Elizabeth and Jessica are better than you.
|Sweet Valley High #1: Double Love
||[Feb. 21st, 2010|11:14 am]
Sweet Valley High #1: Double Love by Francine Pascal|
Back Cover: Will Jessica steal Todd from Elizabeth….
TL;DR: I may not be a psychologist but I do watch a lot of Criminal Minds and firmly believe that Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield can be used as a case study for dominant and submissive personality types as they “fight” for love of Todd Wilkins in the book that started it all.
The Main Plot: This is the book that introduces us to the Wakefield twins: Jessica and Elizabeth. They are gorgeous, popular and border on being psychologically deranged to differing degrees. The main focus of Double Love is the twins fighting over Todd Wilkins, the super hot perfect amazing captain of the basketball team. Remember, this was the 80s and basketball was totally still relevant back then.
Todd is smitten with Elizabeth at the start of the book but Jessica does pretty much everything in her power to convince Todd that her sister is a dirty whore who doesn’t know he exists in order to steal him away. This includes lying to Todd about Elizabeth having a date with a different guy every night (*wink wink nudge nudge*) and letting him believe the nasty rumors going around the school about her.
The rumor in question is a result of Jessica going on date with bad boy Rick Andover after she was scorned by Todd mid-book. We know Rick is bad news because he dropped out of high school, has tattoos and drinks alcohol. On their date he takes Jessica to a bar, causes a fight and gets her taken home by the police officer.
Because the police officer mistook Jessica for Elizabeth, the rumor gets spread around the school about the wrong twin and Jessica does absolutely nothing to stop it.
I am honestly confused whether or not the book wants us to like Jessica or have an overwhelming desire to smother her with a pillow. I’m leaning towards the later, however this is unfortunately not a Fear Street novel and she’s a main character so I doubt that’s going to happen anytime soon. Moving on.
Jessica is eventually asked to the sorority/fraternity dance (because every high school had those, right?) by Todd after she admits to him she was the one who went to the bar with Rick. However, Todd is an idiot and believes she’s just trying to take the blame for her sister and invites her simply because he think she’s noble.
All the while Elizabeth allows her sister to wreck her reputation, steal her man and be psychotic without a second thought. She cries a lot, usually ends up apologizing to Jessica and think that Jessica is more worthy of love than her.
After the dance, when Todd doesn’t make a move to kiss good-night, Jessica is furious and tells Elizabeth that Todd sexually assaulted her. However, it’s quickly all straightened out after Todd saves the twins from Rick after he car jacks them and takes them on a crazy joy ride to the bar.
Todd realizes that the slutty twin was the one who was pub crawling, ends up with Elizabeth and Jessica gets her just deserts…kinda.
Apparently the way to get back at your twin who let the entire town think you got arrested for going to a bar with a high school drop out, claimed your boyfriend tried to rape her after a bad date and admitted to lying and deceiving to win him away in the first place? Is to trick the school into thinking she is you and get them to throw her in a swimming pool.
It all evens outs, right?
The Sub Plot The twins think their father is having an affair (he’s not), their brother is dating the town’s drug addicted slut (he’s actually dating her sister) and there is a fight over who has the right to the school’s football field after the board failed and didn’t renew their lease (spoiler: they get to keep it).
WTF In what world does this make sense?: Between Elizabeth’s apologizes to her sister every time Jessica has a break from reality, Todd’s inability to understand what is going on around him for 75% of the book and what a Fiat is it I could probably include the entire book in this section so I’m just going to focus on the main one: Jessica’s date with Rick.
Like I said in my review, Rick takes Jessica to a dive bar that doesn’t seem to have any qualms about serving to minors. Rick gets drunk off of two shots of whiskey and a beer and tries to grope Jessica before she realizes maybe this was a horrible, bad idea.
She’s willing to take a ride home from a man in his forties at the bar because accepting a ride home from a strange man at a seedy bar is totally going to end well. But it's Jessica so maybe I shouldn't be so shocked. Rick gets into a fight with him at this point in the book.
This is the part where is stops making sense, even by SVH standards. The bartender yells that he’s caused trouble at the bar one to many times, they call the cops and Rick is the one who ends up arrested. Despite the fact that the bar has a repeat history of serving a seventeen year old and the sixteen year old girl he was with.
No seriously. What?
Oh, btw, a fiat is apparently a tiny Italian car or something. I googled and got this:
I will never understand the 80s or why the twins where excited to drive…that.
Morals of the Story:
If you’re the evil twin? Lie, cheat, manipulate your blood relatives and cry rape: You’ll get a hot date to your sorority dance and the worse that will come from it is a dip in the pool.
And if you’re the good twin? Let the evil one get away with it because you ended up with the cute boy you wanted.
In Conclusion: I never read Sweet Valley High when I was younger and figured it would be a fun idea to read and snark the series now at 26. I've never done a snarky recap so any advice you can give me to improve on the next one would be appreciated :D This was originally written up for my livejournal after I read the first book so I think I'm going to make the next one longer and more detailed for here.
For someone who didn't read it when you were younger, you did a really good job! Of course it's missing that nostalgia bit, and I wish you'd said something about that in the beginning rather than at the end, but other than that, but other than that, I enjoyed it and would read another of your recaps.
Edited at 2010-02-21 04:55 pm (UTC)
2010-02-21 05:31 pm (UTC)
to my understanding, I always assumed that the fiat the twins drove was a convertible
Wasn't it a Fiat Spider? I'd always thought of it as this:
That looks pretty nice. I'd always assumed a Fiat Spider was a sedan, but hey. :)
That's a 1982 Spider, so I guess that's probably exactly what they drove?
Sounds reasonable to me. And it's actually quite a nice car, appearance-wise. I bet Jessica really pulled the boys in school with that one when she showed up in it. XD
Plus... it's California, so naturally every single car has to be a convertible lol
2010-02-21 07:01 pm (UTC)
Yes! That's exactly what I pictured =)
Oh! That's actually pretty cute!
Ok I get wanting to drive around in that one. lol
I'd never seen a picture, but strangely enough I have always picture almost exactly that car.
Ha! I think that might be the picture I used to explain to someone that going from a Fiat Spider to a Jeep is not a step up in the class factor. Also, the Wakefields had to be pretty rich to afford the insurance, letting the twins drive a sports car.
But they had to compete with Lila, after all.
I used to have a denim jacket like Jessica's when they made a comeback in the 90s. I thought I was so cool!
The earlier books always had Jessica a bit more eviler than later. I think Dear Sister was when she started to become a bit more sympathetic and have a bit more of a conscience (if not much of one and not for very long.)
Oh lord, I don't know why we thought jean jackets like that were a good idea but I think most people owned one lol
And yay for Jessica getting less evil :)
First of all - YAY ADAM FAN
Hehe. Excellent recap! It's concise without leaving out any of the important bits! And I'm ashamed to admit this but I have never before this moment given any thought to underage Rick "causing trouble one too many times" in the bar at all. *facepalm* Maybe they were really lax about carding in the 80s? I was a kid then so I don't really know.
And I see they found you a pic of the Fiat Spider :D I used to want one!!!
Wow, this is your first recap? You're really great at this! Hope you continue :)
Icon love and excellent recap!
I never understood why Elizabeth was such a doormat when I was a kid and it's even more horrifying to read about now. Jessica is really a sociopath but I always got the message that it was because she's pretty.
I may not be a psychologist but I do watch a lot of Criminal Minds
You're halfway to a degree, bb! Or at least a masters in Matthew Gray Gubler.