November 17, 2015
SVT #42, Jessica’s Secret: (Not) Seeing Red
Summary: Elizabeth Wakefield has just started her period. Try not to get too excited. She’s already enthusiastic enough for everyone. She’s happier than a woman at the end of a pregnancy scare. She also assumes that, since they’re identical twins, Jessica has gotten hers as well. Jess goes along with this, not wanting to feel left out of the period party. Jessica, enjoy it while you can. You’re on the cusp of 40 years of torture. There’s some wackiness with pad-buying, but it’s dumb, so let’s move on.
Alice is super-excited that her little girls are now women (no, Alice, they’re still 12, and even when they’re actually adults, they’ll still act like children). She thinks they’re now mature enough to go to San Diego on their own to visit their cousin Robin. The girls haven’t seen her for a while, since her family just got back from living in France for a year. They think Robin will be ultra-sophisticated now, having lived in ultra-sophisticated Europe around all the ultra-sophisticated fashion.
The twins pick out some new clothes for the trip, and to celebrate their womanhood, or whatever. But with Jessica growing more and more despondent over her lack of period, she takes it out on Elizabeth, making fun of her babyish blouse (which she previously said looked nice). Elizabeth doesn’t get why Jess is being a jerk all of a sudden. Alice is less than helpful, just telling Liz that the girls are both going through changes. So that makes it okay for Jess to be a jerk?
The twins head to San Diego and learn that Robin has definitely changed over the past year. She dresses like a New York artist (or at least how a preteen thinks a New York artist would dress) and claims to smoke and have a 16-year-old boyfriend. Oh, but the twins can’t meet him, since he’s away for the weekend. How conveeeeeenient. Robin is being courted by a Unicorn-like group called the Jaguars, who wear matching silver bracelets to show how cool they are. She’s eagerly awaiting word on her initiation.
Robin’s parents let her have a sleepover and invite all the Jaguars. She also has to invite Becky, her ex-best friend, who is definitely not popular or cool. Robin has barely spoken to her since moving back from France, since the Jaguars are much more important people to be seen with. Poor Becky has to walk into a party full of chic, hip girls she knows don’t like her. Elizabeth is the only one who’s nice to her. The Jaguars are more focused on giving Robin her initiation task: She has to go to her supposed boyfriend’s house just before midnight and get him to drive her to the park to meet the other girls.
Robin drags Jessica along with her while the Jaguars go to the park. Elizabeth and Becky stay behind, wondering why Robin wants to be friends with a bunch of jerks. Robin admits to Jess that John isn’t really her boyfriend, which is good, because she’s 12 and he’s 16. The girls make it into the house but come across a big dog that chases them outside. Then they learn that they were in the wrong house anyway. Womp womp. Meanwhile, Robin’s little sister, Stacey, wakes up and learns from Elizabeth and Becky that all the other girls left. She gets worried and wakes up her parents to tell them Robin, Jessica, and the Jaguars snuck out.
Jess and Robin are retrieved from the park, and are in major trouble. Robin’s grounded for a month, and Jessica expects that she’ll face a similar punishment back at home. She’s also mad at Elizabeth for telling their aunt and uncle what was going on. Stacey blames herself, since she woke up her parents, but Jess thinks Liz should have kept her mouth shut. On the plus side, Robin realizes that she was horrible to Becky and decides to try to make up with her.
The twins take a bus home, but Jessica gets off at a station to get something to drink. She takes too long and the bus leaves without her. Fortunately, Elizabeth also got off the bus, so they’re stranded together, waiting for the next one to come along. Jess is still mad at Liz, but tells her why, and the two make up. It turns out that Jaguars were huge mean girls and were going to make Robin cut off Becky’s hair while she slept. Robin realized that they were a bad crowd and told them off.
Jessica admits that she hasn’t started her period yet and only pretended she had because Liz started hers. But it’s all okay, because she starts hers at the bus station. There’s a story she can tell her daughters someday.
Thoughts: Ned and Alice in the last book: “No, you can’t go to a chaperoned party.” Ned and Alice in this book: “Yes, you can go to San Diego by yourselves.” Sure.
Every time Robin calls the Jaguars “Jags,” I giggle. I don’t think that’s what the ghostwriter intended.
Becky’s like a more interesting version of Amy. Can we trade them and leave Amy behind in San Diego?
We should also trade Ned and Alice for Aunt Nancy and Uncle Kirk. They actually parent their kids.