Sweet Valley High #2: Secrets
It would seem that after suffocating us at the beginning of book one with the "all-American" (what does that even mean?) genetic supremacy of the Wakefield twins, they decided to lay off ever so slightly this time around. Jessica is only referred to as "bewitching" twice, after all. The story kicks off with Jessica desperately hoping she'll be crowned Queen of the Fall Dance, even though there was already a school dance about ten minutes ago. Also, she's totally in love with Bruce Patman because he's rich and hot and drives a Porsche and those are the most important things in life after all.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth and Enid are making cookies in Casa Wakefield (it's a Spanish tiled kitchen, you know) and Enid is all on edge about her boyfriend Ronnie finding out about her TERRIBLE SECRET. Dramatic! Two years earlier, Enid lost the run of herself entirely and started hanging around with a BAD CROWD. She got involved with a ne'er-do-well called George and they did a load of drugs and drinking, culminating in them going joyriding in George's car (is it joyriding if it's your own car?) "stoned out of their minds" (so...they were driving at around six miles an hour then?) and knocking down a little boy, breaking his arm, the hooligans. George was shipped off to boarding school and Enid straightened her life out, becoming the boring sidekick we now know and tolerate.
While she's telling Elizabeth all of this, her thoughts segue into a description about how gorgeous Liz is, lest we forget that even when the story doesn't actually concern them, we should in fact be talking about the Wakefields. So Enid still keeps in touch with George and she's scared of telling Ronnie because he'll freak the fuck out, due to him being a possessive dickhead who gives her shit for talking to anyone male about anything ever. She shows one of his letters to Elizabeth and then they suddenly have a lame pillow fight where neither one of them notices one of the letters falling onto the bedroom floor. THANKS, FREDDIE FORESHADOWING.
|Elizabeth's shocked expression = sex doll face. I'm sorry. Also, lavaliere necklaces! Yay!|
At school, Jessica is busy being furious that her sister has the cheek to be friends with someone as boring and nerdy as Enid, and at one point even says "what if someone thought it was me hanging out with Enid?" Just to hammer the point home that Jessica is a terrible person and all. She's also got her knickers in a twist over Enid because she's somehow her competition for the Fall Dance Queen thing and Ronnie is head of the dance committee and Jessica seems to think everyone is as mental and devious as she is. I'm not quite sure what the deal is with Enid being her competition though. If pop culture has taught me anything (and it has), it's that the popular, bitchy girls are the ones that get nominated for these things. So surely Jessica's friends or the other sorority girls would have been more likely? If I was Lila Fowler I'd be all kinds of pissed off about it. So anyway, Jessica finds one of George's letters in Elizabeth's room (I DID NOT see that coming) and obviously does the most psychotic thing possible, leaving a copy of it in Ronnie's locker in an attempt to ruin Enid's life over a temporary and ultimately meaningless title.
Anyway, as expected, Ronnie breaks up with Enid, but not before getting all grabby in the car and being generally awful to her. While he's berating her about George, she covers her face with her hands while crying, so he "pried them away, forcing her to look at him. His fingers bit into her wrists, cutting off the circulation". What the HELL Ronnie!? Let go of her, you horrible fuckbag! Maybe Jessica was actually doing her a favour, in her own skewed, sociopathic way.
Over in sub-plot land, there's a rumour circulating around the school that foxy French teacher Miss Dalton is screwing Ken Matthews, one of her students. The rumour was started by Lila, because Miss Dalton is actually dating Lila's father so she's jealous due to her raging case of daddy issues. It all comes to a head when someone leaves a message on the classroom blackboard that reads: IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT A FRENCH KISS IS, ASK KEN MATTHEWS. Which is so pathetic I'm amazed that the teacher herself didn't break her hole laughing at how lame it is. Instead she runs off crying and doesn't show up in school for a while.
Anyway, seeing as Elizabeth was the only person that knew about George, she gets the blame and Enid stops talking to her, which confuses Elizabeth no end. She confides in Jessica, who tells her that she's better off without Enid and then dashes off to a party at Lila Fowler's house to eyefuck Bruce Patman. How and ever, it turns out that Bruce is busy hanging out at a college party and apparently bringing a nineteen year old bird to the upcoming dance. I can't speak for anyone else, but when I was nineteen, I'd have been MORTO if I was going out with a sixteen year old boy. Anyway, when Jessica hears all this and realises that she wore her ribbed burgundy sweater dress (hot!) for nothing, she talks Ronnie into taking her to the dance, presumably so he'll swing the votes for Queen in her favour and with Bruce being a shoe-in for King, they'll totally hook up for lots of fun sexytimes. PROBLEM. SOLVED.
At school on Monday morning, Jessica tells Elizabeth that she'll talk to Enid in an effort to fix their friendship. Of course, seeing as Jessica is FUCKING INSANE, all she does is pretty much tell Enid that it WAS Elizabeth who ratted her out to Ronnie and then proceeds to twist the knife by telling her that Ronnie's being going around calling her a dirty whore since the breakup. Later that day, after hearing them on the phone, Elizabeth asks Jessica why she's going to the dance with Ronnie, so she passes it off as an attempt to get him back together with Enid. Oh, and this exchange all takes place while Elizabeth is doing her homework, which happens to be a paper on Julius Caesar. HEAVY HANDED METAPHOR ALERT, BITCHES.
The day of the big dance, the twins are instructed to clean their rooms and while doing so, Elizabeth discovers George's letter to Enid. Using her mad Jessica Fletcher skillz, she finally deducts that it was her unhinged sister that told Ronnie about George. Of course, instead of confronting her like a normal person, Elizabeth begins to plot her revenge. Seeing as the last book established her unique brand of crap vengeance, she's probably just planning to hide Jessica's hairbrush or something.
In the meantime, newly-single Enid has decided to stop feeling sorry for herself and go to the dance even though she no longer has a date. While she's getting ready, the doorbell rings and who should appear, only George all dressed up in a fancy blazer and slacks. He heard she was now single and conveniently, he's now a great big ride and is taking her to the dance so they shift the faces off each other. While her Mam is still there from what I can gather. Anyway, yay Enid!
At the dance, Enid apologises to Elizabeth and they make up. Elizabeth then spreads a rumour that Jessica is hot for nerdball Winston Egbert, the other nominee for Fall Dance King, so Jessica gets crowned Queen and to her horror, Winston is announced as King, and not Bruce like she expected. That's it. Elizabeth strikes again. Retaliation is definitely not her strong point. Oh and Miss Dalton turns up at the dance, has a bop with fellow hot teacher Mr. Collins and everyone just gets on with their lives with no need for an investigation into the salacious and potentially career-destroying rumour that was buzzing around. Yay sexy Miss Dalton!
"Tonight she was decked out in tight black velvet jeans, a pair of sparkly pink leg warmers and a purple satin blouse."
Dana Larson, you glorious glam rock creature. NEVER CHANGE.
Special mention must go to Jessica and the trashiest swimsuit of all time, though:
"She wished she was at the beach instead, soaking up the rays in the bronze, wet-look, one piece she'd bought the week before at Foxy Mama."
A wet-look swimsuit. Jessica, you total GENIUS.
Things I counted:
Number of pages: 176
References to the twins' blue-green eyes: 4
References to the fact that the twins are blonde: 6
Eye colour mentions in general: 18
Mentions of the word "tears": 25