Who is Elizabeth's true love?
When Todd Wilkins moved to Vermont, Elizabeth Wakefield's heart was broken. She thought that she would never get over losing him. But after months passed, Elizabeth fell in love again. Now she and Jeffrey French are one of the happiest couples at Sweet Valley High.
Then Todd writes to Elizabeth and tells her that he is moving back to Sweet Valley and that he still cares for her. Although she loves Jeffrey, Elizabeth realizes she still has strong feelings for Todd. Suddenly she is faced with a very difficult choice-a choice between the only two boys she has ever loved. What will Elizabeth do?
So it's probably come as no surprise to anyone who's been playing along that I've been dragging my feet getting around to the end of Jeffrey. It's weird, because before I started the re-read, I thought Jeffrey was nice but enh. A placeholder until Todd came back rich and things really got weird. But either I've changed or my memory was shot because Jeffrey? Was a pretty damn good boyfriend. He didn't let Liz walk all over him, he had his own interests that he didn't force on her, and Liz didn't cheat on him all the damn time. Go figure.
Still, all good things come to an end... so I present to you, Brokenhearted. Grab your tissues because Jeffrey's going to do the Right Thing. Again. Damn it.
Last time in the Valley, Lila dropped the bombshell that Todd Wilkins was moving back to the Valley. This time she ups the ante by knowing that he's moving to the same neighborhood that holds the Patman estate and Fowler Crest. Dude is rich now and this interests Lila more than a little. Liz is a little confused and hurt. Why did Todd write and let everyone else in the town know, but leave her hanging? Does this mean he doesn't care? Does it mean he does and he just couldn't find the words? What does it all mean?
To add insult to injury, Liz has to tell Jeffrey what everyone else already knows. Todd's back and you're gonna be in trouble, French. Jessica is so excited at the thought of all this potential drama that she wakes up early, on a Monday morning no less, to ask Liz what the hell she's going to do. Liz hasn't been sleeping well and is not really in the mood for Jessica's natural curiosity. Which is a shame because I'm actually a big fan of these little sisterly scenes. Woe. Jeffrey takes it sort of well. He doesn't do cartwheels at the thought but he's not punching his locker in preparation for a fight to the death over one Elizabeth Wakefield. So, good on you, Jeffrey.
Of course then we fall into a time warp issue. This book goes by the thought that Jeffrey and Todd have not met. Bullshit. They met in that one Super Special that was so spectacular a puzzle was made in it's honor. Dude, once you've got merchandise, it's a little late to play the "never happened" card. The other elephant in the room is that Liz never denies that she might still be interested in Todd and both Jeffrey and Liz notice her lack of denial.
Liz's emotions are thrown further into the blender when she arrives home and finds a letter from Todd waiting for her. It looks like it's been all over the country, twice, in a hand basket headed for hell, but still. He wrote to her. Her eyes well up with tears when she realizes that if the date on his letter is correct, it means she had to have been one of the first people (if not the first) to know about the move. Actually reading the letter, Todd says that he wanted her to be the first to know and he ends his little letter by letting her know he's still in love with her and that while he's going to be going to a new school and she's dating someone else, he hopes that with the distance between them erased, he has a chance at being the new Mr. Elizabeth Wakefield. Yes. I might be paraphrasing a bit, but you get the idea.
Liz is torn. By the way she's reacting to a letter, she acknowledges the fact that she's obviously not as over Todd as she thought. But there's still Jeffrey to consider. She luffs him, she truly does... doesn't she?
Todd makes his triumphant return to the Valley and his first stop, after dropping stuff off at the new house, is to see Liz. The spark immediately, and awkwardly, flares back to life and Jessica has to bounce into the room to keep the two former lovebirds from doing things Jeffrey would really rather they didn't. Ned and Alice invite Todd back to the house for a dinner in his honor the following Wednesday and again I say, "DUDE. Your daughter HAS a boyfriend. Are you inviting Jeffrey, too?" But no. Jeffrey isn't exactly thrilled that the parents Wakefield are welcoming the ex back with such open arms but what can he do?
Apparently what he can do is sit around and wait for his relationship to die a horrible, horrible death. Each time Liz and Todd hang out, Liz realizes how much she's missed Boyfriend #1 and gosh, she's so damn conflicted! Woe. Bitch. Woe.
I think we need a B and a C plot. Despite initially cheering for Jeffrey since Todd was so dull, Jessica quickly changes her allegiance once it's revealed that Todd will be attending posh Lovett Academy. Jess and Lila have both been trying to snag a Lovett guy for quite some time and if Liz hooks up with Todd again, it will make this task infinitely easier. I guess she figures the Lovett guys will see Liz and then hear, "Oh, you think my gf is hot? She's got a twin, one without quite so many hangups and a thing for miniskirts. Yeah. She's single. Want her number?" from good old Todd.
Being Jessica, it doesn't take long for her to find a Lovett guy the moment she's let onto campus. She runs into Sheffield Eastman, a dead ringer for a young Paul Newman, and he falls easily under Jessica's spell. What we realize, that she doesn't, is that Shef is more than a pretty face with amazing eyes. He's going to be far too boring and stable for Jessica.
Lila, not content to merely herald the arrival of new!Todd, is playing mouthpiece for Courtney Kane, a pretty, bitchy girl from Lovett. It appears that Li is desperate to get into Lovett's social circles and that Courtney has finally found a use for gauche Lila. Just a freakin' second, Kane. No one speaks to Our Lady of Awesome like that. Lila demands your respect. Now give it, or I will forcibly take it from you.
Anyway. Courtney meets Liz when Jessica finagles a tour of Lovett from Todd. Court's heard all about Liz and realizes the only thing keeping Ms. Kane from being Todd's girlfriend (aside from her heinous attitude) is little Miss Wakefield. Court isn't impressed and once she realizes that Lila is Jessica's best friend, well. She suddenly has a use for Lila Fowler. Poor Li is unaware she's being used to spread Courtney's half truths and flat out lies.
Like the one about Courtney co-hosting Todd's big "reintroduction to Sweet Valley" party. To ensure that Todd does ask her, Courtney discreetly uses Shef's newfound friend status with Todd to pass along a little whopper of a lie involving Jeffrey, Liz, and a ring. Not an engagement ring, that would be silly, but the next best thing! Gasp. Poor Todd. If only... Shef falls into Courtney's trap, passes along the story immediately to Todd, and Todd falls into Courtney's clutches. I feel like someone should do a maniacal laugh right about...
Back to Jeffrey. Over the past couple of weeks he's noticed that he and Liz haven't spent a lot of time together and that when they do, she's not as fully there as she used to be. But he doesn't know what to do, so he tries arranging a fancy date for two and basically just letting Liz know that he's still ready to fight for her, if she wants him to do so. The moment the invitations to Todd's party arrive, Jeffrey realizes he's "won." Liz resumes spending a lot of time with him and I'm betting Todd mentions are down, and everything should be fantastic, yes? But Jeffrey's no fool. He knows Liz isn't happy and he can't help but worry, and rightly so, that Liz just ended up with him when Todd moved on to someone else. With this in mind, Jeffrey notices Courtney slipping a note into Elizabeth's pocket at the party. Before he can intervene and see what the note said, Liz disappears to the bathroom. Jeffrey wanders over to Court and Todd, only to have them head outside. Jeffrey follows them because his Spidey sense is telling him something is not right. Smart man.
While hiding in the bathroom (something Liz seems to do a lot at parties), Liz finds the note from "Todd" telling her to meet him on the west lawn (seriously?) in the orange grove (...really?) at the gazebo so they can talk. Dare she see what her old boyfriend wants? What if he just wants to officially let her down easy? But what if he wants to tell her he's made a horrible mistake and he loves her, not dumb old Courtney? Whatever will our heroine do?
Remember Jessica and Sheffield? Well, they've been out on a few dates and because he's so handsome and so rich, and is essentially the deluxe version of Bruce, but with less attitude (and dancing skill), Jess decides it's time to show him off to her SV friends. Particularly Lila. At first her plan works perfectly. He's handsome, he's rich and well bred. He's charming. He's got everything! So Jessica decides to ask him about his senior thesis project. And shit hits the fan.
She's thinking he's going to go globe-trotting, maybe run a vineyard or something cool. Instead, Shef announces he's going to spend his senior year living and working at a Santa Barbara homeless shelter. Oh, yeah, and his sweet Mercedes? Totally up for sale so the money can go to charity.
Lila emerges triumphant without having to do a damn thing. Well played, Fowler.
Before Jessica's head can explode, Bruce pushes Winston and Ken into the pool (double pool push!) and lots of other kids jump in the pool, too. Jessica barely resists the urge to shove Sheffield in too, and heads off for the ladies room. Where she runs into her twin who is unable to tell up from down, left from right... You get the idea. Jessica listens halfheartedly and then declares that Liz should ignore all the times she's said, "Lovett boy all the way!" because Todd probably just wants to tell her he's selling all his stuff and doing something crazy and stupidly boring with his life. Then she shoves Liz out of the bathroom because Jessica needs to meltdown RIGHT NOW. Move!
Liz decides she'll go to Todd, but that she has to tell Jeffrey first. She's been horribly unfair to him, after all, and now is the time to rectify this. She wants this to all be aboveboard and all that. But she can't find Jeffrey anywhere. Odd. After trying, and failing, to find him, she heads out to see what Todd could possibly want.
Jeffrey, remember, is following Todd and Courtney. Court claimed she had a headache and that no place in Todd's big old mansion would be far enough away from the noise to properly let her heal. But maybe the gazebo on the west lawn? Flutter, flutter with the eyelashes. Todd agrees, mostly just to shut her up, and the two set off. Halfway there, Court "stumbles" and "twists" her ankle, so she's leaning pretty heavily on Todd by the time they get to the gazebo. Once there, Court makes a miraculous recovery and kisses Todd just in time for Elizabeth to come along and see. Liz is horrified and humiliated and literally runs away.
Jeffrey sees all of this, picks up the note that Liz dropped, and immediately figures out what's going on. He's left with a choice. All he has to do to keep Elizabeth is do nothing. Liz obviously thinks Todd has moved on, and Todd obviously thinks Liz has... and in time, Jeffrey might get back what he had with Elizabeth. But she would be utterly miserable and she wouldn't have chosen Jeffrey. He was just the consolation prize.
Plus it would involve letting Courtney win. So Jeffrey does the right thing and heads off to tell Todd the truth.
Heartbroken, Liz has driven aimlessly until she finds herself at Secca Lake. Her world is definitely more down than up at the moment. Todd and Courtney are obviously together and Liz has come to truly understand how messed up things with Jeffrey were and are. She doesn't love him, at least not the way she loves Todd, and that's not fair to either one of them. But Todd... sob... chose Courtney! Oh the unfairness of it all. Before you think she might fling herself into the lake, headlights cut through the darkness and Todd comes flying out of his new BMW. The two immediately run to one another and zing! Sparks fly.
Todd tells Liz that Jeffrey solved it all and Liz is all, "say what now?" Todd explains and the two are so overcome with emotion that things get more than a little sappy. The two head back to the party, intent on making things right with Jeffrey (dude, you're getting dumped) and... I dunno. But there's a pledge of love thrown in there somewhere and... end book.Trivia:
- Jeffrey wasn't at Olivia's party because he was visiting family.
- Speaking of Olivia, she isn't mentioned once in this book.
- Jessica wakes up early on a Monday morning because she wants to know how Liz is going to tell Jeffrey about Todd.
- When Enid tries to talk to Liz after school about how weird Liz feels with the whole T/J thing, they foolishly choose to hit the DB where they run into Lila, Jessica, Aaron, Ken... and Jeffrey.
- Mr. Wilkins is now the president of Varitronics, soon to be one of the Fortune 500 along with George Fowler, complete with a mansion near Fowler Crest.
- In keeping with his new status, Mr. Wilkins is choosing to send Todd to Lovett Academy. Lovett is located in Cedar Springs which is 40 minutes away and described as a prep school and a bit like a college campus. Wolfe Hall, one of the dorms, is a Spanish style building where Todd takes the twins for a party when they visit the campus. There's a 50/50 split between day students (like Todd and Sheffield) and boarders.
- Lovett's Wolfe Hall has a common room described as: "They found the party in the large common room at the end of the hallway. Elizabeth caught her breath. Tall French doors opened out into a palm-filled courtyard. Overhead, crystal chandeliers glimmered. Beneath their feet was a genuine Persian carpet."
- Mrs. Beckwith, the Wakefield's next door neighbor, drives a yellow Buick.
- Ned's study is wood paneled.
- Mr. Kane, Courtney's father, is the new CEO and former president of Varitronics.
- Todd returned to SV on Sunday, the 15th. Too bad Liz didn't get the letter telling her this until the 13th.
- Speaking of the letter, there are at least three postmarks on it, the earliest cancellation being three weeks ago. Toddy's messy handwriting meant the letter bounced all over creation before finally finding its destination.
- Did you know the Wakefield's fridge is copper colored? All this time and I never knew.
- Jessica initially backs Jeffrey as the boy toy of choice due to how dull T/L were as a couple. When she hears Todd is at Lovett, she switches her allegiance because she wants a Lovett boyfriend. She spends the book bouncing back and forth, usually for selfish reasons, but always letting Liz know that it's Elizabeth's choice to make.
- Todd drives a black BMW now.
- Todd owes Elizabeth a double dip cone down at Casey's because Liz correctly bet that Ned would make a corny, but sincere toast in Todd's honor when the Wakefields invited him over Wednesday night for dinner.
- The menu at this dinner was chicken divan, salad, and peach pie with homemade whipped cream topping.
- Liz can't keep up with all the rooms at Todd's new house. Some of them include a parlor, a family room, a den, a library, a ballroom (and adjoining patio), and possibly 12 bedrooms. Yeah, my eyes would glaze over. Later we learn he's got a great hall (no kidding), and an orange grove on the west lawn where a small gazebo is located.
- Jeffrey takes Liz to the Valley in for their special date the Friday night before Winston's "Welcome back, Todd!" party, which is the following Saturday.
- Aaron bets that Jeffrey will win Elizabeth's heart and Ken's money is on Todd.
- Sheffield Eastman looks like a young Paul Newman. He used to date Courtney but she found him too dull after awhile, what with all his giving back to the community crap. The Eastmans have lived in SV for nearly a hundred years. The Eastman estate is close enough to the Lovett campus that it's possible for Courtney to ride a horse there, simply by going down the bridle path, going around a small pond and voila! Eastman estate to the right. Good to know.
- Courtney Kane is tall and curvy with mahogany hair in a side part. The only person who doesn't seem to describe her as shallow is Lila.
- Moonshadow is the horse Court rides to the Eastman estate.
- Cliff is the head groom at Lovett and Courtney likes to give him a hard time.
- Kent Eastman is Shef's incredibly cute younger brother.
- Court tells Shef that Jeffrey gave Elizabeth a ring (that she accepted) and Sheffield tells Todd the same day.
- Okay, whoa. Why can we mention (repeatedly) Suzanne Devlin and Todd hooking up but Winter Carnival is banned from memory? Why?
- Sheffield waited five days to call Jessica. (He ends up calling on Tuesday.)
- Sheff drives a midnight blue Mercedes.
- Jessica and Shef go for coffee and desert at Venezia, a "chic Italian restaurant just outside SV." Shef has a slice of Amaretto flavored cheesecake and Jessica has gelato.
- Sheffield has been to France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, the Greek Islands, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda, Brazil, and Mexico. Next on his list? The Soviet Union. What, Canada's not good enough for you?
- Todd's invitations are on creamy, expensive paper with raised, black letters. They don't seem very Todd-like. Possibly because not even Lila sends out invitations like this.
- Elizabeth's invite is addressed to Miss Elizabeth Wakefield and Friend. Gasp!
- Jeffrey wears a paisley tie and a navy blazer to Todd's party.
- Liz wears a royal blue, spaghetti strap dress with a "loose" jacket over it, and a tiny black evening bag to complete the look.
- Jeffrey's car is in the shop, so Liz picks him up and then Jeffrey drives the Fiat to the party. (Dude, this means when Liz ditches the party, she's also ditched her date in more ways than one. Uncool, Wakefield!)
- Todd's sporting a white dinner jacket, complete with a red carnation in the lapel.
- Courtney is wearing a strapless emerald satin gown "that accentuated every curve of her body." She's also got a corsage of tiny, white rosebuds on one wrist and her hair is loosely piled on top of her head, secured with glittering jeweled clips. I'm getting prom queen, not classy sophisticate.
- In attendance at Todd's party: Todd, Courtney, Elizabeth, Jeffrey, Jessica, Sheffield, Bruce, Amy, Winston, Ken, Lila, Drake Howard, Enid, Hugh, Maria, DeeDee, Bill, Steve, and Cara.
- Sheffield is also wearing a white dinner jacket, while Jessica is in Amy's "slim, black, strapless dress." It's nice that Amy shares her clothes so readily.
- Lila's date is Drake Howard, a sophomore at Sweet Valley College, who happens to be in one of the frats. Yay.
- Sheffield is going to work and live 24/7 at a homeless shelter in Santa Barbara for his senior thesis. He's selling his gorgeous Mercedes and donating the money to charity.
- Bruce pushes both Ken and Winston into Todd's pool. Maria slips out of her shoes and jumps in after them, and others follow suit.
- Todd finds Liz out at Secca Lake at their spot, after he initially tries to find her at Casa Wakefield.
"They'll have to fight for you, I guess. Like in the old days-a duel!" The idea clearly appealed to Jessica. She giggled. "Picture Todd and Jeffrey going at it with french fries in the Dairi Burger!" - Taking this so... many different ways. p5
Jessica's love-hate relationship with Lila had always mystified Elizabeth. One minute the two would be happily mall-hopping together, and the next, Jessica would insist that she was never speaking to Lila again. As far as Elizabeth could tell, this cycle was repeated at least every other week. -I could, and will, take this a completely different way than intended. p13
"I don't remember what I said at breakfast," Jessica now declared, making it sound as if breakfast had occurred sometime in the last century.- p28
"You're as beautiful as ever, Elizabeth."
"Oh. Thanks." She blushed. "You look great yourself! You're still-tall!" - First you laugh and then it's kind of cute. p33
Jessica walked away from Aaron and Ken, flashing them both a big smile. They were both very attractive-she had dated each of them a number of times. In fact, not too long ago she had contemplated falling in love with Ken for lack of anything better to do. - Yes. Exactly. p48
Conversation stopped abruptly when the group caught sight of Jessica and Todd. Before stepping into the silence, Jessica had time to notice that while Todd remained composed, Jeffrey looked extremely nervous. That's natural
, she thought. He has a lot more to lose.
- This scene actually doesn't play right for me, given how self-assured Jeffrey normally is. It makes sense, but it still doesn't feel right. p 51
"Jessica, why don't you just go back to the mall and buy
the pants and spare us your moaning and groaning?" Elizabeth burst out, slamming shut her American history textbook. -Temper, temper. p68
And Elizabeth Wakefield was the only obstacle between Courtney and what she wanted most in the world, for the moment at least-Todd Wilkins. p76
Three girls sat down at the next table, chatting loudly and obviously intending to attract Todd's and Sheffield's attention. They were all pretty, but they didn't have the simple, natural style Todd liked. They had too much makeup, too much jewelry, too much perfume-and too little substance.
And there was Elizabeth. He imagined her soft, gentle fragrant hair, the way she always smelled fresh and sweet. He could talk to Elizabeth. She was real. And she cared about so many things. Todd had always admired her unselfish energy and ambition.
Courtney Kane was the obvious choice. Inviting her to the party would make both his father and her father happy. Courtney was beautiful and glamorous. Most guys would be thrilled to date her.
But Courtney wasn't Elizabeth. She didn't even come close. -- Before you stone me for this, let me point out that if you ignore the fact that this is another notch for the perfection of Saint Elizabeth of Wakefield and just think of it as a guy missing his ex-girlfriend, it's incredibly sweet. Not necessarily terribly realistic, but very sweet. And for this alone, my inner 10 year old demands that it be included. p82/83
"He's driving all the way down from Cedar Springs just to take me out for dessert and coffee!"
"Can't he afford dinner?" Lila asked.
"Of course he can, you idiot." - Oh, Lila. Oh, Jessica. Don't ever change. p85
As Sheffield reeled off a list of popular causes, Jessica began to understand why he wanted to save the whales and feed hungry people all over the world. Really rich and famous people were always involved in some philanthropic scheme or another. Look at the Mellons and the Rockefellers. They had their names plastered over schools and charitable organizations nationwide. And all those big rock stars put on concerts to benefit something or other. It was obviously the thing to do. Once you have more money than you could ever possibly spend, it's fashionable to donate some to charity!
Jessica realized, eating a spoonful of gelato. This charity business is just part of being an Eastman.
- Oh. My. Lord. p88 Jessica slammed the phone down and then leapt straight into the air, flinging out her arms and shaking imaginary pom-poms. "Yee-ha!"
she hollered. - if you need ask why I love Jessica, this should tell you all you need to know. ♥ p94
It didn't make much sense. The only thing Courtney and Elizabeth had in common was Todd Wilkins, and Jeffrey couldn't picture Courtney writing Elizabeth to thank her for handing over her old boyfriend. - Oh, Jeffrey. This is why I'm going to miss you. p105
As Sheffield shook hands with the guys, Jessica smiled at the envious expression on Lila's face. She couldn't remember when she'd had so much fun showing her up! - I do so love the catty in my SV. p109Fashion, circa 1989:
Elizabeth stood up and nervously straightened her jade-green twill skirt. Then she adjusted the collar of her white silk blouse. Putting a hand to her throat, she felt the gold locket on the chain around her neck. -This is Elizabeth's outfit for welcoming Todd back to SV. p31
Brokenhearted gives Jeffrey a pretty decent swan song. While he is responsible for sending Todd and Liz running into one another's arms, it's because it's the right thing to do. Anything less and I wouldn't know who you were, Jeffrey French. I hate how he basically disappears after the next book, and then they'll trot him out for, what, Enid's super star book and the Senior Year series where he's a friggin' tool and the less said of that the better.
You had a good run, Jeffrey. For the most part, Liz didn't cheat on you, which is pretty funny when you think about it. She's going to spend the next hundred books cheating on Todd left, right, and center and he's the boy she loves!
Go figure. Then again, you should sue for this cover art, boy. SUE.