SVH #2: Secrets

25 Feb

Estimated Total Elapsed Time: 2 weeks

The Overview

Elizabeth and Enid hang out and Enid confesses her sordid past.  Two years ago, when Enid was 14, she fell in with a bad crowd and got all hopped up on Bennies.  her boyfriend, George Warren, took her for a stoned joyride in his GTO and they hit a little boy (who ended up okay).  Enid did some rehab and probation, and she’s been hiding this secret, and the fact that she still corresponds with George (ah, the pre-email world) ever since.  Elizabeth is sympathetic, but she worries a little when she sees how freaked out Enid is about her boyfriend Ronnie Edwards ever finding out about her past.  Liz promises never to tell a soul, and then the two girls have a pillow fight and don’t notice when one of the clandestine letters falls under Elizabeth’s bed.

Jessica is obsessed with winning the title of Fall Queen and getting on the arm of Bruce Patman.  These things are connected, as is her conviction that ruining Enid’s chances at the title (her biggest competition, apparently) lies in breaking up her and Ronnie.  When she finds the letter, she makes a copy and makes sure that Ronnie gets it.  Ronnie freaks out, sexually assaults Enid, and breaks up with her.  Enid freaks out and blames Liz.  Liz freaks out and cries about it.

The socipathy of Jessica Wakefield doesn’t end there.  She then convinces Ronnie to take her to the dance.  Enid cries a lot, but then George Warren shows up looking all hot and shit, just in time for the dance, and all her problems melt away.  Liz finds out what Jessica did and decides to get even by rigging the votes so that Jessica wins…with Winston Egbert as her king.  She then blackmails Jessica into accepting the crown and all the responsibilities that accompany it.

The B-Plot has to do with rumors about Ms. Dalton the French teacher having an affair with Ken Matthews during their afternoon tutoring sessions.  The rumors are false, and everyone finds out that Lila Fowler started them to break up Ms. Dalton and her father.  Not a lot of plot in this one, I have to say.

Memorable Quotes:

  • “‘Come on Enid, it’s not the most hideous secret in the world, no matter how bad it must have seemed at the time.  Besides, it was two years ago–that’s practically prehistoric by now.” (8) [Especially given how long a year lasts in Sweet Valley.]
  • “Elizabeth was left to wonder why, if Jessica was doing her such a big favor, she was the one making all the sacrifices.” (75)

Outfits Described:
(A ton of outfits described in this book.  Some of my favorites:)

  • Bronze wet-look one-piece bathing suit
  • Tight black velvet jeans, pink sparkly legwarmers, and a purple satin blouse
  • Slinky red formal dress with a wide embroidered belt, black sandal heels, and rhinestone earrings

Trivia and Fun Facts:

  • Pop culture references made in this book include: Playboy Magazine, Bo Derek beach scene in “10”, Scooby-Doo, Dear Abby, Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds, and a creepy reference to the Boston Strangler.
  • The copy of this book that I own belonged to an Amber and a Rachel Nelson, both of whom decided they needed to write their names on the inside cover.
  • In this book, we learn that Lila is in choir and sings soprano; that Todd has a brother that later becomes a sister that later disappears so he can be an only child; and that the State University is in another town nearby.

A (Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis

One of the shortest books in the series, it’s not long on plot, nor is it full of interesting things to pick apart.  Enid’s complete fear of Ronnie finding out about her past hints at an emotionally abusive relationship, and his borderline sexual assault of her in his car before he dumps her is also pretty scary.  This seems to be something that happens a lot in Sweet Valley.  Perhaps it’s in the water.

Jessica’s behavior throughout the novel is reprehensible.  I don’t understand how she continues to function in society, let alone how she’s considered very popular.  She uses the people around her to meet her needs and discards them as soon as she’s done.  Yet Elizabeth defends her at almost every turn.  When Todd makes a joke about Jessica, Elizabeth is quick to jump to her defense, and dismisses Todd’s ill feelings towards her twin as residual anger from when Jessica tried to keep them from seeing each other.  Yeah, I guess that whole false accusation of attempted date rape is no big deal, huh Elizabeth?

The moral of the story?  Burn your private letters if you don’t want them xeroxed all over school.


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