the_oracle: (tear)
Second Chance
March 1989


Will a normal life make Kristin Thompson happy?
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Just like everyone else...



  Quiet, determined Kristin Thompson knows exactly what she wants from life. Since she was little, she has had one goal-to become a world-class tennis player. Now all she has to do is win one more tournament and she'll qualify to turn professional.
   Then handsome Bruce Patman invites her out and sweeps her off her feet. But there's not enough room in Kristin's life for a boyfriend and professional tennis. She begins to wonder if a romance with Bruce will make her happier than winning the tournament ever could. Will Kristin give up the dream of a lifetime to live like an ordinary teenager?


  Fair warning: Second Chance has never been my favorite book. It has never been my least favorite book. It's one of those books where I forget everything but these key words: Kristin, tennis, star, yawn.

  Not exactly a glowing recommendation. That said, there are good things to be found. If tennis is your thing, (ahem, [livejournal.com profile] luxken27 ) then you're in luck. Tennis terms are thrown around left and right and the matches are detailed enough that I got a little lost, but not so detailed that you begin to wonder if maybe, just maybe, paint drying would be more interesting in the long run. Which means that if I had any idea what they were talking about, I might have either been impressed with them managing not to screw things up, or highly amused at what was wrong. However... not my area. You read it and let me know. I promise to be impressed.

  Kristin Thompson is a tennis star. She's so good that she practices every day to the exclusion of just about everything else in life. While she seems to have no friends, at all, she's nice enough to Elizabeth and Jeffrey, and neither makes any comment about her other than "talented and driven."
   Thing is, Kristin's not so sure she wants to be quite so driven anymore. When she was younger, her parents asked if she was sure tennis was what she wanted. It was. When her mother died on her way to Wimbledon (no. Really. I mean it.), Kristin gave tennis up for awhile, then picked it up again and really, really pushed herself. Since then, no one's bothered to make sure she didn't change her mind because kids are notorious for never changing their minds about the little things, let alone something big like What I Want To Be When I Grow Up. Never, ever.
  When Liz invites her to the beach in the previous book, Kristin begins to wonder about life outside the compound tennis. There are friends and days at the beach, and possibly not going to bed sore all the time. Also, there's this newfangled invention called a "boyfriend" and she's reasonably sure she'd like to have one of those, if it's not too much trouble.
  Still, those things require work and time, and Kristin's not exactly big on excess time. Once again, Elizabeth asks Kristin if she wants to join the world outside and mentor a little girl named Emily. Kristin's all set to say no way in hell (no time!) when Liz says that Emily's mother died recently and tennis is the only thing the little girl seems interested in. How convenient. Kristin decides to move heaven and hell to work the kid into her schedule.

   Due to her coach, Dorrie, having a doctor's appointment, Kristin suddenly has a free hour to do whatever she wants. For a second she considers going to the beach, but then realizes it's not really enough time for that. She wanders over to the tennis courts at school (of course she does) and after a few minutes Jessica is betting that Kristin could kick Bruce Patman's ass in tennis. Duh. This should be a no brainer, right?
  Still, Bruce's ego has never met anything in a short skirt that it doesn't think it could handle, so he sweet talks her into a match. Shortly into it, Kristin thinks to herself that Bruce will be humiliated when he loses to a girl, so she throws the game. WTF, Thompson. You're a motherfucking pro and you want to lose to him?
  Thing is, for one glorious second it appears that Bruce knows what she did for him, and for that one second you think maybe he's less of an ass than usual.
   But no. He starts chasing after Kristin who shows remarkable restraint. She figures out pretty early on that Bruce is more interested in Bruce than he is in Kristin, but every time she's about to tell him she's going to be busy for the rest of forever, her father or someone makes a comment about how she doesn't have time for this crap. Then she rebels by going out with Bruce.

  I love that for the most part, she keeps him on his toes to the point where he doesn't even freakin' bother trying to keep up. He just can't stand letting her walk away, so he chases again when it's convenient for him.

  Kristin's been in training for the Avery Cup and trying to make it to Nick Wylie's team (and every time his name comes up, I read it as Noah Wylie) for... I don't know. It's an honor and a good thing and it means she's officially a pro or something. Whatever. Thing is, she's so shaken up by Bruce and the fights with her father that she keeps sucking spectacularly in her games/matches. Eventually she loses her shot at the team, but she tells Bruce off and things are good.

   Our B-plot concerns... Kristin. WTF, man. Kristin and her 'little sister' Emily. They play a lot of tennis together and when Kristin loses her shot at Wylie's team, she's worried that when she tells Emily, Em will be disappointed in her. Turns out Emily has bad news of her own. Emily tried out for a tennis camp and managed to blow her shot even bigger than Kristin did, saying she knew what she was doing was wrong even as she kept doing it. Then she tells Kristin that she'll understand if K doesn't want to be her big sister anymore.

  BAM. Kristin realizes that all this time she's been worrying for nothing. Her father loves her and would want her to be happy, even if that meant no tennis anymore. That her mother wouldn't want her to carry on doing something out of obligation. That failure is an option and not the end of the world. Because of course Kristin still likes Emily, tennis camp or not.

  Gotta say, I feel bad for the kids who thought this message was true only to find out that their parents did have a conditional sort of love. You know at least one of them had to have this problem... Anyway.

  Kristin and her dad talk it out, good times are had, and then Kristin gets a call. From Nick Wylie. Turns out Sharon twisted her ankle and cant compete for at least a month and a half, would K like to take her place? DUH.
  Happy ending there.

  PLUS, Kristin's coach who is always hanging around for whatever reason (because she's not only Kristin's coach, but the former Mrs. Thompson's best friend and doubles partner) and Mr. Thompson are in love. Probably. Not entirely sure because it's alluded to, but we're never given confirmation even though right after Mr. T sort of confesses, Kristin is all, "I'm so happy we can talk like this, so openly!" Dude, you didn't even let Daddy tell you whether he and Dorrie were still in like or had moved beyond that to stepmommy on the horizon. Some of us like to know these things, damn it!


   We set the scene for the next book (Jessica wants to be any sort of queen, and yes, you can make your own obvious joke... _now_), and I may or may not be dragging my feet because it means A.J. is toast.


Trivia:


  • Allison Post is described as a mini-Jessica. That said, apparently a strict diet of shopping and beach-time isn't enough for Allison as she seems a bit envious of other people's big sisters.

  • Jade Wu is paired with a wannabe dancer.

  • Lynne Henry, Maria Santelli, Olivia, Dee Dee, Cara, Caroline, Kristin, Jade, Liz, Enid, and Jessica all take part in the Big Sisters program.

  • Jessica takes credit for the program when telling A.J. about it.

  • Emily Brown is Kristin's little sister. She's nine and her mother died in a car crash last year. The only thing she seems interested in these days is tennis. She's small for her age, with smooth brown hair that's cut fairly short, dark brown eyes, and a shy, closed off expression.

  • Kristin is in Enid's math class.

  • Kristin's English paper is on The American Dream.

  • Apparently lunch @ SVH is an hour long. Jealous. Ours were shorter. Unless you had study period for third period and then, I don't know, cut study hall to eat lunch with your friends during their lunches...

  • Kristin's lunch period is at noon.

  • Kristin gets up at 6am to jog, lift weights, or run sprints. Then she goes to school, and after she meets Dorrie at the tennis club. They practice until dinner, then around 8:30/9pm she does her homework until lights out at 10:30.

  • Dorrie Graham is Kristin's tennis coach. She's 38, strikingly attractive with black hair (completely with grey streaks), and blue eyes. She was also Elise Randall Thompson's best friend and pro-doubles partner.

  • Kristin wants to qualify to play the Avery Cup on Nick Wylie's pro circuit tennis team.

  • Kristin has short auburn hair and wide set hazel eyes. Her favorite ice cream is double cheesecake with nuts. She's got a royal blue ten-speed, and practices four hours a day. Her mother died in a plane crash when Kristin was seven years old.

  • Neil Thompson owns several tennis clubs and is a partner in a tennis club outside San Diego. He went to Stamford.

  • Elise Randall, Kristin's mother, won the Us Open and died less than a year afterward. Made winning look effortless, married Neil when she was 19, upon graduation, borrowed money and opened their first tennis club together. Died en route to Wimbledon when her plane crashed into the Atlantic.

  • Kristin normally meets Dorrie at 3:30.

  • Bruce was playing against Adam Tyner and stomping Adam's ass.

  • Kristin advises Bruce to keep his harm completely straight on his backhand, to take only one step when serving instead of the two he has been taking, and to never, ever take his eye off the ball.

  • The first qualifying round for the Avery Cup is on Tuesday.

  • Bruce has a car phone and a big deal is made about compact discs.

  • Betsy Webber is Kristin's first opponent. She wins the first game, 7-5, Kristin barely wins the second set.

  • Wendy Gibson is the fifth seed

  • Jess, Allison, Elizabeth, and Kim (Liz's little sister) have a contest to see which pair of Bigs/Littles can make the most and best cookies. Jess and Allison make 50 cookies, but by omitting crucial ingredients, their cookies come out strangely pale and taste disgusting. While Liz and Kim only made three dozen cookies, theirs taste like cookies. Winners decide to help the losers clean up the messy kitchen.

  • When Kristin plays against Sharon, she wins the first game at 6-2, then loses the second 4-6, while the third game ends in a tie of 6-6. Sharon wins the tie-breaker and the slot on Nick's pro team.

  • Poor Sharon Owens sprains her ankle at the start of the Avery Cup (her second match) and Kristin is tapped as the new alternate to take her place.

  • Since when is the elementary school called Sweet Valley Grammar School?

  • Rachel Rose is a small, wiry, girl with dark, frizzy hair, and is expected to kick Kristin's ass during their match. Instead Kristin realizes that Rachel has no backhand and wins the match.

  • Longview Club was hosting the tournament.

  • Liz, Jeff, Jess, AJ, Enid, Bruce, Kim, Winston, and Amy all turn out to see Kristin kick Rachel's ass. 4-6 (Rachel won), 6-2, 6-4.

  • The Good Samaritans are business people who meet weekly for social and professional reasons. They're sponsoring a contest wherein students write about Sweet Valley in the Year 2000. The winner gets a $100 gift certificate to Laughton's, a downtown bookstore, a medal of honor, and becomes the king or queen of the Citizen's Day Ball.



Quote Me:

  "Hey, Jess," Cara teased, "remember who you're talking to. Kristin's ball boys are better tennis players than Bruce Patman is!" - point and match, Walker. p36

   The Patmans seemed to have an unlimited amount of money, and Kristin was beginning to suspect that Bruce had an unlimited ego as well. - What gave it away, Kristin? p 56

  Jessica and Lila exchanged glances. Bruce had dated Amy a few times in the past, but she'd acted as if they'd had a real relationship. Bruce had only ever seriously dated one girl, Regina Morrow, and her tragic death from trying cocaine had affected the whole school. Now Bruce was back to playing the field, but the merest suggestion that he might be interested in someone else was enough to drive Amy crazy. - p 77

  He acted as if she was the first girl who had ever criticized him! Well, if that was true, she hoped she had started a much needed trend. - Nice, Kristin. Next time, though, pour a drink on his head and push him into a pool or something, too. p 102


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   I just re-read this book (twice, actually) and in the couple of weeks it's been since I finished it, I've managed to forget, I don't know, 80% of it. Part of this may be due to the massive sinus infection/cold/whatever weird bug my nephew picked up at school and then shared that initially delayed this being reviewed. But part of it is... Kristin. Tennis. STAR.

Yawn?

:P

  Bruce manages to maintain a very shallow personality while still giving glimpses to the more interesting guy underneath, but as Regina proved, Good!Bruce is a little too dull and bad!Bruce is a little too jerkish for my tastes. I love that little bit about Amy being totally delusional as to how important her dates with Bruce were. Also, sometimes I wonder what Regina's death was like for the fringe students at the school. Did it really affect them, or are we to just care about the A-list?

  Also, apparently this is one of the later additions to my library because it's got the mark of the my former favorite used bookstore that stopped carrying SVH last year. Odds are good it wasn't added until just before then since it was never really high on my "must own!" list. I also want to say it's one of the few SVH books the library still carries. Hmm.
the_oracle: (tear)
Outcast
November 1987


Will anyone ever speak to Molly Hecht again?

No one to turn to...


   Ever since Regina Morrow's tragic death at Molly Hecht's party, everyone has been treating Molly as if she has the plague. Nobody at school wants to talk to her, her parents have permanently grounded her, and even her good friend Justin Belson is avoiding her. Every time Molly tries to make amends, nobody will listen.

   So when Buzz, a drug dealer who's hiding from the police, calls Molly and announces he's leaving town, she's more than ready to go with him. She'd rather flee to Mexico with Buzz than walk the halls of Sweet Valley High alone. Only Elizabeth senses that Molly is troubled, but even she may be too late to stop her from running away with a fugitive.


   Sorry this took so long, but I kept having to stop for fear that I might actually have a heart attack myself from the sheer mind numbing pain of it all. Which is weird, as I don't remember having that exact problem the first time I read it. Of course, I was skimming while trying to do something else at the same time, so that probably explains it, at least a little.

  The setup is simple. Molly Hecht has been made public enemy #1 at SVH. Everyone, including the teachers, blames her for Regina's death, at least in some small way. Everyone. Annnnnnd... I'm supposed to care because...?

   Now, on with the show. The book begins at Regina's memorial, where Nicholas has brought the house down with his heartfelt reading of one of Regina's favorite poems. Liz is wandering around backstage [even if it isn't literally backstage, that's how it comes across] and she comes across Bruce and Amy who are holding hands. Hell, if Bruce weren't known for thinking with his hormones first and foremost, I might even say he's not really aware of this at all. Amy, however, is looking defiant in her public declaration of affection for the dearly departed's recent ex. Classy, Sutton. Class-y. Liz comforts Bruce as best she can and tells him that he's a total asshole been forgiven. Regina didn't hold any ill will toward either of them. Sadly, one of the best moments happens right on page four.
  Amy looks deep into Elizabeth's soul, and for one brief, shining moment, we see a glimpse of the old Amy. Sweet, vulnerable, not a complete raging hormonal bitch, but someone who realizes that they might be held accountable for their actions and is afraid of what might happen... She asks if Liz is telling the truth, and when Liz assures her she is, their moment is lost forever. Oh, okay, fine, it's also the info dump for Amy/Liz-the tween years, but it's also a fairly nice moment all the same.

   After the memorial, Jeffrey drives Elizabeth home, and for a second you can hear my nine year old self sighing, and we notice that Ned's ugly ass car is home, as is Alice's car, and hell, even Steven's there. Before the grief overcomes them both, Jessica pulls up in the Fiat and the twins clasp hands, share their strength, and head inside as we marvel at how two identical people on the outside could be so different on the inside, and yet still both be torn by the loss of one friend. You know, glossing over the fact that Jessica was all for Regina's heartbreak being a spectator sport a week ago.

   If you thought the Wakefields were home just to comfort their daughters after a close friend died, you thought wrong. There's a mention of Regina's untimely death, but mostly it's, "Drugs! Bad! Don't do them!" I did like the way Steven pointed out that he understood how they felt given Regina's death, what with Tricia's death not being all that long ago. Then it's buried under some seriously heavy-handed don't do drugs stuff, and the moment is lost. Jessica vows to do something for Regina's memory, probably to help clear the guilt she's feeling away. This is also how Jessica deals with death. If she liked you, she does something to immortalize you in some way. Regina gets her Super Duper Secret Wait Til Later To Be Told Project and Sam will later get that bike rally. Like I said, it's Jessica's way.

   We flicker to Justin and he's realizing he royally fucked things up. Had he managed to get Molly out of his system properly, he wouldn't have taken Regina to the party, she'd still be alive, and maybe things wouldn't be so screwed up right now. He does a bit of raging against life and the irony of it all, thinking that things had finally turned a corner, only to have it be the same old crap, different day.
  So, Justin vows that to make things right, to keep this from ever happening again, he will finally cut all ties with his past. Including, ESPECIALLY, Molly. She's no good for him and you know, I kind of have to agree. He seems to have kicked any drug problem he might have had. She hasn't. While he hangs out at Kelly's drinking illegally, he doesn't seem to get drunk and whine about it so that I have to read about it. She's inviting Buzz over and still talking to him after Regina's death because she's just that conflicted. Justin seems to feel badly about Regina's death and not just how it affects him, but also how awful it is that she's not around anymore. Molly? Molly seems bothered that Regina happened to die at HER party. Not that someone died, just that by dying, it's seriously fucked her life up. Justin manages to capture my sympathy.

   Molly, however, does not. And since this is Molly's book, this is a problem.

   Backstory for Molly, or at least what we've been given. Her parents divorced and I gather it wasn't all that long ago. More than a year, but less than say, 15 years ago. Molly's parents don't seem to have an especially horrible relationship, but it doesn't seem to be all sunshine and roses since she's a bit bothered that it took hating on her to get her parents to agree on much of anything. But, at the same time, her father seems to be staying at the house after Molly's little party turned lethal, and there's no subsequent mention of her parents trying to kill each other, so they must be a little more than merely civil.
  The point is, I can feel bad for her in that her parents split up and that can't be easy. It's sort of implied that this is what set her down her road of questionable decisions, but never clearly stated. Her parents also seem to be kind of jerks, but then, they aren't painted with the same rainbow sparkles that Ned and Alice are, so maybe it's just that Molly thinks they are and so we see them that way. Truthfully, I can't blame them for not being warm and fuzzy towards their daughter after one of the richest teenagers in the city [town?] overdosed in their living room. My parents would have killed me.
  Instead, hers refuse to let her switch schools, drop out, or move to her father's to avoid the repercussions of her actions. They're waiting for someone to lead the lynch mob straight to Molly's locker and be done with her. Fair enough. You did the crime, the cops aren't making you do jail time, so you do your time in the school system that's going to make you wish you'd gone to jail. Tough love, baby. And I don't particularly fault them for it.

   Woe is Molly. Her parents are being total hardasses about this going to school and coming back in a reasonable amount of time thing. No one at school will talk to her. Everyone blames her for Regina's death. Hell, Molly says she does, too, but for someone claiming to take the blame, she's awfully fucking stupid. Days after Regina's death she tries to approach Elizabeth Wakefield, hoping for the absolution of the ever forgiving divine one. She waits until Jeffrey leaves and then makes her move. Liz, being polite and a little less saintly, doesn't run away, but she doesn't put on her Concerned!Face and immediately offer comfort. Instead she asks what Molly wants, very polite if a little strained, and Molly fumbles around. Understandable. A minute or two passes and Molly tries to string a semi-coherent thought together, but Saint Liz can't do this anymore. She tries to leave once more and Molly begs her not to hate her. And my heart breaks a little at this:


Elizabeth shook her head, her eyes bright with unshed tears, and took another step down. "I'm sorry, Molly, I can't talk to you."
"Liz! Please, don't-don't hate me," Molly begged pitifully.
There was a long pause. "I don't hate you, Molly," Elizabeth whispered. "But I loved Regina."


   It has it's flaws, but it's also the most polite way of breaking my heart and telling Molly to leave her alone all at once.
   Distraught, Molly flees the scene of her humiliation. She all but runs through town [city?] and ends up at the cemetery without even meaning to. She decides that since Liz cannot stand to see her, she hasn't a chance in hell with the other person she'd planned on begging forgiveness from [Regina's family, Nicholas to be exact] so instead she'll throw herself on Regina's mercy and confess her sins or something at Regina's grave. Oh, tear.
   Except Regina's grave is currently being visited by Nicholas Morrow, who is grieving in a way that's a little creepy and mostly realistic, given how he's been written to date. When Nicholas hears a twig snap, he goes to find out who has been spying on his grief. When he sees Molly, he flips the fuck out. "You killed my sister!" And with that, Molly is banished, and someone finally says the words I've been itching to hear this entire time. Someone flat out calls Molly a murderer to her Allison Sugarbaker face. SCORE.

   Now, remember Jessica's super-secret-plan? Well, she's decided that in memory of Regina, PBA should start a college scholarship fund for the truly needy at SVH. She figures that within a year they can raise a few thousand dollars and this way Regina's memory will live on each time someone is nominated and then when someone wins. At first everyone's overwhelmed by the amount of money they'd need to raise, as well as the logistics of the whole thing, but Lila steps up and says her father will donate a ton, and as if that weren't enough, she'll hit up the country club because everyone there knew Regina.
  True, but are the rich and spoiled of the Southern California area really going to throw money at a scholarship created for a girl who died of a cocaine overdose? Especially given the rich bitches we've met at the CC, like Gordon Stoddard's parents. I'm just saying...
   Anyway, with Lila's backing, the rest of PBA begins throwing fund raising ideas out like crazy. Still, Jessica's worried about the logistics of the whole thing and asks her parents to help her figure something out. Ned does her one better and suggests that his firm handle all the money and paperwork and basically everything she was worried about. I know people elsewhere, particularly 1bruce1 [love!], ask this all the time, but what in the fuck kind of lawyer IS Ned? I could see him having friends who could help out, sure, but always being able to do whatever lawyer-y thing is required? That's just... mind boggling. I know the series is written for younger girls, but is it also written BY them? You know, like when Doctor Barbie can do EVERYTHING because you've only got the four dolls, and one of them is missing a head so really, your choices are seriously limited? Good lord.

  Now, where were we? Oh, yes. Molly's wallowing in self pity when she gets a call from Buzz, our friendly neighborhood coke/heroin dealer. He lays it on with a trowel. How is she, doesn't everyone suck for holding her accountable for Regina's actions, isn't she lonely, does she miss him, he misses her, gosh, if only they could meet...
  And so they do, outside of Kelly's. You'd think the cops would have Kelly's on their radar, but maybe Mr. Fowler is right. Maybe the SVPD really does suck. Again, Buzz is so obvious that I'm thinking all that coke Molly's done has killed all her braincells. Imagine, if you will, if someone came up to you with this:
  Hey, baby. I've missed you. Sucks that everyone's on your case. By the way, I think I like you. So, that kiss was great for me, even though I saw you recoil from it and all, but uh, listen, I've got to get out of town. I know, baby, it sucks that we've finally found each other and all, but the cops... well, you know what they're like. Say, hey, got any money? You do? Could you, I dunno, withdraw all of it? You could? Fab! Maybe we could... well, no. I couldn't ask. Ask what? Well, we could run away. Sure. You go the bank, take all YOUR money out, then WE'LL run away, but you'll only be gone a few days. I'll keep the rest of your cash. Sound good? Awesome. Now get the fuck out of my car, skank.

  That is pretty much how the Buzz convo went, but a little more fun. And Molly agrees because OMG, if you missed it, the last few days have been HORRIBLE for her. Because she helped kill a girl.
  You see my problem with feeling bad for her, right?
  Yes?
  No?
  Bah.

  Anyway, Liz gets to thinking and she feels as if her halo is tarnished now that she's turned her back on someone for entirely justifiable reasons. She and Jeffrey chatter and he points out that it's okay to not want to talk to Molly, it doesn't make Liz anything but human... and Liz cannot have this. She's a saint, damn it, and she's going to rectify this!
  Only she still can't talk to Molly without wanting to weep for Regina's loss. So she decides that Justin would make an excellent replacement Saint. Except when she calls him [during the middle of her date with Jeffrey!] Justin tells her to go fuck herself. He's worked hard to distance himself from that pariah and Liz doesn't know a damn thing about what she's talking about. Which is true. Liz knows less than Regina knew about Justin's life, and we really don't know why Justin and Molly broke up, other than they eventually did not see eye-to-eye on the drug situation. Whatever, he's got his reasons and it's incredibly rude of Elizabeth to just assume Justin will do what Elizabeth cannot bring herself to do.
  So Liz worries. Nicholas comes over the next morning and Jessica brightens at the sight of him, and I know it's stupid, but I always feel for her when Nicholas so blatantly ignores her the second Liz glides into the room. I'm also painfully proud of the series for never having him come around to the Jessica way of thinking, although I'm not sure they would have made an absolutely horrid couple.
   Enough fantasy, back to the fictional reality. Liz and Nicholas discuss how he was dreadful to Molly [mock? Me? Neverrrrrrrr] and Liz sort of, but not really, cops to being less than sweet with Molly herself. I love that he's flogging himself for being completely upset, and she won't even volunteer her story to make him feel slightly better. God, Liz, that's how this game is played.
  Nicholas asks Elizabeth to tell Molly he's sorry and Elizabeth sort of agrees, but doesn't actually do it.

  Blah blah blah, I started to die here from sheer annoyance and boredom all at the same time, so things get fuzzy. Molly goes to the bank, tries to close her account but gets pissed when she's told she has to fill out paperwork to do that.
  Molly: Well, what if I don't take out everything. Would I still have to fill out the papers then?
  Clerk: You wouldn't be closing out your account then, now would you? *IDIOT thought bubble*

  Molly takes out everything but fourteen bucks and some change and then runs into Liz. Because Liz is everywhere. For those of you who now have the SVH themesong stuck your head, I truly do apologize. For those that don't, I'm jealous.
  Somewhere in this muck Liz is writing up an article about the PBA scholarship and there's a discussion about how horribly everyone is treating Molly and for the briefest second we're told how hard this must be on Olivia, since she spent a lot of time with Bruce/Regina, and how the two were close. Poor Liv. Your pain is cut off by the appearance of Mr. Collins who blathers on about how people are perfectly justified in thinking Molly is a murderous bitch, but that they should also realize how hard this is on her and maybe if people like Jessica Fucking Wakefield would stop going around being such bitches, well, things might not be so bad. I really can't tell how he manages to admit he holds Molly accountable for Regina's death and still gives Jessica grief for voicing the same opinion. However, before my mind imploded, there was a note about how Jessica's tendency to blurt out her misguided opinions really does embarrass her twin more often than not. Score!

  Justin's been looking for Molly after another chat with Liz, but he's having as much trouble finding her as Nicholas did trying to save Regina. Only with detention and whatnot instead of a trip to county lockup. Liz gets a hold of him and tells him that Molly's been to the bank and taken out a huge wad of fifties and this just cannot be good. Justin finds Molly and Buzz and there's this whole big fight scene and it ends with Buzz having a glass jaw.
  Molly and Justin are reunited, Liz is vindicated and reestablishes herself as a saint when she tells Molly that she's a shoo-in for the Regina Scholarship next year, and I die horribly at all of this crap.*
  There's the lead in to #42, with Sandra Bacon [god, why is she Bacon? Kevin Bacon tie-in?] annnnnd her lovey dovey Manuel, but her parents are racist and nothing good will come of this to the point that even Cara and Jessica know this.
  But what really brings me back to life is the knowledge that the next actual book is the first thriller. THANK YOU, GOD.


Trivia:

  • Liz absolves Amy and Bruce at the memorial, and then she and Amy have a soul searching moment.

  • Steve claims that it was Tricia's death that caused Betsy to turn to drugs, but in reality [and the dumbass should know this] her death caused Betsy to KICK her habit. Tricia's illness, however, accelerated Betsy's drug usage. Fail, ghosty.

  • The PBA meeting about Regina's memorial is held in the Language Lab at lunch.

  • At the meeting, Maria Santelli breaks down and Jeannie West comforts her.

  • The night Jessica asks her parents for help with the memorial, they've just had Chinese for dinner. Everyone. Including Ned. Numerous times have we been told he can't/won't eat it and suddenly it's delicious? Pod person!

  • Speaking of Ned, does he work at the SV branch of Wolfram and Heart because damn, his firm does it all.

  • Nicholas blames Molly for Regina's death. SCORE.

  • Lila is the first to step up at the meeting and offer a fund raising idea. Namely, her daddy's checkbook is theirs. Then she offers up the checkbooks of the SV Country Club members. Susan can get her hands on "a lot of movies that we can charge admission for." Other ideas include: getting stores to donate merchandise for raffles. Ads in the newspaper, telethon on public access TV, car washes, bake sales, door-to-door solicitation, though probably not in the prostitution sort of way.

  • After Nicholas reads one of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poems at the memorial, Liz goes to find more and is reminded most of Regina when she reads "Time does not bring relief, you all have lied."

  • Liz also admits that she keeps expecting to see Regina.

  • Jessica's fortune cookie read: Today is a good day to make plans.

  • Justin's mother's name is Claire Belson.

  • Molly's mother has a two hour commute to work, which means she has to leave at 6am. This also means she goes to sleep fairly early. But if she's home at 3 in the afternoon, she has a very, very short work day...

  • Molly's home is a one story ranch house, meaning she can sneak out her window without fear of a Pollyanna moment.

  • Molly hitchhikes to Kelly's so she can meet Buzz in the parking lot at 10pm. Cuz that's not dangerous at all.

  • Nicholas uses the Wakefield's backdoor more than anyone else, except maybe Alice. Weird.

  • Justin has a five page paper due on Hamlet's soliloquy, and Liz offers to help. In exchange, if he could just talk to that strung out Molly so Liz doesn't have to...?

  • According to Sandy's parents, Sweet Valley is "overrun with immigrants." Ah, lovely.

  • Molly has $2,314.83 in her account at Union Bank. She withdraws $2,300 so she won't have to fill out paperwork. Then she gets it all in fifties. Oi.

  • Molly has American History in room 211.

  • Justin gets busted by Chrome Dome waiting for Molly outside of her American History class. D'oh!

  • Buzz takes Route 7 South out of town because hardly anyone uses it. And because he's running to Mexico.

  • This book takes place over less than two weeks. That's right, Molly breaks in record time.




Quotable SVH:

  Now, for the first time since Amy's return, Elizabeth felt as if they were looking straight into each other's hearts. - after Liz tells Bruce and Amy that Regina didn't blame them anymore, p4

  It was well known that Elizabeth Wakefield could be counted on as sympathetic, honest, and scrupulously fair. - Molly thinks this while debating asking Liz for forgiveness or to understand how bad Molly feels. I snorted my soda at this. p 44

  "Haven't you done enough damage already? Do you have to make it worse by coming here and-and-" Nicholas was yelling now, outraged by her presence.
  "Nicholas-I-"
  "Get out of here!" he screamed, raising one hand as if to hit her. "Get out of here and leave us alone! You killed my sister! You killed her!" - Finally, something that resembles an honest emotion from a SV character. p 50

  "And I think she really needs a friend right now. She's feeling pretty isolated."
  There was silence on the other end.
  "Justin?"
  "What are you asking me for? She's no friend of mine."
  Elizabeth pulled nervously at her gold lavaliere. "Well, you used to be close, didn't you, Justin? I mean maybe she's been acting-I don't know, pretty wild lately-"
  "Pretty wild? Elizabeth, I don't think you have any idea what you're talking about." - Justin speaks true. So very, very true. p67

  Just then Elizabeth pushed open the door from the hall.
  "Nicholas!"
  Instantly he leaped to his feet and Jessica knew she had been forgotten. - It's not often I feel truly sorry for Jess, but this is one of those times. p86

  Molly felt her face grow hard. Why was it that when Elizabeth talked to Justin, he listened, but when Molly did, he bolted like a frightened rabbit? Her eyes narrowed with a rage she didn't know she could feel.
  "No, thanks. I've been your scapegoat long enough, Elizabeth. So you can take your talking and shove it." - Do I really need to say anything? p 113

  It hurt her sometimes that her sister could be insensitive to other people. and it hurt her that she hadn't been able to make Jessica understand. - Liz occasionally is embarrassed by her twin's lack of moral compass and empathy. Who knew? p 127




  *- Normally I love my SVH. I do. Lots of things grate, obviously, but for the most part, I love the series. But this book drove me absolutely insane. You might have noticed. I suspect that I've never actually read 40 and then 41 back to back and doing so makes my head hurt because it takes two weeks from Regina's death until Molly's redemption and that's just beyond unrealistic, even for this series.
   Also, Molly should be relatable, but they never actually make her so. The pieces are mostly there, but they never quite add up to anything more than a really annoying teenager unable to accept that they played a part in a horrible accident that cost someone their life. It's all about how Regina's death fucked her over, not that in addition to someone. is. dead. That's all you'd have to add for me to feel the love. I don't expect fantastic things of these guys. Be bitchy and cruel and petty. It's realistic! But if I'm supposed to give a right royal damn, I'd like you to show you're a semi decent fictional human being, too.
   Unless you're a psychopath like Margo, but really, she's in a class by herself.

  I do have to wonder: Where the hell are Jan and her boyfriend? Why aren't they even mentioned in any of the nasty remarks other people made? Did they go to jail? Were they sent to another school? Did the cops kill them, dump their bodies in the ocean, and hope that we wouldn't notice? Because Molly's suddenly friendless and in the last book she at least had Jan. Not that Jan was a prize, mind you, but she did exist. I'm so... confused.

  There are a few gems littered throughout the book that keep it from being a complete headache, and I think I love them more for that. Go figure. you tried, Outcast. You really did. You just forgot to have a little heart thrown in, that's all.
  So now I resume trying to figure out who the hell the girls gossiping being Molly's back on the cover are. Cuz, whoa, if this didn't have the traditional SVH logo, I'd assume it was something else entirely.

the_oracle: (tear)
Outcast
November 1987


Will anyone ever speak to Molly Hecht again?

No one to turn to...


   Ever since Regina Morrow's tragic death at Molly Hecht's party, everyone has been treating Molly as if she has the plague. Nobody at school wants to talk to her, her parents have permanently grounded her, and even her good friend Justin Belson is avoiding her. Every time Molly tries to make amends, nobody will listen.

   So when Buzz, a drug dealer who's hiding from the police, calls Molly and announces he's leaving town, she's more than ready to go with him. She'd rather flee to Mexico with Buzz than walk the halls of Sweet Valley High alone. Only Elizabeth senses that Molly is troubled, but even she may be too late to stop her from running away with a fugitive.


   Sorry this took so long, but I kept having to stop for fear that I might actually have a heart attack myself from the sheer mind numbing pain of it all. Which is weird, as I don't remember having that exact problem the first time I read it. Of course, I was skimming while trying to do something else at the same time, so that probably explains it, at least a little.

  The setup is simple. Molly Hecht has been made public enemy #1 at SVH. Everyone, including the teachers, blames her for Regina's death, at least in some small way. Everyone. Annnnnnd... I'm supposed to care because...?

   Now, on with the show. The book begins at Regina's memorial, where Nicholas has brought the house down with his heartfelt reading of one of Regina's favorite poems. Liz is wandering around backstage [even if it isn't literally backstage, that's how it comes across] and she comes across Bruce and Amy who are holding hands. Hell, if Bruce weren't known for thinking with his hormones first and foremost, I might even say he's not really aware of this at all. Amy, however, is looking defiant in her public declaration of affection for the dearly departed's recent ex. Classy, Sutton. Class-y. Liz comforts Bruce as best she can and tells him that he's a total asshole been forgiven. Regina didn't hold any ill will toward either of them. Sadly, one of the best moments happens right on page four.
  Amy looks deep into Elizabeth's soul, and for one brief, shining moment, we see a glimpse of the old Amy. Sweet, vulnerable, not a complete raging hormonal bitch, but someone who realizes that they might be held accountable for their actions and is afraid of what might happen... She asks if Liz is telling the truth, and when Liz assures her she is, their moment is lost forever. Oh, okay, fine, it's also the info dump for Amy/Liz-the tween years, but it's also a fairly nice moment all the same.

   After the memorial, Jeffrey drives Elizabeth home, and for a second you can hear my nine year old self sighing, and we notice that Ned's ugly ass car is home, as is Alice's car, and hell, even Steven's there. Before the grief overcomes them both, Jessica pulls up in the Fiat and the twins clasp hands, share their strength, and head inside as we marvel at how two identical people on the outside could be so different on the inside, and yet still both be torn by the loss of one friend. You know, glossing over the fact that Jessica was all for Regina's heartbreak being a spectator sport a week ago.

   If you thought the Wakefields were home just to comfort their daughters after a close friend died, you thought wrong. There's a mention of Regina's untimely death, but mostly it's, "Drugs! Bad! Don't do them!" I did like the way Steven pointed out that he understood how they felt given Regina's death, what with Tricia's death not being all that long ago. Then it's buried under some seriously heavy-handed don't do drugs stuff, and the moment is lost. Jessica vows to do something for Regina's memory, probably to help clear the guilt she's feeling away. This is also how Jessica deals with death. If she liked you, she does something to immortalize you in some way. Regina gets her Super Duper Secret Wait Til Later To Be Told Project and Sam will later get that bike rally. Like I said, it's Jessica's way.

   We flicker to Justin and he's realizing he royally fucked things up. Had he managed to get Molly out of his system properly, he wouldn't have taken Regina to the party, she'd still be alive, and maybe things wouldn't be so screwed up right now. He does a bit of raging against life and the irony of it all, thinking that things had finally turned a corner, only to have it be the same old crap, different day.
  So, Justin vows that to make things right, to keep this from ever happening again, he will finally cut all ties with his past. Including, ESPECIALLY, Molly. She's no good for him and you know, I kind of have to agree. He seems to have kicked any drug problem he might have had. She hasn't. While he hangs out at Kelly's drinking illegally, he doesn't seem to get drunk and whine about it so that I have to read about it. She's inviting Buzz over and still talking to him after Regina's death because she's just that conflicted. Justin seems to feel badly about Regina's death and not just how it affects him, but also how awful it is that she's not around anymore. Molly? Molly seems bothered that Regina happened to die at HER party. Not that someone died, just that by dying, it's seriously fucked her life up. Justin manages to capture my sympathy.

   Molly, however, does not. And since this is Molly's book, this is a problem.

   Backstory for Molly, or at least what we've been given. Her parents divorced and I gather it wasn't all that long ago. More than a year, but less than say, 15 years ago. Molly's parents don't seem to have an especially horrible relationship, but it doesn't seem to be all sunshine and roses since she's a bit bothered that it took hating on her to get her parents to agree on much of anything. But, at the same time, her father seems to be staying at the house after Molly's little party turned lethal, and there's no subsequent mention of her parents trying to kill each other, so they must be a little more than merely civil.
  The point is, I can feel bad for her in that her parents split up and that can't be easy. It's sort of implied that this is what set her down her road of questionable decisions, but never clearly stated. Her parents also seem to be kind of jerks, but then, they aren't painted with the same rainbow sparkles that Ned and Alice are, so maybe it's just that Molly thinks they are and so we see them that way. Truthfully, I can't blame them for not being warm and fuzzy towards their daughter after one of the richest teenagers in the city [town?] overdosed in their living room. My parents would have killed me.
  Instead, hers refuse to let her switch schools, drop out, or move to her father's to avoid the repercussions of her actions. They're waiting for someone to lead the lynch mob straight to Molly's locker and be done with her. Fair enough. You did the crime, the cops aren't making you do jail time, so you do your time in the school system that's going to make you wish you'd gone to jail. Tough love, baby. And I don't particularly fault them for it.

   Woe is Molly. Her parents are being total hardasses about this going to school and coming back in a reasonable amount of time thing. No one at school will talk to her. Everyone blames her for Regina's death. Hell, Molly says she does, too, but for someone claiming to take the blame, she's awfully fucking stupid. Days after Regina's death she tries to approach Elizabeth Wakefield, hoping for the absolution of the ever forgiving divine one. She waits until Jeffrey leaves and then makes her move. Liz, being polite and a little less saintly, doesn't run away, but she doesn't put on her Concerned!Face and immediately offer comfort. Instead she asks what Molly wants, very polite if a little strained, and Molly fumbles around. Understandable. A minute or two passes and Molly tries to string a semi-coherent thought together, but Saint Liz can't do this anymore. She tries to leave once more and Molly begs her not to hate her. And my heart breaks a little at this:


Elizabeth shook her head, her eyes bright with unshed tears, and took another step down. "I'm sorry, Molly, I can't talk to you."
"Liz! Please, don't-don't hate me," Molly begged pitifully.
There was a long pause. "I don't hate you, Molly," Elizabeth whispered. "But I loved Regina."


   It has it's flaws, but it's also the most polite way of breaking my heart and telling Molly to leave her alone all at once.
   Distraught, Molly flees the scene of her humiliation. She all but runs through town [city?] and ends up at the cemetery without even meaning to. She decides that since Liz cannot stand to see her, she hasn't a chance in hell with the other person she'd planned on begging forgiveness from [Regina's family, Nicholas to be exact] so instead she'll throw herself on Regina's mercy and confess her sins or something at Regina's grave. Oh, tear.
   Except Regina's grave is currently being visited by Nicholas Morrow, who is grieving in a way that's a little creepy and mostly realistic, given how he's been written to date. When Nicholas hears a twig snap, he goes to find out who has been spying on his grief. When he sees Molly, he flips the fuck out. "You killed my sister!" And with that, Molly is banished, and someone finally says the words I've been itching to hear this entire time. Someone flat out calls Molly a murderer to her Allison Sugarbaker face. SCORE.

   Now, remember Jessica's super-secret-plan? Well, she's decided that in memory of Regina, PBA should start a college scholarship fund for the truly needy at SVH. She figures that within a year they can raise a few thousand dollars and this way Regina's memory will live on each time someone is nominated and then when someone wins. At first everyone's overwhelmed by the amount of money they'd need to raise, as well as the logistics of the whole thing, but Lila steps up and says her father will donate a ton, and as if that weren't enough, she'll hit up the country club because everyone there knew Regina.
  True, but are the rich and spoiled of the Southern California area really going to throw money at a scholarship created for a girl who died of a cocaine overdose? Especially given the rich bitches we've met at the CC, like Gordon Stoddard's parents. I'm just saying...
   Anyway, with Lila's backing, the rest of PBA begins throwing fund raising ideas out like crazy. Still, Jessica's worried about the logistics of the whole thing and asks her parents to help her figure something out. Ned does her one better and suggests that his firm handle all the money and paperwork and basically everything she was worried about. I know people elsewhere, particularly 1bruce1 [love!], ask this all the time, but what in the fuck kind of lawyer IS Ned? I could see him having friends who could help out, sure, but always being able to do whatever lawyer-y thing is required? That's just... mind boggling. I know the series is written for younger girls, but is it also written BY them? You know, like when Doctor Barbie can do EVERYTHING because you've only got the four dolls, and one of them is missing a head so really, your choices are seriously limited? Good lord.

  Now, where were we? Oh, yes. Molly's wallowing in self pity when she gets a call from Buzz, our friendly neighborhood coke/heroin dealer. He lays it on with a trowel. How is she, doesn't everyone suck for holding her accountable for Regina's actions, isn't she lonely, does she miss him, he misses her, gosh, if only they could meet...
  And so they do, outside of Kelly's. You'd think the cops would have Kelly's on their radar, but maybe Mr. Fowler is right. Maybe the SVPD really does suck. Again, Buzz is so obvious that I'm thinking all that coke Molly's done has killed all her braincells. Imagine, if you will, if someone came up to you with this:
  Hey, baby. I've missed you. Sucks that everyone's on your case. By the way, I think I like you. So, that kiss was great for me, even though I saw you recoil from it and all, but uh, listen, I've got to get out of town. I know, baby, it sucks that we've finally found each other and all, but the cops... well, you know what they're like. Say, hey, got any money? You do? Could you, I dunno, withdraw all of it? You could? Fab! Maybe we could... well, no. I couldn't ask. Ask what? Well, we could run away. Sure. You go the bank, take all YOUR money out, then WE'LL run away, but you'll only be gone a few days. I'll keep the rest of your cash. Sound good? Awesome. Now get the fuck out of my car, skank.

  That is pretty much how the Buzz convo went, but a little more fun. And Molly agrees because OMG, if you missed it, the last few days have been HORRIBLE for her. Because she helped kill a girl.
  You see my problem with feeling bad for her, right?
  Yes?
  No?
  Bah.

  Anyway, Liz gets to thinking and she feels as if her halo is tarnished now that she's turned her back on someone for entirely justifiable reasons. She and Jeffrey chatter and he points out that it's okay to not want to talk to Molly, it doesn't make Liz anything but human... and Liz cannot have this. She's a saint, damn it, and she's going to rectify this!
  Only she still can't talk to Molly without wanting to weep for Regina's loss. So she decides that Justin would make an excellent replacement Saint. Except when she calls him [during the middle of her date with Jeffrey!] Justin tells her to go fuck herself. He's worked hard to distance himself from that pariah and Liz doesn't know a damn thing about what she's talking about. Which is true. Liz knows less than Regina knew about Justin's life, and we really don't know why Justin and Molly broke up, other than they eventually did not see eye-to-eye on the drug situation. Whatever, he's got his reasons and it's incredibly rude of Elizabeth to just assume Justin will do what Elizabeth cannot bring herself to do.
  So Liz worries. Nicholas comes over the next morning and Jessica brightens at the sight of him, and I know it's stupid, but I always feel for her when Nicholas so blatantly ignores her the second Liz glides into the room. I'm also painfully proud of the series for never having him come around to the Jessica way of thinking, although I'm not sure they would have made an absolutely horrid couple.
   Enough fantasy, back to the fictional reality. Liz and Nicholas discuss how he was dreadful to Molly [mock? Me? Neverrrrrrrr] and Liz sort of, but not really, cops to being less than sweet with Molly herself. I love that he's flogging himself for being completely upset, and she won't even volunteer her story to make him feel slightly better. God, Liz, that's how this game is played.
  Nicholas asks Elizabeth to tell Molly he's sorry and Elizabeth sort of agrees, but doesn't actually do it.

  Blah blah blah, I started to die here from sheer annoyance and boredom all at the same time, so things get fuzzy. Molly goes to the bank, tries to close her account but gets pissed when she's told she has to fill out paperwork to do that.
  Molly: Well, what if I don't take out everything. Would I still have to fill out the papers then?
  Clerk: You wouldn't be closing out your account then, now would you? *IDIOT thought bubble*

  Molly takes out everything but fourteen bucks and some change and then runs into Liz. Because Liz is everywhere. For those of you who now have the SVH themesong stuck your head, I truly do apologize. For those that don't, I'm jealous.
  Somewhere in this muck Liz is writing up an article about the PBA scholarship and there's a discussion about how horribly everyone is treating Molly and for the briefest second we're told how hard this must be on Olivia, since she spent a lot of time with Bruce/Regina, and how the two were close. Poor Liv. Your pain is cut off by the appearance of Mr. Collins who blathers on about how people are perfectly justified in thinking Molly is a murderous bitch, but that they should also realize how hard this is on her and maybe if people like Jessica Fucking Wakefield would stop going around being such bitches, well, things might not be so bad. I really can't tell how he manages to admit he holds Molly accountable for Regina's death and still gives Jessica grief for voicing the same opinion. However, before my mind imploded, there was a note about how Jessica's tendency to blurt out her misguided opinions really does embarrass her twin more often than not. Score!

  Justin's been looking for Molly after another chat with Liz, but he's having as much trouble finding her as Nicholas did trying to save Regina. Only with detention and whatnot instead of a trip to county lockup. Liz gets a hold of him and tells him that Molly's been to the bank and taken out a huge wad of fifties and this just cannot be good. Justin finds Molly and Buzz and there's this whole big fight scene and it ends with Buzz having a glass jaw.
  Molly and Justin are reunited, Liz is vindicated and reestablishes herself as a saint when she tells Molly that she's a shoo-in for the Regina Scholarship next year, and I die horribly at all of this crap.*
  There's the lead in to #42, with Sandra Bacon [god, why is she Bacon? Kevin Bacon tie-in?] annnnnd her lovey dovey Manuel, but her parents are racist and nothing good will come of this to the point that even Cara and Jessica know this.
  But what really brings me back to life is the knowledge that the next actual book is the first thriller. THANK YOU, GOD.


Trivia:

  • Liz absolves Amy and Bruce at the memorial, and then she and Amy have a soul searching moment.

  • Steve claims that it was Tricia's death that caused Betsy to turn to drugs, but in reality [and the dumbass should know this] her death caused Betsy to KICK her habit. Tricia's illness, however, accelerated Betsy's drug usage. Fail, ghosty.

  • The PBA meeting about Regina's memorial is held in the Language Lab at lunch.

  • At the meeting, Maria Santelli breaks down and Jeannie West comforts her.

  • The night Jessica asks her parents for help with the memorial, they've just had Chinese for dinner. Everyone. Including Ned. Numerous times have we been told he can't/won't eat it and suddenly it's delicious? Pod person!

  • Speaking of Ned, does he work at the SV branch of Wolfram and Heart because damn, his firm does it all.

  • Nicholas blames Molly for Regina's death. SCORE.

  • Lila is the first to step up at the meeting and offer a fund raising idea. Namely, her daddy's checkbook is theirs. Then she offers up the checkbooks of the SV Country Club members. Susan can get her hands on "a lot of movies that we can charge admission for." Other ideas include: getting stores to donate merchandise for raffles. Ads in the newspaper, telethon on public access TV, car washes, bake sales, door-to-door solicitation, though probably not in the prostitution sort of way.

  • After Nicholas reads one of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poems at the memorial, Liz goes to find more and is reminded most of Regina when she reads "Time does not bring relief, you all have lied."

  • Liz also admits that she keeps expecting to see Regina.

  • Jessica's fortune cookie read: Today is a good day to make plans.

  • Justin's mother's name is Claire Belson.

  • Molly's mother has a two hour commute to work, which means she has to leave at 6am. This also means she goes to sleep fairly early. But if she's home at 3 in the afternoon, she has a very, very short work day...

  • Molly's home is a one story ranch house, meaning she can sneak out her window without fear of a Pollyanna moment.

  • Molly hitchhikes to Kelly's so she can meet Buzz in the parking lot at 10pm. Cuz that's not dangerous at all.

  • Nicholas uses the Wakefield's backdoor more than anyone else, except maybe Alice. Weird.

  • Justin has a five page paper due on Hamlet's soliloquy, and Liz offers to help. In exchange, if he could just talk to that strung out Molly so Liz doesn't have to...?

  • According to Sandy's parents, Sweet Valley is "overrun with immigrants." Ah, lovely.

  • Molly has $2,314.83 in her account at Union Bank. She withdraws $2,300 so she won't have to fill out paperwork. Then she gets it all in fifties. Oi.

  • Molly has American History in room 211.

  • Justin gets busted by Chrome Dome waiting for Molly outside of her American History class. D'oh!

  • Buzz takes Route 7 South out of town because hardly anyone uses it. And because he's running to Mexico.

  • This book takes place over less than two weeks. That's right, Molly breaks in record time.




Quotable SVH:

  Now, for the first time since Amy's return, Elizabeth felt as if they were looking straight into each other's hearts. - after Liz tells Bruce and Amy that Regina didn't blame them anymore, p4

  It was well known that Elizabeth Wakefield could be counted on as sympathetic, honest, and scrupulously fair. - Molly thinks this while debating asking Liz for forgiveness or to understand how bad Molly feels. I snorted my soda at this. p 44

  "Haven't you done enough damage already? Do you have to make it worse by coming here and-and-" Nicholas was yelling now, outraged by her presence.
  "Nicholas-I-"
  "Get out of here!" he screamed, raising one hand as if to hit her. "Get out of here and leave us alone! You killed my sister! You killed her!" - Finally, something that resembles an honest emotion from a SV character. p 50

  "And I think she really needs a friend right now. She's feeling pretty isolated."
  There was silence on the other end.
  "Justin?"
  "What are you asking me for? She's no friend of mine."
  Elizabeth pulled nervously at her gold lavaliere. "Well, you used to be close, didn't you, Justin? I mean maybe she's been acting-I don't know, pretty wild lately-"
  "Pretty wild? Elizabeth, I don't think you have any idea what you're talking about." - Justin speaks true. So very, very true. p67

  Just then Elizabeth pushed open the door from the hall.
  "Nicholas!"
  Instantly he leaped to his feet and Jessica knew she had been forgotten. - It's not often I feel truly sorry for Jess, but this is one of those times. p86

  Molly felt her face grow hard. Why was it that when Elizabeth talked to Justin, he listened, but when Molly did, he bolted like a frightened rabbit? Her eyes narrowed with a rage she didn't know she could feel.
  "No, thanks. I've been your scapegoat long enough, Elizabeth. So you can take your talking and shove it." - Do I really need to say anything? p 113

  It hurt her sometimes that her sister could be insensitive to other people. and it hurt her that she hadn't been able to make Jessica understand. - Liz occasionally is embarrassed by her twin's lack of moral compass and empathy. Who knew? p 127




  *- Normally I love my SVH. I do. Lots of things grate, obviously, but for the most part, I love the series. But this book drove me absolutely insane. You might have noticed. I suspect that I've never actually read 40 and then 41 back to back and doing so makes my head hurt because it takes two weeks from Regina's death until Molly's redemption and that's just beyond unrealistic, even for this series.
   Also, Molly should be relatable, but they never actually make her so. The pieces are mostly there, but they never quite add up to anything more than a really annoying teenager unable to accept that they played a part in a horrible accident that cost someone their life. It's all about how Regina's death fucked her over, not that in addition to someone. is. dead. That's all you'd have to add for me to feel the love. I don't expect fantastic things of these guys. Be bitchy and cruel and petty. It's realistic! But if I'm supposed to give a right royal damn, I'd like you to show you're a semi decent fictional human being, too.
   Unless you're a psychopath like Margo, but really, she's in a class by herself.

  I do have to wonder: Where the hell are Jan and her boyfriend? Why aren't they even mentioned in any of the nasty remarks other people made? Did they go to jail? Were they sent to another school? Did the cops kill them, dump their bodies in the ocean, and hope that we wouldn't notice? Because Molly's suddenly friendless and in the last book she at least had Jan. Not that Jan was a prize, mind you, but she did exist. I'm so... confused.

  There are a few gems littered throughout the book that keep it from being a complete headache, and I think I love them more for that. Go figure. you tried, Outcast. You really did. You just forgot to have a little heart thrown in, that's all.
  So now I resume trying to figure out who the hell the girls gossiping being Molly's back on the cover are. Cuz, whoa, if this didn't have the traditional SVH logo, I'd assume it was something else entirely.

the_oracle: (left of normal)
On The Edge
October 1987


Is it all over between Regina and Bruce?

Headed for trouble...


   Regina Morrow and Bruce Patman have been going together for months. But when beautiful, devious Amy Sutton is paired up with Bruce on a school project, she schemes to steal him away from Regina. Little by little Bruce's resistance to Amy's charms begins to crumble.
   Regina is furious when she discovers that Bruce has been seeing Amy behind her back. Hurt and betrayed, she turns to Justin Belson, a troubled senior at Sweet Valley High. Regina's friends are worried. They think Justin and his crowd are bad news-it's rumored that some of them are drug users. Is Regina on a dangerous course?


  In case you've been living under a rock, Bruce Patman and Regina Morrow have been dating for what seems like forever. Everyone is so used to them as a couple that when Amy Sutton makes it known that she's got the hots for Bruce, no one really believes she has a chance at anything other than humiliation.
  So when Maria Santelli tells Jessica that Bruce actually is fawning all over Amy, Jessica decides this little bit of gossip is worth a listen. Amy and Bruce have been paired up for a project in health class about the exploding drug community/usage at nearby SVC. This blows my mind for two reasons. One, Bruce is a senior and the thought of him in health class with juniors is weird, although I do understand that the electives are mixed. It's still... weird. Two, and most important, what frickin' drug use in SV? The only real people we've heard about using are old friends of Enid's and the skeevy guys Jessica sneaks out to date with disastrous results. If the SVPD really wants to catch these people, just follow the youngest Wakefield when she goes out with almost any given college guy. Duh.
  Anyway, Amy's been manipulating things so that her cousin, Mimi, their biggest source of information, will only meet with them on Friday nights, thus keeping Bruce away from Regina on what are traditionally date nights. Oh, Amy. She gets Bruce alone one day at his estate, puts her acting classes to good use, and weaves him this story of a dream she allegedly had where they were in the middle of nowhere, discussing their project, when suddenly... no, she couldn't possibly go on. Bruce insists, just as Amy knew he would, and she leans closer and whispers, "and then you kissed me." Bruce is actually kind of flustered, torn between Old!Bruce and New!Bruce. Old!Bruce would have already jumped Amy by now, but New!Bruce has Regina... Sensing this could go either way, Amy then asks whether it would matter if she admitted she really, really wanted him to kiss her. The next thing you know, Bruce is giving Amy the single most chaste kiss in all of SVH thus far. Amy pouts and lunges at Bruce, demanding a real kiss, which she then gives him.
  Thus, I'm torn. Bruce made the first move, but Amy'd started that fire, deliberately, and then did everything she could to keep it going, even when Bruce didn't seem to be going along with the script she'd so thoughtfully provided. Yes, he's an ass, but Amy earns my scorn for this little move, and no, I will not get over this. I will spend the rest of SVH disliking her for this... and for being a moron.

  There's a party rule enforced at SVH, so the twins decide to give Lila a break in the hostessing duties, and throw a BBQ at their house for their friends. Liz tries repeatedly to get Jessica to explain why on earth she's so excited to have Bruce/Amy/Regina all in the same place, particularly once Amy tells the whole entire world about her kiss with Bruce and how he's totally going to break up with Regina for her. Jess wonders how her sister could possibly be so incredibly dense.
  It never occurs to Elizabeth to simply revoke Amy's invitation. Instead, she debates telling Regina about the rumors Amy's been spreading. Since Jessica's no help, Liz asks Jeffrey his opinion. Jeffrey waffles but decides that realistically, no guy in his right fucking mind would leave Regina for Amy Sutton, so telling Regina would just complicate matters once Bruce came to his senses. Relieved to not have to think about it again, Liz heads off to finish making the salad or something.
  Kay... no. You just don't do that to your friends. A friend of a friend of a friend, maybe. But letting someone walk into a party filled with people who are all expecting major fireworks because your boyfriend has been cheating on you with someone else invited to the party is uncool!
  Back to Regina. She's been noticing that Bruce has been acting odd lately and is worried that maybe that since their relationship was filled with so much drama to begin with, maybe he's bored now. But surely he, a teenage boy with such a bad history with relationships, would have said something... And to be fair, the Bruce she knows probably would have. She's still worried and doesn't particularly want to go to the BBQ on the first date-night she's gotten with her own boyfriend in ages. She goes, and on the way there tries to get him to open up. Bruce, being a guy, refuses, saying that he wouldn't want to be rude to the Wakefields. They go 'round back to the party and Jessica pounces, pulling Bruce away and has him man the grill... leaving Regina unattended for the most part.
  The next thing we know, Amy appears and is so lovely that even the sun takes a moment to perfectly frame her in a sunbeam. Regina catches sight of Bruce drooling over Amy and realizes she's been afraid that Bruce and Amy are doing more than studying together. Um, ya think that's what's been bugging you? Oi. I love you Regina, but your ghosty is being a bit clumsy here. You were deaf not stupid...

  La-di-da, time flies and Elizabeth realizes no one's seen Bruce or Amy around in ages. They're spotted behind a tree [really] and Liz sends Jeffrey to break them up while she distracts Regina. Maybe if people hadn't ignored Regina all night, she might not be feeling quite so lousy and wouldn't have been so quick to look over and realize that Liz was trying to hurry her away from scene of the crime... Instead, she sees Jeffrey leading two very obviously together people away. Amy and Bruce. Regina flips the hell out and yells and screams at Bruce, demands the keys to 1bruce1 [cementing her awesomeness in the history books], tells Amy she hates her but refrains from pointing out that Slutton is obviously a very easy name to use, and then tells the entire party she hates them, too, since they KNEW what was going on and let her walk right into an ambush and really, what kind of sane and nice people DO that sort of thing? And you, especially, Liz Wakefield, can go straight to hell because Regina's totally through with you.
  If her heart weren't breaking and leading her straight to hell herself, I would applaud her. As it is, I just want to scoop her up and keep her safe.
  Regina takes 1bruce1 out for a little breakup joyride and goes to Secca Lake to calm herself down. By the time she gets home, she just wants to curl up and talk to someone in her family, but they're all out. Poor Regina...

  Back at SVH, Regina blows all her old friends off. Anyone who tries to talk to her from Before Bruce is ignored. She spends more time with Justin, a guy she met shortly before she and Bruce broke up. At first it seemed like Justin was a bit of a stalker, having confessed to buying three issues of Regina's Ingenuity, but the more time Regina and Justin spend together, the more he talks about Molly, his ex. It's all done very strangely, as Justin really does come across as a potential love interest at first, and then pretty much the next time you see him, he's painfully hung up on his ex. Which is good, since Regina is very hung up on Bruce and the pain he's caused.
  Blah, blah, blah... Liz, Nicholas, and even Bruce get word that Regina and Justin are going to a party at Molly's house. No big deal, right? Except that the local crack/heroin dealer, Buzz, is going to make a Very Special Appearance. Initially Justin is turned off by this, but by the time he drags Regina to the party, he's mostly forgotten that he was Anti-Buzz to begin with. Poor Regina is woefully out of place at this party, and Molly runs off with Justin as much as she can, leaving her evil best friend Jan to mock and torture Regina for being a good girl...who happened to have stolen Molly's boyfriend. Regina tries to point out, repeatedly I might add, that she didn't steal anyone's frickin' boyfriend and that he's still in love with Molly and maybe, had Jan and Molly not been such bitches about the whole thing, Regina would have worked her mojo and fixed that screwed up relationship and felt better about her own.
  Instead, Jan and Molly taunt Regina to the breaking point even after Buzz arrives. They all but dare Regina to do a line of coke, and instead of taking Regina and getting the fuck out of there, Justin is all, "whatever, man." Previously he mentioned that he wasn't worried about Molly on coke, 'cuz he knows what she's like then, but that Buzz, the not-so-friendly-neighborhood-dealer was trying to get her to try heroin. Um, Justin? Coke ain't all that cool either. Anyway, Regina decides that for once in her life she's going to defy expectations and take an actual, honest to God risk, and does her line of coke. Before it even has a chance to do... whatever it was going to do, Molly demands that she do a second line, and Jan holds her down [seriously] until she snorts the second line.
  I'm not sure if the first line alone would have killed her, or just sent her very pale behind to the hospital for a very long stay, but that second line definitely signed her death warrant.

  Now, let's rewind. The often mentioned, but never seen before Mimi appears and starts blathering on about this Margaret Hecht and how she'll be having a party and this big dealer will be there and Bruce and Amy are like, "Who?" They get to the bit about Buzz and realize, "Oh! You mean Molly!" Cuz there are so many people with the last name of Hecht in SV. If it had been another W last name, sure, I could see it. But Hecht? Kinda stands out. Bruce calls Regina and Amy tells Jessica who finally tells Elizabeth. Elizabeth tries to warn Regina herself, but it doesn't work. So she finally calls Nicholas once Jessica suggests it. Nicholas then spends the whole fucking night trying to get to Regina. First he can't find his keys, then he can't find his wallet, and then he gets busted for speeding and because he doesn't have his ID [it's in his wallet], he gets taken to the station... where they finally hear that he knows where Buzz is and his little sister is there and OMG Drugs!

  Nich and the cops show up just as Regina checks out. She croaks, "It wasn't their fault" and then asks for Bruce and Elizabeth, and Nicholas calls them, even though he has to hold the EMS up while he makes these stupid calls. Oh, Regina.... everything is conspiring against you, isn't it?

  Blah, blah blah, Bruce and Liz leave the big party... wherever it is and go to Regina's side, but she dies before they can see her.

  Before she went out on her ill-fated party date, Regina wrote Elizabeth a letter apologizing for being so bitter and cruel towards her when Liz was only trying to do her a favor in warning her about the party. She went on to absolve everyone in the entire world of their sins and blathered on about how she and Bruce had been drifting apart long before Amy and my head exploded, so really, all in all, uncool. Liz gets the letter after Regina's death and freaks out and we end with Regina's memorial service at school, which also doubles as a Just Say No rally.

  Oh, Regina...




Trivial Pursuit:


  • Amy's under the impression Regina didn't go to the 40's Fling last book since Bruce was working on his project with Amy. Um, Ames? Regina went by herself and looked fantastic. Shove it, blondie.

  • Jessica's current motto is: Make Sure You Get What You Want.

  • Have you noticed Jessica has a habit of eating whatever's being chopped up for the salad at the Wakefield house? She's eaten all the cherry tomatoes before and this time she chomps her way through the avocados Liz is trying to chop.

  • Amy's cousin is named Mimi. Immediately I think of Claudia's grandmother and then Mariah Carrey. There's no hope for my soul.

  • Amy and Bruce's health project is about the drug problem at Sweet Valley College.

  • Amy twists Mimi's arm so that Mimi will meet with them on Fridays, then tells Bruce that this is the only time Mimi is available.

  • Amy spent a summer studying acting "back East." Fine. Now could you act like you have a brain?

  • Miss Sutton acts as if she had a dream in which she and Bruce were discussing their drug problem project when he suddenly kisses her. When he offers a brief, chaste kiss, Amy kisses him back and pushes the kiss into overdrive.

  • Justin Belson is tall, slender, auburn haired, with chiseled, attractive features. He should be a senior, but after his father was murdered two years ago, Justin understandably took a small hiatus from school and is thus a junior. He wears a leather jacket to pick Regina up for their first 'date' and this simple act freaks the Morrows out. Yet they let their daughter go out with the Chuck Bass of their time...

  • Molly [Margaret] Hecht is a petite blonde with large green eyes and an acidic personality towards Regina as well as a predilection for cocaine and pot.

  • Jan [Janice] Brown is Molly's best friend, although that title could be refuted considering it's hinted at this point that she's the one who pulled Molly into the drug usage and then later fucking holds Regina Morrow down to do the second line of coke that definitely killed the poor girl. Jan does seem to have a firm grasp on the concept that if someone steals your friend's boyfriend, ex or otherwise, you make them pay. Good job, Jan.

  • Jessica tries to play the literature quoting game with Liz, by arguing that happy couples are boring and didn't some famous novel start out that way? Liz has to remind her that Tolstoy said "happy families" and not boring, but alike. Jess waves this off with the classic, "Whatever."

  • Nicholas Morrow has a new friend. Sam Watson. Sam's ex was Justin's ex. But... not Molly? Intrigue?

  • Skye Morrow is 38. Damn, girl.

  • At the Wakefield BBQ, Winston sets up a game of Frisbee baseball for the guys and Jeffrey is third base. Well, at least he'll get to third with something in his life.

  • Regina describes Caroline as "sweet" and "welcoming" and I'm left wondering when the body snatchers had time to take Caroline. Even after her transformation I'm not sure anyone would describe her as welcoming.

  • The BBQ guest list: Jessica, Elizabeth, Jeffrey, Enid, Lila, Cara, Olivia, Roger, Bruce, Regina, Amy, Maria, Winston, Caroline, Ken. That's... a bit awkward, but this is why I don't throw parties.

  • After Bruce grills the hell out of things, the party mellows out. Olivia plays folk music on her guitar for a small audience. Ken, Maria, Winston, and Enid tell ghost stories, Liz and Jeffrey are smooching, Amy and Bruce are grinding behind the tree, and Regina is sitting by herself. This means Jess was either in the bathroom or listening to Olivia play folk music. Ditto for Lila. What, I ask you, is wrong with that picture?

  • Nola is the Morrow's new housekeeper.

  • Regina went to Secca Lake after carjacking 1bruce1 in an attempt to calm down.

  • Justin takes Regina to Kelly's on their first date. Because that's naturally where you'd think to take the single most naive member of the junior class. Ass.

  • Justin's father was murdered two years ago when two kids, younger than 16/17, mugged him for drug money at his liquor store. When daddy hit the alarm, one kid panicked and stabbed daddy to death. Justin's mother turned to pills to ease the pain and Justin... I dunno, found drugs, too, but never stopped to think it was a tad hypocritical of him to condemn his mother for taking the loss as hard as he was.

  • Justin's father's liquor store was on Putnam Avenue, not the prettiest part of town.

  • Molly and Justin have dated since junior high.

  • Molly's parents are apparently divorced, because the ill-fated party she throws is a yearly affair when her mother goes out of town and her father lives in San Fran.

  • Ty Hecht is Molly's little brother. He's in ninth grade.

  • Buzz Jackson is a big coke dealer. He's skinny and mean looking, and while he's Mimi's age, that's about all they have in common. He's been dealing since junior high. Mimi thinks his real name might be something he doesn't like all that much, like William or something. Or maybe Buzz is just an obvious nickname?

  • Jan's boyfriend is Jay [James] Benson.

  • It's still creepy whenever Enid's past is mentioned and they talk about her being with a really fast crowd. Dude, she was like, 13.

  • Mimi is 19, a junior at Sweet Valley College, and has worked at a clinic outside town for the last 3 years.

  • Molly lives at 45 Redwood Drive.

  • Regina went to Casey's before the party. Nice to know the girl got some ice cream before she died.

  • Jessica uses red spray in hair color.

  • On his way to rescue Regina, Nicholas lost his keys, his wallet, and then got stopped for going 35 mph in a 25 zone. He was hauled in for lack of identification and it took him more than an hour to get the cops to listen to why he was speeding. Hell, man, you had the drive to the station. I would have started out with "Buzz is getting my sister high on coke and heroin RIGHT NOW."

  • Sergeant O'Riley is the one who finally listens to Nicholas.

  • Molly, Jan, and a redhead named Tina are busy smoking pot away from the crowd at the party, waiting for Buzz to show. Regina stumbles across them by accident and they rip into her for stealing Molly's boyfriend.

  • Justin isn't worried about Molly doing coke, but the thought of her on heroin scares him, which is why he won't leave the party early.

  • Regina does two lines of coke, one right after the other, as Jan holds her down for the second line, even as the first is taking hold.

  • Regina's heart is doing 40 beats in 15 seconds.

  • Nicholas reads Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay at Regina's memorial.

  • Regina's letter arrives at the Wakefield house on Tuesday.

  • The teaser/preview at the start of the book is of Regina's breakdown at the party. Instead of Regina informing Bruce that she'll be driving his Porsche home, she says she'll be taking his car home. Dude, it's 1bruce1. Treat it with respect, teaser-people.



Quote-a-ble Sweet Valley:
  Jessica looked at Elizabeth with an expression halfway between frustration and concern. It was always this way whenever she tried to explain something perfectly simple to her sister. Elizabeth just couldn't seem to grasp the essentials. -p8

  He gave her a cocky smile. "I'd kind of forgotten how much fun it is to spread the wealth-to share the old Bruce magic with more than one girl." - Amy, this is the guy you think will be a good boyfriend? He's already talking about multiple girls and you just now tempted him to cheat. Oi. p18

  "There's bound to be lots of scandal," she'd said. "Especially since all three members of the 'love triangle' are coming." - Liz, scandal isn't the word you're looking for. Scandal is what it is, not what will be going on. Oi. p 27

  "Explain to me why you're looking forward to it," she pleaded. "I just don't see what's going to be fun about watching Regina's heart break." - and yet she still doesn't step in. Still page 27

  "Thanks, I really appreciate your consideration," she spat out sarcastically. "From the way you've acted tonight, it's obvious how much you really care about my feelings." -It's always the quiet ones, right? Regina finally calls Liz out on her bitchery and she gets killed for it. Oh! A conspiracy theory is born! p50

  "Doesn't anyone in this town have anything better to do than to talk about Bruce and me?" - Sadly, no, Regina. You are our A plot and that's what we must obsess over. p58

  She floundered, unable to come up with anything more plausible than simply wanting to talk about herself and Bruce. - Oh, Amy... if I weren't in the middle of hating you something fierce, I would probably still find that hysterical. And also, so totally true. Points to SVH for realism. Weird. p 66

  What risks had Bruce ever taken? What hardships had he ever overcome? Bruce had had his life handed to him on a silver platter, but Justin had suffered. - Regina compares Bruce and Justin and Bruce comes out lacking. In Bruce's defense, at least he's not the one who took you to a coke party and got you killed. He just cheated on you with an idiot whose own friends can't stand her. Also, total teenage girl to find the suffering boy to be so much more fascinating. Realism again! p71

  Bruce paled. "I'd better call Regina," he muttered. Amy looked away, clearly unenthusiastic about the prospect, but aware that it would hardly make her look good if she objected. - Amy, he's calling her to tell her to stay away from the drug den, not to beg for forgiveness. Oi. p83

  "Look, this stuff goes on just like spray paint," she said, admiring the reddish streaks she had applied. "Isn't it fun? I look like a rockstar."
  "You look like a freak." - Jess/Liz. I love this little exchange far too much for my own good... p98

  But the truth was that things just didn't last forever. Not friendship, not human lives. - p143


  I don't really remember much of my SV days before Regina died. Quite probably because this book came out when I was six and by the time I was old enough to read the books just a few short years later, the cover would have appealed to my drama-queen-lite tendencies, and thus I would have read it before, say, any of the overly coupley books not featuring a twin on the cover. Truthfully, I think I knew Regina would die before I read the book, but again, that could just be 20-something odd years of having read these things. I knew then, as I know now, that OtE was meant to scare kids away from the Evils of Drug Use, even as a one-time experiment. Alas, I'd bet that most of the war on drugs of my youth did very little in the way of scaring anyone other than me. But Regina's death, coupled with one very surreal day courtesy of my uncle going batshit crazy, managed to do just what it set out to do.
  That said, I love 99% of this book, but I have a raging hatred for that remaining 1 percent. I love how Regina's finally taken off the pedestal she never actually wanted to be on, I love how she's not depicted with a rosy glow on anything other than a less-than-flattering cover, and I love that when the world kicks her in the shins, she kicks back. What I do not love, however, is the immediate retcon job done to Bruce & Regina's relationship. Instead of taking the time to show that Bruce was losing interest now that all the high drama of their relationship had worn off [she's heroically deaf! she's in Switzerland! She's being held hostage just down the street! She can hear your beautiful, beautiful voice! for the first time EVER!] and making the split believable, even if the other characters in the series never saw the subtle shift in dynamic, the Idiots That Be threw Amy Sutton in, kind of like an annoying self-absorbed grenade, and had her be so irresistible that Bruce couldn't help but fall for her. I could probably buy that on it's own, but when Regina muses that their relationship had been on the rocks "for awhile" because the drama had declined? That's where I cry foul. The whole point of not showing the occasional longing glance at any other girl prancing by at the numerous beach scenes and parties, of not having anyone believe Amy until they saw it with their own eyes was that Bruce and Regina were supposed to be a solid couple, held together by their shared dramatic past. The. Whole. Effing. Point. It was supposed to be out of left field! You can't have it fly out of left field if someone could, in theory, sit down and rationally think it over, deciding that yes, yes she could see how this could have happened.
  It just... can't.... happen.
  Also, this series has a habit of making people a little too forgiving. Teenagers, hell, people frequently, are just not that forgiving. I get that, ideally, you could go on about your day without the bitterness driving you to lash out, but... in reality, all this forgiveness crammed down your throat makes it seem like you're supposed to smile pretty when someone does something awful to you. No. Nononono.
  It killed me then, and it kills me a little now, that just as Regina actually got another story under her belt, when she got some personality, it came at the expense of her life.

  And because it wouldn't be right to let this go, we'll weigh in on whether Liz should have told Regina or not. Normally this is a grey area at best. Some people actually want to know when their beloved is cheating on them, or at least rumours are floating around that it could be on the horizon. Some will readily admit that they will kill the damn messenger, so you'd best keep your mouth shut. I've had friends on both sides. Personally, I'd want to know. With that in mind, Liz should have told Regina for one damn reason, and one reason only. Everyone else at that fucking party knew, and it was beyond cruel to let Regina walk into a party where every single girl, and some of the boys, was waiting to see how fucked up her life was going to get.
  Seriously. Everyone had to know. Amy told Jessica, Lila, Maria, and Cara. Once that passed out into the ether, Caroline had to know because she's got powers that way. Maria would have told Winston. I'm betting Roger had an inkling, if the retcon is to believed [and even if it wasn't, since Amy spent so much time hitting on Bruce at the Patman estate, where Roger's been known to nip at Bruce's heels] and even if he didn't, Olivia's moving in the same circles as the gossips mentioned previously that she'd have heard something. And she'd have mentioned it to Roger. Jessica told Elizabeth, who promptly turned around and told Jeffrey. That leaves Enid and Ken. Enid's bound to have heard that Amy's making a play for Bruce, and probably that the two have already started going after one another... and if Enid's heard, than good ol' Kenny Matthews has as well. Even if you assume that Enid, Ken, Roger, and Olivia don't know, that's still more than half the party who know something is up, and almost all of them are on the evil side, or have been in the past. Friends don't let friends walk into that much potential drama without a heads up. ESPECIALLY once Elizabeth knew that Jessica was hoping to set off the drama fireworks. That's when you tell Amy not to show up OR you tell Regina that her boyfriend is an ass.

  The first time I read this, I bawled. For awhile I couldn't even look at the cover without getting a little misty. I'd ignore Regina's demise when playing SVH with my dolls [Regina was a Teresa and arguably one of my favorites until the unfortunate incident that somehow left her with red marks up and down her legs, and then she just took to wearing evening gowns at all times since Barbie wasn't big on pants then] and later I'd be amused, but happy enough, that her looks were reincarnated with Pamela, even if nothing else about her was. With that in mind, I dragged my feet getting to this point and then read it and... y'know, no waterworks. No emotional surge of any sort other than annoyance at the retcon job I'd forgotten.
  Oddly enough, the Regina section in Jessica's Secret Diary volume 1? Still make me tear up a little. Go figure.

  To end on a truly superficial note, I should say that while I mock the reenactment photos something awful, this one isn't bad at all, although they seem to have confused the original yellow cover with a yellow shirt. What can you do? And the third cover on the English bar is actually a hardback. So I didn't lose my mind on that and repeat something. ;)

the_oracle: (left of normal)
On The Edge
October 1987


Is it all over between Regina and Bruce?

Headed for trouble...


   Regina Morrow and Bruce Patman have been going together for months. But when beautiful, devious Amy Sutton is paired up with Bruce on a school project, she schemes to steal him away from Regina. Little by little Bruce's resistance to Amy's charms begins to crumble.
   Regina is furious when she discovers that Bruce has been seeing Amy behind her back. Hurt and betrayed, she turns to Justin Belson, a troubled senior at Sweet Valley High. Regina's friends are worried. They think Justin and his crowd are bad news-it's rumored that some of them are drug users. Is Regina on a dangerous course?


  In case you've been living under a rock, Bruce Patman and Regina Morrow have been dating for what seems like forever. Everyone is so used to them as a couple that when Amy Sutton makes it known that she's got the hots for Bruce, no one really believes she has a chance at anything other than humiliation.
  So when Maria Santelli tells Jessica that Bruce actually is fawning all over Amy, Jessica decides this little bit of gossip is worth a listen. Amy and Bruce have been paired up for a project in health class about the exploding drug community/usage at nearby SVC. This blows my mind for two reasons. One, Bruce is a senior and the thought of him in health class with juniors is weird, although I do understand that the electives are mixed. It's still... weird. Two, and most important, what frickin' drug use in SV? The only real people we've heard about using are old friends of Enid's and the skeevy guys Jessica sneaks out to date with disastrous results. If the SVPD really wants to catch these people, just follow the youngest Wakefield when she goes out with almost any given college guy. Duh.
  Anyway, Amy's been manipulating things so that her cousin, Mimi, their biggest source of information, will only meet with them on Friday nights, thus keeping Bruce away from Regina on what are traditionally date nights. Oh, Amy. She gets Bruce alone one day at his estate, puts her acting classes to good use, and weaves him this story of a dream she allegedly had where they were in the middle of nowhere, discussing their project, when suddenly... no, she couldn't possibly go on. Bruce insists, just as Amy knew he would, and she leans closer and whispers, "and then you kissed me." Bruce is actually kind of flustered, torn between Old!Bruce and New!Bruce. Old!Bruce would have already jumped Amy by now, but New!Bruce has Regina... Sensing this could go either way, Amy then asks whether it would matter if she admitted she really, really wanted him to kiss her. The next thing you know, Bruce is giving Amy the single most chaste kiss in all of SVH thus far. Amy pouts and lunges at Bruce, demanding a real kiss, which she then gives him.
  Thus, I'm torn. Bruce made the first move, but Amy'd started that fire, deliberately, and then did everything she could to keep it going, even when Bruce didn't seem to be going along with the script she'd so thoughtfully provided. Yes, he's an ass, but Amy earns my scorn for this little move, and no, I will not get over this. I will spend the rest of SVH disliking her for this... and for being a moron.

  There's a party rule enforced at SVH, so the twins decide to give Lila a break in the hostessing duties, and throw a BBQ at their house for their friends. Liz tries repeatedly to get Jessica to explain why on earth she's so excited to have Bruce/Amy/Regina all in the same place, particularly once Amy tells the whole entire world about her kiss with Bruce and how he's totally going to break up with Regina for her. Jess wonders how her sister could possibly be so incredibly dense.
  It never occurs to Elizabeth to simply revoke Amy's invitation. Instead, she debates telling Regina about the rumors Amy's been spreading. Since Jessica's no help, Liz asks Jeffrey his opinion. Jeffrey waffles but decides that realistically, no guy in his right fucking mind would leave Regina for Amy Sutton, so telling Regina would just complicate matters once Bruce came to his senses. Relieved to not have to think about it again, Liz heads off to finish making the salad or something.
  Kay... no. You just don't do that to your friends. A friend of a friend of a friend, maybe. But letting someone walk into a party filled with people who are all expecting major fireworks because your boyfriend has been cheating on you with someone else invited to the party is uncool!
  Back to Regina. She's been noticing that Bruce has been acting odd lately and is worried that maybe that since their relationship was filled with so much drama to begin with, maybe he's bored now. But surely he, a teenage boy with such a bad history with relationships, would have said something... And to be fair, the Bruce she knows probably would have. She's still worried and doesn't particularly want to go to the BBQ on the first date-night she's gotten with her own boyfriend in ages. She goes, and on the way there tries to get him to open up. Bruce, being a guy, refuses, saying that he wouldn't want to be rude to the Wakefields. They go 'round back to the party and Jessica pounces, pulling Bruce away and has him man the grill... leaving Regina unattended for the most part.
  The next thing we know, Amy appears and is so lovely that even the sun takes a moment to perfectly frame her in a sunbeam. Regina catches sight of Bruce drooling over Amy and realizes she's been afraid that Bruce and Amy are doing more than studying together. Um, ya think that's what's been bugging you? Oi. I love you Regina, but your ghosty is being a bit clumsy here. You were deaf not stupid...

  La-di-da, time flies and Elizabeth realizes no one's seen Bruce or Amy around in ages. They're spotted behind a tree [really] and Liz sends Jeffrey to break them up while she distracts Regina. Maybe if people hadn't ignored Regina all night, she might not be feeling quite so lousy and wouldn't have been so quick to look over and realize that Liz was trying to hurry her away from scene of the crime... Instead, she sees Jeffrey leading two very obviously together people away. Amy and Bruce. Regina flips the hell out and yells and screams at Bruce, demands the keys to 1bruce1 [cementing her awesomeness in the history books], tells Amy she hates her but refrains from pointing out that Slutton is obviously a very easy name to use, and then tells the entire party she hates them, too, since they KNEW what was going on and let her walk right into an ambush and really, what kind of sane and nice people DO that sort of thing? And you, especially, Liz Wakefield, can go straight to hell because Regina's totally through with you.
  If her heart weren't breaking and leading her straight to hell herself, I would applaud her. As it is, I just want to scoop her up and keep her safe.
  Regina takes 1bruce1 out for a little breakup joyride and goes to Secca Lake to calm herself down. By the time she gets home, she just wants to curl up and talk to someone in her family, but they're all out. Poor Regina...

  Back at SVH, Regina blows all her old friends off. Anyone who tries to talk to her from Before Bruce is ignored. She spends more time with Justin, a guy she met shortly before she and Bruce broke up. At first it seemed like Justin was a bit of a stalker, having confessed to buying three issues of Regina's Ingenuity, but the more time Regina and Justin spend together, the more he talks about Molly, his ex. It's all done very strangely, as Justin really does come across as a potential love interest at first, and then pretty much the next time you see him, he's painfully hung up on his ex. Which is good, since Regina is very hung up on Bruce and the pain he's caused.
  Blah, blah, blah... Liz, Nicholas, and even Bruce get word that Regina and Justin are going to a party at Molly's house. No big deal, right? Except that the local crack/heroin dealer, Buzz, is going to make a Very Special Appearance. Initially Justin is turned off by this, but by the time he drags Regina to the party, he's mostly forgotten that he was Anti-Buzz to begin with. Poor Regina is woefully out of place at this party, and Molly runs off with Justin as much as she can, leaving her evil best friend Jan to mock and torture Regina for being a good girl...who happened to have stolen Molly's boyfriend. Regina tries to point out, repeatedly I might add, that she didn't steal anyone's frickin' boyfriend and that he's still in love with Molly and maybe, had Jan and Molly not been such bitches about the whole thing, Regina would have worked her mojo and fixed that screwed up relationship and felt better about her own.
  Instead, Jan and Molly taunt Regina to the breaking point even after Buzz arrives. They all but dare Regina to do a line of coke, and instead of taking Regina and getting the fuck out of there, Justin is all, "whatever, man." Previously he mentioned that he wasn't worried about Molly on coke, 'cuz he knows what she's like then, but that Buzz, the not-so-friendly-neighborhood-dealer was trying to get her to try heroin. Um, Justin? Coke ain't all that cool either. Anyway, Regina decides that for once in her life she's going to defy expectations and take an actual, honest to God risk, and does her line of coke. Before it even has a chance to do... whatever it was going to do, Molly demands that she do a second line, and Jan holds her down [seriously] until she snorts the second line.
  I'm not sure if the first line alone would have killed her, or just sent her very pale behind to the hospital for a very long stay, but that second line definitely signed her death warrant.

  Now, let's rewind. The often mentioned, but never seen before Mimi appears and starts blathering on about this Margaret Hecht and how she'll be having a party and this big dealer will be there and Bruce and Amy are like, "Who?" They get to the bit about Buzz and realize, "Oh! You mean Molly!" Cuz there are so many people with the last name of Hecht in SV. If it had been another W last name, sure, I could see it. But Hecht? Kinda stands out. Bruce calls Regina and Amy tells Jessica who finally tells Elizabeth. Elizabeth tries to warn Regina herself, but it doesn't work. So she finally calls Nicholas once Jessica suggests it. Nicholas then spends the whole fucking night trying to get to Regina. First he can't find his keys, then he can't find his wallet, and then he gets busted for speeding and because he doesn't have his ID [it's in his wallet], he gets taken to the station... where they finally hear that he knows where Buzz is and his little sister is there and OMG Drugs!

  Nich and the cops show up just as Regina checks out. She croaks, "It wasn't their fault" and then asks for Bruce and Elizabeth, and Nicholas calls them, even though he has to hold the EMS up while he makes these stupid calls. Oh, Regina.... everything is conspiring against you, isn't it?

  Blah, blah blah, Bruce and Liz leave the big party... wherever it is and go to Regina's side, but she dies before they can see her.

  Before she went out on her ill-fated party date, Regina wrote Elizabeth a letter apologizing for being so bitter and cruel towards her when Liz was only trying to do her a favor in warning her about the party. She went on to absolve everyone in the entire world of their sins and blathered on about how she and Bruce had been drifting apart long before Amy and my head exploded, so really, all in all, uncool. Liz gets the letter after Regina's death and freaks out and we end with Regina's memorial service at school, which also doubles as a Just Say No rally.

  Oh, Regina...




Trivial Pursuit:


  • Amy's under the impression Regina didn't go to the 40's Fling last book since Bruce was working on his project with Amy. Um, Ames? Regina went by herself and looked fantastic. Shove it, blondie.

  • Jessica's current motto is: Make Sure You Get What You Want.

  • Have you noticed Jessica has a habit of eating whatever's being chopped up for the salad at the Wakefield house? She's eaten all the cherry tomatoes before and this time she chomps her way through the avocados Liz is trying to chop.

  • Amy's cousin is named Mimi. Immediately I think of Claudia's grandmother and then Mariah Carrey. There's no hope for my soul.

  • Amy and Bruce's health project is about the drug problem at Sweet Valley College.

  • Amy twists Mimi's arm so that Mimi will meet with them on Fridays, then tells Bruce that this is the only time Mimi is available.

  • Amy spent a summer studying acting "back East." Fine. Now could you act like you have a brain?

  • Miss Sutton acts as if she had a dream in which she and Bruce were discussing their drug problem project when he suddenly kisses her. When he offers a brief, chaste kiss, Amy kisses him back and pushes the kiss into overdrive.

  • Justin Belson is tall, slender, auburn haired, with chiseled, attractive features. He should be a senior, but after his father was murdered two years ago, Justin understandably took a small hiatus from school and is thus a junior. He wears a leather jacket to pick Regina up for their first 'date' and this simple act freaks the Morrows out. Yet they let their daughter go out with the Chuck Bass of their time...

  • Molly [Margaret] Hecht is a petite blonde with large green eyes and an acidic personality towards Regina as well as a predilection for cocaine and pot.

  • Jan [Janice] Brown is Molly's best friend, although that title could be refuted considering it's hinted at this point that she's the one who pulled Molly into the drug usage and then later fucking holds Regina Morrow down to do the second line of coke that definitely killed the poor girl. Jan does seem to have a firm grasp on the concept that if someone steals your friend's boyfriend, ex or otherwise, you make them pay. Good job, Jan.

  • Jessica tries to play the literature quoting game with Liz, by arguing that happy couples are boring and didn't some famous novel start out that way? Liz has to remind her that Tolstoy said "happy families" and not boring, but alike. Jess waves this off with the classic, "Whatever."

  • Nicholas Morrow has a new friend. Sam Watson. Sam's ex was Justin's ex. But... not Molly? Intrigue?

  • Skye Morrow is 38. Damn, girl.

  • At the Wakefield BBQ, Winston sets up a game of Frisbee baseball for the guys and Jeffrey is third base. Well, at least he'll get to third with something in his life.

  • Regina describes Caroline as "sweet" and "welcoming" and I'm left wondering when the body snatchers had time to take Caroline. Even after her transformation I'm not sure anyone would describe her as welcoming.

  • The BBQ guest list: Jessica, Elizabeth, Jeffrey, Enid, Lila, Cara, Olivia, Roger, Bruce, Regina, Amy, Maria, Winston, Caroline, Ken. That's... a bit awkward, but this is why I don't throw parties.

  • After Bruce grills the hell out of things, the party mellows out. Olivia plays folk music on her guitar for a small audience. Ken, Maria, Winston, and Enid tell ghost stories, Liz and Jeffrey are smooching, Amy and Bruce are grinding behind the tree, and Regina is sitting by herself. This means Jess was either in the bathroom or listening to Olivia play folk music. Ditto for Lila. What, I ask you, is wrong with that picture?

  • Nola is the Morrow's new housekeeper.

  • Regina went to Secca Lake after carjacking 1bruce1 in an attempt to calm down.

  • Justin takes Regina to Kelly's on their first date. Because that's naturally where you'd think to take the single most naive member of the junior class. Ass.

  • Justin's father was murdered two years ago when two kids, younger than 16/17, mugged him for drug money at his liquor store. When daddy hit the alarm, one kid panicked and stabbed daddy to death. Justin's mother turned to pills to ease the pain and Justin... I dunno, found drugs, too, but never stopped to think it was a tad hypocritical of him to condemn his mother for taking the loss as hard as he was.

  • Justin's father's liquor store was on Putnam Avenue, not the prettiest part of town.

  • Molly and Justin have dated since junior high.

  • Molly's parents are apparently divorced, because the ill-fated party she throws is a yearly affair when her mother goes out of town and her father lives in San Fran.

  • Ty Hecht is Molly's little brother. He's in ninth grade.

  • Buzz Jackson is a big coke dealer. He's skinny and mean looking, and while he's Mimi's age, that's about all they have in common. He's been dealing since junior high. Mimi thinks his real name might be something he doesn't like all that much, like William or something. Or maybe Buzz is just an obvious nickname?

  • Jan's boyfriend is Jay [James] Benson.

  • It's still creepy whenever Enid's past is mentioned and they talk about her being with a really fast crowd. Dude, she was like, 13.

  • Mimi is 19, a junior at Sweet Valley College, and has worked at a clinic outside town for the last 3 years.

  • Molly lives at 45 Redwood Drive.

  • Regina went to Casey's before the party. Nice to know the girl got some ice cream before she died.

  • Jessica uses red spray in hair color.

  • On his way to rescue Regina, Nicholas lost his keys, his wallet, and then got stopped for going 35 mph in a 25 zone. He was hauled in for lack of identification and it took him more than an hour to get the cops to listen to why he was speeding. Hell, man, you had the drive to the station. I would have started out with "Buzz is getting my sister high on coke and heroin RIGHT NOW."

  • Sergeant O'Riley is the one who finally listens to Nicholas.

  • Molly, Jan, and a redhead named Tina are busy smoking pot away from the crowd at the party, waiting for Buzz to show. Regina stumbles across them by accident and they rip into her for stealing Molly's boyfriend.

  • Justin isn't worried about Molly doing coke, but the thought of her on heroin scares him, which is why he won't leave the party early.

  • Regina does two lines of coke, one right after the other, as Jan holds her down for the second line, even as the first is taking hold.

  • Regina's heart is doing 40 beats in 15 seconds.

  • Nicholas reads Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay at Regina's memorial.

  • Regina's letter arrives at the Wakefield house on Tuesday.

  • The teaser/preview at the start of the book is of Regina's breakdown at the party. Instead of Regina informing Bruce that she'll be driving his Porsche home, she says she'll be taking his car home. Dude, it's 1bruce1. Treat it with respect, teaser-people.



Quote-a-ble Sweet Valley:
  Jessica looked at Elizabeth with an expression halfway between frustration and concern. It was always this way whenever she tried to explain something perfectly simple to her sister. Elizabeth just couldn't seem to grasp the essentials. -p8

  He gave her a cocky smile. "I'd kind of forgotten how much fun it is to spread the wealth-to share the old Bruce magic with more than one girl." - Amy, this is the guy you think will be a good boyfriend? He's already talking about multiple girls and you just now tempted him to cheat. Oi. p18

  "There's bound to be lots of scandal," she'd said. "Especially since all three members of the 'love triangle' are coming." - Liz, scandal isn't the word you're looking for. Scandal is what it is, not what will be going on. Oi. p 27

  "Explain to me why you're looking forward to it," she pleaded. "I just don't see what's going to be fun about watching Regina's heart break." - and yet she still doesn't step in. Still page 27

  "Thanks, I really appreciate your consideration," she spat out sarcastically. "From the way you've acted tonight, it's obvious how much you really care about my feelings." -It's always the quiet ones, right? Regina finally calls Liz out on her bitchery and she gets killed for it. Oh! A conspiracy theory is born! p50

  "Doesn't anyone in this town have anything better to do than to talk about Bruce and me?" - Sadly, no, Regina. You are our A plot and that's what we must obsess over. p58

  She floundered, unable to come up with anything more plausible than simply wanting to talk about herself and Bruce. - Oh, Amy... if I weren't in the middle of hating you something fierce, I would probably still find that hysterical. And also, so totally true. Points to SVH for realism. Weird. p 66

  What risks had Bruce ever taken? What hardships had he ever overcome? Bruce had had his life handed to him on a silver platter, but Justin had suffered. - Regina compares Bruce and Justin and Bruce comes out lacking. In Bruce's defense, at least he's not the one who took you to a coke party and got you killed. He just cheated on you with an idiot whose own friends can't stand her. Also, total teenage girl to find the suffering boy to be so much more fascinating. Realism again! p71

  Bruce paled. "I'd better call Regina," he muttered. Amy looked away, clearly unenthusiastic about the prospect, but aware that it would hardly make her look good if she objected. - Amy, he's calling her to tell her to stay away from the drug den, not to beg for forgiveness. Oi. p83

  "Look, this stuff goes on just like spray paint," she said, admiring the reddish streaks she had applied. "Isn't it fun? I look like a rockstar."
  "You look like a freak." - Jess/Liz. I love this little exchange far too much for my own good... p98

  But the truth was that things just didn't last forever. Not friendship, not human lives. - p143


  I don't really remember much of my SV days before Regina died. Quite probably because this book came out when I was six and by the time I was old enough to read the books just a few short years later, the cover would have appealed to my drama-queen-lite tendencies, and thus I would have read it before, say, any of the overly coupley books not featuring a twin on the cover. Truthfully, I think I knew Regina would die before I read the book, but again, that could just be 20-something odd years of having read these things. I knew then, as I know now, that OtE was meant to scare kids away from the Evils of Drug Use, even as a one-time experiment. Alas, I'd bet that most of the war on drugs of my youth did very little in the way of scaring anyone other than me. But Regina's death, coupled with one very surreal day courtesy of my uncle going batshit crazy, managed to do just what it set out to do.
  That said, I love 99% of this book, but I have a raging hatred for that remaining 1 percent. I love how Regina's finally taken off the pedestal she never actually wanted to be on, I love how she's not depicted with a rosy glow on anything other than a less-than-flattering cover, and I love that when the world kicks her in the shins, she kicks back. What I do not love, however, is the immediate retcon job done to Bruce & Regina's relationship. Instead of taking the time to show that Bruce was losing interest now that all the high drama of their relationship had worn off [she's heroically deaf! she's in Switzerland! She's being held hostage just down the street! She can hear your beautiful, beautiful voice! for the first time EVER!] and making the split believable, even if the other characters in the series never saw the subtle shift in dynamic, the Idiots That Be threw Amy Sutton in, kind of like an annoying self-absorbed grenade, and had her be so irresistible that Bruce couldn't help but fall for her. I could probably buy that on it's own, but when Regina muses that their relationship had been on the rocks "for awhile" because the drama had declined? That's where I cry foul. The whole point of not showing the occasional longing glance at any other girl prancing by at the numerous beach scenes and parties, of not having anyone believe Amy until they saw it with their own eyes was that Bruce and Regina were supposed to be a solid couple, held together by their shared dramatic past. The. Whole. Effing. Point. It was supposed to be out of left field! You can't have it fly out of left field if someone could, in theory, sit down and rationally think it over, deciding that yes, yes she could see how this could have happened.
  It just... can't.... happen.
  Also, this series has a habit of making people a little too forgiving. Teenagers, hell, people frequently, are just not that forgiving. I get that, ideally, you could go on about your day without the bitterness driving you to lash out, but... in reality, all this forgiveness crammed down your throat makes it seem like you're supposed to smile pretty when someone does something awful to you. No. Nononono.
  It killed me then, and it kills me a little now, that just as Regina actually got another story under her belt, when she got some personality, it came at the expense of her life.

  And because it wouldn't be right to let this go, we'll weigh in on whether Liz should have told Regina or not. Normally this is a grey area at best. Some people actually want to know when their beloved is cheating on them, or at least rumours are floating around that it could be on the horizon. Some will readily admit that they will kill the damn messenger, so you'd best keep your mouth shut. I've had friends on both sides. Personally, I'd want to know. With that in mind, Liz should have told Regina for one damn reason, and one reason only. Everyone else at that fucking party knew, and it was beyond cruel to let Regina walk into a party where every single girl, and some of the boys, was waiting to see how fucked up her life was going to get.
  Seriously. Everyone had to know. Amy told Jessica, Lila, Maria, and Cara. Once that passed out into the ether, Caroline had to know because she's got powers that way. Maria would have told Winston. I'm betting Roger had an inkling, if the retcon is to believed [and even if it wasn't, since Amy spent so much time hitting on Bruce at the Patman estate, where Roger's been known to nip at Bruce's heels] and even if he didn't, Olivia's moving in the same circles as the gossips mentioned previously that she'd have heard something. And she'd have mentioned it to Roger. Jessica told Elizabeth, who promptly turned around and told Jeffrey. That leaves Enid and Ken. Enid's bound to have heard that Amy's making a play for Bruce, and probably that the two have already started going after one another... and if Enid's heard, than good ol' Kenny Matthews has as well. Even if you assume that Enid, Ken, Roger, and Olivia don't know, that's still more than half the party who know something is up, and almost all of them are on the evil side, or have been in the past. Friends don't let friends walk into that much potential drama without a heads up. ESPECIALLY once Elizabeth knew that Jessica was hoping to set off the drama fireworks. That's when you tell Amy not to show up OR you tell Regina that her boyfriend is an ass.

  The first time I read this, I bawled. For awhile I couldn't even look at the cover without getting a little misty. I'd ignore Regina's demise when playing SVH with my dolls [Regina was a Teresa and arguably one of my favorites until the unfortunate incident that somehow left her with red marks up and down her legs, and then she just took to wearing evening gowns at all times since Barbie wasn't big on pants then] and later I'd be amused, but happy enough, that her looks were reincarnated with Pamela, even if nothing else about her was. With that in mind, I dragged my feet getting to this point and then read it and... y'know, no waterworks. No emotional surge of any sort other than annoyance at the retcon job I'd forgotten.
  Oddly enough, the Regina section in Jessica's Secret Diary volume 1? Still make me tear up a little. Go figure.

  To end on a truly superficial note, I should say that while I mock the reenactment photos something awful, this one isn't bad at all, although they seem to have confused the original yellow cover with a yellow shirt. What can you do? And the third cover on the English bar is actually a hardback. So I didn't lose my mind on that and repeat something. ;)

the_oracle: (tear)
Winter Carnival
December 1986


A winter wonderland...


   Winter's here and everyone at Sweet Valley High is excited about the upcoming Winter Carnival. It's a very special weekend at a mountain ski resort, with ice skating, skiing, sledding, and a spectacular ball.
   But Elizabeth Wakefield's got the midwinter blues. She's especially upset with her twin, Jessica, who's been avoiding chores and borrowing clothes without asking. Elizabeth is so sick and tired of Jessica's inconsiderate attitude that she sometimes wishes she never had a sister! And when Jessica's string of broken promises threatens to destroy Elizabeth's romance with Jeffrey French, it looks as though Winter Carnival will turn into a snowy disaster!
   Join the Sweet Valley High gang for their mid-winter break at Winter Carnival!

  Let's get one thing straight right away. Reality has no place in the Valley. None. And I don't mean that "twelve strangers picked specifically for their drama-queen/skanky ways in the hopes of generating insane ratings" reality, I mean honest to God reality. Mundane, normal stuff. No place!
  That said, Winter Carnival would have been much better off had they left out the over-the-top surrealism of the last few chapters. Until then, it's an interesting look behind the perfect twin facade. Liz, you see, is an unhappy camper. While the rest of us would probably consider her life more than charmed, psychotic sister, true-luv shipped to Vermont, and that whole kidnapping thing aside, she does have to put up with Jessica on a daily basis.
  And thus begins our trouble. Liz has to walk home, in the rain, because Jessica just took off with the car, leaving Liz stranded. You or I might have asked our twin if she needed a ride home. We might not, considering Liz does have Jeffrey/Enid/the numerous people who owe her for fixing their lives, whether they asked her to or not. So we might conclude that like Kim Possible, Liz is never without options. We'd be wrong. Anyway, Liz is grumpy, grumpy, grumpy. Lately Jessica has been getting on her nerves something fierce, what with her borrowing things without asking, ducking out of dinner detail repeatedly... basically being Jessica.
  Liz gets a bit snippy when Jessica lets her parents think that the delicious meal they're eating was her own creation when all she did was reheat Elizabeth's masterpiece. Then Liz notices Jess is wearing her mulberry sweater, which was a gift from Enid that Liz hasn't worn all that often. Liz goes apeshit. But what's really getting to Liz is that Jessica and Amy swiped Enid and Elizabeth's answers for a trivia game show, and then Amy and Jess won. Liz points out that if their roles had been reversed, Jess would have wheedled her way into a spot on TV, but Jess calls bullshit. [Honey, that only works if the other person IS full of it, not if it's true...] Then she says it doesn't matter, Amy's so excited that even if Jess wanted to hand it over, she couldn't possibly. Rightio.
  Then Liz finds out that she didn't win the essay contest she entered, but she did get an honorable mention. Liz is bummed that she didn't win flat out and when she finds out that the cheerleaders, led by Jessica, are on their way to All State, she hits a new low. She's jealous of Jessica in a big way, and nothing anyone can say can snap her out of it.
  Well, not entirely true. Jeffrey [you remember Jeffy, right?] sweet talks her out of her funk, only to send her home to bathe [mmhmm, not going there] and then he'll whisk her away to dinner and all her worries will fall by the wayside, cuz... well, let's not be too explicit. That's not the sort of guy Jeffrey is, after all.
  Problem is that Jessica, despite promising to make dinner on her actual night to do so, flits off to Amy's to cram for the trivia show. Liz calls Amy's house to bitch the blondes out, but Lana, Amy's maid [I know, right?] says the girls have gone to the library to look up the longest river in Africa. Let's take a moment, shall we? How many of you know that answer? Mmmhmm. How many of you knew that when you were the recommended reading age for these books? Mmmhmm. I figure nothing else I can say will point out that Amy lost all her braincells and then some. I think the sucking void that is her mind also took out half of Jessica's brain. Instead of using her superior intellect to figure out which library the two might've gone to and, I dunno, called and asked if two stunningly vapid blondes were running around killing braincells, Liz goes full on martyr and cancels her date with Jeffrey. Jeffrey sort of understands, but tells her that she should tell her twin where to shove it, because this shit just can't keep happening. If she can't tell Jess where to step off, she should tell her parents.

  Nup, that won't happen. What I don't get is why neither Ned nor Alice ever call Jess on this shit UNLESS it's one of the "woe is Jessica!" books that happen every so often. Otherwise they smile and wish her good luck on not getting knocked up this go round. Hell, this time Alice comes home, asks where Jess is, is told she's out despite it being her night to do dinner, and in response she shrugs and shows off this spangly [Liz's word, not mine] silver Lycra ski suit she bought her youngest for the Winter Carnival.
  Um, no. I don't care if she is "studying." It's easy enough to figure out that out of, let's say 10 nights, Liz has made dinner eight times. I figure that the weekends are iffy on whether the Wakefields eat together or require dinner made by either of the twins, but I factor in that either Sunday or Friday, they might. Anyway, the point is for them to share the workload, and it's not sharing if one of them is doing all the work. Even at the height of my brother's do nothing and get away with it-'phase', my parents still noticed after awhile. And not just because I'd rat him out at every given opportunity.
  Liz, stuff the older sister crap and tell your parents that Jessica's taking advantage of you. Then tell her yourself and actually stick to it, dammit.
  ...Surprisingly enough, she actually does this. Well, not the part where she tells her parents, but the part where she tells Jessica that she's skipped dinner duty three times in two weeks and that while it's annoying to have everyone else expect her to be perfect-robo-twin, it's particularly vexing for her very own twin to expect the same. Jessica is horrified at the thought of having to be Saint Elizabeth and vows to be a better sister.
  If you believe this, well...
  Liz puts Jess to the test almost immediately. Liz has promised to drive little Teddy Collins home from Ricky Alden's birthday party while Mr. Collins is out of town. Seems his sister, Heather, doesn't drive. But Liz is playing tennis Friday afternoon with Jeffrey and won't be back in time to get Mr. Alden's call about where his house is [why not call BEFORE for the directions, Liz?] annnnnnd what time to pick Teddy up. Jessica promises to take the message, and leave a note telling Liz when/where so that when Liz gets back from tennis, she can run out and pick Teddy up.
  You know this is going to end badly. It has to. And so it does.
  Oh, Jessica takes the message alright. She takes the message along with her on her date with David. Which means Liz never picks Teddy up and looks like a total flake, and I wouldn't blame Heather if she were mighty ticked at Liz. If I were Ricky's dad, I would wonder why a high school girl was picking Teddy up in the first place, but as other people have mentioned, Liz and Mr. C have an odd sort of relationship.
  So, Jess has a disastrous date. David is the cute guy on the opposing trivia team, and Jess has fallen for him for obvious reasons. Namely, he's cute and she figures that if she can get him hot and bothered enough, he'll let her and Amy win the mock game and then they'll get to be on TV. David tells her she's lovely, but that's never gonna happen. Prior to that, though, he takes Jessica to meet his older sister, sister's boyfriend, and they all have sushi. Jessica inhales horseradish instead and damn near chokes, then realizes she fucked up big time with the whole Teddy/Ricky/Liz fiasco. THEN David tells her no.
  So she's in a right pitiful mood when she gets home, and heads straight to Liz to offer a half-assed apology and some serious sympathy over what a jerk David is.
  Liz is pissed the hell off and tells Jessica to go fuck herself, cuz Liz is sick and tired of being unable to depend on her stupid, selfish, flighty, flaky, self absorbed skank of a twin.

   Jess: 137 million, Liz: 1.


  In an effort to make things up to Liz, Jessica decides to try and figure out what's REALLY bothering her twin. Because it couldn't possibly be that Jessica is royally screwing her over every day that ends in "y", could it? No. Then Todd of all people calls! Jess is sure that this means that Liz is really in love with Todd still, and that with him visiting for the Winter Carnival, Liz is all torn up over Jeffrey vs. Todd. So when Todd asks her to pass along a message about the PTA dinner he's asked Liz to attend with him, Jessica does just that. She skips out the door, heads right to the DB, and tells Liz that Todd's all atwitter about their non-date-date, wink wink, nudge nudge.
  Right.
  In.
  Front.
  Of.
  Jeffrey.
   Who had no idea Liz was bailing on the first night of the WC so she could go out with her ex. He's pissed and excuses himself, ready to leave Liz at the DB. Man, early Jeffrey had balls. Todd would never have done that until later in the series when he was an asshole all the time. Liz and Jeffrey fight it out and when he drops her off, Jeffrey doesn't really make any motion to see her in safely, or even really say goodbye.
  So what does Elizabeth do? She asks Jessica for relationship advice. Jess tells her that a little jealousy never hurt anyone [the mind, it boggles!] and that Liz should let Jeffrey think he's got a little to worry about, just so their relationship won't get stale, and they won't take one another for granted.
  And Elizabeth agrees.
  The next day at some picnic or party or whatever the hell it is the popular kids at SVH do on their weekends, Enid tells Elizabeth that she's pretty sure Jeffrey's sensitive and besides that, he's not a headcase like Jessica, and she didn't think Liz was either. Liz ignores Enid, fucks things up further with Jeffrey, and can't even really blame Jessica, because this one? Not really Jessie's fault.
  Damnation!
  Days pass and Liz is worried. She thinks it's ridiculous that Jeffrey is SO jealous of a PTA dinner with Todd, but Jeffrey's never had a serious girlfriend, leading the less mature of us to wonder about his boyfriend history. Um, anywayyyyyyyyyyyyy....
  So Jeffrey decides he'll drive out to this deserted little slice of canyon and if Liz shows up, they'll have a little chat about the state of their union. And if she doesn't show up, obviously there's nothing to talk about and their relationship is as dead as it looks at the moment.
  Liz tells Jessica that she HAS to have the car back by 4:30 because the Liz/Jeffrey relationship depends on it. Jess agrees, but this is where everyone else realizes it ain't. gonna. happen. You see, today is the day when Jessica and Amy go all trivia nerd and beat the pants off real trivia nerds and win the coveted TV time for a local access trivia bowl game show. Exciting. Anyway, upon winning, they all go out for pizza and Jessica has totally forgotten Elizabeth.
  A couple of things come to mind in all this. The first? Why didn't Elizabeth just drive Amy and Jessica to the trivia thing? Or why didn't she insist Amy drive? Doesn't Amy have a car? They've got a housekeeper, so I imagine the Suttons have the money for Ames to have her own transportation. Barring that, where are Lila and Cara? Or ANY of Jessica's admirers? By choosing to leave your fate in the hands of your ditzy sister and even flakier former best friend, you have actually spoken volumes about what you think of your relationship with Jeffy, Lizzie.
  Also, when Jessica doesn't make it home on time [SHOCKER] and you can't find a car to borrow, or afford the taxi out to the canyon, why don't you hike/bike ride/take the taxi/bus to Jeffrey's house and wait for him? Huh? Explain that you tried your second-best and when you realized you'd never be able to meet him, you ran right over to wait for him to get home.
  And if you can't be bothered to do that, you call and leave a thousand messages for him. But seriously, you haul yourself over there and plant your ass on the porch until he comes home. If he tells you to fuck off, fine. That's his right. But at least you'll have tried.
  Why, oh why am I at all invested in Elizabeth's stupidity at this point?

  Now that Jessica's botched just about everything up, she decides she has to fix it. She gets Todd to back off on the PTA thing, which makes Liz feel worse since she fought so hard to convince Jeffrey she SHOULD go since he's a friend and all. Then Jess forges a note from Liz to Jeffrey and tells him to meet her at the ski-lodge at 6:30 Friday evening. Problem this time? She never has time to tell Liz to meet Jeffrey, because Amy fucking Sutton proves she's a moron. When you're going away for a weekend, don't you start to pack a little beforehand? Even if it's just finding the fucking suitcases prior to the hour before you're supposed to leave? Not Amy. Amy runs around like a chicken with its head cut off, only less coordinated. Just when Jessica thinks she's home free, Amy's all "I forgot my allergy pills, Jess! I NEED them." Bitch, I would have pawned you off on Sandy Bacon when she drove by. Not Jessica. She and Amy drive up to Mont Blanc and since they run out of gas, hit all the lights, and various other hi-larious problems ensue, Jess has just enough time to run to the lodge and pretend to be Liz. It works, Jeffrey thinks they're on their way to being cool... Only Jess is spotted by Chrissy Nolan, a gossipy senior girl who makes a comment about the cute blond and the other twin and Liz. Freaks. Out.

  Oh. My. GOD, Liz, take a chill pill. For the last time! Jeffrey and Jessica aren't romantically entangled just yet! But no. Liz runs off, cons Ken into taking her to the bus station, where she runs into Steve and Cara as she takes the bus home. When she does get home, Jessica gets a hold of her and Liz tells her to fuck off. Again. Then she lies down for a nap.
  She's woken by the sound of the phone ringing, and when she answers, it's a cop. Never a good sign when the cops call, unless you're related to the one on the phone. She's not. He's calling because Jessica was in an accident on the way down from Mont Blanc. She's at Fowler Memorial and it doesn't look good. Liz runs out of the house, only to realize that Steve's car is in the shop, her parents are both out [why'd they take both their cars?], and she doesn't know anyone else who can take her since they're all up at Mont Blanc. Then Todd of all people drives by and she flags him down. Why in the HELL is Todd driving a black Camero? Doesn't matter. He takes her to the hospital where she arrives just in time to find out that Jessica is gone. Liz faints.
  When she comes to, Jessica is still dead. Her parents are in shock, Liz is in denial and to help her deal, her pediatrician has prescribed some major pills, which she takes and helps take the edge off everything. The days pass by in a blur, due to the drugs and all, and Liz is handling all of this remarkably well considering she's sure that her family blames her for Jessica's death, since Jess wouldn't have died if the twins hadn't been fighting. Enid's throwing a small 'remember Jessica' sort of thing at her house. The guest list is a little odd, with Steve, Cara, Enid, Liz, Todd, Winston, Amy, Lila, Regina & Bruce, Roger, and Olivia. You had me right up until Roger and Olivia. I guess they're there to support Liz, not so much because they'll necessarily miss Jessica. Jeffy shows up and the shit hits the fan. He and Todd duel in the yard and the world goes even wonkier when Enid runs out into the yard wearing Jessica's silver ski suit. She's calling Liz's name only...
  Not.
  Because everything after Liz drifted off to sleep has been a dream. Jess, Steve, Cara, and Jeffrey are all at the Wakefield's! They're fine! Jess is alive! Liz instantly forgives everything, hugs her twin to death, and all is well.
  The book ends with the Snow Ball Enid's been working on for the WC. Happily ever after. Oh, and the Todd/Jeffrey jokes literally write themselves as they bond over the weekend.



Trivial Matters:

  • Liz calls her essay for the Young Writer's Society, "Double or Nothing." Like everything else she writes, it's about being a twin. Later, she'll think that she should have called it "Double Standard." Her faculty sponsor is Mr. Collins, and she gets honorable mention.

  • The Winter Carnival weekend is for juniors, seniors, and SVH alumni. Am I the only one thinking of all the pervy guys trying to get with a naive/super slutty SVH student? Guess so.

  • The WC is held at Mont Blanc, a ski resort an hour and a half away from SV. Among other amenities, there's a ballroom.

  • The local TV station has created a trivia game show, and they've run a contest to get names for the show as well as contestants. After they swipe Liz and Enid's answers, Amy and Jessica are chosen, and their bit of witticism for a name? Trivia Bowl. Egads, Brain...

  • There's one team from SVH and one from Westwood High. Come on, ghosties, how many frickin' high schools are we up to by now?

  • The Trivia Show's entry form has ten sample questions and a space for a name suggestion for the show.

  • Trivia Bowl will air on KSVC. Those are some easy call letters, eh?

  • Jessica's all over the cold lasagna. While I agree leftover lasagna is better than fresh from the oven, I prefer mine warmed. To each their freakish ways, I suppose, Wakefield.

  • The Trivia Bowl people called Amy first. Luckily Jessica was there, too.

  • Winston demands that the dance at the WC be called the Snow Ball. Enid caves, but holds firm against all his other wackily lame ideas. In my head, Enid and Win were totally doing other things rather than planning the Snow Ball. Just sayin'...

  • Enid is co-chair of the dance committee, in case you hadn't figured that out yet.

  • Friday night there's a pizza party to begin the WC weekend. It's at 7pm, which happens to fall too close to the PTA dinner Todd's invited Elizabeth to go to.

  • Various chaperons include Ms. Dalton, Mr. Collins, Ms. Howard...

  • There are four students to each room. The only rooms worth noting: Liz/Enid/Olivia/Regina and Jessica/Cara/Lila/Amy. That last one sounds like a bad idea begging to happen.

  • Amy is organizing a miniture ice show for the WC. Ken and Bill are setting up a mock winter Olympics, with four teams competing for the glory and bragging rights of winning.

  • If you're not athletically inclined, there's always card or board games inside the lodge, as well as ping pong.

  • Elizabeth is Jeffrey's first serious girlfriend.

  • Todd played Big Brother to Timothy Bryce, who won a basketball scholarship to b-ball camp and is being honored [along with a zillion other snot nosed brats] at a PTA dinner, originally scheduled for Sunday, but moved to Friday for no reason other than to fuck with Elizabeth's weekend plans with Jeffrey.

  • The SVH squad has been picked as a finalist for the All-State cheerleading squad, leading Jess to prance around shrieking, "Can you believe we might be the best in the state?!?" as if we couldn't figure out what All-State meant.

  • Nina Davidson is a VIP from an architecture firm in San Diego who has been running Alice ragged.

  • Another high school! Bayberry Hills Academy, Jess is sure that they would have gotten the All-State nomination instead.

  • David Campbell is a senior at Westwood High. He's got brown eyes that wrinkle at the corners like Ned Wakefield's. His mother owns Bibi's, and his sister, Barbara, is 19 and crazy in that affected way that seems to be an epidemic in the Valley. Her boyfriend Mitch is just as affected/crazy.

  • Scott Hamlin runs Trivia Bowl.

  • Jeffrey's big plan was to whisk Liz off for a romantic evening at Tiberino's. The plan dies when Jessica and Amy go to the library to look up the longest river in Africa. No word on whether they figured it out or not.

  • The Suttons have a housekeeper named Lana.

  • Jessica is convinced her father needs to watch his weight, so she's vowed the family will eat salad 2 nights a week. Um, it might also have something to do with salads being impossibly easy to fix...

  • Alice picks up a silver, Lycra ski suit for Jessica at The Ski Shop.

  • Enid recently gave Elizabeth a mulberry sweater and Liz goes nuts when Jessica borrows it. Jess just borrowed it because she promised to show Amy her pants. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried...

  • When asked to name all the states starting with the letter M, Jessica misses Massachusetts, Mississippi, Maryland and Minnesota.

  • Winston informs Jessica and Amy that Charles Darwin's most famous voyage was made while sailing in The Beagle.

  • Also, the first two letters on every boat registered in California? CA. Jess is sure they wouldn't ask something like this. Uh, it's a trivia show, Jess. You're lucky they aren't asking really off the wall crap.

  • Mr. Collins has a sister, Heather, but she doesn't drive.

  • David drives a blue MG.

  • David, Barbara, Mitch, and Jessica go to A Taste of Tokyo [for sashimi], which is half an hour away.

  • Jessica thinks David is a jerk for not promising to take it easy on Amy and Jessica during the Trivia Bowl, but concedes that he's a considerate jerk when he waits until she's safely inside before starting his car and driving off.

  • Ned and Alice both work in downtown Sweet Valley.

  • At the picnic where Jeffrey and Liz prove they suck at playing proper headgames, Jessica plays Frisbee baseball. Also at the picnic? Caroline, Enid, Ken, and Bill. Man, the way they keep pairing Bill and Ken up, a girl could get to thinking the wrong thing. But I won't. Much longer. Promise.

  • Jeffrey is looking super sexy, in Elizabeth's opinion, in his madras pants. Go on, google 'em. I've got time.

  • Jeffrey drives out to Las Palmas Canyon, where he'll be waiting at the intersection of Route 27 and Canyon Drive. If Liz hasn't shown up by 6pm, I dunno, he'll go find Todd and get down and dirty. Who knows.

  • The Trivia Bowl starts at 3:30 and Jess is sure she'll be home by 4:30. She might've been had she not gone out for pizza with the gang at Pizza Palace. Hell, she volunteers to drive, thus further damning herself.

  • Jake Thomas is David's partner. Mike Mallory is the host of Trivia Bowl.

  • David and Thomas dominate the first half of TB *snort* and Amy and Jessica take the second half. There's a tie, and the tie-breaker? How many fluid cups are in a gallon. David says 24, but Jessica and Amy say, "Nuh uh! 16!" The girls win. Yay for them.

  • The drive to the canyon takes at least half an hour and a taxi ride'll cost $30. Liz doesn't have that much cash, and while she considers raiding the emergency money, she still wouldn't have enough. Bummer.

  • When Jessica is gossiping on the phone, she prefers to lie on her stomach, stretched across the bed, her ankles crossed in the air, her chin propped up on one hand. Now you know.

  • Todd visits with such regularity that the ghosty gets away with saying that when he does visit, you can be sure he'll be staying with either Ken or Winston. For the record, Winston won bunk rights this time.

  • Todd's flight comes in at 3pm, and he'll be back at Winston's by 4:30.

  • Amy can't drive a stick and has terrible night vision because her contacts make oncoming headlights shimmer.

  • The girls are bunking in the main building at Mont Blanc and the guys are in the Lodge, a hundred yards away. Woo?

  • Chrissy Nolan is a senior and a gossip to boot.

  • Ms. Dalton and Ms. Howard at the second floor chaperons, where Liz's room happens to be.

  • Ken took Liz to the bus station. He wanted to stay with her, but she wouldn't let him.

  • Steve and Cara took the bus to MB because Steve's car was in the shop.

  • Liz takes the 7:15 bus back to SV, and she's the only passenger, so she sits up front with Hank, the bus driver.

  • Liz actually wishes, repeatedly, that Jessica had never been born; that she had no sister at all. Damn, Liz.

  • Jessica 'crashes' on Route 17, down from MB, when she smashed into a tree. The docs say she didn't suffer, I say it was a fucking car accident and she didn't die immediately. I don't think she was having fun waiting for someone to drive by and call 911 for her.

  • Todd drives up in a black Camero.

  • Dr. Davis is the twins pediatrician. He appears wearing large coke-bottle glasses that he doesn't normally have outside of dreamtime.

  • Jessica's last words were, "Tell Liz I love her and I'm sorry." Guilt trip from beyond the grave!

  • Ned starts smoking after Jessica's death. Liz is shocked.

  • After less than a week, Alice turns the Hershey Bar white chocolate, and cleans everything out to make a guest room. Guess Liz isn't the only one knocking back the happy pills...

  • Enid's little shindig for Jessica involved the following: Steve, Liz, Todd, Winston, Amy, Lila, Regina, Bruce, Roger, and Olivia.

  • When Liz comes home in a tizzy from MB, Ned and Alice are out at a party.

  • On the way back to MB, they're running late because Jessica overslept.

  • Mock Olympics: Jessica is on the blue team, Bruce is building the world's biggest snowman which bears more than a little resemblance to Chrome Dome Cooper, Todd and Jeffrey are both part of the red team, Aaron and Bill are part of the yellow team, and your guess is as good as mine for the white team.

  • The Droids wrote Snow Girl for the Snow Ball. They're all dressed in white, as is everything else at the SB.



Quote me:

  "She's like a whirlwind!" Elizabeth had exclaimed once to Enid Rollins her best friend.
  "And you're so dependable," Enid had said loyally. - Uncool, Rollins. Whirlwind versus dependable? Which is more flattering, hmm? p4

  "What's wrong?" Jessica asked, still gorging herself on lasagna.
  "Nothing," Elizabeth lied. "It's just that Enid and I really wanted to be on that show. We worked so hard on our entry form and-"
  "Don't worry about it," Jessica advised her. "It's just a dumb trivia show. It's not such a big deal."
  Elizabeth just stared at her. "But if I'd won and you really wanted to be on it, I bet you'd twist my arm until I have in and let you," she pointed out.
  Jessica giggled. "I wouldn't do that," she protested. - And a hundred and thirty seven people just called bullshit, Jessica. p9/10


  "It's only an essay contest anyway," Jessica pointed out. "Come on, Liz. Don't be depressed. Who cares about essays?" - Thoughtful she is not, ladies and gentlemen. p29

  Since her own taste was conservative, it amazed Elizabeth that Jessica borrowed so many of her things. - Truer words were never spoken. p48

  "You're you, and I'm me, and wherever we go people are going to expect me to be on time and to wear navy-blue and they're not going to expect you to do either."
  Jessica stared at her sister. She couldn't imagine a worse fate than the one Elizabeth was describing for herself.- The horror! p57/58

  Mitch was even worse. He kept talking about Hollywood and going into "film," and he was wearing the weirdest clothes-an oversized Hawaiian shirt fastened at the throat with a jeweled pin, and strangely cut linen pants that made him look emaciated. His glasses were kelly green, and when Jessica made a remark about them Mitch gave her a scornful look. "I have twenty-five pair of glasses," he told her. "I change them to go with what I'm wearing." - Mitch, congrats. You're the biggest tool we've had in awhile. Yay, you! p72





   My favorite thing about Winter Carnival, aside from the reality of Liz not always loving being "dependable" as opposed to glamorous? Jeffrey being jealous of Todd's history with Liz. He's heard so much about how awesome Todd was at EVERYTHING, and how everyone expected Todd and Liz to be together, forever, aww, that it makes complete sense that he wouldn't be looking forward to the guy coming back and hanging out immediately with Elizabeth. But he never actually tells Liz any of this during their fighting madness, so she just things he's jealous and overprotective, and more than a little cro-mag in his mindset.
  Superficially speaking, I had a sweater like Elizabeth's, without the funky turtleneck thing going on. But then again, I was in elementary school...
the_oracle: (tear)
Winter Carnival
December 1986


A winter wonderland...


   Winter's here and everyone at Sweet Valley High is excited about the upcoming Winter Carnival. It's a very special weekend at a mountain ski resort, with ice skating, skiing, sledding, and a spectacular ball.
   But Elizabeth Wakefield's got the midwinter blues. She's especially upset with her twin, Jessica, who's been avoiding chores and borrowing clothes without asking. Elizabeth is so sick and tired of Jessica's inconsiderate attitude that she sometimes wishes she never had a sister! And when Jessica's string of broken promises threatens to destroy Elizabeth's romance with Jeffrey French, it looks as though Winter Carnival will turn into a snowy disaster!
   Join the Sweet Valley High gang for their mid-winter break at Winter Carnival!

  Let's get one thing straight right away. Reality has no place in the Valley. None. And I don't mean that "twelve strangers picked specifically for their drama-queen/skanky ways in the hopes of generating insane ratings" reality, I mean honest to God reality. Mundane, normal stuff. No place!
  That said, Winter Carnival would have been much better off had they left out the over-the-top surrealism of the last few chapters. Until then, it's an interesting look behind the perfect twin facade. Liz, you see, is an unhappy camper. While the rest of us would probably consider her life more than charmed, psychotic sister, true-luv shipped to Vermont, and that whole kidnapping thing aside, she does have to put up with Jessica on a daily basis.
  And thus begins our trouble. Liz has to walk home, in the rain, because Jessica just took off with the car, leaving Liz stranded. You or I might have asked our twin if she needed a ride home. We might not, considering Liz does have Jeffrey/Enid/the numerous people who owe her for fixing their lives, whether they asked her to or not. So we might conclude that like Kim Possible, Liz is never without options. We'd be wrong. Anyway, Liz is grumpy, grumpy, grumpy. Lately Jessica has been getting on her nerves something fierce, what with her borrowing things without asking, ducking out of dinner detail repeatedly... basically being Jessica.
  Liz gets a bit snippy when Jessica lets her parents think that the delicious meal they're eating was her own creation when all she did was reheat Elizabeth's masterpiece. Then Liz notices Jess is wearing her mulberry sweater, which was a gift from Enid that Liz hasn't worn all that often. Liz goes apeshit. But what's really getting to Liz is that Jessica and Amy swiped Enid and Elizabeth's answers for a trivia game show, and then Amy and Jess won. Liz points out that if their roles had been reversed, Jess would have wheedled her way into a spot on TV, but Jess calls bullshit. [Honey, that only works if the other person IS full of it, not if it's true...] Then she says it doesn't matter, Amy's so excited that even if Jess wanted to hand it over, she couldn't possibly. Rightio.
  Then Liz finds out that she didn't win the essay contest she entered, but she did get an honorable mention. Liz is bummed that she didn't win flat out and when she finds out that the cheerleaders, led by Jessica, are on their way to All State, she hits a new low. She's jealous of Jessica in a big way, and nothing anyone can say can snap her out of it.
  Well, not entirely true. Jeffrey [you remember Jeffy, right?] sweet talks her out of her funk, only to send her home to bathe [mmhmm, not going there] and then he'll whisk her away to dinner and all her worries will fall by the wayside, cuz... well, let's not be too explicit. That's not the sort of guy Jeffrey is, after all.
  Problem is that Jessica, despite promising to make dinner on her actual night to do so, flits off to Amy's to cram for the trivia show. Liz calls Amy's house to bitch the blondes out, but Lana, Amy's maid [I know, right?] says the girls have gone to the library to look up the longest river in Africa. Let's take a moment, shall we? How many of you know that answer? Mmmhmm. How many of you knew that when you were the recommended reading age for these books? Mmmhmm. I figure nothing else I can say will point out that Amy lost all her braincells and then some. I think the sucking void that is her mind also took out half of Jessica's brain. Instead of using her superior intellect to figure out which library the two might've gone to and, I dunno, called and asked if two stunningly vapid blondes were running around killing braincells, Liz goes full on martyr and cancels her date with Jeffrey. Jeffrey sort of understands, but tells her that she should tell her twin where to shove it, because this shit just can't keep happening. If she can't tell Jess where to step off, she should tell her parents.

  Nup, that won't happen. What I don't get is why neither Ned nor Alice ever call Jess on this shit UNLESS it's one of the "woe is Jessica!" books that happen every so often. Otherwise they smile and wish her good luck on not getting knocked up this go round. Hell, this time Alice comes home, asks where Jess is, is told she's out despite it being her night to do dinner, and in response she shrugs and shows off this spangly [Liz's word, not mine] silver Lycra ski suit she bought her youngest for the Winter Carnival.
  Um, no. I don't care if she is "studying." It's easy enough to figure out that out of, let's say 10 nights, Liz has made dinner eight times. I figure that the weekends are iffy on whether the Wakefields eat together or require dinner made by either of the twins, but I factor in that either Sunday or Friday, they might. Anyway, the point is for them to share the workload, and it's not sharing if one of them is doing all the work. Even at the height of my brother's do nothing and get away with it-'phase', my parents still noticed after awhile. And not just because I'd rat him out at every given opportunity.
  Liz, stuff the older sister crap and tell your parents that Jessica's taking advantage of you. Then tell her yourself and actually stick to it, dammit.
  ...Surprisingly enough, she actually does this. Well, not the part where she tells her parents, but the part where she tells Jessica that she's skipped dinner duty three times in two weeks and that while it's annoying to have everyone else expect her to be perfect-robo-twin, it's particularly vexing for her very own twin to expect the same. Jessica is horrified at the thought of having to be Saint Elizabeth and vows to be a better sister.
  If you believe this, well...
  Liz puts Jess to the test almost immediately. Liz has promised to drive little Teddy Collins home from Ricky Alden's birthday party while Mr. Collins is out of town. Seems his sister, Heather, doesn't drive. But Liz is playing tennis Friday afternoon with Jeffrey and won't be back in time to get Mr. Alden's call about where his house is [why not call BEFORE for the directions, Liz?] annnnnnd what time to pick Teddy up. Jessica promises to take the message, and leave a note telling Liz when/where so that when Liz gets back from tennis, she can run out and pick Teddy up.
  You know this is going to end badly. It has to. And so it does.
  Oh, Jessica takes the message alright. She takes the message along with her on her date with David. Which means Liz never picks Teddy up and looks like a total flake, and I wouldn't blame Heather if she were mighty ticked at Liz. If I were Ricky's dad, I would wonder why a high school girl was picking Teddy up in the first place, but as other people have mentioned, Liz and Mr. C have an odd sort of relationship.
  So, Jess has a disastrous date. David is the cute guy on the opposing trivia team, and Jess has fallen for him for obvious reasons. Namely, he's cute and she figures that if she can get him hot and bothered enough, he'll let her and Amy win the mock game and then they'll get to be on TV. David tells her she's lovely, but that's never gonna happen. Prior to that, though, he takes Jessica to meet his older sister, sister's boyfriend, and they all have sushi. Jessica inhales horseradish instead and damn near chokes, then realizes she fucked up big time with the whole Teddy/Ricky/Liz fiasco. THEN David tells her no.
  So she's in a right pitiful mood when she gets home, and heads straight to Liz to offer a half-assed apology and some serious sympathy over what a jerk David is.
  Liz is pissed the hell off and tells Jessica to go fuck herself, cuz Liz is sick and tired of being unable to depend on her stupid, selfish, flighty, flaky, self absorbed skank of a twin.

   Jess: 137 million, Liz: 1.


  In an effort to make things up to Liz, Jessica decides to try and figure out what's REALLY bothering her twin. Because it couldn't possibly be that Jessica is royally screwing her over every day that ends in "y", could it? No. Then Todd of all people calls! Jess is sure that this means that Liz is really in love with Todd still, and that with him visiting for the Winter Carnival, Liz is all torn up over Jeffrey vs. Todd. So when Todd asks her to pass along a message about the PTA dinner he's asked Liz to attend with him, Jessica does just that. She skips out the door, heads right to the DB, and tells Liz that Todd's all atwitter about their non-date-date, wink wink, nudge nudge.
  Right.
  In.
  Front.
  Of.
  Jeffrey.
   Who had no idea Liz was bailing on the first night of the WC so she could go out with her ex. He's pissed and excuses himself, ready to leave Liz at the DB. Man, early Jeffrey had balls. Todd would never have done that until later in the series when he was an asshole all the time. Liz and Jeffrey fight it out and when he drops her off, Jeffrey doesn't really make any motion to see her in safely, or even really say goodbye.
  So what does Elizabeth do? She asks Jessica for relationship advice. Jess tells her that a little jealousy never hurt anyone [the mind, it boggles!] and that Liz should let Jeffrey think he's got a little to worry about, just so their relationship won't get stale, and they won't take one another for granted.
  And Elizabeth agrees.
  The next day at some picnic or party or whatever the hell it is the popular kids at SVH do on their weekends, Enid tells Elizabeth that she's pretty sure Jeffrey's sensitive and besides that, he's not a headcase like Jessica, and she didn't think Liz was either. Liz ignores Enid, fucks things up further with Jeffrey, and can't even really blame Jessica, because this one? Not really Jessie's fault.
  Damnation!
  Days pass and Liz is worried. She thinks it's ridiculous that Jeffrey is SO jealous of a PTA dinner with Todd, but Jeffrey's never had a serious girlfriend, leading the less mature of us to wonder about his boyfriend history. Um, anywayyyyyyyyyyyyy....
  So Jeffrey decides he'll drive out to this deserted little slice of canyon and if Liz shows up, they'll have a little chat about the state of their union. And if she doesn't show up, obviously there's nothing to talk about and their relationship is as dead as it looks at the moment.
  Liz tells Jessica that she HAS to have the car back by 4:30 because the Liz/Jeffrey relationship depends on it. Jess agrees, but this is where everyone else realizes it ain't. gonna. happen. You see, today is the day when Jessica and Amy go all trivia nerd and beat the pants off real trivia nerds and win the coveted TV time for a local access trivia bowl game show. Exciting. Anyway, upon winning, they all go out for pizza and Jessica has totally forgotten Elizabeth.
  A couple of things come to mind in all this. The first? Why didn't Elizabeth just drive Amy and Jessica to the trivia thing? Or why didn't she insist Amy drive? Doesn't Amy have a car? They've got a housekeeper, so I imagine the Suttons have the money for Ames to have her own transportation. Barring that, where are Lila and Cara? Or ANY of Jessica's admirers? By choosing to leave your fate in the hands of your ditzy sister and even flakier former best friend, you have actually spoken volumes about what you think of your relationship with Jeffy, Lizzie.
  Also, when Jessica doesn't make it home on time [SHOCKER] and you can't find a car to borrow, or afford the taxi out to the canyon, why don't you hike/bike ride/take the taxi/bus to Jeffrey's house and wait for him? Huh? Explain that you tried your second-best and when you realized you'd never be able to meet him, you ran right over to wait for him to get home.
  And if you can't be bothered to do that, you call and leave a thousand messages for him. But seriously, you haul yourself over there and plant your ass on the porch until he comes home. If he tells you to fuck off, fine. That's his right. But at least you'll have tried.
  Why, oh why am I at all invested in Elizabeth's stupidity at this point?

  Now that Jessica's botched just about everything up, she decides she has to fix it. She gets Todd to back off on the PTA thing, which makes Liz feel worse since she fought so hard to convince Jeffrey she SHOULD go since he's a friend and all. Then Jess forges a note from Liz to Jeffrey and tells him to meet her at the ski-lodge at 6:30 Friday evening. Problem this time? She never has time to tell Liz to meet Jeffrey, because Amy fucking Sutton proves she's a moron. When you're going away for a weekend, don't you start to pack a little beforehand? Even if it's just finding the fucking suitcases prior to the hour before you're supposed to leave? Not Amy. Amy runs around like a chicken with its head cut off, only less coordinated. Just when Jessica thinks she's home free, Amy's all "I forgot my allergy pills, Jess! I NEED them." Bitch, I would have pawned you off on Sandy Bacon when she drove by. Not Jessica. She and Amy drive up to Mont Blanc and since they run out of gas, hit all the lights, and various other hi-larious problems ensue, Jess has just enough time to run to the lodge and pretend to be Liz. It works, Jeffrey thinks they're on their way to being cool... Only Jess is spotted by Chrissy Nolan, a gossipy senior girl who makes a comment about the cute blond and the other twin and Liz. Freaks. Out.

  Oh. My. GOD, Liz, take a chill pill. For the last time! Jeffrey and Jessica aren't romantically entangled just yet! But no. Liz runs off, cons Ken into taking her to the bus station, where she runs into Steve and Cara as she takes the bus home. When she does get home, Jessica gets a hold of her and Liz tells her to fuck off. Again. Then she lies down for a nap.
  She's woken by the sound of the phone ringing, and when she answers, it's a cop. Never a good sign when the cops call, unless you're related to the one on the phone. She's not. He's calling because Jessica was in an accident on the way down from Mont Blanc. She's at Fowler Memorial and it doesn't look good. Liz runs out of the house, only to realize that Steve's car is in the shop, her parents are both out [why'd they take both their cars?], and she doesn't know anyone else who can take her since they're all up at Mont Blanc. Then Todd of all people drives by and she flags him down. Why in the HELL is Todd driving a black Camero? Doesn't matter. He takes her to the hospital where she arrives just in time to find out that Jessica is gone. Liz faints.
  When she comes to, Jessica is still dead. Her parents are in shock, Liz is in denial and to help her deal, her pediatrician has prescribed some major pills, which she takes and helps take the edge off everything. The days pass by in a blur, due to the drugs and all, and Liz is handling all of this remarkably well considering she's sure that her family blames her for Jessica's death, since Jess wouldn't have died if the twins hadn't been fighting. Enid's throwing a small 'remember Jessica' sort of thing at her house. The guest list is a little odd, with Steve, Cara, Enid, Liz, Todd, Winston, Amy, Lila, Regina & Bruce, Roger, and Olivia. You had me right up until Roger and Olivia. I guess they're there to support Liz, not so much because they'll necessarily miss Jessica. Jeffy shows up and the shit hits the fan. He and Todd duel in the yard and the world goes even wonkier when Enid runs out into the yard wearing Jessica's silver ski suit. She's calling Liz's name only...
  Not.
  Because everything after Liz drifted off to sleep has been a dream. Jess, Steve, Cara, and Jeffrey are all at the Wakefield's! They're fine! Jess is alive! Liz instantly forgives everything, hugs her twin to death, and all is well.
  The book ends with the Snow Ball Enid's been working on for the WC. Happily ever after. Oh, and the Todd/Jeffrey jokes literally write themselves as they bond over the weekend.



Trivial Matters:

  • Liz calls her essay for the Young Writer's Society, "Double or Nothing." Like everything else she writes, it's about being a twin. Later, she'll think that she should have called it "Double Standard." Her faculty sponsor is Mr. Collins, and she gets honorable mention.

  • The Winter Carnival weekend is for juniors, seniors, and SVH alumni. Am I the only one thinking of all the pervy guys trying to get with a naive/super slutty SVH student? Guess so.

  • The WC is held at Mont Blanc, a ski resort an hour and a half away from SV. Among other amenities, there's a ballroom.

  • The local TV station has created a trivia game show, and they've run a contest to get names for the show as well as contestants. After they swipe Liz and Enid's answers, Amy and Jessica are chosen, and their bit of witticism for a name? Trivia Bowl. Egads, Brain...

  • There's one team from SVH and one from Westwood High. Come on, ghosties, how many frickin' high schools are we up to by now?

  • The Trivia Show's entry form has ten sample questions and a space for a name suggestion for the show.

  • Trivia Bowl will air on KSVC. Those are some easy call letters, eh?

  • Jessica's all over the cold lasagna. While I agree leftover lasagna is better than fresh from the oven, I prefer mine warmed. To each their freakish ways, I suppose, Wakefield.

  • The Trivia Bowl people called Amy first. Luckily Jessica was there, too.

  • Winston demands that the dance at the WC be called the Snow Ball. Enid caves, but holds firm against all his other wackily lame ideas. In my head, Enid and Win were totally doing other things rather than planning the Snow Ball. Just sayin'...

  • Enid is co-chair of the dance committee, in case you hadn't figured that out yet.

  • Friday night there's a pizza party to begin the WC weekend. It's at 7pm, which happens to fall too close to the PTA dinner Todd's invited Elizabeth to go to.

  • Various chaperons include Ms. Dalton, Mr. Collins, Ms. Howard...

  • There are four students to each room. The only rooms worth noting: Liz/Enid/Olivia/Regina and Jessica/Cara/Lila/Amy. That last one sounds like a bad idea begging to happen.

  • Amy is organizing a miniture ice show for the WC. Ken and Bill are setting up a mock winter Olympics, with four teams competing for the glory and bragging rights of winning.

  • If you're not athletically inclined, there's always card or board games inside the lodge, as well as ping pong.

  • Elizabeth is Jeffrey's first serious girlfriend.

  • Todd played Big Brother to Timothy Bryce, who won a basketball scholarship to b-ball camp and is being honored [along with a zillion other snot nosed brats] at a PTA dinner, originally scheduled for Sunday, but moved to Friday for no reason other than to fuck with Elizabeth's weekend plans with Jeffrey.

  • The SVH squad has been picked as a finalist for the All-State cheerleading squad, leading Jess to prance around shrieking, "Can you believe we might be the best in the state?!?" as if we couldn't figure out what All-State meant.

  • Nina Davidson is a VIP from an architecture firm in San Diego who has been running Alice ragged.

  • Another high school! Bayberry Hills Academy, Jess is sure that they would have gotten the All-State nomination instead.

  • David Campbell is a senior at Westwood High. He's got brown eyes that wrinkle at the corners like Ned Wakefield's. His mother owns Bibi's, and his sister, Barbara, is 19 and crazy in that affected way that seems to be an epidemic in the Valley. Her boyfriend Mitch is just as affected/crazy.

  • Scott Hamlin runs Trivia Bowl.

  • Jeffrey's big plan was to whisk Liz off for a romantic evening at Tiberino's. The plan dies when Jessica and Amy go to the library to look up the longest river in Africa. No word on whether they figured it out or not.

  • The Suttons have a housekeeper named Lana.

  • Jessica is convinced her father needs to watch his weight, so she's vowed the family will eat salad 2 nights a week. Um, it might also have something to do with salads being impossibly easy to fix...

  • Alice picks up a silver, Lycra ski suit for Jessica at The Ski Shop.

  • Enid recently gave Elizabeth a mulberry sweater and Liz goes nuts when Jessica borrows it. Jess just borrowed it because she promised to show Amy her pants. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried...

  • When asked to name all the states starting with the letter M, Jessica misses Massachusetts, Mississippi, Maryland and Minnesota.

  • Winston informs Jessica and Amy that Charles Darwin's most famous voyage was made while sailing in The Beagle.

  • Also, the first two letters on every boat registered in California? CA. Jess is sure they wouldn't ask something like this. Uh, it's a trivia show, Jess. You're lucky they aren't asking really off the wall crap.

  • Mr. Collins has a sister, Heather, but she doesn't drive.

  • David drives a blue MG.

  • David, Barbara, Mitch, and Jessica go to A Taste of Tokyo [for sashimi], which is half an hour away.

  • Jessica thinks David is a jerk for not promising to take it easy on Amy and Jessica during the Trivia Bowl, but concedes that he's a considerate jerk when he waits until she's safely inside before starting his car and driving off.

  • Ned and Alice both work in downtown Sweet Valley.

  • At the picnic where Jeffrey and Liz prove they suck at playing proper headgames, Jessica plays Frisbee baseball. Also at the picnic? Caroline, Enid, Ken, and Bill. Man, the way they keep pairing Bill and Ken up, a girl could get to thinking the wrong thing. But I won't. Much longer. Promise.

  • Jeffrey is looking super sexy, in Elizabeth's opinion, in his madras pants. Go on, google 'em. I've got time.

  • Jeffrey drives out to Las Palmas Canyon, where he'll be waiting at the intersection of Route 27 and Canyon Drive. If Liz hasn't shown up by 6pm, I dunno, he'll go find Todd and get down and dirty. Who knows.

  • The Trivia Bowl starts at 3:30 and Jess is sure she'll be home by 4:30. She might've been had she not gone out for pizza with the gang at Pizza Palace. Hell, she volunteers to drive, thus further damning herself.

  • Jake Thomas is David's partner. Mike Mallory is the host of Trivia Bowl.

  • David and Thomas dominate the first half of TB *snort* and Amy and Jessica take the second half. There's a tie, and the tie-breaker? How many fluid cups are in a gallon. David says 24, but Jessica and Amy say, "Nuh uh! 16!" The girls win. Yay for them.

  • The drive to the canyon takes at least half an hour and a taxi ride'll cost $30. Liz doesn't have that much cash, and while she considers raiding the emergency money, she still wouldn't have enough. Bummer.

  • When Jessica is gossiping on the phone, she prefers to lie on her stomach, stretched across the bed, her ankles crossed in the air, her chin propped up on one hand. Now you know.

  • Todd visits with such regularity that the ghosty gets away with saying that when he does visit, you can be sure he'll be staying with either Ken or Winston. For the record, Winston won bunk rights this time.

  • Todd's flight comes in at 3pm, and he'll be back at Winston's by 4:30.

  • Amy can't drive a stick and has terrible night vision because her contacts make oncoming headlights shimmer.

  • The girls are bunking in the main building at Mont Blanc and the guys are in the Lodge, a hundred yards away. Woo?

  • Chrissy Nolan is a senior and a gossip to boot.

  • Ms. Dalton and Ms. Howard at the second floor chaperons, where Liz's room happens to be.

  • Ken took Liz to the bus station. He wanted to stay with her, but she wouldn't let him.

  • Steve and Cara took the bus to MB because Steve's car was in the shop.

  • Liz takes the 7:15 bus back to SV, and she's the only passenger, so she sits up front with Hank, the bus driver.

  • Liz actually wishes, repeatedly, that Jessica had never been born; that she had no sister at all. Damn, Liz.

  • Jessica 'crashes' on Route 17, down from MB, when she smashed into a tree. The docs say she didn't suffer, I say it was a fucking car accident and she didn't die immediately. I don't think she was having fun waiting for someone to drive by and call 911 for her.

  • Todd drives up in a black Camero.

  • Dr. Davis is the twins pediatrician. He appears wearing large coke-bottle glasses that he doesn't normally have outside of dreamtime.

  • Jessica's last words were, "Tell Liz I love her and I'm sorry." Guilt trip from beyond the grave!

  • Ned starts smoking after Jessica's death. Liz is shocked.

  • After less than a week, Alice turns the Hershey Bar white chocolate, and cleans everything out to make a guest room. Guess Liz isn't the only one knocking back the happy pills...

  • Enid's little shindig for Jessica involved the following: Steve, Liz, Todd, Winston, Amy, Lila, Regina, Bruce, Roger, and Olivia.

  • When Liz comes home in a tizzy from MB, Ned and Alice are out at a party.

  • On the way back to MB, they're running late because Jessica overslept.

  • Mock Olympics: Jessica is on the blue team, Bruce is building the world's biggest snowman which bears more than a little resemblance to Chrome Dome Cooper, Todd and Jeffrey are both part of the red team, Aaron and Bill are part of the yellow team, and your guess is as good as mine for the white team.

  • The Droids wrote Snow Girl for the Snow Ball. They're all dressed in white, as is everything else at the SB.



Quote me:

  "She's like a whirlwind!" Elizabeth had exclaimed once to Enid Rollins her best friend.
  "And you're so dependable," Enid had said loyally. - Uncool, Rollins. Whirlwind versus dependable? Which is more flattering, hmm? p4

  "What's wrong?" Jessica asked, still gorging herself on lasagna.
  "Nothing," Elizabeth lied. "It's just that Enid and I really wanted to be on that show. We worked so hard on our entry form and-"
  "Don't worry about it," Jessica advised her. "It's just a dumb trivia show. It's not such a big deal."
  Elizabeth just stared at her. "But if I'd won and you really wanted to be on it, I bet you'd twist my arm until I have in and let you," she pointed out.
  Jessica giggled. "I wouldn't do that," she protested. - And a hundred and thirty seven people just called bullshit, Jessica. p9/10


  "It's only an essay contest anyway," Jessica pointed out. "Come on, Liz. Don't be depressed. Who cares about essays?" - Thoughtful she is not, ladies and gentlemen. p29

  Since her own taste was conservative, it amazed Elizabeth that Jessica borrowed so many of her things. - Truer words were never spoken. p48

  "You're you, and I'm me, and wherever we go people are going to expect me to be on time and to wear navy-blue and they're not going to expect you to do either."
  Jessica stared at her sister. She couldn't imagine a worse fate than the one Elizabeth was describing for herself.- The horror! p57/58

  Mitch was even worse. He kept talking about Hollywood and going into "film," and he was wearing the weirdest clothes-an oversized Hawaiian shirt fastened at the throat with a jeweled pin, and strangely cut linen pants that made him look emaciated. His glasses were kelly green, and when Jessica made a remark about them Mitch gave her a scornful look. "I have twenty-five pair of glasses," he told her. "I change them to go with what I'm wearing." - Mitch, congrats. You're the biggest tool we've had in awhile. Yay, you! p72





   My favorite thing about Winter Carnival, aside from the reality of Liz not always loving being "dependable" as opposed to glamorous? Jeffrey being jealous of Todd's history with Liz. He's heard so much about how awesome Todd was at EVERYTHING, and how everyone expected Todd and Liz to be together, forever, aww, that it makes complete sense that he wouldn't be looking forward to the guy coming back and hanging out immediately with Elizabeth. But he never actually tells Liz any of this during their fighting madness, so she just things he's jealous and overprotective, and more than a little cro-mag in his mindset.
  Superficially speaking, I had a sweater like Elizabeth's, without the funky turtleneck thing going on. But then again, I was in elementary school...
the_oracle: (plotting)
Promises
January 1985

Somehow, Jessica will get rid of Betsy!

Bad girl in town...


   Steven Wakefield is crushed when his girlfriend, Tricia, dies after a tragic illness. The only things that keep him going are the memory of their love and his promise to Tricia to take care of her sister, Betsy, after she's gone.
   Betsy Martin's wild exploits with drink, drugs, and boys have left her with the worst reputation in Sweet Valley. But when Steven takes her into the Wakefield home, Betsy makes a promise to change. And as her goodness grows, so does her love for Steven.
   Jessica, Steven's conniving younger sister, doesn't like this one bit. She makes a little promise of her own-to get Betsy out of the house and out of Steven's life... forever!


  G'ah, who had the raging hatred for the short haired brunettes in the Valley? First we have Easy Annie and now we've got Betsy Martin who actually cops to her escapades and says, yeah, they're true. Let's begin superficially, as that's how we left off before. Betsy there is one of the least lucky of the SVH characters in that she has to share a cover with Jessica [whom I love, cover art wise, for most of the earlier books] and that she's um, well, not Lila circa SVT/Unicorns club, but in the same alley. Which should, if they're both taking notes, be very, very dark. So no one can see you. At all. *cough*

  Like the last gazillion books or so, this one picks up pretty much right after the previous book. We're at the hospital, huddling around Tricia's death bed. That's right, folks, it's taken her how long to actually get here, and we're going to burn through it so fast it'll leave you spinning in your chair. It's all very touching and even Jessica sees the error of her ways, sort of, and tries to apologize, but Tricia doesn't see the need, what with Death tapping her foot gently. Really, in the grand scheme of things, Tricia doesn't need Jessica's apology. Given the way she snarked about Cara, she knows full well how much of a jerk Jessica is, and she's not going to worry about it in her final moments. Rock on?
  The rest of the Wakefields file out after their brief goodbye moments, leaving Steven and Tricia alone. That's right, there are no other Martins at this death-day party. Just Wakefields. Seriously, Tricia has NO friends. How in the hell... Sorry, tangent.
  Steve and Trish reminisce about their first date and it's killing Steve to watch the light slowly fade from Tricia's eyes, but before she checks out completely, she asks Steven to do her a favor. The infamous " 'I'd do anything...' 'Really? Anything?' '...damn...'" kind of moment. Tricia asks that Steve take care of her sister, Betsy. Steve isn't exactly sure how well that will work out, given what a wild child Betsy is. But it's Tricia's dying wish, so of course he'll say yes.
  A short time later, the Wakefields are leaving, seeing as Tricia has died, and as they're almost home free, Betsy bursts into the hospital and freaks out. "My sister! My siiissssssttteeeeerrr!" Yeah, where were you the hour or two it took Tricia to die? Uh huh, you were out getting drunk and smoking absolutely everything you could get your hands on. So shut the hell up, kay? [It isn't often I'm with Jessica on something, but I'm on her side for the disgust at this point. I know, I know, that says something HORRIBLE about me, but I'll just have to deal, I suppose.] She sobs and carries on when Steve tells her that it's too late, and Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield decide to take Betsy home with them. Betsy's in no shape to argue and away they go.
  Jessica is not pleased with this. Betsy Martin, in case you've been living under a rock, is a world class super tramp as well as a drugged out freak. Dunno, that just seems like something the bitchy crowd at SVH would say. To illustrate how much of a skank Betsy is, rumour has it that she recently spent some quality time up at Miller's Point with two boys at the same time, and they weren't playing a rousing game of cards. GASP! For those who like your giggles with a tiny dash of irony, later on Jessica will flit around the Beach Disco with two boys in tow and think nothing of it.
  In an attempt to either atone for her misdeeds, or maybe make sure she doesn't miss another important death again, Betsy vows to give up her wild ways. Jessica [and I] snort and mutter, "That'll be the day." Thing is, somehow she manages. Annie can't keep her thoughts away from boys long enough to ace ONE test, but Betsy quits cold-freakin-turkey. If you're at all skeptical, like me, you spend most of the book waiting for her to fall off the wagon. She doesn't. ... so please don't make the same mistake I keep making, which is to wait in vain. It's okay, I know. I know, we'll get through this together.

  Instead, she swaps one vice for another. Instead of the drinking, drugs, or sex with two boys at once, Betsy falls hard for Steven Wakefield. He pays attention to her, he's nice, and he's making absolutely no movement towards trying to sleep with her, and best of all, he loved Tricia. Which is why I wish they hadn't gone with the obvious "Betsy momentarily wants Steven but isn't thinking at all about how weird it would be to have her sister's leftovers, especially given how said sister left the relationship." Namely, a little guilt over wanting Steven. It would have been nice. Yes. I sit here and actively wish for pain on fictional characters.

  Blah, blah, blah. Liz decides that if Jessica is going to make Betsy feel unwanted, then she [Liz, remember?] will make Betsy feel at home. No, she doesn't get wildly drunk and wallow in self pity [like Mr. Martin, who is still missing at this point] but she does invite herself into Betsy's life and declares that Betsy is a fantastic artist. And, as far as we know, she is. We don't know much about Betsy, other than she's got self esteem issues, and really, I wouldn't mind if Jessica kicked her in the shins with pointy heels. Wait, my issues, not yours. Artist with an attitude problem, whether she's sober or not. There, that's what we know.
  Back at SVH, the universe decides that one corpse isn't enough, so Roger finds out that his mother has had a heart attack. He lets out a mournful wail and freaks out in the cafe, which is just awkward. We'll dwell here for a bit. Turns out Mama Barret needs some operation that can apparently only be done in Houston, so Roger is trying to find the money to fly Mama B out there. Thing is, if you'll remember from book nine, Roger is freakin' POOR. Like he can afford that, right? Mmhmm. The next thing you know, gossip has it that Mr. Patman has ponied up and is sending Mama B to Houston, and everyone wonders when the hell any of the Patmans grew a soul. When did that happen? Jessica and Lila compare stories on who can't talk to Bruce most [Lila because their families are rivals, so it kills me that it takes until SVU for them to get their Romeo/Juliet on, and Jessica because of her ill-fated 'ship that went down in flames] so Cara is elected spokeswoman. The wicked witches of SVH ask and Bruce points out that Mama B did work for Mr. P back in the day [Lila points out that it was waaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day] and that it doesn't hurt to help out the little people every so often, isn't that right, Jessica?
  Jessica then decides that it's time someone around here finally got the trash taken out of the Wakefield study, and tries to properly hatch ways to get rid of Betsy. She looks through Betsy's stuff, swearing all the while [I think she uses the word damn more in this one scene than they do in the entire rest of the series. o_O ] and all she finds is a pillbox filled with aspirin, until she gets to Betsy's sketchbook. At the very end, after Jessica is impressed, she finds a picture of Steven. She flips out, because no book is complete without a Jessica tantrum and ensuing twisty logic.
  Elsewhere, Steven is trying to set Betsy up with his friend Jason. Jason happens to teach an art class, and Betsy is an artist, so it should all be good, right? Wrong. Every time Jason so much as looks at Betsy, she screams, "Stop picturing me doing sweaty naked things with you!"
  Okay, not literally, but close enough. She won't give the guy a chance and is an incredible bitch, sure that all he wants is to get her alone so they can make with the aforementioned sweaty stuff. Jason, meanwhile, seems like he's never gotten laid in his life and that he's okay with it, so long as he can bask in the glory that is Betsy's talent. In other words, he's a friggin' saint. Steve manages to help con Betsy into going to one of Jason's classes, but she comes home all in a funk. Why?
  Because Jason asked her for a date.
  Liz and I stare blankly. So...? Sure, he's a bit on the dorky side, but glasses can be super hot, so long as they aren't those ugly aviator cousin ones, y'know? Noooooooooo, Jason obviously just wants sex, god, can you be any more stupid? Liz points out that this just cannot be true, that he might actually be interested in a talented and pretty young woman. Betsy stalks off because obviously Liz cannot relate. While I get that the guys Betsy is used to hanging out with are only interested in her for various things, how many are friends of Steven's? How many are like Jason, because I'm thinking the answer to that is not many...

  Our C plot [I consider Roger the B, as it will take center stage next book] is Winston, the Starch King. Bruce and Todd bet on whether or not Win can eat four mini pizzas in four minutes. Um, yes, yes he can. Bruce has to pay for Todd and Liz at the Beach Disco, and this spurs Winston on. Apparently in the mid 80's the world record was to believed to have been eating 7 extra large pizzas in one sitting. I'm finding this a little difficult to believe, but whatever. The local news team is out in full force to cover Winston's daring eating escapade, and so is everyone at SVH. Poor Winston spent so much time 'practicing' that he's made himself ill. He makes it to six and a half pizzas, and then has to run off and puke. Woe, Starch King. Woe. Luckily the peasants still love him.

  Back to Jason and Betsy. He offers to ask his former teacher to look at Betsy's application to the Los Angeles Academy of Fine Arts talent search. In return-
  "Hot sweaty sex! I knew it!"
  SHUT UP, Betsy. Considering you've turned the guy down sixteen different times this morning, I really don't think he's going to ask you that in front of Steve or Elizabeth, okay? So chill. You may be experienced, but I'm betting Jason doesn't want whatever you might have, kay? She stalks off, sure that she'd lose anyway, and what's the point? She leaves her sketchbook, again. [it's why Jason popped over in the first place. After her last bitch fit after class, she left her book there, too. Way to take care of the one thing you're supposed to care about, skank.] Liz stops the boys from returning it to her and says Jason should turn it in as Betsy's application. It takes Steven a second to catch on, and all three giggle like school girls, so sure are they that Betsy will win.
  Steve goes back to school, although I swear it's been like, a week, since Tricia's death. Maybe two, if you blinked and missed 'em. Anyway, Betsy freaks out when her father shows up at the Wakefields, and Steven returns. His family points out that Betsy's attachment is hurting them both. Steve can't let himself grieve while forcing himself to be strong for Betsy, and Betsy is entirely too attached to Steve for her own good. Steve tells his parents that he has to take care of Betsy because he promised Tricia.
  Unfortunately, Jessica is spying, and once she hears this, she pretty much RUNS to tell Betsy. Betsy is crushed because she thought Steve was interested and that it was more than a charity case. Fraid not, honey. Trust me, the only person who actually wants what you're giving away is the one you won't let near you. Ain't that just the way?
  So Betsy packs up and calls her good time boys. Jessica then tells people a slightly *cough* skewed version of their encounter. Steve and Jason, both elated over Betsy's winning the talent search, head off to all the dives in the area, looking for Bets. They finally find her at the Shady Lady. A fight ensues between the good boys and the good ol' boys. Jason turns out to be a brown belt in karate, kicks some ass, and then Betsy's offering up her, um, services, but in a little less obvious way.
  Turns out that she's just had one drink and isn't enjoying her old ways, so she'll go home to take care of Papa until school starts in the fall. Jason, I gather, has a backstage pass to Betsy's home.
  The book ends with Roger's mother dying, and his true father revealed. Paul Patman, Bruce's father's richer brother! GASP!

  End scene.



Trivia:

  • Wait, when did the Wakefields get a rust brown LTD? Where was I?

  • Jessica got a speeding ticket on the way to Millers Point, too bad the boy she was in such a hurry to suck face with was Paul Sherwood who can't kiss worth a damn. Add him to the dead fish pile, kids.

  • Betsy was allegedly up at MP with Charlie Cashman and Jim Sturbridge.

  • The Wakefield study comes complete with a radio, red Oriental rug, and oh, yeah, Betsy Martin.

  • Tricia died Monday, maybe early Tuesday morning [we're talking like 2am early], and she's buried two days later.

  • Before she became ill, Tricia worked at a daycare center.

  • Jessica thinks she's hit paydirt on her quest to find something illegal in Betsy's possessions, but the closest she comes is mistaking tiny little white pills for fun tiny little white pills. They have letters, too. B-A-Y-E-R. Fun!

  • There's a brook behind Sweet Valley Elementary. Seems a bit unsafe, but what do I know? My elementary school was built so close to the marsh that for recess, a bunch of us would go on unofficial marsh walks. Not a great idea at high tide or on rainy days.

  • For those who wondered, Dana is an alto.

  • Neil Freemount is the newest guy at SVH, and he's cute. Tall, blond, and cute. We know this because Jessica's already got him hooked. Aw. How many new kids can one small school have in one year?

  • Jason Stone is tall, thin, with curly black hair, brown eyes, and black tortoise shell glasses. He's an artist and teaches Saturday morning life drawing classes at Sweet Valley Community Center.

  • Winston attempts to break the world record by eating 7 extra large pizzas from Guido's. KSVH was covering the 'story' with film at six o'clock.

  • Who exactly is Tim Houseman, other than the recipients of a piss poor name and Dana's newest boytoy?

  • Winning one of the three slots in the LA Academy of Fine Arts talent search means that Betsy won free tuition, room, and board.

  • Steven's microeconomics professor is the cure for insomnia and as a result, not Steve's best subject.

  • Elizabeth and Jessica share chem class and sit next to one another. I geek out at this because, hello, geek.

  • Mrs. Rollins has a little blue hatchback.

  • Frank DeLuna is the owner of Guidos.

  • Jason is a brown belt in karate.

  • Wait, when did the Wakefields start having a weekly family brunch?

  • And also, since when does the school board have meetings early Sunday morning/afternoon? Since when does any school board do that? Is this one of those things we just don't do 'round here because it's the Bible Belt and all this time I've been missing out?



Quote-y:
  But Tricia kept right on smiling in the face of death and showed the courage of a female Luke Skywalker. - Jessica, honey? The female Luke would be Leia. p4
  "Honestly, I don't know why you get such a kick out of these verbal cat-and-mouse games." That's because you're an idiot, Liz. We know why Jess twists words. It's fun. p53

"Betsy, there's no need for apologies. It's been a rough time for both of us." A sad expression spread across Steven's handsome face. "Tricia was a very special human being." Steve, who the hell refers to the dead love of their life as a 'very special human being'? I could take, and understand, the use of the word 'person' but your way sounds like someone forgot to reword the book outline. LAME. And even Jessica agrees with me, what with her spying and all. p149



  Yes, I'm sure I played a big ol' game of 52 card pick up with various plot threads, but you get the idea. Personally, I don't like Betsy. I understand that her life is hard, and that she has issues which means she's skanky with a heart of gold, only... she's not. She's a complete bitch to Jason and anyone who isn't immediately doing anything for her, and we're not really given all that much to off-set it. Jessica is supposed to be our bitch, and she doesn't make it widely known that she's giving it away free. Which might make her a tease, but I wouldn't be Lysol-ing the toilet seat after each time she's been there. :P

  As to Tricia, for some reason it really bothers me that she seems to have no friends at all at school or anywhere else. Sure, we get a few people at the funeral, but for someone who was supposed to be this sweet girl, you'd think she'd have someone other than Steve in her life. Maybe what bugs me is that it's so sad, and probably not at all intentional. Did her family's trashy behaviour keep her from having any friends at all? Or did the writers just not think that with the exception of Caroline, almost everyone else at SVH has at least one sort of friend before they end up leaning on good old Elizabeth?
  Speaking of Elizabeth, the book repeatedly refers to her brief relationship glitch with Todd, but they use phrases such as "awful near break up was safely in the past." What past? Didn't that JUST happen? Like days ago? Seriously, the rest of the time the book is paced as if it's been a week, max, since Tricia's death, but anytime the Todd/Liz thing is brought up, it's as if months have passed. At the time of this little moment, I think it's the day AFTER Tricia's death. Which would mean Todd and Liz made up yesterday. *head desk* Either I missed something, or someone out there deserves a big kick in the kneecaps.
  Also, up until this most recent re-reading of Promises, I hadn't realized Betsy is Tricia's older sister. D'oh! I thought she was just one of the many SVH drop outs in the junior range. Don't I feel a bit silly...
  My absolute favorite bit? At the end where we gloss over Steven threatening to send Jessica to die in a desert and she fires back that Steve told Liz about the Betsy plan, and excluded her, because he loves Elizabeth more.

   Yes. Cover wise, the French one confounds me. Is the sluttified one supposed to be Betsy, and if so, when did she have time to dye her hair? Love the other, though. At least, in what little I can see. As to the funky colors above, really, there's the light blue one and then there's this bizarre aqua one that looks more blue than the aqua it is. And I should know, seeing as that's my copy and all. :P

the_oracle: (plotting)
Promises
January 1985

Somehow, Jessica will get rid of Betsy!

Bad girl in town...


   Steven Wakefield is crushed when his girlfriend, Tricia, dies after a tragic illness. The only things that keep him going are the memory of their love and his promise to Tricia to take care of her sister, Betsy, after she's gone.
   Betsy Martin's wild exploits with drink, drugs, and boys have left her with the worst reputation in Sweet Valley. But when Steven takes her into the Wakefield home, Betsy makes a promise to change. And as her goodness grows, so does her love for Steven.
   Jessica, Steven's conniving younger sister, doesn't like this one bit. She makes a little promise of her own-to get Betsy out of the house and out of Steven's life... forever!


  G'ah, who had the raging hatred for the short haired brunettes in the Valley? First we have Easy Annie and now we've got Betsy Martin who actually cops to her escapades and says, yeah, they're true. Let's begin superficially, as that's how we left off before. Betsy there is one of the least lucky of the SVH characters in that she has to share a cover with Jessica [whom I love, cover art wise, for most of the earlier books] and that she's um, well, not Lila circa SVT/Unicorns club, but in the same alley. Which should, if they're both taking notes, be very, very dark. So no one can see you. At all. *cough*

  Like the last gazillion books or so, this one picks up pretty much right after the previous book. We're at the hospital, huddling around Tricia's death bed. That's right, folks, it's taken her how long to actually get here, and we're going to burn through it so fast it'll leave you spinning in your chair. It's all very touching and even Jessica sees the error of her ways, sort of, and tries to apologize, but Tricia doesn't see the need, what with Death tapping her foot gently. Really, in the grand scheme of things, Tricia doesn't need Jessica's apology. Given the way she snarked about Cara, she knows full well how much of a jerk Jessica is, and she's not going to worry about it in her final moments. Rock on?
  The rest of the Wakefields file out after their brief goodbye moments, leaving Steven and Tricia alone. That's right, there are no other Martins at this death-day party. Just Wakefields. Seriously, Tricia has NO friends. How in the hell... Sorry, tangent.
  Steve and Trish reminisce about their first date and it's killing Steve to watch the light slowly fade from Tricia's eyes, but before she checks out completely, she asks Steven to do her a favor. The infamous " 'I'd do anything...' 'Really? Anything?' '...damn...'" kind of moment. Tricia asks that Steve take care of her sister, Betsy. Steve isn't exactly sure how well that will work out, given what a wild child Betsy is. But it's Tricia's dying wish, so of course he'll say yes.
  A short time later, the Wakefields are leaving, seeing as Tricia has died, and as they're almost home free, Betsy bursts into the hospital and freaks out. "My sister! My siiissssssttteeeeerrr!" Yeah, where were you the hour or two it took Tricia to die? Uh huh, you were out getting drunk and smoking absolutely everything you could get your hands on. So shut the hell up, kay? [It isn't often I'm with Jessica on something, but I'm on her side for the disgust at this point. I know, I know, that says something HORRIBLE about me, but I'll just have to deal, I suppose.] She sobs and carries on when Steve tells her that it's too late, and Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield decide to take Betsy home with them. Betsy's in no shape to argue and away they go.
  Jessica is not pleased with this. Betsy Martin, in case you've been living under a rock, is a world class super tramp as well as a drugged out freak. Dunno, that just seems like something the bitchy crowd at SVH would say. To illustrate how much of a skank Betsy is, rumour has it that she recently spent some quality time up at Miller's Point with two boys at the same time, and they weren't playing a rousing game of cards. GASP! For those who like your giggles with a tiny dash of irony, later on Jessica will flit around the Beach Disco with two boys in tow and think nothing of it.
  In an attempt to either atone for her misdeeds, or maybe make sure she doesn't miss another important death again, Betsy vows to give up her wild ways. Jessica [and I] snort and mutter, "That'll be the day." Thing is, somehow she manages. Annie can't keep her thoughts away from boys long enough to ace ONE test, but Betsy quits cold-freakin-turkey. If you're at all skeptical, like me, you spend most of the book waiting for her to fall off the wagon. She doesn't. ... so please don't make the same mistake I keep making, which is to wait in vain. It's okay, I know. I know, we'll get through this together.

  Instead, she swaps one vice for another. Instead of the drinking, drugs, or sex with two boys at once, Betsy falls hard for Steven Wakefield. He pays attention to her, he's nice, and he's making absolutely no movement towards trying to sleep with her, and best of all, he loved Tricia. Which is why I wish they hadn't gone with the obvious "Betsy momentarily wants Steven but isn't thinking at all about how weird it would be to have her sister's leftovers, especially given how said sister left the relationship." Namely, a little guilt over wanting Steven. It would have been nice. Yes. I sit here and actively wish for pain on fictional characters.

  Blah, blah, blah. Liz decides that if Jessica is going to make Betsy feel unwanted, then she [Liz, remember?] will make Betsy feel at home. No, she doesn't get wildly drunk and wallow in self pity [like Mr. Martin, who is still missing at this point] but she does invite herself into Betsy's life and declares that Betsy is a fantastic artist. And, as far as we know, she is. We don't know much about Betsy, other than she's got self esteem issues, and really, I wouldn't mind if Jessica kicked her in the shins with pointy heels. Wait, my issues, not yours. Artist with an attitude problem, whether she's sober or not. There, that's what we know.
  Back at SVH, the universe decides that one corpse isn't enough, so Roger finds out that his mother has had a heart attack. He lets out a mournful wail and freaks out in the cafe, which is just awkward. We'll dwell here for a bit. Turns out Mama Barret needs some operation that can apparently only be done in Houston, so Roger is trying to find the money to fly Mama B out there. Thing is, if you'll remember from book nine, Roger is freakin' POOR. Like he can afford that, right? Mmhmm. The next thing you know, gossip has it that Mr. Patman has ponied up and is sending Mama B to Houston, and everyone wonders when the hell any of the Patmans grew a soul. When did that happen? Jessica and Lila compare stories on who can't talk to Bruce most [Lila because their families are rivals, so it kills me that it takes until SVU for them to get their Romeo/Juliet on, and Jessica because of her ill-fated 'ship that went down in flames] so Cara is elected spokeswoman. The wicked witches of SVH ask and Bruce points out that Mama B did work for Mr. P back in the day [Lila points out that it was waaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day] and that it doesn't hurt to help out the little people every so often, isn't that right, Jessica?
  Jessica then decides that it's time someone around here finally got the trash taken out of the Wakefield study, and tries to properly hatch ways to get rid of Betsy. She looks through Betsy's stuff, swearing all the while [I think she uses the word damn more in this one scene than they do in the entire rest of the series. o_O ] and all she finds is a pillbox filled with aspirin, until she gets to Betsy's sketchbook. At the very end, after Jessica is impressed, she finds a picture of Steven. She flips out, because no book is complete without a Jessica tantrum and ensuing twisty logic.
  Elsewhere, Steven is trying to set Betsy up with his friend Jason. Jason happens to teach an art class, and Betsy is an artist, so it should all be good, right? Wrong. Every time Jason so much as looks at Betsy, she screams, "Stop picturing me doing sweaty naked things with you!"
  Okay, not literally, but close enough. She won't give the guy a chance and is an incredible bitch, sure that all he wants is to get her alone so they can make with the aforementioned sweaty stuff. Jason, meanwhile, seems like he's never gotten laid in his life and that he's okay with it, so long as he can bask in the glory that is Betsy's talent. In other words, he's a friggin' saint. Steve manages to help con Betsy into going to one of Jason's classes, but she comes home all in a funk. Why?
  Because Jason asked her for a date.
  Liz and I stare blankly. So...? Sure, he's a bit on the dorky side, but glasses can be super hot, so long as they aren't those ugly aviator cousin ones, y'know? Noooooooooo, Jason obviously just wants sex, god, can you be any more stupid? Liz points out that this just cannot be true, that he might actually be interested in a talented and pretty young woman. Betsy stalks off because obviously Liz cannot relate. While I get that the guys Betsy is used to hanging out with are only interested in her for various things, how many are friends of Steven's? How many are like Jason, because I'm thinking the answer to that is not many...

  Our C plot [I consider Roger the B, as it will take center stage next book] is Winston, the Starch King. Bruce and Todd bet on whether or not Win can eat four mini pizzas in four minutes. Um, yes, yes he can. Bruce has to pay for Todd and Liz at the Beach Disco, and this spurs Winston on. Apparently in the mid 80's the world record was to believed to have been eating 7 extra large pizzas in one sitting. I'm finding this a little difficult to believe, but whatever. The local news team is out in full force to cover Winston's daring eating escapade, and so is everyone at SVH. Poor Winston spent so much time 'practicing' that he's made himself ill. He makes it to six and a half pizzas, and then has to run off and puke. Woe, Starch King. Woe. Luckily the peasants still love him.

  Back to Jason and Betsy. He offers to ask his former teacher to look at Betsy's application to the Los Angeles Academy of Fine Arts talent search. In return-
  "Hot sweaty sex! I knew it!"
  SHUT UP, Betsy. Considering you've turned the guy down sixteen different times this morning, I really don't think he's going to ask you that in front of Steve or Elizabeth, okay? So chill. You may be experienced, but I'm betting Jason doesn't want whatever you might have, kay? She stalks off, sure that she'd lose anyway, and what's the point? She leaves her sketchbook, again. [it's why Jason popped over in the first place. After her last bitch fit after class, she left her book there, too. Way to take care of the one thing you're supposed to care about, skank.] Liz stops the boys from returning it to her and says Jason should turn it in as Betsy's application. It takes Steven a second to catch on, and all three giggle like school girls, so sure are they that Betsy will win.
  Steve goes back to school, although I swear it's been like, a week, since Tricia's death. Maybe two, if you blinked and missed 'em. Anyway, Betsy freaks out when her father shows up at the Wakefields, and Steven returns. His family points out that Betsy's attachment is hurting them both. Steve can't let himself grieve while forcing himself to be strong for Betsy, and Betsy is entirely too attached to Steve for her own good. Steve tells his parents that he has to take care of Betsy because he promised Tricia.
  Unfortunately, Jessica is spying, and once she hears this, she pretty much RUNS to tell Betsy. Betsy is crushed because she thought Steve was interested and that it was more than a charity case. Fraid not, honey. Trust me, the only person who actually wants what you're giving away is the one you won't let near you. Ain't that just the way?
  So Betsy packs up and calls her good time boys. Jessica then tells people a slightly *cough* skewed version of their encounter. Steve and Jason, both elated over Betsy's winning the talent search, head off to all the dives in the area, looking for Bets. They finally find her at the Shady Lady. A fight ensues between the good boys and the good ol' boys. Jason turns out to be a brown belt in karate, kicks some ass, and then Betsy's offering up her, um, services, but in a little less obvious way.
  Turns out that she's just had one drink and isn't enjoying her old ways, so she'll go home to take care of Papa until school starts in the fall. Jason, I gather, has a backstage pass to Betsy's home.
  The book ends with Roger's mother dying, and his true father revealed. Paul Patman, Bruce's father's richer brother! GASP!

  End scene.



Trivia:

  • Wait, when did the Wakefields get a rust brown LTD? Where was I?

  • Jessica got a speeding ticket on the way to Millers Point, too bad the boy she was in such a hurry to suck face with was Paul Sherwood who can't kiss worth a damn. Add him to the dead fish pile, kids.

  • Betsy was allegedly up at MP with Charlie Cashman and Jim Sturbridge.

  • The Wakefield study comes complete with a radio, red Oriental rug, and oh, yeah, Betsy Martin.

  • Tricia died Monday, maybe early Tuesday morning [we're talking like 2am early], and she's buried two days later.

  • Before she became ill, Tricia worked at a daycare center.

  • Jessica thinks she's hit paydirt on her quest to find something illegal in Betsy's possessions, but the closest she comes is mistaking tiny little white pills for fun tiny little white pills. They have letters, too. B-A-Y-E-R. Fun!

  • There's a brook behind Sweet Valley Elementary. Seems a bit unsafe, but what do I know? My elementary school was built so close to the marsh that for recess, a bunch of us would go on unofficial marsh walks. Not a great idea at high tide or on rainy days.

  • For those who wondered, Dana is an alto.

  • Neil Freemount is the newest guy at SVH, and he's cute. Tall, blond, and cute. We know this because Jessica's already got him hooked. Aw. How many new kids can one small school have in one year?

  • Jason Stone is tall, thin, with curly black hair, brown eyes, and black tortoise shell glasses. He's an artist and teaches Saturday morning life drawing classes at Sweet Valley Community Center.

  • Winston attempts to break the world record by eating 7 extra large pizzas from Guido's. KSVH was covering the 'story' with film at six o'clock.

  • Who exactly is Tim Houseman, other than the recipients of a piss poor name and Dana's newest boytoy?

  • Winning one of the three slots in the LA Academy of Fine Arts talent search means that Betsy won free tuition, room, and board.

  • Steven's microeconomics professor is the cure for insomnia and as a result, not Steve's best subject.

  • Elizabeth and Jessica share chem class and sit next to one another. I geek out at this because, hello, geek.

  • Mrs. Rollins has a little blue hatchback.

  • Frank DeLuna is the owner of Guidos.

  • Jason is a brown belt in karate.

  • Wait, when did the Wakefields start having a weekly family brunch?

  • And also, since when does the school board have meetings early Sunday morning/afternoon? Since when does any school board do that? Is this one of those things we just don't do 'round here because it's the Bible Belt and all this time I've been missing out?



Quote-y:
  But Tricia kept right on smiling in the face of death and showed the courage of a female Luke Skywalker. - Jessica, honey? The female Luke would be Leia. p4
  "Honestly, I don't know why you get such a kick out of these verbal cat-and-mouse games." That's because you're an idiot, Liz. We know why Jess twists words. It's fun. p53

"Betsy, there's no need for apologies. It's been a rough time for both of us." A sad expression spread across Steven's handsome face. "Tricia was a very special human being." Steve, who the hell refers to the dead love of their life as a 'very special human being'? I could take, and understand, the use of the word 'person' but your way sounds like someone forgot to reword the book outline. LAME. And even Jessica agrees with me, what with her spying and all. p149



  Yes, I'm sure I played a big ol' game of 52 card pick up with various plot threads, but you get the idea. Personally, I don't like Betsy. I understand that her life is hard, and that she has issues which means she's skanky with a heart of gold, only... she's not. She's a complete bitch to Jason and anyone who isn't immediately doing anything for her, and we're not really given all that much to off-set it. Jessica is supposed to be our bitch, and she doesn't make it widely known that she's giving it away free. Which might make her a tease, but I wouldn't be Lysol-ing the toilet seat after each time she's been there. :P

  As to Tricia, for some reason it really bothers me that she seems to have no friends at all at school or anywhere else. Sure, we get a few people at the funeral, but for someone who was supposed to be this sweet girl, you'd think she'd have someone other than Steve in her life. Maybe what bugs me is that it's so sad, and probably not at all intentional. Did her family's trashy behaviour keep her from having any friends at all? Or did the writers just not think that with the exception of Caroline, almost everyone else at SVH has at least one sort of friend before they end up leaning on good old Elizabeth?
  Speaking of Elizabeth, the book repeatedly refers to her brief relationship glitch with Todd, but they use phrases such as "awful near break up was safely in the past." What past? Didn't that JUST happen? Like days ago? Seriously, the rest of the time the book is paced as if it's been a week, max, since Tricia's death, but anytime the Todd/Liz thing is brought up, it's as if months have passed. At the time of this little moment, I think it's the day AFTER Tricia's death. Which would mean Todd and Liz made up yesterday. *head desk* Either I missed something, or someone out there deserves a big kick in the kneecaps.
  Also, up until this most recent re-reading of Promises, I hadn't realized Betsy is Tricia's older sister. D'oh! I thought she was just one of the many SVH drop outs in the junior range. Don't I feel a bit silly...
  My absolute favorite bit? At the end where we gloss over Steven threatening to send Jessica to die in a desert and she fires back that Steve told Liz about the Betsy plan, and excluded her, because he loves Elizabeth more.

   Yes. Cover wise, the French one confounds me. Is the sluttified one supposed to be Betsy, and if so, when did she have time to dye her hair? Love the other, though. At least, in what little I can see. As to the funky colors above, really, there's the light blue one and then there's this bizarre aqua one that looks more blue than the aqua it is. And I should know, seeing as that's my copy and all. :P

the_oracle: (left of normal)
When Love Dies
September 1984

What terrible secret is Tricia keeping from Steven?

The end of romance...


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

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

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

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

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


Trivia!:

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

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

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

  • Cara's little brother is 13.

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

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

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

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

  • Jeremy Franks is in room 213.

  • Tricia Martin is in room 227.

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

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


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

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


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




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



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

What terrible secret is Tricia keeping from Steven?

The end of romance...


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

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

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

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

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


Trivia!:

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

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

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

  • Cara's little brother is 13.

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

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

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

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

  • Jeremy Franks is in room 213.

  • Tricia Martin is in room 227.

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

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


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

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


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




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



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

Will Jessica break Bill's heart, too?

  Catch a wave...


 The surf's up in Sweet Valley, and gorgeous Jessica Wakefield is making a big splash with Bill Chase, the hottest surfer in town. But after she tricks him into falling madly in love with her, she ignores him completely.
  To complicate matters, shy, quiet DeeDee Gordon is also after Bill. But Jessica has the upper hand. If Bill even looks at DeeDee, Hurricane Jessica blows him off his board and back into her arms. Can Bill escape Jessica's undertow, or is he in over his head?

  Why, oh why, did no one warn Bill that Jessica was a man-eater before he fell head over heels for her? I guess warning wouldn't do much good, as hormones have a way of overriding all logic and common sense, but it might've been worth it. Of course, Todd does try to warn him later, but that's like walking up to the guy whose leg is in a bear trap and saying, "Hey, you might wanna be careful, mmkay?"
  Ah well. Heart Breaker is the tale of How Jessica Gets Revenge. Or possibly, Boys at SVH Are Stupid. As has been hinted at for the last three books or so, Bill Chase is madly in love with the Wakefield twins. He's actually more into them for their looks than anything else, which is why I didn't say he's in love with Liz [he was] or Jess [as this book'll have you believe] since they're sort of interchangeable for him. If you didn't read his character bio in the back of ANL, you just think he's a bit of a raging masochist. You see, Jess managed to sink her claws into him and he's got it bad, but she's pretty much moved on, only throwing him just enough charm to keep him still hopelessly tied to her. What he doesn't know is that Jess is just doing this all out of revenge. Seems Mr. Chase was given the opportunity last year to date Miss Jessica Wakefield and he turned her down. Since no one can do this without the world grinding to a halt and bad things happening, Jessica has decided to turn him into her bitch. And it's working.
  By the time the book has started, they've all tried out for, and gotten parts in the school's production of Splendor In the Grass, with Jess and Bill as the leads. Jess takes great delight in making Bill constantly retry their big love scene. Which makes Bill blush like crazy. Which he will do for most of the book. At first you can't tell if he knows he's being used or if he's completely oblivious to the evil that is Jessica's true nature. What you do notice is that DeeDee Gordon has an incredibly silly name [Sorry to all you DeeDees] and that she's got the hots for Bill. Before you can become too wrapped up in this particular storyline, Jessica shifts the conversation away from her way with torturing Bill to Todd's remarkably hot ex-girlfriend, Patsy Webber. Apparently Patsy went to Paris the year before and France agreed with her. She filled out in all the right places and bam, came back super model ready, possibly ready to rekindle things with Todd. So Liz is jealous. Massively so, but she tries to talk herself out of it. Todd loves Liz, he waited around while she was an awful bitch with memory problems, so why would he leave now? Oh, I dunno, maybe because Patsy could give Jessica a run for the least amount of clothing worn before the word skank is used? Still, Liz convinces herself that nothing is wrong.
  And back we go to Bill, with a cute little scene in the Wakefield kitchen. I'm a sucker for the sisterly interaction. I always wanted a sister [though I suspect that's entirely a theory, as I'd probably hate having one in reality] so when Liz and Jess are goofing off make my little dorky heart that much happier. Unfortunately, Liz still remains a complete idiot when it comes to her twin. By now she should know that if you tell Jessica that her evil plan is coming unraveled because someone else is showing interest in the guy she's currently torturing, it won't make her back off. No, it'll make her step up her game. *cheerfully strangles Liz* So Jess leaves Liz with the lake they've created in their kitchen [as well as the dishes Jess was supposed to do] and skips off to call Bill in an effort to bind him closer to her. And it works. A little while later, while Jess is out with Tom and her parents are on a movie date, Liz hears the doorbell ring. When she answers, she finds Bill looking distinctly unhappy about finding the wrong twin. Liz invites him in and then, in a move that still makes me wonder what the hell, brings him warm root beer but no glass, no ice, no nothing, all because Jessica didn't put the sodas in the fridge. Was there an ice shortage in California that year? Bill leaves, for some reason not having touched the warm root beer, after Liz has tried to gently warn him away from the hurricane that is Jessica Wakefield.
  Switching twins, we go back to Liz's problem with Patsy. Liz goes to call Todd in hopes that Todd can talk some sense into Bill [being Bill's closest and possibly only friend] but instead Todd's mother answers the phone, tells Liz that Todd isn't home, and seems to have some pity for Liz. Wait, what? Liz is convinced that this means Todd is out with Patsy and that since Patsy is 5'9", she's the perfect height to gaze into Todd's eyes and never get a crick in her neck the way Liz sometimes does, and ohmygod, they must be making out! Liz tries to calm herself down, but still feels a little strange. Damn you, writer's imagination. Damn you!

  Now, for all of you who didn't read the little bio three books back, you're given a refresher course. Bill used to live in Santa Monica before his parents got divorced. While there, he was madly in love with his girlfriend, Julianna, and things were good. They liked a lot of the same things, surfing included, although this didn't mean they never fought. Bill picked a fight with Julianna one night at a party, and to spite him, Jules hitched a ride with someone else. Bill immediately felt bad for being a jerk and vowed to call her when she got home. Too bad this tempted fate and Julianna was in an accident on the way home. She died and Bill blamed himself for it. He went a little mad, went surfing in the middle of a storm, and damn near died. He didn't, and eventually came around to the realization that if Julianna really loved him the way he was sure she did, she wouldn't want him to hurt himself. She'd want him to live, the same way he wished she had lived. Very touching, very sweet, actually. When his parents split, Bill came to Sweet Valley with his mother, and found himself seeing Julianna everywhere, particularly wherever he saw Liz Wakefield. Naturally the same thing happened when he saw Jessica, so when she asked him out, he had to say no.
  Now he still sees Julianna whenever he spies one of the twins and is thus helpless against the evil ways of Jessica. The truly standout thing about this little revelation is that Bill doesn't share it with anyone. His past is his own and he doesn't feel the need to share it with anyone, not even Liz Wakefield. Don't worry though, someone else will spill their tragic secret to Liz, so as not to cause the world to explode.
  Another fun little bit of Sweet Valley I love: When the gang hits the beach and cattiness reigns supreme, as well as stupid jokes, I'm a happy little camper. Cara's there, being a lovely study in contrasts with her blond bombshell best friend Jessica, and Liz is there as well, but again Liz proves that she knows noooooooothing. She and Cara both tease Jessica about DeeDee monopolizing Bill's time [they're down the beach and Bill's giving her surfing tips], and only Liz is really surprised when Jessica struts down the beach to reclaim Bill's affections.
  This brings us to DeeDee. She knows Bill has a huuuuuuuuuge thing for Jessica, and when push comes to shove and she has the choice to hand him over to Jessica or keep him for herself, she choses to let Bill have time alone with Jessica since that's what he so obviously wants, and what Jessica was angling for all along. Which is sweet and kind of annoying if you want your characters to fight for something or someone they want. However, it's totally believable as well, as no one in their right mind would choose to compete with Jessica if they didn't have to. With DeeDee out of the picture, Jessica is free to reclaim her property. Later, when Tom McKay shows up, Jessica sends Bill on a food run, begging the question, just how far is the Dairi Burger from the beach? Or did Bill just volunteer to go out of his way completely to get Jessica some food?
  Along with Tom, Lila, Ken, and Patsy show up. When Todd and Patsy run for the water, Liz wanders off to get her book from Todd's car, and runs into Enid who's come to the beach with Olivia and Lois. We're told that Liz doesn't really like Lois because Lois tries too hard, and Olivia's still in her radically weird phase, but it's nice to see that Enid has other friends than just Liz. Enid attempts to console Liz, but Liz is having none of it. Olivia manages to make Liz feel worse, gushing about how Patsy really got hot during her year abroad and how Todd and Patsy never really broke up, she moved and it must've fizzled, and yeah, Liv finally realizes she's stuck her foot in her mouth big time.
  Things only get worse when Elizabeth finds out that Patty does the costumes for the play and that no one told her about it before. She's not thrilled to learn that Patty got the gig because Todd recommended her, and she's sure that all the time spent with Todd cheering Bill on was just a ruse. Obviously Todd is still in love with Patsy. Obviously. When Liz does work up the courage to talk to Todd about it, she sees him rubbing suntan oil on Patsy's back, while her bikini top is untied. Say what you will, but that's a little vexing to stumble across at your own home. I'd be pissed if I saw my boyfriend essentially getting a free grope on my patio, but with some other girl. Thing is, I'd smack him or throw a soda in his face or something. Liz just turns and runs away, refusing to talk to Todd when he attempts to explain it all away.
  This continues on forever. Liz won't talk to Todd because she's sure he just wants to break up, so she just doesn't give him the chance. Girl logic is sometimes hard to explain and even harder to understand.
  Back to the other love triangle! Jess eventually learns that DeeDee's father is a big shot Hollywood agent, but she doesn't start sucking up to DeeDee. Instead, when told that DD's dad really likes one of the actors in the play, she's so sure that it must be her, that she practically gift wraps Bill for DeeDee. I should point out that this isn't such a huge leap of imagination, considering Jessica is supposed to be an amazing actress.
  Sometime in the midst of Elizabeth's angst, she decides to head to her dad's office to interview the guy who owns the building, and instead she runs into Roger Barret. He's been popping up throughout the book, given that he's in the play and in love with Lila [also in the play] but this time he's popping up because he works as a janitor in the building. Poor, poor Roger. No, really, he's so poor that if he doesn't work, his family cannot pay the bills.
  Back to the play! Naturally, DeeDee's father is fawning all over Bill, not Jessica, and Jessica decides that if she can't be the star, she'll deal with being the star's girlfriend. DeeDee steps aside again, bonds with Roger for a moment, and shows up at Lila's party just in time to overhear Bill tell Jessica that her moment has passed and that he's with DeeDee now.
  Wherein we learn that while Jessica doesn't blush often, but when she does, it's a full Technicolor event. To cap off her bad night, it seems Tom McKay has deflected to the Patsy Webber side. Though if Patsy's all over Tom, then doesn't that mean...
  Why yes, yes it does. It means Liz was wrong about Todd and Patsy, which Todd manages to tell her when he grabs hold of her and tells her so. Aww, how sweet. Sort of. If a little creepy all at the same time...

Trivia:

  • The play in question this go round is Splendor In the Grass, with Jessica and Bill as leads.

  • Also in the play: Lila, Roger, DeeDee, Lois

  • DeeDee's parents are divorced and her dad [the talent agent] lives in L.A.

  • Bill's parents are also divorced, but his dad is a forest ranger in Idaho.

  • DeeDee placed 3rd in the surfing championship.

  • Roger and Elizabeth share one class; chemistry.

  • Mr. Pendergast owns the building where Mr. Wakefield and Roger both work.

  • Jessica bragged that she would get Bruce Patman to take her to the Sophomore Fling, but he asked Lila instead.

  • Liz was sick the entire week leading up to the play, though it's possible she sort of made herself sick, obsessing over Todd as she was.

  • Julianne's only real resemblance to the Wakefields seems to be that she was blond, blue eyed, and probably tanned.

  • Patsy was really skinny when she and Todd were dating, but in the year she's spent in Paris, she filled out nicely, so much so that she was a model. She's 5'9", red hair, and manages to walk the fine line between sleazy and hot without falling into the skanky territory. Also was friends with Olivia's cousin Amy, who lived down the street from the Webbers when Patsy lived in Palisades.

  • Jessica hates onions. [yay, Jess!]

  • DeeDee was chubby when she was younger, and now she thinks the mysterious Roger is a spy. Or, you know, could be.

  • Liz subscribes to the theory that it's okay for her to badmouth her sister, but no one else is allowed to. This I completely understand, and I think most people do as well.

  • Without her glasses, Lois Waller is blind as a bat.

  • Mr. Jaworksi teaches drama.

  • The book is dedicated to Marian Woodruff. Gee, I wonder where Sam's last name came from...



Quote-a-liscious:
"It's not your fault that kissing me is such a deadly chore." Jessica teases Bill, p2
"Since when is turning you down for a date a federal crime?" - Liz, p14
How was it that whenever Jessica tried to console her, she always ended up feeling worse? Liz, p70

137:
"Oh, Bill it'll take a hundred and thirty-seven years to learn all this..." p32




  Yet another book that makes it clear that if you get in Jessica's way, bad things will temporarily happen to you. This book has the distinction of being one of the few that doesn't really involve Jess getting herself or someone else into a scrape and then expecting Liz to bail her out, or letting Liz bail the other person out. Sure, there's that brief scene with Bill and the root beer [come on, Liz, ice! Root beer ain't yummy warm] but otherwise, Liz is too busy worrying about Todd to get involved with anyone else's problems.
  Which brings me to this: Why does Enid never step in when Liz is being a complete idiot? They're in high school and I distinctly remember high school romances and friendships would overlap so that when you and your boyfriend were having a stupid fight that everyone else knew was idiotic, your friend would step in and clue the guy in, and then he'd clue you in, or she'd do so. Sure, sometimes it would get messy as hell, but in this case it should have worked. Yet Enid never does, so... why? Is it because Enid doesn't care? That she was upset that Liz would rather go to the beach with Cara, Jessica, and Todd than with her? Are HS politics such as this beneath her? Or was it simply that the book couldn't survive under the Bill/Jessica/DeeDee triangle alone? We may never know.
  Cover note: Bill looks entirely too old and a little disproportionate to Jessica on the cover. Like she's an evil, snotty doll and he's an actual person.

the_oracle: (left of normal)
Heart Breaker
May 1984

Will Jessica break Bill's heart, too?

  Catch a wave...


 The surf's up in Sweet Valley, and gorgeous Jessica Wakefield is making a big splash with Bill Chase, the hottest surfer in town. But after she tricks him into falling madly in love with her, she ignores him completely.
  To complicate matters, shy, quiet DeeDee Gordon is also after Bill. But Jessica has the upper hand. If Bill even looks at DeeDee, Hurricane Jessica blows him off his board and back into her arms. Can Bill escape Jessica's undertow, or is he in over his head?

  Why, oh why, did no one warn Bill that Jessica was a man-eater before he fell head over heels for her? I guess warning wouldn't do much good, as hormones have a way of overriding all logic and common sense, but it might've been worth it. Of course, Todd does try to warn him later, but that's like walking up to the guy whose leg is in a bear trap and saying, "Hey, you might wanna be careful, mmkay?"
  Ah well. Heart Breaker is the tale of How Jessica Gets Revenge. Or possibly, Boys at SVH Are Stupid. As has been hinted at for the last three books or so, Bill Chase is madly in love with the Wakefield twins. He's actually more into them for their looks than anything else, which is why I didn't say he's in love with Liz [he was] or Jess [as this book'll have you believe] since they're sort of interchangeable for him. If you didn't read his character bio in the back of ANL, you just think he's a bit of a raging masochist. You see, Jess managed to sink her claws into him and he's got it bad, but she's pretty much moved on, only throwing him just enough charm to keep him still hopelessly tied to her. What he doesn't know is that Jess is just doing this all out of revenge. Seems Mr. Chase was given the opportunity last year to date Miss Jessica Wakefield and he turned her down. Since no one can do this without the world grinding to a halt and bad things happening, Jessica has decided to turn him into her bitch. And it's working.
  By the time the book has started, they've all tried out for, and gotten parts in the school's production of Splendor In the Grass, with Jess and Bill as the leads. Jess takes great delight in making Bill constantly retry their big love scene. Which makes Bill blush like crazy. Which he will do for most of the book. At first you can't tell if he knows he's being used or if he's completely oblivious to the evil that is Jessica's true nature. What you do notice is that DeeDee Gordon has an incredibly silly name [Sorry to all you DeeDees] and that she's got the hots for Bill. Before you can become too wrapped up in this particular storyline, Jessica shifts the conversation away from her way with torturing Bill to Todd's remarkably hot ex-girlfriend, Patsy Webber. Apparently Patsy went to Paris the year before and France agreed with her. She filled out in all the right places and bam, came back super model ready, possibly ready to rekindle things with Todd. So Liz is jealous. Massively so, but she tries to talk herself out of it. Todd loves Liz, he waited around while she was an awful bitch with memory problems, so why would he leave now? Oh, I dunno, maybe because Patsy could give Jessica a run for the least amount of clothing worn before the word skank is used? Still, Liz convinces herself that nothing is wrong.
  And back we go to Bill, with a cute little scene in the Wakefield kitchen. I'm a sucker for the sisterly interaction. I always wanted a sister [though I suspect that's entirely a theory, as I'd probably hate having one in reality] so when Liz and Jess are goofing off make my little dorky heart that much happier. Unfortunately, Liz still remains a complete idiot when it comes to her twin. By now she should know that if you tell Jessica that her evil plan is coming unraveled because someone else is showing interest in the guy she's currently torturing, it won't make her back off. No, it'll make her step up her game. *cheerfully strangles Liz* So Jess leaves Liz with the lake they've created in their kitchen [as well as the dishes Jess was supposed to do] and skips off to call Bill in an effort to bind him closer to her. And it works. A little while later, while Jess is out with Tom and her parents are on a movie date, Liz hears the doorbell ring. When she answers, she finds Bill looking distinctly unhappy about finding the wrong twin. Liz invites him in and then, in a move that still makes me wonder what the hell, brings him warm root beer but no glass, no ice, no nothing, all because Jessica didn't put the sodas in the fridge. Was there an ice shortage in California that year? Bill leaves, for some reason not having touched the warm root beer, after Liz has tried to gently warn him away from the hurricane that is Jessica Wakefield.
  Switching twins, we go back to Liz's problem with Patsy. Liz goes to call Todd in hopes that Todd can talk some sense into Bill [being Bill's closest and possibly only friend] but instead Todd's mother answers the phone, tells Liz that Todd isn't home, and seems to have some pity for Liz. Wait, what? Liz is convinced that this means Todd is out with Patsy and that since Patsy is 5'9", she's the perfect height to gaze into Todd's eyes and never get a crick in her neck the way Liz sometimes does, and ohmygod, they must be making out! Liz tries to calm herself down, but still feels a little strange. Damn you, writer's imagination. Damn you!

  Now, for all of you who didn't read the little bio three books back, you're given a refresher course. Bill used to live in Santa Monica before his parents got divorced. While there, he was madly in love with his girlfriend, Julianna, and things were good. They liked a lot of the same things, surfing included, although this didn't mean they never fought. Bill picked a fight with Julianna one night at a party, and to spite him, Jules hitched a ride with someone else. Bill immediately felt bad for being a jerk and vowed to call her when she got home. Too bad this tempted fate and Julianna was in an accident on the way home. She died and Bill blamed himself for it. He went a little mad, went surfing in the middle of a storm, and damn near died. He didn't, and eventually came around to the realization that if Julianna really loved him the way he was sure she did, she wouldn't want him to hurt himself. She'd want him to live, the same way he wished she had lived. Very touching, very sweet, actually. When his parents split, Bill came to Sweet Valley with his mother, and found himself seeing Julianna everywhere, particularly wherever he saw Liz Wakefield. Naturally the same thing happened when he saw Jessica, so when she asked him out, he had to say no.
  Now he still sees Julianna whenever he spies one of the twins and is thus helpless against the evil ways of Jessica. The truly standout thing about this little revelation is that Bill doesn't share it with anyone. His past is his own and he doesn't feel the need to share it with anyone, not even Liz Wakefield. Don't worry though, someone else will spill their tragic secret to Liz, so as not to cause the world to explode.
  Another fun little bit of Sweet Valley I love: When the gang hits the beach and cattiness reigns supreme, as well as stupid jokes, I'm a happy little camper. Cara's there, being a lovely study in contrasts with her blond bombshell best friend Jessica, and Liz is there as well, but again Liz proves that she knows noooooooothing. She and Cara both tease Jessica about DeeDee monopolizing Bill's time [they're down the beach and Bill's giving her surfing tips], and only Liz is really surprised when Jessica struts down the beach to reclaim Bill's affections.
  This brings us to DeeDee. She knows Bill has a huuuuuuuuuge thing for Jessica, and when push comes to shove and she has the choice to hand him over to Jessica or keep him for herself, she choses to let Bill have time alone with Jessica since that's what he so obviously wants, and what Jessica was angling for all along. Which is sweet and kind of annoying if you want your characters to fight for something or someone they want. However, it's totally believable as well, as no one in their right mind would choose to compete with Jessica if they didn't have to. With DeeDee out of the picture, Jessica is free to reclaim her property. Later, when Tom McKay shows up, Jessica sends Bill on a food run, begging the question, just how far is the Dairi Burger from the beach? Or did Bill just volunteer to go out of his way completely to get Jessica some food?
  Along with Tom, Lila, Ken, and Patsy show up. When Todd and Patsy run for the water, Liz wanders off to get her book from Todd's car, and runs into Enid who's come to the beach with Olivia and Lois. We're told that Liz doesn't really like Lois because Lois tries too hard, and Olivia's still in her radically weird phase, but it's nice to see that Enid has other friends than just Liz. Enid attempts to console Liz, but Liz is having none of it. Olivia manages to make Liz feel worse, gushing about how Patsy really got hot during her year abroad and how Todd and Patsy never really broke up, she moved and it must've fizzled, and yeah, Liv finally realizes she's stuck her foot in her mouth big time.
  Things only get worse when Elizabeth finds out that Patty does the costumes for the play and that no one told her about it before. She's not thrilled to learn that Patty got the gig because Todd recommended her, and she's sure that all the time spent with Todd cheering Bill on was just a ruse. Obviously Todd is still in love with Patsy. Obviously. When Liz does work up the courage to talk to Todd about it, she sees him rubbing suntan oil on Patsy's back, while her bikini top is untied. Say what you will, but that's a little vexing to stumble across at your own home. I'd be pissed if I saw my boyfriend essentially getting a free grope on my patio, but with some other girl. Thing is, I'd smack him or throw a soda in his face or something. Liz just turns and runs away, refusing to talk to Todd when he attempts to explain it all away.
  This continues on forever. Liz won't talk to Todd because she's sure he just wants to break up, so she just doesn't give him the chance. Girl logic is sometimes hard to explain and even harder to understand.
  Back to the other love triangle! Jess eventually learns that DeeDee's father is a big shot Hollywood agent, but she doesn't start sucking up to DeeDee. Instead, when told that DD's dad really likes one of the actors in the play, she's so sure that it must be her, that she practically gift wraps Bill for DeeDee. I should point out that this isn't such a huge leap of imagination, considering Jessica is supposed to be an amazing actress.
  Sometime in the midst of Elizabeth's angst, she decides to head to her dad's office to interview the guy who owns the building, and instead she runs into Roger Barret. He's been popping up throughout the book, given that he's in the play and in love with Lila [also in the play] but this time he's popping up because he works as a janitor in the building. Poor, poor Roger. No, really, he's so poor that if he doesn't work, his family cannot pay the bills.
  Back to the play! Naturally, DeeDee's father is fawning all over Bill, not Jessica, and Jessica decides that if she can't be the star, she'll deal with being the star's girlfriend. DeeDee steps aside again, bonds with Roger for a moment, and shows up at Lila's party just in time to overhear Bill tell Jessica that her moment has passed and that he's with DeeDee now.
  Wherein we learn that while Jessica doesn't blush often, but when she does, it's a full Technicolor event. To cap off her bad night, it seems Tom McKay has deflected to the Patsy Webber side. Though if Patsy's all over Tom, then doesn't that mean...
  Why yes, yes it does. It means Liz was wrong about Todd and Patsy, which Todd manages to tell her when he grabs hold of her and tells her so. Aww, how sweet. Sort of. If a little creepy all at the same time...

Trivia:

  • The play in question this go round is Splendor In the Grass, with Jessica and Bill as leads.

  • Also in the play: Lila, Roger, DeeDee, Lois

  • DeeDee's parents are divorced and her dad [the talent agent] lives in L.A.

  • Bill's parents are also divorced, but his dad is a forest ranger in Idaho.

  • DeeDee placed 3rd in the surfing championship.

  • Roger and Elizabeth share one class; chemistry.

  • Mr. Pendergast owns the building where Mr. Wakefield and Roger both work.

  • Jessica bragged that she would get Bruce Patman to take her to the Sophomore Fling, but he asked Lila instead.

  • Liz was sick the entire week leading up to the play, though it's possible she sort of made herself sick, obsessing over Todd as she was.

  • Julianne's only real resemblance to the Wakefields seems to be that she was blond, blue eyed, and probably tanned.

  • Patsy was really skinny when she and Todd were dating, but in the year she's spent in Paris, she filled out nicely, so much so that she was a model. She's 5'9", red hair, and manages to walk the fine line between sleazy and hot without falling into the skanky territory. Also was friends with Olivia's cousin Amy, who lived down the street from the Webbers when Patsy lived in Palisades.

  • Jessica hates onions. [yay, Jess!]

  • DeeDee was chubby when she was younger, and now she thinks the mysterious Roger is a spy. Or, you know, could be.

  • Liz subscribes to the theory that it's okay for her to badmouth her sister, but no one else is allowed to. This I completely understand, and I think most people do as well.

  • Without her glasses, Lois Waller is blind as a bat.

  • Mr. Jaworksi teaches drama.

  • The book is dedicated to Marian Woodruff. Gee, I wonder where Sam's last name came from...



Quote-a-liscious:
"It's not your fault that kissing me is such a deadly chore." Jessica teases Bill, p2
"Since when is turning you down for a date a federal crime?" - Liz, p14
How was it that whenever Jessica tried to console her, she always ended up feeling worse? Liz, p70

137:
"Oh, Bill it'll take a hundred and thirty-seven years to learn all this..." p32




  Yet another book that makes it clear that if you get in Jessica's way, bad things will temporarily happen to you. This book has the distinction of being one of the few that doesn't really involve Jess getting herself or someone else into a scrape and then expecting Liz to bail her out, or letting Liz bail the other person out. Sure, there's that brief scene with Bill and the root beer [come on, Liz, ice! Root beer ain't yummy warm] but otherwise, Liz is too busy worrying about Todd to get involved with anyone else's problems.
  Which brings me to this: Why does Enid never step in when Liz is being a complete idiot? They're in high school and I distinctly remember high school romances and friendships would overlap so that when you and your boyfriend were having a stupid fight that everyone else knew was idiotic, your friend would step in and clue the guy in, and then he'd clue you in, or she'd do so. Sure, sometimes it would get messy as hell, but in this case it should have worked. Yet Enid never does, so... why? Is it because Enid doesn't care? That she was upset that Liz would rather go to the beach with Cara, Jessica, and Todd than with her? Are HS politics such as this beneath her? Or was it simply that the book couldn't survive under the Bill/Jessica/DeeDee triangle alone? We may never know.
  Cover note: Bill looks entirely too old and a little disproportionate to Jessica on the cover. Like she's an evil, snotty doll and he's an actual person.

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