The Big Deal: Christmas party at Lila’s
Okay, this is the first Super Chiller of the Twins series. Let’s see if it’s any better than the Super Thrillers the twins face in high school.
It’s Christmas again. The twins are window shopping at the mall, looking for more useless crap they can add to their Christmas lists. Elizabeth sees a porcelain carousel horse and tells Jessica she would love to have it for Christmas. Jessica thinks it’s pretty, too, and later Liz overhears Jessica telling their mother how much she wants it. When Mrs. Wakefield says it sounds more like something Liz would like, Jessica lies and says Liz didn’t like it at all. Liz can’t believe Jessica would lie because she clearly hasn’t been paying attention this whole time. But, you know, she figures if Jessica is willing to lie, she must want the horse extra bad.
The middle school is holding a bazaar to raise money for the children’s wing of the hospital. Liz is in charge of things, of course, along with Amy Sutton and Julie Porter. Liz and her mom decide to make cookies to sell at the bazaar, and Liz is upset when Jessica bails out on helping to go give Lila advice on how to plan her Christmas party.
I’m a little confused about when the bazaar actually is. Liz and her friends go to the mall on Saturday to sell cookies, and I thought that was going to be the bazaar, but it’s not. The girls don’t make as much money as they’d like, but they can’t think of any more ideas. Then Liz reads in the newspaper that Beau Dillon, a movie star, is coming to Sweet Valley to publicize his latest movie “about a teenager who gets cancer and almost dies.” Sounds lovely. Liz writes him a letter asking him to appear at a fundraiser. She gets a letter back a few days later. Beau’s just gonna go ahead and stop by the house after his interview on Christmas Eve, if it’s all right with Liz.
The twins go to Lila’s party and Jessica tells everyone Beau Dillon is coming to her house. Liz is annoyed that Jessica is suddenly acting like she cares about the fundraiser, and she gets pissed when the Unicorns don’t believe that Beau is actually coming and Jessica doesn’t assure them that Liz is telling the truth. Jessica says she didn’t want to argue with Lila because Lila probably got her something good for Christmas. Liz tells Jessica if she keeps being so selfish she’ll end up with no friends at all.
It’s finally Christmas Eve and the twins get ready for Beau to come over. He’s supposed to be there at noon, but at two o’clock he still hasn’t shown up and Liz has to leave to go hand out presents at the hospital. Predictably, Beau gets there as soon as Liz and her mother have left. Jessica is stunned and shocked and really, can you imagine if you were twelve and, like, Jonathan Taylor Thomas came to your house? Point is, she doesn’t even think to introduce herself as Jessica, and when Beau says he’ll take her to lunch on the 27th to discuss the fundraiser, she just accepts. After he leaves, she realizes he thought she was Elizabeth, but she decides she’ll just go to lunch with him and Liz probably won’t mind all that much as long as the fundraiser gets planned.
For once, though, Jessica has a conscience, and she feels guilty all day and can’t even concentrate on singing carols with the family that night. She wants to come clean to Liz, but feels like it’s too late now. She can’t sleep that night and things are weird. The unicorn in her new poster from Lila seems to be looking at her all angry, and then her lamp transforms into a clown and calls her a liar. At this point I’d be running for the hills, but Jessica tries to go to sleep. Just as she’s drifting off, a little girl appears by her bed and smiles at her. And now, halfway through the book, we finally get to the chilling part of the story.
The little girl is the Ghost of Christmas Past, and she takes Jessica back to the good old days when she and Liz were the best of friends and would have done anything for each other. Jessica starts feeling really bad about how she’s been treating Liz here in the present. Then she wakes up and a unicorn comes along and introduces itself as the Ghost of Christmas Present. The unicorn takes her to Beau Dillon’s house, where he’s talking to someone about what a great kid Elizabeth is and how nice it is that she cares about sick kids and whatnot. Then it takes her back to the Wakefield house, where it’s Christmas morning. The unicorn lets Jessica see what Liz is thinking and feeling, and it turns out Liz is miserable about Beau not keeping his promise and she’s suspicious because Jessica is acting guilty. Then the unicorn takes her back to the beginning of sixth grade, when Liz was feeling sad about Jessica distancing herself from Liz and wanting to join the Unicorns.
Jessica wakes up in the woods and meets a creepy looking ghost that looks like a Dementor in a white robe. It’s the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, and it takes her to Secca Lake, where a teenage Jessica is surrounded by friends. It’s some kind of sorority thing. Apparently, Liz is pledging and she has to make it out of the woods in a certain amount of time or something. When teenage Jessica walks away, the other kids start talking about her witch of a sister and say they made sure the markers in the woods were too high to see so Liz will never make it out in time. Young Jessica wonders what could have happened to make everyone hate Liz so much. You see where this is going, right? She hears someone crying in the woods so she goes running in to find the source. She finds Elizabeth sobbing and talking to herself. From the things she says, it’s clear that this miserable friendless twin is actually Jessica, and the girl with all the friends back at the lake is Elizabeth.
The ghost whisks Jessica away to a high school football game, where Jessica is conspicuously absent from the cheerleading squad. She finds her older self all alone at the top of the bleachers. Some kids nearby are talking about how hateful Jessica is, and they mention the time Jessica put shaving cream in Lois Waller’s sundae, and the time she tried to steal Todd Wilkins from Liz (which time?). They also mention the Beau Dillon incident. Jessica is horrified and vows to fix everything.
The spirit isn’t done yet. It takes Jessica to the Dairi Burger, where teenage Elizabeth is once again surrounded by adoring fans, and Jessica is at a table by herself. Lois Waller asks Jessica to sit with her, and Jessica calls her a loser. Liz and her friends leave, and young Jessica hears Lila telling Bruce it’s time to get even with Jessica for the way she treated Lila’s cousin last week. So Bruce goes and asks Jessica out. He says he’s taking her to the dog show and he’ll give her the number for the booth she’ll be in. ‘Cause she’s a dog. Get it?
And now we’re back at the Wakefield house, where teenage Elizabeth is writing in her journal about how unhappy she is that she and Jessica aren’t close anymore. She writes that she thinks it all started that Christmas when Jessica pretended to be her to meet Beau Dillon. Jessica is horrified and tells the spirit she’ll change. She grabs the ghost by its cloak, and the cloak comes to life and tries to choke her. Then she wakes up for real.
Jessica hurries to tell Liz that Beau Dillon actually did come by yesterday, and that Beau will be taking Liz to lunch in a couple days to talk about the fundraiser. Liz is overjoyed that Beau actually came through. They open presents, and Jessica ends up getting the carousel horse. She immediately gives is to Liz and reflects that this is the best Christmas ever.
Elizabeth broke four eggs carefully into a large bowl, and beat the eggs until they were light and fluffy. Then she measured the shortening, sugar, and vanilla extract, and added some orange peel. Mrs. Wakefield measured the milk, then Elizabeth added the rest of the ingredients and mixed everything carefully.
Every now and then it’s nice when the Wakefields put on a cooking show and I get to read about every single step that goes into making cookies.
It looked as if the party was already in full swing.
It has occurred to me many times over the years that I should have named this blog In Full Swing. Every single book contains a line like this.
In the next booth sat – no, not herself – Elizabeth again, looking cute and perky in a miniskirt and blue sweater. She was surrounded by friends – Olivia Davidson, Winston Egbert, and Todd Wilkins, plus a whole crowd of boys and girls Jessica didn’t recognize.
Has Olivia been around this whole time? I didn’t think she was in the SVT series.
The Cover: Yep, that would scare the crap out of me. Also, nice nightgown, Jess.