SVH #7: Dear Sister

7 Mar

Total Elapsed Time: 9 weeks

The Overview

Elizabeth is still in her coma as a result of the motorcycle crash, and Jessica sits by her bedside every day, begging her to awake.  When Elizabeth does, everyone is immensely relieved.  But it isn’t long before Jessica realizes that Liz is acting differently.  She’s uninterested in things like reading and school and becomes obsessed with her looks and with flirting with every guy at Sweet Valley High.  She spurns he advances of Todd, choosing instead to focus on Ken Matthews and Bruce Patman and pretty much anything with a penis.

When the twins throw a pool party, Liz somehow gets out of helping set up and clean up, leaving Jessica to do all the work.  She cheats on a research paper, gets kicked off the staff of the Oracle, and doesn’t seem to care.  Jessica can only watch as her twin acts more and more like her, causing Jess to act more like the old Elizabeth just to pick up the slack.

Things come to a head when Liz decides to go off with Bruce Patman after dancing with him at one of Lila’s infamous “pickup parties.”  The two of them head off to another party at the country club, and Bruce gets her drunk off some wine he serves her in a paper cup (classy, party of two).  Jessica pleads with Todd to intervene, and he does, chasing them down in the parking lot, punching Bruce in the face and dragging Elizabeth off into his own car.  She’s furious with him and refuses to see reason.

Liz decides to go out with Bruce again, and doesn’t even think twice about double-booking herself that night when Bill Chase also asks her out.  She’s long gone when he shows up for their date, so Jessica pretends to be Elizabeth and goes out with Bill.  Meanwhile, Liz and Bruce have gone to his house to fool around.  When Bruce goes downstairs to get some wine, Liz trips on a rug and bangs her head on a table.  This seems to snap her back to her senses, and when Bruce returns and she has no memory of going out with him, he tries to force her into having sex with him. She runs away and into the arms of Todd, where they make up and she cries a lot.

The B-Plot involves Jean and Joan Percy, a set of 12-year-old identical twin girls whose parents are apparently friends of the Wakefields.  They come to stay with the family for a few weeks while their parents are out of town.  Because Elizabeth is being irresponsible, Jessica ends up having to care for them, shlepping them to the movies with her when she goes on a date and driving them to their flute auditions.  She’s annoyed with them until they help her out of a tight spot with her parents after getting a speeding ticket and putting a dent in the fiat’s fender.  The end.

Memorable Quotes:

  • “Roger Collins wasn’t the most popular teacher at school only because he was interesting in class.  In fact, most of the girls would have loved a little after-class attention from this teacher.” (34)

(Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis

I’m not lying when I say that this is one of my least favorite books.  I recognize the fact that this book is considered the pinnacle of what the series was at its peak, but it just doesn’t work for me.  Putting aside the ludicrous idea that Elizabeth wakes up acting like Jessica and only reverts back to her old self after hitting her head again, the book just irritates me.  Everyone complains throughout the whole book that they’ve seen negative changes in Elizabeth, but no one does anything.  Mr. Collins throws her off the paper staff, teachers notice that she’s failing her classes (and plagiarizing papers), Todd essentially gets cheated on and then dumped, and Jessica becomes the responsible twin, but no one does anything remotely proactive to figure out what’s going on.

What’s more alarming is the fact that Ma and Pa Wakefield seem to be completely oblivious to these drastic changes.  Sure, they get upset with Elizabeth when she copies her paper, and she gets grounded for a while, but they don’t actually seem to be concerned that the behavior is indicative of a bigger issue.  They recognize that Jessica is pulling more weight than usual but don’t investigate that further.  True to the other books in the series, the Wakefield parents remain conspicuously absent from the book’s plot.

I leave you with this final thought: What kind of parents invite 12-year-old twin girls to come for an extended stay when one of their own daughters is recovering from a tragic motorcycle accident in which she was in a coma for several days?

One Response to “SVH #7: Dear Sister”


  1. SVH #80: The Girl They Both Loved | A Critical Analysis of Sweet Valley's Most Famous Twins - April 9, 2014

    […] want to introduce him to her parents, because they’re super anti-motorcycle after that one time Liz was in a coma after Todd crashed his motorcycle a week after getting it. But then Sam shows up at her house, […]

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