First of all, I’ve got to say that this is one of my absolute favorite covers of any Francine Pascal book. Seriously. As a wee girl, I used to stare at this cover and think that Josh Angler was so effing sexy like, for reals. He does look pretty hawt–kind of buff, but not overly bulky. He’s kind of got a swimmer’s bod, though technically I guess he’s a soccer player or whatever. Jess is also looking quite fierce, despite the fact that she seems to totally lack even pre-pubescent boobs and her t-shirt may or may not have been designed by the Joker. As you can see, she’s rocking a little bit of makeup, I suppose in an attempt to look older and more sophisticated. And check out that hair–it’s magic hair, so it blows in the breeze even when no breeze exists. That’s hot.
And I can’t get over that tagline. If this were a Gossip Girl book, I’m sure it would have something to do with a secret pregnancy or whatever, but because this is Sweet Valley, Jessica’s big secret is that she’s trying to seduce an older boy. Big effing secret. We all know that Jess is the town bicycle.
So, basically this one is about Jessica trying her damnedest to go out with a totally hot older boy and Liz trying to cock-block her for some totally unknown reason. There’s some crap about how Ned and Alice’s rules are there for a reason and blah blah blah… But really I just think that Liz is a raging bitch who totally needs to learn how to chillax just a little.
Anyway, so we start off at the skating rink, where Jessica has just met sexy-ass Josh Angler. Josh is sixteen years old and already goes to Sweet Valley High, so Jessica lies about her age so that he’ll agree to go out with her. Because, you know, that four year age difference might be enough to put him off. I mean, ewww, right? But Jessica convinces Josh that she’s actually fourteen-and-a-half with saucy lines like:
Jessica’s blue-green eyes lit up. “I love soccer,” she said. “Tell me more. What position do you play?”
He looked hard at her. “You’re cute, you know that?” he added.
Jessica tossed her hair over her shoulders and tried to look as if she were used to hearing this sort of thing. “Thanks,” she said casually.
“In fact, you’re REALLY cute,” Josh said, looking at her with growing interest…. “I’ve never gone out with a freshman before, but how would you like to be the exception?”
Oops! Hold on a second–I think my panties just dropped spontaneously.
Jessica goes home to her perfect split-level ranch house, where the Wakefields talk about how disappointed they are that they won’t be able to go to the circus this year because all the tickets have been sold. Steven even pounds his fist on the table, which is like… WTF? It’s not that big a deal, Steve, really. You’re starting to scare us.
Oh, yeah, and of course there’s our fave line ever:
Elizabeth was four minutes older than Jessica, but sometimes those four minutes seemed like four years.
Ugh. Moving on…
Jessica convinces Lila to help her sneak around so she can go out with Josh on Saturday. Lila happily obliges because 1) she’s kind of cool like that and, 2) she’s not a fucking cock-blocker like Elizabeth. Am I right?
Jess goes out on a double-date with Josh, which is slightly awkward due to Jessica’s uncharacteristic self-consciousness, but is still way more awesome than anything Liz is doing that night.
She hurried outside to meet Josh, still barely believing that any of this was really happening.
“Hi!” Josh said in a low, warm voice. He gave a long whistle when he saw what she was wearing. “You look great. Even better than on roller skates.”
Oh, I’m sorry, what were we talking about?
Ahem. Well, Josh asks Jessica out for the following Saturday. In the meantime, Liz and her lame friend, Amy, are hanging out at a bookstore in the mall when who should run into them but hot sexy Josher? Josh has no idea that Jessica has an extremely boring twin, so he sidles up and flirts with a pretty blonde girl that he assumes is Jessica.
“Well, I’ve got to get going,” the boy said. He leaned over, pretending to look at a book next to Elizabeth. “I’m assuming you don’t want your friend to know that you know me,” he whispered right against her ear. “But don’t forget about Saturday night. I’ve got a great surprise for you.” And with that he backed up, smiling, until he turned and strolled away.
Awww yeah. That’s panty-drop #3, if anybody’s counting.
Of course, this sends Liz into a shit-fit and she makes it her mission to stop Jessica from dating this totally hot older guy. You suck, Liz. Why are you so annoying?
Elizabeth tries to get Jessica to fess up a couple of times, but it never quite works out.
Elizabeth, sitting across from her, watched her twin with amazement. She didn’t know how Jessica did it. She managed to rearrange everything so it worked out absolutely perfectly for her!
Seriously, Liz, maybe if you would just spend less time trying to cock-block people, you would have fun, too. I’m just saying.
On her quest to rid the world of fun, one ruined date at a time, Liz finds out that Josh is kind of on the rebound from this skank named Anita, who is actually Caroline Pearce’s older sister. Hmm, I wonder if this will come up later in a totally contrived and fantastic way?
Then there’s some crap about how Ned worked his lawyer magic and acquired some tickets to the circus. Ned and Alice pretend to be disappointed when Steven tells them he can’t go with the rest of the family, because a friend of his got tickets to the circus early and he’s going to go with her. Jessica also backs out of the whole circus thing because of her supposed plans with a friend.
For their next date (the one with the “great surprise” that isn’t as dirty as it sounds like it should be) Jessica makes up some excuse about going off to another friend’s cabin in the mountains. Lila pretends to be that friend’s mother and calls Mrs. Wakefield to confirm the plans. At this point, it’s really clear that Lila was raised by her father, because her version of a “mom voice” is actually a fucked up little old lady voice. However, Mrs. Wakefield totally buys this because she has an IQ of approximately 56.
And guess what? It’s another double date, this time with Josh’s cousin, Melanie. And guess who Melanie’s going out with?
Seriously, don’t tell me you didn’t see that one coming from a mile away.
Jessica assumes that Steven will rat her out and humiliate her, but instead, Steven is totally cool and covers for her. Sweet! Steven, can you be my older brother?
Unfortunately, though, we get some bad news. That night, Josh tells Jess that he thinks she is “a sweet kid” but he admits that he still has hard-core feelings for Anita and doesn’t want to lead Jessica on. Bummer, Jess.
Oh, and then they go to the circus, which actually isn’t a big surprise at all, because this is a Sweet Valley book. OF COURSE Jessica’s lies would somehow lead her to be in the same crowded ampitheater as her parents, thus leading to her eventually getting caught by Ned and Alice! I mean, I know that the place is packed with people and probably pretty huge, but why wouldn’t they notice her? The twins apparently have this infallible tractor beam of awesomeness that can be seen with the naked eye wherever you are.
Later, Jessica runs into Anita in the bathroom (umm, ok) and tells her that she should get back together with Josh because he still really loves her. While this sounds like a very caring thing for Jess to do, she’s actually just trying to distract Josh so she can grab a cab and take her ass home before Ned and Alice see her.
During intermission, Jessica, Josh, Steven, and his date all run into Ma and Pa Wakefield and cock-blocking Liz. Jessica begs her parents to wait until they are home to punish her and, because Jessica is so wonderfully wonderful, Ned and Alice oblige. On the way home from the circus, Jessica fesses up to Josh about her age. He’s mad for like, three seconds, then tries to make Jess feel better about the whole thing by telling her about the time when he was thirteen and stole his dad’s car and got arrested and stuff.
Anyway, Jessica gets a really boring lecture for her parents about her poor judgement. For some reason, they let Liz watch the whole thing, I suppose because she doesn’t have anything better to do. Jess is grounded for two weeks, but the up-shot is that everyone at school thinks that she’s a total freaking bad-ass because she went out with a hot older guy like Josh Angler! Everyone believes they were desperately in love and dating secretly for months. Awesome!
The moral of the story: if you’re going to lie about your age to try and date an older boy, don’t do it in your home town. Instead, travel at least one town away so you avoid any weird run-ins with your folks, including (but not limited to) your new boyfriend kind of dry-humping your unsuspecting twin in a bookstore.