The Regression of Jessica Wakefield: SVU Secret Love Diaries: Jessica

12 Apr

It says Jessica but I'm 99% convinced that's the Elizabeth twin...

2000 was a god-awful year in YA fiction. Sweet Valley High stopped producing dopplegangers and werewolves, and gave breath to a bunch of emo teens and alcoholics. Jessica and Elizabeth started Junior High with a bunch of strangers from Secca Lake. The Babysitter’s Club as we knew it disbanded [and Mary-Anne broke up with Logan! Shock horror!]

Sweet Valley University was not immune to the changing face of the new millennium. Gone were our quickie marriages and multitude of gun-wielding dead boyfriends. Instead, Jessica and Elizabeth started using words like “choice”, and parting their hair in the centre, and wearing plum lipstick and making myriad pop culture references to Buffy, and Manolo Blahniks, and eBay and Freddie Prince Junior. Still no chance that either of them would go a week without 137 date offers. [Hell no, everyone still wanted a Wakefield.]

I recently got hold of a copy of “Secret Love Diaries: Jessica”, one of the last Sweet Valley books ever written. The SVU swan song, if you will. And yeah, it was appalling. Or as a ghostwriter circa-2000 would say, “like, so not on.”

Here’s what went down:

Jessica has the hots for this guy, Duke, who clearly isn’t worth his weight in dirt, but who is dating Elizabeth. Lizzie has actually loosened up a bit – she now goes out for “beers and burgers” and dates people to “see where it goes” rather than strapping herself and her chastity belt to a Watts or a Wilkins.

Our story is told through Jessica’s answers to a thoroughly superficial quiz in “Fab magazine”. There are literally fifteen of these quizzes, all of which reveal very little except that she is competitive with her sister, hence her obsession with anyone Elizabeth has dated [at which point I refer you to the secret diaries from SVH.]

Let’s take a look:

Fab Magazine’s Online Personality Quiz: Part II

You’re walking through a forest. Describe it.

Blah blah…something about being lost with Elizabeth.

You find a key. What do you do with it? Describe it.

Blah, blah, something about sharing it with Elizabeth.

You come upon a vase. Describe the vase.

…The vase is beautiful, sleek, and red ruby. If I find Elizabeth, I’m not going to show her. The vase is mine for keeps.

[wow! This is tying in better with ‘Confidential than I’d imagined….]

Verdict:

THE FOREST is how your love life is going right now. Is it beautiful and sunny? Dark and creepy? Filled with strange, dangerous animals?

THE KEY is how you think about men. Did your key feel heavy, like it might unlock some interesting possibilities? Or was it a scrawny, useless key, like a thousand others? Did you take it with you or kick it away? How does that relate to the men in your life?

THE VASE is how you think about your own sexuality. Was your vase intricate and filigreed? Was it battered, bent or broken? Was it beautiful or tacky? How did you treat it? What’s happening in your sex life right now, girlfriend?

Yes, they said “girlfriend”. And sex life. In Sweet Valley.

Jessica whines to Neil, and goes out dancing at Starlights, and has coffee with Lila at Yum Yums, until finally she gets over Duke and moves onto someone else. That someone else? Devon Whitelaw. Devon? You ask. Devon Whitelaw? Isn’t he the chemistry-whiz-come-hot-bikie who rode into Sweet Valley, stole Elizabeth’s heart, and zipped off into the sunset as everyone was getting squashed to death by fridges and various other pieces of debris in the earthquake? Correct, on all accounts. This time, though, it’s Jessica he wants…or so she thinks.

Jessica enjoys a week of nightly rendezvous with Devon, while he tells her how he was really in love with her all along, and how he didn’t really abandon everyone on earthquake night, but, AMNESIA MADE HIM DO IT. Amnesia accounts for so much in this town, huh!

Jessica is a boy-crazy fool who has regressed so much in maturity since her last diary , that she buys Devon’s sob story. One afternoon, however, she sleeps in, throws on a pair of trackies and forgets to wear makeup, and while riding tandem on Devon’s motorbike, he’s all “Oh, Liz, thank you for forgiving me. I knew if I got back into Jessica’s life, I’d get back into yours!”

Devon is a fucking idiot. Firstly, can he really not tell them apart without makeup? Look at the left shoulder, Devon! And did he actually think that getting into Jessica’s pants would help him get back into Elizabeth’s? And lastly, is Elizabeth that awesome that he had to come back to Sweet Valley after three years hanging his head in shame, to woo her? Have some integrity, dude.

Anyway, on their ride home, Devon runs someone over, because motorbikes are evil, people! Devon, the coward, zooms off, leaving Jessica to rescue the man, who happens to be young, hot and Scottish. Ah, the luck of the Wakefields! It couldn’t very well be a podgy old middle aged man who was pale and balding and had sweat patches under his arms, could it?

Our story ends with Jessica and Elizabeth going on a double date with the Scotsman and Duke-the-jock. So, like, totally no jealously here, girlfriends!

Next post: we look back at the way Y2K shaped YA fiction including [drumroll] OUTFIT RECAPS!!!!

Get ready, sistahs!

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6 Responses to “The Regression of Jessica Wakefield: SVU Secret Love Diaries: Jessica”

  1. Zoe April 13, 2011 at 6:47 am #

    *It couldn’t very well be a podgy old middle aged man who was pale and balding and had sweat patches under his arms, could it?*
    LOL

    And that twin on the cover is definitely cynthia daniel [elizabeth]

  2. HD April 13, 2011 at 6:59 am #

    I don’t even remember ever having encountered this particular book.. Doesn’t seem like I missed much though.

    I love your blog! It’s hilarious. 🙂 To think I might have gone my whole life not having discovered it had it not been for SVC.

  3. Sam April 13, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    I bought this book recently for 20cents from a country library and read it on the plane. I thought the cover made it look sophisticated but I still felt stupid reading it next to my boyfriend who was immersed in this: http://www.amazon.com/Crossing-Rubicon-Decline-American-Empire/dp/0865715408

    I never read SVU and this book just made me feel sad at how crap the lives of our twin had become. Except for the bit where Jess goes to the gym, I think I had a hearty chuckle at that part.

  4. Laura April 15, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    Outfit recaps!!!! Cannot wait!!!
    I hated Devon with a passion even before he was a coward. He was a whiny little orphan brat, that didn’t want Jessica. (Hello! Everyone wants Jessica. See SVC for proof – it’s Liz that should have the inferiority complex!)
    Ahh the 2000’s… a time better forgotten in SV history…

  5. Lila's Charm July 13, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

    I think its actually Britney Daniels (Jessica) done up to look like Elizabeth. Tsk Tsk. God knows why though. Even the book covers became dodgy in 2000s.

  6. BriaLee December 14, 2013 at 3:55 am #

    I always thought that devon and Jessica made a good couple because if you read it again when Devon moves to sweet valley the first time he is attracted to Jessica after seeing her do her cheerleading routine he’s a igit for liking virginal Liz and the wonderful Jessica

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