the_oracle: (yay)
Special Christmas
December, 1985



Deck the halls of Sweet Valley High...



   The Wakefield twins and their friends at Sweet Valley High are in festive spirits. It's Christmas vacation, the annual parade is just days away, secret Santas are busy making surprise gifts, and everyone's talking about the holiday dance at the Patmans' mansion. Jessica Wakefield is determined to be named Miss Christmastime, and Elizabeth is counting the days until she's reunited with her faraway boyfriend, Todd Wilkins.
   It seems nothing can spoil Jessica and Elizabeth's holiday-until Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield announce the arrival of an unwelcome houseguest. Now it looks as though this Christmas might be the worst ever!

   Catch the holiday spirit with Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield and the rest of the Sweet Valley gang. You'll never forget this Special Christmas!



   So, the card at the front of my copy of Special Christmas says it's due November 1st.

   1994.



   With that in mind, onward! Special Christmas is one of those books I actually really like in parts [Jessica's scheming] and hate in others [Suzy's redemption and the last fucking chapter or two] and they combine in a way that sort of requires a bottle of something should be kept handy, just in case. I like the Christmas SV books, even when they're crap. Let's be fair. This is no Evil Twin, or even The Evil Twin Returns. It sure as hell isn't The Magic Christmas, but it's not horrible.
   Except that last couple of chapters. Really, so bad, that if you have breakables around you, you should move to a nice windowless, padded room with nothing of interest at all prior to finishing the book.

   It's finally Christmas in the Valley and Liz has overdosed on Christmas spirit! She's so happy that you either want to smack her or join her as she runs around spreading Christmas cheer. I'm thinking smacking is the most likely reaction. Mr. Collins gives up trying to teach anyone anything on the last day of school, particularly the last class of the day before their big assembly where we'll run right into the first WTF moment. But before we get there, we find out that Todd is coming back for Christmas, and everyone is expecting a big lovey dovey reunion starring their favorite lovebirds, Liz and Todd. Liz is nervous because Todd's been gone for a few months and she's not sure how well they'll connect.
   Let's not dwell on that, as we head out to the assembly where the entire school is matched up as Secret Santas. Take a moment to let that wash over you. Go on. I've got time. My nails need filing anyway.

   You ready? Let's poke holes in that little scenario, shall we?
   The entire school, guys. What are the odds that you'll get someone you know's name? What are the odds? Can't you see the senior who gets the transfer freshman no one really knows and decides to blow it off? Hmm? At first I thought, well maybe they separate it by grade, but then part of my brain said, no, someone gets Bruce's name, and he's a senior so... Those unpopular kids are screwed six ways to Sunday. What about the Jewish kids? Or anyone who doesn't celebrate Christmas? Do they just shut the fuck up because it's the mid-eighties and we haven't gotten so PC yet?
   Also, Bruce's family is hosting the entire party for the entire school the following Friday. Ready for even more pain inducing logic? If Mr. C has given up teaching the day before vacation, that means the Secret Santas have to go out of their way during the first week of vacation to gift/spoil/surprise their lucky pick. What if your Secret Santa went on vacation?
   Silly me, no one actually leaves the Valley for the holiday. What was I thinking? Must stop overthinking.

   There's talk of Hans, the hot German exchange student that Jessica has her eye on. The twins are dressed matchy matchy because they're going to surprise their parents with a picture of themselves all grown up to pair up with the one of them from when they were younger. This is cute enough, but I keep thinking of the one picture I distinctly remember of my brother and I all dressed up and we're in [relatively] sedate Hawaiian shirts. I'm not thinking I want to revisit that look, plus we'd have to bleach our hair, and that's painful...
   Anyway, Liz is all excited because the Secret Santas will be awesome, even if she knows for a fact that Hans doesn't have Jessica's name [as Jessica not so secretly hopes] but has Lila's instead. And then Steven comes home. Before the twins can die of joy, Steve announces their parents have obviously been kidnapped and replaced by clones because they've finally lost their damn minds. Seems someone told Suzanne Devlin she could come back to the Valley. You remember Suzy, don't you? Accused Mr. C of rape and that was the highlight of her visit? Freakout ensues. Finally Steve and Liz say maybe they'll just talk to their parents, convince them they're insane and that Suzy should not be allowed back in SV. Really. Ever. It's for the best.
   So they try, but Jessica's overly melodramatic and things go south. Quickly. Ned and Alice refuse to back down, offering up cryptic answers when asked why Suzy is so desperate to make amends now, or why Mr. Collins would ever forgive the skank, or much of anything at all. By now, you've realized Suzy is obviously deathly ill or something along those lines, because you're not an idiot and there's nothing subtle here. For whatever reason, Alice decides that Jess should clean her room and they'll stick Suzy there again. Maybe because she's familiar with it, maybe just to get Jess to clean. I dunno. My parents would have just had whichever one of us had the cleaner room move out, and the two of us would have killed one another. Luckily it never came to that.
   Anyway, Todd appears and Suzy appears and it's all kinds of awkward. Todd and Liz have no time to themselves because Ken [Todd's staying with Ken this time] has organized a huge welcome back party that rages on until 2am. Rock on, Ken. Rock on. Todd actually gets surprisingly little play, but the Todd/Liz long distance thing gets plenty of airtime, which is... odd. We're told Todd has been gone for months on end by this point, and we've officially just said to hell with any time line at all.
   The second Suzy appears on the scene, she's a disarming mix of beautifully tragic and actually sweet mixed in with the memory of how she played everyone last time. Only... there's no hint of bitchcraft this go round. None. But she does freak people out. She's Posh-Spice Skinny. She's beyond pale. She's got the shakes, she has headaches, she takes naps all the time, oh, and she pops pills like they're candy. So Jess deduces that Suzy is a druggie.
   Yes. Jessica tries to keep Suzy away from SV by having Liz call and try to dissuade her by pointing out that everyone is still awfully sore about last time. No luck. So she works out a plan with her siblings to be icy cold towards Devilish Devlin. When Steve thaws [wuss!] she enlists Aaron and Winston to be super mean Secret Santas, although she does have to lie to get them to help. They send her mean notes, empty packages, and Suzy realizes no one wants her there. However, this is where the big flaw in Jessica's plan appears. Suzy decides to ask Aaron to lunch to apologize to him. Jess convinces Aaron to tell her, gosh he's sorry, but he's booked all week, maybe she'd like to go to a little get together at his cousin's house prior to Bruce's big party, but don't tell the twins since they can't come? And Suze is thrilled, so she says yes. If Aaron hadn't done that, at Jessica's bidding, Suze would have left already. D'oh!

   There's a bunch of little stuff about the Secret Santas mixed in with Liz angsting over her feelings, or lack thereof, towards Todd. Olivia is serenaded by the boy's swim team, clad in their bathing suits and towels, at the DB. Jessica gets a lovely tiny musical jewelry box that plays Fur Elise, so she's sure Hans is her SS. There's Jessica taking over for Cara as an elf at the mall with Santa. She only agrees because she thinks she'll be there for a couple of hours, max, but Santa tells her she's it until the day is over at 5pm. Thing is, Jess has to be at the Civic Center for the Miss Christmastime pageant, and wouldn't you know that Lila set the whole thing up? Cara wasn't sick, but she didn't know Jess would be stuck there, either. Gasp! Jess vows revenge. She's going to trick Lila into having to dress up like an elf for the parade the next week, and Jessica will be wearing that crown and looking lovely on the Miss Christmastime float. Or something. She plots a bit throughout the rest of the book, but we don't find out how she tricks Li.
   Lila lovers, that's about as good as you'll get since Li spends most of the book at La Venue getting her thighs toned. Yes. Seriously.

   We find out that back in Vermont, Todd ran into Suzy about a month ago while skiing. They hit it off, and Todd realized he sort of thought of kissing her, but then she started asking about Liz and the moment was over. Todd doesn't tell Liz when she informs him of Suzy's arrival, so he has to get Suzy not to spill the beans. Thing is, Jess overhears and decides that Suzy only deigned to visit because she wanted to hook up with Todd, and that the two had planned this behind Liz's back.
   By now a few things are painfully obvious:
   Todd's got a thing for Suzy. Suzy's really got a thing for Todd. Liz doesn't have a thing for Todd. Todd may or may not still feel something for Liz, but he really wants a shot at Suze. I... really don't give a damn at this point, which is unusual, because you'd think I'd be all over this. Not so.
   We somehow find our way to Friday, and Suzy's got some new pills imported from her doc in NYC. She gets ready, looks loverly and channeling Tricia's Victorian look from book 12, proceeds to valiantly drive off into the ether, content to die for the sins of Jessica Wakefield. *yawn* See, Aaron calls, tells Suzy he's got a flat, she should borrow a car from the Wakefields [they've got at least four, after all] and meet him at the house on Forrest Lane. We know this is a trick, that the house has been abandoned for awhile and is quite possibly haunted. Dunno. Don't care. Suzy takes off after a glass of champagne and I do wonder why the Wakefields keep giving their kids and their kids' friends wine/champagne before letting them drive. Do they have fantastic life insurance policies or something?
   Suzy heads off in the Fiat and mere seconds later Mr. & Mrs. Wakefield return from their drinks at the Beckwiths. Dr. Harrison, Suzy's NYC doc calls and it's basically, "OMG! If she even looks at this bottle after taking those meds, she'll DIE! How could you let her go off even though we haven't told you what the fuck is going on? How could you?" To which they all crumble. Right. Yes. The kids tell you they don't want the girl around, you force her on them, you leave the booze and tell the kids to have some, but when Suzy drives off after a glass, it's the kids' fault for not using their psychic abilities to know the drug interaction would be bad, even though they didn't know she was taking anything. They just suspected.
   My brain. She screams in agony from this point onward.
   Suze does her drunk driving impression in front of some cops, and when she flips the Fiat, they're right there to take her to the hospital. Jess gets screamed at for engineering the horrible Secret Santa pranks, and we drive off to the haunted house, only to find no trace of Suze. They call around and find her in the hospital and everyone heads that way. We find out that Suze has MS, and gosh, she might end up in a wheelchair! No wonder she's found God apologizing for being a royal bitch before. Um, okay. I guess.
   Todd is all frantic and everyone realizes he's got a thing for Suzy, but the best part of this is Jessica recognizing the look on his face. It's the same one he had when he thought he'd killed Liz back in book six/seven. I love that little bit of recognition, but hate just about everything else going on.
   Suze is fine, of course, but they're keeping her overnight and then for however longer for observation and to run a battery of tests. Fun times. Jessica accuses Todd and Suzy of sneaking around, Todd sets the record straight, and Liz finds she cares surprisingly little.
   They make it to Bruce's where they tell everyone about Suzy and her MS and I'm left to ponder, isn't that just what she DIDN'T want to happen? We find out that Winston is Jessica's Santa, and that Bill was Olivia's. Thrills! Todd and Liz chat and realize they're just friends and that the spark is gone. Liz totally lies and says she's not the jealous type [she is! they both are!] and all is well.
   Then Jess schemes a little and the next day at the hospital we find Suzy and Todd snuggling. Then there's a dramatic scene where the SV doctors have found that Suzy never had MS to begin with! She had mono and then a rare reaction to the drugs they've been giving her and that was what was making her sick! She's cured!
   I feel cheated because on House, then Foreman would show up and say she's dying because they goofed, or her eyes would bleed or something. Instead the boy's swim team appears again [with shirts that spell out merry Christmas, Suzy] to sing to Suzy. It's all perfectly perfect.
   And I throw the fucking book at the wall.

   The end.




Trivial:

  • For those playing the who has what class game, this go round we have English with Liz, John, and Olivia.

  • Mr. Collins has been voted Best Liked Teacher for a few years running. That category needs a new name. Immediately.

  • Liz and Jess get their portrait done at Hunt's Photography.

  • Secret Santa roundup: Jessica got Bruce, Winston got Jessica, Liz got Aaron, Hans got Lila [Liz had to point her out], and Bill got Olivia. No one else was worth mentioning, I guess.

  • Lila wins the title of Miss Christmastime, but Jessica somehow tricks her and gets Lila's spot on the float in the Christmas parade. Lila gets stuck in an elf suit with green paint on Santa's float.

  • Suzy's set to stay with the Wakefields for two weeks, the entirety of their winter vacation. How... thoughtful.

  • Various nicknames for Suzy include: Demolition Devlin, Devilface Devlin, Devilish Devlin, Devil May Care Devlin, Suzanne the Devil

  • Jessica never told Steven exactly what Suzy's boytoy did, or tried to do, when she was in NYC.

  • Liz considers a wallet too extravagant a gift for Todd. ...How? Is this a wallet made of baby skin?

  • Suzy is apparently 5'7". I'm still taller, bitch.

  • Being Santa's elf is a PBA thing that Cara was supposed to do, but for whatever reason, Lila had all the information. Li then conned Cara into pretending she had a cold so Jessica would take over for her.

  • Cara is, as of this point, still flighty and not with Steven, even though she and Steven got together pretty much immediately after Todd left California. My head, she hurts. Woe.

  • PBA charges $17 at the start of each term. Popularity don't come cheap.

  • Jessica wracks up a palm sized wooden jewelry box that plays Fur Elise, a bouquet of daisies, and the promise of a dinner for two at Second Season, a new restaurant in town.

  • Aaron is now dating Patsy Webber, who is notoriously jealous. Fab.

  • Knowing this, Liz still gave Aaron a coupon for a free back massage, and it sounded like she meant she would be the one doing the massaging. I'm not thinking Patsy's gonna like that...

  • Bathing suit clad boy's swim team members serenaded Olivia at the Dairi Burger, and sang no less than five carols, starting with Silent Night. Later they'll put on shirts for Suzy and sing for her, too. Sluts.

  • Enid's faceless boytoy of the week? Chip Ettleson, a cute brunette freshman at SV College, whom Enid describes as "sweet, maybe too sweet." Naughty, naughty, Enid.

  • Steve wusses out in their plan to be cruel to Suzy. Dude wusses out almost immediately. Must be able to smell that sweet scent of near death by mono.

  • Todd's been in Vermont since at least October, as that's when he started skiing for the year.

  • Todd's VT high school is Lawrence High.

  • His best skiing buddy is Jerry Peterson, forward on the basketball team at Lawrence, and obviously an ass or leg man, as he falls for Suzy when she's facing away from them.

  • When describing "McMahon's" it sounds like Jerry and Todd have taken Suzy to some weird mix of McDonald's and the Texas Roadhouse, what with there being a jukebox and sawdust on the floor, but it's a burger restaurant. Can't you just hear the twang, y'all?

  • Suzy can't ski, so she prances around in white ski clothes. Practical!

  • Lila's spending $300 a day to tone her thighs at "La Venue". The rest of us are snickering.

  • Suzanne needs the concept of a Secret Santa explained to her. Which would have been fine if this had been the introduction for the Secret Santas for the book, but no, by now we all know what they are, so this is just to make them seem quaint. Or make Suzy look stupid.

  • Suzy and Todd ran into one another in mid November at Killington. Wouldn't mid-November pretty much be right before Thanksgiving?

  • Jess calls Suzy "anorectic" and wonders about the odds of anorexia explaining Suzy's super-skinny ways.

  • Stores around town and their lame names: Kitchen 'n Cookery, Discount Discs.

  • For Bruce, Jessica buys a bag of jelly beans, an oversize chocolate chip cookie, and a pocket mirror. The mirror is priceless.

  • The Droids wrote a song for/about Todd/Liz called "I'll Wait For You." Wonder if they regretted that once the news of the couple breaking up spread...

  • Aaron's cousin is Eddie, and he's married, and most definitely not having a Christmas party and would sure as hell not want Devil May Care Devlin to show up.

  • 1580 is the house on Forrest Lane if you're looking to go ghost hunting.

  • Liz decides to give Todd a scarf.

  • Going to the SV Civic Center to hear the SV Choir perform Handel's Messiah is what really signifies the beginning of Christmas for Jessica. Thanks to Suzy fainting, this year they missed it. Fucking drama queen...

  • Alice still has the ugly Styrofoam angels Liz and Jessica made in the first grade. Aww.

  • Steve finds a glass angel that belonged to Ned's grandmother. Suzy wisely declines the offer to put it on the tree as she faints about two seconds later.

  • Suzy flips the Fiat on Route One, about ten minutes away from Calico Drive.

  • Dr. Ford is her doc in SV, Dr. Harrison is her doc in NYC. Obviously you should avoid Harrison as he can't tell the difference between mono and MS.

  • Just think, Suzy, instead of nearly dying and then being cured, you could have been in Saint Moritz, gossip girling it up before Blair and Serena were even twinkles in anyone's eye.

  • Jackson's Foreign Cars is where the police tow the Fiat, which pretty much came out of it's little flip scratch free. Even the car doesn't like you enough to try and kill you, Suze.

  • Bruce's family has that Architectural Digest blue & silver tree Ned keeps pushing for. Somehow this is the one thing I always remember about this book, aside from wanting to kill whomever said, "Remember Suzy? I think we should bring her back, but castrate her. And then cure her of her MS by saying it was mono."

  • Suzy's in room 312, for those who like to know such things.



Quotable:
"Jess," Elizabeth cried, throwing her arms around her twin. "It's almost Christmas!"
"I know, I know," Jessica giggled and tried to disentangle herself. "How long as she been like this?" -since someone spiked the punch? p5

Jessica sighed. "Trust me. What we have on our hands here is a hysterical, devious drug addict. And the sooner we get her out of here, the better." -Sounds about right. p119

Headaches? That's what happened when you tried to swallow half a medicine cabinet with your coffee every morning. - So true, Jessica. So true. p124

"One look at you, and my problems don't seem so insurmountable," Elizabeth told her warmly.
Enid giggled. "Thanks. Does that mean you look at me and think: God, I could look like her?" -Sometimes I really do love these two. Sigh. p171


And now, my holiday gift to you:

"Remember what the Fowlers did last year to decorate their house?"
Elizabeth groaned, then laughed. Lila's father's company had made him a wealthy man practically overnight. Sometimes he went overboard trying to show what he could afford. The previous year he had spent a fortune having a "winter wonderland" set up on the rolling lawn in front of the Fowlers' mansion. The display featured a sleigh with eight plastic reindeer and a life size Santa, false ice statues, and artificial snowmen. "It was the tackiest thing ever," Jessica remembered happily. p13


The triumphant return of 137:
"Then you saw them, too," Jessica remarked.
"Saw what?"
"The pills!" Jessica exploded. "What else? She must have a hundred and thirty-seven different kinds in that little makeup case she's keeping under the sink in the bathroom." -Privacy? What's that? p118

"Pills," Jessica told him. "All sizes and colors. She must carry about a hundred and thirty-seven pounds of them around all the time." - Get your 'scripts here, folks! p129





   I hate that they redeemed Suzy. HATE. There are some people in this world who are just bitchy. They will always be bitchy, and not even facing an illness such as MS would change them. Suzy's actions before were obnoxious and don't really scream poor little rich girl, as Lila's similarly fucked on a regular basis, but does she prance around accusing innocent people of rape? Well, not until someone actually does try to, and then she has an excuse, kay?
   But what I hate most of all, is that Suzy's "punishment", if you want to look at it that way, was lifted so easily. She comes to SV, gets into a wreck, and they find out that the people in NYC don't know what the fuck they're talking about. Seriously, Suzy's parents are loaded. They didn't get a second opinion? Fucking mono.

   Though I do like other parts. I love the singing swim team. I love Suzy going on about how weird it is to have a warm Christmas and Jess informs her that they ALWAYS have warm Christmases... bitch. Of course, part of that is that I can relate to the warm Christmas bit, seeing as I think we've had a white Christmas once in the last twenty or so years. Okay, and I love that she just doesn't think before she opens her mouth and for once, it's okay for Jess to point out that, hello, you're being rude.
   I also like the brief alliance of the Terrible Trio. I love betting to see which "responsible" sibling will bail out on Jessica's scheme first. Can't discuss the scheme without discussing Jessica's motivation and getting away with it. My parents might have understood the need to protect the family/friends from an obvious bitch angle, but they would have so punished me for being a bitch in return [unless Jess had happened to be right and Suzy was just there to get with Todd. How awesome...] but of course, that doesn't happen.
   Sigh.

Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] myfavouritescar for the picture for Germany's version of Special Christmas. And sharing the collection of DOOM [which we say lovingly, I assure you] so that the rest of us are envious and amazed.


the_oracle: (yay)
Special Christmas
December, 1985



Deck the halls of Sweet Valley High...



   The Wakefield twins and their friends at Sweet Valley High are in festive spirits. It's Christmas vacation, the annual parade is just days away, secret Santas are busy making surprise gifts, and everyone's talking about the holiday dance at the Patmans' mansion. Jessica Wakefield is determined to be named Miss Christmastime, and Elizabeth is counting the days until she's reunited with her faraway boyfriend, Todd Wilkins.
   It seems nothing can spoil Jessica and Elizabeth's holiday-until Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield announce the arrival of an unwelcome houseguest. Now it looks as though this Christmas might be the worst ever!

   Catch the holiday spirit with Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield and the rest of the Sweet Valley gang. You'll never forget this Special Christmas!



   So, the card at the front of my copy of Special Christmas says it's due November 1st.

   1994.



   With that in mind, onward! Special Christmas is one of those books I actually really like in parts [Jessica's scheming] and hate in others [Suzy's redemption and the last fucking chapter or two] and they combine in a way that sort of requires a bottle of something should be kept handy, just in case. I like the Christmas SV books, even when they're crap. Let's be fair. This is no Evil Twin, or even The Evil Twin Returns. It sure as hell isn't The Magic Christmas, but it's not horrible.
   Except that last couple of chapters. Really, so bad, that if you have breakables around you, you should move to a nice windowless, padded room with nothing of interest at all prior to finishing the book.

   It's finally Christmas in the Valley and Liz has overdosed on Christmas spirit! She's so happy that you either want to smack her or join her as she runs around spreading Christmas cheer. I'm thinking smacking is the most likely reaction. Mr. Collins gives up trying to teach anyone anything on the last day of school, particularly the last class of the day before their big assembly where we'll run right into the first WTF moment. But before we get there, we find out that Todd is coming back for Christmas, and everyone is expecting a big lovey dovey reunion starring their favorite lovebirds, Liz and Todd. Liz is nervous because Todd's been gone for a few months and she's not sure how well they'll connect.
   Let's not dwell on that, as we head out to the assembly where the entire school is matched up as Secret Santas. Take a moment to let that wash over you. Go on. I've got time. My nails need filing anyway.

   You ready? Let's poke holes in that little scenario, shall we?
   The entire school, guys. What are the odds that you'll get someone you know's name? What are the odds? Can't you see the senior who gets the transfer freshman no one really knows and decides to blow it off? Hmm? At first I thought, well maybe they separate it by grade, but then part of my brain said, no, someone gets Bruce's name, and he's a senior so... Those unpopular kids are screwed six ways to Sunday. What about the Jewish kids? Or anyone who doesn't celebrate Christmas? Do they just shut the fuck up because it's the mid-eighties and we haven't gotten so PC yet?
   Also, Bruce's family is hosting the entire party for the entire school the following Friday. Ready for even more pain inducing logic? If Mr. C has given up teaching the day before vacation, that means the Secret Santas have to go out of their way during the first week of vacation to gift/spoil/surprise their lucky pick. What if your Secret Santa went on vacation?
   Silly me, no one actually leaves the Valley for the holiday. What was I thinking? Must stop overthinking.

   There's talk of Hans, the hot German exchange student that Jessica has her eye on. The twins are dressed matchy matchy because they're going to surprise their parents with a picture of themselves all grown up to pair up with the one of them from when they were younger. This is cute enough, but I keep thinking of the one picture I distinctly remember of my brother and I all dressed up and we're in [relatively] sedate Hawaiian shirts. I'm not thinking I want to revisit that look, plus we'd have to bleach our hair, and that's painful...
   Anyway, Liz is all excited because the Secret Santas will be awesome, even if she knows for a fact that Hans doesn't have Jessica's name [as Jessica not so secretly hopes] but has Lila's instead. And then Steven comes home. Before the twins can die of joy, Steve announces their parents have obviously been kidnapped and replaced by clones because they've finally lost their damn minds. Seems someone told Suzanne Devlin she could come back to the Valley. You remember Suzy, don't you? Accused Mr. C of rape and that was the highlight of her visit? Freakout ensues. Finally Steve and Liz say maybe they'll just talk to their parents, convince them they're insane and that Suzy should not be allowed back in SV. Really. Ever. It's for the best.
   So they try, but Jessica's overly melodramatic and things go south. Quickly. Ned and Alice refuse to back down, offering up cryptic answers when asked why Suzy is so desperate to make amends now, or why Mr. Collins would ever forgive the skank, or much of anything at all. By now, you've realized Suzy is obviously deathly ill or something along those lines, because you're not an idiot and there's nothing subtle here. For whatever reason, Alice decides that Jess should clean her room and they'll stick Suzy there again. Maybe because she's familiar with it, maybe just to get Jess to clean. I dunno. My parents would have just had whichever one of us had the cleaner room move out, and the two of us would have killed one another. Luckily it never came to that.
   Anyway, Todd appears and Suzy appears and it's all kinds of awkward. Todd and Liz have no time to themselves because Ken [Todd's staying with Ken this time] has organized a huge welcome back party that rages on until 2am. Rock on, Ken. Rock on. Todd actually gets surprisingly little play, but the Todd/Liz long distance thing gets plenty of airtime, which is... odd. We're told Todd has been gone for months on end by this point, and we've officially just said to hell with any time line at all.
   The second Suzy appears on the scene, she's a disarming mix of beautifully tragic and actually sweet mixed in with the memory of how she played everyone last time. Only... there's no hint of bitchcraft this go round. None. But she does freak people out. She's Posh-Spice Skinny. She's beyond pale. She's got the shakes, she has headaches, she takes naps all the time, oh, and she pops pills like they're candy. So Jess deduces that Suzy is a druggie.
   Yes. Jessica tries to keep Suzy away from SV by having Liz call and try to dissuade her by pointing out that everyone is still awfully sore about last time. No luck. So she works out a plan with her siblings to be icy cold towards Devilish Devlin. When Steve thaws [wuss!] she enlists Aaron and Winston to be super mean Secret Santas, although she does have to lie to get them to help. They send her mean notes, empty packages, and Suzy realizes no one wants her there. However, this is where the big flaw in Jessica's plan appears. Suzy decides to ask Aaron to lunch to apologize to him. Jess convinces Aaron to tell her, gosh he's sorry, but he's booked all week, maybe she'd like to go to a little get together at his cousin's house prior to Bruce's big party, but don't tell the twins since they can't come? And Suze is thrilled, so she says yes. If Aaron hadn't done that, at Jessica's bidding, Suze would have left already. D'oh!

   There's a bunch of little stuff about the Secret Santas mixed in with Liz angsting over her feelings, or lack thereof, towards Todd. Olivia is serenaded by the boy's swim team, clad in their bathing suits and towels, at the DB. Jessica gets a lovely tiny musical jewelry box that plays Fur Elise, so she's sure Hans is her SS. There's Jessica taking over for Cara as an elf at the mall with Santa. She only agrees because she thinks she'll be there for a couple of hours, max, but Santa tells her she's it until the day is over at 5pm. Thing is, Jess has to be at the Civic Center for the Miss Christmastime pageant, and wouldn't you know that Lila set the whole thing up? Cara wasn't sick, but she didn't know Jess would be stuck there, either. Gasp! Jess vows revenge. She's going to trick Lila into having to dress up like an elf for the parade the next week, and Jessica will be wearing that crown and looking lovely on the Miss Christmastime float. Or something. She plots a bit throughout the rest of the book, but we don't find out how she tricks Li.
   Lila lovers, that's about as good as you'll get since Li spends most of the book at La Venue getting her thighs toned. Yes. Seriously.

   We find out that back in Vermont, Todd ran into Suzy about a month ago while skiing. They hit it off, and Todd realized he sort of thought of kissing her, but then she started asking about Liz and the moment was over. Todd doesn't tell Liz when she informs him of Suzy's arrival, so he has to get Suzy not to spill the beans. Thing is, Jess overhears and decides that Suzy only deigned to visit because she wanted to hook up with Todd, and that the two had planned this behind Liz's back.
   By now a few things are painfully obvious:
   Todd's got a thing for Suzy. Suzy's really got a thing for Todd. Liz doesn't have a thing for Todd. Todd may or may not still feel something for Liz, but he really wants a shot at Suze. I... really don't give a damn at this point, which is unusual, because you'd think I'd be all over this. Not so.
   We somehow find our way to Friday, and Suzy's got some new pills imported from her doc in NYC. She gets ready, looks loverly and channeling Tricia's Victorian look from book 12, proceeds to valiantly drive off into the ether, content to die for the sins of Jessica Wakefield. *yawn* See, Aaron calls, tells Suzy he's got a flat, she should borrow a car from the Wakefields [they've got at least four, after all] and meet him at the house on Forrest Lane. We know this is a trick, that the house has been abandoned for awhile and is quite possibly haunted. Dunno. Don't care. Suzy takes off after a glass of champagne and I do wonder why the Wakefields keep giving their kids and their kids' friends wine/champagne before letting them drive. Do they have fantastic life insurance policies or something?
   Suzy heads off in the Fiat and mere seconds later Mr. & Mrs. Wakefield return from their drinks at the Beckwiths. Dr. Harrison, Suzy's NYC doc calls and it's basically, "OMG! If she even looks at this bottle after taking those meds, she'll DIE! How could you let her go off even though we haven't told you what the fuck is going on? How could you?" To which they all crumble. Right. Yes. The kids tell you they don't want the girl around, you force her on them, you leave the booze and tell the kids to have some, but when Suzy drives off after a glass, it's the kids' fault for not using their psychic abilities to know the drug interaction would be bad, even though they didn't know she was taking anything. They just suspected.
   My brain. She screams in agony from this point onward.
   Suze does her drunk driving impression in front of some cops, and when she flips the Fiat, they're right there to take her to the hospital. Jess gets screamed at for engineering the horrible Secret Santa pranks, and we drive off to the haunted house, only to find no trace of Suze. They call around and find her in the hospital and everyone heads that way. We find out that Suze has MS, and gosh, she might end up in a wheelchair! No wonder she's found God apologizing for being a royal bitch before. Um, okay. I guess.
   Todd is all frantic and everyone realizes he's got a thing for Suzy, but the best part of this is Jessica recognizing the look on his face. It's the same one he had when he thought he'd killed Liz back in book six/seven. I love that little bit of recognition, but hate just about everything else going on.
   Suze is fine, of course, but they're keeping her overnight and then for however longer for observation and to run a battery of tests. Fun times. Jessica accuses Todd and Suzy of sneaking around, Todd sets the record straight, and Liz finds she cares surprisingly little.
   They make it to Bruce's where they tell everyone about Suzy and her MS and I'm left to ponder, isn't that just what she DIDN'T want to happen? We find out that Winston is Jessica's Santa, and that Bill was Olivia's. Thrills! Todd and Liz chat and realize they're just friends and that the spark is gone. Liz totally lies and says she's not the jealous type [she is! they both are!] and all is well.
   Then Jess schemes a little and the next day at the hospital we find Suzy and Todd snuggling. Then there's a dramatic scene where the SV doctors have found that Suzy never had MS to begin with! She had mono and then a rare reaction to the drugs they've been giving her and that was what was making her sick! She's cured!
   I feel cheated because on House, then Foreman would show up and say she's dying because they goofed, or her eyes would bleed or something. Instead the boy's swim team appears again [with shirts that spell out merry Christmas, Suzy] to sing to Suzy. It's all perfectly perfect.
   And I throw the fucking book at the wall.

   The end.




Trivial:

  • For those playing the who has what class game, this go round we have English with Liz, John, and Olivia.

  • Mr. Collins has been voted Best Liked Teacher for a few years running. That category needs a new name. Immediately.

  • Liz and Jess get their portrait done at Hunt's Photography.

  • Secret Santa roundup: Jessica got Bruce, Winston got Jessica, Liz got Aaron, Hans got Lila [Liz had to point her out], and Bill got Olivia. No one else was worth mentioning, I guess.

  • Lila wins the title of Miss Christmastime, but Jessica somehow tricks her and gets Lila's spot on the float in the Christmas parade. Lila gets stuck in an elf suit with green paint on Santa's float.

  • Suzy's set to stay with the Wakefields for two weeks, the entirety of their winter vacation. How... thoughtful.

  • Various nicknames for Suzy include: Demolition Devlin, Devilface Devlin, Devilish Devlin, Devil May Care Devlin, Suzanne the Devil

  • Jessica never told Steven exactly what Suzy's boytoy did, or tried to do, when she was in NYC.

  • Liz considers a wallet too extravagant a gift for Todd. ...How? Is this a wallet made of baby skin?

  • Suzy is apparently 5'7". I'm still taller, bitch.

  • Being Santa's elf is a PBA thing that Cara was supposed to do, but for whatever reason, Lila had all the information. Li then conned Cara into pretending she had a cold so Jessica would take over for her.

  • Cara is, as of this point, still flighty and not with Steven, even though she and Steven got together pretty much immediately after Todd left California. My head, she hurts. Woe.

  • PBA charges $17 at the start of each term. Popularity don't come cheap.

  • Jessica wracks up a palm sized wooden jewelry box that plays Fur Elise, a bouquet of daisies, and the promise of a dinner for two at Second Season, a new restaurant in town.

  • Aaron is now dating Patsy Webber, who is notoriously jealous. Fab.

  • Knowing this, Liz still gave Aaron a coupon for a free back massage, and it sounded like she meant she would be the one doing the massaging. I'm not thinking Patsy's gonna like that...

  • Bathing suit clad boy's swim team members serenaded Olivia at the Dairi Burger, and sang no less than five carols, starting with Silent Night. Later they'll put on shirts for Suzy and sing for her, too. Sluts.

  • Enid's faceless boytoy of the week? Chip Ettleson, a cute brunette freshman at SV College, whom Enid describes as "sweet, maybe too sweet." Naughty, naughty, Enid.

  • Steve wusses out in their plan to be cruel to Suzy. Dude wusses out almost immediately. Must be able to smell that sweet scent of near death by mono.

  • Todd's been in Vermont since at least October, as that's when he started skiing for the year.

  • Todd's VT high school is Lawrence High.

  • His best skiing buddy is Jerry Peterson, forward on the basketball team at Lawrence, and obviously an ass or leg man, as he falls for Suzy when she's facing away from them.

  • When describing "McMahon's" it sounds like Jerry and Todd have taken Suzy to some weird mix of McDonald's and the Texas Roadhouse, what with there being a jukebox and sawdust on the floor, but it's a burger restaurant. Can't you just hear the twang, y'all?

  • Suzy can't ski, so she prances around in white ski clothes. Practical!

  • Lila's spending $300 a day to tone her thighs at "La Venue". The rest of us are snickering.

  • Suzanne needs the concept of a Secret Santa explained to her. Which would have been fine if this had been the introduction for the Secret Santas for the book, but no, by now we all know what they are, so this is just to make them seem quaint. Or make Suzy look stupid.

  • Suzy and Todd ran into one another in mid November at Killington. Wouldn't mid-November pretty much be right before Thanksgiving?

  • Jess calls Suzy "anorectic" and wonders about the odds of anorexia explaining Suzy's super-skinny ways.

  • Stores around town and their lame names: Kitchen 'n Cookery, Discount Discs.

  • For Bruce, Jessica buys a bag of jelly beans, an oversize chocolate chip cookie, and a pocket mirror. The mirror is priceless.

  • The Droids wrote a song for/about Todd/Liz called "I'll Wait For You." Wonder if they regretted that once the news of the couple breaking up spread...

  • Aaron's cousin is Eddie, and he's married, and most definitely not having a Christmas party and would sure as hell not want Devil May Care Devlin to show up.

  • 1580 is the house on Forrest Lane if you're looking to go ghost hunting.

  • Liz decides to give Todd a scarf.

  • Going to the SV Civic Center to hear the SV Choir perform Handel's Messiah is what really signifies the beginning of Christmas for Jessica. Thanks to Suzy fainting, this year they missed it. Fucking drama queen...

  • Alice still has the ugly Styrofoam angels Liz and Jessica made in the first grade. Aww.

  • Steve finds a glass angel that belonged to Ned's grandmother. Suzy wisely declines the offer to put it on the tree as she faints about two seconds later.

  • Suzy flips the Fiat on Route One, about ten minutes away from Calico Drive.

  • Dr. Ford is her doc in SV, Dr. Harrison is her doc in NYC. Obviously you should avoid Harrison as he can't tell the difference between mono and MS.

  • Just think, Suzy, instead of nearly dying and then being cured, you could have been in Saint Moritz, gossip girling it up before Blair and Serena were even twinkles in anyone's eye.

  • Jackson's Foreign Cars is where the police tow the Fiat, which pretty much came out of it's little flip scratch free. Even the car doesn't like you enough to try and kill you, Suze.

  • Bruce's family has that Architectural Digest blue & silver tree Ned keeps pushing for. Somehow this is the one thing I always remember about this book, aside from wanting to kill whomever said, "Remember Suzy? I think we should bring her back, but castrate her. And then cure her of her MS by saying it was mono."

  • Suzy's in room 312, for those who like to know such things.



Quotable:
"Jess," Elizabeth cried, throwing her arms around her twin. "It's almost Christmas!"
"I know, I know," Jessica giggled and tried to disentangle herself. "How long as she been like this?" -since someone spiked the punch? p5

Jessica sighed. "Trust me. What we have on our hands here is a hysterical, devious drug addict. And the sooner we get her out of here, the better." -Sounds about right. p119

Headaches? That's what happened when you tried to swallow half a medicine cabinet with your coffee every morning. - So true, Jessica. So true. p124

"One look at you, and my problems don't seem so insurmountable," Elizabeth told her warmly.
Enid giggled. "Thanks. Does that mean you look at me and think: God, I could look like her?" -Sometimes I really do love these two. Sigh. p171


And now, my holiday gift to you:

"Remember what the Fowlers did last year to decorate their house?"
Elizabeth groaned, then laughed. Lila's father's company had made him a wealthy man practically overnight. Sometimes he went overboard trying to show what he could afford. The previous year he had spent a fortune having a "winter wonderland" set up on the rolling lawn in front of the Fowlers' mansion. The display featured a sleigh with eight plastic reindeer and a life size Santa, false ice statues, and artificial snowmen. "It was the tackiest thing ever," Jessica remembered happily. p13


The triumphant return of 137:
"Then you saw them, too," Jessica remarked.
"Saw what?"
"The pills!" Jessica exploded. "What else? She must have a hundred and thirty-seven different kinds in that little makeup case she's keeping under the sink in the bathroom." -Privacy? What's that? p118

"Pills," Jessica told him. "All sizes and colors. She must carry about a hundred and thirty-seven pounds of them around all the time." - Get your 'scripts here, folks! p129





   I hate that they redeemed Suzy. HATE. There are some people in this world who are just bitchy. They will always be bitchy, and not even facing an illness such as MS would change them. Suzy's actions before were obnoxious and don't really scream poor little rich girl, as Lila's similarly fucked on a regular basis, but does she prance around accusing innocent people of rape? Well, not until someone actually does try to, and then she has an excuse, kay?
   But what I hate most of all, is that Suzy's "punishment", if you want to look at it that way, was lifted so easily. She comes to SV, gets into a wreck, and they find out that the people in NYC don't know what the fuck they're talking about. Seriously, Suzy's parents are loaded. They didn't get a second opinion? Fucking mono.

   Though I do like other parts. I love the singing swim team. I love Suzy going on about how weird it is to have a warm Christmas and Jess informs her that they ALWAYS have warm Christmases... bitch. Of course, part of that is that I can relate to the warm Christmas bit, seeing as I think we've had a white Christmas once in the last twenty or so years. Okay, and I love that she just doesn't think before she opens her mouth and for once, it's okay for Jess to point out that, hello, you're being rude.
   I also like the brief alliance of the Terrible Trio. I love betting to see which "responsible" sibling will bail out on Jessica's scheme first. Can't discuss the scheme without discussing Jessica's motivation and getting away with it. My parents might have understood the need to protect the family/friends from an obvious bitch angle, but they would have so punished me for being a bitch in return [unless Jess had happened to be right and Suzy was just there to get with Todd. How awesome...] but of course, that doesn't happen.
   Sigh.

Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] myfavouritescar for the picture for Germany's version of Special Christmas. And sharing the collection of DOOM [which we say lovingly, I assure you] so that the rest of us are envious and amazed.


the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Just a note to say I'm not dead yet, just tired. Work + sick = no time to smoosh various covers together as the final step for world domination. That said, I might as well post this and add the images tomorrow. Yes. Maybe. Well, it's an idea.

Too Good To Be True
August 1984

  Is Suzanne as perfect as she seems?

  A devil in disguise...


The Wakefield twins are wild with excitement. Glamorous, sophisticated Suzanne Devlin is coming to Sweet Valley from New York City. For two weeks, Elizabeth will show her around town while Jessica has the time of her life in New York.
  At first, Suzanne seems to be the most perfect girl in the world. She's beautiful and friendly and not the least bit stuck-up. All the boys of Sweet Valley are absolutely crazy about her. But when Suzanne accuses Mr. Collins of trying to seduce her, Elizabeth knows there's more to Suzanne than meets the eye.


  Suzy Devlin is so obviously the original incarnation of Caitlin that it's no wonder I love/loathe them both so much. That aside, she's a bitch. You can tell it by looking at her, and it just goes to prove that the residents of Sweet Valley are a bunch of idiots. You'd expect it from the guys, but the girls have been proven to be extremely judgmental, harsh, bitter little harpies [teenage girls] and yet this hotter than hot, "sophisticated" overly sweet to the point of inflicting diabetic comas on unsuspecting residents just blows into town and not a single person other than Roger Collins has the balls to say, "Wait, what?" I cry foul.

  With that said, let's rewind. Ned Wakefield is exchanging his daughter for one of his college buddy's daughters, namely Suzanne Devlin. As anyone who has ever even watched a nanosecond of Designing Women knows, Suzanne is the name of the bitch. However, this is prior to that, so the Wakefields simply think they'll be welcoming an old friend's kid into their home, and obviously their friend wouldn't raise a self absorbed, boy crazy, lazy, sneaky, crafty, bitch goddess.... like they did with Jessica. Nope, they expect sunshine and rainbows. However, they can't afford to send both twins to New York City, for what is actually a logical reason. Namely, with Steve in college and the girls a year away, the Wakefields can't just be blowing cash on a two week vacay to NYC for the girls. Now, this will be blown away by all the numerous trips they'll take later on, but I actually smiled at their reasoning.
  Anyway, they finally flip a coin to decide which twin will take NYC by storm. Being contrary by nature, Jessica takes tails. Naturally, this means heads, Liz, wins. Jessica does not deal well with losing, so she sulks and cries and bemoans her fate. Liz, in her infinite wisdom, gives Jessica an in when she worries aloud about missing the class picnic and spending two weeks away from Todd. Jessica "casually" mentions that Lila Fowler has had her eye on Todd for awhile, but it's okay because Todd would never, ever stray, and even if he did, well, it would just be a fling and they don't matter, right? Liz frets, not so much because she believes Jessica's obvious lie, but because she had wanted to spend time with Todd and the rest of her friends, and while NYC is awesome, going alone might not be so much with the awesome. Jessica declares herself the winner and runs off to tell her parents how generous Liz is being, even without Liz having fully caved. Which is okay, as Liz doesn't actually mind giving up the trip to NYC, something she confesses to Jessica as they're at the airport. Had Liz wanted to go, nothing could have stopped her, and this much we'll learn later is true. This is one of those books where you want to smack Liz for falling for Jessica's scheming ways, but you also respect that this was actually Elizabeth's choice, she just let Jessica think she'd done the convincing. Or maybe you just accept that she thinks it was her choice and disillusioning Elizabeth too many times in one book is just painful. I don't know.
  So off Jessica goes to NYC, primed and ready for adventure. Back at home, Liz and the rest of the Wakefields are blown away by how pretty and fantastic Suzanne-call-me-Suzy is. She sounds too good to be true, people comment. Well, duh. She's gorgeous, pretty, fantastic, sophisticated, nice, chore doing, Liz complimenting, golly gee wilikers, makes Liz look bad/lazy in comparison. Of course she's ebil! Sigh. To be fair, we don't find out for sure until page 56, or until she's been there a few days. In that time she acts so happy to be around a real family, so overjoyed at spending time with perfect strangers, although I'd probably love being surrounded by people who were ready to worship me, too, and is exceptionally polite, going so far as to do the dishes and cook for the Wakefields. She's a dream, an absolute dream. Our first inkling that maybe she's not what she seems is when she nearly drowns at the class picnic, despite having proven herself previously to be a fantastic swimmer. She manages to scare Roger Collins away after he saves her, but it's not made clear at that moment whether he just didn't want to be around a soaking wet hot teenage girl, or whether she'd been a little obvious in her "ohgosh, I'm drowning, please save me, young Robert Redford!" theatrics.
  Fear not, she'll make it really obvious in a second. One day Liz cannot find her lavaliere, despite turning her room upside down in her search for it. Suzy reassures her that they'll find it, and pretends to sympathize, but all the while the necklace is in her pocket, and she's petting it, cooing, "Soon, my precious, sooooooooooon."
  Immediately following this little act, she flirts/comes on to Mr. C in his own yard. Delivering a little something from Liz, Suzy requests a drink from the hose and then, gosh oh golly, drenches her t-shirt. Subtle thy name ain't Devlin. Granted, it wasn't meant to be subtle. Mr. C likes his job and his women a little less porntastic, so he sends Suzy on her way. This just makes her more determined. She will bed young Robert, she will.
  Now, we switch to Jessica's exploits in NYC. She does the traditional tourist thing and comes to realize that maybe Suzy's life isn't as charmed as she might have thought. Mrs. Devlin is a stone cold bitch, NYC ain't a cheap place to live, and Mr. D is never around, although he is a charmer. More to the point, Suzy's boyfriend Pete is a god and knows it, too. Thus he's a jerk. If you love watching Jess try and fail, you'll love the various ways she tries to get his attention only to have him know full well what she's up to, but he honestly doesn't seem all that interested. It's an interesting mirror to what Suzy's up to. Jess becomes more desperate and flails about, making a fool of herself at a party thrown for her, where Suzy's best friend Evelyn wishes she were as nifty as Lila back home. Instead Ev and company are so painfully dull that the only thing Jessica can do to keep from nodding off is to drink her wine very, very quickly and get very, very drunk. This does not endear her to the NYC crowd and she's sent home, passed out in the back of a cab.
  That leads to Jess calling Liz, painfully missing her twin and seriously wishing she'd stayed home where she belonged. But being Jessica, she can't tell Liz this, so she tells Liz she's having a fantastic time, taking the city by storm, and gosh, isn't Liz jealous of all the fun times Jess must be having?
  Well, no, no Liz isn't. She's having fun, missing necklace aside. Which means it must be time for something bad to happen! Todd gets last minute tickets to a Laker's game [zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz] and Liz wants to go with, but can't because she's babysitting for Teddy Collins that night. It's too late to find some other teenager [remember, the BSC is all the way in Connecticut, so no worries about Kristy slashing the Fiat's tires in retaliation for encroaching on their territory] and Liz couldn't possibly leave Mr. C in the lurch. Enter Suzy who offers to babysit, because what else was she going to do all night while Liz was away? And this, this is where Lizzie drops the ball. She lets Suzy talk her out of calling Mr. C and checking to see if this is okay. Now, we know that this would so not be okay, but Liz doesn't, but still, she's responsible enough to know how things are done. Still, she runs off with Todd and Suzy hits Mr. C's place. Mr. C is all, "what the fu..er, hell are you doing here, Devilwoman?" and Suzy says she thought Liz called to see if it was okay and gosh, she's sorry, but she's sure she and Teddy will have a good ol' time. Cue Teddy being charmed and Mr. C figures what's the worst that'll happen and leaves. FOOL.
  The second Mr. C is gone, Teddy gets told to shut up and watch TV, Suzy's got better things to do than entertain a brat. Teddy cries and Suzy wanders upstairs to go through Roger's stuff. Nothing smutty to be found at all. Suzy isn't thrilled with the lack of personality this shows, but decides she'll take a long, nice bubble bath and maybe, tee hee, if she's lucky, Mr. C will come back early and find her in the tub and well, join her. He doesn't and when she makes her way back downstairs, she notices Teddy has passed out on the couch and it looks like he's been crying. Well, suck it up, kiddo, because life sucks and then you die, and anyone who says otherwise is not living in the real world.
  Which is to say, Suzy has issues. Her parents have shipped her off to various boarding schools her whole life and it's obvious they don't want her, wah wah wah. She subscribes to the theory that if Suzy ain't happy, then nobody is happy.
  Mr. C comes home to find Suzanne "asleep" on the couch next to Teddy [seriously, Suze, putting the kid to bed would have been a good idea if YOU could tell he was upset. His own father would obviously be able to tell and it wouldn't help your skanking around cause either. Sigh.] but with her shirt buttons undone enough to make it really obvious that Suzy's got a nice rack, y'know, if you were into that sort of thing. After she forces him to grope her [feel how fast my heart is beating!] she tries to get him to drink a little with her, but he reminds her that she's underage. She dismisses this and moves in for the kill. He shoots her down, despite being physically interested, heart racing and all that. Or maybe he's not and it's totally fear that she's going to ruin his life. Either way, he essentially kicks her out of the house and she plots her revenge. It's simple.
  She's going to make the entire town think good old Roger Collins tried to rape her. She tears her own shirt, thinks unhappy thoughts, cries and ruins her makeup, and then slinks up to Elizabeth's room to tell, but only when prodded and promised that Liz will believe her. And Elizabeth does, because why would anyone lie about such a thing? The entire store revolves around that little thought. Why would anyone lie about nearly being raped?
  And anyone who had read the first book in the series prior to this damn near choked. But we'll get to that in a minute.
  Liz and Suzy go to Ned who calls Chrome Dome and Roger Collins probably wakes up the next morning to find his entire life has gone to shit because he DIDN'T take advantage of the strange girl half dressed on his couch. FUN.
  The entire thing makes Liz sick because she cannot reconcile the man she thinks she knows so well with the man Suzy's painted as this horrible, drunken sleaze. Todd shares the same disbelief, but it doesn't tear him up as much because Mr. Collins is just a cool teacher to him, not his mentor/friend/kindly uncle figure. The town is similarly torn. Some of the residents, like quite a few of the parents, believe Suzy, and are thrilled to finally have an actual reason to get rid of Collins. Damn his liberal, artistic, outside the box teaching ways! Damn them! On the other hand, anyone who has actually spent any time with Collins probably thinks this is a horrible rumour blown up to epic proportions.
  While at Cara Walkers, the usual SVH cast is plotting what to buy Lila for her birthday. Lila's gift falls to the wayside as they discuss and take sides on the whole Collins debate. Some people, like Olivia Davidson, don't believe that someone they know that well, someone who has been their morality compass for the entire year [and probably prior to that] is capable of such a thing. They don't come right out and call Suzy a liar, but they do wonder if somehow things got mixed up. Some, like Cara, are quick to say that of course Mr. C tried to get lucky. He's a guy and Suzy's hot. End of story.
  Liz and Todd aren't so sure. On the one hand, Mr. C is awesome. They know he couldn't, wouldn't... could he? On the other hand, what possible reason could Suzy have for lying about this? There's no way she could be confused, so what, did she dream it? She's a sweetheart, how could she possibly be lying?
  The one thing everyone agrees on is that Lila doesn't really need a huge gift, so some of the money they've set aside for her gift will be put into a gift for Suzy. A sort of, "Sorry our favorite teacher assaulted you, no hard feelings, kay?" gift. Uh...huh.
  On this moment of disbelief, we head back to Jessica. She's finally managed to finagle another date with Pete, only he's not falling under her spell. Turns out he didn't even want to ask her out, Suzy's parents asked him to show her a good time. Jess is heartbroken. She gets what she wants and she wants Pete but he ain't biting. What gives? They go back to the Devlins and he goes up to the apartment with her, she assumes it's to say hey to Suzy's parents but they aren't there... and then, we have another moment where Jess and Suzy mirror one another. You see, as Suzy is faking her attack, Jessica's playing with fire. She wants Pete's attention, but he wants a little more than that. He gets more than a little aggressive and Jess freaks out. She wanted an evening of mild making out, and he's pushing for rough sex, right there in the living room. Jess ain't that girl and she tells him no. He points out that no one in their right mind would believe that Jessica didn't want what she was about to get, and Jess flips out. Not because this is so painful to hear over and over [essentially anytime Jess goes after an older boy], but because dude, fuck that, no means no, and somehow there's a bit of a chase that ends when Pete lands on top of Jessica. Before we find out whether Pete is really just teaching her that maybe she should be a little more discriminating when it comes to who she hits on and the sort of signals she sends out, the Devlins come home. This can't be good.
  While Jessica is dealing with the fall out from that little disaster, Liz decides to be a sneaky saint and put Suzy's gift in her suitcase, so that when she's packing, or maybe when she's home, she'll find her little package of sunshine. However, while she's riffling through Suzy's stuff, she finds a familiar gold necklace. How odd, how did her lavaliere end up in Suzy's suitcase unless.... Suzy stole it? Hmm. This blows Elizabeth's mind and she can't think about it for too long before her head begins to hurt almost as much as her heart.
  Of course, she also can't stop thinking about it. On their way to Lila's party out at the Country Club, Todd asks why Liz is so quiet. She tells him about her unexpected find and again tries to reason it out. Todd points out the obvious, that some people are just broken inside. There isn't always a why, and while that's frightening, and painfully annoying to all of us who thrive on the WHY more so than anything else, it is life, and it will happen. He likens it to East of Eden, and just as I think we might get out of this alive, he makes a crack or two about Jessica, to which Elizabeth replies that Jessica would never do anything really bad, like what they're supposing Suzy has done.
  NOW you may do your spit take and say, what the fuck? Jessica did exactly what you're thinking about accusing Suzy of, only she didn't spread it all around town. She couldn't get Todd, so she decided to get back at him by telling the one girl he liked that he'd tried to get a little too friendly with her. Jessica accused Todd of, if not rape, than at least not respecting her boundaries. She LIED to her twin about this and had Elizabeth thought to spread it around like she did with Mr. Collins, well, it would have sucked and Jessica would have been in the same boat as Suzy, except at least Todd and Jessica had kissed before. So yeah, the argument that Jess would never do anything that bad, and gosh, what sort of wicked soul would do such a thing? Hello, your own twin sister, dumb ass!
  So Liz decides that Todd is right. Some people are just rotten and if Suzy could steal and lie about a necklace [of which there are a million explanations] then she could obviously lie about sexual assault. Uh, way to rationalize that. Stealing a necklace =/= lying about being assaulted. Just sayin'...
  Liz confronts Suzy at Lila's party in the coat room. Um, yeah. Suzy tries to play it off, badly, but Liz doesn't fall for it and then mentions Mr. Collins. Suzy freaks out, confesses and acts a royal bitch while she's at it. She threatens Liz, who threatens her right back and then Suzy points out that when she's done with Elizabeth, what she did to Mr. Collins will look like a cake walk. Interesting. I wonder how telling everyone that Liz cracked her head and has been acting crazy compares to getting a man fired, possibly causing him to lose his child [if his crazy, only mentioned in one offs wife got a hold of that info, he could lose Teddy], and ruining his life. We never find out because just as Suzy has managed to convince almost everyone at Lila's party that Liz is back to her own post-coma Jessica-like Liz behavior, Winston crashes into Suzy and spills punch all over her beautiful Halston outfit. Suzy freaks the fuck out and bites Winston's head off. She tries to do damage control, but that much crazy spewing forth makes most people realize that odds are good, Liz isn't so crazy as to be wrong about Suzy lying about Mr. Collins, or at least being seriously mistaken. Suzy is left to cry about her defeat and Liz finds out that Winston intentionally ruined Suzy's dress, in hopes that the bitch would crack and everyone else would realize Elizabeth wasn't crazy, that Mr. Collins wasn't a sleaze, and that the world would return to it's perfect order. If Winston didn't find fat people super freaky, I'd love him. Ah, well.
  The thing I don't get is what happened after this? How did Ned and Alice treat Suzanne after this? Did they kick her ass, report her to her parents, what? I'm so confused.
  Liz opts out of taking Suzy to the airport and picking up Jessica, so Jess comes home, finds Suzy's gift, thinks it's her own and happily swipes it. Turns out that when the Devlins came home, Jessica did the only sensible thing she could think of. She broke down. Pete has since been banned from Casa de Devlin, and alls well that ends well. Again, did the Devlins tell Ned and Alice about their daughter's little problem at the end of her visit, or what? Cuz I know for damn sure my parents would have wanted to know/would have told. But that would mean that Jessica couldn't play it off, thus leading to Elizabeth giggling like a fiend when it seemed that Jessica had stolen Suzanne's boyfriend. Ah, sisters. Fear not, Jess eventually learns of the bitchery that was Suzy Devlin. Just not now.

Trivia, dahling:

  • Steven had his birthday, apparently. He's 19 as of now. Funny, I think he goes right back to being 18 next book.

  • Liz suggests the coin flip, and Jess likens it to the time Ned won a doll at the Fair and gave it to Jessica [who won the coin toss] and he felt so guilty that he ran out and bought Liz a better one.

  • Jessica's dream Manhattan involves an "impossibly chic Manhattan disco" where Mick Jagger wants to dance. Dude, by the 80's he was a little on the rough side, so whoa. Just... whoa, Jessie. WHOA. Anyway, there'd also be the owner of Tiffany's who would gift her with an emerald necklace, content to just bask in the glow of her beauty. Or possibly she'd settle for being discovered as the next Cheryl Tiegs, immediately placed on the cover of Cosmo.

  • Steve is likened to Elizabeth in terms of temperament, but dude has anger management issues that rival Jessica's.

  • Jess can have NYC, Liz would rather be "mountain climbing in the Sierras" or "rafting down the Colorado River." Screw that, I'll take NYC, and I'm no fan of the city.

  • Jess sets off the metal detector at the airport with a massive silver bracelet. Talented.

  • Sophomore year, Jessica played the lead in My Fair Lady, and for weeks walked around with a snooty faux British accent.

  • Suzy's accent isn't like snooty Jessica's, but instead is just cultured and, our favorite word for Suzy, sophisticated.

  • In case you missed it, Tricia Martin is a senior at SVH. She's also starting to blow off plans with Steve. GASP!

  • The Wakefields have a lemon tree in their backyard.

  • Jessica loots around in Suzy's makeup for her date with Pete. I cry foul. Lookit that cover. What looks good on Suzanne would look ghastly on the twins aside from the basics, kay? Also, if Suzy makes Liz worry about her own perfectly lovely size six figure, would Jess easily slide into a slinky little number from Suzy's closet?

  • Jessica's NYC itinerary: Saks, Russian Tea Room, Windows on the World, the Empire State Building, and a horse drawn carriage through Central Park.

  • Pete McCafferty has green eyes, chestnut hair, perma-tan, and drives a Ferrari. Needless to say, he's hot in a preppy sort of way.

  • The Devlins live on Park Avenue.

  • Apparently Jessica, the shopaholic, draws the line at $75 for a scarf. Wonder if she would these days... Inflation and all.

  • The Devlins: Mr. D is short, roundish, thinning blond hair, bushy mustache, twinkling gray-blue eyes. Mrs. D is tall, impossibly thin, with cheekbones that could cut glass, and is a total Ice Queen.

  • Jessica's first date with Pete is to a Horowitz concert.

  • Suzy's while you were out call list: Tom McKay called twice, Aaron Dallas called three times, Bruce Patman only called once, but Winston called twelve times, and had time for a late night serenade.

  • Page 56 is when we learn that Suzy is so not what she seems. Or is, if you're judging the book by it's cover.

  • Todd's got his second hand Datsun, baby.

  • Mr. Collins lives in a sunny yellow frame house. Um, okay.

  • Winston wrote "I love you, Suzy" in toilet paper.

  • If you're wondering at Winston's love affair with Suzy, Mandy Farmer moved sometime and everyone thinks it's about time the poor guy got over the fact that his girlfriend is gone. Um, okay, sure.

  • Evelyn Meeker, despite the horrible last name, is Suzy's best friend, and is dating a 25 year old. She's a tall brunette and fairly bitchy, but in a boring way.

  • When babysitting for Teddy Collins, make sure he's in bed by 8:30pm.

  • Suzy likes to go through people's personal stuff. One time she found pot in her cousin Ruthie's jewelry box and blackmailed her for ages. Lovely.

  • After Suzy's accusations, this is how the group at Cara's divided themselves: Pro Mr. C- Olivia, John Pfeifer, Enid, Ken. Against: Cara, Caroline, Winston. Undecided: Todd and Liz.

  • The last time Liz and Jessica dressed up for a night out, Ned wanted a picture of them, so they took one out by the pool. Jessica hammed it up so bad that she ended up falling into the pool.

  • Todd always runs 15 minutes late.

  • Liz once called the cops, thinking she heard someone breaking into their house, but it was just Jessica coming in through the window after curfew. Oops!

  • Lila's birthday party was held at the country club.



Quotes:
  "Somehow a pair of culottes doesn't exactly compare with a trip to New York." -Jessica has a point, Liz. p7
  "Do you always imagine yourself to be the star of a movie?" - Pete to Jessica. Yes. Yes she does.
  She was even mad at her sister. Elizabeth had been so quick to want to switch places with her. She probably knew how it was going to turn out and had only pretended to want to go in the first place in order to make it sound like fun. Jessica has lost her damn mind. Like Liz knew Pete was going to go all date-rape on Jessica. As if. p95

137:
  "Never!" Jessica sobbed. "I'll probably never set foot out of this dumb town for the next hundred and thirty-seven years!" p6
  "Honestly, Liz, I've never been so deliriously happy in my entire life. The Devlins-well, it would take me a hundred and thirty-seven years to describe them." p69




  I waffle on Too Good... I like parts of it, I find other parts insane. The dorky, but lovable, little kid in me loved so much of this book that I can't hate it overall, or even look at it objectively. On the other hand, the knowledge of what they'll do to Suzy in the future just kills me. With a few exceptions, noticeably the serial killers [heyo, Margo/Nora] we're forced to endure the humanization of just about every "villain" in the series. Why? Todd explained that some people are just born bad. Or you've got your Lila Fowlers of the world, those with issues that explain their narcissistic behavior and this somehow endears them to the readers [moi] but no one would ever say she's a nice person. She has her reasons, and you might not agree with them, but they do exist. Similar reasons exist for Suzy to be the way she is, so why change it? Meh.
  I do wonder what would have happened if Jess and Suzy had gone head to head this go round. Would she have been so easily fooled? [Yes.] Would she have bristled at how much everybody just looooooved Suzy? [Yes, again.] Would she have taken her down much harder than Liz and Winston managed to? [Oh for heaven's sake, yes!] It would have been glorious.

the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Just a note to say I'm not dead yet, just tired. Work + sick = no time to smoosh various covers together as the final step for world domination. That said, I might as well post this and add the images tomorrow. Yes. Maybe. Well, it's an idea.

Too Good To Be True
August 1984

  Is Suzanne as perfect as she seems?

  A devil in disguise...


The Wakefield twins are wild with excitement. Glamorous, sophisticated Suzanne Devlin is coming to Sweet Valley from New York City. For two weeks, Elizabeth will show her around town while Jessica has the time of her life in New York.
  At first, Suzanne seems to be the most perfect girl in the world. She's beautiful and friendly and not the least bit stuck-up. All the boys of Sweet Valley are absolutely crazy about her. But when Suzanne accuses Mr. Collins of trying to seduce her, Elizabeth knows there's more to Suzanne than meets the eye.


  Suzy Devlin is so obviously the original incarnation of Caitlin that it's no wonder I love/loathe them both so much. That aside, she's a bitch. You can tell it by looking at her, and it just goes to prove that the residents of Sweet Valley are a bunch of idiots. You'd expect it from the guys, but the girls have been proven to be extremely judgmental, harsh, bitter little harpies [teenage girls] and yet this hotter than hot, "sophisticated" overly sweet to the point of inflicting diabetic comas on unsuspecting residents just blows into town and not a single person other than Roger Collins has the balls to say, "Wait, what?" I cry foul.

  With that said, let's rewind. Ned Wakefield is exchanging his daughter for one of his college buddy's daughters, namely Suzanne Devlin. As anyone who has ever even watched a nanosecond of Designing Women knows, Suzanne is the name of the bitch. However, this is prior to that, so the Wakefields simply think they'll be welcoming an old friend's kid into their home, and obviously their friend wouldn't raise a self absorbed, boy crazy, lazy, sneaky, crafty, bitch goddess.... like they did with Jessica. Nope, they expect sunshine and rainbows. However, they can't afford to send both twins to New York City, for what is actually a logical reason. Namely, with Steve in college and the girls a year away, the Wakefields can't just be blowing cash on a two week vacay to NYC for the girls. Now, this will be blown away by all the numerous trips they'll take later on, but I actually smiled at their reasoning.
  Anyway, they finally flip a coin to decide which twin will take NYC by storm. Being contrary by nature, Jessica takes tails. Naturally, this means heads, Liz, wins. Jessica does not deal well with losing, so she sulks and cries and bemoans her fate. Liz, in her infinite wisdom, gives Jessica an in when she worries aloud about missing the class picnic and spending two weeks away from Todd. Jessica "casually" mentions that Lila Fowler has had her eye on Todd for awhile, but it's okay because Todd would never, ever stray, and even if he did, well, it would just be a fling and they don't matter, right? Liz frets, not so much because she believes Jessica's obvious lie, but because she had wanted to spend time with Todd and the rest of her friends, and while NYC is awesome, going alone might not be so much with the awesome. Jessica declares herself the winner and runs off to tell her parents how generous Liz is being, even without Liz having fully caved. Which is okay, as Liz doesn't actually mind giving up the trip to NYC, something she confesses to Jessica as they're at the airport. Had Liz wanted to go, nothing could have stopped her, and this much we'll learn later is true. This is one of those books where you want to smack Liz for falling for Jessica's scheming ways, but you also respect that this was actually Elizabeth's choice, she just let Jessica think she'd done the convincing. Or maybe you just accept that she thinks it was her choice and disillusioning Elizabeth too many times in one book is just painful. I don't know.
  So off Jessica goes to NYC, primed and ready for adventure. Back at home, Liz and the rest of the Wakefields are blown away by how pretty and fantastic Suzanne-call-me-Suzy is. She sounds too good to be true, people comment. Well, duh. She's gorgeous, pretty, fantastic, sophisticated, nice, chore doing, Liz complimenting, golly gee wilikers, makes Liz look bad/lazy in comparison. Of course she's ebil! Sigh. To be fair, we don't find out for sure until page 56, or until she's been there a few days. In that time she acts so happy to be around a real family, so overjoyed at spending time with perfect strangers, although I'd probably love being surrounded by people who were ready to worship me, too, and is exceptionally polite, going so far as to do the dishes and cook for the Wakefields. She's a dream, an absolute dream. Our first inkling that maybe she's not what she seems is when she nearly drowns at the class picnic, despite having proven herself previously to be a fantastic swimmer. She manages to scare Roger Collins away after he saves her, but it's not made clear at that moment whether he just didn't want to be around a soaking wet hot teenage girl, or whether she'd been a little obvious in her "ohgosh, I'm drowning, please save me, young Robert Redford!" theatrics.
  Fear not, she'll make it really obvious in a second. One day Liz cannot find her lavaliere, despite turning her room upside down in her search for it. Suzy reassures her that they'll find it, and pretends to sympathize, but all the while the necklace is in her pocket, and she's petting it, cooing, "Soon, my precious, sooooooooooon."
  Immediately following this little act, she flirts/comes on to Mr. C in his own yard. Delivering a little something from Liz, Suzy requests a drink from the hose and then, gosh oh golly, drenches her t-shirt. Subtle thy name ain't Devlin. Granted, it wasn't meant to be subtle. Mr. C likes his job and his women a little less porntastic, so he sends Suzy on her way. This just makes her more determined. She will bed young Robert, she will.
  Now, we switch to Jessica's exploits in NYC. She does the traditional tourist thing and comes to realize that maybe Suzy's life isn't as charmed as she might have thought. Mrs. Devlin is a stone cold bitch, NYC ain't a cheap place to live, and Mr. D is never around, although he is a charmer. More to the point, Suzy's boyfriend Pete is a god and knows it, too. Thus he's a jerk. If you love watching Jess try and fail, you'll love the various ways she tries to get his attention only to have him know full well what she's up to, but he honestly doesn't seem all that interested. It's an interesting mirror to what Suzy's up to. Jess becomes more desperate and flails about, making a fool of herself at a party thrown for her, where Suzy's best friend Evelyn wishes she were as nifty as Lila back home. Instead Ev and company are so painfully dull that the only thing Jessica can do to keep from nodding off is to drink her wine very, very quickly and get very, very drunk. This does not endear her to the NYC crowd and she's sent home, passed out in the back of a cab.
  That leads to Jess calling Liz, painfully missing her twin and seriously wishing she'd stayed home where she belonged. But being Jessica, she can't tell Liz this, so she tells Liz she's having a fantastic time, taking the city by storm, and gosh, isn't Liz jealous of all the fun times Jess must be having?
  Well, no, no Liz isn't. She's having fun, missing necklace aside. Which means it must be time for something bad to happen! Todd gets last minute tickets to a Laker's game [zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz] and Liz wants to go with, but can't because she's babysitting for Teddy Collins that night. It's too late to find some other teenager [remember, the BSC is all the way in Connecticut, so no worries about Kristy slashing the Fiat's tires in retaliation for encroaching on their territory] and Liz couldn't possibly leave Mr. C in the lurch. Enter Suzy who offers to babysit, because what else was she going to do all night while Liz was away? And this, this is where Lizzie drops the ball. She lets Suzy talk her out of calling Mr. C and checking to see if this is okay. Now, we know that this would so not be okay, but Liz doesn't, but still, she's responsible enough to know how things are done. Still, she runs off with Todd and Suzy hits Mr. C's place. Mr. C is all, "what the fu..er, hell are you doing here, Devilwoman?" and Suzy says she thought Liz called to see if it was okay and gosh, she's sorry, but she's sure she and Teddy will have a good ol' time. Cue Teddy being charmed and Mr. C figures what's the worst that'll happen and leaves. FOOL.
  The second Mr. C is gone, Teddy gets told to shut up and watch TV, Suzy's got better things to do than entertain a brat. Teddy cries and Suzy wanders upstairs to go through Roger's stuff. Nothing smutty to be found at all. Suzy isn't thrilled with the lack of personality this shows, but decides she'll take a long, nice bubble bath and maybe, tee hee, if she's lucky, Mr. C will come back early and find her in the tub and well, join her. He doesn't and when she makes her way back downstairs, she notices Teddy has passed out on the couch and it looks like he's been crying. Well, suck it up, kiddo, because life sucks and then you die, and anyone who says otherwise is not living in the real world.
  Which is to say, Suzy has issues. Her parents have shipped her off to various boarding schools her whole life and it's obvious they don't want her, wah wah wah. She subscribes to the theory that if Suzy ain't happy, then nobody is happy.
  Mr. C comes home to find Suzanne "asleep" on the couch next to Teddy [seriously, Suze, putting the kid to bed would have been a good idea if YOU could tell he was upset. His own father would obviously be able to tell and it wouldn't help your skanking around cause either. Sigh.] but with her shirt buttons undone enough to make it really obvious that Suzy's got a nice rack, y'know, if you were into that sort of thing. After she forces him to grope her [feel how fast my heart is beating!] she tries to get him to drink a little with her, but he reminds her that she's underage. She dismisses this and moves in for the kill. He shoots her down, despite being physically interested, heart racing and all that. Or maybe he's not and it's totally fear that she's going to ruin his life. Either way, he essentially kicks her out of the house and she plots her revenge. It's simple.
  She's going to make the entire town think good old Roger Collins tried to rape her. She tears her own shirt, thinks unhappy thoughts, cries and ruins her makeup, and then slinks up to Elizabeth's room to tell, but only when prodded and promised that Liz will believe her. And Elizabeth does, because why would anyone lie about such a thing? The entire store revolves around that little thought. Why would anyone lie about nearly being raped?
  And anyone who had read the first book in the series prior to this damn near choked. But we'll get to that in a minute.
  Liz and Suzy go to Ned who calls Chrome Dome and Roger Collins probably wakes up the next morning to find his entire life has gone to shit because he DIDN'T take advantage of the strange girl half dressed on his couch. FUN.
  The entire thing makes Liz sick because she cannot reconcile the man she thinks she knows so well with the man Suzy's painted as this horrible, drunken sleaze. Todd shares the same disbelief, but it doesn't tear him up as much because Mr. Collins is just a cool teacher to him, not his mentor/friend/kindly uncle figure. The town is similarly torn. Some of the residents, like quite a few of the parents, believe Suzy, and are thrilled to finally have an actual reason to get rid of Collins. Damn his liberal, artistic, outside the box teaching ways! Damn them! On the other hand, anyone who has actually spent any time with Collins probably thinks this is a horrible rumour blown up to epic proportions.
  While at Cara Walkers, the usual SVH cast is plotting what to buy Lila for her birthday. Lila's gift falls to the wayside as they discuss and take sides on the whole Collins debate. Some people, like Olivia Davidson, don't believe that someone they know that well, someone who has been their morality compass for the entire year [and probably prior to that] is capable of such a thing. They don't come right out and call Suzy a liar, but they do wonder if somehow things got mixed up. Some, like Cara, are quick to say that of course Mr. C tried to get lucky. He's a guy and Suzy's hot. End of story.
  Liz and Todd aren't so sure. On the one hand, Mr. C is awesome. They know he couldn't, wouldn't... could he? On the other hand, what possible reason could Suzy have for lying about this? There's no way she could be confused, so what, did she dream it? She's a sweetheart, how could she possibly be lying?
  The one thing everyone agrees on is that Lila doesn't really need a huge gift, so some of the money they've set aside for her gift will be put into a gift for Suzy. A sort of, "Sorry our favorite teacher assaulted you, no hard feelings, kay?" gift. Uh...huh.
  On this moment of disbelief, we head back to Jessica. She's finally managed to finagle another date with Pete, only he's not falling under her spell. Turns out he didn't even want to ask her out, Suzy's parents asked him to show her a good time. Jess is heartbroken. She gets what she wants and she wants Pete but he ain't biting. What gives? They go back to the Devlins and he goes up to the apartment with her, she assumes it's to say hey to Suzy's parents but they aren't there... and then, we have another moment where Jess and Suzy mirror one another. You see, as Suzy is faking her attack, Jessica's playing with fire. She wants Pete's attention, but he wants a little more than that. He gets more than a little aggressive and Jess freaks out. She wanted an evening of mild making out, and he's pushing for rough sex, right there in the living room. Jess ain't that girl and she tells him no. He points out that no one in their right mind would believe that Jessica didn't want what she was about to get, and Jess flips out. Not because this is so painful to hear over and over [essentially anytime Jess goes after an older boy], but because dude, fuck that, no means no, and somehow there's a bit of a chase that ends when Pete lands on top of Jessica. Before we find out whether Pete is really just teaching her that maybe she should be a little more discriminating when it comes to who she hits on and the sort of signals she sends out, the Devlins come home. This can't be good.
  While Jessica is dealing with the fall out from that little disaster, Liz decides to be a sneaky saint and put Suzy's gift in her suitcase, so that when she's packing, or maybe when she's home, she'll find her little package of sunshine. However, while she's riffling through Suzy's stuff, she finds a familiar gold necklace. How odd, how did her lavaliere end up in Suzy's suitcase unless.... Suzy stole it? Hmm. This blows Elizabeth's mind and she can't think about it for too long before her head begins to hurt almost as much as her heart.
  Of course, she also can't stop thinking about it. On their way to Lila's party out at the Country Club, Todd asks why Liz is so quiet. She tells him about her unexpected find and again tries to reason it out. Todd points out the obvious, that some people are just broken inside. There isn't always a why, and while that's frightening, and painfully annoying to all of us who thrive on the WHY more so than anything else, it is life, and it will happen. He likens it to East of Eden, and just as I think we might get out of this alive, he makes a crack or two about Jessica, to which Elizabeth replies that Jessica would never do anything really bad, like what they're supposing Suzy has done.
  NOW you may do your spit take and say, what the fuck? Jessica did exactly what you're thinking about accusing Suzy of, only she didn't spread it all around town. She couldn't get Todd, so she decided to get back at him by telling the one girl he liked that he'd tried to get a little too friendly with her. Jessica accused Todd of, if not rape, than at least not respecting her boundaries. She LIED to her twin about this and had Elizabeth thought to spread it around like she did with Mr. Collins, well, it would have sucked and Jessica would have been in the same boat as Suzy, except at least Todd and Jessica had kissed before. So yeah, the argument that Jess would never do anything that bad, and gosh, what sort of wicked soul would do such a thing? Hello, your own twin sister, dumb ass!
  So Liz decides that Todd is right. Some people are just rotten and if Suzy could steal and lie about a necklace [of which there are a million explanations] then she could obviously lie about sexual assault. Uh, way to rationalize that. Stealing a necklace =/= lying about being assaulted. Just sayin'...
  Liz confronts Suzy at Lila's party in the coat room. Um, yeah. Suzy tries to play it off, badly, but Liz doesn't fall for it and then mentions Mr. Collins. Suzy freaks out, confesses and acts a royal bitch while she's at it. She threatens Liz, who threatens her right back and then Suzy points out that when she's done with Elizabeth, what she did to Mr. Collins will look like a cake walk. Interesting. I wonder how telling everyone that Liz cracked her head and has been acting crazy compares to getting a man fired, possibly causing him to lose his child [if his crazy, only mentioned in one offs wife got a hold of that info, he could lose Teddy], and ruining his life. We never find out because just as Suzy has managed to convince almost everyone at Lila's party that Liz is back to her own post-coma Jessica-like Liz behavior, Winston crashes into Suzy and spills punch all over her beautiful Halston outfit. Suzy freaks the fuck out and bites Winston's head off. She tries to do damage control, but that much crazy spewing forth makes most people realize that odds are good, Liz isn't so crazy as to be wrong about Suzy lying about Mr. Collins, or at least being seriously mistaken. Suzy is left to cry about her defeat and Liz finds out that Winston intentionally ruined Suzy's dress, in hopes that the bitch would crack and everyone else would realize Elizabeth wasn't crazy, that Mr. Collins wasn't a sleaze, and that the world would return to it's perfect order. If Winston didn't find fat people super freaky, I'd love him. Ah, well.
  The thing I don't get is what happened after this? How did Ned and Alice treat Suzanne after this? Did they kick her ass, report her to her parents, what? I'm so confused.
  Liz opts out of taking Suzy to the airport and picking up Jessica, so Jess comes home, finds Suzy's gift, thinks it's her own and happily swipes it. Turns out that when the Devlins came home, Jessica did the only sensible thing she could think of. She broke down. Pete has since been banned from Casa de Devlin, and alls well that ends well. Again, did the Devlins tell Ned and Alice about their daughter's little problem at the end of her visit, or what? Cuz I know for damn sure my parents would have wanted to know/would have told. But that would mean that Jessica couldn't play it off, thus leading to Elizabeth giggling like a fiend when it seemed that Jessica had stolen Suzanne's boyfriend. Ah, sisters. Fear not, Jess eventually learns of the bitchery that was Suzy Devlin. Just not now.

Trivia, dahling:

  • Steven had his birthday, apparently. He's 19 as of now. Funny, I think he goes right back to being 18 next book.

  • Liz suggests the coin flip, and Jess likens it to the time Ned won a doll at the Fair and gave it to Jessica [who won the coin toss] and he felt so guilty that he ran out and bought Liz a better one.

  • Jessica's dream Manhattan involves an "impossibly chic Manhattan disco" where Mick Jagger wants to dance. Dude, by the 80's he was a little on the rough side, so whoa. Just... whoa, Jessie. WHOA. Anyway, there'd also be the owner of Tiffany's who would gift her with an emerald necklace, content to just bask in the glow of her beauty. Or possibly she'd settle for being discovered as the next Cheryl Tiegs, immediately placed on the cover of Cosmo.

  • Steve is likened to Elizabeth in terms of temperament, but dude has anger management issues that rival Jessica's.

  • Jess can have NYC, Liz would rather be "mountain climbing in the Sierras" or "rafting down the Colorado River." Screw that, I'll take NYC, and I'm no fan of the city.

  • Jess sets off the metal detector at the airport with a massive silver bracelet. Talented.

  • Sophomore year, Jessica played the lead in My Fair Lady, and for weeks walked around with a snooty faux British accent.

  • Suzy's accent isn't like snooty Jessica's, but instead is just cultured and, our favorite word for Suzy, sophisticated.

  • In case you missed it, Tricia Martin is a senior at SVH. She's also starting to blow off plans with Steve. GASP!

  • The Wakefields have a lemon tree in their backyard.

  • Jessica loots around in Suzy's makeup for her date with Pete. I cry foul. Lookit that cover. What looks good on Suzanne would look ghastly on the twins aside from the basics, kay? Also, if Suzy makes Liz worry about her own perfectly lovely size six figure, would Jess easily slide into a slinky little number from Suzy's closet?

  • Jessica's NYC itinerary: Saks, Russian Tea Room, Windows on the World, the Empire State Building, and a horse drawn carriage through Central Park.

  • Pete McCafferty has green eyes, chestnut hair, perma-tan, and drives a Ferrari. Needless to say, he's hot in a preppy sort of way.

  • The Devlins live on Park Avenue.

  • Apparently Jessica, the shopaholic, draws the line at $75 for a scarf. Wonder if she would these days... Inflation and all.

  • The Devlins: Mr. D is short, roundish, thinning blond hair, bushy mustache, twinkling gray-blue eyes. Mrs. D is tall, impossibly thin, with cheekbones that could cut glass, and is a total Ice Queen.

  • Jessica's first date with Pete is to a Horowitz concert.

  • Suzy's while you were out call list: Tom McKay called twice, Aaron Dallas called three times, Bruce Patman only called once, but Winston called twelve times, and had time for a late night serenade.

  • Page 56 is when we learn that Suzy is so not what she seems. Or is, if you're judging the book by it's cover.

  • Todd's got his second hand Datsun, baby.

  • Mr. Collins lives in a sunny yellow frame house. Um, okay.

  • Winston wrote "I love you, Suzy" in toilet paper.

  • If you're wondering at Winston's love affair with Suzy, Mandy Farmer moved sometime and everyone thinks it's about time the poor guy got over the fact that his girlfriend is gone. Um, okay, sure.

  • Evelyn Meeker, despite the horrible last name, is Suzy's best friend, and is dating a 25 year old. She's a tall brunette and fairly bitchy, but in a boring way.

  • When babysitting for Teddy Collins, make sure he's in bed by 8:30pm.

  • Suzy likes to go through people's personal stuff. One time she found pot in her cousin Ruthie's jewelry box and blackmailed her for ages. Lovely.

  • After Suzy's accusations, this is how the group at Cara's divided themselves: Pro Mr. C- Olivia, John Pfeifer, Enid, Ken. Against: Cara, Caroline, Winston. Undecided: Todd and Liz.

  • The last time Liz and Jessica dressed up for a night out, Ned wanted a picture of them, so they took one out by the pool. Jessica hammed it up so bad that she ended up falling into the pool.

  • Todd always runs 15 minutes late.

  • Liz once called the cops, thinking she heard someone breaking into their house, but it was just Jessica coming in through the window after curfew. Oops!

  • Lila's birthday party was held at the country club.



Quotes:
  "Somehow a pair of culottes doesn't exactly compare with a trip to New York." -Jessica has a point, Liz. p7
  "Do you always imagine yourself to be the star of a movie?" - Pete to Jessica. Yes. Yes she does.
  She was even mad at her sister. Elizabeth had been so quick to want to switch places with her. She probably knew how it was going to turn out and had only pretended to want to go in the first place in order to make it sound like fun. Jessica has lost her damn mind. Like Liz knew Pete was going to go all date-rape on Jessica. As if. p95

137:
  "Never!" Jessica sobbed. "I'll probably never set foot out of this dumb town for the next hundred and thirty-seven years!" p6
  "Honestly, Liz, I've never been so deliriously happy in my entire life. The Devlins-well, it would take me a hundred and thirty-seven years to describe them." p69




  I waffle on Too Good... I like parts of it, I find other parts insane. The dorky, but lovable, little kid in me loved so much of this book that I can't hate it overall, or even look at it objectively. On the other hand, the knowledge of what they'll do to Suzy in the future just kills me. With a few exceptions, noticeably the serial killers [heyo, Margo/Nora] we're forced to endure the humanization of just about every "villain" in the series. Why? Todd explained that some people are just born bad. Or you've got your Lila Fowlers of the world, those with issues that explain their narcissistic behavior and this somehow endears them to the readers [moi] but no one would ever say she's a nice person. She has her reasons, and you might not agree with them, but they do exist. Similar reasons exist for Suzy to be the way she is, so why change it? Meh.
  I do wonder what would have happened if Jess and Suzy had gone head to head this go round. Would she have been so easily fooled? [Yes.] Would she have bristled at how much everybody just looooooved Suzy? [Yes, again.] Would she have taken her down much harder than Liz and Winston managed to? [Oh for heaven's sake, yes!] It would have been glorious.

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