Sweet Valley Twins #18: Center of Attention

The Moral of the Story: Wakefields never die.

The Big Deal: Nothing much.


The school is putting on a production of Carnival, and Jessica wants to play the leading role for two reasons: 1.) She’s Jessica and that’s what Jessica does, and 2.) she’d be playing opposite Bruce Patman and he’s, like, so dreamy. Jessica is a little concerned because the role requires singing and her main competition is Dana Larson, who knows how to sing.

Alice Wakefield hasn’t been feeling well lately. She goes to the doctor and tells the kids she has to have a lump in her neck biopsied. Since Ned is out of town, it’s just Alice and the kids at home. Jessica puts herself in charge of bossing around her siblings, telling them to do the laundry and make dinner, while she hangs out in her mother’s bedroom, taking care of her. Steven is pissed but Liz tells him they shouldn’t bother their poor sick mother with such nonsense. This apparently means they also can’t tell Jessica she’s being obnoxious, because Liz pokes Steven in the ribs every time he starts to yell at Jessica.

Alice tells the children there’s a very small chance the lump on her neck could be cancerous. Jessica immediately assumes that’s exactly what it is and she starts imagining how all alone and depressed she’ll be when her mother dies. Caroline Pearce calls the house for some stupid contrived reason, and Jessica tells her she can’t talk because her mother is very sick and needs her right away.

Caroline apparently has the phone number of every kid at Sweet Valley Middle School, and everyone has heard the news about Mrs. Wakefield by the time the twins get to school the next morning. Jessica, who truly does believe her mother is dying, lets everyone take care of her and be super nice to her, while Liz tries to dispel the rumors.

On Friday, Alice finally gets her test results back and tells the kids she just has a virus. Jessica doesn’t get a chance to fill her schoolmates in before Carnival auditions, and since everyone still thinks her mother is dying, Jessica is offered the role. The drama teacher has talked it over with Dana and the other hopefuls, and everyone agrees it’s the right thing to do. Jessica decides she’ll let everyone go on thinking that just over the weekend and on Monday she’ll tell them her mother is fine.

To Jessica’s horror, Dana and the other girls show up at the Wakefield house on Saturday. When they walk in and find a happy family instead of a family in mourning, they want to know what’s going on. Jessica lies and says they just found out her mom is going to be fine, and to ease her guilty conscience, she tells Dana she should play the lead in the musical. The drama teacher calls the next day to tell Jessica she heard about Dana taking the lead and she’d like to offer Jessica another part that will give her a chance to show off her dancing. Hooray for never having to work to earn anything.

There’s also a bit about Jessica obsessing over some amazing sweater with a unicorn embroidered on it. Her parents buy it for her in the end. Of course.

The Cover: Steven looks like he’s trying really hard to have a real expression on his face. He’s almost pulling it off! Liz is wearing a very stylish outfit. And by stylish I mean AWFUL.


  • Megan September 22, 2011 at 12:07 am

    I wanted that sweater like no one’s business.


    fifteenstones Reply:

    So did I!!! I’ve actually had daydreams during class that I would find it in some random store, and it would be the happiest day of my life. *hides in shame*


  • MV September 28, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Isn’t she wearing that unicorn sweater on a later book cover? “The Twins Get Caught” I think it is


  • pibetaalpha October 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Liz and her everpresent “wheat-colored pants.”


  • Sonnie October 7, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Hey! My mom had those red mushroom top cookie jars in the ’70’s too. LOL

    Liz’s hair with those dang barrettes. She’s like Stevie Nicks, has the same damn ugly hairstyle for decades. Steve’s face is so not cute. He looks like he just found out that he pooped in his pants and it smells bad.


  • Twisted Sister October 30, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    they look like they’re posing for a picture


  • ohbutmeow December 12, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I can’t remember – did Alice specifically tell the twinnies not to tell anyone that she was sick? If so, damn, there’s some stellar Wakefield parenting right there. God forbid the kids seek solace elsewhere.


  • Amy Slutton January 7, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    This cover always made me think 2 things: 1) that is not a “Spanish style” kitchen, and 2) Steven looks like Alex P Keaton in this picture!


  • Alex Kennedy January 29, 2017 at 8:52 am

    ^^^ Love the name of the person who wrote above me. 🙂


  • The World of Jessica Wakefield April 19, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Has anyone ever noticed that Jessica always “gets the lead”?
    – SVH – beauty contest – she wins
    – “Staring Jessica” she wins
    – Romeo and Two Juliets – she wins (in a way)
    – Jungle Prom – where she spikes her sister’s drink
    – Teacher’s Pet – the ballet thing
    – Winter Carnival – she wins the quiz show and “we even swiped some of your answers,” she tells her sister

    The list goes on and on and on…


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