The one where Bruce touches Jessica’s boobs, or #3 Playing With Fire

With some consutation of my peers, this was considered one of the more “racier” ones, and the one we all felt we had to hide from our parents. I found it to be the most damaging to young girls (i.e. me) about their perceptions of self (i.e. my perception of my self).

So it starts out at – SHOCKER! – a school dance, this time a Sweet Valley High dance contest (wtf?) and Jessica was voted skankiest of the dance or something, and she finally gets Bruce Patman to notice her. Bruce, if you didn’t know, duh, is allegedly the hottest guy at school, he’s also the richest. And the cockiest. And the preppiest. And the one most likely to date rape. I envision him somehow as James Marsden, but not X-Men Marsden, more like Sugar and Spice Marsden, with dockers and lots of Izod. However, the cover makes him look about 46.

Nice chokehold on Jessica. Well, this book does make Jessica the posterchild for dating violence. So, after the dance, they all go to a party and Bruce and Jessica are in the pool and he UNTIES HER BIKINI TOP! I just remember that being sooooo scandalous. To be honest, at the time I wasn’t even sure what he was untying for, but I knew Bruce was naaasssty. Also, that was about the most sexually explicit and SVH will go in about 80 books. So don’t expect anything else that’s above PG. Then they go to make out in the woods. Elizabeth is worried about Jessica so she goes to spy on them and confronts them basically while they are dry humping, but Jessica insists she knows what she is doing. Oh, and Francine (i.e. ghostwriters) deliver the most fabulous SVH writing ever: “He responded by turning his face to hers and kissing her hard, his arms crushing her against him, his mouth demanding what his body wanted to take.” Imagine my eight-year-old self trying to wrap my mind around that.

I have to hand it to Liz, she kind of handles this one alright. She wants Jessica to see what a douche Bruce is, but as soon as she confronts Jessica, she knows she will push her right into Bruce’s arms. So she just lets it ride and hope Jessica sees it. Which she doesn’t. She sits around waiting for Bruce to call, and will drop everything to do what he wants. They play tennis together and when she doesn’t let Bruce win, he throws a tantrum. It was awesome.

Yea, so they also make out all over the lawn in school everyday and Jessica skips classes and steals from tests so Bruce can cheat. Blah blah blah. You’s think that based on Bruce’s aversion to women wearing tops he would try to go further with Jessica, like cop an under-the-bra feel, but that doesn’t seem to happen, which I call bullshit on. So, finally Bruce has a birthday party of whatnot, and takes Jessica there and he tells her she needs to sit and wait for him to talk to her and for her not to talk to anyone else. Great. So then Bruce pretends the party is over and Elizabeth schemes to pretend to drive Jessica home but then pretends to forget something back at the party, and they go back so Jessica can see that Bruce is still at the party, but this time he brought another girl back with him. Jessica finally sees the light and throws pizza and soda on him. If my book had a tiny audio implant, Aretha Franklin’s “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” would play at that part.

What pisses me off is that it is that Bruce was not monogomous to her that breaks Jessica, and not the emotional manipulation. Cheating sucks, but the abuse was fine when Jessica was the only one he was manipulating. Sigh.

Oh, there is a subplot about how the Droids, a student band (they play at all the dances- the ones that happen three times a week) get noticed by a manager who promises to get them a record deal but the pressure almost breaks them up. I think this was added to send a message about being yourself is the best way to be. Sorry Francine, don’t even try to bring morals into this. Just stick to dry humping in the woods.

Oh, and here is the other subplot. There is a girl that follows Jessica around because she wants to pledge their sorority (don’t even get me started with that) but she is nerdy an socially awkward. And surprise, surprise- she’s overweight. Because that means she’s a total nerd and loser. Of course, I forgot Francine, thanks for teaching me about body image. Jessica promises to get her into the sorority if she does shit for her- like keep Winston occupied, and steal test answers. Of course, Robin agrees and Jessica gives her makeup and shopping lessons or some shit like that. But, and I quote, Jessica feels that “this girl can’t seriously believe that anyone would want a butterball like her for a sorority sister”. HATE!

Yea, so I am not sure if we learned any lessons, but we’ve now established Bruce as a a complete misogynist, capitalist. materialistic douche.

Can we talk about the gossip column that Elizabeth writes for the school paper:

The halls are buzzing with the news of a hot and heavy thing going on between Lila F. and a certain blond football player. Chalk up one more for Lila…Three cheers for Lois W. ! John P. showed up at her party. Guess sometimes dreams DO come true…Bill C.’s found another surf bunny…Enid R.’s packing her suitcases for another weekend visit with G.W.- fourth in a row, but who’s counting? …Cara W. has her eye on a basketball-playing senior. Maybe she can get him interested in something besides dribbling!…Danger: Toni J.s now on the roads. Pedestrians beware…

Firstly, she’s calling Lila a slut. And does anyone care if she went to visit her boyfiend? for the millionth time I ask, HOW IN THE HELL DOES THE SCHOOL ALLOW THIS?

My grade: B+

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21 thoughts on “The one where Bruce touches Jessica’s boobs, or #3 Playing With Fire

  1. Katherine says:

    Holy crap these reviews are fan-tabulous. My middle school girlfriends and I would swap these books every time a new one came out. I can’t believe I ingested all this crapola! 🙂

  2. Dwanollah says:

    Nice gossip column, Liz… just about all of your friends or your sister’s friends. (Except for the mysterious Toni J.) This is the kind of writing that Mr. Collins calls “good stuff”?

    There was one scene where Liz sees Jessica, who’s ditched class, rollin’ around in the grass in the schoolyard with Bruce. So Elizabeth can see them from her classroom, but NO ONE ELSE, esepcially no teachers, see the horny teenagers mackin’ down on each other in full public view?

  3. kiwichick says:

    Man, this review made me laugh. And I thought I was the only one who thought this book was x-rated. Well, at aged eight it sure seemed that way. I remember Jess gets all surprised and shocked when Bruce unties her top…ummm hello, what did she think was gonna happen in that situation??

  4. ladyjaye says:

    Man, I thought that the cover boy was John Barrowman (from Doctor Who and Torchwood)… He’s about the right age (and looks a lot like this guy) but there’s no mention of him ever posing for a SVH cover illustration as a young man (mind you, even if he did, not sure he’d be too proud of it… LOL).

  5. BurtonFanatic says:

    Wait… I’m confused.
    “You’d think that based on Bruce’s aversion to women wearing tops he would try to go further with Jessica, like cop an under-the-bra feel, but that doesn’t seem to happen, which I call bullshit on. ”
    He does or doesn’t touch her boob(s)?

  6. LimeGreenTriumph says:

    Oh man, the best part of this book was when Jessica went off on Bruce and then she went outside and let all the air out of the tires of his Porsche. Good times!

  7. Enid Rollins says:

    Don’t tell me the gossip column is how Liz established her rep as a great writer, if that’s her main thing???? Here. Let me try making a faux gossip column for my community college (with fake names).

    “It looks like Lynne E. is having a hard time getting the Art Club started…Alicia F. doesn’t seem to mind that Tom C. does whatever she says; go girl! And Jeremiah W. is still insulted. Lighten up!”

  8. Mizz Diva says:

    Ok, this is too much. Like omg I skipped the best book. Lol!!
    In Bruce’s defense, when he started dating regina morrow he straightened up. He didn’t seem so bad, but I have to agree this sook would be at the botton of my sweet valley high stack (when i get it).
    And for god’s sake twins have known Bruce since 6thgrade. You can tell sweet valley is a small town.

  9. BrieCS says:

    Okay, I get that Bruce is a douche, but what does it matter if he’s a capitalist? How is that even relevant?

    Aside, this was a hilarious review!

  10. Regina Morrow says:

    I like how Liz is supposed to be this incredible journalist and she writes fluffy, gossipy, crap. How in the world is she supposed to score an internship at the sweet valley ne?. Plus what a bitchy comment to Lois Waller; I guess dreams really DO come true! That totally sounds like a Jessica comment. C’mon Liz! why not use some of your sensitivity and kindness in your writing?

  11. Jessibeth says:

    LOVE this blog :D. Seriously tho, don’t you think Jessica loses her virginity in this book?? I know she acts all righteous in later books, but the hints about her and Bruce are just too big to ignore. All those nights parked up in the porsche down at the beach?? Telling Robin Wilson they do things only the two of them can share??? Sounds like Jessies getting down and dirty to me. At the very least she must be wanking him off.

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