Sweet Valley High #32: The New Jessica
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.
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.
“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.