Sweet Valley High #62: Who’s Who?

SVH062The moral of the story: If you like rock music, you can’t like foreign films. And vice versa.

The Big Deal: Valentine’s Day dance

Synopsis:

Jessica is once again bored with Sweet Valley boys. While at the mall with Liz, she sees a new shop called Lovestruck. It’s a dating agency that caters especially to teens. She gets two applications and fills them out with information about two personalities she just made up. One of them, Daniella Fromage (doesn’t that mean cheese?), is cultured and sophisticated and is based on Suzanne Hanlon. The other, Magenta Galaxy, is wild and crazy and is based on Dana Larson. A few days later, the agency tells Jessica they’ve found a match for Daniella. His name is Pierre. He was born in France and has traveled extensively. Jessica calls Suzanne to get pointers on how to act with Pierre and to borrow some clothes. Then Magenta gets a call from a guy named Brett, so Jessica has to hang out with Dana for a while to find out how to act like her.

Liz is a wet blanket about the whole thing and tells Jessica to just be herself. Jessica tells Liz how mundane she is and that she never takes risks or goes after what she really wants. As evidence, she mentions a dress Liz really wanted for the upcoming Valentine’s Day dance (it’s Valentine’s Day again?) but didn’t get because it was a little over her budget. Liz starts to think Jessica is making sense and decides she’s not going to be so boring anymore. She turns to the first blank page in her journal and writes, “Dare to be different.” Only Liz would leave herself a reminder to be more spontaneous. When Liz helps her pick out something to wear for her date with Pierre, Jessica says she’s going to do Liz a favor and help her buy that dress, but makes sure Liz knows she’ll owe her one. Liz, you never want to be indebted to Jessica.

Jessica goes on her date with Pierre, and it’s clear to us that he’s faking it, too, and not nearly as well as Jessica. But when he screws up (Jessica mentions Fellini and he says something about liking it with clam sauce), Jessica thinks he’s making a joke. They make a date to go see a French film the following week. When Jessica gets home, she finds Liz painting her toenails, which she’s never done before. This is how Liz cuts loose and acts spontaneous.

To get ready for her date with Brett, Jessica has Liz put a streak of blue in her hair. Then she sculpts it all weird and wears a guitar pick earring. Brett picks her up in his Oldsmobile and starts to explain that it’s his dad’s car, but Jessica says she totally gets that he’s making a statement with it. Brett takes her to the Rock Spot to listen to some loud and crappy music. Once again, it’s clear to us that the boy is faking, but Jessica has no idea.

Jessica and Pierre go to the revival theater to see a weird French movie that Jessica doesn’t understand. On the way out, she swears she sees Brett waiting in line, but is sure she must be imagining things because foreign films are sooo not Brett’s thing.

The next day at school, Liz does not sit at her usual table at lunch. Watch out, folks. She’s out of control. A few days later she gets an oxymoronic temporary perm. So, okay, points for the spontaneity of the perm, but minus a bunch for it being a perm that only lasts two weeks.

Jessica has double-booked her Saturday night and is unable to get in touch with either Brett or Pierre. She asks Liz to pretend to be Daniella or Magenta and take one of her dates. Liz says she won’t be able to pull it off since she won’t be able to talk about their previous dates. Jessica decides the best solution is to take turns. They’ll wear the same basic outfit and accessorize with Magenta’s and Daniella’s bracelets and stuff. Then they’ll make the guys take them to the same restaurant, where they’ll go to the bathroom every fifteen minutes and switch accessories. This is the worst idea ever.

Liz thinks Pierre is pompous and annoying, then she thinks he’s an idiot when he says something stupid about Paris. When she meets Brett, he says something about the Doors singing “Sympathy for the Devil.” Liz thinks something is odd but can’t put her finger on it. *facepalm* Brett says he wants to tell her something, but she races off to the bathroom to switch with Jessica. Fifteen minutes later, Brett tries again to get something off his chest, but it’s time to switch places again. In the bathroom, Liz says she just told Pierre she thinks he’s a fake. When Jessica gets back to the table, she tries to apologize for what “she” just said, but Pierre looks depressed and says he should take her home. Then Liz tells Brett she doesn’t want to go out with him anymore.

The next morning, Liz feels guilty for ruining Jessica’s dates, so she calls both guys and asks them to come over. At the same time, Suzanne and Dana come by to pick up all the stuff Jessica borrowed from them. It turns out Pierre’s real name is Pete and he’s actually a lot like Brett, and Brett is actually a lot like Pierre. Which means that Pete is perfect for Dana and Brett is great for Suzanne. The four of them start talking while Jessica is upstairs getting the girls’ stuff together. Dana and Pete leave together and so do Suzanne and Brett. Jessica is totally okay with that because she met a cute guy named Tony that morning while playing tennis with Cara. She decides to take him to the dance.

Quotes:

But an Oldsmobile wasn’t exactly what she had been expecting. There was something so – so tame about it, so ordinary. Then in a flash she realized it must be some kind of statement. It was so square, it was cool!

That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

As far as Jessica could tell, all the characters believed they were in purgatory, though to her it looked just like a doctor’s waiting room. Every once in a while a nurse would call someone’s name, and that person would look shocked and begin talking morosely about his childhood. Then the scene would switch to someone’s apartment, and the characters would begin to talk about opera and the family’s cheese-making factory. It didn’t make sense at all! To make matters worse, every once in a while a little red ball would roll across whatever room the characters were in. No one in the film seemed to notice it.

This is the description of the French movie Jessica and Pierre saw. It sounds interesting. Any idea if it’s a real movie or not?

What’s going on? she wondered. First Pierre thinks Paris is on the Riviera, and now Brett mixes up classic songs even I know about!

Liz’s reporter’s instincts at work once again.

The Cover: Oh, the horror. That necklace. Those bracelets. Those earrings. And the hair. Oh, lord, was the entire population drugged in the eighties? How could we ever have thought some of this stuff looked good?

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Comments
  • girltalkread June 16, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    OMG I remember this book I know I read it in fourth grade but only once or twice- but your description makes the book sound oodles better than it was!

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    Shannon Reply:

    Oh, it was really bad. At least it was fun, though. Nothing serious happening, for once.

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  • Enid Rollins June 16, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Wow, so THAT’S what purgatory’s like! I’ll have to listen to receptionists call for patients and read crappy magazines until I’m a good Christian again…not to mention the balls.

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    Shannon Reply:

    Well, I’ll be right next to you. We can heckle the other patients together. Maybe we can play catch with the weird red balls.

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  • Kate June 16, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    “Fromage (doesn’t that mean cheese?), is cultured”

    I bet you didn’t even realize you did this again! You are too cute and clever with your accidental double entendre!

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Oh, god dammit.

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    Kathryn Rebecca Reply:

    Haha… Shannon, that’s possibly the best one yet.

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  • Mara June 16, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Ha, I TOTALLY remember Magenta Galaxy and Daniella Fromage–in 5th grade or so I thought Jessica was unspeakably clever. Now, it’s pretty clear that she’s just kind of a bitch and not very bright

    I feel like that has to be a real French movie, otherwise the ghostwriter has a surprisingly active imagination–the description is so specific!

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I remembered Magenta, but not Daniella. Knowing me, I probably went around calling myself Magenta Galaxy for a few weeks after I read this.

    That’s what I thought about the film, too many details to just be something the ghostwriter made up.

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  • tracy london June 16, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    i remember thinking jessica looked oh so charming in that stupid ass beret. haha, the 80s. good times.

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    Shannon Reply:

    I thought the same thing. Whoever’s wearing the beret looks way better than the one who’s being Magenta, that’s for sure.

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  • HelenB June 16, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    She turns to the first blank page in her journal and writes, “Dare to be different.” Only Liz would leave herself a reminder to be more spontaneous.

    Actually, this kind of makes me like Liz. She’s just so earnest about everything!

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I know what you mean! When she wants something, man, she really goes after it.

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  • Raven Tiger June 16, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    OMG. Does Jessica have MPD? lol

    This book goes under my “WTF?” category. I remember this book as “Craptastic”. In sixth grade I thought Jessica was really creative, reading the recap I cringed.

    Keep on writing this awesome blog. ^_^

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Thanks!

    Yeah, when I was a kid, I thought this was such a great idea. What can we say? We were just kids!

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  • trappedintheattic June 16, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    God, I am changing my name to Magenta Galaxy immediately. I should have used that for my derby name. Curses!

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  • girltalkread June 16, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    I myself want to call myself Morbidda Destiny!

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  • Dana Larson June 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    “the Doors singing “Sympathy for the Devil.””

    Blasphemy!!

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  • Sandy August 3, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Ugh! Liz has NEVER painted her toe nails? That just came off as gross to me. Like she didn’t pay attention to her feet.

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  • Kristine November 25, 2009 at 8:10 am

    I found this novel hilarious when I was younger. That Jessica Wakefield will do anything to meet new guys. :p

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  • Lauren June 20, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Shows you just how cultured I am – didn’t think it could be a real French movie, but I knew the Family Guy creator knock off American Dad had an episode where the teenage son learned to lucid dream by recognizing he was dreaming whenever a red ball rolled across the floor.

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  • Goldray July 13, 2010 at 7:03 am

    I think the film is “Huis Clos”… It’s a play about hell being other people. Of course, I could be totally wrong… 🙂

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Just looked up the synopsis, and you’re right, it could be! In any case, it’s a better guess than the rest of us came up with!

    [Reply]

  • […] Cover courtesy of Shannon’s Sweet Valley High blog […]

  • #62 Who’s Who? « Snark Valley January 2, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    […] it sounded like it could be a real film. So I did some sleuthing – commenter goldray at Shannon’s Sweet Valley High Blog thought the film might be Sartre’s Huis Clois (No Exit) . Here is a scene of a stage […]

  • Suzanne April 6, 2011 at 12:59 am

    Dude, I LOVED this one! I love how, for once, FOR ONCE, Liz looks really cute and a bit like Nancy Wilson from Heart in the face. Yes, it’s a beret, but not those damn barrettes!

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  • Erica June 3, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Magenta Galaxy is as amazing as Robin Sparkles!

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  • Dorothy March 24, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    Sorry for the random late reply, but the film in the SVH book is DEFINITELY not Sartre’s Huis Clos/No Exit. The three main characters of that play inhabit a set that resembles a hotel room, there’s no hospital waiting room theme or cheesemaking factory, and they’re in Hell, not Purgatory. The one that Jessica watched is probably a mockery of such existentialist or surrealist works, though.

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  • Shannon March 29, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    Late or not, thanks for the reply, Dorothy! I’ve always wondered about that movie, lol.

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  • JBlaze October 27, 2013 at 12:59 pm
  • JBlaze October 27, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Huis Clos…a play by Jean-Paul Sartre 🙂 I covered a version of this in my degree, called ‘No Exit’ I don’t remember the red ball tho!
    Jessica looks hideous with all that day glo!!

    [Reply]

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