I have gotten a wee bit nostalgic for my youth, so a new regular feature on this blog will be reviews of books from the 90s (or earlier!). The first installment is from the classic Sweet Valley High series by Francine Pascal that debuted in 1983.


Release Date: 1984 (re-released in 2008, with updated text)

From the Publisher: Welcome to Sweet Valley High—a world of good girls and bad girls, hot boys with fast cars, perfect tans and natural highlights . . . all under the Southern California sun.
Twin girls, identical in every way—yet they couldn’t be more different. Jessica Wakefield is used to getting what she wants—at school, with her friends, and especially with boys—and she’ll stop at nothing to get it. Elizabeth Wakefield is used to letting her twin sister have her way. There’s not much that’s worth fighting her over—lost earrings can be replaced, petty problems can be resolved, and rampant rumors can be doused like a fire. But when it comes to Todd Wilkins, Liz isn’t so sure she should step aside and make way for Jessica. This time, Jessica Wakefield is going to have some competition—from her own sister.

223 pages, Laurel-Leaf Books

I loved these books as a kid. My mom actually tried to stop me from reading them when I was 8 because she thought the teen stories were too racy for my innocent eyes. I always found a way around her ban and adored reading about the Wakefield twins.

Reading this one through now that I am nearly out of my twenties still left me delighted. Jessica was as horrid as I remembered, while I found myself screaming at Liz to JUST. SPEAK. UP. in my head while I read.

The tale is a typical high school drama that appeals mostly to the likes of pre-teen, tween, and teen girls, complete with boyfriend stealing, lying, and mistaken identities. I also found it a refreshing change of pace from today’s obsession with the supernatural and paranormal (yes, I admit to having such an obsession myself).

I look forward to continuing the journey of high school with the twins!

lol, god I remember these books. I think I had the whole series as a kid and couldn’t get enough of them back then. I couldn’t see myself rereading one now though. Luckily my family was so adoring of the fact I liked to read that unless it was an adult slasher novel they didn’t really deny it to me and around 13 they stopped restricting any of my reading though it bugged my Dad when I read books about witchcraft because he had family who’d gotten messed up by that. I never could get through to him the difference, I read the fictional novels knowing they were fiction and fascinated by worlds filled with magic, not the books telling me how to summon the devil to find my true love unlike his mentally unhinged cousin who started drawing pentagrams on her floor while sleeping. The type of books I read now are the ones I had to be discrete about back then. But at the same time he never forbid me reading them, it was more he kicked up a fit and grumbled when he saw me doing it. Sweet Valley High, Twins and the Babysitters Club he’d buy me in droves. So many of my peers hated reading that my family went nuts buying me books because I didn’t hate it. Tried to get my daughter into this series, but she wants nothing to do with it. She likes the Babysitters Club but hates the Sweet Valley Series. Not sure why.

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The majority of the books I review are obtained as advanced copies via Net Galley or Edelweiss, through ARC tours, or they are finished books I have purchased myself.

If you are an author or publisher and would like me to review your book, please read my review policy and contact me.

Each review will contain affiliate links to various booksellers for that book. If you choose to purchase the book through those link, I will be compensated.

~Mandi Kaye Ottaway

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