Sweet Valley High #71: Starring Jessica

SVH071The moral of the story: You can only have one hobby. If you have more than one, you won’t do any of them well and that is just unacceptable.

The Big Deal: Television interview with Eric Parker


Eric Parker is a talk show host and he’s coming to Sweet Valley, where one lucky All American teenager will win the chance to be interviewed on his show. So, obviously, Lila and Jessica are both determined to win. I wonder what questions Eric would ask Jessica? “So, are you really blond? Do you really go to high school? Boy, you sure are an American teenager!” How exciting. Liz, naturally, doesn’t see what all the fuss is about. Amy Sutton is too cool to apply for the contest because a.) her mom is a television personality so Eric Parker just isn’t all that exciting to her and b.) she doesn’t think Eric Parker is anywhere near as hot as Tom McKay, who she’s decided to steal from Jean West. When Jessica starts filling out her application, she realizes her list of interests makes her look shallow. Really? I never would have noticed. She decides to come up with some new interests. Liz tells her Penny is looking for a guest columnist for The Oracle, so Jessica decides to write a humorous article entitled, “The Worst Dates of My Life.” Liz thinks it’s hilarious, but convinces Jessica to change the names of the Sweet Valley boys. When Jessica gives her revised article to Penny, Liz gets all sad and dejected when Penny declares the article “perfect as it is.” Penny’s never said that about one of Liz’s articles. Ha. So now Liz thinks she’s a crappy writer and that she settled on a career path too soon. She decides to go with Enid to see about being a junior ranger at Secca Lake. Oh, just let your sister be good at something that doesn’t involve being trampy for once.

On the day Sweet Valley High is supposed to find out who won the contest, Mr. Cooper instead announces that Eric Parker couldn’t decide who he liked best so he’s chosen six finalists. They are Jessica, Lila, Olivia, Winston, Patty Gilbert and Jim Roberts. Suddenly, Lila and Jessica are mortal enemies, both determined to win. Each finalist will have a fifteen minute one-on-one interview with Eric. Lila draws the first slot. When she gets to the school’s conference room, she sees a secretary putting up a note saying the interviews have been moved to the auditorium. Lila’s interview goes splendidly, and then she hangs out in the room across from the conference room. Jessica has drawn the last slot, so after Olivia, who has the fifth slot, sees the note and hurries off to the auditorium, Lila takes the note down and leaves the school. Jessica gets to the conference room and has no idea where Eric Parker is. Then Olivia passes her in the hall and tells her to get down to the auditorium. Jessica goes and has a great interview with Eric, telling him all about being a twin and managing to mention that Lila is a millionaire, something Lila herself failed to include on her application. Jessica wins the TV spot and Lila is named the alternate. So now Lila is determined that Jessica won’t be able to make it so she’ll be able to take her place.

Liz is loving her junior ranger job, but Don, the guy in charge, asks her to be his assistant and she’s worried about giving up so much of her free time. She’s already had to turn down an assignment for The Oracle. She decides to do it, though, when she remembers the way Penny gushed about Jessica’s article. Oh, shut up and quit your bitching. Other people are allowed to have talents, you know. Speaking of Jessica’s article, when it finally gets published, everyone loves it, especially the part about Bruce Patman (Jessica changed his name to Reginald Rich, but everyone knows who she’s talking about) kissing like a dead jellyfish. So now Lila and Bruce are both out for revenge. They decide to join forces and come up with a plan to keep Jessica off Eric Parker’s show.

Liz is tired all the time now that she’s a junior ranger leading tours around the lake. She comes home from work one day to make dinner, but then Don calls and says one of the rangers has canceled. Liz goes back to the park and leads tours until nine, then comes home too exhausted to do her homework. Then Jessica wants Liz to help her prepare for her interview. Liz says she can’t, but gives in when Jessica frowns. They spend twenty minutes doing a fake interview, and Liz remembers how much she loves doing this sort of thing. Lately, she hasn’t gotten much joy out of writing, but interviewing Jessica has reminded her how much she loves being a journalist. But she also loves being a park ranger! How will she ever choose?

The day before Jessica’s interview with Eric, Lila calls and apologizes for being so bratty. Then she offers to take Jessica shopping the following afternoon to help her find something amazing to wear for the interview. Don’t trust her, Jessica! It’s all a big trick! Lila takes Jessica to a shop about an hour away from Sweet Valley. She finds the cutest outfit ever and hands it to Jessica to try on. Jessica hands Lila her purse before going into the fitting room. Stupid. She comes out to show Lila, but Lila isn’t around. Then Jessica looks out the window and sees her driving away. She starts to run after her, and the women behind the counter accuse her of trying to shoplift (she ran outside still wearing the outfit she was trying on) and they call the police. Jessica thinks that’s extreme, but she doesn’t know that Bruce had called the store earlier pretending to be a police detective searching for a shoplifter fitting Jessica’s description. When Lila gets back to Sweet Valley, she meets Bruce at his house. They’re so happy their plan worked that they share a kiss, and then immediately back away from each other.

The police keep Jessica until after six o’clock, and she’s supposed to be at the school at seven for her interview. They finally figure out that it was someone playing a trick on her and let her go. She calls Liz and tells her what happened. Liz gets all crazed and tells her there’s no way Lila is taking Jessica’s place on Eric Parker’s show. She tells Jessica to just get to the school as soon as she can. Liz does the interview as Jessica, and afterward, she meets Jessica in the bathroom, where they trade clothes so that Jessica can bask in the glory of a great interview. Then Lila and Bruce have a very public argument about Bruce’s phone call to the store not working. Lila tells him he really does kiss like a jellyfish. Gross.

In the end, Liz decides to quit the junior ranger thing and concentrate on writing. Amy and Cara force Lila and Jessica to make up. There’s a new girl at school named Andrea Slade. Jessica likes her style.


Jessica followed Amy’s gaze, which had zeroed in on a blond, clean-cut boy sitting a few tables away from them. “Tom McKay, from the tennis team?”

Jessica, don’t act like you haven’t gone out with Tom enough times to know who he is without a modifier like “from the tennis team.”

The Cover: I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jessica look uglier. Those shoulder pads, those bangs, that smile. Oh, it’s awful. She looks like she just woke up.


  • alantru July 9, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    I had no idea there was such intrigue and adventure going on. I have so many wholesome questions, but my main one is about this Lila gal. She kisses jellyfish??? Any photos?


  • Kate July 10, 2009 at 11:24 am

    That blazer is crazy! That’s all I have to say about this book.


  • Daners Isadora- Bond Girl July 10, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Liz! You’re 16! Chill. I’m 29 and still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

    Also, Lila is all sorts of evil…and I love it.

    But that kiss between Bruce and Lila? Random.


  • Sandy August 13, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    I just love how it’s the usual gang getting chosen for those 5 slots.


  • Katia November 25, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Im telling u Bruce and Lila belong together… Lets get some more jellyfish kisses


  • Alex Kennedy July 9, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Lila FOWLer is a horrible person. She also needs to stop flicking her long-brown hair over her shoulder and picking up invisible pieces of lint from her perfect little outfits. If this were turned into a drinking game, everyone would be required to drink a shot every time she flicks her hair, describes an outfit or brags about a place she has been. Does Jessica Wakefield actually have any true friends? Friends trust one another and are loyal – this is clearly not the case with LiFO and JesWAK.

    LiFO shows her true nasty colours in this one. Even I felt sorry for little Jessie when she was at the police station. As to the cover, I had to place two sticky dots over Jessica’s eyes. Not the best SVH cover.


  • Jessica W is an Evil Warped Skank June 29, 2017 at 7:28 am

    Why does Amy steal boyfriends:
    1. Tom McKay
    2. Bruce Patman
    3. Enid’s friend Christopher


  • This series is very odd August 13, 2017 at 5:16 am

    1. I know this is very petty here, but JW looks horrible on the cover. She does not look like a size 6 perfect anything. BTW I HATE the ways in which this series treats people who are allegedly overweight.
    2. JW is ruthless when it comes to getting what she wants. Lila was horrible to JW in this book – hard to believe that they are friends.
    3. JW is NOT an american teenager -SHE IS AN AMERICAN PSYCHO.
    4. Amy is alsmost as skany as JW.


  • This series is very odd August 13, 2017 at 5:25 am

    ^^^Skanky, sorry, for point 4.


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