Sweet Valley High #86: Jessica Against Bruce
The Big Deal: No parties or dances. No fun.
The International Federation of Teachers has chosen Sweet Valley for some honor that I don’t understand, but it means that for the next three Thursdays, teachers from all over the world will be hanging out at Sweet Valley High. Liz hopes she’ll get picked to host the teachers and show them around the school. And of course she does, along with Todd, Enid, Penny and some other nerds.
Bruce keeps talking about how totally bored he is with Sweet Valley. He comes to school one day wearing a leather jacket with a big white X on the back and says he’s created a club for “real men who know real excitement when they see it.” The twins think he looks like an ass. Bruce spends his lunch trading wisecracks with Jessica, who doesn’t think Bruce is being fair about his club. She decides to try to join. Sam is in Colorado for a month, so Jessica has nothing better to do, anyway.
The Federation of Teachers show up, and Liz and Todd take them to the cafeteria at lunchtime. They walk in to find Jessica and Bruce at the center of a loud debate. The foreign teachers act all scandalized, but Liz manages to convince them it’s all practice for a debate tournament. At the end of the argument, Bruce relents and says Jessica can join the club.
Jessica goes to Bruce’s house that night. On a table in the basement is a roulette wheel divided into four sections, one each for Bruce, Ronnie Edwards, Tad Johnson and Jessica – all the members of the club so far. Jessica spins the wheel and it stops on her name, which means she has to perform a dare. And her dare is to drive to the bottom of the hill … with no headlights! I’m frightened, but she totally gets there in one piece, and when she does, Bruce presents her with her very own Club X jacket. She goes home and tells everything to Liz, who disapproves but agrees to keep it all a secret. She’s pissed, though, because the club keeps pulling all these crappy stunts (pulling the fire alarm, gluing lockers shut, etc.) while the foreign teachers are visiting and it’s making Sweet Valley High look less than perfect.
The next night, Bruce looks surprised when the wheel lands on Ronnie’s name instead of Jessica’s. Ronnie’s dare is to jump over the fence at the community pool and dive off the high dive. Ronnie does it, and then Jessica feels like showing off, so she does it, too. They all go out to the Dairi Burger afterward. Michael Harris sees them looking all cool in their jackets and decides he wants to join. Not long after, Charlie Cashman and Jim Sturbridge join, too. Even with so many names on the wheel, it keeps landing on Jessica. One of her pranks is to smoke a cigarette in Mr. Cooper’s office. Another day, Ronnie shows everyone how to hotwire a car because that’s going to be that night’s stunt. The wheel lands on Jessica again and now she knows Bruce is rigging it because of his smug attitude. So she hotwires his Porsche and drives it to the Dairi Burger. Which is probably one of the coolest things Jessica’s ever done.
For her next stunt, Bruce tells Jessica she has to walk across the train trestle at the edge of town. He says it’s okay because he knows there aren’t any trains scheduled for that day. So Jessica starts across and has a total Stand by Me moment when a train starts to come. She pulls a Vern and trips and falls, then manages to get to her feet and jump to the ground with no time to spare.
After that, Jessica plans to quit Club X, but she wants to get revenge on Bruce first. There’s going to be an assembly at school dedicated to the foreign teachers, and Jessica wants Bruce to rig the PA system to play KZZP, “the hardest hard-rock radio station in the valley.” She manages to get everyone out of the basement by saying she saw a crack in Bruce’s windshield. When she’s alone, she examines the roulette wheel and finds a magnet under the piece of cardboard with her name on it. She moves the magnet to Bruce’s name, and he looks shocked when it lands on him.
In the auditorium, Jessica sits next to Liz, who tells her Mr. Cooper asked her to deliver a speech for the teachers. Jessica is upset because she knows the prank will embarrass Liz. She runs out of the auditorium to find Bruce and tell him not to do it, but Mr. Collins stops her in the hallway. He’s suspicious and says he knows the club has been pulling all the stupid pranks around school. He drags Jessica back to the assembly and makes her sit with him. In the middle of Liz’s speech, KZZP starts to play. Bruce is caught and given two weeks of detention. Not one to go down gracefully, Bruce gives up the names of the other club members, and they’re all given one week in detention.
Jessica is grounded, which sucks because Sam is coming home that night and she desperately needs to see him. Even though Liz is super pissed about the assembly, she lets Jessica convince her to pretend to be her while she sneaks out to see Sam. Jessica dresses as Liz and goes to the Dairi Burger, where she tells Sam everything and says she loves him. Aw.
Tad, Bruce, and Ronnie were leaning against a tree, hands in their jacket pockets and grins of superiority on their faces.
I feel like they’re going to break into song at any second. “Here come the Jets!”
“Where’s our Jeep?” Elizabeth demanded. “And what are you doing with Bruce’s car?”
“Oh,” Jessica said lazily. “That. I stole it.”
Okay, for real, this is one time where I really just love Jessica.
And she didn’t know what she was going to tell her parents, either. They were bound to notice her coming home at five-thirty every afternoon for a week.
Since when? I thought the twins had to make dinner every night because they have absent workaholic parents.
The Cover: I swear, Jessica gets uglier and uglier with every passing book. But check out those totally awesome jackets.
Tags: Twin Switch