People Are Still Letting Jessica Talk To People About Their Problems: Sweet Valley High, Secrets Chapter 8

Hey, everyone. Last week was all important news about our Patreon, but today we need to talk about something else that’s very important. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs. This has instilled certain things into my identity. I currently live in New York City, which is great. But at the moment, being who I am and living where I am… is not great. I am speaking, of course, about baseball.

I am in the single worst place to be a Cubs fan right now. Pray for me.
I am in the single worst place to be a Cubs fan right now. Pray for me.

Anyway, back to Sweet Valley High, where people have even worse problems than I do, except sort of not really.

Sweet Valley High: Secrets Chapter 8

Jessica has offered to talk to Enid about her fight with Elizabeth, which Elizabeth has agreed to. For some very unclear reason.

It was obvious Enid was in no mood for talking, but Jessica wasn’t about to let a little thing like that stand in her way.
“I know how you feel,” Jessica gushed sympathetically. “Well, actually I’ve never been dumped by anyone, but I can imagine what it’s like.”

Does Elizabeth not remember a single conversation she’s ever had with Jessica? Does she have the disease from Memento where she can’t form new long-term memories? Is Jessica that alien from Doctor Who that makes people forget they exist when they look away from them? Why are these the most rational explanations I can come up with for why Elizabeth suddenly finds Jessica so trustworthy?

"Matthew, aliens are an unfair comparison." "What aliens? This... this is a gif about high school."
“Matthew, aliens are an unfair comparison.” “What aliens? This… this is a gif about high school.”

But for whatever reason, Elizabeth has given Jessica the go-ahead to smooth things over.

“You shouldn’t be so hard on [Elizabeth],” Jessica cajoled.

Even Enid can’t comprehend what Jessica is going on about here.

“I’m sure she never meant to hurt you. You know how these things are.”
Enid stopped to look at her. “No, I don’t know how these things are,”

Jessica continues her plot to inexplicably make Enid’s life miserable because this will somehow enable her to dance with a boy who doesn’t even know Enid. It feels a bit unfair to knock a book about teenagers for sounding rather dramatic, but given that context:

“You can tell Liz to forget it. If I live to be a hundred and ninety-nine, I’ll never forgive her for this! [Elizabeth’s] still got Todd and I’ve got… nothing.” Enid choked on the last word.
“I wouldn’t exactly say that, Enid. You’ve still got George.”
“That’s right. I’ve still got George. After all, we outcasts have to stick together, right?”

I’m uncertain if this means that Jessica has suddenly somehow willed romantic feelings for George back into Enid’s brain, as though the way romance works is that you consider your remaining options and then BAM FEELINGS. But it’s not my job as a Sweet Valley High reader to understand Sweet Valley High. Jessica just does stuff and you’re just along for the ride.

“Sure you made some mistakes, but don’t worry, people aren’t going to believe everything Ronnie’s been saying about you.”
Enid seemed to fold up before Jessica’s eyes. Like a dress slipping from its hanger, she slumped down on a bench.
“What has Ronnie been saying about me?” She asked in a hoarse whisper.
Jessica slid a consoling arm about her shoulders. “Believe me, you wouldn’t want to know. I couldn’t even repeat half of it.”

Jessica continues to not be a comforting presence.

“Look at the bright side. Now you don’t have to hide in the closet anymore. It must be a relief not to wonder what people are whispering about you all the time.”

Wait, if Enid’s problem is that her past trouble with drugs and the law went from being a secret to being common knowledge, what were people whispering about her before?

Jessica’s plan to antagonize (?) Enid succeeds, and she storms off angrier with Elizabeth than ever. Jessica convinces herself that she is not the evil villain here.

Elizabeth was better off without Enid for a friend, she thought. Who knew what kind of trouble Elizabeth might get into if she hung around Enid long enough? In the long run, Jessica told herself, she was doing everyone a big favor. Including herself.

As opposed to how Elizabeth got a police record which never got rectified because of Jessica in the last book.

Since Enid was no longer with Ronnie, she couldn’t possibly get enough votes on her own to be chosen queen. Now that Enid was out of the running, Jessica could almost feel the delicious weight of the crown on her head.
“Watch out, Bruce Patman,” she murmured under her breath. “Here I come!”

This is the most straightforward explanation we’ve ever gotten of what exactly Jessica is doing and she still comes across like a Bond villain.

Later that day at home, Elizabeth learns the shocking information that Jessica and Ronnie are going to the dance together. Jessica has an explanation that only makes sense in Sweet Valley High world.

Jessica expression turned sulky. “Don’t you see? I’m doing it FOR Enid.”

jon stewart go on

“I figured the only way was for him to see Enid at the dance. If we could arrange to set them up for at least one dance, I’m sure everything will work itself out.”

Elizabeth sums it all up.

Elizabeth remained skeptical.

She tells Jessica that she isn’t sure this “it’s the best idea in the world”, but quickly backtracks when Jessica acts all offended. Jessica somehow walks away from the exchange with a free purse.

“That’s the last time I ever try to do you a favor.”
She leaped from the bed in a huff that lasted about thirty seconds – the time it took for her to plow through Elizabeth’s closet.
“I might forgive you, if you’ll loan me your beaded bag for the dance,”

Elizabeth sums it all up.

Elizabeth was left to wonder why, if Jessica was doing her such a big favor, she was the one making all the sacrifices.

It is almost as though Elizabeth is familiar with Jessica doing literally anything ever.

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4 comments

  1. Kristin Reply

    Ugh, since I live in Chicago and am NOT a fan, I can’t wait for baseball to be over (hopefully this week).

    Enid was part of the Court?? How was that possible? I always thought she was a nerd and in YA books, the nerds never get picked for Court unless it’s a dastardly plot to embarrass said nerd…

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  2. E.H.Taylor Reply

    I don’t really watch baseball, but I am Canadian and so my default team is the Jays (though it would seem they’re now out for the season…).

    Also, I completely forgot that Jessica was doing all of these things to hook up with some random guy and not just because she’s a horrible human being.

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