sweet valley highSweet Valley High #1 – Double Love Review

I don’t know how I managed to avoid reading Sweet Valley High throughout my young reading life. I skipped from the American Girl books straight to Dune. When I did read “popcorn and bubblegum” books, my go to was The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. So I missed out on the antics of Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield just like I missed out on my chance to join The Babysitters Club. And what a shame that turned out to be.

Reading Double Love, Sweet Valley High #1, I finally understand what made these books so popular.

At the beginning of Double Love, we get a snapshot of the Wakefield twins, Jessica and Elizabeth, and their perfect little family. Then we see the girls create not one but three major problems that they spend the rest of the book dealing with. Of course, everything is resolved by the last page but not a moment before. It’s like a soap opera but for kids.

The first book in the Sweet Valley High series was actually really good, for being what it is. It draws the reader in by appealing to two very different sets of preteen and teen girls. You have studious, driven, level headed Elizabeth for the girls who like school and, perhaps, feel like outcasts and her party-girl sister Jessica who captains the cheer squad and always looks incredible, clearly designed to appeal to the girls who’ve hit the boy-crazy stage of adolescence. With such a wide net, Francine Pascal was bound to catch thousands of young readers, and, as we already know, she did.

Double Love is the book that started it all. Anyone who grew up with the Sweet Valley High books is familiar with the handsome Todd Wilkins and his relationship with one particular twin. Well, this is the book where that relationship blossoms but not before we learn that both twins like him and have at least two cases of mistaken identity.

When Todd Wilkins, one of Jess’s crushes appears to prefer Elizabeth to her, Jessica sets off on a mission to make Todd forget all about Elizabeth. Then, to make Elizabeth forget him when he snubs her at “the big dance.” Even when everything seems impossible to put back together, everything ends happily ever after, with Jessica getting her comeuppance and Elizabeth getting exactly what she was afraid to ask for.

Reading Sweet Valley High – Double Love was like eating a snow cone on the beach, just the perfect amount of sweet and relaxing.

This book is obviously for younger readers but it is written in a way that shows how much the author respects her readers. I should point out that this is in the pre-ghost writer time period for the books. Double Love is even a little racy for the age of readers it appeals to, assuming a certain level of maturity. What I like the most about this book is that it doesn’t read like an afternoon special. There isn’t a transparent, obvious, message or a “what have we learned” breakdown. The theme actually requires some thought to find.

Overall, I actually enjoyed Double Love a lot more than I thought I would. It was like when I discovered Baywatch wasn’t as awful as everyone said. Yes, it was cheesy and overdramatic but in the most delightful way. Reading Sweet Valley High – Double Love was like eating a snow cone on the beach, just the perfect amount of sweet and relaxing.

If you are looking for a little nostalgia or want to meet the Wakefield twins for the first time, Double Love holds up. A perfectly delightful summer read. Take it to the beach and enjoy.

OVERALL RATING

Four and a half corset rating

“You had me at hello.”

ROMANCE RATING

four heart rating

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My

feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me

to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

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