the_oracle: (left of normal)
The Ghost of Tricia Martin
April 1990

Has Tricia Martin come back to Steven?
 photo 64_GhostofTricia_zpsrh79hyv0.png
Mirror image...


   Steven Wakefield is both stunned and elated when he meets Andrea, a girl who looks, sounds, and behaves just like Tricia Martin, his first love. Tricia died just after she and Steven fell in love, but now he can almost believe she has come back to him again.
  Until Andrea appeared, Steven was happily involved with Cara Walker. He still cares about her, but every time he's with Andrea, he's reminded of how much he loved Tricia. So Steven refuses to choose between the two girls- until his indecision leads to a dangerous accident that make take all his choices away!


   The Ghost of Tricia Martin isn't exactly what it says on the tin, but it's close. As we learned at the end of the last book, another Tricia doppelganger has appeared in the Valley and this one is Andrea. Apparently she looks freakishly like Tricia to the point that both Liz and Steve see the resemblance and Liz doesn't immediately decide it was just a trick of the light or something. Steve, being Steve, falls down the rabbit hole and absolutely must go out with Andrea.
  The book opens the day after Steve and Liz meet Andrea and all three Wakefield kids are getting ready for their evenings. Liz and Todd are going out, we'll come back to Jessica for our B-plot, and Steve is getting ready for a date that Jessica thinks is with Cara and Liz suspects is with Andrea.
  Naturally, Liz is right. Steve meets Andrea at La Paloma, a restaurant he used to frequent with Tricia and within the first five minutes he's already calling her by the wrong name. Andrea eventually calls him on it and Steve breaks down when asked just who Tricia was. Instead of running in the other direction once Steve admits that she's the spitting image of his ex-girlfriend, Andrea's both sympathetic and a little intrigued. She's got to be because there's no good reason to keep going out with someone who keeps calling you the wrong name, even if he is cute.
  Look. I'm going to be upfront here. Steve acts like a huge jackass for 99% of the book, and the only reason I'm not saying it's 100% of the book is because I'd imagine it's got to be weird as hell when people keep showing up looking like your ex. Just weird as hell. Honestly, after re-reading this, I remember why I stopped fully shipping Cara/Steve, but we'll get to that later.


   Anyway, on their date, Steve keeps pushing Andrea into situations where she could/most likely will act like Tricia. He tells her the salad is delicious and she orders it and he's thrilled. He asks if she likes walks along the beach and she does and he's all, "I knew you would." He thinks this or says it or some variation thereof so much that it's annoying as hell. I tried to keep track but my head exploded so I stopped.
  Prior to going out with Andrea, Steve tries to rationalize that he has to go out with her just once to prove to himself that she might look like Tricia but she's actually nothing like her. Liz points out that this is a bad idea and if he doesn't want word getting back to Cara, instead of asking Liz not to say something to Jess, maybe he should either not do the stupid thing or talk to Cara beforehand. I have to agree with Liz here. Cara has been ridiculously understanding of the ghost in her relationship with Steve to the point that while she wouldn't be thrilled with it, I can see her giving Steve the go ahead to take Andrea out. Then again, maybe if he had done that, this whole plotline would never have happened.
   Obviously, Steve ends the date convinced that Tricia has come back to him. I... what? Are you on crack, Wakefield?
  Still, in a rare moment of clarity (sorta?), the next day Steve realizes that maybe he should take Cara out and let his real relationship have a chance to chase away the crazy in his head. (Fun fact: every time someone brings up Andrea's obvious Tricia similarities, Steve's reaction is to ask sarcastically if whoever is talking thinks he's crazy. ) Instead of planning something actually romantic or sweet or I dunno, not hard labor, he comes up with a hike to Castle Rock at Secca Lake. Since he was mysterious about their surprise date, Cara has worn strappy sandals and has to stop numerous times during the hike because these boots were not meant for walking, dammit.
   Steve's annoyed and bitchy and really just awful as he compares Cara to the idealized version of Andrea he's already begun building in his mind. When he mentions wanting to take up hang gliding, Cara comments that it's awfully dangerous and Steve's ticked that she's not admiring his courage or some shit. He's sure that Andrea would be supportive. He's such an ass that Cara basically folds in on herself for the rest of the date and when he drops her off, she doesn't feel much better despite his weak reasoning that it's his school project that's making him so cranky.
  On Steve's next date with Andrea, he's thrilled that Andrea likes the aquarium and otters, just like Tricia! Steve, otters are adorable and awesome and everyone likes them. Just like everyone likes walks along the beach. This is about as amazing as finding out that Andrea also breathes and washes her hair. But there is a problem. Andrea has the gall to wear her hair up when Tricia wore hers down and that's how Steve prefers it. The part where he takes her hair down and kind of insists she keep it that way is pretty creepy. Andrea, honey... I know he's a Wakefield, but no.
   Things continue on this way, with Steve dating Andrea and not telling or even seeing Cara. Cara tries to get information from Liz and Jessica but Liz won't tell and Jessica doesn't know (or care). Eventually, while at the mall on a cheer up mission plotted by Lila of all people, Cara wanders into Unique Boutique when Andrea's working. Cara's completely gobsmacked by how much Andrea looks like Tricia and thinks she's seeing a ghost.


  True story. Prior to re-reading this, I didn't remember much about it beyond "Tricia lookalike that doesn't work out for reasons." And I was thinking about something a coworker of mine said once upon a time about how it was both funny and annoying that everyone kept confusing him with every other damn redhead they'd ever met because apparently all redheads look alike. Sweet Valley definitely seems to be subscribing to this theory, at least with the strawberry blonds all being Tricia clones. (Anyone else having an Orphan Black moment? Just me? Okay... Still, there's a crossover I bet you weren't expecting.)
  Anyway, Cara takes a closer look and realizes that Andrea isn't actually identical to Tricia, they just look a lot alike at first. Now this I'm a little iffy on. On the one hand, it backs up my theory that Steve thinks all strawberry blondes look alike. On the other hand, I think I like the story better if Andrea really does look really similar to Tricia beyond the first glance. Back to the story.

   Cara immediately figures out that Steve has probably seen this girl and just as she's pondering that, the phone rings and Andrea sets up a date with a guy whose parents are fighting, who is starting hang gliding, and oh, yeah, loves the aquarium as that's there they're going after Andrea gets off the phone. Just so you don't think she's jumping to conclusions, Andrea says Steve's name and Cara runs out of the store in tears.
  The next day, Cara decides she'll call Steve and let him know that she knows and that she understands because really, if anyone in the Valley gets his Tricia fixation, it's Cara freakin' Walker. Naturally the call doesn't go well and instead of whatever positive outcome Cara hoped for, she winds up getting dumped. Well. Awkward.
  Steve heads out for his hang gliding session and let's just cut to the chase: because he's so caught up in his thoughts about Tricia, Andrea, and Cara, he winds up crashing into a cliff. I kid you not.
  The Wakefields assemble at the hospital and Jessica calls Cara who wants to go to him but keeps repeating, brokenly, that he doesn't want her. And my heart breaks for her, honestly. When she does show up, Steve is starting to sort of come around and of course the second she steps through the door, he utters the name, "Tricia!" Cara runs off before hearing that he calls her name next. Still, the damage is done.


   I think we need some B-Plot hijinks before we finish off the A-plot. Remember way back at the start of this I said all three Wakefield kids had plans and that we'd get back to Jessica? Well, she and Lila head out to a beach party in Palisades where Jessica meets a guitar playing dude named Keith. Despite not thinking him all that good looking, Jessica makes it her mission to bend him to her will.
  Now, I want you to imagine later ghostwritten Dawn from the BSC. She's terribly into saving the environment and not eating meat and is generally written as a serious killjoy. Yeah, that's Keith. Only because he's a dude and older, he's meant to be 'deep' and passionate because he cares so much about all these causes. I'm not mocking his passion, really. I'm just about as interested in him as Lila is. Which is to say not at all. :P
  He keeps inviting Jessica out on sort of dates where they pass out flyers about recycling or go to City Hall to hear a debate about whether the city needs a new trash incinerator or... I dunno. I think this is one of those montages that would work better on TV or in a movie, really. It works okay as it happens in the book but as a recap, meh. Jessica tries to convince him she's really into all this but really she wants him to be her kind of guy and go to the beach and party and have fun.
  Eventually this leads to a movie date where Jessica flat out refuses to go see a documentary about the reindeer culture of the Lapps. While at the Valley Cinema, she sees Tricia Andrea on a date with a tall, dark haired boy who is most definitely not Steven considering Steve's in the hospital. Jessica notes this for future use and then, we assume, continues on her last date with Keith.
  At the hospital another day, Jessica signs Steve's cast and lets it slip that oh yeah, she saw Andrea and some guy at the movies. Steve reacts the way you'd expect ("must be her brother or something") and Jess is skeptical. When Steve angrily glares out the window, he sees Andrea being dropped off... by a guy in a convertible. Before he can tell himself the brother line again, Andrea kisses the guy.
   Liz witnesses the whole thing and shuffles Jessica out of the room and accuses Jessica of knowing full well what she was doing when she mentioned Andrea. Jess sort of denies it but not really, and this is probably the most consistent thing about Jessica. She's pretty much the only person who gets that Steven only really responds to tough love. It's just that Jess got lucky with Andrea showing up. When Liz mentions that, Jessica protests that she had no way of knowing and then the twins agree they need to call Cara in.

   Sigh. On the one hand, they're cute when they scheme together. On the other, what if Andrea wanted to date both Steve and car guy? It's not like Steve would have a leg to stand on about it. Luckily for the twins, and Cara, when Steve confronts Andrea about the guy, Andrea points out that she found a guy who likes her for who she is. Steve tries to argue that it's really rude of her to do this to him after all they've been through and she shoots him down straight away with, "all we've been through? What? We've gone on like, five dates and you've spent the whole damn time pretending I'm your dead girlfriend. That's not a relationship." Steve tries to protest but Andrea points out that nope, he knows nothing about her because he doesn't want to know anything about her. He just wants to look at her and pretend she's Tricia and that's not what she wants to do. Steven finally admits to himself (and Andrea) that he was an ass and he apologizes, but when he asks if this is the part where they say they can always be friends, Andrea shoots that down too. She knows that Steve will never see her as Andrea and she's smart enough to walk away.
  But it took you five dates and him winding up in the hospital before you could figure that out? I want to applaud this moment but the timing and the fact that she knew about the Tricia thing from date #1 is... enh.
  Andrea leaves and Steve realizes what a mess he's made with Cara. He decides that he can't possibly fix it because Cara deserves better than to be his second choice.
  So when Cara shows up, just to shut Jessica up, she's not sure what she's walking into but she wants to thank Steven for what time they did have and then she rips my heart out and my ability to ship this relationship dies right there in the hospital room. She tells Steve that she knows he never cared for her as much as he did Tricia and instead of denying it in any way, he focuses on the part where she says she loves him and they get back together because of course.
   Cara. Cara, no. At this point you've been dating him longer than Tricia did and you've been stupidly supportive of his dumbass moments, from the French lookalike to the weird letters he thought were from a ghost and not his actual girlfriend to being willing to overlook his cheating on you with Andrea until he dumped you. WALK AWAY. YOU DESERVE BETTER.

  Instead they make up and the twins are super proud of themselves and we move into the set-up for the next book.

   All book long, Ned and Alice Wakefield have been fighting over the stupidest things, from the electrician (Ned, you're gonna bitch about paying the man $200 and then fork out the cost of Steven's hang gliding like it's no big deal?) to whether or not Ned should want to run for public office. The kids have each felt super uneasy about it and things come to a head at Steve's welcome home party, with Ned wanting more out of life and Alice wanting him to stop being a jackass towards her at every turn. I believe Ned is having a bit of a midlife crisis, guys. Also, for someone bitching about how he never did anything politically minded, isn't that how he freakin' met Alice? Sigh.
  We're about to fall down the weird arc that involves the Wakefield parents possibly breaking up, a mayoral race, and some stuff I've long forgotten. Buckle up, buttercups, things are going to get Wakefield.


Trivial Pursuit:

  • Jessica takes Elizabeth's new eyeliner and Liz finds it easily in Jessica's makeup drawer. I call BS because you and I both know damn well that Jessica is messy as hell and that drawer would look like a bomb went off, especially if she'd just used it.

  • The Fiat died two days prior to this at school, leaving Jessica stranded after cheerleading practice. We never do find out what's wrong with it, btw.

  • Ned and Alice are fighting about a $200 bill from the electrician. Ned is blaming Alice for not calling one in sooner, so the little job became a big job and Alice is pissed because Ned's the one who told her it was no big deal.

  • Steven and Andrea go to La Paloma, a restaurant in Pacific Shores. (until my re-read, I did not realize how much Steven prefers to take his dates out of SV proper for their dates. There's an AU where he's a serial killer just waiting to happen.)

  • Within the first ten minutes, Steven is already calling Andrea "Tricia."

  • Andrea's grandfather died in a car crash.

  • Angie, Lila's friend from Palisades, invited Lila and Jessica to the beach party. Angie is described as a "cute, diminutive blonde with bouncy curls."

  • Keith, No Last Name Ever Given, is playing guitar at the beach party. He's got thick brown hair and an athletic build, and when he plays music, he's got an angry look on his face. When Jessica meets him, he's barefoot wearing a "No Nukes" t-shirt and old jeans. He goes to Palisades High and really seems to enjoy protests.

  • Steve keeps a picture of Tricia hidden behind his ID in his wallet.

  • Steve also has a picture of himself and Cara at the State Fair on his wall above his desk.

  • Steve refers to the events of the previous book the "Fearless Elizabeth Campaign" when flipping through a magazine she picked up then. This book also makes it sound like he just decided on going hang gliding at that moment but he was considering it at the end of The New Elizabeth so continuity be damned.

  • Ned and Alice were supposed to go to White Canyon for lunch Saturday, but Alice made plans to take fussy Ms. Petty (ha!) to furniture showrooms all day. Ned storms off to the office at the news.

  • Steve wonders to himself if Cara has always been so girly and silly but then scolds himself for being mean and says that she's merely bubbly. Later he wonders if she's too immature because she talks about parties and cheerleading. Steve, you ass.

  • He decides their secret date should be to hike to Castle Rock at Secca Lake. Cara is wearing white strappy sandals but doesn't change shoes before they begin.

  • We are denied the whole story behind Robin imitating Chrome Dome Cooper at cheerleading practice when Chrome Dome walks in and... we'll never know because Steve snaps and says that Jessica already told him the story at dinner. Dammit, Steve, this sounds way more interesting than your boring ass hike.

  • Every Sunday there's an orientation session for the hang gliding class.

  • Keith and Jessica meet at the Dairi Burger (he took the bus there and Jess borrowed Lila's car) all so they could go to Granada Estates to hand out flyers about recycling.

  • Cara suggests renting all the Bond movies from the video store and having a Bond-a-thon soon and Steve snaps her head off even though he loves James Bond.

  • Jessica throws Prince Albert's ball into the pool and he naturally dives in after it. I'm pretty sure your dog shouldn't be hanging out in the pool, Jess, but okay.

  • Steve and Andrea go to the aquarium on their next date.

  • Andrea wears her hair up and Tricia always wore hers down and Steve is creepy about this fact when he takes Andrea's hair down and then fusses when she goes to put it back up.

  • Andrea loves otters just like Tricia! (and me and like a billion other people on Earth.)

  • Andrea likes vanilla icecream but Tricia was all about chocolate.

  • Jessica meets Keith at City Hall for a public hearing about whether the city needs a trash incinerator which Keith is against, btw. He saves a spot for Jessica in the front row.

  • Keith suggests they go to Whole Earth Cafe after the public hearing.

  • Liz has math right before lunch.

  • Todd has to talk to Mr. Collins about his English paper so he just walks Liz to the cafeteria.

  • Jessica is a royal bitch about Cara and Steve obviously having problems and why it's so rude of them to be so public about it. And by public, I mean not being super enthused about going to the beach with her.

  • Lila convinces Cara to join them at the mall in an effort to cheer Cara up and this is actually really sweet. ♥

  • Alice's client that causes her to miss Friday dinner is Mrs. Rappaport.

  • Jessica thinks Andrea looks like Betty Garrett, an actress, but Lila immediately sees the Tricia connection. This means, however, that Betty is also another Tricia clone.

  • Cara overhears Andrea at the Unique Boutique making a date with Steve. They'll be going to the aquarium... again.

  • Steve's hang gliding teacher is Bart.

  • Cara's mother calls her cara mia and that's just super cute.

  • After his run in with the cliff, Steve broke his left arm, has many a cut, contusion, and possible head injuries but not a single fracture to his skull. His brain could still have been bruised, however. Brains, a mystery.

  • Steven's doctor is a woman named Dr. Nichols.

  • Given how often Jessica winds up at the hospital for something involving her siblings, you'd think she'd hate them but it's Elizabeth we hear complaining about being there yet again and wishing they'd never volunteered as candy stripers. (And nary a mention of the kidnapping.)

  • Jessica borrows Steve's car to take Keith to the movies.

  • Keith wants to see a documentary about the reindeer culture of the Lapps. Jessica wants to see a thriller about a detective who falls in love with the psycho killer. Yeah, I'd want to see that one, too.

  • At Valley Cinema, Jessica sees Andrea with a tall, dark haired boy who is most decidedly not Steven. Andrea, you've got a type, eh? Then again, maybe not since not!Steve drives a convertible.

  • When signing Steve's cast, Jessica draws a big loopy flower as she tells him about seeing Andrea on a date the night before.

  • Andrea says they've been out on like, five dates and they never made any promises or anything so she's free to date whomever she likes. Preferably someone who doesn't look at her and see a dead girl, probably. She also has no interest in trying to be friends since that obviously won't work.

  • Jessica's duffel bag for cheerleading practice is pink.

  • Peter Santelli, Maria's father, is the City Planning Commissioner and he's running for mayor.




Quotes:

"Why don't those Brazilian people just stop cutting the trees down?" she asked out loud. "It's simple- just make them stop." - Jessica saves the rainforests! pg 49

"Well, for starters, my parents are turning into total workaholics. They both work all the time, and I'm the one who gets stuck having to do everything at home. Cook dinner, do the laundry, wait around for the electrician, stuff like that. It's like I'm the only responsible one in this whole family." She closed her eyes in self-pity. "It's just not fair." - Saint Jessica, the put-upon. pg 51

"Ned, I just want him to know how I feel about it."
"No, what you want is to make him feel guilty about worrying you and not do it," Mr. Wakefield replied. - Ned aint wrong, Alice. pg 59

"Why would you want to take a good look anyway?" Lila said snottily. "She's just a sales clerk."
"Really," Jessica agreed. - Cara, why do you hang out with these girls? And also, so Lila. pg 85/86

Jessica was torn between boredom and interest. On one hand, Keith was so sincere and passionate about the issues that she couldn't help feeling attracted to him. But on the other hand, she only wished he could be passionate about something besides garbage- her for instance. - pg 65

"Do you think we could go somewhere afterwards? To get something to eat?"
"Sure, how about Whole Earth Cafe?"
Ugh, Jessica said to herself.
"What do they serve?" she asked, leaning close enough to whisper in his ear. She noticed the way his dark hair curled just behind his ear.
Keith turned to look at her. Their eyes met, and even though they were in a room full of people, Jessica thought it was very romantic. His lips parted. "They have natural vegetable juices and mineral water," he said huskily. - pg 65/66 I died at this part, btw. Just lost it. Well done, ghosty. Well done.

"If you want to talk about it, you know where to go." He grinned. "To Enid." - Todd, teasing Elizabeth and honestly this little exchange is one of my favorite bits. When T/L work, they really work. pg 69

"Steve- I just wanted to tell you something. I know you'll always love Tricia, and I know I never meant as much to you as she did," she said. "But I want you to know, our relationship was wonderful while it lasted and I'll always remember you. You'll always be special to me." - Cara breaks my heart, pg 137/138

"What if Steven's decided to swear off women for the rest of his life?" - Jessica takes a moment to glimpse the future of SVC, pg 140. I snorted at this most inelegantly, btw.


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Huh. I thought I was going to enjoy this book more than I did. I think part of it was just how awful Steven was the whole damn book. He was an ass to everyone, really. He wants Liz to keep his secret, he wants to cheat on Cara but flips out if someone calls it that, he's a dick to Cara when he does talk to her, he's a jerk to Andrea... really, Steve's a jackass. And I could have been more forgiving if we'd spent less time on "Tricia's come back to me!" and more on the emotion behind it. Seriously, even with this not being the first look alike to come Steven's way, it still would have been more interesting to get deeper than "she likes otters and beach walks, yay!"
He's so willing to throw Cara over for a Tricia lookalike that even in the hospital, he's thinking about Tricia Andrea and not about what a dumbass he was. And Cara forgives him, which sets a terrible precedent for anyone reading this book at a young age. Seriously, demand better.

The Jessica subplot is amusing enough as it happens, but only because not for a second do you see it working the way Jessica wants or even how it might've earlier in the series. It's funny because Jessica can't see how just far off the mark she is. However, she does demand better and I like how she's just not into it at all by the end. Keith Noname isn't worth the effort and she moves on.

Liz probably has my favorite moments because they're less wacky hijinks or stupidity based and more realistic. How do you react when your parents are fighting more and more? What do you do when you've agreed not to say anything about your cheating brother to his girlfriend but you still like her? What about when you realize your family has clocked way too much time in the local hospital?

Surf's Up

Apr. 18th, 2017 01:05 pm
the_oracle: (geekout)
The New Elizabeth
March 1990

Elizabeth's ready for a change!
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Surf's up...

   If one more person calls Elizabeth Wakefield responsible or predictable, she'll scream! In an effort to prove that she can be just as adventurous as Jessica, her daring identical twin, Elizabeth secretly decides to take up surfing. That will show her friends she knows how to take risks.
  But from the start, Elizabeth's new hobby causes problems. She has a sneaking suspicion that her surfing instructor is falling in love with her. And even worse, she has to lie to her steady boyfriend, Todd, in order to keep her surfing a surprise. Todd's becoming suspicious and angry- and Elizabeth is beginning to wonder if a daredevil reputation is worth the trouble after all.


   I liiiiiiiiiiiiiive! I mean, uh, hey. It's been awhile, huh? Well, let's not waste any precious time on explanations or anything and just jump right into the book, shall we? :p

   The New Elizabeth has the misfortune to come on the heels of Jessica's over the top antics in Who's Who? which also happens to be one of those books that people who didn't even read SVH back in the day seem to know about. I guess when you call yourself Magenta Galaxy people tend to take notice.
  With Jessica's antics still so fresh in anyone's memory (even if it's been decades, really), it's pretty much impossible for poor Elizabeth to live up to that. Really. So we're going to adjust the bar for her because it's not fair to expect her to Jessica it out of the park right away. I mean, she helps with almost all of Jessica's really insane plots and not once does anyone give her credit for that. Well, not in a good way, that is.
  A quick glance at the American cover of the book will tell you how Elizabeth is gonna rebel. By getting a perm and surfing her heart out. Uh...kay. Sure. You do you, Liz. To be fair, she initially wants to try hang gliding or scuba diving or climbing Mt. Everest, or even learning to fly a plane, but mountain climbing is probably not too easy to do in Sweet Valley and that plane thing nearly killed Enid. Oh, and the other two are more do-able, but only if you have Fowler or Patman finances. Or, y'know, Steven Wakefield's finances apparently, according to the end of the book? I dunno. I'm skipping ahead.
  Not wanting to spend the hundreds of bucks on equipment, not to mention lessons, Liz leaves the sporting goods shop defeated. Right up until she sees a sign offering surfing lessons down at Moon Beach for only seven bucks! Score!
  Confession time. Despite the books mentioning Moon Beach more than a couple of times, I always associate it with the TV show. Dunno why since it's made fairly clear, in this book anyway, that Moon Beach is right there in Big Mesa. This is kind of a plot point because Liz doesn't want anyone to know that she's learning to surf so they'll all be surprised when she totally kicks ass at it. Because of course she will, right? Right.

   Liz, you live in a beach town where if your friends aren't at the Dairi Burger or at the mall, they are at the beach. Why is surfing your big shocker? Sigh. I mean, wait, no, let's let the plot naturally unfold.
  So, Liz gets to the Moon Beach Surf Club and walks right in on a bet, wherein Sean Blake is betting his friends he can turn the next sucker to walk through the door into an expert surfer since it's all about how great a teacher he is. Or something. Really, the bet is mentioned a fair bit and it's kind of useless right from the start given how good Liz turns out to be at this. Anyway, Sean offers her free lessons and is up front about the bet and Liz takes him up on his offer, breaking Laurie MacNeil's heart. Laurie, for those wondering, is Sean's childhood friend who has the hots for him. The previous Saturday they went out on their first date but Laurie can tell that just one look at Liz and she's been forgotten. Sigh.
  Still, Laurie's not a complete idiot. She decides that if Liz can learn to surf than so can she. And she'll enter the big surfing competition, too! Yes, of course there's a big competition to cap off the bet. Duh. Are you new here or something? :P

   From the very first lesson, Liz proves that she's a surfing natural, even if her first attempt ends in her wiping out. Her second attempt is amazing, of course, and this basically continues for the rest of her lessons. Unlike the BSC, Liz and Sean meet Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and I'm a little confused as to why Saturday since Liz wants to keep this secret. Even with her cover of doing extra credit at the Marine Biology Center, this still seems a bit... weird. Naturally it's never the Saturday lessons that trip Todd up, proving once more that Liz knows more than I do.
  Throughout her lessons, Sean warns her about pearling and riptides, so naturally the weekend before the big competition, there's a storm that leaves the ocean pretty nasty. Liz, being Liz, is sure she can handle the waves, and of course her board flies out and conks her on the head and she's whisked away in a rid tide. Fear not because Sean saves her!
  Which is when things get super weird for Liz. See, when she meets Laurie and the gang, Laurie gives Liz the idea that Sean is off the market, but Sean spends pretty much every moment he's not warning Liz about riptides and pearling flirting with Liz. Liz figures he's just a flirt, like Jessica, and thinks nothing of it... until he gives her a silver charm shaped like a surfboard. And then she realizes oh, duh. Laurie likes Sean and Sean's clueless. Liz finally mentions Todd even though this is like, six lessons in at this point and Sean is the kind of guy who doesn't really see a boyfriend as a deterrent. So really, he's a lot like Jessica. Score another point for Liz. Anyway, after the Near Death Experience, Liz lets Sean comfort her a little more than is strictly necessary and then lets him drive her home. Which is fine, btw. What isn't fine? When Liz sees Todd's car parked at her house, she panics and has Sean drop her off at a neighbor's while babbling about her vacation home in the mountains being the split level home. Really, you guys discuss what kind of house she lives in but not her boyfriend? Weird.
   Naturally Todd sees this and decides, whelp, Liz must be cheating and he makes up a story about having to break their date and disappears for the rest of the weekend. Part of me wonders why the hell Liz didn't just have Sean drop her off at the house, but then I guess she figured Todd would mozie on her and introduce himself and then Sean would say "hey, your gf is amazing at this surfing thing. Also, I think she's hot." and the jig would be up. Still, this could easily be avoided with a quick, "hey, my boyfriend and friends don't know I've taken up surfing and I wanna surprise them at the competition. Just pretend you're my marine biology partner if Todd says anything, k?" Seriously, that would take the same amount of time as pretending you have a vacation home, Liz. Maybe less time, really. Sigh. This is why Jessica is the schemer, eh?
  Liz gets around this by inviting everyone and their hamster to her 'presentation' down at Moon Beach and everyone reacts the same way you'd expect them to, aside from Enid. Enid would normally be portrayed as psyched about this but even she's like "umm... this sounds...great, yeah..." Luckily someone mentions the surfing competition taking place right before Liz's presentation and all is right with the world.

   The day of the competition, Sean offers to let Liz use his super expensive, super important surfboard. Because, you know, he's still in love with her. Liz agrees until she overhears Laurie and a friend talking about how much Laurie likes Sean and how much winning might actually get his attention for once. Liz decides the only way for Laurie and Sean to get together is for her to refuse the board and also throw the match.
  Liz is thrilled when all her friends freak out when they hear her name announced as the next competitor and figures yep, it's enough to know that she could do something unusual and that she doesn't need to win. So at the end of her ride, she belly flops into the ocean and everyone loses their minds. I don't get why they all act like just because the end wasn't perfect the rest wasn't, but it's enough for Liz. Laurie's the next person in the water and I swear, it takes Liz pointing it out to Sean for him to notice.
  Laurie is, of course, amazing and she wins and I think I'd have preferred it had Liz not thrown the match and Laurie still beat her. But that would deprive me of one of my favorite moments in the book: Bill Chase, SVH's very own surfing god, asks why Liz sabotaged herself. Funny how Bill could tell, but Sean (who has been presented as the best surfer EVER) couldn't. I like to think that when people mention the belly flop later on in Bill's presence he corrects them.
   Liz and Todd make up and Liz decides she's had enough of surfing for awhile. Weird how they have her obsess and then drop it so fast... I mean, that's always been Jessica's trait. *cough* I kid, I kid. I like it when we see how similar the two are and also, it's not like people don't fall in and out of love with hobbies all the time.


   B-Plot time! If you weren't thrilled with Elizabeth's surfing lessons, well, fear not because we have a tale of Jessica Wakefield's revenge. Turns out that Caroline has been telling everyone about Jessica's stint as Magenta and Daniella and Jessica is pissed. When Caroline damages her parents' new car and has to pay for the repairs, Jessica decides that she will go harass Caroline at work. Since Jessica will be with someone actually spending money (Lila, usually), Caroline's boss won't say anything even as Jessica makes a mess of everything she comes across.
  Jessica's lucky that Caroline's manager is a jerk because otherwise they'd have thrown her ass out since not once has Jessica spent a dime. Anyway, Caroline can't catch a break but continues to provoke Jessica by calling her Magenta. Honestly, I don't blame her... and her revenge is the single best thing about this book, hands down.
  Jessica finally ventures to Unique Boutique on her own and Caroline greets her and is exceptionally helpful and pleasant. Jessica is confused but rolls with it, not even screeching when Caroline bustles into the changing room while Jessica's in her skivvies and gathers up all the clothes that Jessica's strewn about. All the clothes, guys. She takes Jessica's actual clothes as well. When Jessica realizes this, she overhears Caroline telling her manager that as of today (payday), she no longer needs this job and she promptly quits. The last we see of her, she's sailing out of the store still holding Jessica's clothes.
  I cackled. Legitimately cackled.

   And to set us up for the next book? Steve and Liz stop by the UB after Steve asks some questions at the Sports Shack about hang gliding. Both are shocked to meet the coworker Caroline vaguely told Liz about earlier. Why? Because it's another freakin' Tricia Martin doppelganger. The book ends with Steven breaking a date with Cara and asking Andrea (the clone) out.

Dun
dun
DUN.



Trivia:

  • Liz picks up: Mountain Climber Magazine, Scuba Digest, Hang Gliding Monthly, and The Serious Adventurer when trying to plan her new adventurous self.

  • She goes to the sporting goods store downtown and falls in love with, among other things, a pretty hang glider and a hot pink wet suit that costs $300. The clerk is very nice about letting Liz down gently about the prices and time commitment involved in all these activities.

  • Btw, Liz didn't even stop to think about how expensive these hobbies would be until the clerk pointed out how long it would take to learn the basics and how much stuff would be involved, not just the shiny things.

  • "Surfing Lessons. Only $7 an hour. Moon Beach Surf Club, Big Mesa. Rental Boards Available." - The sign in the window that sends Liz to her surfing destiny.

  • Moon Beach is half an hour north of Sweet Valley.

  • Sean Blake is a senior at Big Mesa high school who is a serious surfer. He's tall with a long and muscular body, longish sun-streaked blonde hair, and a dark tan. Frequently seen wearing lime-green zinc oxide that somehow brings out the green in his gold flecked green eyes, he's also cocky and self assured. His friends teasingly call him Mr. Surfing Encyclopedia. Works at the Moon Beach Surf Club.

  • Sammy and Dave are Sean's friends and co-workers. Both are juniors at Big Mesa.

  • Laurie MacNeil is a senior at Big Mesa and naturally athletic, though she never tried surfing until Liz appeared on the scene. She winds up doing most of her practicing at Crescent Beach where the Big Mesa crowd is less likely to appear. She works at the Moon Beach Ice Cream Parlor. During their junior trip, Laurie was the only person to not turn over in the rapids. Laurie is described as really pretty by Liz.

  • In sixth grade, Laurie and Sean started their own neighborhood softball league and Laurie was the star.

  • There's a cafe next to the surfing clubhouse where the Big Mesa kids hang out.

  • The Moon Beach Ice Cream Parlor is a few doors down from the surf club.

  • Other Big Mesa students: John Monroe and Phil Carter.

  • In her excitement over her new hobby, Liz forgets that she has a tennis date with Todd on Tuesday.

  • Liz's cover story is that she's doing an extra credit project down at the Marine Biology Center. Todd teases her about how safe this is.

  • Caroline Pearce has apparently taken up gossiping again as she spreads word of the story of Magenta Galaxy and Daniella Fromage. I'm 99% sure that Caroline's been gossiping again for awhile but what do I know, book?

  • Elizabeth's surf board is a purple board with a hot pink stripe, so the cover is accurate!

  • The bet: Does it take raw talent or simply determination and a great teacher to become a great surfer? Obviously Sean is on the side of determination and a great teacher. Sammy and Dave seem to lean towards talent. If Sean wins, the boys buy him a new surf board of his choice. If Sean loses, he works weekends for the next three months.

  • The bet ignores the fact that Liz seems to be naturally talented in the art of surfing.

  • Liz is about to slather on some suntan oil when Sean stops her since oil and a surfboard? Not the best combo. She protests that she doesn't want to get burned, but I always think of suntan oil as something with like an spf of 4, meant to grab the sun's rays, not keep them away.

  • Liz wipes out on her first wave because she forgets to turn left. She nearly repeats this on the second wave but Sean hollers at her to turn left.

  • Her first successful ride lasted fifteen seconds and felt like fifteen minutes.

  • Sean proceeds to hang ten when persuaded to show Liz "how it's really done."

  • Tuesday night, Caroline borrows her parents' new car, the car she's not allowed to touch, and promptly puts a new dent in the fender and scratches the side. She has to pay for all the repairs and has to get a job down at the Unique Boutique, a new shop at the mall. How she managed to get a job less than 24 hours after the mess, I'll never know as Jessica is telling Lila all this Wednesday afternoon. Guess UB was desperate.

  • Elizabeth's surfing lessons are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

  • On her second lesson, she learns to stand on the board and on her first ride of the day the board smacks her on the ass when she wipes out.

  • Her second lesson lasts two hours instead of the normal one.

  • When asked who Sean thinks is the best surfer, he names Bob Simmons without hesitation. His reasons? Simmons lost the use of his left arm but surfed on and designed the kind of boards still used. Not entirely accurate but hey, you couldn't just Google this stuff back in '90 so...

  • Liz is shocked that an original Simmons board is worth five thousand dollars. She'd lose her mind if she knew that one would later go for $18,500 at auction.

  • Sean collects rare surfboards and keeps them in his garage at home. He has an original Simmons and a heavy red board made of redwood from the 1930's.

  • After their two hour lesson, Liz goes back to Sean's house to see Sean's collection, still thinking that Sean and Laurie are a couple and that he's just flirty.

  • Todd calls Liz at 3:30, 4:30, and 5:30. Dude, chill.

  • I can't figure out if this is a continuity error or just a strangely placed bit, but in the same chapter with Liz's Thursday lesson, Jessica and Lila launch Jessica's revenge plan against Caroline. Only that was set for Friday after school. But the next chapter starts on Saturday so I'll leave it up to you to decide.

  • Sean warns Liz about pearling, rip tides, and how dangerous the ocean can be after a storm even if the weather is nice. You know where this went.

  • Sean invites Liz to Jackson's Bluff to 'check out the tides and waves' but leaves out the fact that it's a notorious makeout point for Big Mesa students.

  • Ned Wakefield's newest case involves the family of a pro surfer killed in a rip tide whose family is suing because there were no warning signs on the beach. He says this might be of special interest to Liz but Liz is still operating under the whole marine biology project thing so...

  • Jess offers Liz the use of her leopard print skirt.

  • Liz and Todd blow off the new French film downtown and go to the beach to admire the full moon. And makeout. Only Liz seems to spend a lot of time making googly eyes at the water.

  • We skip ten days after their date. In those ten dates, Liz has had three more lessons, so we basically just miss a week of her mastering the art of surfing.

  • Sean gives Liz a small silver shaped surfboard charm and Liz is delighted for a second because she hasn't gotten a new charm in awhile. She quickly realizes that Sean and Laurie aren't a couple and Laurie overhears Sean scoffing at the idea of being interested in Laurie. Sadness.

  • After Liz nearly dies, Sean drives her home but Liz panics when she sees Todd's car and has Sean drop her off at a neighbor's house. She claims that the split level home she's talked about is her family's vacation home up in the mountains.

  • Sean treats Liz to a soda at the Moon Beach Cafe after she successfully completes her first lesson after her NDE.

  • Caroline's revenge on Jessica, who has been the worst customer ever? She dotes on Jessica and when Jessica's changing clothes in the dressing room, Caroline gathers up all the merchandise in the room, including Jessica's clothes. Jessica notices too late and before she can demand Caroline return them before Jessica tells her boss, Caroline quits her job and sails out the store with Jessica's clothes and a parting shot at Magenta.

  • Bill Chase knows Elizabeth chose to wipe out, he just doesn't get why.

  • Liz tells him it was in the name of romance.

  • Liz and Todd go to Mario's for their celebratory dinner.

  • Steven read all of Elizabeth's sporty mags and decided he wanted to take up hang gliding while he's home for a month long independent study project.

  • After meeting Andrea, the Tricia doppelganger at Unique Boutique, Steve begs off a date with Cara, saying he needs to get started on his Legal Ethics research. Instead, he promptly calls Andrea at work and asks her out.





Quotable Sweet Valley:
  "Let's just say your sister has a weird way of being adventurous, Jess," Lila continued, munching on a potato chip. "I mean, some people drive race cars, climb mountains, or sail boats around the world, but Elizabeth gets her hair curled." - Lila Fowler, pg 1

  "But if you don't tell me exactly who told you that story in exactly two and a half seconds, I'm going to perform some experimental theater on your face!" - Jessica is not thrilled about Magenta's exploits being made public. Better be careful, Winston. p23

   Elizabeth felt she deserved a triple scoop with extra chocolate sprinkles, but she settled for a small cone, since she would be heading home for dinner soon. She didn't want to surprise everyone with how fat she could get! - screw you, ghosty. Also, save the fat for college, Liz. pg 35


 photo newelizabeth_eng2_zpsmoqwq6cu.png


   This is a book I think I liked more as a kid. I remember being super excited when Skipper or Barbie came out with a swimsuit that looked like the one Liz is wearing on the cover of this, so the surfing thing probably got played out a fair amount. As an adult it's... meh? It's not a bad book, it's just hard to get worked up by Liz learning to surf. I'm not sure if it would have been better if the book didn't realize that surfing was also pretty tame compared to Jessica's antics and had just played it like this was the biggest, baddest thing ever or if that would have made things worse.
  Mostly the book feels like filler between two more interesting sounding books: #62 where Jessica loses her damn mind and #64 where Steven falls for yet another Tricia lookalike. Kid!me ate up all the Tricia drama like you would not believe.
   One of the things I really did enjoy was how Laurie didn't instantly dislike Elizabeth simply because Sean was interested in her. Instead of blaming Liz and being exceptionally catty, Laurie is friendly towards Liz when their paths cross and doubles down on her own strategy for getting the guy. Too bad we'll never see them again so my interest taps out there. Seriously though, it's nice when the Valley doesn't pit innocent people against one another.
  Unrelated, but Liz mentions how disappointed she is that Caroline's back to gossiping but I swear this isn't a new thing. Hadn't she fallen off the gossip wagon by the time Regina died at the very least? And that was 20 books ago!
the_oracle: (gasp!)
No Place To Hide
December 1988

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Secret lives...


   When Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield invite Nicholas Morrow on a picnic to help cure his blues, their plan has unexpected results. Nicholas falls in love with Barbara, a beautiful girl who involves the twins in their most dangerous mystery yet.
  Barbara tells Nicholas they must hide their relationship from the uncle she's visiting. Hearing the fear in her voice, Nicholas decides to tell the twins, and they start investigating. The more they find out, the more desperate Barbara's situation seems.
   Then Jessica and Elizabeth are threatened by an anonymous caller. Now they face a terrible choice: either give up their search and leave Barbara in deadly trouble, or save Barbara's life-and risk their lives and Nicholas's!


  No Place to Hide is a bit of a standout in the SVH-verse for me because I always forget that it exists. Oh, I'll remember it for three months after I've read it, but come next April? I'll wonder what the hell the book was about. So, for me, it's like I'll always have a SVH book that's almost new for me. Sure, I remember the basics: Nicholas Morrow finally gets over Elizabeth by falling for a girl who, in any other book put out at the time that wasn't SV or BSC, would've been a ghost. Happy fun times do not ensue. That much I recall. But even now I couldn't tell you the exact specifics without looking at my cheat sheet or the book itself.

   Well played, ghostwriter of the month. Well played.


  It's the summer of the twins' internship at the Sweet Valley News again still and we've finally progressed to... July. I know, I would've thought that we would have progressed a little bit further, but hey. I'm not in charge here, I'm merely here to mock and squee as needed. The newspaper is having its annual picnic in Ronoma, a county in California we've never heard of before and will likely never hear from again. Liz and Jess are excited because picnics have always been a big deal to them. Jess I think is more interested in the party aspect and Liz is dreaming of networking, but still. Excitement?
   Liz decides to invite Nicholas because he's seemed a little bummed lately, what with his sister dying and all. (...yes.) Once at the picnic, Nicholas is far from the life of the party and decides he would rather walk around the park and sulk. Liz grumbles to herself that she invited the boy so she has to play the gracious hostess/friend and keep him company because, hell, the way he's been lately, he's likely to fling himself off the nearest cliffs. But she resents this because of the missed networking possibilities. Next time don't invite the guy who was all too interested in you until your sister's untimely demise that you sort of had a bit of a hand in, Miss Nosy Reporter Wannabe. Just sayin'.

  Nicholas walks and walks and gets further and further from the party/picnic in the park. Liz worries they're trespassing. Nich doesn't seem to care that some people don't want strangers traipsing around their yards and wants to get a better look at the cliffs and their view of the sea. Instead he finds a girl who is so gorgeous that she appears to be from another time period entirely. If you listen carefully, you can hear Tricia Martin screaming about someone stealing her shtick.
  Nicholas falls immediately for Barbara and she seems to fall for him as well. Can't say I blame her. TV!Nicholas aside, the dude's supposed to be dreamy. Anyway, Nicholas lets Barbara slip away without so much as a phone number or a last name, so he returns the next day to find her. Luckily for him, Barbara seems to delight in traipsing about in the woods and garden near her grandparents' creepy mansion by the sea, and she sings to her Yorkie so Nicholas can fairly easily find her.
  I'll spare you the whole romancing of the couple because there isn't much. Barbara's beautiful. Nicholas is beautiful. Nicholas shares Regina's love of drama, so the moment he gets wind of B's "Uncle John" and his controlling ways and temper (made clear by John telling him to get lost and never come around again, EVER), the boy is hooked. Immediately he begins to worry about B and how her not!Uncle seems to have too short a leash on her. So what does he do? He invites the twins out to Barbara's and they are immediately chased away by B before her uncle comes to drag her back to the house, warning her of what terrible things will happen to Josine, their housekeeper and the only friend Barbara has had all summer.
  Nicholas keeps returning to Barbara and they manage to away for a dinner in town where more than one person reacts as if they've seen a ghost the second they catch sight of Barbara. It appears she's the spitting image of her grandmother who died tragically years ago. Upon returning from their meal out, Nicholas finds his Jeep's tires have all been slashed, proving that someone is on to them. Barbara repeatedly asks and tells Nicholas to stay away, that it's not safe for him to see her anymore, but that's not going to discourage a drama junkie. Instead Nicholas vows to find a way to rescue Barbara. If you don't get that Nicholas imagines himself the prince on a white horse by now, you either missed out on all the fairytales as a kid or you're just slow.

   Meanwhile, Jessica and Elizabeth are back at the paper doing research of their own. It appears it's nearly time for a new SV mayor and the paper is abuzz with news on each side. There's the mysterious Russell Kinkaid who is amazingly charming and charismatic and yet still manages to rub Elizabeth the wrong way. (Proof that he's Evil.) And then there's Miles Robinson who has the support of the Valley News but really, we don't ever find out much about him. Is he the current mayor? Is the current mayor embroiled in scandal so awesome that they dare not speak its name? Who knows.
  Jessica is assigned a seemingly unrelated story about Paul Lazarow, the leader of an artists' colony in Ronoma County in the 40's. At first she can't find out much, but in the interest of time, we'll skip to the important stuff. Eventually the twins find that Russell Kinkaid studied at the colony years ago and was actually an exceptionally talented artist who had a thing for Lazarow's daughter... Barbara. Unfortunately for Barbara, she was in love with Jack Pearsall, Kinkaid's artistic rival. Barbara and Jack eloped, keeping their marriage a secret from everyone but Josine. Eventually Barbara became pregnant and shortly after her daughter was born, news of her relationship with Jack broke. Kinkaid was so enraged that he pushed her from the cliffs behind her house on the night of her birthday. Since there were no witnesses, the police couldn't charge him and he got away with murder.
  Paul Lazarow died six months after his daughter due to cancer, and Jack went completely mental. Unable to cope without Barbara, he moved into an assisted living facility, and Gwen, their daughter, went off to live with family friends in Switzerland.
   Of course, the twins and Nicholas only learned part of this. When Liz finds out that Russell Kinkaid was questioned about his part in Barbara's death, she calls Jessica and tells her that they're that much closer to cracking both cases. (Why Barbara is being kept prisoner and why Russell gives Liz the creeps.) The twins hang up, excited beyond belief, but then the phone rings again and Liz is threatened by someone who points out that the Jeep's tires didn't slash themselves and that Rory's disappearance was no fluke. Warnings, people. Warnings! Liz freaks out and the next day she tells Nicholas all about it.
  Nicholas decides that the only thing left to do is go to the police.

   No. That might be logical considering Liz did just get herself threatened and all. No, what they're going to do is go and kidnap Barbara on her birthday. He asks the twins for help and when they reasonably ask what his brilliant plan is, Jessica balks immediately at the insanity that pours forth. His plan? He'll grab Barbara while one twin waits in the car and the other distracts Uncle John.
  That's... pretty simple, actually. And yet it goes horribly, horribly wrong. Jess draws the short straw and is stuck in the Jeep, Liz twists her ankle but Nicholas doesn't notice because he's a little obsessed at the time, and then Jessica has to distract the occupants of Bayview House by ringing the doorbell. ...Right. So, naturally Liz gets found by John immediately after she sends Jessica off to play decoy. She pisses him off when she makes him yammer on about why he's torturing Barbara (simply a side effect of torturing his brother, Russell) and he pistol whips her. And the peasants rejoice!

  Jessica bangs on the front door to no avail. No one's answering, probably because John's out front knocking Liz into unconsciousness and Russell? Russell is out on the cliffs with Nicholas and Barbara. Jessica watches in horror as Russell wrestles with Barbara, hands wrapped around her wrists, apparently trying to push her off the cliffs. I'm not entirely sure how that would work, and apparently neither is gravity, because Russell slips and falls _backwards_, sending him and Barbara both over the edge of the cliffs. Russell falls to his death but Barbara manages to catch on to a rock ledge somehow. Again, I... don't think that would necessarily happen given the way they both fell, hands on her wrists and all, but I don't recommend trying this at home in any case.
  Nicholas and Jessica (whom Nicholas still thinks is Liz) pull Barbara to safety. There's a lovely moment with B/N and then B starts blubbering about rescuing Josine. Jessica freaks out when she hears the younger Kinkaid has a gun and Nicholas finally realizes Jessica isn't Liz. They rush back to where they left Elizabeth and find her lavaliere on the ground. Jess freaks out but Barbara out drama!queens her when she nearly faints. That's right. Jessica's twin is missing but Barbara is the one with a case of the vapors. Rightio. Because the sight of the necklace lying on the ground reminded her of Rory's collar and that was too much for her. Mmmhmm. Whatever.
  The dramatic trio return to Bayview House and find Josine who lets them know that Kinkaid the younger grabbed the keys to the studio, so they rush to see if they'll be in time to rescue Elizabeth. The doors to the studio are locked, but with a boost from Nicholas, Barbara manages to shimmy in through a window and they rush to find Elizabeth passed out and Rory alive. The paramedics are called and everyone is whisked away to either the police station or the hospital.
  John Kinkaid actually took his brother's often mentioned silver Jag and made a break for it. The police actually catch him without any help from the twins (shock!) and he immediately confesses. It seems he was the brains behind the Kinkaid fortune and when Russell dumped him right before his mayoral bid, John decided to get revenge. Russell had told his little brother the truth about Barbara's death years before and John realized that since granddaughter!Barbara was the spitting image of her grandmother, she would be perfect to torment Russell. John would invite Russell to Bayview and then force Barbara to dress in her grandmother's things and go out for walks along the cliffs, all in an effort to make Russell think he was being haunted. Russell snapped all right, but seemed determined to commit the same crime. History and all that, I guess.
   Barbara is surprisingly sympathetic with the elder Kinkaid considering the man killed her grandmother and died trying to kill her, but she's probably a better person than I am anyway, so we'll chalk it up to that.
  Liz racks up another concussion but is ultimately fine.
  The same cannot truly be said for Nicholas though. His heart breaks when he realizes that Barbara's parents are whisking her away to home and safety right after her birthday. Nicholas helps Barbara reconnect with her grandfather, Jack. Jack, by the way, is surprisingly okay with the fact that his granddaughter looks identical to his late wife. I guess my years of V.C. Andrews prepped me for a completely different reaction, but hey. Once they flee back to Switzerland, we never hear from them again, so maybe things did go all VC. *cough*
   Anyway. The book ends with Nicholas lonely once more, but finally distracted from Regina's death. Yay?


Trivia:

  • Miles Robinson is one of the mayoral candidates and is the one the SV News supports.

  • July in the Valley is apparently a very slow news month.

  • Russell Donovan Kinkaid is the other mayoral candidate. He's handsome in that "dark, rugged, muscular" way, with angular, well pronounced features and steely gray eyes. He's in his early 60's, a private business man who ran an import/export business. Rumors of illegal campaign fund usage run rampant but there's no proof. Ditto the rumors for bribery. Owned a factory in Tijuana that was shut down due to inhumane working conditions. Name has been linked to infamous names in underworld crime. Favorite author when he was younger was Hemingway, wanted to be a painter.

  • Ronoma County is a rural area 40 miles South East of Sweet Valley. There's a loverly park with a pond used for the annual SVN picnic and it used to be home to Paul Lazarow's artist colony back in the 1940's. It was a popular beach community 50 years ago. (Well, 50 years ago from the 80's, which would be, whoa, 70 years these days.)

  • The SVN picnic started at noon. Volleyball, a cookout, and even fireworks but no mention of the ghostly haunting down the road at Bayview House. Next time they should really schedule that one in, too.

  • Nicholas sees a shrink once a week, partly due to the nightmares he has.

  • Bayview House is a beautiful but rundown gray clapboard house, with a wrought iron fence, a rose garden, turrets, a widow's walk, a brass knocker and no bell for the front door.

  • Rory, Barbara's dog, is a Yorkshire terrier.

  • Barbara is beautiful (naturally) with a perfect oval face, creamy skin, waist length chestnut brown hair, huge wide-set pale blue eyes. She lives in Switzerland with her professor parents who are doing research work in Greece over the summer. Her grandmother died right after Barbara's mother was born.

  • Josine, the housekeeper, is very old and more than a little senile.

  • Uncle John Kinkaid pretends to be Barbara's grandfather's cousin, executor of the original Barbara's will. He's in his 50's and handsome, but mean.

  • Jess desperately wants to cover the makeover workshop at the mall for the paper. Instead she ends up doing research on Paul Lazarow.

  • Mr. Robb is always at his desk by eight A.M.

  • Robb's 8:45 assignments: Dan Weeks, art exhibit at the Sweet Valley Museum for Paul Lazarow who headed the Ronoma artists' colony in the 1940's. Jessica is assisting. Liz is working with Seth on a special feature on Robinson and Kinkaid.

  • Jess feels sorry for Liz having to deal with all the boring politics even more than she was already.

  • Russell Kinkaid drives a silver-blue Jaguar.

  • Paul Lazarow was born in 1895, studied art in Paris, came back to California to start his artists' colony in 1939. He died in 1949, shortly after his daughter, Barbara. Lazarow spent most of his time divided between three places: Ronoma, Paris, and Brittany, and the paintings in the show at the museum are divided as such, with Ronoma being the last section.

  • The Kinkaid brothers were partners for 35 years, mostly in real estate.

  • Barbara Lazarow drowned after being shoved off the cliffs behind her house July 28, 1949. She'd just turned 21.

  • 80's!Barbara has nightmares about her birthday involving cake, a creepy dude, and being chased and then falling. Note to B: run. away.

  • Du Pres, a painter, took Barbara's mother, Gwen, to Europe after the deaths of Barbara and Paul Lazarow. Gwen never really understood why.

  • Denning is the largest town in Ronoma County.

  • Francesco's is a small, charming Italian restaurant's in Denning.

  • The gas attendant thought he saw a ghost when he caught sight of Barbara when she and Nicholas escaped for their date.

  • Barbara speaks French. Of course she does.

  • Rory's collar is found up on the cliffs, leaving everyone to assume John threw poor little Rory over the cliffs.

  • Nicholas finds his Jeep's tires slashed and his windshield smashed.

  • The Sweet Valley Museum is a small, modern building overlooking the ocean with a palm tree lined driveway.

  • In addition to the artist colony, Paul bought Bayview House so that Barbara could summer in California.

  • During the summer of 1947, Kinkaid studied with Lazarow.

  • Bravo, Nicholas, for using the word sadist in a SV novel. Well played!

  • After having lunch with the twins, Nicholas returns to find a threat slipped under his windshield: "You'll stay away from Barbara if you know what's good for you. This is your first and last warning."

  • Barbara's song that she's overheard singing at least twice: You came to me from out of nowhere. You took my heart and found it free... Google tells me this is 'Out of Nowhere' and is worth a listen.



Quote Me On That:

"He's allegedly mishandled campaign funds from day one, but no one can prove it. There's also talk of some bad connections he's made in business. He owned a factory in Tijuana that was shut down by the government because of inhumane working conditions. His name has been linked with some people in the world of organized crime as well."
Jessica looked triumphantly at her sister. "See, there's nothing wrong with the guy." - Seth/Jessica, p6/7

Jessica stared at her, alarmed. "Haven't you heard what Nicholas has been like lately? Lila says he's losing his mind." -p14

"It's very common for people that old to confuse real people with people from the past." -Uh, Nicholas? Just because they're from the past doesn't mean they aren't/weren't real. Just saying. p 73

"Nicholas, have you completely lost your mind? That isn't exactly what I'd call a fair division of labor." -Jess speaks true, if a bit stiffly. p140

"I should never have let you two come out here," he mumbled. - Nicholas? You recruited THEM, not the other way around. p159

Bonus Fashion Spectacular:
Today Elizabeth was wearing a navy blue skirt- slim-cut and flattering, but on the conservative side- and a simple blue-and-white-striped cotton sweater, while Jessica looked as if she had just stepped out of the pages of Ingenue, her favorite magazine. She had on a linen miniskirt, a boxy sweater with padded shoulders, and funky, dangling earrings. p3/4

And not far away from him, Barbara, looking resplendent in a pink-and-ivory silk dress, was sitting on an ivory-colored blanket, her legs tucked under her, her long hair gleaming in the sunlight. Her straw bonnet was thrown carelessly next to her on the blanket and a novel was open on her lap. p 42

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  Ultimately, for all the mocking I may or may not have done, I really like No Place to Hide. It appeals to my inner child who loved all the mysterious something fierce. Plus, I like the cover art. I know, I'm shallow. I like the way they keep beating poor Nicholas down and I feel for him, plus who doesn't love an epic romance that spans less than a month? It's not like it's the shortest romance ever. The drama heightens everything and it works very well as it unfolds. It's just that later, when you start to pick at it, that it unravels awfully quickly.
  Also? I think I've established that any book where Jessica is fantastically protective of Elizabeth is bound to make my list of happy making books.

  Bonus points given for connecting Regina and Barbara. Both are unnaturally beautiful and have ties to Switzerland. Creepy!
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Please forgive me for being late and for this not necessarily making a lot of sense. It's cold up here (no heating!) and my hands are probably colder than some of the stuff in your freezer. No, I mean the freezer that works, not the one you keep out in the garage hoping that one day you'll need it for some MacGuyver schemes.

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

May 2017

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