An Assessment of the Forthcoming Sweet Valley High Sequel

Sweet Valley Confidential, a follow-up to Francine Pascal’s beloved eighties young-adult series Sweet Valley High — about the identical twins who couldn’t be more different, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield — won’t be released until 2011, but the first chapter can now be downloaded here. Set ten years after high school, the first chapter is as poorly written, trashily readable, and superficially scandalous as the original SVH. So, you know, terribly fun! Elizabeth is in New York, posing as some sad sack Carrie Bradshaw — depressed, lonely, listening to Beyoncé, working for a theater publication, and crying after her orgasms — because Jessica, back in California, has horribly betrayed her, as has her ex, Todd. After the jump, excerpts and a guess on the terrible sister-on-sister crime perpetrated by irresponsible twin Jessica.

First, the quintessential Sweet Valley paragraph, one that can be found in every book in the series: The What Elizabeth and Jessica Look Like paragraph:

“Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield appeared interchangeable, if you considered only their faces. And what faces they were. Gorgeous. Absolutely amazing. The kind you couldnʼt stop looking at. Their eyes were shades of aqua that danced in the light like shards of precious stones, oval and fringed with thick, light brown lashes long enough to cast a shadow on their cheeks. Their silky blond hair, the cascading kind, fell just below their shoulders. And to complete the perfection, their rosy lips looked as if they were penciled on. There wasnʼt a thing wrong with their figures, either. It was as if billions of possibilities all fell together perfectly.

Second, the paragraph establishing that Sweet Valley can exist in a post–Gossip Girl, YA world: Elizabeth talking about (sad) orgasms.

In the eight months she had been in New York she hadnʼt slept with anyone but Russ Klein, a friend of the rental agent for the building … Coffee turned into a three-week miniaffair spread out over two months. Definitely rebound stuff. She cried after every orgasm. How embarrassing, but he pretended not to notice.

Third, the stretch of text that leads us to believe, based more on gut instinct and a suspicion about the limited imaginative capabilities and range of plot twists deployed here, that Jessica’s huge betrayal is — spoiler alert — that she slept with Todd.

Bereft and abandoned, Elizabeth was overwhelmed with feelings of loss, with the ache that had been chewing at her insides day in and day out. The betrayal. Without trying, sheʼd become the lyrics to every sad love song.

That he didnʼt love her anymore should have been the most important part, but it
paled next to his deceit and betrayal. Elizabeth winced when she thought how blind sheʼd been, what a fool she must have looked like all that time.
And all that time may have been years.

An Assessment of the Forthcoming Sweet Valley High Sequel