The Best One-Book Wonder Characters of Sweet Valley

20 Jun


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Paula, if that’s even your real name…..

For the next few posts I’ll be looking back at some of the awesome SVH characters developed just for one book, then left to the ether. Some of these characters were terrific, and just crying out for more plot-time to develop.

Given their own spin-off or allowed to be ghostwritten into further plotlines, some of these one-book-wonders could’ve wreaked serious havoc, or lent themselves to character building stories alongside the Wakefield twins.

Lets kick off with Paula Perrine from #92 She’s Not What She Seems

Poor Paula! She is so mousy and thin and timid and shy and we spend the first forty pages learning all about how sad she is because she has an absent/violent father and a runaway brother. Paula is a new student at SVH,and manages to weasel her way into Jessica’s crowd by sucking up to everyone and making people feel sorry for her. Including Lila, somehow. Meantime, Jessica has scored the role of lady Macbeth in yet another school play, but of course this is no ordinary play because a big time Broadway producer is conveniently going to be there! Paula butters Jessica up and feeds her already inflated ego, helping her recite lines. Jessica, in turn, gives Paula a makeover. When Paula suddenly finds her voice and is given the role of understudy to Lady Macbeth without telling Jess, Jess thinks she’s created a monster. Paula, the snitch, starts causing trouble behind Jessica’s back and turns Lila, Amy and Annie against her. She also has Elizabeth, as well as Jessica’s boyfriend, the ill-fated Sam Woodruff on side. [I find it so hard to read the #90’s titles in the lead up to jungle prom…..] There is also a graphic design contest for the best Macbeth advertisement poster [do these kids have nothing better to do, seriously?!] Paula manages to weasel her way into fiddling with the votes for the winning advertisement poster, so that Jessica is not front and centre. This girl is ruthless. Of course, it takes a schemer to know one, and Jessica fears something is amiss with this over-enthusiastic, “shy” girl. On the night of the production, Paula convinces Jess that she is in serious trouble due to something her father has done, and calls her “from a payphone in a seedy town an hour’s drive from Sweet Valley.”

Jess nobly goes across the tracks to save her friend – rather big of her given the play is opening that night – and of course there is no Paula at the deserted payphone. Paula, meanwhile, is at the auditorium and puts on a stellar performance as Lady Macbeth.  [By the by it’s unlike Jessica to be so considerate for a friend in danger, and also to not be the one concocting such marvellous schemes. I always feel sorry for her in the books where she does literally nothing wrong but based on past behaviour no-one [including her own twin] believes her when she’s actually telling the truth.]

Jessica bravely confronts Paula at the Wakefield’s afterparty, resulting in one of the most epic multi-person pool pushes in Sweet Valley history. Even Lila, Winston and Prince Albert land in the pool! [the dog, not the penis piercing]

Anyway, of course Jessica gets the chance to redeem herself and puts on a wonderful performance at the show the next night.

But seriously OMG why did we not see more of this Paula girl? She is un-freaking-stoppable. I’d have loved to see her take over Amy Sutton’s place and team up with Jess and Lila. What a formidable trio that would have been. She probably had some cosmetic work and ended up on the Bachelor instead.

Comments on any one-book wonders you’d like reviewed?


2 Responses to “The Best One-Book Wonder Characters of Sweet Valley”

  1. L-Sass June 21, 2019 at 1:16 am #

    Even Lila, Winston and Prince Albert land in the pool! [the dog, not the penis piercing]

    I mean, you never know what secrets Winston could be hiding…

  2. Claire Middleton June 26, 2019 at 11:31 pm #

    I’m so excited for this new series of posts! Crossing my fingers that you do Tom McKay.

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