Probably The Best Ending We're Ever Gonna Get: Sweet Valley High #1 Chapters 18-19

Hopefully you enjoyed our brief intermission with Sweet Valley High and/or descent into madness with Jessica Wakefield. We finish up the first SVH book’s last two chapters today, with a surprisingly glorious ending in which Elizabeth also can’t even with Jessica anymore.

Chapter 18

Elizabeth just kissed a boy and life is good! Although she’s still identical twins with a manipulative psychopath, so there’s that to deal with.

“You’re the closest person in the whole world to me.”
“There’s no one in the whole world who means more.”
“Todd told me everything.”
“And you believe him over your own sister,” she said, switching gears without missing a beat.

Classic Jessica!

“He said he never tried to kiss you or anything else.”
“Is that all?” She brightened. That was an easy one for a pro like Jessica.

I’m concerned why Jessica has so much experience getting caught making libelous claims about sexual assault.

“As for Todd trying to paw me, well, it’s true that he didn’t, but I only told you for your own benefit. […] Lizzie, honey. I did it because I felt he was wrong for you.”

the office jim stare 2

Elizabeth calls bullshit, and also brings up the date to a seedy bar with Rick (although for some reason still isn’t bringing up the legal trouble she’s presumably in, because rich white teens in California probably don’t, I suppose), and eventually Jessica cracks because “Elizabeth was only four minutes older than Jessica, but in a pinch she could make those minutes really count”. I don’t have any idea what that means.

She burst into tears.


“I’m sorry, honestly, I swear I am. Forgive me. […] I knew if it got around school that I was in that bar with those terrible people (probably not the most important point, but, not counting the dropout she went there with, that’s like the guy who saw what was happening and offered her a ride home?), I’d be finished! [You] can’t be on the cheering squad if you have any black marks against your name. […] You know how much being co-captain of the cheerleaders means to me.”

I guess we do now that this is the first time a character we’re sometimes in the head of has ever explicitly explained why she did a thing that made most of the book happen.

“What about me? Didn’t you care if I got into trouble for something I didn’t even do?”
“But you wouldn’t have – and you didn’t!”

This would be more plausible if one of the subplots didn’t literally take place in a courtroom. But, sure, Jessica. Go on. Do explain why you knew your sister wouldn’t get in trouble for underage drinking somehow.

“You’re not a cheerleader”

willy wonka really
Jessica argues that the worst that could have happened is that “some dumb kids gossiped about you”, clearly indicating that since this is the worst thing that can happen to a person in high school, that’s not too comforting. (Also, wait, now that I think about it, Jessica didn’t drink at the bar. She was clearly brought there against her will with no knowledge of where she was being brought. What exactly did the cop give her a legal warning for? Her taste in men?)
Elizabeth accepts the apology, but comes up with a plan…

Chapter 19

While Jessica and Elizabeth are getting ready for Todd to pick them up and bring them to the school rally – which promises to be absolutely scintillating:

“I promise not to embarrass you, Jess. Maybe we’ll do a little hand-holding.” Maybe a lot of hand-holding.


Elizabeth wears her “tuxedo shirt” outfit that Jessica borrowed without permission that one time, and then “accidentally” spills water on Jessica’s outfit! Which is somehow one of the worst “accidentally”s we’ve seen on this blog yet.

Elizabeth picked up the glass of water that was on her dresser, and somehow it spilled all over Jessica’s white blouse and blue miniskirt.


Elizabeth offers Jessica one of her own outfits to wear instead, which the book helpfully spells out is leading exactly where you think it is.

“If I didn’t know which of us was me,” [Jessica said,] “I would swear you were me and I was you.”

Honestly, it’s probably a good thing the book is taking such pains to spell out the ending, since it’s based entirely on this world where nobody seems to ever remember that Jessica and Elizabeth are identical twins.

When they get to the rally, Elizabeth puts her plan into motion.

“Thanks, Dana. It really is me, isn’t it?” Elizabeth said, flashing a truly glorious Jessica Wakefield smile.
“Sure thing, Jess.”

…or maybe everyone else at this school is already bored of their identical twin hijinks? Maybe that’s what’s really going on?

Elizabeth, pretending to be Jessica, spills the secret that Elizabeth (whom Jessica currently looks like!) is the writer of the school paper’s “Eyes and Ears” column! Because there’s a school tradition where once the secret identity of the “Eyes and Ears” writer is revealed, the school bands together to throw them fully-clothed into the pool, because high school is wonderful. This was a detail mentioned earlier in the book that I honestly can’t remember if Ariel or I even mentioned, so I promise this isn’t coming out of nowhere. Look, this blog is harder to write than it looks. It’s not all gifs and dick jokes.

Anyway, back to high school being a wonderful place.

Two linebackers got to her first. One took her arms, the others her legs. They headed for the pool, followed by a laughing crowd.
“No! No! No! I’m not Liz, you jerks! I’m Jessica!”

Seriously, though, how does no one remember that these two are identical twins?

“One! Two! Three!” Jessica was thrown screaming into the middle of the pool.

This joke doesn’t work these days because now everybody’s first reaction would be, “Holy shit! Her phone!”

Elizabeth and Todd laugh at Jessica and stroll off, arm in arm, into “a long good night filled with kisses and sweet words, and still more kisses.”
And then the book sets up the sequel.

Elizabeth opened the door. There stood her friend, [Enid,] tears streaming down her face.
“Enid! What’s wrong?”
“Liz, I don’t know what to do. Something terrible has happened. I can’t even tell you, it’s so awful. But I know Ronnie is going to hate me, and I could just die!”

Just in case that wasn’t enough to get you hooked, the book offers a handy summary of why you should be hooked.

What is the dark mystery in Enid’s past, and how does Jessica use it to her own advantage?

Classic Jessica!

Question of the day! We’re returning to the horrible world of Crossfire next week (you might remember I didn’t even read the third book, so get excited for me to probably not be too terribly lost anyway), but what did you think of Sweet Valley High? Should we do more of these in the future?



  1. knittyhelen Reply

    It did turn out to be light relief actually. I can’t believe I ever read these! But then I did only have access to a small library. Now let’s get back to another world that doesn’t make sense, only with more smut.

  2. Judy Reply

    Not having read this series, I had always been curious about their popularity. It’s a perfect series to mock: pretty rich kids doing dumb stuff, wacky identical twin mix ups, a psycho twin, high school hijinx, the 80’s and 90’s …..more please.

  3. Quinn Reply

    I’m voting for more Sweet Valley High. I used to read a ton of them when I was roughly their target age, and seeing them deconstructed by Ariel and you is pretty awesome.

  4. Kristin Reply

    I loved SVH as a tween in the 80s and loved it just as much in its mocking here. More please! (Guess I better read that Crossfire book too since its been untouched on my Kindle since November…)

  5. Polly Reply

    Please do more, definitely. That book was horribly bad, but also quite funny. I would have sworn I’d never read any Sweet Valley books, but I keep getting flashbacks to some awful story I’d been forced to read once as there was nothing else. It was about twins – one of whom was appalling – getting mixed up in armed robbery somehow? Except they were university age I think. It was totally stupid in the manner of the book you’ve just done. Could I have accidentally been Sweet Valleyed?

    Okay time for some google fu….

    Oh gods! It totally was:

    Do that one next! Please assuage my childhood demons!

  6. Kristin Reply

    I vote for the one where Liz and badass Todd get in a terrible motorcycle accident and when Liz comes out of her coma she acts just like Jessica!! And Jessica, somehow, reverts to be Liz because there must be balance in the universe?

  7. shivani Reply

    What abt the father and the love affair? That’s not resolved in the book? Or did i miss something?
    Do more of these please..

    • matthewjulius Reply

      They weren’t having an affair, just spending all those late nights together working on a case that got her a promotion. It was all one big wacky misunderstanding, our favorite kind of misunderstanding.

    • 22aer22 Reply

      For like a solid 30 seconds I was all about reading this book…then I realized you were Goosebumping me.

      • matthewjulius Reply

        Holy shit, can “goosebumping” be a thing? You try to trick people into believing that the plot of a goosebumps book is the plot of something else.
        “Really? Christian Grey gets a supernatural curse where he gets really fat?”
        “Yeah, it really goes off the rails in the third book.”
        “I’ll say!”
        “Aw, shit, you got goosebumped!”
        Seriously, let’s make this a thing.

        • 22aer22 Reply

          This is officially my new favourite thing in the world.
          “You’ll never believe this, but in the middle of Allegiant, Tris and Fourbias find a dummy in a dumpster and for some reason decide to keep it. The dummy then proceeds to terrorise everyone, and it’s definitely the most interesting thing to happen in the series. It’s also somehow the plot line that makes the most sense.”

    • 22aer22 Reply

      Aww thank you!! I definitely want to do more SVH books – Jessica is too much fun to write about.

  8. E.H.Taylor Reply

    And now I’m all caught up and ready for the posts on the second book!
    Actually, I don’t think I’ll ever be ready for whatever these SVH books have in store…

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