the_oracle: (left of normal)
The Ghost of Tricia Martin
April 1990

Has Tricia Martin come back to Steven?
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Mirror image...

   Steven Wakefield is both stunned and elated when he meets Andrea, a girl who looks, sounds, and behaves just like Tricia Martin, his first love. Tricia died just after she and Steven fell in love, but now he can almost believe she has come back to him again.
  Until Andrea appeared, Steven was happily involved with Cara Walker. He still cares about her, but every time he's with Andrea, he's reminded of how much he loved Tricia. So Steven refuses to choose between the two girls- until his indecision leads to a dangerous accident that make take all his choices away!

   The Ghost of Tricia Martin isn't exactly what it says on the tin, but it's close. As we learned at the end of the last book, another Tricia doppelganger has appeared in the Valley and this one is Andrea. Apparently she looks freakishly like Tricia to the point that both Liz and Steve see the resemblance and Liz doesn't immediately decide it was just a trick of the light or something. Steve, being Steve, falls down the rabbit hole and absolutely must go out with Andrea.
  The book opens the day after Steve and Liz meet Andrea and all three Wakefield kids are getting ready for their evenings. Liz and Todd are going out, we'll come back to Jessica for our B-plot, and Steve is getting ready for a date that Jessica thinks is with Cara and Liz suspects is with Andrea.
  Naturally, Liz is right. Steve meets Andrea at La Paloma, a restaurant he used to frequent with Tricia and within the first five minutes he's already calling her by the wrong name. Andrea eventually calls him on it and Steve breaks down when asked just who Tricia was. Instead of running in the other direction once Steve admits that she's the spitting image of his ex-girlfriend, Andrea's both sympathetic and a little intrigued. She's got to be because there's no good reason to keep going out with someone who keeps calling you the wrong name, even if he is cute.
  Look. I'm going to be upfront here. Steve acts like a huge jackass for 99% of the book, and the only reason I'm not saying it's 100% of the book is because I'd imagine it's got to be weird as hell when people keep showing up looking like your ex. Just weird as hell. Honestly, after re-reading this, I remember why I stopped fully shipping Cara/Steve, but we'll get to that later.

   Anyway, on their date, Steve keeps pushing Andrea into situations where she could/most likely will act like Tricia. He tells her the salad is delicious and she orders it and he's thrilled. He asks if she likes walks along the beach and she does and he's all, "I knew you would." He thinks this or says it or some variation thereof so much that it's annoying as hell. I tried to keep track but my head exploded so I stopped.
  Prior to going out with Andrea, Steve tries to rationalize that he has to go out with her just once to prove to himself that she might look like Tricia but she's actually nothing like her. Liz points out that this is a bad idea and if he doesn't want word getting back to Cara, instead of asking Liz not to say something to Jess, maybe he should either not do the stupid thing or talk to Cara beforehand. I have to agree with Liz here. Cara has been ridiculously understanding of the ghost in her relationship with Steve to the point that while she wouldn't be thrilled with it, I can see her giving Steve the go ahead to take Andrea out. Then again, maybe if he had done that, this whole plotline would never have happened.
   Obviously, Steve ends the date convinced that Tricia has come back to him. I... what? Are you on crack, Wakefield?
  Still, in a rare moment of clarity (sorta?), the next day Steve realizes that maybe he should take Cara out and let his real relationship have a chance to chase away the crazy in his head. (Fun fact: every time someone brings up Andrea's obvious Tricia similarities, Steve's reaction is to ask sarcastically if whoever is talking thinks he's crazy. ) Instead of planning something actually romantic or sweet or I dunno, not hard labor, he comes up with a hike to Castle Rock at Secca Lake. Since he was mysterious about their surprise date, Cara has worn strappy sandals and has to stop numerous times during the hike because these boots were not meant for walking, dammit.
   Steve's annoyed and bitchy and really just awful as he compares Cara to the idealized version of Andrea he's already begun building in his mind. When he mentions wanting to take up hang gliding, Cara comments that it's awfully dangerous and Steve's ticked that she's not admiring his courage or some shit. He's sure that Andrea would be supportive. He's such an ass that Cara basically folds in on herself for the rest of the date and when he drops her off, she doesn't feel much better despite his weak reasoning that it's his school project that's making him so cranky.
  On Steve's next date with Andrea, he's thrilled that Andrea likes the aquarium and otters, just like Tricia! Steve, otters are adorable and awesome and everyone likes them. Just like everyone likes walks along the beach. This is about as amazing as finding out that Andrea also breathes and washes her hair. But there is a problem. Andrea has the gall to wear her hair up when Tricia wore hers down and that's how Steve prefers it. The part where he takes her hair down and kind of insists she keep it that way is pretty creepy. Andrea, honey... I know he's a Wakefield, but no.
   Things continue on this way, with Steve dating Andrea and not telling or even seeing Cara. Cara tries to get information from Liz and Jessica but Liz won't tell and Jessica doesn't know (or care). Eventually, while at the mall on a cheer up mission plotted by Lila of all people, Cara wanders into Unique Boutique when Andrea's working. Cara's completely gobsmacked by how much Andrea looks like Tricia and thinks she's seeing a ghost.

  True story. Prior to re-reading this, I didn't remember much about it beyond "Tricia lookalike that doesn't work out for reasons." And I was thinking about something a coworker of mine said once upon a time about how it was both funny and annoying that everyone kept confusing him with every other damn redhead they'd ever met because apparently all redheads look alike. Sweet Valley definitely seems to be subscribing to this theory, at least with the strawberry blonds all being Tricia clones. (Anyone else having an Orphan Black moment? Just me? Okay... Still, there's a crossover I bet you weren't expecting.)
  Anyway, Cara takes a closer look and realizes that Andrea isn't actually identical to Tricia, they just look a lot alike at first. Now this I'm a little iffy on. On the one hand, it backs up my theory that Steve thinks all strawberry blondes look alike. On the other hand, I think I like the story better if Andrea really does look really similar to Tricia beyond the first glance. Back to the story.

   Cara immediately figures out that Steve has probably seen this girl and just as she's pondering that, the phone rings and Andrea sets up a date with a guy whose parents are fighting, who is starting hang gliding, and oh, yeah, loves the aquarium as that's there they're going after Andrea gets off the phone. Just so you don't think she's jumping to conclusions, Andrea says Steve's name and Cara runs out of the store in tears.
  The next day, Cara decides she'll call Steve and let him know that she knows and that she understands because really, if anyone in the Valley gets his Tricia fixation, it's Cara freakin' Walker. Naturally the call doesn't go well and instead of whatever positive outcome Cara hoped for, she winds up getting dumped. Well. Awkward.
  Steve heads out for his hang gliding session and let's just cut to the chase: because he's so caught up in his thoughts about Tricia, Andrea, and Cara, he winds up crashing into a cliff. I kid you not.
  The Wakefields assemble at the hospital and Jessica calls Cara who wants to go to him but keeps repeating, brokenly, that he doesn't want her. And my heart breaks for her, honestly. When she does show up, Steve is starting to sort of come around and of course the second she steps through the door, he utters the name, "Tricia!" Cara runs off before hearing that he calls her name next. Still, the damage is done.

   I think we need some B-Plot hijinks before we finish off the A-plot. Remember way back at the start of this I said all three Wakefield kids had plans and that we'd get back to Jessica? Well, she and Lila head out to a beach party in Palisades where Jessica meets a guitar playing dude named Keith. Despite not thinking him all that good looking, Jessica makes it her mission to bend him to her will.
  Now, I want you to imagine later ghostwritten Dawn from the BSC. She's terribly into saving the environment and not eating meat and is generally written as a serious killjoy. Yeah, that's Keith. Only because he's a dude and older, he's meant to be 'deep' and passionate because he cares so much about all these causes. I'm not mocking his passion, really. I'm just about as interested in him as Lila is. Which is to say not at all. :P
  He keeps inviting Jessica out on sort of dates where they pass out flyers about recycling or go to City Hall to hear a debate about whether the city needs a new trash incinerator or... I dunno. I think this is one of those montages that would work better on TV or in a movie, really. It works okay as it happens in the book but as a recap, meh. Jessica tries to convince him she's really into all this but really she wants him to be her kind of guy and go to the beach and party and have fun.
  Eventually this leads to a movie date where Jessica flat out refuses to go see a documentary about the reindeer culture of the Lapps. While at the Valley Cinema, she sees Tricia Andrea on a date with a tall, dark haired boy who is most definitely not Steven considering Steve's in the hospital. Jessica notes this for future use and then, we assume, continues on her last date with Keith.
  At the hospital another day, Jessica signs Steve's cast and lets it slip that oh yeah, she saw Andrea and some guy at the movies. Steve reacts the way you'd expect ("must be her brother or something") and Jess is skeptical. When Steve angrily glares out the window, he sees Andrea being dropped off... by a guy in a convertible. Before he can tell himself the brother line again, Andrea kisses the guy.
   Liz witnesses the whole thing and shuffles Jessica out of the room and accuses Jessica of knowing full well what she was doing when she mentioned Andrea. Jess sort of denies it but not really, and this is probably the most consistent thing about Jessica. She's pretty much the only person who gets that Steven only really responds to tough love. It's just that Jess got lucky with Andrea showing up. When Liz mentions that, Jessica protests that she had no way of knowing and then the twins agree they need to call Cara in.

   Sigh. On the one hand, they're cute when they scheme together. On the other, what if Andrea wanted to date both Steve and car guy? It's not like Steve would have a leg to stand on about it. Luckily for the twins, and Cara, when Steve confronts Andrea about the guy, Andrea points out that she found a guy who likes her for who she is. Steve tries to argue that it's really rude of her to do this to him after all they've been through and she shoots him down straight away with, "all we've been through? What? We've gone on like, five dates and you've spent the whole damn time pretending I'm your dead girlfriend. That's not a relationship." Steve tries to protest but Andrea points out that nope, he knows nothing about her because he doesn't want to know anything about her. He just wants to look at her and pretend she's Tricia and that's not what she wants to do. Steven finally admits to himself (and Andrea) that he was an ass and he apologizes, but when he asks if this is the part where they say they can always be friends, Andrea shoots that down too. She knows that Steve will never see her as Andrea and she's smart enough to walk away.
  But it took you five dates and him winding up in the hospital before you could figure that out? I want to applaud this moment but the timing and the fact that she knew about the Tricia thing from date #1 is... enh.
  Andrea leaves and Steve realizes what a mess he's made with Cara. He decides that he can't possibly fix it because Cara deserves better than to be his second choice.
  So when Cara shows up, just to shut Jessica up, she's not sure what she's walking into but she wants to thank Steven for what time they did have and then she rips my heart out and my ability to ship this relationship dies right there in the hospital room. She tells Steve that she knows he never cared for her as much as he did Tricia and instead of denying it in any way, he focuses on the part where she says she loves him and they get back together because of course.
   Cara. Cara, no. At this point you've been dating him longer than Tricia did and you've been stupidly supportive of his dumbass moments, from the French lookalike to the weird letters he thought were from a ghost and not his actual girlfriend to being willing to overlook his cheating on you with Andrea until he dumped you. WALK AWAY. YOU DESERVE BETTER.

  Instead they make up and the twins are super proud of themselves and we move into the set-up for the next book.

   All book long, Ned and Alice Wakefield have been fighting over the stupidest things, from the electrician (Ned, you're gonna bitch about paying the man $200 and then fork out the cost of Steven's hang gliding like it's no big deal?) to whether or not Ned should want to run for public office. The kids have each felt super uneasy about it and things come to a head at Steve's welcome home party, with Ned wanting more out of life and Alice wanting him to stop being a jackass towards her at every turn. I believe Ned is having a bit of a midlife crisis, guys. Also, for someone bitching about how he never did anything politically minded, isn't that how he freakin' met Alice? Sigh.
  We're about to fall down the weird arc that involves the Wakefield parents possibly breaking up, a mayoral race, and some stuff I've long forgotten. Buckle up, buttercups, things are going to get Wakefield.

Trivial Pursuit:

  • Jessica takes Elizabeth's new eyeliner and Liz finds it easily in Jessica's makeup drawer. I call BS because you and I both know damn well that Jessica is messy as hell and that drawer would look like a bomb went off, especially if she'd just used it.

  • The Fiat died two days prior to this at school, leaving Jessica stranded after cheerleading practice. We never do find out what's wrong with it, btw.

  • Ned and Alice are fighting about a $200 bill from the electrician. Ned is blaming Alice for not calling one in sooner, so the little job became a big job and Alice is pissed because Ned's the one who told her it was no big deal.

  • Steven and Andrea go to La Paloma, a restaurant in Pacific Shores. (until my re-read, I did not realize how much Steven prefers to take his dates out of SV proper for their dates. There's an AU where he's a serial killer just waiting to happen.)

  • Within the first ten minutes, Steven is already calling Andrea "Tricia."

  • Andrea's grandfather died in a car crash.

  • Angie, Lila's friend from Palisades, invited Lila and Jessica to the beach party. Angie is described as a "cute, diminutive blonde with bouncy curls."

  • Keith, No Last Name Ever Given, is playing guitar at the beach party. He's got thick brown hair and an athletic build, and when he plays music, he's got an angry look on his face. When Jessica meets him, he's barefoot wearing a "No Nukes" t-shirt and old jeans. He goes to Palisades High and really seems to enjoy protests.

  • Steve keeps a picture of Tricia hidden behind his ID in his wallet.

  • Steve also has a picture of himself and Cara at the State Fair on his wall above his desk.

  • Steve refers to the events of the previous book the "Fearless Elizabeth Campaign" when flipping through a magazine she picked up then. This book also makes it sound like he just decided on going hang gliding at that moment but he was considering it at the end of The New Elizabeth so continuity be damned.

  • Ned and Alice were supposed to go to White Canyon for lunch Saturday, but Alice made plans to take fussy Ms. Petty (ha!) to furniture showrooms all day. Ned storms off to the office at the news.

  • Steve wonders to himself if Cara has always been so girly and silly but then scolds himself for being mean and says that she's merely bubbly. Later he wonders if she's too immature because she talks about parties and cheerleading. Steve, you ass.

  • He decides their secret date should be to hike to Castle Rock at Secca Lake. Cara is wearing white strappy sandals but doesn't change shoes before they begin.

  • We are denied the whole story behind Robin imitating Chrome Dome Cooper at cheerleading practice when Chrome Dome walks in and... we'll never know because Steve snaps and says that Jessica already told him the story at dinner. Dammit, Steve, this sounds way more interesting than your boring ass hike.

  • Every Sunday there's an orientation session for the hang gliding class.

  • Keith and Jessica meet at the Dairi Burger (he took the bus there and Jess borrowed Lila's car) all so they could go to Granada Estates to hand out flyers about recycling.

  • Cara suggests renting all the Bond movies from the video store and having a Bond-a-thon soon and Steve snaps her head off even though he loves James Bond.

  • Jessica throws Prince Albert's ball into the pool and he naturally dives in after it. I'm pretty sure your dog shouldn't be hanging out in the pool, Jess, but okay.

  • Steve and Andrea go to the aquarium on their next date.

  • Andrea wears her hair up and Tricia always wore hers down and Steve is creepy about this fact when he takes Andrea's hair down and then fusses when she goes to put it back up.

  • Andrea loves otters just like Tricia! (and me and like a billion other people on Earth.)

  • Andrea likes vanilla icecream but Tricia was all about chocolate.

  • Jessica meets Keith at City Hall for a public hearing about whether the city needs a trash incinerator which Keith is against, btw. He saves a spot for Jessica in the front row.

  • Keith suggests they go to Whole Earth Cafe after the public hearing.

  • Liz has math right before lunch.

  • Todd has to talk to Mr. Collins about his English paper so he just walks Liz to the cafeteria.

  • Jessica is a royal bitch about Cara and Steve obviously having problems and why it's so rude of them to be so public about it. And by public, I mean not being super enthused about going to the beach with her.

  • Lila convinces Cara to join them at the mall in an effort to cheer Cara up and this is actually really sweet. ♥

  • Alice's client that causes her to miss Friday dinner is Mrs. Rappaport.

  • Jessica thinks Andrea looks like Betty Garrett, an actress, but Lila immediately sees the Tricia connection. This means, however, that Betty is also another Tricia clone.

  • Cara overhears Andrea at the Unique Boutique making a date with Steve. They'll be going to the aquarium... again.

  • Steve's hang gliding teacher is Bart.

  • Cara's mother calls her cara mia and that's just super cute.

  • After his run in with the cliff, Steve broke his left arm, has many a cut, contusion, and possible head injuries but not a single fracture to his skull. His brain could still have been bruised, however. Brains, a mystery.

  • Steven's doctor is a woman named Dr. Nichols.

  • Given how often Jessica winds up at the hospital for something involving her siblings, you'd think she'd hate them but it's Elizabeth we hear complaining about being there yet again and wishing they'd never volunteered as candy stripers. (And nary a mention of the kidnapping.)

  • Jessica borrows Steve's car to take Keith to the movies.

  • Keith wants to see a documentary about the reindeer culture of the Lapps. Jessica wants to see a thriller about a detective who falls in love with the psycho killer. Yeah, I'd want to see that one, too.

  • At Valley Cinema, Jessica sees Andrea with a tall, dark haired boy who is most decidedly not Steven. Andrea, you've got a type, eh? Then again, maybe not since not!Steve drives a convertible.

  • When signing Steve's cast, Jessica draws a big loopy flower as she tells him about seeing Andrea on a date the night before.

  • Andrea says they've been out on like, five dates and they never made any promises or anything so she's free to date whomever she likes. Preferably someone who doesn't look at her and see a dead girl, probably. She also has no interest in trying to be friends since that obviously won't work.

  • Jessica's duffel bag for cheerleading practice is pink.

  • Peter Santelli, Maria's father, is the City Planning Commissioner and he's running for mayor.


"Why don't those Brazilian people just stop cutting the trees down?" she asked out loud. "It's simple- just make them stop." - Jessica saves the rainforests! pg 49

"Well, for starters, my parents are turning into total workaholics. They both work all the time, and I'm the one who gets stuck having to do everything at home. Cook dinner, do the laundry, wait around for the electrician, stuff like that. It's like I'm the only responsible one in this whole family." She closed her eyes in self-pity. "It's just not fair." - Saint Jessica, the put-upon. pg 51

"Ned, I just want him to know how I feel about it."
"No, what you want is to make him feel guilty about worrying you and not do it," Mr. Wakefield replied. - Ned aint wrong, Alice. pg 59

"Why would you want to take a good look anyway?" Lila said snottily. "She's just a sales clerk."
"Really," Jessica agreed. - Cara, why do you hang out with these girls? And also, so Lila. pg 85/86

Jessica was torn between boredom and interest. On one hand, Keith was so sincere and passionate about the issues that she couldn't help feeling attracted to him. But on the other hand, she only wished he could be passionate about something besides garbage- her for instance. - pg 65

"Do you think we could go somewhere afterwards? To get something to eat?"
"Sure, how about Whole Earth Cafe?"
Ugh, Jessica said to herself.
"What do they serve?" she asked, leaning close enough to whisper in his ear. She noticed the way his dark hair curled just behind his ear.
Keith turned to look at her. Their eyes met, and even though they were in a room full of people, Jessica thought it was very romantic. His lips parted. "They have natural vegetable juices and mineral water," he said huskily. - pg 65/66 I died at this part, btw. Just lost it. Well done, ghosty. Well done.

"If you want to talk about it, you know where to go." He grinned. "To Enid." - Todd, teasing Elizabeth and honestly this little exchange is one of my favorite bits. When T/L work, they really work. pg 69

"Steve- I just wanted to tell you something. I know you'll always love Tricia, and I know I never meant as much to you as she did," she said. "But I want you to know, our relationship was wonderful while it lasted and I'll always remember you. You'll always be special to me." - Cara breaks my heart, pg 137/138

"What if Steven's decided to swear off women for the rest of his life?" - Jessica takes a moment to glimpse the future of SVC, pg 140. I snorted at this most inelegantly, btw.

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Huh. I thought I was going to enjoy this book more than I did. I think part of it was just how awful Steven was the whole damn book. He was an ass to everyone, really. He wants Liz to keep his secret, he wants to cheat on Cara but flips out if someone calls it that, he's a dick to Cara when he does talk to her, he's a jerk to Andrea... really, Steve's a jackass. And I could have been more forgiving if we'd spent less time on "Tricia's come back to me!" and more on the emotion behind it. Seriously, even with this not being the first look alike to come Steven's way, it still would have been more interesting to get deeper than "she likes otters and beach walks, yay!"
He's so willing to throw Cara over for a Tricia lookalike that even in the hospital, he's thinking about Tricia Andrea and not about what a dumbass he was. And Cara forgives him, which sets a terrible precedent for anyone reading this book at a young age. Seriously, demand better.

The Jessica subplot is amusing enough as it happens, but only because not for a second do you see it working the way Jessica wants or even how it might've earlier in the series. It's funny because Jessica can't see how just far off the mark she is. However, she does demand better and I like how she's just not into it at all by the end. Keith Noname isn't worth the effort and she moves on.

Liz probably has my favorite moments because they're less wacky hijinks or stupidity based and more realistic. How do you react when your parents are fighting more and more? What do you do when you've agreed not to say anything about your cheating brother to his girlfriend but you still like her? What about when you realize your family has clocked way too much time in the local hospital?
the_oracle: (twins shattered)
That Fatal Night
November 1989

Will Ken's life be ruined in one tragic moment?
Sudden tragedy...

  Terri Adams loves football. In fact, she's one of the Sweet Valley Gladiators' biggest fans. She's also the biggest fan of Ken Matthews, the team's quarterback. Terri thinks Ken has everything going for him-he's good looking and popular, and he's led the Gladiators to an undefeated season.
  Then one rainy night, Ken is in an terrible car accident that leaves him blind. His football career is over, and even worse, his friends are so uncomfortable about his blindness they avoid him. Ken would be miserable if it weren't for Terri. She's the one person who is always there when he needs her. But when Ken realizes he's falling in love with her, he's convinced that she could never return his feelings. Can Ken and Terri ever be more than friends?

   That Fatal Night gets a lot of flak for its completely misleading title. There's nothing fatal about the night since Ken eventually regains his sight and since they're stuck in a time-warp of fairly epic proportions, not even his junior year football career has ended. Fateful, I think, is the word you were looking for, guys. But fatal is catchier so, whatever.

  I remember bits and pieces of this book from when I was a kid. I remember Terri's blindfolded for an hour trick, I remember the rain and Ken's accident, and I remember Amy being an incredible witch. Now that I'm older I can use the more colorful terms, such as skank-ass ho, bitch, and insensitive cow. Or simply call her Slutton. (Really. How did SY not make this connection?) I also remember 'shipping Terri and Ken because they were so cute together. You know, before they were a couple.

   But I've skipped way ahead, so let's backup and start again, shall we? That Fatal Night begins with Terri Adams feeling a little out of place in Sweet Valley. She's the statistician for the football team, which means some of the team members think she's cool, but one of them doesn't happen to be the object of her larger than life crush, Ken. Still, it could happen and Terri's not so much shy as she is a little reserved, and usually only around Ken. So she goes to Amy's big after-game party and she even works up the nerve to sort of talk to Ken. Sadly for Terri, Amy whisks Ken away and smooches him in front of everyone. It's the female version of pissing on a tree to mark your territory. (If you just envisioned Amy humping Ken, I really do apologize because now I can't get it out of my head. MAKE IT STOP.)
  See, Amy thinks it's time she settled down with one guy, and what guy could be better than the quarterback of the undefeated football team? The fact that they're both blond and gorgeous doesn't hurt, and Amy's sure that Ken will get a football scholarship and they'll go to college together and it'll all be grand. Yup. Ken is the guy for her. Even if he doesn't seem at all interested, really. Doesn't matter. He will be hers!

   Ken is kind of the anti-typical jock in that he doesn't really want to date, or whatever it is that Amy does, Amy. He thinks she's too flighty to be girlfriend material, and besides, he's not really sure he's boyfriend material just yet. He doesn't really crave the spotlight and he gets embarrassed when Amy goes full-on PDA without even talking to him about things first.
  So he jumps at the chance to leave the party (even though it's in his honor) and take Winston and Maria home. It'll give him time to clear his head before charging back into battle with Amy.
  At the same time, Terri decides she can't spend any more time at this god awful party pretending to sort of have a good time while Amy keeps making out with Ken just because she can. So she bums a ride from Winston and Maria... not realizing that they're going home via Ken's taxi service. After Winston and Maria get out at the Egberts, Terri and Ken are left alone. At first it's a little awkward, but they find some common ground and by the time Ken drives away, Terri is over the moon at having gotten to spend some quality alone time with her crush. Aww!
   Too bad Ken didn't stick around at Terri's. Driving back to Amy's, a drunk driver runs Ken off the road and into a tree. For a moment, as a kid, I had to stop reading and flip to the back cover just to make sure I hadn't misread and that Ken would survive.

   After Jessica escapes the boring clutches of self-centered to the extreme Skip Harmon, she, Liz, and Todd head home. On the way, they drive by the hill where Ken's accident has taken place. The rain has let up (which makes me wonder how long it took for medical personal to arrive since it was pouring when Ken had his accident) and Liz catches sight of one of Ken's bumper stickers. She has Todd stop the car and they run into a very chatty officer who doesn't seem to keep up with high school sports. This seems a bit odd to me, but that's just because I think a good chunk of the policemen around *here* know who most of the really important players are at the local high schools, at least in the areas they work. And I always imagined SV to be a smaller town/city/whatever, so... there you go. Anyway, confirmation is given that it is indeed Ken and they watch as he's loaded into the ambulance and carried away.
  The trio decides to head back to the party and break the news to Amy and whomever is left waiting for him. Amy flips out because she's a drama queen, but I also feel bad for her since she actually likes Ken and no one wants their friend to be in a life or death situation like this. Liz keeps Amy from rushing over to the hospital immediately, which is odd since anytime Liz, Todd, or Jessica is in the hospital, everyone runs like hell for Fowler Memorial even if there's no way in hell they'll be allowed to see them. Suspicious!

  Soooooooo... it doesn't take long for word to get out about Ken's accident, but somehow Terri misses the memo and when she gets to school she can't figure out why everyone is so down. Until she eavesdrops on Amy holding court and is blamed for Ken's accident. D'oh! Poor Terri. :/
  Ken's a pretty good sport about his accident right up until he realizes he's blind. Then he sort of momentarily loses his shit and I don't blame him. When the twins visit, he tries to play off his blindness until they hand him their card which Jessica proclaims over 200 people have signed. For a second Ken tries to fake having a headache and then he comes clean. Liz is speechless and Jessica is outraged on his behalf. Liz sends Jessica away so she and Ken can talk (because of their super secret love affair?) and Jess runs into Amy. Ames was thrilled at having a football hero boyfriend, but a blind former football hero boyfriend? So not happening. She runs away, leaving Jessica more than a little baffled.

   To learn how to deal/cope/live with his blindness, Ken goes to the Hollyfield (which I keep reading as Holyfield) rehab center. A couple of days into his stint there, Terri and Elizabeth get permission to visit. Terri asks if it's okay if she visits Ken alone and Liz agrees. Terri breaks down about how sorry she is for not making him wait out the storm at her house and Ken tells her that it's not her fault, he's just as much to blame for not staying put. They both agree they wish he had stuck around, although for slightly different reasons.

  Fast forward a month and Ken is ready to rejoin society. Winston escorts him around campus, but everywhere Ken goes, sympathy and awkward silences follow. The breaking point comes in History when Amy says hello and then sprints across the room to sit with Lila when she used to sit right next to Ken before his accident. Funny how he only seems interested now that Amy's no longer giving him the time of day, huh? Unable to deal with the reactions people have been giving him all morning, Ken goes outside during lunch to get away from it all. He overhears Scott Trost talking to Skip Harmon about how strong Amy's been coming onto him lately. Ken realizes that the moment Scott replaced him as QB, he also took Ken's spot in Amy's interest. Ticked, Ken has to convince himself not to belt Scott. (I wish he'd slug Skip though.) After they leave, Ken thinks he'll get a moment to himself, but no. Terri comes along.
   However, instead of going on about how sorry she is about Ken's accident or something similar, she starts in on how pretty the magnolias smell. Ken's thrown off balance a bit and she follows up with a lot of football talk. For the rest of the lunch period, Ken forgets his unhappiness right up until the end when he realizes that Terri would probably never be interested in him. No girl would, now that he's blind.

  Terri's taken aback at how abruptly Ken leaves her at the end of lunch, so she calls the school's resident busybody, Elizabeth. Liz points out that it's possible to get a small taste of Ken's discomfort by blindfolding herself for awhile to see what it's like. I won't lie. I totally did this repeatedly as a kid. It really lost it's appeal once I had to get glasses though. Especially when I realized I took after my father in terms of sight, which meant I was blind as a freakin' bat. Then the whole blindfold thing just worried the hell out of me. But until then, good times. Anyway, Liz is sure this will work because she saw it in a movie!
   Terri takes her advice the next afternoon and she realizes what a bitch it is to get around without seeing things, but hey. At least the birds sound prettier and you can feel things better. Right? ...Right? Totally. Makes. Up. For. It. Not.
  In an unexpected burst of confidence, Terri calls Ken and asks him out to the beach the next day. When Ken starts to turn her down, she points out that this is the first time she's ever asked a guy out and if he turns her down, she will be crushed and scarred for life. Way to guilt the guy, Adams. Still, she's cute enough so we'll play it cute and not desperate, k? Ken agrees and the next day she picks him up and they go to a deserted little beach that Terri is fond of. They chat and walk along the sand, Terri hands him shells and tries to describe things without going overboard. She convinces Ken that he can still run and they run along the beach. Really, I'm just wondering the likelihood of him not cutting himself on a shell or something, but that's just me.
   It doesn't take long for Terri and Ken to slip into an easy pattern of hanging out all the time. The problem is that Terri starts doing things for Ken, so that he's depending entirely too much on her. He's falling in love with her for real and the moment he realizes this, he also figures (again) that she'd never be interested because she's never shown any interest (that he can see... what, too soon?) and she never will because he's BLIND.
  Terri can't figure out why Ken's being such an ass towards her half the time. It's like they skipped the relationship portion of the dating and skipped right to the awkward breakup part, and once more she calls upon Liz. Liz listens and asks if Terri ever confessed her feelings for Ken. Terri admits she never did and Liz says that maybe Ken feels the same way, since she's not blind and she can see how he looks at Terri and all. Terri agrees to talk to Ken and to stop doing every damn thing for Ken. The fact that her grades are slipping? Probably doesn't hurt.
   Only when Terri tries to slowly disengage, she's more than a bit awkward and since Ken's so damn sensitive, he shuts down when he thinks she's pulling away. They end up yelling at one another and Terri asks why he thinks she did all this for him, and then answers because she loves him, you idiot.
  Then she storms off.

   Terri, you don't flounce off on a blind guy. He's at a severe disadvantage when it comes to chasing you down to have that big romantic kiss moment! Still, Ken hoofs it to the nearest bus station when Terri's mother says she's still not at home. He takes the bus to their beach and finds Terri and cops to his asshole tendencies and then he confesses he's fallen in love with her and this is all overshadowed by the fact that Ken can see where the sun is and when it hides behind a cloud he can totally tell.
  Healing has never been so poetic, y'all. :P
  The final chapter has a lead-up to book 61, but we'll be taking a slight detour since the next book is Lila's book. Hell. Freakin. YES!

  BTW, there's no B-plot really. We just spend most of the book examining things from Terri's as well as Ken's perspectives.


  • When discussing the odds of the Gladiators beating the Pumas (they're four points behind and only a minute to go), Todd seems awfully sure of the team, even going so far as to say "Besides, we've been undefeated all year".. dude. You've been back like, what, a month? And that month was spent at another school. There is very little "we" involved here.

  • Todd remarks that Ken doesn't seem all that interested in having a girlfriend. As someone who has read the SUPER SEKRIT DIARIES, I know this is because he's still friggin' hung up on your girlfriend. But that was more of a retcon, yes? Still. I get the giggles.

  • When trying to decide whether to go to Amy's bash after the big game, Terri waffles because she doesn't know most of the people there. Except she's the assistant statistician for the football team, one of the team members comes over specifically to ask her if she's going, and she's just described Shelley Novak as her friend. Um, I'd say Liz is the least of your friends (Jessica too) at this point.

  • Ken is up to 57 runs for the season by the end of the Palisades game, and the game winning touchdown was his seventh running touchdown.

  • Terri Adams is the assistant statistician for the football team. She's described as "petite and pretty" with short, glossy light brown hair, and large brown eyes. She has a huge crush on Ken. All her friends know. She's only shy when Ken is around.

  • Zack Johnson: sophomore linebacker who spends most of the time on the bench despite being good at what he does because the upperclassmen are better. Has a thing for April Dawson.

  • April Dawson Thick, dark hair

  • Amy's house: "It was a huge contemporary house with a cathedral ceiling in the living room."

  • Those in attendance at Amy's party: Amy, Jessica, Lila (the latter two are mentioned as being door greeters), Cara, Jean West, Liz, Todd, Winston, Maria, Ken, April, Zack, Shelley, Jim Roberts, John, Jennifer Mitchell, Skip Harmon, Kristin Thompson

  • Jessica spent portions of the last book being a bit stuck on Skip Harmon and now they're dancing at Amy's shindig. But by the time Liz and Jessica talk a few minutes later, Jessica seems to have moved beyond him, even if he can dance.

  • Ken drinks OJ at the party.

  • The only other person to have more running touchdowns than Ken was Richard Chico, six years ago. Ken has five more games ahead of him and Terri is sure he'll break the record.

  • When Winston and Maria attempt to ditch the party early because Winston's VW is in the shop (needs new tires) and they need to take the bus, Ken offers to take them home. Immediately. To get away from Amy and her too-public displays of affection. Despite the fact that if they had a ride home, they wouldn't need to leave as early because they wouldn't be *waiting* for the bus. Later Winston says his uncle wants to go fishing in the morning and Win has to be up at 6am.

  • Terri bums a ride from Win and Maria, which means she's also bumming a ride from Ken. She and Winston live near one another, apparently.

  • Terri was in the Chess Club her sophomore year. Winston's still a member.

  • Ken swerves to avoid a drunk, middle aged man driving a red Cutlass who is in the wrong lane and speeding over the crest of a hill. Ken's car skids and when he tries to correct it, he ends up swerving into a tree.

  • Ken's white Toyota's front end is crumpled "like an accordion", the front windshield has a huge, gaping hole in it, and there's glass everywhere. Liz can only identify it by looking for either of the bumper stickers that Ken has on the back of his car. One simply says Sweet Valley High, the other says, Honk If You Love the Gladiators. This is the one Liz sees part of.

  • Skip Harmon is Jessica's date to Amy's party and she likes that his "fire-engine-red" Ferrari matches her dress exactly, but she quickly grows tired of Skip going on about the car and how gorgeous and lucky he is. Jessica later describes him as worse than Bruce, which is saying something.

  • Liz and Todd are leaving Amy's party at quarter to midnight, and Jessica bums a ride when she can't stand Skip anymore.

  • The officer at the scene of the accident doesn't seem at all familiar with Ken, which seems a bit odd since SV is supposed to be pretty small, all things considered, and usually football is BIG. He has to look at Ken's license and read his full name and address to the twins and Todd. Kenneth Matthews, 1512 Azalea Court in case you needed to send flowers. ;)

  • I'm guessing Todd isn't considering Ken his best friend since Todd's reaction isn't really much of anything. Winston gets more airtime as Ken's friend.

  • Amy wants all her guests to leave before Ken comes back to the party so that they can be alone for awhile before her parents return from L.A. where they went to see some play.

  • Of the small group of guests left at the party when Todd and the twins return to break the news about Ken, only Aaron is mentioned.

  • Amy immediately wants to rush to the hospital, but Liz talks her out of it. The next day when Amy and Jessica actually do go to the hospital, they still can't see Ken, and Amy continues to act like an ass after Ken's mother leaves them. Then, when Ken can have visitors but they've discovered he's blind, Amy freaks out and refuses to see him.

  • Sunday, after the accident, Ken is listed as critical but stable, and he woke up around eleven in the morning. He's still unable to have visitors while in the ICU, which isn't a surprise.

  • Ken's mother is described as tall and pretty. Later, Liz will describe the Matthews as both being very nice.

  • Monday at school, Amy is rocking the huge-ass sunglasses indoors look because she's been crying so hard.

  • Amy keeps referring to Terri as "that girl Terri" and blames her for Ken's accident, and she really goes off on her when Ken's blindness is revealed.

  • When Amy does go nuclear, no one stands up for Terri, even though Jeffrey is standing right there. So disappointed, French. I expect better of you.

  • Terri miraculously hadn't heard about Ken's accident from anyone for the entire weekend. I find it odd that it wouldn't have even been in Monday's paper since Ken is a Big Freakin' Deal in HS sports.

  • Dr. Arquette is Ken's doc at the hospital. In order to treat some of Ken's wounds, they had to shave his head.

  • Amy visits Ken after school Monday and for at least a second she considers how romantic it would be (as well as ironic) if it was Ken's accident that finally brought them together. This means she acknowledges how distant he seemed, even when she planted a big ol' kiss on him at the party.

  • To learn how to cope with being blind, Ken is sent to Hollyfield rehabilitation center for a month.

  • While at Hollyfield, his counselor is Ron Jablonski.

  • Amy brings Ken a plush SVH football but she leaves without giving it to him when Jessica informs her that Ken is blind.

  • There are 68 steps from Ron's office to Ken's room at Hollyfield.

  • Amy sent Ken two letters during his first week at Hollyfield. He can identify them because of the scented envelopes she used.

  • Ken's favorite card is from the football team because it's shaped like a football and has actual laces.

  • Other cards came from Mr. Collins, Coach Schultz, the Wakefields, Cara Walker, oh, and Olivia Davidson. [/squee]

  • When Ken returns to school, Winston helps him around for the first day. Ken is only a little bitchy towards Winston when Win holds onto him the wrong way. You've got to lead the blind, Egbert, not the other way around.

  • Ken's homeroom is 210 with Mr. Traviano. Mr. Traviano talks really loudly and Ken tries to sort of politely inform him that he's blind, not deaf. Only he just embarrasses his teacher in front of the whole class. D'oh.

  • In English class, Ken's tape recorder freaks out during Cara's poem, French is okay, chem lab is pretty useless since Ken can't visualize the reactions Russo is describing, and History involves Amy blowing Ken off completely.

  • At lunch, Ken decides to go outside and avoid people. Before Scott and Skip notice him, Ken overhears them discussing how Amy's throwing herself at Scott who happens to be the new QB for the football team.

  • Before Ken can completely go insane, Terri stumbles across him and goes on about the magnolias and how nice they smell. Funny, I never really think of magnolias and SV without there being some crazy southerner running around trying to kill one of the twins.

  • Big Mesa got a new coach when Redner quit after his team was doing so horribly. The new coach from LA lead them to victory against Palisades 17-6. Terri goes on some more about football, but I got bored.

  • Liz cribs ideas from movies she's seen. When Terri mentions how Ken freaked out at the end of their conversation, Liz suggests that Terri blindfold herself to see how life must be for Ken.

  • Terri does this for an hour the next day. Show of hands, how many of you also did this at least once? Bonus points are awarded if you did this after/because of reading this book.

  • The twins arrange a surprise party at lunch for Ken. With donations from other students, mostly Bruce, they order a chocolate sheet cake from Delano's Bakery (Ames assures us they make the best cakes) that says, "Welcome Home, Ken!" Party starts at 12:30 in the cafeteria.

  • Despite making such a generous donation, Bruce backs out of the party by saying he lost a filling and has to go to the dentist at noon to have it replaced.

  • Lila's a bit of a bitch about going to the party but she goes anyway.

  • Amy says she didn't know about the party, doesn't seem interested in going, and still appears but wasn't going to say hello until someone busted her. Fuck you, Slutton. Just because the guest of honor is blind, it doesn't mean everyone else in the room is.

  • Jeff has American History with Ken and teases him about snoring in class.

  • Terri's mom drives a blue Volvo which Terri borrows frequently when she and Ken start hanging out.

  • Terri takes Ken to North Haven beach, a place Ken says he hasn't been to since he was a kid.

  • SVH loses their last game of the year when Scott drops back to pass and no one is open. Good going, Trost.

  • When Ken realizes how much he's come to care for Terri, he starts to act like a real asshole because he's sure she'd never feel the same way about him since he's BLIND.

  • There's a big thing involving Terri botching her confession (I love you, Ken!) and then Ken takes the bus to their beach to apologize for being a jackass to her and taking advantage of her time and to confess that he's totally in love with her, too.

  • Ken can see the sun enough to know when it's hiding behind a cloud. This has always struck me as a bit odd in determining that his sight is coming back, but hey.

Quotable SVH:
  Fortunately, just at that moment the door bell rang, and John and Jennifer burst in, followed by Kristin, Shelley, and Shelley's boyfriend Jim Roberts. "Hi, everybody!" John shouted. "You can start the party now. We're here!" - I am highly amused by the B/C list characters doing this. Well played. p14

  "Well, my dear, not only do we have room, but we have California's finest chauffeur tonight," Winston said. "Here's James now."
  "Hi, Terri," Ken said. - I'm a dork. I think this is cute. p23

  Ken thought again of the way Amy had acted toward him at the party. He didn't want people to get the impression he belonged to her, because he didn't.
  Ken wasn't ready to go with anybody-and certainly not with Amy, who was anything but the steady type. She had dated more guys since she had transfered to Sweet Valley High that year than Ken could remember. - Remember, class, the difference between Amy and Annie is that Annie put out. Amy just changes boys in mid-date. p30

   "I'm talking about luck. Let's face it, not many guys are as good-looking as I am. Hey, I can't take the credit for that. Looks aren't something you achieve, you're born with them."
   Jessica leaned forward on the couch so Skip couldn't see the look on her face. She rolled her eyes to the ceiling and mimed a silent scream. - Oh, Skip, you can achieve your looks with a good plastic surgeon or if you're as diet friendly as Robin, right? (Also, I love the mental picture Jessica's reaction invokes.) p32

  "Bye, Amy. This was a great party. Say good night to Ken for me, will you?" Jessica asked. "I'm really sorry I have to leave. But I can't stand being around Skip anymore," she added in a whisper.
  Amy giggled knowingly and gave Jessica a little hug. "I'll call you tomorrow, and you can tell me all about it," she said. - This is probably the only time I like Amy the entire book. p35

  "Did you guys know that Skip was a child genius? He kept telling me about his his IQ was the highest in the state when he was five years old."
  "So what happened to him?" Elizabeth joked. "He's not exactly Honor Society material now." - Ooh, low blow, Liz. I like it. p36

  He wouldn't be known for all the wonderful things he could do, but for all the things he would never do again. - p84

  It wasn't like Jessica to be so insensitive. - Really, Liz, where the hell were you for the start of the series? p102

  Elizabeth told herself she shouldn't have been surprised. She knew how self centered Amy was. - Wow, Liz, you really are pretty bitchy in your thoughts, huh? p103/104

  Enid looked as though she was about to punch Lila...- This tickles me. I don't know why. p104

  "You know," Enid remarked as they watched him go, "I've said it before and I'll say it again. Lila and Bruce would make a perfect couple!" - See? Enid is wise! p105

  "Anyway, I wouldn't worry about Ken right now. If you ask me, it's Scott Trost who's got the problem!" - the problem Liz is referring to? Dating Amy. Again, low blow, Wakefield. Excellent. p115

  Although the Wakefield twins were identical, it was always easy to tell them apart because they dressed so differently. Jessica was wearing a short black miniskirt, a bright red blouse, and matching red shoes. p12 (she also happened to be color coordinated with a red Ferrari.)


   Over time I'd forgotten how much I actually like That Fatal Night. It was one of the later additions to my collection so I haven't re-read it all that often, which meant this was a refresher course for me. The book holds up pretty well after all this time. It's funny and a little sad, but it doesn't dwell too much, partly because it really doesn't have time to.
  Terri's pretty sweet and she's not your traditional girl-girl, but she's also not full on tomboy either. She just really enjoys the game of football, although not as much as Claire Middleton will later on. I like that she feels like an outsider in the SVH hierarchy because who can't relate to that? Also, she has a nice little moment with John and it's one of the few scenes that you don't really get to read any of his darker moments into, and I appreciate that.
   I admit I'm biased when it comes to Ken. I don't really know how I felt about him as a kid, but whenever they decided to pair him up with Jessica? Instant love, and it works retroactively in the series, too. A big part of the love might have to do with how nice Ken is until the end of the book when he's begun to take Terri for granted (but let's be honest, no one else is even trying to hang out with him. How weird is that?) and trying to push her away at the same time. Go figure.

   This book pretty much puts my loathing of Amy on full display. Why are these people friends with her? Why is she popular? EVERYONE thinks she's flighty, too flirty for her own good, and incredibly self-centered. And these are the people she's supposed to be friends with. Amy basically took over the role of the bitch with very little redeeming value when they realized they couldn't have Jessica be that way (like she is in the beginning of the series), and since she's not the head of the group, I guess she's left to be the one to carry out the bitchier duties of the clique. Except no one seems to be asking her to, she's taken the initiative. I can't help but think middle school Amy would DIE if she knew how she turned out.
  Also, it kind of makes the Ken/Amy hookup awkward considering how much they liked one another in middle school and how much Ken doesn't return the feeling with new!Amy. Hunh. Weird how continuity works for Ken since it would make sense for him to be less of a jerk to people, even though his football position means that he could, what with all the crap he got for being so freakin' short when he was younger. But Amy... oh, Amy. Did anyone stop to see if she had her own evil twin who took over her life when she moved out East? Because it would explain a lot, now that I think about it...

  Can we take a moment to wonder what in the hell is going on with Ken's looks? Depending on the angle you hold your book, he goes from looking vaguely good looking (or at least enough that you're pretty sure the model was probably handsome or possibly even just cute) to "this is the last face you see before you die" scary. o_O


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

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