the_oracle: (geekout)
Secret Admirer
September 1987



Who is Penny's secret love?

A little too personal...



   Sweet Valley High is in a frenzy when the school newspaper begins to run personal ads. Even Penny Ayala, the shy, serious editor of the paper, decides to place an ad, and a boy named Jaime responds. His letters are witty and sensitive just like hers, and he seems to be Penny's perfect match.
   Elizabeth Wakefield encourages Penny to persue her secret admirer. But when she overhears a group of boys laughing about "Jaime," she realizes that Penny's perfect match is only a joke-"Jaime" doesn't even exist! Can she stop the boys from breaking Penny's heart?



  Okay, I'll admit it. I've been putting this one off because the sooner I finish SA, the sooner I have to kill off Regina, and the moment I do that, I'll be nine years old [maybe ten?] again, sniffling like a fool even though it's one of the big things most people remember about SVH after they grow up and move on. Y'know: Twins, perfect size six, Margo stalks and tries to kill Liz, Todd gets cheated on at every turn, Jeffrey gets dumped in record time, and oh yeah, Regina DIES.

  This has absolutely nothing to do with SA, though, aside from the very, very end of the book.

  At the end of the last book we learned that Lynne Henry was going to spearhead the personal ads running in The Oracle. It doesn't take long for this to go sour.

  Jessica and Lila are looking for older men, so they decide to put out ads of their own, only they can't decide whether it's best to describe yourself [Lila] or your perfect mate [Jessica]. So they set up a little competition. Whichever girl snags the better guy using her chosen method wins. Despite Penny getting the cover and a good chunk of the book, this storyline actually gets the most play. Why didn't they just go with this as the official "A"-story if they were going to devote more pages to it anyway? The mind, she boggles. Anyway, Jessica first meets Paolo, who impresses Jessica by ending his first letter in Italian. Lila proves to be psychic when she points out that anyone can learn two words in a foreign language. Duh. Paolo turns out to be fat and Jessica damn near kills herself trying to get out of their date. Eventually she convinces him that she's got some terminal illness and suffers horribly, and oh, God, she just wanted to go out on one normal date, but the pain... oh the pain. He takes her home and briefly, Jessica's seldom seen conscious appears, but she tells it to go fuck itself since she's got a thing against fat people.
   When Jessica gets a letter from John Karger, she decides not to brag too much until after the date, although his picture is awfully gorgeous. They meet and we learn that Jessica's not fluent in Greek desserts, but John asks Jess a ton of questions anyway. She decides he's in love with her and misses the part where he mentions he's a sociology major. Later we learn that Lila's also met a really fantastic guy, and when she and Jessica start taunting one another about who has the best shot of winning, Cara declares that since neither will concede that the other's date is better, Cara, Amy, Jean, and Sandy will be the judges. The winner takes her boy to the Forties Fling dance and the loser goes by herself. They all meet Saturday afternoon before the dance at a beach concert, where we learn that John answered a whole bunch of ads, and a whole bunch of girls thought he was interested in them. His girlfriend, Faye, says she knew this would happen and seems amused. In the real world, Faye would have her ass kicked by Jessica and Lila [who would then feed John to the pack of pissed off teenage girls] but instead John runs away and Faye just comes across as a bitch without the ass-whuppin. Sigh. Cara asks who the winner was, so Jess and Lila throw her in the ocean. Like a pool-push, but better.
   Jess and Lila both meet SVC boys and end up at the dance... and we'll meet back up with them in a little bit.



   Now, on to Penny. Penny's the editor of the Oracle and a bit of a stick in the mud. Now, personally, I like to pretend she and Mr. C have a little something going on, but we can't have that as canon, so Penny is shy and awkward around boys her own age. She's too serious for them and since she doesn't really go out of her way to look super pretty, none really approach her. Honestly, they could and I don't think Penny would realize they were hitting on her, based on the way she acts around various guys in this book. Doesn't matter. As a kid I could identify and also feel badly for Penny. How much does it suck that she seems to have no friends and also her love life is in the hands of Elizabeth freakin' Wakefield, someone who doesn't really have to worry about boyfriends? Liz is also all kinds of condescending all over the book. Meh. Anyway, she decides that Penny should put out an ad and see who responds. She points out that if it's a bunch of duds, no one will know she put the ad out since it's anonymous and all. Penny considers this and agrees. She writes up a fairly amusing little ad and Liz laughs and then says, "No, seriously, what're you going to say?" Penny's dead serious. She wants a guy who would find that funny AND be able to come up with a good reply. I can see her point, and since SVH isn't at all realistic, she doesn't have to worry about the fact that very few teenage boys could come up with the wit that she's expecting. And so... we wait.
  It's also worth noting that Enid isn't being pushed to find a guy because this marks the first appearance of Hugh, Enid's on again/off again boyfriend. WOO. Except, y'know, Hugh's mostly a dud. He's essentially a cardboard cutout that Enid trots out to events and everyone pretends he's real. I will say that for this book, he's not all that thrilling, but he shows a smidge of promise, though we're not told a damn thing about him other than they met at the new bookstore downtown. Sigh.

   Elsewhere, Kirk-the-Jerk and the rest of his tennis team cronies read Penny's ad and decide to create a person to reply. They come up with Jaime, a funny guy who is mostly Neil Freemount writing as Jaime. Other than Kirk coming up with the idea, we aren't told what role the team plays in this little prank since Neil does "most of the writing" and eventually falls for Penny. Their initial letters to one another are cute, but by the end it's blah, mainly because Kirk's pushing for them to meet so he can find out who the mystery hunchback is. When they find out it's Penny, they all die from laughing, except Neil, who is amazed that such weirdness of the best possible sort could come from straitlaced Penny Ayala. But he lacks the spine to go meet her in front of the bookstore, so Penny waits an hour for a guy who is never going to show. Poor Penny.
  Neil tries to get to know Penny on his own, but quickly realizes that his stupidity has made Penny shut down even more than she was before. So he writes her again, as Jaime, and asks her to give him one more shot. They meet and Neil confesses. Penny tries to leave but Neil tells her that he didn't show up just to confess, but because he really did want to get to know her. Going against all teen-read laws of nature, Penny agrees then and there, and the two kiss and make plans and are freakishly happy. Seriously, they go from zero to sixty in 2 seconds. It's amazing, really.

   Enid and Elizabeth overhear Kirk and company going on about Penny being the mystery woman [before she and Neil hookup] and decide to teach Kirk-the-Jerk a lesson since he's the most obnoxious of the bunch. Liz shreds some of Jessica's magazines and claims that Erica Hall, some hot model, is her NYC cousin. Kirk gets one look of the model, doesn't care that there are no candid shots of her, and tells Elizabeth that since her cousin is coming to town in time for the Fling, he'll be the one escorting the lovely lady. Liz tries to warn him that Erica is shallow, vain, bitchy, self absorbed, a pain in the ass.... Kirk In A Skirt, but as Enid points out, Kirk loves himself so he'd love a girl just like him. Of course Erica isn't her cousin and Kirk gets stood up and everyone has a good old laugh at Kirk.

  The dance brings us Regina, who has shown up stag, since Bruce is at home, working on a project. Jess and Lila try and remember if anyone's seen Amy at the dance, because she's made it clear that she's after Bruce in the worst way...



Trivia:

  • Penny has hazel eyes and short, dark blond hair. Really? I always thought of her as a brunette... Also, she's a senior and most likely to be valedictorian.

  • After Penny teases Liz about doing her work for her, Liz types out one of the few Eyes and Ears columns to not use initials instead of names. Weird.

  • When describing the twins and how they keep to their perfect size six selves, why do ghosties keep saying they both love to jog? Jess has made her feelings on jogging quite clear: It sucks.

  • Mr. Collins is asking Ms. Dalton to the Forties Night Swing Fling, as he's set to be a chaperone. He tells Penny and Liz to save a jitterbug for him.

  • Lila's frequently wearing a maillot and they almost always either seem to be absolutely stunning on her, or wash her out. Hmm. This one is red, for those who need to know.

  • Lila believes you should describe yourself, and the right boy will follow in the ad. Jessica says you should describe your perfect mate and they'll respond. Naturally, Lila thinks of herself first and Jessica's obsessed with the pretty boy at the end of the tunnel.

  • Hugh Grayson met Enid at "the new bookstore downtown." He spends more time with Jeffrey than Enid, though...

  • Hugh goes to Big Mesa, and Liz seems to think that Jeffrey, a recent SVH transplant, would be the one to hold Hugh going to a rival school against him? Oh, Lizzie, if weren't constantly told of your brilliance, I'd assume you were a moron.

  • Oh, Amy... You're really going to regret going after Bruce.

  • Penny's responses for her ad: "Mr. X" who didn't seem to get that Penny had to be joking, although he didn't seem like a complete ass, #2 was more into auras than Penny would like, and answer #3 was Jaime.

  • It's amazing that in that entire school, there isn't a single Jaime. What's more amazing is that Penny and Liz immediately know that.

  • Penny loves Dickens, Alcott, Austen.

  • She's just finished The Lord of the Flies and likes the beach at dawn, when it's mostly deserted.

  • The Wakefields have lemon trees in their backyard.

  • Lila has a queen size bed. Naturally.

  • Jessica gets seven letters initially.

  • Kirk Anderson, Michael Harris, Neil Freemount, Chad Ticknor, and Ron Reese of the tennis club create "Jaime." Later Liz wonders why Ron and Neil would be such bastards, but can see Chad and Michael being asshats. Interesting, considering she seemed to think Michael was a good guy when he and Maria Santelli were engaged. What changed?

  • Paolo's parents are Italian, but he was born and raised in California, though he speaks Italian, too. He's got a thing for food and astronomy, and is very sweet, though very gullible.

  • Kirk drives a white Trans Am.

  • The cover of the book TRIES to depict the scene where Penny's waiting for Jaime, but in the book she's wearing a short, denim skirt and a bright madras top. That is so not what she's wearing. This makes it look like Penny's not even trying. Also, for years, I thought Penny was at the Oracle office waiting [on the cover] not the bookstore. D'oh!

  • John Karger has brown eyes that are constantly referred to anytime he shows up. He can be contacted at the sociology department down at SVC. So can Faye, his bitchy red haired girlfriend.

  • Neil and Penny are both in Mr. Collins' American Lit class.

  • Jessica doesn't know what baklava is.

  • Jess was all set to let Jim Daly take her to the Swing Fling, but dumped him the day of so she could go with John. Y'know, before he turned out to be an ass.

  • Lila and Jessica show up at the beach concert wearing matching leopard print bikinis.



Excerpts from the Oracle:
[also known as somewhere between a quote and trivia]










Quotable SVH:

  "I really shouldn't be doing your work for you, you know. One more slip up and you're out." - Penny's teasing Liz. Or is she? p3

  She was the sort of person people instinctively turned to-for help, sympathy, or the warmth of her sunny smile. - Oh, gag me. p6

   "Do you want us to help you write the ad?"
   With a little chuckle, Penny shook her head. "Listen, if there's one thing I do have plenty of confidence about, it's writing." - Also known as "Fuck off, Liz. I'm the editor around here and I didn't get the position just by sleeping my way to the top. Er..." p 29

  Elizabeth burst out laughing. "Penny, this is hysterical. But you're not really going to use it, are you?" - Liz misses the point of Penny's ad. p30

  "Jessica, anybody could learn two words of Italian. Give me a break." -Lila doubts the almighty Paolo. p 49

  Never in her life had Jessica ever dated anyone who wasn't handsome and slim. And now she was going out with-with-someone fat. - Way to go, ghosties. Cuz, y'know, none of your readers would be fat or anything. p73

  She frowned a little as a little voice inside told her she'd just played a mean trick on a polite, friendly, and interesting boy. But she ignored the voice. After all, she couldn't help it if she simply couldn't stand to be around fat people. - p79

  "I guess you could say I like a dare. I'll do anything once-and I'll do it again if I like it," she added suggestively. - And later you'll wonder why people believe her when Missy Fox tells everyone you're a skank, Jessica. p105

  "Truce! Truce!" Lila cut in. "Anyway, my date is in college, too, and believe me, he's very sophisticated. I know that already, just from his letter. Now Steve is a very nice guy, and I'm sure your little friend is nice, too, " she added condescendingly, grinning at Jessica. "But I'm talking about a real man." - It's that 'little friend' thing that makes Lila so bitchy. And loved so very, very much. p 122



  This would have been up hours ago, but I had to drive myself crazy looking for Lila and Jessica's fonts. Oi. What a nightmare. Big thanks to SV Unlimited for saving what's left of my sanity. Of course, the hours I lost trying to find the reprint cover? Yeah, they're not coming back, either. So if you've got a clearer image than the grainy gif Amazon kept throwing my way, please. Share.

   In the grand scheme of things, Penny got shafted. She happens to get the least desirable of all real estate. The book before a recurring character finally bites it. No one remembers this book. Really, they don't. Penny's not going to be remembered for her moment of weakness when she wished she weren't all alone, she's going to be remembered for being such a hardass. I'm not even sure she IS one, but that's how history remembers her.
  And I'm sorry, but for everyone screaming, "but why, oh why, does she need male validation"- I say shut it. While it would be nice to assume that everyone is completely self reliant, she's a seventeen year old girl who has no friends to speak of and sucks when it comes to speaking to the opposite sex. Let the girl have her brief moment in the sun, where she doesn't cave to the traditional trappings of geek!girl gets guy [she does her own semi-makeover, and honey, if that's what you look like after the makeover...] and doesn't need Liz, or even Neil, to come to her rescue. She didn't go momentarily stupid and realize she should have been herself all along- she was weird, dorky Penny, and still managed to get the guy who was upfront with her, so we didn't have to endure the painful waiting for the other shoe to drop, for Penny to find out she was a joke, and then the stupid reconciliation between the two so we could have a happy ending before it was time to march off to the gallows for Regina.
  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go ponder what the hell Michael Harris did between breaking up with Maria and now, so that Liz thinks he's an asshole on the same level as Kirk-the-Jerk...

the_oracle: (geekout)
Secret Admirer
September 1987



Who is Penny's secret love?

A little too personal...



   Sweet Valley High is in a frenzy when the school newspaper begins to run personal ads. Even Penny Ayala, the shy, serious editor of the paper, decides to place an ad, and a boy named Jaime responds. His letters are witty and sensitive just like hers, and he seems to be Penny's perfect match.
   Elizabeth Wakefield encourages Penny to persue her secret admirer. But when she overhears a group of boys laughing about "Jaime," she realizes that Penny's perfect match is only a joke-"Jaime" doesn't even exist! Can she stop the boys from breaking Penny's heart?



  Okay, I'll admit it. I've been putting this one off because the sooner I finish SA, the sooner I have to kill off Regina, and the moment I do that, I'll be nine years old [maybe ten?] again, sniffling like a fool even though it's one of the big things most people remember about SVH after they grow up and move on. Y'know: Twins, perfect size six, Margo stalks and tries to kill Liz, Todd gets cheated on at every turn, Jeffrey gets dumped in record time, and oh yeah, Regina DIES.

  This has absolutely nothing to do with SA, though, aside from the very, very end of the book.

  At the end of the last book we learned that Lynne Henry was going to spearhead the personal ads running in The Oracle. It doesn't take long for this to go sour.

  Jessica and Lila are looking for older men, so they decide to put out ads of their own, only they can't decide whether it's best to describe yourself [Lila] or your perfect mate [Jessica]. So they set up a little competition. Whichever girl snags the better guy using her chosen method wins. Despite Penny getting the cover and a good chunk of the book, this storyline actually gets the most play. Why didn't they just go with this as the official "A"-story if they were going to devote more pages to it anyway? The mind, she boggles. Anyway, Jessica first meets Paolo, who impresses Jessica by ending his first letter in Italian. Lila proves to be psychic when she points out that anyone can learn two words in a foreign language. Duh. Paolo turns out to be fat and Jessica damn near kills herself trying to get out of their date. Eventually she convinces him that she's got some terminal illness and suffers horribly, and oh, God, she just wanted to go out on one normal date, but the pain... oh the pain. He takes her home and briefly, Jessica's seldom seen conscious appears, but she tells it to go fuck itself since she's got a thing against fat people.
   When Jessica gets a letter from John Karger, she decides not to brag too much until after the date, although his picture is awfully gorgeous. They meet and we learn that Jessica's not fluent in Greek desserts, but John asks Jess a ton of questions anyway. She decides he's in love with her and misses the part where he mentions he's a sociology major. Later we learn that Lila's also met a really fantastic guy, and when she and Jessica start taunting one another about who has the best shot of winning, Cara declares that since neither will concede that the other's date is better, Cara, Amy, Jean, and Sandy will be the judges. The winner takes her boy to the Forties Fling dance and the loser goes by herself. They all meet Saturday afternoon before the dance at a beach concert, where we learn that John answered a whole bunch of ads, and a whole bunch of girls thought he was interested in them. His girlfriend, Faye, says she knew this would happen and seems amused. In the real world, Faye would have her ass kicked by Jessica and Lila [who would then feed John to the pack of pissed off teenage girls] but instead John runs away and Faye just comes across as a bitch without the ass-whuppin. Sigh. Cara asks who the winner was, so Jess and Lila throw her in the ocean. Like a pool-push, but better.
   Jess and Lila both meet SVC boys and end up at the dance... and we'll meet back up with them in a little bit.



   Now, on to Penny. Penny's the editor of the Oracle and a bit of a stick in the mud. Now, personally, I like to pretend she and Mr. C have a little something going on, but we can't have that as canon, so Penny is shy and awkward around boys her own age. She's too serious for them and since she doesn't really go out of her way to look super pretty, none really approach her. Honestly, they could and I don't think Penny would realize they were hitting on her, based on the way she acts around various guys in this book. Doesn't matter. As a kid I could identify and also feel badly for Penny. How much does it suck that she seems to have no friends and also her love life is in the hands of Elizabeth freakin' Wakefield, someone who doesn't really have to worry about boyfriends? Liz is also all kinds of condescending all over the book. Meh. Anyway, she decides that Penny should put out an ad and see who responds. She points out that if it's a bunch of duds, no one will know she put the ad out since it's anonymous and all. Penny considers this and agrees. She writes up a fairly amusing little ad and Liz laughs and then says, "No, seriously, what're you going to say?" Penny's dead serious. She wants a guy who would find that funny AND be able to come up with a good reply. I can see her point, and since SVH isn't at all realistic, she doesn't have to worry about the fact that very few teenage boys could come up with the wit that she's expecting. And so... we wait.
  It's also worth noting that Enid isn't being pushed to find a guy because this marks the first appearance of Hugh, Enid's on again/off again boyfriend. WOO. Except, y'know, Hugh's mostly a dud. He's essentially a cardboard cutout that Enid trots out to events and everyone pretends he's real. I will say that for this book, he's not all that thrilling, but he shows a smidge of promise, though we're not told a damn thing about him other than they met at the new bookstore downtown. Sigh.

   Elsewhere, Kirk-the-Jerk and the rest of his tennis team cronies read Penny's ad and decide to create a person to reply. They come up with Jaime, a funny guy who is mostly Neil Freemount writing as Jaime. Other than Kirk coming up with the idea, we aren't told what role the team plays in this little prank since Neil does "most of the writing" and eventually falls for Penny. Their initial letters to one another are cute, but by the end it's blah, mainly because Kirk's pushing for them to meet so he can find out who the mystery hunchback is. When they find out it's Penny, they all die from laughing, except Neil, who is amazed that such weirdness of the best possible sort could come from straitlaced Penny Ayala. But he lacks the spine to go meet her in front of the bookstore, so Penny waits an hour for a guy who is never going to show. Poor Penny.
  Neil tries to get to know Penny on his own, but quickly realizes that his stupidity has made Penny shut down even more than she was before. So he writes her again, as Jaime, and asks her to give him one more shot. They meet and Neil confesses. Penny tries to leave but Neil tells her that he didn't show up just to confess, but because he really did want to get to know her. Going against all teen-read laws of nature, Penny agrees then and there, and the two kiss and make plans and are freakishly happy. Seriously, they go from zero to sixty in 2 seconds. It's amazing, really.

   Enid and Elizabeth overhear Kirk and company going on about Penny being the mystery woman [before she and Neil hookup] and decide to teach Kirk-the-Jerk a lesson since he's the most obnoxious of the bunch. Liz shreds some of Jessica's magazines and claims that Erica Hall, some hot model, is her NYC cousin. Kirk gets one look of the model, doesn't care that there are no candid shots of her, and tells Elizabeth that since her cousin is coming to town in time for the Fling, he'll be the one escorting the lovely lady. Liz tries to warn him that Erica is shallow, vain, bitchy, self absorbed, a pain in the ass.... Kirk In A Skirt, but as Enid points out, Kirk loves himself so he'd love a girl just like him. Of course Erica isn't her cousin and Kirk gets stood up and everyone has a good old laugh at Kirk.

  The dance brings us Regina, who has shown up stag, since Bruce is at home, working on a project. Jess and Lila try and remember if anyone's seen Amy at the dance, because she's made it clear that she's after Bruce in the worst way...



Trivia:

  • Penny has hazel eyes and short, dark blond hair. Really? I always thought of her as a brunette... Also, she's a senior and most likely to be valedictorian.

  • After Penny teases Liz about doing her work for her, Liz types out one of the few Eyes and Ears columns to not use initials instead of names. Weird.

  • When describing the twins and how they keep to their perfect size six selves, why do ghosties keep saying they both love to jog? Jess has made her feelings on jogging quite clear: It sucks.

  • Mr. Collins is asking Ms. Dalton to the Forties Night Swing Fling, as he's set to be a chaperone. He tells Penny and Liz to save a jitterbug for him.

  • Lila's frequently wearing a maillot and they almost always either seem to be absolutely stunning on her, or wash her out. Hmm. This one is red, for those who need to know.

  • Lila believes you should describe yourself, and the right boy will follow in the ad. Jessica says you should describe your perfect mate and they'll respond. Naturally, Lila thinks of herself first and Jessica's obsessed with the pretty boy at the end of the tunnel.

  • Hugh Grayson met Enid at "the new bookstore downtown." He spends more time with Jeffrey than Enid, though...

  • Hugh goes to Big Mesa, and Liz seems to think that Jeffrey, a recent SVH transplant, would be the one to hold Hugh going to a rival school against him? Oh, Lizzie, if weren't constantly told of your brilliance, I'd assume you were a moron.

  • Oh, Amy... You're really going to regret going after Bruce.

  • Penny's responses for her ad: "Mr. X" who didn't seem to get that Penny had to be joking, although he didn't seem like a complete ass, #2 was more into auras than Penny would like, and answer #3 was Jaime.

  • It's amazing that in that entire school, there isn't a single Jaime. What's more amazing is that Penny and Liz immediately know that.

  • Penny loves Dickens, Alcott, Austen.

  • She's just finished The Lord of the Flies and likes the beach at dawn, when it's mostly deserted.

  • The Wakefields have lemon trees in their backyard.

  • Lila has a queen size bed. Naturally.

  • Jessica gets seven letters initially.

  • Kirk Anderson, Michael Harris, Neil Freemount, Chad Ticknor, and Ron Reese of the tennis club create "Jaime." Later Liz wonders why Ron and Neil would be such bastards, but can see Chad and Michael being asshats. Interesting, considering she seemed to think Michael was a good guy when he and Maria Santelli were engaged. What changed?

  • Paolo's parents are Italian, but he was born and raised in California, though he speaks Italian, too. He's got a thing for food and astronomy, and is very sweet, though very gullible.

  • Kirk drives a white Trans Am.

  • The cover of the book TRIES to depict the scene where Penny's waiting for Jaime, but in the book she's wearing a short, denim skirt and a bright madras top. That is so not what she's wearing. This makes it look like Penny's not even trying. Also, for years, I thought Penny was at the Oracle office waiting [on the cover] not the bookstore. D'oh!

  • John Karger has brown eyes that are constantly referred to anytime he shows up. He can be contacted at the sociology department down at SVC. So can Faye, his bitchy red haired girlfriend.

  • Neil and Penny are both in Mr. Collins' American Lit class.

  • Jessica doesn't know what baklava is.

  • Jess was all set to let Jim Daly take her to the Swing Fling, but dumped him the day of so she could go with John. Y'know, before he turned out to be an ass.

  • Lila and Jessica show up at the beach concert wearing matching leopard print bikinis.



Excerpts from the Oracle:
[also known as somewhere between a quote and trivia]










Quotable SVH:

  "I really shouldn't be doing your work for you, you know. One more slip up and you're out." - Penny's teasing Liz. Or is she? p3

  She was the sort of person people instinctively turned to-for help, sympathy, or the warmth of her sunny smile. - Oh, gag me. p6

   "Do you want us to help you write the ad?"
   With a little chuckle, Penny shook her head. "Listen, if there's one thing I do have plenty of confidence about, it's writing." - Also known as "Fuck off, Liz. I'm the editor around here and I didn't get the position just by sleeping my way to the top. Er..." p 29

  Elizabeth burst out laughing. "Penny, this is hysterical. But you're not really going to use it, are you?" - Liz misses the point of Penny's ad. p30

  "Jessica, anybody could learn two words of Italian. Give me a break." -Lila doubts the almighty Paolo. p 49

  Never in her life had Jessica ever dated anyone who wasn't handsome and slim. And now she was going out with-with-someone fat. - Way to go, ghosties. Cuz, y'know, none of your readers would be fat or anything. p73

  She frowned a little as a little voice inside told her she'd just played a mean trick on a polite, friendly, and interesting boy. But she ignored the voice. After all, she couldn't help it if she simply couldn't stand to be around fat people. - p79

  "I guess you could say I like a dare. I'll do anything once-and I'll do it again if I like it," she added suggestively. - And later you'll wonder why people believe her when Missy Fox tells everyone you're a skank, Jessica. p105

  "Truce! Truce!" Lila cut in. "Anyway, my date is in college, too, and believe me, he's very sophisticated. I know that already, just from his letter. Now Steve is a very nice guy, and I'm sure your little friend is nice, too, " she added condescendingly, grinning at Jessica. "But I'm talking about a real man." - It's that 'little friend' thing that makes Lila so bitchy. And loved so very, very much. p 122



  This would have been up hours ago, but I had to drive myself crazy looking for Lila and Jessica's fonts. Oi. What a nightmare. Big thanks to SV Unlimited for saving what's left of my sanity. Of course, the hours I lost trying to find the reprint cover? Yeah, they're not coming back, either. So if you've got a clearer image than the grainy gif Amazon kept throwing my way, please. Share.

   In the grand scheme of things, Penny got shafted. She happens to get the least desirable of all real estate. The book before a recurring character finally bites it. No one remembers this book. Really, they don't. Penny's not going to be remembered for her moment of weakness when she wished she weren't all alone, she's going to be remembered for being such a hardass. I'm not even sure she IS one, but that's how history remembers her.
  And I'm sorry, but for everyone screaming, "but why, oh why, does she need male validation"- I say shut it. While it would be nice to assume that everyone is completely self reliant, she's a seventeen year old girl who has no friends to speak of and sucks when it comes to speaking to the opposite sex. Let the girl have her brief moment in the sun, where she doesn't cave to the traditional trappings of geek!girl gets guy [she does her own semi-makeover, and honey, if that's what you look like after the makeover...] and doesn't need Liz, or even Neil, to come to her rescue. She didn't go momentarily stupid and realize she should have been herself all along- she was weird, dorky Penny, and still managed to get the guy who was upfront with her, so we didn't have to endure the painful waiting for the other shoe to drop, for Penny to find out she was a joke, and then the stupid reconciliation between the two so we could have a happy ending before it was time to march off to the gallows for Regina.
  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go ponder what the hell Michael Harris did between breaking up with Maria and now, so that Liz thinks he's an asshole on the same level as Kirk-the-Jerk...

the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (Default)
Showdown
May 1985

Jessica and Lila are in love with the same boy!

More than she bargained for...


   When Lila Fowler's mysterious new boyfriend finally appears at her pool party, Jessica Wakefield is dazzled. Jack is handsome, sexy, and exciting-even more perfect than Lila described him. So Jessica wastes no time making sure he notices her, too.
   Unknown to Lila, Jack dates both girls- Jessica during the week and Lila on weekends. But the sight of Lila's happy face on Monday mornings is more than Jessica can stand! Jessica's twin sister, Elizabeth, warns her to drop Jack before she really gets hurt. But Jessica would rather get Lila out of the picture. Then Jack will be hers-all hers.


  Ah, Lila versus Jessica. If ever there was a story as old as time itself in the Valley, this would be it. Lila meets boy. Lila gushes about boy to all her friends, throws him a huge "I'm trying to impress you!" party, and Jessica tries to steal boy. The twist in all this is that Lila doesn't realize that Jessica is still after her boy, which puts Jessica squarely in the bitch corner, yet again. G'ah.
  Lila met Jack towards the end of Head Over Heels, and is impressed with how unimpressed he is by her last name. At the start of Showdown, she's devised a plan to throw a huge party to introduce all her friends [and hell, all her classmates, really] to Jack and Jack to them... as well as impress him with her fabulous mansion. Win/win, yes?
  Well, no. You see, Jessica has decided that the only thing Lila has over her is money, and this Jack guy should be easy enough to snatch away from Lila. Great friend, huh? Lila hasn't had an actual boy-toy the entire SERIES thus far [we're 19 books in, and given things people have said, we're at least in late, late, LATE winter, early spring. That's pretty much the entirety of her junior year relying on backup dates and throwaway boytoy mentions.] and Jessica makes a plan to steal the only one to show up. Bitch.
  And she tries her hardest, only Jack shows up late to his own party, which complicates matters. Jess does manage to sneak him her phone number via the old matchbook trick, but then Lila has Jack tell Jessica what he does for a living. Jess backs the fuck off when she finds out he's a lowly construction worker, and there are numerous mentions of how Jessica and Lila would normally consider such a thing beneath them, but since he's obviously SO MUCH MORE than just a grunt, they'll make an exception. It alternates between acting as if this is perfectly okay and mocking them. Fine line and someone falters more than once.
  Anyway, Jack confides that he's not just a grunt, he's the son of a VIP and while he can't tell Lila who his father really is, rest assured he's a big shot. Right, first rule of BS? That's a classic load if ever there was one. Lila's thrilled because this means that her father can't shoot down her boytoy, yay! But before she can dance around too much, realization dawns. Her father will loathe an estranged big shot almost as much as a lowly construction worker. So when Mr. Fowler returns earlier than planned, Li sneaks Jack away, promising to tell no one of his secret identity.
  For a moment, it appears Li will keep her promise. But the lure of the powder-blue princess phone is too strong, so she calls Cara and spills her guts. Cara calls Jessica and apparently everyone else at SVH and soon the rumours have spread. He's royalty! He's a rock star! He's... you get the idea.
  Jess gets a call from Jack and they set up a weekday date. Jess is thrilled as it's before Lila's, and it's proof that he's lying to her, so he can't possibly be that into her. Score one for the sneaky Wakefield twin! She throws a hissy fit when Liz shares her fear that maybe Jack is a jerk for so obviously two-timing Lila. Jess doesn't care as she's currently under the impression that it's not like he could possibly like anyone as much as he likes her, so straying from Jessica is obviously not an option. Lack of confidence is rarely a problem for Jessica.

  Liz, on the other hand, is wondering if she managed to bite off way more than she could chew. Penny, the editor at the paper, has mono, and Liz volunteered to help put The Oracle together in Penny's absence. Thing is, it's a little more difficult than Liz thought it would be. Luckily, Mr. Collins points out that once Liz actually digs in and begins working with a plan in mind, things will work out. When she does, Liz finds a hilarious picture of Tad Johnson, linebacker for the SVH football team, kissing a teddy bear. The picture is really, really good, but neither Allen [paper's photographer] nor John has taken the picture, and they have no clue who took the picture. When Liz calls Penny to ask her opinion, Penny says she doesn't know either, but to run the damn thing, DUH. Also, please find the photographer so that they can join the Oracle staff.
  Back to the real action. Jess is miffed when she finds out that Lila spent all weekend with Jack. I don't blame her. First date is nice, but weekend dates tend to be more elaborate than weekday ones. She asks him what the hell is going on and he says that Friday was just a thank you for being you sort of deal, Saturday was a just friends excursion, and Sunday was a completely random bump into one another at the mall moment. Jess is skeptical, but he's so convincing that she falls for it. FOOL. There's some crap about him renaming the North Star Jessica, but my eyes rolled so far out of my head at that moment that the less said about it, the better.
  Naturally, the next time we see Jack and Lila, he pulls the exact same romantic crap with her. And she falls for her, because he cranks it up a notch. He says he wants to be with Lila forever and she goes crazy internally, proving that Lila really needed a boytoy prior to this. However, she's not thrilled about not being able to brag about her new man, but agrees to wait to go public with their engagement. Ignoring the absolute stupidity that is wanting to marry a guy you've been dating for less than a month, let's point out that Lila is not all about the delayed gratification, ok? The pair decide to celebrate the following night at Jack's apartment, considering Papa Fowler will be around and he'd frown on his baby girl dating this guy.
  Unfortunately for Lila, she wakes up feeling like absolute crap. They try and play it off as a 24 hour flu, but I could have sworn we were told that didn't actually exist and you must've gone and eaten something funky. Whatever it is, Lila's doctor makes a housecall, declares her ill, and she has to cancel her date with Jack. He immediately calls Jessica to fill in the hole in his schedule. Away they go for pizza at Guidos, which makes me want pizza something fierce. While there, they run into Nicholas and his friend David. What I neglected to mention, was that when Jack finally showed up to his party, Nich thought he recognized good old Jack, and Jack freaked out a little. This time Jack all but climbs out the bathroom window to avoid Nicholas and David, creeping Jessica out just a little. He tries to play it off as not wanting David to tell his father where he's seen the mysterious wayward son, but the only person buying this even a little is Jessica, and even she's not so sure about it.
  Still, he's insistent that she head back to his place so she can see these amazing pictures he took while vacationing in the Caribbean, and Jessica's really curious as to Jacki's mysterious money, so she agrees.
  While that's happening, Liz is busy figuring out who the mystery photographer is. Now, we all know the second Liz goes over to Penny's and runs into Penny's little sister that Tina, little sis, is the photographer. You just know, despite knowing nothing about Tina other than how wildly different she is from Penny physically. Sure enough, Thursday night Liz stays really late to assemble the paper and as she's leaving at quarter to nine, she bumps into Tina who attempts to hide the photos she was going to drop off. Liz is too quick and busts her, and then admires the photos. Well, she does until photo number three, which proves that while the whole school may know all about the twins, they don't know jack about Enid Rollins. Tina's taken a picture of George, Enid's boyfriend, and Robin Wilson, locked in a heated embrace. I feel like such a goof saying that, but hey, there it is. Liz is horrified and Tina is dismayed because she thought she was just getting a really romantic picture. Bitch, you just proved that you don't pay attention to the social hierarchy of the school. Robin Wilson is co-captain of the cheerleaders, and if you don't know that she's been dating Allen Walters, then you don't deserve your coveted spot on The Oracle. :P Anyway, Liz heads home and mulls it over. Come Saturday, she decides to go to the graduation for the flying class Robin and George have been taking. Why, oh why, isn't Enid there? That's what I want to know. I guess because if she were there, George and Robin couldn't be all over one another. And they are. Right up until they notice one very pissed off Wakefield twin.
  They sort of explain and Liz is like, "You do realize I'm Enid's best friend, right? So now I have to hate you both with the power of a thousand suns!" George promises to tell Enid after he takes her for a ride in the plane. Robin has already told Allen. FF to Sunday and Liz has told Penny about Tina and everyone's happy as Tina's now part of The Oracle staff.
  Back at Guido's, Nicholas asks David why Jack seems so familiar, and David thinks about it, only to come up with a fantastically over the top story. Seems Jack went to their prep school briefly, right up until he robbed his girlfriend at knife point, cuz he's cuckoo. His family died a few years ago and the trauma caused the poor boy to snap like a dry twig. When his uncle scrounged up the cash to send Jack to school, Jack began to pretend that he was richer than all the other kids, and infinitely more important as well. Thing is, he picked up a drug habit which did nothing for his meager finances or his temper. On the other hand, he only really seems to lose it when someone digs a little too much into his past.
  GASP! Jessica is nothing if not nosy, so Nicholas and David run around trying to find Jess. They find Liz instead and Liz is forced to tell Lila that Jessica stabbed her in the back, Liz knew about it, and no one did a damn thing until now. Lila's pissed and ready to tell Liz she can tell her twin to drop dead, but Liz spills that Jack is a psycho, and Lila caves and forks over the address before promptly hanging up.
  Away the trio run to find Jessica. Turns out that Lila only had the street address, not the exact apartment number. They split up and begin trying each apartment. Liz finds some guy, badgers him, and he finally says try 4B.
  Now, back to Jess. Jess decides to peek around in Jack's dismal little apartment and finds nothing until she ransacks the bathroom. There she finds more drugs than she knows what to do with. She confronts Jack and he snaps. He tries to strangle her, and when that doesn't work as planned, he decides a good old stabbing is the way to go. When Liz and company bang on the door, Jess screams for her life and things get dicey. Luckily, David and Nich kick the door down and a quick wrestling match, complete with cheerleader kick later, Jack is subdued and on his way to jail.
  After the twins fill out the legal paperwork, they're all set to head out to dinner to celebrate when they hear that there's an airplane in trouble. BA 329, registered to George Warren. GASP!

  The end.

Triiivia:

  • A Lila's party, you could find Todd, Liz, George, and Enid sunbathing, Winston and Nicholas having a dog paddle race in the pool, and Olivia playing guitar. One does wonder if Olivia was only there because Roger was probably invited to spite Bruce who wasn't.

  • Ken can do at least one trick on waterskiis.

  • Nicholas used to go to Teela Locca sailing camp in NH as a kid, and the Morrows had a summer house on Martha's Vineyard.

  • Jack claims his mother died a few years ago, so it's just his father, him, and Valerie, his little sister, who is two years younger than Jack.

  • He also claims that his father had him set to go to Princeton, just as daddy, and granddaddy before him did.

  • More claims from the Jack vault: That his grandfather had a chalet in France, they had a Parisian Governess named Veronique, and that he's fluent in French, and knows a fair bit of Latin as well.

  • The French thing bombs when Liz makes a lame joke in French and no one, not even Jack, gets it.

  • Fowler Crest has a private road.

  • To avoid having her father meet Jack, Lila lies and says she's not allowed to have boys over when her father is away, and then she says he's having a dinner party and thus they can't celebrate there.

  • Lila has a pale blue princess phone.

  • The aftermath of Lila's party: expensive vase broken, pool drain clogged, and her father's gold cuff links, and tie clip went missing.

  • Jess is reading Strindberg's Miss Julie.

  • Jack brings Jessica a long stemmed red rose the night he renames the North Star for her.

  • Tina, Penny's little sister, is a ninth grader, and described as small, plump, with freckles on the bridge of her nose.

  • Penny's room is covered with the front pages from around the world, because she dreams of being the editor of an international newspaper.

  • Robin is writing a piece on her flying course, and Penny is surprised at how good it is. Liz reminds her that prior to Robin being pretty and popular, she used to write all the time and was pretty damn good at it.

  • To block Lila's chatter about Jack, Jessica imagines back stories for everyone at the Dairi Burger. This is actually really amusing.

  • Jess likens Lila and Jack to Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, and never once recognizes that these aren't exactly happy romances.

  • Jess and Jack go to see Help! at Somerville Quad.

  • Jess is really ticklish, and the twins end up in a tickle fight.

  • While crawling around on the theatre floor, there's an unnecessary crack about the fat woman sitting next to Jessica. Whomever was responsible for this, I hope they're fat, or at least have a really good excuse for their fat phobia.

  • Jack claims to have seen The Police.

  • Liz stayed at the Oracle office until 8:45. Why? I can't imagine. But most unbelievable of all? Tina is able to get into the school, no problem. ...the hell? Did she walk? Steal a car? Take the bus? Wouldn't her parents notice that their 14 year old was missing at 9PM?

  • Liz loves The Maltese Falcon, as it's her favorite old movie.

  • The Fowlers have a sculpture garden. I say they have too much money.

  • Mr. Fowler is not pro-underage drinking, but Li swipes a bottle of wine anyway.

  • Eva is the Fowler's tiny, snowy haired housekeeper.

  • Dr. Johnstone is Lila's doctor and he makes housecalls. Awesome!

  • Jaime Duncan is a swimmer who just transfered from Florida, and he fell fast for Emily Mayer after seeing a Droids performance.*

  • Jack claims to have a "little cottage" in the Caribbean.

  • David Matson, Nicholas's friend from prep school, is a lanky redhead who's planning on becoming a lawyer.

  • Jack's family actually died in a boating accident, when Valerie was 11 or 12, making Jack 13 or 14. Which might explain why Ned and Alice are so forgiving of someone who just TRIED TO KILL THEIR DAUGHTER. Seriously, they're preaching psychiatric help, not kick his ass. What kind of parents are those?

  • Jack lives at 38 Vine, apartment 4-B, just past the railroad tracks.

  • In his effort to save Jessica, Nicholas managed to get a lovely gash in his left shoulder. Poor baby.



Quote this, bitch:

Jessica came up and wrapped her arm around her twin's shoulders, watching Jack's confused expression turn to one of understanding. - Jessica doing something I would totally do if I had a twin, p12

"And I'm Liz Wakefield."
"I know." Tina grinned. "Everyone at Sweet Valley High has heard of you and Jessica." Not at all creepy, Tina Ayala! p52

"I told my parents that I had volunteered to drive over to the mall to pick up those new pompoms we ordered for the cheering squad."
"But I thought Sandy Bacon was doing that," Cara put in.
"That's true. But I did volunteer to do it," Jessica said smugly. "I just let Sandy volunteer harder." Atta girl, Jess! p60

"You're kidding! And I thought you'd come all the way over here to stand in front of me and shield me from the harmful rays of the sun. You know, my own personal parasol." - Liz has rare moments of supreme fantasticness. This? Would be one. p69


Return of the number of the beast:

"You're usually so generous with your clothes. If I'd known you were going to a hundred and thirty-seven fits, I wouldn't have put on the dress in the first place." Jessica confuses generosity with being a doormat quite often where Liz is concerned. p40



  Oddly enough, I don't think I read Showdown during my first brush with Sweet Valley. During the middle years, yes, but not during my rush to read all I could initially. Weird. I'm going to guess the library didn't have a copy, or that it was always checked out when I went on my binges. Anyway, I waffle on whether I like the book or not. I like the idea, but I hate that Jessica so easily goes after a guy she knows Lila likes, and then continues to chase after him, knowing full well how happy Lila is. Lila has no idea that Jack is cheating on her, and Jessica seems okay with this. Sure, she wants him to break up with Lila, but she doesn't care that it'll hurt Li. Bitchtastic, and not in a complimentary way.
  As to Tina and Penny, lovely little look into Penny's life, but that's about as close as we come for the next twenty books.

  Oddly enough, Caroline has been mostly absent since her spotlight. Weird. Also, Bruce is back to being a jerk, and I point and laugh at anyone who voted for him instead of Ken. When will you lot learn? Oh yeah, NEVER.

  * What is it about SV that brings the transfer kids? Do you know how many new kids the junior [and possibly senior] class have had so far? That's right, a lot. Also, what are the odds that Jack would move to a place where he'd run into TWO people from his life back East? Yeah, that's what I thought.

the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (Default)
Showdown
May 1985

Jessica and Lila are in love with the same boy!

More than she bargained for...


   When Lila Fowler's mysterious new boyfriend finally appears at her pool party, Jessica Wakefield is dazzled. Jack is handsome, sexy, and exciting-even more perfect than Lila described him. So Jessica wastes no time making sure he notices her, too.
   Unknown to Lila, Jack dates both girls- Jessica during the week and Lila on weekends. But the sight of Lila's happy face on Monday mornings is more than Jessica can stand! Jessica's twin sister, Elizabeth, warns her to drop Jack before she really gets hurt. But Jessica would rather get Lila out of the picture. Then Jack will be hers-all hers.


  Ah, Lila versus Jessica. If ever there was a story as old as time itself in the Valley, this would be it. Lila meets boy. Lila gushes about boy to all her friends, throws him a huge "I'm trying to impress you!" party, and Jessica tries to steal boy. The twist in all this is that Lila doesn't realize that Jessica is still after her boy, which puts Jessica squarely in the bitch corner, yet again. G'ah.
  Lila met Jack towards the end of Head Over Heels, and is impressed with how unimpressed he is by her last name. At the start of Showdown, she's devised a plan to throw a huge party to introduce all her friends [and hell, all her classmates, really] to Jack and Jack to them... as well as impress him with her fabulous mansion. Win/win, yes?
  Well, no. You see, Jessica has decided that the only thing Lila has over her is money, and this Jack guy should be easy enough to snatch away from Lila. Great friend, huh? Lila hasn't had an actual boy-toy the entire SERIES thus far [we're 19 books in, and given things people have said, we're at least in late, late, LATE winter, early spring. That's pretty much the entirety of her junior year relying on backup dates and throwaway boytoy mentions.] and Jessica makes a plan to steal the only one to show up. Bitch.
  And she tries her hardest, only Jack shows up late to his own party, which complicates matters. Jess does manage to sneak him her phone number via the old matchbook trick, but then Lila has Jack tell Jessica what he does for a living. Jess backs the fuck off when she finds out he's a lowly construction worker, and there are numerous mentions of how Jessica and Lila would normally consider such a thing beneath them, but since he's obviously SO MUCH MORE than just a grunt, they'll make an exception. It alternates between acting as if this is perfectly okay and mocking them. Fine line and someone falters more than once.
  Anyway, Jack confides that he's not just a grunt, he's the son of a VIP and while he can't tell Lila who his father really is, rest assured he's a big shot. Right, first rule of BS? That's a classic load if ever there was one. Lila's thrilled because this means that her father can't shoot down her boytoy, yay! But before she can dance around too much, realization dawns. Her father will loathe an estranged big shot almost as much as a lowly construction worker. So when Mr. Fowler returns earlier than planned, Li sneaks Jack away, promising to tell no one of his secret identity.
  For a moment, it appears Li will keep her promise. But the lure of the powder-blue princess phone is too strong, so she calls Cara and spills her guts. Cara calls Jessica and apparently everyone else at SVH and soon the rumours have spread. He's royalty! He's a rock star! He's... you get the idea.
  Jess gets a call from Jack and they set up a weekday date. Jess is thrilled as it's before Lila's, and it's proof that he's lying to her, so he can't possibly be that into her. Score one for the sneaky Wakefield twin! She throws a hissy fit when Liz shares her fear that maybe Jack is a jerk for so obviously two-timing Lila. Jess doesn't care as she's currently under the impression that it's not like he could possibly like anyone as much as he likes her, so straying from Jessica is obviously not an option. Lack of confidence is rarely a problem for Jessica.

  Liz, on the other hand, is wondering if she managed to bite off way more than she could chew. Penny, the editor at the paper, has mono, and Liz volunteered to help put The Oracle together in Penny's absence. Thing is, it's a little more difficult than Liz thought it would be. Luckily, Mr. Collins points out that once Liz actually digs in and begins working with a plan in mind, things will work out. When she does, Liz finds a hilarious picture of Tad Johnson, linebacker for the SVH football team, kissing a teddy bear. The picture is really, really good, but neither Allen [paper's photographer] nor John has taken the picture, and they have no clue who took the picture. When Liz calls Penny to ask her opinion, Penny says she doesn't know either, but to run the damn thing, DUH. Also, please find the photographer so that they can join the Oracle staff.
  Back to the real action. Jess is miffed when she finds out that Lila spent all weekend with Jack. I don't blame her. First date is nice, but weekend dates tend to be more elaborate than weekday ones. She asks him what the hell is going on and he says that Friday was just a thank you for being you sort of deal, Saturday was a just friends excursion, and Sunday was a completely random bump into one another at the mall moment. Jess is skeptical, but he's so convincing that she falls for it. FOOL. There's some crap about him renaming the North Star Jessica, but my eyes rolled so far out of my head at that moment that the less said about it, the better.
  Naturally, the next time we see Jack and Lila, he pulls the exact same romantic crap with her. And she falls for her, because he cranks it up a notch. He says he wants to be with Lila forever and she goes crazy internally, proving that Lila really needed a boytoy prior to this. However, she's not thrilled about not being able to brag about her new man, but agrees to wait to go public with their engagement. Ignoring the absolute stupidity that is wanting to marry a guy you've been dating for less than a month, let's point out that Lila is not all about the delayed gratification, ok? The pair decide to celebrate the following night at Jack's apartment, considering Papa Fowler will be around and he'd frown on his baby girl dating this guy.
  Unfortunately for Lila, she wakes up feeling like absolute crap. They try and play it off as a 24 hour flu, but I could have sworn we were told that didn't actually exist and you must've gone and eaten something funky. Whatever it is, Lila's doctor makes a housecall, declares her ill, and she has to cancel her date with Jack. He immediately calls Jessica to fill in the hole in his schedule. Away they go for pizza at Guidos, which makes me want pizza something fierce. While there, they run into Nicholas and his friend David. What I neglected to mention, was that when Jack finally showed up to his party, Nich thought he recognized good old Jack, and Jack freaked out a little. This time Jack all but climbs out the bathroom window to avoid Nicholas and David, creeping Jessica out just a little. He tries to play it off as not wanting David to tell his father where he's seen the mysterious wayward son, but the only person buying this even a little is Jessica, and even she's not so sure about it.
  Still, he's insistent that she head back to his place so she can see these amazing pictures he took while vacationing in the Caribbean, and Jessica's really curious as to Jacki's mysterious money, so she agrees.
  While that's happening, Liz is busy figuring out who the mystery photographer is. Now, we all know the second Liz goes over to Penny's and runs into Penny's little sister that Tina, little sis, is the photographer. You just know, despite knowing nothing about Tina other than how wildly different she is from Penny physically. Sure enough, Thursday night Liz stays really late to assemble the paper and as she's leaving at quarter to nine, she bumps into Tina who attempts to hide the photos she was going to drop off. Liz is too quick and busts her, and then admires the photos. Well, she does until photo number three, which proves that while the whole school may know all about the twins, they don't know jack about Enid Rollins. Tina's taken a picture of George, Enid's boyfriend, and Robin Wilson, locked in a heated embrace. I feel like such a goof saying that, but hey, there it is. Liz is horrified and Tina is dismayed because she thought she was just getting a really romantic picture. Bitch, you just proved that you don't pay attention to the social hierarchy of the school. Robin Wilson is co-captain of the cheerleaders, and if you don't know that she's been dating Allen Walters, then you don't deserve your coveted spot on The Oracle. :P Anyway, Liz heads home and mulls it over. Come Saturday, she decides to go to the graduation for the flying class Robin and George have been taking. Why, oh why, isn't Enid there? That's what I want to know. I guess because if she were there, George and Robin couldn't be all over one another. And they are. Right up until they notice one very pissed off Wakefield twin.
  They sort of explain and Liz is like, "You do realize I'm Enid's best friend, right? So now I have to hate you both with the power of a thousand suns!" George promises to tell Enid after he takes her for a ride in the plane. Robin has already told Allen. FF to Sunday and Liz has told Penny about Tina and everyone's happy as Tina's now part of The Oracle staff.
  Back at Guido's, Nicholas asks David why Jack seems so familiar, and David thinks about it, only to come up with a fantastically over the top story. Seems Jack went to their prep school briefly, right up until he robbed his girlfriend at knife point, cuz he's cuckoo. His family died a few years ago and the trauma caused the poor boy to snap like a dry twig. When his uncle scrounged up the cash to send Jack to school, Jack began to pretend that he was richer than all the other kids, and infinitely more important as well. Thing is, he picked up a drug habit which did nothing for his meager finances or his temper. On the other hand, he only really seems to lose it when someone digs a little too much into his past.
  GASP! Jessica is nothing if not nosy, so Nicholas and David run around trying to find Jess. They find Liz instead and Liz is forced to tell Lila that Jessica stabbed her in the back, Liz knew about it, and no one did a damn thing until now. Lila's pissed and ready to tell Liz she can tell her twin to drop dead, but Liz spills that Jack is a psycho, and Lila caves and forks over the address before promptly hanging up.
  Away the trio run to find Jessica. Turns out that Lila only had the street address, not the exact apartment number. They split up and begin trying each apartment. Liz finds some guy, badgers him, and he finally says try 4B.
  Now, back to Jess. Jess decides to peek around in Jack's dismal little apartment and finds nothing until she ransacks the bathroom. There she finds more drugs than she knows what to do with. She confronts Jack and he snaps. He tries to strangle her, and when that doesn't work as planned, he decides a good old stabbing is the way to go. When Liz and company bang on the door, Jess screams for her life and things get dicey. Luckily, David and Nich kick the door down and a quick wrestling match, complete with cheerleader kick later, Jack is subdued and on his way to jail.
  After the twins fill out the legal paperwork, they're all set to head out to dinner to celebrate when they hear that there's an airplane in trouble. BA 329, registered to George Warren. GASP!

  The end.

Triiivia:

  • A Lila's party, you could find Todd, Liz, George, and Enid sunbathing, Winston and Nicholas having a dog paddle race in the pool, and Olivia playing guitar. One does wonder if Olivia was only there because Roger was probably invited to spite Bruce who wasn't.

  • Ken can do at least one trick on waterskiis.

  • Nicholas used to go to Teela Locca sailing camp in NH as a kid, and the Morrows had a summer house on Martha's Vineyard.

  • Jack claims his mother died a few years ago, so it's just his father, him, and Valerie, his little sister, who is two years younger than Jack.

  • He also claims that his father had him set to go to Princeton, just as daddy, and granddaddy before him did.

  • More claims from the Jack vault: That his grandfather had a chalet in France, they had a Parisian Governess named Veronique, and that he's fluent in French, and knows a fair bit of Latin as well.

  • The French thing bombs when Liz makes a lame joke in French and no one, not even Jack, gets it.

  • Fowler Crest has a private road.

  • To avoid having her father meet Jack, Lila lies and says she's not allowed to have boys over when her father is away, and then she says he's having a dinner party and thus they can't celebrate there.

  • Lila has a pale blue princess phone.

  • The aftermath of Lila's party: expensive vase broken, pool drain clogged, and her father's gold cuff links, and tie clip went missing.

  • Jess is reading Strindberg's Miss Julie.

  • Jack brings Jessica a long stemmed red rose the night he renames the North Star for her.

  • Tina, Penny's little sister, is a ninth grader, and described as small, plump, with freckles on the bridge of her nose.

  • Penny's room is covered with the front pages from around the world, because she dreams of being the editor of an international newspaper.

  • Robin is writing a piece on her flying course, and Penny is surprised at how good it is. Liz reminds her that prior to Robin being pretty and popular, she used to write all the time and was pretty damn good at it.

  • To block Lila's chatter about Jack, Jessica imagines back stories for everyone at the Dairi Burger. This is actually really amusing.

  • Jess likens Lila and Jack to Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, and never once recognizes that these aren't exactly happy romances.

  • Jess and Jack go to see Help! at Somerville Quad.

  • Jess is really ticklish, and the twins end up in a tickle fight.

  • While crawling around on the theatre floor, there's an unnecessary crack about the fat woman sitting next to Jessica. Whomever was responsible for this, I hope they're fat, or at least have a really good excuse for their fat phobia.

  • Jack claims to have seen The Police.

  • Liz stayed at the Oracle office until 8:45. Why? I can't imagine. But most unbelievable of all? Tina is able to get into the school, no problem. ...the hell? Did she walk? Steal a car? Take the bus? Wouldn't her parents notice that their 14 year old was missing at 9PM?

  • Liz loves The Maltese Falcon, as it's her favorite old movie.

  • The Fowlers have a sculpture garden. I say they have too much money.

  • Mr. Fowler is not pro-underage drinking, but Li swipes a bottle of wine anyway.

  • Eva is the Fowler's tiny, snowy haired housekeeper.

  • Dr. Johnstone is Lila's doctor and he makes housecalls. Awesome!

  • Jaime Duncan is a swimmer who just transfered from Florida, and he fell fast for Emily Mayer after seeing a Droids performance.*

  • Jack claims to have a "little cottage" in the Caribbean.

  • David Matson, Nicholas's friend from prep school, is a lanky redhead who's planning on becoming a lawyer.

  • Jack's family actually died in a boating accident, when Valerie was 11 or 12, making Jack 13 or 14. Which might explain why Ned and Alice are so forgiving of someone who just TRIED TO KILL THEIR DAUGHTER. Seriously, they're preaching psychiatric help, not kick his ass. What kind of parents are those?

  • Jack lives at 38 Vine, apartment 4-B, just past the railroad tracks.

  • In his effort to save Jessica, Nicholas managed to get a lovely gash in his left shoulder. Poor baby.



Quote this, bitch:

Jessica came up and wrapped her arm around her twin's shoulders, watching Jack's confused expression turn to one of understanding. - Jessica doing something I would totally do if I had a twin, p12

"And I'm Liz Wakefield."
"I know." Tina grinned. "Everyone at Sweet Valley High has heard of you and Jessica." Not at all creepy, Tina Ayala! p52

"I told my parents that I had volunteered to drive over to the mall to pick up those new pompoms we ordered for the cheering squad."
"But I thought Sandy Bacon was doing that," Cara put in.
"That's true. But I did volunteer to do it," Jessica said smugly. "I just let Sandy volunteer harder." Atta girl, Jess! p60

"You're kidding! And I thought you'd come all the way over here to stand in front of me and shield me from the harmful rays of the sun. You know, my own personal parasol." - Liz has rare moments of supreme fantasticness. This? Would be one. p69


Return of the number of the beast:

"You're usually so generous with your clothes. If I'd known you were going to a hundred and thirty-seven fits, I wouldn't have put on the dress in the first place." Jessica confuses generosity with being a doormat quite often where Liz is concerned. p40



  Oddly enough, I don't think I read Showdown during my first brush with Sweet Valley. During the middle years, yes, but not during my rush to read all I could initially. Weird. I'm going to guess the library didn't have a copy, or that it was always checked out when I went on my binges. Anyway, I waffle on whether I like the book or not. I like the idea, but I hate that Jessica so easily goes after a guy she knows Lila likes, and then continues to chase after him, knowing full well how happy Lila is. Lila has no idea that Jack is cheating on her, and Jessica seems okay with this. Sure, she wants him to break up with Lila, but she doesn't care that it'll hurt Li. Bitchtastic, and not in a complimentary way.
  As to Tina and Penny, lovely little look into Penny's life, but that's about as close as we come for the next twenty books.

  Oddly enough, Caroline has been mostly absent since her spotlight. Weird. Also, Bruce is back to being a jerk, and I point and laugh at anyone who voted for him instead of Ken. When will you lot learn? Oh yeah, NEVER.

  * What is it about SV that brings the transfer kids? Do you know how many new kids the junior [and possibly senior] class have had so far? That's right, a lot. Also, what are the odds that Jack would move to a place where he'd run into TWO people from his life back East? Yeah, that's what I thought.

the_oracle: (plotting)
Head Over Heels
April 1985

   Can Bruce Patman really fall in love?

  Do opposites attract?


     Bruce Patman and Regina Morrow in love? No one at Sweet Valley High can believe it. Regina is beautiful and shy, one of the nicest girls at school. Bruce is a real snow, and the only person he's ever cared about is himself.
    Jessica Wakefield figures the romance can't last. She knows Bruce too well. She's even willing to bet Lila Fowler that Bruce and Regina break up within two weeks. The stakes are high, and Jessica can't afford to lose. If she has her way, Regina and Bruce won't be happy for long.


  Ah, Bruce/Regina. They are probably one of my favorite SV couples, but this book doesn't really do either one of them any favors aside from the cover. Let's begin...
  Regina Morrow has managed to find herself in love with Bruce Patman, but more surprisingly, Bruce is head over heels [sometimes the titles are so easy!] in love with her as well. However strongly they feel about one another, the rest of the school, and anyone who has ever even met Bruce in passing can't help but wonder if this is a sign of the Apocalypse. Bruce... in love? Weird. They're all sure that Bruce will break Regina's heart, and with good reason, given his record thus far in the series. Breaking one Wakefield, nearly raping the other, and being a world class ass to any other female who manages to cross his path. Fun, fun times.
  Anyway, while most people are worried, there are two exceptions. Jessica and Lila are pissed as hell, although for different reasons. Jessica is upset that Bruce seems to have actually changed enough to want Regina, whereas he didn't really want her. Lila is ticked that... well, with Bruce and Regina being a couple, Regina's popularity has soared. You can't go two conversations without someone mentioning the new duo. Considering that Lila is jealous of Regina, this does not sit well with her. So the two make a little wager. Jessica bets that Regina and Bruce will break up before the upcoming carnival. Lila's no fool and says no effing way. For whatever reason, Li decides that betting actual money is no longer kosher, so they they bet term papers. Fifteen pages long term papers. Foolishly, neither girl stipulates that the loser must write a GOOD term paper for the winner. Ah, the folly of youth.

  Thing is, Jessica doesn't plan to fight fair. When it becomes apparent that Bruce is truly enamored of Regina, she decides that since there's no way in hell she's writing Lila's term paper, she's just going to have to help the inevitable along. So she whispers in Regina's ear that if Bruce's lavish gifts are any indication, that it's a good thing no one's really taking the rumours very seriously.
  Regina is a sixteen year old girl and thus immediately demands to know what the hell Jessica is talking about. Jessica stalls and finally confesses that ever since Bruce and Regina got together, Bruce has become even more popular, which is funny considering the timing. What about the timing? Well, he's running for the president of the Centennial student council. Oh, he didn't tell you? Well, it must have slipped his mind. What? No, no, the thought of him dating you just so that people would vote for him IS preposterous. Really, it's just so out there that no one could ever actually believe it. No, you stay there and mull this over. I'll skip back to my car.
  Of course, it works. It's so stupid that it shouldn't. Who the hell would believe that? In what world would this ever actually happen? Oh, yeah, the earlier SVH books would totally have had that happen. Still, it comes across as a rush job and Jessica's lucky that Regina's obviously an idiot. But then again, so is Bruce. Instead of coming clean when Regina flat out asks about it, he tries to avoid the question and then gets really upset when she won't let the subject drop. All because he wanted to surprise her with his win. Why... Ho...Why would that do something special for her? Because it shows that you casually entered a competition and beat someone who actually wanted the job? That's going to impress her? Regina ain't Jessica, jackass.
  Speaking of stupid, we have another fight involving the ever-present love birds, Todd and Elizabeth. This one is so painful that the writer actually has the characters comment on it and my brain melted. Back story: The previously mentioned carnival is a fund raiser to help "handicapped children." No idea what handicaps, maybe all of them, maybe just social ones. Who knows, we're never told. Anyway, Liz is chairperson of the event and as such she's running around trying to get this thing up and running in under two weeks. Skye Morrow has been named parent adviser of this train wreck, although she doesn't appear to actually do anything. In order to work her magic on Regina, Jessica comes up with an idea for the carnival. Mother daughter fashion show! The single best moment in the book is when Liz says that it's a good idea, but do you think Mom would go for it, and Jessica snorts that she didn't mean either of the twins and Alice, she meant the actual models, Regina/Skye. Now, I giggle just thinking about that, though technically Annie and her mother are also both models [former] so it's not like the school is hurting for beautiful people. But asking them wouldn't get Jessica over to the Morrow's estate where she could flirt with Donald. When Liz stops by later, Donald flirts with whom he assumes is Jessica, but it's Liz. Oh those wacky twin mix ups.
  Neither Todd nor Liz remembers Elizabeth has an identical twin and that Donald might have thought he was flirting with her, not the boring, seriously taken twin. So Todd sulks and Liz is down in the dumps until the twins chat again. Then Liz runs off to call Todd and explain the whole mess and Jess is like, "wait, so you ruined my chances? Come back here!"

  Alright. The actual point of the book is that Kurt Morrow has found a doctor who might possibly be able to fix Regina's hearing. At first Regina is just as excited as the rest of her family about the prospect of normality, but then she finds out she'll have to spend a year in Switzerland for the treatments. This would mean leaving Bruce and Regina's not about to do that. So she says no. It's not all about Bruce, though. She likes her life in Sweet Valley, and I don't blame her. She's rich, she's beautiful, and the whole school seems to adore her, aside from Lila, so why would she want to leave for something that might just end up being a giant dud? She doesn't tell Bruce, or anyone else, really.
  When Jessica's plan works, Regina tells her family she'll leave immediately. Liz and Regina chat and Liz is pissed that Bruce would do such a thing, and once more I really question how smart Liz is. On the other hand, she loathes Bruce [for good effing reason] so that's blinding her to the absurdity of the situation.
  Thing is, Bruce is miserable. He actually loved Regina and he has no idea why she dumped him. Liz finally caves and Bruce points out that this is completely stupid and lacking in logic, and Liz tells him about Regina's move. At first Bruce assumes it'll be a short term treatment thing, but when Liz points out that we're talking a year or more, Bruce is less than thrilled. He's also confused. Does he let Regina go because if would be better for her, or does he beg her to stay because he loves her?
  He compromises. He writers her a fantastically over the top letter that explains he really does love her and because of that, she has to give her hearing a chance. Or something along those lines. It's actually kind of sweet. Anyway, he asks Liz to slip it into Regina's luggage somewhere so that she'll see it sometime after she's left.
  Liz agrees and slips it into Regina's scrapbook. On the plane ride, Regina finds it and feels all warm and fuzzy. Awww.


Trivia:

  • Hey, this one mentions Liz's mole. And that sounded really gross.

  • The book takes place over twelve days. [the length of time it takes to plan the carnival before it happens.]

  • The infamous History term paper is 15 pages long and worth a third of their grades. Lila manages a respectable B- while she leaves Jessica stuck with a D. Next time work on the specifics of the outcome, girls.

  • Bruce meets Regina after each of her classes just so he can spend a few extra minutes with her. Wow, the boy must run.

  • Bruce bought Regina a ruby pendant and a diamond bracelet. Oooooo.

  • Mr. Fowler is building another building across from his downtown office. Lila meets a construction worker named Jack there, though he seems thoroughly unimpressed by who her father is. Intrigue for the next book.

  • Jack has honey brown hair, is tanned from all his work outside, and muscled to boot. Awesome?

  • The Carnival Committee is as follows: Mr Collins, Liz, Todd, Enid, Olivia, Roger, Ken, Winston, Regina, and Skye Morrow.

  • Olivia is in charge of the prizes and decoration, Ken is building the booths, Regina and Enid are working the refreshments, Todd and Roger are all over the games, and Winston is the MC, as well as the man behind the pie throwing booth. Later, Ms. Dalton is in charge of the international food booth.

  • George's flying class is mentioned this go round.

  • Ken is running for the Sweet Valley Centennial Student committee president. Later Bruce enters the race and Liz rigs it so he'll win, because of his devotion to Regina. Um, what if Ken actually wanted that position he actually lobbied for?

  • Liz bets Todd that someone would enter the race against Ken. The prize? A hot fudge sundae at the Dairi Burger. Todd better pay up.

  • Regina things Mrs. Patman is nutty. Possibly because she spends half the night yelling at a deaf person and the other half trying to one-up other people's charity work so that she'll seem more important.

  • Donald Essex is eighteen, with thick sandy hair, green eyes, and newly working ears. He's one of the one in a thousand who had the treatments and they worked.

  • Donald also had a girlfriend and didn't want to leave her, but when she found out that he'd never told her about the possibility that he could hear again, she dumped him for being an idiot. Or not trusting her or something along those lines. Essentially, an idiot.

  • Max Friederich is the Swiss surgeon who works the miracles.

  • At last count, 57 people would rather throw a whipped cream pie at Winston, while only 14 would prefer lemon.

  • Bruce writes his letter to Regina at 1AM, and it takes him an hour to do so.

  • Ms. Dalton is the youngest SVH teacher at 25.

  • Caroline is making her disgustingly rich brownies, and Enid and Todd are making pizza. Where is the Enid/Todd hookup diary?

  • One ticket for the carnival costs a dollar.

  • Winston wears his father's oversized tux and red suspenders as his formal MC gear. Bitchin'.

  • When all is said and done, the SVH gang raised "over $800" for the handicapped children.

  • Jess receives a letter from Donald that says he hadn't wanted to lead her on. Jess is pissed and I'm just confused.

  • At the end of the book, there's a preview for the new Caitlin series. Even the reissues kept this, although I imagine Caitlin was long out of print by then.



Say wha?
Marie Patman hated the Fowlers. She hated them so much that she wasn't sure whether it was the idea of the Fowlers or the fact of them that so enraged her. p35

"Well," Jessica began, still out of breath, "what about a mother-daughter fashion show? We would set it up in one corner of the tent or get a smaller tent for it, and charge people a dollar for tickets."
Elizabeth frowned thoughtfully. "Not bad," she mused. "Do you think Mom would do it?"
Jessica burst out laughing. "Not me, Liz," she said, giggling. "And you think I'm vain," she added.
Elizabeth blushed. 65

"Hello, is Regina there?" Elizabeth shot her a look. Jessica's cheeks turned bright red.
Elizabeth shook her head in disbelief. Only my twin, she thought, would ask to speak to a deaf girl on the phone. It just figures. p75


If anyone can botch up a perfect relationship, she thought, grinning, it's me. Jessica knows herself quite well, p76




  Let's start with the obvious. Regina and Bruce are both painfully rich, and both are spoiled quite a bit. Regina due to guilt [dude, Skye? Dieting while pregnant has always been, and will always be an incredibly bad idea. So yeah, you should feel guilty.] and Bruce because he's... Bruce. So the distance might be a bitch, but something tells me they wouldn't have half the problem oh, say, anyone else on the planet would. So I'm guessing a bulk of the "I won't go, you can't make me" angst was in an effort to have your average reader relate.
  Now I ponder, if Liz hadn't meddled and Regina had gone off to have her hearing fixed, would she have come back only to have her heart broken and die tragically? Would Bruce had folded and told her, or would he have assumed Liz had done what he asked and that Regina just didn't care? Oh, the what-ifs...
  Now, in the recap they give for why Lila loathes Regina, the implication is that Jessica knows Lila went to Lane Townsend and tried to get him to use her pictures instead. Thing is, Lila didn't tell anyone, and I can't really see her sharing her embarrassment with anyone. Though maybe she had a diary and Jess read it. Why did we never get Lila's diary? That would have been amazing...

  I have a soft spot for Head Over Heels. Like a lot of SV fans, I love it when Bruce shows some semblance of humanity, and I loved Regina fiercely. [So much so that when it came time for Barbies, Regina was always part of the gang.] The other reason is I loved that this was the book that gave the world Caitlin. She never did live up to the promise in the letter [she softened way too fast] but bitchery in boarding school? I was so there with bells on.

the_oracle: (plotting)
Head Over Heels
April 1985

   Can Bruce Patman really fall in love?

  Do opposites attract?


     Bruce Patman and Regina Morrow in love? No one at Sweet Valley High can believe it. Regina is beautiful and shy, one of the nicest girls at school. Bruce is a real snow, and the only person he's ever cared about is himself.
    Jessica Wakefield figures the romance can't last. She knows Bruce too well. She's even willing to bet Lila Fowler that Bruce and Regina break up within two weeks. The stakes are high, and Jessica can't afford to lose. If she has her way, Regina and Bruce won't be happy for long.


  Ah, Bruce/Regina. They are probably one of my favorite SV couples, but this book doesn't really do either one of them any favors aside from the cover. Let's begin...
  Regina Morrow has managed to find herself in love with Bruce Patman, but more surprisingly, Bruce is head over heels [sometimes the titles are so easy!] in love with her as well. However strongly they feel about one another, the rest of the school, and anyone who has ever even met Bruce in passing can't help but wonder if this is a sign of the Apocalypse. Bruce... in love? Weird. They're all sure that Bruce will break Regina's heart, and with good reason, given his record thus far in the series. Breaking one Wakefield, nearly raping the other, and being a world class ass to any other female who manages to cross his path. Fun, fun times.
  Anyway, while most people are worried, there are two exceptions. Jessica and Lila are pissed as hell, although for different reasons. Jessica is upset that Bruce seems to have actually changed enough to want Regina, whereas he didn't really want her. Lila is ticked that... well, with Bruce and Regina being a couple, Regina's popularity has soared. You can't go two conversations without someone mentioning the new duo. Considering that Lila is jealous of Regina, this does not sit well with her. So the two make a little wager. Jessica bets that Regina and Bruce will break up before the upcoming carnival. Lila's no fool and says no effing way. For whatever reason, Li decides that betting actual money is no longer kosher, so they they bet term papers. Fifteen pages long term papers. Foolishly, neither girl stipulates that the loser must write a GOOD term paper for the winner. Ah, the folly of youth.

  Thing is, Jessica doesn't plan to fight fair. When it becomes apparent that Bruce is truly enamored of Regina, she decides that since there's no way in hell she's writing Lila's term paper, she's just going to have to help the inevitable along. So she whispers in Regina's ear that if Bruce's lavish gifts are any indication, that it's a good thing no one's really taking the rumours very seriously.
  Regina is a sixteen year old girl and thus immediately demands to know what the hell Jessica is talking about. Jessica stalls and finally confesses that ever since Bruce and Regina got together, Bruce has become even more popular, which is funny considering the timing. What about the timing? Well, he's running for the president of the Centennial student council. Oh, he didn't tell you? Well, it must have slipped his mind. What? No, no, the thought of him dating you just so that people would vote for him IS preposterous. Really, it's just so out there that no one could ever actually believe it. No, you stay there and mull this over. I'll skip back to my car.
  Of course, it works. It's so stupid that it shouldn't. Who the hell would believe that? In what world would this ever actually happen? Oh, yeah, the earlier SVH books would totally have had that happen. Still, it comes across as a rush job and Jessica's lucky that Regina's obviously an idiot. But then again, so is Bruce. Instead of coming clean when Regina flat out asks about it, he tries to avoid the question and then gets really upset when she won't let the subject drop. All because he wanted to surprise her with his win. Why... Ho...Why would that do something special for her? Because it shows that you casually entered a competition and beat someone who actually wanted the job? That's going to impress her? Regina ain't Jessica, jackass.
  Speaking of stupid, we have another fight involving the ever-present love birds, Todd and Elizabeth. This one is so painful that the writer actually has the characters comment on it and my brain melted. Back story: The previously mentioned carnival is a fund raiser to help "handicapped children." No idea what handicaps, maybe all of them, maybe just social ones. Who knows, we're never told. Anyway, Liz is chairperson of the event and as such she's running around trying to get this thing up and running in under two weeks. Skye Morrow has been named parent adviser of this train wreck, although she doesn't appear to actually do anything. In order to work her magic on Regina, Jessica comes up with an idea for the carnival. Mother daughter fashion show! The single best moment in the book is when Liz says that it's a good idea, but do you think Mom would go for it, and Jessica snorts that she didn't mean either of the twins and Alice, she meant the actual models, Regina/Skye. Now, I giggle just thinking about that, though technically Annie and her mother are also both models [former] so it's not like the school is hurting for beautiful people. But asking them wouldn't get Jessica over to the Morrow's estate where she could flirt with Donald. When Liz stops by later, Donald flirts with whom he assumes is Jessica, but it's Liz. Oh those wacky twin mix ups.
  Neither Todd nor Liz remembers Elizabeth has an identical twin and that Donald might have thought he was flirting with her, not the boring, seriously taken twin. So Todd sulks and Liz is down in the dumps until the twins chat again. Then Liz runs off to call Todd and explain the whole mess and Jess is like, "wait, so you ruined my chances? Come back here!"

  Alright. The actual point of the book is that Kurt Morrow has found a doctor who might possibly be able to fix Regina's hearing. At first Regina is just as excited as the rest of her family about the prospect of normality, but then she finds out she'll have to spend a year in Switzerland for the treatments. This would mean leaving Bruce and Regina's not about to do that. So she says no. It's not all about Bruce, though. She likes her life in Sweet Valley, and I don't blame her. She's rich, she's beautiful, and the whole school seems to adore her, aside from Lila, so why would she want to leave for something that might just end up being a giant dud? She doesn't tell Bruce, or anyone else, really.
  When Jessica's plan works, Regina tells her family she'll leave immediately. Liz and Regina chat and Liz is pissed that Bruce would do such a thing, and once more I really question how smart Liz is. On the other hand, she loathes Bruce [for good effing reason] so that's blinding her to the absurdity of the situation.
  Thing is, Bruce is miserable. He actually loved Regina and he has no idea why she dumped him. Liz finally caves and Bruce points out that this is completely stupid and lacking in logic, and Liz tells him about Regina's move. At first Bruce assumes it'll be a short term treatment thing, but when Liz points out that we're talking a year or more, Bruce is less than thrilled. He's also confused. Does he let Regina go because if would be better for her, or does he beg her to stay because he loves her?
  He compromises. He writers her a fantastically over the top letter that explains he really does love her and because of that, she has to give her hearing a chance. Or something along those lines. It's actually kind of sweet. Anyway, he asks Liz to slip it into Regina's luggage somewhere so that she'll see it sometime after she's left.
  Liz agrees and slips it into Regina's scrapbook. On the plane ride, Regina finds it and feels all warm and fuzzy. Awww.


Trivia:

  • Hey, this one mentions Liz's mole. And that sounded really gross.

  • The book takes place over twelve days. [the length of time it takes to plan the carnival before it happens.]

  • The infamous History term paper is 15 pages long and worth a third of their grades. Lila manages a respectable B- while she leaves Jessica stuck with a D. Next time work on the specifics of the outcome, girls.

  • Bruce meets Regina after each of her classes just so he can spend a few extra minutes with her. Wow, the boy must run.

  • Bruce bought Regina a ruby pendant and a diamond bracelet. Oooooo.

  • Mr. Fowler is building another building across from his downtown office. Lila meets a construction worker named Jack there, though he seems thoroughly unimpressed by who her father is. Intrigue for the next book.

  • Jack has honey brown hair, is tanned from all his work outside, and muscled to boot. Awesome?

  • The Carnival Committee is as follows: Mr Collins, Liz, Todd, Enid, Olivia, Roger, Ken, Winston, Regina, and Skye Morrow.

  • Olivia is in charge of the prizes and decoration, Ken is building the booths, Regina and Enid are working the refreshments, Todd and Roger are all over the games, and Winston is the MC, as well as the man behind the pie throwing booth. Later, Ms. Dalton is in charge of the international food booth.

  • George's flying class is mentioned this go round.

  • Ken is running for the Sweet Valley Centennial Student committee president. Later Bruce enters the race and Liz rigs it so he'll win, because of his devotion to Regina. Um, what if Ken actually wanted that position he actually lobbied for?

  • Liz bets Todd that someone would enter the race against Ken. The prize? A hot fudge sundae at the Dairi Burger. Todd better pay up.

  • Regina things Mrs. Patman is nutty. Possibly because she spends half the night yelling at a deaf person and the other half trying to one-up other people's charity work so that she'll seem more important.

  • Donald Essex is eighteen, with thick sandy hair, green eyes, and newly working ears. He's one of the one in a thousand who had the treatments and they worked.

  • Donald also had a girlfriend and didn't want to leave her, but when she found out that he'd never told her about the possibility that he could hear again, she dumped him for being an idiot. Or not trusting her or something along those lines. Essentially, an idiot.

  • Max Friederich is the Swiss surgeon who works the miracles.

  • At last count, 57 people would rather throw a whipped cream pie at Winston, while only 14 would prefer lemon.

  • Bruce writes his letter to Regina at 1AM, and it takes him an hour to do so.

  • Ms. Dalton is the youngest SVH teacher at 25.

  • Caroline is making her disgustingly rich brownies, and Enid and Todd are making pizza. Where is the Enid/Todd hookup diary?

  • One ticket for the carnival costs a dollar.

  • Winston wears his father's oversized tux and red suspenders as his formal MC gear. Bitchin'.

  • When all is said and done, the SVH gang raised "over $800" for the handicapped children.

  • Jess receives a letter from Donald that says he hadn't wanted to lead her on. Jess is pissed and I'm just confused.

  • At the end of the book, there's a preview for the new Caitlin series. Even the reissues kept this, although I imagine Caitlin was long out of print by then.



Say wha?
Marie Patman hated the Fowlers. She hated them so much that she wasn't sure whether it was the idea of the Fowlers or the fact of them that so enraged her. p35

"Well," Jessica began, still out of breath, "what about a mother-daughter fashion show? We would set it up in one corner of the tent or get a smaller tent for it, and charge people a dollar for tickets."
Elizabeth frowned thoughtfully. "Not bad," she mused. "Do you think Mom would do it?"
Jessica burst out laughing. "Not me, Liz," she said, giggling. "And you think I'm vain," she added.
Elizabeth blushed. 65

"Hello, is Regina there?" Elizabeth shot her a look. Jessica's cheeks turned bright red.
Elizabeth shook her head in disbelief. Only my twin, she thought, would ask to speak to a deaf girl on the phone. It just figures. p75


If anyone can botch up a perfect relationship, she thought, grinning, it's me. Jessica knows herself quite well, p76




  Let's start with the obvious. Regina and Bruce are both painfully rich, and both are spoiled quite a bit. Regina due to guilt [dude, Skye? Dieting while pregnant has always been, and will always be an incredibly bad idea. So yeah, you should feel guilty.] and Bruce because he's... Bruce. So the distance might be a bitch, but something tells me they wouldn't have half the problem oh, say, anyone else on the planet would. So I'm guessing a bulk of the "I won't go, you can't make me" angst was in an effort to have your average reader relate.
  Now I ponder, if Liz hadn't meddled and Regina had gone off to have her hearing fixed, would she have come back only to have her heart broken and die tragically? Would Bruce had folded and told her, or would he have assumed Liz had done what he asked and that Regina just didn't care? Oh, the what-ifs...
  Now, in the recap they give for why Lila loathes Regina, the implication is that Jessica knows Lila went to Lane Townsend and tried to get him to use her pictures instead. Thing is, Lila didn't tell anyone, and I can't really see her sharing her embarrassment with anyone. Though maybe she had a diary and Jess read it. Why did we never get Lila's diary? That would have been amazing...

  I have a soft spot for Head Over Heels. Like a lot of SV fans, I love it when Bruce shows some semblance of humanity, and I loved Regina fiercely. [So much so that when it came time for Barbies, Regina was always part of the gang.] The other reason is I loved that this was the book that gave the world Caitlin. She never did live up to the promise in the letter [she softened way too fast] but bitchery in boarding school? I was so there with bells on.

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