I had been meaning to take Sweet Valley Confidential out of the library for weeks now, and then, one day, I open my mailbox and it's there! No joke. Turns out I forgot I entered a contest for an advanced readers copy a couple months ago, and I guess I won, because it was sitting in the little box screaming - "Read Me!" If you grew up in the 80's like me, you must remember Sweet Valley High, Sweet Valley U and all those other associated titles. Sweet Valley Confidential just came out, and it is "the long-awaited conclusion" to the series. It starts off in New York, where Elizabeth Wakefield is living and working at a small theatre magazine. Why isn't she in Sweet Valley, California? What did her twin sister Jessica do to drive her away? It is the answer to those two questions that sets the premise for the book and the incredible heartache and twists and turns that follow.
Overall, if you're a fan of the original series, you will probably like this book as it's meant to be nostalgic and hit our generation, but there are a few discrepancies. Jessica's personality seems to have changed a bit (she speaks inordinately like a "valley girl" which can get a bit much at times). The Epilogue, which is nice as it revisits old characters sounds a bit like a roll call, and the family dinner scene at the end is definitely supposed to be explosive, but in all honestly, it comes across like a trashy episode of Jerry Springer. Not like what I remember from the series. But overall, it is a quick read and a nice revisit to Sweet Valley.
Once in awhile, I like to read a Danielle Steel. I find her books quick, lively, and surprisingly absorbing. Big Girl, which got many negative reviews from others, actually hit the mark with me. It follows the life of Victoria Dawson, who eventually moves across the country to New York to follow her dream of teaching, while getting away from her narcissistic and hurtful parents. Victoria isn't terribly "big" (she vacillates from a size 10-16) but she feels worse because her parents make her feel worthless. Her journey after leaving them also consists of struggling to find and accept herself - difficult to do when she's felt otherwise her whole life. I found this story to host a complex cast of characters and enjoyed the journey through the first 30 years of Victoria's life (this may have something to do with the fact I just turned 30 as well).
Well, the summer is 2/3 of the way gone, but I still want to get through a few more books before September comes calling and my program gets underway again and I get lost in my dissertation proposal!