the_oracle: (plotting)
Decisions
July 1988


Is this the end for Robin and George?

Stuck in the middle...



  Robin Wilson is having a spectacular year. She's in love with George Warren, she's doing well in school, and she's almost sure to win the upcoming diving championship. Then her rich aunt makes an offer that's incredible-but it just may ruin Robin's happiness.
  Aunt Fiona will pay for her college education if Robin goes to the school her aunt and grandmother attended back East. If Robin accepts, she'll have to leave George and her diving behind, but without her aunt's help, Robin may not be able to afford college at all.
  Robin feels as if she's being pulled in two directions. How can she do what's right for her without hurting the people she cares about most?


  Let's begin with the superficial, shall we? [I know, how is this any different from all the other times, right?] How old does George look? For that matter, Robin doesn't look sixteen either, but y'know you can blame that on the fact that it's the 80's and the weight loss. George there should not be dating high school girls.
   Anyway, it's another Robin Wilson book! You know what that means, right? That's right. The reiteration that fat people have no place in the Valley, another glimpse at the club o' "we got screwed by the Wakefield Twins!" and most importantly: The return of 137!!!!! I try not to abuse the exclamation point, but really, how often have I gotten to use the 137 tag lately? EXACTLY.
  I've got a theory about the 137 thing and Robin books. I suspect that any time someone was given a Robin book, they were told to read the previous ones, and in those, Jess is still very much into her -37 phase. So, yay for us!


  But onward with the parade of pain! Robin Wilson is poor. I'm not entirely sure how poor 'poor' is, since I've never really thought of her as poor before, but trust me, she is. Apparently anything nice Robin has came from her bitchy Aunt Fiona. This is really bothering Robin because college is coming up. Much sooner for Robin than anyone else if B.A.F. has her way, as she had Robin apply early to Sarah Lawrence and Robin got in. Instead of being over the moon about the prospect of missing her senior year in high school and going to a lovely but batshit crazy college a year early, Robin is all sorts of confused. And on this, I actually feel for her. See, BAF will only pay for SLC. If Robin wants to go elsewhere, she has to find her own funding and I gather she doesn't want to owe on student loans for the rest of her life. Also, despite the fact that she's obviously pretty damn smart [on top of being damn pretty] she doesn't seem to think she'll get enough scholarship money to go anywhere good. To top it all off, Robin's mother has all but accepted for her, so that she [Mrs. Wilson] can get a new kitchen.
   That's right. Robin's future is being traded for a new kitchen which will naturally be designed by Alice Wakefield. Now, Mrs. Wilson also has my sympathy in that I would love a new kitchen. Or maybe just my current one fixed so that I wouldn't feel the need to cross myself before entering. So, I feel ya, Mrs. W. You need new digs and what with the divorce and all, you cannot afford it because you've got three kids. But, and here's the tricky part, Robin and SLC are NOT a match made in heaven and as Robin's mother you should at least mask the possibility of you trading her in for a new place to burn toast long enough for Robin to confide in you. Y'know, in theory.
  Poor Robin.

  But then Robin goes and cocks it all up by not telling anyone anything but still gets mad at them for not being PSYCHIC or something. Jesus, Robin, of all the times for a SVH character to start acting like a teenager you had to choose now? See, Robin doesn't tell her boyfriend George because... he'll be upset that she's considering going to a really good school on the East Coast when he's been sitting around, doodling little hearts around his and Robin's names in his notebooks, planning their college plans to one of California's many, many colleges. Okay, fair enough. Not everyone is crazy like Liz and believes a long distance relationship will work. But you've still got to tell him, sweetie.
   Due to the aforementioned kitchen swap, Robin can't really talk to her mother about things, so we'll pass on that, and her brothers are both younger [eighth and ninth grade] so that's probably an out as well. BAF is out by very virtue of being a bitch, and Robin isn't actually all that friendly with Liz Wakefield. But she does have a friend in Annie Whitman, so...
  She sort of starts to tell Annie things, but leaves out the bit about being traded for a new kitchen and the fact that being unable to talk to anyone is making her slightly crazy, so Annie's forced to fixate on what she does know, which is that Robin hasn't told George yet. Valid point. You work with what you know, and Annie knows boys... and that was a cheap shot. I apologize.

   Robin tries to tell George but he's so busy gathering kindling for the roast of BAF that he can't seem to hear anything other than, "don't worry, Robin, we'll get you to one of Cali's fine schools. Preferably the one I want to go to. We'll be together FOREVER!" He never considers the fact that Robin sort of might want to go to SL. It's gorgeous in the fall. It's near enough to NYC to get your fill of the city and still escape to the prettier side of New York. Fantastic school... So, um, yeah. It has it's points beside the fact that BAF will pay for it.
  And so Robin wonders if maybe BAF is quite as much of a bitch as she's been thinking. It's BAF's money, and while she may be swimming in it, she's not required to spend a dime on Robin's college education, and she certainly has a right to veto spending money to send Robin to a party school. Or any school for that matter. She's always been very clear that if the Wilsons want BAF to pay for college, Robin goes to SLC. [I wonder if later the same offer will be made to Troy and Adam?]
   On the other hand, Robin has the right to decide which college is right for her. She should be able to choose and not just be stuck with something as the only thing she can afford, particularly when Robin should actually be able to rack up extra money in a variety of different ways. Which is where this particular plot device seriously loses steam and we'll discuss that later. But she's feeling guilty over not being totally thrilled about BAF doing all the deciding for her, and it's not exactly the most fun thing in the world trying to figure out if you should leave your friends and family behind earlier than expected. So yes, I feel bad for Robin even while wanting to smack her and tell her to talk to someone. Anyone.

  Luckily, the ghosty brought us one and a half subplots to keep my rage at bay. First is Jessica's foray into babysitting. I love that Jess is either fantastic with kids or she strikes out horribly, but that kids mostly love her. And I can believe it. She's bound to be pretty enough to satisfy the need for shiny pretty that kids have, boys are all star struck and the girls [like the readers] are s'posed to want to be her. She's also bound to be loads more fun than Liz at any given moment. :P I know, again, cheap shot. Sorry, Liz. You're probably a great babysitter in that you give a damn as much as a fictional character can. Anyway, Jess is babysitting a little girl named Allison so that her older brother Alex can compose a symphony. Yeah, just go with it. So Jess is charmed by Allison but totally thunderstruck by the awesome hotness that is Alex. And like all good catnip for popular cheerleaders, he... doesn't really seem to notice Jess.
  So she plots ways to get him to notice her. Her biggest plan involves convincing him that she's musically inclined. Figuring that if Allison is so good at the recorder and she's merely a child, Jessica as a teenager would be fantastic, Jess says she's really good on the recorder. Of course, being Jessica, she finds that the recorder is boring and that she's awful at it, and even if it's only awful because she's a newbie, she refuses to practice. Ugh. Well, she's hot and Alex is dense, so maybe she'll never have to actually play anything for him... Still, she plots.
   Meanwhile Elizabeth gets it into her head to try the recorder and finds that she's really good at it. Or, at least, she thinks she is, and would like to be better at it. Thing is, she can't try now that Jess has claimed it as her own thing to do, even if it is just to snag a guy. Liz remembers Jess and the gourmet cooking class [but doesn't remember that a big chunk of that particular issue was that no one would acknowledge how good Jess was without a "whodathunk it" moment thrown in], the becoming Jessa Fields, and basically not wanting to be shown up by her twin. So Liz says she'll abstain. And that works about as well as you'd expect. Liz sneaks off to play the recorder and Prince Albert looks on disapprovingly. Lizzie Liz Liz... it's not the times you ask to join, it's when you just take over that Jess gets upset. Y'know, for next time. Not that it matters all that much since you always get pissy when Jess outshines you in the writing department.

  Blergh. I'm boring myself here. You see what we've been reduced to? So. Jessica gossips a bit and lets Liz know that Robin got in early admission to SLC and Liz is surprised that Robin would want to leave a year early. Later she mentions how proud everyone must be of Robin... to George. Right after Annie tried to convince Robin to tell George the same thing. George goes off, pissed as hell, and all I could think was that, maybe for both their sakes, George and Liz should just never speak again. I mean ever. When they do, bad things happen. Enid gets crippled. Robin goes psychotic... Really, it's all the best for them.

  Georgie confronts Robin and Robin tries to figure out who blabbed. Annie and Jess were the only two who knew and Jess isn't friendly with George so obviously it was Annie. THE HELL, Robin?! Earlier you were all for the teenage logic! Now you can't think two steps ahead of the game? I expect better of you, missy. You're in high school and the biggest gossip outside of Caroline knows something about you? Yeah. She told her twin... and probably Lila, and once Lila of the princess phone knows, dude, you're over. Surprisingly this last bit didn't happen, but I chalk that up to boy plotting. So Robin goes off on Annie and Annie's confused as to what the hell is wrong with Robin and Jess thinks this way Robin will leave for sure and that's one less bit of competition around campus.
  She also lets this slip to Liz later on and Liz, for once, doesn't run out and immediately fix things. Instead she muses about the weirdness of Robin and George. To Enid.
  Y'know, his ex-girlfriend.
  Awkward!

   Back to Robin. BAF appears on the scene and immediately proves that she is definitely a bitch and no, you shouldn't like her after all. She belittles everyone and only the boys seem immune to her form of bitchery. She mocks Robin's chosen forms of athleticism although she admires the way they help keep Robin from being a fat-ass. Robin tries, a little, to stand up for herself, but is mocked back down to size. Again the kitchen thing comes up and Robin's just all over the place. She's frazzled beyond belief and I feel badly for her, especially when we're reminded that she's got a diving championship coming up and she's not doing so well under all her stress.
  She tells George that she'll be going to one of the California colleges, but then realizes the relief she expected to feel upon making a choice is lacking because she merely told him that to shut him up. She finally tells BAF to shove her money where the sun don't shine and then runs out of the restaurant and calls George to rescue her. He does and natters on and on about how evil everyone else is while never realizing he's being a similar kind of jackass. Smooth, Georgie boy. Smooth.

   At the diving championship, George and Liz chat about how wobbly Robin's diving is and how strong Robin is and George realizes what an ass he's been and he runs off to get Robin's family to come out to the championship. That's right. Because she wouldn't be sacrificed for a kitchen her mother couldn't be bothered to stand up to her own sister and watch Robin's performance. Real nice. Anyway, Robin just sees George leave and she's heartbroken. She and Tracy, her rival, have a go at their dives and Robin does respectably, but anyone who knows Robin knows the fire is missing. Because heaven forbid she just not be better than Tracy. Oi. Eventually George and company return and Robin naturally goes from mediocre to fantastic and blows Tracy out of the water. But because she couldn't place first without Tracy faltering a bit herself, Tracy can't handle the pressure and her diving suffers. Robin and George meet up afterward, all kissy and lovey, and of COURSE Robin is all set for a fantastic scholarship. Because that idea never occurred to her. My brain, she hurts. Robin eventually decides that she'll have her SY at SVH [oh really, Robin? I think you'll be surprised...] and then decide which school is right for her. And BAF is willing to accept this and pay for it because Robin's all smart and assertive and shit. Right. Whatever. I've stopped caring, how about you?

   What's that? You can't smell the B plot percolating? Of course you can! Jess finally gets tired of hinting and goes for broke. She pretends to faint near Alex and while he doesn't catch her [!!] he finally admits how smitten he is, and maybe in two years when he returns from Juilliard... To which Jess, who was seconds before halfway to the smelling salts being required, makes a miraculous recovery and flounces out the door. It's legendary is what is is. I recommend this book on that moment alone, it's so good. This is the Jessica I love.

  Meanwhile, Liz is feeling extra guilty because her family thinks that Jess is the musical one and that anytime they hear Liz playing they think Jess is improving, but really, she sucks as much as ever. Jess pretty much comes home and busts her with the recorder, but doesn't care because hello, it's the most boring instrument to her in the world. Also, she's moved on. So Liz gets Jessica's permission and then skips over to Julie Porter's house to segue way is into the next book which'll be about Julie and Bruce and some other dude and is the only book I can never get rid off at the various book exchanges. Seriously.


Trivia:

  • Liz still gets off on reading her own column in the Oracle. Sadly, I can't totally fault her for this as I'd still be excited, too.

  • Robin got an A- on her chemistry quiz.

  • Aunt Fiona is "brilliant, successful" artist who raised Robin's mother when their parents died. She's tall with gray hair, brown eyes, and a commanding presence. She's also got Gucci luggage and tips the taxi driver $10.

  • The Kanes live in a cedar shingled white shuttered bungalow at 1729...who knows what the street is. There's a gravel driveway and Jessica thinks the house looks like a "quaint, doll like cottage", what with the roses on the trellises and all.

  • Allison Kane has "feathery gold ringlets" and big, brown eyes. She's gifted on the recorder and is actually fairly easy to babysit because she's a sweetheart. She's got a bit of a lisp that she's working on correcting and is in kindergarten. She's also exceptionally close to her older brother, Alex.

  • Alex Kane has the same golden hair as his sister, but cut shorter, and fantastic brown eyes, and cracks Jessica's list of best looking guys ever. He's working on a symphony and really, really into his music.

  • George still drives his light blue GTO, and his eyes are mentioned as gray this go round. Robin mentions that he only mocks himself because he wouldn't want to hurt someone else's feelings, and that part of the reason she adores him so much is that he nearly couldn't break up with Enid because it would hurt her. I gag, I do.

  • Jess and Cara go to buy a recorder and nearly have a cow when the saleswoman mentions that the alto pear wood recorder would run them $360. The plastic version, however, is just $11.95. Jess buys that one and a random recorders-for-dummies book.

  • Elizabeth worries that Jessica will be pissed if Liz shows any interest in the recorder, so she hides her practicing.

  • Troy Wilson is in eighth grade and Adam Wilson is in ninth. They're both on baseball teams, possibly the same one.

  • Robin bitches Annie out at cheerleading practice and no one says a word to stop them.

  • Jessica wants Robin gone and figures it'll be less competition for any given boy she plans to fall for.

  • Tracy King is Robin's biggest competition in diving. She's got short, cropped hair and lives right next door.

  • Dina Taylor is a former Olympic silver medalist who coaches the SVC diving team as well as Robin and Tracy's.

  • Lila and Jessica use an old, red Oriental rug of Lila's as a beach throw. It takes a couple of guys to cart it to and from Lila's car, but both girls think it's worth it.

  • Liz has a history paper on the Constitution, but can't really seem to concentrate, what with making googly eyes at Jeffrey and stealing time with Jessica's recorder.

  • Ned thought that Liz would turn out to be musically inclined when they were younger.

  • Irene Wilson, Robin's mother, has short, graying brown hair.

  • Fiona mocks Irene's choice of reading materials, and I damn near snorted my soda at the thought of someone in a SVH book criticizing someone for not reading great literature.

  • Aunt Fiona treats the Wilsons to dinner at The Cote d'Or in Malvina.

  • Winston proves he's the wacky comedic relief by doing the chicken dance at the Dairi Burger the Thursday before Robin's diving championships.

  • Jessica uses a pink duffel bag for cheerleading.

  • This book frequently mentions Jessica's heels. It's a bit odd, really.

  • Jess hides Allison's recorder so she can make Alex help her look for it. She hides it on the top of a bookshelf between two books.

  • When that plan fails, she pretends to faint. Alex doesn't catch her but he does admit he likes her. Sadly, he's going to Juilliard and will have no time for love anytime soon.

  • Fiona sold three large canvases within the first 15 minutes. Robin's impressed considering they don't sell cheap.

  • Robin calls George from Malvina on Broadway and Coast Road, in front of a hardware store.

  • 12 girls comprise the SV diving team.

  • The championship is delayed because one of the judges is running late. No one, except maybe George, is happy about this.

  • Karen Doyle is a random member of the diving team.

  • Robin's first dive: forward somersault in the pike position. Scores: 7.5, 7.5, 8.25, 7.5

  • Tracy gets three 9's on her first dive.

  • Robin's second dive: back somersaulted layout, scores: 9.5, 9.5, 9.0, 9.0, 9.5

  • Tracy's first dive off the platform [something with a swan dive] gets her: 9.7, 9.5, 9.7, 9.5, 9.25

  • Robin's first dive off the platform involves an arm stand takeoff. She gets a 9.8, 9.9, 9.8, 9.0, 9.5

  • Tracy's second to last dive: pushed off backward, with an inward double flip with a half twist in a layout position. Scores: 9.0, 9.0, 8.5, 8.0, 9.0

  • Robin's second to last: reverse two-and-a-half somersault, full twist. Scores: 9.5, 9.5, 10, 9.9, 10

  • Tracy's last dive involves two front rolls and she blows it with 9, 9, 8.75 scores.

  • Robin's last dive is a flying forward two-and-a-half somersault pike, half-twist. Scores: 10, 9.5, 10, 10, 10

  • There's a celebratory picnic at Robin's after the meet.



Quotes:

  "Don't worry. Every time I go to diving practice and see myself in a bathing suit, I say, 'Don't eat-don't eat.' So far it's worked."
  Annie smiled. - Annie, when Robin takes her anorexic turn later, dude, I'm placing part of the blame on you! p. 10

  If there was one thing Jessica loved, it was driving with the top down! - Dude, not making this up. p. 12

  So it was equally obvious that although she had no ear for music, sang off-key, and had never wanted to learn to play an instrument, Jessica had to become a serious musician. It was as simple as that. - Oh, really? p. 19

  She'd get herself a recorder, an instruction book, and by the end of the week, she'd be a virtuoso. No problem. - A lack of confidence will never be Jessica's problem. p. 20

  "I wouldn't be surprised if you tell Lila exactly when to call every night so you can get out of the dishes!"
  "I don't," her twin replied. "But that sure is a good idea!" - Liz, don't give her more helpful hints on how to weasel out of housework! Bad twin, bad! p. 29

  In a flash Robin realized that she was being sacrificed for a new kitchen! - Sad but true. p. 44

  She felt a bit light-headed from blowing so much. - I amuse easily, Liz. p 74

  And she forced herself not to think about how terribly her sister played. - p. 77

  It didn't take a trained musician to tell that Jessica was really awful. In Jessica's hands, the recorder sounded like the death agonies of a sacrificial victim. - Way to encourage Jessica there, Liz. p79

   Not a chance! she retorted silently. No long distance relationships for me! Especially one where I take second place to a piano! I don't care how gorgeous you are!
   She glanced casually at her watch. "Oh, look at the time! It's five-thirty, time for me to go. I'm feeling much better now, and I have a date tonight- with my boyfriend," she added quickly, hoping squelch any hopes Alex had for their getting together.- All this mere seconds after he's declared his love. Aww, Jess. p114


137:

   "Cheerleading was a total disaster scene today. I swear, Robin was acting like the world was about to explode into a hundred and thirty-seven million pieces. She kept messing up, screaming at Annie-" p 103

  Her twin gave her a steady look. "Right, Liz. You're just a hundred and thirty-seven times better than I am." p116/117

Decisions English Covers


  This book made me giggle the first time I re-read it as a semi-adult because one of my best friends went to SL. And dude, I can safely say that Robin would not have fit in. In fact, trying to picture her there [and it's a lovely campus, or at least it was when I visited] makes my head explode. Maybe because said friend's first fantastical story about her college life there involved this little exchange at a party.
"So how many of you are new?"
*hands raise*
"And how many of you are gay?"
*half the hands drop, if that many, and quite a few of the non-newbies raise hand*
"Don't worry! Next semester when I ask that question that answer will change!"


   Total. Awesome. Win.

   Robin shouldn't actually have a problem acquiring a decent amount of financial aid. She's smart enough to opt in early at SLC and it's been mentioned many times that Robin is actually REALLY smart, because y'know, fat people have to be smart or funny, and Robin ain't all that funny. She's a gifted writer [hopefully not in the same way Liz is gifted], she's got an interest in computers that is never really explored in this book, but is frequently mentioned and at a time when not a lot of girls even gave half a thought to technology. She's athletic due to her cheerleading [good enough to vault right into being co-captain, guys, and you know how seriously SVH takes their cheerleading] and her diving. That it takes the entire book for that to come into play drives me batty every time I read the blasted thing.

   On the other hand, for all I mocked Elizabeth, I did a similar trick, only mine involved a flute and my little brother's foray into band. That ended quickly when he rediscovered jock genes and the flute went away before I could find out if I was just delusional or any good. I know, I could've picked it up myself, but come on. Even an eighth grade geek has her pride.

   I leave you with two things to ponder. One, and most important, how much does it suck to be Tracy King? She's competing against Robin and must be almost as good, yet EVERYONE there is either attributed to the lesser divers or is there to cheer Robin on to victory. Why can't Tracy get some love too? And then I think of all the other kids who are pitted against the stars of the SV world, and they have to exist, and how much they get shoved to the side. And then I wonder if there's a fanfic involving the outcasts and how they really view the popular kids... *muse* Anyway, I was cheering for you, Tracy. Next time, try not to buckle under the pressure, k? We'll get 'em next time.

   And the second: Bottom line, you should read Decisions for the return of 137 and for Jessica's miraculous recovery. Seriously. It's classic. It's epic. It's better than you want to imagine. Go on. I've got time.

Decisions Non-English covers
the_oracle: (plotting)
Decisions
July 1988


Is this the end for Robin and George?

Stuck in the middle...



  Robin Wilson is having a spectacular year. She's in love with George Warren, she's doing well in school, and she's almost sure to win the upcoming diving championship. Then her rich aunt makes an offer that's incredible-but it just may ruin Robin's happiness.
  Aunt Fiona will pay for her college education if Robin goes to the school her aunt and grandmother attended back East. If Robin accepts, she'll have to leave George and her diving behind, but without her aunt's help, Robin may not be able to afford college at all.
  Robin feels as if she's being pulled in two directions. How can she do what's right for her without hurting the people she cares about most?


  Let's begin with the superficial, shall we? [I know, how is this any different from all the other times, right?] How old does George look? For that matter, Robin doesn't look sixteen either, but y'know you can blame that on the fact that it's the 80's and the weight loss. George there should not be dating high school girls.
   Anyway, it's another Robin Wilson book! You know what that means, right? That's right. The reiteration that fat people have no place in the Valley, another glimpse at the club o' "we got screwed by the Wakefield Twins!" and most importantly: The return of 137!!!!! I try not to abuse the exclamation point, but really, how often have I gotten to use the 137 tag lately? EXACTLY.
  I've got a theory about the 137 thing and Robin books. I suspect that any time someone was given a Robin book, they were told to read the previous ones, and in those, Jess is still very much into her -37 phase. So, yay for us!


  But onward with the parade of pain! Robin Wilson is poor. I'm not entirely sure how poor 'poor' is, since I've never really thought of her as poor before, but trust me, she is. Apparently anything nice Robin has came from her bitchy Aunt Fiona. This is really bothering Robin because college is coming up. Much sooner for Robin than anyone else if B.A.F. has her way, as she had Robin apply early to Sarah Lawrence and Robin got in. Instead of being over the moon about the prospect of missing her senior year in high school and going to a lovely but batshit crazy college a year early, Robin is all sorts of confused. And on this, I actually feel for her. See, BAF will only pay for SLC. If Robin wants to go elsewhere, she has to find her own funding and I gather she doesn't want to owe on student loans for the rest of her life. Also, despite the fact that she's obviously pretty damn smart [on top of being damn pretty] she doesn't seem to think she'll get enough scholarship money to go anywhere good. To top it all off, Robin's mother has all but accepted for her, so that she [Mrs. Wilson] can get a new kitchen.
   That's right. Robin's future is being traded for a new kitchen which will naturally be designed by Alice Wakefield. Now, Mrs. Wilson also has my sympathy in that I would love a new kitchen. Or maybe just my current one fixed so that I wouldn't feel the need to cross myself before entering. So, I feel ya, Mrs. W. You need new digs and what with the divorce and all, you cannot afford it because you've got three kids. But, and here's the tricky part, Robin and SLC are NOT a match made in heaven and as Robin's mother you should at least mask the possibility of you trading her in for a new place to burn toast long enough for Robin to confide in you. Y'know, in theory.
  Poor Robin.

  But then Robin goes and cocks it all up by not telling anyone anything but still gets mad at them for not being PSYCHIC or something. Jesus, Robin, of all the times for a SVH character to start acting like a teenager you had to choose now? See, Robin doesn't tell her boyfriend George because... he'll be upset that she's considering going to a really good school on the East Coast when he's been sitting around, doodling little hearts around his and Robin's names in his notebooks, planning their college plans to one of California's many, many colleges. Okay, fair enough. Not everyone is crazy like Liz and believes a long distance relationship will work. But you've still got to tell him, sweetie.
   Due to the aforementioned kitchen swap, Robin can't really talk to her mother about things, so we'll pass on that, and her brothers are both younger [eighth and ninth grade] so that's probably an out as well. BAF is out by very virtue of being a bitch, and Robin isn't actually all that friendly with Liz Wakefield. But she does have a friend in Annie Whitman, so...
  She sort of starts to tell Annie things, but leaves out the bit about being traded for a new kitchen and the fact that being unable to talk to anyone is making her slightly crazy, so Annie's forced to fixate on what she does know, which is that Robin hasn't told George yet. Valid point. You work with what you know, and Annie knows boys... and that was a cheap shot. I apologize.

   Robin tries to tell George but he's so busy gathering kindling for the roast of BAF that he can't seem to hear anything other than, "don't worry, Robin, we'll get you to one of Cali's fine schools. Preferably the one I want to go to. We'll be together FOREVER!" He never considers the fact that Robin sort of might want to go to SL. It's gorgeous in the fall. It's near enough to NYC to get your fill of the city and still escape to the prettier side of New York. Fantastic school... So, um, yeah. It has it's points beside the fact that BAF will pay for it.
  And so Robin wonders if maybe BAF is quite as much of a bitch as she's been thinking. It's BAF's money, and while she may be swimming in it, she's not required to spend a dime on Robin's college education, and she certainly has a right to veto spending money to send Robin to a party school. Or any school for that matter. She's always been very clear that if the Wilsons want BAF to pay for college, Robin goes to SLC. [I wonder if later the same offer will be made to Troy and Adam?]
   On the other hand, Robin has the right to decide which college is right for her. She should be able to choose and not just be stuck with something as the only thing she can afford, particularly when Robin should actually be able to rack up extra money in a variety of different ways. Which is where this particular plot device seriously loses steam and we'll discuss that later. But she's feeling guilty over not being totally thrilled about BAF doing all the deciding for her, and it's not exactly the most fun thing in the world trying to figure out if you should leave your friends and family behind earlier than expected. So yes, I feel bad for Robin even while wanting to smack her and tell her to talk to someone. Anyone.

  Luckily, the ghosty brought us one and a half subplots to keep my rage at bay. First is Jessica's foray into babysitting. I love that Jess is either fantastic with kids or she strikes out horribly, but that kids mostly love her. And I can believe it. She's bound to be pretty enough to satisfy the need for shiny pretty that kids have, boys are all star struck and the girls [like the readers] are s'posed to want to be her. She's also bound to be loads more fun than Liz at any given moment. :P I know, again, cheap shot. Sorry, Liz. You're probably a great babysitter in that you give a damn as much as a fictional character can. Anyway, Jess is babysitting a little girl named Allison so that her older brother Alex can compose a symphony. Yeah, just go with it. So Jess is charmed by Allison but totally thunderstruck by the awesome hotness that is Alex. And like all good catnip for popular cheerleaders, he... doesn't really seem to notice Jess.
  So she plots ways to get him to notice her. Her biggest plan involves convincing him that she's musically inclined. Figuring that if Allison is so good at the recorder and she's merely a child, Jessica as a teenager would be fantastic, Jess says she's really good on the recorder. Of course, being Jessica, she finds that the recorder is boring and that she's awful at it, and even if it's only awful because she's a newbie, she refuses to practice. Ugh. Well, she's hot and Alex is dense, so maybe she'll never have to actually play anything for him... Still, she plots.
   Meanwhile Elizabeth gets it into her head to try the recorder and finds that she's really good at it. Or, at least, she thinks she is, and would like to be better at it. Thing is, she can't try now that Jess has claimed it as her own thing to do, even if it is just to snag a guy. Liz remembers Jess and the gourmet cooking class [but doesn't remember that a big chunk of that particular issue was that no one would acknowledge how good Jess was without a "whodathunk it" moment thrown in], the becoming Jessa Fields, and basically not wanting to be shown up by her twin. So Liz says she'll abstain. And that works about as well as you'd expect. Liz sneaks off to play the recorder and Prince Albert looks on disapprovingly. Lizzie Liz Liz... it's not the times you ask to join, it's when you just take over that Jess gets upset. Y'know, for next time. Not that it matters all that much since you always get pissy when Jess outshines you in the writing department.

  Blergh. I'm boring myself here. You see what we've been reduced to? So. Jessica gossips a bit and lets Liz know that Robin got in early admission to SLC and Liz is surprised that Robin would want to leave a year early. Later she mentions how proud everyone must be of Robin... to George. Right after Annie tried to convince Robin to tell George the same thing. George goes off, pissed as hell, and all I could think was that, maybe for both their sakes, George and Liz should just never speak again. I mean ever. When they do, bad things happen. Enid gets crippled. Robin goes psychotic... Really, it's all the best for them.

  Georgie confronts Robin and Robin tries to figure out who blabbed. Annie and Jess were the only two who knew and Jess isn't friendly with George so obviously it was Annie. THE HELL, Robin?! Earlier you were all for the teenage logic! Now you can't think two steps ahead of the game? I expect better of you, missy. You're in high school and the biggest gossip outside of Caroline knows something about you? Yeah. She told her twin... and probably Lila, and once Lila of the princess phone knows, dude, you're over. Surprisingly this last bit didn't happen, but I chalk that up to boy plotting. So Robin goes off on Annie and Annie's confused as to what the hell is wrong with Robin and Jess thinks this way Robin will leave for sure and that's one less bit of competition around campus.
  She also lets this slip to Liz later on and Liz, for once, doesn't run out and immediately fix things. Instead she muses about the weirdness of Robin and George. To Enid.
  Y'know, his ex-girlfriend.
  Awkward!

   Back to Robin. BAF appears on the scene and immediately proves that she is definitely a bitch and no, you shouldn't like her after all. She belittles everyone and only the boys seem immune to her form of bitchery. She mocks Robin's chosen forms of athleticism although she admires the way they help keep Robin from being a fat-ass. Robin tries, a little, to stand up for herself, but is mocked back down to size. Again the kitchen thing comes up and Robin's just all over the place. She's frazzled beyond belief and I feel badly for her, especially when we're reminded that she's got a diving championship coming up and she's not doing so well under all her stress.
  She tells George that she'll be going to one of the California colleges, but then realizes the relief she expected to feel upon making a choice is lacking because she merely told him that to shut him up. She finally tells BAF to shove her money where the sun don't shine and then runs out of the restaurant and calls George to rescue her. He does and natters on and on about how evil everyone else is while never realizing he's being a similar kind of jackass. Smooth, Georgie boy. Smooth.

   At the diving championship, George and Liz chat about how wobbly Robin's diving is and how strong Robin is and George realizes what an ass he's been and he runs off to get Robin's family to come out to the championship. That's right. Because she wouldn't be sacrificed for a kitchen her mother couldn't be bothered to stand up to her own sister and watch Robin's performance. Real nice. Anyway, Robin just sees George leave and she's heartbroken. She and Tracy, her rival, have a go at their dives and Robin does respectably, but anyone who knows Robin knows the fire is missing. Because heaven forbid she just not be better than Tracy. Oi. Eventually George and company return and Robin naturally goes from mediocre to fantastic and blows Tracy out of the water. But because she couldn't place first without Tracy faltering a bit herself, Tracy can't handle the pressure and her diving suffers. Robin and George meet up afterward, all kissy and lovey, and of COURSE Robin is all set for a fantastic scholarship. Because that idea never occurred to her. My brain, she hurts. Robin eventually decides that she'll have her SY at SVH [oh really, Robin? I think you'll be surprised...] and then decide which school is right for her. And BAF is willing to accept this and pay for it because Robin's all smart and assertive and shit. Right. Whatever. I've stopped caring, how about you?

   What's that? You can't smell the B plot percolating? Of course you can! Jess finally gets tired of hinting and goes for broke. She pretends to faint near Alex and while he doesn't catch her [!!] he finally admits how smitten he is, and maybe in two years when he returns from Juilliard... To which Jess, who was seconds before halfway to the smelling salts being required, makes a miraculous recovery and flounces out the door. It's legendary is what is is. I recommend this book on that moment alone, it's so good. This is the Jessica I love.

  Meanwhile, Liz is feeling extra guilty because her family thinks that Jess is the musical one and that anytime they hear Liz playing they think Jess is improving, but really, she sucks as much as ever. Jess pretty much comes home and busts her with the recorder, but doesn't care because hello, it's the most boring instrument to her in the world. Also, she's moved on. So Liz gets Jessica's permission and then skips over to Julie Porter's house to segue way is into the next book which'll be about Julie and Bruce and some other dude and is the only book I can never get rid off at the various book exchanges. Seriously.


Trivia:

  • Liz still gets off on reading her own column in the Oracle. Sadly, I can't totally fault her for this as I'd still be excited, too.

  • Robin got an A- on her chemistry quiz.

  • Aunt Fiona is "brilliant, successful" artist who raised Robin's mother when their parents died. She's tall with gray hair, brown eyes, and a commanding presence. She's also got Gucci luggage and tips the taxi driver $10.

  • The Kanes live in a cedar shingled white shuttered bungalow at 1729...who knows what the street is. There's a gravel driveway and Jessica thinks the house looks like a "quaint, doll like cottage", what with the roses on the trellises and all.

  • Allison Kane has "feathery gold ringlets" and big, brown eyes. She's gifted on the recorder and is actually fairly easy to babysit because she's a sweetheart. She's got a bit of a lisp that she's working on correcting and is in kindergarten. She's also exceptionally close to her older brother, Alex.

  • Alex Kane has the same golden hair as his sister, but cut shorter, and fantastic brown eyes, and cracks Jessica's list of best looking guys ever. He's working on a symphony and really, really into his music.

  • George still drives his light blue GTO, and his eyes are mentioned as gray this go round. Robin mentions that he only mocks himself because he wouldn't want to hurt someone else's feelings, and that part of the reason she adores him so much is that he nearly couldn't break up with Enid because it would hurt her. I gag, I do.

  • Jess and Cara go to buy a recorder and nearly have a cow when the saleswoman mentions that the alto pear wood recorder would run them $360. The plastic version, however, is just $11.95. Jess buys that one and a random recorders-for-dummies book.

  • Elizabeth worries that Jessica will be pissed if Liz shows any interest in the recorder, so she hides her practicing.

  • Troy Wilson is in eighth grade and Adam Wilson is in ninth. They're both on baseball teams, possibly the same one.

  • Robin bitches Annie out at cheerleading practice and no one says a word to stop them.

  • Jessica wants Robin gone and figures it'll be less competition for any given boy she plans to fall for.

  • Tracy King is Robin's biggest competition in diving. She's got short, cropped hair and lives right next door.

  • Dina Taylor is a former Olympic silver medalist who coaches the SVC diving team as well as Robin and Tracy's.

  • Lila and Jessica use an old, red Oriental rug of Lila's as a beach throw. It takes a couple of guys to cart it to and from Lila's car, but both girls think it's worth it.

  • Liz has a history paper on the Constitution, but can't really seem to concentrate, what with making googly eyes at Jeffrey and stealing time with Jessica's recorder.

  • Ned thought that Liz would turn out to be musically inclined when they were younger.

  • Irene Wilson, Robin's mother, has short, graying brown hair.

  • Fiona mocks Irene's choice of reading materials, and I damn near snorted my soda at the thought of someone in a SVH book criticizing someone for not reading great literature.

  • Aunt Fiona treats the Wilsons to dinner at The Cote d'Or in Malvina.

  • Winston proves he's the wacky comedic relief by doing the chicken dance at the Dairi Burger the Thursday before Robin's diving championships.

  • Jessica uses a pink duffel bag for cheerleading.

  • This book frequently mentions Jessica's heels. It's a bit odd, really.

  • Jess hides Allison's recorder so she can make Alex help her look for it. She hides it on the top of a bookshelf between two books.

  • When that plan fails, she pretends to faint. Alex doesn't catch her but he does admit he likes her. Sadly, he's going to Juilliard and will have no time for love anytime soon.

  • Fiona sold three large canvases within the first 15 minutes. Robin's impressed considering they don't sell cheap.

  • Robin calls George from Malvina on Broadway and Coast Road, in front of a hardware store.

  • 12 girls comprise the SV diving team.

  • The championship is delayed because one of the judges is running late. No one, except maybe George, is happy about this.

  • Karen Doyle is a random member of the diving team.

  • Robin's first dive: forward somersault in the pike position. Scores: 7.5, 7.5, 8.25, 7.5

  • Tracy gets three 9's on her first dive.

  • Robin's second dive: back somersaulted layout, scores: 9.5, 9.5, 9.0, 9.0, 9.5

  • Tracy's first dive off the platform [something with a swan dive] gets her: 9.7, 9.5, 9.7, 9.5, 9.25

  • Robin's first dive off the platform involves an arm stand takeoff. She gets a 9.8, 9.9, 9.8, 9.0, 9.5

  • Tracy's second to last dive: pushed off backward, with an inward double flip with a half twist in a layout position. Scores: 9.0, 9.0, 8.5, 8.0, 9.0

  • Robin's second to last: reverse two-and-a-half somersault, full twist. Scores: 9.5, 9.5, 10, 9.9, 10

  • Tracy's last dive involves two front rolls and she blows it with 9, 9, 8.75 scores.

  • Robin's last dive is a flying forward two-and-a-half somersault pike, half-twist. Scores: 10, 9.5, 10, 10, 10

  • There's a celebratory picnic at Robin's after the meet.



Quotes:

  "Don't worry. Every time I go to diving practice and see myself in a bathing suit, I say, 'Don't eat-don't eat.' So far it's worked."
  Annie smiled. - Annie, when Robin takes her anorexic turn later, dude, I'm placing part of the blame on you! p. 10

  If there was one thing Jessica loved, it was driving with the top down! - Dude, not making this up. p. 12

  So it was equally obvious that although she had no ear for music, sang off-key, and had never wanted to learn to play an instrument, Jessica had to become a serious musician. It was as simple as that. - Oh, really? p. 19

  She'd get herself a recorder, an instruction book, and by the end of the week, she'd be a virtuoso. No problem. - A lack of confidence will never be Jessica's problem. p. 20

  "I wouldn't be surprised if you tell Lila exactly when to call every night so you can get out of the dishes!"
  "I don't," her twin replied. "But that sure is a good idea!" - Liz, don't give her more helpful hints on how to weasel out of housework! Bad twin, bad! p. 29

  In a flash Robin realized that she was being sacrificed for a new kitchen! - Sad but true. p. 44

  She felt a bit light-headed from blowing so much. - I amuse easily, Liz. p 74

  And she forced herself not to think about how terribly her sister played. - p. 77

  It didn't take a trained musician to tell that Jessica was really awful. In Jessica's hands, the recorder sounded like the death agonies of a sacrificial victim. - Way to encourage Jessica there, Liz. p79

   Not a chance! she retorted silently. No long distance relationships for me! Especially one where I take second place to a piano! I don't care how gorgeous you are!
   She glanced casually at her watch. "Oh, look at the time! It's five-thirty, time for me to go. I'm feeling much better now, and I have a date tonight- with my boyfriend," she added quickly, hoping squelch any hopes Alex had for their getting together.- All this mere seconds after he's declared his love. Aww, Jess. p114


137:

   "Cheerleading was a total disaster scene today. I swear, Robin was acting like the world was about to explode into a hundred and thirty-seven million pieces. She kept messing up, screaming at Annie-" p 103

  Her twin gave her a steady look. "Right, Liz. You're just a hundred and thirty-seven times better than I am." p116/117

Decisions English Covers


  This book made me giggle the first time I re-read it as a semi-adult because one of my best friends went to SL. And dude, I can safely say that Robin would not have fit in. In fact, trying to picture her there [and it's a lovely campus, or at least it was when I visited] makes my head explode. Maybe because said friend's first fantastical story about her college life there involved this little exchange at a party.
"So how many of you are new?"
*hands raise*
"And how many of you are gay?"
*half the hands drop, if that many, and quite a few of the non-newbies raise hand*
"Don't worry! Next semester when I ask that question that answer will change!"


   Total. Awesome. Win.

   Robin shouldn't actually have a problem acquiring a decent amount of financial aid. She's smart enough to opt in early at SLC and it's been mentioned many times that Robin is actually REALLY smart, because y'know, fat people have to be smart or funny, and Robin ain't all that funny. She's a gifted writer [hopefully not in the same way Liz is gifted], she's got an interest in computers that is never really explored in this book, but is frequently mentioned and at a time when not a lot of girls even gave half a thought to technology. She's athletic due to her cheerleading [good enough to vault right into being co-captain, guys, and you know how seriously SVH takes their cheerleading] and her diving. That it takes the entire book for that to come into play drives me batty every time I read the blasted thing.

   On the other hand, for all I mocked Elizabeth, I did a similar trick, only mine involved a flute and my little brother's foray into band. That ended quickly when he rediscovered jock genes and the flute went away before I could find out if I was just delusional or any good. I know, I could've picked it up myself, but come on. Even an eighth grade geek has her pride.

   I leave you with two things to ponder. One, and most important, how much does it suck to be Tracy King? She's competing against Robin and must be almost as good, yet EVERYONE there is either attributed to the lesser divers or is there to cheer Robin on to victory. Why can't Tracy get some love too? And then I think of all the other kids who are pitted against the stars of the SV world, and they have to exist, and how much they get shoved to the side. And then I wonder if there's a fanfic involving the outcasts and how they really view the popular kids... *muse* Anyway, I was cheering for you, Tracy. Next time, try not to buckle under the pressure, k? We'll get 'em next time.

   And the second: Bottom line, you should read Decisions for the return of 137 and for Jessica's miraculous recovery. Seriously. It's classic. It's epic. It's better than you want to imagine. Go on. I've got time.

Decisions Non-English covers
the_oracle: (amy thinks)
Out of Control
March 1987

Will Aaron Dallas destroy Elizabeth and Jeffrey's happiness?

Mad at the world...



   Aaron Dallas, the handsome co-captain of the Sweet Valley High soccer team, used to be friendly and likable. But suddenly he's changed. He explodes whenever the smallest thing goes wrong, and lashed out at everyone, including his teammates and his girlfriend, Heather.
   Elizabeth Wakefield is concerned about the change in Aaron. Her boyfriend, Jeffrey French, is Aaron's best friend. Jeffrey keeps making excuses for Aaron, and Elizabeth can't persuade him that his best friend really needs help-until Jeffrey himself becomes the target of Aaron's rage.

   Earlier SVH books weren't so obvious in their Liz-bitchery, but ohmylord, did I want to smack Liz something awful each time she appeared. In fact, I remember wanting to do the same thing as a kid, and as a kid I was pretty good at swallowing the special-of-the-week messages without over thinking things. If you have Liz issues, don't bother with this. Have someone clip together the Liz-pain moments and focus on the Jessica sub-plot and have some Excedrin at the ready for those moments when the two stories intersect. Save yourself the pain!

  For those who don't remember, Jeffrey French and Aaron Dallas are best friends. Because dating a Wakefield gives you instant status, the soccer team is thrust into the spotlight, mostly because they have an honest to god chance of winning this year. Most of that is due to Aaron Dallas, which is a bit of a change, a Wakefield not dating the star and all... Um, anyway. Thing is, lately [as in, since the last book] Aaron's been acting like a total asshole to everyone. It's so bad I would be afraid to sneeze near the guy for fear of setting him off. Well, not quite that bad, but anyone who gets in his personal space and isn't Jeffrey is asking for a beat down. Seriously, I think he's got his personal space bubble up and there's a sign that no one can read that says, "If you cross this threshold, you authorize me to kick your ass. Repeatedly." Ballsy move, Dallas. Nothing makes friends happier than the threat of abuse.
  Two seconds in we find that while Liz liked the old Aaron, she finds new testosterone laden Aaron a burden and wishes Jeffrey would just stop hanging out with a loser with such awful anger management issues. The sad thing is she says as much. Repeatedly. If she actually used those words, it would have been awesome, but she comes close. Thing is, if Enid were acting like Aaron, Liz would be super glued to Enid's side and ANYONE who said a damn thing would suffer a look from Liz that would wither their insides. But the moment Aaron becomes difficult, Elizabeth says to hell with helping a friend, spend more time with me. Jeffrey politely tells her that Aaron is going through a rough time and needs his friends, and never once does he bitchily ask her to be more considerate or to use some of her infamous compassion for his BEST [and, truthfully, only] friend. He does ask the first, but without the bitch attitude Todd would have used. [I love you, Todd!]

  Liz doesn't though. Every time Aaron appears, you know she's got her bitch!face on. Aaron doesn't seem to mind, as she's his best friend's girlfriend as well as an old friend. Also, he's not always an asshole. Just... a lot of the time. And then... there's Heather. Heather is Aaron's sophomore girlfriend who Liz doesn't know but still can't stand. When Jeffrey wants to double-date with them instead of, I dunno, Jess or Enid and their date of the week, Liz nearly dies from having to spend time at the movies with them. That's right. Not dinner, but a movie. Why? Because of Aaron's aforementioned issues and Heather's adoration of Aaron and her interest in fashion.

   Take a moment.
   Let that sink in.
   I've got time.

  Right. Two excellent reasons to dislike someone. They like their boyfriend and they're interested in fashion. *eyes roll out of sockets* Anyway, to be fair, Heather sounds a bit dim, but she's also a year younger and she's thrown into a situation where she feels she has to impress Liz, and lest we forget, Liz is Popular. So, naturally, Heather trips all over herself and goes down in flames. She does what a thousand other people have done before, told Liz her life story in the five minutes they're left alone, but this time Liz thinks, "This is weird..." When Heather tries to find out what Liz would like to be when she grows up, or maybe even what her favorite ice cream is [Liz hasn't been paying attention, so we don't know for sure], Liz says, "I'm a private person, Heather..." Or, in teenage girl: "Fuck off, skank." Heather realizes Liz doesn't like her, and lets things die until Aaron blows up. Jeffrey brings him back to the table and Heather does what Jeffrey cannot. She calms him down, but her methods freak everyone in the immediate vicinity out. Baby talk. Liz and Jeffrey can't get out of there fast enough. Later we learn that the baby talk is because Aaron thinks it's cute and hey, it had the intended effect. Aaron stopped trying to kill people. Suck it, Liz. Your job has been outsourced.

  Plots collide! Reading the previous book, you realize Jessica's going to do one of her get rich schemes any second now. Sure enough, this is the book. The best get rich of them all. Tofu-Glo. Jess joins the Tofu-Glo cult and they send her twelve boxes of crap, all for the low-low price of $150. She has most of it, but has to borrow the last fifty from Liz. Where'd she get the hundred to begin with? Money burns a hole in Jessica's mind, let alone in her pocket... Anyway, Jessica has a big Tupperware Tofu-Glo party and invites all her friends, and Elizabeth's [that'd be Enid, folks], and when Heather calls for some unknown reason, there's an incredibly cute scene where Jess tells Liz to invite Heather, and Liz says no, and Jessica pleads... and it's my favorite moment of the whole book. Anyway, Heather comes along and the party's a hit, but Jessica foolishly offers a money back guarantee, which is the exact moment you know the stuff's going to end up being no good. Until then you just suspected, but the moment you realize she ad-libbed that, you knew Jessica was sunk. Heather leaves and Liz mentions the baby talk and then recreates the moment and all the girls laugh. Even Enid is amused, although she seems a bit freaked out that Liz is being such a true PBA member. You know, stabbing someone else in the back. Liz feels bad, but not bad enough to not think an extremely bitchy thought as she excuses herself from the mess she's made. I was always painfully disappointed that Heather never found out about Elizabeth's impression immediately following it's debut , because, let's be honest, teenage girls would spread that shit around so fast heads would spin. When she does find out, she does a perfect imitation of Elizabeth's Eyes and Ears column, only hers sounds far more interesting than the real one. :P
  Blah, blah, Liz ends up writing some story on the soccer practice where Aaron conveniently loses his marbles and tackles a teammate [to which no one tells him wrong sport] and beats him up. Or punches him but good. Whatever. Who's telling this story anyway? Liz is faced with a choice. Does she write the article and mention that maybe tensions are running a smidge high, or does she totally out Aaron's anger issues and make him seem like he needs therapy, which he totally does. Duh, she goes for the sensationalism under the guise that it's news and news must be shared!
  Personally, I don't know whether to smack her or just hold my head in pain. On the one hand, I can see how tempting it would be to go ahead with the Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But The Truth. On the other hand, um, by now you know Aaron's mother cheated on his father and is moving to New York to be with her other man, and that the boy has anger management issues, and he's Jeffrey's best friend, and oh yeah, the paper won't be out until next week so this is something where a throwaway comment at best would work, not to make it the focus of the article. And yet, that's how it's received. While she expects Aaron to be pissed, she doesn't seem to expect Jeffrey to be as upset as he is.
  Again I say if it were Enid and not Aaron, Liz would have castrated Jeffrey. Some might argue that she already has.
  Aaron flips out, Jeffrey's pissed, and yet... somehow Jeffrey is swayed to Elizabeth's side. Heather says she agrees with Liz, who is floored, and then realizes that Heather and she have a lot more in common than she thought. Why, because she agrees that Aaron's got issues? Or because she makes her own clothes? Because, last I checked, Liz doesn't make her own clothes or give half a damn about them to begin with. She wants to look nice, but not make a big effort. Heather has such a specific idea in her head that she's usually left with no recourse than to make her own stuff because nothing else will do. Um, how similar does this make the two? Liz just likes Heather taking her side, even if she'll never really tell Aaron this. My head has split by this point.

  Aaron punches Jeffrey and runs away in horror. Heather follows him and he tells her that his father hit him and she convinces him that he needs therapy so he'll be able to deal without hurting other people, and mostly so he won't be bleeding out emotionally. She's also sure Jeffrey will forgive Aaron, but Aaron's not so sure. "I haven't forgiven my father." Deep, man. We need something to distract us...
  Liz makes sure her pretty boy is still pretty and then fucking asks, "Do you think he was justified then?" FUCK OFF. There's a bit of a backtrack about how she's not happy about being right, but he just had his teeth rattled by his best friend because he stuck up for YOU when you kicked the guy for your journalistic needs that the gossip mill already doled out. *makes strangling motions*
  That didn't help distract me. Aaron comes back, he and Jeffrey kiss and make up and they offer to forget the whole thing. But we can't go down that road because this Very Important Book wouldn't work and also, everyone knows that if Aaron got into another fight after kicking Brad's ass, he'd be off the soccer team, so we need to race down to the drama. Aaron fully apologizes, is forced to apologize to Liz [yes, forced, and I feel that's unfair since he's entitled to be mad at the girl for being such a bitch towards him, just as she was entitled to think he was a complete headcase], and then Aaron's off to admit his misdeeds. Mrs. Green calls his father and after a lengthy chat with Coach Horner, it's decided that Aaron will speak to someone who specializes in divorce and after much promising, Aaron can play in the game, which they win. Naturally.
  Jessica comes out ahead, even after all her customers demand the refund she foolishly promised them when their product rots since Jessica didn't know to tell them to keep it in their fridge. Ned finds out that Tofo-Glo has been sued by people in Jessica's shoes, and as a result the company has to pay back their Tofo-Glo girls for the cost of the starter kit, plus any damages. Jessica somehow managed to come out ahead, even if it's not enough to buy a fur coat. Luck's got nothing on Jessica Wakefield.



Trivial Pursuit:

  • Jessica reads the Sweet Dreams romances. Which might explain why foreign editions of the SVH books tend to be almost identical to the SD books, although maybe that's just sneaky [effective] marketing.

  • If you want to be a Tofu-Glo girl, you need to send them $150 for their starter kit which will be about twelve giant boxes, and your UPS guy will come back later that night to throttle you for killing his back. Where's the Thriller edition about that?

  • More importantly, where exactly did Jessica come up with the original hundred bucks? Jessica should be in debt to her parents until we're 80, folks. There's no way she's got a spare hundred lying around. Do you think those stories of the cheerleaders and their locker room businesses are true?

  • I get that the powers that be really, really want to sync the SVH and new SVT series, but could we get any other story to be our "go read our wacky middle school hijinks tales right now, at a bookstore near you!" go-to BESIDES the Ms. Bramble, Jessica-dog sitting story? Please?

  • There's a moment [page 11 to be [precise] where Elizabeth 'teases' Enid and tells her that she had her chance with Jeffrey but that she blew it. That? Is really bitchy. I'd slap one of my friends for that, and not in that friendly sort of love-pat sort of way, but in an all out, "What the hell did you just say, bitch?" way.

  • The soccer team seems to consist of Tony Esteban, Jeffrey, Aaron Dallas, Michael Schmidt [the other co-captain besides Aaron], Brad Tomasi, and Coach Horner.

  • Aaron's mother cheated on his father and left her husband for a new guy who lives in New York. Despite hearing this tale of woe, Liz is painfully unsupportive.

  • Heather Sanford is a sophomore on a perpetual diet who makes most of her own clothes, not because she's poor [can't steal that staple from some other character, y'know] but because she has very distinct ideas of how she should dress and the labels just aren't sharing her vision. That's why she wants to go to a fashion institute after her stint at SVH. She's also got horrible timing when talking in movies.

  • A fur coat is the first item on Jessica's to buy when she's rich list.

  • Alice Wakefield sold cleaning products in college and remembers it to be fun. That'd be the drugs you were on, honey. Steve sold magazine subscriptions when he was in the Boy Scouts. Due to their trailblazing ways, Alice says it's cool for Jessica to be a Tofu-Glo girl. Ned is wary and decides to check out the T-G company.

  • Liz decides Heather is a shallow, vapid, fashion obsessed freak when Heather wants to discuss the costumes from the movie they just watched. Liz, when you see a period piece, even one that's obviously heavy on the romance, you're supposed to marvel at the intricate costumes before, during, and after the movie. It does the costume designers a disservice otherwise. You live with Jessica. You should know this. Quit being such a judgmental bitch.

  • Heather baby talks to Aaron when he's upset, which freaks both Elizabeth and Jeffrey out. Later Liz will do a spot-on impression and Heather will eventually hear about it, but she'll do an even better impression of Liz, but it won't be as cruel or, I dunno, behind her back. I only wish Heather didn't like Liz and later she'd pop up to kick Liz when she's on her way down. Sigh.

  • Jessica's first customer, after the impressionable gaggle of SVH girls, is Mrs. Bowen, who lives in Moonglow Terrace. Mrs. Bowen is a customer of Alice's and when Jessica invokes Mrs. Bowen's name on the rest of the neighbors, doors instantly open.

  • Thing is, Tofu-Glo has to be kept refrigerated because of the lack of preservatives/chemicals, and no one aside from possibly the Fowlers, Patmans, or Morrows would have enough fridge space for that much junk. When Jessica is asked if a customer can try the product, the skin cream smells horrible and will not rub in. Various other previous customers call later to detail the horrors of Tofu-Glo, including Cara, who cannot get the disgusting shampoo out of her hair and now her date with Steven is ruined. Upon hearing this, Alice asks if Jessica ever tried the products herself. Jess admits she hasn't, and then FOOLISHLY goes to use the same shampoo Cara just bitched about. At the end of her experiment, she's an oily skinned, gunked up hair, red faced mess who smells horrible. Because she's offered a money back guarantee, she's also fucked six ways to Sunday. This is a case where improv is a bad idea, kids. I hope you caught that Very Important Lesson.

  • Aaron beats the crap out of Brad Tomasi at soccer practice, and Liz happens to be there covering the practice for the Oracle [slow news week] and naturally she has to write the incident up.

  • Liz is surprised by how upset Jeffrey is, although she and Enid fully expect Aaron to be ready to kick her ass. Can we put this down as proof that the girl is insane?

  • Then again, maybe not, as Jeffrey does forgive awfully fast.

  • Mrs. Green is the guidance counselor, or at least one of them, at SVH.

  • It costs Jessica $65 to cart away the Tofo-Glo disaster.



Quotable SV:

  "He looks really great, Liz. I don't know how you always manage to get the cutest guy around, but you do."
  "Oh, you poor thing," Elizabeth said, teasing her. "Remember, you had your chance." When Jeffrey had first moved to town, Elizabeth concocted a scheme to fix Enid up with him. The plan had backfired, but Enid hadn't minded at all. It was still a good joke between them, though. - These are not real girls. I repeat, not real girls. p11

  "Oh, Dad! Do you think I'd get involved in something that wasn't completely legit?" Ned refuses to answer Jessica. Wise man. p25

  To her closest friends, Elizabeth was a great listener, and she was always willing to help out with any advice she could give. But that kind of soul baring from a casual acquaintance made her extremely uncomfortable. - Um, have you met Liz lately? p34


  " 'Soya-Soft cream is a revolution in skin care,' " she read, her voice assuming a dignified, professional tone. " 'Its totally naturally ingredients work in harmony to hydrate, tone, and rejuvenate the skin.' "
  "Will it make me look years younger?" Elizabeth asked.
  Jessica turned the jar over. "Are you kidding? You'll be fifteen again!" - Sometimes the very best parts of these books are the twins goofing around with one another. p44

  "As I said, the main active ingredient in each of these things is soybeans, the same stuff those chips are made of."
  "Does it taste the same?" Cara asked and giggled. She looked at the soy chip she had been nibbling.
  Jessica smirked at her friend. "Actually, Cara, I haven't eaten the shampoo. But go ahead and taste it if you want." - Win! p 56

  Elizabeth felt deeply ashamed of herself. It wasn't that she was afraid that Heather wound find out. The girl didn't seem to be very sensitive, and she probably wouldn't care. - How ashamed can you be, Liz, if you're still being a world class bitch about it in your own head? p63

  "And," he added, silencing Aaron's hot protest, "if you want to play in Thursday's game, you will enjoy being suspended." -Whoa, an adult with attitude. Marry me, coach? p73

  "Boy, are you asking for it. You really know how to win friends and influence people, as the saying goes. Do you think Aaron's going to strangle you or shoot you?" - Silly Enid, he'll beat her senseless. So, strangle, most likely. p94/95

  They were silent for a moment, feeling the newer, deeper love they shared. - All the goodwill you earned up til now, Ghosty? GONE. I'm still recovering from that horrible line. I might need medical assistance, it's so sugary sweet and diabetic coma inducing... p 115


  "He'll never forgive me for hitting him."
  "Of course he will, Aaron!"
  But he shook his head bitterly. "I've never forgiven my dad." - 116


  "What did E.W. say that made A.D. so mad? And they say J.F. avenged his ladylove with stern words. A bout of ferocious fisticuffs followed. I hear a certain serious student with the initials P.A. cut English class today. Also, this just in. E.R. was seen recently buying seven pints of pistachio ice cream at the Qwik Stop MiniMart. Do her friends know about this shocking addiction?" Heather was making up a fictitious item from Eyes and Ears, the gossip column Elizabeth wrote every week for The Oracle. And not only that, but the girl was mimicking Elizabeth's own voice and mannerisms perfectly. - Winner? Heather, p144/145



137's Triumphant Return:
  "It's totally natural and people go crazy for it. I bet I can sell a hundred and thirty-seven tons of the stuff." - Jessica's not too far off in her estimation of how much crap they're going to send her... p4

  "You're totally hopeless, you know that? A hundred and thirty-seven wild horses couldn't make you fetch." Aww, Prince Albert, if she mocks you, it means Jessica loves you. p39



   I managed to block out the Liz bitchery for the last decade and a half or so, focusing only on Aaron's anger management issues anytime I thought of the book. I wish I could go back to that blissful time because if it were possible to punch a fictional character, Liz would be dead. Hated, hated, hated her. The back of the book makes it sound like she's pushing for Aaron to get some yummy therapy. She's not. She's gunning for Jeffrey to drop Aaron. Also, Aaron would probably have gone after Jeffrey eventually, but had Elizabeth not painted herself a target and punched him where it hurt most, Jeffrey wouldn't have been up on the chopping block quite so early.

   On the other hand, the return of a hundred-and-thirty-seven! Obviously this was an old ghosty who didn't know times had changed. If not for that one super lame line, and the Liz bitchcraft, I might love them. Alas, it was not meant to be.

  For years I thought Aaron Dallas was blond, despite this evidence that he's a brunette. I blame years of SVT where he's a blond. I swear. At least on one cover, anyway. Jeffrey? Ain't all that cute here. Aaron, however...


As of this book, I desperately need a bitch!Liz icon.
the_oracle: (amy thinks)
Out of Control
March 1987

Will Aaron Dallas destroy Elizabeth and Jeffrey's happiness?

Mad at the world...



   Aaron Dallas, the handsome co-captain of the Sweet Valley High soccer team, used to be friendly and likable. But suddenly he's changed. He explodes whenever the smallest thing goes wrong, and lashed out at everyone, including his teammates and his girlfriend, Heather.
   Elizabeth Wakefield is concerned about the change in Aaron. Her boyfriend, Jeffrey French, is Aaron's best friend. Jeffrey keeps making excuses for Aaron, and Elizabeth can't persuade him that his best friend really needs help-until Jeffrey himself becomes the target of Aaron's rage.

   Earlier SVH books weren't so obvious in their Liz-bitchery, but ohmylord, did I want to smack Liz something awful each time she appeared. In fact, I remember wanting to do the same thing as a kid, and as a kid I was pretty good at swallowing the special-of-the-week messages without over thinking things. If you have Liz issues, don't bother with this. Have someone clip together the Liz-pain moments and focus on the Jessica sub-plot and have some Excedrin at the ready for those moments when the two stories intersect. Save yourself the pain!

  For those who don't remember, Jeffrey French and Aaron Dallas are best friends. Because dating a Wakefield gives you instant status, the soccer team is thrust into the spotlight, mostly because they have an honest to god chance of winning this year. Most of that is due to Aaron Dallas, which is a bit of a change, a Wakefield not dating the star and all... Um, anyway. Thing is, lately [as in, since the last book] Aaron's been acting like a total asshole to everyone. It's so bad I would be afraid to sneeze near the guy for fear of setting him off. Well, not quite that bad, but anyone who gets in his personal space and isn't Jeffrey is asking for a beat down. Seriously, I think he's got his personal space bubble up and there's a sign that no one can read that says, "If you cross this threshold, you authorize me to kick your ass. Repeatedly." Ballsy move, Dallas. Nothing makes friends happier than the threat of abuse.
  Two seconds in we find that while Liz liked the old Aaron, she finds new testosterone laden Aaron a burden and wishes Jeffrey would just stop hanging out with a loser with such awful anger management issues. The sad thing is she says as much. Repeatedly. If she actually used those words, it would have been awesome, but she comes close. Thing is, if Enid were acting like Aaron, Liz would be super glued to Enid's side and ANYONE who said a damn thing would suffer a look from Liz that would wither their insides. But the moment Aaron becomes difficult, Elizabeth says to hell with helping a friend, spend more time with me. Jeffrey politely tells her that Aaron is going through a rough time and needs his friends, and never once does he bitchily ask her to be more considerate or to use some of her infamous compassion for his BEST [and, truthfully, only] friend. He does ask the first, but without the bitch attitude Todd would have used. [I love you, Todd!]

  Liz doesn't though. Every time Aaron appears, you know she's got her bitch!face on. Aaron doesn't seem to mind, as she's his best friend's girlfriend as well as an old friend. Also, he's not always an asshole. Just... a lot of the time. And then... there's Heather. Heather is Aaron's sophomore girlfriend who Liz doesn't know but still can't stand. When Jeffrey wants to double-date with them instead of, I dunno, Jess or Enid and their date of the week, Liz nearly dies from having to spend time at the movies with them. That's right. Not dinner, but a movie. Why? Because of Aaron's aforementioned issues and Heather's adoration of Aaron and her interest in fashion.

   Take a moment.
   Let that sink in.
   I've got time.

  Right. Two excellent reasons to dislike someone. They like their boyfriend and they're interested in fashion. *eyes roll out of sockets* Anyway, to be fair, Heather sounds a bit dim, but she's also a year younger and she's thrown into a situation where she feels she has to impress Liz, and lest we forget, Liz is Popular. So, naturally, Heather trips all over herself and goes down in flames. She does what a thousand other people have done before, told Liz her life story in the five minutes they're left alone, but this time Liz thinks, "This is weird..." When Heather tries to find out what Liz would like to be when she grows up, or maybe even what her favorite ice cream is [Liz hasn't been paying attention, so we don't know for sure], Liz says, "I'm a private person, Heather..." Or, in teenage girl: "Fuck off, skank." Heather realizes Liz doesn't like her, and lets things die until Aaron blows up. Jeffrey brings him back to the table and Heather does what Jeffrey cannot. She calms him down, but her methods freak everyone in the immediate vicinity out. Baby talk. Liz and Jeffrey can't get out of there fast enough. Later we learn that the baby talk is because Aaron thinks it's cute and hey, it had the intended effect. Aaron stopped trying to kill people. Suck it, Liz. Your job has been outsourced.

  Plots collide! Reading the previous book, you realize Jessica's going to do one of her get rich schemes any second now. Sure enough, this is the book. The best get rich of them all. Tofu-Glo. Jess joins the Tofu-Glo cult and they send her twelve boxes of crap, all for the low-low price of $150. She has most of it, but has to borrow the last fifty from Liz. Where'd she get the hundred to begin with? Money burns a hole in Jessica's mind, let alone in her pocket... Anyway, Jessica has a big Tupperware Tofu-Glo party and invites all her friends, and Elizabeth's [that'd be Enid, folks], and when Heather calls for some unknown reason, there's an incredibly cute scene where Jess tells Liz to invite Heather, and Liz says no, and Jessica pleads... and it's my favorite moment of the whole book. Anyway, Heather comes along and the party's a hit, but Jessica foolishly offers a money back guarantee, which is the exact moment you know the stuff's going to end up being no good. Until then you just suspected, but the moment you realize she ad-libbed that, you knew Jessica was sunk. Heather leaves and Liz mentions the baby talk and then recreates the moment and all the girls laugh. Even Enid is amused, although she seems a bit freaked out that Liz is being such a true PBA member. You know, stabbing someone else in the back. Liz feels bad, but not bad enough to not think an extremely bitchy thought as she excuses herself from the mess she's made. I was always painfully disappointed that Heather never found out about Elizabeth's impression immediately following it's debut , because, let's be honest, teenage girls would spread that shit around so fast heads would spin. When she does find out, she does a perfect imitation of Elizabeth's Eyes and Ears column, only hers sounds far more interesting than the real one. :P
  Blah, blah, Liz ends up writing some story on the soccer practice where Aaron conveniently loses his marbles and tackles a teammate [to which no one tells him wrong sport] and beats him up. Or punches him but good. Whatever. Who's telling this story anyway? Liz is faced with a choice. Does she write the article and mention that maybe tensions are running a smidge high, or does she totally out Aaron's anger issues and make him seem like he needs therapy, which he totally does. Duh, she goes for the sensationalism under the guise that it's news and news must be shared!
  Personally, I don't know whether to smack her or just hold my head in pain. On the one hand, I can see how tempting it would be to go ahead with the Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But The Truth. On the other hand, um, by now you know Aaron's mother cheated on his father and is moving to New York to be with her other man, and that the boy has anger management issues, and he's Jeffrey's best friend, and oh yeah, the paper won't be out until next week so this is something where a throwaway comment at best would work, not to make it the focus of the article. And yet, that's how it's received. While she expects Aaron to be pissed, she doesn't seem to expect Jeffrey to be as upset as he is.
  Again I say if it were Enid and not Aaron, Liz would have castrated Jeffrey. Some might argue that she already has.
  Aaron flips out, Jeffrey's pissed, and yet... somehow Jeffrey is swayed to Elizabeth's side. Heather says she agrees with Liz, who is floored, and then realizes that Heather and she have a lot more in common than she thought. Why, because she agrees that Aaron's got issues? Or because she makes her own clothes? Because, last I checked, Liz doesn't make her own clothes or give half a damn about them to begin with. She wants to look nice, but not make a big effort. Heather has such a specific idea in her head that she's usually left with no recourse than to make her own stuff because nothing else will do. Um, how similar does this make the two? Liz just likes Heather taking her side, even if she'll never really tell Aaron this. My head has split by this point.

  Aaron punches Jeffrey and runs away in horror. Heather follows him and he tells her that his father hit him and she convinces him that he needs therapy so he'll be able to deal without hurting other people, and mostly so he won't be bleeding out emotionally. She's also sure Jeffrey will forgive Aaron, but Aaron's not so sure. "I haven't forgiven my father." Deep, man. We need something to distract us...
  Liz makes sure her pretty boy is still pretty and then fucking asks, "Do you think he was justified then?" FUCK OFF. There's a bit of a backtrack about how she's not happy about being right, but he just had his teeth rattled by his best friend because he stuck up for YOU when you kicked the guy for your journalistic needs that the gossip mill already doled out. *makes strangling motions*
  That didn't help distract me. Aaron comes back, he and Jeffrey kiss and make up and they offer to forget the whole thing. But we can't go down that road because this Very Important Book wouldn't work and also, everyone knows that if Aaron got into another fight after kicking Brad's ass, he'd be off the soccer team, so we need to race down to the drama. Aaron fully apologizes, is forced to apologize to Liz [yes, forced, and I feel that's unfair since he's entitled to be mad at the girl for being such a bitch towards him, just as she was entitled to think he was a complete headcase], and then Aaron's off to admit his misdeeds. Mrs. Green calls his father and after a lengthy chat with Coach Horner, it's decided that Aaron will speak to someone who specializes in divorce and after much promising, Aaron can play in the game, which they win. Naturally.
  Jessica comes out ahead, even after all her customers demand the refund she foolishly promised them when their product rots since Jessica didn't know to tell them to keep it in their fridge. Ned finds out that Tofo-Glo has been sued by people in Jessica's shoes, and as a result the company has to pay back their Tofo-Glo girls for the cost of the starter kit, plus any damages. Jessica somehow managed to come out ahead, even if it's not enough to buy a fur coat. Luck's got nothing on Jessica Wakefield.



Trivial Pursuit:

  • Jessica reads the Sweet Dreams romances. Which might explain why foreign editions of the SVH books tend to be almost identical to the SD books, although maybe that's just sneaky [effective] marketing.

  • If you want to be a Tofu-Glo girl, you need to send them $150 for their starter kit which will be about twelve giant boxes, and your UPS guy will come back later that night to throttle you for killing his back. Where's the Thriller edition about that?

  • More importantly, where exactly did Jessica come up with the original hundred bucks? Jessica should be in debt to her parents until we're 80, folks. There's no way she's got a spare hundred lying around. Do you think those stories of the cheerleaders and their locker room businesses are true?

  • I get that the powers that be really, really want to sync the SVH and new SVT series, but could we get any other story to be our "go read our wacky middle school hijinks tales right now, at a bookstore near you!" go-to BESIDES the Ms. Bramble, Jessica-dog sitting story? Please?

  • There's a moment [page 11 to be [precise] where Elizabeth 'teases' Enid and tells her that she had her chance with Jeffrey but that she blew it. That? Is really bitchy. I'd slap one of my friends for that, and not in that friendly sort of love-pat sort of way, but in an all out, "What the hell did you just say, bitch?" way.

  • The soccer team seems to consist of Tony Esteban, Jeffrey, Aaron Dallas, Michael Schmidt [the other co-captain besides Aaron], Brad Tomasi, and Coach Horner.

  • Aaron's mother cheated on his father and left her husband for a new guy who lives in New York. Despite hearing this tale of woe, Liz is painfully unsupportive.

  • Heather Sanford is a sophomore on a perpetual diet who makes most of her own clothes, not because she's poor [can't steal that staple from some other character, y'know] but because she has very distinct ideas of how she should dress and the labels just aren't sharing her vision. That's why she wants to go to a fashion institute after her stint at SVH. She's also got horrible timing when talking in movies.

  • A fur coat is the first item on Jessica's to buy when she's rich list.

  • Alice Wakefield sold cleaning products in college and remembers it to be fun. That'd be the drugs you were on, honey. Steve sold magazine subscriptions when he was in the Boy Scouts. Due to their trailblazing ways, Alice says it's cool for Jessica to be a Tofu-Glo girl. Ned is wary and decides to check out the T-G company.

  • Liz decides Heather is a shallow, vapid, fashion obsessed freak when Heather wants to discuss the costumes from the movie they just watched. Liz, when you see a period piece, even one that's obviously heavy on the romance, you're supposed to marvel at the intricate costumes before, during, and after the movie. It does the costume designers a disservice otherwise. You live with Jessica. You should know this. Quit being such a judgmental bitch.

  • Heather baby talks to Aaron when he's upset, which freaks both Elizabeth and Jeffrey out. Later Liz will do a spot-on impression and Heather will eventually hear about it, but she'll do an even better impression of Liz, but it won't be as cruel or, I dunno, behind her back. I only wish Heather didn't like Liz and later she'd pop up to kick Liz when she's on her way down. Sigh.

  • Jessica's first customer, after the impressionable gaggle of SVH girls, is Mrs. Bowen, who lives in Moonglow Terrace. Mrs. Bowen is a customer of Alice's and when Jessica invokes Mrs. Bowen's name on the rest of the neighbors, doors instantly open.

  • Thing is, Tofu-Glo has to be kept refrigerated because of the lack of preservatives/chemicals, and no one aside from possibly the Fowlers, Patmans, or Morrows would have enough fridge space for that much junk. When Jessica is asked if a customer can try the product, the skin cream smells horrible and will not rub in. Various other previous customers call later to detail the horrors of Tofu-Glo, including Cara, who cannot get the disgusting shampoo out of her hair and now her date with Steven is ruined. Upon hearing this, Alice asks if Jessica ever tried the products herself. Jess admits she hasn't, and then FOOLISHLY goes to use the same shampoo Cara just bitched about. At the end of her experiment, she's an oily skinned, gunked up hair, red faced mess who smells horrible. Because she's offered a money back guarantee, she's also fucked six ways to Sunday. This is a case where improv is a bad idea, kids. I hope you caught that Very Important Lesson.

  • Aaron beats the crap out of Brad Tomasi at soccer practice, and Liz happens to be there covering the practice for the Oracle [slow news week] and naturally she has to write the incident up.

  • Liz is surprised by how upset Jeffrey is, although she and Enid fully expect Aaron to be ready to kick her ass. Can we put this down as proof that the girl is insane?

  • Then again, maybe not, as Jeffrey does forgive awfully fast.

  • Mrs. Green is the guidance counselor, or at least one of them, at SVH.

  • It costs Jessica $65 to cart away the Tofo-Glo disaster.



Quotable SV:

  "He looks really great, Liz. I don't know how you always manage to get the cutest guy around, but you do."
  "Oh, you poor thing," Elizabeth said, teasing her. "Remember, you had your chance." When Jeffrey had first moved to town, Elizabeth concocted a scheme to fix Enid up with him. The plan had backfired, but Enid hadn't minded at all. It was still a good joke between them, though. - These are not real girls. I repeat, not real girls. p11

  "Oh, Dad! Do you think I'd get involved in something that wasn't completely legit?" Ned refuses to answer Jessica. Wise man. p25

  To her closest friends, Elizabeth was a great listener, and she was always willing to help out with any advice she could give. But that kind of soul baring from a casual acquaintance made her extremely uncomfortable. - Um, have you met Liz lately? p34


  " 'Soya-Soft cream is a revolution in skin care,' " she read, her voice assuming a dignified, professional tone. " 'Its totally naturally ingredients work in harmony to hydrate, tone, and rejuvenate the skin.' "
  "Will it make me look years younger?" Elizabeth asked.
  Jessica turned the jar over. "Are you kidding? You'll be fifteen again!" - Sometimes the very best parts of these books are the twins goofing around with one another. p44

  "As I said, the main active ingredient in each of these things is soybeans, the same stuff those chips are made of."
  "Does it taste the same?" Cara asked and giggled. She looked at the soy chip she had been nibbling.
  Jessica smirked at her friend. "Actually, Cara, I haven't eaten the shampoo. But go ahead and taste it if you want." - Win! p 56

  Elizabeth felt deeply ashamed of herself. It wasn't that she was afraid that Heather wound find out. The girl didn't seem to be very sensitive, and she probably wouldn't care. - How ashamed can you be, Liz, if you're still being a world class bitch about it in your own head? p63

  "And," he added, silencing Aaron's hot protest, "if you want to play in Thursday's game, you will enjoy being suspended." -Whoa, an adult with attitude. Marry me, coach? p73

  "Boy, are you asking for it. You really know how to win friends and influence people, as the saying goes. Do you think Aaron's going to strangle you or shoot you?" - Silly Enid, he'll beat her senseless. So, strangle, most likely. p94/95

  They were silent for a moment, feeling the newer, deeper love they shared. - All the goodwill you earned up til now, Ghosty? GONE. I'm still recovering from that horrible line. I might need medical assistance, it's so sugary sweet and diabetic coma inducing... p 115


  "He'll never forgive me for hitting him."
  "Of course he will, Aaron!"
  But he shook his head bitterly. "I've never forgiven my dad." - 116


  "What did E.W. say that made A.D. so mad? And they say J.F. avenged his ladylove with stern words. A bout of ferocious fisticuffs followed. I hear a certain serious student with the initials P.A. cut English class today. Also, this just in. E.R. was seen recently buying seven pints of pistachio ice cream at the Qwik Stop MiniMart. Do her friends know about this shocking addiction?" Heather was making up a fictitious item from Eyes and Ears, the gossip column Elizabeth wrote every week for The Oracle. And not only that, but the girl was mimicking Elizabeth's own voice and mannerisms perfectly. - Winner? Heather, p144/145



137's Triumphant Return:
  "It's totally natural and people go crazy for it. I bet I can sell a hundred and thirty-seven tons of the stuff." - Jessica's not too far off in her estimation of how much crap they're going to send her... p4

  "You're totally hopeless, you know that? A hundred and thirty-seven wild horses couldn't make you fetch." Aww, Prince Albert, if she mocks you, it means Jessica loves you. p39



   I managed to block out the Liz bitchery for the last decade and a half or so, focusing only on Aaron's anger management issues anytime I thought of the book. I wish I could go back to that blissful time because if it were possible to punch a fictional character, Liz would be dead. Hated, hated, hated her. The back of the book makes it sound like she's pushing for Aaron to get some yummy therapy. She's not. She's gunning for Jeffrey to drop Aaron. Also, Aaron would probably have gone after Jeffrey eventually, but had Elizabeth not painted herself a target and punched him where it hurt most, Jeffrey wouldn't have been up on the chopping block quite so early.

   On the other hand, the return of a hundred-and-thirty-seven! Obviously this was an old ghosty who didn't know times had changed. If not for that one super lame line, and the Liz bitchcraft, I might love them. Alas, it was not meant to be.

  For years I thought Aaron Dallas was blond, despite this evidence that he's a brunette. I blame years of SVT where he's a blond. I swear. At least on one cover, anyway. Jeffrey? Ain't all that cute here. Aaron, however...


As of this book, I desperately need a bitch!Liz icon.
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Spring Break
April 1986


Bon voyage...



   Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are nearly bursting with excitement. Spring break has arrived, and the twins are off to the glamorous South of France! It's the vacation of a lifetime: Elizabeth can't wait to practice her French, but Jessica's dying to meet those romantic French boys.
   The Riviera turns out to be even more beautiful and wondrous than the twins had imagined, with its beach clubs, magnificent mansions, and the glittering Mediterranean Sea. But while the Frenchwoman with whom Jessica and Elizabeth is staying is a welcome hostess, her handsome son, Rene, is arrogant and rude. Can the twins figure out why Rene seems to despise them, or will he spoil their dream vacation?
   Share the magic of France with Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield. Take off for Spring Break!


  God, look at the cover. This has to be my least favorite of the Super Editions, strictly speaking about the covers. Liz is a little too into her brochure and Jessica is totally Rose [Golden Girls Rose] as a twenty-something. While you'd think crossing The Golden Girls and SVH would make me happier, it's just one of those covers that gets more unattractive each time you look at it. G'ah. Look away! Look away!

  Anyway, the twins [and various other students, like Lila] are off to France for a foreign exchange student swap. The kicker is that it's only for spring break. Hence the title. Mm, you're a quick one, aren't you? We begin our tale in the plane as the twins await takeoff. There's a fond look back at how uncomplicated seeing your loved ones used to be, prior to incidents that make it impossible for a true send-off these days. Sigh. Uh, if that was a little too vague, Liz waves, from the plane, to Steve, Alice, and Ned as they stand at the window, waving goodbye. Not that they can see her, Jessica points out. We haven't even reached the end of page one and Jess is already annoyed with her dorkier twin. Score!
  We learn that Jessica, fearless Jessica, is not all that fond of flying and loathes the "in case of emergency, lean over, put your head between your knees, and kiss your ass goodbye" spiel at the start of flights. Can't say I blame her. To distract her twin, Liz points out all the fun they'll have, and I admit, as a kid, this is the point where I was completely sucked in. Man, I wanted to go to France with them something awful. Sigh.
  Despite Jessica's best efforts to miss their flight by spending too much time in the "duty free shop" [a phrase I will forever giggle at without truly understanding why] during their layover in NYC, the girls eventually make it to France, where they run into Avery Glize, and her handsome but annoyingly insufferable son, Rene. Avery is a sweetheart, and due to her living in the U.S, as well as marrying an American, she speaks flawless English, as does Rene. When Jessica expresses her relief at not having to speak French every second of the day, Rene snaps at her, using the oldest cliche in the book. That Americans who travel abroad are rude, tactless slobs who expect everyone to speak English just to make their lives easier. Avery fusses at him in French, which mostly goes over Jessica's head and Liz can only keep up with a smidge of it. About the only thing they really make out is that Rene's really bitter about his father, though what this has to do with the price of American annoyance abroad, the twins know not.
  You, being smarter than a sixteen year old carbon copy from the Valley, will immediately presume that Avery's ex-husband was American and since he's so NOT in the picture anymore, left his family, and Rene resents him, and thus every American is immediately just like his father. Someone to be scorned. The twins, however, don't catch on for quite awhile. Sigh.
  Their first day, Avery makes them some really good food that the twins are too exhausted to truly appreciate, and they slink upstairs and promptly pass out until twilight. When Jessica awakes, she fusses at Liz for not waking her sooner, and then goes off to explore the house. Liz warns her not to snoop... after basically giving her the idea in the first place. LOGIC, Liz. Jess immediately stumbles across Rene's room and picks up a lucite picture cube. She admires the pictures until she comes across one that's off-center. She figures Rene's father has been cut out of the shot, and she's curious as to why, but flips the cube over and sees something so horrible she screams for her twin to haul her ass to Rene's room immediately. Only not in those exact words.
  There's a picture of Ferney, Rene's sister who is spending spring break at the Wakefield's home. Turns out that the redhead they couldn't really see in the photo the Glizes sent [what sense does that make if you're sending your kid? Wouldn't you want the people she'll be staying with to be able to pick her out of the people stumbling off the plane, especially if she doesn't freakin' speak English?] is the spitting image of Tricia Martin.
  Cue the falling glass, shattering on the floor, and horrified expressions. Except, y'know, for the shattering glass. But it would work, given the suspense and all.

  Ferney looks like Tricia, doesn't speak much English at all, and is quite happy to have a cute guy practically dote on her. Thing is, with the language barrier between then [Steve took Spanish, dontcha know] the two can't really communicate. So Steve thinks that Ferney loves science like Tricia, wants to be a scientist [like Tricia!] and is freakishly like his lost love. Part of him knows that as long as he can't truly communicate with her, he can go on believing things that aren't necessarily true. He can have illusions and who will it really hurt, huh?
  Cara Walker, you tool. Steve ignores Cara and she knows she's losing him to a girl who looks too much like his dead girlfriend, but what can she do? He won't talk to her and she's got some pride, too much to force him to leave Ferney's side for half a second. Poor girl can't even drown her sorrows in icecream, as she's got no appetite. She confesses her sorrows to Enid of all people, but Enid can't convince her to stand up and fight for Steven, since, come on, Ferney's obviously not the brightest bulb. Cara won't even try and that's that.
  Steve invites a friend of his, David, down to help translate things between Steve and Ferney. Within minutes Steven realizes that Ferney, while beautiful and nice enough, is a dim bulb. He wants depth, experience, something more interesting than "teehee, I like crepes. Teehee!"
  Shoulda thought of that before you fucked things up with Cara, eh? Once more we're treated to Steve calling someone [Cara] a "special person." Jesus, Steven, for someone who moped around for months, you're so not in touch with your emotional side. Can't you say she's special to you, or that, hell, she's a special girl? Something a little less generic than special person?
  After he realizes what an ass he's been, he grovels at Cara's feet and she forgives him, although those of you who've read Memories in the not too distant past will recognize a pattern. Steven's an ass, Cara says to hell with this, Steve realizes the error of his ways, apologizes, and Cara gives him an out, just in case he feels honor bound to try and work things out with her. Steve declines the out, they kiss, makeup, and he promises never to fall back under his dead girlfriend's spell. Dude, I think we've got at least two more books where this happens and then they ship Cara off to get some therapy of the retail variety in London.
  Basically, all's well that ends well.

   Back in France, Jessica meets Marc, a nice, rich guy who happens to be too short and not cute enough to truly satisfy Jessica. And while his parents are loaded and he takes her to the exclusive beach his parents have access to, basically it's filled with boring old people. The highlight of this seems to be Jessica deigning to go topless like most of the rest of the natives.
  Liz, on the other hand, gets the world's worst tour when Rene is brow-beaten into it by Avery. His friends Georges and Edouard are nice enough, and they explain the secret about Rene's father, and that Glize is Avery's maiden name. Thing is, as nice as they are, Rene is twice the ass as he's been the entire time. Poor Liz. She eventually stumbles across a cute German shepherd puppy and when she finds his name is Nykki and takes him home, she meets the Countess de Willenich. They chat about art, life, love... who knows. It actually sounds like a fantastic afternoon, and I agree with my younger self who would have been more than content taking Liz's place. Except for that part where I don't speak French. The Countess invites Liz back the following day, and to Jessica's horror, Liz accepts. While there, she runs into Jean-Claude, who happens to be the Countess' grandson. Quickly Liz realizes she's been set up, but doesn't mind because J-C is hot, charming, and doesn't speak English so well, so it gives Liz a perfect chance to work on her French. Yeah.
  It doesn't take Jessica long to realize J-C is the guy she'd much rather pal around France with. When Liz runs out to help Avery with a prescription delivery and doesn't make it back in time, Jessica steps in for her twin's date with J-C. J-C knows something is different about Liz, and not just that her French mysteriously sucks as much as his English does, but Jessica's afraid that if she comes clean, he'll want nothing to do with her. Unable to risk that, she lets him believe she's Liz. While he spent the previous day with the more sedate twin and didn't seem to try anything, it doesn't take long for day 2 to quickly turn romantic. Jess works fast.
  Liz's feelings are hurt when she thinks J-C is blowing her off, but she spends the day doing things she wants and things are okay once she finally gets to spend part of her day at the beach. I kid you not. Eventually Marc appears and Liz realizes that Jessica's been lying to her. It's not until Rene makes a snide comment that she realizes that Jess has snagged J-C for herself.
  Of course, this being SVH, something serious must happen to keep Jess from being killed by Liz. In this case, Jessica's gone off with J-C and is hours late getting back. There's a terrible storm and wouldn't it just figure this was the day the two had gone sailing? Liz convinces Rene to brave his fear of water [oh yeah, to make him perfectly damaged, Rene's best friend drowned a few summers ago, which is why he bites Liz's head off during their sucky tour after she suggests going to the beach.] and she overcomes her fear of mopeds [like motorcycles, only not] to speed off towards the deadly sea in order to save Jess and J-C.
  For a moment you might think things will end without that touch of melodrama, since Liz and Rene arrive in time to see Jess & J-C's little boat almost make it to shore... and then there's a wave, and Jess gets knocked overboard. Liz screams herself silly and dives into the ocean in an attempt to help J-C save Jessica. Rene appears in the water, everything is ginger peachy, and the day is saved thanks to the powerpuff girls.
  My favorite bit of this is not half an hour later, Jess is readying herself for a dinner date with J-C. Yup, near death means nothing by now, as Jess only has a few days left with her new boytoy. She confesses her real identity, he's totally okay with it, and Liz manages to not get ensnared in Jessica's sneaky word games. Oh, and Rene and Liz bond and the book ends with the promise that Liz and Rene totally sucked... face the entire rest of her spring break. Mmm...hmmm. She solved his water and his daddy issues. She's Super-cLiz!

Trivial:

  • This is Lila's third trip to France. Liz seems surprised that Lila's gone to France before at all. Uh, hello, I think we're told upon meeting Lila in the series that while her father travels the globe more than she does, Li does tag along. Thus France? Not outside the realm of possibility, Lizzie...

  • Jessica is not particularly fond of flying, nor is she fond of the "in case we should plummet to our apparent deaths, please follow these guidelines" speech at the start of each flight.

  • The twins are off to Cannes for ten days, although Jessica keeps insisting it's merely a week.

  • Their flight: 734 to Nice, France, via Kennedy International in NYC. 6 hours and 20 minutes to Kennedy, another 7 hours to France, but you get half an hour in NYC while the plane refuels.

  • The twins are staying with the Glize family, specifically Avery and Rene, while the youngest Glize, Ferney, spends the break in Sweet Valley.

  • Avery: slender [shock!], petite, fashionably short hair, nearly flawless English.

  • Rene: Almost 18 [as they keep repeating as opposed to saying he's 17], tall, fair haired, fan of the tight jeans, piercing green eyes, giant chip on his shoulder.

  • Ferney: See Tricia Martin.

  • Todd is mentioned! Repeatedly! When Liz is lonely, she imagines Todd has come to France with her and they're painting the town a nice respectable shade of red.

  • Lila's host family has an apartment in Paris, and a house in Normandy. Jessica speculates that Mr. Fowler paid handsomely for his princess to be put up in such nice digs. Jess is probably right.

  • The Glize's house: Whitewashed stone, surrounded by rows of silvery trees in a large orchard that leads to a sharp drop off [alo, cliff] and the Mediterranean Sea is visible. Balconies seem to abound.

  • The Droids seem to have tapes for sale, as Jessica listens to one on her Walkman during the flight to France.

  • Whatever movie the plane was showing, the twins had each seen it twice apiece, but when they attempted to make it a third go-round, they both passed out.

  • Jessica helps herself to those little soaps they have in the bathroom of the plane. Classy.

  • Avery drives a silver Peugeot.

  • On the plane, Liz wore a patterned sundress, Jess a black mini skirt and tank top.

  • Rene went to the Cannes film festival back in '86... possibly 85, depending on when the book was supposed to have taken place.

  • Ferney likes tennis, horse riding, science class, sailing, and giggling like a brain dead teenage girl.

  • Marc Marcheiller drives a silver Porsche, and his family also has a Rolls in zee garage.

  • Chuck Wollman: proof that Jessica dates short guys. Though she calls him "tiny", so um, maybe she meant something else entirely. Oh, dear.

  • Liz's "Before I die Leave France" list of sights: Boulevard de la Croisette, The Mont Chevalier Tower, the Castre Museum, THE BEACH.

  • Speaking of the beach, Jess goes topless at the beach Marc takes her to.

  • Liz figures out Rene's daddy issues by page 67. By then the rest of us already knew all about it.

  • Rene's friends are Georges and Edouard. Both have more tact in one afternoon than Rene has during the entirety of the twins' visit.

  • Glize is Avery's maiden name.

  • Rene embarrasses Elizabeth at a cafe when he flits about shrieking for the waiter, demanding ketchup for the table as they have an American at the table, and everyone knows all Americans smother their food in the filthy red stuff. Fuck you, Rene. I'd have backhanded him for that.

  • Elizabeth's journal is navy blue and cloth bound.

  • Nykki is a German Shepherd puppy who takes an instant liking to Liz, forcing her to return him to the Ville de Willenich where she promptly meets, and charms, the Countess de Willenich.

  • The Countess speaks six languages if you count sign language as it's own.

  • To thank Liz for bringing back Nykki, the Countess serves Liz half a glass of red wine, specifically the Chateau Marcelline, which is from a local vineyard.

  • Jean-Claude has sandy brown hair, large wide-set eyes, strong chiseled features, and is tall and tan. He doesn't speak'um the English too well, though.

  • Lila has the only hot tub in the Valley, but the Patmans did just get a new Swedish sauna out by the pool.

  • Liz partied with the stars at an L.A. club. It was "wild." Somehow I don't think '86 and '08 wild are the same thing.

  • French style, via the 1980's: tight jeans, heels, long bulky sweaters, and glittery scarves. Um, bulky sweaters aside, kinda sounds like your average pop-star.

  • J-C has a Citroen.

  • J-C & Liz went to the observatory and played boules, which Liz sucked at.

  • Rene was a summer lifeguard and raced on the Jr. team until the summer his best friend Antoine drowned while the two were out for a swim. Antoine called out for Rene's help, but Rene didn't hear until it was too late. For those playing along at home, that makes TWO chips on his shoulder. One for each side!

  • Cara likes vanilla swiss almond icecream. Except when she's heartbroken, then she just stirs it round and round.

  • Liz actually claims to be the non-meddlesome type.

  • No. Seriously, she does.

  • I'm not kidding.

  • Rene's father's name is Gordon, and he writes Rene a letter every month, which Rene throws away without even opening. Gordon has a good relationship with Ferney, yet, uh... how is it that they vacation together and Ferney doesn't know a damn bit of English?

  • When returning from the Ile Sante-Marguerite, J-C and Jessica run into a bit of a snag in the form of a particularly vicious storm.

  • Liz befriends Veronique Gallirere, whose father, Joseph, is a painter, and a fairly well known one at that. Veronique appears to be falling for Marc when last we see her.



Quotable:
"Well, I've heard that everybody over there speaks English anyway," Jessica replied. - Cuz who would speak French in France anyway? p3
"Don't worry. They'll find us. After all, how many pairs of beautiful blond twins do you see here?" - Jess does have a point, p22
"So tell me, what is it, then, about this guy that doesn't make him the one you want to be with this vacation? No, wait, don't tell me. He's rich, and he's nice. I guess that means he's not gorgeous enough to meet Jessica Wakefield's impeccable standards, right?" - Damn, does Liz know her twin or what? p53
"I know you think I'm like that, the kind of person to meddle in other people's business, but that's not true." - I'm sorry, what was that? Someone's full of it. Liz, p151


137:
   "Look, I've thanked you a hundred and thirty-seven times for pulling me out of there, and I appreciate your concern, but I'm absolutely fine." -Jess doesn't let a little bump on the head and near drowning get in the way of her quality time with a boy. p201






  For all that I mocked earlier, I really like most of this one. I could do without the rehash of the Tricia thing because it makes Steven look like a total asswipe and he never comes across as three dimensional, or hell, even two dimensional. Seriously, a special person. The hell is that, Steve?
  One thing I never did understand: Why didn't Jess invite Liz with her when Marc originally invites her out? Why did neither twin include the other in their plans? I don't get it. It's not like they were adverse to hanging out together, so why not actually hang out with the other one's new French-ified friends?
  Also, no matter how many times it's mentioned, I never think of Rene as blond. I wonder if that's just me.
  I'm also heartbroken that I couldn't find a single alternate cover... not even when they went letterbox as opposed to classic circle, baby. *weep*
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Spring Break
April 1986


Bon voyage...



   Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are nearly bursting with excitement. Spring break has arrived, and the twins are off to the glamorous South of France! It's the vacation of a lifetime: Elizabeth can't wait to practice her French, but Jessica's dying to meet those romantic French boys.
   The Riviera turns out to be even more beautiful and wondrous than the twins had imagined, with its beach clubs, magnificent mansions, and the glittering Mediterranean Sea. But while the Frenchwoman with whom Jessica and Elizabeth is staying is a welcome hostess, her handsome son, Rene, is arrogant and rude. Can the twins figure out why Rene seems to despise them, or will he spoil their dream vacation?
   Share the magic of France with Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield. Take off for Spring Break!


  God, look at the cover. This has to be my least favorite of the Super Editions, strictly speaking about the covers. Liz is a little too into her brochure and Jessica is totally Rose [Golden Girls Rose] as a twenty-something. While you'd think crossing The Golden Girls and SVH would make me happier, it's just one of those covers that gets more unattractive each time you look at it. G'ah. Look away! Look away!

  Anyway, the twins [and various other students, like Lila] are off to France for a foreign exchange student swap. The kicker is that it's only for spring break. Hence the title. Mm, you're a quick one, aren't you? We begin our tale in the plane as the twins await takeoff. There's a fond look back at how uncomplicated seeing your loved ones used to be, prior to incidents that make it impossible for a true send-off these days. Sigh. Uh, if that was a little too vague, Liz waves, from the plane, to Steve, Alice, and Ned as they stand at the window, waving goodbye. Not that they can see her, Jessica points out. We haven't even reached the end of page one and Jess is already annoyed with her dorkier twin. Score!
  We learn that Jessica, fearless Jessica, is not all that fond of flying and loathes the "in case of emergency, lean over, put your head between your knees, and kiss your ass goodbye" spiel at the start of flights. Can't say I blame her. To distract her twin, Liz points out all the fun they'll have, and I admit, as a kid, this is the point where I was completely sucked in. Man, I wanted to go to France with them something awful. Sigh.
  Despite Jessica's best efforts to miss their flight by spending too much time in the "duty free shop" [a phrase I will forever giggle at without truly understanding why] during their layover in NYC, the girls eventually make it to France, where they run into Avery Glize, and her handsome but annoyingly insufferable son, Rene. Avery is a sweetheart, and due to her living in the U.S, as well as marrying an American, she speaks flawless English, as does Rene. When Jessica expresses her relief at not having to speak French every second of the day, Rene snaps at her, using the oldest cliche in the book. That Americans who travel abroad are rude, tactless slobs who expect everyone to speak English just to make their lives easier. Avery fusses at him in French, which mostly goes over Jessica's head and Liz can only keep up with a smidge of it. About the only thing they really make out is that Rene's really bitter about his father, though what this has to do with the price of American annoyance abroad, the twins know not.
  You, being smarter than a sixteen year old carbon copy from the Valley, will immediately presume that Avery's ex-husband was American and since he's so NOT in the picture anymore, left his family, and Rene resents him, and thus every American is immediately just like his father. Someone to be scorned. The twins, however, don't catch on for quite awhile. Sigh.
  Their first day, Avery makes them some really good food that the twins are too exhausted to truly appreciate, and they slink upstairs and promptly pass out until twilight. When Jessica awakes, she fusses at Liz for not waking her sooner, and then goes off to explore the house. Liz warns her not to snoop... after basically giving her the idea in the first place. LOGIC, Liz. Jess immediately stumbles across Rene's room and picks up a lucite picture cube. She admires the pictures until she comes across one that's off-center. She figures Rene's father has been cut out of the shot, and she's curious as to why, but flips the cube over and sees something so horrible she screams for her twin to haul her ass to Rene's room immediately. Only not in those exact words.
  There's a picture of Ferney, Rene's sister who is spending spring break at the Wakefield's home. Turns out that the redhead they couldn't really see in the photo the Glizes sent [what sense does that make if you're sending your kid? Wouldn't you want the people she'll be staying with to be able to pick her out of the people stumbling off the plane, especially if she doesn't freakin' speak English?] is the spitting image of Tricia Martin.
  Cue the falling glass, shattering on the floor, and horrified expressions. Except, y'know, for the shattering glass. But it would work, given the suspense and all.

  Ferney looks like Tricia, doesn't speak much English at all, and is quite happy to have a cute guy practically dote on her. Thing is, with the language barrier between then [Steve took Spanish, dontcha know] the two can't really communicate. So Steve thinks that Ferney loves science like Tricia, wants to be a scientist [like Tricia!] and is freakishly like his lost love. Part of him knows that as long as he can't truly communicate with her, he can go on believing things that aren't necessarily true. He can have illusions and who will it really hurt, huh?
  Cara Walker, you tool. Steve ignores Cara and she knows she's losing him to a girl who looks too much like his dead girlfriend, but what can she do? He won't talk to her and she's got some pride, too much to force him to leave Ferney's side for half a second. Poor girl can't even drown her sorrows in icecream, as she's got no appetite. She confesses her sorrows to Enid of all people, but Enid can't convince her to stand up and fight for Steven, since, come on, Ferney's obviously not the brightest bulb. Cara won't even try and that's that.
  Steve invites a friend of his, David, down to help translate things between Steve and Ferney. Within minutes Steven realizes that Ferney, while beautiful and nice enough, is a dim bulb. He wants depth, experience, something more interesting than "teehee, I like crepes. Teehee!"
  Shoulda thought of that before you fucked things up with Cara, eh? Once more we're treated to Steve calling someone [Cara] a "special person." Jesus, Steven, for someone who moped around for months, you're so not in touch with your emotional side. Can't you say she's special to you, or that, hell, she's a special girl? Something a little less generic than special person?
  After he realizes what an ass he's been, he grovels at Cara's feet and she forgives him, although those of you who've read Memories in the not too distant past will recognize a pattern. Steven's an ass, Cara says to hell with this, Steve realizes the error of his ways, apologizes, and Cara gives him an out, just in case he feels honor bound to try and work things out with her. Steve declines the out, they kiss, makeup, and he promises never to fall back under his dead girlfriend's spell. Dude, I think we've got at least two more books where this happens and then they ship Cara off to get some therapy of the retail variety in London.
  Basically, all's well that ends well.

   Back in France, Jessica meets Marc, a nice, rich guy who happens to be too short and not cute enough to truly satisfy Jessica. And while his parents are loaded and he takes her to the exclusive beach his parents have access to, basically it's filled with boring old people. The highlight of this seems to be Jessica deigning to go topless like most of the rest of the natives.
  Liz, on the other hand, gets the world's worst tour when Rene is brow-beaten into it by Avery. His friends Georges and Edouard are nice enough, and they explain the secret about Rene's father, and that Glize is Avery's maiden name. Thing is, as nice as they are, Rene is twice the ass as he's been the entire time. Poor Liz. She eventually stumbles across a cute German shepherd puppy and when she finds his name is Nykki and takes him home, she meets the Countess de Willenich. They chat about art, life, love... who knows. It actually sounds like a fantastic afternoon, and I agree with my younger self who would have been more than content taking Liz's place. Except for that part where I don't speak French. The Countess invites Liz back the following day, and to Jessica's horror, Liz accepts. While there, she runs into Jean-Claude, who happens to be the Countess' grandson. Quickly Liz realizes she's been set up, but doesn't mind because J-C is hot, charming, and doesn't speak English so well, so it gives Liz a perfect chance to work on her French. Yeah.
  It doesn't take Jessica long to realize J-C is the guy she'd much rather pal around France with. When Liz runs out to help Avery with a prescription delivery and doesn't make it back in time, Jessica steps in for her twin's date with J-C. J-C knows something is different about Liz, and not just that her French mysteriously sucks as much as his English does, but Jessica's afraid that if she comes clean, he'll want nothing to do with her. Unable to risk that, she lets him believe she's Liz. While he spent the previous day with the more sedate twin and didn't seem to try anything, it doesn't take long for day 2 to quickly turn romantic. Jess works fast.
  Liz's feelings are hurt when she thinks J-C is blowing her off, but she spends the day doing things she wants and things are okay once she finally gets to spend part of her day at the beach. I kid you not. Eventually Marc appears and Liz realizes that Jessica's been lying to her. It's not until Rene makes a snide comment that she realizes that Jess has snagged J-C for herself.
  Of course, this being SVH, something serious must happen to keep Jess from being killed by Liz. In this case, Jessica's gone off with J-C and is hours late getting back. There's a terrible storm and wouldn't it just figure this was the day the two had gone sailing? Liz convinces Rene to brave his fear of water [oh yeah, to make him perfectly damaged, Rene's best friend drowned a few summers ago, which is why he bites Liz's head off during their sucky tour after she suggests going to the beach.] and she overcomes her fear of mopeds [like motorcycles, only not] to speed off towards the deadly sea in order to save Jess and J-C.
  For a moment you might think things will end without that touch of melodrama, since Liz and Rene arrive in time to see Jess & J-C's little boat almost make it to shore... and then there's a wave, and Jess gets knocked overboard. Liz screams herself silly and dives into the ocean in an attempt to help J-C save Jessica. Rene appears in the water, everything is ginger peachy, and the day is saved thanks to the powerpuff girls.
  My favorite bit of this is not half an hour later, Jess is readying herself for a dinner date with J-C. Yup, near death means nothing by now, as Jess only has a few days left with her new boytoy. She confesses her real identity, he's totally okay with it, and Liz manages to not get ensnared in Jessica's sneaky word games. Oh, and Rene and Liz bond and the book ends with the promise that Liz and Rene totally sucked... face the entire rest of her spring break. Mmm...hmmm. She solved his water and his daddy issues. She's Super-cLiz!

Trivial:

  • This is Lila's third trip to France. Liz seems surprised that Lila's gone to France before at all. Uh, hello, I think we're told upon meeting Lila in the series that while her father travels the globe more than she does, Li does tag along. Thus France? Not outside the realm of possibility, Lizzie...

  • Jessica is not particularly fond of flying, nor is she fond of the "in case we should plummet to our apparent deaths, please follow these guidelines" speech at the start of each flight.

  • The twins are off to Cannes for ten days, although Jessica keeps insisting it's merely a week.

  • Their flight: 734 to Nice, France, via Kennedy International in NYC. 6 hours and 20 minutes to Kennedy, another 7 hours to France, but you get half an hour in NYC while the plane refuels.

  • The twins are staying with the Glize family, specifically Avery and Rene, while the youngest Glize, Ferney, spends the break in Sweet Valley.

  • Avery: slender [shock!], petite, fashionably short hair, nearly flawless English.

  • Rene: Almost 18 [as they keep repeating as opposed to saying he's 17], tall, fair haired, fan of the tight jeans, piercing green eyes, giant chip on his shoulder.

  • Ferney: See Tricia Martin.

  • Todd is mentioned! Repeatedly! When Liz is lonely, she imagines Todd has come to France with her and they're painting the town a nice respectable shade of red.

  • Lila's host family has an apartment in Paris, and a house in Normandy. Jessica speculates that Mr. Fowler paid handsomely for his princess to be put up in such nice digs. Jess is probably right.

  • The Glize's house: Whitewashed stone, surrounded by rows of silvery trees in a large orchard that leads to a sharp drop off [alo, cliff] and the Mediterranean Sea is visible. Balconies seem to abound.

  • The Droids seem to have tapes for sale, as Jessica listens to one on her Walkman during the flight to France.

  • Whatever movie the plane was showing, the twins had each seen it twice apiece, but when they attempted to make it a third go-round, they both passed out.

  • Jessica helps herself to those little soaps they have in the bathroom of the plane. Classy.

  • Avery drives a silver Peugeot.

  • On the plane, Liz wore a patterned sundress, Jess a black mini skirt and tank top.

  • Rene went to the Cannes film festival back in '86... possibly 85, depending on when the book was supposed to have taken place.

  • Ferney likes tennis, horse riding, science class, sailing, and giggling like a brain dead teenage girl.

  • Marc Marcheiller drives a silver Porsche, and his family also has a Rolls in zee garage.

  • Chuck Wollman: proof that Jessica dates short guys. Though she calls him "tiny", so um, maybe she meant something else entirely. Oh, dear.

  • Liz's "Before I die Leave France" list of sights: Boulevard de la Croisette, The Mont Chevalier Tower, the Castre Museum, THE BEACH.

  • Speaking of the beach, Jess goes topless at the beach Marc takes her to.

  • Liz figures out Rene's daddy issues by page 67. By then the rest of us already knew all about it.

  • Rene's friends are Georges and Edouard. Both have more tact in one afternoon than Rene has during the entirety of the twins' visit.

  • Glize is Avery's maiden name.

  • Rene embarrasses Elizabeth at a cafe when he flits about shrieking for the waiter, demanding ketchup for the table as they have an American at the table, and everyone knows all Americans smother their food in the filthy red stuff. Fuck you, Rene. I'd have backhanded him for that.

  • Elizabeth's journal is navy blue and cloth bound.

  • Nykki is a German Shepherd puppy who takes an instant liking to Liz, forcing her to return him to the Ville de Willenich where she promptly meets, and charms, the Countess de Willenich.

  • The Countess speaks six languages if you count sign language as it's own.

  • To thank Liz for bringing back Nykki, the Countess serves Liz half a glass of red wine, specifically the Chateau Marcelline, which is from a local vineyard.

  • Jean-Claude has sandy brown hair, large wide-set eyes, strong chiseled features, and is tall and tan. He doesn't speak'um the English too well, though.

  • Lila has the only hot tub in the Valley, but the Patmans did just get a new Swedish sauna out by the pool.

  • Liz partied with the stars at an L.A. club. It was "wild." Somehow I don't think '86 and '08 wild are the same thing.

  • French style, via the 1980's: tight jeans, heels, long bulky sweaters, and glittery scarves. Um, bulky sweaters aside, kinda sounds like your average pop-star.

  • J-C has a Citroen.

  • J-C & Liz went to the observatory and played boules, which Liz sucked at.

  • Rene was a summer lifeguard and raced on the Jr. team until the summer his best friend Antoine drowned while the two were out for a swim. Antoine called out for Rene's help, but Rene didn't hear until it was too late. For those playing along at home, that makes TWO chips on his shoulder. One for each side!

  • Cara likes vanilla swiss almond icecream. Except when she's heartbroken, then she just stirs it round and round.

  • Liz actually claims to be the non-meddlesome type.

  • No. Seriously, she does.

  • I'm not kidding.

  • Rene's father's name is Gordon, and he writes Rene a letter every month, which Rene throws away without even opening. Gordon has a good relationship with Ferney, yet, uh... how is it that they vacation together and Ferney doesn't know a damn bit of English?

  • When returning from the Ile Sante-Marguerite, J-C and Jessica run into a bit of a snag in the form of a particularly vicious storm.

  • Liz befriends Veronique Gallirere, whose father, Joseph, is a painter, and a fairly well known one at that. Veronique appears to be falling for Marc when last we see her.



Quotable:
"Well, I've heard that everybody over there speaks English anyway," Jessica replied. - Cuz who would speak French in France anyway? p3
"Don't worry. They'll find us. After all, how many pairs of beautiful blond twins do you see here?" - Jess does have a point, p22
"So tell me, what is it, then, about this guy that doesn't make him the one you want to be with this vacation? No, wait, don't tell me. He's rich, and he's nice. I guess that means he's not gorgeous enough to meet Jessica Wakefield's impeccable standards, right?" - Damn, does Liz know her twin or what? p53
"I know you think I'm like that, the kind of person to meddle in other people's business, but that's not true." - I'm sorry, what was that? Someone's full of it. Liz, p151


137:
   "Look, I've thanked you a hundred and thirty-seven times for pulling me out of there, and I appreciate your concern, but I'm absolutely fine." -Jess doesn't let a little bump on the head and near drowning get in the way of her quality time with a boy. p201






  For all that I mocked earlier, I really like most of this one. I could do without the rehash of the Tricia thing because it makes Steven look like a total asswipe and he never comes across as three dimensional, or hell, even two dimensional. Seriously, a special person. The hell is that, Steve?
  One thing I never did understand: Why didn't Jess invite Liz with her when Marc originally invites her out? Why did neither twin include the other in their plans? I don't get it. It's not like they were adverse to hanging out together, so why not actually hang out with the other one's new French-ified friends?
  Also, no matter how many times it's mentioned, I never think of Rene as blond. I wonder if that's just me.
  I'm also heartbroken that I couldn't find a single alternate cover... not even when they went letterbox as opposed to classic circle, baby. *weep*
the_oracle: (yay)
Special Christmas
December, 1985



Deck the halls of Sweet Valley High...



   The Wakefield twins and their friends at Sweet Valley High are in festive spirits. It's Christmas vacation, the annual parade is just days away, secret Santas are busy making surprise gifts, and everyone's talking about the holiday dance at the Patmans' mansion. Jessica Wakefield is determined to be named Miss Christmastime, and Elizabeth is counting the days until she's reunited with her faraway boyfriend, Todd Wilkins.
   It seems nothing can spoil Jessica and Elizabeth's holiday-until Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield announce the arrival of an unwelcome houseguest. Now it looks as though this Christmas might be the worst ever!

   Catch the holiday spirit with Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield and the rest of the Sweet Valley gang. You'll never forget this Special Christmas!



   So, the card at the front of my copy of Special Christmas says it's due November 1st.

   1994.



   With that in mind, onward! Special Christmas is one of those books I actually really like in parts [Jessica's scheming] and hate in others [Suzy's redemption and the last fucking chapter or two] and they combine in a way that sort of requires a bottle of something should be kept handy, just in case. I like the Christmas SV books, even when they're crap. Let's be fair. This is no Evil Twin, or even The Evil Twin Returns. It sure as hell isn't The Magic Christmas, but it's not horrible.
   Except that last couple of chapters. Really, so bad, that if you have breakables around you, you should move to a nice windowless, padded room with nothing of interest at all prior to finishing the book.

   It's finally Christmas in the Valley and Liz has overdosed on Christmas spirit! She's so happy that you either want to smack her or join her as she runs around spreading Christmas cheer. I'm thinking smacking is the most likely reaction. Mr. Collins gives up trying to teach anyone anything on the last day of school, particularly the last class of the day before their big assembly where we'll run right into the first WTF moment. But before we get there, we find out that Todd is coming back for Christmas, and everyone is expecting a big lovey dovey reunion starring their favorite lovebirds, Liz and Todd. Liz is nervous because Todd's been gone for a few months and she's not sure how well they'll connect.
   Let's not dwell on that, as we head out to the assembly where the entire school is matched up as Secret Santas. Take a moment to let that wash over you. Go on. I've got time. My nails need filing anyway.

   You ready? Let's poke holes in that little scenario, shall we?
   The entire school, guys. What are the odds that you'll get someone you know's name? What are the odds? Can't you see the senior who gets the transfer freshman no one really knows and decides to blow it off? Hmm? At first I thought, well maybe they separate it by grade, but then part of my brain said, no, someone gets Bruce's name, and he's a senior so... Those unpopular kids are screwed six ways to Sunday. What about the Jewish kids? Or anyone who doesn't celebrate Christmas? Do they just shut the fuck up because it's the mid-eighties and we haven't gotten so PC yet?
   Also, Bruce's family is hosting the entire party for the entire school the following Friday. Ready for even more pain inducing logic? If Mr. C has given up teaching the day before vacation, that means the Secret Santas have to go out of their way during the first week of vacation to gift/spoil/surprise their lucky pick. What if your Secret Santa went on vacation?
   Silly me, no one actually leaves the Valley for the holiday. What was I thinking? Must stop overthinking.

   There's talk of Hans, the hot German exchange student that Jessica has her eye on. The twins are dressed matchy matchy because they're going to surprise their parents with a picture of themselves all grown up to pair up with the one of them from when they were younger. This is cute enough, but I keep thinking of the one picture I distinctly remember of my brother and I all dressed up and we're in [relatively] sedate Hawaiian shirts. I'm not thinking I want to revisit that look, plus we'd have to bleach our hair, and that's painful...
   Anyway, Liz is all excited because the Secret Santas will be awesome, even if she knows for a fact that Hans doesn't have Jessica's name [as Jessica not so secretly hopes] but has Lila's instead. And then Steven comes home. Before the twins can die of joy, Steve announces their parents have obviously been kidnapped and replaced by clones because they've finally lost their damn minds. Seems someone told Suzanne Devlin she could come back to the Valley. You remember Suzy, don't you? Accused Mr. C of rape and that was the highlight of her visit? Freakout ensues. Finally Steve and Liz say maybe they'll just talk to their parents, convince them they're insane and that Suzy should not be allowed back in SV. Really. Ever. It's for the best.
   So they try, but Jessica's overly melodramatic and things go south. Quickly. Ned and Alice refuse to back down, offering up cryptic answers when asked why Suzy is so desperate to make amends now, or why Mr. Collins would ever forgive the skank, or much of anything at all. By now, you've realized Suzy is obviously deathly ill or something along those lines, because you're not an idiot and there's nothing subtle here. For whatever reason, Alice decides that Jess should clean her room and they'll stick Suzy there again. Maybe because she's familiar with it, maybe just to get Jess to clean. I dunno. My parents would have just had whichever one of us had the cleaner room move out, and the two of us would have killed one another. Luckily it never came to that.
   Anyway, Todd appears and Suzy appears and it's all kinds of awkward. Todd and Liz have no time to themselves because Ken [Todd's staying with Ken this time] has organized a huge welcome back party that rages on until 2am. Rock on, Ken. Rock on. Todd actually gets surprisingly little play, but the Todd/Liz long distance thing gets plenty of airtime, which is... odd. We're told Todd has been gone for months on end by this point, and we've officially just said to hell with any time line at all.
   The second Suzy appears on the scene, she's a disarming mix of beautifully tragic and actually sweet mixed in with the memory of how she played everyone last time. Only... there's no hint of bitchcraft this go round. None. But she does freak people out. She's Posh-Spice Skinny. She's beyond pale. She's got the shakes, she has headaches, she takes naps all the time, oh, and she pops pills like they're candy. So Jess deduces that Suzy is a druggie.
   Yes. Jessica tries to keep Suzy away from SV by having Liz call and try to dissuade her by pointing out that everyone is still awfully sore about last time. No luck. So she works out a plan with her siblings to be icy cold towards Devilish Devlin. When Steve thaws [wuss!] she enlists Aaron and Winston to be super mean Secret Santas, although she does have to lie to get them to help. They send her mean notes, empty packages, and Suzy realizes no one wants her there. However, this is where the big flaw in Jessica's plan appears. Suzy decides to ask Aaron to lunch to apologize to him. Jess convinces Aaron to tell her, gosh he's sorry, but he's booked all week, maybe she'd like to go to a little get together at his cousin's house prior to Bruce's big party, but don't tell the twins since they can't come? And Suze is thrilled, so she says yes. If Aaron hadn't done that, at Jessica's bidding, Suze would have left already. D'oh!

   There's a bunch of little stuff about the Secret Santas mixed in with Liz angsting over her feelings, or lack thereof, towards Todd. Olivia is serenaded by the boy's swim team, clad in their bathing suits and towels, at the DB. Jessica gets a lovely tiny musical jewelry box that plays Fur Elise, so she's sure Hans is her SS. There's Jessica taking over for Cara as an elf at the mall with Santa. She only agrees because she thinks she'll be there for a couple of hours, max, but Santa tells her she's it until the day is over at 5pm. Thing is, Jess has to be at the Civic Center for the Miss Christmastime pageant, and wouldn't you know that Lila set the whole thing up? Cara wasn't sick, but she didn't know Jess would be stuck there, either. Gasp! Jess vows revenge. She's going to trick Lila into having to dress up like an elf for the parade the next week, and Jessica will be wearing that crown and looking lovely on the Miss Christmastime float. Or something. She plots a bit throughout the rest of the book, but we don't find out how she tricks Li.
   Lila lovers, that's about as good as you'll get since Li spends most of the book at La Venue getting her thighs toned. Yes. Seriously.

   We find out that back in Vermont, Todd ran into Suzy about a month ago while skiing. They hit it off, and Todd realized he sort of thought of kissing her, but then she started asking about Liz and the moment was over. Todd doesn't tell Liz when she informs him of Suzy's arrival, so he has to get Suzy not to spill the beans. Thing is, Jess overhears and decides that Suzy only deigned to visit because she wanted to hook up with Todd, and that the two had planned this behind Liz's back.
   By now a few things are painfully obvious:
   Todd's got a thing for Suzy. Suzy's really got a thing for Todd. Liz doesn't have a thing for Todd. Todd may or may not still feel something for Liz, but he really wants a shot at Suze. I... really don't give a damn at this point, which is unusual, because you'd think I'd be all over this. Not so.
   We somehow find our way to Friday, and Suzy's got some new pills imported from her doc in NYC. She gets ready, looks loverly and channeling Tricia's Victorian look from book 12, proceeds to valiantly drive off into the ether, content to die for the sins of Jessica Wakefield. *yawn* See, Aaron calls, tells Suzy he's got a flat, she should borrow a car from the Wakefields [they've got at least four, after all] and meet him at the house on Forrest Lane. We know this is a trick, that the house has been abandoned for awhile and is quite possibly haunted. Dunno. Don't care. Suzy takes off after a glass of champagne and I do wonder why the Wakefields keep giving their kids and their kids' friends wine/champagne before letting them drive. Do they have fantastic life insurance policies or something?
   Suzy heads off in the Fiat and mere seconds later Mr. & Mrs. Wakefield return from their drinks at the Beckwiths. Dr. Harrison, Suzy's NYC doc calls and it's basically, "OMG! If she even looks at this bottle after taking those meds, she'll DIE! How could you let her go off even though we haven't told you what the fuck is going on? How could you?" To which they all crumble. Right. Yes. The kids tell you they don't want the girl around, you force her on them, you leave the booze and tell the kids to have some, but when Suzy drives off after a glass, it's the kids' fault for not using their psychic abilities to know the drug interaction would be bad, even though they didn't know she was taking anything. They just suspected.
   My brain. She screams in agony from this point onward.
   Suze does her drunk driving impression in front of some cops, and when she flips the Fiat, they're right there to take her to the hospital. Jess gets screamed at for engineering the horrible Secret Santa pranks, and we drive off to the haunted house, only to find no trace of Suze. They call around and find her in the hospital and everyone heads that way. We find out that Suze has MS, and gosh, she might end up in a wheelchair! No wonder she's found God apologizing for being a royal bitch before. Um, okay. I guess.
   Todd is all frantic and everyone realizes he's got a thing for Suzy, but the best part of this is Jessica recognizing the look on his face. It's the same one he had when he thought he'd killed Liz back in book six/seven. I love that little bit of recognition, but hate just about everything else going on.
   Suze is fine, of course, but they're keeping her overnight and then for however longer for observation and to run a battery of tests. Fun times. Jessica accuses Todd and Suzy of sneaking around, Todd sets the record straight, and Liz finds she cares surprisingly little.
   They make it to Bruce's where they tell everyone about Suzy and her MS and I'm left to ponder, isn't that just what she DIDN'T want to happen? We find out that Winston is Jessica's Santa, and that Bill was Olivia's. Thrills! Todd and Liz chat and realize they're just friends and that the spark is gone. Liz totally lies and says she's not the jealous type [she is! they both are!] and all is well.
   Then Jess schemes a little and the next day at the hospital we find Suzy and Todd snuggling. Then there's a dramatic scene where the SV doctors have found that Suzy never had MS to begin with! She had mono and then a rare reaction to the drugs they've been giving her and that was what was making her sick! She's cured!
   I feel cheated because on House, then Foreman would show up and say she's dying because they goofed, or her eyes would bleed or something. Instead the boy's swim team appears again [with shirts that spell out merry Christmas, Suzy] to sing to Suzy. It's all perfectly perfect.
   And I throw the fucking book at the wall.

   The end.




Trivial:

  • For those playing the who has what class game, this go round we have English with Liz, John, and Olivia.

  • Mr. Collins has been voted Best Liked Teacher for a few years running. That category needs a new name. Immediately.

  • Liz and Jess get their portrait done at Hunt's Photography.

  • Secret Santa roundup: Jessica got Bruce, Winston got Jessica, Liz got Aaron, Hans got Lila [Liz had to point her out], and Bill got Olivia. No one else was worth mentioning, I guess.

  • Lila wins the title of Miss Christmastime, but Jessica somehow tricks her and gets Lila's spot on the float in the Christmas parade. Lila gets stuck in an elf suit with green paint on Santa's float.

  • Suzy's set to stay with the Wakefields for two weeks, the entirety of their winter vacation. How... thoughtful.

  • Various nicknames for Suzy include: Demolition Devlin, Devilface Devlin, Devilish Devlin, Devil May Care Devlin, Suzanne the Devil

  • Jessica never told Steven exactly what Suzy's boytoy did, or tried to do, when she was in NYC.

  • Liz considers a wallet too extravagant a gift for Todd. ...How? Is this a wallet made of baby skin?

  • Suzy is apparently 5'7". I'm still taller, bitch.

  • Being Santa's elf is a PBA thing that Cara was supposed to do, but for whatever reason, Lila had all the information. Li then conned Cara into pretending she had a cold so Jessica would take over for her.

  • Cara is, as of this point, still flighty and not with Steven, even though she and Steven got together pretty much immediately after Todd left California. My head, she hurts. Woe.

  • PBA charges $17 at the start of each term. Popularity don't come cheap.

  • Jessica wracks up a palm sized wooden jewelry box that plays Fur Elise, a bouquet of daisies, and the promise of a dinner for two at Second Season, a new restaurant in town.

  • Aaron is now dating Patsy Webber, who is notoriously jealous. Fab.

  • Knowing this, Liz still gave Aaron a coupon for a free back massage, and it sounded like she meant she would be the one doing the massaging. I'm not thinking Patsy's gonna like that...

  • Bathing suit clad boy's swim team members serenaded Olivia at the Dairi Burger, and sang no less than five carols, starting with Silent Night. Later they'll put on shirts for Suzy and sing for her, too. Sluts.

  • Enid's faceless boytoy of the week? Chip Ettleson, a cute brunette freshman at SV College, whom Enid describes as "sweet, maybe too sweet." Naughty, naughty, Enid.

  • Steve wusses out in their plan to be cruel to Suzy. Dude wusses out almost immediately. Must be able to smell that sweet scent of near death by mono.

  • Todd's been in Vermont since at least October, as that's when he started skiing for the year.

  • Todd's VT high school is Lawrence High.

  • His best skiing buddy is Jerry Peterson, forward on the basketball team at Lawrence, and obviously an ass or leg man, as he falls for Suzy when she's facing away from them.

  • When describing "McMahon's" it sounds like Jerry and Todd have taken Suzy to some weird mix of McDonald's and the Texas Roadhouse, what with there being a jukebox and sawdust on the floor, but it's a burger restaurant. Can't you just hear the twang, y'all?

  • Suzy can't ski, so she prances around in white ski clothes. Practical!

  • Lila's spending $300 a day to tone her thighs at "La Venue". The rest of us are snickering.

  • Suzanne needs the concept of a Secret Santa explained to her. Which would have been fine if this had been the introduction for the Secret Santas for the book, but no, by now we all know what they are, so this is just to make them seem quaint. Or make Suzy look stupid.

  • Suzy and Todd ran into one another in mid November at Killington. Wouldn't mid-November pretty much be right before Thanksgiving?

  • Jess calls Suzy "anorectic" and wonders about the odds of anorexia explaining Suzy's super-skinny ways.

  • Stores around town and their lame names: Kitchen 'n Cookery, Discount Discs.

  • For Bruce, Jessica buys a bag of jelly beans, an oversize chocolate chip cookie, and a pocket mirror. The mirror is priceless.

  • The Droids wrote a song for/about Todd/Liz called "I'll Wait For You." Wonder if they regretted that once the news of the couple breaking up spread...

  • Aaron's cousin is Eddie, and he's married, and most definitely not having a Christmas party and would sure as hell not want Devil May Care Devlin to show up.

  • 1580 is the house on Forrest Lane if you're looking to go ghost hunting.

  • Liz decides to give Todd a scarf.

  • Going to the SV Civic Center to hear the SV Choir perform Handel's Messiah is what really signifies the beginning of Christmas for Jessica. Thanks to Suzy fainting, this year they missed it. Fucking drama queen...

  • Alice still has the ugly Styrofoam angels Liz and Jessica made in the first grade. Aww.

  • Steve finds a glass angel that belonged to Ned's grandmother. Suzy wisely declines the offer to put it on the tree as she faints about two seconds later.

  • Suzy flips the Fiat on Route One, about ten minutes away from Calico Drive.

  • Dr. Ford is her doc in SV, Dr. Harrison is her doc in NYC. Obviously you should avoid Harrison as he can't tell the difference between mono and MS.

  • Just think, Suzy, instead of nearly dying and then being cured, you could have been in Saint Moritz, gossip girling it up before Blair and Serena were even twinkles in anyone's eye.

  • Jackson's Foreign Cars is where the police tow the Fiat, which pretty much came out of it's little flip scratch free. Even the car doesn't like you enough to try and kill you, Suze.

  • Bruce's family has that Architectural Digest blue & silver tree Ned keeps pushing for. Somehow this is the one thing I always remember about this book, aside from wanting to kill whomever said, "Remember Suzy? I think we should bring her back, but castrate her. And then cure her of her MS by saying it was mono."

  • Suzy's in room 312, for those who like to know such things.



Quotable:
"Jess," Elizabeth cried, throwing her arms around her twin. "It's almost Christmas!"
"I know, I know," Jessica giggled and tried to disentangle herself. "How long as she been like this?" -since someone spiked the punch? p5

Jessica sighed. "Trust me. What we have on our hands here is a hysterical, devious drug addict. And the sooner we get her out of here, the better." -Sounds about right. p119

Headaches? That's what happened when you tried to swallow half a medicine cabinet with your coffee every morning. - So true, Jessica. So true. p124

"One look at you, and my problems don't seem so insurmountable," Elizabeth told her warmly.
Enid giggled. "Thanks. Does that mean you look at me and think: God, I could look like her?" -Sometimes I really do love these two. Sigh. p171


And now, my holiday gift to you:

"Remember what the Fowlers did last year to decorate their house?"
Elizabeth groaned, then laughed. Lila's father's company had made him a wealthy man practically overnight. Sometimes he went overboard trying to show what he could afford. The previous year he had spent a fortune having a "winter wonderland" set up on the rolling lawn in front of the Fowlers' mansion. The display featured a sleigh with eight plastic reindeer and a life size Santa, false ice statues, and artificial snowmen. "It was the tackiest thing ever," Jessica remembered happily. p13


The triumphant return of 137:
"Then you saw them, too," Jessica remarked.
"Saw what?"
"The pills!" Jessica exploded. "What else? She must have a hundred and thirty-seven different kinds in that little makeup case she's keeping under the sink in the bathroom." -Privacy? What's that? p118

"Pills," Jessica told him. "All sizes and colors. She must carry about a hundred and thirty-seven pounds of them around all the time." - Get your 'scripts here, folks! p129





   I hate that they redeemed Suzy. HATE. There are some people in this world who are just bitchy. They will always be bitchy, and not even facing an illness such as MS would change them. Suzy's actions before were obnoxious and don't really scream poor little rich girl, as Lila's similarly fucked on a regular basis, but does she prance around accusing innocent people of rape? Well, not until someone actually does try to, and then she has an excuse, kay?
   But what I hate most of all, is that Suzy's "punishment", if you want to look at it that way, was lifted so easily. She comes to SV, gets into a wreck, and they find out that the people in NYC don't know what the fuck they're talking about. Seriously, Suzy's parents are loaded. They didn't get a second opinion? Fucking mono.

   Though I do like other parts. I love the singing swim team. I love Suzy going on about how weird it is to have a warm Christmas and Jess informs her that they ALWAYS have warm Christmases... bitch. Of course, part of that is that I can relate to the warm Christmas bit, seeing as I think we've had a white Christmas once in the last twenty or so years. Okay, and I love that she just doesn't think before she opens her mouth and for once, it's okay for Jess to point out that, hello, you're being rude.
   I also like the brief alliance of the Terrible Trio. I love betting to see which "responsible" sibling will bail out on Jessica's scheme first. Can't discuss the scheme without discussing Jessica's motivation and getting away with it. My parents might have understood the need to protect the family/friends from an obvious bitch angle, but they would have so punished me for being a bitch in return [unless Jess had happened to be right and Suzy was just there to get with Todd. How awesome...] but of course, that doesn't happen.
   Sigh.

Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] myfavouritescar for the picture for Germany's version of Special Christmas. And sharing the collection of DOOM [which we say lovingly, I assure you] so that the rest of us are envious and amazed.


the_oracle: (yay)
Special Christmas
December, 1985



Deck the halls of Sweet Valley High...



   The Wakefield twins and their friends at Sweet Valley High are in festive spirits. It's Christmas vacation, the annual parade is just days away, secret Santas are busy making surprise gifts, and everyone's talking about the holiday dance at the Patmans' mansion. Jessica Wakefield is determined to be named Miss Christmastime, and Elizabeth is counting the days until she's reunited with her faraway boyfriend, Todd Wilkins.
   It seems nothing can spoil Jessica and Elizabeth's holiday-until Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield announce the arrival of an unwelcome houseguest. Now it looks as though this Christmas might be the worst ever!

   Catch the holiday spirit with Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield and the rest of the Sweet Valley gang. You'll never forget this Special Christmas!



   So, the card at the front of my copy of Special Christmas says it's due November 1st.

   1994.



   With that in mind, onward! Special Christmas is one of those books I actually really like in parts [Jessica's scheming] and hate in others [Suzy's redemption and the last fucking chapter or two] and they combine in a way that sort of requires a bottle of something should be kept handy, just in case. I like the Christmas SV books, even when they're crap. Let's be fair. This is no Evil Twin, or even The Evil Twin Returns. It sure as hell isn't The Magic Christmas, but it's not horrible.
   Except that last couple of chapters. Really, so bad, that if you have breakables around you, you should move to a nice windowless, padded room with nothing of interest at all prior to finishing the book.

   It's finally Christmas in the Valley and Liz has overdosed on Christmas spirit! She's so happy that you either want to smack her or join her as she runs around spreading Christmas cheer. I'm thinking smacking is the most likely reaction. Mr. Collins gives up trying to teach anyone anything on the last day of school, particularly the last class of the day before their big assembly where we'll run right into the first WTF moment. But before we get there, we find out that Todd is coming back for Christmas, and everyone is expecting a big lovey dovey reunion starring their favorite lovebirds, Liz and Todd. Liz is nervous because Todd's been gone for a few months and she's not sure how well they'll connect.
   Let's not dwell on that, as we head out to the assembly where the entire school is matched up as Secret Santas. Take a moment to let that wash over you. Go on. I've got time. My nails need filing anyway.

   You ready? Let's poke holes in that little scenario, shall we?
   The entire school, guys. What are the odds that you'll get someone you know's name? What are the odds? Can't you see the senior who gets the transfer freshman no one really knows and decides to blow it off? Hmm? At first I thought, well maybe they separate it by grade, but then part of my brain said, no, someone gets Bruce's name, and he's a senior so... Those unpopular kids are screwed six ways to Sunday. What about the Jewish kids? Or anyone who doesn't celebrate Christmas? Do they just shut the fuck up because it's the mid-eighties and we haven't gotten so PC yet?
   Also, Bruce's family is hosting the entire party for the entire school the following Friday. Ready for even more pain inducing logic? If Mr. C has given up teaching the day before vacation, that means the Secret Santas have to go out of their way during the first week of vacation to gift/spoil/surprise their lucky pick. What if your Secret Santa went on vacation?
   Silly me, no one actually leaves the Valley for the holiday. What was I thinking? Must stop overthinking.

   There's talk of Hans, the hot German exchange student that Jessica has her eye on. The twins are dressed matchy matchy because they're going to surprise their parents with a picture of themselves all grown up to pair up with the one of them from when they were younger. This is cute enough, but I keep thinking of the one picture I distinctly remember of my brother and I all dressed up and we're in [relatively] sedate Hawaiian shirts. I'm not thinking I want to revisit that look, plus we'd have to bleach our hair, and that's painful...
   Anyway, Liz is all excited because the Secret Santas will be awesome, even if she knows for a fact that Hans doesn't have Jessica's name [as Jessica not so secretly hopes] but has Lila's instead. And then Steven comes home. Before the twins can die of joy, Steve announces their parents have obviously been kidnapped and replaced by clones because they've finally lost their damn minds. Seems someone told Suzanne Devlin she could come back to the Valley. You remember Suzy, don't you? Accused Mr. C of rape and that was the highlight of her visit? Freakout ensues. Finally Steve and Liz say maybe they'll just talk to their parents, convince them they're insane and that Suzy should not be allowed back in SV. Really. Ever. It's for the best.
   So they try, but Jessica's overly melodramatic and things go south. Quickly. Ned and Alice refuse to back down, offering up cryptic answers when asked why Suzy is so desperate to make amends now, or why Mr. Collins would ever forgive the skank, or much of anything at all. By now, you've realized Suzy is obviously deathly ill or something along those lines, because you're not an idiot and there's nothing subtle here. For whatever reason, Alice decides that Jess should clean her room and they'll stick Suzy there again. Maybe because she's familiar with it, maybe just to get Jess to clean. I dunno. My parents would have just had whichever one of us had the cleaner room move out, and the two of us would have killed one another. Luckily it never came to that.
   Anyway, Todd appears and Suzy appears and it's all kinds of awkward. Todd and Liz have no time to themselves because Ken [Todd's staying with Ken this time] has organized a huge welcome back party that rages on until 2am. Rock on, Ken. Rock on. Todd actually gets surprisingly little play, but the Todd/Liz long distance thing gets plenty of airtime, which is... odd. We're told Todd has been gone for months on end by this point, and we've officially just said to hell with any time line at all.
   The second Suzy appears on the scene, she's a disarming mix of beautifully tragic and actually sweet mixed in with the memory of how she played everyone last time. Only... there's no hint of bitchcraft this go round. None. But she does freak people out. She's Posh-Spice Skinny. She's beyond pale. She's got the shakes, she has headaches, she takes naps all the time, oh, and she pops pills like they're candy. So Jess deduces that Suzy is a druggie.
   Yes. Jessica tries to keep Suzy away from SV by having Liz call and try to dissuade her by pointing out that everyone is still awfully sore about last time. No luck. So she works out a plan with her siblings to be icy cold towards Devilish Devlin. When Steve thaws [wuss!] she enlists Aaron and Winston to be super mean Secret Santas, although she does have to lie to get them to help. They send her mean notes, empty packages, and Suzy realizes no one wants her there. However, this is where the big flaw in Jessica's plan appears. Suzy decides to ask Aaron to lunch to apologize to him. Jess convinces Aaron to tell her, gosh he's sorry, but he's booked all week, maybe she'd like to go to a little get together at his cousin's house prior to Bruce's big party, but don't tell the twins since they can't come? And Suze is thrilled, so she says yes. If Aaron hadn't done that, at Jessica's bidding, Suze would have left already. D'oh!

   There's a bunch of little stuff about the Secret Santas mixed in with Liz angsting over her feelings, or lack thereof, towards Todd. Olivia is serenaded by the boy's swim team, clad in their bathing suits and towels, at the DB. Jessica gets a lovely tiny musical jewelry box that plays Fur Elise, so she's sure Hans is her SS. There's Jessica taking over for Cara as an elf at the mall with Santa. She only agrees because she thinks she'll be there for a couple of hours, max, but Santa tells her she's it until the day is over at 5pm. Thing is, Jess has to be at the Civic Center for the Miss Christmastime pageant, and wouldn't you know that Lila set the whole thing up? Cara wasn't sick, but she didn't know Jess would be stuck there, either. Gasp! Jess vows revenge. She's going to trick Lila into having to dress up like an elf for the parade the next week, and Jessica will be wearing that crown and looking lovely on the Miss Christmastime float. Or something. She plots a bit throughout the rest of the book, but we don't find out how she tricks Li.
   Lila lovers, that's about as good as you'll get since Li spends most of the book at La Venue getting her thighs toned. Yes. Seriously.

   We find out that back in Vermont, Todd ran into Suzy about a month ago while skiing. They hit it off, and Todd realized he sort of thought of kissing her, but then she started asking about Liz and the moment was over. Todd doesn't tell Liz when she informs him of Suzy's arrival, so he has to get Suzy not to spill the beans. Thing is, Jess overhears and decides that Suzy only deigned to visit because she wanted to hook up with Todd, and that the two had planned this behind Liz's back.
   By now a few things are painfully obvious:
   Todd's got a thing for Suzy. Suzy's really got a thing for Todd. Liz doesn't have a thing for Todd. Todd may or may not still feel something for Liz, but he really wants a shot at Suze. I... really don't give a damn at this point, which is unusual, because you'd think I'd be all over this. Not so.
   We somehow find our way to Friday, and Suzy's got some new pills imported from her doc in NYC. She gets ready, looks loverly and channeling Tricia's Victorian look from book 12, proceeds to valiantly drive off into the ether, content to die for the sins of Jessica Wakefield. *yawn* See, Aaron calls, tells Suzy he's got a flat, she should borrow a car from the Wakefields [they've got at least four, after all] and meet him at the house on Forrest Lane. We know this is a trick, that the house has been abandoned for awhile and is quite possibly haunted. Dunno. Don't care. Suzy takes off after a glass of champagne and I do wonder why the Wakefields keep giving their kids and their kids' friends wine/champagne before letting them drive. Do they have fantastic life insurance policies or something?
   Suzy heads off in the Fiat and mere seconds later Mr. & Mrs. Wakefield return from their drinks at the Beckwiths. Dr. Harrison, Suzy's NYC doc calls and it's basically, "OMG! If she even looks at this bottle after taking those meds, she'll DIE! How could you let her go off even though we haven't told you what the fuck is going on? How could you?" To which they all crumble. Right. Yes. The kids tell you they don't want the girl around, you force her on them, you leave the booze and tell the kids to have some, but when Suzy drives off after a glass, it's the kids' fault for not using their psychic abilities to know the drug interaction would be bad, even though they didn't know she was taking anything. They just suspected.
   My brain. She screams in agony from this point onward.
   Suze does her drunk driving impression in front of some cops, and when she flips the Fiat, they're right there to take her to the hospital. Jess gets screamed at for engineering the horrible Secret Santa pranks, and we drive off to the haunted house, only to find no trace of Suze. They call around and find her in the hospital and everyone heads that way. We find out that Suze has MS, and gosh, she might end up in a wheelchair! No wonder she's found God apologizing for being a royal bitch before. Um, okay. I guess.
   Todd is all frantic and everyone realizes he's got a thing for Suzy, but the best part of this is Jessica recognizing the look on his face. It's the same one he had when he thought he'd killed Liz back in book six/seven. I love that little bit of recognition, but hate just about everything else going on.
   Suze is fine, of course, but they're keeping her overnight and then for however longer for observation and to run a battery of tests. Fun times. Jessica accuses Todd and Suzy of sneaking around, Todd sets the record straight, and Liz finds she cares surprisingly little.
   They make it to Bruce's where they tell everyone about Suzy and her MS and I'm left to ponder, isn't that just what she DIDN'T want to happen? We find out that Winston is Jessica's Santa, and that Bill was Olivia's. Thrills! Todd and Liz chat and realize they're just friends and that the spark is gone. Liz totally lies and says she's not the jealous type [she is! they both are!] and all is well.
   Then Jess schemes a little and the next day at the hospital we find Suzy and Todd snuggling. Then there's a dramatic scene where the SV doctors have found that Suzy never had MS to begin with! She had mono and then a rare reaction to the drugs they've been giving her and that was what was making her sick! She's cured!
   I feel cheated because on House, then Foreman would show up and say she's dying because they goofed, or her eyes would bleed or something. Instead the boy's swim team appears again [with shirts that spell out merry Christmas, Suzy] to sing to Suzy. It's all perfectly perfect.
   And I throw the fucking book at the wall.

   The end.




Trivial:

  • For those playing the who has what class game, this go round we have English with Liz, John, and Olivia.

  • Mr. Collins has been voted Best Liked Teacher for a few years running. That category needs a new name. Immediately.

  • Liz and Jess get their portrait done at Hunt's Photography.

  • Secret Santa roundup: Jessica got Bruce, Winston got Jessica, Liz got Aaron, Hans got Lila [Liz had to point her out], and Bill got Olivia. No one else was worth mentioning, I guess.

  • Lila wins the title of Miss Christmastime, but Jessica somehow tricks her and gets Lila's spot on the float in the Christmas parade. Lila gets stuck in an elf suit with green paint on Santa's float.

  • Suzy's set to stay with the Wakefields for two weeks, the entirety of their winter vacation. How... thoughtful.

  • Various nicknames for Suzy include: Demolition Devlin, Devilface Devlin, Devilish Devlin, Devil May Care Devlin, Suzanne the Devil

  • Jessica never told Steven exactly what Suzy's boytoy did, or tried to do, when she was in NYC.

  • Liz considers a wallet too extravagant a gift for Todd. ...How? Is this a wallet made of baby skin?

  • Suzy is apparently 5'7". I'm still taller, bitch.

  • Being Santa's elf is a PBA thing that Cara was supposed to do, but for whatever reason, Lila had all the information. Li then conned Cara into pretending she had a cold so Jessica would take over for her.

  • Cara is, as of this point, still flighty and not with Steven, even though she and Steven got together pretty much immediately after Todd left California. My head, she hurts. Woe.

  • PBA charges $17 at the start of each term. Popularity don't come cheap.

  • Jessica wracks up a palm sized wooden jewelry box that plays Fur Elise, a bouquet of daisies, and the promise of a dinner for two at Second Season, a new restaurant in town.

  • Aaron is now dating Patsy Webber, who is notoriously jealous. Fab.

  • Knowing this, Liz still gave Aaron a coupon for a free back massage, and it sounded like she meant she would be the one doing the massaging. I'm not thinking Patsy's gonna like that...

  • Bathing suit clad boy's swim team members serenaded Olivia at the Dairi Burger, and sang no less than five carols, starting with Silent Night. Later they'll put on shirts for Suzy and sing for her, too. Sluts.

  • Enid's faceless boytoy of the week? Chip Ettleson, a cute brunette freshman at SV College, whom Enid describes as "sweet, maybe too sweet." Naughty, naughty, Enid.

  • Steve wusses out in their plan to be cruel to Suzy. Dude wusses out almost immediately. Must be able to smell that sweet scent of near death by mono.

  • Todd's been in Vermont since at least October, as that's when he started skiing for the year.

  • Todd's VT high school is Lawrence High.

  • His best skiing buddy is Jerry Peterson, forward on the basketball team at Lawrence, and obviously an ass or leg man, as he falls for Suzy when she's facing away from them.

  • When describing "McMahon's" it sounds like Jerry and Todd have taken Suzy to some weird mix of McDonald's and the Texas Roadhouse, what with there being a jukebox and sawdust on the floor, but it's a burger restaurant. Can't you just hear the twang, y'all?

  • Suzy can't ski, so she prances around in white ski clothes. Practical!

  • Lila's spending $300 a day to tone her thighs at "La Venue". The rest of us are snickering.

  • Suzanne needs the concept of a Secret Santa explained to her. Which would have been fine if this had been the introduction for the Secret Santas for the book, but no, by now we all know what they are, so this is just to make them seem quaint. Or make Suzy look stupid.

  • Suzy and Todd ran into one another in mid November at Killington. Wouldn't mid-November pretty much be right before Thanksgiving?

  • Jess calls Suzy "anorectic" and wonders about the odds of anorexia explaining Suzy's super-skinny ways.

  • Stores around town and their lame names: Kitchen 'n Cookery, Discount Discs.

  • For Bruce, Jessica buys a bag of jelly beans, an oversize chocolate chip cookie, and a pocket mirror. The mirror is priceless.

  • The Droids wrote a song for/about Todd/Liz called "I'll Wait For You." Wonder if they regretted that once the news of the couple breaking up spread...

  • Aaron's cousin is Eddie, and he's married, and most definitely not having a Christmas party and would sure as hell not want Devil May Care Devlin to show up.

  • 1580 is the house on Forrest Lane if you're looking to go ghost hunting.

  • Liz decides to give Todd a scarf.

  • Going to the SV Civic Center to hear the SV Choir perform Handel's Messiah is what really signifies the beginning of Christmas for Jessica. Thanks to Suzy fainting, this year they missed it. Fucking drama queen...

  • Alice still has the ugly Styrofoam angels Liz and Jessica made in the first grade. Aww.

  • Steve finds a glass angel that belonged to Ned's grandmother. Suzy wisely declines the offer to put it on the tree as she faints about two seconds later.

  • Suzy flips the Fiat on Route One, about ten minutes away from Calico Drive.

  • Dr. Ford is her doc in SV, Dr. Harrison is her doc in NYC. Obviously you should avoid Harrison as he can't tell the difference between mono and MS.

  • Just think, Suzy, instead of nearly dying and then being cured, you could have been in Saint Moritz, gossip girling it up before Blair and Serena were even twinkles in anyone's eye.

  • Jackson's Foreign Cars is where the police tow the Fiat, which pretty much came out of it's little flip scratch free. Even the car doesn't like you enough to try and kill you, Suze.

  • Bruce's family has that Architectural Digest blue & silver tree Ned keeps pushing for. Somehow this is the one thing I always remember about this book, aside from wanting to kill whomever said, "Remember Suzy? I think we should bring her back, but castrate her. And then cure her of her MS by saying it was mono."

  • Suzy's in room 312, for those who like to know such things.



Quotable:
"Jess," Elizabeth cried, throwing her arms around her twin. "It's almost Christmas!"
"I know, I know," Jessica giggled and tried to disentangle herself. "How long as she been like this?" -since someone spiked the punch? p5

Jessica sighed. "Trust me. What we have on our hands here is a hysterical, devious drug addict. And the sooner we get her out of here, the better." -Sounds about right. p119

Headaches? That's what happened when you tried to swallow half a medicine cabinet with your coffee every morning. - So true, Jessica. So true. p124

"One look at you, and my problems don't seem so insurmountable," Elizabeth told her warmly.
Enid giggled. "Thanks. Does that mean you look at me and think: God, I could look like her?" -Sometimes I really do love these two. Sigh. p171


And now, my holiday gift to you:

"Remember what the Fowlers did last year to decorate their house?"
Elizabeth groaned, then laughed. Lila's father's company had made him a wealthy man practically overnight. Sometimes he went overboard trying to show what he could afford. The previous year he had spent a fortune having a "winter wonderland" set up on the rolling lawn in front of the Fowlers' mansion. The display featured a sleigh with eight plastic reindeer and a life size Santa, false ice statues, and artificial snowmen. "It was the tackiest thing ever," Jessica remembered happily. p13


The triumphant return of 137:
"Then you saw them, too," Jessica remarked.
"Saw what?"
"The pills!" Jessica exploded. "What else? She must have a hundred and thirty-seven different kinds in that little makeup case she's keeping under the sink in the bathroom." -Privacy? What's that? p118

"Pills," Jessica told him. "All sizes and colors. She must carry about a hundred and thirty-seven pounds of them around all the time." - Get your 'scripts here, folks! p129





   I hate that they redeemed Suzy. HATE. There are some people in this world who are just bitchy. They will always be bitchy, and not even facing an illness such as MS would change them. Suzy's actions before were obnoxious and don't really scream poor little rich girl, as Lila's similarly fucked on a regular basis, but does she prance around accusing innocent people of rape? Well, not until someone actually does try to, and then she has an excuse, kay?
   But what I hate most of all, is that Suzy's "punishment", if you want to look at it that way, was lifted so easily. She comes to SV, gets into a wreck, and they find out that the people in NYC don't know what the fuck they're talking about. Seriously, Suzy's parents are loaded. They didn't get a second opinion? Fucking mono.

   Though I do like other parts. I love the singing swim team. I love Suzy going on about how weird it is to have a warm Christmas and Jess informs her that they ALWAYS have warm Christmases... bitch. Of course, part of that is that I can relate to the warm Christmas bit, seeing as I think we've had a white Christmas once in the last twenty or so years. Okay, and I love that she just doesn't think before she opens her mouth and for once, it's okay for Jess to point out that, hello, you're being rude.
   I also like the brief alliance of the Terrible Trio. I love betting to see which "responsible" sibling will bail out on Jessica's scheme first. Can't discuss the scheme without discussing Jessica's motivation and getting away with it. My parents might have understood the need to protect the family/friends from an obvious bitch angle, but they would have so punished me for being a bitch in return [unless Jess had happened to be right and Suzy was just there to get with Todd. How awesome...] but of course, that doesn't happen.
   Sigh.

Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] myfavouritescar for the picture for Germany's version of Special Christmas. And sharing the collection of DOOM [which we say lovingly, I assure you] so that the rest of us are envious and amazed.


the_oracle: (amy thinks)
Deceptions
December 1984

Has Elizabeth found a new love?

A tangled web...


  Elizabeth Wakefield is stunned when Nicholas Morrow asks her for a date. A newcomer to Sweet Valley, Nicholas is fabulously wealthy and extremely handsome. Even though Elizabeth would never cheat on Todd Wilkins, her steady boyfriend, Nicholas is so attractive and sincere that she agrees to go out with him just once.
  To make matters worse, Jessica, Elizabeth's scheming twin, announces that Nicholas Morrow is the boy for her. Suddenly Nicholas is the only thing on Jessica's mind. Elizabeth is terrified to think what will happen if Todd or her twin finds out about her date with Nicholas. But who can keep a secret from Jessica Wakefield?

  Deceptions is actually mostly forgettable. All you need to know is that Elizabeth is guilted into a dinner date by Nicholas Morrow and wacky hijinks ensue. Seriously, that's all this book is, and no amount of fantastic lip gloss is going to change that. With that said, here are the details.
  The book picks up before the previous one ends. It's a bit of a retelling of Nicholas meeting Elizabeth for the first time, but without Liz getting these loud Klaxon warning bells in her head. It's a completely different tone from the last book's version of these events and it is so not flattering to anyone involved. For as rich and as good looking as Nicholas is, he should not have to resort to emotionally blackmailing someone into going out with him, but that's essentially what happens. Using twisty-Jessica logic, he asks Liz out, and when she points out that she's flattered, but also dating Todd and is in no hurry to shake up that relationship, he pushes on. She says no, again, that it would not be fair to Todd, and Nicholas outdoes himself with the single best bit of logic EVER. He counters that it's hardly fair to him if she turns him down. And Liz... falls for it. Liz, honey, the next time someone tries to outfox you with this type of logic, the correct answer is that Todd is your boyfriend and you don't have to be fair to Nicholas at his expense. But she agrees to the dinner date, telling herself that it's really nothing. Dinner. Between two friends. Despite the fact that one of these "friends" is trying to be more than that. Riiiiiiight.
  Naturally, there are complications. For one, Jessica is still head over heels over the boy. She's been like that since she found out about him, which was what, two books ago? Three books hung up on one guy is pretty impressive, even if the first book only introduces the infatuation at the very end. Jess keeps going on and on and on about Nicholas, and Elizabeth is feeling so guilty about accepting his invitation that she keeps snapping Jessica's head off. Luckily for Liz, Jessica is pretty self involved and doesn't suspect the connection. However, when Jessica gives Elizabeth the perfect opportunity to help squash her feelings for Nicholas, Elizabeth choses not to seize it. Instead of saying that Nicholas is a bit overbearing and totally illogical, or any of the millions of things she should be able to come up with, even if she's lying, she assures her twin that Nicholas seems perfectly lovely. IDIOT.
  Then there's the little matter of Todd. While Nicholas is following Elizabeth around all night at her "Yay, I'm not kidnapped anymore" party, Todd realizes Nich has a thing for Liz. Being the jealous couple that they are, Todd growls a bit and tells Liz that he wishes Nicholas would shove off and die in a nice [cuz he's rich, after all] grave and leave the Valley alone. Okay, so I exaggerate, but he's no fan of Nicholas, and Elizabeth freezes. She should tell Todd about her "friendly" dinner, but doesn't. She can't, she reasons, so she'll keep it a secret and he'll never know, and Jessica will never know, and it'll all be fantastic. Right, sure, whatever you say, sunshine.

   Our B story pops up fairly quickly. Elizabeth notices Jessica pouring on the charm and immediately becomes suspicious of her twin, seeing as Jessica isn't known for being nice to the geeks of the world, of which Randy Mason definitely is. She chitters and trills away about computers and when confronted about it, Jessica points out that if Randy knows anything, it's computers, and since Nicholas works for his father, a big computer corporate type, then obviously Nich is only interested in girls who are also big on computers. I follow the logic for the most part, but I did need it explained, seeing as I'd forgotten this bit.
  Randy also knows his math, and as Jessica learns all Randy has to teach about the tech side, she puts in a bid for some help in math. We're not told how successful he is, because Jessica then schemes to have him hack into the school's new computer and change her failing grade to a C-. She's not greedy, she just wants the bare minimum needed so that she won't fail and be kicked off the cheerleading squad. Confusion reigns, seeing as she's still on the squad at the end of the book, so I guess Randy's tutoring helped and she could have had a test big enough to raise her grade to a C- on it's own.
  Thing is, after Randy changes her grade, Jessica immediately blows him off. He takes her home and then proceeds to call. A lot. Seems he got cold feet and went back to change her grade back to what if should have been, but they'd changed the access code and it looks like someone is up shit creek without a paddle. Swim, Randy, swim! Figuring it's best to throw himself on the mercy of the court, he's going to go confess before they hunt him down. He asks Jessica, who is really Elizabeth on the phone, to come with him. Elizabeth promises Jessica will be there, and then drags her twin to campus so she can find a way to get Randy out of trouble. Jessica falters in the charm and resorts to tears, but Elizabeth begs for mercy and cries as well. Because LIZ steps in, Chrome Dome doesn't suspend the kids. WTF? I want that kind of power.
  Interesting parallel can be drawn there. Both Randy and Elizabeth are sweet talked into doing something they know is wrong by someone with more charm than should be legally allowed. Randy tries to rectify his mistake and even comes forward, even though it's not a given that he'd be caught anyway. He accepts his punishment and is willing to go down alone if absolutely necessary. He did the crime and all that, and he's willing to own up to it.
  Elizabeth, however virtuous she's been sold as up til now, will not come clean to her boyfriend or her sister, or hell, even to Nicholas. Enid points out that if she's going to go on the date with Nicholas, she has to tell Todd because secrets like this are HORRIBLE for your relationship. She brings up the Ronnie fiasco again, but still, she does have a point. But Elizabeth never does. She rationalizes that things are going to well, or that they haven't really talked, and she doesn't want to spring it on him. She knows she's doing something wrong and doesn't want to get in trouble for it. Egads, she might be human after all. Thing is, it's annoying when you hold her up to Randy and compare. Hers is the lesser of the two evils, she could easily explain it away, and yet she doesn't even try. With Jessica, I can empathise. She definitely falls under the "tis better to beg forgiveness than ask permission" category, both in how she lives her life and how you should act around her. But Todd? Yeah, would have dealt. Maybe.

  But she doesn't tell him, and instead Elizabeth and Nicholas finally head out to the Cote d'Or, an expensive restaurant an hour away. Thing is, any idiot could see where this was going. The whole reason Elizabeth agreed to a Sunday dinner was [her parents don't feed her on Sundays?] because Todd's family was celebrating his mother's birthday. Yup, that means that while out on her date with Nicholas, she runs into Todd as his family is leaving the restaurant.
  So she does the only thing she can do. She pretends to be Jessica. Nich understands, but Todd is a bit thrown since he was sure it was Elizabeth. Still, racked by guilt over the fact that he can't even tell his girlfriend from her identical twin, he heads over to the Wakefield home to apologize to Liz. Maybe to make out a little, if he's lucky. Jessica answers the door and it becomes immediately apparent what the hell happened. Todd shares with Jessica and both are livid. Todd informs Jessica that he's going to break up with Elizabeth and that they are so over. Jessica fumes until Elizabeth comes home.
  Jessica pounces on Elizabeth and rips her a new one, and it's kind of fun to watch, since Jessica doesn't often have the moral high ground. Jess then mentions, at the end when she's forgiven Elizabeth, that their mother called and that Tricia is getting worse. Liz feels bad, but cannot concentrate on that as she's still so worried about Todd.
  Todd blows Elizabeth off at school and after school, Collins assigns Elizabeth a fantastic story for the Oracle. She's to cover the basketball game that night. She tries to weasel out of it, but can't. So she goes and sulks and cries and Todd is sucking so bad that people are one step away from booing him. At halftime, Nicholas shows up, realizes what he's done, gives a damn, and stalks Todd in the locker room. He explains that he guilted Elizabeth into the date and that the whole time she was all, "But I'm in love with Todd!" Todd cheers up and goes back out to win the game. Yay?
  Elizabeth doesn't know what changed Todd's game, so she decides to skip the after party at Cara's and walk home. Before she makes it too far from the parking lot, Todd grabs her, kisses her silly, and explains why he stopped with the sports suckage earlier. They're happy and kiss some more and then go to Cara's. Shortly thereafter, Cara pulls Liz aside and tells her that Alice called. Jess and Elizabeth go to Cara's father's study and call home. Turns out that Tricia's turn for the worse is heading straight for death.
  Eeep!

Trivia:

  • The Droids wrote a song about Elizabeth. This is incredibly cheesy and a bit painful to read about, even though it's really just a throwaway paragraph, if that.

  • As of this book, Robin and Allen are still together. Aww.

  • Elizabeth likens Nicholas to Adonis, and when Jessica doesn't get it, she has to explain the reference to her twin. Tee!

  • Alice Wakefield is on vacation this week, so the Fiat is at Elizabeth's disposal. Y'know, since Jessica keeps racking up tickets and her parents don't trust her behind the wheel.

  • The Cote d'Or is a fancy restaurant located in Malvina, which is about an hour away.

  • The Morrows [well, Kurt Morrow's company] donated a computer to the school, which Elizabeth wrote a story on, calling computers and such the wave of the future. This is mentioned so many times I thought there was going to be a quiz on it afterward.

  • Todd and Elizabeth see Teenage Terror on their date.

  • When Liz is sneaking out to see Nicholas, she lies and tells Jessica she's going to see Enid.

  • Nicholas and Elizabeth both love Hemingway.

  • Dinner: Smoked salmon. tournedos Rossini with puffed potatoes, haricots verts, and desert is the wild-strawberry souffle. Which Nicholas orders as Elizabeth is busy being impressed by the 'still warm rolls' and rosettes of butter.

  • Speaking of dinner, Nicholas is wearing an ascot.



Quotes:
"Well, he's on his way to tell Mr. Cooper what he did. And you're going with him."
Jessica shook her head. "I can't. I'm really awfully busy right now." Jessica gives somehow the best and worst excuse ever, all at once. p71


137:
"Nicholas Morrow!" she scolded him gently. "Honestly, I've been looking absolutely everywhere for you. You know," she added, tilting her head coyly, "there must be a hundred and thirty-seven people waiting to meet you." p13
"Oh, Randy, what can I do? If I don't pass, my parents will ground me for a hundred and thirty-seven years. And I can't be a cheerleader." p62
"Good old Rollins," Jessica scoffed. "Honestly, Liz, I don't know what you see in her. Enid Rollins is about one hundred and thirty-seven different kinds of nerd." p90
"You must be kidding, Todd! You mean to say you still can't tell the difference between Liz and me?" She wagged a finger at him coyly. "Wait until I tell Elizabeth. Then you'll be in trouble. About a hundred and thirty-seven different kinds." Liz, pretending to be Jessica while on a date with Nicholas. p 101


  This book aside, I've almost always had a thing for Nicholas. I don't know why, as they spend so much time making the poor guy such a jackass at times, but maybe it's because the guy's got so very few friends, and the one person you'd think they'd immediately hook him up with as a friend [Steven Wakefield] is a no show. They make such a big deal about them both being big brothers of the slightly overprotective, overbearing variety that you'd think someone in ghost writer world would sit up and say, "Heyyyyyyyy..." I can see why they didn't, what with Steve angsting and Nicholas surely angsting later on, but still. Wait, no, no I really can't. That alone would give them something to bond over, though I guess by then, Steve is supposed to be mostly over it. Right. Mm.

  Upon re-reading this one, I'm struck by something. The ghost writer apparently missed the memo that went out after Robin Wilson got skinny. This book she's written pretty much exactly like she was in her chubby days, sans the food she was always munching. She's just too, too much over the top and excitable and it's just weird, seeing as skinny Robin was always more subdued and likely to be plotting your murder. Weirdness in the tone of the book. You don't notice it as much halfway through, but that's because you keep waiting for this friggin' infamous date to happen. I'm not sure if it's because we move away from people that make the tone-shift so obvious, or if this was somehow written by two different people. Because really, the saccharine levels are so high that I think I might need to check with my doctor about finding myself diabetic and heading for a coma.
  I can't say I'd recommend this to anyone who hasn't read it and wonders if they should bother. The actual date doesn't happen page 91, which isn't so bad, it's just that reading all that waffling back and forth, given that she has more than a week to wait until the actual date is a bit painful. It has it's moments, I suppose, but it's nothing that dances on it's own and makes it completely fantastic one way or the other. Though reading about the "computer wave" made me laugh and would probably slay any computer geek.

Superficially, the French cover is making my eyes water, and not from amusement. :P And I'm torn, do I include the various color variations they went through when re-releasing the books, when they went bar as opposed to the classic circle? As it is, I try to only go with the ones I've seen/own/or obviously pictures of a real book and not just some promotional thing on amazon.
the_oracle: (amy thinks)
Deceptions
December 1984

Has Elizabeth found a new love?

A tangled web...


  Elizabeth Wakefield is stunned when Nicholas Morrow asks her for a date. A newcomer to Sweet Valley, Nicholas is fabulously wealthy and extremely handsome. Even though Elizabeth would never cheat on Todd Wilkins, her steady boyfriend, Nicholas is so attractive and sincere that she agrees to go out with him just once.
  To make matters worse, Jessica, Elizabeth's scheming twin, announces that Nicholas Morrow is the boy for her. Suddenly Nicholas is the only thing on Jessica's mind. Elizabeth is terrified to think what will happen if Todd or her twin finds out about her date with Nicholas. But who can keep a secret from Jessica Wakefield?

  Deceptions is actually mostly forgettable. All you need to know is that Elizabeth is guilted into a dinner date by Nicholas Morrow and wacky hijinks ensue. Seriously, that's all this book is, and no amount of fantastic lip gloss is going to change that. With that said, here are the details.
  The book picks up before the previous one ends. It's a bit of a retelling of Nicholas meeting Elizabeth for the first time, but without Liz getting these loud Klaxon warning bells in her head. It's a completely different tone from the last book's version of these events and it is so not flattering to anyone involved. For as rich and as good looking as Nicholas is, he should not have to resort to emotionally blackmailing someone into going out with him, but that's essentially what happens. Using twisty-Jessica logic, he asks Liz out, and when she points out that she's flattered, but also dating Todd and is in no hurry to shake up that relationship, he pushes on. She says no, again, that it would not be fair to Todd, and Nicholas outdoes himself with the single best bit of logic EVER. He counters that it's hardly fair to him if she turns him down. And Liz... falls for it. Liz, honey, the next time someone tries to outfox you with this type of logic, the correct answer is that Todd is your boyfriend and you don't have to be fair to Nicholas at his expense. But she agrees to the dinner date, telling herself that it's really nothing. Dinner. Between two friends. Despite the fact that one of these "friends" is trying to be more than that. Riiiiiiight.
  Naturally, there are complications. For one, Jessica is still head over heels over the boy. She's been like that since she found out about him, which was what, two books ago? Three books hung up on one guy is pretty impressive, even if the first book only introduces the infatuation at the very end. Jess keeps going on and on and on about Nicholas, and Elizabeth is feeling so guilty about accepting his invitation that she keeps snapping Jessica's head off. Luckily for Liz, Jessica is pretty self involved and doesn't suspect the connection. However, when Jessica gives Elizabeth the perfect opportunity to help squash her feelings for Nicholas, Elizabeth choses not to seize it. Instead of saying that Nicholas is a bit overbearing and totally illogical, or any of the millions of things she should be able to come up with, even if she's lying, she assures her twin that Nicholas seems perfectly lovely. IDIOT.
  Then there's the little matter of Todd. While Nicholas is following Elizabeth around all night at her "Yay, I'm not kidnapped anymore" party, Todd realizes Nich has a thing for Liz. Being the jealous couple that they are, Todd growls a bit and tells Liz that he wishes Nicholas would shove off and die in a nice [cuz he's rich, after all] grave and leave the Valley alone. Okay, so I exaggerate, but he's no fan of Nicholas, and Elizabeth freezes. She should tell Todd about her "friendly" dinner, but doesn't. She can't, she reasons, so she'll keep it a secret and he'll never know, and Jessica will never know, and it'll all be fantastic. Right, sure, whatever you say, sunshine.

   Our B story pops up fairly quickly. Elizabeth notices Jessica pouring on the charm and immediately becomes suspicious of her twin, seeing as Jessica isn't known for being nice to the geeks of the world, of which Randy Mason definitely is. She chitters and trills away about computers and when confronted about it, Jessica points out that if Randy knows anything, it's computers, and since Nicholas works for his father, a big computer corporate type, then obviously Nich is only interested in girls who are also big on computers. I follow the logic for the most part, but I did need it explained, seeing as I'd forgotten this bit.
  Randy also knows his math, and as Jessica learns all Randy has to teach about the tech side, she puts in a bid for some help in math. We're not told how successful he is, because Jessica then schemes to have him hack into the school's new computer and change her failing grade to a C-. She's not greedy, she just wants the bare minimum needed so that she won't fail and be kicked off the cheerleading squad. Confusion reigns, seeing as she's still on the squad at the end of the book, so I guess Randy's tutoring helped and she could have had a test big enough to raise her grade to a C- on it's own.
  Thing is, after Randy changes her grade, Jessica immediately blows him off. He takes her home and then proceeds to call. A lot. Seems he got cold feet and went back to change her grade back to what if should have been, but they'd changed the access code and it looks like someone is up shit creek without a paddle. Swim, Randy, swim! Figuring it's best to throw himself on the mercy of the court, he's going to go confess before they hunt him down. He asks Jessica, who is really Elizabeth on the phone, to come with him. Elizabeth promises Jessica will be there, and then drags her twin to campus so she can find a way to get Randy out of trouble. Jessica falters in the charm and resorts to tears, but Elizabeth begs for mercy and cries as well. Because LIZ steps in, Chrome Dome doesn't suspend the kids. WTF? I want that kind of power.
  Interesting parallel can be drawn there. Both Randy and Elizabeth are sweet talked into doing something they know is wrong by someone with more charm than should be legally allowed. Randy tries to rectify his mistake and even comes forward, even though it's not a given that he'd be caught anyway. He accepts his punishment and is willing to go down alone if absolutely necessary. He did the crime and all that, and he's willing to own up to it.
  Elizabeth, however virtuous she's been sold as up til now, will not come clean to her boyfriend or her sister, or hell, even to Nicholas. Enid points out that if she's going to go on the date with Nicholas, she has to tell Todd because secrets like this are HORRIBLE for your relationship. She brings up the Ronnie fiasco again, but still, she does have a point. But Elizabeth never does. She rationalizes that things are going to well, or that they haven't really talked, and she doesn't want to spring it on him. She knows she's doing something wrong and doesn't want to get in trouble for it. Egads, she might be human after all. Thing is, it's annoying when you hold her up to Randy and compare. Hers is the lesser of the two evils, she could easily explain it away, and yet she doesn't even try. With Jessica, I can empathise. She definitely falls under the "tis better to beg forgiveness than ask permission" category, both in how she lives her life and how you should act around her. But Todd? Yeah, would have dealt. Maybe.

  But she doesn't tell him, and instead Elizabeth and Nicholas finally head out to the Cote d'Or, an expensive restaurant an hour away. Thing is, any idiot could see where this was going. The whole reason Elizabeth agreed to a Sunday dinner was [her parents don't feed her on Sundays?] because Todd's family was celebrating his mother's birthday. Yup, that means that while out on her date with Nicholas, she runs into Todd as his family is leaving the restaurant.
  So she does the only thing she can do. She pretends to be Jessica. Nich understands, but Todd is a bit thrown since he was sure it was Elizabeth. Still, racked by guilt over the fact that he can't even tell his girlfriend from her identical twin, he heads over to the Wakefield home to apologize to Liz. Maybe to make out a little, if he's lucky. Jessica answers the door and it becomes immediately apparent what the hell happened. Todd shares with Jessica and both are livid. Todd informs Jessica that he's going to break up with Elizabeth and that they are so over. Jessica fumes until Elizabeth comes home.
  Jessica pounces on Elizabeth and rips her a new one, and it's kind of fun to watch, since Jessica doesn't often have the moral high ground. Jess then mentions, at the end when she's forgiven Elizabeth, that their mother called and that Tricia is getting worse. Liz feels bad, but cannot concentrate on that as she's still so worried about Todd.
  Todd blows Elizabeth off at school and after school, Collins assigns Elizabeth a fantastic story for the Oracle. She's to cover the basketball game that night. She tries to weasel out of it, but can't. So she goes and sulks and cries and Todd is sucking so bad that people are one step away from booing him. At halftime, Nicholas shows up, realizes what he's done, gives a damn, and stalks Todd in the locker room. He explains that he guilted Elizabeth into the date and that the whole time she was all, "But I'm in love with Todd!" Todd cheers up and goes back out to win the game. Yay?
  Elizabeth doesn't know what changed Todd's game, so she decides to skip the after party at Cara's and walk home. Before she makes it too far from the parking lot, Todd grabs her, kisses her silly, and explains why he stopped with the sports suckage earlier. They're happy and kiss some more and then go to Cara's. Shortly thereafter, Cara pulls Liz aside and tells her that Alice called. Jess and Elizabeth go to Cara's father's study and call home. Turns out that Tricia's turn for the worse is heading straight for death.
  Eeep!

Trivia:

  • The Droids wrote a song about Elizabeth. This is incredibly cheesy and a bit painful to read about, even though it's really just a throwaway paragraph, if that.

  • As of this book, Robin and Allen are still together. Aww.

  • Elizabeth likens Nicholas to Adonis, and when Jessica doesn't get it, she has to explain the reference to her twin. Tee!

  • Alice Wakefield is on vacation this week, so the Fiat is at Elizabeth's disposal. Y'know, since Jessica keeps racking up tickets and her parents don't trust her behind the wheel.

  • The Cote d'Or is a fancy restaurant located in Malvina, which is about an hour away.

  • The Morrows [well, Kurt Morrow's company] donated a computer to the school, which Elizabeth wrote a story on, calling computers and such the wave of the future. This is mentioned so many times I thought there was going to be a quiz on it afterward.

  • Todd and Elizabeth see Teenage Terror on their date.

  • When Liz is sneaking out to see Nicholas, she lies and tells Jessica she's going to see Enid.

  • Nicholas and Elizabeth both love Hemingway.

  • Dinner: Smoked salmon. tournedos Rossini with puffed potatoes, haricots verts, and desert is the wild-strawberry souffle. Which Nicholas orders as Elizabeth is busy being impressed by the 'still warm rolls' and rosettes of butter.

  • Speaking of dinner, Nicholas is wearing an ascot.



Quotes:
"Well, he's on his way to tell Mr. Cooper what he did. And you're going with him."
Jessica shook her head. "I can't. I'm really awfully busy right now." Jessica gives somehow the best and worst excuse ever, all at once. p71


137:
"Nicholas Morrow!" she scolded him gently. "Honestly, I've been looking absolutely everywhere for you. You know," she added, tilting her head coyly, "there must be a hundred and thirty-seven people waiting to meet you." p13
"Oh, Randy, what can I do? If I don't pass, my parents will ground me for a hundred and thirty-seven years. And I can't be a cheerleader." p62
"Good old Rollins," Jessica scoffed. "Honestly, Liz, I don't know what you see in her. Enid Rollins is about one hundred and thirty-seven different kinds of nerd." p90
"You must be kidding, Todd! You mean to say you still can't tell the difference between Liz and me?" She wagged a finger at him coyly. "Wait until I tell Elizabeth. Then you'll be in trouble. About a hundred and thirty-seven different kinds." Liz, pretending to be Jessica while on a date with Nicholas. p 101


  This book aside, I've almost always had a thing for Nicholas. I don't know why, as they spend so much time making the poor guy such a jackass at times, but maybe it's because the guy's got so very few friends, and the one person you'd think they'd immediately hook him up with as a friend [Steven Wakefield] is a no show. They make such a big deal about them both being big brothers of the slightly overprotective, overbearing variety that you'd think someone in ghost writer world would sit up and say, "Heyyyyyyyy..." I can see why they didn't, what with Steve angsting and Nicholas surely angsting later on, but still. Wait, no, no I really can't. That alone would give them something to bond over, though I guess by then, Steve is supposed to be mostly over it. Right. Mm.

  Upon re-reading this one, I'm struck by something. The ghost writer apparently missed the memo that went out after Robin Wilson got skinny. This book she's written pretty much exactly like she was in her chubby days, sans the food she was always munching. She's just too, too much over the top and excitable and it's just weird, seeing as skinny Robin was always more subdued and likely to be plotting your murder. Weirdness in the tone of the book. You don't notice it as much halfway through, but that's because you keep waiting for this friggin' infamous date to happen. I'm not sure if it's because we move away from people that make the tone-shift so obvious, or if this was somehow written by two different people. Because really, the saccharine levels are so high that I think I might need to check with my doctor about finding myself diabetic and heading for a coma.
  I can't say I'd recommend this to anyone who hasn't read it and wonders if they should bother. The actual date doesn't happen page 91, which isn't so bad, it's just that reading all that waffling back and forth, given that she has more than a week to wait until the actual date is a bit painful. It has it's moments, I suppose, but it's nothing that dances on it's own and makes it completely fantastic one way or the other. Though reading about the "computer wave" made me laugh and would probably slay any computer geek.

Superficially, the French cover is making my eyes water, and not from amusement. :P And I'm torn, do I include the various color variations they went through when re-releasing the books, when they went bar as opposed to the classic circle? As it is, I try to only go with the ones I've seen/own/or obviously pictures of a real book and not just some promotional thing on amazon.
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Just a note to say I'm not dead yet, just tired. Work + sick = no time to smoosh various covers together as the final step for world domination. That said, I might as well post this and add the images tomorrow. Yes. Maybe. Well, it's an idea.

Too Good To Be True
August 1984

  Is Suzanne as perfect as she seems?

  A devil in disguise...


The Wakefield twins are wild with excitement. Glamorous, sophisticated Suzanne Devlin is coming to Sweet Valley from New York City. For two weeks, Elizabeth will show her around town while Jessica has the time of her life in New York.
  At first, Suzanne seems to be the most perfect girl in the world. She's beautiful and friendly and not the least bit stuck-up. All the boys of Sweet Valley are absolutely crazy about her. But when Suzanne accuses Mr. Collins of trying to seduce her, Elizabeth knows there's more to Suzanne than meets the eye.


  Suzy Devlin is so obviously the original incarnation of Caitlin that it's no wonder I love/loathe them both so much. That aside, she's a bitch. You can tell it by looking at her, and it just goes to prove that the residents of Sweet Valley are a bunch of idiots. You'd expect it from the guys, but the girls have been proven to be extremely judgmental, harsh, bitter little harpies [teenage girls] and yet this hotter than hot, "sophisticated" overly sweet to the point of inflicting diabetic comas on unsuspecting residents just blows into town and not a single person other than Roger Collins has the balls to say, "Wait, what?" I cry foul.

  With that said, let's rewind. Ned Wakefield is exchanging his daughter for one of his college buddy's daughters, namely Suzanne Devlin. As anyone who has ever even watched a nanosecond of Designing Women knows, Suzanne is the name of the bitch. However, this is prior to that, so the Wakefields simply think they'll be welcoming an old friend's kid into their home, and obviously their friend wouldn't raise a self absorbed, boy crazy, lazy, sneaky, crafty, bitch goddess.... like they did with Jessica. Nope, they expect sunshine and rainbows. However, they can't afford to send both twins to New York City, for what is actually a logical reason. Namely, with Steve in college and the girls a year away, the Wakefields can't just be blowing cash on a two week vacay to NYC for the girls. Now, this will be blown away by all the numerous trips they'll take later on, but I actually smiled at their reasoning.
  Anyway, they finally flip a coin to decide which twin will take NYC by storm. Being contrary by nature, Jessica takes tails. Naturally, this means heads, Liz, wins. Jessica does not deal well with losing, so she sulks and cries and bemoans her fate. Liz, in her infinite wisdom, gives Jessica an in when she worries aloud about missing the class picnic and spending two weeks away from Todd. Jessica "casually" mentions that Lila Fowler has had her eye on Todd for awhile, but it's okay because Todd would never, ever stray, and even if he did, well, it would just be a fling and they don't matter, right? Liz frets, not so much because she believes Jessica's obvious lie, but because she had wanted to spend time with Todd and the rest of her friends, and while NYC is awesome, going alone might not be so much with the awesome. Jessica declares herself the winner and runs off to tell her parents how generous Liz is being, even without Liz having fully caved. Which is okay, as Liz doesn't actually mind giving up the trip to NYC, something she confesses to Jessica as they're at the airport. Had Liz wanted to go, nothing could have stopped her, and this much we'll learn later is true. This is one of those books where you want to smack Liz for falling for Jessica's scheming ways, but you also respect that this was actually Elizabeth's choice, she just let Jessica think she'd done the convincing. Or maybe you just accept that she thinks it was her choice and disillusioning Elizabeth too many times in one book is just painful. I don't know.
  So off Jessica goes to NYC, primed and ready for adventure. Back at home, Liz and the rest of the Wakefields are blown away by how pretty and fantastic Suzanne-call-me-Suzy is. She sounds too good to be true, people comment. Well, duh. She's gorgeous, pretty, fantastic, sophisticated, nice, chore doing, Liz complimenting, golly gee wilikers, makes Liz look bad/lazy in comparison. Of course she's ebil! Sigh. To be fair, we don't find out for sure until page 56, or until she's been there a few days. In that time she acts so happy to be around a real family, so overjoyed at spending time with perfect strangers, although I'd probably love being surrounded by people who were ready to worship me, too, and is exceptionally polite, going so far as to do the dishes and cook for the Wakefields. She's a dream, an absolute dream. Our first inkling that maybe she's not what she seems is when she nearly drowns at the class picnic, despite having proven herself previously to be a fantastic swimmer. She manages to scare Roger Collins away after he saves her, but it's not made clear at that moment whether he just didn't want to be around a soaking wet hot teenage girl, or whether she'd been a little obvious in her "ohgosh, I'm drowning, please save me, young Robert Redford!" theatrics.
  Fear not, she'll make it really obvious in a second. One day Liz cannot find her lavaliere, despite turning her room upside down in her search for it. Suzy reassures her that they'll find it, and pretends to sympathize, but all the while the necklace is in her pocket, and she's petting it, cooing, "Soon, my precious, sooooooooooon."
  Immediately following this little act, she flirts/comes on to Mr. C in his own yard. Delivering a little something from Liz, Suzy requests a drink from the hose and then, gosh oh golly, drenches her t-shirt. Subtle thy name ain't Devlin. Granted, it wasn't meant to be subtle. Mr. C likes his job and his women a little less porntastic, so he sends Suzy on her way. This just makes her more determined. She will bed young Robert, she will.
  Now, we switch to Jessica's exploits in NYC. She does the traditional tourist thing and comes to realize that maybe Suzy's life isn't as charmed as she might have thought. Mrs. Devlin is a stone cold bitch, NYC ain't a cheap place to live, and Mr. D is never around, although he is a charmer. More to the point, Suzy's boyfriend Pete is a god and knows it, too. Thus he's a jerk. If you love watching Jess try and fail, you'll love the various ways she tries to get his attention only to have him know full well what she's up to, but he honestly doesn't seem all that interested. It's an interesting mirror to what Suzy's up to. Jess becomes more desperate and flails about, making a fool of herself at a party thrown for her, where Suzy's best friend Evelyn wishes she were as nifty as Lila back home. Instead Ev and company are so painfully dull that the only thing Jessica can do to keep from nodding off is to drink her wine very, very quickly and get very, very drunk. This does not endear her to the NYC crowd and she's sent home, passed out in the back of a cab.
  That leads to Jess calling Liz, painfully missing her twin and seriously wishing she'd stayed home where she belonged. But being Jessica, she can't tell Liz this, so she tells Liz she's having a fantastic time, taking the city by storm, and gosh, isn't Liz jealous of all the fun times Jess must be having?
  Well, no, no Liz isn't. She's having fun, missing necklace aside. Which means it must be time for something bad to happen! Todd gets last minute tickets to a Laker's game [zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz] and Liz wants to go with, but can't because she's babysitting for Teddy Collins that night. It's too late to find some other teenager [remember, the BSC is all the way in Connecticut, so no worries about Kristy slashing the Fiat's tires in retaliation for encroaching on their territory] and Liz couldn't possibly leave Mr. C in the lurch. Enter Suzy who offers to babysit, because what else was she going to do all night while Liz was away? And this, this is where Lizzie drops the ball. She lets Suzy talk her out of calling Mr. C and checking to see if this is okay. Now, we know that this would so not be okay, but Liz doesn't, but still, she's responsible enough to know how things are done. Still, she runs off with Todd and Suzy hits Mr. C's place. Mr. C is all, "what the fu..er, hell are you doing here, Devilwoman?" and Suzy says she thought Liz called to see if it was okay and gosh, she's sorry, but she's sure she and Teddy will have a good ol' time. Cue Teddy being charmed and Mr. C figures what's the worst that'll happen and leaves. FOOL.
  The second Mr. C is gone, Teddy gets told to shut up and watch TV, Suzy's got better things to do than entertain a brat. Teddy cries and Suzy wanders upstairs to go through Roger's stuff. Nothing smutty to be found at all. Suzy isn't thrilled with the lack of personality this shows, but decides she'll take a long, nice bubble bath and maybe, tee hee, if she's lucky, Mr. C will come back early and find her in the tub and well, join her. He doesn't and when she makes her way back downstairs, she notices Teddy has passed out on the couch and it looks like he's been crying. Well, suck it up, kiddo, because life sucks and then you die, and anyone who says otherwise is not living in the real world.
  Which is to say, Suzy has issues. Her parents have shipped her off to various boarding schools her whole life and it's obvious they don't want her, wah wah wah. She subscribes to the theory that if Suzy ain't happy, then nobody is happy.
  Mr. C comes home to find Suzanne "asleep" on the couch next to Teddy [seriously, Suze, putting the kid to bed would have been a good idea if YOU could tell he was upset. His own father would obviously be able to tell and it wouldn't help your skanking around cause either. Sigh.] but with her shirt buttons undone enough to make it really obvious that Suzy's got a nice rack, y'know, if you were into that sort of thing. After she forces him to grope her [feel how fast my heart is beating!] she tries to get him to drink a little with her, but he reminds her that she's underage. She dismisses this and moves in for the kill. He shoots her down, despite being physically interested, heart racing and all that. Or maybe he's not and it's totally fear that she's going to ruin his life. Either way, he essentially kicks her out of the house and she plots her revenge. It's simple.
  She's going to make the entire town think good old Roger Collins tried to rape her. She tears her own shirt, thinks unhappy thoughts, cries and ruins her makeup, and then slinks up to Elizabeth's room to tell, but only when prodded and promised that Liz will believe her. And Elizabeth does, because why would anyone lie about such a thing? The entire store revolves around that little thought. Why would anyone lie about nearly being raped?
  And anyone who had read the first book in the series prior to this damn near choked. But we'll get to that in a minute.
  Liz and Suzy go to Ned who calls Chrome Dome and Roger Collins probably wakes up the next morning to find his entire life has gone to shit because he DIDN'T take advantage of the strange girl half dressed on his couch. FUN.
  The entire thing makes Liz sick because she cannot reconcile the man she thinks she knows so well with the man Suzy's painted as this horrible, drunken sleaze. Todd shares the same disbelief, but it doesn't tear him up as much because Mr. Collins is just a cool teacher to him, not his mentor/friend/kindly uncle figure. The town is similarly torn. Some of the residents, like quite a few of the parents, believe Suzy, and are thrilled to finally have an actual reason to get rid of Collins. Damn his liberal, artistic, outside the box teaching ways! Damn them! On the other hand, anyone who has actually spent any time with Collins probably thinks this is a horrible rumour blown up to epic proportions.
  While at Cara Walkers, the usual SVH cast is plotting what to buy Lila for her birthday. Lila's gift falls to the wayside as they discuss and take sides on the whole Collins debate. Some people, like Olivia Davidson, don't believe that someone they know that well, someone who has been their morality compass for the entire year [and probably prior to that] is capable of such a thing. They don't come right out and call Suzy a liar, but they do wonder if somehow things got mixed up. Some, like Cara, are quick to say that of course Mr. C tried to get lucky. He's a guy and Suzy's hot. End of story.
  Liz and Todd aren't so sure. On the one hand, Mr. C is awesome. They know he couldn't, wouldn't... could he? On the other hand, what possible reason could Suzy have for lying about this? There's no way she could be confused, so what, did she dream it? She's a sweetheart, how could she possibly be lying?
  The one thing everyone agrees on is that Lila doesn't really need a huge gift, so some of the money they've set aside for her gift will be put into a gift for Suzy. A sort of, "Sorry our favorite teacher assaulted you, no hard feelings, kay?" gift. Uh...huh.
  On this moment of disbelief, we head back to Jessica. She's finally managed to finagle another date with Pete, only he's not falling under her spell. Turns out he didn't even want to ask her out, Suzy's parents asked him to show her a good time. Jess is heartbroken. She gets what she wants and she wants Pete but he ain't biting. What gives? They go back to the Devlins and he goes up to the apartment with her, she assumes it's to say hey to Suzy's parents but they aren't there... and then, we have another moment where Jess and Suzy mirror one another. You see, as Suzy is faking her attack, Jessica's playing with fire. She wants Pete's attention, but he wants a little more than that. He gets more than a little aggressive and Jess freaks out. She wanted an evening of mild making out, and he's pushing for rough sex, right there in the living room. Jess ain't that girl and she tells him no. He points out that no one in their right mind would believe that Jessica didn't want what she was about to get, and Jess flips out. Not because this is so painful to hear over and over [essentially anytime Jess goes after an older boy], but because dude, fuck that, no means no, and somehow there's a bit of a chase that ends when Pete lands on top of Jessica. Before we find out whether Pete is really just teaching her that maybe she should be a little more discriminating when it comes to who she hits on and the sort of signals she sends out, the Devlins come home. This can't be good.
  While Jessica is dealing with the fall out from that little disaster, Liz decides to be a sneaky saint and put Suzy's gift in her suitcase, so that when she's packing, or maybe when she's home, she'll find her little package of sunshine. However, while she's riffling through Suzy's stuff, she finds a familiar gold necklace. How odd, how did her lavaliere end up in Suzy's suitcase unless.... Suzy stole it? Hmm. This blows Elizabeth's mind and she can't think about it for too long before her head begins to hurt almost as much as her heart.
  Of course, she also can't stop thinking about it. On their way to Lila's party out at the Country Club, Todd asks why Liz is so quiet. She tells him about her unexpected find and again tries to reason it out. Todd points out the obvious, that some people are just broken inside. There isn't always a why, and while that's frightening, and painfully annoying to all of us who thrive on the WHY more so than anything else, it is life, and it will happen. He likens it to East of Eden, and just as I think we might get out of this alive, he makes a crack or two about Jessica, to which Elizabeth replies that Jessica would never do anything really bad, like what they're supposing Suzy has done.
  NOW you may do your spit take and say, what the fuck? Jessica did exactly what you're thinking about accusing Suzy of, only she didn't spread it all around town. She couldn't get Todd, so she decided to get back at him by telling the one girl he liked that he'd tried to get a little too friendly with her. Jessica accused Todd of, if not rape, than at least not respecting her boundaries. She LIED to her twin about this and had Elizabeth thought to spread it around like she did with Mr. Collins, well, it would have sucked and Jessica would have been in the same boat as Suzy, except at least Todd and Jessica had kissed before. So yeah, the argument that Jess would never do anything that bad, and gosh, what sort of wicked soul would do such a thing? Hello, your own twin sister, dumb ass!
  So Liz decides that Todd is right. Some people are just rotten and if Suzy could steal and lie about a necklace [of which there are a million explanations] then she could obviously lie about sexual assault. Uh, way to rationalize that. Stealing a necklace =/= lying about being assaulted. Just sayin'...
  Liz confronts Suzy at Lila's party in the coat room. Um, yeah. Suzy tries to play it off, badly, but Liz doesn't fall for it and then mentions Mr. Collins. Suzy freaks out, confesses and acts a royal bitch while she's at it. She threatens Liz, who threatens her right back and then Suzy points out that when she's done with Elizabeth, what she did to Mr. Collins will look like a cake walk. Interesting. I wonder how telling everyone that Liz cracked her head and has been acting crazy compares to getting a man fired, possibly causing him to lose his child [if his crazy, only mentioned in one offs wife got a hold of that info, he could lose Teddy], and ruining his life. We never find out because just as Suzy has managed to convince almost everyone at Lila's party that Liz is back to her own post-coma Jessica-like Liz behavior, Winston crashes into Suzy and spills punch all over her beautiful Halston outfit. Suzy freaks the fuck out and bites Winston's head off. She tries to do damage control, but that much crazy spewing forth makes most people realize that odds are good, Liz isn't so crazy as to be wrong about Suzy lying about Mr. Collins, or at least being seriously mistaken. Suzy is left to cry about her defeat and Liz finds out that Winston intentionally ruined Suzy's dress, in hopes that the bitch would crack and everyone else would realize Elizabeth wasn't crazy, that Mr. Collins wasn't a sleaze, and that the world would return to it's perfect order. If Winston didn't find fat people super freaky, I'd love him. Ah, well.
  The thing I don't get is what happened after this? How did Ned and Alice treat Suzanne after this? Did they kick her ass, report her to her parents, what? I'm so confused.
  Liz opts out of taking Suzy to the airport and picking up Jessica, so Jess comes home, finds Suzy's gift, thinks it's her own and happily swipes it. Turns out that when the Devlins came home, Jessica did the only sensible thing she could think of. She broke down. Pete has since been banned from Casa de Devlin, and alls well that ends well. Again, did the Devlins tell Ned and Alice about their daughter's little problem at the end of her visit, or what? Cuz I know for damn sure my parents would have wanted to know/would have told. But that would mean that Jessica couldn't play it off, thus leading to Elizabeth giggling like a fiend when it seemed that Jessica had stolen Suzanne's boyfriend. Ah, sisters. Fear not, Jess eventually learns of the bitchery that was Suzy Devlin. Just not now.

Trivia, dahling:

  • Steven had his birthday, apparently. He's 19 as of now. Funny, I think he goes right back to being 18 next book.

  • Liz suggests the coin flip, and Jess likens it to the time Ned won a doll at the Fair and gave it to Jessica [who won the coin toss] and he felt so guilty that he ran out and bought Liz a better one.

  • Jessica's dream Manhattan involves an "impossibly chic Manhattan disco" where Mick Jagger wants to dance. Dude, by the 80's he was a little on the rough side, so whoa. Just... whoa, Jessie. WHOA. Anyway, there'd also be the owner of Tiffany's who would gift her with an emerald necklace, content to just bask in the glow of her beauty. Or possibly she'd settle for being discovered as the next Cheryl Tiegs, immediately placed on the cover of Cosmo.

  • Steve is likened to Elizabeth in terms of temperament, but dude has anger management issues that rival Jessica's.

  • Jess can have NYC, Liz would rather be "mountain climbing in the Sierras" or "rafting down the Colorado River." Screw that, I'll take NYC, and I'm no fan of the city.

  • Jess sets off the metal detector at the airport with a massive silver bracelet. Talented.

  • Sophomore year, Jessica played the lead in My Fair Lady, and for weeks walked around with a snooty faux British accent.

  • Suzy's accent isn't like snooty Jessica's, but instead is just cultured and, our favorite word for Suzy, sophisticated.

  • In case you missed it, Tricia Martin is a senior at SVH. She's also starting to blow off plans with Steve. GASP!

  • The Wakefields have a lemon tree in their backyard.

  • Jessica loots around in Suzy's makeup for her date with Pete. I cry foul. Lookit that cover. What looks good on Suzanne would look ghastly on the twins aside from the basics, kay? Also, if Suzy makes Liz worry about her own perfectly lovely size six figure, would Jess easily slide into a slinky little number from Suzy's closet?

  • Jessica's NYC itinerary: Saks, Russian Tea Room, Windows on the World, the Empire State Building, and a horse drawn carriage through Central Park.

  • Pete McCafferty has green eyes, chestnut hair, perma-tan, and drives a Ferrari. Needless to say, he's hot in a preppy sort of way.

  • The Devlins live on Park Avenue.

  • Apparently Jessica, the shopaholic, draws the line at $75 for a scarf. Wonder if she would these days... Inflation and all.

  • The Devlins: Mr. D is short, roundish, thinning blond hair, bushy mustache, twinkling gray-blue eyes. Mrs. D is tall, impossibly thin, with cheekbones that could cut glass, and is a total Ice Queen.

  • Jessica's first date with Pete is to a Horowitz concert.

  • Suzy's while you were out call list: Tom McKay called twice, Aaron Dallas called three times, Bruce Patman only called once, but Winston called twelve times, and had time for a late night serenade.

  • Page 56 is when we learn that Suzy is so not what she seems. Or is, if you're judging the book by it's cover.

  • Todd's got his second hand Datsun, baby.

  • Mr. Collins lives in a sunny yellow frame house. Um, okay.

  • Winston wrote "I love you, Suzy" in toilet paper.

  • If you're wondering at Winston's love affair with Suzy, Mandy Farmer moved sometime and everyone thinks it's about time the poor guy got over the fact that his girlfriend is gone. Um, okay, sure.

  • Evelyn Meeker, despite the horrible last name, is Suzy's best friend, and is dating a 25 year old. She's a tall brunette and fairly bitchy, but in a boring way.

  • When babysitting for Teddy Collins, make sure he's in bed by 8:30pm.

  • Suzy likes to go through people's personal stuff. One time she found pot in her cousin Ruthie's jewelry box and blackmailed her for ages. Lovely.

  • After Suzy's accusations, this is how the group at Cara's divided themselves: Pro Mr. C- Olivia, John Pfeifer, Enid, Ken. Against: Cara, Caroline, Winston. Undecided: Todd and Liz.

  • The last time Liz and Jessica dressed up for a night out, Ned wanted a picture of them, so they took one out by the pool. Jessica hammed it up so bad that she ended up falling into the pool.

  • Todd always runs 15 minutes late.

  • Liz once called the cops, thinking she heard someone breaking into their house, but it was just Jessica coming in through the window after curfew. Oops!

  • Lila's birthday party was held at the country club.



Quotes:
  "Somehow a pair of culottes doesn't exactly compare with a trip to New York." -Jessica has a point, Liz. p7
  "Do you always imagine yourself to be the star of a movie?" - Pete to Jessica. Yes. Yes she does.
  She was even mad at her sister. Elizabeth had been so quick to want to switch places with her. She probably knew how it was going to turn out and had only pretended to want to go in the first place in order to make it sound like fun. Jessica has lost her damn mind. Like Liz knew Pete was going to go all date-rape on Jessica. As if. p95

137:
  "Never!" Jessica sobbed. "I'll probably never set foot out of this dumb town for the next hundred and thirty-seven years!" p6
  "Honestly, Liz, I've never been so deliriously happy in my entire life. The Devlins-well, it would take me a hundred and thirty-seven years to describe them." p69




  I waffle on Too Good... I like parts of it, I find other parts insane. The dorky, but lovable, little kid in me loved so much of this book that I can't hate it overall, or even look at it objectively. On the other hand, the knowledge of what they'll do to Suzy in the future just kills me. With a few exceptions, noticeably the serial killers [heyo, Margo/Nora] we're forced to endure the humanization of just about every "villain" in the series. Why? Todd explained that some people are just born bad. Or you've got your Lila Fowlers of the world, those with issues that explain their narcissistic behavior and this somehow endears them to the readers [moi] but no one would ever say she's a nice person. She has her reasons, and you might not agree with them, but they do exist. Similar reasons exist for Suzy to be the way she is, so why change it? Meh.
  I do wonder what would have happened if Jess and Suzy had gone head to head this go round. Would she have been so easily fooled? [Yes.] Would she have bristled at how much everybody just looooooved Suzy? [Yes, again.] Would she have taken her down much harder than Liz and Winston managed to? [Oh for heaven's sake, yes!] It would have been glorious.

the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Just a note to say I'm not dead yet, just tired. Work + sick = no time to smoosh various covers together as the final step for world domination. That said, I might as well post this and add the images tomorrow. Yes. Maybe. Well, it's an idea.

Too Good To Be True
August 1984

  Is Suzanne as perfect as she seems?

  A devil in disguise...


The Wakefield twins are wild with excitement. Glamorous, sophisticated Suzanne Devlin is coming to Sweet Valley from New York City. For two weeks, Elizabeth will show her around town while Jessica has the time of her life in New York.
  At first, Suzanne seems to be the most perfect girl in the world. She's beautiful and friendly and not the least bit stuck-up. All the boys of Sweet Valley are absolutely crazy about her. But when Suzanne accuses Mr. Collins of trying to seduce her, Elizabeth knows there's more to Suzanne than meets the eye.


  Suzy Devlin is so obviously the original incarnation of Caitlin that it's no wonder I love/loathe them both so much. That aside, she's a bitch. You can tell it by looking at her, and it just goes to prove that the residents of Sweet Valley are a bunch of idiots. You'd expect it from the guys, but the girls have been proven to be extremely judgmental, harsh, bitter little harpies [teenage girls] and yet this hotter than hot, "sophisticated" overly sweet to the point of inflicting diabetic comas on unsuspecting residents just blows into town and not a single person other than Roger Collins has the balls to say, "Wait, what?" I cry foul.

  With that said, let's rewind. Ned Wakefield is exchanging his daughter for one of his college buddy's daughters, namely Suzanne Devlin. As anyone who has ever even watched a nanosecond of Designing Women knows, Suzanne is the name of the bitch. However, this is prior to that, so the Wakefields simply think they'll be welcoming an old friend's kid into their home, and obviously their friend wouldn't raise a self absorbed, boy crazy, lazy, sneaky, crafty, bitch goddess.... like they did with Jessica. Nope, they expect sunshine and rainbows. However, they can't afford to send both twins to New York City, for what is actually a logical reason. Namely, with Steve in college and the girls a year away, the Wakefields can't just be blowing cash on a two week vacay to NYC for the girls. Now, this will be blown away by all the numerous trips they'll take later on, but I actually smiled at their reasoning.
  Anyway, they finally flip a coin to decide which twin will take NYC by storm. Being contrary by nature, Jessica takes tails. Naturally, this means heads, Liz, wins. Jessica does not deal well with losing, so she sulks and cries and bemoans her fate. Liz, in her infinite wisdom, gives Jessica an in when she worries aloud about missing the class picnic and spending two weeks away from Todd. Jessica "casually" mentions that Lila Fowler has had her eye on Todd for awhile, but it's okay because Todd would never, ever stray, and even if he did, well, it would just be a fling and they don't matter, right? Liz frets, not so much because she believes Jessica's obvious lie, but because she had wanted to spend time with Todd and the rest of her friends, and while NYC is awesome, going alone might not be so much with the awesome. Jessica declares herself the winner and runs off to tell her parents how generous Liz is being, even without Liz having fully caved. Which is okay, as Liz doesn't actually mind giving up the trip to NYC, something she confesses to Jessica as they're at the airport. Had Liz wanted to go, nothing could have stopped her, and this much we'll learn later is true. This is one of those books where you want to smack Liz for falling for Jessica's scheming ways, but you also respect that this was actually Elizabeth's choice, she just let Jessica think she'd done the convincing. Or maybe you just accept that she thinks it was her choice and disillusioning Elizabeth too many times in one book is just painful. I don't know.
  So off Jessica goes to NYC, primed and ready for adventure. Back at home, Liz and the rest of the Wakefields are blown away by how pretty and fantastic Suzanne-call-me-Suzy is. She sounds too good to be true, people comment. Well, duh. She's gorgeous, pretty, fantastic, sophisticated, nice, chore doing, Liz complimenting, golly gee wilikers, makes Liz look bad/lazy in comparison. Of course she's ebil! Sigh. To be fair, we don't find out for sure until page 56, or until she's been there a few days. In that time she acts so happy to be around a real family, so overjoyed at spending time with perfect strangers, although I'd probably love being surrounded by people who were ready to worship me, too, and is exceptionally polite, going so far as to do the dishes and cook for the Wakefields. She's a dream, an absolute dream. Our first inkling that maybe she's not what she seems is when she nearly drowns at the class picnic, despite having proven herself previously to be a fantastic swimmer. She manages to scare Roger Collins away after he saves her, but it's not made clear at that moment whether he just didn't want to be around a soaking wet hot teenage girl, or whether she'd been a little obvious in her "ohgosh, I'm drowning, please save me, young Robert Redford!" theatrics.
  Fear not, she'll make it really obvious in a second. One day Liz cannot find her lavaliere, despite turning her room upside down in her search for it. Suzy reassures her that they'll find it, and pretends to sympathize, but all the while the necklace is in her pocket, and she's petting it, cooing, "Soon, my precious, sooooooooooon."
  Immediately following this little act, she flirts/comes on to Mr. C in his own yard. Delivering a little something from Liz, Suzy requests a drink from the hose and then, gosh oh golly, drenches her t-shirt. Subtle thy name ain't Devlin. Granted, it wasn't meant to be subtle. Mr. C likes his job and his women a little less porntastic, so he sends Suzy on her way. This just makes her more determined. She will bed young Robert, she will.
  Now, we switch to Jessica's exploits in NYC. She does the traditional tourist thing and comes to realize that maybe Suzy's life isn't as charmed as she might have thought. Mrs. Devlin is a stone cold bitch, NYC ain't a cheap place to live, and Mr. D is never around, although he is a charmer. More to the point, Suzy's boyfriend Pete is a god and knows it, too. Thus he's a jerk. If you love watching Jess try and fail, you'll love the various ways she tries to get his attention only to have him know full well what she's up to, but he honestly doesn't seem all that interested. It's an interesting mirror to what Suzy's up to. Jess becomes more desperate and flails about, making a fool of herself at a party thrown for her, where Suzy's best friend Evelyn wishes she were as nifty as Lila back home. Instead Ev and company are so painfully dull that the only thing Jessica can do to keep from nodding off is to drink her wine very, very quickly and get very, very drunk. This does not endear her to the NYC crowd and she's sent home, passed out in the back of a cab.
  That leads to Jess calling Liz, painfully missing her twin and seriously wishing she'd stayed home where she belonged. But being Jessica, she can't tell Liz this, so she tells Liz she's having a fantastic time, taking the city by storm, and gosh, isn't Liz jealous of all the fun times Jess must be having?
  Well, no, no Liz isn't. She's having fun, missing necklace aside. Which means it must be time for something bad to happen! Todd gets last minute tickets to a Laker's game [zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz] and Liz wants to go with, but can't because she's babysitting for Teddy Collins that night. It's too late to find some other teenager [remember, the BSC is all the way in Connecticut, so no worries about Kristy slashing the Fiat's tires in retaliation for encroaching on their territory] and Liz couldn't possibly leave Mr. C in the lurch. Enter Suzy who offers to babysit, because what else was she going to do all night while Liz was away? And this, this is where Lizzie drops the ball. She lets Suzy talk her out of calling Mr. C and checking to see if this is okay. Now, we know that this would so not be okay, but Liz doesn't, but still, she's responsible enough to know how things are done. Still, she runs off with Todd and Suzy hits Mr. C's place. Mr. C is all, "what the fu..er, hell are you doing here, Devilwoman?" and Suzy says she thought Liz called to see if it was okay and gosh, she's sorry, but she's sure she and Teddy will have a good ol' time. Cue Teddy being charmed and Mr. C figures what's the worst that'll happen and leaves. FOOL.
  The second Mr. C is gone, Teddy gets told to shut up and watch TV, Suzy's got better things to do than entertain a brat. Teddy cries and Suzy wanders upstairs to go through Roger's stuff. Nothing smutty to be found at all. Suzy isn't thrilled with the lack of personality this shows, but decides she'll take a long, nice bubble bath and maybe, tee hee, if she's lucky, Mr. C will come back early and find her in the tub and well, join her. He doesn't and when she makes her way back downstairs, she notices Teddy has passed out on the couch and it looks like he's been crying. Well, suck it up, kiddo, because life sucks and then you die, and anyone who says otherwise is not living in the real world.
  Which is to say, Suzy has issues. Her parents have shipped her off to various boarding schools her whole life and it's obvious they don't want her, wah wah wah. She subscribes to the theory that if Suzy ain't happy, then nobody is happy.
  Mr. C comes home to find Suzanne "asleep" on the couch next to Teddy [seriously, Suze, putting the kid to bed would have been a good idea if YOU could tell he was upset. His own father would obviously be able to tell and it wouldn't help your skanking around cause either. Sigh.] but with her shirt buttons undone enough to make it really obvious that Suzy's got a nice rack, y'know, if you were into that sort of thing. After she forces him to grope her [feel how fast my heart is beating!] she tries to get him to drink a little with her, but he reminds her that she's underage. She dismisses this and moves in for the kill. He shoots her down, despite being physically interested, heart racing and all that. Or maybe he's not and it's totally fear that she's going to ruin his life. Either way, he essentially kicks her out of the house and she plots her revenge. It's simple.
  She's going to make the entire town think good old Roger Collins tried to rape her. She tears her own shirt, thinks unhappy thoughts, cries and ruins her makeup, and then slinks up to Elizabeth's room to tell, but only when prodded and promised that Liz will believe her. And Elizabeth does, because why would anyone lie about such a thing? The entire store revolves around that little thought. Why would anyone lie about nearly being raped?
  And anyone who had read the first book in the series prior to this damn near choked. But we'll get to that in a minute.
  Liz and Suzy go to Ned who calls Chrome Dome and Roger Collins probably wakes up the next morning to find his entire life has gone to shit because he DIDN'T take advantage of the strange girl half dressed on his couch. FUN.
  The entire thing makes Liz sick because she cannot reconcile the man she thinks she knows so well with the man Suzy's painted as this horrible, drunken sleaze. Todd shares the same disbelief, but it doesn't tear him up as much because Mr. Collins is just a cool teacher to him, not his mentor/friend/kindly uncle figure. The town is similarly torn. Some of the residents, like quite a few of the parents, believe Suzy, and are thrilled to finally have an actual reason to get rid of Collins. Damn his liberal, artistic, outside the box teaching ways! Damn them! On the other hand, anyone who has actually spent any time with Collins probably thinks this is a horrible rumour blown up to epic proportions.
  While at Cara Walkers, the usual SVH cast is plotting what to buy Lila for her birthday. Lila's gift falls to the wayside as they discuss and take sides on the whole Collins debate. Some people, like Olivia Davidson, don't believe that someone they know that well, someone who has been their morality compass for the entire year [and probably prior to that] is capable of such a thing. They don't come right out and call Suzy a liar, but they do wonder if somehow things got mixed up. Some, like Cara, are quick to say that of course Mr. C tried to get lucky. He's a guy and Suzy's hot. End of story.
  Liz and Todd aren't so sure. On the one hand, Mr. C is awesome. They know he couldn't, wouldn't... could he? On the other hand, what possible reason could Suzy have for lying about this? There's no way she could be confused, so what, did she dream it? She's a sweetheart, how could she possibly be lying?
  The one thing everyone agrees on is that Lila doesn't really need a huge gift, so some of the money they've set aside for her gift will be put into a gift for Suzy. A sort of, "Sorry our favorite teacher assaulted you, no hard feelings, kay?" gift. Uh...huh.
  On this moment of disbelief, we head back to Jessica. She's finally managed to finagle another date with Pete, only he's not falling under her spell. Turns out he didn't even want to ask her out, Suzy's parents asked him to show her a good time. Jess is heartbroken. She gets what she wants and she wants Pete but he ain't biting. What gives? They go back to the Devlins and he goes up to the apartment with her, she assumes it's to say hey to Suzy's parents but they aren't there... and then, we have another moment where Jess and Suzy mirror one another. You see, as Suzy is faking her attack, Jessica's playing with fire. She wants Pete's attention, but he wants a little more than that. He gets more than a little aggressive and Jess freaks out. She wanted an evening of mild making out, and he's pushing for rough sex, right there in the living room. Jess ain't that girl and she tells him no. He points out that no one in their right mind would believe that Jessica didn't want what she was about to get, and Jess flips out. Not because this is so painful to hear over and over [essentially anytime Jess goes after an older boy], but because dude, fuck that, no means no, and somehow there's a bit of a chase that ends when Pete lands on top of Jessica. Before we find out whether Pete is really just teaching her that maybe she should be a little more discriminating when it comes to who she hits on and the sort of signals she sends out, the Devlins come home. This can't be good.
  While Jessica is dealing with the fall out from that little disaster, Liz decides to be a sneaky saint and put Suzy's gift in her suitcase, so that when she's packing, or maybe when she's home, she'll find her little package of sunshine. However, while she's riffling through Suzy's stuff, she finds a familiar gold necklace. How odd, how did her lavaliere end up in Suzy's suitcase unless.... Suzy stole it? Hmm. This blows Elizabeth's mind and she can't think about it for too long before her head begins to hurt almost as much as her heart.
  Of course, she also can't stop thinking about it. On their way to Lila's party out at the Country Club, Todd asks why Liz is so quiet. She tells him about her unexpected find and again tries to reason it out. Todd points out the obvious, that some people are just broken inside. There isn't always a why, and while that's frightening, and painfully annoying to all of us who thrive on the WHY more so than anything else, it is life, and it will happen. He likens it to East of Eden, and just as I think we might get out of this alive, he makes a crack or two about Jessica, to which Elizabeth replies that Jessica would never do anything really bad, like what they're supposing Suzy has done.
  NOW you may do your spit take and say, what the fuck? Jessica did exactly what you're thinking about accusing Suzy of, only she didn't spread it all around town. She couldn't get Todd, so she decided to get back at him by telling the one girl he liked that he'd tried to get a little too friendly with her. Jessica accused Todd of, if not rape, than at least not respecting her boundaries. She LIED to her twin about this and had Elizabeth thought to spread it around like she did with Mr. Collins, well, it would have sucked and Jessica would have been in the same boat as Suzy, except at least Todd and Jessica had kissed before. So yeah, the argument that Jess would never do anything that bad, and gosh, what sort of wicked soul would do such a thing? Hello, your own twin sister, dumb ass!
  So Liz decides that Todd is right. Some people are just rotten and if Suzy could steal and lie about a necklace [of which there are a million explanations] then she could obviously lie about sexual assault. Uh, way to rationalize that. Stealing a necklace =/= lying about being assaulted. Just sayin'...
  Liz confronts Suzy at Lila's party in the coat room. Um, yeah. Suzy tries to play it off, badly, but Liz doesn't fall for it and then mentions Mr. Collins. Suzy freaks out, confesses and acts a royal bitch while she's at it. She threatens Liz, who threatens her right back and then Suzy points out that when she's done with Elizabeth, what she did to Mr. Collins will look like a cake walk. Interesting. I wonder how telling everyone that Liz cracked her head and has been acting crazy compares to getting a man fired, possibly causing him to lose his child [if his crazy, only mentioned in one offs wife got a hold of that info, he could lose Teddy], and ruining his life. We never find out because just as Suzy has managed to convince almost everyone at Lila's party that Liz is back to her own post-coma Jessica-like Liz behavior, Winston crashes into Suzy and spills punch all over her beautiful Halston outfit. Suzy freaks the fuck out and bites Winston's head off. She tries to do damage control, but that much crazy spewing forth makes most people realize that odds are good, Liz isn't so crazy as to be wrong about Suzy lying about Mr. Collins, or at least being seriously mistaken. Suzy is left to cry about her defeat and Liz finds out that Winston intentionally ruined Suzy's dress, in hopes that the bitch would crack and everyone else would realize Elizabeth wasn't crazy, that Mr. Collins wasn't a sleaze, and that the world would return to it's perfect order. If Winston didn't find fat people super freaky, I'd love him. Ah, well.
  The thing I don't get is what happened after this? How did Ned and Alice treat Suzanne after this? Did they kick her ass, report her to her parents, what? I'm so confused.
  Liz opts out of taking Suzy to the airport and picking up Jessica, so Jess comes home, finds Suzy's gift, thinks it's her own and happily swipes it. Turns out that when the Devlins came home, Jessica did the only sensible thing she could think of. She broke down. Pete has since been banned from Casa de Devlin, and alls well that ends well. Again, did the Devlins tell Ned and Alice about their daughter's little problem at the end of her visit, or what? Cuz I know for damn sure my parents would have wanted to know/would have told. But that would mean that Jessica couldn't play it off, thus leading to Elizabeth giggling like a fiend when it seemed that Jessica had stolen Suzanne's boyfriend. Ah, sisters. Fear not, Jess eventually learns of the bitchery that was Suzy Devlin. Just not now.

Trivia, dahling:

  • Steven had his birthday, apparently. He's 19 as of now. Funny, I think he goes right back to being 18 next book.

  • Liz suggests the coin flip, and Jess likens it to the time Ned won a doll at the Fair and gave it to Jessica [who won the coin toss] and he felt so guilty that he ran out and bought Liz a better one.

  • Jessica's dream Manhattan involves an "impossibly chic Manhattan disco" where Mick Jagger wants to dance. Dude, by the 80's he was a little on the rough side, so whoa. Just... whoa, Jessie. WHOA. Anyway, there'd also be the owner of Tiffany's who would gift her with an emerald necklace, content to just bask in the glow of her beauty. Or possibly she'd settle for being discovered as the next Cheryl Tiegs, immediately placed on the cover of Cosmo.

  • Steve is likened to Elizabeth in terms of temperament, but dude has anger management issues that rival Jessica's.

  • Jess can have NYC, Liz would rather be "mountain climbing in the Sierras" or "rafting down the Colorado River." Screw that, I'll take NYC, and I'm no fan of the city.

  • Jess sets off the metal detector at the airport with a massive silver bracelet. Talented.

  • Sophomore year, Jessica played the lead in My Fair Lady, and for weeks walked around with a snooty faux British accent.

  • Suzy's accent isn't like snooty Jessica's, but instead is just cultured and, our favorite word for Suzy, sophisticated.

  • In case you missed it, Tricia Martin is a senior at SVH. She's also starting to blow off plans with Steve. GASP!

  • The Wakefields have a lemon tree in their backyard.

  • Jessica loots around in Suzy's makeup for her date with Pete. I cry foul. Lookit that cover. What looks good on Suzanne would look ghastly on the twins aside from the basics, kay? Also, if Suzy makes Liz worry about her own perfectly lovely size six figure, would Jess easily slide into a slinky little number from Suzy's closet?

  • Jessica's NYC itinerary: Saks, Russian Tea Room, Windows on the World, the Empire State Building, and a horse drawn carriage through Central Park.

  • Pete McCafferty has green eyes, chestnut hair, perma-tan, and drives a Ferrari. Needless to say, he's hot in a preppy sort of way.

  • The Devlins live on Park Avenue.

  • Apparently Jessica, the shopaholic, draws the line at $75 for a scarf. Wonder if she would these days... Inflation and all.

  • The Devlins: Mr. D is short, roundish, thinning blond hair, bushy mustache, twinkling gray-blue eyes. Mrs. D is tall, impossibly thin, with cheekbones that could cut glass, and is a total Ice Queen.

  • Jessica's first date with Pete is to a Horowitz concert.

  • Suzy's while you were out call list: Tom McKay called twice, Aaron Dallas called three times, Bruce Patman only called once, but Winston called twelve times, and had time for a late night serenade.

  • Page 56 is when we learn that Suzy is so not what she seems. Or is, if you're judging the book by it's cover.

  • Todd's got his second hand Datsun, baby.

  • Mr. Collins lives in a sunny yellow frame house. Um, okay.

  • Winston wrote "I love you, Suzy" in toilet paper.

  • If you're wondering at Winston's love affair with Suzy, Mandy Farmer moved sometime and everyone thinks it's about time the poor guy got over the fact that his girlfriend is gone. Um, okay, sure.

  • Evelyn Meeker, despite the horrible last name, is Suzy's best friend, and is dating a 25 year old. She's a tall brunette and fairly bitchy, but in a boring way.

  • When babysitting for Teddy Collins, make sure he's in bed by 8:30pm.

  • Suzy likes to go through people's personal stuff. One time she found pot in her cousin Ruthie's jewelry box and blackmailed her for ages. Lovely.

  • After Suzy's accusations, this is how the group at Cara's divided themselves: Pro Mr. C- Olivia, John Pfeifer, Enid, Ken. Against: Cara, Caroline, Winston. Undecided: Todd and Liz.

  • The last time Liz and Jessica dressed up for a night out, Ned wanted a picture of them, so they took one out by the pool. Jessica hammed it up so bad that she ended up falling into the pool.

  • Todd always runs 15 minutes late.

  • Liz once called the cops, thinking she heard someone breaking into their house, but it was just Jessica coming in through the window after curfew. Oops!

  • Lila's birthday party was held at the country club.



Quotes:
  "Somehow a pair of culottes doesn't exactly compare with a trip to New York." -Jessica has a point, Liz. p7
  "Do you always imagine yourself to be the star of a movie?" - Pete to Jessica. Yes. Yes she does.
  She was even mad at her sister. Elizabeth had been so quick to want to switch places with her. She probably knew how it was going to turn out and had only pretended to want to go in the first place in order to make it sound like fun. Jessica has lost her damn mind. Like Liz knew Pete was going to go all date-rape on Jessica. As if. p95

137:
  "Never!" Jessica sobbed. "I'll probably never set foot out of this dumb town for the next hundred and thirty-seven years!" p6
  "Honestly, Liz, I've never been so deliriously happy in my entire life. The Devlins-well, it would take me a hundred and thirty-seven years to describe them." p69




  I waffle on Too Good... I like parts of it, I find other parts insane. The dorky, but lovable, little kid in me loved so much of this book that I can't hate it overall, or even look at it objectively. On the other hand, the knowledge of what they'll do to Suzy in the future just kills me. With a few exceptions, noticeably the serial killers [heyo, Margo/Nora] we're forced to endure the humanization of just about every "villain" in the series. Why? Todd explained that some people are just born bad. Or you've got your Lila Fowlers of the world, those with issues that explain their narcissistic behavior and this somehow endears them to the readers [moi] but no one would ever say she's a nice person. She has her reasons, and you might not agree with them, but they do exist. Similar reasons exist for Suzy to be the way she is, so why change it? Meh.
  I do wonder what would have happened if Jess and Suzy had gone head to head this go round. Would she have been so easily fooled? [Yes.] Would she have bristled at how much everybody just looooooved Suzy? [Yes, again.] Would she have taken her down much harder than Liz and Winston managed to? [Oh for heaven's sake, yes!] It would have been glorious.

the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Wrong Kind of Girl
July, 1984

  Watch out, Annie Whitman! Jessica's out to get you!

  Jessica's at it again!


   Jessica Wakefield has sworn never to allow Annie Whitman onto the Sweet Valley High cheering squad. Annie may have the beauty, talent, and spirit to be a cheerleader, but she also has the worst reputation in school. She goes out with a different boy every night, and all the kids call her "easy Annie" behind her back. Jessica's pulling every devilish trick to keep Annie from ruining the cheerleaders' image.
   Only Elizabeth, Jessica's twin, knows what Annie's really like. But can she change her sister's mind before Jessica shatters Annie's dreams?

  I'll admit it. When it comes to Annie Whitman, I'm more of a Jessica than an Elizabeth. I don't think she's evil or a bad seed or anything fascinating like that, I just would prefer her kept far, far away from me whenever we're given more than a brief glimpse in her general direction. She annoys me for reasons that WKoG illustrates repeatedly.
  Ready? Annie Whitman wants to be a SVH cheerleader more than anyone could ever possibly want anything, ever in the history of the world, possibly the universe. Fallen angels wanting to return to heaven have got NOTHING on Annie's desire to join the cheerleading squad. Thing is, Annie's a moron. She lacks common sense of any flavor and is related to the talking Barbie who'd spout such wisdom as, "Math is, like, hard... and stuff?" That is essentially Annie's refrain for much of the first half of the book, but instead of 80's Barbie, imagine that she looks like Courteney Cox did in the 80's.
  In order to be one of the SVH cheer elite, you must maintain a certain GPA and Annie's as dumb as a box of rocks in the math department. She might not be [studying is good for fixing this] if not for her second strike against her: her inability to go without a date on any given day that ends in "y." For this reason, Annie has earned the nickname Easy Annie. Not much in terms of wit or any real time spent coming up with it, but it does the job. Annie likes the boys, and the boys like Annie, but they don't really like each other for long. So Annie finds a new boy, and the old boy counts himself among the many, the not so proud, Annie's dudes.
  What, you need it spelled out for you? Annie's a slut. A tramp. However you want to word it, the meaning is still the same. With a reputation like that, the co-captain of the SVH cheerleaders is a little more than worried about Annie trying out for the squad. That would be Jessica, yes. And as you've come to learn, what Jessica wants usually backfires horribly on anyone, and everyone, involved.
  You might be wondering why the cheerleaders are holding tryouts in the middle of the year for the current squad. You might not. Despite living in the South where football players die every summer due to heat exhaustion, our cheerleaders at school weren't exactly big on the tryouts and no one died to get on the squad that I know of. I think they had tryouts for the next year's squad at the end of the year sometime, but I don't know. But we're well into the school year and we shouldn't be having tryouts, yes? No! It seems sometime in the last couple of books, Lila and Cara were kicked off the squad due to a little prank that some didn't find all that hilarious. Lila says to hell with the squad, but Cara desperately wants back on. Remember, these girls are the most popular, beautiful, fantastic girls ever. Lila's rich, so she doesn't need them, but Cara's no fool. Cheerleaders are the stuff of legends. That leaves Lila's space to fill, although Jessica and Elizabeth have a cute little circular argument about whether it's really one space to fill or two. It's one. Short of breaking her neck, we all know Cara will make it back on the team. That leaves the second slot up for grabs. Jess is eying Sandy Bacon as a suitable filler, but she's got one itsy, bitsy, teeny weeny little problem.
  When Annie shows up, along with 74 other girls, on the first day of tryouts, it becomes painfully clear that the girl is good, possibly even great. She can do stuff that some of the squad's been trying to do for ages, but she makes it look effortless. The only one bothered by this display of perfection is Jessica. Either the other girls are used to being shown up, or they figure that with Annie on the team, the whole squad will be that much better. So either they're fools or fantastic girls. No one knows, and no one's given a chance to know, because Jessica moves fast. When she spies Annie heading off with Tim Bradley, she makes a comment or two towards his sister, Helen, about Easy Annie, and Helen starts to worry. Jess seems to think this alone might be enough to keep Annie from making it through the second round of cuts, but Annie's even better than before.
  Proving that Annie is a moron, she shows up to the Beach Disco with Bruce Patman. The guy's a jerk and Jessica hates him. Not winning any brownie points there, sugar. When a dance contest begins, Annie suffers under the delusion that if she does really, really well, she'll impress the other cheerleaders, especially Jessica. Has she met the younger Wakefield twin? She doesn't like anyone else, not even her own sister, to steal her spotlight. Sharing it with anyone on Bruce Patman's arm is really going to burn her. So while Annie's dying of joy over tying with Jessica in the dance contest, Jessica wishes Annie would just die.
  You might be wondering how Annie managed to get around the academic requirement for trying out. Well, she had a little help from super genius Elizabeth. Liz spends the entire book caught between the right thing and the right thing to do by her sister. It never occurs to her to tell Annie that she has a better chance of being hit by a snowball in Hell than getting on Jessica's squad, or coming up with any reason for Jessica to like Annie. Nope, she tries to get Jessica to feel for Annie, which is impossible as early Jessica only gives a damn if you're in a coma of her own design. Liz tutors Annie to keep her math grades up and begins to realize that maybe Annie actually is easy. She repeatedly goes out with the absolute wrong boys, the ones even Jessica couldn't stand for more than a night, and doesn't seem to care if anyone knows she's got two dates for one day, one of them with creepy Rick Andover.
  Liz is also a little creeped out by Annie's home life. Annie's mother, Mona, is a model, and she's also what seems to pass for an alcoholic in the SV world. Namely, if she's acting a little nutty, she's also slurring her words and is obviously well on her way to happy drunk town. She has a creepy boyfriend in the form of "Call me Johnny" who ruined the name Johnny for me forever. Well, him and another Johnny, but yeah, creepy with the leering and whatnot. Annie's got no friends, so she pours out her skanky little heart to Liz.
  She's lonely, none of the girls like her, the boys don't respect her any more than she respects them, and she can't talk to her mother because Mona's a lush who's done sort of okay by her kid, given that she had Annie at 16, got married and divorced before she was 20, and Annie's dad hasn't been in the picture since she was 13, and gosh oh golly, being one of the elite will change EVERYTHING. Liz suspects heavily that Annie's totally unaware that anyone bad mouths her, but she doesn't say, "Hey, have you thought about not entertaining everything with a penis in town? Cuz the girls kinda frown on it and the nice guys are afraid you're going to give 'em the funny syphilis, y'know?" Or the Liz-ified version, which would work too. Nope, Liz just tries to fluff Annie's ego and get the hell out of Annie's apartment before Johnny comes home. :P

  Oh, and speaking of horrible reputations, we're given a little cameo of Steven when he comes home to check on Tricia. Seems Mr. Martin hit some poor woman while he was driving drunk and is spending a couple of nights in jail. Cara is obviously interested in Steve and has been forever, but he doesn't notice her at all. Woe!

  Back to the interesting stuff. Jessica's got a plan. She knows she'll vote for Sandy, as will Jean West, who is Sandy's best friend in the whole world. That's two votes against Annie. She's fairly certain that Robin will vote however the hell she wants to, and Jess has no sway there, so she counts that as a dead end, as well as Maria Santelli's vote, since Maria's practically dying to try out flips with Annie. So she zeros in on Helen, whose brother appears to have reported back that yeah, Annie's a little slutty. No details at all are given, but Jessica points out that the fate of the SVH squad rests on Helen's pretty little shoulders. She can either keep the squad a good, clean sort of entertainment, or she can get used to people assuming she's a whore like Annie. Really, no pressure at all.
  Helen's in, and there's a wicked little scene with Jess, Jean, and Helen by the Wakefield pool, laughing at Liz and the knowledge that they already know who's the final cheerleader before the final cut. Muhahaha...
  And Jessica's little plan would have worked perfectly if only Sandy Bacon weren't such a world class klutz. She wipes out during her final tryout and everyone is sure she's blown it. Sure, they know Sandy'll get Jeannie's vote, but everyone else is expected to pick Cara and Annie. Cara makes it in, no problem. But when Helen dares to vote Annie, Jessica pulls one final massive bitch fit. If they chose to vote Annie Whitman onto the squad, they'll have to turn right around and find another cheerleader, as Jessica will quit right then and there. We're not told that Jessica's plan worked, but considering she didn't sulk the rest of the afternoon, it's a safe bet that Annie will not be getting a regulation short skirt anytime soon.
  Soooooo, Annie finds out that she didn't make the squad and she freaks the hell out. She wanted it so bad, she was so good, and my god, she even studied, how could they do this to her? Which is where Ricky Capaldo steps in to make matters worse. She badgers him until he tells her that Jessica was the one who threw the hissy fit, although he doesn't say she threatened to quit rather than spend anytime with Annie that wasn't strictly necessary. This involves having to share the legacy of Easy Annie and Annie freaks out. She runs away and is absent from school for days.
  In all the time Annie's ditching, Liz never once tries to check up on the girl, despite having spent so much time worrying about Annie/Jessica that Enid and Todd were both feeling neglected. Way to go, Liz. Way to go.
  Liz finally gets a call from Ricky who has terrible news. Annie tried to kill herself by downing a bottle of pills. GASP! Liz ropes Jessica into going with her to the hospital, and Jessica points out that Annie will NOT want to see her. Liz doesn't care, she needs her security blanket Jessica there. So off they go. At the hospital we're not really told much, but we do see Jessica begin to sob when she realizes that she's an awful person and oh yeah, Ricky thinks so too, deep down, because he asks how could anyone be so cruel, so bitchtastic... and then realizes he pushed it a little far when Jessica bursts into tears. Does Jessica feel bad for what she did, or does she feel bad for how it'll look? Dunno.
  Annie wakes up briefly, says something [possibly, "farewell, cruel world"] and slips back into her coma. Cue Super!Jessica. She confesses to Annie's doctor that it's her fault, and why, and his brilliant suggestion? Tell Annie that she's made the squad after all, but don't lie. Either let the girl die OR give her a uniform.
  And Jessica does it. Just like that, she adds another member to the squad and tells Annie all about it. It isn't until Jessica stops talking, after a late night vigil, that Annie comes to. She really wants that uniform, man.
  So Annie's a cheerleader, she's got the guy [she and Ricky are well on their way to coupledom], and Jessica proves that while she does put people in comas, she's just as good at getting them out. Super!Jessica!
  Thus the book can end with Jessica and Liz wondering, which twin gets to go to NYC and which twin is stuck showing off Suzy Devlin?

Trivia:

  • SVH Cheerleading Squad before the book starts: Jessica, Robin, Lila, Cara, Helen Bradley, Maria Santelli, Jean West.

  • When the book starts: Jessica, Robin, Helen, Maria, Jean

  • At the end: Jessica, Robin, Helen, Maria, Jean, Sandy, Cara, Annie

  • Lila and Cara were kicked off the squad after they pranked the Palisades cheer squad by turning the sprinklers on during their "cheer display."

  • 75 girls tried out for the cheerleading squad.

  • Rick Andover's car is a "souped up 1955 Chevy" he calls his "Campbells Special." Yeah, it wasn't cute when Liz heard it either. Stupid Annie.

  • Annie's apartment is small, but lovely, if you ignore the people living inside.

  • Annie was a model a few years back, when she was 13.

  • Sandy Bacon is not known for her gracefulness, particularly after an incident at Lila's when she tried to impress some dude named Mark and instead of doing a complicated dive, did a belly flop instead. Hi-larious!

  • Cara's had the hots for Steve for years, but he doesn't seem to know she's alive. Sadness!

  • Mr. Martin [Tricia's dad] got busted for drunk driving, after he hit some woman on Palmetto Drive. He's only spending a couple of nights in jail for it, though.

  • Tim Bradley is Helen's older brother. He's a senior, but that doesn't stop him from taking Annie [a sophomore] out on a date.

  • The first cut for the cheerleading tryouts knocked the potentials down to 25, the second down to 8.

  • Annie's infamous double date involved Billy taking her to the Dairi Burger and Rick taking her to the beach that evening for a swim.

  • Mrs. Jorgenson lives down the hall and frequently loses her glasses, which Annie helps her find, much to her mother's consternation.

  • Liz has known Annie for only about a year, and wouldn't consider them good friends at all.

  • The Surfer's Waves are a Northern California band playing at the beach disco. See? The Droids aren't the only band in the state.

  • Skip Harmon is a senior who makes it a point to not date junior girls. Jessica bets Elizabeth that he'll make an exception for her, and within a week, too. He does and Liz has to wash the Fiat.

  • It isn't until Annie gets a B-minus at crunch time, and runs to Liz to thank her, that Jessica finds how whose been helping get Annie's grades up. Oddly enough, Jessica doesn't do much to kill Liz for this little act, despite Liz worrying for the last few weeks about it.

  • Ricky Capaldo, the cheerleaders manager, slips a note to Annie about being one of the final eight, and when she reads it after class, she hugs him and shrieks, "Oh, Rickeeeee!" This is how poor Ricky is greeted for the rest of forever.

  • When Ned and Alice explain the New York trip, and tell the girls about Suzy, for some reason we're told that Suzy is beautiful. Really? Couldn't that have waited until next book, or could one of the twins have been shown a picture, because as it stands, Ned calling Suzy beautiful is a little icky.

  • Mona Whitman has a tendency to call her daughter kitten, and you know it's the 80's because she lights up in the emergency waiting area of the hospital. WTF?

  • Annie's doctor is Dr. Hammond.


Say Wha?:
Jessica stomped out of the kitchen, feeling only helplessness at her brother's infatuation with Tricia. She couldn't get over the feeling that one day her brother would come to grief because of his love for that girl. - Jessica learns foreshadowing, p28
"The three major causes of the Revolutionary War," he noted in his book, "were a denial of basic rights, the Stamp Act, and Annie Whitman." I don't think that's right, Ricky. P 81
"Good heavens, Jess, she's only fifteen years old!" Liz might want to rethink that strategy when trying to call the Jess-dog off Annie's case. p108
"He's right. I am stuck up and cruel. But I didn't know she wanted it so much!" Jessica sniffled and looked pleadingly into her sister's calm eyes. It was very difficult to lie to Elizabeth when she looked at her like that. "Oh, OK, maybe I did know. Or I should have known. After all, I wanted it that much when I was trying out." p122


137:
Jessica had tried over and over again to interest Elizabeth in the cheerleading squad. "The two of us together would be sensational!" she'd told Elizabeth at least a hundred and thirty-seven times. p2



  With Annie, you belong to one of two schools of thought. You either believe that Annie's earned her nickname or she hasn't. I don't think I ever doubted for a second that Annie'd had sex with at least a couple of guys, despite the fact that she's 15 and seems genuinely shocked that anyone would hold any of her "dates" against her. The way she talks of her flings has always struck me as kind of proof that she'd fooled around a little. The interesting thing about Annie is that she's a sweetie, albeit very naive. Hooker with a heart of gold?
  That I'm okay with, although you'd think she'd have heard SOMETHING in all this time. Nope, what bothers me most is that because she didn't get what she wanted, she tried to kill herself. When she comes to, she's given exactly what she wanted and it's all okay. The hell is that? Emotional blackmail of the highest order is what. It's also terribly unrealistic. She's mentally unstable enough to try to commit suicide, but not one mention is made of seeing a shrink, and y'know what? Anytime anyone at our HS tried to kill themselves, everyone knew. They might not lose their friends or anything, but everyone knew, rumors flew, and they did not climb the social ladder immediately. If I'd been at SVH, I'd wonder how come I was fictional, and also, why did Annie get special treatment? What if she hadn't been as good, or Sandy hadn't fallen, would she have still tried to kill herself?
  Yes, I know that it was a whole bunch of stuff that sent Annie spiraling, and it's hinted with her interactions with Liz that she's horribly lonely and possibly depressed, and yeah, her mother kicks Johnny to the curb and this is what seems to make Annie bold enough to turn down the cheerleaders [for all of two seconds], but you've gotta look a bit deeper for that. The average SVH student wouldn't do that, they'd just assume she was batshit crazy.
  The funny thing about this is that later on we'll see she's still got the rep, so the only thing that changed is that she's got the uniform, too.

  The other funny thing is how Jessica treats someone who is so similar to how Jessica herself might be perceived, if she weren't so fantastically fantastic. She dates and flirts easily, like Annie, and has been spotted with some of the bad boys of SV, yet she's not given the same rep. Does Jessica hate Annie because she sees what she could be, if things were just a tiny bit different? That whole hating other people for what you hate most in yourself theory? Possibly, most likely even probably, but we're never actually told.
  Also funny? How Liz still defends Jessica's actions, even when Jess has given up the ghost. "You did what you thought was right." Yeah, not really, but you tell yourself that, Liz.

the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Wrong Kind of Girl
July, 1984

  Watch out, Annie Whitman! Jessica's out to get you!

  Jessica's at it again!


   Jessica Wakefield has sworn never to allow Annie Whitman onto the Sweet Valley High cheering squad. Annie may have the beauty, talent, and spirit to be a cheerleader, but she also has the worst reputation in school. She goes out with a different boy every night, and all the kids call her "easy Annie" behind her back. Jessica's pulling every devilish trick to keep Annie from ruining the cheerleaders' image.
   Only Elizabeth, Jessica's twin, knows what Annie's really like. But can she change her sister's mind before Jessica shatters Annie's dreams?

  I'll admit it. When it comes to Annie Whitman, I'm more of a Jessica than an Elizabeth. I don't think she's evil or a bad seed or anything fascinating like that, I just would prefer her kept far, far away from me whenever we're given more than a brief glimpse in her general direction. She annoys me for reasons that WKoG illustrates repeatedly.
  Ready? Annie Whitman wants to be a SVH cheerleader more than anyone could ever possibly want anything, ever in the history of the world, possibly the universe. Fallen angels wanting to return to heaven have got NOTHING on Annie's desire to join the cheerleading squad. Thing is, Annie's a moron. She lacks common sense of any flavor and is related to the talking Barbie who'd spout such wisdom as, "Math is, like, hard... and stuff?" That is essentially Annie's refrain for much of the first half of the book, but instead of 80's Barbie, imagine that she looks like Courteney Cox did in the 80's.
  In order to be one of the SVH cheer elite, you must maintain a certain GPA and Annie's as dumb as a box of rocks in the math department. She might not be [studying is good for fixing this] if not for her second strike against her: her inability to go without a date on any given day that ends in "y." For this reason, Annie has earned the nickname Easy Annie. Not much in terms of wit or any real time spent coming up with it, but it does the job. Annie likes the boys, and the boys like Annie, but they don't really like each other for long. So Annie finds a new boy, and the old boy counts himself among the many, the not so proud, Annie's dudes.
  What, you need it spelled out for you? Annie's a slut. A tramp. However you want to word it, the meaning is still the same. With a reputation like that, the co-captain of the SVH cheerleaders is a little more than worried about Annie trying out for the squad. That would be Jessica, yes. And as you've come to learn, what Jessica wants usually backfires horribly on anyone, and everyone, involved.
  You might be wondering why the cheerleaders are holding tryouts in the middle of the year for the current squad. You might not. Despite living in the South where football players die every summer due to heat exhaustion, our cheerleaders at school weren't exactly big on the tryouts and no one died to get on the squad that I know of. I think they had tryouts for the next year's squad at the end of the year sometime, but I don't know. But we're well into the school year and we shouldn't be having tryouts, yes? No! It seems sometime in the last couple of books, Lila and Cara were kicked off the squad due to a little prank that some didn't find all that hilarious. Lila says to hell with the squad, but Cara desperately wants back on. Remember, these girls are the most popular, beautiful, fantastic girls ever. Lila's rich, so she doesn't need them, but Cara's no fool. Cheerleaders are the stuff of legends. That leaves Lila's space to fill, although Jessica and Elizabeth have a cute little circular argument about whether it's really one space to fill or two. It's one. Short of breaking her neck, we all know Cara will make it back on the team. That leaves the second slot up for grabs. Jess is eying Sandy Bacon as a suitable filler, but she's got one itsy, bitsy, teeny weeny little problem.
  When Annie shows up, along with 74 other girls, on the first day of tryouts, it becomes painfully clear that the girl is good, possibly even great. She can do stuff that some of the squad's been trying to do for ages, but she makes it look effortless. The only one bothered by this display of perfection is Jessica. Either the other girls are used to being shown up, or they figure that with Annie on the team, the whole squad will be that much better. So either they're fools or fantastic girls. No one knows, and no one's given a chance to know, because Jessica moves fast. When she spies Annie heading off with Tim Bradley, she makes a comment or two towards his sister, Helen, about Easy Annie, and Helen starts to worry. Jess seems to think this alone might be enough to keep Annie from making it through the second round of cuts, but Annie's even better than before.
  Proving that Annie is a moron, she shows up to the Beach Disco with Bruce Patman. The guy's a jerk and Jessica hates him. Not winning any brownie points there, sugar. When a dance contest begins, Annie suffers under the delusion that if she does really, really well, she'll impress the other cheerleaders, especially Jessica. Has she met the younger Wakefield twin? She doesn't like anyone else, not even her own sister, to steal her spotlight. Sharing it with anyone on Bruce Patman's arm is really going to burn her. So while Annie's dying of joy over tying with Jessica in the dance contest, Jessica wishes Annie would just die.
  You might be wondering how Annie managed to get around the academic requirement for trying out. Well, she had a little help from super genius Elizabeth. Liz spends the entire book caught between the right thing and the right thing to do by her sister. It never occurs to her to tell Annie that she has a better chance of being hit by a snowball in Hell than getting on Jessica's squad, or coming up with any reason for Jessica to like Annie. Nope, she tries to get Jessica to feel for Annie, which is impossible as early Jessica only gives a damn if you're in a coma of her own design. Liz tutors Annie to keep her math grades up and begins to realize that maybe Annie actually is easy. She repeatedly goes out with the absolute wrong boys, the ones even Jessica couldn't stand for more than a night, and doesn't seem to care if anyone knows she's got two dates for one day, one of them with creepy Rick Andover.
  Liz is also a little creeped out by Annie's home life. Annie's mother, Mona, is a model, and she's also what seems to pass for an alcoholic in the SV world. Namely, if she's acting a little nutty, she's also slurring her words and is obviously well on her way to happy drunk town. She has a creepy boyfriend in the form of "Call me Johnny" who ruined the name Johnny for me forever. Well, him and another Johnny, but yeah, creepy with the leering and whatnot. Annie's got no friends, so she pours out her skanky little heart to Liz.
  She's lonely, none of the girls like her, the boys don't respect her any more than she respects them, and she can't talk to her mother because Mona's a lush who's done sort of okay by her kid, given that she had Annie at 16, got married and divorced before she was 20, and Annie's dad hasn't been in the picture since she was 13, and gosh oh golly, being one of the elite will change EVERYTHING. Liz suspects heavily that Annie's totally unaware that anyone bad mouths her, but she doesn't say, "Hey, have you thought about not entertaining everything with a penis in town? Cuz the girls kinda frown on it and the nice guys are afraid you're going to give 'em the funny syphilis, y'know?" Or the Liz-ified version, which would work too. Nope, Liz just tries to fluff Annie's ego and get the hell out of Annie's apartment before Johnny comes home. :P

  Oh, and speaking of horrible reputations, we're given a little cameo of Steven when he comes home to check on Tricia. Seems Mr. Martin hit some poor woman while he was driving drunk and is spending a couple of nights in jail. Cara is obviously interested in Steve and has been forever, but he doesn't notice her at all. Woe!

  Back to the interesting stuff. Jessica's got a plan. She knows she'll vote for Sandy, as will Jean West, who is Sandy's best friend in the whole world. That's two votes against Annie. She's fairly certain that Robin will vote however the hell she wants to, and Jess has no sway there, so she counts that as a dead end, as well as Maria Santelli's vote, since Maria's practically dying to try out flips with Annie. So she zeros in on Helen, whose brother appears to have reported back that yeah, Annie's a little slutty. No details at all are given, but Jessica points out that the fate of the SVH squad rests on Helen's pretty little shoulders. She can either keep the squad a good, clean sort of entertainment, or she can get used to people assuming she's a whore like Annie. Really, no pressure at all.
  Helen's in, and there's a wicked little scene with Jess, Jean, and Helen by the Wakefield pool, laughing at Liz and the knowledge that they already know who's the final cheerleader before the final cut. Muhahaha...
  And Jessica's little plan would have worked perfectly if only Sandy Bacon weren't such a world class klutz. She wipes out during her final tryout and everyone is sure she's blown it. Sure, they know Sandy'll get Jeannie's vote, but everyone else is expected to pick Cara and Annie. Cara makes it in, no problem. But when Helen dares to vote Annie, Jessica pulls one final massive bitch fit. If they chose to vote Annie Whitman onto the squad, they'll have to turn right around and find another cheerleader, as Jessica will quit right then and there. We're not told that Jessica's plan worked, but considering she didn't sulk the rest of the afternoon, it's a safe bet that Annie will not be getting a regulation short skirt anytime soon.
  Soooooo, Annie finds out that she didn't make the squad and she freaks the hell out. She wanted it so bad, she was so good, and my god, she even studied, how could they do this to her? Which is where Ricky Capaldo steps in to make matters worse. She badgers him until he tells her that Jessica was the one who threw the hissy fit, although he doesn't say she threatened to quit rather than spend anytime with Annie that wasn't strictly necessary. This involves having to share the legacy of Easy Annie and Annie freaks out. She runs away and is absent from school for days.
  In all the time Annie's ditching, Liz never once tries to check up on the girl, despite having spent so much time worrying about Annie/Jessica that Enid and Todd were both feeling neglected. Way to go, Liz. Way to go.
  Liz finally gets a call from Ricky who has terrible news. Annie tried to kill herself by downing a bottle of pills. GASP! Liz ropes Jessica into going with her to the hospital, and Jessica points out that Annie will NOT want to see her. Liz doesn't care, she needs her security blanket Jessica there. So off they go. At the hospital we're not really told much, but we do see Jessica begin to sob when she realizes that she's an awful person and oh yeah, Ricky thinks so too, deep down, because he asks how could anyone be so cruel, so bitchtastic... and then realizes he pushed it a little far when Jessica bursts into tears. Does Jessica feel bad for what she did, or does she feel bad for how it'll look? Dunno.
  Annie wakes up briefly, says something [possibly, "farewell, cruel world"] and slips back into her coma. Cue Super!Jessica. She confesses to Annie's doctor that it's her fault, and why, and his brilliant suggestion? Tell Annie that she's made the squad after all, but don't lie. Either let the girl die OR give her a uniform.
  And Jessica does it. Just like that, she adds another member to the squad and tells Annie all about it. It isn't until Jessica stops talking, after a late night vigil, that Annie comes to. She really wants that uniform, man.
  So Annie's a cheerleader, she's got the guy [she and Ricky are well on their way to coupledom], and Jessica proves that while she does put people in comas, she's just as good at getting them out. Super!Jessica!
  Thus the book can end with Jessica and Liz wondering, which twin gets to go to NYC and which twin is stuck showing off Suzy Devlin?

Trivia:

  • SVH Cheerleading Squad before the book starts: Jessica, Robin, Lila, Cara, Helen Bradley, Maria Santelli, Jean West.

  • When the book starts: Jessica, Robin, Helen, Maria, Jean

  • At the end: Jessica, Robin, Helen, Maria, Jean, Sandy, Cara, Annie

  • Lila and Cara were kicked off the squad after they pranked the Palisades cheer squad by turning the sprinklers on during their "cheer display."

  • 75 girls tried out for the cheerleading squad.

  • Rick Andover's car is a "souped up 1955 Chevy" he calls his "Campbells Special." Yeah, it wasn't cute when Liz heard it either. Stupid Annie.

  • Annie's apartment is small, but lovely, if you ignore the people living inside.

  • Annie was a model a few years back, when she was 13.

  • Sandy Bacon is not known for her gracefulness, particularly after an incident at Lila's when she tried to impress some dude named Mark and instead of doing a complicated dive, did a belly flop instead. Hi-larious!

  • Cara's had the hots for Steve for years, but he doesn't seem to know she's alive. Sadness!

  • Mr. Martin [Tricia's dad] got busted for drunk driving, after he hit some woman on Palmetto Drive. He's only spending a couple of nights in jail for it, though.

  • Tim Bradley is Helen's older brother. He's a senior, but that doesn't stop him from taking Annie [a sophomore] out on a date.

  • The first cut for the cheerleading tryouts knocked the potentials down to 25, the second down to 8.

  • Annie's infamous double date involved Billy taking her to the Dairi Burger and Rick taking her to the beach that evening for a swim.

  • Mrs. Jorgenson lives down the hall and frequently loses her glasses, which Annie helps her find, much to her mother's consternation.

  • Liz has known Annie for only about a year, and wouldn't consider them good friends at all.

  • The Surfer's Waves are a Northern California band playing at the beach disco. See? The Droids aren't the only band in the state.

  • Skip Harmon is a senior who makes it a point to not date junior girls. Jessica bets Elizabeth that he'll make an exception for her, and within a week, too. He does and Liz has to wash the Fiat.

  • It isn't until Annie gets a B-minus at crunch time, and runs to Liz to thank her, that Jessica finds how whose been helping get Annie's grades up. Oddly enough, Jessica doesn't do much to kill Liz for this little act, despite Liz worrying for the last few weeks about it.

  • Ricky Capaldo, the cheerleaders manager, slips a note to Annie about being one of the final eight, and when she reads it after class, she hugs him and shrieks, "Oh, Rickeeeee!" This is how poor Ricky is greeted for the rest of forever.

  • When Ned and Alice explain the New York trip, and tell the girls about Suzy, for some reason we're told that Suzy is beautiful. Really? Couldn't that have waited until next book, or could one of the twins have been shown a picture, because as it stands, Ned calling Suzy beautiful is a little icky.

  • Mona Whitman has a tendency to call her daughter kitten, and you know it's the 80's because she lights up in the emergency waiting area of the hospital. WTF?

  • Annie's doctor is Dr. Hammond.


Say Wha?:
Jessica stomped out of the kitchen, feeling only helplessness at her brother's infatuation with Tricia. She couldn't get over the feeling that one day her brother would come to grief because of his love for that girl. - Jessica learns foreshadowing, p28
"The three major causes of the Revolutionary War," he noted in his book, "were a denial of basic rights, the Stamp Act, and Annie Whitman." I don't think that's right, Ricky. P 81
"Good heavens, Jess, she's only fifteen years old!" Liz might want to rethink that strategy when trying to call the Jess-dog off Annie's case. p108
"He's right. I am stuck up and cruel. But I didn't know she wanted it so much!" Jessica sniffled and looked pleadingly into her sister's calm eyes. It was very difficult to lie to Elizabeth when she looked at her like that. "Oh, OK, maybe I did know. Or I should have known. After all, I wanted it that much when I was trying out." p122


137:
Jessica had tried over and over again to interest Elizabeth in the cheerleading squad. "The two of us together would be sensational!" she'd told Elizabeth at least a hundred and thirty-seven times. p2



  With Annie, you belong to one of two schools of thought. You either believe that Annie's earned her nickname or she hasn't. I don't think I ever doubted for a second that Annie'd had sex with at least a couple of guys, despite the fact that she's 15 and seems genuinely shocked that anyone would hold any of her "dates" against her. The way she talks of her flings has always struck me as kind of proof that she'd fooled around a little. The interesting thing about Annie is that she's a sweetie, albeit very naive. Hooker with a heart of gold?
  That I'm okay with, although you'd think she'd have heard SOMETHING in all this time. Nope, what bothers me most is that because she didn't get what she wanted, she tried to kill herself. When she comes to, she's given exactly what she wanted and it's all okay. The hell is that? Emotional blackmail of the highest order is what. It's also terribly unrealistic. She's mentally unstable enough to try to commit suicide, but not one mention is made of seeing a shrink, and y'know what? Anytime anyone at our HS tried to kill themselves, everyone knew. They might not lose their friends or anything, but everyone knew, rumors flew, and they did not climb the social ladder immediately. If I'd been at SVH, I'd wonder how come I was fictional, and also, why did Annie get special treatment? What if she hadn't been as good, or Sandy hadn't fallen, would she have still tried to kill herself?
  Yes, I know that it was a whole bunch of stuff that sent Annie spiraling, and it's hinted with her interactions with Liz that she's horribly lonely and possibly depressed, and yeah, her mother kicks Johnny to the curb and this is what seems to make Annie bold enough to turn down the cheerleaders [for all of two seconds], but you've gotta look a bit deeper for that. The average SVH student wouldn't do that, they'd just assume she was batshit crazy.
  The funny thing about this is that later on we'll see she's still got the rep, so the only thing that changed is that she's got the uniform, too.

  The other funny thing is how Jessica treats someone who is so similar to how Jessica herself might be perceived, if she weren't so fantastically fantastic. She dates and flirts easily, like Annie, and has been spotted with some of the bad boys of SV, yet she's not given the same rep. Does Jessica hate Annie because she sees what she could be, if things were just a tiny bit different? That whole hating other people for what you hate most in yourself theory? Possibly, most likely even probably, but we're never actually told.
  Also funny? How Liz still defends Jessica's actions, even when Jess has given up the ghost. "You did what you thought was right." Yeah, not really, but you tell yourself that, Liz.

the_oracle: (left of normal)
Heart Breaker
May 1984

Will Jessica break Bill's heart, too?

  Catch a wave...


 The surf's up in Sweet Valley, and gorgeous Jessica Wakefield is making a big splash with Bill Chase, the hottest surfer in town. But after she tricks him into falling madly in love with her, she ignores him completely.
  To complicate matters, shy, quiet DeeDee Gordon is also after Bill. But Jessica has the upper hand. If Bill even looks at DeeDee, Hurricane Jessica blows him off his board and back into her arms. Can Bill escape Jessica's undertow, or is he in over his head?

  Why, oh why, did no one warn Bill that Jessica was a man-eater before he fell head over heels for her? I guess warning wouldn't do much good, as hormones have a way of overriding all logic and common sense, but it might've been worth it. Of course, Todd does try to warn him later, but that's like walking up to the guy whose leg is in a bear trap and saying, "Hey, you might wanna be careful, mmkay?"
  Ah well. Heart Breaker is the tale of How Jessica Gets Revenge. Or possibly, Boys at SVH Are Stupid. As has been hinted at for the last three books or so, Bill Chase is madly in love with the Wakefield twins. He's actually more into them for their looks than anything else, which is why I didn't say he's in love with Liz [he was] or Jess [as this book'll have you believe] since they're sort of interchangeable for him. If you didn't read his character bio in the back of ANL, you just think he's a bit of a raging masochist. You see, Jess managed to sink her claws into him and he's got it bad, but she's pretty much moved on, only throwing him just enough charm to keep him still hopelessly tied to her. What he doesn't know is that Jess is just doing this all out of revenge. Seems Mr. Chase was given the opportunity last year to date Miss Jessica Wakefield and he turned her down. Since no one can do this without the world grinding to a halt and bad things happening, Jessica has decided to turn him into her bitch. And it's working.
  By the time the book has started, they've all tried out for, and gotten parts in the school's production of Splendor In the Grass, with Jess and Bill as the leads. Jess takes great delight in making Bill constantly retry their big love scene. Which makes Bill blush like crazy. Which he will do for most of the book. At first you can't tell if he knows he's being used or if he's completely oblivious to the evil that is Jessica's true nature. What you do notice is that DeeDee Gordon has an incredibly silly name [Sorry to all you DeeDees] and that she's got the hots for Bill. Before you can become too wrapped up in this particular storyline, Jessica shifts the conversation away from her way with torturing Bill to Todd's remarkably hot ex-girlfriend, Patsy Webber. Apparently Patsy went to Paris the year before and France agreed with her. She filled out in all the right places and bam, came back super model ready, possibly ready to rekindle things with Todd. So Liz is jealous. Massively so, but she tries to talk herself out of it. Todd loves Liz, he waited around while she was an awful bitch with memory problems, so why would he leave now? Oh, I dunno, maybe because Patsy could give Jessica a run for the least amount of clothing worn before the word skank is used? Still, Liz convinces herself that nothing is wrong.
  And back we go to Bill, with a cute little scene in the Wakefield kitchen. I'm a sucker for the sisterly interaction. I always wanted a sister [though I suspect that's entirely a theory, as I'd probably hate having one in reality] so when Liz and Jess are goofing off make my little dorky heart that much happier. Unfortunately, Liz still remains a complete idiot when it comes to her twin. By now she should know that if you tell Jessica that her evil plan is coming unraveled because someone else is showing interest in the guy she's currently torturing, it won't make her back off. No, it'll make her step up her game. *cheerfully strangles Liz* So Jess leaves Liz with the lake they've created in their kitchen [as well as the dishes Jess was supposed to do] and skips off to call Bill in an effort to bind him closer to her. And it works. A little while later, while Jess is out with Tom and her parents are on a movie date, Liz hears the doorbell ring. When she answers, she finds Bill looking distinctly unhappy about finding the wrong twin. Liz invites him in and then, in a move that still makes me wonder what the hell, brings him warm root beer but no glass, no ice, no nothing, all because Jessica didn't put the sodas in the fridge. Was there an ice shortage in California that year? Bill leaves, for some reason not having touched the warm root beer, after Liz has tried to gently warn him away from the hurricane that is Jessica Wakefield.
  Switching twins, we go back to Liz's problem with Patsy. Liz goes to call Todd in hopes that Todd can talk some sense into Bill [being Bill's closest and possibly only friend] but instead Todd's mother answers the phone, tells Liz that Todd isn't home, and seems to have some pity for Liz. Wait, what? Liz is convinced that this means Todd is out with Patsy and that since Patsy is 5'9", she's the perfect height to gaze into Todd's eyes and never get a crick in her neck the way Liz sometimes does, and ohmygod, they must be making out! Liz tries to calm herself down, but still feels a little strange. Damn you, writer's imagination. Damn you!

  Now, for all of you who didn't read the little bio three books back, you're given a refresher course. Bill used to live in Santa Monica before his parents got divorced. While there, he was madly in love with his girlfriend, Julianna, and things were good. They liked a lot of the same things, surfing included, although this didn't mean they never fought. Bill picked a fight with Julianna one night at a party, and to spite him, Jules hitched a ride with someone else. Bill immediately felt bad for being a jerk and vowed to call her when she got home. Too bad this tempted fate and Julianna was in an accident on the way home. She died and Bill blamed himself for it. He went a little mad, went surfing in the middle of a storm, and damn near died. He didn't, and eventually came around to the realization that if Julianna really loved him the way he was sure she did, she wouldn't want him to hurt himself. She'd want him to live, the same way he wished she had lived. Very touching, very sweet, actually. When his parents split, Bill came to Sweet Valley with his mother, and found himself seeing Julianna everywhere, particularly wherever he saw Liz Wakefield. Naturally the same thing happened when he saw Jessica, so when she asked him out, he had to say no.
  Now he still sees Julianna whenever he spies one of the twins and is thus helpless against the evil ways of Jessica. The truly standout thing about this little revelation is that Bill doesn't share it with anyone. His past is his own and he doesn't feel the need to share it with anyone, not even Liz Wakefield. Don't worry though, someone else will spill their tragic secret to Liz, so as not to cause the world to explode.
  Another fun little bit of Sweet Valley I love: When the gang hits the beach and cattiness reigns supreme, as well as stupid jokes, I'm a happy little camper. Cara's there, being a lovely study in contrasts with her blond bombshell best friend Jessica, and Liz is there as well, but again Liz proves that she knows noooooooothing. She and Cara both tease Jessica about DeeDee monopolizing Bill's time [they're down the beach and Bill's giving her surfing tips], and only Liz is really surprised when Jessica struts down the beach to reclaim Bill's affections.
  This brings us to DeeDee. She knows Bill has a huuuuuuuuuge thing for Jessica, and when push comes to shove and she has the choice to hand him over to Jessica or keep him for herself, she choses to let Bill have time alone with Jessica since that's what he so obviously wants, and what Jessica was angling for all along. Which is sweet and kind of annoying if you want your characters to fight for something or someone they want. However, it's totally believable as well, as no one in their right mind would choose to compete with Jessica if they didn't have to. With DeeDee out of the picture, Jessica is free to reclaim her property. Later, when Tom McKay shows up, Jessica sends Bill on a food run, begging the question, just how far is the Dairi Burger from the beach? Or did Bill just volunteer to go out of his way completely to get Jessica some food?
  Along with Tom, Lila, Ken, and Patsy show up. When Todd and Patsy run for the water, Liz wanders off to get her book from Todd's car, and runs into Enid who's come to the beach with Olivia and Lois. We're told that Liz doesn't really like Lois because Lois tries too hard, and Olivia's still in her radically weird phase, but it's nice to see that Enid has other friends than just Liz. Enid attempts to console Liz, but Liz is having none of it. Olivia manages to make Liz feel worse, gushing about how Patsy really got hot during her year abroad and how Todd and Patsy never really broke up, she moved and it must've fizzled, and yeah, Liv finally realizes she's stuck her foot in her mouth big time.
  Things only get worse when Elizabeth finds out that Patty does the costumes for the play and that no one told her about it before. She's not thrilled to learn that Patty got the gig because Todd recommended her, and she's sure that all the time spent with Todd cheering Bill on was just a ruse. Obviously Todd is still in love with Patsy. Obviously. When Liz does work up the courage to talk to Todd about it, she sees him rubbing suntan oil on Patsy's back, while her bikini top is untied. Say what you will, but that's a little vexing to stumble across at your own home. I'd be pissed if I saw my boyfriend essentially getting a free grope on my patio, but with some other girl. Thing is, I'd smack him or throw a soda in his face or something. Liz just turns and runs away, refusing to talk to Todd when he attempts to explain it all away.
  This continues on forever. Liz won't talk to Todd because she's sure he just wants to break up, so she just doesn't give him the chance. Girl logic is sometimes hard to explain and even harder to understand.
  Back to the other love triangle! Jess eventually learns that DeeDee's father is a big shot Hollywood agent, but she doesn't start sucking up to DeeDee. Instead, when told that DD's dad really likes one of the actors in the play, she's so sure that it must be her, that she practically gift wraps Bill for DeeDee. I should point out that this isn't such a huge leap of imagination, considering Jessica is supposed to be an amazing actress.
  Sometime in the midst of Elizabeth's angst, she decides to head to her dad's office to interview the guy who owns the building, and instead she runs into Roger Barret. He's been popping up throughout the book, given that he's in the play and in love with Lila [also in the play] but this time he's popping up because he works as a janitor in the building. Poor, poor Roger. No, really, he's so poor that if he doesn't work, his family cannot pay the bills.
  Back to the play! Naturally, DeeDee's father is fawning all over Bill, not Jessica, and Jessica decides that if she can't be the star, she'll deal with being the star's girlfriend. DeeDee steps aside again, bonds with Roger for a moment, and shows up at Lila's party just in time to overhear Bill tell Jessica that her moment has passed and that he's with DeeDee now.
  Wherein we learn that while Jessica doesn't blush often, but when she does, it's a full Technicolor event. To cap off her bad night, it seems Tom McKay has deflected to the Patsy Webber side. Though if Patsy's all over Tom, then doesn't that mean...
  Why yes, yes it does. It means Liz was wrong about Todd and Patsy, which Todd manages to tell her when he grabs hold of her and tells her so. Aww, how sweet. Sort of. If a little creepy all at the same time...

Trivia:

  • The play in question this go round is Splendor In the Grass, with Jessica and Bill as leads.

  • Also in the play: Lila, Roger, DeeDee, Lois

  • DeeDee's parents are divorced and her dad [the talent agent] lives in L.A.

  • Bill's parents are also divorced, but his dad is a forest ranger in Idaho.

  • DeeDee placed 3rd in the surfing championship.

  • Roger and Elizabeth share one class; chemistry.

  • Mr. Pendergast owns the building where Mr. Wakefield and Roger both work.

  • Jessica bragged that she would get Bruce Patman to take her to the Sophomore Fling, but he asked Lila instead.

  • Liz was sick the entire week leading up to the play, though it's possible she sort of made herself sick, obsessing over Todd as she was.

  • Julianne's only real resemblance to the Wakefields seems to be that she was blond, blue eyed, and probably tanned.

  • Patsy was really skinny when she and Todd were dating, but in the year she's spent in Paris, she filled out nicely, so much so that she was a model. She's 5'9", red hair, and manages to walk the fine line between sleazy and hot without falling into the skanky territory. Also was friends with Olivia's cousin Amy, who lived down the street from the Webbers when Patsy lived in Palisades.

  • Jessica hates onions. [yay, Jess!]

  • DeeDee was chubby when she was younger, and now she thinks the mysterious Roger is a spy. Or, you know, could be.

  • Liz subscribes to the theory that it's okay for her to badmouth her sister, but no one else is allowed to. This I completely understand, and I think most people do as well.

  • Without her glasses, Lois Waller is blind as a bat.

  • Mr. Jaworksi teaches drama.

  • The book is dedicated to Marian Woodruff. Gee, I wonder where Sam's last name came from...



Quote-a-liscious:
"It's not your fault that kissing me is such a deadly chore." Jessica teases Bill, p2
"Since when is turning you down for a date a federal crime?" - Liz, p14
How was it that whenever Jessica tried to console her, she always ended up feeling worse? Liz, p70

137:
"Oh, Bill it'll take a hundred and thirty-seven years to learn all this..." p32




  Yet another book that makes it clear that if you get in Jessica's way, bad things will temporarily happen to you. This book has the distinction of being one of the few that doesn't really involve Jess getting herself or someone else into a scrape and then expecting Liz to bail her out, or letting Liz bail the other person out. Sure, there's that brief scene with Bill and the root beer [come on, Liz, ice! Root beer ain't yummy warm] but otherwise, Liz is too busy worrying about Todd to get involved with anyone else's problems.
  Which brings me to this: Why does Enid never step in when Liz is being a complete idiot? They're in high school and I distinctly remember high school romances and friendships would overlap so that when you and your boyfriend were having a stupid fight that everyone else knew was idiotic, your friend would step in and clue the guy in, and then he'd clue you in, or she'd do so. Sure, sometimes it would get messy as hell, but in this case it should have worked. Yet Enid never does, so... why? Is it because Enid doesn't care? That she was upset that Liz would rather go to the beach with Cara, Jessica, and Todd than with her? Are HS politics such as this beneath her? Or was it simply that the book couldn't survive under the Bill/Jessica/DeeDee triangle alone? We may never know.
  Cover note: Bill looks entirely too old and a little disproportionate to Jessica on the cover. Like she's an evil, snotty doll and he's an actual person.

the_oracle: (left of normal)
Heart Breaker
May 1984

Will Jessica break Bill's heart, too?

  Catch a wave...


 The surf's up in Sweet Valley, and gorgeous Jessica Wakefield is making a big splash with Bill Chase, the hottest surfer in town. But after she tricks him into falling madly in love with her, she ignores him completely.
  To complicate matters, shy, quiet DeeDee Gordon is also after Bill. But Jessica has the upper hand. If Bill even looks at DeeDee, Hurricane Jessica blows him off his board and back into her arms. Can Bill escape Jessica's undertow, or is he in over his head?

  Why, oh why, did no one warn Bill that Jessica was a man-eater before he fell head over heels for her? I guess warning wouldn't do much good, as hormones have a way of overriding all logic and common sense, but it might've been worth it. Of course, Todd does try to warn him later, but that's like walking up to the guy whose leg is in a bear trap and saying, "Hey, you might wanna be careful, mmkay?"
  Ah well. Heart Breaker is the tale of How Jessica Gets Revenge. Or possibly, Boys at SVH Are Stupid. As has been hinted at for the last three books or so, Bill Chase is madly in love with the Wakefield twins. He's actually more into them for their looks than anything else, which is why I didn't say he's in love with Liz [he was] or Jess [as this book'll have you believe] since they're sort of interchangeable for him. If you didn't read his character bio in the back of ANL, you just think he's a bit of a raging masochist. You see, Jess managed to sink her claws into him and he's got it bad, but she's pretty much moved on, only throwing him just enough charm to keep him still hopelessly tied to her. What he doesn't know is that Jess is just doing this all out of revenge. Seems Mr. Chase was given the opportunity last year to date Miss Jessica Wakefield and he turned her down. Since no one can do this without the world grinding to a halt and bad things happening, Jessica has decided to turn him into her bitch. And it's working.
  By the time the book has started, they've all tried out for, and gotten parts in the school's production of Splendor In the Grass, with Jess and Bill as the leads. Jess takes great delight in making Bill constantly retry their big love scene. Which makes Bill blush like crazy. Which he will do for most of the book. At first you can't tell if he knows he's being used or if he's completely oblivious to the evil that is Jessica's true nature. What you do notice is that DeeDee Gordon has an incredibly silly name [Sorry to all you DeeDees] and that she's got the hots for Bill. Before you can become too wrapped up in this particular storyline, Jessica shifts the conversation away from her way with torturing Bill to Todd's remarkably hot ex-girlfriend, Patsy Webber. Apparently Patsy went to Paris the year before and France agreed with her. She filled out in all the right places and bam, came back super model ready, possibly ready to rekindle things with Todd. So Liz is jealous. Massively so, but she tries to talk herself out of it. Todd loves Liz, he waited around while she was an awful bitch with memory problems, so why would he leave now? Oh, I dunno, maybe because Patsy could give Jessica a run for the least amount of clothing worn before the word skank is used? Still, Liz convinces herself that nothing is wrong.
  And back we go to Bill, with a cute little scene in the Wakefield kitchen. I'm a sucker for the sisterly interaction. I always wanted a sister [though I suspect that's entirely a theory, as I'd probably hate having one in reality] so when Liz and Jess are goofing off make my little dorky heart that much happier. Unfortunately, Liz still remains a complete idiot when it comes to her twin. By now she should know that if you tell Jessica that her evil plan is coming unraveled because someone else is showing interest in the guy she's currently torturing, it won't make her back off. No, it'll make her step up her game. *cheerfully strangles Liz* So Jess leaves Liz with the lake they've created in their kitchen [as well as the dishes Jess was supposed to do] and skips off to call Bill in an effort to bind him closer to her. And it works. A little while later, while Jess is out with Tom and her parents are on a movie date, Liz hears the doorbell ring. When she answers, she finds Bill looking distinctly unhappy about finding the wrong twin. Liz invites him in and then, in a move that still makes me wonder what the hell, brings him warm root beer but no glass, no ice, no nothing, all because Jessica didn't put the sodas in the fridge. Was there an ice shortage in California that year? Bill leaves, for some reason not having touched the warm root beer, after Liz has tried to gently warn him away from the hurricane that is Jessica Wakefield.
  Switching twins, we go back to Liz's problem with Patsy. Liz goes to call Todd in hopes that Todd can talk some sense into Bill [being Bill's closest and possibly only friend] but instead Todd's mother answers the phone, tells Liz that Todd isn't home, and seems to have some pity for Liz. Wait, what? Liz is convinced that this means Todd is out with Patsy and that since Patsy is 5'9", she's the perfect height to gaze into Todd's eyes and never get a crick in her neck the way Liz sometimes does, and ohmygod, they must be making out! Liz tries to calm herself down, but still feels a little strange. Damn you, writer's imagination. Damn you!

  Now, for all of you who didn't read the little bio three books back, you're given a refresher course. Bill used to live in Santa Monica before his parents got divorced. While there, he was madly in love with his girlfriend, Julianna, and things were good. They liked a lot of the same things, surfing included, although this didn't mean they never fought. Bill picked a fight with Julianna one night at a party, and to spite him, Jules hitched a ride with someone else. Bill immediately felt bad for being a jerk and vowed to call her when she got home. Too bad this tempted fate and Julianna was in an accident on the way home. She died and Bill blamed himself for it. He went a little mad, went surfing in the middle of a storm, and damn near died. He didn't, and eventually came around to the realization that if Julianna really loved him the way he was sure she did, she wouldn't want him to hurt himself. She'd want him to live, the same way he wished she had lived. Very touching, very sweet, actually. When his parents split, Bill came to Sweet Valley with his mother, and found himself seeing Julianna everywhere, particularly wherever he saw Liz Wakefield. Naturally the same thing happened when he saw Jessica, so when she asked him out, he had to say no.
  Now he still sees Julianna whenever he spies one of the twins and is thus helpless against the evil ways of Jessica. The truly standout thing about this little revelation is that Bill doesn't share it with anyone. His past is his own and he doesn't feel the need to share it with anyone, not even Liz Wakefield. Don't worry though, someone else will spill their tragic secret to Liz, so as not to cause the world to explode.
  Another fun little bit of Sweet Valley I love: When the gang hits the beach and cattiness reigns supreme, as well as stupid jokes, I'm a happy little camper. Cara's there, being a lovely study in contrasts with her blond bombshell best friend Jessica, and Liz is there as well, but again Liz proves that she knows noooooooothing. She and Cara both tease Jessica about DeeDee monopolizing Bill's time [they're down the beach and Bill's giving her surfing tips], and only Liz is really surprised when Jessica struts down the beach to reclaim Bill's affections.
  This brings us to DeeDee. She knows Bill has a huuuuuuuuuge thing for Jessica, and when push comes to shove and she has the choice to hand him over to Jessica or keep him for herself, she choses to let Bill have time alone with Jessica since that's what he so obviously wants, and what Jessica was angling for all along. Which is sweet and kind of annoying if you want your characters to fight for something or someone they want. However, it's totally believable as well, as no one in their right mind would choose to compete with Jessica if they didn't have to. With DeeDee out of the picture, Jessica is free to reclaim her property. Later, when Tom McKay shows up, Jessica sends Bill on a food run, begging the question, just how far is the Dairi Burger from the beach? Or did Bill just volunteer to go out of his way completely to get Jessica some food?
  Along with Tom, Lila, Ken, and Patsy show up. When Todd and Patsy run for the water, Liz wanders off to get her book from Todd's car, and runs into Enid who's come to the beach with Olivia and Lois. We're told that Liz doesn't really like Lois because Lois tries too hard, and Olivia's still in her radically weird phase, but it's nice to see that Enid has other friends than just Liz. Enid attempts to console Liz, but Liz is having none of it. Olivia manages to make Liz feel worse, gushing about how Patsy really got hot during her year abroad and how Todd and Patsy never really broke up, she moved and it must've fizzled, and yeah, Liv finally realizes she's stuck her foot in her mouth big time.
  Things only get worse when Elizabeth finds out that Patty does the costumes for the play and that no one told her about it before. She's not thrilled to learn that Patty got the gig because Todd recommended her, and she's sure that all the time spent with Todd cheering Bill on was just a ruse. Obviously Todd is still in love with Patsy. Obviously. When Liz does work up the courage to talk to Todd about it, she sees him rubbing suntan oil on Patsy's back, while her bikini top is untied. Say what you will, but that's a little vexing to stumble across at your own home. I'd be pissed if I saw my boyfriend essentially getting a free grope on my patio, but with some other girl. Thing is, I'd smack him or throw a soda in his face or something. Liz just turns and runs away, refusing to talk to Todd when he attempts to explain it all away.
  This continues on forever. Liz won't talk to Todd because she's sure he just wants to break up, so she just doesn't give him the chance. Girl logic is sometimes hard to explain and even harder to understand.
  Back to the other love triangle! Jess eventually learns that DeeDee's father is a big shot Hollywood agent, but she doesn't start sucking up to DeeDee. Instead, when told that DD's dad really likes one of the actors in the play, she's so sure that it must be her, that she practically gift wraps Bill for DeeDee. I should point out that this isn't such a huge leap of imagination, considering Jessica is supposed to be an amazing actress.
  Sometime in the midst of Elizabeth's angst, she decides to head to her dad's office to interview the guy who owns the building, and instead she runs into Roger Barret. He's been popping up throughout the book, given that he's in the play and in love with Lila [also in the play] but this time he's popping up because he works as a janitor in the building. Poor, poor Roger. No, really, he's so poor that if he doesn't work, his family cannot pay the bills.
  Back to the play! Naturally, DeeDee's father is fawning all over Bill, not Jessica, and Jessica decides that if she can't be the star, she'll deal with being the star's girlfriend. DeeDee steps aside again, bonds with Roger for a moment, and shows up at Lila's party just in time to overhear Bill tell Jessica that her moment has passed and that he's with DeeDee now.
  Wherein we learn that while Jessica doesn't blush often, but when she does, it's a full Technicolor event. To cap off her bad night, it seems Tom McKay has deflected to the Patsy Webber side. Though if Patsy's all over Tom, then doesn't that mean...
  Why yes, yes it does. It means Liz was wrong about Todd and Patsy, which Todd manages to tell her when he grabs hold of her and tells her so. Aww, how sweet. Sort of. If a little creepy all at the same time...

Trivia:

  • The play in question this go round is Splendor In the Grass, with Jessica and Bill as leads.

  • Also in the play: Lila, Roger, DeeDee, Lois

  • DeeDee's parents are divorced and her dad [the talent agent] lives in L.A.

  • Bill's parents are also divorced, but his dad is a forest ranger in Idaho.

  • DeeDee placed 3rd in the surfing championship.

  • Roger and Elizabeth share one class; chemistry.

  • Mr. Pendergast owns the building where Mr. Wakefield and Roger both work.

  • Jessica bragged that she would get Bruce Patman to take her to the Sophomore Fling, but he asked Lila instead.

  • Liz was sick the entire week leading up to the play, though it's possible she sort of made herself sick, obsessing over Todd as she was.

  • Julianne's only real resemblance to the Wakefields seems to be that she was blond, blue eyed, and probably tanned.

  • Patsy was really skinny when she and Todd were dating, but in the year she's spent in Paris, she filled out nicely, so much so that she was a model. She's 5'9", red hair, and manages to walk the fine line between sleazy and hot without falling into the skanky territory. Also was friends with Olivia's cousin Amy, who lived down the street from the Webbers when Patsy lived in Palisades.

  • Jessica hates onions. [yay, Jess!]

  • DeeDee was chubby when she was younger, and now she thinks the mysterious Roger is a spy. Or, you know, could be.

  • Liz subscribes to the theory that it's okay for her to badmouth her sister, but no one else is allowed to. This I completely understand, and I think most people do as well.

  • Without her glasses, Lois Waller is blind as a bat.

  • Mr. Jaworksi teaches drama.

  • The book is dedicated to Marian Woodruff. Gee, I wonder where Sam's last name came from...



Quote-a-liscious:
"It's not your fault that kissing me is such a deadly chore." Jessica teases Bill, p2
"Since when is turning you down for a date a federal crime?" - Liz, p14
How was it that whenever Jessica tried to console her, she always ended up feeling worse? Liz, p70

137:
"Oh, Bill it'll take a hundred and thirty-seven years to learn all this..." p32




  Yet another book that makes it clear that if you get in Jessica's way, bad things will temporarily happen to you. This book has the distinction of being one of the few that doesn't really involve Jess getting herself or someone else into a scrape and then expecting Liz to bail her out, or letting Liz bail the other person out. Sure, there's that brief scene with Bill and the root beer [come on, Liz, ice! Root beer ain't yummy warm] but otherwise, Liz is too busy worrying about Todd to get involved with anyone else's problems.
  Which brings me to this: Why does Enid never step in when Liz is being a complete idiot? They're in high school and I distinctly remember high school romances and friendships would overlap so that when you and your boyfriend were having a stupid fight that everyone else knew was idiotic, your friend would step in and clue the guy in, and then he'd clue you in, or she'd do so. Sure, sometimes it would get messy as hell, but in this case it should have worked. Yet Enid never does, so... why? Is it because Enid doesn't care? That she was upset that Liz would rather go to the beach with Cara, Jessica, and Todd than with her? Are HS politics such as this beneath her? Or was it simply that the book couldn't survive under the Bill/Jessica/DeeDee triangle alone? We may never know.
  Cover note: Bill looks entirely too old and a little disproportionate to Jessica on the cover. Like she's an evil, snotty doll and he's an actual person.

the_oracle: (tear)
Dear Sister
April 1984

Can Jessica face life without Elizabeth?

A senseless tragedy...


  Sweet Valley is stunned by the news: Beautiful young Elizabeth Wakefield lies in a coma, on the brink of death after a horrible motorcycle accident.
  Elizabeth's boyfriend Todd is consumed by guilt; he was driving and escaped unharmed. He feels totally helpless. All he can do is wait for a change in Elizabeth's condition-a change that might mean the loss of the only girl he's ever loved.
  But no one is more shattered than Elizabeth's twin, Jessica. As she keeps watch over the silent body of her sister, she's overwhelmed by despair. Without Elizabeth, can life go on?

  Dear Sister is one of my two favorite classic Sweet Valley books. I don't know if it's because it was one of the first few I read or if it was because I was/am a sucker for the melodramatic, and the whole premise of the book sounded fantastic. It could also be that it's a good book.
  The plot is simple. Liz is still in her coma and the world is crumbling around Jessica. The back of the book leads you to believe that Liz is going to be in the coma for the entire book, but she wakes up by the start of the third chapter. Nope, the rest of the book deals with the what if factor. What if Elizabeth wasn't the nice, good twin? What if Elizabeth could out Jessica the real Jessica? What would happen? Would the world stop spinning on its axis?
  Simply put, it's awesome. Somehow the book manages to be a little too long and a little too short all at once. I'm more interested in seeing Liz in her new environment, but the book follows Jessica as she attempts to figure out who she must become if her twin has taken over Jessica's old identity and then cranked it up to 11. Which is probably the better move, as we've spent much of the series in Elizabeth's shoes up until now, and Jessica needs some fleshing out. Thing is, if you aren't the bad girl, it tends to be on the interesting side to read about the bad girl, so if we're denied this opportunity... well, where's the fun in that? However, if the book had continued on for much longer, I'd have found a way to reach through time, space, and fiction and backhanded a few people.
  I'm skipping around though. Back to the beginning.

  Liz is still in her coma when the book opens, and Jessica is at wit's end. Her twin is her entire world [funny, up until now we'd have wagered boys held that position] and without her, she's unsure as what to do. So she does nothing but sit at her twin's bedside, trying to coax her out of her coma. This involves a lot of self flagellation, until the sorta creepy neurosurgeon John Edwards [I know!] tells Jess that not only are the twins beautiful, but maybe if she just spoke to Elizabeth as if Liz would answer at any moment, it might help. You know, ease of the guilt and whatnot, see what happens. So Jess sort of does. Instead of chatting about boys and fashion and whatever else fills Jessica's thoughts, she gives us a recap of the series so far, with a giant helping of "you're so good, Liz, and I'm so, so very bad." About the time Jessica begs her twin to wake up, offering herself up as Liz's slave for life, Liz begins to come to. Jess freaks out in the best way possible and voila! Liz is awake.
  Fast forward a few days, and Liz is acting decidedly not herself. Jess returns to the hospital, only to find Liz sobbing because she looks like death warmed over. Jess is confused. This is a total Jessica move, not anything even remotely resembling Elizabeth. So Jess glams Liz up as much as she can and Liz then demands more makeup. Weirder still is the way Liz snaps so repeatedly at Jessica. She's even bitchier than Jessica normally is. Jess then tells her that Todd is stopping by and Liz is less than thrilled. Todd enters the cage and is quickly shown the door, given the excuse, "I'm tired." Todd meets Jessica who bites off his head when he dares to complain about the lack of love he received. "What do you expect, her to laugh and smile immediately after such a shock?" is the type of thing she snaps. Immediately afterward, they hear Liz laughing at something her doc said. Poor Todd.
  Three weeks after the accident, Liz comes home. Todd tries to visit and Liz won't see him. At all. She won't see or talk to anyone, but still manages to be a complete and utter bitch to her sister. Despite this new development, the twins begin to plan a party for after Elizabeth is allowed to go back to school. Liz is all for it being guys only, and Jess is shocked. It's the sort of party she's always wanted to throw, but never had the nerve, but it's kinda weird to hear Elizabeth express an interest in such a thing. So Jess points out that since guys almost never throw parties, and all the girls would hate them, maybe they should invite a handful of the fairer sex to their shindig. Liz reluctantly agrees.
  Skip ahead, and we're five weeks after the accident. Liz returns to school and immediately Enid runs over and damn near chokes Jessica in a bear hug. You see, Liz is skanked up in a green mini, something Jess would normally wear. And the confusion doesn't stop there. The whole day Jess is confused for Liz and vice versa. There's a weird little interlude with Liz and Mr. Collins, but mostly their first day back just sets up the fact that the twins seem to have switched.
  As to the party they've planned, Liz pulls a Jessica. While Jess is fixing up the house, Liz is supposed to be resting. Then Jess gets a call from Liz, who ran to the mall on a "vitally important" errand. Jess ends up setting up for the party, having to rush getting ready [since Liz stole the shower], having to keep everything full/everyone happy during the party, and oh yeah, has to clean up after the party. You know, she has to be like Liz used to be. Liz, in turn, flirts with every single guy except for Todd, and possibly Winston, but Win wouldn't have noticed as he only has eyes for Mandy. Aw.
  As time goes by, everyone except for Elizabeth and the adults, seems to understand something isn't right. The kids know that Liz isn't herself, as she's busy flirting with anything male, even if he has a girlfriend sitting RIGHT THERE as Liz tries to score with him. So they bitch about her to Jessica. The adults do know something isn't right, as Liz hasn't made up any of her assignments and is danger of flunking. So not Liz, right? Somehow, though, Ned and Alice Wakefield are oblivious. I can see how Jessica stepping in and trying to deflect things could help a little, but considering how little Liz has tried to catch up, wouldn't the school call and ask if maybe, just maybe, the girl should be evaluated by professionals again?
  Instead, Ned and Alice decide to baby-sit their friends' twins, Joan and Jean Percy. On their first day at the Wakefield home, Ned and Alice head out to play bridge. WTF. It would be one thing if the younger twins were friends of the older twins, but no, these are essentially guests of Ned's and Alice's, and they immediately bail. This is about the time I realized that it's no frickin' wonder Jessica's such a pain in the ass; her parents suck. Liz skips out, after hearing that Jess has a serious date planned, which is just really shitty. So Jess is forced to drag the twins with her and Danny [remember him from the last book?] to the drive in. Seems Danny had a more X rated time in mind, as he only caves when Jessica promises to do anything to make it up. Seriously, by this point it's obvious they're talking something more than Bruce Patman's patented cop-a-boob-feel.
  So they go and they have a positively awful time. Somehow between Dangerous Love and Dear Sister, Danny has gotten the upper hand in his flirtation with Jessica. Dunno how, but he has. She's freaking out because he'll never want to see her again and she complains bitterly to her parents about how unfair it all is. Except she doesn't mention that the people who should have been watching the twins in the first place let THEIR social lives come first instead. She does let a Liz complaint slip, but then quickly back peddles and convinces her parents that she's matured somehow. Weird.
  Back to Sweet Valley High. Liz ups her flirting with Ken, who is seeing Susan Stewart. Never one to let a little girlfriend impede her progress with a guy Jessica Liz decides to sink Susan's battleship by putting in a little item about Susan and a mysterious guy in her Eyes and Ears column. Nothing bad will come of this, I'm sure. Then she heads to Winston and cons him out of his Punic War term paper, which she then changes a few things around and calls it her own. Which she doesn't seem to think will get her busted. Oh, my lord.
  She gets busted for the E&E thing first, and Mr. Collins kicks her off the Oracle. I'm thinking it wasn't so much for what she did, or the lack of remorse she showed, but because she was too self involved/stupid to think up the really obvious way to cover her ass, which was, "But, Mr. Collins, I heard from numerous sources about that guy with Susan. I guess that's the last time I'll trust them" or something along those lines. It's a gossip column, so you're bound to make a mistake once in awhile! Idiots.
  Oh, in between conning the paper and getting busted for it, Todd has a basketball game that Liz attends with Ken [probably due to her snippet] and he can't take his eyes of them. He can't shoot worth a damn and when the crowd starts booing him, one of the Big Mesa guys makes a crack about it, so Todd attacks him. He gets benched and Coach Horner gets the rest of the team to spill. They tell him that Todd's ex is Elizabeth Wakefield, formerly the nicest girl in the school, currently vying for the title of biggest "flirt", and that Todd is still hung up on her. Coach talks to Todd and points out that maybe there's something wrong with Elizabeth, and that Todd's going to have to sit out a few games, what with the violence and all. So Todd vows to try and help her.
  Now, back to Elizabeth's bad day. After she comes home from the debacle at the Oracle, her parents attack her for the cheating on a term paper. But the real kicker is when they turn on Jessica and bitch her out for not telling them that something was wrong. When, oh workaholics? When was she to tell you? Besides, she shouldn't be held accountable for every misstep Liz makes. It's unfair to them both, but particularly so when you remember that while Liz would get the fallout from Jess, it's not like her parents expected her to force Jessica to be an upstanding citizen. So how is it fair to expect Jessica to be Elizabeth's keeper? I digress.
  With the Sword of Damocles hanging over her head, Jess naturally freaks out when Elizabeth shows up driving Max Dellon's bike. Todd is there and Jessica sends him after her wayward twin, because a) it's another motorcycle and b) she doesn't want to get grounded for Elizabeth's bad behavior. Todd catches up with the duo [and by now, shouldn't the Wakefield twins' inability to ride a motorcycle be of legendary status?] and forces Liz off the bike, over his shoulder, and carries her back to his car. Yeah, he kidnaps her. She starts yelling and losing her ability to speak in contractions and Todd tries to get through to her, but fails miserably. Since we've made Todd miserable, it's time to share the wealth with Jessica.
  Again, the Wakefields manage to flake on the Percy twins, leaving them in the questionably capable hands of Jessica. Because heaven forbid they force Liz to do a chore, right? So Alice sends the Percy twins upstairs to wake the sleeping beast, Jessica, and force her to take them to their flute auditions. Jess flips out because it's barely 7 AM and she had plans for the day, but they don't mean jack. It's kind of telling that she didn't even try to get Elizabeth to cover for her. So Jess goes, it takes forever, and she gets busted speeding to the beach. Unable to sweet talk her way out of the ticket, Jessica snaps at the cop and continues her mad dash to the beach, only to find Danny with his arms around another girl. On her way out of the parking lot, Jess has a fender bender and begins to cry. I felt massively sorry for her by this point.
  Because Jessica doesn't share the details of her shitty day with her parents, she and Liz are able to sweet talk their way into going to Lila's Pick Up party. Namely, everyone shows up single and tries pick up whomever they're interested in.


Lila never gave a party without a theme, and this time she had combined two of her old favorites. The kids were told to come in costume and without a date to a "pickup party." Everybody came single and picked up whomever they could. A lot of girls at Sweet Valley who thought they were going steady found themselves without boyfriends after one of Lila's pickup bashes, and a lot of girls who wanted to get rid of guys, did so that same night.


  Jess and Liz go as Matadors for some unknown reason, but it quickly becomes clear that the red matador is Liz and the green one is Jessica. Green with envy, maybe? Liz dances and flirts and has a great time, while Jess does little but watch and attempt to not kill anyone bitching to her about her twin's behavior. The description of Liz spinning across the red Spanish tiles confused me. I envisioned her either being repeatedly spun ballroom style, or a Tasmanian Devil sort of thing. Neither is really conducive to not throwing up. Nor, apparently, is finding yourself in Todd Wilkins' arms. Liz spins away, only to find herself in the evil clutches of Bruce Patman.
  Bruce seems to have momentarily forgotten the rumours about the twins and assumes the flirtatious twin in his arms is Jessica, whom he is exceptionally interested in. He only finds out the truth when he spies Max snickering and he comments on the pairing of Bruce and Liz. Bruce is shocked. Apparently he's been after the uppity twin for some time, hoping to take her back down to earth. Thing is, he acts as if she's stupid ["Do you know who I am?"] and she doesn't seem to mind. He then begins to try and get her drunk on some mystery drink, and then he cons her out to his father's beach club. Wait, when did Mr. Patman get one of those? Luckily, Jess has sent Todd after her twin again, and Todd punches Bruce and grabs the inebriated Elizabeth right before she passes out.
  Jess is busted at home for the ticket and the fender bender, but before her parents can kill her dead, the Percy twins stick up for her. Seems spending time with Jessica is just as much fun as we've always been told. Maybe they also feel bad for her, seeing as their hosts suck and Jessica is obviously not supposed to always be in charge of them. Who knows, but it was sweet, and Jessica's heart breaks a little when she sees how close the younger twins are, and realizes how far she and Liz have drifted apart.
  Back at school, Bill Chase begins his pursuit of Liz. Seems Bill has had a thing on Liz for ages [see All Night Long's character bio] and when he finds out that Todd and Liz are no more, he asks Todd's permission to chase after Liz. And Todd grants it. Oi.
  Unfortunately for Bill, while Liz says yes to the date, Bruce calls her up and asks for one the same night as Bill's, and Liz goes with Bruce's drink filled invite instead. She lies and says she's going to Enid's, and when Bill shows up, Jess runs upstairs to call and bitch her out. Only, dun dun dun! It was a lie. Jess decides to twin switch on the one guy stupid enough to turn her down, and she goes out with Bill dressed as Liz. Jess, that is, not Bill dressed as Liz.
  Bruce, being slime, cops a feel and then convinces her that they should go upstairs and have sex. He doesn't actually say that last bit, but it's implied. When he has her upstairs, he runs back downstairs for more wine, you know, to get her good and drunk enough that she won't be able to stop 'im even if she does come to. Unfortunately for Bruce, she gets cold feet [even super skanky Liz knows something is amiss] and attempts to find her way downstairs. She doesn't even make it out of the room before she falls and conks her head on a big old table.
  The real Elizabeth comes rushing back and is completely unaware as to what the hell is going on. When Bruce returns, she freaks out and accuses him of taking her there against her will. He's none too happy with the loss of his biggest conquest and attempts to scare her back into submission. Liz calls him on it after she bites him [forcing him to back off momentarily], tells him he's a pig, and runs away. She races down the beach, drawn to light and sound, proof that other people are around, and maybe just maybe, subconsciously drawn towards Todd. She finds him and they have a happy reunion, only slightly marred by Todd's confusion as to whether she was with Bill or Bruce. They realize it was Jessica and Liz worries that Jess has an evil plan all worked up.
  The book ends with Jessica telling Bill that if he really is in love with the twin he's spent all night with, he's actually in love with Jessica, not Elizabeth, Wakefield. SHOCK! Horror! Amazement! The end.

Trivia:

  • THE Hospital in Sweet Valley is the Joshua Fowler Memorial Hospital. We know the Fowler bit is due to Lila, but who is the Joshua in question? Liz is taken here for her scenic coma.

  • Liz's neurosurgeon is John Edwards, and he's kinda creepy the way he's commenting on an unconscious patient and her twin being beautiful.

  • Liz was in her coma for four days.

  • 3 weeks after she wakes up from her coma, she goes home, and two weeks after that she returns to school. About a week after that she has her party and this book takes place over the longest period of time thus far. Seriously, we should have passed Christmas and should be rounding the bases til Valentine's Day, but no sign of any holiday at all.

  • The Wakefield's kitchen is at the back of their house.

  • While the Percy twins stay with the Wakefields for a few weeks, Liz and Jess have never met Mr. and Mrs. Percy.

  • Danny Stauffer is an excellent kisser. Y'know, in case you're interested in him or his Trans Am.

  • Mrs. Green is the guidance counselor who never thinks to check up on Liz after the revelation that she's having mysterious dizzy spells.

  • Coach Horner is the basketball coach. Gruff on the outside, heart of gold on the inside.

  • When Jess gets her speeding ticket, she's going 70 in a 55 MPH zone.

  • Jessica's favorite breakfast is french toast.

  • Apparently Mr. Patman owns a beach club as well as a beach house, or else the writing is a little too vague here.

  • Bill Chase asks Todd if it's okay if he goes after Liz, and Todd doesn't stop him.

  • At this point in time, Lila is dating some dude named Tim. I wonder if it's an actual Tim or if they meant Tom?



Quote the fantastic:
"Liz. Hey, Lizzie, time to wake up." Jess, waking Liz from her coma. p12
"I thought basketball players had good eyesight, Todd. On a scale of one to ten, I'm not even on the scale yet." Liz, p19
Jessica couldn't have been happier. For a change she and Elizabeth seemed to want the same kind of fun. - p23
"I solemnly swear to take over my share of the chores as soon as I have made a total recovery-which should be in about three months!" Liz, p27
"If she's Jessica", she agonized, "then who am I?" -Jess isn't afraid to ask the deep questions, p46
"What an absolutely gruesome day!" she said, frowning fiercely.
Jessica stared at her, fascinated.
"If all you're going to do is stare at me, take your face someplace else!" Liz goes on another bitchfit for no reason, p50
"No way, Jess. I told you what I had planned for tonight. There is no way I want an audience." - Danny Stauffer, p62
"Mom, I could never resent Liz!" Jess lies through her perfect teeth, p69
"You know, just about none of the girls at school will talk to me without complaining about Liz trying to steal their guys,"
She saw Todd wince at that and put her hand on his arm. "I'm sorry, Todd. I shouldn't have said that." Jessica learns the art of sympathy, p95
"It's fun, that's why! Besides, Max Dellon is a safe driver," Elizabeth taunted.
"You know, Jess, you surprise me. Maybe you and I could become-"
"If you dare ask me to be your buddy, Todd Wilkins, I'll slug you, I really will!" Todd/Jess, p104
The girls stared at each other, wide-eyed. They had been in the Wakefield house long enough to know they should steer clear of Jessica when she first woke up. 106
"You are both lying! My mother loves me. There is no way she would want me to get up in the middle of the night!" Jess doesn't often see 7am, apparently. p107
"The nerve of him! Just because I was a few hours late, he picks up someone else," Jessica fumed. p114
"I'm just terrific, Bruce. How's your glass jaw?" - Liz, p 134
"I never really knew what a coward you were until now," she cried. "Is that what all your big love stories are about, Patman? Taking advantage of girls who either don't know what they're doing or too drunk to care? I don't know anybody lower than you are at this minute. And listen, you want to tell this story all over? Go ahead! Because I've got one to tell, too, and you won't look very good in it. You're a coward, Bruce Patman!" Liz, lucky she's not in an episode of L&O, as lesser rants have gotten girls killed, p146

137 ways to have fun:
"I was just wondering if Todd's seen you in that nightgown. I bet it'd raise his temperature about a hundred and thirty seven degrees!" Jess, p26
"But you hate him, Lizzie."
"Who told you that?"
"You did, a hundred and thirty-seven times." p122



  As a kid, I accepted the various things done so that Jess would be forced into taking responsibility for the Percy twins. As an adult, I find myself wanting to smack Ned and Alice. You probably already figured that out, but it bears repeating. It's unfair to expect your sixteen year old daughter to force her twin to act responsibly. If you want her to report back to you at any sign of trouble, you should wake from your dream world, but it's much closer to a realistic expectation than the whole wanting her to [s]mother her sister.
  However, my biggest issue with the Wakefield parents is that they evidently spend so little time with their daughters that they didn't truly notice the complete personality rehaul of their eldest daughter. Sure, she's a teenager, but she's the good kid. When she starts mouthing off and snapping at everyone and this continues for weeks, maybe you should have done something about it, y'know? Even soap opera parents drag their kids back to the neurosurgeon who patiently explains that the trauma may have changed them, but hey, at least they're alive, who wants milkshakes? If nothing else, why didn't the high school call and see if they knew what was going on? It would be one thing for Jessica to slip even further behind, but usually schools get a little twitchy when their star students start to slide. They have visions of standardized testing sliding down and that means funding would go down and, yeah, it's a whole big mess. So really, they would have called before the term paper fiasco.
  It speaks volumes about Jessica's guilt that she doesn't try and one up her sister, and instead seems to sort of try and fill the void left behind. She bonds with Todd, feels empathy/sympathy for Enid, and does try to reach out and get help for her twin from an adult, though that adult is utterly useless. Seriously, Mr. C, don't you think telling Jessica to talk to her parents might have been a good idea? Back to the idea of two Jessicas. Would have been awesome to see Jess take on Super!Vamp Liz. Senior Year brings us a version of the twins being basically the same person, but it's this odd fusion of Liz/Jess and it doesn't ever quite gel for me, so we don't count that.
  So, I wonder, did Elizabeth's accident just sort of dial back her inhibitions and let her ID come out to play, or was it Jessica's choice of subject matter when she was trying to coax Liz back to life? She told Liz she should party more. Liz parties to the extreme, at least so far as their social circle will allow. She points out that Enid is dull as watching paint dry and when Liz wakes up, will not have a single thing to do with Enid, and mocks her instead. Ditto for Todd. Jess mentions that Liz could be super!twin if she just let loose a little and had fun with her makeup, and her attitude. So. Does Liz just idealize her twin a little and so she kind of used her as her model for bad behavior, or did Jessica create her own monster?
  Speaking of monsters... It amazes me how thoroughly they change Bruce as the books progress. In the beginning, I'm surprised no one's accused him [rightly so, I'd imagine] of date rape. Yet somehow Regina'll manage to redeem him. He's a slimeball at the start though, and you'd think it would be wiser to spread that information before someone else falls under his spell. Heaven knows John P. goes only a smidge further, if that, and he's crucified eventually, so why not crucify Bruce who has to have been in a similar boat? Is it that he's so damn rich no one would dare to chance the backlash, or is it that they alter everyone just enough later that it would kill them to take down their bad boy who isn't a drop out? Hmm.
  And because my mind is filled with the littered thrown away plots, I wonder what would have happened if Liz had been in her coma longer? Would Jess have gone back to school and been a zombie? Would SVH manage to snub her, or would they rally around her? Would it have made Jess a better person, or would she have rebelled further?
  Totally superficial moment, but the cover has also been one of my favorites for awhile. Or maybe it's simply that the book was purple and that was right smack dab in the middle of my purple frenzy?



the_oracle: (tear)
Dear Sister
April 1984

Can Jessica face life without Elizabeth?

A senseless tragedy...


  Sweet Valley is stunned by the news: Beautiful young Elizabeth Wakefield lies in a coma, on the brink of death after a horrible motorcycle accident.
  Elizabeth's boyfriend Todd is consumed by guilt; he was driving and escaped unharmed. He feels totally helpless. All he can do is wait for a change in Elizabeth's condition-a change that might mean the loss of the only girl he's ever loved.
  But no one is more shattered than Elizabeth's twin, Jessica. As she keeps watch over the silent body of her sister, she's overwhelmed by despair. Without Elizabeth, can life go on?

  Dear Sister is one of my two favorite classic Sweet Valley books. I don't know if it's because it was one of the first few I read or if it was because I was/am a sucker for the melodramatic, and the whole premise of the book sounded fantastic. It could also be that it's a good book.
  The plot is simple. Liz is still in her coma and the world is crumbling around Jessica. The back of the book leads you to believe that Liz is going to be in the coma for the entire book, but she wakes up by the start of the third chapter. Nope, the rest of the book deals with the what if factor. What if Elizabeth wasn't the nice, good twin? What if Elizabeth could out Jessica the real Jessica? What would happen? Would the world stop spinning on its axis?
  Simply put, it's awesome. Somehow the book manages to be a little too long and a little too short all at once. I'm more interested in seeing Liz in her new environment, but the book follows Jessica as she attempts to figure out who she must become if her twin has taken over Jessica's old identity and then cranked it up to 11. Which is probably the better move, as we've spent much of the series in Elizabeth's shoes up until now, and Jessica needs some fleshing out. Thing is, if you aren't the bad girl, it tends to be on the interesting side to read about the bad girl, so if we're denied this opportunity... well, where's the fun in that? However, if the book had continued on for much longer, I'd have found a way to reach through time, space, and fiction and backhanded a few people.
  I'm skipping around though. Back to the beginning.

  Liz is still in her coma when the book opens, and Jessica is at wit's end. Her twin is her entire world [funny, up until now we'd have wagered boys held that position] and without her, she's unsure as what to do. So she does nothing but sit at her twin's bedside, trying to coax her out of her coma. This involves a lot of self flagellation, until the sorta creepy neurosurgeon John Edwards [I know!] tells Jess that not only are the twins beautiful, but maybe if she just spoke to Elizabeth as if Liz would answer at any moment, it might help. You know, ease of the guilt and whatnot, see what happens. So Jess sort of does. Instead of chatting about boys and fashion and whatever else fills Jessica's thoughts, she gives us a recap of the series so far, with a giant helping of "you're so good, Liz, and I'm so, so very bad." About the time Jessica begs her twin to wake up, offering herself up as Liz's slave for life, Liz begins to come to. Jess freaks out in the best way possible and voila! Liz is awake.
  Fast forward a few days, and Liz is acting decidedly not herself. Jess returns to the hospital, only to find Liz sobbing because she looks like death warmed over. Jess is confused. This is a total Jessica move, not anything even remotely resembling Elizabeth. So Jess glams Liz up as much as she can and Liz then demands more makeup. Weirder still is the way Liz snaps so repeatedly at Jessica. She's even bitchier than Jessica normally is. Jess then tells her that Todd is stopping by and Liz is less than thrilled. Todd enters the cage and is quickly shown the door, given the excuse, "I'm tired." Todd meets Jessica who bites off his head when he dares to complain about the lack of love he received. "What do you expect, her to laugh and smile immediately after such a shock?" is the type of thing she snaps. Immediately afterward, they hear Liz laughing at something her doc said. Poor Todd.
  Three weeks after the accident, Liz comes home. Todd tries to visit and Liz won't see him. At all. She won't see or talk to anyone, but still manages to be a complete and utter bitch to her sister. Despite this new development, the twins begin to plan a party for after Elizabeth is allowed to go back to school. Liz is all for it being guys only, and Jess is shocked. It's the sort of party she's always wanted to throw, but never had the nerve, but it's kinda weird to hear Elizabeth express an interest in such a thing. So Jess points out that since guys almost never throw parties, and all the girls would hate them, maybe they should invite a handful of the fairer sex to their shindig. Liz reluctantly agrees.
  Skip ahead, and we're five weeks after the accident. Liz returns to school and immediately Enid runs over and damn near chokes Jessica in a bear hug. You see, Liz is skanked up in a green mini, something Jess would normally wear. And the confusion doesn't stop there. The whole day Jess is confused for Liz and vice versa. There's a weird little interlude with Liz and Mr. Collins, but mostly their first day back just sets up the fact that the twins seem to have switched.
  As to the party they've planned, Liz pulls a Jessica. While Jess is fixing up the house, Liz is supposed to be resting. Then Jess gets a call from Liz, who ran to the mall on a "vitally important" errand. Jess ends up setting up for the party, having to rush getting ready [since Liz stole the shower], having to keep everything full/everyone happy during the party, and oh yeah, has to clean up after the party. You know, she has to be like Liz used to be. Liz, in turn, flirts with every single guy except for Todd, and possibly Winston, but Win wouldn't have noticed as he only has eyes for Mandy. Aw.
  As time goes by, everyone except for Elizabeth and the adults, seems to understand something isn't right. The kids know that Liz isn't herself, as she's busy flirting with anything male, even if he has a girlfriend sitting RIGHT THERE as Liz tries to score with him. So they bitch about her to Jessica. The adults do know something isn't right, as Liz hasn't made up any of her assignments and is danger of flunking. So not Liz, right? Somehow, though, Ned and Alice Wakefield are oblivious. I can see how Jessica stepping in and trying to deflect things could help a little, but considering how little Liz has tried to catch up, wouldn't the school call and ask if maybe, just maybe, the girl should be evaluated by professionals again?
  Instead, Ned and Alice decide to baby-sit their friends' twins, Joan and Jean Percy. On their first day at the Wakefield home, Ned and Alice head out to play bridge. WTF. It would be one thing if the younger twins were friends of the older twins, but no, these are essentially guests of Ned's and Alice's, and they immediately bail. This is about the time I realized that it's no frickin' wonder Jessica's such a pain in the ass; her parents suck. Liz skips out, after hearing that Jess has a serious date planned, which is just really shitty. So Jess is forced to drag the twins with her and Danny [remember him from the last book?] to the drive in. Seems Danny had a more X rated time in mind, as he only caves when Jessica promises to do anything to make it up. Seriously, by this point it's obvious they're talking something more than Bruce Patman's patented cop-a-boob-feel.
  So they go and they have a positively awful time. Somehow between Dangerous Love and Dear Sister, Danny has gotten the upper hand in his flirtation with Jessica. Dunno how, but he has. She's freaking out because he'll never want to see her again and she complains bitterly to her parents about how unfair it all is. Except she doesn't mention that the people who should have been watching the twins in the first place let THEIR social lives come first instead. She does let a Liz complaint slip, but then quickly back peddles and convinces her parents that she's matured somehow. Weird.
  Back to Sweet Valley High. Liz ups her flirting with Ken, who is seeing Susan Stewart. Never one to let a little girlfriend impede her progress with a guy Jessica Liz decides to sink Susan's battleship by putting in a little item about Susan and a mysterious guy in her Eyes and Ears column. Nothing bad will come of this, I'm sure. Then she heads to Winston and cons him out of his Punic War term paper, which she then changes a few things around and calls it her own. Which she doesn't seem to think will get her busted. Oh, my lord.
  She gets busted for the E&E thing first, and Mr. Collins kicks her off the Oracle. I'm thinking it wasn't so much for what she did, or the lack of remorse she showed, but because she was too self involved/stupid to think up the really obvious way to cover her ass, which was, "But, Mr. Collins, I heard from numerous sources about that guy with Susan. I guess that's the last time I'll trust them" or something along those lines. It's a gossip column, so you're bound to make a mistake once in awhile! Idiots.
  Oh, in between conning the paper and getting busted for it, Todd has a basketball game that Liz attends with Ken [probably due to her snippet] and he can't take his eyes of them. He can't shoot worth a damn and when the crowd starts booing him, one of the Big Mesa guys makes a crack about it, so Todd attacks him. He gets benched and Coach Horner gets the rest of the team to spill. They tell him that Todd's ex is Elizabeth Wakefield, formerly the nicest girl in the school, currently vying for the title of biggest "flirt", and that Todd is still hung up on her. Coach talks to Todd and points out that maybe there's something wrong with Elizabeth, and that Todd's going to have to sit out a few games, what with the violence and all. So Todd vows to try and help her.
  Now, back to Elizabeth's bad day. After she comes home from the debacle at the Oracle, her parents attack her for the cheating on a term paper. But the real kicker is when they turn on Jessica and bitch her out for not telling them that something was wrong. When, oh workaholics? When was she to tell you? Besides, she shouldn't be held accountable for every misstep Liz makes. It's unfair to them both, but particularly so when you remember that while Liz would get the fallout from Jess, it's not like her parents expected her to force Jessica to be an upstanding citizen. So how is it fair to expect Jessica to be Elizabeth's keeper? I digress.
  With the Sword of Damocles hanging over her head, Jess naturally freaks out when Elizabeth shows up driving Max Dellon's bike. Todd is there and Jessica sends him after her wayward twin, because a) it's another motorcycle and b) she doesn't want to get grounded for Elizabeth's bad behavior. Todd catches up with the duo [and by now, shouldn't the Wakefield twins' inability to ride a motorcycle be of legendary status?] and forces Liz off the bike, over his shoulder, and carries her back to his car. Yeah, he kidnaps her. She starts yelling and losing her ability to speak in contractions and Todd tries to get through to her, but fails miserably. Since we've made Todd miserable, it's time to share the wealth with Jessica.
  Again, the Wakefields manage to flake on the Percy twins, leaving them in the questionably capable hands of Jessica. Because heaven forbid they force Liz to do a chore, right? So Alice sends the Percy twins upstairs to wake the sleeping beast, Jessica, and force her to take them to their flute auditions. Jess flips out because it's barely 7 AM and she had plans for the day, but they don't mean jack. It's kind of telling that she didn't even try to get Elizabeth to cover for her. So Jess goes, it takes forever, and she gets busted speeding to the beach. Unable to sweet talk her way out of the ticket, Jessica snaps at the cop and continues her mad dash to the beach, only to find Danny with his arms around another girl. On her way out of the parking lot, Jess has a fender bender and begins to cry. I felt massively sorry for her by this point.
  Because Jessica doesn't share the details of her shitty day with her parents, she and Liz are able to sweet talk their way into going to Lila's Pick Up party. Namely, everyone shows up single and tries pick up whomever they're interested in.


Lila never gave a party without a theme, and this time she had combined two of her old favorites. The kids were told to come in costume and without a date to a "pickup party." Everybody came single and picked up whomever they could. A lot of girls at Sweet Valley who thought they were going steady found themselves without boyfriends after one of Lila's pickup bashes, and a lot of girls who wanted to get rid of guys, did so that same night.


  Jess and Liz go as Matadors for some unknown reason, but it quickly becomes clear that the red matador is Liz and the green one is Jessica. Green with envy, maybe? Liz dances and flirts and has a great time, while Jess does little but watch and attempt to not kill anyone bitching to her about her twin's behavior. The description of Liz spinning across the red Spanish tiles confused me. I envisioned her either being repeatedly spun ballroom style, or a Tasmanian Devil sort of thing. Neither is really conducive to not throwing up. Nor, apparently, is finding yourself in Todd Wilkins' arms. Liz spins away, only to find herself in the evil clutches of Bruce Patman.
  Bruce seems to have momentarily forgotten the rumours about the twins and assumes the flirtatious twin in his arms is Jessica, whom he is exceptionally interested in. He only finds out the truth when he spies Max snickering and he comments on the pairing of Bruce and Liz. Bruce is shocked. Apparently he's been after the uppity twin for some time, hoping to take her back down to earth. Thing is, he acts as if she's stupid ["Do you know who I am?"] and she doesn't seem to mind. He then begins to try and get her drunk on some mystery drink, and then he cons her out to his father's beach club. Wait, when did Mr. Patman get one of those? Luckily, Jess has sent Todd after her twin again, and Todd punches Bruce and grabs the inebriated Elizabeth right before she passes out.
  Jess is busted at home for the ticket and the fender bender, but before her parents can kill her dead, the Percy twins stick up for her. Seems spending time with Jessica is just as much fun as we've always been told. Maybe they also feel bad for her, seeing as their hosts suck and Jessica is obviously not supposed to always be in charge of them. Who knows, but it was sweet, and Jessica's heart breaks a little when she sees how close the younger twins are, and realizes how far she and Liz have drifted apart.
  Back at school, Bill Chase begins his pursuit of Liz. Seems Bill has had a thing on Liz for ages [see All Night Long's character bio] and when he finds out that Todd and Liz are no more, he asks Todd's permission to chase after Liz. And Todd grants it. Oi.
  Unfortunately for Bill, while Liz says yes to the date, Bruce calls her up and asks for one the same night as Bill's, and Liz goes with Bruce's drink filled invite instead. She lies and says she's going to Enid's, and when Bill shows up, Jess runs upstairs to call and bitch her out. Only, dun dun dun! It was a lie. Jess decides to twin switch on the one guy stupid enough to turn her down, and she goes out with Bill dressed as Liz. Jess, that is, not Bill dressed as Liz.
  Bruce, being slime, cops a feel and then convinces her that they should go upstairs and have sex. He doesn't actually say that last bit, but it's implied. When he has her upstairs, he runs back downstairs for more wine, you know, to get her good and drunk enough that she won't be able to stop 'im even if she does come to. Unfortunately for Bruce, she gets cold feet [even super skanky Liz knows something is amiss] and attempts to find her way downstairs. She doesn't even make it out of the room before she falls and conks her head on a big old table.
  The real Elizabeth comes rushing back and is completely unaware as to what the hell is going on. When Bruce returns, she freaks out and accuses him of taking her there against her will. He's none too happy with the loss of his biggest conquest and attempts to scare her back into submission. Liz calls him on it after she bites him [forcing him to back off momentarily], tells him he's a pig, and runs away. She races down the beach, drawn to light and sound, proof that other people are around, and maybe just maybe, subconsciously drawn towards Todd. She finds him and they have a happy reunion, only slightly marred by Todd's confusion as to whether she was with Bill or Bruce. They realize it was Jessica and Liz worries that Jess has an evil plan all worked up.
  The book ends with Jessica telling Bill that if he really is in love with the twin he's spent all night with, he's actually in love with Jessica, not Elizabeth, Wakefield. SHOCK! Horror! Amazement! The end.

Trivia:

  • THE Hospital in Sweet Valley is the Joshua Fowler Memorial Hospital. We know the Fowler bit is due to Lila, but who is the Joshua in question? Liz is taken here for her scenic coma.

  • Liz's neurosurgeon is John Edwards, and he's kinda creepy the way he's commenting on an unconscious patient and her twin being beautiful.

  • Liz was in her coma for four days.

  • 3 weeks after she wakes up from her coma, she goes home, and two weeks after that she returns to school. About a week after that she has her party and this book takes place over the longest period of time thus far. Seriously, we should have passed Christmas and should be rounding the bases til Valentine's Day, but no sign of any holiday at all.

  • The Wakefield's kitchen is at the back of their house.

  • While the Percy twins stay with the Wakefields for a few weeks, Liz and Jess have never met Mr. and Mrs. Percy.

  • Danny Stauffer is an excellent kisser. Y'know, in case you're interested in him or his Trans Am.

  • Mrs. Green is the guidance counselor who never thinks to check up on Liz after the revelation that she's having mysterious dizzy spells.

  • Coach Horner is the basketball coach. Gruff on the outside, heart of gold on the inside.

  • When Jess gets her speeding ticket, she's going 70 in a 55 MPH zone.

  • Jessica's favorite breakfast is french toast.

  • Apparently Mr. Patman owns a beach club as well as a beach house, or else the writing is a little too vague here.

  • Bill Chase asks Todd if it's okay if he goes after Liz, and Todd doesn't stop him.

  • At this point in time, Lila is dating some dude named Tim. I wonder if it's an actual Tim or if they meant Tom?



Quote the fantastic:
"Liz. Hey, Lizzie, time to wake up." Jess, waking Liz from her coma. p12
"I thought basketball players had good eyesight, Todd. On a scale of one to ten, I'm not even on the scale yet." Liz, p19
Jessica couldn't have been happier. For a change she and Elizabeth seemed to want the same kind of fun. - p23
"I solemnly swear to take over my share of the chores as soon as I have made a total recovery-which should be in about three months!" Liz, p27
"If she's Jessica", she agonized, "then who am I?" -Jess isn't afraid to ask the deep questions, p46
"What an absolutely gruesome day!" she said, frowning fiercely.
Jessica stared at her, fascinated.
"If all you're going to do is stare at me, take your face someplace else!" Liz goes on another bitchfit for no reason, p50
"No way, Jess. I told you what I had planned for tonight. There is no way I want an audience." - Danny Stauffer, p62
"Mom, I could never resent Liz!" Jess lies through her perfect teeth, p69
"You know, just about none of the girls at school will talk to me without complaining about Liz trying to steal their guys,"
She saw Todd wince at that and put her hand on his arm. "I'm sorry, Todd. I shouldn't have said that." Jessica learns the art of sympathy, p95
"It's fun, that's why! Besides, Max Dellon is a safe driver," Elizabeth taunted.
"You know, Jess, you surprise me. Maybe you and I could become-"
"If you dare ask me to be your buddy, Todd Wilkins, I'll slug you, I really will!" Todd/Jess, p104
The girls stared at each other, wide-eyed. They had been in the Wakefield house long enough to know they should steer clear of Jessica when she first woke up. 106
"You are both lying! My mother loves me. There is no way she would want me to get up in the middle of the night!" Jess doesn't often see 7am, apparently. p107
"The nerve of him! Just because I was a few hours late, he picks up someone else," Jessica fumed. p114
"I'm just terrific, Bruce. How's your glass jaw?" - Liz, p 134
"I never really knew what a coward you were until now," she cried. "Is that what all your big love stories are about, Patman? Taking advantage of girls who either don't know what they're doing or too drunk to care? I don't know anybody lower than you are at this minute. And listen, you want to tell this story all over? Go ahead! Because I've got one to tell, too, and you won't look very good in it. You're a coward, Bruce Patman!" Liz, lucky she's not in an episode of L&O, as lesser rants have gotten girls killed, p146

137 ways to have fun:
"I was just wondering if Todd's seen you in that nightgown. I bet it'd raise his temperature about a hundred and thirty seven degrees!" Jess, p26
"But you hate him, Lizzie."
"Who told you that?"
"You did, a hundred and thirty-seven times." p122



  As a kid, I accepted the various things done so that Jess would be forced into taking responsibility for the Percy twins. As an adult, I find myself wanting to smack Ned and Alice. You probably already figured that out, but it bears repeating. It's unfair to expect your sixteen year old daughter to force her twin to act responsibly. If you want her to report back to you at any sign of trouble, you should wake from your dream world, but it's much closer to a realistic expectation than the whole wanting her to [s]mother her sister.
  However, my biggest issue with the Wakefield parents is that they evidently spend so little time with their daughters that they didn't truly notice the complete personality rehaul of their eldest daughter. Sure, she's a teenager, but she's the good kid. When she starts mouthing off and snapping at everyone and this continues for weeks, maybe you should have done something about it, y'know? Even soap opera parents drag their kids back to the neurosurgeon who patiently explains that the trauma may have changed them, but hey, at least they're alive, who wants milkshakes? If nothing else, why didn't the high school call and see if they knew what was going on? It would be one thing for Jessica to slip even further behind, but usually schools get a little twitchy when their star students start to slide. They have visions of standardized testing sliding down and that means funding would go down and, yeah, it's a whole big mess. So really, they would have called before the term paper fiasco.
  It speaks volumes about Jessica's guilt that she doesn't try and one up her sister, and instead seems to sort of try and fill the void left behind. She bonds with Todd, feels empathy/sympathy for Enid, and does try to reach out and get help for her twin from an adult, though that adult is utterly useless. Seriously, Mr. C, don't you think telling Jessica to talk to her parents might have been a good idea? Back to the idea of two Jessicas. Would have been awesome to see Jess take on Super!Vamp Liz. Senior Year brings us a version of the twins being basically the same person, but it's this odd fusion of Liz/Jess and it doesn't ever quite gel for me, so we don't count that.
  So, I wonder, did Elizabeth's accident just sort of dial back her inhibitions and let her ID come out to play, or was it Jessica's choice of subject matter when she was trying to coax Liz back to life? She told Liz she should party more. Liz parties to the extreme, at least so far as their social circle will allow. She points out that Enid is dull as watching paint dry and when Liz wakes up, will not have a single thing to do with Enid, and mocks her instead. Ditto for Todd. Jess mentions that Liz could be super!twin if she just let loose a little and had fun with her makeup, and her attitude. So. Does Liz just idealize her twin a little and so she kind of used her as her model for bad behavior, or did Jessica create her own monster?
  Speaking of monsters... It amazes me how thoroughly they change Bruce as the books progress. In the beginning, I'm surprised no one's accused him [rightly so, I'd imagine] of date rape. Yet somehow Regina'll manage to redeem him. He's a slimeball at the start though, and you'd think it would be wiser to spread that information before someone else falls under his spell. Heaven knows John P. goes only a smidge further, if that, and he's crucified eventually, so why not crucify Bruce who has to have been in a similar boat? Is it that he's so damn rich no one would dare to chance the backlash, or is it that they alter everyone just enough later that it would kill them to take down their bad boy who isn't a drop out? Hmm.
  And because my mind is filled with the littered thrown away plots, I wonder what would have happened if Liz had been in her coma longer? Would Jess have gone back to school and been a zombie? Would SVH manage to snub her, or would they rally around her? Would it have made Jess a better person, or would she have rebelled further?
  Totally superficial moment, but the cover has also been one of my favorites for awhile. Or maybe it's simply that the book was purple and that was right smack dab in the middle of my purple frenzy?



the_oracle: (tear)
Power Play
January 1984

The Wakefield twins have taken sides- against each other!

Elizabeth and Jessica in a tug of war...


   Chubby Robin Wilson has been following Jessica around for months. First she wanted to be her friend- now she wants to join Pi Beta Alpha, Sweet Valley High's snobby sorority.
   When Elizabeth, Jessica's twin, nominated Robin for the sorority, Jessica is furious. Robin may be friendly and smart, but she's certainly not beautiful or popular enough to be a Pi Beta. Jessica's determined to find a way to keep Robin out.
   But Elizabeth is just as determined to make Robin a sorority sister. soon the twins are locked in a struggle that develops into the biggest power play at Sweet Valley High...


  Power Play is one of those books where I desperately wish I could find the author, as well as Francine Pascal, and beat the tar out of them. Robin Wilson, prior to her transformation, is an insult to anyone who ever even just knew the fat kid in school, let alone anyone who actually was. Every time you see Robin, she's either kissing ass OR stuffing her face. I'm sure, somewhere, there are kids who stuff their face all the time, but this is just over the top. It's as if that's all they can do to show that poor Robin is never going to be the perfect size six of her idols. Time has given the fat kids the last laugh in that regard, what with sixes being considered big these days, but since that doesn't actually help anything, we won't dwell there.
  So. Robin wants desperately to join PBA, which Jessica has taken control of finally, what with the previous [unnamed, no less] president having suddenly moved. You'd think they'd have someone else, possibly a senior, waiting in the wings, maybe a VP of the sorority, but it seems that would be asking too much. I do wonder if it pisses any of the seniors off that Jessica is somehow the most popular girl in school. Ah, well. Jess has been promising to put Robin up for membership for the last FOREVER, but it's obvious to anyone who isn't Robin that she has NO intention of doing so. So obvious, in fact, that Robin's mother tearfully tries to find a tactful way of asking Liz to step up to the plate. She chickens out, but fear not, Robin has no shame. While stuffing her face on a giant chocolate bar, she asks Liz to help a girl out. Liz agrees, and Robin celebrates with another candy bar. What the f... No. Save it for later.
  Jess comes home to find an overjoyed [and sugar high] Robin leaving to go on a shopping trip with her mother [in which she seems to buy nothing but tent dresses] and immediately becomes suspicious. Liz tells her that she's going to sponsor Robin and thus she'll get into PBA and all is well. Jesus, Liz, by now you should know that you might as well have said, "I double dog dare you to ruin that poor girl's life!" as that's exactly what Jessica heard.
  And so the rest of the book goes. Jessica schemes ways to keep Robin from passing her pledge tasks, and Liz schemes right back, making sure Robin pulls through. Observe:
  First up, Robin has to run around the track five times a day. Liz tells the naysayers [Oi, Patman, I mean you] to shove it, and you know full well she goes daily to cheer Robin on. You just know it. Then Robin has to don a bikini, head to the beach, and play volleyball. So Liz ropes Enid, George, and Todd into helping make Robin's day a little less humiliating. Robin needs to get Bruce Patman to take her to the Discomarathon? Liz bribes him with the promise of an article all about his tennis prowess, complete with photo.
  However, this is where things start to get dicey. Bruce brings Robin, but immediately dumps her, loudly and painfully. Robin attempts to run away, and is once more accosted by the nice Wakefield twin, who sweeps her away to the ladies room, leaving Enid to guard the door. She lies to Robin, telling her that while, sure, she ain't tiny, she's got a lovely face. Only, once Liz looks again, she realizes she actually means it. She expects the old, "sure you're fat, but you have a very pretty face" cliche to work wonders. She seems shocked when it doesn't make Robin's day to hear this. Fuck you, Liz Wakefield. Robin runs away. Liz is torn. Does she prevent her boyfriend from getting suspended for punching Bruce in his all too pretty face, or does she chase after Robin, again?
  Problem solved. She runs into some guy we've never heard of before, and sends him after Robin. Which he does. Because no one dares to ignore an order handed down by one of the twins, I suppose. Thing is, Bruce deserves to get punched. Nothing is ever heard again on that front, by the way. Instead, we follow Allen, the tallest, smartest, and of course, shyest boy at SVH, as he races after Robin. He catches up with her and she rakes him over the coals for daring to come anywhere near her. Heaven forbid someone finally actually gives a damn, Wilson. Realizing that lashing out at Allen makes her no better than Bruce, she tries to apologize, only she makes it worse. They bond over a love of old movies, and Robin convinces Allen to head back into the inferno where they share one awkward dance, before heading home, stars in their eyes.
  Time for the PBA to vote on their three new pledges. I know, three? We find out one of them is Suzanne Hanlon, whom Lila feels is perfect for PBA given that she has access to a Rolls Royce. Riiiight, Lila. One by one the girls drop their marbles.... into a box to decide the fate of poor Robin, not because the Kool Aid was spiked or anything fun. In a move Jessica all but illustrated prior to the meeting, Robin is blackballed. I remember being so shocked that anyone could be so cruel, and yet, wishing I had that kind of power when I first read it. Liz is also shocked, but only because she didn't see it coming. IDIOT. Jess kept dropping all these "cryptic" clues about not being sure that Robin would get in, popularity of the twins and pledge tasks completed notwithstanding. The only logical way to accomplish this would be to vote against her. Oi.
  Jess volunteers to tell Robin the bad news in person, and does so, making even Liz tell her to shut the hell up. Robin freaks out and all but threatens suicide. Then she drops off the radar. Allegedly she's visiting an aunt out of town, but haven't we already played the mysterious aunt card already?

  That's right, it's B story time! All book long, Liz has been noticing Jessica's been sporting some really nice things she could never afford, even if her parents went crazy and gave her free use of their credit card. Liz suspects maybe Jess is stealing, but then dismisses it because Jessica would never do anything so horrible as shoplifting. [Because ruining someone's life on a regular basis is that much better, Liz?] While shopping at the mall, Liz finds a new store, one we'll come to know well. Lisette's is an upscale shop that seems to be run by particularly snooty women. Liz notices a scarf identical to the one Jessica claims Lila gave her, a re-gifted gift from an aunt in New York. Snooty Worker tells Liz that the scarf she's pawing has a twin [get it?] but that it was stolen. Whom exactly did she say she saw with said twin? Liz runs away, cuz that ain't suspicious at all. Next time she's at the mall, looking for a gift for Todd, she watches as Lila actually steals something. GASP! Lila Fowler, the richest girl in all the Valley, is stealing! Go figure. Again, SW thinks Liz is the thief, or hell, maybe she just wanted to talk to Liz. No one knows, since Liz ran away.
  Eventually Liz decides she'll just never say a word to anyone, avoid Lila, and all will be well. Until Liz gets a call from hysterical Lila. It seems Jessica's been busted for shoplifting. Why Jessica? Well, it's possible they thought she was Liz and that Liz was the shoplifter, what with her suspicious behavior at the mall as of late. Liz cons Lila into telling the truth, Jess is busted from mall jail, and Liz tries to convince Mr. Fowler to stop neglecting his only child. Lila hugs Liz, there are warm fuzzies everywhere, and all is well for now.

  Unless you're Robin Wilson. Then you're walking around SVH [yes, she's back!], ignoring everyone. Which is great if you want a laugh at how she snubs the bitchy PBAs, but again, they make Robin out to be a little wacky in the brain. It takes super genius Liz entirely too long to figure out what exactly is different about Robin, but if you're paying any attention whatsoever, it's that Robin is losing a ton of weight. This makes things a little sketchy in the timeline department. If Double Love took about two months, and Playing With Fire took at least a few weeks, we should be deep into November by now, at the very least. But we haven't even hit the homecoming game [never fear, we'll hit that now] and midterm cheerleading tryouts. I swear, this is when you should just check your brain at the door, cuz the timeline is collapsing.
  Now, I only mentioned those because they're crucial to the new Robin Wilson and her plot for revenge. She tries out for the cheering squad, and not only makes it, but makes co-captain. Take that, Wakefield! Bruce Patman is terribly smitten and not even the knowledge that this is the girl he previously referred to as Queen Mary can keep him away. Robin runs for Miss Sweet Valley High, much to the consternation of the rest of PBA, particularly Jessica. Robin wins, gets in another dig at Bruce, and pretty much publicly declares her affection for Allen. Aww. The PBAs try to get Robin to join, but she tells them to kiss her noticeably smaller arse.

Random stuff:

  • Jess is PBA's president. The other one moved suddenly. Right. I'm sure no voodoo dolls or embarrassing rumors were started to help her along.

  • Robin's mother is under the impression that her daughter is on the verge of dropping out.

  • In case you wondered, the beach is 15 minutes from the Wakefield home.

  • Jane Fonda's workout tape is Jessica's workout tape of choice. Who knew?

  • Apparently Liz isn't the only one allowed to call Jessica "Jessie." Lila does so as well. It's cute.

  • Robin overuses "Omigod" this book. If someone tries to con you into a drinking game involving shots for each use, you might as well kiss your liver goodbye.

  • If you're stalking the characters, make note that Liz and Todd are both in Mr. Fellow's History class.

  • Palomar House is the poshest restaurant in the Valley.

  • Louis Westman isn't just another W name for the series, he's also the editor at The Sweet Valley News.

  • Liz gets her first byline in TSVN this go round, apparently for a story about The Football Queen. Like the rest of the Valley gives a damn that Robin won.

  • Apparently, the French, if google is to be believed, changed Robin to Marian. Egads, Brain, she's stolen my name and done dirty things with it!



Quote-tastic:
"Let's share the work," Jessica had said. "You clean the johns, and I'll arrange the flowers." p5
Oh, Robin, if you're Jessica's best friend, Atilla the Hun is the prom King. - Liz, p8
"Run errands for you. Lick your boots."
"Liz Wakefield, you know perfectly well I only use leather cream on my boots."
Liz/Jess 13
That's just my point. I'd have a better chance with a dead superstar than a live Bruce Patman!" -Robin, 38
The combination of human and Bruce Patman almost made Elizabeth gag. 41
Elizabeth shook her head, wondering why she was always the one people turned to when things got tough. 107
"Don't worry, Liz. I've learned how to swim with sharks".- Robin, 126
"Not the whole team. I haven't dated a single boy who isn't on the first string." -Jess 133
Robin Has Us Throbbin', defensive line supports Robin. Dirty!


137, the number of the beast? :
Robin can get carried away four hundred and thirty seven times a day, you know?
She's taking about thirty-seven extra courses.
And everybody knows we have thirty-seven dollars and fifty cents in the treasury, so there's no need for a treasury report.
Oh, my head is going to burst into at least five hundred and thirty-seven pieces!
I encouraged her? If I told her once, I told her eight hundred and thirty-seven times that blimps were not popular people!
Nothing but the usual hundred and thirty-seven disasters and boring business and politics, she said to herself.
Bruce Patman is the jerkiest person in thirty-seven states and Mexico.
Oh, Liz, that nonsense is about seven hundred and thirty-seventh on my list of concerns."







  The last half of the book should have been awesome. And once Robin found a personality, it was. I loved her snarky digs at Jessica and even Liz. When Liz continues to try and stick up for Jess, Robin tells her to stop, and it's kinda awesome. Granted, the "we don't love Jessica" club is getting bigger all the time, it's always nice to hear someone say it aloud. It's rare for anyone in the series who isn't a love interest for one of the twins to tell them off in any way. Robin? Does it quite naturally. Sarcastic and a little bitter suits her much better than desperate wannabe ever did. Which, I suppose, is half the problem of the book. Fat Robin is someone you want to shake almost as much as you want to shake the people behind her. Thin Robin happens too fast if you stop and think about how much time could possibly have passed, but not so much in the context of the book by itself.
  I do have to say this, even though I'm sure I read this as a kid, I don't remember feeling bad about myself after reading this. I just remember thinking Fat Robin was written really poorly and any idiot would have known to go back and fix certain things. Even Saint Liz thinks snarky mean thoughts towards the girl and we're given the most annoying intro EVER:
Though Elizabeth and Jessica certainly didn't have Robin's figure problems, they still watched their diets carefully.
  Why so annoying? It's done immediately after introducing poor Robin. Oi. Also? A bit condescending, really. Almost as bad as Robin sitting down and digging into a whole cherry cheesecake by herself. Come on, let the girl have a giant, supersized slice, don't leave me with this mental picture of her picking at the whole thing. Come on.


  On the other hand, the style the book is written is vastly different from most SVH books. The tone is a bit more tongue-in-cheek and Liz is definitely the star. She gets some great lines, and sometimes Jess is mentioned, but not actually heard on the page. If not for all the Robin munching, I might actually like this book. As it is, skip halfway through and make it easier on yourself. However, whenever Liz claims she's too busy with her Eyes & Ears column to do anything, I wonder if she's on crack. It's a gossip column, and while it might take a little time to figure out how to best word things, you live with one of the biggest gossips in school! Info cannot be difficult to come by, ok?
  Also, anytime Liz refers to the three witches of PBA, I mentally edit it to the "three bitches of PBA." The word you were looking for is not snobs or witches, Liz. It's bitches. Learn it. Love it.
  However, the best part of the book falls somewhere in the middle. Which twin actually did Robin the most damage? Jessica blatantly used her and made no real secret of the fact that she had no intention of inviting Robin to join the sorority. None. I bet if pledge time had come and gone and Robin hadn't been asked to join, she'd have been upset for awhile, probably no longer a minion of the Jessica, but not risked total and complete meltdown. Granted she probably would have missed super gorgeous Robin, but we don't know that for sure. Indignation at being left out could have worked almost as well as complete and total humiliation, but without the memory of Bruce publicly embarrassing her to no end. Liz, however, got Robin's hopes up numerous times and ignored the neon warning signs that screamed someone was going to get hurt. Robin nailed it later on when she mentioned that Liz was already in. She was in the sorority, she's dating one of the most popular guys, she's popular, she's one of the IT girls, so for her, life may not be perfect, but it's easier, so Liz would never understand what PBA meant to Robin, since she didn't need it the same way Robin felt she did. And Liz never does get that, which is about the time my disillusionment with Liz began to worm it's way into my brain. It'd sit and fester for awhile, but this isn't a flattering look for anyone except maybe Allen and sarcastic!Robin.

the_oracle: (tear)
Power Play
January 1984

The Wakefield twins have taken sides- against each other!

Elizabeth and Jessica in a tug of war...


   Chubby Robin Wilson has been following Jessica around for months. First she wanted to be her friend- now she wants to join Pi Beta Alpha, Sweet Valley High's snobby sorority.
   When Elizabeth, Jessica's twin, nominated Robin for the sorority, Jessica is furious. Robin may be friendly and smart, but she's certainly not beautiful or popular enough to be a Pi Beta. Jessica's determined to find a way to keep Robin out.
   But Elizabeth is just as determined to make Robin a sorority sister. soon the twins are locked in a struggle that develops into the biggest power play at Sweet Valley High...


  Power Play is one of those books where I desperately wish I could find the author, as well as Francine Pascal, and beat the tar out of them. Robin Wilson, prior to her transformation, is an insult to anyone who ever even just knew the fat kid in school, let alone anyone who actually was. Every time you see Robin, she's either kissing ass OR stuffing her face. I'm sure, somewhere, there are kids who stuff their face all the time, but this is just over the top. It's as if that's all they can do to show that poor Robin is never going to be the perfect size six of her idols. Time has given the fat kids the last laugh in that regard, what with sixes being considered big these days, but since that doesn't actually help anything, we won't dwell there.
  So. Robin wants desperately to join PBA, which Jessica has taken control of finally, what with the previous [unnamed, no less] president having suddenly moved. You'd think they'd have someone else, possibly a senior, waiting in the wings, maybe a VP of the sorority, but it seems that would be asking too much. I do wonder if it pisses any of the seniors off that Jessica is somehow the most popular girl in school. Ah, well. Jess has been promising to put Robin up for membership for the last FOREVER, but it's obvious to anyone who isn't Robin that she has NO intention of doing so. So obvious, in fact, that Robin's mother tearfully tries to find a tactful way of asking Liz to step up to the plate. She chickens out, but fear not, Robin has no shame. While stuffing her face on a giant chocolate bar, she asks Liz to help a girl out. Liz agrees, and Robin celebrates with another candy bar. What the f... No. Save it for later.
  Jess comes home to find an overjoyed [and sugar high] Robin leaving to go on a shopping trip with her mother [in which she seems to buy nothing but tent dresses] and immediately becomes suspicious. Liz tells her that she's going to sponsor Robin and thus she'll get into PBA and all is well. Jesus, Liz, by now you should know that you might as well have said, "I double dog dare you to ruin that poor girl's life!" as that's exactly what Jessica heard.
  And so the rest of the book goes. Jessica schemes ways to keep Robin from passing her pledge tasks, and Liz schemes right back, making sure Robin pulls through. Observe:
  First up, Robin has to run around the track five times a day. Liz tells the naysayers [Oi, Patman, I mean you] to shove it, and you know full well she goes daily to cheer Robin on. You just know it. Then Robin has to don a bikini, head to the beach, and play volleyball. So Liz ropes Enid, George, and Todd into helping make Robin's day a little less humiliating. Robin needs to get Bruce Patman to take her to the Discomarathon? Liz bribes him with the promise of an article all about his tennis prowess, complete with photo.
  However, this is where things start to get dicey. Bruce brings Robin, but immediately dumps her, loudly and painfully. Robin attempts to run away, and is once more accosted by the nice Wakefield twin, who sweeps her away to the ladies room, leaving Enid to guard the door. She lies to Robin, telling her that while, sure, she ain't tiny, she's got a lovely face. Only, once Liz looks again, she realizes she actually means it. She expects the old, "sure you're fat, but you have a very pretty face" cliche to work wonders. She seems shocked when it doesn't make Robin's day to hear this. Fuck you, Liz Wakefield. Robin runs away. Liz is torn. Does she prevent her boyfriend from getting suspended for punching Bruce in his all too pretty face, or does she chase after Robin, again?
  Problem solved. She runs into some guy we've never heard of before, and sends him after Robin. Which he does. Because no one dares to ignore an order handed down by one of the twins, I suppose. Thing is, Bruce deserves to get punched. Nothing is ever heard again on that front, by the way. Instead, we follow Allen, the tallest, smartest, and of course, shyest boy at SVH, as he races after Robin. He catches up with her and she rakes him over the coals for daring to come anywhere near her. Heaven forbid someone finally actually gives a damn, Wilson. Realizing that lashing out at Allen makes her no better than Bruce, she tries to apologize, only she makes it worse. They bond over a love of old movies, and Robin convinces Allen to head back into the inferno where they share one awkward dance, before heading home, stars in their eyes.
  Time for the PBA to vote on their three new pledges. I know, three? We find out one of them is Suzanne Hanlon, whom Lila feels is perfect for PBA given that she has access to a Rolls Royce. Riiiight, Lila. One by one the girls drop their marbles.... into a box to decide the fate of poor Robin, not because the Kool Aid was spiked or anything fun. In a move Jessica all but illustrated prior to the meeting, Robin is blackballed. I remember being so shocked that anyone could be so cruel, and yet, wishing I had that kind of power when I first read it. Liz is also shocked, but only because she didn't see it coming. IDIOT. Jess kept dropping all these "cryptic" clues about not being sure that Robin would get in, popularity of the twins and pledge tasks completed notwithstanding. The only logical way to accomplish this would be to vote against her. Oi.
  Jess volunteers to tell Robin the bad news in person, and does so, making even Liz tell her to shut the hell up. Robin freaks out and all but threatens suicide. Then she drops off the radar. Allegedly she's visiting an aunt out of town, but haven't we already played the mysterious aunt card already?

  That's right, it's B story time! All book long, Liz has been noticing Jessica's been sporting some really nice things she could never afford, even if her parents went crazy and gave her free use of their credit card. Liz suspects maybe Jess is stealing, but then dismisses it because Jessica would never do anything so horrible as shoplifting. [Because ruining someone's life on a regular basis is that much better, Liz?] While shopping at the mall, Liz finds a new store, one we'll come to know well. Lisette's is an upscale shop that seems to be run by particularly snooty women. Liz notices a scarf identical to the one Jessica claims Lila gave her, a re-gifted gift from an aunt in New York. Snooty Worker tells Liz that the scarf she's pawing has a twin [get it?] but that it was stolen. Whom exactly did she say she saw with said twin? Liz runs away, cuz that ain't suspicious at all. Next time she's at the mall, looking for a gift for Todd, she watches as Lila actually steals something. GASP! Lila Fowler, the richest girl in all the Valley, is stealing! Go figure. Again, SW thinks Liz is the thief, or hell, maybe she just wanted to talk to Liz. No one knows, since Liz ran away.
  Eventually Liz decides she'll just never say a word to anyone, avoid Lila, and all will be well. Until Liz gets a call from hysterical Lila. It seems Jessica's been busted for shoplifting. Why Jessica? Well, it's possible they thought she was Liz and that Liz was the shoplifter, what with her suspicious behavior at the mall as of late. Liz cons Lila into telling the truth, Jess is busted from mall jail, and Liz tries to convince Mr. Fowler to stop neglecting his only child. Lila hugs Liz, there are warm fuzzies everywhere, and all is well for now.

  Unless you're Robin Wilson. Then you're walking around SVH [yes, she's back!], ignoring everyone. Which is great if you want a laugh at how she snubs the bitchy PBAs, but again, they make Robin out to be a little wacky in the brain. It takes super genius Liz entirely too long to figure out what exactly is different about Robin, but if you're paying any attention whatsoever, it's that Robin is losing a ton of weight. This makes things a little sketchy in the timeline department. If Double Love took about two months, and Playing With Fire took at least a few weeks, we should be deep into November by now, at the very least. But we haven't even hit the homecoming game [never fear, we'll hit that now] and midterm cheerleading tryouts. I swear, this is when you should just check your brain at the door, cuz the timeline is collapsing.
  Now, I only mentioned those because they're crucial to the new Robin Wilson and her plot for revenge. She tries out for the cheering squad, and not only makes it, but makes co-captain. Take that, Wakefield! Bruce Patman is terribly smitten and not even the knowledge that this is the girl he previously referred to as Queen Mary can keep him away. Robin runs for Miss Sweet Valley High, much to the consternation of the rest of PBA, particularly Jessica. Robin wins, gets in another dig at Bruce, and pretty much publicly declares her affection for Allen. Aww. The PBAs try to get Robin to join, but she tells them to kiss her noticeably smaller arse.

Random stuff:

  • Jess is PBA's president. The other one moved suddenly. Right. I'm sure no voodoo dolls or embarrassing rumors were started to help her along.

  • Robin's mother is under the impression that her daughter is on the verge of dropping out.

  • In case you wondered, the beach is 15 minutes from the Wakefield home.

  • Jane Fonda's workout tape is Jessica's workout tape of choice. Who knew?

  • Apparently Liz isn't the only one allowed to call Jessica "Jessie." Lila does so as well. It's cute.

  • Robin overuses "Omigod" this book. If someone tries to con you into a drinking game involving shots for each use, you might as well kiss your liver goodbye.

  • If you're stalking the characters, make note that Liz and Todd are both in Mr. Fellow's History class.

  • Palomar House is the poshest restaurant in the Valley.

  • Louis Westman isn't just another W name for the series, he's also the editor at The Sweet Valley News.

  • Liz gets her first byline in TSVN this go round, apparently for a story about The Football Queen. Like the rest of the Valley gives a damn that Robin won.

  • Apparently, the French, if google is to be believed, changed Robin to Marian. Egads, Brain, she's stolen my name and done dirty things with it!



Quote-tastic:
"Let's share the work," Jessica had said. "You clean the johns, and I'll arrange the flowers." p5
Oh, Robin, if you're Jessica's best friend, Atilla the Hun is the prom King. - Liz, p8
"Run errands for you. Lick your boots."
"Liz Wakefield, you know perfectly well I only use leather cream on my boots."
Liz/Jess 13
That's just my point. I'd have a better chance with a dead superstar than a live Bruce Patman!" -Robin, 38
The combination of human and Bruce Patman almost made Elizabeth gag. 41
Elizabeth shook her head, wondering why she was always the one people turned to when things got tough. 107
"Don't worry, Liz. I've learned how to swim with sharks".- Robin, 126
"Not the whole team. I haven't dated a single boy who isn't on the first string." -Jess 133
Robin Has Us Throbbin', defensive line supports Robin. Dirty!


137, the number of the beast? :
Robin can get carried away four hundred and thirty seven times a day, you know?
She's taking about thirty-seven extra courses.
And everybody knows we have thirty-seven dollars and fifty cents in the treasury, so there's no need for a treasury report.
Oh, my head is going to burst into at least five hundred and thirty-seven pieces!
I encouraged her? If I told her once, I told her eight hundred and thirty-seven times that blimps were not popular people!
Nothing but the usual hundred and thirty-seven disasters and boring business and politics, she said to herself.
Bruce Patman is the jerkiest person in thirty-seven states and Mexico.
Oh, Liz, that nonsense is about seven hundred and thirty-seventh on my list of concerns."







  The last half of the book should have been awesome. And once Robin found a personality, it was. I loved her snarky digs at Jessica and even Liz. When Liz continues to try and stick up for Jess, Robin tells her to stop, and it's kinda awesome. Granted, the "we don't love Jessica" club is getting bigger all the time, it's always nice to hear someone say it aloud. It's rare for anyone in the series who isn't a love interest for one of the twins to tell them off in any way. Robin? Does it quite naturally. Sarcastic and a little bitter suits her much better than desperate wannabe ever did. Which, I suppose, is half the problem of the book. Fat Robin is someone you want to shake almost as much as you want to shake the people behind her. Thin Robin happens too fast if you stop and think about how much time could possibly have passed, but not so much in the context of the book by itself.
  I do have to say this, even though I'm sure I read this as a kid, I don't remember feeling bad about myself after reading this. I just remember thinking Fat Robin was written really poorly and any idiot would have known to go back and fix certain things. Even Saint Liz thinks snarky mean thoughts towards the girl and we're given the most annoying intro EVER:
Though Elizabeth and Jessica certainly didn't have Robin's figure problems, they still watched their diets carefully.
  Why so annoying? It's done immediately after introducing poor Robin. Oi. Also? A bit condescending, really. Almost as bad as Robin sitting down and digging into a whole cherry cheesecake by herself. Come on, let the girl have a giant, supersized slice, don't leave me with this mental picture of her picking at the whole thing. Come on.


  On the other hand, the style the book is written is vastly different from most SVH books. The tone is a bit more tongue-in-cheek and Liz is definitely the star. She gets some great lines, and sometimes Jess is mentioned, but not actually heard on the page. If not for all the Robin munching, I might actually like this book. As it is, skip halfway through and make it easier on yourself. However, whenever Liz claims she's too busy with her Eyes & Ears column to do anything, I wonder if she's on crack. It's a gossip column, and while it might take a little time to figure out how to best word things, you live with one of the biggest gossips in school! Info cannot be difficult to come by, ok?
  Also, anytime Liz refers to the three witches of PBA, I mentally edit it to the "three bitches of PBA." The word you were looking for is not snobs or witches, Liz. It's bitches. Learn it. Love it.
  However, the best part of the book falls somewhere in the middle. Which twin actually did Robin the most damage? Jessica blatantly used her and made no real secret of the fact that she had no intention of inviting Robin to join the sorority. None. I bet if pledge time had come and gone and Robin hadn't been asked to join, she'd have been upset for awhile, probably no longer a minion of the Jessica, but not risked total and complete meltdown. Granted she probably would have missed super gorgeous Robin, but we don't know that for sure. Indignation at being left out could have worked almost as well as complete and total humiliation, but without the memory of Bruce publicly embarrassing her to no end. Liz, however, got Robin's hopes up numerous times and ignored the neon warning signs that screamed someone was going to get hurt. Robin nailed it later on when she mentioned that Liz was already in. She was in the sorority, she's dating one of the most popular guys, she's popular, she's one of the IT girls, so for her, life may not be perfect, but it's easier, so Liz would never understand what PBA meant to Robin, since she didn't need it the same way Robin felt she did. And Liz never does get that, which is about the time my disillusionment with Liz began to worm it's way into my brain. It'd sit and fester for awhile, but this isn't a flattering look for anyone except maybe Allen and sarcastic!Robin.

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the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (Default)
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