Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later
This is it, folks. The day we’ve all been waiting for. The day we find out exactly why Elizabeth Wakefield left Sweet Valley and why she cries when she orgasms. There are obviously spoilers here, so don’t read any further if you don’t want to know the whole story.
Y’all ready for this?
Here we go!
Elizabeth Wakefield has left Sweet Valley and is now living in New York City, working for a crappy online magazine that nobody’s ever heard of. When our story opens, Liz and her boss, David Stephenson, are returning to Liz’s apartment after grabbing a post-workday dinner. Liz thinks David is handsome enough, but she doesn’t really want to sleep with him because he made her leave the tip at the restaurant. Get over yourself, Liz, it wasn’t even a date. The phone is ringing when they come in, but Liz lets the machine pick it up. It’s Jessica, begging Liz to talk to her.
Liz ignores Jessica and gives David a glass of wine. He asks whose voice that was on the answering machine and marvels at how much it sounded like Liz. Liz considers sleeping with him to get him to stop asking questions, but in the end the tip thing just bothers her too much and she tells him she’s tired and kicks him out. Once he’s gone, she curls up on her couch and feels sorry for herself.
FLASHBACK! We’re suddenly treated to a present-tense-first-person account of the day Todd Wilkins asked Jessica out back in high school. It’s kind of weird.
PRESENT DAY Back in Sweet Valley, Jessica is whining to Todd about Liz not answering any of her calls, texts, emails or Facebook friend requests. There’s kind of a lot of nonsense, but I gather that Liz and Todd were engaged at some point and Jessica slept with Todd. Then there’s another weird first-person-present-tense passage. It’s the exact same scene from before, this time from Jessica’s point of view. Anyway, Todd and Jessica are now living together and are going to be married in four weeks. Todd writes a successful sports column and the two of them spend most of their time trying to avoid the judgmental stares of their friends.
Todd and Jessica go to a party at Lila’s house, and we learn the latest about all our old faves:
- Lila and Ken Matthews are in the middle of getting a divorce, but Ken is apparently still at the house most of the time. Ken is a successful NFL star. Lila doesn’t work, of course.
- Caroline Pearce is a successful real estate broker and a cancer survivor. She’s still a big gossipmonger.
- Jeffrey French is a successful dentist and is married to someone whose name Jessica can’t remember.
- Enid Rollins and A. J. Morgan are having an affair or something and it’s bad for their image, but I don’t know why.
- Robin Wilson is a successful caterer and restaurant critic, but somehow manages to keep herself slim.
You’ll notice that with the exception of A. J. and Enid, everyone’s life has the word successful in it. Sweet Valley is magic.
Everyone seems surprised to see Toddica, but Caroline is the only one who actually dares to ask about Elizabeth. Instead of answering, Jessica tells Caroline what a nosy bitch she is. Then she turns on Lila and hollers at her for inviting her to a party Caroline was going to attend, accusing her of wanting her there only for the drama.
All of Jessica’s chapters are like so infused with instances of like and so and they so make me want to like stab my eyes out.
Meanwhile, Liz goes to some crappy theater to interview William Connolly, a playwright who is currently auditioning actors for his debut play. He acts like a jackass and hardly even looks at Liz, but when he finally does, Liz freaks out a little because he looks exactly like Todd. Sigh. Of course he does. His resemblance to Todd throws Liz down memory lane and she thinks about a time in college when she was sick and made Jessica go to a party with Todd. As far as she knows, it’s the only time they spent any time alone. I guess that whole thing after the prom doesn’t count. And, of course, Liz doesn’t know about the other stuff.
Coincidentally, Todd and Jessica are also thinking of that party in college and…
FLASHBACK – COLLEGE, SENIOR YEAR Jessica doesn’t really want to go to the party, but Todd is the guest of honor and Liz really wants him to go. Neither Todd nor Jessica has any fun at first, but people keep assuming Jessica is Liz so she and Todd pretend to be a couple and have a good time tricking people. When they get in the car to leave, they apparently forget they were just pretending and they start making out like crazy. They eventually end up at the apartment Todd and Winston share. Winston isn’t home, so Todd goes ahead and has sex with his girlfriend’s twin sister. God, what a fucked up piece of fuck this guy is. Jessica’s wrong too, of course, but if I’ve accomplished nothing else with this blog, I know I’ve at least established that Jessica is insane.
For the next month, Todd and Jessica meet every day at a diner nobody they know ever goes to. They don’t have sex again, but it’s still an affair. The guilt finally gets to be too much for Jessica and she breaks it off.
PRESENT DAY Elizabeth runs into Will Connolly at the bar across the street from the theater. They both get a little tipsy and end up talking. Will isn’t really the jerkface he’s made himself out to be, and Liz thinks it’s okay to like him because his eyes are blue and not brown like Todd’s. They introduce themselves to the gorgeous Irish bartender (Liz mentions that her cheating twin would go crazy for him) and then Will invites Liz back to his apartment. They make out for a minute.
Liz’s mother calls that night and tells Liz she’d like her to come home for her grandmother’s eightieth birthday party. (She would also like Liz to come to Jessica’s wedding because she’s a fucking idiot.) Liz tells her there’s no way in hell she’s going to sit through a dinner with Todd and Jessica. Then she gets to thinking that it would really show those bastards if she came home with a new man. She calls Will and asks him if he wants to go. He says he can’t get away, but jokingly suggests Liz take Liam the bartender and try to make Jessica fall in love with him. Liz doesn’t take it as a joke.
FLASHBACK – EIGHT MONTHS AGO Jessica has married some guy named Regan and they’ve been traveling the world. It’s been about six months since the wedding, and that means it’s about time for Jessica to move on. Not one to waste time, she decides she has to leave Regan immediately. She’s in France, but she calls Liz, who tells her to just come home and stay with her. Todd isn’t super happy about this, but he agrees to be civil.
In this flashback, we learn that brother Steven married Cara Walker, but he apparently has frequent affairs and at this moment might be involved with Lila. What a tool. We also learn that nobody likes Winston anymore because he “changed radically” after making a bunch of money.
PRESENT DAY Liz goes to the bar and insinuates herself into Liam’s life. They hit it off after Liz finds out Liam’s parents live in L.A. and he owes them a visit soon. After about five minutes of friendship, Liam agrees to schedule his visit so it coincides with Liz’s grandmother’s party and he can be her date.
Jessica goes out for a friendly drink with one of her coworkers and wonders if she should hook up with this guy instead of Todd and then she could have Elizabeth back in her life. But alas, her love for Todd is too strong to be denied. Then she thinks about when she came back from France and lived with Todd and Liz for a while.
FLASHBACK – EIGHT MONTHS AGO Todd is working from home and the house is beginning to seem very small. Jessica and Todd try to avoid each other, but he gets on her nerves one day and she goes to the beach. That’s where she sees her brother in a loving embrace with…Aaron Dallas. Yep, Aaron is gay now and so is Steven. Steve asks Jessica not to tell anyone, but she thinks she’ll be doing him a favor if she tells Cara. Oh, Jessica. This is why you’re the bad twin. Well, this and the whole stealing-your-sister’s-fiancé thing.
PRESENT DAY Liz has lunch with Will and tells him she’ll be taking Liam with her to Sweet Valley. Will was only joking when he suggested getting Liam to seduce Jessica and he does not approve. Liz, who has been telling herself that she’s only bringing Liam home so she’ll have some company, gets defensive and actually says, “fuck you,” and storms out of the pub. Nice. She talks to Bruce Patman on the phone (they’re best friends now) and tells him she’ll be bringing a friend home for her grandmother’s party. Bruce gets a little weird. Liz is irritated and Bruce hangs up on her. Then we get to spend some time in Bruce’s head. And wouldn’t you know it? He’s in love with Liz!
FLASHBACK – EIGHT MONTHS AGO Bruce and Liz became friends a few years ago when Bruce’s parents were in a car accident. Liz came to the hospital every day for moral support. (Both Patman parents wound up dying.) Bruce has always known about Todd and Jessica’s affair in college (he saw them together at the diner), but he didn’t want to tell Liz because it would hurt her. But now that Jessica is staying with Todd and Liz, and Liz wants to set a wedding date, Bruce thinks it might be time to clue her in. He takes Liz out for pizza (I believe the pizza place used to be the Dairi Burger, but now it’s called Napkin) and tries to get up the courage to break her heart, but just then Ken Matthews comes running in to tell them that Winston is dead.
What the frak?
Meanwhile, Steven goes to Liz’s house to yell at Jessica for outing him to Cara. He calls her a selfish bitch and then leaves. Jessica starts crying and Todd hugs her to comfort her, and OF COURSE they start kissing. That’s when Liz comes home, crying about Winston. Todd and Jessica manage to cover up pretty well and Liz doesn’t notice anything is amiss, but Bruce is giving them the hairy eyeball.
PRESENT DAY Liz flies into LAX, where she’ll meet Liam. She’s going to change at the airport and drive directly to the club for the party. On the flight, she remembers – FLASHBACK! Winston’s funeral. Winston got super drunk and fell off his balcony. People are sad, but Winston had turned into such a total misogynistic jackass that most people are mourning the kid he used to be. Jessica starts looking at Liz intensely and yapping about forgiveness and junk. Liz thinks it’s weird, but figures it’s just funeral stuff.
PRESENT DAY Jessica is getting ready for “Grandmommy’s” party (ugh, grandmommy?) and thinks about the day Liz found out about her and Todd.
FLASHBACK Which is totally lame. Jessica’s husband shows up, I guess to talk to her, but she’s afraid of him so she asks Todd to be in the room. Regan walks in and immediately accuses Jessica of sleeping with Todd. I don’t know why. Words are exchanged and the boys start scufflin’. Liz comes home and breaks up their fight. Regan yells at her and says there’s something going on behind her back, and then he leaves. Liz asks Toddica what Regan was talking about and Jessica says he’s just crazy jealous, which seems reasonable. But Liz has one of those moments where she suddenly realizes how blind she’s been. She calls them cheating liars and storms out.
And that’s it, that’s how she found out. Maybe I’m sick in the head, but I was really kind of hoping she’d find them in bed together or something. Something more exciting than a “sudden realization”.
PRESENT DAY Dinner at the country club seems like it might be okay at first. The twins manage to ignore each other for the most part, but Liz is a little irritated that Liam seems completely smitten with Jessica. She was supposed to fall for him, not the other way around. He hangs on her all night, which pisses Todd off. Liz can’t help but smirk when Toddica start arguing, and the smirk gets Jessica going. Pretty soon, Liz is yelling at Todd, Steven is yelling at Jessica, Bruce and Aaron are telling people to shut up, and Alice is trying to keep everyone from killing each other. She yells at Ned to “bring out the fucking cake.” Grandmommy Robertson is the only one not yelling. When Liz leaves to go back to New York, Todd and Jessica aren’t speaking to each other, and Liz is pissed at Liam for flirting with Jessica so much.
Liz still has to interview Will for her job, and she can tell he wants to apologize for accusing her of being crazy for revenge. She doesn’t want him to do that because then she’ll have to say he was right. So she does the interview and then goes back to his place and has sex with him. I’m not sure why she feels like she always has to have sex with a guy to make him shut up.
She gets home from Will’s to find Jessica asleep outside her apartment door. Jessica says she’s left Todd and wants Liz’s forgiveness. It only takes about thirty seconds of Jessica crying for Liz to forgive her. And just like that, they’re talking everything through. Liz, who only needed to find a new man to realize she really doesn’t love Todd anymore, tells Jessica to go back to Todd. Jessica leaves the next morning and Todd is waiting for her outside Liz’s apartment building. He gives her a big hug and they go home to Sweet Valley. Liz meets Will later and tells him everything. He still thinks she’s the bee’s knees and they go back to Liz’s.
Will and Liz become friends with benefits, and things are going really well. Her article comes out and she gets another job offer from a magazine. By the time Will’s play opens, Liz has decided she’s not in love with Will, but they have a really good friendship. On opening night, Will’s parents show up with the fiancé Will left behind when he came to New York to be a famous playwright. It’s clear to Liz that Will and Wendy love each other. She’s happy for them.
When Liz goes home for Jessica’s wedding, Bruce tells Liz he’s selling his house and moving to New York because he’s in love with someone who lives there. Liz is an idiot and Bruce has to spell it out for her that Liz is the one he loves. They go up to Bruce’s bedroom where they get naked and we learn that Liz has “taut nipples.”
EPILOGUE: FOR ALL SWEET VALLEY FANS OF OLD
Everyone in the world shows up to Jessica’s wedding, and Francine gives us a little bio of what’s been going on with all our old friends…
- Bill Chase – Lost his right leg to a shark during a triathlon three years ago. Now teaches surfing to handicapped teens. Married someone named Lianne Kane.
- Roger Collins – Mr. Collins has quit teaching and is a successful writer. His son is now nineteen and named Sam (pretty sure he used to be named Teddy).
- Jeffrey French – Lila’s date for the wedding. Now Francine tells us he’s single, even though Jessica talked to his wife in the second chapter.
- Dee Dee Gordon – Working as an artist
- Charlie Markus – Married Annie Whitman. He writes for a car magazine but wants to be a novelist. He is referred to as the boy who “saved” Annie, but I think Francine has confused him with Ricky Capaldo.
- Betsy Martin – An alcoholic who sleeps around. I guess art school wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
- A. J. Morgan – Sells shoes at the Nike store in the mall.
- Roger Barrett Patman – A successful Hollywood producer. He married Zoe Jones, a rock star.
- Caroline Pearce – Caroline’s cancer is in remission these days. She puts out a gossip blog six days a week.
- Enid Rollins – Enid is a successful gynecologist, but she’s arrogant and extremely right-wing. She plans to run for city council, and that’s why she wants to keep her relationship with A. J. a secret. She doesn’t think a shoe salesman is an appropriate partner for someone as important as she is.
- Nicky Shepard – I don’t know why we care about this guy since he was really only important in one book, but Francine tells us he hit rock bottom two years ago and is now living in Utah, teaching at an AA center.
- Cara Walker – She and Steven are now divorced, but she still remains friendly with Ned and Alice.
- Annie Whitman – Annie is a lawyer in San Francisco. She and Charlie have a two-year-old boy.
- Robin Wilson – Catered Jessica’s wedding. She’s also senior editor of Bon Appétit.
- George Warren – A representative for a Silicon Valley company. Lives in England.
We get a rundown of some dead folks. Winston, Regina and Tricia are mentioned, but strangely, Olivia Davidson is not. Maybe because of her zombie appearance in SVU. Surprisingly, Suzanne Devlin is among the dead. We’re told she returned to Sweet Valley six years after the Mr. Collins scandal, but she had multiple sclerosis and crashed her car after taking her medication with champagne. Wait, I thought she just had mono. I’m confused.
And now the Wakefields…
- Ned Wakefield – Still a successful lawyer. He’s so awesome that even the mayor came to the wedding.
- Alice Wakefield – Now has her own interior design company. It is, of course, successful. Alice was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago, but she had a lumpectomy and some radiation and is good to go.
- Steven Wakefield – Steve and Aaron are living together and hoping that someday they’ll be able to get married.
- Elizabeth Wakefield – Liz was Jessica’s maid of honor. I think that’s gross, but what do I know? She and Bruce are totally in love.
- Jessica Wakefield – Was fifteen minutes late for her own wedding because, as you know, nothing starts until she gets there.
Unless, of course, she were to arrive, unexpectedly, at her grandmother’s party on the arm of a handsome New York playwright. That certainly wouldn’t be pathetic.
It’s a little pathetic if he looks exactly like the ex-boyfriend you’re so eager to show up.
…its main financial backing had come from Richard Fowler, Lila’s father.
Didn’t his name used to be George?
One time when we were in high school, this lunatic madman came at her with a sledgehammer. I jumped in between them, and I didn’t even have a weapon. All I had was crazy fury and determination to save my sister’s life.
What’s funny is that I thought I would try to give you guys a link to the book this is from and make a snarky comment about it, but the twins escaped death so many times that I don’t know which book to link to.
I’m in my black Porsche convertible, the last vestige of the old Bruce that I can’t give up.
1BRUCE1 is still alive, people!
“I remember once I had this thing with Caroline way back when we were in the seventh grade. She told everyone that I let A. J. Morgan touch my breast.”
That’s so weird, you know, because he didn’t move to Sweet Valley until junior year.
She was twenty-seven years old and this was the first person she’d ever told to go fuck himself. What was wrong with her?
Oh, Liz. You’ve just been suffering from Valleyitis. Folks from the SV don’t say fuck. Except Alice Wakefield, apparently.
The Cover: Is boring. I really do like the endpapers though.