the_oracle: (troo wuv)
White Lies
February 1989


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



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



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

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

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

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

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


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

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



Trivia:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • John Pfeifer has green eyes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Mr. Hamilton is Jennifer's biology teacher.

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

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

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

  • AJ thinks Jessica is getting bored with him.

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

  • Brian Mitchell is in room 538 in ICU.

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

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

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

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




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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

the_oracle: (plotting)
Head Over Heels
April 1985

   Can Bruce Patman really fall in love?

  Do opposites attract?


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


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

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

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


Trivia:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • One ticket for the carnival costs a dollar.

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


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




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

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

the_oracle: (plotting)
Head Over Heels
April 1985

   Can Bruce Patman really fall in love?

  Do opposites attract?


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


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

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

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


Trivia:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • One ticket for the carnival costs a dollar.

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


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




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

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

the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Double Love
October, 1983

Share the continuing story of the Wakefield twins and their friends-
their laughter, heartaches, and dreams.



Will Jessica steal Todd from Elizabeth?


  Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are identical twins at Sweet Valley High. They're both popular, smart, and gorgeous, but that's where the similarity ends. Elizabeth is friendly, outgoing, and sincere- nothing like her snobbish and conniving twin. Jessica gets what she wants- at school, with friends, and especially with boys.
  This time, Jessica has her sights on Todd Wilkins, the handsome star of the basketball team- the one boy that Elizabeth really likes. Elizabeth doesn't want to lose him, but what Jessica wants, Jessica usually gets... even if it ends up hurting her sister.
  Meet the Wakefield twins, their guys, and the rest of the gang at Sweet Valley High.



  Double Love is fairly simple. You're introduced to the Wakefield twins. There's melodramatic Jessica, who isn't above trashing people's reputations to protect her own, but still manages to be incredibly popular. And then there's quiet, serious Liz who isn't above kissing a boy before the first date or plotting against her more diabolical sister. Both are gorgeous, popular, fantastic, and prone to emotional outbursts. Seriously. Liz bursts into tears no less than three times this book, sometimes for absolutely no reason. Jess also cries at the drop of a hat, but it's usually in order to manipulate someone.
  Got that? Good. Jess has set her sights on the current IT boy of Sweet Valley High, basketball captain and star, Todd Wilkins. Thing is, he seems more interested in talking to Jess so he can then get a hold of her twin, Elizabeth. Considering she's such an expert with guys, Jess figures he just doesn't know what he's missing, so she "helps" him realize the error of his ways. She's constantly caught offering him helpful little tidbits that cast Elizabeth as the flighty, popular, boy magnet twin, while she stays at home and, I dunno, washes her hair for the umpteenth time. The kicker, and proof that maybe Wilkins has taken one hit to the skull too many, is that he never cries bullshit on any of this. One could imagine that Liz is asked out plenty, and goes out fairly often, so it's okay if he believes that bit of the lie. Hormones make you stupid, especially when presented with the very real possibility that the object of your affection isn't at all interested in you.
  However, I remember first reading DL and knowing full well Jessica was full of it. You're pretty much told within seconds of meeting Jessica, that she has made her rounds through much of the male dating pool at SVH. Not in a full blown skanky way, but in that, "Sure we can go out and you can tell me how great I am," way. For Todd to believe anything other than this just blows my mind as much now as it did then. Idiot.
  Naturally, Liz doesn't know this, as she sits at home and dreams about her one true love, Todd Wilkins. She doesn't want much, dear diary, she just wants to be his girlfriend. They don't have to scale the highest mountains, swim the deepest seas, write the most epic of all love poems. No, what she wants is normalcy. She wants it to be normal for the two to eat lunch together and for him to randomly kiss her on the forehead, simply because he can and wants to do so. For they are in LOVE. That's all.
  But she never actually tells this to anyone. Ever. Because she's an idiot as well. She never tells her twin. She doesn't tell her best friend [though Enid has an extra braincell or two to rub together, so she's able to figure it out], and being that this is 1983, she sure as hell doesn't tell Todd she thinks he's keen or whatever. That last one I understand, but given that Jess is such a sneaky sort, you'd think it might be wise to let her in on the crush you've been harboring. Either to keep her away from said crush, or to get her to help you out, seeing as she isn't shy and knows her way around the male of the species well enough to snag a date for her sister. Just a thought.
  So Liz is dying a thousand deaths each time Todd calls to talk to Jess. Or she sees the two of them together. To complicate matters, Todd doesn't realize he's being set up as Jessica's newest conquest. So he still makes googly eyes at the wrong twin, still tries to get Liz alone, possibly so he can ask her to the big Phi Epsilon dance, or possibly just to say, "I love you, you idiot." So Liz is getting these "he likes me!" vibes and Jess doesn't know that Liz actually has any interest in Todd, so she sees no real problem in continuing to help Todd fall for the right Wakefield twin.
  This can only go on so long before something goes wrong and true love conquers all. So fate intervenes and decrees, "This shall not be a fifty page novel! We must have MORE conflict!"

  Another thing you should know. Jessica is not accustomed to being turned down. As far as she's concerned, she's the hottest thing around, and anyone who doesn't agree can go to hell. So when it becomes painfully clear that Todd isn't falling for her as planned, she decides to take her anger out on the unsuspecting males of Sweet Valley. Luckily for all of them, Rick Andover [tattooed, 17 year old bad boy drop out] spies Jessica walking home, and picks her up. Turns out he knows exactly who she is [see drop out status that makes this a little less creepy than it would be if he were just some random guy who knew who she was by sight alone] and finagles a date. Jess needs some male attention, so she agrees.
  Check the mini bio given for Rick again, and it'll become obvious that the only way this date is going to end is badly. Sure enough, Rick takes Jessica to Kelly's [local bar, conveniently located not that far from the teen dream hangout, the Dairi Burger] and gets smashed in record time. Seriously, one shot of whiskey and he's slurring his words. Granted, it's implied he had a little something before picking Jess up, but still. ONE SHOT. He also gets a little grabby, so Jess excuses herself and in perfect bad boy form, Rick manages to get himself into a bar fight. The cops are called and Jess gets a ride home via the police. Luckily for her, the cop thinks she's a friend of his niece, Emily Mayer, and assumes she's Elizabeth. [Cuz Liz is so the bar-hopping twin!] He reads her the riot act as he's dropping her off, calling her Elizabeth once more. Jess goes to correct him, but it's too late.
  You see, Caroline Pearce, the biggest gossip in all of Sweet Valley [which says a lot, given that almost all of Jessica's friends are identified as huge gossips as well] just happens to be walking by at that exact moment. She hears the whole thing, complete with the mixed up identity, runs home [three doors down from the Wakefields] and fires up the white princess phone that serves as the easiest way for gossip to spread through the Valley. Take that, Gossip Girl.
  By the next morning, all of SVH knows that good girl Liz has gone to the darkside, courtesy of a trip to Kelly's with bad boy Rick. Possibly fearing that two devious Wakefields is more than one high school can handle, people react by pretty much avoiding her. The boys are divided in two camps. Those who probably think Liz is a good time, though probably one involving a trip to the doctor's before and after, and those who think she's a total skank and should be put in her place. Preferably by never speaking to her again, I guess. This second camp is given a voice in the form of Enid's [Liz's best friend] current crush-turned-boyfriend Ronnie Edwards. The former is lead by rich boy Bruce Patman. But since no one's talking to Liz for fear of the crazy catching, she just thinks the entire school has gone insane.
  Until Enid finally breaks down and tells her that "no matter what, Liz, no matter what..." She spills the rest of the story and at first Liz is confused as to why Caroline would make up such an outrageous story about her. A second later, she realizes that Caroline didn't. She just had one certain fact messed up. So Liz confronts Jessica who in a tizzy over her brother's incredibly poor choice of girlfriends. Namely, the town skank, Betsy Martin. Still, no matter how much this grosses Liz out as well, she sticks to the more important matter. Namely, that her entire school is populated by idiots who believe Liz is the bar crawling twin.
  Because having Jess confess publicly will never happen, and because we've got to make it to page 182, we get another curve ball.
  It seems that we have a feud of epic proportions between the old money Patmans [hey, Bruce!] and new money Fowlers [aloha, Lila!] who for some reason, don't see a thing wrong with destroying the high school football field for their own purposes. Bruce's family wants to restore it to it's former glory as a formal English tea garden. The Fowlers want to build a factory. Now, I should stop to point out one little WTF moment. There are no FolwerS. There is Lila's father, George. Lila's an only child and her parents have been divorced for ages. Seriously, there are two Fowlers in the whole of SV as far as we've been told. I sincerely doubt Lila gives half a damn whether a factory goes up there or not. She'd probably enjoy any influx of money that would come her way, but she might also think it's a bit tacky to have a factory across the street from her school. Who knows? No one ever asked the girl.
  Instead, when news of these insane plans for their football field breaks, the students of SVH turn mob and corner the [mostly] innocent children of insane parents. There's some name calling and foolishly, Jessica opens her mouth and Bruce verbally bitchslaps her for it. It seems Mr. Wakefield has been seen all over town with a hot chick who ain't his wife. The whole town, or at least Bruce's parents, assume he's screwing around, and really, with that in her family closet, Jessica should STFU. Liz is shocked. She thought only the twins and maybe their brother suspected such a thing. For a gossip columnist, she's kinda naive, eh?
  Now, I know what you're thinking. WTF does this have to do with the price of Todd's stupidity and the scheming twins who love him? Well, not a whole lot, but we need some B-story angst. And because in the aftermath of bigmouth Bruce-y bass, Jess comes clean to Todd. Who doesn't believe her, but thinks she's incredibly noble to take the blame for her obviously skantastically confusing twin. So he invites her to the big dance. And they go. And have an absolutely miserable time after a brief dirty dancing fling. You see, Todd spends the rest of the evening staring hopelessly at Liz, who I guess never manages to look over at the same time to see him eying her. But both Liz's and Todd's dates notice. Winston doesn't mind all that much since he's had a thing for Jess for the better part of six years. Jessica, however, is beyond pissed.
  But it gets worse when he drops her off at home and all she gets is this stupid t-shirt a kiss on the cheek. So naturally, having only destroyed one person's rep this book, she decides to confuse Todd's antics with grabby hands Rick. And tells Liz all about it. By this point Jess has kind of figured out that Liz has a thing for Todd, but when given the chance to have Jess step aside, Liz chose not to take it. To keep Liz from getting better from Toddy boy than she did, Jess tells Liz that Todd is slime. And Liz buys it. Mostly. Still, it seems a little weird to her, but why would Jess lie?
  Back to the b story no one cares aboot, Mr. Wakefield and his other woman Marianna West, are working to save the Gladiator's playing field. So Liz gets time off from school, learns all aboot the ways of a real reporter, and yay, Mr. W saves the day! Well, actually Marianna does, which makes Liz feel a little funny that she thinks she could like the woman who is so obviously ruining her parents' marriage. Awkward! Only it turns out that, haha! Marianna really was just working with their father and now she's partner and yay, the perfect Wakefields really are perfect after all!
  Oh, and it turns out that Steven wasn't in love with Betsy, but rather her beautiful non skanky sister, Tricia. But Steve was so ashamed of her family, that he sabotaged his relationship with perfect Tricia, and she called him on it, broke his heart, and left him horribly depressed, something that will stain the poor boy horribly in the future. But for now, it's easily mended by him throwing himself on the mercy of Tricia's kind hearted nature.And again, perfection reigns supreme!
  Which leaves us with but one glaring problem. Todd is considered slime. Liz still wants Todd, and Rick is still pissed that Jess got him in trouble with the law. So Rick carjacks the twins and drives them out to Kelly's for some unknown reason. Maybe to show them that he's not a lightweight and can so totally hold his whiskey. Who knows? But first he drives by the Dairi Burger [told you it's conveniently located] and Todd happens to see them. And notice, in that split second, how freaked out Liz looks considering there's a maniac behind the wheel of their car. So he follows them, punches Rick out, and is rewarded with a kiss from fair Liz.
  The love birds trade notes on their destroyed reps [though, to be fair, Jess only told Liz, and it seems Liz never bothered to put the word out to warn anyone else] and came to one conclusion. Jessica!

  This leads us to our classic bit of revenge. Liz writes the Eyes and Ears column for the Oracle. It's a secret, and if the author is found out, it's school tradition to dunk them in the pool. So Liz dresses like Jess, makes it so Jess dresses like Liz, and while pretending to be Jessica, Liz lets the cat out of the bag. Jessica is dunked, and the newly happy couple is left to laugh and laugh. Gotcha, Jess!



Random tid bits:

  • Liz's tuxedo shirt is later changed to a generic green shirt and her nifty bow tie is changed to a belt in the double edition of Sweet 18, the final SVH [Senior Year] book. The current re-release of the book leaves the tux alone, letting the twins cross dress to their heart's content.

  • Enid and Elizabeth became friends during their sophomore creative writing class, though Liz still thinks Enid a bit mysterious.

  • Which could be because Enid hasn't told Liz that she's been arrested. Ah, good times.

  • As of DL, the Wakefield's pool is a fairly new addition to the house.

  • Ronnie, Enid's obnoxious boytoy, is awfully opinionated for the new guy in school.

  • Marianna's ex, Gareth West, is apparently a big deal heart specialist.

  • Bruce's mother is a Vanderhorn, one of the oldest families in SV. Nobody cares.





Say wha?
  After all, she told herself, if Todd preferred Jessica- and that certainly was how it looked- she would not stand in the way. She'd do the decent thing. Die. -Liz, p34

137 Different Ways to be Cruel:
  You've got to be seven hundred and thirty-seven kinds of idiots not to be excited about associating with the best girls at SVH. What's wrong with you? p35
  He has got to be the most wonderful boy in a hundred and thirty-seven states! p108
  This family has got to be the biggest bummer in five hundred and thirty-seven cities! p111
  I'll never forgive you, not if I live to be a hundred and thirty-seven years- p182.






Inability to discuss her massive crush on Wilkins and crying jags aside, this Liz is probably one of my favorites. She's funny, she's sarcastic, and she's a schemer. But most of all, I love that while we're told how popular Liz is, she seems less so than Jessica. Perhaps it's that Jess is the epitome of the popular girl. She's perfectly lovely to look at, and you want to hear about her exploits, but you know she's a raging bitch. Liz, on the other hand, is the twin you'll find sprawled on the ground collecting her books, wondering how long she has until some jerk kicks her and she has to restart the whole rescue operation. See, the true popular girl wouldn't have this problem, as Liz herself notes. If Jessica's books fell to the floor, her minions would scatter and retrieve them. Liz is without minions at this point, and it's kind of nice.
In general, I have a love/hate relationship with Double Love. Sometimes it's just fantastic enough that I enjoy it like cotton candy. And sometimes I wonder if perhaps I was an exceptionally stupid child and I've been stained forever by this book. But mostly I wish we could get a glimpse of pre-superfab twins. You know there are stories in their past, and the earlier books hinted at them. Later books were content to either ignore what came before or remind you with the sledgehammer of "previously on..."

Double Love non-English covers part 1
Double Love non-eglish covers part2



Re-issue, courtesy of 2008 )


** )

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