Amazingly proliific and popular American author of children's novels. Best known for her teen series Sweet Valley High which was made into a TV series. Born in New York in 1938. Francine wanted to be a writer from an early age and wrote for school and college newspapers. She described her husband John as her writing mentor and together they collaborated on a number of scripts. She wrote her first teen/young adult novels in the 1970s and never looked back, becoming probably the most well-known author of the genre in the USA. The highly popular Sweet Valley series inspired a number of spin-offs and she has also written many other young adult books including a sci-fi series, as well as adult novels and even musicals!
The Caitlin series, which is about a teenage girl's first experience of love, is set against a horse/riding backdrop. Horses also appeared in some of the books from the other non-horsy series. However, unless you are a teenager yourself, these books are all for die-hard teen novel fans only!
There seems to be some confusion about which books were actually written by Francine and whether others were ghost-written under her name. If I find out more I will let you know! But for the moment it will be assumed she has written all the books featured on this page.
Strangely for such a popular author, Ms. Pascal does not have her own website. The best resource to find out about her books is the Fantastic Fiction website (see link).
Caitlin Love Series: Teen series with a very strong romance element and some horse content. Suited mainly to teens.
1) LOVING (BANTAM PB [USA] 1985) SUMMARY: Sixteen year old Caitlin is popular and rich and is able to ride both at her boarding school and on her grandma's horses. But Caitlin is neglected at home and crossed in love, as Jed, the boy she likes is dating another girl. Instead of concentrating on her riding, she makes plans to split up the lovebirds and get Jed all to herself. This leads to disaster.
2) LOVE LOST (BANTAM PB [USA] 1985) SUMMARY: Caitlin is now dating Jed but keeps from him the terrible secret of the tragedy she caused. Overcome with guilt she gives up riding her horse Duster and her social life to help The crippled Ian and the sick Diana.
3) TRUE LOVE (BANTAM PB [USA] 1985) SUMMARY: Jed has abandoned Caitlin and though hurt, continues to help Ian and let him ride Duster. Finally she confesses her part in Ian's accident.
CAITLIN: A LOVE TRILOGY (BANTAM [USA] 1986) Reprinted SUMMARY: Omnibus edition containing Loving, Love Lost and True Love.
Collector's Info: All paperbacks. All easy to find in the USA, harder elsewhere, though at the moment the first one in the series can be ordered from Amazon in the UK.
Caitlin Promises Series: Teen series with a very strong romance element. Follows on from Caitlin Love Series. I think only the first one has horse content although I am not sure. If anyone has read all three please can you let me know. There was also a third series featuring the character of Caitlin when she had left college and was working, but again these are not horsy.
1) TENDER PROMISES (BANTAM PB [USA] 1986) SUMMARY: Caitlin visits Jed on his family ranch in Montana for a summer of romance and riding, but their relationship is threatened by an old girlfriend and the prospect of them being separated by college.
2) PROMISES BROKEN (With Diana Gregory) (BANTAM PB [USA] 1986) SUMMARY: Caitlin is now at college.
3) A NEW PROMISE (BANTAM PB [USA] 1985)
Collector's Info: All paperbacks. Fairly easy to find in the USA, harder elsewhere.
Horse & Pony Books in Sweet Valley Twins Series: As of now I have identified 3 pony-related titles in this predominantly non-pony series which is aimed at a slightly younger readership than the other books. As the series is 100 books plus long, there may be more!
FIRST PLACE (BANTAM [USA] 1988?) Reprinted in paperback. SUMMARY: Book 8 in the series. Elizabeth is jealous and angry when a rich girl gets her own horse and does not appreciate him.
OUT OF PLACE (BANTAM [USA] 1988?) Reprinted in paperback. SUMMARY: Book 22 in the series. Some horse content, not sure how much. Ginny Lu comes to town from the Appalachians and is ostracized by many of the girls for being so different. However she knows a lot about horses and when Ellen's horse Snow White is in danger when foaling Ginny Lu must overcome her dislike of the girl to help out.
LUCY TAKES THE REINS (BANTAM [USA] ?) Reprinted in paperback. SUMMARY: Book 45 in the series. When Ted falls behind with his livery payment for his horse Thunder he must find the money by winning the jumping championship or will have to sell his beloved mount. But then he is injured just before the competition. Can Lucy help?
Collector's Info: All paperbacks. Not sure of the publishing dates of these as they seems little confusing. All easy to find in the USA, although can be harder to track down elsewhere. All can be ordered from the USA cheaply however.
Horse & Pony Books in Other Series: So far have identified a couple of horsy titles, but as there are a huge amount of books written by this author, I may find more from time to time and will add them if so.
KIMBERLEY RIDES AGAIN (BANTAM PB [USA] 1995) Reprinted in paperback. SUMMARY: Part of the non-pony 'Unicorn Club' series (number 8). Teen/young adult story. The girls in the Unicorn Club go on a trip to a dude ranch and all fall for the hunky riding instructor. To see the full Unicorn Club series click here
COWBOY KISSES (With Diane Michelle Crawford) (BANTAM [USA] 1995) Reprinted in paperback. SUMMARY: Part of the non-pony 'Sweet Dreams' series, written by various authors. Teen story. While spending the summer at a ranch, Kenzie falls for a handsome cowboy, but he doesn't think she has what it takes for ranch life. To see the full Sweet Dreams series click here
Collector's Info: Both paperbacks. All easy to find in the USA. Cowboy Kisses is also fairly easy to find in the UK. Can be ordered from the USA cheaply however.