SVH #32: The New Jessica

6 Sep

Estimated Elapsed Time: 4 weeks


Jessica is tired of being mistaken for Elizabeth and decides to make a drastic change to her appearance.  So she dies her hair black, starts wearing more makeup, and borrows a bunch of French clothing from Lila.  She walks around pretending to read European magazines and speaking with a slight accent, and people just eat her shit up.

Liz is the only person at Sweet Valley High who is not thrilled with the new Jessica.  She laments in her diary about how she feels so distant from Jessica now that she looks different.  When Jeffrey comments that it’s nice to be able to tell them apart, Liz freaks out and accuses him of being interested in Jessica.  Jessica takes this as an opportunity to go after Jeffrey, but he rebuffs her attempts.  Liz is pretty miserable.

Jessica decides that with her new look, she should become a model.  She goes to a photographer who tips her off to a contest being held.  When she shows up to audition for the contest, they decide she’s too exotic-looking, but flip over Elizabeth’s look.  Jessica decides to revert back to her old self and pretend to be Liz at the show.  Eventually, both twins end up in the show and split the money that comes along as a prize.

The B-Plot involves Liz losing her diary and freaking out about it.  Penny Ayala finds it and returns it to the Wakefield house, where Jessica surreptitiously reads a bit of it, sees how much pain Liz is in about her new look, and doubles her resolve to return to her old look.

Memorable Quotes:

  • “Jessica, dear, don’t you realize that you and Elizabeth are identical twins?  Why shouldn’t people get you confused every once in a while?” (18)

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • The black dye that Jessica uses washes out after every two washes.  That sounds like some cheap shit.
  • Pop culture references include Joan Collins on Dynasty and a mention of Brooke Shields as a model.
  • Possibly the best outfit ever: Jessica wore an olive-green leather skirt with a slit up the back, an oversize blouse with a belt, and lacy hose with 3-inch heels.

(Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

What’s interesting about this book is that I remember it being one of my favorite ones when I was young.  I was fascinated by Jessica’s transformation and the fabulous clothes she wore in the book.  Reading it now, I find everything about the story falling flat.  If someone I knew showed up looking completely different and speaking with a new accent, I’d consider doing some sort of intervention.  Besides, faux-European accents are so Madonna, circa 2002.

The only other thing worth mentioning is how weak the Liz plot is regarding the whole Jeffrey debacle.  He makes a mild comment about her sister’s appearance and she automatically freaks out, assuming it means he’s into her sister?  For a secure girl who is always described as the logical one, she’s a complete flake in this book.  CHARACTER DERAILMENT.


One Response to “SVH #32: The New Jessica”


  1. SVH: Jessica’s Secret Diary, Vol. I | A Critical Analysis of Sweet Valley's Most Famous Twins - July 18, 2014

    […] first treated to a recap of #32, in which Jessica dyes her hair black and tries to go faux-European.  She also thinks about how cute she thinks Jeffrey French is.  Then we get a recap of heroic […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: