Friday, 16 March 2012

Double Love - Francine Pascal

READ: FEB 11, 2012

Will Jessica steal Todd from Elizabeth?

Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are identical twins at Sweet Valley High. They`re both popular, smart, and gorgeous, but that's where the similarity ends. Elizabeth is friendly, outgoing, and sincere — nothing like her snobbish and conniving twin. Jessica gets what she wants — at school, with friends, and especially with boys.

This time, Jessica has set her sights on Todd Wilkins, the handsome star of the basketball team — the one boy that Elizabeth really likes. Elizabeth doesn't want to lose him, but what Jessica wants, Jessica usually gets... even if it ends up hurting her sister.

I have a truly terrible confession to make. While I consider myself a Sweet Valley fan, have joined a LiveJournal fan club for the series and own the much-awaited sequel, I had never read Double Love until last month. I read Sweet Valley books in the early 2000s, when most of the early books in the series were out-of-print or just not stocked at my local library. So as a result, when I graduated from the Babysitters Club on to the Sweet Valley series I ended up reading the horrible 90s add-ons, such as Jr. High and Senior Year, and the reissues of the later books in the SVH series, where the twins work as au-pairs in France and get jobs at a fashion magazine. Not REAL Sweet Valley, I know. So when I read Sweet Valley Confidential last year, I felt horribly guilty that I considered myself a fan and had never read the original, early-80s books. So I bought a used, 3-in-1 collection of the first three books from Amazon Marketplace. And there it sat on my shelves until yesterday, when I was stuck in bed all day with a stomach bug and really could not face reading any more of Pamela. So, instead, I devoured this book. 

I kind of expected that I might hate this book. I've read some Babysitters Club books recently that I missed out on as a child and they just don't measure up to the ones that I have nostalgic memories of. While Double Love isn't going to make it on to my list of favourite Sweet Valley books of all time, I do wish I'd had the chance to read it as a teenager as I'm sure that I would have loved it. SO MUCH DRAMA! Especially for such a short book. It follows the typical pattern of all the SVH books: Jessica schemes to get something, Elizabeth takes ages to figure out what she's done and then tricks her into some lame revenge plot. Of course, being thrown into a swimming pool makes up for spreading lies about your twin sister and accusing a boy of attacking you! Jessica pretty much gets away with murder in these books. But I can so see the appeal. What girl hasn't dreamed about having a twin sister? Or, if you're not American, isn't this the perfect image of what every teenager imagines American high school to be like? 

I know that these books gave me totally unrealistic ideas of high school when I read them when I was 11, and convinced me that life just wasn't worth living if you didn't have a boyfriend. But they're a lot of fun and it's kind of sad that teenagers today don't have a similar series to be obsessed over. Sure, I'd rather my daughter was ploughing through the entire works of Louisa May Alcot than Francine Pascal, but if these sorts of books actually get teenagers interested in reading then I'm not going to complain. They do have some sort of moral values, the 80s references (Liz having a typewriter on her desk!) are brilliant. I don't think the updated versions will be anywhere near as good. So, for nostalgic fun I'm giving this 7/10. 


  1. I remember reading this one Rachel as teen and enjoying it....I actually bought it last month in a charity shop for Iona when she older ;)

    1. I didn't realise you read these books too! They've stayed popular for so long, the series must have been at least 15 years old by the time I started reading. Did you know that a sequel was published last year, set 10 years on from the first book? :) This is probably a good series to get Iona interested in, since there's at least 100 books so she'll never run out of reading material, even at the speed she reads! :)

  2. I'm positive I read this one!! And yes, there are moral values to them (usually Jessica learning her lesson, lol).
    I went through Sweet Valley Twins first, then the middle school ones and then high school. I LOVED Babysitter's Club. :-) Hope you're feeling better!

    1. Jessica, I was surprised at the moral aspect of this book. All I remembered from these books were the boyfriends and getting ready for school dances and prom. But maybe that's all that appealed to me as a teen, LOL! I wouldn't mind my teenage daughter reading these so much now that I've reread this.

      Yes, I read the Twins books as well! Some of those are so cute. I'm a massive BSC fan (still have my collection in the hope that I have a daughter who'll appreciate them) but this has rekindled my love of SVH as well :)

      Thanks! I actually wrote this review a couple of weeks ago and scheduled it to post way in the future, so I'm much better now :)