the_oracle: (troo wuv)
White Lies
February 1989


Will Jennifer despise John Pfeifer when she finds out the truth?
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Hiding the facts...



  John Pfeifer, popular sports reporter for the Sweet Valley High Oracle, is worried that his good friend Jennifer Mitchell is becoming too involved with dropout Rick Andover. When he finds out that Jennifer plans to run away with Rick, he enlists Elizabeth Wakefield's help to stop them.
  Then Rick is arrested. Jennifer is convinced that her father has turned him in. Furious, she refuses to speak to her father. John is the one responsible for Rick's arrest, but there's no way he can admit it now that Jennifer has turned to him for comfort. Then Mr. Mitchell becomes seriously ill, and John is faced with a terrible dilemma. Should he tell Jennifer the truth and risk losing her friendship, or let her go on thinking her father is to blame?



   Okay, let's address the elephant in the room. Yes. Yes, Jennifer will despise John when she finds out the truth, only it's going to take the rest of us 40 books to catch the hell up.
  Yeah. This is one of those books that's impossible to look at objectively once you've read/heard what John does to Lila later on. That warning out of the way, let's continue.

   John, you might recall, has a thing for his friend Jennifer. Too bad she's got a thing for Rick Andover whom you might recall is one of those jerks that pops up often enough to remind you that drinking is bad! And so is dropping out of school! Yeah! In a twist, the action that any other SVH book would make us wait for most of the book happens fairly early on. Jennifer tells John that she and Rick are running away to New York to start a band. John has met Rick and knows the dude is scum and that nothing good will come of this. Still, Jennifer will not listen to reason so John worries and frets.
  John turns to Liz who isn't entirely sure what to tell him. The night of Dana Larson's party, John and Liz follow Rick and witness him robbing Mello Music. John wants to call the cops immediately but Liz points out that Rick does work at the store and they should call the owner first to make sure it's exactly what it appears to be. John agrees and it doesn't take long for Rick to be arrested.

   When Jennifer's father tells her that this is why Rick didn't show for their meet up in the middle of the night (not that daddy dearest knew of that), Jennifer is convinced that her father set Rick up, despite the fact that Rick had the guitar and the cash in his possession. Really, Jennifer? You're not doing your part to keep people from thinking blondes are idiots. Just a thought.
  Anyway, Jennifer shares this theory with John, but this is after she's already begun turning to John more than usual. John's torn because he knows that if he doesn't tell Jennifer, she's going to continue to hate her father and if he does come clean, she'll hate him. John? This is an easy one. When she finds out you let her hate her father, to whom she's especially close, she's going to hate you for that, too.
  But! We need drama. So Jennifer's father's heart starts to act up and still Jennifer refuses to talk to him. John lets it go so long that Mr. Mitchell is scheduled for bypass surgery before John gets the balls to think about telling Jennifer the truth.
   Still, John doesn't want to give up his hope for a relationship with Jennifer, so he talks to Liz who tells him point blank that if John doesn't tell Jennifer the truth, Liz will.

   This leads me to wonder why the hell John doesn't even try and get Liz to tell Jennifer that SHE ratted Rick out. Then Daddy's off the hook and so is John. Liz even has an excuse for not having come clean sooner: she didn't know Jen blamed her father until John told her about the surgery.
  But he doesn't even think of asking and Liz doesn't volunteer. Really, what kind of teenagers are you? It's not like John's above lying and Liz has had plenty of practice covering for Jessica over the years. Jesus, people.

   Anyway, John comes clean but not soon enough for Jennifer to reconcile with her father before his surgery. Out of her mind with worry and guilt, Jennifer lashes out at John and basically tells him to go to hell.
  John and Liz try and wait out the surgery at the hospital but when Liz realizes the doctors won't tell them about anything (and the Mitchells aren't bloody likely to volunteer the information), Liz convinces John to head home. Funny. Todd would have stayed. [/random]
   At dinner, Ned offers to call Wells and Wells to see how Brian Mitchell is doing. Sure enough, the next day when Jennifer is absent from school and John is worried, Liz calls Ned and Ned makes the call. Turns out Mr. Mitchell is doing fantastically so Liz takes John to the hospital, but John is too much of a chicken (smart boy) to go in first. Liz goes in to smooth things over and gets the idea to buy flowers and put John's name on the card. It works and after a bit of "John was just looking out for you and then ended up in a bad situation" mojo, Jennifer agrees to talk to John.
  The music swells and all is forgiven.


  But what of Jessica? you might ask. Well, Jessica and AJ are finding out that they're more than a little different. But instead of being mature and discussing things (they are teenagers, so it's not like I can fault this really), Jessica manipulates things to get what she wants without thinking about what AJ might want. And AJ? He doesn't actually talk to Jessica when she ticks him off. Oh, honey, no. That's just a bad way to go about things.
  Liz sees this but never really tries to help things along. Instead she just muses, a lot, about how different AJ and Jessica are and how odd it is that they're still together. Yeah, well, your use-'em-up-and-throw-them-away sister might need some help when dealing with the non-honeymoon period part of a relationship, Lizzie. You might want to offer some unsolicited advice. Just a thought.
  Mostly Jessica does really thoughtless things and endangers her relationship without realizing what she's doing. She tells AJ she and her friends were discussing who the best kisser at the school is, but she doesn't lead with the lie that she thinks he's the best. He's upset, but he slinks off and we don't really see them discuss anything beyond Jess sweet talking him out of dinner at his uncle's.
  Break out the black because this relationship is fading fast.

   Oh, and there's a lot of lead up to Kristin Thompson for the next book. More tennis. Wow. How can I handle the excitement?



Trivia:

  • Jessica has a pink duffel bag. Alert the media!

  • Jess is described as both a cyclone and a whirlwind within mere paragraphs but nary a mention of Hurricane Jessica.

  • Jennifer Holland Mitchell is a sophomore and has long, straight blond hair, brown eyes, and a cleft chin. She's described as "memorable" which, I'm sorry, in high school rarely means anything good. She plays piano, eclectic keyboards (and synthesizers! oh 80's...), and Dana believes she could be really good if she wanted to be.

  • Brian Mitchell is a lawyer at Wells and Wells who also volunteers his legal services down at the Juvenile Hall where he's run into Rick Andover on more than one occasion.

  • Rick Andover works at the Mello Music Shop where he tells everyone about his big break in L.A. that was ruined by jealousy and people sabotaging him.

  • Dana says that Rick's got no guitar talent to speak of and is lazy.

  • Rick's been arrested for drunk driving, brawling, and vandalism among other things. When John and Liz rat him out, you can add swiping a Fender Stratocaster and some cash to that list as well.

  • John Pfeifer has green eyes.

  • A.J. is great at pinball and manages to get a score of 200,000. Huzzah?

  • A.J. has an uncle who lives two hours away and he and Jess were supposed to have dinner with him but Jess wanted to go to Dana's party instead.

  • Apparently Dana's parties are too awesome to be missed.

  • Jennifer and Rick are going to run away to New York to start a band. Excuse me while I die of the laughter.

  • Robin's not at cheerleading practice, so Jessica is in charge.*

  • Jeffrey's aunt is visiting the family from Oregon, so he has to miss Dana's party.

  • Liz doesn't go to Dana's party either. First she goes shopping at the mall (the bookstore is having a half off sale, but she only shops for half an hour. What sort of book nerd is she?), and on her way home she stops at the Dairi Burger. She and John get busy busting Rick for stealing and then she goes home.

  • While shopping, Liz picked up a book of Ernest Hemingway's short stories.

  • Kristin Thompson, a slender girl with auburn hair and a bit of an attitude, allegedly wins junior championships all the time. Tennis phenom.

  • Elise Thompson died ten or eleven years ago and John and Liz wonder if there's any relation.

  • Ditto for the relation to Mr. Thompson owning the local tennis club.

  • Luke Lander owns Mello Music. His phone number is 555-1793.

  • Jessica claims the Droids have a lot of new songs.

  • Jennifer was supposed to meet Rick at 11:30 at the corner of Madison and LaBrea. At 12:10 she's panicking about where he is, but she doesn't give up and go home until 2 A.M.

  • Jack Parker is a lawyer at the DA's office and a friend of Mr. Mitchell, as well as a tennis buddy of his.

  • Jessica believes the ideal vacation would be shopping someplace like L.A. or New York and then partying until dawn.

  • A.J. believes you should go somewhere like the mountains to get away. Maybe climb a little, fish a little, read a lot.

  • A.J. also tans which is kind of unusual for a redhead. Well played, Morgan.

  • Amy is always the first to remind us of the slam books. Always.

  • Since when does Lila complain about tax shelters? I can sort of see trust funds, which are also mentioned, but not tax shelters...

  • Mr. Hamilton is Jennifer's biology teacher.

  • According to Lila, Jessica, and Amy, three of the best kissers in school are Bruce, Tom, and Kirk Anderson.

  • Jessica actually tells A.J. this when he wonders what the second incarnation of the bitches of SVH are so gleefully discussing. Then she can't figure out why he's so miffed.

  • Liz tries to practice a baroque flute solo, but keeps getting interrupted.

  • AJ thinks Jessica is getting bored with him.

  • Jen rides on John's lap because Jess has crowded the back of the Fiat with her junk.

  • Brian Mitchell is in room 538 in ICU.

  • Lila gets two tickets to see Jack Hunter, some new rockstar, and Jess wants to go see the concert but thinks AJ will get all pissy that he's not going.

  • Enid doesn't appear until page 109, and even then it's just to introduce the concept of Big Sisters to Liz. Later Jess will take credit for this in an effort to impress AJ.

  • John owes Liz $11.66 for a bouquet of white carnations and yellow daisies that she bought and passed off as a gift from him to Jennifer and her family. Because when I keep a secret that helps a friend continue hating her father right through bypass surgery, I know flowers from the gift shop always make everyone forget all about it.

  • Jen blames her father for turning Rick in and even thinks he framed the guy despite all logical reasons against this.




*- I don't know why, but it always surprises me that when given a chance, Jessica will work the cheerleaders to the bone instead of slacking off. It's nice that there's at least one thing she takes seriously.



Quotable:
  She was tempestuous and exciting, a self-centered five-foot-six whirlwind. - I love this description of Jessica. p2

By contrast, Jessica was known to be interested in only one person- herself. - Wow, you don't pull punches, do you, ghostie? p3

   Jennifer's long, straight blond hair and cleft chin made her attractive in an unusual but memorable way. - Something about this just trips me up every time. p6

  Elizabeth stared at John with pity. - What? I didn't say a thing... p7

  "They started talking, and he acted like she was the hottest thing to hit music since Elvis Presley." - It's 1989 (88 for writing, I'm guessing) and that's who you're gonna go with, John? p.8

Nothing was so satisfying as getting her own way. - Remember that when your relationship implodes, Wakefield. p19

It didn't seem right that John was getting so fanatical about Rick Andover. - Listen to your gut, Liz! p38

  "My theory about men is you have to make them do what you want. Otherwise, they'll never think of it themselves." - Liz seems unimpressed with Jessica's words of wisdom. p46

  "I always said that guy would end up on a chain gang. Now it looks like he's on his way," he drawled. - Who knew Bruce could drawl? p59

  Her eyes danced with amusement as Jessica pretended to strangle A.J. "Are you trying to eliminate the competition?" Elizabeth asked lightly.
  Jessica looked over at her, an innocent expression on her face. "That's right." She went back to strangling A.J. who made mock choking noises.
  "Okay, Jess. I agree with you," Elizabeth spoke up.
  Jessica let go of A.J.'s neck and smiled. "Thank you."
  "I change my vote, too," Jeffrey said. Looking at A.J., he explained, "Only because I don't want to see you murdered." - p62/63

   Lila hooted. "Or we could just interview Jess. She's dated half the boys in school-"
   "And you've dated the other half," Jessica interrupted. - Jess/Lila is love.


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   The good. I like that unlike most other SVH books, the action pretty much happens right away and the rest of the book deals with the fallout. Ignoring later books, it's nice that John finally gets a storyline that is more than "Bruce's sidekick" and hell, Bruce's friendship with John isn't even mentioned.
  I like the style of the writing in this book. It's snarkier but not campy. Liz isn't a pushover and snaps at Jessica even though it's not necessarily about things she should be fussing at her sister about. Normal sibling behavior, shocking!
   I think I've mentioned this, but I'm a sucker for any time Jess calls Elizabeth "Lizzie" as she tries to wheedle something out of her.

  I don't like the way Jennifer forgives John and even thinks he's the best friend she's ever had. If he hadn't let her believe her father had ratted Rick out (we won't speak of that framing him nonsense because really, WTF) even after he knew Mr. Mitchell was in the hospital, I might actually agree that John was a good friend to Jen. But the moment he chose not to confess after he knew her father was sick?
  That is not the guy you think of as a good friend. That's the guy you walk away from.

   Random thoughts: Liz tells us there's no sense in brooding about something she can't fix. Really, Liz? Really? Have you ever looked in a mirror or your diary because that's who you are. It's what you do. You overthink things and then stick your nose into things you shouldn't.
  Ned tells his family that Brian Mitchell is a young man and will bounce back from the heart troubles, I laughed. Hard. I know, odds are good he's in his late thirties (at least) and that's hardly old, but it sort of reads like Ned wants to believe he's also still pretty young. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take a giant step to the left so you can throw your rotting fruit at me... now.

   Backing up to the start of the book, I get the giggles whenever they go on about how people love to be in the Eyes and Ears column because Liz keeps it so lighthearted and nice. I believe this, I really do, since people like to know people are interested in what they're up to. But given the number of times people have asked Liz to leave them out of the column, I have to snicker a little.

  What have we learned? Nothing new. John is not the guy you want as your boyfriend. Also? Serious anger issues. When he's ready to follow Rick out of the DB, Liz comments that he seems a little too upset and y'know, I think she's onto something... Oh. Wait.

If this seems less... fantastical than normal, let's all blame the fact that I burned the hell out of my thumb halfway through this. Apparently my cooking is more like Jessica's than I would like to admit... Ow. (You try typing without your right thumb.)
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: (gasp!)
Kidnapped!
weird, my copy says April 1984, but given that we know that's wrong, we'll say November, 1984

  Elizabeth's nightmare is about to begin...

  A living nightmare...


   Elizabeth Wakefield never imagined that her evening of volunteer work at Sweet Valley's hospital would turn into the most horrifying night of her life. But when a strong hand clamps a chloroformed rag over her mouth and she is pulled from her car, Elizabeth's hellish ordeal begins.
   When she regains consciousness, Elizabeth finds herself tied to a chair in an isolated shack. She has been kidnapped-by Carl, a lonely and disturbed orderly from the hospital. Elizabeth doesn't know what Carl wants from her, but it's clear he's on the brink of insanity. Somehow Elizabeth must escape-before it's too late!


  If you don't know what Kidnapped! is about, you're either incredibly new to the Valley or you're an idiot. It tells you in the title, the cover makes it obvious which twin gets 'napped and everything else is on the back cover. But really, all you need to know, you learned last go round anyway. Carl, the creepy custodian, kidnaps Elizabeth because he likes her. He thoughtfully prepared his van with a mattress in the back so she'd be comfy as he escorted her to the run down section of town [hey, any bets on whether the Martins live close by?] and this is pretty much where we'll meet up with Liz. Later.

  The book actually begins with a cute little scene between Steven and Jessica, both getting ready for their evenings out. Steve has a date with Tricia, his tragically ill girlfriend, and Jessica is going to a party at the Morrows' mansion. So yes, this book picks up as soon as the last one left off. This is starting to become a pattern. Steve zips Jessica's dress up and they chat a bit. Jessica bites her tongue about Tricia, seeing as she's dying and all, and Steve does his best to convince her that maybe she'll be a little chilly in her outfit, seeing as it's so low cut and all. He also offers her a ride to the party, but Jess says she's waiting for Liz who'll be home at eight, so they can go together. Twins making a bigger splash than two pretty blondes arriving separately, I suppose.
  However, Jess sucks at waiting. She picks out an outfit for Liz, to help speed her sister along when she finally gets home. She paces and freaks out by ten 'til eight, and calls Cara to pick her up. That's right. She can't even wait ten more minutes, less if you consider that Cara had to take at least two minutes to drive over. Sigh. Jess leaves Elizabeth a note on the fridge, and heads off to party.
  Introducing the Morrows. We have Kurt and Skye.Tall, dark, and gorgeous would describe them both. They dash out on their way to their own party, and then we meet Regina. At first, Cara and Jessica don't know anything is wrong. That is, until Regina repeatedly ignores anything Jessica says. Jess is a little upset. Why is the new girl being such an unbelievable bitch? Then Regina trips, and instead of figuring that high heels plus a new house might equal a bit of a problem, Jess assumes Regina's drunk. She taps the girl on the shoulder and asks where the booze is. Naturally, with Regina facing Jessica, she's able to read Jessica's lips and tells the blond that this ain't that kind of party. Regina then offers them the non-alcoholic goodies and explains that she's deaf. She can lip read and is all sorts of other fabulous though, so don't worry. Nicholas descends upon the party and he and Jessica immediately begin chatting. Turns out that Nicholas pretty much adores his little sister and when he thinks Jessica is pitying her, he's a bit of a jerk. Jessica points out that with Regina's good looks and obvious fearlessness, the girl is someone to be reckoned with, so pity is so not the word for her. And thus Jessica spends the rest of the night with Nicholas, chatting away.

  Let's switch back to Liz who comes to, briefly, and wonders what the hell is going on. It takes her a minute to remember that she's been kidnapped, but she can't remember who did it. She passes out again, because she's a drama queen. Or maybe the chloroform is that strong. Dunno.
  Todd notices that Liz isn't at the party, so he goes to ask Jess about the whereabouts of her twin. Jess lies and says, "Oh, didn't Liz call and tell you? She's babysitting for Collins tonight." Like hell. Todd figures that if anyone would be worried about Liz, it would be Jessica, so he wanders off to do whatever it is Todds do when not part of Elizabeth+Todd. Thing is, eventually Todd realizes that Elizabeth would have called him [not like, say, when she went off with Todd and didn't tell Collins about the change, right, Toddy?] and he was home all night before the party... So he goes to call her at Collins' place. Mr. C answers and Todd is confused. They have a bit of a moment and then Todd stalks off towards Jessica. He's ticked because Liz is not the sort of girl to be late without letting people know, and when he finds Jessica poolside with Nicholas, and she tries to blow him off again, he shoves her in the pool. Nicholas freaks out and just before he can have Todd kicked off the premises, Todd gets it through Jessica's thick skull that something is WRONG. Jessica flashes back to the last time she screwed Liz over and recalls that the Fiat is a fussy machine, and maybe Liz is stranded somewhere. So off they run to the nearest phone to call home.

  Liz, however, is still stuck with Carl. She's at his home, tied to a chair, and unhappy about it all. In record time, she convinces him to take off her gag and she screams bloody blue murder. He clamps his hand over her mouth and explains that this was so not cool. Again she convinces him that she'll be good and won't do that again. She was just afraid and startled and stuff, y'know? Kidnapping being a little new to her and all. In her infinite wisdom, Liz decides she'll have him untie her and as soon as he's done that, she'll make a break for it. Which sort of works, only she didn't count on Carl having an enclosed porch. Who knew shacks had them? Certainly not worldly wise Elizabeth. Carl grabs her and their moment together is gone. He ties her back up and he goes to sleep in his room.
  Now, I'm not sure whether it's fair to find fault with her plot to run away or not. On the one hand, you want to get out immediately. On the other hand, you should have some freakin' idea of your escape plan beyond, "Well, I escape. That's my plan." Then there's the prospect of sleeping arrangements. If she's not tied up, would Carl expect her to sleep with him, even if it is just sleeping? Or would he be foolish enough to trust her in the living room? Rather than find out, she bolts and it doesn't pay off.
  The next morning, Carl gives her cardboard tasting pancakes because he overheard her telling their boss she loves her mother's pancakes. Sweet, if only not a kidnapper, eh? Liz is shocked that he's going in to work. He points out that he doesn't have a phone so he can't call out, and besides, he's not stupid. If he doesn't show, they'll know something is up. God, get with the program, Lizzie. However, he does have a gift for her. Three books, to be precise. One's a book on investing, one's a bedtime storybook, and the other is a book on raising farm animals. Turns out Carl can't read, so he just grabbed the first ones he saw.
  Liz doesn't even bother to try and read the most promising of the bunch [hello, bedtime stories!] and instead freaks out the whole day. Uh...huh. Cuz that helps so very, very much.

   Now, I should point out, there is one other little problem here. Liz was running late because she had to tutor Max Dellon. When Liz never shows up, Max takes off and goes to look for her. He heads right for the hospital and sees her car. He's ticked. If she had to work late, she should have called. He kicks one of the tires before he realizes that there's a scarf on the ground, the car door is ajar, and Elizabeth's sweater is on the front seat. Something is seriously up. Instead of calling the cops, he breaks into the glove compartment for "clues." Dude, you have to break in, the kidnapper didn't do a damn thing in the car, okay? Leave their stuff alone. Before common sense can pass that message along, the police bust Max. Turns out he'd already run into one of the cops a couple of nights before after a late night with the Droids and a munchies run. The cop stopped him for "suspicious behavior" and Max copped serious attitude. That bites him on the ass and they haul him off to jail for attempting to steal the Fiat.
  Also worth mentioning, the Wakefields [Ned and Alice] return from their party and they're feeling a bit frisky. Alice notices Jessica's note on the fridge and starts to worry. Ned points out that Liz might not have seen it at all because it's a stupid place for a note when Liz was going to just come home to change. Alice agrees, but ever since Elizabeth's accident, she's been secretly Mom-spying on Liz and usually knows where Liz is at any given time of the day. [So do you. At school, at the Oracle office, at the hospital, out with Toddy, probably at the beach or the Dairi Burger, or home, with the occasional mall stop or Oracle research/library, thrown in for good measure. It ain't that difficult.] She's not doing well with this obvious glitch in the system, but when Jessica calls home looking for Liz, she falls apart. Despite a search party, no one can find Liz. The next day doesn't help much either, but Jess does talk to Nicholas who stops by to see how she is and to share a story of sibling guilt.
  It seems that when he was ten and Regina eight, their parents foolishly left him in charge of her one day on vacation. They were firmly in their "I hate you//I hate you more!" phase, so this makes absolutely no sense. My parents wouldn't leave me in charge of my little brother until we were both well old enough to know that juvie would be our best option, and prison would be more likely if we managed to make good on our threats to kill one another. Seriously, we had a babysitter when I was 13, that's how bad things could be. I was a babysitter by then, too. Go figure. Anyway. The two go their separate ways, the loft catches on fire, and Nicholas runs out without even thinking to grab Regina. He won't go back inside and he's sure she was inside and that he's killed her. He's also sure his parents blame him and oh, the angst. Jess says that it's lovely he tried to cheer her up, but fairytales aren't cutting it. He points out that he just shared some serious angst and it wasn't a fairytale for him. She then says that it's obvious Regina lived, seeing as she's met the girl, and Nicholas says yes, she'd managed to sneak out while he was busy ignoring her. Jess is a bit of a bitch and cries, "Yeah, she came back! I may never see my sister again!" and collapses into a tear filled heap. Um, drama queen, table for one.
  After work, Carl brings Liz a lovely sweater of blue to match her eyes. Liz is thinking, "SCORE!" because she's sure that he bought it from the hospital gift shop. Way to assume he has no life outside the hospital and his dreary little home, Liz. Real nice. *cough* Nope, he bought it elsewhere because he's not an idiot... idiot. Liz despairs further when Carl says he's taking her away to the mountains, where she won't be tied up because she won't be able to escape anyway. They're leaving tomorrow. Yay!
  So. Monday brings us no closer to finding Elizabeth, but the high school kids are at school. I cannot see Alice letting Jessica walk out the front door, myself, but maybe I lack vision. Or maybe this is one of those things you just aren't supposed to think about. OR, maybe, it's in some hope of finding normalcy. I don't really know. Todd's there as well, and he walks to the cluster of the In crowd [Lila, Cara, you know the drill] and Lila has a theory. It must be bunnies! Max did it, obviously. He was missing for part of Saturday and so was Liz, obviously, and the cops did bust him in her car, so two and two must equal world's dumbest kidnapper. Duh. Todd mulls this over all day, despite sticking up for Max initially.
  Max, by the way, is having an incredibly shitty day. He had to spend all of Sunday studying Othello and considering he couldn't even begin to decipher Shakespeare two days ago, he's not exactly feeling like he's going to pass Collins' test at the end of the day. If he doesn't, he'll have to go to summer school and he has to quit music cold turkey. Great plan, Dellons. Great, great plan. Anyway, Collins calls Max to the front and Max assumes that Collins, like half the school, assumes he had something to do with Liz's disappearance. Collins doesn't, because it just doesn't make any sense, and SV isn't the sort of place where crazy just happens. Nope, there must be a reason. Right?
  Nope, Collins wants to offer Max an extension. Max blows him off and then kicks himself for it almost immediately. Still, he feels relatively confident that he's actually managed to comprehend the Bard. Who knew?
  After class, he's walking along, minding his own business, when Todd comes up to him and asks for a more thorough explanation of what the hell happened Saturday. Max says he doesn't know, but he really wishes Liz would turn up, especially given how much trouble the girl has gotten him into. Todd freaks the hell out and punches the guy. Jess interrupts and tells Todd that he's behaving totally irrationally and out of character. Uh, no. No, Todd has anger management issues and we've already been through this. Hell, he shoved you in a pool earlier, fulfilling many a fantasy, but still. The dude's not exactly all calm and rational when around either Wakefield, or when they come up in conversation.
  Somehow, the trio decide that since the police are sure that Liz is a runaway and thus there's little point in investigating further, that they will just have to do the sleuthing. So off they race to the hospital. Where nothing, nothing, nothing happens until Max heads up to the third floor. He's about to go talk to a custodian [hi, Carl!] when Carl sees Jessica and flips out. "Elizabeth! What are you doing not being kidnapped!" he all but yells as he runs towards her and then smashes her against the wall. Max tackles him and Jess wonders how Carl could not know that Liz has a twin. How rude, right? Right. Blah, blah, the cops are called, they haul him away and Carl is sad because his love, his Liz, is not Liz, but instead her evil twin. Jess goes with the cops to pick Liz up and upon being rescued, Liz declares she'd like to bathe, eat, sleep, and plan a party celebrating her rescue. Aw.
  The book ends with Liz opening the door at the party, and Nicholas Morrow is there. He's obviously smitten with her, and Liz is a bit worried about this. Note that next book, the tone of this little exchange totally changes.

Trivia!

  • Steve has a plaid comforter and his own tiny bathroom.

  • Steve is 6'1", for those of you playing along at home.

  • Nicholas Morrow grew up in Boston, except that part where he went to an exclusive boarding school in Connecticut, that he graduated from in June. He's taking the year off to study his father's business.

  • Cara and Jessica subscribe to the theory that thou shalt not chase after one another's boy toys. This might explain why Cara and Jess are never as explosively competitive as Lila and Jessica are, eh? Even more surprising, this book claims that they actually adhere to that commandment.

  • Max Dellon is a horrible student, and as he has no interest in school, he's just coasting/failing. But the only teacher who actually calls his parents? Mr. Collins. For shame, everyone else. For. Shame.

  • Max and Guy Chesney starting jamming *snort* together two years ago. At first they'd play Saturday mornings, which would then extend to Sunday mornings, and slowly they acquired Dan Scott, Emily, and Dana. Thus The Droids were born.

  • Evidently, Caroline has a thing for Winston. Poor Win.

  • Nicholas is shorter than Todd by several inches. This could partially explain why Nich has such a problem with Todd. That and Todd keeps trying to assault Jessica in Nicholas' house the first time they meet. Hrm.

  • Ned Wakefield calls Jessica "princess." Hee!

  • Elizabeth is an idiot. She assumes that Jessica was the first person to notice she was missing, and was so worried that she probably missed the party and began the search immediately. Jessica? Miss a party where an eligible rich boy was first appearing? Have you lost your damn mind, woman?

  • Liz wants to spend her first five hours as a free woman in the bath, or at least that's what she's thinking by day two of her ordeal.

  • For their 13th birthday, Jessica gave Elizabeth a bright yellow sweater. Liz wasn't all that fond of the brightness, but it was a gift, so she dealt. Thing is, Jessica borrowed it so much that it became apparent that Jessica didn't give a flying fig about Liz's feelings on the matter and instead, she essentially bought herself a gift. To retaliate, Liz shrinks the sweater, but puts it back in her drawer as if nothing is wrong. When Jess finds out what happened, she flips out and pillow world war 1 erupts. We know this because Liz concentrates on this story as a way to stay sane while Carl is away.

  • Carl lives at the end of St. James Avenue, in the bad part of town. Still, the dude does have a porch, so that should count for something.

  • Also, apparently 5'6" is considered tall, as one of the twins is described as such at the end of the book. ...Right.



Quotable Sweet Valley:

"I'm ready," Cara said with a trace of wistfulness. "Maybe this time I'll find someone who wants me." Poor Cara. p16

"Look, it's not my fault my stupid brother can't see how good you'd be for him. Maybe after Tricia dies, you two could start over again."
"Jessica, that's morbid!"
"No, that's life, Cara," Jessica said matter-of-factly. "We all know she's going to die, and afterward my poor brother is going to need someone to help him pick up the pieces. It might as well be you." Jessica is, oddly enough, a realist at times. p17


Cara didn't bother to respond. She knew Jessica was like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police-she always got her man. p18



  Kidnapped isn't so bad to re-read. It has it's moments of wait, what? But it's also a bit unusual as we don't really get to see Steve and Jessica interact without Liz there to keep the peace, and this go round they don't even need that. We also don't normally see Ned and Alice without the kids and it's a bit jarring, but hey, they should have lives outside of being parents... Though some might say that it's kind of obvious, given how often they go out to parties and dinner and leave their kids to fend for themselves. Hell, Sundays the twins are supposed to hunt and gather their own meals. I'd forgotten this tidbit, as the Wakefields are always presented as this kind of family you expect to sit down and chat over Sunday dinner, even if they don't attend church, y'know?
  Speaking of the Wakefields, I'd also forgotten that they're a little worried about Liz and Todd, especially how serious the couple is about one another. Towards the end of the book, Alice walks by and sees the couple making out and it's not so much the kissing and groping that bother Alice, but the intensity behind it. If Todd were just a fling, she wouldn't worry so, but he isn't, so I guess she's worried that Liz is gonna sleep with Todd. Trust us, A, that ain't gonna happen, no matter what anyone hopes to the contrary. Kind of funny, and easily mockable, but in the context of the book, it works, somehow.
  Lastly, we have Carl. I always envisioned Carl to be older than the 25-ish we're given. I always tacked on another ten years, because 25 seemed too young, too close to Mr. Collins [and Ms. Dalton] and it seemed weirder that way. Also, how many 25 year olds do you know who just want to occasionally pet some girl's hair, when they've been obsessing? Of course, I suppose you could say the same of a 35 year old. Someone was stunted in their development, which I guess is best for Liz. Don't want to darken the series too much, too soon. I kinda felt bad for Carl, but you don't just go around kidnapping pretty people, even if the cops don't seem to care. Nor do you kidnap other people of the non-pretty persuasion. But the thing I don't get [I know, just one? you ask] is how could Carl not know Liz had a twin? Did he never see Jessica, or interact with her? Cuz she would have blown him off so fast your head would spin clean off. Wouldn't he wonder? Wouldn't that have been a fun twist? If Carl had been okay with stalking Liz, but when he works up the courage to talk to Liz, it's really Jessica, and she tells him to fuck off and die, so he snaps, and the next time he has a chance, he nabs Liz, and it is Liz and she's all, "ohhhh...that darn Jessica!"
  Back to Alice and Ned, isn't it also kinda funny that Alice memorizes Liz's schedule but Jessica always seemed like the twin most likely to get into trouble, and she does [all those older boys, Alice!] but it's Liz Alice obsesses over. Still, Jessica's ability to hide her antics aside, I like my SVH with a dash of realism. Not too much, or you end up with a salty, tear soaked melodramatically overdone bummer that is Senior Year, but a little to balance out the rampant crazy that leaks off the pages when you least expect it.
  The other thing I 'love' is how the back cover gives the impression that it's through any luck or skill on Elizabeth's behalf that she's rescued. Nope, she tries, but is thwarted. Repeatedly. It's dumb luck that saves her.

   Let's look at the newly added covers, shall we? I like how Hungary actually tried to make their Liz looked scared... even if she's apparently being kidnapped while doing the Robot. Russia, you're being fined for making a mockery of Nicholas Morrow. That and the TV show are really harshing my childhood crush, man. Not cool!
  Together with When Love Dies, Kidnapped! is one of those classic early SVH books that every passing fan should read, at least once. Just to say they have.


Kidnapped Non English Cover, part 2
the_oracle: (gasp!)
Kidnapped!
weird, my copy says April 1984, but given that we know that's wrong, we'll say November, 1984

  Elizabeth's nightmare is about to begin...

  A living nightmare...


   Elizabeth Wakefield never imagined that her evening of volunteer work at Sweet Valley's hospital would turn into the most horrifying night of her life. But when a strong hand clamps a chloroformed rag over her mouth and she is pulled from her car, Elizabeth's hellish ordeal begins.
   When she regains consciousness, Elizabeth finds herself tied to a chair in an isolated shack. She has been kidnapped-by Carl, a lonely and disturbed orderly from the hospital. Elizabeth doesn't know what Carl wants from her, but it's clear he's on the brink of insanity. Somehow Elizabeth must escape-before it's too late!


  If you don't know what Kidnapped! is about, you're either incredibly new to the Valley or you're an idiot. It tells you in the title, the cover makes it obvious which twin gets 'napped and everything else is on the back cover. But really, all you need to know, you learned last go round anyway. Carl, the creepy custodian, kidnaps Elizabeth because he likes her. He thoughtfully prepared his van with a mattress in the back so she'd be comfy as he escorted her to the run down section of town [hey, any bets on whether the Martins live close by?] and this is pretty much where we'll meet up with Liz. Later.

  The book actually begins with a cute little scene between Steven and Jessica, both getting ready for their evenings out. Steve has a date with Tricia, his tragically ill girlfriend, and Jessica is going to a party at the Morrows' mansion. So yes, this book picks up as soon as the last one left off. This is starting to become a pattern. Steve zips Jessica's dress up and they chat a bit. Jessica bites her tongue about Tricia, seeing as she's dying and all, and Steve does his best to convince her that maybe she'll be a little chilly in her outfit, seeing as it's so low cut and all. He also offers her a ride to the party, but Jess says she's waiting for Liz who'll be home at eight, so they can go together. Twins making a bigger splash than two pretty blondes arriving separately, I suppose.
  However, Jess sucks at waiting. She picks out an outfit for Liz, to help speed her sister along when she finally gets home. She paces and freaks out by ten 'til eight, and calls Cara to pick her up. That's right. She can't even wait ten more minutes, less if you consider that Cara had to take at least two minutes to drive over. Sigh. Jess leaves Elizabeth a note on the fridge, and heads off to party.
  Introducing the Morrows. We have Kurt and Skye.Tall, dark, and gorgeous would describe them both. They dash out on their way to their own party, and then we meet Regina. At first, Cara and Jessica don't know anything is wrong. That is, until Regina repeatedly ignores anything Jessica says. Jess is a little upset. Why is the new girl being such an unbelievable bitch? Then Regina trips, and instead of figuring that high heels plus a new house might equal a bit of a problem, Jess assumes Regina's drunk. She taps the girl on the shoulder and asks where the booze is. Naturally, with Regina facing Jessica, she's able to read Jessica's lips and tells the blond that this ain't that kind of party. Regina then offers them the non-alcoholic goodies and explains that she's deaf. She can lip read and is all sorts of other fabulous though, so don't worry. Nicholas descends upon the party and he and Jessica immediately begin chatting. Turns out that Nicholas pretty much adores his little sister and when he thinks Jessica is pitying her, he's a bit of a jerk. Jessica points out that with Regina's good looks and obvious fearlessness, the girl is someone to be reckoned with, so pity is so not the word for her. And thus Jessica spends the rest of the night with Nicholas, chatting away.

  Let's switch back to Liz who comes to, briefly, and wonders what the hell is going on. It takes her a minute to remember that she's been kidnapped, but she can't remember who did it. She passes out again, because she's a drama queen. Or maybe the chloroform is that strong. Dunno.
  Todd notices that Liz isn't at the party, so he goes to ask Jess about the whereabouts of her twin. Jess lies and says, "Oh, didn't Liz call and tell you? She's babysitting for Collins tonight." Like hell. Todd figures that if anyone would be worried about Liz, it would be Jessica, so he wanders off to do whatever it is Todds do when not part of Elizabeth+Todd. Thing is, eventually Todd realizes that Elizabeth would have called him [not like, say, when she went off with Todd and didn't tell Collins about the change, right, Toddy?] and he was home all night before the party... So he goes to call her at Collins' place. Mr. C answers and Todd is confused. They have a bit of a moment and then Todd stalks off towards Jessica. He's ticked because Liz is not the sort of girl to be late without letting people know, and when he finds Jessica poolside with Nicholas, and she tries to blow him off again, he shoves her in the pool. Nicholas freaks out and just before he can have Todd kicked off the premises, Todd gets it through Jessica's thick skull that something is WRONG. Jessica flashes back to the last time she screwed Liz over and recalls that the Fiat is a fussy machine, and maybe Liz is stranded somewhere. So off they run to the nearest phone to call home.

  Liz, however, is still stuck with Carl. She's at his home, tied to a chair, and unhappy about it all. In record time, she convinces him to take off her gag and she screams bloody blue murder. He clamps his hand over her mouth and explains that this was so not cool. Again she convinces him that she'll be good and won't do that again. She was just afraid and startled and stuff, y'know? Kidnapping being a little new to her and all. In her infinite wisdom, Liz decides she'll have him untie her and as soon as he's done that, she'll make a break for it. Which sort of works, only she didn't count on Carl having an enclosed porch. Who knew shacks had them? Certainly not worldly wise Elizabeth. Carl grabs her and their moment together is gone. He ties her back up and he goes to sleep in his room.
  Now, I'm not sure whether it's fair to find fault with her plot to run away or not. On the one hand, you want to get out immediately. On the other hand, you should have some freakin' idea of your escape plan beyond, "Well, I escape. That's my plan." Then there's the prospect of sleeping arrangements. If she's not tied up, would Carl expect her to sleep with him, even if it is just sleeping? Or would he be foolish enough to trust her in the living room? Rather than find out, she bolts and it doesn't pay off.
  The next morning, Carl gives her cardboard tasting pancakes because he overheard her telling their boss she loves her mother's pancakes. Sweet, if only not a kidnapper, eh? Liz is shocked that he's going in to work. He points out that he doesn't have a phone so he can't call out, and besides, he's not stupid. If he doesn't show, they'll know something is up. God, get with the program, Lizzie. However, he does have a gift for her. Three books, to be precise. One's a book on investing, one's a bedtime storybook, and the other is a book on raising farm animals. Turns out Carl can't read, so he just grabbed the first ones he saw.
  Liz doesn't even bother to try and read the most promising of the bunch [hello, bedtime stories!] and instead freaks out the whole day. Uh...huh. Cuz that helps so very, very much.

   Now, I should point out, there is one other little problem here. Liz was running late because she had to tutor Max Dellon. When Liz never shows up, Max takes off and goes to look for her. He heads right for the hospital and sees her car. He's ticked. If she had to work late, she should have called. He kicks one of the tires before he realizes that there's a scarf on the ground, the car door is ajar, and Elizabeth's sweater is on the front seat. Something is seriously up. Instead of calling the cops, he breaks into the glove compartment for "clues." Dude, you have to break in, the kidnapper didn't do a damn thing in the car, okay? Leave their stuff alone. Before common sense can pass that message along, the police bust Max. Turns out he'd already run into one of the cops a couple of nights before after a late night with the Droids and a munchies run. The cop stopped him for "suspicious behavior" and Max copped serious attitude. That bites him on the ass and they haul him off to jail for attempting to steal the Fiat.
  Also worth mentioning, the Wakefields [Ned and Alice] return from their party and they're feeling a bit frisky. Alice notices Jessica's note on the fridge and starts to worry. Ned points out that Liz might not have seen it at all because it's a stupid place for a note when Liz was going to just come home to change. Alice agrees, but ever since Elizabeth's accident, she's been secretly Mom-spying on Liz and usually knows where Liz is at any given time of the day. [So do you. At school, at the Oracle office, at the hospital, out with Toddy, probably at the beach or the Dairi Burger, or home, with the occasional mall stop or Oracle research/library, thrown in for good measure. It ain't that difficult.] She's not doing well with this obvious glitch in the system, but when Jessica calls home looking for Liz, she falls apart. Despite a search party, no one can find Liz. The next day doesn't help much either, but Jess does talk to Nicholas who stops by to see how she is and to share a story of sibling guilt.
  It seems that when he was ten and Regina eight, their parents foolishly left him in charge of her one day on vacation. They were firmly in their "I hate you//I hate you more!" phase, so this makes absolutely no sense. My parents wouldn't leave me in charge of my little brother until we were both well old enough to know that juvie would be our best option, and prison would be more likely if we managed to make good on our threats to kill one another. Seriously, we had a babysitter when I was 13, that's how bad things could be. I was a babysitter by then, too. Go figure. Anyway. The two go their separate ways, the loft catches on fire, and Nicholas runs out without even thinking to grab Regina. He won't go back inside and he's sure she was inside and that he's killed her. He's also sure his parents blame him and oh, the angst. Jess says that it's lovely he tried to cheer her up, but fairytales aren't cutting it. He points out that he just shared some serious angst and it wasn't a fairytale for him. She then says that it's obvious Regina lived, seeing as she's met the girl, and Nicholas says yes, she'd managed to sneak out while he was busy ignoring her. Jess is a bit of a bitch and cries, "Yeah, she came back! I may never see my sister again!" and collapses into a tear filled heap. Um, drama queen, table for one.
  After work, Carl brings Liz a lovely sweater of blue to match her eyes. Liz is thinking, "SCORE!" because she's sure that he bought it from the hospital gift shop. Way to assume he has no life outside the hospital and his dreary little home, Liz. Real nice. *cough* Nope, he bought it elsewhere because he's not an idiot... idiot. Liz despairs further when Carl says he's taking her away to the mountains, where she won't be tied up because she won't be able to escape anyway. They're leaving tomorrow. Yay!
  So. Monday brings us no closer to finding Elizabeth, but the high school kids are at school. I cannot see Alice letting Jessica walk out the front door, myself, but maybe I lack vision. Or maybe this is one of those things you just aren't supposed to think about. OR, maybe, it's in some hope of finding normalcy. I don't really know. Todd's there as well, and he walks to the cluster of the In crowd [Lila, Cara, you know the drill] and Lila has a theory. It must be bunnies! Max did it, obviously. He was missing for part of Saturday and so was Liz, obviously, and the cops did bust him in her car, so two and two must equal world's dumbest kidnapper. Duh. Todd mulls this over all day, despite sticking up for Max initially.
  Max, by the way, is having an incredibly shitty day. He had to spend all of Sunday studying Othello and considering he couldn't even begin to decipher Shakespeare two days ago, he's not exactly feeling like he's going to pass Collins' test at the end of the day. If he doesn't, he'll have to go to summer school and he has to quit music cold turkey. Great plan, Dellons. Great, great plan. Anyway, Collins calls Max to the front and Max assumes that Collins, like half the school, assumes he had something to do with Liz's disappearance. Collins doesn't, because it just doesn't make any sense, and SV isn't the sort of place where crazy just happens. Nope, there must be a reason. Right?
  Nope, Collins wants to offer Max an extension. Max blows him off and then kicks himself for it almost immediately. Still, he feels relatively confident that he's actually managed to comprehend the Bard. Who knew?
  After class, he's walking along, minding his own business, when Todd comes up to him and asks for a more thorough explanation of what the hell happened Saturday. Max says he doesn't know, but he really wishes Liz would turn up, especially given how much trouble the girl has gotten him into. Todd freaks the hell out and punches the guy. Jess interrupts and tells Todd that he's behaving totally irrationally and out of character. Uh, no. No, Todd has anger management issues and we've already been through this. Hell, he shoved you in a pool earlier, fulfilling many a fantasy, but still. The dude's not exactly all calm and rational when around either Wakefield, or when they come up in conversation.
  Somehow, the trio decide that since the police are sure that Liz is a runaway and thus there's little point in investigating further, that they will just have to do the sleuthing. So off they race to the hospital. Where nothing, nothing, nothing happens until Max heads up to the third floor. He's about to go talk to a custodian [hi, Carl!] when Carl sees Jessica and flips out. "Elizabeth! What are you doing not being kidnapped!" he all but yells as he runs towards her and then smashes her against the wall. Max tackles him and Jess wonders how Carl could not know that Liz has a twin. How rude, right? Right. Blah, blah, the cops are called, they haul him away and Carl is sad because his love, his Liz, is not Liz, but instead her evil twin. Jess goes with the cops to pick Liz up and upon being rescued, Liz declares she'd like to bathe, eat, sleep, and plan a party celebrating her rescue. Aw.
  The book ends with Liz opening the door at the party, and Nicholas Morrow is there. He's obviously smitten with her, and Liz is a bit worried about this. Note that next book, the tone of this little exchange totally changes.

Trivia!

  • Steve has a plaid comforter and his own tiny bathroom.

  • Steve is 6'1", for those of you playing along at home.

  • Nicholas Morrow grew up in Boston, except that part where he went to an exclusive boarding school in Connecticut, that he graduated from in June. He's taking the year off to study his father's business.

  • Cara and Jessica subscribe to the theory that thou shalt not chase after one another's boy toys. This might explain why Cara and Jess are never as explosively competitive as Lila and Jessica are, eh? Even more surprising, this book claims that they actually adhere to that commandment.

  • Max Dellon is a horrible student, and as he has no interest in school, he's just coasting/failing. But the only teacher who actually calls his parents? Mr. Collins. For shame, everyone else. For. Shame.

  • Max and Guy Chesney starting jamming *snort* together two years ago. At first they'd play Saturday mornings, which would then extend to Sunday mornings, and slowly they acquired Dan Scott, Emily, and Dana. Thus The Droids were born.

  • Evidently, Caroline has a thing for Winston. Poor Win.

  • Nicholas is shorter than Todd by several inches. This could partially explain why Nich has such a problem with Todd. That and Todd keeps trying to assault Jessica in Nicholas' house the first time they meet. Hrm.

  • Ned Wakefield calls Jessica "princess." Hee!

  • Elizabeth is an idiot. She assumes that Jessica was the first person to notice she was missing, and was so worried that she probably missed the party and began the search immediately. Jessica? Miss a party where an eligible rich boy was first appearing? Have you lost your damn mind, woman?

  • Liz wants to spend her first five hours as a free woman in the bath, or at least that's what she's thinking by day two of her ordeal.

  • For their 13th birthday, Jessica gave Elizabeth a bright yellow sweater. Liz wasn't all that fond of the brightness, but it was a gift, so she dealt. Thing is, Jessica borrowed it so much that it became apparent that Jessica didn't give a flying fig about Liz's feelings on the matter and instead, she essentially bought herself a gift. To retaliate, Liz shrinks the sweater, but puts it back in her drawer as if nothing is wrong. When Jess finds out what happened, she flips out and pillow world war 1 erupts. We know this because Liz concentrates on this story as a way to stay sane while Carl is away.

  • Carl lives at the end of St. James Avenue, in the bad part of town. Still, the dude does have a porch, so that should count for something.

  • Also, apparently 5'6" is considered tall, as one of the twins is described as such at the end of the book. ...Right.



Quotable Sweet Valley:

"I'm ready," Cara said with a trace of wistfulness. "Maybe this time I'll find someone who wants me." Poor Cara. p16

"Look, it's not my fault my stupid brother can't see how good you'd be for him. Maybe after Tricia dies, you two could start over again."
"Jessica, that's morbid!"
"No, that's life, Cara," Jessica said matter-of-factly. "We all know she's going to die, and afterward my poor brother is going to need someone to help him pick up the pieces. It might as well be you." Jessica is, oddly enough, a realist at times. p17


Cara didn't bother to respond. She knew Jessica was like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police-she always got her man. p18



  Kidnapped isn't so bad to re-read. It has it's moments of wait, what? But it's also a bit unusual as we don't really get to see Steve and Jessica interact without Liz there to keep the peace, and this go round they don't even need that. We also don't normally see Ned and Alice without the kids and it's a bit jarring, but hey, they should have lives outside of being parents... Though some might say that it's kind of obvious, given how often they go out to parties and dinner and leave their kids to fend for themselves. Hell, Sundays the twins are supposed to hunt and gather their own meals. I'd forgotten this tidbit, as the Wakefields are always presented as this kind of family you expect to sit down and chat over Sunday dinner, even if they don't attend church, y'know?
  Speaking of the Wakefields, I'd also forgotten that they're a little worried about Liz and Todd, especially how serious the couple is about one another. Towards the end of the book, Alice walks by and sees the couple making out and it's not so much the kissing and groping that bother Alice, but the intensity behind it. If Todd were just a fling, she wouldn't worry so, but he isn't, so I guess she's worried that Liz is gonna sleep with Todd. Trust us, A, that ain't gonna happen, no matter what anyone hopes to the contrary. Kind of funny, and easily mockable, but in the context of the book, it works, somehow.
  Lastly, we have Carl. I always envisioned Carl to be older than the 25-ish we're given. I always tacked on another ten years, because 25 seemed too young, too close to Mr. Collins [and Ms. Dalton] and it seemed weirder that way. Also, how many 25 year olds do you know who just want to occasionally pet some girl's hair, when they've been obsessing? Of course, I suppose you could say the same of a 35 year old. Someone was stunted in their development, which I guess is best for Liz. Don't want to darken the series too much, too soon. I kinda felt bad for Carl, but you don't just go around kidnapping pretty people, even if the cops don't seem to care. Nor do you kidnap other people of the non-pretty persuasion. But the thing I don't get [I know, just one? you ask] is how could Carl not know Liz had a twin? Did he never see Jessica, or interact with her? Cuz she would have blown him off so fast your head would spin clean off. Wouldn't he wonder? Wouldn't that have been a fun twist? If Carl had been okay with stalking Liz, but when he works up the courage to talk to Liz, it's really Jessica, and she tells him to fuck off and die, so he snaps, and the next time he has a chance, he nabs Liz, and it is Liz and she's all, "ohhhh...that darn Jessica!"
  Back to Alice and Ned, isn't it also kinda funny that Alice memorizes Liz's schedule but Jessica always seemed like the twin most likely to get into trouble, and she does [all those older boys, Alice!] but it's Liz Alice obsesses over. Still, Jessica's ability to hide her antics aside, I like my SVH with a dash of realism. Not too much, or you end up with a salty, tear soaked melodramatically overdone bummer that is Senior Year, but a little to balance out the rampant crazy that leaks off the pages when you least expect it.
  The other thing I 'love' is how the back cover gives the impression that it's through any luck or skill on Elizabeth's behalf that she's rescued. Nope, she tries, but is thwarted. Repeatedly. It's dumb luck that saves her.
  Together with When Love Dies, Kidnapped! is one of those classic early SVH books that every passing fan should read, at least once. Just to say they have.

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

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