Sweet Valley Twins #50: Jessica and the Secret Star
The Big Deal: Yacht party
New Kid with a Problem: Maria Slater, secret identity
There’s a new girl named Maria Slater in the twins’ homeroom and Jessica thinks she looks familiar. She strikes up a conversation with her, and Maria is all mysterious about her last school. The next day, Jessica is out with a convenient cold and she watches a movie on TV. The little girl in the movie happens to be Maria Slater. Jessica figures she’ll keep Maria’s secret for now because she wants to remain friends with her, but she can’t wait until Maria introduces her to all the movie stars she undoubtedly knows.
Jessica is confused when Maria gets all excited about writing for the Sixers. Like, why isn’t she signing contracts and hanging out with movie stars? She invites Maria over after school, but Maria spends most of her time talking to Liz about the article Liz wants her to write for the paper. Maria forgets her backpack when she leaves. Jessica looks in one of the notebooks for Maria’s phone number, but “accidentally” reads the notebook instead. In it, Maria talks about how she’s learning to be an average kid as research for a movie.
The truth, as we find out during a conversation between Maria and her sister, Nina, is that Maria hasn’t gotten a job since she quit being a cute little kid and turned into an awkward adolescent. She’s a little worried she might never act again, but she’s excited about being a normal kid for a while, and she might even try out for the drama club. What Jessica read in the notebook was a short fiction story. Jessica calls to tell her she left her backpack, and Maria thinks she’s totally weird and way too eager about bringing it over after dinner. Maria tells her to just meet her early at school the next morning.
Of course, Jessica can’t keep her mouth shut. When she gives Maria her backpack, she falls all over herself about how exciting it must be to be a star. She confesses to reading Maria’s diary and asks if Maria knows Johnny Buck. Maria doesn’t know what to do or how to act, so she sort of says she knows Johnny and yeah, she’ll introduce Jessica to him one of these days. She feels guilty for lying and letting Jessica believe she’s still a movie star, but doesn’t really know what else to do.
OF COURSE Jessica tells the Unicorns Maria’s secret. They want to let her know they know, but they think it’s best if Maria tells them herself. So they have a sleepover and invite Maria, with the intent of playing Truth or Dare. Then she’ll HAVE to tell the truth! And so Jessica asks her if she’s an actress in hiding, and Maria tells them all the lie about how she’s researching a movie and they’ll all be invited to the set when it starts shooting. She’s mad at herself for lying. Again. She should stop doing that.
Maria’s lies are turning into a whole big thing, because Lila has now secured her father’s yacht for a party for the cast of Maria’s fake movie. Maria is freaking out, so she tells Liz the truth. Liz does the old shoulder-pat routine and tells Maria she has to tell the truth.
Maria is fashionably late to the yacht party, and she gives a speech about how she’s just a normal kid and she’s sorry for lying. Someone starts a slow clap and everything is totally all right.
Maria hung up the phone and sighed. The Wakefields might be twins, but she definitely preferred Elizabeth. Jessica seemed a little weird.
Finally, someone notices!
The Cover: Who are you posing for, Maria? You’re not a star anymore. Nobody is taking your picture.