Jane's Reviews > Double Love

Double Love by Francine Pascal
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it was ok

I read a few Sweet Valley High books when I was younger, but when I found the first book, I thought I would give it a go as an adult. I have no problem reading children's books, I am a huge fan of the Babysitter's Club books, even now, and I last year I read a few Judy Blume books. I think it's important to remember that the books are written for teenagers.

One of the reasons that I enjoy the Sweet Valley High books, and the aforementioned Babysitter's Club and Judy Blume novels, is that I like the fact that they are all about American adolescents at a particular time. This was before the internet, mobile phones and social media. My favourite characters would have their fun by talking for hours on the phone, meeting at the mall and going on bike rides. Maybe kids still enjoy doing this, but life is so much more complicated by all the new technology (I know this makes me sound like an old lady; rest assured that I partake in all this new technology myself, but also yearn for those simpler times!).

The first book in the Sweet Valley High series introduces us to Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield. The girls are identical twins; identical that is, in looks, but miles apart in terms of personality. Elizabeth is the quiet, serious, sensitive twin, while her younger (by four minutes) sister, Jessica, is the wild one. Most of what Jessica does throughout the book is pretty low; she sets out to steal her sister's crush, Todd, despite knowing that both Todd and Elizabeth are interested in each other. She accuses Todd of trying to force her into going further than a goodnight kiss after a dance. And she takes full advantage of having an identical twin by pretending to be Elizabeth when she gets into trouble with the police.

The problem is that Elizabeth is the complete opposite to Jessica, and not in a good way. She's that annoying person that sees the good in everyone, and refuses to say a bad word about anyone. She resolves to be happy for her sister and Todd when she thinks that they are interested in each other, which would be fair enough, but surely if you've grown up with a sister like Jessica, you would be a bit more suspicious? She also forgives Jessica far too easily for the 'mistaken' identity with the police.

A character who falls somewhere in between Jessica and Elizabeth would be much more likeable than either of these two prove to be in the first Sweet Valley High outing, but having read some of the later books when I was younger, I know that things stop being quite so black and white and get a bit more interesting!
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