Sweet Valley High Magna Edition #2: Return of the Evil Twin

MAGNA-ReturnEvilTwin-OuterThe Moral of the Story: Christmas is a bad time to be a Wakefield twin.

The Big Deal: Party at Secca Lake, “Welcome Back from the Dead” party for Jessica

Synopsis:

UGH.

The prologue takes us back to “last year” when Margo died at Fowler Crest on New Year’s Eve. But apparently, nobody noticed the ambulance suddenly stop and then start again after leaving the house. I guess this is a suggestion that Margo is not actually dead and somehow managed to overpower the EMS guys and steal their ambulance.

It’s gonna be a long recap, I can already tell.

A couple weeks before Christmas, a girl named Nora Chappelle is at her father’s wake in Savannah, Georgia. Nora hates her stepmother, Blanche. She overhears Blanche’s cousins talking about Nora’s real mother being insane. After the funeral, Blanche gives Nora a check for fifty thousand dollars and tells her to get lost. Then she says Nora has a twin sister somewhere named Margo. Blanche made Nora’s father put Margo up for adoption when they got married. Nora vows to find her sister. Nora just ain’t right. You can tell because she thinks she can see smells. Also, she suddenly starts talking to mirrors as though her reflection is Margo.

There’s a party up at Secca Lake and Todd is running late. He’s driving way too fast on the winding roads and ends up crashing through the guard rail. Jessica, who is of course also running late, sees Todd’s car about to go over the cliff. She manages to pull him out just before the car falls and explodes. Up at the lake, Liz sees the big fiery ball and calls 911 on Lila’s cellular phone before racing to the scene. She sees Jessica climbing into the ambulance with Todd’s stretcher and gets upset when nobody will tell her anything. At the hospital, Jessica and Todd make googly eyes at each other. The doctor refers to Jessica as Todd’s girlfriend and neither of them corrects him.

When Liz finally gets to the hospital, she’s totally jealous that Jessica was the one who saved Todd, not her. Todd staring at Jessica with “a look he usually reserved for Elizabeth” doesn’t help matters. Jessica can tell Liz is jealous and it irritates her. That night, Liz has the same dream she had last year about a girl who she thinks is Jessica but who has black hair trying to kill her. The next morning, the newspaper runs a picture of Jessica and Todd at the hospital. The headline is, “Local Girl Saves Her Boyfriend’s Life.” Liz goes to the hospital to visit Todd. He tries to reassure her when she says she’s jealous. It works until she gets home and finds Jessica telling all her friends that Todd pledged his undying gratitude to her the night before.

Meanwhile, Nora’s gotten hold of a bunch of documents pertaining to Margo. She learns all about the Wakefield twins and how Margo tried to kill Liz to impersonate her. The article Nora has says Margo was pronounced dead, but on the way to the hospital, the ambulance went off the Palisades bridge and Margo’s body was never recovered. I guess nobody ever thought to inform the Wakefields. Nora is distraught and decides the Wakefield twins should die. Because she’s crazy.

Todd and Liz go to the Dairi Burger for a nice intimate date, but Todd wants to sit with Jessica and her friends. Amy and Lila start hounding Todd for details about Jessica’s rescue and Todd is more than happy to oblige. Liz and Ken are sick of the whole thing so they leave to go to a movie. When Liz gets home that night, Jessica is furious. She accuses Liz of ruining her date with Ken, and Liz accuses her of ruining her date with Todd. On Christmas Eve, Todd and Ken are at the Wakefields’ house for dinner, and Todd stands up and gives a toast to Jessica. Liz runs up to her room and starts crying. The twins, not wanting to have another Christmas like last year’s, make up the next morning.

Nora, who has arrived in Sweet Valley, puts on a blond wig and goes to spend Christmas with Margo’s ghost at the cemetery. A hand closes around her throat and Nora turns around to find Margo trying to kill her. Then Nora’s wig falls off and Margo is super confused. Nora introduces herself and takes Margo back to the hotel with her. Margo says she’s been spying on the twins for the past year. She teaches Nora everything she knows about them. They decide to kill both Wakefield twins and become them. But first, they have to make sure the twins hate each other again.

Nora pretends to be Liz and calls Todd and asks him to a movie, then makes out with him the whole night where Liz, who is at the theater with Enid, can see them. When Jessica gets home that night, Liz starts screaming at her and won’t listen to Jessica’s claims that she was with Ken all night. Nora’s proud of herself for impersonating Liz so well and she’s all psyched to try Jessica, but Margo says Nora has to be Liz. Yeah, Margo and Nora fight over who gets to be Jessica when they kill the twins and take over their lives.

On New Year’s Eve, the twins go to a carnival with their friends. Jessica goes into the House of Mirrors and gets totally creeped out. Then we don’t see her again until she shows up two hours later and Lila asks her where her earrings went. Hmm. Later that night, Nora sneaks into the Wakefield house and kills Jessica, Margo be damned. Liz is in the next room having a nightmare and she screams. Nora freaks out and starts climbing out the window. Liz runs to Jessica’s room and sees her, but thinks she’s Margo. The she sees Jessica’s dead body and starts screaming.

While the Wakefields are at the hospital, friends of the twins gather on the front lawn. It’s three-thirty in the morning, so I don’t know how any of them heard about what happened, but whatever. At the police station, Liz tries to tell the police that she saw Margo climbing out the window, but the detective is a bitch and just shows her Margo’s death certificate. Liz points out that Margo’s body was never found, but the detective is an idiot. Meanwhile, Nora hasn’t seen Margo all night. She gets it into her head that Margo is going to kill her, so she plans to kill her first. Then she’ll kill Liz and become her, since she fucked up on becoming Jessica.

Ned and Alice try to talk to Liz about funeral arrangements for Jessica, but Liz doesn’t think a funeral parlor is appropriate. She insists the memorial should be held at the school since it was Jessica’s favorite place in the world. Except for all those times she wanted to skip school and shit. But anyway. Two thousand people show up for the service. Liz reads a poem for Jessica and then runs off stage crying. Todd hugs her and says he’s sorry for whatever Liz thinks he did. Liz says she knows he wasn’t with Jessica that night and that Margo was tricking him. Todd acts like she’s crazy (“Margo’s dead. Remember?”) and Liz is all cryptic instead of just explaining that she was at the movies with Enid that night and saw Todd kissing someone who looked just like her.

After the memorial, Liz “feels Jessica’s presence” and is suddenly sure she’s alive. She tries to tell Steve, but he just thinks she’s losing her mind. She has a dream that night that there are two Margos trying to kill her. Now Liz is pretty sure Margo had a twin, that Jessica is still alive and that Margo is the one who got stabbed on New Year’s Eve. That’s a lot of information to glean from a nightmare. The police come over the next day to question her some more and the detective for some reason puts her gun on a table in the dining room. Liz makes an excuse and sneaks out through the dining room, picking up the gun on her way to the Jeep.

Liz goes to the school and sees the furnace room door open. She goes in and sees Jessica and Nora struggling. She holds up the gun, but can’t tell which one is really her twin, even though Jessica is the one who’s tied up. She makes what looks to me to be a random choice and aims the gun at Nora, telling Jessica to pick up Nora’s knife and cut herself free. She explains to Jessica that Margo had a twin, and tells Nora she killed her own twin sister that night, not Jessica.

The cops show up and arrest Nora and the world sits comfortably on its axis for another day. A few days later, Lila, Liz and Steve throw Jessica a “Welcome Back from the Dead” party. Seriously.

Quotes:

Margo shook her head. “This is my show,” she said. Nora detected a hint of menace in her voice. “The cast includes me in the role of Jessica, and you as Elizabeth. There are no understudies.” … [Nora] hated going against Margo’s wishes. But she wasn’t ready to give up her dream. Not by a long shot.

I can’t believe they seriously have a falling out because they can’t agree on who gets to be Jessica.

The Cover: I guess there’s not really much to snark at here. It’s kind of a boring cover.

MAGNA-ReturnEvilTwin-Inner

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Comments
  • Darren November 2, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    I had that book, but it’s very sad actually. Margo never should’ve died and the twin sister of hers Nora shouldn’t be alone. That scene with Margo in the ambulance, there’s a horror movie I think called Sleepaway camp where the woman killer did the same thing in the ambulance and then uttered ‘no, everything’s OK’ as the movie ended. They should’ve used that at the end of 100.

    I wish Margo was resurrected and she and her twin sister Nora lived happily ever after.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    They’re deranged murderers. Margo gets off on killing children. I don’t exactly have a lot of sympathy for them. I mean, kudos to them for attempting to rid the world of the Wakefield twins, but that’s about as far as my affection for them goes.

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    Darren Reply:

    I didn’t mean to make it sound like we should like Margo or her twin, but you had to feel sorry for them though. They were nothing more then mistreated girls with crappy foster families. Margo never should’ve killed that little foster sister of hers, that part I never liked. I just feel Nora inadvertently killing her own sister Margo is just creepy and sad, even if it was a clear mistake but come on! They should’ve just had Margo and Nora taking the twin hostages and having LAPD’s swat team taking care of both of them. LA does have a SWAT team, right? That’s where the old 70s SWAT show was filmed.

    I don’t know why Margo apparantely was wearing stockings with Jessica’s nightie.

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  • Sandy November 2, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    The cover is completely sterotypical. Nora in a black jacket because she’s hardcord. Jess is a pink nightie, and Liz in sensible blue pj’s.

    Were Nora and Margo’s lives THAT bad that they just have to takeover the Wakefield’s lived??? I mean really, one of them just got a butt load of money. She could, I don’t know, get a life of her own maybe?

    [Reply]

    Sandy Reply:

    And that’s hardcore not cord. lol

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    Shannon Reply:

    I guess Margo’s life kind of sucked, with her crappy foster homes and shit, but Nora’s life seemed pretty much okay, even considering the wicked stepmother. I don’t think either one of them had it so bad that the only way they could handle things was by killing folks.

    LOL @ hardcord. Also at the stereotypical pajamas.

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    HelenB Reply:

    I kind of like Nora’s reasoning.

    “OMG, I’m really a twin! Well, I guess it’s time to kill some people.”

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  • Fear Street November 2, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    How many times have the twins had brushes with death? And yet somehow they’re STILL here.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I know! They won’t go away!

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    Darren Reply:

    I know. It’s like watching pro wrestling or a heavy contested NFL game…the unexpected happens on ‘Any Given Sweet Valley.’

    Ah hahahahahahaaa!

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  • megan s. November 2, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    wouldn’t the mourge people find out that wasn’t jessica? or did they just give her a funeral without an investigation??

    sweet valley is lame.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Yeah, I guess they were just too lazy to do an autopsy or DNA test. Even though Liz is frantically trying to tell people that a Wakefield twin lookalike is on the loose.

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    Darren Reply:

    Well, California was getting out of an economy crises in the year that story was written if I recall. Maybe the police was still busy with the OJ case, who knows? Hard to believe there was no time to get a DNA off the dead girl, come on! Is SOuthern Cal’s police force that incompetent in Sweet Valley? Yep, apparantely so.

    [Reply]

    Sandy Reply:

    Yeah or the fact that the HAIR COLOR doesn’t match.
    Now Nora’s in prison plotting her escape….

    [Reply]

    HelenB Reply:

    Haha, I guess everyone secretly suspects the Wakefields aren’t natural blondes!

    [Reply]

  • Sadako November 2, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Wow. I feel so sheltered. I’ve learned that SVH got kind of creepy but in my head I think of them as older BSC members. So this kind of character almost dying, murder, etc. plot is like, whoa, mindblowing to me.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I know what you mean. I’m actually pretty surprised that they took it so far as to have a memorial service and everything for Jessica. I mean, as an adult, I knew she couldn’t really be dead because there are more books after this one, but as a kid, this might have really upset me.

    [Reply]

    Sandy Reply:

    I actually feel dirty reading that fanfic that you posted a link to. Please tell me I’m not the only one?

    I was dangerously close to picturing Bruce having a penis!!

    [Reply]

  • Shannon November 2, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    You guys are cracking me up today, lol.

    [Reply]

  • Lorelai November 2, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    This book was awesome. Seriously. I really loved the idea that Jessica could hear her own funeral going on from the basement. I think I might like to do that one day…

    More evidence that Liz is an emotionally-crippled eight-year-old — Jessica saves her boyfriend’s life, and she responds by getting super jealous that she didn’t save him first. You know, Liz, a thank you would do. Just putting that out there.

    Also re the cover — is Jess/Crazy Margo wearing tights to bed? ‘Cause that doesn’t seem comfortable. And where is her stab wound???

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Her legs do look darker than they should, don’t they?

    Are you saying you’d like to hear your own funeral one day, or that you’d like to tie Jessica up in a basement one day? I totally understand either of those things.

    [Reply]

    Lorelai Reply:

    Hmm, a little from column A, a little from column B…

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  • Lori November 2, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Ah you left out the best part. Margo explaining she didn’t want to be Elizabeth anymore because Elizabeth doesn’t sleep with her boyfriend.

    Too bad Margo died (again) she could have followed the twins to SVU and met her soul mate William White. Those two would have been perfect for each other.

    You know given how “good” the police in that town is its a surprise there aren’t more crimes in that town.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Oooh, I really should have put that part in! Margo, she was such a slut. RIP.

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    Darren Reply:

    I actually pictured Margo looking like Sara Gilbert that played Darlene on Roseanne. Can you envision Margo and her twin looking like the Darlene character? I mean, Darlene on Roseanne was always a little intimidating.

    [Reply]

    megan s. Reply:

    I wouldn’t want to be Liz either, cuz she’s boring!
    Jess is really the best twin

    [Reply]

  • Darren November 2, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Well you know on Halloween, Margo and Michael Myers can get together to try and kill the twins. Hey, that would’ve made a great Halloween movie with michael and Margo as a team. Even Freddie Krueger could join forces too.

    I swear, Roscoe P Coltane must run the police division of Sweet Valley, or Sheriff Elroy Lobo, RIP Claude Aikens. I never forgot that old 80s show, that was good TV back then with incompetent police buffoons!

    I still feel Margo never should’ve died in the hands of her sister Nora. Maybe a suggested hang yourself in prison would relieve Nora’s pain. I just feel Nora shouldn’t live with what she did.

    [Reply]

  • DarfurHerald November 2, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    2.000 people attended the funeral? What did Jessica do, die in service? Ok, she didn’t even die!!!

    [Reply]

  • Darren November 3, 2009 at 2:54 am

    Darfur, never ever ask the logic of Sweet Valley for so far, the twins had a Xmas with Suzanne Devlin, took a winter trip I believe, Jessica nearly married Jeremy that was suppose to marry Sue, the twins having a fight over the ‘Jungle Prom’ where Margo came into their lives, and now Margo and her twin… only in Sweet valley, you can have like 4 Christmases in one day, sheesh, makes me wish life was that exciting!

    [Reply]

  • Tracy London November 3, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Oh seriously, I too would be fighting damn hard not to be Liz. Who the hell would want to be Liz?

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    You do have a point there.

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  • Amy February 26, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    “She has a dream that night that there are two Margos trying to kill her. Now Liz is pretty sure Margo had a twin, that Jessica is still alive and that Margo is the one who got stabbed on New Year’s Eve.”

    Can Liz really be an impartial journalist if she’s a psychic? Just wondering….

    Love your blog! I just recently discovered it and I’m hooked!

    [Reply]

  • Samantha February 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    I LOVED The Evil Twin when I was younger, but just recently read Return of the Evil Twin. And holy cow…this book was awful. Like not even awesome SVH awful. Just really bad.

    I always thought it took Margo months of stalking and studying the Wakefields before she was good enough to pass as one of them. It seemed like Nora was prancing around the Wakefield house and making out with Todd after only a week or so. This book also made me realize that Margo is my preferred evil twin.

    And seriously, Nora can see smells? What’s up with that? It’s like the ghostwriters were desperate to pick a personality trait that demonstrated craziness and then just settled on “can see smells.” Uh…what?! So, so bad.

    [Reply]

  • Sandra January 19, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    I read the book, and and on the cover, “Jessica” has on a pink nightgown. I remember reading that Nora was pointing down the knife on “Jessica’s” Sweet Valley High nightshirt. Seriously. You’d think that the publishers would remember this. They’re idiots.

    [Reply]

  • Bec January 23, 2012 at 2:17 am

    Great recap. You really captured the ridiculousness of the plot. I never understood why it was such a huge deal of which crazy twin got to be Jessica. Couldn’t one just be Elizabeth and gradually change her personality to being more adventurous…? Personalities aren’t set in stone! Argh, lol. Not that you can expect much sense from psychopaths (or Sweet Valley High ghostwriters).

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  • Carly February 26, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Ugh this book was terrible. I even remember hating it as a kid, even though I loved The Evil Twin. I remember reading that Mr. Cooper had “cancelled school” due to Jessica’s death, even before they decided to hold her memorial there. Wow. But I mean, she’s a Wakefield twin so I suppose her death would cause the whole town to shut down.

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  • Lila Flowers January 2, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    This book was unbelievable. And I mean that in the most literal sense. I cant blame anyone for not wanting to be liz though…that i had no trouble believing.

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  • Kylie90210 May 15, 2013 at 2:43 am

    Here’s the jump the shark moment! Only in Sweet Valley can you have two perfect twins, who also have evil twin doppelgangers. One doppleganger just isn’t enough for the Wakefields!

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  • The Noble Margo May 18, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Actually, Nora’s ability to see smells isn’t that crazy. There is a thing called “Synenthesis” (My spelling is totally fucked.) which alters perception so that one can see smells or taste shapes: there’s a book called The Man Who Tasted Shapes about it.
    Margo Black should have lived and gone on to have an affair with William White. They could have perfect baybees and toadlers with the names Elizabeth and Jessica Black-White.
    Sorry, I hate the perfect twins so much i could only support Margo and Nora’s noble quest to remove them from society.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Synesthesia, I think. It totally is a thing, I know. I just doubt the ghost writer actually knew that because let’s face it, these books ain’t smart.

    [Reply]

  • Krista November 3, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Yeah, I can just see the ghostwriter going “How can we make Norah seem even crazier than Margo? I know, we’ll make it so that she can see smells!” *facepalm*

    [Reply]

  • kellie April 27, 2014 at 2:12 am

    Great recap. I loved this book. Many people talk about how ridiculous it is but that is exactly why I read SVH. I could go on and say how it is biologically impossible to have four girls who look that much alike, but the unrealsticness of this series is what I love. if I wanted realism I’d read boring stuff like the Strength series. So many things I do are serious and responsible so it’s refreshing to have something laughable. and the Wakefield girls make me feel very moral! lol. And yes, I did remember reading something about sythenstegia. Pretty interesting but does not mean a person is crazy
    . But what can we expect from the same creator of the Tom Winslow story that said he was unbalanced just because he had depression?? I don’t know if these writers are dumb so much as just plain ignorant.

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  • Lila Freakin' Fowler December 16, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    It’s always struck me as interesting that Margo technically “got” what she wanted. At “Jessicas” funeral, she WAS Jessica–and had 2,000 (seriously?!) mourners bawling for her. How very Margo-ish to get what she wanted even in death. Creepy.

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  • JulieCaroleRayo September 12, 2015 at 12:50 am

    “Nora, who has arrived in Sweet Valley, puts on a blond wig and goes to spend Christmas with Margo’s ghost at the cemetery. A hand closes around her throat and Nora turns around to find Margo trying to kill her. Then Nora’s wig falls off and Margo is super confused.”

    Really? We’re supposed to believe that Margo (who has been following the twins) really believes that a Wakefield twin will be spending Christmas at Margos grave? I bet they never went to the cemetery so wouldn’t she (Margo) find it odd that one of the twins were there?

    I know it’s not real peeps but this really got to me when I read it as a kid so it’s nice to (finally) vent about it! 😉

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  • Kim December 1, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    My question is how could Margo be at the cemetery anyway if her body was never found. Who the hell did they bury????

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  • Alex Kennedy February 24, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Why are the twins always dying? There was the Winter Carnival book where Liz has that stupid dream. How she thought it was reality when she woke up is confusing. What was she taking? Zopiclone? Then there was that Kidnapping thing, which I guess was life threatening. Then there was the motorbike incident. I think there is also one when the twins are in London and Liz thinks that Jessica has croaked. There is an SVT special where an angel shows Elizabeth what SV would have been like had she not been born AKA as in the Dallas episode where JR Ewing is shown what Dallas would have been like without him.

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  • Natasha September 14, 2017 at 3:54 am

    This book is so unrealistic! I mean an evil twin who has an evil twin of her own? Liz should be grateful that Jess saved Todd instead of being jealous. Jess didn’t make things better though. And I had to laugh that the evil twins argued who got to be Jess because neither wanted to be poor old Liz !

    [Reply]

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