Sweet Valley High #31: Taking Sides

The moral of the story: The next time you want a guy, just try to hook him up with your best friend. He’ll totally fall for you instead.

The Big Deal: Party at Lila’s, and another at the beach


Enid and Lila are both trying to get in Jeffrey French’s pants. When Jessica finds out Liz is helping Enid she decides to help Lila. Lila has a pool party as an excuse to get Jeffrey to come over and Jessica fails to mention it to Liz or Enid. The twins’ cousin Jenny is in town for a visit. She’s fifteen (what a child!) and she idolizes Jessica, but Jessica can’t stand her because she’s, like, such a nerd. Jenny tags along with Jessica to Lila’s party and then lets it slip to Liz the next day. Jenny also seems to be enamored with Jessica’s latest crush, Eddie. She won’t leave him and Jessica alone and Jessica thinks Eddie is just the nicest boy for actually conversing with the little brat.

Jeffrey French is a photographer and he comes to The Oracle office so Liz can show him around. It’s apparent to us that he isn’t really listening to Liz’s raving about Enid and that he’s really interested in Liz, but she doesn’t seem to get it. He asks her to go for a soda at Casey’s and she can’t figure out why he seems disappointed when she says she can’t. She tells him he should go to the volleyball game that night and hang out with Enid. Later that night she finds out Jeffrey went to the Beach Disco and danced with Lila all night. Liz gets mad at him for standing Enid up. Uh, Liz, it’s not like he made a date with her. Chill out. Then she finds out he only went to the Beach Disco because he thought she was going to be there and she finally understands that he likes her.

Enid’s next idea is for Jeffrey to auction himself off in the food drive and she makes Liz ask him to do it. Liz asks him and she knows he thinks it’s so she can bid on him herself. At the auction, Enid bids seventy-five cans of food and wins the date. Liz has trouble admitting to herself that she’s jealous. Enid’s date with Jeffrey is fine, but she realizes they don’t really click.

Jenny tags along on Jessica’s date with Eddie that night. She’s brushed her hair and traded her glasses for contacts, so I guess she knows about fakeovers, but Jessica reflects that “even the dark-colored dress Jenny was wearing did little to disguise the fact that she was chubby.” The three of them go to the Dairi Burger and see Enid and Jeffrey there. Jessica finds out about Enid and Liz’s plot to get Jeffrey and Enid together. She starts thinking of ways to get back at them.

Enid tells Liz that she and Jeffrey aren’t really interested in each other, but Liz is hell-bent on getting them together. At the beach party that weekend she keeps pushing Enid and Jeffrey together and being totally annoying. They both finally get mad at her and she has to apologize to both of them.

Jeffrey tells Liz he’s in love with her, Enid gives Liz her blessing, Jenny and Eddie end up together and Lila consoles herself by remembering what a fabulous social life she has. End scene.

Setup for the next book: Jessica is sick of people confusing her with Liz.


Thick glasses, unkempt hair, at least ten pounds overweight, and dressed in the most unflattering fuchsia sweats, Jenny was, as far as Jessica was concerned, a mess.

One word: Fakeover. Contacts, a trip to the salon and some flattering clothes and this girl will be hotness personified. Of course, there’s still the problem of those ten whole extra pounds…

“I’m so glad Sweet Valley High has a food drive every year,” [Liz] remarked to Penny Ayala, the editor of the paper. “It’s hard to believe there are people in our own town who don’t have enough to eat!”

I call bullshit. There are no poor people in Sweet Valley, and if there are they live on the other side of town and nobody ever talks about them.

The Cover: Wow, the twins aren’t even a little hot on this cover and they look like a couple of bitches.

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  • Abi April 25, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Was this the one with the soccer match?


  • nugirl77 May 5, 2009 at 5:36 am

    I confess, this was a cliffhanger story for me! Unashamedly and without sarcasm (or even irony), I’ll tell you I wept with Liz over her agonized parting with Todd, so, naturally, I agonized over whether Jeffrey would choose Lila or Liz. She’s not a favorite with you, Shannon, but I root for Liz. I sympathise with control-freaky girls who are a little too serious, who make mistakes and end up judgmental, self-righteous and manipulative. (Could be the story of my life!) Lila was just annoying in this story, calling him “Jeffie.” 🙂 Three cheers for Jennie Townsend – the only girl to have successfully stolen a boyfriend from Jessica Wakefield – and without even trying! I hope Jennie features on the SVH board game I’ve just bought on eBay!!!


  • Sandy August 10, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Hmmm, they look like Brooke Hogan on this cover. If Brooke had short hair. But the tan and the big arms are all there.


  • Kristine November 25, 2009 at 7:46 am

    I like this one because this is where the Liz-Jeffrey love story started. although it’s such a classic, overused plot (falling in love with the object of your best friend’s attention), I remember feeling lovesick by the end of the novel. hooray for Jeffrey French! Even his name sounds better than Todd Wilkins.


  • S.R. February 13, 2010 at 12:51 am

    Yay, Jeffrey French! I liked him so much better than Todd – so disappointed when they brought him back in SVH and it still didn’t work out with him & Liz.


  • Kate April 18, 2010 at 3:54 am

    Does Lila ever get a decent guy or a good storyline? I swear for someone rich and beautiful she gets NO play.

    I remember thinking at the time that Liz and Jeffrey were entirely lame. I always pictured him with round glasses and Justin Timberlake hair.


  • Olivia September 26, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Team Jeffrey!


  • kylie90210 April 23, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    To me, Jeffery was just a blonder, more whipped Todd. Yawn.


  • Tom Mckay March 30, 2014 at 6:08 am



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  • edkchestnut February 18, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    OMG, I just finished this book and all I could really think was how much Francine hates fat people with bad eyesight. This book must have mentioned Jenny being overweight or chubby at least a dozen times. Also, every time you saw her she was eating like a maniac. There is no way that someone can eat the way she did in this story and only be 10 pounds overweight. Also, in the grand scheme of things, 10 pounds really isn’t that much so what is the big deal? I really hate Francine when she gets on her fat people high horse. I would also like to point out that this was at least the second story in which Ned and Alice agreed to take in someone else’s child for an extended period of time and then completely ignored her, leaving her to be taken care of by the twins. Way to show your amazing parenting skills there, Nalice.


  • Natasha May 8, 2016 at 1:59 am

    Lots of spam posts here


  • Alex Kennedy July 12, 2016 at 7:22 am

    This book has prompted the following sentence to appear in the hundreds of books that follow: (I have likely quoted it incorrectly); “It took Elizabeth awhile to realise that Jeffrey was not interested in Jessica or Enid, but in HER.”


  • Anonymous March 1, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Really I always thought they looked a little like Sarah from Dinosaucers especially on the other covers.


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