the_oracle: (plotting)
Caught In The Middle
January 1988


Is love enough to keep Sandra and Manuel together?

Off-limits...



   Sandra Bacon has finally found a boy to love. Manuel Lopez is kind, sensitive, and handsome, and he cares about Sandra as much as she cares about him.
   But there is one problem: Sandy's parents don't approve of Manuel. So the couple must keep their love and their precious moments together a secret.
   Then eyewitnesses place Manuel at the scene of a life-threatening accident, and only Sandy can clear his name. If she tells the truth, she may lose her parents' trust and love; but if she doesn't, she will certainly lose Manuel forever.

  So. Mexicans are people, too, right? Yeah, I think we all knew this going in the first go round, but twenty-some odd years later, really. We get it. That said, this would be another star-crossed lovers book. And one I hated for years as a kid simply because this cover did not belong in my collection. It was WRONG. Not because Manuel is Mexican, or because there is no way in Hades that those two on the cover are high school juniors, but because it was lacking in Wakefield. And color. Really, really blah. And I like grey, but this was pushing it.

  Anyway. Sandy Bacon has earned herself another book, only this time she finally gets a guy. He's handsome, he's charming, he's a gentleman, he's kind, he's totally not realistic in anyway, because he's perfect. Except for the fact that he's Mexican. This doesn't bother Sandy, but it might very well kill her racist parents. We're told that Sandy's father wrote a letter to the editor about how the Mexicans [how many times will I have to type the word Mexican?] are taking over and ... good lord, man. Ahead of your time.
   So, in the tradition of all great loves kept apart by disapproving parents, Sandy lies. A lot. At first she lies to Manuel about why he hasn't met her parents yet. She says they're really busy a lot and this might've gone on longer had Manuel [I really want to call him Manny. Damn you, TV show!] not overheard her lying to her parents about where she was. Sandy confesses that as awesome as Manuel is, her parents would just see him as someone unfit to date their daughter because they've got a raging hatred of zee Mexicans. I wonder if it's just the Mexicans or if anyone not whiter than white would also be greeted at the door with a shotgun and a shovel?
  Manuel understands that some people in the world are just stupid, but really believes that if her parents met him they'd see how awesome he is too! Nice ego there, mate. But I have to agree. Manuel is the perfect boyfriend, if a little on the dull side. Sandy agrees, but also doesn't. She knows her parents and she's highly doubtful that they'd see anything other than the color of his skin and the parade of all the other people they've hated before him. They wouldn't see Manuel at all. Still, she agrees to try and talk to them.
   And she does. She tries the hypothetical, "Mom, what if I fell in love with someone who was, I dunno, Mexican. Would you be happy that I found someone who loves plain old me, or would you call the cops and have him escorted from the premises while shouting horrible things to him?" Yeah, not quite that phrasing, but that would have been fun. Sandy's mother does that country club laugh and tells Sandy that she's got a vivid imagination, but why oh why would she think of such a thing? At Sandy's next approach she points out that love is hard enough without the added burden of being from different backgrounds, so she'd have to say no to that on those grounds as well.
  At this point I'd have lost my sanity and just blurted it out, or waited until we were in public somewhere that a mob probably wouldn't have formed and just crash-introduced them. I don't have the patience Sandy or Manuel seem to have, y'know?
   Still, Manuel's tired of having to pick Sandy up someplace other than her home. He's tired of sneaking around and feeling bad about himself. He's tired of Sandy lying.
  And Jeanie West is tired of covering for Sandy. I can see how exhausting that would be, given that Jeanie's and Sandy's mothers hang out a lot, but that, honey, that was your in. If Jeanie's mother doesn't share Mrs. Bacon's views, talk. to. her. Have her talk to your mother for, or at least with you, Sandy. DUH.

   Instead, this is Sweet Valley and we haven't had an explosion in a very long time. So, we're off to Secca Lake where we can blow shit up without anyone batting an eyelash.
  Sandy invites Liz on her boating date with Manuel so she can tell her mother that she was out with Liz. She tells Liz it'll be fun and leaves out the part where she's using the other blond, and tells Manny that Liz invited herself along. Charming.
  While out on Sandy's motor boat, something goes wrong with the engine and the ensuing explosion sends Liz and Manuel flying into the water. Sandy doesn't get so lucky and is knocked unconscious and left on the burning boat. Manuel swims back to save Sandy before the boat can explode [gas cans and fire, children] and all three manage to swim far enough away that when the boat does blow, they aren't hurt anymore than they were before.
  On shore, Sandy wakes up enough to thank Manuel for saving her life, but then tells him to get lost as she can't have her parents finding out about him. Liz will take the hero-credit and all will be right with the world.
   Manuel and Elizabeth are both stunned, but neither can manage to articulate the fact that if ever Sandy was going to tell her family about Manuel, doing so when he's the frickin' HERO who saved her life would be the time.
  Manuel disappears and Liz reluctantly takes the spotlight.
  It's not until the police suspect someone tampered with Sandy's boat, given the description numerous witnesses gave of there being three people near the boat before it went into the water and only two taking credit for having been there after, that Manuel realizes that maybe Sandy's never going to come clean with her parents. Sandy's parents are called to the police station and they take Sandy with them. For one completely awful moment, Sandy tells everyone that she's never seen Manuel before in her life. The police decide this means he really did do something to the boat and are about to take him away when Manuel plays the perfect boyfriend card again.
   Instead of yelling or screaming or calling her a bitch [or any real show of temper whatsoever] Manuel asks how Sandy could do this. And Sandy crumbles and admits she's in love with Manuel and that he saved her life and she was so ashamed of her parents and afraid of how they'd see Manuel, how they'd treat him, that she was ready to... to what, Sandy? See if you could get him sent to frickin' jail? That's bad for any relationship, honey.
   Sandy's parents asks Liz, who has timed her arrival just right so as to be there to hear Sandy's confession and back her up, if this is true, and she does that backing Sandy thing up.
  Sandy's father asks Manuel if it's true, if he's in love with Sandy, if he risked his life to save her, and if he would have taken the rap for something he didn't do. Manuel says yes, yes, and are you crazy? Mr. Bacon is awfully accepting of Manuel, considering he's the one we were warned about first. It's really Mrs. B who has the issues and she tries to get over them, but it's obviously a struggle. Ah, reality...
   It all ends well, with Manuel and Sandy together again, Manuel not being sore over Sandy lying to the police about him, and Liz no longer being the heroine of the hour.

   In our sadly underused B-story for the week, it's Lila's birthday. Again. Didn't she already have a birthday? No matter. Jessica decides to throw Lila a surprise-surprise party. They'll all ignore Lila on her birthday and the weeks leading up to it, all the better to really surprise her the day after with the party to end all party! Which 30 people will show up to.
  It all goes as planned. Lila's feelings are hurt for more than a week, but give her one hour or so of being the center of attention again and she's cool with everyone.
  I hate this storyline in that it's awful to be that much of a bitch to someone and include other people so that someone will feel that low all for one euphoric high. Also, it kept making me hope that when people had forgotten my birthday, they were really just pretending.
  They weren't.



Trivia:

  • Jessica gripes that Liz won't go anywhere without Jeffrey.*

  • Ricky is still the cheerleaders' manager.

  • Cheerleading practice starts earlier on Tuesday afternoons.

  • Jessica agrees with Sandy as they both think Sandy is average, though Jess will admit that since falling for Manuel, Sandy's begun to glow.

  • Manuel is a junior at SVH with dark, curly hair, and chocolate brown eyes. He's taller than Sandy, but not too tall, so she doesn't get a crick in her neck looking up at him and kissing doesn't involve apple crates. He's got four little brothers and one younger sister and he works part time after school as an assistant track coach at the elementary school.

  • Manuel's siblings: Carlos is 6, then Juan, Pedro, Miguel, and Maria is 13.

  • Sandy meets Manuel's extended family at his cousin's birthday party.

  • Jessica dreams that Lila tires of being rich, so she writes Jessica a check for all Daddy Fowler's money.

  • Lila's birthday is in a week at the start of the book.

  • Sandy still has three unnamed older brothers.

  • Sandy's parents bought their Spanish-style house ten years ago.

  • There were riots in Los Perros and people were hurt, which just added fuel to Sandy's parents' bigotry. Or something.

  • Sandy's mother, Irene, is forever going on about how she was raised in a racially charged environment and that skewed her view as it were.

  • The Bacons are members of the country club.

  • Mr. Bacon works at a local advertising agency.

  • Sandy is sure that Carl Pierce, the guy her parents want her to date, is going to be blond, blue eyed, and terribly boring because he loves golf. No clue if he is though. I kept thinking, "Whoa, Caroline Pierce?"

  • Cara feels badly for Lila until Jessica reminds her that Lila made a snotty comment about Cara's wardrobe being two years out of style.

  • Jessica and Cara pretend they're going with Amy to see "the Boys" in concert at Westwood Stadium on Lila's birthday.

  • Sandy says she's going to Casey's and she'll be picked up at Enid's. Does Sandy really spend enough time with Enid that this alone wouldn't raise Irene's suspicions, or is there some other life we don't know Enid has?

  • Sandy got a speedboat for her last birthday and it's called Solar One.

  • Manuel worked at the Secca Lake Boat house last summer.

  • Mr. Fowler offered to take Lila to Jacque's in San Mirabel for her birthday dinner.

  • Jessica describes the banner she and Cara are making for Lila's birthday as a "trade union banner" with each panel depicting an aspect of Lila, like... "Lila Shopping" or "Lila Giving Parties."

  • Enid's grandfather died a few months ago and she's hoping to convince her grandmother to move from Chicago to California.

  • Sandy drives her mother's Toyota. What, she doesn't have her own car, but she has a motorboat?

  • Elizabeth introduces Sandy and Manuel to Alice, but shouldn't Mrs. Wakefield know who Sandy is by now? She's been on the cheerleading squad off and on for at least two years and she's definitely B-list of Jessica's friends and had to have gone to other parties Jessica and Liz have thrown over the year.

  • Don is the park ranger who asks Sandy and Liz questions after the explosion.

  • There's a blond guy who called for the ambulance, and he tries to convince Don that he and his friend Bert both saw a guy with Liz and Sandy. Don tells him to take a hike because he's upsetting Sandy. Brilliant.

  • Local Girl Saves Friend In Boating Accident- Headline the next day in the Sweet Valley News.

  • Mrs. Abernathy is still the PTA president.

  • Sandy suffers second degree burns on her palms after the accident.

  • The Bacons give Elizabeth a lovely rope link gold bracelet from Stowe's, the nicest jewelery store in town. Dude, Sandy's loaded.

  • Blue is Manuel's favorite color.

  • Pete Young is the coach at Sweet Valley Elementary.

  • Officer Richard Patterson and Sergeant James take Manuel in for questioning.

  • Jeffrey and Elizabeth make Lila a 'Surprise Surprise Party!' banner.

  • Around 30 people attend Lila's birthday party at the Wakefields. So, that'd be... Jessica, Elizabeth, Jeffrey, Cara, Amy, Enid...

  • There's foreshadowing in this book for Jessica to fall head over heels for AJ. Some might argue that it's for any big Jessica crush, but all the "one day you'll understand when you really, truly fall" and the "ready for one of your infamous Jessica-style head over heels" type discussions smack more of AJ than boy of the week.

  • Also, despite Double Jeopardy coming between this and the last book, we pick up right after Outcast. Right. After.



*I hate it when people neglect their friends/family simply because they're dating/married/shackled to someone else. It's annoying. Stop it!

Quotable Sweet Valley:

"Come inside and help me make dinner," she begged.
"Make dinner?" Lila said blankly.
"Yeah, it's what the rest of the world does while your cook makes yours." - I applaud the Jessica/Lila exchange, even if we've already seen Li half-assedly help the Wakefields make dinner at least once before. p 12

Sandra felt she had to pinch herself to prove she wasn't coming. - ...I... I had to re-read that twelve times, and another time this morning, because I was sure that my eyes were playing tricks on me. They might still be. p 18


"Come on, Liz. Manuel really wants you to come, too." This last comment couldn't have been farther from the truth, but Sandra figured she would have plenty of time to convince Manuel that Elizabeth would make the outing even more fun. - p 75. Because I'm mean, I'll take this to mean that even before Liz was named Heroine of the year, Manuel didn't particularly care for Saint Liz. :P

"Jessica," Elizabeth said reproachfully, "don't you have the tiniest little sense of right and wrong?"
Jessica reached for another piece of toast. "Not in this case," she said cheerfully. "You're only going to mess things up if you start worrying about the truth now." - Sometimes Elizabeth surprises me with just how often she can misjudge her twin's morality levels. p102



   I dragged my feet in starting to re-read Caught in the Middle because it's never been one of my favorites. Partly it's that I think the cover is painfully boring, and as happy as I am that Sandy got a second cover, this is just blah, and I spend more time trying to figure out what, aside from the art, could be done to fix it than I did actually reading the book itself.
   Thing is, it's not a bad book. Yeah, it's obviously one of those Very Special Issue books, but it attempts to wobble that line between exceptionally preachy and just plain after school special. I'm not entirely sure where it falls because I cut it slack for being a young adult book written for an ongoing series in the 80's as well as it being SVH, so the standards, I admit, are considerably lower than what I'd expect for most other things.
   Manuel's a bit of a saint, even if I tire of typing his name out each time. He's also probably a better boyfriend than anyone the Wakefields ever hook up with. I like that "plain" Sandy gets the great guy, and I like that they didn't have Sandy magically grow the stones to tell her parents immediately, and that her mother was still having trouble accepting Manuel even after she found out he'd saved her baby's life. Can't really say that this book made me like Sandy all that much. There's a line you don't cross, and telling the cops you don't know your boyfriend? Yeah, that leaps across that line, backs up, and then drags the carcass of your relationship back over the line.
   Normally I'm all for a Lila subplot, but dude, hasn't this one been done before already? In this series? Maybe it's just that I swear they trot this out at least once in every SV series where Lila plays any part whatsoever. Bah.
   Final verdict: You could do worse. You could, however, do better.



P.S.- If you've got the re-released cover and you want to share, I'll love you. Forever. There's always gotta be one cover that's a bitch to find. Meh.
the_oracle: (plotting)
Caught In The Middle
January 1988


Is love enough to keep Sandra and Manuel together?

Off-limits...



   Sandra Bacon has finally found a boy to love. Manuel Lopez is kind, sensitive, and handsome, and he cares about Sandra as much as she cares about him.
   But there is one problem: Sandy's parents don't approve of Manuel. So the couple must keep their love and their precious moments together a secret.
   Then eyewitnesses place Manuel at the scene of a life-threatening accident, and only Sandy can clear his name. If she tells the truth, she may lose her parents' trust and love; but if she doesn't, she will certainly lose Manuel forever.

  So. Mexicans are people, too, right? Yeah, I think we all knew this going in the first go round, but twenty-some odd years later, really. We get it. That said, this would be another star-crossed lovers book. And one I hated for years as a kid simply because this cover did not belong in my collection. It was WRONG. Not because Manuel is Mexican, or because there is no way in Hades that those two on the cover are high school juniors, but because it was lacking in Wakefield. And color. Really, really blah. And I like grey, but this was pushing it.

  Anyway. Sandy Bacon has earned herself another book, only this time she finally gets a guy. He's handsome, he's charming, he's a gentleman, he's kind, he's totally not realistic in anyway, because he's perfect. Except for the fact that he's Mexican. This doesn't bother Sandy, but it might very well kill her racist parents. We're told that Sandy's father wrote a letter to the editor about how the Mexicans [how many times will I have to type the word Mexican?] are taking over and ... good lord, man. Ahead of your time.
   So, in the tradition of all great loves kept apart by disapproving parents, Sandy lies. A lot. At first she lies to Manuel about why he hasn't met her parents yet. She says they're really busy a lot and this might've gone on longer had Manuel [I really want to call him Manny. Damn you, TV show!] not overheard her lying to her parents about where she was. Sandy confesses that as awesome as Manuel is, her parents would just see him as someone unfit to date their daughter because they've got a raging hatred of zee Mexicans. I wonder if it's just the Mexicans or if anyone not whiter than white would also be greeted at the door with a shotgun and a shovel?
  Manuel understands that some people in the world are just stupid, but really believes that if her parents met him they'd see how awesome he is too! Nice ego there, mate. But I have to agree. Manuel is the perfect boyfriend, if a little on the dull side. Sandy agrees, but also doesn't. She knows her parents and she's highly doubtful that they'd see anything other than the color of his skin and the parade of all the other people they've hated before him. They wouldn't see Manuel at all. Still, she agrees to try and talk to them.
   And she does. She tries the hypothetical, "Mom, what if I fell in love with someone who was, I dunno, Mexican. Would you be happy that I found someone who loves plain old me, or would you call the cops and have him escorted from the premises while shouting horrible things to him?" Yeah, not quite that phrasing, but that would have been fun. Sandy's mother does that country club laugh and tells Sandy that she's got a vivid imagination, but why oh why would she think of such a thing? At Sandy's next approach she points out that love is hard enough without the added burden of being from different backgrounds, so she'd have to say no to that on those grounds as well.
  At this point I'd have lost my sanity and just blurted it out, or waited until we were in public somewhere that a mob probably wouldn't have formed and just crash-introduced them. I don't have the patience Sandy or Manuel seem to have, y'know?
   Still, Manuel's tired of having to pick Sandy up someplace other than her home. He's tired of sneaking around and feeling bad about himself. He's tired of Sandy lying.
  And Jeanie West is tired of covering for Sandy. I can see how exhausting that would be, given that Jeanie's and Sandy's mothers hang out a lot, but that, honey, that was your in. If Jeanie's mother doesn't share Mrs. Bacon's views, talk. to. her. Have her talk to your mother for, or at least with you, Sandy. DUH.

   Instead, this is Sweet Valley and we haven't had an explosion in a very long time. So, we're off to Secca Lake where we can blow shit up without anyone batting an eyelash.
  Sandy invites Liz on her boating date with Manuel so she can tell her mother that she was out with Liz. She tells Liz it'll be fun and leaves out the part where she's using the other blond, and tells Manny that Liz invited herself along. Charming.
  While out on Sandy's motor boat, something goes wrong with the engine and the ensuing explosion sends Liz and Manuel flying into the water. Sandy doesn't get so lucky and is knocked unconscious and left on the burning boat. Manuel swims back to save Sandy before the boat can explode [gas cans and fire, children] and all three manage to swim far enough away that when the boat does blow, they aren't hurt anymore than they were before.
  On shore, Sandy wakes up enough to thank Manuel for saving her life, but then tells him to get lost as she can't have her parents finding out about him. Liz will take the hero-credit and all will be right with the world.
   Manuel and Elizabeth are both stunned, but neither can manage to articulate the fact that if ever Sandy was going to tell her family about Manuel, doing so when he's the frickin' HERO who saved her life would be the time.
  Manuel disappears and Liz reluctantly takes the spotlight.
  It's not until the police suspect someone tampered with Sandy's boat, given the description numerous witnesses gave of there being three people near the boat before it went into the water and only two taking credit for having been there after, that Manuel realizes that maybe Sandy's never going to come clean with her parents. Sandy's parents are called to the police station and they take Sandy with them. For one completely awful moment, Sandy tells everyone that she's never seen Manuel before in her life. The police decide this means he really did do something to the boat and are about to take him away when Manuel plays the perfect boyfriend card again.
   Instead of yelling or screaming or calling her a bitch [or any real show of temper whatsoever] Manuel asks how Sandy could do this. And Sandy crumbles and admits she's in love with Manuel and that he saved her life and she was so ashamed of her parents and afraid of how they'd see Manuel, how they'd treat him, that she was ready to... to what, Sandy? See if you could get him sent to frickin' jail? That's bad for any relationship, honey.
   Sandy's parents asks Liz, who has timed her arrival just right so as to be there to hear Sandy's confession and back her up, if this is true, and she does that backing Sandy thing up.
  Sandy's father asks Manuel if it's true, if he's in love with Sandy, if he risked his life to save her, and if he would have taken the rap for something he didn't do. Manuel says yes, yes, and are you crazy? Mr. Bacon is awfully accepting of Manuel, considering he's the one we were warned about first. It's really Mrs. B who has the issues and she tries to get over them, but it's obviously a struggle. Ah, reality...
   It all ends well, with Manuel and Sandy together again, Manuel not being sore over Sandy lying to the police about him, and Liz no longer being the heroine of the hour.

   In our sadly underused B-story for the week, it's Lila's birthday. Again. Didn't she already have a birthday? No matter. Jessica decides to throw Lila a surprise-surprise party. They'll all ignore Lila on her birthday and the weeks leading up to it, all the better to really surprise her the day after with the party to end all party! Which 30 people will show up to.
  It all goes as planned. Lila's feelings are hurt for more than a week, but give her one hour or so of being the center of attention again and she's cool with everyone.
  I hate this storyline in that it's awful to be that much of a bitch to someone and include other people so that someone will feel that low all for one euphoric high. Also, it kept making me hope that when people had forgotten my birthday, they were really just pretending.
  They weren't.



Trivia:

  • Jessica gripes that Liz won't go anywhere without Jeffrey.*

  • Ricky is still the cheerleaders' manager.

  • Cheerleading practice starts earlier on Tuesday afternoons.

  • Jessica agrees with Sandy as they both think Sandy is average, though Jess will admit that since falling for Manuel, Sandy's begun to glow.

  • Manuel is a junior at SVH with dark, curly hair, and chocolate brown eyes. He's taller than Sandy, but not too tall, so she doesn't get a crick in her neck looking up at him and kissing doesn't involve apple crates. He's got four little brothers and one younger sister and he works part time after school as an assistant track coach at the elementary school.

  • Manuel's siblings: Carlos is 6, then Juan, Pedro, Miguel, and Maria is 13.

  • Sandy meets Manuel's extended family at his cousin's birthday party.

  • Jessica dreams that Lila tires of being rich, so she writes Jessica a check for all Daddy Fowler's money.

  • Lila's birthday is in a week at the start of the book.

  • Sandy still has three unnamed older brothers.

  • Sandy's parents bought their Spanish-style house ten years ago.

  • There were riots in Los Perros and people were hurt, which just added fuel to Sandy's parents' bigotry. Or something.

  • Sandy's mother, Irene, is forever going on about how she was raised in a racially charged environment and that skewed her view as it were.

  • The Bacons are members of the country club.

  • Mr. Bacon works at a local advertising agency.

  • Sandy is sure that Carl Pierce, the guy her parents want her to date, is going to be blond, blue eyed, and terribly boring because he loves golf. No clue if he is though. I kept thinking, "Whoa, Caroline Pierce?"

  • Cara feels badly for Lila until Jessica reminds her that Lila made a snotty comment about Cara's wardrobe being two years out of style.

  • Jessica and Cara pretend they're going with Amy to see "the Boys" in concert at Westwood Stadium on Lila's birthday.

  • Sandy says she's going to Casey's and she'll be picked up at Enid's. Does Sandy really spend enough time with Enid that this alone wouldn't raise Irene's suspicions, or is there some other life we don't know Enid has?

  • Sandy got a speedboat for her last birthday and it's called Solar One.

  • Manuel worked at the Secca Lake Boat house last summer.

  • Mr. Fowler offered to take Lila to Jacque's in San Mirabel for her birthday dinner.

  • Jessica describes the banner she and Cara are making for Lila's birthday as a "trade union banner" with each panel depicting an aspect of Lila, like... "Lila Shopping" or "Lila Giving Parties."

  • Enid's grandfather died a few months ago and she's hoping to convince her grandmother to move from Chicago to California.

  • Sandy drives her mother's Toyota. What, she doesn't have her own car, but she has a motorboat?

  • Elizabeth introduces Sandy and Manuel to Alice, but shouldn't Mrs. Wakefield know who Sandy is by now? She's been on the cheerleading squad off and on for at least two years and she's definitely B-list of Jessica's friends and had to have gone to other parties Jessica and Liz have thrown over the year.

  • Don is the park ranger who asks Sandy and Liz questions after the explosion.

  • There's a blond guy who called for the ambulance, and he tries to convince Don that he and his friend Bert both saw a guy with Liz and Sandy. Don tells him to take a hike because he's upsetting Sandy. Brilliant.

  • Local Girl Saves Friend In Boating Accident- Headline the next day in the Sweet Valley News.

  • Mrs. Abernathy is still the PTA president.

  • Sandy suffers second degree burns on her palms after the accident.

  • The Bacons give Elizabeth a lovely rope link gold bracelet from Stowe's, the nicest jewelery store in town. Dude, Sandy's loaded.

  • Blue is Manuel's favorite color.

  • Pete Young is the coach at Sweet Valley Elementary.

  • Officer Richard Patterson and Sergeant James take Manuel in for questioning.

  • Jeffrey and Elizabeth make Lila a 'Surprise Surprise Party!' banner.

  • Around 30 people attend Lila's birthday party at the Wakefields. So, that'd be... Jessica, Elizabeth, Jeffrey, Cara, Amy, Enid...

  • There's foreshadowing in this book for Jessica to fall head over heels for AJ. Some might argue that it's for any big Jessica crush, but all the "one day you'll understand when you really, truly fall" and the "ready for one of your infamous Jessica-style head over heels" type discussions smack more of AJ than boy of the week.

  • Also, despite Double Jeopardy coming between this and the last book, we pick up right after Outcast. Right. After.



*I hate it when people neglect their friends/family simply because they're dating/married/shackled to someone else. It's annoying. Stop it!

Quotable Sweet Valley:

"Come inside and help me make dinner," she begged.
"Make dinner?" Lila said blankly.
"Yeah, it's what the rest of the world does while your cook makes yours." - I applaud the Jessica/Lila exchange, even if we've already seen Li half-assedly help the Wakefields make dinner at least once before. p 12

Sandra felt she had to pinch herself to prove she wasn't coming. - ...I... I had to re-read that twelve times, and another time this morning, because I was sure that my eyes were playing tricks on me. They might still be. p 18


"Come on, Liz. Manuel really wants you to come, too." This last comment couldn't have been farther from the truth, but Sandra figured she would have plenty of time to convince Manuel that Elizabeth would make the outing even more fun. - p 75. Because I'm mean, I'll take this to mean that even before Liz was named Heroine of the year, Manuel didn't particularly care for Saint Liz. :P

"Jessica," Elizabeth said reproachfully, "don't you have the tiniest little sense of right and wrong?"
Jessica reached for another piece of toast. "Not in this case," she said cheerfully. "You're only going to mess things up if you start worrying about the truth now." - Sometimes Elizabeth surprises me with just how often she can misjudge her twin's morality levels. p102



   I dragged my feet in starting to re-read Caught in the Middle because it's never been one of my favorites. Partly it's that I think the cover is painfully boring, and as happy as I am that Sandy got a second cover, this is just blah, and I spend more time trying to figure out what, aside from the art, could be done to fix it than I did actually reading the book itself.
   Thing is, it's not a bad book. Yeah, it's obviously one of those Very Special Issue books, but it attempts to wobble that line between exceptionally preachy and just plain after school special. I'm not entirely sure where it falls because I cut it slack for being a young adult book written for an ongoing series in the 80's as well as it being SVH, so the standards, I admit, are considerably lower than what I'd expect for most other things.
   Manuel's a bit of a saint, even if I tire of typing his name out each time. He's also probably a better boyfriend than anyone the Wakefields ever hook up with. I like that "plain" Sandy gets the great guy, and I like that they didn't have Sandy magically grow the stones to tell her parents immediately, and that her mother was still having trouble accepting Manuel even after she found out he'd saved her baby's life. Can't really say that this book made me like Sandy all that much. There's a line you don't cross, and telling the cops you don't know your boyfriend? Yeah, that leaps across that line, backs up, and then drags the carcass of your relationship back over the line.
   Normally I'm all for a Lila subplot, but dude, hasn't this one been done before already? In this series? Maybe it's just that I swear they trot this out at least once in every SV series where Lila plays any part whatsoever. Bah.
   Final verdict: You could do worse. You could, however, do better.



P.S.- If you've got the re-released cover and you want to share, I'll love you. Forever. There's always gotta be one cover that's a bitch to find. Meh.
the_oracle: (tear)
Crash Landing!
June 1985

   Will Elizabeth lose her best friend?

   Terror in the skies...


  George Warren has been looking forward to taking his girlfriend, Enid Rollins, as a passenger on his first licensed flight. Afterward he's going to tell her something he's known for a long time-he doesn't love her anymore, and their relationship is over. Then he'll be free to date Robin Wilson, the girl he does love.
  But as he and Enid are flying, George loses control of the plane and is forced to make a crash landing. Enid is seriously injured, and George is overcome with guilt. He can't possibly break up with Enid now. But how long can he pretend to be in love with her and continue living a lie?

  I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for Enid Rollins. When the books portray her badly, I blame the writers, rarely the actual character. And this, my friends, this is the book that cemented my love for her once and for all. Keep in mind that I read this when I was eight or so, and thus any ability to be objective whatsoever has been damaged beyond repair. With that said, onward!

  This is not George Warren's day. Despite having gotten his pilot's license, he's already been busted by his current girlfriend's best friend about cheating on said girlfriend with a girl in his flying class, and now he's trying to work up the guts to break it off with said girlfriend before her best friend spills the beans. As he's trying to distract himself with some fancy-ish flying moves, the engine on his rental plane dies, and that's when the real fun begins. Amidst Enid's screaming and the plane's stubborn refusal to do anything other than turn into the wind so the crash itself won't necessarily kill them, George is screwed. He tells Enid to open her door before they hit the water and seconds later they "land" and he's promptly knocked out, and from this point on, all traces of pity for the boy are erased from my side.
  Enid realizes she's not dead and that while unconscious and bleeding, George isn't dead either, but that this could change very quickly if they don't get out of the sinking plane. She unbuckles herself, strips her outermost layer of clothes, but stupidly leaves her socks on, and attempts to save her boyfriend. She has to get out of the cockpit and go around the plane, so that she can get a proper vantage point to unhook George from his harness. When she does, he falls out and knocks Enid backwards. Enid slams into something and her legs go numb. Enid doesn't have time to freak out properly as the plane sinks the second she and George are both free. When he realizes that Enid seems a bit off, he asks what's wrong, and she tells him she can't feel her legs. Dun dun DUN.

  From the shore, Todd, Olivia, Roger, Robin, and a few others watch in horror as the plane falls from the sky. Todd races to call 911 [no cell phones yet, loves] and when he returns, finds out that the plane was carrying Enid and George. Before Todd can freak out too much over this, George and Enid are brought to shore. Enid looks pale, but okay, and George looks like crap, what with the head wound that is bleeding quite freely. Robin faints and damages quite a few brain cells in the process. Trust me, you'll see.

  We flash to the twins and their parents who are still at the police station after the previous book's brush with insanity in the form of Jack. Jess begins behaving terribly out of character, with the announcement that she'll "just die if anything happens to Enid!" The fuck? You practically wish her dead three times a book. And no one bats an eyelash. I guess you could chalk it up to them all being so worried about Enid, but still...
  Blah, blah, George is fine, head wound notwithstanding. Enid's paralyzed and they won't know for sure if it's permanent until the swelling goes down. George feels guilty as hell, Liz is mad as hell, and Enid is loopy.
  But first we have our Jessica-detour. Sometime off-camera, Lila decided she and Jessica should take a gourmet cooking class. Jess is pissed when the instructor doesn't show up on time and a little old lady, nice though she may be, starts them off making mustard. Not only is she having to make something boring, but she can't even joke around with Lila who is still pissed about the Jack fiasco. Well, it was just yesterday she learned you were a backstabbing skank... One ruined silk blouse later, and bucketfuls of charm, Li and Jess are talking to one another and Jess is drooling over their instructor. After class, Li drives Jessica over to Robin's so Jess can tell her co-captain that the cheerleading practice was moved. However, when they get there, Jess spies George's light blue GTO in the drive way. Lila offers up information about Robin and Allen having broken up, and both girls quickly put two and two together. They realize that Robin fainted because she's involved with George and gasp! The trollop!
  Jess goes home and tells Liz all about what she's seen. Liz is beyond pissed, but she can't tell Jessica that she already knew the pair were seeing one another. Instead, both twins remark that they'll be unable to look Robin in the eye. Jess sort of promises not to tell anyone about the love triangle, but the next time we see her, she's filling Cara in on the whole thing. Both girls agree that Robin should be punished, as it's the least they can do for poor Enid, who didn't deserve such treatment. If you're wondering how Jess can so easily flip-flop on various things, consider this: She's really good at damning those who reflect any aspect of her personality or actions that she's not 100% proud of. Annie went down in flames for her indiscriminate dating, and now Robin's going to pay for any lingering guilt Jess had over screwing Lila over with the whole Jack situation. Also, she comments about how normally Enid would be on her shit list, but since everyone is rallying around Enid and she's such a star at the moment, of course Jessica must play up her connection to the newest bit of gossip in town. [Being the twin of the injured girl's best friend, duh!]
  So when Robin comes up to the table, Cara and Jessica ignore her and make a comment about Enid before leaving. Robin tries to say hey to Liz and is shot down. So she drowns her sorrow in dessert, all the while wondering why everyone is avoiding her. Later she'll realize they really are avoiding her, but still won't understand why. When you fainted, Robin, did you perchance hit your incredibly thick skull on something sharp and leave your brain behind on the shores of Secca Lake? I swear you weren't mentally deficient before, but now I'm wondering.
  Show of hands, how many people would honestly not be able to piece together why everyone was shunning them if they were in Robin's shoes? Even without knowing that George had tried to stop by and break things off with you until Enid's able to walk, you'd think people would put together your fainting spell as well as your breaking up with Allen for another guy and come up with the possibility that you and George were an item, right? Guilt breeds paranoia, not simply stupidity. So Robin stews and worries and gains ten pounds in ten days.

  Let's return to Liz. Liz isn't having the easiest time of it. Every time she sees Enid, either George comes up or he's there, and she's not exactly the best at masking her emotions. She's livid thinking that George is still seeing Robin while Enid is lying in bed, paralyzed. No matter how he tries to convince her that he's broken things off with Robin, she can't believe him. If Enid is unable to direct the proper amount of wrath in George's direction, seeing as she doesn't know what's going on yet, then Liz will have to be mad enough for the both of them. Which is particularly endearing, actually. Every time she and George run into one another at the hospital, I imagine Liz is shooting him death glares. Problem with that is that he feels so out of sorts around Elizabeth that he can't really keep it together in front of Enid. You see, George has decided that while Enid is crippled, he'll pretend he still loves her and everything is fine, as that's the right thing to do. And I can't exactly fault him for the logic, particularly when you realize that while Enid is in the hospital, she seems to have all of three visitors. Her mother, George, and Liz. Fuck, Easy Annie had the entire cheer squad do a routine outside just for her, but Enid can't even get a sympathy visit from any of her teachers? Rude!
  Enid has her surgery and everyone expects her to do a bit of PT [physical therapy] and be able to walk. She can't. She won't, and she becomes very snippy if you ask her about it. Liz decides to invite Enid, Todd, and George over for a small dinner while her parents are out on a date and Jess is over at Cara's reading cookbooks.
  Yes, cookbooks. You see, Jess has decided that she'll get Jean-Pierre the teacher to date her, and to do so, she'll become the best chef in the class. Thing is, her plan is working, sort of. She's actually really good at the cooking thing and is frequently singled out for exceptional work. Who knew? Her other plan is to upstage Elizabeth. Their parents' wedding anniversary is coming up, and with all the Enid drama, Jess is sure that Elizabeth has forgotten. Jess decides she'll make her parents a fantastic meal and they'll be so pleased, and for once Jessica won't feel second best.
  Unfortunately for Jessica, as she's planning this, as well as her future as a celebrity chef featured in People, her parents come home and discover a mess in the kitchen. Given Jessica's recent culinary leanings and early onset Alzheimer's, they accuse Jessica of leaving the kitchen a mess, the pots not even soaked. Jess shoots back that she JUST got home, hasn't even been in the kitchen, and didn't they say Liz could have her friends over so SHE could cook for them? Ned and Alice realize they were wrong and half-assed apologies are given, only to be followed up with, "Well, Liz must have a good reason." Jessica notes that if she'd really been the guilty party, they'd have been ready to hang her, and she's right. They're actually pretty shitty towards her at the oddest times. It's like instead of actually disciplining her when she needs it, they mock and punish her at other times. Uncool.
  Anyway, Liz left the kitchen a mess because her dinner party failed. Enid and George showed up, Enid in a wheelchair, and they spent the night acting. Badly. George is obviously not in love with Enid anymore and can't even do a passable imitation anymore and Enid knows this on some level [maybe when he confessed while she was asleep, or maybe because she's not a moron] so she tries too hard to be upbeat and sunny. Fails. George skips out early and Enid is crushed, so she asks Todd to take her home. Todd agrees and Liz goes with, just missing both her twin and her parents, figuring if they make it home first, they'll understand. Sure, right after they crucify your twin.

  Jessica works up the nerve to hit on J-P, only to find out he's married. Luckily she finds out before she hits on him. Then she makes her family a trial run dinner, and in the process I learn a very, very important lesson about seafood prep. Namely, if you have to pry the shellfish open after you've cooked 'em, you will poison yourself and anyone who eats the food. Thing is, no one told Jessica this, and at 16 in the 80's, maybe she wouldn't have known it on her own, so it's a little unfair for her family to continuously mock her. Then again, food poisoning isn't pretty. Jess is brokenhearted about her setback, but figures she has until her parents anniversary on Friday to remedy things.

  In Enid land, deciding to go to the dance was a horrible idea. While there, Enid insists that George dance with someone. After one and a half mentions, George runs off to dance with Robin after already having had a heated discussion with her earlier. Enid recognizes the look on his face, as well as Robin's, and her heart breaks. When George comes back after his slow dance, Enid blows up and accuses him of being in love with Robin. He neither confirms nor denies, and Enid knows. He takes her home and Todd suggests maybe going after her in a bit, but Liz says no, Enid needs time. The hell? The girl is paralyzed, obviously depressed, and now she's found out that her boyfriend is in love with a friend of hers? Yeah, she needs alone time, a bottle of Vodka, and something sharp. Stupid twit.
  Anyway, when Liz finally does catch up with Enid, it's pod-person Enid. She says she doesn't know what George feels for Robin, but if he didn't want to be with her [Enid] then he wouldn't be. Liz blinks and wonders what the hell happened to Enid.
  And so she comes up with a plan so sneaky and ingenious that... wait, no. Just a plan. She borrows Teddy Collins, has him pretend to be drowning in the deep end of the Wakefields' pool while Enid is alone with him, and tada! Enid leaps from her wheelchair and rescues Teddy. It works, and everyone loves Liz for her quick thinking. Seriously, she gets a standing ovation at the Dairi Burger. You're telling me no one just wandered in for a salt fix at the same time and thought maybe the town water had been contaminated? Surreal and one of the parts where they lost me.
  Due to Jessica's seafood mishap, her parents aren't inclined to repeat the performance and are thrilled when Liz gifts them with dinner theatre tickets to Bayside. You know you're an 80s kid when all you can think is that Zach and company never did dinner theatre, did they? Jess is upset that once more she's been upstaged and nothing has gone as she expected. Honestly, I don't blame her. I'd be upset, too. :(
  Anyway, Enid goes home after her rescue of Teddy [and after Jess points out that Enid totally got punked, and that Teddy swims like a fish] and breaks up with George. For a moment she seems utterly calm when she's detailing what happened, and Liz is fawning over her and Enid points out that it's easy enough to say, but she's probably never going to be friends with George again, as it'll hurt too much, no matter what she says right that second. So. True.
  All in all, a happy ending for everyone but a still miffed Jess.

Random:

  • George has always wanted to be a pilot.

  • The rental plane of doom is a Cessna 150.

  • The Wakefields are at Sergeant Malone's desk when they hear of George's plane difficulty.

  • Enid's spinal injury centers around the last disc in her spine, and her doctor is Dr. MacGregor.

  • Lila and Jessica's gourmet cooking class is held at the SV Civic Center.

  • Ms. Jackson is a petite gray haired lady who helps run the Civic Center.

  • Jessica ruins a $90 cream colored silk blouse from Lisette's when she manages to accidentally fling mustard onto it. Lila is not pleased.

  • Jean-Pierre Baptiste has written several cookbooks, the youngest head chef at La Maison Blanche, one of the finest French restaurants in California. He's in his early 20's, over six feet tall, broad shoulders, jet black hair, and intense blue eyes. Oh, yeah, and he's married to a fiery redhead named Lisbette who can't cook to safe her life.

  • Cara Walker is Allen's chem lab partner, and he tells her that he and Robin broke up because she was either seeing someone else or just wanted to do so.

  • George drives a light blue GTO. Remember kids, as with robbing a bank, when cheating, make sure you don't drive a really obvious car.

  • Over the course of her cooking class, Jessica made mustard, a raspberry torte [that she gave to Enid], puff pastries, and chicken cordon bleu.

  • Lila quit the class on chicken cordon bleu day.

  • Just when you thought they'd never mention it again, the company that's doing the tour guide thing gets back to the twins and tells them they've passed their tests and are all set for their summer jobs. Thing is, they don't provide transportation. Before the twins can cry into their beer over this, their parents announce that Alice needs a new car, so the twins now have round-the-clock Fiat use. Yay!

  • Ned Wakefield is a big steak lover. Not so much for pumpkin soup, though.

  • When the whole J-P thing fails, Jessica takes Ken to the dance. Poor Kenny is described as cute, but dull. Fear not my jock love, you'll get some personality soon!

  • Speaking of dates to the dance: Robin goes with some friend of a cousin, Stan from L.A. Not exactly a fun date. Lila brings Louis Scott, a sophomore at Sweet Valley College [when does it become SVU?] and he's incredibly boring and not a great dancer. He must be hot, or else Li wouldn't be caught dead with him.

  • Liz and Todd celebrate monthly anniversaries. No wonder I'm so screwed up. :P

  • Jess ultimately poisons her family when she makes them a cold seafood and pasta salad.

  • Mr. Collins smokes a pipe, and as of this book seems to be moving in on Ms. Dalton something fierce.

  • Jessica's planned meal for her parents: Veal piccata, string beans, wild rice, and raspberry torte.

  • Olivia Davidson leads a standing ovation at the Dairi Burger after Liz tricks Enid into walking again.

  • When Ned and Alice come back from their anniversary date, having heard all about Liz and her tricky ways, they celebrate with champagne for everyone, including Todd whom we gather would be driving himself home afterward.

  • Crash Landing takes place over the place of at least three weeks, probably four.



Quote-aliscious:
They didn't know what she knew about George Warren. He didn't even love Enid anymore, and she'd done this to herself so she could save his life! - Liz points out that George is an insensitive ass. Too bad she'll forget it about fifty pages after p24

Usually, Jessica didn't think twice about stealing a boy from someone, but she didn't want Lila to think she was so hard up for guys she had to get them secondhand. - Jess doesn't feel bad about screwing over Lila, she just doesn't want Lila to think she's desperate. p27/28

It upset Elizabeth to see Enid so trusting, so innocent. Here she was worrying about losing George- and Elizabeth knew she'd already lost him. - Makes me sniffle, Liz. Makes me sniffle. p47




   While I love CL!, it does have some flaws. One of them would be Liz waffling after Enid goes pod-person. Yeah, it sucks for George that Enid won't let him go, but maybe you shouldn't have been two-timing the girl and then slacking off in the pretending department. Either you should have told her flat out, or learned to act better, because obviously Enid isn't as popular as you'd think, given how few people actually stop by to see her. Ever. So yeah, she's going to latch on. When he tries to go out with Robin because Enid won't let go, as Enid's friend, I'd still have been pissed at him. Seriously, your job as best friend is to hate what your friend cannot necessarily hate. Did we learn nothing from Buffy? [Think Willow meeting Riley's wife and waffling between loathing her and loving her?] So her asking for Robin to forgive her smacked me all kinds of wrong.
  Sigh. I also hate how Ned and Alice act towards Jessica, although that's because it's believable. Unless you're an only child, your parents will assume your sibling is innocent of something they actually did, and you'll get the riot act, and they'll go easy on said sibling even when they were ready to have you drawn and quartered. You will mess up, they will tease you, and you will wish they'd all learn the fine art of shutting the hell up. Such is life.

  This marks the end of me liking George, and my love for Robin is less... avid. The fact that she honestly couldn't figure out why anyone would be mad at her smacks of stupidity. And hurting Enid is uncool. UN.COOL!
  That said, for an Enid-centric book, she's more like the prop being moved from one character to another than the central person of the plot. Enid is hurt, but it's how the people around her react that the story unfolds. Also, I'm confused as to this cold war. Is it simply that the cheerleaders [and Liz] froze Robin out, or did they manage to recruit a lot of the girls at SVH without anyone getting word back to Todd, since he didn't seem to know about the whole George/Robin/Enid triangle? And if it was common knowledge, then Robin really should have known why she was being sent to social Siberia.
  Why did no one tell Mrs. Rollins about George? If it's pretty obvious that Enid is suffering a mental block, then explaining what the hell is up with that might actually help. I'd like to think that if Liz's plan hadn't worked, a) Teddy wouldn't have been so committed to the fake-out that he wouldn't have drowned, and b) someone would have leveled with Enid's mother.
  Speaking of parents, even if they are divorced, why does Enid's father never show?

And in, you didn't give a damn news, this is one of those books I remember just as much for the circumstances around me owning it as I do for what happened in the actual book. It was to be my Christmas present one year, and I couldn't wait. Mom had bought it maybe the start of December, maybe around Thanksgiving, and I was there at the time, so the knowledge that it was under my roof and I couldn't read it was KILLING me. So I found where she hid it, and every day that I could, I'd sneak it away and read a little at a time. By the time Christmas rolled around, I'd finished it, and had to pretend to be super thrilled... and re-read it again, or else she'd know. I think she did know, and I know I confessed later, but I still bawled when my copy was ruined by a freak soda spill a few years later. Bawled, okay?

the_oracle: (tear)
Crash Landing!
June 1985

   Will Elizabeth lose her best friend?

   Terror in the skies...


  George Warren has been looking forward to taking his girlfriend, Enid Rollins, as a passenger on his first licensed flight. Afterward he's going to tell her something he's known for a long time-he doesn't love her anymore, and their relationship is over. Then he'll be free to date Robin Wilson, the girl he does love.
  But as he and Enid are flying, George loses control of the plane and is forced to make a crash landing. Enid is seriously injured, and George is overcome with guilt. He can't possibly break up with Enid now. But how long can he pretend to be in love with her and continue living a lie?

  I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for Enid Rollins. When the books portray her badly, I blame the writers, rarely the actual character. And this, my friends, this is the book that cemented my love for her once and for all. Keep in mind that I read this when I was eight or so, and thus any ability to be objective whatsoever has been damaged beyond repair. With that said, onward!

  This is not George Warren's day. Despite having gotten his pilot's license, he's already been busted by his current girlfriend's best friend about cheating on said girlfriend with a girl in his flying class, and now he's trying to work up the guts to break it off with said girlfriend before her best friend spills the beans. As he's trying to distract himself with some fancy-ish flying moves, the engine on his rental plane dies, and that's when the real fun begins. Amidst Enid's screaming and the plane's stubborn refusal to do anything other than turn into the wind so the crash itself won't necessarily kill them, George is screwed. He tells Enid to open her door before they hit the water and seconds later they "land" and he's promptly knocked out, and from this point on, all traces of pity for the boy are erased from my side.
  Enid realizes she's not dead and that while unconscious and bleeding, George isn't dead either, but that this could change very quickly if they don't get out of the sinking plane. She unbuckles herself, strips her outermost layer of clothes, but stupidly leaves her socks on, and attempts to save her boyfriend. She has to get out of the cockpit and go around the plane, so that she can get a proper vantage point to unhook George from his harness. When she does, he falls out and knocks Enid backwards. Enid slams into something and her legs go numb. Enid doesn't have time to freak out properly as the plane sinks the second she and George are both free. When he realizes that Enid seems a bit off, he asks what's wrong, and she tells him she can't feel her legs. Dun dun DUN.

  From the shore, Todd, Olivia, Roger, Robin, and a few others watch in horror as the plane falls from the sky. Todd races to call 911 [no cell phones yet, loves] and when he returns, finds out that the plane was carrying Enid and George. Before Todd can freak out too much over this, George and Enid are brought to shore. Enid looks pale, but okay, and George looks like crap, what with the head wound that is bleeding quite freely. Robin faints and damages quite a few brain cells in the process. Trust me, you'll see.

  We flash to the twins and their parents who are still at the police station after the previous book's brush with insanity in the form of Jack. Jess begins behaving terribly out of character, with the announcement that she'll "just die if anything happens to Enid!" The fuck? You practically wish her dead three times a book. And no one bats an eyelash. I guess you could chalk it up to them all being so worried about Enid, but still...
  Blah, blah, George is fine, head wound notwithstanding. Enid's paralyzed and they won't know for sure if it's permanent until the swelling goes down. George feels guilty as hell, Liz is mad as hell, and Enid is loopy.
  But first we have our Jessica-detour. Sometime off-camera, Lila decided she and Jessica should take a gourmet cooking class. Jess is pissed when the instructor doesn't show up on time and a little old lady, nice though she may be, starts them off making mustard. Not only is she having to make something boring, but she can't even joke around with Lila who is still pissed about the Jack fiasco. Well, it was just yesterday she learned you were a backstabbing skank... One ruined silk blouse later, and bucketfuls of charm, Li and Jess are talking to one another and Jess is drooling over their instructor. After class, Li drives Jessica over to Robin's so Jess can tell her co-captain that the cheerleading practice was moved. However, when they get there, Jess spies George's light blue GTO in the drive way. Lila offers up information about Robin and Allen having broken up, and both girls quickly put two and two together. They realize that Robin fainted because she's involved with George and gasp! The trollop!
  Jess goes home and tells Liz all about what she's seen. Liz is beyond pissed, but she can't tell Jessica that she already knew the pair were seeing one another. Instead, both twins remark that they'll be unable to look Robin in the eye. Jess sort of promises not to tell anyone about the love triangle, but the next time we see her, she's filling Cara in on the whole thing. Both girls agree that Robin should be punished, as it's the least they can do for poor Enid, who didn't deserve such treatment. If you're wondering how Jess can so easily flip-flop on various things, consider this: She's really good at damning those who reflect any aspect of her personality or actions that she's not 100% proud of. Annie went down in flames for her indiscriminate dating, and now Robin's going to pay for any lingering guilt Jess had over screwing Lila over with the whole Jack situation. Also, she comments about how normally Enid would be on her shit list, but since everyone is rallying around Enid and she's such a star at the moment, of course Jessica must play up her connection to the newest bit of gossip in town. [Being the twin of the injured girl's best friend, duh!]
  So when Robin comes up to the table, Cara and Jessica ignore her and make a comment about Enid before leaving. Robin tries to say hey to Liz and is shot down. So she drowns her sorrow in dessert, all the while wondering why everyone is avoiding her. Later she'll realize they really are avoiding her, but still won't understand why. When you fainted, Robin, did you perchance hit your incredibly thick skull on something sharp and leave your brain behind on the shores of Secca Lake? I swear you weren't mentally deficient before, but now I'm wondering.
  Show of hands, how many people would honestly not be able to piece together why everyone was shunning them if they were in Robin's shoes? Even without knowing that George had tried to stop by and break things off with you until Enid's able to walk, you'd think people would put together your fainting spell as well as your breaking up with Allen for another guy and come up with the possibility that you and George were an item, right? Guilt breeds paranoia, not simply stupidity. So Robin stews and worries and gains ten pounds in ten days.

  Let's return to Liz. Liz isn't having the easiest time of it. Every time she sees Enid, either George comes up or he's there, and she's not exactly the best at masking her emotions. She's livid thinking that George is still seeing Robin while Enid is lying in bed, paralyzed. No matter how he tries to convince her that he's broken things off with Robin, she can't believe him. If Enid is unable to direct the proper amount of wrath in George's direction, seeing as she doesn't know what's going on yet, then Liz will have to be mad enough for the both of them. Which is particularly endearing, actually. Every time she and George run into one another at the hospital, I imagine Liz is shooting him death glares. Problem with that is that he feels so out of sorts around Elizabeth that he can't really keep it together in front of Enid. You see, George has decided that while Enid is crippled, he'll pretend he still loves her and everything is fine, as that's the right thing to do. And I can't exactly fault him for the logic, particularly when you realize that while Enid is in the hospital, she seems to have all of three visitors. Her mother, George, and Liz. Fuck, Easy Annie had the entire cheer squad do a routine outside just for her, but Enid can't even get a sympathy visit from any of her teachers? Rude!
  Enid has her surgery and everyone expects her to do a bit of PT [physical therapy] and be able to walk. She can't. She won't, and she becomes very snippy if you ask her about it. Liz decides to invite Enid, Todd, and George over for a small dinner while her parents are out on a date and Jess is over at Cara's reading cookbooks.
  Yes, cookbooks. You see, Jess has decided that she'll get Jean-Pierre the teacher to date her, and to do so, she'll become the best chef in the class. Thing is, her plan is working, sort of. She's actually really good at the cooking thing and is frequently singled out for exceptional work. Who knew? Her other plan is to upstage Elizabeth. Their parents' wedding anniversary is coming up, and with all the Enid drama, Jess is sure that Elizabeth has forgotten. Jess decides she'll make her parents a fantastic meal and they'll be so pleased, and for once Jessica won't feel second best.
  Unfortunately for Jessica, as she's planning this, as well as her future as a celebrity chef featured in People, her parents come home and discover a mess in the kitchen. Given Jessica's recent culinary leanings and early onset Alzheimer's, they accuse Jessica of leaving the kitchen a mess, the pots not even soaked. Jess shoots back that she JUST got home, hasn't even been in the kitchen, and didn't they say Liz could have her friends over so SHE could cook for them? Ned and Alice realize they were wrong and half-assed apologies are given, only to be followed up with, "Well, Liz must have a good reason." Jessica notes that if she'd really been the guilty party, they'd have been ready to hang her, and she's right. They're actually pretty shitty towards her at the oddest times. It's like instead of actually disciplining her when she needs it, they mock and punish her at other times. Uncool.
  Anyway, Liz left the kitchen a mess because her dinner party failed. Enid and George showed up, Enid in a wheelchair, and they spent the night acting. Badly. George is obviously not in love with Enid anymore and can't even do a passable imitation anymore and Enid knows this on some level [maybe when he confessed while she was asleep, or maybe because she's not a moron] so she tries too hard to be upbeat and sunny. Fails. George skips out early and Enid is crushed, so she asks Todd to take her home. Todd agrees and Liz goes with, just missing both her twin and her parents, figuring if they make it home first, they'll understand. Sure, right after they crucify your twin.

  Jessica works up the nerve to hit on J-P, only to find out he's married. Luckily she finds out before she hits on him. Then she makes her family a trial run dinner, and in the process I learn a very, very important lesson about seafood prep. Namely, if you have to pry the shellfish open after you've cooked 'em, you will poison yourself and anyone who eats the food. Thing is, no one told Jessica this, and at 16 in the 80's, maybe she wouldn't have known it on her own, so it's a little unfair for her family to continuously mock her. Then again, food poisoning isn't pretty. Jess is brokenhearted about her setback, but figures she has until her parents anniversary on Friday to remedy things.

  In Enid land, deciding to go to the dance was a horrible idea. While there, Enid insists that George dance with someone. After one and a half mentions, George runs off to dance with Robin after already having had a heated discussion with her earlier. Enid recognizes the look on his face, as well as Robin's, and her heart breaks. When George comes back after his slow dance, Enid blows up and accuses him of being in love with Robin. He neither confirms nor denies, and Enid knows. He takes her home and Todd suggests maybe going after her in a bit, but Liz says no, Enid needs time. The hell? The girl is paralyzed, obviously depressed, and now she's found out that her boyfriend is in love with a friend of hers? Yeah, she needs alone time, a bottle of Vodka, and something sharp. Stupid twit.
  Anyway, when Liz finally does catch up with Enid, it's pod-person Enid. She says she doesn't know what George feels for Robin, but if he didn't want to be with her [Enid] then he wouldn't be. Liz blinks and wonders what the hell happened to Enid.
  And so she comes up with a plan so sneaky and ingenious that... wait, no. Just a plan. She borrows Teddy Collins, has him pretend to be drowning in the deep end of the Wakefields' pool while Enid is alone with him, and tada! Enid leaps from her wheelchair and rescues Teddy. It works, and everyone loves Liz for her quick thinking. Seriously, she gets a standing ovation at the Dairi Burger. You're telling me no one just wandered in for a salt fix at the same time and thought maybe the town water had been contaminated? Surreal and one of the parts where they lost me.
  Due to Jessica's seafood mishap, her parents aren't inclined to repeat the performance and are thrilled when Liz gifts them with dinner theatre tickets to Bayside. You know you're an 80s kid when all you can think is that Zach and company never did dinner theatre, did they? Jess is upset that once more she's been upstaged and nothing has gone as she expected. Honestly, I don't blame her. I'd be upset, too. :(
  Anyway, Enid goes home after her rescue of Teddy [and after Jess points out that Enid totally got punked, and that Teddy swims like a fish] and breaks up with George. For a moment she seems utterly calm when she's detailing what happened, and Liz is fawning over her and Enid points out that it's easy enough to say, but she's probably never going to be friends with George again, as it'll hurt too much, no matter what she says right that second. So. True.
  All in all, a happy ending for everyone but a still miffed Jess.

Random:

  • George has always wanted to be a pilot.

  • The rental plane of doom is a Cessna 150.

  • The Wakefields are at Sergeant Malone's desk when they hear of George's plane difficulty.

  • Enid's spinal injury centers around the last disc in her spine, and her doctor is Dr. MacGregor.

  • Lila and Jessica's gourmet cooking class is held at the SV Civic Center.

  • Ms. Jackson is a petite gray haired lady who helps run the Civic Center.

  • Jessica ruins a $90 cream colored silk blouse from Lisette's when she manages to accidentally fling mustard onto it. Lila is not pleased.

  • Jean-Pierre Baptiste has written several cookbooks, the youngest head chef at La Maison Blanche, one of the finest French restaurants in California. He's in his early 20's, over six feet tall, broad shoulders, jet black hair, and intense blue eyes. Oh, yeah, and he's married to a fiery redhead named Lisbette who can't cook to safe her life.

  • Cara Walker is Allen's chem lab partner, and he tells her that he and Robin broke up because she was either seeing someone else or just wanted to do so.

  • George drives a light blue GTO. Remember kids, as with robbing a bank, when cheating, make sure you don't drive a really obvious car.

  • Over the course of her cooking class, Jessica made mustard, a raspberry torte [that she gave to Enid], puff pastries, and chicken cordon bleu.

  • Lila quit the class on chicken cordon bleu day.

  • Just when you thought they'd never mention it again, the company that's doing the tour guide thing gets back to the twins and tells them they've passed their tests and are all set for their summer jobs. Thing is, they don't provide transportation. Before the twins can cry into their beer over this, their parents announce that Alice needs a new car, so the twins now have round-the-clock Fiat use. Yay!

  • Ned Wakefield is a big steak lover. Not so much for pumpkin soup, though.

  • When the whole J-P thing fails, Jessica takes Ken to the dance. Poor Kenny is described as cute, but dull. Fear not my jock love, you'll get some personality soon!

  • Speaking of dates to the dance: Robin goes with some friend of a cousin, Stan from L.A. Not exactly a fun date. Lila brings Louis Scott, a sophomore at Sweet Valley College [when does it become SVU?] and he's incredibly boring and not a great dancer. He must be hot, or else Li wouldn't be caught dead with him.

  • Liz and Todd celebrate monthly anniversaries. No wonder I'm so screwed up. :P

  • Jess ultimately poisons her family when she makes them a cold seafood and pasta salad.

  • Mr. Collins smokes a pipe, and as of this book seems to be moving in on Ms. Dalton something fierce.

  • Jessica's planned meal for her parents: Veal piccata, string beans, wild rice, and raspberry torte.

  • Olivia Davidson leads a standing ovation at the Dairi Burger after Liz tricks Enid into walking again.

  • When Ned and Alice come back from their anniversary date, having heard all about Liz and her tricky ways, they celebrate with champagne for everyone, including Todd whom we gather would be driving himself home afterward.

  • Crash Landing takes place over the place of at least three weeks, probably four.



Quote-aliscious:
They didn't know what she knew about George Warren. He didn't even love Enid anymore, and she'd done this to herself so she could save his life! - Liz points out that George is an insensitive ass. Too bad she'll forget it about fifty pages after p24

Usually, Jessica didn't think twice about stealing a boy from someone, but she didn't want Lila to think she was so hard up for guys she had to get them secondhand. - Jess doesn't feel bad about screwing over Lila, she just doesn't want Lila to think she's desperate. p27/28

It upset Elizabeth to see Enid so trusting, so innocent. Here she was worrying about losing George- and Elizabeth knew she'd already lost him. - Makes me sniffle, Liz. Makes me sniffle. p47




   While I love CL!, it does have some flaws. One of them would be Liz waffling after Enid goes pod-person. Yeah, it sucks for George that Enid won't let him go, but maybe you shouldn't have been two-timing the girl and then slacking off in the pretending department. Either you should have told her flat out, or learned to act better, because obviously Enid isn't as popular as you'd think, given how few people actually stop by to see her. Ever. So yeah, she's going to latch on. When he tries to go out with Robin because Enid won't let go, as Enid's friend, I'd still have been pissed at him. Seriously, your job as best friend is to hate what your friend cannot necessarily hate. Did we learn nothing from Buffy? [Think Willow meeting Riley's wife and waffling between loathing her and loving her?] So her asking for Robin to forgive her smacked me all kinds of wrong.
  Sigh. I also hate how Ned and Alice act towards Jessica, although that's because it's believable. Unless you're an only child, your parents will assume your sibling is innocent of something they actually did, and you'll get the riot act, and they'll go easy on said sibling even when they were ready to have you drawn and quartered. You will mess up, they will tease you, and you will wish they'd all learn the fine art of shutting the hell up. Such is life.

  This marks the end of me liking George, and my love for Robin is less... avid. The fact that she honestly couldn't figure out why anyone would be mad at her smacks of stupidity. And hurting Enid is uncool. UN.COOL!
  That said, for an Enid-centric book, she's more like the prop being moved from one character to another than the central person of the plot. Enid is hurt, but it's how the people around her react that the story unfolds. Also, I'm confused as to this cold war. Is it simply that the cheerleaders [and Liz] froze Robin out, or did they manage to recruit a lot of the girls at SVH without anyone getting word back to Todd, since he didn't seem to know about the whole George/Robin/Enid triangle? And if it was common knowledge, then Robin really should have known why she was being sent to social Siberia.
  Why did no one tell Mrs. Rollins about George? If it's pretty obvious that Enid is suffering a mental block, then explaining what the hell is up with that might actually help. I'd like to think that if Liz's plan hadn't worked, a) Teddy wouldn't have been so committed to the fake-out that he wouldn't have drowned, and b) someone would have leveled with Enid's mother.
  Speaking of parents, even if they are divorced, why does Enid's father never show?

And in, you didn't give a damn news, this is one of those books I remember just as much for the circumstances around me owning it as I do for what happened in the actual book. It was to be my Christmas present one year, and I couldn't wait. Mom had bought it maybe the start of December, maybe around Thanksgiving, and I was there at the time, so the knowledge that it was under my roof and I couldn't read it was KILLING me. So I found where she hid it, and every day that I could, I'd sneak it away and read a little at a time. By the time Christmas rolled around, I'd finished it, and had to pretend to be super thrilled... and re-read it again, or else she'd know. I think she did know, and I know I confessed later, but I still bawled when my copy was ruined by a freak soda spill a few years later. Bawled, okay?

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