Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are identical twins at Sweet Valley High. They’re both popular, smart, and gorgeous, but that’s where the similarity ends. Elizabeth is friendly, outgoing, and sincere — nothing like her snobbish and conniving twin. Jessica gets what she wants — at school, with friends, and especially with boys.
This time, Jessica has set her sights on Todd Wilkins, the handsome star of the basketball team — the one boy that Elizabeth really likes. Elizabeth doesn’t want to lose him, but what Jessica wants, Jessica usually gets … even if it ends up hurting her sister.
Meet the Wakefield twins, their guys, and the rest of the gang at Sweet Valley High.
Originally, I didn’t get into the Sweet Valley series until I was in high school, more than fifteen years after this book was published. Despite this fact, I actually enjoyed the books of the series, more so when the books started becoming mini-trilogies within the series. Sadly, as I reread the first book, I found myself wondering why I ever read more than one book to begin with.
Based around Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, Double Love is the beginning of the Sweet Valley High series. With a new boy, Todd Wilkinson, catching both twins’ eyes, the girls find themselves struggling to gain his attention and affection. While this is easily a common occurrence for any teenage girl, it makes things complicated within the Wakefield house as Jessica constantly thwarts any time Todd tries to contact her sister.
In fact, despite looking identical, Pascal goes above and beyond in making their personalities completely polar opposite from one another. Jessica is completely self-involved, childish and manipulating. Time after time, she lies and manipulates not only Todd, but the kids at school and even her family. At any time, when her behavior is called into question, she reacts quite childishly and dramatically, forcing the people around her to go from angry/annoyed to feeling sympathetic or forgiving towards her. There is not one good redeeming quality of Jessica’s that is displayed in this book. She’s reckless in her choices, her behavior and even with her own sister’s feelings and reputation. She has no regard for the consequences of her actions or even how they affect those around her. In all, she’s a spoiled bitch who deserves to get her ass whooped, but instead, everyone continues to cater to her every whim.
Elizabeth on the other hand, is the more reliable, studious and thoughtful of the twins. And when it comes to Jessica, Elizabeth is a complete pushover. When someone mistakes Jessica for her, she just believes Jessica when she says she will set everyone straight at school. But in truth, she only ever tries once to do so. Since Elizabeth lacks the selfishness that consumes Jessica, she sits back silently suffering as Jessica manipulates Todd into spending time with her. Even consumed with her own grief and jealousy, Elizabeth never truly stoops down to Jessica’s level. But that’s the problem with Elizabeth. She’s dull and uninteresting and quite frankly, a doormat.
Considering this was supposed to be a more mature young adult book for the time, I was sadden to see that several of the characters were flat, one-dimensional creatures. Granted, their stories/personalities will build as I get further into the series. But when a sixteen year old Jessica is more immature than the twelve year girls in the Baby-sitters Club, I can’t help but wonder what Pascal was thinking. Sure, she dresses up nicely and can drive, but she has the maturity of a five year old, who is just playing dress up in her mother’s clothes.
Also, I was surprised to see mistakes, such as a teacher calling the Principal “Chrome Dome.” I don’t know any reasonable teacher who would disrespect their superior by calling him by the same nickname as the teens call him by. Maybe it was an accident, but it just further add to the immaturity of the book as a whole.