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Playing with Fire
Francine Pascal
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Playing with Fire (Sweet Valley High #3)

3.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,459 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
Elizabeth wonders if her twin sister Jessica can handle her new boy friend Bruce, Sweet Valley High's most eligible and arrogant male.
Hardcover, 149 pages
Published September 28th 1989 by Grey Castle Press (first published 1983)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Cover Models: Bruce strangles Jessica while she tenderly touches his arm. Aww.

Page count: 149

Special Event: A dance contest at the beginning called, and I kid you not, Sweet Valley's Fifth Annual Rockin' Dance Party Contest. Wowzas. Bruce's 18th birthday party at the end.

Number of times "thirty-seven" or "a hundred and thirty-seven" was mentioned: None that I caught. It's possible I missed it though.

Mental Illness of the Week: Jessica, who completely changes her personality for Bruce
May 12, 2014 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sweet-valley
An epic sweet valley. Gets one extra star just for Bruce trying to untie Jessica's bikini top in the lake during a crazy make out session. They also rolled around in the woods a bit and Bruce probably got to second base. It was pretty risque for my 12 year old self and I recall re-reading this one often.

Possible first sweet valley mention of boobs? Or that might have been when Bruce was hooking up with Liz after she was in a motorcycle accident and ended up in a coma, which upon waking, had the
Feb 21, 2016 Jerry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A decent read, but a "PG-13" moment kind of ruined things for me. If the next book has such details, I'm giving up on the series completely.
Oct 22, 2008 jenn added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
A truly pivotal entry in the SVH high series, as it marks the entrance of

1. naked boobs


2. blind hatred of fat people

into the world of Sweet Valley.

I read the 1983 version, because I am nothing if not a YA purist, but this is the first SVH that made me wonder about the updated version. Specifically, if the updated version gave any indication of how Jessica and Bruce spent their 8-hour make-out sessions, and if Liz did what I would do in the same situation - shove condoms into Jessica's pock
Cate Marsden
Even having adjusted my standards to Sweet Valley levels, that was disturbing. Jessica erases her personality and ditches all her own interests to "date" Bruce Patman, even though dating him appears to consist of supplying sex (or, okay, kisses; "deep, passionate kisses" seem to be the SVH equivalent anyway) on the beach, and never getting taken anywhere fun or expensive or public.

I still don't understand why. Bruce is supposedly rich and handsome, but what good are either of those things to Je
Apr 07, 2009 Lara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Playing with Fire

This book is pretty
Much about Elizabeth
Worrying because

Jessica makes out
A lot with Bruce Patman and
Liz doesn't want Jess

To "get hurt". Did you
Know that, in Sweet Valley, that's
Synonymous with

"Get laid"? It is. SO.
Jess smooches Bruce lots. Bruce is
A controlling ass,

Which causes Jess to
Lose her je ne sais quoi and
Worry Liz to tears.

Also, there is some
Other crap plot line about
This band, the Droids, but

It is too dumb to
Repeat. AND, we're introduced
To new character,

Robin, who is fat
I know that we're supposed to be sympathetic of Jessica in this book, but really it just proves to me how much I hate her. She's so immature. She really needed to grow a backbone.

Then again, I usually complain that she just steps on everyone, so it was kinda nice to see her be stepped on. However, it was all at the expense of her still being a snob and still blowing off people she doesn't think are "cool enough".

I think there's something going on with Ned and Marianna. I know he and Alice don't
Jan 30, 2016 Marna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For lack of any other terrible teen 80's series' I am starting on far, it's taken me three or four months just to get through the first three because man are they awful. Like alternate universe awful. Sometimes, I can almost get into them in a creepy, furtive sort of way but you really have to work at taking your brain down to the level of serious long term oxygen deprivation. I can't even believe some of this dialogue is real.
Rachel Brand
Initially I liked the concept of this book. Jessica might well be the most popular girl in Sweet Valley, but she still has flaws - and one of those flaws is her crush on Bruce Patman. This means that when she finally gets him, she's willing to do anything to keep him, even give up her social life and hobbies. This was an interesting idea, but once I got further into the book I got a bit fed up. Jessica really wasn't acting like herself. Bruce wasn't a weakness; he completely changed her. For any ...more
Blast from the past.
I read like 30 novels from the Sweet Valley series and a couple of others that were similar. I don't remember which were which, as the stories and high-schools were kind of interchangeable ;) I remember buying them on a sale which was 1 or 2 dollars a book, so I grabbed a whole pile and read them during the Summer, I think I was around 15 at that time. My 12 year old brother soon caught on and secretly read them, too, hehe.

So, what do I remember about them ... they were easy to read, I mostly s
Jessica Meigs
Oh lol. My read-through of the currently available ebooks for SVH continues. I forgot how ridiculous these books are (and I don't remember ridiculous necessarily in a BAD way--just in a soap opera kind of way). Spent 90% of the book wanting to slap Jessica Wakefield. But what else is new?
Caroline Bennett
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah B
Never wear a string bikini around Bruce Patman, is what I learned from this one. Is it just me or does Bruce look like John Barrowman?
Mar 26, 2014 Tiffany rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-novels
Jessica finally gets Bruce Patman, but he's distant and cold to her much of the book. She sits idly by the phone waiting for him to call. Elizabeth is worried that the fire has gone out of her sister. Elizabeth discovers that Bruce has another woman on the side and when she sees Jessica pouting at his birthday party, she decides to call him out. The leave the party, come back later, see Bruce with another girl and Jessica dumps soda all over him and lets the air out of the tires of his sleek bla ...more
Kristine (The Writer's Inkwell)
Posted originally on my blog: The Writer's Inkwell

As I continue to reread this series, I find myself disliking Jessica more and more. This character has nothing redeemable about her. She’s probably one of the most self-centered characters I’ve ever read. And that’s saying something when she’s worse than oh let’s say every literary villain I’ve read. It’s insulting, because at least they are supposed to be bad guys. Instead, she’s just a stuck up little girl who believes the whole world should re
Jessica has had a crush on Bruce Patman for the longest time and she finally gets to be his girl (funny, I never got that impression of her obsessive crush on him when I was reading Sweet Valley Twins). Finally Jessica lands wealthy Bruce Patman as a boyfriend. Since they are both equally superficial and egotistical, it ought to be a match made in heaven. But Bruce is picky about his girlfriends: they can't beat him at tennis, they have to cater to all his whims, and they can't be on the cheerle ...more
May 01, 2010 Britt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'd like to say the third book in the series takes a break from Jessica being doesn't, but her evil acts are small compared to the conniving she does in the first two books. In here, she only (only?) completely uses a girl named Robin, who hero-worships her. Actually, in this book, Jessica gets to play the victim, somewhat.

After a long time of pining over SVH's number one guy, Bruce Patman, Jessica finally gains his attention at a dance, and they become boyfriend/girlfriend (sort of).
Aug 28, 2013 Jenn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
SVH was one of my favorite guilty pleasures, although you know, not guilty because I don't feel guilty about any of my books lol. This isn't going to be in a normal review format though and I'm not going to super-analyze it like the BSC books, but just have some fun with it and see what happens.

Before Reading: I don't remember this one at all. The copyright date is 1983, which is like whoa! My book was presented to a Baptist church library by The International Order of Rainbow Girls. (Which I n
Tara Calaby
Playing With Fire may well be my most read Sweet Valley novel and I'm not entirely sure why. There is plenty of Bruce here, which is great, and Elizabeth is amazingly non-annoying, but the entire plot revolves around Jessica not being Jessica. Instead, she gives up most of the things that make her so fantastic, in order to keep Bruce's attention.

This is Sweet Valley High, so it isn't exactly a sensitive and educated discourse about controlling partners or abusive relationships. We don't really s
Jan 02, 2012 Mari rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childhood-trauma
As always, I'll lead off by saying that this is children's literature and I am not a child. I'm a grown ass adult that reads children's book and makes fun of them for fun. Ahem.

Francine Pascal and her ghost writing collective continue to flesh out the "personalities" of the most hateful twins ever invented in the third Sweet Valley book.

In short, Jessica is a psychopath and Elizabeth is a judgy mcjudgerson, EXCEPT when it comes to Jess.

We're introduced to Robin Wilson in this book, Sweet Valle
Lydia Rose
It wasn't great, but it wasn't awful.

Jessica got what she wanted. The school Queen place is now hers, but the man she wanted to sit next to is not the King. The King spot went to a nerd that always had a crush on Jessica, and still does. Now Jessica has to find another way to get Bruce to love her.

She does, but when she does, Bruce takes charge of her. She so in love, she doesn't care what she does. He tells her to get rid of her cloths, and buy new, more expensive ones. She does change most o
Dec 04, 2014 Christine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, svh
Needed a stress release, so I painted my nails lemon yellow and read some SVH.

So terrible. So good. This was the book that introduced breasts and second base to Sweet Valley, although if my memory serves the books get more tame after Jessica and Bruce's mix of petting sessions and bad puns about "chemistry." Maybe there was some criticism?

It was very racy when I was in middle school, after all.

Bruce still blows, Jessica was just weird, and Elizabeth is a crusader for teenage virginity! She's
Tara Calaby
I love this book. Which is probably obvious from the number of times I've read it, given that it's probably a figure somewhere in the teens at this point.

(Reviewing on another edition so multiple re-reads will remain in their appropriate challenge years.)
Oct 24, 2015 Myah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This Sweet Valley High book was one to remember. Jessica completely looses her mind over Bruce Patman. For the first time in the series the boy has control over Jessica! The ending was great. I can't wait to see what happens next to the Wakefield twins.
Feb 07, 2015 Mya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For me this one was ok, perhaps if I still had teenage hormones running wild I would have felt more enraged with how Bruce was treating Jessica but as it was I just saw it as he's a jerk and she should stand up for what she wants.
Feb 13, 2012 XxForeverXx_XxVampire_DiariezxxLuvsSHERLOCKandSUPERNATURAL rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young Adults, preteens
This book was really good. Jessica always wants to be the center of attention. So she gets the chance when Bruce Patman starts dating her. But Jessica changes herself for him. She becomes a different person and changes her ways. Elizabeth is worried about her. I liked the ending when Jessica sees that Bruce is cheating on her with another girl named Alina Montgomery and she puts pizza and water on his face and he falls into the fountain. I think this is a very good book and teaches a good lesson ...more
Sep 08, 2015 Telisha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Petty drama, sister issues and changing for a boy - not top of my list for my daughter to read. However, its light, fluffy and fairly harmless.
Makayla DeLange
Mar 04, 2015 Makayla DeLange rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I love this book so much!!!
It is a great book for the people who are in love with Sweet Valley High.
Oct 16, 2013 Maui rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, series
Poor little Jessica. Haha!

I kind of liked this story wherein Elizabeth is acting like a big good sister trying to save up her little brat twin without being humiliated by the crowd. Jessica who is head over heels in love with Bruce Patman, was blinded by his charm and worshipped him from head to toe which made Jessica turned from someone she's not. As usual, she made things just to get what she wants even if that causes trouble to other people.

Her sister Liz, being the nice-and-saviour did not
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  • Claudia and the Sad Good-bye (The Baby-sitters Club, #26)
Francine Pascal (May 13, 1938— ) is an American author best known for creating the Sweet Valley series of novels. In 1982 she created the characters and the stories for the first six books and her agent, Amy Berkower of Writers House sold them to Bantam Books. Book number one is mostly written by Ms. Pascal. From then on she wrote the stories for every book ever published in the series. After the ...more
More about Francine Pascal...

Other Books in the Series

Sweet Valley High (1 - 10 of 159 books)
  • Double Love (Sweet Valley High, #1)
  • Secrets (Sweet Valley High, #2)
  • Sweet Valley High: Three Novels: Double Love, Secrets & Playing with Fire  (Sweet Valley High, #1-3)
  • Power Play (Sweet Valley High, #4)
  • All Night Long (Sweet Valley High, #5)
  • Dangerous Love (Sweet Valley High, #6)
  • Dear Sister (Sweet Valley High, #7)
  • Sweet Valley High Collection: All Night Long, Dangerous Love, Dear Sister (Sweet Valley High #5-7)
  • Heart Breaker (Sweet Valley High, #8)
  • Racing Hearts (Sweet Valley High, #9)

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“Jessica was clearly in her element, moving with the music naturally and without effort. Even her lustrous golden hair swayed to the beat, completing the perfect picture of a dancer caught up in ecstasy.” 1 likes
“But Bruce pushed her back ever so slightly. “In dancing, at least, the guy still takes the lead.” His meaning wasn’t lost on Jessica. She’d have to be less aggressive if she wanted to keep him interested. “Then I’ll follow wherever you lead,” she said with uncharacteristic submissiveness.” 0 likes
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