Sweet Valley High #1: Double Love

The moral of the story: If your twin sister is a psychopath, just keep letting her be a psychopath.

The Big Deal: the Phi Epsilon – Pi Beta Alpha dance


The series opens with Jessica staring in the mirror, complaining about how fat and ugly she is. This affords the narrator the opportunity to tell us that Jessica and Elizabeth are, in fact, the most spectacular looking identical twins in the whole world. I feel like throwing up already.

Liz has a major crush on Todd Wilkins and he seems to like her, too. They agree to meet after school one day, but Liz ends up running late. She gets out to the parking lot just as Todd drives off with Jessica, who thinks Todd is totally hunky. The next day, the whole school is buzzing with the news that Todd and Jessica are the hottest new couple in town. Jessica  tries to hint to Todd that she wants him to take her to the upcoming fraternity/sorority dance, but Todd just keeps asking if Liz has a date. Jessica gets pissed and implies that Liz always has a date, if you know what I mean. Then she stalks away and decides to walk home to see if she can get some horny guys to notice her swinging her hips.

Seventeen-year-old Rick Andover, who dropped out of school six months ago, pulls over and offers Jessica a ride. He takes her home, saying he makes it a point to “know where all the foxiest chicks in Sweet Valley live,” (creeper) and tells her he’s taking her out the next night. Jessica is thrilled with this attention. Rick takes her to Kelly’s Roadhouse, the baddest bar in town, and proceeds to get drunk and start a fight. A cop shows up and takes Jessica home, calling her Elizabeth as she gets out of the car. Caroline Pearce hears this and tells everyone at school that Elizabeth was at Kelly’s with Rick Andover and started a riot. Liz tells everyone she never went there, but nobody believes her, despite the fact that she has an identical twin who would totally do something like that.

Liz’s best friend, Enid, has her knickers in a twist because the new guy, Ronnie Edwards, has asked her to the dance. Things are just swell between them, but Ronnie believes Liz was at Kelly’s and doesn’t think Enid should talk to her anymore. Todd believes it, too, especially after hearing Jessica’s stories about how many guys Liz has gone out with. But when Jessica confesses to Todd that it was actually her at the bar, he thinks she’s covering up for Liz. Then he kisses her for being so noble and asks her to the dance.

Todd spends the entire dance watching Liz, and at the end of the night he kisses Jessica on the cheek. Now she’s super pissed and wants to “get even.” She goes upstairs and tells Liz that Todd “tried everything” and she had to beg him to stop grabbing her. Over the next few days, Todd tries to talk to Liz and tell her he forgives her for seeing Rick Andover (insert big eye-roll here), but Liz is ignoring him because she thinks he tried to have his way with Jessica.

One night, the twins are driving home from the Dairi Burger together when they realize they’re being followed by another car. At a stop light, Rick Andover pushes the twins over and jumps into the driver’s seat of their mother’s Fiat. He’s totally drunk and decides he wants to take them to Kelly’s. He drives them through the Dairi Burger’s parking lot, and Todd can see the twins are terrified. He gets in his car and follows Rick and the twins to Kelly’s, then he beats up Rick and gets the twins home. Jessica says something about never wanting to see the inside of Kelly’s again, and Todd realizes she was telling the truth about Liz having never gone there. Todd and Liz work out all the lies Jessica has told them, and then they kiss.

In a subplot, the Fowlers and the Patmans are having some stupid feud over the football field. The school board stupidly let the lease on it run out, so now the Richie Riches are trying to buy it. Ned Wakefield is a lawyer on the case, working to keep the field in the hands of the high school. The football field storyline is good for only one thing: to make the twins suspect their father of having an affair with his partner when he works late on the case. He’s not.

Sadly, there was no drama at the dance in this book. All that happened was that Todd and Jessica were terrific dancers and the rest of the students cleared the floor for them in true 1980s fashion.

Also, the twins get into the Pi Beta Alpha sorority.


“This sounds like a job for my new tuxedo shirt,” Elizabeth offered…

“Could I wear the pants too? … And the little bow tie?”

Oh, the eighties, how fashion misguided they were!

“I’m sure you’ll be allowed to drive again soon,” she said encouragingly.

But Jessica wasn’t listening to a word. She was out of the car in a flash, slamming the door so hard that Elizabeth winced.

[The next page:]

She threw her arms around Elizabeth and gave her a swift, powerful hug, almost lifting her off the ground.

“I’ve decided to forgive you,” she announced, beaming.

Then she shoved her hand into her pocket to feel the car keys. They were gone! And then she remembered Jessica’s sudden hug – that was when she had filched the keys.

This was my first inkling that something was seriously wrong with Jessica’s mental state. Mood swings, trickery, bursts of anger…

“My whole life is going to go right down the tubes! How could he do this, Lizzie?” She began to cry… “Our brother, a member of the Wakefield family, has been spending every weekend…with Betsy Martin! …I will be totally ruined forever when this gets around school!”


She didn’t like Elizabeth being close friends with anyone but her.


Elizabeth wondered how her sister could possibly descend from cloud nine with Todd Wilkins to the pits of depression so fast – and simply because she had to do a little thing like help fix dinner.

…manic depression…

No guy – not even Todd Wilkins – could take Jessica Wakefield to a dance and treat her like a piece of furniture. He wasn’t going to get away with it, she vowed.

…and a vengeful mind.

“I can’t ever stay angry with you…”

And that about sums up Liz, loyal to an insane sister who spreads lies about her, steals the boy she likes and lets rumors that she’d been arrested go uncontested.

Jessica and the number 137

“You’ve got to be seven hundred and thirty-seven kinds of idiot not to be excited about associating with the best girls at Sweet Valley High.” p. 35

“He has got to be the most wonderful boy in a hundred and thirty-seven states!” p. 108

“This family has got to be the biggest bummer in five hundred and thirty-seven cities!” p. 111

“I’ll never forgive you, not if I live to be a hundred and thirty-seven years-” p. 182

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  • Ned W. April 25, 2009 at 12:57 am

    I have to say that while I thought your analysis of the plotline of the book was amusing, I think your character analysis is a bit inaccurate.

    I think the book is clearly biased against the kind of free-spirited fun that Jess personifies. I also don’t think its fair to take the narrator’s opinions on Jess entirely at face value, when those opinions are so clearly skewed.

    Picture Liz (in her ridiciulous bow-tie), unwilling to share her car with own sister, who in fact scorns Jess because of the people Jess is associating with! Then Liz steals Todd Wilkins away from her!

    I believe Jess has a right to be angry, and that, as a 16 year old girl, its only natural for her to be somewhat dramatic over the whole ordeal!

    Let’s not forget that the book does not question the fact that the entire town of Sweet Valley should be aghast at (and spread rumors regarding) Jess hanging out with the wrong kind people (and we know they are the wrong kind of people based solely on the fact that they drink). I believe that Jess’ chaffing at this kind of scrutiny from her peers is normal and even healthy, yet Francine Pascal would paint Jess as the abnormal deviate who must be brought in line through community shunning!


  • nugirl77 May 6, 2009 at 6:45 am

    The book that started it all! :)


  • Darren January 10, 2010 at 12:34 am

    Reading book 1 is like seeing the debut of Dallas and Knots Landing for some reason! Jessica getting dumped in the pool, reminds me of JR Ewing getting tossed in the pool. Steven and Tricia were like Bobby and Pam Ewing. Caroline the gossip is like Abby Fairgate on Knots Landing.

    The rewrite I thought was OK, but too much adult theme like. But Rick Andover did drive a cool VW Eos in the 1 rewrite.


    Lelandria Reply:

    I thought they handeled the whole Todd supposedly raping Jessica mucxh better. Instead of Liz being like if Todd says he’s sorry that makes it ok, she says no way ever going near him again.


  • sarah April 12, 2010 at 7:55 pm



  • Anonymous May 17, 2010 at 5:01 am

    I have to say, I’ve read all of your summaries and commentary on the SVH series, and it’s gold!! Well done, one of the best blogs out there.


    Shannon Reply:

    Thank you so much!


    Mari Reply:

    Enjoy the blogs as well!!! We truly needed a forum like this! Re-reading the SVH books as a newly 30 year old is mind blogging. I’m like “I ate this up as a teen.” Thank goodness for a more mature mind that is now able to clearly identify plain outright dysfunctions. I knew Jessica was messed up BUT did not fully comprehend that Liz also had some serious issues!!! “Liz, oracle to Liz! Wake up!!!!” Your twin, will and has thrown you under the bus, will drive the bus over you and will toss her silky locs and say “Just a little bump- its Liz after all”. (I’m talking a physical bus here folks!) Then will cry at the scene of the crime and blame someone even Liz her supposed best friend and “nothing can break us apart twin Liz” and cry hysterically that its the person’s fault who left the keys in the ignition. Liz stop being so sickening gullible and stand up to your real enemy- your twin!!! Urghh!! Don’t get me started on the enabling thing too. You are so right on Shannon!

    Side note: Started re-collecting books for my “I’m feeling nostalgic of the good ole days. When life was easy as a teen. Now I’m like, whoa clear Jerry Springer material. Who knew?!!


  • Kylie90210 July 18, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    Excellent! I’ve heard about you all over the place online, and finally got around to coming on here. Love your recaps, very funny!


    Shannon Reply:

    Welcome! I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog!


  • Trish September 9, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    I just found out about this and my SVH fangirl came out. Spot on! Can’t wait to read them all


  • lottie January 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Ahhhhhhh, just discovered this website. Amazing.


  • Angel March 24, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I’m so excited that Sweet Valley is back! Can’t wait to read the books, I think Sweet Valley Confidential will be a new series. Thank you so much for writing a blog on the series. Finally someone as crazy about this series like I am. When did you start the blog and are you on twitter?


    Shannon Reply:

    I’m excited, too! I started this blog about two years ago.

    I am on twitter! My handle is ShannonSVH; there’s a link in the sidebar.

    Thanks for reading!


  • Angel April 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I’m not sure why they came out w/ the new versions of Sweet Valley High, some things are just not meant to be changed. I’m wondering what you think of the new versions Shannon?


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  • Beretta Fleur May 7, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I cannot stop laughing at this.

    I LOVE this blog and that it exists. My sister and I had the whole series, and making fun of these books has been a huge running joke for years. She just made fun of the #5 cover art in her blog today, which is why I was browsing for SVH stuff in a moment of nostalgia.

    One christmas I even got her a bunch of them used and highlighted the cheesiest passages. Thank you!


  • wardah naseer August 10, 2012 at 3:12 am

    i really liked the stor..!!


  • wardah naseer August 10, 2012 at 3:14 am

    i really liked the story..!!!=)


  • severina October 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I must say a was a wee bit disappointed Jessica didn’t wind up at the top of a clock tower with a rifle.

    Sad to say in 1983 I had a gray & white tuxedo shirt that I wore with black bow tie and jeans that had a waistband way up under the armpits. It was about 137 different kinds of wrong but I suspect I’d been overcome by AquaNet and Dippity-Do fumes.


  • Dane Youssef November 12, 2012 at 2:31 am

    Drug addiction. Yeah, I’m clean. Christ, I miss it. Sobriety really does suck sick ass through a broken straw. Yeah, like I honestly have to work hard to convince anybody out there, right? I don’t just miss getting high… being high.

    “The high.” I miss the addiction itself. Hey, when I was an addict, the only problem I really had was drug addiction. Doesn’t it… doesn’t it really make all your other problems go away? Yeah, you stop worrying. You stop fretting. God help you, you actually just sit back and groooove…. enjoy life. Enjoy living.

    The immortal, time-honored Dairy Burger has been replaced by a Mexican restaurant. The twins have lost weight and whittled all the way down to a size 4! Keep going, girls! Lose those pounds! You’ll have reached that negative size 7 in no time! God, I really feel for that poor bloated heifer Calista Flockhart.

    Didn’t catch on. Maybe most of today’s audience is just plain sick and tired of this town and the people in it. I hear there’s a movie coming out soon. And Diablo Cody’s writing it. Ms. “Juno” herself. Maybe that’ll bring the craze back.

    Seriously, has anyone else out there read the re-vamped ones? What the Hell did all of YOU think? Let’s open that little query up for debate.

    –Opening The Forum, Dane Youssef


  • Dane Youssef November 12, 2012 at 2:49 am

    Hey, I myself just had the good pleasure of reading the 2008 re-vamping of the series. Oh, they gave the entire town and population of “Sweet Valley” a face-lift for a whole new generation of readers.

    They didn’t just edit (or rather, contrive) stuff like blogs, iPhones, text messaging, the internet, YouTube and Blue-tooths. The characters are even more accomplished. For example, Todd was the captain of the basketball team a-way back in 1983 when these things first came out.

    Now, he’s also the wide-receiver of the football team as well. Wow! Well, I guess you gotta diversify by today’s standards.

    The immortal, time-honored Dairy Burger has been replaced by a Mexican restaurant. The twins have lost weight and whittled all the way down to a size 4! Keep going, girls! Lose those pounds! You’ll have reached that negative size 7 in no time! God, I really feel for that poor bloated heifer Calista Flockhart.
    Didn’t catch on. Maybe most of today’s audience is just plain sick and tired of this town and the people in it. I hear there’s a movie coming out soon. And Diablo Cody’s writing it. Ms. “Juno” herself. Maybe that’ll bring the craze back.

    Seriously, has anyone else out there read the re-vamped ones? What the Hell did all of YOU think? Let’s open that little query up for debate.

    –Opening The Forum, Dane Youssef


  • Shannon November 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Dane, I read the first two revamped books. They were SO BAD.


  • miu December 26, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    jessica says a lot of times that she hates todd for being close to liz i kinda wondered if the reason she tried to even have todd is simply separate him from liz. she has that crazy mind like when she seduces elizabeth’s cheater bf in SVU just to prove he’s a cheater and stuff


  • nadia December 28, 2012 at 1:20 am

    You know, I wince every time I think that I read awful literature such as this! SV and its obsession on its skinny, pretty people… totally pathetic…


  • Dane Youssef January 22, 2013 at 1:26 am

    “jessica says a lot of times that she hates todd for being close to liz i kinda wondered if the reason she tried to even have todd is simply separate him from liz. she has that crazy mind like when she seduces elizabeth’s cheater bf in SVU just to prove he’s a cheater and stuff” –miu

    Yup. You figured it out. Big congrats. Jessica herself has had strong feelings for Todd since the very beginning–since #1. Her animosity is heavily based on the fact that Todd picked her sister over her. And although our friend Todd shares a lot of the dull, bookish interests that Elizabeth does–and Jess herself personally hates, she still finds herself drawn to him… and she keeps finding herself going back to him again and again and again.

    She hates him… because she LOVES him–and she doesn’t want to love him.

    But… Todd and Jess do finally find one another. For good.

    –All My Best (and respect for your insightful deduction), Dane Youssef


  • Kanna-Chan February 4, 2013 at 4:10 am

    Liz wasn’t “unwilling to share her car” Jessica was grounded from it! By her parents!


  • Anonymous May 6, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Man, the revamps are just TERRIBLE. It doesn’t have the cheesy, accidentally hilarious 80s quality to it. Jessica is so nasty in the revamps that I actually feel uncomfortable reading em.

    Shannon, I always come back to this blog and have a marathon reading session when I’m feeling shite. It always cheers me up :)


  • Anonymous May 10, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    The one thing about the revamps that’s worth mentioning is that Liz isn’t as deluded about Jessica. She gets appropriately mad whereas in the original series, she would’ve been all “GASP no! Jessica would never do that!”

    And I kinda liked that Robin Wilson didn’t lose 9383lbs in a few weeks. She’s still plus sized by the time she gets into the cheerleading squad, and it’s mentioned that she’s planning on losing more at a steady pace.


  • The Noble Margo May 18, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Has no one else noticed the similarity between SVH and the Archie comics? Bruce Patman as Reggie Wilkins, Lila Fowler as Veronica Lodge, Winston Egbert as Jughead, Elizabeth Wakefield as Betty Cooper on a good day, (Jessica as Betty on a bad day) Tad “Blubber” Johnson as Big Moose, Randy Mason as Dilton Doiley, Chrome Dome Cooper as Mr. Weatherbee, Todd Wilkins as Archie Andrews, and Henry Patman/ George Fowler splitting Mr. Lodge.


  • The Noble Margo May 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    I’m laughing but I do mean it! Archie Comics are the prototype of SVH!


  • The Noble Margo May 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    I like that in the revamps Robin wore a tankini instead of a t0o-tight two piece.


  • Dane Youssef September 18, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Hey, was Todd the Captain of the basketball team from book one? Was Jess the cheer-leading squad?


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  • Kanna-Chan February 28, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    architecture magazine



    Shannon Reply:

    That might be the weirdest spam comment I’ve ever received. WTF?


  • [...] Image via Shannon’s Sweet Valley High Blog [...]

  • Shannon April 25, 2009 at 8:39 am

    I can’t tell whether or not you’re joking. If you are, you’re hilarious. Thanks for reading!


  • Enid Rollins August 4, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Is this an analysis of the fine literature that is SV?


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