Tag Archives: elizabeth wakefield

Devon Whitelaw, or “If You are the One”

9 Apr

After the vampires, werewolves and French monarchy had been dealt with, the late-90’s Sweet Valley shake-up brought us hot, mysterious Devon Whitelaw.

Devon, after the untimely death of his parents, travels on his motorbike across the country to Sweet Valley with his large inheritance in tow, to seek out his relatives and not go to school. His exploits prior to arriving in the valley become the B plot of the “Fire” trilogy; as we get intimate details of him becoming a high roller at the age of sixteen and getting involved in a gambling ring with his estranged uncle Pete and Pete’s partner in crime Linda [never to be heard of again]. After much non-essential traipsing across the U.S. to relatives who end up disappointing him, Devon finally links up with Nan in Sweet Valley and has his first trip to the Dairi Burger to stalk the high school girls. No points for guessing which smart, kind, perfect girl immediately melts his cold heart, and no points for guessing who wants to wrap her legs around him on the back of his Harley and scrounge off his fortune [fear of motorbikes due to dead cousins and amnestic twin sisters having long been forgotten].

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Sweet Valley Confidential: The Verdict? Perfect! [Warning, Spoilers]

30 Mar

Unlike the sugar-coated, predictable, solved-in-sixty-pages plots of our bygone series, Sweet Valley Confidential is surprisingly… real. Told through a series of flashbacks – to high school, to SVU, and to the events that led to the war between the twins – each chapter provides just the right amount of tantalizing detail to keep you in complete suspense. It was absolutely unputdownable – to the point where I was pacing my living room like a maniac, screeching, “Lila had a boob job?!” “How the fuck did Liz find out?” and “Who has Steven been screwing all this time?”

And yet, it reflects just enough of the series we so lovingly snark, with the resurgence of original Sweet Valley personalities like Caroline Pearce, Ken Matthews and Jeffery French. It harks back to those defining events – the death of Regina Morrow, the demise of Enid-the-Drip – that even snarky old me remembered with a fond smile.

All the while, the book poked just the right amount of fun at the Sweet Valley franchise, with self-referential remarks such as

“Bruce Patman kissed her [Elizabeth] ! That had never happened before. At least, not while she was conscious anyway, but that’s another story.”

Yes, folks, a warm-wine-in paper-cup reference from fan favourite “Dear Sister”.

Although heavy on those age-old Sweet Valley-an themes of true love, sisterhood and commitment, the emotions ‘Confidential dealt with were surprisingly raw. For once, not everything fell into place for our twins, as even they had to cope with rejection, criticism and the realisation that they were  –  shock horror – not the perfect sized-six beings of the past.

Before I give you the story straight up, let me add this disclaimer: my recap can not do this epic work of chick lit the justice it deserves. Recapped in chronological fashion, it seems a little blah, but this suspense-filled book is anything but. Go and get yourselves a copy [or if you’re an Aussie* befriend your fellow Americans / have a super-awesome reader who will express mail you a copy].

Heavy spoilers below the cut!

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