the_oracle: (tear)
Love Letters
  March 1985

    Is Caroline's romance for real?

   Make-believe romance...


   Caroline Pearce has always been one of the least popular girls at Sweet Valley High. But when she invents a new out-of-town boyfriend, people finally start to pay attention to her. Brown-eyed, six foot Adam and his romantic love letters are the talk of the school.
   Caroline has everyone fooled-even clever Jessica Wakefield. But what begins as a bid for love and attention quickly becomes the worst jam of Caroline's life, when her friends insist on meeting the boyfriend she's been bragging about. Can Caroline keep the truth a secret, or will her lies be her downfall?

  Love Letters proves that some people should have paid a little more attention to Jan's attention seeking on The Brady Bunch. I know it's the early eighties and all, but shouldn't we have learned by now that making up a boyfriend is a bad, bad, bad idea? Well, no, because if we all learned our lessons, this wouldn't be one of those quintessential stories that a teen series MUST tackle at least once.

  Caroline Pearce is the biggest gossip at Sweet Valley High. When you consider that the school also houses Cara Walker and Jessica Wakefield, you've got to admit this takes some talent, and a whole lot of talking. Thing is, Caroline talks so much, and to anyone who will listen, about absolutely anything she hears or thinks she's heard, or maybe even something she sort of saw while out walking the dog that no one really likes her. You can't tell her anything because you know it'll end up on the SVH gossip-grapevine, probably distorted just enough to make things look really bad for you. And if you can't talk to someone about even the most harmless little thing, you don't really have a shot of hanging out with them at all. Hell, even Saint Elizabeth doesn't really like Caroline. So you know Caroline is lonely. Painfully, mind numbingly, lonely. This hasn't really come up before, what with the inability to talk to Caroline, but this is her show, so now we find out.
  And it makes sense. With the exception of Tricia Martin, so far everyone else brought up in the series has had someone, anyone, to cling to. Annie had her long list of boys, as did Betsy who also had Trish and Steve, Roger had Olivia, Bill had Dee Dee and I'm bored re-capping, so we're done with that now. If you didn't have a single friend at school, you can relate. Hell, if you just had a few friends, you can relate.
  Caroline is tired of being a misfit, always relegated to the outskirts of the SVH-crowd. She decides that enough is enough. She's done with the whole outside looking in crap. So she makes sure that she's got the ears of the demi-gossip-goddesses, and she tells them all about Adam, her amazingly perfectly gorgeous, overly romantic, super secret until now boyfriend.
  Oh, boy does she tell them. She reads his letters, passes them around, details every phone conversation, and in general acts like your best friend's little sister who desperately wants to be cool enough to hang out with you guys, if only for an afternoon. Of course, she probably sounds like that because she is like that. Her sister, Anita, seems like your typical perfect older sister. Pretty enough that dating isn't a problem, popular enough to have friends come and go, and just bitchy enough to point out your short comings over breakfast. So it's not like Caroline needs a guy just to impress the in crowd at school. Nope, a boyfriend would shut her older sister up, too.
  Thing is, Adam doesn't exist. He's Caroline's dream boy, but she hasn't met him and he certainly doesn't send her poetry laden letters every other day. Now the rest of us know that Caroline is only going to get so far with letters, even really spectacular letters, before Lila and Jessica pressure her into producing this Adam.
  This is as good a time as any to point out our B and C stories. Both involve the Wakefield twins, and give them different reasons to help or hurt Caroline when things get down and dirty.
  While trying to glom onto either twin, Caroline finds a letter from Alice Wakefield to a design firm in San Francisco, thanking them for their generous job offer and telling them she'll think about it. When Jessica pushes Caroline too far at the beach, Caroline fakes some sympathy for poor Jessica. It must be so hard to concentrate on other people's problems when you're so caught up in the potential move, huh?
  Yeah, not your best move, Caro. By pointing out that Jessica's perfect life is possibly about to come crashing down around her, you've moved straight to the top of her shit list.
  When the twins, led by overly melodramatic Jessica, confront their parents, Alice admits she's been offered the gig and she'd really like it. Ned points out that it's an incredible honor and that with the twins so close to college, it really would be a good thing for them to make more money. Now, call me crazy, but you'd think the cost of living in Frisco would off-set the major pay increase at least a little. Silly me. Anyway, the parental units are ticked when neither twin is thrilled at the thought of their entire lives being uprooted in the midst of their junior year in high school. Jess does make one possibly out of character observation. She points out that while it sucks massively just thinking about moving, what with cheerleading and all, it would KILL Elizabeth to leave Todd. It's never mentioned as a selfish, manipulative comment, and I for one would like to give Jessica the benefit of the doubt. Sure, she had to know it would guilt the 'rents, but it's also... true. And foreshadowing, but we'll make our way back there soon enough.
  The twins combine forces to convince their parents that moving would be a bad, bad, baaaaaad idea. From brochures inundating them with every possible bit of information on Sweet Valley, to nostalgic visits to various restaurants, right on through to trashing San Francisco, the twins have pretty much thought of everything.
  C story is a continued thread from a few books back. Elizabeth's entering a playwright competition and hers is based on the life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
  Now, since Adam doesn't exist and it's not likely that Caroline houses the soul of a poet, where has she been getting her letters? Oh, yeah, she's been lifting from Robert Browning. The smart people are snorting and saying, yeah, what are the effing odds of that? Well, it's simple. In life, particularly high school, the one thing that can unravel your pack of lies is infinitely closer than the rear view mirror would indicate.
  However, Caroline skates on, oblivious to her impending doom.
  Anyway, plots C and B combine to sink Caroline's battleship. After a night that is essentially a Taste of Sweet Valley cuisine, Elizabeth reads her family her play and Jessica realizes that parts of it sound awfully familiar. She's certain she's never read Browning's work before and the only other source of poetry in her diet has been Adam's letters. She puts two and two together and comes up with faux boyfriend.
  In a twist, Lila points out that Caroline could still be telling the truth, completely unaware that her boyfriend has been lifting his lines from a dead poet guy. Jessica all but snorts and asks, "What crack are you on, Fowler?" Lila carefully points out that there are obvious, and normal, explanations for each of Jessica's protests. Adam could have terrible handwriting, leading to him typing his letters. Since he's not doing the heavy thinking parts of the letters, his frequency in mailing them is nothing to look twice at.
  Caroline knows that she can't keep Lila and Jessica at bay for much longer with just letters, so she says she's going to Cold Springs one weekend to visit Adam. Lila and Jessica coo over this and point out that it leaves the following weekend for Adam's party. Perfect !
  Yeah, except for Adam not existing. So Caro "brings back" proof. There's the "Property of Cold Springs Athletic Department" shirt she claims is from Adam, but is really a left over from her cousin Sally's dating disaster with a Cold Springs boy. There's a newspaper picture of 'Adam', though it's from a basketball game and blurry to boot, though that came in a letter. Oh yeah, and then there's the fact that Jessica saw Caroline while she was supposedly out of town.
  Thing is, Lila and Jess are both thrown by the proof. Maybe the guy really does exist...
  Also thrown is Anita, Caroline's big sister. Caro shares the joy and fakes a phone conversation and she and Anita bond. Which is really annoying later on, given how much of a bitch Anita is the first time she shows up. It takes your little sister inventing a boyfriend for you to give her the time of day? Nice, real nice.
  Anyway, to ensure that Caroline can't use the "But Adam is broke..." excuse, Lila buys the elusive Adam a bus ticket. Nice, huh?
  Jessica also sets things up so that Liz finally hears one of Adam's letters. Liz is worried that Caro doesn't realize they aren't legit, but Caro confides that's the least of her worries. Liz points out that Caroline might have some friends if she weren't such a busy body, always poking into other people's business. Yes, you may snort with laughter now.
  Caroline begs Liz not to read her play, as that will expose Caroline as a fraud. Liz reluctantly agrees, and goes home to bitch Jessica out. Anita then busts Caroline, sort of. Seems Mama Pearce doesn't know a thing about Adam, so Caroline confesses. Anita gives her a much longer, much bitchier version of Elizabeth's speech, and Caroline realizes the error of her ways. GASP! Liz failed and bitchy eating disorder riddled older sister prevails!
  The next day, Caroline tells Elizabeth that it was wrong of her to ask Liz to not read her play, and it's okay. She's just going to have to suck it up and admit that she's a big ol' liar. Because of this, Saint Liz and her sidekick Todd resume work on Operation Rescue. Uh...huh.
  However, Caroline chickens out the first time she's given a chance to come clean, and continues to chicken out all week. Not that I blame her, but Jesus, you'd think coming clean at school would beat making a total ass of yourself at a party thrown partially in your honor. It's not like having your execution catered would make it any easier to die.
  For the party, Anita goes all out on Caroline and the girl is glowing so much that Todd gives her a fantastically backhanded compliment. At the party, Caroline decides to bypass the goodies and head straight for the guillotine. She has Lila kill the music and just as she's about to confess her lie, a handsome, 6'2", wavy brown haired, chocolate brown eyed sweetheart of a guy rushes up, apologizes for being late, and kisses Caroline for all the world to see. It seems Adam has finally arrived.
  Operation Rescue involved Todd asking a friend of his to pretend to be Adam to save Caroline the pain of being publicly humiliated. I suspect Todd agreed solely to thwart Jessica's plan for Caroline's downfall, but that's okay. Normally I'd ask what are the odds that you could find this dead ringer for a made-up boytoy, but when you think about it, it shouldn't be all that difficult. Brown-eyed brunettes aren't exactly hard to come by, and Todd knows Jerry from basketball, so odds are good that the 6'2" bit wasn't that hard to fill. But did anyone else notice that Caroline pretty much conjures up Todd Wilkins up when she creates Adam? Looks-wise, I mean. Every time she'd go on and on about his eyes, I'd think of the numerous times over the series Elizabeth would find herself lost in Todd's gaze.
  Eventually Caroline realizes that while everyone else thinks she's found someone fantastic, she's just as lonely as before, if not moreso. So she confesses and runs away. I cannot fault her for that either, as I'd have run, too. Jerry follows her, tells her he's proud of her, and they kiss for real. It's very sweet, although Caroline asking if she can come visit so quickly is a little forward and obnoxious.
  Overall, Caroline gets a happy ending after all. So do the twins. Seems that Alice and Ned turned the offer down shortly into the "YAY, SV!" blitz, but thought to teach the twins a lesson, so they didn't share the news immediately. Alls well that ends well.
  Or as close as the valley's going to let us get, at this point.


*- Not that I have a hat, but since I won't need to eat it anyway, that really doesn't matter.

Trivial Pursuit:

  • Adam is 6'2", dark brown hair, warm laughing brown eyes. He lives in Cold Springs, plays baseball, and is naturally well liked. He was also on the basketball team last year. His mother is an English teacher and perfectly fine with her son's mystery girlfriend spending the weekend at their house.

  • Cold Springs is about two hours away from Sweet Valley.

  • Anita is Caroline's older sister. She's model thin and constantly makes Caroline feel fat because she doesn't exist on ice water and melon like Anita does. If Anita doesn't have food "issues", I'll eat my hat.*

  • Anita suffers under the delusion that the twins are the nicest girls in the junior class.

  • According to Caroline, Annie and Ricky's issues are as follows:Ricky promised Annie a ride in his father's white Seville Cadillac, but when he showed up for the date, it was just in his beat up old Chevy. When Annie went to the bathroom to clean herself up after an unfortunate incident involving cocktail sauce, she returned to find Ricky flirting with Maria Santelli.

  • Elizabeth makes most of the jokes about Jessica's room.

  • John Paine, is the director of the Hurley Group, one of the biggest firms in California. He's offered Alice a job, and even when she declines, he says he'll keep a spot for her anytime she changes her mind.

  • Elizabeth based her play on "Sonnets from the Portuguese."

  • Mr. Wakefield's receptionist is Mrs. Kelly.

  • Jessica runs into Dennis [remember him from book nine?] while visiting her father.

  • Caroline keeps Adam's stationary in her 3rd desk drawer. Said stationary is light blue, in case you wondered.

  • Caroline has been lifting Adam's letters from Robert Browning: Letters, volumes one through three.

  • Miss Priss Caroline finds t-shirts too low cut. Um, mid-80's shirts, no less.

  • Bruce helps Regina out with a math problem, then asks her out, and she still manages to call all the shots.

  • Liz buys her mother a lovely Amaryllis arrangement from Petal Pushers.

  • The 'Taste of Sweet Valley' dinner includes a salad with a special Dijon mustard dressing from Season's Gourmet Shop, Veal Parmesan from Vitos, and a lemon chiffon pie from Caster's.

  • The Wakefields used to eat takeout from Vito's at least once a week.

  • Caroline is the only member of PBA to have perfect attendance at the meetings. Something tells me Liz and Enid have the worst in recent memory.

  • Tiberino's is owned by Sal Ciardi, and it's where Ned proposed to Alice, and their go-to restaurant's for anniversaries.

  • Ned is allergic to Chinese food.

  • Las Palmas Canyon is twenty miles from SV.

  • Elizabeth's play is called "One Woman's Romance."

  • Fowler Crest is apparently now Spanish Style. Who knew?

  • Jerry Fisher is a friend of Todd's, and he pretends to be Adam, but seems to genuinely like Caroline.




Quoted:

"Caroline has it coming to her anyway. I can't believe she tried to trick us! I'll admit it showed she's got more imagination than I ever gave her credit for, but that's all." Jessica defends her malicious streak. p120

"Yeah. There's something different about you tonight-and it's not just your new dress. You're pretty," he said. Todd trips over his words fantastically. p 138




  It's crucial to make your misfit likable in a story like this. Not only do you have to explain why a previously painfully obnoxious character should be pitied and understood, but you also have to make it so that you want them to rise above their past misdeeds, especially if they lack the effortless charm that other characters are graced with. And the thing is, it works, which is kind of surprising. Caroline manages to walk that fine line between previously established busy-body and misunderstood misfit.
  On the one hand, you have Caroline spreading her usual gossip all around. There are her stories about Annie and Ricky possibly breaking up because of Ricky allegedly flirting with Maria Santelli, John Pfiefer being kicked off the Oracle for consistently turning his sports copy in late, and then there's the one about Bill Chase getting help with his play from Mr. Jaworski.
  On the other hand, it's not like she intentionally tries to screw things up for people. The Annie gossip was meant as something to contribute to a conversation where she felt left out. The Bill thing was an attempt to make small talk that failed madly, and well, John's got worse coming to him in the far future, so really, he got off light.
  Anita comes off as impossible to live up to, so you feel for Caroline at home. At school she's the one person just about everyone attempts to hide from, and as the series manages to churn out spin offs like crazy, you realize this has been going on for forever. So yeah, Caroline brought a lot of this on herself, but she didn't mean to. She just happens to be her absolute worst enemy.
  The funny thing about Love Letters is that it's the first time the character makeover introduced doesn't stick. Caroline momentarily tries to be a better person in this book, and then she pretty much lapses back into her gossip-y ways fairly quickly. What little character definition she was given is snatched back and she goes back to being the stereotypical gossip hungry wannabe.

  Now I leave you with two things. One, the reissue of the book is impossible to read the back cover without your eyes starting to bleed a little. Black on bright effing blue is a bad combination for reading. Two, did Adam sign his name, or did he type that as well?



Various other banners have been updated. I think Double Love, Dear Sister, and whenever it finishes loading, When Love Dies.
the_oracle: (tear)
Love Letters
  March 1985

    Is Caroline's romance for real?

   Make-believe romance...


   Caroline Pearce has always been one of the least popular girls at Sweet Valley High. But when she invents a new out-of-town boyfriend, people finally start to pay attention to her. Brown-eyed, six foot Adam and his romantic love letters are the talk of the school.
   Caroline has everyone fooled-even clever Jessica Wakefield. But what begins as a bid for love and attention quickly becomes the worst jam of Caroline's life, when her friends insist on meeting the boyfriend she's been bragging about. Can Caroline keep the truth a secret, or will her lies be her downfall?

  Love Letters proves that some people should have paid a little more attention to Jan's attention seeking on The Brady Bunch. I know it's the early eighties and all, but shouldn't we have learned by now that making up a boyfriend is a bad, bad, bad idea? Well, no, because if we all learned our lessons, this wouldn't be one of those quintessential stories that a teen series MUST tackle at least once.

  Caroline Pearce is the biggest gossip at Sweet Valley High. When you consider that the school also houses Cara Walker and Jessica Wakefield, you've got to admit this takes some talent, and a whole lot of talking. Thing is, Caroline talks so much, and to anyone who will listen, about absolutely anything she hears or thinks she's heard, or maybe even something she sort of saw while out walking the dog that no one really likes her. You can't tell her anything because you know it'll end up on the SVH gossip-grapevine, probably distorted just enough to make things look really bad for you. And if you can't talk to someone about even the most harmless little thing, you don't really have a shot of hanging out with them at all. Hell, even Saint Elizabeth doesn't really like Caroline. So you know Caroline is lonely. Painfully, mind numbingly, lonely. This hasn't really come up before, what with the inability to talk to Caroline, but this is her show, so now we find out.
  And it makes sense. With the exception of Tricia Martin, so far everyone else brought up in the series has had someone, anyone, to cling to. Annie had her long list of boys, as did Betsy who also had Trish and Steve, Roger had Olivia, Bill had Dee Dee and I'm bored re-capping, so we're done with that now. If you didn't have a single friend at school, you can relate. Hell, if you just had a few friends, you can relate.
  Caroline is tired of being a misfit, always relegated to the outskirts of the SVH-crowd. She decides that enough is enough. She's done with the whole outside looking in crap. So she makes sure that she's got the ears of the demi-gossip-goddesses, and she tells them all about Adam, her amazingly perfectly gorgeous, overly romantic, super secret until now boyfriend.
  Oh, boy does she tell them. She reads his letters, passes them around, details every phone conversation, and in general acts like your best friend's little sister who desperately wants to be cool enough to hang out with you guys, if only for an afternoon. Of course, she probably sounds like that because she is like that. Her sister, Anita, seems like your typical perfect older sister. Pretty enough that dating isn't a problem, popular enough to have friends come and go, and just bitchy enough to point out your short comings over breakfast. So it's not like Caroline needs a guy just to impress the in crowd at school. Nope, a boyfriend would shut her older sister up, too.
  Thing is, Adam doesn't exist. He's Caroline's dream boy, but she hasn't met him and he certainly doesn't send her poetry laden letters every other day. Now the rest of us know that Caroline is only going to get so far with letters, even really spectacular letters, before Lila and Jessica pressure her into producing this Adam.
  This is as good a time as any to point out our B and C stories. Both involve the Wakefield twins, and give them different reasons to help or hurt Caroline when things get down and dirty.
  While trying to glom onto either twin, Caroline finds a letter from Alice Wakefield to a design firm in San Francisco, thanking them for their generous job offer and telling them she'll think about it. When Jessica pushes Caroline too far at the beach, Caroline fakes some sympathy for poor Jessica. It must be so hard to concentrate on other people's problems when you're so caught up in the potential move, huh?
  Yeah, not your best move, Caro. By pointing out that Jessica's perfect life is possibly about to come crashing down around her, you've moved straight to the top of her shit list.
  When the twins, led by overly melodramatic Jessica, confront their parents, Alice admits she's been offered the gig and she'd really like it. Ned points out that it's an incredible honor and that with the twins so close to college, it really would be a good thing for them to make more money. Now, call me crazy, but you'd think the cost of living in Frisco would off-set the major pay increase at least a little. Silly me. Anyway, the parental units are ticked when neither twin is thrilled at the thought of their entire lives being uprooted in the midst of their junior year in high school. Jess does make one possibly out of character observation. She points out that while it sucks massively just thinking about moving, what with cheerleading and all, it would KILL Elizabeth to leave Todd. It's never mentioned as a selfish, manipulative comment, and I for one would like to give Jessica the benefit of the doubt. Sure, she had to know it would guilt the 'rents, but it's also... true. And foreshadowing, but we'll make our way back there soon enough.
  The twins combine forces to convince their parents that moving would be a bad, bad, baaaaaad idea. From brochures inundating them with every possible bit of information on Sweet Valley, to nostalgic visits to various restaurants, right on through to trashing San Francisco, the twins have pretty much thought of everything.
  C story is a continued thread from a few books back. Elizabeth's entering a playwright competition and hers is based on the life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
  Now, since Adam doesn't exist and it's not likely that Caroline houses the soul of a poet, where has she been getting her letters? Oh, yeah, she's been lifting from Robert Browning. The smart people are snorting and saying, yeah, what are the effing odds of that? Well, it's simple. In life, particularly high school, the one thing that can unravel your pack of lies is infinitely closer than the rear view mirror would indicate.
  However, Caroline skates on, oblivious to her impending doom.
  Anyway, plots C and B combine to sink Caroline's battleship. After a night that is essentially a Taste of Sweet Valley cuisine, Elizabeth reads her family her play and Jessica realizes that parts of it sound awfully familiar. She's certain she's never read Browning's work before and the only other source of poetry in her diet has been Adam's letters. She puts two and two together and comes up with faux boyfriend.
  In a twist, Lila points out that Caroline could still be telling the truth, completely unaware that her boyfriend has been lifting his lines from a dead poet guy. Jessica all but snorts and asks, "What crack are you on, Fowler?" Lila carefully points out that there are obvious, and normal, explanations for each of Jessica's protests. Adam could have terrible handwriting, leading to him typing his letters. Since he's not doing the heavy thinking parts of the letters, his frequency in mailing them is nothing to look twice at.
  Caroline knows that she can't keep Lila and Jessica at bay for much longer with just letters, so she says she's going to Cold Springs one weekend to visit Adam. Lila and Jessica coo over this and point out that it leaves the following weekend for Adam's party. Perfect !
  Yeah, except for Adam not existing. So Caro "brings back" proof. There's the "Property of Cold Springs Athletic Department" shirt she claims is from Adam, but is really a left over from her cousin Sally's dating disaster with a Cold Springs boy. There's a newspaper picture of 'Adam', though it's from a basketball game and blurry to boot, though that came in a letter. Oh yeah, and then there's the fact that Jessica saw Caroline while she was supposedly out of town.
  Thing is, Lila and Jess are both thrown by the proof. Maybe the guy really does exist...
  Also thrown is Anita, Caroline's big sister. Caro shares the joy and fakes a phone conversation and she and Anita bond. Which is really annoying later on, given how much of a bitch Anita is the first time she shows up. It takes your little sister inventing a boyfriend for you to give her the time of day? Nice, real nice.
  Anyway, to ensure that Caroline can't use the "But Adam is broke..." excuse, Lila buys the elusive Adam a bus ticket. Nice, huh?
  Jessica also sets things up so that Liz finally hears one of Adam's letters. Liz is worried that Caro doesn't realize they aren't legit, but Caro confides that's the least of her worries. Liz points out that Caroline might have some friends if she weren't such a busy body, always poking into other people's business. Yes, you may snort with laughter now.
  Caroline begs Liz not to read her play, as that will expose Caroline as a fraud. Liz reluctantly agrees, and goes home to bitch Jessica out. Anita then busts Caroline, sort of. Seems Mama Pearce doesn't know a thing about Adam, so Caroline confesses. Anita gives her a much longer, much bitchier version of Elizabeth's speech, and Caroline realizes the error of her ways. GASP! Liz failed and bitchy eating disorder riddled older sister prevails!
  The next day, Caroline tells Elizabeth that it was wrong of her to ask Liz to not read her play, and it's okay. She's just going to have to suck it up and admit that she's a big ol' liar. Because of this, Saint Liz and her sidekick Todd resume work on Operation Rescue. Uh...huh.
  However, Caroline chickens out the first time she's given a chance to come clean, and continues to chicken out all week. Not that I blame her, but Jesus, you'd think coming clean at school would beat making a total ass of yourself at a party thrown partially in your honor. It's not like having your execution catered would make it any easier to die.
  For the party, Anita goes all out on Caroline and the girl is glowing so much that Todd gives her a fantastically backhanded compliment. At the party, Caroline decides to bypass the goodies and head straight for the guillotine. She has Lila kill the music and just as she's about to confess her lie, a handsome, 6'2", wavy brown haired, chocolate brown eyed sweetheart of a guy rushes up, apologizes for being late, and kisses Caroline for all the world to see. It seems Adam has finally arrived.
  Operation Rescue involved Todd asking a friend of his to pretend to be Adam to save Caroline the pain of being publicly humiliated. I suspect Todd agreed solely to thwart Jessica's plan for Caroline's downfall, but that's okay. Normally I'd ask what are the odds that you could find this dead ringer for a made-up boytoy, but when you think about it, it shouldn't be all that difficult. Brown-eyed brunettes aren't exactly hard to come by, and Todd knows Jerry from basketball, so odds are good that the 6'2" bit wasn't that hard to fill. But did anyone else notice that Caroline pretty much conjures up Todd Wilkins up when she creates Adam? Looks-wise, I mean. Every time she'd go on and on about his eyes, I'd think of the numerous times over the series Elizabeth would find herself lost in Todd's gaze.
  Eventually Caroline realizes that while everyone else thinks she's found someone fantastic, she's just as lonely as before, if not moreso. So she confesses and runs away. I cannot fault her for that either, as I'd have run, too. Jerry follows her, tells her he's proud of her, and they kiss for real. It's very sweet, although Caroline asking if she can come visit so quickly is a little forward and obnoxious.
  Overall, Caroline gets a happy ending after all. So do the twins. Seems that Alice and Ned turned the offer down shortly into the "YAY, SV!" blitz, but thought to teach the twins a lesson, so they didn't share the news immediately. Alls well that ends well.
  Or as close as the valley's going to let us get, at this point.


*- Not that I have a hat, but since I won't need to eat it anyway, that really doesn't matter.

Trivial Pursuit:

  • Adam is 6'2", dark brown hair, warm laughing brown eyes. He lives in Cold Springs, plays baseball, and is naturally well liked. He was also on the basketball team last year. His mother is an English teacher and perfectly fine with her son's mystery girlfriend spending the weekend at their house.

  • Cold Springs is about two hours away from Sweet Valley.

  • Anita is Caroline's older sister. She's model thin and constantly makes Caroline feel fat because she doesn't exist on ice water and melon like Anita does. If Anita doesn't have food "issues", I'll eat my hat.*

  • Anita suffers under the delusion that the twins are the nicest girls in the junior class.

  • According to Caroline, Annie and Ricky's issues are as follows:Ricky promised Annie a ride in his father's white Seville Cadillac, but when he showed up for the date, it was just in his beat up old Chevy. When Annie went to the bathroom to clean herself up after an unfortunate incident involving cocktail sauce, she returned to find Ricky flirting with Maria Santelli.

  • Elizabeth makes most of the jokes about Jessica's room.

  • John Paine, is the director of the Hurley Group, one of the biggest firms in California. He's offered Alice a job, and even when she declines, he says he'll keep a spot for her anytime she changes her mind.

  • Elizabeth based her play on "Sonnets from the Portuguese."

  • Mr. Wakefield's receptionist is Mrs. Kelly.

  • Jessica runs into Dennis [remember him from book nine?] while visiting her father.

  • Caroline keeps Adam's stationary in her 3rd desk drawer. Said stationary is light blue, in case you wondered.

  • Caroline has been lifting Adam's letters from Robert Browning: Letters, volumes one through three.

  • Miss Priss Caroline finds t-shirts too low cut. Um, mid-80's shirts, no less.

  • Bruce helps Regina out with a math problem, then asks her out, and she still manages to call all the shots.

  • Liz buys her mother a lovely Amaryllis arrangement from Petal Pushers.

  • The 'Taste of Sweet Valley' dinner includes a salad with a special Dijon mustard dressing from Season's Gourmet Shop, Veal Parmesan from Vitos, and a lemon chiffon pie from Caster's.

  • The Wakefields used to eat takeout from Vito's at least once a week.

  • Caroline is the only member of PBA to have perfect attendance at the meetings. Something tells me Liz and Enid have the worst in recent memory.

  • Tiberino's is owned by Sal Ciardi, and it's where Ned proposed to Alice, and their go-to restaurant's for anniversaries.

  • Ned is allergic to Chinese food.

  • Las Palmas Canyon is twenty miles from SV.

  • Elizabeth's play is called "One Woman's Romance."

  • Fowler Crest is apparently now Spanish Style. Who knew?

  • Jerry Fisher is a friend of Todd's, and he pretends to be Adam, but seems to genuinely like Caroline.




Quoted:

"Caroline has it coming to her anyway. I can't believe she tried to trick us! I'll admit it showed she's got more imagination than I ever gave her credit for, but that's all." Jessica defends her malicious streak. p120

"Yeah. There's something different about you tonight-and it's not just your new dress. You're pretty," he said. Todd trips over his words fantastically. p 138




  It's crucial to make your misfit likable in a story like this. Not only do you have to explain why a previously painfully obnoxious character should be pitied and understood, but you also have to make it so that you want them to rise above their past misdeeds, especially if they lack the effortless charm that other characters are graced with. And the thing is, it works, which is kind of surprising. Caroline manages to walk that fine line between previously established busy-body and misunderstood misfit.
  On the one hand, you have Caroline spreading her usual gossip all around. There are her stories about Annie and Ricky possibly breaking up because of Ricky allegedly flirting with Maria Santelli, John Pfiefer being kicked off the Oracle for consistently turning his sports copy in late, and then there's the one about Bill Chase getting help with his play from Mr. Jaworski.
  On the other hand, it's not like she intentionally tries to screw things up for people. The Annie gossip was meant as something to contribute to a conversation where she felt left out. The Bill thing was an attempt to make small talk that failed madly, and well, John's got worse coming to him in the far future, so really, he got off light.
  Anita comes off as impossible to live up to, so you feel for Caroline at home. At school she's the one person just about everyone attempts to hide from, and as the series manages to churn out spin offs like crazy, you realize this has been going on for forever. So yeah, Caroline brought a lot of this on herself, but she didn't mean to. She just happens to be her absolute worst enemy.
  The funny thing about Love Letters is that it's the first time the character makeover introduced doesn't stick. Caroline momentarily tries to be a better person in this book, and then she pretty much lapses back into her gossip-y ways fairly quickly. What little character definition she was given is snatched back and she goes back to being the stereotypical gossip hungry wannabe.

  Now I leave you with two things. One, the reissue of the book is impossible to read the back cover without your eyes starting to bleed a little. Black on bright effing blue is a bad combination for reading. Two, did Adam sign his name, or did he type that as well?



Various other banners have been updated. I think Double Love, Dear Sister, and whenever it finishes loading, When Love Dies.
the_oracle: (tear)
Dear Sister
April 1984

Can Jessica face life without Elizabeth?

A senseless tragedy...


  Sweet Valley is stunned by the news: Beautiful young Elizabeth Wakefield lies in a coma, on the brink of death after a horrible motorcycle accident.
  Elizabeth's boyfriend Todd is consumed by guilt; he was driving and escaped unharmed. He feels totally helpless. All he can do is wait for a change in Elizabeth's condition-a change that might mean the loss of the only girl he's ever loved.
  But no one is more shattered than Elizabeth's twin, Jessica. As she keeps watch over the silent body of her sister, she's overwhelmed by despair. Without Elizabeth, can life go on?

  Dear Sister is one of my two favorite classic Sweet Valley books. I don't know if it's because it was one of the first few I read or if it was because I was/am a sucker for the melodramatic, and the whole premise of the book sounded fantastic. It could also be that it's a good book.
  The plot is simple. Liz is still in her coma and the world is crumbling around Jessica. The back of the book leads you to believe that Liz is going to be in the coma for the entire book, but she wakes up by the start of the third chapter. Nope, the rest of the book deals with the what if factor. What if Elizabeth wasn't the nice, good twin? What if Elizabeth could out Jessica the real Jessica? What would happen? Would the world stop spinning on its axis?
  Simply put, it's awesome. Somehow the book manages to be a little too long and a little too short all at once. I'm more interested in seeing Liz in her new environment, but the book follows Jessica as she attempts to figure out who she must become if her twin has taken over Jessica's old identity and then cranked it up to 11. Which is probably the better move, as we've spent much of the series in Elizabeth's shoes up until now, and Jessica needs some fleshing out. Thing is, if you aren't the bad girl, it tends to be on the interesting side to read about the bad girl, so if we're denied this opportunity... well, where's the fun in that? However, if the book had continued on for much longer, I'd have found a way to reach through time, space, and fiction and backhanded a few people.
  I'm skipping around though. Back to the beginning.

  Liz is still in her coma when the book opens, and Jessica is at wit's end. Her twin is her entire world [funny, up until now we'd have wagered boys held that position] and without her, she's unsure as what to do. So she does nothing but sit at her twin's bedside, trying to coax her out of her coma. This involves a lot of self flagellation, until the sorta creepy neurosurgeon John Edwards [I know!] tells Jess that not only are the twins beautiful, but maybe if she just spoke to Elizabeth as if Liz would answer at any moment, it might help. You know, ease of the guilt and whatnot, see what happens. So Jess sort of does. Instead of chatting about boys and fashion and whatever else fills Jessica's thoughts, she gives us a recap of the series so far, with a giant helping of "you're so good, Liz, and I'm so, so very bad." About the time Jessica begs her twin to wake up, offering herself up as Liz's slave for life, Liz begins to come to. Jess freaks out in the best way possible and voila! Liz is awake.
  Fast forward a few days, and Liz is acting decidedly not herself. Jess returns to the hospital, only to find Liz sobbing because she looks like death warmed over. Jess is confused. This is a total Jessica move, not anything even remotely resembling Elizabeth. So Jess glams Liz up as much as she can and Liz then demands more makeup. Weirder still is the way Liz snaps so repeatedly at Jessica. She's even bitchier than Jessica normally is. Jess then tells her that Todd is stopping by and Liz is less than thrilled. Todd enters the cage and is quickly shown the door, given the excuse, "I'm tired." Todd meets Jessica who bites off his head when he dares to complain about the lack of love he received. "What do you expect, her to laugh and smile immediately after such a shock?" is the type of thing she snaps. Immediately afterward, they hear Liz laughing at something her doc said. Poor Todd.
  Three weeks after the accident, Liz comes home. Todd tries to visit and Liz won't see him. At all. She won't see or talk to anyone, but still manages to be a complete and utter bitch to her sister. Despite this new development, the twins begin to plan a party for after Elizabeth is allowed to go back to school. Liz is all for it being guys only, and Jess is shocked. It's the sort of party she's always wanted to throw, but never had the nerve, but it's kinda weird to hear Elizabeth express an interest in such a thing. So Jess points out that since guys almost never throw parties, and all the girls would hate them, maybe they should invite a handful of the fairer sex to their shindig. Liz reluctantly agrees.
  Skip ahead, and we're five weeks after the accident. Liz returns to school and immediately Enid runs over and damn near chokes Jessica in a bear hug. You see, Liz is skanked up in a green mini, something Jess would normally wear. And the confusion doesn't stop there. The whole day Jess is confused for Liz and vice versa. There's a weird little interlude with Liz and Mr. Collins, but mostly their first day back just sets up the fact that the twins seem to have switched.
  As to the party they've planned, Liz pulls a Jessica. While Jess is fixing up the house, Liz is supposed to be resting. Then Jess gets a call from Liz, who ran to the mall on a "vitally important" errand. Jess ends up setting up for the party, having to rush getting ready [since Liz stole the shower], having to keep everything full/everyone happy during the party, and oh yeah, has to clean up after the party. You know, she has to be like Liz used to be. Liz, in turn, flirts with every single guy except for Todd, and possibly Winston, but Win wouldn't have noticed as he only has eyes for Mandy. Aw.
  As time goes by, everyone except for Elizabeth and the adults, seems to understand something isn't right. The kids know that Liz isn't herself, as she's busy flirting with anything male, even if he has a girlfriend sitting RIGHT THERE as Liz tries to score with him. So they bitch about her to Jessica. The adults do know something isn't right, as Liz hasn't made up any of her assignments and is danger of flunking. So not Liz, right? Somehow, though, Ned and Alice Wakefield are oblivious. I can see how Jessica stepping in and trying to deflect things could help a little, but considering how little Liz has tried to catch up, wouldn't the school call and ask if maybe, just maybe, the girl should be evaluated by professionals again?
  Instead, Ned and Alice decide to baby-sit their friends' twins, Joan and Jean Percy. On their first day at the Wakefield home, Ned and Alice head out to play bridge. WTF. It would be one thing if the younger twins were friends of the older twins, but no, these are essentially guests of Ned's and Alice's, and they immediately bail. This is about the time I realized that it's no frickin' wonder Jessica's such a pain in the ass; her parents suck. Liz skips out, after hearing that Jess has a serious date planned, which is just really shitty. So Jess is forced to drag the twins with her and Danny [remember him from the last book?] to the drive in. Seems Danny had a more X rated time in mind, as he only caves when Jessica promises to do anything to make it up. Seriously, by this point it's obvious they're talking something more than Bruce Patman's patented cop-a-boob-feel.
  So they go and they have a positively awful time. Somehow between Dangerous Love and Dear Sister, Danny has gotten the upper hand in his flirtation with Jessica. Dunno how, but he has. She's freaking out because he'll never want to see her again and she complains bitterly to her parents about how unfair it all is. Except she doesn't mention that the people who should have been watching the twins in the first place let THEIR social lives come first instead. She does let a Liz complaint slip, but then quickly back peddles and convinces her parents that she's matured somehow. Weird.
  Back to Sweet Valley High. Liz ups her flirting with Ken, who is seeing Susan Stewart. Never one to let a little girlfriend impede her progress with a guy Jessica Liz decides to sink Susan's battleship by putting in a little item about Susan and a mysterious guy in her Eyes and Ears column. Nothing bad will come of this, I'm sure. Then she heads to Winston and cons him out of his Punic War term paper, which she then changes a few things around and calls it her own. Which she doesn't seem to think will get her busted. Oh, my lord.
  She gets busted for the E&E thing first, and Mr. Collins kicks her off the Oracle. I'm thinking it wasn't so much for what she did, or the lack of remorse she showed, but because she was too self involved/stupid to think up the really obvious way to cover her ass, which was, "But, Mr. Collins, I heard from numerous sources about that guy with Susan. I guess that's the last time I'll trust them" or something along those lines. It's a gossip column, so you're bound to make a mistake once in awhile! Idiots.
  Oh, in between conning the paper and getting busted for it, Todd has a basketball game that Liz attends with Ken [probably due to her snippet] and he can't take his eyes of them. He can't shoot worth a damn and when the crowd starts booing him, one of the Big Mesa guys makes a crack about it, so Todd attacks him. He gets benched and Coach Horner gets the rest of the team to spill. They tell him that Todd's ex is Elizabeth Wakefield, formerly the nicest girl in the school, currently vying for the title of biggest "flirt", and that Todd is still hung up on her. Coach talks to Todd and points out that maybe there's something wrong with Elizabeth, and that Todd's going to have to sit out a few games, what with the violence and all. So Todd vows to try and help her.
  Now, back to Elizabeth's bad day. After she comes home from the debacle at the Oracle, her parents attack her for the cheating on a term paper. But the real kicker is when they turn on Jessica and bitch her out for not telling them that something was wrong. When, oh workaholics? When was she to tell you? Besides, she shouldn't be held accountable for every misstep Liz makes. It's unfair to them both, but particularly so when you remember that while Liz would get the fallout from Jess, it's not like her parents expected her to force Jessica to be an upstanding citizen. So how is it fair to expect Jessica to be Elizabeth's keeper? I digress.
  With the Sword of Damocles hanging over her head, Jess naturally freaks out when Elizabeth shows up driving Max Dellon's bike. Todd is there and Jessica sends him after her wayward twin, because a) it's another motorcycle and b) she doesn't want to get grounded for Elizabeth's bad behavior. Todd catches up with the duo [and by now, shouldn't the Wakefield twins' inability to ride a motorcycle be of legendary status?] and forces Liz off the bike, over his shoulder, and carries her back to his car. Yeah, he kidnaps her. She starts yelling and losing her ability to speak in contractions and Todd tries to get through to her, but fails miserably. Since we've made Todd miserable, it's time to share the wealth with Jessica.
  Again, the Wakefields manage to flake on the Percy twins, leaving them in the questionably capable hands of Jessica. Because heaven forbid they force Liz to do a chore, right? So Alice sends the Percy twins upstairs to wake the sleeping beast, Jessica, and force her to take them to their flute auditions. Jess flips out because it's barely 7 AM and she had plans for the day, but they don't mean jack. It's kind of telling that she didn't even try to get Elizabeth to cover for her. So Jess goes, it takes forever, and she gets busted speeding to the beach. Unable to sweet talk her way out of the ticket, Jessica snaps at the cop and continues her mad dash to the beach, only to find Danny with his arms around another girl. On her way out of the parking lot, Jess has a fender bender and begins to cry. I felt massively sorry for her by this point.
  Because Jessica doesn't share the details of her shitty day with her parents, she and Liz are able to sweet talk their way into going to Lila's Pick Up party. Namely, everyone shows up single and tries pick up whomever they're interested in.


Lila never gave a party without a theme, and this time she had combined two of her old favorites. The kids were told to come in costume and without a date to a "pickup party." Everybody came single and picked up whomever they could. A lot of girls at Sweet Valley who thought they were going steady found themselves without boyfriends after one of Lila's pickup bashes, and a lot of girls who wanted to get rid of guys, did so that same night.


  Jess and Liz go as Matadors for some unknown reason, but it quickly becomes clear that the red matador is Liz and the green one is Jessica. Green with envy, maybe? Liz dances and flirts and has a great time, while Jess does little but watch and attempt to not kill anyone bitching to her about her twin's behavior. The description of Liz spinning across the red Spanish tiles confused me. I envisioned her either being repeatedly spun ballroom style, or a Tasmanian Devil sort of thing. Neither is really conducive to not throwing up. Nor, apparently, is finding yourself in Todd Wilkins' arms. Liz spins away, only to find herself in the evil clutches of Bruce Patman.
  Bruce seems to have momentarily forgotten the rumours about the twins and assumes the flirtatious twin in his arms is Jessica, whom he is exceptionally interested in. He only finds out the truth when he spies Max snickering and he comments on the pairing of Bruce and Liz. Bruce is shocked. Apparently he's been after the uppity twin for some time, hoping to take her back down to earth. Thing is, he acts as if she's stupid ["Do you know who I am?"] and she doesn't seem to mind. He then begins to try and get her drunk on some mystery drink, and then he cons her out to his father's beach club. Wait, when did Mr. Patman get one of those? Luckily, Jess has sent Todd after her twin again, and Todd punches Bruce and grabs the inebriated Elizabeth right before she passes out.
  Jess is busted at home for the ticket and the fender bender, but before her parents can kill her dead, the Percy twins stick up for her. Seems spending time with Jessica is just as much fun as we've always been told. Maybe they also feel bad for her, seeing as their hosts suck and Jessica is obviously not supposed to always be in charge of them. Who knows, but it was sweet, and Jessica's heart breaks a little when she sees how close the younger twins are, and realizes how far she and Liz have drifted apart.
  Back at school, Bill Chase begins his pursuit of Liz. Seems Bill has had a thing on Liz for ages [see All Night Long's character bio] and when he finds out that Todd and Liz are no more, he asks Todd's permission to chase after Liz. And Todd grants it. Oi.
  Unfortunately for Bill, while Liz says yes to the date, Bruce calls her up and asks for one the same night as Bill's, and Liz goes with Bruce's drink filled invite instead. She lies and says she's going to Enid's, and when Bill shows up, Jess runs upstairs to call and bitch her out. Only, dun dun dun! It was a lie. Jess decides to twin switch on the one guy stupid enough to turn her down, and she goes out with Bill dressed as Liz. Jess, that is, not Bill dressed as Liz.
  Bruce, being slime, cops a feel and then convinces her that they should go upstairs and have sex. He doesn't actually say that last bit, but it's implied. When he has her upstairs, he runs back downstairs for more wine, you know, to get her good and drunk enough that she won't be able to stop 'im even if she does come to. Unfortunately for Bruce, she gets cold feet [even super skanky Liz knows something is amiss] and attempts to find her way downstairs. She doesn't even make it out of the room before she falls and conks her head on a big old table.
  The real Elizabeth comes rushing back and is completely unaware as to what the hell is going on. When Bruce returns, she freaks out and accuses him of taking her there against her will. He's none too happy with the loss of his biggest conquest and attempts to scare her back into submission. Liz calls him on it after she bites him [forcing him to back off momentarily], tells him he's a pig, and runs away. She races down the beach, drawn to light and sound, proof that other people are around, and maybe just maybe, subconsciously drawn towards Todd. She finds him and they have a happy reunion, only slightly marred by Todd's confusion as to whether she was with Bill or Bruce. They realize it was Jessica and Liz worries that Jess has an evil plan all worked up.
  The book ends with Jessica telling Bill that if he really is in love with the twin he's spent all night with, he's actually in love with Jessica, not Elizabeth, Wakefield. SHOCK! Horror! Amazement! The end.

Trivia:

  • THE Hospital in Sweet Valley is the Joshua Fowler Memorial Hospital. We know the Fowler bit is due to Lila, but who is the Joshua in question? Liz is taken here for her scenic coma.

  • Liz's neurosurgeon is John Edwards, and he's kinda creepy the way he's commenting on an unconscious patient and her twin being beautiful.

  • Liz was in her coma for four days.

  • 3 weeks after she wakes up from her coma, she goes home, and two weeks after that she returns to school. About a week after that she has her party and this book takes place over the longest period of time thus far. Seriously, we should have passed Christmas and should be rounding the bases til Valentine's Day, but no sign of any holiday at all.

  • The Wakefield's kitchen is at the back of their house.

  • While the Percy twins stay with the Wakefields for a few weeks, Liz and Jess have never met Mr. and Mrs. Percy.

  • Danny Stauffer is an excellent kisser. Y'know, in case you're interested in him or his Trans Am.

  • Mrs. Green is the guidance counselor who never thinks to check up on Liz after the revelation that she's having mysterious dizzy spells.

  • Coach Horner is the basketball coach. Gruff on the outside, heart of gold on the inside.

  • When Jess gets her speeding ticket, she's going 70 in a 55 MPH zone.

  • Jessica's favorite breakfast is french toast.

  • Apparently Mr. Patman owns a beach club as well as a beach house, or else the writing is a little too vague here.

  • Bill Chase asks Todd if it's okay if he goes after Liz, and Todd doesn't stop him.

  • At this point in time, Lila is dating some dude named Tim. I wonder if it's an actual Tim or if they meant Tom?



Quote the fantastic:
"Liz. Hey, Lizzie, time to wake up." Jess, waking Liz from her coma. p12
"I thought basketball players had good eyesight, Todd. On a scale of one to ten, I'm not even on the scale yet." Liz, p19
Jessica couldn't have been happier. For a change she and Elizabeth seemed to want the same kind of fun. - p23
"I solemnly swear to take over my share of the chores as soon as I have made a total recovery-which should be in about three months!" Liz, p27
"If she's Jessica", she agonized, "then who am I?" -Jess isn't afraid to ask the deep questions, p46
"What an absolutely gruesome day!" she said, frowning fiercely.
Jessica stared at her, fascinated.
"If all you're going to do is stare at me, take your face someplace else!" Liz goes on another bitchfit for no reason, p50
"No way, Jess. I told you what I had planned for tonight. There is no way I want an audience." - Danny Stauffer, p62
"Mom, I could never resent Liz!" Jess lies through her perfect teeth, p69
"You know, just about none of the girls at school will talk to me without complaining about Liz trying to steal their guys,"
She saw Todd wince at that and put her hand on his arm. "I'm sorry, Todd. I shouldn't have said that." Jessica learns the art of sympathy, p95
"It's fun, that's why! Besides, Max Dellon is a safe driver," Elizabeth taunted.
"You know, Jess, you surprise me. Maybe you and I could become-"
"If you dare ask me to be your buddy, Todd Wilkins, I'll slug you, I really will!" Todd/Jess, p104
The girls stared at each other, wide-eyed. They had been in the Wakefield house long enough to know they should steer clear of Jessica when she first woke up. 106
"You are both lying! My mother loves me. There is no way she would want me to get up in the middle of the night!" Jess doesn't often see 7am, apparently. p107
"The nerve of him! Just because I was a few hours late, he picks up someone else," Jessica fumed. p114
"I'm just terrific, Bruce. How's your glass jaw?" - Liz, p 134
"I never really knew what a coward you were until now," she cried. "Is that what all your big love stories are about, Patman? Taking advantage of girls who either don't know what they're doing or too drunk to care? I don't know anybody lower than you are at this minute. And listen, you want to tell this story all over? Go ahead! Because I've got one to tell, too, and you won't look very good in it. You're a coward, Bruce Patman!" Liz, lucky she's not in an episode of L&O, as lesser rants have gotten girls killed, p146

137 ways to have fun:
"I was just wondering if Todd's seen you in that nightgown. I bet it'd raise his temperature about a hundred and thirty seven degrees!" Jess, p26
"But you hate him, Lizzie."
"Who told you that?"
"You did, a hundred and thirty-seven times." p122



  As a kid, I accepted the various things done so that Jess would be forced into taking responsibility for the Percy twins. As an adult, I find myself wanting to smack Ned and Alice. You probably already figured that out, but it bears repeating. It's unfair to expect your sixteen year old daughter to force her twin to act responsibly. If you want her to report back to you at any sign of trouble, you should wake from your dream world, but it's much closer to a realistic expectation than the whole wanting her to [s]mother her sister.
  However, my biggest issue with the Wakefield parents is that they evidently spend so little time with their daughters that they didn't truly notice the complete personality rehaul of their eldest daughter. Sure, she's a teenager, but she's the good kid. When she starts mouthing off and snapping at everyone and this continues for weeks, maybe you should have done something about it, y'know? Even soap opera parents drag their kids back to the neurosurgeon who patiently explains that the trauma may have changed them, but hey, at least they're alive, who wants milkshakes? If nothing else, why didn't the high school call and see if they knew what was going on? It would be one thing for Jessica to slip even further behind, but usually schools get a little twitchy when their star students start to slide. They have visions of standardized testing sliding down and that means funding would go down and, yeah, it's a whole big mess. So really, they would have called before the term paper fiasco.
  It speaks volumes about Jessica's guilt that she doesn't try and one up her sister, and instead seems to sort of try and fill the void left behind. She bonds with Todd, feels empathy/sympathy for Enid, and does try to reach out and get help for her twin from an adult, though that adult is utterly useless. Seriously, Mr. C, don't you think telling Jessica to talk to her parents might have been a good idea? Back to the idea of two Jessicas. Would have been awesome to see Jess take on Super!Vamp Liz. Senior Year brings us a version of the twins being basically the same person, but it's this odd fusion of Liz/Jess and it doesn't ever quite gel for me, so we don't count that.
  So, I wonder, did Elizabeth's accident just sort of dial back her inhibitions and let her ID come out to play, or was it Jessica's choice of subject matter when she was trying to coax Liz back to life? She told Liz she should party more. Liz parties to the extreme, at least so far as their social circle will allow. She points out that Enid is dull as watching paint dry and when Liz wakes up, will not have a single thing to do with Enid, and mocks her instead. Ditto for Todd. Jess mentions that Liz could be super!twin if she just let loose a little and had fun with her makeup, and her attitude. So. Does Liz just idealize her twin a little and so she kind of used her as her model for bad behavior, or did Jessica create her own monster?
  Speaking of monsters... It amazes me how thoroughly they change Bruce as the books progress. In the beginning, I'm surprised no one's accused him [rightly so, I'd imagine] of date rape. Yet somehow Regina'll manage to redeem him. He's a slimeball at the start though, and you'd think it would be wiser to spread that information before someone else falls under his spell. Heaven knows John P. goes only a smidge further, if that, and he's crucified eventually, so why not crucify Bruce who has to have been in a similar boat? Is it that he's so damn rich no one would dare to chance the backlash, or is it that they alter everyone just enough later that it would kill them to take down their bad boy who isn't a drop out? Hmm.
  And because my mind is filled with the littered thrown away plots, I wonder what would have happened if Liz had been in her coma longer? Would Jess have gone back to school and been a zombie? Would SVH manage to snub her, or would they rally around her? Would it have made Jess a better person, or would she have rebelled further?
  Totally superficial moment, but the cover has also been one of my favorites for awhile. Or maybe it's simply that the book was purple and that was right smack dab in the middle of my purple frenzy?



the_oracle: (tear)
Dear Sister
April 1984

Can Jessica face life without Elizabeth?

A senseless tragedy...


  Sweet Valley is stunned by the news: Beautiful young Elizabeth Wakefield lies in a coma, on the brink of death after a horrible motorcycle accident.
  Elizabeth's boyfriend Todd is consumed by guilt; he was driving and escaped unharmed. He feels totally helpless. All he can do is wait for a change in Elizabeth's condition-a change that might mean the loss of the only girl he's ever loved.
  But no one is more shattered than Elizabeth's twin, Jessica. As she keeps watch over the silent body of her sister, she's overwhelmed by despair. Without Elizabeth, can life go on?

  Dear Sister is one of my two favorite classic Sweet Valley books. I don't know if it's because it was one of the first few I read or if it was because I was/am a sucker for the melodramatic, and the whole premise of the book sounded fantastic. It could also be that it's a good book.
  The plot is simple. Liz is still in her coma and the world is crumbling around Jessica. The back of the book leads you to believe that Liz is going to be in the coma for the entire book, but she wakes up by the start of the third chapter. Nope, the rest of the book deals with the what if factor. What if Elizabeth wasn't the nice, good twin? What if Elizabeth could out Jessica the real Jessica? What would happen? Would the world stop spinning on its axis?
  Simply put, it's awesome. Somehow the book manages to be a little too long and a little too short all at once. I'm more interested in seeing Liz in her new environment, but the book follows Jessica as she attempts to figure out who she must become if her twin has taken over Jessica's old identity and then cranked it up to 11. Which is probably the better move, as we've spent much of the series in Elizabeth's shoes up until now, and Jessica needs some fleshing out. Thing is, if you aren't the bad girl, it tends to be on the interesting side to read about the bad girl, so if we're denied this opportunity... well, where's the fun in that? However, if the book had continued on for much longer, I'd have found a way to reach through time, space, and fiction and backhanded a few people.
  I'm skipping around though. Back to the beginning.

  Liz is still in her coma when the book opens, and Jessica is at wit's end. Her twin is her entire world [funny, up until now we'd have wagered boys held that position] and without her, she's unsure as what to do. So she does nothing but sit at her twin's bedside, trying to coax her out of her coma. This involves a lot of self flagellation, until the sorta creepy neurosurgeon John Edwards [I know!] tells Jess that not only are the twins beautiful, but maybe if she just spoke to Elizabeth as if Liz would answer at any moment, it might help. You know, ease of the guilt and whatnot, see what happens. So Jess sort of does. Instead of chatting about boys and fashion and whatever else fills Jessica's thoughts, she gives us a recap of the series so far, with a giant helping of "you're so good, Liz, and I'm so, so very bad." About the time Jessica begs her twin to wake up, offering herself up as Liz's slave for life, Liz begins to come to. Jess freaks out in the best way possible and voila! Liz is awake.
  Fast forward a few days, and Liz is acting decidedly not herself. Jess returns to the hospital, only to find Liz sobbing because she looks like death warmed over. Jess is confused. This is a total Jessica move, not anything even remotely resembling Elizabeth. So Jess glams Liz up as much as she can and Liz then demands more makeup. Weirder still is the way Liz snaps so repeatedly at Jessica. She's even bitchier than Jessica normally is. Jess then tells her that Todd is stopping by and Liz is less than thrilled. Todd enters the cage and is quickly shown the door, given the excuse, "I'm tired." Todd meets Jessica who bites off his head when he dares to complain about the lack of love he received. "What do you expect, her to laugh and smile immediately after such a shock?" is the type of thing she snaps. Immediately afterward, they hear Liz laughing at something her doc said. Poor Todd.
  Three weeks after the accident, Liz comes home. Todd tries to visit and Liz won't see him. At all. She won't see or talk to anyone, but still manages to be a complete and utter bitch to her sister. Despite this new development, the twins begin to plan a party for after Elizabeth is allowed to go back to school. Liz is all for it being guys only, and Jess is shocked. It's the sort of party she's always wanted to throw, but never had the nerve, but it's kinda weird to hear Elizabeth express an interest in such a thing. So Jess points out that since guys almost never throw parties, and all the girls would hate them, maybe they should invite a handful of the fairer sex to their shindig. Liz reluctantly agrees.
  Skip ahead, and we're five weeks after the accident. Liz returns to school and immediately Enid runs over and damn near chokes Jessica in a bear hug. You see, Liz is skanked up in a green mini, something Jess would normally wear. And the confusion doesn't stop there. The whole day Jess is confused for Liz and vice versa. There's a weird little interlude with Liz and Mr. Collins, but mostly their first day back just sets up the fact that the twins seem to have switched.
  As to the party they've planned, Liz pulls a Jessica. While Jess is fixing up the house, Liz is supposed to be resting. Then Jess gets a call from Liz, who ran to the mall on a "vitally important" errand. Jess ends up setting up for the party, having to rush getting ready [since Liz stole the shower], having to keep everything full/everyone happy during the party, and oh yeah, has to clean up after the party. You know, she has to be like Liz used to be. Liz, in turn, flirts with every single guy except for Todd, and possibly Winston, but Win wouldn't have noticed as he only has eyes for Mandy. Aw.
  As time goes by, everyone except for Elizabeth and the adults, seems to understand something isn't right. The kids know that Liz isn't herself, as she's busy flirting with anything male, even if he has a girlfriend sitting RIGHT THERE as Liz tries to score with him. So they bitch about her to Jessica. The adults do know something isn't right, as Liz hasn't made up any of her assignments and is danger of flunking. So not Liz, right? Somehow, though, Ned and Alice Wakefield are oblivious. I can see how Jessica stepping in and trying to deflect things could help a little, but considering how little Liz has tried to catch up, wouldn't the school call and ask if maybe, just maybe, the girl should be evaluated by professionals again?
  Instead, Ned and Alice decide to baby-sit their friends' twins, Joan and Jean Percy. On their first day at the Wakefield home, Ned and Alice head out to play bridge. WTF. It would be one thing if the younger twins were friends of the older twins, but no, these are essentially guests of Ned's and Alice's, and they immediately bail. This is about the time I realized that it's no frickin' wonder Jessica's such a pain in the ass; her parents suck. Liz skips out, after hearing that Jess has a serious date planned, which is just really shitty. So Jess is forced to drag the twins with her and Danny [remember him from the last book?] to the drive in. Seems Danny had a more X rated time in mind, as he only caves when Jessica promises to do anything to make it up. Seriously, by this point it's obvious they're talking something more than Bruce Patman's patented cop-a-boob-feel.
  So they go and they have a positively awful time. Somehow between Dangerous Love and Dear Sister, Danny has gotten the upper hand in his flirtation with Jessica. Dunno how, but he has. She's freaking out because he'll never want to see her again and she complains bitterly to her parents about how unfair it all is. Except she doesn't mention that the people who should have been watching the twins in the first place let THEIR social lives come first instead. She does let a Liz complaint slip, but then quickly back peddles and convinces her parents that she's matured somehow. Weird.
  Back to Sweet Valley High. Liz ups her flirting with Ken, who is seeing Susan Stewart. Never one to let a little girlfriend impede her progress with a guy Jessica Liz decides to sink Susan's battleship by putting in a little item about Susan and a mysterious guy in her Eyes and Ears column. Nothing bad will come of this, I'm sure. Then she heads to Winston and cons him out of his Punic War term paper, which she then changes a few things around and calls it her own. Which she doesn't seem to think will get her busted. Oh, my lord.
  She gets busted for the E&E thing first, and Mr. Collins kicks her off the Oracle. I'm thinking it wasn't so much for what she did, or the lack of remorse she showed, but because she was too self involved/stupid to think up the really obvious way to cover her ass, which was, "But, Mr. Collins, I heard from numerous sources about that guy with Susan. I guess that's the last time I'll trust them" or something along those lines. It's a gossip column, so you're bound to make a mistake once in awhile! Idiots.
  Oh, in between conning the paper and getting busted for it, Todd has a basketball game that Liz attends with Ken [probably due to her snippet] and he can't take his eyes of them. He can't shoot worth a damn and when the crowd starts booing him, one of the Big Mesa guys makes a crack about it, so Todd attacks him. He gets benched and Coach Horner gets the rest of the team to spill. They tell him that Todd's ex is Elizabeth Wakefield, formerly the nicest girl in the school, currently vying for the title of biggest "flirt", and that Todd is still hung up on her. Coach talks to Todd and points out that maybe there's something wrong with Elizabeth, and that Todd's going to have to sit out a few games, what with the violence and all. So Todd vows to try and help her.
  Now, back to Elizabeth's bad day. After she comes home from the debacle at the Oracle, her parents attack her for the cheating on a term paper. But the real kicker is when they turn on Jessica and bitch her out for not telling them that something was wrong. When, oh workaholics? When was she to tell you? Besides, she shouldn't be held accountable for every misstep Liz makes. It's unfair to them both, but particularly so when you remember that while Liz would get the fallout from Jess, it's not like her parents expected her to force Jessica to be an upstanding citizen. So how is it fair to expect Jessica to be Elizabeth's keeper? I digress.
  With the Sword of Damocles hanging over her head, Jess naturally freaks out when Elizabeth shows up driving Max Dellon's bike. Todd is there and Jessica sends him after her wayward twin, because a) it's another motorcycle and b) she doesn't want to get grounded for Elizabeth's bad behavior. Todd catches up with the duo [and by now, shouldn't the Wakefield twins' inability to ride a motorcycle be of legendary status?] and forces Liz off the bike, over his shoulder, and carries her back to his car. Yeah, he kidnaps her. She starts yelling and losing her ability to speak in contractions and Todd tries to get through to her, but fails miserably. Since we've made Todd miserable, it's time to share the wealth with Jessica.
  Again, the Wakefields manage to flake on the Percy twins, leaving them in the questionably capable hands of Jessica. Because heaven forbid they force Liz to do a chore, right? So Alice sends the Percy twins upstairs to wake the sleeping beast, Jessica, and force her to take them to their flute auditions. Jess flips out because it's barely 7 AM and she had plans for the day, but they don't mean jack. It's kind of telling that she didn't even try to get Elizabeth to cover for her. So Jess goes, it takes forever, and she gets busted speeding to the beach. Unable to sweet talk her way out of the ticket, Jessica snaps at the cop and continues her mad dash to the beach, only to find Danny with his arms around another girl. On her way out of the parking lot, Jess has a fender bender and begins to cry. I felt massively sorry for her by this point.
  Because Jessica doesn't share the details of her shitty day with her parents, she and Liz are able to sweet talk their way into going to Lila's Pick Up party. Namely, everyone shows up single and tries pick up whomever they're interested in.


Lila never gave a party without a theme, and this time she had combined two of her old favorites. The kids were told to come in costume and without a date to a "pickup party." Everybody came single and picked up whomever they could. A lot of girls at Sweet Valley who thought they were going steady found themselves without boyfriends after one of Lila's pickup bashes, and a lot of girls who wanted to get rid of guys, did so that same night.


  Jess and Liz go as Matadors for some unknown reason, but it quickly becomes clear that the red matador is Liz and the green one is Jessica. Green with envy, maybe? Liz dances and flirts and has a great time, while Jess does little but watch and attempt to not kill anyone bitching to her about her twin's behavior. The description of Liz spinning across the red Spanish tiles confused me. I envisioned her either being repeatedly spun ballroom style, or a Tasmanian Devil sort of thing. Neither is really conducive to not throwing up. Nor, apparently, is finding yourself in Todd Wilkins' arms. Liz spins away, only to find herself in the evil clutches of Bruce Patman.
  Bruce seems to have momentarily forgotten the rumours about the twins and assumes the flirtatious twin in his arms is Jessica, whom he is exceptionally interested in. He only finds out the truth when he spies Max snickering and he comments on the pairing of Bruce and Liz. Bruce is shocked. Apparently he's been after the uppity twin for some time, hoping to take her back down to earth. Thing is, he acts as if she's stupid ["Do you know who I am?"] and she doesn't seem to mind. He then begins to try and get her drunk on some mystery drink, and then he cons her out to his father's beach club. Wait, when did Mr. Patman get one of those? Luckily, Jess has sent Todd after her twin again, and Todd punches Bruce and grabs the inebriated Elizabeth right before she passes out.
  Jess is busted at home for the ticket and the fender bender, but before her parents can kill her dead, the Percy twins stick up for her. Seems spending time with Jessica is just as much fun as we've always been told. Maybe they also feel bad for her, seeing as their hosts suck and Jessica is obviously not supposed to always be in charge of them. Who knows, but it was sweet, and Jessica's heart breaks a little when she sees how close the younger twins are, and realizes how far she and Liz have drifted apart.
  Back at school, Bill Chase begins his pursuit of Liz. Seems Bill has had a thing on Liz for ages [see All Night Long's character bio] and when he finds out that Todd and Liz are no more, he asks Todd's permission to chase after Liz. And Todd grants it. Oi.
  Unfortunately for Bill, while Liz says yes to the date, Bruce calls her up and asks for one the same night as Bill's, and Liz goes with Bruce's drink filled invite instead. She lies and says she's going to Enid's, and when Bill shows up, Jess runs upstairs to call and bitch her out. Only, dun dun dun! It was a lie. Jess decides to twin switch on the one guy stupid enough to turn her down, and she goes out with Bill dressed as Liz. Jess, that is, not Bill dressed as Liz.
  Bruce, being slime, cops a feel and then convinces her that they should go upstairs and have sex. He doesn't actually say that last bit, but it's implied. When he has her upstairs, he runs back downstairs for more wine, you know, to get her good and drunk enough that she won't be able to stop 'im even if she does come to. Unfortunately for Bruce, she gets cold feet [even super skanky Liz knows something is amiss] and attempts to find her way downstairs. She doesn't even make it out of the room before she falls and conks her head on a big old table.
  The real Elizabeth comes rushing back and is completely unaware as to what the hell is going on. When Bruce returns, she freaks out and accuses him of taking her there against her will. He's none too happy with the loss of his biggest conquest and attempts to scare her back into submission. Liz calls him on it after she bites him [forcing him to back off momentarily], tells him he's a pig, and runs away. She races down the beach, drawn to light and sound, proof that other people are around, and maybe just maybe, subconsciously drawn towards Todd. She finds him and they have a happy reunion, only slightly marred by Todd's confusion as to whether she was with Bill or Bruce. They realize it was Jessica and Liz worries that Jess has an evil plan all worked up.
  The book ends with Jessica telling Bill that if he really is in love with the twin he's spent all night with, he's actually in love with Jessica, not Elizabeth, Wakefield. SHOCK! Horror! Amazement! The end.

Trivia:

  • THE Hospital in Sweet Valley is the Joshua Fowler Memorial Hospital. We know the Fowler bit is due to Lila, but who is the Joshua in question? Liz is taken here for her scenic coma.

  • Liz's neurosurgeon is John Edwards, and he's kinda creepy the way he's commenting on an unconscious patient and her twin being beautiful.

  • Liz was in her coma for four days.

  • 3 weeks after she wakes up from her coma, she goes home, and two weeks after that she returns to school. About a week after that she has her party and this book takes place over the longest period of time thus far. Seriously, we should have passed Christmas and should be rounding the bases til Valentine's Day, but no sign of any holiday at all.

  • The Wakefield's kitchen is at the back of their house.

  • While the Percy twins stay with the Wakefields for a few weeks, Liz and Jess have never met Mr. and Mrs. Percy.

  • Danny Stauffer is an excellent kisser. Y'know, in case you're interested in him or his Trans Am.

  • Mrs. Green is the guidance counselor who never thinks to check up on Liz after the revelation that she's having mysterious dizzy spells.

  • Coach Horner is the basketball coach. Gruff on the outside, heart of gold on the inside.

  • When Jess gets her speeding ticket, she's going 70 in a 55 MPH zone.

  • Jessica's favorite breakfast is french toast.

  • Apparently Mr. Patman owns a beach club as well as a beach house, or else the writing is a little too vague here.

  • Bill Chase asks Todd if it's okay if he goes after Liz, and Todd doesn't stop him.

  • At this point in time, Lila is dating some dude named Tim. I wonder if it's an actual Tim or if they meant Tom?



Quote the fantastic:
"Liz. Hey, Lizzie, time to wake up." Jess, waking Liz from her coma. p12
"I thought basketball players had good eyesight, Todd. On a scale of one to ten, I'm not even on the scale yet." Liz, p19
Jessica couldn't have been happier. For a change she and Elizabeth seemed to want the same kind of fun. - p23
"I solemnly swear to take over my share of the chores as soon as I have made a total recovery-which should be in about three months!" Liz, p27
"If she's Jessica", she agonized, "then who am I?" -Jess isn't afraid to ask the deep questions, p46
"What an absolutely gruesome day!" she said, frowning fiercely.
Jessica stared at her, fascinated.
"If all you're going to do is stare at me, take your face someplace else!" Liz goes on another bitchfit for no reason, p50
"No way, Jess. I told you what I had planned for tonight. There is no way I want an audience." - Danny Stauffer, p62
"Mom, I could never resent Liz!" Jess lies through her perfect teeth, p69
"You know, just about none of the girls at school will talk to me without complaining about Liz trying to steal their guys,"
She saw Todd wince at that and put her hand on his arm. "I'm sorry, Todd. I shouldn't have said that." Jessica learns the art of sympathy, p95
"It's fun, that's why! Besides, Max Dellon is a safe driver," Elizabeth taunted.
"You know, Jess, you surprise me. Maybe you and I could become-"
"If you dare ask me to be your buddy, Todd Wilkins, I'll slug you, I really will!" Todd/Jess, p104
The girls stared at each other, wide-eyed. They had been in the Wakefield house long enough to know they should steer clear of Jessica when she first woke up. 106
"You are both lying! My mother loves me. There is no way she would want me to get up in the middle of the night!" Jess doesn't often see 7am, apparently. p107
"The nerve of him! Just because I was a few hours late, he picks up someone else," Jessica fumed. p114
"I'm just terrific, Bruce. How's your glass jaw?" - Liz, p 134
"I never really knew what a coward you were until now," she cried. "Is that what all your big love stories are about, Patman? Taking advantage of girls who either don't know what they're doing or too drunk to care? I don't know anybody lower than you are at this minute. And listen, you want to tell this story all over? Go ahead! Because I've got one to tell, too, and you won't look very good in it. You're a coward, Bruce Patman!" Liz, lucky she's not in an episode of L&O, as lesser rants have gotten girls killed, p146

137 ways to have fun:
"I was just wondering if Todd's seen you in that nightgown. I bet it'd raise his temperature about a hundred and thirty seven degrees!" Jess, p26
"But you hate him, Lizzie."
"Who told you that?"
"You did, a hundred and thirty-seven times." p122



  As a kid, I accepted the various things done so that Jess would be forced into taking responsibility for the Percy twins. As an adult, I find myself wanting to smack Ned and Alice. You probably already figured that out, but it bears repeating. It's unfair to expect your sixteen year old daughter to force her twin to act responsibly. If you want her to report back to you at any sign of trouble, you should wake from your dream world, but it's much closer to a realistic expectation than the whole wanting her to [s]mother her sister.
  However, my biggest issue with the Wakefield parents is that they evidently spend so little time with their daughters that they didn't truly notice the complete personality rehaul of their eldest daughter. Sure, she's a teenager, but she's the good kid. When she starts mouthing off and snapping at everyone and this continues for weeks, maybe you should have done something about it, y'know? Even soap opera parents drag their kids back to the neurosurgeon who patiently explains that the trauma may have changed them, but hey, at least they're alive, who wants milkshakes? If nothing else, why didn't the high school call and see if they knew what was going on? It would be one thing for Jessica to slip even further behind, but usually schools get a little twitchy when their star students start to slide. They have visions of standardized testing sliding down and that means funding would go down and, yeah, it's a whole big mess. So really, they would have called before the term paper fiasco.
  It speaks volumes about Jessica's guilt that she doesn't try and one up her sister, and instead seems to sort of try and fill the void left behind. She bonds with Todd, feels empathy/sympathy for Enid, and does try to reach out and get help for her twin from an adult, though that adult is utterly useless. Seriously, Mr. C, don't you think telling Jessica to talk to her parents might have been a good idea? Back to the idea of two Jessicas. Would have been awesome to see Jess take on Super!Vamp Liz. Senior Year brings us a version of the twins being basically the same person, but it's this odd fusion of Liz/Jess and it doesn't ever quite gel for me, so we don't count that.
  So, I wonder, did Elizabeth's accident just sort of dial back her inhibitions and let her ID come out to play, or was it Jessica's choice of subject matter when she was trying to coax Liz back to life? She told Liz she should party more. Liz parties to the extreme, at least so far as their social circle will allow. She points out that Enid is dull as watching paint dry and when Liz wakes up, will not have a single thing to do with Enid, and mocks her instead. Ditto for Todd. Jess mentions that Liz could be super!twin if she just let loose a little and had fun with her makeup, and her attitude. So. Does Liz just idealize her twin a little and so she kind of used her as her model for bad behavior, or did Jessica create her own monster?
  Speaking of monsters... It amazes me how thoroughly they change Bruce as the books progress. In the beginning, I'm surprised no one's accused him [rightly so, I'd imagine] of date rape. Yet somehow Regina'll manage to redeem him. He's a slimeball at the start though, and you'd think it would be wiser to spread that information before someone else falls under his spell. Heaven knows John P. goes only a smidge further, if that, and he's crucified eventually, so why not crucify Bruce who has to have been in a similar boat? Is it that he's so damn rich no one would dare to chance the backlash, or is it that they alter everyone just enough later that it would kill them to take down their bad boy who isn't a drop out? Hmm.
  And because my mind is filled with the littered thrown away plots, I wonder what would have happened if Liz had been in her coma longer? Would Jess have gone back to school and been a zombie? Would SVH manage to snub her, or would they rally around her? Would it have made Jess a better person, or would she have rebelled further?
  Totally superficial moment, but the cover has also been one of my favorites for awhile. Or maybe it's simply that the book was purple and that was right smack dab in the middle of my purple frenzy?



the_oracle: (tear)
Power Play
January 1984

The Wakefield twins have taken sides- against each other!

Elizabeth and Jessica in a tug of war...


   Chubby Robin Wilson has been following Jessica around for months. First she wanted to be her friend- now she wants to join Pi Beta Alpha, Sweet Valley High's snobby sorority.
   When Elizabeth, Jessica's twin, nominated Robin for the sorority, Jessica is furious. Robin may be friendly and smart, but she's certainly not beautiful or popular enough to be a Pi Beta. Jessica's determined to find a way to keep Robin out.
   But Elizabeth is just as determined to make Robin a sorority sister. soon the twins are locked in a struggle that develops into the biggest power play at Sweet Valley High...


  Power Play is one of those books where I desperately wish I could find the author, as well as Francine Pascal, and beat the tar out of them. Robin Wilson, prior to her transformation, is an insult to anyone who ever even just knew the fat kid in school, let alone anyone who actually was. Every time you see Robin, she's either kissing ass OR stuffing her face. I'm sure, somewhere, there are kids who stuff their face all the time, but this is just over the top. It's as if that's all they can do to show that poor Robin is never going to be the perfect size six of her idols. Time has given the fat kids the last laugh in that regard, what with sixes being considered big these days, but since that doesn't actually help anything, we won't dwell there.
  So. Robin wants desperately to join PBA, which Jessica has taken control of finally, what with the previous [unnamed, no less] president having suddenly moved. You'd think they'd have someone else, possibly a senior, waiting in the wings, maybe a VP of the sorority, but it seems that would be asking too much. I do wonder if it pisses any of the seniors off that Jessica is somehow the most popular girl in school. Ah, well. Jess has been promising to put Robin up for membership for the last FOREVER, but it's obvious to anyone who isn't Robin that she has NO intention of doing so. So obvious, in fact, that Robin's mother tearfully tries to find a tactful way of asking Liz to step up to the plate. She chickens out, but fear not, Robin has no shame. While stuffing her face on a giant chocolate bar, she asks Liz to help a girl out. Liz agrees, and Robin celebrates with another candy bar. What the f... No. Save it for later.
  Jess comes home to find an overjoyed [and sugar high] Robin leaving to go on a shopping trip with her mother [in which she seems to buy nothing but tent dresses] and immediately becomes suspicious. Liz tells her that she's going to sponsor Robin and thus she'll get into PBA and all is well. Jesus, Liz, by now you should know that you might as well have said, "I double dog dare you to ruin that poor girl's life!" as that's exactly what Jessica heard.
  And so the rest of the book goes. Jessica schemes ways to keep Robin from passing her pledge tasks, and Liz schemes right back, making sure Robin pulls through. Observe:
  First up, Robin has to run around the track five times a day. Liz tells the naysayers [Oi, Patman, I mean you] to shove it, and you know full well she goes daily to cheer Robin on. You just know it. Then Robin has to don a bikini, head to the beach, and play volleyball. So Liz ropes Enid, George, and Todd into helping make Robin's day a little less humiliating. Robin needs to get Bruce Patman to take her to the Discomarathon? Liz bribes him with the promise of an article all about his tennis prowess, complete with photo.
  However, this is where things start to get dicey. Bruce brings Robin, but immediately dumps her, loudly and painfully. Robin attempts to run away, and is once more accosted by the nice Wakefield twin, who sweeps her away to the ladies room, leaving Enid to guard the door. She lies to Robin, telling her that while, sure, she ain't tiny, she's got a lovely face. Only, once Liz looks again, she realizes she actually means it. She expects the old, "sure you're fat, but you have a very pretty face" cliche to work wonders. She seems shocked when it doesn't make Robin's day to hear this. Fuck you, Liz Wakefield. Robin runs away. Liz is torn. Does she prevent her boyfriend from getting suspended for punching Bruce in his all too pretty face, or does she chase after Robin, again?
  Problem solved. She runs into some guy we've never heard of before, and sends him after Robin. Which he does. Because no one dares to ignore an order handed down by one of the twins, I suppose. Thing is, Bruce deserves to get punched. Nothing is ever heard again on that front, by the way. Instead, we follow Allen, the tallest, smartest, and of course, shyest boy at SVH, as he races after Robin. He catches up with her and she rakes him over the coals for daring to come anywhere near her. Heaven forbid someone finally actually gives a damn, Wilson. Realizing that lashing out at Allen makes her no better than Bruce, she tries to apologize, only she makes it worse. They bond over a love of old movies, and Robin convinces Allen to head back into the inferno where they share one awkward dance, before heading home, stars in their eyes.
  Time for the PBA to vote on their three new pledges. I know, three? We find out one of them is Suzanne Hanlon, whom Lila feels is perfect for PBA given that she has access to a Rolls Royce. Riiiight, Lila. One by one the girls drop their marbles.... into a box to decide the fate of poor Robin, not because the Kool Aid was spiked or anything fun. In a move Jessica all but illustrated prior to the meeting, Robin is blackballed. I remember being so shocked that anyone could be so cruel, and yet, wishing I had that kind of power when I first read it. Liz is also shocked, but only because she didn't see it coming. IDIOT. Jess kept dropping all these "cryptic" clues about not being sure that Robin would get in, popularity of the twins and pledge tasks completed notwithstanding. The only logical way to accomplish this would be to vote against her. Oi.
  Jess volunteers to tell Robin the bad news in person, and does so, making even Liz tell her to shut the hell up. Robin freaks out and all but threatens suicide. Then she drops off the radar. Allegedly she's visiting an aunt out of town, but haven't we already played the mysterious aunt card already?

  That's right, it's B story time! All book long, Liz has been noticing Jessica's been sporting some really nice things she could never afford, even if her parents went crazy and gave her free use of their credit card. Liz suspects maybe Jess is stealing, but then dismisses it because Jessica would never do anything so horrible as shoplifting. [Because ruining someone's life on a regular basis is that much better, Liz?] While shopping at the mall, Liz finds a new store, one we'll come to know well. Lisette's is an upscale shop that seems to be run by particularly snooty women. Liz notices a scarf identical to the one Jessica claims Lila gave her, a re-gifted gift from an aunt in New York. Snooty Worker tells Liz that the scarf she's pawing has a twin [get it?] but that it was stolen. Whom exactly did she say she saw with said twin? Liz runs away, cuz that ain't suspicious at all. Next time she's at the mall, looking for a gift for Todd, she watches as Lila actually steals something. GASP! Lila Fowler, the richest girl in all the Valley, is stealing! Go figure. Again, SW thinks Liz is the thief, or hell, maybe she just wanted to talk to Liz. No one knows, since Liz ran away.
  Eventually Liz decides she'll just never say a word to anyone, avoid Lila, and all will be well. Until Liz gets a call from hysterical Lila. It seems Jessica's been busted for shoplifting. Why Jessica? Well, it's possible they thought she was Liz and that Liz was the shoplifter, what with her suspicious behavior at the mall as of late. Liz cons Lila into telling the truth, Jess is busted from mall jail, and Liz tries to convince Mr. Fowler to stop neglecting his only child. Lila hugs Liz, there are warm fuzzies everywhere, and all is well for now.

  Unless you're Robin Wilson. Then you're walking around SVH [yes, she's back!], ignoring everyone. Which is great if you want a laugh at how she snubs the bitchy PBAs, but again, they make Robin out to be a little wacky in the brain. It takes super genius Liz entirely too long to figure out what exactly is different about Robin, but if you're paying any attention whatsoever, it's that Robin is losing a ton of weight. This makes things a little sketchy in the timeline department. If Double Love took about two months, and Playing With Fire took at least a few weeks, we should be deep into November by now, at the very least. But we haven't even hit the homecoming game [never fear, we'll hit that now] and midterm cheerleading tryouts. I swear, this is when you should just check your brain at the door, cuz the timeline is collapsing.
  Now, I only mentioned those because they're crucial to the new Robin Wilson and her plot for revenge. She tries out for the cheering squad, and not only makes it, but makes co-captain. Take that, Wakefield! Bruce Patman is terribly smitten and not even the knowledge that this is the girl he previously referred to as Queen Mary can keep him away. Robin runs for Miss Sweet Valley High, much to the consternation of the rest of PBA, particularly Jessica. Robin wins, gets in another dig at Bruce, and pretty much publicly declares her affection for Allen. Aww. The PBAs try to get Robin to join, but she tells them to kiss her noticeably smaller arse.

Random stuff:

  • Jess is PBA's president. The other one moved suddenly. Right. I'm sure no voodoo dolls or embarrassing rumors were started to help her along.

  • Robin's mother is under the impression that her daughter is on the verge of dropping out.

  • In case you wondered, the beach is 15 minutes from the Wakefield home.

  • Jane Fonda's workout tape is Jessica's workout tape of choice. Who knew?

  • Apparently Liz isn't the only one allowed to call Jessica "Jessie." Lila does so as well. It's cute.

  • Robin overuses "Omigod" this book. If someone tries to con you into a drinking game involving shots for each use, you might as well kiss your liver goodbye.

  • If you're stalking the characters, make note that Liz and Todd are both in Mr. Fellow's History class.

  • Palomar House is the poshest restaurant in the Valley.

  • Louis Westman isn't just another W name for the series, he's also the editor at The Sweet Valley News.

  • Liz gets her first byline in TSVN this go round, apparently for a story about The Football Queen. Like the rest of the Valley gives a damn that Robin won.

  • Apparently, the French, if google is to be believed, changed Robin to Marian. Egads, Brain, she's stolen my name and done dirty things with it!



Quote-tastic:
"Let's share the work," Jessica had said. "You clean the johns, and I'll arrange the flowers." p5
Oh, Robin, if you're Jessica's best friend, Atilla the Hun is the prom King. - Liz, p8
"Run errands for you. Lick your boots."
"Liz Wakefield, you know perfectly well I only use leather cream on my boots."
Liz/Jess 13
That's just my point. I'd have a better chance with a dead superstar than a live Bruce Patman!" -Robin, 38
The combination of human and Bruce Patman almost made Elizabeth gag. 41
Elizabeth shook her head, wondering why she was always the one people turned to when things got tough. 107
"Don't worry, Liz. I've learned how to swim with sharks".- Robin, 126
"Not the whole team. I haven't dated a single boy who isn't on the first string." -Jess 133
Robin Has Us Throbbin', defensive line supports Robin. Dirty!


137, the number of the beast? :
Robin can get carried away four hundred and thirty seven times a day, you know?
She's taking about thirty-seven extra courses.
And everybody knows we have thirty-seven dollars and fifty cents in the treasury, so there's no need for a treasury report.
Oh, my head is going to burst into at least five hundred and thirty-seven pieces!
I encouraged her? If I told her once, I told her eight hundred and thirty-seven times that blimps were not popular people!
Nothing but the usual hundred and thirty-seven disasters and boring business and politics, she said to herself.
Bruce Patman is the jerkiest person in thirty-seven states and Mexico.
Oh, Liz, that nonsense is about seven hundred and thirty-seventh on my list of concerns."







  The last half of the book should have been awesome. And once Robin found a personality, it was. I loved her snarky digs at Jessica and even Liz. When Liz continues to try and stick up for Jess, Robin tells her to stop, and it's kinda awesome. Granted, the "we don't love Jessica" club is getting bigger all the time, it's always nice to hear someone say it aloud. It's rare for anyone in the series who isn't a love interest for one of the twins to tell them off in any way. Robin? Does it quite naturally. Sarcastic and a little bitter suits her much better than desperate wannabe ever did. Which, I suppose, is half the problem of the book. Fat Robin is someone you want to shake almost as much as you want to shake the people behind her. Thin Robin happens too fast if you stop and think about how much time could possibly have passed, but not so much in the context of the book by itself.
  I do have to say this, even though I'm sure I read this as a kid, I don't remember feeling bad about myself after reading this. I just remember thinking Fat Robin was written really poorly and any idiot would have known to go back and fix certain things. Even Saint Liz thinks snarky mean thoughts towards the girl and we're given the most annoying intro EVER:
Though Elizabeth and Jessica certainly didn't have Robin's figure problems, they still watched their diets carefully.
  Why so annoying? It's done immediately after introducing poor Robin. Oi. Also? A bit condescending, really. Almost as bad as Robin sitting down and digging into a whole cherry cheesecake by herself. Come on, let the girl have a giant, supersized slice, don't leave me with this mental picture of her picking at the whole thing. Come on.


  On the other hand, the style the book is written is vastly different from most SVH books. The tone is a bit more tongue-in-cheek and Liz is definitely the star. She gets some great lines, and sometimes Jess is mentioned, but not actually heard on the page. If not for all the Robin munching, I might actually like this book. As it is, skip halfway through and make it easier on yourself. However, whenever Liz claims she's too busy with her Eyes & Ears column to do anything, I wonder if she's on crack. It's a gossip column, and while it might take a little time to figure out how to best word things, you live with one of the biggest gossips in school! Info cannot be difficult to come by, ok?
  Also, anytime Liz refers to the three witches of PBA, I mentally edit it to the "three bitches of PBA." The word you were looking for is not snobs or witches, Liz. It's bitches. Learn it. Love it.
  However, the best part of the book falls somewhere in the middle. Which twin actually did Robin the most damage? Jessica blatantly used her and made no real secret of the fact that she had no intention of inviting Robin to join the sorority. None. I bet if pledge time had come and gone and Robin hadn't been asked to join, she'd have been upset for awhile, probably no longer a minion of the Jessica, but not risked total and complete meltdown. Granted she probably would have missed super gorgeous Robin, but we don't know that for sure. Indignation at being left out could have worked almost as well as complete and total humiliation, but without the memory of Bruce publicly embarrassing her to no end. Liz, however, got Robin's hopes up numerous times and ignored the neon warning signs that screamed someone was going to get hurt. Robin nailed it later on when she mentioned that Liz was already in. She was in the sorority, she's dating one of the most popular guys, she's popular, she's one of the IT girls, so for her, life may not be perfect, but it's easier, so Liz would never understand what PBA meant to Robin, since she didn't need it the same way Robin felt she did. And Liz never does get that, which is about the time my disillusionment with Liz began to worm it's way into my brain. It'd sit and fester for awhile, but this isn't a flattering look for anyone except maybe Allen and sarcastic!Robin.

the_oracle: (tear)
Power Play
January 1984

The Wakefield twins have taken sides- against each other!

Elizabeth and Jessica in a tug of war...


   Chubby Robin Wilson has been following Jessica around for months. First she wanted to be her friend- now she wants to join Pi Beta Alpha, Sweet Valley High's snobby sorority.
   When Elizabeth, Jessica's twin, nominated Robin for the sorority, Jessica is furious. Robin may be friendly and smart, but she's certainly not beautiful or popular enough to be a Pi Beta. Jessica's determined to find a way to keep Robin out.
   But Elizabeth is just as determined to make Robin a sorority sister. soon the twins are locked in a struggle that develops into the biggest power play at Sweet Valley High...


  Power Play is one of those books where I desperately wish I could find the author, as well as Francine Pascal, and beat the tar out of them. Robin Wilson, prior to her transformation, is an insult to anyone who ever even just knew the fat kid in school, let alone anyone who actually was. Every time you see Robin, she's either kissing ass OR stuffing her face. I'm sure, somewhere, there are kids who stuff their face all the time, but this is just over the top. It's as if that's all they can do to show that poor Robin is never going to be the perfect size six of her idols. Time has given the fat kids the last laugh in that regard, what with sixes being considered big these days, but since that doesn't actually help anything, we won't dwell there.
  So. Robin wants desperately to join PBA, which Jessica has taken control of finally, what with the previous [unnamed, no less] president having suddenly moved. You'd think they'd have someone else, possibly a senior, waiting in the wings, maybe a VP of the sorority, but it seems that would be asking too much. I do wonder if it pisses any of the seniors off that Jessica is somehow the most popular girl in school. Ah, well. Jess has been promising to put Robin up for membership for the last FOREVER, but it's obvious to anyone who isn't Robin that she has NO intention of doing so. So obvious, in fact, that Robin's mother tearfully tries to find a tactful way of asking Liz to step up to the plate. She chickens out, but fear not, Robin has no shame. While stuffing her face on a giant chocolate bar, she asks Liz to help a girl out. Liz agrees, and Robin celebrates with another candy bar. What the f... No. Save it for later.
  Jess comes home to find an overjoyed [and sugar high] Robin leaving to go on a shopping trip with her mother [in which she seems to buy nothing but tent dresses] and immediately becomes suspicious. Liz tells her that she's going to sponsor Robin and thus she'll get into PBA and all is well. Jesus, Liz, by now you should know that you might as well have said, "I double dog dare you to ruin that poor girl's life!" as that's exactly what Jessica heard.
  And so the rest of the book goes. Jessica schemes ways to keep Robin from passing her pledge tasks, and Liz schemes right back, making sure Robin pulls through. Observe:
  First up, Robin has to run around the track five times a day. Liz tells the naysayers [Oi, Patman, I mean you] to shove it, and you know full well she goes daily to cheer Robin on. You just know it. Then Robin has to don a bikini, head to the beach, and play volleyball. So Liz ropes Enid, George, and Todd into helping make Robin's day a little less humiliating. Robin needs to get Bruce Patman to take her to the Discomarathon? Liz bribes him with the promise of an article all about his tennis prowess, complete with photo.
  However, this is where things start to get dicey. Bruce brings Robin, but immediately dumps her, loudly and painfully. Robin attempts to run away, and is once more accosted by the nice Wakefield twin, who sweeps her away to the ladies room, leaving Enid to guard the door. She lies to Robin, telling her that while, sure, she ain't tiny, she's got a lovely face. Only, once Liz looks again, she realizes she actually means it. She expects the old, "sure you're fat, but you have a very pretty face" cliche to work wonders. She seems shocked when it doesn't make Robin's day to hear this. Fuck you, Liz Wakefield. Robin runs away. Liz is torn. Does she prevent her boyfriend from getting suspended for punching Bruce in his all too pretty face, or does she chase after Robin, again?
  Problem solved. She runs into some guy we've never heard of before, and sends him after Robin. Which he does. Because no one dares to ignore an order handed down by one of the twins, I suppose. Thing is, Bruce deserves to get punched. Nothing is ever heard again on that front, by the way. Instead, we follow Allen, the tallest, smartest, and of course, shyest boy at SVH, as he races after Robin. He catches up with her and she rakes him over the coals for daring to come anywhere near her. Heaven forbid someone finally actually gives a damn, Wilson. Realizing that lashing out at Allen makes her no better than Bruce, she tries to apologize, only she makes it worse. They bond over a love of old movies, and Robin convinces Allen to head back into the inferno where they share one awkward dance, before heading home, stars in their eyes.
  Time for the PBA to vote on their three new pledges. I know, three? We find out one of them is Suzanne Hanlon, whom Lila feels is perfect for PBA given that she has access to a Rolls Royce. Riiiight, Lila. One by one the girls drop their marbles.... into a box to decide the fate of poor Robin, not because the Kool Aid was spiked or anything fun. In a move Jessica all but illustrated prior to the meeting, Robin is blackballed. I remember being so shocked that anyone could be so cruel, and yet, wishing I had that kind of power when I first read it. Liz is also shocked, but only because she didn't see it coming. IDIOT. Jess kept dropping all these "cryptic" clues about not being sure that Robin would get in, popularity of the twins and pledge tasks completed notwithstanding. The only logical way to accomplish this would be to vote against her. Oi.
  Jess volunteers to tell Robin the bad news in person, and does so, making even Liz tell her to shut the hell up. Robin freaks out and all but threatens suicide. Then she drops off the radar. Allegedly she's visiting an aunt out of town, but haven't we already played the mysterious aunt card already?

  That's right, it's B story time! All book long, Liz has been noticing Jessica's been sporting some really nice things she could never afford, even if her parents went crazy and gave her free use of their credit card. Liz suspects maybe Jess is stealing, but then dismisses it because Jessica would never do anything so horrible as shoplifting. [Because ruining someone's life on a regular basis is that much better, Liz?] While shopping at the mall, Liz finds a new store, one we'll come to know well. Lisette's is an upscale shop that seems to be run by particularly snooty women. Liz notices a scarf identical to the one Jessica claims Lila gave her, a re-gifted gift from an aunt in New York. Snooty Worker tells Liz that the scarf she's pawing has a twin [get it?] but that it was stolen. Whom exactly did she say she saw with said twin? Liz runs away, cuz that ain't suspicious at all. Next time she's at the mall, looking for a gift for Todd, she watches as Lila actually steals something. GASP! Lila Fowler, the richest girl in all the Valley, is stealing! Go figure. Again, SW thinks Liz is the thief, or hell, maybe she just wanted to talk to Liz. No one knows, since Liz ran away.
  Eventually Liz decides she'll just never say a word to anyone, avoid Lila, and all will be well. Until Liz gets a call from hysterical Lila. It seems Jessica's been busted for shoplifting. Why Jessica? Well, it's possible they thought she was Liz and that Liz was the shoplifter, what with her suspicious behavior at the mall as of late. Liz cons Lila into telling the truth, Jess is busted from mall jail, and Liz tries to convince Mr. Fowler to stop neglecting his only child. Lila hugs Liz, there are warm fuzzies everywhere, and all is well for now.

  Unless you're Robin Wilson. Then you're walking around SVH [yes, she's back!], ignoring everyone. Which is great if you want a laugh at how she snubs the bitchy PBAs, but again, they make Robin out to be a little wacky in the brain. It takes super genius Liz entirely too long to figure out what exactly is different about Robin, but if you're paying any attention whatsoever, it's that Robin is losing a ton of weight. This makes things a little sketchy in the timeline department. If Double Love took about two months, and Playing With Fire took at least a few weeks, we should be deep into November by now, at the very least. But we haven't even hit the homecoming game [never fear, we'll hit that now] and midterm cheerleading tryouts. I swear, this is when you should just check your brain at the door, cuz the timeline is collapsing.
  Now, I only mentioned those because they're crucial to the new Robin Wilson and her plot for revenge. She tries out for the cheering squad, and not only makes it, but makes co-captain. Take that, Wakefield! Bruce Patman is terribly smitten and not even the knowledge that this is the girl he previously referred to as Queen Mary can keep him away. Robin runs for Miss Sweet Valley High, much to the consternation of the rest of PBA, particularly Jessica. Robin wins, gets in another dig at Bruce, and pretty much publicly declares her affection for Allen. Aww. The PBAs try to get Robin to join, but she tells them to kiss her noticeably smaller arse.

Random stuff:

  • Jess is PBA's president. The other one moved suddenly. Right. I'm sure no voodoo dolls or embarrassing rumors were started to help her along.

  • Robin's mother is under the impression that her daughter is on the verge of dropping out.

  • In case you wondered, the beach is 15 minutes from the Wakefield home.

  • Jane Fonda's workout tape is Jessica's workout tape of choice. Who knew?

  • Apparently Liz isn't the only one allowed to call Jessica "Jessie." Lila does so as well. It's cute.

  • Robin overuses "Omigod" this book. If someone tries to con you into a drinking game involving shots for each use, you might as well kiss your liver goodbye.

  • If you're stalking the characters, make note that Liz and Todd are both in Mr. Fellow's History class.

  • Palomar House is the poshest restaurant in the Valley.

  • Louis Westman isn't just another W name for the series, he's also the editor at The Sweet Valley News.

  • Liz gets her first byline in TSVN this go round, apparently for a story about The Football Queen. Like the rest of the Valley gives a damn that Robin won.

  • Apparently, the French, if google is to be believed, changed Robin to Marian. Egads, Brain, she's stolen my name and done dirty things with it!



Quote-tastic:
"Let's share the work," Jessica had said. "You clean the johns, and I'll arrange the flowers." p5
Oh, Robin, if you're Jessica's best friend, Atilla the Hun is the prom King. - Liz, p8
"Run errands for you. Lick your boots."
"Liz Wakefield, you know perfectly well I only use leather cream on my boots."
Liz/Jess 13
That's just my point. I'd have a better chance with a dead superstar than a live Bruce Patman!" -Robin, 38
The combination of human and Bruce Patman almost made Elizabeth gag. 41
Elizabeth shook her head, wondering why she was always the one people turned to when things got tough. 107
"Don't worry, Liz. I've learned how to swim with sharks".- Robin, 126
"Not the whole team. I haven't dated a single boy who isn't on the first string." -Jess 133
Robin Has Us Throbbin', defensive line supports Robin. Dirty!


137, the number of the beast? :
Robin can get carried away four hundred and thirty seven times a day, you know?
She's taking about thirty-seven extra courses.
And everybody knows we have thirty-seven dollars and fifty cents in the treasury, so there's no need for a treasury report.
Oh, my head is going to burst into at least five hundred and thirty-seven pieces!
I encouraged her? If I told her once, I told her eight hundred and thirty-seven times that blimps were not popular people!
Nothing but the usual hundred and thirty-seven disasters and boring business and politics, she said to herself.
Bruce Patman is the jerkiest person in thirty-seven states and Mexico.
Oh, Liz, that nonsense is about seven hundred and thirty-seventh on my list of concerns."







  The last half of the book should have been awesome. And once Robin found a personality, it was. I loved her snarky digs at Jessica and even Liz. When Liz continues to try and stick up for Jess, Robin tells her to stop, and it's kinda awesome. Granted, the "we don't love Jessica" club is getting bigger all the time, it's always nice to hear someone say it aloud. It's rare for anyone in the series who isn't a love interest for one of the twins to tell them off in any way. Robin? Does it quite naturally. Sarcastic and a little bitter suits her much better than desperate wannabe ever did. Which, I suppose, is half the problem of the book. Fat Robin is someone you want to shake almost as much as you want to shake the people behind her. Thin Robin happens too fast if you stop and think about how much time could possibly have passed, but not so much in the context of the book by itself.
  I do have to say this, even though I'm sure I read this as a kid, I don't remember feeling bad about myself after reading this. I just remember thinking Fat Robin was written really poorly and any idiot would have known to go back and fix certain things. Even Saint Liz thinks snarky mean thoughts towards the girl and we're given the most annoying intro EVER:
Though Elizabeth and Jessica certainly didn't have Robin's figure problems, they still watched their diets carefully.
  Why so annoying? It's done immediately after introducing poor Robin. Oi. Also? A bit condescending, really. Almost as bad as Robin sitting down and digging into a whole cherry cheesecake by herself. Come on, let the girl have a giant, supersized slice, don't leave me with this mental picture of her picking at the whole thing. Come on.


  On the other hand, the style the book is written is vastly different from most SVH books. The tone is a bit more tongue-in-cheek and Liz is definitely the star. She gets some great lines, and sometimes Jess is mentioned, but not actually heard on the page. If not for all the Robin munching, I might actually like this book. As it is, skip halfway through and make it easier on yourself. However, whenever Liz claims she's too busy with her Eyes & Ears column to do anything, I wonder if she's on crack. It's a gossip column, and while it might take a little time to figure out how to best word things, you live with one of the biggest gossips in school! Info cannot be difficult to come by, ok?
  Also, anytime Liz refers to the three witches of PBA, I mentally edit it to the "three bitches of PBA." The word you were looking for is not snobs or witches, Liz. It's bitches. Learn it. Love it.
  However, the best part of the book falls somewhere in the middle. Which twin actually did Robin the most damage? Jessica blatantly used her and made no real secret of the fact that she had no intention of inviting Robin to join the sorority. None. I bet if pledge time had come and gone and Robin hadn't been asked to join, she'd have been upset for awhile, probably no longer a minion of the Jessica, but not risked total and complete meltdown. Granted she probably would have missed super gorgeous Robin, but we don't know that for sure. Indignation at being left out could have worked almost as well as complete and total humiliation, but without the memory of Bruce publicly embarrassing her to no end. Liz, however, got Robin's hopes up numerous times and ignored the neon warning signs that screamed someone was going to get hurt. Robin nailed it later on when she mentioned that Liz was already in. She was in the sorority, she's dating one of the most popular guys, she's popular, she's one of the IT girls, so for her, life may not be perfect, but it's easier, so Liz would never understand what PBA meant to Robin, since she didn't need it the same way Robin felt she did. And Liz never does get that, which is about the time my disillusionment with Liz began to worm it's way into my brain. It'd sit and fester for awhile, but this isn't a flattering look for anyone except maybe Allen and sarcastic!Robin.

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