the_oracle: (left of normal)
Brokenhearted
September 1989



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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Trivia:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Ned's study is wood paneled.

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

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

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

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

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

  • Todd drives a black BMW now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Sheff drives a midnight blue Mercedes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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   Brokenhearted gives Jeffrey a pretty decent swan song. While he is responsible for sending Todd and Liz running into one another's arms, it's because it's the right thing to do. Anything less and I wouldn't know who you were, Jeffrey French. I hate how he basically disappears after the next book, and then they'll trot him out for, what, Enid's super star book and the Senior Year series where he's a friggin' tool and the less said of that the better.
  You had a good run, Jeffrey. For the most part, Liz didn't cheat on you, which is pretty funny when you think about it. She's going to spend the next hundred books cheating on Todd left, right, and center and he's the boy she loves!
  Go figure. Then again, you should sue for this cover art, boy. SUE.
the_oracle: (amy thinks)
Slam Book Fever
September 1988

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Wakefield's Slam Book )

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

Slam Book Entries )

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

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

Trivial Pursuit:

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

  • Liz likes ham and swiss cheese sandwiches.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Quote This:

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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the_oracle: (gasp!)
On The Run
June 1988

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A shadowy past...


  After a chilling encounter with murder, Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are now ready for a calm summer in Sweet Valley-until Eric Hankman appears.

  Like Elizabeth, Eric is a quiet, sensitive writer, and the two of them immediately become friends.

  But Jessica's not convinced that Eric is as perfect as he seems. Her suspicions are aroused when her new friend, Darcy Kaymen, thinks she recognizes Eric as a boy from her hometown who has a mysterious past. Jessica knows Elizabeth won't believe a word of Darcy's story without evidence, but by the time she has all the proof she needs, it may be too late to save her sister.

  Read ON THE RUN, the second Sweet Valley High Super Thriller!



   What's this? An update? What strange, bizarro universe have we entered? How do you escape? When will the madness end?!

   Yeah, I know. Most people apologize when they disappear. Me? I like to go melodramatically weird. It's why you love me. Well, that and you're bored and looking for something vaguely entertaining, and dude, I do vaguely entertaining like it's my job or something. So, win/win for both of us.

   That said, let's begin. I can now see why I dragged my feet when it came to this particular Thriller. See, I love me some Thriller action. Bring on the Sweet Valley News and its chatter about typewriters and dreamy boy reporters and the interns who get coffee for them! Bring. It. ON! What I don't love, however, is the typical Liz cheats on Todd/Jeffrey formula. Because seriously? It's the same guy, over and over and over. And even though this is one of the first couple of times we've tiptoed down this particular path, and even though I'd pretty much forgotten Liz actually wanted to cheat on Jeffrey* I'm still bored to tears.

  But how can this be, given the material I was given to work with? We've got mob bosses, drug czars, death threats, mistaken identity, murders, new people in from Ohio [what, there was a run on 'em?], nosy neighbors, and oh yeah, the Witness Protection program!
   That's right. I totally ruined the book for you, huh? But yeah, by now you should know better than to read one of these if you haven't actually read the book. Anyway!


  The boredom stems from Liz and her archetype for the cheating on her boyfriend. Should the Valley ever spring to life once more, or possibly you feel like creating your own slice of California heaven and you need the perfect twin to cheat on her boyfriend, you need the following ingredients. It's okay, I've triple-checked this recipe for accuracy and dude, it rarely fails:


  Elizabeth's So Good You'll Cheat On Your Soulmate Boyfriend Man-Candy Recipe:

  • Tall [though truthfully he just needs to be taller than 5'6" and your average guy is. And if he isn't, then you're either dealing with Tom Cruise and should run away immediately, or you're dealing with one of my exes and you should kick them in their freakin' kneecaps and save yourself the trouble]

  • dark [we'll accept anything from medium brown hair right on through to black hair, though usually we like the darker hair]

  • pale [if we're outside California, try and make him preternaturally pale, please]

  • good looking, but not prettier than either Todd or Jeffrey

  • moody [We accept no substitutions on this one!]

  • a writer [any sort will do]

  • mysterious past with bonus points being given if he's got parental issues or you seriously consider him a potential murderer in that "it's always the quiet ones" sort of way.



   Your eyes may vary, but it's generally a good rule of thumb to go with a lovely contrast to that fabulous hair and try blue, green, or a lovely gray. Blue is the most common, but think of all the blues you could use! Green and gray come in one shade apiece, so really, with blue you get your money's worth. Mix it all together and you've got a guy Liz will fall for given enough time and Jess will probably agree is mildly less repulsive than Bob down in accounting, but not hot enough to fight her twin for**. Because that, you see, would just complicate the plot and we cannot have that.

  Normally I'd have given you an extremely long winded recap of the events and I'm sure you're waiting for that. I'm delaying the pain because, well, nothing freakin' happens.

  It's July. Liz and Jess are working at the Sweet Valley News, remember? Jess is bitching about the gig and due to her run in with a murderer, she's not really into the water cooler gossip going around about the DeLucca trial. Frank DeLucca's on trial for a variety of things, the most recent being murder, and most people seem to think he's going to get away with it because all the witnesses have either had lapses in their memory or refuse to testify. Cuz that ain't shady at all, DeLucca. Anyway, fascinating as this is, it's happening in New York.
   Strike One. I find it really hard to get behind a twisty plot where the action takes place off screen in New York when I'm centered in SV, California. Sorry. It's not even that I don't fully buy that people across the country would give a damn about such a thing as it's entirely possible the case is just that big. It's just that I don't care.

  So, I'm with Jessica on this. That whole 'murderer nearly killed me and the twin' thing would make it so that I wouldn't want to focus on a guy who probably killed, or had other people kill, a whole bunch of people. I'd want some rainbows, unicorns, and cute guys not made out of sensible twin's recipe.
   Since she works at a newspaper though, that ain't gonna happen. Seth and Dan get into a pissing contest over their beliefs as to whether anyone will come forward and nail DeLucca's ass to the wall or not. Dan says no one's that brave/stupid, and Seth disagrees. We all know that Liz has taken Seth's side even before she ever so earnestly shares her opinion with us.
  For whatever reason, we're introduced to Darcy K, who is the third intern and a recent transplant from Ohio. DK and Jess hit it off for reasons I never really do understand because DK is a two-faced bitch who isn't even all that subtle or smart in her bitchitude. I expect better from my Valley vixens, okay? Lila would never let this girl in, and you know how she feels about Liz during the Jeffrey years...
  Anyway, DK rarely has an opinion of her own and all the thoughts she does share with the class come filtered through her father. It's as annoying as you'd think it would be. Liz and DK clash immediately and the guys are oblivious because, well, they're guys.
   Back to the DeLucca case. Dr. Ryan has appeared with evidence, DeLucca is sent packing and the peasants rejoice. I... snore softly in the corner.

  During a fit of DK's bitchery, DK tells Liz to get Dan a coffee with cream and sugar, only Dan's allergic to cream [wha?] and Liz has to make two coffee runs. She meets Eric, new guy from Ohio [see?] and they hit it off because he was made for her. He actually sounds a bit creepy considering how he runs hot and cold so easily, but hey, that's Elizabeth's fling-type, so, whatever. Naturally DK falls for Eric much like Jess would [as in not really, but the idea that he's not in love with her is one too vexing to dwell on] and friction ensues when DK realizes Eric isn't all that interested. Except...
   I'm getting ahead of myself. Eric and Liz hit it off. Since he's new and not a psychotic bitch [or is he?], Liz offers him a tour of the city. He takes her up on it and you know they'll fall for each other and they do, but Liz doesn't want Jeffrey to find out or for Eric to find out about Jeffrey although, at this point, she and Eric haven't even kissed. She just wants them to. So they agree to keep things quiet.
  Thing is, anytime Liz asks about Eric's past, he clams up and gets this look in his eyes that freaks her out a little. Still, he's just her type...
   Doesn't take long for DK to realize Eric's not totally interested, but before she can get good and mad, she finds out that another intern, this one male, is going to appear. Still, DK is nosy, so she calls her friend back in Ohio to see if she knew Eric before he moved. No such luck, but hey, a girl was murdered right before Eric showed up in Sweet Valley. Based on this and the vague notion that a guy fitting the same description is the suspected killer, DK and Jess decide Eric is obviously Christopher Wyeth, the murderer.
  And you know, given how these things work out, the odds were actually in their favor.

  With this knowledge, DK and Jess don't go to the cops or their parents. Instead they decide to keep an eye on Eric to see if he'll crack. Right, sure, sounds good. *draws air circles near temples* Because the Valley is the size of a postage stamp, Mr. Wakefield knows Eric's father [he's a client] and invites him over for dinner. He also invites the next door neighbors, the Beckwiths. Interesting, as the Beckwiths are frequently mentioned but rarely seen on screen.
   There's a damn fine reason for that. Mr. Beckwith is an ass. The kind I will never be able to keep my mouth shut around when I'm old and cranky. He gets it into his head that he knows Eric's father from somewhere and will not shut up about it. I fully expect Mr. H to bitchslap him while shouting, "YOU DON"T KNOW ME, OKAY?"
  But he doesn't. Blergh. Jess is watching Eric and her twin like a hawk because she's fairly certain, given the level of moodiness and time it took Liz to get ready for the dinner, Liz has a thing for Eric and that he, DK's insanity aside, likes Liz too. Only there really isn't much to see.

  For two people who aren't dating, Liz and Eric have an awful lot of breakup moments. Liz gets pissed when she thinks Eric wrote a "love poem" for DK, but in reality it was for Liz but Eric didn't want to blow their cover. Then, despite Jessica's attempt to keep in the dark, Eric finds out about Jeffrey and is pissed.
  Now Jess is worried because if Eric really is Chris Wyeth, Amy and company have just handed him perfect motive for offing Saint Liz. Y'know, that whole she has a steady boyfriend that she never bothered to mention thing kind of stings.
  Jess tries desperately to get a hold of Liz but things have gone horribly wrong all weekend. Liz has gone to Enid's for the weekend and the note she leaves is destroyed by Enid's cat [what cat?], when Jess impersonated Liz prior to the Jeffrey revelation, the notebook she scammed off Eric was stolen by some creep in a Mercedes, and now Liz is off on assignment with Eric. To complicate matters, DK is a little more interested in her thing for the new intern than she is in keeping Saint Liz in possession of her life. Priorities, Jess!
  Anyway, Liz and Eric run into each other at the end of the day Monday evening and Eric is pissed. He drags Liz off somewhere, Jess freaks out and attempts to follow, only to be thwarted by Mr. Beckwith who is screaming about a little boy choking in Eric's little coffee shop. [Dude, so fired!] Jess panics and calls 9-1-1 after being all but slapped into action. Eric's father appears and heads off to help, which is odd because isn't he a "business" man? We need a doctor, man!
  Yeah, all those who realize that he's Dr. Ryan in disguise, give yourselves a couple of cookies. Eric tries to stop his father from interfering but his father goes in to do my very first tracheotomy.

  And this is the part that drove me bonkers even way back when.
  Beckwith finally puts all the pieces together and shouts, for all the fucking world to hear, that this is Dr. Ryan!
  What part of hit on his life do you not understand? No cookies for you, Beckwith! NO COOKIES!

   Eric and his father head home to pack and run away before they can be killed. Liz follows to say goodbye and to gush all over Eric who is really Michael. Only as Mike and Doc are packing, the bad guys find them and Liz must save the day.
  How? By realizing Doc never disconnected the previous owner's security, so she slams a button [red?] and informs Eric that the house is part of the Good Neighbors network and that right now at least six of their neighbors are rallying the troops. They'll call and if Doc doesn't give the password, they'll storm the fortress of solitude!
  And damn if that isn't what happens, although, um, would Doc even KNOW the password? I guess he could just say, "dude, what? No, we're cool" if it had been an accident... Still, as a kid I really liked this part, so I'll let it slide. After the cops appear and the day is saved, Liz and Mike say goodbye, their hearts breaking and whatnot, and by this point not even the ghost of my younger self can keep me motivated. Liz runs home, cries to herself and finally reads Eric's notebook which he's given her, seeing as all the poems contained within are written about her. The last breaks her heart and the music swells. End scene.
  Really, the book should have ended there, but we go back for more of DK so that she can inform us that gosh, Sweet Valley is ever so boring and Jess can think that it's really turning out to be awfully exciting.

  I died, really.


*In my memory, Liz and Jeffrey last for like, two seconds, so it's not so much that she didn't have ample opportunity to do what she does best on vacations, it's that she simply didn't have time. Re-reading the Valley has proven me wrong. Jeffrey lasted for a decent chunk of time, all things considered, and mostly Liz is as faithful as she is capable of being, given that she's a fictional sixteen year old girl who has wacky adventures and sometimes we need the nerdier twin to get some action.

** But later will totally be revealed in a diary entry that she did, in fact, skank it up behind Elizabeth's back. Oh, wait, that's reserved for Jeffrey and Todd. Never mind.




Trivia:

  • Liz and Jess are described, repeatedly, as identical opposites this go round. Later Liz will complain that she'll never be able to fully live up to the ideal everyone has created for her. She says to the guy she's cheating on her boyfriend with.

  • Lila's in Carmel.

  • The DeLucca case refers to Frank DeLucca who is on trial for murder and racketeering, though it's widely believed he's responsible for "countless crimes of murder, espionage, illegal drug and gambling activities." He was busted at the murder scene of Ray Underwood, but since then no one's been able to testify against him.

  • Ray Underwood was one of DeLucca's underlings who decided to do the right thing and ended up dead for his trouble. In his late teens he was diagnosed with early on-set diabetes and was referred to Dr. Ryan, and when Ray realized his days were numbered, he delivered his confession/fears in writing to the doc, just in case.

  • Seth Miller and Dan Weeks are the youngest reporters at the Sweet Valley News [SVN].

  • Dan is sure no one will ever testify against DeLucca. Seth disagrees. Liz agrees with Seth, Darcy Kaymen, the new intern, agrees with Dan. As does her Daddy.

  • Darcy Kaymen has silky red hair, brown eyes, freckles, is on the curvy side, looks like she's seventeen, will be enrolled in Whitehead Academy in the fall, got her internship because her father knows the man who runs SVN, and would rather have worked at the mall, or a cute boutique. If you did a shot for every time she said "my father" you'd die of liver failure within a day.

  • Darcy calls Liz "Crusader" and it is not a term of endearment.

  • Jessica's newest Hollywood crush is Cliff Benjamin, a young actor who's been in a slew of teenage movies. Darcy allegedly went the same school as he did back in Toledo.

  • Darcy has a little trouble with the truth and skews reality to the point where you want to smack her.

  • Jeffrey's back in three weeks, and the book itself covers about two, so he's expected back at the end of July/early August.

  • Liz and Jeffrey agreed to talk twice a week, not including letters.

  • Jeffrey's been teaching guys how to canoe. Jess mocks this.

  • William Ryan is Ray Underwood's Manhattan doctor [specializing in internal medicine] of six years who steps up with the evidence Ray left with him after Ray became convinced he wasn't long for this world.

  • Ray accused DeLucca and two other, unnamed, men of being the heads of an international drug ring.

  • Other minions at SVN: typesetter Paul is a lanky dude and Stan Fisher is the head of the editorial section.

  • The good people of the SVN call the corner diner across from the Western Building the Press Club.

  • While at the Press Club, Darcy outed Liz as a gossip columnist at The Oracle while claiming she had been an editor at her paper. Liz desperately wants to cry bullshit, but is too embarrassed about her gig as author of Eyes & Ears.

  • Eric Hankman works at the coffee shop on the first floor of the Western Building. He's tall [six feet tall, if Liz can be trusted] with thick, dark hair, hazel eyes, strong jaw, dimple in right cheek, and unusually handsome. Not that Liz was, uh, looking or anything. According to Darcy: he's a Taurus, born in May, he's seventeen, "stubborn, forthright, down-to-earth" and "very loyal once he's made his mind up about someone." He likes bike riding, music, he plays guitar and has written lyrics, long walks... and oh yeah, he writes poems that are awfully sad. And he drives a wreck of an old Dodge.

  • Liz tells Eric she hasn't written much poetry, but I swear in SY, Liz tells Jeffrey she no longer writes poems, which means during the Jeffrey administration she would have been writing poetry. I am so confused!

  • Eric claims to be from Shaker Heights in Cleveland. Darcy is from Toledo, but lucky for snoopy Darcy, her friend Sue lives in Shaker Heights.

  • Liz and Eric bond over typewriter ribbons and how expensive they are.

  • Liz claims she's going to the beach with Enid, but in reality she's taking Eric out for his first taste of the Sweet Valley tour.

  • Eric and Liz go see the new James Bond movie playing. Because that's what all of Elizabeth's not!boyfriends do.

  • When Liz and Eric swap writing, Liz has written "Futures" a short story about a young girl who's a companion [but not in the Whedon sense] to two elderly sisters. The girl learns a powerful lesson in courage and I gather one of the sisters risks her life for the other. I'm thinking Liz wrote the advanced Golden Girls era story of her and Jess and then inserted a younger Liz into the mix. But that's merely speculation, of course.

  • Eric has Liz read two short poems, "Harvest" and "Leaving You", both of which are pretty bleak. When Liz compliments him, Eric knows he's good, but isn't totally obnoxious about it. Just mildly.

  • Andy Sullivan is the newest intern, from Stanford with light brown, curly hair, sparkling gray-blue eyes, tall, and of course, handsome. DK peeks at his resume and finds out that he's a straight A student, on the varsity basketball team, junior editor of The Stanford Daily, and the recipients of all sorts of awards and honors for sports, writing, and scholastics.

  • Jess is seen getting ready to go jogging. I cry foul. Again.

  • Eric introduces Liz to Petrarch, 14th century Italian poet, who fell for a mysterious Laura and wrote her 366 poems, like "forever and a day." The implication is that there's a happily ever after in there, but there isn't.

  • Darcy swipes a poem from Eric's book, and since he can't admit he's with Liz [or wants to be] he lies and agrees when DK suggests it's meant for her instead. Liz is furious any time she thinks about the poem "To Her" although we never see it.

  • Rich Hankman does business with Ned. He's an attractive man in his early fifties, "a little on the portly side", dark hair, glasses, and a salt and pepper beard.

  • Dan and Amy Beckwith live next door to the Wakefields. Dan is an insurance agent at the Western Building and once he gets an idea in his head, he refuses to let go until he's made a complete ass of himself. They have a son, Jack, who is in San Francisco for the summer.

  • A young man hops out of the passenger side of a black Mercedes, knocks Jessica off her bike, and swipes Eric's book of poetry. He smelled of strong men's cologne and tobacco smoke.

  • Enid's mother has gone to New Mexico for a conference and Liz offers to spend the weekend with Enid to keep her company.

  • The Rollins do not have an answering machine, but they seem to have acquired a cat named Muffy who is "famous" for shredding things. Um, sure, okay.

  • Liz and Eric were supposed to meet in front of the Beach Disco at 8pm, but by ten to nine, Liz realizes she's been stood up.

  • Some guy pretending to be FBI and calls himself Riordon is looking for Eric. He drives a deep blue sedan.

  • Enid suggests going to her aunt's cabin in the woods when she sees how stressed Liz is. Dude, the E/E slash writes itself! Anyway, would that be her aunt's cabin in Tahoe or another aunt?

  • Seth and Liz go to Los Palmos to cover a possible teacher strike later in the summer.

  • When Doc Ryan performs his emergency tracheotomy on little Timmy, it's my first trach experience. Yours?

  • Eric's real name is Michael Ryan.

  • The Hankman's/Ryan's home is a part of the Good Neighbors system, wherein a [giant?] red button on the wall behind the coffee table, when pressed, sounds an alarm in six neighbors' homes as well as the police station. One neighbor will call and if not given the password, will run right over.

  • Frank Richman, Mr. Simon, and Mr. Applebaum [next door neighbor who called] as well as nine other neighbors rush over and manage to overtake two gunmen and a third man... you'd assume they were all pretty good with the killing of people but they couldn't take down that many people even though they had guns? Geez. All this happened Monday evening.

  • Michael's final poem to Liz is entitled "Goodbye Poem".

  • The book has a problem with random "s appearing.




Quotable Sweet Valley:

   Her eyes shone. "I want to get to know as many cute guys as I can. And I want you to help me!" - Seriously, someone illustrate this for me because you know the SVH graphic novel should exist and this scene should be in it. Oh, Darcy... p81

  "Darcy's never been a Dodgers game. Can you believe that?"
  "Well, it makes sense- if she's just moved here," Eric said. - Damn you and your earth logic, Eric! p88

  After all, these things happened. Painful as it was, Eric would have to get over her-somehow. p105
  "Write me another one and bring it up to the office! Oh, and can I have a cup of coffee please?" Darcy demands a love poem with a side of coffee. Classic! p 105

   Darcy looked scornful. "Jess, don't overreact. He's not going to go running around with a machete or anything." p118

  Elizabeth had never really been in this kind of situation before. - This kind of situation, by the way, is thinking a guy was interested in HER when in reality he wanted someone else. Which is untrue. Jess/Todd, book one. That aside, it's also a little bit bitchy to say Liz had never wanted someone who didn't want her back. :P p133

   Muffy was the Rollinses playful cat, famous for exactly this kind of domestic damage. - Uh, since when? p161

  "I'll keep the notebook. But you have to let me give you something in exchange."
  "Oh, Liz," Michael said, folding her in his arms for a last embrace. "You've given me the most wonderful gift in the world. You've made me believe in people again." -Liz/Michael make me wonder what, exactly, Liz would give Mike. A roll in the hay? Her watch? Some trash leftover in the Fiat? What? p 206


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   You may love On the Run. I... just didn't. I don't remember having a raging hatred for anything but Beckwith, so maybe it's just a case of the winter blues clouding my thoughts, but this isn't my favorite of the Thrillers by any stretch of the old imagination. I find parts of it amusing and I think I like the book for them alone. Like DK messing with Liz because Liz bugs her and it kills time at a job she [DK] hates. Also, because it's easy. I like that by this point you totally buy that Eric could be a murderer on the run, and it makes more sense for that to happen than for him to be in the witness protection program. I like that Enid appears [shut up!] and I'm a bit of a softy, so the idea of a book of poems dedicated to me would be awesome in theory, so younger me gets to vote yay for that. But...
  Eric doesn't really appeal, even re-reading it and knowing why he's so angsty. DK's not as fun as her motives [no matter how they try and paint them in a different light] and Lila should never have gone to Carmel. It's boring without her.
   Oh, I do have to wonder why does Jess let DK get away with being such a bitch to Liz? Usually Jess has a strict "only I make Liz cry" policy, but DK seems to have Jess wrapped around her finger. How the hell did that happen? Make it stop!

  Basically the tone of the book is a little off, and a big part of that is the way Jess acts. And, really, you could do better, but you could also do a whole lot worse. [End of the series, I'm totally eyeballing you here!]

   OtR also makes me wonder about Steven. When the twins are busy acting crazy at various times throughout the series, he usually jumps in and attempts to smooth things over. Sure, he's a tool an awful lot of the time, but he was kind of forced to be mediator and the kid who probably got the least amount of attention in that house, even after he decided to take after his father in terms of employment as well as looks. If you jump way, way forward to the Margo months, he has to put on a happy face so that the whole holiday isn't a complete wash, and he's frequently seen doing this sort of thing. This ponderment was brought about after Beckwith repeatedly harassed the guest of honor and the tension needed breaking.

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Couldn't tell you if this is just a wonk-tastic lighting issue, whether there were two sets of the thrillers and they decided to show front and back or what, but I thought I'd share the fact that you could have your very own set of Thrillers which had the OtR cover used for the case.
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the_oracle: (gasp!)
On The Run
June 1988

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A shadowy past...


  After a chilling encounter with murder, Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are now ready for a calm summer in Sweet Valley-until Eric Hankman appears.

  Like Elizabeth, Eric is a quiet, sensitive writer, and the two of them immediately become friends.

  But Jessica's not convinced that Eric is as perfect as he seems. Her suspicions are aroused when her new friend, Darcy Kaymen, thinks she recognizes Eric as a boy from her hometown who has a mysterious past. Jessica knows Elizabeth won't believe a word of Darcy's story without evidence, but by the time she has all the proof she needs, it may be too late to save her sister.

  Read ON THE RUN, the second Sweet Valley High Super Thriller!



   What's this? An update? What strange, bizarro universe have we entered? How do you escape? When will the madness end?!

   Yeah, I know. Most people apologize when they disappear. Me? I like to go melodramatically weird. It's why you love me. Well, that and you're bored and looking for something vaguely entertaining, and dude, I do vaguely entertaining like it's my job or something. So, win/win for both of us.

   That said, let's begin. I can now see why I dragged my feet when it came to this particular Thriller. See, I love me some Thriller action. Bring on the Sweet Valley News and its chatter about typewriters and dreamy boy reporters and the interns who get coffee for them! Bring. It. ON! What I don't love, however, is the typical Liz cheats on Todd/Jeffrey formula. Because seriously? It's the same guy, over and over and over. And even though this is one of the first couple of times we've tiptoed down this particular path, and even though I'd pretty much forgotten Liz actually wanted to cheat on Jeffrey* I'm still bored to tears.

  But how can this be, given the material I was given to work with? We've got mob bosses, drug czars, death threats, mistaken identity, murders, new people in from Ohio [what, there was a run on 'em?], nosy neighbors, and oh yeah, the Witness Protection program!
   That's right. I totally ruined the book for you, huh? But yeah, by now you should know better than to read one of these if you haven't actually read the book. Anyway!


  The boredom stems from Liz and her archetype for the cheating on her boyfriend. Should the Valley ever spring to life once more, or possibly you feel like creating your own slice of California heaven and you need the perfect twin to cheat on her boyfriend, you need the following ingredients. It's okay, I've triple-checked this recipe for accuracy and dude, it rarely fails:


  Elizabeth's So Good You'll Cheat On Your Soulmate Boyfriend Man-Candy Recipe:

  • Tall [though truthfully he just needs to be taller than 5'6" and your average guy is. And if he isn't, then you're either dealing with Tom Cruise and should run away immediately, or you're dealing with one of my exes and you should kick them in their freakin' kneecaps and save yourself the trouble]

  • dark [we'll accept anything from medium brown hair right on through to black hair, though usually we like the darker hair]

  • pale [if we're outside California, try and make him preternaturally pale, please]

  • good looking, but not prettier than either Todd or Jeffrey

  • moody [We accept no substitutions on this one!]

  • a writer [any sort will do]

  • mysterious past with bonus points being given if he's got parental issues or you seriously consider him a potential murderer in that "it's always the quiet ones" sort of way.



   Your eyes may vary, but it's generally a good rule of thumb to go with a lovely contrast to that fabulous hair and try blue, green, or a lovely gray. Blue is the most common, but think of all the blues you could use! Green and gray come in one shade apiece, so really, with blue you get your money's worth. Mix it all together and you've got a guy Liz will fall for given enough time and Jess will probably agree is mildly less repulsive than Bob down in accounting, but not hot enough to fight her twin for**. Because that, you see, would just complicate the plot and we cannot have that.

  Normally I'd have given you an extremely long winded recap of the events and I'm sure you're waiting for that. I'm delaying the pain because, well, nothing freakin' happens.

  It's July. Liz and Jess are working at the Sweet Valley News, remember? Jess is bitching about the gig and due to her run in with a murderer, she's not really into the water cooler gossip going around about the DeLucca trial. Frank DeLucca's on trial for a variety of things, the most recent being murder, and most people seem to think he's going to get away with it because all the witnesses have either had lapses in their memory or refuse to testify. Cuz that ain't shady at all, DeLucca. Anyway, fascinating as this is, it's happening in New York.
   Strike One. I find it really hard to get behind a twisty plot where the action takes place off screen in New York when I'm centered in SV, California. Sorry. It's not even that I don't fully buy that people across the country would give a damn about such a thing as it's entirely possible the case is just that big. It's just that I don't care.

  So, I'm with Jessica on this. That whole 'murderer nearly killed me and the twin' thing would make it so that I wouldn't want to focus on a guy who probably killed, or had other people kill, a whole bunch of people. I'd want some rainbows, unicorns, and cute guys not made out of sensible twin's recipe.
   Since she works at a newspaper though, that ain't gonna happen. Seth and Dan get into a pissing contest over their beliefs as to whether anyone will come forward and nail DeLucca's ass to the wall or not. Dan says no one's that brave/stupid, and Seth disagrees. We all know that Liz has taken Seth's side even before she ever so earnestly shares her opinion with us.
  For whatever reason, we're introduced to Darcy K, who is the third intern and a recent transplant from Ohio. DK and Jess hit it off for reasons I never really do understand because DK is a two-faced bitch who isn't even all that subtle or smart in her bitchitude. I expect better from my Valley vixens, okay? Lila would never let this girl in, and you know how she feels about Liz during the Jeffrey years...
  Anyway, DK rarely has an opinion of her own and all the thoughts she does share with the class come filtered through her father. It's as annoying as you'd think it would be. Liz and DK clash immediately and the guys are oblivious because, well, they're guys.
   Back to the DeLucca case. Dr. Ryan has appeared with evidence, DeLucca is sent packing and the peasants rejoice. I... snore softly in the corner.

  During a fit of DK's bitchery, DK tells Liz to get Dan a coffee with cream and sugar, only Dan's allergic to cream [wha?] and Liz has to make two coffee runs. She meets Eric, new guy from Ohio [see?] and they hit it off because he was made for her. He actually sounds a bit creepy considering how he runs hot and cold so easily, but hey, that's Elizabeth's fling-type, so, whatever. Naturally DK falls for Eric much like Jess would [as in not really, but the idea that he's not in love with her is one too vexing to dwell on] and friction ensues when DK realizes Eric isn't all that interested. Except...
   I'm getting ahead of myself. Eric and Liz hit it off. Since he's new and not a psychotic bitch [or is he?], Liz offers him a tour of the city. He takes her up on it and you know they'll fall for each other and they do, but Liz doesn't want Jeffrey to find out or for Eric to find out about Jeffrey although, at this point, she and Eric haven't even kissed. She just wants them to. So they agree to keep things quiet.
  Thing is, anytime Liz asks about Eric's past, he clams up and gets this look in his eyes that freaks her out a little. Still, he's just her type...
   Doesn't take long for DK to realize Eric's not totally interested, but before she can get good and mad, she finds out that another intern, this one male, is going to appear. Still, DK is nosy, so she calls her friend back in Ohio to see if she knew Eric before he moved. No such luck, but hey, a girl was murdered right before Eric showed up in Sweet Valley. Based on this and the vague notion that a guy fitting the same description is the suspected killer, DK and Jess decide Eric is obviously Christopher Wyeth, the murderer.
  And you know, given how these things work out, the odds were actually in their favor.

  With this knowledge, DK and Jess don't go to the cops or their parents. Instead they decide to keep an eye on Eric to see if he'll crack. Right, sure, sounds good. *draws air circles near temples* Because the Valley is the size of a postage stamp, Mr. Wakefield knows Eric's father [he's a client] and invites him over for dinner. He also invites the next door neighbors, the Beckwiths. Interesting, as the Beckwiths are frequently mentioned but rarely seen on screen.
   There's a damn fine reason for that. Mr. Beckwith is an ass. The kind I will never be able to keep my mouth shut around when I'm old and cranky. He gets it into his head that he knows Eric's father from somewhere and will not shut up about it. I fully expect Mr. H to bitchslap him while shouting, "YOU DON"T KNOW ME, OKAY?"
  But he doesn't. Blergh. Jess is watching Eric and her twin like a hawk because she's fairly certain, given the level of moodiness and time it took Liz to get ready for the dinner, Liz has a thing for Eric and that he, DK's insanity aside, likes Liz too. Only there really isn't much to see.

  For two people who aren't dating, Liz and Eric have an awful lot of breakup moments. Liz gets pissed when she thinks Eric wrote a "love poem" for DK, but in reality it was for Liz but Eric didn't want to blow their cover. Then, despite Jessica's attempt to keep in the dark, Eric finds out about Jeffrey and is pissed.
  Now Jess is worried because if Eric really is Chris Wyeth, Amy and company have just handed him perfect motive for offing Saint Liz. Y'know, that whole she has a steady boyfriend that she never bothered to mention thing kind of stings.
  Jess tries desperately to get a hold of Liz but things have gone horribly wrong all weekend. Liz has gone to Enid's for the weekend and the note she leaves is destroyed by Enid's cat [what cat?], when Jess impersonated Liz prior to the Jeffrey revelation, the notebook she scammed off Eric was stolen by some creep in a Mercedes, and now Liz is off on assignment with Eric. To complicate matters, DK is a little more interested in her thing for the new intern than she is in keeping Saint Liz in possession of her life. Priorities, Jess!
  Anyway, Liz and Eric run into each other at the end of the day Monday evening and Eric is pissed. He drags Liz off somewhere, Jess freaks out and attempts to follow, only to be thwarted by Mr. Beckwith who is screaming about a little boy choking in Eric's little coffee shop. [Dude, so fired!] Jess panics and calls 9-1-1 after being all but slapped into action. Eric's father appears and heads off to help, which is odd because isn't he a "business" man? We need a doctor, man!
  Yeah, all those who realize that he's Dr. Ryan in disguise, give yourselves a couple of cookies. Eric tries to stop his father from interfering but his father goes in to do my very first tracheotomy.

  And this is the part that drove me bonkers even way back when.
  Beckwith finally puts all the pieces together and shouts, for all the fucking world to hear, that this is Dr. Ryan!
  What part of hit on his life do you not understand? No cookies for you, Beckwith! NO COOKIES!

   Eric and his father head home to pack and run away before they can be killed. Liz follows to say goodbye and to gush all over Eric who is really Michael. Only as Mike and Doc are packing, the bad guys find them and Liz must save the day.
  How? By realizing Doc never disconnected the previous owner's security, so she slams a button [red?] and informs Eric that the house is part of the Good Neighbors network and that right now at least six of their neighbors are rallying the troops. They'll call and if Doc doesn't give the password, they'll storm the fortress of solitude!
  And damn if that isn't what happens, although, um, would Doc even KNOW the password? I guess he could just say, "dude, what? No, we're cool" if it had been an accident... Still, as a kid I really liked this part, so I'll let it slide. After the cops appear and the day is saved, Liz and Mike say goodbye, their hearts breaking and whatnot, and by this point not even the ghost of my younger self can keep me motivated. Liz runs home, cries to herself and finally reads Eric's notebook which he's given her, seeing as all the poems contained within are written about her. The last breaks her heart and the music swells. End scene.
  Really, the book should have ended there, but we go back for more of DK so that she can inform us that gosh, Sweet Valley is ever so boring and Jess can think that it's really turning out to be awfully exciting.

  I died, really.


*In my memory, Liz and Jeffrey last for like, two seconds, so it's not so much that she didn't have ample opportunity to do what she does best on vacations, it's that she simply didn't have time. Re-reading the Valley has proven me wrong. Jeffrey lasted for a decent chunk of time, all things considered, and mostly Liz is as faithful as she is capable of being, given that she's a fictional sixteen year old girl who has wacky adventures and sometimes we need the nerdier twin to get some action.

** But later will totally be revealed in a diary entry that she did, in fact, skank it up behind Elizabeth's back. Oh, wait, that's reserved for Jeffrey and Todd. Never mind.




Trivia:

  • Liz and Jess are described, repeatedly, as identical opposites this go round. Later Liz will complain that she'll never be able to fully live up to the ideal everyone has created for her. She says to the guy she's cheating on her boyfriend with.

  • Lila's in Carmel.

  • The DeLucca case refers to Frank DeLucca who is on trial for murder and racketeering, though it's widely believed he's responsible for "countless crimes of murder, espionage, illegal drug and gambling activities." He was busted at the murder scene of Ray Underwood, but since then no one's been able to testify against him.

  • Ray Underwood was one of DeLucca's underlings who decided to do the right thing and ended up dead for his trouble. In his late teens he was diagnosed with early on-set diabetes and was referred to Dr. Ryan, and when Ray realized his days were numbered, he delivered his confession/fears in writing to the doc, just in case.

  • Seth Miller and Dan Weeks are the youngest reporters at the Sweet Valley News [SVN].

  • Dan is sure no one will ever testify against DeLucca. Seth disagrees. Liz agrees with Seth, Darcy Kaymen, the new intern, agrees with Dan. As does her Daddy.

  • Darcy Kaymen has silky red hair, brown eyes, freckles, is on the curvy side, looks like she's seventeen, will be enrolled in Whitehead Academy in the fall, got her internship because her father knows the man who runs SVN, and would rather have worked at the mall, or a cute boutique. If you did a shot for every time she said "my father" you'd die of liver failure within a day.

  • Darcy calls Liz "Crusader" and it is not a term of endearment.

  • Jessica's newest Hollywood crush is Cliff Benjamin, a young actor who's been in a slew of teenage movies. Darcy allegedly went the same school as he did back in Toledo.

  • Darcy has a little trouble with the truth and skews reality to the point where you want to smack her.

  • Jeffrey's back in three weeks, and the book itself covers about two, so he's expected back at the end of July/early August.

  • Liz and Jeffrey agreed to talk twice a week, not including letters.

  • Jeffrey's been teaching guys how to canoe. Jess mocks this.

  • William Ryan is Ray Underwood's Manhattan doctor [specializing in internal medicine] of six years who steps up with the evidence Ray left with him after Ray became convinced he wasn't long for this world.

  • Ray accused DeLucca and two other, unnamed, men of being the heads of an international drug ring.

  • Other minions at SVN: typesetter Paul is a lanky dude and Stan Fisher is the head of the editorial section.

  • The good people of the SVN call the corner diner across from the Western Building the Press Club.

  • While at the Press Club, Darcy outed Liz as a gossip columnist at The Oracle while claiming she had been an editor at her paper. Liz desperately wants to cry bullshit, but is too embarrassed about her gig as author of Eyes & Ears.

  • Eric Hankman works at the coffee shop on the first floor of the Western Building. He's tall [six feet tall, if Liz can be trusted] with thick, dark hair, hazel eyes, strong jaw, dimple in right cheek, and unusually handsome. Not that Liz was, uh, looking or anything. According to Darcy: he's a Taurus, born in May, he's seventeen, "stubborn, forthright, down-to-earth" and "very loyal once he's made his mind up about someone." He likes bike riding, music, he plays guitar and has written lyrics, long walks... and oh yeah, he writes poems that are awfully sad. And he drives a wreck of an old Dodge.

  • Liz tells Eric she hasn't written much poetry, but I swear in SY, Liz tells Jeffrey she no longer writes poems, which means during the Jeffrey administration she would have been writing poetry. I am so confused!

  • Eric claims to be from Shaker Heights in Cleveland. Darcy is from Toledo, but lucky for snoopy Darcy, her friend Sue lives in Shaker Heights.

  • Liz and Eric bond over typewriter ribbons and how expensive they are.

  • Liz claims she's going to the beach with Enid, but in reality she's taking Eric out for his first taste of the Sweet Valley tour.

  • Eric and Liz go see the new James Bond movie playing. Because that's what all of Elizabeth's not!boyfriends do.

  • When Liz and Eric swap writing, Liz has written "Futures" a short story about a young girl who's a companion [but not in the Whedon sense] to two elderly sisters. The girl learns a powerful lesson in courage and I gather one of the sisters risks her life for the other. I'm thinking Liz wrote the advanced Golden Girls era story of her and Jess and then inserted a younger Liz into the mix. But that's merely speculation, of course.

  • Eric has Liz read two short poems, "Harvest" and "Leaving You", both of which are pretty bleak. When Liz compliments him, Eric knows he's good, but isn't totally obnoxious about it. Just mildly.

  • Andy Sullivan is the newest intern, from Stanford with light brown, curly hair, sparkling gray-blue eyes, tall, and of course, handsome. DK peeks at his resume and finds out that he's a straight A student, on the varsity basketball team, junior editor of The Stanford Daily, and the recipients of all sorts of awards and honors for sports, writing, and scholastics.

  • Jess is seen getting ready to go jogging. I cry foul. Again.

  • Eric introduces Liz to Petrarch, 14th century Italian poet, who fell for a mysterious Laura and wrote her 366 poems, like "forever and a day." The implication is that there's a happily ever after in there, but there isn't.

  • Darcy swipes a poem from Eric's book, and since he can't admit he's with Liz [or wants to be] he lies and agrees when DK suggests it's meant for her instead. Liz is furious any time she thinks about the poem "To Her" although we never see it.

  • Rich Hankman does business with Ned. He's an attractive man in his early fifties, "a little on the portly side", dark hair, glasses, and a salt and pepper beard.

  • Dan and Amy Beckwith live next door to the Wakefields. Dan is an insurance agent at the Western Building and once he gets an idea in his head, he refuses to let go until he's made a complete ass of himself. They have a son, Jack, who is in San Francisco for the summer.

  • A young man hops out of the passenger side of a black Mercedes, knocks Jessica off her bike, and swipes Eric's book of poetry. He smelled of strong men's cologne and tobacco smoke.

  • Enid's mother has gone to New Mexico for a conference and Liz offers to spend the weekend with Enid to keep her company.

  • The Rollins do not have an answering machine, but they seem to have acquired a cat named Muffy who is "famous" for shredding things. Um, sure, okay.

  • Liz and Eric were supposed to meet in front of the Beach Disco at 8pm, but by ten to nine, Liz realizes she's been stood up.

  • Some guy pretending to be FBI and calls himself Riordon is looking for Eric. He drives a deep blue sedan.

  • Enid suggests going to her aunt's cabin in the woods when she sees how stressed Liz is. Dude, the E/E slash writes itself! Anyway, would that be her aunt's cabin in Tahoe or another aunt?

  • Seth and Liz go to Los Palmos to cover a possible teacher strike later in the summer.

  • When Doc Ryan performs his emergency tracheotomy on little Timmy, it's my first trach experience. Yours?

  • Eric's real name is Michael Ryan.

  • The Hankman's/Ryan's home is a part of the Good Neighbors system, wherein a [giant?] red button on the wall behind the coffee table, when pressed, sounds an alarm in six neighbors' homes as well as the police station. One neighbor will call and if not given the password, will run right over.

  • Frank Richman, Mr. Simon, and Mr. Applebaum [next door neighbor who called] as well as nine other neighbors rush over and manage to overtake two gunmen and a third man... you'd assume they were all pretty good with the killing of people but they couldn't take down that many people even though they had guns? Geez. All this happened Monday evening.

  • Michael's final poem to Liz is entitled "Goodbye Poem".

  • The book has a problem with random "s appearing.




Quotable Sweet Valley:

   Her eyes shone. "I want to get to know as many cute guys as I can. And I want you to help me!" - Seriously, someone illustrate this for me because you know the SVH graphic novel should exist and this scene should be in it. Oh, Darcy... p81

  "Darcy's never been a Dodgers game. Can you believe that?"
  "Well, it makes sense- if she's just moved here," Eric said. - Damn you and your earth logic, Eric! p88

  After all, these things happened. Painful as it was, Eric would have to get over her-somehow. p105
  "Write me another one and bring it up to the office! Oh, and can I have a cup of coffee please?" Darcy demands a love poem with a side of coffee. Classic! p 105

   Darcy looked scornful. "Jess, don't overreact. He's not going to go running around with a machete or anything." p118

  Elizabeth had never really been in this kind of situation before. - This kind of situation, by the way, is thinking a guy was interested in HER when in reality he wanted someone else. Which is untrue. Jess/Todd, book one. That aside, it's also a little bit bitchy to say Liz had never wanted someone who didn't want her back. :P p133

   Muffy was the Rollinses playful cat, famous for exactly this kind of domestic damage. - Uh, since when? p161

  "I'll keep the notebook. But you have to let me give you something in exchange."
  "Oh, Liz," Michael said, folding her in his arms for a last embrace. "You've given me the most wonderful gift in the world. You've made me believe in people again." -Liz/Michael make me wonder what, exactly, Liz would give Mike. A roll in the hay? Her watch? Some trash leftover in the Fiat? What? p 206


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   You may love On the Run. I... just didn't. I don't remember having a raging hatred for anything but Beckwith, so maybe it's just a case of the winter blues clouding my thoughts, but this isn't my favorite of the Thrillers by any stretch of the old imagination. I find parts of it amusing and I think I like the book for them alone. Like DK messing with Liz because Liz bugs her and it kills time at a job she [DK] hates. Also, because it's easy. I like that by this point you totally buy that Eric could be a murderer on the run, and it makes more sense for that to happen than for him to be in the witness protection program. I like that Enid appears [shut up!] and I'm a bit of a softy, so the idea of a book of poems dedicated to me would be awesome in theory, so younger me gets to vote yay for that. But...
  Eric doesn't really appeal, even re-reading it and knowing why he's so angsty. DK's not as fun as her motives [no matter how they try and paint them in a different light] and Lila should never have gone to Carmel. It's boring without her.
   Oh, I do have to wonder why does Jess let DK get away with being such a bitch to Liz? Usually Jess has a strict "only I make Liz cry" policy, but DK seems to have Jess wrapped around her finger. How the hell did that happen? Make it stop!

  Basically the tone of the book is a little off, and a big part of that is the way Jess acts. And, really, you could do better, but you could also do a whole lot worse. [End of the series, I'm totally eyeballing you here!]

   OtR also makes me wonder about Steven. When the twins are busy acting crazy at various times throughout the series, he usually jumps in and attempts to smooth things over. Sure, he's a tool an awful lot of the time, but he was kind of forced to be mediator and the kid who probably got the least amount of attention in that house, even after he decided to take after his father in terms of employment as well as looks. If you jump way, way forward to the Margo months, he has to put on a happy face so that the whole holiday isn't a complete wash, and he's frequently seen doing this sort of thing. This ponderment was brought about after Beckwith repeatedly harassed the guest of honor and the tension needed breaking.

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Couldn't tell you if this is just a wonk-tastic lighting issue, whether there were two sets of the thrillers and they decided to show front and back or what, but I thought I'd share the fact that you could have your very own set of Thrillers which had the OtR cover used for the case.
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the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (Default)
Spring Fever
April 1987


Double the fun...


   The Wakefield twins never expected that the sleepy town of Walkersville, Kansas, would be twice as exciting as their own home town. But when Jessica and Elizabeth spend spring break at their great aunt and uncle's house in the country, they discover that small-town life can have its share of big adventures.
   At first, things don't look so promising. Instead of a warm welcome, the local girls give them the cold shoulder. And Aunt Shirley and Uncle Herman won't let the twins out of their sight. But things brighten up when the girls meet gorgeous identical twins at a local carnival, Alex and Brad Parker. Jessica thinks Brad might be the man of her dreams, but how can she get to know him when she's being watched so closely by her aunt and uncle? Then trouble really begins to brew when Elizabeth makes an unexpected discovery about the Parker twins....
   Come along to the country with Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, and catch Spring Fever!
* Yes. Brad. They can't even keep track of things for the back of the book. Oi.


   For some reason I always want to call this one Spring Fling. Is it years of YA/juvenile fiction with rhyming titles corrupting my poor, unsuspecting brain, or would it would better than a fever? I dunno. You decide for me and let me know.
  It's funny, but for a super edition, not a whole lot happens this go round. Jessica and Elizabeth are off on another spring break whirlwind adventure, this time to Walkersville, Kansas, to stay with Alice's Aunt Shirley and Uncle Herman. Something tells me that if I were from a small town in Kansas, I probably wouldn't be all that fond of this book. Walkersville is very small, although there's no shortage of teenagers willing to either lust openly after the twins, or hate on them because the queen bitch tells them to. Uncle Herman is the mayor and also the owner of the local five-and-dime, which is an old fashioned place with a soda fountain. I think calling the place a five-and-dime is enough of a clue that the place isn't all that modern. Which I don't mock for anything other than being a bit redundant.
  Uncle Herman and Aunt Shirley have been talking the girls up to anyone who would listen, which I would imagine to be everyone since the man is the mayor and all... Which means that the previously mentioned queen bee ain't all that thrilled when she appears at the soda shoppe and finds her boyfriend panting after a hot blond. She all but declares war on Jessica, and we're treated to our second, Wait-wtf moment of the book. The first is that Cara Walker is called Cora and as a child, I spent a good twenty minutes trying to figure out if the writer had forgotten Cara's name [blasphemy!] or if Steve had a new, freakishly similarly named girlfriend no one had told me about. Eventually I figured it was Cara and the author was a moron, because it's not like the A and the O are anywhere near one another.


   Mr. and Mrs. Walker [Herman and Shirley] are Jessica and Elizabeth's great uncle and aunt, which means that they're Grandma's age. You and I know this, but the kids in the back might not. Anyway, as such, they're not exactly as lenient as, say, Alice and Ned. They escort the twins everywhere, discourage them from hanging out with undesirables, and generally cramp Jessica's style. Later we'll realize these people aren't real at all, because no one who was sixty-something in 1987 would let Jessica get away with what she does, but we're skipping ahead.
  To break up the perfectly relaxing routine the twins have fallen into, a carnival comes to town. It's nothing big, but Jessica meets Alex, a handsome horse training carnie whose father owns the carnival. She falls head over heels and makes plans to visit him when the carnival closes. When she asks her aunt and uncle if she can wander into town at 10pm, she damn near well kills her aunt who says something about, "Herman, my pills!" After I finish giggling myself into a coma, Jessica continues trying to convince them that she'll be fine, she does this sort of thing all the time... and when that doesn't work, she agrees that she was talking crazy, and gosh, oh golly, is she tired. Isn't that weird? One minute she's raring to go, the next she just cannot keep her pretty eyes open. See you suckers in the morning! Liz follows and sure enough, Jessica is proving that the only reason the twins are staying in the sun room downstairs instead of one of the bedrooms upstairs is so that Jessica can slip out with the greatest of ease. When asked what exactly she's supposed to do if their aunt and uncle come looking for her, Jessica tells her to tell 'em she's in the can and away she goes, promises of this being the first, last, and only trip to the carnival after dark. Which is Jessica speak for "This is cool for the rest of our visit, right? Thanks, Liz, love ya, bye!" How is it that Liz and Jessica have been together forever, but I can speak the sneaky twin-speak and Liz cannot? Oh, Margo, you'd have killed Jessica immediately after assuming Liz's identity just for the sheer annoyance.

   Alex and Jessica hit it off, but Alex cannot get out of work long enough to see Jessica during the day. Jess is bummed, but like I just said, she's more than willing to sneak out, night after night, to get a little carnie action. Woo. What I failed to mention earlier is that Alex has a twin named Brad. It's funny, when I think of the name Brad, I think of two people. Brad Pitt, sure, but mostly I think of Brad from Hey Dude. Anyone else?
  Brad meets Liz the next day and they really hit it off, too. Which is all well and good until you remember she's dating Jeffrey at this point. Liz feels bad, but Jessica [and her own hormones] manages to convince her that vacation romances don't really count as cheating. It's experiencing something new! Even as she admits she'd be ticked if she found out Jeffrey was meeting girls without telling or thinking of her, she still goes on with the Brad dates. Sometime after nearly kissing the boy, Liz gets a call from Jeffrey and suddenly she realizes that for as much as she likes Brad, it might have been the novelty of finally dating a twin with her twin [even going so far as to say, "I just can't get over how identical you two are" or something, and then kicking herself since she hates it when people say that to her] or maybe the country air, but she's really In Love with Jeffrey, so she and Brad cool off.
  To distract us from the lovey dovey stuff going on, let's return to the displaced queen b, shall we? I said there were at least two WTF moments in this book, and the second is that when Annie Sue declares war on the twins, Jessica doesn't immediately fire back. She doesn't scheme or plot, and not just out of respect for her aunt and uncle, but because she's just so shocked at someone she doesn't even know disliking her, that she's more prone to tears and shock than declaring war right back. Which I might sort of see for the first round or two, but by the time Annie brings her little sister into the mix, Jessica should be planning revenge, not bending over and asking for more.
  For the most part, Annie Sue flits around being bitchy towards either twin if she crosses their path, but doesn't really plot anything outside of that. Maybe because her friends are adopting Jessica's wild and crazy styles [the headbands, the dresses], or maybe because luck handed her such an opportunity, but her grandmother is best friends with Shirley, so naturally the twins are invited to the farm for the day. They go, sure that something horrible will happen, but not sure how to avoid it without being rude. When they arrive, they find that Annie isn't around yet, so Janie, her little sister, gives them the tour. She gets them lost, nearly gets Jessica kicked in the head by a cow, and there's a pig stampede. If I thought these were Janie's ideas, I'd be impressed. Annie stands them up [along with all her friends] which is actually really, really bitchy since her grandmother is beyond embarrassed as well as confused. The twins try very hard to be polite and assure her that it's not her fault that Annie Sue is a psychotic bitch. By this point Janie's copped to Annie Sue having planned all the little bits of evil, and the twins go home, confused and miserable.
  Now, I have to say that Annie Sue has guts. I'm fairly certain that the older members of my family would be from the same era as AS's grandmother, as well as Shirley and Herman, and you know what? Even the most polite, sweetest ones of the bunch would have tanned my hide if I tried anything like that. There are certain things you do not do, and I find it really hard to believe she did not get punished for that little stunt. Then again, maybe it's possible that factored into her next bit of bitchery.
  She manages to catch Jessica and Alex meeting [and smooching] after dark at the carnival. Jessica knows she's busted, but doesn't say a word to Elizabeth until Annie Sue begins to blackmail both twins. I like to think this is all crap, and that Annie Sue was grounded, too, and couldn't have told a damn thing, but I like adding things to these stories, so ignore me. Annie's really ambitious in her blackmail as she manages to waltz off with all of Jessica's fantastic accessories, with promises of more on the way. She even blackmails Elizabeth and Liz is beyond pissed, but she doesn't want to get her twin in trouble, so along with the whole mess she goes.
  There's a big square dance at the end of the carnival, and the twins have agreed to double date. On Liz's last date with Brad, he cuts his hand, and by now the suspicion that Brad doesn't actually exist is a certainty. But I've got no proof other than Brad/Alex are never in the same place at the same time, and also, they're a little too identical. But I've known twins who really did look like the same person, only you'd see them standing right next to one another, so... it could happen, I told my younger self. I kept holding out for another twist, but in my heart I knew the truth.

   Now, we can't leave the book with the twins not being the most fabulous of the fab, so we must have MORE drama. The twins ask if they can go to the dance with Brad/Alex and their aunt and uncle think about it before ultimately deciding they can't because they don't know these boys and also, isn't 16 a little young to be dating? Whatever. Jessica blows up and slips out to go and tell Alex their plans are ruined. Liz tries to cover for Jessica yet again...
  I should point out that with Jessica doing her nightly, "Oh, GOSH, I'm so tired!" routine nightly but sleeping so late every morning, Aunt Shirley is worried that Jessica's sick, or maybe she's depressed... but that she should call Alice anyway. Liz manages to convince her that Jessica's just been running on empty so long that she's catching up on her sleep and recharging, and honestly, it's a good thing! Really.
  Anyway, the night of her stalk off, Jessica's busted. Shirley and Herman come to talk to the twins and Liz cannot lie her way out of this mess, so she cops to Jessica sneaking out to visit Alex and tell him of their woe. Shirley and Herman freak out and away they all run to the carnival.
  The carnival where Annie Sue's father is buying her Midnight, a gorgeous horse who isn't all that fond of people and is still being broken in. Because Jessica's just that good, she's been riding Midnight with no problem during her dates with Alex, so she's left with the horse while Alex goes off to finalize a few things with Mr. Sawyer. Annie appears, hops up on Midnight, and all hell breaks loose. Jessica hops a horse and charges after the girl who has spent her entire vacation tormenting her, and pretty much saves her life, until Alex appears to finish saving the day. By now there's a huge crowd and everyone knows how brave Jessica and Alex are, and it's okay for Alex to go with Jessica to the dance, and sure, Brad can go too, they suppose, and hey, what's with your hand, Alex? You've hurt it in the exact same spot as Brad?
  Liz blows Alex off when he tries to explain [yes!] but does agree not to tell Jessica, since that should be his job.
  Needless to say, he chickens out and Liz is ticked. So the night of the dance, she enlists Annie Sue [who is magically their bestest friend after throwing them a true Welcome to Walkersville party] in her plan to show Alex what it's really like dating two girls at once. This is just Liz having Annie Sue go up to him and interrupt his dance with whichever twin he's currently dancing with to say that the other girl is painfully lonely and needs his attention.
  Alex finally cracks and asks Elizabeth what the fuck is wrong with her, cuz he's about to die. We find out that Alex couldn't decide which girl he liked best and even when it became clear that his heart belonged with Jessica, he couldn't figure out a way to come clean without coming across like an ass. Also, it was liberating to be Brad, to indulge the side of him that gets lost under his more Jessica-like personality traits. Because she's a pushover, Liz accepts this as an explanation and points out that everyone is multi layered, but she loses points for not looking to the future for a blooming onion analogy. Sigh.
  The third wtf moment is that Shirley and Herman don't punish Jessica at all, even if they haven't figured out that all her sleeping sickness problems were really her sneaking out more than once. For as strict as they were portrayed, they would have done SOMETHING. Anything. Sigh. Even as a kid I knew my grand-anythings would kill me dead for such behavior.

Trivial Matters:

  • Uncle Herman Walker's grandfather founded Walkersville, Kansas. Hence the name.

  • Lila's in Rome while the twins are in Kansas. Jess doesn't think this is exactly fair.

  • Want to refer to the twins by some cutesy name? Don't go with "clones, carbon copies, double images, or the ditto sisters" as they've heard them all. The ditto sisters? Oh lord.

  • Aunt Shirley is petite with dark hair, peppered with silver, almond shaped blue eyes, and a heart condition.

  • Uncle Herman is slightly portly, in his mid 60's, silver gray hair and mustache, and a booming voice, befitting the mayor of a small town.

  • Uncle Herman and Aunt Shirley are Alice's family, and when she was 16, she spent time out in Walkersville as well.

  • Jessica takes four pieces of luggage, including a dress bag [last thing off the plane] to Elizabeth's one piece.

  • The Walkers have a navy blue Chevrolet.

  • The infamous Cora incident happens on page 17. How's that for painfully trivial?

  • Uncle Herman's five and dime is imaginatively named "Walker's" and John Campbell runs the place while Herman does mayor type stuff. Walker's also boasts a soda fountain that Mindy mans. Yay!

  • 5 Elms, the Walker's home, is six blocks from the center of town.

  • Dennis Stevens, Sam, Matthew, Hank, and Louis greet Jessica happily until lithe brunette Annie Sue Sawyer and Mary, her plump blond sidekick, arrive.

  • Much is made of how uncomfortable Liz is being attracted to the same guy Jessica is [until Brad waltzes onto the scene] and all I can think is, "HELLO! Todd Wilkins, book one!" Oi. And that's not even going into the numerous boyfriend swaps they'll do later on.

  • Tall, broad shouldered, curly dark hair, astonishingly blue eyes, and tanned to perfection, Alex Parker is destined to be on the cover of some romance novel sometime in his future. He claims to have a twin, Brad, and a little sister, Evie. His father owns the carnival but is never seen or heard from.

  • Mrs. Sawyer, Annie Sue's grandmother, has hazel eyes, silver hair, and seems to be in her early 60's.

  • Janie Sawyer is nine and a half and a hellion.

  • Brownie, Mrs. Sawyer's cow, is cranky and only lets Mrs. Sawyer milk her, and always/only from the left side. Janie tries to get Jess to approach from the right side and Jess nearly gets kicked for her trouble.

  • Items Annie Sue blackmailed Jessica out of: A rhinestone headband made in LA, gifted from Lila, a plastic sport watch, a rhinestone pin, the promise of Jessica's red cowboy boots, and a big beaded silver necklace the night Midnight went nuts. She also snagged Elizabeth's sunglasses.

  • 'Brad' ripped his right hand on a nail, and before you go screaming about lock jaw, he had his tetanus shot a couple of months prior. Fun times, that shot.

  • Annie Sue and Dennis have known one another since they were six and it seems likely they'll get married. Jessica is horrified at the thought.

  • Jessica wears a red and white gingham dress with a petticoat that she borrowed from Annie Sue and Liz goes with a "slim-cut denim skirt and a red and white checked cotton blouse." There's mention of a bright bandanna around her neck, so... mostly what the girls are wearing on the cover.



Quotes:
"You think they have tornadoes all the time, like in The Wizard of Oz?" Jessica asked hopefully.
Elizabeth laughed. "Not in April, silly," she scoffed. - p9

"No one goes on vacation for peace and quiet, Liz," she said reprovingly. "Not unless you're middle aged or something." - I would kill for some peace, quiet, and fun, Jessica. p 9

"It's just lucky she came equipped. Only my sister would have enough accessories to keep a whole town satisfied!" - Liz is right, if you don't count how Lila would probably have three times the stuff of a Wakefield twin. p 170

"We should probably scold you for sneaking out of the house, but, Jessica, we're so proud of you for being such a heroine tonight that nothing else seems to matter!" - Bull. Shit. Aunt Shirley might, might, might cave that easy, but uncle Herman would have that girl's hide, do you hear me? p196

Well, the way Elizabeth saw it, Alex had his dream evening ahead of him now. He had both Wakefield girls as his dates.
Only Elizabeth intended to make Alex see that two Wakefield girls was too much for anyone, even Alex Parker. - Dirty? 226

"You're a good kid, you know that?" Alex said huskily. - I'd have punched him for that. Kid? Bite me, Alex. p231


   There's probably a reason this was the last Super Edition for awhile, and not just because the Thrillers took over for the next however many books. While a lovely pieces of candy floss, it's not exactly the best of the Supers. Annie Sue's hatred could have been so much more fun and a permanent thing, but it wasn't, and the book felt awfully short for a book that's supposed to be longer than normal. I dunno, I don't think I read this one as a little kid, and probably closer to when I started to fall out of love with the series, as I don't have the nostalgic attachment I do for most of the other books.
  That said, all this book really was missing was for it to be summer and to have the book happen over the fourth of July. :p

  Also, while I may not have been in love with the book, I felt cheated that the twins never did visit the south, but we could visit Kansas? Sigh. You could do much worse than this book, but you could also do better. To make up for the lackluster joy in the book, I point to the cover, which I actually like, but I was raised with a love for gingham... and also the knowledge that if you were to do Annie Sue's initials, she'd be ASS. I'm mature, I am, I am.
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (Default)
Spring Fever
April 1987


Double the fun...


   The Wakefield twins never expected that the sleepy town of Walkersville, Kansas, would be twice as exciting as their own home town. But when Jessica and Elizabeth spend spring break at their great aunt and uncle's house in the country, they discover that small-town life can have its share of big adventures.
   At first, things don't look so promising. Instead of a warm welcome, the local girls give them the cold shoulder. And Aunt Shirley and Uncle Herman won't let the twins out of their sight. But things brighten up when the girls meet gorgeous identical twins at a local carnival, Alex and Brad Parker. Jessica thinks Brad might be the man of her dreams, but how can she get to know him when she's being watched so closely by her aunt and uncle? Then trouble really begins to brew when Elizabeth makes an unexpected discovery about the Parker twins....
   Come along to the country with Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, and catch Spring Fever!
* Yes. Brad. They can't even keep track of things for the back of the book. Oi.


   For some reason I always want to call this one Spring Fling. Is it years of YA/juvenile fiction with rhyming titles corrupting my poor, unsuspecting brain, or would it would better than a fever? I dunno. You decide for me and let me know.
  It's funny, but for a super edition, not a whole lot happens this go round. Jessica and Elizabeth are off on another spring break whirlwind adventure, this time to Walkersville, Kansas, to stay with Alice's Aunt Shirley and Uncle Herman. Something tells me that if I were from a small town in Kansas, I probably wouldn't be all that fond of this book. Walkersville is very small, although there's no shortage of teenagers willing to either lust openly after the twins, or hate on them because the queen bitch tells them to. Uncle Herman is the mayor and also the owner of the local five-and-dime, which is an old fashioned place with a soda fountain. I think calling the place a five-and-dime is enough of a clue that the place isn't all that modern. Which I don't mock for anything other than being a bit redundant.
  Uncle Herman and Aunt Shirley have been talking the girls up to anyone who would listen, which I would imagine to be everyone since the man is the mayor and all... Which means that the previously mentioned queen bee ain't all that thrilled when she appears at the soda shoppe and finds her boyfriend panting after a hot blond. She all but declares war on Jessica, and we're treated to our second, Wait-wtf moment of the book. The first is that Cara Walker is called Cora and as a child, I spent a good twenty minutes trying to figure out if the writer had forgotten Cara's name [blasphemy!] or if Steve had a new, freakishly similarly named girlfriend no one had told me about. Eventually I figured it was Cara and the author was a moron, because it's not like the A and the O are anywhere near one another.


   Mr. and Mrs. Walker [Herman and Shirley] are Jessica and Elizabeth's great uncle and aunt, which means that they're Grandma's age. You and I know this, but the kids in the back might not. Anyway, as such, they're not exactly as lenient as, say, Alice and Ned. They escort the twins everywhere, discourage them from hanging out with undesirables, and generally cramp Jessica's style. Later we'll realize these people aren't real at all, because no one who was sixty-something in 1987 would let Jessica get away with what she does, but we're skipping ahead.
  To break up the perfectly relaxing routine the twins have fallen into, a carnival comes to town. It's nothing big, but Jessica meets Alex, a handsome horse training carnie whose father owns the carnival. She falls head over heels and makes plans to visit him when the carnival closes. When she asks her aunt and uncle if she can wander into town at 10pm, she damn near well kills her aunt who says something about, "Herman, my pills!" After I finish giggling myself into a coma, Jessica continues trying to convince them that she'll be fine, she does this sort of thing all the time... and when that doesn't work, she agrees that she was talking crazy, and gosh, oh golly, is she tired. Isn't that weird? One minute she's raring to go, the next she just cannot keep her pretty eyes open. See you suckers in the morning! Liz follows and sure enough, Jessica is proving that the only reason the twins are staying in the sun room downstairs instead of one of the bedrooms upstairs is so that Jessica can slip out with the greatest of ease. When asked what exactly she's supposed to do if their aunt and uncle come looking for her, Jessica tells her to tell 'em she's in the can and away she goes, promises of this being the first, last, and only trip to the carnival after dark. Which is Jessica speak for "This is cool for the rest of our visit, right? Thanks, Liz, love ya, bye!" How is it that Liz and Jessica have been together forever, but I can speak the sneaky twin-speak and Liz cannot? Oh, Margo, you'd have killed Jessica immediately after assuming Liz's identity just for the sheer annoyance.

   Alex and Jessica hit it off, but Alex cannot get out of work long enough to see Jessica during the day. Jess is bummed, but like I just said, she's more than willing to sneak out, night after night, to get a little carnie action. Woo. What I failed to mention earlier is that Alex has a twin named Brad. It's funny, when I think of the name Brad, I think of two people. Brad Pitt, sure, but mostly I think of Brad from Hey Dude. Anyone else?
  Brad meets Liz the next day and they really hit it off, too. Which is all well and good until you remember she's dating Jeffrey at this point. Liz feels bad, but Jessica [and her own hormones] manages to convince her that vacation romances don't really count as cheating. It's experiencing something new! Even as she admits she'd be ticked if she found out Jeffrey was meeting girls without telling or thinking of her, she still goes on with the Brad dates. Sometime after nearly kissing the boy, Liz gets a call from Jeffrey and suddenly she realizes that for as much as she likes Brad, it might have been the novelty of finally dating a twin with her twin [even going so far as to say, "I just can't get over how identical you two are" or something, and then kicking herself since she hates it when people say that to her] or maybe the country air, but she's really In Love with Jeffrey, so she and Brad cool off.
  To distract us from the lovey dovey stuff going on, let's return to the displaced queen b, shall we? I said there were at least two WTF moments in this book, and the second is that when Annie Sue declares war on the twins, Jessica doesn't immediately fire back. She doesn't scheme or plot, and not just out of respect for her aunt and uncle, but because she's just so shocked at someone she doesn't even know disliking her, that she's more prone to tears and shock than declaring war right back. Which I might sort of see for the first round or two, but by the time Annie brings her little sister into the mix, Jessica should be planning revenge, not bending over and asking for more.
  For the most part, Annie Sue flits around being bitchy towards either twin if she crosses their path, but doesn't really plot anything outside of that. Maybe because her friends are adopting Jessica's wild and crazy styles [the headbands, the dresses], or maybe because luck handed her such an opportunity, but her grandmother is best friends with Shirley, so naturally the twins are invited to the farm for the day. They go, sure that something horrible will happen, but not sure how to avoid it without being rude. When they arrive, they find that Annie isn't around yet, so Janie, her little sister, gives them the tour. She gets them lost, nearly gets Jessica kicked in the head by a cow, and there's a pig stampede. If I thought these were Janie's ideas, I'd be impressed. Annie stands them up [along with all her friends] which is actually really, really bitchy since her grandmother is beyond embarrassed as well as confused. The twins try very hard to be polite and assure her that it's not her fault that Annie Sue is a psychotic bitch. By this point Janie's copped to Annie Sue having planned all the little bits of evil, and the twins go home, confused and miserable.
  Now, I have to say that Annie Sue has guts. I'm fairly certain that the older members of my family would be from the same era as AS's grandmother, as well as Shirley and Herman, and you know what? Even the most polite, sweetest ones of the bunch would have tanned my hide if I tried anything like that. There are certain things you do not do, and I find it really hard to believe she did not get punished for that little stunt. Then again, maybe it's possible that factored into her next bit of bitchery.
  She manages to catch Jessica and Alex meeting [and smooching] after dark at the carnival. Jessica knows she's busted, but doesn't say a word to Elizabeth until Annie Sue begins to blackmail both twins. I like to think this is all crap, and that Annie Sue was grounded, too, and couldn't have told a damn thing, but I like adding things to these stories, so ignore me. Annie's really ambitious in her blackmail as she manages to waltz off with all of Jessica's fantastic accessories, with promises of more on the way. She even blackmails Elizabeth and Liz is beyond pissed, but she doesn't want to get her twin in trouble, so along with the whole mess she goes.
  There's a big square dance at the end of the carnival, and the twins have agreed to double date. On Liz's last date with Brad, he cuts his hand, and by now the suspicion that Brad doesn't actually exist is a certainty. But I've got no proof other than Brad/Alex are never in the same place at the same time, and also, they're a little too identical. But I've known twins who really did look like the same person, only you'd see them standing right next to one another, so... it could happen, I told my younger self. I kept holding out for another twist, but in my heart I knew the truth.

   Now, we can't leave the book with the twins not being the most fabulous of the fab, so we must have MORE drama. The twins ask if they can go to the dance with Brad/Alex and their aunt and uncle think about it before ultimately deciding they can't because they don't know these boys and also, isn't 16 a little young to be dating? Whatever. Jessica blows up and slips out to go and tell Alex their plans are ruined. Liz tries to cover for Jessica yet again...
  I should point out that with Jessica doing her nightly, "Oh, GOSH, I'm so tired!" routine nightly but sleeping so late every morning, Aunt Shirley is worried that Jessica's sick, or maybe she's depressed... but that she should call Alice anyway. Liz manages to convince her that Jessica's just been running on empty so long that she's catching up on her sleep and recharging, and honestly, it's a good thing! Really.
  Anyway, the night of her stalk off, Jessica's busted. Shirley and Herman come to talk to the twins and Liz cannot lie her way out of this mess, so she cops to Jessica sneaking out to visit Alex and tell him of their woe. Shirley and Herman freak out and away they all run to the carnival.
  The carnival where Annie Sue's father is buying her Midnight, a gorgeous horse who isn't all that fond of people and is still being broken in. Because Jessica's just that good, she's been riding Midnight with no problem during her dates with Alex, so she's left with the horse while Alex goes off to finalize a few things with Mr. Sawyer. Annie appears, hops up on Midnight, and all hell breaks loose. Jessica hops a horse and charges after the girl who has spent her entire vacation tormenting her, and pretty much saves her life, until Alex appears to finish saving the day. By now there's a huge crowd and everyone knows how brave Jessica and Alex are, and it's okay for Alex to go with Jessica to the dance, and sure, Brad can go too, they suppose, and hey, what's with your hand, Alex? You've hurt it in the exact same spot as Brad?
  Liz blows Alex off when he tries to explain [yes!] but does agree not to tell Jessica, since that should be his job.
  Needless to say, he chickens out and Liz is ticked. So the night of the dance, she enlists Annie Sue [who is magically their bestest friend after throwing them a true Welcome to Walkersville party] in her plan to show Alex what it's really like dating two girls at once. This is just Liz having Annie Sue go up to him and interrupt his dance with whichever twin he's currently dancing with to say that the other girl is painfully lonely and needs his attention.
  Alex finally cracks and asks Elizabeth what the fuck is wrong with her, cuz he's about to die. We find out that Alex couldn't decide which girl he liked best and even when it became clear that his heart belonged with Jessica, he couldn't figure out a way to come clean without coming across like an ass. Also, it was liberating to be Brad, to indulge the side of him that gets lost under his more Jessica-like personality traits. Because she's a pushover, Liz accepts this as an explanation and points out that everyone is multi layered, but she loses points for not looking to the future for a blooming onion analogy. Sigh.
  The third wtf moment is that Shirley and Herman don't punish Jessica at all, even if they haven't figured out that all her sleeping sickness problems were really her sneaking out more than once. For as strict as they were portrayed, they would have done SOMETHING. Anything. Sigh. Even as a kid I knew my grand-anythings would kill me dead for such behavior.

Trivial Matters:

  • Uncle Herman Walker's grandfather founded Walkersville, Kansas. Hence the name.

  • Lila's in Rome while the twins are in Kansas. Jess doesn't think this is exactly fair.

  • Want to refer to the twins by some cutesy name? Don't go with "clones, carbon copies, double images, or the ditto sisters" as they've heard them all. The ditto sisters? Oh lord.

  • Aunt Shirley is petite with dark hair, peppered with silver, almond shaped blue eyes, and a heart condition.

  • Uncle Herman is slightly portly, in his mid 60's, silver gray hair and mustache, and a booming voice, befitting the mayor of a small town.

  • Uncle Herman and Aunt Shirley are Alice's family, and when she was 16, she spent time out in Walkersville as well.

  • Jessica takes four pieces of luggage, including a dress bag [last thing off the plane] to Elizabeth's one piece.

  • The Walkers have a navy blue Chevrolet.

  • The infamous Cora incident happens on page 17. How's that for painfully trivial?

  • Uncle Herman's five and dime is imaginatively named "Walker's" and John Campbell runs the place while Herman does mayor type stuff. Walker's also boasts a soda fountain that Mindy mans. Yay!

  • 5 Elms, the Walker's home, is six blocks from the center of town.

  • Dennis Stevens, Sam, Matthew, Hank, and Louis greet Jessica happily until lithe brunette Annie Sue Sawyer and Mary, her plump blond sidekick, arrive.

  • Much is made of how uncomfortable Liz is being attracted to the same guy Jessica is [until Brad waltzes onto the scene] and all I can think is, "HELLO! Todd Wilkins, book one!" Oi. And that's not even going into the numerous boyfriend swaps they'll do later on.

  • Tall, broad shouldered, curly dark hair, astonishingly blue eyes, and tanned to perfection, Alex Parker is destined to be on the cover of some romance novel sometime in his future. He claims to have a twin, Brad, and a little sister, Evie. His father owns the carnival but is never seen or heard from.

  • Mrs. Sawyer, Annie Sue's grandmother, has hazel eyes, silver hair, and seems to be in her early 60's.

  • Janie Sawyer is nine and a half and a hellion.

  • Brownie, Mrs. Sawyer's cow, is cranky and only lets Mrs. Sawyer milk her, and always/only from the left side. Janie tries to get Jess to approach from the right side and Jess nearly gets kicked for her trouble.

  • Items Annie Sue blackmailed Jessica out of: A rhinestone headband made in LA, gifted from Lila, a plastic sport watch, a rhinestone pin, the promise of Jessica's red cowboy boots, and a big beaded silver necklace the night Midnight went nuts. She also snagged Elizabeth's sunglasses.

  • 'Brad' ripped his right hand on a nail, and before you go screaming about lock jaw, he had his tetanus shot a couple of months prior. Fun times, that shot.

  • Annie Sue and Dennis have known one another since they were six and it seems likely they'll get married. Jessica is horrified at the thought.

  • Jessica wears a red and white gingham dress with a petticoat that she borrowed from Annie Sue and Liz goes with a "slim-cut denim skirt and a red and white checked cotton blouse." There's mention of a bright bandanna around her neck, so... mostly what the girls are wearing on the cover.



Quotes:
"You think they have tornadoes all the time, like in The Wizard of Oz?" Jessica asked hopefully.
Elizabeth laughed. "Not in April, silly," she scoffed. - p9

"No one goes on vacation for peace and quiet, Liz," she said reprovingly. "Not unless you're middle aged or something." - I would kill for some peace, quiet, and fun, Jessica. p 9

"It's just lucky she came equipped. Only my sister would have enough accessories to keep a whole town satisfied!" - Liz is right, if you don't count how Lila would probably have three times the stuff of a Wakefield twin. p 170

"We should probably scold you for sneaking out of the house, but, Jessica, we're so proud of you for being such a heroine tonight that nothing else seems to matter!" - Bull. Shit. Aunt Shirley might, might, might cave that easy, but uncle Herman would have that girl's hide, do you hear me? p196

Well, the way Elizabeth saw it, Alex had his dream evening ahead of him now. He had both Wakefield girls as his dates.
Only Elizabeth intended to make Alex see that two Wakefield girls was too much for anyone, even Alex Parker. - Dirty? 226

"You're a good kid, you know that?" Alex said huskily. - I'd have punched him for that. Kid? Bite me, Alex. p231


   There's probably a reason this was the last Super Edition for awhile, and not just because the Thrillers took over for the next however many books. While a lovely pieces of candy floss, it's not exactly the best of the Supers. Annie Sue's hatred could have been so much more fun and a permanent thing, but it wasn't, and the book felt awfully short for a book that's supposed to be longer than normal. I dunno, I don't think I read this one as a little kid, and probably closer to when I started to fall out of love with the series, as I don't have the nostalgic attachment I do for most of the other books.
  That said, all this book really was missing was for it to be summer and to have the book happen over the fourth of July. :p

  Also, while I may not have been in love with the book, I felt cheated that the twins never did visit the south, but we could visit Kansas? Sigh. You could do much worse than this book, but you could also do better. To make up for the lackluster joy in the book, I point to the cover, which I actually like, but I was raised with a love for gingham... and also the knowledge that if you were to do Annie Sue's initials, she'd be ASS. I'm mature, I am, I am.
the_oracle: (amy thinks)
Deceptions
December 1984

Has Elizabeth found a new love?

A tangled web...


  Elizabeth Wakefield is stunned when Nicholas Morrow asks her for a date. A newcomer to Sweet Valley, Nicholas is fabulously wealthy and extremely handsome. Even though Elizabeth would never cheat on Todd Wilkins, her steady boyfriend, Nicholas is so attractive and sincere that she agrees to go out with him just once.
  To make matters worse, Jessica, Elizabeth's scheming twin, announces that Nicholas Morrow is the boy for her. Suddenly Nicholas is the only thing on Jessica's mind. Elizabeth is terrified to think what will happen if Todd or her twin finds out about her date with Nicholas. But who can keep a secret from Jessica Wakefield?

  Deceptions is actually mostly forgettable. All you need to know is that Elizabeth is guilted into a dinner date by Nicholas Morrow and wacky hijinks ensue. Seriously, that's all this book is, and no amount of fantastic lip gloss is going to change that. With that said, here are the details.
  The book picks up before the previous one ends. It's a bit of a retelling of Nicholas meeting Elizabeth for the first time, but without Liz getting these loud Klaxon warning bells in her head. It's a completely different tone from the last book's version of these events and it is so not flattering to anyone involved. For as rich and as good looking as Nicholas is, he should not have to resort to emotionally blackmailing someone into going out with him, but that's essentially what happens. Using twisty-Jessica logic, he asks Liz out, and when she points out that she's flattered, but also dating Todd and is in no hurry to shake up that relationship, he pushes on. She says no, again, that it would not be fair to Todd, and Nicholas outdoes himself with the single best bit of logic EVER. He counters that it's hardly fair to him if she turns him down. And Liz... falls for it. Liz, honey, the next time someone tries to outfox you with this type of logic, the correct answer is that Todd is your boyfriend and you don't have to be fair to Nicholas at his expense. But she agrees to the dinner date, telling herself that it's really nothing. Dinner. Between two friends. Despite the fact that one of these "friends" is trying to be more than that. Riiiiiiight.
  Naturally, there are complications. For one, Jessica is still head over heels over the boy. She's been like that since she found out about him, which was what, two books ago? Three books hung up on one guy is pretty impressive, even if the first book only introduces the infatuation at the very end. Jess keeps going on and on and on about Nicholas, and Elizabeth is feeling so guilty about accepting his invitation that she keeps snapping Jessica's head off. Luckily for Liz, Jessica is pretty self involved and doesn't suspect the connection. However, when Jessica gives Elizabeth the perfect opportunity to help squash her feelings for Nicholas, Elizabeth choses not to seize it. Instead of saying that Nicholas is a bit overbearing and totally illogical, or any of the millions of things she should be able to come up with, even if she's lying, she assures her twin that Nicholas seems perfectly lovely. IDIOT.
  Then there's the little matter of Todd. While Nicholas is following Elizabeth around all night at her "Yay, I'm not kidnapped anymore" party, Todd realizes Nich has a thing for Liz. Being the jealous couple that they are, Todd growls a bit and tells Liz that he wishes Nicholas would shove off and die in a nice [cuz he's rich, after all] grave and leave the Valley alone. Okay, so I exaggerate, but he's no fan of Nicholas, and Elizabeth freezes. She should tell Todd about her "friendly" dinner, but doesn't. She can't, she reasons, so she'll keep it a secret and he'll never know, and Jessica will never know, and it'll all be fantastic. Right, sure, whatever you say, sunshine.

   Our B story pops up fairly quickly. Elizabeth notices Jessica pouring on the charm and immediately becomes suspicious of her twin, seeing as Jessica isn't known for being nice to the geeks of the world, of which Randy Mason definitely is. She chitters and trills away about computers and when confronted about it, Jessica points out that if Randy knows anything, it's computers, and since Nicholas works for his father, a big computer corporate type, then obviously Nich is only interested in girls who are also big on computers. I follow the logic for the most part, but I did need it explained, seeing as I'd forgotten this bit.
  Randy also knows his math, and as Jessica learns all Randy has to teach about the tech side, she puts in a bid for some help in math. We're not told how successful he is, because Jessica then schemes to have him hack into the school's new computer and change her failing grade to a C-. She's not greedy, she just wants the bare minimum needed so that she won't fail and be kicked off the cheerleading squad. Confusion reigns, seeing as she's still on the squad at the end of the book, so I guess Randy's tutoring helped and she could have had a test big enough to raise her grade to a C- on it's own.
  Thing is, after Randy changes her grade, Jessica immediately blows him off. He takes her home and then proceeds to call. A lot. Seems he got cold feet and went back to change her grade back to what if should have been, but they'd changed the access code and it looks like someone is up shit creek without a paddle. Swim, Randy, swim! Figuring it's best to throw himself on the mercy of the court, he's going to go confess before they hunt him down. He asks Jessica, who is really Elizabeth on the phone, to come with him. Elizabeth promises Jessica will be there, and then drags her twin to campus so she can find a way to get Randy out of trouble. Jessica falters in the charm and resorts to tears, but Elizabeth begs for mercy and cries as well. Because LIZ steps in, Chrome Dome doesn't suspend the kids. WTF? I want that kind of power.
  Interesting parallel can be drawn there. Both Randy and Elizabeth are sweet talked into doing something they know is wrong by someone with more charm than should be legally allowed. Randy tries to rectify his mistake and even comes forward, even though it's not a given that he'd be caught anyway. He accepts his punishment and is willing to go down alone if absolutely necessary. He did the crime and all that, and he's willing to own up to it.
  Elizabeth, however virtuous she's been sold as up til now, will not come clean to her boyfriend or her sister, or hell, even to Nicholas. Enid points out that if she's going to go on the date with Nicholas, she has to tell Todd because secrets like this are HORRIBLE for your relationship. She brings up the Ronnie fiasco again, but still, she does have a point. But Elizabeth never does. She rationalizes that things are going to well, or that they haven't really talked, and she doesn't want to spring it on him. She knows she's doing something wrong and doesn't want to get in trouble for it. Egads, she might be human after all. Thing is, it's annoying when you hold her up to Randy and compare. Hers is the lesser of the two evils, she could easily explain it away, and yet she doesn't even try. With Jessica, I can empathise. She definitely falls under the "tis better to beg forgiveness than ask permission" category, both in how she lives her life and how you should act around her. But Todd? Yeah, would have dealt. Maybe.

  But she doesn't tell him, and instead Elizabeth and Nicholas finally head out to the Cote d'Or, an expensive restaurant an hour away. Thing is, any idiot could see where this was going. The whole reason Elizabeth agreed to a Sunday dinner was [her parents don't feed her on Sundays?] because Todd's family was celebrating his mother's birthday. Yup, that means that while out on her date with Nicholas, she runs into Todd as his family is leaving the restaurant.
  So she does the only thing she can do. She pretends to be Jessica. Nich understands, but Todd is a bit thrown since he was sure it was Elizabeth. Still, racked by guilt over the fact that he can't even tell his girlfriend from her identical twin, he heads over to the Wakefield home to apologize to Liz. Maybe to make out a little, if he's lucky. Jessica answers the door and it becomes immediately apparent what the hell happened. Todd shares with Jessica and both are livid. Todd informs Jessica that he's going to break up with Elizabeth and that they are so over. Jessica fumes until Elizabeth comes home.
  Jessica pounces on Elizabeth and rips her a new one, and it's kind of fun to watch, since Jessica doesn't often have the moral high ground. Jess then mentions, at the end when she's forgiven Elizabeth, that their mother called and that Tricia is getting worse. Liz feels bad, but cannot concentrate on that as she's still so worried about Todd.
  Todd blows Elizabeth off at school and after school, Collins assigns Elizabeth a fantastic story for the Oracle. She's to cover the basketball game that night. She tries to weasel out of it, but can't. So she goes and sulks and cries and Todd is sucking so bad that people are one step away from booing him. At halftime, Nicholas shows up, realizes what he's done, gives a damn, and stalks Todd in the locker room. He explains that he guilted Elizabeth into the date and that the whole time she was all, "But I'm in love with Todd!" Todd cheers up and goes back out to win the game. Yay?
  Elizabeth doesn't know what changed Todd's game, so she decides to skip the after party at Cara's and walk home. Before she makes it too far from the parking lot, Todd grabs her, kisses her silly, and explains why he stopped with the sports suckage earlier. They're happy and kiss some more and then go to Cara's. Shortly thereafter, Cara pulls Liz aside and tells her that Alice called. Jess and Elizabeth go to Cara's father's study and call home. Turns out that Tricia's turn for the worse is heading straight for death.
  Eeep!

Trivia:

  • The Droids wrote a song about Elizabeth. This is incredibly cheesy and a bit painful to read about, even though it's really just a throwaway paragraph, if that.

  • As of this book, Robin and Allen are still together. Aww.

  • Elizabeth likens Nicholas to Adonis, and when Jessica doesn't get it, she has to explain the reference to her twin. Tee!

  • Alice Wakefield is on vacation this week, so the Fiat is at Elizabeth's disposal. Y'know, since Jessica keeps racking up tickets and her parents don't trust her behind the wheel.

  • The Cote d'Or is a fancy restaurant located in Malvina, which is about an hour away.

  • The Morrows [well, Kurt Morrow's company] donated a computer to the school, which Elizabeth wrote a story on, calling computers and such the wave of the future. This is mentioned so many times I thought there was going to be a quiz on it afterward.

  • Todd and Elizabeth see Teenage Terror on their date.

  • When Liz is sneaking out to see Nicholas, she lies and tells Jessica she's going to see Enid.

  • Nicholas and Elizabeth both love Hemingway.

  • Dinner: Smoked salmon. tournedos Rossini with puffed potatoes, haricots verts, and desert is the wild-strawberry souffle. Which Nicholas orders as Elizabeth is busy being impressed by the 'still warm rolls' and rosettes of butter.

  • Speaking of dinner, Nicholas is wearing an ascot.



Quotes:
"Well, he's on his way to tell Mr. Cooper what he did. And you're going with him."
Jessica shook her head. "I can't. I'm really awfully busy right now." Jessica gives somehow the best and worst excuse ever, all at once. p71


137:
"Nicholas Morrow!" she scolded him gently. "Honestly, I've been looking absolutely everywhere for you. You know," she added, tilting her head coyly, "there must be a hundred and thirty-seven people waiting to meet you." p13
"Oh, Randy, what can I do? If I don't pass, my parents will ground me for a hundred and thirty-seven years. And I can't be a cheerleader." p62
"Good old Rollins," Jessica scoffed. "Honestly, Liz, I don't know what you see in her. Enid Rollins is about one hundred and thirty-seven different kinds of nerd." p90
"You must be kidding, Todd! You mean to say you still can't tell the difference between Liz and me?" She wagged a finger at him coyly. "Wait until I tell Elizabeth. Then you'll be in trouble. About a hundred and thirty-seven different kinds." Liz, pretending to be Jessica while on a date with Nicholas. p 101


  This book aside, I've almost always had a thing for Nicholas. I don't know why, as they spend so much time making the poor guy such a jackass at times, but maybe it's because the guy's got so very few friends, and the one person you'd think they'd immediately hook him up with as a friend [Steven Wakefield] is a no show. They make such a big deal about them both being big brothers of the slightly overprotective, overbearing variety that you'd think someone in ghost writer world would sit up and say, "Heyyyyyyyy..." I can see why they didn't, what with Steve angsting and Nicholas surely angsting later on, but still. Wait, no, no I really can't. That alone would give them something to bond over, though I guess by then, Steve is supposed to be mostly over it. Right. Mm.

  Upon re-reading this one, I'm struck by something. The ghost writer apparently missed the memo that went out after Robin Wilson got skinny. This book she's written pretty much exactly like she was in her chubby days, sans the food she was always munching. She's just too, too much over the top and excitable and it's just weird, seeing as skinny Robin was always more subdued and likely to be plotting your murder. Weirdness in the tone of the book. You don't notice it as much halfway through, but that's because you keep waiting for this friggin' infamous date to happen. I'm not sure if it's because we move away from people that make the tone-shift so obvious, or if this was somehow written by two different people. Because really, the saccharine levels are so high that I think I might need to check with my doctor about finding myself diabetic and heading for a coma.
  I can't say I'd recommend this to anyone who hasn't read it and wonders if they should bother. The actual date doesn't happen page 91, which isn't so bad, it's just that reading all that waffling back and forth, given that she has more than a week to wait until the actual date is a bit painful. It has it's moments, I suppose, but it's nothing that dances on it's own and makes it completely fantastic one way or the other. Though reading about the "computer wave" made me laugh and would probably slay any computer geek.

Superficially, the French cover is making my eyes water, and not from amusement. :P And I'm torn, do I include the various color variations they went through when re-releasing the books, when they went bar as opposed to the classic circle? As it is, I try to only go with the ones I've seen/own/or obviously pictures of a real book and not just some promotional thing on amazon.
the_oracle: (amy thinks)
Deceptions
December 1984

Has Elizabeth found a new love?

A tangled web...


  Elizabeth Wakefield is stunned when Nicholas Morrow asks her for a date. A newcomer to Sweet Valley, Nicholas is fabulously wealthy and extremely handsome. Even though Elizabeth would never cheat on Todd Wilkins, her steady boyfriend, Nicholas is so attractive and sincere that she agrees to go out with him just once.
  To make matters worse, Jessica, Elizabeth's scheming twin, announces that Nicholas Morrow is the boy for her. Suddenly Nicholas is the only thing on Jessica's mind. Elizabeth is terrified to think what will happen if Todd or her twin finds out about her date with Nicholas. But who can keep a secret from Jessica Wakefield?

  Deceptions is actually mostly forgettable. All you need to know is that Elizabeth is guilted into a dinner date by Nicholas Morrow and wacky hijinks ensue. Seriously, that's all this book is, and no amount of fantastic lip gloss is going to change that. With that said, here are the details.
  The book picks up before the previous one ends. It's a bit of a retelling of Nicholas meeting Elizabeth for the first time, but without Liz getting these loud Klaxon warning bells in her head. It's a completely different tone from the last book's version of these events and it is so not flattering to anyone involved. For as rich and as good looking as Nicholas is, he should not have to resort to emotionally blackmailing someone into going out with him, but that's essentially what happens. Using twisty-Jessica logic, he asks Liz out, and when she points out that she's flattered, but also dating Todd and is in no hurry to shake up that relationship, he pushes on. She says no, again, that it would not be fair to Todd, and Nicholas outdoes himself with the single best bit of logic EVER. He counters that it's hardly fair to him if she turns him down. And Liz... falls for it. Liz, honey, the next time someone tries to outfox you with this type of logic, the correct answer is that Todd is your boyfriend and you don't have to be fair to Nicholas at his expense. But she agrees to the dinner date, telling herself that it's really nothing. Dinner. Between two friends. Despite the fact that one of these "friends" is trying to be more than that. Riiiiiiight.
  Naturally, there are complications. For one, Jessica is still head over heels over the boy. She's been like that since she found out about him, which was what, two books ago? Three books hung up on one guy is pretty impressive, even if the first book only introduces the infatuation at the very end. Jess keeps going on and on and on about Nicholas, and Elizabeth is feeling so guilty about accepting his invitation that she keeps snapping Jessica's head off. Luckily for Liz, Jessica is pretty self involved and doesn't suspect the connection. However, when Jessica gives Elizabeth the perfect opportunity to help squash her feelings for Nicholas, Elizabeth choses not to seize it. Instead of saying that Nicholas is a bit overbearing and totally illogical, or any of the millions of things she should be able to come up with, even if she's lying, she assures her twin that Nicholas seems perfectly lovely. IDIOT.
  Then there's the little matter of Todd. While Nicholas is following Elizabeth around all night at her "Yay, I'm not kidnapped anymore" party, Todd realizes Nich has a thing for Liz. Being the jealous couple that they are, Todd growls a bit and tells Liz that he wishes Nicholas would shove off and die in a nice [cuz he's rich, after all] grave and leave the Valley alone. Okay, so I exaggerate, but he's no fan of Nicholas, and Elizabeth freezes. She should tell Todd about her "friendly" dinner, but doesn't. She can't, she reasons, so she'll keep it a secret and he'll never know, and Jessica will never know, and it'll all be fantastic. Right, sure, whatever you say, sunshine.

   Our B story pops up fairly quickly. Elizabeth notices Jessica pouring on the charm and immediately becomes suspicious of her twin, seeing as Jessica isn't known for being nice to the geeks of the world, of which Randy Mason definitely is. She chitters and trills away about computers and when confronted about it, Jessica points out that if Randy knows anything, it's computers, and since Nicholas works for his father, a big computer corporate type, then obviously Nich is only interested in girls who are also big on computers. I follow the logic for the most part, but I did need it explained, seeing as I'd forgotten this bit.
  Randy also knows his math, and as Jessica learns all Randy has to teach about the tech side, she puts in a bid for some help in math. We're not told how successful he is, because Jessica then schemes to have him hack into the school's new computer and change her failing grade to a C-. She's not greedy, she just wants the bare minimum needed so that she won't fail and be kicked off the cheerleading squad. Confusion reigns, seeing as she's still on the squad at the end of the book, so I guess Randy's tutoring helped and she could have had a test big enough to raise her grade to a C- on it's own.
  Thing is, after Randy changes her grade, Jessica immediately blows him off. He takes her home and then proceeds to call. A lot. Seems he got cold feet and went back to change her grade back to what if should have been, but they'd changed the access code and it looks like someone is up shit creek without a paddle. Swim, Randy, swim! Figuring it's best to throw himself on the mercy of the court, he's going to go confess before they hunt him down. He asks Jessica, who is really Elizabeth on the phone, to come with him. Elizabeth promises Jessica will be there, and then drags her twin to campus so she can find a way to get Randy out of trouble. Jessica falters in the charm and resorts to tears, but Elizabeth begs for mercy and cries as well. Because LIZ steps in, Chrome Dome doesn't suspend the kids. WTF? I want that kind of power.
  Interesting parallel can be drawn there. Both Randy and Elizabeth are sweet talked into doing something they know is wrong by someone with more charm than should be legally allowed. Randy tries to rectify his mistake and even comes forward, even though it's not a given that he'd be caught anyway. He accepts his punishment and is willing to go down alone if absolutely necessary. He did the crime and all that, and he's willing to own up to it.
  Elizabeth, however virtuous she's been sold as up til now, will not come clean to her boyfriend or her sister, or hell, even to Nicholas. Enid points out that if she's going to go on the date with Nicholas, she has to tell Todd because secrets like this are HORRIBLE for your relationship. She brings up the Ronnie fiasco again, but still, she does have a point. But Elizabeth never does. She rationalizes that things are going to well, or that they haven't really talked, and she doesn't want to spring it on him. She knows she's doing something wrong and doesn't want to get in trouble for it. Egads, she might be human after all. Thing is, it's annoying when you hold her up to Randy and compare. Hers is the lesser of the two evils, she could easily explain it away, and yet she doesn't even try. With Jessica, I can empathise. She definitely falls under the "tis better to beg forgiveness than ask permission" category, both in how she lives her life and how you should act around her. But Todd? Yeah, would have dealt. Maybe.

  But she doesn't tell him, and instead Elizabeth and Nicholas finally head out to the Cote d'Or, an expensive restaurant an hour away. Thing is, any idiot could see where this was going. The whole reason Elizabeth agreed to a Sunday dinner was [her parents don't feed her on Sundays?] because Todd's family was celebrating his mother's birthday. Yup, that means that while out on her date with Nicholas, she runs into Todd as his family is leaving the restaurant.
  So she does the only thing she can do. She pretends to be Jessica. Nich understands, but Todd is a bit thrown since he was sure it was Elizabeth. Still, racked by guilt over the fact that he can't even tell his girlfriend from her identical twin, he heads over to the Wakefield home to apologize to Liz. Maybe to make out a little, if he's lucky. Jessica answers the door and it becomes immediately apparent what the hell happened. Todd shares with Jessica and both are livid. Todd informs Jessica that he's going to break up with Elizabeth and that they are so over. Jessica fumes until Elizabeth comes home.
  Jessica pounces on Elizabeth and rips her a new one, and it's kind of fun to watch, since Jessica doesn't often have the moral high ground. Jess then mentions, at the end when she's forgiven Elizabeth, that their mother called and that Tricia is getting worse. Liz feels bad, but cannot concentrate on that as she's still so worried about Todd.
  Todd blows Elizabeth off at school and after school, Collins assigns Elizabeth a fantastic story for the Oracle. She's to cover the basketball game that night. She tries to weasel out of it, but can't. So she goes and sulks and cries and Todd is sucking so bad that people are one step away from booing him. At halftime, Nicholas shows up, realizes what he's done, gives a damn, and stalks Todd in the locker room. He explains that he guilted Elizabeth into the date and that the whole time she was all, "But I'm in love with Todd!" Todd cheers up and goes back out to win the game. Yay?
  Elizabeth doesn't know what changed Todd's game, so she decides to skip the after party at Cara's and walk home. Before she makes it too far from the parking lot, Todd grabs her, kisses her silly, and explains why he stopped with the sports suckage earlier. They're happy and kiss some more and then go to Cara's. Shortly thereafter, Cara pulls Liz aside and tells her that Alice called. Jess and Elizabeth go to Cara's father's study and call home. Turns out that Tricia's turn for the worse is heading straight for death.
  Eeep!

Trivia:

  • The Droids wrote a song about Elizabeth. This is incredibly cheesy and a bit painful to read about, even though it's really just a throwaway paragraph, if that.

  • As of this book, Robin and Allen are still together. Aww.

  • Elizabeth likens Nicholas to Adonis, and when Jessica doesn't get it, she has to explain the reference to her twin. Tee!

  • Alice Wakefield is on vacation this week, so the Fiat is at Elizabeth's disposal. Y'know, since Jessica keeps racking up tickets and her parents don't trust her behind the wheel.

  • The Cote d'Or is a fancy restaurant located in Malvina, which is about an hour away.

  • The Morrows [well, Kurt Morrow's company] donated a computer to the school, which Elizabeth wrote a story on, calling computers and such the wave of the future. This is mentioned so many times I thought there was going to be a quiz on it afterward.

  • Todd and Elizabeth see Teenage Terror on their date.

  • When Liz is sneaking out to see Nicholas, she lies and tells Jessica she's going to see Enid.

  • Nicholas and Elizabeth both love Hemingway.

  • Dinner: Smoked salmon. tournedos Rossini with puffed potatoes, haricots verts, and desert is the wild-strawberry souffle. Which Nicholas orders as Elizabeth is busy being impressed by the 'still warm rolls' and rosettes of butter.

  • Speaking of dinner, Nicholas is wearing an ascot.



Quotes:
"Well, he's on his way to tell Mr. Cooper what he did. And you're going with him."
Jessica shook her head. "I can't. I'm really awfully busy right now." Jessica gives somehow the best and worst excuse ever, all at once. p71


137:
"Nicholas Morrow!" she scolded him gently. "Honestly, I've been looking absolutely everywhere for you. You know," she added, tilting her head coyly, "there must be a hundred and thirty-seven people waiting to meet you." p13
"Oh, Randy, what can I do? If I don't pass, my parents will ground me for a hundred and thirty-seven years. And I can't be a cheerleader." p62
"Good old Rollins," Jessica scoffed. "Honestly, Liz, I don't know what you see in her. Enid Rollins is about one hundred and thirty-seven different kinds of nerd." p90
"You must be kidding, Todd! You mean to say you still can't tell the difference between Liz and me?" She wagged a finger at him coyly. "Wait until I tell Elizabeth. Then you'll be in trouble. About a hundred and thirty-seven different kinds." Liz, pretending to be Jessica while on a date with Nicholas. p 101


  This book aside, I've almost always had a thing for Nicholas. I don't know why, as they spend so much time making the poor guy such a jackass at times, but maybe it's because the guy's got so very few friends, and the one person you'd think they'd immediately hook him up with as a friend [Steven Wakefield] is a no show. They make such a big deal about them both being big brothers of the slightly overprotective, overbearing variety that you'd think someone in ghost writer world would sit up and say, "Heyyyyyyyy..." I can see why they didn't, what with Steve angsting and Nicholas surely angsting later on, but still. Wait, no, no I really can't. That alone would give them something to bond over, though I guess by then, Steve is supposed to be mostly over it. Right. Mm.

  Upon re-reading this one, I'm struck by something. The ghost writer apparently missed the memo that went out after Robin Wilson got skinny. This book she's written pretty much exactly like she was in her chubby days, sans the food she was always munching. She's just too, too much over the top and excitable and it's just weird, seeing as skinny Robin was always more subdued and likely to be plotting your murder. Weirdness in the tone of the book. You don't notice it as much halfway through, but that's because you keep waiting for this friggin' infamous date to happen. I'm not sure if it's because we move away from people that make the tone-shift so obvious, or if this was somehow written by two different people. Because really, the saccharine levels are so high that I think I might need to check with my doctor about finding myself diabetic and heading for a coma.
  I can't say I'd recommend this to anyone who hasn't read it and wonders if they should bother. The actual date doesn't happen page 91, which isn't so bad, it's just that reading all that waffling back and forth, given that she has more than a week to wait until the actual date is a bit painful. It has it's moments, I suppose, but it's nothing that dances on it's own and makes it completely fantastic one way or the other. Though reading about the "computer wave" made me laugh and would probably slay any computer geek.

Superficially, the French cover is making my eyes water, and not from amusement. :P And I'm torn, do I include the various color variations they went through when re-releasing the books, when they went bar as opposed to the classic circle? As it is, I try to only go with the ones I've seen/own/or obviously pictures of a real book and not just some promotional thing on amazon.

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