Sweet Valley. Two words depicting a destination in Southern California where we all played as kids, where we did assignments at friends’ houses after school while discussing prom dresses and boyfriend dramas, where we went to College at SVU and learnt that there are some things that we can’t escape. Like the love of a series that made us think we did all those things, even though in reality we didn’t. All because we lived vicariously through two blonde, blue-eyed California girls named Elizabeth and Jessica.

And now they’re back. And Aphrodite Chasers everywhere are rushing to catch up on their latest gossip. But this time, things are very different in Sweet Valley, so much so that one of our favourite sisters doesn’t live there anymore – after an epic fall out with Jessica, Elizabeth’s moved away and gone to pursue her journalistic aspirations as far away from Sweet Valley as possible. In New York, no less. And Jessica has no hope of forgiveness, let alone a response to an answering machine message.

This is where Francince Pascal’s Sweet Valley Confidential picks up – 10 years after we last heard from the girls. Admittedly, the excitement surrounding the launch of the book, in my opinion, far outstripped the actual quality of the storyline. Much as I loved catching up with old buds, an Aphrodite that is pretty much incomparable with anything, I couldn’t help but think I would have loved the book a hell of a lot more had I felt the author did not go to so many lengths to change characters, their relationships, and such. It was almost as though she was going for the OMG factor in more than just the main plot, which was a bit frustrating to read, but admittedly, it is still something worth reading for that sense of closure where some our fave characters are concerned.

The blurb tells us that the tables have turned in Sweet Valley, that it is Jessica who’s longing for forgiveness and Elizabeth who is seeking revenge, and it couldn’t be truer, albeit Elizabeth’s quest for revenge falls short as the good twin has always lacked the passion behind the evil that her sister possessed. But either way, most of the characters that we loved growing up make an appearance, with surprising reactions sure to be had.

So tell us, have you read it? What are your thoughts?

Sweet Valley Confidential, published by Harper Collins, out in bookstores. $32.99.