Friday, 3 June 2011

SVH: Perfect Summer Review

Sweet Valley High: Super Edition – Perfect Summer
-          Created by Francine Pascal
Publisher: Bantam
It's summer in Sweet Valley, and the Wakefield twins and their friends are taking a bike trip up the beautiful California coast.  What could be more exciting than four weeks of glorious sunshine, sandy beaches, and endless fun at every stop? But the dream of a perfect vacation soon fades.  Elizabeth Wakefield is about to break up with her boyfriend, Todd, over another girl.  Her twin, Jessica, chases after sexy Robbie October, who ignores her.  Bruce Patman is mean to his cousin Roger, Lila Fowler holds a grudge against Ms. Dalton, and Ms. Dalton is barely speaking to Mr. Collins.  Can this feuding group unite when an unexpected disaster threatens their lives? Join the Sweet Valley gang as they find love and adventure on the road in Perfect Summer
This was a complete flashback to the numerous Sweet Valley books I read in the late 80s/early 90s. The twins were as I remember them – blonde, beautiful and with different personalities: Jessica, fun loving and boy crazy while Elizabeth was thoughtful and kind. In this book the twins and selection of their friends go on a bike trip along the Californian coast. Along the way they have to deal with bickering between Bruce Patman and his cousin Roger, between Lila and Jessica and between Elizabeth and Todd as two new arrivals cause friction between the friends.
I don’t read a lot of contemporary YA – I usually prefer mine with a supernatural twist so this seemed a little tame to me. The focus was on relationships but with so many characters it all seemed a little shallow and brief. A lot is read into small glances and everyone is taken at face value. There isn’t really an over-riding arc unless you count the spoilt rich girl who joins the Sweet Valley gang, but even her scheme seemed a little silly. Romance is written as kisses, nothing more – even when a main character creeps off over night to meet a boy! It didn’t feel realistic as teenagers  are generally a lot more savvy about sex – especially at seventeen!
My fond memories kept me reading, even though I was a little bored – and without the voyeuristic need to know that Sweet Valley Ten Year Later gave me a couple of weeks ago – I spent most of the time trying figure out what to read next. It was nice to see what I used to read but I’m not sure I’m going to go out of my way for any more Sweet Valley books.
Recommended for fans of Sweet Valley & Babysitters Club. 5 out of 10.
The Book Vixen's YA of the 80s and 90s Reading Challenge Book 11/12
YA of the 80s and 90s Reading Challenge


  1. Lol, yes I am pretty sure I would feel the same. I did read a Nancy Drew book last summer when i was bored and..yup

  2. I reread a SVH a while back and was a bit shocked at how boring/badly written it was. Maybe I should stay away from childhood faves :(

    Being chief bridesmaid is exciting! As well as getting married this summer, I'm also maid of honour at my sister's wedding in December. I don't mind helping with her planning though, because I don't ultimately have to make the decisions :P

  3. I wonder how I would feel going back to this series. I don't think I would like them as I did before. :)

  4. I loved Sweet Valley when I was in middle school. I got rid of most of my Sweet Valley books, but I have a few around my house somewhere. I would love to find them an re-read them, just for fun. Same with all my Baby Sitters Club books (which I still own; I have almost the whole series, and am determined to complete my collection). Even though they can be a little boring, I think it's always fun to re-visit the books that were your favorites in the past (although I do have to say that I love the BSC just as much now as I did when I was in elementary school).