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Sweet Valley High: Secrets Chapter 6
Jessica is at a party. A high school party.
Jessica’s friend Lila is throwing a badass party with the coolest kids, naturally. Her parents are even out of town! She even stole wine from the wine cellar! Yep! By my calculations, we’re just a hot tub and a seven minutes in heaven closet away from THE COOLEST PARTY EVER.
Don’t believe me?
Lila pressed a glass of red wine into Jessica’s hand. “Try some,” she said and giggled. “It’s really good French stuff. I snitched a couple of bottles from my dad’s wine cellar, but I’m sure he won’t notice.” […]
“I can’t believe your father lets you have parties like this when he’s not here,” she said to Lila.
A tiny frown creased Lila’s forehead. “Well— I didn’t exactly tell him I was having a party.”
Yes, it’s the coolest and most stereotypical of high school parties! Right down to the… maid.
Everything about Fowler Crest was elegant, from the magnificently landscaped grounds to the uniformed maid who had taken their coats when they had come in.
Ok, I’m maybe calling bullshit on “I’m having this cool party AND MY PARENTS WILL NEVER KNOW please just give your coats to the help”. But aside from that, HIGH SCHOOOOOOOL. What else are we missing? Angst? Definitely angst.
“Besides, it’s his own fault for not spending more time at home.”
Jessica, Lila, and Dana drink their ALCOHOL and GOSSIP. Also, Dana is the “lead singer for The Droids, Sweet Valley High’s answer to the Rolling Stones”, which is clearly very important for you to know/believe. Anyway, gossip:
“Have you heard the news about Ronnie and Enid?” Cara whispered, catching sight of Ronnie standing over by the fireplace. [She] nudged Jessica in the ribs. “Ronnie doesn’t look too happy. Why don’t you go over there and cheer him up?”
“No, thanks, I’m saving myself.” She perched on a stool and crossed her legs, making sure her hemline was just far enough above her knee to make it interesting.
I give that move a Jessica on a scale from 1 to Jessica.
Unfortunately, Jessica immediately receives some devastating news.
“If you mean Bruce, you can forget it,” said Lila. “He’s not coming. […] He called at the last minute to tell me he was going to some bash at the college. You know Bruce, always hanging around with older women.”
Oh no! How is Jessica taking this news?
Jessica’s heart plummeted into her shoes— Elizabeth’s shoes, actually, which she’d borrowed.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Sweet Valley High has the greatest prose ever.
Lila goes on, explaining that Bruce is taking a college girl to the dance! Jessica reevaluates her position. And her needlessly complicated plan, which – once again, because this really isn’t something that can be glossed over – involves breaking up her sister’s best friend with her boyfriend in order to get a completely unaffiliated boy to dance and subsequently fall in love with her.
Jessica didn’t discourage easily, either. She was already halfway there— thanks to Enid’s letter.
Jessica squelched a tiny twinge of guilt as she remembered how upset Elizabeth had been. After all, how was she to know Enid would blame her sister? Really, the whole thing was Enid’s fault from start to finish. People who left letters lying around for anyone in the world to see were just begging for trouble.
In any other book, I’d point out how this character’s logic is completely ridiculous. But with this book, nobody ever remembers that Jessica is a manipulative, sociopathic mastermind, so I kinda have to agree and criticize literally everyone else for being ridiculous.
Speaking of ridiculous, though: Jessica’s plan.
With her eye on Ronnie, she slithered off her stool and made straight for her prey.
“Hey, heartbreaker,” she drawled, linking her arm through Ronnie’s.
Jessica sends out some feelers for how Ronnie is feeling about Enid.
“Enid!” He looked as if she’d just injected him with poison. “No thanks, I’d be better off with Benedict Arnold.”
Still rationally, I see.
Jessica sort of tries to tell Ronnie that he “shouldn’t be so hard on her”, throwing out some platitudes like “just remember, appearances can be deceiving”. But mostly doing this:
“Since you don’t have a date and I don’t have a date,” she suggested, “why don’t we go together?”
He looked at her as if she’d just suggested he carry her cross-country on his back. “I, uh, gosh, Jessica…”
“Just as friends, of course.”
“It does make sense,” he agreed then.
The prose continues to be the greatest.
“Well, there’s certainly no point in sitting home and getting even more depressed, is there?” she asked.
“I guess not.” He looked slightly bewildered, like someone who’d been picked up by a tornado and dropped in a foreign land.
And thus Jessica’s needlessly complicated Mouse Trap of a plan continues to inexplicably chug along like this:
Even though we all know that by the end of the story, it’s mostly going to just look like this: