Sweet Valley High #32: The New Jessica

The moral of the story: If you’re a Wakefield twin you shouldn’t try to change your image because you’re already beautiful enough to be a model.

The Big Deal: Surprisingly, there was no party or dance in this book.

Best Outfit: This book is full of awesomely bad Jessica outfits, but my favorite is a slim-cut skirt worn with a white sweater with sequins on it. And a white beret. Amazing. I think it’s the sequins that put this one over the top.

Synopsis:

Jessica is tired of being mistaken for Liz all the time. The first two chapters contain pretty much nothing besides instances of people confusing them and Jessica complaining about it. She decides she needs a makeover. Lila helps her dye her hair and apply her makeup differently and the New Jessica is born. She looks sophisticated with her straight black hair and “striking” makeup. She combines her “slightly Eastern” look with a British accent and props like magazines from France and acts really condescending to everyone at school. This makes everyone love her even more than usual.

Liz is not happy with Jessica’s new look. It makes her sad that Jessica doesn’t want to be a twin anymore. Then Liz’s new boyfriend Jeffrey mentions that Jess doesn’t look too bad and Liz immediately gets weird and thinks he wants Jessica. She pours all her feelings into her journal and then somehow manages to leave it lying around in the newspaper office. When she goes back to find it, it’s gone. Then she and Jeffrey have a fight because Liz is an idiot. Like, seriously, nothing happens, she just kind of freaks out and gets it into her head that Jeffrey doesn’t like her anymore and then makes sure that’s exactly what happens. Liz tells Jessica she thinks Jeffrey is interested in her and Jessica decides to go for it. That’s right, she decides to go for her own twin’s boyfriend when they haven’t even really broken up. Jessica tries to flirt with Jeffrey the next day at lunch, but he makes it clear he’s not interested in anyone but Liz. Jessica does not tell Liz this because she’s so embarrassed to have come so close to making a fool of herself in front of Jeffrey.

Jessica goes to a photographer to have some pictures taken because she’s decided to be a model. The photographer tells her about a contest, and while she’s “too short” for normal modeling, she’d be perfect to model these junior clothes because she looks “slightly European.” I love that she’s too short for modeling. I mean, the twins are five foot six, they’re not exactly midgets. Whatever. Jessica decides that when she’s a famous model, she’ll change her name to Jessa Fields. When she goes back to the modeling agency or photographer or whatever, they reject her for the modeling job. But then they see Liz in the waiting room and offer her six hundred dollars to do the show because her look is perfect. Ah, sweet irony. So Jessica’s plan is to wash the dye out of her hair and dress like a regular person again and convince these people that she’s really Elizabeth. I don’t think that last part is necessary, but you know we all love a good twin switch. Penny Ayala has found Liz’s journal and she drops it off with Jessica, who of course can’t resist reading some of it. She comes across a passage about how sad Liz has been since Jessica’s makeover. This strengthens Jessica’s resolve to go back to her normal look.

Jessica, as Elizabeth, gets the modeling job but when the guy in charge sees Liz in the audience he gets the twins to do the show together. Jessica finally tells Liz that Jeffrey loves her and they get back together.

Quotes:

“Jessica, dear, don’t you realize that you and Elizabeth are identical twins? Why shouldn’t people get you confused every once in a while?”

Thank you, Lila. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

“I can’t believe Jessica would do a thing like this to me,” she wrote furiously in her journal. “We’ve always looked exactly alike, and now she doesn’t even look like my sister! I can’t help thinking that she’s done this because she doesn’t want to be close to me anymore. And I just can’t understand it.”

Liz, come on. Lots of teenagers dye their hair black. Sometimes it’s just the right thing to do. Get over it.

The Cover: I know, Liz. I think she’s really flipped this time.

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Comments
  • Kate April 24, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    I really don’t understand how nobody in sweet valley has picked up on the key to telling the twins apart:

    Liz always wears her hair in two barrettes.

    Jessica never wears barrettes.

    Easy!

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  • nugirl77 May 5, 2009 at 5:23 am

    Poor Jess – she sounds so much exotic and sophisticated in the story than she actually looks on the cover of this book! I guess if it’s not your own fakeover, it’s hard to describe it to anyone else, let alone PAINT a picture of it! 😉

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  • Amya July 14, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Jessica looks like a cross-dresser.

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  • Enid Rollins August 4, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    What the hell is Liz wearing?

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  • Darren August 13, 2009 at 5:42 am

    I wrote this out with the Jem episode: The Day the Music died, when Pizzazz and Lila Fowler both run Starlight Mansion! Jessica left home briefly, but didn’t do anything major to the Starlight girls. By the time Jerrica got back, the starlight girls gave Lila a bad makeover and drove her father and Eric Raymond loony as they gave back control to Jerrica. Also, Jessica developed a kinship with the Starlight Girls as they were normal as her. It also led to Ned and Alice discovering Synergy thanks to a blurt by Deirdre. LIla had tried to get Deirdre deported, and when Liz took in Deirdre at her house, well that was when Jessica had moved out briefly. I can’t wait to see the rewrite!

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  • Kate April 18, 2010 at 3:57 am

    I admit it, I wanted a white beret super bad after reading this.

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  • Anonymous January 25, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I hated this book so much as a teenager. I’m SO sure Jessica’s classmates who knew her since 2nd grade, “obviously did not recognise her” because she died her hair black. I lost 70 pounds before my high-school reunion, curled and dyed my hair, replaced my glasses with coloured contacts and everyone recognised me. BURN IN HELL FRANCINE!

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  • Mara May 31, 2011 at 1:56 am

    Jess def looks like John Travolta from Hairspray.

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  • Twisted Sister October 5, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Jessica looks so OLD!!!

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  • Bertha Mason October 13, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    My 11 year old self loved this book! I vaguely remember reading about this olive green outfit she borrowed from Lila w/ snakeskin boots. Didn’t Jess take to drinking espressos bc it was the rich and European thing to do?
    And I am totally getting a Boy George-ish vibe from Jessica’s face on the cover, haha.

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  • Kim July 15, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    I remember Jessica thinking that the word “actually” was very sophisticated so she said it a lot. Also faking a Brit accent didn’t work for Madonna, it ain’t working for a Wakefield.

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  • kylie90210 April 23, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    Oh I did so lovvve this one as a kid! I of course loved fakeovers, and ever fakeroverers, which is what this is. Haha

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  • Jessica is Evil March 30, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Why is it so impossible to tell them apart? One is a raging sociopath and the other is a pushover who loves going to the laundry for fun. The secret is in the eyes.

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