the_oracle: (gasp!)
Deadly Summer
July 1989

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Revenge...


  Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are working as summer interns at The Sweet Valley News when they hear that a patient has escaped from a nearby psychiatric hospital. Assigned to research the man's past for an article, the twins discover that Donald Redman was once a student at Sweet Valley High.
   They learn that his fellow students tormented him and that after a disturbing incident involving one of those students, Redman was expelled. He vowed to get revenge for his humiliation.
  Now a fugitive, Redman sees Elizabeth and mistakes her for the popular, beautiful girl who hurt him most all those years ago. When their paths cross in the deserted high school stadium, he knows he finally has his chance to get even! Can he be stopped before it's too late?



   Somehow during my travels I missed 'capping this one. I suspect it's because my copy of Lost at Sea doesn't tell me to go and read it despite it being the next book in the series. Feh. Also, I think I read it at the right time and just... never worked my magic for some reason. *muse* Anyway, we slide back in time a little bit and head back to the newsroom once more for Deadly Summer.

  The book kicks off with the summer of the Newsroom coming to a close. Lila's jetted off to London with her father (GEORGE, Francine. GEORGE.) and returned, Lizbeth and Enid are doing their reverse snobbery towards Lila and Jessica, and, oh yes, this is before Toddles came back, so Liz and Jeffrey are still together. Except he's still at camp and sending her letters, but still. They are together.
   So, when Lila returns from London, she brings with her a Ouija board because they're "all the rage" in London, dontcha know. Personally, I love that Lila and Jessica sort of believe in this stuff enough to give it a whirl, while Liz is too much of a stick in the mud to even give it the benefit of the doubt. In fact, Liz is openly surprised that Lila, someone she considers a bit above it all, would waste her time. She makes a comment to that effect (only I believe the words "smarter than that", that being Jessica, btw, were used) and Lila gets pissed right the hell off. She stalks off and everyone else makes that same uncomfortable "...so..." face that you do when one of your group completely loses their damn mind. Good, good times. Doesn't matter. Liz and Enid discuss Jeffrey's latest letter, debating what this "surprise" he's hinting about could possibly be. (Any and all who haven't read the book and still guess "He's coming back early!" you may move to the head of the line for your prize. It's a little pin that says, "I'm smarter than the smart twin.")
  Lila returns, sits for a couple of minutes, and then decides she's done with this popstand. So she grabs Jessica, who is spending the night, and they make their dramatic exit. (Jessica, for some reason, keeps saying y'all. Was this a thing back then or is our ghosty a newbie?) All the way home, Lila is huffing and puffing about how upset she is and how she doesn't want to talk about it, which of course means she waits three seconds for Jessica to ask, and then she unloads. How dare that holier than thou Elizabeth Wakefield dare call her stupid in front of all their friends? Why's she always got a stick rammed up her ass, and why does she feel the need to assume that her point of view is the only valid one in the entire godforsaken series? For crying out loud, doesn't it just get on your last damn nerve, Jessica?
   Jessica, true to form, isn't exactly listening. She's debating the merits of painting her nails one vibrant, summery shade, or painting each nail a different hue. (Mine are currently sporting the latter look, but it was an Easter/trial and error thing.) Eventually she checks back into the conversation because she can tell that Lila is plotting something fun. And boy, is she. She decides that she and Jessica need to teach Elizabeth a lesson. They're going to make Elizabeth go from non-believer to psychic adviser junkie in no time flat. And the best way to do that is, of course, trickery. It's very simple. They'll have the Ouija board make a prediction so completely out of left field that Elizabeth will naturally be skeptical. And then it will come true!
  That's great and all, Fowler, but how exactly do you propose they do that?
   Simple. Lila knows for a fact that the big end of the summer concert that's scheduled for that weekend is being postponed. The board will tell them this, Liz will scoff, it'll be true, and Liz will be hooked. An adorable moment of Jess being ticked that Lila knew this for 24 hours and didn't tell her already passes, and then Jessica decides that nothing is better than a Lila scheme, so she's in.

  The next night, the trap is set. Lila points out that Elizabeth should be open enough to try something before she completely writes it off, and Elizabeth reluctantly agrees. The book is worth the price of admission alone for the scenes where Jessica and Lila ham it up with the spirits. Elizabeth leaves when it becomes clear that of course this is all bunk. Obviously Lila or Jessica is pushing the planchette and really, the concert postponed? Yeah, right.

   Only the next day at work, Liz finds out that due to a union issue, the concert really has been pushed back. SHOCK. Amazement! And then her journal, which has gone missing, is found above the fridge, just like the board said! And Jessica, that paragon of virtue, swears that she didn't steal the journal and place it there, God, Lizzie, what kind of monster do you take her for?!

  But really, I think we all know that this is simply the b-story. Our A game, if you will, centers around something far more Sweet Valley-ish. During a particularly slow news day (remember, this is before the internet) everyone is kind of waiting around for something good to come down the pike. Only it's not happening. Not happening...
   BAM. Escaped patient from a mental hospital! Everyone perks right up because well, it's hard to beat an escaped mental patient on a slow news day, k? Turns out that Donald Redman has ties to Sweet Valley. He went to SVH until he was expelled for unknown reasons in his senior year. Elizabeth finds that he was obsessed with a particularly bitchy blond and that something happened between the two of them, probably leading to his expulsion. Also, for those playing along at home, he was arrested numerous times during his senior year for a variety of things. You can see the little thought bubbles above everyone's head. "Nuuuuuutjob."
  It's a gift from the newspaper gods!

  So naturally Liz goes to a babysitting gig after work. For someone we've never met before, but apparently this is a standing, steady gig. While sitting, Liz gets a lot of hangup phone calls and she's a little unnerved by it. Maybe the universe is trying to tell her something, just like the Ouija board said! Or maybe, Liz, your new boss has a secret.

  Or, you know, maybe it was Lila making prank calls as part of her plot to turn Elizabeth into a believer. Whatever. See, Lila's thought of the perfect end to this little charade. She's going to have the board reluctantly tell Elizabeth (and Jessica and Lila) that Bruce Patman, who is currently being his jerkoff self, has a terminal disease that he hasn't told anyone about. Lila wants to see if Elizabeth can overcome her dislike of Bruce simply because a Ouija board said so.
   The kicker? Elizabeth totally buys this. So every time they run into Bruce, Liz turns on the sympathetic charm and Bruce, never one to turn down the harder to get Wakefield, doesn't exactly run away.

  Meanwhile, Donald Redman, who is a bit of a bomb enthusiast, starts leaving little presents around town. He leaves a bomb at the movie theatre while Jessica and Lila are playing hooky (well, Jessica is). But it's not a real bomb. He leaves one at the Be True To Your School event SVH has at their football stadium. And he possibly left one at the airport, too. The city is working itself into a panic and really, I'm still more interested in Lila's scheme. How is this possible? There are bombs being left around Sweet Valley, self! Get with the program!

  Jessica isn't happy about the way Bruce keeps looking at her sister, so she tells Bruce that Liz isn't interested, she just thinks he's dying of some terminal disease. She figures that since Elizabeth's interest isn't in Bruce himself, but in being such a good person that she can overcome what a terrible person Bruce is, Bruce will exit stage left. Instead Bruce decides to kick it up a notch. He calls Elizabeth when she's working, he wants to come over and visit while she's sitting, and she never once questions the fact that Bruce went from being, y'know, Bruce Fucking Patman to acting all "siiiiiiiigh. You know how it is" without ever actually talking about his mysterious illness at all. Never! She's just so fixated on being such a speshul snowflake that she doesn't ask him anything at all, like why the sudden change in 'tude? Cuz as far as he knows (if he were, in fact, sick) she knows NOTHING about it. So... what the hell?
   Anyway. Bruce shows up at the sitting job, Liz chases him away, and some weird guy shows up looking for Elsa, the mother of the kid Liz is babysitting. Liz offers to take a message but does not let the guy into the house because she's not that dumb. (Kristy would approve. I think.) She's a bit perplexed as to why he seemed a bit familiar, but really. This is Sweet Valley. Everyone seems familiar.

  Remember how we all knew Jeffrey's surprise involved him coming back early? Yeah. He shows up just in time to catch Liz telling Bruce how amazing he is. No. Really. I'm not kidding. Bruce is visiting and playing the sick card and Liz is just lapping it up, so it's a little on the awkward side when Jeffrey interrupts them. That said, it's adorable the way Liz just leaves Bruce hanging to run over and hug Jeffrey to welcome him back. Unfortunately the homecoming is marred by the whole Bruce won't get lost thing. Sooooooo... all three go to the Be True To Your School Thing. Where Bruce and Jeffrey fight over Liz and Liz gets tired of this bullshit, stalks off to get a drink, and the whole bomb threat thing happens.
   Elizabeth is now juggling her love for Jeffrey, her need to keep Bruce's secret (not that Bruce has even flat out confirmed things), and oh yeah, that nutty bomber running around. Good, good times. While at work, Liz realizes that Elsa's college friend is quite possibly Donald Redman. You darken the hair, add some stubble, throw on some glasses that really do the trick for Liz (if you're into that sort of thing) and voila! Same guy. But Elizabeth doesn't want to get this poor guy lynched if she's wrong, so she calls Elsa and asks about the guy. Elsa acts totally weird about it but Liz doesn't pick up on this, probably because she's still stuck on the whole tragic Bruce thing. I don't know.

  Elsa, it turns out, is Donald Redman's sister. She doesn't want to turn her brother in, even if he did try and kill their parents back in the day, because he's the only family she has left now. Thing is, he's acting strange. He keeps asking about Melanie, and Elsa realizes his grasp on reality isn't nearly as strong as it should be. Really, Elsa? The fact that he's leaving bombs around town didn't give you a tip off FIRST? Good grief. There's being blind to the truth and then there's just willfully being a dumbass.
   Whatever. So. Where were we? Oh. Yeah. You know who we haven't heard from in awhile? Lila. See, Lila schemes pretty well and she includes backup plans in case certain Wakefields whose names begin with J start to back out of their little agreement. When Jessica wants Lila to pull back and drop the whole thing, Lila points out that Jessica repeatedly lie, stole, and withheld information from Elizabeth, all in an effort to trick her. Really, how is that going to look to the middle Wakefield? Exactly.
  But why, oh why, is Lila so hellbent on this going down the way she wants? Oh. Yeah. About that. See, Lila figured that when Elizabeth got wind of Bruce being sick, she would run to him and attempt to ease his suffering. Bruce has never made any secret about the fact that he's got a thing for the more prudish twin, so Li figured that they would spark like crazy. And even if they didn't, they'd be close enough that when Jeffrey got home, he'd be so put off by the betrayal that he'd fall right into Lila's arms.
  Yeah. Lila's scheming for Jeffrey. AGAIN. What the hell, ghosties? Doesn't Lila deserve someone new to fawn over? I'd start a drinking game for this section of the SVH series, only it wouldn't exactly be fair to anyone's liver, because Lila only seems to show interest in Jeffrey during this stretch of the series.

  Anyway, Lila's interest takes the book down to a dangerous place when Bruce decides to make a play for Liz. He brags to Jeffrey that while Jeffy thinks he has a date with his own girlfriend, Bruce is positive that he'll be the one to end up with the middle Wakefield on his arm this evening. Since Elizabeth hasn't explained her newfound connection to the richest boy in town, Jeffrey isn't exactly thrilled at the prospect, but because he's not Todd, he doesn't immediately launch himself at Bruce, either.
   Bruce, never one to play fair, plays the sick card to lure Elizabeth out to visit him at the tennis courts. Liz, being Liz, falls for it. She swears her twin and Lila to secrecy and heads off to talk Bruce off the ledge before her date with Jeffrey. I can see trusting Jessica (and no, not just if you're psychotic), but trusting Lila seems pretty dim. Sure enough, Lila excuses herself out to her car where she waits for Jeffrey to arrive at Casa Wakefield. When he does, she 'accidentally' lets it slip that Liz has gone to see Bruce. Jeffrey speeds off to rescue his girlfriend from Bruce's clutches.
  Later, Jess and Lila get bored and decide to play with the Ouija board to kill time. Both accuse the other of moving the planchette around when it spells out danger for EW at the stadium. Jessica's twin sense is tingling and when Elsa appears on her doorstep trying to warn Elizabeth that Donald Redman is indeed the creepy guy who appeared on her porch, the trio call the cops and head off to the rescue. Cuz, you know, they'll be oodles of help.

  But, but why would they be at the stadium. you might find yourself asking. Well, they aren't supposed to be. Bruce called Liz from the tennis courts and the stadium is right next door and much better for a private conversation. When Jeffrey breaks in on Elizabeth "comforting" Bruce, Jeffrey is a little peeved when Liz won't give him any further information beyond "why can't you trust me?!" (Uh, your track record with Toddles, Liz. It speaks for itself.) While Liz is struggling with her desire to keep her boyfriend and her need to keep Bruce's secret, she realizes that Bruce doesn't look at all sick. Jeffrey's accusation that Bruce was bragging about their 'date' beforehand makes her finally question just what the hell has been going on. She asks Bruce if he's sick and he admits that he's not. Humiliated, Elizabeth runs away. Frankly, I can't blame her for that.
   She makes her way towards the exit only to decide at the last second to hide out in the utility room just in case someone comes looking for her.

  Bad move, Wakefield. Bad, bad move. This just so happens to be where Redman is hiding as he assembles his bombs for the following night's concert. Since Redman is a little nutter-butters, he still thinks that Elizabeth is Melanie and revenge is going to be so sweet. Redman noticed Bruce and Liz when they arrived at the SVH stadium, so her just falling into his lap? Bonus. Because he knows that Bruce is around, and Redman is crazy and thinks that Melanie and Bruce are plotting against him, he hurts Elizabeth, forcing her to scream, which in turn leads to Bruce and Jeffrey bursting in to rescue her.
   Only Redman still has Elizabeth in his grasp and when Jeffrey attempts to make even one step closer to his girlfriend, Redman twists her arm and Elizabeth's cry of pain pretty much stops the whole 'rush the nutjob' plan before it even begins. Then Redman does something strange after the door closes. He flings Elizabeth towards the boys and resumes his bomb making, while showing them the switch he's going to use to set this sucker off.
  Once again, Bruce proves that he's actually pretty good in a crisis and points out that hello, bomb would take Redman out, too. Sadly, Bruce hasn't realized just how many cards short of a full deck their captor is.
   "You really think I would make a bomb that can kill me? I'm the only one this bomb can't kill!"
  Riiiiiight. Tell us more, they say in the nicest, most awed sort of way. It quickly becomes clear that if they weren't screwed before, they certainly are now, as Redman details his plan for blowing the building to bits. His nasty habit of accusing "Melanie" of lying to him and plotting against him doesn't exactly give them the warm fuzzies, but no matter how she tries to deny it, Redman still believes that Elizabeth is that cold hearted bitch, Melanie. Wrong twin, Donald. It's okay, it happens all the time.
  While Redman is doing his bomb building, Jessica, Lila, and Elsa have arrived at the stadium along with the police. It doesn't take long for the police to announce their presence, which just sends Donald off the edge again, convinced that Melanie is still fucking with him. Then Elsa starts to speak and Redman shows the first signs of actual humanity and starts to cry when she reminds him of who he used to be while proving who she is. One of the things Elsa says while trying to bring her brother back to earth happens to be about Elizabeth. Donald clings to the Melanie illusion a little longer, but reality intrudes. As he attempts to convince himself that Elsa is an impostor, Jeffrey takes a flying leap at the man with a bomb switch in hands. They fall to the ground and the switch disappears under a cabinet. Not to be subdued too easily, Redman manages to hit the switch before it leaves his hands.
  Jeffrey orders Liz and Bruce to get out of there, but Bruce is Bruce Friggin' Patman. He takes orders from no one. He grabs the bomb and runs. Seriously, take a moment to take that mental picture in. Takes the bomb and runs.
   Run, Bruce, run!

  Redman freaks out like a five year old whose candy has just been taken from him. He goes running after Bruce. Jeffrey and Liz frantically try to grab the switch so they can.. I dunno. Turn the bomb off? Who knows. The two labor over moving the cabinet out of the way and finally retrieve the remote control switch, only they're just as confused as I am as to what their plan was when they began the heavy lifting.
"What do I do?"
"Smash it! Rip out the wires!"

  Brilliant. Liz does this, cutting her hands in the process, and for one brief, shining moment logic screams "I don't think this is how that works!" and then... KABOOM.

  No, it's not the end of SVH, though wouldn't it be awesome if they had What If... books? I'd have gobbled those up faster than the regular ones. Um, anyway, back to the point at hand.
   We switch back to Lila and Jessica who still have no idea what's going on in the stadium. When the explosion occurs, they think it must mean that all three are dead. Lila flips out, both at the explosion and at the look on Jessica's face. Say what you will about Miss Fowler, but unless we're in SY territory, she's there when Liz narrowly cheats death and scares Jessica into white-hair territory.
  Jeffrey and Liz are stunned, both by the blast and the sudden, horrible death of Bruce. Realizing that they should probably leave the area as quickly as possible, they shuffle off into the corridor and attempt to make their way to freedom. Out of the smoke a figure emerges. For one moment Elizabeth is sure that it's Redman and that he's come back to finish them. Jeffrey, not having had the extra time with Redman, realizes very quickly that it's actually Bruce. They fall all over one another to get to him and find out what the hell happened.
  The police swarm them and Bruce offers a very brief account of Redman's last actions. Donald Redman caught up with Bruce, took the bomb, and was laughing as he presumably ran away. The blast was close enough that you're left with the impression that Bruce saw more than he'll ever admit, but for the moment we need everyone out of the building so that Jessica can run and embrace her twin. Jessica explains that while the Ouija board did tell them that Elizabeth was in danger, Jessica's twin sense was tingling beforehand. The Ouija board just gave a voice to her fears.
   The twins promise no more messing around with the Ouija board and off they limp into the sunset.



Trivial Pursuit:

  • Lila went to London and returned with a Ouija board, which she claims is the "latest craze" there.

  • Jess greets the SVH gang at the DB with "y'all." Repeatedly. Weird.

  • This ghosty subscribes to the theory that Lila is incredibly insecure. Which I can buy, but she's fairly secure in other ways, ways that aren't acknowledged by our author.

  • Lila's bathroom is described as having wall-to-wall mirrors.

  • Jessica debates painting her nails all the same color (Tropic Flame) or going with a different color on each nail. (Wow, the fashion world really does just cycle back around.)

  • The Endless Summer concert is postponed a week due to a musician's union issue.

  • Lila, Jessica, and Elizabeth see no problem in using the Ouija board in Jessica's room. I'm sorry, but the Hershey Bar is the last place in Casa Wakefield I'd use that. If only because I'm not sure you'd find space on the floor for three teenage girls.

  • Jessica lies straight to Elizabeth's face about reading Jeffrey's letters. And stealing her journal.

  • Elsa Bartel is the latest person to employ Elizabeth as a babysitter. Her husband is out on a business trip and she needs help watching her son, Max, who is five. She's on the board of directors at Max's daycare.

  • After the Ouija board correctly "predicts" the concert being postponed, Liz starts to read "The Beginner's Guide to Occultism."

  • Everyone is described as "drawling" in this book. It's kind of weird, y'all.

  • Anita Solarz is a recently hired staff reporter at the SVN.

  • Donald Redman escaped from the San Rafael Hospital.

  • Speaking of Redman: he's 32, white, paranoid schizophrenic who went to SVH and received straight A's. He was in the science club, liked electronics, but was suspended multiple times for fighting with his teachers. He became obsessed with the homecoming queen their senior year. She was dating the football captain. He was arrested for "disturbing the peace, threatening people, neighbors complaining, that sort of thing." He also kidnapped the homecoming queen, which quite probably led to his expulsion from SVH. A few years after that, he was committed to the SRH after he attempted to kill his parents with an exceptionally well crafted bomb. He also had a sister, who later turns out to be Elsa Bartel.

  • Bruce calls Elizabeth "Goldilocks."

  • Enid is confused by the sudden affection Liz has for Bruce.

  • Homecoming Queen, Melanie, reminds me a lot of Amy: Very stuck on herself and hasn't got the brains not to antagonize someone who is clearly off his rocker.

  • Jessica plays hooky from her internship so she and Lila can go to the 2pm showing of "Terror in the Subway, Part 4" at the Valley Cinema.

  • Redman calls the newspaper office around 3pm and gets Seth's phone, which Liz has answered. He tells them where the bomb is. Since danger follows the twins, it's at the Valley Cinema.

  • Seth takes the pictures for the newspaper story about the Valley Cinema bomb.

  • Neil Freemount and Bruce went to the same movie as Jessica and Lila. Sandy Bacon and Maria Santelli were shopping nearby.

  • The 'bomb' isn't real and is about the size of a typewriter. It has a red ribbon and a tag that says "Got ya. See you next time, kids."

  • After the movie bomb scare, Jessica decides to tell Bruce the real reason Elizabeth seems interested. Instead of being offended, Bruce seems to see the potential in having easy access to Saint Liz.

  • After Jessica's bombshell (sorry, too easy), Bruce immediately starts laying on the "you know"s and veiled comments to being sick, despite not having done so before. Liz never questions his change in attitude or why Bruce would assume she would know a blasted thing. This irks me more than it should.

  • A young, dark haired man with glasses (wire-rim, the kind Liz likes) shows up to see Elsa while Liz is babysitting. He claims to be an old friend from college.

  • The cheerleaders have organized the Be True To Your School night at the football stadium.

  • Liz wants Jeffrey to trust her, despite the fact that she's been described repeatedly as being a fairly jealous person, and he walked in on her telling Bruce how amazing he was.

  • The Droids perform A Plus, which is apparently one of their most popular songs.

  • Redman leaves a "bomb" at the airport as well as the Be True event.

  • In case you needed to know: Police Commissioner Dreyfus.

  • Elsa works at Allied Equity Systems.

  • For some reason, Elsa stands by Donald even after he starts leaving bombs around town. It's not until he starts going on about "Melanie" (Liz) that Elsa decides to turn him in.

  • Our ghosty this go round has Jeffrey resisting the urge to punch people. Silly, ghosty. That's Toddles with the punching problem.

  • Redman is putting a bundle of TNT and plastic in each of the following sections of the stadium for the concert: A1, C3, D1, F3.

  • Redman drives a blue Toyota.

  • When they were children, Donald taught Elsa about astronomy.

  • After Redman hits the switch on the bomb, Bruce takes it and runs. Liz and Jeffrey frantically try to get to the remote, but when they do, all they can figure out to do is destroy it and hope for the best.

  • It's implied that Bruce saw Redman die.




Quotes:

"I can't find a rational explanation for why you always need to borrow my clothes when you have twice as many as I do and when you like totally different styles, but I sort of doubt there's anything supernatural about it." - Liz says what everyone else has been thinking since the early 80's. p5


  "Hell-o Bruce," Ken and Winston intoned in a singsong unison. - Tell me, am I the only one to hear helllllloooooo nurse in that? p9

  Dear Jeffrey, everything is the same in Sweet Valley. Bruce is negotiating for total world domination, and my sister has completely flipped out again. - p10

  Jessica let out a peal of laughter. "She'll be so surprised. She won't know what to say."
  "For once," Lila added.
  Their eyes met, and they both giggled. Jessica had to hand it to her best friend. If there was anyone who could cook up a plan, it was Lila Fowler. - I love devious!Lila and Jessica working together against Liz. I'm pretty sure this makes me a bad person. :p p16/17

   Jessica's mind was racing. Lila was right, it was the ultimate test. If Elizabeth could overcome her dislike of Bruce enough to be kind and sympathetic to him, it would prove she definitely believed what the Ouija board said. A laugh of pure delight welled up in Jessica's throat as she imagined her sister's reaction. It would be a priceless scene: Elizabeth in a tug-of-war between her conscience and her disgust for egotistical, infuriating, pain-in-the-neck Bruce Patman. - Is it wrong that I agree with the glee in this scene? p42

  "But we have to work up to it slowly," warned Lila. "We can't just go, 'Whammo! Bruce is dying.'"
  Jessica nodded and let out a weak chuckle. "Right. I'll sneak another look at her journal and find something to use."
  "And then..."
  "And then, 'Whammo! Bruce is dying,'" Jessica finished for Lila. p43

  "I'm a pessimist because I think the police will find an escaped lunatic before he starts parading through Sweet Valley with a chainsaw?" - Oh, Jessica. You slay me. p50

  Lila curled her legs up under her and frowned. "What should Bruce have?" she added.
  Jessica snickered. "How about the plague?"
  "Can you die of leprosy?" Lila asked with a malicious giggle. "I mean, if he's got to go, he might as well have something really interesting." - Remind me again not to tick those two off. p61

  In the past, Jessica had often poked her nose into Elizabeth's relationships, trying to stir up trouble. But for Lila to do it struck her as unfair. After all, Lila wasn't Elizabeth's twin sister. - Can you imagine what that would have been like? Glorious. p77

  Lila gave Bruce a withering look. "Give me a break. Since when are you such an expert?"
  "Hey, I'm good at a lot of things." Bruce smirked at Lila, who turned her back on him. - 94

"You know there could never be anything between Bruce and me," she added. - Oh, really, Liz? p116



  All she could think of was that he had deliberately ignored her request to wait for her at home and that he had shattered a special, deeply personal moment between her and Bruce. - Uh, that sounds really... strange, Liz. p169

  "Bruce, are you or are you not sick?"
  "Sick?" Jeffrey sounded surprised.
  Bruce looked thoughtful. "Well, not-exactly sick, but I think I'm about to get a major headache." - ♥ p171



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  There are certain SVH books that cross a line. Some are in poor taste, some are badly executed, some involve vampires or werewolves, and some just make you wonder how exactly that pitch meeting went. "So you know what SVH needs more of? Lonely bombers."
   So Deadly Summer is a pretty odd book. I like it, but it's one of those where my brain has attached exactly one label to the book (crazy bomber!) and so re-reading it, even twice within a five month period, it seems somehow new and familiar all at the same time. It's disorienting, to tell the truth. It definitely plays out in the far reaches of the plausibility fields for the series, but there's enough other stuff going on that you can't put the damn thing down. Lila and Jessica plotting to humble Liz? Brilliant. Lila having a secondary plot? Genius. POV chapters from Redman? Thumbs up. Bruce deciding to go full throttle with whole sickness angle just to see how much he can get away with? Fabulous. Jeffrey logically being miffed that his girlfriend is spending waaaaaaaaaay too much time with Bruce? Yes, thank you, I'll have another slice of this crazy pie.

  I love the little bits of Lila/Jessica friendship that flitter through, and it's funny reading this after the whole SVC thing because of the L/B pairing and the initial take on Lila's personality. Scheming Lila is second only to caring Lila, and they both make appearances here. Overall, this is one of the more cracktacular Thrillers and it deserves better cover art. Jess is okay but Liz is looking a little...well, you tell me.

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the_oracle: (gasp!)
No Place To Hide
December 1988

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Secret lives...


   When Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield invite Nicholas Morrow on a picnic to help cure his blues, their plan has unexpected results. Nicholas falls in love with Barbara, a beautiful girl who involves the twins in their most dangerous mystery yet.
  Barbara tells Nicholas they must hide their relationship from the uncle she's visiting. Hearing the fear in her voice, Nicholas decides to tell the twins, and they start investigating. The more they find out, the more desperate Barbara's situation seems.
   Then Jessica and Elizabeth are threatened by an anonymous caller. Now they face a terrible choice: either give up their search and leave Barbara in deadly trouble, or save Barbara's life-and risk their lives and Nicholas's!


  No Place to Hide is a bit of a standout in the SVH-verse for me because I always forget that it exists. Oh, I'll remember it for three months after I've read it, but come next April? I'll wonder what the hell the book was about. So, for me, it's like I'll always have a SVH book that's almost new for me. Sure, I remember the basics: Nicholas Morrow finally gets over Elizabeth by falling for a girl who, in any other book put out at the time that wasn't SV or BSC, would've been a ghost. Happy fun times do not ensue. That much I recall. But even now I couldn't tell you the exact specifics without looking at my cheat sheet or the book itself.

   Well played, ghostwriter of the month. Well played.


  It's the summer of the twins' internship at the Sweet Valley News again still and we've finally progressed to... July. I know, I would've thought that we would have progressed a little bit further, but hey. I'm not in charge here, I'm merely here to mock and squee as needed. The newspaper is having its annual picnic in Ronoma, a county in California we've never heard of before and will likely never hear from again. Liz and Jess are excited because picnics have always been a big deal to them. Jess I think is more interested in the party aspect and Liz is dreaming of networking, but still. Excitement?
   Liz decides to invite Nicholas because he's seemed a little bummed lately, what with his sister dying and all. (...yes.) Once at the picnic, Nicholas is far from the life of the party and decides he would rather walk around the park and sulk. Liz grumbles to herself that she invited the boy so she has to play the gracious hostess/friend and keep him company because, hell, the way he's been lately, he's likely to fling himself off the nearest cliffs. But she resents this because of the missed networking possibilities. Next time don't invite the guy who was all too interested in you until your sister's untimely demise that you sort of had a bit of a hand in, Miss Nosy Reporter Wannabe. Just sayin'.

  Nicholas walks and walks and gets further and further from the party/picnic in the park. Liz worries they're trespassing. Nich doesn't seem to care that some people don't want strangers traipsing around their yards and wants to get a better look at the cliffs and their view of the sea. Instead he finds a girl who is so gorgeous that she appears to be from another time period entirely. If you listen carefully, you can hear Tricia Martin screaming about someone stealing her shtick.
  Nicholas falls immediately for Barbara and she seems to fall for him as well. Can't say I blame her. TV!Nicholas aside, the dude's supposed to be dreamy. Anyway, Nicholas lets Barbara slip away without so much as a phone number or a last name, so he returns the next day to find her. Luckily for him, Barbara seems to delight in traipsing about in the woods and garden near her grandparents' creepy mansion by the sea, and she sings to her Yorkie so Nicholas can fairly easily find her.
  I'll spare you the whole romancing of the couple because there isn't much. Barbara's beautiful. Nicholas is beautiful. Nicholas shares Regina's love of drama, so the moment he gets wind of B's "Uncle John" and his controlling ways and temper (made clear by John telling him to get lost and never come around again, EVER), the boy is hooked. Immediately he begins to worry about B and how her not!Uncle seems to have too short a leash on her. So what does he do? He invites the twins out to Barbara's and they are immediately chased away by B before her uncle comes to drag her back to the house, warning her of what terrible things will happen to Josine, their housekeeper and the only friend Barbara has had all summer.
  Nicholas keeps returning to Barbara and they manage to away for a dinner in town where more than one person reacts as if they've seen a ghost the second they catch sight of Barbara. It appears she's the spitting image of her grandmother who died tragically years ago. Upon returning from their meal out, Nicholas finds his Jeep's tires have all been slashed, proving that someone is on to them. Barbara repeatedly asks and tells Nicholas to stay away, that it's not safe for him to see her anymore, but that's not going to discourage a drama junkie. Instead Nicholas vows to find a way to rescue Barbara. If you don't get that Nicholas imagines himself the prince on a white horse by now, you either missed out on all the fairytales as a kid or you're just slow.

   Meanwhile, Jessica and Elizabeth are back at the paper doing research of their own. It appears it's nearly time for a new SV mayor and the paper is abuzz with news on each side. There's the mysterious Russell Kinkaid who is amazingly charming and charismatic and yet still manages to rub Elizabeth the wrong way. (Proof that he's Evil.) And then there's Miles Robinson who has the support of the Valley News but really, we don't ever find out much about him. Is he the current mayor? Is the current mayor embroiled in scandal so awesome that they dare not speak its name? Who knows.
  Jessica is assigned a seemingly unrelated story about Paul Lazarow, the leader of an artists' colony in Ronoma County in the 40's. At first she can't find out much, but in the interest of time, we'll skip to the important stuff. Eventually the twins find that Russell Kinkaid studied at the colony years ago and was actually an exceptionally talented artist who had a thing for Lazarow's daughter... Barbara. Unfortunately for Barbara, she was in love with Jack Pearsall, Kinkaid's artistic rival. Barbara and Jack eloped, keeping their marriage a secret from everyone but Josine. Eventually Barbara became pregnant and shortly after her daughter was born, news of her relationship with Jack broke. Kinkaid was so enraged that he pushed her from the cliffs behind her house on the night of her birthday. Since there were no witnesses, the police couldn't charge him and he got away with murder.
  Paul Lazarow died six months after his daughter due to cancer, and Jack went completely mental. Unable to cope without Barbara, he moved into an assisted living facility, and Gwen, their daughter, went off to live with family friends in Switzerland.
   Of course, the twins and Nicholas only learned part of this. When Liz finds out that Russell Kinkaid was questioned about his part in Barbara's death, she calls Jessica and tells her that they're that much closer to cracking both cases. (Why Barbara is being kept prisoner and why Russell gives Liz the creeps.) The twins hang up, excited beyond belief, but then the phone rings again and Liz is threatened by someone who points out that the Jeep's tires didn't slash themselves and that Rory's disappearance was no fluke. Warnings, people. Warnings! Liz freaks out and the next day she tells Nicholas all about it.
  Nicholas decides that the only thing left to do is go to the police.

   No. That might be logical considering Liz did just get herself threatened and all. No, what they're going to do is go and kidnap Barbara on her birthday. He asks the twins for help and when they reasonably ask what his brilliant plan is, Jessica balks immediately at the insanity that pours forth. His plan? He'll grab Barbara while one twin waits in the car and the other distracts Uncle John.
  That's... pretty simple, actually. And yet it goes horribly, horribly wrong. Jess draws the short straw and is stuck in the Jeep, Liz twists her ankle but Nicholas doesn't notice because he's a little obsessed at the time, and then Jessica has to distract the occupants of Bayview House by ringing the doorbell. ...Right. So, naturally Liz gets found by John immediately after she sends Jessica off to play decoy. She pisses him off when she makes him yammer on about why he's torturing Barbara (simply a side effect of torturing his brother, Russell) and he pistol whips her. And the peasants rejoice!

  Jessica bangs on the front door to no avail. No one's answering, probably because John's out front knocking Liz into unconsciousness and Russell? Russell is out on the cliffs with Nicholas and Barbara. Jessica watches in horror as Russell wrestles with Barbara, hands wrapped around her wrists, apparently trying to push her off the cliffs. I'm not entirely sure how that would work, and apparently neither is gravity, because Russell slips and falls _backwards_, sending him and Barbara both over the edge of the cliffs. Russell falls to his death but Barbara manages to catch on to a rock ledge somehow. Again, I... don't think that would necessarily happen given the way they both fell, hands on her wrists and all, but I don't recommend trying this at home in any case.
  Nicholas and Jessica (whom Nicholas still thinks is Liz) pull Barbara to safety. There's a lovely moment with B/N and then B starts blubbering about rescuing Josine. Jessica freaks out when she hears the younger Kinkaid has a gun and Nicholas finally realizes Jessica isn't Liz. They rush back to where they left Elizabeth and find her lavaliere on the ground. Jess freaks out but Barbara out drama!queens her when she nearly faints. That's right. Jessica's twin is missing but Barbara is the one with a case of the vapors. Rightio. Because the sight of the necklace lying on the ground reminded her of Rory's collar and that was too much for her. Mmmhmm. Whatever.
  The dramatic trio return to Bayview House and find Josine who lets them know that Kinkaid the younger grabbed the keys to the studio, so they rush to see if they'll be in time to rescue Elizabeth. The doors to the studio are locked, but with a boost from Nicholas, Barbara manages to shimmy in through a window and they rush to find Elizabeth passed out and Rory alive. The paramedics are called and everyone is whisked away to either the police station or the hospital.
  John Kinkaid actually took his brother's often mentioned silver Jag and made a break for it. The police actually catch him without any help from the twins (shock!) and he immediately confesses. It seems he was the brains behind the Kinkaid fortune and when Russell dumped him right before his mayoral bid, John decided to get revenge. Russell had told his little brother the truth about Barbara's death years before and John realized that since granddaughter!Barbara was the spitting image of her grandmother, she would be perfect to torment Russell. John would invite Russell to Bayview and then force Barbara to dress in her grandmother's things and go out for walks along the cliffs, all in an effort to make Russell think he was being haunted. Russell snapped all right, but seemed determined to commit the same crime. History and all that, I guess.
   Barbara is surprisingly sympathetic with the elder Kinkaid considering the man killed her grandmother and died trying to kill her, but she's probably a better person than I am anyway, so we'll chalk it up to that.
  Liz racks up another concussion but is ultimately fine.
  The same cannot truly be said for Nicholas though. His heart breaks when he realizes that Barbara's parents are whisking her away to home and safety right after her birthday. Nicholas helps Barbara reconnect with her grandfather, Jack. Jack, by the way, is surprisingly okay with the fact that his granddaughter looks identical to his late wife. I guess my years of V.C. Andrews prepped me for a completely different reaction, but hey. Once they flee back to Switzerland, we never hear from them again, so maybe things did go all VC. *cough*
   Anyway. The book ends with Nicholas lonely once more, but finally distracted from Regina's death. Yay?


Trivia:

  • Miles Robinson is one of the mayoral candidates and is the one the SV News supports.

  • July in the Valley is apparently a very slow news month.

  • Russell Donovan Kinkaid is the other mayoral candidate. He's handsome in that "dark, rugged, muscular" way, with angular, well pronounced features and steely gray eyes. He's in his early 60's, a private business man who ran an import/export business. Rumors of illegal campaign fund usage run rampant but there's no proof. Ditto the rumors for bribery. Owned a factory in Tijuana that was shut down due to inhumane working conditions. Name has been linked to infamous names in underworld crime. Favorite author when he was younger was Hemingway, wanted to be a painter.

  • Ronoma County is a rural area 40 miles South East of Sweet Valley. There's a loverly park with a pond used for the annual SVN picnic and it used to be home to Paul Lazarow's artist colony back in the 1940's. It was a popular beach community 50 years ago. (Well, 50 years ago from the 80's, which would be, whoa, 70 years these days.)

  • The SVN picnic started at noon. Volleyball, a cookout, and even fireworks but no mention of the ghostly haunting down the road at Bayview House. Next time they should really schedule that one in, too.

  • Nicholas sees a shrink once a week, partly due to the nightmares he has.

  • Bayview House is a beautiful but rundown gray clapboard house, with a wrought iron fence, a rose garden, turrets, a widow's walk, a brass knocker and no bell for the front door.

  • Rory, Barbara's dog, is a Yorkshire terrier.

  • Barbara is beautiful (naturally) with a perfect oval face, creamy skin, waist length chestnut brown hair, huge wide-set pale blue eyes. She lives in Switzerland with her professor parents who are doing research work in Greece over the summer. Her grandmother died right after Barbara's mother was born.

  • Josine, the housekeeper, is very old and more than a little senile.

  • Uncle John Kinkaid pretends to be Barbara's grandfather's cousin, executor of the original Barbara's will. He's in his 50's and handsome, but mean.

  • Jess desperately wants to cover the makeover workshop at the mall for the paper. Instead she ends up doing research on Paul Lazarow.

  • Mr. Robb is always at his desk by eight A.M.

  • Robb's 8:45 assignments: Dan Weeks, art exhibit at the Sweet Valley Museum for Paul Lazarow who headed the Ronoma artists' colony in the 1940's. Jessica is assisting. Liz is working with Seth on a special feature on Robinson and Kinkaid.

  • Jess feels sorry for Liz having to deal with all the boring politics even more than she was already.

  • Russell Kinkaid drives a silver-blue Jaguar.

  • Paul Lazarow was born in 1895, studied art in Paris, came back to California to start his artists' colony in 1939. He died in 1949, shortly after his daughter, Barbara. Lazarow spent most of his time divided between three places: Ronoma, Paris, and Brittany, and the paintings in the show at the museum are divided as such, with Ronoma being the last section.

  • The Kinkaid brothers were partners for 35 years, mostly in real estate.

  • Barbara Lazarow drowned after being shoved off the cliffs behind her house July 28, 1949. She'd just turned 21.

  • 80's!Barbara has nightmares about her birthday involving cake, a creepy dude, and being chased and then falling. Note to B: run. away.

  • Du Pres, a painter, took Barbara's mother, Gwen, to Europe after the deaths of Barbara and Paul Lazarow. Gwen never really understood why.

  • Denning is the largest town in Ronoma County.

  • Francesco's is a small, charming Italian restaurant's in Denning.

  • The gas attendant thought he saw a ghost when he caught sight of Barbara when she and Nicholas escaped for their date.

  • Barbara speaks French. Of course she does.

  • Rory's collar is found up on the cliffs, leaving everyone to assume John threw poor little Rory over the cliffs.

  • Nicholas finds his Jeep's tires slashed and his windshield smashed.

  • The Sweet Valley Museum is a small, modern building overlooking the ocean with a palm tree lined driveway.

  • In addition to the artist colony, Paul bought Bayview House so that Barbara could summer in California.

  • During the summer of 1947, Kinkaid studied with Lazarow.

  • Bravo, Nicholas, for using the word sadist in a SV novel. Well played!

  • After having lunch with the twins, Nicholas returns to find a threat slipped under his windshield: "You'll stay away from Barbara if you know what's good for you. This is your first and last warning."

  • Barbara's song that she's overheard singing at least twice: You came to me from out of nowhere. You took my heart and found it free... Google tells me this is 'Out of Nowhere' and is worth a listen.



Quote Me On That:

"He's allegedly mishandled campaign funds from day one, but no one can prove it. There's also talk of some bad connections he's made in business. He owned a factory in Tijuana that was shut down by the government because of inhumane working conditions. His name has been linked with some people in the world of organized crime as well."
Jessica looked triumphantly at her sister. "See, there's nothing wrong with the guy." - Seth/Jessica, p6/7

Jessica stared at her, alarmed. "Haven't you heard what Nicholas has been like lately? Lila says he's losing his mind." -p14

"It's very common for people that old to confuse real people with people from the past." -Uh, Nicholas? Just because they're from the past doesn't mean they aren't/weren't real. Just saying. p 73

"Nicholas, have you completely lost your mind? That isn't exactly what I'd call a fair division of labor." -Jess speaks true, if a bit stiffly. p140

"I should never have let you two come out here," he mumbled. - Nicholas? You recruited THEM, not the other way around. p159

Bonus Fashion Spectacular:
Today Elizabeth was wearing a navy blue skirt- slim-cut and flattering, but on the conservative side- and a simple blue-and-white-striped cotton sweater, while Jessica looked as if she had just stepped out of the pages of Ingenue, her favorite magazine. She had on a linen miniskirt, a boxy sweater with padded shoulders, and funky, dangling earrings. p3/4

And not far away from him, Barbara, looking resplendent in a pink-and-ivory silk dress, was sitting on an ivory-colored blanket, her legs tucked under her, her long hair gleaming in the sunlight. Her straw bonnet was thrown carelessly next to her on the blanket and a novel was open on her lap. p 42

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  Ultimately, for all the mocking I may or may not have done, I really like No Place to Hide. It appeals to my inner child who loved all the mysterious something fierce. Plus, I like the cover art. I know, I'm shallow. I like the way they keep beating poor Nicholas down and I feel for him, plus who doesn't love an epic romance that spans less than a month? It's not like it's the shortest romance ever. The drama heightens everything and it works very well as it unfolds. It's just that later, when you start to pick at it, that it unravels awfully quickly.
  Also? I think I've established that any book where Jessica is fantastically protective of Elizabeth is bound to make my list of happy making books.

  Bonus points given for connecting Regina and Barbara. Both are unnaturally beautiful and have ties to Switzerland. Creepy!
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Please forgive me for being late and for this not necessarily making a lot of sense. It's cold up here (no heating!) and my hands are probably colder than some of the stuff in your freezer. No, I mean the freezer that works, not the one you keep out in the garage hoping that one day you'll need it for some MacGuyver schemes.
the_oracle: (gasp!)
Kidnapped!
weird, my copy says April 1984, but given that we know that's wrong, we'll say November, 1984

  Elizabeth's nightmare is about to begin...

  A living nightmare...


   Elizabeth Wakefield never imagined that her evening of volunteer work at Sweet Valley's hospital would turn into the most horrifying night of her life. But when a strong hand clamps a chloroformed rag over her mouth and she is pulled from her car, Elizabeth's hellish ordeal begins.
   When she regains consciousness, Elizabeth finds herself tied to a chair in an isolated shack. She has been kidnapped-by Carl, a lonely and disturbed orderly from the hospital. Elizabeth doesn't know what Carl wants from her, but it's clear he's on the brink of insanity. Somehow Elizabeth must escape-before it's too late!


  If you don't know what Kidnapped! is about, you're either incredibly new to the Valley or you're an idiot. It tells you in the title, the cover makes it obvious which twin gets 'napped and everything else is on the back cover. But really, all you need to know, you learned last go round anyway. Carl, the creepy custodian, kidnaps Elizabeth because he likes her. He thoughtfully prepared his van with a mattress in the back so she'd be comfy as he escorted her to the run down section of town [hey, any bets on whether the Martins live close by?] and this is pretty much where we'll meet up with Liz. Later.

  The book actually begins with a cute little scene between Steven and Jessica, both getting ready for their evenings out. Steve has a date with Tricia, his tragically ill girlfriend, and Jessica is going to a party at the Morrows' mansion. So yes, this book picks up as soon as the last one left off. This is starting to become a pattern. Steve zips Jessica's dress up and they chat a bit. Jessica bites her tongue about Tricia, seeing as she's dying and all, and Steve does his best to convince her that maybe she'll be a little chilly in her outfit, seeing as it's so low cut and all. He also offers her a ride to the party, but Jess says she's waiting for Liz who'll be home at eight, so they can go together. Twins making a bigger splash than two pretty blondes arriving separately, I suppose.
  However, Jess sucks at waiting. She picks out an outfit for Liz, to help speed her sister along when she finally gets home. She paces and freaks out by ten 'til eight, and calls Cara to pick her up. That's right. She can't even wait ten more minutes, less if you consider that Cara had to take at least two minutes to drive over. Sigh. Jess leaves Elizabeth a note on the fridge, and heads off to party.
  Introducing the Morrows. We have Kurt and Skye.Tall, dark, and gorgeous would describe them both. They dash out on their way to their own party, and then we meet Regina. At first, Cara and Jessica don't know anything is wrong. That is, until Regina repeatedly ignores anything Jessica says. Jess is a little upset. Why is the new girl being such an unbelievable bitch? Then Regina trips, and instead of figuring that high heels plus a new house might equal a bit of a problem, Jess assumes Regina's drunk. She taps the girl on the shoulder and asks where the booze is. Naturally, with Regina facing Jessica, she's able to read Jessica's lips and tells the blond that this ain't that kind of party. Regina then offers them the non-alcoholic goodies and explains that she's deaf. She can lip read and is all sorts of other fabulous though, so don't worry. Nicholas descends upon the party and he and Jessica immediately begin chatting. Turns out that Nicholas pretty much adores his little sister and when he thinks Jessica is pitying her, he's a bit of a jerk. Jessica points out that with Regina's good looks and obvious fearlessness, the girl is someone to be reckoned with, so pity is so not the word for her. And thus Jessica spends the rest of the night with Nicholas, chatting away.

  Let's switch back to Liz who comes to, briefly, and wonders what the hell is going on. It takes her a minute to remember that she's been kidnapped, but she can't remember who did it. She passes out again, because she's a drama queen. Or maybe the chloroform is that strong. Dunno.
  Todd notices that Liz isn't at the party, so he goes to ask Jess about the whereabouts of her twin. Jess lies and says, "Oh, didn't Liz call and tell you? She's babysitting for Collins tonight." Like hell. Todd figures that if anyone would be worried about Liz, it would be Jessica, so he wanders off to do whatever it is Todds do when not part of Elizabeth+Todd. Thing is, eventually Todd realizes that Elizabeth would have called him [not like, say, when she went off with Todd and didn't tell Collins about the change, right, Toddy?] and he was home all night before the party... So he goes to call her at Collins' place. Mr. C answers and Todd is confused. They have a bit of a moment and then Todd stalks off towards Jessica. He's ticked because Liz is not the sort of girl to be late without letting people know, and when he finds Jessica poolside with Nicholas, and she tries to blow him off again, he shoves her in the pool. Nicholas freaks out and just before he can have Todd kicked off the premises, Todd gets it through Jessica's thick skull that something is WRONG. Jessica flashes back to the last time she screwed Liz over and recalls that the Fiat is a fussy machine, and maybe Liz is stranded somewhere. So off they run to the nearest phone to call home.

  Liz, however, is still stuck with Carl. She's at his home, tied to a chair, and unhappy about it all. In record time, she convinces him to take off her gag and she screams bloody blue murder. He clamps his hand over her mouth and explains that this was so not cool. Again she convinces him that she'll be good and won't do that again. She was just afraid and startled and stuff, y'know? Kidnapping being a little new to her and all. In her infinite wisdom, Liz decides she'll have him untie her and as soon as he's done that, she'll make a break for it. Which sort of works, only she didn't count on Carl having an enclosed porch. Who knew shacks had them? Certainly not worldly wise Elizabeth. Carl grabs her and their moment together is gone. He ties her back up and he goes to sleep in his room.
  Now, I'm not sure whether it's fair to find fault with her plot to run away or not. On the one hand, you want to get out immediately. On the other hand, you should have some freakin' idea of your escape plan beyond, "Well, I escape. That's my plan." Then there's the prospect of sleeping arrangements. If she's not tied up, would Carl expect her to sleep with him, even if it is just sleeping? Or would he be foolish enough to trust her in the living room? Rather than find out, she bolts and it doesn't pay off.
  The next morning, Carl gives her cardboard tasting pancakes because he overheard her telling their boss she loves her mother's pancakes. Sweet, if only not a kidnapper, eh? Liz is shocked that he's going in to work. He points out that he doesn't have a phone so he can't call out, and besides, he's not stupid. If he doesn't show, they'll know something is up. God, get with the program, Lizzie. However, he does have a gift for her. Three books, to be precise. One's a book on investing, one's a bedtime storybook, and the other is a book on raising farm animals. Turns out Carl can't read, so he just grabbed the first ones he saw.
  Liz doesn't even bother to try and read the most promising of the bunch [hello, bedtime stories!] and instead freaks out the whole day. Uh...huh. Cuz that helps so very, very much.

   Now, I should point out, there is one other little problem here. Liz was running late because she had to tutor Max Dellon. When Liz never shows up, Max takes off and goes to look for her. He heads right for the hospital and sees her car. He's ticked. If she had to work late, she should have called. He kicks one of the tires before he realizes that there's a scarf on the ground, the car door is ajar, and Elizabeth's sweater is on the front seat. Something is seriously up. Instead of calling the cops, he breaks into the glove compartment for "clues." Dude, you have to break in, the kidnapper didn't do a damn thing in the car, okay? Leave their stuff alone. Before common sense can pass that message along, the police bust Max. Turns out he'd already run into one of the cops a couple of nights before after a late night with the Droids and a munchies run. The cop stopped him for "suspicious behavior" and Max copped serious attitude. That bites him on the ass and they haul him off to jail for attempting to steal the Fiat.
  Also worth mentioning, the Wakefields [Ned and Alice] return from their party and they're feeling a bit frisky. Alice notices Jessica's note on the fridge and starts to worry. Ned points out that Liz might not have seen it at all because it's a stupid place for a note when Liz was going to just come home to change. Alice agrees, but ever since Elizabeth's accident, she's been secretly Mom-spying on Liz and usually knows where Liz is at any given time of the day. [So do you. At school, at the Oracle office, at the hospital, out with Toddy, probably at the beach or the Dairi Burger, or home, with the occasional mall stop or Oracle research/library, thrown in for good measure. It ain't that difficult.] She's not doing well with this obvious glitch in the system, but when Jessica calls home looking for Liz, she falls apart. Despite a search party, no one can find Liz. The next day doesn't help much either, but Jess does talk to Nicholas who stops by to see how she is and to share a story of sibling guilt.
  It seems that when he was ten and Regina eight, their parents foolishly left him in charge of her one day on vacation. They were firmly in their "I hate you//I hate you more!" phase, so this makes absolutely no sense. My parents wouldn't leave me in charge of my little brother until we were both well old enough to know that juvie would be our best option, and prison would be more likely if we managed to make good on our threats to kill one another. Seriously, we had a babysitter when I was 13, that's how bad things could be. I was a babysitter by then, too. Go figure. Anyway. The two go their separate ways, the loft catches on fire, and Nicholas runs out without even thinking to grab Regina. He won't go back inside and he's sure she was inside and that he's killed her. He's also sure his parents blame him and oh, the angst. Jess says that it's lovely he tried to cheer her up, but fairytales aren't cutting it. He points out that he just shared some serious angst and it wasn't a fairytale for him. She then says that it's obvious Regina lived, seeing as she's met the girl, and Nicholas says yes, she'd managed to sneak out while he was busy ignoring her. Jess is a bit of a bitch and cries, "Yeah, she came back! I may never see my sister again!" and collapses into a tear filled heap. Um, drama queen, table for one.
  After work, Carl brings Liz a lovely sweater of blue to match her eyes. Liz is thinking, "SCORE!" because she's sure that he bought it from the hospital gift shop. Way to assume he has no life outside the hospital and his dreary little home, Liz. Real nice. *cough* Nope, he bought it elsewhere because he's not an idiot... idiot. Liz despairs further when Carl says he's taking her away to the mountains, where she won't be tied up because she won't be able to escape anyway. They're leaving tomorrow. Yay!
  So. Monday brings us no closer to finding Elizabeth, but the high school kids are at school. I cannot see Alice letting Jessica walk out the front door, myself, but maybe I lack vision. Or maybe this is one of those things you just aren't supposed to think about. OR, maybe, it's in some hope of finding normalcy. I don't really know. Todd's there as well, and he walks to the cluster of the In crowd [Lila, Cara, you know the drill] and Lila has a theory. It must be bunnies! Max did it, obviously. He was missing for part of Saturday and so was Liz, obviously, and the cops did bust him in her car, so two and two must equal world's dumbest kidnapper. Duh. Todd mulls this over all day, despite sticking up for Max initially.
  Max, by the way, is having an incredibly shitty day. He had to spend all of Sunday studying Othello and considering he couldn't even begin to decipher Shakespeare two days ago, he's not exactly feeling like he's going to pass Collins' test at the end of the day. If he doesn't, he'll have to go to summer school and he has to quit music cold turkey. Great plan, Dellons. Great, great plan. Anyway, Collins calls Max to the front and Max assumes that Collins, like half the school, assumes he had something to do with Liz's disappearance. Collins doesn't, because it just doesn't make any sense, and SV isn't the sort of place where crazy just happens. Nope, there must be a reason. Right?
  Nope, Collins wants to offer Max an extension. Max blows him off and then kicks himself for it almost immediately. Still, he feels relatively confident that he's actually managed to comprehend the Bard. Who knew?
  After class, he's walking along, minding his own business, when Todd comes up to him and asks for a more thorough explanation of what the hell happened Saturday. Max says he doesn't know, but he really wishes Liz would turn up, especially given how much trouble the girl has gotten him into. Todd freaks the hell out and punches the guy. Jess interrupts and tells Todd that he's behaving totally irrationally and out of character. Uh, no. No, Todd has anger management issues and we've already been through this. Hell, he shoved you in a pool earlier, fulfilling many a fantasy, but still. The dude's not exactly all calm and rational when around either Wakefield, or when they come up in conversation.
  Somehow, the trio decide that since the police are sure that Liz is a runaway and thus there's little point in investigating further, that they will just have to do the sleuthing. So off they race to the hospital. Where nothing, nothing, nothing happens until Max heads up to the third floor. He's about to go talk to a custodian [hi, Carl!] when Carl sees Jessica and flips out. "Elizabeth! What are you doing not being kidnapped!" he all but yells as he runs towards her and then smashes her against the wall. Max tackles him and Jess wonders how Carl could not know that Liz has a twin. How rude, right? Right. Blah, blah, the cops are called, they haul him away and Carl is sad because his love, his Liz, is not Liz, but instead her evil twin. Jess goes with the cops to pick Liz up and upon being rescued, Liz declares she'd like to bathe, eat, sleep, and plan a party celebrating her rescue. Aw.
  The book ends with Liz opening the door at the party, and Nicholas Morrow is there. He's obviously smitten with her, and Liz is a bit worried about this. Note that next book, the tone of this little exchange totally changes.

Trivia!

  • Steve has a plaid comforter and his own tiny bathroom.

  • Steve is 6'1", for those of you playing along at home.

  • Nicholas Morrow grew up in Boston, except that part where he went to an exclusive boarding school in Connecticut, that he graduated from in June. He's taking the year off to study his father's business.

  • Cara and Jessica subscribe to the theory that thou shalt not chase after one another's boy toys. This might explain why Cara and Jess are never as explosively competitive as Lila and Jessica are, eh? Even more surprising, this book claims that they actually adhere to that commandment.

  • Max Dellon is a horrible student, and as he has no interest in school, he's just coasting/failing. But the only teacher who actually calls his parents? Mr. Collins. For shame, everyone else. For. Shame.

  • Max and Guy Chesney starting jamming *snort* together two years ago. At first they'd play Saturday mornings, which would then extend to Sunday mornings, and slowly they acquired Dan Scott, Emily, and Dana. Thus The Droids were born.

  • Evidently, Caroline has a thing for Winston. Poor Win.

  • Nicholas is shorter than Todd by several inches. This could partially explain why Nich has such a problem with Todd. That and Todd keeps trying to assault Jessica in Nicholas' house the first time they meet. Hrm.

  • Ned Wakefield calls Jessica "princess." Hee!

  • Elizabeth is an idiot. She assumes that Jessica was the first person to notice she was missing, and was so worried that she probably missed the party and began the search immediately. Jessica? Miss a party where an eligible rich boy was first appearing? Have you lost your damn mind, woman?

  • Liz wants to spend her first five hours as a free woman in the bath, or at least that's what she's thinking by day two of her ordeal.

  • For their 13th birthday, Jessica gave Elizabeth a bright yellow sweater. Liz wasn't all that fond of the brightness, but it was a gift, so she dealt. Thing is, Jessica borrowed it so much that it became apparent that Jessica didn't give a flying fig about Liz's feelings on the matter and instead, she essentially bought herself a gift. To retaliate, Liz shrinks the sweater, but puts it back in her drawer as if nothing is wrong. When Jess finds out what happened, she flips out and pillow world war 1 erupts. We know this because Liz concentrates on this story as a way to stay sane while Carl is away.

  • Carl lives at the end of St. James Avenue, in the bad part of town. Still, the dude does have a porch, so that should count for something.

  • Also, apparently 5'6" is considered tall, as one of the twins is described as such at the end of the book. ...Right.



Quotable Sweet Valley:

"I'm ready," Cara said with a trace of wistfulness. "Maybe this time I'll find someone who wants me." Poor Cara. p16

"Look, it's not my fault my stupid brother can't see how good you'd be for him. Maybe after Tricia dies, you two could start over again."
"Jessica, that's morbid!"
"No, that's life, Cara," Jessica said matter-of-factly. "We all know she's going to die, and afterward my poor brother is going to need someone to help him pick up the pieces. It might as well be you." Jessica is, oddly enough, a realist at times. p17


Cara didn't bother to respond. She knew Jessica was like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police-she always got her man. p18



  Kidnapped isn't so bad to re-read. It has it's moments of wait, what? But it's also a bit unusual as we don't really get to see Steve and Jessica interact without Liz there to keep the peace, and this go round they don't even need that. We also don't normally see Ned and Alice without the kids and it's a bit jarring, but hey, they should have lives outside of being parents... Though some might say that it's kind of obvious, given how often they go out to parties and dinner and leave their kids to fend for themselves. Hell, Sundays the twins are supposed to hunt and gather their own meals. I'd forgotten this tidbit, as the Wakefields are always presented as this kind of family you expect to sit down and chat over Sunday dinner, even if they don't attend church, y'know?
  Speaking of the Wakefields, I'd also forgotten that they're a little worried about Liz and Todd, especially how serious the couple is about one another. Towards the end of the book, Alice walks by and sees the couple making out and it's not so much the kissing and groping that bother Alice, but the intensity behind it. If Todd were just a fling, she wouldn't worry so, but he isn't, so I guess she's worried that Liz is gonna sleep with Todd. Trust us, A, that ain't gonna happen, no matter what anyone hopes to the contrary. Kind of funny, and easily mockable, but in the context of the book, it works, somehow.
  Lastly, we have Carl. I always envisioned Carl to be older than the 25-ish we're given. I always tacked on another ten years, because 25 seemed too young, too close to Mr. Collins [and Ms. Dalton] and it seemed weirder that way. Also, how many 25 year olds do you know who just want to occasionally pet some girl's hair, when they've been obsessing? Of course, I suppose you could say the same of a 35 year old. Someone was stunted in their development, which I guess is best for Liz. Don't want to darken the series too much, too soon. I kinda felt bad for Carl, but you don't just go around kidnapping pretty people, even if the cops don't seem to care. Nor do you kidnap other people of the non-pretty persuasion. But the thing I don't get [I know, just one? you ask] is how could Carl not know Liz had a twin? Did he never see Jessica, or interact with her? Cuz she would have blown him off so fast your head would spin clean off. Wouldn't he wonder? Wouldn't that have been a fun twist? If Carl had been okay with stalking Liz, but when he works up the courage to talk to Liz, it's really Jessica, and she tells him to fuck off and die, so he snaps, and the next time he has a chance, he nabs Liz, and it is Liz and she's all, "ohhhh...that darn Jessica!"
  Back to Alice and Ned, isn't it also kinda funny that Alice memorizes Liz's schedule but Jessica always seemed like the twin most likely to get into trouble, and she does [all those older boys, Alice!] but it's Liz Alice obsesses over. Still, Jessica's ability to hide her antics aside, I like my SVH with a dash of realism. Not too much, or you end up with a salty, tear soaked melodramatically overdone bummer that is Senior Year, but a little to balance out the rampant crazy that leaks off the pages when you least expect it.
  The other thing I 'love' is how the back cover gives the impression that it's through any luck or skill on Elizabeth's behalf that she's rescued. Nope, she tries, but is thwarted. Repeatedly. It's dumb luck that saves her.

   Let's look at the newly added covers, shall we? I like how Hungary actually tried to make their Liz looked scared... even if she's apparently being kidnapped while doing the Robot. Russia, you're being fined for making a mockery of Nicholas Morrow. That and the TV show are really harshing my childhood crush, man. Not cool!
  Together with When Love Dies, Kidnapped! is one of those classic early SVH books that every passing fan should read, at least once. Just to say they have.


Kidnapped Non English Cover, part 2
the_oracle: (gasp!)
Kidnapped!
weird, my copy says April 1984, but given that we know that's wrong, we'll say November, 1984

  Elizabeth's nightmare is about to begin...

  A living nightmare...


   Elizabeth Wakefield never imagined that her evening of volunteer work at Sweet Valley's hospital would turn into the most horrifying night of her life. But when a strong hand clamps a chloroformed rag over her mouth and she is pulled from her car, Elizabeth's hellish ordeal begins.
   When she regains consciousness, Elizabeth finds herself tied to a chair in an isolated shack. She has been kidnapped-by Carl, a lonely and disturbed orderly from the hospital. Elizabeth doesn't know what Carl wants from her, but it's clear he's on the brink of insanity. Somehow Elizabeth must escape-before it's too late!


  If you don't know what Kidnapped! is about, you're either incredibly new to the Valley or you're an idiot. It tells you in the title, the cover makes it obvious which twin gets 'napped and everything else is on the back cover. But really, all you need to know, you learned last go round anyway. Carl, the creepy custodian, kidnaps Elizabeth because he likes her. He thoughtfully prepared his van with a mattress in the back so she'd be comfy as he escorted her to the run down section of town [hey, any bets on whether the Martins live close by?] and this is pretty much where we'll meet up with Liz. Later.

  The book actually begins with a cute little scene between Steven and Jessica, both getting ready for their evenings out. Steve has a date with Tricia, his tragically ill girlfriend, and Jessica is going to a party at the Morrows' mansion. So yes, this book picks up as soon as the last one left off. This is starting to become a pattern. Steve zips Jessica's dress up and they chat a bit. Jessica bites her tongue about Tricia, seeing as she's dying and all, and Steve does his best to convince her that maybe she'll be a little chilly in her outfit, seeing as it's so low cut and all. He also offers her a ride to the party, but Jess says she's waiting for Liz who'll be home at eight, so they can go together. Twins making a bigger splash than two pretty blondes arriving separately, I suppose.
  However, Jess sucks at waiting. She picks out an outfit for Liz, to help speed her sister along when she finally gets home. She paces and freaks out by ten 'til eight, and calls Cara to pick her up. That's right. She can't even wait ten more minutes, less if you consider that Cara had to take at least two minutes to drive over. Sigh. Jess leaves Elizabeth a note on the fridge, and heads off to party.
  Introducing the Morrows. We have Kurt and Skye.Tall, dark, and gorgeous would describe them both. They dash out on their way to their own party, and then we meet Regina. At first, Cara and Jessica don't know anything is wrong. That is, until Regina repeatedly ignores anything Jessica says. Jess is a little upset. Why is the new girl being such an unbelievable bitch? Then Regina trips, and instead of figuring that high heels plus a new house might equal a bit of a problem, Jess assumes Regina's drunk. She taps the girl on the shoulder and asks where the booze is. Naturally, with Regina facing Jessica, she's able to read Jessica's lips and tells the blond that this ain't that kind of party. Regina then offers them the non-alcoholic goodies and explains that she's deaf. She can lip read and is all sorts of other fabulous though, so don't worry. Nicholas descends upon the party and he and Jessica immediately begin chatting. Turns out that Nicholas pretty much adores his little sister and when he thinks Jessica is pitying her, he's a bit of a jerk. Jessica points out that with Regina's good looks and obvious fearlessness, the girl is someone to be reckoned with, so pity is so not the word for her. And thus Jessica spends the rest of the night with Nicholas, chatting away.

  Let's switch back to Liz who comes to, briefly, and wonders what the hell is going on. It takes her a minute to remember that she's been kidnapped, but she can't remember who did it. She passes out again, because she's a drama queen. Or maybe the chloroform is that strong. Dunno.
  Todd notices that Liz isn't at the party, so he goes to ask Jess about the whereabouts of her twin. Jess lies and says, "Oh, didn't Liz call and tell you? She's babysitting for Collins tonight." Like hell. Todd figures that if anyone would be worried about Liz, it would be Jessica, so he wanders off to do whatever it is Todds do when not part of Elizabeth+Todd. Thing is, eventually Todd realizes that Elizabeth would have called him [not like, say, when she went off with Todd and didn't tell Collins about the change, right, Toddy?] and he was home all night before the party... So he goes to call her at Collins' place. Mr. C answers and Todd is confused. They have a bit of a moment and then Todd stalks off towards Jessica. He's ticked because Liz is not the sort of girl to be late without letting people know, and when he finds Jessica poolside with Nicholas, and she tries to blow him off again, he shoves her in the pool. Nicholas freaks out and just before he can have Todd kicked off the premises, Todd gets it through Jessica's thick skull that something is WRONG. Jessica flashes back to the last time she screwed Liz over and recalls that the Fiat is a fussy machine, and maybe Liz is stranded somewhere. So off they run to the nearest phone to call home.

  Liz, however, is still stuck with Carl. She's at his home, tied to a chair, and unhappy about it all. In record time, she convinces him to take off her gag and she screams bloody blue murder. He clamps his hand over her mouth and explains that this was so not cool. Again she convinces him that she'll be good and won't do that again. She was just afraid and startled and stuff, y'know? Kidnapping being a little new to her and all. In her infinite wisdom, Liz decides she'll have him untie her and as soon as he's done that, she'll make a break for it. Which sort of works, only she didn't count on Carl having an enclosed porch. Who knew shacks had them? Certainly not worldly wise Elizabeth. Carl grabs her and their moment together is gone. He ties her back up and he goes to sleep in his room.
  Now, I'm not sure whether it's fair to find fault with her plot to run away or not. On the one hand, you want to get out immediately. On the other hand, you should have some freakin' idea of your escape plan beyond, "Well, I escape. That's my plan." Then there's the prospect of sleeping arrangements. If she's not tied up, would Carl expect her to sleep with him, even if it is just sleeping? Or would he be foolish enough to trust her in the living room? Rather than find out, she bolts and it doesn't pay off.
  The next morning, Carl gives her cardboard tasting pancakes because he overheard her telling their boss she loves her mother's pancakes. Sweet, if only not a kidnapper, eh? Liz is shocked that he's going in to work. He points out that he doesn't have a phone so he can't call out, and besides, he's not stupid. If he doesn't show, they'll know something is up. God, get with the program, Lizzie. However, he does have a gift for her. Three books, to be precise. One's a book on investing, one's a bedtime storybook, and the other is a book on raising farm animals. Turns out Carl can't read, so he just grabbed the first ones he saw.
  Liz doesn't even bother to try and read the most promising of the bunch [hello, bedtime stories!] and instead freaks out the whole day. Uh...huh. Cuz that helps so very, very much.

   Now, I should point out, there is one other little problem here. Liz was running late because she had to tutor Max Dellon. When Liz never shows up, Max takes off and goes to look for her. He heads right for the hospital and sees her car. He's ticked. If she had to work late, she should have called. He kicks one of the tires before he realizes that there's a scarf on the ground, the car door is ajar, and Elizabeth's sweater is on the front seat. Something is seriously up. Instead of calling the cops, he breaks into the glove compartment for "clues." Dude, you have to break in, the kidnapper didn't do a damn thing in the car, okay? Leave their stuff alone. Before common sense can pass that message along, the police bust Max. Turns out he'd already run into one of the cops a couple of nights before after a late night with the Droids and a munchies run. The cop stopped him for "suspicious behavior" and Max copped serious attitude. That bites him on the ass and they haul him off to jail for attempting to steal the Fiat.
  Also worth mentioning, the Wakefields [Ned and Alice] return from their party and they're feeling a bit frisky. Alice notices Jessica's note on the fridge and starts to worry. Ned points out that Liz might not have seen it at all because it's a stupid place for a note when Liz was going to just come home to change. Alice agrees, but ever since Elizabeth's accident, she's been secretly Mom-spying on Liz and usually knows where Liz is at any given time of the day. [So do you. At school, at the Oracle office, at the hospital, out with Toddy, probably at the beach or the Dairi Burger, or home, with the occasional mall stop or Oracle research/library, thrown in for good measure. It ain't that difficult.] She's not doing well with this obvious glitch in the system, but when Jessica calls home looking for Liz, she falls apart. Despite a search party, no one can find Liz. The next day doesn't help much either, but Jess does talk to Nicholas who stops by to see how she is and to share a story of sibling guilt.
  It seems that when he was ten and Regina eight, their parents foolishly left him in charge of her one day on vacation. They were firmly in their "I hate you//I hate you more!" phase, so this makes absolutely no sense. My parents wouldn't leave me in charge of my little brother until we were both well old enough to know that juvie would be our best option, and prison would be more likely if we managed to make good on our threats to kill one another. Seriously, we had a babysitter when I was 13, that's how bad things could be. I was a babysitter by then, too. Go figure. Anyway. The two go their separate ways, the loft catches on fire, and Nicholas runs out without even thinking to grab Regina. He won't go back inside and he's sure she was inside and that he's killed her. He's also sure his parents blame him and oh, the angst. Jess says that it's lovely he tried to cheer her up, but fairytales aren't cutting it. He points out that he just shared some serious angst and it wasn't a fairytale for him. She then says that it's obvious Regina lived, seeing as she's met the girl, and Nicholas says yes, she'd managed to sneak out while he was busy ignoring her. Jess is a bit of a bitch and cries, "Yeah, she came back! I may never see my sister again!" and collapses into a tear filled heap. Um, drama queen, table for one.
  After work, Carl brings Liz a lovely sweater of blue to match her eyes. Liz is thinking, "SCORE!" because she's sure that he bought it from the hospital gift shop. Way to assume he has no life outside the hospital and his dreary little home, Liz. Real nice. *cough* Nope, he bought it elsewhere because he's not an idiot... idiot. Liz despairs further when Carl says he's taking her away to the mountains, where she won't be tied up because she won't be able to escape anyway. They're leaving tomorrow. Yay!
  So. Monday brings us no closer to finding Elizabeth, but the high school kids are at school. I cannot see Alice letting Jessica walk out the front door, myself, but maybe I lack vision. Or maybe this is one of those things you just aren't supposed to think about. OR, maybe, it's in some hope of finding normalcy. I don't really know. Todd's there as well, and he walks to the cluster of the In crowd [Lila, Cara, you know the drill] and Lila has a theory. It must be bunnies! Max did it, obviously. He was missing for part of Saturday and so was Liz, obviously, and the cops did bust him in her car, so two and two must equal world's dumbest kidnapper. Duh. Todd mulls this over all day, despite sticking up for Max initially.
  Max, by the way, is having an incredibly shitty day. He had to spend all of Sunday studying Othello and considering he couldn't even begin to decipher Shakespeare two days ago, he's not exactly feeling like he's going to pass Collins' test at the end of the day. If he doesn't, he'll have to go to summer school and he has to quit music cold turkey. Great plan, Dellons. Great, great plan. Anyway, Collins calls Max to the front and Max assumes that Collins, like half the school, assumes he had something to do with Liz's disappearance. Collins doesn't, because it just doesn't make any sense, and SV isn't the sort of place where crazy just happens. Nope, there must be a reason. Right?
  Nope, Collins wants to offer Max an extension. Max blows him off and then kicks himself for it almost immediately. Still, he feels relatively confident that he's actually managed to comprehend the Bard. Who knew?
  After class, he's walking along, minding his own business, when Todd comes up to him and asks for a more thorough explanation of what the hell happened Saturday. Max says he doesn't know, but he really wishes Liz would turn up, especially given how much trouble the girl has gotten him into. Todd freaks the hell out and punches the guy. Jess interrupts and tells Todd that he's behaving totally irrationally and out of character. Uh, no. No, Todd has anger management issues and we've already been through this. Hell, he shoved you in a pool earlier, fulfilling many a fantasy, but still. The dude's not exactly all calm and rational when around either Wakefield, or when they come up in conversation.
  Somehow, the trio decide that since the police are sure that Liz is a runaway and thus there's little point in investigating further, that they will just have to do the sleuthing. So off they race to the hospital. Where nothing, nothing, nothing happens until Max heads up to the third floor. He's about to go talk to a custodian [hi, Carl!] when Carl sees Jessica and flips out. "Elizabeth! What are you doing not being kidnapped!" he all but yells as he runs towards her and then smashes her against the wall. Max tackles him and Jess wonders how Carl could not know that Liz has a twin. How rude, right? Right. Blah, blah, the cops are called, they haul him away and Carl is sad because his love, his Liz, is not Liz, but instead her evil twin. Jess goes with the cops to pick Liz up and upon being rescued, Liz declares she'd like to bathe, eat, sleep, and plan a party celebrating her rescue. Aw.
  The book ends with Liz opening the door at the party, and Nicholas Morrow is there. He's obviously smitten with her, and Liz is a bit worried about this. Note that next book, the tone of this little exchange totally changes.

Trivia!

  • Steve has a plaid comforter and his own tiny bathroom.

  • Steve is 6'1", for those of you playing along at home.

  • Nicholas Morrow grew up in Boston, except that part where he went to an exclusive boarding school in Connecticut, that he graduated from in June. He's taking the year off to study his father's business.

  • Cara and Jessica subscribe to the theory that thou shalt not chase after one another's boy toys. This might explain why Cara and Jess are never as explosively competitive as Lila and Jessica are, eh? Even more surprising, this book claims that they actually adhere to that commandment.

  • Max Dellon is a horrible student, and as he has no interest in school, he's just coasting/failing. But the only teacher who actually calls his parents? Mr. Collins. For shame, everyone else. For. Shame.

  • Max and Guy Chesney starting jamming *snort* together two years ago. At first they'd play Saturday mornings, which would then extend to Sunday mornings, and slowly they acquired Dan Scott, Emily, and Dana. Thus The Droids were born.

  • Evidently, Caroline has a thing for Winston. Poor Win.

  • Nicholas is shorter than Todd by several inches. This could partially explain why Nich has such a problem with Todd. That and Todd keeps trying to assault Jessica in Nicholas' house the first time they meet. Hrm.

  • Ned Wakefield calls Jessica "princess." Hee!

  • Elizabeth is an idiot. She assumes that Jessica was the first person to notice she was missing, and was so worried that she probably missed the party and began the search immediately. Jessica? Miss a party where an eligible rich boy was first appearing? Have you lost your damn mind, woman?

  • Liz wants to spend her first five hours as a free woman in the bath, or at least that's what she's thinking by day two of her ordeal.

  • For their 13th birthday, Jessica gave Elizabeth a bright yellow sweater. Liz wasn't all that fond of the brightness, but it was a gift, so she dealt. Thing is, Jessica borrowed it so much that it became apparent that Jessica didn't give a flying fig about Liz's feelings on the matter and instead, she essentially bought herself a gift. To retaliate, Liz shrinks the sweater, but puts it back in her drawer as if nothing is wrong. When Jess finds out what happened, she flips out and pillow world war 1 erupts. We know this because Liz concentrates on this story as a way to stay sane while Carl is away.

  • Carl lives at the end of St. James Avenue, in the bad part of town. Still, the dude does have a porch, so that should count for something.

  • Also, apparently 5'6" is considered tall, as one of the twins is described as such at the end of the book. ...Right.



Quotable Sweet Valley:

"I'm ready," Cara said with a trace of wistfulness. "Maybe this time I'll find someone who wants me." Poor Cara. p16

"Look, it's not my fault my stupid brother can't see how good you'd be for him. Maybe after Tricia dies, you two could start over again."
"Jessica, that's morbid!"
"No, that's life, Cara," Jessica said matter-of-factly. "We all know she's going to die, and afterward my poor brother is going to need someone to help him pick up the pieces. It might as well be you." Jessica is, oddly enough, a realist at times. p17


Cara didn't bother to respond. She knew Jessica was like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police-she always got her man. p18



  Kidnapped isn't so bad to re-read. It has it's moments of wait, what? But it's also a bit unusual as we don't really get to see Steve and Jessica interact without Liz there to keep the peace, and this go round they don't even need that. We also don't normally see Ned and Alice without the kids and it's a bit jarring, but hey, they should have lives outside of being parents... Though some might say that it's kind of obvious, given how often they go out to parties and dinner and leave their kids to fend for themselves. Hell, Sundays the twins are supposed to hunt and gather their own meals. I'd forgotten this tidbit, as the Wakefields are always presented as this kind of family you expect to sit down and chat over Sunday dinner, even if they don't attend church, y'know?
  Speaking of the Wakefields, I'd also forgotten that they're a little worried about Liz and Todd, especially how serious the couple is about one another. Towards the end of the book, Alice walks by and sees the couple making out and it's not so much the kissing and groping that bother Alice, but the intensity behind it. If Todd were just a fling, she wouldn't worry so, but he isn't, so I guess she's worried that Liz is gonna sleep with Todd. Trust us, A, that ain't gonna happen, no matter what anyone hopes to the contrary. Kind of funny, and easily mockable, but in the context of the book, it works, somehow.
  Lastly, we have Carl. I always envisioned Carl to be older than the 25-ish we're given. I always tacked on another ten years, because 25 seemed too young, too close to Mr. Collins [and Ms. Dalton] and it seemed weirder that way. Also, how many 25 year olds do you know who just want to occasionally pet some girl's hair, when they've been obsessing? Of course, I suppose you could say the same of a 35 year old. Someone was stunted in their development, which I guess is best for Liz. Don't want to darken the series too much, too soon. I kinda felt bad for Carl, but you don't just go around kidnapping pretty people, even if the cops don't seem to care. Nor do you kidnap other people of the non-pretty persuasion. But the thing I don't get [I know, just one? you ask] is how could Carl not know Liz had a twin? Did he never see Jessica, or interact with her? Cuz she would have blown him off so fast your head would spin clean off. Wouldn't he wonder? Wouldn't that have been a fun twist? If Carl had been okay with stalking Liz, but when he works up the courage to talk to Liz, it's really Jessica, and she tells him to fuck off and die, so he snaps, and the next time he has a chance, he nabs Liz, and it is Liz and she's all, "ohhhh...that darn Jessica!"
  Back to Alice and Ned, isn't it also kinda funny that Alice memorizes Liz's schedule but Jessica always seemed like the twin most likely to get into trouble, and she does [all those older boys, Alice!] but it's Liz Alice obsesses over. Still, Jessica's ability to hide her antics aside, I like my SVH with a dash of realism. Not too much, or you end up with a salty, tear soaked melodramatically overdone bummer that is Senior Year, but a little to balance out the rampant crazy that leaks off the pages when you least expect it.
  The other thing I 'love' is how the back cover gives the impression that it's through any luck or skill on Elizabeth's behalf that she's rescued. Nope, she tries, but is thwarted. Repeatedly. It's dumb luck that saves her.
  Together with When Love Dies, Kidnapped! is one of those classic early SVH books that every passing fan should read, at least once. Just to say they have.

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