April 10, 2012
SVH #117, Jessica the Genius: Dumb and Dumber
Summary: The twins are about to take the SAT, and they respond to it exactly as you would expect: Elizabeth studies her butt off while Jessica couldn’t care less. Their scores are the opposite of what you would expect. While Elizabeth barely clears 900, Jessica scores in the 1400s. No one thinks Jess is smart enough to have done that well, and she’s accused of cheating (they think she put her name on Elizabeth’s test, which is both stupid and impossible, but only one of the SAT-related mistakes the ghostwriter makes in this book).
Jessica gets suspended while the school board investigates, and everyone turns on her – even Elizabeth – because they think she’s guilty. Basically, they’re all, “You’re not smart, you’re hot!” Ken basically says to Jessica’s face that he doesn’t think she’s bright enough to do so well. Now both twins are mopey, since Liz thinks she’s a moron for scoring badly, and knows she won’t fulfill her suddenly lifelong goal of going to Harvard. She also thinks she’s too dumb to be a writer, which is a topic I won’t touch.
The girls retake the SAT, this time with the opposite approaches – Jessica studies while Elizabeth slacks. And lo and behold, their scores are reversed. Now the school board is convinced Jessica cheated the first time and that her low scores the second time around are more accurate. Elizabeth realizes that no one convinced her of cheating the second time, and Jessica’s a victim of a double standard, as well as being discriminated against because she’s usually seen as dumb. She decides that Jessica should get a mock trial to prove she didn’t cheat.
The school ends up divided between the Jessica supporters and the Jessica detractors (led by Bruce and Heather). Elizabeth appoints herself Jessica’s defense attorney and tries to clear her sister’s name. Despite really bad witness testimony and Elizabeth failure to point out (as I said many times while reading this book) that the SAT doesn’t measure intelligence, and that people considered “smart” can score poorly on it while people who aren’t considered “smart” can do well, and that students are only tested on math and vocabulary anyway, which is hardly a way of measuring, say, scientific aptitude, Jessica is found not guilty. And now she and Elizabeth get to visit Steven at school. Yay.
In other news, Todd thinks he’s hot stuff because a bunch of basketball recruiters want him. His head grows to unimaginable, gigantic proportions, and even Elizabeth can’t stand him anymore. But then he breaks his ankle and can’t play basketball for a while, and his head returns to normal size. Actually, that plot never gets resolved. Whatever.
Thoughts: The other thing I kept grumbling throughout this book, along with what I said above about the SAT not measuring intelligence, was that everyone keeps saying people “aced” the test when they didn’t. Dear Sweet Valley High students: To ace the SAT, you must score 1600 (back then; now it’s 2400). Scores in the 1400s are not “ace” scores. All of you need to shut up.
Two books ago, Elizabeth was so bored with Todd, she was practically cheating on him, and now she wants them to go to the same college. I hate you, Elizabeth Wakefield. I hate you like Bruce hates poor people.
In case you were wondering (and I know you were), Bill Chase and DeeDee Gordon are still together.
Since when has it been Elizabeth’s dream to go to Harvard?
SVU only requires a score of 1000 for admission. Only the best for SVU.
Jessica first tells Ken she didn’t do that well on the test, and he says, “Well, I’m not too surprised, Jess. It’s not like anyone expected you to do really well.” Okay, first of all, you only got a 1080, so shut up. Second of all, shut up again.
Todd, scoring in the 1200s is not “exceptional.” You shut up, too.
If Elizabeth were really as smart as she thinks she is, she’d know you can take the SAT more than once and she should stop freaking out about her first scores.