the_oracle: (left of normal)
September 1989

Who is Elizabeth's true love?
Todd's back...

  When Todd Wilkins moved to Vermont, Elizabeth Wakefield's heart was broken. She thought that she would never get over losing him. But after months passed, Elizabeth fell in love again. Now she and Jeffrey French are one of the happiest couples at Sweet Valley High.
   Then Todd writes to Elizabeth and tells her that he is moving back to Sweet Valley and that he still cares for her. Although she loves Jeffrey, Elizabeth realizes she still has strong feelings for Todd. Suddenly she is faced with a very difficult choice-a choice between the only two boys she has ever loved. What will Elizabeth do?

  So it's probably come as no surprise to anyone who's been playing along that I've been dragging my feet getting around to the end of Jeffrey. It's weird, because before I started the re-read, I thought Jeffrey was nice but enh. A placeholder until Todd came back rich and things really got weird. But either I've changed or my memory was shot because Jeffrey? Was a pretty damn good boyfriend. He didn't let Liz walk all over him, he had his own interests that he didn't force on her, and Liz didn't cheat on him all the damn time. Go figure.
   Still, all good things come to an end... so I present to you, Brokenhearted. Grab your tissues because Jeffrey's going to do the Right Thing. Again. Damn it.

  Last time in the Valley, Lila dropped the bombshell that Todd Wilkins was moving back to the Valley. This time she ups the ante by knowing that he's moving to the same neighborhood that holds the Patman estate and Fowler Crest. Dude is rich now and this interests Lila more than a little. Liz is a little confused and hurt. Why did Todd write and let everyone else in the town know, but leave her hanging? Does this mean he doesn't care? Does it mean he does and he just couldn't find the words? What does it all mean?
  To add insult to injury, Liz has to tell Jeffrey what everyone else already knows. Todd's back and you're gonna be in trouble, French. Jessica is so excited at the thought of all this potential drama that she wakes up early, on a Monday morning no less, to ask Liz what the hell she's going to do. Liz hasn't been sleeping well and is not really in the mood for Jessica's natural curiosity. Which is a shame because I'm actually a big fan of these little sisterly scenes. Woe. Jeffrey takes it sort of well. He doesn't do cartwheels at the thought but he's not punching his locker in preparation for a fight to the death over one Elizabeth Wakefield. So, good on you, Jeffrey.
   Of course then we fall into a time warp issue. This book goes by the thought that Jeffrey and Todd have not met. Bullshit. They met in that one Super Special that was so spectacular a puzzle was made in it's honor. Dude, once you've got merchandise, it's a little late to play the "never happened" card. The other elephant in the room is that Liz never denies that she might still be interested in Todd and both Jeffrey and Liz notice her lack of denial.
  Liz's emotions are thrown further into the blender when she arrives home and finds a letter from Todd waiting for her. It looks like it's been all over the country, twice, in a hand basket headed for hell, but still. He wrote to her. Her eyes well up with tears when she realizes that if the date on his letter is correct, it means she had to have been one of the first people (if not the first) to know about the move. Actually reading the letter, Todd says that he wanted her to be the first to know and he ends his little letter by letting her know he's still in love with her and that while he's going to be going to a new school and she's dating someone else, he hopes that with the distance between them erased, he has a chance at being the new Mr. Elizabeth Wakefield. Yes. I might be paraphrasing a bit, but you get the idea.
  Liz is torn. By the way she's reacting to a letter, she acknowledges the fact that she's obviously not as over Todd as she thought. But there's still Jeffrey to consider. She luffs him, she truly does... doesn't she?

   Todd makes his triumphant return to the Valley and his first stop, after dropping stuff off at the new house, is to see Liz. The spark immediately, and awkwardly, flares back to life and Jessica has to bounce into the room to keep the two former lovebirds from doing things Jeffrey would really rather they didn't. Ned and Alice invite Todd back to the house for a dinner in his honor the following Wednesday and again I say, "DUDE. Your daughter HAS a boyfriend. Are you inviting Jeffrey, too?" But no. Jeffrey isn't exactly thrilled that the parents Wakefield are welcoming the ex back with such open arms but what can he do?
  Apparently what he can do is sit around and wait for his relationship to die a horrible, horrible death. Each time Liz and Todd hang out, Liz realizes how much she's missed Boyfriend #1 and gosh, she's so damn conflicted! Woe. Bitch. Woe.

   I think we need a B and a C plot. Despite initially cheering for Jeffrey since Todd was so dull, Jessica quickly changes her allegiance once it's revealed that Todd will be attending posh Lovett Academy. Jess and Lila have both been trying to snag a Lovett guy for quite some time and if Liz hooks up with Todd again, it will make this task infinitely easier. I guess she figures the Lovett guys will see Liz and then hear, "Oh, you think my gf is hot? She's got a twin, one without quite so many hangups and a thing for miniskirts. Yeah. She's single. Want her number?" from good old Todd.
  Being Jessica, it doesn't take long for her to find a Lovett guy the moment she's let onto campus. She runs into Sheffield Eastman, a dead ringer for a young Paul Newman, and he falls easily under Jessica's spell. What we realize, that she doesn't, is that Shef is more than a pretty face with amazing eyes. He's going to be far too boring and stable for Jessica.
  Lila, not content to merely herald the arrival of new!Todd, is playing mouthpiece for Courtney Kane, a pretty, bitchy girl from Lovett. It appears that Li is desperate to get into Lovett's social circles and that Courtney has finally found a use for gauche Lila. Just a freakin' second, Kane. No one speaks to Our Lady of Awesome like that. Lila demands your respect. Now give it, or I will forcibly take it from you.
   Anyway. Courtney meets Liz when Jessica finagles a tour of Lovett from Todd. Court's heard all about Liz and realizes the only thing keeping Ms. Kane from being Todd's girlfriend (aside from her heinous attitude) is little Miss Wakefield. Court isn't impressed and once she realizes that Lila is Jessica's best friend, well. She suddenly has a use for Lila Fowler. Poor Li is unaware she's being used to spread Courtney's half truths and flat out lies.

   Like the one about Courtney co-hosting Todd's big "reintroduction to Sweet Valley" party. To ensure that Todd does ask her, Courtney discreetly uses Shef's newfound friend status with Todd to pass along a little whopper of a lie involving Jeffrey, Liz, and a ring. Not an engagement ring, that would be silly, but the next best thing! Gasp. Poor Todd. If only... Shef falls into Courtney's trap, passes along the story immediately to Todd, and Todd falls into Courtney's clutches. I feel like someone should do a maniacal laugh right about...
  Here. Muhahahahaha!

   Back to Jeffrey. Over the past couple of weeks he's noticed that he and Liz haven't spent a lot of time together and that when they do, she's not as fully there as she used to be. But he doesn't know what to do, so he tries arranging a fancy date for two and basically just letting Liz know that he's still ready to fight for her, if she wants him to do so. The moment the invitations to Todd's party arrive, Jeffrey realizes he's "won." Liz resumes spending a lot of time with him and I'm betting Todd mentions are down, and everything should be fantastic, yes? But Jeffrey's no fool. He knows Liz isn't happy and he can't help but worry, and rightly so, that Liz just ended up with him when Todd moved on to someone else. With this in mind, Jeffrey notices Courtney slipping a note into Elizabeth's pocket at the party. Before he can intervene and see what the note said, Liz disappears to the bathroom. Jeffrey wanders over to Court and Todd, only to have them head outside. Jeffrey follows them because his Spidey sense is telling him something is not right. Smart man.
  While hiding in the bathroom (something Liz seems to do a lot at parties), Liz finds the note from "Todd" telling her to meet him on the west lawn (seriously?) in the orange grove (...really?) at the gazebo so they can talk. Dare she see what her old boyfriend wants? What if he just wants to officially let her down easy? But what if he wants to tell her he's made a horrible mistake and he loves her, not dumb old Courtney? Whatever will our heroine do?

   Remember Jessica and Sheffield? Well, they've been out on a few dates and because he's so handsome and so rich, and is essentially the deluxe version of Bruce, but with less attitude (and dancing skill), Jess decides it's time to show him off to her SV friends. Particularly Lila. At first her plan works perfectly. He's handsome, he's rich and well bred. He's charming. He's got everything! So Jessica decides to ask him about his senior thesis project. And shit hits the fan.
  She's thinking he's going to go globe-trotting, maybe run a vineyard or something cool. Instead, Shef announces he's going to spend his senior year living and working at a Santa Barbara homeless shelter. Oh, yeah, and his sweet Mercedes? Totally up for sale so the money can go to charity.
   Lila emerges triumphant without having to do a damn thing. Well played, Fowler.
  Before Jessica's head can explode, Bruce pushes Winston and Ken into the pool (double pool push!) and lots of other kids jump in the pool, too. Jessica barely resists the urge to shove Sheffield in too, and heads off for the ladies room. Where she runs into her twin who is unable to tell up from down, left from right... You get the idea. Jessica listens halfheartedly and then declares that Liz should ignore all the times she's said, "Lovett boy all the way!" because Todd probably just wants to tell her he's selling all his stuff and doing something crazy and stupidly boring with his life. Then she shoves Liz out of the bathroom because Jessica needs to meltdown RIGHT NOW. Move!

   Liz decides she'll go to Todd, but that she has to tell Jeffrey first. She's been horribly unfair to him, after all, and now is the time to rectify this. She wants this to all be aboveboard and all that. But she can't find Jeffrey anywhere. Odd. After trying, and failing, to find him, she heads out to see what Todd could possibly want.

  Jeffrey, remember, is following Todd and Courtney. Court claimed she had a headache and that no place in Todd's big old mansion would be far enough away from the noise to properly let her heal. But maybe the gazebo on the west lawn? Flutter, flutter with the eyelashes. Todd agrees, mostly just to shut her up, and the two set off. Halfway there, Court "stumbles" and "twists" her ankle, so she's leaning pretty heavily on Todd by the time they get to the gazebo. Once there, Court makes a miraculous recovery and kisses Todd just in time for Elizabeth to come along and see. Liz is horrified and humiliated and literally runs away.
  Jeffrey sees all of this, picks up the note that Liz dropped, and immediately figures out what's going on. He's left with a choice. All he has to do to keep Elizabeth is do nothing. Liz obviously thinks Todd has moved on, and Todd obviously thinks Liz has... and in time, Jeffrey might get back what he had with Elizabeth. But she would be utterly miserable and she wouldn't have chosen Jeffrey. He was just the consolation prize.
   Plus it would involve letting Courtney win. So Jeffrey does the right thing and heads off to tell Todd the truth.

   Heartbroken, Liz has driven aimlessly until she finds herself at Secca Lake. Her world is definitely more down than up at the moment. Todd and Courtney are obviously together and Liz has come to truly understand how messed up things with Jeffrey were and are. She doesn't love him, at least not the way she loves Todd, and that's not fair to either one of them. But Todd... sob... chose Courtney! Oh the unfairness of it all. Before you think she might fling herself into the lake, headlights cut through the darkness and Todd comes flying out of his new BMW. The two immediately run to one another and zing! Sparks fly.
  Todd tells Liz that Jeffrey solved it all and Liz is all, "say what now?" Todd explains and the two are so overcome with emotion that things get more than a little sappy. The two head back to the party, intent on making things right with Jeffrey (dude, you're getting dumped) and... I dunno. But there's a pledge of love thrown in there somewhere and... end book.


  • Jeffrey wasn't at Olivia's party because he was visiting family.

  • Speaking of Olivia, she isn't mentioned once in this book.

  • Jessica wakes up early on a Monday morning because she wants to know how Liz is going to tell Jeffrey about Todd.

  • When Enid tries to talk to Liz after school about how weird Liz feels with the whole T/J thing, they foolishly choose to hit the DB where they run into Lila, Jessica, Aaron, Ken... and Jeffrey.

  • Mr. Wilkins is now the president of Varitronics, soon to be one of the Fortune 500 along with George Fowler, complete with a mansion near Fowler Crest.

  • In keeping with his new status, Mr. Wilkins is choosing to send Todd to Lovett Academy. Lovett is located in Cedar Springs which is 40 minutes away and described as a prep school and a bit like a college campus. Wolfe Hall, one of the dorms, is a Spanish style building where Todd takes the twins for a party when they visit the campus. There's a 50/50 split between day students (like Todd and Sheffield) and boarders.

  • Lovett's Wolfe Hall has a common room described as: "They found the party in the large common room at the end of the hallway. Elizabeth caught her breath. Tall French doors opened out into a palm-filled courtyard. Overhead, crystal chandeliers glimmered. Beneath their feet was a genuine Persian carpet."

  • Mrs. Beckwith, the Wakefield's next door neighbor, drives a yellow Buick.

  • Ned's study is wood paneled.

  • Mr. Kane, Courtney's father, is the new CEO and former president of Varitronics.

  • Todd returned to SV on Sunday, the 15th. Too bad Liz didn't get the letter telling her this until the 13th.

  • Speaking of the letter, there are at least three postmarks on it, the earliest cancellation being three weeks ago. Toddy's messy handwriting meant the letter bounced all over creation before finally finding its destination.

  • Did you know the Wakefield's fridge is copper colored? All this time and I never knew.

  • Jessica initially backs Jeffrey as the boy toy of choice due to how dull T/L were as a couple. When she hears Todd is at Lovett, she switches her allegiance because she wants a Lovett boyfriend. She spends the book bouncing back and forth, usually for selfish reasons, but always letting Liz know that it's Elizabeth's choice to make.

  • Todd drives a black BMW now.

  • Todd owes Elizabeth a double dip cone down at Casey's because Liz correctly bet that Ned would make a corny, but sincere toast in Todd's honor when the Wakefields invited him over Wednesday night for dinner.

  • The menu at this dinner was chicken divan, salad, and peach pie with homemade whipped cream topping.

  • Liz can't keep up with all the rooms at Todd's new house. Some of them include a parlor, a family room, a den, a library, a ballroom (and adjoining patio), and possibly 12 bedrooms. Yeah, my eyes would glaze over. Later we learn he's got a great hall (no kidding), and an orange grove on the west lawn where a small gazebo is located.

  • Jeffrey takes Liz to the Valley in for their special date the Friday night before Winston's "Welcome back, Todd!" party, which is the following Saturday.

  • Aaron bets that Jeffrey will win Elizabeth's heart and Ken's money is on Todd.

  • Sheffield Eastman looks like a young Paul Newman. He used to date Courtney but she found him too dull after awhile, what with all his giving back to the community crap. The Eastmans have lived in SV for nearly a hundred years. The Eastman estate is close enough to the Lovett campus that it's possible for Courtney to ride a horse there, simply by going down the bridle path, going around a small pond and voila! Eastman estate to the right. Good to know.

  • Courtney Kane is tall and curvy with mahogany hair in a side part. The only person who doesn't seem to describe her as shallow is Lila.

  • Moonshadow is the horse Court rides to the Eastman estate.

  • Cliff is the head groom at Lovett and Courtney likes to give him a hard time.

  • Kent Eastman is Shef's incredibly cute younger brother.

  • Court tells Shef that Jeffrey gave Elizabeth a ring (that she accepted) and Sheffield tells Todd the same day.

  • Okay, whoa. Why can we mention (repeatedly) Suzanne Devlin and Todd hooking up but Winter Carnival is banned from memory? Why?

  • Sheffield waited five days to call Jessica. (He ends up calling on Tuesday.)

  • Sheff drives a midnight blue Mercedes.

  • Jessica and Shef go for coffee and desert at Venezia, a "chic Italian restaurant just outside SV." Shef has a slice of Amaretto flavored cheesecake and Jessica has gelato.

  • Sheffield has been to France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, the Greek Islands, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda, Brazil, and Mexico. Next on his list? The Soviet Union. What, Canada's not good enough for you?

  • Todd's invitations are on creamy, expensive paper with raised, black letters. They don't seem very Todd-like. Possibly because not even Lila sends out invitations like this.

  • Elizabeth's invite is addressed to Miss Elizabeth Wakefield and Friend. Gasp!

  • Jeffrey wears a paisley tie and a navy blazer to Todd's party.

  • Liz wears a royal blue, spaghetti strap dress with a "loose" jacket over it, and a tiny black evening bag to complete the look.

  • Jeffrey's car is in the shop, so Liz picks him up and then Jeffrey drives the Fiat to the party. (Dude, this means when Liz ditches the party, she's also ditched her date in more ways than one. Uncool, Wakefield!)

  • Todd's sporting a white dinner jacket, complete with a red carnation in the lapel.

  • Courtney is wearing a strapless emerald satin gown "that accentuated every curve of her body." She's also got a corsage of tiny, white rosebuds on one wrist and her hair is loosely piled on top of her head, secured with glittering jeweled clips. I'm getting prom queen, not classy sophisticate.

  • In attendance at Todd's party: Todd, Courtney, Elizabeth, Jeffrey, Jessica, Sheffield, Bruce, Amy, Winston, Ken, Lila, Drake Howard, Enid, Hugh, Maria, DeeDee, Bill, Steve, and Cara.

  • Sheffield is also wearing a white dinner jacket, while Jessica is in Amy's "slim, black, strapless dress." It's nice that Amy shares her clothes so readily.

  • Lila's date is Drake Howard, a sophomore at Sweet Valley College, who happens to be in one of the frats. Yay.

  • Sheffield is going to work and live 24/7 at a homeless shelter in Santa Barbara for his senior thesis. He's selling his gorgeous Mercedes and donating the money to charity.

  • Bruce pushes both Ken and Winston into Todd's pool. Maria slips out of her shoes and jumps in after them, and others follow suit.

  • Todd finds Liz out at Secca Lake at their spot, after he initially tries to find her at Casa Wakefield.

  "They'll have to fight for you, I guess. Like in the old days-a duel!" The idea clearly appealed to Jessica. She giggled. "Picture Todd and Jeffrey going at it with french fries in the Dairi Burger!" - Taking this so... many different ways. p5

   Jessica's love-hate relationship with Lila had always mystified Elizabeth. One minute the two would be happily mall-hopping together, and the next, Jessica would insist that she was never speaking to Lila again. As far as Elizabeth could tell, this cycle was repeated at least every other week. -I could, and will, take this a completely different way than intended. p13

  "I don't remember what I said at breakfast," Jessica now declared, making it sound as if breakfast had occurred sometime in the last century.- p28

  "You're as beautiful as ever, Elizabeth."
  "Oh. Thanks." She blushed. "You look great yourself! You're still-tall!" - First you laugh and then it's kind of cute. p33

   Jessica walked away from Aaron and Ken, flashing them both a big smile. They were both very attractive-she had dated each of them a number of times. In fact, not too long ago she had contemplated falling in love with Ken for lack of anything better to do. - Yes. Exactly. p48

   Conversation stopped abruptly when the group caught sight of Jessica and Todd. Before stepping into the silence, Jessica had time to notice that while Todd remained composed, Jeffrey looked extremely nervous. That's natural, she thought. He has a lot more to lose. - This scene actually doesn't play right for me, given how self-assured Jeffrey normally is. It makes sense, but it still doesn't feel right. p 51

  "Jessica, why don't you just go back to the mall and buy the pants and spare us your moaning and groaning?" Elizabeth burst out, slamming shut her American history textbook. -Temper, temper. p68

  And Elizabeth Wakefield was the only obstacle between Courtney and what she wanted most in the world, for the moment at least-Todd Wilkins. p76

  Three girls sat down at the next table, chatting loudly and obviously intending to attract Todd's and Sheffield's attention. They were all pretty, but they didn't have the simple, natural style Todd liked. They had too much makeup, too much jewelry, too much perfume-and too little substance.
   And there was Elizabeth. He imagined her soft, gentle fragrant hair, the way she always smelled fresh and sweet. He could talk to Elizabeth. She was real. And she cared about so many things. Todd had always admired her unselfish energy and ambition.
  Courtney Kane was the obvious choice. Inviting her to the party would make both his father and her father happy. Courtney was beautiful and glamorous. Most guys would be thrilled to date her.
   But Courtney wasn't Elizabeth. She didn't even come close. -- Before you stone me for this, let me point out that if you ignore the fact that this is another notch for the perfection of Saint Elizabeth of Wakefield and just think of it as a guy missing his ex-girlfriend, it's incredibly sweet. Not necessarily terribly realistic, but very sweet. And for this alone, my inner 10 year old demands that it be included. p82/83

  "He's driving all the way down from Cedar Springs just to take me out for dessert and coffee!"
  "Can't he afford dinner?" Lila asked.
  "Of course he can, you idiot." - Oh, Lila. Oh, Jessica. Don't ever change. p85

   As Sheffield reeled off a list of popular causes, Jessica began to understand why he wanted to save the whales and feed hungry people all over the world. Really rich and famous people were always involved in some philanthropic scheme or another. Look at the Mellons and the Rockefellers. They had their names plastered over schools and charitable organizations nationwide. And all those big rock stars put on concerts to benefit something or other. It was obviously the thing to do.
  Once you have more money than you could ever possibly spend, it's fashionable to donate some to charity! Jessica realized, eating a spoonful of gelato. This charity business is just part of being an Eastman. - Oh. My. Lord. p88

  Jessica slammed the phone down and then leapt straight into the air, flinging out her arms and shaking imaginary pom-poms. "Yee-ha!" she hollered. - if you need ask why I love Jessica, this should tell you all you need to know. ♥ p94

   It didn't make much sense. The only thing Courtney and Elizabeth had in common was Todd Wilkins, and Jeffrey couldn't picture Courtney writing Elizabeth to thank her for handing over her old boyfriend. - Oh, Jeffrey. This is why I'm going to miss you. p105

  As Sheffield shook hands with the guys, Jessica smiled at the envious expression on Lila's face. She couldn't remember when she'd had so much fun showing her up! - I do so love the catty in my SV. p109

Fashion, circa 1989:
  Elizabeth stood up and nervously straightened her jade-green twill skirt. Then she adjusted the collar of her white silk blouse. Putting a hand to her throat, she felt the gold locket on the chain around her neck. -This is Elizabeth's outfit for welcoming Todd back to SV. p31


   Brokenhearted gives Jeffrey a pretty decent swan song. While he is responsible for sending Todd and Liz running into one another's arms, it's because it's the right thing to do. Anything less and I wouldn't know who you were, Jeffrey French. I hate how he basically disappears after the next book, and then they'll trot him out for, what, Enid's super star book and the Senior Year series where he's a friggin' tool and the less said of that the better.
  You had a good run, Jeffrey. For the most part, Liz didn't cheat on you, which is pretty funny when you think about it. She's going to spend the next hundred books cheating on Todd left, right, and center and he's the boy she loves!
  Go figure. Then again, you should sue for this cover art, boy. SUE.
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Double Love
October, 1983

Share the continuing story of the Wakefield twins and their friends-
their laughter, heartaches, and dreams.

Will Jessica steal Todd from Elizabeth?

  Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are identical twins at Sweet Valley High. They're both popular, smart, and gorgeous, but that's where the similarity ends. Elizabeth is friendly, outgoing, and sincere- nothing like her snobbish and conniving twin. Jessica gets what she wants- at school, with friends, and especially with boys.
  This time, Jessica has her sights on Todd Wilkins, the handsome star of the basketball team- the one boy that Elizabeth really likes. Elizabeth doesn't want to lose him, but what Jessica wants, Jessica usually gets... even if it ends up hurting her sister.
  Meet the Wakefield twins, their guys, and the rest of the gang at Sweet Valley High.

  Double Love is fairly simple. You're introduced to the Wakefield twins. There's melodramatic Jessica, who isn't above trashing people's reputations to protect her own, but still manages to be incredibly popular. And then there's quiet, serious Liz who isn't above kissing a boy before the first date or plotting against her more diabolical sister. Both are gorgeous, popular, fantastic, and prone to emotional outbursts. Seriously. Liz bursts into tears no less than three times this book, sometimes for absolutely no reason. Jess also cries at the drop of a hat, but it's usually in order to manipulate someone.
  Got that? Good. Jess has set her sights on the current IT boy of Sweet Valley High, basketball captain and star, Todd Wilkins. Thing is, he seems more interested in talking to Jess so he can then get a hold of her twin, Elizabeth. Considering she's such an expert with guys, Jess figures he just doesn't know what he's missing, so she "helps" him realize the error of his ways. She's constantly caught offering him helpful little tidbits that cast Elizabeth as the flighty, popular, boy magnet twin, while she stays at home and, I dunno, washes her hair for the umpteenth time. The kicker, and proof that maybe Wilkins has taken one hit to the skull too many, is that he never cries bullshit on any of this. One could imagine that Liz is asked out plenty, and goes out fairly often, so it's okay if he believes that bit of the lie. Hormones make you stupid, especially when presented with the very real possibility that the object of your affection isn't at all interested in you.
  However, I remember first reading DL and knowing full well Jessica was full of it. You're pretty much told within seconds of meeting Jessica, that she has made her rounds through much of the male dating pool at SVH. Not in a full blown skanky way, but in that, "Sure we can go out and you can tell me how great I am," way. For Todd to believe anything other than this just blows my mind as much now as it did then. Idiot.
  Naturally, Liz doesn't know this, as she sits at home and dreams about her one true love, Todd Wilkins. She doesn't want much, dear diary, she just wants to be his girlfriend. They don't have to scale the highest mountains, swim the deepest seas, write the most epic of all love poems. No, what she wants is normalcy. She wants it to be normal for the two to eat lunch together and for him to randomly kiss her on the forehead, simply because he can and wants to do so. For they are in LOVE. That's all.
  But she never actually tells this to anyone. Ever. Because she's an idiot as well. She never tells her twin. She doesn't tell her best friend [though Enid has an extra braincell or two to rub together, so she's able to figure it out], and being that this is 1983, she sure as hell doesn't tell Todd she thinks he's keen or whatever. That last one I understand, but given that Jess is such a sneaky sort, you'd think it might be wise to let her in on the crush you've been harboring. Either to keep her away from said crush, or to get her to help you out, seeing as she isn't shy and knows her way around the male of the species well enough to snag a date for her sister. Just a thought.
  So Liz is dying a thousand deaths each time Todd calls to talk to Jess. Or she sees the two of them together. To complicate matters, Todd doesn't realize he's being set up as Jessica's newest conquest. So he still makes googly eyes at the wrong twin, still tries to get Liz alone, possibly so he can ask her to the big Phi Epsilon dance, or possibly just to say, "I love you, you idiot." So Liz is getting these "he likes me!" vibes and Jess doesn't know that Liz actually has any interest in Todd, so she sees no real problem in continuing to help Todd fall for the right Wakefield twin.
  This can only go on so long before something goes wrong and true love conquers all. So fate intervenes and decrees, "This shall not be a fifty page novel! We must have MORE conflict!"

  Another thing you should know. Jessica is not accustomed to being turned down. As far as she's concerned, she's the hottest thing around, and anyone who doesn't agree can go to hell. So when it becomes painfully clear that Todd isn't falling for her as planned, she decides to take her anger out on the unsuspecting males of Sweet Valley. Luckily for all of them, Rick Andover [tattooed, 17 year old bad boy drop out] spies Jessica walking home, and picks her up. Turns out he knows exactly who she is [see drop out status that makes this a little less creepy than it would be if he were just some random guy who knew who she was by sight alone] and finagles a date. Jess needs some male attention, so she agrees.
  Check the mini bio given for Rick again, and it'll become obvious that the only way this date is going to end is badly. Sure enough, Rick takes Jessica to Kelly's [local bar, conveniently located not that far from the teen dream hangout, the Dairi Burger] and gets smashed in record time. Seriously, one shot of whiskey and he's slurring his words. Granted, it's implied he had a little something before picking Jess up, but still. ONE SHOT. He also gets a little grabby, so Jess excuses herself and in perfect bad boy form, Rick manages to get himself into a bar fight. The cops are called and Jess gets a ride home via the police. Luckily for her, the cop thinks she's a friend of his niece, Emily Mayer, and assumes she's Elizabeth. [Cuz Liz is so the bar-hopping twin!] He reads her the riot act as he's dropping her off, calling her Elizabeth once more. Jess goes to correct him, but it's too late.
  You see, Caroline Pearce, the biggest gossip in all of Sweet Valley [which says a lot, given that almost all of Jessica's friends are identified as huge gossips as well] just happens to be walking by at that exact moment. She hears the whole thing, complete with the mixed up identity, runs home [three doors down from the Wakefields] and fires up the white princess phone that serves as the easiest way for gossip to spread through the Valley. Take that, Gossip Girl.
  By the next morning, all of SVH knows that good girl Liz has gone to the darkside, courtesy of a trip to Kelly's with bad boy Rick. Possibly fearing that two devious Wakefields is more than one high school can handle, people react by pretty much avoiding her. The boys are divided in two camps. Those who probably think Liz is a good time, though probably one involving a trip to the doctor's before and after, and those who think she's a total skank and should be put in her place. Preferably by never speaking to her again, I guess. This second camp is given a voice in the form of Enid's [Liz's best friend] current crush-turned-boyfriend Ronnie Edwards. The former is lead by rich boy Bruce Patman. But since no one's talking to Liz for fear of the crazy catching, she just thinks the entire school has gone insane.
  Until Enid finally breaks down and tells her that "no matter what, Liz, no matter what..." She spills the rest of the story and at first Liz is confused as to why Caroline would make up such an outrageous story about her. A second later, she realizes that Caroline didn't. She just had one certain fact messed up. So Liz confronts Jessica who in a tizzy over her brother's incredibly poor choice of girlfriends. Namely, the town skank, Betsy Martin. Still, no matter how much this grosses Liz out as well, she sticks to the more important matter. Namely, that her entire school is populated by idiots who believe Liz is the bar crawling twin.
  Because having Jess confess publicly will never happen, and because we've got to make it to page 182, we get another curve ball.
  It seems that we have a feud of epic proportions between the old money Patmans [hey, Bruce!] and new money Fowlers [aloha, Lila!] who for some reason, don't see a thing wrong with destroying the high school football field for their own purposes. Bruce's family wants to restore it to it's former glory as a formal English tea garden. The Fowlers want to build a factory. Now, I should stop to point out one little WTF moment. There are no FolwerS. There is Lila's father, George. Lila's an only child and her parents have been divorced for ages. Seriously, there are two Fowlers in the whole of SV as far as we've been told. I sincerely doubt Lila gives half a damn whether a factory goes up there or not. She'd probably enjoy any influx of money that would come her way, but she might also think it's a bit tacky to have a factory across the street from her school. Who knows? No one ever asked the girl.
  Instead, when news of these insane plans for their football field breaks, the students of SVH turn mob and corner the [mostly] innocent children of insane parents. There's some name calling and foolishly, Jessica opens her mouth and Bruce verbally bitchslaps her for it. It seems Mr. Wakefield has been seen all over town with a hot chick who ain't his wife. The whole town, or at least Bruce's parents, assume he's screwing around, and really, with that in her family closet, Jessica should STFU. Liz is shocked. She thought only the twins and maybe their brother suspected such a thing. For a gossip columnist, she's kinda naive, eh?
  Now, I know what you're thinking. WTF does this have to do with the price of Todd's stupidity and the scheming twins who love him? Well, not a whole lot, but we need some B-story angst. And because in the aftermath of bigmouth Bruce-y bass, Jess comes clean to Todd. Who doesn't believe her, but thinks she's incredibly noble to take the blame for her obviously skantastically confusing twin. So he invites her to the big dance. And they go. And have an absolutely miserable time after a brief dirty dancing fling. You see, Todd spends the rest of the evening staring hopelessly at Liz, who I guess never manages to look over at the same time to see him eying her. But both Liz's and Todd's dates notice. Winston doesn't mind all that much since he's had a thing for Jess for the better part of six years. Jessica, however, is beyond pissed.
  But it gets worse when he drops her off at home and all she gets is this stupid t-shirt a kiss on the cheek. So naturally, having only destroyed one person's rep this book, she decides to confuse Todd's antics with grabby hands Rick. And tells Liz all about it. By this point Jess has kind of figured out that Liz has a thing for Todd, but when given the chance to have Jess step aside, Liz chose not to take it. To keep Liz from getting better from Toddy boy than she did, Jess tells Liz that Todd is slime. And Liz buys it. Mostly. Still, it seems a little weird to her, but why would Jess lie?
  Back to the b story no one cares aboot, Mr. Wakefield and his other woman Marianna West, are working to save the Gladiator's playing field. So Liz gets time off from school, learns all aboot the ways of a real reporter, and yay, Mr. W saves the day! Well, actually Marianna does, which makes Liz feel a little funny that she thinks she could like the woman who is so obviously ruining her parents' marriage. Awkward! Only it turns out that, haha! Marianna really was just working with their father and now she's partner and yay, the perfect Wakefields really are perfect after all!
  Oh, and it turns out that Steven wasn't in love with Betsy, but rather her beautiful non skanky sister, Tricia. But Steve was so ashamed of her family, that he sabotaged his relationship with perfect Tricia, and she called him on it, broke his heart, and left him horribly depressed, something that will stain the poor boy horribly in the future. But for now, it's easily mended by him throwing himself on the mercy of Tricia's kind hearted nature.And again, perfection reigns supreme!
  Which leaves us with but one glaring problem. Todd is considered slime. Liz still wants Todd, and Rick is still pissed that Jess got him in trouble with the law. So Rick carjacks the twins and drives them out to Kelly's for some unknown reason. Maybe to show them that he's not a lightweight and can so totally hold his whiskey. Who knows? But first he drives by the Dairi Burger [told you it's conveniently located] and Todd happens to see them. And notice, in that split second, how freaked out Liz looks considering there's a maniac behind the wheel of their car. So he follows them, punches Rick out, and is rewarded with a kiss from fair Liz.
  The love birds trade notes on their destroyed reps [though, to be fair, Jess only told Liz, and it seems Liz never bothered to put the word out to warn anyone else] and came to one conclusion. Jessica!

  This leads us to our classic bit of revenge. Liz writes the Eyes and Ears column for the Oracle. It's a secret, and if the author is found out, it's school tradition to dunk them in the pool. So Liz dresses like Jess, makes it so Jess dresses like Liz, and while pretending to be Jessica, Liz lets the cat out of the bag. Jessica is dunked, and the newly happy couple is left to laugh and laugh. Gotcha, Jess!

Random tid bits:

  • Liz's tuxedo shirt is later changed to a generic green shirt and her nifty bow tie is changed to a belt in the double edition of Sweet 18, the final SVH [Senior Year] book. The current re-release of the book leaves the tux alone, letting the twins cross dress to their heart's content.

  • Enid and Elizabeth became friends during their sophomore creative writing class, though Liz still thinks Enid a bit mysterious.

  • Which could be because Enid hasn't told Liz that she's been arrested. Ah, good times.

  • As of DL, the Wakefield's pool is a fairly new addition to the house.

  • Ronnie, Enid's obnoxious boytoy, is awfully opinionated for the new guy in school.

  • Marianna's ex, Gareth West, is apparently a big deal heart specialist.

  • Bruce's mother is a Vanderhorn, one of the oldest families in SV. Nobody cares.

Say wha?
  After all, she told herself, if Todd preferred Jessica- and that certainly was how it looked- she would not stand in the way. She'd do the decent thing. Die. -Liz, p34

137 Different Ways to be Cruel:
  You've got to be seven hundred and thirty-seven kinds of idiots not to be excited about associating with the best girls at SVH. What's wrong with you? p35
  He has got to be the most wonderful boy in a hundred and thirty-seven states! p108
  This family has got to be the biggest bummer in five hundred and thirty-seven cities! p111
  I'll never forgive you, not if I live to be a hundred and thirty-seven years- p182.

Inability to discuss her massive crush on Wilkins and crying jags aside, this Liz is probably one of my favorites. She's funny, she's sarcastic, and she's a schemer. But most of all, I love that while we're told how popular Liz is, she seems less so than Jessica. Perhaps it's that Jess is the epitome of the popular girl. She's perfectly lovely to look at, and you want to hear about her exploits, but you know she's a raging bitch. Liz, on the other hand, is the twin you'll find sprawled on the ground collecting her books, wondering how long she has until some jerk kicks her and she has to restart the whole rescue operation. See, the true popular girl wouldn't have this problem, as Liz herself notes. If Jessica's books fell to the floor, her minions would scatter and retrieve them. Liz is without minions at this point, and it's kind of nice.
In general, I have a love/hate relationship with Double Love. Sometimes it's just fantastic enough that I enjoy it like cotton candy. And sometimes I wonder if perhaps I was an exceptionally stupid child and I've been stained forever by this book. But mostly I wish we could get a glimpse of pre-superfab twins. You know there are stories in their past, and the earlier books hinted at them. Later books were content to either ignore what came before or remind you with the sledgehammer of "previously on..."

Double Love non-English covers part 1
Double Love non-eglish covers part2

Re-issue, courtesy of 2008 )

** )


the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (Default)

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