writer, editor & phd candidate

Category: Genre: Junior Contemporary

Review: Jessica Gets Spooked (Francine Pascal)

Francine Pascal, Jessica Gets Spooked (Bantam, 1993)

Category: Junior Fiction > Contemporary

Series: Sweet Valley Kids, #43

Setting: 1990s California, USA

Key Words: Twins, Bullying, School Trips, Pranks, Crushes

In Brief: Not one of the better Kids books. As happens far to often in these, bullying isn’t dealt with at all well, made even worse in this one by the inclusion of the terrible concept of boys harassing and assaulting girls because they “like” them. Telling kids that this is a thing—and an acceptable thing, what’s more—sets them up for a lifetime of toxic gendered behaviour. Uncool.

Protagonist: Jessica (7 years old, female, white, American, middle class)

Other Key Characters: Elizabeth (7 years old, female, white, American, middle class)

Content Warning: Toxic gendered behaviour

Review: Jessica’s Monster Nightmare (Francine Pascal)

Francine Pascal, Jessica’s Monster Nightmare (Bantam, 1993)

Category: Junior Fiction > Contemporary

Series: Sweet Valley Kids, #42

Setting: 1990s California, USA

Key Words: Nightmares, Twins, Fears

In Brief: An entertaining and realistic story that would be genuinely helpful to readers who had nightmare monsters of their own. I particularly appreciated the fact that the nightmares were depicted as being truly scary and not just something Jess could conquer through courage alone.

Protagonist: Jessica (7 years old, female, white, American, middle class)

Other Key Characters: Elizabeth (7 years old, female, white, American, middle class)

Author: Molly Mia Stewart (ghost writer, presumably American)

Creator: Francine Pascal (American)

Illustrator: Ying-Hwa Hu (Taiwanese American)

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