Title: The War Between the Twins
Tagline: The twins are fighting mad… at each other!
Summary: Bitter rivals…
Jessica Wakefield has written an article about the Unicorn Club for the class newspaper The Sweet Valley Sixers. As its editor, her twin sister Elizabeth has promised to run the article in the very next issue. But when Elizabeth has to take Jessica’s article out at the last minute, Jessica is furious!
Jessica and her fellow Unicorns decide to teach Elizabeth a lesson by starting their own paper, The Unicorn News. Before long, it’s clear that Sweet Valley Middle School isn’t big enough for two newspapers, and Jessica’s begins to take the lead. Will Elizabeth’s beloved Sixers be able to hold its own against the sensational news that the Unicorns print?
This always sticks in my head as being yet another rehash of the student council story, which I hated both times they did it already. However, each time I read it, I remember that I actually like this story, because we have #BestJess and Sulky!Liz and forgery and pre-photoshop MY HED IZ PASTEDE ON YAY.
We open with Jess handing over “the best thing I’ve ever written” to Elizabeth, who pretends not to know what it is. Then we get the same-but-different couple of paragraphs, where we learn that Unicorns wear purple and are silly, and Elizabeth is much better than them because she’s a writer. [Raven: Unsurprising viewpoint from the ghost-writer is unsurprising.]
The piece of writing is, in fact, an article about the Unicorn Club, and Jessica is worried that Elizabeth will leave it out of The Sweet Valley Sixers, as she did last week, because Elizabeth thought that an article on fund-raising (no specifics by whom or for what) was more important than recounting the Unicorns’ activities, especially when they are so completely vapid. She doesn’t really think that Jessica’s article merits the space it’s given, and is only going along with it for her twin.
And while I agree that the fundraising article should bump it, I disagree that the article is pointless. Jessica’s article covers a visit to the shopping mall, Ellen Riteman’s trip to Santa Monica and Lila Fowler’s fan club letter from Donny Diamond. Yes, these are very Unicorn topics, but:
- First of all, why weren’t the Unicorns in the Sixers after they helped rescue a kidnapped girl, as per the previous book? I’m sorry, Elizabeth, but if you skipped on that as unworthy, you’re a fucking idiot and should not be in charge of a paper. How have they been missed out for months when Ellen – at the very least – did something brave? If it was in the paper, why aren’t you using that in your defence? [Wing: In universe, that is a very good fucking point. Meta level, I wonder if this is one of those things were the last book and this book were written around the same time by two different ghost writers.]
- The mall: where exactly did Team Boring take Prince Arthur when he arrived? Yes, the mall. Maybe it’s not cutting edge journalism, but I think Elizabeth vastly overestimates how much of the Sweet Valley Middle School is as breathtakingly determined not to have fun as her. I’m pretty sure everyone shops. (Though for fairness, even I can see that this is the weakest part of the article, and I can’t imagine that this bit was very interesting to non-Unicorns.)
- Regarding Ellen’s trip, Elizabeth is always grabbing her notebook and pen if someone visits Sweet Valley. Apparently the Sixers just loves to know what outsiders think of their town, but they do not give a shit what Sweet Valley-ites think of other places. #NarcissisticMuch?
- It’s not only the Unicorns who like the pop stars at #1 in the charts. That’s how they sell records. Having grown up in that particular time, not everyone can afford to join each fan club they want to. Someone at my school was a member of the Official Take That fan club, and she always brought everything she was sent into school to show to her fellow Thatters. Even people who didn’t really socialise with her ordinarily. Because fandom is fun.
- In previous books we’ve found out that Jess has a fun turn of phrase and can make her writing chatty and exciting. In Jessica the Rock Star, we know that she’s engaging enough to score a gig with almost no musical talent behind her. (And in later books, we discover she’s just as smart as Elizabeth.)
Basically, for all of Elizabeth’s moaning that the Unicorns are snobby, she’s doing exactly the same thing: writing off their interests as pointless, because they’re not hers. Snobby. [Wing: This could be an interesting look at how the things we dislike most in others are often the things we either dislike the most in ourselves and/or try to hide from ourselves but see in them. However, I think most of the ghost writers intend for us to believe Elizabeth isn’t wrong, so.]
[Raven: Devil’s advocate here. I get the point that these interests Are Not Elizabeth’s Interests, and I’m so on board with the Unicorn Rescues A Kidnapped Girl thing, but Elizabeth does have a point… They aren’t news. I mean, it’s not like Liz is filling the Sixers with her own interests, such as pictures of horses. Although if she was, all she’d need to do would be draw a horn on them and BAM, problem solved.] [Dove: You’re right, it’s not exclusively filled with Liz’s interests, but I stand by my point on Ellen’s trip to San Francisco. Was there really four pages of news that week, to the point where Ellen’s trip wouldn’t get 100 words of mention.]
The next day at lunch, the Unicorns read Jessica’s draft and are all suitably impressed, and arrange to have a meeting at Lila’s house that evening.
At the same time, Elizabeth and Julie are having a nightmare trying to get everything to fit in the Sixers this week. They note that some weeks they have nothing, others they have so much news not everything fits. In the back of her mind, she notes that Jessica’s article is the least important because the mall trip was a couple of weeks ago and Ellen’s trip was a couple of months ago, but she is determined to keep it in. (And the Unicorns are boring, obv.) [Wing: Do you know whose fault it is that the news is old, Elizabeth? Yours. Because you haven’t let the Unicorns have any space. It’s supposed to be a newspaper for the entire sixth grade (and apparently the school, because reasons), and yet you ignore a chunk of them.] [Raven: To be fair, at least three pages of the Sixers is devoted to transcripts from Mr Nydick’s trial.]
And she and Julie manage it, until Mr Bowman charges in yelling “Stop the presses!” (literally) because Coach Cassels fell over and broke his leg yesterday evening. Now we need an article on that.
They are seconds away from printing and Mr Bowman expects Team Boring to find a reporter, go visit Coach Cassels in the hospital, do an interview, type it up and then get it in the paper? Why not just have that be the lead story next week? These things come out weekly. Also, if it happened yesterday, why has Mr Bowman left it until now to tell his star reporters? He magnanimously says Amy Sutton can type it up during his class. Oh, you generous beast! You mean you’re not going to make the reporters acquiesce to your whims entirely in their own free time?
Obviously, Jessica’s article gets cut, but Elizabeth, not realising the “couldn’t stay mad at her twin for long” only goes one way, thinks Jessica will understand.
(All of us readers are waiting for Jessica to pick up a knife and a shovel and for the body count to start rising.)
That evening at home, Elizabeth anxiously waits for Jessica to come home until Alice tells her that Jessica is staying at Lila’s tonight to work on the social studies project. Alice suggests she call Jessica at Lila’s to tell her whatever it is that has Elizabeth so flustered, but Elizabeth says no, this is best in person.
No, Elizabeth, telling Jessica now is best – you can hash it out in person, but leaving it until tomorrow before school, when you know that Jessica is a notoriously late riser, and Lila cannot be hurried, is a very stupid plan.
Over at Fowler Crest (have we mentioned that’s the name of the house? Well it is), the Unicorn meeting is in full swing, and Janet is allocating tasks to organise a party. She makes special note that everyone will be a committee leader and they must get non-Unicorns to do the actual work. I’m sorry, Janet, but that level of snobbery only works on Lila. You just look like a dick. Janet also thanks Jessica for her hard work getting the Unicorn article in the Sixers. [Raven: I really liked the insider look at the Unicorn meetings in this book. Great work, JS!]
Naturally the next morning Elizabeth waits outside the front of the school for Jessica, who is dropped off at the back. Amy suggests they wait outside homeroom that way they can’t miss her, but Elizabeth knows better.
Jessica picks up the paper, realises that there’s no Unicorn article, and Lila quickly says that she thinks Elizabeth did it on purpose to make them look foolish. Jessica starts to defend her twin, then thinks fuck that twinny bellend, and joins in on the hatred. The Unicorns grab their pitchforks and start screaming for a lynching.
“I know what you must think,” Elizabeth said in a low voice. “I’m sorry about your article. But I can explain. You see, Coach Cassels–”
“You’re going to blame this on poor Coach Cassels,” Lila interrupted bitterly. “It says right here on the front page of your paper that he’s in the hospital! What could he have to do with this?”
Lila, stay irrationally marvellous. I love you.
The twins have a fight, where Jessica keeps cutting Elizabeth off before she can finish, and she starts to get upset that Jessica won’t listen and called her a liar. She accidentally blurts that the Unicorn article wasn’t “important” enough to fit in the paper this week, and IT. IS. ON.
Also, we get the best possible Jessica quote of all time. (bold mine)
That did it. Now Elizabeth was angry. “I never tried to get away with anything,” she said, beginning to shout. She didn’t care that there were people standing around listening to every word they were saying. She was so angry she didn’t care who heard them fight. “Why don’t you just listen to the facts?”
“Who cares about your stupid facts!” Jessica yelled back. She leaned forward and shook her finger at Elizabeth.
#BestJess will not stand for your fucking logic and reality, Elizabeth! It gets in the way of her righteous anger.
Then Jessica announces that she and the Unicorns will start their own newspaper, so screw the Sixers!
The Unicorns think Jessica is wonderful for coming up with such a brilliant plan. On the other side of the room, Amy exclaims that she’s never seen Elizabeth and Jessica so mad at each other. Fucking pay attention, Amy. They’re frequently this mad at each other. [Raven: Nah, siding with Amy here. Literally, the only other time I remember one twin being this angry was Elizabeth in The Class Trip, and fuck that piece of shit.]
At lunch Janet is delighted with the idea of starting a Unicorn paper and assumes that she’ll be the editor, because she’s president of the Unicorns. Jessica is put out by this, since it was her idea, and it would have been nice to go editor-to-editor in the twin deathmatch. But Janet’s a toxic monster, so it’s not worth fighting her over.
“The best part about Jessica’s idea is that we can control the news,” Janet explained.
Down with “fake news”! #MakeSweetValleyGreatAgain #MSVGA
[Wing: Oh god, this went from a good time romp to me sobbing while I burn down my country. Awesome.]
Elizabeth tries to talk to Jessica after school, thinking that Jessica has had time to cool down and she’ll listen and be reasonable now. (Has she even met Jessica?) Anyway, Jessica’s all, “Nope, I’m glad you deliberately kept my article out because it’s going to be the lead story of the new Unicorn paper!”
(Really? 200 words is going to be the lead article?)
Elizabeth points out that doing a newspaper is hard work and there’s not really room for two newspapers at school (I guess Gazette 7&8 doesn’t count?) [Wing: Wait, that thing still exists?] [Dove: Well, technically, no it doesn’t exist yet. But once we get to the book where it does exist (Elizabeth the Seventh Grader), it will have always existed. Read The Neverending Story for a better explanation. Or just for fun. It’s one of my favourite books.], and Jessica’s like, “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, BITCHES!”
After this we jump to a Unicorn meeting where they debate over what to call the paper. The suggestions are: Unicorn News (Janet); Unicorn Tales (Tamara); Hoof Print (Lila); Purple Post (Jessica). They don’t agree, so they just put it on the agenda to decide at the next meeting. (While all are terrible, if pushed, I’d side with Lila.)
They need to decide who is editor of what, but again, they can’t figure that out, so it’s on the agenda for the next meeting.
Lila suggests they print it on purple paper, and that actually does get agreed.
They make a list of what they want to write about, but the list is too long, and Janet decrees the editors will skim it down.
“This list is much too long,” Janet said authoritatively. “The editors can come up with a shorter one.” Since there were no editors, it was not clear just when there would be a shorter list. Nobody seemed to mind.
I feel like this Jamie Suzanne was feeling positively gleeful at writing this book. And I like her! [Raven: Nice parallel with Jessica’s fashion company having too many executive roles.]
At the end of the meeting, they have agreed nothing except: print on purple paper; make decisions next time.
Also, regarding the party – I have no idea if this is a school party, a Unicorn party or what – Lila’s committee (no word on who they are) have reported they are sick of the same-old-same-old music/bands (aww, no NRG reunion?) and so she’s asking her uncle who works for a record company in LA to source a fabulous band.
Wait. It must be a school party, because they have to sell tickets. Wait, what? So, nobody else in the school, no official student treasurer or anything, is involved in this, it’s literally the Unicorns in charge with non-Unicorns doing the grunt work? Oh, why am I even complaining? #SweetValleyProblems
The next day, Amy and Elizabeth have a chat during homeroom. Amy thinks “Hoof Print” is the most stupid name ever. For the Unicorns, that name is a work of genius, because it works on two levels. And can I just point out that Elizabeth added “ers” to the end of your grade to get your title? You, Amy, merely came up with The Sweet Valley News, which according to the previous book is already the title of the town-wide newspaper. Basically, get fucked, you unimaginative bellend.
Elizabeth asks if they can change the subject, so Amy tells her about how Bruce Patman was teasing Lois and offering people $1 if they could guess her weight. Amy describes this as “nothing new”. I hate Amy. So much.
Elizabeth suggests they let Lois do another cartoon for the Sixers, because that’ll cheer her up.
Or, you absolute wazzock, you could fucking stand up for her. Tell Bruce Patman to get fucked. Eat lunch with her. Invite her along when you’re off kissing babies, feeding orphans and dying for our sins, or whatever you do for fun. [Raven: I presume she gets to that in the next book.]
And over to the Unicorns. Unlike the last meeting, this one is nothing but decisions by Janet, jobs are assigned – and Jessica gets the coveted News Editor, making her second in command – the paper will have eight pages (unlike the Sixers, which has four… I always thought it was six?), Mary will do all the typing – well, Janet says people will pitch in or her dad’s secretary will do it, so… Mary will do all the typing; it will come out a day before the Sixers; and it will be called The Unicorn News. Today is Thursday, the paper will come out on Tuesday. It will be fine.
Also, as someone who worked as a secretary, if someone asked me to type up their kid’s nonsense on my weekend, I wouldn’t do it. I’m just guessing, based on how annoying Janet and Joe are, that Mr Howell is as big a prick as his kids. Not the type to inspire favours.
Jessica quickly finds out that while her friends are enthusiastic, they’re also workshy and a bit thick. [Wing: THIS IS NOT NEWS, JESSICA. If for no other reason than they failed miserably when you made them all VPs of your company.][Raven: Heh. Beat me to it.] Those that turn in articles have written only a few sentences, littered with spelling and grammar mistakes. Lila buys purple paper – she knows everyone agreed light purple, but she saw the deep purple and she had to have it. Janet’s not going to help, because she’s far too busy, so it falls to Jessica to check and correct everything.
When she complains to Mary, Mary bites back, saying that Janet didn’t bother to check with her dad, his secretary is on holiday, so Mary’s typing everything.
And then they find out that everyone else in the entire club is too busy to pull the paper together. It falls to Mary and Jessica to make it happen.
They don’t have enough to fill eight pages, so they cut it down to six, padding it out with the minutes of the last Unicorn meeting.
They also don’t get the paper out by Tuesday, due to the ditto machine being on use on Monday (the school faculty is using it) and Tuesday (booked out to the Sixers, obv) so they have to print on Wednesday lunch – oh, and btw, everyone has Boosters practice, but Mary and Jessica can skip it to get the paper done.
The paper is nearly the same shade as the ink, rendering the paper nearly unreadable.
Seriously, how has Jessica not murdered everyone except Mary by now? [Wing: I’m pretty sure at this point that Mary would be down for some murder.]
Over in the Sixers HQ, everyone is laughing at the failure of the Unicorn News. The paper is barely readable, the spellings are wrong, the minutes of their meeting are ridiculous and Tamara’s recipe quantities are massively off. Elizabeth feels bad because she thinks Jessica did all the hard work and it must be embarrassing to fail, but it will teach her a lesson. Look how hard it is being Elizabeth and running the paper. Elizabeth is a fucking saint.
Over with the Unicorns, they all want to give up, but Jessica rallies them into trying again, and this time she is editor-in-chief, not Janet.
Jessica revises a few things in her first meeting. They are renaming it Middle School News, to attract more readers, they are cutting it down to four pages, and they’re printing on white paper. They’ll stick mostly to school news, only exciting. This stumps everyone, they can’t think of anything to write about that the Sixers hasn’t already covered.
Then Tamara dashes in and says she’s been stalking a guy who looks just like Donny Diamond. It wasn’t him, but it gives Lila and idea: they’re going to publish an interview with Donny Diamond – they’ll just make it all up and say that Lila’s uncle introduced them to him. For a moment Jessica hesitates, but then she thinks of how a Donny interview will squash their competition flat, and she approves it.
At first, they make up all the answers, but after coming up with his favourite animal (Unicorn), colour (purple) and dessert (grape sherbet), they run out of ideas. Lila then suggests they crib the answers from an interview he did recently in SMASH! magazine. But don’t worry, it’s totally not plagiarism, they change the wording a little. Also, they copy his signature from the fan club letter Lila got. Mary says that’s forgery, but Lila says it’s her letter and she can do anything she wants with it. And that’s that. [Wing: I am dying.]
This time Jessica gets permission to use the ditto machine on Tuesday after school, so the paper comes out the same time as the Sixers, and it flies off the stands as soon as people hear there’s an interview with Donny Diamond.
Over with Team Sixers, everyone is sad because nobody is reading their paper. Elizabeth comments that it’s funny that Jessica never mentioned talking to Donny, but then, they haven’t been speaking. Amy pounces on that and asks if there’s something fishy going on. Elizabeth says that hardly matters, because their interview with a dinner lady can’t compete with Donny Diamond. Then Nora rushes over and says there are posters up for next week’s paper, inviting people to ask Donny questions. Oh, and they’re charging $0.15 per paper.
The Unicorns are inundated with questions, several of them relating to romance – one person says her boyfriend is very jealous because she sits next to a cute boy in homeroom, and here are the two suggested answers: make him more jealous to prove how much he loves you (Jessica, obv); and pander to his ego, that way you can flirt with the cute boy with no problem.
Don’t forget, these answers are going to be “from Donny Diamond”. [Wing: UNICORN ADVICE COLUMN WHY THE FUCK HASN’T THIS HAPPENED?] [Raven: Yeah, that’d be golden.]
Also, they receive an anonymous typed note, saying:
Dear Donny, Your interview was very interesting. But I don’t believe the Unicorns really know you. I hope I’m wrong. Of course, all you have to do to prove it is to print a photograph of you and the Unicorns together.
Lila says it’s clearly from Elizabeth, and they should ignore it. Jessica has a better plan…
Team Sixers are now very depressed because nobody is reading their paper, they are gushing over the picture of Donny Diamond and the Unicorns. Amy, Nora and Elizabeth find it odd that a picture has been taken, but none of the Unicorns mentioned that they’d met with Donny Diamond. They do the maths and realise that the Unicorns have made $45 (less photocopying costs) on this week’s paper. Amy is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery – if they could prove the interview and photo are fakes, then people will stop reading the Unicorn News. Elizabeth just says all they need is their readers back.
Way to be passive, Elizabeth. Everything about this seems fishy, and it’s ruining your beloved Sixers, and you’re just like, *sigh* Life goes on. I hate you. You don’t even have a backbone about things that aren’t about standing up to Jessica.
At the next Unicorn meeting, they discuss that they’ve made $45 in a week on the paper, and that they could buy club jackets with the money (you girls just want to be the Pink Ladies, don’t you?), then they move on to the party.
Apparently tickets are selling remarkably well, and people are very interested in the mystery band that will be performing. Who is the mystery band? Lila refuses to say, and Jessica comes to her aid when she’s pressed on it, saying that everything gets leaked, so Lila is right to keep it a secret.
Also, Jessica explains how the picture was done:
“Oh, it wasn’t hard,” Jessica said modestly. “Do you remember that picture we had taken last summer with Janet’s brother Sam? Well, all I did was paste a small magazine photo of Donny’s head onto Sam’s body.”
Two things: 1) PRE-INTERNET MY HED IZ PASTEDE ON YAY; and 2) Janet’s brother is called Joe, not Sam. [Raven: And 3) Mr Nydick’s defence of “those pics are Photoshopped” is looking a lot more plausible.]
After the meeting, Lila confides to Jessica alone that her uncle completely forgot to arrange anyone to play at the party and nobody is available. Can Jessica think of anyone? Jessica is doubtful, but says she’ll think about it, which Lila takes to mean, “This is no longer your problem, Lila, panic over.”
At school, Jessica is called to Ms Langberg’s office – she’s the PE teacher – and is asked about her friendship with Donny Diamond. Jessica is amused that a teacher has a crush on a rock star. (And that’s understandable, she’s probably used to Mr Nydick having crushes on his pre-teen class.) Ms Langberg asks for details and says the story is incredible and “unbelievable”. Jessica feels for a moment that Ms Langberg is making fun of her, and feels bad about lying to a teacher’s face.
The Dear Donny letters keep pouring in and they reach a point where they don’t know the answers, so they have to make them up. When will Donny Diamond next do a concert in Sweet Valley? (Soon.) What car does he drive? (He has six cars, because rock stars have lots of cars.)
And they get another anonymous letter:
Dear Unicorns, I have to give you an A for effort. But the picture of Donny Diamond was a fake. You’re just pretending to know him. Here’s a question for you. You’d better answer it quick, before you get yourselves into big trouble. How far can you go before you get caught?
Jessica is convinced Elizabeth sent it – the “A for effort” line seemed Elizabeth-like.
At lunch at school, Elizabeth approaches Jessica and says they need to talk. Jessica initially thinks she’s coming to confess to sending the anonymous letters and is on the offensive. And I will give Elizabeth a modicum of credit here, she keeps her cool and uses the word “rumour” to get Jessica to shut up for ten seconds to listen to her. Elizabeth says that everyone assumes the mystery band at the party will be Donny Diamond, what with the Unicorns being BFFs with him and his enigmatic “soon” answer to the question of when he’ll next be in Sweet Valley. Jessica panics for a moment, then claims Elizabeth has changed the subject to get away from the anonymous letters and stomps off in a huff. I love #ScrewYourFactsJess.
Jessica has a private confab with Lila and they grasp the seriousness of the situation and decide to go cap in hand to Janet to fix it. Janet won’t let them finish a sentence, saying that the rumours are good for ticket sales, and nobody actually said Donny Diamond would be the guest. Then she shoos them away before they can actually explain that they don’t have a guest at all.
Jessica decides the only way out is to murder Elizabeth.
“Well, Janet was a huge help,” Lila said bitterly as she and Jessica walked toward their next class. “What do you think we should do now?”
“Well, I know exactly what I’m going to do,” Jessica replied. “I’m going to clobber Elizabeth.”
“Elizabeth?” Lila said. “What does Elizabeth have to do with this?”
“What do you mean, what does she have to do with it? This whole mess is Elizabeth’s fault!” Jessica replied hotly. “If she hadn’t left the Unicorns out of the Sixers, we’d never have started our own newspaper. And then none of this would ever have happened!”
#BestJess [Raven: Who the hell says “clobber”…? THIS GUY.]
This is right up there with the time that someone saw that the pool they were maintaining was filled with blood and decided that the only reasonable action was to go to bed. (Point Horror and its rivals means sentences like that exist in the world.) [Wing: You forgot the best part: piranhas.]
When the twins get home (and Elizabeth is not visibly clobbered, so perhaps Jessica re-thought that plan), Steven says that a bunch of Sweet Valley High kids, including Anita Pearce, Caroline’s sister (awkward, hope she doesn’t bring Josh Angler as her date) are getting their younger siblings to get tickets for the dance – it’s now a dance, not a party – so they can see Donny Diamond.
Jessica and Elizabeth say that the gossip is ridiculous, but Steven actually acts like a big brother here, smugly saying, “But the Unicorns are BFFs with Donny Diamond, so why is it ridiculous? I don’t understand. Also, why does Donny have six cars in your interview but only one in the article I read in a magazine?” In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen Steven eat in the hands of this Jamie Suzanne, and I really appreciate it.
The next day, Lila and Jessica are called into Ms Langberg’s office again to talk about the Donny Diamond situation. Lila does not buckle immediately, and coolly lies to her face, but when Ms Langberg puts her serious face on and asks them do they honestly and truly know Donny Diamond, they have to fess up. Literally everything, including the fact that they don’t have a guest for the dance, Donny or otherwise.
Ms Langberg says that they need to apologise. On stage. At the dance. Also, her cousin plays an accordion and sings, but he needs some practice, so he can be the mystery guest. In fact, he’ll bring his friends. They’re known as Donald Kaminsky and the Polka Dots.
If you’re not Jessica or Lila, you can see where this is going. Also, Ms Langberg is having the time of her life trolling these two, and it is a delight. She can’t stop going on about how old-fashioned and bad the band are. Outstanding. [Wing: I love her. I hope she comes back with some more trolling fun.] [Raven: Yep. Troll Level Epic. Although part of me hopes it’s Weird Al.]
On the night of the dance, Jessica feels awful and doesn’t want to go, but Elizabeth chivvies her along, bribing her with Jessica’s favourite of her dresses, and forces her to get ready. She calls Lila to check that she’s still going, and Jessica gives her the same “perk up, it’s not the end of the world” bollocks that Elizabeth just gave her.
At the dance, Lila and Jessica try to lay low, but they are constantly mobbed by overexcited Donny Diamond fans asking questions about pictures and autographs and whether they’ll faint when he gets on stage.
Reluctantly, Lila and Jessica take the stage and explain that they don’t know Donny Diamond, and it was all a hoax. The crowd thinks this is a joke, and a chant for Donny begins in earnest, so the two have to repeat themselves. When it starts to sink in, it’s a bit of a mob scene, with people chanting for Donny and demanding a refund. [Raven: I mean, we all know where it’s going, but Ms Langberg’s a total cleft for setting this up in this way. The crowd is getting angry, and we’re one misplaced word from watching Lila get pelted with bottles of lukewarm piss.]
They bring out Donald Kaminsky and the Polka Dots, but the crowd is riled now, screaming for Donny. Kaminsky asks why they’re screaming for Donny, and the crowd yells back they want Donny Diamond. Kaminsky says, “If you want Donny Diamond, that’s who you’re going to get!”
Then rips off his wig and stupid attire and beneath it all, it’s Donny Diamond.
Is anyone else as shocked as I am right now? [Raven: My Gast. It is Flabbered.]
After he finishes his set, Ms Langberg introduces Jessica and Lila to Donny Diamond, or, by his birth name, Donald Kaminsky, her cousin. She sent him copies of The Unicorn News and he sent the anonymous notes. On the one hand, it’s nice he didn’t sic his lawyers on a couple of kids; on the other hand, it’s a bit creepy he acted like a twelve year old too.
Jessica actually seems to realise she did something wrong, and she and Lila agree the money they raised from the newspaper should go to the school, to benefit everyone. Wonders will never cease.
Then Donny asks for a picture with the Unicorns, since the last one was so blurry, and he is an honorary Unicorn.
At home, the twins make up, and vow to try not to fight again, as never fighting again would be impossible – this Jamie Suzanne is savvy. I like her.
Then we have the lead-in to the next book. After school, Bruce Patman, Charlie Cashman and Jerry McAllister are giving Lois a hard time. Bruce challenges her to race – for her own good, she might lose weight if she raced against him. Just die in a fire you horrible little brat.
Amy and Elizabeth watch this exchange without standing up for Lois, although Amy points out that Jerry McAllister is a bit podgy himself. Yep, that’ll solve everything, Amy, you fucking waste.
Lois finds herself cornered and agrees to race to the corner, just to get this bout of bullying over and done with.
Bruce offers her a head start, but when she pushes down on her pedal it flies off and she faceplants into the ground.
The boys fall about laughing because she’s so fat she broke her bike.
Lois starts crying and asks Saint Elizabeth, who has said fuck all during this time, whether she really did break her bike, but Amy checks it out and sees that someone had unbolted them deliberately to shame Lois.
The end line is:
Somebody has to do something about Bruce Patman, Elizabeth told herself. But what?
I don’t fucking know, Elizabeth. Maybe not watch silently every time he tears Lois’ self-esteem apart? Maybe use all that alleged goodness and popularity for something worthwhile instead of pointlessly meddling in other people’s affairs?
Get fucked, you sanctimonious bellend.
I always think I hate this book until I read it, then I remember I love it. We have hardworking and scheming Jess, we have her up to her eyes in trouble and lies, lies, lies! We have Lila and Jessica actually acting like friends.
The twins have a believable argument – even Elizabeth kind of sticks to her side. She still lacks enough backbone to check out if her sister is lying, but she has enough of it to ignore her for several weeks.
This is just a fun book, and I love it. It feels like it was written with a bit more care than the slew of awfulness we were on earlier in the year. This Jamie foreshadows upcoming books well, and I can’t really fault her for not mentioning the previous book because this is the outline she was given.
All in all, a scheming Jess covered in lies is always a win. (Especially if she works hard for her lies.)
[Wing: It was more fun than I expected! And I seriously want a Unicorn advice column. The Unicorner, even!]
[Raven: Fun book! I loved the Unicorn interactions in this one, especially their meetings. I balked a little at the “And Everything Is Perfect Once More” ending, but yay Sweet Valley I guess? Also, I am NOT looking forward to Lois’s book.]
Finally, I will always love this cover, because it’s the base Rosey used for the cover to my Hunger Games fanfic. (And I apologise for the coffee stain on my scan of it.)
I am Dove (she/her). I am: Team Jessica (Sweet Valley); Team Bad Guy (Point Horror); Team Geiger (Making Out); Team Nina/Lucas (Making Out); and I am the voice of a claymation cow named Daisy, and I was in an advert for Fairy Liquid in the 80s.