Tagline: "Can Jessica play Bruce Patman's game and win?" No. She can't. WAY TO WASTE YOUR CHANCE, JESS.
The book opens with a dance, even though we just had a dance in the last book. I swear, SVH must have a massive party-planning budget; it must be one long, perpetual bake sale. They probably have a permanent kiosk set up for it. Anyway, this is the "Fifth Annual Rockin' Dance Party Contest," and Jessica and Winston Egbert, as Queen and King, are supposed to dance together. But instead Jessica spends all her time dancing with Bruce Patman, and who can blame her? He's rich, and beautiful, and a total asshole, and he drives a Porsche with the license plate 1Bruce1. He's the coolest boy around. Basically, Bruce Patman is Don Draper, but younger, and like, toooootally '80s, man.
Jess has liked Bruce for a long time, and is determined to get him to be her boyfriend. But Bruce is sharp, and won't be trapped easily, so Jessica has to change her entire personality to get him to stay interested in her. She becomes--well, she becomes Elizabeth, I guess, which is to say a total wet-blanket who goes along with everything her boyfriend says. The only time she stands up to him at all is when he tries to have sex with her at a beach party, and I'm just saying, but you have to lose your virginity sometime, and it probably won't be pretty, so why not a Patman? You'll have a large group of similarly-situated individuals with which to share you woes after he forgets to call you. Oh, well. The important thing here is Bruce touches Jessica's boob.
Elizabeth tries to talk Jess out of her love for Bruce, but then Mr. Wakefield comes in and congratulates his daughter for snaring a rich boyfriend. "'The Patman boy, eh,'" he noted approvingly. And now with this parental go-ahead, Jessica's crush is set in stone. She goes off with Bruce to play tennis at his mansion, and lets him win, so that he'll like her more. And he does. And then he tries to make her quit cheerleading, and Jessica does, and that's really uncool of him because she loves it, but again: he's BRUCE PATMAN. I would have quit eating, entirely, if he'd gone to my school and shown an iota of interest in me.
The school rock band, The Droids, are going big time, and have a record label interested in them, so Elizabeth, unable to meddle in her sister's life, sticks her nose into their business, instead, under the guise of writing a series of articles about them for The Oracle. The Droids are so busy practicing to be famous that they start doing poorly in school. Emily Mayer, the drummer, is supposed to tutor Jessica in chemistry, but she skips a tutoring session to practice with the band, and Jessica is going to fail, until Bruce comes along and tells her where Mr. Russo keeps his tests. Jessica has the fat girl, Robin Wilson, steal the tests for her, and then she's feeling generous, so she gives poor Emily a copy, too.
Of course Russo uses a new test and both girls fail, and are called to the principal's office. Emily comes clean about the cheating, but Jessica doesn't. This is the second test in a row she's failed, and she's in danger of getting an F for the entire term. This would be a wakeup call to most other girls, even most other Jessicas, but this particular Jess is too busy getting ready for Bruce's birthday party at the country club to bother with things like school. She buys a new outfit and a stack of presents, that is so sad, and desperate of her. Oh, honey. Bruce ignores her, though, and Jessica is crushed. Then he dips out of his own party, making excuses about a sick grandma, but really to meet another girl. Elizabeth and Todd know what's going on, and they arrange to drive Jess home. But then Elizabeth "remembers" she left her keys at the party, and they drive back to get them, and see Bruce, who has returned, making out with "an attractive redhead." It's always those damnable ginges! Jessica freaks out on Bruce, and throws a pizza onto his face. The bitch is back!
Oh, the theme of this book must be "blowing people off" because the Droids arrange a big gig but their shady manager never shows. They are all sad, and then they are relieved, because being famous is hard, and they're only kids, and they just love music, and that is its own reward! The end!
What they wore: At the dance where Jessica makes her move on Bruce she is wearing a bright blue, skin-hugging minidress and matching tights. And "monochromatic" must have been the theme of the Rockin' Dance Party, because Elizabeth has come in stylish but more casual wheat-colored pants and a tan striped shirt. To a dance? I mean, at my school people wore jeans to the homecoming dance, but they were usually paired with a cute top, and cute shoes and about a hundred thousand of those tiny sparkly butterfly clips that only hold about two hairs. You know Elizabeth has topped her ensemble with some barrettes and finished it off with some sensible shoes. What a fail.
More dance fashion: The Droids' record label guy has shown up to observe them in red leather pants and a matching skinny tie knotted over a white shirt, and to me that sounds like just exactly what a McDonald's employee would wear in the location that opens inside an S&M dungeon. And Robin Wilson compliments Jessica on her dress, and asks her where she got it, but Jessica won't tell her, because she doesn't want to be seen wearing the same outfit as the fat girl. Why? It seems to me if you want to make sure you look awesome in something and everybody knows it, you should give the same exact outfit to the fat girl and have her wear it to the same place as you.
Hey! Look at that! Somebody shops at a place that isn't Lisette's! After she's been dating Bruce for a few days, Jessica visits The Boston Shop and comes home with a bunch of new, Patman-appropriate clothes. A brown wool blazer and matching skirt...two Oxford shirts (in beige and pink)...the look was tasteful, classic, and rich. Elizabeth, trying to jolt Jessica out of her Stepford-preppy haze, asks to borrow Jessica's black and white miniskirt to wear on a date with Todd. Jessica tells her she can keep it forever, and then offers to loan Liz the black body suit to go with it. Nice try, Jess. You know she's wearing that miniskirt with a polo and some Keds.
Just so you know how fat and loserish poor Robin Wilson is, the ghostwriter is sure to point out that the outfit she chose to wear to Bruce's party (Query: why is she even invited?) is a pink-and-white striped dress--horizontal stripes, no less--because apparently only skinny girls get a pass to wear them--that make her look like a poster girl for the cotton-candy company. Because SHE'S FAT, GEDDIT?
Everybody makes a big deal about telling Jessica how nice she looks at the party, but we don't know what it is, exactly, that she's wearing. DAMN YOU, GHOSTWRITER! The clothes are the best part! I would gladly sacrifice some of Elizabeth's shitty journaling for a sparkling silver tutu with a purple jumpsuit underneath it. Blast!
*I have loaned #2, Secrets, to a friend and will post that entry when I get it back, which will be soon.