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?

the_oracle: (tear)
Power Play
January 1984

The Wakefield twins have taken sides- against each other!

Elizabeth and Jessica in a tug of war...


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


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

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

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

Random stuff:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Palomar House is the poshest restaurant in the Valley.

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

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

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



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


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







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


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

the_oracle: (tear)
Power Play
January 1984

The Wakefield twins have taken sides- against each other!

Elizabeth and Jessica in a tug of war...


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


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

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

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

Random stuff:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Palomar House is the poshest restaurant in the Valley.

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

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

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



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


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







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


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

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