When Ms. Shepard becomes the student teacher in Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield’s social studies class, school becomes a lot more exciting. Ms. Shepard organizes a weekend field trip to a pioneer farm where the six th graders will have to live just as the pioneers did—with no modern conveniences.
The boys bet that the girls won’t be able to survive without their hair dryers. The girls insist that the boys can’t live without TV and junk food. The battle of the year is on, and both sides are determined to win!
Loving the cover. Purple dungarees! [Dove: This is one of my favourite covers. Wakefield Gothic.] [Wing: I love that plaid, too.]
One issue: I am led to believe these girls are identical twins. The books, I feel, are pretty clear in this regard. Why, then, do these two girls look so palpably different? Dungers-Twin has a thicker and more Were-Pig nose than Plaid-Twin. Plaid-Twin has a wider mouth than Dungers-Twin. And NEITHER twin has a FUCKING dimple in her left cheek.
Tagline: How do you help a friend who doesn’t want to be helped? [Dove: I dunno, Elizabeth, maybe don’t? He’s not your friend and he doesn’t want your help, so how about you back the fuck off?]
Summary: Jessica Wakefield can’t wait to get to school to see what Danny Jackson will do next. He’s only been at Sweet Valley Middle School for a couple of months but he’s already well known as the best runner on the athletics team and as a major troublemaker. While Jessica is enjoying the effect Danny’s bad behavior is having on her classes, her sister Elizabeth is worried. Doesn’t Danny realize that his pranks are going to get him thrown off the team for good?
When Elizabeth writes a story on Danny and the team for the school paper, she discovers the real reason he’s been getting into trouble. It’s something he’s been hiding from everyone. Can Elizabeth help Danny without betraying him? [Raven: Is it drugs? It’s drugs. It’s drugs, isn’t it. Or, he’s actually a cauliflower!]
I don’t like this book. It’s not so much that I think Danny should wallow in his issues without help, I just want to stab Elizabeth for butting in. She’s such a busy-body I want to staple her to a wall and have people walk past, muttering about their issues, leaving her impotently unable to act. I think the stress of being incapable of interfering might be the only true way to kill her.
Also, Danny Jackson is not Denny Jacobson. Denny Jacobson is Pamela’s brother and Janet Howell’s love interest. This kid? No fucking clue. And this comes from someone who’s read almost every book in the Twins series. [Raven: Oh, I thought the book title was actually his name. “Hello, nice to meet you. the name’s Trouble. Danny Means Trouble.”]
[Wing: The only initial thought I had was that of course the girl on the cover is Elizabeth. Look at that outfit. JESSICA WOULD NEVER.]
At work, someone once said to me, “Go see, $person. You know who she is, she’s the one with the proper twattable face.” And the thing was, even though I’d only been there for three weeks, I knew exactly who she meant. Elizabeth too has a “proper twattable face”.
Love the white socks/ankle-swinger trousers/brown loafers combo, Elizabeth. Could you look like more of a bell?
[Wing: I see I should have saved my comment for here.]
[Wing: NOTE: This recap contains vague references to abuse, including child abuse (within the text and in real world) as well as scientific violence to animals.]
“Oh, Lizzie, isn’t it romantic?” Jessica squealed.
Elizabeth gaped at her twin. “They’re expecting us to kill each other.”
“Yes, but we get new clothes and we’re paired with a boy!”
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
Notes: I am going to post this, unbeta’d as it gets written for NaNoWriMo2017. I will post a clean, edited (hopefully coherent) version when it is finished, but if you want to see the raw, error-laden process of my word-vomit, here it is.
Title: Second Best [Wing: Why does the boy on the left — Tom? — look like a male Wakefield twin? What is going on with the genetics in Sweet Valley?] [Raven: Really? You wanna pull at THAT thread?] [Dove: Or it’s all very simple, and Alice has mothered more than three children.]
Summary: Things are happening fast for the Wakefield twins. The biggest party of the year is coming up. If Jessica can get “un-grounded” in time, she’ll be able to go. Elizabeth is entering a state-wide essay contest, hoping to win the $100 prize. And both twins are putting in extra time on their special school projects.
Cute, smart and popular Tom McKay is in Jessica’s work group. His anti-social brother, Dylan, is in Elizabeth’s. Dylan feels that he will never be as good as his brother. So why should he even bother to try? Elizabeth really wants to prove to Dylan that he can be the best at something, too. But can she help him without coming between the two brothers?
Tagline: Is the boys’ problem too tough for even Elizabeth to handle… [Wing: EVEN ELIZABETH WTF]
Oh, god. I’m not ready. What if I like another book? What am I going to do?!
[Dove: Not a fan of this book – the story itself is good, but like Tug of War, there’s a lot of Elizabeth smugness in it.]
Tagline: Why is the twins’ friend Mary suddenly acting like their sister?
Summary: For once, identical twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield agree on something! Their friend, Mary Giaccio, spends too much time at their house. Mary is a foster child in the Altman family, but she’s acting like part of the Wakefield family.
If there’s one thing Jessica and Elizabeth don’t need, it’s a third twin!
They’re desperate to find some way to discourage Mary. Then Jessica overhears a private talk between her parents about Mary’s future. Now she knows something that could solve the twins’ problem and make Mary happy too. But Elizabeth warns Jessica against spreading her news. Does Jessica have any right to interfere with Mary’s life?
[Wing: NOPE. But she’s going to do so anyway, because she’s Jessica Can’t Take No for an Answer Future Rapist Wakefield.]
Dove wanted me to do this one because it’s apparently about adoption, and I am adopted. So basically, she’s trying to see if Wing Goes Boom enough, will my head literally explode. Let’s find out!
[Dove: Not even read the recap, but given how much Wing hates this series, she will go boom.]
Tagline: Will Jessica steal the lead in the ballet recital from Elizabeth? (The answer to that question is always yes. If Jessica can steal something from Elizabeth, she will. And Elizabeth will be like, “Oh, Jess, you’re so funny.”) [Raven: Alternate Tagline – “Elizabeth waves her hands in the air, while Jessica just doesn’t care.”]
Summary: The twins start ballet class and compete for a solo. Jessica is the better dancer but Elizabeth is the teacher’s pet!
I’ve read this book far too often to have any initial thoughts about it. Sorry.
[Wing: My first time. It was not as terrible as the first one, because there’s a lot less body shaming, but the entire Wakefield family is still pretty obnoxious.]
[Raven: Ballet? Bring it on.]
Liz: I’m a pretty ballerina, watch me twirl!
Jess: Fuck you! Give me four years and I’ll kill my boyfriend and frame you for it. That’ll fucking teach you!
(Out of all three of us recappers, I’m the only one who has any idea what comes after SVT – I’ve not read all the books, but I’ve read Twins, a bit of High (and plenty of recaps), about eight of Uni and all of Confidential and Sweet Life.)