Will Elizabeth be forced to choose between Amy and Enid?
"I think it's high time you and Amy met each other," Elizabeth said firmly. "You're going to love each other. Trust me, Enid..."
For such a smart girl, Elizabeth Wakefield can sure be stupid sometimes. Like, totally socially inept stupid. Like no backbone stupid. I know, Elizabeth is famous for being friends with everyone, but in this story, she’s such good friends with Amy Sutton that she doesn’t realize the Amy Sutton is a bitch. Amy Sutton is Jessica.
Okay, okay, besides Jessica, who exactly is this Amy Sutton? Well, she and Elizabeth were best friends in grade school (before Enid was in the picture) and kept in touch for a while after Amy’s mother, who is somehow 1986’s only female sportscaster, took the whole family to the East Coast. Now that Amy’s mother is being transfered back to Sweet Valley, the two girls assume that they’ll be best friends again. Liz is only slightly concerned that Amy and Enid won’t get along; Amy isn’t concerned at all, because she’s not interested in sharing her best-friendship with anyone. As I mentioned before, she’s a bitch.
Once again, we’re talking about a book that I really didn’t want to read. It’s a given that Elizabeth and Enid are always going to be best friends, so why even bother wasting 138 pages on the rivalry between Enid and some girl we’ve never heard of over Elizabeth’s friendship?
And yet again, I was wrong to pre-judge this story. Sure, it’s pointless, but in the same way that most things that are total crises in high school are actually not worth sweating over. It was a page-turner, most of which I read in one sitting. What fascinated me, page after page, was how every character was screwing herself through misapprehensions about the other. Enid assumes that she needs to hide her dislike of Amy from Elizabeth, lest she hurt Elizabeth’s feelings. Elizabeth assumes that Enid and Amy are the same kind of friend to her – namely, a good one – and that they’re both genuinely interested in becoming friends with one another. And Amy, like Jessica, assumes that Elizabeth will drop Enid now that she’s in town, as Enid is famously boring.
What happens instead is that Elizabeth learns an important lesson about friendship and about herself. Isn’t that sweet? Amy is instantly popular, aided by her beauty and fashion sense, and becomes fast friends with Lila Fowler, Cara Walker, and all the other glitterati of Sweet Valley High. She even tries out for cheerleading, and makes the cut without attempting suicide. All of this isn’t enough to convince Liz that she and Amy have grown into two very different people. But after several weeks of missed lunch dates, cancelled ski trips, and delayed plans, Liz feels like her good-natured loyalty is being taken advantage of…and realizes that she’s been doing the same thing to Enid since Amy came to town.
Given some of the other things that have happened in Sweet Valley (several kidnappings, a knife attack, a plane crash), I half expected Amy to end up being some kind of twisted psychopath, but in the end she’s just a shallow, conniving sixteen-year-old. Things come to a head at Lila’s house where – what else – the “party of the year” is being thrown. Again. (Elizabeth, p.78: “Good heavens, Amy, Lila has a party practically every month.”) This party is being thrown in honor of Lila’s cousin Christopher, who’s in town for a while and is reportedly the most handsome man in the history of ever. Everyone (read: all the most popular girls) have pretty much decided that Christopher is reserved for Amy, and Amy is in love already (“Honestly, Liz! You don’t have to actually talk to someone to know it’s true love, do you?” p. 93 ). But when Christopher arrives at the party, he spots Enid right away, and does not seem to find her boring at all. They’d met before, and clicked again instantly, much to Amy’s (and Lila’s, and Jessica’s) chagrin. Amy does her best to monopolize Christopher, and he politely humors her without being interested. And when she makes her motives known to Enid, we find out what Amy’s really made of:
“Enid Rollins,” she said, her eyes flashing fire. “Didn’t I tell you before just to get lost? Don’t you know you make me sick?” She looked so angry Enid felt almost afraid. “I told you this last week: You can’t steal people from me! I won’t let you steal Liz, and I’m not going to let you steal Chris, either! He’s mine,” she said savagely, leaning closer. “He’s mine, Enid. Now just stay away from him!” -p. 117
So Amy and Enid know who Amy really is, but Elizabeth still does not. And when Amy makes up a story about her ride falling through (forcing Christopher to cancel his plans to drive Enid home), Enid assumes that she’s lost her new love interest AND her best friend – Elizabeth must have helped concoct this plan, since she was originally the one who was going to take Amy home. Such is sixteen-year-old logic. I can only imagine how Elizabeth must have sounded in explaining this ultra-complicated dilemma to her mother.
Guess what? Elizabeth actually does explain this whole ultra-complicated dilemma to her mother, and Alice Wakefield is no dummy. She observes that Amy seems like “a very manipulative young lady” (sound familiar?). And suddenly Liz gets it. What we’ve seen all along is true: Amy is Jessica (read about Jessica’s own conniving in “The B Story,” right). Except Amy isn’t Elizabeth’s twin, and thus does not deserve the same slavish loyalty that Liz usually reserves for her sister. And so, it’s Amy Out, Enid In. Also, Enid gets the guy.
Just like I thought. Only a little more fun.