New ‘Sweet Valley’ book shows twins all grown up

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Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later…” (St. Martin’s Press), by Francine Pascal: The stars of the young-adult book series “Sweet Valley” have grown up.

Twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield were introduced in “Sweet Valley High” in the early 1980s. The beautiful blond teens with peaches-and-cream skin _ they’re a perfect size 6 _ live in Sweet Valley, Calif.

Elizabeth is sensitive, thoughtful and responsible, while Jessica is more emotional, selfish and materialistic.

In author Francine Pascal’s new book, “Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later…,” the twins are in their late twenties. Elizabeth discovers that her longtime boyfriend, Todd Wilkins, is having an affair with Jessica, and she flees to New York City.

Jessica, who becomes engaged to Todd, is desperate for her twin’s forgiveness. But Elizabeth never wants to see her, or Todd, ever again.

However, the twins must attend a party celebrating their grandmother’s 80th birthday. So Elizabeth comes up a vengeful plan to destroy Jessica and Todd’s relationship.

The story unfolds with a series of flashbacks to fill in the blanks about what happened to the twins in the decade following their teenage years. There are some references to plots in earlier books that loyal readers with sharp memories will remember.

Yes, the plot of “Sweet Valley Confidential” is cheesy, and the writing won’t win any awards. But it’s a fun read. Time has made Elizabeth a little less perfect, and Jessica is a little less catty.

One particularly irksome thing about the writing is Jessica’s dialogue. To illustrate how she’s less mature than her twin, her speech is peppered with the words “like” and “so.” It’s like, so annoying and repetitive.

A number of supporting players from the YA series are reintroduced with a brief summary of how they ended up, so reading “Sweet Valley Confidential” is like being invisible at your high-school reunion.

Screenwriter Diablo Cody is adapting the “Sweet Valley High” series for a film. And Pascal has written three spin-off series, “Sweet Valley Twins,” “Sweet Valley Kids” and “Sweet Valley University.”

Will more “Sweet Valley” books be published? If the popularity of previous books is an indicator, readers are still interested in knowing what happens next.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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