Saturday, January 21, 2012
Book Review of #8 The Secret of the Magic Pen By Francine Pascal
Author: Francine Pascal
Publisher: Bantam book
Part of a Series: Sweet Valley Twins and Kids Super Chillers
Type of book: 1985, Sweet Valley, summer camp, mystery, supernatural, plagiarism, young adult
Year it was published: 1995
Summer vacation is here, and Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield and their friends have just arrived at sleep-away camp! On a hike through a dark, eerie cave, Elizabeth finds something incredible- a glowing pen! She can't wait to use it to write an article for the camp newspaper.
But as she writes, Elizabeth is astonished to find herself composing a mystery full of scary twists and turns. And to her horror, little by little the mystery seems to be coming true! THis isn't just an ordinary pen. Could it be haunted?
The characters are self explanatory and there's nothing special about them. There are a few new characters that I doubt will make their way into the main canon such as Elizabeth's new friend Star Johnson and Jessica's new friend Miranda. But don't worry, the reader won't get to know them much before they disappear.
You can't silence the truth.
This is third person omniscient from Elizabeth's and Jessica's point of view. It's not necessary to read previous Super chillers as they all are stand-alone novels. This is one of the better written of 6-9 part. Everything is self explanatory and it tends to be a bubblegum for the brain food.
Francine Pascal (born May 13, 1938) is an author best known for creating the Sweet Valley series of young adult novels. Sweet Valley High was the backbone of the collection, and was made into a popular television series.  There were also several spin-offs, including The Unicorn Club and Sweet Valley University. Although most of these books were published in the 1980s and 1990s, they have remained popular such that several titles have been re-released in recent years. (From Wiki.)
Just like others, this does have mystery and supernatural elements as well as suspension of belief involved. But the ending of the mystery is a little more interesting though; the idea of plagiarism by an author I doubt one sees in the original Sweet valley canon. I really think my pet peeve is repeated seasons without rhyme or reason and the people staying the same age throughout. (Summer? Really? Anyone remember the summer they spent in the forth book? The one where they traveled to visit Aunt Helen?) This is nicely written but tends to be boring in my opinion and predictable.
3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)