SVH #39: Secret Admirer

9 Oct

Estimated Time Elapsed: 2 weeks


Lynn Henry comes up with a great feature for the Oracle: personal ads that the students can submit and respond to.  Penny Ayala, Oracle editor, puts her in charge of organizing it, and Lynne devises a system where students are assigned a number so that it remains mostly confidential.  Elizabeth and Enid convince Penny, who seems to be terminally single, to submit a personal ad.  She comes up with a surprisingly funny ad, and it isn’t long before she gets a response from “Jamie.”  The two correspond for a while and eventually plan a meet-up at the mall.

Penny doesn’t know that Kirk Anderson and his friends have been writing the letters to her as a joke.  Neil Freemount has been penning them, only he’s actually developed feelings for her and feels really bad about the joke.  When Penny’s stood up at the mall, he writes her one more letter and asks her to meet him at the Dairi Burger.  He runs into Kirk there, but he stands up to him and Kirk backs off.  Neil confesses everything to Penny, who is hurt at first but accepts his apology.  The two totally hit it off.

Liz figures out what Kirk’s been up to and decides to get even by setting him up with her “cousin” Erica Hall (a supermodel).  He’s supposed to meet her at the big Forties Fling Dance, but he’s obviously stood up and apparently humiliated.

The B-Plot involves Jessica and Lila also placing personal ads and betting each other that they’ll have the hottest date.  Jessica goes on a date with Paolo, a college boy who is fluent in Italian but is fat.  Jessica is disgusted by him and moves on to a guy named John Karger, who seems to be really interested in her motivations for placing a personal ad.  Jessica thinks he’s just interested in her though, and she and Lila set up a meeting with their dates at a beach concert the afternoon of the dance to declare the winner…only they’ve both been going out with John, who has been conducting a sociological experiment.  The girls laugh and go to the dance.

Memorable Quotes:

  • “The funny thing was, she could always see Jessica’s manipulations coming, but she never held them against her twin; that was just the way Jessica was.” (7) [Blogger’s note: Really, Liz?  REALLY?]
  • “She frowned as a little voice inside her told her that she’d just played a mean trick on a polite, friendly, and interesting boy.  But she ignored the voice.  After all, she couldn’t help it if she simply couldn’t stand to be around fat people.” (79)
  • “‘Besides,’ Jessica added, ‘my date is in college.  He would never go to some juvenile high school dance.'” (121)  [Blogger’s note: Hahahahaha]

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • Enid’s new boyfriend Hugh Grayson met her at a bookstore, and he goes to Big Mesa.
  • Kirk Anderson drives a white Trans Am.  This is the second jerk in the series who drives a Trans Am.  Are they telling us something?
  • There are a ton of updates about relationships started in other books: Sally Larson and Mark Riley are still together, as are Jean West and Tom McKay, Lynne Henry and Guy Chesney, and Mr. Collins and Ms. Dalton.

(Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

There’s not a lot to say about this mostly harmless book.  While it is hard to believe that personal ads in a high school paper would be okayed by the administration, it’s even more unlikely that people in college would respond to the ads.  It’s actually–it’s kind of illegal, in a lot of ways.  Most high schools try to keep kids in high school from dating kids in college.  It usually leads to sketchy situations.

Of course, Jessica is especially reprehensible in this book.  The entire thing with Paolo is so disgusting that I got physically ill when reading it.  The fact that the ghost writer breezes right past it with a little “a nagging voice” thing is really alarming.  I know I ask this question a lot, but seriously, what kind of message does this send to readers?



One Response to “SVH #39: Secret Admirer”


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

    […] from her.  What a nice sister.  There’s an adorable and not at all tedious recap of the time she and Lila posted personal ads and got set up with the same dude. FINALLY we hit #40, where Jessica reminisces about poor Regina and how she died from that cocaine […]

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