sweet Sweet Valley

Ok, I have a confession… I was a huge teenage fan of the Sweet Valley High series of books, featuring the annoyingly perfect Elizabeth and her flirty, troublemaker twin, Jessica. I loved the covers and used to lie them all on my bedroom floor and adore their prettiness (I’m still a ‘cover judge’ to this day but don’t line my books up any more -I just stroke and look upon them lovingly instead) I was completely hooked in that sunshiney high school world (not a vampire in sight) and mourned their loss when I sold them all in a shoe box before going to Uni myself (unfortunate, not SVU – and I’m talking about the days when that meant Sweet Valley University, not a homicide TV show!)

Aww, the memories come flooding back...

Imagine the sheer excitement when I learnt that Francine Pascal, my teenage idol, had released a new Sweet Valley book, ten years on.  I rushed to eBay.co.uk (my favourite book seller of choice now that books are so expensive to buy from Australian bookseller’s shelves) and practically tore the parcel open with my teeth in my rush to get to the fresh Sweet Valley meat!  The cover was even better than the one I’d seen on Google too, as it was very evocative of the SVH books of yore.  Oh yay!

Pretty in pink

Off to finish it now… More later!

Shadow Sister

Having identical twins myself, I am always drawn to books about twins. This one is a gripping psychological thriller, which pulls you in from the very start.

Lydia is a secondary college teacher, working in a multi-ethnic school where she has it tough but seems a dedicated, caring teacher. The book opens with one of her Muslim students pulling a knife on her and holding it to her throat. We do not know why and aren’t able to piece the story together of how it came to that point, until much later on in the book.

We are introduced to Lydia’s twin, Elissa, in Chapter 6 and that’s when the goosebumps started!  (There is a huge twist to the tale when Elissa’s voice takes over but I won’t spoil it for you.) The story then alternates between each sister’s voice and what is left unsaid is what you use to piece together their relationship, family dynamics and how Bilal came to be threatening his teacher’s life in the first place.  You really don’t have much of a clue as to what is going on nor who to trust.  I love it when a book does that and makes you believe one character whole heartedly but then something is said or done and you’re left thinking, “hang on a minute…” and doubting what you were so sure about 30 pages ago!!

I have to say that the ending of this riveting read doesn’t do the rest of the book justice. I felt it was rushed and it could have gone off in so many other directions, and I felt let down by the path the author chose for her characters. Others of you may disagree and think the ending was nice and neatly done… I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts. Believe me, the book is well worth getting hold of (it’s the second novel by Dutch author, Simone Van der Vlugt ) and I will certainly be seeking out her first book to add to my TBR pile.

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