Thursday, February 09, 2012

Sweet Valley High Revisited - Double Love

Just to keep things confusing, the second part of my Sweet Valley High Revisited series deals with the first book. Like I said before, I'm doing this as I get the books, so the order isn't going to make any sense at all, m'kay? Let's do this!

Sweet Valley High #1: Double Love

The story begins with Jessica Wakefield whinging into the mirror about how fat and disgusting she is. But FEAR NOT fellow mortals, for we are immediately reassured that Jessica is in fact preternaturally beautiful. This being the first book of the entire series, the descriptions of the soon-to-be-legendary Wakefield hotness are particularly heavy handed. For example, we are informed that Jessica's reflection is actually that of "the most adorable, most dazzling sixteen-year-old girl imaginable". Those are the actual words used. She's just SO RELATABLE. When all her moaning causes her twin sister Elizabeth to doubt her looks, a glance in the mirror quickly sets everything to rights again. "If Jessica were such a hopeless case, she might be in trouble, too. But the image she saw reflected in the mirror was hardly cause for alarm." PHEW. Bullet. Dodged.

Anyway, the school's superhot basketball star Todd Wilkins rings the house looking for Elizabeth. But Jessica answers the phone and immediately proceeds to cockblock the fuck out of Liz by lying about her being in the shower so she can't come to the phone and gloats to Liz afterwards that Todd wanted to wish her luck with getting into some sorority that day. Now, I thought that sororities were a college thing in the States, but then again, Sweet Valley doesn't exactly adhere to reality at the best of times. So Elizabeth gets all quietly upset because she fancies Todd but now she thinks Todd likes Jessica and not her. "And why not? What girl could possibly compete with the dazzling Jessica Wakefield?" Hmm, well let's see...HER IDENTICAL TWIN, PERHAPS? Elizabeth is already being an infuriating pushover and it's only page eleven.

Look! It's the EXQUISITE LAVALIERE NECKLACES! They're just boring gold pendants. What a non-event. Also, note that Jessica is quite clearly the slutty, wayward twin with her edgy stonewashed denim jacket, while Elizabeth is being all sensible and sincere in her wooly jumper. Jumpers = Sincerity

The twins go about their day at school and Todd arranges to meet (not meet meet, just actually meet) Elizabeth that evening after class. However, Elizabeth is running late and by the time she gets there, she sees Todd getting into the car with Jessica. So instead of being furious with Jessica for abandoning her, leaving her to walk home and OBVIOUSLY hijacking her hook-up with Todd, her heart sinks and she gets all emo about it, instead of strapping on a pair, telling Jessica to cop the fuck on and asking Todd why he bailed on her. The next day at school, the place is abuzz with the news that Jessica and Todd are Sweet Valley's hottest new couple, causing Elizabeth to cry like, ALL THE TIME and mope about how she won't stand in their way and "do the decent thing. Die." Oh my GOD, Liz. Meanwhile, Jessica repeatedly hints to Todd with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer that she wants him to take her to the upcoming dance, but Todd keeps asking if Elizabeth has a date. To deter him from her sister, Jessica makes her out to be a cock hungry skank, saying she's always rushing off to meet guys and she can't keep up with her trampy schedule. When he still doesn't get the hint and ask her to the dance, Jessica storms off home and decides to walk there, swinging her hips so creepy guys will pay her attention from their cars and she'll feel validated. Insert facepalm.

Enter Rick Andover. He's cool and dangerous, he dropped out of school and has an eagle tattoo, so you KNOW he's bad news. She gets into his car after this dynamite chat up line: "Pardon me, Heaven - which way to Mars?” Be still my beating knickers! Nothing gets a girl going like astrally inclined direction requests. Am I right, ladies? He drives her home, saying that he makes a habit of "knowing where all the foxiest chicks in Sweet Valley live". Which doesn't at all sound like something a sex offender might say. The next night he takes her out to a scuzzy roadhouse bar called Kelly's, gets shitfaced after ONE shot of whiskey and starts a bar fight. The cops show up and an officer takes Jessica home, but mistakes her for Elizabeth. I sense a classic mix-up here, folks.

The school gossip overhears the cop calling her Elizabeth when she gets out of the car, so the big scandal in school the next day is that Elizabeth Wakefield was arrested for starting a riot at Kelly's. Rather than seeing that it might make her kind of a badass, the school's population act like she murdered someone and unquestioningly buy that it was the boring, sensible sister that did it, rather than her CARBON COPY who is always pulling shit like this. Elizabeth confronts Jessica who then does precisely fuck all to dispel the rumour, while Elizabeth just bends over and takes it, even hugs her all tearful later, telling her how wonderful she is. Are you KIDDING ME Elizabeth? These girls are MESSED. UP.

Meanwhile, the twins think their lawyer father is screwing his work colleague, Marianne, who they keep referring to as a "divorcée", because you just know that being a "divorcée" makes her a no-good, sex-crazed, Ned-stealing homewrecker. Also, the Patman and Fowler dynasties are scrapping over the school's football field because the school is run by incompetent halfwits who allowed the lease to run out and now both families want to buy the land and build a decorative garden or a factory on it, respectively.

Anyway, while everyone at school is giving Elizabeth a hard time and banging on about how "unforgivable" the whole thing was (Sweet Valley High students are a big self-righteous pint of no craic), Jessica eventually starts to show some signs of a guilty conscience, rather than acting like a remorseless sociopath, and breaks down in front of Todd, telling him it was her that went to Kelly's with Rick. Todd thinks she's being noble and taking the blame for Elizabeth, so he proceeds to shift the face off her and ask her to the dance. Also, he's an idiot. After hearing about Jessica and Todd scoring each other in the middle of the school, Elizabeth cries a bit more and agrees to go to the dance with resident class clown, Winston Egbert. Who, by the way, sounds terrifying in this book. When they decide on a time for him to pick her up, he "turned and raced madly across campus, screaming like a deranged chimpanzee." I'm sorry, WHAT? Does that sound like normal behaviour to anyone else? Yeah. DIDN'T THINK SO.

So on the night of the dance, Todd keeps eyeing up Elizabeth, which winds Jessica up no end. When he takes her home and pecks her on the cheek, she decides that he's humiliated her beyond reason and tells Elizabeth that he tried "just about everything" and that she had to beg him to stop groping her. Guys, Jessica is an actual psychopath. Her boyfriend-stealing attempt doesn't pay off so instead of dealing with it and getting on with her ridiculously charmed life, she cries rape. She's just the WORST kind of person.

Back in school, Todd tries to talk to Liz and tells her that he forgives her for going out with Rick. FORGIVES HER! Who the HELL does he think he is? Asshat. Anyway, Elizabeth keeps ignoring him because she thinks he assaulted Jessica, so suck on that, Toddface.

In subplot-land, the fight over the football field goes to court, with the twins' father representing the school or whatever, along with sexy divorced Marianna. The school wins the case so they get to keep their football field. Yay! Ned announces at dinner that night that Marianna is being made a partner in the law firm, which explains that all the time he's been spending with her was work-related and not sexy divorcée sex after all. Yay! Case closed.

A few days later, Elizabeth and Jessica are driving home from Dairi Burger (what kind of a name is that though? A dairy burger sounds weird. Like a burger of yoghurt. Or cheese. Cheese. Maybe they're on to something, actually) and they notice a car following them. When they stop at a light, they realise it's Rick, who somehow manages to jump into the car and start driving it, because the Wakefields have never heard of door locks. He's drunk and tries to drive them to Kelly's, careening through the Dairi Burger (someone bring me some CHEESE) car park on the way, where Todd happens to be and he sees that the twins are terrified. He drives after Rick and beats the shit out of him outside Kelly's. Elizabeth, who at this point, remember, still thinks Todd tried to rape her sister, is all "whatevs, that was totally hot, Todd" and lobs the gob. Back at the Wakefield house (it's split-level, you know) Todd and Elizabeth work out through brilliant reasoning that Jessica has been lying her ass off to the pair of them, Elizabeth is not actually a dirty whore and Todd did not actually get all grabby with Jess.

Elizabeth then concocts a tremendous revenge scheme against Jessica, where she basically tricks the school into throwing Jessica into the swimming pool fully clothed. That's it. That's her big payback for her psychotic sister who tried to take her boyfriend for herself, lied about him trying to rape her, let the entire school think Elizabeth was a hobag and generally acted like a spoiled, selfish brat the entire time. Yeah, wet hair TOTALLY evens everything out. Elizabeth would be the worst vigilante ever. Murdered someone, eh? Well how do you like it when your ICE TRAYS ARE EMPTY!

Ugh. They both suck.

Notable outfit:
“This sounds like a job for my new tuxedo shirt,” Elizabeth offered. “Could I wear the pants, too?...And the little bow tie?”

*dies laughing*

Things I counted:
Number of pages: 159
References to the twins' blue-green eyes: 8
References to the fact that the twins are blonde: 8
References to Elizabeth's tears/the fact that she's crying: 19
Amount of times people blush:15


  1. I think this is my favourite thing ever! Keep it up, please!

    Also, I'm quite shocked at the amount of "blushing" that goes on. 19!! That's a lot.

  2. I love this. Looking forward to the next one.

  3. Charlene - It really *is* an inordinate amount of blushing for a book as short as that. Hilarious fun counting it all up.

    Laney - Thanks!

  4. I love this. I am in love with this. More, immediately, please!

    SVH were responsible for some of my first-ever googled words - barrettes & pocketbooks!

    Did they eat frozen yogurt in this one? I was always amazed by the amount of frozen yogurt they ate.

    I wish I'd kept all my books :(

  5. I used to love SVH books there was great contraversy when one of the girls in my class's dad read some of it and she was never to let a SVH book darken their door again (we were in 5th class and even then thought that strict dad). Brilliant post and in the words I would have used when reading the book "will you be my new best friend?"

  6. Miss Green Eyes - No frozen yoghurt in this one I'm afraid, just Dairi Burger! Although there was a lot of ice cream eaten in Out Of Control, which is a bit further down on the blog! :)

    Actionmags - That's hilarious! I would have read them when I was in 6th class or thereabouts, it all seemed so saucy at the time!

  7. DOOD. Totally loving the blog. Bringing back some childhood memories there! I think if someone like Jessica actaully existed in real life, everyone in the whole WORLD would hate her for being such a fucking bitch.

    Also, eh, I had no friggin' idea that Sweet Valley was still going. Facebook and Twitter and TMZ??? What the hell is this shit?? That's more than a bit rapey.

    Now excuse me while I stalk the rest of your blog....

  8. After retreading the first three books in the series, I realized that both Elizabeth and Jessica piss me off for the reasons you said. Also, I noticed that while Jessica schemed, Elizabeth made plans. Call it a different word, it's still the same thing: one's intent to screw over the other. But for some reason, Elizabeth's motivation for doing so is more noble than Jessica's: she's going to punish her younger sister for that awful, evil thing she did.

  9. I love this! Also, don't you think it's ironic that in a later book where Suzanne comes to town and does the same thing Jessica does to Todd to that Robert Redford-lookalike teacher who's name I can't remember at the moment, she's shunned like most people would be where Jessica was so quickly forgiven?

  10. Jessica's nose looks like a beak.

  11. I'm from the states, and we do have a burger place called Dairy Queen. They're more famous for their ice cream treats but they serve burgers and chicken strips and fries and all too. I always thought Dairi Burger was a play on Dairy Queen.

  12. I would like to point out that people's selective hearing and not listening when people talk (by people I mean Jessica) causes the issues in this book. Officer Meyer's ignoring Jessica when she immediately tells him she's not Liz and than driving away; and Todd Wilkins' idiocy when Jessica straight-up tells him to his face that it was her at the bar and not her twin and him coming away from that as Jessica taking the rap for Liz. *facepalm*


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