SVH #62: Who’s Who?

18 Feb

whoswhoEstimated Elapsed Time: 3 weeks

Summary/Overview:

Jessica discovers a new computer dating service at the Valley Mall while shopping with Elizabeth, and she decides to fill out two different forms with two different names to attract different dudes.  Thus, Magenta Galaxy, rocker chick is born.  Her sophisticated alter ego, Daniella Fromage, is also created.  It isn’t long before Jessica’s new personalities are set up with dudes who match their interests: Pierre for Daniella and Brett for Magenta.

Deciding she needs to be able to play both parts accurately, Jessica enlists the help of snobby Suzanne Hanlon to teach her about culture and art, and she asks Dana Larson to help school her in the art of rock.  She borrows a ton of clothes from both girls to complete her transformations.

Despite Elizabeth’s warnings that this is a Bad Idea, Jessica goes out with both boys and seems to find them both super attractive, even though they’re totally boring and don’t seem to really know what they’re talking about.  She manages to juggle dating them both for about a week before she inadvertently double-books herself on a Saturday night.  She enlists Elizabeth to dress up with her and swap places every fifteen minutes at the same restaurant.

The problem is, Liz sees through both boys and grows tired of playing along.  She tells them both that she thinks they’re fakes, and storms out of the restaurant.  Jessica is pretty pissed, and then Liz feels bad, because Liz is a doormat.  She conspires to get both dudes to show up at the house the following day without telling Jessica.

The two boys come over at the same time, and while they both come clean about who they actually are (basically they are what the other was pretending to be, if that makes sense), Dana and Suzanne stop by to pick up their things.  The four of them ride off into the sunset, and all is well again.

The B-plot is almost nonexistent but basically involves Liz worrying that she’s too boring (spoiler alert: she is) and getting a perm and buying a dress for the Valentine’s Day dance.

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • Liz is reading A Tale of Two Cities and “can’t put it down.”
  • Some of the clothes in this book are totally priceless, including a reference to a paratrooper outfit, a strapless minidress with a necklace made of Scrabble tiles spelling out “HARD ROCK”, and a blue-green shimmery dress.
  • Tune Town is apparently the best place in Sweet Valley to buy vintage records
  • Le Chou Farci is the fanciest, priciest restaurant around.  According to my dubious Google search, that is French for “pork-stuffed cabbage roll.” FANCY!

Memorable Quotes:

  • “With a firm nod, Elizabeth took out her journal, turned to the first blank page, and wrote in capital letters: DARE TO BE DIFFERENT. Then she snapped her journal shut.  From now on, Elizabeth Wakefield was not going to look before she leaped.” (35)
  • “The subtitles didn’t help, either, because the plot of the movie was so strange.  As far as Jessica could tell, all the characters believed they were in purgatory, though to her it just looked like a doctor’s waiting room. Every once in a while a nurse would call someone’s name, and that person would look shocked and begin talking morosely about his childhood.” (75)

(Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

As a child, this was one of my favorite books in the series.  I loved the concept of the two alter-egos, and desperately wanted a blue streak in my hair, just like Magenta Galaxy.  The names were so cool to my 10-year-old self.

Reading this now, I actually find this one to be the least offensive in recent memory.  Despite the fact that Jessica is a complete SOCIOPATH, no one gets hurt here, and her actions, while largely selfish, aren’t destructive like they normally are.  Elizabeth goes along with it until it gets too ridiculous, and I actually think she acted fairly rationally (until the end, at least).

The things that struck me about this one, though, were twofold.  The first had to do with the dating service itself.  The store advertises itself as catering to teens specifically, but doesn’t that just seem like a lawsuit waiting to happen?  I mean, wouldn’t you have to be 18 to sign up for this dating service?

The second part is how much of the phone-call shenanigans could be avoided with the onset of cell phones.  Jessica eventually has to give both boys Lila’s number so that her mom won’t answer the phone and tell them they have the wrong house for Magenta and Daniella.  But if she had a cell phone?  Well, basically the whole plot wouldn’t happen.

Up next: The New Elizabeth.  SNOOZEFEST!

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One Response to “SVH #62: Who’s Who?”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. SVH Magna Edition: Elizabeth’s Secret Diary, Vol. II | A Critical Analysis of Sweet Valley's Most Famous Twins - August 24, 2015

    […] of books to focus on.  Readers are treated to reminders about Patty Gilbert’s problems, Jessica’s adventures in computer dating (this is still one of my favorites because it’s so balls-to-the-wall insane), […]

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