Tag Archives: sweet valley confidential

Another Post Where I Talk About How I’m a Bad Blogger

2 May

I know, you guys.  I know.  I haven’t updated in forever and a day.  I just wanted to let you know that this semester has absolutely crushed me, and I plan on updating again soon.  Like, really soon.  I’m embarrassed about how long it’s been.

In the meantime, have you guys seen the covers for the Sweet Valley Confidential ebooks?  They’re up on the Sweet Valley Facebook page.  Snark Valley has a great rundown on the books and what readers can expect.

So from what I understand, the series will be produced as 6 ebooks, released every two weeks, starting in June.  A compilation of all the stories will be released in October.  At least, that’s my guess.

It’s kind of genius, really: release the book in what is essentially chapters for $1.99 each every two weeks, and then release a hardcover version a few months later.  More than one reader (read: me) will end up purchasing the damn thing twice.

What do you think?  Have you had enough of the bastardized version of Sweet Valley Confidential already, or are you game for more?  I’m not sure I’m game, but morbid curiosity is going to dictate my purchasing decisions.

(A real recap soon, I promise.)

 

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Sweet Valley Gets Another Spinoff

3 Jun

According to The New York Times, Sweet Valley Confidential isn’t the end of the Sweet Valley franchise.

A serial spinoff, called “The Sweet Life” (working title, and GAG), will be published starting next spring.  The catch: it’s going to be e-published, with the idea that people will mostly read the series on their phones.

Gross.  Gross.  Gross.

 

What do you call delusions when they’re masquerading as totally legitimate thought?

21 Apr

I stumbled across this piece in the New York Times via gossip_oracle’s blog, 137 Ways to Be CruelHer post on the issue is better than mine, but I still have to add my own voice to the issue.

The article starts with a basic update on the twins and how it’s all scandalous and shit that they’re older and having sex and drinking.  There’s nothing new, here, but the first quote in the article from Francine Pascal irritates me:

“I’ve had people who have questioned Elizabeth having orgasms,” said Francine Pascal, the creator of the original series and author of the new book. “And I say to them, if they’re listening, would you deny a 27-year-old woman the right to have an orgasm?”

Um, I’ve followed the coverage of the release of this book pretty closely (read: obsessively), and I don’t remember seeing anyone trying to deny Elizabeth the right to an orgasm.  I’ve seen people questioning the need for the reader to have to hear about the orgasms (and the fact that she cries after them), but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who thinks she doesn’t deserve them.

St. Martin’s publisher makes a comment about how there’s always going to be a group of fans who don’t want things to change.  Pascal expands on this, saying:

Sweet Valley was their adolescence and I’ve done some very radical things…But you are different from that inchoate person of 16, and you have to allow that change to those characters.

I’m going to talk about my reaction to that statement in a minute, but let’s get through the article first, okay?  The editor of the book, Hilary Teeman, adds her own opinion:

“You remember how innocent and chaste they were,” said Ms. Teeman, who read the books when she was younger. “But when you make it an adult novel, naturally some of that innocence has to go away. This is a novel for adults, and we expect these characters to grow up and be adults.”

Okay.  Obviously, there’s SO MUCH WRONG here that it’s hard to know where to begin.  Like gossip_oracle, I take issue with the entire statement about these characters being adults, because they still aren’t.  The characters from Sweet Valley have literally been growing up since 1983, and they still are emotionally-stunted cry-babies.

The problem is that the book isn’t really all that enjoyable for fans.  It’s depressing, both in content and structure.  Sometimes when I think about how bad the writing is in this book I have a physical reaction.  It’s clunky and awkward and full of inaccuracies.  For a woman who brags about having kept the “Sweet Valley Bible” for all the years that ghost writers were working on the books, the woman might have considered consulting it when actually writing the book.

What’s more is that Pascal doesn’t seem to be in touch at all with the people who continue to be devoted fans.  There are a lot of us out there who are still reading the books and snarking on the content.  Say what you will about the snark, but at some point, you have to recognize that the amount of time we put into these blogs and posts is indicative of a genuine affection for the series and its characters.  Not delivering on a promise of updating us on what the characters have been up to is not okay.  (And yes, I stand by this statement.  SVC did not update us on the characters we know.  It gave us different characters–perhaps lobotomized ones.)

I don’t know what else there is to say, really.  The concept of Pascal writing another book about these characters makes me kind of sick.  It’s not about “giving the people what they want” so much as “making fistfuls of money,” and that’s really depressing.

What do you guys think?  Am I taking this too personally?  Talk back.

See also:
Sweet Valley, New York
Snark Valley’s Insanely Awesome Detailed Recap of SVC

Sweet Valley Confidential: A Critical Analysis

7 Apr

Today, in a Very Special Blog Post, we’re going to talk about the epic, eagerly-anticipated Sweet Valley Confidential, the new novel by Francine Pascal that catches up with Jessica, Elizabeth, and the rest of the gang from Sweet Valley.  There are a lot of great, detailed recaps out there about this book already, so I’m going to keep my actual recap brief and focus on my response to the story itself.  Here we go, Gentle Readers.

Summary:

Elizabeth is living in New York and working for an online magazine that’s a sort of Zagat-guide for off-Broadway plays.  She’s been living in NYC for eight months, since she discovered that Jessica and Todd were having an affair.  Broken-hearted and really, really pissed off, Liz doesn’t seem to have made many friends or done much with her life since moving across the country.  When her mother calls her and asks her to come home for her grandmother’s 80th birthday party, Liz decides to go and bring a handsome bartender named Liam to try to distract Jessica.

Meanwhile, Jessica and Todd are engaged and living together.  They’ve been trying to deal with the fallout from the big reveal, but it isn’t going well.  Nearly everyone is angry with them, and most people just want them around so they can get gossip about what’s happening.  Jessica wonders if Liz will ever forgive her, and she angsts about whether or not she should give up Todd in order to win Liz back.

Liz shows up with Liam for the birthday party, and it’s pretty awkward.  Liam ends up being quite taken with Jessica, which pisses Elizabeth off, even though it was pretty much her plan.  Todd gets jealous about how much attention Liam is paying Jessica.  Elizabeth and Jessica snipe at each other, and everyone argues.

Liz goes back to New York, but not before she’s a total bitch to Liam.  Jessica and Todd fight, and when Todd falls asleep, Jessica leaves him.

Liz sleeps with Will Connolly, the playwright whose show she’s covering.  This is, apparently, the action Liz needed to get over Todd, because when she gets home and finds Jessica sitting at her door, she allows her in and the two make up.  Todd goes to New York to get Jessica.

Liz attends Jessica and Todd’s wedding, which is back on.  Before the wedding Bruce Patman tells Liz he’s moving to New York because he’s in love with someone who lives there.  She gets sad until he tells her it’s her, and then they have perfect sex.  Everyone lives happily ever after.

(Totally QUALIFIED) Critical Analysis:

For most of my life, I have been a fan of the world of Sweet Valley.  When I was little, I’d check Sweet Valley High novels out of the library and hide them under my bed because my mom thought they were too mature for my eight-year-old eyes and brain.  My sister and I watched the TV show (and loved it for all its terrible camp).  When I started collecting SVH novels 3-4 years ago, my interest in the books was more ironic than before, but still a genuine interest.  These are characters that I’ve grown up with and have come to know (and hate) extremely well.  This blog has been a testament to how much I love/hate the series, and it’s also been a record of how excited I was for this book.

I often make the argument that when you’re too excited for something, it can’t possibly live up to the hype.  Some would argue that this might be what happened here, but I’m not so sure about that.  Like many of you, I read the first chapter when it was released online some months ago.  I participated in the discussion that went on about how terrible it seemed, and I knew that this book as a whole was not going to be winning any literary prizes.  But I can safely say, Gentle Readers, that after reading the whole book, I feel…disheartened.  Maybe even a little cheated.

This was not the Sweet Valley that we grew up with.

So much of the story and the characters felt wrong, like they didn’t quite fit into the Sweet Valley universe.  The entire time I was reading the story, I couldn’t shake the feeling of mild disgust, and there were times where I got physically upset.  This is, of course, indicative of a problem within myself, Readers.  I’m aware that I allowed myself to get worked up about the inconsistencies and blatant errors in the book.

There were some aspects of the story that rang mostly true: the twins’ parents are still fairly mild-mannered (which made Alice Wakefield’s outburst at the birthday party all the more hilarious), Sweet Valley is still pretty white-washed, and the twins are still gorgeous.  Bruce still drives a flashy car (shaped like a penis), and though Todd utters nary a “Gee,” he’s still a total tool.

However, the blatant mistakes rankled me.  Ricky Capaldo is the boy who saved Annie Whitman, not Charlie Markus (she hooks up with Charlie on the summer bike trip).  Regina Morrow did not die in the car crash over Christmas vacation, and her case of Multiple Sclerosis was actually misdiagnosed Mononucleosis.  Aaron Dallas was one of the best-looking boys at SVH, and now he’s just okay-looking?  Mr. Collins was so shaken with Suzanne Devlin’s accusations about him that he quit teaching?  When did that shit happen?  Was it retroactive?

There were also weird inconsistencies within the book itself.  Near the beginning, Jessica mentions that Jeffrey French is married, but he’s clearly single at her wedding.  When we’re given an update on the (now-apparently-dead) Suzanne Devlin, the phrase “six years” is used to describe her return trip, but I’m pretty sure Francine Pascal meant “six months”.  Also, the flashbacks were confusing (and really, really boring), but I’m pretty sure there were some serious problems with the timeline readers were given.

Of course, all of these things are part of the Sweet Valley Universe.  Inconsistencies and errors are the way the books work, and it’s partially why we love them.  The inability of the ghost writers or the editors to keep the story straight (while thousands of readers do so, gleefully) is part of the books’ charm.  And yet.

The character decay that occurred in this book was unbelievable. Winston Egbert is now a total douche bag alone in his McMansion?  Bruce Patman underwent a complete character change overnight as the result of his parents’ tragic death?  His bestie is Elizabeth Wakefield?  Steven Wakefield is gay (that one almost works for me), and his life partner ends up being Aaron Dallas?  What the actual fuck?

It didn’t work for me, Gentle Readers.  I can’t help but feel like the Internet could have (and probably has, somewhere) come up with a better update on the characters.  I kind of want to declare the book anathema.

Also?  The writing was terrible.  Like, really, really bad.  Full of purple prose and weird word choices.  It hurt to read it.

What did you think, Readers?  Am I totally off-base?  Did I get some of it right?  Did you enjoy it at all?

On Reading Sweet Valley Confidential

4 Apr

My copy arrived (late) in the mail on Saturday, and I’m about halfway done with it.  It’s slow-going, not because it’s a particularly challenging read, but because it’s so bad, you guys.  It’s so bad.

Are you reading it?  Did you read it?  What do you think?

I’ll be back with a full recap when I’m done.  I have a lot to say about it but want to wait until after I’m done to really say it.

Sweet Valley Confidential Book Trailer

28 Oct

My computer is broken and I am crabby, so this here will be a short post.

MTV.com has a book trailer for Sweet Valley Confidential.  You can find it here: http://hollywoodcrush.mtv.com/2010/10/26/sweet-valley-confidential-book-trailer/

I’m not a huge fan of the book trailer phenomenon that seems to have hit the internet, and of the ones I’ve seen, this one feels sort of powerpoint-ish.  I will say one thing though: Sweet Valley Confidential, you are not Sex and the City.  Please stop trying to be.

What do you guys think of the trailer?

Sweet Valley Confidential Cover Reveal

20 Oct

Holy guacamole, y’all.  The cover of Sweet Valley Confidential has been revealed this morning on People.com’s website.  While I encourage you to check it out at the source, where there’s a short accompanying article, let’s talk about it here for a minute:

First impressions?  I think it’s great that they went with an altered version of the circle cover.  It’s a great throwback to the original series.  The font of “Sweet Valley” is also reminiscent of the original books.

It was an interesting choice to show just parts of the face/faces of the twins on the front and back.  Of course we get a shot of that infamous blonde hair, but no glimpse of the blue-green eyes?

Also, are we to believe that the necklace on the back is one of the gold lavalieres their parents gave them on their 16th birthdays?  That’s not how I remember them looking.  Ahem.  Please excuse my geeking out.

The red cover is eye-catching, though.  Okay, I’m done now.
What do you think?  Comments are encouraged, you guys.