Sweet Valley Twins #31: Jessica’s Bad Idea

The Moral of the Story: A makeover from Jessica will turn you into a jerk.

The Big Deal: Sweet Valley Days

Classmate with a Problem: Sandra Ferris, tall nerd


Kerry Glenn has a party and her mom makes her invite Sandra Ferris. Total bummer. Sandra is tall and shy so nobody likes her. Jessica wants to make everyone get Kerry ballet themed presents, but she neglects to call Sandra. So Sandra gets her gloves. Gloves. In a town where the sun never stops shining and it’s always beach weather. Naturally, everyone kind of snickers and makes Sandra feel like an idiot, so Sandra locks herself in the study to cry. Liz swoops in and tells Sandra it’s okay if she’s tall and then invites her to ride bikes the next day.

Jessica is trying to sew a lace collar onto a sweater one afternoon when Sandra appears in her doorway and starts giving her sewing tips. Jessica is annoyed, but she’s placated when Sandra says she wishes she were as pretty and popular as Jessica. Obviously, it’s time for a fakeover. Jessica and Liz braid Sandra’s hair and give her a new shirt and suddenly she’s gorgeous! They take her for a walk around the block to show off their handiwork. Ricky Capaldo, Aaron Dallas and Tom McKay ride by and tell Sandra how much better she looks than usual (Sandra giggles and thanks them, which makes me want to puke) and then brother Steven suggests Sandra play beach volleyball with him and his buddies sometime.

The next day at school, all anyone can talk about is Sandra’s new look and they don’t even notice Jessica’s new lacy sweater. And Jessica can’t believe Sandra isn’t telling everyone the makeover was her idea. Sandra sits with the Unicorns at lunch and Jessica is SO MAD when Bruce comes over and flirts with Sandra. Then the lace falls off one of Jessica’s sleeves and lands in her macaroni and everyone laughs. Jessica HATES Sandra now.

The next day, everyone is still talking about Sandra and her new look. Sandra’s feeling so good about herself now that she’s no longer embarrassed when she knocks things over in home ec. Her newfound confidence has even given her the ability to play volleyball in gym class. She’s not too shy to raise her hand in social studies, and we find out Spanish settlers arrived in the area in 1788 but Sweet Valley wasn’t established as a town until 1857, a fact that I’m sure has been contradicted in plenty of other books. That bit of history has been brought up because we’re having Sweet Valley Days to “honor the early settlers” of Sweet Valley. One lucky sixth-grader will win the honor of introducing Mayor Lodge at a special assembly the school is having to celebrate Sweet Valley Days. Now we’re celebrating our celebrations. Jessica wants Liz to nominate her. She also wants to win the citizenship thing that will get her a place on the float in the parade. She figures then everyone will stop talking about Sandra and pay attention to her instead.

Sandra has been feeling confused and she’s worried everyone only likes her now because she’s so pretty. She figures if she gets to introduce the mayor, then she’ll feel like she’s not only beautiful, but also smart and talented and stuff. She asks Liz to nominate her and Liz says she will, even though she already promised to nominate Jessica. Oh, Liz. When she breaks the news, Jessica tells Liz she’s convinced Sandra is pretending to be shy just to get more popularity or something. She can’t think about it too much though because she’s busy designing the dress she’s going to wear on the float in the parade.

Sandra wins the introducing-the-mayor thing, and then she has the CRAZY idea to try for the citizenship thing, too. Jessica is mad that she’s trying to win both (even though she wanted to do the same thing). She goes out of her way to be the best citizen in Sweet Valley, but Sandra one-ups her at every turn. If Jessica donates a dollar to the literacy fund, Sandra donates two. HOW DARE THAT BITCH TRY TO BE A GOOD PERSON. Jessica finds out the library has been trying to raise money to repair their bookmobile, and she vows to come up with a super great plan to help them out. Steven tells her about how the seniors at SVH raised money for their prom last year by publishing commemorative books and selling ads to local businesses.

The next morning at school, Sandra overhears Jessica telling Liz about her idea. All she really hears is, “…the library needs money to repair their bookmobile,” and, “…sell ads to raise the money.” This makes her remember her older sister telling her about the seniors raising money for the prom last year and she comes up with the exact same idea as Jessica to publish books for Sweet Valley Days. She gets to Mrs. Arnette before Jessica does. Jessica is upset (rightly so, for once in her life) and she confronts Sandra, who insists she didn’t steal any ideas and besides, Jessica’s always been popular and now it’s someone else’s turn and she, Sandra, deserves to win. Well then. She introduces her bookmobile idea along with the mayor and then everyone votes for her to win the citizenship award.

Sandra goes to make up with the twins, but finds Steven playing basketball in the driveway. She tries to tell him that she didn’t steal the idea, and Steven says he was there when Jessica thought it up. Then Sandra remembers the things she overheard Jessica saying about raising money and LIGHTBULB! Gee, maybe she really did steal that idea! She shows up at the Wakefield house the morning of the parade and tells Jessica to take her place. Now that Jessica’s getting what she wants, she can be magnanimous. She knows Sandra has been doing a lot of work on the booklets, so she says she’ll be satisfied with riding on the float, and Sandra can take credit for the booklets.

Setup for the next book: Jessica wants to be an actress. (Again? Yawn.)


There was a picture of purple cotton pants with elastic at the ankles and one of a blue gym uniform with spangles, plus a dozen other designs.

These are Jessica’s clothing designs. She should have no trouble getting a job with American Apparel.

“Hold on,” Jessica interrupted. “There’s nothing wrong with being tall and thin. And you could wear your hair differently.” She jumped up and pushed Sandra’s hair away from her face. “Yes, that’s it.” She nodded approvingly. “That looks better.”

I hate fakeovers. I hate fakeovers so much.

Sandra walked around in a state of shock. She felt sure she must be dreaming. Any minute she would wake up and discover she was still clumsy and unpopular.

Apparently, when Jessica made her over, she somehow made Sandra less clumsy.

The Cover: That’s it? That’s the makeover? What the hell did she look like before if a tank top and mall bangs is enough to make her the most talked about kid at school?

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  • Erica Chestnut October 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    OMG, this was the first SVT book I ever owned. Come to think of it, I believe it was the first of any book I ever owned. I must have read it at least 100 times. I still remember the first line in the book is “Coming to you, Jess,” and I haven’t picked it up in years. Great recap.

    Didn’t they also put mascara and lipgloss on her for the fakeover and some kind of cream rinse in her hair? I remember thinking if I could just do something else with my hair and lose my glasses I wouldn’t be such a nerd.
    Oh, the memories.


  • Kanna-Chan October 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Jessica made me so mad in this book. She is such a HYPOCRITE! She accuse Sandra of just wanting attention and willing to do anything to get it. Uh, Jessica? Pot calling the kettle black? And if she wore a shirt like that these days, people would be calling her a baby. Seriously, who wears polka-dots these days past elementary school? And she is supposed to be one of the prettiest and most popular girls in school?


  • Erica Chestnut October 15, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Jessica is a hypocrite in pretty much every Sweet Valley book, ever. When I was a kid she was my favorite and now I cannot fathom why that was. All I can say is I hope no one really ever used her for a role model because that would be horrifying.


  • HelenB October 15, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I love that tall, thin girls just need a makeover to be pretty and popular, but fat girls need to stop being so fat.


  • Ash October 19, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Holy mackerel, me too! I was just coming here to post that. What a coincidence!


  • kylie April 11, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Oh I loooooooooooved this book. It was one of the first SVs I owned also, and I too just loved Jess. Pretty and popular? Yes please! Ugh.


  • Isabel E. December 21, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Oh yes! The first SVT book I read, and got me hooked on the series. I never was much into SVH, but I really liked the 12 year old twins series.


  • KannaChan July 24, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    I actually think Sandra is pretty. I think she could have used some more stylish clothes but her hair and face are pretty.


  • JulieCaroleRayo October 1, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    This was one of my first reads too!

    I even remember that when Jess’s cuff falls into her food at lunch, Sandra makes fun of her and says I told you that you should’ve used a different stitch – funny how some things stay with you huh?


  • Alex Kennedy August 17, 2016 at 4:58 am

    Jessica clearly has some jealousy issues.


  • Jenna October 27, 2016 at 2:32 am

    Sweet Valley books subconsciously convinced me that new clothes, a new hairstyles, and contact lenses would make me popular. I was tormented relentlessly in middle school and really believed a makeover would make all the difference. But noooope. I came to school one day with my hair long and curled (shorts how Jessica Simpson wears hers) and wearing some cute clothes from The Limited and instead of suddenly fitting in I was just made fun of even more for trying.

    I didn’t make the connection between my belief that a makeover would change my life and sweet valley until I started rereading these books as an adult.

    Damn you, Francine. But I guess I can’t be too mad… After all, SVH was also the reason I never tried hard drugs. Regina’s death affected me pretty deeply.


  • Jessica is Evil March 30, 2017 at 8:44 am

    ^^^I was bullied all throughout school. Many days, I thought I was pretty, but then someone would make me feel ugly again. This happened quite some time ago. The bullying that you have mentioned often stays with you forever. I am sorry that you had to go through that, but you are a survivor. Regina’s death also made a lot of people not want to touch cocaine.


  • Sweet Valley Forever April 21, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Jessica just brushed Sandra’s hair back from her face? That’s it? She must be some type of miracle worker. Jessica clearly has some jealousy issues. She might even have a narcisistic personality disorder.


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