It’s the long weekend, summer is just around the corner, and after a long, hard year, there are brighter days ahead! What do you say we all take a little trip together? I have just the spot in mind. Walkersville, Kansas!
Okay, fine. We can just revisit what happened when the Wakefield twins went there for spring break. That’s right. It’s time for another installment of Lessons from a Sweet Valley Reread!
If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know that I grew up on a hearty diet of Sweet Valley High books and wanted nothing more than to be some amalgamation of Jessica Wakefield and Lila Fowler. I was also madly in love with blond dreamboat Ken Matthews. As fun as it was to devour the Francine Pascal series as a tween, it’s just as delightful to dip into my old stash as an adult to view things with a whole new lens.
With spring still (just barely) in the air, I decided to reread the 1987 Super Edition Spring Fever, which follows our favorite twins, Elizabeth and Jessica, on a visit to their Great Aunt Shirley and Great Uncle Herman’s farm. Really, the plot speaks for itself, so let’s dive right into the takeaways.
Lila Fowler remains the coolest
Lila Fowler isn’t even in this book, yet she still steals the show. While the Wakefields are spending spring break in Walkersville, Kansas, Lila is in Rome. And it’s not even a big deal, because Lila is always jetting off to Rome. And on top of that, she’s packed the best outfits, like a red leather miniskirt and boots with purple fringe. I hope she doesn’t plan on wearing them together, but honestly, if anyone can pull off that look, it’s Lila.
Alice Wakefield has a deep inner life
I don’t know what it is, but she does. The twins’ mom may be easy to dismiss as someone who is just there, but let’s look at the facts: She has her own interior design business, she fits into the twins’ clothing (how does she know that if she hasn’t tried them on?), and—here’s the big one—she gets a wistful look on her face when she remembers her own trip to Walkersville when she was sixteen. My theory? She had a raucous affair with a carnie. Why a carnie of all things? Well, because—
Carnies are bad news
Uncle Herman and Aunt Shirley basically have one rule for Liz and Jess: STAY AWAY FROM CARNIES! Who does Jessica fall for? A CARNIE! (But he’s not a real carnie, she argues. His father owns the carnival!) When Aunt Shirley finds out, she starts clutching her chest and calling for her pills.
Of course, Aunt Shirley and Uncle Herman might be onto something, since the carnie Jessica falls for pretends to be twins named Alex and Brad so that he can get to know both Liz and Jess and decide which one he likes best. “The truth is, I sort of am two different people,” Alex/Brad argues. NICE TRY, ALEX/BRAD. You think because you ride horses and wear overalls and write poetry you’re God’s gift? Please. You don’t hold a candle to Ken Matthews.
(Side note: No Ken Matthews in this book. #sadface)
Jessica Wakefield is the best
I’ve been #TeamJessica since day one, and this book makes me feel really good about my decision. For starters, she packs a white cotton jumpsuit with rhinestones for her trip. (Are you picturing a ‘70s Elvis jumpsuit? Me too.) She has a mind of her own and refuses to buy into that carnies are bad news hype. But all that aside, Jessica Wakefield literally saves a girl’s life at the end of this novel. And not just any girl, the awful, stuck up Annie Sue Sawyer who bullies Jessica into handing all over her most prized possessions, like her headbands!
Headbands are a very big deal
Jessica wears a lot of headbands in this book. Her favorite one is one that was hand-made in LA and given to her by—obviously—her best friend Lila Fowler. Pretty soon, the girls in Kansas start wearing headbands, which really confuses the twins because they didn’t think people in Kansas wore headbands.
And there we have it, fellow Sweet Valleyans! This Super Edition left me with a number of answers but the cover did leave me with a few questions. Namely, why is Elizabeth the one wearing a headband when Jessica is the headband fan? Are the Wakefield twins singing here, and if so, what? And finally, did this book really only cost $3.50?!
With a giant box of great-smelling Sweet Valley books in my closet, I can’t wait to find out what revelations I uncover next. Hopefully, Lila and Ken will be involved. Stay tuned!