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Choosing Sides (Sweet Valley Twins, No 4) by…
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Choosing Sides (Sweet Valley Twins, No 4) (edition 1986)

by Francine Pascal (Author)

Series: Sweet Valley Twins (4)

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2032106,194 (3.34)2
When Elizabeth's friend Amy decides to try out for cheerleading, Elizabeth has to choose between her friend and her identical twin sister, Jessica, who is planning to rig the try-outs against Amy.
Member:MoniqueP
Title:Choosing Sides (Sweet Valley Twins, No 4)
Authors:Francine Pascal (Author)
Info:Sweet Valley (1986), Edition: First, 112 pages
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Choosing Sides by Francine Pascal

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  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
It says something about the last book that I tend to get through this one and think “oh well, the bullying could've been worse”. I guess it helps that this time it's Amy Sutton and Ken Matthews being bullied, instead of, yanno, an orphan and her disabled grandfather.

This time, the Unicorns have a bee in their collective bonnets because Amy has the gall to consider trying out for the Boosters, the cheerleading team that the Unicorns have decided to start. Because teachers are utterly unfair (cough), they're forced to hold open try-outs, which means that undesirable characters like Amy get to launch an attack on Unicorn territory. Or something.

Sweet Valley Middle School also happens to be holding try-outs for the basketball team right when the Unicorns are holding their cheer auditions. Ken Matthews (who is the shortest boy in school at this point, not the buff football captain he'll end up being) is eager to follow in his father's footsteps and be on the team, but Bruce Patman finds the idea hilarious. To be fair, Ken doesn't exactly demonstrate any talent for the game, even putting his height aside.

Elizabeth being Elizabeth, she has to interfere, so she invites Ken to hers to have Steven give him some pointers. Ken continues to be dire, however, until Liz teaches him the trick of practising with a tennis ball first. Bruce Patman happens to ride past (why does he spend so much time riding his bike in the non-mansion area of town?) and catches the two of them together. He then launches a rumour about the two of them dating, much to Jessica's horror. After all, if people think Elizabeth is dating Ken, what will they think about her? (Nothing at all, you'd presume, but this is Jess.)

The Unicorns are furious at Amy's refusal to drop out of the Booster trials, so they decide to up their bullying a little. They fake letters from Amy to Ken and Ken to Amy, saying that they should both drop out of their respective auditions, throwing in a declaration of love from Amy, just for good measure. Amy isn't fooled for a moment when she receives her letter, but Ken is completely freaked out, as he likes Amy because she isn't “mushy”, like all girls generally are.

Once again, it's Liz to the rescue, thanks to a bit of eavesdropping in the girls' loos.

Amy and Ken both stand up to their bullies and show up for their respective trials. The Unicorns try to throw Amy, but she and Ken both rise to the occasion and prove to be absolute stars. Everyone is suitably chastened and the Unicorns are suddenly fine with Amy being on the team. Despite her 'stringy' hair and the fact that she is—gasp—a tomboy!


This is quite a fun book, with parallel plots that offset each other quite nicely. Although there's still no real punishment for the bullies in this one, at least they're made to see the error of their pre-expectations about Amy and Ken, if not the error of their nasty behaviour. On another level, it's also a sporting underdog story, and boy am I a sucker for those.

I wish Elizabeth would stop whining about how she's losing Jessica, though. They live together. Can't Jess spend five minutes with the unicorns without Liz freaking out?


Moral of the Story? Don't let bullies stop you going after what you want.

[re-read. previously read a couple of times] ( )
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Francine Pascalprimary authorall editionscalculated
Suzanne, Jamiemain authorall editionsconfirmed

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When Elizabeth's friend Amy decides to try out for cheerleading, Elizabeth has to choose between her friend and her identical twin sister, Jessica, who is planning to rig the try-outs against Amy.

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