the_oracle: (troo wuv)
White Lies
February 1989


Will Jennifer despise John Pfeifer when she finds out the truth?
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Hiding the facts...



  John Pfeifer, popular sports reporter for the Sweet Valley High Oracle, is worried that his good friend Jennifer Mitchell is becoming too involved with dropout Rick Andover. When he finds out that Jennifer plans to run away with Rick, he enlists Elizabeth Wakefield's help to stop them.
  Then Rick is arrested. Jennifer is convinced that her father has turned him in. Furious, she refuses to speak to her father. John is the one responsible for Rick's arrest, but there's no way he can admit it now that Jennifer has turned to him for comfort. Then Mr. Mitchell becomes seriously ill, and John is faced with a terrible dilemma. Should he tell Jennifer the truth and risk losing her friendship, or let her go on thinking her father is to blame?



   Okay, let's address the elephant in the room. Yes. Yes, Jennifer will despise John when she finds out the truth, only it's going to take the rest of us 40 books to catch the hell up.
  Yeah. This is one of those books that's impossible to look at objectively once you've read/heard what John does to Lila later on. That warning out of the way, let's continue.

   John, you might recall, has a thing for his friend Jennifer. Too bad she's got a thing for Rick Andover whom you might recall is one of those jerks that pops up often enough to remind you that drinking is bad! And so is dropping out of school! Yeah! In a twist, the action that any other SVH book would make us wait for most of the book happens fairly early on. Jennifer tells John that she and Rick are running away to New York to start a band. John has met Rick and knows the dude is scum and that nothing good will come of this. Still, Jennifer will not listen to reason so John worries and frets.
  John turns to Liz who isn't entirely sure what to tell him. The night of Dana Larson's party, John and Liz follow Rick and witness him robbing Mello Music. John wants to call the cops immediately but Liz points out that Rick does work at the store and they should call the owner first to make sure it's exactly what it appears to be. John agrees and it doesn't take long for Rick to be arrested.

   When Jennifer's father tells her that this is why Rick didn't show for their meet up in the middle of the night (not that daddy dearest knew of that), Jennifer is convinced that her father set Rick up, despite the fact that Rick had the guitar and the cash in his possession. Really, Jennifer? You're not doing your part to keep people from thinking blondes are idiots. Just a thought.
  Anyway, Jennifer shares this theory with John, but this is after she's already begun turning to John more than usual. John's torn because he knows that if he doesn't tell Jennifer, she's going to continue to hate her father and if he does come clean, she'll hate him. John? This is an easy one. When she finds out you let her hate her father, to whom she's especially close, she's going to hate you for that, too.
  But! We need drama. So Jennifer's father's heart starts to act up and still Jennifer refuses to talk to him. John lets it go so long that Mr. Mitchell is scheduled for bypass surgery before John gets the balls to think about telling Jennifer the truth.
   Still, John doesn't want to give up his hope for a relationship with Jennifer, so he talks to Liz who tells him point blank that if John doesn't tell Jennifer the truth, Liz will.

   This leads me to wonder why the hell John doesn't even try and get Liz to tell Jennifer that SHE ratted Rick out. Then Daddy's off the hook and so is John. Liz even has an excuse for not having come clean sooner: she didn't know Jen blamed her father until John told her about the surgery.
  But he doesn't even think of asking and Liz doesn't volunteer. Really, what kind of teenagers are you? It's not like John's above lying and Liz has had plenty of practice covering for Jessica over the years. Jesus, people.

   Anyway, John comes clean but not soon enough for Jennifer to reconcile with her father before his surgery. Out of her mind with worry and guilt, Jennifer lashes out at John and basically tells him to go to hell.
  John and Liz try and wait out the surgery at the hospital but when Liz realizes the doctors won't tell them about anything (and the Mitchells aren't bloody likely to volunteer the information), Liz convinces John to head home. Funny. Todd would have stayed. [/random]
   At dinner, Ned offers to call Wells and Wells to see how Brian Mitchell is doing. Sure enough, the next day when Jennifer is absent from school and John is worried, Liz calls Ned and Ned makes the call. Turns out Mr. Mitchell is doing fantastically so Liz takes John to the hospital, but John is too much of a chicken (smart boy) to go in first. Liz goes in to smooth things over and gets the idea to buy flowers and put John's name on the card. It works and after a bit of "John was just looking out for you and then ended up in a bad situation" mojo, Jennifer agrees to talk to John.
  The music swells and all is forgiven.


  But what of Jessica? you might ask. Well, Jessica and AJ are finding out that they're more than a little different. But instead of being mature and discussing things (they are teenagers, so it's not like I can fault this really), Jessica manipulates things to get what she wants without thinking about what AJ might want. And AJ? He doesn't actually talk to Jessica when she ticks him off. Oh, honey, no. That's just a bad way to go about things.
  Liz sees this but never really tries to help things along. Instead she just muses, a lot, about how different AJ and Jessica are and how odd it is that they're still together. Yeah, well, your use-'em-up-and-throw-them-away sister might need some help when dealing with the non-honeymoon period part of a relationship, Lizzie. You might want to offer some unsolicited advice. Just a thought.
  Mostly Jessica does really thoughtless things and endangers her relationship without realizing what she's doing. She tells AJ she and her friends were discussing who the best kisser at the school is, but she doesn't lead with the lie that she thinks he's the best. He's upset, but he slinks off and we don't really see them discuss anything beyond Jess sweet talking him out of dinner at his uncle's.
  Break out the black because this relationship is fading fast.

   Oh, and there's a lot of lead up to Kristin Thompson for the next book. More tennis. Wow. How can I handle the excitement?



Trivia:

  • Jessica has a pink duffel bag. Alert the media!

  • Jess is described as both a cyclone and a whirlwind within mere paragraphs but nary a mention of Hurricane Jessica.

  • Jennifer Holland Mitchell is a sophomore and has long, straight blond hair, brown eyes, and a cleft chin. She's described as "memorable" which, I'm sorry, in high school rarely means anything good. She plays piano, eclectic keyboards (and synthesizers! oh 80's...), and Dana believes she could be really good if she wanted to be.

  • Brian Mitchell is a lawyer at Wells and Wells who also volunteers his legal services down at the Juvenile Hall where he's run into Rick Andover on more than one occasion.

  • Rick Andover works at the Mello Music Shop where he tells everyone about his big break in L.A. that was ruined by jealousy and people sabotaging him.

  • Dana says that Rick's got no guitar talent to speak of and is lazy.

  • Rick's been arrested for drunk driving, brawling, and vandalism among other things. When John and Liz rat him out, you can add swiping a Fender Stratocaster and some cash to that list as well.

  • John Pfeifer has green eyes.

  • A.J. is great at pinball and manages to get a score of 200,000. Huzzah?

  • A.J. has an uncle who lives two hours away and he and Jess were supposed to have dinner with him but Jess wanted to go to Dana's party instead.

  • Apparently Dana's parties are too awesome to be missed.

  • Jennifer and Rick are going to run away to New York to start a band. Excuse me while I die of the laughter.

  • Robin's not at cheerleading practice, so Jessica is in charge.*

  • Jeffrey's aunt is visiting the family from Oregon, so he has to miss Dana's party.

  • Liz doesn't go to Dana's party either. First she goes shopping at the mall (the bookstore is having a half off sale, but she only shops for half an hour. What sort of book nerd is she?), and on her way home she stops at the Dairi Burger. She and John get busy busting Rick for stealing and then she goes home.

  • While shopping, Liz picked up a book of Ernest Hemingway's short stories.

  • Kristin Thompson, a slender girl with auburn hair and a bit of an attitude, allegedly wins junior championships all the time. Tennis phenom.

  • Elise Thompson died ten or eleven years ago and John and Liz wonder if there's any relation.

  • Ditto for the relation to Mr. Thompson owning the local tennis club.

  • Luke Lander owns Mello Music. His phone number is 555-1793.

  • Jessica claims the Droids have a lot of new songs.

  • Jennifer was supposed to meet Rick at 11:30 at the corner of Madison and LaBrea. At 12:10 she's panicking about where he is, but she doesn't give up and go home until 2 A.M.

  • Jack Parker is a lawyer at the DA's office and a friend of Mr. Mitchell, as well as a tennis buddy of his.

  • Jessica believes the ideal vacation would be shopping someplace like L.A. or New York and then partying until dawn.

  • A.J. believes you should go somewhere like the mountains to get away. Maybe climb a little, fish a little, read a lot.

  • A.J. also tans which is kind of unusual for a redhead. Well played, Morgan.

  • Amy is always the first to remind us of the slam books. Always.

  • Since when does Lila complain about tax shelters? I can sort of see trust funds, which are also mentioned, but not tax shelters...

  • Mr. Hamilton is Jennifer's biology teacher.

  • According to Lila, Jessica, and Amy, three of the best kissers in school are Bruce, Tom, and Kirk Anderson.

  • Jessica actually tells A.J. this when he wonders what the second incarnation of the bitches of SVH are so gleefully discussing. Then she can't figure out why he's so miffed.

  • Liz tries to practice a baroque flute solo, but keeps getting interrupted.

  • AJ thinks Jessica is getting bored with him.

  • Jen rides on John's lap because Jess has crowded the back of the Fiat with her junk.

  • Brian Mitchell is in room 538 in ICU.

  • Lila gets two tickets to see Jack Hunter, some new rockstar, and Jess wants to go see the concert but thinks AJ will get all pissy that he's not going.

  • Enid doesn't appear until page 109, and even then it's just to introduce the concept of Big Sisters to Liz. Later Jess will take credit for this in an effort to impress AJ.

  • John owes Liz $11.66 for a bouquet of white carnations and yellow daisies that she bought and passed off as a gift from him to Jennifer and her family. Because when I keep a secret that helps a friend continue hating her father right through bypass surgery, I know flowers from the gift shop always make everyone forget all about it.

  • Jen blames her father for turning Rick in and even thinks he framed the guy despite all logical reasons against this.




*- I don't know why, but it always surprises me that when given a chance, Jessica will work the cheerleaders to the bone instead of slacking off. It's nice that there's at least one thing she takes seriously.



Quotable:
  She was tempestuous and exciting, a self-centered five-foot-six whirlwind. - I love this description of Jessica. p2

By contrast, Jessica was known to be interested in only one person- herself. - Wow, you don't pull punches, do you, ghostie? p3

   Jennifer's long, straight blond hair and cleft chin made her attractive in an unusual but memorable way. - Something about this just trips me up every time. p6

  Elizabeth stared at John with pity. - What? I didn't say a thing... p7

  "They started talking, and he acted like she was the hottest thing to hit music since Elvis Presley." - It's 1989 (88 for writing, I'm guessing) and that's who you're gonna go with, John? p.8

Nothing was so satisfying as getting her own way. - Remember that when your relationship implodes, Wakefield. p19

It didn't seem right that John was getting so fanatical about Rick Andover. - Listen to your gut, Liz! p38

  "My theory about men is you have to make them do what you want. Otherwise, they'll never think of it themselves." - Liz seems unimpressed with Jessica's words of wisdom. p46

  "I always said that guy would end up on a chain gang. Now it looks like he's on his way," he drawled. - Who knew Bruce could drawl? p59

  Her eyes danced with amusement as Jessica pretended to strangle A.J. "Are you trying to eliminate the competition?" Elizabeth asked lightly.
  Jessica looked over at her, an innocent expression on her face. "That's right." She went back to strangling A.J. who made mock choking noises.
  "Okay, Jess. I agree with you," Elizabeth spoke up.
  Jessica let go of A.J.'s neck and smiled. "Thank you."
  "I change my vote, too," Jeffrey said. Looking at A.J., he explained, "Only because I don't want to see you murdered." - p62/63

   Lila hooted. "Or we could just interview Jess. She's dated half the boys in school-"
   "And you've dated the other half," Jessica interrupted. - Jess/Lila is love.


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   The good. I like that unlike most other SVH books, the action pretty much happens right away and the rest of the book deals with the fallout. Ignoring later books, it's nice that John finally gets a storyline that is more than "Bruce's sidekick" and hell, Bruce's friendship with John isn't even mentioned.
  I like the style of the writing in this book. It's snarkier but not campy. Liz isn't a pushover and snaps at Jessica even though it's not necessarily about things she should be fussing at her sister about. Normal sibling behavior, shocking!
   I think I've mentioned this, but I'm a sucker for any time Jess calls Elizabeth "Lizzie" as she tries to wheedle something out of her.

  I don't like the way Jennifer forgives John and even thinks he's the best friend she's ever had. If he hadn't let her believe her father had ratted Rick out (we won't speak of that framing him nonsense because really, WTF) even after he knew Mr. Mitchell was in the hospital, I might actually agree that John was a good friend to Jen. But the moment he chose not to confess after he knew her father was sick?
  That is not the guy you think of as a good friend. That's the guy you walk away from.

   Random thoughts: Liz tells us there's no sense in brooding about something she can't fix. Really, Liz? Really? Have you ever looked in a mirror or your diary because that's who you are. It's what you do. You overthink things and then stick your nose into things you shouldn't.
  Ned tells his family that Brian Mitchell is a young man and will bounce back from the heart troubles, I laughed. Hard. I know, odds are good he's in his late thirties (at least) and that's hardly old, but it sort of reads like Ned wants to believe he's also still pretty young. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take a giant step to the left so you can throw your rotting fruit at me... now.

   Backing up to the start of the book, I get the giggles whenever they go on about how people love to be in the Eyes and Ears column because Liz keeps it so lighthearted and nice. I believe this, I really do, since people like to know people are interested in what they're up to. But given the number of times people have asked Liz to leave them out of the column, I have to snicker a little.

  What have we learned? Nothing new. John is not the guy you want as your boyfriend. Also? Serious anger issues. When he's ready to follow Rick out of the DB, Liz comments that he seems a little too upset and y'know, I think she's onto something... Oh. Wait.

If this seems less... fantastical than normal, let's all blame the fact that I burned the hell out of my thumb halfway through this. Apparently my cooking is more like Jessica's than I would like to admit... Ow. (You try typing without your right thumb.)
the_oracle: (twins shattered)
Leaving Home
August 1987

Can Jessica find a way to stop Elizabeth from leaving Sweet Valley?

Separate Ways...


   Elizabeth Wakefield has always dreamed of visiting the beautiful mountains of Switzerland, so she's thrilled when she has a chance to attend an exclusive Swiss boarding school. As much as she loves Sweet Valley, Elizabeth is positive the romantic, snow-covered Swiss countryside would provide the perfect inspiration for her writing.
   The thought of losing her sister has Elizabeth's identical twin, Jessica, in a panic! How would she survive without her very best friend in the world? Jessica just can't let Elizabeth go, so she devises a plan to make sure her twin won't leave Sweet Valley. Will Jessica's scheme to keep Elizabeth home work-or will it end up driving her away forever?


   Ah, the one where Liz wants to flee the country. Simply put, after Regina continues to go on and on about how loverly Switzerland is, Liz develops a crush on an entire country, and suddenly it's her biggest dream to live in the land of neutrality, staring at the Alps, and writing what we'll be told is fantastic fiction, but in reality will be the stuff of SVH novels. There's some babble about how Tender is the Night is also fueling Liz's desire to move far, far away, but it's mentioned once this book and then dropped.
  Anyway, Lizzie can only go if she wins this convenient scholarship, which Jessica is convinced she's a shoo-in for. "Wanted: saintly, conservative, perfect girl who does what adults say with little question. Delusions of grandeur a bonus." See? Liz!
  So Liz sets up the interviews and is all La-La-La happy about moving. Which presents the migraine of the story. She's SO intent on her desire to move away that she brushes away all other concerns. When Jess doesn't do backflips at the thought of being twin-less, Liz doesn't get it. She doesn't try to get it. She just ignores Jessica. Fair enough. Family is easier to deal with that way and not as many people will bitchslap you for it. Enid isn't jumping through hoops either, and Liz tears her a new one for it. Um, nice? She's your best friend. One day you wake up and decide you want to move across the world from her, blathering on and on about how inspired you'll be, never saying a damn thing about how much you'll miss anyone, and you want her to be thrilled? Right, right. Cuz Enid's a saint. Considering the way she's taken things from Jess/Liz over the series, as well as how well she rolled over for George/Robin, or Jeffrey/Liz, I guess I can understand the misunderstanding.
  Then there's Jeffrey. Jeffrey tries to be a little sympathetic, a little understanding, but after awhile he flat out asks why he should be thrilled that his girlfriend cannot seem to get away from him fast enough.

  Liz:   But Jeffrey, I'll only be gone all summer and all of senior year! That's nothing! We BELONG together! *dreams of European boys secretly*
  Jeffrey:   ....are you serious? You don't see a problem with that?
  Liz:   What's an entire country, an ocean, and a smidge more of another continent between two friends? Of course we'll last! We're DESTINED! *still dreaming of yummy accented boys*
  Jeffrey:   Cuz that worked out so well for you and Todd, eh?
  Liz:   That's totally different! He and I had been dating for what felt like centuries, practically since diapers! You and I, we've been dating for like, two minutes. Naturally ours is the more rock solid relationship. God, it's like you don't want me to go or something.
  Jeffrey:   No, no. If you don't go, who'll bring back the yummy Euro boys?

   Yeah, because her logic makes tons of sense. And yes, Jeffrey does play the Todd card and Liz is still an idiot. It hurts. Oh, god, does it hurt. Anyway, Liz aces her interviews, but Steven and Jessica plot to destroy their sister's chances at actually winning. Steven comes home, gives no reason, decides shaving is for losers, and blathers on about how freakishly close the Wakefields are. How they cannot possibly function without one another in the immediate vicinity. Ned and Alice inadvertently help by showing up late. We're not sure if Mr. Sterne will take pity on Liz and decide to get her out of the nuthouse faster to preserve her saintliness or if maybe the job's already been done... but it doesn't matter since Jessica dresses up like Liz the next day and hits on anything male, including Mr. Sterne. He flips the hell out and is ready to say no scholarship for you, missy, but is torn because on paper, she's perfect. Liz rips her siblings new ones and then they go and apologize to Mr. Sterne, explaining it all away. He comes back, says Liz is perfect, and she should pack her bags because she's totally in.
  Time for the minor D-story going on. Enid and Jeffrey have been browbeaten into submission and decide to make Liz a scrapbook [Enid's ahead of the trends, baby] as a "don't leave!/don't forget us!" present. Only Liz thinks Jeffrey and Enid are cheating on her and instead of talking to either one of them, as her mother suggests she should, Liz just runs around shrieking, "SWITZERLAND!" Anyway, Enid and Jeffrey show up just after Liz has been offered her dream, Liz realizes she's been a fool, and turns down the scholarship, muttering something about magic being where you find it, and no place on earth is more magical than Sweet Valley.
  Liz, had you gone to Switzerland, you might have saved Sam's life and you sure as hell wouldn't have been targeted by Margo. Shoulda fled the country when you had the chance.

   Our side story comes courtesy of Winston. Winston plays the lottery and is convinced he's going to win. He shows off his ticket and throws a party at his house for the calling off the lotto numbers. While shopping for last minute snacks, Winston manages to mix up his coat with an older man's coat. In that man's coat is a lottery ticket, and it happens to win. Winston is amazed and feels horribly guilty because the old man obviously needs the money more than Winston does. But when Winston finds out the old guy didn't even keep up with the numbers, and thus didn't know he'd won, he begins to wonder if he should really give the money back. I do have to wonder if maybe the guy had won the week before or something because hello! What's the point of a lottery ticket if you don't keep track of the numbers? Bah. Anyway, Win tries to buy his guilt away by using the magic interest to buy the old man's granddaughter a doll. Doesn't work. Winston gives the money back, although he spends the entire time keeping this secret to himself. Congrats, Win. You're the only character around who hasn't immediately spilled their secrets just to get more screen time.



Trivial Pursuit:

  • The artwork credit goes to Keith Birdsong this time.

  • Randy Lloyd, a senior, lends Jessica his binoculars which she then uses to ogle cute guys on the beach. Classy, Wakefield.

  • Regina's tales of the Swiss as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is The Night combine to create the monster that is Switzerland-Or-Bust Liz. Maybe this is why Regina had to die?

  • Liz wants to join the Interlochen's creative writing program which would run from the summer straight through her senior year.

  • Mr. Hummel is the headmaster at the Interlochen School.

  • Enid calls him Mr. Himmel and Liz promptly has a cow.

  • San Farando, a town between SV and SVC, is 25 miles north of Sweet Valley. The Wakefields meet in San Farando when Steven can't travel the extra 25 miles to see his family, so they compromise at Pedro's a Mexican restaurant in SF.

  • Jeffrey's birthday is July 12. Happy belated birthday, Jeffy.

  • Winston's real ticket begins with the numbers 712. The winning ticket is 965811.

  • Liz doesn't see how Todd going away "forever" until they can meet up in college is any different from her leaving for the summer between junior and senior year straight on through til the following summer. Once more, I wonder if maybe Liz isn't the stupid twin after all?

  • Drake's is an upscale convenience store that has never been mentioned before and will never be mentioned again.

  • The Saved By The Bell Syndrome mentioned elsewhere is never more obvious [well, up til this point in the series, anyway] as it is during Winston's Get Rich Quick party. The party includes Winston, Maria Santelli, Jessica and Elizabeth, Jeffrey, Lila, Enid [Maria forgot her. Rude!], Bruce, Regina, Olivia, Roger, and Nicholas Morrow. Um, why the hell would these people hang out with Winston? You could argue that the twins could pull this guest list off, but otherwise, no, this is just the mix of people we know and might remember, if only from the nine billion other parties thrown over the course of the series.

  • Skye Morrow wants to give Regina a Corvette for her birthday. Nice.

  • Lisa is the little girl Winston and Maria see at Drake's. She's seven and is desperately trying to con cookies out of her grandfather, but he can't afford them. Later we learn she's dying to go to horse riding camp over the summer.

  • Winston runs to get peanuts, but he's taken his coat off and it gets mixed up with Lisa's grandfather's coat and thus the mix up of lotto tickets is born.

  • Enid has a thing for almond mocha ice cream.

  • Ollie Perold, the "famous" DJ, calls out the lottery numbers.

  • The Margaret Sterne Memorial Prize is named after MS who studied at the Interlochen in the 1950's, but died prematurely due to a terminal illness. She was a gifted writer from California and in her memory, the family makes girls, 15-17, from California, jump through moral hoops of fire to earn the right for three months of writing workshops over the summer and then nine months during the school year. Sounds... painful, actually.

  • Liz decides that Mr. Collins and Ms. Dalton would both be good choices to write her recommendations. Jess predicts the entire faculty of SVH would probably fight one another for the honor.

  • Our ghostwriter for the evening spends a lot of time discussing flashback things [Liz and Skye's charity work, Liz's Elizabeth Barrett Browning play] and yet still can't manage to remember that Tom McKay is blond.

  • Liz narrows her three written pieces down to "something from the Oracle", her Elizabeth Barrett Browning play, and a new short story she's been working on.

  • Patrick Sterne is guy to impress from Sterne family. He's Ned's age, with a high, "slightly thin" voice, and is a big stick in the mud. But he does drive a steel gray Mercedes Benz.

  • No one would enter the Hershey Bar without a "passport to chaos." I...love it, actually. <3

  • Nadia DeMann is one of the best writing teachers in the world. Her name would inspire boys of all ages [and some of us girls] to laugh... and die.

  • Jack Oliver lives on 15 Fenno Street. His daughter's name is Karen, and Jack has the same sort of coat Winston does. Jack is also ready for sainthood as he doesn't seem at all upset that Winston took his own sweet time giving back his lotto winnings. Maybe he's just surprised Winston would do such a thing. Can't blame him for that.

  • For those keeping track of The Droids musical catalog, they play "Something Sure" this book.

  • Winston pretends to be Jason Armstrong, doing a story on lottery tickets and what would happen if someone, say, I dunno, turned in a winning ticket that wasn't their own. Answer: Not a damn thing.

  • Robin Royce is the department manager at the lottery office. Whatever that means.

  • Lila brings sushi to school for lunch. There's mention of a cucumber role, and I wonder, does no one in this world know the difference between a role and a roll?

  • Jeffrey sticks a note explaining his absence in Elizabeth's locker, but a bunch of sophomore boys toss the note in the trash. Um, Liz? Why do the sophomore boys dislike you?

  • Winston gets the interest money from the lottery winnings [his parents put the money in a trust for him until he turns 18] and that averages to about $50 a week. He spends one week's earnings on a ballerina doll for Lisa.

  • Liz fashion: "She was wearing a new velvet ribbon in her blond ponytail, a plaid jumper, and a Victorian lace blouse that looked old fashioned and pretty."

  • She's also wearing the pearl pin Jeffrey bought her, but she won't actually talk to the poor guy.

  • Kirk Anderson is a new transfer student with jet black hair, blue eyes, and a fantastic build. Naturally he's also tall and plays tennis, and he's such a jerk that Jessica doesn't even try and date him. He's from San Diego, just like Patrick Sterne. It's a small world after all.

  • Alice says that it's easy for one partner in a relationship to take the other for granted. Hmm. Foreshadowing the Regina/Bruce split, or her own troubles with Ned?

  • Liz meets Patrick Sterne at noon in San Diego. Then he'll drive them back to Palisades where Liz has an interview with Ms. Crawford, the alumna. Then they'll all troop over to casa de Wakefield and shit will hit the fan when Steven's unshaven and freakishly dependent, Jessica's doing her best hooker impression, there's a motorcycle in the driveway, and neither parent makes it home on time. Niiiiiiiiiice.

  • Randy's cousin Tim lent Jessica use of his motorcycle as a prop.

  • Alice says, "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing," which explains so very much.

  • Randy, Neil Freemount, and Tom McKay all help Jessica ruin Elizabeth's plans.

  • Operation: Sabotage Switzerland Scheme.

  • Rosemary is Chrome Dome's secretary.

  • Steve interrupts Elizabeth's interview when he calls and pretends to be John Simmons.

  • Someone actually utters the phrase, "Liz is all that matters."




Quote this:
  "Haven't you always said how important it is for us to spend time together, Liz? I'd like to know how much time we're going to get to spend together when you're off somewhere wearing lederhosen and yodeling and chasing goats." - Jess has interesting ideas of how Switzerland will be. p 8

  "Don't keep us in suspense, Winston," Lila said, looking temporarily interested. "Do you have some rich relatively who's deathly ill or something?"
  "Nice thought, Lila," Winston said cheerfully. "I hate to disappoint you, but all my relatives are perfectly healthy." He waved the ticket triumphantly. "It just so happens that my father bought me this ticket. And my father is an astonishingly lucky guy. He managed to get me for a son, right?"
  "I'm sure he thanks his lucky star every day," Lila said sarcastically. - Dude, Lila/Winston. Love? p14/15

  Elizabeth was certain that deep down Jeffrey really felt the same way she did about the Interlochen School. She was sure he really wanted what was best for her. It occurred to her that she might have made a mistake by now emphasizing how much the year abroad meant to her. From then on she would be sure to talk about the school and the writing program much more often. She could show Jeffrey all the brochures she had received and emphasize how much the program meant to her.- Yeah, Liz, that's just how to win over your boyfriend when trying to run as far away as humanly possible. She's the smart one? Really? p21

  "I think it would be a little creepy being able to buy anything you wanted."
  "Does that mean we can't buy any cheese puffs?" Maria/Winston, p 24

  Winston's mouth dropped open.
  "Egbert! That's you!" Bruce yelled, jumping to his feet and snatching the ticket from Winston's hand. "God, he's really done it!" he cried to the rest of the room. "I can't believe it. The odds must've been a million to one!"
  Within seconds the entire room was in turmoil. Mr. and Mrs. Egbert looked stunned. Lila and Jessica were squealing and trying to get a look at the ticket. Maria was pale, her brown eyes wide, staring at Winston as if he were someone she had never seen before. Regina and Bruce hugged each other, then Winston, then each other again. Roger and Olivia were cheering loudly, and Nicholas kept slapping Winston on the back. - That's how you win twenty-five thousand dollars, bitches. p31

  "You think he'll want to ask you questions about me?"
  "Who knows? I'd be happy to tell him anything he wants to know." Jeffrey laughed. "I can personally attest to all sorts of qualities. Elizabeth Wakefield is the softest, the sexiest, the most romantic girl I've ever been in love with," he said.
  "Jeffrey! You can't say things like that," Elizabeth exclaimed.
  "Trust me," Jeffrey said dryly. "If anyone asks about you, Liz, I'll just hand them a resume listing all the prizes you've ever won."
  "That won't do either," Elizabeth said. - Liz proves that her sense of humor is greatly exaggerated. Also, am I the only one who takes note that Jeffrey doesn't exclude the possibility of having been in love with say, I dunno, a guy. p 55/56

   "It sounds to me like you don't want me to bring up your drug habit. Or your wild behavior with older men. Or-" - Enid love. p 58

  "Listen, Liz, I don't know what this guy is going to be like, but I'm sure he really wants to get know you-and he won't be trying to snoop around digging up peculiar information from your friends. But if he asks me about anything like that, I'll just tell him the truth." She gave Elizabeth a quick hug. "You're the world's most generous, loving friend. And I've always admired everything you do and say." - Sweet and yet also disturbing. Well played, Rollins. Well played. Liz will snap with the whole, "Don't go overboard!" thing, but dude. Your best friend is willing to overlook all the times you've asked her to throw herself under the bus so your twisted twin [or you] can come out on top. Shut it and accept that you cannot rule the universe. p59

  "Have you asked Enid what it's all about?" Mrs. Wakefield said. "Maybe she really does need help with photography."
  "I haven't asked her," Elizabeth admitted. "I don't want to put her on the spot when it's obvious what's going on."
  "You mean you don't want to burden yourself with anything like the facts," Mrs. Wakefield said dryly." - Score, Alice. p85

  "Love," Jessica declared passionately, "does not recognize the word appropriate, Mr. Sterne." - moments after declaring that 'Liz' has been in love with him ever since she first knew him. p116

  "I did not sneak," Jessica retorted hotly. "I may have pretended to be you, but I never sneaked!" - Because when you stand accused of sabotaging your twin sister's chances at boarding school, you should really debate whether you were sneaking around or not. p 122

  "You have heard of my valor," Winston declared with mock ceremony. "You see, Maria, my reputation precedes me." He grinned. "From no on, consider me the Moral King of Sweet Valley High. For a modest fee I'll be happy to offer counsel on the thorniest questions. First there was Socrates-then Plato-and now Winston Egbert." p144




  A lot of people give this book crap for having Liz back out at the last second. I can see that. As a kid I was torn between wanting to send her off and follow her adventures overseas and wanting her to stay home because, DUH, Sweet Valley was perfect. Why would you want to leave? As I've grown up, I wish they'd done a mixture. Sent Liz away, had her realize that she wasn't cut out for being away from home [see SVU] just yet, and then send her back. Maybe this is because I knew a few people who did that. Seemed perfectly suited to following one path, tried, and then failed, only to come back and start again. Plus, SVH + boarding school = Caitlin gold!
   Anyway, I have a thing for this book. I used to spend an awful lot of time carting this one around, but I don't know why. I'd kill for someone artistically awesome enough to make Liz's scrapbook, but the book itself is kinda boring, and Liz is really, really, REALLY annoying. I do like that anytime I started to think something bitchy, Jeffrey would say it.
the_oracle: (twins shattered)
Leaving Home
August 1987

Can Jessica find a way to stop Elizabeth from leaving Sweet Valley?

Separate Ways...


   Elizabeth Wakefield has always dreamed of visiting the beautiful mountains of Switzerland, so she's thrilled when she has a chance to attend an exclusive Swiss boarding school. As much as she loves Sweet Valley, Elizabeth is positive the romantic, snow-covered Swiss countryside would provide the perfect inspiration for her writing.
   The thought of losing her sister has Elizabeth's identical twin, Jessica, in a panic! How would she survive without her very best friend in the world? Jessica just can't let Elizabeth go, so she devises a plan to make sure her twin won't leave Sweet Valley. Will Jessica's scheme to keep Elizabeth home work-or will it end up driving her away forever?


   Ah, the one where Liz wants to flee the country. Simply put, after Regina continues to go on and on about how loverly Switzerland is, Liz develops a crush on an entire country, and suddenly it's her biggest dream to live in the land of neutrality, staring at the Alps, and writing what we'll be told is fantastic fiction, but in reality will be the stuff of SVH novels. There's some babble about how Tender is the Night is also fueling Liz's desire to move far, far away, but it's mentioned once this book and then dropped.
  Anyway, Lizzie can only go if she wins this convenient scholarship, which Jessica is convinced she's a shoo-in for. "Wanted: saintly, conservative, perfect girl who does what adults say with little question. Delusions of grandeur a bonus." See? Liz!
  So Liz sets up the interviews and is all La-La-La happy about moving. Which presents the migraine of the story. She's SO intent on her desire to move away that she brushes away all other concerns. When Jess doesn't do backflips at the thought of being twin-less, Liz doesn't get it. She doesn't try to get it. She just ignores Jessica. Fair enough. Family is easier to deal with that way and not as many people will bitchslap you for it. Enid isn't jumping through hoops either, and Liz tears her a new one for it. Um, nice? She's your best friend. One day you wake up and decide you want to move across the world from her, blathering on and on about how inspired you'll be, never saying a damn thing about how much you'll miss anyone, and you want her to be thrilled? Right, right. Cuz Enid's a saint. Considering the way she's taken things from Jess/Liz over the series, as well as how well she rolled over for George/Robin, or Jeffrey/Liz, I guess I can understand the misunderstanding.
  Then there's Jeffrey. Jeffrey tries to be a little sympathetic, a little understanding, but after awhile he flat out asks why he should be thrilled that his girlfriend cannot seem to get away from him fast enough.

  Liz:   But Jeffrey, I'll only be gone all summer and all of senior year! That's nothing! We BELONG together! *dreams of European boys secretly*
  Jeffrey:   ....are you serious? You don't see a problem with that?
  Liz:   What's an entire country, an ocean, and a smidge more of another continent between two friends? Of course we'll last! We're DESTINED! *still dreaming of yummy accented boys*
  Jeffrey:   Cuz that worked out so well for you and Todd, eh?
  Liz:   That's totally different! He and I had been dating for what felt like centuries, practically since diapers! You and I, we've been dating for like, two minutes. Naturally ours is the more rock solid relationship. God, it's like you don't want me to go or something.
  Jeffrey:   No, no. If you don't go, who'll bring back the yummy Euro boys?

   Yeah, because her logic makes tons of sense. And yes, Jeffrey does play the Todd card and Liz is still an idiot. It hurts. Oh, god, does it hurt. Anyway, Liz aces her interviews, but Steven and Jessica plot to destroy their sister's chances at actually winning. Steven comes home, gives no reason, decides shaving is for losers, and blathers on about how freakishly close the Wakefields are. How they cannot possibly function without one another in the immediate vicinity. Ned and Alice inadvertently help by showing up late. We're not sure if Mr. Sterne will take pity on Liz and decide to get her out of the nuthouse faster to preserve her saintliness or if maybe the job's already been done... but it doesn't matter since Jessica dresses up like Liz the next day and hits on anything male, including Mr. Sterne. He flips the hell out and is ready to say no scholarship for you, missy, but is torn because on paper, she's perfect. Liz rips her siblings new ones and then they go and apologize to Mr. Sterne, explaining it all away. He comes back, says Liz is perfect, and she should pack her bags because she's totally in.
  Time for the minor D-story going on. Enid and Jeffrey have been browbeaten into submission and decide to make Liz a scrapbook [Enid's ahead of the trends, baby] as a "don't leave!/don't forget us!" present. Only Liz thinks Jeffrey and Enid are cheating on her and instead of talking to either one of them, as her mother suggests she should, Liz just runs around shrieking, "SWITZERLAND!" Anyway, Enid and Jeffrey show up just after Liz has been offered her dream, Liz realizes she's been a fool, and turns down the scholarship, muttering something about magic being where you find it, and no place on earth is more magical than Sweet Valley.
  Liz, had you gone to Switzerland, you might have saved Sam's life and you sure as hell wouldn't have been targeted by Margo. Shoulda fled the country when you had the chance.

   Our side story comes courtesy of Winston. Winston plays the lottery and is convinced he's going to win. He shows off his ticket and throws a party at his house for the calling off the lotto numbers. While shopping for last minute snacks, Winston manages to mix up his coat with an older man's coat. In that man's coat is a lottery ticket, and it happens to win. Winston is amazed and feels horribly guilty because the old man obviously needs the money more than Winston does. But when Winston finds out the old guy didn't even keep up with the numbers, and thus didn't know he'd won, he begins to wonder if he should really give the money back. I do have to wonder if maybe the guy had won the week before or something because hello! What's the point of a lottery ticket if you don't keep track of the numbers? Bah. Anyway, Win tries to buy his guilt away by using the magic interest to buy the old man's granddaughter a doll. Doesn't work. Winston gives the money back, although he spends the entire time keeping this secret to himself. Congrats, Win. You're the only character around who hasn't immediately spilled their secrets just to get more screen time.



Trivial Pursuit:

  • The artwork credit goes to Keith Birdsong this time.

  • Randy Lloyd, a senior, lends Jessica his binoculars which she then uses to ogle cute guys on the beach. Classy, Wakefield.

  • Regina's tales of the Swiss as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is The Night combine to create the monster that is Switzerland-Or-Bust Liz. Maybe this is why Regina had to die?

  • Liz wants to join the Interlochen's creative writing program which would run from the summer straight through her senior year.

  • Mr. Hummel is the headmaster at the Interlochen School.

  • Enid calls him Mr. Himmel and Liz promptly has a cow.

  • San Farando, a town between SV and SVC, is 25 miles north of Sweet Valley. The Wakefields meet in San Farando when Steven can't travel the extra 25 miles to see his family, so they compromise at Pedro's a Mexican restaurant in SF.

  • Jeffrey's birthday is July 12. Happy belated birthday, Jeffy.

  • Winston's real ticket begins with the numbers 712. The winning ticket is 965811.

  • Liz doesn't see how Todd going away "forever" until they can meet up in college is any different from her leaving for the summer between junior and senior year straight on through til the following summer. Once more, I wonder if maybe Liz isn't the stupid twin after all?

  • Drake's is an upscale convenience store that has never been mentioned before and will never be mentioned again.

  • The Saved By The Bell Syndrome mentioned elsewhere is never more obvious [well, up til this point in the series, anyway] as it is during Winston's Get Rich Quick party. The party includes Winston, Maria Santelli, Jessica and Elizabeth, Jeffrey, Lila, Enid [Maria forgot her. Rude!], Bruce, Regina, Olivia, Roger, and Nicholas Morrow. Um, why the hell would these people hang out with Winston? You could argue that the twins could pull this guest list off, but otherwise, no, this is just the mix of people we know and might remember, if only from the nine billion other parties thrown over the course of the series.

  • Skye Morrow wants to give Regina a Corvette for her birthday. Nice.

  • Lisa is the little girl Winston and Maria see at Drake's. She's seven and is desperately trying to con cookies out of her grandfather, but he can't afford them. Later we learn she's dying to go to horse riding camp over the summer.

  • Winston runs to get peanuts, but he's taken his coat off and it gets mixed up with Lisa's grandfather's coat and thus the mix up of lotto tickets is born.

  • Enid has a thing for almond mocha ice cream.

  • Ollie Perold, the "famous" DJ, calls out the lottery numbers.

  • The Margaret Sterne Memorial Prize is named after MS who studied at the Interlochen in the 1950's, but died prematurely due to a terminal illness. She was a gifted writer from California and in her memory, the family makes girls, 15-17, from California, jump through moral hoops of fire to earn the right for three months of writing workshops over the summer and then nine months during the school year. Sounds... painful, actually.

  • Liz decides that Mr. Collins and Ms. Dalton would both be good choices to write her recommendations. Jess predicts the entire faculty of SVH would probably fight one another for the honor.

  • Our ghostwriter for the evening spends a lot of time discussing flashback things [Liz and Skye's charity work, Liz's Elizabeth Barrett Browning play] and yet still can't manage to remember that Tom McKay is blond.

  • Liz narrows her three written pieces down to "something from the Oracle", her Elizabeth Barrett Browning play, and a new short story she's been working on.

  • Patrick Sterne is guy to impress from Sterne family. He's Ned's age, with a high, "slightly thin" voice, and is a big stick in the mud. But he does drive a steel gray Mercedes Benz.

  • No one would enter the Hershey Bar without a "passport to chaos." I...love it, actually. <3

  • Nadia DeMann is one of the best writing teachers in the world. Her name would inspire boys of all ages [and some of us girls] to laugh... and die.

  • Jack Oliver lives on 15 Fenno Street. His daughter's name is Karen, and Jack has the same sort of coat Winston does. Jack is also ready for sainthood as he doesn't seem at all upset that Winston took his own sweet time giving back his lotto winnings. Maybe he's just surprised Winston would do such a thing. Can't blame him for that.

  • For those keeping track of The Droids musical catalog, they play "Something Sure" this book.

  • Winston pretends to be Jason Armstrong, doing a story on lottery tickets and what would happen if someone, say, I dunno, turned in a winning ticket that wasn't their own. Answer: Not a damn thing.

  • Robin Royce is the department manager at the lottery office. Whatever that means.

  • Lila brings sushi to school for lunch. There's mention of a cucumber role, and I wonder, does no one in this world know the difference between a role and a roll?

  • Jeffrey sticks a note explaining his absence in Elizabeth's locker, but a bunch of sophomore boys toss the note in the trash. Um, Liz? Why do the sophomore boys dislike you?

  • Winston gets the interest money from the lottery winnings [his parents put the money in a trust for him until he turns 18] and that averages to about $50 a week. He spends one week's earnings on a ballerina doll for Lisa.

  • Liz fashion: "She was wearing a new velvet ribbon in her blond ponytail, a plaid jumper, and a Victorian lace blouse that looked old fashioned and pretty."

  • She's also wearing the pearl pin Jeffrey bought her, but she won't actually talk to the poor guy.

  • Kirk Anderson is a new transfer student with jet black hair, blue eyes, and a fantastic build. Naturally he's also tall and plays tennis, and he's such a jerk that Jessica doesn't even try and date him. He's from San Diego, just like Patrick Sterne. It's a small world after all.

  • Alice says that it's easy for one partner in a relationship to take the other for granted. Hmm. Foreshadowing the Regina/Bruce split, or her own troubles with Ned?

  • Liz meets Patrick Sterne at noon in San Diego. Then he'll drive them back to Palisades where Liz has an interview with Ms. Crawford, the alumna. Then they'll all troop over to casa de Wakefield and shit will hit the fan when Steven's unshaven and freakishly dependent, Jessica's doing her best hooker impression, there's a motorcycle in the driveway, and neither parent makes it home on time. Niiiiiiiiiice.

  • Randy's cousin Tim lent Jessica use of his motorcycle as a prop.

  • Alice says, "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing," which explains so very much.

  • Randy, Neil Freemount, and Tom McKay all help Jessica ruin Elizabeth's plans.

  • Operation: Sabotage Switzerland Scheme.

  • Rosemary is Chrome Dome's secretary.

  • Steve interrupts Elizabeth's interview when he calls and pretends to be John Simmons.

  • Someone actually utters the phrase, "Liz is all that matters."




Quote this:
  "Haven't you always said how important it is for us to spend time together, Liz? I'd like to know how much time we're going to get to spend together when you're off somewhere wearing lederhosen and yodeling and chasing goats." - Jess has interesting ideas of how Switzerland will be. p 8

  "Don't keep us in suspense, Winston," Lila said, looking temporarily interested. "Do you have some rich relatively who's deathly ill or something?"
  "Nice thought, Lila," Winston said cheerfully. "I hate to disappoint you, but all my relatives are perfectly healthy." He waved the ticket triumphantly. "It just so happens that my father bought me this ticket. And my father is an astonishingly lucky guy. He managed to get me for a son, right?"
  "I'm sure he thanks his lucky star every day," Lila said sarcastically. - Dude, Lila/Winston. Love? p14/15

  Elizabeth was certain that deep down Jeffrey really felt the same way she did about the Interlochen School. She was sure he really wanted what was best for her. It occurred to her that she might have made a mistake by now emphasizing how much the year abroad meant to her. From then on she would be sure to talk about the school and the writing program much more often. She could show Jeffrey all the brochures she had received and emphasize how much the program meant to her.- Yeah, Liz, that's just how to win over your boyfriend when trying to run as far away as humanly possible. She's the smart one? Really? p21

  "I think it would be a little creepy being able to buy anything you wanted."
  "Does that mean we can't buy any cheese puffs?" Maria/Winston, p 24

  Winston's mouth dropped open.
  "Egbert! That's you!" Bruce yelled, jumping to his feet and snatching the ticket from Winston's hand. "God, he's really done it!" he cried to the rest of the room. "I can't believe it. The odds must've been a million to one!"
  Within seconds the entire room was in turmoil. Mr. and Mrs. Egbert looked stunned. Lila and Jessica were squealing and trying to get a look at the ticket. Maria was pale, her brown eyes wide, staring at Winston as if he were someone she had never seen before. Regina and Bruce hugged each other, then Winston, then each other again. Roger and Olivia were cheering loudly, and Nicholas kept slapping Winston on the back. - That's how you win twenty-five thousand dollars, bitches. p31

  "You think he'll want to ask you questions about me?"
  "Who knows? I'd be happy to tell him anything he wants to know." Jeffrey laughed. "I can personally attest to all sorts of qualities. Elizabeth Wakefield is the softest, the sexiest, the most romantic girl I've ever been in love with," he said.
  "Jeffrey! You can't say things like that," Elizabeth exclaimed.
  "Trust me," Jeffrey said dryly. "If anyone asks about you, Liz, I'll just hand them a resume listing all the prizes you've ever won."
  "That won't do either," Elizabeth said. - Liz proves that her sense of humor is greatly exaggerated. Also, am I the only one who takes note that Jeffrey doesn't exclude the possibility of having been in love with say, I dunno, a guy. p 55/56

   "It sounds to me like you don't want me to bring up your drug habit. Or your wild behavior with older men. Or-" - Enid love. p 58

  "Listen, Liz, I don't know what this guy is going to be like, but I'm sure he really wants to get know you-and he won't be trying to snoop around digging up peculiar information from your friends. But if he asks me about anything like that, I'll just tell him the truth." She gave Elizabeth a quick hug. "You're the world's most generous, loving friend. And I've always admired everything you do and say." - Sweet and yet also disturbing. Well played, Rollins. Well played. Liz will snap with the whole, "Don't go overboard!" thing, but dude. Your best friend is willing to overlook all the times you've asked her to throw herself under the bus so your twisted twin [or you] can come out on top. Shut it and accept that you cannot rule the universe. p59

  "Have you asked Enid what it's all about?" Mrs. Wakefield said. "Maybe she really does need help with photography."
  "I haven't asked her," Elizabeth admitted. "I don't want to put her on the spot when it's obvious what's going on."
  "You mean you don't want to burden yourself with anything like the facts," Mrs. Wakefield said dryly." - Score, Alice. p85

  "Love," Jessica declared passionately, "does not recognize the word appropriate, Mr. Sterne." - moments after declaring that 'Liz' has been in love with him ever since she first knew him. p116

  "I did not sneak," Jessica retorted hotly. "I may have pretended to be you, but I never sneaked!" - Because when you stand accused of sabotaging your twin sister's chances at boarding school, you should really debate whether you were sneaking around or not. p 122

  "You have heard of my valor," Winston declared with mock ceremony. "You see, Maria, my reputation precedes me." He grinned. "From no on, consider me the Moral King of Sweet Valley High. For a modest fee I'll be happy to offer counsel on the thorniest questions. First there was Socrates-then Plato-and now Winston Egbert." p144




  A lot of people give this book crap for having Liz back out at the last second. I can see that. As a kid I was torn between wanting to send her off and follow her adventures overseas and wanting her to stay home because, DUH, Sweet Valley was perfect. Why would you want to leave? As I've grown up, I wish they'd done a mixture. Sent Liz away, had her realize that she wasn't cut out for being away from home [see SVU] just yet, and then send her back. Maybe this is because I knew a few people who did that. Seemed perfectly suited to following one path, tried, and then failed, only to come back and start again. Plus, SVH + boarding school = Caitlin gold!
   Anyway, I have a thing for this book. I used to spend an awful lot of time carting this one around, but I don't know why. I'd kill for someone artistically awesome enough to make Liz's scrapbook, but the book itself is kinda boring, and Liz is really, really, REALLY annoying. I do like that anytime I started to think something bitchy, Jeffrey would say it.
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (Default)
Spring Fever
April 1987


Double the fun...


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


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


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

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

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

Trivial Matters:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • The Walkers have a navy blue Chevrolet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Double the fun...


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


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


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

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

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

Trivial Matters:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • The Walkers have a navy blue Chevrolet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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


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

  Also, while I may not have been in love with the book, I felt cheated that the twins never did visit the south, but we could visit Kansas? Sigh. You could do much worse than this book, but you could also do better. To make up for the lackluster joy in the book, I point to the cover, which I actually like, but I was raised with a love for gingham... and also the knowledge that if you were to do Annie Sue's initials, she'd be ASS. I'm mature, I am, I am.
the_oracle: (tear)
Winter Carnival
December 1986


A winter wonderland...


   Winter's here and everyone at Sweet Valley High is excited about the upcoming Winter Carnival. It's a very special weekend at a mountain ski resort, with ice skating, skiing, sledding, and a spectacular ball.
   But Elizabeth Wakefield's got the midwinter blues. She's especially upset with her twin, Jessica, who's been avoiding chores and borrowing clothes without asking. Elizabeth is so sick and tired of Jessica's inconsiderate attitude that she sometimes wishes she never had a sister! And when Jessica's string of broken promises threatens to destroy Elizabeth's romance with Jeffrey French, it looks as though Winter Carnival will turn into a snowy disaster!
   Join the Sweet Valley High gang for their mid-winter break at Winter Carnival!

  Let's get one thing straight right away. Reality has no place in the Valley. None. And I don't mean that "twelve strangers picked specifically for their drama-queen/skanky ways in the hopes of generating insane ratings" reality, I mean honest to God reality. Mundane, normal stuff. No place!
  That said, Winter Carnival would have been much better off had they left out the over-the-top surrealism of the last few chapters. Until then, it's an interesting look behind the perfect twin facade. Liz, you see, is an unhappy camper. While the rest of us would probably consider her life more than charmed, psychotic sister, true-luv shipped to Vermont, and that whole kidnapping thing aside, she does have to put up with Jessica on a daily basis.
  And thus begins our trouble. Liz has to walk home, in the rain, because Jessica just took off with the car, leaving Liz stranded. You or I might have asked our twin if she needed a ride home. We might not, considering Liz does have Jeffrey/Enid/the numerous people who owe her for fixing their lives, whether they asked her to or not. So we might conclude that like Kim Possible, Liz is never without options. We'd be wrong. Anyway, Liz is grumpy, grumpy, grumpy. Lately Jessica has been getting on her nerves something fierce, what with her borrowing things without asking, ducking out of dinner detail repeatedly... basically being Jessica.
  Liz gets a bit snippy when Jessica lets her parents think that the delicious meal they're eating was her own creation when all she did was reheat Elizabeth's masterpiece. Then Liz notices Jess is wearing her mulberry sweater, which was a gift from Enid that Liz hasn't worn all that often. Liz goes apeshit. But what's really getting to Liz is that Jessica and Amy swiped Enid and Elizabeth's answers for a trivia game show, and then Amy and Jess won. Liz points out that if their roles had been reversed, Jess would have wheedled her way into a spot on TV, but Jess calls bullshit. [Honey, that only works if the other person IS full of it, not if it's true...] Then she says it doesn't matter, Amy's so excited that even if Jess wanted to hand it over, she couldn't possibly. Rightio.
  Then Liz finds out that she didn't win the essay contest she entered, but she did get an honorable mention. Liz is bummed that she didn't win flat out and when she finds out that the cheerleaders, led by Jessica, are on their way to All State, she hits a new low. She's jealous of Jessica in a big way, and nothing anyone can say can snap her out of it.
  Well, not entirely true. Jeffrey [you remember Jeffy, right?] sweet talks her out of her funk, only to send her home to bathe [mmhmm, not going there] and then he'll whisk her away to dinner and all her worries will fall by the wayside, cuz... well, let's not be too explicit. That's not the sort of guy Jeffrey is, after all.
  Problem is that Jessica, despite promising to make dinner on her actual night to do so, flits off to Amy's to cram for the trivia show. Liz calls Amy's house to bitch the blondes out, but Lana, Amy's maid [I know, right?] says the girls have gone to the library to look up the longest river in Africa. Let's take a moment, shall we? How many of you know that answer? Mmmhmm. How many of you knew that when you were the recommended reading age for these books? Mmmhmm. I figure nothing else I can say will point out that Amy lost all her braincells and then some. I think the sucking void that is her mind also took out half of Jessica's brain. Instead of using her superior intellect to figure out which library the two might've gone to and, I dunno, called and asked if two stunningly vapid blondes were running around killing braincells, Liz goes full on martyr and cancels her date with Jeffrey. Jeffrey sort of understands, but tells her that she should tell her twin where to shove it, because this shit just can't keep happening. If she can't tell Jess where to step off, she should tell her parents.

  Nup, that won't happen. What I don't get is why neither Ned nor Alice ever call Jess on this shit UNLESS it's one of the "woe is Jessica!" books that happen every so often. Otherwise they smile and wish her good luck on not getting knocked up this go round. Hell, this time Alice comes home, asks where Jess is, is told she's out despite it being her night to do dinner, and in response she shrugs and shows off this spangly [Liz's word, not mine] silver Lycra ski suit she bought her youngest for the Winter Carnival.
  Um, no. I don't care if she is "studying." It's easy enough to figure out that out of, let's say 10 nights, Liz has made dinner eight times. I figure that the weekends are iffy on whether the Wakefields eat together or require dinner made by either of the twins, but I factor in that either Sunday or Friday, they might. Anyway, the point is for them to share the workload, and it's not sharing if one of them is doing all the work. Even at the height of my brother's do nothing and get away with it-'phase', my parents still noticed after awhile. And not just because I'd rat him out at every given opportunity.
  Liz, stuff the older sister crap and tell your parents that Jessica's taking advantage of you. Then tell her yourself and actually stick to it, dammit.
  ...Surprisingly enough, she actually does this. Well, not the part where she tells her parents, but the part where she tells Jessica that she's skipped dinner duty three times in two weeks and that while it's annoying to have everyone else expect her to be perfect-robo-twin, it's particularly vexing for her very own twin to expect the same. Jessica is horrified at the thought of having to be Saint Elizabeth and vows to be a better sister.
  If you believe this, well...
  Liz puts Jess to the test almost immediately. Liz has promised to drive little Teddy Collins home from Ricky Alden's birthday party while Mr. Collins is out of town. Seems his sister, Heather, doesn't drive. But Liz is playing tennis Friday afternoon with Jeffrey and won't be back in time to get Mr. Alden's call about where his house is [why not call BEFORE for the directions, Liz?] annnnnnd what time to pick Teddy up. Jessica promises to take the message, and leave a note telling Liz when/where so that when Liz gets back from tennis, she can run out and pick Teddy up.
  You know this is going to end badly. It has to. And so it does.
  Oh, Jessica takes the message alright. She takes the message along with her on her date with David. Which means Liz never picks Teddy up and looks like a total flake, and I wouldn't blame Heather if she were mighty ticked at Liz. If I were Ricky's dad, I would wonder why a high school girl was picking Teddy up in the first place, but as other people have mentioned, Liz and Mr. C have an odd sort of relationship.
  So, Jess has a disastrous date. David is the cute guy on the opposing trivia team, and Jess has fallen for him for obvious reasons. Namely, he's cute and she figures that if she can get him hot and bothered enough, he'll let her and Amy win the mock game and then they'll get to be on TV. David tells her she's lovely, but that's never gonna happen. Prior to that, though, he takes Jessica to meet his older sister, sister's boyfriend, and they all have sushi. Jessica inhales horseradish instead and damn near chokes, then realizes she fucked up big time with the whole Teddy/Ricky/Liz fiasco. THEN David tells her no.
  So she's in a right pitiful mood when she gets home, and heads straight to Liz to offer a half-assed apology and some serious sympathy over what a jerk David is.
  Liz is pissed the hell off and tells Jessica to go fuck herself, cuz Liz is sick and tired of being unable to depend on her stupid, selfish, flighty, flaky, self absorbed skank of a twin.

   Jess: 137 million, Liz: 1.


  In an effort to make things up to Liz, Jessica decides to try and figure out what's REALLY bothering her twin. Because it couldn't possibly be that Jessica is royally screwing her over every day that ends in "y", could it? No. Then Todd of all people calls! Jess is sure that this means that Liz is really in love with Todd still, and that with him visiting for the Winter Carnival, Liz is all torn up over Jeffrey vs. Todd. So when Todd asks her to pass along a message about the PTA dinner he's asked Liz to attend with him, Jessica does just that. She skips out the door, heads right to the DB, and tells Liz that Todd's all atwitter about their non-date-date, wink wink, nudge nudge.
  Right.
  In.
  Front.
  Of.
  Jeffrey.
   Who had no idea Liz was bailing on the first night of the WC so she could go out with her ex. He's pissed and excuses himself, ready to leave Liz at the DB. Man, early Jeffrey had balls. Todd would never have done that until later in the series when he was an asshole all the time. Liz and Jeffrey fight it out and when he drops her off, Jeffrey doesn't really make any motion to see her in safely, or even really say goodbye.
  So what does Elizabeth do? She asks Jessica for relationship advice. Jess tells her that a little jealousy never hurt anyone [the mind, it boggles!] and that Liz should let Jeffrey think he's got a little to worry about, just so their relationship won't get stale, and they won't take one another for granted.
  And Elizabeth agrees.
  The next day at some picnic or party or whatever the hell it is the popular kids at SVH do on their weekends, Enid tells Elizabeth that she's pretty sure Jeffrey's sensitive and besides that, he's not a headcase like Jessica, and she didn't think Liz was either. Liz ignores Enid, fucks things up further with Jeffrey, and can't even really blame Jessica, because this one? Not really Jessie's fault.
  Damnation!
  Days pass and Liz is worried. She thinks it's ridiculous that Jeffrey is SO jealous of a PTA dinner with Todd, but Jeffrey's never had a serious girlfriend, leading the less mature of us to wonder about his boyfriend history. Um, anywayyyyyyyyyyyyy....
  So Jeffrey decides he'll drive out to this deserted little slice of canyon and if Liz shows up, they'll have a little chat about the state of their union. And if she doesn't show up, obviously there's nothing to talk about and their relationship is as dead as it looks at the moment.
  Liz tells Jessica that she HAS to have the car back by 4:30 because the Liz/Jeffrey relationship depends on it. Jess agrees, but this is where everyone else realizes it ain't. gonna. happen. You see, today is the day when Jessica and Amy go all trivia nerd and beat the pants off real trivia nerds and win the coveted TV time for a local access trivia bowl game show. Exciting. Anyway, upon winning, they all go out for pizza and Jessica has totally forgotten Elizabeth.
  A couple of things come to mind in all this. The first? Why didn't Elizabeth just drive Amy and Jessica to the trivia thing? Or why didn't she insist Amy drive? Doesn't Amy have a car? They've got a housekeeper, so I imagine the Suttons have the money for Ames to have her own transportation. Barring that, where are Lila and Cara? Or ANY of Jessica's admirers? By choosing to leave your fate in the hands of your ditzy sister and even flakier former best friend, you have actually spoken volumes about what you think of your relationship with Jeffy, Lizzie.
  Also, when Jessica doesn't make it home on time [SHOCKER] and you can't find a car to borrow, or afford the taxi out to the canyon, why don't you hike/bike ride/take the taxi/bus to Jeffrey's house and wait for him? Huh? Explain that you tried your second-best and when you realized you'd never be able to meet him, you ran right over to wait for him to get home.
  And if you can't be bothered to do that, you call and leave a thousand messages for him. But seriously, you haul yourself over there and plant your ass on the porch until he comes home. If he tells you to fuck off, fine. That's his right. But at least you'll have tried.
  Why, oh why am I at all invested in Elizabeth's stupidity at this point?

  Now that Jessica's botched just about everything up, she decides she has to fix it. She gets Todd to back off on the PTA thing, which makes Liz feel worse since she fought so hard to convince Jeffrey she SHOULD go since he's a friend and all. Then Jess forges a note from Liz to Jeffrey and tells him to meet her at the ski-lodge at 6:30 Friday evening. Problem this time? She never has time to tell Liz to meet Jeffrey, because Amy fucking Sutton proves she's a moron. When you're going away for a weekend, don't you start to pack a little beforehand? Even if it's just finding the fucking suitcases prior to the hour before you're supposed to leave? Not Amy. Amy runs around like a chicken with its head cut off, only less coordinated. Just when Jessica thinks she's home free, Amy's all "I forgot my allergy pills, Jess! I NEED them." Bitch, I would have pawned you off on Sandy Bacon when she drove by. Not Jessica. She and Amy drive up to Mont Blanc and since they run out of gas, hit all the lights, and various other hi-larious problems ensue, Jess has just enough time to run to the lodge and pretend to be Liz. It works, Jeffrey thinks they're on their way to being cool... Only Jess is spotted by Chrissy Nolan, a gossipy senior girl who makes a comment about the cute blond and the other twin and Liz. Freaks. Out.

  Oh. My. GOD, Liz, take a chill pill. For the last time! Jeffrey and Jessica aren't romantically entangled just yet! But no. Liz runs off, cons Ken into taking her to the bus station, where she runs into Steve and Cara as she takes the bus home. When she does get home, Jessica gets a hold of her and Liz tells her to fuck off. Again. Then she lies down for a nap.
  She's woken by the sound of the phone ringing, and when she answers, it's a cop. Never a good sign when the cops call, unless you're related to the one on the phone. She's not. He's calling because Jessica was in an accident on the way down from Mont Blanc. She's at Fowler Memorial and it doesn't look good. Liz runs out of the house, only to realize that Steve's car is in the shop, her parents are both out [why'd they take both their cars?], and she doesn't know anyone else who can take her since they're all up at Mont Blanc. Then Todd of all people drives by and she flags him down. Why in the HELL is Todd driving a black Camero? Doesn't matter. He takes her to the hospital where she arrives just in time to find out that Jessica is gone. Liz faints.
  When she comes to, Jessica is still dead. Her parents are in shock, Liz is in denial and to help her deal, her pediatrician has prescribed some major pills, which she takes and helps take the edge off everything. The days pass by in a blur, due to the drugs and all, and Liz is handling all of this remarkably well considering she's sure that her family blames her for Jessica's death, since Jess wouldn't have died if the twins hadn't been fighting. Enid's throwing a small 'remember Jessica' sort of thing at her house. The guest list is a little odd, with Steve, Cara, Enid, Liz, Todd, Winston, Amy, Lila, Regina & Bruce, Roger, and Olivia. You had me right up until Roger and Olivia. I guess they're there to support Liz, not so much because they'll necessarily miss Jessica. Jeffy shows up and the shit hits the fan. He and Todd duel in the yard and the world goes even wonkier when Enid runs out into the yard wearing Jessica's silver ski suit. She's calling Liz's name only...
  Not.
  Because everything after Liz drifted off to sleep has been a dream. Jess, Steve, Cara, and Jeffrey are all at the Wakefield's! They're fine! Jess is alive! Liz instantly forgives everything, hugs her twin to death, and all is well.
  The book ends with the Snow Ball Enid's been working on for the WC. Happily ever after. Oh, and the Todd/Jeffrey jokes literally write themselves as they bond over the weekend.



Trivial Matters:

  • Liz calls her essay for the Young Writer's Society, "Double or Nothing." Like everything else she writes, it's about being a twin. Later, she'll think that she should have called it "Double Standard." Her faculty sponsor is Mr. Collins, and she gets honorable mention.

  • The Winter Carnival weekend is for juniors, seniors, and SVH alumni. Am I the only one thinking of all the pervy guys trying to get with a naive/super slutty SVH student? Guess so.

  • The WC is held at Mont Blanc, a ski resort an hour and a half away from SV. Among other amenities, there's a ballroom.

  • The local TV station has created a trivia game show, and they've run a contest to get names for the show as well as contestants. After they swipe Liz and Enid's answers, Amy and Jessica are chosen, and their bit of witticism for a name? Trivia Bowl. Egads, Brain...

  • There's one team from SVH and one from Westwood High. Come on, ghosties, how many frickin' high schools are we up to by now?

  • The Trivia Show's entry form has ten sample questions and a space for a name suggestion for the show.

  • Trivia Bowl will air on KSVC. Those are some easy call letters, eh?

  • Jessica's all over the cold lasagna. While I agree leftover lasagna is better than fresh from the oven, I prefer mine warmed. To each their freakish ways, I suppose, Wakefield.

  • The Trivia Bowl people called Amy first. Luckily Jessica was there, too.

  • Winston demands that the dance at the WC be called the Snow Ball. Enid caves, but holds firm against all his other wackily lame ideas. In my head, Enid and Win were totally doing other things rather than planning the Snow Ball. Just sayin'...

  • Enid is co-chair of the dance committee, in case you hadn't figured that out yet.

  • Friday night there's a pizza party to begin the WC weekend. It's at 7pm, which happens to fall too close to the PTA dinner Todd's invited Elizabeth to go to.

  • Various chaperons include Ms. Dalton, Mr. Collins, Ms. Howard...

  • There are four students to each room. The only rooms worth noting: Liz/Enid/Olivia/Regina and Jessica/Cara/Lila/Amy. That last one sounds like a bad idea begging to happen.

  • Amy is organizing a miniture ice show for the WC. Ken and Bill are setting up a mock winter Olympics, with four teams competing for the glory and bragging rights of winning.

  • If you're not athletically inclined, there's always card or board games inside the lodge, as well as ping pong.

  • Elizabeth is Jeffrey's first serious girlfriend.

  • Todd played Big Brother to Timothy Bryce, who won a basketball scholarship to b-ball camp and is being honored [along with a zillion other snot nosed brats] at a PTA dinner, originally scheduled for Sunday, but moved to Friday for no reason other than to fuck with Elizabeth's weekend plans with Jeffrey.

  • The SVH squad has been picked as a finalist for the All-State cheerleading squad, leading Jess to prance around shrieking, "Can you believe we might be the best in the state?!?" as if we couldn't figure out what All-State meant.

  • Nina Davidson is a VIP from an architecture firm in San Diego who has been running Alice ragged.

  • Another high school! Bayberry Hills Academy, Jess is sure that they would have gotten the All-State nomination instead.

  • David Campbell is a senior at Westwood High. He's got brown eyes that wrinkle at the corners like Ned Wakefield's. His mother owns Bibi's, and his sister, Barbara, is 19 and crazy in that affected way that seems to be an epidemic in the Valley. Her boyfriend Mitch is just as affected/crazy.

  • Scott Hamlin runs Trivia Bowl.

  • Jeffrey's big plan was to whisk Liz off for a romantic evening at Tiberino's. The plan dies when Jessica and Amy go to the library to look up the longest river in Africa. No word on whether they figured it out or not.

  • The Suttons have a housekeeper named Lana.

  • Jessica is convinced her father needs to watch his weight, so she's vowed the family will eat salad 2 nights a week. Um, it might also have something to do with salads being impossibly easy to fix...

  • Alice picks up a silver, Lycra ski suit for Jessica at The Ski Shop.

  • Enid recently gave Elizabeth a mulberry sweater and Liz goes nuts when Jessica borrows it. Jess just borrowed it because she promised to show Amy her pants. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried...

  • When asked to name all the states starting with the letter M, Jessica misses Massachusetts, Mississippi, Maryland and Minnesota.

  • Winston informs Jessica and Amy that Charles Darwin's most famous voyage was made while sailing in The Beagle.

  • Also, the first two letters on every boat registered in California? CA. Jess is sure they wouldn't ask something like this. Uh, it's a trivia show, Jess. You're lucky they aren't asking really off the wall crap.

  • Mr. Collins has a sister, Heather, but she doesn't drive.

  • David drives a blue MG.

  • David, Barbara, Mitch, and Jessica go to A Taste of Tokyo [for sashimi], which is half an hour away.

  • Jessica thinks David is a jerk for not promising to take it easy on Amy and Jessica during the Trivia Bowl, but concedes that he's a considerate jerk when he waits until she's safely inside before starting his car and driving off.

  • Ned and Alice both work in downtown Sweet Valley.

  • At the picnic where Jeffrey and Liz prove they suck at playing proper headgames, Jessica plays Frisbee baseball. Also at the picnic? Caroline, Enid, Ken, and Bill. Man, the way they keep pairing Bill and Ken up, a girl could get to thinking the wrong thing. But I won't. Much longer. Promise.

  • Jeffrey is looking super sexy, in Elizabeth's opinion, in his madras pants. Go on, google 'em. I've got time.

  • Jeffrey drives out to Las Palmas Canyon, where he'll be waiting at the intersection of Route 27 and Canyon Drive. If Liz hasn't shown up by 6pm, I dunno, he'll go find Todd and get down and dirty. Who knows.

  • The Trivia Bowl starts at 3:30 and Jess is sure she'll be home by 4:30. She might've been had she not gone out for pizza with the gang at Pizza Palace. Hell, she volunteers to drive, thus further damning herself.

  • Jake Thomas is David's partner. Mike Mallory is the host of Trivia Bowl.

  • David and Thomas dominate the first half of TB *snort* and Amy and Jessica take the second half. There's a tie, and the tie-breaker? How many fluid cups are in a gallon. David says 24, but Jessica and Amy say, "Nuh uh! 16!" The girls win. Yay for them.

  • The drive to the canyon takes at least half an hour and a taxi ride'll cost $30. Liz doesn't have that much cash, and while she considers raiding the emergency money, she still wouldn't have enough. Bummer.

  • When Jessica is gossiping on the phone, she prefers to lie on her stomach, stretched across the bed, her ankles crossed in the air, her chin propped up on one hand. Now you know.

  • Todd visits with such regularity that the ghosty gets away with saying that when he does visit, you can be sure he'll be staying with either Ken or Winston. For the record, Winston won bunk rights this time.

  • Todd's flight comes in at 3pm, and he'll be back at Winston's by 4:30.

  • Amy can't drive a stick and has terrible night vision because her contacts make oncoming headlights shimmer.

  • The girls are bunking in the main building at Mont Blanc and the guys are in the Lodge, a hundred yards away. Woo?

  • Chrissy Nolan is a senior and a gossip to boot.

  • Ms. Dalton and Ms. Howard at the second floor chaperons, where Liz's room happens to be.

  • Ken took Liz to the bus station. He wanted to stay with her, but she wouldn't let him.

  • Steve and Cara took the bus to MB because Steve's car was in the shop.

  • Liz takes the 7:15 bus back to SV, and she's the only passenger, so she sits up front with Hank, the bus driver.

  • Liz actually wishes, repeatedly, that Jessica had never been born; that she had no sister at all. Damn, Liz.

  • Jessica 'crashes' on Route 17, down from MB, when she smashed into a tree. The docs say she didn't suffer, I say it was a fucking car accident and she didn't die immediately. I don't think she was having fun waiting for someone to drive by and call 911 for her.

  • Todd drives up in a black Camero.

  • Dr. Davis is the twins pediatrician. He appears wearing large coke-bottle glasses that he doesn't normally have outside of dreamtime.

  • Jessica's last words were, "Tell Liz I love her and I'm sorry." Guilt trip from beyond the grave!

  • Ned starts smoking after Jessica's death. Liz is shocked.

  • After less than a week, Alice turns the Hershey Bar white chocolate, and cleans everything out to make a guest room. Guess Liz isn't the only one knocking back the happy pills...

  • Enid's little shindig for Jessica involved the following: Steve, Liz, Todd, Winston, Amy, Lila, Regina, Bruce, Roger, and Olivia.

  • When Liz comes home in a tizzy from MB, Ned and Alice are out at a party.

  • On the way back to MB, they're running late because Jessica overslept.

  • Mock Olympics: Jessica is on the blue team, Bruce is building the world's biggest snowman which bears more than a little resemblance to Chrome Dome Cooper, Todd and Jeffrey are both part of the red team, Aaron and Bill are part of the yellow team, and your guess is as good as mine for the white team.

  • The Droids wrote Snow Girl for the Snow Ball. They're all dressed in white, as is everything else at the SB.



Quote me:

  "She's like a whirlwind!" Elizabeth had exclaimed once to Enid Rollins her best friend.
  "And you're so dependable," Enid had said loyally. - Uncool, Rollins. Whirlwind versus dependable? Which is more flattering, hmm? p4

  "What's wrong?" Jessica asked, still gorging herself on lasagna.
  "Nothing," Elizabeth lied. "It's just that Enid and I really wanted to be on that show. We worked so hard on our entry form and-"
  "Don't worry about it," Jessica advised her. "It's just a dumb trivia show. It's not such a big deal."
  Elizabeth just stared at her. "But if I'd won and you really wanted to be on it, I bet you'd twist my arm until I have in and let you," she pointed out.
  Jessica giggled. "I wouldn't do that," she protested. - And a hundred and thirty seven people just called bullshit, Jessica. p9/10


  "It's only an essay contest anyway," Jessica pointed out. "Come on, Liz. Don't be depressed. Who cares about essays?" - Thoughtful she is not, ladies and gentlemen. p29

  Since her own taste was conservative, it amazed Elizabeth that Jessica borrowed so many of her things. - Truer words were never spoken. p48

  "You're you, and I'm me, and wherever we go people are going to expect me to be on time and to wear navy-blue and they're not going to expect you to do either."
  Jessica stared at her sister. She couldn't imagine a worse fate than the one Elizabeth was describing for herself.- The horror! p57/58

  Mitch was even worse. He kept talking about Hollywood and going into "film," and he was wearing the weirdest clothes-an oversized Hawaiian shirt fastened at the throat with a jeweled pin, and strangely cut linen pants that made him look emaciated. His glasses were kelly green, and when Jessica made a remark about them Mitch gave her a scornful look. "I have twenty-five pair of glasses," he told her. "I change them to go with what I'm wearing." - Mitch, congrats. You're the biggest tool we've had in awhile. Yay, you! p72





   My favorite thing about Winter Carnival, aside from the reality of Liz not always loving being "dependable" as opposed to glamorous? Jeffrey being jealous of Todd's history with Liz. He's heard so much about how awesome Todd was at EVERYTHING, and how everyone expected Todd and Liz to be together, forever, aww, that it makes complete sense that he wouldn't be looking forward to the guy coming back and hanging out immediately with Elizabeth. But he never actually tells Liz any of this during their fighting madness, so she just things he's jealous and overprotective, and more than a little cro-mag in his mindset.
  Superficially speaking, I had a sweater like Elizabeth's, without the funky turtleneck thing going on. But then again, I was in elementary school...
the_oracle: (tear)
Winter Carnival
December 1986


A winter wonderland...


   Winter's here and everyone at Sweet Valley High is excited about the upcoming Winter Carnival. It's a very special weekend at a mountain ski resort, with ice skating, skiing, sledding, and a spectacular ball.
   But Elizabeth Wakefield's got the midwinter blues. She's especially upset with her twin, Jessica, who's been avoiding chores and borrowing clothes without asking. Elizabeth is so sick and tired of Jessica's inconsiderate attitude that she sometimes wishes she never had a sister! And when Jessica's string of broken promises threatens to destroy Elizabeth's romance with Jeffrey French, it looks as though Winter Carnival will turn into a snowy disaster!
   Join the Sweet Valley High gang for their mid-winter break at Winter Carnival!

  Let's get one thing straight right away. Reality has no place in the Valley. None. And I don't mean that "twelve strangers picked specifically for their drama-queen/skanky ways in the hopes of generating insane ratings" reality, I mean honest to God reality. Mundane, normal stuff. No place!
  That said, Winter Carnival would have been much better off had they left out the over-the-top surrealism of the last few chapters. Until then, it's an interesting look behind the perfect twin facade. Liz, you see, is an unhappy camper. While the rest of us would probably consider her life more than charmed, psychotic sister, true-luv shipped to Vermont, and that whole kidnapping thing aside, she does have to put up with Jessica on a daily basis.
  And thus begins our trouble. Liz has to walk home, in the rain, because Jessica just took off with the car, leaving Liz stranded. You or I might have asked our twin if she needed a ride home. We might not, considering Liz does have Jeffrey/Enid/the numerous people who owe her for fixing their lives, whether they asked her to or not. So we might conclude that like Kim Possible, Liz is never without options. We'd be wrong. Anyway, Liz is grumpy, grumpy, grumpy. Lately Jessica has been getting on her nerves something fierce, what with her borrowing things without asking, ducking out of dinner detail repeatedly... basically being Jessica.
  Liz gets a bit snippy when Jessica lets her parents think that the delicious meal they're eating was her own creation when all she did was reheat Elizabeth's masterpiece. Then Liz notices Jess is wearing her mulberry sweater, which was a gift from Enid that Liz hasn't worn all that often. Liz goes apeshit. But what's really getting to Liz is that Jessica and Amy swiped Enid and Elizabeth's answers for a trivia game show, and then Amy and Jess won. Liz points out that if their roles had been reversed, Jess would have wheedled her way into a spot on TV, but Jess calls bullshit. [Honey, that only works if the other person IS full of it, not if it's true...] Then she says it doesn't matter, Amy's so excited that even if Jess wanted to hand it over, she couldn't possibly. Rightio.
  Then Liz finds out that she didn't win the essay contest she entered, but she did get an honorable mention. Liz is bummed that she didn't win flat out and when she finds out that the cheerleaders, led by Jessica, are on their way to All State, she hits a new low. She's jealous of Jessica in a big way, and nothing anyone can say can snap her out of it.
  Well, not entirely true. Jeffrey [you remember Jeffy, right?] sweet talks her out of her funk, only to send her home to bathe [mmhmm, not going there] and then he'll whisk her away to dinner and all her worries will fall by the wayside, cuz... well, let's not be too explicit. That's not the sort of guy Jeffrey is, after all.
  Problem is that Jessica, despite promising to make dinner on her actual night to do so, flits off to Amy's to cram for the trivia show. Liz calls Amy's house to bitch the blondes out, but Lana, Amy's maid [I know, right?] says the girls have gone to the library to look up the longest river in Africa. Let's take a moment, shall we? How many of you know that answer? Mmmhmm. How many of you knew that when you were the recommended reading age for these books? Mmmhmm. I figure nothing else I can say will point out that Amy lost all her braincells and then some. I think the sucking void that is her mind also took out half of Jessica's brain. Instead of using her superior intellect to figure out which library the two might've gone to and, I dunno, called and asked if two stunningly vapid blondes were running around killing braincells, Liz goes full on martyr and cancels her date with Jeffrey. Jeffrey sort of understands, but tells her that she should tell her twin where to shove it, because this shit just can't keep happening. If she can't tell Jess where to step off, she should tell her parents.

  Nup, that won't happen. What I don't get is why neither Ned nor Alice ever call Jess on this shit UNLESS it's one of the "woe is Jessica!" books that happen every so often. Otherwise they smile and wish her good luck on not getting knocked up this go round. Hell, this time Alice comes home, asks where Jess is, is told she's out despite it being her night to do dinner, and in response she shrugs and shows off this spangly [Liz's word, not mine] silver Lycra ski suit she bought her youngest for the Winter Carnival.
  Um, no. I don't care if she is "studying." It's easy enough to figure out that out of, let's say 10 nights, Liz has made dinner eight times. I figure that the weekends are iffy on whether the Wakefields eat together or require dinner made by either of the twins, but I factor in that either Sunday or Friday, they might. Anyway, the point is for them to share the workload, and it's not sharing if one of them is doing all the work. Even at the height of my brother's do nothing and get away with it-'phase', my parents still noticed after awhile. And not just because I'd rat him out at every given opportunity.
  Liz, stuff the older sister crap and tell your parents that Jessica's taking advantage of you. Then tell her yourself and actually stick to it, dammit.
  ...Surprisingly enough, she actually does this. Well, not the part where she tells her parents, but the part where she tells Jessica that she's skipped dinner duty three times in two weeks and that while it's annoying to have everyone else expect her to be perfect-robo-twin, it's particularly vexing for her very own twin to expect the same. Jessica is horrified at the thought of having to be Saint Elizabeth and vows to be a better sister.
  If you believe this, well...
  Liz puts Jess to the test almost immediately. Liz has promised to drive little Teddy Collins home from Ricky Alden's birthday party while Mr. Collins is out of town. Seems his sister, Heather, doesn't drive. But Liz is playing tennis Friday afternoon with Jeffrey and won't be back in time to get Mr. Alden's call about where his house is [why not call BEFORE for the directions, Liz?] annnnnnd what time to pick Teddy up. Jessica promises to take the message, and leave a note telling Liz when/where so that when Liz gets back from tennis, she can run out and pick Teddy up.
  You know this is going to end badly. It has to. And so it does.
  Oh, Jessica takes the message alright. She takes the message along with her on her date with David. Which means Liz never picks Teddy up and looks like a total flake, and I wouldn't blame Heather if she were mighty ticked at Liz. If I were Ricky's dad, I would wonder why a high school girl was picking Teddy up in the first place, but as other people have mentioned, Liz and Mr. C have an odd sort of relationship.
  So, Jess has a disastrous date. David is the cute guy on the opposing trivia team, and Jess has fallen for him for obvious reasons. Namely, he's cute and she figures that if she can get him hot and bothered enough, he'll let her and Amy win the mock game and then they'll get to be on TV. David tells her she's lovely, but that's never gonna happen. Prior to that, though, he takes Jessica to meet his older sister, sister's boyfriend, and they all have sushi. Jessica inhales horseradish instead and damn near chokes, then realizes she fucked up big time with the whole Teddy/Ricky/Liz fiasco. THEN David tells her no.
  So she's in a right pitiful mood when she gets home, and heads straight to Liz to offer a half-assed apology and some serious sympathy over what a jerk David is.
  Liz is pissed the hell off and tells Jessica to go fuck herself, cuz Liz is sick and tired of being unable to depend on her stupid, selfish, flighty, flaky, self absorbed skank of a twin.

   Jess: 137 million, Liz: 1.


  In an effort to make things up to Liz, Jessica decides to try and figure out what's REALLY bothering her twin. Because it couldn't possibly be that Jessica is royally screwing her over every day that ends in "y", could it? No. Then Todd of all people calls! Jess is sure that this means that Liz is really in love with Todd still, and that with him visiting for the Winter Carnival, Liz is all torn up over Jeffrey vs. Todd. So when Todd asks her to pass along a message about the PTA dinner he's asked Liz to attend with him, Jessica does just that. She skips out the door, heads right to the DB, and tells Liz that Todd's all atwitter about their non-date-date, wink wink, nudge nudge.
  Right.
  In.
  Front.
  Of.
  Jeffrey.
   Who had no idea Liz was bailing on the first night of the WC so she could go out with her ex. He's pissed and excuses himself, ready to leave Liz at the DB. Man, early Jeffrey had balls. Todd would never have done that until later in the series when he was an asshole all the time. Liz and Jeffrey fight it out and when he drops her off, Jeffrey doesn't really make any motion to see her in safely, or even really say goodbye.
  So what does Elizabeth do? She asks Jessica for relationship advice. Jess tells her that a little jealousy never hurt anyone [the mind, it boggles!] and that Liz should let Jeffrey think he's got a little to worry about, just so their relationship won't get stale, and they won't take one another for granted.
  And Elizabeth agrees.
  The next day at some picnic or party or whatever the hell it is the popular kids at SVH do on their weekends, Enid tells Elizabeth that she's pretty sure Jeffrey's sensitive and besides that, he's not a headcase like Jessica, and she didn't think Liz was either. Liz ignores Enid, fucks things up further with Jeffrey, and can't even really blame Jessica, because this one? Not really Jessie's fault.
  Damnation!
  Days pass and Liz is worried. She thinks it's ridiculous that Jeffrey is SO jealous of a PTA dinner with Todd, but Jeffrey's never had a serious girlfriend, leading the less mature of us to wonder about his boyfriend history. Um, anywayyyyyyyyyyyyy....
  So Jeffrey decides he'll drive out to this deserted little slice of canyon and if Liz shows up, they'll have a little chat about the state of their union. And if she doesn't show up, obviously there's nothing to talk about and their relationship is as dead as it looks at the moment.
  Liz tells Jessica that she HAS to have the car back by 4:30 because the Liz/Jeffrey relationship depends on it. Jess agrees, but this is where everyone else realizes it ain't. gonna. happen. You see, today is the day when Jessica and Amy go all trivia nerd and beat the pants off real trivia nerds and win the coveted TV time for a local access trivia bowl game show. Exciting. Anyway, upon winning, they all go out for pizza and Jessica has totally forgotten Elizabeth.
  A couple of things come to mind in all this. The first? Why didn't Elizabeth just drive Amy and Jessica to the trivia thing? Or why didn't she insist Amy drive? Doesn't Amy have a car? They've got a housekeeper, so I imagine the Suttons have the money for Ames to have her own transportation. Barring that, where are Lila and Cara? Or ANY of Jessica's admirers? By choosing to leave your fate in the hands of your ditzy sister and even flakier former best friend, you have actually spoken volumes about what you think of your relationship with Jeffy, Lizzie.
  Also, when Jessica doesn't make it home on time [SHOCKER] and you can't find a car to borrow, or afford the taxi out to the canyon, why don't you hike/bike ride/take the taxi/bus to Jeffrey's house and wait for him? Huh? Explain that you tried your second-best and when you realized you'd never be able to meet him, you ran right over to wait for him to get home.
  And if you can't be bothered to do that, you call and leave a thousand messages for him. But seriously, you haul yourself over there and plant your ass on the porch until he comes home. If he tells you to fuck off, fine. That's his right. But at least you'll have tried.
  Why, oh why am I at all invested in Elizabeth's stupidity at this point?

  Now that Jessica's botched just about everything up, she decides she has to fix it. She gets Todd to back off on the PTA thing, which makes Liz feel worse since she fought so hard to convince Jeffrey she SHOULD go since he's a friend and all. Then Jess forges a note from Liz to Jeffrey and tells him to meet her at the ski-lodge at 6:30 Friday evening. Problem this time? She never has time to tell Liz to meet Jeffrey, because Amy fucking Sutton proves she's a moron. When you're going away for a weekend, don't you start to pack a little beforehand? Even if it's just finding the fucking suitcases prior to the hour before you're supposed to leave? Not Amy. Amy runs around like a chicken with its head cut off, only less coordinated. Just when Jessica thinks she's home free, Amy's all "I forgot my allergy pills, Jess! I NEED them." Bitch, I would have pawned you off on Sandy Bacon when she drove by. Not Jessica. She and Amy drive up to Mont Blanc and since they run out of gas, hit all the lights, and various other hi-larious problems ensue, Jess has just enough time to run to the lodge and pretend to be Liz. It works, Jeffrey thinks they're on their way to being cool... Only Jess is spotted by Chrissy Nolan, a gossipy senior girl who makes a comment about the cute blond and the other twin and Liz. Freaks. Out.

  Oh. My. GOD, Liz, take a chill pill. For the last time! Jeffrey and Jessica aren't romantically entangled just yet! But no. Liz runs off, cons Ken into taking her to the bus station, where she runs into Steve and Cara as she takes the bus home. When she does get home, Jessica gets a hold of her and Liz tells her to fuck off. Again. Then she lies down for a nap.
  She's woken by the sound of the phone ringing, and when she answers, it's a cop. Never a good sign when the cops call, unless you're related to the one on the phone. She's not. He's calling because Jessica was in an accident on the way down from Mont Blanc. She's at Fowler Memorial and it doesn't look good. Liz runs out of the house, only to realize that Steve's car is in the shop, her parents are both out [why'd they take both their cars?], and she doesn't know anyone else who can take her since they're all up at Mont Blanc. Then Todd of all people drives by and she flags him down. Why in the HELL is Todd driving a black Camero? Doesn't matter. He takes her to the hospital where she arrives just in time to find out that Jessica is gone. Liz faints.
  When she comes to, Jessica is still dead. Her parents are in shock, Liz is in denial and to help her deal, her pediatrician has prescribed some major pills, which she takes and helps take the edge off everything. The days pass by in a blur, due to the drugs and all, and Liz is handling all of this remarkably well considering she's sure that her family blames her for Jessica's death, since Jess wouldn't have died if the twins hadn't been fighting. Enid's throwing a small 'remember Jessica' sort of thing at her house. The guest list is a little odd, with Steve, Cara, Enid, Liz, Todd, Winston, Amy, Lila, Regina & Bruce, Roger, and Olivia. You had me right up until Roger and Olivia. I guess they're there to support Liz, not so much because they'll necessarily miss Jessica. Jeffy shows up and the shit hits the fan. He and Todd duel in the yard and the world goes even wonkier when Enid runs out into the yard wearing Jessica's silver ski suit. She's calling Liz's name only...
  Not.
  Because everything after Liz drifted off to sleep has been a dream. Jess, Steve, Cara, and Jeffrey are all at the Wakefield's! They're fine! Jess is alive! Liz instantly forgives everything, hugs her twin to death, and all is well.
  The book ends with the Snow Ball Enid's been working on for the WC. Happily ever after. Oh, and the Todd/Jeffrey jokes literally write themselves as they bond over the weekend.



Trivial Matters:

  • Liz calls her essay for the Young Writer's Society, "Double or Nothing." Like everything else she writes, it's about being a twin. Later, she'll think that she should have called it "Double Standard." Her faculty sponsor is Mr. Collins, and she gets honorable mention.

  • The Winter Carnival weekend is for juniors, seniors, and SVH alumni. Am I the only one thinking of all the pervy guys trying to get with a naive/super slutty SVH student? Guess so.

  • The WC is held at Mont Blanc, a ski resort an hour and a half away from SV. Among other amenities, there's a ballroom.

  • The local TV station has created a trivia game show, and they've run a contest to get names for the show as well as contestants. After they swipe Liz and Enid's answers, Amy and Jessica are chosen, and their bit of witticism for a name? Trivia Bowl. Egads, Brain...

  • There's one team from SVH and one from Westwood High. Come on, ghosties, how many frickin' high schools are we up to by now?

  • The Trivia Show's entry form has ten sample questions and a space for a name suggestion for the show.

  • Trivia Bowl will air on KSVC. Those are some easy call letters, eh?

  • Jessica's all over the cold lasagna. While I agree leftover lasagna is better than fresh from the oven, I prefer mine warmed. To each their freakish ways, I suppose, Wakefield.

  • The Trivia Bowl people called Amy first. Luckily Jessica was there, too.

  • Winston demands that the dance at the WC be called the Snow Ball. Enid caves, but holds firm against all his other wackily lame ideas. In my head, Enid and Win were totally doing other things rather than planning the Snow Ball. Just sayin'...

  • Enid is co-chair of the dance committee, in case you hadn't figured that out yet.

  • Friday night there's a pizza party to begin the WC weekend. It's at 7pm, which happens to fall too close to the PTA dinner Todd's invited Elizabeth to go to.

  • Various chaperons include Ms. Dalton, Mr. Collins, Ms. Howard...

  • There are four students to each room. The only rooms worth noting: Liz/Enid/Olivia/Regina and Jessica/Cara/Lila/Amy. That last one sounds like a bad idea begging to happen.

  • Amy is organizing a miniture ice show for the WC. Ken and Bill are setting up a mock winter Olympics, with four teams competing for the glory and bragging rights of winning.

  • If you're not athletically inclined, there's always card or board games inside the lodge, as well as ping pong.

  • Elizabeth is Jeffrey's first serious girlfriend.

  • Todd played Big Brother to Timothy Bryce, who won a basketball scholarship to b-ball camp and is being honored [along with a zillion other snot nosed brats] at a PTA dinner, originally scheduled for Sunday, but moved to Friday for no reason other than to fuck with Elizabeth's weekend plans with Jeffrey.

  • The SVH squad has been picked as a finalist for the All-State cheerleading squad, leading Jess to prance around shrieking, "Can you believe we might be the best in the state?!?" as if we couldn't figure out what All-State meant.

  • Nina Davidson is a VIP from an architecture firm in San Diego who has been running Alice ragged.

  • Another high school! Bayberry Hills Academy, Jess is sure that they would have gotten the All-State nomination instead.

  • David Campbell is a senior at Westwood High. He's got brown eyes that wrinkle at the corners like Ned Wakefield's. His mother owns Bibi's, and his sister, Barbara, is 19 and crazy in that affected way that seems to be an epidemic in the Valley. Her boyfriend Mitch is just as affected/crazy.

  • Scott Hamlin runs Trivia Bowl.

  • Jeffrey's big plan was to whisk Liz off for a romantic evening at Tiberino's. The plan dies when Jessica and Amy go to the library to look up the longest river in Africa. No word on whether they figured it out or not.

  • The Suttons have a housekeeper named Lana.

  • Jessica is convinced her father needs to watch his weight, so she's vowed the family will eat salad 2 nights a week. Um, it might also have something to do with salads being impossibly easy to fix...

  • Alice picks up a silver, Lycra ski suit for Jessica at The Ski Shop.

  • Enid recently gave Elizabeth a mulberry sweater and Liz goes nuts when Jessica borrows it. Jess just borrowed it because she promised to show Amy her pants. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried...

  • When asked to name all the states starting with the letter M, Jessica misses Massachusetts, Mississippi, Maryland and Minnesota.

  • Winston informs Jessica and Amy that Charles Darwin's most famous voyage was made while sailing in The Beagle.

  • Also, the first two letters on every boat registered in California? CA. Jess is sure they wouldn't ask something like this. Uh, it's a trivia show, Jess. You're lucky they aren't asking really off the wall crap.

  • Mr. Collins has a sister, Heather, but she doesn't drive.

  • David drives a blue MG.

  • David, Barbara, Mitch, and Jessica go to A Taste of Tokyo [for sashimi], which is half an hour away.

  • Jessica thinks David is a jerk for not promising to take it easy on Amy and Jessica during the Trivia Bowl, but concedes that he's a considerate jerk when he waits until she's safely inside before starting his car and driving off.

  • Ned and Alice both work in downtown Sweet Valley.

  • At the picnic where Jeffrey and Liz prove they suck at playing proper headgames, Jessica plays Frisbee baseball. Also at the picnic? Caroline, Enid, Ken, and Bill. Man, the way they keep pairing Bill and Ken up, a girl could get to thinking the wrong thing. But I won't. Much longer. Promise.

  • Jeffrey is looking super sexy, in Elizabeth's opinion, in his madras pants. Go on, google 'em. I've got time.

  • Jeffrey drives out to Las Palmas Canyon, where he'll be waiting at the intersection of Route 27 and Canyon Drive. If Liz hasn't shown up by 6pm, I dunno, he'll go find Todd and get down and dirty. Who knows.

  • The Trivia Bowl starts at 3:30 and Jess is sure she'll be home by 4:30. She might've been had she not gone out for pizza with the gang at Pizza Palace. Hell, she volunteers to drive, thus further damning herself.

  • Jake Thomas is David's partner. Mike Mallory is the host of Trivia Bowl.

  • David and Thomas dominate the first half of TB *snort* and Amy and Jessica take the second half. There's a tie, and the tie-breaker? How many fluid cups are in a gallon. David says 24, but Jessica and Amy say, "Nuh uh! 16!" The girls win. Yay for them.

  • The drive to the canyon takes at least half an hour and a taxi ride'll cost $30. Liz doesn't have that much cash, and while she considers raiding the emergency money, she still wouldn't have enough. Bummer.

  • When Jessica is gossiping on the phone, she prefers to lie on her stomach, stretched across the bed, her ankles crossed in the air, her chin propped up on one hand. Now you know.

  • Todd visits with such regularity that the ghosty gets away with saying that when he does visit, you can be sure he'll be staying with either Ken or Winston. For the record, Winston won bunk rights this time.

  • Todd's flight comes in at 3pm, and he'll be back at Winston's by 4:30.

  • Amy can't drive a stick and has terrible night vision because her contacts make oncoming headlights shimmer.

  • The girls are bunking in the main building at Mont Blanc and the guys are in the Lodge, a hundred yards away. Woo?

  • Chrissy Nolan is a senior and a gossip to boot.

  • Ms. Dalton and Ms. Howard at the second floor chaperons, where Liz's room happens to be.

  • Ken took Liz to the bus station. He wanted to stay with her, but she wouldn't let him.

  • Steve and Cara took the bus to MB because Steve's car was in the shop.

  • Liz takes the 7:15 bus back to SV, and she's the only passenger, so she sits up front with Hank, the bus driver.

  • Liz actually wishes, repeatedly, that Jessica had never been born; that she had no sister at all. Damn, Liz.

  • Jessica 'crashes' on Route 17, down from MB, when she smashed into a tree. The docs say she didn't suffer, I say it was a fucking car accident and she didn't die immediately. I don't think she was having fun waiting for someone to drive by and call 911 for her.

  • Todd drives up in a black Camero.

  • Dr. Davis is the twins pediatrician. He appears wearing large coke-bottle glasses that he doesn't normally have outside of dreamtime.

  • Jessica's last words were, "Tell Liz I love her and I'm sorry." Guilt trip from beyond the grave!

  • Ned starts smoking after Jessica's death. Liz is shocked.

  • After less than a week, Alice turns the Hershey Bar white chocolate, and cleans everything out to make a guest room. Guess Liz isn't the only one knocking back the happy pills...

  • Enid's little shindig for Jessica involved the following: Steve, Liz, Todd, Winston, Amy, Lila, Regina, Bruce, Roger, and Olivia.

  • When Liz comes home in a tizzy from MB, Ned and Alice are out at a party.

  • On the way back to MB, they're running late because Jessica overslept.

  • Mock Olympics: Jessica is on the blue team, Bruce is building the world's biggest snowman which bears more than a little resemblance to Chrome Dome Cooper, Todd and Jeffrey are both part of the red team, Aaron and Bill are part of the yellow team, and your guess is as good as mine for the white team.

  • The Droids wrote Snow Girl for the Snow Ball. They're all dressed in white, as is everything else at the SB.



Quote me:

  "She's like a whirlwind!" Elizabeth had exclaimed once to Enid Rollins her best friend.
  "And you're so dependable," Enid had said loyally. - Uncool, Rollins. Whirlwind versus dependable? Which is more flattering, hmm? p4

  "What's wrong?" Jessica asked, still gorging herself on lasagna.
  "Nothing," Elizabeth lied. "It's just that Enid and I really wanted to be on that show. We worked so hard on our entry form and-"
  "Don't worry about it," Jessica advised her. "It's just a dumb trivia show. It's not such a big deal."
  Elizabeth just stared at her. "But if I'd won and you really wanted to be on it, I bet you'd twist my arm until I have in and let you," she pointed out.
  Jessica giggled. "I wouldn't do that," she protested. - And a hundred and thirty seven people just called bullshit, Jessica. p9/10


  "It's only an essay contest anyway," Jessica pointed out. "Come on, Liz. Don't be depressed. Who cares about essays?" - Thoughtful she is not, ladies and gentlemen. p29

  Since her own taste was conservative, it amazed Elizabeth that Jessica borrowed so many of her things. - Truer words were never spoken. p48

  "You're you, and I'm me, and wherever we go people are going to expect me to be on time and to wear navy-blue and they're not going to expect you to do either."
  Jessica stared at her sister. She couldn't imagine a worse fate than the one Elizabeth was describing for herself.- The horror! p57/58

  Mitch was even worse. He kept talking about Hollywood and going into "film," and he was wearing the weirdest clothes-an oversized Hawaiian shirt fastened at the throat with a jeweled pin, and strangely cut linen pants that made him look emaciated. His glasses were kelly green, and when Jessica made a remark about them Mitch gave her a scornful look. "I have twenty-five pair of glasses," he told her. "I change them to go with what I'm wearing." - Mitch, congrats. You're the biggest tool we've had in awhile. Yay, you! p72





   My favorite thing about Winter Carnival, aside from the reality of Liz not always loving being "dependable" as opposed to glamorous? Jeffrey being jealous of Todd's history with Liz. He's heard so much about how awesome Todd was at EVERYTHING, and how everyone expected Todd and Liz to be together, forever, aww, that it makes complete sense that he wouldn't be looking forward to the guy coming back and hanging out immediately with Elizabeth. But he never actually tells Liz any of this during their fighting madness, so she just things he's jealous and overprotective, and more than a little cro-mag in his mindset.
  Superficially speaking, I had a sweater like Elizabeth's, without the funky turtleneck thing going on. But then again, I was in elementary school...
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Spring Break
April 1986


Bon voyage...



   Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are nearly bursting with excitement. Spring break has arrived, and the twins are off to the glamorous South of France! It's the vacation of a lifetime: Elizabeth can't wait to practice her French, but Jessica's dying to meet those romantic French boys.
   The Riviera turns out to be even more beautiful and wondrous than the twins had imagined, with its beach clubs, magnificent mansions, and the glittering Mediterranean Sea. But while the Frenchwoman with whom Jessica and Elizabeth is staying is a welcome hostess, her handsome son, Rene, is arrogant and rude. Can the twins figure out why Rene seems to despise them, or will he spoil their dream vacation?
   Share the magic of France with Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield. Take off for Spring Break!


  God, look at the cover. This has to be my least favorite of the Super Editions, strictly speaking about the covers. Liz is a little too into her brochure and Jessica is totally Rose [Golden Girls Rose] as a twenty-something. While you'd think crossing The Golden Girls and SVH would make me happier, it's just one of those covers that gets more unattractive each time you look at it. G'ah. Look away! Look away!

  Anyway, the twins [and various other students, like Lila] are off to France for a foreign exchange student swap. The kicker is that it's only for spring break. Hence the title. Mm, you're a quick one, aren't you? We begin our tale in the plane as the twins await takeoff. There's a fond look back at how uncomplicated seeing your loved ones used to be, prior to incidents that make it impossible for a true send-off these days. Sigh. Uh, if that was a little too vague, Liz waves, from the plane, to Steve, Alice, and Ned as they stand at the window, waving goodbye. Not that they can see her, Jessica points out. We haven't even reached the end of page one and Jess is already annoyed with her dorkier twin. Score!
  We learn that Jessica, fearless Jessica, is not all that fond of flying and loathes the "in case of emergency, lean over, put your head between your knees, and kiss your ass goodbye" spiel at the start of flights. Can't say I blame her. To distract her twin, Liz points out all the fun they'll have, and I admit, as a kid, this is the point where I was completely sucked in. Man, I wanted to go to France with them something awful. Sigh.
  Despite Jessica's best efforts to miss their flight by spending too much time in the "duty free shop" [a phrase I will forever giggle at without truly understanding why] during their layover in NYC, the girls eventually make it to France, where they run into Avery Glize, and her handsome but annoyingly insufferable son, Rene. Avery is a sweetheart, and due to her living in the U.S, as well as marrying an American, she speaks flawless English, as does Rene. When Jessica expresses her relief at not having to speak French every second of the day, Rene snaps at her, using the oldest cliche in the book. That Americans who travel abroad are rude, tactless slobs who expect everyone to speak English just to make their lives easier. Avery fusses at him in French, which mostly goes over Jessica's head and Liz can only keep up with a smidge of it. About the only thing they really make out is that Rene's really bitter about his father, though what this has to do with the price of American annoyance abroad, the twins know not.
  You, being smarter than a sixteen year old carbon copy from the Valley, will immediately presume that Avery's ex-husband was American and since he's so NOT in the picture anymore, left his family, and Rene resents him, and thus every American is immediately just like his father. Someone to be scorned. The twins, however, don't catch on for quite awhile. Sigh.
  Their first day, Avery makes them some really good food that the twins are too exhausted to truly appreciate, and they slink upstairs and promptly pass out until twilight. When Jessica awakes, she fusses at Liz for not waking her sooner, and then goes off to explore the house. Liz warns her not to snoop... after basically giving her the idea in the first place. LOGIC, Liz. Jess immediately stumbles across Rene's room and picks up a lucite picture cube. She admires the pictures until she comes across one that's off-center. She figures Rene's father has been cut out of the shot, and she's curious as to why, but flips the cube over and sees something so horrible she screams for her twin to haul her ass to Rene's room immediately. Only not in those exact words.
  There's a picture of Ferney, Rene's sister who is spending spring break at the Wakefield's home. Turns out that the redhead they couldn't really see in the photo the Glizes sent [what sense does that make if you're sending your kid? Wouldn't you want the people she'll be staying with to be able to pick her out of the people stumbling off the plane, especially if she doesn't freakin' speak English?] is the spitting image of Tricia Martin.
  Cue the falling glass, shattering on the floor, and horrified expressions. Except, y'know, for the shattering glass. But it would work, given the suspense and all.

  Ferney looks like Tricia, doesn't speak much English at all, and is quite happy to have a cute guy practically dote on her. Thing is, with the language barrier between then [Steve took Spanish, dontcha know] the two can't really communicate. So Steve thinks that Ferney loves science like Tricia, wants to be a scientist [like Tricia!] and is freakishly like his lost love. Part of him knows that as long as he can't truly communicate with her, he can go on believing things that aren't necessarily true. He can have illusions and who will it really hurt, huh?
  Cara Walker, you tool. Steve ignores Cara and she knows she's losing him to a girl who looks too much like his dead girlfriend, but what can she do? He won't talk to her and she's got some pride, too much to force him to leave Ferney's side for half a second. Poor girl can't even drown her sorrows in icecream, as she's got no appetite. She confesses her sorrows to Enid of all people, but Enid can't convince her to stand up and fight for Steven, since, come on, Ferney's obviously not the brightest bulb. Cara won't even try and that's that.
  Steve invites a friend of his, David, down to help translate things between Steve and Ferney. Within minutes Steven realizes that Ferney, while beautiful and nice enough, is a dim bulb. He wants depth, experience, something more interesting than "teehee, I like crepes. Teehee!"
  Shoulda thought of that before you fucked things up with Cara, eh? Once more we're treated to Steve calling someone [Cara] a "special person." Jesus, Steven, for someone who moped around for months, you're so not in touch with your emotional side. Can't you say she's special to you, or that, hell, she's a special girl? Something a little less generic than special person?
  After he realizes what an ass he's been, he grovels at Cara's feet and she forgives him, although those of you who've read Memories in the not too distant past will recognize a pattern. Steven's an ass, Cara says to hell with this, Steve realizes the error of his ways, apologizes, and Cara gives him an out, just in case he feels honor bound to try and work things out with her. Steve declines the out, they kiss, makeup, and he promises never to fall back under his dead girlfriend's spell. Dude, I think we've got at least two more books where this happens and then they ship Cara off to get some therapy of the retail variety in London.
  Basically, all's well that ends well.

   Back in France, Jessica meets Marc, a nice, rich guy who happens to be too short and not cute enough to truly satisfy Jessica. And while his parents are loaded and he takes her to the exclusive beach his parents have access to, basically it's filled with boring old people. The highlight of this seems to be Jessica deigning to go topless like most of the rest of the natives.
  Liz, on the other hand, gets the world's worst tour when Rene is brow-beaten into it by Avery. His friends Georges and Edouard are nice enough, and they explain the secret about Rene's father, and that Glize is Avery's maiden name. Thing is, as nice as they are, Rene is twice the ass as he's been the entire time. Poor Liz. She eventually stumbles across a cute German shepherd puppy and when she finds his name is Nykki and takes him home, she meets the Countess de Willenich. They chat about art, life, love... who knows. It actually sounds like a fantastic afternoon, and I agree with my younger self who would have been more than content taking Liz's place. Except for that part where I don't speak French. The Countess invites Liz back the following day, and to Jessica's horror, Liz accepts. While there, she runs into Jean-Claude, who happens to be the Countess' grandson. Quickly Liz realizes she's been set up, but doesn't mind because J-C is hot, charming, and doesn't speak English so well, so it gives Liz a perfect chance to work on her French. Yeah.
  It doesn't take Jessica long to realize J-C is the guy she'd much rather pal around France with. When Liz runs out to help Avery with a prescription delivery and doesn't make it back in time, Jessica steps in for her twin's date with J-C. J-C knows something is different about Liz, and not just that her French mysteriously sucks as much as his English does, but Jessica's afraid that if she comes clean, he'll want nothing to do with her. Unable to risk that, she lets him believe she's Liz. While he spent the previous day with the more sedate twin and didn't seem to try anything, it doesn't take long for day 2 to quickly turn romantic. Jess works fast.
  Liz's feelings are hurt when she thinks J-C is blowing her off, but she spends the day doing things she wants and things are okay once she finally gets to spend part of her day at the beach. I kid you not. Eventually Marc appears and Liz realizes that Jessica's been lying to her. It's not until Rene makes a snide comment that she realizes that Jess has snagged J-C for herself.
  Of course, this being SVH, something serious must happen to keep Jess from being killed by Liz. In this case, Jessica's gone off with J-C and is hours late getting back. There's a terrible storm and wouldn't it just figure this was the day the two had gone sailing? Liz convinces Rene to brave his fear of water [oh yeah, to make him perfectly damaged, Rene's best friend drowned a few summers ago, which is why he bites Liz's head off during their sucky tour after she suggests going to the beach.] and she overcomes her fear of mopeds [like motorcycles, only not] to speed off towards the deadly sea in order to save Jess and J-C.
  For a moment you might think things will end without that touch of melodrama, since Liz and Rene arrive in time to see Jess & J-C's little boat almost make it to shore... and then there's a wave, and Jess gets knocked overboard. Liz screams herself silly and dives into the ocean in an attempt to help J-C save Jessica. Rene appears in the water, everything is ginger peachy, and the day is saved thanks to the powerpuff girls.
  My favorite bit of this is not half an hour later, Jess is readying herself for a dinner date with J-C. Yup, near death means nothing by now, as Jess only has a few days left with her new boytoy. She confesses her real identity, he's totally okay with it, and Liz manages to not get ensnared in Jessica's sneaky word games. Oh, and Rene and Liz bond and the book ends with the promise that Liz and Rene totally sucked... face the entire rest of her spring break. Mmm...hmmm. She solved his water and his daddy issues. She's Super-cLiz!

Trivial:

  • This is Lila's third trip to France. Liz seems surprised that Lila's gone to France before at all. Uh, hello, I think we're told upon meeting Lila in the series that while her father travels the globe more than she does, Li does tag along. Thus France? Not outside the realm of possibility, Lizzie...

  • Jessica is not particularly fond of flying, nor is she fond of the "in case we should plummet to our apparent deaths, please follow these guidelines" speech at the start of each flight.

  • The twins are off to Cannes for ten days, although Jessica keeps insisting it's merely a week.

  • Their flight: 734 to Nice, France, via Kennedy International in NYC. 6 hours and 20 minutes to Kennedy, another 7 hours to France, but you get half an hour in NYC while the plane refuels.

  • The twins are staying with the Glize family, specifically Avery and Rene, while the youngest Glize, Ferney, spends the break in Sweet Valley.

  • Avery: slender [shock!], petite, fashionably short hair, nearly flawless English.

  • Rene: Almost 18 [as they keep repeating as opposed to saying he's 17], tall, fair haired, fan of the tight jeans, piercing green eyes, giant chip on his shoulder.

  • Ferney: See Tricia Martin.

  • Todd is mentioned! Repeatedly! When Liz is lonely, she imagines Todd has come to France with her and they're painting the town a nice respectable shade of red.

  • Lila's host family has an apartment in Paris, and a house in Normandy. Jessica speculates that Mr. Fowler paid handsomely for his princess to be put up in such nice digs. Jess is probably right.

  • The Glize's house: Whitewashed stone, surrounded by rows of silvery trees in a large orchard that leads to a sharp drop off [alo, cliff] and the Mediterranean Sea is visible. Balconies seem to abound.

  • The Droids seem to have tapes for sale, as Jessica listens to one on her Walkman during the flight to France.

  • Whatever movie the plane was showing, the twins had each seen it twice apiece, but when they attempted to make it a third go-round, they both passed out.

  • Jessica helps herself to those little soaps they have in the bathroom of the plane. Classy.

  • Avery drives a silver Peugeot.

  • On the plane, Liz wore a patterned sundress, Jess a black mini skirt and tank top.

  • Rene went to the Cannes film festival back in '86... possibly 85, depending on when the book was supposed to have taken place.

  • Ferney likes tennis, horse riding, science class, sailing, and giggling like a brain dead teenage girl.

  • Marc Marcheiller drives a silver Porsche, and his family also has a Rolls in zee garage.

  • Chuck Wollman: proof that Jessica dates short guys. Though she calls him "tiny", so um, maybe she meant something else entirely. Oh, dear.

  • Liz's "Before I die Leave France" list of sights: Boulevard de la Croisette, The Mont Chevalier Tower, the Castre Museum, THE BEACH.

  • Speaking of the beach, Jess goes topless at the beach Marc takes her to.

  • Liz figures out Rene's daddy issues by page 67. By then the rest of us already knew all about it.

  • Rene's friends are Georges and Edouard. Both have more tact in one afternoon than Rene has during the entirety of the twins' visit.

  • Glize is Avery's maiden name.

  • Rene embarrasses Elizabeth at a cafe when he flits about shrieking for the waiter, demanding ketchup for the table as they have an American at the table, and everyone knows all Americans smother their food in the filthy red stuff. Fuck you, Rene. I'd have backhanded him for that.

  • Elizabeth's journal is navy blue and cloth bound.

  • Nykki is a German Shepherd puppy who takes an instant liking to Liz, forcing her to return him to the Ville de Willenich where she promptly meets, and charms, the Countess de Willenich.

  • The Countess speaks six languages if you count sign language as it's own.

  • To thank Liz for bringing back Nykki, the Countess serves Liz half a glass of red wine, specifically the Chateau Marcelline, which is from a local vineyard.

  • Jean-Claude has sandy brown hair, large wide-set eyes, strong chiseled features, and is tall and tan. He doesn't speak'um the English too well, though.

  • Lila has the only hot tub in the Valley, but the Patmans did just get a new Swedish sauna out by the pool.

  • Liz partied with the stars at an L.A. club. It was "wild." Somehow I don't think '86 and '08 wild are the same thing.

  • French style, via the 1980's: tight jeans, heels, long bulky sweaters, and glittery scarves. Um, bulky sweaters aside, kinda sounds like your average pop-star.

  • J-C has a Citroen.

  • J-C & Liz went to the observatory and played boules, which Liz sucked at.

  • Rene was a summer lifeguard and raced on the Jr. team until the summer his best friend Antoine drowned while the two were out for a swim. Antoine called out for Rene's help, but Rene didn't hear until it was too late. For those playing along at home, that makes TWO chips on his shoulder. One for each side!

  • Cara likes vanilla swiss almond icecream. Except when she's heartbroken, then she just stirs it round and round.

  • Liz actually claims to be the non-meddlesome type.

  • No. Seriously, she does.

  • I'm not kidding.

  • Rene's father's name is Gordon, and he writes Rene a letter every month, which Rene throws away without even opening. Gordon has a good relationship with Ferney, yet, uh... how is it that they vacation together and Ferney doesn't know a damn bit of English?

  • When returning from the Ile Sante-Marguerite, J-C and Jessica run into a bit of a snag in the form of a particularly vicious storm.

  • Liz befriends Veronique Gallirere, whose father, Joseph, is a painter, and a fairly well known one at that. Veronique appears to be falling for Marc when last we see her.



Quotable:
"Well, I've heard that everybody over there speaks English anyway," Jessica replied. - Cuz who would speak French in France anyway? p3
"Don't worry. They'll find us. After all, how many pairs of beautiful blond twins do you see here?" - Jess does have a point, p22
"So tell me, what is it, then, about this guy that doesn't make him the one you want to be with this vacation? No, wait, don't tell me. He's rich, and he's nice. I guess that means he's not gorgeous enough to meet Jessica Wakefield's impeccable standards, right?" - Damn, does Liz know her twin or what? p53
"I know you think I'm like that, the kind of person to meddle in other people's business, but that's not true." - I'm sorry, what was that? Someone's full of it. Liz, p151


137:
   "Look, I've thanked you a hundred and thirty-seven times for pulling me out of there, and I appreciate your concern, but I'm absolutely fine." -Jess doesn't let a little bump on the head and near drowning get in the way of her quality time with a boy. p201






  For all that I mocked earlier, I really like most of this one. I could do without the rehash of the Tricia thing because it makes Steven look like a total asswipe and he never comes across as three dimensional, or hell, even two dimensional. Seriously, a special person. The hell is that, Steve?
  One thing I never did understand: Why didn't Jess invite Liz with her when Marc originally invites her out? Why did neither twin include the other in their plans? I don't get it. It's not like they were adverse to hanging out together, so why not actually hang out with the other one's new French-ified friends?
  Also, no matter how many times it's mentioned, I never think of Rene as blond. I wonder if that's just me.
  I'm also heartbroken that I couldn't find a single alternate cover... not even when they went letterbox as opposed to classic circle, baby. *weep*
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Spring Break
April 1986


Bon voyage...



   Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are nearly bursting with excitement. Spring break has arrived, and the twins are off to the glamorous South of France! It's the vacation of a lifetime: Elizabeth can't wait to practice her French, but Jessica's dying to meet those romantic French boys.
   The Riviera turns out to be even more beautiful and wondrous than the twins had imagined, with its beach clubs, magnificent mansions, and the glittering Mediterranean Sea. But while the Frenchwoman with whom Jessica and Elizabeth is staying is a welcome hostess, her handsome son, Rene, is arrogant and rude. Can the twins figure out why Rene seems to despise them, or will he spoil their dream vacation?
   Share the magic of France with Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield. Take off for Spring Break!


  God, look at the cover. This has to be my least favorite of the Super Editions, strictly speaking about the covers. Liz is a little too into her brochure and Jessica is totally Rose [Golden Girls Rose] as a twenty-something. While you'd think crossing The Golden Girls and SVH would make me happier, it's just one of those covers that gets more unattractive each time you look at it. G'ah. Look away! Look away!

  Anyway, the twins [and various other students, like Lila] are off to France for a foreign exchange student swap. The kicker is that it's only for spring break. Hence the title. Mm, you're a quick one, aren't you? We begin our tale in the plane as the twins await takeoff. There's a fond look back at how uncomplicated seeing your loved ones used to be, prior to incidents that make it impossible for a true send-off these days. Sigh. Uh, if that was a little too vague, Liz waves, from the plane, to Steve, Alice, and Ned as they stand at the window, waving goodbye. Not that they can see her, Jessica points out. We haven't even reached the end of page one and Jess is already annoyed with her dorkier twin. Score!
  We learn that Jessica, fearless Jessica, is not all that fond of flying and loathes the "in case of emergency, lean over, put your head between your knees, and kiss your ass goodbye" spiel at the start of flights. Can't say I blame her. To distract her twin, Liz points out all the fun they'll have, and I admit, as a kid, this is the point where I was completely sucked in. Man, I wanted to go to France with them something awful. Sigh.
  Despite Jessica's best efforts to miss their flight by spending too much time in the "duty free shop" [a phrase I will forever giggle at without truly understanding why] during their layover in NYC, the girls eventually make it to France, where they run into Avery Glize, and her handsome but annoyingly insufferable son, Rene. Avery is a sweetheart, and due to her living in the U.S, as well as marrying an American, she speaks flawless English, as does Rene. When Jessica expresses her relief at not having to speak French every second of the day, Rene snaps at her, using the oldest cliche in the book. That Americans who travel abroad are rude, tactless slobs who expect everyone to speak English just to make their lives easier. Avery fusses at him in French, which mostly goes over Jessica's head and Liz can only keep up with a smidge of it. About the only thing they really make out is that Rene's really bitter about his father, though what this has to do with the price of American annoyance abroad, the twins know not.
  You, being smarter than a sixteen year old carbon copy from the Valley, will immediately presume that Avery's ex-husband was American and since he's so NOT in the picture anymore, left his family, and Rene resents him, and thus every American is immediately just like his father. Someone to be scorned. The twins, however, don't catch on for quite awhile. Sigh.
  Their first day, Avery makes them some really good food that the twins are too exhausted to truly appreciate, and they slink upstairs and promptly pass out until twilight. When Jessica awakes, she fusses at Liz for not waking her sooner, and then goes off to explore the house. Liz warns her not to snoop... after basically giving her the idea in the first place. LOGIC, Liz. Jess immediately stumbles across Rene's room and picks up a lucite picture cube. She admires the pictures until she comes across one that's off-center. She figures Rene's father has been cut out of the shot, and she's curious as to why, but flips the cube over and sees something so horrible she screams for her twin to haul her ass to Rene's room immediately. Only not in those exact words.
  There's a picture of Ferney, Rene's sister who is spending spring break at the Wakefield's home. Turns out that the redhead they couldn't really see in the photo the Glizes sent [what sense does that make if you're sending your kid? Wouldn't you want the people she'll be staying with to be able to pick her out of the people stumbling off the plane, especially if she doesn't freakin' speak English?] is the spitting image of Tricia Martin.
  Cue the falling glass, shattering on the floor, and horrified expressions. Except, y'know, for the shattering glass. But it would work, given the suspense and all.

  Ferney looks like Tricia, doesn't speak much English at all, and is quite happy to have a cute guy practically dote on her. Thing is, with the language barrier between then [Steve took Spanish, dontcha know] the two can't really communicate. So Steve thinks that Ferney loves science like Tricia, wants to be a scientist [like Tricia!] and is freakishly like his lost love. Part of him knows that as long as he can't truly communicate with her, he can go on believing things that aren't necessarily true. He can have illusions and who will it really hurt, huh?
  Cara Walker, you tool. Steve ignores Cara and she knows she's losing him to a girl who looks too much like his dead girlfriend, but what can she do? He won't talk to her and she's got some pride, too much to force him to leave Ferney's side for half a second. Poor girl can't even drown her sorrows in icecream, as she's got no appetite. She confesses her sorrows to Enid of all people, but Enid can't convince her to stand up and fight for Steven, since, come on, Ferney's obviously not the brightest bulb. Cara won't even try and that's that.
  Steve invites a friend of his, David, down to help translate things between Steve and Ferney. Within minutes Steven realizes that Ferney, while beautiful and nice enough, is a dim bulb. He wants depth, experience, something more interesting than "teehee, I like crepes. Teehee!"
  Shoulda thought of that before you fucked things up with Cara, eh? Once more we're treated to Steve calling someone [Cara] a "special person." Jesus, Steven, for someone who moped around for months, you're so not in touch with your emotional side. Can't you say she's special to you, or that, hell, she's a special girl? Something a little less generic than special person?
  After he realizes what an ass he's been, he grovels at Cara's feet and she forgives him, although those of you who've read Memories in the not too distant past will recognize a pattern. Steven's an ass, Cara says to hell with this, Steve realizes the error of his ways, apologizes, and Cara gives him an out, just in case he feels honor bound to try and work things out with her. Steve declines the out, they kiss, makeup, and he promises never to fall back under his dead girlfriend's spell. Dude, I think we've got at least two more books where this happens and then they ship Cara off to get some therapy of the retail variety in London.
  Basically, all's well that ends well.

   Back in France, Jessica meets Marc, a nice, rich guy who happens to be too short and not cute enough to truly satisfy Jessica. And while his parents are loaded and he takes her to the exclusive beach his parents have access to, basically it's filled with boring old people. The highlight of this seems to be Jessica deigning to go topless like most of the rest of the natives.
  Liz, on the other hand, gets the world's worst tour when Rene is brow-beaten into it by Avery. His friends Georges and Edouard are nice enough, and they explain the secret about Rene's father, and that Glize is Avery's maiden name. Thing is, as nice as they are, Rene is twice the ass as he's been the entire time. Poor Liz. She eventually stumbles across a cute German shepherd puppy and when she finds his name is Nykki and takes him home, she meets the Countess de Willenich. They chat about art, life, love... who knows. It actually sounds like a fantastic afternoon, and I agree with my younger self who would have been more than content taking Liz's place. Except for that part where I don't speak French. The Countess invites Liz back the following day, and to Jessica's horror, Liz accepts. While there, she runs into Jean-Claude, who happens to be the Countess' grandson. Quickly Liz realizes she's been set up, but doesn't mind because J-C is hot, charming, and doesn't speak English so well, so it gives Liz a perfect chance to work on her French. Yeah.
  It doesn't take Jessica long to realize J-C is the guy she'd much rather pal around France with. When Liz runs out to help Avery with a prescription delivery and doesn't make it back in time, Jessica steps in for her twin's date with J-C. J-C knows something is different about Liz, and not just that her French mysteriously sucks as much as his English does, but Jessica's afraid that if she comes clean, he'll want nothing to do with her. Unable to risk that, she lets him believe she's Liz. While he spent the previous day with the more sedate twin and didn't seem to try anything, it doesn't take long for day 2 to quickly turn romantic. Jess works fast.
  Liz's feelings are hurt when she thinks J-C is blowing her off, but she spends the day doing things she wants and things are okay once she finally gets to spend part of her day at the beach. I kid you not. Eventually Marc appears and Liz realizes that Jessica's been lying to her. It's not until Rene makes a snide comment that she realizes that Jess has snagged J-C for herself.
  Of course, this being SVH, something serious must happen to keep Jess from being killed by Liz. In this case, Jessica's gone off with J-C and is hours late getting back. There's a terrible storm and wouldn't it just figure this was the day the two had gone sailing? Liz convinces Rene to brave his fear of water [oh yeah, to make him perfectly damaged, Rene's best friend drowned a few summers ago, which is why he bites Liz's head off during their sucky tour after she suggests going to the beach.] and she overcomes her fear of mopeds [like motorcycles, only not] to speed off towards the deadly sea in order to save Jess and J-C.
  For a moment you might think things will end without that touch of melodrama, since Liz and Rene arrive in time to see Jess & J-C's little boat almost make it to shore... and then there's a wave, and Jess gets knocked overboard. Liz screams herself silly and dives into the ocean in an attempt to help J-C save Jessica. Rene appears in the water, everything is ginger peachy, and the day is saved thanks to the powerpuff girls.
  My favorite bit of this is not half an hour later, Jess is readying herself for a dinner date with J-C. Yup, near death means nothing by now, as Jess only has a few days left with her new boytoy. She confesses her real identity, he's totally okay with it, and Liz manages to not get ensnared in Jessica's sneaky word games. Oh, and Rene and Liz bond and the book ends with the promise that Liz and Rene totally sucked... face the entire rest of her spring break. Mmm...hmmm. She solved his water and his daddy issues. She's Super-cLiz!

Trivial:

  • This is Lila's third trip to France. Liz seems surprised that Lila's gone to France before at all. Uh, hello, I think we're told upon meeting Lila in the series that while her father travels the globe more than she does, Li does tag along. Thus France? Not outside the realm of possibility, Lizzie...

  • Jessica is not particularly fond of flying, nor is she fond of the "in case we should plummet to our apparent deaths, please follow these guidelines" speech at the start of each flight.

  • The twins are off to Cannes for ten days, although Jessica keeps insisting it's merely a week.

  • Their flight: 734 to Nice, France, via Kennedy International in NYC. 6 hours and 20 minutes to Kennedy, another 7 hours to France, but you get half an hour in NYC while the plane refuels.

  • The twins are staying with the Glize family, specifically Avery and Rene, while the youngest Glize, Ferney, spends the break in Sweet Valley.

  • Avery: slender [shock!], petite, fashionably short hair, nearly flawless English.

  • Rene: Almost 18 [as they keep repeating as opposed to saying he's 17], tall, fair haired, fan of the tight jeans, piercing green eyes, giant chip on his shoulder.

  • Ferney: See Tricia Martin.

  • Todd is mentioned! Repeatedly! When Liz is lonely, she imagines Todd has come to France with her and they're painting the town a nice respectable shade of red.

  • Lila's host family has an apartment in Paris, and a house in Normandy. Jessica speculates that Mr. Fowler paid handsomely for his princess to be put up in such nice digs. Jess is probably right.

  • The Glize's house: Whitewashed stone, surrounded by rows of silvery trees in a large orchard that leads to a sharp drop off [alo, cliff] and the Mediterranean Sea is visible. Balconies seem to abound.

  • The Droids seem to have tapes for sale, as Jessica listens to one on her Walkman during the flight to France.

  • Whatever movie the plane was showing, the twins had each seen it twice apiece, but when they attempted to make it a third go-round, they both passed out.

  • Jessica helps herself to those little soaps they have in the bathroom of the plane. Classy.

  • Avery drives a silver Peugeot.

  • On the plane, Liz wore a patterned sundress, Jess a black mini skirt and tank top.

  • Rene went to the Cannes film festival back in '86... possibly 85, depending on when the book was supposed to have taken place.

  • Ferney likes tennis, horse riding, science class, sailing, and giggling like a brain dead teenage girl.

  • Marc Marcheiller drives a silver Porsche, and his family also has a Rolls in zee garage.

  • Chuck Wollman: proof that Jessica dates short guys. Though she calls him "tiny", so um, maybe she meant something else entirely. Oh, dear.

  • Liz's "Before I die Leave France" list of sights: Boulevard de la Croisette, The Mont Chevalier Tower, the Castre Museum, THE BEACH.

  • Speaking of the beach, Jess goes topless at the beach Marc takes her to.

  • Liz figures out Rene's daddy issues by page 67. By then the rest of us already knew all about it.

  • Rene's friends are Georges and Edouard. Both have more tact in one afternoon than Rene has during the entirety of the twins' visit.

  • Glize is Avery's maiden name.

  • Rene embarrasses Elizabeth at a cafe when he flits about shrieking for the waiter, demanding ketchup for the table as they have an American at the table, and everyone knows all Americans smother their food in the filthy red stuff. Fuck you, Rene. I'd have backhanded him for that.

  • Elizabeth's journal is navy blue and cloth bound.

  • Nykki is a German Shepherd puppy who takes an instant liking to Liz, forcing her to return him to the Ville de Willenich where she promptly meets, and charms, the Countess de Willenich.

  • The Countess speaks six languages if you count sign language as it's own.

  • To thank Liz for bringing back Nykki, the Countess serves Liz half a glass of red wine, specifically the Chateau Marcelline, which is from a local vineyard.

  • Jean-Claude has sandy brown hair, large wide-set eyes, strong chiseled features, and is tall and tan. He doesn't speak'um the English too well, though.

  • Lila has the only hot tub in the Valley, but the Patmans did just get a new Swedish sauna out by the pool.

  • Liz partied with the stars at an L.A. club. It was "wild." Somehow I don't think '86 and '08 wild are the same thing.

  • French style, via the 1980's: tight jeans, heels, long bulky sweaters, and glittery scarves. Um, bulky sweaters aside, kinda sounds like your average pop-star.

  • J-C has a Citroen.

  • J-C & Liz went to the observatory and played boules, which Liz sucked at.

  • Rene was a summer lifeguard and raced on the Jr. team until the summer his best friend Antoine drowned while the two were out for a swim. Antoine called out for Rene's help, but Rene didn't hear until it was too late. For those playing along at home, that makes TWO chips on his shoulder. One for each side!

  • Cara likes vanilla swiss almond icecream. Except when she's heartbroken, then she just stirs it round and round.

  • Liz actually claims to be the non-meddlesome type.

  • No. Seriously, she does.

  • I'm not kidding.

  • Rene's father's name is Gordon, and he writes Rene a letter every month, which Rene throws away without even opening. Gordon has a good relationship with Ferney, yet, uh... how is it that they vacation together and Ferney doesn't know a damn bit of English?

  • When returning from the Ile Sante-Marguerite, J-C and Jessica run into a bit of a snag in the form of a particularly vicious storm.

  • Liz befriends Veronique Gallirere, whose father, Joseph, is a painter, and a fairly well known one at that. Veronique appears to be falling for Marc when last we see her.



Quotable:
"Well, I've heard that everybody over there speaks English anyway," Jessica replied. - Cuz who would speak French in France anyway? p3
"Don't worry. They'll find us. After all, how many pairs of beautiful blond twins do you see here?" - Jess does have a point, p22
"So tell me, what is it, then, about this guy that doesn't make him the one you want to be with this vacation? No, wait, don't tell me. He's rich, and he's nice. I guess that means he's not gorgeous enough to meet Jessica Wakefield's impeccable standards, right?" - Damn, does Liz know her twin or what? p53
"I know you think I'm like that, the kind of person to meddle in other people's business, but that's not true." - I'm sorry, what was that? Someone's full of it. Liz, p151


137:
   "Look, I've thanked you a hundred and thirty-seven times for pulling me out of there, and I appreciate your concern, but I'm absolutely fine." -Jess doesn't let a little bump on the head and near drowning get in the way of her quality time with a boy. p201






  For all that I mocked earlier, I really like most of this one. I could do without the rehash of the Tricia thing because it makes Steven look like a total asswipe and he never comes across as three dimensional, or hell, even two dimensional. Seriously, a special person. The hell is that, Steve?
  One thing I never did understand: Why didn't Jess invite Liz with her when Marc originally invites her out? Why did neither twin include the other in their plans? I don't get it. It's not like they were adverse to hanging out together, so why not actually hang out with the other one's new French-ified friends?
  Also, no matter how many times it's mentioned, I never think of Rene as blond. I wonder if that's just me.
  I'm also heartbroken that I couldn't find a single alternate cover... not even when they went letterbox as opposed to classic circle, baby. *weep*
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Perfect Summer
August 1985



Geared up for adventure...
It's summer in Sweet Valley, and the Wakefield twins and their friends are taking a bike trip up the beautiful California coast. What could be more exciting than four weeks of glorious sunshine, sandy beaches, and endless fun at every stop?
But the dream of a perfect vacation soon fades. Elizabeth Wakefield is about to break up with her boyfriend Todd, over another girl. Her twin, Jessica, chases after sexy Robbie October, who ignores her. Bruce Patman is mean to his cousin Roger, Lila Fowler holds a grudge against Ms. Dalton, and Ms. Dalton is barely speaking to Mr. Collins. Can this feuding group unite when an unexpected disaster threatens their lives?
Join the Sweet Valley gang as they find love and adventure on the road. In Perfect Summer... the biggest, most special Sweet Valley High book ever!

  I'll be honest, I'm not one of those girls who loved-loved-LOVED the Super Editions. Oh, I loved the Thrillers, and the Magnas, and all sorts of other specials, but the actual Super Editions, all white and pristine and a bit silly, were a grab bag of fun. I can accept that they fuck up what little continuity the series has going for it, as I consider them sort of a parallel universe thing, but they tend to ooze sugar and stupidity, and my tolerance levels are only so high. Warning out of the way, let's descend.

  Judging by the way SV Diaries has 'em listed, I'm going to guess this is the next actual book in the series. Todd is still around, and they accelerate plans to ship him off during Too Much In Love, so this has got to be the only place it fits, aside from my alternate reality theory. Problem with this is that Perfect Summer takes place in, well, summer. Sigh.

  Who wouldn't want to bike up the California coast for a month? Oh, wait... anyone sane. But this is prior to spending your summer attached to the good video games, or online, so I guess they had to do something. Still, I don't see how they managed to convince Lila or Bruce to come along, but they did. Come on, super rich kids on bikes doing manual labor? Since when?
  So the gang assembles. We have: Jessica & Elizabeth, Roger & Bruce, Olivia, Todd, Annie, Charlie Markus [some friend of Bruce's from the tennis team], Lila, Barry Cooper [Chrome Dome's nephew from Ohio], Mr. Collins, and Ms. Dalton. Fun filled and random, eh? A little back story on the drama before we shove our characters off on the road.
  Ms. Dalton is back with George Fowler, and Mr. C ain't thrilled about this. Then again, neither is Lila. Bruce is back to being a bastard, no mention of Regina whatsoever, and is a complete dick towards Roger at every given opportunity. That is, when he's not making fun of poor pudgy Barry Cooper. Obviously Chrome Dome hates his nephew, as he's shoving the fat kid on the bike trip filled with three of the school's biggest bitches: Bruce, Lila, and Jessica. Oi. Annie and Ricky have broken up, although we don't know why or when.
  I think that about covers it. So, onward!

  At first the trip begins nicely. Everyone pitches in and does their part with minimal bitching, rich bitches included. Sure Barry's being teased, but what's a little fat kid humiliation to the rest of the perfectly proportioned students? Nothing! Luckily, the good times can't last, so they quickly make their way to L.A. to stay with a friend of the Patman family. The Thomases are extremely wealthy and have offered to let the SV bike group stay for three days. Thing is, day one, Courtney, the daughter, is a real bitch. She rides off into the sunset on the back of her boyfriend's motorcycle, clad in nothing more than a skimpy bikini, and it only gets better from there.
  Mr. Thomas, we learn, is at wit's end. Courtney's gone crazy for this Nolan Ruggers fellow and will not listen to reason. Nolan's no good, as we know from his mohawk [I know!] and from the fact that the only reason he's not in jail right this very minute is that he somehow managed to slither out of his robbery charges on a technicality. That's right, he's so badass, bitch robbed a grocery store. Ass.
  Why, oh why is Mr. Thomas telling this to the very uncomfortable Mr. C and Ms. D? Because he wants them to allow Court to join their little bike trip. Mr. C is fairly certain that had Mr. Thomas ever thought of disciplining his super skank daughter, none of this would be a problem, but Ms. D agrees all too quickly to letting Court join in on the fun. IDIOT.
  Previously, just before we headed off to L.A., Liz doomed the entire trip by writing to Enid and telling her that whatever the trip through her way, she was more than ready for.
  Trust me, honey, you were so not ready for Courtney Thomas.
  Their final day in LA, Court begins to make nice. She offers up muffins she had made just for them, and is all sweetness and light, and no one seems to remember a certain someone by the name of Suzy Devlin who tried this crap earlier in the year. One by one, they all fall for Court's nicety-nice act, leaving us with only three smart people: Jess, Lila, and Liz. Jess and Lila both know their own kind, bitchy, when they meet 'em, so they aren't about to be fooled by her about face. Plus, Lila ain't happy that Court is upstaging her in the rich girl category. Tsk, tsk. Liz, usually the first to cheer on someone as they obviously attempt to change their lives for the better, is wary because it seems Court is a little too interested in Todd for some reason.
  Court spins some tale about how her father wants her to toughen up so that's why he's decided she should join their little trip, and the others seem to buy it, and for a little while things seem okay.
  Of course, with our little hellion in our midst, we must quickly dissolve into drama. There's Charlie who likes Annie, but Annie won't give him the time of day because Bruce keeps going on and on about what a tramp Annie is, so Annie's afraid that's the only thing Charlie wants, and Annie don't play that game anymore. You gotta pay, mister. Naturally Charlie actually likes her, so Saint Liz talks to Annie and Annie and Charlie get together, slowly.
  Poor Saint Liz can't handle the fact that her boyfriend is an idiot. Todd sees nothing wrong with always being the person to jump when Courtney calls, and being the one she seeks out most often. What he does have a problem with, however, is that Liz isn't helping the poor little rich girl out, too. He's got a point. Usually Liz is the first person to help save someone, and he's a little confused as to why she's not this time. Liz, on the other hand, keeps trying to point out that Court only wants TODD's help, and that she really wouldn't care if Liz fell off the planet. Todd's all shocked and we're all stunned at how dense the boy is. Todd is a jealous guy and when he tries to play it off that he'd be cool if he woke up in the middle of the night to find Ken and Liz holding hands as they slept, I hope you all scream "Bullshit!" as loud as I did. But he tries to convince her that sure, if Ken were as unhappy as Court is, then yeah, he'd be okay with it, except it would never happen, what with Ken being popular and all, and having real friends and ohgod, he lost me back there with the he'd be okay with it bull. Really.
  You see, Court has upped the ante in her attempt to snag herself a Todd Wilkins. She's telling him that her father is a raging alcoholic and that's why he's sent her away; this way he can drink himself into oblivion. Todd buys this, along with a lovely green statue in NY, and Liz is confused. If Court's telling the truth, it means Todd is right. She is turning into her jealous, bitchy twin. If Liz is right [and you know she is], then Court is a bit of a monster and Todd is as dumb as a box of rocks. She doesn't know what to believe, but she tells Olivia the story anyway. Lila overhears and feels bad about their plot.
  Which I haven't told you yet, because I was busy turning circles around Todd's stupidity. Woe!
  Jessica and Lila decide they can't handle Courtney on the trip, what with her more expensive things, inability to cook [seriously, whomever decided Lila and Court should share dinner duties on the same night deserved to eat the burned crap they ended up with before they called for pizza], and fawning all over Todd which is making Liz miserable and if Liz ain't happy, Jess ain't happy... You get the idea. So they decide to make Court so miserable that she'll tell her father and he'll let her come home and hallelujah, they'll be free! We don't really get much on this front as their first prank backfires, what with Lila putting the lime jello in the wrong sleeping bag [Ms. Dalton did give a loverly scream of horror though] and their second plot unraveling when Lila refused to prank the newly minted daughter of an alcoholic. Jess is miffed because she needed something to take her mind off her current romantic problem.
  That's right, Jess has found a man. Sort of. She's fallen for the supremely cute but foolishly named Robbie October, who is also biking up the coast. Only he's too badass/good for a group trip, so he and his brother are going it alone. Of course, he's an ass to Jessica when they do meet up, but that only makes her like him more. Sigh.

  Anyway, word is out that Courtney really is a sweet little thing in need of love, but only the twins aren't buying this crap. Jess because she's stubborn, and a little loyal to Liz, and Liz because it just doesn't ring true. Because it isn't. By now we know that Courtney's plan is to win Todd over completely, call Daddy, convince him that she's turned over a new leaf, showing Todd off as proof of this, and while Todd takes up space in LA [...is he moving to LA to stay with you, Court, or do you just expect him to commute?], Court and Nolan will do whatever it is that Courts and Nolans do. Aww, brilliant!
  By now everyone is fighting. Lila and Jess aren't getting along because Li is tired of getting blamed for Jessica's plots when they go wrong, Annie overheard Charlie agreeing with Bruce on Annie's trampiness, Todd and Liz have broken up due to Courtney's cunning ways, and Ms. D and Mr. C are dancing around their feelings for one another.
  We do have one little bright spot of cheer, though. While at one of the various youth hostels [anyone else having visions of gore right about now?] Lila learns that Ms. Dalton isn't who she says she is. She's really Beth Curtis, a French teacher from Arizona, who left town mysteriously a year and a half ago after her husband killed himself. Lila sees a chance for blackmail and takes it. That's our girl!
  The gang fights over whether or not to ride all night to Big Sur or camp out and head out in the morning, and somehow the adults decide to let everyone who is dead tired fucking suffer because majority ruled and said "Big Sur!" Seriously, what if someone was so exhausted they, I dunno, crashed or something? Doesn't matter as the only people who seem to really want to wait are the fat kid and the tramp, right?
  The next day Jess runs into Robbie and makes plans to meet him that night around midnight. Jess makes nice with Lila and then sneaks out to meet her new boy toy. Come the next morning, Jess hasn't come back. Li's tired of getting shit for all of Jessica's schemes, so she rolls over and goes back to sleep, sure that Jess'll show up sooner or later. When she's still not back after everyone else has woken up, Lila comes clean. People freak out and Li is miffed again that she's back in trouble when Jess is the one who took off in the middle of the night to meet a guy. Unfair!
  Todd says that he knows where the waterfall Jess mentioned is, so he and Liz head off to look for the missing twin. Thing is, Court invites herself along, and Liz has to bite her tongue to keep from seeming selfish as well as crazy. When Court runs into a snake, she pretty much demands to go back to camp, content to let the professionals look for Jessica. Todd is torn between helping Liz and going with Courtney, whom he still can't see for the annoying pain in the ass that she is. Siiiiiiiiiigh. He's saved from actually having to choose which girl to leave by herself when the second group meets up with them. Todd and Court go back to camp while Liz and company head out in search of Jessica.
  Jess and Robbie ended up lost because neither one thought to bring a flashlight or much of anything. Robbie points out that he pretty much figured Jess just wanted to make out, and really, who needs a flashlight for that. Jess might just kick his ass for this if not for the massive black bear they've managed to piss off by trying to snooze near her cubs. Oops!
  Jess screams for help when she hears the others calling for her, which pisses Mama bear off. Robbie cries like a girl, and Charlie's willing to throw rocks at mama bear [like that'll end well] when Barry points out that mama bear is just protecting her young and she shouldn't be harmed for this. He saunters up, taps Mama on the rump, and runs for his life. Jess and Robbie escape the cave and just before Barry is about to be eaten, one of the baby bears cries for mama. Mama lumbers off to cuddle her little ones and Mr. C picks Barry up and carries him off. Dude, either Mr. C is seriously buff, or Barry isn't as fat as we've been lead to believe. I guess the third option is that Mr. C is riding high on some serious adrenaline.
  A little while later we end up in Santa Cruz, Barry now a hero, Annie and Charlie have made up, and all seems right with the world, except the other two couples are still fighting. Courtney waits until Liz has gone to bed and then she sneaks over to Todd's tent. She wakes Roger and Todd appears as Courtney throws her cigarette away. Court convinces him to go home with her, she's ever so worried about her dear old dad, and Todd finally agrees. Woo! Back to bed they go, only to be woken a little bit later by Liz [it's always Liz!] screaming "Fire!"
  Naturally they, not the professionals, stop the fire, and everyone is okay. Liz is sure that she didn't properly extinguish the fire and as such will have to go back to SV early. She talks to Mr. Collins who's just finished telling Ms. Dalton that her husband was an ass, and it wasn't her fault he died.

  Rewind.

  Beth Curtis/Nora Dalton, foolishly married a man she'd obviously only known for a few months, considering she points out that he would go for long stretches of normal, only to slide into serious depression which would lead him to do horrible things. When he hits her, Nora/Beth leaves for good. John calls and begs her to come back, but she's no fool and refuses. He kills himself, his family blames her and begins a smear campaign that keeps Nora out of town for good. She changed her name and ran off to SV but continued to blame herself for his suicide. Mr. C points out that it's not her fault and that she shouldn't be blackmailed by the Fowlers, especially since Lila knows and wants the exact opposite of what her father does. [Mr. Fowler knows the Curtises and seems to have sort of, but not really, imposed himself back into Nora's life after everyone thought their relationship was through. Lila seems to have plans for straight up blackmail to keep Nora from her father... as well as doing dishes, carrying the pots on Lila's turn, you get the idea.] Nora agrees and goes to tell the rest of the bike group her horrible, horrible past. Not that it matters since she's Nora Dalton for the rest of the series and this is NEVER mentioned again!
  Liz finds out that Todd is leaving and is terribly distraught, remember? Mr. C tells her that Court is a skanky liar and that the whole reason she was on the trip was because her father just can't deal with her anymore, not because he's a raging alcoholic, but because she's a spoiled brat. Liz heads off to share her news with the group. She points out that Courtney's been lying this whole time, and when Court fires back, "Yeah? Well, you're just jealous about Todd!" Liz says she has to leave as the fire was her fault. Todd snaps out of his rich bitch funk and says the single most classic line in the history of ever:
  "But, Courtney," protested Todd, "I saw you flip your butt into those bushes..."
  Yes, everyone latches onto it, but for good reason! Courtney is sent off to her Aunt's a little early and every thing is right with the world. There's a little scene with Enid and Liz landing in the pool that's cute, and the book ends. Ah, good times.


Trivial Pursuit:

  • The group's first stop is at the campgrounds on Newport Bay.

  • Liv/Liz make chicken parmigiana cutlets for everyone, which is a royal bitch, so they vow to make easier fare next time around.

  • Li starts the fire, Jess puts it out, Bruce did the dishes, and that's all we know on the chores.

  • Only Liv and Roger appear to have actually ridden their bikes laden down with crap prior to the trip, though Bruce can fake it, so long as you ignore the fact that he sounds like he's going to die.

  • During their trip, they went to an 18th century mission built by the Spaniards when the West was first being settled. Fab?

  • Steve Thomas is a big shot Hollywood agent.

  • Courtney is tanned, raven haired, and a big pain in my ass.

  • Charlie Markus is blond, tanned, and tennis prone. He's also able to stand up to Bruce Patman, which means we'll never hear from him again.

  • When trying to sweet talk Mr. C and Ms. D into taking his hell spawn, Steve Thomas gives Ms. D chilled champagne and Mr. C gets Perrier with lime. Uh, okay...

  • Day three in LA is spent at Disneyland.

  • Charlie and Bruce managed to burn canned beef stew. Ew!

  • Li likes Bandanna Boy Tom from Colorado.

  • Jess references a nerd named Theo in her letter to Cara. Apparently he was a math genius with a love for plaid pants. Still dunno if Theo is meant to be in their junior or sophomore math class, as she just says "last year." But which year?

  • Cara's a junior counselor at a camp in Oregon for the summer.

  • Their first phantom stop is in Lompac, which Liz suggested. This is the infamous wake up to find your boyfriend asleep holding another girl's hand moment. Greenhouse, mocking Annie and Liz for thinking they could bale hay. Good stuff.

  • Mr. Collins went to Columbia University.

  • He and his friends drove cross country to Cali in a white Rambler they called the White Stallion. It broke down somewhere in Iowa and they slept in a barn in return for baling hay and other fun stuff.

  • Charlie is the sort of guy who reads the last page of a book first.

  • Mr. Collin's former roommate Tom is a big TV exec.

  • The greenhouse the group stayed in was owned by Nettie Ames.

  • While in Pismo Beach, the group went clamming and a had a clambake on the beach. Despite loathing clams, I'm a little jealous of this.

  • Mr. Collins won a dune buggy race and his reward was a fish feast for the entire group.

  • When they went to William Randolph Hearst's estate, Liz wanted to share the library with Todd. Romantic! Too bad they'd broken up by this point.

  • Those in favor of riding to Big Sur: Lila, Ms. Dalton [Lila said so], Charlie, Todd.

  • Against: Liz, Barry, Annie, Jess.

  • I'm wondering how the others voted, since Ms. Dalton was the tie-breaker.

  • There's a stingray incident in Big Sur and I remember thinking she was freaking out over an awful lot and I couldn't figure out if she was facing towards shore, how did Mr. C avoid the stingray? Of course, this was way before the Croc Hunter went out in a similar way, so this part might actually inspire more fear these days. Go figure, they were ahead of the curve.

  • Courtney smokes Marlboro reds in the box. None of this wussy lights crap for her, no sir.

  • Lila freaks out at the fire, which is kind of endearing and kind of annoying. Considering fire will be back to mock her later in the series, yay!

  • Liv and Todd ride off in search of rangers to help with the fire.

  • Enid found a summer love in the form of Hank, a guy so shy that it took him three days to ask Enid out. Hank's from Boston and was in SV visiting his grandparents. Yay for Enid!

  • Pat is the guy who spills the news on Beth Curtis to Lila. Pat.




Quote-ables:

Jessica liked to joke that even Elizabeth's shopping list had to be a masterpiece. - I don't think any of us doubts this, p 20

"Hey, Jess?"
"Yeah?"
"Why lime?"
"Why not?" - Cuz lime is the ickiest Jello to most people, Liz! p87

"is that any way to talk to your blood kin?" - Roger, proving why he spends most of this book not saying a damn thing. G'ah! p98

"What do you people do on the servants' night off, anyway?"
Lila looked Jessica straight in the eye. "Cold lobster and caviar," she said earnestly. - *giggle* p119

"No way! We're not going to risk more than one Patman at a time!" - Bruce thaws and provides the line he's best known for, when not being a jackass. p224



This is one of those books I liked a lot more when I was younger. Now it kind of grates on my nerves. So we'll just ponder.

Who exactly is teasing Barry? We're told time and time again that Barry is being mocked, but there are only three, maybe four people on this trip, aside from Courtney, who would make him miserable... There's Bruce, who can and does, Jessica, also noted for being mean, Lila... and possibly Charlie. I imagine Annie giggles at the jokes, but I can't really see her making any herself. *muse* Are Roger and Liv too into one another to befriend the poor guy?
Also, what is it with Todd and Courtneys? He falls for their evil tricks each and every time. FOOL.
Why is the Ms. Dalton thing never brought up again? Also, is her maiden name Dalton and she just returned to that, and Nora's like a middle name or something? Did the 80's require teachers to get certified in the actual state they meant to teach in, cuz I swear I thought they did, and wouldn't she have to get certified in California? Maybe this is why it's never brought up again...
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Perfect Summer
August 1985



Geared up for adventure...
It's summer in Sweet Valley, and the Wakefield twins and their friends are taking a bike trip up the beautiful California coast. What could be more exciting than four weeks of glorious sunshine, sandy beaches, and endless fun at every stop?
But the dream of a perfect vacation soon fades. Elizabeth Wakefield is about to break up with her boyfriend Todd, over another girl. Her twin, Jessica, chases after sexy Robbie October, who ignores her. Bruce Patman is mean to his cousin Roger, Lila Fowler holds a grudge against Ms. Dalton, and Ms. Dalton is barely speaking to Mr. Collins. Can this feuding group unite when an unexpected disaster threatens their lives?
Join the Sweet Valley gang as they find love and adventure on the road. In Perfect Summer... the biggest, most special Sweet Valley High book ever!

  I'll be honest, I'm not one of those girls who loved-loved-LOVED the Super Editions. Oh, I loved the Thrillers, and the Magnas, and all sorts of other specials, but the actual Super Editions, all white and pristine and a bit silly, were a grab bag of fun. I can accept that they fuck up what little continuity the series has going for it, as I consider them sort of a parallel universe thing, but they tend to ooze sugar and stupidity, and my tolerance levels are only so high. Warning out of the way, let's descend.

  Judging by the way SV Diaries has 'em listed, I'm going to guess this is the next actual book in the series. Todd is still around, and they accelerate plans to ship him off during Too Much In Love, so this has got to be the only place it fits, aside from my alternate reality theory. Problem with this is that Perfect Summer takes place in, well, summer. Sigh.

  Who wouldn't want to bike up the California coast for a month? Oh, wait... anyone sane. But this is prior to spending your summer attached to the good video games, or online, so I guess they had to do something. Still, I don't see how they managed to convince Lila or Bruce to come along, but they did. Come on, super rich kids on bikes doing manual labor? Since when?
  So the gang assembles. We have: Jessica & Elizabeth, Roger & Bruce, Olivia, Todd, Annie, Charlie Markus [some friend of Bruce's from the tennis team], Lila, Barry Cooper [Chrome Dome's nephew from Ohio], Mr. Collins, and Ms. Dalton. Fun filled and random, eh? A little back story on the drama before we shove our characters off on the road.
  Ms. Dalton is back with George Fowler, and Mr. C ain't thrilled about this. Then again, neither is Lila. Bruce is back to being a bastard, no mention of Regina whatsoever, and is a complete dick towards Roger at every given opportunity. That is, when he's not making fun of poor pudgy Barry Cooper. Obviously Chrome Dome hates his nephew, as he's shoving the fat kid on the bike trip filled with three of the school's biggest bitches: Bruce, Lila, and Jessica. Oi. Annie and Ricky have broken up, although we don't know why or when.
  I think that about covers it. So, onward!

  At first the trip begins nicely. Everyone pitches in and does their part with minimal bitching, rich bitches included. Sure Barry's being teased, but what's a little fat kid humiliation to the rest of the perfectly proportioned students? Nothing! Luckily, the good times can't last, so they quickly make their way to L.A. to stay with a friend of the Patman family. The Thomases are extremely wealthy and have offered to let the SV bike group stay for three days. Thing is, day one, Courtney, the daughter, is a real bitch. She rides off into the sunset on the back of her boyfriend's motorcycle, clad in nothing more than a skimpy bikini, and it only gets better from there.
  Mr. Thomas, we learn, is at wit's end. Courtney's gone crazy for this Nolan Ruggers fellow and will not listen to reason. Nolan's no good, as we know from his mohawk [I know!] and from the fact that the only reason he's not in jail right this very minute is that he somehow managed to slither out of his robbery charges on a technicality. That's right, he's so badass, bitch robbed a grocery store. Ass.
  Why, oh why is Mr. Thomas telling this to the very uncomfortable Mr. C and Ms. D? Because he wants them to allow Court to join their little bike trip. Mr. C is fairly certain that had Mr. Thomas ever thought of disciplining his super skank daughter, none of this would be a problem, but Ms. D agrees all too quickly to letting Court join in on the fun. IDIOT.
  Previously, just before we headed off to L.A., Liz doomed the entire trip by writing to Enid and telling her that whatever the trip through her way, she was more than ready for.
  Trust me, honey, you were so not ready for Courtney Thomas.
  Their final day in LA, Court begins to make nice. She offers up muffins she had made just for them, and is all sweetness and light, and no one seems to remember a certain someone by the name of Suzy Devlin who tried this crap earlier in the year. One by one, they all fall for Court's nicety-nice act, leaving us with only three smart people: Jess, Lila, and Liz. Jess and Lila both know their own kind, bitchy, when they meet 'em, so they aren't about to be fooled by her about face. Plus, Lila ain't happy that Court is upstaging her in the rich girl category. Tsk, tsk. Liz, usually the first to cheer on someone as they obviously attempt to change their lives for the better, is wary because it seems Court is a little too interested in Todd for some reason.
  Court spins some tale about how her father wants her to toughen up so that's why he's decided she should join their little trip, and the others seem to buy it, and for a little while things seem okay.
  Of course, with our little hellion in our midst, we must quickly dissolve into drama. There's Charlie who likes Annie, but Annie won't give him the time of day because Bruce keeps going on and on about what a tramp Annie is, so Annie's afraid that's the only thing Charlie wants, and Annie don't play that game anymore. You gotta pay, mister. Naturally Charlie actually likes her, so Saint Liz talks to Annie and Annie and Charlie get together, slowly.
  Poor Saint Liz can't handle the fact that her boyfriend is an idiot. Todd sees nothing wrong with always being the person to jump when Courtney calls, and being the one she seeks out most often. What he does have a problem with, however, is that Liz isn't helping the poor little rich girl out, too. He's got a point. Usually Liz is the first person to help save someone, and he's a little confused as to why she's not this time. Liz, on the other hand, keeps trying to point out that Court only wants TODD's help, and that she really wouldn't care if Liz fell off the planet. Todd's all shocked and we're all stunned at how dense the boy is. Todd is a jealous guy and when he tries to play it off that he'd be cool if he woke up in the middle of the night to find Ken and Liz holding hands as they slept, I hope you all scream "Bullshit!" as loud as I did. But he tries to convince her that sure, if Ken were as unhappy as Court is, then yeah, he'd be okay with it, except it would never happen, what with Ken being popular and all, and having real friends and ohgod, he lost me back there with the he'd be okay with it bull. Really.
  You see, Court has upped the ante in her attempt to snag herself a Todd Wilkins. She's telling him that her father is a raging alcoholic and that's why he's sent her away; this way he can drink himself into oblivion. Todd buys this, along with a lovely green statue in NY, and Liz is confused. If Court's telling the truth, it means Todd is right. She is turning into her jealous, bitchy twin. If Liz is right [and you know she is], then Court is a bit of a monster and Todd is as dumb as a box of rocks. She doesn't know what to believe, but she tells Olivia the story anyway. Lila overhears and feels bad about their plot.
  Which I haven't told you yet, because I was busy turning circles around Todd's stupidity. Woe!
  Jessica and Lila decide they can't handle Courtney on the trip, what with her more expensive things, inability to cook [seriously, whomever decided Lila and Court should share dinner duties on the same night deserved to eat the burned crap they ended up with before they called for pizza], and fawning all over Todd which is making Liz miserable and if Liz ain't happy, Jess ain't happy... You get the idea. So they decide to make Court so miserable that she'll tell her father and he'll let her come home and hallelujah, they'll be free! We don't really get much on this front as their first prank backfires, what with Lila putting the lime jello in the wrong sleeping bag [Ms. Dalton did give a loverly scream of horror though] and their second plot unraveling when Lila refused to prank the newly minted daughter of an alcoholic. Jess is miffed because she needed something to take her mind off her current romantic problem.
  That's right, Jess has found a man. Sort of. She's fallen for the supremely cute but foolishly named Robbie October, who is also biking up the coast. Only he's too badass/good for a group trip, so he and his brother are going it alone. Of course, he's an ass to Jessica when they do meet up, but that only makes her like him more. Sigh.

  Anyway, word is out that Courtney really is a sweet little thing in need of love, but only the twins aren't buying this crap. Jess because she's stubborn, and a little loyal to Liz, and Liz because it just doesn't ring true. Because it isn't. By now we know that Courtney's plan is to win Todd over completely, call Daddy, convince him that she's turned over a new leaf, showing Todd off as proof of this, and while Todd takes up space in LA [...is he moving to LA to stay with you, Court, or do you just expect him to commute?], Court and Nolan will do whatever it is that Courts and Nolans do. Aww, brilliant!
  By now everyone is fighting. Lila and Jess aren't getting along because Li is tired of getting blamed for Jessica's plots when they go wrong, Annie overheard Charlie agreeing with Bruce on Annie's trampiness, Todd and Liz have broken up due to Courtney's cunning ways, and Ms. D and Mr. C are dancing around their feelings for one another.
  We do have one little bright spot of cheer, though. While at one of the various youth hostels [anyone else having visions of gore right about now?] Lila learns that Ms. Dalton isn't who she says she is. She's really Beth Curtis, a French teacher from Arizona, who left town mysteriously a year and a half ago after her husband killed himself. Lila sees a chance for blackmail and takes it. That's our girl!
  The gang fights over whether or not to ride all night to Big Sur or camp out and head out in the morning, and somehow the adults decide to let everyone who is dead tired fucking suffer because majority ruled and said "Big Sur!" Seriously, what if someone was so exhausted they, I dunno, crashed or something? Doesn't matter as the only people who seem to really want to wait are the fat kid and the tramp, right?
  The next day Jess runs into Robbie and makes plans to meet him that night around midnight. Jess makes nice with Lila and then sneaks out to meet her new boy toy. Come the next morning, Jess hasn't come back. Li's tired of getting shit for all of Jessica's schemes, so she rolls over and goes back to sleep, sure that Jess'll show up sooner or later. When she's still not back after everyone else has woken up, Lila comes clean. People freak out and Li is miffed again that she's back in trouble when Jess is the one who took off in the middle of the night to meet a guy. Unfair!
  Todd says that he knows where the waterfall Jess mentioned is, so he and Liz head off to look for the missing twin. Thing is, Court invites herself along, and Liz has to bite her tongue to keep from seeming selfish as well as crazy. When Court runs into a snake, she pretty much demands to go back to camp, content to let the professionals look for Jessica. Todd is torn between helping Liz and going with Courtney, whom he still can't see for the annoying pain in the ass that she is. Siiiiiiiiiigh. He's saved from actually having to choose which girl to leave by herself when the second group meets up with them. Todd and Court go back to camp while Liz and company head out in search of Jessica.
  Jess and Robbie ended up lost because neither one thought to bring a flashlight or much of anything. Robbie points out that he pretty much figured Jess just wanted to make out, and really, who needs a flashlight for that. Jess might just kick his ass for this if not for the massive black bear they've managed to piss off by trying to snooze near her cubs. Oops!
  Jess screams for help when she hears the others calling for her, which pisses Mama bear off. Robbie cries like a girl, and Charlie's willing to throw rocks at mama bear [like that'll end well] when Barry points out that mama bear is just protecting her young and she shouldn't be harmed for this. He saunters up, taps Mama on the rump, and runs for his life. Jess and Robbie escape the cave and just before Barry is about to be eaten, one of the baby bears cries for mama. Mama lumbers off to cuddle her little ones and Mr. C picks Barry up and carries him off. Dude, either Mr. C is seriously buff, or Barry isn't as fat as we've been lead to believe. I guess the third option is that Mr. C is riding high on some serious adrenaline.
  A little while later we end up in Santa Cruz, Barry now a hero, Annie and Charlie have made up, and all seems right with the world, except the other two couples are still fighting. Courtney waits until Liz has gone to bed and then she sneaks over to Todd's tent. She wakes Roger and Todd appears as Courtney throws her cigarette away. Court convinces him to go home with her, she's ever so worried about her dear old dad, and Todd finally agrees. Woo! Back to bed they go, only to be woken a little bit later by Liz [it's always Liz!] screaming "Fire!"
  Naturally they, not the professionals, stop the fire, and everyone is okay. Liz is sure that she didn't properly extinguish the fire and as such will have to go back to SV early. She talks to Mr. Collins who's just finished telling Ms. Dalton that her husband was an ass, and it wasn't her fault he died.

  Rewind.

  Beth Curtis/Nora Dalton, foolishly married a man she'd obviously only known for a few months, considering she points out that he would go for long stretches of normal, only to slide into serious depression which would lead him to do horrible things. When he hits her, Nora/Beth leaves for good. John calls and begs her to come back, but she's no fool and refuses. He kills himself, his family blames her and begins a smear campaign that keeps Nora out of town for good. She changed her name and ran off to SV but continued to blame herself for his suicide. Mr. C points out that it's not her fault and that she shouldn't be blackmailed by the Fowlers, especially since Lila knows and wants the exact opposite of what her father does. [Mr. Fowler knows the Curtises and seems to have sort of, but not really, imposed himself back into Nora's life after everyone thought their relationship was through. Lila seems to have plans for straight up blackmail to keep Nora from her father... as well as doing dishes, carrying the pots on Lila's turn, you get the idea.] Nora agrees and goes to tell the rest of the bike group her horrible, horrible past. Not that it matters since she's Nora Dalton for the rest of the series and this is NEVER mentioned again!
  Liz finds out that Todd is leaving and is terribly distraught, remember? Mr. C tells her that Court is a skanky liar and that the whole reason she was on the trip was because her father just can't deal with her anymore, not because he's a raging alcoholic, but because she's a spoiled brat. Liz heads off to share her news with the group. She points out that Courtney's been lying this whole time, and when Court fires back, "Yeah? Well, you're just jealous about Todd!" Liz says she has to leave as the fire was her fault. Todd snaps out of his rich bitch funk and says the single most classic line in the history of ever:
  "But, Courtney," protested Todd, "I saw you flip your butt into those bushes..."
  Yes, everyone latches onto it, but for good reason! Courtney is sent off to her Aunt's a little early and every thing is right with the world. There's a little scene with Enid and Liz landing in the pool that's cute, and the book ends. Ah, good times.


Trivial Pursuit:

  • The group's first stop is at the campgrounds on Newport Bay.

  • Liv/Liz make chicken parmigiana cutlets for everyone, which is a royal bitch, so they vow to make easier fare next time around.

  • Li starts the fire, Jess puts it out, Bruce did the dishes, and that's all we know on the chores.

  • Only Liv and Roger appear to have actually ridden their bikes laden down with crap prior to the trip, though Bruce can fake it, so long as you ignore the fact that he sounds like he's going to die.

  • During their trip, they went to an 18th century mission built by the Spaniards when the West was first being settled. Fab?

  • Steve Thomas is a big shot Hollywood agent.

  • Courtney is tanned, raven haired, and a big pain in my ass.

  • Charlie Markus is blond, tanned, and tennis prone. He's also able to stand up to Bruce Patman, which means we'll never hear from him again.

  • When trying to sweet talk Mr. C and Ms. D into taking his hell spawn, Steve Thomas gives Ms. D chilled champagne and Mr. C gets Perrier with lime. Uh, okay...

  • Day three in LA is spent at Disneyland.

  • Charlie and Bruce managed to burn canned beef stew. Ew!

  • Li likes Bandanna Boy Tom from Colorado.

  • Jess references a nerd named Theo in her letter to Cara. Apparently he was a math genius with a love for plaid pants. Still dunno if Theo is meant to be in their junior or sophomore math class, as she just says "last year." But which year?

  • Cara's a junior counselor at a camp in Oregon for the summer.

  • Their first phantom stop is in Lompac, which Liz suggested. This is the infamous wake up to find your boyfriend asleep holding another girl's hand moment. Greenhouse, mocking Annie and Liz for thinking they could bale hay. Good stuff.

  • Mr. Collins went to Columbia University.

  • He and his friends drove cross country to Cali in a white Rambler they called the White Stallion. It broke down somewhere in Iowa and they slept in a barn in return for baling hay and other fun stuff.

  • Charlie is the sort of guy who reads the last page of a book first.

  • Mr. Collin's former roommate Tom is a big TV exec.

  • The greenhouse the group stayed in was owned by Nettie Ames.

  • While in Pismo Beach, the group went clamming and a had a clambake on the beach. Despite loathing clams, I'm a little jealous of this.

  • Mr. Collins won a dune buggy race and his reward was a fish feast for the entire group.

  • When they went to William Randolph Hearst's estate, Liz wanted to share the library with Todd. Romantic! Too bad they'd broken up by this point.

  • Those in favor of riding to Big Sur: Lila, Ms. Dalton [Lila said so], Charlie, Todd.

  • Against: Liz, Barry, Annie, Jess.

  • I'm wondering how the others voted, since Ms. Dalton was the tie-breaker.

  • There's a stingray incident in Big Sur and I remember thinking she was freaking out over an awful lot and I couldn't figure out if she was facing towards shore, how did Mr. C avoid the stingray? Of course, this was way before the Croc Hunter went out in a similar way, so this part might actually inspire more fear these days. Go figure, they were ahead of the curve.

  • Courtney smokes Marlboro reds in the box. None of this wussy lights crap for her, no sir.

  • Lila freaks out at the fire, which is kind of endearing and kind of annoying. Considering fire will be back to mock her later in the series, yay!

  • Liv and Todd ride off in search of rangers to help with the fire.

  • Enid found a summer love in the form of Hank, a guy so shy that it took him three days to ask Enid out. Hank's from Boston and was in SV visiting his grandparents. Yay for Enid!

  • Pat is the guy who spills the news on Beth Curtis to Lila. Pat.




Quote-ables:

Jessica liked to joke that even Elizabeth's shopping list had to be a masterpiece. - I don't think any of us doubts this, p 20

"Hey, Jess?"
"Yeah?"
"Why lime?"
"Why not?" - Cuz lime is the ickiest Jello to most people, Liz! p87

"is that any way to talk to your blood kin?" - Roger, proving why he spends most of this book not saying a damn thing. G'ah! p98

"What do you people do on the servants' night off, anyway?"
Lila looked Jessica straight in the eye. "Cold lobster and caviar," she said earnestly. - *giggle* p119

"No way! We're not going to risk more than one Patman at a time!" - Bruce thaws and provides the line he's best known for, when not being a jackass. p224



This is one of those books I liked a lot more when I was younger. Now it kind of grates on my nerves. So we'll just ponder.

Who exactly is teasing Barry? We're told time and time again that Barry is being mocked, but there are only three, maybe four people on this trip, aside from Courtney, who would make him miserable... There's Bruce, who can and does, Jessica, also noted for being mean, Lila... and possibly Charlie. I imagine Annie giggles at the jokes, but I can't really see her making any herself. *muse* Are Roger and Liv too into one another to befriend the poor guy?
Also, what is it with Todd and Courtneys? He falls for their evil tricks each and every time. FOOL.
Why is the Ms. Dalton thing never brought up again? Also, is her maiden name Dalton and she just returned to that, and Nora's like a middle name or something? Did the 80's require teachers to get certified in the actual state they meant to teach in, cuz I swear I thought they did, and wouldn't she have to get certified in California? Maybe this is why it's never brought up again...
the_oracle: (plotting)
Head Over Heels
April 1985

   Can Bruce Patman really fall in love?

  Do opposites attract?


     Bruce Patman and Regina Morrow in love? No one at Sweet Valley High can believe it. Regina is beautiful and shy, one of the nicest girls at school. Bruce is a real snow, and the only person he's ever cared about is himself.
    Jessica Wakefield figures the romance can't last. She knows Bruce too well. She's even willing to bet Lila Fowler that Bruce and Regina break up within two weeks. The stakes are high, and Jessica can't afford to lose. If she has her way, Regina and Bruce won't be happy for long.


  Ah, Bruce/Regina. They are probably one of my favorite SV couples, but this book doesn't really do either one of them any favors aside from the cover. Let's begin...
  Regina Morrow has managed to find herself in love with Bruce Patman, but more surprisingly, Bruce is head over heels [sometimes the titles are so easy!] in love with her as well. However strongly they feel about one another, the rest of the school, and anyone who has ever even met Bruce in passing can't help but wonder if this is a sign of the Apocalypse. Bruce... in love? Weird. They're all sure that Bruce will break Regina's heart, and with good reason, given his record thus far in the series. Breaking one Wakefield, nearly raping the other, and being a world class ass to any other female who manages to cross his path. Fun, fun times.
  Anyway, while most people are worried, there are two exceptions. Jessica and Lila are pissed as hell, although for different reasons. Jessica is upset that Bruce seems to have actually changed enough to want Regina, whereas he didn't really want her. Lila is ticked that... well, with Bruce and Regina being a couple, Regina's popularity has soared. You can't go two conversations without someone mentioning the new duo. Considering that Lila is jealous of Regina, this does not sit well with her. So the two make a little wager. Jessica bets that Regina and Bruce will break up before the upcoming carnival. Lila's no fool and says no effing way. For whatever reason, Li decides that betting actual money is no longer kosher, so they they bet term papers. Fifteen pages long term papers. Foolishly, neither girl stipulates that the loser must write a GOOD term paper for the winner. Ah, the folly of youth.

  Thing is, Jessica doesn't plan to fight fair. When it becomes apparent that Bruce is truly enamored of Regina, she decides that since there's no way in hell she's writing Lila's term paper, she's just going to have to help the inevitable along. So she whispers in Regina's ear that if Bruce's lavish gifts are any indication, that it's a good thing no one's really taking the rumours very seriously.
  Regina is a sixteen year old girl and thus immediately demands to know what the hell Jessica is talking about. Jessica stalls and finally confesses that ever since Bruce and Regina got together, Bruce has become even more popular, which is funny considering the timing. What about the timing? Well, he's running for the president of the Centennial student council. Oh, he didn't tell you? Well, it must have slipped his mind. What? No, no, the thought of him dating you just so that people would vote for him IS preposterous. Really, it's just so out there that no one could ever actually believe it. No, you stay there and mull this over. I'll skip back to my car.
  Of course, it works. It's so stupid that it shouldn't. Who the hell would believe that? In what world would this ever actually happen? Oh, yeah, the earlier SVH books would totally have had that happen. Still, it comes across as a rush job and Jessica's lucky that Regina's obviously an idiot. But then again, so is Bruce. Instead of coming clean when Regina flat out asks about it, he tries to avoid the question and then gets really upset when she won't let the subject drop. All because he wanted to surprise her with his win. Why... Ho...Why would that do something special for her? Because it shows that you casually entered a competition and beat someone who actually wanted the job? That's going to impress her? Regina ain't Jessica, jackass.
  Speaking of stupid, we have another fight involving the ever-present love birds, Todd and Elizabeth. This one is so painful that the writer actually has the characters comment on it and my brain melted. Back story: The previously mentioned carnival is a fund raiser to help "handicapped children." No idea what handicaps, maybe all of them, maybe just social ones. Who knows, we're never told. Anyway, Liz is chairperson of the event and as such she's running around trying to get this thing up and running in under two weeks. Skye Morrow has been named parent adviser of this train wreck, although she doesn't appear to actually do anything. In order to work her magic on Regina, Jessica comes up with an idea for the carnival. Mother daughter fashion show! The single best moment in the book is when Liz says that it's a good idea, but do you think Mom would go for it, and Jessica snorts that she didn't mean either of the twins and Alice, she meant the actual models, Regina/Skye. Now, I giggle just thinking about that, though technically Annie and her mother are also both models [former] so it's not like the school is hurting for beautiful people. But asking them wouldn't get Jessica over to the Morrow's estate where she could flirt with Donald. When Liz stops by later, Donald flirts with whom he assumes is Jessica, but it's Liz. Oh those wacky twin mix ups.
  Neither Todd nor Liz remembers Elizabeth has an identical twin and that Donald might have thought he was flirting with her, not the boring, seriously taken twin. So Todd sulks and Liz is down in the dumps until the twins chat again. Then Liz runs off to call Todd and explain the whole mess and Jess is like, "wait, so you ruined my chances? Come back here!"

  Alright. The actual point of the book is that Kurt Morrow has found a doctor who might possibly be able to fix Regina's hearing. At first Regina is just as excited as the rest of her family about the prospect of normality, but then she finds out she'll have to spend a year in Switzerland for the treatments. This would mean leaving Bruce and Regina's not about to do that. So she says no. It's not all about Bruce, though. She likes her life in Sweet Valley, and I don't blame her. She's rich, she's beautiful, and the whole school seems to adore her, aside from Lila, so why would she want to leave for something that might just end up being a giant dud? She doesn't tell Bruce, or anyone else, really.
  When Jessica's plan works, Regina tells her family she'll leave immediately. Liz and Regina chat and Liz is pissed that Bruce would do such a thing, and once more I really question how smart Liz is. On the other hand, she loathes Bruce [for good effing reason] so that's blinding her to the absurdity of the situation.
  Thing is, Bruce is miserable. He actually loved Regina and he has no idea why she dumped him. Liz finally caves and Bruce points out that this is completely stupid and lacking in logic, and Liz tells him about Regina's move. At first Bruce assumes it'll be a short term treatment thing, but when Liz points out that we're talking a year or more, Bruce is less than thrilled. He's also confused. Does he let Regina go because if would be better for her, or does he beg her to stay because he loves her?
  He compromises. He writers her a fantastically over the top letter that explains he really does love her and because of that, she has to give her hearing a chance. Or something along those lines. It's actually kind of sweet. Anyway, he asks Liz to slip it into Regina's luggage somewhere so that she'll see it sometime after she's left.
  Liz agrees and slips it into Regina's scrapbook. On the plane ride, Regina finds it and feels all warm and fuzzy. Awww.


Trivia:

  • Hey, this one mentions Liz's mole. And that sounded really gross.

  • The book takes place over twelve days. [the length of time it takes to plan the carnival before it happens.]

  • The infamous History term paper is 15 pages long and worth a third of their grades. Lila manages a respectable B- while she leaves Jessica stuck with a D. Next time work on the specifics of the outcome, girls.

  • Bruce meets Regina after each of her classes just so he can spend a few extra minutes with her. Wow, the boy must run.

  • Bruce bought Regina a ruby pendant and a diamond bracelet. Oooooo.

  • Mr. Fowler is building another building across from his downtown office. Lila meets a construction worker named Jack there, though he seems thoroughly unimpressed by who her father is. Intrigue for the next book.

  • Jack has honey brown hair, is tanned from all his work outside, and muscled to boot. Awesome?

  • The Carnival Committee is as follows: Mr Collins, Liz, Todd, Enid, Olivia, Roger, Ken, Winston, Regina, and Skye Morrow.

  • Olivia is in charge of the prizes and decoration, Ken is building the booths, Regina and Enid are working the refreshments, Todd and Roger are all over the games, and Winston is the MC, as well as the man behind the pie throwing booth. Later, Ms. Dalton is in charge of the international food booth.

  • George's flying class is mentioned this go round.

  • Ken is running for the Sweet Valley Centennial Student committee president. Later Bruce enters the race and Liz rigs it so he'll win, because of his devotion to Regina. Um, what if Ken actually wanted that position he actually lobbied for?

  • Liz bets Todd that someone would enter the race against Ken. The prize? A hot fudge sundae at the Dairi Burger. Todd better pay up.

  • Regina things Mrs. Patman is nutty. Possibly because she spends half the night yelling at a deaf person and the other half trying to one-up other people's charity work so that she'll seem more important.

  • Donald Essex is eighteen, with thick sandy hair, green eyes, and newly working ears. He's one of the one in a thousand who had the treatments and they worked.

  • Donald also had a girlfriend and didn't want to leave her, but when she found out that he'd never told her about the possibility that he could hear again, she dumped him for being an idiot. Or not trusting her or something along those lines. Essentially, an idiot.

  • Max Friederich is the Swiss surgeon who works the miracles.

  • At last count, 57 people would rather throw a whipped cream pie at Winston, while only 14 would prefer lemon.

  • Bruce writes his letter to Regina at 1AM, and it takes him an hour to do so.

  • Ms. Dalton is the youngest SVH teacher at 25.

  • Caroline is making her disgustingly rich brownies, and Enid and Todd are making pizza. Where is the Enid/Todd hookup diary?

  • One ticket for the carnival costs a dollar.

  • Winston wears his father's oversized tux and red suspenders as his formal MC gear. Bitchin'.

  • When all is said and done, the SVH gang raised "over $800" for the handicapped children.

  • Jess receives a letter from Donald that says he hadn't wanted to lead her on. Jess is pissed and I'm just confused.

  • At the end of the book, there's a preview for the new Caitlin series. Even the reissues kept this, although I imagine Caitlin was long out of print by then.



Say wha?
Marie Patman hated the Fowlers. She hated them so much that she wasn't sure whether it was the idea of the Fowlers or the fact of them that so enraged her. p35

"Well," Jessica began, still out of breath, "what about a mother-daughter fashion show? We would set it up in one corner of the tent or get a smaller tent for it, and charge people a dollar for tickets."
Elizabeth frowned thoughtfully. "Not bad," she mused. "Do you think Mom would do it?"
Jessica burst out laughing. "Not me, Liz," she said, giggling. "And you think I'm vain," she added.
Elizabeth blushed. 65

"Hello, is Regina there?" Elizabeth shot her a look. Jessica's cheeks turned bright red.
Elizabeth shook her head in disbelief. Only my twin, she thought, would ask to speak to a deaf girl on the phone. It just figures. p75


If anyone can botch up a perfect relationship, she thought, grinning, it's me. Jessica knows herself quite well, p76




  Let's start with the obvious. Regina and Bruce are both painfully rich, and both are spoiled quite a bit. Regina due to guilt [dude, Skye? Dieting while pregnant has always been, and will always be an incredibly bad idea. So yeah, you should feel guilty.] and Bruce because he's... Bruce. So the distance might be a bitch, but something tells me they wouldn't have half the problem oh, say, anyone else on the planet would. So I'm guessing a bulk of the "I won't go, you can't make me" angst was in an effort to have your average reader relate.
  Now I ponder, if Liz hadn't meddled and Regina had gone off to have her hearing fixed, would she have come back only to have her heart broken and die tragically? Would Bruce had folded and told her, or would he have assumed Liz had done what he asked and that Regina just didn't care? Oh, the what-ifs...
  Now, in the recap they give for why Lila loathes Regina, the implication is that Jessica knows Lila went to Lane Townsend and tried to get him to use her pictures instead. Thing is, Lila didn't tell anyone, and I can't really see her sharing her embarrassment with anyone. Though maybe she had a diary and Jess read it. Why did we never get Lila's diary? That would have been amazing...

  I have a soft spot for Head Over Heels. Like a lot of SV fans, I love it when Bruce shows some semblance of humanity, and I loved Regina fiercely. [So much so that when it came time for Barbies, Regina was always part of the gang.] The other reason is I loved that this was the book that gave the world Caitlin. She never did live up to the promise in the letter [she softened way too fast] but bitchery in boarding school? I was so there with bells on.

the_oracle: (plotting)
Head Over Heels
April 1985

   Can Bruce Patman really fall in love?

  Do opposites attract?


     Bruce Patman and Regina Morrow in love? No one at Sweet Valley High can believe it. Regina is beautiful and shy, one of the nicest girls at school. Bruce is a real snow, and the only person he's ever cared about is himself.
    Jessica Wakefield figures the romance can't last. She knows Bruce too well. She's even willing to bet Lila Fowler that Bruce and Regina break up within two weeks. The stakes are high, and Jessica can't afford to lose. If she has her way, Regina and Bruce won't be happy for long.


  Ah, Bruce/Regina. They are probably one of my favorite SV couples, but this book doesn't really do either one of them any favors aside from the cover. Let's begin...
  Regina Morrow has managed to find herself in love with Bruce Patman, but more surprisingly, Bruce is head over heels [sometimes the titles are so easy!] in love with her as well. However strongly they feel about one another, the rest of the school, and anyone who has ever even met Bruce in passing can't help but wonder if this is a sign of the Apocalypse. Bruce... in love? Weird. They're all sure that Bruce will break Regina's heart, and with good reason, given his record thus far in the series. Breaking one Wakefield, nearly raping the other, and being a world class ass to any other female who manages to cross his path. Fun, fun times.
  Anyway, while most people are worried, there are two exceptions. Jessica and Lila are pissed as hell, although for different reasons. Jessica is upset that Bruce seems to have actually changed enough to want Regina, whereas he didn't really want her. Lila is ticked that... well, with Bruce and Regina being a couple, Regina's popularity has soared. You can't go two conversations without someone mentioning the new duo. Considering that Lila is jealous of Regina, this does not sit well with her. So the two make a little wager. Jessica bets that Regina and Bruce will break up before the upcoming carnival. Lila's no fool and says no effing way. For whatever reason, Li decides that betting actual money is no longer kosher, so they they bet term papers. Fifteen pages long term papers. Foolishly, neither girl stipulates that the loser must write a GOOD term paper for the winner. Ah, the folly of youth.

  Thing is, Jessica doesn't plan to fight fair. When it becomes apparent that Bruce is truly enamored of Regina, she decides that since there's no way in hell she's writing Lila's term paper, she's just going to have to help the inevitable along. So she whispers in Regina's ear that if Bruce's lavish gifts are any indication, that it's a good thing no one's really taking the rumours very seriously.
  Regina is a sixteen year old girl and thus immediately demands to know what the hell Jessica is talking about. Jessica stalls and finally confesses that ever since Bruce and Regina got together, Bruce has become even more popular, which is funny considering the timing. What about the timing? Well, he's running for the president of the Centennial student council. Oh, he didn't tell you? Well, it must have slipped his mind. What? No, no, the thought of him dating you just so that people would vote for him IS preposterous. Really, it's just so out there that no one could ever actually believe it. No, you stay there and mull this over. I'll skip back to my car.
  Of course, it works. It's so stupid that it shouldn't. Who the hell would believe that? In what world would this ever actually happen? Oh, yeah, the earlier SVH books would totally have had that happen. Still, it comes across as a rush job and Jessica's lucky that Regina's obviously an idiot. But then again, so is Bruce. Instead of coming clean when Regina flat out asks about it, he tries to avoid the question and then gets really upset when she won't let the subject drop. All because he wanted to surprise her with his win. Why... Ho...Why would that do something special for her? Because it shows that you casually entered a competition and beat someone who actually wanted the job? That's going to impress her? Regina ain't Jessica, jackass.
  Speaking of stupid, we have another fight involving the ever-present love birds, Todd and Elizabeth. This one is so painful that the writer actually has the characters comment on it and my brain melted. Back story: The previously mentioned carnival is a fund raiser to help "handicapped children." No idea what handicaps, maybe all of them, maybe just social ones. Who knows, we're never told. Anyway, Liz is chairperson of the event and as such she's running around trying to get this thing up and running in under two weeks. Skye Morrow has been named parent adviser of this train wreck, although she doesn't appear to actually do anything. In order to work her magic on Regina, Jessica comes up with an idea for the carnival. Mother daughter fashion show! The single best moment in the book is when Liz says that it's a good idea, but do you think Mom would go for it, and Jessica snorts that she didn't mean either of the twins and Alice, she meant the actual models, Regina/Skye. Now, I giggle just thinking about that, though technically Annie and her mother are also both models [former] so it's not like the school is hurting for beautiful people. But asking them wouldn't get Jessica over to the Morrow's estate where she could flirt with Donald. When Liz stops by later, Donald flirts with whom he assumes is Jessica, but it's Liz. Oh those wacky twin mix ups.
  Neither Todd nor Liz remembers Elizabeth has an identical twin and that Donald might have thought he was flirting with her, not the boring, seriously taken twin. So Todd sulks and Liz is down in the dumps until the twins chat again. Then Liz runs off to call Todd and explain the whole mess and Jess is like, "wait, so you ruined my chances? Come back here!"

  Alright. The actual point of the book is that Kurt Morrow has found a doctor who might possibly be able to fix Regina's hearing. At first Regina is just as excited as the rest of her family about the prospect of normality, but then she finds out she'll have to spend a year in Switzerland for the treatments. This would mean leaving Bruce and Regina's not about to do that. So she says no. It's not all about Bruce, though. She likes her life in Sweet Valley, and I don't blame her. She's rich, she's beautiful, and the whole school seems to adore her, aside from Lila, so why would she want to leave for something that might just end up being a giant dud? She doesn't tell Bruce, or anyone else, really.
  When Jessica's plan works, Regina tells her family she'll leave immediately. Liz and Regina chat and Liz is pissed that Bruce would do such a thing, and once more I really question how smart Liz is. On the other hand, she loathes Bruce [for good effing reason] so that's blinding her to the absurdity of the situation.
  Thing is, Bruce is miserable. He actually loved Regina and he has no idea why she dumped him. Liz finally caves and Bruce points out that this is completely stupid and lacking in logic, and Liz tells him about Regina's move. At first Bruce assumes it'll be a short term treatment thing, but when Liz points out that we're talking a year or more, Bruce is less than thrilled. He's also confused. Does he let Regina go because if would be better for her, or does he beg her to stay because he loves her?
  He compromises. He writers her a fantastically over the top letter that explains he really does love her and because of that, she has to give her hearing a chance. Or something along those lines. It's actually kind of sweet. Anyway, he asks Liz to slip it into Regina's luggage somewhere so that she'll see it sometime after she's left.
  Liz agrees and slips it into Regina's scrapbook. On the plane ride, Regina finds it and feels all warm and fuzzy. Awww.


Trivia:

  • Hey, this one mentions Liz's mole. And that sounded really gross.

  • The book takes place over twelve days. [the length of time it takes to plan the carnival before it happens.]

  • The infamous History term paper is 15 pages long and worth a third of their grades. Lila manages a respectable B- while she leaves Jessica stuck with a D. Next time work on the specifics of the outcome, girls.

  • Bruce meets Regina after each of her classes just so he can spend a few extra minutes with her. Wow, the boy must run.

  • Bruce bought Regina a ruby pendant and a diamond bracelet. Oooooo.

  • Mr. Fowler is building another building across from his downtown office. Lila meets a construction worker named Jack there, though he seems thoroughly unimpressed by who her father is. Intrigue for the next book.

  • Jack has honey brown hair, is tanned from all his work outside, and muscled to boot. Awesome?

  • The Carnival Committee is as follows: Mr Collins, Liz, Todd, Enid, Olivia, Roger, Ken, Winston, Regina, and Skye Morrow.

  • Olivia is in charge of the prizes and decoration, Ken is building the booths, Regina and Enid are working the refreshments, Todd and Roger are all over the games, and Winston is the MC, as well as the man behind the pie throwing booth. Later, Ms. Dalton is in charge of the international food booth.

  • George's flying class is mentioned this go round.

  • Ken is running for the Sweet Valley Centennial Student committee president. Later Bruce enters the race and Liz rigs it so he'll win, because of his devotion to Regina. Um, what if Ken actually wanted that position he actually lobbied for?

  • Liz bets Todd that someone would enter the race against Ken. The prize? A hot fudge sundae at the Dairi Burger. Todd better pay up.

  • Regina things Mrs. Patman is nutty. Possibly because she spends half the night yelling at a deaf person and the other half trying to one-up other people's charity work so that she'll seem more important.

  • Donald Essex is eighteen, with thick sandy hair, green eyes, and newly working ears. He's one of the one in a thousand who had the treatments and they worked.

  • Donald also had a girlfriend and didn't want to leave her, but when she found out that he'd never told her about the possibility that he could hear again, she dumped him for being an idiot. Or not trusting her or something along those lines. Essentially, an idiot.

  • Max Friederich is the Swiss surgeon who works the miracles.

  • At last count, 57 people would rather throw a whipped cream pie at Winston, while only 14 would prefer lemon.

  • Bruce writes his letter to Regina at 1AM, and it takes him an hour to do so.

  • Ms. Dalton is the youngest SVH teacher at 25.

  • Caroline is making her disgustingly rich brownies, and Enid and Todd are making pizza. Where is the Enid/Todd hookup diary?

  • One ticket for the carnival costs a dollar.

  • Winston wears his father's oversized tux and red suspenders as his formal MC gear. Bitchin'.

  • When all is said and done, the SVH gang raised "over $800" for the handicapped children.

  • Jess receives a letter from Donald that says he hadn't wanted to lead her on. Jess is pissed and I'm just confused.

  • At the end of the book, there's a preview for the new Caitlin series. Even the reissues kept this, although I imagine Caitlin was long out of print by then.



Say wha?
Marie Patman hated the Fowlers. She hated them so much that she wasn't sure whether it was the idea of the Fowlers or the fact of them that so enraged her. p35

"Well," Jessica began, still out of breath, "what about a mother-daughter fashion show? We would set it up in one corner of the tent or get a smaller tent for it, and charge people a dollar for tickets."
Elizabeth frowned thoughtfully. "Not bad," she mused. "Do you think Mom would do it?"
Jessica burst out laughing. "Not me, Liz," she said, giggling. "And you think I'm vain," she added.
Elizabeth blushed. 65

"Hello, is Regina there?" Elizabeth shot her a look. Jessica's cheeks turned bright red.
Elizabeth shook her head in disbelief. Only my twin, she thought, would ask to speak to a deaf girl on the phone. It just figures. p75


If anyone can botch up a perfect relationship, she thought, grinning, it's me. Jessica knows herself quite well, p76




  Let's start with the obvious. Regina and Bruce are both painfully rich, and both are spoiled quite a bit. Regina due to guilt [dude, Skye? Dieting while pregnant has always been, and will always be an incredibly bad idea. So yeah, you should feel guilty.] and Bruce because he's... Bruce. So the distance might be a bitch, but something tells me they wouldn't have half the problem oh, say, anyone else on the planet would. So I'm guessing a bulk of the "I won't go, you can't make me" angst was in an effort to have your average reader relate.
  Now I ponder, if Liz hadn't meddled and Regina had gone off to have her hearing fixed, would she have come back only to have her heart broken and die tragically? Would Bruce had folded and told her, or would he have assumed Liz had done what he asked and that Regina just didn't care? Oh, the what-ifs...
  Now, in the recap they give for why Lila loathes Regina, the implication is that Jessica knows Lila went to Lane Townsend and tried to get him to use her pictures instead. Thing is, Lila didn't tell anyone, and I can't really see her sharing her embarrassment with anyone. Though maybe she had a diary and Jess read it. Why did we never get Lila's diary? That would have been amazing...

  I have a soft spot for Head Over Heels. Like a lot of SV fans, I love it when Bruce shows some semblance of humanity, and I loved Regina fiercely. [So much so that when it came time for Barbies, Regina was always part of the gang.] The other reason is I loved that this was the book that gave the world Caitlin. She never did live up to the promise in the letter [she softened way too fast] but bitchery in boarding school? I was so there with bells on.

the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Just a note to say I'm not dead yet, just tired. Work + sick = no time to smoosh various covers together as the final step for world domination. That said, I might as well post this and add the images tomorrow. Yes. Maybe. Well, it's an idea.

Too Good To Be True
August 1984

  Is Suzanne as perfect as she seems?

  A devil in disguise...


The Wakefield twins are wild with excitement. Glamorous, sophisticated Suzanne Devlin is coming to Sweet Valley from New York City. For two weeks, Elizabeth will show her around town while Jessica has the time of her life in New York.
  At first, Suzanne seems to be the most perfect girl in the world. She's beautiful and friendly and not the least bit stuck-up. All the boys of Sweet Valley are absolutely crazy about her. But when Suzanne accuses Mr. Collins of trying to seduce her, Elizabeth knows there's more to Suzanne than meets the eye.


  Suzy Devlin is so obviously the original incarnation of Caitlin that it's no wonder I love/loathe them both so much. That aside, she's a bitch. You can tell it by looking at her, and it just goes to prove that the residents of Sweet Valley are a bunch of idiots. You'd expect it from the guys, but the girls have been proven to be extremely judgmental, harsh, bitter little harpies [teenage girls] and yet this hotter than hot, "sophisticated" overly sweet to the point of inflicting diabetic comas on unsuspecting residents just blows into town and not a single person other than Roger Collins has the balls to say, "Wait, what?" I cry foul.

  With that said, let's rewind. Ned Wakefield is exchanging his daughter for one of his college buddy's daughters, namely Suzanne Devlin. As anyone who has ever even watched a nanosecond of Designing Women knows, Suzanne is the name of the bitch. However, this is prior to that, so the Wakefields simply think they'll be welcoming an old friend's kid into their home, and obviously their friend wouldn't raise a self absorbed, boy crazy, lazy, sneaky, crafty, bitch goddess.... like they did with Jessica. Nope, they expect sunshine and rainbows. However, they can't afford to send both twins to New York City, for what is actually a logical reason. Namely, with Steve in college and the girls a year away, the Wakefields can't just be blowing cash on a two week vacay to NYC for the girls. Now, this will be blown away by all the numerous trips they'll take later on, but I actually smiled at their reasoning.
  Anyway, they finally flip a coin to decide which twin will take NYC by storm. Being contrary by nature, Jessica takes tails. Naturally, this means heads, Liz, wins. Jessica does not deal well with losing, so she sulks and cries and bemoans her fate. Liz, in her infinite wisdom, gives Jessica an in when she worries aloud about missing the class picnic and spending two weeks away from Todd. Jessica "casually" mentions that Lila Fowler has had her eye on Todd for awhile, but it's okay because Todd would never, ever stray, and even if he did, well, it would just be a fling and they don't matter, right? Liz frets, not so much because she believes Jessica's obvious lie, but because she had wanted to spend time with Todd and the rest of her friends, and while NYC is awesome, going alone might not be so much with the awesome. Jessica declares herself the winner and runs off to tell her parents how generous Liz is being, even without Liz having fully caved. Which is okay, as Liz doesn't actually mind giving up the trip to NYC, something she confesses to Jessica as they're at the airport. Had Liz wanted to go, nothing could have stopped her, and this much we'll learn later is true. This is one of those books where you want to smack Liz for falling for Jessica's scheming ways, but you also respect that this was actually Elizabeth's choice, she just let Jessica think she'd done the convincing. Or maybe you just accept that she thinks it was her choice and disillusioning Elizabeth too many times in one book is just painful. I don't know.
  So off Jessica goes to NYC, primed and ready for adventure. Back at home, Liz and the rest of the Wakefields are blown away by how pretty and fantastic Suzanne-call-me-Suzy is. She sounds too good to be true, people comment. Well, duh. She's gorgeous, pretty, fantastic, sophisticated, nice, chore doing, Liz complimenting, golly gee wilikers, makes Liz look bad/lazy in comparison. Of course she's ebil! Sigh. To be fair, we don't find out for sure until page 56, or until she's been there a few days. In that time she acts so happy to be around a real family, so overjoyed at spending time with perfect strangers, although I'd probably love being surrounded by people who were ready to worship me, too, and is exceptionally polite, going so far as to do the dishes and cook for the Wakefields. She's a dream, an absolute dream. Our first inkling that maybe she's not what she seems is when she nearly drowns at the class picnic, despite having proven herself previously to be a fantastic swimmer. She manages to scare Roger Collins away after he saves her, but it's not made clear at that moment whether he just didn't want to be around a soaking wet hot teenage girl, or whether she'd been a little obvious in her "ohgosh, I'm drowning, please save me, young Robert Redford!" theatrics.
  Fear not, she'll make it really obvious in a second. One day Liz cannot find her lavaliere, despite turning her room upside down in her search for it. Suzy reassures her that they'll find it, and pretends to sympathize, but all the while the necklace is in her pocket, and she's petting it, cooing, "Soon, my precious, sooooooooooon."
  Immediately following this little act, she flirts/comes on to Mr. C in his own yard. Delivering a little something from Liz, Suzy requests a drink from the hose and then, gosh oh golly, drenches her t-shirt. Subtle thy name ain't Devlin. Granted, it wasn't meant to be subtle. Mr. C likes his job and his women a little less porntastic, so he sends Suzy on her way. This just makes her more determined. She will bed young Robert, she will.
  Now, we switch to Jessica's exploits in NYC. She does the traditional tourist thing and comes to realize that maybe Suzy's life isn't as charmed as she might have thought. Mrs. Devlin is a stone cold bitch, NYC ain't a cheap place to live, and Mr. D is never around, although he is a charmer. More to the point, Suzy's boyfriend Pete is a god and knows it, too. Thus he's a jerk. If you love watching Jess try and fail, you'll love the various ways she tries to get his attention only to have him know full well what she's up to, but he honestly doesn't seem all that interested. It's an interesting mirror to what Suzy's up to. Jess becomes more desperate and flails about, making a fool of herself at a party thrown for her, where Suzy's best friend Evelyn wishes she were as nifty as Lila back home. Instead Ev and company are so painfully dull that the only thing Jessica can do to keep from nodding off is to drink her wine very, very quickly and get very, very drunk. This does not endear her to the NYC crowd and she's sent home, passed out in the back of a cab.
  That leads to Jess calling Liz, painfully missing her twin and seriously wishing she'd stayed home where she belonged. But being Jessica, she can't tell Liz this, so she tells Liz she's having a fantastic time, taking the city by storm, and gosh, isn't Liz jealous of all the fun times Jess must be having?
  Well, no, no Liz isn't. She's having fun, missing necklace aside. Which means it must be time for something bad to happen! Todd gets last minute tickets to a Laker's game [zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz] and Liz wants to go with, but can't because she's babysitting for Teddy Collins that night. It's too late to find some other teenager [remember, the BSC is all the way in Connecticut, so no worries about Kristy slashing the Fiat's tires in retaliation for encroaching on their territory] and Liz couldn't possibly leave Mr. C in the lurch. Enter Suzy who offers to babysit, because what else was she going to do all night while Liz was away? And this, this is where Lizzie drops the ball. She lets Suzy talk her out of calling Mr. C and checking to see if this is okay. Now, we know that this would so not be okay, but Liz doesn't, but still, she's responsible enough to know how things are done. Still, she runs off with Todd and Suzy hits Mr. C's place. Mr. C is all, "what the fu..er, hell are you doing here, Devilwoman?" and Suzy says she thought Liz called to see if it was okay and gosh, she's sorry, but she's sure she and Teddy will have a good ol' time. Cue Teddy being charmed and Mr. C figures what's the worst that'll happen and leaves. FOOL.
  The second Mr. C is gone, Teddy gets told to shut up and watch TV, Suzy's got better things to do than entertain a brat. Teddy cries and Suzy wanders upstairs to go through Roger's stuff. Nothing smutty to be found at all. Suzy isn't thrilled with the lack of personality this shows, but decides she'll take a long, nice bubble bath and maybe, tee hee, if she's lucky, Mr. C will come back early and find her in the tub and well, join her. He doesn't and when she makes her way back downstairs, she notices Teddy has passed out on the couch and it looks like he's been crying. Well, suck it up, kiddo, because life sucks and then you die, and anyone who says otherwise is not living in the real world.
  Which is to say, Suzy has issues. Her parents have shipped her off to various boarding schools her whole life and it's obvious they don't want her, wah wah wah. She subscribes to the theory that if Suzy ain't happy, then nobody is happy.
  Mr. C comes home to find Suzanne "asleep" on the couch next to Teddy [seriously, Suze, putting the kid to bed would have been a good idea if YOU could tell he was upset. His own father would obviously be able to tell and it wouldn't help your skanking around cause either. Sigh.] but with her shirt buttons undone enough to make it really obvious that Suzy's got a nice rack, y'know, if you were into that sort of thing. After she forces him to grope her [feel how fast my heart is beating!] she tries to get him to drink a little with her, but he reminds her that she's underage. She dismisses this and moves in for the kill. He shoots her down, despite being physically interested, heart racing and all that. Or maybe he's not and it's totally fear that she's going to ruin his life. Either way, he essentially kicks her out of the house and she plots her revenge. It's simple.
  She's going to make the entire town think good old Roger Collins tried to rape her. She tears her own shirt, thinks unhappy thoughts, cries and ruins her makeup, and then slinks up to Elizabeth's room to tell, but only when prodded and promised that Liz will believe her. And Elizabeth does, because why would anyone lie about such a thing? The entire store revolves around that little thought. Why would anyone lie about nearly being raped?
  And anyone who had read the first book in the series prior to this damn near choked. But we'll get to that in a minute.
  Liz and Suzy go to Ned who calls Chrome Dome and Roger Collins probably wakes up the next morning to find his entire life has gone to shit because he DIDN'T take advantage of the strange girl half dressed on his couch. FUN.
  The entire thing makes Liz sick because she cannot reconcile the man she thinks she knows so well with the man Suzy's painted as this horrible, drunken sleaze. Todd shares the same disbelief, but it doesn't tear him up as much because Mr. Collins is just a cool teacher to him, not his mentor/friend/kindly uncle figure. The town is similarly torn. Some of the residents, like quite a few of the parents, believe Suzy, and are thrilled to finally have an actual reason to get rid of Collins. Damn his liberal, artistic, outside the box teaching ways! Damn them! On the other hand, anyone who has actually spent any time with Collins probably thinks this is a horrible rumour blown up to epic proportions.
  While at Cara Walkers, the usual SVH cast is plotting what to buy Lila for her birthday. Lila's gift falls to the wayside as they discuss and take sides on the whole Collins debate. Some people, like Olivia Davidson, don't believe that someone they know that well, someone who has been their morality compass for the entire year [and probably prior to that] is capable of such a thing. They don't come right out and call Suzy a liar, but they do wonder if somehow things got mixed up. Some, like Cara, are quick to say that of course Mr. C tried to get lucky. He's a guy and Suzy's hot. End of story.
  Liz and Todd aren't so sure. On the one hand, Mr. C is awesome. They know he couldn't, wouldn't... could he? On the other hand, what possible reason could Suzy have for lying about this? There's no way she could be confused, so what, did she dream it? She's a sweetheart, how could she possibly be lying?
  The one thing everyone agrees on is that Lila doesn't really need a huge gift, so some of the money they've set aside for her gift will be put into a gift for Suzy. A sort of, "Sorry our favorite teacher assaulted you, no hard feelings, kay?" gift. Uh...huh.
  On this moment of disbelief, we head back to Jessica. She's finally managed to finagle another date with Pete, only he's not falling under her spell. Turns out he didn't even want to ask her out, Suzy's parents asked him to show her a good time. Jess is heartbroken. She gets what she wants and she wants Pete but he ain't biting. What gives? They go back to the Devlins and he goes up to the apartment with her, she assumes it's to say hey to Suzy's parents but they aren't there... and then, we have another moment where Jess and Suzy mirror one another. You see, as Suzy is faking her attack, Jessica's playing with fire. She wants Pete's attention, but he wants a little more than that. He gets more than a little aggressive and Jess freaks out. She wanted an evening of mild making out, and he's pushing for rough sex, right there in the living room. Jess ain't that girl and she tells him no. He points out that no one in their right mind would believe that Jessica didn't want what she was about to get, and Jess flips out. Not because this is so painful to hear over and over [essentially anytime Jess goes after an older boy], but because dude, fuck that, no means no, and somehow there's a bit of a chase that ends when Pete lands on top of Jessica. Before we find out whether Pete is really just teaching her that maybe she should be a little more discriminating when it comes to who she hits on and the sort of signals she sends out, the Devlins come home. This can't be good.
  While Jessica is dealing with the fall out from that little disaster, Liz decides to be a sneaky saint and put Suzy's gift in her suitcase, so that when she's packing, or maybe when she's home, she'll find her little package of sunshine. However, while she's riffling through Suzy's stuff, she finds a familiar gold necklace. How odd, how did her lavaliere end up in Suzy's suitcase unless.... Suzy stole it? Hmm. This blows Elizabeth's mind and she can't think about it for too long before her head begins to hurt almost as much as her heart.
  Of course, she also can't stop thinking about it. On their way to Lila's party out at the Country Club, Todd asks why Liz is so quiet. She tells him about her unexpected find and again tries to reason it out. Todd points out the obvious, that some people are just broken inside. There isn't always a why, and while that's frightening, and painfully annoying to all of us who thrive on the WHY more so than anything else, it is life, and it will happen. He likens it to East of Eden, and just as I think we might get out of this alive, he makes a crack or two about Jessica, to which Elizabeth replies that Jessica would never do anything really bad, like what they're supposing Suzy has done.
  NOW you may do your spit take and say, what the fuck? Jessica did exactly what you're thinking about accusing Suzy of, only she didn't spread it all around town. She couldn't get Todd, so she decided to get back at him by telling the one girl he liked that he'd tried to get a little too friendly with her. Jessica accused Todd of, if not rape, than at least not respecting her boundaries. She LIED to her twin about this and had Elizabeth thought to spread it around like she did with Mr. Collins, well, it would have sucked and Jessica would have been in the same boat as Suzy, except at least Todd and Jessica had kissed before. So yeah, the argument that Jess would never do anything that bad, and gosh, what sort of wicked soul would do such a thing? Hello, your own twin sister, dumb ass!
  So Liz decides that Todd is right. Some people are just rotten and if Suzy could steal and lie about a necklace [of which there are a million explanations] then she could obviously lie about sexual assault. Uh, way to rationalize that. Stealing a necklace =/= lying about being assaulted. Just sayin'...
  Liz confronts Suzy at Lila's party in the coat room. Um, yeah. Suzy tries to play it off, badly, but Liz doesn't fall for it and then mentions Mr. Collins. Suzy freaks out, confesses and acts a royal bitch while she's at it. She threatens Liz, who threatens her right back and then Suzy points out that when she's done with Elizabeth, what she did to Mr. Collins will look like a cake walk. Interesting. I wonder how telling everyone that Liz cracked her head and has been acting crazy compares to getting a man fired, possibly causing him to lose his child [if his crazy, only mentioned in one offs wife got a hold of that info, he could lose Teddy], and ruining his life. We never find out because just as Suzy has managed to convince almost everyone at Lila's party that Liz is back to her own post-coma Jessica-like Liz behavior, Winston crashes into Suzy and spills punch all over her beautiful Halston outfit. Suzy freaks the fuck out and bites Winston's head off. She tries to do damage control, but that much crazy spewing forth makes most people realize that odds are good, Liz isn't so crazy as to be wrong about Suzy lying about Mr. Collins, or at least being seriously mistaken. Suzy is left to cry about her defeat and Liz finds out that Winston intentionally ruined Suzy's dress, in hopes that the bitch would crack and everyone else would realize Elizabeth wasn't crazy, that Mr. Collins wasn't a sleaze, and that the world would return to it's perfect order. If Winston didn't find fat people super freaky, I'd love him. Ah, well.
  The thing I don't get is what happened after this? How did Ned and Alice treat Suzanne after this? Did they kick her ass, report her to her parents, what? I'm so confused.
  Liz opts out of taking Suzy to the airport and picking up Jessica, so Jess comes home, finds Suzy's gift, thinks it's her own and happily swipes it. Turns out that when the Devlins came home, Jessica did the only sensible thing she could think of. She broke down. Pete has since been banned from Casa de Devlin, and alls well that ends well. Again, did the Devlins tell Ned and Alice about their daughter's little problem at the end of her visit, or what? Cuz I know for damn sure my parents would have wanted to know/would have told. But that would mean that Jessica couldn't play it off, thus leading to Elizabeth giggling like a fiend when it seemed that Jessica had stolen Suzanne's boyfriend. Ah, sisters. Fear not, Jess eventually learns of the bitchery that was Suzy Devlin. Just not now.

Trivia, dahling:

  • Steven had his birthday, apparently. He's 19 as of now. Funny, I think he goes right back to being 18 next book.

  • Liz suggests the coin flip, and Jess likens it to the time Ned won a doll at the Fair and gave it to Jessica [who won the coin toss] and he felt so guilty that he ran out and bought Liz a better one.

  • Jessica's dream Manhattan involves an "impossibly chic Manhattan disco" where Mick Jagger wants to dance. Dude, by the 80's he was a little on the rough side, so whoa. Just... whoa, Jessie. WHOA. Anyway, there'd also be the owner of Tiffany's who would gift her with an emerald necklace, content to just bask in the glow of her beauty. Or possibly she'd settle for being discovered as the next Cheryl Tiegs, immediately placed on the cover of Cosmo.

  • Steve is likened to Elizabeth in terms of temperament, but dude has anger management issues that rival Jessica's.

  • Jess can have NYC, Liz would rather be "mountain climbing in the Sierras" or "rafting down the Colorado River." Screw that, I'll take NYC, and I'm no fan of the city.

  • Jess sets off the metal detector at the airport with a massive silver bracelet. Talented.

  • Sophomore year, Jessica played the lead in My Fair Lady, and for weeks walked around with a snooty faux British accent.

  • Suzy's accent isn't like snooty Jessica's, but instead is just cultured and, our favorite word for Suzy, sophisticated.

  • In case you missed it, Tricia Martin is a senior at SVH. She's also starting to blow off plans with Steve. GASP!

  • The Wakefields have a lemon tree in their backyard.

  • Jessica loots around in Suzy's makeup for her date with Pete. I cry foul. Lookit that cover. What looks good on Suzanne would look ghastly on the twins aside from the basics, kay? Also, if Suzy makes Liz worry about her own perfectly lovely size six figure, would Jess easily slide into a slinky little number from Suzy's closet?

  • Jessica's NYC itinerary: Saks, Russian Tea Room, Windows on the World, the Empire State Building, and a horse drawn carriage through Central Park.

  • Pete McCafferty has green eyes, chestnut hair, perma-tan, and drives a Ferrari. Needless to say, he's hot in a preppy sort of way.

  • The Devlins live on Park Avenue.

  • Apparently Jessica, the shopaholic, draws the line at $75 for a scarf. Wonder if she would these days... Inflation and all.

  • The Devlins: Mr. D is short, roundish, thinning blond hair, bushy mustache, twinkling gray-blue eyes. Mrs. D is tall, impossibly thin, with cheekbones that could cut glass, and is a total Ice Queen.

  • Jessica's first date with Pete is to a Horowitz concert.

  • Suzy's while you were out call list: Tom McKay called twice, Aaron Dallas called three times, Bruce Patman only called once, but Winston called twelve times, and had time for a late night serenade.

  • Page 56 is when we learn that Suzy is so not what she seems. Or is, if you're judging the book by it's cover.

  • Todd's got his second hand Datsun, baby.

  • Mr. Collins lives in a sunny yellow frame house. Um, okay.

  • Winston wrote "I love you, Suzy" in toilet paper.

  • If you're wondering at Winston's love affair with Suzy, Mandy Farmer moved sometime and everyone thinks it's about time the poor guy got over the fact that his girlfriend is gone. Um, okay, sure.

  • Evelyn Meeker, despite the horrible last name, is Suzy's best friend, and is dating a 25 year old. She's a tall brunette and fairly bitchy, but in a boring way.

  • When babysitting for Teddy Collins, make sure he's in bed by 8:30pm.

  • Suzy likes to go through people's personal stuff. One time she found pot in her cousin Ruthie's jewelry box and blackmailed her for ages. Lovely.

  • After Suzy's accusations, this is how the group at Cara's divided themselves: Pro Mr. C- Olivia, John Pfeifer, Enid, Ken. Against: Cara, Caroline, Winston. Undecided: Todd and Liz.

  • The last time Liz and Jessica dressed up for a night out, Ned wanted a picture of them, so they took one out by the pool. Jessica hammed it up so bad that she ended up falling into the pool.

  • Todd always runs 15 minutes late.

  • Liz once called the cops, thinking she heard someone breaking into their house, but it was just Jessica coming in through the window after curfew. Oops!

  • Lila's birthday party was held at the country club.



Quotes:
  "Somehow a pair of culottes doesn't exactly compare with a trip to New York." -Jessica has a point, Liz. p7
  "Do you always imagine yourself to be the star of a movie?" - Pete to Jessica. Yes. Yes she does.
  She was even mad at her sister. Elizabeth had been so quick to want to switch places with her. She probably knew how it was going to turn out and had only pretended to want to go in the first place in order to make it sound like fun. Jessica has lost her damn mind. Like Liz knew Pete was going to go all date-rape on Jessica. As if. p95

137:
  "Never!" Jessica sobbed. "I'll probably never set foot out of this dumb town for the next hundred and thirty-seven years!" p6
  "Honestly, Liz, I've never been so deliriously happy in my entire life. The Devlins-well, it would take me a hundred and thirty-seven years to describe them." p69




  I waffle on Too Good... I like parts of it, I find other parts insane. The dorky, but lovable, little kid in me loved so much of this book that I can't hate it overall, or even look at it objectively. On the other hand, the knowledge of what they'll do to Suzy in the future just kills me. With a few exceptions, noticeably the serial killers [heyo, Margo/Nora] we're forced to endure the humanization of just about every "villain" in the series. Why? Todd explained that some people are just born bad. Or you've got your Lila Fowlers of the world, those with issues that explain their narcissistic behavior and this somehow endears them to the readers [moi] but no one would ever say she's a nice person. She has her reasons, and you might not agree with them, but they do exist. Similar reasons exist for Suzy to be the way she is, so why change it? Meh.
  I do wonder what would have happened if Jess and Suzy had gone head to head this go round. Would she have been so easily fooled? [Yes.] Would she have bristled at how much everybody just looooooved Suzy? [Yes, again.] Would she have taken her down much harder than Liz and Winston managed to? [Oh for heaven's sake, yes!] It would have been glorious.

the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Just a note to say I'm not dead yet, just tired. Work + sick = no time to smoosh various covers together as the final step for world domination. That said, I might as well post this and add the images tomorrow. Yes. Maybe. Well, it's an idea.

Too Good To Be True
August 1984

  Is Suzanne as perfect as she seems?

  A devil in disguise...


The Wakefield twins are wild with excitement. Glamorous, sophisticated Suzanne Devlin is coming to Sweet Valley from New York City. For two weeks, Elizabeth will show her around town while Jessica has the time of her life in New York.
  At first, Suzanne seems to be the most perfect girl in the world. She's beautiful and friendly and not the least bit stuck-up. All the boys of Sweet Valley are absolutely crazy about her. But when Suzanne accuses Mr. Collins of trying to seduce her, Elizabeth knows there's more to Suzanne than meets the eye.


  Suzy Devlin is so obviously the original incarnation of Caitlin that it's no wonder I love/loathe them both so much. That aside, she's a bitch. You can tell it by looking at her, and it just goes to prove that the residents of Sweet Valley are a bunch of idiots. You'd expect it from the guys, but the girls have been proven to be extremely judgmental, harsh, bitter little harpies [teenage girls] and yet this hotter than hot, "sophisticated" overly sweet to the point of inflicting diabetic comas on unsuspecting residents just blows into town and not a single person other than Roger Collins has the balls to say, "Wait, what?" I cry foul.

  With that said, let's rewind. Ned Wakefield is exchanging his daughter for one of his college buddy's daughters, namely Suzanne Devlin. As anyone who has ever even watched a nanosecond of Designing Women knows, Suzanne is the name of the bitch. However, this is prior to that, so the Wakefields simply think they'll be welcoming an old friend's kid into their home, and obviously their friend wouldn't raise a self absorbed, boy crazy, lazy, sneaky, crafty, bitch goddess.... like they did with Jessica. Nope, they expect sunshine and rainbows. However, they can't afford to send both twins to New York City, for what is actually a logical reason. Namely, with Steve in college and the girls a year away, the Wakefields can't just be blowing cash on a two week vacay to NYC for the girls. Now, this will be blown away by all the numerous trips they'll take later on, but I actually smiled at their reasoning.
  Anyway, they finally flip a coin to decide which twin will take NYC by storm. Being contrary by nature, Jessica takes tails. Naturally, this means heads, Liz, wins. Jessica does not deal well with losing, so she sulks and cries and bemoans her fate. Liz, in her infinite wisdom, gives Jessica an in when she worries aloud about missing the class picnic and spending two weeks away from Todd. Jessica "casually" mentions that Lila Fowler has had her eye on Todd for awhile, but it's okay because Todd would never, ever stray, and even if he did, well, it would just be a fling and they don't matter, right? Liz frets, not so much because she believes Jessica's obvious lie, but because she had wanted to spend time with Todd and the rest of her friends, and while NYC is awesome, going alone might not be so much with the awesome. Jessica declares herself the winner and runs off to tell her parents how generous Liz is being, even without Liz having fully caved. Which is okay, as Liz doesn't actually mind giving up the trip to NYC, something she confesses to Jessica as they're at the airport. Had Liz wanted to go, nothing could have stopped her, and this much we'll learn later is true. This is one of those books where you want to smack Liz for falling for Jessica's scheming ways, but you also respect that this was actually Elizabeth's choice, she just let Jessica think she'd done the convincing. Or maybe you just accept that she thinks it was her choice and disillusioning Elizabeth too many times in one book is just painful. I don't know.
  So off Jessica goes to NYC, primed and ready for adventure. Back at home, Liz and the rest of the Wakefields are blown away by how pretty and fantastic Suzanne-call-me-Suzy is. She sounds too good to be true, people comment. Well, duh. She's gorgeous, pretty, fantastic, sophisticated, nice, chore doing, Liz complimenting, golly gee wilikers, makes Liz look bad/lazy in comparison. Of course she's ebil! Sigh. To be fair, we don't find out for sure until page 56, or until she's been there a few days. In that time she acts so happy to be around a real family, so overjoyed at spending time with perfect strangers, although I'd probably love being surrounded by people who were ready to worship me, too, and is exceptionally polite, going so far as to do the dishes and cook for the Wakefields. She's a dream, an absolute dream. Our first inkling that maybe she's not what she seems is when she nearly drowns at the class picnic, despite having proven herself previously to be a fantastic swimmer. She manages to scare Roger Collins away after he saves her, but it's not made clear at that moment whether he just didn't want to be around a soaking wet hot teenage girl, or whether she'd been a little obvious in her "ohgosh, I'm drowning, please save me, young Robert Redford!" theatrics.
  Fear not, she'll make it really obvious in a second. One day Liz cannot find her lavaliere, despite turning her room upside down in her search for it. Suzy reassures her that they'll find it, and pretends to sympathize, but all the while the necklace is in her pocket, and she's petting it, cooing, "Soon, my precious, sooooooooooon."
  Immediately following this little act, she flirts/comes on to Mr. C in his own yard. Delivering a little something from Liz, Suzy requests a drink from the hose and then, gosh oh golly, drenches her t-shirt. Subtle thy name ain't Devlin. Granted, it wasn't meant to be subtle. Mr. C likes his job and his women a little less porntastic, so he sends Suzy on her way. This just makes her more determined. She will bed young Robert, she will.
  Now, we switch to Jessica's exploits in NYC. She does the traditional tourist thing and comes to realize that maybe Suzy's life isn't as charmed as she might have thought. Mrs. Devlin is a stone cold bitch, NYC ain't a cheap place to live, and Mr. D is never around, although he is a charmer. More to the point, Suzy's boyfriend Pete is a god and knows it, too. Thus he's a jerk. If you love watching Jess try and fail, you'll love the various ways she tries to get his attention only to have him know full well what she's up to, but he honestly doesn't seem all that interested. It's an interesting mirror to what Suzy's up to. Jess becomes more desperate and flails about, making a fool of herself at a party thrown for her, where Suzy's best friend Evelyn wishes she were as nifty as Lila back home. Instead Ev and company are so painfully dull that the only thing Jessica can do to keep from nodding off is to drink her wine very, very quickly and get very, very drunk. This does not endear her to the NYC crowd and she's sent home, passed out in the back of a cab.
  That leads to Jess calling Liz, painfully missing her twin and seriously wishing she'd stayed home where she belonged. But being Jessica, she can't tell Liz this, so she tells Liz she's having a fantastic time, taking the city by storm, and gosh, isn't Liz jealous of all the fun times Jess must be having?
  Well, no, no Liz isn't. She's having fun, missing necklace aside. Which means it must be time for something bad to happen! Todd gets last minute tickets to a Laker's game [zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz] and Liz wants to go with, but can't because she's babysitting for Teddy Collins that night. It's too late to find some other teenager [remember, the BSC is all the way in Connecticut, so no worries about Kristy slashing the Fiat's tires in retaliation for encroaching on their territory] and Liz couldn't possibly leave Mr. C in the lurch. Enter Suzy who offers to babysit, because what else was she going to do all night while Liz was away? And this, this is where Lizzie drops the ball. She lets Suzy talk her out of calling Mr. C and checking to see if this is okay. Now, we know that this would so not be okay, but Liz doesn't, but still, she's responsible enough to know how things are done. Still, she runs off with Todd and Suzy hits Mr. C's place. Mr. C is all, "what the fu..er, hell are you doing here, Devilwoman?" and Suzy says she thought Liz called to see if it was okay and gosh, she's sorry, but she's sure she and Teddy will have a good ol' time. Cue Teddy being charmed and Mr. C figures what's the worst that'll happen and leaves. FOOL.
  The second Mr. C is gone, Teddy gets told to shut up and watch TV, Suzy's got better things to do than entertain a brat. Teddy cries and Suzy wanders upstairs to go through Roger's stuff. Nothing smutty to be found at all. Suzy isn't thrilled with the lack of personality this shows, but decides she'll take a long, nice bubble bath and maybe, tee hee, if she's lucky, Mr. C will come back early and find her in the tub and well, join her. He doesn't and when she makes her way back downstairs, she notices Teddy has passed out on the couch and it looks like he's been crying. Well, suck it up, kiddo, because life sucks and then you die, and anyone who says otherwise is not living in the real world.
  Which is to say, Suzy has issues. Her parents have shipped her off to various boarding schools her whole life and it's obvious they don't want her, wah wah wah. She subscribes to the theory that if Suzy ain't happy, then nobody is happy.
  Mr. C comes home to find Suzanne "asleep" on the couch next to Teddy [seriously, Suze, putting the kid to bed would have been a good idea if YOU could tell he was upset. His own father would obviously be able to tell and it wouldn't help your skanking around cause either. Sigh.] but with her shirt buttons undone enough to make it really obvious that Suzy's got a nice rack, y'know, if you were into that sort of thing. After she forces him to grope her [feel how fast my heart is beating!] she tries to get him to drink a little with her, but he reminds her that she's underage. She dismisses this and moves in for the kill. He shoots her down, despite being physically interested, heart racing and all that. Or maybe he's not and it's totally fear that she's going to ruin his life. Either way, he essentially kicks her out of the house and she plots her revenge. It's simple.
  She's going to make the entire town think good old Roger Collins tried to rape her. She tears her own shirt, thinks unhappy thoughts, cries and ruins her makeup, and then slinks up to Elizabeth's room to tell, but only when prodded and promised that Liz will believe her. And Elizabeth does, because why would anyone lie about such a thing? The entire store revolves around that little thought. Why would anyone lie about nearly being raped?
  And anyone who had read the first book in the series prior to this damn near choked. But we'll get to that in a minute.
  Liz and Suzy go to Ned who calls Chrome Dome and Roger Collins probably wakes up the next morning to find his entire life has gone to shit because he DIDN'T take advantage of the strange girl half dressed on his couch. FUN.
  The entire thing makes Liz sick because she cannot reconcile the man she thinks she knows so well with the man Suzy's painted as this horrible, drunken sleaze. Todd shares the same disbelief, but it doesn't tear him up as much because Mr. Collins is just a cool teacher to him, not his mentor/friend/kindly uncle figure. The town is similarly torn. Some of the residents, like quite a few of the parents, believe Suzy, and are thrilled to finally have an actual reason to get rid of Collins. Damn his liberal, artistic, outside the box teaching ways! Damn them! On the other hand, anyone who has actually spent any time with Collins probably thinks this is a horrible rumour blown up to epic proportions.
  While at Cara Walkers, the usual SVH cast is plotting what to buy Lila for her birthday. Lila's gift falls to the wayside as they discuss and take sides on the whole Collins debate. Some people, like Olivia Davidson, don't believe that someone they know that well, someone who has been their morality compass for the entire year [and probably prior to that] is capable of such a thing. They don't come right out and call Suzy a liar, but they do wonder if somehow things got mixed up. Some, like Cara, are quick to say that of course Mr. C tried to get lucky. He's a guy and Suzy's hot. End of story.
  Liz and Todd aren't so sure. On the one hand, Mr. C is awesome. They know he couldn't, wouldn't... could he? On the other hand, what possible reason could Suzy have for lying about this? There's no way she could be confused, so what, did she dream it? She's a sweetheart, how could she possibly be lying?
  The one thing everyone agrees on is that Lila doesn't really need a huge gift, so some of the money they've set aside for her gift will be put into a gift for Suzy. A sort of, "Sorry our favorite teacher assaulted you, no hard feelings, kay?" gift. Uh...huh.
  On this moment of disbelief, we head back to Jessica. She's finally managed to finagle another date with Pete, only he's not falling under her spell. Turns out he didn't even want to ask her out, Suzy's parents asked him to show her a good time. Jess is heartbroken. She gets what she wants and she wants Pete but he ain't biting. What gives? They go back to the Devlins and he goes up to the apartment with her, she assumes it's to say hey to Suzy's parents but they aren't there... and then, we have another moment where Jess and Suzy mirror one another. You see, as Suzy is faking her attack, Jessica's playing with fire. She wants Pete's attention, but he wants a little more than that. He gets more than a little aggressive and Jess freaks out. She wanted an evening of mild making out, and he's pushing for rough sex, right there in the living room. Jess ain't that girl and she tells him no. He points out that no one in their right mind would believe that Jessica didn't want what she was about to get, and Jess flips out. Not because this is so painful to hear over and over [essentially anytime Jess goes after an older boy], but because dude, fuck that, no means no, and somehow there's a bit of a chase that ends when Pete lands on top of Jessica. Before we find out whether Pete is really just teaching her that maybe she should be a little more discriminating when it comes to who she hits on and the sort of signals she sends out, the Devlins come home. This can't be good.
  While Jessica is dealing with the fall out from that little disaster, Liz decides to be a sneaky saint and put Suzy's gift in her suitcase, so that when she's packing, or maybe when she's home, she'll find her little package of sunshine. However, while she's riffling through Suzy's stuff, she finds a familiar gold necklace. How odd, how did her lavaliere end up in Suzy's suitcase unless.... Suzy stole it? Hmm. This blows Elizabeth's mind and she can't think about it for too long before her head begins to hurt almost as much as her heart.
  Of course, she also can't stop thinking about it. On their way to Lila's party out at the Country Club, Todd asks why Liz is so quiet. She tells him about her unexpected find and again tries to reason it out. Todd points out the obvious, that some people are just broken inside. There isn't always a why, and while that's frightening, and painfully annoying to all of us who thrive on the WHY more so than anything else, it is life, and it will happen. He likens it to East of Eden, and just as I think we might get out of this alive, he makes a crack or two about Jessica, to which Elizabeth replies that Jessica would never do anything really bad, like what they're supposing Suzy has done.
  NOW you may do your spit take and say, what the fuck? Jessica did exactly what you're thinking about accusing Suzy of, only she didn't spread it all around town. She couldn't get Todd, so she decided to get back at him by telling the one girl he liked that he'd tried to get a little too friendly with her. Jessica accused Todd of, if not rape, than at least not respecting her boundaries. She LIED to her twin about this and had Elizabeth thought to spread it around like she did with Mr. Collins, well, it would have sucked and Jessica would have been in the same boat as Suzy, except at least Todd and Jessica had kissed before. So yeah, the argument that Jess would never do anything that bad, and gosh, what sort of wicked soul would do such a thing? Hello, your own twin sister, dumb ass!
  So Liz decides that Todd is right. Some people are just rotten and if Suzy could steal and lie about a necklace [of which there are a million explanations] then she could obviously lie about sexual assault. Uh, way to rationalize that. Stealing a necklace =/= lying about being assaulted. Just sayin'...
  Liz confronts Suzy at Lila's party in the coat room. Um, yeah. Suzy tries to play it off, badly, but Liz doesn't fall for it and then mentions Mr. Collins. Suzy freaks out, confesses and acts a royal bitch while she's at it. She threatens Liz, who threatens her right back and then Suzy points out that when she's done with Elizabeth, what she did to Mr. Collins will look like a cake walk. Interesting. I wonder how telling everyone that Liz cracked her head and has been acting crazy compares to getting a man fired, possibly causing him to lose his child [if his crazy, only mentioned in one offs wife got a hold of that info, he could lose Teddy], and ruining his life. We never find out because just as Suzy has managed to convince almost everyone at Lila's party that Liz is back to her own post-coma Jessica-like Liz behavior, Winston crashes into Suzy and spills punch all over her beautiful Halston outfit. Suzy freaks the fuck out and bites Winston's head off. She tries to do damage control, but that much crazy spewing forth makes most people realize that odds are good, Liz isn't so crazy as to be wrong about Suzy lying about Mr. Collins, or at least being seriously mistaken. Suzy is left to cry about her defeat and Liz finds out that Winston intentionally ruined Suzy's dress, in hopes that the bitch would crack and everyone else would realize Elizabeth wasn't crazy, that Mr. Collins wasn't a sleaze, and that the world would return to it's perfect order. If Winston didn't find fat people super freaky, I'd love him. Ah, well.
  The thing I don't get is what happened after this? How did Ned and Alice treat Suzanne after this? Did they kick her ass, report her to her parents, what? I'm so confused.
  Liz opts out of taking Suzy to the airport and picking up Jessica, so Jess comes home, finds Suzy's gift, thinks it's her own and happily swipes it. Turns out that when the Devlins came home, Jessica did the only sensible thing she could think of. She broke down. Pete has since been banned from Casa de Devlin, and alls well that ends well. Again, did the Devlins tell Ned and Alice about their daughter's little problem at the end of her visit, or what? Cuz I know for damn sure my parents would have wanted to know/would have told. But that would mean that Jessica couldn't play it off, thus leading to Elizabeth giggling like a fiend when it seemed that Jessica had stolen Suzanne's boyfriend. Ah, sisters. Fear not, Jess eventually learns of the bitchery that was Suzy Devlin. Just not now.

Trivia, dahling:

  • Steven had his birthday, apparently. He's 19 as of now. Funny, I think he goes right back to being 18 next book.

  • Liz suggests the coin flip, and Jess likens it to the time Ned won a doll at the Fair and gave it to Jessica [who won the coin toss] and he felt so guilty that he ran out and bought Liz a better one.

  • Jessica's dream Manhattan involves an "impossibly chic Manhattan disco" where Mick Jagger wants to dance. Dude, by the 80's he was a little on the rough side, so whoa. Just... whoa, Jessie. WHOA. Anyway, there'd also be the owner of Tiffany's who would gift her with an emerald necklace, content to just bask in the glow of her beauty. Or possibly she'd settle for being discovered as the next Cheryl Tiegs, immediately placed on the cover of Cosmo.

  • Steve is likened to Elizabeth in terms of temperament, but dude has anger management issues that rival Jessica's.

  • Jess can have NYC, Liz would rather be "mountain climbing in the Sierras" or "rafting down the Colorado River." Screw that, I'll take NYC, and I'm no fan of the city.

  • Jess sets off the metal detector at the airport with a massive silver bracelet. Talented.

  • Sophomore year, Jessica played the lead in My Fair Lady, and for weeks walked around with a snooty faux British accent.

  • Suzy's accent isn't like snooty Jessica's, but instead is just cultured and, our favorite word for Suzy, sophisticated.

  • In case you missed it, Tricia Martin is a senior at SVH. She's also starting to blow off plans with Steve. GASP!

  • The Wakefields have a lemon tree in their backyard.

  • Jessica loots around in Suzy's makeup for her date with Pete. I cry foul. Lookit that cover. What looks good on Suzanne would look ghastly on the twins aside from the basics, kay? Also, if Suzy makes Liz worry about her own perfectly lovely size six figure, would Jess easily slide into a slinky little number from Suzy's closet?

  • Jessica's NYC itinerary: Saks, Russian Tea Room, Windows on the World, the Empire State Building, and a horse drawn carriage through Central Park.

  • Pete McCafferty has green eyes, chestnut hair, perma-tan, and drives a Ferrari. Needless to say, he's hot in a preppy sort of way.

  • The Devlins live on Park Avenue.

  • Apparently Jessica, the shopaholic, draws the line at $75 for a scarf. Wonder if she would these days... Inflation and all.

  • The Devlins: Mr. D is short, roundish, thinning blond hair, bushy mustache, twinkling gray-blue eyes. Mrs. D is tall, impossibly thin, with cheekbones that could cut glass, and is a total Ice Queen.

  • Jessica's first date with Pete is to a Horowitz concert.

  • Suzy's while you were out call list: Tom McKay called twice, Aaron Dallas called three times, Bruce Patman only called once, but Winston called twelve times, and had time for a late night serenade.

  • Page 56 is when we learn that Suzy is so not what she seems. Or is, if you're judging the book by it's cover.

  • Todd's got his second hand Datsun, baby.

  • Mr. Collins lives in a sunny yellow frame house. Um, okay.

  • Winston wrote "I love you, Suzy" in toilet paper.

  • If you're wondering at Winston's love affair with Suzy, Mandy Farmer moved sometime and everyone thinks it's about time the poor guy got over the fact that his girlfriend is gone. Um, okay, sure.

  • Evelyn Meeker, despite the horrible last name, is Suzy's best friend, and is dating a 25 year old. She's a tall brunette and fairly bitchy, but in a boring way.

  • When babysitting for Teddy Collins, make sure he's in bed by 8:30pm.

  • Suzy likes to go through people's personal stuff. One time she found pot in her cousin Ruthie's jewelry box and blackmailed her for ages. Lovely.

  • After Suzy's accusations, this is how the group at Cara's divided themselves: Pro Mr. C- Olivia, John Pfeifer, Enid, Ken. Against: Cara, Caroline, Winston. Undecided: Todd and Liz.

  • The last time Liz and Jessica dressed up for a night out, Ned wanted a picture of them, so they took one out by the pool. Jessica hammed it up so bad that she ended up falling into the pool.

  • Todd always runs 15 minutes late.

  • Liz once called the cops, thinking she heard someone breaking into their house, but it was just Jessica coming in through the window after curfew. Oops!

  • Lila's birthday party was held at the country club.



Quotes:
  "Somehow a pair of culottes doesn't exactly compare with a trip to New York." -Jessica has a point, Liz. p7
  "Do you always imagine yourself to be the star of a movie?" - Pete to Jessica. Yes. Yes she does.
  She was even mad at her sister. Elizabeth had been so quick to want to switch places with her. She probably knew how it was going to turn out and had only pretended to want to go in the first place in order to make it sound like fun. Jessica has lost her damn mind. Like Liz knew Pete was going to go all date-rape on Jessica. As if. p95

137:
  "Never!" Jessica sobbed. "I'll probably never set foot out of this dumb town for the next hundred and thirty-seven years!" p6
  "Honestly, Liz, I've never been so deliriously happy in my entire life. The Devlins-well, it would take me a hundred and thirty-seven years to describe them." p69




  I waffle on Too Good... I like parts of it, I find other parts insane. The dorky, but lovable, little kid in me loved so much of this book that I can't hate it overall, or even look at it objectively. On the other hand, the knowledge of what they'll do to Suzy in the future just kills me. With a few exceptions, noticeably the serial killers [heyo, Margo/Nora] we're forced to endure the humanization of just about every "villain" in the series. Why? Todd explained that some people are just born bad. Or you've got your Lila Fowlers of the world, those with issues that explain their narcissistic behavior and this somehow endears them to the readers [moi] but no one would ever say she's a nice person. She has her reasons, and you might not agree with them, but they do exist. Similar reasons exist for Suzy to be the way she is, so why change it? Meh.
  I do wonder what would have happened if Jess and Suzy had gone head to head this go round. Would she have been so easily fooled? [Yes.] Would she have bristled at how much everybody just looooooved Suzy? [Yes, again.] Would she have taken her down much harder than Liz and Winston managed to? [Oh for heaven's sake, yes!] It would have been glorious.

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