Sweet Valley High #5: All Night Long
This book cover promises so much, between the sexually loaded title, the fact that it's apparently all about sexually loaded Jessica and the STATE of the sexually loaded Freddie Mercury porn star dude on the cover. Unfortunately, and much like Jessica, this book is essentially a great big cock tease.
It starts off reasonably exciting, Jessica has been invited to a party at the lake by college boy Scott Daniels. Scott drives a red Firebird and has a MOUSTACHE so he's totally older and sophisticated and manly as fuck and all that. Mammy Wakefield has said she's not allowed to go because...y'know...LOOK AT HIM, but it being Jessica, she fabricates a cover story and goes anyway. Elizabeth does her usual bit of nagging, this time she's worried because the twins have a test the next morning which Jessica hasn't studied for yet and they have to pass it to become Sweet Valley tour guides. LAME.
As well as the exam, Elizabeth is freaking out about Jessica going out with a college student because Enid told her about how her cousin went to a college dorm party that got out of hand and was like "a grown up pyjama party, with everyone wearing nightshirts and nightgowns and the floor strewn with mattresses for them to sit on." OH MY GOD THOSE LUNATICS. I was at a party in college where we kicked a giant hole through a wall and spent the rest of the night drunkenly jumping through it and surprising people. Beat that, Enid. It was fine, the house was supposed to be demolished at the end of the year so the hole didn't matter. Until it turned out that it wasn't going to be demolished after all and the guys living there had to get it fixed. But back to Sweet Valley!
Jessica is out in the sunshine with the college kids, who are drinking beer and passing a joint around, so Jessica realises that "she'd gotten into the fast lane now" and to prove that she's not a baby and is just as sophisticated as the other girls, she throws mud at Scott. Right. Totally mature, Jess. Also, the book keeps mentioning Scott's moustache, just to remind us how grown-up he is. And there's this amazing sentence when he comes out of the lake: "Droplets of water clung to his moustache and his hair stood out in dark, wet ringlets." Holy shit, TAKE ME NOW, SCOTT.
Anyway, after the mud-flinging, he chases her around the beach and even though just two pages ago she thought to herself that "he wouldn't be so easy to fend off if they were alone" and his embrace is described as "disturbing" she agrees to go off to an isolated boathouse in the woods with him. Don't do what Jessie Don't does, kids.
Scott slips his hand down the back of her bikini bottoms (SAUCY!) and loosens the strings of her top (SUPER SAUCY!) but by now Jessica has realised she's in over her head and not in control of the situation. She tries to fight him off, but it all gets a little rapey and when he eventually stops pawing at her, the book wanders into victim blaming territory, where he sneers at her for coming with him to the boathouse in the first place and says no one will believe that she didn't want to get all sexed on. When she demands that he takes her home, he laughs and tells her the party's an all-nighter, then ditches her in the woods, but not before saying "just be glad it wasn't worse". TOTAL. GENTLEMAN. Jessica is left stumbling through the woods alone in her bikini and decides that it's all Elizabeth's fault. Because she's Jessica and she's CRAZY, remember? She eventually finds the college kids in a nearby cabin, but Scott is shitfaced and everyone else is off riding each other. There's no phone there so she can't call anyone to rescue her and Scott falls asleep while she's shouting at him for being a horrible jerk. I have no idea why she doesn't steal his car keys and get herself out of there, but she ends up sleeping miserably on the bare floor of the cabin, presumably still in her red string bikini.
|Seriously, was this even a good look in the Eighties? What's got a creepy moustache and a rapey demeanour? THAT GUY.|
From here the book takes something of a nosedive, as all the potentially interesting Jessica-being-a-psycho stuff is over and now it's all about Elizabeth covering for Jessica and we know what BAGS OF FUN she can be. For example, she wakes up the next morning from a dream where she's kissing her boyfriend (BORING) and makes a mental note to write "I rose from the warmth of my dreams to the chill dawn of reality" into her journal. Don't bother, Liz. Also, "chill dawn"? Really? Life must be SUCH a struggle when you're a ridiculously beautiful and popular sixteen year old living in a split level house in a California town where it never rains. Anyway, Elizabeth realises that Jessica still hasn't come home and figures she'll be in as much trouble as Jessica if their parents find out, so she goes downstairs and has breakfast as herself, then sneaks back upstairs and comes down again as Jessica. Alice Wakefield can't tell her daughters apart after sixteen years. MOTHER OF THE YEAR.
So Elizabeth spends the day at school switching between being herself and Jessica, depending on who she's with. She takes the tour guide test, which is on in the school for some reason, but when Jessica still hasn't turned up when her allotted time for taking the test arrives, Elizabeth decides to bail her out by taking it again as her. BUT right before it she has a big row with Todd, because he calls her out on being such a fucking doormat when it comes to her twin and tells her it's cheating if she takes Jessica's test. They break up during the argument and a distressed Elizabeth takes the test as Jessica but makes a balls of it due to all the emotional DRAMA.
Afterwards she bumps into Olivia Davidson, who I'm only mentioning because of the description of her: "Olivia was big on things like anti-nuke rallies and organic food. [...] Her lunches invariably consisted of things like wholegrain bread, meatless spreads and alfalfa sprouts." Such completely unnecessary detail! WHY, FRANCINE? Or ghostwriter, as the case most certainly is.
Anyway, Jessica eventually resurfaces and when she finds out that Elizabeth failed the test she took for her but passed her own, she freaks the fuck out and accuses her of failing on purpose so she could have Scott for herself. Which doesn't even make the tiniest bit of sense, but then again, a bit of Insane Jessica action is always entertaining. Everyone is cross with each other for a bit, but then Todd and Elizabeth make up and Jessica gets to retake the test because the teacher who was supervising could see "how sick" she was and figured that was why she flunked it. It seems the world just conspires against Jessica EVER learning her lesson. Although she does get a dose of poison oak from her wandering around the woods half naked and misses the big surfing competition at the end, the build-up to which barely made for a subplot throughout the book.
Dana Larson runs away with the trophy again, this time while rocking the following:
"An oversize t-shirt over a red-striped miniskirt, purple tights and black suede ankle boots. An enormous gold loop dangled from one pierced earlobe, the other sported a tiny silver star."
Things I counted:
Number of pages: 117
References to the twins' blue-green eyes: 4
References to the fact that the twins are blonde: 3
References to Scott's moustache: 4
Number of times someone bites their lip: 4