Jessica Squirts Tomato Juice on Her Sweater and Has a Meltdown: Sweet Valley High, Secrets Chapter 3

Posted on October 5, 2015 by


Full disclosure, I feel weird about making fun of most of the characters in this chapter because I am slightly worried they actually have conditions of some sort that I shouldn’t mock. So I make the following jokes under the assumption that the author intended that they all be fully functioning, clear-headed people who are just really oddly written.

Sweet Valley High, Secrets Chapter 3:

It’s a Jessica POV chapter, so prepare yourself for quite the emotional roller coaster. Tomato eating emotional roller coasters!

“Well, well, if it isn’t Little Bo-Peep,” drawled Bruce as Jessica fell in step beside him. He raked her over with a flick of his heavy-lidded blue eyes. “Lost any sheep lately?”

Jessica laughed as if it were the funniest joke in the world. Bruce Patman could recite the Gettysburg Address in pig latin and have all the girls in school hanging on his every word.

It sure must be nice to say whatever nonsense floats into your mind and just have the ladies fawn all over you. Bruce is definitely peaking in high school, though. There’s no way this kind of lacklustre joking or a twisted reading of the Gettysburg Address will land him as many chicks in a post-high school landscape.

Jessica’s response to Bruce’s nonsense is fittingly more nonsense:

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Bruce,” she parried, fluttering her lashes at him. “I’m practically the loneliest girl in the whole school. Would you believe I don’t even have a date for the dance yet?”

I get that it was very strange that he started calling her Little Bo-Peep, and Jessica probably doesn’t know what he’s talking about at all, but that doesn’t seem like a response to his question regarding loss of sheep in the slightest. Honestly, Jessica, it sounds super desperate.

“I’ll bet Egbert would take you. I hear he’s really got the hots for you.”

Jessica made a disgusted noise. “He’s the last boy on earth I’d want to go with! I mean, honestly, he’s like some kind of—of—cartoon!”

Bruce chuckled. “Sure, old Scooby Doo. Winston’s for you, though.”

kaitlyn from the bachelorette nods at Ian

This conversation is hard to follow. Is Bruce drunk? This early on a school day?

Jessica suddenly notices that Bruce is checking her body out like he’s a very efficient grocery store employee. Jessica has always known that she’s Bruce’s type, and she wonders “Was he finally getting around to figuring it out as well?”

That’s certainly how attraction works! You just keep waiting until the day the object of your interest gives you a full-body scan, and he suddenly “figures out” you’re his type. It’s the romantic tale every young girl fantasises about.

To keep Bruce ensnared, Jessica concocts a scheme whereby she tells Bruce she’s lost her necklace – but she’s still wearing the necklace, it’s just underneath her sweater! People wear sweaters in California? – and she asks him to help her find it. This isn’t the worst plan as far as plans to keep people from walking away go, given this is a wild goose chase, they could potentially be in this hallway together for hours. That leaves plenty of time for Bruce to figure out he’s attracted to Jessica.

Alas! Bruce doesn’t take the bait.

Bruce cast an idle glance down the milling staircase. “I don’t see it. But, listen, love, I’m sure it’ll turn up. I’ve got to split. Catch you later.” He was gone, leaving Jessica to gape after him in frustrated astonishment.

Wow, you really just can’t predict the dialogue that is going to come out of these characters’ mouths, can you? Is Bruce British?

Winston shows up and offers to go to the ends of the Earth to find Jessica’s necklace for her. He also offers up this evidence as to why he is the best candidate for necklace finding:

“I’m good at finding things. My friends call me Sherlock Holmes. Once I even found a stamp my brother thought he’d lost out of his collection. You’d never guess in a million years where I found it. Sticking to the bottom of my shoe, that’s where! I’ll bet that’s the last place in the world anyone else would’ve looked, huh?”

amy shumer on the bachelorette asks 'is that true'

I have a lot of questions about this stamp finding tale. Who removed the stamp from the collection in the first place? Was it Winston? It seems like he setup the situation to make himself look like the hero. I bet he planned it all! I don’t trust Winston, you guys, I think he’s A.

text from A gif pretty little liars

Jessica leaves Winston to look for her non-missing necklace. Poor guy.

Later, at home, Jessica thinks about Bruce:

She simply had to find a way to get him. She remembered how his eyes had traveled over her—he certainly hadn’t taken any shortcuts. Jessica warmed, just thinking about it. Maybe there really was a chance after all.

I have put a considerable amount of thought into this, and I’m still not sure what kinds of shortcuts he would have taken in this situation. Would it have constituted as a shortcut if Bruce had looked from her legs to her face and skipped everything in between? Damn it, Bruce, stop trying to take shortcuts when you checkout women . You’ll never get ahead if you keep taking the lazy route.

Jessica finds her mother in the kitchen, and proceeds to eat all the tomatoes and get very frustrated that Elizabeth hangs out with Enid a lot. She says a lot of mean things about Enid, and the twins’ mother points out the Jessica is super jealous of the fact that her sister has other friends. Healthy!

“Liz can see who she wants,” Jessica repeated. She scowled as she reached into the basket of cherry tomatoes on the sink and popped one into her mouth.


“She can make friends with a one-eyed hippopotamus for all I care.”

“That’s very open-minded of you. Don’t eat all the tomatoes, Jess. Save a few for the salad.”

Jessica also reveals that she had been the one to bring Enid home to hang out in the first place, but then Enid wound up liking Elizabeth more. I can’t say I’m surprised by this turn of events.

She burst into tears. Darn Enid Rollins, she thought. Darn Bruce Patman, too. She didn’t need either of them. Everyone knew that she could get practically anyone to follow her simply by lifting her finger. Was it her fault that Enid and Bruce were blind to her charms?

Where is this coming from? Bruce, I can understand. But aside from the obvious fact that the book needs to set up a reason for Jessica to want to hurt Enid when she inevitably finds the letter Enid dropped in the first chapter, it doesn’t make sense that she’s crying over Enid suddenly. Get it together, Jessica.

Jessica’s mother tries to comfort her, but then, disaster strikes:

She bit into another tomato and ended up squirting a red jet of juice and seeds down the front of her very favorite pink angora sweater.

“Ruined!” Jessica shrieked. “It’s ruined for good!”

Mrs. Wakefield sighed as she handed her daughter the sponge. “Well, in that case, I suppose we could always have it for dinner, since that was the last tomato.”

Mrs. Wakefield is the greatest. I wish I possessed even an ounce of her patience and grace and sassy tomato-related comments.

In a tomato-fueled rage, Jessica runs upstairs and into Elizabeth’s room for some reason that Jessica can sort of explain better than I can:

She headed straight for Elizabeth’s room and flung herself down on the bed. She preferred her sister’s room to her own since it was always much neater. The Hershey Bar was what she called her room, due to its chocolate-colored walls. And it looked, in Elizabeth’s immortal words, “like a cross between a mud-wrestling pit and the bargain table at KMart.”

Wait which of the twins has a room that they call The Hershey Bar? I can’t tell if it’s amazing or terrible.

While she’s wallowing in self-pity, Jessica suddenly spots the fallen letter, and of course begins to devise some sort of evil plan.

Whistling under her breath, Jessica started back downstairs, heading for her father’s den, where he kept a small Xerox machine for copying legal documents.

Her father’s Xerox machine is meant to be for good, not evil! This can only end with more tears and tomato-rages, I’m sure.