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Sweet Valley Confidential: My Review

July 1, 2011

So, you guys may have known I was reading this:

I read it in 48 hours, which doesn’t really sound like I’m a speed reader once I type it out, but think about it! I have a kid AND I work 40 hours a week so you know, for me, I flew through it. Why did I fly through it? Well because it was ridiculous, that’s why. It was awful. Awesomely awful. (Full disclosure: While I loved SVH as a kid, I wasn’t obsessed with it. No, no, I saved that for R.L. Stine’s Fear Street, thankyouverymuch. So, to be honest, I had forgotten about a lot of the characters and storylines but oh… Thank you, SV Confidential. For you brought it all back to me.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~THERE ARE SPOILERS BELOW. YE HAVE BEEN FOREWARNED~~~~~~~~~~~~

For the record, I never really liked the actual Wakefield Twins. I liked their friends WAY more. I read SV books when I ran out of other books, but the twins? Even 12 year old Whitney was able to realize their stupidity. One, nobody falls for twin replacement pranks in real life! Two, why does no one notice that Jessica gets away with EVERYTHING? Why doesn’t Elizabeth ever learn from her??? *Le sigh…

Ok, so here’s the story: It starts out with Liz and Jess hating each other (gasp!) and you’re not really sure why for about the first three sentences. Then you put two and two together and voila! You have figured out the entire plot of the book. Congratulations. Welcome to Remedial Reading & Comprehension. So it turns out Jessica slept with Todd Wilkins, Elizabeth’s since-kindergarten love. Which, really? KINDERGARTEN, Elizabeth? I am skeptical.

Anyways, Liz figured out Jess and Todd had done the nasty and fled the scene. Off to New York she runs, with big dreams of being a journalist. Ah, the ol’ journalism career route… Andrea Zuckerman would be proud. The thing is: She found out Jessica and Todd had sex ONCE while they were in college like 5 years ago. Yes, this would be a bit of a sting. I mean, come on, it would at least make you break up with your cheating boyfriend and his obvious thing for twin fantasies, but leaving your hometown and ALL of your friends from birth?! Plus, you’re Elizabeth Wakefield. It’s highly unlikely anyone else besides the people in SV would like you. (Is that just me? I bet there’s a large group of people who hate Elizabeth Wakefield. The Elizabeth Wakefield Hate Club* or something…) So, this simultaneously annoyed me AND thrilled me because the unnecessary drama was starting straight out the gate! Anyways, Jess and Todd discover that five years after sleeping together that one time that they’re in love and stupid Elizabeth ends her relationship with both of them.

Elizabeth Wakefield: Boring All The Way to Her Around The Head Bangs.

The book flips back and forth from Sweet Valley and New York, alternating between Jessica’s life full of tears and “WHENNNN WILL MY TWIN FORGIVE ME?!” (Normally, I’d say never, beeya, but your twin is ELIZABETH WAKEFIELD. She’ll forgive you and probably bake you a cake and say thanks for sleeping with the love of her life) and Elizabeth’s life of “I sort of want to be slutty but I’m too caught up in this jealous rage that I even catch myself talking to walls and other various inanimate objects!” Guys, I’m not kidding. Elizabeth stares off into space a lot and then is abruptly brought back to reality when someone is like, “Hey, weirdo, why are you cussing out the Ficus?” There are also flashbacks that intertwine and give you the back story as you’re leading up to the big moment when the twins see each other again. This would have been fine if Francine Pascal had any idea how people the age of 27 actually speak. She was fine with Elizabeth. (I imagine that was easy. It’s easy to be boring.) With Jessica she randomly threw in these “likes” and “so’s.” This did not help the case that she was trying to make that Jessica was actually really smart. Like SO totally smart, guys! It was…odd.

Every now and then we’ll get Bruce Patman’s random point of view (WHAT?! Bruce Patman makes an appearance?! Hell to the yes he does. I’ll get to that momentarily. Because I know you’re all “Why would we care what that arrogant bastard thinks?” but you are just going to have to wait!) or sometimes Todd’s point of view and seriously  with Todd I was usually like, “HOLY. HELL. You and Elizabeth deserve each other and your boring lives” but then I remembered I had a crush on Todd in my middle school years and I asked him to forgive me. But THEN I was like, WHY THE HELL DID I HAVE A CRUSH ON TODD WILKINS??? And I didn’t have an answer for myself. I was ashamed.

My middle school crush is still a mystery. Maybe even more baffling after googling this picture.

Ok, so anyways, the jacket gave me the impression that Elizabeth was going to do something horrible to get back at Jessica. Something so un-Elizabeth. I mean, I even wondered from the jacket if Elizabeth was going to plan her murder or something. That’s how convincing that little jacket blurb was… AND I FELL FOR IT. Of course she doesn’t do anything horrible! She does something I would do if I was mildly annoyed at someone. (What does that say about me? Hmm?)  She forces herself back home for her “grandmommy’s” 80th birthday party and with her she brings a guy she knows Jessica will find attractive.

Seriously.

THAT’S her revenge.

THAT’S how she goes about breaking up Jessica and Todd.

Not to mention, in the flashbacks leading up to this birthday dinner for Grandmommy we a) learn that Winston Eggbert has turned into a rich asshole, gets drunk and falls to his death off the balcony at his house. (Yeah! RIP, Class Clown Winston Eggbert. And seriously, Francine, you gave his death and funeral two pages. You should be ashamed of yourself.) and b) Steven, the Wakefield’s older brother who’s first true love died of leukemia back in high school, is actually gay and dating Aaron Dallas. (That gets about 4 pages of interest. The rest is Jessica crying and/or Elizabeth having psychotic episodes and yelling things at inanimate objects. Oh wait, throw in about 12 pages of Todd wondering if Jessica is still a bitch. Answer: Yes.)

So how is this monumental issue that tore the twins apart resolved? Elizabeth just forgives Jessica when she comes to NYC. THAT’S IT. She doesn’t even slap her once! Oh sure, there are some “icy glares” and some “heated words” but come on! Your twin sister slept with you boyfriend! Punch that bitch in the face!

But no. She forgives her, tears are shed, implied incest happens. Wait. No, not really. Well, I don’t know. The twins are just weird how they “long to be in the other’s arms.” I mean, seriously. That has a vague “Flowers In The Attic” feel to it, don’t you think? Anyways. They forgive each other, Todd and Jessica get back together AND get married (They’ve only been together 8 months. I feel like they’re rushing things. This relationship is never going to last.) Bruce and Elizabeth have sex after he confesses his love for her (that he’s apparently been harboring since his parents’ unnecessarily tragic death) and it’s apparent at the wedding that him and Elizabeth are going to end up together.

Ok, let’s focus on The Update:

In the epilogue, we get the low-down on what everyone is doing and this, friends, is where I started chuckling. (Well, to be fair I laughed whenever Elizabeth would try to use sexy-talk. Also at the stares people would give each other. Todd stared at Jessica a LOT when she wasn’t looking. Creeper.) Most of the characters I just had a vague memory of. Like Caroline Pearce, the gossip whore of Sweet Valley High? She had cancer but survived. Enid Rollins (Enid! Who names someone Enid?), who was Elizabeth’s best friend, had slid out Elizabeth’s life because she turned into a snobby bitch while Bruce slid in. (In more ways than one. ZING!) Enid’s a doctor who dates loser AJ Morgan but wants to keep it on the D-L because she plans on running for office.

A) Look at Bruce & his devilish good looks! B) I forgot about Lila & the purple! C) Was Winston a 40 year old man? D) This is right before Enid killed someone in cold blood.

There were people who died of cancer, car crashes and drug overdoses. (And free falls from balconies… RIP, Winston. Again.) There was a guy I didn’t remember who had lost a leg from a shark bite. (This was probably my favorite. I laughed really hard at that.) There were sexual harassment scandals and implied spousal abuse. Lila Fowler (my favorite bitchy character, by the way) was still a bitch who had married NFL star Ken Matthews but they were filing for divorce. Lila was a cheating scumbag. (I would expect nothing less.) Bruce was still rich but no longer an asshole. (We’ve covered that.) Now-gay Steven Wakefield’s ex-wife baked a lot of cakes. (Throughout the entire book it was repeated over and over how Cara baked when she knew her hubby was cheating on her. I find this hilarious. “Oh here comes Cara with another cake… *SIGH…”)

The BEST part though? Was the fact that ALL of these people showed up for Jessica’s THIRD wedding. Her entire high school class. I guess these people like to party. Or they have nothing better to do but hang out with every single person they ever went to high school with.

So, in just a couple of words, this book was awesome. Awesomely awful. If you ever read Sweet Vally High books, read this, just so you can tell me and we can have a good laugh together. It’ll be worth it.

*There’s a Death to Elizabeth Wakefield group on Facebook! I knew I wasn’t in the minority on this one!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 3, 2011 10:37 pm

    I had such high hopes for this book. Well, as high as hopes for a SVH can be. But the writing was so terrible and so was Elizabeth! It’s like when you go back and watch Jem! With your daughter and realize that it was actually a dumb show with so many weak plot points that they COMPLETELY IGNORE! Anyway, I don’t dare go back and reread R.L Stine now.

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