the_oracle: (gasp!)
Deadly Summer
July 1989

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Revenge...


  Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are working as summer interns at The Sweet Valley News when they hear that a patient has escaped from a nearby psychiatric hospital. Assigned to research the man's past for an article, the twins discover that Donald Redman was once a student at Sweet Valley High.
   They learn that his fellow students tormented him and that after a disturbing incident involving one of those students, Redman was expelled. He vowed to get revenge for his humiliation.
  Now a fugitive, Redman sees Elizabeth and mistakes her for the popular, beautiful girl who hurt him most all those years ago. When their paths cross in the deserted high school stadium, he knows he finally has his chance to get even! Can he be stopped before it's too late?



   Somehow during my travels I missed 'capping this one. I suspect it's because my copy of Lost at Sea doesn't tell me to go and read it despite it being the next book in the series. Feh. Also, I think I read it at the right time and just... never worked my magic for some reason. *muse* Anyway, we slide back in time a little bit and head back to the newsroom once more for Deadly Summer.

  The book kicks off with the summer of the Newsroom coming to a close. Lila's jetted off to London with her father (GEORGE, Francine. GEORGE.) and returned, Lizbeth and Enid are doing their reverse snobbery towards Lila and Jessica, and, oh yes, this is before Toddles came back, so Liz and Jeffrey are still together. Except he's still at camp and sending her letters, but still. They are together.
   So, when Lila returns from London, she brings with her a Ouija board because they're "all the rage" in London, dontcha know. Personally, I love that Lila and Jessica sort of believe in this stuff enough to give it a whirl, while Liz is too much of a stick in the mud to even give it the benefit of the doubt. In fact, Liz is openly surprised that Lila, someone she considers a bit above it all, would waste her time. She makes a comment to that effect (only I believe the words "smarter than that", that being Jessica, btw, were used) and Lila gets pissed right the hell off. She stalks off and everyone else makes that same uncomfortable "...so..." face that you do when one of your group completely loses their damn mind. Good, good times. Doesn't matter. Liz and Enid discuss Jeffrey's latest letter, debating what this "surprise" he's hinting about could possibly be. (Any and all who haven't read the book and still guess "He's coming back early!" you may move to the head of the line for your prize. It's a little pin that says, "I'm smarter than the smart twin.")
  Lila returns, sits for a couple of minutes, and then decides she's done with this popstand. So she grabs Jessica, who is spending the night, and they make their dramatic exit. (Jessica, for some reason, keeps saying y'all. Was this a thing back then or is our ghosty a newbie?) All the way home, Lila is huffing and puffing about how upset she is and how she doesn't want to talk about it, which of course means she waits three seconds for Jessica to ask, and then she unloads. How dare that holier than thou Elizabeth Wakefield dare call her stupid in front of all their friends? Why's she always got a stick rammed up her ass, and why does she feel the need to assume that her point of view is the only valid one in the entire godforsaken series? For crying out loud, doesn't it just get on your last damn nerve, Jessica?
   Jessica, true to form, isn't exactly listening. She's debating the merits of painting her nails one vibrant, summery shade, or painting each nail a different hue. (Mine are currently sporting the latter look, but it was an Easter/trial and error thing.) Eventually she checks back into the conversation because she can tell that Lila is plotting something fun. And boy, is she. She decides that she and Jessica need to teach Elizabeth a lesson. They're going to make Elizabeth go from non-believer to psychic adviser junkie in no time flat. And the best way to do that is, of course, trickery. It's very simple. They'll have the Ouija board make a prediction so completely out of left field that Elizabeth will naturally be skeptical. And then it will come true!
  That's great and all, Fowler, but how exactly do you propose they do that?
   Simple. Lila knows for a fact that the big end of the summer concert that's scheduled for that weekend is being postponed. The board will tell them this, Liz will scoff, it'll be true, and Liz will be hooked. An adorable moment of Jess being ticked that Lila knew this for 24 hours and didn't tell her already passes, and then Jessica decides that nothing is better than a Lila scheme, so she's in.

  The next night, the trap is set. Lila points out that Elizabeth should be open enough to try something before she completely writes it off, and Elizabeth reluctantly agrees. The book is worth the price of admission alone for the scenes where Jessica and Lila ham it up with the spirits. Elizabeth leaves when it becomes clear that of course this is all bunk. Obviously Lila or Jessica is pushing the planchette and really, the concert postponed? Yeah, right.

   Only the next day at work, Liz finds out that due to a union issue, the concert really has been pushed back. SHOCK. Amazement! And then her journal, which has gone missing, is found above the fridge, just like the board said! And Jessica, that paragon of virtue, swears that she didn't steal the journal and place it there, God, Lizzie, what kind of monster do you take her for?!

  But really, I think we all know that this is simply the b-story. Our A game, if you will, centers around something far more Sweet Valley-ish. During a particularly slow news day (remember, this is before the internet) everyone is kind of waiting around for something good to come down the pike. Only it's not happening. Not happening...
   BAM. Escaped patient from a mental hospital! Everyone perks right up because well, it's hard to beat an escaped mental patient on a slow news day, k? Turns out that Donald Redman has ties to Sweet Valley. He went to SVH until he was expelled for unknown reasons in his senior year. Elizabeth finds that he was obsessed with a particularly bitchy blond and that something happened between the two of them, probably leading to his expulsion. Also, for those playing along at home, he was arrested numerous times during his senior year for a variety of things. You can see the little thought bubbles above everyone's head. "Nuuuuuutjob."
  It's a gift from the newspaper gods!

  So naturally Liz goes to a babysitting gig after work. For someone we've never met before, but apparently this is a standing, steady gig. While sitting, Liz gets a lot of hangup phone calls and she's a little unnerved by it. Maybe the universe is trying to tell her something, just like the Ouija board said! Or maybe, Liz, your new boss has a secret.

  Or, you know, maybe it was Lila making prank calls as part of her plot to turn Elizabeth into a believer. Whatever. See, Lila's thought of the perfect end to this little charade. She's going to have the board reluctantly tell Elizabeth (and Jessica and Lila) that Bruce Patman, who is currently being his jerkoff self, has a terminal disease that he hasn't told anyone about. Lila wants to see if Elizabeth can overcome her dislike of Bruce simply because a Ouija board said so.
   The kicker? Elizabeth totally buys this. So every time they run into Bruce, Liz turns on the sympathetic charm and Bruce, never one to turn down the harder to get Wakefield, doesn't exactly run away.

  Meanwhile, Donald Redman, who is a bit of a bomb enthusiast, starts leaving little presents around town. He leaves a bomb at the movie theatre while Jessica and Lila are playing hooky (well, Jessica is). But it's not a real bomb. He leaves one at the Be True To Your School event SVH has at their football stadium. And he possibly left one at the airport, too. The city is working itself into a panic and really, I'm still more interested in Lila's scheme. How is this possible? There are bombs being left around Sweet Valley, self! Get with the program!

  Jessica isn't happy about the way Bruce keeps looking at her sister, so she tells Bruce that Liz isn't interested, she just thinks he's dying of some terminal disease. She figures that since Elizabeth's interest isn't in Bruce himself, but in being such a good person that she can overcome what a terrible person Bruce is, Bruce will exit stage left. Instead Bruce decides to kick it up a notch. He calls Elizabeth when she's working, he wants to come over and visit while she's sitting, and she never once questions the fact that Bruce went from being, y'know, Bruce Fucking Patman to acting all "siiiiiiiigh. You know how it is" without ever actually talking about his mysterious illness at all. Never! She's just so fixated on being such a speshul snowflake that she doesn't ask him anything at all, like why the sudden change in 'tude? Cuz as far as he knows (if he were, in fact, sick) she knows NOTHING about it. So... what the hell?
   Anyway. Bruce shows up at the sitting job, Liz chases him away, and some weird guy shows up looking for Elsa, the mother of the kid Liz is babysitting. Liz offers to take a message but does not let the guy into the house because she's not that dumb. (Kristy would approve. I think.) She's a bit perplexed as to why he seemed a bit familiar, but really. This is Sweet Valley. Everyone seems familiar.

  Remember how we all knew Jeffrey's surprise involved him coming back early? Yeah. He shows up just in time to catch Liz telling Bruce how amazing he is. No. Really. I'm not kidding. Bruce is visiting and playing the sick card and Liz is just lapping it up, so it's a little on the awkward side when Jeffrey interrupts them. That said, it's adorable the way Liz just leaves Bruce hanging to run over and hug Jeffrey to welcome him back. Unfortunately the homecoming is marred by the whole Bruce won't get lost thing. Sooooooo... all three go to the Be True To Your School Thing. Where Bruce and Jeffrey fight over Liz and Liz gets tired of this bullshit, stalks off to get a drink, and the whole bomb threat thing happens.
   Elizabeth is now juggling her love for Jeffrey, her need to keep Bruce's secret (not that Bruce has even flat out confirmed things), and oh yeah, that nutty bomber running around. Good, good times. While at work, Liz realizes that Elsa's college friend is quite possibly Donald Redman. You darken the hair, add some stubble, throw on some glasses that really do the trick for Liz (if you're into that sort of thing) and voila! Same guy. But Elizabeth doesn't want to get this poor guy lynched if she's wrong, so she calls Elsa and asks about the guy. Elsa acts totally weird about it but Liz doesn't pick up on this, probably because she's still stuck on the whole tragic Bruce thing. I don't know.

  Elsa, it turns out, is Donald Redman's sister. She doesn't want to turn her brother in, even if he did try and kill their parents back in the day, because he's the only family she has left now. Thing is, he's acting strange. He keeps asking about Melanie, and Elsa realizes his grasp on reality isn't nearly as strong as it should be. Really, Elsa? The fact that he's leaving bombs around town didn't give you a tip off FIRST? Good grief. There's being blind to the truth and then there's just willfully being a dumbass.
   Whatever. So. Where were we? Oh. Yeah. You know who we haven't heard from in awhile? Lila. See, Lila schemes pretty well and she includes backup plans in case certain Wakefields whose names begin with J start to back out of their little agreement. When Jessica wants Lila to pull back and drop the whole thing, Lila points out that Jessica repeatedly lie, stole, and withheld information from Elizabeth, all in an effort to trick her. Really, how is that going to look to the middle Wakefield? Exactly.
  But why, oh why, is Lila so hellbent on this going down the way she wants? Oh. Yeah. About that. See, Lila figured that when Elizabeth got wind of Bruce being sick, she would run to him and attempt to ease his suffering. Bruce has never made any secret about the fact that he's got a thing for the more prudish twin, so Li figured that they would spark like crazy. And even if they didn't, they'd be close enough that when Jeffrey got home, he'd be so put off by the betrayal that he'd fall right into Lila's arms.
  Yeah. Lila's scheming for Jeffrey. AGAIN. What the hell, ghosties? Doesn't Lila deserve someone new to fawn over? I'd start a drinking game for this section of the SVH series, only it wouldn't exactly be fair to anyone's liver, because Lila only seems to show interest in Jeffrey during this stretch of the series.

  Anyway, Lila's interest takes the book down to a dangerous place when Bruce decides to make a play for Liz. He brags to Jeffrey that while Jeffy thinks he has a date with his own girlfriend, Bruce is positive that he'll be the one to end up with the middle Wakefield on his arm this evening. Since Elizabeth hasn't explained her newfound connection to the richest boy in town, Jeffrey isn't exactly thrilled at the prospect, but because he's not Todd, he doesn't immediately launch himself at Bruce, either.
   Bruce, never one to play fair, plays the sick card to lure Elizabeth out to visit him at the tennis courts. Liz, being Liz, falls for it. She swears her twin and Lila to secrecy and heads off to talk Bruce off the ledge before her date with Jeffrey. I can see trusting Jessica (and no, not just if you're psychotic), but trusting Lila seems pretty dim. Sure enough, Lila excuses herself out to her car where she waits for Jeffrey to arrive at Casa Wakefield. When he does, she 'accidentally' lets it slip that Liz has gone to see Bruce. Jeffrey speeds off to rescue his girlfriend from Bruce's clutches.
  Later, Jess and Lila get bored and decide to play with the Ouija board to kill time. Both accuse the other of moving the planchette around when it spells out danger for EW at the stadium. Jessica's twin sense is tingling and when Elsa appears on her doorstep trying to warn Elizabeth that Donald Redman is indeed the creepy guy who appeared on her porch, the trio call the cops and head off to the rescue. Cuz, you know, they'll be oodles of help.

  But, but why would they be at the stadium. you might find yourself asking. Well, they aren't supposed to be. Bruce called Liz from the tennis courts and the stadium is right next door and much better for a private conversation. When Jeffrey breaks in on Elizabeth "comforting" Bruce, Jeffrey is a little peeved when Liz won't give him any further information beyond "why can't you trust me?!" (Uh, your track record with Toddles, Liz. It speaks for itself.) While Liz is struggling with her desire to keep her boyfriend and her need to keep Bruce's secret, she realizes that Bruce doesn't look at all sick. Jeffrey's accusation that Bruce was bragging about their 'date' beforehand makes her finally question just what the hell has been going on. She asks Bruce if he's sick and he admits that he's not. Humiliated, Elizabeth runs away. Frankly, I can't blame her for that.
   She makes her way towards the exit only to decide at the last second to hide out in the utility room just in case someone comes looking for her.

  Bad move, Wakefield. Bad, bad move. This just so happens to be where Redman is hiding as he assembles his bombs for the following night's concert. Since Redman is a little nutter-butters, he still thinks that Elizabeth is Melanie and revenge is going to be so sweet. Redman noticed Bruce and Liz when they arrived at the SVH stadium, so her just falling into his lap? Bonus. Because he knows that Bruce is around, and Redman is crazy and thinks that Melanie and Bruce are plotting against him, he hurts Elizabeth, forcing her to scream, which in turn leads to Bruce and Jeffrey bursting in to rescue her.
   Only Redman still has Elizabeth in his grasp and when Jeffrey attempts to make even one step closer to his girlfriend, Redman twists her arm and Elizabeth's cry of pain pretty much stops the whole 'rush the nutjob' plan before it even begins. Then Redman does something strange after the door closes. He flings Elizabeth towards the boys and resumes his bomb making, while showing them the switch he's going to use to set this sucker off.
  Once again, Bruce proves that he's actually pretty good in a crisis and points out that hello, bomb would take Redman out, too. Sadly, Bruce hasn't realized just how many cards short of a full deck their captor is.
   "You really think I would make a bomb that can kill me? I'm the only one this bomb can't kill!"
  Riiiiiight. Tell us more, they say in the nicest, most awed sort of way. It quickly becomes clear that if they weren't screwed before, they certainly are now, as Redman details his plan for blowing the building to bits. His nasty habit of accusing "Melanie" of lying to him and plotting against him doesn't exactly give them the warm fuzzies, but no matter how she tries to deny it, Redman still believes that Elizabeth is that cold hearted bitch, Melanie. Wrong twin, Donald. It's okay, it happens all the time.
  While Redman is doing his bomb building, Jessica, Lila, and Elsa have arrived at the stadium along with the police. It doesn't take long for the police to announce their presence, which just sends Donald off the edge again, convinced that Melanie is still fucking with him. Then Elsa starts to speak and Redman shows the first signs of actual humanity and starts to cry when she reminds him of who he used to be while proving who she is. One of the things Elsa says while trying to bring her brother back to earth happens to be about Elizabeth. Donald clings to the Melanie illusion a little longer, but reality intrudes. As he attempts to convince himself that Elsa is an impostor, Jeffrey takes a flying leap at the man with a bomb switch in hands. They fall to the ground and the switch disappears under a cabinet. Not to be subdued too easily, Redman manages to hit the switch before it leaves his hands.
  Jeffrey orders Liz and Bruce to get out of there, but Bruce is Bruce Friggin' Patman. He takes orders from no one. He grabs the bomb and runs. Seriously, take a moment to take that mental picture in. Takes the bomb and runs.
   Run, Bruce, run!

  Redman freaks out like a five year old whose candy has just been taken from him. He goes running after Bruce. Jeffrey and Liz frantically try to grab the switch so they can.. I dunno. Turn the bomb off? Who knows. The two labor over moving the cabinet out of the way and finally retrieve the remote control switch, only they're just as confused as I am as to what their plan was when they began the heavy lifting.
"What do I do?"
"Smash it! Rip out the wires!"

  Brilliant. Liz does this, cutting her hands in the process, and for one brief, shining moment logic screams "I don't think this is how that works!" and then... KABOOM.

  No, it's not the end of SVH, though wouldn't it be awesome if they had What If... books? I'd have gobbled those up faster than the regular ones. Um, anyway, back to the point at hand.
   We switch back to Lila and Jessica who still have no idea what's going on in the stadium. When the explosion occurs, they think it must mean that all three are dead. Lila flips out, both at the explosion and at the look on Jessica's face. Say what you will about Miss Fowler, but unless we're in SY territory, she's there when Liz narrowly cheats death and scares Jessica into white-hair territory.
  Jeffrey and Liz are stunned, both by the blast and the sudden, horrible death of Bruce. Realizing that they should probably leave the area as quickly as possible, they shuffle off into the corridor and attempt to make their way to freedom. Out of the smoke a figure emerges. For one moment Elizabeth is sure that it's Redman and that he's come back to finish them. Jeffrey, not having had the extra time with Redman, realizes very quickly that it's actually Bruce. They fall all over one another to get to him and find out what the hell happened.
  The police swarm them and Bruce offers a very brief account of Redman's last actions. Donald Redman caught up with Bruce, took the bomb, and was laughing as he presumably ran away. The blast was close enough that you're left with the impression that Bruce saw more than he'll ever admit, but for the moment we need everyone out of the building so that Jessica can run and embrace her twin. Jessica explains that while the Ouija board did tell them that Elizabeth was in danger, Jessica's twin sense was tingling beforehand. The Ouija board just gave a voice to her fears.
   The twins promise no more messing around with the Ouija board and off they limp into the sunset.



Trivial Pursuit:

  • Lila went to London and returned with a Ouija board, which she claims is the "latest craze" there.

  • Jess greets the SVH gang at the DB with "y'all." Repeatedly. Weird.

  • This ghosty subscribes to the theory that Lila is incredibly insecure. Which I can buy, but she's fairly secure in other ways, ways that aren't acknowledged by our author.

  • Lila's bathroom is described as having wall-to-wall mirrors.

  • Jessica debates painting her nails all the same color (Tropic Flame) or going with a different color on each nail. (Wow, the fashion world really does just cycle back around.)

  • The Endless Summer concert is postponed a week due to a musician's union issue.

  • Lila, Jessica, and Elizabeth see no problem in using the Ouija board in Jessica's room. I'm sorry, but the Hershey Bar is the last place in Casa Wakefield I'd use that. If only because I'm not sure you'd find space on the floor for three teenage girls.

  • Jessica lies straight to Elizabeth's face about reading Jeffrey's letters. And stealing her journal.

  • Elsa Bartel is the latest person to employ Elizabeth as a babysitter. Her husband is out on a business trip and she needs help watching her son, Max, who is five. She's on the board of directors at Max's daycare.

  • After the Ouija board correctly "predicts" the concert being postponed, Liz starts to read "The Beginner's Guide to Occultism."

  • Everyone is described as "drawling" in this book. It's kind of weird, y'all.

  • Anita Solarz is a recently hired staff reporter at the SVN.

  • Donald Redman escaped from the San Rafael Hospital.

  • Speaking of Redman: he's 32, white, paranoid schizophrenic who went to SVH and received straight A's. He was in the science club, liked electronics, but was suspended multiple times for fighting with his teachers. He became obsessed with the homecoming queen their senior year. She was dating the football captain. He was arrested for "disturbing the peace, threatening people, neighbors complaining, that sort of thing." He also kidnapped the homecoming queen, which quite probably led to his expulsion from SVH. A few years after that, he was committed to the SRH after he attempted to kill his parents with an exceptionally well crafted bomb. He also had a sister, who later turns out to be Elsa Bartel.

  • Bruce calls Elizabeth "Goldilocks."

  • Enid is confused by the sudden affection Liz has for Bruce.

  • Homecoming Queen, Melanie, reminds me a lot of Amy: Very stuck on herself and hasn't got the brains not to antagonize someone who is clearly off his rocker.

  • Jessica plays hooky from her internship so she and Lila can go to the 2pm showing of "Terror in the Subway, Part 4" at the Valley Cinema.

  • Redman calls the newspaper office around 3pm and gets Seth's phone, which Liz has answered. He tells them where the bomb is. Since danger follows the twins, it's at the Valley Cinema.

  • Seth takes the pictures for the newspaper story about the Valley Cinema bomb.

  • Neil Freemount and Bruce went to the same movie as Jessica and Lila. Sandy Bacon and Maria Santelli were shopping nearby.

  • The 'bomb' isn't real and is about the size of a typewriter. It has a red ribbon and a tag that says "Got ya. See you next time, kids."

  • After the movie bomb scare, Jessica decides to tell Bruce the real reason Elizabeth seems interested. Instead of being offended, Bruce seems to see the potential in having easy access to Saint Liz.

  • After Jessica's bombshell (sorry, too easy), Bruce immediately starts laying on the "you know"s and veiled comments to being sick, despite not having done so before. Liz never questions his change in attitude or why Bruce would assume she would know a blasted thing. This irks me more than it should.

  • A young, dark haired man with glasses (wire-rim, the kind Liz likes) shows up to see Elsa while Liz is babysitting. He claims to be an old friend from college.

  • The cheerleaders have organized the Be True To Your School night at the football stadium.

  • Liz wants Jeffrey to trust her, despite the fact that she's been described repeatedly as being a fairly jealous person, and he walked in on her telling Bruce how amazing he was.

  • The Droids perform A Plus, which is apparently one of their most popular songs.

  • Redman leaves a "bomb" at the airport as well as the Be True event.

  • In case you needed to know: Police Commissioner Dreyfus.

  • Elsa works at Allied Equity Systems.

  • For some reason, Elsa stands by Donald even after he starts leaving bombs around town. It's not until he starts going on about "Melanie" (Liz) that Elsa decides to turn him in.

  • Our ghosty this go round has Jeffrey resisting the urge to punch people. Silly, ghosty. That's Toddles with the punching problem.

  • Redman is putting a bundle of TNT and plastic in each of the following sections of the stadium for the concert: A1, C3, D1, F3.

  • Redman drives a blue Toyota.

  • When they were children, Donald taught Elsa about astronomy.

  • After Redman hits the switch on the bomb, Bruce takes it and runs. Liz and Jeffrey frantically try to get to the remote, but when they do, all they can figure out to do is destroy it and hope for the best.

  • It's implied that Bruce saw Redman die.




Quotes:

"I can't find a rational explanation for why you always need to borrow my clothes when you have twice as many as I do and when you like totally different styles, but I sort of doubt there's anything supernatural about it." - Liz says what everyone else has been thinking since the early 80's. p5


  "Hell-o Bruce," Ken and Winston intoned in a singsong unison. - Tell me, am I the only one to hear helllllloooooo nurse in that? p9

  Dear Jeffrey, everything is the same in Sweet Valley. Bruce is negotiating for total world domination, and my sister has completely flipped out again. - p10

  Jessica let out a peal of laughter. "She'll be so surprised. She won't know what to say."
  "For once," Lila added.
  Their eyes met, and they both giggled. Jessica had to hand it to her best friend. If there was anyone who could cook up a plan, it was Lila Fowler. - I love devious!Lila and Jessica working together against Liz. I'm pretty sure this makes me a bad person. :p p16/17

   Jessica's mind was racing. Lila was right, it was the ultimate test. If Elizabeth could overcome her dislike of Bruce enough to be kind and sympathetic to him, it would prove she definitely believed what the Ouija board said. A laugh of pure delight welled up in Jessica's throat as she imagined her sister's reaction. It would be a priceless scene: Elizabeth in a tug-of-war between her conscience and her disgust for egotistical, infuriating, pain-in-the-neck Bruce Patman. - Is it wrong that I agree with the glee in this scene? p42

  "But we have to work up to it slowly," warned Lila. "We can't just go, 'Whammo! Bruce is dying.'"
  Jessica nodded and let out a weak chuckle. "Right. I'll sneak another look at her journal and find something to use."
  "And then..."
  "And then, 'Whammo! Bruce is dying,'" Jessica finished for Lila. p43

  "I'm a pessimist because I think the police will find an escaped lunatic before he starts parading through Sweet Valley with a chainsaw?" - Oh, Jessica. You slay me. p50

  Lila curled her legs up under her and frowned. "What should Bruce have?" she added.
  Jessica snickered. "How about the plague?"
  "Can you die of leprosy?" Lila asked with a malicious giggle. "I mean, if he's got to go, he might as well have something really interesting." - Remind me again not to tick those two off. p61

  In the past, Jessica had often poked her nose into Elizabeth's relationships, trying to stir up trouble. But for Lila to do it struck her as unfair. After all, Lila wasn't Elizabeth's twin sister. - Can you imagine what that would have been like? Glorious. p77

  Lila gave Bruce a withering look. "Give me a break. Since when are you such an expert?"
  "Hey, I'm good at a lot of things." Bruce smirked at Lila, who turned her back on him. - 94

"You know there could never be anything between Bruce and me," she added. - Oh, really, Liz? p116



  All she could think of was that he had deliberately ignored her request to wait for her at home and that he had shattered a special, deeply personal moment between her and Bruce. - Uh, that sounds really... strange, Liz. p169

  "Bruce, are you or are you not sick?"
  "Sick?" Jeffrey sounded surprised.
  Bruce looked thoughtful. "Well, not-exactly sick, but I think I'm about to get a major headache." - ♥ p171



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  There are certain SVH books that cross a line. Some are in poor taste, some are badly executed, some involve vampires or werewolves, and some just make you wonder how exactly that pitch meeting went. "So you know what SVH needs more of? Lonely bombers."
   So Deadly Summer is a pretty odd book. I like it, but it's one of those where my brain has attached exactly one label to the book (crazy bomber!) and so re-reading it, even twice within a five month period, it seems somehow new and familiar all at the same time. It's disorienting, to tell the truth. It definitely plays out in the far reaches of the plausibility fields for the series, but there's enough other stuff going on that you can't put the damn thing down. Lila and Jessica plotting to humble Liz? Brilliant. Lila having a secondary plot? Genius. POV chapters from Redman? Thumbs up. Bruce deciding to go full throttle with whole sickness angle just to see how much he can get away with? Fabulous. Jeffrey logically being miffed that his girlfriend is spending waaaaaaaaaay too much time with Bruce? Yes, thank you, I'll have another slice of this crazy pie.

  I love the little bits of Lila/Jessica friendship that flitter through, and it's funny reading this after the whole SVC thing because of the L/B pairing and the initial take on Lila's personality. Scheming Lila is second only to caring Lila, and they both make appearances here. Overall, this is one of the more cracktacular Thrillers and it deserves better cover art. Jess is okay but Liz is looking a little...well, you tell me.

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the_oracle: (amy thinks)
Slam Book Fever
September 1988

Look What's Hit Sweet Valley!
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Predictions...


   Slam books are the newest craze at Sweet Valley High. They're do-it-yourself books of lists and predictions about everyone in school. They start out as fun but soon stir up big trouble.

   First, Jeffrey French, Elizabeth Wakefield's boyfriend, gets paired up with another girl under the category, "Couple of the Future." Then Elizabeth gets matched with the new boy at school, A.J. Morgan- and her twin, Jessica is furious because she's the one who's fallen hard for A.J.

   Will the mysterious slam book entries spell the end of happiness for both Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield?


   Ah, Slam Book Fever. The book most non SVH fans remember for whatever reason. Is it due to the law of the '80's and 90's that declared that at least once in every teen girl's life [and the occasional teen boy's as well] she would run across a slam book? That if she were high [or low] enough on the social ladder she would probably have her own and be mentioned in a category or two? Possibly. Or maybe it's because for ages if you looked up SVH online, you'd end up at Dwanollah's site. Which isn't to say you still don't end up there. You do. Don't deny it.

  Whatever the reason, SBF is right up there with Double Love in terms of cover visibility and the Evil Twin for plot recognition.

   But we have a formula to follow...so please, allow me to remind you of the glory that is Slam Book Fever.

  It's been awhile since Amy was in the spotlight, what with that whole being partially responsible for Regina trying coke and then dying thing. So Amy reminds everyone that dude, she went away for four years to Connecticut! And back East, they had these things. Called notebooks. But when you divided them into lists and categories, they magically morphed into Slam Books. Jessica and the rest of the bitchy clique of SVH are intrigued. Tell us more, they implored of Amy, all while reminding us that Amy's personality is mostly that of an annoying know it all, boy crazy, vapid, back stabbing bitch. Sadly, I only editorialized a little there. Anyway, Amy tells them how fantastic these slam books are and how awesome it is to find out what your classmates [at least the girls] really think of you.
   Jessica is sure that she'll crop up under Most Popular [sorority president, [co-]captain of the cheerleaders...] or possibly Most Beautiful... but everyone else has her pegged for Biggest Flirt. And Jessica is outraged that anyone would dare call her a flirt. Cara, Lila, Amy, and just about everyone who has ever met Jessica are a little thrown by how ticked Jessica seems.
   Cara wonders, ever so cautiously, what exactly Jessica would call herself then, if not... flirty?
  Friendly. DUH.
   Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

  Jessica's flip out aside, the Slam Books have everyone's attention. Liz appears so we can have our compare and contrast between the twins, and true to form, Liz points out that the Slam Books have the potential to really hurt people's feelings and she'd hate for someone to be hurt needlessly. Everyone at the catty table points out that there's the big difference between the twins. Jess is full steam ahead and Liz is prophesizing doom and gloom. After school Amy and the coalition for cattiness go and buy matching marble notebooks and the Slam Books begin.

   Meanwhile we run into the new guy on campus. Tall. Red haired. Gorgeous enough to tongue tie Jessica without even trying. You all remember him. A.J. Morgan from Atlanta. Jess is so smitten by A.J. that she acts more like Elizabeth around him than she does herself. She can't make small talk, she can't flirt, she can't really do anything but stand there and sort of drool. She's sure that A.J. thinks she's a complete moron and refuses to admit her crush to anyone, even when specifically asked about it. My soft spot for Jessica grows infinitely in these moments because a) who can't relate, and b) she's no longer Alpha Twin. She's actually more human than she's been in awhile.

  Over in Elizabeth land, Olivia has asked Liz to co-edit the new literary magazine, but Liz had to turn her down because of time constraints and wanting to actually see her boyfriend occasionally. So Olivia asks Jeffrey and he's in the process of turning her down, but he does offer his photography skills to help the lit magazine look gorgeous, while still leaving him time to spend with Liz. Olivia lets it slip that she's got the opposite problem. She's trying to work herself into oblivion because she and Roger are breaking up, but neither one is ready to officially cut the ties that bind just yet. Liz and Jeffrey are both shocked [as was I the first go round] because Olivia and Roger have been together for ages and they always seemed like such a rock solid couple.* L/J both worry that if Olivia and Roger can break up, the Wonder Couple could, too. So they reassure each other how much they love one another and that's that.
   Only it's not because that's less than a third of the way into the book.

  Back to the slam books. Everyone's enjoying the hell out of them until... Jessica catches sight of being named Biggest Flirt. She's ticked and hurt and worried that AJ will think she's not his type and definitely not worth his time now. Liz is a bit surprised when everyone starts putting Olivia and Jeffrey down as a new couple in the Crystal Ball section of the slam books. At first she's ready to play it off as people and their idle gossip, but then it keeps happening and she starts to wonder if maybe they're seeing something she just doesn't want to see. Her suspicions rise when Olivia and Roger really do break up and suddenly Olivia and Jeffrey are spending all their time together. Then again, Jeffrey had warned her beforehand that he was going to use Olivia as his model for the lit magazine because he needed someone who could pull of moody and he just couldn't see Elizabeth that way. Oh, sweet sledgehammer of subtlety and foreshadowing. Bet he saw her in a different light when Cara told Elizabeth she saw Jeffrey and Olivia making out at a rest stop on Route 9 and Liz immediately went off to flirt like crazy with AJ.

   Lila of all people offers to help mediate, and Jeffrey... takes her up on it. And so does Liz. It never occurs to anyone that Li would have an ulterior motive. Because apparently they all took their stupid pills. But it's also a bit fitting, because Liz has been proven to have a serious jealous side [see Todd] and Jeffrey's a bit thick. Or maybe just figures that Liz should know him better by now, that he's not the game playing sort and if he wanted to see Olivia instead, he'd tell Liz. But he doesn't, so he doesn't, and she's still flirting with AJ. Which is pissing Jessica off to no end.

   Olivia isn't exactly thrilled that Elizabeth has turned on her and since she knows Jeffrey is still in love with Liz, Olivia decides to figure out who started the stupid Liv + Jeff = <3 thing in the first place. She gets the idea that whomever started the rumour wouldn't have bothered to put it in their own slam book, and... well, Lila has never been known for her selfless acts, has she? So Olivia and Jessica, masquerading as Elizabeth doing an article on the Slam Book stats, round up as many slam books as they can find. Only Lila doesn't have Jeffrey and Olivia down under future couples. They run to tell Elizabeth their suspicions because Lila is on her way to tell Jeffrey to give up on Elizabeth. Liz realizes she's been duped by Lila Fowler and runs to explain her insanity to Jeffrey. See below.

Elizabeth Wakefield's Slam Book )

  Yes. They kiss and make up and all is Right With The World. Liv and Liz create a new category in the slam books called Class Sneak and Lila knows she's been busted.

Slam Book Entries )

  Now that Liz isn't chasing after AJ, Jess feels free to.... continue to act more like Elizabeth than herself because she thinks AJ would prefer a sweet, gentle, quiet Wakefield twin. Everyone else can see how badly this will turn out, but Jess is too far gone to care. She's in Love.

*- I really wish they'd had the Olivia/Roger thing be it's own book, or at least a C-plot for the last couple of books leading up to this. As it was, hello whiplash. Even knowing it's coming, it still seemed out of left field, which takes some skill. That said, I did like their brief scenes together, which is probably why I wanted more, damn it.

Trivial Pursuit:

  • For whatever reason, the SVH caf is exceptionally crowded the day Amy unveils her slam book idea.

  • Liz likes ham and swiss cheese sandwiches.

  • Chez Victoire is one of the most exclusive French restaurants in LA.

  • Jessica does not like being called a flirt. At all. It makes her crazy.

  • The best slam books are in marble notebooks. Everything is better in marble. It's what I use when writing the trivia for these things. Well. What I started with. Then Liz confiscated my slam book. Or I lost it. Whatever. Marble!

  • When pondering the categories she's sure to sweep, Jessica thinks along the lines of Most Popular, Most Beautiful. Everyone else is thinking Biggest Flirt.

  • Slam Book Categories : Least Likely To Go On A Date Before The Year 2000, Most Likely To Always Be A Millionaire, Best Dressed, Least Down to Earth, Most Likely To Have A Million Dollars By Age 30, Most Likely To Get Married First, Most Likely To Be Famous, Class Clown, Most Likely To Be In People Magazine, New Couples of The Future, Biggest Flirt,

  • Winston is chosen for the People category. It's a bit of a pity one though, as he seems genuinely hurt that he's only thought of as Class Clown. On, Winston. We love you.

  • Olivia is working on a literary magazine which she asked Liz to co-edit, but Liz declined.

  • Did we know Bruce's father's middle name was Wilson? Henry Wilson Patman.

  • Out of nowhere, Liv and Roger are not only on the rocks, but breaking up.

  • Wave One of Slam Book Fever: Lila, Jessica, Cara, Robin, Maria, and Amy

  • Jess breaks in Amy's slam book, Amy does Lila's, and Lila does Robin's.

  • First Category in Jessica's sb? Class Clown.

  • The first category in either Cara or Maria's is Most Conceited.

  • Jess puts Bruce down as Most Concieted. Biggest Brain? Peter DeHaven.

  • Liz and Jeffrey are first in someone's book as Best Couple.

  • Most Fascinating New Male [Lila's book] has AJ written twice. Seriously, how many 'new' guys could possibly win this, Li? For shame.

  • A.J. Morgan: Adam Joseph, he's an army kid from Atlanta, red hair, tall, basketball player [new to the game] who loves baseball as well. He's apparently catnip to the senior girls in his art class, according to Maria who is in the same class.

  • Anatomy of an Olivia/Roger fight: Roger hurts Olivia's feelings, intentionally or otherwise. Olivia strikes back or picks a fight. Liv and Roger find themselves unwilling to let go and unable to truly fix whatever has gone wrong, so the cycle repeats.

  • At the first sign of potential waning attention to her slambook idea, Amy has them create the Crystal Ball sections. Someone is desperate for attention...

  • AJ scores 28 points in his first game while Jess fumbles horribly in various cheers. Whoops. Sandy picks up on Jessica's crush first.

  • When Liz asks Alice if she ever gets jealous, Alice scoffs at the idea and then admits that when Ned first started at his current law firm, there was a young, pretty British woman named Annabel who was very interested in Ned. To your fanfics, people!

  • Cara had a dental appointment in Riverside and along Route 9 she sees Jeffrey and Cara in what she thinks is a passionate embrace. Their eventual excuse? Olivia had something in her eye. Seriously, guys. The proper lie is Olivia was so overcome with sadness over the breakup that she needed a hug. That Liz and I could buy. This whole speck of dust or whatever? No.

  • Aaron Dallas, the poster child for anger management, never once gets ticked when his best friend's girlfriend throws herself at the new guy in front of him. Repeatedly. I cry bullshit. Or maybe the ghosty didn't know that Aaron was the wrong backup character to use because he's Jeffrey's bestest [and only] friend. Whatever. Boy would have beaten A.J. down or at least pulled Liz aside and asked when she started taking skank pills.

  • Lila bets she can get Liz to talk to Jeffrey after he and Olivia show up at the beach with their lame "something in Liv's eye" story, and of course Lila probably tells Liz that Jeffrey and Olivia were holding hands or something, so Liz glares at Jeffrey and stalks off. So, Lila loses her bet and "has" to take Jeffrey to L'Escalier. No one is intially suspicious of Lila's newfound philonthropy because she never makes a bet she'll definitely lose, especially not an expensive one. Guys, really. It's not losing if it's essentially a date with a guy you've been into for the last... 15 books or so. :P

  • Dear Ghostwriters of the Past: I don't know where in the South you all grew up, but I really don't think "quiet and sweet" are necessarily words you should use to describe Southern girls in a general way. This, by the way, is AJ's type. Everyone snickers when he describes Jess this way, and even Jess is a little thrown, but hey, compliments about her? Always. Welcome.

  • I never understood why Lila's never bothering to hook Jeffrey and Olivia's names in her own slam book was damning evidence. Surely she would have missed someone else's slam book? Oh, and Lila's handwriting is kind of distinct. Just sayin'...

  • Jess and Olivia gather 31 slam books and even Elizabeth has one.

  • Olivia's literary magazine is called Visions. Aren't all HS lit mags called Visions?

  • AJ is under the impression Jess writes childrens books. Everyone else chokes at the thought.

  • Liz is reading Tender Is The Night and Jess wants the Cliff's Notes version. Because reading is like, hard and stuff.

  • I think it's cute that we get Liv, Liz, and Li.




Quote This:

  Jessica was certain that she was only going to find out good things about herself. Or, at least, things she already knew. She wouldn't be surprised if she were described as most popular. After all, she was a co-captain of the cheerleading squad and the president of Pi Beta Alpha, the most exclusive sorority at Sweet Valley High. Or maybe even most beautiful... - Modest as ever, Jessica. p 5

   Amy and Jessica exchanged a glance. It was just like Elizabeth to come up with a sensible objection. - Pepsi snorted through nose? Painful. p 6

  Jessica felt her face burn. "I'm not a flirt," she objected. "I don't know what you guys are talking about."
  Amy started to laugh. "Come on, Jess. You- not a flirt? Are you kidding?"
  Jessica was beginning to get annoyed. "I'm not kidding," she said flatly. "I don't happen to think of myself as flirtatious."
  The table fell quiet for a minute. "Jess," Cara said a bit timidly," what would you call it if it isn't being flirtatious?"

  "I guess I deserve all the credit," she mused. "I mean, just think about it. If it weren't for me, no one would even know what a slam book is." She frowned. "Do you think everyone appreciates me for introducing the idea? Or is everyone going to forget it was mine?"
  Jessica patted her on the arm. "We'll all remember, Amy. We'll put up a big commemorative plaque in the front hallway." - This is why I love SVH. Truly. Amy/Jess, p 29/30

  "I'm not a flirt," she added sulkily, not giving Lila a chance to protest. "Since when have you guys seen me flirting?"
  Lila started to tick off on her fingers. "Remember that chef who taught the gourmet cooking class?"
  "What about all those friends of Steve's from college?" Cara added. Cara dated Steven, the twins' older brother, and knew how many times Jessica had fallen for one of his friends. Or at least flirted with them.
  "Not to mention Aaron Dallas, Nicholas Morrow..." Lila offered.
  "And Alex Kane," Cara added, referring to a musician Jessica had recently had a crush on.
  "And what about Jeremy Frank?" Lila demanded.
  Jessica cut her off. "That was all ages ago. It's ancient history. Can't you guys see I've changed?"
  Lila and Cara looked at her, then at each other. "You look the same to me," Lila said philosophically. p 34



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   Seriously, what else do you need to know about Slam Book Fever? It's awesome and it's awful all at the same time. Jessica's certifiable but she teams up with Olivia, and that's worth the price of admission right there. Amy offers one of her only contributions to the SVH legacy [the others being stealing Bruce thus killing Regina and helping Tom realize he's totally gay] and it's Slam Book Fever. Really. Go.

  But while you're reading [most likely re-reading] this classic, please tell me why Aaron Dallas didn't punch AJ? Or pull Liz aside and ask why she was cheating on his best friend? Cuz really, Aaron, even after the anger management, probably would have had at least something to say.

Oh, and this doesn't live up to my terribly high standards, blame technology. It kept dying on all fronts as I tried. That, or you could blame Amy. Cuz she's the root of all known evil.

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the_oracle: (better than you)
Rumors
June 1987

   Can Susan live with the truth?

   Painful lies...


   It's every girl's dream at Sweet Valley High to attend the fabulous Bridgewater Ball, and Susan Stewart has the chance to go with handsome, wealthy Gordon Stoddard. Nobody knows where Susan gets her money and style- or who her real parents are- but everyone agrees she's beautiful, friendly, and fun to be with.
   Then jealous Lila Fowler starts spreading vicious rumors about Susan's mother-who she really is and why she abandoned Susan. No one wants to talk to Susan anymore, not even Gordon. To clear her name, Susan has to find out the truth about her parents. But is she better off not knowing?


   When I was a kid, I didn't really get the point of the books focusing on non!Wakefields or their immediate circle of friends. I was there for the twins, Lila, Enid, and the occasional boy toy. I'd have been happy with a Winston book, for the record, but for the most part these fringe characters that litter the landscape? Yeah, I wasn't really big on a lot of them. I'm not sure how much this has changed over the years, to be honest.
   Just thought I should warn you.

   Woe is Susan Stewart. It's taken 30-something books for us to find out anything about her and when we do, the book you'd think would be her own isn't. It's more about everyone else reacting to Susan than it is about Susan herself, which is an odd perspective, but I suppose it fits for a story taking place in high school. Mostly you are who you see reflected in everyone else's eyes, right? Sure, whatever.
  Susan lives with her guardian, Helen Reister. Everyone knows that Helen isn't Susan's mother, but no one, including Susan, knows who Susan's mother actually is. Rumor has it she's someone famous, and she sends money to alleviate her guilt... I mean, make it easier on Susan. Most people take the Jessica Wakefield approach to Susan: Treat her as if she were Someone. That way, if she is, you're set. If she's not, well, you can turn on her then. No sense making an enemy until you need to do so.
  And so Susan is pretty popular. She's one of the nine billion redheads inhabiting the Valley and has a steady rich-bitch boyfriend named Gordon. His family golfs together and they sound like your stereotypical rich-bitch family. There's talk of lowering standards on the admissions committee to the Club and there's an uncomfortable moment when you feel like someone should ask why the old white guy feels he's so much better than that old white guy, but no one does. Instead Gordon's father, after berating Gordon's mother for her horrible golfing, assures Susan that she's their sort of people.
  Naturally, by this point you know full well that Susan's mother is going to be revealed and that she's not going to be their sort of people at all. You have your suspicions, but you do know that for a fact. Gordon sort of tries to reassure Susan that he'd still love her if she were, y'know, not his sort of people, but not really. It's more of Susan asking if he would and he's evasive enough that DUH, of course he'll dump your ass.
  Susan is desperate to know who her mother is and doesn't understand why her 'Aunt' Helen works so hard when her mother obviously sends her money for fabulous things. If you've realized that Helen is Susan's mother, congrats. You can wear this, "Not an Idiot" pin with pride.
  The big thread left over from last book was that the Bridgewater Ball is coming up. It's the fancy coming out to society sort of party for the ever wealthy members of Bridgewater Society. Fun? Susan is going with Gordon and everyone else is abuzz with news and speculation of who else will be attending the blowout. Liz even devotes an entire gossip column to guessing the attendees. She and Enid decide that Lila, Bruce & Regina, and Roger & Olivia are all sure bets. Lila, however, is a bit up shit creek without a paddle. Her last BW [Bridgewater] date fizzled and she doesn't have another one to the ball. So Lila schemes and schemes big.
  It seems Lila used to go out with Gordon [did she? I don't remember...] until he and Susan hooked up. Lila doesn't forgive or forget unless it's in the interest of the plot, so she doesn't like Susan for that reason. Lila also doesn't like other rich girls [see Regina] and is even less fond of them when they're also pretty [still see Regina], but she really, really, REALLY can't stand the way that Susan is coasting along on the idea that she might be Someone, and not actual proof. So Lila twists this to her advantage and spreads a rumor that Susan's mother is actually in a mental institution for the criminally insane. Not only is she insane, but she obviously killed someone and got caught. Crazy killer too dumb to not get caught! Oh, the shame!
  And because people are idiots, they eat this rumor up like candy. Everyone shuns poor Susan because it must be true. Not only are they mad because, ew, crazy germs, but also because she let them all believe she was better than that. She lied to them! She thought she was Someone and she's really no one and good lord, if someone doesn't break into song in the next two seconds, my brain will never recover.

   To add to all this drama, Jessica's taking a health class and thanks to yet another suggestion courtesy of Lila [the power!], Jess is sure that her mother is pregnant. She's been cranky and has weird cravings, and actually, the way it's presented, it's not outside the realm of possibility. Alice does seem to want another kid, but instead of asking her about it, the twins decide to drop hints that they'd be more than okay having a sibling that's 16/17 years younger than they are. The single best thing of the book is SO good I always forget that it happens because I always forget this subplot.
   While Jeffrey is over and Liz and Jessica are laying it on a little thick, Ned and Alice freak out. After dinner, Alice demands to know which twin is "in trouble." Sex! In a SVH book! I die with joy and laughter and all things good. Alice thinks her kids are having sex!

   They aren't, of course, but oh, this was so good. Um, anyway, Steven comes home when Jess leaves a frantic message and instead of thinking logically and just asking [though he does suggest it], he joins the hint parade. Finally we learn the baby clothes Jess found are for a baby shower and no, Alice isn't preggers and this is all Jessica's fault, and I swear you hear, "Oh, Jessica..." Funny, at my house my parents would point out that whomever is dumb enough to follow the town idiot gets to be mocked just as much, if not more, because they should know better. At Casa de Wakefield, it's just "Oh, Jessica!"

  Back to Susan. Remember Allen Walters, Robin's boytoy before she stabbed Enid in the back? Well, he finally moved on beyond cheating Robin and fell for Susan. Only he'd never make a move on such a beautiful, fantastic, sophisticated girl who was already taken because Allen may be a dork, but he's a noble dork. I'm actually kind of liking Allen, so give me a moment. When everyone else dumps Susan, Allen moves in for the kill and tries desperately to cheer Susan up. He has varying degrees of luck and when he suggests a date, he almost loses it when Susan realizes that the night he's suggesting is the night of the BWB, but she can't go, and Allen is the only person besides Liz Wakefield who has looked at her like she's still human, so what the hell. God, I'm killing the language here. Um, anyway.
  Our other Wakefield subplot revolves around a moving being shot in SV. They're looking for extras and Liz gets it into her head that she'll interview the director because he's donating his salary on the movie to SADD, since his son was killed a year ago by a drunk driver, leaving me to wonder- is it in horrible taste to suggest that for the Sweet Valley Drinking Game, a shot should be done for each car accident, two shots for all accidents being the result of a drunk driver?

  Back to Susan's guardian: She's panicking because Susan really needs to know, but if she knew her mother were just a poor waitress with amazing sewing skills, she'd be less than thrilled. So Helen rips up the confession note she just wrote and is all set to never, ever tell Susan [at least, not til she's 18, and honey, these books will never let that happen, so she's free!] and then there's a knock at the door. It's the director, Jackson Croft! And what's more, Helen knew he'd be by since he was in town! Intrigue!
  Yeah, since Susan can't be Someone because her mother is, she'll be Someone because her father is Jackson Croft, the lone Hollywood director who manages to combine box office entertainment with a message. He's just that awesome, guys. So awesome that when his career was first taking off he left his girlfriend and got married while they were apart, even though said girlfriend was preggers, though he didn't know. What a guy. Susan comes home to find her mother entertaining [alas, not a euphenism] Hollywood royalty. Helen tells Susan to be nice to her father, Susan freaks out, Helen runs away, and Jackson lets it slip that Helen is Susan's mother. Susan freaks out because he kind of strings her along, not realizing Susan doesn't know Helen is her mother, but when it all comes out, Jackson does what he does best. Runs away, leaving Helen and Susan to pick up the pieces. Like I said, what a guy.
  Anyway, happy happy joy-joys ensue, and when Liz tries to get an interview with Jackson, Susan appears and word gets out that Susan is more than they thought, just not on her mother's side. Lila's new date, Gordon, runs back to Susan and Lila is beyond pissed, but Susan actually considers resuming her old life, ready to tell Allen she can't go out with him because it's obvious he was just being, you know, nice... and then Allen appears and is so excited about their date that Susan... realizes he's not an asshole? I dunno, but she tells Gordon she's got better things to do, like Allen, and that's that.

  To recap: Susan Stewart has everyone thinking she's someone special because of her mother. She's not. Her mother is just a simple waitress. Her father, on the other hand, is Jackson Croft, a major Hollywood director, and thus she's redeemed. She's more than someone. She's a Star. Yawn.
  Alice thinks her kids are having sex and her kids think she's having a baby. Turns out they're all wrong.
  Lila starts both of the big rumors floating around this book. All hail Lila!

  The setup for the next book is Regina's been filling Elizabeth's head with wonderful stories about boarding schools in Switzerland and Liz wants to go, but she couldn't possibly afford it. Regina points out that Liz is fantastically smart and talented [and yet, still in Joanna's slow English class...] and could easily score a scholarship, thus setting up the premise for numerous books later on. Liz! In Switzerland! The musical?



Trivia:

  • "Mom, could you please pass the butter?" is a really, really boring way to start a book. So is following that with a bunch of lame jokes that aren't even redeemed by the fact that they're supposed to be lame. The whole tone of the beginning of this book is off.

  • Ned is in Phoenix until 6pm.

  • The Fiat is making odd noises that only Jessica can hear. Car whisperer? Or simply she uses it the most?

  • Andrea Van Allen is in charge of this year's Bridgewater Ball.

  • Last year's BWB's theme was Mississippi Riverboat. Rumor has it that last year they spent more than five thousand dollars on flowers. They had ice sculptures like a giant steamboat with jumbo shrimp.

  • This year? Tales from the Vienna Woods.

  • Jessica mixed up Vienna and Venice.

  • In a cute moment, Liz waves to other people when she gets to school early, but snags Enid and keeps walking to the Oracle office. In my head it's all, "yeah, you're nice, but Enid's my bestest. Suck on that." Um, but cuter? Remember, I like dorky Liz.

  • Enid and Liz decide the following will most likely be attending the Bridgewater Ball: Bruce/Regina, Roger/Olivia, Susanne Hanlon, Lila Fowler.

  • Our ghosty decides that Roger is Bruce's half brother. Um, no? What is it about Roger that's so difficult to understand? He's Bruce's cousin! Why does this confuse everyone?

  • Liz entitles her speculation: The Chic Mystique: Who Gets To Go To The Year's Most Exclusive Party?

  • Dana is rocking skin tight leopard spotted jeans. My mind is totally blown.

  • Grant Palmer was Lila's Bridgewater date to the big dance last book, but they fizzled out in record time.

  • Jessica thinks Susan and Gordon will go, but Lila doesn't think Susan will, and then says something about how many people from Whitehead Academy will.

  • Susan Stewart is a tanned redhead with coppery hair, wide smoky brown eyes, and the ability to ooze sophistication. Honey, that might be your most marketable gift right there. You've got to be born with that.

  • Ken and Winston dance around health class. <3 !

  • Winston mockingly creates the Poor People's Cotillion, which will be held in the health classroom every February 30th. Potato sacks and shoes with black laces., and no one with an annual income of more than five hundred dollars is allowed.

  • Lila doesn't find all the insanity amusing.

  • Ms. Rice is the health teacher.

  • Mr.Farley Stoddard is described as he of the florid face with light blue eyes, a senior VP at West Cost Oil Cam Cooperation. What. A. Catch.

  • Mrs. Binky Stoddard has light brown hair and is forever getting trapped between the 7th and 8th holes on the Sweet Valley Country Club golf course. That's between the duck pond and the winding brook. Binky? Really?

  • Binky has a golf pro named Richard.

  • Gordon has finely molded, aristocratic features, keen blue eyes, and glossy light brown hair. He's cardboard and plastic, kids. That's all.

  • When Susan asks, Binky suggests a long, pale gold gown, along with a corsage of tiny white [with a hint of blush] rosebuds for the BWB.

  • Lila and Gordon Stoddard dated.

  • Helen Reister is an amazing seamstress, capable of sewing a gown for a ball where the rest of the attendees would probably shell out some exorbitant fee for something not half as pretty, and yet Susan's dress would never be mocked. [If it would be, we would have known about it/seen it.]

  • Helen also shares the same coloring as Susan, although Susan doesn't always seem to believe Helen is a blood relative. Honey, redheads who tan? There aren't exactly a million of you in the world.

  • By page 39 you know Helen is Susan's mother, even though it hasn't officially been said yet. You just do. Yay, you!

  • Jessica makes a fantastic meat loaf, claims she usually does, and is a little miffed that her father assumes Alice or Liz made it. I'm not sure whether to applaud this running continuity [Jessica can cook, but people keep assuming she'll kill them, so if it's good, assume one of the other people at home made it] or bitch-slap a fictional family for annoying me and making me feel sorry for Jessica. Cuz I do, even when she's not all that upset this go round. *bitchslaps Ned Wakefield*

  • Alice has crazy-bitchy cravings for pistachio ice cream. Normally no sane Wakefield would ever, ever touch the stuff. Good to know.

  • Susan has Mr. Rizzo for Science, and I'm guessing Allen does, too, since she asks him for help.

  • Lila thinks that Cara and Caroline are both reformed gossips, but if the dirt's juicy enough, they'll both fall off the wagon. How right she is.

  • Lila starts the rumor that Susan's mother is in a home for the criminally insane.

  • Prince Albert helps Jessica find a bag from Great Expectations, a maternity store in downtown Sweet Valley. Inside the bag, which was hidden behind old sandals, an outdated macrome hand bag, and a tattered beach blanket, is a yellow sweater and cap set.

  • Alice thought one of the twins was pregnant, given the way they kept going on about babies.

  • Jackson Croft is a Hollywood movie director. He'll be holding a casting call "next Saturday at Hampton Place shopping center". He's looking for extras, but Jessica is sure that one look at her and he'll decide to make her a star.

  • Deborah Carteret canceled dinner with Susan cuz of the crazy rumors.

  • Jason Croft, Jackson's son, was 14 when he died a year ago.

  • Veronica Hammond is an actress and Jackson's wife/Jason's mother.

  • Jackson's movie is La Luna, a drama that takes place over one year in the life of a family.

  • Liz is sure that if she can get Jackson to grant her an interview, Louis Westman, the editor at the Sweet Valley News will reprint it in the newspaper.

  • Heather Sanford [Aaron's girlfriend, remember her?] made Liz a dress of light blue, feather light cambric. Liz thinks it's a little too tame for Jessica and really doesn't want to lend it to her, but Liz is a doormat.

  • Helen is revealed to be Susan's mother on page 118. No one is surprised.

  • The following SVH students appear at the casting call: Jessica, Elizabeth, Jean West, Sandy Bacon, Aaron Dallas, Heather Sanford, Sally Larson, Mark Riley, Dana Larson and the rest of the Droids, Enid.

  • Alice and Ned were so secretive about a month long vacation that would leave the twins home alone, not about being knocked up again. Dude, no one would leave their teenage daughters, particularly THOSE daughters, alone for a month. It's child endangerment. Or a good way to burn down your house in two days, tops.

  • When Gordon tries to crawl back again, Lila dumps soda on his head. We love you, Lila!

  • Regina brochures Liz to death with stuff from the Interlochen School.



Quotable SVH:

"That's the problem with morning classes-you have less time to get the work from someone else first." Lila, p15

"Oh, no!" wailed Ken, burying his face in his hands. "And all I ever wanted was to go to the ball and dance with Winston Egbert."
"Well, if that's all you want, why didn't you say so?" Winston jumped down, and while the whole class looked on and laughed, the two boys danced boisterously around the room. - After Winston decides that the first annual Poor People's Cotillion will only accept people whose shoes have black laces. p 22


Mr. Stoddard talked nonstop throughout the meal about his conviction that Sweet Valley was going to the dogs and that they would all be murdered in their beds if the police didn't start to shape up. - Oh, poor, poor Farley. You speak true, but everyone writes you off as the ass that you are. Woe. p33

Pregnant! How could that be?
Jessica lifted one eyebrow and tapped the book on her lap. It was pretty obvious how, she told herself. But why? - p44

"Don't you think that's pretty strange?"
Lila smiled wryly. "You mean for Jessica to study during lunch? Yes. And for that matter," she continued in a sarcastic tone, "I didn't even know she knew where the library was." - Lila wins again! p57

As Lila stood up, Cara grabbed her arm. "Are you sure about this?"
An unpleasant sensation of guilt washed over Lila for a brief moment, but she quickly pushed it out of her mind. "Well," she said slowly,"nobody really knows anything for sure, do they?" - Lila's crafty. p60


" 'A critical and popular success' ," her mother read out loud. " 'Jackson Croft's unerring sense of the issues that capture the public's heart has made him one of the foremost directors in the business. He has been honored at Cannes and by the Motion Picture Academy and has received numerous humanitarian awards.' Talk about having your cake and eating it too," she added with a dry smile. - Alice reading from the paper, p80


"Oh, God!" groaned Jessica, flopping over onto her back. "Can you imagine? Twins? Give me strength!" - Jessica, on the possibility her mother might have twins again. p141

"Oh, Enid!" Elizabeth gasped with relief. "It's a miracle! I'm so glad I found you!"
Enid's green eyes twinkled with amusement. "I had no idea you felt that way about me, Liz!" - Oh, Enid, don't be modest. We all knew. p146


   For the Liz love/hate report, Liz does something that puts her in both categories this go round. In my, "Oh, come ON" list there's Liz trying to console Susan. Instead of listening to the poor girl, she keeps chattering on and on, making Susan feel worse, and oh yeah, not listening. At all. Liz! Shut up!
  But then later on Liz is sweet and shy and nervous when trying to speak to Jackson Croft and looks around for Enid to help her out and there's this moment where she feels almost real. If there's anything I can relate to, it's being tongue-tied and shy. I can't get behind Super!Liz, but when shades of dorkier-twin Liz come out to play, I'm all over them. That's the Liz I love and want to be friends with. Too bad they shoved her aside after awhile.
  Can't say I give much of a damn about Susan. She seems like a cardboard cutout, and her only standout feature is that she's the lone tan redhead in the Valley.

   Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm still giggling over "which one of you two is in trouble?" Gold! Why do I always forget this? Why do I always forget everything about this book except "Helen is Susan's mother. DUH. Next!"?

the_oracle: (better than you)
Rumors
June 1987

   Can Susan live with the truth?

   Painful lies...


   It's every girl's dream at Sweet Valley High to attend the fabulous Bridgewater Ball, and Susan Stewart has the chance to go with handsome, wealthy Gordon Stoddard. Nobody knows where Susan gets her money and style- or who her real parents are- but everyone agrees she's beautiful, friendly, and fun to be with.
   Then jealous Lila Fowler starts spreading vicious rumors about Susan's mother-who she really is and why she abandoned Susan. No one wants to talk to Susan anymore, not even Gordon. To clear her name, Susan has to find out the truth about her parents. But is she better off not knowing?


   When I was a kid, I didn't really get the point of the books focusing on non!Wakefields or their immediate circle of friends. I was there for the twins, Lila, Enid, and the occasional boy toy. I'd have been happy with a Winston book, for the record, but for the most part these fringe characters that litter the landscape? Yeah, I wasn't really big on a lot of them. I'm not sure how much this has changed over the years, to be honest.
   Just thought I should warn you.

   Woe is Susan Stewart. It's taken 30-something books for us to find out anything about her and when we do, the book you'd think would be her own isn't. It's more about everyone else reacting to Susan than it is about Susan herself, which is an odd perspective, but I suppose it fits for a story taking place in high school. Mostly you are who you see reflected in everyone else's eyes, right? Sure, whatever.
  Susan lives with her guardian, Helen Reister. Everyone knows that Helen isn't Susan's mother, but no one, including Susan, knows who Susan's mother actually is. Rumor has it she's someone famous, and she sends money to alleviate her guilt... I mean, make it easier on Susan. Most people take the Jessica Wakefield approach to Susan: Treat her as if she were Someone. That way, if she is, you're set. If she's not, well, you can turn on her then. No sense making an enemy until you need to do so.
  And so Susan is pretty popular. She's one of the nine billion redheads inhabiting the Valley and has a steady rich-bitch boyfriend named Gordon. His family golfs together and they sound like your stereotypical rich-bitch family. There's talk of lowering standards on the admissions committee to the Club and there's an uncomfortable moment when you feel like someone should ask why the old white guy feels he's so much better than that old white guy, but no one does. Instead Gordon's father, after berating Gordon's mother for her horrible golfing, assures Susan that she's their sort of people.
  Naturally, by this point you know full well that Susan's mother is going to be revealed and that she's not going to be their sort of people at all. You have your suspicions, but you do know that for a fact. Gordon sort of tries to reassure Susan that he'd still love her if she were, y'know, not his sort of people, but not really. It's more of Susan asking if he would and he's evasive enough that DUH, of course he'll dump your ass.
  Susan is desperate to know who her mother is and doesn't understand why her 'Aunt' Helen works so hard when her mother obviously sends her money for fabulous things. If you've realized that Helen is Susan's mother, congrats. You can wear this, "Not an Idiot" pin with pride.
  The big thread left over from last book was that the Bridgewater Ball is coming up. It's the fancy coming out to society sort of party for the ever wealthy members of Bridgewater Society. Fun? Susan is going with Gordon and everyone else is abuzz with news and speculation of who else will be attending the blowout. Liz even devotes an entire gossip column to guessing the attendees. She and Enid decide that Lila, Bruce & Regina, and Roger & Olivia are all sure bets. Lila, however, is a bit up shit creek without a paddle. Her last BW [Bridgewater] date fizzled and she doesn't have another one to the ball. So Lila schemes and schemes big.
  It seems Lila used to go out with Gordon [did she? I don't remember...] until he and Susan hooked up. Lila doesn't forgive or forget unless it's in the interest of the plot, so she doesn't like Susan for that reason. Lila also doesn't like other rich girls [see Regina] and is even less fond of them when they're also pretty [still see Regina], but she really, really, REALLY can't stand the way that Susan is coasting along on the idea that she might be Someone, and not actual proof. So Lila twists this to her advantage and spreads a rumor that Susan's mother is actually in a mental institution for the criminally insane. Not only is she insane, but she obviously killed someone and got caught. Crazy killer too dumb to not get caught! Oh, the shame!
  And because people are idiots, they eat this rumor up like candy. Everyone shuns poor Susan because it must be true. Not only are they mad because, ew, crazy germs, but also because she let them all believe she was better than that. She lied to them! She thought she was Someone and she's really no one and good lord, if someone doesn't break into song in the next two seconds, my brain will never recover.

   To add to all this drama, Jessica's taking a health class and thanks to yet another suggestion courtesy of Lila [the power!], Jess is sure that her mother is pregnant. She's been cranky and has weird cravings, and actually, the way it's presented, it's not outside the realm of possibility. Alice does seem to want another kid, but instead of asking her about it, the twins decide to drop hints that they'd be more than okay having a sibling that's 16/17 years younger than they are. The single best thing of the book is SO good I always forget that it happens because I always forget this subplot.
   While Jeffrey is over and Liz and Jessica are laying it on a little thick, Ned and Alice freak out. After dinner, Alice demands to know which twin is "in trouble." Sex! In a SVH book! I die with joy and laughter and all things good. Alice thinks her kids are having sex!

   They aren't, of course, but oh, this was so good. Um, anyway, Steven comes home when Jess leaves a frantic message and instead of thinking logically and just asking [though he does suggest it], he joins the hint parade. Finally we learn the baby clothes Jess found are for a baby shower and no, Alice isn't preggers and this is all Jessica's fault, and I swear you hear, "Oh, Jessica..." Funny, at my house my parents would point out that whomever is dumb enough to follow the town idiot gets to be mocked just as much, if not more, because they should know better. At Casa de Wakefield, it's just "Oh, Jessica!"

  Back to Susan. Remember Allen Walters, Robin's boytoy before she stabbed Enid in the back? Well, he finally moved on beyond cheating Robin and fell for Susan. Only he'd never make a move on such a beautiful, fantastic, sophisticated girl who was already taken because Allen may be a dork, but he's a noble dork. I'm actually kind of liking Allen, so give me a moment. When everyone else dumps Susan, Allen moves in for the kill and tries desperately to cheer Susan up. He has varying degrees of luck and when he suggests a date, he almost loses it when Susan realizes that the night he's suggesting is the night of the BWB, but she can't go, and Allen is the only person besides Liz Wakefield who has looked at her like she's still human, so what the hell. God, I'm killing the language here. Um, anyway.
  Our other Wakefield subplot revolves around a moving being shot in SV. They're looking for extras and Liz gets it into her head that she'll interview the director because he's donating his salary on the movie to SADD, since his son was killed a year ago by a drunk driver, leaving me to wonder- is it in horrible taste to suggest that for the Sweet Valley Drinking Game, a shot should be done for each car accident, two shots for all accidents being the result of a drunk driver?

  Back to Susan's guardian: She's panicking because Susan really needs to know, but if she knew her mother were just a poor waitress with amazing sewing skills, she'd be less than thrilled. So Helen rips up the confession note she just wrote and is all set to never, ever tell Susan [at least, not til she's 18, and honey, these books will never let that happen, so she's free!] and then there's a knock at the door. It's the director, Jackson Croft! And what's more, Helen knew he'd be by since he was in town! Intrigue!
  Yeah, since Susan can't be Someone because her mother is, she'll be Someone because her father is Jackson Croft, the lone Hollywood director who manages to combine box office entertainment with a message. He's just that awesome, guys. So awesome that when his career was first taking off he left his girlfriend and got married while they were apart, even though said girlfriend was preggers, though he didn't know. What a guy. Susan comes home to find her mother entertaining [alas, not a euphenism] Hollywood royalty. Helen tells Susan to be nice to her father, Susan freaks out, Helen runs away, and Jackson lets it slip that Helen is Susan's mother. Susan freaks out because he kind of strings her along, not realizing Susan doesn't know Helen is her mother, but when it all comes out, Jackson does what he does best. Runs away, leaving Helen and Susan to pick up the pieces. Like I said, what a guy.
  Anyway, happy happy joy-joys ensue, and when Liz tries to get an interview with Jackson, Susan appears and word gets out that Susan is more than they thought, just not on her mother's side. Lila's new date, Gordon, runs back to Susan and Lila is beyond pissed, but Susan actually considers resuming her old life, ready to tell Allen she can't go out with him because it's obvious he was just being, you know, nice... and then Allen appears and is so excited about their date that Susan... realizes he's not an asshole? I dunno, but she tells Gordon she's got better things to do, like Allen, and that's that.

  To recap: Susan Stewart has everyone thinking she's someone special because of her mother. She's not. Her mother is just a simple waitress. Her father, on the other hand, is Jackson Croft, a major Hollywood director, and thus she's redeemed. She's more than someone. She's a Star. Yawn.
  Alice thinks her kids are having sex and her kids think she's having a baby. Turns out they're all wrong.
  Lila starts both of the big rumors floating around this book. All hail Lila!

  The setup for the next book is Regina's been filling Elizabeth's head with wonderful stories about boarding schools in Switzerland and Liz wants to go, but she couldn't possibly afford it. Regina points out that Liz is fantastically smart and talented [and yet, still in Joanna's slow English class...] and could easily score a scholarship, thus setting up the premise for numerous books later on. Liz! In Switzerland! The musical?



Trivia:

  • "Mom, could you please pass the butter?" is a really, really boring way to start a book. So is following that with a bunch of lame jokes that aren't even redeemed by the fact that they're supposed to be lame. The whole tone of the beginning of this book is off.

  • Ned is in Phoenix until 6pm.

  • The Fiat is making odd noises that only Jessica can hear. Car whisperer? Or simply she uses it the most?

  • Andrea Van Allen is in charge of this year's Bridgewater Ball.

  • Last year's BWB's theme was Mississippi Riverboat. Rumor has it that last year they spent more than five thousand dollars on flowers. They had ice sculptures like a giant steamboat with jumbo shrimp.

  • This year? Tales from the Vienna Woods.

  • Jessica mixed up Vienna and Venice.

  • In a cute moment, Liz waves to other people when she gets to school early, but snags Enid and keeps walking to the Oracle office. In my head it's all, "yeah, you're nice, but Enid's my bestest. Suck on that." Um, but cuter? Remember, I like dorky Liz.

  • Enid and Liz decide the following will most likely be attending the Bridgewater Ball: Bruce/Regina, Roger/Olivia, Susanne Hanlon, Lila Fowler.

  • Our ghosty decides that Roger is Bruce's half brother. Um, no? What is it about Roger that's so difficult to understand? He's Bruce's cousin! Why does this confuse everyone?

  • Liz entitles her speculation: The Chic Mystique: Who Gets To Go To The Year's Most Exclusive Party?

  • Dana is rocking skin tight leopard spotted jeans. My mind is totally blown.

  • Grant Palmer was Lila's Bridgewater date to the big dance last book, but they fizzled out in record time.

  • Jessica thinks Susan and Gordon will go, but Lila doesn't think Susan will, and then says something about how many people from Whitehead Academy will.

  • Susan Stewart is a tanned redhead with coppery hair, wide smoky brown eyes, and the ability to ooze sophistication. Honey, that might be your most marketable gift right there. You've got to be born with that.

  • Ken and Winston dance around health class. <3 !

  • Winston mockingly creates the Poor People's Cotillion, which will be held in the health classroom every February 30th. Potato sacks and shoes with black laces., and no one with an annual income of more than five hundred dollars is allowed.

  • Lila doesn't find all the insanity amusing.

  • Ms. Rice is the health teacher.

  • Mr.Farley Stoddard is described as he of the florid face with light blue eyes, a senior VP at West Cost Oil Cam Cooperation. What. A. Catch.

  • Mrs. Binky Stoddard has light brown hair and is forever getting trapped between the 7th and 8th holes on the Sweet Valley Country Club golf course. That's between the duck pond and the winding brook. Binky? Really?

  • Binky has a golf pro named Richard.

  • Gordon has finely molded, aristocratic features, keen blue eyes, and glossy light brown hair. He's cardboard and plastic, kids. That's all.

  • When Susan asks, Binky suggests a long, pale gold gown, along with a corsage of tiny white [with a hint of blush] rosebuds for the BWB.

  • Lila and Gordon Stoddard dated.

  • Helen Reister is an amazing seamstress, capable of sewing a gown for a ball where the rest of the attendees would probably shell out some exorbitant fee for something not half as pretty, and yet Susan's dress would never be mocked. [If it would be, we would have known about it/seen it.]

  • Helen also shares the same coloring as Susan, although Susan doesn't always seem to believe Helen is a blood relative. Honey, redheads who tan? There aren't exactly a million of you in the world.

  • By page 39 you know Helen is Susan's mother, even though it hasn't officially been said yet. You just do. Yay, you!

  • Jessica makes a fantastic meat loaf, claims she usually does, and is a little miffed that her father assumes Alice or Liz made it. I'm not sure whether to applaud this running continuity [Jessica can cook, but people keep assuming she'll kill them, so if it's good, assume one of the other people at home made it] or bitch-slap a fictional family for annoying me and making me feel sorry for Jessica. Cuz I do, even when she's not all that upset this go round. *bitchslaps Ned Wakefield*

  • Alice has crazy-bitchy cravings for pistachio ice cream. Normally no sane Wakefield would ever, ever touch the stuff. Good to know.

  • Susan has Mr. Rizzo for Science, and I'm guessing Allen does, too, since she asks him for help.

  • Lila thinks that Cara and Caroline are both reformed gossips, but if the dirt's juicy enough, they'll both fall off the wagon. How right she is.

  • Lila starts the rumor that Susan's mother is in a home for the criminally insane.

  • Prince Albert helps Jessica find a bag from Great Expectations, a maternity store in downtown Sweet Valley. Inside the bag, which was hidden behind old sandals, an outdated macrome hand bag, and a tattered beach blanket, is a yellow sweater and cap set.

  • Alice thought one of the twins was pregnant, given the way they kept going on about babies.

  • Jackson Croft is a Hollywood movie director. He'll be holding a casting call "next Saturday at Hampton Place shopping center". He's looking for extras, but Jessica is sure that one look at her and he'll decide to make her a star.

  • Deborah Carteret canceled dinner with Susan cuz of the crazy rumors.

  • Jason Croft, Jackson's son, was 14 when he died a year ago.

  • Veronica Hammond is an actress and Jackson's wife/Jason's mother.

  • Jackson's movie is La Luna, a drama that takes place over one year in the life of a family.

  • Liz is sure that if she can get Jackson to grant her an interview, Louis Westman, the editor at the Sweet Valley News will reprint it in the newspaper.

  • Heather Sanford [Aaron's girlfriend, remember her?] made Liz a dress of light blue, feather light cambric. Liz thinks it's a little too tame for Jessica and really doesn't want to lend it to her, but Liz is a doormat.

  • Helen is revealed to be Susan's mother on page 118. No one is surprised.

  • The following SVH students appear at the casting call: Jessica, Elizabeth, Jean West, Sandy Bacon, Aaron Dallas, Heather Sanford, Sally Larson, Mark Riley, Dana Larson and the rest of the Droids, Enid.

  • Alice and Ned were so secretive about a month long vacation that would leave the twins home alone, not about being knocked up again. Dude, no one would leave their teenage daughters, particularly THOSE daughters, alone for a month. It's child endangerment. Or a good way to burn down your house in two days, tops.

  • When Gordon tries to crawl back again, Lila dumps soda on his head. We love you, Lila!

  • Regina brochures Liz to death with stuff from the Interlochen School.



Quotable SVH:

"That's the problem with morning classes-you have less time to get the work from someone else first." Lila, p15

"Oh, no!" wailed Ken, burying his face in his hands. "And all I ever wanted was to go to the ball and dance with Winston Egbert."
"Well, if that's all you want, why didn't you say so?" Winston jumped down, and while the whole class looked on and laughed, the two boys danced boisterously around the room. - After Winston decides that the first annual Poor People's Cotillion will only accept people whose shoes have black laces. p 22


Mr. Stoddard talked nonstop throughout the meal about his conviction that Sweet Valley was going to the dogs and that they would all be murdered in their beds if the police didn't start to shape up. - Oh, poor, poor Farley. You speak true, but everyone writes you off as the ass that you are. Woe. p33

Pregnant! How could that be?
Jessica lifted one eyebrow and tapped the book on her lap. It was pretty obvious how, she told herself. But why? - p44

"Don't you think that's pretty strange?"
Lila smiled wryly. "You mean for Jessica to study during lunch? Yes. And for that matter," she continued in a sarcastic tone, "I didn't even know she knew where the library was." - Lila wins again! p57

As Lila stood up, Cara grabbed her arm. "Are you sure about this?"
An unpleasant sensation of guilt washed over Lila for a brief moment, but she quickly pushed it out of her mind. "Well," she said slowly,"nobody really knows anything for sure, do they?" - Lila's crafty. p60


" 'A critical and popular success' ," her mother read out loud. " 'Jackson Croft's unerring sense of the issues that capture the public's heart has made him one of the foremost directors in the business. He has been honored at Cannes and by the Motion Picture Academy and has received numerous humanitarian awards.' Talk about having your cake and eating it too," she added with a dry smile. - Alice reading from the paper, p80


"Oh, God!" groaned Jessica, flopping over onto her back. "Can you imagine? Twins? Give me strength!" - Jessica, on the possibility her mother might have twins again. p141

"Oh, Enid!" Elizabeth gasped with relief. "It's a miracle! I'm so glad I found you!"
Enid's green eyes twinkled with amusement. "I had no idea you felt that way about me, Liz!" - Oh, Enid, don't be modest. We all knew. p146


   For the Liz love/hate report, Liz does something that puts her in both categories this go round. In my, "Oh, come ON" list there's Liz trying to console Susan. Instead of listening to the poor girl, she keeps chattering on and on, making Susan feel worse, and oh yeah, not listening. At all. Liz! Shut up!
  But then later on Liz is sweet and shy and nervous when trying to speak to Jackson Croft and looks around for Enid to help her out and there's this moment where she feels almost real. If there's anything I can relate to, it's being tongue-tied and shy. I can't get behind Super!Liz, but when shades of dorkier-twin Liz come out to play, I'm all over them. That's the Liz I love and want to be friends with. Too bad they shoved her aside after awhile.
  Can't say I give much of a damn about Susan. She seems like a cardboard cutout, and her only standout feature is that she's the lone tan redhead in the Valley.

   Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm still giggling over "which one of you two is in trouble?" Gold! Why do I always forget this? Why do I always forget everything about this book except "Helen is Susan's mother. DUH. Next!"?

the_oracle: (plotting)
Rags to Riches
February 1985

Look who's after Roger Barrett!

Roger strikes it rich...


  No one would have guessed that Roger Barrett, the poorest boy in Sweet Valley, was really one of the Patmans, the wealthiest family in town. But when Roger's mother dies, the secret of his birth is revealed, and overnight he becomes a millionaire.
  Immediately Jessica Wakefield sets her sights on Roger and his newfound wealth. Only one thing stands in her way-Olivia Davidson, Roger's longtime girlfriend. But not for long. Jessica has a surefire plan to take care of her!


  Ah, Rags to Riches. This is one of those books that I would own very briefly, and then it would get lost, but I wouldn't notice until my inner librarian/masochist would decide it was time to catalog my books. So I'd haul them all off the shelves and see which ones I was missing, and then, if I liked the book enough or was sure I actually owned it, I would go out and search for it. I never went looking for Rags to Riches. Ever.

  Which isn't to say that the book sucks. It's just that it's another Roger book, and Roger books were kind of boring, y'know? Even when given a free pass for angst and drama, Roger fails miserably to live up to that potential. His mother dies and Roger is whisked away to the Patman mansion. His uncle buys him all the things he's ever wanted and probably quite a few he needed, and we don't really get to experience this much because he's Roger. There's momentary excitement over getting to buy pretty much whatever he wants at The Sports Shop, but because he's a guy, or maybe because he's Roger, this is short lived and nothing more than a blip on the radar. His new aunt cannot stand Roger's old life and doesn't seem all that fond of Roger himself because she has a stick up her butt, but again, the drama is lacking. Not even Jessica can really spice things up, but Lord does she try.
  Okay, I should begin at the beginning. Roger Barrett, remember the poor as a church mouse guy from Racing Hearts? Yeah, well, his mother died at the end of the last book and he found out that he was the long lost love child of Paul Patman, Henry Patman's wealthier brother. Too bad Paul is dead, and Roger is definitely an orphan. However, now he has family, so he's shipped off to the Patman mansion where he promptly forgets all about his mother. For someone who worked really hard to help save mama and worked his butt off to keep a roof over their heads, Roger spends more time pining for his old room than he does for his mother. I get that a lot of guys aren't all touchy feely, but usually when something happens to their parent of choice, you at least get something, anything... Nothing. Roger doesn't mention her except for the catalyst as to his moving to his new life, and never with sadness, really. It's a bit scary when you overthink it.
  Instead, we fixate on Olivia, Roger, and the changes their relationship is going through due to Roger's upgrade in life. Olivia, who was previously established to be a free thinker, unafraid of what people think, is now a seething ball of insecurities. On the one hand, yay, reality stopped by the Valley for a brief stay! On the other hand, boo, reality has no place in the Valley. I can see why Olivia would be worried. Roger's rich now, his new family has completely different values, and Roger desperately wants to fit in. You could argue that he needs this new family more than he might need Olivia, so naturally she's worried about where Roger Barrett's girlfriend will fit into Roger Patman's life. Of course, it probably doesn't help that Roger introduces her everywhere as his good friend Olivia, and never his girlfriend. That would bug me to hell and back.
  The Patmans decide to throw Roger two parties to welcome him to the family. One is an informal gathering of Roger's friends, and the other, at the end of the book, is meant to basically welcome Roger to the Patmans' lifestyle. This means the rich bitches will all be in attendance there.

  Now, we've gone too long without a Jessica scheme popping up, so we have to check in with the devious twin. Seems that with Roger now being fantastically wealthy, Jessica's upgraded him from cute, but hopelessly out of her league to just her type. Olivia, she decides, isn't right for his new life, but Jessica certainly is. So at the little informal gathering, she starts buttering up Mrs. Patman. Who knew that acting like the maid and helping to clear things would endear her to Marie Patman? But it does. Jessica and Marie have a little chat and Marie makes it rather clear that Jessica is just the sort of young woman Marie would wish for her new nephew, and Jessica whole heartedly agrees. Olivia, they decide, must be dealt with. With this in mind, Jessica ups her devious little game. She "helps" Olivia fit in by having her get her desert while everyone else is just concentrating on their burgers and whatnot. She "helps" her pick out tennis clothes for their doubles match with Bruce and Roger. She helps hem Olivia's dress and then proceeds to list all the reasons why such a dress would do nothing but embarrass Roger. And the thing is, she sort of does try to help. She points out what is expected of Olivia, highlights the fact that it's not really Olivia's style or personality to be this girl the Patmans seem to require, and then says, "but really, that delightful ensemble you're wearing? Go with it. I'm sure no one else will be wearing tennis whites, although everyone else on the planet knows I'm lying through my perfect teeth." And Olivia falls for it, because she wants so desperately to hold onto Roger. Because she loves him, she wants to make things easier for him, but because she's so worried about not fitting in, naturally it all falls apart.
  It doesn't help that Roger hasn't got the balls to stand up to his aunt who proceeds to trash everything about him. So you like to run, Roger? Isn't that a bit of a solitary endeavor? Surely wouldn't you rather play tennis because tennis is what we Patmans are known for, and besides, Bruce does it. Your clothes, Roger, shouldn't they be more like Bruce's? So you want to be a doctor? Isn't that a bit... messy? Your girlfriend, shouldn't she be a little less of a free thinker and more like, say, me but in sixteen year old blond form?
  And he falls for it because of all the reasons listed previously. When Olivia realizes that she will never be the girl Marie Patman would wish for her nephew, she breaks her date with Roger for the big party. She even tries to explain how his new life has been rubbing her the wrong way, but of course things blow up. They break up and each is miserable. Liv runs into Liz and Liz comes home, tells Jessica, and is then amazed by how warm and fuzzy Jessica seems as she goes off to console Olivia. Well, Jessica never said that, she just said she was off to offer consolation. She lies to Roger and snags herself the ultimate date to the party of the season when Roger asks her to be his date.
  However, it doesn't take long for Jessica's plan to backfire. The day of the party, Roger overhears his aunt discussing Jessica's involvement in their little plan and how marvelous it was that she could do so much damage in so little time. She's proud of this, I might add, and I love that. Roger rushes over to casa Wakefield and tells the twins he's realized what an ass he's been and that he needs Olivia back, won't they help him? With some complicated eye contact, Jessica realizes Roger's on to her and she demurs the invitation, prompting Elizabeth to realize that Jessica was indeed being a backstabbing bitch. Roger details the bitchery on the way to Olivia's.
  Olivia, it turns out, lives in the best house I've heard of all series. Well, at least the non-mansion types, anyway. Roger begs forgiveness and Liz is there for no reason other than to have helped Roger keep Olivia from running away. After Roger invites her to be his date again and she accepts, Olivia asks Liz to come check out her dress. Elizabeth declares it beautiful and reminds Olivia that Roger loves her, strangeness and all.
  Jessica rebounds quickly and her backup boy toy, Neil, escorts her to the party. Roger grows a pair and stands up to his aunt, his uncle swoops in and tells his wife to shove it, that maybe Roger needs the acceptance of his family more than strangers, and everyone has a loverly time. Except for Lila and Caroline.

  Lila is our B story thread. It seems Regina Morrow has been missing classes lately and Todd Wilkins is worried about it. So he convinces Liz to ditch school one day and they follow Regina downtown. They see her meet up with a handsome older man and disappear into an office building, but before they can figure out what to do about this, they run into Lila who has also seen Regina. Lila is jealous of Regina because Regina George is so cool until Regina showed up, Lila was the richest girl in school, and one of the prettiest to boot. Regina appears and is prettier, nicer, more well liked, and just as rich, if not moreso. Lila spreads the rumour that Regina's got a much older boyfriend. Eventually the gossip gets to Regina who tells Elizabeth that the older guy in question is Lane Townsend of the Lane Townsend Agency. She's going to be the next cover model for Ingenue magazine and that's what's with all the school skipping and driving off in someone's beige Ferrari. She's not fooling around with a married man because she's not that kind of girl. She promises Liz to secrecy and Liz agrees, although she feels bad about holding out on Todd. Done with the inadvertent snorting of anything you might have been drinking? Good.
  Eventually Cara spots the infamous Ingenue cover and she tells two friends and they tell two friends and soon it's all over town. Of course, Lila knew about this before because she stalked Regina, too. She tried to get Lane to dump Regina and go with Lila instead, but he gently turns her down and tells her that while she's lovely, she's not model material and wouldn't like how flat her face would look in pictures. Ouch!
  Everyone freaks out about Regina's newfound celebrity status at the party, hence Lila's unhappiness.
  Caroline, on the other hand, has been talking about this guy named Adam she's apparently been seeing. We have no proof of him other than a letter she conveniently brings to the party with her and Cara reads aloud. Now, I can see bringing the letter with you, I guess, but the fact that Adam's letter says "I wish I could be there with you tonight" is a little off. Sure, he could have written it so that she'd read it the day of the party, but still, weird.
  So yes, I think you know where that's going. However, that's our lead out into the next book, so until then....

Trivia:

  • Roger has gray eyes.

  • RtR takes place a little over a week after Promises.

  • Roger wears contacts now, and dresses more preppy than he did before.

  • After lunch, Liz has English and Todd has study hall.

  • Todd's last class of the day is English, and Regina's in his class when she's not out modeling, that is.

  • Regina Morrow takes mostly honors classes.

  • The Patmans have a 5 car garage. Is that all?

  • For some reason Jessica is trying to sell t-shirts she's painted to help earn money for the cheerleaders.

  • Neil Freemount has a new sports car, thus ensuring that he keeps his place as Jessica's go to boy when she's dateless.

  • Liz describes Olivia has "very slender and small" thus blowing my mind completely, as I never think of her as that.

  • When Liz and Todd skip last period, they stalk Regina, run into Lila, and spy Roger. Half the junior class was cutting and no one told Jessica?

  • Elizabeth is sure that Mrs. Patman dyes her hair to keep it that black. Um, of all the reasons to dislike this woman, this is one of the ones put forth why?

  • Bruce is wearing a speedo and George and Todd both comment on it. Make your own joke -here-.

  • Lila describes Regina's 'mystery man' as a Paul Newman look-alike.

  • In a botched attempt to impress Roger, and his new family, Olivia flubs a dive and ends up doing a belly flop. Ouch!

  • A big deal is made about the twins watching a movie in the family room on their brand new VCR that Ned just set up. I giggled for a good five minutes at that.

  • The movie in question? Some Travolta flick.

  • Why does the school serve 'Hungarian Goulash' and more importantly, why does Lila choose that over whatever Jess has that involves french fries?

  • Caroline first brings up Adam on page 71.

  • Regina's room has a massive canopy bed in the center, guaze curtains, a couch that Regina chose the fabric for herself, and the whole thing is done in pastels. I think an Easter Egg blew up in there, somewhere. Regina decorated it herself.

  • Mr. Jaworski is holding a playwright competition. Naturally, Liz is going to enter.

  • In the week between books, Todd's car broke down on the way to Elizabeth's, and the car parts still aren't ready. Rude.

  • Olivia loves pale lilac.

  • Roger doesn't call Olivia his girlfriend until the very end of the book. Every other time it's "my friend Olivia." Idiot.

  • Lane Townsend drives a beige Ferrari. What a waste.

  • Olivia doesn't drive, but rather, she rides her bike. Because she's eco friendly.

  • The Davidsons have a large, rectangular garden at the center of their house. It's enclosed, so no worries about freak rainstorms ruining everything, and in the middle of this little oasis, there's a marble fountain. The house, and it's awesome garden, were designed by Olivia's uncle on her mother's side. He designed the house for Olivia's birth, since he's an architect.

  • Lila's date for Roger's big party is Drake Howard.

  • Lane Townsend's daughter is Simone, and Regina babysat for her once.

  • It was Mrs. Townsend who discovered Regina and that ultimately lead to Regina's Ingenue cover.



Quotes:
"Take it easy, Bruce. I feel even stranger than I look."
Bruce snorted. "That would be hard," he muttered. Roger/Bruce, p16

Mrs. Patman leaned back in her chair and continued smiling at Jessica. In fact, she smiled so widely and for such a long time that Jessica began to wonder if something was wrong. [I just have this picture of Mrs. P going all Joker in that moment. Someone distract me, quick!] p44

...but at the same time, Elizabeth hated holding out on Todd. p89 I think we all know where my mind went with that little tidbit....

"Jess, I just ran into her downtown and she looked absolutely terrible!"
"What was she wearing?" Jessica asked, interested at last.
Liz/Jessica p113



   Oh, Olivia, I love you dearly, but sometimes I do wonder about you. But not as much as I worry about Roger in this book. When Olivia trips and falls while they're playing tennis, and is obviously a little shaken up, Roger would rather continue playing tennis than let Olivia stop and clean her wounds. What the hell, Roger? Let the girl clean the grit from her skinned palms before you make her awkwardly hold a racquet again, ok?
  Also, why is Jessica running around in the background selling stuff to make money for the cheerleaders? It's just so random. The t-shirts we're pretty sure no one bought, or at least only suckers did, and then some ugly ass cookies that they sold all of them for $55... We're never given a reason, are we?
  Other things to ponder:
Why is it that when Jessica wants the dirt on something, she's a flighty gossip, but when Elizabeth does, it's her 'reporter's curiosity?
If Mama Barret was known for always doing the right thing, how did she end up having an affair with her married boss?

   And with this book, I truly begin to wonder if Elizabeth isn't a bit of a sociopath herself. She knows what her twin is like, but instead of learning with each new calamity Jessica brings down upon herself, Liz keeps hoping that this time will be the time Jessica reveals her heart of gold. Or, better yet, she'll suspect quite heavily that Jess is up to no good, but she won't interfere because "it's none of my business." Um, hello, if it looks like Jessica is trying to break two people up, don't you think you should step in and say something to someone, somewhere? Sure, reasoning with Jessica is out, but had she said, "Liv? Do you know that Jessica doesn't know a damn thing about sewing so her helping to hem anything will be a disaster..." Olivia might have begun to realize that things with Roger went downhill significantly faster once Jessica "befriended" her. Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but the signs are there, Liz. And still, when Jessica is busted and ratted out, does Liz actually manage to rip her a new one? Nope, she allows herself to be distracted.
  I do have to say that part of me, the sick sadistic side, admires how Jessica doesn't manage to see her failures as that. They're just another opportunity to be found elsewhere. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish like mad for her ability to be able to call a guy up at the last possible second and trill, "It's your lucky day, you get to take me..." and have them do it and be glad to do so. Cursed fiction!



Updated most of the previous entries with an extra cover for the non-English side. If I disappear for awhile, it's a connection issue. Seems I pay my part of the deal, but they don't pay theirs. Woe. Fear not, my trusty notebook and I will be continuing to work, it just might take a little while to share. Or not. If any of the images don't work, fuss at me so I'll know to fix them, kay?
Also, if you find yourself thinking, "Hey, I have a cover for that book that she doesn't..." feel free to share. Sometimes my eyes cross or I just can't find 'em even though I'm fairly certain they do exist.
the_oracle: (plotting)
Rags to Riches
February 1985

Look who's after Roger Barrett!

Roger strikes it rich...


  No one would have guessed that Roger Barrett, the poorest boy in Sweet Valley, was really one of the Patmans, the wealthiest family in town. But when Roger's mother dies, the secret of his birth is revealed, and overnight he becomes a millionaire.
  Immediately Jessica Wakefield sets her sights on Roger and his newfound wealth. Only one thing stands in her way-Olivia Davidson, Roger's longtime girlfriend. But not for long. Jessica has a surefire plan to take care of her!


  Ah, Rags to Riches. This is one of those books that I would own very briefly, and then it would get lost, but I wouldn't notice until my inner librarian/masochist would decide it was time to catalog my books. So I'd haul them all off the shelves and see which ones I was missing, and then, if I liked the book enough or was sure I actually owned it, I would go out and search for it. I never went looking for Rags to Riches. Ever.

  Which isn't to say that the book sucks. It's just that it's another Roger book, and Roger books were kind of boring, y'know? Even when given a free pass for angst and drama, Roger fails miserably to live up to that potential. His mother dies and Roger is whisked away to the Patman mansion. His uncle buys him all the things he's ever wanted and probably quite a few he needed, and we don't really get to experience this much because he's Roger. There's momentary excitement over getting to buy pretty much whatever he wants at The Sports Shop, but because he's a guy, or maybe because he's Roger, this is short lived and nothing more than a blip on the radar. His new aunt cannot stand Roger's old life and doesn't seem all that fond of Roger himself because she has a stick up her butt, but again, the drama is lacking. Not even Jessica can really spice things up, but Lord does she try.
  Okay, I should begin at the beginning. Roger Barrett, remember the poor as a church mouse guy from Racing Hearts? Yeah, well, his mother died at the end of the last book and he found out that he was the long lost love child of Paul Patman, Henry Patman's wealthier brother. Too bad Paul is dead, and Roger is definitely an orphan. However, now he has family, so he's shipped off to the Patman mansion where he promptly forgets all about his mother. For someone who worked really hard to help save mama and worked his butt off to keep a roof over their heads, Roger spends more time pining for his old room than he does for his mother. I get that a lot of guys aren't all touchy feely, but usually when something happens to their parent of choice, you at least get something, anything... Nothing. Roger doesn't mention her except for the catalyst as to his moving to his new life, and never with sadness, really. It's a bit scary when you overthink it.
  Instead, we fixate on Olivia, Roger, and the changes their relationship is going through due to Roger's upgrade in life. Olivia, who was previously established to be a free thinker, unafraid of what people think, is now a seething ball of insecurities. On the one hand, yay, reality stopped by the Valley for a brief stay! On the other hand, boo, reality has no place in the Valley. I can see why Olivia would be worried. Roger's rich now, his new family has completely different values, and Roger desperately wants to fit in. You could argue that he needs this new family more than he might need Olivia, so naturally she's worried about where Roger Barrett's girlfriend will fit into Roger Patman's life. Of course, it probably doesn't help that Roger introduces her everywhere as his good friend Olivia, and never his girlfriend. That would bug me to hell and back.
  The Patmans decide to throw Roger two parties to welcome him to the family. One is an informal gathering of Roger's friends, and the other, at the end of the book, is meant to basically welcome Roger to the Patmans' lifestyle. This means the rich bitches will all be in attendance there.

  Now, we've gone too long without a Jessica scheme popping up, so we have to check in with the devious twin. Seems that with Roger now being fantastically wealthy, Jessica's upgraded him from cute, but hopelessly out of her league to just her type. Olivia, she decides, isn't right for his new life, but Jessica certainly is. So at the little informal gathering, she starts buttering up Mrs. Patman. Who knew that acting like the maid and helping to clear things would endear her to Marie Patman? But it does. Jessica and Marie have a little chat and Marie makes it rather clear that Jessica is just the sort of young woman Marie would wish for her new nephew, and Jessica whole heartedly agrees. Olivia, they decide, must be dealt with. With this in mind, Jessica ups her devious little game. She "helps" Olivia fit in by having her get her desert while everyone else is just concentrating on their burgers and whatnot. She "helps" her pick out tennis clothes for their doubles match with Bruce and Roger. She helps hem Olivia's dress and then proceeds to list all the reasons why such a dress would do nothing but embarrass Roger. And the thing is, she sort of does try to help. She points out what is expected of Olivia, highlights the fact that it's not really Olivia's style or personality to be this girl the Patmans seem to require, and then says, "but really, that delightful ensemble you're wearing? Go with it. I'm sure no one else will be wearing tennis whites, although everyone else on the planet knows I'm lying through my perfect teeth." And Olivia falls for it, because she wants so desperately to hold onto Roger. Because she loves him, she wants to make things easier for him, but because she's so worried about not fitting in, naturally it all falls apart.
  It doesn't help that Roger hasn't got the balls to stand up to his aunt who proceeds to trash everything about him. So you like to run, Roger? Isn't that a bit of a solitary endeavor? Surely wouldn't you rather play tennis because tennis is what we Patmans are known for, and besides, Bruce does it. Your clothes, Roger, shouldn't they be more like Bruce's? So you want to be a doctor? Isn't that a bit... messy? Your girlfriend, shouldn't she be a little less of a free thinker and more like, say, me but in sixteen year old blond form?
  And he falls for it because of all the reasons listed previously. When Olivia realizes that she will never be the girl Marie Patman would wish for her nephew, she breaks her date with Roger for the big party. She even tries to explain how his new life has been rubbing her the wrong way, but of course things blow up. They break up and each is miserable. Liv runs into Liz and Liz comes home, tells Jessica, and is then amazed by how warm and fuzzy Jessica seems as she goes off to console Olivia. Well, Jessica never said that, she just said she was off to offer consolation. She lies to Roger and snags herself the ultimate date to the party of the season when Roger asks her to be his date.
  However, it doesn't take long for Jessica's plan to backfire. The day of the party, Roger overhears his aunt discussing Jessica's involvement in their little plan and how marvelous it was that she could do so much damage in so little time. She's proud of this, I might add, and I love that. Roger rushes over to casa Wakefield and tells the twins he's realized what an ass he's been and that he needs Olivia back, won't they help him? With some complicated eye contact, Jessica realizes Roger's on to her and she demurs the invitation, prompting Elizabeth to realize that Jessica was indeed being a backstabbing bitch. Roger details the bitchery on the way to Olivia's.
  Olivia, it turns out, lives in the best house I've heard of all series. Well, at least the non-mansion types, anyway. Roger begs forgiveness and Liz is there for no reason other than to have helped Roger keep Olivia from running away. After Roger invites her to be his date again and she accepts, Olivia asks Liz to come check out her dress. Elizabeth declares it beautiful and reminds Olivia that Roger loves her, strangeness and all.
  Jessica rebounds quickly and her backup boy toy, Neil, escorts her to the party. Roger grows a pair and stands up to his aunt, his uncle swoops in and tells his wife to shove it, that maybe Roger needs the acceptance of his family more than strangers, and everyone has a loverly time. Except for Lila and Caroline.

  Lila is our B story thread. It seems Regina Morrow has been missing classes lately and Todd Wilkins is worried about it. So he convinces Liz to ditch school one day and they follow Regina downtown. They see her meet up with a handsome older man and disappear into an office building, but before they can figure out what to do about this, they run into Lila who has also seen Regina. Lila is jealous of Regina because Regina George is so cool until Regina showed up, Lila was the richest girl in school, and one of the prettiest to boot. Regina appears and is prettier, nicer, more well liked, and just as rich, if not moreso. Lila spreads the rumour that Regina's got a much older boyfriend. Eventually the gossip gets to Regina who tells Elizabeth that the older guy in question is Lane Townsend of the Lane Townsend Agency. She's going to be the next cover model for Ingenue magazine and that's what's with all the school skipping and driving off in someone's beige Ferrari. She's not fooling around with a married man because she's not that kind of girl. She promises Liz to secrecy and Liz agrees, although she feels bad about holding out on Todd. Done with the inadvertent snorting of anything you might have been drinking? Good.
  Eventually Cara spots the infamous Ingenue cover and she tells two friends and they tell two friends and soon it's all over town. Of course, Lila knew about this before because she stalked Regina, too. She tried to get Lane to dump Regina and go with Lila instead, but he gently turns her down and tells her that while she's lovely, she's not model material and wouldn't like how flat her face would look in pictures. Ouch!
  Everyone freaks out about Regina's newfound celebrity status at the party, hence Lila's unhappiness.
  Caroline, on the other hand, has been talking about this guy named Adam she's apparently been seeing. We have no proof of him other than a letter she conveniently brings to the party with her and Cara reads aloud. Now, I can see bringing the letter with you, I guess, but the fact that Adam's letter says "I wish I could be there with you tonight" is a little off. Sure, he could have written it so that she'd read it the day of the party, but still, weird.
  So yes, I think you know where that's going. However, that's our lead out into the next book, so until then....

Trivia:

  • Roger has gray eyes.

  • RtR takes place a little over a week after Promises.

  • Roger wears contacts now, and dresses more preppy than he did before.

  • After lunch, Liz has English and Todd has study hall.

  • Todd's last class of the day is English, and Regina's in his class when she's not out modeling, that is.

  • Regina Morrow takes mostly honors classes.

  • The Patmans have a 5 car garage. Is that all?

  • For some reason Jessica is trying to sell t-shirts she's painted to help earn money for the cheerleaders.

  • Neil Freemount has a new sports car, thus ensuring that he keeps his place as Jessica's go to boy when she's dateless.

  • Liz describes Olivia has "very slender and small" thus blowing my mind completely, as I never think of her as that.

  • When Liz and Todd skip last period, they stalk Regina, run into Lila, and spy Roger. Half the junior class was cutting and no one told Jessica?

  • Elizabeth is sure that Mrs. Patman dyes her hair to keep it that black. Um, of all the reasons to dislike this woman, this is one of the ones put forth why?

  • Bruce is wearing a speedo and George and Todd both comment on it. Make your own joke -here-.

  • Lila describes Regina's 'mystery man' as a Paul Newman look-alike.

  • In a botched attempt to impress Roger, and his new family, Olivia flubs a dive and ends up doing a belly flop. Ouch!

  • A big deal is made about the twins watching a movie in the family room on their brand new VCR that Ned just set up. I giggled for a good five minutes at that.

  • The movie in question? Some Travolta flick.

  • Why does the school serve 'Hungarian Goulash' and more importantly, why does Lila choose that over whatever Jess has that involves french fries?

  • Caroline first brings up Adam on page 71.

  • Regina's room has a massive canopy bed in the center, guaze curtains, a couch that Regina chose the fabric for herself, and the whole thing is done in pastels. I think an Easter Egg blew up in there, somewhere. Regina decorated it herself.

  • Mr. Jaworski is holding a playwright competition. Naturally, Liz is going to enter.

  • In the week between books, Todd's car broke down on the way to Elizabeth's, and the car parts still aren't ready. Rude.

  • Olivia loves pale lilac.

  • Roger doesn't call Olivia his girlfriend until the very end of the book. Every other time it's "my friend Olivia." Idiot.

  • Lane Townsend drives a beige Ferrari. What a waste.

  • Olivia doesn't drive, but rather, she rides her bike. Because she's eco friendly.

  • The Davidsons have a large, rectangular garden at the center of their house. It's enclosed, so no worries about freak rainstorms ruining everything, and in the middle of this little oasis, there's a marble fountain. The house, and it's awesome garden, were designed by Olivia's uncle on her mother's side. He designed the house for Olivia's birth, since he's an architect.

  • Lila's date for Roger's big party is Drake Howard.

  • Lane Townsend's daughter is Simone, and Regina babysat for her once.

  • It was Mrs. Townsend who discovered Regina and that ultimately lead to Regina's Ingenue cover.



Quotes:
"Take it easy, Bruce. I feel even stranger than I look."
Bruce snorted. "That would be hard," he muttered. Roger/Bruce, p16

Mrs. Patman leaned back in her chair and continued smiling at Jessica. In fact, she smiled so widely and for such a long time that Jessica began to wonder if something was wrong. [I just have this picture of Mrs. P going all Joker in that moment. Someone distract me, quick!] p44

...but at the same time, Elizabeth hated holding out on Todd. p89 I think we all know where my mind went with that little tidbit....

"Jess, I just ran into her downtown and she looked absolutely terrible!"
"What was she wearing?" Jessica asked, interested at last.
Liz/Jessica p113



   Oh, Olivia, I love you dearly, but sometimes I do wonder about you. But not as much as I worry about Roger in this book. When Olivia trips and falls while they're playing tennis, and is obviously a little shaken up, Roger would rather continue playing tennis than let Olivia stop and clean her wounds. What the hell, Roger? Let the girl clean the grit from her skinned palms before you make her awkwardly hold a racquet again, ok?
  Also, why is Jessica running around in the background selling stuff to make money for the cheerleaders? It's just so random. The t-shirts we're pretty sure no one bought, or at least only suckers did, and then some ugly ass cookies that they sold all of them for $55... We're never given a reason, are we?
  Other things to ponder:
Why is it that when Jessica wants the dirt on something, she's a flighty gossip, but when Elizabeth does, it's her 'reporter's curiosity?
If Mama Barret was known for always doing the right thing, how did she end up having an affair with her married boss?

   And with this book, I truly begin to wonder if Elizabeth isn't a bit of a sociopath herself. She knows what her twin is like, but instead of learning with each new calamity Jessica brings down upon herself, Liz keeps hoping that this time will be the time Jessica reveals her heart of gold. Or, better yet, she'll suspect quite heavily that Jess is up to no good, but she won't interfere because "it's none of my business." Um, hello, if it looks like Jessica is trying to break two people up, don't you think you should step in and say something to someone, somewhere? Sure, reasoning with Jessica is out, but had she said, "Liv? Do you know that Jessica doesn't know a damn thing about sewing so her helping to hem anything will be a disaster..." Olivia might have begun to realize that things with Roger went downhill significantly faster once Jessica "befriended" her. Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but the signs are there, Liz. And still, when Jessica is busted and ratted out, does Liz actually manage to rip her a new one? Nope, she allows herself to be distracted.
  I do have to say that part of me, the sick sadistic side, admires how Jessica doesn't manage to see her failures as that. They're just another opportunity to be found elsewhere. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish like mad for her ability to be able to call a guy up at the last possible second and trill, "It's your lucky day, you get to take me..." and have them do it and be glad to do so. Cursed fiction!



Updated most of the previous entries with an extra cover for the non-English side. If I disappear for awhile, it's a connection issue. Seems I pay my part of the deal, but they don't pay theirs. Woe. Fear not, my trusty notebook and I will be continuing to work, it just might take a little while to share. Or not. If any of the images don't work, fuss at me so I'll know to fix them, kay?
Also, if you find yourself thinking, "Hey, I have a cover for that book that she doesn't..." feel free to share. Sometimes my eyes cross or I just can't find 'em even though I'm fairly certain they do exist.
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (Default)
Racing Hearts
June, 1984

Can Roger melt Lila's icy heart?

Love on the run...


  Roger Barret has always had a hopeless crush on glamorous, wealthy Lila Fowler. The only attention Lila ever pays to him, though, is to make fun of him in front of her friends. But why shouldn't she, he thinks. After all, he's clumsy and shy and works secretly as a janitor after school.
  When Roger wins the qualifying heat for a big race, he becomes a school celebrity overnight. And to his surprise, even Lila starts to chase after him. But Roger knows if he runs in the race finals, he'll lose his job. Will Lila still notice him when he's no longer a star?

  I love that the back of the book doesn't even try to convince you that the school would give half a damn about Roger if he didn't run in the big race. Look, right there, it tells you that if he doesn't race, he won't be a 'star'... Of course, anyone at all familiar with Lila, or anyone looking at the cover, will tell you that he hasn't got a chance. Oh, Roger, it was cruel of fate to let you fall for Lila, the richest girl ever, while you are a poor little church mouse. Cru-el!

  Anyway. Again, simple: Roger is in loooooooove with Lila. As Lila is a bitch, she takes it upon herself to tease and flirtatiously goad Roger into running in the qualifying race for the Bart, some annual race we never really hear about again, despite just about every other school ritual being repeated as the series goes on. So Roger races and wins by a landslide. Take that, Bruce Patman! Oh yeah, baby. Despite all the bragging Bruce has been doing, Roger spanked that ass but good. But not literally, as that would be awkward, particularly given what'll happen about eight books or so from now. So, Roger wins and everyone falls all over themselves to kiss up to him. Naturally this wave of love is lead by Lila herself, once it becomes obvious what whomever wins the Bart will be supremely popular until, y'know, someone else does something newsworthy. Once Lila flutters her pretty eyelashes in Roger's direction, his only actual friend, Olivia Davidson, wanders off. Because she's in love with Roger, duh!
  Thing is, Roger is really, really poor. So poor that instead of working at McDonald's or something, he works as the janitor at the office building where Mr. Wakefield works, and his boss is a real asshat who won't give Roger any time off, not even when he's sick. As a kid I knew this was wrong, but didn't know for sure it was illegal. Now I think every kid knows such a thing, but this was the 80's, and I guess Roger wasn't that quick on the draw. So with this lawbreaking jerk as a boss, Roger can't very well take the time off to practice for the race, let alone run in it. However, the adoration of his peers, and Lila in particular, is too much for Roger, and he can't find a way to break the news to Coach Schultz, who has displayed remarkable restraint in not kicking Roger's ass for not showing up to a single practice with nary an explanation in sight. Given his feelings of inadequacy and his inability to hang out after school, Roger gives Lila the impression that he's now playing hard to get. Jesus, Roger, didn't you think this out before you threw yourself at her? Traditionally girlfriends, be they rich or not, expect to spend time with their boyfriends. Roger never manages to give an inch.
  Eventually Roger realizes he has to confess his inability to run, particularly when he runs into Jessica Wakefield while on the job. How? Why? Didn't he learn his lesson with Liz?
  Well, that's what the B-story is for. Jessica decides to turn over a new leaf after her disastrous wipe out with Bill. She decides she'll join her father as a lawyer. It never occurs to Jess that her father will stick her at the bottom of the food chain, pride or no pride, and she's bored beyond belief. She can't quit immediately though, because she knows her sister and everyone else will laugh, roll their eyes, and say, "Typical Jessica." Which is proof that there is a little more going on under that fried blond hair than most people think. However, just as Jessica's about to drown at her own pity party, she meets Dennis who works across the hall. He's cute, he's interested in her, and he's incentive enough to stay on at the law firm. Turns out that Dennis won't go out with Jessica, but he's content to make out with her after hours at the office. Which is a bit creepy and insulting once Jessica thinks about it long enough. Still, she's determined to have the world gasp at how gorgeous her new man is, so she devises a plan. Not only will this plan introduce Dennis to her friends, but it will get Lila and Roger together [making Lila happy, momentarily] but it will also then allow her to humiliate Lila when she reveals that Roger is a lowly janitor. Yup, the inevitable happens when Jessica finally runs into Roger at work. Luckily Liz was there, spying on Jessica, so she runs home, runs interference with Lila, and blackmails Jessica into not saying a word. Foolish Liz...
  With this hanging over his head, Roger realizes what Elizabeth does not. He has to come clean before someone else beats him to the punch. So he tells Olivia, who promptly calls and tells Elizabeth. The next day Roger goes to tell Coach S. Little side story here, possibly even counting as a C-story. Coach Schultz has a tendency to throw hissy fits at the school board meetings and this time someone takes him seriously when he says he'll quit if they don't give him what he wants. This morphs into him being put out to pasture, being stricken with cancer, and I think there's even a heart condition thrown in for good measure. Anyway, Roger tells Coach that he can't run, why, and is promptly interrupted. Seems Mr. Pendergast called the coach to tell him that Roger could have the time off to run, claiming to be a sports fan. Roger does the happy dance, declares he'll win one for the Gipper the Coach. Coach sets him straight [he's a drama queen not dying] and Roger runs off to thank Elizabeth. Of course, before he told the coach, he told Lila, and she freaked out. Well, not exactly freaked out, but she did let him know that poor and star-less, he had absolutely no chance with her.
  Roger and Olivia scheme a way to really outshine Bruce. Roger lets the rumor that he's dropped out of the race to run it's course and he shows up to a shocked crowd come Saturday. Roger wins, Bruce stumbles but finishes the race anyway, and everyone is happy. Except for Jessica who found out that Dennis wouldn't go out with her because he couldn't drive her anywhere, what with him being a freshly minted 15 and all. Jess freaks out and that's the end of that romance. Too bad she actually really liked the guy, eh?
  So the book ends with Jessica readying for a date with a male cheerleader from a rival school, Olivia and Roger together, and Lila alone. End scene, roll the credits, and hit the lights on your way out.


Trivia:

  • Originally supposed to be Love on the Run, and was even advertised as such in the back of Heartbreaker.

  • Cara Walker stays home from school the day it rains because she thinks she's coming down with a cold and doesn't want to aggravate it.

  • Mr. Wakefield's office closes at 6PM.

  • Lila and Aaron Dallas dated in "junior high", but it didn't work out, although they've remained friends. You'd never know this from any other book in the series, and I wonder if Jessica knows about this dating they did back in Jr. High. Was it during that series, or did I miss it in the SVT series? :P

  • Speaking of Aaron, why is he in Bruce's history class? Did he skip a grade, or was he a year older than the twins and I never knew, or is Bruce really bad in history?

  • Roger's goal in life is to be a doctor.

  • Olivia works at the museum, giving tours and chatting about the artwork.

  • Todd is still pissed at Bruce for trying to get in Elizabeth's pants a few books back. I love this.

  • Tony Esteban is the track team's long distance runner.

  • Mark Riley is the sprinter and track captain.

  • How unspoken can the rivalry be between Lila and Jessica, if it's always mentioned when those two clash? Is it in the student handbook?

  • Also, why is it never mentioned again that Mr. Wakefield is helping someone sue Mr. Fowler?

  • Dennis Creighton goes to El Caro High.

  • SVH hasn't won the Bart race since 1956. That winner was Jack Ralston.

  • The Bart is actually the Barton Ames Memorial Mile.

  • The guys who ran in the qualifying race are: Bruce, Todd, Roger, Tony, Peter Sorley, and Mark Riley. Roger, Bruce, and Tony qualify in that order and go on to run in the Bart.

  • Bruce figures he could be the track 'miler', but practice is as the same time as his tennis practice, and we know how much Bruce loves his tennis.

  • Olivia and Bruce are the only two who don't seem to make a fuss about Roger's big win. By the way, he ran the mile in 4 minutes and 5.5 seconds. That's in ratty jeans and not snazzy racing gear.

  • SVH has a school store, and if you were interested in the warm up suit Roger coveted, it'd run you $30. o_O

  • Olivia writes poetry and is the Arts Editor of the Oracle.

  • Lila has to work like a fiend to maintain her thinness, but Jessica does not.

  • Jess admires her sister for blackmailing her.

  • Elizabeth and Jessica now have phone extensions in their rooms, so no more overhearing gossip from the phone in the hall. I wonder if this is when they get their own phone number too.

  • Four of the five schools competing in the Bart: SVH, El Caro, Springbrook, and Palisades.

  • Kevin Borden from Springbrook is a male cheerleader who hits on Jessica.

  • Most of the SVH students aren't so enthused by the Bart race as they are about the dance afterward.

  • Liz talked her father into confronting Mr. Pendergast concerning his illegal practices where sick days and the like were concerned.



Say wha?:
  "I'm serious about this. I never said I was giving up boys. But I've got to think about other things, too. I've just come to realize there's more to life than drive-ins on Saturday nights and beach parties every Sunday afternoon." Jess, p5
  "Hey, why do you call him Bugs Bunny, anyway?"
  " 'Cause he bugs me." Jess/Lila, p14
  For the first time in his school career, he felt like a somebody, and he wanted to take advantage of the attention for as long as possible. It was as if he felt that at any moment it would all disappear. Roger, p51
  "Can you trust her?"
  "She's my sister. When she gives her word to me, she means it." Roger might want to realize Liz has lost her grasp on reality, p 108
  "I'll keep that in mind the next time I see you snuggling up to a ninth grader." Todd, p131
  "Crowds bother me. I was content to wait. My patience is unlimited." Olivia channels her inner fortune cookie, p 144




  In the grand scheme of things, I rarely think about RH. It's not a bad book, and in fact it's pretty entertaining. I'm a sucker for HS politics and it's not like it's missing anything. Thing is, it's also dull when you compare it to some of the other things that happen over the years. Roger never attains A-list status, and ducks in and out of books throughout the series, while rarely making me care all that much. Nice enough guy, but who in the hell could fall for both Lila Fowler and Olivia Davidson? The two could not be more different if they TRIED.
  Also, Jessica's plan to humiliate Lila so that she could take over as the center of the party was just plain cruel. She didn't care what it would do to Roger at all, and didn't seem at all phased as to the thought that it would knock Lila down a peg or two. Granted, Lila's a pain, but still, the girl has yet to have a love interest worth mentioning thus far. If nothing else, Jessica should be allowed to relate to that. She can't, nor can she rise above Dennis being a year younger, even though she likes him. They'll recycle that bit for later use on Lila quite a few books down the line.
  One of the standout things in the book is how it's okay for Elizabeth to be so serious about her writing, but Jessica isn't allowed to seem actually serious about acting, even though odds are good that Jessica has a better shot of being a working actress than Elizabeth does as a published author of the novel variety. Jessica's plan for When I Grow Up is ridiculed and Elizabeth's is proof that she's Serious. How is that fair? Now take into consideration the fact that excluding SVU, where it's as if Jessica's never heard of drama, Jessica's been set up to be an aspiring actress since she was twelve at the very latest. Liz has made no secret of her desire to be a writer, but it changes for each series. Sometimes she's Super Journalist, and sometimes she'll be the next great poet making school children groan in protest. This doesn't mean I doubt her love for writing, but since it's rarely a case of wanting to be all these things in her long and varied career and more of her changing her mind, she's just as fickle as Jessica can be. But it's okay, because it's all writing in one way or another, right? Except for her SVU years. Later on they'll comment on this, but for now it's just one of those throw-away items that Jess points out but, gasp, they go right back to doing even though she's pointed out that it hurts her feelings. Sure, she's a drama queen, but it doesn't mean we're not supposed to believe that she's not self-involved enough to have feelings. Right?

the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (Default)
Racing Hearts
June, 1984

Can Roger melt Lila's icy heart?

Love on the run...


  Roger Barret has always had a hopeless crush on glamorous, wealthy Lila Fowler. The only attention Lila ever pays to him, though, is to make fun of him in front of her friends. But why shouldn't she, he thinks. After all, he's clumsy and shy and works secretly as a janitor after school.
  When Roger wins the qualifying heat for a big race, he becomes a school celebrity overnight. And to his surprise, even Lila starts to chase after him. But Roger knows if he runs in the race finals, he'll lose his job. Will Lila still notice him when he's no longer a star?

  I love that the back of the book doesn't even try to convince you that the school would give half a damn about Roger if he didn't run in the big race. Look, right there, it tells you that if he doesn't race, he won't be a 'star'... Of course, anyone at all familiar with Lila, or anyone looking at the cover, will tell you that he hasn't got a chance. Oh, Roger, it was cruel of fate to let you fall for Lila, the richest girl ever, while you are a poor little church mouse. Cru-el!

  Anyway. Again, simple: Roger is in loooooooove with Lila. As Lila is a bitch, she takes it upon herself to tease and flirtatiously goad Roger into running in the qualifying race for the Bart, some annual race we never really hear about again, despite just about every other school ritual being repeated as the series goes on. So Roger races and wins by a landslide. Take that, Bruce Patman! Oh yeah, baby. Despite all the bragging Bruce has been doing, Roger spanked that ass but good. But not literally, as that would be awkward, particularly given what'll happen about eight books or so from now. So, Roger wins and everyone falls all over themselves to kiss up to him. Naturally this wave of love is lead by Lila herself, once it becomes obvious what whomever wins the Bart will be supremely popular until, y'know, someone else does something newsworthy. Once Lila flutters her pretty eyelashes in Roger's direction, his only actual friend, Olivia Davidson, wanders off. Because she's in love with Roger, duh!
  Thing is, Roger is really, really poor. So poor that instead of working at McDonald's or something, he works as the janitor at the office building where Mr. Wakefield works, and his boss is a real asshat who won't give Roger any time off, not even when he's sick. As a kid I knew this was wrong, but didn't know for sure it was illegal. Now I think every kid knows such a thing, but this was the 80's, and I guess Roger wasn't that quick on the draw. So with this lawbreaking jerk as a boss, Roger can't very well take the time off to practice for the race, let alone run in it. However, the adoration of his peers, and Lila in particular, is too much for Roger, and he can't find a way to break the news to Coach Schultz, who has displayed remarkable restraint in not kicking Roger's ass for not showing up to a single practice with nary an explanation in sight. Given his feelings of inadequacy and his inability to hang out after school, Roger gives Lila the impression that he's now playing hard to get. Jesus, Roger, didn't you think this out before you threw yourself at her? Traditionally girlfriends, be they rich or not, expect to spend time with their boyfriends. Roger never manages to give an inch.
  Eventually Roger realizes he has to confess his inability to run, particularly when he runs into Jessica Wakefield while on the job. How? Why? Didn't he learn his lesson with Liz?
  Well, that's what the B-story is for. Jessica decides to turn over a new leaf after her disastrous wipe out with Bill. She decides she'll join her father as a lawyer. It never occurs to Jess that her father will stick her at the bottom of the food chain, pride or no pride, and she's bored beyond belief. She can't quit immediately though, because she knows her sister and everyone else will laugh, roll their eyes, and say, "Typical Jessica." Which is proof that there is a little more going on under that fried blond hair than most people think. However, just as Jessica's about to drown at her own pity party, she meets Dennis who works across the hall. He's cute, he's interested in her, and he's incentive enough to stay on at the law firm. Turns out that Dennis won't go out with Jessica, but he's content to make out with her after hours at the office. Which is a bit creepy and insulting once Jessica thinks about it long enough. Still, she's determined to have the world gasp at how gorgeous her new man is, so she devises a plan. Not only will this plan introduce Dennis to her friends, but it will get Lila and Roger together [making Lila happy, momentarily] but it will also then allow her to humiliate Lila when she reveals that Roger is a lowly janitor. Yup, the inevitable happens when Jessica finally runs into Roger at work. Luckily Liz was there, spying on Jessica, so she runs home, runs interference with Lila, and blackmails Jessica into not saying a word. Foolish Liz...
  With this hanging over his head, Roger realizes what Elizabeth does not. He has to come clean before someone else beats him to the punch. So he tells Olivia, who promptly calls and tells Elizabeth. The next day Roger goes to tell Coach S. Little side story here, possibly even counting as a C-story. Coach Schultz has a tendency to throw hissy fits at the school board meetings and this time someone takes him seriously when he says he'll quit if they don't give him what he wants. This morphs into him being put out to pasture, being stricken with cancer, and I think there's even a heart condition thrown in for good measure. Anyway, Roger tells Coach that he can't run, why, and is promptly interrupted. Seems Mr. Pendergast called the coach to tell him that Roger could have the time off to run, claiming to be a sports fan. Roger does the happy dance, declares he'll win one for the Gipper the Coach. Coach sets him straight [he's a drama queen not dying] and Roger runs off to thank Elizabeth. Of course, before he told the coach, he told Lila, and she freaked out. Well, not exactly freaked out, but she did let him know that poor and star-less, he had absolutely no chance with her.
  Roger and Olivia scheme a way to really outshine Bruce. Roger lets the rumor that he's dropped out of the race to run it's course and he shows up to a shocked crowd come Saturday. Roger wins, Bruce stumbles but finishes the race anyway, and everyone is happy. Except for Jessica who found out that Dennis wouldn't go out with her because he couldn't drive her anywhere, what with him being a freshly minted 15 and all. Jess freaks out and that's the end of that romance. Too bad she actually really liked the guy, eh?
  So the book ends with Jessica readying for a date with a male cheerleader from a rival school, Olivia and Roger together, and Lila alone. End scene, roll the credits, and hit the lights on your way out.


Trivia:

  • Originally supposed to be Love on the Run, and was even advertised as such in the back of Heartbreaker.

  • Cara Walker stays home from school the day it rains because she thinks she's coming down with a cold and doesn't want to aggravate it.

  • Mr. Wakefield's office closes at 6PM.

  • Lila and Aaron Dallas dated in "junior high", but it didn't work out, although they've remained friends. You'd never know this from any other book in the series, and I wonder if Jessica knows about this dating they did back in Jr. High. Was it during that series, or did I miss it in the SVT series? :P

  • Speaking of Aaron, why is he in Bruce's history class? Did he skip a grade, or was he a year older than the twins and I never knew, or is Bruce really bad in history?

  • Roger's goal in life is to be a doctor.

  • Olivia works at the museum, giving tours and chatting about the artwork.

  • Todd is still pissed at Bruce for trying to get in Elizabeth's pants a few books back. I love this.

  • Tony Esteban is the track team's long distance runner.

  • Mark Riley is the sprinter and track captain.

  • How unspoken can the rivalry be between Lila and Jessica, if it's always mentioned when those two clash? Is it in the student handbook?

  • Also, why is it never mentioned again that Mr. Wakefield is helping someone sue Mr. Fowler?

  • Dennis Creighton goes to El Caro High.

  • SVH hasn't won the Bart race since 1956. That winner was Jack Ralston.

  • The Bart is actually the Barton Ames Memorial Mile.

  • The guys who ran in the qualifying race are: Bruce, Todd, Roger, Tony, Peter Sorley, and Mark Riley. Roger, Bruce, and Tony qualify in that order and go on to run in the Bart.

  • Bruce figures he could be the track 'miler', but practice is as the same time as his tennis practice, and we know how much Bruce loves his tennis.

  • Olivia and Bruce are the only two who don't seem to make a fuss about Roger's big win. By the way, he ran the mile in 4 minutes and 5.5 seconds. That's in ratty jeans and not snazzy racing gear.

  • SVH has a school store, and if you were interested in the warm up suit Roger coveted, it'd run you $30. o_O

  • Olivia writes poetry and is the Arts Editor of the Oracle.

  • Lila has to work like a fiend to maintain her thinness, but Jessica does not.

  • Jess admires her sister for blackmailing her.

  • Elizabeth and Jessica now have phone extensions in their rooms, so no more overhearing gossip from the phone in the hall. I wonder if this is when they get their own phone number too.

  • Four of the five schools competing in the Bart: SVH, El Caro, Springbrook, and Palisades.

  • Kevin Borden from Springbrook is a male cheerleader who hits on Jessica.

  • Most of the SVH students aren't so enthused by the Bart race as they are about the dance afterward.

  • Liz talked her father into confronting Mr. Pendergast concerning his illegal practices where sick days and the like were concerned.



Say wha?:
  "I'm serious about this. I never said I was giving up boys. But I've got to think about other things, too. I've just come to realize there's more to life than drive-ins on Saturday nights and beach parties every Sunday afternoon." Jess, p5
  "Hey, why do you call him Bugs Bunny, anyway?"
  " 'Cause he bugs me." Jess/Lila, p14
  For the first time in his school career, he felt like a somebody, and he wanted to take advantage of the attention for as long as possible. It was as if he felt that at any moment it would all disappear. Roger, p51
  "Can you trust her?"
  "She's my sister. When she gives her word to me, she means it." Roger might want to realize Liz has lost her grasp on reality, p 108
  "I'll keep that in mind the next time I see you snuggling up to a ninth grader." Todd, p131
  "Crowds bother me. I was content to wait. My patience is unlimited." Olivia channels her inner fortune cookie, p 144




  In the grand scheme of things, I rarely think about RH. It's not a bad book, and in fact it's pretty entertaining. I'm a sucker for HS politics and it's not like it's missing anything. Thing is, it's also dull when you compare it to some of the other things that happen over the years. Roger never attains A-list status, and ducks in and out of books throughout the series, while rarely making me care all that much. Nice enough guy, but who in the hell could fall for both Lila Fowler and Olivia Davidson? The two could not be more different if they TRIED.
  Also, Jessica's plan to humiliate Lila so that she could take over as the center of the party was just plain cruel. She didn't care what it would do to Roger at all, and didn't seem at all phased as to the thought that it would knock Lila down a peg or two. Granted, Lila's a pain, but still, the girl has yet to have a love interest worth mentioning thus far. If nothing else, Jessica should be allowed to relate to that. She can't, nor can she rise above Dennis being a year younger, even though she likes him. They'll recycle that bit for later use on Lila quite a few books down the line.
  One of the standout things in the book is how it's okay for Elizabeth to be so serious about her writing, but Jessica isn't allowed to seem actually serious about acting, even though odds are good that Jessica has a better shot of being a working actress than Elizabeth does as a published author of the novel variety. Jessica's plan for When I Grow Up is ridiculed and Elizabeth's is proof that she's Serious. How is that fair? Now take into consideration the fact that excluding SVU, where it's as if Jessica's never heard of drama, Jessica's been set up to be an aspiring actress since she was twelve at the very latest. Liz has made no secret of her desire to be a writer, but it changes for each series. Sometimes she's Super Journalist, and sometimes she'll be the next great poet making school children groan in protest. This doesn't mean I doubt her love for writing, but since it's rarely a case of wanting to be all these things in her long and varied career and more of her changing her mind, she's just as fickle as Jessica can be. But it's okay, because it's all writing in one way or another, right? Except for her SVU years. Later on they'll comment on this, but for now it's just one of those throw-away items that Jess points out but, gasp, they go right back to doing even though she's pointed out that it hurts her feelings. Sure, she's a drama queen, but it doesn't mean we're not supposed to believe that she's not self-involved enough to have feelings. Right?

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