So it officially begins. My obsession with the Wakefield girls and their perfect life, perfect town and perfect family. I was unusual, I think, in that I started with this series. Most girls my age were already reading Sweet Valley High and never this one. Myself on the other hand, being a little childish for my age, started with the girls' middle school adventures (before continuing on to High, Jr High, Senior Year, University....) What can I say? And off we go.....
Best Friends starts off by introducing us to 12 year old twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield. They are both in the 6th grade at Sweet Valley Middle School and start off the book doing exactly the same things. They wear the same clothes, share a room, and pretty much think alike. Or so we think.... it turns out each girl wants to branch out into different things but neither wants to share that with the other. Ahh, childhood. So many of these book's plotlines would be completely gone if only the main characters TALKED to each other! Anyway, Jessica wants to join The Unicorns, a club who's favorite color is purple and is made up of "the most popular and pretty girls in the school". I gave that statement quotations because I never really got that. I always remember thinking some of the girls in the club sounded really ugly, but maybe that was just the bad writing?? Either way that's the Unicorns and Jessica wants to join them. This book introduces us to many of the Unicorns- we meet Janet Howell, Ellen Riteman, Kimberly Haver and best of all..... Lila Fowler!
Lila single-handedly saved Sweet Valley from fading into oblivion. Seriously. She was the best character and never tried to hide her snobby, rich self. The later series SVH Senior Year made a MAJOR mistake in not including much of her.
So Lila lives in a mansion, wears expensive clothes and is one of the newest members of the Unicorn club, along with Ellen Riteman. Jessica is jealous of everything Lila has, so of course she must be a Unicorn also. Janet Howell, the president, wants Jess in the club also. I'll give Jessica credit in this book- she at least tries to get Elizabeth accepted. This was a Jessica before she turned into a major pain, and she seemed to somewhat care about Liz's feelings. So the Unicorns come up with a list of things Jessica must do before she can become one.
So where's Liz through all this? At first Liz doesn't want things to change between the two and decides she also needs to join the Unicorns. She goes to a meeting and nearly falls asleep. She then finds that she really likes to write and she and some of her friends decide to start a 6th grade newspaper. She's all excited about it and thinks it's something Jessica would do with her. Why she thinks that, I don't know. I knew in 4 pages that it wasn't Jessica's scene but Elizabeth knows her all her life and thinks she would? Whatever. Of course Jess doesn't want to and Liz is upset. She gets even more upset when she wakes up one morning and finds that Jess goes to school dressing differently from Elizabeth, something they have never done before. I see some of Jessica's meanness starting with this. I mean, why can't she just talk to her sister about it? It doesn't seem like a big deal to me.
The Unicorns then make Jessica play a prank on Lois Waller, a chubby girl who's considered a major nerd. She's supposed to make Lois eat a shaving cream sundae, which I think is hilarious. Sorry! I know it's mean but hey, at my school a bully/prank would have been a heck of a lot worse than that. Jess doesn't know how she's going to pull it off but then comes up with a brilliant idea. Elizabeth is friendly with Lois so she'll just pretend to be her! Which then starts a LOT of plotlines involving twin switches. Of course Lois believes it's actually Elizabeth and she's mortified and won't talk to her. But never fear!
Everything works out in the end. Liz convinces Lois it was Jessica who actually pulled the prank and they get back at the Unicorns with their own shaving cream sundae. Jess becomes a member of the Unicorns, Liz doesn't but works on the paper, and both end up with their own bedrooms. They realize they'll always be twins but that doesn't mean everything they do has to be the same. Aww....
We also get introduced to Ned and Alice Wakefield before they became parents who didn't care about their children, and Steven, the girls older bother. He's a freshman in high school and pretty cool in this series. He became a jackass in SVH and SVU, but he was a pretty average kid here.
The covers- the original one isn't bad. I actually think the twins look pretty, even if they don't look 12. It's a hell of a lot better than the updated cover that make them look like cartoon characters.
So that's it. I'm not the best writer (SORRY) but I loved these books as a kid and thought there had to be others out there who'd like to talk about them. Next up is #2 Teachers Pet.