Sweet Valley High #126: Tall, Dark, and Deadly


The Moral of the Story: Just one damned vampire will turn a whole town goth.

The Big Deal: The only big deal in this book is Jonathan Cain.


Ah, jeez. Vampires.

Jessica has gotten a pair of diamond earrings from her grandmother, but she loses one at the Dairi Burger. She and Lila go digging through the dumpster to try to find it. There’s a dead body underneath all the trash and the dead man has a bite mark on his neck. Gross. When the police get to the scene, they discover the body has been drained of blood.

Liz is all fucked up about Joey Mason, her summer fling. She can’t even stand to be around Todd because she feels so guilty. She ends a date early and Todd spends two pages trying to figure out what he did wrong. When they get to the Wakefields’ house, there’s a police car in the driveway. They run inside and Jessica tells them what happened. She introduces them to Jasmine, a cat she rescued from a tree outside the Dairi Burger. Everyone keeps saying Jasmine is the only witness to the murder.

At school on Monday, Jessica is a superstar and everyone wants to know what happened. Chrome Dome holds an assembly to talk about the murder. Enid sits with Maria and Liz, but Liz ignores her and just talks to Maria. Liz hasn’t told Enid about Joey, so Maria is the only one she can talk to about the fact that Joey will be going to UCLA and be within driving distance of Sweet Valley. Enid feels left out. Mr. Cooper introduces a new student, Jonathan Cain. He’s wearing black leather pants and a black t-shirt and of course he’s totally gorgeous. Enid and Jessica both decide they’re in love with him, and Liz immediately hates him because she recognizes him as the guy who bumped into her that morning and didn’t apologize.

Jessica tries to get Jonathan’s attention in a variety of ways, but he totally ignores her. She sits next to him in French class and passes him a flirtatious note. He passes one back telling her to leave him alone. Jessica gets all excited about what a challenge he’s going to be. Meanwhile, all the girls at school think Jonathan is totally hot and they start dressing like him and painting their nails black and shit. Lila and Jessica think it’s totally gross and stick with their lavender nail polish. Enid tells Liz she wants to dye her hair black, but Liz tells her it’s a stupid idea. Enid goes to the salon anyway and gets her hair dyed and straightened and also learns all about how to apply emo makeup. Liz is annoyed at everyone trying to copy Jonathan. Even Todd starts wearing black all the time.

Liz comes to a decision: she’s going to forget about Joey. She burns his letter and starts trying to convince herself she’s still in love with Todd, but it’s hard going, especially when she finds a canoe paddle in her locker. Wtf? I guess Joey put it there thinking it would be cute, but I’d sure be creeped out by it.

Enid turns into a creepy stalker and follows Jonathan after school one day to a dilapidated mansion on the outskirts of town. She sees him go inside, but nobody answers when she rings the doorbell and then knocks on the door. She walks around the house and looks in the windows. The house is disgusting and it’s clear nobody lives there. Enid gets freaked out and drives home.

Jessica finally gets Jonathan to give her a ride on his motorcycle. He takes her home and Jessica thinks it’s totally awesome that he knows where she lives. He drops her off, tells her again to leave her alone and then drives off. Liz can’t believe Jessica took a motorcycle ride. Jessica wakes up from a nightmare later and finds her missing earring on her windowsill. Weird. The next day, Jonathan tells Liz to keep Jessica away from him. Liz makes Jessica promise to leave him alone, but Jessica sneaks away on Saturday night while Liz is in the shower. She goes to the address Enid said she had followed Jonathan to.

When Liz gets out of the shower, she hears on the radio that another murder victim has been found. It’s a blond girl at Secca Lake and all her blood has been drained. Liz searches the house for Jessica and realizes she’s not there. She freaks out and does the only thing she can think of: she calls Todd and asks for his help. He says he’ll be right over and Liz panics until she hears a car in the driveway. She opens the door, but it’s Joey. She gives him a big hug and suddenly forgets that her sister might be dead. Of course, that’s the exact moment Todd shows up.

Jessica’s not dead. She’s at Jonathan’s house knocking incessantly on the door. Jonathan finally lets her in. He sets down his goblet of red wine and kisses Jessica. Then he pushes her away and says she should have left him alone.


“We’re trying to get that new guy, Jonathan, to join the basketball team,” Todd told Elizabeth.

Oh, Todd. Goth kids don’t play team sports.

I need new friends, Enid decided. Lynne Henry, Julie Porter, and Jennifer Mitchell, all of whom had also adopted Jonathan’s gothic style of dress, were sitting together at a nearby table.

So basically all the poor girls with no self-confidence are the ones being taken in by this new craze, but perfect and confident twins are immune.

Why can’t he admit that he cares for me?

This is Jessica, after Jonathan has done everything he can possibly do to show that he does not, in fact, care for her.

The Cover: Did anyone else wear those awful velvety black chokers back in the day? I thought I was so totally cool and goth when I wore mine. I imagine Jessica thinks it’s just the thing to make Jonathan fall in love with her. Jonathan looks like a total creeper up there in the window.