It’s been ten years since the Wakefield twins graduated from Sweet Valley High, and a lot has happened.

For a start, Elizabeth and Jessica have had a falling out of epic proportions, after Jessica committed the ultimate betrayal, and this time it looks like Elizabeth will never be able to forgive her.

Suddenly Sweet Valley isn’t big enough for the two of them, so Elizabeth has fled to New York to immerse herself in her lifelong dream of becoming a serious reporter, leaving a guilt-stricken Jessica contemplating the unthinkable: life without her sister.

Despite the distance between them, the sisters are never far from each other’s thoughts. Jessica longs for forgiveness, but Elizabeth can’t forget her twin’s duplicity. Uncharacteristically, she decides the only way to heal her broken heart is to get revenge. Always the ‘good’ twin, the one getting her headstrong sister out of trouble, Elizabeth is now about to turn the tables…

 “Sweet Valley Confidential: 10 Years On” picks up the story of the Wakefield twins, Jessica and Elizabeth, ten years after they graduated from Sweet Valley High. The twins have had a major falling out: Jessica has stolen Elizabeth’s fiancé Todd, and it doesn’t look like Elizabeth will ever forgive either of them. Jessica and Todd still live in Sweet Valley and are planning to wed in just a few weeks, if, that is, they can bring themselves to overcome their terrible guilt at hurting Elizabeth. Elizabeth, meanwhile, has moved to New York and is working as a theatre critic. The eight months since she left Sweet Valley have done little to heal the hurt of her sister and fiancé’s betrayal, and, in very un-Elizabeth Wakefield like behaviour, she becomes hell-bent on revenge.

Although I never read the Sweet Valley books, I did occasionally watch the television series when I was growing up and was interested in finding out what had happened to the Wakefield twins over the years. This particular novel is written by Francine Pascal, the original creator of Sweet Valley High, not one of the ghost writers who worked on a lot of the books. I felt it was unfortunate that despite this, even I could tell that there were many frustrating inaccuracies apparent to anyone who knows the Sweet Valley High series.

Regrettably, I didn’t find the book to be particularly well written, and the word ‘like’ being added indiscriminately to everyone’s speech was, like, really annoying. Do people, like, really talk like that in California? They like totally didn’t when I was last there!

It was also a little disappointing that some of the classic Sweet Valley characters, such as Lila and Enid, who were so popular in the books and the television show, didn’t feature more in this novel. I’m sure there are plenty of Sweet Valley fans who would be just as interested to hear about these characters as Elizabeth and Jessica. However, it was good to see a darker side to Elizabeth, who I remember as always being a bit of a goody-two-shoes, and I’m sure that devotees will enjoy all the flashbacks contained in the book.

This really is one for hardcore Sweet Valley enthusiasts only; and even they would probably end up being very frustrated by the parts of the book which were inconsistent with the series and the liberties that have been taken with their favourite characters. It’s such a shame because this could have been a wonderfully nostalgic trip down memory lane; it just didn’t work for me.

2 stars

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