the_oracle: (plotting)
Pretenses
April 1988


Is someone coming between Cara and Steven?

Too much mystery...


  Cara Walker feels that her boyfriend, Steven Wakefield, isn't paying enough attention to her. Suddenly he's acting aloof and withdrawn. Cara's good friend Jessica, Steven's sister, suggests that Cara add some mystery to the relationship.
  When Cara takes Jessica's advice, it backfires. Steven starts to act even more distant, and Cara is sure he's hiding something. He used to confide in her, but now it seems he's turning to his sister Elizabeth's friend Abbie Richardson. Will Cara discover Steven's secret before she's replaced by someone new?



   I don't know who wrote Pretenses. I'm not sure I want to know, although it would make me feel a whole hell of a lot better about things if it was one of those books co-written by at least two different people because there is a LOT of flip-flopping going on. No one seems to be able to make up their mind about anything at all for longer than a couple of paragraphs. With that warning in mind, as well as the warning that once again people take relationship advice from Jessica Wakefield, we begin.

   Jessica's been thinking that Cara and Steven are really more than due for a break-up. Of course, she's been thinking this since approximately two hours after she first hooked them up, so this is nothing new. Cara, in a throwback to that younger, simpler time [it has been twenty books exactly, my dears] decides to throw herself a belated birthday party. You remember, she was awfully depressed over her parents' divorce and so she and Steven celebrated by him acting like an asshole in a fancy restaurant. Good, good times, right?
  Yeah, not so much. So to erase that particularly pleasant memory, Cara decides to create a new one. She's throwing herself a party at the Marine House and, as it's fairly expensive, she can only afford to invite fourteen people. Remember that, okay. The book says she can only INVITE fourteen people. Problem is, she mentioned this little party to Abbie Richardson, a girl we've never met before the last book because she spent all her free time with her boyfriend from Palisades, Doug Brewster. But Cara can't think of anyone to leave off the guest list, so... she can't invite Abbie, although everyone can tell the girl expects an invite since Cara brought it up.
  Jessica tells Cara not to worry about it, Abbie blew them off for the last two years, really, she can't expect to be invited to the party and it'll be okay if Cara just avoids the subject entirely. I'm paraphrasing, obviously, but Cara falls for it. I'll never understand why I keep believing the lie that she's somewhat intelligent given the way she always falls for the stupid!Jessica advice so readily, but ignores the two or three good pieces of advice the ditzy twin hands out. Oi. So... Cara avoids talking to Abbie about this entirely. Poor Abbie thinks she's getting an invite and instead gets the awkward avoidance. Fun!
  The kicker for the party is that I counted, repeatedly, and there are only thirteen people, not counting Cara, at this damn thing. So, um, why couldn't Abbie come again? Cara laments the fact that she screwed poor Abbie over and Abbie still gave her a present... as well as the fact that she should have invited Abbie in Steven's place for all the fun she had with him.
  Steven's home from SVU due to serious allergy/sinus problems. Because he's a guy [and I apologize to any of you out there] he's also a complete ass while he's sick. Instead of leveling with Cara at ANY point about exactly how god awful he feels, or how worried he is that his health problem happened at the worst time for him academically speaking, he just... withdraws. So she realizes something's wrong and tries to move closer and he feels smothered and trapped and tries to gnaw his own leg off to get away and she's hurt and he's hurt and no one does any talking to the right people here. Instead of confiding in someone trained in such matters [the high school relationship will live or die depending on how many people it takes to maintain it when the two people involved are too stupid to do the right thing, y'know?], Steven confides in Abbie because she's been hanging around the house lately, what with the B plot and all.

   B plot would be that OHMYGOD, the sky is falling! The Oracle isn't as popular as it used to be! NOOOOOOOOOooooooooo! I swear, the pages where Penny/Liz/Jeffrey/Winston freak out are just insanely bad. So bad it's good bad. Winston tells the uptight idiots that the paper has everything except something intentionally funny, so they should run a contest to add some humor to the damn thing. They agree, offer him the job, he declines, and we gather it falls to Olivia to set things up. Olivia, I should mention, is never seen. Anyway, the contest comes down to Abbie's Jenny comic strip and Amy's mock-Miss-Manners column. I don't know about Amy, but Jenny is decidedly unfunny. I have vague memories of thinking it was hi-larious as a child, or at least mildly amusing, so maybe I'm just too old now. *coughdoubtitcough*
  Anyway, Abbie has self-esteem issues and seems to be a bit obsessive about Liz, so she won't believe her stuff is any good until someone else tells her it is. To milk this for all it's worth [and then some] Abbie has been coming over to the Wakefields every afternoon to the point where no one is ever surprised to see her. Hence Steven's ability to confide in the girl.
  Abbie tells Steven, repeatedly, to talk to Cara. To tell her what's going on, but Steven can't. See, there's another little problem. He's been getting these letters. I know what you did last summer! Written on Tricia Martin's old stationary. And the boy can't tell up from down, right from left, living from dead. It never occurs to him that Cara is sending the letters, although I'd think that by now we'd know whether she and Tricia used the same perfume, and Cara's been spritzing perfume on the letters in lieu of an actual signature. Steven, I guess, can't smell a damn thing, so maybe that's his excuse.

   Blah blah blah, Liz and Jessica realize at different points that something is a little off about Steven and Abbie. Liz notices that Steven has been getting letters on familiar stationary, although she can't figure out where she's seen it before. Jessica has noticed that Steven and Abbie are getting awfully close to that mutual attraction stage she's so familiar with. The twins investigate a bit at the mall and find out that a girl their age, possibly a brunette, recently bought the last of the pink forget-me-not stationary and the twins leap to the conclusion that it's Abbie once the clerk says the girl had such a sweet voice. Everything about Abbie is sweet.
  Two seconds after leaving the store, they run into Reformed!Crackwhore Martin and she mentions that she's only in town because Steven wanted to grill her about the whereabouts of Tricia's stuff, like say, I don't know, her stationary. Liz is shocked! Who would be so cruel as to send Steven letters written on Tricia's stationary, and also, how many times will I have to write the word stationary?
  Um, duh? You guys just decided Abbie bought stationary like that, so it's a coincidence. Which is exactly what Jessica says. Nyargh?

   When Ned announces that he's scored six free tickets to the Lakers vs. the Celtics game, Steven chooses to invite Abbie instead of Cara, reinforcing the theory that the two are interested in one another. Jessica tells Lila who tells Cara in a rare moment of giving a damn about someone else. Lila's attempts at making Cara stand up for herself as well as making Cara feel better are painfully awful [but classic Lila at the same time] but also vaguely sweet.
  Jessica comes home to find Abbie holding a piece of pink stationary that she seems awfully nervous to be caught holding. Jessica waits for Liz to get home and then confronts her with the gossip, and Liz admits that she'd noticed how close the two had gotten. Liz is pissed to think that Abbie, whom she really liked, was just using her to get to Steven, who she probably sees as nothing more than a replacement boyfriend. Jess is just crazy, so the twins go in and bitch poor, innocent Abbie out.
  Abbie is horrified that, get this, her worst nightmare has come true. People think she's an awful person! Oh no! But then she gets mad that they're blaming her for something she didn't even do. If Abbie had wanted, truly wanted Steven, and been less of a nice girl, she could have made a play for him, but didn't. She tried to keep him with Cara at EVERY turn, and hell, poor Abbie's not even sure whether she like-likes Steven or if he's like an older brother. Seriously, I got a twinge of the whiplash trying to keep up with whether our ghosty thought she liked Steven as a replacement for Doug or if she just liked him as a friendly older brotherly type.
  Abbie tells them to go to hell, she's innocent, and then she leaves.

   Lila, meanwhile, has gone to Cara's to convince the girl to calm down before she murders the entire Wakefield family, and then convinces Cara that even if things are as bad as they seem, she HAS to talk to Steven anyway, so she'll know for sure and get her say. God, when Lila [and this is the mostly shallow version of Lila to boot] is making the most sense in the book, you really, really have to worry. Cara arrives and asks Steven how he likes her letters because he's never said one word about them to her.
  Everyone is aghast at how they've messed things up so horribly and they run off to fix things with Abbie. Abbie makes them work for it a bit and then they all kiss and makeup and Ned finagles another ticket out of one of the law partners and it's a happy ending for everyone!
  And what's more, cousin Kelly is coming to visit next book! Yay! More Wakefield drama! Oh happy day!



Trivial Pursuit:

  • Jess and Cara have to take the bus to school because Liz has a doctor's appointment. Jess, to no one's surprise, hates the bus.

  • Cara's throwing herself a belated birthday party to erase the memory of her awful time with Steven. Too bad she replaced it with another bad Steven memory when he snaps at her for asking about his mysterious letter, huh?

  • Cara's party is being held at the Marine House, which sits right on the water and is expensive. Cara says she can only invite fourteen people and these make the cut: Jessica, Elizabeth, Lila, Jeffrey, Steven, Sandra, Manuel, Jeannie, Tom, Winston, Maria, Amy, and Bruce. Um, where's the 14th person making it impossible for Cara to invite Abbie? Also, why the hell is Liz invited to Cara's birthday party?

  • Despite assuring us all series that the Oracle is awesome, now we learn no one likes it as much as they used to. I feel so lied to. Where's truth in journalism, damn it? Letter to the editor time!

  • Abbie's infamous boyfriend was Doug Brewster, a year older than Abbie, baseball player, and a bit of jerk. His mother is a painter and he'd belittle Abbie's cartoons because he felt they weren't true art.

  • Abbie herself is described as having dark brown hair that's "as fine as satin", light blue eyes, ivory skin that's prone to blushing, and she's delicate and sweet.

  • Winston and Abbie had art together last year.

  • This year Abbie and Jessica have art together.

  • When Abbie offers to take Penny's lunch tray, Jeffrey comments that Abbie seems like a nice girl. Jeffrey from ten books or so ago would have wondered what the heck was driving her to be such a doormat. When did Jeffrey get a lobotomy?

  • Steven's doctor sends him home because Steve's got some serious allergy or sinus problems. Turns out that he's allergic to a lot of things, namely mold, grass, and dust.

  • Abbie is allergic to cats.

  • Jessica's favorite soap character that week was Lania Louise.

  • Abbie's mother is a psychologist who happens to over analyze her daughter's life. Oops.

  • Abby names her comic strip Jenny, and it stars normal 16 year old Jenny Bain. Bain is Abbie's middle name, as it's an old family name. Nice.

  • Jenny's boyfriend's name is Mel.

  • Amy wants to do a mock-Miss Manners column, but we never see it, even though Abbie helps her with it.

  • Abbie thinks that Cara avoids talking about her party at lunch one day because someone at the table isn't invited. She thinks it might be Sandra or Jeannie. Um... right, sure, of course.

  • Abbie buys Cara a silver ring for her birthday.

  • Abbie's mother thinks she prefers giving to receiving because it means Abbie gets to retain more control that way.

  • Steven's arms turned red due to the allergy tests.

  • The stationary Tricia and Cara used was pink with forget-me-nots. There's a blue option as well.

  • "Everyone" knows the story of Tricia Martin and how she and Steve were together for ages before her illness. Sure, right. Forever.

  • Liz has to ask Jessica for the French word for when you feel like you've done something before and Jessica knows it's deja vu. Freaky?

  • Jess and Liz head to the Midnight Madness sale at the mall. Anyone else remember those? Do they still do them? I'm old. I'll shut up.

  • Cara bought her stationary at the Pen and Paper shop in the mall. Liz likes to buy journals for her writing there. I'd mock, but dude, I'd probably be too busy drooling over the journals and pens to say anything.

  • Our ghosty brings us the word portentously. The writing on this one is just on a completely different level.

  • Abbie sees Dr. Griffin.

  • Bob Young, a partner at Ned's law firm, gives the family six free tickets to the Lakers versus the Celtics playoff game. Then, just to cover up Steven's stupidity, Ned asks for, and is given, a seventh ticket. Funny, my father would have told one of us that it sucked to be us cuz we ruined our shot at going. Ah, tough love.

  • Doug Brewster started dating some girl named Mariel before he and Abbie had officially broken up, which is a big reason why Abbie would never go after Steven BEFORE he broke up with Cara. That and Abbie is all things sweet and good.

  • Abbie's never been to a professional basketball game before.

  • The twins' Aunt Laura, on Alice's side, lives in Tucson, Arizona and is about to be remarried to a widowed doctor with two sons.

  • Kelly, their cousin, is not happy about her father, their uncle Greg, being replaced.

  • Laura and Greg divorced when Kelly was eight or nine.



Quotes:
Gold stars of unintended hilarity:

  "What you don't have"- he took a bite of ice cream- "is humor. No cartoons. No comic strip. No puzzles. Nothing funny in the whole darn paper."
  "He's right," Penny said to Elizabeth. "I never even thought about that. Did you?"
  Elizabeth had to admit that she hadn't. "Winston! That's a great idea. If we add a humorous feature to the paper, I bet people will like it every bit as much as they did when we first started putting the paper out!" - If you found this funny, you know why. If not, um, yeah, just imagine the stick up her butt making her speech so stilted, kay? p8

  "Winston," Penny said pleadingly, "how would you like to be the new humor editor? Just come up with something truly hilarious by next week and make everyone say how much they love the paper again." - See, this wouldn't be funny if I thought she was kidding, but I doubt she is. Penny's only given a sense of humor in her own book. No pressure there, Win! p 8




   Lania was Jessica's favorite soap opera character that week. - I love that we have to be told it changes weekly. hee! p20

  Abbie had been noticing Elizabeth from afar for awhile now, and she secretly thought Elizabeth was one of the smartest, nicest girls at school. - I smell stalker! p23

   As far as Abbie was concerned these days, Elizabeth Wakefield could do no wrong. - Um, next stop blond hair dye and aqua contacts? p 26

  "It gets on my nerves when people are that nice. I'm always sure they want something." - Gotta say, I agree with Jessica on this one. mwerp? p 29

   The way to make friends was to be nice to people, to listen to them, to offer to help them, not to dump your own troubles on their shoulders. - Abbie's guide for making friends. p 38

  "Cara," Lila said, putting down her fork and looking at Cara with her ultrasophisticated I-know-what's-good-for-you expression. "Is something wrong with you? You look like you just lost every share of stock you own." - This, my pets, is why Lila will always be awesome. p 84

  She liked Abbie Richardson! She didn't want to think Abbie had been using her to get to know Steven better! - I'm apparently twelve years old and want to know if she liked-liked Abbie. Sorry, Liz. p105

   "I'm going to go over to his house and tell him what a jerk I think he is!" Her dark eyes filled with tears. "I'm going to kill them all," she muttered. "I bet Liz is behind this somehow. She's the one who started inviting Abbie over all the time. I bet she wanted this to happen all along!" - Look! Liz is getting blamed for being sneaky! Hallelujah! Poor Cara, though. p 115

  "I don't believe anyone can steal anyone else. This is Steve we're talking about, not some sort of material possession." - This actually stayed with me more than any other line in the book, or most of the rest of the series, actually. Scary, but true. Cara is wise. p 128


   I've gotta say, Pretenses is one of those books I think I read once or twice as a kid and then always remembered more from the diary entries based on the book than I do the actual book. For all the lead up they tried to give Abbie, she's pretty much written out of the series [I think] and it's all a fantastic waste, just to teach girls to COMMUNICATE with their boyfriends. Seriously, we have Abbie, Lila, Jessica, Liz, and then the couple themselves hammering this theory on home. It hurts! Someone stop the sledgehammer of subtlety!
  I could have done without all the flip flopping like I said earlier. One minute Jess is the one talking crazy, the next it's Liz with her conspiracy theories about how someone would want to hurt Steven. No one did, you moron, it was a misunderstanding just like Jess said. Or Abbie's feelings for Steven. If they'd been portrayed as confusing to begin with, I might understand, but Abbie goes from comfortable with Steven to thinking she likes him and then BAM, he's like her older brother for a paragraph or two and then she likes him again. So. Painful.
  I think Abbie sounds like a sweetheart, but she isn't funny. She's just... not. She's sincere and sweet and pretty enough that she didn't really have to work on developing a sense of humor, and really, reading her punchlines, it shows. The only person less funny than she is this whole book is Liz.
   I want to like Cara, I really do, but mostly I think she's a bit of a moron lately. She keeps letting Jessica talk her into stupid things and then marveling when things go just as badly as we would have predicted. Imagine that. When Jess likes her to Elizabeth, she's referring to their relationship status, but I think it's more their raging blind spot for Jessica's true motives.



Side note: This is probably your last update of any interest until next year. Holidays in retail don't leave much time for anything else, sadly enough. See you next year with the harrowing story of poor, poor deluded cousin Kelly.
the_oracle: (plotting)
Pretenses
April 1988


Is someone coming between Cara and Steven?

Too much mystery...


  Cara Walker feels that her boyfriend, Steven Wakefield, isn't paying enough attention to her. Suddenly he's acting aloof and withdrawn. Cara's good friend Jessica, Steven's sister, suggests that Cara add some mystery to the relationship.
  When Cara takes Jessica's advice, it backfires. Steven starts to act even more distant, and Cara is sure he's hiding something. He used to confide in her, but now it seems he's turning to his sister Elizabeth's friend Abbie Richardson. Will Cara discover Steven's secret before she's replaced by someone new?



   I don't know who wrote Pretenses. I'm not sure I want to know, although it would make me feel a whole hell of a lot better about things if it was one of those books co-written by at least two different people because there is a LOT of flip-flopping going on. No one seems to be able to make up their mind about anything at all for longer than a couple of paragraphs. With that warning in mind, as well as the warning that once again people take relationship advice from Jessica Wakefield, we begin.

   Jessica's been thinking that Cara and Steven are really more than due for a break-up. Of course, she's been thinking this since approximately two hours after she first hooked them up, so this is nothing new. Cara, in a throwback to that younger, simpler time [it has been twenty books exactly, my dears] decides to throw herself a belated birthday party. You remember, she was awfully depressed over her parents' divorce and so she and Steven celebrated by him acting like an asshole in a fancy restaurant. Good, good times, right?
  Yeah, not so much. So to erase that particularly pleasant memory, Cara decides to create a new one. She's throwing herself a party at the Marine House and, as it's fairly expensive, she can only afford to invite fourteen people. Remember that, okay. The book says she can only INVITE fourteen people. Problem is, she mentioned this little party to Abbie Richardson, a girl we've never met before the last book because she spent all her free time with her boyfriend from Palisades, Doug Brewster. But Cara can't think of anyone to leave off the guest list, so... she can't invite Abbie, although everyone can tell the girl expects an invite since Cara brought it up.
  Jessica tells Cara not to worry about it, Abbie blew them off for the last two years, really, she can't expect to be invited to the party and it'll be okay if Cara just avoids the subject entirely. I'm paraphrasing, obviously, but Cara falls for it. I'll never understand why I keep believing the lie that she's somewhat intelligent given the way she always falls for the stupid!Jessica advice so readily, but ignores the two or three good pieces of advice the ditzy twin hands out. Oi. So... Cara avoids talking to Abbie about this entirely. Poor Abbie thinks she's getting an invite and instead gets the awkward avoidance. Fun!
  The kicker for the party is that I counted, repeatedly, and there are only thirteen people, not counting Cara, at this damn thing. So, um, why couldn't Abbie come again? Cara laments the fact that she screwed poor Abbie over and Abbie still gave her a present... as well as the fact that she should have invited Abbie in Steven's place for all the fun she had with him.
  Steven's home from SVU due to serious allergy/sinus problems. Because he's a guy [and I apologize to any of you out there] he's also a complete ass while he's sick. Instead of leveling with Cara at ANY point about exactly how god awful he feels, or how worried he is that his health problem happened at the worst time for him academically speaking, he just... withdraws. So she realizes something's wrong and tries to move closer and he feels smothered and trapped and tries to gnaw his own leg off to get away and she's hurt and he's hurt and no one does any talking to the right people here. Instead of confiding in someone trained in such matters [the high school relationship will live or die depending on how many people it takes to maintain it when the two people involved are too stupid to do the right thing, y'know?], Steven confides in Abbie because she's been hanging around the house lately, what with the B plot and all.

   B plot would be that OHMYGOD, the sky is falling! The Oracle isn't as popular as it used to be! NOOOOOOOOOooooooooo! I swear, the pages where Penny/Liz/Jeffrey/Winston freak out are just insanely bad. So bad it's good bad. Winston tells the uptight idiots that the paper has everything except something intentionally funny, so they should run a contest to add some humor to the damn thing. They agree, offer him the job, he declines, and we gather it falls to Olivia to set things up. Olivia, I should mention, is never seen. Anyway, the contest comes down to Abbie's Jenny comic strip and Amy's mock-Miss-Manners column. I don't know about Amy, but Jenny is decidedly unfunny. I have vague memories of thinking it was hi-larious as a child, or at least mildly amusing, so maybe I'm just too old now. *coughdoubtitcough*
  Anyway, Abbie has self-esteem issues and seems to be a bit obsessive about Liz, so she won't believe her stuff is any good until someone else tells her it is. To milk this for all it's worth [and then some] Abbie has been coming over to the Wakefields every afternoon to the point where no one is ever surprised to see her. Hence Steven's ability to confide in the girl.
  Abbie tells Steven, repeatedly, to talk to Cara. To tell her what's going on, but Steven can't. See, there's another little problem. He's been getting these letters. I know what you did last summer! Written on Tricia Martin's old stationary. And the boy can't tell up from down, right from left, living from dead. It never occurs to him that Cara is sending the letters, although I'd think that by now we'd know whether she and Tricia used the same perfume, and Cara's been spritzing perfume on the letters in lieu of an actual signature. Steven, I guess, can't smell a damn thing, so maybe that's his excuse.

   Blah blah blah, Liz and Jessica realize at different points that something is a little off about Steven and Abbie. Liz notices that Steven has been getting letters on familiar stationary, although she can't figure out where she's seen it before. Jessica has noticed that Steven and Abbie are getting awfully close to that mutual attraction stage she's so familiar with. The twins investigate a bit at the mall and find out that a girl their age, possibly a brunette, recently bought the last of the pink forget-me-not stationary and the twins leap to the conclusion that it's Abbie once the clerk says the girl had such a sweet voice. Everything about Abbie is sweet.
  Two seconds after leaving the store, they run into Reformed!Crackwhore Martin and she mentions that she's only in town because Steven wanted to grill her about the whereabouts of Tricia's stuff, like say, I don't know, her stationary. Liz is shocked! Who would be so cruel as to send Steven letters written on Tricia's stationary, and also, how many times will I have to write the word stationary?
  Um, duh? You guys just decided Abbie bought stationary like that, so it's a coincidence. Which is exactly what Jessica says. Nyargh?

   When Ned announces that he's scored six free tickets to the Lakers vs. the Celtics game, Steven chooses to invite Abbie instead of Cara, reinforcing the theory that the two are interested in one another. Jessica tells Lila who tells Cara in a rare moment of giving a damn about someone else. Lila's attempts at making Cara stand up for herself as well as making Cara feel better are painfully awful [but classic Lila at the same time] but also vaguely sweet.
  Jessica comes home to find Abbie holding a piece of pink stationary that she seems awfully nervous to be caught holding. Jessica waits for Liz to get home and then confronts her with the gossip, and Liz admits that she'd noticed how close the two had gotten. Liz is pissed to think that Abbie, whom she really liked, was just using her to get to Steven, who she probably sees as nothing more than a replacement boyfriend. Jess is just crazy, so the twins go in and bitch poor, innocent Abbie out.
  Abbie is horrified that, get this, her worst nightmare has come true. People think she's an awful person! Oh no! But then she gets mad that they're blaming her for something she didn't even do. If Abbie had wanted, truly wanted Steven, and been less of a nice girl, she could have made a play for him, but didn't. She tried to keep him with Cara at EVERY turn, and hell, poor Abbie's not even sure whether she like-likes Steven or if he's like an older brother. Seriously, I got a twinge of the whiplash trying to keep up with whether our ghosty thought she liked Steven as a replacement for Doug or if she just liked him as a friendly older brotherly type.
  Abbie tells them to go to hell, she's innocent, and then she leaves.

   Lila, meanwhile, has gone to Cara's to convince the girl to calm down before she murders the entire Wakefield family, and then convinces Cara that even if things are as bad as they seem, she HAS to talk to Steven anyway, so she'll know for sure and get her say. God, when Lila [and this is the mostly shallow version of Lila to boot] is making the most sense in the book, you really, really have to worry. Cara arrives and asks Steven how he likes her letters because he's never said one word about them to her.
  Everyone is aghast at how they've messed things up so horribly and they run off to fix things with Abbie. Abbie makes them work for it a bit and then they all kiss and makeup and Ned finagles another ticket out of one of the law partners and it's a happy ending for everyone!
  And what's more, cousin Kelly is coming to visit next book! Yay! More Wakefield drama! Oh happy day!



Trivial Pursuit:

  • Jess and Cara have to take the bus to school because Liz has a doctor's appointment. Jess, to no one's surprise, hates the bus.

  • Cara's throwing herself a belated birthday party to erase the memory of her awful time with Steven. Too bad she replaced it with another bad Steven memory when he snaps at her for asking about his mysterious letter, huh?

  • Cara's party is being held at the Marine House, which sits right on the water and is expensive. Cara says she can only invite fourteen people and these make the cut: Jessica, Elizabeth, Lila, Jeffrey, Steven, Sandra, Manuel, Jeannie, Tom, Winston, Maria, Amy, and Bruce. Um, where's the 14th person making it impossible for Cara to invite Abbie? Also, why the hell is Liz invited to Cara's birthday party?

  • Despite assuring us all series that the Oracle is awesome, now we learn no one likes it as much as they used to. I feel so lied to. Where's truth in journalism, damn it? Letter to the editor time!

  • Abbie's infamous boyfriend was Doug Brewster, a year older than Abbie, baseball player, and a bit of jerk. His mother is a painter and he'd belittle Abbie's cartoons because he felt they weren't true art.

  • Abbie herself is described as having dark brown hair that's "as fine as satin", light blue eyes, ivory skin that's prone to blushing, and she's delicate and sweet.

  • Winston and Abbie had art together last year.

  • This year Abbie and Jessica have art together.

  • When Abbie offers to take Penny's lunch tray, Jeffrey comments that Abbie seems like a nice girl. Jeffrey from ten books or so ago would have wondered what the heck was driving her to be such a doormat. When did Jeffrey get a lobotomy?

  • Steven's doctor sends him home because Steve's got some serious allergy or sinus problems. Turns out that he's allergic to a lot of things, namely mold, grass, and dust.

  • Abbie is allergic to cats.

  • Jessica's favorite soap character that week was Lania Louise.

  • Abbie's mother is a psychologist who happens to over analyze her daughter's life. Oops.

  • Abby names her comic strip Jenny, and it stars normal 16 year old Jenny Bain. Bain is Abbie's middle name, as it's an old family name. Nice.

  • Jenny's boyfriend's name is Mel.

  • Amy wants to do a mock-Miss Manners column, but we never see it, even though Abbie helps her with it.

  • Abbie thinks that Cara avoids talking about her party at lunch one day because someone at the table isn't invited. She thinks it might be Sandra or Jeannie. Um... right, sure, of course.

  • Abbie buys Cara a silver ring for her birthday.

  • Abbie's mother thinks she prefers giving to receiving because it means Abbie gets to retain more control that way.

  • Steven's arms turned red due to the allergy tests.

  • The stationary Tricia and Cara used was pink with forget-me-nots. There's a blue option as well.

  • "Everyone" knows the story of Tricia Martin and how she and Steve were together for ages before her illness. Sure, right. Forever.

  • Liz has to ask Jessica for the French word for when you feel like you've done something before and Jessica knows it's deja vu. Freaky?

  • Jess and Liz head to the Midnight Madness sale at the mall. Anyone else remember those? Do they still do them? I'm old. I'll shut up.

  • Cara bought her stationary at the Pen and Paper shop in the mall. Liz likes to buy journals for her writing there. I'd mock, but dude, I'd probably be too busy drooling over the journals and pens to say anything.

  • Our ghosty brings us the word portentously. The writing on this one is just on a completely different level.

  • Abbie sees Dr. Griffin.

  • Bob Young, a partner at Ned's law firm, gives the family six free tickets to the Lakers versus the Celtics playoff game. Then, just to cover up Steven's stupidity, Ned asks for, and is given, a seventh ticket. Funny, my father would have told one of us that it sucked to be us cuz we ruined our shot at going. Ah, tough love.

  • Doug Brewster started dating some girl named Mariel before he and Abbie had officially broken up, which is a big reason why Abbie would never go after Steven BEFORE he broke up with Cara. That and Abbie is all things sweet and good.

  • Abbie's never been to a professional basketball game before.

  • The twins' Aunt Laura, on Alice's side, lives in Tucson, Arizona and is about to be remarried to a widowed doctor with two sons.

  • Kelly, their cousin, is not happy about her father, their uncle Greg, being replaced.

  • Laura and Greg divorced when Kelly was eight or nine.



Quotes:
Gold stars of unintended hilarity:

  "What you don't have"- he took a bite of ice cream- "is humor. No cartoons. No comic strip. No puzzles. Nothing funny in the whole darn paper."
  "He's right," Penny said to Elizabeth. "I never even thought about that. Did you?"
  Elizabeth had to admit that she hadn't. "Winston! That's a great idea. If we add a humorous feature to the paper, I bet people will like it every bit as much as they did when we first started putting the paper out!" - If you found this funny, you know why. If not, um, yeah, just imagine the stick up her butt making her speech so stilted, kay? p8

  "Winston," Penny said pleadingly, "how would you like to be the new humor editor? Just come up with something truly hilarious by next week and make everyone say how much they love the paper again." - See, this wouldn't be funny if I thought she was kidding, but I doubt she is. Penny's only given a sense of humor in her own book. No pressure there, Win! p 8




   Lania was Jessica's favorite soap opera character that week. - I love that we have to be told it changes weekly. hee! p20

  Abbie had been noticing Elizabeth from afar for awhile now, and she secretly thought Elizabeth was one of the smartest, nicest girls at school. - I smell stalker! p23

   As far as Abbie was concerned these days, Elizabeth Wakefield could do no wrong. - Um, next stop blond hair dye and aqua contacts? p 26

  "It gets on my nerves when people are that nice. I'm always sure they want something." - Gotta say, I agree with Jessica on this one. mwerp? p 29

   The way to make friends was to be nice to people, to listen to them, to offer to help them, not to dump your own troubles on their shoulders. - Abbie's guide for making friends. p 38

  "Cara," Lila said, putting down her fork and looking at Cara with her ultrasophisticated I-know-what's-good-for-you expression. "Is something wrong with you? You look like you just lost every share of stock you own." - This, my pets, is why Lila will always be awesome. p 84

  She liked Abbie Richardson! She didn't want to think Abbie had been using her to get to know Steven better! - I'm apparently twelve years old and want to know if she liked-liked Abbie. Sorry, Liz. p105

   "I'm going to go over to his house and tell him what a jerk I think he is!" Her dark eyes filled with tears. "I'm going to kill them all," she muttered. "I bet Liz is behind this somehow. She's the one who started inviting Abbie over all the time. I bet she wanted this to happen all along!" - Look! Liz is getting blamed for being sneaky! Hallelujah! Poor Cara, though. p 115

  "I don't believe anyone can steal anyone else. This is Steve we're talking about, not some sort of material possession." - This actually stayed with me more than any other line in the book, or most of the rest of the series, actually. Scary, but true. Cara is wise. p 128


   I've gotta say, Pretenses is one of those books I think I read once or twice as a kid and then always remembered more from the diary entries based on the book than I do the actual book. For all the lead up they tried to give Abbie, she's pretty much written out of the series [I think] and it's all a fantastic waste, just to teach girls to COMMUNICATE with their boyfriends. Seriously, we have Abbie, Lila, Jessica, Liz, and then the couple themselves hammering this theory on home. It hurts! Someone stop the sledgehammer of subtlety!
  I could have done without all the flip flopping like I said earlier. One minute Jess is the one talking crazy, the next it's Liz with her conspiracy theories about how someone would want to hurt Steven. No one did, you moron, it was a misunderstanding just like Jess said. Or Abbie's feelings for Steven. If they'd been portrayed as confusing to begin with, I might understand, but Abbie goes from comfortable with Steven to thinking she likes him and then BAM, he's like her older brother for a paragraph or two and then she likes him again. So. Painful.
  I think Abbie sounds like a sweetheart, but she isn't funny. She's just... not. She's sincere and sweet and pretty enough that she didn't really have to work on developing a sense of humor, and really, reading her punchlines, it shows. The only person less funny than she is this whole book is Liz.
   I want to like Cara, I really do, but mostly I think she's a bit of a moron lately. She keeps letting Jessica talk her into stupid things and then marveling when things go just as badly as we would have predicted. Imagine that. When Jess likes her to Elizabeth, she's referring to their relationship status, but I think it's more their raging blind spot for Jessica's true motives.



Side note: This is probably your last update of any interest until next year. Holidays in retail don't leave much time for anything else, sadly enough. See you next year with the harrowing story of poor, poor deluded cousin Kelly.
the_oracle: (left of normal)
When Love Dies
September 1984

What terrible secret is Tricia keeping from Steven?

The end of romance...


  The Wakefield twins' older brother, Steven, is heartbroken. His girlfriend, Tricia Martin, no longer seems interested in him. She breaks their dates and doesn't return his calls. Steven can't understand why Tricia's feelings have changed so suddenly.
  Jessica is thrilled that Steven isn't dating Tricia anymore. She sees it as the perfect opportunity to pair him with her best friend, Cara Walker. Elizabeth, Jessica's twin, thinks that scheming, gossipy Cara is all wrong for Steven. She's determined to find out the reason for Tricia's strange behavior- and horrified when she discovers the awful truth.

  When Love Dies is pretty much the pivotal moment in Steven Wakefield's life. Moreso than when Tricia actually dies [come on, look at the title. While misleading in that she's still alive at the end of this book, she's going to croak SOON] because this is when the angst cranks up to ungodly levels. But let's take a moment to back up, breathe, and start at the beginning.
  Steven Wakefield is upset. His girlfriend of the entire series thus far [though, seriously, how long has this been? Are we still in fall, did we move to spring, or what?] has been blowing him off left, right, and center. He comes home for weekends, basically just to see her, and drop off laundry for Alice to do, and she won't see him. She abruptly ends their calls, she never writes, she won't send flowers, and gosh oh golly, she probably doesn't say I love you either. Zee pain. Oh, the agony. Though to be fair, that must suck. In fact, it does suck, so I'm sorry, Steve. If it weren't for the fact that you'll obsess over this for the rest of your entire LIFE, this would break my heart.
  Anyway, no one can figure out why formerly sweet and devoted china doll Tricia is daring to be all elusive with one of the great Wakefields. Cara Walker begins spreading the word that Tricia's got a new boyfriend. Being the kind, thoughtful, and considerate little sister that she is, Jessica says as much to Steve and offers to hook him up with Cara. Which is a bit cruel as Cara really likes Steve and well, he's still hung up on his tragic girlfriend. In a fit of desperation, Steve goes to the Martins' home and pushes his way past drunk daddy [why doesn't Steve end up in jail? He's an ass at times and he lacks a lot of the bubbly charm his sisters have] to confront Tricia. She's packing and he assumes that she's going away for the weekend with some other guy. She doesn't deny this and they break up. They're both crushed, though Steve thinks Tricia's pain is because she's been caught.
  So the love birds mope around. Jessica can only stand it when she's the one moping, so she convinces Steve to go to a party at Cara's. The catch? Cara isn't throwing a party. They try and whip one up, but for two of the most popular girls in school, all they can manage is Lila Fowler*, Lila's date, Jessica, Aaron Dallas, Steve, and of course, Cara. Seriously? I could get more people to a party on short notice in high school, and I was one of the social outcasts. :P Beers are handed out because Cara's parents are out and the couples break off to go make out. Cara gets to gossiping, which is sort of what Steve wanted, and when he learns that Tricia does indeed have a new boyfriend he overcompensates. Because he's a jealous, impetuous type, Steve ropes Cara out onto the dance floor, and in an effort to prove he's so over Tricia, kisses Cara. While Cara feels the earth move and fireworks explode overhead, all Steve feels inside is cold and dead.
  Jessica skips home afterward, thrilled that her latest matchmaking ploy has worked. Liz is in shock, what could Steve see in Cara? At school, Liz runs into Tricia and they chat awkwardly about why Tricia ran off the last time Liz saw her, but before Liz can ask, "Why're you being so cold to my bestest big brother?" Cara and Jessica waltz by, discussing Steve and Cara's explosive night out. Loudly. Poor Tricia looks as if her heart is breaking, but there isn't anything anyone, even Super!Liz, can do.
  By now we know that Tricia has leukemia and is dying. It's not a maybe, could be, if we're not lucky sort of thing. This is the, aside from God coming down from on high and giving the girl a break, she's toast. Her mother died of the same thing when she was nine, and that's what led Mr. Martin to drink, and probably what led her sister Betsy to being such a skanktastic wonder. Tricia saw how it ruined her family, how it ruined her father, and she decided that she could not, would not, do that to Steve. So they broke up, and she let him hate her, so that when she dies, he won't care as much, and later on he might forgive her, but it'll be okay because he won't be as emotionally entangled as he could have been. The hard part is that this means she's essentially dying alone. I gather Tricia has NO friends at all, because they're never mentioned and you'd think one of them would know, if she had any.
  So as her heart is breaking over the thought of her boyfriend, ex or otherwise, with Cara of all people, part of her hopes that this means Steve is moving on. So she flashbacks to her dates with Steve and tries to be freakishly, superhumanly strong. *sniffle*

  This, by the way, leads us to the B story. Jessica gets wind that Jeremy Franks, a local TV celeb of sorts, is in the hospital with a broken leg. Maybe had he not skied into a tree, his leg would be fine, but when you're that handsome, well, the trees throw themselves in your way. Cara got the word from Janie McBride, a candy striper at the hospital. Jessica decides that she and Liz will finally give back to the community by becoming candy stripers, too. First she has to talk Liz into it, which is a bit more difficult than one would imagine. However, Liz crumbles as she's no match for the youngest Wakefield, and off they go to the hospital, where they both have similarly bad flashbacks. Liz remembers her coma stint and the aftermath of the accident, while Jessica remembers that she just recently drove a girl to attempted suicide. Despite this bit of foreboding, the twins enter and are quickly welcomed to the fold. Jessica gets maternity and Liz gets... some other floor that you know will house Jeremy Franks. It does, Liz meets him, and Jess is jealous. She goes to visit, and flirts. When she leans over to sign his cast, she loses her balances and reaches out, pen still in hand, and somehow manages to jab the poor guy in the knee. This is just the first of many, many horrible things. Poor Jeremy.
  Now, we know that Tricia's going in and out of the hospital, and during one of her In patient moments, Liz goes to see the new girl. They freak out, Tricia confesses that it wasn't a friend, as she'd previously said, but that she's dying and no, you nosy girl, you cannot tell Steve because it would KILL him, and that would kill Tricia even faster. Or something. Liz promises not to tell and it eats her alive. She also promises to tell Steve, after Tricia's been dead awhile, that she really did love him. This complicates matters as Liz is sure that Steve and Tricia should decide together what to do. If he wants to run for the hills, let it be his/their choice.
  So Liz angsts about this for a bit.

  Back at the hospital, Liz and Jeremy have decided that the only way to keep Jessica from spying Jeremy naked again and dropping ice water on him from shock, is for him to pursue her. He gives her roses, he flirts, and eventually he asks her to marry him. For a second it seems as if Project Hurricane is a success. Jessica freaks out and runs away. But given time to think about it, Jessica decides that maybe this will work to her advantage. So she takes him up on it. Too bad it was a bit of a joke/scheme, so he's forced to confess. Jessica agrees to forgive and forget, if he'll let her on his show, something she was angling for all along. Sneaky, sneaky.

  Mr. Collins asks Liz to tutor Max Dellon because he's going to flunk and she's Mr. C's best student. She agrees, but when she's not doing dorky back flips over this, Collins asks what's up. A little prodding later, Liz spills the beans about Tricia. Mr. C never comes out and says she should break her promise, but he does say that some promises were never meant to be kept. Liz decides she's going to tell Steve before Cara gets her hooks in any deeper. We're never really told whether Liz just thinks Cara isn't good enough for Steve, or if she just believes that Trish and Steve are her OTP. Thing is, before she can say a word to him, Steve's off.
  Cara and Steve go to a party at his dorm, where Cara makes the mistake of telling Steve that if they're to be a couple, he can't just go around thinking about Tricia all the time. This makes sense, except that if you have to say that, you have no chance of getting the guy you want, the way you want him. Steve blows up and takes her home, effectively "breaking up" without ever copping to being a couple in the works at all. Liz swoops in and tells him that Tricia still loves him and that she only broke it off with him to protect him. The rest of the story comes tumbling out and Steve is at once heartbroken and elated. Yay! Tricia loves him. Woe! She's going to die. So he runs over to the Martins and tells Tricia that he knows, and they cry and all is good.
  For a second it looks like we'll get a relatively happy ending. Tricia and Steve are joined at the hip, Jessica got her guest stint on Frankly Speaking, and Elizabeth's social calender is filled to the brim. She's on her way to the party at the Morrows after a quick study session with Max. But first she has to make it out of the hospital parking lot. She's made it to her car, all creeped out by the lack of people and the storm heading their way, when Creepy Carl, the orderly who so obviously thinks Liz is beautiful [as he's always staring at her, but rarely says much and is just creeeeeeeeeepy] knocks on her window and says their boss lady needs to see her. Liz reluctantly crawls out of the Fiat and he grabs her, chloroforms her, and gently places her on the mattress he's so thoughtfully put in the back of his creepy van.
  We're told that we have to wait an extra month to find out what happens and we fade to black.


Trivia!:

  • Janie McBride is the candy striper who tells Cara about Jeremy's accident and stay at the hospital.

  • Jeremy Franks is a local celebrity who hosts 'Frankly Speaking' which is a talk show. He broke his leg when he skied into a tree. Oops.

  • Tricia Martin's mother died of leukemia when Tricia was nine. This tore her family apart and drove her father to drink.

  • Cara's little brother is 13.

  • When word gets out that the new family in the Godfrey mansion [the Morrows] is loaded and has a teenage son, what's Cara's first thought? I wonder what car he drives. My money would have been on, "I wonder if he's cute." Oh well.

  • Speaking of the Godfrey Mansion, it's even better than Fowler Crest. Mr. Wakefield was Mr. Godfrey's lawyer and handles the estate now that Mr. Godfrey has died.

  • Alice Wakefield was a candy striper when she was around the twins' age.

  • Kurt Morrow was the star QB for the Hawks. Now he's into computers and is totally loaded.

  • Jeremy Franks is in room 213.

  • Tricia Martin is in room 227.

  • Elizabeth decides to call her series for The Oracle about her stint at the hospital, "A Candy Striper's Journal." Um, is it just me, or is that painfully dry?

  • Carl, the creepy custodian, drives a gunmetal gray Chevy van.


Quotes:
  Jessica gave a huge sigh and announced, "Life has no meaning."
  Elizabeth greeted this statement with only the tiniest flicker of surprise. After sixteen years, she was used to her twin's theatrics. p25

For weeks afterward, Jessica had pretended to feel faint whenever a boy she liked came near, in hopes he'd think she had some romantic, incurable disease. It ended the day she pulled her act on Tom McKay and he'd commented nervously that he'd hoped whatever she had wasn't catching. p27


  "You're an angel!" Jeremy called to her as she was leaving.
  "I just hope Jessica doesn't find out about any of this," Elizabeth responded, "or I may end up getting my halo bashed in!" p81




  I won't lie. Back in the day I'd read this book and cry my eyes out. I also would read Lurlene McDaniel books and cry. Emotional masochism at it's best. It was always more about the what if of the story than the actual story itself. What if I were dying and had a really cool boyfriend. Would I tell him, or would I try and hide it until I was gone? If I'd been in Elizabeth's shoes, would I have told Steven, or would I have honored Tricia's wishes? [I'd have told him, even if I knew he'd be all screwed up later on, as he so obviously is.] I could identify with Tricia having a horrible bad hair day on the cover, as my hair desperately wanted to curl when I was in middle school. Now, I'd kill for that problem, but then I had issues. Never did have that sort of bad hair day though, thank the gods.
  I know it's coming, but when Steven says, "Trish, baby, I know," I tear up like a little girl. I hate it when anyone calls anyone who is not a baby "baby", but in this case I make an exception and sniffle like I have for years.
  As time has gone by, I can think of at least two other Jeremy's Jessica's dated. There's that jerk Jeremy [isn't it a Jeremy?] where Jess 'steals' him from Sue or whatever her name is, only he's an ass, and then there's SVH:SY Jeremy, whom I love almost as much as Sam. Not that she actually dates Mr. Franks, it's just one of those names that keeps popping up.
  Totally random, but in the earlier books, before the girls pretty much take over the Fiat, it's so weird to see Jessica and Cara [or any of the characters, really] riding the school bus. Hee.



  *- Lila is almost always referred to as 'Lila Fowler'. Not just her first intro into the book, but anytime Jess or someone says, "Hey, I spent the day with Lila" they always add her last name. It's the ultimate status symbol. I think they knock it off a bit when Cara moves out of the way as Jessica's best friend, but for now she's Lila Fowler. This amuses me, but I'm weird.
the_oracle: (left of normal)
When Love Dies
September 1984

What terrible secret is Tricia keeping from Steven?

The end of romance...


  The Wakefield twins' older brother, Steven, is heartbroken. His girlfriend, Tricia Martin, no longer seems interested in him. She breaks their dates and doesn't return his calls. Steven can't understand why Tricia's feelings have changed so suddenly.
  Jessica is thrilled that Steven isn't dating Tricia anymore. She sees it as the perfect opportunity to pair him with her best friend, Cara Walker. Elizabeth, Jessica's twin, thinks that scheming, gossipy Cara is all wrong for Steven. She's determined to find out the reason for Tricia's strange behavior- and horrified when she discovers the awful truth.

  When Love Dies is pretty much the pivotal moment in Steven Wakefield's life. Moreso than when Tricia actually dies [come on, look at the title. While misleading in that she's still alive at the end of this book, she's going to croak SOON] because this is when the angst cranks up to ungodly levels. But let's take a moment to back up, breathe, and start at the beginning.
  Steven Wakefield is upset. His girlfriend of the entire series thus far [though, seriously, how long has this been? Are we still in fall, did we move to spring, or what?] has been blowing him off left, right, and center. He comes home for weekends, basically just to see her, and drop off laundry for Alice to do, and she won't see him. She abruptly ends their calls, she never writes, she won't send flowers, and gosh oh golly, she probably doesn't say I love you either. Zee pain. Oh, the agony. Though to be fair, that must suck. In fact, it does suck, so I'm sorry, Steve. If it weren't for the fact that you'll obsess over this for the rest of your entire LIFE, this would break my heart.
  Anyway, no one can figure out why formerly sweet and devoted china doll Tricia is daring to be all elusive with one of the great Wakefields. Cara Walker begins spreading the word that Tricia's got a new boyfriend. Being the kind, thoughtful, and considerate little sister that she is, Jessica says as much to Steve and offers to hook him up with Cara. Which is a bit cruel as Cara really likes Steve and well, he's still hung up on his tragic girlfriend. In a fit of desperation, Steve goes to the Martins' home and pushes his way past drunk daddy [why doesn't Steve end up in jail? He's an ass at times and he lacks a lot of the bubbly charm his sisters have] to confront Tricia. She's packing and he assumes that she's going away for the weekend with some other guy. She doesn't deny this and they break up. They're both crushed, though Steve thinks Tricia's pain is because she's been caught.
  So the love birds mope around. Jessica can only stand it when she's the one moping, so she convinces Steve to go to a party at Cara's. The catch? Cara isn't throwing a party. They try and whip one up, but for two of the most popular girls in school, all they can manage is Lila Fowler*, Lila's date, Jessica, Aaron Dallas, Steve, and of course, Cara. Seriously? I could get more people to a party on short notice in high school, and I was one of the social outcasts. :P Beers are handed out because Cara's parents are out and the couples break off to go make out. Cara gets to gossiping, which is sort of what Steve wanted, and when he learns that Tricia does indeed have a new boyfriend he overcompensates. Because he's a jealous, impetuous type, Steve ropes Cara out onto the dance floor, and in an effort to prove he's so over Tricia, kisses Cara. While Cara feels the earth move and fireworks explode overhead, all Steve feels inside is cold and dead.
  Jessica skips home afterward, thrilled that her latest matchmaking ploy has worked. Liz is in shock, what could Steve see in Cara? At school, Liz runs into Tricia and they chat awkwardly about why Tricia ran off the last time Liz saw her, but before Liz can ask, "Why're you being so cold to my bestest big brother?" Cara and Jessica waltz by, discussing Steve and Cara's explosive night out. Loudly. Poor Tricia looks as if her heart is breaking, but there isn't anything anyone, even Super!Liz, can do.
  By now we know that Tricia has leukemia and is dying. It's not a maybe, could be, if we're not lucky sort of thing. This is the, aside from God coming down from on high and giving the girl a break, she's toast. Her mother died of the same thing when she was nine, and that's what led Mr. Martin to drink, and probably what led her sister Betsy to being such a skanktastic wonder. Tricia saw how it ruined her family, how it ruined her father, and she decided that she could not, would not, do that to Steve. So they broke up, and she let him hate her, so that when she dies, he won't care as much, and later on he might forgive her, but it'll be okay because he won't be as emotionally entangled as he could have been. The hard part is that this means she's essentially dying alone. I gather Tricia has NO friends at all, because they're never mentioned and you'd think one of them would know, if she had any.
  So as her heart is breaking over the thought of her boyfriend, ex or otherwise, with Cara of all people, part of her hopes that this means Steve is moving on. So she flashbacks to her dates with Steve and tries to be freakishly, superhumanly strong. *sniffle*

  This, by the way, leads us to the B story. Jessica gets wind that Jeremy Franks, a local TV celeb of sorts, is in the hospital with a broken leg. Maybe had he not skied into a tree, his leg would be fine, but when you're that handsome, well, the trees throw themselves in your way. Cara got the word from Janie McBride, a candy striper at the hospital. Jessica decides that she and Liz will finally give back to the community by becoming candy stripers, too. First she has to talk Liz into it, which is a bit more difficult than one would imagine. However, Liz crumbles as she's no match for the youngest Wakefield, and off they go to the hospital, where they both have similarly bad flashbacks. Liz remembers her coma stint and the aftermath of the accident, while Jessica remembers that she just recently drove a girl to attempted suicide. Despite this bit of foreboding, the twins enter and are quickly welcomed to the fold. Jessica gets maternity and Liz gets... some other floor that you know will house Jeremy Franks. It does, Liz meets him, and Jess is jealous. She goes to visit, and flirts. When she leans over to sign his cast, she loses her balances and reaches out, pen still in hand, and somehow manages to jab the poor guy in the knee. This is just the first of many, many horrible things. Poor Jeremy.
  Now, we know that Tricia's going in and out of the hospital, and during one of her In patient moments, Liz goes to see the new girl. They freak out, Tricia confesses that it wasn't a friend, as she'd previously said, but that she's dying and no, you nosy girl, you cannot tell Steve because it would KILL him, and that would kill Tricia even faster. Or something. Liz promises not to tell and it eats her alive. She also promises to tell Steve, after Tricia's been dead awhile, that she really did love him. This complicates matters as Liz is sure that Steve and Tricia should decide together what to do. If he wants to run for the hills, let it be his/their choice.
  So Liz angsts about this for a bit.

  Back at the hospital, Liz and Jeremy have decided that the only way to keep Jessica from spying Jeremy naked again and dropping ice water on him from shock, is for him to pursue her. He gives her roses, he flirts, and eventually he asks her to marry him. For a second it seems as if Project Hurricane is a success. Jessica freaks out and runs away. But given time to think about it, Jessica decides that maybe this will work to her advantage. So she takes him up on it. Too bad it was a bit of a joke/scheme, so he's forced to confess. Jessica agrees to forgive and forget, if he'll let her on his show, something she was angling for all along. Sneaky, sneaky.

  Mr. Collins asks Liz to tutor Max Dellon because he's going to flunk and she's Mr. C's best student. She agrees, but when she's not doing dorky back flips over this, Collins asks what's up. A little prodding later, Liz spills the beans about Tricia. Mr. C never comes out and says she should break her promise, but he does say that some promises were never meant to be kept. Liz decides she's going to tell Steve before Cara gets her hooks in any deeper. We're never really told whether Liz just thinks Cara isn't good enough for Steve, or if she just believes that Trish and Steve are her OTP. Thing is, before she can say a word to him, Steve's off.
  Cara and Steve go to a party at his dorm, where Cara makes the mistake of telling Steve that if they're to be a couple, he can't just go around thinking about Tricia all the time. This makes sense, except that if you have to say that, you have no chance of getting the guy you want, the way you want him. Steve blows up and takes her home, effectively "breaking up" without ever copping to being a couple in the works at all. Liz swoops in and tells him that Tricia still loves him and that she only broke it off with him to protect him. The rest of the story comes tumbling out and Steve is at once heartbroken and elated. Yay! Tricia loves him. Woe! She's going to die. So he runs over to the Martins and tells Tricia that he knows, and they cry and all is good.
  For a second it looks like we'll get a relatively happy ending. Tricia and Steve are joined at the hip, Jessica got her guest stint on Frankly Speaking, and Elizabeth's social calender is filled to the brim. She's on her way to the party at the Morrows after a quick study session with Max. But first she has to make it out of the hospital parking lot. She's made it to her car, all creeped out by the lack of people and the storm heading their way, when Creepy Carl, the orderly who so obviously thinks Liz is beautiful [as he's always staring at her, but rarely says much and is just creeeeeeeeeepy] knocks on her window and says their boss lady needs to see her. Liz reluctantly crawls out of the Fiat and he grabs her, chloroforms her, and gently places her on the mattress he's so thoughtfully put in the back of his creepy van.
  We're told that we have to wait an extra month to find out what happens and we fade to black.


Trivia!:

  • Janie McBride is the candy striper who tells Cara about Jeremy's accident and stay at the hospital.

  • Jeremy Franks is a local celebrity who hosts 'Frankly Speaking' which is a talk show. He broke his leg when he skied into a tree. Oops.

  • Tricia Martin's mother died of leukemia when Tricia was nine. This tore her family apart and drove her father to drink.

  • Cara's little brother is 13.

  • When word gets out that the new family in the Godfrey mansion [the Morrows] is loaded and has a teenage son, what's Cara's first thought? I wonder what car he drives. My money would have been on, "I wonder if he's cute." Oh well.

  • Speaking of the Godfrey Mansion, it's even better than Fowler Crest. Mr. Wakefield was Mr. Godfrey's lawyer and handles the estate now that Mr. Godfrey has died.

  • Alice Wakefield was a candy striper when she was around the twins' age.

  • Kurt Morrow was the star QB for the Hawks. Now he's into computers and is totally loaded.

  • Jeremy Franks is in room 213.

  • Tricia Martin is in room 227.

  • Elizabeth decides to call her series for The Oracle about her stint at the hospital, "A Candy Striper's Journal." Um, is it just me, or is that painfully dry?

  • Carl, the creepy custodian, drives a gunmetal gray Chevy van.


Quotes:
  Jessica gave a huge sigh and announced, "Life has no meaning."
  Elizabeth greeted this statement with only the tiniest flicker of surprise. After sixteen years, she was used to her twin's theatrics. p25

For weeks afterward, Jessica had pretended to feel faint whenever a boy she liked came near, in hopes he'd think she had some romantic, incurable disease. It ended the day she pulled her act on Tom McKay and he'd commented nervously that he'd hoped whatever she had wasn't catching. p27


  "You're an angel!" Jeremy called to her as she was leaving.
  "I just hope Jessica doesn't find out about any of this," Elizabeth responded, "or I may end up getting my halo bashed in!" p81




  I won't lie. Back in the day I'd read this book and cry my eyes out. I also would read Lurlene McDaniel books and cry. Emotional masochism at it's best. It was always more about the what if of the story than the actual story itself. What if I were dying and had a really cool boyfriend. Would I tell him, or would I try and hide it until I was gone? If I'd been in Elizabeth's shoes, would I have told Steven, or would I have honored Tricia's wishes? [I'd have told him, even if I knew he'd be all screwed up later on, as he so obviously is.] I could identify with Tricia having a horrible bad hair day on the cover, as my hair desperately wanted to curl when I was in middle school. Now, I'd kill for that problem, but then I had issues. Never did have that sort of bad hair day though, thank the gods.
  I know it's coming, but when Steven says, "Trish, baby, I know," I tear up like a little girl. I hate it when anyone calls anyone who is not a baby "baby", but in this case I make an exception and sniffle like I have for years.
  As time has gone by, I can think of at least two other Jeremy's Jessica's dated. There's that jerk Jeremy [isn't it a Jeremy?] where Jess 'steals' him from Sue or whatever her name is, only he's an ass, and then there's SVH:SY Jeremy, whom I love almost as much as Sam. Not that she actually dates Mr. Franks, it's just one of those names that keeps popping up.
  Totally random, but in the earlier books, before the girls pretty much take over the Fiat, it's so weird to see Jessica and Cara [or any of the characters, really] riding the school bus. Hee.



  *- Lila is almost always referred to as 'Lila Fowler'. Not just her first intro into the book, but anytime Jess or someone says, "Hey, I spent the day with Lila" they always add her last name. It's the ultimate status symbol. I think they knock it off a bit when Cara moves out of the way as Jessica's best friend, but for now she's Lila Fowler. This amuses me, but I'm weird.

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

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