the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Boy Trouble
January 1990

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



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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Trivia:

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

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

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

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

  • DeeDee brings 20 shirts to the Crafts Fair.

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

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

  • Pacific College is two hours north of SV.

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

  • Jim has a calculus test Friday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Patty accuses Jim of cheating.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Alice Wakefield usually works til 6pm.

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

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

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

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

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

  • Patty doesn't have dance class on Wednesdays.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






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

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

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

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


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

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



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

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

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


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

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(on the right, hardback)


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

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


Will a normal life make Kristin Thompson happy?
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Just like everyone else...



  Quiet, determined Kristin Thompson knows exactly what she wants from life. Since she was little, she has had one goal-to become a world-class tennis player. Now all she has to do is win one more tournament and she'll qualify to turn professional.
   Then handsome Bruce Patman invites her out and sweeps her off her feet. But there's not enough room in Kristin's life for a boyfriend and professional tennis. She begins to wonder if a romance with Bruce will make her happier than winning the tournament ever could. Will Kristin give up the dream of a lifetime to live like an ordinary teenager?


  Fair warning: Second Chance has never been my favorite book. It has never been my least favorite book. It's one of those books where I forget everything but these key words: Kristin, tennis, star, yawn.

  Not exactly a glowing recommendation. That said, there are good things to be found. If tennis is your thing, (ahem, [livejournal.com profile] luxken27 ) then you're in luck. Tennis terms are thrown around left and right and the matches are detailed enough that I got a little lost, but not so detailed that you begin to wonder if maybe, just maybe, paint drying would be more interesting in the long run. Which means that if I had any idea what they were talking about, I might have either been impressed with them managing not to screw things up, or highly amused at what was wrong. However... not my area. You read it and let me know. I promise to be impressed.

  Kristin Thompson is a tennis star. She's so good that she practices every day to the exclusion of just about everything else in life. While she seems to have no friends, at all, she's nice enough to Elizabeth and Jeffrey, and neither makes any comment about her other than "talented and driven."
   Thing is, Kristin's not so sure she wants to be quite so driven anymore. When she was younger, her parents asked if she was sure tennis was what she wanted. It was. When her mother died on her way to Wimbledon (no. Really. I mean it.), Kristin gave tennis up for awhile, then picked it up again and really, really pushed herself. Since then, no one's bothered to make sure she didn't change her mind because kids are notorious for never changing their minds about the little things, let alone something big like What I Want To Be When I Grow Up. Never, ever.
  When Liz invites her to the beach in the previous book, Kristin begins to wonder about life outside the compound tennis. There are friends and days at the beach, and possibly not going to bed sore all the time. Also, there's this newfangled invention called a "boyfriend" and she's reasonably sure she'd like to have one of those, if it's not too much trouble.
  Still, those things require work and time, and Kristin's not exactly big on excess time. Once again, Elizabeth asks Kristin if she wants to join the world outside and mentor a little girl named Emily. Kristin's all set to say no way in hell (no time!) when Liz says that Emily's mother died recently and tennis is the only thing the little girl seems interested in. How convenient. Kristin decides to move heaven and hell to work the kid into her schedule.

   Due to her coach, Dorrie, having a doctor's appointment, Kristin suddenly has a free hour to do whatever she wants. For a second she considers going to the beach, but then realizes it's not really enough time for that. She wanders over to the tennis courts at school (of course she does) and after a few minutes Jessica is betting that Kristin could kick Bruce Patman's ass in tennis. Duh. This should be a no brainer, right?
  Still, Bruce's ego has never met anything in a short skirt that it doesn't think it could handle, so he sweet talks her into a match. Shortly into it, Kristin thinks to herself that Bruce will be humiliated when he loses to a girl, so she throws the game. WTF, Thompson. You're a motherfucking pro and you want to lose to him?
  Thing is, for one glorious second it appears that Bruce knows what she did for him, and for that one second you think maybe he's less of an ass than usual.
   But no. He starts chasing after Kristin who shows remarkable restraint. She figures out pretty early on that Bruce is more interested in Bruce than he is in Kristin, but every time she's about to tell him she's going to be busy for the rest of forever, her father or someone makes a comment about how she doesn't have time for this crap. Then she rebels by going out with Bruce.

  I love that for the most part, she keeps him on his toes to the point where he doesn't even freakin' bother trying to keep up. He just can't stand letting her walk away, so he chases again when it's convenient for him.

  Kristin's been in training for the Avery Cup and trying to make it to Nick Wylie's team (and every time his name comes up, I read it as Noah Wylie) for... I don't know. It's an honor and a good thing and it means she's officially a pro or something. Whatever. Thing is, she's so shaken up by Bruce and the fights with her father that she keeps sucking spectacularly in her games/matches. Eventually she loses her shot at the team, but she tells Bruce off and things are good.

   Our B-plot concerns... Kristin. WTF, man. Kristin and her 'little sister' Emily. They play a lot of tennis together and when Kristin loses her shot at Wylie's team, she's worried that when she tells Emily, Em will be disappointed in her. Turns out Emily has bad news of her own. Emily tried out for a tennis camp and managed to blow her shot even bigger than Kristin did, saying she knew what she was doing was wrong even as she kept doing it. Then she tells Kristin that she'll understand if K doesn't want to be her big sister anymore.

  BAM. Kristin realizes that all this time she's been worrying for nothing. Her father loves her and would want her to be happy, even if that meant no tennis anymore. That her mother wouldn't want her to carry on doing something out of obligation. That failure is an option and not the end of the world. Because of course Kristin still likes Emily, tennis camp or not.

  Gotta say, I feel bad for the kids who thought this message was true only to find out that their parents did have a conditional sort of love. You know at least one of them had to have this problem... Anyway.

  Kristin and her dad talk it out, good times are had, and then Kristin gets a call. From Nick Wylie. Turns out Sharon twisted her ankle and cant compete for at least a month and a half, would K like to take her place? DUH.
  Happy ending there.

  PLUS, Kristin's coach who is always hanging around for whatever reason (because she's not only Kristin's coach, but the former Mrs. Thompson's best friend and doubles partner) and Mr. Thompson are in love. Probably. Not entirely sure because it's alluded to, but we're never given confirmation even though right after Mr. T sort of confesses, Kristin is all, "I'm so happy we can talk like this, so openly!" Dude, you didn't even let Daddy tell you whether he and Dorrie were still in like or had moved beyond that to stepmommy on the horizon. Some of us like to know these things, damn it!


   We set the scene for the next book (Jessica wants to be any sort of queen, and yes, you can make your own obvious joke... _now_), and I may or may not be dragging my feet because it means A.J. is toast.


Trivia:


  • Allison Post is described as a mini-Jessica. That said, apparently a strict diet of shopping and beach-time isn't enough for Allison as she seems a bit envious of other people's big sisters.

  • Jade Wu is paired with a wannabe dancer.

  • Lynne Henry, Maria Santelli, Olivia, Dee Dee, Cara, Caroline, Kristin, Jade, Liz, Enid, and Jessica all take part in the Big Sisters program.

  • Jessica takes credit for the program when telling A.J. about it.

  • Emily Brown is Kristin's little sister. She's nine and her mother died in a car crash last year. The only thing she seems interested in these days is tennis. She's small for her age, with smooth brown hair that's cut fairly short, dark brown eyes, and a shy, closed off expression.

  • Kristin is in Enid's math class.

  • Kristin's English paper is on The American Dream.

  • Apparently lunch @ SVH is an hour long. Jealous. Ours were shorter. Unless you had study period for third period and then, I don't know, cut study hall to eat lunch with your friends during their lunches...

  • Kristin's lunch period is at noon.

  • Kristin gets up at 6am to jog, lift weights, or run sprints. Then she goes to school, and after she meets Dorrie at the tennis club. They practice until dinner, then around 8:30/9pm she does her homework until lights out at 10:30.

  • Dorrie Graham is Kristin's tennis coach. She's 38, strikingly attractive with black hair (completely with grey streaks), and blue eyes. She was also Elise Randall Thompson's best friend and pro-doubles partner.

  • Kristin wants to qualify to play the Avery Cup on Nick Wylie's pro circuit tennis team.

  • Kristin has short auburn hair and wide set hazel eyes. Her favorite ice cream is double cheesecake with nuts. She's got a royal blue ten-speed, and practices four hours a day. Her mother died in a plane crash when Kristin was seven years old.

  • Neil Thompson owns several tennis clubs and is a partner in a tennis club outside San Diego. He went to Stamford.

  • Elise Randall, Kristin's mother, won the Us Open and died less than a year afterward. Made winning look effortless, married Neil when she was 19, upon graduation, borrowed money and opened their first tennis club together. Died en route to Wimbledon when her plane crashed into the Atlantic.

  • Kristin normally meets Dorrie at 3:30.

  • Bruce was playing against Adam Tyner and stomping Adam's ass.

  • Kristin advises Bruce to keep his harm completely straight on his backhand, to take only one step when serving instead of the two he has been taking, and to never, ever take his eye off the ball.

  • The first qualifying round for the Avery Cup is on Tuesday.

  • Bruce has a car phone and a big deal is made about compact discs.

  • Betsy Webber is Kristin's first opponent. She wins the first game, 7-5, Kristin barely wins the second set.

  • Wendy Gibson is the fifth seed

  • Jess, Allison, Elizabeth, and Kim (Liz's little sister) have a contest to see which pair of Bigs/Littles can make the most and best cookies. Jess and Allison make 50 cookies, but by omitting crucial ingredients, their cookies come out strangely pale and taste disgusting. While Liz and Kim only made three dozen cookies, theirs taste like cookies. Winners decide to help the losers clean up the messy kitchen.

  • When Kristin plays against Sharon, she wins the first game at 6-2, then loses the second 4-6, while the third game ends in a tie of 6-6. Sharon wins the tie-breaker and the slot on Nick's pro team.

  • Poor Sharon Owens sprains her ankle at the start of the Avery Cup (her second match) and Kristin is tapped as the new alternate to take her place.

  • Since when is the elementary school called Sweet Valley Grammar School?

  • Rachel Rose is a small, wiry, girl with dark, frizzy hair, and is expected to kick Kristin's ass during their match. Instead Kristin realizes that Rachel has no backhand and wins the match.

  • Longview Club was hosting the tournament.

  • Liz, Jeff, Jess, AJ, Enid, Bruce, Kim, Winston, and Amy all turn out to see Kristin kick Rachel's ass. 4-6 (Rachel won), 6-2, 6-4.

  • The Good Samaritans are business people who meet weekly for social and professional reasons. They're sponsoring a contest wherein students write about Sweet Valley in the Year 2000. The winner gets a $100 gift certificate to Laughton's, a downtown bookstore, a medal of honor, and becomes the king or queen of the Citizen's Day Ball.



Quote Me:

  "Hey, Jess," Cara teased, "remember who you're talking to. Kristin's ball boys are better tennis players than Bruce Patman is!" - point and match, Walker. p36

   The Patmans seemed to have an unlimited amount of money, and Kristin was beginning to suspect that Bruce had an unlimited ego as well. - What gave it away, Kristin? p 56

  Jessica and Lila exchanged glances. Bruce had dated Amy a few times in the past, but she'd acted as if they'd had a real relationship. Bruce had only ever seriously dated one girl, Regina Morrow, and her tragic death from trying cocaine had affected the whole school. Now Bruce was back to playing the field, but the merest suggestion that he might be interested in someone else was enough to drive Amy crazy. - p 77

  He acted as if she was the first girl who had ever criticized him! Well, if that was true, she hoped she had started a much needed trend. - Nice, Kristin. Next time, though, pour a drink on his head and push him into a pool or something, too. p 102


Photobucket


   I just re-read this book (twice, actually) and in the couple of weeks it's been since I finished it, I've managed to forget, I don't know, 80% of it. Part of this may be due to the massive sinus infection/cold/whatever weird bug my nephew picked up at school and then shared that initially delayed this being reviewed. But part of it is... Kristin. Tennis. STAR.

Yawn?

:P

  Bruce manages to maintain a very shallow personality while still giving glimpses to the more interesting guy underneath, but as Regina proved, Good!Bruce is a little too dull and bad!Bruce is a little too jerkish for my tastes. I love that little bit about Amy being totally delusional as to how important her dates with Bruce were. Also, sometimes I wonder what Regina's death was like for the fringe students at the school. Did it really affect them, or are we to just care about the A-list?

  Also, apparently this is one of the later additions to my library because it's got the mark of the my former favorite used bookstore that stopped carrying SVH last year. Odds are good it wasn't added until just before then since it was never really high on my "must own!" list. I also want to say it's one of the few SVH books the library still carries. Hmm.
the_oracle: (tear)
Outcast
November 1987


Will anyone ever speak to Molly Hecht again?

No one to turn to...


   Ever since Regina Morrow's tragic death at Molly Hecht's party, everyone has been treating Molly as if she has the plague. Nobody at school wants to talk to her, her parents have permanently grounded her, and even her good friend Justin Belson is avoiding her. Every time Molly tries to make amends, nobody will listen.

   So when Buzz, a drug dealer who's hiding from the police, calls Molly and announces he's leaving town, she's more than ready to go with him. She'd rather flee to Mexico with Buzz than walk the halls of Sweet Valley High alone. Only Elizabeth senses that Molly is troubled, but even she may be too late to stop her from running away with a fugitive.


   Sorry this took so long, but I kept having to stop for fear that I might actually have a heart attack myself from the sheer mind numbing pain of it all. Which is weird, as I don't remember having that exact problem the first time I read it. Of course, I was skimming while trying to do something else at the same time, so that probably explains it, at least a little.

  The setup is simple. Molly Hecht has been made public enemy #1 at SVH. Everyone, including the teachers, blames her for Regina's death, at least in some small way. Everyone. Annnnnnd... I'm supposed to care because...?

   Now, on with the show. The book begins at Regina's memorial, where Nicholas has brought the house down with his heartfelt reading of one of Regina's favorite poems. Liz is wandering around backstage [even if it isn't literally backstage, that's how it comes across] and she comes across Bruce and Amy who are holding hands. Hell, if Bruce weren't known for thinking with his hormones first and foremost, I might even say he's not really aware of this at all. Amy, however, is looking defiant in her public declaration of affection for the dearly departed's recent ex. Classy, Sutton. Class-y. Liz comforts Bruce as best she can and tells him that he's a total asshole been forgiven. Regina didn't hold any ill will toward either of them. Sadly, one of the best moments happens right on page four.
  Amy looks deep into Elizabeth's soul, and for one brief, shining moment, we see a glimpse of the old Amy. Sweet, vulnerable, not a complete raging hormonal bitch, but someone who realizes that they might be held accountable for their actions and is afraid of what might happen... She asks if Liz is telling the truth, and when Liz assures her she is, their moment is lost forever. Oh, okay, fine, it's also the info dump for Amy/Liz-the tween years, but it's also a fairly nice moment all the same.

   After the memorial, Jeffrey drives Elizabeth home, and for a second you can hear my nine year old self sighing, and we notice that Ned's ugly ass car is home, as is Alice's car, and hell, even Steven's there. Before the grief overcomes them both, Jessica pulls up in the Fiat and the twins clasp hands, share their strength, and head inside as we marvel at how two identical people on the outside could be so different on the inside, and yet still both be torn by the loss of one friend. You know, glossing over the fact that Jessica was all for Regina's heartbreak being a spectator sport a week ago.

   If you thought the Wakefields were home just to comfort their daughters after a close friend died, you thought wrong. There's a mention of Regina's untimely death, but mostly it's, "Drugs! Bad! Don't do them!" I did like the way Steven pointed out that he understood how they felt given Regina's death, what with Tricia's death not being all that long ago. Then it's buried under some seriously heavy-handed don't do drugs stuff, and the moment is lost. Jessica vows to do something for Regina's memory, probably to help clear the guilt she's feeling away. This is also how Jessica deals with death. If she liked you, she does something to immortalize you in some way. Regina gets her Super Duper Secret Wait Til Later To Be Told Project and Sam will later get that bike rally. Like I said, it's Jessica's way.

   We flicker to Justin and he's realizing he royally fucked things up. Had he managed to get Molly out of his system properly, he wouldn't have taken Regina to the party, she'd still be alive, and maybe things wouldn't be so screwed up right now. He does a bit of raging against life and the irony of it all, thinking that things had finally turned a corner, only to have it be the same old crap, different day.
  So, Justin vows that to make things right, to keep this from ever happening again, he will finally cut all ties with his past. Including, ESPECIALLY, Molly. She's no good for him and you know, I kind of have to agree. He seems to have kicked any drug problem he might have had. She hasn't. While he hangs out at Kelly's drinking illegally, he doesn't seem to get drunk and whine about it so that I have to read about it. She's inviting Buzz over and still talking to him after Regina's death because she's just that conflicted. Justin seems to feel badly about Regina's death and not just how it affects him, but also how awful it is that she's not around anymore. Molly? Molly seems bothered that Regina happened to die at HER party. Not that someone died, just that by dying, it's seriously fucked her life up. Justin manages to capture my sympathy.

   Molly, however, does not. And since this is Molly's book, this is a problem.

   Backstory for Molly, or at least what we've been given. Her parents divorced and I gather it wasn't all that long ago. More than a year, but less than say, 15 years ago. Molly's parents don't seem to have an especially horrible relationship, but it doesn't seem to be all sunshine and roses since she's a bit bothered that it took hating on her to get her parents to agree on much of anything. But, at the same time, her father seems to be staying at the house after Molly's little party turned lethal, and there's no subsequent mention of her parents trying to kill each other, so they must be a little more than merely civil.
  The point is, I can feel bad for her in that her parents split up and that can't be easy. It's sort of implied that this is what set her down her road of questionable decisions, but never clearly stated. Her parents also seem to be kind of jerks, but then, they aren't painted with the same rainbow sparkles that Ned and Alice are, so maybe it's just that Molly thinks they are and so we see them that way. Truthfully, I can't blame them for not being warm and fuzzy towards their daughter after one of the richest teenagers in the city [town?] overdosed in their living room. My parents would have killed me.
  Instead, hers refuse to let her switch schools, drop out, or move to her father's to avoid the repercussions of her actions. They're waiting for someone to lead the lynch mob straight to Molly's locker and be done with her. Fair enough. You did the crime, the cops aren't making you do jail time, so you do your time in the school system that's going to make you wish you'd gone to jail. Tough love, baby. And I don't particularly fault them for it.

   Woe is Molly. Her parents are being total hardasses about this going to school and coming back in a reasonable amount of time thing. No one at school will talk to her. Everyone blames her for Regina's death. Hell, Molly says she does, too, but for someone claiming to take the blame, she's awfully fucking stupid. Days after Regina's death she tries to approach Elizabeth Wakefield, hoping for the absolution of the ever forgiving divine one. She waits until Jeffrey leaves and then makes her move. Liz, being polite and a little less saintly, doesn't run away, but she doesn't put on her Concerned!Face and immediately offer comfort. Instead she asks what Molly wants, very polite if a little strained, and Molly fumbles around. Understandable. A minute or two passes and Molly tries to string a semi-coherent thought together, but Saint Liz can't do this anymore. She tries to leave once more and Molly begs her not to hate her. And my heart breaks a little at this:


Elizabeth shook her head, her eyes bright with unshed tears, and took another step down. "I'm sorry, Molly, I can't talk to you."
"Liz! Please, don't-don't hate me," Molly begged pitifully.
There was a long pause. "I don't hate you, Molly," Elizabeth whispered. "But I loved Regina."


   It has it's flaws, but it's also the most polite way of breaking my heart and telling Molly to leave her alone all at once.
   Distraught, Molly flees the scene of her humiliation. She all but runs through town [city?] and ends up at the cemetery without even meaning to. She decides that since Liz cannot stand to see her, she hasn't a chance in hell with the other person she'd planned on begging forgiveness from [Regina's family, Nicholas to be exact] so instead she'll throw herself on Regina's mercy and confess her sins or something at Regina's grave. Oh, tear.
   Except Regina's grave is currently being visited by Nicholas Morrow, who is grieving in a way that's a little creepy and mostly realistic, given how he's been written to date. When Nicholas hears a twig snap, he goes to find out who has been spying on his grief. When he sees Molly, he flips the fuck out. "You killed my sister!" And with that, Molly is banished, and someone finally says the words I've been itching to hear this entire time. Someone flat out calls Molly a murderer to her Allison Sugarbaker face. SCORE.

   Now, remember Jessica's super-secret-plan? Well, she's decided that in memory of Regina, PBA should start a college scholarship fund for the truly needy at SVH. She figures that within a year they can raise a few thousand dollars and this way Regina's memory will live on each time someone is nominated and then when someone wins. At first everyone's overwhelmed by the amount of money they'd need to raise, as well as the logistics of the whole thing, but Lila steps up and says her father will donate a ton, and as if that weren't enough, she'll hit up the country club because everyone there knew Regina.
  True, but are the rich and spoiled of the Southern California area really going to throw money at a scholarship created for a girl who died of a cocaine overdose? Especially given the rich bitches we've met at the CC, like Gordon Stoddard's parents. I'm just saying...
   Anyway, with Lila's backing, the rest of PBA begins throwing fund raising ideas out like crazy. Still, Jessica's worried about the logistics of the whole thing and asks her parents to help her figure something out. Ned does her one better and suggests that his firm handle all the money and paperwork and basically everything she was worried about. I know people elsewhere, particularly 1bruce1 [love!], ask this all the time, but what in the fuck kind of lawyer IS Ned? I could see him having friends who could help out, sure, but always being able to do whatever lawyer-y thing is required? That's just... mind boggling. I know the series is written for younger girls, but is it also written BY them? You know, like when Doctor Barbie can do EVERYTHING because you've only got the four dolls, and one of them is missing a head so really, your choices are seriously limited? Good lord.

  Now, where were we? Oh, yes. Molly's wallowing in self pity when she gets a call from Buzz, our friendly neighborhood coke/heroin dealer. He lays it on with a trowel. How is she, doesn't everyone suck for holding her accountable for Regina's actions, isn't she lonely, does she miss him, he misses her, gosh, if only they could meet...
  And so they do, outside of Kelly's. You'd think the cops would have Kelly's on their radar, but maybe Mr. Fowler is right. Maybe the SVPD really does suck. Again, Buzz is so obvious that I'm thinking all that coke Molly's done has killed all her braincells. Imagine, if you will, if someone came up to you with this:
  Hey, baby. I've missed you. Sucks that everyone's on your case. By the way, I think I like you. So, that kiss was great for me, even though I saw you recoil from it and all, but uh, listen, I've got to get out of town. I know, baby, it sucks that we've finally found each other and all, but the cops... well, you know what they're like. Say, hey, got any money? You do? Could you, I dunno, withdraw all of it? You could? Fab! Maybe we could... well, no. I couldn't ask. Ask what? Well, we could run away. Sure. You go the bank, take all YOUR money out, then WE'LL run away, but you'll only be gone a few days. I'll keep the rest of your cash. Sound good? Awesome. Now get the fuck out of my car, skank.

  That is pretty much how the Buzz convo went, but a little more fun. And Molly agrees because OMG, if you missed it, the last few days have been HORRIBLE for her. Because she helped kill a girl.
  You see my problem with feeling bad for her, right?
  Yes?
  No?
  Bah.

  Anyway, Liz gets to thinking and she feels as if her halo is tarnished now that she's turned her back on someone for entirely justifiable reasons. She and Jeffrey chatter and he points out that it's okay to not want to talk to Molly, it doesn't make Liz anything but human... and Liz cannot have this. She's a saint, damn it, and she's going to rectify this!
  Only she still can't talk to Molly without wanting to weep for Regina's loss. So she decides that Justin would make an excellent replacement Saint. Except when she calls him [during the middle of her date with Jeffrey!] Justin tells her to go fuck herself. He's worked hard to distance himself from that pariah and Liz doesn't know a damn thing about what she's talking about. Which is true. Liz knows less than Regina knew about Justin's life, and we really don't know why Justin and Molly broke up, other than they eventually did not see eye-to-eye on the drug situation. Whatever, he's got his reasons and it's incredibly rude of Elizabeth to just assume Justin will do what Elizabeth cannot bring herself to do.
  So Liz worries. Nicholas comes over the next morning and Jessica brightens at the sight of him, and I know it's stupid, but I always feel for her when Nicholas so blatantly ignores her the second Liz glides into the room. I'm also painfully proud of the series for never having him come around to the Jessica way of thinking, although I'm not sure they would have made an absolutely horrid couple.
   Enough fantasy, back to the fictional reality. Liz and Nicholas discuss how he was dreadful to Molly [mock? Me? Neverrrrrrrr] and Liz sort of, but not really, cops to being less than sweet with Molly herself. I love that he's flogging himself for being completely upset, and she won't even volunteer her story to make him feel slightly better. God, Liz, that's how this game is played.
  Nicholas asks Elizabeth to tell Molly he's sorry and Elizabeth sort of agrees, but doesn't actually do it.

  Blah blah blah, I started to die here from sheer annoyance and boredom all at the same time, so things get fuzzy. Molly goes to the bank, tries to close her account but gets pissed when she's told she has to fill out paperwork to do that.
  Molly: Well, what if I don't take out everything. Would I still have to fill out the papers then?
  Clerk: You wouldn't be closing out your account then, now would you? *IDIOT thought bubble*

  Molly takes out everything but fourteen bucks and some change and then runs into Liz. Because Liz is everywhere. For those of you who now have the SVH themesong stuck your head, I truly do apologize. For those that don't, I'm jealous.
  Somewhere in this muck Liz is writing up an article about the PBA scholarship and there's a discussion about how horribly everyone is treating Molly and for the briefest second we're told how hard this must be on Olivia, since she spent a lot of time with Bruce/Regina, and how the two were close. Poor Liv. Your pain is cut off by the appearance of Mr. Collins who blathers on about how people are perfectly justified in thinking Molly is a murderous bitch, but that they should also realize how hard this is on her and maybe if people like Jessica Fucking Wakefield would stop going around being such bitches, well, things might not be so bad. I really can't tell how he manages to admit he holds Molly accountable for Regina's death and still gives Jessica grief for voicing the same opinion. However, before my mind imploded, there was a note about how Jessica's tendency to blurt out her misguided opinions really does embarrass her twin more often than not. Score!

  Justin's been looking for Molly after another chat with Liz, but he's having as much trouble finding her as Nicholas did trying to save Regina. Only with detention and whatnot instead of a trip to county lockup. Liz gets a hold of him and tells him that Molly's been to the bank and taken out a huge wad of fifties and this just cannot be good. Justin finds Molly and Buzz and there's this whole big fight scene and it ends with Buzz having a glass jaw.
  Molly and Justin are reunited, Liz is vindicated and reestablishes herself as a saint when she tells Molly that she's a shoo-in for the Regina Scholarship next year, and I die horribly at all of this crap.*
  There's the lead in to #42, with Sandra Bacon [god, why is she Bacon? Kevin Bacon tie-in?] annnnnd her lovey dovey Manuel, but her parents are racist and nothing good will come of this to the point that even Cara and Jessica know this.
  But what really brings me back to life is the knowledge that the next actual book is the first thriller. THANK YOU, GOD.


Trivia:

  • Liz absolves Amy and Bruce at the memorial, and then she and Amy have a soul searching moment.

  • Steve claims that it was Tricia's death that caused Betsy to turn to drugs, but in reality [and the dumbass should know this] her death caused Betsy to KICK her habit. Tricia's illness, however, accelerated Betsy's drug usage. Fail, ghosty.

  • The PBA meeting about Regina's memorial is held in the Language Lab at lunch.

  • At the meeting, Maria Santelli breaks down and Jeannie West comforts her.

  • The night Jessica asks her parents for help with the memorial, they've just had Chinese for dinner. Everyone. Including Ned. Numerous times have we been told he can't/won't eat it and suddenly it's delicious? Pod person!

  • Speaking of Ned, does he work at the SV branch of Wolfram and Heart because damn, his firm does it all.

  • Nicholas blames Molly for Regina's death. SCORE.

  • Lila is the first to step up at the meeting and offer a fund raising idea. Namely, her daddy's checkbook is theirs. Then she offers up the checkbooks of the SV Country Club members. Susan can get her hands on "a lot of movies that we can charge admission for." Other ideas include: getting stores to donate merchandise for raffles. Ads in the newspaper, telethon on public access TV, car washes, bake sales, door-to-door solicitation, though probably not in the prostitution sort of way.

  • After Nicholas reads one of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poems at the memorial, Liz goes to find more and is reminded most of Regina when she reads "Time does not bring relief, you all have lied."

  • Liz also admits that she keeps expecting to see Regina.

  • Jessica's fortune cookie read: Today is a good day to make plans.

  • Justin's mother's name is Claire Belson.

  • Molly's mother has a two hour commute to work, which means she has to leave at 6am. This also means she goes to sleep fairly early. But if she's home at 3 in the afternoon, she has a very, very short work day...

  • Molly's home is a one story ranch house, meaning she can sneak out her window without fear of a Pollyanna moment.

  • Molly hitchhikes to Kelly's so she can meet Buzz in the parking lot at 10pm. Cuz that's not dangerous at all.

  • Nicholas uses the Wakefield's backdoor more than anyone else, except maybe Alice. Weird.

  • Justin has a five page paper due on Hamlet's soliloquy, and Liz offers to help. In exchange, if he could just talk to that strung out Molly so Liz doesn't have to...?

  • According to Sandy's parents, Sweet Valley is "overrun with immigrants." Ah, lovely.

  • Molly has $2,314.83 in her account at Union Bank. She withdraws $2,300 so she won't have to fill out paperwork. Then she gets it all in fifties. Oi.

  • Molly has American History in room 211.

  • Justin gets busted by Chrome Dome waiting for Molly outside of her American History class. D'oh!

  • Buzz takes Route 7 South out of town because hardly anyone uses it. And because he's running to Mexico.

  • This book takes place over less than two weeks. That's right, Molly breaks in record time.




Quotable SVH:

  Now, for the first time since Amy's return, Elizabeth felt as if they were looking straight into each other's hearts. - after Liz tells Bruce and Amy that Regina didn't blame them anymore, p4

  It was well known that Elizabeth Wakefield could be counted on as sympathetic, honest, and scrupulously fair. - Molly thinks this while debating asking Liz for forgiveness or to understand how bad Molly feels. I snorted my soda at this. p 44

  "Haven't you done enough damage already? Do you have to make it worse by coming here and-and-" Nicholas was yelling now, outraged by her presence.
  "Nicholas-I-"
  "Get out of here!" he screamed, raising one hand as if to hit her. "Get out of here and leave us alone! You killed my sister! You killed her!" - Finally, something that resembles an honest emotion from a SV character. p 50

  "And I think she really needs a friend right now. She's feeling pretty isolated."
  There was silence on the other end.
  "Justin?"
  "What are you asking me for? She's no friend of mine."
  Elizabeth pulled nervously at her gold lavaliere. "Well, you used to be close, didn't you, Justin? I mean maybe she's been acting-I don't know, pretty wild lately-"
  "Pretty wild? Elizabeth, I don't think you have any idea what you're talking about." - Justin speaks true. So very, very true. p67

  Just then Elizabeth pushed open the door from the hall.
  "Nicholas!"
  Instantly he leaped to his feet and Jessica knew she had been forgotten. - It's not often I feel truly sorry for Jess, but this is one of those times. p86

  Molly felt her face grow hard. Why was it that when Elizabeth talked to Justin, he listened, but when Molly did, he bolted like a frightened rabbit? Her eyes narrowed with a rage she didn't know she could feel.
  "No, thanks. I've been your scapegoat long enough, Elizabeth. So you can take your talking and shove it." - Do I really need to say anything? p 113

  It hurt her sometimes that her sister could be insensitive to other people. and it hurt her that she hadn't been able to make Jessica understand. - Liz occasionally is embarrassed by her twin's lack of moral compass and empathy. Who knew? p 127




  *- Normally I love my SVH. I do. Lots of things grate, obviously, but for the most part, I love the series. But this book drove me absolutely insane. You might have noticed. I suspect that I've never actually read 40 and then 41 back to back and doing so makes my head hurt because it takes two weeks from Regina's death until Molly's redemption and that's just beyond unrealistic, even for this series.
   Also, Molly should be relatable, but they never actually make her so. The pieces are mostly there, but they never quite add up to anything more than a really annoying teenager unable to accept that they played a part in a horrible accident that cost someone their life. It's all about how Regina's death fucked her over, not that in addition to someone. is. dead. That's all you'd have to add for me to feel the love. I don't expect fantastic things of these guys. Be bitchy and cruel and petty. It's realistic! But if I'm supposed to give a right royal damn, I'd like you to show you're a semi decent fictional human being, too.
   Unless you're a psychopath like Margo, but really, she's in a class by herself.

  I do have to wonder: Where the hell are Jan and her boyfriend? Why aren't they even mentioned in any of the nasty remarks other people made? Did they go to jail? Were they sent to another school? Did the cops kill them, dump their bodies in the ocean, and hope that we wouldn't notice? Because Molly's suddenly friendless and in the last book she at least had Jan. Not that Jan was a prize, mind you, but she did exist. I'm so... confused.

  There are a few gems littered throughout the book that keep it from being a complete headache, and I think I love them more for that. Go figure. you tried, Outcast. You really did. You just forgot to have a little heart thrown in, that's all.
  So now I resume trying to figure out who the hell the girls gossiping being Molly's back on the cover are. Cuz, whoa, if this didn't have the traditional SVH logo, I'd assume it was something else entirely.

the_oracle: (tear)
Outcast
November 1987


Will anyone ever speak to Molly Hecht again?

No one to turn to...


   Ever since Regina Morrow's tragic death at Molly Hecht's party, everyone has been treating Molly as if she has the plague. Nobody at school wants to talk to her, her parents have permanently grounded her, and even her good friend Justin Belson is avoiding her. Every time Molly tries to make amends, nobody will listen.

   So when Buzz, a drug dealer who's hiding from the police, calls Molly and announces he's leaving town, she's more than ready to go with him. She'd rather flee to Mexico with Buzz than walk the halls of Sweet Valley High alone. Only Elizabeth senses that Molly is troubled, but even she may be too late to stop her from running away with a fugitive.


   Sorry this took so long, but I kept having to stop for fear that I might actually have a heart attack myself from the sheer mind numbing pain of it all. Which is weird, as I don't remember having that exact problem the first time I read it. Of course, I was skimming while trying to do something else at the same time, so that probably explains it, at least a little.

  The setup is simple. Molly Hecht has been made public enemy #1 at SVH. Everyone, including the teachers, blames her for Regina's death, at least in some small way. Everyone. Annnnnnd... I'm supposed to care because...?

   Now, on with the show. The book begins at Regina's memorial, where Nicholas has brought the house down with his heartfelt reading of one of Regina's favorite poems. Liz is wandering around backstage [even if it isn't literally backstage, that's how it comes across] and she comes across Bruce and Amy who are holding hands. Hell, if Bruce weren't known for thinking with his hormones first and foremost, I might even say he's not really aware of this at all. Amy, however, is looking defiant in her public declaration of affection for the dearly departed's recent ex. Classy, Sutton. Class-y. Liz comforts Bruce as best she can and tells him that he's a total asshole been forgiven. Regina didn't hold any ill will toward either of them. Sadly, one of the best moments happens right on page four.
  Amy looks deep into Elizabeth's soul, and for one brief, shining moment, we see a glimpse of the old Amy. Sweet, vulnerable, not a complete raging hormonal bitch, but someone who realizes that they might be held accountable for their actions and is afraid of what might happen... She asks if Liz is telling the truth, and when Liz assures her she is, their moment is lost forever. Oh, okay, fine, it's also the info dump for Amy/Liz-the tween years, but it's also a fairly nice moment all the same.

   After the memorial, Jeffrey drives Elizabeth home, and for a second you can hear my nine year old self sighing, and we notice that Ned's ugly ass car is home, as is Alice's car, and hell, even Steven's there. Before the grief overcomes them both, Jessica pulls up in the Fiat and the twins clasp hands, share their strength, and head inside as we marvel at how two identical people on the outside could be so different on the inside, and yet still both be torn by the loss of one friend. You know, glossing over the fact that Jessica was all for Regina's heartbreak being a spectator sport a week ago.

   If you thought the Wakefields were home just to comfort their daughters after a close friend died, you thought wrong. There's a mention of Regina's untimely death, but mostly it's, "Drugs! Bad! Don't do them!" I did like the way Steven pointed out that he understood how they felt given Regina's death, what with Tricia's death not being all that long ago. Then it's buried under some seriously heavy-handed don't do drugs stuff, and the moment is lost. Jessica vows to do something for Regina's memory, probably to help clear the guilt she's feeling away. This is also how Jessica deals with death. If she liked you, she does something to immortalize you in some way. Regina gets her Super Duper Secret Wait Til Later To Be Told Project and Sam will later get that bike rally. Like I said, it's Jessica's way.

   We flicker to Justin and he's realizing he royally fucked things up. Had he managed to get Molly out of his system properly, he wouldn't have taken Regina to the party, she'd still be alive, and maybe things wouldn't be so screwed up right now. He does a bit of raging against life and the irony of it all, thinking that things had finally turned a corner, only to have it be the same old crap, different day.
  So, Justin vows that to make things right, to keep this from ever happening again, he will finally cut all ties with his past. Including, ESPECIALLY, Molly. She's no good for him and you know, I kind of have to agree. He seems to have kicked any drug problem he might have had. She hasn't. While he hangs out at Kelly's drinking illegally, he doesn't seem to get drunk and whine about it so that I have to read about it. She's inviting Buzz over and still talking to him after Regina's death because she's just that conflicted. Justin seems to feel badly about Regina's death and not just how it affects him, but also how awful it is that she's not around anymore. Molly? Molly seems bothered that Regina happened to die at HER party. Not that someone died, just that by dying, it's seriously fucked her life up. Justin manages to capture my sympathy.

   Molly, however, does not. And since this is Molly's book, this is a problem.

   Backstory for Molly, or at least what we've been given. Her parents divorced and I gather it wasn't all that long ago. More than a year, but less than say, 15 years ago. Molly's parents don't seem to have an especially horrible relationship, but it doesn't seem to be all sunshine and roses since she's a bit bothered that it took hating on her to get her parents to agree on much of anything. But, at the same time, her father seems to be staying at the house after Molly's little party turned lethal, and there's no subsequent mention of her parents trying to kill each other, so they must be a little more than merely civil.
  The point is, I can feel bad for her in that her parents split up and that can't be easy. It's sort of implied that this is what set her down her road of questionable decisions, but never clearly stated. Her parents also seem to be kind of jerks, but then, they aren't painted with the same rainbow sparkles that Ned and Alice are, so maybe it's just that Molly thinks they are and so we see them that way. Truthfully, I can't blame them for not being warm and fuzzy towards their daughter after one of the richest teenagers in the city [town?] overdosed in their living room. My parents would have killed me.
  Instead, hers refuse to let her switch schools, drop out, or move to her father's to avoid the repercussions of her actions. They're waiting for someone to lead the lynch mob straight to Molly's locker and be done with her. Fair enough. You did the crime, the cops aren't making you do jail time, so you do your time in the school system that's going to make you wish you'd gone to jail. Tough love, baby. And I don't particularly fault them for it.

   Woe is Molly. Her parents are being total hardasses about this going to school and coming back in a reasonable amount of time thing. No one at school will talk to her. Everyone blames her for Regina's death. Hell, Molly says she does, too, but for someone claiming to take the blame, she's awfully fucking stupid. Days after Regina's death she tries to approach Elizabeth Wakefield, hoping for the absolution of the ever forgiving divine one. She waits until Jeffrey leaves and then makes her move. Liz, being polite and a little less saintly, doesn't run away, but she doesn't put on her Concerned!Face and immediately offer comfort. Instead she asks what Molly wants, very polite if a little strained, and Molly fumbles around. Understandable. A minute or two passes and Molly tries to string a semi-coherent thought together, but Saint Liz can't do this anymore. She tries to leave once more and Molly begs her not to hate her. And my heart breaks a little at this:


Elizabeth shook her head, her eyes bright with unshed tears, and took another step down. "I'm sorry, Molly, I can't talk to you."
"Liz! Please, don't-don't hate me," Molly begged pitifully.
There was a long pause. "I don't hate you, Molly," Elizabeth whispered. "But I loved Regina."


   It has it's flaws, but it's also the most polite way of breaking my heart and telling Molly to leave her alone all at once.
   Distraught, Molly flees the scene of her humiliation. She all but runs through town [city?] and ends up at the cemetery without even meaning to. She decides that since Liz cannot stand to see her, she hasn't a chance in hell with the other person she'd planned on begging forgiveness from [Regina's family, Nicholas to be exact] so instead she'll throw herself on Regina's mercy and confess her sins or something at Regina's grave. Oh, tear.
   Except Regina's grave is currently being visited by Nicholas Morrow, who is grieving in a way that's a little creepy and mostly realistic, given how he's been written to date. When Nicholas hears a twig snap, he goes to find out who has been spying on his grief. When he sees Molly, he flips the fuck out. "You killed my sister!" And with that, Molly is banished, and someone finally says the words I've been itching to hear this entire time. Someone flat out calls Molly a murderer to her Allison Sugarbaker face. SCORE.

   Now, remember Jessica's super-secret-plan? Well, she's decided that in memory of Regina, PBA should start a college scholarship fund for the truly needy at SVH. She figures that within a year they can raise a few thousand dollars and this way Regina's memory will live on each time someone is nominated and then when someone wins. At first everyone's overwhelmed by the amount of money they'd need to raise, as well as the logistics of the whole thing, but Lila steps up and says her father will donate a ton, and as if that weren't enough, she'll hit up the country club because everyone there knew Regina.
  True, but are the rich and spoiled of the Southern California area really going to throw money at a scholarship created for a girl who died of a cocaine overdose? Especially given the rich bitches we've met at the CC, like Gordon Stoddard's parents. I'm just saying...
   Anyway, with Lila's backing, the rest of PBA begins throwing fund raising ideas out like crazy. Still, Jessica's worried about the logistics of the whole thing and asks her parents to help her figure something out. Ned does her one better and suggests that his firm handle all the money and paperwork and basically everything she was worried about. I know people elsewhere, particularly 1bruce1 [love!], ask this all the time, but what in the fuck kind of lawyer IS Ned? I could see him having friends who could help out, sure, but always being able to do whatever lawyer-y thing is required? That's just... mind boggling. I know the series is written for younger girls, but is it also written BY them? You know, like when Doctor Barbie can do EVERYTHING because you've only got the four dolls, and one of them is missing a head so really, your choices are seriously limited? Good lord.

  Now, where were we? Oh, yes. Molly's wallowing in self pity when she gets a call from Buzz, our friendly neighborhood coke/heroin dealer. He lays it on with a trowel. How is she, doesn't everyone suck for holding her accountable for Regina's actions, isn't she lonely, does she miss him, he misses her, gosh, if only they could meet...
  And so they do, outside of Kelly's. You'd think the cops would have Kelly's on their radar, but maybe Mr. Fowler is right. Maybe the SVPD really does suck. Again, Buzz is so obvious that I'm thinking all that coke Molly's done has killed all her braincells. Imagine, if you will, if someone came up to you with this:
  Hey, baby. I've missed you. Sucks that everyone's on your case. By the way, I think I like you. So, that kiss was great for me, even though I saw you recoil from it and all, but uh, listen, I've got to get out of town. I know, baby, it sucks that we've finally found each other and all, but the cops... well, you know what they're like. Say, hey, got any money? You do? Could you, I dunno, withdraw all of it? You could? Fab! Maybe we could... well, no. I couldn't ask. Ask what? Well, we could run away. Sure. You go the bank, take all YOUR money out, then WE'LL run away, but you'll only be gone a few days. I'll keep the rest of your cash. Sound good? Awesome. Now get the fuck out of my car, skank.

  That is pretty much how the Buzz convo went, but a little more fun. And Molly agrees because OMG, if you missed it, the last few days have been HORRIBLE for her. Because she helped kill a girl.
  You see my problem with feeling bad for her, right?
  Yes?
  No?
  Bah.

  Anyway, Liz gets to thinking and she feels as if her halo is tarnished now that she's turned her back on someone for entirely justifiable reasons. She and Jeffrey chatter and he points out that it's okay to not want to talk to Molly, it doesn't make Liz anything but human... and Liz cannot have this. She's a saint, damn it, and she's going to rectify this!
  Only she still can't talk to Molly without wanting to weep for Regina's loss. So she decides that Justin would make an excellent replacement Saint. Except when she calls him [during the middle of her date with Jeffrey!] Justin tells her to go fuck herself. He's worked hard to distance himself from that pariah and Liz doesn't know a damn thing about what she's talking about. Which is true. Liz knows less than Regina knew about Justin's life, and we really don't know why Justin and Molly broke up, other than they eventually did not see eye-to-eye on the drug situation. Whatever, he's got his reasons and it's incredibly rude of Elizabeth to just assume Justin will do what Elizabeth cannot bring herself to do.
  So Liz worries. Nicholas comes over the next morning and Jessica brightens at the sight of him, and I know it's stupid, but I always feel for her when Nicholas so blatantly ignores her the second Liz glides into the room. I'm also painfully proud of the series for never having him come around to the Jessica way of thinking, although I'm not sure they would have made an absolutely horrid couple.
   Enough fantasy, back to the fictional reality. Liz and Nicholas discuss how he was dreadful to Molly [mock? Me? Neverrrrrrrr] and Liz sort of, but not really, cops to being less than sweet with Molly herself. I love that he's flogging himself for being completely upset, and she won't even volunteer her story to make him feel slightly better. God, Liz, that's how this game is played.
  Nicholas asks Elizabeth to tell Molly he's sorry and Elizabeth sort of agrees, but doesn't actually do it.

  Blah blah blah, I started to die here from sheer annoyance and boredom all at the same time, so things get fuzzy. Molly goes to the bank, tries to close her account but gets pissed when she's told she has to fill out paperwork to do that.
  Molly: Well, what if I don't take out everything. Would I still have to fill out the papers then?
  Clerk: You wouldn't be closing out your account then, now would you? *IDIOT thought bubble*

  Molly takes out everything but fourteen bucks and some change and then runs into Liz. Because Liz is everywhere. For those of you who now have the SVH themesong stuck your head, I truly do apologize. For those that don't, I'm jealous.
  Somewhere in this muck Liz is writing up an article about the PBA scholarship and there's a discussion about how horribly everyone is treating Molly and for the briefest second we're told how hard this must be on Olivia, since she spent a lot of time with Bruce/Regina, and how the two were close. Poor Liv. Your pain is cut off by the appearance of Mr. Collins who blathers on about how people are perfectly justified in thinking Molly is a murderous bitch, but that they should also realize how hard this is on her and maybe if people like Jessica Fucking Wakefield would stop going around being such bitches, well, things might not be so bad. I really can't tell how he manages to admit he holds Molly accountable for Regina's death and still gives Jessica grief for voicing the same opinion. However, before my mind imploded, there was a note about how Jessica's tendency to blurt out her misguided opinions really does embarrass her twin more often than not. Score!

  Justin's been looking for Molly after another chat with Liz, but he's having as much trouble finding her as Nicholas did trying to save Regina. Only with detention and whatnot instead of a trip to county lockup. Liz gets a hold of him and tells him that Molly's been to the bank and taken out a huge wad of fifties and this just cannot be good. Justin finds Molly and Buzz and there's this whole big fight scene and it ends with Buzz having a glass jaw.
  Molly and Justin are reunited, Liz is vindicated and reestablishes herself as a saint when she tells Molly that she's a shoo-in for the Regina Scholarship next year, and I die horribly at all of this crap.*
  There's the lead in to #42, with Sandra Bacon [god, why is she Bacon? Kevin Bacon tie-in?] annnnnd her lovey dovey Manuel, but her parents are racist and nothing good will come of this to the point that even Cara and Jessica know this.
  But what really brings me back to life is the knowledge that the next actual book is the first thriller. THANK YOU, GOD.


Trivia:

  • Liz absolves Amy and Bruce at the memorial, and then she and Amy have a soul searching moment.

  • Steve claims that it was Tricia's death that caused Betsy to turn to drugs, but in reality [and the dumbass should know this] her death caused Betsy to KICK her habit. Tricia's illness, however, accelerated Betsy's drug usage. Fail, ghosty.

  • The PBA meeting about Regina's memorial is held in the Language Lab at lunch.

  • At the meeting, Maria Santelli breaks down and Jeannie West comforts her.

  • The night Jessica asks her parents for help with the memorial, they've just had Chinese for dinner. Everyone. Including Ned. Numerous times have we been told he can't/won't eat it and suddenly it's delicious? Pod person!

  • Speaking of Ned, does he work at the SV branch of Wolfram and Heart because damn, his firm does it all.

  • Nicholas blames Molly for Regina's death. SCORE.

  • Lila is the first to step up at the meeting and offer a fund raising idea. Namely, her daddy's checkbook is theirs. Then she offers up the checkbooks of the SV Country Club members. Susan can get her hands on "a lot of movies that we can charge admission for." Other ideas include: getting stores to donate merchandise for raffles. Ads in the newspaper, telethon on public access TV, car washes, bake sales, door-to-door solicitation, though probably not in the prostitution sort of way.

  • After Nicholas reads one of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poems at the memorial, Liz goes to find more and is reminded most of Regina when she reads "Time does not bring relief, you all have lied."

  • Liz also admits that she keeps expecting to see Regina.

  • Jessica's fortune cookie read: Today is a good day to make plans.

  • Justin's mother's name is Claire Belson.

  • Molly's mother has a two hour commute to work, which means she has to leave at 6am. This also means she goes to sleep fairly early. But if she's home at 3 in the afternoon, she has a very, very short work day...

  • Molly's home is a one story ranch house, meaning she can sneak out her window without fear of a Pollyanna moment.

  • Molly hitchhikes to Kelly's so she can meet Buzz in the parking lot at 10pm. Cuz that's not dangerous at all.

  • Nicholas uses the Wakefield's backdoor more than anyone else, except maybe Alice. Weird.

  • Justin has a five page paper due on Hamlet's soliloquy, and Liz offers to help. In exchange, if he could just talk to that strung out Molly so Liz doesn't have to...?

  • According to Sandy's parents, Sweet Valley is "overrun with immigrants." Ah, lovely.

  • Molly has $2,314.83 in her account at Union Bank. She withdraws $2,300 so she won't have to fill out paperwork. Then she gets it all in fifties. Oi.

  • Molly has American History in room 211.

  • Justin gets busted by Chrome Dome waiting for Molly outside of her American History class. D'oh!

  • Buzz takes Route 7 South out of town because hardly anyone uses it. And because he's running to Mexico.

  • This book takes place over less than two weeks. That's right, Molly breaks in record time.




Quotable SVH:

  Now, for the first time since Amy's return, Elizabeth felt as if they were looking straight into each other's hearts. - after Liz tells Bruce and Amy that Regina didn't blame them anymore, p4

  It was well known that Elizabeth Wakefield could be counted on as sympathetic, honest, and scrupulously fair. - Molly thinks this while debating asking Liz for forgiveness or to understand how bad Molly feels. I snorted my soda at this. p 44

  "Haven't you done enough damage already? Do you have to make it worse by coming here and-and-" Nicholas was yelling now, outraged by her presence.
  "Nicholas-I-"
  "Get out of here!" he screamed, raising one hand as if to hit her. "Get out of here and leave us alone! You killed my sister! You killed her!" - Finally, something that resembles an honest emotion from a SV character. p 50

  "And I think she really needs a friend right now. She's feeling pretty isolated."
  There was silence on the other end.
  "Justin?"
  "What are you asking me for? She's no friend of mine."
  Elizabeth pulled nervously at her gold lavaliere. "Well, you used to be close, didn't you, Justin? I mean maybe she's been acting-I don't know, pretty wild lately-"
  "Pretty wild? Elizabeth, I don't think you have any idea what you're talking about." - Justin speaks true. So very, very true. p67

  Just then Elizabeth pushed open the door from the hall.
  "Nicholas!"
  Instantly he leaped to his feet and Jessica knew she had been forgotten. - It's not often I feel truly sorry for Jess, but this is one of those times. p86

  Molly felt her face grow hard. Why was it that when Elizabeth talked to Justin, he listened, but when Molly did, he bolted like a frightened rabbit? Her eyes narrowed with a rage she didn't know she could feel.
  "No, thanks. I've been your scapegoat long enough, Elizabeth. So you can take your talking and shove it." - Do I really need to say anything? p 113

  It hurt her sometimes that her sister could be insensitive to other people. and it hurt her that she hadn't been able to make Jessica understand. - Liz occasionally is embarrassed by her twin's lack of moral compass and empathy. Who knew? p 127




  *- Normally I love my SVH. I do. Lots of things grate, obviously, but for the most part, I love the series. But this book drove me absolutely insane. You might have noticed. I suspect that I've never actually read 40 and then 41 back to back and doing so makes my head hurt because it takes two weeks from Regina's death until Molly's redemption and that's just beyond unrealistic, even for this series.
   Also, Molly should be relatable, but they never actually make her so. The pieces are mostly there, but they never quite add up to anything more than a really annoying teenager unable to accept that they played a part in a horrible accident that cost someone their life. It's all about how Regina's death fucked her over, not that in addition to someone. is. dead. That's all you'd have to add for me to feel the love. I don't expect fantastic things of these guys. Be bitchy and cruel and petty. It's realistic! But if I'm supposed to give a right royal damn, I'd like you to show you're a semi decent fictional human being, too.
   Unless you're a psychopath like Margo, but really, she's in a class by herself.

  I do have to wonder: Where the hell are Jan and her boyfriend? Why aren't they even mentioned in any of the nasty remarks other people made? Did they go to jail? Were they sent to another school? Did the cops kill them, dump their bodies in the ocean, and hope that we wouldn't notice? Because Molly's suddenly friendless and in the last book she at least had Jan. Not that Jan was a prize, mind you, but she did exist. I'm so... confused.

  There are a few gems littered throughout the book that keep it from being a complete headache, and I think I love them more for that. Go figure. you tried, Outcast. You really did. You just forgot to have a little heart thrown in, that's all.
  So now I resume trying to figure out who the hell the girls gossiping being Molly's back on the cover are. Cuz, whoa, if this didn't have the traditional SVH logo, I'd assume it was something else entirely.

the_oracle: (amy thinks)
Last Chance
May 1987

Will Peter choose Amy...or Johanna?

The final test...


   Dropout Johanna Porter knows that the students back at Sweet Valley High are shocked to see her back in classes. She's never done well in school. Now, with everyone talking about her behind her back, she's finding it practically impossible to succeed. But Johanna's determined to stick with it.
   Peter DeHaven is one of the reasons Johanna wants to stay. She's always had a crush on him, and she thinks he likes her, too. When Peter's girlfriend, Amy, is away for the weekend, Peter and Johanna go out and have a great time. But when she sees Peter at school, he ignores her. Is Peter like all the others who think Johanna's just a failure? Can she prove once and for all that she can make it at Sweet Valley High?

   When we last saw the normal SVH books, it seemed as if we'd see Julie Porter getting her own book, dealing with her brain dead sister's return to the hallowed halls of SVH. Untrue. Julie makes random appearances, but mostly the book belongs to the brain dead sister, Johanna. I suppose I shouldn't joke about the brain dead bit, seeing as she's not, but since she spends the entire book moping about what a dumb excuse for a human being she is, I'll allow it.
  Johanna Porter dropped out of SVH towards the end of her junior year, much to her family's dismay. Six months ago, her mother was killed by a drunk driver, leaving us to wonder, is no one held accountable in the valley for their own horrible driving? Is it all the work of some mysterious drunk driver, all to plow it into our young, impressionable minds that friends do not let friends drink and drive? Wait, no, that's not it. Jo finds her mother's diary and realizes her mother desperately wanted to tell Jo to go back to school, but didn't say a word because she felt Jo had to do it on her own. So Jo returns. For her mother. Dead mother. Missed that "on her own" part entirely, she did. Still, I shouldn't mock her too much.
  Anyway, Jo's a bit slow in the academic department. But before you go and bond with her over this, you realize she's not slow, she's just weird. She's drawn to math and science and understands them because they always have a concrete answer [I beg to differ, at least for science] whereas English does not. Poor History, always left out in the cold when these things are discussed. So, yes, she's a science geek, but she's been told for so long that she's a moron that she believes it. I'm just not sure who told her this in the first place. Science geeks are geeks, but no one confuses them for being mentally slow, right? Were the high schoolers of the 80's that special that they couldn't tell the difference between retarded and socially retarded? Cuz, whoa, I'm losing respect for them by the second.
  But, this being a series where the book must manage to be longer than 30 pages [as that should be how long it'll take to go from waitress-to-scientist], we have other hurdles thrown our way.

   First up is Jessica's side-plot. This is going to sound annoying, and is just as annoying when reading it, but about five minutes after I finished the book I'd forgotten any of the Wakefields did much more than show up, wave to Jo or at one another and then go home. With that in mind, we continue.
  Jessica has convinced herself that Cara was oodles more fun when she was single and, presumably, unhappy due to the divorce and her huge, hopeless crush on Steven Wakefield outgoing. So, Jessica decides that since she brought Cara and Steven into this world, relationship wise, she'll take them out. She hints to her brother that Cara's been dating other guys and Steve's pretty sure his little sister's crazy, but later we find out that he and Cara started fighting over Jessica's helpful messages. She was also telling Cara that Steven was dating other girls and yet neither one of these two, who both know what a frickin' liar Jessica is when she's bored, thinks "Maybe relationship advice from a psychopath is a bad idea." Well, not until they compare notes at the end, anyway. When they do, they realize she's a complete jerk, but she still comes out on top by pointing out that if their relationship was as solid as they'd like to think, they wouldn't have fallen for her lies. Suck on that Walker/Wakefield.* The best bit is when Lila sees Steve and Cara heading their way and leaves Jessica alone to fry.

   Complicating Jo's life is her crush on Peter DeHaven. So dreamy. So smart. So dating Amy Sutton. He and Jo used to be friends back in the day, but let's cut to the chase. Peter is a self absorbed asshole. The book doesn't even try to hide it. Hell, PETER knows he's a dick, and the only person surprised by any of his actions is Johanna. He's got early admission to MIT, and he's entering some seniors only science thing. Awesome for you, Peter. No one cares. Something about creating a computer program [ooh, so edgy and scientifical!] that's essentially the precursor to eharmony or match.com. Only he can't figure out what to do when he needs to ask various questions regardless of when you said yes or no prior, so he's nattering on and my eyes are glazing over as I wonder "did anyone in HS in the 80's actually write computer programs [did you guys?]" and Jo says, "Dude, I saw this thing where they did almost exactly what you're talking about [so your idea isn't original and shouldn't win] but they used a tree diagram" and Peter scoffs and asks what the hell she'd know about this stuff they call science. A-S-S-H-O-L-E! [Bonus points if you had Dennis Leary singing that to you] Jo decides Peter can go fuck himself because she's sure as hell not up for it now. This is after their date while Amy was out of town.
  Peter is willing to see Jo when Amy's not around, but he refuses to break up with Amy because he's afraid of hurting her feelings. At first I could see how Jo might buy this. He's sensitive! He is not. He stomps all over her feelings, refusing to even say hello to the girl in Amy's company. He won't hurt Amy's feelings, but he'll tear yours to shreds? Bah, you're making me agree with Julie and Liz who are both skeptical of the romance. Despite being sworn to secrecy, Liz tells Jessica [whom she also swears to secrecy] about the Peter/Jo romance, and when Amy gets on Jessica's last nerve, Jess shoots off at the mouth about how Amy can't even keep her boyfriend in line.
  Jo gets an excellent grade in chemistry, but still decides that with the cold war officially on from Slutton's camp, she'll drop out since Peter-the-dick will not/cannot talk to her anymore. Honey, he talked at you, not to you anyway. You're not missing much.
  Jo drops out again, runs back to the Whistle Stop, and Liz tells Peter he's an asshole. He admits as much to himself, what with his inability to follow through and be with the girl who's actually interesting to him, so he goes and asks her to rethink things. She's too good for this, he's an asshole, my eyes glaze over. She tells him to go, it's not all about him anyway. Later Jo and her father finally talk and she admits that she found Mrs. Porter's diary and realized her mother was awfully disappointed, so she wanted to make dead!Mom proud. Mr. Porter reminds her that she had to read about this because Mrs. Porter was right. Jo needs to want to do this for herself, or else there's no point. She'll find her own way and he'll stand behind her no matter what. Jo gets the point and decides she'll go back. Not for Mom, not for Peter, not to prove anything to anyone. Simply because it's worth a real shot.
  Peter uses her suggestion, wins the fair, and dumps Amy. He wants to date Jo after he realizes what an ass he is. It was easy to stay with Amy because they didn't connect. He didn't feel anything for her and never would, so she was safe. Jo was someone he could love. But Peter didn't have, or want to make the time to be with her. When he does go crawling back to her, Jo says that much as she liked him, she's in this for herself and he cannot give her what she needs.
  Woo.
  Oh, and there's a set up for the next book. Classy Susan Stewart has a mystery for a mother and no one knows who it is, they're just sure she's some famous actress. Obviously we'll find out the truth next go round. However will you stand the wait?


Trivial Matters:

  • Jess finds a size four, filmy, bare, perfect dress, so she plans to diet including not eating anything the day of the PTA dance, to fit into it.

  • Jess takes Rob Atkins from Bridgewater to the dance. Jess and Rob met at the infamous soccer match in the previous book.

  • In a surprising move, Jessica waits until Winston isn't listening before she trashes the general male population at SVH.

  • While Liz brown bagged it, everyone else on the planet bought the school lunch. Even bad school burgers are better than week three of PB&J, Lizzie.

  • Amy's eyes are usually gray, but this book she's been lumped back in with all the other blue eyed blonds. She has "sky-blue" eyes with just a hint of haughty bitch in them.

  • It sure didn't take long, but by now Amy has started to annoy even Jessica. That, ladies and gentlemen, takes skill.

  • Amy and Peter DeHaven are throwing a pre-PTA dance party. Their first party together. And because my fandoms will collide, all I can think of is little Jenny Humphy's first hosted party and how well that turned out.

  • Peter DeHaven, besides being a bitch to type, is a senior with early admit to MIT, and has won just about every science award there is, aside from the "coveted Southern California Science Fair." Tall, "attractive", dark hair, hazel eyes, ace tennis player, and all around conceited jackass. So, uh, why aren't he and Bruce bestest friends?

  • Apparently we missed Cabaret Night, where Julie Porter and Winston became friends after working together on a project. CN showcased what a talented piano player Julie is, and Winston's still gaga for her. Don't bother, Win, Julie never manages to achieve social acceptance amongst the A-list.

  • Porter family history: Mr. Porter played violin for the Los Angeles Symphony, Mrs. Porter [before she died six months ago] was a well-known opera singer. Double J had traveled most summers and sometimes had been yanked from school to accommodate their parents work schedules. Julie adjusted, Johanna did not.

  • Julie enlists Jessica, Liz, Winston, Maria, Cara, and maybe Amy to help ease Johanna's transition back to high school. Amy almost blurts out that she'd die of embarrassment if her dumb ass of a sister dropped out and then came back and had to be put in her grade, but Liz stops her. Pre-Steven Cara was never *this* bad...

  • Johanna has dark, wavy hair, dark eyebrows, green eyes, and is constantly referred to as unusually pretty. Looks-wise, she takes after her mother. Alas, she's got grades that would make Claudia Kishi wince.

  • Johanna worked out at the Whistle Stop, on Route 1.

  • Yvonne White and Lisa Howard are both bitchy seniors. Yvonne has black eyes [creepy?]

  • Julie, red haired, round faced, takes after her father.

  • Mr. Porter has a Ph.D. in music theory from UCLA, he teaches music, is big on philosophy, and relaxes by doing crossword puzzles and other word games. Mrs. Porter had a thing for Russian novels... still in Russian. None of this translated crap for her.

  • Mrs. Porter taught at the Music Academy in LA.

  • Johanna's in Elizabeth's English class and Liz tutors Jo for English.**

  • Jo has to write about Babylon Revisited and can't seem to muster up any feeling at all. She ain't even trying.

  • The Porters have a housekeeper named Simone.

  • Peter teaches a mini class in chemistry at SVMS. He's in a summer course at Harvard, and when he goes to MIT, he'll be majoring in computer science. He's got it all planned: his undergraduate degree in computer science will lead to working with artificial intelligence/robotics. I'm sensing that Peter would be the science geek who accidentally sets us all up for an apocalyptic future where only Will Smith can save us...

  • Julie is Julliard bound.

  • Las Palmas Canyon is twenty miles away, and a friend of Peter's older brother has computer notes for Peter, so while Amy's gone to the mountains with her parents, Peter invites Jo along. After said friend spends more time talking to Jo than Peter has the entire book combined, the boys geek out. Afterward, Jo and Peter go to the canyon and smooch.

  • Larry Mills is Peter's brother's friend. He's in his early 20's, works at a major computer manufacturer.

  • Peter asks Jo if he may kiss her, which would be sweet if he weren't dating Amy Slutton.

  • Much is made of the view of the canyon as well as the new moon. Um, dude? If there's a new moon, you wouldn't have a view unless there's some real lighting issues out there at the canyon. Headlights do not make a pretty view.

  • Steve takes Cara to Maison Blanche, a new French place that Jason took Betsy to and recommended. Yay, subtle references to past books and minor characters.

  • Jo wears a blue cotton flower print Laura Ashley dress on her date with Peter.

  • Peter drives a navy blue Mazda.

  • The Science Fair prize is a scholarship to be used at any college/university the winner chooses. Sweet.

  • Peter doesn't think Johanna is the sort to say "she/her" whenever someone, namely Peter, says "he/his". Johanna thinks it's weird that he would think of her as any type at all since he never lets her speak.

  • Given the amount of Victorian this and lace that, I'm surprised Steve didn't fall all over Johanna since she seems to have what I imagine was Tricia's fashion sense. Tragic!beauty.

  • Math isn't Steve's best or favorite subject.

  • Johanna shows Steve how to do his spatial relationship math problems and admits to having done such things as fun when she was younger. Everyone is amazed at the sheer brilliance! I yawn and point out that I did them for fun, too, but I still managed to do horribly in math, so really Jo, don't set your hopes too high. :p

  • Jo has Ms. Taylor for Math.

  • Bruce and Roger wiped the courts with Jess and Cara.

  • Whoever our ghostwriter is, they're certainly fond of "pains". Behold! Jo takes "extra special pains" on her first day back at SVH, p14. Jo takes "unusual pains" for her date with Peter, p44. "special pains"were taken the Monday after their date and Sunday chat. Basically, the first time you see Jo for the day, she's taken some sort of pains to look fantastic. The first two times, I let it slide, but by the third, I was wondering if I was hallucinating or just having major deja vu. None of the above. Repetitive writing. Fine for me, bad for you, ghosty.

  • Lucy Hawkins is thin, with mousy brown hair, and has always been mean to Johanna. She makes a bitchy comment right behind Johanna's back [literally] to her friend Carol Ulrich.

  • Bridgewater is fifteen/twenty minutes away. It's an exclusive suburb, and the Bridgewater Ball is coming. Debutantes, ahoy!

  • When Peter invites Jo out and offers to take her someplace in Bridgewater, she never realizes that he's only taking her there because no one will see them. She's right. She IS a moron.

  • Jo continues to hold onto her crush on Peter because he makes her feel that anything is possible, a feeling she lost when she a)grew up and b) her mother died.

  • Julie goes to the PTA dance with John Pfeifer.

  • Lila's date is from Bridgewater.

  • Jessica did buy her size four dress. You know, since you were dying to know. Thing is... she doesn't wear it. At the dance we're told that she's wearing a skimpy white top and a leather mini. This is not the dress, guys. What happened? Where's my size six beauty in a filmy, sheer, bare dress that's a size too small for her? Where's THAT secret diary entry, dammit?

  • When Amy hits the library with most of the cheerleaders in tow, I realized that on their own, without Jessica or maybe Cara [or Li back in the day, or Heather in the future] the SVH cheerleaders aren't all that bitchy. Amy's trying her best to make Jo feel like shit and all I can think is that she's got the wrong crowd. Robin may steal your boyfriend [hey, something in common with Jo!] but she's not going to go out of her way to make someone feel like crap. Maria's always seemed like the nice one. Sandy might join in the bitchery, but Jean's too much a lady for true bitchery. Amy, honey, you brought the wrong crowd.

  • When the cheerleaders leave, ghosty says the four girls leave the library, but um, Maria, Robin, Amy, Sandy, and Jean? Five girls. Unless one of them has a secret none of us know...

  • Johanna has Mr. Russo for fourth period, and she's the only one in the class to get an A [92] on their electromagnetic configurations test. Woo?

  • With summer classes, Jo could take calculus and physics next year.

  • In a bold move, Amy is NOT happy about Jessica's scheme to break Cara/Steve up simply because Jessica is bored with their relationship. This is one of the few times I say "Yay, Amy!" and mean it.

  • Steve took Eve Young to Amy's predance party and then to the PTA dance. I'm not gonna ask why he even went.

  • Cara went with Ken. Poor Ken, every girl's backup pretty boy.

  • Rob, Jessica's date, has blond hair.

  • Susan Stewart, our star for the next book dates Gordon Stoddard but they hang out with mostly Bridgewater kids. Susan's guardian is Helen Reister. Remind me to care next book. I'm still wondering why the wardrobe change, Jessie.

  • Enid's date for the dance is Scott Long.

  • Jo has Mr. Fellows for History. Doesn't everyone?

  • Jo saw an idea like Peter's on NOVA.

  • Alicia Benson, a sophomore, hints that with Peter "tutoring" Jo, her grades must be doing better. This freaks Jo out because everyone knows, but Peter's still with Amy.

  • When she runs late for gym, Jo manages to overhear Yvonne and Lisa bad mouthing her, wondering why Peter would trade one airhead for another.

  • When Amy confronts him about Jo, Peter lies and says he's just taking pity on the charity case and she tells him to never see Jo again or they're through. He writes her a letter and Jo's shattered. Woe, you have lost the 'friendship' of an asshole. My heart, it bleeds.

  • Mrs. Porter's favorite piece of music was Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Jo writes a computer program to play it.

  • Jo's father finally gets Jo to realize that she cannot go back to school for someone else, she has to do it for Jo.

  • Susan Stewart lives on Trowbridge Street, and Lila calls it "the cinders." Oh, Lila. You're so snobby. We love you.





Quotable:

  What was it that could make a sixteen year old girl want to ruin her social life by dating only one guy? - Oh, Jessica... p5

  "Peter DeHaven?" Elizabeth repeated. She had to catch herself to avoid displaying the surprise she was feeling. She had been one second away from blurting out, "But he's so smart!" - I howled at this. Aw, Amy, everyone thinks you're an annoying dumbass by now. Good times. Good, good times. p7

  "Science," Amy repeated, as if it were a foreign word. "Oh, well, I'm not," she conceded. "I think it's about the most boring thing in the world. But Peter's adorable. And he never talks about any of of that stuff when we're together. I wouldn't let him, even if he tried. We talk about fun things-like the party next week," she concluded dreamily. "You know, stuff like that." - p8

  She was waiting in the lunch line, surrounded by other students, none of whom she knew very well. Some had moved to Sweet Valley during her absence, such as Regina Morrow, the stunning, raven-haired girl who had overcome deafness through a series of treatments in Switzerland. - This physically pains me. p 21

  Elizabeth looked thoughtfully at her twin. "Can I ask you a question?"
  Jessica giggled. "Nope. No questions tonight, Liz. I can't think and keep my thighs in shape at the same time." -This is why I love Jessica. p60

  Lila gave her one of her scathing don't-you-know-anything-about-the-things-that-matter looks. - I hope Jess is shaking in her boots. p 74

  "Couldn't you at least do a little better than Johanna Porter? The girl can barely spell her own name!" -Amy gets her bitch on, p 90

"I absolutely love this sort of thing," Lila Fowler declared. "It's so-you know, primitive. Nothing like dancing right where you had gym class this morning to make you feel romantic." -Lila, p. 100

Typical Peter DeHaven. Everything is wonderful until you get to the love and intimacy part. - Jo, you bitter? p111




  You know the biggest problem with Last Chance? The entire premise, that Johanna can't relate to her family because she's not musical is proven to be completely untrue in the SVT series. Lila hijacks her voice because it's THAT good. So, um, no. I do not buy that in the two/three years between then and now she lost her fantastic voice and that it was never once mentioned that she used to be amazing and now... isn't. That'd be more fun to read, honestly.
  For all I bitch, Last Chance isn't bad. It's just that it could have been, and probably should have been better. But mostly if your story hinges on a guy, shouldn't he occasionally not seem like a jerk BEFORE the end? Bah.

  I love that the reenactment, if you will, photo makes Amy look like she's the love of Peter's life and that Jo's the evil girlfriend who won't step aside so their love can finally be out in the open. Yes, that hurt me to say, why do you ask?



* I'm beginning to wonder if Tricia didn't have to die simply because her last name didn't begin with a W. Jeffrey couldn't last for the same reason. Lookit. Elizabeth Wakefield/Todd Wilkins. Jessica Wakefield/Sam Woodruff. Steven Wakefield/Cara Walker. That's a lot of Ws without a single White being uttered. He's not til SVU anyway.

** Um, if Johanna's in the easiest classes the school/state will let her get away with, why in the hell is she in Elizabeth's English class? Wouldn't Liz [for as much as her writing is mocked by the readers, she's still supposed to be one of the most gifted students in the English area, ja?] be in one of the harder classes? At the school I went to, and from things other people said, you had the honors classes where you had to be declared dead to drop and then you had most everyone else. The everyone else classes were then broken up and you tended to have the really smart kids, where Liz would have been if she hadn't managed to make the honors thing and there were a few mixed bags, but there was always at least one class where you had the kids that were taking English Whatever for the third time and dammit, this time they were going to pass. Jo? Would have NOT been in Elizabeth's class if they really did put her in the easy classes. Liz would have to be in one of the harder classes, yes?
Or was our school system set up totally different and everyone else was just fucked?

the_oracle: (amy thinks)
Last Chance
May 1987

Will Peter choose Amy...or Johanna?

The final test...


   Dropout Johanna Porter knows that the students back at Sweet Valley High are shocked to see her back in classes. She's never done well in school. Now, with everyone talking about her behind her back, she's finding it practically impossible to succeed. But Johanna's determined to stick with it.
   Peter DeHaven is one of the reasons Johanna wants to stay. She's always had a crush on him, and she thinks he likes her, too. When Peter's girlfriend, Amy, is away for the weekend, Peter and Johanna go out and have a great time. But when she sees Peter at school, he ignores her. Is Peter like all the others who think Johanna's just a failure? Can she prove once and for all that she can make it at Sweet Valley High?

   When we last saw the normal SVH books, it seemed as if we'd see Julie Porter getting her own book, dealing with her brain dead sister's return to the hallowed halls of SVH. Untrue. Julie makes random appearances, but mostly the book belongs to the brain dead sister, Johanna. I suppose I shouldn't joke about the brain dead bit, seeing as she's not, but since she spends the entire book moping about what a dumb excuse for a human being she is, I'll allow it.
  Johanna Porter dropped out of SVH towards the end of her junior year, much to her family's dismay. Six months ago, her mother was killed by a drunk driver, leaving us to wonder, is no one held accountable in the valley for their own horrible driving? Is it all the work of some mysterious drunk driver, all to plow it into our young, impressionable minds that friends do not let friends drink and drive? Wait, no, that's not it. Jo finds her mother's diary and realizes her mother desperately wanted to tell Jo to go back to school, but didn't say a word because she felt Jo had to do it on her own. So Jo returns. For her mother. Dead mother. Missed that "on her own" part entirely, she did. Still, I shouldn't mock her too much.
  Anyway, Jo's a bit slow in the academic department. But before you go and bond with her over this, you realize she's not slow, she's just weird. She's drawn to math and science and understands them because they always have a concrete answer [I beg to differ, at least for science] whereas English does not. Poor History, always left out in the cold when these things are discussed. So, yes, she's a science geek, but she's been told for so long that she's a moron that she believes it. I'm just not sure who told her this in the first place. Science geeks are geeks, but no one confuses them for being mentally slow, right? Were the high schoolers of the 80's that special that they couldn't tell the difference between retarded and socially retarded? Cuz, whoa, I'm losing respect for them by the second.
  But, this being a series where the book must manage to be longer than 30 pages [as that should be how long it'll take to go from waitress-to-scientist], we have other hurdles thrown our way.

   First up is Jessica's side-plot. This is going to sound annoying, and is just as annoying when reading it, but about five minutes after I finished the book I'd forgotten any of the Wakefields did much more than show up, wave to Jo or at one another and then go home. With that in mind, we continue.
  Jessica has convinced herself that Cara was oodles more fun when she was single and, presumably, unhappy due to the divorce and her huge, hopeless crush on Steven Wakefield outgoing. So, Jessica decides that since she brought Cara and Steven into this world, relationship wise, she'll take them out. She hints to her brother that Cara's been dating other guys and Steve's pretty sure his little sister's crazy, but later we find out that he and Cara started fighting over Jessica's helpful messages. She was also telling Cara that Steven was dating other girls and yet neither one of these two, who both know what a frickin' liar Jessica is when she's bored, thinks "Maybe relationship advice from a psychopath is a bad idea." Well, not until they compare notes at the end, anyway. When they do, they realize she's a complete jerk, but she still comes out on top by pointing out that if their relationship was as solid as they'd like to think, they wouldn't have fallen for her lies. Suck on that Walker/Wakefield.* The best bit is when Lila sees Steve and Cara heading their way and leaves Jessica alone to fry.

   Complicating Jo's life is her crush on Peter DeHaven. So dreamy. So smart. So dating Amy Sutton. He and Jo used to be friends back in the day, but let's cut to the chase. Peter is a self absorbed asshole. The book doesn't even try to hide it. Hell, PETER knows he's a dick, and the only person surprised by any of his actions is Johanna. He's got early admission to MIT, and he's entering some seniors only science thing. Awesome for you, Peter. No one cares. Something about creating a computer program [ooh, so edgy and scientifical!] that's essentially the precursor to eharmony or match.com. Only he can't figure out what to do when he needs to ask various questions regardless of when you said yes or no prior, so he's nattering on and my eyes are glazing over as I wonder "did anyone in HS in the 80's actually write computer programs [did you guys?]" and Jo says, "Dude, I saw this thing where they did almost exactly what you're talking about [so your idea isn't original and shouldn't win] but they used a tree diagram" and Peter scoffs and asks what the hell she'd know about this stuff they call science. A-S-S-H-O-L-E! [Bonus points if you had Dennis Leary singing that to you] Jo decides Peter can go fuck himself because she's sure as hell not up for it now. This is after their date while Amy was out of town.
  Peter is willing to see Jo when Amy's not around, but he refuses to break up with Amy because he's afraid of hurting her feelings. At first I could see how Jo might buy this. He's sensitive! He is not. He stomps all over her feelings, refusing to even say hello to the girl in Amy's company. He won't hurt Amy's feelings, but he'll tear yours to shreds? Bah, you're making me agree with Julie and Liz who are both skeptical of the romance. Despite being sworn to secrecy, Liz tells Jessica [whom she also swears to secrecy] about the Peter/Jo romance, and when Amy gets on Jessica's last nerve, Jess shoots off at the mouth about how Amy can't even keep her boyfriend in line.
  Jo gets an excellent grade in chemistry, but still decides that with the cold war officially on from Slutton's camp, she'll drop out since Peter-the-dick will not/cannot talk to her anymore. Honey, he talked at you, not to you anyway. You're not missing much.
  Jo drops out again, runs back to the Whistle Stop, and Liz tells Peter he's an asshole. He admits as much to himself, what with his inability to follow through and be with the girl who's actually interesting to him, so he goes and asks her to rethink things. She's too good for this, he's an asshole, my eyes glaze over. She tells him to go, it's not all about him anyway. Later Jo and her father finally talk and she admits that she found Mrs. Porter's diary and realized her mother was awfully disappointed, so she wanted to make dead!Mom proud. Mr. Porter reminds her that she had to read about this because Mrs. Porter was right. Jo needs to want to do this for herself, or else there's no point. She'll find her own way and he'll stand behind her no matter what. Jo gets the point and decides she'll go back. Not for Mom, not for Peter, not to prove anything to anyone. Simply because it's worth a real shot.
  Peter uses her suggestion, wins the fair, and dumps Amy. He wants to date Jo after he realizes what an ass he is. It was easy to stay with Amy because they didn't connect. He didn't feel anything for her and never would, so she was safe. Jo was someone he could love. But Peter didn't have, or want to make the time to be with her. When he does go crawling back to her, Jo says that much as she liked him, she's in this for herself and he cannot give her what she needs.
  Woo.
  Oh, and there's a set up for the next book. Classy Susan Stewart has a mystery for a mother and no one knows who it is, they're just sure she's some famous actress. Obviously we'll find out the truth next go round. However will you stand the wait?


Trivial Matters:

  • Jess finds a size four, filmy, bare, perfect dress, so she plans to diet including not eating anything the day of the PTA dance, to fit into it.

  • Jess takes Rob Atkins from Bridgewater to the dance. Jess and Rob met at the infamous soccer match in the previous book.

  • In a surprising move, Jessica waits until Winston isn't listening before she trashes the general male population at SVH.

  • While Liz brown bagged it, everyone else on the planet bought the school lunch. Even bad school burgers are better than week three of PB&J, Lizzie.

  • Amy's eyes are usually gray, but this book she's been lumped back in with all the other blue eyed blonds. She has "sky-blue" eyes with just a hint of haughty bitch in them.

  • It sure didn't take long, but by now Amy has started to annoy even Jessica. That, ladies and gentlemen, takes skill.

  • Amy and Peter DeHaven are throwing a pre-PTA dance party. Their first party together. And because my fandoms will collide, all I can think of is little Jenny Humphy's first hosted party and how well that turned out.

  • Peter DeHaven, besides being a bitch to type, is a senior with early admit to MIT, and has won just about every science award there is, aside from the "coveted Southern California Science Fair." Tall, "attractive", dark hair, hazel eyes, ace tennis player, and all around conceited jackass. So, uh, why aren't he and Bruce bestest friends?

  • Apparently we missed Cabaret Night, where Julie Porter and Winston became friends after working together on a project. CN showcased what a talented piano player Julie is, and Winston's still gaga for her. Don't bother, Win, Julie never manages to achieve social acceptance amongst the A-list.

  • Porter family history: Mr. Porter played violin for the Los Angeles Symphony, Mrs. Porter [before she died six months ago] was a well-known opera singer. Double J had traveled most summers and sometimes had been yanked from school to accommodate their parents work schedules. Julie adjusted, Johanna did not.

  • Julie enlists Jessica, Liz, Winston, Maria, Cara, and maybe Amy to help ease Johanna's transition back to high school. Amy almost blurts out that she'd die of embarrassment if her dumb ass of a sister dropped out and then came back and had to be put in her grade, but Liz stops her. Pre-Steven Cara was never *this* bad...

  • Johanna has dark, wavy hair, dark eyebrows, green eyes, and is constantly referred to as unusually pretty. Looks-wise, she takes after her mother. Alas, she's got grades that would make Claudia Kishi wince.

  • Johanna worked out at the Whistle Stop, on Route 1.

  • Yvonne White and Lisa Howard are both bitchy seniors. Yvonne has black eyes [creepy?]

  • Julie, red haired, round faced, takes after her father.

  • Mr. Porter has a Ph.D. in music theory from UCLA, he teaches music, is big on philosophy, and relaxes by doing crossword puzzles and other word games. Mrs. Porter had a thing for Russian novels... still in Russian. None of this translated crap for her.

  • Mrs. Porter taught at the Music Academy in LA.

  • Johanna's in Elizabeth's English class and Liz tutors Jo for English.**

  • Jo has to write about Babylon Revisited and can't seem to muster up any feeling at all. She ain't even trying.

  • The Porters have a housekeeper named Simone.

  • Peter teaches a mini class in chemistry at SVMS. He's in a summer course at Harvard, and when he goes to MIT, he'll be majoring in computer science. He's got it all planned: his undergraduate degree in computer science will lead to working with artificial intelligence/robotics. I'm sensing that Peter would be the science geek who accidentally sets us all up for an apocalyptic future where only Will Smith can save us...

  • Julie is Julliard bound.

  • Las Palmas Canyon is twenty miles away, and a friend of Peter's older brother has computer notes for Peter, so while Amy's gone to the mountains with her parents, Peter invites Jo along. After said friend spends more time talking to Jo than Peter has the entire book combined, the boys geek out. Afterward, Jo and Peter go to the canyon and smooch.

  • Larry Mills is Peter's brother's friend. He's in his early 20's, works at a major computer manufacturer.

  • Peter asks Jo if he may kiss her, which would be sweet if he weren't dating Amy Slutton.

  • Much is made of the view of the canyon as well as the new moon. Um, dude? If there's a new moon, you wouldn't have a view unless there's some real lighting issues out there at the canyon. Headlights do not make a pretty view.

  • Steve takes Cara to Maison Blanche, a new French place that Jason took Betsy to and recommended. Yay, subtle references to past books and minor characters.

  • Jo wears a blue cotton flower print Laura Ashley dress on her date with Peter.

  • Peter drives a navy blue Mazda.

  • The Science Fair prize is a scholarship to be used at any college/university the winner chooses. Sweet.

  • Peter doesn't think Johanna is the sort to say "she/her" whenever someone, namely Peter, says "he/his". Johanna thinks it's weird that he would think of her as any type at all since he never lets her speak.

  • Given the amount of Victorian this and lace that, I'm surprised Steve didn't fall all over Johanna since she seems to have what I imagine was Tricia's fashion sense. Tragic!beauty.

  • Math isn't Steve's best or favorite subject.

  • Johanna shows Steve how to do his spatial relationship math problems and admits to having done such things as fun when she was younger. Everyone is amazed at the sheer brilliance! I yawn and point out that I did them for fun, too, but I still managed to do horribly in math, so really Jo, don't set your hopes too high. :p

  • Jo has Ms. Taylor for Math.

  • Bruce and Roger wiped the courts with Jess and Cara.

  • Whoever our ghostwriter is, they're certainly fond of "pains". Behold! Jo takes "extra special pains" on her first day back at SVH, p14. Jo takes "unusual pains" for her date with Peter, p44. "special pains"were taken the Monday after their date and Sunday chat. Basically, the first time you see Jo for the day, she's taken some sort of pains to look fantastic. The first two times, I let it slide, but by the third, I was wondering if I was hallucinating or just having major deja vu. None of the above. Repetitive writing. Fine for me, bad for you, ghosty.

  • Lucy Hawkins is thin, with mousy brown hair, and has always been mean to Johanna. She makes a bitchy comment right behind Johanna's back [literally] to her friend Carol Ulrich.

  • Bridgewater is fifteen/twenty minutes away. It's an exclusive suburb, and the Bridgewater Ball is coming. Debutantes, ahoy!

  • When Peter invites Jo out and offers to take her someplace in Bridgewater, she never realizes that he's only taking her there because no one will see them. She's right. She IS a moron.

  • Jo continues to hold onto her crush on Peter because he makes her feel that anything is possible, a feeling she lost when she a)grew up and b) her mother died.

  • Julie goes to the PTA dance with John Pfeifer.

  • Lila's date is from Bridgewater.

  • Jessica did buy her size four dress. You know, since you were dying to know. Thing is... she doesn't wear it. At the dance we're told that she's wearing a skimpy white top and a leather mini. This is not the dress, guys. What happened? Where's my size six beauty in a filmy, sheer, bare dress that's a size too small for her? Where's THAT secret diary entry, dammit?

  • When Amy hits the library with most of the cheerleaders in tow, I realized that on their own, without Jessica or maybe Cara [or Li back in the day, or Heather in the future] the SVH cheerleaders aren't all that bitchy. Amy's trying her best to make Jo feel like shit and all I can think is that she's got the wrong crowd. Robin may steal your boyfriend [hey, something in common with Jo!] but she's not going to go out of her way to make someone feel like crap. Maria's always seemed like the nice one. Sandy might join in the bitchery, but Jean's too much a lady for true bitchery. Amy, honey, you brought the wrong crowd.

  • When the cheerleaders leave, ghosty says the four girls leave the library, but um, Maria, Robin, Amy, Sandy, and Jean? Five girls. Unless one of them has a secret none of us know...

  • Johanna has Mr. Russo for fourth period, and she's the only one in the class to get an A [92] on their electromagnetic configurations test. Woo?

  • With summer classes, Jo could take calculus and physics next year.

  • In a bold move, Amy is NOT happy about Jessica's scheme to break Cara/Steve up simply because Jessica is bored with their relationship. This is one of the few times I say "Yay, Amy!" and mean it.

  • Steve took Eve Young to Amy's predance party and then to the PTA dance. I'm not gonna ask why he even went.

  • Cara went with Ken. Poor Ken, every girl's backup pretty boy.

  • Rob, Jessica's date, has blond hair.

  • Susan Stewart, our star for the next book dates Gordon Stoddard but they hang out with mostly Bridgewater kids. Susan's guardian is Helen Reister. Remind me to care next book. I'm still wondering why the wardrobe change, Jessie.

  • Enid's date for the dance is Scott Long.

  • Jo has Mr. Fellows for History. Doesn't everyone?

  • Jo saw an idea like Peter's on NOVA.

  • Alicia Benson, a sophomore, hints that with Peter "tutoring" Jo, her grades must be doing better. This freaks Jo out because everyone knows, but Peter's still with Amy.

  • When she runs late for gym, Jo manages to overhear Yvonne and Lisa bad mouthing her, wondering why Peter would trade one airhead for another.

  • When Amy confronts him about Jo, Peter lies and says he's just taking pity on the charity case and she tells him to never see Jo again or they're through. He writes her a letter and Jo's shattered. Woe, you have lost the 'friendship' of an asshole. My heart, it bleeds.

  • Mrs. Porter's favorite piece of music was Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Jo writes a computer program to play it.

  • Jo's father finally gets Jo to realize that she cannot go back to school for someone else, she has to do it for Jo.

  • Susan Stewart lives on Trowbridge Street, and Lila calls it "the cinders." Oh, Lila. You're so snobby. We love you.





Quotable:

  What was it that could make a sixteen year old girl want to ruin her social life by dating only one guy? - Oh, Jessica... p5

  "Peter DeHaven?" Elizabeth repeated. She had to catch herself to avoid displaying the surprise she was feeling. She had been one second away from blurting out, "But he's so smart!" - I howled at this. Aw, Amy, everyone thinks you're an annoying dumbass by now. Good times. Good, good times. p7

  "Science," Amy repeated, as if it were a foreign word. "Oh, well, I'm not," she conceded. "I think it's about the most boring thing in the world. But Peter's adorable. And he never talks about any of of that stuff when we're together. I wouldn't let him, even if he tried. We talk about fun things-like the party next week," she concluded dreamily. "You know, stuff like that." - p8

  She was waiting in the lunch line, surrounded by other students, none of whom she knew very well. Some had moved to Sweet Valley during her absence, such as Regina Morrow, the stunning, raven-haired girl who had overcome deafness through a series of treatments in Switzerland. - This physically pains me. p 21

  Elizabeth looked thoughtfully at her twin. "Can I ask you a question?"
  Jessica giggled. "Nope. No questions tonight, Liz. I can't think and keep my thighs in shape at the same time." -This is why I love Jessica. p60

  Lila gave her one of her scathing don't-you-know-anything-about-the-things-that-matter looks. - I hope Jess is shaking in her boots. p 74

  "Couldn't you at least do a little better than Johanna Porter? The girl can barely spell her own name!" -Amy gets her bitch on, p 90

"I absolutely love this sort of thing," Lila Fowler declared. "It's so-you know, primitive. Nothing like dancing right where you had gym class this morning to make you feel romantic." -Lila, p. 100

Typical Peter DeHaven. Everything is wonderful until you get to the love and intimacy part. - Jo, you bitter? p111




  You know the biggest problem with Last Chance? The entire premise, that Johanna can't relate to her family because she's not musical is proven to be completely untrue in the SVT series. Lila hijacks her voice because it's THAT good. So, um, no. I do not buy that in the two/three years between then and now she lost her fantastic voice and that it was never once mentioned that she used to be amazing and now... isn't. That'd be more fun to read, honestly.
  For all I bitch, Last Chance isn't bad. It's just that it could have been, and probably should have been better. But mostly if your story hinges on a guy, shouldn't he occasionally not seem like a jerk BEFORE the end? Bah.

  I love that the reenactment, if you will, photo makes Amy look like she's the love of Peter's life and that Jo's the evil girlfriend who won't step aside so their love can finally be out in the open. Yes, that hurt me to say, why do you ask?



* I'm beginning to wonder if Tricia didn't have to die simply because her last name didn't begin with a W. Jeffrey couldn't last for the same reason. Lookit. Elizabeth Wakefield/Todd Wilkins. Jessica Wakefield/Sam Woodruff. Steven Wakefield/Cara Walker. That's a lot of Ws without a single White being uttered. He's not til SVU anyway.

** Um, if Johanna's in the easiest classes the school/state will let her get away with, why in the hell is she in Elizabeth's English class? Wouldn't Liz [for as much as her writing is mocked by the readers, she's still supposed to be one of the most gifted students in the English area, ja?] be in one of the harder classes? At the school I went to, and from things other people said, you had the honors classes where you had to be declared dead to drop and then you had most everyone else. The everyone else classes were then broken up and you tended to have the really smart kids, where Liz would have been if she hadn't managed to make the honors thing and there were a few mixed bags, but there was always at least one class where you had the kids that were taking English Whatever for the third time and dammit, this time they were going to pass. Jo? Would have NOT been in Elizabeth's class if they really did put her in the easy classes. Liz would have to be in one of the harder classes, yes?
Or was our school system set up totally different and everyone else was just fucked?

the_oracle: (plotting)
Rags to Riches
February 1985

Look who's after Roger Barrett!

Roger strikes it rich...


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


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

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

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

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

Trivia:

  • Roger has gray eyes.

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

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

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

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

  • Regina Morrow takes mostly honors classes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • The movie in question? Some Travolta flick.

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

  • Caroline first brings up Adam on page 71.

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

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

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

  • Olivia loves pale lilac.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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



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

Look who's after Roger Barrett!

Roger strikes it rich...


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


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

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

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

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

Trivia:

  • Roger has gray eyes.

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

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

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

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

  • Regina Morrow takes mostly honors classes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • The movie in question? Some Travolta flick.

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

  • Caroline first brings up Adam on page 71.

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

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

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

  • Olivia loves pale lilac.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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



Updated most of the previous entries with an extra cover for the non-English side. If I disappear for awhile, it's a connection issue. Seems I pay my part of the deal, but they don't pay theirs. Woe. Fear not, my trusty notebook and I will be continuing to work, it just might take a little while to share. Or not. If any of the images don't work, fuss at me so I'll know to fix them, kay?
Also, if you find yourself thinking, "Hey, I have a cover for that book that she doesn't..." feel free to share. Sometimes my eyes cross or I just can't find 'em even though I'm fairly certain they do exist.
the_oracle: (left of normal)
Heart Breaker
May 1984

Will Jessica break Bill's heart, too?

  Catch a wave...


 The surf's up in Sweet Valley, and gorgeous Jessica Wakefield is making a big splash with Bill Chase, the hottest surfer in town. But after she tricks him into falling madly in love with her, she ignores him completely.
  To complicate matters, shy, quiet DeeDee Gordon is also after Bill. But Jessica has the upper hand. If Bill even looks at DeeDee, Hurricane Jessica blows him off his board and back into her arms. Can Bill escape Jessica's undertow, or is he in over his head?

  Why, oh why, did no one warn Bill that Jessica was a man-eater before he fell head over heels for her? I guess warning wouldn't do much good, as hormones have a way of overriding all logic and common sense, but it might've been worth it. Of course, Todd does try to warn him later, but that's like walking up to the guy whose leg is in a bear trap and saying, "Hey, you might wanna be careful, mmkay?"
  Ah well. Heart Breaker is the tale of How Jessica Gets Revenge. Or possibly, Boys at SVH Are Stupid. As has been hinted at for the last three books or so, Bill Chase is madly in love with the Wakefield twins. He's actually more into them for their looks than anything else, which is why I didn't say he's in love with Liz [he was] or Jess [as this book'll have you believe] since they're sort of interchangeable for him. If you didn't read his character bio in the back of ANL, you just think he's a bit of a raging masochist. You see, Jess managed to sink her claws into him and he's got it bad, but she's pretty much moved on, only throwing him just enough charm to keep him still hopelessly tied to her. What he doesn't know is that Jess is just doing this all out of revenge. Seems Mr. Chase was given the opportunity last year to date Miss Jessica Wakefield and he turned her down. Since no one can do this without the world grinding to a halt and bad things happening, Jessica has decided to turn him into her bitch. And it's working.
  By the time the book has started, they've all tried out for, and gotten parts in the school's production of Splendor In the Grass, with Jess and Bill as the leads. Jess takes great delight in making Bill constantly retry their big love scene. Which makes Bill blush like crazy. Which he will do for most of the book. At first you can't tell if he knows he's being used or if he's completely oblivious to the evil that is Jessica's true nature. What you do notice is that DeeDee Gordon has an incredibly silly name [Sorry to all you DeeDees] and that she's got the hots for Bill. Before you can become too wrapped up in this particular storyline, Jessica shifts the conversation away from her way with torturing Bill to Todd's remarkably hot ex-girlfriend, Patsy Webber. Apparently Patsy went to Paris the year before and France agreed with her. She filled out in all the right places and bam, came back super model ready, possibly ready to rekindle things with Todd. So Liz is jealous. Massively so, but she tries to talk herself out of it. Todd loves Liz, he waited around while she was an awful bitch with memory problems, so why would he leave now? Oh, I dunno, maybe because Patsy could give Jessica a run for the least amount of clothing worn before the word skank is used? Still, Liz convinces herself that nothing is wrong.
  And back we go to Bill, with a cute little scene in the Wakefield kitchen. I'm a sucker for the sisterly interaction. I always wanted a sister [though I suspect that's entirely a theory, as I'd probably hate having one in reality] so when Liz and Jess are goofing off make my little dorky heart that much happier. Unfortunately, Liz still remains a complete idiot when it comes to her twin. By now she should know that if you tell Jessica that her evil plan is coming unraveled because someone else is showing interest in the guy she's currently torturing, it won't make her back off. No, it'll make her step up her game. *cheerfully strangles Liz* So Jess leaves Liz with the lake they've created in their kitchen [as well as the dishes Jess was supposed to do] and skips off to call Bill in an effort to bind him closer to her. And it works. A little while later, while Jess is out with Tom and her parents are on a movie date, Liz hears the doorbell ring. When she answers, she finds Bill looking distinctly unhappy about finding the wrong twin. Liz invites him in and then, in a move that still makes me wonder what the hell, brings him warm root beer but no glass, no ice, no nothing, all because Jessica didn't put the sodas in the fridge. Was there an ice shortage in California that year? Bill leaves, for some reason not having touched the warm root beer, after Liz has tried to gently warn him away from the hurricane that is Jessica Wakefield.
  Switching twins, we go back to Liz's problem with Patsy. Liz goes to call Todd in hopes that Todd can talk some sense into Bill [being Bill's closest and possibly only friend] but instead Todd's mother answers the phone, tells Liz that Todd isn't home, and seems to have some pity for Liz. Wait, what? Liz is convinced that this means Todd is out with Patsy and that since Patsy is 5'9", she's the perfect height to gaze into Todd's eyes and never get a crick in her neck the way Liz sometimes does, and ohmygod, they must be making out! Liz tries to calm herself down, but still feels a little strange. Damn you, writer's imagination. Damn you!

  Now, for all of you who didn't read the little bio three books back, you're given a refresher course. Bill used to live in Santa Monica before his parents got divorced. While there, he was madly in love with his girlfriend, Julianna, and things were good. They liked a lot of the same things, surfing included, although this didn't mean they never fought. Bill picked a fight with Julianna one night at a party, and to spite him, Jules hitched a ride with someone else. Bill immediately felt bad for being a jerk and vowed to call her when she got home. Too bad this tempted fate and Julianna was in an accident on the way home. She died and Bill blamed himself for it. He went a little mad, went surfing in the middle of a storm, and damn near died. He didn't, and eventually came around to the realization that if Julianna really loved him the way he was sure she did, she wouldn't want him to hurt himself. She'd want him to live, the same way he wished she had lived. Very touching, very sweet, actually. When his parents split, Bill came to Sweet Valley with his mother, and found himself seeing Julianna everywhere, particularly wherever he saw Liz Wakefield. Naturally the same thing happened when he saw Jessica, so when she asked him out, he had to say no.
  Now he still sees Julianna whenever he spies one of the twins and is thus helpless against the evil ways of Jessica. The truly standout thing about this little revelation is that Bill doesn't share it with anyone. His past is his own and he doesn't feel the need to share it with anyone, not even Liz Wakefield. Don't worry though, someone else will spill their tragic secret to Liz, so as not to cause the world to explode.
  Another fun little bit of Sweet Valley I love: When the gang hits the beach and cattiness reigns supreme, as well as stupid jokes, I'm a happy little camper. Cara's there, being a lovely study in contrasts with her blond bombshell best friend Jessica, and Liz is there as well, but again Liz proves that she knows noooooooothing. She and Cara both tease Jessica about DeeDee monopolizing Bill's time [they're down the beach and Bill's giving her surfing tips], and only Liz is really surprised when Jessica struts down the beach to reclaim Bill's affections.
  This brings us to DeeDee. She knows Bill has a huuuuuuuuuge thing for Jessica, and when push comes to shove and she has the choice to hand him over to Jessica or keep him for herself, she choses to let Bill have time alone with Jessica since that's what he so obviously wants, and what Jessica was angling for all along. Which is sweet and kind of annoying if you want your characters to fight for something or someone they want. However, it's totally believable as well, as no one in their right mind would choose to compete with Jessica if they didn't have to. With DeeDee out of the picture, Jessica is free to reclaim her property. Later, when Tom McKay shows up, Jessica sends Bill on a food run, begging the question, just how far is the Dairi Burger from the beach? Or did Bill just volunteer to go out of his way completely to get Jessica some food?
  Along with Tom, Lila, Ken, and Patsy show up. When Todd and Patsy run for the water, Liz wanders off to get her book from Todd's car, and runs into Enid who's come to the beach with Olivia and Lois. We're told that Liz doesn't really like Lois because Lois tries too hard, and Olivia's still in her radically weird phase, but it's nice to see that Enid has other friends than just Liz. Enid attempts to console Liz, but Liz is having none of it. Olivia manages to make Liz feel worse, gushing about how Patsy really got hot during her year abroad and how Todd and Patsy never really broke up, she moved and it must've fizzled, and yeah, Liv finally realizes she's stuck her foot in her mouth big time.
  Things only get worse when Elizabeth finds out that Patty does the costumes for the play and that no one told her about it before. She's not thrilled to learn that Patty got the gig because Todd recommended her, and she's sure that all the time spent with Todd cheering Bill on was just a ruse. Obviously Todd is still in love with Patsy. Obviously. When Liz does work up the courage to talk to Todd about it, she sees him rubbing suntan oil on Patsy's back, while her bikini top is untied. Say what you will, but that's a little vexing to stumble across at your own home. I'd be pissed if I saw my boyfriend essentially getting a free grope on my patio, but with some other girl. Thing is, I'd smack him or throw a soda in his face or something. Liz just turns and runs away, refusing to talk to Todd when he attempts to explain it all away.
  This continues on forever. Liz won't talk to Todd because she's sure he just wants to break up, so she just doesn't give him the chance. Girl logic is sometimes hard to explain and even harder to understand.
  Back to the other love triangle! Jess eventually learns that DeeDee's father is a big shot Hollywood agent, but she doesn't start sucking up to DeeDee. Instead, when told that DD's dad really likes one of the actors in the play, she's so sure that it must be her, that she practically gift wraps Bill for DeeDee. I should point out that this isn't such a huge leap of imagination, considering Jessica is supposed to be an amazing actress.
  Sometime in the midst of Elizabeth's angst, she decides to head to her dad's office to interview the guy who owns the building, and instead she runs into Roger Barret. He's been popping up throughout the book, given that he's in the play and in love with Lila [also in the play] but this time he's popping up because he works as a janitor in the building. Poor, poor Roger. No, really, he's so poor that if he doesn't work, his family cannot pay the bills.
  Back to the play! Naturally, DeeDee's father is fawning all over Bill, not Jessica, and Jessica decides that if she can't be the star, she'll deal with being the star's girlfriend. DeeDee steps aside again, bonds with Roger for a moment, and shows up at Lila's party just in time to overhear Bill tell Jessica that her moment has passed and that he's with DeeDee now.
  Wherein we learn that while Jessica doesn't blush often, but when she does, it's a full Technicolor event. To cap off her bad night, it seems Tom McKay has deflected to the Patsy Webber side. Though if Patsy's all over Tom, then doesn't that mean...
  Why yes, yes it does. It means Liz was wrong about Todd and Patsy, which Todd manages to tell her when he grabs hold of her and tells her so. Aww, how sweet. Sort of. If a little creepy all at the same time...

Trivia:

  • The play in question this go round is Splendor In the Grass, with Jessica and Bill as leads.

  • Also in the play: Lila, Roger, DeeDee, Lois

  • DeeDee's parents are divorced and her dad [the talent agent] lives in L.A.

  • Bill's parents are also divorced, but his dad is a forest ranger in Idaho.

  • DeeDee placed 3rd in the surfing championship.

  • Roger and Elizabeth share one class; chemistry.

  • Mr. Pendergast owns the building where Mr. Wakefield and Roger both work.

  • Jessica bragged that she would get Bruce Patman to take her to the Sophomore Fling, but he asked Lila instead.

  • Liz was sick the entire week leading up to the play, though it's possible she sort of made herself sick, obsessing over Todd as she was.

  • Julianne's only real resemblance to the Wakefields seems to be that she was blond, blue eyed, and probably tanned.

  • Patsy was really skinny when she and Todd were dating, but in the year she's spent in Paris, she filled out nicely, so much so that she was a model. She's 5'9", red hair, and manages to walk the fine line between sleazy and hot without falling into the skanky territory. Also was friends with Olivia's cousin Amy, who lived down the street from the Webbers when Patsy lived in Palisades.

  • Jessica hates onions. [yay, Jess!]

  • DeeDee was chubby when she was younger, and now she thinks the mysterious Roger is a spy. Or, you know, could be.

  • Liz subscribes to the theory that it's okay for her to badmouth her sister, but no one else is allowed to. This I completely understand, and I think most people do as well.

  • Without her glasses, Lois Waller is blind as a bat.

  • Mr. Jaworksi teaches drama.

  • The book is dedicated to Marian Woodruff. Gee, I wonder where Sam's last name came from...



Quote-a-liscious:
"It's not your fault that kissing me is such a deadly chore." Jessica teases Bill, p2
"Since when is turning you down for a date a federal crime?" - Liz, p14
How was it that whenever Jessica tried to console her, she always ended up feeling worse? Liz, p70

137:
"Oh, Bill it'll take a hundred and thirty-seven years to learn all this..." p32




  Yet another book that makes it clear that if you get in Jessica's way, bad things will temporarily happen to you. This book has the distinction of being one of the few that doesn't really involve Jess getting herself or someone else into a scrape and then expecting Liz to bail her out, or letting Liz bail the other person out. Sure, there's that brief scene with Bill and the root beer [come on, Liz, ice! Root beer ain't yummy warm] but otherwise, Liz is too busy worrying about Todd to get involved with anyone else's problems.
  Which brings me to this: Why does Enid never step in when Liz is being a complete idiot? They're in high school and I distinctly remember high school romances and friendships would overlap so that when you and your boyfriend were having a stupid fight that everyone else knew was idiotic, your friend would step in and clue the guy in, and then he'd clue you in, or she'd do so. Sure, sometimes it would get messy as hell, but in this case it should have worked. Yet Enid never does, so... why? Is it because Enid doesn't care? That she was upset that Liz would rather go to the beach with Cara, Jessica, and Todd than with her? Are HS politics such as this beneath her? Or was it simply that the book couldn't survive under the Bill/Jessica/DeeDee triangle alone? We may never know.
  Cover note: Bill looks entirely too old and a little disproportionate to Jessica on the cover. Like she's an evil, snotty doll and he's an actual person.

the_oracle: (left of normal)
Heart Breaker
May 1984

Will Jessica break Bill's heart, too?

  Catch a wave...


 The surf's up in Sweet Valley, and gorgeous Jessica Wakefield is making a big splash with Bill Chase, the hottest surfer in town. But after she tricks him into falling madly in love with her, she ignores him completely.
  To complicate matters, shy, quiet DeeDee Gordon is also after Bill. But Jessica has the upper hand. If Bill even looks at DeeDee, Hurricane Jessica blows him off his board and back into her arms. Can Bill escape Jessica's undertow, or is he in over his head?

  Why, oh why, did no one warn Bill that Jessica was a man-eater before he fell head over heels for her? I guess warning wouldn't do much good, as hormones have a way of overriding all logic and common sense, but it might've been worth it. Of course, Todd does try to warn him later, but that's like walking up to the guy whose leg is in a bear trap and saying, "Hey, you might wanna be careful, mmkay?"
  Ah well. Heart Breaker is the tale of How Jessica Gets Revenge. Or possibly, Boys at SVH Are Stupid. As has been hinted at for the last three books or so, Bill Chase is madly in love with the Wakefield twins. He's actually more into them for their looks than anything else, which is why I didn't say he's in love with Liz [he was] or Jess [as this book'll have you believe] since they're sort of interchangeable for him. If you didn't read his character bio in the back of ANL, you just think he's a bit of a raging masochist. You see, Jess managed to sink her claws into him and he's got it bad, but she's pretty much moved on, only throwing him just enough charm to keep him still hopelessly tied to her. What he doesn't know is that Jess is just doing this all out of revenge. Seems Mr. Chase was given the opportunity last year to date Miss Jessica Wakefield and he turned her down. Since no one can do this without the world grinding to a halt and bad things happening, Jessica has decided to turn him into her bitch. And it's working.
  By the time the book has started, they've all tried out for, and gotten parts in the school's production of Splendor In the Grass, with Jess and Bill as the leads. Jess takes great delight in making Bill constantly retry their big love scene. Which makes Bill blush like crazy. Which he will do for most of the book. At first you can't tell if he knows he's being used or if he's completely oblivious to the evil that is Jessica's true nature. What you do notice is that DeeDee Gordon has an incredibly silly name [Sorry to all you DeeDees] and that she's got the hots for Bill. Before you can become too wrapped up in this particular storyline, Jessica shifts the conversation away from her way with torturing Bill to Todd's remarkably hot ex-girlfriend, Patsy Webber. Apparently Patsy went to Paris the year before and France agreed with her. She filled out in all the right places and bam, came back super model ready, possibly ready to rekindle things with Todd. So Liz is jealous. Massively so, but she tries to talk herself out of it. Todd loves Liz, he waited around while she was an awful bitch with memory problems, so why would he leave now? Oh, I dunno, maybe because Patsy could give Jessica a run for the least amount of clothing worn before the word skank is used? Still, Liz convinces herself that nothing is wrong.
  And back we go to Bill, with a cute little scene in the Wakefield kitchen. I'm a sucker for the sisterly interaction. I always wanted a sister [though I suspect that's entirely a theory, as I'd probably hate having one in reality] so when Liz and Jess are goofing off make my little dorky heart that much happier. Unfortunately, Liz still remains a complete idiot when it comes to her twin. By now she should know that if you tell Jessica that her evil plan is coming unraveled because someone else is showing interest in the guy she's currently torturing, it won't make her back off. No, it'll make her step up her game. *cheerfully strangles Liz* So Jess leaves Liz with the lake they've created in their kitchen [as well as the dishes Jess was supposed to do] and skips off to call Bill in an effort to bind him closer to her. And it works. A little while later, while Jess is out with Tom and her parents are on a movie date, Liz hears the doorbell ring. When she answers, she finds Bill looking distinctly unhappy about finding the wrong twin. Liz invites him in and then, in a move that still makes me wonder what the hell, brings him warm root beer but no glass, no ice, no nothing, all because Jessica didn't put the sodas in the fridge. Was there an ice shortage in California that year? Bill leaves, for some reason not having touched the warm root beer, after Liz has tried to gently warn him away from the hurricane that is Jessica Wakefield.
  Switching twins, we go back to Liz's problem with Patsy. Liz goes to call Todd in hopes that Todd can talk some sense into Bill [being Bill's closest and possibly only friend] but instead Todd's mother answers the phone, tells Liz that Todd isn't home, and seems to have some pity for Liz. Wait, what? Liz is convinced that this means Todd is out with Patsy and that since Patsy is 5'9", she's the perfect height to gaze into Todd's eyes and never get a crick in her neck the way Liz sometimes does, and ohmygod, they must be making out! Liz tries to calm herself down, but still feels a little strange. Damn you, writer's imagination. Damn you!

  Now, for all of you who didn't read the little bio three books back, you're given a refresher course. Bill used to live in Santa Monica before his parents got divorced. While there, he was madly in love with his girlfriend, Julianna, and things were good. They liked a lot of the same things, surfing included, although this didn't mean they never fought. Bill picked a fight with Julianna one night at a party, and to spite him, Jules hitched a ride with someone else. Bill immediately felt bad for being a jerk and vowed to call her when she got home. Too bad this tempted fate and Julianna was in an accident on the way home. She died and Bill blamed himself for it. He went a little mad, went surfing in the middle of a storm, and damn near died. He didn't, and eventually came around to the realization that if Julianna really loved him the way he was sure she did, she wouldn't want him to hurt himself. She'd want him to live, the same way he wished she had lived. Very touching, very sweet, actually. When his parents split, Bill came to Sweet Valley with his mother, and found himself seeing Julianna everywhere, particularly wherever he saw Liz Wakefield. Naturally the same thing happened when he saw Jessica, so when she asked him out, he had to say no.
  Now he still sees Julianna whenever he spies one of the twins and is thus helpless against the evil ways of Jessica. The truly standout thing about this little revelation is that Bill doesn't share it with anyone. His past is his own and he doesn't feel the need to share it with anyone, not even Liz Wakefield. Don't worry though, someone else will spill their tragic secret to Liz, so as not to cause the world to explode.
  Another fun little bit of Sweet Valley I love: When the gang hits the beach and cattiness reigns supreme, as well as stupid jokes, I'm a happy little camper. Cara's there, being a lovely study in contrasts with her blond bombshell best friend Jessica, and Liz is there as well, but again Liz proves that she knows noooooooothing. She and Cara both tease Jessica about DeeDee monopolizing Bill's time [they're down the beach and Bill's giving her surfing tips], and only Liz is really surprised when Jessica struts down the beach to reclaim Bill's affections.
  This brings us to DeeDee. She knows Bill has a huuuuuuuuuge thing for Jessica, and when push comes to shove and she has the choice to hand him over to Jessica or keep him for herself, she choses to let Bill have time alone with Jessica since that's what he so obviously wants, and what Jessica was angling for all along. Which is sweet and kind of annoying if you want your characters to fight for something or someone they want. However, it's totally believable as well, as no one in their right mind would choose to compete with Jessica if they didn't have to. With DeeDee out of the picture, Jessica is free to reclaim her property. Later, when Tom McKay shows up, Jessica sends Bill on a food run, begging the question, just how far is the Dairi Burger from the beach? Or did Bill just volunteer to go out of his way completely to get Jessica some food?
  Along with Tom, Lila, Ken, and Patsy show up. When Todd and Patsy run for the water, Liz wanders off to get her book from Todd's car, and runs into Enid who's come to the beach with Olivia and Lois. We're told that Liz doesn't really like Lois because Lois tries too hard, and Olivia's still in her radically weird phase, but it's nice to see that Enid has other friends than just Liz. Enid attempts to console Liz, but Liz is having none of it. Olivia manages to make Liz feel worse, gushing about how Patsy really got hot during her year abroad and how Todd and Patsy never really broke up, she moved and it must've fizzled, and yeah, Liv finally realizes she's stuck her foot in her mouth big time.
  Things only get worse when Elizabeth finds out that Patty does the costumes for the play and that no one told her about it before. She's not thrilled to learn that Patty got the gig because Todd recommended her, and she's sure that all the time spent with Todd cheering Bill on was just a ruse. Obviously Todd is still in love with Patsy. Obviously. When Liz does work up the courage to talk to Todd about it, she sees him rubbing suntan oil on Patsy's back, while her bikini top is untied. Say what you will, but that's a little vexing to stumble across at your own home. I'd be pissed if I saw my boyfriend essentially getting a free grope on my patio, but with some other girl. Thing is, I'd smack him or throw a soda in his face or something. Liz just turns and runs away, refusing to talk to Todd when he attempts to explain it all away.
  This continues on forever. Liz won't talk to Todd because she's sure he just wants to break up, so she just doesn't give him the chance. Girl logic is sometimes hard to explain and even harder to understand.
  Back to the other love triangle! Jess eventually learns that DeeDee's father is a big shot Hollywood agent, but she doesn't start sucking up to DeeDee. Instead, when told that DD's dad really likes one of the actors in the play, she's so sure that it must be her, that she practically gift wraps Bill for DeeDee. I should point out that this isn't such a huge leap of imagination, considering Jessica is supposed to be an amazing actress.
  Sometime in the midst of Elizabeth's angst, she decides to head to her dad's office to interview the guy who owns the building, and instead she runs into Roger Barret. He's been popping up throughout the book, given that he's in the play and in love with Lila [also in the play] but this time he's popping up because he works as a janitor in the building. Poor, poor Roger. No, really, he's so poor that if he doesn't work, his family cannot pay the bills.
  Back to the play! Naturally, DeeDee's father is fawning all over Bill, not Jessica, and Jessica decides that if she can't be the star, she'll deal with being the star's girlfriend. DeeDee steps aside again, bonds with Roger for a moment, and shows up at Lila's party just in time to overhear Bill tell Jessica that her moment has passed and that he's with DeeDee now.
  Wherein we learn that while Jessica doesn't blush often, but when she does, it's a full Technicolor event. To cap off her bad night, it seems Tom McKay has deflected to the Patsy Webber side. Though if Patsy's all over Tom, then doesn't that mean...
  Why yes, yes it does. It means Liz was wrong about Todd and Patsy, which Todd manages to tell her when he grabs hold of her and tells her so. Aww, how sweet. Sort of. If a little creepy all at the same time...

Trivia:

  • The play in question this go round is Splendor In the Grass, with Jessica and Bill as leads.

  • Also in the play: Lila, Roger, DeeDee, Lois

  • DeeDee's parents are divorced and her dad [the talent agent] lives in L.A.

  • Bill's parents are also divorced, but his dad is a forest ranger in Idaho.

  • DeeDee placed 3rd in the surfing championship.

  • Roger and Elizabeth share one class; chemistry.

  • Mr. Pendergast owns the building where Mr. Wakefield and Roger both work.

  • Jessica bragged that she would get Bruce Patman to take her to the Sophomore Fling, but he asked Lila instead.

  • Liz was sick the entire week leading up to the play, though it's possible she sort of made herself sick, obsessing over Todd as she was.

  • Julianne's only real resemblance to the Wakefields seems to be that she was blond, blue eyed, and probably tanned.

  • Patsy was really skinny when she and Todd were dating, but in the year she's spent in Paris, she filled out nicely, so much so that she was a model. She's 5'9", red hair, and manages to walk the fine line between sleazy and hot without falling into the skanky territory. Also was friends with Olivia's cousin Amy, who lived down the street from the Webbers when Patsy lived in Palisades.

  • Jessica hates onions. [yay, Jess!]

  • DeeDee was chubby when she was younger, and now she thinks the mysterious Roger is a spy. Or, you know, could be.

  • Liz subscribes to the theory that it's okay for her to badmouth her sister, but no one else is allowed to. This I completely understand, and I think most people do as well.

  • Without her glasses, Lois Waller is blind as a bat.

  • Mr. Jaworksi teaches drama.

  • The book is dedicated to Marian Woodruff. Gee, I wonder where Sam's last name came from...



Quote-a-liscious:
"It's not your fault that kissing me is such a deadly chore." Jessica teases Bill, p2
"Since when is turning you down for a date a federal crime?" - Liz, p14
How was it that whenever Jessica tried to console her, she always ended up feeling worse? Liz, p70

137:
"Oh, Bill it'll take a hundred and thirty-seven years to learn all this..." p32




  Yet another book that makes it clear that if you get in Jessica's way, bad things will temporarily happen to you. This book has the distinction of being one of the few that doesn't really involve Jess getting herself or someone else into a scrape and then expecting Liz to bail her out, or letting Liz bail the other person out. Sure, there's that brief scene with Bill and the root beer [come on, Liz, ice! Root beer ain't yummy warm] but otherwise, Liz is too busy worrying about Todd to get involved with anyone else's problems.
  Which brings me to this: Why does Enid never step in when Liz is being a complete idiot? They're in high school and I distinctly remember high school romances and friendships would overlap so that when you and your boyfriend were having a stupid fight that everyone else knew was idiotic, your friend would step in and clue the guy in, and then he'd clue you in, or she'd do so. Sure, sometimes it would get messy as hell, but in this case it should have worked. Yet Enid never does, so... why? Is it because Enid doesn't care? That she was upset that Liz would rather go to the beach with Cara, Jessica, and Todd than with her? Are HS politics such as this beneath her? Or was it simply that the book couldn't survive under the Bill/Jessica/DeeDee triangle alone? We may never know.
  Cover note: Bill looks entirely too old and a little disproportionate to Jessica on the cover. Like she's an evil, snotty doll and he's an actual person.

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