the_oracle: (tear)
Crash Landing!
June 1985

   Will Elizabeth lose her best friend?

   Terror in the skies...


  George Warren has been looking forward to taking his girlfriend, Enid Rollins, as a passenger on his first licensed flight. Afterward he's going to tell her something he's known for a long time-he doesn't love her anymore, and their relationship is over. Then he'll be free to date Robin Wilson, the girl he does love.
  But as he and Enid are flying, George loses control of the plane and is forced to make a crash landing. Enid is seriously injured, and George is overcome with guilt. He can't possibly break up with Enid now. But how long can he pretend to be in love with her and continue living a lie?

  I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for Enid Rollins. When the books portray her badly, I blame the writers, rarely the actual character. And this, my friends, this is the book that cemented my love for her once and for all. Keep in mind that I read this when I was eight or so, and thus any ability to be objective whatsoever has been damaged beyond repair. With that said, onward!

  This is not George Warren's day. Despite having gotten his pilot's license, he's already been busted by his current girlfriend's best friend about cheating on said girlfriend with a girl in his flying class, and now he's trying to work up the guts to break it off with said girlfriend before her best friend spills the beans. As he's trying to distract himself with some fancy-ish flying moves, the engine on his rental plane dies, and that's when the real fun begins. Amidst Enid's screaming and the plane's stubborn refusal to do anything other than turn into the wind so the crash itself won't necessarily kill them, George is screwed. He tells Enid to open her door before they hit the water and seconds later they "land" and he's promptly knocked out, and from this point on, all traces of pity for the boy are erased from my side.
  Enid realizes she's not dead and that while unconscious and bleeding, George isn't dead either, but that this could change very quickly if they don't get out of the sinking plane. She unbuckles herself, strips her outermost layer of clothes, but stupidly leaves her socks on, and attempts to save her boyfriend. She has to get out of the cockpit and go around the plane, so that she can get a proper vantage point to unhook George from his harness. When she does, he falls out and knocks Enid backwards. Enid slams into something and her legs go numb. Enid doesn't have time to freak out properly as the plane sinks the second she and George are both free. When he realizes that Enid seems a bit off, he asks what's wrong, and she tells him she can't feel her legs. Dun dun DUN.

  From the shore, Todd, Olivia, Roger, Robin, and a few others watch in horror as the plane falls from the sky. Todd races to call 911 [no cell phones yet, loves] and when he returns, finds out that the plane was carrying Enid and George. Before Todd can freak out too much over this, George and Enid are brought to shore. Enid looks pale, but okay, and George looks like crap, what with the head wound that is bleeding quite freely. Robin faints and damages quite a few brain cells in the process. Trust me, you'll see.

  We flash to the twins and their parents who are still at the police station after the previous book's brush with insanity in the form of Jack. Jess begins behaving terribly out of character, with the announcement that she'll "just die if anything happens to Enid!" The fuck? You practically wish her dead three times a book. And no one bats an eyelash. I guess you could chalk it up to them all being so worried about Enid, but still...
  Blah, blah, George is fine, head wound notwithstanding. Enid's paralyzed and they won't know for sure if it's permanent until the swelling goes down. George feels guilty as hell, Liz is mad as hell, and Enid is loopy.
  But first we have our Jessica-detour. Sometime off-camera, Lila decided she and Jessica should take a gourmet cooking class. Jess is pissed when the instructor doesn't show up on time and a little old lady, nice though she may be, starts them off making mustard. Not only is she having to make something boring, but she can't even joke around with Lila who is still pissed about the Jack fiasco. Well, it was just yesterday she learned you were a backstabbing skank... One ruined silk blouse later, and bucketfuls of charm, Li and Jess are talking to one another and Jess is drooling over their instructor. After class, Li drives Jessica over to Robin's so Jess can tell her co-captain that the cheerleading practice was moved. However, when they get there, Jess spies George's light blue GTO in the drive way. Lila offers up information about Robin and Allen having broken up, and both girls quickly put two and two together. They realize that Robin fainted because she's involved with George and gasp! The trollop!
  Jess goes home and tells Liz all about what she's seen. Liz is beyond pissed, but she can't tell Jessica that she already knew the pair were seeing one another. Instead, both twins remark that they'll be unable to look Robin in the eye. Jess sort of promises not to tell anyone about the love triangle, but the next time we see her, she's filling Cara in on the whole thing. Both girls agree that Robin should be punished, as it's the least they can do for poor Enid, who didn't deserve such treatment. If you're wondering how Jess can so easily flip-flop on various things, consider this: She's really good at damning those who reflect any aspect of her personality or actions that she's not 100% proud of. Annie went down in flames for her indiscriminate dating, and now Robin's going to pay for any lingering guilt Jess had over screwing Lila over with the whole Jack situation. Also, she comments about how normally Enid would be on her shit list, but since everyone is rallying around Enid and she's such a star at the moment, of course Jessica must play up her connection to the newest bit of gossip in town. [Being the twin of the injured girl's best friend, duh!]
  So when Robin comes up to the table, Cara and Jessica ignore her and make a comment about Enid before leaving. Robin tries to say hey to Liz and is shot down. So she drowns her sorrow in dessert, all the while wondering why everyone is avoiding her. Later she'll realize they really are avoiding her, but still won't understand why. When you fainted, Robin, did you perchance hit your incredibly thick skull on something sharp and leave your brain behind on the shores of Secca Lake? I swear you weren't mentally deficient before, but now I'm wondering.
  Show of hands, how many people would honestly not be able to piece together why everyone was shunning them if they were in Robin's shoes? Even without knowing that George had tried to stop by and break things off with you until Enid's able to walk, you'd think people would put together your fainting spell as well as your breaking up with Allen for another guy and come up with the possibility that you and George were an item, right? Guilt breeds paranoia, not simply stupidity. So Robin stews and worries and gains ten pounds in ten days.

  Let's return to Liz. Liz isn't having the easiest time of it. Every time she sees Enid, either George comes up or he's there, and she's not exactly the best at masking her emotions. She's livid thinking that George is still seeing Robin while Enid is lying in bed, paralyzed. No matter how he tries to convince her that he's broken things off with Robin, she can't believe him. If Enid is unable to direct the proper amount of wrath in George's direction, seeing as she doesn't know what's going on yet, then Liz will have to be mad enough for the both of them. Which is particularly endearing, actually. Every time she and George run into one another at the hospital, I imagine Liz is shooting him death glares. Problem with that is that he feels so out of sorts around Elizabeth that he can't really keep it together in front of Enid. You see, George has decided that while Enid is crippled, he'll pretend he still loves her and everything is fine, as that's the right thing to do. And I can't exactly fault him for the logic, particularly when you realize that while Enid is in the hospital, she seems to have all of three visitors. Her mother, George, and Liz. Fuck, Easy Annie had the entire cheer squad do a routine outside just for her, but Enid can't even get a sympathy visit from any of her teachers? Rude!
  Enid has her surgery and everyone expects her to do a bit of PT [physical therapy] and be able to walk. She can't. She won't, and she becomes very snippy if you ask her about it. Liz decides to invite Enid, Todd, and George over for a small dinner while her parents are out on a date and Jess is over at Cara's reading cookbooks.
  Yes, cookbooks. You see, Jess has decided that she'll get Jean-Pierre the teacher to date her, and to do so, she'll become the best chef in the class. Thing is, her plan is working, sort of. She's actually really good at the cooking thing and is frequently singled out for exceptional work. Who knew? Her other plan is to upstage Elizabeth. Their parents' wedding anniversary is coming up, and with all the Enid drama, Jess is sure that Elizabeth has forgotten. Jess decides she'll make her parents a fantastic meal and they'll be so pleased, and for once Jessica won't feel second best.
  Unfortunately for Jessica, as she's planning this, as well as her future as a celebrity chef featured in People, her parents come home and discover a mess in the kitchen. Given Jessica's recent culinary leanings and early onset Alzheimer's, they accuse Jessica of leaving the kitchen a mess, the pots not even soaked. Jess shoots back that she JUST got home, hasn't even been in the kitchen, and didn't they say Liz could have her friends over so SHE could cook for them? Ned and Alice realize they were wrong and half-assed apologies are given, only to be followed up with, "Well, Liz must have a good reason." Jessica notes that if she'd really been the guilty party, they'd have been ready to hang her, and she's right. They're actually pretty shitty towards her at the oddest times. It's like instead of actually disciplining her when she needs it, they mock and punish her at other times. Uncool.
  Anyway, Liz left the kitchen a mess because her dinner party failed. Enid and George showed up, Enid in a wheelchair, and they spent the night acting. Badly. George is obviously not in love with Enid anymore and can't even do a passable imitation anymore and Enid knows this on some level [maybe when he confessed while she was asleep, or maybe because she's not a moron] so she tries too hard to be upbeat and sunny. Fails. George skips out early and Enid is crushed, so she asks Todd to take her home. Todd agrees and Liz goes with, just missing both her twin and her parents, figuring if they make it home first, they'll understand. Sure, right after they crucify your twin.

  Jessica works up the nerve to hit on J-P, only to find out he's married. Luckily she finds out before she hits on him. Then she makes her family a trial run dinner, and in the process I learn a very, very important lesson about seafood prep. Namely, if you have to pry the shellfish open after you've cooked 'em, you will poison yourself and anyone who eats the food. Thing is, no one told Jessica this, and at 16 in the 80's, maybe she wouldn't have known it on her own, so it's a little unfair for her family to continuously mock her. Then again, food poisoning isn't pretty. Jess is brokenhearted about her setback, but figures she has until her parents anniversary on Friday to remedy things.

  In Enid land, deciding to go to the dance was a horrible idea. While there, Enid insists that George dance with someone. After one and a half mentions, George runs off to dance with Robin after already having had a heated discussion with her earlier. Enid recognizes the look on his face, as well as Robin's, and her heart breaks. When George comes back after his slow dance, Enid blows up and accuses him of being in love with Robin. He neither confirms nor denies, and Enid knows. He takes her home and Todd suggests maybe going after her in a bit, but Liz says no, Enid needs time. The hell? The girl is paralyzed, obviously depressed, and now she's found out that her boyfriend is in love with a friend of hers? Yeah, she needs alone time, a bottle of Vodka, and something sharp. Stupid twit.
  Anyway, when Liz finally does catch up with Enid, it's pod-person Enid. She says she doesn't know what George feels for Robin, but if he didn't want to be with her [Enid] then he wouldn't be. Liz blinks and wonders what the hell happened to Enid.
  And so she comes up with a plan so sneaky and ingenious that... wait, no. Just a plan. She borrows Teddy Collins, has him pretend to be drowning in the deep end of the Wakefields' pool while Enid is alone with him, and tada! Enid leaps from her wheelchair and rescues Teddy. It works, and everyone loves Liz for her quick thinking. Seriously, she gets a standing ovation at the Dairi Burger. You're telling me no one just wandered in for a salt fix at the same time and thought maybe the town water had been contaminated? Surreal and one of the parts where they lost me.
  Due to Jessica's seafood mishap, her parents aren't inclined to repeat the performance and are thrilled when Liz gifts them with dinner theatre tickets to Bayside. You know you're an 80s kid when all you can think is that Zach and company never did dinner theatre, did they? Jess is upset that once more she's been upstaged and nothing has gone as she expected. Honestly, I don't blame her. I'd be upset, too. :(
  Anyway, Enid goes home after her rescue of Teddy [and after Jess points out that Enid totally got punked, and that Teddy swims like a fish] and breaks up with George. For a moment she seems utterly calm when she's detailing what happened, and Liz is fawning over her and Enid points out that it's easy enough to say, but she's probably never going to be friends with George again, as it'll hurt too much, no matter what she says right that second. So. True.
  All in all, a happy ending for everyone but a still miffed Jess.

Random:

  • George has always wanted to be a pilot.

  • The rental plane of doom is a Cessna 150.

  • The Wakefields are at Sergeant Malone's desk when they hear of George's plane difficulty.

  • Enid's spinal injury centers around the last disc in her spine, and her doctor is Dr. MacGregor.

  • Lila and Jessica's gourmet cooking class is held at the SV Civic Center.

  • Ms. Jackson is a petite gray haired lady who helps run the Civic Center.

  • Jessica ruins a $90 cream colored silk blouse from Lisette's when she manages to accidentally fling mustard onto it. Lila is not pleased.

  • Jean-Pierre Baptiste has written several cookbooks, the youngest head chef at La Maison Blanche, one of the finest French restaurants in California. He's in his early 20's, over six feet tall, broad shoulders, jet black hair, and intense blue eyes. Oh, yeah, and he's married to a fiery redhead named Lisbette who can't cook to safe her life.

  • Cara Walker is Allen's chem lab partner, and he tells her that he and Robin broke up because she was either seeing someone else or just wanted to do so.

  • George drives a light blue GTO. Remember kids, as with robbing a bank, when cheating, make sure you don't drive a really obvious car.

  • Over the course of her cooking class, Jessica made mustard, a raspberry torte [that she gave to Enid], puff pastries, and chicken cordon bleu.

  • Lila quit the class on chicken cordon bleu day.

  • Just when you thought they'd never mention it again, the company that's doing the tour guide thing gets back to the twins and tells them they've passed their tests and are all set for their summer jobs. Thing is, they don't provide transportation. Before the twins can cry into their beer over this, their parents announce that Alice needs a new car, so the twins now have round-the-clock Fiat use. Yay!

  • Ned Wakefield is a big steak lover. Not so much for pumpkin soup, though.

  • When the whole J-P thing fails, Jessica takes Ken to the dance. Poor Kenny is described as cute, but dull. Fear not my jock love, you'll get some personality soon!

  • Speaking of dates to the dance: Robin goes with some friend of a cousin, Stan from L.A. Not exactly a fun date. Lila brings Louis Scott, a sophomore at Sweet Valley College [when does it become SVU?] and he's incredibly boring and not a great dancer. He must be hot, or else Li wouldn't be caught dead with him.

  • Liz and Todd celebrate monthly anniversaries. No wonder I'm so screwed up. :P

  • Jess ultimately poisons her family when she makes them a cold seafood and pasta salad.

  • Mr. Collins smokes a pipe, and as of this book seems to be moving in on Ms. Dalton something fierce.

  • Jessica's planned meal for her parents: Veal piccata, string beans, wild rice, and raspberry torte.

  • Olivia Davidson leads a standing ovation at the Dairi Burger after Liz tricks Enid into walking again.

  • When Ned and Alice come back from their anniversary date, having heard all about Liz and her tricky ways, they celebrate with champagne for everyone, including Todd whom we gather would be driving himself home afterward.

  • Crash Landing takes place over the place of at least three weeks, probably four.



Quote-aliscious:
They didn't know what she knew about George Warren. He didn't even love Enid anymore, and she'd done this to herself so she could save his life! - Liz points out that George is an insensitive ass. Too bad she'll forget it about fifty pages after p24

Usually, Jessica didn't think twice about stealing a boy from someone, but she didn't want Lila to think she was so hard up for guys she had to get them secondhand. - Jess doesn't feel bad about screwing over Lila, she just doesn't want Lila to think she's desperate. p27/28

It upset Elizabeth to see Enid so trusting, so innocent. Here she was worrying about losing George- and Elizabeth knew she'd already lost him. - Makes me sniffle, Liz. Makes me sniffle. p47




   While I love CL!, it does have some flaws. One of them would be Liz waffling after Enid goes pod-person. Yeah, it sucks for George that Enid won't let him go, but maybe you shouldn't have been two-timing the girl and then slacking off in the pretending department. Either you should have told her flat out, or learned to act better, because obviously Enid isn't as popular as you'd think, given how few people actually stop by to see her. Ever. So yeah, she's going to latch on. When he tries to go out with Robin because Enid won't let go, as Enid's friend, I'd still have been pissed at him. Seriously, your job as best friend is to hate what your friend cannot necessarily hate. Did we learn nothing from Buffy? [Think Willow meeting Riley's wife and waffling between loathing her and loving her?] So her asking for Robin to forgive her smacked me all kinds of wrong.
  Sigh. I also hate how Ned and Alice act towards Jessica, although that's because it's believable. Unless you're an only child, your parents will assume your sibling is innocent of something they actually did, and you'll get the riot act, and they'll go easy on said sibling even when they were ready to have you drawn and quartered. You will mess up, they will tease you, and you will wish they'd all learn the fine art of shutting the hell up. Such is life.

  This marks the end of me liking George, and my love for Robin is less... avid. The fact that she honestly couldn't figure out why anyone would be mad at her smacks of stupidity. And hurting Enid is uncool. UN.COOL!
  That said, for an Enid-centric book, she's more like the prop being moved from one character to another than the central person of the plot. Enid is hurt, but it's how the people around her react that the story unfolds. Also, I'm confused as to this cold war. Is it simply that the cheerleaders [and Liz] froze Robin out, or did they manage to recruit a lot of the girls at SVH without anyone getting word back to Todd, since he didn't seem to know about the whole George/Robin/Enid triangle? And if it was common knowledge, then Robin really should have known why she was being sent to social Siberia.
  Why did no one tell Mrs. Rollins about George? If it's pretty obvious that Enid is suffering a mental block, then explaining what the hell is up with that might actually help. I'd like to think that if Liz's plan hadn't worked, a) Teddy wouldn't have been so committed to the fake-out that he wouldn't have drowned, and b) someone would have leveled with Enid's mother.
  Speaking of parents, even if they are divorced, why does Enid's father never show?

And in, you didn't give a damn news, this is one of those books I remember just as much for the circumstances around me owning it as I do for what happened in the actual book. It was to be my Christmas present one year, and I couldn't wait. Mom had bought it maybe the start of December, maybe around Thanksgiving, and I was there at the time, so the knowledge that it was under my roof and I couldn't read it was KILLING me. So I found where she hid it, and every day that I could, I'd sneak it away and read a little at a time. By the time Christmas rolled around, I'd finished it, and had to pretend to be super thrilled... and re-read it again, or else she'd know. I think she did know, and I know I confessed later, but I still bawled when my copy was ruined by a freak soda spill a few years later. Bawled, okay?

the_oracle: (tear)
Crash Landing!
June 1985

   Will Elizabeth lose her best friend?

   Terror in the skies...


  George Warren has been looking forward to taking his girlfriend, Enid Rollins, as a passenger on his first licensed flight. Afterward he's going to tell her something he's known for a long time-he doesn't love her anymore, and their relationship is over. Then he'll be free to date Robin Wilson, the girl he does love.
  But as he and Enid are flying, George loses control of the plane and is forced to make a crash landing. Enid is seriously injured, and George is overcome with guilt. He can't possibly break up with Enid now. But how long can he pretend to be in love with her and continue living a lie?

  I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for Enid Rollins. When the books portray her badly, I blame the writers, rarely the actual character. And this, my friends, this is the book that cemented my love for her once and for all. Keep in mind that I read this when I was eight or so, and thus any ability to be objective whatsoever has been damaged beyond repair. With that said, onward!

  This is not George Warren's day. Despite having gotten his pilot's license, he's already been busted by his current girlfriend's best friend about cheating on said girlfriend with a girl in his flying class, and now he's trying to work up the guts to break it off with said girlfriend before her best friend spills the beans. As he's trying to distract himself with some fancy-ish flying moves, the engine on his rental plane dies, and that's when the real fun begins. Amidst Enid's screaming and the plane's stubborn refusal to do anything other than turn into the wind so the crash itself won't necessarily kill them, George is screwed. He tells Enid to open her door before they hit the water and seconds later they "land" and he's promptly knocked out, and from this point on, all traces of pity for the boy are erased from my side.
  Enid realizes she's not dead and that while unconscious and bleeding, George isn't dead either, but that this could change very quickly if they don't get out of the sinking plane. She unbuckles herself, strips her outermost layer of clothes, but stupidly leaves her socks on, and attempts to save her boyfriend. She has to get out of the cockpit and go around the plane, so that she can get a proper vantage point to unhook George from his harness. When she does, he falls out and knocks Enid backwards. Enid slams into something and her legs go numb. Enid doesn't have time to freak out properly as the plane sinks the second she and George are both free. When he realizes that Enid seems a bit off, he asks what's wrong, and she tells him she can't feel her legs. Dun dun DUN.

  From the shore, Todd, Olivia, Roger, Robin, and a few others watch in horror as the plane falls from the sky. Todd races to call 911 [no cell phones yet, loves] and when he returns, finds out that the plane was carrying Enid and George. Before Todd can freak out too much over this, George and Enid are brought to shore. Enid looks pale, but okay, and George looks like crap, what with the head wound that is bleeding quite freely. Robin faints and damages quite a few brain cells in the process. Trust me, you'll see.

  We flash to the twins and their parents who are still at the police station after the previous book's brush with insanity in the form of Jack. Jess begins behaving terribly out of character, with the announcement that she'll "just die if anything happens to Enid!" The fuck? You practically wish her dead three times a book. And no one bats an eyelash. I guess you could chalk it up to them all being so worried about Enid, but still...
  Blah, blah, George is fine, head wound notwithstanding. Enid's paralyzed and they won't know for sure if it's permanent until the swelling goes down. George feels guilty as hell, Liz is mad as hell, and Enid is loopy.
  But first we have our Jessica-detour. Sometime off-camera, Lila decided she and Jessica should take a gourmet cooking class. Jess is pissed when the instructor doesn't show up on time and a little old lady, nice though she may be, starts them off making mustard. Not only is she having to make something boring, but she can't even joke around with Lila who is still pissed about the Jack fiasco. Well, it was just yesterday she learned you were a backstabbing skank... One ruined silk blouse later, and bucketfuls of charm, Li and Jess are talking to one another and Jess is drooling over their instructor. After class, Li drives Jessica over to Robin's so Jess can tell her co-captain that the cheerleading practice was moved. However, when they get there, Jess spies George's light blue GTO in the drive way. Lila offers up information about Robin and Allen having broken up, and both girls quickly put two and two together. They realize that Robin fainted because she's involved with George and gasp! The trollop!
  Jess goes home and tells Liz all about what she's seen. Liz is beyond pissed, but she can't tell Jessica that she already knew the pair were seeing one another. Instead, both twins remark that they'll be unable to look Robin in the eye. Jess sort of promises not to tell anyone about the love triangle, but the next time we see her, she's filling Cara in on the whole thing. Both girls agree that Robin should be punished, as it's the least they can do for poor Enid, who didn't deserve such treatment. If you're wondering how Jess can so easily flip-flop on various things, consider this: She's really good at damning those who reflect any aspect of her personality or actions that she's not 100% proud of. Annie went down in flames for her indiscriminate dating, and now Robin's going to pay for any lingering guilt Jess had over screwing Lila over with the whole Jack situation. Also, she comments about how normally Enid would be on her shit list, but since everyone is rallying around Enid and she's such a star at the moment, of course Jessica must play up her connection to the newest bit of gossip in town. [Being the twin of the injured girl's best friend, duh!]
  So when Robin comes up to the table, Cara and Jessica ignore her and make a comment about Enid before leaving. Robin tries to say hey to Liz and is shot down. So she drowns her sorrow in dessert, all the while wondering why everyone is avoiding her. Later she'll realize they really are avoiding her, but still won't understand why. When you fainted, Robin, did you perchance hit your incredibly thick skull on something sharp and leave your brain behind on the shores of Secca Lake? I swear you weren't mentally deficient before, but now I'm wondering.
  Show of hands, how many people would honestly not be able to piece together why everyone was shunning them if they were in Robin's shoes? Even without knowing that George had tried to stop by and break things off with you until Enid's able to walk, you'd think people would put together your fainting spell as well as your breaking up with Allen for another guy and come up with the possibility that you and George were an item, right? Guilt breeds paranoia, not simply stupidity. So Robin stews and worries and gains ten pounds in ten days.

  Let's return to Liz. Liz isn't having the easiest time of it. Every time she sees Enid, either George comes up or he's there, and she's not exactly the best at masking her emotions. She's livid thinking that George is still seeing Robin while Enid is lying in bed, paralyzed. No matter how he tries to convince her that he's broken things off with Robin, she can't believe him. If Enid is unable to direct the proper amount of wrath in George's direction, seeing as she doesn't know what's going on yet, then Liz will have to be mad enough for the both of them. Which is particularly endearing, actually. Every time she and George run into one another at the hospital, I imagine Liz is shooting him death glares. Problem with that is that he feels so out of sorts around Elizabeth that he can't really keep it together in front of Enid. You see, George has decided that while Enid is crippled, he'll pretend he still loves her and everything is fine, as that's the right thing to do. And I can't exactly fault him for the logic, particularly when you realize that while Enid is in the hospital, she seems to have all of three visitors. Her mother, George, and Liz. Fuck, Easy Annie had the entire cheer squad do a routine outside just for her, but Enid can't even get a sympathy visit from any of her teachers? Rude!
  Enid has her surgery and everyone expects her to do a bit of PT [physical therapy] and be able to walk. She can't. She won't, and she becomes very snippy if you ask her about it. Liz decides to invite Enid, Todd, and George over for a small dinner while her parents are out on a date and Jess is over at Cara's reading cookbooks.
  Yes, cookbooks. You see, Jess has decided that she'll get Jean-Pierre the teacher to date her, and to do so, she'll become the best chef in the class. Thing is, her plan is working, sort of. She's actually really good at the cooking thing and is frequently singled out for exceptional work. Who knew? Her other plan is to upstage Elizabeth. Their parents' wedding anniversary is coming up, and with all the Enid drama, Jess is sure that Elizabeth has forgotten. Jess decides she'll make her parents a fantastic meal and they'll be so pleased, and for once Jessica won't feel second best.
  Unfortunately for Jessica, as she's planning this, as well as her future as a celebrity chef featured in People, her parents come home and discover a mess in the kitchen. Given Jessica's recent culinary leanings and early onset Alzheimer's, they accuse Jessica of leaving the kitchen a mess, the pots not even soaked. Jess shoots back that she JUST got home, hasn't even been in the kitchen, and didn't they say Liz could have her friends over so SHE could cook for them? Ned and Alice realize they were wrong and half-assed apologies are given, only to be followed up with, "Well, Liz must have a good reason." Jessica notes that if she'd really been the guilty party, they'd have been ready to hang her, and she's right. They're actually pretty shitty towards her at the oddest times. It's like instead of actually disciplining her when she needs it, they mock and punish her at other times. Uncool.
  Anyway, Liz left the kitchen a mess because her dinner party failed. Enid and George showed up, Enid in a wheelchair, and they spent the night acting. Badly. George is obviously not in love with Enid anymore and can't even do a passable imitation anymore and Enid knows this on some level [maybe when he confessed while she was asleep, or maybe because she's not a moron] so she tries too hard to be upbeat and sunny. Fails. George skips out early and Enid is crushed, so she asks Todd to take her home. Todd agrees and Liz goes with, just missing both her twin and her parents, figuring if they make it home first, they'll understand. Sure, right after they crucify your twin.

  Jessica works up the nerve to hit on J-P, only to find out he's married. Luckily she finds out before she hits on him. Then she makes her family a trial run dinner, and in the process I learn a very, very important lesson about seafood prep. Namely, if you have to pry the shellfish open after you've cooked 'em, you will poison yourself and anyone who eats the food. Thing is, no one told Jessica this, and at 16 in the 80's, maybe she wouldn't have known it on her own, so it's a little unfair for her family to continuously mock her. Then again, food poisoning isn't pretty. Jess is brokenhearted about her setback, but figures she has until her parents anniversary on Friday to remedy things.

  In Enid land, deciding to go to the dance was a horrible idea. While there, Enid insists that George dance with someone. After one and a half mentions, George runs off to dance with Robin after already having had a heated discussion with her earlier. Enid recognizes the look on his face, as well as Robin's, and her heart breaks. When George comes back after his slow dance, Enid blows up and accuses him of being in love with Robin. He neither confirms nor denies, and Enid knows. He takes her home and Todd suggests maybe going after her in a bit, but Liz says no, Enid needs time. The hell? The girl is paralyzed, obviously depressed, and now she's found out that her boyfriend is in love with a friend of hers? Yeah, she needs alone time, a bottle of Vodka, and something sharp. Stupid twit.
  Anyway, when Liz finally does catch up with Enid, it's pod-person Enid. She says she doesn't know what George feels for Robin, but if he didn't want to be with her [Enid] then he wouldn't be. Liz blinks and wonders what the hell happened to Enid.
  And so she comes up with a plan so sneaky and ingenious that... wait, no. Just a plan. She borrows Teddy Collins, has him pretend to be drowning in the deep end of the Wakefields' pool while Enid is alone with him, and tada! Enid leaps from her wheelchair and rescues Teddy. It works, and everyone loves Liz for her quick thinking. Seriously, she gets a standing ovation at the Dairi Burger. You're telling me no one just wandered in for a salt fix at the same time and thought maybe the town water had been contaminated? Surreal and one of the parts where they lost me.
  Due to Jessica's seafood mishap, her parents aren't inclined to repeat the performance and are thrilled when Liz gifts them with dinner theatre tickets to Bayside. You know you're an 80s kid when all you can think is that Zach and company never did dinner theatre, did they? Jess is upset that once more she's been upstaged and nothing has gone as she expected. Honestly, I don't blame her. I'd be upset, too. :(
  Anyway, Enid goes home after her rescue of Teddy [and after Jess points out that Enid totally got punked, and that Teddy swims like a fish] and breaks up with George. For a moment she seems utterly calm when she's detailing what happened, and Liz is fawning over her and Enid points out that it's easy enough to say, but she's probably never going to be friends with George again, as it'll hurt too much, no matter what she says right that second. So. True.
  All in all, a happy ending for everyone but a still miffed Jess.

Random:

  • George has always wanted to be a pilot.

  • The rental plane of doom is a Cessna 150.

  • The Wakefields are at Sergeant Malone's desk when they hear of George's plane difficulty.

  • Enid's spinal injury centers around the last disc in her spine, and her doctor is Dr. MacGregor.

  • Lila and Jessica's gourmet cooking class is held at the SV Civic Center.

  • Ms. Jackson is a petite gray haired lady who helps run the Civic Center.

  • Jessica ruins a $90 cream colored silk blouse from Lisette's when she manages to accidentally fling mustard onto it. Lila is not pleased.

  • Jean-Pierre Baptiste has written several cookbooks, the youngest head chef at La Maison Blanche, one of the finest French restaurants in California. He's in his early 20's, over six feet tall, broad shoulders, jet black hair, and intense blue eyes. Oh, yeah, and he's married to a fiery redhead named Lisbette who can't cook to safe her life.

  • Cara Walker is Allen's chem lab partner, and he tells her that he and Robin broke up because she was either seeing someone else or just wanted to do so.

  • George drives a light blue GTO. Remember kids, as with robbing a bank, when cheating, make sure you don't drive a really obvious car.

  • Over the course of her cooking class, Jessica made mustard, a raspberry torte [that she gave to Enid], puff pastries, and chicken cordon bleu.

  • Lila quit the class on chicken cordon bleu day.

  • Just when you thought they'd never mention it again, the company that's doing the tour guide thing gets back to the twins and tells them they've passed their tests and are all set for their summer jobs. Thing is, they don't provide transportation. Before the twins can cry into their beer over this, their parents announce that Alice needs a new car, so the twins now have round-the-clock Fiat use. Yay!

  • Ned Wakefield is a big steak lover. Not so much for pumpkin soup, though.

  • When the whole J-P thing fails, Jessica takes Ken to the dance. Poor Kenny is described as cute, but dull. Fear not my jock love, you'll get some personality soon!

  • Speaking of dates to the dance: Robin goes with some friend of a cousin, Stan from L.A. Not exactly a fun date. Lila brings Louis Scott, a sophomore at Sweet Valley College [when does it become SVU?] and he's incredibly boring and not a great dancer. He must be hot, or else Li wouldn't be caught dead with him.

  • Liz and Todd celebrate monthly anniversaries. No wonder I'm so screwed up. :P

  • Jess ultimately poisons her family when she makes them a cold seafood and pasta salad.

  • Mr. Collins smokes a pipe, and as of this book seems to be moving in on Ms. Dalton something fierce.

  • Jessica's planned meal for her parents: Veal piccata, string beans, wild rice, and raspberry torte.

  • Olivia Davidson leads a standing ovation at the Dairi Burger after Liz tricks Enid into walking again.

  • When Ned and Alice come back from their anniversary date, having heard all about Liz and her tricky ways, they celebrate with champagne for everyone, including Todd whom we gather would be driving himself home afterward.

  • Crash Landing takes place over the place of at least three weeks, probably four.



Quote-aliscious:
They didn't know what she knew about George Warren. He didn't even love Enid anymore, and she'd done this to herself so she could save his life! - Liz points out that George is an insensitive ass. Too bad she'll forget it about fifty pages after p24

Usually, Jessica didn't think twice about stealing a boy from someone, but she didn't want Lila to think she was so hard up for guys she had to get them secondhand. - Jess doesn't feel bad about screwing over Lila, she just doesn't want Lila to think she's desperate. p27/28

It upset Elizabeth to see Enid so trusting, so innocent. Here she was worrying about losing George- and Elizabeth knew she'd already lost him. - Makes me sniffle, Liz. Makes me sniffle. p47




   While I love CL!, it does have some flaws. One of them would be Liz waffling after Enid goes pod-person. Yeah, it sucks for George that Enid won't let him go, but maybe you shouldn't have been two-timing the girl and then slacking off in the pretending department. Either you should have told her flat out, or learned to act better, because obviously Enid isn't as popular as you'd think, given how few people actually stop by to see her. Ever. So yeah, she's going to latch on. When he tries to go out with Robin because Enid won't let go, as Enid's friend, I'd still have been pissed at him. Seriously, your job as best friend is to hate what your friend cannot necessarily hate. Did we learn nothing from Buffy? [Think Willow meeting Riley's wife and waffling between loathing her and loving her?] So her asking for Robin to forgive her smacked me all kinds of wrong.
  Sigh. I also hate how Ned and Alice act towards Jessica, although that's because it's believable. Unless you're an only child, your parents will assume your sibling is innocent of something they actually did, and you'll get the riot act, and they'll go easy on said sibling even when they were ready to have you drawn and quartered. You will mess up, they will tease you, and you will wish they'd all learn the fine art of shutting the hell up. Such is life.

  This marks the end of me liking George, and my love for Robin is less... avid. The fact that she honestly couldn't figure out why anyone would be mad at her smacks of stupidity. And hurting Enid is uncool. UN.COOL!
  That said, for an Enid-centric book, she's more like the prop being moved from one character to another than the central person of the plot. Enid is hurt, but it's how the people around her react that the story unfolds. Also, I'm confused as to this cold war. Is it simply that the cheerleaders [and Liz] froze Robin out, or did they manage to recruit a lot of the girls at SVH without anyone getting word back to Todd, since he didn't seem to know about the whole George/Robin/Enid triangle? And if it was common knowledge, then Robin really should have known why she was being sent to social Siberia.
  Why did no one tell Mrs. Rollins about George? If it's pretty obvious that Enid is suffering a mental block, then explaining what the hell is up with that might actually help. I'd like to think that if Liz's plan hadn't worked, a) Teddy wouldn't have been so committed to the fake-out that he wouldn't have drowned, and b) someone would have leveled with Enid's mother.
  Speaking of parents, even if they are divorced, why does Enid's father never show?

And in, you didn't give a damn news, this is one of those books I remember just as much for the circumstances around me owning it as I do for what happened in the actual book. It was to be my Christmas present one year, and I couldn't wait. Mom had bought it maybe the start of December, maybe around Thanksgiving, and I was there at the time, so the knowledge that it was under my roof and I couldn't read it was KILLING me. So I found where she hid it, and every day that I could, I'd sneak it away and read a little at a time. By the time Christmas rolled around, I'd finished it, and had to pretend to be super thrilled... and re-read it again, or else she'd know. I think she did know, and I know I confessed later, but I still bawled when my copy was ruined by a freak soda spill a few years later. Bawled, okay?

the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Wrong Kind of Girl
July, 1984

  Watch out, Annie Whitman! Jessica's out to get you!

  Jessica's at it again!


   Jessica Wakefield has sworn never to allow Annie Whitman onto the Sweet Valley High cheering squad. Annie may have the beauty, talent, and spirit to be a cheerleader, but she also has the worst reputation in school. She goes out with a different boy every night, and all the kids call her "easy Annie" behind her back. Jessica's pulling every devilish trick to keep Annie from ruining the cheerleaders' image.
   Only Elizabeth, Jessica's twin, knows what Annie's really like. But can she change her sister's mind before Jessica shatters Annie's dreams?

  I'll admit it. When it comes to Annie Whitman, I'm more of a Jessica than an Elizabeth. I don't think she's evil or a bad seed or anything fascinating like that, I just would prefer her kept far, far away from me whenever we're given more than a brief glimpse in her general direction. She annoys me for reasons that WKoG illustrates repeatedly.
  Ready? Annie Whitman wants to be a SVH cheerleader more than anyone could ever possibly want anything, ever in the history of the world, possibly the universe. Fallen angels wanting to return to heaven have got NOTHING on Annie's desire to join the cheerleading squad. Thing is, Annie's a moron. She lacks common sense of any flavor and is related to the talking Barbie who'd spout such wisdom as, "Math is, like, hard... and stuff?" That is essentially Annie's refrain for much of the first half of the book, but instead of 80's Barbie, imagine that she looks like Courteney Cox did in the 80's.
  In order to be one of the SVH cheer elite, you must maintain a certain GPA and Annie's as dumb as a box of rocks in the math department. She might not be [studying is good for fixing this] if not for her second strike against her: her inability to go without a date on any given day that ends in "y." For this reason, Annie has earned the nickname Easy Annie. Not much in terms of wit or any real time spent coming up with it, but it does the job. Annie likes the boys, and the boys like Annie, but they don't really like each other for long. So Annie finds a new boy, and the old boy counts himself among the many, the not so proud, Annie's dudes.
  What, you need it spelled out for you? Annie's a slut. A tramp. However you want to word it, the meaning is still the same. With a reputation like that, the co-captain of the SVH cheerleaders is a little more than worried about Annie trying out for the squad. That would be Jessica, yes. And as you've come to learn, what Jessica wants usually backfires horribly on anyone, and everyone, involved.
  You might be wondering why the cheerleaders are holding tryouts in the middle of the year for the current squad. You might not. Despite living in the South where football players die every summer due to heat exhaustion, our cheerleaders at school weren't exactly big on the tryouts and no one died to get on the squad that I know of. I think they had tryouts for the next year's squad at the end of the year sometime, but I don't know. But we're well into the school year and we shouldn't be having tryouts, yes? No! It seems sometime in the last couple of books, Lila and Cara were kicked off the squad due to a little prank that some didn't find all that hilarious. Lila says to hell with the squad, but Cara desperately wants back on. Remember, these girls are the most popular, beautiful, fantastic girls ever. Lila's rich, so she doesn't need them, but Cara's no fool. Cheerleaders are the stuff of legends. That leaves Lila's space to fill, although Jessica and Elizabeth have a cute little circular argument about whether it's really one space to fill or two. It's one. Short of breaking her neck, we all know Cara will make it back on the team. That leaves the second slot up for grabs. Jess is eying Sandy Bacon as a suitable filler, but she's got one itsy, bitsy, teeny weeny little problem.
  When Annie shows up, along with 74 other girls, on the first day of tryouts, it becomes painfully clear that the girl is good, possibly even great. She can do stuff that some of the squad's been trying to do for ages, but she makes it look effortless. The only one bothered by this display of perfection is Jessica. Either the other girls are used to being shown up, or they figure that with Annie on the team, the whole squad will be that much better. So either they're fools or fantastic girls. No one knows, and no one's given a chance to know, because Jessica moves fast. When she spies Annie heading off with Tim Bradley, she makes a comment or two towards his sister, Helen, about Easy Annie, and Helen starts to worry. Jess seems to think this alone might be enough to keep Annie from making it through the second round of cuts, but Annie's even better than before.
  Proving that Annie is a moron, she shows up to the Beach Disco with Bruce Patman. The guy's a jerk and Jessica hates him. Not winning any brownie points there, sugar. When a dance contest begins, Annie suffers under the delusion that if she does really, really well, she'll impress the other cheerleaders, especially Jessica. Has she met the younger Wakefield twin? She doesn't like anyone else, not even her own sister, to steal her spotlight. Sharing it with anyone on Bruce Patman's arm is really going to burn her. So while Annie's dying of joy over tying with Jessica in the dance contest, Jessica wishes Annie would just die.
  You might be wondering how Annie managed to get around the academic requirement for trying out. Well, she had a little help from super genius Elizabeth. Liz spends the entire book caught between the right thing and the right thing to do by her sister. It never occurs to her to tell Annie that she has a better chance of being hit by a snowball in Hell than getting on Jessica's squad, or coming up with any reason for Jessica to like Annie. Nope, she tries to get Jessica to feel for Annie, which is impossible as early Jessica only gives a damn if you're in a coma of her own design. Liz tutors Annie to keep her math grades up and begins to realize that maybe Annie actually is easy. She repeatedly goes out with the absolute wrong boys, the ones even Jessica couldn't stand for more than a night, and doesn't seem to care if anyone knows she's got two dates for one day, one of them with creepy Rick Andover.
  Liz is also a little creeped out by Annie's home life. Annie's mother, Mona, is a model, and she's also what seems to pass for an alcoholic in the SV world. Namely, if she's acting a little nutty, she's also slurring her words and is obviously well on her way to happy drunk town. She has a creepy boyfriend in the form of "Call me Johnny" who ruined the name Johnny for me forever. Well, him and another Johnny, but yeah, creepy with the leering and whatnot. Annie's got no friends, so she pours out her skanky little heart to Liz.
  She's lonely, none of the girls like her, the boys don't respect her any more than she respects them, and she can't talk to her mother because Mona's a lush who's done sort of okay by her kid, given that she had Annie at 16, got married and divorced before she was 20, and Annie's dad hasn't been in the picture since she was 13, and gosh oh golly, being one of the elite will change EVERYTHING. Liz suspects heavily that Annie's totally unaware that anyone bad mouths her, but she doesn't say, "Hey, have you thought about not entertaining everything with a penis in town? Cuz the girls kinda frown on it and the nice guys are afraid you're going to give 'em the funny syphilis, y'know?" Or the Liz-ified version, which would work too. Nope, Liz just tries to fluff Annie's ego and get the hell out of Annie's apartment before Johnny comes home. :P

  Oh, and speaking of horrible reputations, we're given a little cameo of Steven when he comes home to check on Tricia. Seems Mr. Martin hit some poor woman while he was driving drunk and is spending a couple of nights in jail. Cara is obviously interested in Steve and has been forever, but he doesn't notice her at all. Woe!

  Back to the interesting stuff. Jessica's got a plan. She knows she'll vote for Sandy, as will Jean West, who is Sandy's best friend in the whole world. That's two votes against Annie. She's fairly certain that Robin will vote however the hell she wants to, and Jess has no sway there, so she counts that as a dead end, as well as Maria Santelli's vote, since Maria's practically dying to try out flips with Annie. So she zeros in on Helen, whose brother appears to have reported back that yeah, Annie's a little slutty. No details at all are given, but Jessica points out that the fate of the SVH squad rests on Helen's pretty little shoulders. She can either keep the squad a good, clean sort of entertainment, or she can get used to people assuming she's a whore like Annie. Really, no pressure at all.
  Helen's in, and there's a wicked little scene with Jess, Jean, and Helen by the Wakefield pool, laughing at Liz and the knowledge that they already know who's the final cheerleader before the final cut. Muhahaha...
  And Jessica's little plan would have worked perfectly if only Sandy Bacon weren't such a world class klutz. She wipes out during her final tryout and everyone is sure she's blown it. Sure, they know Sandy'll get Jeannie's vote, but everyone else is expected to pick Cara and Annie. Cara makes it in, no problem. But when Helen dares to vote Annie, Jessica pulls one final massive bitch fit. If they chose to vote Annie Whitman onto the squad, they'll have to turn right around and find another cheerleader, as Jessica will quit right then and there. We're not told that Jessica's plan worked, but considering she didn't sulk the rest of the afternoon, it's a safe bet that Annie will not be getting a regulation short skirt anytime soon.
  Soooooo, Annie finds out that she didn't make the squad and she freaks the hell out. She wanted it so bad, she was so good, and my god, she even studied, how could they do this to her? Which is where Ricky Capaldo steps in to make matters worse. She badgers him until he tells her that Jessica was the one who threw the hissy fit, although he doesn't say she threatened to quit rather than spend anytime with Annie that wasn't strictly necessary. This involves having to share the legacy of Easy Annie and Annie freaks out. She runs away and is absent from school for days.
  In all the time Annie's ditching, Liz never once tries to check up on the girl, despite having spent so much time worrying about Annie/Jessica that Enid and Todd were both feeling neglected. Way to go, Liz. Way to go.
  Liz finally gets a call from Ricky who has terrible news. Annie tried to kill herself by downing a bottle of pills. GASP! Liz ropes Jessica into going with her to the hospital, and Jessica points out that Annie will NOT want to see her. Liz doesn't care, she needs her security blanket Jessica there. So off they go. At the hospital we're not really told much, but we do see Jessica begin to sob when she realizes that she's an awful person and oh yeah, Ricky thinks so too, deep down, because he asks how could anyone be so cruel, so bitchtastic... and then realizes he pushed it a little far when Jessica bursts into tears. Does Jessica feel bad for what she did, or does she feel bad for how it'll look? Dunno.
  Annie wakes up briefly, says something [possibly, "farewell, cruel world"] and slips back into her coma. Cue Super!Jessica. She confesses to Annie's doctor that it's her fault, and why, and his brilliant suggestion? Tell Annie that she's made the squad after all, but don't lie. Either let the girl die OR give her a uniform.
  And Jessica does it. Just like that, she adds another member to the squad and tells Annie all about it. It isn't until Jessica stops talking, after a late night vigil, that Annie comes to. She really wants that uniform, man.
  So Annie's a cheerleader, she's got the guy [she and Ricky are well on their way to coupledom], and Jessica proves that while she does put people in comas, she's just as good at getting them out. Super!Jessica!
  Thus the book can end with Jessica and Liz wondering, which twin gets to go to NYC and which twin is stuck showing off Suzy Devlin?

Trivia:

  • SVH Cheerleading Squad before the book starts: Jessica, Robin, Lila, Cara, Helen Bradley, Maria Santelli, Jean West.

  • When the book starts: Jessica, Robin, Helen, Maria, Jean

  • At the end: Jessica, Robin, Helen, Maria, Jean, Sandy, Cara, Annie

  • Lila and Cara were kicked off the squad after they pranked the Palisades cheer squad by turning the sprinklers on during their "cheer display."

  • 75 girls tried out for the cheerleading squad.

  • Rick Andover's car is a "souped up 1955 Chevy" he calls his "Campbells Special." Yeah, it wasn't cute when Liz heard it either. Stupid Annie.

  • Annie's apartment is small, but lovely, if you ignore the people living inside.

  • Annie was a model a few years back, when she was 13.

  • Sandy Bacon is not known for her gracefulness, particularly after an incident at Lila's when she tried to impress some dude named Mark and instead of doing a complicated dive, did a belly flop instead. Hi-larious!

  • Cara's had the hots for Steve for years, but he doesn't seem to know she's alive. Sadness!

  • Mr. Martin [Tricia's dad] got busted for drunk driving, after he hit some woman on Palmetto Drive. He's only spending a couple of nights in jail for it, though.

  • Tim Bradley is Helen's older brother. He's a senior, but that doesn't stop him from taking Annie [a sophomore] out on a date.

  • The first cut for the cheerleading tryouts knocked the potentials down to 25, the second down to 8.

  • Annie's infamous double date involved Billy taking her to the Dairi Burger and Rick taking her to the beach that evening for a swim.

  • Mrs. Jorgenson lives down the hall and frequently loses her glasses, which Annie helps her find, much to her mother's consternation.

  • Liz has known Annie for only about a year, and wouldn't consider them good friends at all.

  • The Surfer's Waves are a Northern California band playing at the beach disco. See? The Droids aren't the only band in the state.

  • Skip Harmon is a senior who makes it a point to not date junior girls. Jessica bets Elizabeth that he'll make an exception for her, and within a week, too. He does and Liz has to wash the Fiat.

  • It isn't until Annie gets a B-minus at crunch time, and runs to Liz to thank her, that Jessica finds how whose been helping get Annie's grades up. Oddly enough, Jessica doesn't do much to kill Liz for this little act, despite Liz worrying for the last few weeks about it.

  • Ricky Capaldo, the cheerleaders manager, slips a note to Annie about being one of the final eight, and when she reads it after class, she hugs him and shrieks, "Oh, Rickeeeee!" This is how poor Ricky is greeted for the rest of forever.

  • When Ned and Alice explain the New York trip, and tell the girls about Suzy, for some reason we're told that Suzy is beautiful. Really? Couldn't that have waited until next book, or could one of the twins have been shown a picture, because as it stands, Ned calling Suzy beautiful is a little icky.

  • Mona Whitman has a tendency to call her daughter kitten, and you know it's the 80's because she lights up in the emergency waiting area of the hospital. WTF?

  • Annie's doctor is Dr. Hammond.


Say Wha?:
Jessica stomped out of the kitchen, feeling only helplessness at her brother's infatuation with Tricia. She couldn't get over the feeling that one day her brother would come to grief because of his love for that girl. - Jessica learns foreshadowing, p28
"The three major causes of the Revolutionary War," he noted in his book, "were a denial of basic rights, the Stamp Act, and Annie Whitman." I don't think that's right, Ricky. P 81
"Good heavens, Jess, she's only fifteen years old!" Liz might want to rethink that strategy when trying to call the Jess-dog off Annie's case. p108
"He's right. I am stuck up and cruel. But I didn't know she wanted it so much!" Jessica sniffled and looked pleadingly into her sister's calm eyes. It was very difficult to lie to Elizabeth when she looked at her like that. "Oh, OK, maybe I did know. Or I should have known. After all, I wanted it that much when I was trying out." p122


137:
Jessica had tried over and over again to interest Elizabeth in the cheerleading squad. "The two of us together would be sensational!" she'd told Elizabeth at least a hundred and thirty-seven times. p2



  With Annie, you belong to one of two schools of thought. You either believe that Annie's earned her nickname or she hasn't. I don't think I ever doubted for a second that Annie'd had sex with at least a couple of guys, despite the fact that she's 15 and seems genuinely shocked that anyone would hold any of her "dates" against her. The way she talks of her flings has always struck me as kind of proof that she'd fooled around a little. The interesting thing about Annie is that she's a sweetie, albeit very naive. Hooker with a heart of gold?
  That I'm okay with, although you'd think she'd have heard SOMETHING in all this time. Nope, what bothers me most is that because she didn't get what she wanted, she tried to kill herself. When she comes to, she's given exactly what she wanted and it's all okay. The hell is that? Emotional blackmail of the highest order is what. It's also terribly unrealistic. She's mentally unstable enough to try to commit suicide, but not one mention is made of seeing a shrink, and y'know what? Anytime anyone at our HS tried to kill themselves, everyone knew. They might not lose their friends or anything, but everyone knew, rumors flew, and they did not climb the social ladder immediately. If I'd been at SVH, I'd wonder how come I was fictional, and also, why did Annie get special treatment? What if she hadn't been as good, or Sandy hadn't fallen, would she have still tried to kill herself?
  Yes, I know that it was a whole bunch of stuff that sent Annie spiraling, and it's hinted with her interactions with Liz that she's horribly lonely and possibly depressed, and yeah, her mother kicks Johnny to the curb and this is what seems to make Annie bold enough to turn down the cheerleaders [for all of two seconds], but you've gotta look a bit deeper for that. The average SVH student wouldn't do that, they'd just assume she was batshit crazy.
  The funny thing about this is that later on we'll see she's still got the rep, so the only thing that changed is that she's got the uniform, too.

  The other funny thing is how Jessica treats someone who is so similar to how Jessica herself might be perceived, if she weren't so fantastically fantastic. She dates and flirts easily, like Annie, and has been spotted with some of the bad boys of SV, yet she's not given the same rep. Does Jessica hate Annie because she sees what she could be, if things were just a tiny bit different? That whole hating other people for what you hate most in yourself theory? Possibly, most likely even probably, but we're never actually told.
  Also funny? How Liz still defends Jessica's actions, even when Jess has given up the ghost. "You did what you thought was right." Yeah, not really, but you tell yourself that, Liz.

the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Wrong Kind of Girl
July, 1984

  Watch out, Annie Whitman! Jessica's out to get you!

  Jessica's at it again!


   Jessica Wakefield has sworn never to allow Annie Whitman onto the Sweet Valley High cheering squad. Annie may have the beauty, talent, and spirit to be a cheerleader, but she also has the worst reputation in school. She goes out with a different boy every night, and all the kids call her "easy Annie" behind her back. Jessica's pulling every devilish trick to keep Annie from ruining the cheerleaders' image.
   Only Elizabeth, Jessica's twin, knows what Annie's really like. But can she change her sister's mind before Jessica shatters Annie's dreams?

  I'll admit it. When it comes to Annie Whitman, I'm more of a Jessica than an Elizabeth. I don't think she's evil or a bad seed or anything fascinating like that, I just would prefer her kept far, far away from me whenever we're given more than a brief glimpse in her general direction. She annoys me for reasons that WKoG illustrates repeatedly.
  Ready? Annie Whitman wants to be a SVH cheerleader more than anyone could ever possibly want anything, ever in the history of the world, possibly the universe. Fallen angels wanting to return to heaven have got NOTHING on Annie's desire to join the cheerleading squad. Thing is, Annie's a moron. She lacks common sense of any flavor and is related to the talking Barbie who'd spout such wisdom as, "Math is, like, hard... and stuff?" That is essentially Annie's refrain for much of the first half of the book, but instead of 80's Barbie, imagine that she looks like Courteney Cox did in the 80's.
  In order to be one of the SVH cheer elite, you must maintain a certain GPA and Annie's as dumb as a box of rocks in the math department. She might not be [studying is good for fixing this] if not for her second strike against her: her inability to go without a date on any given day that ends in "y." For this reason, Annie has earned the nickname Easy Annie. Not much in terms of wit or any real time spent coming up with it, but it does the job. Annie likes the boys, and the boys like Annie, but they don't really like each other for long. So Annie finds a new boy, and the old boy counts himself among the many, the not so proud, Annie's dudes.
  What, you need it spelled out for you? Annie's a slut. A tramp. However you want to word it, the meaning is still the same. With a reputation like that, the co-captain of the SVH cheerleaders is a little more than worried about Annie trying out for the squad. That would be Jessica, yes. And as you've come to learn, what Jessica wants usually backfires horribly on anyone, and everyone, involved.
  You might be wondering why the cheerleaders are holding tryouts in the middle of the year for the current squad. You might not. Despite living in the South where football players die every summer due to heat exhaustion, our cheerleaders at school weren't exactly big on the tryouts and no one died to get on the squad that I know of. I think they had tryouts for the next year's squad at the end of the year sometime, but I don't know. But we're well into the school year and we shouldn't be having tryouts, yes? No! It seems sometime in the last couple of books, Lila and Cara were kicked off the squad due to a little prank that some didn't find all that hilarious. Lila says to hell with the squad, but Cara desperately wants back on. Remember, these girls are the most popular, beautiful, fantastic girls ever. Lila's rich, so she doesn't need them, but Cara's no fool. Cheerleaders are the stuff of legends. That leaves Lila's space to fill, although Jessica and Elizabeth have a cute little circular argument about whether it's really one space to fill or two. It's one. Short of breaking her neck, we all know Cara will make it back on the team. That leaves the second slot up for grabs. Jess is eying Sandy Bacon as a suitable filler, but she's got one itsy, bitsy, teeny weeny little problem.
  When Annie shows up, along with 74 other girls, on the first day of tryouts, it becomes painfully clear that the girl is good, possibly even great. She can do stuff that some of the squad's been trying to do for ages, but she makes it look effortless. The only one bothered by this display of perfection is Jessica. Either the other girls are used to being shown up, or they figure that with Annie on the team, the whole squad will be that much better. So either they're fools or fantastic girls. No one knows, and no one's given a chance to know, because Jessica moves fast. When she spies Annie heading off with Tim Bradley, she makes a comment or two towards his sister, Helen, about Easy Annie, and Helen starts to worry. Jess seems to think this alone might be enough to keep Annie from making it through the second round of cuts, but Annie's even better than before.
  Proving that Annie is a moron, she shows up to the Beach Disco with Bruce Patman. The guy's a jerk and Jessica hates him. Not winning any brownie points there, sugar. When a dance contest begins, Annie suffers under the delusion that if she does really, really well, she'll impress the other cheerleaders, especially Jessica. Has she met the younger Wakefield twin? She doesn't like anyone else, not even her own sister, to steal her spotlight. Sharing it with anyone on Bruce Patman's arm is really going to burn her. So while Annie's dying of joy over tying with Jessica in the dance contest, Jessica wishes Annie would just die.
  You might be wondering how Annie managed to get around the academic requirement for trying out. Well, she had a little help from super genius Elizabeth. Liz spends the entire book caught between the right thing and the right thing to do by her sister. It never occurs to her to tell Annie that she has a better chance of being hit by a snowball in Hell than getting on Jessica's squad, or coming up with any reason for Jessica to like Annie. Nope, she tries to get Jessica to feel for Annie, which is impossible as early Jessica only gives a damn if you're in a coma of her own design. Liz tutors Annie to keep her math grades up and begins to realize that maybe Annie actually is easy. She repeatedly goes out with the absolute wrong boys, the ones even Jessica couldn't stand for more than a night, and doesn't seem to care if anyone knows she's got two dates for one day, one of them with creepy Rick Andover.
  Liz is also a little creeped out by Annie's home life. Annie's mother, Mona, is a model, and she's also what seems to pass for an alcoholic in the SV world. Namely, if she's acting a little nutty, she's also slurring her words and is obviously well on her way to happy drunk town. She has a creepy boyfriend in the form of "Call me Johnny" who ruined the name Johnny for me forever. Well, him and another Johnny, but yeah, creepy with the leering and whatnot. Annie's got no friends, so she pours out her skanky little heart to Liz.
  She's lonely, none of the girls like her, the boys don't respect her any more than she respects them, and she can't talk to her mother because Mona's a lush who's done sort of okay by her kid, given that she had Annie at 16, got married and divorced before she was 20, and Annie's dad hasn't been in the picture since she was 13, and gosh oh golly, being one of the elite will change EVERYTHING. Liz suspects heavily that Annie's totally unaware that anyone bad mouths her, but she doesn't say, "Hey, have you thought about not entertaining everything with a penis in town? Cuz the girls kinda frown on it and the nice guys are afraid you're going to give 'em the funny syphilis, y'know?" Or the Liz-ified version, which would work too. Nope, Liz just tries to fluff Annie's ego and get the hell out of Annie's apartment before Johnny comes home. :P

  Oh, and speaking of horrible reputations, we're given a little cameo of Steven when he comes home to check on Tricia. Seems Mr. Martin hit some poor woman while he was driving drunk and is spending a couple of nights in jail. Cara is obviously interested in Steve and has been forever, but he doesn't notice her at all. Woe!

  Back to the interesting stuff. Jessica's got a plan. She knows she'll vote for Sandy, as will Jean West, who is Sandy's best friend in the whole world. That's two votes against Annie. She's fairly certain that Robin will vote however the hell she wants to, and Jess has no sway there, so she counts that as a dead end, as well as Maria Santelli's vote, since Maria's practically dying to try out flips with Annie. So she zeros in on Helen, whose brother appears to have reported back that yeah, Annie's a little slutty. No details at all are given, but Jessica points out that the fate of the SVH squad rests on Helen's pretty little shoulders. She can either keep the squad a good, clean sort of entertainment, or she can get used to people assuming she's a whore like Annie. Really, no pressure at all.
  Helen's in, and there's a wicked little scene with Jess, Jean, and Helen by the Wakefield pool, laughing at Liz and the knowledge that they already know who's the final cheerleader before the final cut. Muhahaha...
  And Jessica's little plan would have worked perfectly if only Sandy Bacon weren't such a world class klutz. She wipes out during her final tryout and everyone is sure she's blown it. Sure, they know Sandy'll get Jeannie's vote, but everyone else is expected to pick Cara and Annie. Cara makes it in, no problem. But when Helen dares to vote Annie, Jessica pulls one final massive bitch fit. If they chose to vote Annie Whitman onto the squad, they'll have to turn right around and find another cheerleader, as Jessica will quit right then and there. We're not told that Jessica's plan worked, but considering she didn't sulk the rest of the afternoon, it's a safe bet that Annie will not be getting a regulation short skirt anytime soon.
  Soooooo, Annie finds out that she didn't make the squad and she freaks the hell out. She wanted it so bad, she was so good, and my god, she even studied, how could they do this to her? Which is where Ricky Capaldo steps in to make matters worse. She badgers him until he tells her that Jessica was the one who threw the hissy fit, although he doesn't say she threatened to quit rather than spend anytime with Annie that wasn't strictly necessary. This involves having to share the legacy of Easy Annie and Annie freaks out. She runs away and is absent from school for days.
  In all the time Annie's ditching, Liz never once tries to check up on the girl, despite having spent so much time worrying about Annie/Jessica that Enid and Todd were both feeling neglected. Way to go, Liz. Way to go.
  Liz finally gets a call from Ricky who has terrible news. Annie tried to kill herself by downing a bottle of pills. GASP! Liz ropes Jessica into going with her to the hospital, and Jessica points out that Annie will NOT want to see her. Liz doesn't care, she needs her security blanket Jessica there. So off they go. At the hospital we're not really told much, but we do see Jessica begin to sob when she realizes that she's an awful person and oh yeah, Ricky thinks so too, deep down, because he asks how could anyone be so cruel, so bitchtastic... and then realizes he pushed it a little far when Jessica bursts into tears. Does Jessica feel bad for what she did, or does she feel bad for how it'll look? Dunno.
  Annie wakes up briefly, says something [possibly, "farewell, cruel world"] and slips back into her coma. Cue Super!Jessica. She confesses to Annie's doctor that it's her fault, and why, and his brilliant suggestion? Tell Annie that she's made the squad after all, but don't lie. Either let the girl die OR give her a uniform.
  And Jessica does it. Just like that, she adds another member to the squad and tells Annie all about it. It isn't until Jessica stops talking, after a late night vigil, that Annie comes to. She really wants that uniform, man.
  So Annie's a cheerleader, she's got the guy [she and Ricky are well on their way to coupledom], and Jessica proves that while she does put people in comas, she's just as good at getting them out. Super!Jessica!
  Thus the book can end with Jessica and Liz wondering, which twin gets to go to NYC and which twin is stuck showing off Suzy Devlin?

Trivia:

  • SVH Cheerleading Squad before the book starts: Jessica, Robin, Lila, Cara, Helen Bradley, Maria Santelli, Jean West.

  • When the book starts: Jessica, Robin, Helen, Maria, Jean

  • At the end: Jessica, Robin, Helen, Maria, Jean, Sandy, Cara, Annie

  • Lila and Cara were kicked off the squad after they pranked the Palisades cheer squad by turning the sprinklers on during their "cheer display."

  • 75 girls tried out for the cheerleading squad.

  • Rick Andover's car is a "souped up 1955 Chevy" he calls his "Campbells Special." Yeah, it wasn't cute when Liz heard it either. Stupid Annie.

  • Annie's apartment is small, but lovely, if you ignore the people living inside.

  • Annie was a model a few years back, when she was 13.

  • Sandy Bacon is not known for her gracefulness, particularly after an incident at Lila's when she tried to impress some dude named Mark and instead of doing a complicated dive, did a belly flop instead. Hi-larious!

  • Cara's had the hots for Steve for years, but he doesn't seem to know she's alive. Sadness!

  • Mr. Martin [Tricia's dad] got busted for drunk driving, after he hit some woman on Palmetto Drive. He's only spending a couple of nights in jail for it, though.

  • Tim Bradley is Helen's older brother. He's a senior, but that doesn't stop him from taking Annie [a sophomore] out on a date.

  • The first cut for the cheerleading tryouts knocked the potentials down to 25, the second down to 8.

  • Annie's infamous double date involved Billy taking her to the Dairi Burger and Rick taking her to the beach that evening for a swim.

  • Mrs. Jorgenson lives down the hall and frequently loses her glasses, which Annie helps her find, much to her mother's consternation.

  • Liz has known Annie for only about a year, and wouldn't consider them good friends at all.

  • The Surfer's Waves are a Northern California band playing at the beach disco. See? The Droids aren't the only band in the state.

  • Skip Harmon is a senior who makes it a point to not date junior girls. Jessica bets Elizabeth that he'll make an exception for her, and within a week, too. He does and Liz has to wash the Fiat.

  • It isn't until Annie gets a B-minus at crunch time, and runs to Liz to thank her, that Jessica finds how whose been helping get Annie's grades up. Oddly enough, Jessica doesn't do much to kill Liz for this little act, despite Liz worrying for the last few weeks about it.

  • Ricky Capaldo, the cheerleaders manager, slips a note to Annie about being one of the final eight, and when she reads it after class, she hugs him and shrieks, "Oh, Rickeeeee!" This is how poor Ricky is greeted for the rest of forever.

  • When Ned and Alice explain the New York trip, and tell the girls about Suzy, for some reason we're told that Suzy is beautiful. Really? Couldn't that have waited until next book, or could one of the twins have been shown a picture, because as it stands, Ned calling Suzy beautiful is a little icky.

  • Mona Whitman has a tendency to call her daughter kitten, and you know it's the 80's because she lights up in the emergency waiting area of the hospital. WTF?

  • Annie's doctor is Dr. Hammond.


Say Wha?:
Jessica stomped out of the kitchen, feeling only helplessness at her brother's infatuation with Tricia. She couldn't get over the feeling that one day her brother would come to grief because of his love for that girl. - Jessica learns foreshadowing, p28
"The three major causes of the Revolutionary War," he noted in his book, "were a denial of basic rights, the Stamp Act, and Annie Whitman." I don't think that's right, Ricky. P 81
"Good heavens, Jess, she's only fifteen years old!" Liz might want to rethink that strategy when trying to call the Jess-dog off Annie's case. p108
"He's right. I am stuck up and cruel. But I didn't know she wanted it so much!" Jessica sniffled and looked pleadingly into her sister's calm eyes. It was very difficult to lie to Elizabeth when she looked at her like that. "Oh, OK, maybe I did know. Or I should have known. After all, I wanted it that much when I was trying out." p122


137:
Jessica had tried over and over again to interest Elizabeth in the cheerleading squad. "The two of us together would be sensational!" she'd told Elizabeth at least a hundred and thirty-seven times. p2



  With Annie, you belong to one of two schools of thought. You either believe that Annie's earned her nickname or she hasn't. I don't think I ever doubted for a second that Annie'd had sex with at least a couple of guys, despite the fact that she's 15 and seems genuinely shocked that anyone would hold any of her "dates" against her. The way she talks of her flings has always struck me as kind of proof that she'd fooled around a little. The interesting thing about Annie is that she's a sweetie, albeit very naive. Hooker with a heart of gold?
  That I'm okay with, although you'd think she'd have heard SOMETHING in all this time. Nope, what bothers me most is that because she didn't get what she wanted, she tried to kill herself. When she comes to, she's given exactly what she wanted and it's all okay. The hell is that? Emotional blackmail of the highest order is what. It's also terribly unrealistic. She's mentally unstable enough to try to commit suicide, but not one mention is made of seeing a shrink, and y'know what? Anytime anyone at our HS tried to kill themselves, everyone knew. They might not lose their friends or anything, but everyone knew, rumors flew, and they did not climb the social ladder immediately. If I'd been at SVH, I'd wonder how come I was fictional, and also, why did Annie get special treatment? What if she hadn't been as good, or Sandy hadn't fallen, would she have still tried to kill herself?
  Yes, I know that it was a whole bunch of stuff that sent Annie spiraling, and it's hinted with her interactions with Liz that she's horribly lonely and possibly depressed, and yeah, her mother kicks Johnny to the curb and this is what seems to make Annie bold enough to turn down the cheerleaders [for all of two seconds], but you've gotta look a bit deeper for that. The average SVH student wouldn't do that, they'd just assume she was batshit crazy.
  The funny thing about this is that later on we'll see she's still got the rep, so the only thing that changed is that she's got the uniform, too.

  The other funny thing is how Jessica treats someone who is so similar to how Jessica herself might be perceived, if she weren't so fantastically fantastic. She dates and flirts easily, like Annie, and has been spotted with some of the bad boys of SV, yet she's not given the same rep. Does Jessica hate Annie because she sees what she could be, if things were just a tiny bit different? That whole hating other people for what you hate most in yourself theory? Possibly, most likely even probably, but we're never actually told.
  Also funny? How Liz still defends Jessica's actions, even when Jess has given up the ghost. "You did what you thought was right." Yeah, not really, but you tell yourself that, Liz.

the_oracle: (tear)
Dear Sister
April 1984

Can Jessica face life without Elizabeth?

A senseless tragedy...


  Sweet Valley is stunned by the news: Beautiful young Elizabeth Wakefield lies in a coma, on the brink of death after a horrible motorcycle accident.
  Elizabeth's boyfriend Todd is consumed by guilt; he was driving and escaped unharmed. He feels totally helpless. All he can do is wait for a change in Elizabeth's condition-a change that might mean the loss of the only girl he's ever loved.
  But no one is more shattered than Elizabeth's twin, Jessica. As she keeps watch over the silent body of her sister, she's overwhelmed by despair. Without Elizabeth, can life go on?

  Dear Sister is one of my two favorite classic Sweet Valley books. I don't know if it's because it was one of the first few I read or if it was because I was/am a sucker for the melodramatic, and the whole premise of the book sounded fantastic. It could also be that it's a good book.
  The plot is simple. Liz is still in her coma and the world is crumbling around Jessica. The back of the book leads you to believe that Liz is going to be in the coma for the entire book, but she wakes up by the start of the third chapter. Nope, the rest of the book deals with the what if factor. What if Elizabeth wasn't the nice, good twin? What if Elizabeth could out Jessica the real Jessica? What would happen? Would the world stop spinning on its axis?
  Simply put, it's awesome. Somehow the book manages to be a little too long and a little too short all at once. I'm more interested in seeing Liz in her new environment, but the book follows Jessica as she attempts to figure out who she must become if her twin has taken over Jessica's old identity and then cranked it up to 11. Which is probably the better move, as we've spent much of the series in Elizabeth's shoes up until now, and Jessica needs some fleshing out. Thing is, if you aren't the bad girl, it tends to be on the interesting side to read about the bad girl, so if we're denied this opportunity... well, where's the fun in that? However, if the book had continued on for much longer, I'd have found a way to reach through time, space, and fiction and backhanded a few people.
  I'm skipping around though. Back to the beginning.

  Liz is still in her coma when the book opens, and Jessica is at wit's end. Her twin is her entire world [funny, up until now we'd have wagered boys held that position] and without her, she's unsure as what to do. So she does nothing but sit at her twin's bedside, trying to coax her out of her coma. This involves a lot of self flagellation, until the sorta creepy neurosurgeon John Edwards [I know!] tells Jess that not only are the twins beautiful, but maybe if she just spoke to Elizabeth as if Liz would answer at any moment, it might help. You know, ease of the guilt and whatnot, see what happens. So Jess sort of does. Instead of chatting about boys and fashion and whatever else fills Jessica's thoughts, she gives us a recap of the series so far, with a giant helping of "you're so good, Liz, and I'm so, so very bad." About the time Jessica begs her twin to wake up, offering herself up as Liz's slave for life, Liz begins to come to. Jess freaks out in the best way possible and voila! Liz is awake.
  Fast forward a few days, and Liz is acting decidedly not herself. Jess returns to the hospital, only to find Liz sobbing because she looks like death warmed over. Jess is confused. This is a total Jessica move, not anything even remotely resembling Elizabeth. So Jess glams Liz up as much as she can and Liz then demands more makeup. Weirder still is the way Liz snaps so repeatedly at Jessica. She's even bitchier than Jessica normally is. Jess then tells her that Todd is stopping by and Liz is less than thrilled. Todd enters the cage and is quickly shown the door, given the excuse, "I'm tired." Todd meets Jessica who bites off his head when he dares to complain about the lack of love he received. "What do you expect, her to laugh and smile immediately after such a shock?" is the type of thing she snaps. Immediately afterward, they hear Liz laughing at something her doc said. Poor Todd.
  Three weeks after the accident, Liz comes home. Todd tries to visit and Liz won't see him. At all. She won't see or talk to anyone, but still manages to be a complete and utter bitch to her sister. Despite this new development, the twins begin to plan a party for after Elizabeth is allowed to go back to school. Liz is all for it being guys only, and Jess is shocked. It's the sort of party she's always wanted to throw, but never had the nerve, but it's kinda weird to hear Elizabeth express an interest in such a thing. So Jess points out that since guys almost never throw parties, and all the girls would hate them, maybe they should invite a handful of the fairer sex to their shindig. Liz reluctantly agrees.
  Skip ahead, and we're five weeks after the accident. Liz returns to school and immediately Enid runs over and damn near chokes Jessica in a bear hug. You see, Liz is skanked up in a green mini, something Jess would normally wear. And the confusion doesn't stop there. The whole day Jess is confused for Liz and vice versa. There's a weird little interlude with Liz and Mr. Collins, but mostly their first day back just sets up the fact that the twins seem to have switched.
  As to the party they've planned, Liz pulls a Jessica. While Jess is fixing up the house, Liz is supposed to be resting. Then Jess gets a call from Liz, who ran to the mall on a "vitally important" errand. Jess ends up setting up for the party, having to rush getting ready [since Liz stole the shower], having to keep everything full/everyone happy during the party, and oh yeah, has to clean up after the party. You know, she has to be like Liz used to be. Liz, in turn, flirts with every single guy except for Todd, and possibly Winston, but Win wouldn't have noticed as he only has eyes for Mandy. Aw.
  As time goes by, everyone except for Elizabeth and the adults, seems to understand something isn't right. The kids know that Liz isn't herself, as she's busy flirting with anything male, even if he has a girlfriend sitting RIGHT THERE as Liz tries to score with him. So they bitch about her to Jessica. The adults do know something isn't right, as Liz hasn't made up any of her assignments and is danger of flunking. So not Liz, right? Somehow, though, Ned and Alice Wakefield are oblivious. I can see how Jessica stepping in and trying to deflect things could help a little, but considering how little Liz has tried to catch up, wouldn't the school call and ask if maybe, just maybe, the girl should be evaluated by professionals again?
  Instead, Ned and Alice decide to baby-sit their friends' twins, Joan and Jean Percy. On their first day at the Wakefield home, Ned and Alice head out to play bridge. WTF. It would be one thing if the younger twins were friends of the older twins, but no, these are essentially guests of Ned's and Alice's, and they immediately bail. This is about the time I realized that it's no frickin' wonder Jessica's such a pain in the ass; her parents suck. Liz skips out, after hearing that Jess has a serious date planned, which is just really shitty. So Jess is forced to drag the twins with her and Danny [remember him from the last book?] to the drive in. Seems Danny had a more X rated time in mind, as he only caves when Jessica promises to do anything to make it up. Seriously, by this point it's obvious they're talking something more than Bruce Patman's patented cop-a-boob-feel.
  So they go and they have a positively awful time. Somehow between Dangerous Love and Dear Sister, Danny has gotten the upper hand in his flirtation with Jessica. Dunno how, but he has. She's freaking out because he'll never want to see her again and she complains bitterly to her parents about how unfair it all is. Except she doesn't mention that the people who should have been watching the twins in the first place let THEIR social lives come first instead. She does let a Liz complaint slip, but then quickly back peddles and convinces her parents that she's matured somehow. Weird.
  Back to Sweet Valley High. Liz ups her flirting with Ken, who is seeing Susan Stewart. Never one to let a little girlfriend impede her progress with a guy Jessica Liz decides to sink Susan's battleship by putting in a little item about Susan and a mysterious guy in her Eyes and Ears column. Nothing bad will come of this, I'm sure. Then she heads to Winston and cons him out of his Punic War term paper, which she then changes a few things around and calls it her own. Which she doesn't seem to think will get her busted. Oh, my lord.
  She gets busted for the E&E thing first, and Mr. Collins kicks her off the Oracle. I'm thinking it wasn't so much for what she did, or the lack of remorse she showed, but because she was too self involved/stupid to think up the really obvious way to cover her ass, which was, "But, Mr. Collins, I heard from numerous sources about that guy with Susan. I guess that's the last time I'll trust them" or something along those lines. It's a gossip column, so you're bound to make a mistake once in awhile! Idiots.
  Oh, in between conning the paper and getting busted for it, Todd has a basketball game that Liz attends with Ken [probably due to her snippet] and he can't take his eyes of them. He can't shoot worth a damn and when the crowd starts booing him, one of the Big Mesa guys makes a crack about it, so Todd attacks him. He gets benched and Coach Horner gets the rest of the team to spill. They tell him that Todd's ex is Elizabeth Wakefield, formerly the nicest girl in the school, currently vying for the title of biggest "flirt", and that Todd is still hung up on her. Coach talks to Todd and points out that maybe there's something wrong with Elizabeth, and that Todd's going to have to sit out a few games, what with the violence and all. So Todd vows to try and help her.
  Now, back to Elizabeth's bad day. After she comes home from the debacle at the Oracle, her parents attack her for the cheating on a term paper. But the real kicker is when they turn on Jessica and bitch her out for not telling them that something was wrong. When, oh workaholics? When was she to tell you? Besides, she shouldn't be held accountable for every misstep Liz makes. It's unfair to them both, but particularly so when you remember that while Liz would get the fallout from Jess, it's not like her parents expected her to force Jessica to be an upstanding citizen. So how is it fair to expect Jessica to be Elizabeth's keeper? I digress.
  With the Sword of Damocles hanging over her head, Jess naturally freaks out when Elizabeth shows up driving Max Dellon's bike. Todd is there and Jessica sends him after her wayward twin, because a) it's another motorcycle and b) she doesn't want to get grounded for Elizabeth's bad behavior. Todd catches up with the duo [and by now, shouldn't the Wakefield twins' inability to ride a motorcycle be of legendary status?] and forces Liz off the bike, over his shoulder, and carries her back to his car. Yeah, he kidnaps her. She starts yelling and losing her ability to speak in contractions and Todd tries to get through to her, but fails miserably. Since we've made Todd miserable, it's time to share the wealth with Jessica.
  Again, the Wakefields manage to flake on the Percy twins, leaving them in the questionably capable hands of Jessica. Because heaven forbid they force Liz to do a chore, right? So Alice sends the Percy twins upstairs to wake the sleeping beast, Jessica, and force her to take them to their flute auditions. Jess flips out because it's barely 7 AM and she had plans for the day, but they don't mean jack. It's kind of telling that she didn't even try to get Elizabeth to cover for her. So Jess goes, it takes forever, and she gets busted speeding to the beach. Unable to sweet talk her way out of the ticket, Jessica snaps at the cop and continues her mad dash to the beach, only to find Danny with his arms around another girl. On her way out of the parking lot, Jess has a fender bender and begins to cry. I felt massively sorry for her by this point.
  Because Jessica doesn't share the details of her shitty day with her parents, she and Liz are able to sweet talk their way into going to Lila's Pick Up party. Namely, everyone shows up single and tries pick up whomever they're interested in.


Lila never gave a party without a theme, and this time she had combined two of her old favorites. The kids were told to come in costume and without a date to a "pickup party." Everybody came single and picked up whomever they could. A lot of girls at Sweet Valley who thought they were going steady found themselves without boyfriends after one of Lila's pickup bashes, and a lot of girls who wanted to get rid of guys, did so that same night.


  Jess and Liz go as Matadors for some unknown reason, but it quickly becomes clear that the red matador is Liz and the green one is Jessica. Green with envy, maybe? Liz dances and flirts and has a great time, while Jess does little but watch and attempt to not kill anyone bitching to her about her twin's behavior. The description of Liz spinning across the red Spanish tiles confused me. I envisioned her either being repeatedly spun ballroom style, or a Tasmanian Devil sort of thing. Neither is really conducive to not throwing up. Nor, apparently, is finding yourself in Todd Wilkins' arms. Liz spins away, only to find herself in the evil clutches of Bruce Patman.
  Bruce seems to have momentarily forgotten the rumours about the twins and assumes the flirtatious twin in his arms is Jessica, whom he is exceptionally interested in. He only finds out the truth when he spies Max snickering and he comments on the pairing of Bruce and Liz. Bruce is shocked. Apparently he's been after the uppity twin for some time, hoping to take her back down to earth. Thing is, he acts as if she's stupid ["Do you know who I am?"] and she doesn't seem to mind. He then begins to try and get her drunk on some mystery drink, and then he cons her out to his father's beach club. Wait, when did Mr. Patman get one of those? Luckily, Jess has sent Todd after her twin again, and Todd punches Bruce and grabs the inebriated Elizabeth right before she passes out.
  Jess is busted at home for the ticket and the fender bender, but before her parents can kill her dead, the Percy twins stick up for her. Seems spending time with Jessica is just as much fun as we've always been told. Maybe they also feel bad for her, seeing as their hosts suck and Jessica is obviously not supposed to always be in charge of them. Who knows, but it was sweet, and Jessica's heart breaks a little when she sees how close the younger twins are, and realizes how far she and Liz have drifted apart.
  Back at school, Bill Chase begins his pursuit of Liz. Seems Bill has had a thing on Liz for ages [see All Night Long's character bio] and when he finds out that Todd and Liz are no more, he asks Todd's permission to chase after Liz. And Todd grants it. Oi.
  Unfortunately for Bill, while Liz says yes to the date, Bruce calls her up and asks for one the same night as Bill's, and Liz goes with Bruce's drink filled invite instead. She lies and says she's going to Enid's, and when Bill shows up, Jess runs upstairs to call and bitch her out. Only, dun dun dun! It was a lie. Jess decides to twin switch on the one guy stupid enough to turn her down, and she goes out with Bill dressed as Liz. Jess, that is, not Bill dressed as Liz.
  Bruce, being slime, cops a feel and then convinces her that they should go upstairs and have sex. He doesn't actually say that last bit, but it's implied. When he has her upstairs, he runs back downstairs for more wine, you know, to get her good and drunk enough that she won't be able to stop 'im even if she does come to. Unfortunately for Bruce, she gets cold feet [even super skanky Liz knows something is amiss] and attempts to find her way downstairs. She doesn't even make it out of the room before she falls and conks her head on a big old table.
  The real Elizabeth comes rushing back and is completely unaware as to what the hell is going on. When Bruce returns, she freaks out and accuses him of taking her there against her will. He's none too happy with the loss of his biggest conquest and attempts to scare her back into submission. Liz calls him on it after she bites him [forcing him to back off momentarily], tells him he's a pig, and runs away. She races down the beach, drawn to light and sound, proof that other people are around, and maybe just maybe, subconsciously drawn towards Todd. She finds him and they have a happy reunion, only slightly marred by Todd's confusion as to whether she was with Bill or Bruce. They realize it was Jessica and Liz worries that Jess has an evil plan all worked up.
  The book ends with Jessica telling Bill that if he really is in love with the twin he's spent all night with, he's actually in love with Jessica, not Elizabeth, Wakefield. SHOCK! Horror! Amazement! The end.

Trivia:

  • THE Hospital in Sweet Valley is the Joshua Fowler Memorial Hospital. We know the Fowler bit is due to Lila, but who is the Joshua in question? Liz is taken here for her scenic coma.

  • Liz's neurosurgeon is John Edwards, and he's kinda creepy the way he's commenting on an unconscious patient and her twin being beautiful.

  • Liz was in her coma for four days.

  • 3 weeks after she wakes up from her coma, she goes home, and two weeks after that she returns to school. About a week after that she has her party and this book takes place over the longest period of time thus far. Seriously, we should have passed Christmas and should be rounding the bases til Valentine's Day, but no sign of any holiday at all.

  • The Wakefield's kitchen is at the back of their house.

  • While the Percy twins stay with the Wakefields for a few weeks, Liz and Jess have never met Mr. and Mrs. Percy.

  • Danny Stauffer is an excellent kisser. Y'know, in case you're interested in him or his Trans Am.

  • Mrs. Green is the guidance counselor who never thinks to check up on Liz after the revelation that she's having mysterious dizzy spells.

  • Coach Horner is the basketball coach. Gruff on the outside, heart of gold on the inside.

  • When Jess gets her speeding ticket, she's going 70 in a 55 MPH zone.

  • Jessica's favorite breakfast is french toast.

  • Apparently Mr. Patman owns a beach club as well as a beach house, or else the writing is a little too vague here.

  • Bill Chase asks Todd if it's okay if he goes after Liz, and Todd doesn't stop him.

  • At this point in time, Lila is dating some dude named Tim. I wonder if it's an actual Tim or if they meant Tom?



Quote the fantastic:
"Liz. Hey, Lizzie, time to wake up." Jess, waking Liz from her coma. p12
"I thought basketball players had good eyesight, Todd. On a scale of one to ten, I'm not even on the scale yet." Liz, p19
Jessica couldn't have been happier. For a change she and Elizabeth seemed to want the same kind of fun. - p23
"I solemnly swear to take over my share of the chores as soon as I have made a total recovery-which should be in about three months!" Liz, p27
"If she's Jessica", she agonized, "then who am I?" -Jess isn't afraid to ask the deep questions, p46
"What an absolutely gruesome day!" she said, frowning fiercely.
Jessica stared at her, fascinated.
"If all you're going to do is stare at me, take your face someplace else!" Liz goes on another bitchfit for no reason, p50
"No way, Jess. I told you what I had planned for tonight. There is no way I want an audience." - Danny Stauffer, p62
"Mom, I could never resent Liz!" Jess lies through her perfect teeth, p69
"You know, just about none of the girls at school will talk to me without complaining about Liz trying to steal their guys,"
She saw Todd wince at that and put her hand on his arm. "I'm sorry, Todd. I shouldn't have said that." Jessica learns the art of sympathy, p95
"It's fun, that's why! Besides, Max Dellon is a safe driver," Elizabeth taunted.
"You know, Jess, you surprise me. Maybe you and I could become-"
"If you dare ask me to be your buddy, Todd Wilkins, I'll slug you, I really will!" Todd/Jess, p104
The girls stared at each other, wide-eyed. They had been in the Wakefield house long enough to know they should steer clear of Jessica when she first woke up. 106
"You are both lying! My mother loves me. There is no way she would want me to get up in the middle of the night!" Jess doesn't often see 7am, apparently. p107
"The nerve of him! Just because I was a few hours late, he picks up someone else," Jessica fumed. p114
"I'm just terrific, Bruce. How's your glass jaw?" - Liz, p 134
"I never really knew what a coward you were until now," she cried. "Is that what all your big love stories are about, Patman? Taking advantage of girls who either don't know what they're doing or too drunk to care? I don't know anybody lower than you are at this minute. And listen, you want to tell this story all over? Go ahead! Because I've got one to tell, too, and you won't look very good in it. You're a coward, Bruce Patman!" Liz, lucky she's not in an episode of L&O, as lesser rants have gotten girls killed, p146

137 ways to have fun:
"I was just wondering if Todd's seen you in that nightgown. I bet it'd raise his temperature about a hundred and thirty seven degrees!" Jess, p26
"But you hate him, Lizzie."
"Who told you that?"
"You did, a hundred and thirty-seven times." p122



  As a kid, I accepted the various things done so that Jess would be forced into taking responsibility for the Percy twins. As an adult, I find myself wanting to smack Ned and Alice. You probably already figured that out, but it bears repeating. It's unfair to expect your sixteen year old daughter to force her twin to act responsibly. If you want her to report back to you at any sign of trouble, you should wake from your dream world, but it's much closer to a realistic expectation than the whole wanting her to [s]mother her sister.
  However, my biggest issue with the Wakefield parents is that they evidently spend so little time with their daughters that they didn't truly notice the complete personality rehaul of their eldest daughter. Sure, she's a teenager, but she's the good kid. When she starts mouthing off and snapping at everyone and this continues for weeks, maybe you should have done something about it, y'know? Even soap opera parents drag their kids back to the neurosurgeon who patiently explains that the trauma may have changed them, but hey, at least they're alive, who wants milkshakes? If nothing else, why didn't the high school call and see if they knew what was going on? It would be one thing for Jessica to slip even further behind, but usually schools get a little twitchy when their star students start to slide. They have visions of standardized testing sliding down and that means funding would go down and, yeah, it's a whole big mess. So really, they would have called before the term paper fiasco.
  It speaks volumes about Jessica's guilt that she doesn't try and one up her sister, and instead seems to sort of try and fill the void left behind. She bonds with Todd, feels empathy/sympathy for Enid, and does try to reach out and get help for her twin from an adult, though that adult is utterly useless. Seriously, Mr. C, don't you think telling Jessica to talk to her parents might have been a good idea? Back to the idea of two Jessicas. Would have been awesome to see Jess take on Super!Vamp Liz. Senior Year brings us a version of the twins being basically the same person, but it's this odd fusion of Liz/Jess and it doesn't ever quite gel for me, so we don't count that.
  So, I wonder, did Elizabeth's accident just sort of dial back her inhibitions and let her ID come out to play, or was it Jessica's choice of subject matter when she was trying to coax Liz back to life? She told Liz she should party more. Liz parties to the extreme, at least so far as their social circle will allow. She points out that Enid is dull as watching paint dry and when Liz wakes up, will not have a single thing to do with Enid, and mocks her instead. Ditto for Todd. Jess mentions that Liz could be super!twin if she just let loose a little and had fun with her makeup, and her attitude. So. Does Liz just idealize her twin a little and so she kind of used her as her model for bad behavior, or did Jessica create her own monster?
  Speaking of monsters... It amazes me how thoroughly they change Bruce as the books progress. In the beginning, I'm surprised no one's accused him [rightly so, I'd imagine] of date rape. Yet somehow Regina'll manage to redeem him. He's a slimeball at the start though, and you'd think it would be wiser to spread that information before someone else falls under his spell. Heaven knows John P. goes only a smidge further, if that, and he's crucified eventually, so why not crucify Bruce who has to have been in a similar boat? Is it that he's so damn rich no one would dare to chance the backlash, or is it that they alter everyone just enough later that it would kill them to take down their bad boy who isn't a drop out? Hmm.
  And because my mind is filled with the littered thrown away plots, I wonder what would have happened if Liz had been in her coma longer? Would Jess have gone back to school and been a zombie? Would SVH manage to snub her, or would they rally around her? Would it have made Jess a better person, or would she have rebelled further?
  Totally superficial moment, but the cover has also been one of my favorites for awhile. Or maybe it's simply that the book was purple and that was right smack dab in the middle of my purple frenzy?



the_oracle: (tear)
Dear Sister
April 1984

Can Jessica face life without Elizabeth?

A senseless tragedy...


  Sweet Valley is stunned by the news: Beautiful young Elizabeth Wakefield lies in a coma, on the brink of death after a horrible motorcycle accident.
  Elizabeth's boyfriend Todd is consumed by guilt; he was driving and escaped unharmed. He feels totally helpless. All he can do is wait for a change in Elizabeth's condition-a change that might mean the loss of the only girl he's ever loved.
  But no one is more shattered than Elizabeth's twin, Jessica. As she keeps watch over the silent body of her sister, she's overwhelmed by despair. Without Elizabeth, can life go on?

  Dear Sister is one of my two favorite classic Sweet Valley books. I don't know if it's because it was one of the first few I read or if it was because I was/am a sucker for the melodramatic, and the whole premise of the book sounded fantastic. It could also be that it's a good book.
  The plot is simple. Liz is still in her coma and the world is crumbling around Jessica. The back of the book leads you to believe that Liz is going to be in the coma for the entire book, but she wakes up by the start of the third chapter. Nope, the rest of the book deals with the what if factor. What if Elizabeth wasn't the nice, good twin? What if Elizabeth could out Jessica the real Jessica? What would happen? Would the world stop spinning on its axis?
  Simply put, it's awesome. Somehow the book manages to be a little too long and a little too short all at once. I'm more interested in seeing Liz in her new environment, but the book follows Jessica as she attempts to figure out who she must become if her twin has taken over Jessica's old identity and then cranked it up to 11. Which is probably the better move, as we've spent much of the series in Elizabeth's shoes up until now, and Jessica needs some fleshing out. Thing is, if you aren't the bad girl, it tends to be on the interesting side to read about the bad girl, so if we're denied this opportunity... well, where's the fun in that? However, if the book had continued on for much longer, I'd have found a way to reach through time, space, and fiction and backhanded a few people.
  I'm skipping around though. Back to the beginning.

  Liz is still in her coma when the book opens, and Jessica is at wit's end. Her twin is her entire world [funny, up until now we'd have wagered boys held that position] and without her, she's unsure as what to do. So she does nothing but sit at her twin's bedside, trying to coax her out of her coma. This involves a lot of self flagellation, until the sorta creepy neurosurgeon John Edwards [I know!] tells Jess that not only are the twins beautiful, but maybe if she just spoke to Elizabeth as if Liz would answer at any moment, it might help. You know, ease of the guilt and whatnot, see what happens. So Jess sort of does. Instead of chatting about boys and fashion and whatever else fills Jessica's thoughts, she gives us a recap of the series so far, with a giant helping of "you're so good, Liz, and I'm so, so very bad." About the time Jessica begs her twin to wake up, offering herself up as Liz's slave for life, Liz begins to come to. Jess freaks out in the best way possible and voila! Liz is awake.
  Fast forward a few days, and Liz is acting decidedly not herself. Jess returns to the hospital, only to find Liz sobbing because she looks like death warmed over. Jess is confused. This is a total Jessica move, not anything even remotely resembling Elizabeth. So Jess glams Liz up as much as she can and Liz then demands more makeup. Weirder still is the way Liz snaps so repeatedly at Jessica. She's even bitchier than Jessica normally is. Jess then tells her that Todd is stopping by and Liz is less than thrilled. Todd enters the cage and is quickly shown the door, given the excuse, "I'm tired." Todd meets Jessica who bites off his head when he dares to complain about the lack of love he received. "What do you expect, her to laugh and smile immediately after such a shock?" is the type of thing she snaps. Immediately afterward, they hear Liz laughing at something her doc said. Poor Todd.
  Three weeks after the accident, Liz comes home. Todd tries to visit and Liz won't see him. At all. She won't see or talk to anyone, but still manages to be a complete and utter bitch to her sister. Despite this new development, the twins begin to plan a party for after Elizabeth is allowed to go back to school. Liz is all for it being guys only, and Jess is shocked. It's the sort of party she's always wanted to throw, but never had the nerve, but it's kinda weird to hear Elizabeth express an interest in such a thing. So Jess points out that since guys almost never throw parties, and all the girls would hate them, maybe they should invite a handful of the fairer sex to their shindig. Liz reluctantly agrees.
  Skip ahead, and we're five weeks after the accident. Liz returns to school and immediately Enid runs over and damn near chokes Jessica in a bear hug. You see, Liz is skanked up in a green mini, something Jess would normally wear. And the confusion doesn't stop there. The whole day Jess is confused for Liz and vice versa. There's a weird little interlude with Liz and Mr. Collins, but mostly their first day back just sets up the fact that the twins seem to have switched.
  As to the party they've planned, Liz pulls a Jessica. While Jess is fixing up the house, Liz is supposed to be resting. Then Jess gets a call from Liz, who ran to the mall on a "vitally important" errand. Jess ends up setting up for the party, having to rush getting ready [since Liz stole the shower], having to keep everything full/everyone happy during the party, and oh yeah, has to clean up after the party. You know, she has to be like Liz used to be. Liz, in turn, flirts with every single guy except for Todd, and possibly Winston, but Win wouldn't have noticed as he only has eyes for Mandy. Aw.
  As time goes by, everyone except for Elizabeth and the adults, seems to understand something isn't right. The kids know that Liz isn't herself, as she's busy flirting with anything male, even if he has a girlfriend sitting RIGHT THERE as Liz tries to score with him. So they bitch about her to Jessica. The adults do know something isn't right, as Liz hasn't made up any of her assignments and is danger of flunking. So not Liz, right? Somehow, though, Ned and Alice Wakefield are oblivious. I can see how Jessica stepping in and trying to deflect things could help a little, but considering how little Liz has tried to catch up, wouldn't the school call and ask if maybe, just maybe, the girl should be evaluated by professionals again?
  Instead, Ned and Alice decide to baby-sit their friends' twins, Joan and Jean Percy. On their first day at the Wakefield home, Ned and Alice head out to play bridge. WTF. It would be one thing if the younger twins were friends of the older twins, but no, these are essentially guests of Ned's and Alice's, and they immediately bail. This is about the time I realized that it's no frickin' wonder Jessica's such a pain in the ass; her parents suck. Liz skips out, after hearing that Jess has a serious date planned, which is just really shitty. So Jess is forced to drag the twins with her and Danny [remember him from the last book?] to the drive in. Seems Danny had a more X rated time in mind, as he only caves when Jessica promises to do anything to make it up. Seriously, by this point it's obvious they're talking something more than Bruce Patman's patented cop-a-boob-feel.
  So they go and they have a positively awful time. Somehow between Dangerous Love and Dear Sister, Danny has gotten the upper hand in his flirtation with Jessica. Dunno how, but he has. She's freaking out because he'll never want to see her again and she complains bitterly to her parents about how unfair it all is. Except she doesn't mention that the people who should have been watching the twins in the first place let THEIR social lives come first instead. She does let a Liz complaint slip, but then quickly back peddles and convinces her parents that she's matured somehow. Weird.
  Back to Sweet Valley High. Liz ups her flirting with Ken, who is seeing Susan Stewart. Never one to let a little girlfriend impede her progress with a guy Jessica Liz decides to sink Susan's battleship by putting in a little item about Susan and a mysterious guy in her Eyes and Ears column. Nothing bad will come of this, I'm sure. Then she heads to Winston and cons him out of his Punic War term paper, which she then changes a few things around and calls it her own. Which she doesn't seem to think will get her busted. Oh, my lord.
  She gets busted for the E&E thing first, and Mr. Collins kicks her off the Oracle. I'm thinking it wasn't so much for what she did, or the lack of remorse she showed, but because she was too self involved/stupid to think up the really obvious way to cover her ass, which was, "But, Mr. Collins, I heard from numerous sources about that guy with Susan. I guess that's the last time I'll trust them" or something along those lines. It's a gossip column, so you're bound to make a mistake once in awhile! Idiots.
  Oh, in between conning the paper and getting busted for it, Todd has a basketball game that Liz attends with Ken [probably due to her snippet] and he can't take his eyes of them. He can't shoot worth a damn and when the crowd starts booing him, one of the Big Mesa guys makes a crack about it, so Todd attacks him. He gets benched and Coach Horner gets the rest of the team to spill. They tell him that Todd's ex is Elizabeth Wakefield, formerly the nicest girl in the school, currently vying for the title of biggest "flirt", and that Todd is still hung up on her. Coach talks to Todd and points out that maybe there's something wrong with Elizabeth, and that Todd's going to have to sit out a few games, what with the violence and all. So Todd vows to try and help her.
  Now, back to Elizabeth's bad day. After she comes home from the debacle at the Oracle, her parents attack her for the cheating on a term paper. But the real kicker is when they turn on Jessica and bitch her out for not telling them that something was wrong. When, oh workaholics? When was she to tell you? Besides, she shouldn't be held accountable for every misstep Liz makes. It's unfair to them both, but particularly so when you remember that while Liz would get the fallout from Jess, it's not like her parents expected her to force Jessica to be an upstanding citizen. So how is it fair to expect Jessica to be Elizabeth's keeper? I digress.
  With the Sword of Damocles hanging over her head, Jess naturally freaks out when Elizabeth shows up driving Max Dellon's bike. Todd is there and Jessica sends him after her wayward twin, because a) it's another motorcycle and b) she doesn't want to get grounded for Elizabeth's bad behavior. Todd catches up with the duo [and by now, shouldn't the Wakefield twins' inability to ride a motorcycle be of legendary status?] and forces Liz off the bike, over his shoulder, and carries her back to his car. Yeah, he kidnaps her. She starts yelling and losing her ability to speak in contractions and Todd tries to get through to her, but fails miserably. Since we've made Todd miserable, it's time to share the wealth with Jessica.
  Again, the Wakefields manage to flake on the Percy twins, leaving them in the questionably capable hands of Jessica. Because heaven forbid they force Liz to do a chore, right? So Alice sends the Percy twins upstairs to wake the sleeping beast, Jessica, and force her to take them to their flute auditions. Jess flips out because it's barely 7 AM and she had plans for the day, but they don't mean jack. It's kind of telling that she didn't even try to get Elizabeth to cover for her. So Jess goes, it takes forever, and she gets busted speeding to the beach. Unable to sweet talk her way out of the ticket, Jessica snaps at the cop and continues her mad dash to the beach, only to find Danny with his arms around another girl. On her way out of the parking lot, Jess has a fender bender and begins to cry. I felt massively sorry for her by this point.
  Because Jessica doesn't share the details of her shitty day with her parents, she and Liz are able to sweet talk their way into going to Lila's Pick Up party. Namely, everyone shows up single and tries pick up whomever they're interested in.


Lila never gave a party without a theme, and this time she had combined two of her old favorites. The kids were told to come in costume and without a date to a "pickup party." Everybody came single and picked up whomever they could. A lot of girls at Sweet Valley who thought they were going steady found themselves without boyfriends after one of Lila's pickup bashes, and a lot of girls who wanted to get rid of guys, did so that same night.


  Jess and Liz go as Matadors for some unknown reason, but it quickly becomes clear that the red matador is Liz and the green one is Jessica. Green with envy, maybe? Liz dances and flirts and has a great time, while Jess does little but watch and attempt to not kill anyone bitching to her about her twin's behavior. The description of Liz spinning across the red Spanish tiles confused me. I envisioned her either being repeatedly spun ballroom style, or a Tasmanian Devil sort of thing. Neither is really conducive to not throwing up. Nor, apparently, is finding yourself in Todd Wilkins' arms. Liz spins away, only to find herself in the evil clutches of Bruce Patman.
  Bruce seems to have momentarily forgotten the rumours about the twins and assumes the flirtatious twin in his arms is Jessica, whom he is exceptionally interested in. He only finds out the truth when he spies Max snickering and he comments on the pairing of Bruce and Liz. Bruce is shocked. Apparently he's been after the uppity twin for some time, hoping to take her back down to earth. Thing is, he acts as if she's stupid ["Do you know who I am?"] and she doesn't seem to mind. He then begins to try and get her drunk on some mystery drink, and then he cons her out to his father's beach club. Wait, when did Mr. Patman get one of those? Luckily, Jess has sent Todd after her twin again, and Todd punches Bruce and grabs the inebriated Elizabeth right before she passes out.
  Jess is busted at home for the ticket and the fender bender, but before her parents can kill her dead, the Percy twins stick up for her. Seems spending time with Jessica is just as much fun as we've always been told. Maybe they also feel bad for her, seeing as their hosts suck and Jessica is obviously not supposed to always be in charge of them. Who knows, but it was sweet, and Jessica's heart breaks a little when she sees how close the younger twins are, and realizes how far she and Liz have drifted apart.
  Back at school, Bill Chase begins his pursuit of Liz. Seems Bill has had a thing on Liz for ages [see All Night Long's character bio] and when he finds out that Todd and Liz are no more, he asks Todd's permission to chase after Liz. And Todd grants it. Oi.
  Unfortunately for Bill, while Liz says yes to the date, Bruce calls her up and asks for one the same night as Bill's, and Liz goes with Bruce's drink filled invite instead. She lies and says she's going to Enid's, and when Bill shows up, Jess runs upstairs to call and bitch her out. Only, dun dun dun! It was a lie. Jess decides to twin switch on the one guy stupid enough to turn her down, and she goes out with Bill dressed as Liz. Jess, that is, not Bill dressed as Liz.
  Bruce, being slime, cops a feel and then convinces her that they should go upstairs and have sex. He doesn't actually say that last bit, but it's implied. When he has her upstairs, he runs back downstairs for more wine, you know, to get her good and drunk enough that she won't be able to stop 'im even if she does come to. Unfortunately for Bruce, she gets cold feet [even super skanky Liz knows something is amiss] and attempts to find her way downstairs. She doesn't even make it out of the room before she falls and conks her head on a big old table.
  The real Elizabeth comes rushing back and is completely unaware as to what the hell is going on. When Bruce returns, she freaks out and accuses him of taking her there against her will. He's none too happy with the loss of his biggest conquest and attempts to scare her back into submission. Liz calls him on it after she bites him [forcing him to back off momentarily], tells him he's a pig, and runs away. She races down the beach, drawn to light and sound, proof that other people are around, and maybe just maybe, subconsciously drawn towards Todd. She finds him and they have a happy reunion, only slightly marred by Todd's confusion as to whether she was with Bill or Bruce. They realize it was Jessica and Liz worries that Jess has an evil plan all worked up.
  The book ends with Jessica telling Bill that if he really is in love with the twin he's spent all night with, he's actually in love with Jessica, not Elizabeth, Wakefield. SHOCK! Horror! Amazement! The end.

Trivia:

  • THE Hospital in Sweet Valley is the Joshua Fowler Memorial Hospital. We know the Fowler bit is due to Lila, but who is the Joshua in question? Liz is taken here for her scenic coma.

  • Liz's neurosurgeon is John Edwards, and he's kinda creepy the way he's commenting on an unconscious patient and her twin being beautiful.

  • Liz was in her coma for four days.

  • 3 weeks after she wakes up from her coma, she goes home, and two weeks after that she returns to school. About a week after that she has her party and this book takes place over the longest period of time thus far. Seriously, we should have passed Christmas and should be rounding the bases til Valentine's Day, but no sign of any holiday at all.

  • The Wakefield's kitchen is at the back of their house.

  • While the Percy twins stay with the Wakefields for a few weeks, Liz and Jess have never met Mr. and Mrs. Percy.

  • Danny Stauffer is an excellent kisser. Y'know, in case you're interested in him or his Trans Am.

  • Mrs. Green is the guidance counselor who never thinks to check up on Liz after the revelation that she's having mysterious dizzy spells.

  • Coach Horner is the basketball coach. Gruff on the outside, heart of gold on the inside.

  • When Jess gets her speeding ticket, she's going 70 in a 55 MPH zone.

  • Jessica's favorite breakfast is french toast.

  • Apparently Mr. Patman owns a beach club as well as a beach house, or else the writing is a little too vague here.

  • Bill Chase asks Todd if it's okay if he goes after Liz, and Todd doesn't stop him.

  • At this point in time, Lila is dating some dude named Tim. I wonder if it's an actual Tim or if they meant Tom?



Quote the fantastic:
"Liz. Hey, Lizzie, time to wake up." Jess, waking Liz from her coma. p12
"I thought basketball players had good eyesight, Todd. On a scale of one to ten, I'm not even on the scale yet." Liz, p19
Jessica couldn't have been happier. For a change she and Elizabeth seemed to want the same kind of fun. - p23
"I solemnly swear to take over my share of the chores as soon as I have made a total recovery-which should be in about three months!" Liz, p27
"If she's Jessica", she agonized, "then who am I?" -Jess isn't afraid to ask the deep questions, p46
"What an absolutely gruesome day!" she said, frowning fiercely.
Jessica stared at her, fascinated.
"If all you're going to do is stare at me, take your face someplace else!" Liz goes on another bitchfit for no reason, p50
"No way, Jess. I told you what I had planned for tonight. There is no way I want an audience." - Danny Stauffer, p62
"Mom, I could never resent Liz!" Jess lies through her perfect teeth, p69
"You know, just about none of the girls at school will talk to me without complaining about Liz trying to steal their guys,"
She saw Todd wince at that and put her hand on his arm. "I'm sorry, Todd. I shouldn't have said that." Jessica learns the art of sympathy, p95
"It's fun, that's why! Besides, Max Dellon is a safe driver," Elizabeth taunted.
"You know, Jess, you surprise me. Maybe you and I could become-"
"If you dare ask me to be your buddy, Todd Wilkins, I'll slug you, I really will!" Todd/Jess, p104
The girls stared at each other, wide-eyed. They had been in the Wakefield house long enough to know they should steer clear of Jessica when she first woke up. 106
"You are both lying! My mother loves me. There is no way she would want me to get up in the middle of the night!" Jess doesn't often see 7am, apparently. p107
"The nerve of him! Just because I was a few hours late, he picks up someone else," Jessica fumed. p114
"I'm just terrific, Bruce. How's your glass jaw?" - Liz, p 134
"I never really knew what a coward you were until now," she cried. "Is that what all your big love stories are about, Patman? Taking advantage of girls who either don't know what they're doing or too drunk to care? I don't know anybody lower than you are at this minute. And listen, you want to tell this story all over? Go ahead! Because I've got one to tell, too, and you won't look very good in it. You're a coward, Bruce Patman!" Liz, lucky she's not in an episode of L&O, as lesser rants have gotten girls killed, p146

137 ways to have fun:
"I was just wondering if Todd's seen you in that nightgown. I bet it'd raise his temperature about a hundred and thirty seven degrees!" Jess, p26
"But you hate him, Lizzie."
"Who told you that?"
"You did, a hundred and thirty-seven times." p122



  As a kid, I accepted the various things done so that Jess would be forced into taking responsibility for the Percy twins. As an adult, I find myself wanting to smack Ned and Alice. You probably already figured that out, but it bears repeating. It's unfair to expect your sixteen year old daughter to force her twin to act responsibly. If you want her to report back to you at any sign of trouble, you should wake from your dream world, but it's much closer to a realistic expectation than the whole wanting her to [s]mother her sister.
  However, my biggest issue with the Wakefield parents is that they evidently spend so little time with their daughters that they didn't truly notice the complete personality rehaul of their eldest daughter. Sure, she's a teenager, but she's the good kid. When she starts mouthing off and snapping at everyone and this continues for weeks, maybe you should have done something about it, y'know? Even soap opera parents drag their kids back to the neurosurgeon who patiently explains that the trauma may have changed them, but hey, at least they're alive, who wants milkshakes? If nothing else, why didn't the high school call and see if they knew what was going on? It would be one thing for Jessica to slip even further behind, but usually schools get a little twitchy when their star students start to slide. They have visions of standardized testing sliding down and that means funding would go down and, yeah, it's a whole big mess. So really, they would have called before the term paper fiasco.
  It speaks volumes about Jessica's guilt that she doesn't try and one up her sister, and instead seems to sort of try and fill the void left behind. She bonds with Todd, feels empathy/sympathy for Enid, and does try to reach out and get help for her twin from an adult, though that adult is utterly useless. Seriously, Mr. C, don't you think telling Jessica to talk to her parents might have been a good idea? Back to the idea of two Jessicas. Would have been awesome to see Jess take on Super!Vamp Liz. Senior Year brings us a version of the twins being basically the same person, but it's this odd fusion of Liz/Jess and it doesn't ever quite gel for me, so we don't count that.
  So, I wonder, did Elizabeth's accident just sort of dial back her inhibitions and let her ID come out to play, or was it Jessica's choice of subject matter when she was trying to coax Liz back to life? She told Liz she should party more. Liz parties to the extreme, at least so far as their social circle will allow. She points out that Enid is dull as watching paint dry and when Liz wakes up, will not have a single thing to do with Enid, and mocks her instead. Ditto for Todd. Jess mentions that Liz could be super!twin if she just let loose a little and had fun with her makeup, and her attitude. So. Does Liz just idealize her twin a little and so she kind of used her as her model for bad behavior, or did Jessica create her own monster?
  Speaking of monsters... It amazes me how thoroughly they change Bruce as the books progress. In the beginning, I'm surprised no one's accused him [rightly so, I'd imagine] of date rape. Yet somehow Regina'll manage to redeem him. He's a slimeball at the start though, and you'd think it would be wiser to spread that information before someone else falls under his spell. Heaven knows John P. goes only a smidge further, if that, and he's crucified eventually, so why not crucify Bruce who has to have been in a similar boat? Is it that he's so damn rich no one would dare to chance the backlash, or is it that they alter everyone just enough later that it would kill them to take down their bad boy who isn't a drop out? Hmm.
  And because my mind is filled with the littered thrown away plots, I wonder what would have happened if Liz had been in her coma longer? Would Jess have gone back to school and been a zombie? Would SVH manage to snub her, or would they rally around her? Would it have made Jess a better person, or would she have rebelled further?
  Totally superficial moment, but the cover has also been one of my favorites for awhile. Or maybe it's simply that the book was purple and that was right smack dab in the middle of my purple frenzy?



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

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