the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Boy Trouble
January 1990

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Patty's life is falling apart.
Can Elizabeth help?



  Boy Trouble, or, the book that took forever to recap because life got in the way! Yeah, we'll go with Boy Trouble. Less tricky to pronounce. :p
   Don't let the cover fool you; Elizabeth Wakefield is barely a supporting character in this tale. Jessica, on the other hand, is our comedic b-story, but that would take away from the pain and anguish poor Patty is emoting on the cover. Or something.
  Patty Gilbert's thrilled. Her boyfriend, Jim Hollis, is finally coming for a visit after three long weeks of studying up at Pacific College, where he's a freshman. Unfortunately for her, her older sister, Jana, chooses that same weekend to descend upon the family with a big surprise. Since Patty hasn't seen her sister in six months, she tries to call Jim to see if he can visit the following weekend instead. Only Jim isn't answering his phone. Ever. Patty's a little worried by this, but tries to tell herself it's perfectly natural for someone not to answer their phone at midnight on a Thursday. Given the number of drunk people who race across the road every Thursday on my way to work, I'll say nothing further about the subject.

   Jim arrives in the Valley and for one moment everything is perfect. They kiss and talk cute and both are just so happy to see one another that this couldn't possibly explode in their faces, right? Riiiiiight.
  When Patty drops the news about Jana, Jim does what every thoughtful and considerate boyfriend would do. He gracefully bows out of the weekend's plans and decides to spend quality time with his family, or perhaps just chill at the beach with any of his remaining SV friends. No? Okay, then he points out that since he and Patty have been dating for two years, obviously the Gilberts wouldn't mind him joining in on the family activities once Patty knows what they are. No?
  No.

  Instead, Jim reacts as if Patty has just run over his foot and told him to walk it off. "But I drove two hours after cramming for a calculus test!" and other such facts are thrown about. Dude. Go take a nap or something. Instead he lays into his girlfriend for wanting to spend time with her sister. Nice, Hollis. Real nice. In return, Patty jumps to the most obvious conclusion: he's picking a fight with her because he's cheating and wants to get back to PC so he can score with girls who are not his girlfriend. You bastard!
   Yeah. Jim doesn't see that one coming and the two end up breaking up then and there. Awkward. On the drive home, Patty debates turning around and admitting that she obviously took twice the legal limit of crazy this morning and perhaps they should discuss things like the adults they so obviously fancy themselves to be. Instead she decides to let them cool off and resume the fight at a later time. Besides, Jana's home and ohmygosh, this couldn't possibly go wrong in any way, right?!
  Why do you keep jinxing yourself, woman?

   Jana's home alright. And she's brought Ted with her. Ted? Ted. Ted is Jana's fiancé . Surprise!
  Patty reacts the way most of us would. "Wait, last I heard you weren't even dating anyone. Are you knocked up?" Well, fine, she doesn't say that last part, but the first part is definitely thought. Then Patty pastes a smile on her face and tries to summon up some happy for her sister because marriage is a big deal.
  But wait, there's more! Jana's getting married in two weeks! Surprise!
  And then she and Ted are moving to West Germany! Trifecta of surprises!

   Patty is a bit stunned by this, and I don't blame her. On a good day, this would be enough to put me in a bit of a funk because you're losing your sister (that's how it'll feel, anyway) and having to plan a wedding in an extraordinarily short time. But remember, Patty isn't having a good day. Her day sucks because she and her longtime boyfriend just broke up... and now she'll be hearing nothing but wedding talk. Congratulations, Patty, I think this qualifies as a level of hell. Enjoy your stay.
  Sadly, Patty doesn't use her one drama queen for a day card at the start of this whole mess, by bursting into tears and having someone say, it's not that bad, we'll still talk on the phone and then she could blurt out the whole Jim situation and bam! Crises averted. But no, that would make the book too short, so instead she reacts as a mature adult and represses her true feelings, figuring that she'll have time to talk to Jana later.
   Fool.

  B-story time! Jessica Wakefield is tired of the same old boys, the same old scene, the same old thing. She's tired of the beach (yawn, another beach cookout for another former boy toy's birthday), she's tired of the boring boys who go to boring old Sweet Valley High... so she winds up at a Crafts Fair at the mall, looking for something, or someone, different. Instead she finds a bunch of old hippies and she is not impressed. Shopping wise though, things have gone well. She runs into DeeDee Gordon who begs her to watch over her t-shirt booth while DeeDee runs to get lunch and something to drink. Jessica reluctantly agrees, since she's not in a massive hurry to admit defeat and head over to the beach party.
   While manning DeeDee's booth, Jessica makes eye contact with a seriously handsome twenty-something guy. He makes his way over to 'her' booth and the two flirt up a storm. Well, at least Jessica thinks they're flirting. Vincent seems to be interested in DeeDee's shirts, but naturally assumes Jessica's the artist he wants. Jessica doesn't correct him, figuring he won't care one way or another since she's Jessica Wakefield and once he's had a chance to date her, who'd even remember some painted t-shirts at a crafts fair?
  Vincent promises to call her and Jessica is sure he will. And he does. Eventually. He says he wants Jessica to meet his partner, Cassie, and they can hammer out the details concerning selling her shirts in their store. Jessica figures they're painted shirts, how hard can it be?
   Based on the shocked reactions that greet her (and her own frank admission that they're awful), pretty hard. Turns out Vincent really did want the shirts and not a date with Jessica (shocker!) and while Cassie does try to let Jessica down easy, Vincent wants the name of the real artist. He then calls DeeDee who is over the moon at having her artwork recognized as good enough to sell. Aww, DeeDee. If only I cared more about you, I'd be touched.


  Back to Patty's predicament. DeeDee decides that Patty should get out of the house and invites her to the movies with Bill and Bill's friend Craig. Patty reluctantly agrees and I have to admit that Craig is actually amusing and I wish he'd pop up again. Who knew that was possible? Anyway, they all head to the movies and of course it's a love story (DeeDee, we need to talk about your friendship status...) and by the end of the film, Patty has decided she can work things out with Jim. Unfortunately, the lights go up and Patty sees Jim... with another girl.
   Also? Jim totally sees Craig with his arm around Patty. Not good. When Jim calls to explain that the girl he was with is his cousin (in town for the crafts fair), Patty blows up and tells him to go fuck himself. Nice, Gilbert.
  Depressed, Patty isn't exactly in the mood for her interview with Elizabeth. Liz is starting this new column called Personal Profiles, which is a spotlight on a senior at SVH. Patty is their first star. I do have to take a minute to bitch that Liz and her friends act like it's going to be super hard to do PP and Eyes & Ears at the same time. Really? I ain't buying that from Serious Reporter Elizabeth Wakefield, so stop it right now.
   Anyway, Liz invites Patty over to talk, off the record, and points out that she's a good listener, even though thus far she hasn't exactly proven that to be true this book. Whatever, Patty goes and the two discuss Jim, Jana, and how Patty wouldn't be able to limit herself to an hour a weekend by the pool. I'm with you, Patty.
  Liz convinces Patty that it's possible Jim's 'date' was simply a friend, like Craig was just a friend of Bill's and not an actual movie date. Patty agrees and drives by his house after leaving Elizabeth's. But there he is, playing Frisbee on the front lawn with his cousin. How dare he?! Patty speeds by and is most upset.
   Eventually Patty tells Jana that maybe if she spent a little less time stressing about a wedding she chose to orchestrate in less than two weeks and a little more time on the fact that Patty is clearly unhappy, maybe she wouldn't a colossal bitch of a sister. Jana fires back that Patty's been this incredibly awful sister for not being thrilled to help plan things in minute detail. The two are not speaking to one another at all by the weekend before the wedding. Oops.

  The deep freeze continues until Jana makes a scheduling mistake and needs Patty to drive her to the bridal shop for her dress fitting. Patty agrees to drive her, but when they arrive at the store, Jana then wants Patty to come in with her. Again, Patty agrees, but makes Jana promise to be quick. Yeah, that's not gonna happen, Patty.
   Doesn't matter because this is a set-up so that Patty will take one look at Jana in her wedding dress and start to thaw. Patty realizes that she should be there for Jana at her wedding and they've got such a short time left that they shouldn't be fighting... assuming Jana apologizes first. And she does. Aww, the two make-up and go home to really discuss the break-up between Jim and Patty. By now Patty knows the girl was Jim's cousin (Jessica bought some earrings from her, Liz admired the earrings and found out the true identity of the mystery girl, and quickly headed over to Patty's house to deliver the news.) but he won't answer any of her calls, so obviously he's avoiding her even though this is well before caller ID. SIGH. But Patty did write this really heartfelt letter she's been too chicken to send. Jana gets an idea...
  Turns out Jim is on some special class trip for his geology course and is in the mountains without any contact with the outside world really. Jana sends Patty's letter to him and includes a note of her own, asking him to call her when he gets the letter. He does and a Plan is made.

  Wedding day! Everyone is all teary and happy and blah, blah, blah. While walking down the aisle, Patty spies her boyfriend (ex?) standing at the end of the second row of pews in the church. Jim! He kisses her on the cheek and later, at the reception we find out that Ted, who'd previously disappeared from his own wedding rehearsal dinner, prompting Patty to wonder about him, drove out to pick Jim up so he could surprise Patty at the wedding. The two make up and not a word is said about Jim's insane blow-up that prompted this whole mess.
   Aww?

  The book ends with Jessica bemoaning the lack of interesting guys in SV. Next up?
What kind of scheme does Jessica have planned to meet the boy of her dreams? Find out in Sweet Valley High #62, Who's Who?


Trivia:

  • Liz has a new column: Personal Profiles. It centers on one senior and details their plans for the future as well as highlighting some of their memorable experiences at SVH.

  • Patty Gilbert is the first person up to be interviewed for PP. She's got dark, almond eyes and long black hair.

  • Jessica's best friends are apparently Lila and Amy with no mention of Cara whatsoever. Sad face.

  • There's a Crafts Fair at the Mall over the weekend. One of DeeDee's friends from her design class at the Civics Center was supposed to help her run her booth, but they came down with the flu.

  • DeeDee brings 20 shirts to the Crafts Fair.

  • The Crafts Fair starts at noon, but all the vendors must arrive an hour earlier to set up. Poor DeeDee has one of the outside booths in the mall parking lot.

  • Jim Hollis is Patty's boyfriend. He's a freshman at Pacific College.

  • Pacific College is two hours north of SV.

  • Most of Patty's plans for Jim's visit seem to include food, including a picnic at the beach and a romantic dinner.

  • Jim has a calculus test Friday.

  • Much is made about the fact that Jim hasn't been home in three weeks and hasn't been calling as much. Bad form, Hollis.

  • Also bad form? Liz says, "I thought you two got together every weekend" mere minutes after DeeDee told her this hadn't been true for the past three weeks. Liz, learn to listen!

  • Patty is supposed to visit Liz at home 7pm Sunday evening for her PP interview.

  • Patty writes this info on her notebook cover as a reminder and I immediately suffer flashbacks to middle and high school.

  • Patty takes the bus to dance class at the Modern Dance Academy. The bus stop, at the corner of Ocean Avenue and Ridgeview, is three blocks from her home.

  • Mrs. Gilbert drives a Buick and works at a computer consulting firm.

  • Jana Gilbert, 21, is Patty's older sister. She lives in San Francisco, where she has a job at Bay Area Environmental Coalition, a non profit environmental organization, and drives a blue VW. She hasn't been home in six months.

  • There's a palm tree outside Patty's bedroom window.

  • Patty plans to follow Jim to Pacific College, where she'll study liberal arts and major in dance.

  • When Jim gets back to town, he calls Patty and DeeDee's house.

  • Jim's house on Orchard Road is a stucco ranch design.

  • Orchard Road seems to intersect Ocean Avenue. For those of you making a map at home, that is.

  • Jim gets inexplicably angry when Patty tells him that Jana is in town and that their couple weekend is going to be massively downgraded. While I can understand why he'd be upset at the plans changing, given the fact that Jana seems to seriously think Patty/Jim are one day going to get married themselves, it makes no sense to not invite him along for part of the surprise weekend. In any case, dude goes OFF and it's never explained why he's so pissed off.

  • Patty accuses Jim of cheating.

  • Ted Brewster is Jana's fiancé . He's a tall, broad shouldered, handsome black man who drives a sports car and is in the Air Force. He's originally from Philadelphia, where his mother, Martha, is a second grade teacher and his father is the principal of an elementary school. He's an only child. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and in three weeks he will be transfered to an Air Force base in West Germany.

  • That's right, Jana and Ted have two weeks to plan their wedding. Surprise!

  • Mr. Gilbert courted his bride-to-be by visiting her every Sunday for two years, sitting in the parlor room with her parents as chaperons. Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert say it was decidedly not love at first sight.

  • The wedding reception will be held at the Gilbert's home and Jana wants Reverend Jacobsen to officiate.

  • Jana's wedding dress is coming from Elaine's Bridals.

  • Bill is out surfing with a friend of his, Craig McCaffrey.

  • Alert the media: Jessica Wakefield is bored with the beach scene. Not even a cookout on the beach in honor of Aaron's birthday can cheer her up.

  • DeeDee informs a customer that all of her t-shirts are large because people like to wear them big. Customer agrees and shells out money that even Jess finds a little pricey.

  • By 1pm, DeeDee has sold six shirts already. Her system for keeping track of the shirts is fairly simple. Each shirt is priced and marked with a number so that when one is sold, DeeDee writes it down in a book to keep track of which styles went first. By the end of the day she's sold 19 shirts.

  • Vincent Deleno, 20, is the co-owner of Blue Parrot Crafts. He's got longish black hair, sexy brown eyes, and is rugged and romantic. When Jessica first sees him, she thinks he's an Italian director or maybe a famous artist.

  • Blue Parrots Crafts sells handmade pottery and glass, as well as unique women's clothing and accessories.

  • Normally, Patty eats 2-3 slices of pizza from Guido's.

  • Patty's studied all kinds of dance, including ballet, but says she prefers modern and jazz.

  • After the disaster at the movie theatre, where Jim thought Patty was dating Craig and Patty thought Jim was dating his cousin, Jim calls to explain his side but Patty goes off on him, hanging up before he can say much of anything at all.

  • Patty's usual Sunday breakfast includes bacon, eggs, and cinnamon coffee cake.

  • The phone in Patty's room is beige. Ah, memories.

  • Liz loves fresh pineapple and tries to allot herself at least one hour by the pool every Sunday.

  • Patty's bridesmaid dress is from Bibi's. It's cornflower blue with tiny white flowers, a scooped neckline, and little puff sleeves.

  • Alice Wakefield usually works til 6pm.

  • The Wakefield's kitchen phone cord reaches all the way to the dining room.

  • Mr. Gilbert is left in charge of the wine and champagne at the reception.

  • Aunt Marlene is throwing Jana a bridal shower, and cousin Tracy (a junior at SVH) is tapped to be Jana's maid of honor when Patty and Jana blow up at one another. Tracy doesn't mind stepping down when the sisters make up.

  • Jim Daley asks Jessica out for Friday night and she turns him down.

  • DeeDee buys her fabric paint at Ferriter's Design Supply on Main Street.

  • Patty doesn't have dance class on Wednesdays.

  • Jana's problems: The caterers need the menu and a headcount by the day after tomorrow, the florist can't get gerber daisies for the centerpieces, and she has to hire an organist to play during the ceremony because one is not included in the church. *

  • Jess ditches cheerleading practice to meet with Vincent and Cassie at Blue Parrot. Robin runs practice.

  • After the disastrous meeting, Vincent calls DeeDee and offers her the same opportunity he offered Jessica when he thought she was the artist. DeeDee flips out at her designs being sold in a real store.

  • Jana seems to consider DeeDee a part of their extended family and this gives me warm fuzzies.

  • When Jana makes up her mind to do something, she does it. Case in point, getting Jim and Patty back together.

  • Jim went to the mountains for two weeks for a geology course. His mother suggests sending a letter care of general delivery at the local Post Office.

  • Ted's family makes it to SV Thursday and the Gilberts invite them over to dinner. This is the first time they've met Jana. The Brewsters are hosting the rehearsal dinner at the Valley Inn, which Liz remembers as the last place Jeffrey took her when they were dating. *sniffle*

  • Ted's best man is Marshall Borden, an Air Force buddy.

  • Patty and Jim's two year anniversary was a "a few months ago" at the Valley Inn.

  • Ted disappears after Marshall's toast and only Patty seems to notice or care.

  • Jana is set to walk down the aisle at 11:30AM, but they're still home at 11AM.

  • Jana feels like getting married is that magical step that will turn her into a grown-up.

  • Patty's Maid of Honor gift is a gold chain with a pearl pendant.

  • The florists forgot to bring the men's boutonnières.

  • Patty doesn't get nervous when she dances in front of an audience, but she is nervous to walk down the aisle during her sister's wedding. Oddly enough, I of the terrible stage fright (and complete fear of public speaking), had no problem heading down the aisle at my friend's wedding.

  • While walking down the aisle, Patty sees a tall, handsome young man in a gray suit, standing at the end of the second row of pews. Jim! Just before she stands at the front of the church to await Jana's entrance, Jim kisses Patty on the cheek. I may have aww'd at this moment.

  • Patty's whole family was in on the plot to reunite Jim and Patty. Aww and again I say they'd have been fine with Jim taking part of some of the weekend fun when Jana first arrived!

  • When DeeDee asked Jessica about Vincent's offer, Jessica pretended she'd simply forgotten the conversation, not that she'd tried to swoop in and date Vincent.






Quotes:
   One thing was for sure: They needed this weekend together if their romance was going to survive. - Three weeks, guys. That's all I'm sayin'. p7

  "I'll never forget the first time I saw him. He was wearing his uniform, and he looked like something out of a movie. An Officer and a Gentlemen, you know?"
  Patty nodded. She didn't think he was that handsome, but there was no need to upset Jana. - Because upsetting her will come later. p33/34

   "This way I'll be standing at the altar to prompt you. I could even hold cue cards if you want."
  Jana giggled and rolled her eyes. "I think I can manage 'I do.'" - Patty/Jana, p35

Jessica hated keeping secrets, and for the past week had been dying to announce her latest caper. - p122


  "You must be starving after that brutal cheerleading practice," Elizabeth joked, rummaging in her book bag for the keys. - Geez, Liz, don't be such a cheer-hater. Given the comments characters have made over the series, I'd say Jess probably is hungry after working her ass off for the last hour or so. Shove it, middle Wakefield. p135

   "Dad, I'm so nervous," Patty whispered as they stood in the back of the church, listening to the organist's prelude.
   "Me, too," Mr. Gilbert admitted, smoothing the lapels of his morning coat. "I've never been the father of the bride before." p 143



Fashion File:
  Jessica emerged from her bedroom. She frowned down at Elizabeth, who was wearing shorts and an oversize t-shirt over her new powder blue bathing suit. - p41

   She wove her way among the lunch tables, her mint-green jersey miniskirt swinging against her slim, tanned legs. - Jessica always dresses to kill? p91

  Five minutes later she reemerged into the now empty hallway. Instead of the bright blue tank top and stone-washed miniskirt she had worn to school, Jessica had changed into a boxy, wheat-colored linen jacket and matching knee-length skirt that she had smuggled out of Elizabeth's closet that morning. The jacket sleeves could be rolled up slightly, and with a lacy camisole, her new earrings, and her hair loose, Jessica thought she looked artsy, sophisticated... and entirely irresistible. - p123


* Jana, we need to talk. These aren't problems enough to push you over the edge. Having to guard the wedding cake because you don't want the bride's little sister to destroy it after she feels ignored all day while trying not to make the bride feel like she's being ignored? Yeah. That's a problem. Yours are just part of the whole "getting married in two weeks, yay!" thing.

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(on the right, hardback)


   Sooo... this took forever. 2011 sucked. My computer died a couple of weeks ago which wiped out my review of this as well as my picture folders (noooooooooo) and... yeah. Mostly 2011 sucked and this year wasn't really off to a great start either. :/

  That aside, Boy Trouble isn't actually a bad book. I like the way it's written, and I'll try not to hold the miscommunication against anyone for long because there's no point in it. Patty's justifiably upset at the people in her life, but she's not overly obnoxious about it. She's able to be happy for DeeDee when things are going well in her life while Patty's still broken up over Jim and Jana's non-stop wedding chatter. She realizes she should be happy for Jana and does try, though apparently it's easy to see through her although NO ONE asks her about it at home. That's a little odd, truthfully.
  Jessica's B-story is fun and isn't drawn out too long, either. She gets called out on her scheme but still manages to avoid outright humiliation, and it serves as a nice set-up for the next book.
  Overall, it's one of the better written books and is fairly believable at times, plus I love the way Jana and Patty tease one another. Also? Craig is love.
the_oracle: (plotting)
Teacher Crush
August 1989


Has Olivia met the man of her dreams?
svh
Madly in love...



  Pretty and talented Olivia Davidson has always seemed independent. So it comes as a total surprise to Elizabeth Wakefield when Olivia confides in her that she's lonely. Everyone she knows is going out with someone, and now she's ready for a new boyfriend.
  Then Stuart Bachman, a gorgeous artist, starts teaching at Sweet Valley High. Olivia takes his class and is completely swept off her feet by him. Soon Mr. Bachman is all Olivia things or talks about. And it looks as if he may return her feelings. Has Olivia found true love, or is she headed for heartbreak?




  "You're so young, sweetie. Your life is just beginning!" It's nearly impossible for me to re-read certain books without looking for foreshadowing of the Terrible Things to Come. Regina Morrow's short stint in the Valley is made even shorter by the countdown to her dalliance with cocaine. Early John Pfeiffer has to duck the cans and rotting fruit thrown his way for what his future!self will do to Lila. To a lesser degree, Jeffrey French has to fight to get people to remember that Liz actually managed to be faithful to him, whereas she cheated on Todd (the guy she'll dump Jeffrey for in just a few minutes) every chance she got. And then there's Olivia.
  Dear, sweet, spacey Olivia, your number is nearly up, sunshine. It's going to take awhile, but not nearly as long as your mother seems to believe... On the very, very slim silver lining side, the fact that you know Olivia's going to end up on the wrong end of the earthquake that killed SVH makes it much easier to write her a free pass for all the stupid assumptions she makes in Teacher Crush.

   Olivia's more than a little lonely. With more than 60 books under our belt, Olivia's noticed that just about everyone in the Valley is paired up, and those that aren't (Jessica or Lila for example) have no shortage of willing volunteers. Artsy Olivia, however, hasn't exactly been fending off a bunch of would be boyfriends ever since she and Roger broke up. But when she mentions feeling like she's the only one not paired up on this extremely strange version of the Ark, Elizabeth tells her she's cr-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy. It's not that bad. And immediately is glomped upon by Jeffrey. Smooth, Wakefield. Real smooth.
   Before we can wallow in too much misery, we're reminded of the co-A plot of this book. You might recall that at the end of the last book we learned that SVH would be doing a two week crash course/workshop that would give students a chance to explore something beyond normal classes. Everyone signs up for three possible classes, with the third being their last choice. It doesn't take a genius to see that some classes are bound to be more popular than others. Film making, painting, and dress design are all very, very popular. Which is why so many people are shocked when Jessica chooses to put down electronics as her third choice. She believes that she'll be the only girl in a room full of cute guys and what could be wrong with that? Still, she's not foolish enough to put it down as her first or second choice.
  Thing is, Wakefield, I know half the city also happens to have last names that end in W, but by the time they got to you, I'm thinking the rest of the classes had filled in and they saw you put down one of the more unusual classes for a girl so... they thought they'd accommodate your unusual request. Or else someone's got a sick sense of humor. Yes. Jess ends up in the electronics class with a bunch of guys she does not consider cute. (Except Jeffrey, but he's rather taken so...) The wacky, hilarious hijinks are sure to follow, yes?

   Not so much. As far as I can tell, the electronic workshop doesn't *teach* a damn thing. They're told they have to create something. And it must work. After that, every time we see Jess in class, she's being asked if she's thought of something and she's always saying no while everyone else is hard at work. I'd have been fantastically thrown, too. I would have thought you'd be doing a little more learning and a little less being thrown into the deep end and told not to electrocute yourself.

  While you ponder Jessica's fate, let's switch back to Olivia. Liv, Liz, and Enid have all made it into the painting class they wanted. Apparently, until this book, Olivia didn't actually create much in the way of art (outside of poetry, perhaps, and her contributions to the Oracle, which mostly seems to be in the field of editing) which is why she wanted to take this course. The fact that their teacher is amazingly hot? Yeah. That didn't hurt either. He's nice and funny and tells them all to call him by his first name (Stuart), but on the downside, he's young enough that a) Olivia believes she has a chance in hell and b) he doesn't know enough to not play favorites. When it becomes obvious to anyone who isn't blinded by cattiness that Olivia is beyond naturally gifted, Stuart lavishes praise on her work and her way of thinking outside the box. Olivia sees this as a sign that they have so much in common and she begins to volunteer to help him with everything. Liv's got stars in her eyes and it only gets worse with every passing second.
  Enid, proving that the sidekicks in these books are the only ones with brains at times (yes, I just lumped Lila and Enid in the same group. Deal with it!) quickly realizes that there are crushes and then there's statutory rape. She worries that Olivia's overly interested in Stuart and, later, that Stuart might actually either be interested in Olivia too, or that he's stringing her along, unintentionally or not.
   Saint Elizabeth laughs this off and there's a weird thing where Enid keeps insisting that while Elizabeth always tries to see the best in people, maybe this trait is blinding her to Olivia's rapidly growing obsession. How is believing that Olivia, who was bitching about being painfully single less than two weeks ago, isn't interested in their teacher "seeing the best" in someone? Isn't that just being dense? Whatever. I was busy gearing up for third grade when this came out, so my view on this particular bit of 80's mindset is probably definitely off.
  So, Saint Elizabeth doesn't believe what we already know. Just in case you're tempted to believe that Olivia wouldn't be throwing herself at someone who is 23/24, Olivia would like to prove you painfully, painfully wrong. In addition to always volunteering to help in class, she offers to come early and help set up for class, stay after class to clean, and looks up Stuart's address so that while she's out running errands and the urge to stop by his apartment is too great... she can actually stop by his apartment on a Saturday morning. Which she does. So early that he's still asleep. Thing is, Stuart is so new to this teaching thing, and so blown away by Olivia's natural talent (and possibly a little flattered that she's interested, though this one is purely speculation), that he invites her up, unchaperoned, to his apartment so they can look through art books and Olivia can drool over him. Somewhere, Enid's spidey sense is tingling big time.

   But what about Lila? you ask. Well, fear not, our ghosty has provided us with some lovely Lila C plot this go round. Lila's father is dating a soap star named Anika Hunt. Apparently she's so popular and famous that when she says jump Hollywood does without a second thought. I'll allow this because once upon a time, soaps were huuuuuuuuuuuge. And besides, Lila's father wouldn't waste his time on some nobody... *cough*
  Lila is so taken by the thought of Anika and her father dating that she goes on and on and ON about it. Which is a nice change of pace, because unlike other flings her father has had, Lila doesn't seem to be plotting to push Anika off a cliff or blackmail her into disappearing. It's refreshing. But then, I do wonder whether Lila really does like her father spending so much time with someone else, time he never spends with her... Whatever. Because Lila is so gaga over Anika, Jessica is sure that Lila is making it up. She never has any proof, like pictures (ah, the days before instant paparazzi hordes descended on anyone just on the off chance they'd get lucky!) or an autograph. Lila points out that she knows her father is dating a star and it would be terribly gauche to ask for an autograph. I mean, really, Wakefield. This is Lila. Why on earth would she lie? I mean, except for that one time... and her shoplifting... and, fine. Okay. I see your point.
  Jess becomes obsessed with proving that Lila is lying, because to believe otherwise would be to concede that Lila is just that fabulous. (She is, though! She is!) Luckily for Jessica, this means that she figures out what she'll be doing for her mini course workshop. She'll be making a lie detector and this time she'll prove Lila's a big, fat liar!
  Lila is completely unaware that her best friend is plotting against her, again (must be Tuesday), as she's a little preoccupied with the realization that she can't sew worth a damn. First she sews the darts of her dress on the wrong side (d'oh!) and then she makes the hem waaaaaaaaay too short and now her teacher is insisting that she wear this travesty in front of the whole school during their little fashion runway. The horror!
  What is a Fowler to do when being threatened by such public humiliation?
  Accidentally uncover the biggest, juiciest piece of gossip to rock the school since... well... you'll see.

   Back to Olivia. At Enid's insistence, Elizabeth has been paying careful attention to the interaction between Stuart and Olivia during class. By now Enid's worrying about whether Stuart realizes how Olivia feels (because the entire class knows, so even Liz has to admit that Olivia's got it bad) but she's willing to allow the thought that maybe Enid isn't cuckoo after all, especially once she hears Stuart and Olivia making plans to see one another. After class. O_O!
  Gasp!
  Shock!

   Before you start thinking something, let Stuart explain. Stuart has been asked to be one of the three speakers at the Riverside Art Academy alumni association's presentation. He's invited Olivia to go along because she's his star pupil and he thinks it would be good for her to meet some of the people at Riverside. Of course Olivia leaps at the chance to go. Thing is, Stuart doesn't realize that to Olivia this is practically a date. To him, he's just helping an aspiring artist. Boys, boys, boys...
   Monday afternoon, Olivia's on top of the world as Stuart introduces her as a talented new artist in his mini course workshop. She's so over the moon that not even people asking where "Monica" is can really bring her down for long. Afterward, Stuart asks if Olivia has to run home already, or if she'll be able to help him out with something. I have a feeling that even if Olivia had to be home immediately after the presentation, she still would have gone shopping with Stuart. Stuart is looking for a present for a special occasion... for a special person. Olivia is sure that he's heard that her birthday is coming up (Friday, the last day of classes!) and she's hoping he's trying to suss out what sort of gift she would like. She finds an absolutely breathtaking picture frame and for half a second Stuart is in love with the piece. But then he comes back down to earth and starts second guessing the genius of it. She's not entirely sure this special occasion is for her, but then she asks Stuart what it is and he tells her not to worry about it and winks at her. Again. Stuart winks a lot and this goes a really long way in making Olivia think he's seriously interested. To some of us, we begin to wonder if he needs his kneecaps taken out.
  Olivia comes home, still riding high on the rush of spending the afternoon with Stuart, and asks if it's okay if she sets up her easel in the basement to work on her painting for class. Her mother agrees and lets Olivia know that she comes by her artistic talent naturally, as her maternal grandmother was also a painter. Olivia is thrilled at this and heads off to artistic glory. When she comes up for air, her mother informs her that she's missed a call. Liv is sure that it's Stuart (...) but Mums tells her it was someone from school named Rod. Olivia is confused until she remembers there's a Rod Sullivan in her English class. Perplexed about why Rod would be calling, we segue way into...
   Rod running into Liv at school. He seems perfectly nice but Olivia is still so enamored with Stuart that poor Rod is written off as a nice guy before he even asks Olivia out. Which he does. And she turns him down. Stuart shows up and flirts a bit with Olivia, but not in a sketchy way. He caught Rod running off and teases Olivia who is sure that his, "Well, he has good taste" comment is a SIGN. Oi.
  Later, Olivia tells Enid and Elizabeth that she doesn't want to hang out with them on her birthday because she's sure that Stuart has something planned for her. Enid and Liz exchange glances as Olivia floats off into the stratosphere.
  Liv finds out that the 22nd (her birthday), Stuart has an exhibit opening at the museum. Which means he can't have a birthday surprise planned for her after all. Olivia feels like a complete ass for a half a second because she's told her parents she doesn't want to do anything and she's just told Enid and Elizabeth the same thing. Oh, cruel fate! But then, before her shame spiral really gets going, Stuart asks that she attend because he has a surprise for her.
  Naturally, Olivia is sure that this means True Love! My cringing for fictional characters probably began with this book, y'know.

   Come Friday, things have gotten a little bit twisty in our B/C plots. Jessica's lie detector is coming along perfectly, probably because Randy Mason has done all the work on it. Jessica is sure that she's going to catch Lila in her lie and then the whole school will know how desperate Lila is for attention. (Pot, kettle. Kettle, pot.) Lila is desperate to avoid wearing badly sewn hooker wear, so she's managed to convince Jessica to loan her the dress that's nearly an exact replica of the dress Lila would have sewn... if Lila had any skill as a seamstress. Or, you know, as much as one could have in two weeks without prior experience. She promises to tell Jessica her juicy gossip, especially as it so directly deals with Jessica's family. Jessica is intrigued, but Lila keeps not having to spill because other people keep interrupting.
  Jessica sets up her lie detector and has Winston try it out. Blah, blah, blah, he owes money to Ken. With that out of the way, Jess grabs Lila, who quietly begs Jessica not to expose the dress switch. Jess asks about Anika Hunt and... Lila is telling the truth. Jessica is so distracted that she isn't really paying attention to anything else. Olivia is roped into participating, but some jackass in the back of the crowd asks if she's really in love with Stuart. Olivia turns red as can be and tears out of the room, ready to rip Elizabeth a new one when the sensitive twin follows her. You'd think by now Elizabeth would be sort of used to people screaming at her for spilling their secrets...

   Olivia goes to Stuart's exhibit and quickly realizes her shitty day is just going to get worse. Monica, it turns out, is Stuart's glamorous, beautiful girlfriend who had been out of town Monday. It also happens to be her birthday and Stuart bought her a beautiful picture frame. Poor, poor Olivia. As she's about to lose it, Stuart appears and shows her his surprise. He's taken her painting from class and put it on display because he believes so strongly in her talent. Olivia is blown away by this as well as the realization of how desperate she was.
  It probably doesn't hurt that she's sure that her birthday is ruined since she kept telling people she had other plans... and those plans aren't happening; they never were. Realizing how out of it she was, she stops by Casa Wakefield and appologies to Liz for trying to decapitate her. Liz forgives and forgets. Then Liv goes home, still a little shaken in ways good and bad, and her mother tells her that while they knew she made plans, her parents would like to take her out to dinner. Olivia agrees, and her mother sends her off to pick up her father because his car is in the shop.
  Only it's not. It's a surprise party that her parents had been planning all along! Stuart and Monica show up and everything! Cuz that's not awkward in the slightest! Good, good times!

   But wait. What about Lila's secret? For whatever reason, Jessica has brought along the streamlined version of her lie detector to the party. Her classmates make her admit that she had serious help with the creation of her project (fine, so she lied, but they knew it) and then Jess pounces on putting Liz on the hot seat. Thing is, she can't think of anything to ask. So Lila, sporting a Cheshire Cat smile, asks how well Elizabeth and Jeffrey will fare once Todd Wilkins moves back to the Valley.

  Dun.
  Dun.
  DUN!

  Winston freaks out because no one else is supposed to know and everyone is more than a little relieved that Jeffrey couldn't make it to the party because dude, so awkward, but still. Todd! Is! Coming! Back!

   Well played Fowler. Well played.


Trivia:

  • Arts and Vocations program is the official name of the mini courses/workshops being explored this go round. There are no grades, but at the end of two weeks, you will have to show off what you've been working on in front of the whole school. In order to make room for an extra class, five minutes were shaved off each class, including lunch, and ten minutes were tacked onto the end of the day resulting in a fifty minute class that starts at 2:15.

  • This means that SVH has seven classes, plus lunch, a day. Ah, math.

  • The workshops are only for juniors and seniors. How does this work for the freshmen and sophomores? Are there two sets of bells? (It's not unheard of.) Do they just go about their normal classes because at best, only a handful of sophomores might be in classes with upperclassmen? Do they go home early? Do they all get crammed into homeroom or studyhall or something?

  • Workshops offered: film making, pottery, electronics, dress design, modern dance, painting, jewelry design, nutrition and fitness, printing, and engineering.

  • Jessica chooses film making, pottery, electronics, and dress design as her four choices, in that order.

  • Olivia sees DeeDee & Bill, Winston & Maria, and Jeffrey & Elizabeth all as she's feeling particularly lonely and all one right after the other. This place really is the Ark, Davidson. Pair up or shove off!

  • Enid understands Olivia's loneliness while Elizabeth is a bit baffled by it. Enid points out that when you're single, and not necessarily by choice, it can be hard seeing everyone else paired up, and later Olivia will point out that of course Liz wouldn't get it. She's been with Todd and then Jeffrey... and we all chime in on the names of the boys Olivia missed because she doesn't know Liz's inability to be faithful.

  • Winston, Jeffrey, Jessica, and Randy Mason (as well as five other boys) are in the electronics workshop taught by Bill Drexel.

  • Bill Drexel is skinny with wirerim glasses that sit crookedly on his nose, a penchant for drab, nondescript suits, and he works in an electronics firm.

  • Cara Walker got poetry, her second choice, in stead of painting.

  • Maria Santelli originally claims that she's in nutrition and fitness and not modern dance, her first choice, but later she's seen in painting class.

  • The painting class has Elizabeth, Enid, Olivia, Caroline, and Maria, as well as five others girls who are never mentioned. Maybe they're seniors.

  • Lila plans to make a strapless sundress like the one she saw in Ingenue that also happens to be a double of one Jessica recently bought.

  • Some of the workshop teachers are from San Diego and L.A.

  • Elinore Whitcomb is the dress design adviser/teacher/whatever. Lila claims she looks a little like Anika Hunt.

  • Anika Hunt is on the hit soap, "The Willoughbys" and is currently dating Lila's father.

  • Unlike 99.9% of the women he dates, Lila seems incredibly enthusiastic about Anika Hunt. Possibly because she's famous and it gives Lila a subplot, or maybe Lila's getting lonely again, although truthfully it sounds like Anika keeps Mr. Fowler away more than you would think Lila would like.

  • Stuart Bachman is the painting instructor and he's apparently so hot that most of the girls in the program take notice, and probably some of the boys. Just guessing on that last one because you know they don't allow for that just yet. Anyway, he's got dark, long-ish curly hair, "stylish glasses", green eyes, prefers to be called Stuart and not "Mr. Bachman", and has been an artist since he was five. He doesn't take roll in class. He's a graphic designer at a fashion company and designs logos and helps design ads for the company. But his passion, his passion y'all, is "painting." He went to Riverside Art Academy, his father is a history professor, and his mother is a book keeper. He's a night owl and thus, not much of a morning person, as he tends to work all night and sleep in til noon, at the earliest.

  • The first thing Stuart has his class do is guess what he means by an exercise in color. Enid guesses that it might be painting different colors next to one another, and Caroline offers that maybe it's painting different shades of the same color next to one another. When it's Olivia's turn, she suggests (very shyly) that maybe it's painting a color without ever using it. She uses green as an example and bam! She has guessed the first real assignment for the class.

  • Caroline tries, sort of, not to laugh in Olivia's face before Stuart announces that Olivia's guess was the right one. Suck it, Pierce.

  • The electronics workshop is to design and create a project that will be finished in less than two weeks.

  • Randy wants to make a robotic calculator.

  • Winston throws out various ideas including musical toaster, electronic page turner, and voice activated coffee maker. Bill Drexler looks more worried by each suggestion. Ultimately he goes with a voice activated toaster.

  • Jeffrey is writing a computer game and it's not as easy as he thought it would be.

  • Olivia took a watercolor class last year at the community center.

  • Liv usually wears a peasant style wrap skirt, big hoop earrings, a pastel tee shirt, sandals, and lots of beads.

  • The second day of the workshops, Liv is dressed in a body hugging black dress, leather boots, a leather jacket, large triangular earrings that freak Jeffrey out, and her hair is slicked back with gel. According to a couple of sources, she looks like a model. Me, I can't get past the hair thing.

  • Some of Olivia's newfound magazine obsessions include Art World, and A, which has an interview with Stuart.

  • Stuart and Olivia share the same favorite artist, David Hockney. Stu has Olivia wax poetic about Hockney's use of colors and shapes to the class.

  • Olivia expects to find Stuart in the library at lunch, but instead finds him in the art room. I don't understand why he'd be at the school that early to begin with.

  • Jessica's at a loss for what to do for her electronics project. The best she can come up with is a heated coat hanger but she doesn't really think that's a good idea.

  • Stuart assigns his class a trip to the art museum over the weekend. They're to find a painting and then write an essay about what the artist was trying to convey/do.

  • When Jessica is late to class, she's paired up with Randy. I find this a little hard to believe since Randy is known for being a genius. You'd think the other guys in the class would *want* to pair up with Randy, if only because he'd be able to help make their project that much better.

  • Randy Mason: short, small, with braces on both his upper and lower teeth, wears hopelessly outdated corduroy jeans, and has a calculator in his back pocket.

  • Olivia tracks down Stuart's address from a copy of the Alumni catalog for Riverside Art Academy and then drives past his apartment building. She stops and visits #214, which is his apartment.

  • Olivia's father is six years older than her mother.

  • Liv is so caught up in her fixation with Stuart that she doesn't have the proofs for the Arts section of the Oracle.

  • Stuart doesn't like borders, at least in art.

  • Ty Rourke is a hot, new producer in Hollywood. (I've gotta say I probably couldn't ID any producer in Hollywood.) Anika is taking George to the set of the Willoughbys and then they'll hang out at Ty's for dinner.

  • Saturday morning, with less than a week to go, Olivia's mother asks what Liv would like to do for her birthday. Liv lets her mother plan her birthday and still doesn't suspect the surprise birthday Mrs. D plans.

  • Lila sews the darts of her dress backwards/inside out. Then she tries to lengthen the hem of her dress, only to chop it off and make it shorter and now it's skank-length I guess.

  • Olivia and Stuart leave SVH at 4pm and the art lecture at Riverside is over by 5:30, even with three speakers. (Stuart was the first one.)

  • Domain is a store that sells sleek, ultra modern stuff which also happens to be really expensive.

  • Olivia finds "a picture frame made of light wood with darker wood inlaid in a geometric pattern." Stuart declares it perfect about half a second before backing off.

  • Liv's maternal Grandmother Lea died before Liv was born, and she was also a painter, but did not live in a time when she could pursue her artistic love.

  • Rod Sullivan is in Olivia's English class. He's thin with light brown hair, tortoiseshell glasses, and seems to be the sort to become more good looking the more you get to know him. He's taking the printing workshop and wants to help punch up the Oracle. He'd also like to date Olivia.

  • Elizabeth gets uncharacteristically mad at Jess for leaving Liz's "good, silk blouse" lying on the closet floor. Usually when Liz is pissed about these things, there's an underlying cause, but Jessica's been too preoccupied with being mad at Lila to really do much to Liz, so what gives?

  • Stuart brings a flier for Olivia. It says "New Paintings from Stuart Bachman. Preview, Friday the 22nd, Madison Gallery."

  • So Olivia's birthday is the 22nd of some month.

  • Enid's pulse, when Jessica is setting up her lie detector, is 120 over 80.

  • Liv's mother wants everyone at the Davidson home at eight for the surprise party. For some reason she invites Jessica and Lila (and Amy) and they all go and bring presents and no one acts like this is weird even though Lila and Jessica have both actively plotted against Olivia and repeatedly refer to her as weird over the course of the series. o_O

  • Olivia goes shopping at L'Idee, which is right next to Domain. She buys a dark purple silk jumpsuit and pairs it with a silky scarf, a broad, leather belt, and is instructed to not forget the makeup to truly make a statement.

  • Grandma's birthday check to Liv pays for this.

  • Lila stops at McMahon's Sewing Supplies to pick up some last minute fixits for her doomed dress, and she overhears Winston's mother discussing Bert Wilkins moving back to Sweet Valley.

  • Lila manages to keep this a secret until Olivia's party, when she throws it in Elizabeth's face.

  • Winston owes Ken $25 from a bet he lost.

  • Olivia keeps thinking she's twelve when she's around Stuart.

  • Monica, Stuart's girlfriend, is very, very tall, slender, beautiful with "very classical features", "gorgeous high cheekbones, creamy skin, and beautiful blue eyes." Her blond hair is cut in a simple blunt cut with bangs. She seems on the mature side, but she's very nice to Olivia and not at all bitchy like you would imagine she might be.

  • Stuart designed earrings for Monica.

  • Monica and Olivia share the same birthday.

  • At the gallery preview of Stuart's paintings, Olivia is surprised at the fact that no one is really looking at, or commenting on, the paintings hanging around them. Instead they're gossiping with one another.

  • There's a woman at the preview with bright, turquoise hair.

  • Stuart's surprise for Olivia is that he smuggled her painting to the gallery and displayed it amongst other paintings done by Riverside students, but Olivia has the distinction of being the only artist still in high school and apparently her painting is also generating a fair amount of buzz.

  • George and Anika are going to be part of a feature on the private lives of starlets in Celebrity magazine "next month."

  • Jessica's pulse rate at Liv's party right before she's interrogated about making the lie detector is 72.

  • The fangirl in me squees like crazy at the fact that Ken was at Olivia's birthday party.





Quotable SVH:
  Lila burst out laughing. "Why don't you suggest your own workshop, Jess? Something like 'boys and dating'?"
  " 'Advanced boys and dating,' " Amy Sutton murmured, studying the list. - I love that Amy doesn't even have to pay attention to get a dig in. p2

  She'd had no idea that Olivia had been feeling so down. Olivia was such a pretty, talented girl. Why should she need to have a boyfriend to feel happy? - Normally I agree with the whole "you don't need to be paired up to be happy" philosophy. However, Liv's been single for ages and she's lonely and why is it not okay for her to be lonely for a bit? Why does Liz automatically assume there's something wrong with wanting to be in a relationship when you're single? Let Olivia feel what she feels and then distract her with other activities until either the mood passes or she finds someone. Jesus, Liz. p11

  Enid shook her head. "I don't know. But it doesn't surprise me that much. So many of the girls we know at school have boyfriends. No wonder Olivia feels left out. And I don't blame her for feeling a twinge of jealousy about you and Jeffrey," she added. "You two are such a perfect couple." - Odd how anytime Enid makes comments like this, the ghosties rarely mention Enid's huge crush on Jeffrey and how Elizabeth was supposed to hook those two up and failed. p13


  "Now, Amy," Jessica said calmly, "that is exactly where you're wrong. Don't you know anything about the psychology of lying?" - p56


  Randy covered his mouth with his hand and let out a sound somewhere between a grunt and a giggle. - I... lack the words. p69


  "Jess, I really don't see why you have to be so snide about my father and Anika Hunt. I think it's really nice Daddy finally has a steady girlfriend." She flipped her hair back over her shoulders. "Besides, have you even thought for a minute how hard it is on me, living alone with Daddy without a woman in the house? You ought to be happy for me!" - Oh, Lila. We love you, isn't that enough? p101


  "Well, you're not my mother, Elizabeth. You have no business judging me." - Olivia, where have you been for the last sixty-odd books? This is what Elizabeth *does*. p115

svh


   TC has never been my favorite book of the bunch. I like Olivia, but I hate books/movies/TV shows/whatever where I get to feel painfully embarrassed for someone else. If it's on screen, I have to either cover my ears or turn the channel. Since this is a book and it keeps happening, I have to suck it up and get over it. Or speed read. And then I avoid the book which costs you your monthly snark.
  I like certain things this go round. I like that Enid and Elizabeth are talking about a semi-mutual friend and that while Liz is closer to Liv, it's Enid who understands what the hell is going on and pursues it, even if Liv never really gets that. I love it when someone isn't paired up and isn't thrilled about being single. Except for the saints among us, I think most people who go through an exceptionally long single stage start to get a little stir crazy when everyone else around us is dating (happily, no less) and it makes sense for Olivia to get lonely.
   And I suppose her complete inability to read the writing on the wall concerning Stuart is a nice counterpoint to her magically newfound artistic genius.
  I could have done without all the "Olivia could have died" to show her mortification over things, but hey, I'm no longer the audience intended for these books. :P
  It gives me the giggles that when Lila suggests having Jessica twin-switch with Liz so she can be in Stuart's class, Jessica shoots it down. Not because Liz would see it as Wrong, but because Liz would want to keep the hot teacher for herself. Oh, Jessica... sometimes I'm not sure you know your twin at all. And then I think about the super secret diaries and realize you really do know your twin best of all.
the_oracle: (plotting)
Caught In The Middle
January 1988


Is love enough to keep Sandra and Manuel together?

Off-limits...



   Sandra Bacon has finally found a boy to love. Manuel Lopez is kind, sensitive, and handsome, and he cares about Sandra as much as she cares about him.
   But there is one problem: Sandy's parents don't approve of Manuel. So the couple must keep their love and their precious moments together a secret.
   Then eyewitnesses place Manuel at the scene of a life-threatening accident, and only Sandy can clear his name. If she tells the truth, she may lose her parents' trust and love; but if she doesn't, she will certainly lose Manuel forever.

  So. Mexicans are people, too, right? Yeah, I think we all knew this going in the first go round, but twenty-some odd years later, really. We get it. That said, this would be another star-crossed lovers book. And one I hated for years as a kid simply because this cover did not belong in my collection. It was WRONG. Not because Manuel is Mexican, or because there is no way in Hades that those two on the cover are high school juniors, but because it was lacking in Wakefield. And color. Really, really blah. And I like grey, but this was pushing it.

  Anyway. Sandy Bacon has earned herself another book, only this time she finally gets a guy. He's handsome, he's charming, he's a gentleman, he's kind, he's totally not realistic in anyway, because he's perfect. Except for the fact that he's Mexican. This doesn't bother Sandy, but it might very well kill her racist parents. We're told that Sandy's father wrote a letter to the editor about how the Mexicans [how many times will I have to type the word Mexican?] are taking over and ... good lord, man. Ahead of your time.
   So, in the tradition of all great loves kept apart by disapproving parents, Sandy lies. A lot. At first she lies to Manuel about why he hasn't met her parents yet. She says they're really busy a lot and this might've gone on longer had Manuel [I really want to call him Manny. Damn you, TV show!] not overheard her lying to her parents about where she was. Sandy confesses that as awesome as Manuel is, her parents would just see him as someone unfit to date their daughter because they've got a raging hatred of zee Mexicans. I wonder if it's just the Mexicans or if anyone not whiter than white would also be greeted at the door with a shotgun and a shovel?
  Manuel understands that some people in the world are just stupid, but really believes that if her parents met him they'd see how awesome he is too! Nice ego there, mate. But I have to agree. Manuel is the perfect boyfriend, if a little on the dull side. Sandy agrees, but also doesn't. She knows her parents and she's highly doubtful that they'd see anything other than the color of his skin and the parade of all the other people they've hated before him. They wouldn't see Manuel at all. Still, she agrees to try and talk to them.
   And she does. She tries the hypothetical, "Mom, what if I fell in love with someone who was, I dunno, Mexican. Would you be happy that I found someone who loves plain old me, or would you call the cops and have him escorted from the premises while shouting horrible things to him?" Yeah, not quite that phrasing, but that would have been fun. Sandy's mother does that country club laugh and tells Sandy that she's got a vivid imagination, but why oh why would she think of such a thing? At Sandy's next approach she points out that love is hard enough without the added burden of being from different backgrounds, so she'd have to say no to that on those grounds as well.
  At this point I'd have lost my sanity and just blurted it out, or waited until we were in public somewhere that a mob probably wouldn't have formed and just crash-introduced them. I don't have the patience Sandy or Manuel seem to have, y'know?
   Still, Manuel's tired of having to pick Sandy up someplace other than her home. He's tired of sneaking around and feeling bad about himself. He's tired of Sandy lying.
  And Jeanie West is tired of covering for Sandy. I can see how exhausting that would be, given that Jeanie's and Sandy's mothers hang out a lot, but that, honey, that was your in. If Jeanie's mother doesn't share Mrs. Bacon's views, talk. to. her. Have her talk to your mother for, or at least with you, Sandy. DUH.

   Instead, this is Sweet Valley and we haven't had an explosion in a very long time. So, we're off to Secca Lake where we can blow shit up without anyone batting an eyelash.
  Sandy invites Liz on her boating date with Manuel so she can tell her mother that she was out with Liz. She tells Liz it'll be fun and leaves out the part where she's using the other blond, and tells Manny that Liz invited herself along. Charming.
  While out on Sandy's motor boat, something goes wrong with the engine and the ensuing explosion sends Liz and Manuel flying into the water. Sandy doesn't get so lucky and is knocked unconscious and left on the burning boat. Manuel swims back to save Sandy before the boat can explode [gas cans and fire, children] and all three manage to swim far enough away that when the boat does blow, they aren't hurt anymore than they were before.
  On shore, Sandy wakes up enough to thank Manuel for saving her life, but then tells him to get lost as she can't have her parents finding out about him. Liz will take the hero-credit and all will be right with the world.
   Manuel and Elizabeth are both stunned, but neither can manage to articulate the fact that if ever Sandy was going to tell her family about Manuel, doing so when he's the frickin' HERO who saved her life would be the time.
  Manuel disappears and Liz reluctantly takes the spotlight.
  It's not until the police suspect someone tampered with Sandy's boat, given the description numerous witnesses gave of there being three people near the boat before it went into the water and only two taking credit for having been there after, that Manuel realizes that maybe Sandy's never going to come clean with her parents. Sandy's parents are called to the police station and they take Sandy with them. For one completely awful moment, Sandy tells everyone that she's never seen Manuel before in her life. The police decide this means he really did do something to the boat and are about to take him away when Manuel plays the perfect boyfriend card again.
   Instead of yelling or screaming or calling her a bitch [or any real show of temper whatsoever] Manuel asks how Sandy could do this. And Sandy crumbles and admits she's in love with Manuel and that he saved her life and she was so ashamed of her parents and afraid of how they'd see Manuel, how they'd treat him, that she was ready to... to what, Sandy? See if you could get him sent to frickin' jail? That's bad for any relationship, honey.
   Sandy's parents asks Liz, who has timed her arrival just right so as to be there to hear Sandy's confession and back her up, if this is true, and she does that backing Sandy thing up.
  Sandy's father asks Manuel if it's true, if he's in love with Sandy, if he risked his life to save her, and if he would have taken the rap for something he didn't do. Manuel says yes, yes, and are you crazy? Mr. Bacon is awfully accepting of Manuel, considering he's the one we were warned about first. It's really Mrs. B who has the issues and she tries to get over them, but it's obviously a struggle. Ah, reality...
   It all ends well, with Manuel and Sandy together again, Manuel not being sore over Sandy lying to the police about him, and Liz no longer being the heroine of the hour.

   In our sadly underused B-story for the week, it's Lila's birthday. Again. Didn't she already have a birthday? No matter. Jessica decides to throw Lila a surprise-surprise party. They'll all ignore Lila on her birthday and the weeks leading up to it, all the better to really surprise her the day after with the party to end all party! Which 30 people will show up to.
  It all goes as planned. Lila's feelings are hurt for more than a week, but give her one hour or so of being the center of attention again and she's cool with everyone.
  I hate this storyline in that it's awful to be that much of a bitch to someone and include other people so that someone will feel that low all for one euphoric high. Also, it kept making me hope that when people had forgotten my birthday, they were really just pretending.
  They weren't.



Trivia:

  • Jessica gripes that Liz won't go anywhere without Jeffrey.*

  • Ricky is still the cheerleaders' manager.

  • Cheerleading practice starts earlier on Tuesday afternoons.

  • Jessica agrees with Sandy as they both think Sandy is average, though Jess will admit that since falling for Manuel, Sandy's begun to glow.

  • Manuel is a junior at SVH with dark, curly hair, and chocolate brown eyes. He's taller than Sandy, but not too tall, so she doesn't get a crick in her neck looking up at him and kissing doesn't involve apple crates. He's got four little brothers and one younger sister and he works part time after school as an assistant track coach at the elementary school.

  • Manuel's siblings: Carlos is 6, then Juan, Pedro, Miguel, and Maria is 13.

  • Sandy meets Manuel's extended family at his cousin's birthday party.

  • Jessica dreams that Lila tires of being rich, so she writes Jessica a check for all Daddy Fowler's money.

  • Lila's birthday is in a week at the start of the book.

  • Sandy still has three unnamed older brothers.

  • Sandy's parents bought their Spanish-style house ten years ago.

  • There were riots in Los Perros and people were hurt, which just added fuel to Sandy's parents' bigotry. Or something.

  • Sandy's mother, Irene, is forever going on about how she was raised in a racially charged environment and that skewed her view as it were.

  • The Bacons are members of the country club.

  • Mr. Bacon works at a local advertising agency.

  • Sandy is sure that Carl Pierce, the guy her parents want her to date, is going to be blond, blue eyed, and terribly boring because he loves golf. No clue if he is though. I kept thinking, "Whoa, Caroline Pierce?"

  • Cara feels badly for Lila until Jessica reminds her that Lila made a snotty comment about Cara's wardrobe being two years out of style.

  • Jessica and Cara pretend they're going with Amy to see "the Boys" in concert at Westwood Stadium on Lila's birthday.

  • Sandy says she's going to Casey's and she'll be picked up at Enid's. Does Sandy really spend enough time with Enid that this alone wouldn't raise Irene's suspicions, or is there some other life we don't know Enid has?

  • Sandy got a speedboat for her last birthday and it's called Solar One.

  • Manuel worked at the Secca Lake Boat house last summer.

  • Mr. Fowler offered to take Lila to Jacque's in San Mirabel for her birthday dinner.

  • Jessica describes the banner she and Cara are making for Lila's birthday as a "trade union banner" with each panel depicting an aspect of Lila, like... "Lila Shopping" or "Lila Giving Parties."

  • Enid's grandfather died a few months ago and she's hoping to convince her grandmother to move from Chicago to California.

  • Sandy drives her mother's Toyota. What, she doesn't have her own car, but she has a motorboat?

  • Elizabeth introduces Sandy and Manuel to Alice, but shouldn't Mrs. Wakefield know who Sandy is by now? She's been on the cheerleading squad off and on for at least two years and she's definitely B-list of Jessica's friends and had to have gone to other parties Jessica and Liz have thrown over the year.

  • Don is the park ranger who asks Sandy and Liz questions after the explosion.

  • There's a blond guy who called for the ambulance, and he tries to convince Don that he and his friend Bert both saw a guy with Liz and Sandy. Don tells him to take a hike because he's upsetting Sandy. Brilliant.

  • Local Girl Saves Friend In Boating Accident- Headline the next day in the Sweet Valley News.

  • Mrs. Abernathy is still the PTA president.

  • Sandy suffers second degree burns on her palms after the accident.

  • The Bacons give Elizabeth a lovely rope link gold bracelet from Stowe's, the nicest jewelery store in town. Dude, Sandy's loaded.

  • Blue is Manuel's favorite color.

  • Pete Young is the coach at Sweet Valley Elementary.

  • Officer Richard Patterson and Sergeant James take Manuel in for questioning.

  • Jeffrey and Elizabeth make Lila a 'Surprise Surprise Party!' banner.

  • Around 30 people attend Lila's birthday party at the Wakefields. So, that'd be... Jessica, Elizabeth, Jeffrey, Cara, Amy, Enid...

  • There's foreshadowing in this book for Jessica to fall head over heels for AJ. Some might argue that it's for any big Jessica crush, but all the "one day you'll understand when you really, truly fall" and the "ready for one of your infamous Jessica-style head over heels" type discussions smack more of AJ than boy of the week.

  • Also, despite Double Jeopardy coming between this and the last book, we pick up right after Outcast. Right. After.



*I hate it when people neglect their friends/family simply because they're dating/married/shackled to someone else. It's annoying. Stop it!

Quotable Sweet Valley:

"Come inside and help me make dinner," she begged.
"Make dinner?" Lila said blankly.
"Yeah, it's what the rest of the world does while your cook makes yours." - I applaud the Jessica/Lila exchange, even if we've already seen Li half-assedly help the Wakefields make dinner at least once before. p 12

Sandra felt she had to pinch herself to prove she wasn't coming. - ...I... I had to re-read that twelve times, and another time this morning, because I was sure that my eyes were playing tricks on me. They might still be. p 18


"Come on, Liz. Manuel really wants you to come, too." This last comment couldn't have been farther from the truth, but Sandra figured she would have plenty of time to convince Manuel that Elizabeth would make the outing even more fun. - p 75. Because I'm mean, I'll take this to mean that even before Liz was named Heroine of the year, Manuel didn't particularly care for Saint Liz. :P

"Jessica," Elizabeth said reproachfully, "don't you have the tiniest little sense of right and wrong?"
Jessica reached for another piece of toast. "Not in this case," she said cheerfully. "You're only going to mess things up if you start worrying about the truth now." - Sometimes Elizabeth surprises me with just how often she can misjudge her twin's morality levels. p102



   I dragged my feet in starting to re-read Caught in the Middle because it's never been one of my favorites. Partly it's that I think the cover is painfully boring, and as happy as I am that Sandy got a second cover, this is just blah, and I spend more time trying to figure out what, aside from the art, could be done to fix it than I did actually reading the book itself.
   Thing is, it's not a bad book. Yeah, it's obviously one of those Very Special Issue books, but it attempts to wobble that line between exceptionally preachy and just plain after school special. I'm not entirely sure where it falls because I cut it slack for being a young adult book written for an ongoing series in the 80's as well as it being SVH, so the standards, I admit, are considerably lower than what I'd expect for most other things.
   Manuel's a bit of a saint, even if I tire of typing his name out each time. He's also probably a better boyfriend than anyone the Wakefields ever hook up with. I like that "plain" Sandy gets the great guy, and I like that they didn't have Sandy magically grow the stones to tell her parents immediately, and that her mother was still having trouble accepting Manuel even after she found out he'd saved her baby's life. Can't really say that this book made me like Sandy all that much. There's a line you don't cross, and telling the cops you don't know your boyfriend? Yeah, that leaps across that line, backs up, and then drags the carcass of your relationship back over the line.
   Normally I'm all for a Lila subplot, but dude, hasn't this one been done before already? In this series? Maybe it's just that I swear they trot this out at least once in every SV series where Lila plays any part whatsoever. Bah.
   Final verdict: You could do worse. You could, however, do better.



P.S.- If you've got the re-released cover and you want to share, I'll love you. Forever. There's always gotta be one cover that's a bitch to find. Meh.
the_oracle: (plotting)
Caught In The Middle
January 1988


Is love enough to keep Sandra and Manuel together?

Off-limits...



   Sandra Bacon has finally found a boy to love. Manuel Lopez is kind, sensitive, and handsome, and he cares about Sandra as much as she cares about him.
   But there is one problem: Sandy's parents don't approve of Manuel. So the couple must keep their love and their precious moments together a secret.
   Then eyewitnesses place Manuel at the scene of a life-threatening accident, and only Sandy can clear his name. If she tells the truth, she may lose her parents' trust and love; but if she doesn't, she will certainly lose Manuel forever.

  So. Mexicans are people, too, right? Yeah, I think we all knew this going in the first go round, but twenty-some odd years later, really. We get it. That said, this would be another star-crossed lovers book. And one I hated for years as a kid simply because this cover did not belong in my collection. It was WRONG. Not because Manuel is Mexican, or because there is no way in Hades that those two on the cover are high school juniors, but because it was lacking in Wakefield. And color. Really, really blah. And I like grey, but this was pushing it.

  Anyway. Sandy Bacon has earned herself another book, only this time she finally gets a guy. He's handsome, he's charming, he's a gentleman, he's kind, he's totally not realistic in anyway, because he's perfect. Except for the fact that he's Mexican. This doesn't bother Sandy, but it might very well kill her racist parents. We're told that Sandy's father wrote a letter to the editor about how the Mexicans [how many times will I have to type the word Mexican?] are taking over and ... good lord, man. Ahead of your time.
   So, in the tradition of all great loves kept apart by disapproving parents, Sandy lies. A lot. At first she lies to Manuel about why he hasn't met her parents yet. She says they're really busy a lot and this might've gone on longer had Manuel [I really want to call him Manny. Damn you, TV show!] not overheard her lying to her parents about where she was. Sandy confesses that as awesome as Manuel is, her parents would just see him as someone unfit to date their daughter because they've got a raging hatred of zee Mexicans. I wonder if it's just the Mexicans or if anyone not whiter than white would also be greeted at the door with a shotgun and a shovel?
  Manuel understands that some people in the world are just stupid, but really believes that if her parents met him they'd see how awesome he is too! Nice ego there, mate. But I have to agree. Manuel is the perfect boyfriend, if a little on the dull side. Sandy agrees, but also doesn't. She knows her parents and she's highly doubtful that they'd see anything other than the color of his skin and the parade of all the other people they've hated before him. They wouldn't see Manuel at all. Still, she agrees to try and talk to them.
   And she does. She tries the hypothetical, "Mom, what if I fell in love with someone who was, I dunno, Mexican. Would you be happy that I found someone who loves plain old me, or would you call the cops and have him escorted from the premises while shouting horrible things to him?" Yeah, not quite that phrasing, but that would have been fun. Sandy's mother does that country club laugh and tells Sandy that she's got a vivid imagination, but why oh why would she think of such a thing? At Sandy's next approach she points out that love is hard enough without the added burden of being from different backgrounds, so she'd have to say no to that on those grounds as well.
  At this point I'd have lost my sanity and just blurted it out, or waited until we were in public somewhere that a mob probably wouldn't have formed and just crash-introduced them. I don't have the patience Sandy or Manuel seem to have, y'know?
   Still, Manuel's tired of having to pick Sandy up someplace other than her home. He's tired of sneaking around and feeling bad about himself. He's tired of Sandy lying.
  And Jeanie West is tired of covering for Sandy. I can see how exhausting that would be, given that Jeanie's and Sandy's mothers hang out a lot, but that, honey, that was your in. If Jeanie's mother doesn't share Mrs. Bacon's views, talk. to. her. Have her talk to your mother for, or at least with you, Sandy. DUH.

   Instead, this is Sweet Valley and we haven't had an explosion in a very long time. So, we're off to Secca Lake where we can blow shit up without anyone batting an eyelash.
  Sandy invites Liz on her boating date with Manuel so she can tell her mother that she was out with Liz. She tells Liz it'll be fun and leaves out the part where she's using the other blond, and tells Manny that Liz invited herself along. Charming.
  While out on Sandy's motor boat, something goes wrong with the engine and the ensuing explosion sends Liz and Manuel flying into the water. Sandy doesn't get so lucky and is knocked unconscious and left on the burning boat. Manuel swims back to save Sandy before the boat can explode [gas cans and fire, children] and all three manage to swim far enough away that when the boat does blow, they aren't hurt anymore than they were before.
  On shore, Sandy wakes up enough to thank Manuel for saving her life, but then tells him to get lost as she can't have her parents finding out about him. Liz will take the hero-credit and all will be right with the world.
   Manuel and Elizabeth are both stunned, but neither can manage to articulate the fact that if ever Sandy was going to tell her family about Manuel, doing so when he's the frickin' HERO who saved her life would be the time.
  Manuel disappears and Liz reluctantly takes the spotlight.
  It's not until the police suspect someone tampered with Sandy's boat, given the description numerous witnesses gave of there being three people near the boat before it went into the water and only two taking credit for having been there after, that Manuel realizes that maybe Sandy's never going to come clean with her parents. Sandy's parents are called to the police station and they take Sandy with them. For one completely awful moment, Sandy tells everyone that she's never seen Manuel before in her life. The police decide this means he really did do something to the boat and are about to take him away when Manuel plays the perfect boyfriend card again.
   Instead of yelling or screaming or calling her a bitch [or any real show of temper whatsoever] Manuel asks how Sandy could do this. And Sandy crumbles and admits she's in love with Manuel and that he saved her life and she was so ashamed of her parents and afraid of how they'd see Manuel, how they'd treat him, that she was ready to... to what, Sandy? See if you could get him sent to frickin' jail? That's bad for any relationship, honey.
   Sandy's parents asks Liz, who has timed her arrival just right so as to be there to hear Sandy's confession and back her up, if this is true, and she does that backing Sandy thing up.
  Sandy's father asks Manuel if it's true, if he's in love with Sandy, if he risked his life to save her, and if he would have taken the rap for something he didn't do. Manuel says yes, yes, and are you crazy? Mr. Bacon is awfully accepting of Manuel, considering he's the one we were warned about first. It's really Mrs. B who has the issues and she tries to get over them, but it's obviously a struggle. Ah, reality...
   It all ends well, with Manuel and Sandy together again, Manuel not being sore over Sandy lying to the police about him, and Liz no longer being the heroine of the hour.

   In our sadly underused B-story for the week, it's Lila's birthday. Again. Didn't she already have a birthday? No matter. Jessica decides to throw Lila a surprise-surprise party. They'll all ignore Lila on her birthday and the weeks leading up to it, all the better to really surprise her the day after with the party to end all party! Which 30 people will show up to.
  It all goes as planned. Lila's feelings are hurt for more than a week, but give her one hour or so of being the center of attention again and she's cool with everyone.
  I hate this storyline in that it's awful to be that much of a bitch to someone and include other people so that someone will feel that low all for one euphoric high. Also, it kept making me hope that when people had forgotten my birthday, they were really just pretending.
  They weren't.



Trivia:

  • Jessica gripes that Liz won't go anywhere without Jeffrey.*

  • Ricky is still the cheerleaders' manager.

  • Cheerleading practice starts earlier on Tuesday afternoons.

  • Jessica agrees with Sandy as they both think Sandy is average, though Jess will admit that since falling for Manuel, Sandy's begun to glow.

  • Manuel is a junior at SVH with dark, curly hair, and chocolate brown eyes. He's taller than Sandy, but not too tall, so she doesn't get a crick in her neck looking up at him and kissing doesn't involve apple crates. He's got four little brothers and one younger sister and he works part time after school as an assistant track coach at the elementary school.

  • Manuel's siblings: Carlos is 6, then Juan, Pedro, Miguel, and Maria is 13.

  • Sandy meets Manuel's extended family at his cousin's birthday party.

  • Jessica dreams that Lila tires of being rich, so she writes Jessica a check for all Daddy Fowler's money.

  • Lila's birthday is in a week at the start of the book.

  • Sandy still has three unnamed older brothers.

  • Sandy's parents bought their Spanish-style house ten years ago.

  • There were riots in Los Perros and people were hurt, which just added fuel to Sandy's parents' bigotry. Or something.

  • Sandy's mother, Irene, is forever going on about how she was raised in a racially charged environment and that skewed her view as it were.

  • The Bacons are members of the country club.

  • Mr. Bacon works at a local advertising agency.

  • Sandy is sure that Carl Pierce, the guy her parents want her to date, is going to be blond, blue eyed, and terribly boring because he loves golf. No clue if he is though. I kept thinking, "Whoa, Caroline Pierce?"

  • Cara feels badly for Lila until Jessica reminds her that Lila made a snotty comment about Cara's wardrobe being two years out of style.

  • Jessica and Cara pretend they're going with Amy to see "the Boys" in concert at Westwood Stadium on Lila's birthday.

  • Sandy says she's going to Casey's and she'll be picked up at Enid's. Does Sandy really spend enough time with Enid that this alone wouldn't raise Irene's suspicions, or is there some other life we don't know Enid has?

  • Sandy got a speedboat for her last birthday and it's called Solar One.

  • Manuel worked at the Secca Lake Boat house last summer.

  • Mr. Fowler offered to take Lila to Jacque's in San Mirabel for her birthday dinner.

  • Jessica describes the banner she and Cara are making for Lila's birthday as a "trade union banner" with each panel depicting an aspect of Lila, like... "Lila Shopping" or "Lila Giving Parties."

  • Enid's grandfather died a few months ago and she's hoping to convince her grandmother to move from Chicago to California.

  • Sandy drives her mother's Toyota. What, she doesn't have her own car, but she has a motorboat?

  • Elizabeth introduces Sandy and Manuel to Alice, but shouldn't Mrs. Wakefield know who Sandy is by now? She's been on the cheerleading squad off and on for at least two years and she's definitely B-list of Jessica's friends and had to have gone to other parties Jessica and Liz have thrown over the year.

  • Don is the park ranger who asks Sandy and Liz questions after the explosion.

  • There's a blond guy who called for the ambulance, and he tries to convince Don that he and his friend Bert both saw a guy with Liz and Sandy. Don tells him to take a hike because he's upsetting Sandy. Brilliant.

  • Local Girl Saves Friend In Boating Accident- Headline the next day in the Sweet Valley News.

  • Mrs. Abernathy is still the PTA president.

  • Sandy suffers second degree burns on her palms after the accident.

  • The Bacons give Elizabeth a lovely rope link gold bracelet from Stowe's, the nicest jewelery store in town. Dude, Sandy's loaded.

  • Blue is Manuel's favorite color.

  • Pete Young is the coach at Sweet Valley Elementary.

  • Officer Richard Patterson and Sergeant James take Manuel in for questioning.

  • Jeffrey and Elizabeth make Lila a 'Surprise Surprise Party!' banner.

  • Around 30 people attend Lila's birthday party at the Wakefields. So, that'd be... Jessica, Elizabeth, Jeffrey, Cara, Amy, Enid...

  • There's foreshadowing in this book for Jessica to fall head over heels for AJ. Some might argue that it's for any big Jessica crush, but all the "one day you'll understand when you really, truly fall" and the "ready for one of your infamous Jessica-style head over heels" type discussions smack more of AJ than boy of the week.

  • Also, despite Double Jeopardy coming between this and the last book, we pick up right after Outcast. Right. After.



*I hate it when people neglect their friends/family simply because they're dating/married/shackled to someone else. It's annoying. Stop it!

Quotable Sweet Valley:

"Come inside and help me make dinner," she begged.
"Make dinner?" Lila said blankly.
"Yeah, it's what the rest of the world does while your cook makes yours." - I applaud the Jessica/Lila exchange, even if we've already seen Li half-assedly help the Wakefields make dinner at least once before. p 12

Sandra felt she had to pinch herself to prove she wasn't coming. - ...I... I had to re-read that twelve times, and another time this morning, because I was sure that my eyes were playing tricks on me. They might still be. p 18


"Come on, Liz. Manuel really wants you to come, too." This last comment couldn't have been farther from the truth, but Sandra figured she would have plenty of time to convince Manuel that Elizabeth would make the outing even more fun. - p 75. Because I'm mean, I'll take this to mean that even before Liz was named Heroine of the year, Manuel didn't particularly care for Saint Liz. :P

"Jessica," Elizabeth said reproachfully, "don't you have the tiniest little sense of right and wrong?"
Jessica reached for another piece of toast. "Not in this case," she said cheerfully. "You're only going to mess things up if you start worrying about the truth now." - Sometimes Elizabeth surprises me with just how often she can misjudge her twin's morality levels. p102



   I dragged my feet in starting to re-read Caught in the Middle because it's never been one of my favorites. Partly it's that I think the cover is painfully boring, and as happy as I am that Sandy got a second cover, this is just blah, and I spend more time trying to figure out what, aside from the art, could be done to fix it than I did actually reading the book itself.
   Thing is, it's not a bad book. Yeah, it's obviously one of those Very Special Issue books, but it attempts to wobble that line between exceptionally preachy and just plain after school special. I'm not entirely sure where it falls because I cut it slack for being a young adult book written for an ongoing series in the 80's as well as it being SVH, so the standards, I admit, are considerably lower than what I'd expect for most other things.
   Manuel's a bit of a saint, even if I tire of typing his name out each time. He's also probably a better boyfriend than anyone the Wakefields ever hook up with. I like that "plain" Sandy gets the great guy, and I like that they didn't have Sandy magically grow the stones to tell her parents immediately, and that her mother was still having trouble accepting Manuel even after she found out he'd saved her baby's life. Can't really say that this book made me like Sandy all that much. There's a line you don't cross, and telling the cops you don't know your boyfriend? Yeah, that leaps across that line, backs up, and then drags the carcass of your relationship back over the line.
   Normally I'm all for a Lila subplot, but dude, hasn't this one been done before already? In this series? Maybe it's just that I swear they trot this out at least once in every SV series where Lila plays any part whatsoever. Bah.
   Final verdict: You could do worse. You could, however, do better.



P.S.- If you've got the re-released cover and you want to share, I'll love you. Forever. There's always gotta be one cover that's a bitch to find. Meh.
the_oracle: (left of normal)
Dangerous Love
March 1984

Are Elizabeth and Todd heading for disaster?

The end of the road for Todd and Elizabeth?


   One of the strictest rules in the Wakefield house is "No motorcycles." Ever since their cousin was killed in a crash, Elizabeth and Jessica have been forbidden to go near them.
   So when Elizabeth's boyfriend Todd drives up on a shiny new Yamaha, she knows there's trouble ahead. She can't ride Todd's bike, but other girls can- and do. And the sight of those girls riding with their arms around Todd is making Elizabeth crazy with jealousy.
  Todd tells her not to worry, but Elizabeth's scared of losing him. Will Todd's new bike drive them apart?


  Ah, Dangerous Love. A true classic of the SV world. Not only do you take Saint Liz out for the count, you repeatedly bash us over the head with tales of Rexy, the oddly named Wakefield cousin and his tragic tale of woe. But a classic. Even if your cover art is a lie. A lie! They rode at night, Liz is in a dress, and I imagine Todd to be a little more dressed up than that. Oh well.
  The story is simple. Todd's been hinting since, what, the third book, that he wants a motorcycle. Liz thought he was all talk for awhile, until he began to seriously begin saving his money and working his cute butt off. But still she didn't mention that the only rule Jessica actually obeys is the little known 37th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Ride A Motorcycle... under penalty of death or twin switching brain wonkiness. Yeah, had Liz told Todd this, we'd be dealing with something a little less dramatic than a coma. But Liz didn't want to force her beliefs on Todd. However, she also didn't want to tell him that she couldn't partake in his dream. This'll drive you nuts if you're logical, but it's also one of the more realistic aspects of the book. Go figure.
  Anyway, none of this really mattered until just recently. The Friday after the surfing championship [see last book], Todd was all set to get his new wheels. Didn't happen for another couple of days after that, but come Monday morning, Todd rides to school in style. Suddenly all the girls are impressed and some of the guys are, too. Especially the dudes in SV's rock band, The Droids. There are about a hundred and thirty-seven jokes I could make there, but I won't. Yet, at least.
  The book begins with Liz driving the Fiat to school with Jessica putting her makeup on in the passenger side. Jess is impressed that Liz managed to finagle use of the Fiat and asks how exactly this little miracle happened. Liz fudges the truth a little and says it's because she needs it to get to the newly re-opened Dairi Burger.* Jessica's such a master of the lie that she knows when she's being fed one, so after she's done being sidetracked by the memory of her flirtation with poison oak, she goes back to needling her twin. Where exactly is Todd, she wonders. Why isn't the wonder-boy toy taking Liz to the DB? Huh, huh huh? Liz confesses that Todd has finally managed to get the bike of his dreams and that despite Jessica's low opinion of him, Todd does NOT know she can't ride the death machine with him.
  And then the world grinds to a halt as Jessica offers fantastic advice. She tells her twin that while she still thinks he's a dumbass for having picked the wrong sister, it's obvious the guy is crazy about Liz. If Liz keeps ducking out of their plans with only vague excuses, not being a great liar and all, Todd is going to assume that Liz has a problem with him, not the bike. To cut out the drama, Liz has to come clean.
  See? Good advice. Scary.
  Before Liz can work up her nerve to do so, we run into Enid. Somewhere between Double Love and now, Enid seems to have been downgraded to someone only Liz and possibly Todd can see. I swear, before she seemed to be semi-popular of her own accord, or hell, maybe simply because one of the Wakefield twins found her good enough to call best friend. Now students walk by her and pay her no attention at all. We seem like we're supposed to pity her or something, and that was not the way she was presented before. Given the way the twins were talked up in Power Play, you'd think anyone they hung around that much would be granted a little bit of cool factor, and not even the drug scandal Jess let slip in Secrets should have diminished it that much, especially given how Enid managed to snag a super hot older guy. But apparently not, or else I'm reading way too much into Enid's little intro. The important thing is that Enid IS fifteen and her mother is throwing her a huge Sweet Sixteen bash. Not like that crap currently on MTV where you wish the parents had been sterilized before unleashing brats that make vintage Jessica look like an angel. Nope, this is kind of the anti-MTVS16. Enid's annoyed by all the fuss her mother is going to, what with fancy invitations, the outlawing of pigs-in-blankets [which I whole heartedly agree with, gross!] and freakouts about flowers. Siiiiiiiigh. Must be nice.
  Now, we return to the motorcycle drama that's been unfolding while I skipped ahead a little. Todd appears on his shiny new wheels, offers Liz a ride, and she runs off. Way to tell the guy the truth, sunshine! Luckily, her morning classes gave her plenty of time to think, and by lunch she's worked up the nerve to tell Todd the truth. She looks everywhere for him, which leads me to wonder how normal it is for a school cafeteria to have a patio, and eventually, thanks to Ken, finds Todd out playing with his new toy. That was a no brainer. Todd offers Liz her hot pink helmet and she declines. A lot. Eventually she spills why she can't ride with him. Ever.
  Once upon a time, long long ago, there was cousin Rexy. Three years older than the twins, Rexy was beloved by all who knew him, or at least Steven, Jessica, and Liz. Rexy badly wanted a motorcycle but his parents said no. Rexy told them to kiss his arse and a few days after his 16th birthday, he bought himself one. The day after that, he plowed into a station wagon and thus the legacy of Rexy was born. No Wakefield shall ever ride the deathtrap known as motorcycle. Even Jessica obeys this one, which just goes to show you how serious they are about it.
  Todd, being the saint of a guy he is, understands up until a point. He wants to talk to Liz's parents and see if they'll reconsider, seeing as he's not a jackass like Rexy. Liz agrees, knowing that if she doesn't, it'll hurt Todd. So Todd invites himself over that night.
  Later, the gang heads to the DB to celebrate the reopening. Liz tries the new clam special and realizes it's disgusting, Jessica shows up with Danny who managed to dent Crunch's van and Crunch freaks out. Before Crunch [I'll never get tired of saying that] punches Danny's pretty face in, Todd shows up on his new bike. Only he's not alone. Mandy Farmer is with him. Mandy who? Yeah, she's some chick working with Todd [and Winston] on a Save the Whales project. She's also hot. Anyway, Liz is jealous, but not so much so that she doesn't notice that Todd saves Danny by merely showing up on his new bike. [Crunch has serious bike envy] John Doherty offers Todd and his lovely lady the new clam special. Only, he means Mandy, not Liz. The drama! [Todd easily corrects this and all three are treated to a vile concoction.]
  Back to Casa Wakefield. We're given another brief interlude with Jessica flipping out about the bike, and then she heads off to Cara's. Todd fails to convince the Wakefields that he's an expert after owning the bike for maybe three days, and Liz is relieved that it's not her decision to make. Which I could bitch about, but I've been there and on less serious matters, too. Sometimes you just don't want to hurt someone's feelings and if someone takes that decision out of your hands, it seems to hurt less, since it's not you rejecting them, but someone forcing your hand.
  Jess has come back in time to overhear this and now she wants something. Jessica wants Liz to ask Enid to fix her [Jess] up with Brian, Enid's favorite cousin, whom they met last summer. Liz doesn't want to ask, what with the aforementioned secret stealing and blabbing problem. But Jess manages to guilt her twin and Liz agrees to ask, but makes no promises as to whether Enid will say yes.
  After a brief interlude where Enid gets to ride Todd's bike and Liz is exceptionally jealous, we head back to SVH where Liz finally gets around to asking Enid about her cousin. No surprise here. Enid says no. She's not offended that Liz would ask and then begin to badger her about her no, because Enid is either a better person than we are, or maybe she's just accepted that where Jessica is concerned, Liz is an idiot.
  Luckily for Liz [and us, cuz the angst can be a bit much], Mr. Collins has a way of cutting through the BS and getting right to what matters. Does Liz fear Todd will fall for the entire girl's basketball team? Of course not. What about Liz falling for any Lit loving dude? Naah. So why is the bike such a big deal?
  Uh, cuz the bike is a substitute for sex, maybe?
  Still, Liz isn't sure how to bring this up with Todd. She heads to the DB again and Guy, of The Droids fame, offers her a ride. Then he offers her a ride. Yeah, he hits on her but she reminds him that she's with Todd, even if she's not exactly with him at that moment in time. Guy seems to get the point for about two seconds. Then he follows Liz, who has met up with Todd at this point, reminds her to think about what he said, and Todd gets jealous. Oh, how Liz laughs and realizes what an ass she's been, and if I were Guy, I'd be offended.
  To make the day even more perfect, given how understanding Todd was about her jealousy and the retirement of the pink helmet [no more rides to other girls] Enid calls and tells Liz that she's reconsidered. Brian would have a fabulous time with skank-a-Jess and she'll hook the two of 'em up. Liz tells Jessica and Jessica is so happy they spend the next two hours planning an outfit for this monumental date.

  Fast forward to the night of Enid's party. Brian and Jess give Liz a ride to the Sweet Valley Country Club where the shindig is being held. Liz kills time and watches people arrive while Brian and Jess go and make out in the corner somewhere. Eventually Liz realizes Todd is running late and maybe she should go see the birthday girl, y'know? Enid and Liz gush over each other and Liz kills time. Todd doesn't show to the party, though he does call. Liz worries her head off, chats with Mr. Collins, and dances with boys she's not in love with. By the time Todd shows up, the party has moved to the Caravan club, and there's no sign of Jessica who was supposed to come back from Miller's Point to give her a ride to said club. Todd informs Liz that he has something important to tell her, and Liz freaks out. Of course he's going to dump her!
  No, you idiot, he's selling his bike to Crunch. Yeah. Crunch, the raging alcoholic. Good move, Todd. How many people could Crunch hurt on your bike? Anyway, Liz is so happy she cries, which makes Todd cry. Eventually Enid's mother pops her head out of the CC and tells Liz she can't drive her to the Caravan, would she like a cab called or one of their friends to come pick her up? And Liz tells her no, she's going to get a ride with Todd. And Enid's mother is fine with this. Which means one thing:
  The Wakefields do not socialize with Enid's mother AT ALL. Otherwise she'd have hit the roof and the whole ensuing drama would not necessarily have happened. See, this is why your parents should talk to your friends parents. It'll keep you out of soap opera fantasy moments. But I'm skipping ahead.
  Todd freaks out. He promised her parents he wouldn't. They couldn't! It would be wrong! And about halfway through the conversation, I swear, I just assumed they were talking about sex. Anyway, Liz wins the argument and off they ride. Seconds after Liz decides that she loves the bike and Todd has to keep it, they crash.
  Via twin's intuition, Jess breaks up her grope-fest with Brian and they head to the Caravan to see if Liz made it there okay. On the way, they come across an accident scene. It's Todd and Liz, only for a moment Jess thinks she's going to have to tell her twin that Todd's been killed. Nope, he's fine. However Liz is still lying on the ground, so you know that twin power works fast. Jess spies Crunch [the dude who slammed into Todd and Liz] and she flips out. She hops on his back and scratches him like craaaaaazy. It's awesome. We head to the hospital where the Wakefields rip Todd a new one and Liz is in a coma. After a turn for the worse, she returns back to her normal coma state... and end scene. Will Liz live or die? Yes.


*- Okay, the timeline was going along quite nicely up until this point. When exactly did the DB close for renovations? I don't remember a word about that in the previous book, and besides, we're still somewhere in the fall/early winter as far as I can tell. We're taking place a week after the end of All Night Long, and Dangerous Love itself only takes about two weeks, and we skip one of those entirely. So when did the Doherty brothers have time to gut and fix the good ol' DB? I'd think this would take a couple of months, which would mean that at the very least, the place would have been closed from the end of DL until now. But it's not, because I know they mention it in the books in between. Confused.

Trivia:

  • Dangerous Love takes place a week after All Night Long and over a maximum of two weeks, based on things people have said.

  • The Dairi Burger is owned by the Doherty brothers, one of whom is named John.

  • Enid skipped a grade in elementary school and has been teased for being the youngest. This makes her drug days a little creepier, especially since I always got the impression she and George went a little far, so... whoa.

  • Todd's bike is a Yamaha 750 Virago, black

  • Crunch McAllister is actually Jerry, who was starting tackle on the SVH football team until a knee injury killed his career. He dropped out, possibly at the start of this school year. He's got a fondness for alcohol despite being underage, and a terrible temper.

  • Foreshadowing brings us mention of a school play that Lila is awfully interested in.

  • Todd, Winston, and Mandy are working on a current events project for Mr. Marks [Save the Whales]

  • Mandy does a good job of fawning all over Todd while actually falling for Winston. Aww, Winston scored a hot one.

  • In addition to falling for Winston, Mandy is allegedly a friend of Elizabeth's and also in PBA. Seriously, will they let anyone except Robin in?

  • Guy Chesney, in addition to having a really bad name, is the keyboardist for The Droids, and also the song writer. He apparently also has a thing for Liz. Doesn't everyone?

  • Enid's cousin Brian is a sophomore at UCLA, and spent some time visiting the Valley last summer.

  • Enid's mother talks with a nasally twang.

  • For someone who's portrayed to be a dork later on, Julie Porter gets around. She was Ken's arm candy last go round and when Jess gets her date with Brian, she fixes him up with Julie.

  • Cara Walker is repeatedly referred to as Jessica's best friend.



Quotes:
"I couldn't bear the thought of shattering his dream."
"But you wouldn't mind if he shattered his body? Come on, Lizzie, be sensible!" Liz/Jess, p6

She wished she could share Todd's joy, but she couldn't imagine how he could be relaxed and comfortable and enjoy the view when his life depended on being able to balance five hundred pounds between his legs at fifty-five miles per hour. - Liz, p19

He opened his eyes to look toward Jessica. Any chance he might have had with her was gone, he realized. Jessica went for winners. And there was no way he was going to win this bout. - Danny, p29

"Because you were sharing Todd in a way I never will." Liz to Enid, p60

"You're not making me, Todd. It's something I want to do. Just tonight and never again. Just once I want to feel what it's like to ride with you." - Liz is talking about the bike. I think. p87

  Sensing her sister's distress, Jessica decided to back down. She put her hand on Elizabeth's shoulder and said, "Liz, Todd may not be my most favorite person in the world, but I know he cares for you enough not to let the bike interfere with your relationship.
  You can't put it off, " Jessica warned, her voice growing harder. "The more excuses you make to Todd, the more he's going to think something's wrong. He might as well know the truth now, before he starts to think it's him you've turned off to." - Jessica, p8



  Alright. I've always been a fan of Dangerous Love, because it leads to Dear Sister which I was a sucker for like you would not believe. On the other hand, I've always hated the end. So we'll concentrate on that. When Ned, Alice, and Steven attack Todd, not a single one of them mentions the fact that the jackass let Liz get on his bike and didn't have a helmet for her to wear. Instead of giving her his, he let her ride without one. NO ONE calls him on this. So when people try and convince him he couldn't have done anything differently, I say fucking bullshit. You didn't have a helmet, you made a huge deal about the majority of people hurt/killed in accidents either didn't know what they were doing or were improperly protected, so you just let your beloved girlfriend ride off without one? Yeah, you deserved the yelling, screaming, and dirty looks. You deserved more of them. The only person who ever mentions the helmet debacle is Todd.
  On the other hand, while Todd is berating himself, Jessica saves him from the fire and admits to her own wrong doing. Which was nice and long overdue. I could have done without the "remember the time she took my tour guide test for me?" bit because of course we remember, it was the last book and it couldn't have been that long ago! Feh.
  Other things that bugged me included the re-haul of the Dairi Burger. Before I always got this 50's diner sort of vibe, but run down a little around the edges. Then they turned everything to boring wood and it sounds very generic. Even their sign sounds lame:
  "in it's place was a brown plastic sign with the words spelled out in yellow script letters."
  Too much brown, too dull. Bah.
  Also included is a little bio for Mr. Collins that really didn't go anywhere. Messy divorce, drinking is the root of all evil, yadda yadda yadda. Still love these little profiles, and I always will.
  In general, it's a good solid look at Todd and Elizabeth, particularly their flaws. Liz tries to avoid conflict, which only winds up eating her up inside, leaving her to take out her emotions on unsuspecting people. She's also trying way too hard to copy Jessica's carefree attitude, but it's sort of endearing that she acknowledges that maybe she's a little too uptight at times. I get the feeling that if Liz weren't allegedly freakishly hot, she would be a big old dork. But since she is, they overlook her bookish ways for the most part. Ah, lucky.
  And we're posting this today because it's my birthday and it coincides nicely with Enid and her B plot storyline. Yay!

the_oracle: (left of normal)
Dangerous Love
March 1984

Are Elizabeth and Todd heading for disaster?

The end of the road for Todd and Elizabeth?


   One of the strictest rules in the Wakefield house is "No motorcycles." Ever since their cousin was killed in a crash, Elizabeth and Jessica have been forbidden to go near them.
   So when Elizabeth's boyfriend Todd drives up on a shiny new Yamaha, she knows there's trouble ahead. She can't ride Todd's bike, but other girls can- and do. And the sight of those girls riding with their arms around Todd is making Elizabeth crazy with jealousy.
  Todd tells her not to worry, but Elizabeth's scared of losing him. Will Todd's new bike drive them apart?


  Ah, Dangerous Love. A true classic of the SV world. Not only do you take Saint Liz out for the count, you repeatedly bash us over the head with tales of Rexy, the oddly named Wakefield cousin and his tragic tale of woe. But a classic. Even if your cover art is a lie. A lie! They rode at night, Liz is in a dress, and I imagine Todd to be a little more dressed up than that. Oh well.
  The story is simple. Todd's been hinting since, what, the third book, that he wants a motorcycle. Liz thought he was all talk for awhile, until he began to seriously begin saving his money and working his cute butt off. But still she didn't mention that the only rule Jessica actually obeys is the little known 37th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Ride A Motorcycle... under penalty of death or twin switching brain wonkiness. Yeah, had Liz told Todd this, we'd be dealing with something a little less dramatic than a coma. But Liz didn't want to force her beliefs on Todd. However, she also didn't want to tell him that she couldn't partake in his dream. This'll drive you nuts if you're logical, but it's also one of the more realistic aspects of the book. Go figure.
  Anyway, none of this really mattered until just recently. The Friday after the surfing championship [see last book], Todd was all set to get his new wheels. Didn't happen for another couple of days after that, but come Monday morning, Todd rides to school in style. Suddenly all the girls are impressed and some of the guys are, too. Especially the dudes in SV's rock band, The Droids. There are about a hundred and thirty-seven jokes I could make there, but I won't. Yet, at least.
  The book begins with Liz driving the Fiat to school with Jessica putting her makeup on in the passenger side. Jess is impressed that Liz managed to finagle use of the Fiat and asks how exactly this little miracle happened. Liz fudges the truth a little and says it's because she needs it to get to the newly re-opened Dairi Burger.* Jessica's such a master of the lie that she knows when she's being fed one, so after she's done being sidetracked by the memory of her flirtation with poison oak, she goes back to needling her twin. Where exactly is Todd, she wonders. Why isn't the wonder-boy toy taking Liz to the DB? Huh, huh huh? Liz confesses that Todd has finally managed to get the bike of his dreams and that despite Jessica's low opinion of him, Todd does NOT know she can't ride the death machine with him.
  And then the world grinds to a halt as Jessica offers fantastic advice. She tells her twin that while she still thinks he's a dumbass for having picked the wrong sister, it's obvious the guy is crazy about Liz. If Liz keeps ducking out of their plans with only vague excuses, not being a great liar and all, Todd is going to assume that Liz has a problem with him, not the bike. To cut out the drama, Liz has to come clean.
  See? Good advice. Scary.
  Before Liz can work up her nerve to do so, we run into Enid. Somewhere between Double Love and now, Enid seems to have been downgraded to someone only Liz and possibly Todd can see. I swear, before she seemed to be semi-popular of her own accord, or hell, maybe simply because one of the Wakefield twins found her good enough to call best friend. Now students walk by her and pay her no attention at all. We seem like we're supposed to pity her or something, and that was not the way she was presented before. Given the way the twins were talked up in Power Play, you'd think anyone they hung around that much would be granted a little bit of cool factor, and not even the drug scandal Jess let slip in Secrets should have diminished it that much, especially given how Enid managed to snag a super hot older guy. But apparently not, or else I'm reading way too much into Enid's little intro. The important thing is that Enid IS fifteen and her mother is throwing her a huge Sweet Sixteen bash. Not like that crap currently on MTV where you wish the parents had been sterilized before unleashing brats that make vintage Jessica look like an angel. Nope, this is kind of the anti-MTVS16. Enid's annoyed by all the fuss her mother is going to, what with fancy invitations, the outlawing of pigs-in-blankets [which I whole heartedly agree with, gross!] and freakouts about flowers. Siiiiiiiigh. Must be nice.
  Now, we return to the motorcycle drama that's been unfolding while I skipped ahead a little. Todd appears on his shiny new wheels, offers Liz a ride, and she runs off. Way to tell the guy the truth, sunshine! Luckily, her morning classes gave her plenty of time to think, and by lunch she's worked up the nerve to tell Todd the truth. She looks everywhere for him, which leads me to wonder how normal it is for a school cafeteria to have a patio, and eventually, thanks to Ken, finds Todd out playing with his new toy. That was a no brainer. Todd offers Liz her hot pink helmet and she declines. A lot. Eventually she spills why she can't ride with him. Ever.
  Once upon a time, long long ago, there was cousin Rexy. Three years older than the twins, Rexy was beloved by all who knew him, or at least Steven, Jessica, and Liz. Rexy badly wanted a motorcycle but his parents said no. Rexy told them to kiss his arse and a few days after his 16th birthday, he bought himself one. The day after that, he plowed into a station wagon and thus the legacy of Rexy was born. No Wakefield shall ever ride the deathtrap known as motorcycle. Even Jessica obeys this one, which just goes to show you how serious they are about it.
  Todd, being the saint of a guy he is, understands up until a point. He wants to talk to Liz's parents and see if they'll reconsider, seeing as he's not a jackass like Rexy. Liz agrees, knowing that if she doesn't, it'll hurt Todd. So Todd invites himself over that night.
  Later, the gang heads to the DB to celebrate the reopening. Liz tries the new clam special and realizes it's disgusting, Jessica shows up with Danny who managed to dent Crunch's van and Crunch freaks out. Before Crunch [I'll never get tired of saying that] punches Danny's pretty face in, Todd shows up on his new bike. Only he's not alone. Mandy Farmer is with him. Mandy who? Yeah, she's some chick working with Todd [and Winston] on a Save the Whales project. She's also hot. Anyway, Liz is jealous, but not so much so that she doesn't notice that Todd saves Danny by merely showing up on his new bike. [Crunch has serious bike envy] John Doherty offers Todd and his lovely lady the new clam special. Only, he means Mandy, not Liz. The drama! [Todd easily corrects this and all three are treated to a vile concoction.]
  Back to Casa Wakefield. We're given another brief interlude with Jessica flipping out about the bike, and then she heads off to Cara's. Todd fails to convince the Wakefields that he's an expert after owning the bike for maybe three days, and Liz is relieved that it's not her decision to make. Which I could bitch about, but I've been there and on less serious matters, too. Sometimes you just don't want to hurt someone's feelings and if someone takes that decision out of your hands, it seems to hurt less, since it's not you rejecting them, but someone forcing your hand.
  Jess has come back in time to overhear this and now she wants something. Jessica wants Liz to ask Enid to fix her [Jess] up with Brian, Enid's favorite cousin, whom they met last summer. Liz doesn't want to ask, what with the aforementioned secret stealing and blabbing problem. But Jess manages to guilt her twin and Liz agrees to ask, but makes no promises as to whether Enid will say yes.
  After a brief interlude where Enid gets to ride Todd's bike and Liz is exceptionally jealous, we head back to SVH where Liz finally gets around to asking Enid about her cousin. No surprise here. Enid says no. She's not offended that Liz would ask and then begin to badger her about her no, because Enid is either a better person than we are, or maybe she's just accepted that where Jessica is concerned, Liz is an idiot.
  Luckily for Liz [and us, cuz the angst can be a bit much], Mr. Collins has a way of cutting through the BS and getting right to what matters. Does Liz fear Todd will fall for the entire girl's basketball team? Of course not. What about Liz falling for any Lit loving dude? Naah. So why is the bike such a big deal?
  Uh, cuz the bike is a substitute for sex, maybe?
  Still, Liz isn't sure how to bring this up with Todd. She heads to the DB again and Guy, of The Droids fame, offers her a ride. Then he offers her a ride. Yeah, he hits on her but she reminds him that she's with Todd, even if she's not exactly with him at that moment in time. Guy seems to get the point for about two seconds. Then he follows Liz, who has met up with Todd at this point, reminds her to think about what he said, and Todd gets jealous. Oh, how Liz laughs and realizes what an ass she's been, and if I were Guy, I'd be offended.
  To make the day even more perfect, given how understanding Todd was about her jealousy and the retirement of the pink helmet [no more rides to other girls] Enid calls and tells Liz that she's reconsidered. Brian would have a fabulous time with skank-a-Jess and she'll hook the two of 'em up. Liz tells Jessica and Jessica is so happy they spend the next two hours planning an outfit for this monumental date.

  Fast forward to the night of Enid's party. Brian and Jess give Liz a ride to the Sweet Valley Country Club where the shindig is being held. Liz kills time and watches people arrive while Brian and Jess go and make out in the corner somewhere. Eventually Liz realizes Todd is running late and maybe she should go see the birthday girl, y'know? Enid and Liz gush over each other and Liz kills time. Todd doesn't show to the party, though he does call. Liz worries her head off, chats with Mr. Collins, and dances with boys she's not in love with. By the time Todd shows up, the party has moved to the Caravan club, and there's no sign of Jessica who was supposed to come back from Miller's Point to give her a ride to said club. Todd informs Liz that he has something important to tell her, and Liz freaks out. Of course he's going to dump her!
  No, you idiot, he's selling his bike to Crunch. Yeah. Crunch, the raging alcoholic. Good move, Todd. How many people could Crunch hurt on your bike? Anyway, Liz is so happy she cries, which makes Todd cry. Eventually Enid's mother pops her head out of the CC and tells Liz she can't drive her to the Caravan, would she like a cab called or one of their friends to come pick her up? And Liz tells her no, she's going to get a ride with Todd. And Enid's mother is fine with this. Which means one thing:
  The Wakefields do not socialize with Enid's mother AT ALL. Otherwise she'd have hit the roof and the whole ensuing drama would not necessarily have happened. See, this is why your parents should talk to your friends parents. It'll keep you out of soap opera fantasy moments. But I'm skipping ahead.
  Todd freaks out. He promised her parents he wouldn't. They couldn't! It would be wrong! And about halfway through the conversation, I swear, I just assumed they were talking about sex. Anyway, Liz wins the argument and off they ride. Seconds after Liz decides that she loves the bike and Todd has to keep it, they crash.
  Via twin's intuition, Jess breaks up her grope-fest with Brian and they head to the Caravan to see if Liz made it there okay. On the way, they come across an accident scene. It's Todd and Liz, only for a moment Jess thinks she's going to have to tell her twin that Todd's been killed. Nope, he's fine. However Liz is still lying on the ground, so you know that twin power works fast. Jess spies Crunch [the dude who slammed into Todd and Liz] and she flips out. She hops on his back and scratches him like craaaaaazy. It's awesome. We head to the hospital where the Wakefields rip Todd a new one and Liz is in a coma. After a turn for the worse, she returns back to her normal coma state... and end scene. Will Liz live or die? Yes.


*- Okay, the timeline was going along quite nicely up until this point. When exactly did the DB close for renovations? I don't remember a word about that in the previous book, and besides, we're still somewhere in the fall/early winter as far as I can tell. We're taking place a week after the end of All Night Long, and Dangerous Love itself only takes about two weeks, and we skip one of those entirely. So when did the Doherty brothers have time to gut and fix the good ol' DB? I'd think this would take a couple of months, which would mean that at the very least, the place would have been closed from the end of DL until now. But it's not, because I know they mention it in the books in between. Confused.

Trivia:

  • Dangerous Love takes place a week after All Night Long and over a maximum of two weeks, based on things people have said.

  • The Dairi Burger is owned by the Doherty brothers, one of whom is named John.

  • Enid skipped a grade in elementary school and has been teased for being the youngest. This makes her drug days a little creepier, especially since I always got the impression she and George went a little far, so... whoa.

  • Todd's bike is a Yamaha 750 Virago, black

  • Crunch McAllister is actually Jerry, who was starting tackle on the SVH football team until a knee injury killed his career. He dropped out, possibly at the start of this school year. He's got a fondness for alcohol despite being underage, and a terrible temper.

  • Foreshadowing brings us mention of a school play that Lila is awfully interested in.

  • Todd, Winston, and Mandy are working on a current events project for Mr. Marks [Save the Whales]

  • Mandy does a good job of fawning all over Todd while actually falling for Winston. Aww, Winston scored a hot one.

  • In addition to falling for Winston, Mandy is allegedly a friend of Elizabeth's and also in PBA. Seriously, will they let anyone except Robin in?

  • Guy Chesney, in addition to having a really bad name, is the keyboardist for The Droids, and also the song writer. He apparently also has a thing for Liz. Doesn't everyone?

  • Enid's cousin Brian is a sophomore at UCLA, and spent some time visiting the Valley last summer.

  • Enid's mother talks with a nasally twang.

  • For someone who's portrayed to be a dork later on, Julie Porter gets around. She was Ken's arm candy last go round and when Jess gets her date with Brian, she fixes him up with Julie.

  • Cara Walker is repeatedly referred to as Jessica's best friend.



Quotes:
"I couldn't bear the thought of shattering his dream."
"But you wouldn't mind if he shattered his body? Come on, Lizzie, be sensible!" Liz/Jess, p6

She wished she could share Todd's joy, but she couldn't imagine how he could be relaxed and comfortable and enjoy the view when his life depended on being able to balance five hundred pounds between his legs at fifty-five miles per hour. - Liz, p19

He opened his eyes to look toward Jessica. Any chance he might have had with her was gone, he realized. Jessica went for winners. And there was no way he was going to win this bout. - Danny, p29

"Because you were sharing Todd in a way I never will." Liz to Enid, p60

"You're not making me, Todd. It's something I want to do. Just tonight and never again. Just once I want to feel what it's like to ride with you." - Liz is talking about the bike. I think. p87

  Sensing her sister's distress, Jessica decided to back down. She put her hand on Elizabeth's shoulder and said, "Liz, Todd may not be my most favorite person in the world, but I know he cares for you enough not to let the bike interfere with your relationship.
  You can't put it off, " Jessica warned, her voice growing harder. "The more excuses you make to Todd, the more he's going to think something's wrong. He might as well know the truth now, before he starts to think it's him you've turned off to." - Jessica, p8



  Alright. I've always been a fan of Dangerous Love, because it leads to Dear Sister which I was a sucker for like you would not believe. On the other hand, I've always hated the end. So we'll concentrate on that. When Ned, Alice, and Steven attack Todd, not a single one of them mentions the fact that the jackass let Liz get on his bike and didn't have a helmet for her to wear. Instead of giving her his, he let her ride without one. NO ONE calls him on this. So when people try and convince him he couldn't have done anything differently, I say fucking bullshit. You didn't have a helmet, you made a huge deal about the majority of people hurt/killed in accidents either didn't know what they were doing or were improperly protected, so you just let your beloved girlfriend ride off without one? Yeah, you deserved the yelling, screaming, and dirty looks. You deserved more of them. The only person who ever mentions the helmet debacle is Todd.
  On the other hand, while Todd is berating himself, Jessica saves him from the fire and admits to her own wrong doing. Which was nice and long overdue. I could have done without the "remember the time she took my tour guide test for me?" bit because of course we remember, it was the last book and it couldn't have been that long ago! Feh.
  Other things that bugged me included the re-haul of the Dairi Burger. Before I always got this 50's diner sort of vibe, but run down a little around the edges. Then they turned everything to boring wood and it sounds very generic. Even their sign sounds lame:
  "in it's place was a brown plastic sign with the words spelled out in yellow script letters."
  Too much brown, too dull. Bah.
  Also included is a little bio for Mr. Collins that really didn't go anywhere. Messy divorce, drinking is the root of all evil, yadda yadda yadda. Still love these little profiles, and I always will.
  In general, it's a good solid look at Todd and Elizabeth, particularly their flaws. Liz tries to avoid conflict, which only winds up eating her up inside, leaving her to take out her emotions on unsuspecting people. She's also trying way too hard to copy Jessica's carefree attitude, but it's sort of endearing that she acknowledges that maybe she's a little too uptight at times. I get the feeling that if Liz weren't allegedly freakishly hot, she would be a big old dork. But since she is, they overlook her bookish ways for the most part. Ah, lucky.
  And we're posting this today because it's my birthday and it coincides nicely with Enid and her B plot storyline. Yay!

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