Fearless by Francine Pascal (189 p.)
Read 18 - 20 February
As usual, I will write the reviews of the English books I've read in English.
I first read this book sometime in 2001-2002, I think, in Swedish. I absolutely loved it and couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequels. However, I managed to only read five or six before I outgrew the story and started reading other things, but mostly because they never seemed to translate them. I've kind of always had this series in the back of my mind, however, and one day I just decided to Google it. I was utterly surprised when I found out there are actually 36 (!!!) parts in this series. I think maybe nine or ten were translated to Swedish (and you can't buy them anywhere anymore, some libraries have them though).
Anyway I also found the first nine books in volumes of threes quite cheap on Adlibris, so decided to buy them all. Maybe should just have bought the first volume, that contains Fearless, Sam and Run. But oh well. Maybe my future children one day will want to read them, who knows.
It was very nostalgic to read the first installment, even if I hadn't read it in English before. I realise how much I've grown as a reader, when things that I felt were good writing in my teens now just seem two-dimensional and, sometimes, quite bad. For example, Pascal (or whoever really wrote the books, seeing as she didn't write many of the Sweet Valley Twins-books herself) wants the reader to believe that Gaia is strong, fearless and daring, but also very lonely and suffers from bad self esteem. But she only comes off as totally arrogant and downright unpleasant.
I've got a black belt in kung-fu and I've trained in karate, judo, jujitsu, and muay thai [...] I've got a reflex speed that's off the charts. I'm a near perfect shot. I can climb mountains, box, wrestle, break codes in four languages. I can throw a 175-pound man over my shoulders, which accounts for my disgusting shoulders. I can kick just about anybody's ass. I'm not bragging. I wish I were.
I don't know about you but that does sound like bragging to me. There are other ways to make the reader believe that Gaia is insecure without making her whiny. We can understand that see is strong by showing us how she fights bad guys - which the book also does. That's enough. The reader is not stupid, but here it just makes it seem like the writer was afraid that the reader wouldn't get it, and thus it make the book so much worse.