I’ve kept a diary since I was six years old, and while I know we now live in an era where everyone puts everything out there – Facebook, Twitter, blogs, titties jiggling all over The Dirty – I have always liked the idea of being able to write down exactly what I think without worrying it will be judged by prying eyes. Which is precisely why, just like Jessica, I am completely baffled that Liz thinks it’s cool to carry her personal journal around in her bag to school, the shopping mall, on dates, and to parties, where ANYONE could snatch it AT ANY TIME. Liz, despite having lost her journal in an earlier book, doesn’t get why Jessica is so horrified by this. Which twin is the honors student again?
The main deal here is that Liz and Todd are feeling distant from one another, and eventually Todd suggests that they break up and see other people to make sure they aren’t “getting tied down” at too young an age, or whatever. Everyone at school is stunned that Liz and Todd have broken up, because this has never happened before … Liz is extremely upset and goes into a state of denial that this is anything more than a temporary “test” of their relationship, but no one at school will stop fucking talking about it. It soon becomes clear to we the readers that Todd really just fed her some lame lines about not being “tied down” so he could fool around with this sophomore girl named Peggy Abbott. Peggy is pretty but she isn’t the brightest girl in the world, and she can always be seen draping herself over Todd and feeding him French fries in the cafeteria and at the Dairi Burger. Liz tries to convince herself that nothing serious is going on between them, but you know Todd is totally hitting that behind the bleachers after school. Meanwhile, a senior kid named Kris Lynch keeps following Liz around, but she barely notices him or knows anything about him, even though he works as a cartoonist for The Oracle. Maybe Liz should ask Kris what happened to Abbie Richardson … you know, the other cartoonist.
A big dance is coming up (surprise, surprise!) Kris asks Liz and she mumbles a lame excuse about not knowing what her plans are yet. And when Todd comes up to Liz in the hallway one day, she’s sure he’s going to ask her to go with him and tell her he wants to make up. Instead, he tells her he’s taking Peggy and he didn’t want Liz to hear it from someone else. Without Todd, Liz feels as lost as a hooker without a street corner. To bounce back, she tells Kris she’ll go with him after all. Of course he’s overjoyed that Liz wants him as her date. Kris picks Liz up in a pink limo with flowers for the dance … woo.
Liz desperately wants Todd back and is not attracted to Kris in the slightest. But she keeps dating Kris anyway, and assuring Jessica that she’s not leading him on. She claims that she and Kris are just friends and he’s somehow supposed to figure this out even though Liz is suddenly and eagerly spending all her time with him. How the hell does that work? Meanwhile, everyone at school talks about what a weird couple they are. You see, Kris doesn’t play any sports, though his parents do belong to a country club, as helpfully pointed out by Lila. He even has a pierced ear. Okay, so he’s like the pre-goth grunge kid of the early 1990s? I don’t know. Liz insists Kris isn’t her boyfriend and gets all riled up whenever anyone suggests it. So stop acting like his girlfriend, Liz.
Maria Santelli has a party and Liz decides this is the perfect time to tell Kris she doesn’t like him. She tells him she wants to be alone with him and you know what kind of idea that gives him. Kris is all ready for it. Liz opens up the door to Mr. Santelli’s study and finds Todd and Peggy in there, sitting close together on the couch. She gets upset and runs off where she somehow winds up lying on the staircase making out with Kris for a few brief moments while all of Sweet Valley gawks at them. She pushes him away and tells him they should leave. Kris, once again, assumes that Liz wants to get down and dirty with him. In the car, Kris offers to drive her to Miller’s Point, and Liz explains she wanted to be alone so she could tell him she didn’t want to see him anymore. He flips the fuck out and yells at her for leading him on. She demands he pull over so she can get out of the car and he acts like a lot of stupid males we’ve seen in these books, trying to kiss her again, and violently yanking her back into the car while she tries to get out. Her bag spills open and a lot of stuff falls all over the floor. He apologizes and helps her scoop it back in and then Liz hikes off for home. Later that night, she can’t find her journal and is really upset. She doesn’t stop to consider that it could’ve fallen out of her bag. We the readers already know that Kris stole it due to the title of this book!
The next Monday at school, Kris slips in front of Liz’s locker with a white rose to apologize. Liz forgives him, and after he leaves, she looks down and sees her journal jammed in her gym shoes. She’s surprised to see it there but is happy to have it back. Hello Liz? Make the connection! Later on, Todd comes in the Oracle office and makes up with Liz, finally. It turns out he was in Mr. Santelli’s study to break up with Peggy, because he never stopped caring about Liz. I think he really means he just got tired of hearing Peggy giggle nonstop while he was trying to stick it in at Miller’s Point. But Liz of course is just overjoyed to have him back and forgets all about stupid Peggy.
Meanwhile, everyone in school is talking about how Kris took Liz to Miller’s Point and they had a “really wild time” which I guess is Sweet Valley-speak for “They had sex.” When Todd goes to confront Kris on the lawn at school, Kris insists he and Liz are still together and that she’s just pretending to be in love with Todd again to get back at him. Kris then tells Todd all kinds of intimate things only Liz knows about him and Todd is convinced Kris is right, Liz is really just using him to pay him back for the Peggy bullshit. Next, Enid runs into Kris in downtown Sweet Valley and he does the same thing to her, sharing secrets only Liz was supposed to know (I guess … it’s stuff I think other people knew already, too) and claiming that Liz told him about it.
Enid and Todd won’t tell Liz why they suddenly hate her guts and don’t want anything to do with her. Liz is devastated and her reputation is ruined. I feel like I’m reading Double Love all over again. Liz passes out crying on her bed one night and Jessica, who’s been an unusually caring sister for this particular ordeal, finds her there with her journal wide open. Jessica goes to cover her up and put the journal away, and she reads some of the latest entry and learns that (of course) Liz didn’t do anything to Todd or Enid and doesn’t understand why they hate her. Jessica marches around demanding that Kris Lynch give her the truth. Eventually she figures out that, duh, Kris stole Liz’s diary and read it, and is now using the information within to get back at Liz for leading him on. Jessica threatens to personally ruin Kris’ reputation if he doesn’t put things right, and that’s all it takes for Kris to reveal the truth – that he’s an asshole, and Enid and Todd are stupid – and correct Liz’s upstanding reputation. And of course, he acts genuinely sorry that he is such a jackass. He even gives her a full apology to run in the Oracle. Goody.
This book was far more boring than I remembered. It wasn’t very suspenseful and I really couldn’t care less about Kris being an asshole to Liz because I was too annoyed by how stupid Todd and Enid are to just take him at his word that Liz is a blabbermouth. Normally assholes in any book bring out at least a tiny bit of righteous self-indignation in me, but not this time.
The sub-plot is about Enid going out of her way to show Hugh Grayson from Big Mesa that she misses him and wants to get back together. She has Liz drive her out to “accidentally” run into him, then she calls him later and pretends she lost her earring as an excuse to speak with him again. Much to her surprise, Hugh then pretends he has this imaginary bauble. (Hugh, how were you going to explain when Enid showed up and you didn’t have it, big shot?) But there’s a series of mishaps that threaten to ruin everything, such as Enid borrowing Liz’s Fiat to meet Hugh only to have it break down on the way to Big Mesa, making it look like she stood him up. (Oh, the pre-cell phone world.) Enid also catches Hugh with his arms around a redheaded girl in a corner; of course, Hugh later claims he was just “comforting” her because her boyfriend dumped her or something. In the end, everything’s all right and Francine puts Hugh and Enid back together, most likely just so we won’t figure out that Enid secretly has the hots for Liz. Too late Francine, we all know the truth by now.
There’s also some stuff about Jessica bugging her parents to replace the Fiat with “a jet black Jeep with tinted windows and purple trim.” They just laugh at her, but in truth, the Fiat seems to break down in every other chapter, so it would appear to be a true Piece of Shit Car.
The cover shows Jessica reading Liz’s journal with shock. But she only read a few sentences and there wasn’t anything really shocking in there, so I don’t know why they have her looking stunned like she’s just learned Liz and Enid are having a secret affair or something. I think Jess looks kind of like Madonna on this cover. She is also wearing the same purple jacket from Rosa’s Lie. Her hair style is basically the same Aqua Net-sprayed ‘do she’s had going on since 1983. Oh, and this title? It gives away the whole answer to how Kris knew everyone’s secrets. Smart move there, editors. Oh well, it’s not like it wasn’t already obvious anyway.
From the Mouth of Lila Fowler: (talking about Liz and Todd’s break-up) “Knowing Liz, she’ll probably write an article about it for the paper. ‘How to Break Off a Relationship in a Civilized Manner.'” I LOVE HER.
-“I don’t know what’s happening to this school. The gossip is becoming so unreliable.”
-“The only normal thing about [Kris] is that he belongs to the country club.”
-Caroline: “[Kris] really is in love with her. He even writes poems about her.”
Lila: “Well, they must be short poems.” LMFAO
WTF? Ned and Alice are SO annoying in this one, lurking around dropping hints about Todd’s absence. Then when Kris shows up to take Liz to the dance they’re all like, “Gee, that’s not Todd” and they let their daughter leave the house without even introducing her parents to this strange new kid. Why can’t they just be parents and ask their daughter flat-out what’s up with her life?
Why the hell would Liz be so careless with her damn journal after she already lost it at least a couple of times and nearly had a heart attack? See: The New Jessica, Deadly Summer.
Why would Enid think Liz blabbed her secrets when she already got mad at her for that one other time only to find there was a perfectly reasonable explanation (see: Secrets)? Enid is so fucking stupid. Then again, there’s also Dear Sister, in which it took a bop on Liz’s head to snap her out of her new Jessica-on-meth personality, so maybe Enid just figured Liz hit her head on Bruce’s bedside table again.
Caroline is suddenly hanging out with Jessica, Lila, and Amy an awful lot. Jessica even gives Caroline a ride in the Fiat at least once. What the fuck? Nobody likes that gossipymouthed windbag.
New one-shot character of the day: Allison Starr is Kris Lynch’s best friend’s girlfriend and she likes to gossip to Caroline about all that’s going on with Liz and Kris.
I’ll be interested to see how this book holds up against the Secret Diary books later. Maybe Kris really didn’t tell everything he could have!
Reader of the Month: Alyssa from Ohio writes a short essay outlining what each type of “Super” book has to offer you. “Super Thrillers have danger, suspense, mystery, romance, fear, bombs, escapes, and more.” I love how we go from various feelings to BOMBS. (And escapes! And more!)
Coming up next: Jessica launches another silly plot to become famous. Thank God. It’s been too long since we had a genuine Jessica Wakefield fame-chaser scheme.