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Book Review: Sweet Valley Confidential: The Sweet Life- The Serial

The sweet life : the serial

I devoured the Sweet Valley books when I was a kid– all of them. Sweet Valley Kids, Sweet Valley Twins, The Unicorn Club sub series, Sweet Valley High, Sweet Valley University, and even the historical fiction-esque Sweet Valley Sagas. I’ve easily read over 200 of the tomes combined.

Sometimes they had a moral or social lesson to them (e.g. be nice to disabled people, or tell an adult when someone you know is using drugs)– but most of the time they were pure fluff that relied on serious gender and class stereotypes and era-appropriate mainstream mirroring to tell predictable and formulaic stories. As I said, I read at least 200 of them. And I turned out ok. I got good grades in school, I can understand big words, I think that helping others is important, I have a master’s degree, I’m a feminist, I’m a critical thinker, I now enjoy complex literature and nonfiction, etc. So if any of you are parents, please keep this in mind if you find yourself pulling “crappy” books out of your kids’ hands at the library. If you need more encouragement, check out The Power of Reading by Stephen Krashen, where you will learn that kids who read (anything) for leisure have better vocabularies and higher reading scores (even though the value of reading scores is sometimes contestable).

Anyway, Sweet Valley Confidential: The Sweet Life- The Serial is pretty fluffy. If you’re nostalgic for Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield (this time as 30-year-olds), you may as well pick the book up (if you don’t know who I’m talking about, bypass this one). The writing is addictive, and there’s a solid chance that you’ll get sucked into the so-so storyline.  Sure, this is a book you’ll have to wrap in another book as you read it on public transit. And sure, the story includes a guy with control issues and an anger management problem gets who accused of rape but it turns out the accuser was just a drug addict… (can you guess who?). ugh.

If you read the fist installment of Sweet Valley Confidential, I will have you know that this one is less bad. There’s just as much unbelievable drama, but it’s better constructed or something. At the very least, there’s not a vivid description of Elizabeth Wakefield having an orgasm.

Find a copy at the library.


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