-Did you intentionally make Jessica a sociopath?
-Did you intentionally make Elizabeth condescending?
-Why did so may students read The Oracle?
-What happened to Ellen Riteman?
Dana Larson and Lynne Henry continue to collaborate on songwriting, and eventually form an electroclash band called Chix With Bix. They tour small clubs and play late nights at construction sites. Dana, along with RISD grad Claudia Kishi, design their own line of banana clips and bolo ties. I’d tell you what boutiques they are sold in, but you’ve probably never heard of them anyway.
Teddy Collins graduated Sweet Valley High last year, and surprised everyone by eloping with Betsy Martin. Their May-December romance caused quite a stir in Sweet Valley, though for some reason they refuse to consider living anywhere else. They are expecting their third child.
Kelly’s Bar closed several years ago because it could no longer justify its existance by serving only two customers: Rick Andover and Mr. Martin. it is now an Au Bon Pain.
Two years ago, Roger Collins left Sweet Valley High- it was unclear whether it was voluntary or if it was based on a rumored “incident” with a female student. After his departure, Nora Dalton has been advising The Oracle, but readership has gone down since she insists on having everything written in French. Elizabeth, relieved to give up the facade that she’s trying to make it as a journalist in New York City, is only too happy to move back to town and work part-time as the Oracle Adviser. Her controversial approval of the school’s “gossip column” often puts her in a battle of wills against the self-anointed dictator of the PTA, Cara Walker-Wakefield. Which is odd, because Cara has no children in the Sweet Valley Unified School District. Although she often mentions a “Steven Junior” which no one can see but her. Elizabeth also accepted a job back at the Sweet Valley News, as the special correspondent for murders and kidnappings.
Amy Sutton met a man who lived at the former “Good Friends” house. After a whirlwind two-day courtship, she moved with him to Arizona and is now happily living as wife #9 on a large compound in Colorado City. The prairie dress looks fantastic on her slender frame.
As we all know, Jessica and Todd were happily married. Three weeks after the wedding, Jessica admitted to having a fling with Jeffrey French, now a photojournalist at the Sweet Valley News. Todd forgave her, until a week later he had a fling with Suzanne Devlin, in town to curate Sweet Valley’s International Film Festival. They have agreed on a trial separation and Jessica moved back into her parents’ split-level, Spanish-tiled home. She is currently working as the Assistant Manager of Lisette’s.
Prince Albert has recently found a new spot in the house he likes to sleep in. He recently switched to wet food to accommodate some lost teeth.
We all have our own ideas about how these characters ended up, so here is mine.
Lila Fowler: After college, Lila moved to Los Angeles to try to make it as a hand model. Snubbed by Ingenue magazine earlier in her life, she decided to go a different route. On one of her first go-sees, she met an older, wealthy production designer. In a whirlwind romance, they wre married a few months later. Lila now lives in Beverly Hills and is a socialite involved with a lot of philanthropic organizations. She doesn’t really know the causes, but she does love hosting the benefits at her villa. Next year, Lila will join the cast of the new season of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”
Enid Rollins: After college, Enid attended Stanford medical school to study pediatrics. She met her husband in medical school, and they both accepted residencies in a small farm town in Iowa. When they are done, they plan to enter the Doctors Without Borders program to provide medical services to orphans in Uganda. Enid is very excited that Elizabeth thinks that this is very noble of her. She and Liz Skype every week.
Ken Matthews: was drafted into the NFL, first draft pick after college. He enjoyed his time in the spotlight until that pesky DUI. His performance slowly declined and after a bad hit in a game, his blindness returned. Terry, his former high school sweetheart, suddenly reappeared in his life. They have been together ever since, and now Ken does a speaking circuit of local high schools. Terry is his tour manager and agent.
Bruce Patman: despite showing some hints at reforming after college, he was unable to find a job after college, even when throwing around his family name. Finally, he had to stoop to taking a pity job from George Fowler at his microchip processing plant. After being fired for sexual harassment of female employees, he started to spend most of his time at nightclubs in LA, drinking and staying out to all hours of the night, and throwing his money around at expensive restaurants. He has been rumored to be canoodling with many celebrities and C-list actresses. Right now he is trying to launch his own line of leather carseat covers.
Steven Wakefield: After several years of working in a law firm at Sweet Valley, he finally came out to his friends and family. He met his current partner, Aaron Dallas, at a drag show in another town. Aaron, who was also not out at the time, feared he would be recognized, so was at the club in drag. He was wearing a curly red wig and a lacey white shirt when he met Steven. They’ve been living together for two years. They are the co-chairs of the Sweet Valley Pride committee. Steven has supported Aaron through his counseling psychology grad program. This has been very helpful for Aaron, who has now been able to see that all his rage issues that he blamed on his parents’ divorce was really internal homophobia and jealousy towards Elizabeth; he was harboring a secret crush on his high school best friend, Jeffrey French.
After graduating college, Winston Eggbert moved to the Bay Area and helped found a start up company called jokebook, where users can create profiles and connect over their favorite punchlines. The company was bought by Facebook, and now Winston was able to quit working and pursue several of his dreams. When the competitive eating career did not pan out, Winston started writing stand-up and eventually was hired to write for the Jay Leno show.
More later. Also, thanks for the link, Gothamist.
Elizabeth is still emo in New York. This Will Connolly playwright seems like a total asshole. Which is kind of hot. Not every falls at Liz’s feet right away anymore. Shocker! He’s a Todd doppleganger! Well, it seems that Todd has more than one look-a-like. Some guy an an opposing volleyball team, I think. It makes me feel comforted that Francine is still recycling plotlines. This character and Elizabeth’s time in New York, I will admit, it not horrible.
But, let’s allow the horridness of Jim Regis’ party. Todd is so co-dependent on Liz that he can’t go to a party alone? And mind you, Todd is the star of the basketball team. Which, I am to assume is Division I, because they just played UCLA. So he has NO OTHER FRIENDS TO GO WITH?
I don’t mean to generalize all college athletes, but no fucking way would Todd be afraid to go to a party himself. In fact, he wouldn’t even have time for this party, or even have time for his high school friends. UNLESS the rest of the team dislikes him, which is not out of the realm of possibility.
And Jessica and Todd never talking? First off (1) it’s her twin sister’s boyfriend for about 7 years (or 15 years in real world time) (2)She supposedly had a secret affair with him (3)she had a non-secret tryst with him while Elizabeth was on trial for Sam’s death.
So, it seems really off that after one night of having fun at a party, they would throw themselves at each other and “make love” and then meet at seedy diners to continue the affair. What’s the appeal? That he can still have Elizabeth’s physical beauty without her self-righteousness? Well, maybe it’s not so unbelievable.
Jessica’s second marriage: pretty on par for Jessica, to marry someone who gives her attention to feed her narcissism. Didn’t Lila marry some royalty? Shouldn’t she be calling her best friend for advice?
Is it just me, or do these current, technological references seem thrown-in after the fact? Like mentioning that Todd and Jessica “weren’t even Facebook friends” and Jessica would rather be “updating Twitter” than spend time with her rich husband.
You guys, I know that the basis of my existence is tearing these books apart. However, I don’t mean to be this down on it. It’s just a lot of waiting for a lot of letdown.
BUT, for some uplifting news, twitter user @amaluu pointed me to this: THE SWEET VALLEY MUSICAL DOES EXIST! It is so exciting to hear them mentioning the characters names!
We never thought we’d see it happen! A new Sweet Valley book. And the first one AUTHORED by Francine herself. At least that we know of.
Allow me to use a metaphor for how I am feeling about the release of this book. I mean without even getting into the content. Because that’s a whole other…well, just wait on that. I have recently come to find out that Motley Crue and Poison are on tour and are stopping in San Francisco. (Oh yea, and the New York Dolls, but they have no significance to me.)
For those of you that know me, I freaking love the Crue and Poison. They are a huge part of my childhood, my introduction to loving music. That and they were AWESOME. To me, as a teen, they epitomized the ultimate cool, the ultimate rock ‘n roll, the ultimate MEN. The fact that they wore makeup and glam made them even MORE AWESOME AND HAWT. I longed to be one of the women who partied backstage with them. Although, I am sure my 14 year old self didn’t have a TRUE idea of what that entailed. [Side note, a coworker recently revealed to me that at age 15 she went backstage and fooled around with Vince Neil. I cannot control my immense envy. ] I was obsessed with watching their videos on Headbangers’ Ball [ah memories] and waited for the “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” video to catch a glimpse of Bret Michaels getting out of the bed in his briefs. Am I right ladies? You did that too.
Alas, I never got to see them live. I should probably thank my parents to never allowing my tween self to one of those concerts. So wouldn’t the choice of seeing them live be a total no-brainer?
I’m not gonna go. Why? Because yes, even though the bands are the same, have all the same members, will likely sing some amazing classics, they are NOT Motley Crue and Poison. At least how they were, and it’s not even about their age. The times are different, I am different, and they don’t represent that rock n roll outlaw culture that they defined. It wasn’t just them that I loved, it was for me at the time what they represented and the influence they had over the music and culture of the time. I will never get that back and it can never be created. So, it’s not their fault, it’s just a change in my relationship to them. [However, if Enuff Z’Nuff reunited and joined the tour, I’d probably be there in a second.]
So thus is my feeling with Sweet Valley Confidential. Plus, we have such a relationship with these characters that nothing that happens to them will fit our expectations. So, in a way, I feel bad for Francine. She’s running an uphill battle with this.
First things first:
It seems that Francine is completely ignoring the other series that are not Sweet Valley high. Hence, all the stuff that happened in Sweet Valley University obviously has not happened in the Confidential universe. No marriage to the Mike guy, no Tom whats his face. And certainly no time when Elizabeth goes to London to become a scullery maid (which, btw, WTF? I’ve never really talked about that before.) Does Francine not “endorse” those series? Or was it easier for her to just keep it in one universe? Thank god this isn’t sci fi, or it would be torn apart by angry fans. Well, more so than now.
[Apparently I am wrong- I had read an earlier draft where these things were not mentioned.]
For now, I’m focusing on the first two chapters, because let’s be honest folks, we need to analyze this to death.
-So Liz ran away to New York. And she’s not suddenly the toast of the town, offered a job at the New York Times, etc. That’s refreshing. She’s working at a “meager” theater periodical, which sounds sort of like Playbill. Not too shabby, that actually sounds like a dream gig for me.
-Jessica and Todd. Sigh. So we’re back to that. I don’t buy it for a second that these two should be together. Although really Liz, are you surprised? All that cheating didn’t give you a hint?
-Remembering back to the “Double Love” era. is this a verbatim of what happened? I don’t care to take the time to look. And Jessica’s voiceover: sorry Francine, after 100+ books of Jessica’s sociopathy, there is no way you can convince me that she is a tortured soul. That’s she’s really tortured and is the way she is because she is insecure. Too little, too late.
And then we get to Lila’s party. Sigh.
Francine, I feel, hates her characters. The ones that were the supposed “good” and “well-meaning” are sad souls. Cara is miserable and has a failed marriage (did the move to London never happen?) Enid, now married to A.J. Morgan (what?) is an arrogant anti-choice doctor. I guess that’s your punishment for being brunette and a non-cheerleader. You hold that anger inside you until you are an adult and then become a horrible person. Beware everyone.
Robin Wilson. Robin, Robin, Robin. Never able to escape her food issues. Well, don’t worry folks, she only gained back “a little of the weight” she lost. And, apparently, will always be a fatty because she became a caterer so she can always be around food. Wasn’t Robin a science wiz? And a champion diver? None of that mattered?
Lila, our dear Lila. What happened to her? All that character building and exploration of her true self…leads her to being a manipulative trophy wife. With a boob job.
Lastly, why are they all still hanging out together? These folks were not friends in high school. For the sake of the story, we need to see all these characters interacting, but I just don’t buy that they would all move back to Sweet Valley after colleges and various careers.
And Jessica and Todd. Wow. They are miserable people. And pretty much hate each other. And Todd still loves Elizabeth, but is with Jessica because he would just end up hurting Elizabeth anyway?
I realize I’m being bleak, but this book is turning out to be bleak. I guess my hopes were that it would celebrate the characters we have come to know, but it seems that I’d rather not know if this is how they turned out.
And that’s only the first two chapters! To end on a positive note, let’s watch a golden oldie from Poison, back when narrative stories were all the rage with videos. And this story is very Sweet Valley-like.
More thoughts later…