the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (Default)
Trouble At Home
May 1990


Is the Wakefield family coming apart?
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Family problems...


   There's trouble in the usually happy Wakefield household, and Jessica, Elizabeth, and their brother, Steven, are caught in the middle.
  Mrs. Wakefield is so busy at work that she's hardly ever home. When she is home, all she and Mr. Wakefield seem to do is fight. Tensions increase when Mr. Wakefield decides to run for mayor of Sweet Valley and Mrs. Wakefield doesn't like the people backing him. They have a huge argument that just might end their marriage. Elizabeth, Jessica, and Steven can't do anything to help. Could this be the end of the perfect Wakefield family?


  Huh. That is not really what happens in this book at all. Spoilers for the next book(s), book blurb people! Onward.

   I... Uh... look. If you could see my notebook where I scribble (and lord, do I mean scribble) my notes for these books, you would see "WTF!!" repeated over and over, usually with an explanation as to why I'm WTF-ing that time. Not always. I threw this book down numerous times because while I am good at suspension of disbelief, there are lines, people. LINES. And this book sets those lines ablaze at every turn.
  Also, nothing is resolved by the end of the book. Nothing.

  Sigh. Let us begin.

   Trouble At Home is probably SVH's attempt to show that no family is perfect and that even the families we think are perfect still have their own struggles. In the Wakefield's case, it's that Ned and Alice have been body snatched by their teen counterparts and no one noticed or something because I don't even know how to begin to explain the levels of WTF going on here.
  But I guess I'll try. Alice Wakefield's design firm is in the running to design the new wing of the mall. Jessica's super excited because surely they'll name it the Alice Wakefield wing and she'll get discounts at all the new stores and totally, that will happen, Jessica. I live in a place with like, one and a half malls and for the longest time one of them was known as the mall to get shot at so we pretended it didn't exist so while I did my time as a mallrat, it was at a very, very simple/basic mall that stunts my ability to fathom malls having wings, really. Soooooo... I dunno. It's a big deal because over the course of the book, Alice is put in charge of the design team and if things are a success, she'll be the star of the show. If things fail, she's going to lose her head at work.
  I can never keep up with how Alice's design firm works. Sometimes I think she's a minion (though usually I think that's more in the Kids/Twins books) and sometimes I think it's her show, dammit (usually SVH). Anyway, Alice is very upfront about how this is a Big Deal for her career and that it's going to mean she's not going to be home as much. I feel like this should be mentioned considering how big a part it'll play in the WTF later.

   Ned Wakefield is thrilled that his friend Peter Santelli is running for mayor. Hell, the whole Wakefield clan is thrilled and all five of them turn out to support him at the start of the book at a fund raiser. The next morning, the paper's headlines scream Mayor Candidate Accepts Bribes! and shit goes sideways.
  Peter begs Ned to take the case despite the fact that Ned hasn't tried a criminal case in 15 years, a fact that I am sure will be retconned before long and is probably a retcon anyway. Ned initially tries to find a way to get Peter to find legal counsel more up to the task (y'know, a lawyer who specializes in this) but the kids are so excited for Ned and Alice is so against it (because, like you already said, Ned, it's not your area!) that he decides he's going to do it, gosh dangit!
  And this is where the book hits all the WTF buttons at the same time and my brain exploded just trying to keep up with them all.
  Ned officially takes the case Wednesday night, in that he goes over to the Santelli home to discuss taking the case. Thursday morning, he's all kinds of excited by the thought of being able to do something good (clear Peter's name). Thursday night he's ready to do the walk of doom and gloom.
  Alice is less than pleased when Ned has to back out of going boating with the senior partner at her design firm but Alice? Honey? I'm pretty sure your boss understands that hey, if your husband is going to be defending the mayoral candidate in a trial that starts the next day (WTF!), he's kinda gonna miss the boating thing. Seriously, later all of Ned's law buddies will trip all over themselves to congratulate Alice on heading the design team for the fucking mall, but Alice doesn't think her husband trying to save an honest man's reputation would be something worth backing? (We're ignoring the whole not his area of law angle at this point because if Ned managed to pull this trick off, it would be big news and that news would be good for Alice's firm way more than her designing the new wing of the mall would be for Ned's business but we're expected to just not think of this.)
  But also bullshit about that trial starting less than a week after the alleged bribes were found. Seriously. Bull. Shit. No way, no how.
  So Ned's working on Peter's case and Alice is working on trying to win the mall project and by Friday, Peter's case has been thrown out due to insufficient evidence (seriously, wtf did anyone expect to happen when they had less than a week to build a case against him) and Alice is now heading the mall project. Ned is less than jazzed for her, guys. Less than jazzed.

   At some point, Henry Patman comes a knockin' and tells Ned that he'd be an excellent mayor since Peter has dropped out of the race. Ned's not so sure since it would be an awfully big undertaking for his family and also, it's a lot of responsibility... so he asks for time to consider it and to talk to Alice about it.
  Jessica overhears this, btw, and is sure Daddy is about to become president. Oi. This is, naturally, going to bite everyone on the ass. But Liz makes her promise not to say anything because Ned should talk to Alice about it first and hey, maybe nothing will come of it.
  Ned then spends the next for-freaking-ever not talking to Alice about it. Part of this is because I swear to Christ, Alice never fucking calls home when she's going to be late for dinner and that shit is annoying to the point that I'm breaking my "keep profanity to a minimum" rule. You have a fucking car phone by the end of the book, call home and leave a message on the machine or something, goddammit! It's not that hard to be polite and considerate of others, especially when you've failed to do so numerous times in the recent past and it ALWAYS gets thrown in your face. Just pick up the phone, dammit. Not once is it mentioned that she's tried to call and that Jessica's hogging it due to the B plot (C plot?) and in fact she's forever apologizing after she rolls up late for not even thinking to call. NYARGH.
  Still. Ned should've said something before their big Tahoe weekend because he had plenty of time to do so. He just didn't. I feel like at the very least this should be something to have come up before bed. "Alice, you'll never believe who stopped by..." Sigh.

   Anyway, the Wakefields apparently go up to Lake Tahoe every year as a weekend getaway. There are no phones in the cabin and they basically spend three days just hanging out and being goobers together. The rule is no work, so we all know where this is going.
  Liz has spent the whole book worrying about her family falling apart. When she speaks to her mother's assistant, she tries to get Julia to convince Alice to take the weekend off because if she doesn't, bad things will happen. Julia isn't willing to do so until she has a way to reach Alice if an emergency comes up, so Liz reluctantly gives the main Inn's number to Julia and in return Julia and the rest of the firm make sure that Alice gets her weekend getaway.
  While at the cabin, Jessica lets the mayor thing drop and Alice thinks it's laughable so naturally Ned's like "fuck that, I'd make a fantastic mayor" but the two sort of meet in the middle. Ned points out that this would be a serious time commitment and he didn't want to be away from his family so much.
  Alas, the warm fuzzy moments of the weekend give way to the Inn's owner's son showing up saying that Alice has an emergency call and Ned's pissed that Alice gave out the number. Alice insists she didn't, but still goes to call work back. Liz admits to her mother later that she's the one to have given out the number but... doesn't tell her father? I don't get why she didn't tell both of them, honestly. Alice says it's okay, that Ned is just itching for a fight and Liz asks why and this part made me sad... Alice admits she doesn't know why.
  I waffle on how this book does my head in at different times. Alice chooses to hide her achievements and how work is going from Ned after he 'loses' the case because ... she doesn't want to rub her success in his face? I dunno. But that already happened when she burst home late the day it happened and shared the good news. The cat has escaped the bag and set it on fire, Alice. Maybe, especially when you recognize that it's not working, you should break the cycle of not telling your husband what's going on in your life. I think I get what they were going for but at the same time... no?
  And Ned, be happy for your wife, dammit. Just because you're starting a midlife crisis doesn't mean you can't be happy that Alice is doing good things.

   Sigh. Anyway, Sunday Alice gets another call from work and this time she says she has to leave early because Sal, that jackass, got the brilliant idea to do all the work on the computer and the computer glitched and this is 1990, so she's hosed. But Alice, you're so hosed that honestly, you could stay at the cabin the extra three or so hours and it wouldn't make any damn difference. If this had been the call from the day before, I'd argue it was an emergency and worth the call and she should go. But it's only a few hours and they could have waited to tell her and she could wait to go in to fix things. Seriously, wtf.

  Ned's pissed when Alice doesn't see it this way and tells her that if she leaves, she's not just leaving the family weekend, she's leaving her family.
  And she does.

  Damn, Alice.

  Btw, Ned, I'm pretty sure that part of your running appeal for mayor was your home life so this? This is a stupid fucking idea.

   Jessica's subplot (Liz's was basically keeping the house from falling apart while everyone else did their own thing and she probably kept them all from starving to death) is that she sees a teen party line shown on TV. Despite Liz pointing out how expensive they are and how skeevy it all is, Jessica calls and immediately finds a guy named Charlie. She spends the rest of the book falling for him because he sounds so sexy when he's giving her compliment after compliment. Charlie, however, keeps putting her off and Jessica can't understand why. She worries he thinks she won't be as awesome as she is, but Jess? It's far more likely that he's the one with the secret but what do I know, right? In any case, this is also not resolved by the time Alice ditches her family at Lake Tahoe.

  Ultimately I'm left wondering whether Prince Albert scammed every member of the family out of food every day by giving them big sad puppy eyes and that everyone assumed no one else was taking care of the dog... or did he really have to rely on Liz to have time in her schedule to do all the things?


Trivia Time:

  • When Liz gets home at 5pm Monday, she notes that it's not unusual for Jessica to still be at cheer practice.

  • Jess, btw, got home early so this point is kind of moot.

  • There are four messages on the answering machine and three of them are boys calling for Jessica. One is from Ben and one is from David and Jessica thinks, "I wonder what he wants?" before slipping the message Liz scribbled down into her pocket. We never find out who the third message is from.

  • The fourth message on the machine is from Alice an hour earlier who is running late and wants the family to pick her up on the way to the fund raiser. I'm left with so many questions, like where is her car?

  • The fund raiser is for Peter Santelli and it's a dinner and reception being held in the garden of a civic center downtown.

  • When Jess got home early, she immediately took Prince Albert for a walk outside and then proceeds to make a huge deal of it when she runs into Liz.

  • Jessica is convinced that Maria's dad (Peter) will become mayor and then take the cheerleaders to Washington DC to meet the President. Liz and I are less sure that this is how politics work.

  • Liz claims that Maria is more her friend than Jessica's outside of cheerleading. My initial thought was "really?" but the book then goes out of its way to make sure that I believe that Jessica, Lila, and Amy are awful people so...

  • There's a new guy at Ned's law office named Griffin Pierce. He's described as "really aggressive, money hungry young lawyer" who will take on any case if it's glamorous enough or going to bring in a ton of money. Also, when the twins meet him, he's "thirty going on fifty" and is wearing gray from head to toe. He's an insensitive ass and comments about it being a surprise that Ned would show up at a get together after he lost Peter's case.

  • Jessica suggests that her father ditch law and become an actor to avoid Griffin.

  • Jessica also thinks the new mall wing should be called the Alice Wakefield Wing.

  • Ned is initially very supportive of Alice's firm being in the running for the mall project.

  • The morning after Peter's fund raiser, the paper runs this headline: Mayor Candidate Charged With Accepting Bribes! and nary a peep is written about how odds are good that Jessica and Liz would know the writer or at least the editor of the paper. Wasted throwback potential.

  • Jessica kind of wants Peter to be crooked so he can be like a movie she saw recently.

  • In case you wondered, Jessica's best friends are listed as Lila and Amy with Cara only being mentioned as Steven's girlfriend.

  • Lila comments that there's no point in inviting Maria to dinner now since there's no way her father will be mayor now.

  • Amy and Jessica were extra nice to Maria at practice but there's no reason to keep that up either. I can't tell whether I'm supposed to laugh at how awful these three are or just note that they are, indeed, awful.

  • Lila's father bought her a video camera for her half birthday and Jessica seethes that it's bad enough that Lila has a car phone. Whoa, remember those?

  • Oh, 900 numbers and teens. What could go wrong?

  • Someone mysteriously deposited ten thousand dollars into Peter Santelli's bank account but despite the fact that this book takes place over at least a two week span, we end the book still not knowing who did it. This is just one of the many WTF notations.

  • Ned claims he hasn't taken a criminal case in 15 years.

  • When Jessica calls her teen party line, she meets Charlie, Sara, Micheal, Michelle, Nicola, and Bea. We later learn that Sara's got a thing for Charlie and Micheal takes turns flirting with Bea and Nicola.

  • Charlie is from Riverdale, a town near Sweet Valley. So many towns we've never heard of that only pop up when the plot calls for them. Also, I have so many Archie crossover things here that I'm gonna hush.

  • Liz's locket from Todd (the one he gave her when he moved away) makes a reappearance. ♥

  • Peter calls Ned Wednesday night and begs him to be his lawyer. Ned initially says no and then agrees and apparently goes over Wednesday night. Thursday morning, Ned is gung ho about the case but after spending one day, he's already beaten come Thursday night. Friday he's bitching because Alice will be working even longer hours at work after being appointed head of the project. Time has no meaning anymore.

  • Dough Phelps is the senior partner at Alice's design firm and the Wakefields are supposed to go boating with him Sunday and it's very important that the whole family go.

  • Ned promised the weekend to Peter Santelli since the trial starts Monday.

  • Ned also points out that the family doesn't have to cancel the boating trip, just Ned. Don't make me agree with you, Ned... but yeah, Doug should understand, Alice.

  • Jessica has a phone date with Charlie at 8:15... that she keeps by calling the party line. I never did get how that was supposed to work but my brother was the one who racked up our bill calling a 900 number repeatedly (wrestling, calm down).

  • Jess is flattered that Charlie likes her without ever having seen her, and she's pretty sure that most guys are 99% attracted to her looks whereas Charlie has no idea how fantastic she is.

  • Liz pays for the family's groceries by using their charge at the store.

  • Also, there are a lot of dates to the grocery store for Liz and Todd in this book and I have to admit they're pretty cute.

  • Ingenue magazine says playing the field is so passe.

  • Earl Wasserman is a new guy on the party line and asks if it really costs $1 a minute.

  • The judge suspects Peter's case due to insufficient evidence. This means that while he's not been found guilty, his name has also not been cleared. Peter drops out of the race shortly thereafter.

  • When the dinner Liz makes starts to fall apart as the family waits for Alice, Ned flips out and demands they just deal with frozen dinners. You know what Liz made? Spaghetti, salad, and bread. You know the only part of this equation currently borked? The noodles. It's even mentioned that the sauce is still just fine. Liz even comments that they just need to make more noodles... if they have any. Liz, my love, when you're trying to restock the pantry at home and make a meal such as this, you always buy extra noodles. Always. What if people wanted seconds? What if you dropped the first box on the floor? Seriously, it's not like she was budgeting.

  • Also: once more Alice does not bother to call her damn family when she's going to be late for dinner. It's like she called once, off screen before the book started, and that was supposed to hold her the rest of forever. Not how it works.

  • Jessica invites Charlie to a concert in Big Mesa where "some group from the East Coast" will be playing.

  • Charlie would love to but his brother is coming home from Stamford that weekend.

  • Charlie is a Jr., something Jessica finds out when she calls his house and gets Charlie's father (Charlie Sr.) first.

  • Ned belongs to Psi Epsilon, a legal fraternity I'm 99% sure we've never heard of before now.

  • Alice is super jazzed that the Psi Epsilon annual dinner will have a state supreme court justice and a leading criminal lawyer from San Francisco attending. They didn't go last year because they were out of town but Alice loves these kinds of things. The dinner will be held at Tosca's, a new Italian restaurant in Sweet Valley.

  • This is a bad idea for many reasons, not the least of which the fact that Ned is super down about the law at the moment and seeing people who are either doing far better than he is or just annoying money grubbing lawyer cliches is not going to help. But what do I know, I'm just the reader and Liz is agreeing.

  • Jessica wears a fuschia mini dress and matching tights to the Psi Epsilon dinner.

  • Alice got a car phone but tells Jessica not to touch because it's really expensive.

  • Alice also winds up in the paper when her firm wins the mall bid.

  • Sy Underwood, "a small beaming man" who met Ned at the last Psi Epsilon bash, is thrilled over Alice's good fortune and confesses to wanting to be an architect when he was an undergrad.

  • Sy is the first of many people who congratulate Alice on her achievements while pointedly ignoring Ned's recent set back.

  • After his run in with Griffin, Ned leaves but Alice makes the kids stay another half an hour before packing it in.

  • Henry Patman and James Knapp, a political analyst who was assisting Peter's campaign, stop by to convince Ned to run for mayor.

  • The Wakefields go to Lake Tahoe every year. They rent a "charming redwood cabin with three bedrooms, a small kitchen, and a tiny living room with a fireplace" and no phone and BBQ most of their meals. Various other traditions include putting on their PJs, having hot chocolate and playing charades, hiking, and going to the Inn for dinner Saturday night.

  • Alice's assistant is Julia.

  • Almost any time Alice is mentioned having to do something with someone at the office, it's Sal. And Sal is always having an emergency. Fire Sal, Alice. Sal is also the one who got the bright idea to use the 'interactive software' to design part of the wing and of course the computer went down.



Quotes:

Elizabeth gave her twin a wry smile. Trust Jessica to take the one household chore she'd done all month and make it seem like the labors of Hercules! - Don't mind me, I'll be over here snickering, p3

"Jessica, from your voice... your name... you are poetry," Charlie said.
This was too much. Here was this guy saying these incredible things to her-right in front of the others on the line!- and he hadn't even seen her yet. Jessica had always been convinced that her looks were about ninety-nine percent of the reason guys asked her out. But Charlie couldn't see her. So why did he like her and not the others? - Aww. I will forever be a sucker for the "pretty girl is found awesome by someone who can't see her beauty and it throws her" trope. p39

"I've decided- just from your voice- that you're blond. Am I right?"
Jessica giggled. "You're right," she confessed.
"I could tell," Charlie said triumphantly. "You have the blondest voice I've ever heard."
Jessica felt shivers of delight go through her. Imagine how thrilled Charlie was going to be when he found out just how blond she really was! - I... uh... phrasing? This is so weird. I'm at turns amused and befuddled, really. p 47

This was Jessica's favorite kind of conversation. She loved hearing a list of all her positive characteristics. - Oh, Jessica. p86

"You're a perfect candidate, Ned. You're young, strong, smart-with a wonderful background in law. You've got a beautiful family. You're honest. You're ethical. You're exactly what this community needs, and who this community will vote for." - James Knapp is good at fluffing egos, eh? p 99

The Wakefields' courtship was like something out of a fairy tale. They met, they fell in love, they got married, and they really did live happily ever after.
Until now. - Liz, don't make me sad. p121


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   My mental notes on this from however long it's been since I read this were basically: Mr. Wakefield goes to Washington, Ned and Alice set their marriage ablaze, Jessica doesn't care. Re-reading it didn't really change those thoughts, alas. It wasn't boring like I feared it would be, but it was painful because this book really should have had half these things peppered in previous books and then dealt with the trial vs. the mall time suck instead of trying to get us to believe all of this took place in under a month.

Surf's Up

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Dun
dun
DUN.



Trivia:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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

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


 photo newelizabeth_eng2_zpsmoqwq6cu.png


   This is a book I think I liked more as a kid. I remember being super excited when Skipper or Barbie came out with a swimsuit that looked like the one Liz is wearing on the cover of this, so the surfing thing probably got played out a fair amount. As an adult it's... meh? It's not a bad book, it's just hard to get worked up by Liz learning to surf. I'm not sure if it would have been better if the book didn't realize that surfing was also pretty tame compared to Jessica's antics and had just played it like this was the biggest, baddest thing ever or if that would have made things worse.
  Mostly the book feels like filler between two more interesting sounding books: #62 where Jessica loses her damn mind and #64 where Steven falls for yet another Tricia lookalike. Kid!me ate up all the Tricia drama like you would not believe.
   One of the things I really did enjoy was how Laurie didn't instantly dislike Elizabeth simply because Sean was interested in her. Instead of blaming Liz and being exceptionally catty, Laurie is friendly towards Liz when their paths cross and doubles down on her own strategy for getting the guy. Too bad we'll never see them again so my interest taps out there. Seriously though, it's nice when the Valley doesn't pit innocent people against one another.
  Unrelated, but Liz mentions how disappointed she is that Caroline's back to gossiping but I swear this isn't a new thing. Hadn't she fallen off the gossip wagon by the time Regina died at the very least? And that was 20 books ago!
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Who's Who?
February 1990


Will the real Jessica please stand up?
 photo 62_WhosWho_zpsfqh8a0wc.png
Scheming again...


   Jessica Wakefield has a fantastic idea! She's bored with all the guys at Sweet Valley High, so a computer dating service seems like the perfect way to spice up her love life- especially when she invents two new sparkling personalities to help her out!

  Jessica becomes sophisticated Daniella Fromage and also Magenta Galaxy, a wild corker with a passion for anything hot. The two guys she gets set up with seem to be exactly what she wanted. With the reluctant help of her twin sister, Elizabeth, Jessica must somehow manage to juggle them both. Who will finally meet her perfect match- Daniella, Magenta... or Jessica?


  
  I feel like this one doesn't really even need a recap, which probably explains why it took so long to happen.* I've come across people who remember Sweet Valley for a very small handful of things:
  The cover of Double Love, the Evil Twin (occasionally the Return Of as well), tragically dead Regina, and a weird mix of The New Jessica, Daniella Fromage and Magenta freakin' Galaxy.
  Depending on how well the person knew their Sweet Valley, they either realize TNJ is a completely different book or they think it's the one where Jessica creates her weird alter egos that you just know she'd use online later on. (What, you know damn well that Jessica went by Magenta Galaxy online. Don't even try to pretend otherwise.)



   Listen up, kiddies, for the story of the birth of Magenta Freakin' Galaxy.

   We begin with the Wakefield twins shopping at the mall. In a shocking twist of events, they are shopping for a dress for Elizabeth! Stop the presses, Liz is the cause of this shopping expedition? Gasp!

   Anyway, Liz has found the perfect dress for the Valentine's dance that's coming up. For someone who is going to spend the rest of this book and the next worrying about being too boring, she's made an unusual color choice for this particular dance: blue-green that seems to shimmer back and forth between the colors. Since this is my favorite nail polish color ever, I must approve but still. You're more of a rebel than you give yourself credit for, Wakefield Twin #1.
  The only problem with the dress is that it's way too pricey and Liz can't justify the expense, so she puts it back and fails to love anything else nearly as much. To perfectly illustrate the differences between our carbon copies, Jess suggests just getting the dress because it's PERFECTION and Liz clearly loves it. Mom will totally understand once she sees Liz in the dress.
  Liz is the responsible twin, guys, and Jess is the 'impulsive bankrupt your parents in the pursuit of your own happiness' twin. Huzzah! Now that that's sorted out, let's get this A plot rolling.

   There's a new store in the mall called Lovestruck Computer Dating. They advertise "Teens Our Specialty" which sounds a million kinds of creepy, honestly. I'm not sure if that's due to all the years of L&O:SVU or what, but yeah. Anyway, Jess is thrilled because she's SO BORED by all the guys she's dated and by Elizabeth's estimates, Jessica has dated everyone at SVH. Twice over by now, probably.
  Jess pulls her twin inside and gets the scoop on how the enterprise works. Jess grabs an application for herself and then declares that her twin needs one, too. Before Liz can blow it by declaring her undying love for Todd again, Jessica pulls her away and points out that duh, of course the second application is for Jessica. Just be cool, Liz. Jess has this all figured out. Her problem with her last matchmaking company is that she filled out all the answers honestly (I... don't think that was the problem, Jess) and this time she's going to fill out the application in order to snag the kind of guy she wants.
  Because she's Jessica, she has a backup plan already in motion.

   First we have Daniella Fromage, who is the beret wearing twin on the front of the book. Daniella, in a valiant effort to overcome her last name being French for cheese, has a deep love for foreign films, modern poetry, French cuisine, and world travel. She also happens to be based a bit on Suzanne Hanlon, only less insufferable.

   Magenta Galaxy is the wild rocker who likes everything new and anything hot, including fast cars, loud dance bands, and the latest fashions- the wilder the better. She's based on Dana Larson, although I'm going to need the story of Dana dancing on a coffee counter at 4am after scarfing down a burger since that's also part of Magenta's profile.

  Liz is completely baffled as to why Jessica would bother to base these two characters on people they know (you're going to be a fun writer, aren't you, Lizzie?) and why not just give the girls real names and have the company matchmake for them. Jess scoffs at this and then Liz points out that her last go round of being someone else didn't work out so well. Jess does not wish to discuss A.J. because it's still a sore subject, even if she does realize that she's not meant to be tied down to just one guy yet. Jessica then returns the applications to the pile and makes sure that they're not together so no one sees the same address but different last names.

  Right, because that's going to be the problem they have with the names... I suppose that since they specialize in teenagers they also specialize in knowing that false names are also going to be part of the deal. Enh, it gave us Magenta Galaxy so let's roll with it.


   Not too long afterward, the twins arrive home on a Friday and find a letter waiting for Daniella Fromage. They've found her a match in Pierre Du Lac who sounds positively dreamy to Jessica. She calls Lovestruck to give them permission to let Pierre have her phone number, only Prince Albert is having none of this. When Jessica tells her Prince, repeatedly, to leave her be, the woman on the other end of the call is confused as to why she'd need help dating if she has a prince already.
  I really cannot tell you if little me found this funny or if younger me also pulled the "are you serious? Really?" sarcastic face at the thought of someone being that Amelia Bedelia about anything as a freakin' adult. :P

   And then reality comes crashing down as Jessica realizes she says she wants a guy interested in things she knows very little about and now she has to learn enough to fake it. But how? Liz suggests a crash course and of course! So Jessica makes an appointment with Suzanne Hanlon and Elizabeth is left to wonder just how wrong this whole Fromage thing is going to wind up before the end.

   Turns out that Jessica is capable of being on time if it's important enough, as she rolls up to the Hanlon house at 10am on the dot. I think we're supposed to be impressed by the Hanlon estate but really, is it Fowler Crest or Bruce's mansion or even Regina's home? No? Then no one cares. Sorry, Suzanne.

  Then Magenta gets a hit in the form of Brett S. because last names just aren't cool. So Jess gets Dana to give her a crash course in being a new kind of awesome (all in the name of true love, which I suspect Dana agrees to because Jessica's schemes have got to be legendary at SVH) and then Jess spends the rest of her week cramming as much sophistication and punk rock music into her brain as is fictionally possible. When Liz tires of hearing the Psychedelic Overtones cranked up to 11, she asks Jessica to turn the crap down but, as always, Jess can't hear her. Oh the wackiness of that setup will never get old.

   This transitions to Liz still not understanding why Jessica would go to such lengths to get a guy who isn't even going to get to know the real Jessica (there are so many punchlines here that I literally cannot choose between them, so form your own) and that NONE of this is Jessica's style.
  Jessica shoots back that maybe it could be and she'll never know if she never tries and, as always, Jessica's logic works in the moment. Then she points out that just because Elizabeth is content to never push boundaries and to know her limitations, it doesn't mean that Jessica has to feel the same way. Liz worries that maybe she is boring and a coward and the set up for The New Elizabeth is born. It's also our C-plot since Magenta and Daniella are going to be A and B in alternating form.
  To be fair, I agree that especially at sixteen, Jessica should be allowed to push her boundaries at times and that Liz is also right in that this plan is doomed to failure. But it's not because it's Jessica's plan, it's because even after learning about all these things, she has absolutely no interest in them outside of landing a guy. Also, they're all fakers but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

   Because we needed more of Jessica's crash course, we switch to Jessica studying at Lila's. Lila's upset because Jessica went to Suzanne when she wanted to learn to be sophisticated and honestly, I don't blame her. It's particularly amusing since last time she did go to Lila but I digress. Jessica tells Lila that it's because Suzanne is so snobby and over the top and that Lila is decidedly more real but the reality is that Jessica suspects that Pierre is expecting Old Money like the Hanlons and not New Money like the Fowlers. We do have partial confirmation that Lila's father is the richest man in Sweet Valley and that's even with Lila spending money like crazy.
  We're treated to Lila quizzing Jessica on such things as who painted Starry Night and who is Abbie Hoffman, both questions Jessica missed that Lila knew. I could have done with more Lila time but it wasn't meant to be.

   Friday night, date night with Pierre. Jessica panics when she realizes she has no idea how to create the perfect sophisticated look for her date. I call BS because you know damn well that Jessica would have thought to ask Lila for help with that at least, but this gives us a chance to remember that Elizabeth is a classy broad. In a matter of moments she assembles a gorgeous ensemble and even manages to nail the accessories.

  At the restaurant (Chez Sam, really?), Jessica and Pierre are smitten by how gorgeous the other is but conversation never manages to flow easily. Pierre's mistakes are pretty obvious once you've picked up on his whole being a big faker, but Jessica assumes that he's making jokes throughout the night so she doesn't realize anything is amiss, although she is a little concerned when he doesn't order from the French menu in French.
  Realizing his mistake, Pierre explains that before Jessica arrived, he and the waiter were chatting but the waiter is French Canadian and their accents are just so totally different that it was easier to order in English. I really hope kid!me howled at that the way adult me because it's priceless, truly.

  Anyway, the rest of the date goes on in much the same way but a second date is set up because hello, gorgeous, and also Pierre is a great kisser?




   Saturday we learn that the Wakefield parents aren't completely clueless as Alice inquires as to where all the weird stuff in Jessica's room came from. Weird stuff? Paratrooper outfit, young lady. Crisis is averted when Jessica says she's borrowing things from friends and then Jessica asks Liz to help her get ready again since it went so well the previous night.

  I'll buy Liz being a natural at helping Jessica dress up as Daniella, but doing the Magenta look? Really? Elizabeth Wakefield? I'm torn on this because I adore the sisterly bonding and yet... Elizabeth is probably the last person in SV I'd ask for help with a rocker look. Maybe Todd would be last, but still.

   Anyway, Jessica decides Magenta needs a blue streak in her hair and has Liz pick out a section of hair for the spray on color. Liz does (bang and an inch wide chunk on the right side of Jessica's head, so the cover's not completely accurate) and Jessica debates a pink streak as well. Liz cannot say No! fast enough and Jessica agrees that maybe too much would just be too much in this case.

  Brett S. arrives in an old brown Oldsmobile that he says is his father's and Jessica, in an attempt to be cool, says she gets that he's making a real statement with the car. She's hip, you dig?
  The go to the Rock Spot and on the way there conversation is stilted at best until Brett throws on some heavy metal which is so not Jessica's scene at all. The headache only gets worse when she realizes that there's no chance for chatting in the club and that Brett is too cool for dancing.
  Still, he looks hot in his leather jacket and that covers a multitude of sins, I guess, since this sounds like an awful date to me. When the night ends, Jessica's left with ringing in her ears and hearts in her eyes.

   Wednesday night, Jessica and Pierre go see some weird French movie that Jessica asks Pierre to explain the French idioms and he panics and points out that there will be subtitles you know. The movie bores Jessica to tears and confuses her due to the language barrier and the fact that she's clearly not drinking enough Absinthe to get the full meaning behind everything. On their way out of the theater, Jessica thinks she sees Brett but that would be crazy since he's not into this scene and she chalks it up to going a little crazy due to all the switching back and forth.

  Back to Liz, the next phase in her Be More Daring campaign (after painting her toenails red) is to sit somewhere other than her usual lunch table with Enid. Enid points out that you can't plan spontaneity and Liz sulks a bit because she's just not good at this at all.

   Our ghostie remembers that this is the plot for the following book, so we switch back to Jessica who is getting ready to go to Jax, some club where people stage dive. Jessica hopes that Brett's aversion to dancing also extends to stage diving but not to heading out to Millers Point. We never do find out how that date plays out, alas.

  Friday #3, Alice intercepts a call for Magenta. Jessica decides to have Brett call Lila and leave messages there and I think we all know how well this is going to work.

   Saturday morning, Liz tries to convince the readers and her mother that Jessica would enjoy reading A Tale of Two Cities before deciding she's off to the mall to buy that dress she wanted. Jessica, in a rare moment of awesomeness and flush with cash somehow, offered to go halfsies on the dress with her twin. Awww. Liz invites Jess to the mall, but she's probably half deaf from the night before and is still sound asleep by the time Liz has showered and gotten ready and only truly awakens when Pierre calls to invite her to dinner that night.

  Liz heads off to the mall where she sees a sign for a two-week perm. After making sure it really lasts for only two weeks, Liz decides to go for it before hitting Lisette's to pick up her dress. While there she runs into Lila who has been trying all morning to get a hold of Jessica who is either on the phone the whole time or has accidentally left it off the hook. Lila's surprised by the hair and impressed by the dress and leaves Liz to deal with the fallout of Brett having made a date with Magenta for that night.



   Uh oh.





   Liz hightails it home and suggests that Jessica just cancel one of the dates. Jessica can't because the Hershey bar ate Brett's number and Pierre is going to be out all day. Ohnoes!
  Then Jessica gets a positively brilliant idea. Hey, Liz, remember when I said you'd owe me for the dress? Time to pay up! Todd'll totally understand you flaking out the weekend before Valentine's Day but neither of my true loves will, so it's time to Twin Up. Liz points out that she has no idea how to be Magenta or Daniella and that both boys have gone on dates with Jessica and Liz will just fuck things up.

   Fear not, Jessica has that covered as well. We'll take them to the Lotus House for Chinese and you'll sit in one dining room and I'll sit in the other and every 15 minutes we'll switch places. Luckily black works for sophisticated and edgy rocker. And Jessica will curl her hair and it'll be just like Liz's perm!



  What could possibly go wrong...



   Liz, as Daniella, finds that Pierre is full of shit, not knowing where Paris is (not on the Riviera, folks) and finds him a snob despite not knowing a damn thing about things he claims to know about. She orders ginger chicken before heading off to make a phone call.

  The twins switch and Liz voices her dislike of Pierre. Jessica points out that it's like, half of one date with the dude and by the time the night's over she'll have her date for the dance and just be cool, Liz, especially since you're being Magenta now.

  Liz as Magenta finds Brett to be just as big a faker as Pierre, if not more so since even Elizabeth knows that the Stones sing Sympathy for the Devil and not the Doors. She orders ginger chicken and doesn't really bother to make an excuse when her fifteen minutes are up even though Brett is trying to tell her something important as their dinner arrives.

   We follow Jessica back to Brett and she flips out when she realizes she's still wearing Daniella's watch. Honey, at this point I don't think Brett's gonna notice a watch. She takes a bite out of her dinner and nearly gags as apparently the twins do not agree on ginger. Still, she forces herself to shovel the food in because it's easier than making small talk, or something.
  When Brett works up the nerve to have his heart to heart with Magenta, Jessica runs off to the bathroom again. I kind of love her for not even thinking of being embarrassed about the fact that she's run to the bathroom three times in the last hour, leaving her date to probably think she's got some issue or another. Seriously, the thought does not cross her mind til much, much later.

   Back in the bathroom, Elizabeth has had enough of Pierre's bullshit and calls him on being a big faker. Considering she's pretending to be her twin who is pretending to be someone else, I'd say she's kind of lacking a leg to stand on but whatever. Jessica's ticked and heads off to make nice with Pierre, which leaves Liz to ruin things with Brett, too. The night with Pierre ends shortly after dinner and Jessica gets home before Elizabeth does.

  Liz somehow manages to be humiliated by all this which is something I sort of understand and sort of don't. These guys don't know she exists, so why would she care if they thought Magenta/Daniella was... I don't even follow the logic since she's the one calling people out on their lies. All she had to do was order a dinner she liked and pretend to care for fifteen minutes at a time. I get horribly bad secondhand embarrassment for people (real and fictional) and I've got some fantastic social anxiety going on but this? This sounds pretty simple, at least for the dinner portion.

   Anyway, the twins blow up at one another and Liz tells Jessica she's better off without the faking fakers and Jessica points out that this was not Elizabeth's decision to make. She's allowed to voice her opinion, but she doesn't get to decide who Jessica dates simply because she doesn't like them.
  The twins sleep it off and for once, Jessica is up and at 'em before Liz is in the morning. Jessica heads down to the tennis courts where she burns off her anger playing a set with Cara. While there she runs into a cute guy named Tony and realizes that when you have the choice between being Jessica Wakefield or being anyone else, duh, you choose Jessica Wakefield every time.

   Unfortunately back at home, Liz feels bad about ruining her sister's dates so she proves she's inept at plotting by calling both boys and having them come by the house at... the same time? She waits impatiently for Jess to come home but Jess doesn't make it home until just before Pierre arrives. Whoops. Liz disappears and Jess is ticked. They retire to the living room where Pierre confesses that his name is Pete and he's not at all like the guy he was pretending to be. Before Jessica can respond, the doorbell rings and Brett arrives.
  Turns out he's more like Pierre than rocker dude, and Jessica is once more interrupted by the doorbell. Suzanne and Dana have arrived together (but apart) because Jessica told them they could pick up their stuff that afternoon. Jessica storms upstairs to murder her twin but decides the homicide will have to wait after she realizes that maybe this madcap adventure was always doomed to failure. When she returns downstairs, she can't find anyone.

   The foursome is out on the patio by the pool and they've broken up into couples, with Dana chatting Pete up and Brett and Suzanne hitting it off. The newly minted couples drift off, leaving Jessica to get away with her lies mostly scott free.

   We end the book with Liz getting ready for the Valentine's Day Dance and people reacting to her permed hair with various shades of surprise and disbelief that the sensible twin wants to be more rebellious. Todd completely dismisses Elizabeth's feelings which is a bit unusual for old Todd, but Todd-with-money is a bit of an ass. I've always kind of felt that he went to Vermont and aliens took over his body. Anyway, Liz is determined to show everyone that Jessica isn't the only Wakefield with nerve.



Trivia Crack:

  • Lovestruck Computer Dating: Teens Our Specialty

  • As part of their opening promotion, Lovestruck is only charging $5 per application.

  • The receptionist at LS is a redhead.

  • Once a match is made, the girl gives LS permission to give her phone number to the guy, at least that's how it worked for Magenta and Daniella.

  • Daniella Fromage is an intellectual who loves foreign films, modern poetry, French cuisine, and world travel. Jessica gives her the barest hint of an accent and uses a throatier voice for her. "A meaningful conversation in front of a crackling fire, with an opera on the stereo" is her idea of the perfect evening.

  • Magenta Galaxy, on the other hand, is a wild rocker whose passions are everything new and anything hot. She likes fast cars, loud dance bands, and the latest fashions-the wilder, the better. Her perfect evening? Cruising the hippest music clubs in L.A. and ending the evening in a coffee shop at four in the morning, eating hamburgers and dancing on the counter top. She's got a royal blue streak in her bangs and an inch wide on the right side of her head. She also is prone to giant bangle bracelets.

  • Jessica still gets upset when forced to think about the breakup with A.J. This makes my little 'shipper heart absurdly happy.

  • The book takes place about a month before Valentine's Day since we cycle through at least three weekends.

  • Friday afternoon (two days after she signs up) Daniella has a match in Pierre Du Lac.

  • Pierre Du Lac was born in France and spent his childhood going back and forth between the Riviera and Paris, has traveled extensively "on the Continent and in Europe" (silly boy, it's the same thing), speaks four languages, plans to be a novelist or a museum curator, plays the piano, loves jogging and sailing, and his favorite foods are truffles and foie gras.

  • Pierre is tall and slim, with a "narrow and sensitive" face, light brown hair, dark lashes, bright blue eyes, is tanned, and has dimples when he smiles.

  • Prince Albert is so excited to see Jessica that he demands a hug before he'll leave her alone.

  • Jessica's appointment with Suzanne is at the Hanlon's home at 10am and she's on time.

  • Mason is the Hanlon's gloomy looking butler. I imagine living with Suzanne and her parents has probably sucked the joy from him.

  • Suzanne is in PBA with Jessica, something I forget.

  • The Hanlons have a solarium and have vacationed in Italy. They also have the albums, not scrapbooks, of photographs to prove it.

  • Suzanne lends Jessica a Neiman-Marcus shopping bag with several silk blouses, 2 Chanel purses, two designer scarves, a pair of Gucci shoes, and several accessories.

  • As of this book, Liz is still practicing her recorder.

  • Chez Sam is in Pacific Shores and their menus are all in French. No English for you.

  • Jessica knows that thon is French for tuna fish, so she orders thon aux herbes so she doesn't accidentally wind up eating calves' brains or something equally disgusting. Pierre follows suit.

  • Pierre claims he ordered in English because the waiter was French Canadian and their accents were just too different, so English was easier.

  • Brett S. wants to be a race car driver or a rock guitarist, or maybe both. He believes in "living life to the max." He says he's tall, dark, and wild and likes his girls to be tall, blond, and wild. He drives his father's old brown Oldsmobile. He's tall and lean with golden brown eyes, dark brown hair, a strong jaw, high cheekbones, and a black leather jacket he apparently wears the hell out of. He shows up to their first date wearing said jacket, a white t-shirt, skintight black jeans, and black motorcycle boots, as well as dark sunglasses. (Sunglasses at Night. I did not realize one could do duck lips while singing but hey, the 80's were a progressive time)

  • Since when is 5'6" for a girl considered tall?

  • Jess imagines that Brett will be tall and lanky with a leather jacket, swept back black hair, piercing dark eyes, and a "very kissable mouth."

  • Jessica admits that she admires Dana for her style and envies her ability to get up in front of crowds and sing with The Droids.

  • Brett calls Magenta at 4pm Sunday, has just the sort of voice Jessica imagined: cool, sulky, and sexy. Because... sulky is sexy?

  • Brett is taking Magenta to the Rock Spot (located outside of the Valley) at 8pm Saturday night. X-Press is playing.

  • Dana brings a tape deck to her crash course with Jessica in the cafeteria at SVH.

  • Dana agrees because Jessica claims it's True Love.

  • Various bands mentioned during the Magenta storyline: Blues Hogs (too derivitive according to Brett), Psychedelic Overtones, X-Press, the Beatles, the Doors, and the Rolling Stones.

  • Jumping Jimmy's showcases new talent every Thursday night.

  • Jessica has taped maps of Europe and pictures of French paintings all over her walls during this.

  • Jessica is also the one who inadvertently prompts The New Elizabeth when she points out that while she might fly too close to the sun, Elizabeth never even thinks of getting off the ground.

  • Elizabeth's first act of being less predictable? She writes DARE TO BE DIFFERENT in her journal.

  • Lila's housekeeper is still Eva.

  • Lila is upset that Jessica went to Suzanne Hanlon instead of coming her to her for her sophistication crash course.

  • Jessica claims it's because Lila is more real than Suzanne is, but it's really because Suzanne is Old Money and Lila is very much New Money.

  • Lila has a pink upholstered chair in her room, but both girls hang out on her canopy bed for their study session.

  • Quiz questions include: What is an aubergine? (eggplant), Who is the conductor of The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields? (it's chamber music and Sir Neville Marriner is), Who painted Starry Night (Jessica initially guesses Renoir), Who is Abbie Hoffman (Jessica guesses the lead guitarist for the Dead and then files him under "dead Hippie"), and Where's the best place to buy vintage records in Sweet Valley? (Tune Town on Fifth Street)

  • Lila asks about David Hockney but he's not on Jessica's list so she has no time. Lila points out that if she's asked, she can't say that but Jessica's not worried.

  • Liz comforts herself with the notion that she can always order ginger ale instead of root beer, but also admits this is pretty lame as far as being different goes. (It really, really is, Liz. Root beer is the superior choice in this case and dammit, now I want some.)

  • Jessica splits the cost of the dress Elizabeth wants from Lisette's. Aww.

  • Le Chou Farci is the most expensive restaurant in town and Suzanne claims her family eats there at least once a week.

  • When Daniella says she wants to "drown myself in the dance", Pierre asks which dance. Jessica is puzzled because The Dance is ballet.

  • Pierre also thinks Fellini is pasta, but Jessica is sure he's joking.

  • Pierre claims to love Verdet's poetry as well as Baroness Rolfenhausen, who is better known in Europe than in America. Or y'know, is fictional.

  • Their next date is set for the Odeon, Sweet Valley's revival movie theater, Wednesday evening.

  • Jessica wants Pierre to kiss her hand and both cheeks because "It would be so European." She still practically swoons when he just kisses her on the lips.

  • Liz and Todd bailed on their lame movie and after Todd leaves, Elizabeth decides to paint her toenails red as another step in the direction of Different.

  • Alice wonders where the strange things like the paratrooper outfit and the black rubber and clear plastic necklace in Jessica's room have come from.

  • Jessica hates heavy metal.

  • Brett claims he comes to the club to hear the music and that dancing ruins that.

  • On her way out the door to the movie from hell with Pierre, Jessica notices a strand of blue left in her hair, so she yanks it out.

  • Pierre confuses Ingrid Bergman with Ingmar Bergman.

  • Brett is at the movie from hell.

  • Liz and Enid always sit at a table in the middle of the lunchroom with a bunch of their friends.

  • Brett takes Magenta to Jax which is one of those places where people throw themselves off the stage.

  • Jessica trims her own split ends.

  • Liz finishes A Tale of Two Cities and thinks Jessica would like it. Alice and I remain skeptical.

  • Sheer Glamour is running a Two Week Perm for $20 special.

  • Pierre is set to pick Daniella up at 6pm and Brett is picking Magenta up at 6:15.

  • Brett calls Lila to set up a date for Magenta at 11:15am, and Lila spends the morning calling the Wakefields but can't get through because Jessica is on the line each time Lila calls.

  • Lila runs into Liz at Lisette's and tells her about the date.

  • Lotus House is a large Chinese restaurant with two dining rooms, thus enabling the switching back and forth. It's on Fremont Blvd, just past the Bank of California.

  • Pierre is on a San Fransisco kick, saying they have the best Chinese food outside the People's Republic, of course. He also waxes poetic about their theater, exhibits, "that sort of thing." Liz, as Daniella, is not impressed.

  • When pressed, Pierre says his last exhibit was on Greek pottery, but it wasn't as good as anything at the Louvre. Liz thinks he's just name dropping now.

  • Liz happens to be at the table during the ordering portion of both dates and she orders ginger chicken both times.

  • Jessica hates ginger and wishes Liz got something normal like moo shu pork.

  • Liz judges Brett for ordering sweet and sour pork since it's not all that exciting. She'd probably hate my orders then.

  • Brett stumbles and attributes Sympathy for the Devil to the Doors and not the Stones. Even Liz knows he's wrong, but give him another four/five years and he just might not have known it was a cover. Then again, I'm guessing he wouldn't know who Guns N' Roses are either.

  • Tony Mangino is 5'10" (he's described as four inches taller than Jess) with straight blond hair, blue eyes, a dimple in his chin, and is supposed to be really cute. He's also smart enough to not tell Jessica that she plays well for a girl but that she plays well for anyone. He's Jessica's date for the Valentine's Dance.

  • Jessica leaves Pete Lake (in his black jeans and black t-shirt) in the living room when she answers the door.

  • Brett gets left in the den and he shows up wearing a bright blue polo shirt, chinos, and brown boat shoes. He and Suzanne are both going to the Altschuler Gallery that afternoon.





Quotes:
"I'm telling you, Liz. The boys around here are so immature it makes me want to join a convent sometimes."
"The junior and senior boys would have to proclaim a national day of mourning if you did that." - Jess and Liz know how to open a story, page 1.

She tried not to ogle the fine antiques and lavishly decorated rooms as she followed Mason through the house. She knew it wasn't classy to ogle. - Oh, Jess. page 19

"Listen, Jess, don't you think it's kind of useless, all this studying you're doing? You're trying to turn yourself into something you're not."
"I'm not yet, but I could be," her twin insisted in a confident voice. "Why shouldn't I go for something I want? You never get anything if you don't take a chance." - For once Jessica makes sense, page 33

"For your information," Lila said, "Abbie Hoffman was that sixties radical hippie who died in 1989. Even I know that."
Jessica looked at the ceiling. "OK, OK. Abbie Hoffman, dead hippie." - page 42

She knew the French ate some pretty horrible things, but she wasn't willing to be that sophisticated. - Jessica draws the lines at calves' brains, page 52

For the time being, though, Magenta was going to going to listen to the music and enjoy it, even if Jessica had to go deaf doing it! - page 70

"You look awfully pretty, Jess," her father said as he passed her in the hall. "I hope I didn't have to pay for that outfit, though." page 73

"First of all," Enid began, "you can't plan to be more spontaneous. That's a contradiction in terms." - You tell her, Enid. page 78

Jessica and Lila were always involving each other in their crazy schemes. Their whole friendship seemed to be built on mutual plots and subterfuges. - Precisely. page 83

"Speaking of Jessica, where is she?" Mrs. Wakefield asked. "Sleeping?"
Elizabeth smiled. "Remember, she needs her beauty sleep, Mom."
"At this rate, she'll be the most beautiful girl in the world." - page 85

"It's her problem, not yours."
At that, Elizabeth let out a short, sarcastic laugh. "Lila, Jessica's problems always have a way of turning into my problems." - Liz knows what's what, page 92

Jessica crossed her arms. "I figured out what to do about tonight."
"That's good," Elizabeth replied. A little crease of uncertainty appeared in her forehead. "What are you going to do?"
"You mean, what are we going to do," Jessica corrected her.
Elizabeth whirled around to face her twin. "What are you talking about?" Her heart began pounding.
Jessica walked over and stood next to Elizabeth. Their identical images looked back at them from the mirror. "We've done it before," Jessica said softly. - This is the set up to an entirely different kind of story, I suspect. page 98

"What were you and Brett talking about, just so I know?"
"Oh, classic rock 'n' roll. The Beatles, you know. All those ancient bands." - Liz and Jessica making people feel old since forever. Page 110.

What's going on? she wondered. First Pierre thinks Paris on the Riviera, and now Brett mixes up classic songs even I know about! -Liz, page 113


Fashion File:
The strapless dress was made of a shimmery fabric that looked blue from one angle and green from another. - Liz's Valentine's dress from Lisette's.

Dana looked down at her wrists. She was wearing four thick black bangles on each arm. They went perfectly with her skintight black pants, black and white-checked shoes, and lime green T-shirt. In one ear she wore a guitar pick dangling from a silver wire. - The 80's-ness of this, it burns! page 30

Daniella wears a cream colored silk blouse, navy blue linen pants with a silk scarf in red, blue, and gold artfully tied over the shirt. She opts for Suzanne's little red bag and her own blue suede flats complete the look. Her hair is "pulled back neatly and clipped with a wide gold barrette." pages 44 and 50.
For her outfit, she had chosen tight black bicycle pants, a black tank top, and a red leather jacket she had borrowed from Lila. Almost anything from Dana's collection would look right with the ensemble.
"The guitar pick earring, definitely," Elizabeth said. "And those black bangles." - Magenta's first outfit, page 64

She glanced at her reflection in the hall mirror. The blue jacket and white linen skirt were two more items borrowed from Suzanne.
She turned her head from side to side to admire her borrowed pearl stud earrings. - page 73

On Thursday night Jessica had another blue streak in her hair. She wriggled into a blue strapless minidress and fastened a necklace of dice and tiddlywinks around her neck. In among the clicking pieces were Scrabble tiles that spelled out "Hard Rock." - Jessica completes this look with a side ponytail on the right side of her head, page 79



The French movie that probably haunted everyone who read this: "As far as Jessica could tell, all the characters believed they were in purgatory, though to her it looked just like a doctor's waiting room. Every once in a while a nurse would call someone's name, and that person would look shocked and begin talking morosely about his childhood. Then the scene would switch to someone's apartment, and the characters would begin to talk about opera and the family's cheese-making factory. It didn't make any sense at all!

To make matters worse, every once in awhile a little red ball would roll across whatever room the characters were in. No one in the film seemed to notice it. Jessica didn't have the slightest idea what it was supposed to symbolize, but she knew she had to have an opinion by the time the film was over."


 photo whoswho_eng_zpslg7x26zg.png




   Who's Who? is a fun read. I particularly love the bits of twin bonding between Liz and Jessica, like when Jessica gives Liz the money for the dress and how Liz helps Jessica get ready for her dates. It's sweet and it's why I love to read the SV books, honestly. I have sister envy something fierce and WW definitely feeds right into that.
  Magenta Galaxy is definitely worth remembering and was definitely ahead of her time. :p The B/C plot is a bit weird since it's all a set up for the next book but really, this book couldn't handle anything too heavy plot wise since there's a lot of crazy going on with the Daniella/Magenta antics. I do find it funny that only one person matched up for both personalities but hey, let's not pick too much at this book. It's what, 25 years old?

   And now you feel old, too, so my job here is done! And looking back on this, holy crap, this is long. It feels like it's longer than the book itself. Oops. Sorry about that. Maybe it'll make up for the three year absence? Cover wise, am I the only one getting Geena Davis vibes from Jess/Magenta?

Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] luxken27 for the scan of the original book cover. Also, happy belated birthday!









*- Or, y'know, not. I moved twice in the last two years and there was the year of having to pack prior to the first move (you live somewhere for 15 years, you accumulate a lot of crap. Double that when someone finds all the crap you never unpacked from the previous house where your family lived for like, 30/40 years. A LOT of those things were books and for awhile there I couldn't stand to LOOK at another book, let alone do anything with them. Throw in a few waltzes with death and general fuckery and here we are. No evil twins, however. Not that I'm aware of anyway...
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Boy Trouble
January 1990

Photobucket
Patty's life is falling apart.
Can Elizabeth help?



  Boy Trouble, or, the book that took forever to recap because life got in the way! Yeah, we'll go with Boy Trouble. Less tricky to pronounce. :p
   Don't let the cover fool you; Elizabeth Wakefield is barely a supporting character in this tale. Jessica, on the other hand, is our comedic b-story, but that would take away from the pain and anguish poor Patty is emoting on the cover. Or something.
  Patty Gilbert's thrilled. Her boyfriend, Jim Hollis, is finally coming for a visit after three long weeks of studying up at Pacific College, where he's a freshman. Unfortunately for her, her older sister, Jana, chooses that same weekend to descend upon the family with a big surprise. Since Patty hasn't seen her sister in six months, she tries to call Jim to see if he can visit the following weekend instead. Only Jim isn't answering his phone. Ever. Patty's a little worried by this, but tries to tell herself it's perfectly natural for someone not to answer their phone at midnight on a Thursday. Given the number of drunk people who race across the road every Thursday on my way to work, I'll say nothing further about the subject.

   Jim arrives in the Valley and for one moment everything is perfect. They kiss and talk cute and both are just so happy to see one another that this couldn't possibly explode in their faces, right? Riiiiiight.
  When Patty drops the news about Jana, Jim does what every thoughtful and considerate boyfriend would do. He gracefully bows out of the weekend's plans and decides to spend quality time with his family, or perhaps just chill at the beach with any of his remaining SV friends. No? Okay, then he points out that since he and Patty have been dating for two years, obviously the Gilberts wouldn't mind him joining in on the family activities once Patty knows what they are. No?
  No.

  Instead, Jim reacts as if Patty has just run over his foot and told him to walk it off. "But I drove two hours after cramming for a calculus test!" and other such facts are thrown about. Dude. Go take a nap or something. Instead he lays into his girlfriend for wanting to spend time with her sister. Nice, Hollis. Real nice. In return, Patty jumps to the most obvious conclusion: he's picking a fight with her because he's cheating and wants to get back to PC so he can score with girls who are not his girlfriend. You bastard!
   Yeah. Jim doesn't see that one coming and the two end up breaking up then and there. Awkward. On the drive home, Patty debates turning around and admitting that she obviously took twice the legal limit of crazy this morning and perhaps they should discuss things like the adults they so obviously fancy themselves to be. Instead she decides to let them cool off and resume the fight at a later time. Besides, Jana's home and ohmygosh, this couldn't possibly go wrong in any way, right?!
  Why do you keep jinxing yourself, woman?

   Jana's home alright. And she's brought Ted with her. Ted? Ted. Ted is Jana's fiancé . Surprise!
  Patty reacts the way most of us would. "Wait, last I heard you weren't even dating anyone. Are you knocked up?" Well, fine, she doesn't say that last part, but the first part is definitely thought. Then Patty pastes a smile on her face and tries to summon up some happy for her sister because marriage is a big deal.
  But wait, there's more! Jana's getting married in two weeks! Surprise!
  And then she and Ted are moving to West Germany! Trifecta of surprises!

   Patty is a bit stunned by this, and I don't blame her. On a good day, this would be enough to put me in a bit of a funk because you're losing your sister (that's how it'll feel, anyway) and having to plan a wedding in an extraordinarily short time. But remember, Patty isn't having a good day. Her day sucks because she and her longtime boyfriend just broke up... and now she'll be hearing nothing but wedding talk. Congratulations, Patty, I think this qualifies as a level of hell. Enjoy your stay.
  Sadly, Patty doesn't use her one drama queen for a day card at the start of this whole mess, by bursting into tears and having someone say, it's not that bad, we'll still talk on the phone and then she could blurt out the whole Jim situation and bam! Crises averted. But no, that would make the book too short, so instead she reacts as a mature adult and represses her true feelings, figuring that she'll have time to talk to Jana later.
   Fool.

  B-story time! Jessica Wakefield is tired of the same old boys, the same old scene, the same old thing. She's tired of the beach (yawn, another beach cookout for another former boy toy's birthday), she's tired of the boring boys who go to boring old Sweet Valley High... so she winds up at a Crafts Fair at the mall, looking for something, or someone, different. Instead she finds a bunch of old hippies and she is not impressed. Shopping wise though, things have gone well. She runs into DeeDee Gordon who begs her to watch over her t-shirt booth while DeeDee runs to get lunch and something to drink. Jessica reluctantly agrees, since she's not in a massive hurry to admit defeat and head over to the beach party.
   While manning DeeDee's booth, Jessica makes eye contact with a seriously handsome twenty-something guy. He makes his way over to 'her' booth and the two flirt up a storm. Well, at least Jessica thinks they're flirting. Vincent seems to be interested in DeeDee's shirts, but naturally assumes Jessica's the artist he wants. Jessica doesn't correct him, figuring he won't care one way or another since she's Jessica Wakefield and once he's had a chance to date her, who'd even remember some painted t-shirts at a crafts fair?
  Vincent promises to call her and Jessica is sure he will. And he does. Eventually. He says he wants Jessica to meet his partner, Cassie, and they can hammer out the details concerning selling her shirts in their store. Jessica figures they're painted shirts, how hard can it be?
   Based on the shocked reactions that greet her (and her own frank admission that they're awful), pretty hard. Turns out Vincent really did want the shirts and not a date with Jessica (shocker!) and while Cassie does try to let Jessica down easy, Vincent wants the name of the real artist. He then calls DeeDee who is over the moon at having her artwork recognized as good enough to sell. Aww, DeeDee. If only I cared more about you, I'd be touched.


  Back to Patty's predicament. DeeDee decides that Patty should get out of the house and invites her to the movies with Bill and Bill's friend Craig. Patty reluctantly agrees and I have to admit that Craig is actually amusing and I wish he'd pop up again. Who knew that was possible? Anyway, they all head to the movies and of course it's a love story (DeeDee, we need to talk about your friendship status...) and by the end of the film, Patty has decided she can work things out with Jim. Unfortunately, the lights go up and Patty sees Jim... with another girl.
   Also? Jim totally sees Craig with his arm around Patty. Not good. When Jim calls to explain that the girl he was with is his cousin (in town for the crafts fair), Patty blows up and tells him to go fuck himself. Nice, Gilbert.
  Depressed, Patty isn't exactly in the mood for her interview with Elizabeth. Liz is starting this new column called Personal Profiles, which is a spotlight on a senior at SVH. Patty is their first star. I do have to take a minute to bitch that Liz and her friends act like it's going to be super hard to do PP and Eyes & Ears at the same time. Really? I ain't buying that from Serious Reporter Elizabeth Wakefield, so stop it right now.
   Anyway, Liz invites Patty over to talk, off the record, and points out that she's a good listener, even though thus far she hasn't exactly proven that to be true this book. Whatever, Patty goes and the two discuss Jim, Jana, and how Patty wouldn't be able to limit herself to an hour a weekend by the pool. I'm with you, Patty.
  Liz convinces Patty that it's possible Jim's 'date' was simply a friend, like Craig was just a friend of Bill's and not an actual movie date. Patty agrees and drives by his house after leaving Elizabeth's. But there he is, playing Frisbee on the front lawn with his cousin. How dare he?! Patty speeds by and is most upset.
   Eventually Patty tells Jana that maybe if she spent a little less time stressing about a wedding she chose to orchestrate in less than two weeks and a little more time on the fact that Patty is clearly unhappy, maybe she wouldn't a colossal bitch of a sister. Jana fires back that Patty's been this incredibly awful sister for not being thrilled to help plan things in minute detail. The two are not speaking to one another at all by the weekend before the wedding. Oops.

  The deep freeze continues until Jana makes a scheduling mistake and needs Patty to drive her to the bridal shop for her dress fitting. Patty agrees to drive her, but when they arrive at the store, Jana then wants Patty to come in with her. Again, Patty agrees, but makes Jana promise to be quick. Yeah, that's not gonna happen, Patty.
   Doesn't matter because this is a set-up so that Patty will take one look at Jana in her wedding dress and start to thaw. Patty realizes that she should be there for Jana at her wedding and they've got such a short time left that they shouldn't be fighting... assuming Jana apologizes first. And she does. Aww, the two make-up and go home to really discuss the break-up between Jim and Patty. By now Patty knows the girl was Jim's cousin (Jessica bought some earrings from her, Liz admired the earrings and found out the true identity of the mystery girl, and quickly headed over to Patty's house to deliver the news.) but he won't answer any of her calls, so obviously he's avoiding her even though this is well before caller ID. SIGH. But Patty did write this really heartfelt letter she's been too chicken to send. Jana gets an idea...
  Turns out Jim is on some special class trip for his geology course and is in the mountains without any contact with the outside world really. Jana sends Patty's letter to him and includes a note of her own, asking him to call her when he gets the letter. He does and a Plan is made.

  Wedding day! Everyone is all teary and happy and blah, blah, blah. While walking down the aisle, Patty spies her boyfriend (ex?) standing at the end of the second row of pews in the church. Jim! He kisses her on the cheek and later, at the reception we find out that Ted, who'd previously disappeared from his own wedding rehearsal dinner, prompting Patty to wonder about him, drove out to pick Jim up so he could surprise Patty at the wedding. The two make up and not a word is said about Jim's insane blow-up that prompted this whole mess.
   Aww?

  The book ends with Jessica bemoaning the lack of interesting guys in SV. Next up?
What kind of scheme does Jessica have planned to meet the boy of her dreams? Find out in Sweet Valley High #62, Who's Who?


Trivia:

  • Liz has a new column: Personal Profiles. It centers on one senior and details their plans for the future as well as highlighting some of their memorable experiences at SVH.

  • Patty Gilbert is the first person up to be interviewed for PP. She's got dark, almond eyes and long black hair.

  • Jessica's best friends are apparently Lila and Amy with no mention of Cara whatsoever. Sad face.

  • There's a Crafts Fair at the Mall over the weekend. One of DeeDee's friends from her design class at the Civics Center was supposed to help her run her booth, but they came down with the flu.

  • DeeDee brings 20 shirts to the Crafts Fair.

  • The Crafts Fair starts at noon, but all the vendors must arrive an hour earlier to set up. Poor DeeDee has one of the outside booths in the mall parking lot.

  • Jim Hollis is Patty's boyfriend. He's a freshman at Pacific College.

  • Pacific College is two hours north of SV.

  • Most of Patty's plans for Jim's visit seem to include food, including a picnic at the beach and a romantic dinner.

  • Jim has a calculus test Friday.

  • Much is made about the fact that Jim hasn't been home in three weeks and hasn't been calling as much. Bad form, Hollis.

  • Also bad form? Liz says, "I thought you two got together every weekend" mere minutes after DeeDee told her this hadn't been true for the past three weeks. Liz, learn to listen!

  • Patty is supposed to visit Liz at home 7pm Sunday evening for her PP interview.

  • Patty writes this info on her notebook cover as a reminder and I immediately suffer flashbacks to middle and high school.

  • Patty takes the bus to dance class at the Modern Dance Academy. The bus stop, at the corner of Ocean Avenue and Ridgeview, is three blocks from her home.

  • Mrs. Gilbert drives a Buick and works at a computer consulting firm.

  • Jana Gilbert, 21, is Patty's older sister. She lives in San Francisco, where she has a job at Bay Area Environmental Coalition, a non profit environmental organization, and drives a blue VW. She hasn't been home in six months.

  • There's a palm tree outside Patty's bedroom window.

  • Patty plans to follow Jim to Pacific College, where she'll study liberal arts and major in dance.

  • When Jim gets back to town, he calls Patty and DeeDee's house.

  • Jim's house on Orchard Road is a stucco ranch design.

  • Orchard Road seems to intersect Ocean Avenue. For those of you making a map at home, that is.

  • Jim gets inexplicably angry when Patty tells him that Jana is in town and that their couple weekend is going to be massively downgraded. While I can understand why he'd be upset at the plans changing, given the fact that Jana seems to seriously think Patty/Jim are one day going to get married themselves, it makes no sense to not invite him along for part of the surprise weekend. In any case, dude goes OFF and it's never explained why he's so pissed off.

  • Patty accuses Jim of cheating.

  • Ted Brewster is Jana's fiancé . He's a tall, broad shouldered, handsome black man who drives a sports car and is in the Air Force. He's originally from Philadelphia, where his mother, Martha, is a second grade teacher and his father is the principal of an elementary school. He's an only child. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and in three weeks he will be transfered to an Air Force base in West Germany.

  • That's right, Jana and Ted have two weeks to plan their wedding. Surprise!

  • Mr. Gilbert courted his bride-to-be by visiting her every Sunday for two years, sitting in the parlor room with her parents as chaperons. Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert say it was decidedly not love at first sight.

  • The wedding reception will be held at the Gilbert's home and Jana wants Reverend Jacobsen to officiate.

  • Jana's wedding dress is coming from Elaine's Bridals.

  • Bill is out surfing with a friend of his, Craig McCaffrey.

  • Alert the media: Jessica Wakefield is bored with the beach scene. Not even a cookout on the beach in honor of Aaron's birthday can cheer her up.

  • DeeDee informs a customer that all of her t-shirts are large because people like to wear them big. Customer agrees and shells out money that even Jess finds a little pricey.

  • By 1pm, DeeDee has sold six shirts already. Her system for keeping track of the shirts is fairly simple. Each shirt is priced and marked with a number so that when one is sold, DeeDee writes it down in a book to keep track of which styles went first. By the end of the day she's sold 19 shirts.

  • Vincent Deleno, 20, is the co-owner of Blue Parrot Crafts. He's got longish black hair, sexy brown eyes, and is rugged and romantic. When Jessica first sees him, she thinks he's an Italian director or maybe a famous artist.

  • Blue Parrots Crafts sells handmade pottery and glass, as well as unique women's clothing and accessories.

  • Normally, Patty eats 2-3 slices of pizza from Guido's.

  • Patty's studied all kinds of dance, including ballet, but says she prefers modern and jazz.

  • After the disaster at the movie theatre, where Jim thought Patty was dating Craig and Patty thought Jim was dating his cousin, Jim calls to explain his side but Patty goes off on him, hanging up before he can say much of anything at all.

  • Patty's usual Sunday breakfast includes bacon, eggs, and cinnamon coffee cake.

  • The phone in Patty's room is beige. Ah, memories.

  • Liz loves fresh pineapple and tries to allot herself at least one hour by the pool every Sunday.

  • Patty's bridesmaid dress is from Bibi's. It's cornflower blue with tiny white flowers, a scooped neckline, and little puff sleeves.

  • Alice Wakefield usually works til 6pm.

  • The Wakefield's kitchen phone cord reaches all the way to the dining room.

  • Mr. Gilbert is left in charge of the wine and champagne at the reception.

  • Aunt Marlene is throwing Jana a bridal shower, and cousin Tracy (a junior at SVH) is tapped to be Jana's maid of honor when Patty and Jana blow up at one another. Tracy doesn't mind stepping down when the sisters make up.

  • Jim Daley asks Jessica out for Friday night and she turns him down.

  • DeeDee buys her fabric paint at Ferriter's Design Supply on Main Street.

  • Patty doesn't have dance class on Wednesdays.

  • Jana's problems: The caterers need the menu and a headcount by the day after tomorrow, the florist can't get gerber daisies for the centerpieces, and she has to hire an organist to play during the ceremony because one is not included in the church. *

  • Jess ditches cheerleading practice to meet with Vincent and Cassie at Blue Parrot. Robin runs practice.

  • After the disastrous meeting, Vincent calls DeeDee and offers her the same opportunity he offered Jessica when he thought she was the artist. DeeDee flips out at her designs being sold in a real store.

  • Jana seems to consider DeeDee a part of their extended family and this gives me warm fuzzies.

  • When Jana makes up her mind to do something, she does it. Case in point, getting Jim and Patty back together.

  • Jim went to the mountains for two weeks for a geology course. His mother suggests sending a letter care of general delivery at the local Post Office.

  • Ted's family makes it to SV Thursday and the Gilberts invite them over to dinner. This is the first time they've met Jana. The Brewsters are hosting the rehearsal dinner at the Valley Inn, which Liz remembers as the last place Jeffrey took her when they were dating. *sniffle*

  • Ted's best man is Marshall Borden, an Air Force buddy.

  • Patty and Jim's two year anniversary was a "a few months ago" at the Valley Inn.

  • Ted disappears after Marshall's toast and only Patty seems to notice or care.

  • Jana is set to walk down the aisle at 11:30AM, but they're still home at 11AM.

  • Jana feels like getting married is that magical step that will turn her into a grown-up.

  • Patty's Maid of Honor gift is a gold chain with a pearl pendant.

  • The florists forgot to bring the men's boutonnières.

  • Patty doesn't get nervous when she dances in front of an audience, but she is nervous to walk down the aisle during her sister's wedding. Oddly enough, I of the terrible stage fright (and complete fear of public speaking), had no problem heading down the aisle at my friend's wedding.

  • While walking down the aisle, Patty sees a tall, handsome young man in a gray suit, standing at the end of the second row of pews. Jim! Just before she stands at the front of the church to await Jana's entrance, Jim kisses Patty on the cheek. I may have aww'd at this moment.

  • Patty's whole family was in on the plot to reunite Jim and Patty. Aww and again I say they'd have been fine with Jim taking part of some of the weekend fun when Jana first arrived!

  • When DeeDee asked Jessica about Vincent's offer, Jessica pretended she'd simply forgotten the conversation, not that she'd tried to swoop in and date Vincent.






Quotes:
   One thing was for sure: They needed this weekend together if their romance was going to survive. - Three weeks, guys. That's all I'm sayin'. p7

  "I'll never forget the first time I saw him. He was wearing his uniform, and he looked like something out of a movie. An Officer and a Gentlemen, you know?"
  Patty nodded. She didn't think he was that handsome, but there was no need to upset Jana. - Because upsetting her will come later. p33/34

   "This way I'll be standing at the altar to prompt you. I could even hold cue cards if you want."
  Jana giggled and rolled her eyes. "I think I can manage 'I do.'" - Patty/Jana, p35

Jessica hated keeping secrets, and for the past week had been dying to announce her latest caper. - p122


  "You must be starving after that brutal cheerleading practice," Elizabeth joked, rummaging in her book bag for the keys. - Geez, Liz, don't be such a cheer-hater. Given the comments characters have made over the series, I'd say Jess probably is hungry after working her ass off for the last hour or so. Shove it, middle Wakefield. p135

   "Dad, I'm so nervous," Patty whispered as they stood in the back of the church, listening to the organist's prelude.
   "Me, too," Mr. Gilbert admitted, smoothing the lapels of his morning coat. "I've never been the father of the bride before." p 143



Fashion File:
  Jessica emerged from her bedroom. She frowned down at Elizabeth, who was wearing shorts and an oversize t-shirt over her new powder blue bathing suit. - p41

   She wove her way among the lunch tables, her mint-green jersey miniskirt swinging against her slim, tanned legs. - Jessica always dresses to kill? p91

  Five minutes later she reemerged into the now empty hallway. Instead of the bright blue tank top and stone-washed miniskirt she had worn to school, Jessica had changed into a boxy, wheat-colored linen jacket and matching knee-length skirt that she had smuggled out of Elizabeth's closet that morning. The jacket sleeves could be rolled up slightly, and with a lacy camisole, her new earrings, and her hair loose, Jessica thought she looked artsy, sophisticated... and entirely irresistible. - p123


* Jana, we need to talk. These aren't problems enough to push you over the edge. Having to guard the wedding cake because you don't want the bride's little sister to destroy it after she feels ignored all day while trying not to make the bride feel like she's being ignored? Yeah. That's a problem. Yours are just part of the whole "getting married in two weeks, yay!" thing.

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(on the right, hardback)


   Sooo... this took forever. 2011 sucked. My computer died a couple of weeks ago which wiped out my review of this as well as my picture folders (noooooooooo) and... yeah. Mostly 2011 sucked and this year wasn't really off to a great start either. :/

  That aside, Boy Trouble isn't actually a bad book. I like the way it's written, and I'll try not to hold the miscommunication against anyone for long because there's no point in it. Patty's justifiably upset at the people in her life, but she's not overly obnoxious about it. She's able to be happy for DeeDee when things are going well in her life while Patty's still broken up over Jim and Jana's non-stop wedding chatter. She realizes she should be happy for Jana and does try, though apparently it's easy to see through her although NO ONE asks her about it at home. That's a little odd, truthfully.
  Jessica's B-story is fun and isn't drawn out too long, either. She gets called out on her scheme but still manages to avoid outright humiliation, and it serves as a nice set-up for the next book.
  Overall, it's one of the better written books and is fairly believable at times, plus I love the way Jana and Patty tease one another. Also? Craig is love.
the_oracle: (left of normal)
Brokenhearted
September 1989



Who is Elizabeth's true love?
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Todd's back...



  When Todd Wilkins moved to Vermont, Elizabeth Wakefield's heart was broken. She thought that she would never get over losing him. But after months passed, Elizabeth fell in love again. Now she and Jeffrey French are one of the happiest couples at Sweet Valley High.
   Then Todd writes to Elizabeth and tells her that he is moving back to Sweet Valley and that he still cares for her. Although she loves Jeffrey, Elizabeth realizes she still has strong feelings for Todd. Suddenly she is faced with a very difficult choice-a choice between the only two boys she has ever loved. What will Elizabeth do?

  So it's probably come as no surprise to anyone who's been playing along that I've been dragging my feet getting around to the end of Jeffrey. It's weird, because before I started the re-read, I thought Jeffrey was nice but enh. A placeholder until Todd came back rich and things really got weird. But either I've changed or my memory was shot because Jeffrey? Was a pretty damn good boyfriend. He didn't let Liz walk all over him, he had his own interests that he didn't force on her, and Liz didn't cheat on him all the damn time. Go figure.
   Still, all good things come to an end... so I present to you, Brokenhearted. Grab your tissues because Jeffrey's going to do the Right Thing. Again. Damn it.

  Last time in the Valley, Lila dropped the bombshell that Todd Wilkins was moving back to the Valley. This time she ups the ante by knowing that he's moving to the same neighborhood that holds the Patman estate and Fowler Crest. Dude is rich now and this interests Lila more than a little. Liz is a little confused and hurt. Why did Todd write and let everyone else in the town know, but leave her hanging? Does this mean he doesn't care? Does it mean he does and he just couldn't find the words? What does it all mean?
  To add insult to injury, Liz has to tell Jeffrey what everyone else already knows. Todd's back and you're gonna be in trouble, French. Jessica is so excited at the thought of all this potential drama that she wakes up early, on a Monday morning no less, to ask Liz what the hell she's going to do. Liz hasn't been sleeping well and is not really in the mood for Jessica's natural curiosity. Which is a shame because I'm actually a big fan of these little sisterly scenes. Woe. Jeffrey takes it sort of well. He doesn't do cartwheels at the thought but he's not punching his locker in preparation for a fight to the death over one Elizabeth Wakefield. So, good on you, Jeffrey.
   Of course then we fall into a time warp issue. This book goes by the thought that Jeffrey and Todd have not met. Bullshit. They met in that one Super Special that was so spectacular a puzzle was made in it's honor. Dude, once you've got merchandise, it's a little late to play the "never happened" card. The other elephant in the room is that Liz never denies that she might still be interested in Todd and both Jeffrey and Liz notice her lack of denial.
  Liz's emotions are thrown further into the blender when she arrives home and finds a letter from Todd waiting for her. It looks like it's been all over the country, twice, in a hand basket headed for hell, but still. He wrote to her. Her eyes well up with tears when she realizes that if the date on his letter is correct, it means she had to have been one of the first people (if not the first) to know about the move. Actually reading the letter, Todd says that he wanted her to be the first to know and he ends his little letter by letting her know he's still in love with her and that while he's going to be going to a new school and she's dating someone else, he hopes that with the distance between them erased, he has a chance at being the new Mr. Elizabeth Wakefield. Yes. I might be paraphrasing a bit, but you get the idea.
  Liz is torn. By the way she's reacting to a letter, she acknowledges the fact that she's obviously not as over Todd as she thought. But there's still Jeffrey to consider. She luffs him, she truly does... doesn't she?

   Todd makes his triumphant return to the Valley and his first stop, after dropping stuff off at the new house, is to see Liz. The spark immediately, and awkwardly, flares back to life and Jessica has to bounce into the room to keep the two former lovebirds from doing things Jeffrey would really rather they didn't. Ned and Alice invite Todd back to the house for a dinner in his honor the following Wednesday and again I say, "DUDE. Your daughter HAS a boyfriend. Are you inviting Jeffrey, too?" But no. Jeffrey isn't exactly thrilled that the parents Wakefield are welcoming the ex back with such open arms but what can he do?
  Apparently what he can do is sit around and wait for his relationship to die a horrible, horrible death. Each time Liz and Todd hang out, Liz realizes how much she's missed Boyfriend #1 and gosh, she's so damn conflicted! Woe. Bitch. Woe.

   I think we need a B and a C plot. Despite initially cheering for Jeffrey since Todd was so dull, Jessica quickly changes her allegiance once it's revealed that Todd will be attending posh Lovett Academy. Jess and Lila have both been trying to snag a Lovett guy for quite some time and if Liz hooks up with Todd again, it will make this task infinitely easier. I guess she figures the Lovett guys will see Liz and then hear, "Oh, you think my gf is hot? She's got a twin, one without quite so many hangups and a thing for miniskirts. Yeah. She's single. Want her number?" from good old Todd.
  Being Jessica, it doesn't take long for her to find a Lovett guy the moment she's let onto campus. She runs into Sheffield Eastman, a dead ringer for a young Paul Newman, and he falls easily under Jessica's spell. What we realize, that she doesn't, is that Shef is more than a pretty face with amazing eyes. He's going to be far too boring and stable for Jessica.
  Lila, not content to merely herald the arrival of new!Todd, is playing mouthpiece for Courtney Kane, a pretty, bitchy girl from Lovett. It appears that Li is desperate to get into Lovett's social circles and that Courtney has finally found a use for gauche Lila. Just a freakin' second, Kane. No one speaks to Our Lady of Awesome like that. Lila demands your respect. Now give it, or I will forcibly take it from you.
   Anyway. Courtney meets Liz when Jessica finagles a tour of Lovett from Todd. Court's heard all about Liz and realizes the only thing keeping Ms. Kane from being Todd's girlfriend (aside from her heinous attitude) is little Miss Wakefield. Court isn't impressed and once she realizes that Lila is Jessica's best friend, well. She suddenly has a use for Lila Fowler. Poor Li is unaware she's being used to spread Courtney's half truths and flat out lies.

   Like the one about Courtney co-hosting Todd's big "reintroduction to Sweet Valley" party. To ensure that Todd does ask her, Courtney discreetly uses Shef's newfound friend status with Todd to pass along a little whopper of a lie involving Jeffrey, Liz, and a ring. Not an engagement ring, that would be silly, but the next best thing! Gasp. Poor Todd. If only... Shef falls into Courtney's trap, passes along the story immediately to Todd, and Todd falls into Courtney's clutches. I feel like someone should do a maniacal laugh right about...
  Here. Muhahahahaha!

   Back to Jeffrey. Over the past couple of weeks he's noticed that he and Liz haven't spent a lot of time together and that when they do, she's not as fully there as she used to be. But he doesn't know what to do, so he tries arranging a fancy date for two and basically just letting Liz know that he's still ready to fight for her, if she wants him to do so. The moment the invitations to Todd's party arrive, Jeffrey realizes he's "won." Liz resumes spending a lot of time with him and I'm betting Todd mentions are down, and everything should be fantastic, yes? But Jeffrey's no fool. He knows Liz isn't happy and he can't help but worry, and rightly so, that Liz just ended up with him when Todd moved on to someone else. With this in mind, Jeffrey notices Courtney slipping a note into Elizabeth's pocket at the party. Before he can intervene and see what the note said, Liz disappears to the bathroom. Jeffrey wanders over to Court and Todd, only to have them head outside. Jeffrey follows them because his Spidey sense is telling him something is not right. Smart man.
  While hiding in the bathroom (something Liz seems to do a lot at parties), Liz finds the note from "Todd" telling her to meet him on the west lawn (seriously?) in the orange grove (...really?) at the gazebo so they can talk. Dare she see what her old boyfriend wants? What if he just wants to officially let her down easy? But what if he wants to tell her he's made a horrible mistake and he loves her, not dumb old Courtney? Whatever will our heroine do?

   Remember Jessica and Sheffield? Well, they've been out on a few dates and because he's so handsome and so rich, and is essentially the deluxe version of Bruce, but with less attitude (and dancing skill), Jess decides it's time to show him off to her SV friends. Particularly Lila. At first her plan works perfectly. He's handsome, he's rich and well bred. He's charming. He's got everything! So Jessica decides to ask him about his senior thesis project. And shit hits the fan.
  She's thinking he's going to go globe-trotting, maybe run a vineyard or something cool. Instead, Shef announces he's going to spend his senior year living and working at a Santa Barbara homeless shelter. Oh, yeah, and his sweet Mercedes? Totally up for sale so the money can go to charity.
   Lila emerges triumphant without having to do a damn thing. Well played, Fowler.
  Before Jessica's head can explode, Bruce pushes Winston and Ken into the pool (double pool push!) and lots of other kids jump in the pool, too. Jessica barely resists the urge to shove Sheffield in too, and heads off for the ladies room. Where she runs into her twin who is unable to tell up from down, left from right... You get the idea. Jessica listens halfheartedly and then declares that Liz should ignore all the times she's said, "Lovett boy all the way!" because Todd probably just wants to tell her he's selling all his stuff and doing something crazy and stupidly boring with his life. Then she shoves Liz out of the bathroom because Jessica needs to meltdown RIGHT NOW. Move!

   Liz decides she'll go to Todd, but that she has to tell Jeffrey first. She's been horribly unfair to him, after all, and now is the time to rectify this. She wants this to all be aboveboard and all that. But she can't find Jeffrey anywhere. Odd. After trying, and failing, to find him, she heads out to see what Todd could possibly want.

  Jeffrey, remember, is following Todd and Courtney. Court claimed she had a headache and that no place in Todd's big old mansion would be far enough away from the noise to properly let her heal. But maybe the gazebo on the west lawn? Flutter, flutter with the eyelashes. Todd agrees, mostly just to shut her up, and the two set off. Halfway there, Court "stumbles" and "twists" her ankle, so she's leaning pretty heavily on Todd by the time they get to the gazebo. Once there, Court makes a miraculous recovery and kisses Todd just in time for Elizabeth to come along and see. Liz is horrified and humiliated and literally runs away.
  Jeffrey sees all of this, picks up the note that Liz dropped, and immediately figures out what's going on. He's left with a choice. All he has to do to keep Elizabeth is do nothing. Liz obviously thinks Todd has moved on, and Todd obviously thinks Liz has... and in time, Jeffrey might get back what he had with Elizabeth. But she would be utterly miserable and she wouldn't have chosen Jeffrey. He was just the consolation prize.
   Plus it would involve letting Courtney win. So Jeffrey does the right thing and heads off to tell Todd the truth.

   Heartbroken, Liz has driven aimlessly until she finds herself at Secca Lake. Her world is definitely more down than up at the moment. Todd and Courtney are obviously together and Liz has come to truly understand how messed up things with Jeffrey were and are. She doesn't love him, at least not the way she loves Todd, and that's not fair to either one of them. But Todd... sob... chose Courtney! Oh the unfairness of it all. Before you think she might fling herself into the lake, headlights cut through the darkness and Todd comes flying out of his new BMW. The two immediately run to one another and zing! Sparks fly.
  Todd tells Liz that Jeffrey solved it all and Liz is all, "say what now?" Todd explains and the two are so overcome with emotion that things get more than a little sappy. The two head back to the party, intent on making things right with Jeffrey (dude, you're getting dumped) and... I dunno. But there's a pledge of love thrown in there somewhere and... end book.


Trivia:

  • Jeffrey wasn't at Olivia's party because he was visiting family.

  • Speaking of Olivia, she isn't mentioned once in this book.

  • Jessica wakes up early on a Monday morning because she wants to know how Liz is going to tell Jeffrey about Todd.

  • When Enid tries to talk to Liz after school about how weird Liz feels with the whole T/J thing, they foolishly choose to hit the DB where they run into Lila, Jessica, Aaron, Ken... and Jeffrey.

  • Mr. Wilkins is now the president of Varitronics, soon to be one of the Fortune 500 along with George Fowler, complete with a mansion near Fowler Crest.

  • In keeping with his new status, Mr. Wilkins is choosing to send Todd to Lovett Academy. Lovett is located in Cedar Springs which is 40 minutes away and described as a prep school and a bit like a college campus. Wolfe Hall, one of the dorms, is a Spanish style building where Todd takes the twins for a party when they visit the campus. There's a 50/50 split between day students (like Todd and Sheffield) and boarders.

  • Lovett's Wolfe Hall has a common room described as: "They found the party in the large common room at the end of the hallway. Elizabeth caught her breath. Tall French doors opened out into a palm-filled courtyard. Overhead, crystal chandeliers glimmered. Beneath their feet was a genuine Persian carpet."

  • Mrs. Beckwith, the Wakefield's next door neighbor, drives a yellow Buick.

  • Ned's study is wood paneled.

  • Mr. Kane, Courtney's father, is the new CEO and former president of Varitronics.

  • Todd returned to SV on Sunday, the 15th. Too bad Liz didn't get the letter telling her this until the 13th.

  • Speaking of the letter, there are at least three postmarks on it, the earliest cancellation being three weeks ago. Toddy's messy handwriting meant the letter bounced all over creation before finally finding its destination.

  • Did you know the Wakefield's fridge is copper colored? All this time and I never knew.

  • Jessica initially backs Jeffrey as the boy toy of choice due to how dull T/L were as a couple. When she hears Todd is at Lovett, she switches her allegiance because she wants a Lovett boyfriend. She spends the book bouncing back and forth, usually for selfish reasons, but always letting Liz know that it's Elizabeth's choice to make.

  • Todd drives a black BMW now.

  • Todd owes Elizabeth a double dip cone down at Casey's because Liz correctly bet that Ned would make a corny, but sincere toast in Todd's honor when the Wakefields invited him over Wednesday night for dinner.

  • The menu at this dinner was chicken divan, salad, and peach pie with homemade whipped cream topping.

  • Liz can't keep up with all the rooms at Todd's new house. Some of them include a parlor, a family room, a den, a library, a ballroom (and adjoining patio), and possibly 12 bedrooms. Yeah, my eyes would glaze over. Later we learn he's got a great hall (no kidding), and an orange grove on the west lawn where a small gazebo is located.

  • Jeffrey takes Liz to the Valley in for their special date the Friday night before Winston's "Welcome back, Todd!" party, which is the following Saturday.

  • Aaron bets that Jeffrey will win Elizabeth's heart and Ken's money is on Todd.

  • Sheffield Eastman looks like a young Paul Newman. He used to date Courtney but she found him too dull after awhile, what with all his giving back to the community crap. The Eastmans have lived in SV for nearly a hundred years. The Eastman estate is close enough to the Lovett campus that it's possible for Courtney to ride a horse there, simply by going down the bridle path, going around a small pond and voila! Eastman estate to the right. Good to know.

  • Courtney Kane is tall and curvy with mahogany hair in a side part. The only person who doesn't seem to describe her as shallow is Lila.

  • Moonshadow is the horse Court rides to the Eastman estate.

  • Cliff is the head groom at Lovett and Courtney likes to give him a hard time.

  • Kent Eastman is Shef's incredibly cute younger brother.

  • Court tells Shef that Jeffrey gave Elizabeth a ring (that she accepted) and Sheffield tells Todd the same day.

  • Okay, whoa. Why can we mention (repeatedly) Suzanne Devlin and Todd hooking up but Winter Carnival is banned from memory? Why?

  • Sheffield waited five days to call Jessica. (He ends up calling on Tuesday.)

  • Sheff drives a midnight blue Mercedes.

  • Jessica and Shef go for coffee and desert at Venezia, a "chic Italian restaurant just outside SV." Shef has a slice of Amaretto flavored cheesecake and Jessica has gelato.

  • Sheffield has been to France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, the Greek Islands, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda, Brazil, and Mexico. Next on his list? The Soviet Union. What, Canada's not good enough for you?

  • Todd's invitations are on creamy, expensive paper with raised, black letters. They don't seem very Todd-like. Possibly because not even Lila sends out invitations like this.

  • Elizabeth's invite is addressed to Miss Elizabeth Wakefield and Friend. Gasp!

  • Jeffrey wears a paisley tie and a navy blazer to Todd's party.

  • Liz wears a royal blue, spaghetti strap dress with a "loose" jacket over it, and a tiny black evening bag to complete the look.

  • Jeffrey's car is in the shop, so Liz picks him up and then Jeffrey drives the Fiat to the party. (Dude, this means when Liz ditches the party, she's also ditched her date in more ways than one. Uncool, Wakefield!)

  • Todd's sporting a white dinner jacket, complete with a red carnation in the lapel.

  • Courtney is wearing a strapless emerald satin gown "that accentuated every curve of her body." She's also got a corsage of tiny, white rosebuds on one wrist and her hair is loosely piled on top of her head, secured with glittering jeweled clips. I'm getting prom queen, not classy sophisticate.

  • In attendance at Todd's party: Todd, Courtney, Elizabeth, Jeffrey, Jessica, Sheffield, Bruce, Amy, Winston, Ken, Lila, Drake Howard, Enid, Hugh, Maria, DeeDee, Bill, Steve, and Cara.

  • Sheffield is also wearing a white dinner jacket, while Jessica is in Amy's "slim, black, strapless dress." It's nice that Amy shares her clothes so readily.

  • Lila's date is Drake Howard, a sophomore at Sweet Valley College, who happens to be in one of the frats. Yay.

  • Sheffield is going to work and live 24/7 at a homeless shelter in Santa Barbara for his senior thesis. He's selling his gorgeous Mercedes and donating the money to charity.

  • Bruce pushes both Ken and Winston into Todd's pool. Maria slips out of her shoes and jumps in after them, and others follow suit.

  • Todd finds Liz out at Secca Lake at their spot, after he initially tries to find her at Casa Wakefield.




Quotes:
  "They'll have to fight for you, I guess. Like in the old days-a duel!" The idea clearly appealed to Jessica. She giggled. "Picture Todd and Jeffrey going at it with french fries in the Dairi Burger!" - Taking this so... many different ways. p5

   Jessica's love-hate relationship with Lila had always mystified Elizabeth. One minute the two would be happily mall-hopping together, and the next, Jessica would insist that she was never speaking to Lila again. As far as Elizabeth could tell, this cycle was repeated at least every other week. -I could, and will, take this a completely different way than intended. p13

  "I don't remember what I said at breakfast," Jessica now declared, making it sound as if breakfast had occurred sometime in the last century.- p28

  "You're as beautiful as ever, Elizabeth."
  "Oh. Thanks." She blushed. "You look great yourself! You're still-tall!" - First you laugh and then it's kind of cute. p33

   Jessica walked away from Aaron and Ken, flashing them both a big smile. They were both very attractive-she had dated each of them a number of times. In fact, not too long ago she had contemplated falling in love with Ken for lack of anything better to do. - Yes. Exactly. p48

   Conversation stopped abruptly when the group caught sight of Jessica and Todd. Before stepping into the silence, Jessica had time to notice that while Todd remained composed, Jeffrey looked extremely nervous. That's natural, she thought. He has a lot more to lose. - This scene actually doesn't play right for me, given how self-assured Jeffrey normally is. It makes sense, but it still doesn't feel right. p 51

  "Jessica, why don't you just go back to the mall and buy the pants and spare us your moaning and groaning?" Elizabeth burst out, slamming shut her American history textbook. -Temper, temper. p68

  And Elizabeth Wakefield was the only obstacle between Courtney and what she wanted most in the world, for the moment at least-Todd Wilkins. p76

  Three girls sat down at the next table, chatting loudly and obviously intending to attract Todd's and Sheffield's attention. They were all pretty, but they didn't have the simple, natural style Todd liked. They had too much makeup, too much jewelry, too much perfume-and too little substance.
   And there was Elizabeth. He imagined her soft, gentle fragrant hair, the way she always smelled fresh and sweet. He could talk to Elizabeth. She was real. And she cared about so many things. Todd had always admired her unselfish energy and ambition.
--snip--
  Courtney Kane was the obvious choice. Inviting her to the party would make both his father and her father happy. Courtney was beautiful and glamorous. Most guys would be thrilled to date her.
   But Courtney wasn't Elizabeth. She didn't even come close. -- Before you stone me for this, let me point out that if you ignore the fact that this is another notch for the perfection of Saint Elizabeth of Wakefield and just think of it as a guy missing his ex-girlfriend, it's incredibly sweet. Not necessarily terribly realistic, but very sweet. And for this alone, my inner 10 year old demands that it be included. p82/83

  "He's driving all the way down from Cedar Springs just to take me out for dessert and coffee!"
  "Can't he afford dinner?" Lila asked.
  "Of course he can, you idiot." - Oh, Lila. Oh, Jessica. Don't ever change. p85

   As Sheffield reeled off a list of popular causes, Jessica began to understand why he wanted to save the whales and feed hungry people all over the world. Really rich and famous people were always involved in some philanthropic scheme or another. Look at the Mellons and the Rockefellers. They had their names plastered over schools and charitable organizations nationwide. And all those big rock stars put on concerts to benefit something or other. It was obviously the thing to do.
  Once you have more money than you could ever possibly spend, it's fashionable to donate some to charity! Jessica realized, eating a spoonful of gelato. This charity business is just part of being an Eastman. - Oh. My. Lord. p88

  Jessica slammed the phone down and then leapt straight into the air, flinging out her arms and shaking imaginary pom-poms. "Yee-ha!" she hollered. - if you need ask why I love Jessica, this should tell you all you need to know. ♥ p94

   It didn't make much sense. The only thing Courtney and Elizabeth had in common was Todd Wilkins, and Jeffrey couldn't picture Courtney writing Elizabeth to thank her for handing over her old boyfriend. - Oh, Jeffrey. This is why I'm going to miss you. p105

  As Sheffield shook hands with the guys, Jessica smiled at the envious expression on Lila's face. She couldn't remember when she'd had so much fun showing her up! - I do so love the catty in my SV. p109

Fashion, circa 1989:
  Elizabeth stood up and nervously straightened her jade-green twill skirt. Then she adjusted the collar of her white silk blouse. Putting a hand to her throat, she felt the gold locket on the chain around her neck. -This is Elizabeth's outfit for welcoming Todd back to SV. p31



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   Brokenhearted gives Jeffrey a pretty decent swan song. While he is responsible for sending Todd and Liz running into one another's arms, it's because it's the right thing to do. Anything less and I wouldn't know who you were, Jeffrey French. I hate how he basically disappears after the next book, and then they'll trot him out for, what, Enid's super star book and the Senior Year series where he's a friggin' tool and the less said of that the better.
  You had a good run, Jeffrey. For the most part, Liz didn't cheat on you, which is pretty funny when you think about it. She's going to spend the next hundred books cheating on Todd left, right, and center and he's the boy she loves!
  Go figure. Then again, you should sue for this cover art, boy. SUE.
the_oracle: (plotting)
Teacher Crush
August 1989


Has Olivia met the man of her dreams?
svh
Madly in love...



  Pretty and talented Olivia Davidson has always seemed independent. So it comes as a total surprise to Elizabeth Wakefield when Olivia confides in her that she's lonely. Everyone she knows is going out with someone, and now she's ready for a new boyfriend.
  Then Stuart Bachman, a gorgeous artist, starts teaching at Sweet Valley High. Olivia takes his class and is completely swept off her feet by him. Soon Mr. Bachman is all Olivia things or talks about. And it looks as if he may return her feelings. Has Olivia found true love, or is she headed for heartbreak?




  "You're so young, sweetie. Your life is just beginning!" It's nearly impossible for me to re-read certain books without looking for foreshadowing of the Terrible Things to Come. Regina Morrow's short stint in the Valley is made even shorter by the countdown to her dalliance with cocaine. Early John Pfeiffer has to duck the cans and rotting fruit thrown his way for what his future!self will do to Lila. To a lesser degree, Jeffrey French has to fight to get people to remember that Liz actually managed to be faithful to him, whereas she cheated on Todd (the guy she'll dump Jeffrey for in just a few minutes) every chance she got. And then there's Olivia.
  Dear, sweet, spacey Olivia, your number is nearly up, sunshine. It's going to take awhile, but not nearly as long as your mother seems to believe... On the very, very slim silver lining side, the fact that you know Olivia's going to end up on the wrong end of the earthquake that killed SVH makes it much easier to write her a free pass for all the stupid assumptions she makes in Teacher Crush.

   Olivia's more than a little lonely. With more than 60 books under our belt, Olivia's noticed that just about everyone in the Valley is paired up, and those that aren't (Jessica or Lila for example) have no shortage of willing volunteers. Artsy Olivia, however, hasn't exactly been fending off a bunch of would be boyfriends ever since she and Roger broke up. But when she mentions feeling like she's the only one not paired up on this extremely strange version of the Ark, Elizabeth tells her she's cr-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy. It's not that bad. And immediately is glomped upon by Jeffrey. Smooth, Wakefield. Real smooth.
   Before we can wallow in too much misery, we're reminded of the co-A plot of this book. You might recall that at the end of the last book we learned that SVH would be doing a two week crash course/workshop that would give students a chance to explore something beyond normal classes. Everyone signs up for three possible classes, with the third being their last choice. It doesn't take a genius to see that some classes are bound to be more popular than others. Film making, painting, and dress design are all very, very popular. Which is why so many people are shocked when Jessica chooses to put down electronics as her third choice. She believes that she'll be the only girl in a room full of cute guys and what could be wrong with that? Still, she's not foolish enough to put it down as her first or second choice.
  Thing is, Wakefield, I know half the city also happens to have last names that end in W, but by the time they got to you, I'm thinking the rest of the classes had filled in and they saw you put down one of the more unusual classes for a girl so... they thought they'd accommodate your unusual request. Or else someone's got a sick sense of humor. Yes. Jess ends up in the electronics class with a bunch of guys she does not consider cute. (Except Jeffrey, but he's rather taken so...) The wacky, hilarious hijinks are sure to follow, yes?

   Not so much. As far as I can tell, the electronic workshop doesn't *teach* a damn thing. They're told they have to create something. And it must work. After that, every time we see Jess in class, she's being asked if she's thought of something and she's always saying no while everyone else is hard at work. I'd have been fantastically thrown, too. I would have thought you'd be doing a little more learning and a little less being thrown into the deep end and told not to electrocute yourself.

  While you ponder Jessica's fate, let's switch back to Olivia. Liv, Liz, and Enid have all made it into the painting class they wanted. Apparently, until this book, Olivia didn't actually create much in the way of art (outside of poetry, perhaps, and her contributions to the Oracle, which mostly seems to be in the field of editing) which is why she wanted to take this course. The fact that their teacher is amazingly hot? Yeah. That didn't hurt either. He's nice and funny and tells them all to call him by his first name (Stuart), but on the downside, he's young enough that a) Olivia believes she has a chance in hell and b) he doesn't know enough to not play favorites. When it becomes obvious to anyone who isn't blinded by cattiness that Olivia is beyond naturally gifted, Stuart lavishes praise on her work and her way of thinking outside the box. Olivia sees this as a sign that they have so much in common and she begins to volunteer to help him with everything. Liv's got stars in her eyes and it only gets worse with every passing second.
  Enid, proving that the sidekicks in these books are the only ones with brains at times (yes, I just lumped Lila and Enid in the same group. Deal with it!) quickly realizes that there are crushes and then there's statutory rape. She worries that Olivia's overly interested in Stuart and, later, that Stuart might actually either be interested in Olivia too, or that he's stringing her along, unintentionally or not.
   Saint Elizabeth laughs this off and there's a weird thing where Enid keeps insisting that while Elizabeth always tries to see the best in people, maybe this trait is blinding her to Olivia's rapidly growing obsession. How is believing that Olivia, who was bitching about being painfully single less than two weeks ago, isn't interested in their teacher "seeing the best" in someone? Isn't that just being dense? Whatever. I was busy gearing up for third grade when this came out, so my view on this particular bit of 80's mindset is probably definitely off.
  So, Saint Elizabeth doesn't believe what we already know. Just in case you're tempted to believe that Olivia wouldn't be throwing herself at someone who is 23/24, Olivia would like to prove you painfully, painfully wrong. In addition to always volunteering to help in class, she offers to come early and help set up for class, stay after class to clean, and looks up Stuart's address so that while she's out running errands and the urge to stop by his apartment is too great... she can actually stop by his apartment on a Saturday morning. Which she does. So early that he's still asleep. Thing is, Stuart is so new to this teaching thing, and so blown away by Olivia's natural talent (and possibly a little flattered that she's interested, though this one is purely speculation), that he invites her up, unchaperoned, to his apartment so they can look through art books and Olivia can drool over him. Somewhere, Enid's spidey sense is tingling big time.

   But what about Lila? you ask. Well, fear not, our ghosty has provided us with some lovely Lila C plot this go round. Lila's father is dating a soap star named Anika Hunt. Apparently she's so popular and famous that when she says jump Hollywood does without a second thought. I'll allow this because once upon a time, soaps were huuuuuuuuuuuge. And besides, Lila's father wouldn't waste his time on some nobody... *cough*
  Lila is so taken by the thought of Anika and her father dating that she goes on and on and ON about it. Which is a nice change of pace, because unlike other flings her father has had, Lila doesn't seem to be plotting to push Anika off a cliff or blackmail her into disappearing. It's refreshing. But then, I do wonder whether Lila really does like her father spending so much time with someone else, time he never spends with her... Whatever. Because Lila is so gaga over Anika, Jessica is sure that Lila is making it up. She never has any proof, like pictures (ah, the days before instant paparazzi hordes descended on anyone just on the off chance they'd get lucky!) or an autograph. Lila points out that she knows her father is dating a star and it would be terribly gauche to ask for an autograph. I mean, really, Wakefield. This is Lila. Why on earth would she lie? I mean, except for that one time... and her shoplifting... and, fine. Okay. I see your point.
  Jess becomes obsessed with proving that Lila is lying, because to believe otherwise would be to concede that Lila is just that fabulous. (She is, though! She is!) Luckily for Jessica, this means that she figures out what she'll be doing for her mini course workshop. She'll be making a lie detector and this time she'll prove Lila's a big, fat liar!
  Lila is completely unaware that her best friend is plotting against her, again (must be Tuesday), as she's a little preoccupied with the realization that she can't sew worth a damn. First she sews the darts of her dress on the wrong side (d'oh!) and then she makes the hem waaaaaaaaay too short and now her teacher is insisting that she wear this travesty in front of the whole school during their little fashion runway. The horror!
  What is a Fowler to do when being threatened by such public humiliation?
  Accidentally uncover the biggest, juiciest piece of gossip to rock the school since... well... you'll see.

   Back to Olivia. At Enid's insistence, Elizabeth has been paying careful attention to the interaction between Stuart and Olivia during class. By now Enid's worrying about whether Stuart realizes how Olivia feels (because the entire class knows, so even Liz has to admit that Olivia's got it bad) but she's willing to allow the thought that maybe Enid isn't cuckoo after all, especially once she hears Stuart and Olivia making plans to see one another. After class. O_O!
  Gasp!
  Shock!

   Before you start thinking something, let Stuart explain. Stuart has been asked to be one of the three speakers at the Riverside Art Academy alumni association's presentation. He's invited Olivia to go along because she's his star pupil and he thinks it would be good for her to meet some of the people at Riverside. Of course Olivia leaps at the chance to go. Thing is, Stuart doesn't realize that to Olivia this is practically a date. To him, he's just helping an aspiring artist. Boys, boys, boys...
   Monday afternoon, Olivia's on top of the world as Stuart introduces her as a talented new artist in his mini course workshop. She's so over the moon that not even people asking where "Monica" is can really bring her down for long. Afterward, Stuart asks if Olivia has to run home already, or if she'll be able to help him out with something. I have a feeling that even if Olivia had to be home immediately after the presentation, she still would have gone shopping with Stuart. Stuart is looking for a present for a special occasion... for a special person. Olivia is sure that he's heard that her birthday is coming up (Friday, the last day of classes!) and she's hoping he's trying to suss out what sort of gift she would like. She finds an absolutely breathtaking picture frame and for half a second Stuart is in love with the piece. But then he comes back down to earth and starts second guessing the genius of it. She's not entirely sure this special occasion is for her, but then she asks Stuart what it is and he tells her not to worry about it and winks at her. Again. Stuart winks a lot and this goes a really long way in making Olivia think he's seriously interested. To some of us, we begin to wonder if he needs his kneecaps taken out.
  Olivia comes home, still riding high on the rush of spending the afternoon with Stuart, and asks if it's okay if she sets up her easel in the basement to work on her painting for class. Her mother agrees and lets Olivia know that she comes by her artistic talent naturally, as her maternal grandmother was also a painter. Olivia is thrilled at this and heads off to artistic glory. When she comes up for air, her mother informs her that she's missed a call. Liv is sure that it's Stuart (...) but Mums tells her it was someone from school named Rod. Olivia is confused until she remembers there's a Rod Sullivan in her English class. Perplexed about why Rod would be calling, we segue way into...
   Rod running into Liv at school. He seems perfectly nice but Olivia is still so enamored with Stuart that poor Rod is written off as a nice guy before he even asks Olivia out. Which he does. And she turns him down. Stuart shows up and flirts a bit with Olivia, but not in a sketchy way. He caught Rod running off and teases Olivia who is sure that his, "Well, he has good taste" comment is a SIGN. Oi.
  Later, Olivia tells Enid and Elizabeth that she doesn't want to hang out with them on her birthday because she's sure that Stuart has something planned for her. Enid and Liz exchange glances as Olivia floats off into the stratosphere.
  Liv finds out that the 22nd (her birthday), Stuart has an exhibit opening at the museum. Which means he can't have a birthday surprise planned for her after all. Olivia feels like a complete ass for a half a second because she's told her parents she doesn't want to do anything and she's just told Enid and Elizabeth the same thing. Oh, cruel fate! But then, before her shame spiral really gets going, Stuart asks that she attend because he has a surprise for her.
  Naturally, Olivia is sure that this means True Love! My cringing for fictional characters probably began with this book, y'know.

   Come Friday, things have gotten a little bit twisty in our B/C plots. Jessica's lie detector is coming along perfectly, probably because Randy Mason has done all the work on it. Jessica is sure that she's going to catch Lila in her lie and then the whole school will know how desperate Lila is for attention. (Pot, kettle. Kettle, pot.) Lila is desperate to avoid wearing badly sewn hooker wear, so she's managed to convince Jessica to loan her the dress that's nearly an exact replica of the dress Lila would have sewn... if Lila had any skill as a seamstress. Or, you know, as much as one could have in two weeks without prior experience. She promises to tell Jessica her juicy gossip, especially as it so directly deals with Jessica's family. Jessica is intrigued, but Lila keeps not having to spill because other people keep interrupting.
  Jessica sets up her lie detector and has Winston try it out. Blah, blah, blah, he owes money to Ken. With that out of the way, Jess grabs Lila, who quietly begs Jessica not to expose the dress switch. Jess asks about Anika Hunt and... Lila is telling the truth. Jessica is so distracted that she isn't really paying attention to anything else. Olivia is roped into participating, but some jackass in the back of the crowd asks if she's really in love with Stuart. Olivia turns red as can be and tears out of the room, ready to rip Elizabeth a new one when the sensitive twin follows her. You'd think by now Elizabeth would be sort of used to people screaming at her for spilling their secrets...

   Olivia goes to Stuart's exhibit and quickly realizes her shitty day is just going to get worse. Monica, it turns out, is Stuart's glamorous, beautiful girlfriend who had been out of town Monday. It also happens to be her birthday and Stuart bought her a beautiful picture frame. Poor, poor Olivia. As she's about to lose it, Stuart appears and shows her his surprise. He's taken her painting from class and put it on display because he believes so strongly in her talent. Olivia is blown away by this as well as the realization of how desperate she was.
  It probably doesn't hurt that she's sure that her birthday is ruined since she kept telling people she had other plans... and those plans aren't happening; they never were. Realizing how out of it she was, she stops by Casa Wakefield and appologies to Liz for trying to decapitate her. Liz forgives and forgets. Then Liv goes home, still a little shaken in ways good and bad, and her mother tells her that while they knew she made plans, her parents would like to take her out to dinner. Olivia agrees, and her mother sends her off to pick up her father because his car is in the shop.
  Only it's not. It's a surprise party that her parents had been planning all along! Stuart and Monica show up and everything! Cuz that's not awkward in the slightest! Good, good times!

   But wait. What about Lila's secret? For whatever reason, Jessica has brought along the streamlined version of her lie detector to the party. Her classmates make her admit that she had serious help with the creation of her project (fine, so she lied, but they knew it) and then Jess pounces on putting Liz on the hot seat. Thing is, she can't think of anything to ask. So Lila, sporting a Cheshire Cat smile, asks how well Elizabeth and Jeffrey will fare once Todd Wilkins moves back to the Valley.

  Dun.
  Dun.
  DUN!

  Winston freaks out because no one else is supposed to know and everyone is more than a little relieved that Jeffrey couldn't make it to the party because dude, so awkward, but still. Todd! Is! Coming! Back!

   Well played Fowler. Well played.


Trivia:

  • Arts and Vocations program is the official name of the mini courses/workshops being explored this go round. There are no grades, but at the end of two weeks, you will have to show off what you've been working on in front of the whole school. In order to make room for an extra class, five minutes were shaved off each class, including lunch, and ten minutes were tacked onto the end of the day resulting in a fifty minute class that starts at 2:15.

  • This means that SVH has seven classes, plus lunch, a day. Ah, math.

  • The workshops are only for juniors and seniors. How does this work for the freshmen and sophomores? Are there two sets of bells? (It's not unheard of.) Do they just go about their normal classes because at best, only a handful of sophomores might be in classes with upperclassmen? Do they go home early? Do they all get crammed into homeroom or studyhall or something?

  • Workshops offered: film making, pottery, electronics, dress design, modern dance, painting, jewelry design, nutrition and fitness, printing, and engineering.

  • Jessica chooses film making, pottery, electronics, and dress design as her four choices, in that order.

  • Olivia sees DeeDee & Bill, Winston & Maria, and Jeffrey & Elizabeth all as she's feeling particularly lonely and all one right after the other. This place really is the Ark, Davidson. Pair up or shove off!

  • Enid understands Olivia's loneliness while Elizabeth is a bit baffled by it. Enid points out that when you're single, and not necessarily by choice, it can be hard seeing everyone else paired up, and later Olivia will point out that of course Liz wouldn't get it. She's been with Todd and then Jeffrey... and we all chime in on the names of the boys Olivia missed because she doesn't know Liz's inability to be faithful.

  • Winston, Jeffrey, Jessica, and Randy Mason (as well as five other boys) are in the electronics workshop taught by Bill Drexel.

  • Bill Drexel is skinny with wirerim glasses that sit crookedly on his nose, a penchant for drab, nondescript suits, and he works in an electronics firm.

  • Cara Walker got poetry, her second choice, in stead of painting.

  • Maria Santelli originally claims that she's in nutrition and fitness and not modern dance, her first choice, but later she's seen in painting class.

  • The painting class has Elizabeth, Enid, Olivia, Caroline, and Maria, as well as five others girls who are never mentioned. Maybe they're seniors.

  • Lila plans to make a strapless sundress like the one she saw in Ingenue that also happens to be a double of one Jessica recently bought.

  • Some of the workshop teachers are from San Diego and L.A.

  • Elinore Whitcomb is the dress design adviser/teacher/whatever. Lila claims she looks a little like Anika Hunt.

  • Anika Hunt is on the hit soap, "The Willoughbys" and is currently dating Lila's father.

  • Unlike 99.9% of the women he dates, Lila seems incredibly enthusiastic about Anika Hunt. Possibly because she's famous and it gives Lila a subplot, or maybe Lila's getting lonely again, although truthfully it sounds like Anika keeps Mr. Fowler away more than you would think Lila would like.

  • Stuart Bachman is the painting instructor and he's apparently so hot that most of the girls in the program take notice, and probably some of the boys. Just guessing on that last one because you know they don't allow for that just yet. Anyway, he's got dark, long-ish curly hair, "stylish glasses", green eyes, prefers to be called Stuart and not "Mr. Bachman", and has been an artist since he was five. He doesn't take roll in class. He's a graphic designer at a fashion company and designs logos and helps design ads for the company. But his passion, his passion y'all, is "painting." He went to Riverside Art Academy, his father is a history professor, and his mother is a book keeper. He's a night owl and thus, not much of a morning person, as he tends to work all night and sleep in til noon, at the earliest.

  • The first thing Stuart has his class do is guess what he means by an exercise in color. Enid guesses that it might be painting different colors next to one another, and Caroline offers that maybe it's painting different shades of the same color next to one another. When it's Olivia's turn, she suggests (very shyly) that maybe it's painting a color without ever using it. She uses green as an example and bam! She has guessed the first real assignment for the class.

  • Caroline tries, sort of, not to laugh in Olivia's face before Stuart announces that Olivia's guess was the right one. Suck it, Pierce.

  • The electronics workshop is to design and create a project that will be finished in less than two weeks.

  • Randy wants to make a robotic calculator.

  • Winston throws out various ideas including musical toaster, electronic page turner, and voice activated coffee maker. Bill Drexler looks more worried by each suggestion. Ultimately he goes with a voice activated toaster.

  • Jeffrey is writing a computer game and it's not as easy as he thought it would be.

  • Olivia took a watercolor class last year at the community center.

  • Liv usually wears a peasant style wrap skirt, big hoop earrings, a pastel tee shirt, sandals, and lots of beads.

  • The second day of the workshops, Liv is dressed in a body hugging black dress, leather boots, a leather jacket, large triangular earrings that freak Jeffrey out, and her hair is slicked back with gel. According to a couple of sources, she looks like a model. Me, I can't get past the hair thing.

  • Some of Olivia's newfound magazine obsessions include Art World, and A, which has an interview with Stuart.

  • Stuart and Olivia share the same favorite artist, David Hockney. Stu has Olivia wax poetic about Hockney's use of colors and shapes to the class.

  • Olivia expects to find Stuart in the library at lunch, but instead finds him in the art room. I don't understand why he'd be at the school that early to begin with.

  • Jessica's at a loss for what to do for her electronics project. The best she can come up with is a heated coat hanger but she doesn't really think that's a good idea.

  • Stuart assigns his class a trip to the art museum over the weekend. They're to find a painting and then write an essay about what the artist was trying to convey/do.

  • When Jessica is late to class, she's paired up with Randy. I find this a little hard to believe since Randy is known for being a genius. You'd think the other guys in the class would *want* to pair up with Randy, if only because he'd be able to help make their project that much better.

  • Randy Mason: short, small, with braces on both his upper and lower teeth, wears hopelessly outdated corduroy jeans, and has a calculator in his back pocket.

  • Olivia tracks down Stuart's address from a copy of the Alumni catalog for Riverside Art Academy and then drives past his apartment building. She stops and visits #214, which is his apartment.

  • Olivia's father is six years older than her mother.

  • Liv is so caught up in her fixation with Stuart that she doesn't have the proofs for the Arts section of the Oracle.

  • Stuart doesn't like borders, at least in art.

  • Ty Rourke is a hot, new producer in Hollywood. (I've gotta say I probably couldn't ID any producer in Hollywood.) Anika is taking George to the set of the Willoughbys and then they'll hang out at Ty's for dinner.

  • Saturday morning, with less than a week to go, Olivia's mother asks what Liv would like to do for her birthday. Liv lets her mother plan her birthday and still doesn't suspect the surprise birthday Mrs. D plans.

  • Lila sews the darts of her dress backwards/inside out. Then she tries to lengthen the hem of her dress, only to chop it off and make it shorter and now it's skank-length I guess.

  • Olivia and Stuart leave SVH at 4pm and the art lecture at Riverside is over by 5:30, even with three speakers. (Stuart was the first one.)

  • Domain is a store that sells sleek, ultra modern stuff which also happens to be really expensive.

  • Olivia finds "a picture frame made of light wood with darker wood inlaid in a geometric pattern." Stuart declares it perfect about half a second before backing off.

  • Liv's maternal Grandmother Lea died before Liv was born, and she was also a painter, but did not live in a time when she could pursue her artistic love.

  • Rod Sullivan is in Olivia's English class. He's thin with light brown hair, tortoiseshell glasses, and seems to be the sort to become more good looking the more you get to know him. He's taking the printing workshop and wants to help punch up the Oracle. He'd also like to date Olivia.

  • Elizabeth gets uncharacteristically mad at Jess for leaving Liz's "good, silk blouse" lying on the closet floor. Usually when Liz is pissed about these things, there's an underlying cause, but Jessica's been too preoccupied with being mad at Lila to really do much to Liz, so what gives?

  • Stuart brings a flier for Olivia. It says "New Paintings from Stuart Bachman. Preview, Friday the 22nd, Madison Gallery."

  • So Olivia's birthday is the 22nd of some month.

  • Enid's pulse, when Jessica is setting up her lie detector, is 120 over 80.

  • Liv's mother wants everyone at the Davidson home at eight for the surprise party. For some reason she invites Jessica and Lila (and Amy) and they all go and bring presents and no one acts like this is weird even though Lila and Jessica have both actively plotted against Olivia and repeatedly refer to her as weird over the course of the series. o_O

  • Olivia goes shopping at L'Idee, which is right next to Domain. She buys a dark purple silk jumpsuit and pairs it with a silky scarf, a broad, leather belt, and is instructed to not forget the makeup to truly make a statement.

  • Grandma's birthday check to Liv pays for this.

  • Lila stops at McMahon's Sewing Supplies to pick up some last minute fixits for her doomed dress, and she overhears Winston's mother discussing Bert Wilkins moving back to Sweet Valley.

  • Lila manages to keep this a secret until Olivia's party, when she throws it in Elizabeth's face.

  • Winston owes Ken $25 from a bet he lost.

  • Olivia keeps thinking she's twelve when she's around Stuart.

  • Monica, Stuart's girlfriend, is very, very tall, slender, beautiful with "very classical features", "gorgeous high cheekbones, creamy skin, and beautiful blue eyes." Her blond hair is cut in a simple blunt cut with bangs. She seems on the mature side, but she's very nice to Olivia and not at all bitchy like you would imagine she might be.

  • Stuart designed earrings for Monica.

  • Monica and Olivia share the same birthday.

  • At the gallery preview of Stuart's paintings, Olivia is surprised at the fact that no one is really looking at, or commenting on, the paintings hanging around them. Instead they're gossiping with one another.

  • There's a woman at the preview with bright, turquoise hair.

  • Stuart's surprise for Olivia is that he smuggled her painting to the gallery and displayed it amongst other paintings done by Riverside students, but Olivia has the distinction of being the only artist still in high school and apparently her painting is also generating a fair amount of buzz.

  • George and Anika are going to be part of a feature on the private lives of starlets in Celebrity magazine "next month."

  • Jessica's pulse rate at Liv's party right before she's interrogated about making the lie detector is 72.

  • The fangirl in me squees like crazy at the fact that Ken was at Olivia's birthday party.





Quotable SVH:
  Lila burst out laughing. "Why don't you suggest your own workshop, Jess? Something like 'boys and dating'?"
  " 'Advanced boys and dating,' " Amy Sutton murmured, studying the list. - I love that Amy doesn't even have to pay attention to get a dig in. p2

  She'd had no idea that Olivia had been feeling so down. Olivia was such a pretty, talented girl. Why should she need to have a boyfriend to feel happy? - Normally I agree with the whole "you don't need to be paired up to be happy" philosophy. However, Liv's been single for ages and she's lonely and why is it not okay for her to be lonely for a bit? Why does Liz automatically assume there's something wrong with wanting to be in a relationship when you're single? Let Olivia feel what she feels and then distract her with other activities until either the mood passes or she finds someone. Jesus, Liz. p11

  Enid shook her head. "I don't know. But it doesn't surprise me that much. So many of the girls we know at school have boyfriends. No wonder Olivia feels left out. And I don't blame her for feeling a twinge of jealousy about you and Jeffrey," she added. "You two are such a perfect couple." - Odd how anytime Enid makes comments like this, the ghosties rarely mention Enid's huge crush on Jeffrey and how Elizabeth was supposed to hook those two up and failed. p13


  "Now, Amy," Jessica said calmly, "that is exactly where you're wrong. Don't you know anything about the psychology of lying?" - p56


  Randy covered his mouth with his hand and let out a sound somewhere between a grunt and a giggle. - I... lack the words. p69


  "Jess, I really don't see why you have to be so snide about my father and Anika Hunt. I think it's really nice Daddy finally has a steady girlfriend." She flipped her hair back over her shoulders. "Besides, have you even thought for a minute how hard it is on me, living alone with Daddy without a woman in the house? You ought to be happy for me!" - Oh, Lila. We love you, isn't that enough? p101


  "Well, you're not my mother, Elizabeth. You have no business judging me." - Olivia, where have you been for the last sixty-odd books? This is what Elizabeth *does*. p115

svh


   TC has never been my favorite book of the bunch. I like Olivia, but I hate books/movies/TV shows/whatever where I get to feel painfully embarrassed for someone else. If it's on screen, I have to either cover my ears or turn the channel. Since this is a book and it keeps happening, I have to suck it up and get over it. Or speed read. And then I avoid the book which costs you your monthly snark.
  I like certain things this go round. I like that Enid and Elizabeth are talking about a semi-mutual friend and that while Liz is closer to Liv, it's Enid who understands what the hell is going on and pursues it, even if Liv never really gets that. I love it when someone isn't paired up and isn't thrilled about being single. Except for the saints among us, I think most people who go through an exceptionally long single stage start to get a little stir crazy when everyone else around us is dating (happily, no less) and it makes sense for Olivia to get lonely.
   And I suppose her complete inability to read the writing on the wall concerning Stuart is a nice counterpoint to her magically newfound artistic genius.
  I could have done without all the "Olivia could have died" to show her mortification over things, but hey, I'm no longer the audience intended for these books. :P
  It gives me the giggles that when Lila suggests having Jessica twin-switch with Liz so she can be in Stuart's class, Jessica shoots it down. Not because Liz would see it as Wrong, but because Liz would want to keep the hot teacher for herself. Oh, Jessica... sometimes I'm not sure you know your twin at all. And then I think about the super secret diaries and realize you really do know your twin best of all.
the_oracle: (amy thinks)
Perfect Shot
May 1989


Will Shelley Novak lose her chance for love?
Photobucket
Camera shy...


   People are always telling Shelley Novak that she has everything going for her. She's one of the best basketball players at Sweet Valley High, and she's as tall and graceful as a model. The problem is, being so tall makes Shelley feel like a freak.
  Until she meets Jim Roberts. He has a way of making her feel special. But when Jim, a photography buff, starts taking pictures of her, Shelley makes him promise never to show them to anyone.
   Then the Sweet Valley News sponsors a photography contest and Him thinks he could with with a photograph of Shelley. But if he's wrong, will Shelley ever forgive him?

   If you've ever been the tallest kid (or one of them) in class, or the tallest person in the room... this one's for you. Meet Shelley Novak, the six foot tall, redheaded basketball star. She's got a problem. Not with her game, she's pretty damn talented when it comes to basketball, and it probably doesn't hurt that she's got to be one of the tallest girls on the team, if not the tallest. She's so good that the girls' b-ball team has qualified for championship playoffs against Emerson High. The guys didn't even come close to qualifying. That's what happens when you send your star to Vermont, guys.
  Back to Shelley.
   No, her problem is that she's got a huge crush on the boy next door. "But wait! Haven't we already done this storyline but without the tall factor?" Yes. Yes we have. But we'll pretend we haven't because it's more fun that way. See, Greg Hilliard is Shelley's dream guy except he's considerably shorter than she is. But unlike Jessie on SBTB, the height thing only worries Shelley. It's not enough to make her rethink her crushing decision.
  That probably has a lot to do with the fact that Greg is the one responsible for teaching Shelley how to play basketball... and because he's dreamy. To add to her joy, Greg and his girlfriend Carol have recently broken up and Greg is back on the market. (He doesn't appear to be nursing a broken heart so there aren't any rebound worries at play either. Score!) Luckily, the Varsity Club's athletic dance is coming up and Shelley really wants to go with Greg. She's just... too shy to ask him out. Cathy, her best friend, convinces her that she's got nothing to lose in asking the guy out. She's going to do it. She's going to!

  Just not today.

   I probably should have mentioned that the book doesn't open with Shelley, it opens with Enid and Elizabeth looking for Jeffrey. There's a moment when we all nearly drown in the descriptions of green eyes, and I giggle at the way Enid is almost fawning over Jeffrey because it's cute, and then the competition is announced. The Sweet Valley News is having a photography competition, although it's never made clear whether it's for all the high schools, some of them, or only SVH. Enid and Elizabeth are all atwitter at the thought of how perfect this is for Jeffrey and how he has to enter. He just has to!

  Where there's one twin, the other can't be too far behind. Jessica has fallen for Kurt Campbell, a football player. I'd tell you more about him, but there doesn't seem to be much more to him than that. Thing is, he doesn't seem to be beating down the door to get to our sneaky Wakefield, so when Amy suggest ballroom dancing, Jessica considers the notion. It doesn't hurt that Amy makes a couple of catty remarks about how she could get a guy to do anything for her, even take a ballroom dancing class that he might otherwise avoid like the plague. Jessica's in, but only if she's allowed to ditch if the instructor is too much of a loser.
  Needless to say he's not. He's hot. Hotter than hot. Jessica and Amy both try and catch his attention with varying degrees of success. It turns out that Shelley has decided to try and make herself more graceful (the better to ask Greg out, my dears) and she's the first person the dance instructor, Patrick McLean, picks to help demonstrate a dance step. When asked, Amy says she didn't quite get the hang of the box step and Patrick takes her out for a spin on the dance floor (well, gym floor). In a moment of blinding stupidity, Jessica then claims she didn't get it either, but Patrick finds this hard to believe (or maybe just doesn't want to deal with someone who didn't get the box step after two demonstrations) and class continues.
   When the students are paired off, Shelley ends up with Jim Roberts. He seems nice enough and they seem to be exactly the same height, which is always a plus. Thing is, dude is a klutz and keeps stepping on Shelley and the two do not dance well together at all. Sigh.
  After class, Shelley works up her nerve to talk to Greg. She tries subtle. "Were you surprised to see me at dance class?" Greg answers that he thought it was something girls liked, so no. Enough with this subtle crap, Shelley. She dives in and says she thought it would be helpful. For a dance. Like the one coming up. Is he going? Would he think of going, say, with her?
  Seconds after asking, Shelley gets an answer. Just not the answer she wanted. From the look on his face to the way he behaves, it's obvious that he's never considered (at least not seriously) her dating material. He doesn't quite laugh at her, but he does make jokes about their height differences and Shelley feels completely humiliated and dejected. Poor Shels. :/

   After getting her heart handed back to her in pieces, Shelley does not play basketball well. As she's busy helping the team to lose the second game in the playoffs, a flash goes off in the crowd and she realizes someone has just taken a picture of the moment she basically killed the team's chances of winning. She's not thrilled.
  She's so not thrilled that when Jim comes around after the game, she snaps at him and tells him to dump the roll of film he just wasted. A bit flustered, Jim soldiers on, telling her that he sees her as graceful and amazing and he's got a thing for her. Only less gushy and stalkerish. Shelley's flattered and a bit confused. Does Jim really like her or is he just setting her up for an incredibly humiliating photograph?

  Jeffrey and Liz are busy not making out in the dark room, so when Jim stops by to develop the picture of Shelley he shouldn't have taken, Liz feels the call of busybody-ness and peeks at it. It's a gorgeous photo and Liz tells him so. Jeffrey does his best to shoot himself in the foot by insisting that Jim enter the photography contest because he's obviously insanely talented.
  Jim considers the idea and I wonder if it's really possible to be as nice as Jeffrey is. He's seen what Jim can do and he's got to be pretty sure that Jim is better than he is and yet he still encourages Jim to enter the contest anyway. Maybe it's that whole "if you didn't beat the best, you didn't win" mentality. Or maybe he's just that perfect. Who knows?

   Doesn't matter. Jim and Shelley get to know one another and it does wonders for Shelley's basketball game. She's fantastic and the team wins the third game easily. Problem is, Jim's favorite subject still happens to be Shelley. It makes sense. He likes her and he loves photography, so when you add in the fact that he thinks she's beautiful, of course he's going to want to photograph her. Thing is, he promised not to, and he definitely promised not to show anyone those photos.
  But naturally Liz and Jeffrey see them and make yet another push for the dude to enter the contest. Jim begins to seriously, seriously consider it. Maybe if Shelley saw how he saw her, it would help her get over her self image issues. Still, that's a big leap...
   Of course he does it, and of course as he's turning his photo in, someone else sees it. Olivia Davidson (hi, Liv!) is blown away by Jim's natural talent and wonders why he hasn't submitted anything for the Oracle. Remember, she's the art editor. She continues on her way to the caf where she marvels at how little Shelley eats and then compliments the Towering Inferno (I'm sorry, that's just exceptionally clever for kids to have come up with so I had to use it) on the picture Jim submitted of her for the contest. Needless to say, she's surprised when Shelley goes from thrilled to pissed the hell off in record time.
  Shelley storms off and avoids Jim for the rest of the day. When he finally catches up to her, she blows up at him for betraying her trust. Later, when Cathy calms her down, things get a little muddled. Cathy points out that it's not exactly fair to not let Jim enter a competition with the photo he feels would best help him win. Shelley counters that she didn't stop him from photographing everything else under the sun, just not her. Cathy points out that maybe the guy thinks she is beautiful and that she should stop being so weird about her looks. She's tall, so what? Fashion models are tall. Ditto to the slim, and no one's made any jokes about her red hair so I imagine that while not "sleek", it's still pretty awesome. Get over yourself, Shelley.
   Shelley considers this and calls Jim to apologize for going insane. Jim is cool and reserved and informs her that he shouldn't have gone back on his word and to make up for it, he removed his photo from the competition. Good day, Towering Inferno. I said good day.
  Crap. Shelley realizes that she actually really, really likes Jim and that due to her insecurities she might have just killed the best thing to happen to her. So Shelley goes to talk to Mr. Collins and asks if it's possible to have Jim's photo put back in for consideration. At this point I might have to call foul because if the judges of this contest are aware of how many times this thing has bounced in and out of play, wouldn't it draw their attention to it thus giving the photo an unfair advantage?

  Whatever. I'm not in charge here.
   It doesn't take long for the contest winners to be notified and Jim is shocked that he won considering he didn't think he had a photo entered anymore. Jeffrey came in second, but that doesn't really matter since Jim is freaking out about the thought of his photo being in the newspaper. Won't that make Shelley even more upset?
  He rushes to find her and they sort of talk, but they keep saying the wrong thing to one another. Shelley tells him that she realized she was being a bad sport about the whole thing and Jim's hurt because if that's the only reason she changed her mind, it means she's not interested in him after all. Sulk. He stalks off.
   The crowd goes wild when the photo is printed and everyone keeps telling Shelley how beautiful she is, how wonderful the shot is, and how she could totally be a model. Did you know that Lila could have been a model too, if she wanted to, that is? Totally. Pay no attention to Jessica and Amy cracking up in the corner. They're just jealous. Jealous, jealous, jealous!
  Fast forward to the big game and Shelley's a bit of a mess because Jim hasn't shown up. Why would he, darlin'? You made your intentions clear. No photos, no feelings, no show.
  And yet Jim does show after all and Shelley realizes she has to be brave, so she writes a quick note to Jim and tells him that she loves the photo as well as the person behind the lens, and has Maria Santelli deliver it for her. Maria's a bit confused as to how she ended up carrier pigeon but she's game for it. Jim gets the note and for a moment nothing.
  Then he flashes her the best smile and she knows she can win the game and the guy and somewhere I'm sure the music swells.

   After the game, the SV News has sent a photographer for the big game, but Shelley insists only Jim can take her picture. Photodude is remarkably not bitchy about the fact that a high school student told him to not do his job and that another student is actually doing said job. Greg (remember him?) appears and gives Shelley a huge hug and starts acting all buddy-buddy with her even as Jim is standing right there. He asks her to the dance and Shelley takes a little glee in telling him she already has a date. I like this little evil streak, Novak.

  You might be wondering about Amy and Jessica. Well, as dance class progressed, the two became more and more competitive, ultimately leading to them betting each other one whole outfit at Lisette's that she would be the first one to dance with Patrick at the Varsity Club dance. There's a cute moment in the second dance class where Lila and fifty other girls show up and Miss Fowler declares that Patrick is just as gorgeous as she'd been told. Only she says this too loudly and Patrick is left wondering whether Jessica or Lila was the one to speak.
  Anyway, the night of the dance Jessica is wearing her new outfit, thinking that she probably should have bought new shoes to really make Amy pay. She gets to the dance early and stands outside mentally critiquing what everyone else is wearing. Fifteen minutes later there's no sign of Patrick OR Amy and she starts to worry.
   Sadly she forgot to worry about the little fact that what looks good on Jessica would probably also look good on Amy... and yes, that means Amy shows up in the exact same dress but with better shoes. The two fuss and snipe at one another even as Lila walks by and cracks that she thought Jess got enough of the twin thing at home. Then Patrick arrives and of course he's got a stunningly beautiful girlfriend, so the accidental twins learn to laugh at themselves.
  I'm sorry, I'm still stuck on the description of Amy skipping.

   At the awards portion of the dance, Shelley is awarded the first annual Athlete of the Year, complete with five-thousand dollar college scholarship. As if that weren't enough, there's an impromptu dance contest and she and Jim win that one as well!

  Lest you think this is a happily ever after for everyone involved, Jessica and Amy get bitched out by Russo for ruining their chemistry grades and are told they have to attend the field trip to Anacapa Island, leaving us all to wonder for the next month what in the blue hell that has to do with chemistry.



Trivia:

  • Sweet Valley News is sponsoring a photography competition. The winner wins a video camera and their winning photograph will be published on the front page of the paper. Submissions are due a week from Friday.

  • Mr. Collins will be acting as the liaison between SVH and the SVN.

  • There's a moment when you wonder how many green eyed people there are in SV because you're introduced to Jeffrey, Enid, and Elizabeth all at the same time. (Sure, blue-green but still green!)

  • Patrick McLean is the head of the new dance studio in town and he's giving free ballroom classes to anyone who wants them in the gym on Wednesday after school.

  • The Varsity Club athletic honors dance is coming up. It's scheduled to be held at the new luxury hotel at 8pm.

  • Kurt Campbell is a senior who plays varsity football. He also happens to be Jessica's newest crush, at least until she meets Patrick McLean.

  • The Girls' Basketball team is in the playoffs against Emerson High. They ultimately play 4 games and SVH wins three of them.

  • The boys' basketball team didn't even qualify, and upon learning this, all I could think was that if Todd had been there, they totally would have.

  • Shelley is six feet tall (and gets her height from her father's side of the family), thinks herself gangly (but Jessica does not share this opinion), has curly coppery hair, huge mutant feet, almond shaped brown eyes*, and legs for miles. She says she puts on weight easily, but we also know we can't really trust her observations about her body.

  • * At the end of the book when Shelley is getting ready for the dance, her eyes are described as large and gray.

  • Jessica seems to be awfully nice towards Shelley while Amy is decidedly threatened and thus a super bitch to/about the girl.

  • Cathy Ulrich is 5'9" and "one of the best guards in the state," according to Shelley, her best friend.

  • Cathy's boyfriend, Tim, is a freshman at UCLA.

  • Greg Hilliard: Well built but slender, thick, dark brown hair, gray eyes, an inch or two shorter than Shelley. Has black racing bike and is responsible for teaching Shelley to play basketball in the first place. Plays soccer and tennis. Lives next door to Shelley, has two brothers.

  • Mr. Hilliard and Mr. Novak work at the same consulting firm.

  • Carol Stern, Greg's on/off again girlfriend is described repeatedly as small, tiny, cute, delicate.

  • Patrick McLean's dance class consists of: Jessica, Amy, Elizabeth, Jeffrey, Shelley, Greg, Carol, Winston, Bruce, Jim Roberts.

  • Patrick: at least 6'3, chiseled features, light wavy hair, "penetrating dark eyes", slender build and a tiny diamond stud in his left ear. Graduating from UCLA at the end of the semester, majoring in dance and theater. Wants to open "a series of dance studios in Southern California" with the first opening in Sweet Valley. Has a thing with European style clothes, so make of that what you will considering it's the 80's still.

  • Dance class starts with the box step and Shelley is chosen to help demonstrate it to the rest of the class.

  • Jim Roberts has sandy hair, green eyes, is "okay looking", six feet tall and appears shy.

  • Gordon Tilman, girls' basketball coach.

  • Ferini and other college scouts are expected to be at the big game.

  • Shelley seems a lock on a UCLA scholarship.

  • Not so cute nicknames Shelley's picked up over the years: The Towering Inferno, Halfback Novak, the friendly giant, Too-Tall Novak.

  • Cathy raised her right arm and made a fist- a secret victory sign the two girls had shared since they were little girls. Now you can be a better mimic than Margo ever was because no one would ever think to use that as a victory sign...

  • SVH loses the first game in the playoffs to Emerson, 84-76.

  • Jim drives an old Camaro.

  • Jeffrey finds portraits the hardest photographs to take, while they're Jim's favorites.

  • Liz can't identify Shelley in Jim's photograph of her.

  • Nikon- Jim's camera brand, in case you wondered.

  • Amy has a special voice reserved just for teachers: sickeningly sweet.

  • By the second dance class, word has gotten around about how hot Patrick is. There are at least 50 girls there, including Lila.

  • Jessica is chosen to dance the tango with Patrick. For the first time, she's awful at a dance.

  • SVH wins the second game in the playoffs 86-64.

  • When Shelley is in love, she plays freakishly well.

  • Jeffrey finds it difficult to choose between two photographs. One is a landscape he took back in Oregon, the other is of kids playing downtown. Ultimately he goes with the kids.

  • Shelley's healthy lunch is yogurt, fruit salad, and an iced tea.

  • Olivia seems a bit surprised at how small the meal is and oh, yeah, mentions that someone entered a picture of Shelley in the photography contest.

  • Jim apparently has a sister who answers the phone the first time Shelley calls him, prompting her to realize they've never spoken on the phone to one another. Their first call does not go well.

  • Game number three is also a win for SVH though no score is given, and game 4 ends 110-80.

  • Shelley is another SVH student who has babysat Teddy Collins, and she seems to live close enough to walk there.

  • Jim comes in first and Jeffrey comes in second.

  • Amy and Jessica bet a whole outfit from Lisette's on who will be the first to dance with Patrick.

  • Then they accidentally buy the same lilac dress.

  • And Patrick brings an incredibly beautiful slightly older date, Ellen, to the dance. Real diamond necklace, guys!

  • Shelley promises the coach she'll be in bed by no later than 10pm the night before the big game.

  • Jim's picture is "Poetry in Motion." I'm not sure if I found this as lame as a kid as I do now.

  • Continuity for Lila's attempt at being a model when everyone tells Shelley she should totally model.

  • Jeffrey hears that the SV News will be offering Jim freelance work and doesn't appear jealous. Dude is a robot, y'all.

  • Liz and Jeffrey missed the dance class on the cha cha.

  • At the VC Awards, a Mr. Townsend mysteriously appears. Who the hell is this guy and why is he the one giving Shelley her Super New Created Just For Her Award?

  • Ellen and Patrick suggest a dance contest. Cue the Viennese Waltz.

  • Greg & Carol, Kurt & Jessica, Amy & Bruce, Liz & Jeffrey, Shelley & Jim, Lila and Nameless Date, and a bunch of other people Shelley doesn't know all participate.

  • Greg/Carol, Kurt/Jessica, Amy/Bruce, and Shelley/Jim are the four finalist pairs.

  • That's whittled down to Jim/Shelley and Greg/Carol. Ultimately Shelley and Jim win. At this point I'm sick of Shelley winning stuff. Seriously, where's the backlash? I expect worse/better of high school students!

  • Due to Amy and Jessica's war with one another over Patrick, the two are forced to participate in the field trip to Anacapa Island. How exactly will this help their _chemistry_ knowledge?




Quotes:
  "Don't you know anything, Jess? All those movie stars in the thirties and forties always knew how to waltz. You can't fall in love and go on big luxurious cruses and be totally romantic unless you know how to waltz. I mean, really." - Amy is amazing for quotes sometimes. p8

  Jessica couldn't believe Amy sometimes. Much as she thought her friend was a lot of fun, Amy occasionally surprised her with her mean streak. - Heh, pot, meet kettle. I think you'll find you're both evil. p11

   And the boys seemed permanently stuck at the same height: shorter than she was. p23

  "I happen to be your best friend, remember? Things that hurt you hurt me." - Cathy reminds us that not all friends in SV are backstabbing bitches. Huzzah! p42

  "Sometimes I feel like I can't see things any other way than through a camera lens." - Jim is surprisingly deep... p 51

  "The funny thing is, it's usually the things we're most embarrassed about that are the very things other people envy in us." - Mr. Collins is occasionally used for wisdom. p88

  "Jessica Wakefield, get out of that dress right now!" Amy practically shouted.
  "What do you mean get out of it? What am I supposed to do, go to the dance naked?" - general male population (and some of the girls) says yes. p128

  "Jessica, there's no way we're going into that ballroom wearing the identical dress. I'd rather die."
  "So die," Jessica said furiously. - Now that's compassion... and an awkward bit of phrasing, but still. ♥ p129



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   This is one of those books I like right until the end and then I get mean. I don't mind Shelley being one of those girls who is completely unaware of how beautiful she really is. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that she's an athlete and unlike a lot of the ugly duckling/swan stories, Shelley doesn't really seem to have any intention of using her looks for evil.
  Also, I get the being taller than a lot of people is hard thing. I was never the tallest girl/kid in class, but for a couple of years I was the third tallest (which I only remember because they had to divvy us up for volleyball and things to be 'fair') and of my closest friends I'm easily the tallest. Even when I'd tick a friend's mother off, if she needed something off the top shelf I was forgiven. :P

   I get the "I don't think I'm pretty!" thing and the aversion to cameras. Thing is, Shelley's got all these people telling her how pretty she really is, so when Jim expresses a real interest in taking her pictures AND seems to like her as a friend, why does she cling so stubbornly to the thought that he's secretly out to humiliate her? As far as we know this isn't exactly a normal occurrence for her, right? So other than needing a plot line for the book, what's fueling this paranoia?
  I'm betting it's a lack of food.

  Crap, I'm getting as bad as Amy. *runs away in fear* Anyway, have her help win the big game. Excellent. Have her get the guy, find her self worth in a photograph, and hell, I'll even buy the whole Athlete of the Year since I'm betting part of it is a press thing too, and Shelley's given them great press lately. But having her win the friggin' dance competition too? That just... really, guys? It's overkill. I get that it's a bit of a thing against Carol and Greg and showing him what he missed out on, but it's a little too much to swallow.

   For whatever reason, I always think this book deals more with Jim's side of the story than it does. Namely my brain has it filed under dude takes gorgeous shots of this redhead who won't let him show them to anyone and not for smutty reasons. Dude then goes behind her back, wins contest, and shit hits fan. Which is not how the book is presented, but that's how I remember it. Go figure.


  But the absolute best part of this book is this little blurb:
   Will the science field trip go according to Jessica's plans? Find out in Sweet Valley High #56, LOST AT SEA.
  Yeah, nothing like giving it all away with the title there, dudes. Well played. :P

   To make up for the stunning lack of alternate covers (seriously, what the hell?), I give you this:

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  Same basic cover, similar premise, and same name. The gods, they smiled?
the_oracle: (plotting)
Against The Odds
January 1989


Will Ronnie Edwards lose the biggest gamble of his life?

Against The Odds
A dangerous game...

   Ronnie Edwards is having the time of his life. By betting successfully on high school sports, he's made more money than he knows what to do with. He's even offered Jessica Wakefield a loan. Unfortunately, he hasn't been keeping up with the payments to his bookie, Big Al. When Big Al decides to collect, Ronnie's out of cash. So Big Al offers him another option: if Ronnie can fix the state championship soccer game, Big Al will forget about Ronnie's debt.
  Ronnie turns to the only friend he has-Elizabeth Wakefield's boyfriend, Jeffrey French, star soccer player for Sweet Valley High. A college scout is coming to see the game, and if Jeffrey doesn't play his best, he'll jeopardize his future. But if he doesn't help Ronnie out, his friend may not have a future.

   Against the Odds is an incredibly quick read. I'm not sure if this is due more to the book itself or the fact that I had to sit here and wait for ages while my computer underwent it's virus scan the other day. I read it in under an hour, which still left me with two hours to sit here and want to slam my face into the desk. However that's neither here nor there so let's move on.

  AtO is actually a pretty classic SVH book once you boil it down. You've got Liz involved with our B-lister of the week and their problems. You've got a Wacky!Jessica B-plot, Alice is on hand to dole out loving parental advice, and Liz's boyfriend gets screwed, but not in the way he'd probably like. There are differences, most noticeably in that Jeffrey takes a much more active role in things than Todd ever did. Todd basically sat in the car until someone needed to be punched in the face.
  Jeffrey, however, manages to intimidate someone just by a smidge of tough talk. Seriously. Jeffrey. Go look ahead and find the cover to Brokenhearted. GO. I've got time.

   Got that image firmly in mind? Good. That guy. That one right there. Mmhmm. Him. He manages to scare off three wannabe thugs who are all ready to mug Ronnie Edwards. Not one punch is thrown. Jeffrey's only six feet tall and I've actually found that the shorter a guy is (after a certain age), the scrappier they are because they get shit for it. So they learn to throw a punch or at least start the blitz attack before the bigger guy sees it coming. But Jeffrey. JEFFREY manages to talk three of these guys out of a fight.
  Then Jeffrey defies Wakefield Law and sort of befriends someone who is on their blacklist. Ronnie, you probably don't recall (because you have lives or your memory is not necessarily holding onto useless 80's trivia like this) is the guy who dumped Enid when he found out she had herpes did drugs Once Upon A Time and still talked to her ex. In letters. While he was in reform school. Ronnie, I must admit, has been on my blacklist because you don't make Enid sad and make me happy. Also, he was an all around ass.
   But! Jeffrey still decided that since Ronnie obviously had no friends and was probably a semi-decent guy who could be better if he just had someone who didn't want him thrown face-down in a ditch somewhere, Jeffrey doesn't tell him to fuck off.
  Now, we all know this turns out to be a mistake. But for awhile, Jeffrey has the balls to tell Liz he's capable of making his own friends and she doesn't have to marry the guy, she just has to turn the nagging down because EVERYONE deserves a friend. Isn't that what Liz is always preaching?
   Dude. French, I love you at this point. The only thing Todd was allowed to stand up to Liz about was Jessica and that's only because of how they started. After awhile he even loses bitching rights there.

   But I've skipped ahead a little. The book opens with a big soccer match. Excuse me while I yawn. I never really caught the soccer bug despite the 80's pushing it as the best new drug ever, so no matter how many terms SVH throws at me, I can't help but have my eyes glaze over as the flashbacks begin. (Your goalie should not possess the preternatural skill to duck and avoid things coming her way. It's the opposite of what you want, in fact.) Liz goes on a bit about how Jeffrey isn't the flashiest player or even necessarily the best, but he's dependable. Oh, Jeffrey. Woe. Then she points out that he's the backbone of the team and has definitely helped them get to point where they're one step away from tying with Big Mesa for the division championship. To get to that point, they have to beat the Palisades Pumas. We all know what happens next.
  Jeffrey manages to score the winning goal. Cheers erupt all around. SVH is set to advance to the playoff game with Big Mesa or something. Jeffrey's welcomed as the team hero down at the DB after the game. Which leads us to our actual plot.

   Ronnie's been flashing cash all around town lately and no one can figure out where it's coming from. Lila gets a few very loverly snarky comments in and I love that she's always got to know where people's money comes from. She just... has to. She's not interested in Ronnie, she just wants to know how the hell he has enough money to offer to buy everyone at the popular table food from the DB. Soooo new money, Fowler. We love that.
  Jeffrey's a smart guy and has figured out that Ronnie's been betting on various games and he's disgusted by the whole thing, so he leaves the table. One of the aforementioned thugs wanders over and starts chatting to Ronnie about his new Mustang convertible and Enid can't take the weirdness anymore, so she and Hugh jump ship. Liz watches as Thug #1 lures Ronnie outside and a few moments later, Thugs 2 and 3 head outside after them. She runs over to Jeffrey and he goes out, alone, and scares the thugs away.
  That's when Ronnie latches on and decides Jeffrey is his bestest friend ever. He follows Jeffrey around like a puppy (and is described as such repeatedly) and soon Liz is ticked the hell off. She wants sexy alone time with her boyfriend and Ronnie just won't leave. When Liz mentions this to Jeffrey after A.J. has finally gotten rid of him for Jeffrey, Jeff points out that he's allowed to have friends and that maybe Ronnie needs a friend more than most people do since no one seems to like him, and hey, isn't Saint Liz always going on about how we should be good to our fellow man? Liz agrees, begrudgingly but points out that he was an ass to her bestfriend and that's hard to get over.
   Reality has given us a drive-by. So true. Your best friend isn't going to forgive the guy who dumps you in front of the entire school and bad mouths you afterward. Which is why you should always make it a point to never tell your BFF every shitty thing your boyfriend does, so that when you break up and then make up, she won't be forced to smile pretty while a montage of all the crappy things he's done plays on an endless loop in her head.
  The two agree to disagree.

   Ronnie, meanwhile, goes from having entirely too much cash for a high school boy to not having nearly enough. It seems that he's been living a bit of a lie. His flashy new Mustang is really Big Al's and Big Al is a bookie, and not the type with a heart of gold. Ronnie's behind on his debts and Big Al has called in to collect the two grand Ronnie owes him. I have no clue where all Ronnie's money went in a couple of days, but it's gone. Ronnie's parents are divorced and his mother is long gone, and his father hasn't been Big Al's biggest supporter, so Ronnie turns to his new best friend to bail him out of his new jam. He hits Jeffrey up for a hundred dollars, then drops it down to fifty. Jeffrey's more than a little put off because a) who does that? and b) Ronnie finally cops to his gambling as the source of his revenue. Jeffrey finds out that Ronnie owes a lot more than a hundred bucks but all Jeffrey has is $25, but he gives that to Ronnie and advises Ronnie to make other arrangements to pay Big Al off and then cut all ties. Immediately.
  Ronnie says yeah, yeah, but he's already planning on hitting up his Phi Epsilon brothers. Right. Because the first place I'd want to go and advertise the fact that I'm temporarily broke is a meeting held at Bruce Patman's mansion. Riiiiiiiiiight. Ronnie's awfully clueless, man. He hits Winston up for cash, Winston has none, and Bruce overhears and makes typical bitchy comments. Tom McKay is playing the part of one of the sock puppets this go round, for those who like to keep tabs on him. Bill Chase is slightly more polite when he turns Ronnie down, but the damage is done. Ronnie's pissed that his brothers won't front him the cash. Some brotherhood.
  Bitch, please.
   Anyway, Ronnie gets in touch with Big Al (Ronnie's Smallfry. If you need me for the next twenty minutes, don't bother. I'll still be laughing.) and Big Al is pissed until Ronnie says he'll do anything he can to make it up to Big Al. Big Al informs Ronnie that it's his lucky day, and you can feel the Cheshire cat grin from here.
  Ronnie turns to Jeffrey once more, only this time things are worse. Big Al's solution is to fix the SVH/Big Mesa game. If SV wins by two points and only two points, Ronnie's off the hook. When Ronnie suggests this to Jeffrey, Jeffrey's pissed. He tells Ronnie to go fuck himself because a real friend wouldn't ask something like that and it's unfair of Ronnie to expect Jeffrey to bail him out of a jam he created for himself. This scene is repeated a few times and during one of them, Jeffrey gets all snippy and points out that he hates being called Jeff, which is what Ronnie keeps calling him.

   The problem with this is that Big Al keeps threatening Ronnie and even goes so far as to meet up with him at SVH Friday morning, scare him into a bit of a car chase that ends at one of the beaches. Ronnie gets his ass handed to him. When he finally makes it back to school, he demands that Liz tell him where Jeffrey is. Liz tells him that he's taking an exam, Ronnie doesn't believe her because it's lunchtime. Liz explains that it's a long story and Ronnie? Demands she tells him the long story. I won't lie. I snorted my drink at that point because I'm easily amused. Ronnie finds Russo's classroom and tries to get to see Jeffrey. Jeffrey is pissed because DUDE, he's in the middle of taking an exam that determines whether he'll get to play soccer on the school team anymore. STFU, Ronnie! Jeffrey finally throws in the towel and goes out to see what the hell Ronnie wants now. Ronnie starts up with the whole two point spiel and Jeffrey tells him, again, to get lost. Ronnie's freaked out due to the ass-whuppin' he just endured. Jeffrey notices the sand on Ronnie's shoes and lets Ronnie speak. Eventually Jeffrey realizes that Ronnie was right. Big Al might actually seriously hurt or kill him. Jeffrey struggles to figure out what the right thing to do is in this case.
  On the one hand, he knows that not playing his best in an effort to intentionally fix the score is wrong. There's no way around that. It goes against everything that Jeffrey holds dear and has lived his life by, but then so does turning his back on a friend who could seriously be hurt and only Jeffrey can help.
  Still... A little more waffling and then Jeffrey agrees to sell Ronnie part of his soul. Jeffrey agrees to do what he can to keep Ronnie from ending up fish food.

   But we need a twist, so Liz finds out that a college scout from Branford college is coming just to see Jeffrey. Jeffrey has no idea until Liz tells him about it after school. Now Jeffrey's even more confused. Doubt the boy could live with himself if Ronnie ended up broken, let alone killed, even if Ronnie did bring it on himself. On the other hand, now we're talking about Jeffrey's future.

  Doesn't seem to matter. The inner conflict is making it so that even the JV team can kick Jeffrey's ass on a regular basis. The day of the big game, Jeffrey gets a telegram. Everyone on the team assumes it's from Liz, which is.. weird, to say the least, but hey. Really it's from Big Al who has decided that maybe Jeffrey would leave Ronnie out to dry and now threatens Jeffrey himself. Gulp?
  Liz is on her way to her seat when she sees Ronnie being escorted off by a shady looking dude in sunglasses... on an overcast sort of day. Being the nosy sort, Liz follows Ronnie to the bad part of town (everyone wave to the Martins!) where Liz is completely unfamiliar with the landscape, thus proving someone doesn't volunteer for the truly less fortunate. As Liz is calling the police on a pay phone, she's abducted and taken to the dive bar where Ronnie's being held.
  Taking a page from Jeffrey's book, Liz talks tough and is bound and gagged for her troubles. Ronnie eventually finds his balls and knocks their kidnapper, Max, out with a liquor bottle to the head. Good show, Edwards. Took you long enough. Ronnie and Liz call the police and head back to the big game.
  Where Jeffrey is playing horribly. Liz rushes over to Coach Horner and we're given a bit of a tangent about how Liz thinks the coach respects her from her gig at the Oracle. I...won't make any obvious jokes here, but you can supply your own. Coach calls a time-out and Liz tells Jeffrey he's free to play like the star he really is or some such nonsense. I'm distracted by the fact that Big Al and Ronnie are both carted off by the cops but Liz isn't. You'd think as the kidnap victim she'd be taken down to the station as well, but what do I know?
  Blah blah, SV wins 3-to-2 and the crowd, she goes wild. I think it's time to take a peek at Jessica's wacky B plot.

   Jess is making some seriously ugly 80's oversize jewelry that her friends are too polite/taste challenged to tell her look like arse. But I guess it was the 80's and her stuff actually does seem popular when she manages to sweet talk the manager of Treasure Island into stocking her designs (with a little help from Lila who still can't act). When all but three of the pieces sell almost immediately, the manager asks Jessica to bring in all the other pieces she's made and they set up a verbal agreement. Idiot. You get this in writing for the very reason you're about to find out...
  Remember when Ronnie was flashing all that money around? Well, he offered Jess a loan of up to two grand and Jess files this away for future use. When she's told to bring in her stock (and she has none) she decides it would be insane not to make a ton of pieces, which requires quite a chunk of change. She asks her mother who agrees to float her $200. Jessica calls up her supplier (again, too easy) and he talks her into nine hundred dollars worth of stuff. Jess freaks out and asks Ronnie for the money about the time he's desperately trying to con Jeffrey into partially throwing the big game. He laughs in her face and tells her she's barking up the wrong money tree. Jess is more than a little miffed but she's pretty good in the face of rejection.
  She then returns to Alice and manages to sweet talk Alice into forking over the credit card. Sadly for Jessica, this victory was entirely too easy because any second now the manager at TI is going to call and say the store owner is changing the store's direction and getting rid of the funky and going more for clothes and established jewelry lines. Poor Jess is now stuff with massive credit card debt to the point that her father is declined at the gas station. When the parentals find out how much she charged, it's decided Jessica needs a job. She mistakingly jokes that she could get a job at TI since they're hiring and Ned tells her obviously it was meant to be.
  Oh, Jessica!

   There's the lead in to the next book and hey, John Pfeiffer is acting like an ass with anger management issues. OR, you know, if you still don't know what he did to Lila, then he's acting like a guy who just found out the girl he's mooning over is falling for Rick Andover.
   But that's next time. Same bat station, same bat time. Or something.


Trivial Matters:

  • SVH's Gladiators are playing the Palisades Pumas as the book opens. If SVH wins (and they do), they'll tie Big Mesa for the first place in their division, leading to a special play off game to decide who gets the championship.

  • The seating up in the stands seems to be: Julie, Liz, Enid, A.J.

  • Jess blows a kiss to A.J., people actually turn to see who she's directing her affection to. Duh, guys. It's totally Enid.

  • When Jeffrey helps win the big game, there's a scene after everyone rushes out where Liz takes a few minutes to savor the moment. Which is, in hindsight, foreshadowing for when Todd comes back and Liz pretty much forgets Jeffrey ever existed except when it's needed for a future plot.

  • Soccer players still seem to be Aron, Tony Esteban, Michael Schmidt, and Brad Tomasi.

  • When Enid fails to see the genius in Jessica's big ol' ugly 80's earrings, Lila and Amy both stick up for Jess. Not surprisingly, my heart only turns to mush for Lila.

  • Ronnie is usually in jeans and a rugby shirt. Sorta like Kristy from the BSC, only with less sweaters? Lately though, he's been sporting designer shirts, pleated pants, and a Mustang Convertible.

  • The Mustang is Big Al's car and for some inexplicable reason, he's letting a HS student drive it. Dude?

  • Ronnie may look like a weasel on the cover (sorry, weasels!), but he does have lovely sapphire blue eyes.

  • Enid and Jeffrey both walk away from Ronnie when he starts flashing his money and offering to buy everyone's lunch. Enid. And Jeffrey. Two of the nicest people at SVH.

  • Enid, you might recall, dated Ronnie back in book 2 though no one understood why. She was so nice and mousy and he was so new and shiny and a world class a-hole. Then Jessica broke them up, Enid dated George, then George dumped Enid for Robin, and now Enid's dating Hugh who has all the personality of wet cardboard. But at least he's not a weasel.

  • Brad Tomasi is the left wing, Michael is the co-captain of the soccer team with Aaron.

  • Three creepy older, leather wearing, stubble sporting, heavy cigarette smoking guys are giving Ronnie the eye and only Liz notices.

  • One of those guys introduces himself as Bruno and is shorter than six feet tall, another is "heavy-set with dark beard stubble", and the third is a blond with a ripped leather jacket.

  • Ronnie screams when Bruno starts to rough him up.

  • Jeffrey's 6' tall.

  • Ronnie usually drives an old Toyota his mom left behind after the divorce.

  • Mr. Edwards owns an all night grocery store.

  • Big Al Remsen is the richest, most cold hearted bookie in the area. But for some reason he lets Ronnie, whom he's never actually met, drive his convertible.

  • Big Al and Ronnie 'met' through a customer at Mr. Edwards' store.

  • Ronnie is not a fighter, can't even talk tough, and while his confession makes me a little uncomfortable, Jeffrey decides that all Ronnie needs is a friend to make him less of a weasel.

  • When Enid has an art project and the other Oracle editors are working on their assignments, Liz realizes she has no one to sit with at lunch. Luckily, A.J. pulls out a chair for her at Jessica's table. For some reason this gives me warm fuzzies.

  • Cara's Jessica Wakefield original earrings involve small, bright colored feathers. Neither A.J. or Elizabeth is all that impressed. But they obviously do not fully appreciate fashion.

  • Jessica decides to sell her stuff at Treasure Island boutique.

  • Jessica hits Ronnie up for money and when asked how much she'd need, Jessica says five hundred. Ronnie laughs and says she thought real money, like a grand or two. When Jess perks up a little too much at that thought, A.J. all but pushes him towards the lunch line to get rid of him.

  • Jack Everly, Big Mesa's left wing, twisted his knee two weeks ago and is allegedly out of commission for the play-off game.

  • The Gladiators need a C or better in each class, not a C average, which means Jeff is screwed because apparently chemistry is not his strong suit.

  • Mr. Russo offers to stay late after school or at lunch for any students who need help figuring out chem before the big exam Friday. The soccer players manage to convince him to let them take the test at lunch instead of at the end of the day, which is when their class is. I... don't really understand why giving up at least one, probably two class periods you could, in theory, use to cram is helpful. You want to take the test EARLIER? Someone explain this to me!

  • Coach Horner's training seems to involve ten laps around the track, corner kick practice, dribbling around corners, scrimmages, and other things too boringly gruesome to have been mentioned.

  • Ronnie hits Jeffrey up for a hundred bucks, then lowers his expectations to fifty, figuring that'll help keep his L.A. 'business contacts' from breaking some legs, namely his. Jeffrey gives him twenty five bucks.

  • Ronnie isn't too worried because he figures he'll hit up the Phi Ep brothers, only none of them offer a dime. Bruce, to no one's surprise, mocks Ronnie for blowing all his cash.

  • Phi Ep members mentioned: Winston, Bruce, Ronnie, Tom McKay, Michael Harris, Bill Chase. Of those, only Bill and Winston seem sorry to be unable to help Ronnie, and even then... the weasel factor makes them less sorry than they would be for, I dunno, Todd or someone.

  • Sadly, the 'odds makers' were expecting two grand and all Ronnie has is $25. Big Al makes Ronnie an offer. SVH beats Big Mesa by two points or ELSE.

  • Lila helps Jessica convince Ms. Lussier at Treasure Island that Jessica's designs actually do appeal to people.

  • Ronnie's code name from Big Al? Smallfry.

  • Jessica dropped eight pieces of jewelry off at the TIB and only three are left. Two pairs of earrings and one necklace.

  • Big Mesa's the Bulldogs, only I never remember this. Pumas I remember, but not the Bulldogs.

  • Jeffrey snaps at Liz over Ronnie and Liz tries not to cry. My heart, she feels for you, Lizardbreath.

  • Chris Wells is the SVH Jr. Varsity forward and actually manages to score off Jeffrey since Jeffrey is so distracted because of Ronnie.

  • Alice once gave factory measurements in feet, not yards. Jessica comes by her talent naturally.

  • Alice agrees to loan Jessica $200, which should be enough for ten more pieces.

  • Stuart, Jessica's sales dude supplier at Classic Land, manages to talk her into $908.10 worth of stuff. This can't end well.

  • Classic Land closes at 6pm.

  • Ronnie freaks when he sees a silver Lincoln Continental with some dude with black hair, a suede jacket, and sunnies waiting for him outside SVH. For good reason. Sunnies follows Ronnie to the beach and then... well, let's just say it ain't pretty.

  • Jeff has issues with the differences between molarity and molality in chemistry.

  • Ronnie's last class of the day is in room 302, Mr. Frankel's math class.

  • There's a cute scene with Penny and Liz teasing John about being in love, but then you remember what John becomes and the cute wears off. Still, Oracle teasing cuteness ahoy!

  • Bradford College sends a talent scout to scope Jeffrey out. It seems their star halfback will graduate in time for Jeffrey to take over or something. I cannot imagine they'd mention the halfback thing if it weren't what Jeffrey were up for but I, like much of America, do not follow soccer. Sorry!

  • Big Al loves cigars.

  • Jessica's agreement with T.I. is only an oral agreement. Had she gotten her deal in writing, maybe she wouldn't be stuck with $900 worth of beading stuff and no place to sell it.*

  • Winston, Tom, and Bill all help hold up a banner that says, "Phi Epsilon Says Go Gladiators!"

  • Liz follows Max Roper and Ronnie to Wilby's Bar and Grill where Max is holding Ronnie semi-hostage.

  • Jeffrey gets a telegram from Big Al that warns him to fix the game or Ronnie's toast. All the guys on the team think it's from Liz since Jeffrey doesn't exactly share the message with them.

  • Dave Evans is the soccer team manager. He also happens to give Jeffrey the telegram.

  • Max ties Liz to a chair and uses a handkerchief as a gag.

  • Max considers knocking out teeth, kneecaps, and tying Ronnie and Liz back to back and leaving them in the basement for the rats.

  • Despite taking the time to tie Liz up, Max leaves Ronnie free and pays for it when Ronnie breaks a liquor bottle over Max's head.

  • At the end of the first quarter, the score is Big Mesa 2, SV 1.

  • Big Al plans to fuck Jeffrey up the same way he does Ronnie. Thoughtful!

  • Liz would rather Sweet Valley lost the game than win by two points. Remember, she's the nice twin.

  • Ultimately Sweet Valley wins by one point. (SV: 3, BM: 2)

  • Elizabeth believes Coach Horner respects her as a journalist.

  • When the police (Liz and Ronnie stopped at a pay phone to call them) show up at the game, they only take Ronnie (and Big Al) and not Elizabeth. Really? I'm doubting that highly, guys.

  • Jeffrey scores two goals and has his picture taken for the Sweet Valley News.

  • Jeffrey's final score on the chem test? B-minus.

  • Jessica made fifty pieces and missed the soccer game all for nothing because T.I. changed it's business focus.

  • Ned's card was declined at the gas station and he argued with the attendant about it, then felt like a jackass when Jess and Alice spilled the beans. Dude, Ned, what could the guy do? Give the guy a break, man.

  • Ned forces Jessica to take the job at Treasure Island to pay the money back.

  • Jennifer Mitchell is the latest girl to fall under Rick Andover's spell, thus leading John P. to be all jealous and bitchy towards Penny.

  • Do. Not. Call. Jeffrey. Jeff. Unless, of course, we're in SVH: SY. Then he's cool with it.




* I get that Jessica's fickle, but you'd think she'd try another boutique or something to sell her stuff, if only to avoid having to go back to T.I. for a job.


Quotable Sweet Valley:

  But for a moment she wanted to stand still and take it all in. Jeffrey looked so wonderful, and she wanted to remember this moment for a long time. - Liz knows the end is coming... p5

  Ronnie shook his head listlessly. In a soft, almost inaudible voice, he said, "You don't understand. If I can't guarantee this, I may not make it to this weekend." p54

  "I hate to say this," Enid whispered to Elizabeth with a sly look, "but those earrings look ridiculous."
  Elizabeth tried to suppress a giggle. Amy, Cara, and Lila were all wearing Jessica-designed earrings. "Come on, Enid. They're just trying to support Jessica," Olivia said sympathetically.
  "Must be tough. I'm sure it's hard enough just supporting those earrings." - for those of you who like your Enid/Olivia/Liz trio. p77

  "You just don't have a business sense, Lila."
  Lila shrugged. "I guess not. But then, I don't need one, do I?" -Jess/Lila p78

  "Come on, now. That wasn't so bad, was it?" Mr. Russo asked.
  "Nah," Michael Schmidt said. "Piece of cake."
  "Big talk, coming from the guy who thought uranium was the name of a planet," Tony retorted. - sometimes the ghosties get it right. p84

   "So you're going to play badly on purpose, just because-"
  "Just because what, Elizabeth?" Jeffrey snapped. Suddenly his eyes were ablaze with emotion. "Just because Ronnie might be hurt or killed? I mean, come on. I know the game is important, but we're talking about the real world here! When guys like Al Remsen don't get their way, the hurt people. What am I supposed to do? Stick to my principles and let him do what he wants to Ronnie? That would really teach him a lesson, wouldn't it?" - Time has erased how feisty Jeffrey really was from my memory and I'm enjoying the hell out of the reminder. You tell her, French! p107/108


Big Al is awfully dumb


Elizabeth let her head roll back and forth with each stroke of his hand. "Mmmm, keep doing that and I'll forgive anything." - I think we all know I took that completely out of context, but way to go, Jeffrey. p 143


Fashionably SV:
  She dropped her leather bag onto a kitchen chair and adjusted the shoulder pads of her cream-colored silk blouse. - Alice, I know it's the late 80's, but shoulder pads were rarely a good idea.


Against the Odds: English covers


   I have to admit that some of my favorite parts of this book are the throwaway bits with A.J. I love that he's polite enough to snag Liz a chair at the lunch table when Jeffrey's running late and Liz has no other friends to sit with. I love that he's possessive enough to tell Ronnie he'd better leave, but polite enough that he uses the excuse that the lunch line is almost over to get rid of him.
  But my irrational favorite moment comes during the big game at the start of the book, when Jessica blows A.J. a kiss, he blushes, and my inner conspiracy theorist points out that yes, Jess probably intended it for him... but Enid was also sitting to Elizabeth's right, which means the J/Enid pairing is totally possible.
  ...Shut up. I just like to point out the possibilities.

  I also like the foreshadowing that goes on in this book. Right after Jeffrey helps the team win against Palisades, everyone is rushing the field/off to the DB, and Liz wants to just bask in the moment. She wants to remember Jeffrey just like that. Which works in a couple of ways. One? The type of girl Liz is would totally do something like that. (Guilty. You?) Two: Jeffrey's not long for this world, at least as Liz Wakefield's better half, and as a kid I adored the joys of hindsight.
  A bit of foreshadowing for John and his anger issues, but that you could reasonably argue was just typical teen/human behavior.

  But most of all we love Lila sticking up for Jessica even when she doesn't have to. Yay, Lila!
  Obviously this book is held together by little bits of joy and as such you should ignore Jessica's old lady hair on the cover and read it.

Against the Odds: Non English Covers
the_oracle: (amy thinks)
Slam Book Fever
September 1988

Look What's Hit Sweet Valley!
Photobucket
Predictions...


   Slam books are the newest craze at Sweet Valley High. They're do-it-yourself books of lists and predictions about everyone in school. They start out as fun but soon stir up big trouble.

   First, Jeffrey French, Elizabeth Wakefield's boyfriend, gets paired up with another girl under the category, "Couple of the Future." Then Elizabeth gets matched with the new boy at school, A.J. Morgan- and her twin, Jessica is furious because she's the one who's fallen hard for A.J.

   Will the mysterious slam book entries spell the end of happiness for both Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield?


   Ah, Slam Book Fever. The book most non SVH fans remember for whatever reason. Is it due to the law of the '80's and 90's that declared that at least once in every teen girl's life [and the occasional teen boy's as well] she would run across a slam book? That if she were high [or low] enough on the social ladder she would probably have her own and be mentioned in a category or two? Possibly. Or maybe it's because for ages if you looked up SVH online, you'd end up at Dwanollah's site. Which isn't to say you still don't end up there. You do. Don't deny it.

  Whatever the reason, SBF is right up there with Double Love in terms of cover visibility and the Evil Twin for plot recognition.

   But we have a formula to follow...so please, allow me to remind you of the glory that is Slam Book Fever.

  It's been awhile since Amy was in the spotlight, what with that whole being partially responsible for Regina trying coke and then dying thing. So Amy reminds everyone that dude, she went away for four years to Connecticut! And back East, they had these things. Called notebooks. But when you divided them into lists and categories, they magically morphed into Slam Books. Jessica and the rest of the bitchy clique of SVH are intrigued. Tell us more, they implored of Amy, all while reminding us that Amy's personality is mostly that of an annoying know it all, boy crazy, vapid, back stabbing bitch. Sadly, I only editorialized a little there. Anyway, Amy tells them how fantastic these slam books are and how awesome it is to find out what your classmates [at least the girls] really think of you.
   Jessica is sure that she'll crop up under Most Popular [sorority president, [co-]captain of the cheerleaders...] or possibly Most Beautiful... but everyone else has her pegged for Biggest Flirt. And Jessica is outraged that anyone would dare call her a flirt. Cara, Lila, Amy, and just about everyone who has ever met Jessica are a little thrown by how ticked Jessica seems.
   Cara wonders, ever so cautiously, what exactly Jessica would call herself then, if not... flirty?
  Friendly. DUH.
   Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

  Jessica's flip out aside, the Slam Books have everyone's attention. Liz appears so we can have our compare and contrast between the twins, and true to form, Liz points out that the Slam Books have the potential to really hurt people's feelings and she'd hate for someone to be hurt needlessly. Everyone at the catty table points out that there's the big difference between the twins. Jess is full steam ahead and Liz is prophesizing doom and gloom. After school Amy and the coalition for cattiness go and buy matching marble notebooks and the Slam Books begin.

   Meanwhile we run into the new guy on campus. Tall. Red haired. Gorgeous enough to tongue tie Jessica without even trying. You all remember him. A.J. Morgan from Atlanta. Jess is so smitten by A.J. that she acts more like Elizabeth around him than she does herself. She can't make small talk, she can't flirt, she can't really do anything but stand there and sort of drool. She's sure that A.J. thinks she's a complete moron and refuses to admit her crush to anyone, even when specifically asked about it. My soft spot for Jessica grows infinitely in these moments because a) who can't relate, and b) she's no longer Alpha Twin. She's actually more human than she's been in awhile.

  Over in Elizabeth land, Olivia has asked Liz to co-edit the new literary magazine, but Liz had to turn her down because of time constraints and wanting to actually see her boyfriend occasionally. So Olivia asks Jeffrey and he's in the process of turning her down, but he does offer his photography skills to help the lit magazine look gorgeous, while still leaving him time to spend with Liz. Olivia lets it slip that she's got the opposite problem. She's trying to work herself into oblivion because she and Roger are breaking up, but neither one is ready to officially cut the ties that bind just yet. Liz and Jeffrey are both shocked [as was I the first go round] because Olivia and Roger have been together for ages and they always seemed like such a rock solid couple.* L/J both worry that if Olivia and Roger can break up, the Wonder Couple could, too. So they reassure each other how much they love one another and that's that.
   Only it's not because that's less than a third of the way into the book.

  Back to the slam books. Everyone's enjoying the hell out of them until... Jessica catches sight of being named Biggest Flirt. She's ticked and hurt and worried that AJ will think she's not his type and definitely not worth his time now. Liz is a bit surprised when everyone starts putting Olivia and Jeffrey down as a new couple in the Crystal Ball section of the slam books. At first she's ready to play it off as people and their idle gossip, but then it keeps happening and she starts to wonder if maybe they're seeing something she just doesn't want to see. Her suspicions rise when Olivia and Roger really do break up and suddenly Olivia and Jeffrey are spending all their time together. Then again, Jeffrey had warned her beforehand that he was going to use Olivia as his model for the lit magazine because he needed someone who could pull of moody and he just couldn't see Elizabeth that way. Oh, sweet sledgehammer of subtlety and foreshadowing. Bet he saw her in a different light when Cara told Elizabeth she saw Jeffrey and Olivia making out at a rest stop on Route 9 and Liz immediately went off to flirt like crazy with AJ.

   Lila of all people offers to help mediate, and Jeffrey... takes her up on it. And so does Liz. It never occurs to anyone that Li would have an ulterior motive. Because apparently they all took their stupid pills. But it's also a bit fitting, because Liz has been proven to have a serious jealous side [see Todd] and Jeffrey's a bit thick. Or maybe just figures that Liz should know him better by now, that he's not the game playing sort and if he wanted to see Olivia instead, he'd tell Liz. But he doesn't, so he doesn't, and she's still flirting with AJ. Which is pissing Jessica off to no end.

   Olivia isn't exactly thrilled that Elizabeth has turned on her and since she knows Jeffrey is still in love with Liz, Olivia decides to figure out who started the stupid Liv + Jeff = <3 thing in the first place. She gets the idea that whomever started the rumour wouldn't have bothered to put it in their own slam book, and... well, Lila has never been known for her selfless acts, has she? So Olivia and Jessica, masquerading as Elizabeth doing an article on the Slam Book stats, round up as many slam books as they can find. Only Lila doesn't have Jeffrey and Olivia down under future couples. They run to tell Elizabeth their suspicions because Lila is on her way to tell Jeffrey to give up on Elizabeth. Liz realizes she's been duped by Lila Fowler and runs to explain her insanity to Jeffrey. See below.

Elizabeth Wakefield's Slam Book )

  Yes. They kiss and make up and all is Right With The World. Liv and Liz create a new category in the slam books called Class Sneak and Lila knows she's been busted.

Slam Book Entries )

  Now that Liz isn't chasing after AJ, Jess feels free to.... continue to act more like Elizabeth than herself because she thinks AJ would prefer a sweet, gentle, quiet Wakefield twin. Everyone else can see how badly this will turn out, but Jess is too far gone to care. She's in Love.

*- I really wish they'd had the Olivia/Roger thing be it's own book, or at least a C-plot for the last couple of books leading up to this. As it was, hello whiplash. Even knowing it's coming, it still seemed out of left field, which takes some skill. That said, I did like their brief scenes together, which is probably why I wanted more, damn it.

Trivial Pursuit:

  • For whatever reason, the SVH caf is exceptionally crowded the day Amy unveils her slam book idea.

  • Liz likes ham and swiss cheese sandwiches.

  • Chez Victoire is one of the most exclusive French restaurants in LA.

  • Jessica does not like being called a flirt. At all. It makes her crazy.

  • The best slam books are in marble notebooks. Everything is better in marble. It's what I use when writing the trivia for these things. Well. What I started with. Then Liz confiscated my slam book. Or I lost it. Whatever. Marble!

  • When pondering the categories she's sure to sweep, Jessica thinks along the lines of Most Popular, Most Beautiful. Everyone else is thinking Biggest Flirt.

  • Slam Book Categories : Least Likely To Go On A Date Before The Year 2000, Most Likely To Always Be A Millionaire, Best Dressed, Least Down to Earth, Most Likely To Have A Million Dollars By Age 30, Most Likely To Get Married First, Most Likely To Be Famous, Class Clown, Most Likely To Be In People Magazine, New Couples of The Future, Biggest Flirt,

  • Winston is chosen for the People category. It's a bit of a pity one though, as he seems genuinely hurt that he's only thought of as Class Clown. On, Winston. We love you.

  • Olivia is working on a literary magazine which she asked Liz to co-edit, but Liz declined.

  • Did we know Bruce's father's middle name was Wilson? Henry Wilson Patman.

  • Out of nowhere, Liv and Roger are not only on the rocks, but breaking up.

  • Wave One of Slam Book Fever: Lila, Jessica, Cara, Robin, Maria, and Amy

  • Jess breaks in Amy's slam book, Amy does Lila's, and Lila does Robin's.

  • First Category in Jessica's sb? Class Clown.

  • The first category in either Cara or Maria's is Most Conceited.

  • Jess puts Bruce down as Most Concieted. Biggest Brain? Peter DeHaven.

  • Liz and Jeffrey are first in someone's book as Best Couple.

  • Most Fascinating New Male [Lila's book] has AJ written twice. Seriously, how many 'new' guys could possibly win this, Li? For shame.

  • A.J. Morgan: Adam Joseph, he's an army kid from Atlanta, red hair, tall, basketball player [new to the game] who loves baseball as well. He's apparently catnip to the senior girls in his art class, according to Maria who is in the same class.

  • Anatomy of an Olivia/Roger fight: Roger hurts Olivia's feelings, intentionally or otherwise. Olivia strikes back or picks a fight. Liv and Roger find themselves unwilling to let go and unable to truly fix whatever has gone wrong, so the cycle repeats.

  • At the first sign of potential waning attention to her slambook idea, Amy has them create the Crystal Ball sections. Someone is desperate for attention...

  • AJ scores 28 points in his first game while Jess fumbles horribly in various cheers. Whoops. Sandy picks up on Jessica's crush first.

  • When Liz asks Alice if she ever gets jealous, Alice scoffs at the idea and then admits that when Ned first started at his current law firm, there was a young, pretty British woman named Annabel who was very interested in Ned. To your fanfics, people!

  • Cara had a dental appointment in Riverside and along Route 9 she sees Jeffrey and Cara in what she thinks is a passionate embrace. Their eventual excuse? Olivia had something in her eye. Seriously, guys. The proper lie is Olivia was so overcome with sadness over the breakup that she needed a hug. That Liz and I could buy. This whole speck of dust or whatever? No.

  • Aaron Dallas, the poster child for anger management, never once gets ticked when his best friend's girlfriend throws herself at the new guy in front of him. Repeatedly. I cry bullshit. Or maybe the ghosty didn't know that Aaron was the wrong backup character to use because he's Jeffrey's bestest [and only] friend. Whatever. Boy would have beaten A.J. down or at least pulled Liz aside and asked when she started taking skank pills.

  • Lila bets she can get Liz to talk to Jeffrey after he and Olivia show up at the beach with their lame "something in Liv's eye" story, and of course Lila probably tells Liz that Jeffrey and Olivia were holding hands or something, so Liz glares at Jeffrey and stalks off. So, Lila loses her bet and "has" to take Jeffrey to L'Escalier. No one is intially suspicious of Lila's newfound philonthropy because she never makes a bet she'll definitely lose, especially not an expensive one. Guys, really. It's not losing if it's essentially a date with a guy you've been into for the last... 15 books or so. :P

  • Dear Ghostwriters of the Past: I don't know where in the South you all grew up, but I really don't think "quiet and sweet" are necessarily words you should use to describe Southern girls in a general way. This, by the way, is AJ's type. Everyone snickers when he describes Jess this way, and even Jess is a little thrown, but hey, compliments about her? Always. Welcome.

  • I never understood why Lila's never bothering to hook Jeffrey and Olivia's names in her own slam book was damning evidence. Surely she would have missed someone else's slam book? Oh, and Lila's handwriting is kind of distinct. Just sayin'...

  • Jess and Olivia gather 31 slam books and even Elizabeth has one.

  • Olivia's literary magazine is called Visions. Aren't all HS lit mags called Visions?

  • AJ is under the impression Jess writes childrens books. Everyone else chokes at the thought.

  • Liz is reading Tender Is The Night and Jess wants the Cliff's Notes version. Because reading is like, hard and stuff.

  • I think it's cute that we get Liv, Liz, and Li.




Quote This:

  Jessica was certain that she was only going to find out good things about herself. Or, at least, things she already knew. She wouldn't be surprised if she were described as most popular. After all, she was a co-captain of the cheerleading squad and the president of Pi Beta Alpha, the most exclusive sorority at Sweet Valley High. Or maybe even most beautiful... - Modest as ever, Jessica. p 5

   Amy and Jessica exchanged a glance. It was just like Elizabeth to come up with a sensible objection. - Pepsi snorted through nose? Painful. p 6

  Jessica felt her face burn. "I'm not a flirt," she objected. "I don't know what you guys are talking about."
  Amy started to laugh. "Come on, Jess. You- not a flirt? Are you kidding?"
  Jessica was beginning to get annoyed. "I'm not kidding," she said flatly. "I don't happen to think of myself as flirtatious."
  The table fell quiet for a minute. "Jess," Cara said a bit timidly," what would you call it if it isn't being flirtatious?"

  "I guess I deserve all the credit," she mused. "I mean, just think about it. If it weren't for me, no one would even know what a slam book is." She frowned. "Do you think everyone appreciates me for introducing the idea? Or is everyone going to forget it was mine?"
  Jessica patted her on the arm. "We'll all remember, Amy. We'll put up a big commemorative plaque in the front hallway." - This is why I love SVH. Truly. Amy/Jess, p 29/30

  "I'm not a flirt," she added sulkily, not giving Lila a chance to protest. "Since when have you guys seen me flirting?"
  Lila started to tick off on her fingers. "Remember that chef who taught the gourmet cooking class?"
  "What about all those friends of Steve's from college?" Cara added. Cara dated Steven, the twins' older brother, and knew how many times Jessica had fallen for one of his friends. Or at least flirted with them.
  "Not to mention Aaron Dallas, Nicholas Morrow..." Lila offered.
  "And Alex Kane," Cara added, referring to a musician Jessica had recently had a crush on.
  "And what about Jeremy Frank?" Lila demanded.
  Jessica cut her off. "That was all ages ago. It's ancient history. Can't you guys see I've changed?"
  Lila and Cara looked at her, then at each other. "You look the same to me," Lila said philosophically. p 34



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   Seriously, what else do you need to know about Slam Book Fever? It's awesome and it's awful all at the same time. Jessica's certifiable but she teams up with Olivia, and that's worth the price of admission right there. Amy offers one of her only contributions to the SVH legacy [the others being stealing Bruce thus killing Regina and helping Tom realize he's totally gay] and it's Slam Book Fever. Really. Go.

  But while you're reading [most likely re-reading] this classic, please tell me why Aaron Dallas didn't punch AJ? Or pull Liz aside and ask why she was cheating on his best friend? Cuz really, Aaron, even after the anger management, probably would have had at least something to say.

Oh, and this doesn't live up to my terribly high standards, blame technology. It kept dying on all fronts as I tried. That, or you could blame Amy. Cuz she's the root of all known evil.

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the_oracle: (plotting)
Rags to Riches
February 1985

Look who's after Roger Barrett!

Roger strikes it rich...


  No one would have guessed that Roger Barrett, the poorest boy in Sweet Valley, was really one of the Patmans, the wealthiest family in town. But when Roger's mother dies, the secret of his birth is revealed, and overnight he becomes a millionaire.
  Immediately Jessica Wakefield sets her sights on Roger and his newfound wealth. Only one thing stands in her way-Olivia Davidson, Roger's longtime girlfriend. But not for long. Jessica has a surefire plan to take care of her!


  Ah, Rags to Riches. This is one of those books that I would own very briefly, and then it would get lost, but I wouldn't notice until my inner librarian/masochist would decide it was time to catalog my books. So I'd haul them all off the shelves and see which ones I was missing, and then, if I liked the book enough or was sure I actually owned it, I would go out and search for it. I never went looking for Rags to Riches. Ever.

  Which isn't to say that the book sucks. It's just that it's another Roger book, and Roger books were kind of boring, y'know? Even when given a free pass for angst and drama, Roger fails miserably to live up to that potential. His mother dies and Roger is whisked away to the Patman mansion. His uncle buys him all the things he's ever wanted and probably quite a few he needed, and we don't really get to experience this much because he's Roger. There's momentary excitement over getting to buy pretty much whatever he wants at The Sports Shop, but because he's a guy, or maybe because he's Roger, this is short lived and nothing more than a blip on the radar. His new aunt cannot stand Roger's old life and doesn't seem all that fond of Roger himself because she has a stick up her butt, but again, the drama is lacking. Not even Jessica can really spice things up, but Lord does she try.
  Okay, I should begin at the beginning. Roger Barrett, remember the poor as a church mouse guy from Racing Hearts? Yeah, well, his mother died at the end of the last book and he found out that he was the long lost love child of Paul Patman, Henry Patman's wealthier brother. Too bad Paul is dead, and Roger is definitely an orphan. However, now he has family, so he's shipped off to the Patman mansion where he promptly forgets all about his mother. For someone who worked really hard to help save mama and worked his butt off to keep a roof over their heads, Roger spends more time pining for his old room than he does for his mother. I get that a lot of guys aren't all touchy feely, but usually when something happens to their parent of choice, you at least get something, anything... Nothing. Roger doesn't mention her except for the catalyst as to his moving to his new life, and never with sadness, really. It's a bit scary when you overthink it.
  Instead, we fixate on Olivia, Roger, and the changes their relationship is going through due to Roger's upgrade in life. Olivia, who was previously established to be a free thinker, unafraid of what people think, is now a seething ball of insecurities. On the one hand, yay, reality stopped by the Valley for a brief stay! On the other hand, boo, reality has no place in the Valley. I can see why Olivia would be worried. Roger's rich now, his new family has completely different values, and Roger desperately wants to fit in. You could argue that he needs this new family more than he might need Olivia, so naturally she's worried about where Roger Barrett's girlfriend will fit into Roger Patman's life. Of course, it probably doesn't help that Roger introduces her everywhere as his good friend Olivia, and never his girlfriend. That would bug me to hell and back.
  The Patmans decide to throw Roger two parties to welcome him to the family. One is an informal gathering of Roger's friends, and the other, at the end of the book, is meant to basically welcome Roger to the Patmans' lifestyle. This means the rich bitches will all be in attendance there.

  Now, we've gone too long without a Jessica scheme popping up, so we have to check in with the devious twin. Seems that with Roger now being fantastically wealthy, Jessica's upgraded him from cute, but hopelessly out of her league to just her type. Olivia, she decides, isn't right for his new life, but Jessica certainly is. So at the little informal gathering, she starts buttering up Mrs. Patman. Who knew that acting like the maid and helping to clear things would endear her to Marie Patman? But it does. Jessica and Marie have a little chat and Marie makes it rather clear that Jessica is just the sort of young woman Marie would wish for her new nephew, and Jessica whole heartedly agrees. Olivia, they decide, must be dealt with. With this in mind, Jessica ups her devious little game. She "helps" Olivia fit in by having her get her desert while everyone else is just concentrating on their burgers and whatnot. She "helps" her pick out tennis clothes for their doubles match with Bruce and Roger. She helps hem Olivia's dress and then proceeds to list all the reasons why such a dress would do nothing but embarrass Roger. And the thing is, she sort of does try to help. She points out what is expected of Olivia, highlights the fact that it's not really Olivia's style or personality to be this girl the Patmans seem to require, and then says, "but really, that delightful ensemble you're wearing? Go with it. I'm sure no one else will be wearing tennis whites, although everyone else on the planet knows I'm lying through my perfect teeth." And Olivia falls for it, because she wants so desperately to hold onto Roger. Because she loves him, she wants to make things easier for him, but because she's so worried about not fitting in, naturally it all falls apart.
  It doesn't help that Roger hasn't got the balls to stand up to his aunt who proceeds to trash everything about him. So you like to run, Roger? Isn't that a bit of a solitary endeavor? Surely wouldn't you rather play tennis because tennis is what we Patmans are known for, and besides, Bruce does it. Your clothes, Roger, shouldn't they be more like Bruce's? So you want to be a doctor? Isn't that a bit... messy? Your girlfriend, shouldn't she be a little less of a free thinker and more like, say, me but in sixteen year old blond form?
  And he falls for it because of all the reasons listed previously. When Olivia realizes that she will never be the girl Marie Patman would wish for her nephew, she breaks her date with Roger for the big party. She even tries to explain how his new life has been rubbing her the wrong way, but of course things blow up. They break up and each is miserable. Liv runs into Liz and Liz comes home, tells Jessica, and is then amazed by how warm and fuzzy Jessica seems as she goes off to console Olivia. Well, Jessica never said that, she just said she was off to offer consolation. She lies to Roger and snags herself the ultimate date to the party of the season when Roger asks her to be his date.
  However, it doesn't take long for Jessica's plan to backfire. The day of the party, Roger overhears his aunt discussing Jessica's involvement in their little plan and how marvelous it was that she could do so much damage in so little time. She's proud of this, I might add, and I love that. Roger rushes over to casa Wakefield and tells the twins he's realized what an ass he's been and that he needs Olivia back, won't they help him? With some complicated eye contact, Jessica realizes Roger's on to her and she demurs the invitation, prompting Elizabeth to realize that Jessica was indeed being a backstabbing bitch. Roger details the bitchery on the way to Olivia's.
  Olivia, it turns out, lives in the best house I've heard of all series. Well, at least the non-mansion types, anyway. Roger begs forgiveness and Liz is there for no reason other than to have helped Roger keep Olivia from running away. After Roger invites her to be his date again and she accepts, Olivia asks Liz to come check out her dress. Elizabeth declares it beautiful and reminds Olivia that Roger loves her, strangeness and all.
  Jessica rebounds quickly and her backup boy toy, Neil, escorts her to the party. Roger grows a pair and stands up to his aunt, his uncle swoops in and tells his wife to shove it, that maybe Roger needs the acceptance of his family more than strangers, and everyone has a loverly time. Except for Lila and Caroline.

  Lila is our B story thread. It seems Regina Morrow has been missing classes lately and Todd Wilkins is worried about it. So he convinces Liz to ditch school one day and they follow Regina downtown. They see her meet up with a handsome older man and disappear into an office building, but before they can figure out what to do about this, they run into Lila who has also seen Regina. Lila is jealous of Regina because Regina George is so cool until Regina showed up, Lila was the richest girl in school, and one of the prettiest to boot. Regina appears and is prettier, nicer, more well liked, and just as rich, if not moreso. Lila spreads the rumour that Regina's got a much older boyfriend. Eventually the gossip gets to Regina who tells Elizabeth that the older guy in question is Lane Townsend of the Lane Townsend Agency. She's going to be the next cover model for Ingenue magazine and that's what's with all the school skipping and driving off in someone's beige Ferrari. She's not fooling around with a married man because she's not that kind of girl. She promises Liz to secrecy and Liz agrees, although she feels bad about holding out on Todd. Done with the inadvertent snorting of anything you might have been drinking? Good.
  Eventually Cara spots the infamous Ingenue cover and she tells two friends and they tell two friends and soon it's all over town. Of course, Lila knew about this before because she stalked Regina, too. She tried to get Lane to dump Regina and go with Lila instead, but he gently turns her down and tells her that while she's lovely, she's not model material and wouldn't like how flat her face would look in pictures. Ouch!
  Everyone freaks out about Regina's newfound celebrity status at the party, hence Lila's unhappiness.
  Caroline, on the other hand, has been talking about this guy named Adam she's apparently been seeing. We have no proof of him other than a letter she conveniently brings to the party with her and Cara reads aloud. Now, I can see bringing the letter with you, I guess, but the fact that Adam's letter says "I wish I could be there with you tonight" is a little off. Sure, he could have written it so that she'd read it the day of the party, but still, weird.
  So yes, I think you know where that's going. However, that's our lead out into the next book, so until then....

Trivia:

  • Roger has gray eyes.

  • RtR takes place a little over a week after Promises.

  • Roger wears contacts now, and dresses more preppy than he did before.

  • After lunch, Liz has English and Todd has study hall.

  • Todd's last class of the day is English, and Regina's in his class when she's not out modeling, that is.

  • Regina Morrow takes mostly honors classes.

  • The Patmans have a 5 car garage. Is that all?

  • For some reason Jessica is trying to sell t-shirts she's painted to help earn money for the cheerleaders.

  • Neil Freemount has a new sports car, thus ensuring that he keeps his place as Jessica's go to boy when she's dateless.

  • Liz describes Olivia has "very slender and small" thus blowing my mind completely, as I never think of her as that.

  • When Liz and Todd skip last period, they stalk Regina, run into Lila, and spy Roger. Half the junior class was cutting and no one told Jessica?

  • Elizabeth is sure that Mrs. Patman dyes her hair to keep it that black. Um, of all the reasons to dislike this woman, this is one of the ones put forth why?

  • Bruce is wearing a speedo and George and Todd both comment on it. Make your own joke -here-.

  • Lila describes Regina's 'mystery man' as a Paul Newman look-alike.

  • In a botched attempt to impress Roger, and his new family, Olivia flubs a dive and ends up doing a belly flop. Ouch!

  • A big deal is made about the twins watching a movie in the family room on their brand new VCR that Ned just set up. I giggled for a good five minutes at that.

  • The movie in question? Some Travolta flick.

  • Why does the school serve 'Hungarian Goulash' and more importantly, why does Lila choose that over whatever Jess has that involves french fries?

  • Caroline first brings up Adam on page 71.

  • Regina's room has a massive canopy bed in the center, guaze curtains, a couch that Regina chose the fabric for herself, and the whole thing is done in pastels. I think an Easter Egg blew up in there, somewhere. Regina decorated it herself.

  • Mr. Jaworski is holding a playwright competition. Naturally, Liz is going to enter.

  • In the week between books, Todd's car broke down on the way to Elizabeth's, and the car parts still aren't ready. Rude.

  • Olivia loves pale lilac.

  • Roger doesn't call Olivia his girlfriend until the very end of the book. Every other time it's "my friend Olivia." Idiot.

  • Lane Townsend drives a beige Ferrari. What a waste.

  • Olivia doesn't drive, but rather, she rides her bike. Because she's eco friendly.

  • The Davidsons have a large, rectangular garden at the center of their house. It's enclosed, so no worries about freak rainstorms ruining everything, and in the middle of this little oasis, there's a marble fountain. The house, and it's awesome garden, were designed by Olivia's uncle on her mother's side. He designed the house for Olivia's birth, since he's an architect.

  • Lila's date for Roger's big party is Drake Howard.

  • Lane Townsend's daughter is Simone, and Regina babysat for her once.

  • It was Mrs. Townsend who discovered Regina and that ultimately lead to Regina's Ingenue cover.



Quotes:
"Take it easy, Bruce. I feel even stranger than I look."
Bruce snorted. "That would be hard," he muttered. Roger/Bruce, p16

Mrs. Patman leaned back in her chair and continued smiling at Jessica. In fact, she smiled so widely and for such a long time that Jessica began to wonder if something was wrong. [I just have this picture of Mrs. P going all Joker in that moment. Someone distract me, quick!] p44

...but at the same time, Elizabeth hated holding out on Todd. p89 I think we all know where my mind went with that little tidbit....

"Jess, I just ran into her downtown and she looked absolutely terrible!"
"What was she wearing?" Jessica asked, interested at last.
Liz/Jessica p113



   Oh, Olivia, I love you dearly, but sometimes I do wonder about you. But not as much as I worry about Roger in this book. When Olivia trips and falls while they're playing tennis, and is obviously a little shaken up, Roger would rather continue playing tennis than let Olivia stop and clean her wounds. What the hell, Roger? Let the girl clean the grit from her skinned palms before you make her awkwardly hold a racquet again, ok?
  Also, why is Jessica running around in the background selling stuff to make money for the cheerleaders? It's just so random. The t-shirts we're pretty sure no one bought, or at least only suckers did, and then some ugly ass cookies that they sold all of them for $55... We're never given a reason, are we?
  Other things to ponder:
Why is it that when Jessica wants the dirt on something, she's a flighty gossip, but when Elizabeth does, it's her 'reporter's curiosity?
If Mama Barret was known for always doing the right thing, how did she end up having an affair with her married boss?

   And with this book, I truly begin to wonder if Elizabeth isn't a bit of a sociopath herself. She knows what her twin is like, but instead of learning with each new calamity Jessica brings down upon herself, Liz keeps hoping that this time will be the time Jessica reveals her heart of gold. Or, better yet, she'll suspect quite heavily that Jess is up to no good, but she won't interfere because "it's none of my business." Um, hello, if it looks like Jessica is trying to break two people up, don't you think you should step in and say something to someone, somewhere? Sure, reasoning with Jessica is out, but had she said, "Liv? Do you know that Jessica doesn't know a damn thing about sewing so her helping to hem anything will be a disaster..." Olivia might have begun to realize that things with Roger went downhill significantly faster once Jessica "befriended" her. Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but the signs are there, Liz. And still, when Jessica is busted and ratted out, does Liz actually manage to rip her a new one? Nope, she allows herself to be distracted.
  I do have to say that part of me, the sick sadistic side, admires how Jessica doesn't manage to see her failures as that. They're just another opportunity to be found elsewhere. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish like mad for her ability to be able to call a guy up at the last possible second and trill, "It's your lucky day, you get to take me..." and have them do it and be glad to do so. Cursed fiction!



Updated most of the previous entries with an extra cover for the non-English side. If I disappear for awhile, it's a connection issue. Seems I pay my part of the deal, but they don't pay theirs. Woe. Fear not, my trusty notebook and I will be continuing to work, it just might take a little while to share. Or not. If any of the images don't work, fuss at me so I'll know to fix them, kay?
Also, if you find yourself thinking, "Hey, I have a cover for that book that she doesn't..." feel free to share. Sometimes my eyes cross or I just can't find 'em even though I'm fairly certain they do exist.
the_oracle: (plotting)
Rags to Riches
February 1985

Look who's after Roger Barrett!

Roger strikes it rich...


  No one would have guessed that Roger Barrett, the poorest boy in Sweet Valley, was really one of the Patmans, the wealthiest family in town. But when Roger's mother dies, the secret of his birth is revealed, and overnight he becomes a millionaire.
  Immediately Jessica Wakefield sets her sights on Roger and his newfound wealth. Only one thing stands in her way-Olivia Davidson, Roger's longtime girlfriend. But not for long. Jessica has a surefire plan to take care of her!


  Ah, Rags to Riches. This is one of those books that I would own very briefly, and then it would get lost, but I wouldn't notice until my inner librarian/masochist would decide it was time to catalog my books. So I'd haul them all off the shelves and see which ones I was missing, and then, if I liked the book enough or was sure I actually owned it, I would go out and search for it. I never went looking for Rags to Riches. Ever.

  Which isn't to say that the book sucks. It's just that it's another Roger book, and Roger books were kind of boring, y'know? Even when given a free pass for angst and drama, Roger fails miserably to live up to that potential. His mother dies and Roger is whisked away to the Patman mansion. His uncle buys him all the things he's ever wanted and probably quite a few he needed, and we don't really get to experience this much because he's Roger. There's momentary excitement over getting to buy pretty much whatever he wants at The Sports Shop, but because he's a guy, or maybe because he's Roger, this is short lived and nothing more than a blip on the radar. His new aunt cannot stand Roger's old life and doesn't seem all that fond of Roger himself because she has a stick up her butt, but again, the drama is lacking. Not even Jessica can really spice things up, but Lord does she try.
  Okay, I should begin at the beginning. Roger Barrett, remember the poor as a church mouse guy from Racing Hearts? Yeah, well, his mother died at the end of the last book and he found out that he was the long lost love child of Paul Patman, Henry Patman's wealthier brother. Too bad Paul is dead, and Roger is definitely an orphan. However, now he has family, so he's shipped off to the Patman mansion where he promptly forgets all about his mother. For someone who worked really hard to help save mama and worked his butt off to keep a roof over their heads, Roger spends more time pining for his old room than he does for his mother. I get that a lot of guys aren't all touchy feely, but usually when something happens to their parent of choice, you at least get something, anything... Nothing. Roger doesn't mention her except for the catalyst as to his moving to his new life, and never with sadness, really. It's a bit scary when you overthink it.
  Instead, we fixate on Olivia, Roger, and the changes their relationship is going through due to Roger's upgrade in life. Olivia, who was previously established to be a free thinker, unafraid of what people think, is now a seething ball of insecurities. On the one hand, yay, reality stopped by the Valley for a brief stay! On the other hand, boo, reality has no place in the Valley. I can see why Olivia would be worried. Roger's rich now, his new family has completely different values, and Roger desperately wants to fit in. You could argue that he needs this new family more than he might need Olivia, so naturally she's worried about where Roger Barrett's girlfriend will fit into Roger Patman's life. Of course, it probably doesn't help that Roger introduces her everywhere as his good friend Olivia, and never his girlfriend. That would bug me to hell and back.
  The Patmans decide to throw Roger two parties to welcome him to the family. One is an informal gathering of Roger's friends, and the other, at the end of the book, is meant to basically welcome Roger to the Patmans' lifestyle. This means the rich bitches will all be in attendance there.

  Now, we've gone too long without a Jessica scheme popping up, so we have to check in with the devious twin. Seems that with Roger now being fantastically wealthy, Jessica's upgraded him from cute, but hopelessly out of her league to just her type. Olivia, she decides, isn't right for his new life, but Jessica certainly is. So at the little informal gathering, she starts buttering up Mrs. Patman. Who knew that acting like the maid and helping to clear things would endear her to Marie Patman? But it does. Jessica and Marie have a little chat and Marie makes it rather clear that Jessica is just the sort of young woman Marie would wish for her new nephew, and Jessica whole heartedly agrees. Olivia, they decide, must be dealt with. With this in mind, Jessica ups her devious little game. She "helps" Olivia fit in by having her get her desert while everyone else is just concentrating on their burgers and whatnot. She "helps" her pick out tennis clothes for their doubles match with Bruce and Roger. She helps hem Olivia's dress and then proceeds to list all the reasons why such a dress would do nothing but embarrass Roger. And the thing is, she sort of does try to help. She points out what is expected of Olivia, highlights the fact that it's not really Olivia's style or personality to be this girl the Patmans seem to require, and then says, "but really, that delightful ensemble you're wearing? Go with it. I'm sure no one else will be wearing tennis whites, although everyone else on the planet knows I'm lying through my perfect teeth." And Olivia falls for it, because she wants so desperately to hold onto Roger. Because she loves him, she wants to make things easier for him, but because she's so worried about not fitting in, naturally it all falls apart.
  It doesn't help that Roger hasn't got the balls to stand up to his aunt who proceeds to trash everything about him. So you like to run, Roger? Isn't that a bit of a solitary endeavor? Surely wouldn't you rather play tennis because tennis is what we Patmans are known for, and besides, Bruce does it. Your clothes, Roger, shouldn't they be more like Bruce's? So you want to be a doctor? Isn't that a bit... messy? Your girlfriend, shouldn't she be a little less of a free thinker and more like, say, me but in sixteen year old blond form?
  And he falls for it because of all the reasons listed previously. When Olivia realizes that she will never be the girl Marie Patman would wish for her nephew, she breaks her date with Roger for the big party. She even tries to explain how his new life has been rubbing her the wrong way, but of course things blow up. They break up and each is miserable. Liv runs into Liz and Liz comes home, tells Jessica, and is then amazed by how warm and fuzzy Jessica seems as she goes off to console Olivia. Well, Jessica never said that, she just said she was off to offer consolation. She lies to Roger and snags herself the ultimate date to the party of the season when Roger asks her to be his date.
  However, it doesn't take long for Jessica's plan to backfire. The day of the party, Roger overhears his aunt discussing Jessica's involvement in their little plan and how marvelous it was that she could do so much damage in so little time. She's proud of this, I might add, and I love that. Roger rushes over to casa Wakefield and tells the twins he's realized what an ass he's been and that he needs Olivia back, won't they help him? With some complicated eye contact, Jessica realizes Roger's on to her and she demurs the invitation, prompting Elizabeth to realize that Jessica was indeed being a backstabbing bitch. Roger details the bitchery on the way to Olivia's.
  Olivia, it turns out, lives in the best house I've heard of all series. Well, at least the non-mansion types, anyway. Roger begs forgiveness and Liz is there for no reason other than to have helped Roger keep Olivia from running away. After Roger invites her to be his date again and she accepts, Olivia asks Liz to come check out her dress. Elizabeth declares it beautiful and reminds Olivia that Roger loves her, strangeness and all.
  Jessica rebounds quickly and her backup boy toy, Neil, escorts her to the party. Roger grows a pair and stands up to his aunt, his uncle swoops in and tells his wife to shove it, that maybe Roger needs the acceptance of his family more than strangers, and everyone has a loverly time. Except for Lila and Caroline.

  Lila is our B story thread. It seems Regina Morrow has been missing classes lately and Todd Wilkins is worried about it. So he convinces Liz to ditch school one day and they follow Regina downtown. They see her meet up with a handsome older man and disappear into an office building, but before they can figure out what to do about this, they run into Lila who has also seen Regina. Lila is jealous of Regina because Regina George is so cool until Regina showed up, Lila was the richest girl in school, and one of the prettiest to boot. Regina appears and is prettier, nicer, more well liked, and just as rich, if not moreso. Lila spreads the rumour that Regina's got a much older boyfriend. Eventually the gossip gets to Regina who tells Elizabeth that the older guy in question is Lane Townsend of the Lane Townsend Agency. She's going to be the next cover model for Ingenue magazine and that's what's with all the school skipping and driving off in someone's beige Ferrari. She's not fooling around with a married man because she's not that kind of girl. She promises Liz to secrecy and Liz agrees, although she feels bad about holding out on Todd. Done with the inadvertent snorting of anything you might have been drinking? Good.
  Eventually Cara spots the infamous Ingenue cover and she tells two friends and they tell two friends and soon it's all over town. Of course, Lila knew about this before because she stalked Regina, too. She tried to get Lane to dump Regina and go with Lila instead, but he gently turns her down and tells her that while she's lovely, she's not model material and wouldn't like how flat her face would look in pictures. Ouch!
  Everyone freaks out about Regina's newfound celebrity status at the party, hence Lila's unhappiness.
  Caroline, on the other hand, has been talking about this guy named Adam she's apparently been seeing. We have no proof of him other than a letter she conveniently brings to the party with her and Cara reads aloud. Now, I can see bringing the letter with you, I guess, but the fact that Adam's letter says "I wish I could be there with you tonight" is a little off. Sure, he could have written it so that she'd read it the day of the party, but still, weird.
  So yes, I think you know where that's going. However, that's our lead out into the next book, so until then....

Trivia:

  • Roger has gray eyes.

  • RtR takes place a little over a week after Promises.

  • Roger wears contacts now, and dresses more preppy than he did before.

  • After lunch, Liz has English and Todd has study hall.

  • Todd's last class of the day is English, and Regina's in his class when she's not out modeling, that is.

  • Regina Morrow takes mostly honors classes.

  • The Patmans have a 5 car garage. Is that all?

  • For some reason Jessica is trying to sell t-shirts she's painted to help earn money for the cheerleaders.

  • Neil Freemount has a new sports car, thus ensuring that he keeps his place as Jessica's go to boy when she's dateless.

  • Liz describes Olivia has "very slender and small" thus blowing my mind completely, as I never think of her as that.

  • When Liz and Todd skip last period, they stalk Regina, run into Lila, and spy Roger. Half the junior class was cutting and no one told Jessica?

  • Elizabeth is sure that Mrs. Patman dyes her hair to keep it that black. Um, of all the reasons to dislike this woman, this is one of the ones put forth why?

  • Bruce is wearing a speedo and George and Todd both comment on it. Make your own joke -here-.

  • Lila describes Regina's 'mystery man' as a Paul Newman look-alike.

  • In a botched attempt to impress Roger, and his new family, Olivia flubs a dive and ends up doing a belly flop. Ouch!

  • A big deal is made about the twins watching a movie in the family room on their brand new VCR that Ned just set up. I giggled for a good five minutes at that.

  • The movie in question? Some Travolta flick.

  • Why does the school serve 'Hungarian Goulash' and more importantly, why does Lila choose that over whatever Jess has that involves french fries?

  • Caroline first brings up Adam on page 71.

  • Regina's room has a massive canopy bed in the center, guaze curtains, a couch that Regina chose the fabric for herself, and the whole thing is done in pastels. I think an Easter Egg blew up in there, somewhere. Regina decorated it herself.

  • Mr. Jaworski is holding a playwright competition. Naturally, Liz is going to enter.

  • In the week between books, Todd's car broke down on the way to Elizabeth's, and the car parts still aren't ready. Rude.

  • Olivia loves pale lilac.

  • Roger doesn't call Olivia his girlfriend until the very end of the book. Every other time it's "my friend Olivia." Idiot.

  • Lane Townsend drives a beige Ferrari. What a waste.

  • Olivia doesn't drive, but rather, she rides her bike. Because she's eco friendly.

  • The Davidsons have a large, rectangular garden at the center of their house. It's enclosed, so no worries about freak rainstorms ruining everything, and in the middle of this little oasis, there's a marble fountain. The house, and it's awesome garden, were designed by Olivia's uncle on her mother's side. He designed the house for Olivia's birth, since he's an architect.

  • Lila's date for Roger's big party is Drake Howard.

  • Lane Townsend's daughter is Simone, and Regina babysat for her once.

  • It was Mrs. Townsend who discovered Regina and that ultimately lead to Regina's Ingenue cover.



Quotes:
"Take it easy, Bruce. I feel even stranger than I look."
Bruce snorted. "That would be hard," he muttered. Roger/Bruce, p16

Mrs. Patman leaned back in her chair and continued smiling at Jessica. In fact, she smiled so widely and for such a long time that Jessica began to wonder if something was wrong. [I just have this picture of Mrs. P going all Joker in that moment. Someone distract me, quick!] p44

...but at the same time, Elizabeth hated holding out on Todd. p89 I think we all know where my mind went with that little tidbit....

"Jess, I just ran into her downtown and she looked absolutely terrible!"
"What was she wearing?" Jessica asked, interested at last.
Liz/Jessica p113



   Oh, Olivia, I love you dearly, but sometimes I do wonder about you. But not as much as I worry about Roger in this book. When Olivia trips and falls while they're playing tennis, and is obviously a little shaken up, Roger would rather continue playing tennis than let Olivia stop and clean her wounds. What the hell, Roger? Let the girl clean the grit from her skinned palms before you make her awkwardly hold a racquet again, ok?
  Also, why is Jessica running around in the background selling stuff to make money for the cheerleaders? It's just so random. The t-shirts we're pretty sure no one bought, or at least only suckers did, and then some ugly ass cookies that they sold all of them for $55... We're never given a reason, are we?
  Other things to ponder:
Why is it that when Jessica wants the dirt on something, she's a flighty gossip, but when Elizabeth does, it's her 'reporter's curiosity?
If Mama Barret was known for always doing the right thing, how did she end up having an affair with her married boss?

   And with this book, I truly begin to wonder if Elizabeth isn't a bit of a sociopath herself. She knows what her twin is like, but instead of learning with each new calamity Jessica brings down upon herself, Liz keeps hoping that this time will be the time Jessica reveals her heart of gold. Or, better yet, she'll suspect quite heavily that Jess is up to no good, but she won't interfere because "it's none of my business." Um, hello, if it looks like Jessica is trying to break two people up, don't you think you should step in and say something to someone, somewhere? Sure, reasoning with Jessica is out, but had she said, "Liv? Do you know that Jessica doesn't know a damn thing about sewing so her helping to hem anything will be a disaster..." Olivia might have begun to realize that things with Roger went downhill significantly faster once Jessica "befriended" her. Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but the signs are there, Liz. And still, when Jessica is busted and ratted out, does Liz actually manage to rip her a new one? Nope, she allows herself to be distracted.
  I do have to say that part of me, the sick sadistic side, admires how Jessica doesn't manage to see her failures as that. They're just another opportunity to be found elsewhere. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish like mad for her ability to be able to call a guy up at the last possible second and trill, "It's your lucky day, you get to take me..." and have them do it and be glad to do so. Cursed fiction!



Updated most of the previous entries with an extra cover for the non-English side. If I disappear for awhile, it's a connection issue. Seems I pay my part of the deal, but they don't pay theirs. Woe. Fear not, my trusty notebook and I will be continuing to work, it just might take a little while to share. Or not. If any of the images don't work, fuss at me so I'll know to fix them, kay?
Also, if you find yourself thinking, "Hey, I have a cover for that book that she doesn't..." feel free to share. Sometimes my eyes cross or I just can't find 'em even though I'm fairly certain they do exist.
the_oracle: (plotting)
Promises
January 1985

Somehow, Jessica will get rid of Betsy!

Bad girl in town...


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

  End scene.



Trivia:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • For those who wondered, Dana is an alto.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Mrs. Rollins has a little blue hatchback.

  • Frank DeLuna is the owner of Guidos.

  • Jason is a brown belt in karate.

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

the_oracle: (plotting)
Promises
January 1985

Somehow, Jessica will get rid of Betsy!

Bad girl in town...


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

  End scene.



Trivia:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • For those who wondered, Dana is an alto.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Mrs. Rollins has a little blue hatchback.

  • Frank DeLuna is the owner of Guidos.

  • Jason is a brown belt in karate.

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

  Jessica's at it again!


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

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

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

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

Trivia:

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

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

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

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

  • 75 girls tried out for the cheerleading squad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Annie's doctor is Dr. Hammond.


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


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



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

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

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

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

  Jessica's at it again!


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

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

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

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

Trivia:

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

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

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

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

  • 75 girls tried out for the cheerleading squad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Annie's doctor is Dr. Hammond.


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


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



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

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

the_oracle: (left of normal)
Heart Breaker
May 1984

Will Jessica break Bill's heart, too?

  Catch a wave...


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

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

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

Trivia:

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

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

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

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

  • DeeDee placed 3rd in the surfing championship.

  • Roger and Elizabeth share one class; chemistry.

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

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

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

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

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

  • Jessica hates onions. [yay, Jess!]

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

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

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

  • Mr. Jaworksi teaches drama.

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



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

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




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

the_oracle: (left of normal)
Heart Breaker
May 1984

Will Jessica break Bill's heart, too?

  Catch a wave...


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

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

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

Trivia:

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

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

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

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

  • DeeDee placed 3rd in the surfing championship.

  • Roger and Elizabeth share one class; chemistry.

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

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

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

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

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

  • Jessica hates onions. [yay, Jess!]

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

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

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

  • Mr. Jaworksi teaches drama.

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



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

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




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

the_oracle: (tear)
Power Play
January 1984

The Wakefield twins have taken sides- against each other!

Elizabeth and Jessica in a tug of war...


   Chubby Robin Wilson has been following Jessica around for months. First she wanted to be her friend- now she wants to join Pi Beta Alpha, Sweet Valley High's snobby sorority.
   When Elizabeth, Jessica's twin, nominated Robin for the sorority, Jessica is furious. Robin may be friendly and smart, but she's certainly not beautiful or popular enough to be a Pi Beta. Jessica's determined to find a way to keep Robin out.
   But Elizabeth is just as determined to make Robin a sorority sister. soon the twins are locked in a struggle that develops into the biggest power play at Sweet Valley High...


  Power Play is one of those books where I desperately wish I could find the author, as well as Francine Pascal, and beat the tar out of them. Robin Wilson, prior to her transformation, is an insult to anyone who ever even just knew the fat kid in school, let alone anyone who actually was. Every time you see Robin, she's either kissing ass OR stuffing her face. I'm sure, somewhere, there are kids who stuff their face all the time, but this is just over the top. It's as if that's all they can do to show that poor Robin is never going to be the perfect size six of her idols. Time has given the fat kids the last laugh in that regard, what with sixes being considered big these days, but since that doesn't actually help anything, we won't dwell there.
  So. Robin wants desperately to join PBA, which Jessica has taken control of finally, what with the previous [unnamed, no less] president having suddenly moved. You'd think they'd have someone else, possibly a senior, waiting in the wings, maybe a VP of the sorority, but it seems that would be asking too much. I do wonder if it pisses any of the seniors off that Jessica is somehow the most popular girl in school. Ah, well. Jess has been promising to put Robin up for membership for the last FOREVER, but it's obvious to anyone who isn't Robin that she has NO intention of doing so. So obvious, in fact, that Robin's mother tearfully tries to find a tactful way of asking Liz to step up to the plate. She chickens out, but fear not, Robin has no shame. While stuffing her face on a giant chocolate bar, she asks Liz to help a girl out. Liz agrees, and Robin celebrates with another candy bar. What the f... No. Save it for later.
  Jess comes home to find an overjoyed [and sugar high] Robin leaving to go on a shopping trip with her mother [in which she seems to buy nothing but tent dresses] and immediately becomes suspicious. Liz tells her that she's going to sponsor Robin and thus she'll get into PBA and all is well. Jesus, Liz, by now you should know that you might as well have said, "I double dog dare you to ruin that poor girl's life!" as that's exactly what Jessica heard.
  And so the rest of the book goes. Jessica schemes ways to keep Robin from passing her pledge tasks, and Liz schemes right back, making sure Robin pulls through. Observe:
  First up, Robin has to run around the track five times a day. Liz tells the naysayers [Oi, Patman, I mean you] to shove it, and you know full well she goes daily to cheer Robin on. You just know it. Then Robin has to don a bikini, head to the beach, and play volleyball. So Liz ropes Enid, George, and Todd into helping make Robin's day a little less humiliating. Robin needs to get Bruce Patman to take her to the Discomarathon? Liz bribes him with the promise of an article all about his tennis prowess, complete with photo.
  However, this is where things start to get dicey. Bruce brings Robin, but immediately dumps her, loudly and painfully. Robin attempts to run away, and is once more accosted by the nice Wakefield twin, who sweeps her away to the ladies room, leaving Enid to guard the door. She lies to Robin, telling her that while, sure, she ain't tiny, she's got a lovely face. Only, once Liz looks again, she realizes she actually means it. She expects the old, "sure you're fat, but you have a very pretty face" cliche to work wonders. She seems shocked when it doesn't make Robin's day to hear this. Fuck you, Liz Wakefield. Robin runs away. Liz is torn. Does she prevent her boyfriend from getting suspended for punching Bruce in his all too pretty face, or does she chase after Robin, again?
  Problem solved. She runs into some guy we've never heard of before, and sends him after Robin. Which he does. Because no one dares to ignore an order handed down by one of the twins, I suppose. Thing is, Bruce deserves to get punched. Nothing is ever heard again on that front, by the way. Instead, we follow Allen, the tallest, smartest, and of course, shyest boy at SVH, as he races after Robin. He catches up with her and she rakes him over the coals for daring to come anywhere near her. Heaven forbid someone finally actually gives a damn, Wilson. Realizing that lashing out at Allen makes her no better than Bruce, she tries to apologize, only she makes it worse. They bond over a love of old movies, and Robin convinces Allen to head back into the inferno where they share one awkward dance, before heading home, stars in their eyes.
  Time for the PBA to vote on their three new pledges. I know, three? We find out one of them is Suzanne Hanlon, whom Lila feels is perfect for PBA given that she has access to a Rolls Royce. Riiiight, Lila. One by one the girls drop their marbles.... into a box to decide the fate of poor Robin, not because the Kool Aid was spiked or anything fun. In a move Jessica all but illustrated prior to the meeting, Robin is blackballed. I remember being so shocked that anyone could be so cruel, and yet, wishing I had that kind of power when I first read it. Liz is also shocked, but only because she didn't see it coming. IDIOT. Jess kept dropping all these "cryptic" clues about not being sure that Robin would get in, popularity of the twins and pledge tasks completed notwithstanding. The only logical way to accomplish this would be to vote against her. Oi.
  Jess volunteers to tell Robin the bad news in person, and does so, making even Liz tell her to shut the hell up. Robin freaks out and all but threatens suicide. Then she drops off the radar. Allegedly she's visiting an aunt out of town, but haven't we already played the mysterious aunt card already?

  That's right, it's B story time! All book long, Liz has been noticing Jessica's been sporting some really nice things she could never afford, even if her parents went crazy and gave her free use of their credit card. Liz suspects maybe Jess is stealing, but then dismisses it because Jessica would never do anything so horrible as shoplifting. [Because ruining someone's life on a regular basis is that much better, Liz?] While shopping at the mall, Liz finds a new store, one we'll come to know well. Lisette's is an upscale shop that seems to be run by particularly snooty women. Liz notices a scarf identical to the one Jessica claims Lila gave her, a re-gifted gift from an aunt in New York. Snooty Worker tells Liz that the scarf she's pawing has a twin [get it?] but that it was stolen. Whom exactly did she say she saw with said twin? Liz runs away, cuz that ain't suspicious at all. Next time she's at the mall, looking for a gift for Todd, she watches as Lila actually steals something. GASP! Lila Fowler, the richest girl in all the Valley, is stealing! Go figure. Again, SW thinks Liz is the thief, or hell, maybe she just wanted to talk to Liz. No one knows, since Liz ran away.
  Eventually Liz decides she'll just never say a word to anyone, avoid Lila, and all will be well. Until Liz gets a call from hysterical Lila. It seems Jessica's been busted for shoplifting. Why Jessica? Well, it's possible they thought she was Liz and that Liz was the shoplifter, what with her suspicious behavior at the mall as of late. Liz cons Lila into telling the truth, Jess is busted from mall jail, and Liz tries to convince Mr. Fowler to stop neglecting his only child. Lila hugs Liz, there are warm fuzzies everywhere, and all is well for now.

  Unless you're Robin Wilson. Then you're walking around SVH [yes, she's back!], ignoring everyone. Which is great if you want a laugh at how she snubs the bitchy PBAs, but again, they make Robin out to be a little wacky in the brain. It takes super genius Liz entirely too long to figure out what exactly is different about Robin, but if you're paying any attention whatsoever, it's that Robin is losing a ton of weight. This makes things a little sketchy in the timeline department. If Double Love took about two months, and Playing With Fire took at least a few weeks, we should be deep into November by now, at the very least. But we haven't even hit the homecoming game [never fear, we'll hit that now] and midterm cheerleading tryouts. I swear, this is when you should just check your brain at the door, cuz the timeline is collapsing.
  Now, I only mentioned those because they're crucial to the new Robin Wilson and her plot for revenge. She tries out for the cheering squad, and not only makes it, but makes co-captain. Take that, Wakefield! Bruce Patman is terribly smitten and not even the knowledge that this is the girl he previously referred to as Queen Mary can keep him away. Robin runs for Miss Sweet Valley High, much to the consternation of the rest of PBA, particularly Jessica. Robin wins, gets in another dig at Bruce, and pretty much publicly declares her affection for Allen. Aww. The PBAs try to get Robin to join, but she tells them to kiss her noticeably smaller arse.

Random stuff:

  • Jess is PBA's president. The other one moved suddenly. Right. I'm sure no voodoo dolls or embarrassing rumors were started to help her along.

  • Robin's mother is under the impression that her daughter is on the verge of dropping out.

  • In case you wondered, the beach is 15 minutes from the Wakefield home.

  • Jane Fonda's workout tape is Jessica's workout tape of choice. Who knew?

  • Apparently Liz isn't the only one allowed to call Jessica "Jessie." Lila does so as well. It's cute.

  • Robin overuses "Omigod" this book. If someone tries to con you into a drinking game involving shots for each use, you might as well kiss your liver goodbye.

  • If you're stalking the characters, make note that Liz and Todd are both in Mr. Fellow's History class.

  • Palomar House is the poshest restaurant in the Valley.

  • Louis Westman isn't just another W name for the series, he's also the editor at The Sweet Valley News.

  • Liz gets her first byline in TSVN this go round, apparently for a story about The Football Queen. Like the rest of the Valley gives a damn that Robin won.

  • Apparently, the French, if google is to be believed, changed Robin to Marian. Egads, Brain, she's stolen my name and done dirty things with it!



Quote-tastic:
"Let's share the work," Jessica had said. "You clean the johns, and I'll arrange the flowers." p5
Oh, Robin, if you're Jessica's best friend, Atilla the Hun is the prom King. - Liz, p8
"Run errands for you. Lick your boots."
"Liz Wakefield, you know perfectly well I only use leather cream on my boots."
Liz/Jess 13
That's just my point. I'd have a better chance with a dead superstar than a live Bruce Patman!" -Robin, 38
The combination of human and Bruce Patman almost made Elizabeth gag. 41
Elizabeth shook her head, wondering why she was always the one people turned to when things got tough. 107
"Don't worry, Liz. I've learned how to swim with sharks".- Robin, 126
"Not the whole team. I haven't dated a single boy who isn't on the first string." -Jess 133
Robin Has Us Throbbin', defensive line supports Robin. Dirty!


137, the number of the beast? :
Robin can get carried away four hundred and thirty seven times a day, you know?
She's taking about thirty-seven extra courses.
And everybody knows we have thirty-seven dollars and fifty cents in the treasury, so there's no need for a treasury report.
Oh, my head is going to burst into at least five hundred and thirty-seven pieces!
I encouraged her? If I told her once, I told her eight hundred and thirty-seven times that blimps were not popular people!
Nothing but the usual hundred and thirty-seven disasters and boring business and politics, she said to herself.
Bruce Patman is the jerkiest person in thirty-seven states and Mexico.
Oh, Liz, that nonsense is about seven hundred and thirty-seventh on my list of concerns."







  The last half of the book should have been awesome. And once Robin found a personality, it was. I loved her snarky digs at Jessica and even Liz. When Liz continues to try and stick up for Jess, Robin tells her to stop, and it's kinda awesome. Granted, the "we don't love Jessica" club is getting bigger all the time, it's always nice to hear someone say it aloud. It's rare for anyone in the series who isn't a love interest for one of the twins to tell them off in any way. Robin? Does it quite naturally. Sarcastic and a little bitter suits her much better than desperate wannabe ever did. Which, I suppose, is half the problem of the book. Fat Robin is someone you want to shake almost as much as you want to shake the people behind her. Thin Robin happens too fast if you stop and think about how much time could possibly have passed, but not so much in the context of the book by itself.
  I do have to say this, even though I'm sure I read this as a kid, I don't remember feeling bad about myself after reading this. I just remember thinking Fat Robin was written really poorly and any idiot would have known to go back and fix certain things. Even Saint Liz thinks snarky mean thoughts towards the girl and we're given the most annoying intro EVER:
Though Elizabeth and Jessica certainly didn't have Robin's figure problems, they still watched their diets carefully.
  Why so annoying? It's done immediately after introducing poor Robin. Oi. Also? A bit condescending, really. Almost as bad as Robin sitting down and digging into a whole cherry cheesecake by herself. Come on, let the girl have a giant, supersized slice, don't leave me with this mental picture of her picking at the whole thing. Come on.


  On the other hand, the style the book is written is vastly different from most SVH books. The tone is a bit more tongue-in-cheek and Liz is definitely the star. She gets some great lines, and sometimes Jess is mentioned, but not actually heard on the page. If not for all the Robin munching, I might actually like this book. As it is, skip halfway through and make it easier on yourself. However, whenever Liz claims she's too busy with her Eyes & Ears column to do anything, I wonder if she's on crack. It's a gossip column, and while it might take a little time to figure out how to best word things, you live with one of the biggest gossips in school! Info cannot be difficult to come by, ok?
  Also, anytime Liz refers to the three witches of PBA, I mentally edit it to the "three bitches of PBA." The word you were looking for is not snobs or witches, Liz. It's bitches. Learn it. Love it.
  However, the best part of the book falls somewhere in the middle. Which twin actually did Robin the most damage? Jessica blatantly used her and made no real secret of the fact that she had no intention of inviting Robin to join the sorority. None. I bet if pledge time had come and gone and Robin hadn't been asked to join, she'd have been upset for awhile, probably no longer a minion of the Jessica, but not risked total and complete meltdown. Granted she probably would have missed super gorgeous Robin, but we don't know that for sure. Indignation at being left out could have worked almost as well as complete and total humiliation, but without the memory of Bruce publicly embarrassing her to no end. Liz, however, got Robin's hopes up numerous times and ignored the neon warning signs that screamed someone was going to get hurt. Robin nailed it later on when she mentioned that Liz was already in. She was in the sorority, she's dating one of the most popular guys, she's popular, she's one of the IT girls, so for her, life may not be perfect, but it's easier, so Liz would never understand what PBA meant to Robin, since she didn't need it the same way Robin felt she did. And Liz never does get that, which is about the time my disillusionment with Liz began to worm it's way into my brain. It'd sit and fester for awhile, but this isn't a flattering look for anyone except maybe Allen and sarcastic!Robin.

the_oracle: (tear)
Power Play
January 1984

The Wakefield twins have taken sides- against each other!

Elizabeth and Jessica in a tug of war...


   Chubby Robin Wilson has been following Jessica around for months. First she wanted to be her friend- now she wants to join Pi Beta Alpha, Sweet Valley High's snobby sorority.
   When Elizabeth, Jessica's twin, nominated Robin for the sorority, Jessica is furious. Robin may be friendly and smart, but she's certainly not beautiful or popular enough to be a Pi Beta. Jessica's determined to find a way to keep Robin out.
   But Elizabeth is just as determined to make Robin a sorority sister. soon the twins are locked in a struggle that develops into the biggest power play at Sweet Valley High...


  Power Play is one of those books where I desperately wish I could find the author, as well as Francine Pascal, and beat the tar out of them. Robin Wilson, prior to her transformation, is an insult to anyone who ever even just knew the fat kid in school, let alone anyone who actually was. Every time you see Robin, she's either kissing ass OR stuffing her face. I'm sure, somewhere, there are kids who stuff their face all the time, but this is just over the top. It's as if that's all they can do to show that poor Robin is never going to be the perfect size six of her idols. Time has given the fat kids the last laugh in that regard, what with sixes being considered big these days, but since that doesn't actually help anything, we won't dwell there.
  So. Robin wants desperately to join PBA, which Jessica has taken control of finally, what with the previous [unnamed, no less] president having suddenly moved. You'd think they'd have someone else, possibly a senior, waiting in the wings, maybe a VP of the sorority, but it seems that would be asking too much. I do wonder if it pisses any of the seniors off that Jessica is somehow the most popular girl in school. Ah, well. Jess has been promising to put Robin up for membership for the last FOREVER, but it's obvious to anyone who isn't Robin that she has NO intention of doing so. So obvious, in fact, that Robin's mother tearfully tries to find a tactful way of asking Liz to step up to the plate. She chickens out, but fear not, Robin has no shame. While stuffing her face on a giant chocolate bar, she asks Liz to help a girl out. Liz agrees, and Robin celebrates with another candy bar. What the f... No. Save it for later.
  Jess comes home to find an overjoyed [and sugar high] Robin leaving to go on a shopping trip with her mother [in which she seems to buy nothing but tent dresses] and immediately becomes suspicious. Liz tells her that she's going to sponsor Robin and thus she'll get into PBA and all is well. Jesus, Liz, by now you should know that you might as well have said, "I double dog dare you to ruin that poor girl's life!" as that's exactly what Jessica heard.
  And so the rest of the book goes. Jessica schemes ways to keep Robin from passing her pledge tasks, and Liz schemes right back, making sure Robin pulls through. Observe:
  First up, Robin has to run around the track five times a day. Liz tells the naysayers [Oi, Patman, I mean you] to shove it, and you know full well she goes daily to cheer Robin on. You just know it. Then Robin has to don a bikini, head to the beach, and play volleyball. So Liz ropes Enid, George, and Todd into helping make Robin's day a little less humiliating. Robin needs to get Bruce Patman to take her to the Discomarathon? Liz bribes him with the promise of an article all about his tennis prowess, complete with photo.
  However, this is where things start to get dicey. Bruce brings Robin, but immediately dumps her, loudly and painfully. Robin attempts to run away, and is once more accosted by the nice Wakefield twin, who sweeps her away to the ladies room, leaving Enid to guard the door. She lies to Robin, telling her that while, sure, she ain't tiny, she's got a lovely face. Only, once Liz looks again, she realizes she actually means it. She expects the old, "sure you're fat, but you have a very pretty face" cliche to work wonders. She seems shocked when it doesn't make Robin's day to hear this. Fuck you, Liz Wakefield. Robin runs away. Liz is torn. Does she prevent her boyfriend from getting suspended for punching Bruce in his all too pretty face, or does she chase after Robin, again?
  Problem solved. She runs into some guy we've never heard of before, and sends him after Robin. Which he does. Because no one dares to ignore an order handed down by one of the twins, I suppose. Thing is, Bruce deserves to get punched. Nothing is ever heard again on that front, by the way. Instead, we follow Allen, the tallest, smartest, and of course, shyest boy at SVH, as he races after Robin. He catches up with her and she rakes him over the coals for daring to come anywhere near her. Heaven forbid someone finally actually gives a damn, Wilson. Realizing that lashing out at Allen makes her no better than Bruce, she tries to apologize, only she makes it worse. They bond over a love of old movies, and Robin convinces Allen to head back into the inferno where they share one awkward dance, before heading home, stars in their eyes.
  Time for the PBA to vote on their three new pledges. I know, three? We find out one of them is Suzanne Hanlon, whom Lila feels is perfect for PBA given that she has access to a Rolls Royce. Riiiight, Lila. One by one the girls drop their marbles.... into a box to decide the fate of poor Robin, not because the Kool Aid was spiked or anything fun. In a move Jessica all but illustrated prior to the meeting, Robin is blackballed. I remember being so shocked that anyone could be so cruel, and yet, wishing I had that kind of power when I first read it. Liz is also shocked, but only because she didn't see it coming. IDIOT. Jess kept dropping all these "cryptic" clues about not being sure that Robin would get in, popularity of the twins and pledge tasks completed notwithstanding. The only logical way to accomplish this would be to vote against her. Oi.
  Jess volunteers to tell Robin the bad news in person, and does so, making even Liz tell her to shut the hell up. Robin freaks out and all but threatens suicide. Then she drops off the radar. Allegedly she's visiting an aunt out of town, but haven't we already played the mysterious aunt card already?

  That's right, it's B story time! All book long, Liz has been noticing Jessica's been sporting some really nice things she could never afford, even if her parents went crazy and gave her free use of their credit card. Liz suspects maybe Jess is stealing, but then dismisses it because Jessica would never do anything so horrible as shoplifting. [Because ruining someone's life on a regular basis is that much better, Liz?] While shopping at the mall, Liz finds a new store, one we'll come to know well. Lisette's is an upscale shop that seems to be run by particularly snooty women. Liz notices a scarf identical to the one Jessica claims Lila gave her, a re-gifted gift from an aunt in New York. Snooty Worker tells Liz that the scarf she's pawing has a twin [get it?] but that it was stolen. Whom exactly did she say she saw with said twin? Liz runs away, cuz that ain't suspicious at all. Next time she's at the mall, looking for a gift for Todd, she watches as Lila actually steals something. GASP! Lila Fowler, the richest girl in all the Valley, is stealing! Go figure. Again, SW thinks Liz is the thief, or hell, maybe she just wanted to talk to Liz. No one knows, since Liz ran away.
  Eventually Liz decides she'll just never say a word to anyone, avoid Lila, and all will be well. Until Liz gets a call from hysterical Lila. It seems Jessica's been busted for shoplifting. Why Jessica? Well, it's possible they thought she was Liz and that Liz was the shoplifter, what with her suspicious behavior at the mall as of late. Liz cons Lila into telling the truth, Jess is busted from mall jail, and Liz tries to convince Mr. Fowler to stop neglecting his only child. Lila hugs Liz, there are warm fuzzies everywhere, and all is well for now.

  Unless you're Robin Wilson. Then you're walking around SVH [yes, she's back!], ignoring everyone. Which is great if you want a laugh at how she snubs the bitchy PBAs, but again, they make Robin out to be a little wacky in the brain. It takes super genius Liz entirely too long to figure out what exactly is different about Robin, but if you're paying any attention whatsoever, it's that Robin is losing a ton of weight. This makes things a little sketchy in the timeline department. If Double Love took about two months, and Playing With Fire took at least a few weeks, we should be deep into November by now, at the very least. But we haven't even hit the homecoming game [never fear, we'll hit that now] and midterm cheerleading tryouts. I swear, this is when you should just check your brain at the door, cuz the timeline is collapsing.
  Now, I only mentioned those because they're crucial to the new Robin Wilson and her plot for revenge. She tries out for the cheering squad, and not only makes it, but makes co-captain. Take that, Wakefield! Bruce Patman is terribly smitten and not even the knowledge that this is the girl he previously referred to as Queen Mary can keep him away. Robin runs for Miss Sweet Valley High, much to the consternation of the rest of PBA, particularly Jessica. Robin wins, gets in another dig at Bruce, and pretty much publicly declares her affection for Allen. Aww. The PBAs try to get Robin to join, but she tells them to kiss her noticeably smaller arse.

Random stuff:

  • Jess is PBA's president. The other one moved suddenly. Right. I'm sure no voodoo dolls or embarrassing rumors were started to help her along.

  • Robin's mother is under the impression that her daughter is on the verge of dropping out.

  • In case you wondered, the beach is 15 minutes from the Wakefield home.

  • Jane Fonda's workout tape is Jessica's workout tape of choice. Who knew?

  • Apparently Liz isn't the only one allowed to call Jessica "Jessie." Lila does so as well. It's cute.

  • Robin overuses "Omigod" this book. If someone tries to con you into a drinking game involving shots for each use, you might as well kiss your liver goodbye.

  • If you're stalking the characters, make note that Liz and Todd are both in Mr. Fellow's History class.

  • Palomar House is the poshest restaurant in the Valley.

  • Louis Westman isn't just another W name for the series, he's also the editor at The Sweet Valley News.

  • Liz gets her first byline in TSVN this go round, apparently for a story about The Football Queen. Like the rest of the Valley gives a damn that Robin won.

  • Apparently, the French, if google is to be believed, changed Robin to Marian. Egads, Brain, she's stolen my name and done dirty things with it!



Quote-tastic:
"Let's share the work," Jessica had said. "You clean the johns, and I'll arrange the flowers." p5
Oh, Robin, if you're Jessica's best friend, Atilla the Hun is the prom King. - Liz, p8
"Run errands for you. Lick your boots."
"Liz Wakefield, you know perfectly well I only use leather cream on my boots."
Liz/Jess 13
That's just my point. I'd have a better chance with a dead superstar than a live Bruce Patman!" -Robin, 38
The combination of human and Bruce Patman almost made Elizabeth gag. 41
Elizabeth shook her head, wondering why she was always the one people turned to when things got tough. 107
"Don't worry, Liz. I've learned how to swim with sharks".- Robin, 126
"Not the whole team. I haven't dated a single boy who isn't on the first string." -Jess 133
Robin Has Us Throbbin', defensive line supports Robin. Dirty!


137, the number of the beast? :
Robin can get carried away four hundred and thirty seven times a day, you know?
She's taking about thirty-seven extra courses.
And everybody knows we have thirty-seven dollars and fifty cents in the treasury, so there's no need for a treasury report.
Oh, my head is going to burst into at least five hundred and thirty-seven pieces!
I encouraged her? If I told her once, I told her eight hundred and thirty-seven times that blimps were not popular people!
Nothing but the usual hundred and thirty-seven disasters and boring business and politics, she said to herself.
Bruce Patman is the jerkiest person in thirty-seven states and Mexico.
Oh, Liz, that nonsense is about seven hundred and thirty-seventh on my list of concerns."







  The last half of the book should have been awesome. And once Robin found a personality, it was. I loved her snarky digs at Jessica and even Liz. When Liz continues to try and stick up for Jess, Robin tells her to stop, and it's kinda awesome. Granted, the "we don't love Jessica" club is getting bigger all the time, it's always nice to hear someone say it aloud. It's rare for anyone in the series who isn't a love interest for one of the twins to tell them off in any way. Robin? Does it quite naturally. Sarcastic and a little bitter suits her much better than desperate wannabe ever did. Which, I suppose, is half the problem of the book. Fat Robin is someone you want to shake almost as much as you want to shake the people behind her. Thin Robin happens too fast if you stop and think about how much time could possibly have passed, but not so much in the context of the book by itself.
  I do have to say this, even though I'm sure I read this as a kid, I don't remember feeling bad about myself after reading this. I just remember thinking Fat Robin was written really poorly and any idiot would have known to go back and fix certain things. Even Saint Liz thinks snarky mean thoughts towards the girl and we're given the most annoying intro EVER:
Though Elizabeth and Jessica certainly didn't have Robin's figure problems, they still watched their diets carefully.
  Why so annoying? It's done immediately after introducing poor Robin. Oi. Also? A bit condescending, really. Almost as bad as Robin sitting down and digging into a whole cherry cheesecake by herself. Come on, let the girl have a giant, supersized slice, don't leave me with this mental picture of her picking at the whole thing. Come on.


  On the other hand, the style the book is written is vastly different from most SVH books. The tone is a bit more tongue-in-cheek and Liz is definitely the star. She gets some great lines, and sometimes Jess is mentioned, but not actually heard on the page. If not for all the Robin munching, I might actually like this book. As it is, skip halfway through and make it easier on yourself. However, whenever Liz claims she's too busy with her Eyes & Ears column to do anything, I wonder if she's on crack. It's a gossip column, and while it might take a little time to figure out how to best word things, you live with one of the biggest gossips in school! Info cannot be difficult to come by, ok?
  Also, anytime Liz refers to the three witches of PBA, I mentally edit it to the "three bitches of PBA." The word you were looking for is not snobs or witches, Liz. It's bitches. Learn it. Love it.
  However, the best part of the book falls somewhere in the middle. Which twin actually did Robin the most damage? Jessica blatantly used her and made no real secret of the fact that she had no intention of inviting Robin to join the sorority. None. I bet if pledge time had come and gone and Robin hadn't been asked to join, she'd have been upset for awhile, probably no longer a minion of the Jessica, but not risked total and complete meltdown. Granted she probably would have missed super gorgeous Robin, but we don't know that for sure. Indignation at being left out could have worked almost as well as complete and total humiliation, but without the memory of Bruce publicly embarrassing her to no end. Liz, however, got Robin's hopes up numerous times and ignored the neon warning signs that screamed someone was going to get hurt. Robin nailed it later on when she mentioned that Liz was already in. She was in the sorority, she's dating one of the most popular guys, she's popular, she's one of the IT girls, so for her, life may not be perfect, but it's easier, so Liz would never understand what PBA meant to Robin, since she didn't need it the same way Robin felt she did. And Liz never does get that, which is about the time my disillusionment with Liz began to worm it's way into my brain. It'd sit and fester for awhile, but this isn't a flattering look for anyone except maybe Allen and sarcastic!Robin.

the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Double Love
October, 1983

Share the continuing story of the Wakefield twins and their friends-
their laughter, heartaches, and dreams.



Will Jessica steal Todd from Elizabeth?


  Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are identical twins at Sweet Valley High. They're both popular, smart, and gorgeous, but that's where the similarity ends. Elizabeth is friendly, outgoing, and sincere- nothing like her snobbish and conniving twin. Jessica gets what she wants- at school, with friends, and especially with boys.
  This time, Jessica has her sights on Todd Wilkins, the handsome star of the basketball team- the one boy that Elizabeth really likes. Elizabeth doesn't want to lose him, but what Jessica wants, Jessica usually gets... even if it ends up hurting her sister.
  Meet the Wakefield twins, their guys, and the rest of the gang at Sweet Valley High.



  Double Love is fairly simple. You're introduced to the Wakefield twins. There's melodramatic Jessica, who isn't above trashing people's reputations to protect her own, but still manages to be incredibly popular. And then there's quiet, serious Liz who isn't above kissing a boy before the first date or plotting against her more diabolical sister. Both are gorgeous, popular, fantastic, and prone to emotional outbursts. Seriously. Liz bursts into tears no less than three times this book, sometimes for absolutely no reason. Jess also cries at the drop of a hat, but it's usually in order to manipulate someone.
  Got that? Good. Jess has set her sights on the current IT boy of Sweet Valley High, basketball captain and star, Todd Wilkins. Thing is, he seems more interested in talking to Jess so he can then get a hold of her twin, Elizabeth. Considering she's such an expert with guys, Jess figures he just doesn't know what he's missing, so she "helps" him realize the error of his ways. She's constantly caught offering him helpful little tidbits that cast Elizabeth as the flighty, popular, boy magnet twin, while she stays at home and, I dunno, washes her hair for the umpteenth time. The kicker, and proof that maybe Wilkins has taken one hit to the skull too many, is that he never cries bullshit on any of this. One could imagine that Liz is asked out plenty, and goes out fairly often, so it's okay if he believes that bit of the lie. Hormones make you stupid, especially when presented with the very real possibility that the object of your affection isn't at all interested in you.
  However, I remember first reading DL and knowing full well Jessica was full of it. You're pretty much told within seconds of meeting Jessica, that she has made her rounds through much of the male dating pool at SVH. Not in a full blown skanky way, but in that, "Sure we can go out and you can tell me how great I am," way. For Todd to believe anything other than this just blows my mind as much now as it did then. Idiot.
  Naturally, Liz doesn't know this, as she sits at home and dreams about her one true love, Todd Wilkins. She doesn't want much, dear diary, she just wants to be his girlfriend. They don't have to scale the highest mountains, swim the deepest seas, write the most epic of all love poems. No, what she wants is normalcy. She wants it to be normal for the two to eat lunch together and for him to randomly kiss her on the forehead, simply because he can and wants to do so. For they are in LOVE. That's all.
  But she never actually tells this to anyone. Ever. Because she's an idiot as well. She never tells her twin. She doesn't tell her best friend [though Enid has an extra braincell or two to rub together, so she's able to figure it out], and being that this is 1983, she sure as hell doesn't tell Todd she thinks he's keen or whatever. That last one I understand, but given that Jess is such a sneaky sort, you'd think it might be wise to let her in on the crush you've been harboring. Either to keep her away from said crush, or to get her to help you out, seeing as she isn't shy and knows her way around the male of the species well enough to snag a date for her sister. Just a thought.
  So Liz is dying a thousand deaths each time Todd calls to talk to Jess. Or she sees the two of them together. To complicate matters, Todd doesn't realize he's being set up as Jessica's newest conquest. So he still makes googly eyes at the wrong twin, still tries to get Liz alone, possibly so he can ask her to the big Phi Epsilon dance, or possibly just to say, "I love you, you idiot." So Liz is getting these "he likes me!" vibes and Jess doesn't know that Liz actually has any interest in Todd, so she sees no real problem in continuing to help Todd fall for the right Wakefield twin.
  This can only go on so long before something goes wrong and true love conquers all. So fate intervenes and decrees, "This shall not be a fifty page novel! We must have MORE conflict!"

  Another thing you should know. Jessica is not accustomed to being turned down. As far as she's concerned, she's the hottest thing around, and anyone who doesn't agree can go to hell. So when it becomes painfully clear that Todd isn't falling for her as planned, she decides to take her anger out on the unsuspecting males of Sweet Valley. Luckily for all of them, Rick Andover [tattooed, 17 year old bad boy drop out] spies Jessica walking home, and picks her up. Turns out he knows exactly who she is [see drop out status that makes this a little less creepy than it would be if he were just some random guy who knew who she was by sight alone] and finagles a date. Jess needs some male attention, so she agrees.
  Check the mini bio given for Rick again, and it'll become obvious that the only way this date is going to end is badly. Sure enough, Rick takes Jessica to Kelly's [local bar, conveniently located not that far from the teen dream hangout, the Dairi Burger] and gets smashed in record time. Seriously, one shot of whiskey and he's slurring his words. Granted, it's implied he had a little something before picking Jess up, but still. ONE SHOT. He also gets a little grabby, so Jess excuses herself and in perfect bad boy form, Rick manages to get himself into a bar fight. The cops are called and Jess gets a ride home via the police. Luckily for her, the cop thinks she's a friend of his niece, Emily Mayer, and assumes she's Elizabeth. [Cuz Liz is so the bar-hopping twin!] He reads her the riot act as he's dropping her off, calling her Elizabeth once more. Jess goes to correct him, but it's too late.
  You see, Caroline Pearce, the biggest gossip in all of Sweet Valley [which says a lot, given that almost all of Jessica's friends are identified as huge gossips as well] just happens to be walking by at that exact moment. She hears the whole thing, complete with the mixed up identity, runs home [three doors down from the Wakefields] and fires up the white princess phone that serves as the easiest way for gossip to spread through the Valley. Take that, Gossip Girl.
  By the next morning, all of SVH knows that good girl Liz has gone to the darkside, courtesy of a trip to Kelly's with bad boy Rick. Possibly fearing that two devious Wakefields is more than one high school can handle, people react by pretty much avoiding her. The boys are divided in two camps. Those who probably think Liz is a good time, though probably one involving a trip to the doctor's before and after, and those who think she's a total skank and should be put in her place. Preferably by never speaking to her again, I guess. This second camp is given a voice in the form of Enid's [Liz's best friend] current crush-turned-boyfriend Ronnie Edwards. The former is lead by rich boy Bruce Patman. But since no one's talking to Liz for fear of the crazy catching, she just thinks the entire school has gone insane.
  Until Enid finally breaks down and tells her that "no matter what, Liz, no matter what..." She spills the rest of the story and at first Liz is confused as to why Caroline would make up such an outrageous story about her. A second later, she realizes that Caroline didn't. She just had one certain fact messed up. So Liz confronts Jessica who in a tizzy over her brother's incredibly poor choice of girlfriends. Namely, the town skank, Betsy Martin. Still, no matter how much this grosses Liz out as well, she sticks to the more important matter. Namely, that her entire school is populated by idiots who believe Liz is the bar crawling twin.
  Because having Jess confess publicly will never happen, and because we've got to make it to page 182, we get another curve ball.
  It seems that we have a feud of epic proportions between the old money Patmans [hey, Bruce!] and new money Fowlers [aloha, Lila!] who for some reason, don't see a thing wrong with destroying the high school football field for their own purposes. Bruce's family wants to restore it to it's former glory as a formal English tea garden. The Fowlers want to build a factory. Now, I should stop to point out one little WTF moment. There are no FolwerS. There is Lila's father, George. Lila's an only child and her parents have been divorced for ages. Seriously, there are two Fowlers in the whole of SV as far as we've been told. I sincerely doubt Lila gives half a damn whether a factory goes up there or not. She'd probably enjoy any influx of money that would come her way, but she might also think it's a bit tacky to have a factory across the street from her school. Who knows? No one ever asked the girl.
  Instead, when news of these insane plans for their football field breaks, the students of SVH turn mob and corner the [mostly] innocent children of insane parents. There's some name calling and foolishly, Jessica opens her mouth and Bruce verbally bitchslaps her for it. It seems Mr. Wakefield has been seen all over town with a hot chick who ain't his wife. The whole town, or at least Bruce's parents, assume he's screwing around, and really, with that in her family closet, Jessica should STFU. Liz is shocked. She thought only the twins and maybe their brother suspected such a thing. For a gossip columnist, she's kinda naive, eh?
  Now, I know what you're thinking. WTF does this have to do with the price of Todd's stupidity and the scheming twins who love him? Well, not a whole lot, but we need some B-story angst. And because in the aftermath of bigmouth Bruce-y bass, Jess comes clean to Todd. Who doesn't believe her, but thinks she's incredibly noble to take the blame for her obviously skantastically confusing twin. So he invites her to the big dance. And they go. And have an absolutely miserable time after a brief dirty dancing fling. You see, Todd spends the rest of the evening staring hopelessly at Liz, who I guess never manages to look over at the same time to see him eying her. But both Liz's and Todd's dates notice. Winston doesn't mind all that much since he's had a thing for Jess for the better part of six years. Jessica, however, is beyond pissed.
  But it gets worse when he drops her off at home and all she gets is this stupid t-shirt a kiss on the cheek. So naturally, having only destroyed one person's rep this book, she decides to confuse Todd's antics with grabby hands Rick. And tells Liz all about it. By this point Jess has kind of figured out that Liz has a thing for Todd, but when given the chance to have Jess step aside, Liz chose not to take it. To keep Liz from getting better from Toddy boy than she did, Jess tells Liz that Todd is slime. And Liz buys it. Mostly. Still, it seems a little weird to her, but why would Jess lie?
  Back to the b story no one cares aboot, Mr. Wakefield and his other woman Marianna West, are working to save the Gladiator's playing field. So Liz gets time off from school, learns all aboot the ways of a real reporter, and yay, Mr. W saves the day! Well, actually Marianna does, which makes Liz feel a little funny that she thinks she could like the woman who is so obviously ruining her parents' marriage. Awkward! Only it turns out that, haha! Marianna really was just working with their father and now she's partner and yay, the perfect Wakefields really are perfect after all!
  Oh, and it turns out that Steven wasn't in love with Betsy, but rather her beautiful non skanky sister, Tricia. But Steve was so ashamed of her family, that he sabotaged his relationship with perfect Tricia, and she called him on it, broke his heart, and left him horribly depressed, something that will stain the poor boy horribly in the future. But for now, it's easily mended by him throwing himself on the mercy of Tricia's kind hearted nature.And again, perfection reigns supreme!
  Which leaves us with but one glaring problem. Todd is considered slime. Liz still wants Todd, and Rick is still pissed that Jess got him in trouble with the law. So Rick carjacks the twins and drives them out to Kelly's for some unknown reason. Maybe to show them that he's not a lightweight and can so totally hold his whiskey. Who knows? But first he drives by the Dairi Burger [told you it's conveniently located] and Todd happens to see them. And notice, in that split second, how freaked out Liz looks considering there's a maniac behind the wheel of their car. So he follows them, punches Rick out, and is rewarded with a kiss from fair Liz.
  The love birds trade notes on their destroyed reps [though, to be fair, Jess only told Liz, and it seems Liz never bothered to put the word out to warn anyone else] and came to one conclusion. Jessica!

  This leads us to our classic bit of revenge. Liz writes the Eyes and Ears column for the Oracle. It's a secret, and if the author is found out, it's school tradition to dunk them in the pool. So Liz dresses like Jess, makes it so Jess dresses like Liz, and while pretending to be Jessica, Liz lets the cat out of the bag. Jessica is dunked, and the newly happy couple is left to laugh and laugh. Gotcha, Jess!



Random tid bits:

  • Liz's tuxedo shirt is later changed to a generic green shirt and her nifty bow tie is changed to a belt in the double edition of Sweet 18, the final SVH [Senior Year] book. The current re-release of the book leaves the tux alone, letting the twins cross dress to their heart's content.

  • Enid and Elizabeth became friends during their sophomore creative writing class, though Liz still thinks Enid a bit mysterious.

  • Which could be because Enid hasn't told Liz that she's been arrested. Ah, good times.

  • As of DL, the Wakefield's pool is a fairly new addition to the house.

  • Ronnie, Enid's obnoxious boytoy, is awfully opinionated for the new guy in school.

  • Marianna's ex, Gareth West, is apparently a big deal heart specialist.

  • Bruce's mother is a Vanderhorn, one of the oldest families in SV. Nobody cares.





Say wha?
  After all, she told herself, if Todd preferred Jessica- and that certainly was how it looked- she would not stand in the way. She'd do the decent thing. Die. -Liz, p34

137 Different Ways to be Cruel:
  You've got to be seven hundred and thirty-seven kinds of idiots not to be excited about associating with the best girls at SVH. What's wrong with you? p35
  He has got to be the most wonderful boy in a hundred and thirty-seven states! p108
  This family has got to be the biggest bummer in five hundred and thirty-seven cities! p111
  I'll never forgive you, not if I live to be a hundred and thirty-seven years- p182.






Inability to discuss her massive crush on Wilkins and crying jags aside, this Liz is probably one of my favorites. She's funny, she's sarcastic, and she's a schemer. But most of all, I love that while we're told how popular Liz is, she seems less so than Jessica. Perhaps it's that Jess is the epitome of the popular girl. She's perfectly lovely to look at, and you want to hear about her exploits, but you know she's a raging bitch. Liz, on the other hand, is the twin you'll find sprawled on the ground collecting her books, wondering how long she has until some jerk kicks her and she has to restart the whole rescue operation. See, the true popular girl wouldn't have this problem, as Liz herself notes. If Jessica's books fell to the floor, her minions would scatter and retrieve them. Liz is without minions at this point, and it's kind of nice.
In general, I have a love/hate relationship with Double Love. Sometimes it's just fantastic enough that I enjoy it like cotton candy. And sometimes I wonder if perhaps I was an exceptionally stupid child and I've been stained forever by this book. But mostly I wish we could get a glimpse of pre-superfab twins. You know there are stories in their past, and the earlier books hinted at them. Later books were content to either ignore what came before or remind you with the sledgehammer of "previously on..."

Double Love non-English covers part 1
Double Love non-eglish covers part2



Re-issue, courtesy of 2008 )


** )

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