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Playing with Fire (Sweet Valley High, #3)
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Playing with Fire (Sweet Valley High #3)

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  2,623 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
Watch out, Sweet Valley High! Once again, Jessica Wakefield has gotten her way. Fresh from her greatest social triumph, Jessica proceeds to sink her hooks into rich, handsome Bruce Patman, the most eligible, sought-after guy at SVH.

Or has Bruce gotten his hooks into Jessica? Elizabeth, Jessica's twin, notices a big change in her sister. Suddenly Jessica's following Bruce e
Mass Market Paperback, 149 pages
Published September 1st 1984 by Bantam Books (first published 1983)
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graveyardgremlin (formerly faeriemyst)

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
Feb 24, 2009 Jen rated it really liked it
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
Jun 17, 2017 Marynold rated it really liked it
loving this series! can't wait to get my hands on the next book!
Feb 21, 2016 Jerry rated it it was ok
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.
Jun 11, 2008 jenn added it
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 06, 2009 Lara rated it it was ok
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
This review is also posted at http://readingnookandcranny.blogspot....

"Not all of us can walk around cheating and blackmailing and lying and not feel guilty about it."

Are there really people out there as stupid and annoying as Jessica Wakefield? I certainly hope not. She is the antithesis of a role model for young girls. She's conceited, self-centered, self-destructive, and she completely loses herself for a guy who - surprise, surprise - treats her like crap.

Here are just a few of the things sh
Jun 05, 2015 star_fire13 rated it liked it
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
The writing style has started to improve here in book 3, but the story has such ridiculous elements in it considering the characters are in high school. But hey, that's what makes these books so great! Lol.

In this book we have Jessica falling head over heels for the richest and arguably best looking guy in school, Bruce Patman. Bruce is a grade A jerk, and Jessica undergoes a complete personality transformation.

We sadly see her become, albeit briefly, the victim of an abusive relationship. No, h
Rachel Brand
Apr 26, 2012 Rachel Brand rated it liked it
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
Jan 30, 2016 Marna rated it it was ok
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.
Amy Kitchell-Leighty
If you're curious as to why I'm reading these books at the age of 43, please read my reviews of Double Love and Secrets, books one and two. It should clear up any curiosity for my desire to read Sweet Valley High. Haha

Now on to book four, Power Play!
Jessica Meigs
Aug 18, 2013 Jessica Meigs rated it liked it
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?
Mar 30, 2016 Sara added it
Shelves: 2016-reads
Blast from the past.
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?
Stephanie White
Jul 10, 2016 Stephanie White rated it it was ok
They're so terrible. But still hilarious.
Jan 01, 2012 Mari rated it it was ok
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
May 01, 2010 Britt rated it it was ok
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).
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
Caroline Bennett
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan Bazzett-griffith
This one was pretty bad. But to be fair, it was also nice to see Jessica get stomped on a bit, considering how absolutely awful she generally is. Again, this newer edition threw me off. Am glad that all the other books I got in this retro-nostalgia package are the old versions. I simply can't get on board with the Droids being called Valley of Death, and not snort.
Jan 03, 2016 Yavanna rated it liked it
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
Aug 20, 2013 Jenn rated it it was ok
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
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
Gem Routledge
Sep 13, 2016 Gem Routledge rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Lydia Rose
Dec 22, 2013 Lydia Rose rated it it was ok
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
Oct 13, 2016 Emilyradke rated it it was amazing
I read the book playing with fire by Francine Pascal. Two twin sisters named, Elizabeth and Jessica, are in a fight over Jessica's dream boy. Jessica has been dreaming of this boy her whole life, but when she final gets him, Elizabeth worrys truly for her sister. Elizabeth's boyfriend, Todd is at war with Elizabeth, because he thinks she is worrying too much about Jessica .

I enjoyed this book. I liked how the author made a real life cenario into something relatable. I would not change or do any
Apr 27, 2013 Christine rated it liked it
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
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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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