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May 13, 1938
|Alma mater||New York University|
|Genre||Teen and young-adult fiction, oriented mainly to female readers|
|Notable works||Sweet Valley High|
Francine Pascal (née Rubin, born May 13, 1938) is an American 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 remained so popular that several titles have been re-released in recent years.
Francine Rubin was born in Manhattan, New York and raised in Queens, New York, United States. Her father was an auctioneer. In 1958, she graduated from New York University. It was there that she first met author and journalist John Pascal and, in 1965, they were married. Francine often credited John as her writing mentor, and they collaborated on several projects, including writing scripts for the ABC soap opera The Young Marrieds, which aired from 1964 to 1966 as part of the ABC Daytime block. John died of lung cancer in 1981, at 49 years of age.
Francine's brother was the prolific Broadway playwright and librettist Michael Stewart, who wrote the books to such musical hits as Bye Bye Birdie and Hello, Dolly! Francine, her husband John, and her brother Michael worked together writing the book to the Broadway musical George M!, which ran at the Palace Theatre from 1968 to 1970. A television version of George M! was aired on NBC in 1970. Following her brother's death in 1987, Ms. Pascal revised his musical Mack & Mabel. She also worked on the revision of another of his musicals, Carnival!, for the Kennedy Center in Washington.
Pascal's first young adult novel, published in 1977, was called Hangin' Out with Cici, in which her heroine, Victoria Martin, went back in time and met her mother as a teenager. It was televised as an ABC Afterschool Special, My Mother Was Never a Kid. She has written two other books about Victoria Martin; these were My First Love and Other Disasters and Love and Betrayal & Hold the Mayo. Another of her early novels, The Hand-Me-Down Kid, was also made into an ABC Afterschool Special.
More recent works include the Caitlin series, a set of three trilogies which follows a teenage girl into adulthood, as well as a second mass-market project, the young adult fantasy spy series Fearless and its spin-off Fearless: FBI. A TV series was also planned for Fearless, but for several reasons[which?] it never aired.
Another of Pascal's novels, The Ruling Class, a teen novel about a clique of spectacularly cruel girls who essentially run a high school in a wealthy Dallas suburb, has been described as "a magnetic tour de force created by a master storyteller at the top of her form." In 1994, her Sweet Valley High book series was adapted for television with her brought aboard as "executive producer" and "creative consultant". None of her suggestions were really accepted and she has since disowned the show.
In addition to her work for mostly female teens, Ms. Pascal has written some adult fiction books, including La Villa (originally published as If Wishes Were Horses) and Save Johanna!, as well as a non-fiction book, The Strange Case of Patty Hearst, on which she collaborated with her husband John. Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later revisited the Sweet Valley High characters ten years later, by which time they had become adults. The adult story continues with The Sweet Life, a series of e-books taking place three years after Sweet Valley Confidential.
On February 22, 2008, Pascal's oldest daughter Jamie died after a two-year battle with liver disease.
As of the last days of June 2015, Pascal was dividing her time between homes in New York and the south of France. She maintains a rigorous professional schedule, but spends as much time as she can with her children and grandchildren. Since John died, she has never remarried. Her daughter Susan now lives in Shanghai, with her daughter Nicole.
Ms. Pascal received The Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, The Milner Award, The Bernard Versele Award, Brussels, and Publishers Weekly Literary Prize.
- List of Sweet Valley High books
- List of Sweet Valley High episodes
- List of Sweet Valley University novels
- The Continuum Encyclopedia of Children's Literature (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005)
- The 100 Most Popular Young Adult Authors: Biographical Sketches and Bibliographies (Bernard A. Drew: Libraries Unlimited, 1997)
- The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway (William Goldman: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1969)
- George M! (Book by Michael Stewart, John Pascal, and Francine Pascal: Tams-Witmark, 1968; National Broadcasting Co., 1970)
- Hello, Dolly! (Book by Michael Stewart and Jerry Herman: Signet Books, 1964)
- Bye Bye Birdie (Book by Michael Stewart: DBS Publications, Inc., 1962)
- Carnival! (Book by Michael Stewart: DBS Publications, Inc., 1968)
- Mack & Mabel: A Musical Love Story (Book by Michael Stewart, Samuel French, Inc., 1976)
- The Strange Case of Patty Hearst (John Pascal and Francine Pascal: Signet Books, 1974)
- The Young Marrieds (John Pascal and Francine Pascal: American Broadcasting Co., 1964–1966)
- Hangin' Out with Cici (Francine Pascal: Pocket Books, 1977)
- My Mother Was Never a Kid Afterschool Special (Original Title: Hangin' Out with Cici – Book by Francine Pascal, Screenplay by Jeffrey Kindley: American Broadcasting Co., 1981)
- My First Love and Other Disasters (Francine Pascal: Dell, 1980)
- Love and Betrayal & Hold the Mayo (Francine Pascal: Viking Press, 1985)
- The Hand-Me-Down Kid (Francine Pascal: Viking Press, 1980)
- The Hand-Me-Down Kid Afterschool Special (Book by Francine Pascal, Screenplay by Judy Engles: American Broadcasting Co., 1983)
- Save Johanna! (Francine Pascal: Morrow, 1981)
- If Wishes Were Horses (Francine Pascal: Crown, 1994)
- La Villa (Re-release of If Wishes Were Horses – Francine Pascal: Pocket Star, 2004)
- The Ruling Class (Francine Pascal: Simon & Schuster, 2004)
- Caitlin Trilogy Book Series (Created by Francine Pascal: Bantam Starfire, 1985–1988)
- Sweet Valley Book Series (Created by Francine Pascal: Random House, 1983–2009)
- Sweet Valley Television Series (Created by Francine Pascal: Saban Entertainment, 1994–1997)
- Fearless Book Series (Created by Francine Pascal: Simon & Schuster, 2000–2003)
- Fearless: FBI Book Series (Created by Francine Pascal: Simon & Schuster, 2005–2006)
- Fearless Television Series (Never Released – Created by Francine Pascal: Warner Bros. Television and Jerry Bruckheimer Television, 2004)
- Amazon Books (Amazon Services, LLC, 2009)
- Fantastic Fiction Limited, Lancashire, UK
- Elson, Bymary (March 1, 1987). "Queen of the Teen Romance". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-10-17.
- "2 Good 2 Be True". Chicago Tribune. September 6, 1994. Retrieved 2010-10-17.
- "Bubblegum Tv". Newsweek. Retrieved 2010-10-17.
- Mehren, Elizabeth (April 20, 1986). "Publishing's Queen of the Teen Romance Finds Success With a Formula". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-17.
- Dougherty, Steve (July 11, 1988). "Heroines of 40 Million Books, Francine Pascal's Sweet Valley Twins Are Perfection in Duplicate". People (Vol. 30, No. 2). Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- Random House Sweet Valley Website
- Simon & Schuster Fearless Website
- Simon & Schuster Fearless: FBI Website
- Fantastic Fiction: The Ruling Class Review
- Internet Broadway Database: George M!
- Internet Movie Database: George M!
- Tams-Witmark Music Library
- Internet Movie Database: ABC Afterschool Specials
- Jamie Stewart's Memorial Website