Sweet Valley Twins #20: Playing Hooky

The Moral of the Story: It’s okay to skip school if you have a twin sister. She’ll get punished instead of you.

The Big Deal: Basketball championship game


The Unicorns’ favorite soap opera, All the World, is coming to Sweet Valley to film an episode. Why? Because Sweet Valley is the most amazing place in the world. Kent Kellerman, heartthrob of the show, is going to be there and the Unicorns are desperate to meet him. Unfortunately, he’s only going to be in town on a Monday during school hours. Brooke Dennis tells Liz her dad is working on the show but she doesn’t want everyone to know because then they’ll all want her to introduce them to Kent. So of course Liz tells Jessica because she can’t possibly keep such a big secret from her very own twin. Jessica promises Liz she won’t say anything, so she has to come up with some devious plan to use this information.

Jessica talks it over with Lila and they decide to offer Brooke a spot on the Booster squad. They figure she’ll be so grateful that she’ll offer to introduce them to Kent. Jessica finds out Liz and Julie are meeting Brooke at Julie’s house to talk to her about being on the school newspaper staff, and since newspaper is the opposite of Booster squad (and a person can only do one or the other) Jessica decides to get to Brooke first. She races over to Julie’s house and catches Brooke before she can knock on the door. She tells Brooke that Julie and Liz aren’t going to make it and Brooke should just come to the Dairi Burger with her. About an hour later, Julie and Liz decide Brooke isn’t going to show, so they decide to go get some lunch. Where? The Dairi Burger, of course.

Jessica’s plan is flawless. After she and Lila tell Brooke she’d make a great Booster, they start talking about Kent Kellerman. Brooke is so grateful that the popular girls want her on their super exclusive cheering squad that she offers to try to get them passes to the set. Liz has arrived by this point and she’s appalled at Jessica’s behavior.

Brooke gets the passes, but she tells Lila and Jessica that the filming will be over by the time school lets out. Caroline says Ms. Langberg the gym teacher has jury duty and won’t be in school all week, so Jessica and Lila decide to skip lunch and gym and go to the film set. Liz thinks this is a horrible idea and she freaks out when Amy tells her Caroline was wrong about Ms. Langberg. Liz uses the rest of her lunch period to go downtown and bring Jessica and Lila back. The girls think they might get away with it, but they run right into Mrs. Knight, the principal’s secretary. Now, somehow, Mrs.  Knight gets back to school before they do (what is she doing downtown in the first place?) and tells Mr. Clark that Jessica and Lila were cutting class. She apparently did not see Liz.

Jessica and Lila are in big trouble. Their punishment is to wash blackboards after school every day for the rest of the week, and they won’t be allowed to participate in any after school activities. Oh no! There’s a basketball championship coming up and Jessica is the star player! (Since when?) Jessica convinces Liz to participate in a good old-fashioned twin switch, and even gets Liz to agree to switch for after-school practices. This means Liz is washing blackboards while Jessica is practicing in the gym. It also means Liz is going to miss an important interview for the Sixers. Mr. Bowman goes to the gym and tells Jessica-as-Elizabeth that the famous ballerina she’s supposed to be interviewing will be at her hotel at four and she can interview her there. Jessica gets Brooke to agree to the interview, but of course she fucks up and tells her to go to the ballet school instead of the hotel.

The ballerina has to go back to San Diego, and Brooke and Liz can’t think of anyone else they can interview for the paper. Then Kent Kellerman falls into their laps. He’s going to be having dinner with Brooke and her father, and Liz is invited to join them. Kent’s even agreed to answer a few questions for the paper. Jessica wants to go, but she’s grounded for cutting class. HA! Liz does get her an autograph though, because that’s what nice sisters do.

Finally, it’s Friday night. Basketball night. Jessica is determined to prove she’s better than Billie Layton, the new girl on the team. Billie starts the game, but Jessica comes in halfway through and wins it for the team. She even wins the MVP trophy (with Elizabeth’s name on it). Hooray. Moving on.

Liz has been feeling guilty all week because she cut class and didn’t get punished (except that she washed blackboards every day as Jessica, but whatever). She tells her parents and Mr. Clark what she did and feels just great when she’s sentenced to another week of washing blackboards. Thankfully, she has the sense to make Jessica switch places with her and wash them herself.

Setup for the next book: Sarah Thomas hates weekends.


“It’s just not right,” Elizabeth said. “I did something wrong and I should be punished, too.”

Shut up, Liz. You can flog yourself later.

“Marvelous Marvin!” Elizabeth said. She remembered how foolish everyone had felt when they discovered Mr. Mercandy was the victim of a stroke and not a zombie as they’d thought.

I love the matter-of-fact way Liz remembers thinking the man was a zombie.

The Cover: I can’t tell which twin that’s supposed to be. Based on the actual story, I’d say it’s actually Jessica because Liz was never caught like that. But the tag line throws me off.

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  • Other Shannon December 14, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I used to think Jessica was so bad-ass in this book for *gasp!* skipping school!! Liz, as usual, is being her usual doormat, goody two shoes self!


  • Sonnie December 27, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I think that’s Liz on the cover taking the heat for Jess, only because the hair is tied in a ribbon. Didn’t Jess always like her hair loose.


  • Whallie December 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Soooo, 12 year old Liz was going to go to some stranger ballerina’s hotel room unsupervised? Doesn’t anyone ever watch over these kids when they do all of this weird shit for school?


  • Shantel May 27, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    It annoys me a lot that Liz often submits herself to doing Jessica’s manual labor so life would be sweeter for Jess.


  • KannaChan June 16, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Of course it’s Jessica on the cover, she’s wearing a purple ribbon and a light purple shirt. That just screams Jessica.


  • Mim April 3, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    It’s Elizabeth dressed as Jessica, reporting for detention.


  • Natasha October 30, 2016 at 2:33 am

    That’s Elizabeth as Jessica hence the Tagline. I thought it was obvious.


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