Playing with Fire, Book 3 / Sweet Valley High review

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Playing with Fire ShockJessica Wakefield has gotten a taste of her own medicine. That was what went through my head as I read Playing with Fire, SVH Book 3.

If you’ve been reading my reviews of the Sweet Valley High series originally written by Francine Pascal, you’ll know that I’ve not been thrilled with Jessica.

Initial Thoughts

Playing With Fire began with action right away. The girls prepared for another dance. Jessica still had her eyes set on Bruce Patman. Her crowning of Homecoming Queen with geek Winston Egbert was a disaster in the last book, and she now in Book 3 is still trying to shake off Winston’s interest.

Elizabeth and Todd’s relationship held firm in Playing with Fire, though at one point I wondered if something crazy was going to erupt. Read it, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I’m still sitting here biting my lip and wondering if something may pop up in the next book or two.

Like I mentioned in my first sentence, in this book Jessica became the victim–so to speak–to Bruce’s demands. Soon Jessica was a little puppet fawning over her puppeteer. Ever the level-headed one, her twin sister Liz watched behind the scenes, waiting to help her sister if and when it became necessary.

The title of this book is legit. Jessica definitely plays with fire in this novel, to the point where the suggestion is made that Bruce pressures her to step out of her goody-two-shoes reputation.

It is a known practice for the Sweet Valley High books to hit on topics that were controversial for the time. In this novel, a new character named Robin was introduced and fat-shaming was a topic that was included.

SPOILERSweet Valley High Playing with Fire Really
And let me just say, for a geek who has been the butt of other people’s jokes many times, I’m surprised that Winston Egbert decided to be a jerk to Robin and say the things that he did about her weight. I was a bit surprised by his attitude. He’s now going to have to earn back my respect! /rant


Final Thoughts

I feel like the writing has improved greatly since Double Love, book one. There’s still a bit of the cheesy element there, but I’m factoring in the fact that this is a YA book written in 1983. I won’t be too harsh in my criticism.

There is one area where I feel like I should address some concern over two scenes that, frankly, embarrassed me. Those of you who know me know that I’m conservative about the content I prefer to read, and I want to share with my readers who are of like-mind any content matter that may be considered taboo.

There are two scenes in Playing with Fire that have characters who act in a matter that I would consider risque. Knowing this, I wouldn’t want a 12-year-old of mine to read it. (The book is recommended for ages 12 and up.) That said, from here on out, I’m going to include a little content guide so that my readers can be informed of any content that one might consider questionable for young readers.

Overall, I liked the book and look forward to Book Four.

Content Guide / Playing with Fire

Profanity – None
Sexual Content – two making out scenes

Can Jessica play Bruce Patman’s game and win?

Looks like Jessica’s gotten her way again. Fresh from her greatest social triumph being crowned as Sweet Valley High’s fall queen, Jessica proceeds to go after Bruce Patman, the richest, most handsome, most eligible and sough-after guy at school.

But is Bruce too much for Jessica? Elizabeth notices a big change in her twin once Jessica and Bruce start dating. Suddenly Jessica’s following him everywhere, dropping everything just to spend time with him.

Elizabeth doesn’t trust Bruce one bit—he’s arrogant, demanding, and way too much of a player. Jessica can usually hold her own against any guy, but this time Elizabeth’s afraid her sister may be going too far…

  • Print Length: 111 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (November 27, 2012)
  • Publication Date: November 27, 2012
  • Sold by: Macmillan

Join me in two weeks when I review Book 4 – Power Play and host a giveaway!

The Wakefield twins have taken sides—against each other!
Robin Wilson wants to join Pi Beta Alpha, Sweet Valley High’s highly selective sorority. She may not be beautiful or popular, but she’s friendly and smart. So when Elizabeth nominates her for the sorority, Jessica is less than thrilled. She is determined to find a way to keep Robin from Pi Beta.

But Elizabeth is just as determined to make Robin a sorority sister, and the twins become locked in a struggle that develops into the biggest power play at Sweet Valley High. Who will prevail? Which twin will triumph? What happens when sisters go head-to-head?

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