So yeah, I guess at around book number 42, the ghostwriters decided to ramp it up a notch and write about the Sweet Valley Twins… (drumroll) and friends!
Whatever that means. I honestly don’t detect much of a difference here between this one and, say, the non-juiced up SVT books.
If you can’t already tell from the big-ass poster that Jess wants to go abroad–I can just see some kid squinting at it and being all, “That LOOKS like the Eiffel Tower, but what’s Franc?”–she’s reading a guidebook about Paris. Thanks, cover artist. We get it.
Jessica is looking good in this one, slightly evil with just a hint of jealousy. The cover artist did a really good job subtly conveying her feelings throughout this book. If it were me, I’d just be all like:
…and call it a day.
Is it just me, or does it look like Jessica’s trying to figure out how to take over France? Like she’s been studying that guidebook all morning, making notes on what monuments to claim first, then she takes a quick moment of introspection, imagining the feeling of success and domination. Admit it–it’s a very Jessica Wakefield thing to do.
Just the way that the twins never have their periods or go to the bathroom, I think that the ghostwriters have decided to leave Jessica’s lust for world conquest out, too.
Ok, so even though this book moves at the pace of a drugged stegosaurus, I have to give it some love because of all the snarking that Liz and her friends do against the Unicorns. It’s especially awesome since Lila is being such a rabid bitch in this one.
So, we open on another gorgeous, sunny Sweet Valley day. The Wakefield twins are hanging out at home with their friends Amy and Brooke. Somewhere in there, Liz thinks for the five millionth time that “[she] was four minutes older, [but] often thought of herself as Jessica’s “big sister.”
We get it Liz. You’re so mature. Ugh, whatever.
Anyway, Liz, Amy, and Brooke decide to go to the beach or something, and Jessica heads off to a meeting of the Unicorns at the Dairi Burger. There’s some extremely boring exposition about how the Unicorns want to expand their membership and need to decide which girl they are going to target and blah blah blah.
Bitch-face Ellen is all, “How about Mandy Miller?”
Lila looked shocked. “Mandy the Clown? Are you serious?”
Ellen giggled. “Of course not. But she’s been hanging around us for weeks. And she hinted to Caroline Pearce that she wanted to join.”
Jessica made a face. Mandy Miller was a little strange. Her clothes looked as if they came from a secondhand store.
Eww, gross! Why would anyone want to pull together a sweet vintage look when they could just haul their ass to Lisette’s and grab something that would make them look as tacky as everyone else?
So, of course, Mandy’s disgusting, vintage-wearing ass is out of the question. But Lila has someone else in mind: Liz’s friend Brooke.
“Brooke?” Mary asked, sounding surprised.
“Of course,” Lila replied. She began to tick off reasons on her fingers. “She’s pretty, she’s sophisticated, she wears great clothes–”
“Her father is famous,” Kimberly put in. Brooke’s father was a Hollywood screenwriter. “He knows everybody in the movie business. And Brooke spent one summer in Paris with her mom,” she added.
“Well, I’ll bet Paris isn’t as exciting as Honolulu.” Lila reached for her purse. “As a matter of fact, I just happen to have some pictures…”
Lila keeps bragging about her trip to Honolulu and Jessica gets all mad and jealous and stuff. But before we can hear more about Jessica’s homicidal urges, we have to sit through more boring-ass Unicorn business.
Apparently everyone approves of Brooke, but they’re just not sure that she wants to be in the Unicorns, due to the fact that they are total bitches who spend a majority of their time trying to make other girls cry.
Jessica and Lila, of course, can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to be in the Unicorns…
“That’s ridiculous,” Lila said scornfully. “Nobody would turn down a chance to be a Unicorn.”
“Elizabeth did,” Kimberly remarked, with a glance at Jessica.
Jessica squirmed uncomfortably, wishing that Kimberly hadn’t brought up the subject. In the beginning of the year, Elizabeth had rejected the Unicorns’ offer of membership. Jessica would never understand why her twin hadn’t wanted to join.
Um, how about because they are rude assholes, Jess?
Anyway, Lila brags some more about her trip, then talks about this stupid concert she gets to go to in a few days because her father rented out a whole sky box (which is this fancy private viewing area for VIPs).
Again, Jessica gets all jealous, wondering:
Why couldn’t SHE have been the only child of a father who spoiled her rotten?
Jess, are you trying to figure out how to murder Alice, Liz, and Steven? Because I would probably advise you not to do that. Just saying.
Anyway, Jessica finds an ad for a contest in TEENAGER MAGAZINE searching for the perfect American family to go on an all-expenses-paid, week long trip to Paris. By perfect, I assume they mean… well, any family in Sweet Valley, I guess. Thanks TEENAGER MAGAZINE–way to give the single-parent families a complex.
Jessica thinks she is basically a shoo-in for the win, except the contest wants a family who is “particularly interested in French things” and the Wakefields are so not. But dammit, there’s a trip to France to be won here, so Jessica makes up some shit about their dad, Ned, being a painter, their mom, Alice, being into ballet, and the entire family speaking French together at home.
Sweet! Or, as the French would say, parfait!
Of course, none of this contest stuff gets interesting again until the end of the book. In the meantime, we get to sit through a bunch more Unicorn stuff, mainly focusing on Lila’s braggy ass, Jessica’s boiling hatred, and Brooke’s unsurprising ambivalence about potentially becoming a Unicorn. The only redeeming part of this whole middle section is some snark from Liz, Amy, and Brooke about how effing stupid the Unicorn Club really is.
Amy gave Brooke a look of mock horror. “You mean, you’re not absolutely DYING to be a Unicorn? Just think of all the things you miss out on, like finding out who Bruce Patman kissed at the last dance, or trying to decide which purple blouse to wear with your purple skirt and your purple sneakers.”
Brooke made a face. “I’d look like a grape in all that purple. And I don’t like Bruce Patman.”
Go Amy and Brooke! Way to fight the system. But Liz has my favorite line:
Brooke grinned and draped her arm over Elizabeth’s shoulders. “Actually, Elizabeth and I were thinking of starting a club of our own.” She wrinkled up her forehead, pretending to think. “Let’s see, what were we going to call ourselves? The Zebras?”
“I thought we were going to be the Rhinos,” Elizabeth said, playing along with Brooke’s joke. “Since the Unicorns have a horn, we ought to have one too. And rhinos are an endangered species. They’re almost as rare as unicorns.”
Oh, snap. You got served, bitches!
Anyway, after about fifty pages or so, we finally get to the good stuff. Jess has gotten a call back from TEENAGER MAGAZINE about the contest! Soon a lady from the magazine is coming by the Wakefield house to verify their Frenchiness, and after that, the trip will be theirs.
I was honestly thinking that maybe the lady would just be so blown away by how perfect and beautiful the twins are and just hand over the trip right then and there, but no, not so much. Actually, Jessica kind of has to pull this one together from scratch.
If I can pull this off, she told herself, there isn’t anything I can’t do!
Wow, Jess. Very Blair Waldorf of you!
So Jessica tells Mama and Papa Wakefield about the whole thing, and they agree to go along with it–but there’s a catch!
“I think Jessica needs to be taught a lesson about exaggeration,” Mrs. Wakefield said firmly. “And Thursday evening will be the perfect time to teach her.”
“Just what did you have in mind, Alice?” Mr. Wakefield asked.
“I thought we might just do a little exaggerating ourselves,” Mrs. Wakefield replied with a smile, “Although we probably won’t exactly be the model French-oriented family that Jessica has in mind.”
Elizabeth giggled. “This could be fun.”
“It sure could,” Steven said.
Uh-huh. You read it right… Instead of trying to win the contest, the entire Wakefield clan has decided to screw with Jessica and totally ruin her chances of winning.
Um, yeah. Because exclusion, conspiracy, and public humiliation are the best ways discipline a child in Sweet Valley. No wonder Jessica is such a little sociopath–it’s the only way she can survive! Hey, I’m with you, Jess.
Alice calls up TEENAGER MAGAZINE, and they are apparently totally cool with wasting their time and money travelling to Sweet Valley to meet a family that isn’t even eligible for the contest, all so they can help teach Jessica a lesson.
Because, as we all know, the Wakefield kids are the most important people in the entire damn world.
Now even the magazine interviewer lady is in on the whole thing, so we’re sure for some fun on Thursday night. Oh, and Brooke is still being asked to join the Unicorns. Jessica suggests that Brooke’s pledge task (which is meant to be something highly unpleasant and kind of degrading) should be to pose as the Wakefield’s French maid on Thursday night.
Ewww, work! Now that IS degrading.
Not. But this shitty suggestion ultimately bites Jessica in the ass, because Elizabeth involves Brooke in the whole scheme to humiliate her twin, and Brooke is all about torturing Jess.
On a personal note, when I was getting my undergrad, I once had a class with a girl who was totally spoiled and whose parents paid for everything. She’d sit around talking about how great it was that she didn’t need to work because she thought that waiting tables and stuff was totally degrading or whatever…
If I were as bad-ass as Jessica Wakefield, I totally would have stapled something to her head, but alas, I did not…
Anyway, Thursday night comes around and the interviewer shows up. Brooke and the Wakefields do their damndest to terrorize Jessica. Mostly this involves a series of “embarrassing” wardrobe malfunctions. Here’s what they force Jessica to wear…
Brooke put the suitcase on the bed. “Here we are,” she announced, unzipping it. “The latest in ultra-French style!”
Eagerly, Jessica rummaged through the clothes. She pulled out a long swirly skirt made of wrinkled, gauzy looking fabric in shades of orange and magenta. “This is in fashion in Paris?” she asked doubtfully, holding it up to her waist. The skirt came down almost to her ankles.
… Jessica wrinkled her nose. “It looks like it came out of some old trunk.”
Eww, not something vintage! Maybe you’ll get kicked out of the Unicorns and end up having to hang around that loser, Mandy.
My fave outfit, however, is Steven’s. It’s not exactly the most outlandish thing I’ve ever seen, but Jessica’s reaction is priceless…
He was wearing black jeans and the black sweater and vest that Brooke had loaned him. That was bad enough, but his hair looked even worse. It was slicked back on the sides and pulled up to a sharp point on the top of his head. Jessica felt mortified. Since when, she wondered, did Steven become a punk?
Besides the vest, I think Steven’s outfit sounds kind of hawt. Very emo. I’m imagining a tween Pete Wentz here.
The only entertaining part of this whole thing, I think, is how horrified Jessica is by the fact that her family is wearing strange things and behaving strangely. And then there’s something about serving burning jelly doughnuts as flambé…
Note to self: buy a fire extinguisher, then try this.
The following Monday, bitch-face Lila and Ellen give Brooke her official invitation to join the Unicorns.
“Thank you,” Brooke said politely. “But I decided I don’t want to be a Unicorn.”
… “But… but I thought you were dying to get in,” Lila said, dumbfounded. “What am I going to tell the Unicorns?”
Brooke looked at her. “you might tell them I’m allergic to purple,” she suggested helpfully.
Brooke, you and I should totally hang out.
But wait, we can’t possibly end a Sweet Valley book without someone totally kissing either Liz or Jessica’s ass! That would be like sacrilege.
Mrs. Wakefield somehow snags some awesome front-row tickets to that concert Lila was talking about earlier, and pulls some secret interior decorator strings with the lead singer, a hottie named Nick England.
During the performance, Nick asks for Jess specifically (um, ok) and pulls her up on stage for a dance. It’s very Bruce Springsteen. I guess I’m not allowed to embed the video, but check it out here. You’ll be glad you did. Don’t worry… I’ll wait.
Done? Ok, good.
Well, I’m kind of wondering why Mrs. Wakefield didn’t ask Nick to dance with her OTHER daughter (you know, the one who isn’t a sociopath) but Liz just stands there and gets ignored and is happy about it.
So, yeah. I guess the moral of this story is…
Ugh. I don’t even know.
Don’t pretend to speak French, or something. Whatever.