the_oracle: (left of normal)
The Ghost of Tricia Martin
April 1990

Has Tricia Martin come back to Steven?
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Mirror image...


   Steven Wakefield is both stunned and elated when he meets Andrea, a girl who looks, sounds, and behaves just like Tricia Martin, his first love. Tricia died just after she and Steven fell in love, but now he can almost believe she has come back to him again.
  Until Andrea appeared, Steven was happily involved with Cara Walker. He still cares about her, but every time he's with Andrea, he's reminded of how much he loved Tricia. So Steven refuses to choose between the two girls- until his indecision leads to a dangerous accident that make take all his choices away!


   The Ghost of Tricia Martin isn't exactly what it says on the tin, but it's close. As we learned at the end of the last book, another Tricia doppelganger has appeared in the Valley and this one is Andrea. Apparently she looks freakishly like Tricia to the point that both Liz and Steve see the resemblance and Liz doesn't immediately decide it was just a trick of the light or something. Steve, being Steve, falls down the rabbit hole and absolutely must go out with Andrea.
  The book opens the day after Steve and Liz meet Andrea and all three Wakefield kids are getting ready for their evenings. Liz and Todd are going out, we'll come back to Jessica for our B-plot, and Steve is getting ready for a date that Jessica thinks is with Cara and Liz suspects is with Andrea.
  Naturally, Liz is right. Steve meets Andrea at La Paloma, a restaurant he used to frequent with Tricia and within the first five minutes he's already calling her by the wrong name. Andrea eventually calls him on it and Steve breaks down when asked just who Tricia was. Instead of running in the other direction once Steve admits that she's the spitting image of his ex-girlfriend, Andrea's both sympathetic and a little intrigued. She's got to be because there's no good reason to keep going out with someone who keeps calling you the wrong name, even if he is cute.
  Look. I'm going to be upfront here. Steve acts like a huge jackass for 99% of the book, and the only reason I'm not saying it's 100% of the book is because I'd imagine it's got to be weird as hell when people keep showing up looking like your ex. Just weird as hell. Honestly, after re-reading this, I remember why I stopped fully shipping Cara/Steve, but we'll get to that later.


   Anyway, on their date, Steve keeps pushing Andrea into situations where she could/most likely will act like Tricia. He tells her the salad is delicious and she orders it and he's thrilled. He asks if she likes walks along the beach and she does and he's all, "I knew you would." He thinks this or says it or some variation thereof so much that it's annoying as hell. I tried to keep track but my head exploded so I stopped.
  Prior to going out with Andrea, Steve tries to rationalize that he has to go out with her just once to prove to himself that she might look like Tricia but she's actually nothing like her. Liz points out that this is a bad idea and if he doesn't want word getting back to Cara, instead of asking Liz not to say something to Jess, maybe he should either not do the stupid thing or talk to Cara beforehand. I have to agree with Liz here. Cara has been ridiculously understanding of the ghost in her relationship with Steve to the point that while she wouldn't be thrilled with it, I can see her giving Steve the go ahead to take Andrea out. Then again, maybe if he had done that, this whole plotline would never have happened.
   Obviously, Steve ends the date convinced that Tricia has come back to him. I... what? Are you on crack, Wakefield?
  Still, in a rare moment of clarity (sorta?), the next day Steve realizes that maybe he should take Cara out and let his real relationship have a chance to chase away the crazy in his head. (Fun fact: every time someone brings up Andrea's obvious Tricia similarities, Steve's reaction is to ask sarcastically if whoever is talking thinks he's crazy. ) Instead of planning something actually romantic or sweet or I dunno, not hard labor, he comes up with a hike to Castle Rock at Secca Lake. Since he was mysterious about their surprise date, Cara has worn strappy sandals and has to stop numerous times during the hike because these boots were not meant for walking, dammit.
   Steve's annoyed and bitchy and really just awful as he compares Cara to the idealized version of Andrea he's already begun building in his mind. When he mentions wanting to take up hang gliding, Cara comments that it's awfully dangerous and Steve's ticked that she's not admiring his courage or some shit. He's sure that Andrea would be supportive. He's such an ass that Cara basically folds in on herself for the rest of the date and when he drops her off, she doesn't feel much better despite his weak reasoning that it's his school project that's making him so cranky.
  On Steve's next date with Andrea, he's thrilled that Andrea likes the aquarium and otters, just like Tricia! Steve, otters are adorable and awesome and everyone likes them. Just like everyone likes walks along the beach. This is about as amazing as finding out that Andrea also breathes and washes her hair. But there is a problem. Andrea has the gall to wear her hair up when Tricia wore hers down and that's how Steve prefers it. The part where he takes her hair down and kind of insists she keep it that way is pretty creepy. Andrea, honey... I know he's a Wakefield, but no.
   Things continue on this way, with Steve dating Andrea and not telling or even seeing Cara. Cara tries to get information from Liz and Jessica but Liz won't tell and Jessica doesn't know (or care). Eventually, while at the mall on a cheer up mission plotted by Lila of all people, Cara wanders into Unique Boutique when Andrea's working. Cara's completely gobsmacked by how much Andrea looks like Tricia and thinks she's seeing a ghost.


  True story. Prior to re-reading this, I didn't remember much about it beyond "Tricia lookalike that doesn't work out for reasons." And I was thinking about something a coworker of mine said once upon a time about how it was both funny and annoying that everyone kept confusing him with every other damn redhead they'd ever met because apparently all redheads look alike. Sweet Valley definitely seems to be subscribing to this theory, at least with the strawberry blonds all being Tricia clones. (Anyone else having an Orphan Black moment? Just me? Okay... Still, there's a crossover I bet you weren't expecting.)
  Anyway, Cara takes a closer look and realizes that Andrea isn't actually identical to Tricia, they just look a lot alike at first. Now this I'm a little iffy on. On the one hand, it backs up my theory that Steve thinks all strawberry blondes look alike. On the other hand, I think I like the story better if Andrea really does look really similar to Tricia beyond the first glance. Back to the story.

   Cara immediately figures out that Steve has probably seen this girl and just as she's pondering that, the phone rings and Andrea sets up a date with a guy whose parents are fighting, who is starting hang gliding, and oh, yeah, loves the aquarium as that's there they're going after Andrea gets off the phone. Just so you don't think she's jumping to conclusions, Andrea says Steve's name and Cara runs out of the store in tears.
  The next day, Cara decides she'll call Steve and let him know that she knows and that she understands because really, if anyone in the Valley gets his Tricia fixation, it's Cara freakin' Walker. Naturally the call doesn't go well and instead of whatever positive outcome Cara hoped for, she winds up getting dumped. Well. Awkward.
  Steve heads out for his hang gliding session and let's just cut to the chase: because he's so caught up in his thoughts about Tricia, Andrea, and Cara, he winds up crashing into a cliff. I kid you not.
  The Wakefields assemble at the hospital and Jessica calls Cara who wants to go to him but keeps repeating, brokenly, that he doesn't want her. And my heart breaks for her, honestly. When she does show up, Steve is starting to sort of come around and of course the second she steps through the door, he utters the name, "Tricia!" Cara runs off before hearing that he calls her name next. Still, the damage is done.


   I think we need some B-Plot hijinks before we finish off the A-plot. Remember way back at the start of this I said all three Wakefield kids had plans and that we'd get back to Jessica? Well, she and Lila head out to a beach party in Palisades where Jessica meets a guitar playing dude named Keith. Despite not thinking him all that good looking, Jessica makes it her mission to bend him to her will.
  Now, I want you to imagine later ghostwritten Dawn from the BSC. She's terribly into saving the environment and not eating meat and is generally written as a serious killjoy. Yeah, that's Keith. Only because he's a dude and older, he's meant to be 'deep' and passionate because he cares so much about all these causes. I'm not mocking his passion, really. I'm just about as interested in him as Lila is. Which is to say not at all. :P
  He keeps inviting Jessica out on sort of dates where they pass out flyers about recycling or go to City Hall to hear a debate about whether the city needs a new trash incinerator or... I dunno. I think this is one of those montages that would work better on TV or in a movie, really. It works okay as it happens in the book but as a recap, meh. Jessica tries to convince him she's really into all this but really she wants him to be her kind of guy and go to the beach and party and have fun.
  Eventually this leads to a movie date where Jessica flat out refuses to go see a documentary about the reindeer culture of the Lapps. While at the Valley Cinema, she sees Tricia Andrea on a date with a tall, dark haired boy who is most definitely not Steven considering Steve's in the hospital. Jessica notes this for future use and then, we assume, continues on her last date with Keith.
  At the hospital another day, Jessica signs Steve's cast and lets it slip that oh yeah, she saw Andrea and some guy at the movies. Steve reacts the way you'd expect ("must be her brother or something") and Jess is skeptical. When Steve angrily glares out the window, he sees Andrea being dropped off... by a guy in a convertible. Before he can tell himself the brother line again, Andrea kisses the guy.
   Liz witnesses the whole thing and shuffles Jessica out of the room and accuses Jessica of knowing full well what she was doing when she mentioned Andrea. Jess sort of denies it but not really, and this is probably the most consistent thing about Jessica. She's pretty much the only person who gets that Steven only really responds to tough love. It's just that Jess got lucky with Andrea showing up. When Liz mentions that, Jessica protests that she had no way of knowing and then the twins agree they need to call Cara in.

   Sigh. On the one hand, they're cute when they scheme together. On the other, what if Andrea wanted to date both Steve and car guy? It's not like Steve would have a leg to stand on about it. Luckily for the twins, and Cara, when Steve confronts Andrea about the guy, Andrea points out that she found a guy who likes her for who she is. Steve tries to argue that it's really rude of her to do this to him after all they've been through and she shoots him down straight away with, "all we've been through? What? We've gone on like, five dates and you've spent the whole damn time pretending I'm your dead girlfriend. That's not a relationship." Steve tries to protest but Andrea points out that nope, he knows nothing about her because he doesn't want to know anything about her. He just wants to look at her and pretend she's Tricia and that's not what she wants to do. Steven finally admits to himself (and Andrea) that he was an ass and he apologizes, but when he asks if this is the part where they say they can always be friends, Andrea shoots that down too. She knows that Steve will never see her as Andrea and she's smart enough to walk away.
  But it took you five dates and him winding up in the hospital before you could figure that out? I want to applaud this moment but the timing and the fact that she knew about the Tricia thing from date #1 is... enh.
  Andrea leaves and Steve realizes what a mess he's made with Cara. He decides that he can't possibly fix it because Cara deserves better than to be his second choice.
  So when Cara shows up, just to shut Jessica up, she's not sure what she's walking into but she wants to thank Steven for what time they did have and then she rips my heart out and my ability to ship this relationship dies right there in the hospital room. She tells Steve that she knows he never cared for her as much as he did Tricia and instead of denying it in any way, he focuses on the part where she says she loves him and they get back together because of course.
   Cara. Cara, no. At this point you've been dating him longer than Tricia did and you've been stupidly supportive of his dumbass moments, from the French lookalike to the weird letters he thought were from a ghost and not his actual girlfriend to being willing to overlook his cheating on you with Andrea until he dumped you. WALK AWAY. YOU DESERVE BETTER.

  Instead they make up and the twins are super proud of themselves and we move into the set-up for the next book.

   All book long, Ned and Alice Wakefield have been fighting over the stupidest things, from the electrician (Ned, you're gonna bitch about paying the man $200 and then fork out the cost of Steven's hang gliding like it's no big deal?) to whether or not Ned should want to run for public office. The kids have each felt super uneasy about it and things come to a head at Steve's welcome home party, with Ned wanting more out of life and Alice wanting him to stop being a jackass towards her at every turn. I believe Ned is having a bit of a midlife crisis, guys. Also, for someone bitching about how he never did anything politically minded, isn't that how he freakin' met Alice? Sigh.
  We're about to fall down the weird arc that involves the Wakefield parents possibly breaking up, a mayoral race, and some stuff I've long forgotten. Buckle up, buttercups, things are going to get Wakefield.


Trivial Pursuit:

  • Jessica takes Elizabeth's new eyeliner and Liz finds it easily in Jessica's makeup drawer. I call BS because you and I both know damn well that Jessica is messy as hell and that drawer would look like a bomb went off, especially if she'd just used it.

  • The Fiat died two days prior to this at school, leaving Jessica stranded after cheerleading practice. We never do find out what's wrong with it, btw.

  • Ned and Alice are fighting about a $200 bill from the electrician. Ned is blaming Alice for not calling one in sooner, so the little job became a big job and Alice is pissed because Ned's the one who told her it was no big deal.

  • Steven and Andrea go to La Paloma, a restaurant in Pacific Shores. (until my re-read, I did not realize how much Steven prefers to take his dates out of SV proper for their dates. There's an AU where he's a serial killer just waiting to happen.)

  • Within the first ten minutes, Steven is already calling Andrea "Tricia."

  • Andrea's grandfather died in a car crash.

  • Angie, Lila's friend from Palisades, invited Lila and Jessica to the beach party. Angie is described as a "cute, diminutive blonde with bouncy curls."

  • Keith, No Last Name Ever Given, is playing guitar at the beach party. He's got thick brown hair and an athletic build, and when he plays music, he's got an angry look on his face. When Jessica meets him, he's barefoot wearing a "No Nukes" t-shirt and old jeans. He goes to Palisades High and really seems to enjoy protests.

  • Steve keeps a picture of Tricia hidden behind his ID in his wallet.

  • Steve also has a picture of himself and Cara at the State Fair on his wall above his desk.

  • Steve refers to the events of the previous book the "Fearless Elizabeth Campaign" when flipping through a magazine she picked up then. This book also makes it sound like he just decided on going hang gliding at that moment but he was considering it at the end of The New Elizabeth so continuity be damned.

  • Ned and Alice were supposed to go to White Canyon for lunch Saturday, but Alice made plans to take fussy Ms. Petty (ha!) to furniture showrooms all day. Ned storms off to the office at the news.

  • Steve wonders to himself if Cara has always been so girly and silly but then scolds himself for being mean and says that she's merely bubbly. Later he wonders if she's too immature because she talks about parties and cheerleading. Steve, you ass.

  • He decides their secret date should be to hike to Castle Rock at Secca Lake. Cara is wearing white strappy sandals but doesn't change shoes before they begin.

  • We are denied the whole story behind Robin imitating Chrome Dome Cooper at cheerleading practice when Chrome Dome walks in and... we'll never know because Steve snaps and says that Jessica already told him the story at dinner. Dammit, Steve, this sounds way more interesting than your boring ass hike.

  • Every Sunday there's an orientation session for the hang gliding class.

  • Keith and Jessica meet at the Dairi Burger (he took the bus there and Jess borrowed Lila's car) all so they could go to Granada Estates to hand out flyers about recycling.

  • Cara suggests renting all the Bond movies from the video store and having a Bond-a-thon soon and Steve snaps her head off even though he loves James Bond.

  • Jessica throws Prince Albert's ball into the pool and he naturally dives in after it. I'm pretty sure your dog shouldn't be hanging out in the pool, Jess, but okay.

  • Steve and Andrea go to the aquarium on their next date.

  • Andrea wears her hair up and Tricia always wore hers down and Steve is creepy about this fact when he takes Andrea's hair down and then fusses when she goes to put it back up.

  • Andrea loves otters just like Tricia! (and me and like a billion other people on Earth.)

  • Andrea likes vanilla icecream but Tricia was all about chocolate.

  • Jessica meets Keith at City Hall for a public hearing about whether the city needs a trash incinerator which Keith is against, btw. He saves a spot for Jessica in the front row.

  • Keith suggests they go to Whole Earth Cafe after the public hearing.

  • Liz has math right before lunch.

  • Todd has to talk to Mr. Collins about his English paper so he just walks Liz to the cafeteria.

  • Jessica is a royal bitch about Cara and Steve obviously having problems and why it's so rude of them to be so public about it. And by public, I mean not being super enthused about going to the beach with her.

  • Lila convinces Cara to join them at the mall in an effort to cheer Cara up and this is actually really sweet. ♥

  • Alice's client that causes her to miss Friday dinner is Mrs. Rappaport.

  • Jessica thinks Andrea looks like Betty Garrett, an actress, but Lila immediately sees the Tricia connection. This means, however, that Betty is also another Tricia clone.

  • Cara overhears Andrea at the Unique Boutique making a date with Steve. They'll be going to the aquarium... again.

  • Steve's hang gliding teacher is Bart.

  • Cara's mother calls her cara mia and that's just super cute.

  • After his run in with the cliff, Steve broke his left arm, has many a cut, contusion, and possible head injuries but not a single fracture to his skull. His brain could still have been bruised, however. Brains, a mystery.

  • Steven's doctor is a woman named Dr. Nichols.

  • Given how often Jessica winds up at the hospital for something involving her siblings, you'd think she'd hate them but it's Elizabeth we hear complaining about being there yet again and wishing they'd never volunteered as candy stripers. (And nary a mention of the kidnapping.)

  • Jessica borrows Steve's car to take Keith to the movies.

  • Keith wants to see a documentary about the reindeer culture of the Lapps. Jessica wants to see a thriller about a detective who falls in love with the psycho killer. Yeah, I'd want to see that one, too.

  • At Valley Cinema, Jessica sees Andrea with a tall, dark haired boy who is most decidedly not Steven. Andrea, you've got a type, eh? Then again, maybe not since not!Steve drives a convertible.

  • When signing Steve's cast, Jessica draws a big loopy flower as she tells him about seeing Andrea on a date the night before.

  • Andrea says they've been out on like, five dates and they never made any promises or anything so she's free to date whomever she likes. Preferably someone who doesn't look at her and see a dead girl, probably. She also has no interest in trying to be friends since that obviously won't work.

  • Jessica's duffel bag for cheerleading practice is pink.

  • Peter Santelli, Maria's father, is the City Planning Commissioner and he's running for mayor.




Quotes:

"Why don't those Brazilian people just stop cutting the trees down?" she asked out loud. "It's simple- just make them stop." - Jessica saves the rainforests! pg 49

"Well, for starters, my parents are turning into total workaholics. They both work all the time, and I'm the one who gets stuck having to do everything at home. Cook dinner, do the laundry, wait around for the electrician, stuff like that. It's like I'm the only responsible one in this whole family." She closed her eyes in self-pity. "It's just not fair." - Saint Jessica, the put-upon. pg 51

"Ned, I just want him to know how I feel about it."
"No, what you want is to make him feel guilty about worrying you and not do it," Mr. Wakefield replied. - Ned aint wrong, Alice. pg 59

"Why would you want to take a good look anyway?" Lila said snottily. "She's just a sales clerk."
"Really," Jessica agreed. - Cara, why do you hang out with these girls? And also, so Lila. pg 85/86

Jessica was torn between boredom and interest. On one hand, Keith was so sincere and passionate about the issues that she couldn't help feeling attracted to him. But on the other hand, she only wished he could be passionate about something besides garbage- her for instance. - pg 65

"Do you think we could go somewhere afterwards? To get something to eat?"
"Sure, how about Whole Earth Cafe?"
Ugh, Jessica said to herself.
"What do they serve?" she asked, leaning close enough to whisper in his ear. She noticed the way his dark hair curled just behind his ear.
Keith turned to look at her. Their eyes met, and even though they were in a room full of people, Jessica thought it was very romantic. His lips parted. "They have natural vegetable juices and mineral water," he said huskily. - pg 65/66 I died at this part, btw. Just lost it. Well done, ghosty. Well done.

"If you want to talk about it, you know where to go." He grinned. "To Enid." - Todd, teasing Elizabeth and honestly this little exchange is one of my favorite bits. When T/L work, they really work. pg 69

"Steve- I just wanted to tell you something. I know you'll always love Tricia, and I know I never meant as much to you as she did," she said. "But I want you to know, our relationship was wonderful while it lasted and I'll always remember you. You'll always be special to me." - Cara breaks my heart, pg 137/138

"What if Steven's decided to swear off women for the rest of his life?" - Jessica takes a moment to glimpse the future of SVC, pg 140. I snorted at this most inelegantly, btw.


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Huh. I thought I was going to enjoy this book more than I did. I think part of it was just how awful Steven was the whole damn book. He was an ass to everyone, really. He wants Liz to keep his secret, he wants to cheat on Cara but flips out if someone calls it that, he's a dick to Cara when he does talk to her, he's a jerk to Andrea... really, Steve's a jackass. And I could have been more forgiving if we'd spent less time on "Tricia's come back to me!" and more on the emotion behind it. Seriously, even with this not being the first look alike to come Steven's way, it still would have been more interesting to get deeper than "she likes otters and beach walks, yay!"
He's so willing to throw Cara over for a Tricia lookalike that even in the hospital, he's thinking about Tricia Andrea and not about what a dumbass he was. And Cara forgives him, which sets a terrible precedent for anyone reading this book at a young age. Seriously, demand better.

The Jessica subplot is amusing enough as it happens, but only because not for a second do you see it working the way Jessica wants or even how it might've earlier in the series. It's funny because Jessica can't see how just far off the mark she is. However, she does demand better and I like how she's just not into it at all by the end. Keith Noname isn't worth the effort and she moves on.

Liz probably has my favorite moments because they're less wacky hijinks or stupidity based and more realistic. How do you react when your parents are fighting more and more? What do you do when you've agreed not to say anything about your cheating brother to his girlfriend but you still like her? What about when you realize your family has clocked way too much time in the local hospital?
the_oracle: (plotting)
Pretenses
April 1988


Is someone coming between Cara and Steven?

Too much mystery...


  Cara Walker feels that her boyfriend, Steven Wakefield, isn't paying enough attention to her. Suddenly he's acting aloof and withdrawn. Cara's good friend Jessica, Steven's sister, suggests that Cara add some mystery to the relationship.
  When Cara takes Jessica's advice, it backfires. Steven starts to act even more distant, and Cara is sure he's hiding something. He used to confide in her, but now it seems he's turning to his sister Elizabeth's friend Abbie Richardson. Will Cara discover Steven's secret before she's replaced by someone new?



   I don't know who wrote Pretenses. I'm not sure I want to know, although it would make me feel a whole hell of a lot better about things if it was one of those books co-written by at least two different people because there is a LOT of flip-flopping going on. No one seems to be able to make up their mind about anything at all for longer than a couple of paragraphs. With that warning in mind, as well as the warning that once again people take relationship advice from Jessica Wakefield, we begin.

   Jessica's been thinking that Cara and Steven are really more than due for a break-up. Of course, she's been thinking this since approximately two hours after she first hooked them up, so this is nothing new. Cara, in a throwback to that younger, simpler time [it has been twenty books exactly, my dears] decides to throw herself a belated birthday party. You remember, she was awfully depressed over her parents' divorce and so she and Steven celebrated by him acting like an asshole in a fancy restaurant. Good, good times, right?
  Yeah, not so much. So to erase that particularly pleasant memory, Cara decides to create a new one. She's throwing herself a party at the Marine House and, as it's fairly expensive, she can only afford to invite fourteen people. Remember that, okay. The book says she can only INVITE fourteen people. Problem is, she mentioned this little party to Abbie Richardson, a girl we've never met before the last book because she spent all her free time with her boyfriend from Palisades, Doug Brewster. But Cara can't think of anyone to leave off the guest list, so... she can't invite Abbie, although everyone can tell the girl expects an invite since Cara brought it up.
  Jessica tells Cara not to worry about it, Abbie blew them off for the last two years, really, she can't expect to be invited to the party and it'll be okay if Cara just avoids the subject entirely. I'm paraphrasing, obviously, but Cara falls for it. I'll never understand why I keep believing the lie that she's somewhat intelligent given the way she always falls for the stupid!Jessica advice so readily, but ignores the two or three good pieces of advice the ditzy twin hands out. Oi. So... Cara avoids talking to Abbie about this entirely. Poor Abbie thinks she's getting an invite and instead gets the awkward avoidance. Fun!
  The kicker for the party is that I counted, repeatedly, and there are only thirteen people, not counting Cara, at this damn thing. So, um, why couldn't Abbie come again? Cara laments the fact that she screwed poor Abbie over and Abbie still gave her a present... as well as the fact that she should have invited Abbie in Steven's place for all the fun she had with him.
  Steven's home from SVU due to serious allergy/sinus problems. Because he's a guy [and I apologize to any of you out there] he's also a complete ass while he's sick. Instead of leveling with Cara at ANY point about exactly how god awful he feels, or how worried he is that his health problem happened at the worst time for him academically speaking, he just... withdraws. So she realizes something's wrong and tries to move closer and he feels smothered and trapped and tries to gnaw his own leg off to get away and she's hurt and he's hurt and no one does any talking to the right people here. Instead of confiding in someone trained in such matters [the high school relationship will live or die depending on how many people it takes to maintain it when the two people involved are too stupid to do the right thing, y'know?], Steven confides in Abbie because she's been hanging around the house lately, what with the B plot and all.

   B plot would be that OHMYGOD, the sky is falling! The Oracle isn't as popular as it used to be! NOOOOOOOOOooooooooo! I swear, the pages where Penny/Liz/Jeffrey/Winston freak out are just insanely bad. So bad it's good bad. Winston tells the uptight idiots that the paper has everything except something intentionally funny, so they should run a contest to add some humor to the damn thing. They agree, offer him the job, he declines, and we gather it falls to Olivia to set things up. Olivia, I should mention, is never seen. Anyway, the contest comes down to Abbie's Jenny comic strip and Amy's mock-Miss-Manners column. I don't know about Amy, but Jenny is decidedly unfunny. I have vague memories of thinking it was hi-larious as a child, or at least mildly amusing, so maybe I'm just too old now. *coughdoubtitcough*
  Anyway, Abbie has self-esteem issues and seems to be a bit obsessive about Liz, so she won't believe her stuff is any good until someone else tells her it is. To milk this for all it's worth [and then some] Abbie has been coming over to the Wakefields every afternoon to the point where no one is ever surprised to see her. Hence Steven's ability to confide in the girl.
  Abbie tells Steven, repeatedly, to talk to Cara. To tell her what's going on, but Steven can't. See, there's another little problem. He's been getting these letters. I know what you did last summer! Written on Tricia Martin's old stationary. And the boy can't tell up from down, right from left, living from dead. It never occurs to him that Cara is sending the letters, although I'd think that by now we'd know whether she and Tricia used the same perfume, and Cara's been spritzing perfume on the letters in lieu of an actual signature. Steven, I guess, can't smell a damn thing, so maybe that's his excuse.

   Blah blah blah, Liz and Jessica realize at different points that something is a little off about Steven and Abbie. Liz notices that Steven has been getting letters on familiar stationary, although she can't figure out where she's seen it before. Jessica has noticed that Steven and Abbie are getting awfully close to that mutual attraction stage she's so familiar with. The twins investigate a bit at the mall and find out that a girl their age, possibly a brunette, recently bought the last of the pink forget-me-not stationary and the twins leap to the conclusion that it's Abbie once the clerk says the girl had such a sweet voice. Everything about Abbie is sweet.
  Two seconds after leaving the store, they run into Reformed!Crackwhore Martin and she mentions that she's only in town because Steven wanted to grill her about the whereabouts of Tricia's stuff, like say, I don't know, her stationary. Liz is shocked! Who would be so cruel as to send Steven letters written on Tricia's stationary, and also, how many times will I have to write the word stationary?
  Um, duh? You guys just decided Abbie bought stationary like that, so it's a coincidence. Which is exactly what Jessica says. Nyargh?

   When Ned announces that he's scored six free tickets to the Lakers vs. the Celtics game, Steven chooses to invite Abbie instead of Cara, reinforcing the theory that the two are interested in one another. Jessica tells Lila who tells Cara in a rare moment of giving a damn about someone else. Lila's attempts at making Cara stand up for herself as well as making Cara feel better are painfully awful [but classic Lila at the same time] but also vaguely sweet.
  Jessica comes home to find Abbie holding a piece of pink stationary that she seems awfully nervous to be caught holding. Jessica waits for Liz to get home and then confronts her with the gossip, and Liz admits that she'd noticed how close the two had gotten. Liz is pissed to think that Abbie, whom she really liked, was just using her to get to Steven, who she probably sees as nothing more than a replacement boyfriend. Jess is just crazy, so the twins go in and bitch poor, innocent Abbie out.
  Abbie is horrified that, get this, her worst nightmare has come true. People think she's an awful person! Oh no! But then she gets mad that they're blaming her for something she didn't even do. If Abbie had wanted, truly wanted Steven, and been less of a nice girl, she could have made a play for him, but didn't. She tried to keep him with Cara at EVERY turn, and hell, poor Abbie's not even sure whether she like-likes Steven or if he's like an older brother. Seriously, I got a twinge of the whiplash trying to keep up with whether our ghosty thought she liked Steven as a replacement for Doug or if she just liked him as a friendly older brotherly type.
  Abbie tells them to go to hell, she's innocent, and then she leaves.

   Lila, meanwhile, has gone to Cara's to convince the girl to calm down before she murders the entire Wakefield family, and then convinces Cara that even if things are as bad as they seem, she HAS to talk to Steven anyway, so she'll know for sure and get her say. God, when Lila [and this is the mostly shallow version of Lila to boot] is making the most sense in the book, you really, really have to worry. Cara arrives and asks Steven how he likes her letters because he's never said one word about them to her.
  Everyone is aghast at how they've messed things up so horribly and they run off to fix things with Abbie. Abbie makes them work for it a bit and then they all kiss and makeup and Ned finagles another ticket out of one of the law partners and it's a happy ending for everyone!
  And what's more, cousin Kelly is coming to visit next book! Yay! More Wakefield drama! Oh happy day!



Trivial Pursuit:

  • Jess and Cara have to take the bus to school because Liz has a doctor's appointment. Jess, to no one's surprise, hates the bus.

  • Cara's throwing herself a belated birthday party to erase the memory of her awful time with Steven. Too bad she replaced it with another bad Steven memory when he snaps at her for asking about his mysterious letter, huh?

  • Cara's party is being held at the Marine House, which sits right on the water and is expensive. Cara says she can only invite fourteen people and these make the cut: Jessica, Elizabeth, Lila, Jeffrey, Steven, Sandra, Manuel, Jeannie, Tom, Winston, Maria, Amy, and Bruce. Um, where's the 14th person making it impossible for Cara to invite Abbie? Also, why the hell is Liz invited to Cara's birthday party?

  • Despite assuring us all series that the Oracle is awesome, now we learn no one likes it as much as they used to. I feel so lied to. Where's truth in journalism, damn it? Letter to the editor time!

  • Abbie's infamous boyfriend was Doug Brewster, a year older than Abbie, baseball player, and a bit of jerk. His mother is a painter and he'd belittle Abbie's cartoons because he felt they weren't true art.

  • Abbie herself is described as having dark brown hair that's "as fine as satin", light blue eyes, ivory skin that's prone to blushing, and she's delicate and sweet.

  • Winston and Abbie had art together last year.

  • This year Abbie and Jessica have art together.

  • When Abbie offers to take Penny's lunch tray, Jeffrey comments that Abbie seems like a nice girl. Jeffrey from ten books or so ago would have wondered what the heck was driving her to be such a doormat. When did Jeffrey get a lobotomy?

  • Steven's doctor sends him home because Steve's got some serious allergy or sinus problems. Turns out that he's allergic to a lot of things, namely mold, grass, and dust.

  • Abbie is allergic to cats.

  • Jessica's favorite soap character that week was Lania Louise.

  • Abbie's mother is a psychologist who happens to over analyze her daughter's life. Oops.

  • Abby names her comic strip Jenny, and it stars normal 16 year old Jenny Bain. Bain is Abbie's middle name, as it's an old family name. Nice.

  • Jenny's boyfriend's name is Mel.

  • Amy wants to do a mock-Miss Manners column, but we never see it, even though Abbie helps her with it.

  • Abbie thinks that Cara avoids talking about her party at lunch one day because someone at the table isn't invited. She thinks it might be Sandra or Jeannie. Um... right, sure, of course.

  • Abbie buys Cara a silver ring for her birthday.

  • Abbie's mother thinks she prefers giving to receiving because it means Abbie gets to retain more control that way.

  • Steven's arms turned red due to the allergy tests.

  • The stationary Tricia and Cara used was pink with forget-me-nots. There's a blue option as well.

  • "Everyone" knows the story of Tricia Martin and how she and Steve were together for ages before her illness. Sure, right. Forever.

  • Liz has to ask Jessica for the French word for when you feel like you've done something before and Jessica knows it's deja vu. Freaky?

  • Jess and Liz head to the Midnight Madness sale at the mall. Anyone else remember those? Do they still do them? I'm old. I'll shut up.

  • Cara bought her stationary at the Pen and Paper shop in the mall. Liz likes to buy journals for her writing there. I'd mock, but dude, I'd probably be too busy drooling over the journals and pens to say anything.

  • Our ghosty brings us the word portentously. The writing on this one is just on a completely different level.

  • Abbie sees Dr. Griffin.

  • Bob Young, a partner at Ned's law firm, gives the family six free tickets to the Lakers versus the Celtics playoff game. Then, just to cover up Steven's stupidity, Ned asks for, and is given, a seventh ticket. Funny, my father would have told one of us that it sucked to be us cuz we ruined our shot at going. Ah, tough love.

  • Doug Brewster started dating some girl named Mariel before he and Abbie had officially broken up, which is a big reason why Abbie would never go after Steven BEFORE he broke up with Cara. That and Abbie is all things sweet and good.

  • Abbie's never been to a professional basketball game before.

  • The twins' Aunt Laura, on Alice's side, lives in Tucson, Arizona and is about to be remarried to a widowed doctor with two sons.

  • Kelly, their cousin, is not happy about her father, their uncle Greg, being replaced.

  • Laura and Greg divorced when Kelly was eight or nine.



Quotes:
Gold stars of unintended hilarity:

  "What you don't have"- he took a bite of ice cream- "is humor. No cartoons. No comic strip. No puzzles. Nothing funny in the whole darn paper."
  "He's right," Penny said to Elizabeth. "I never even thought about that. Did you?"
  Elizabeth had to admit that she hadn't. "Winston! That's a great idea. If we add a humorous feature to the paper, I bet people will like it every bit as much as they did when we first started putting the paper out!" - If you found this funny, you know why. If not, um, yeah, just imagine the stick up her butt making her speech so stilted, kay? p8

  "Winston," Penny said pleadingly, "how would you like to be the new humor editor? Just come up with something truly hilarious by next week and make everyone say how much they love the paper again." - See, this wouldn't be funny if I thought she was kidding, but I doubt she is. Penny's only given a sense of humor in her own book. No pressure there, Win! p 8




   Lania was Jessica's favorite soap opera character that week. - I love that we have to be told it changes weekly. hee! p20

  Abbie had been noticing Elizabeth from afar for awhile now, and she secretly thought Elizabeth was one of the smartest, nicest girls at school. - I smell stalker! p23

   As far as Abbie was concerned these days, Elizabeth Wakefield could do no wrong. - Um, next stop blond hair dye and aqua contacts? p 26

  "It gets on my nerves when people are that nice. I'm always sure they want something." - Gotta say, I agree with Jessica on this one. mwerp? p 29

   The way to make friends was to be nice to people, to listen to them, to offer to help them, not to dump your own troubles on their shoulders. - Abbie's guide for making friends. p 38

  "Cara," Lila said, putting down her fork and looking at Cara with her ultrasophisticated I-know-what's-good-for-you expression. "Is something wrong with you? You look like you just lost every share of stock you own." - This, my pets, is why Lila will always be awesome. p 84

  She liked Abbie Richardson! She didn't want to think Abbie had been using her to get to know Steven better! - I'm apparently twelve years old and want to know if she liked-liked Abbie. Sorry, Liz. p105

   "I'm going to go over to his house and tell him what a jerk I think he is!" Her dark eyes filled with tears. "I'm going to kill them all," she muttered. "I bet Liz is behind this somehow. She's the one who started inviting Abbie over all the time. I bet she wanted this to happen all along!" - Look! Liz is getting blamed for being sneaky! Hallelujah! Poor Cara, though. p 115

  "I don't believe anyone can steal anyone else. This is Steve we're talking about, not some sort of material possession." - This actually stayed with me more than any other line in the book, or most of the rest of the series, actually. Scary, but true. Cara is wise. p 128


   I've gotta say, Pretenses is one of those books I think I read once or twice as a kid and then always remembered more from the diary entries based on the book than I do the actual book. For all the lead up they tried to give Abbie, she's pretty much written out of the series [I think] and it's all a fantastic waste, just to teach girls to COMMUNICATE with their boyfriends. Seriously, we have Abbie, Lila, Jessica, Liz, and then the couple themselves hammering this theory on home. It hurts! Someone stop the sledgehammer of subtlety!
  I could have done without all the flip flopping like I said earlier. One minute Jess is the one talking crazy, the next it's Liz with her conspiracy theories about how someone would want to hurt Steven. No one did, you moron, it was a misunderstanding just like Jess said. Or Abbie's feelings for Steven. If they'd been portrayed as confusing to begin with, I might understand, but Abbie goes from comfortable with Steven to thinking she likes him and then BAM, he's like her older brother for a paragraph or two and then she likes him again. So. Painful.
  I think Abbie sounds like a sweetheart, but she isn't funny. She's just... not. She's sincere and sweet and pretty enough that she didn't really have to work on developing a sense of humor, and really, reading her punchlines, it shows. The only person less funny than she is this whole book is Liz.
   I want to like Cara, I really do, but mostly I think she's a bit of a moron lately. She keeps letting Jessica talk her into stupid things and then marveling when things go just as badly as we would have predicted. Imagine that. When Jess likes her to Elizabeth, she's referring to their relationship status, but I think it's more their raging blind spot for Jessica's true motives.



Side note: This is probably your last update of any interest until next year. Holidays in retail don't leave much time for anything else, sadly enough. See you next year with the harrowing story of poor, poor deluded cousin Kelly.
the_oracle: (plotting)
Pretenses
April 1988


Is someone coming between Cara and Steven?

Too much mystery...


  Cara Walker feels that her boyfriend, Steven Wakefield, isn't paying enough attention to her. Suddenly he's acting aloof and withdrawn. Cara's good friend Jessica, Steven's sister, suggests that Cara add some mystery to the relationship.
  When Cara takes Jessica's advice, it backfires. Steven starts to act even more distant, and Cara is sure he's hiding something. He used to confide in her, but now it seems he's turning to his sister Elizabeth's friend Abbie Richardson. Will Cara discover Steven's secret before she's replaced by someone new?



   I don't know who wrote Pretenses. I'm not sure I want to know, although it would make me feel a whole hell of a lot better about things if it was one of those books co-written by at least two different people because there is a LOT of flip-flopping going on. No one seems to be able to make up their mind about anything at all for longer than a couple of paragraphs. With that warning in mind, as well as the warning that once again people take relationship advice from Jessica Wakefield, we begin.

   Jessica's been thinking that Cara and Steven are really more than due for a break-up. Of course, she's been thinking this since approximately two hours after she first hooked them up, so this is nothing new. Cara, in a throwback to that younger, simpler time [it has been twenty books exactly, my dears] decides to throw herself a belated birthday party. You remember, she was awfully depressed over her parents' divorce and so she and Steven celebrated by him acting like an asshole in a fancy restaurant. Good, good times, right?
  Yeah, not so much. So to erase that particularly pleasant memory, Cara decides to create a new one. She's throwing herself a party at the Marine House and, as it's fairly expensive, she can only afford to invite fourteen people. Remember that, okay. The book says she can only INVITE fourteen people. Problem is, she mentioned this little party to Abbie Richardson, a girl we've never met before the last book because she spent all her free time with her boyfriend from Palisades, Doug Brewster. But Cara can't think of anyone to leave off the guest list, so... she can't invite Abbie, although everyone can tell the girl expects an invite since Cara brought it up.
  Jessica tells Cara not to worry about it, Abbie blew them off for the last two years, really, she can't expect to be invited to the party and it'll be okay if Cara just avoids the subject entirely. I'm paraphrasing, obviously, but Cara falls for it. I'll never understand why I keep believing the lie that she's somewhat intelligent given the way she always falls for the stupid!Jessica advice so readily, but ignores the two or three good pieces of advice the ditzy twin hands out. Oi. So... Cara avoids talking to Abbie about this entirely. Poor Abbie thinks she's getting an invite and instead gets the awkward avoidance. Fun!
  The kicker for the party is that I counted, repeatedly, and there are only thirteen people, not counting Cara, at this damn thing. So, um, why couldn't Abbie come again? Cara laments the fact that she screwed poor Abbie over and Abbie still gave her a present... as well as the fact that she should have invited Abbie in Steven's place for all the fun she had with him.
  Steven's home from SVU due to serious allergy/sinus problems. Because he's a guy [and I apologize to any of you out there] he's also a complete ass while he's sick. Instead of leveling with Cara at ANY point about exactly how god awful he feels, or how worried he is that his health problem happened at the worst time for him academically speaking, he just... withdraws. So she realizes something's wrong and tries to move closer and he feels smothered and trapped and tries to gnaw his own leg off to get away and she's hurt and he's hurt and no one does any talking to the right people here. Instead of confiding in someone trained in such matters [the high school relationship will live or die depending on how many people it takes to maintain it when the two people involved are too stupid to do the right thing, y'know?], Steven confides in Abbie because she's been hanging around the house lately, what with the B plot and all.

   B plot would be that OHMYGOD, the sky is falling! The Oracle isn't as popular as it used to be! NOOOOOOOOOooooooooo! I swear, the pages where Penny/Liz/Jeffrey/Winston freak out are just insanely bad. So bad it's good bad. Winston tells the uptight idiots that the paper has everything except something intentionally funny, so they should run a contest to add some humor to the damn thing. They agree, offer him the job, he declines, and we gather it falls to Olivia to set things up. Olivia, I should mention, is never seen. Anyway, the contest comes down to Abbie's Jenny comic strip and Amy's mock-Miss-Manners column. I don't know about Amy, but Jenny is decidedly unfunny. I have vague memories of thinking it was hi-larious as a child, or at least mildly amusing, so maybe I'm just too old now. *coughdoubtitcough*
  Anyway, Abbie has self-esteem issues and seems to be a bit obsessive about Liz, so she won't believe her stuff is any good until someone else tells her it is. To milk this for all it's worth [and then some] Abbie has been coming over to the Wakefields every afternoon to the point where no one is ever surprised to see her. Hence Steven's ability to confide in the girl.
  Abbie tells Steven, repeatedly, to talk to Cara. To tell her what's going on, but Steven can't. See, there's another little problem. He's been getting these letters. I know what you did last summer! Written on Tricia Martin's old stationary. And the boy can't tell up from down, right from left, living from dead. It never occurs to him that Cara is sending the letters, although I'd think that by now we'd know whether she and Tricia used the same perfume, and Cara's been spritzing perfume on the letters in lieu of an actual signature. Steven, I guess, can't smell a damn thing, so maybe that's his excuse.

   Blah blah blah, Liz and Jessica realize at different points that something is a little off about Steven and Abbie. Liz notices that Steven has been getting letters on familiar stationary, although she can't figure out where she's seen it before. Jessica has noticed that Steven and Abbie are getting awfully close to that mutual attraction stage she's so familiar with. The twins investigate a bit at the mall and find out that a girl their age, possibly a brunette, recently bought the last of the pink forget-me-not stationary and the twins leap to the conclusion that it's Abbie once the clerk says the girl had such a sweet voice. Everything about Abbie is sweet.
  Two seconds after leaving the store, they run into Reformed!Crackwhore Martin and she mentions that she's only in town because Steven wanted to grill her about the whereabouts of Tricia's stuff, like say, I don't know, her stationary. Liz is shocked! Who would be so cruel as to send Steven letters written on Tricia's stationary, and also, how many times will I have to write the word stationary?
  Um, duh? You guys just decided Abbie bought stationary like that, so it's a coincidence. Which is exactly what Jessica says. Nyargh?

   When Ned announces that he's scored six free tickets to the Lakers vs. the Celtics game, Steven chooses to invite Abbie instead of Cara, reinforcing the theory that the two are interested in one another. Jessica tells Lila who tells Cara in a rare moment of giving a damn about someone else. Lila's attempts at making Cara stand up for herself as well as making Cara feel better are painfully awful [but classic Lila at the same time] but also vaguely sweet.
  Jessica comes home to find Abbie holding a piece of pink stationary that she seems awfully nervous to be caught holding. Jessica waits for Liz to get home and then confronts her with the gossip, and Liz admits that she'd noticed how close the two had gotten. Liz is pissed to think that Abbie, whom she really liked, was just using her to get to Steven, who she probably sees as nothing more than a replacement boyfriend. Jess is just crazy, so the twins go in and bitch poor, innocent Abbie out.
  Abbie is horrified that, get this, her worst nightmare has come true. People think she's an awful person! Oh no! But then she gets mad that they're blaming her for something she didn't even do. If Abbie had wanted, truly wanted Steven, and been less of a nice girl, she could have made a play for him, but didn't. She tried to keep him with Cara at EVERY turn, and hell, poor Abbie's not even sure whether she like-likes Steven or if he's like an older brother. Seriously, I got a twinge of the whiplash trying to keep up with whether our ghosty thought she liked Steven as a replacement for Doug or if she just liked him as a friendly older brotherly type.
  Abbie tells them to go to hell, she's innocent, and then she leaves.

   Lila, meanwhile, has gone to Cara's to convince the girl to calm down before she murders the entire Wakefield family, and then convinces Cara that even if things are as bad as they seem, she HAS to talk to Steven anyway, so she'll know for sure and get her say. God, when Lila [and this is the mostly shallow version of Lila to boot] is making the most sense in the book, you really, really have to worry. Cara arrives and asks Steven how he likes her letters because he's never said one word about them to her.
  Everyone is aghast at how they've messed things up so horribly and they run off to fix things with Abbie. Abbie makes them work for it a bit and then they all kiss and makeup and Ned finagles another ticket out of one of the law partners and it's a happy ending for everyone!
  And what's more, cousin Kelly is coming to visit next book! Yay! More Wakefield drama! Oh happy day!



Trivial Pursuit:

  • Jess and Cara have to take the bus to school because Liz has a doctor's appointment. Jess, to no one's surprise, hates the bus.

  • Cara's throwing herself a belated birthday party to erase the memory of her awful time with Steven. Too bad she replaced it with another bad Steven memory when he snaps at her for asking about his mysterious letter, huh?

  • Cara's party is being held at the Marine House, which sits right on the water and is expensive. Cara says she can only invite fourteen people and these make the cut: Jessica, Elizabeth, Lila, Jeffrey, Steven, Sandra, Manuel, Jeannie, Tom, Winston, Maria, Amy, and Bruce. Um, where's the 14th person making it impossible for Cara to invite Abbie? Also, why the hell is Liz invited to Cara's birthday party?

  • Despite assuring us all series that the Oracle is awesome, now we learn no one likes it as much as they used to. I feel so lied to. Where's truth in journalism, damn it? Letter to the editor time!

  • Abbie's infamous boyfriend was Doug Brewster, a year older than Abbie, baseball player, and a bit of jerk. His mother is a painter and he'd belittle Abbie's cartoons because he felt they weren't true art.

  • Abbie herself is described as having dark brown hair that's "as fine as satin", light blue eyes, ivory skin that's prone to blushing, and she's delicate and sweet.

  • Winston and Abbie had art together last year.

  • This year Abbie and Jessica have art together.

  • When Abbie offers to take Penny's lunch tray, Jeffrey comments that Abbie seems like a nice girl. Jeffrey from ten books or so ago would have wondered what the heck was driving her to be such a doormat. When did Jeffrey get a lobotomy?

  • Steven's doctor sends him home because Steve's got some serious allergy or sinus problems. Turns out that he's allergic to a lot of things, namely mold, grass, and dust.

  • Abbie is allergic to cats.

  • Jessica's favorite soap character that week was Lania Louise.

  • Abbie's mother is a psychologist who happens to over analyze her daughter's life. Oops.

  • Abby names her comic strip Jenny, and it stars normal 16 year old Jenny Bain. Bain is Abbie's middle name, as it's an old family name. Nice.

  • Jenny's boyfriend's name is Mel.

  • Amy wants to do a mock-Miss Manners column, but we never see it, even though Abbie helps her with it.

  • Abbie thinks that Cara avoids talking about her party at lunch one day because someone at the table isn't invited. She thinks it might be Sandra or Jeannie. Um... right, sure, of course.

  • Abbie buys Cara a silver ring for her birthday.

  • Abbie's mother thinks she prefers giving to receiving because it means Abbie gets to retain more control that way.

  • Steven's arms turned red due to the allergy tests.

  • The stationary Tricia and Cara used was pink with forget-me-nots. There's a blue option as well.

  • "Everyone" knows the story of Tricia Martin and how she and Steve were together for ages before her illness. Sure, right. Forever.

  • Liz has to ask Jessica for the French word for when you feel like you've done something before and Jessica knows it's deja vu. Freaky?

  • Jess and Liz head to the Midnight Madness sale at the mall. Anyone else remember those? Do they still do them? I'm old. I'll shut up.

  • Cara bought her stationary at the Pen and Paper shop in the mall. Liz likes to buy journals for her writing there. I'd mock, but dude, I'd probably be too busy drooling over the journals and pens to say anything.

  • Our ghosty brings us the word portentously. The writing on this one is just on a completely different level.

  • Abbie sees Dr. Griffin.

  • Bob Young, a partner at Ned's law firm, gives the family six free tickets to the Lakers versus the Celtics playoff game. Then, just to cover up Steven's stupidity, Ned asks for, and is given, a seventh ticket. Funny, my father would have told one of us that it sucked to be us cuz we ruined our shot at going. Ah, tough love.

  • Doug Brewster started dating some girl named Mariel before he and Abbie had officially broken up, which is a big reason why Abbie would never go after Steven BEFORE he broke up with Cara. That and Abbie is all things sweet and good.

  • Abbie's never been to a professional basketball game before.

  • The twins' Aunt Laura, on Alice's side, lives in Tucson, Arizona and is about to be remarried to a widowed doctor with two sons.

  • Kelly, their cousin, is not happy about her father, their uncle Greg, being replaced.

  • Laura and Greg divorced when Kelly was eight or nine.



Quotes:
Gold stars of unintended hilarity:

  "What you don't have"- he took a bite of ice cream- "is humor. No cartoons. No comic strip. No puzzles. Nothing funny in the whole darn paper."
  "He's right," Penny said to Elizabeth. "I never even thought about that. Did you?"
  Elizabeth had to admit that she hadn't. "Winston! That's a great idea. If we add a humorous feature to the paper, I bet people will like it every bit as much as they did when we first started putting the paper out!" - If you found this funny, you know why. If not, um, yeah, just imagine the stick up her butt making her speech so stilted, kay? p8

  "Winston," Penny said pleadingly, "how would you like to be the new humor editor? Just come up with something truly hilarious by next week and make everyone say how much they love the paper again." - See, this wouldn't be funny if I thought she was kidding, but I doubt she is. Penny's only given a sense of humor in her own book. No pressure there, Win! p 8




   Lania was Jessica's favorite soap opera character that week. - I love that we have to be told it changes weekly. hee! p20

  Abbie had been noticing Elizabeth from afar for awhile now, and she secretly thought Elizabeth was one of the smartest, nicest girls at school. - I smell stalker! p23

   As far as Abbie was concerned these days, Elizabeth Wakefield could do no wrong. - Um, next stop blond hair dye and aqua contacts? p 26

  "It gets on my nerves when people are that nice. I'm always sure they want something." - Gotta say, I agree with Jessica on this one. mwerp? p 29

   The way to make friends was to be nice to people, to listen to them, to offer to help them, not to dump your own troubles on their shoulders. - Abbie's guide for making friends. p 38

  "Cara," Lila said, putting down her fork and looking at Cara with her ultrasophisticated I-know-what's-good-for-you expression. "Is something wrong with you? You look like you just lost every share of stock you own." - This, my pets, is why Lila will always be awesome. p 84

  She liked Abbie Richardson! She didn't want to think Abbie had been using her to get to know Steven better! - I'm apparently twelve years old and want to know if she liked-liked Abbie. Sorry, Liz. p105

   "I'm going to go over to his house and tell him what a jerk I think he is!" Her dark eyes filled with tears. "I'm going to kill them all," she muttered. "I bet Liz is behind this somehow. She's the one who started inviting Abbie over all the time. I bet she wanted this to happen all along!" - Look! Liz is getting blamed for being sneaky! Hallelujah! Poor Cara, though. p 115

  "I don't believe anyone can steal anyone else. This is Steve we're talking about, not some sort of material possession." - This actually stayed with me more than any other line in the book, or most of the rest of the series, actually. Scary, but true. Cara is wise. p 128


   I've gotta say, Pretenses is one of those books I think I read once or twice as a kid and then always remembered more from the diary entries based on the book than I do the actual book. For all the lead up they tried to give Abbie, she's pretty much written out of the series [I think] and it's all a fantastic waste, just to teach girls to COMMUNICATE with their boyfriends. Seriously, we have Abbie, Lila, Jessica, Liz, and then the couple themselves hammering this theory on home. It hurts! Someone stop the sledgehammer of subtlety!
  I could have done without all the flip flopping like I said earlier. One minute Jess is the one talking crazy, the next it's Liz with her conspiracy theories about how someone would want to hurt Steven. No one did, you moron, it was a misunderstanding just like Jess said. Or Abbie's feelings for Steven. If they'd been portrayed as confusing to begin with, I might understand, but Abbie goes from comfortable with Steven to thinking she likes him and then BAM, he's like her older brother for a paragraph or two and then she likes him again. So. Painful.
  I think Abbie sounds like a sweetheart, but she isn't funny. She's just... not. She's sincere and sweet and pretty enough that she didn't really have to work on developing a sense of humor, and really, reading her punchlines, it shows. The only person less funny than she is this whole book is Liz.
   I want to like Cara, I really do, but mostly I think she's a bit of a moron lately. She keeps letting Jessica talk her into stupid things and then marveling when things go just as badly as we would have predicted. Imagine that. When Jess likes her to Elizabeth, she's referring to their relationship status, but I think it's more their raging blind spot for Jessica's true motives.



Side note: This is probably your last update of any interest until next year. Holidays in retail don't leave much time for anything else, sadly enough. See you next year with the harrowing story of poor, poor deluded cousin Kelly.
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Spring Break
April 1986


Bon voyage...



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


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

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

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

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

Trivial:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Ferney: See Tricia Martin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Avery drives a silver Peugeot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Glize is Avery's maiden name.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • J-C has a Citroen.

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

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

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

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

  • No. Seriously, she does.

  • I'm not kidding.

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

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

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



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


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






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


Bon voyage...



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


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

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

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

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

Trivial:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Ferney: See Tricia Martin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Avery drives a silver Peugeot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Glize is Avery's maiden name.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • J-C has a Citroen.

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

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

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

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

  • No. Seriously, she does.

  • I'm not kidding.

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

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

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



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


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






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

Can Cara make Steven forget Tricia Martin?

Torn apart by love...


   The Wakefield twins' older brother, Steven, hasn't dated anyone since his girlfriend died of leukemia. He can't even look at another girl without thinking of his beloved Tricia.
   But Steven is drawn to Cara Walker. Sweet Valley's biggest flirt and gossip has changed. Her parents have divorced, and her father and brother have moved away. Cara understands the pain of losing someone.
   When Tricia's sister Betsy sees Steven and Cara dancing together at a party, she accuses Steven of forgetting about Tricia. Steven is torn by Betsy's bitter accusation. He can't deny his attraction to Cara. But how can he ever love another girl after Tricia?

  Memories is an odd book. It's billed as the Steven/Cara 'ship finally sets sail only to be slammed by that crackwhore Betsy Martin, but that actually happened in the last book. Seriously, first time we see Bets this go round, she's ready to apologize for bitching out poor Steven, but he's so firmly under his thundercloud of guilt that he won't hear of it. If you've never read this or any other freakin' SVH book past the one where Trish bites it, but you've seen all of S7 of Buffy, think of how Willow flips out when she falls for that crackwhore pesky Kennedy. No, Steven doesn't morph into Warren thus freaking out the Scoobies, but he does act sort of similarly. Tis freaky. You see, by falling for Cara [finally!] he's betraying Tricia's memory by moving on. By forgetting her in bits and pieces. He can't handle that, so he runs to the one person who can fill in his foggy memory better than anyone else, as well as his biggest and easiest source of guilt. Crackwhore Martin. People keep trying to convince us that Crackwhore wouldn't be so bitchy, but hello? She so would. Betsy has three "defining" characteristics. One, she's an artist. Just like everyone else in the Valley. Two, she's got a horrible reputation. Just like half the brunette's in SV. Three, she's an unrelenting bitch. So yeah, it's totally like her to make someone miserable to keep them under her thumb.
  Now, in a related sort of way, we must look at this from Cara's view. She's had a thing for Steven for ages, and just when it looks like the gods might smile upon her, it's not until her home life is in the shitter [Daddy moved to Chicago and took her little brother, remember?] And then there's the little matter of Steven being a total bastard to her at every turn. After he totally fucks up her birthday because he's too... stupid? ... to tell her that the place she picked was the scene of his last actual date with Tricia, she tells him to fuck off. Romantically he's just as unavailable as he's always been, if not more so because she will not [and cannot] compete with a ghost, particularly one Steve has so romanticized. I added that last bit, but you know she's thinking it. Steve's all but got the halo drawn on all of Tricia's pictures.

  To distract us from this, we have a real "wait, what the fuck?" two-fer concerning the twins. We'll go with Jessica's first as it has nothing to do with anything at all. Jess has decided that she's definitely meant for the movies, but instead of auditioning or something, she decides to stalk Winston because she overheard her mother talking to Winston's mother about a movie director relation. To Jessica's credit, he actually was supposed to show up for a mini reunion, only he was forced to cancel after a movie shoot ran long. So when Jess meets one of Mrs. Egbert's cousins, she assumes it's the director. It's not. It's a civil engineer, and while you might not see that exact twist coming, you know the moment he opens his mouth that he's not the director and that when Jess professes to love his job and wants to be in the biz as well and he's shocked, that he does something totally un-Jessica. Even as a kid I knew that much.
  The best part of this is how hard to get Winston is.
  Then we have Liz. To properly put this in perspective, this book begins the day AFTER the last one. Less than 24 hours, people! Todd's still in town, although he's pretty much a no-show for the book. At the beginning of the book, he's still very much Elizabeth's boyfriend, but about halfway through he's demoted to "ex-boyfriend" or "former boyfriend." Um, okay, I guess. Liz sees a Todd lookalike at the mall and then at school and then, with the help of Penny, she figures out he's on the Big Mesa volleyball team and his name is Michael Sellers. Liz is totally infatuated because he's freakishly similar to Todd. I'm thinking more so than when they switched actors on the TV show and expected us to go with it because it was a soap and soaps do that all the time. So, Liz wants to meet the clone because he might be just like Todd and then she can just replace her boyfriend with an almost perfect replica!

  And as other people have noted, no one calls her on this, despite the fact that the idiot doing this line of thinking is a twin and should therefor know how different two people can be even when they look IDENTICAL.
  So there's this volleyball match and I'm totally having Saved By The Bell flashbacks [their summer at the hotel or whatever, and Leah Remini was a cast member? I loved her then. So much love, so much makeup...] and to complement that, Liz is having Todd flashbacks because MS looks just like Todd! Eee! OMG! Whatever. As a result, she's the worst volleyball player, EVER. I'm thinking I might be better, and while I found v-ball to be the least evil of all sports, thinking me better than anyone at anything athletic is probably not a good sign. Mikey figures that Liz can't play for shit, so they target her and it works! They win! Then SVH wins! It's time for a tie-breaker! I've long since ceased to care! Of course the wonder-twins manage to fake out the other team despite Liz sucking so badly, and they win and it's all fabulous, and there's a dance afterward and Liz goes and meets Mikey there...
  And realizes he's more like Bruce than Todd, but without the fantastic over the top Patman flair. He's like Bruce-lite in Todd-lite form. So she blows him off to dance with Winston. And then Jess blows him off just to talk to Winston. So, so awesome.

  So, with that out of the way, we're back to Steve moping. Liz tires of it and takes matters into her own hands. She goes to Betsy and asks her to set her brother free because they're killing one another. Betsy looks at her like she's nuts for not wanting Steve to hold onto Tricia as hard as he can. Then Liz points out that for Betsy to go on with her life while still clinging to Tricia isn't a conflict of interest. For Steve to move on and have another relationship, he has to let go of Tricia and he can't do that without massive guilt on his own and Betsy, bitch, you ain't helping.

  What does Betsy do? She caves. Then somehow enlists the help of Teddy Collins who delivers two packages to Cara and Steven whose mother's "accidentally" set them up, and they're fantastic drawings of the other one. Which is Betsy's way of saying fine, have your own life, see if I care, Wakefield. Steve immediately falls all over Cara and she's too weak to resist and aww?

  The lead up for the next book is all about Emily Mayer and her family of woe. You'd think for book twenty five, they'd have outdone themselves, but I guess this is before we treated every multiple of five as a big deal, huh?


Trivia, baby:

  • Begins the day after Lila's "it's a day ending in y" party.

  • Tricia Martin was a robin in a third grade play. Woo?

  • Sharon Egbert, for those keeping track of the parental names.

  • Mr. Collins' English class is in room 103.

  • Jess has English with Guy, Emily, Winston, and Lila.

  • Winston and Jessica do their American author term project on F. Scott Fitzgerald. Lila goes with Hemingway because he's Mariel's grandfather. When she tries to get Jessica to buddy up with her, Jessica keeps thinking Li's saying "highway." Insert blond joke here.

  • Michael Sellers is a football player as well as the captain of their charity volleyball team. He's also an ass.

  • When Ned was a junior in college, his best friend died in a car accident. Ned named Steven for him.

  • Whatever movie Liz was going to watch, Jess ruins by telling her the general poisoned everyone.

  • Liz is willing to believe Crackwhore Martin can change, but Cara can't? She believed in Caroline for fuck's sake. What did Cara ever do to her? [Which is to say, Liz is against Cara/Steven and makes a big show of apologizing to Cara for basically thinking her brother could do better. Cara proves she's a lady by not backhanding Liz.]

  • SVH's volleyball team: Ken [captain!], Jessica, Liz, Bruce [years of tennis make him good at this, apparently. Seriously, that's what we're told], Lila [who has her own v-ball court and defies gravity when she jumps. She's that awesome], and John Pfeifer who's good, but not swoon worthy.

  • Bruce served first in the game. Liz sucked most.

  • Artie Western is a senior at SVH, a friend of Steve's, and has a thing for Cara. Awkward!

  • Marty Davis [graying blond, for those who like to know] and his wife Jane visit his cousin, Sharon Egbert, and Jess confuses Marty for the interesting cousin.

  • Winston lives close enough to walk to the Dairi Burger, as Jessica does just this and you know she doesn't wear sensible shoes.

  • Cara's birthday is sometime in the late winter, early spring, which is when I'm guessing this book takes place.

  • Steven gives Cara a card that says, "happy birthday to someone nice." He gives her a mystery novel, luckily she really wanted to read it. See, Liz, Cara isn't so bad! She reads. Cara, I should add, does not give Steve a look for the lame card.

  • Tricia's favorite song? "Always."

  • Cara booked reservations for 7:30 at the Valley Inn. She and Steve had prime rib, tossed green salad, and baked potatoes. Yes, they had the same meal. Don't you know you get something different so you can nibble off his plate? For dessert they have cherry pie and ice cream. Steve doesn't think to do the whole HB song and cake thing until after dessert is delivered, and Cara says she wouldn't have liked the attention anyway. Where'd the real Cara go?

  • Cara doesn't take French, or if she does she's taking Spanish as well, as she and Steve bond over what a witch Mrs. Ray is.

  • "Strategies for Waste Disposal in L.A." Fascinating literature, eh, Jess?

  • Phil Davis was the cousin Jess meant to suck up to and impress with her fabulosity. Next time, love!


  • And one last one: Why the hell do we not hear about Steven going to a shrink? Given how much time he spends depressed over Trish, you'd think he'd have been shipped to at least one...



Quotes:
  "Sounds good, Dad," Jessica agreed, "but I've decided the stage isn't big enough for me."
  "Why?" Elizabeth giggled. "Are you planning on gaining a lot of weight?" - Liz is hi-larious. If you're really drunk. p10

  Michael Sellers was astonished. He simply couldn't figure it out. What was wrong with those Wakefield twins? And what did Winston have that he didn't? - A personality, Mikey. p78

"But remember Cara's got one advantage over Tricia. She's alive." - Jessica being cruel to be kind. p91




   I find the Steve/Cara storyline worrisome as it's weird that Steve's only interested in Cara when she's broken and vulnerable, although if I squint I can see why. I think Steve's an ass towards Cara and got off lightly, but I do feel bad for him in having to let go of Tricia, although I was raised in a family where you loved your lost true love until the day you died, hell the only person I knew who remarried was still painfully in love with their lost love, and she'd died some twenty odd years prior. So a few months might feel like forever, but it's not. However, in the interest of getting Steven to shut the hell up, I'm all for Cara fixing him.
  I still hate Betsy and wish daily for a certain Fiat to accidentally swerve into her, killing her instantly while Jessica must try to pretend she cares. Sigh.
  The Liz/Mike storyline is stupid, but obviously when we all thought Todd had a lobotomy later in the series or in SVU, it was because it wasn't Todd. It was Mikey. D'oh! On the plus side, lookit all the pretty, shiny covers. I'd gotten tired of just one or two alternatives. This one's chock full of alternate goodies. Score!


the_oracle: (left of normal)
Memories
Dec 1986

Can Cara make Steven forget Tricia Martin?

Torn apart by love...


   The Wakefield twins' older brother, Steven, hasn't dated anyone since his girlfriend died of leukemia. He can't even look at another girl without thinking of his beloved Tricia.
   But Steven is drawn to Cara Walker. Sweet Valley's biggest flirt and gossip has changed. Her parents have divorced, and her father and brother have moved away. Cara understands the pain of losing someone.
   When Tricia's sister Betsy sees Steven and Cara dancing together at a party, she accuses Steven of forgetting about Tricia. Steven is torn by Betsy's bitter accusation. He can't deny his attraction to Cara. But how can he ever love another girl after Tricia?

  Memories is an odd book. It's billed as the Steven/Cara 'ship finally sets sail only to be slammed by that crackwhore Betsy Martin, but that actually happened in the last book. Seriously, first time we see Bets this go round, she's ready to apologize for bitching out poor Steven, but he's so firmly under his thundercloud of guilt that he won't hear of it. If you've never read this or any other freakin' SVH book past the one where Trish bites it, but you've seen all of S7 of Buffy, think of how Willow flips out when she falls for that crackwhore pesky Kennedy. No, Steven doesn't morph into Warren thus freaking out the Scoobies, but he does act sort of similarly. Tis freaky. You see, by falling for Cara [finally!] he's betraying Tricia's memory by moving on. By forgetting her in bits and pieces. He can't handle that, so he runs to the one person who can fill in his foggy memory better than anyone else, as well as his biggest and easiest source of guilt. Crackwhore Martin. People keep trying to convince us that Crackwhore wouldn't be so bitchy, but hello? She so would. Betsy has three "defining" characteristics. One, she's an artist. Just like everyone else in the Valley. Two, she's got a horrible reputation. Just like half the brunette's in SV. Three, she's an unrelenting bitch. So yeah, it's totally like her to make someone miserable to keep them under her thumb.
  Now, in a related sort of way, we must look at this from Cara's view. She's had a thing for Steven for ages, and just when it looks like the gods might smile upon her, it's not until her home life is in the shitter [Daddy moved to Chicago and took her little brother, remember?] And then there's the little matter of Steven being a total bastard to her at every turn. After he totally fucks up her birthday because he's too... stupid? ... to tell her that the place she picked was the scene of his last actual date with Tricia, she tells him to fuck off. Romantically he's just as unavailable as he's always been, if not more so because she will not [and cannot] compete with a ghost, particularly one Steve has so romanticized. I added that last bit, but you know she's thinking it. Steve's all but got the halo drawn on all of Tricia's pictures.

  To distract us from this, we have a real "wait, what the fuck?" two-fer concerning the twins. We'll go with Jessica's first as it has nothing to do with anything at all. Jess has decided that she's definitely meant for the movies, but instead of auditioning or something, she decides to stalk Winston because she overheard her mother talking to Winston's mother about a movie director relation. To Jessica's credit, he actually was supposed to show up for a mini reunion, only he was forced to cancel after a movie shoot ran long. So when Jess meets one of Mrs. Egbert's cousins, she assumes it's the director. It's not. It's a civil engineer, and while you might not see that exact twist coming, you know the moment he opens his mouth that he's not the director and that when Jess professes to love his job and wants to be in the biz as well and he's shocked, that he does something totally un-Jessica. Even as a kid I knew that much.
  The best part of this is how hard to get Winston is.
  Then we have Liz. To properly put this in perspective, this book begins the day AFTER the last one. Less than 24 hours, people! Todd's still in town, although he's pretty much a no-show for the book. At the beginning of the book, he's still very much Elizabeth's boyfriend, but about halfway through he's demoted to "ex-boyfriend" or "former boyfriend." Um, okay, I guess. Liz sees a Todd lookalike at the mall and then at school and then, with the help of Penny, she figures out he's on the Big Mesa volleyball team and his name is Michael Sellers. Liz is totally infatuated because he's freakishly similar to Todd. I'm thinking more so than when they switched actors on the TV show and expected us to go with it because it was a soap and soaps do that all the time. So, Liz wants to meet the clone because he might be just like Todd and then she can just replace her boyfriend with an almost perfect replica!

  And as other people have noted, no one calls her on this, despite the fact that the idiot doing this line of thinking is a twin and should therefor know how different two people can be even when they look IDENTICAL.
  So there's this volleyball match and I'm totally having Saved By The Bell flashbacks [their summer at the hotel or whatever, and Leah Remini was a cast member? I loved her then. So much love, so much makeup...] and to complement that, Liz is having Todd flashbacks because MS looks just like Todd! Eee! OMG! Whatever. As a result, she's the worst volleyball player, EVER. I'm thinking I might be better, and while I found v-ball to be the least evil of all sports, thinking me better than anyone at anything athletic is probably not a good sign. Mikey figures that Liz can't play for shit, so they target her and it works! They win! Then SVH wins! It's time for a tie-breaker! I've long since ceased to care! Of course the wonder-twins manage to fake out the other team despite Liz sucking so badly, and they win and it's all fabulous, and there's a dance afterward and Liz goes and meets Mikey there...
  And realizes he's more like Bruce than Todd, but without the fantastic over the top Patman flair. He's like Bruce-lite in Todd-lite form. So she blows him off to dance with Winston. And then Jess blows him off just to talk to Winston. So, so awesome.

  So, with that out of the way, we're back to Steve moping. Liz tires of it and takes matters into her own hands. She goes to Betsy and asks her to set her brother free because they're killing one another. Betsy looks at her like she's nuts for not wanting Steve to hold onto Tricia as hard as he can. Then Liz points out that for Betsy to go on with her life while still clinging to Tricia isn't a conflict of interest. For Steve to move on and have another relationship, he has to let go of Tricia and he can't do that without massive guilt on his own and Betsy, bitch, you ain't helping.

  What does Betsy do? She caves. Then somehow enlists the help of Teddy Collins who delivers two packages to Cara and Steven whose mother's "accidentally" set them up, and they're fantastic drawings of the other one. Which is Betsy's way of saying fine, have your own life, see if I care, Wakefield. Steve immediately falls all over Cara and she's too weak to resist and aww?

  The lead up for the next book is all about Emily Mayer and her family of woe. You'd think for book twenty five, they'd have outdone themselves, but I guess this is before we treated every multiple of five as a big deal, huh?


Trivia, baby:

  • Begins the day after Lila's "it's a day ending in y" party.

  • Tricia Martin was a robin in a third grade play. Woo?

  • Sharon Egbert, for those keeping track of the parental names.

  • Mr. Collins' English class is in room 103.

  • Jess has English with Guy, Emily, Winston, and Lila.

  • Winston and Jessica do their American author term project on F. Scott Fitzgerald. Lila goes with Hemingway because he's Mariel's grandfather. When she tries to get Jessica to buddy up with her, Jessica keeps thinking Li's saying "highway." Insert blond joke here.

  • Michael Sellers is a football player as well as the captain of their charity volleyball team. He's also an ass.

  • When Ned was a junior in college, his best friend died in a car accident. Ned named Steven for him.

  • Whatever movie Liz was going to watch, Jess ruins by telling her the general poisoned everyone.

  • Liz is willing to believe Crackwhore Martin can change, but Cara can't? She believed in Caroline for fuck's sake. What did Cara ever do to her? [Which is to say, Liz is against Cara/Steven and makes a big show of apologizing to Cara for basically thinking her brother could do better. Cara proves she's a lady by not backhanding Liz.]

  • SVH's volleyball team: Ken [captain!], Jessica, Liz, Bruce [years of tennis make him good at this, apparently. Seriously, that's what we're told], Lila [who has her own v-ball court and defies gravity when she jumps. She's that awesome], and John Pfeifer who's good, but not swoon worthy.

  • Bruce served first in the game. Liz sucked most.

  • Artie Western is a senior at SVH, a friend of Steve's, and has a thing for Cara. Awkward!

  • Marty Davis [graying blond, for those who like to know] and his wife Jane visit his cousin, Sharon Egbert, and Jess confuses Marty for the interesting cousin.

  • Winston lives close enough to walk to the Dairi Burger, as Jessica does just this and you know she doesn't wear sensible shoes.

  • Cara's birthday is sometime in the late winter, early spring, which is when I'm guessing this book takes place.

  • Steven gives Cara a card that says, "happy birthday to someone nice." He gives her a mystery novel, luckily she really wanted to read it. See, Liz, Cara isn't so bad! She reads. Cara, I should add, does not give Steve a look for the lame card.

  • Tricia's favorite song? "Always."

  • Cara booked reservations for 7:30 at the Valley Inn. She and Steve had prime rib, tossed green salad, and baked potatoes. Yes, they had the same meal. Don't you know you get something different so you can nibble off his plate? For dessert they have cherry pie and ice cream. Steve doesn't think to do the whole HB song and cake thing until after dessert is delivered, and Cara says she wouldn't have liked the attention anyway. Where'd the real Cara go?

  • Cara doesn't take French, or if she does she's taking Spanish as well, as she and Steve bond over what a witch Mrs. Ray is.

  • "Strategies for Waste Disposal in L.A." Fascinating literature, eh, Jess?

  • Phil Davis was the cousin Jess meant to suck up to and impress with her fabulosity. Next time, love!


  • And one last one: Why the hell do we not hear about Steven going to a shrink? Given how much time he spends depressed over Trish, you'd think he'd have been shipped to at least one...



Quotes:
  "Sounds good, Dad," Jessica agreed, "but I've decided the stage isn't big enough for me."
  "Why?" Elizabeth giggled. "Are you planning on gaining a lot of weight?" - Liz is hi-larious. If you're really drunk. p10

  Michael Sellers was astonished. He simply couldn't figure it out. What was wrong with those Wakefield twins? And what did Winston have that he didn't? - A personality, Mikey. p78

"But remember Cara's got one advantage over Tricia. She's alive." - Jessica being cruel to be kind. p91




   I find the Steve/Cara storyline worrisome as it's weird that Steve's only interested in Cara when she's broken and vulnerable, although if I squint I can see why. I think Steve's an ass towards Cara and got off lightly, but I do feel bad for him in having to let go of Tricia, although I was raised in a family where you loved your lost true love until the day you died, hell the only person I knew who remarried was still painfully in love with their lost love, and she'd died some twenty odd years prior. So a few months might feel like forever, but it's not. However, in the interest of getting Steven to shut the hell up, I'm all for Cara fixing him.
  I still hate Betsy and wish daily for a certain Fiat to accidentally swerve into her, killing her instantly while Jessica must try to pretend she cares. Sigh.
  The Liz/Mike storyline is stupid, but obviously when we all thought Todd had a lobotomy later in the series or in SVU, it was because it wasn't Todd. It was Mikey. D'oh! On the plus side, lookit all the pretty, shiny covers. I'd gotten tired of just one or two alternatives. This one's chock full of alternate goodies. Score!


the_oracle: (plotting)
Promises
January 1985

Somehow, Jessica will get rid of Betsy!

Bad girl in town...


   Steven Wakefield is crushed when his girlfriend, Tricia, dies after a tragic illness. The only things that keep him going are the memory of their love and his promise to Tricia to take care of her sister, Betsy, after she's gone.
   Betsy Martin's wild exploits with drink, drugs, and boys have left her with the worst reputation in Sweet Valley. But when Steven takes her into the Wakefield home, Betsy makes a promise to change. And as her goodness grows, so does her love for Steven.
   Jessica, Steven's conniving younger sister, doesn't like this one bit. She makes a little promise of her own-to get Betsy out of the house and out of Steven's life... forever!


  G'ah, who had the raging hatred for the short haired brunettes in the Valley? First we have Easy Annie and now we've got Betsy Martin who actually cops to her escapades and says, yeah, they're true. Let's begin superficially, as that's how we left off before. Betsy there is one of the least lucky of the SVH characters in that she has to share a cover with Jessica [whom I love, cover art wise, for most of the earlier books] and that she's um, well, not Lila circa SVT/Unicorns club, but in the same alley. Which should, if they're both taking notes, be very, very dark. So no one can see you. At all. *cough*

  Like the last gazillion books or so, this one picks up pretty much right after the previous book. We're at the hospital, huddling around Tricia's death bed. That's right, folks, it's taken her how long to actually get here, and we're going to burn through it so fast it'll leave you spinning in your chair. It's all very touching and even Jessica sees the error of her ways, sort of, and tries to apologize, but Tricia doesn't see the need, what with Death tapping her foot gently. Really, in the grand scheme of things, Tricia doesn't need Jessica's apology. Given the way she snarked about Cara, she knows full well how much of a jerk Jessica is, and she's not going to worry about it in her final moments. Rock on?
  The rest of the Wakefields file out after their brief goodbye moments, leaving Steven and Tricia alone. That's right, there are no other Martins at this death-day party. Just Wakefields. Seriously, Tricia has NO friends. How in the hell... Sorry, tangent.
  Steve and Trish reminisce about their first date and it's killing Steve to watch the light slowly fade from Tricia's eyes, but before she checks out completely, she asks Steven to do her a favor. The infamous " 'I'd do anything...' 'Really? Anything?' '...damn...'" kind of moment. Tricia asks that Steve take care of her sister, Betsy. Steve isn't exactly sure how well that will work out, given what a wild child Betsy is. But it's Tricia's dying wish, so of course he'll say yes.
  A short time later, the Wakefields are leaving, seeing as Tricia has died, and as they're almost home free, Betsy bursts into the hospital and freaks out. "My sister! My siiissssssttteeeeerrr!" Yeah, where were you the hour or two it took Tricia to die? Uh huh, you were out getting drunk and smoking absolutely everything you could get your hands on. So shut the hell up, kay? [It isn't often I'm with Jessica on something, but I'm on her side for the disgust at this point. I know, I know, that says something HORRIBLE about me, but I'll just have to deal, I suppose.] She sobs and carries on when Steve tells her that it's too late, and Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield decide to take Betsy home with them. Betsy's in no shape to argue and away they go.
  Jessica is not pleased with this. Betsy Martin, in case you've been living under a rock, is a world class super tramp as well as a drugged out freak. Dunno, that just seems like something the bitchy crowd at SVH would say. To illustrate how much of a skank Betsy is, rumour has it that she recently spent some quality time up at Miller's Point with two boys at the same time, and they weren't playing a rousing game of cards. GASP! For those who like your giggles with a tiny dash of irony, later on Jessica will flit around the Beach Disco with two boys in tow and think nothing of it.
  In an attempt to either atone for her misdeeds, or maybe make sure she doesn't miss another important death again, Betsy vows to give up her wild ways. Jessica [and I] snort and mutter, "That'll be the day." Thing is, somehow she manages. Annie can't keep her thoughts away from boys long enough to ace ONE test, but Betsy quits cold-freakin-turkey. If you're at all skeptical, like me, you spend most of the book waiting for her to fall off the wagon. She doesn't. ... so please don't make the same mistake I keep making, which is to wait in vain. It's okay, I know. I know, we'll get through this together.

  Instead, she swaps one vice for another. Instead of the drinking, drugs, or sex with two boys at once, Betsy falls hard for Steven Wakefield. He pays attention to her, he's nice, and he's making absolutely no movement towards trying to sleep with her, and best of all, he loved Tricia. Which is why I wish they hadn't gone with the obvious "Betsy momentarily wants Steven but isn't thinking at all about how weird it would be to have her sister's leftovers, especially given how said sister left the relationship." Namely, a little guilt over wanting Steven. It would have been nice. Yes. I sit here and actively wish for pain on fictional characters.

  Blah, blah, blah. Liz decides that if Jessica is going to make Betsy feel unwanted, then she [Liz, remember?] will make Betsy feel at home. No, she doesn't get wildly drunk and wallow in self pity [like Mr. Martin, who is still missing at this point] but she does invite herself into Betsy's life and declares that Betsy is a fantastic artist. And, as far as we know, she is. We don't know much about Betsy, other than she's got self esteem issues, and really, I wouldn't mind if Jessica kicked her in the shins with pointy heels. Wait, my issues, not yours. Artist with an attitude problem, whether she's sober or not. There, that's what we know.
  Back at SVH, the universe decides that one corpse isn't enough, so Roger finds out that his mother has had a heart attack. He lets out a mournful wail and freaks out in the cafe, which is just awkward. We'll dwell here for a bit. Turns out Mama Barret needs some operation that can apparently only be done in Houston, so Roger is trying to find the money to fly Mama B out there. Thing is, if you'll remember from book nine, Roger is freakin' POOR. Like he can afford that, right? Mmhmm. The next thing you know, gossip has it that Mr. Patman has ponied up and is sending Mama B to Houston, and everyone wonders when the hell any of the Patmans grew a soul. When did that happen? Jessica and Lila compare stories on who can't talk to Bruce most [Lila because their families are rivals, so it kills me that it takes until SVU for them to get their Romeo/Juliet on, and Jessica because of her ill-fated 'ship that went down in flames] so Cara is elected spokeswoman. The wicked witches of SVH ask and Bruce points out that Mama B did work for Mr. P back in the day [Lila points out that it was waaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day] and that it doesn't hurt to help out the little people every so often, isn't that right, Jessica?
  Jessica then decides that it's time someone around here finally got the trash taken out of the Wakefield study, and tries to properly hatch ways to get rid of Betsy. She looks through Betsy's stuff, swearing all the while [I think she uses the word damn more in this one scene than they do in the entire rest of the series. o_O ] and all she finds is a pillbox filled with aspirin, until she gets to Betsy's sketchbook. At the very end, after Jessica is impressed, she finds a picture of Steven. She flips out, because no book is complete without a Jessica tantrum and ensuing twisty logic.
  Elsewhere, Steven is trying to set Betsy up with his friend Jason. Jason happens to teach an art class, and Betsy is an artist, so it should all be good, right? Wrong. Every time Jason so much as looks at Betsy, she screams, "Stop picturing me doing sweaty naked things with you!"
  Okay, not literally, but close enough. She won't give the guy a chance and is an incredible bitch, sure that all he wants is to get her alone so they can make with the aforementioned sweaty stuff. Jason, meanwhile, seems like he's never gotten laid in his life and that he's okay with it, so long as he can bask in the glory that is Betsy's talent. In other words, he's a friggin' saint. Steve manages to help con Betsy into going to one of Jason's classes, but she comes home all in a funk. Why?
  Because Jason asked her for a date.
  Liz and I stare blankly. So...? Sure, he's a bit on the dorky side, but glasses can be super hot, so long as they aren't those ugly aviator cousin ones, y'know? Noooooooooo, Jason obviously just wants sex, god, can you be any more stupid? Liz points out that this just cannot be true, that he might actually be interested in a talented and pretty young woman. Betsy stalks off because obviously Liz cannot relate. While I get that the guys Betsy is used to hanging out with are only interested in her for various things, how many are friends of Steven's? How many are like Jason, because I'm thinking the answer to that is not many...

  Our C plot [I consider Roger the B, as it will take center stage next book] is Winston, the Starch King. Bruce and Todd bet on whether or not Win can eat four mini pizzas in four minutes. Um, yes, yes he can. Bruce has to pay for Todd and Liz at the Beach Disco, and this spurs Winston on. Apparently in the mid 80's the world record was to believed to have been eating 7 extra large pizzas in one sitting. I'm finding this a little difficult to believe, but whatever. The local news team is out in full force to cover Winston's daring eating escapade, and so is everyone at SVH. Poor Winston spent so much time 'practicing' that he's made himself ill. He makes it to six and a half pizzas, and then has to run off and puke. Woe, Starch King. Woe. Luckily the peasants still love him.

  Back to Jason and Betsy. He offers to ask his former teacher to look at Betsy's application to the Los Angeles Academy of Fine Arts talent search. In return-
  "Hot sweaty sex! I knew it!"
  SHUT UP, Betsy. Considering you've turned the guy down sixteen different times this morning, I really don't think he's going to ask you that in front of Steve or Elizabeth, okay? So chill. You may be experienced, but I'm betting Jason doesn't want whatever you might have, kay? She stalks off, sure that she'd lose anyway, and what's the point? She leaves her sketchbook, again. [it's why Jason popped over in the first place. After her last bitch fit after class, she left her book there, too. Way to take care of the one thing you're supposed to care about, skank.] Liz stops the boys from returning it to her and says Jason should turn it in as Betsy's application. It takes Steven a second to catch on, and all three giggle like school girls, so sure are they that Betsy will win.
  Steve goes back to school, although I swear it's been like, a week, since Tricia's death. Maybe two, if you blinked and missed 'em. Anyway, Betsy freaks out when her father shows up at the Wakefields, and Steven returns. His family points out that Betsy's attachment is hurting them both. Steve can't let himself grieve while forcing himself to be strong for Betsy, and Betsy is entirely too attached to Steve for her own good. Steve tells his parents that he has to take care of Betsy because he promised Tricia.
  Unfortunately, Jessica is spying, and once she hears this, she pretty much RUNS to tell Betsy. Betsy is crushed because she thought Steve was interested and that it was more than a charity case. Fraid not, honey. Trust me, the only person who actually wants what you're giving away is the one you won't let near you. Ain't that just the way?
  So Betsy packs up and calls her good time boys. Jessica then tells people a slightly *cough* skewed version of their encounter. Steve and Jason, both elated over Betsy's winning the talent search, head off to all the dives in the area, looking for Bets. They finally find her at the Shady Lady. A fight ensues between the good boys and the good ol' boys. Jason turns out to be a brown belt in karate, kicks some ass, and then Betsy's offering up her, um, services, but in a little less obvious way.
  Turns out that she's just had one drink and isn't enjoying her old ways, so she'll go home to take care of Papa until school starts in the fall. Jason, I gather, has a backstage pass to Betsy's home.
  The book ends with Roger's mother dying, and his true father revealed. Paul Patman, Bruce's father's richer brother! GASP!

  End scene.



Trivia:

  • Wait, when did the Wakefields get a rust brown LTD? Where was I?

  • Jessica got a speeding ticket on the way to Millers Point, too bad the boy she was in such a hurry to suck face with was Paul Sherwood who can't kiss worth a damn. Add him to the dead fish pile, kids.

  • Betsy was allegedly up at MP with Charlie Cashman and Jim Sturbridge.

  • The Wakefield study comes complete with a radio, red Oriental rug, and oh, yeah, Betsy Martin.

  • Tricia died Monday, maybe early Tuesday morning [we're talking like 2am early], and she's buried two days later.

  • Before she became ill, Tricia worked at a daycare center.

  • Jessica thinks she's hit paydirt on her quest to find something illegal in Betsy's possessions, but the closest she comes is mistaking tiny little white pills for fun tiny little white pills. They have letters, too. B-A-Y-E-R. Fun!

  • There's a brook behind Sweet Valley Elementary. Seems a bit unsafe, but what do I know? My elementary school was built so close to the marsh that for recess, a bunch of us would go on unofficial marsh walks. Not a great idea at high tide or on rainy days.

  • For those who wondered, Dana is an alto.

  • Neil Freemount is the newest guy at SVH, and he's cute. Tall, blond, and cute. We know this because Jessica's already got him hooked. Aw. How many new kids can one small school have in one year?

  • Jason Stone is tall, thin, with curly black hair, brown eyes, and black tortoise shell glasses. He's an artist and teaches Saturday morning life drawing classes at Sweet Valley Community Center.

  • Winston attempts to break the world record by eating 7 extra large pizzas from Guido's. KSVH was covering the 'story' with film at six o'clock.

  • Who exactly is Tim Houseman, other than the recipients of a piss poor name and Dana's newest boytoy?

  • Winning one of the three slots in the LA Academy of Fine Arts talent search means that Betsy won free tuition, room, and board.

  • Steven's microeconomics professor is the cure for insomnia and as a result, not Steve's best subject.

  • Elizabeth and Jessica share chem class and sit next to one another. I geek out at this because, hello, geek.

  • Mrs. Rollins has a little blue hatchback.

  • Frank DeLuna is the owner of Guidos.

  • Jason is a brown belt in karate.

  • Wait, when did the Wakefields start having a weekly family brunch?

  • And also, since when does the school board have meetings early Sunday morning/afternoon? Since when does any school board do that? Is this one of those things we just don't do 'round here because it's the Bible Belt and all this time I've been missing out?



Quote-y:
  But Tricia kept right on smiling in the face of death and showed the courage of a female Luke Skywalker. - Jessica, honey? The female Luke would be Leia. p4
  "Honestly, I don't know why you get such a kick out of these verbal cat-and-mouse games." That's because you're an idiot, Liz. We know why Jess twists words. It's fun. p53

"Betsy, there's no need for apologies. It's been a rough time for both of us." A sad expression spread across Steven's handsome face. "Tricia was a very special human being." Steve, who the hell refers to the dead love of their life as a 'very special human being'? I could take, and understand, the use of the word 'person' but your way sounds like someone forgot to reword the book outline. LAME. And even Jessica agrees with me, what with her spying and all. p149



  Yes, I'm sure I played a big ol' game of 52 card pick up with various plot threads, but you get the idea. Personally, I don't like Betsy. I understand that her life is hard, and that she has issues which means she's skanky with a heart of gold, only... she's not. She's a complete bitch to Jason and anyone who isn't immediately doing anything for her, and we're not really given all that much to off-set it. Jessica is supposed to be our bitch, and she doesn't make it widely known that she's giving it away free. Which might make her a tease, but I wouldn't be Lysol-ing the toilet seat after each time she's been there. :P

  As to Tricia, for some reason it really bothers me that she seems to have no friends at all at school or anywhere else. Sure, we get a few people at the funeral, but for someone who was supposed to be this sweet girl, you'd think she'd have someone other than Steve in her life. Maybe what bugs me is that it's so sad, and probably not at all intentional. Did her family's trashy behaviour keep her from having any friends at all? Or did the writers just not think that with the exception of Caroline, almost everyone else at SVH has at least one sort of friend before they end up leaning on good old Elizabeth?
  Speaking of Elizabeth, the book repeatedly refers to her brief relationship glitch with Todd, but they use phrases such as "awful near break up was safely in the past." What past? Didn't that JUST happen? Like days ago? Seriously, the rest of the time the book is paced as if it's been a week, max, since Tricia's death, but anytime the Todd/Liz thing is brought up, it's as if months have passed. At the time of this little moment, I think it's the day AFTER Tricia's death. Which would mean Todd and Liz made up yesterday. *head desk* Either I missed something, or someone out there deserves a big kick in the kneecaps.
  Also, up until this most recent re-reading of Promises, I hadn't realized Betsy is Tricia's older sister. D'oh! I thought she was just one of the many SVH drop outs in the junior range. Don't I feel a bit silly...
  My absolute favorite bit? At the end where we gloss over Steven threatening to send Jessica to die in a desert and she fires back that Steve told Liz about the Betsy plan, and excluded her, because he loves Elizabeth more.

   Yes. Cover wise, the French one confounds me. Is the sluttified one supposed to be Betsy, and if so, when did she have time to dye her hair? Love the other, though. At least, in what little I can see. As to the funky colors above, really, there's the light blue one and then there's this bizarre aqua one that looks more blue than the aqua it is. And I should know, seeing as that's my copy and all. :P

the_oracle: (plotting)
Promises
January 1985

Somehow, Jessica will get rid of Betsy!

Bad girl in town...


   Steven Wakefield is crushed when his girlfriend, Tricia, dies after a tragic illness. The only things that keep him going are the memory of their love and his promise to Tricia to take care of her sister, Betsy, after she's gone.
   Betsy Martin's wild exploits with drink, drugs, and boys have left her with the worst reputation in Sweet Valley. But when Steven takes her into the Wakefield home, Betsy makes a promise to change. And as her goodness grows, so does her love for Steven.
   Jessica, Steven's conniving younger sister, doesn't like this one bit. She makes a little promise of her own-to get Betsy out of the house and out of Steven's life... forever!


  G'ah, who had the raging hatred for the short haired brunettes in the Valley? First we have Easy Annie and now we've got Betsy Martin who actually cops to her escapades and says, yeah, they're true. Let's begin superficially, as that's how we left off before. Betsy there is one of the least lucky of the SVH characters in that she has to share a cover with Jessica [whom I love, cover art wise, for most of the earlier books] and that she's um, well, not Lila circa SVT/Unicorns club, but in the same alley. Which should, if they're both taking notes, be very, very dark. So no one can see you. At all. *cough*

  Like the last gazillion books or so, this one picks up pretty much right after the previous book. We're at the hospital, huddling around Tricia's death bed. That's right, folks, it's taken her how long to actually get here, and we're going to burn through it so fast it'll leave you spinning in your chair. It's all very touching and even Jessica sees the error of her ways, sort of, and tries to apologize, but Tricia doesn't see the need, what with Death tapping her foot gently. Really, in the grand scheme of things, Tricia doesn't need Jessica's apology. Given the way she snarked about Cara, she knows full well how much of a jerk Jessica is, and she's not going to worry about it in her final moments. Rock on?
  The rest of the Wakefields file out after their brief goodbye moments, leaving Steven and Tricia alone. That's right, there are no other Martins at this death-day party. Just Wakefields. Seriously, Tricia has NO friends. How in the hell... Sorry, tangent.
  Steve and Trish reminisce about their first date and it's killing Steve to watch the light slowly fade from Tricia's eyes, but before she checks out completely, she asks Steven to do her a favor. The infamous " 'I'd do anything...' 'Really? Anything?' '...damn...'" kind of moment. Tricia asks that Steve take care of her sister, Betsy. Steve isn't exactly sure how well that will work out, given what a wild child Betsy is. But it's Tricia's dying wish, so of course he'll say yes.
  A short time later, the Wakefields are leaving, seeing as Tricia has died, and as they're almost home free, Betsy bursts into the hospital and freaks out. "My sister! My siiissssssttteeeeerrr!" Yeah, where were you the hour or two it took Tricia to die? Uh huh, you were out getting drunk and smoking absolutely everything you could get your hands on. So shut the hell up, kay? [It isn't often I'm with Jessica on something, but I'm on her side for the disgust at this point. I know, I know, that says something HORRIBLE about me, but I'll just have to deal, I suppose.] She sobs and carries on when Steve tells her that it's too late, and Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield decide to take Betsy home with them. Betsy's in no shape to argue and away they go.
  Jessica is not pleased with this. Betsy Martin, in case you've been living under a rock, is a world class super tramp as well as a drugged out freak. Dunno, that just seems like something the bitchy crowd at SVH would say. To illustrate how much of a skank Betsy is, rumour has it that she recently spent some quality time up at Miller's Point with two boys at the same time, and they weren't playing a rousing game of cards. GASP! For those who like your giggles with a tiny dash of irony, later on Jessica will flit around the Beach Disco with two boys in tow and think nothing of it.
  In an attempt to either atone for her misdeeds, or maybe make sure she doesn't miss another important death again, Betsy vows to give up her wild ways. Jessica [and I] snort and mutter, "That'll be the day." Thing is, somehow she manages. Annie can't keep her thoughts away from boys long enough to ace ONE test, but Betsy quits cold-freakin-turkey. If you're at all skeptical, like me, you spend most of the book waiting for her to fall off the wagon. She doesn't. ... so please don't make the same mistake I keep making, which is to wait in vain. It's okay, I know. I know, we'll get through this together.

  Instead, she swaps one vice for another. Instead of the drinking, drugs, or sex with two boys at once, Betsy falls hard for Steven Wakefield. He pays attention to her, he's nice, and he's making absolutely no movement towards trying to sleep with her, and best of all, he loved Tricia. Which is why I wish they hadn't gone with the obvious "Betsy momentarily wants Steven but isn't thinking at all about how weird it would be to have her sister's leftovers, especially given how said sister left the relationship." Namely, a little guilt over wanting Steven. It would have been nice. Yes. I sit here and actively wish for pain on fictional characters.

  Blah, blah, blah. Liz decides that if Jessica is going to make Betsy feel unwanted, then she [Liz, remember?] will make Betsy feel at home. No, she doesn't get wildly drunk and wallow in self pity [like Mr. Martin, who is still missing at this point] but she does invite herself into Betsy's life and declares that Betsy is a fantastic artist. And, as far as we know, she is. We don't know much about Betsy, other than she's got self esteem issues, and really, I wouldn't mind if Jessica kicked her in the shins with pointy heels. Wait, my issues, not yours. Artist with an attitude problem, whether she's sober or not. There, that's what we know.
  Back at SVH, the universe decides that one corpse isn't enough, so Roger finds out that his mother has had a heart attack. He lets out a mournful wail and freaks out in the cafe, which is just awkward. We'll dwell here for a bit. Turns out Mama Barret needs some operation that can apparently only be done in Houston, so Roger is trying to find the money to fly Mama B out there. Thing is, if you'll remember from book nine, Roger is freakin' POOR. Like he can afford that, right? Mmhmm. The next thing you know, gossip has it that Mr. Patman has ponied up and is sending Mama B to Houston, and everyone wonders when the hell any of the Patmans grew a soul. When did that happen? Jessica and Lila compare stories on who can't talk to Bruce most [Lila because their families are rivals, so it kills me that it takes until SVU for them to get their Romeo/Juliet on, and Jessica because of her ill-fated 'ship that went down in flames] so Cara is elected spokeswoman. The wicked witches of SVH ask and Bruce points out that Mama B did work for Mr. P back in the day [Lila points out that it was waaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day] and that it doesn't hurt to help out the little people every so often, isn't that right, Jessica?
  Jessica then decides that it's time someone around here finally got the trash taken out of the Wakefield study, and tries to properly hatch ways to get rid of Betsy. She looks through Betsy's stuff, swearing all the while [I think she uses the word damn more in this one scene than they do in the entire rest of the series. o_O ] and all she finds is a pillbox filled with aspirin, until she gets to Betsy's sketchbook. At the very end, after Jessica is impressed, she finds a picture of Steven. She flips out, because no book is complete without a Jessica tantrum and ensuing twisty logic.
  Elsewhere, Steven is trying to set Betsy up with his friend Jason. Jason happens to teach an art class, and Betsy is an artist, so it should all be good, right? Wrong. Every time Jason so much as looks at Betsy, she screams, "Stop picturing me doing sweaty naked things with you!"
  Okay, not literally, but close enough. She won't give the guy a chance and is an incredible bitch, sure that all he wants is to get her alone so they can make with the aforementioned sweaty stuff. Jason, meanwhile, seems like he's never gotten laid in his life and that he's okay with it, so long as he can bask in the glory that is Betsy's talent. In other words, he's a friggin' saint. Steve manages to help con Betsy into going to one of Jason's classes, but she comes home all in a funk. Why?
  Because Jason asked her for a date.
  Liz and I stare blankly. So...? Sure, he's a bit on the dorky side, but glasses can be super hot, so long as they aren't those ugly aviator cousin ones, y'know? Noooooooooo, Jason obviously just wants sex, god, can you be any more stupid? Liz points out that this just cannot be true, that he might actually be interested in a talented and pretty young woman. Betsy stalks off because obviously Liz cannot relate. While I get that the guys Betsy is used to hanging out with are only interested in her for various things, how many are friends of Steven's? How many are like Jason, because I'm thinking the answer to that is not many...

  Our C plot [I consider Roger the B, as it will take center stage next book] is Winston, the Starch King. Bruce and Todd bet on whether or not Win can eat four mini pizzas in four minutes. Um, yes, yes he can. Bruce has to pay for Todd and Liz at the Beach Disco, and this spurs Winston on. Apparently in the mid 80's the world record was to believed to have been eating 7 extra large pizzas in one sitting. I'm finding this a little difficult to believe, but whatever. The local news team is out in full force to cover Winston's daring eating escapade, and so is everyone at SVH. Poor Winston spent so much time 'practicing' that he's made himself ill. He makes it to six and a half pizzas, and then has to run off and puke. Woe, Starch King. Woe. Luckily the peasants still love him.

  Back to Jason and Betsy. He offers to ask his former teacher to look at Betsy's application to the Los Angeles Academy of Fine Arts talent search. In return-
  "Hot sweaty sex! I knew it!"
  SHUT UP, Betsy. Considering you've turned the guy down sixteen different times this morning, I really don't think he's going to ask you that in front of Steve or Elizabeth, okay? So chill. You may be experienced, but I'm betting Jason doesn't want whatever you might have, kay? She stalks off, sure that she'd lose anyway, and what's the point? She leaves her sketchbook, again. [it's why Jason popped over in the first place. After her last bitch fit after class, she left her book there, too. Way to take care of the one thing you're supposed to care about, skank.] Liz stops the boys from returning it to her and says Jason should turn it in as Betsy's application. It takes Steven a second to catch on, and all three giggle like school girls, so sure are they that Betsy will win.
  Steve goes back to school, although I swear it's been like, a week, since Tricia's death. Maybe two, if you blinked and missed 'em. Anyway, Betsy freaks out when her father shows up at the Wakefields, and Steven returns. His family points out that Betsy's attachment is hurting them both. Steve can't let himself grieve while forcing himself to be strong for Betsy, and Betsy is entirely too attached to Steve for her own good. Steve tells his parents that he has to take care of Betsy because he promised Tricia.
  Unfortunately, Jessica is spying, and once she hears this, she pretty much RUNS to tell Betsy. Betsy is crushed because she thought Steve was interested and that it was more than a charity case. Fraid not, honey. Trust me, the only person who actually wants what you're giving away is the one you won't let near you. Ain't that just the way?
  So Betsy packs up and calls her good time boys. Jessica then tells people a slightly *cough* skewed version of their encounter. Steve and Jason, both elated over Betsy's winning the talent search, head off to all the dives in the area, looking for Bets. They finally find her at the Shady Lady. A fight ensues between the good boys and the good ol' boys. Jason turns out to be a brown belt in karate, kicks some ass, and then Betsy's offering up her, um, services, but in a little less obvious way.
  Turns out that she's just had one drink and isn't enjoying her old ways, so she'll go home to take care of Papa until school starts in the fall. Jason, I gather, has a backstage pass to Betsy's home.
  The book ends with Roger's mother dying, and his true father revealed. Paul Patman, Bruce's father's richer brother! GASP!

  End scene.



Trivia:

  • Wait, when did the Wakefields get a rust brown LTD? Where was I?

  • Jessica got a speeding ticket on the way to Millers Point, too bad the boy she was in such a hurry to suck face with was Paul Sherwood who can't kiss worth a damn. Add him to the dead fish pile, kids.

  • Betsy was allegedly up at MP with Charlie Cashman and Jim Sturbridge.

  • The Wakefield study comes complete with a radio, red Oriental rug, and oh, yeah, Betsy Martin.

  • Tricia died Monday, maybe early Tuesday morning [we're talking like 2am early], and she's buried two days later.

  • Before she became ill, Tricia worked at a daycare center.

  • Jessica thinks she's hit paydirt on her quest to find something illegal in Betsy's possessions, but the closest she comes is mistaking tiny little white pills for fun tiny little white pills. They have letters, too. B-A-Y-E-R. Fun!

  • There's a brook behind Sweet Valley Elementary. Seems a bit unsafe, but what do I know? My elementary school was built so close to the marsh that for recess, a bunch of us would go on unofficial marsh walks. Not a great idea at high tide or on rainy days.

  • For those who wondered, Dana is an alto.

  • Neil Freemount is the newest guy at SVH, and he's cute. Tall, blond, and cute. We know this because Jessica's already got him hooked. Aw. How many new kids can one small school have in one year?

  • Jason Stone is tall, thin, with curly black hair, brown eyes, and black tortoise shell glasses. He's an artist and teaches Saturday morning life drawing classes at Sweet Valley Community Center.

  • Winston attempts to break the world record by eating 7 extra large pizzas from Guido's. KSVH was covering the 'story' with film at six o'clock.

  • Who exactly is Tim Houseman, other than the recipients of a piss poor name and Dana's newest boytoy?

  • Winning one of the three slots in the LA Academy of Fine Arts talent search means that Betsy won free tuition, room, and board.

  • Steven's microeconomics professor is the cure for insomnia and as a result, not Steve's best subject.

  • Elizabeth and Jessica share chem class and sit next to one another. I geek out at this because, hello, geek.

  • Mrs. Rollins has a little blue hatchback.

  • Frank DeLuna is the owner of Guidos.

  • Jason is a brown belt in karate.

  • Wait, when did the Wakefields start having a weekly family brunch?

  • And also, since when does the school board have meetings early Sunday morning/afternoon? Since when does any school board do that? Is this one of those things we just don't do 'round here because it's the Bible Belt and all this time I've been missing out?



Quote-y:
  But Tricia kept right on smiling in the face of death and showed the courage of a female Luke Skywalker. - Jessica, honey? The female Luke would be Leia. p4
  "Honestly, I don't know why you get such a kick out of these verbal cat-and-mouse games." That's because you're an idiot, Liz. We know why Jess twists words. It's fun. p53

"Betsy, there's no need for apologies. It's been a rough time for both of us." A sad expression spread across Steven's handsome face. "Tricia was a very special human being." Steve, who the hell refers to the dead love of their life as a 'very special human being'? I could take, and understand, the use of the word 'person' but your way sounds like someone forgot to reword the book outline. LAME. And even Jessica agrees with me, what with her spying and all. p149



  Yes, I'm sure I played a big ol' game of 52 card pick up with various plot threads, but you get the idea. Personally, I don't like Betsy. I understand that her life is hard, and that she has issues which means she's skanky with a heart of gold, only... she's not. She's a complete bitch to Jason and anyone who isn't immediately doing anything for her, and we're not really given all that much to off-set it. Jessica is supposed to be our bitch, and she doesn't make it widely known that she's giving it away free. Which might make her a tease, but I wouldn't be Lysol-ing the toilet seat after each time she's been there. :P

  As to Tricia, for some reason it really bothers me that she seems to have no friends at all at school or anywhere else. Sure, we get a few people at the funeral, but for someone who was supposed to be this sweet girl, you'd think she'd have someone other than Steve in her life. Maybe what bugs me is that it's so sad, and probably not at all intentional. Did her family's trashy behaviour keep her from having any friends at all? Or did the writers just not think that with the exception of Caroline, almost everyone else at SVH has at least one sort of friend before they end up leaning on good old Elizabeth?
  Speaking of Elizabeth, the book repeatedly refers to her brief relationship glitch with Todd, but they use phrases such as "awful near break up was safely in the past." What past? Didn't that JUST happen? Like days ago? Seriously, the rest of the time the book is paced as if it's been a week, max, since Tricia's death, but anytime the Todd/Liz thing is brought up, it's as if months have passed. At the time of this little moment, I think it's the day AFTER Tricia's death. Which would mean Todd and Liz made up yesterday. *head desk* Either I missed something, or someone out there deserves a big kick in the kneecaps.
  Also, up until this most recent re-reading of Promises, I hadn't realized Betsy is Tricia's older sister. D'oh! I thought she was just one of the many SVH drop outs in the junior range. Don't I feel a bit silly...
  My absolute favorite bit? At the end where we gloss over Steven threatening to send Jessica to die in a desert and she fires back that Steve told Liz about the Betsy plan, and excluded her, because he loves Elizabeth more.

   Yes. Cover wise, the French one confounds me. Is the sluttified one supposed to be Betsy, and if so, when did she have time to dye her hair? Love the other, though. At least, in what little I can see. As to the funky colors above, really, there's the light blue one and then there's this bizarre aqua one that looks more blue than the aqua it is. And I should know, seeing as that's my copy and all. :P

the_oracle: (left of normal)
When Love Dies
September 1984

What terrible secret is Tricia keeping from Steven?

The end of romance...


  The Wakefield twins' older brother, Steven, is heartbroken. His girlfriend, Tricia Martin, no longer seems interested in him. She breaks their dates and doesn't return his calls. Steven can't understand why Tricia's feelings have changed so suddenly.
  Jessica is thrilled that Steven isn't dating Tricia anymore. She sees it as the perfect opportunity to pair him with her best friend, Cara Walker. Elizabeth, Jessica's twin, thinks that scheming, gossipy Cara is all wrong for Steven. She's determined to find out the reason for Tricia's strange behavior- and horrified when she discovers the awful truth.

  When Love Dies is pretty much the pivotal moment in Steven Wakefield's life. Moreso than when Tricia actually dies [come on, look at the title. While misleading in that she's still alive at the end of this book, she's going to croak SOON] because this is when the angst cranks up to ungodly levels. But let's take a moment to back up, breathe, and start at the beginning.
  Steven Wakefield is upset. His girlfriend of the entire series thus far [though, seriously, how long has this been? Are we still in fall, did we move to spring, or what?] has been blowing him off left, right, and center. He comes home for weekends, basically just to see her, and drop off laundry for Alice to do, and she won't see him. She abruptly ends their calls, she never writes, she won't send flowers, and gosh oh golly, she probably doesn't say I love you either. Zee pain. Oh, the agony. Though to be fair, that must suck. In fact, it does suck, so I'm sorry, Steve. If it weren't for the fact that you'll obsess over this for the rest of your entire LIFE, this would break my heart.
  Anyway, no one can figure out why formerly sweet and devoted china doll Tricia is daring to be all elusive with one of the great Wakefields. Cara Walker begins spreading the word that Tricia's got a new boyfriend. Being the kind, thoughtful, and considerate little sister that she is, Jessica says as much to Steve and offers to hook him up with Cara. Which is a bit cruel as Cara really likes Steve and well, he's still hung up on his tragic girlfriend. In a fit of desperation, Steve goes to the Martins' home and pushes his way past drunk daddy [why doesn't Steve end up in jail? He's an ass at times and he lacks a lot of the bubbly charm his sisters have] to confront Tricia. She's packing and he assumes that she's going away for the weekend with some other guy. She doesn't deny this and they break up. They're both crushed, though Steve thinks Tricia's pain is because she's been caught.
  So the love birds mope around. Jessica can only stand it when she's the one moping, so she convinces Steve to go to a party at Cara's. The catch? Cara isn't throwing a party. They try and whip one up, but for two of the most popular girls in school, all they can manage is Lila Fowler*, Lila's date, Jessica, Aaron Dallas, Steve, and of course, Cara. Seriously? I could get more people to a party on short notice in high school, and I was one of the social outcasts. :P Beers are handed out because Cara's parents are out and the couples break off to go make out. Cara gets to gossiping, which is sort of what Steve wanted, and when he learns that Tricia does indeed have a new boyfriend he overcompensates. Because he's a jealous, impetuous type, Steve ropes Cara out onto the dance floor, and in an effort to prove he's so over Tricia, kisses Cara. While Cara feels the earth move and fireworks explode overhead, all Steve feels inside is cold and dead.
  Jessica skips home afterward, thrilled that her latest matchmaking ploy has worked. Liz is in shock, what could Steve see in Cara? At school, Liz runs into Tricia and they chat awkwardly about why Tricia ran off the last time Liz saw her, but before Liz can ask, "Why're you being so cold to my bestest big brother?" Cara and Jessica waltz by, discussing Steve and Cara's explosive night out. Loudly. Poor Tricia looks as if her heart is breaking, but there isn't anything anyone, even Super!Liz, can do.
  By now we know that Tricia has leukemia and is dying. It's not a maybe, could be, if we're not lucky sort of thing. This is the, aside from God coming down from on high and giving the girl a break, she's toast. Her mother died of the same thing when she was nine, and that's what led Mr. Martin to drink, and probably what led her sister Betsy to being such a skanktastic wonder. Tricia saw how it ruined her family, how it ruined her father, and she decided that she could not, would not, do that to Steve. So they broke up, and she let him hate her, so that when she dies, he won't care as much, and later on he might forgive her, but it'll be okay because he won't be as emotionally entangled as he could have been. The hard part is that this means she's essentially dying alone. I gather Tricia has NO friends at all, because they're never mentioned and you'd think one of them would know, if she had any.
  So as her heart is breaking over the thought of her boyfriend, ex or otherwise, with Cara of all people, part of her hopes that this means Steve is moving on. So she flashbacks to her dates with Steve and tries to be freakishly, superhumanly strong. *sniffle*

  This, by the way, leads us to the B story. Jessica gets wind that Jeremy Franks, a local TV celeb of sorts, is in the hospital with a broken leg. Maybe had he not skied into a tree, his leg would be fine, but when you're that handsome, well, the trees throw themselves in your way. Cara got the word from Janie McBride, a candy striper at the hospital. Jessica decides that she and Liz will finally give back to the community by becoming candy stripers, too. First she has to talk Liz into it, which is a bit more difficult than one would imagine. However, Liz crumbles as she's no match for the youngest Wakefield, and off they go to the hospital, where they both have similarly bad flashbacks. Liz remembers her coma stint and the aftermath of the accident, while Jessica remembers that she just recently drove a girl to attempted suicide. Despite this bit of foreboding, the twins enter and are quickly welcomed to the fold. Jessica gets maternity and Liz gets... some other floor that you know will house Jeremy Franks. It does, Liz meets him, and Jess is jealous. She goes to visit, and flirts. When she leans over to sign his cast, she loses her balances and reaches out, pen still in hand, and somehow manages to jab the poor guy in the knee. This is just the first of many, many horrible things. Poor Jeremy.
  Now, we know that Tricia's going in and out of the hospital, and during one of her In patient moments, Liz goes to see the new girl. They freak out, Tricia confesses that it wasn't a friend, as she'd previously said, but that she's dying and no, you nosy girl, you cannot tell Steve because it would KILL him, and that would kill Tricia even faster. Or something. Liz promises not to tell and it eats her alive. She also promises to tell Steve, after Tricia's been dead awhile, that she really did love him. This complicates matters as Liz is sure that Steve and Tricia should decide together what to do. If he wants to run for the hills, let it be his/their choice.
  So Liz angsts about this for a bit.

  Back at the hospital, Liz and Jeremy have decided that the only way to keep Jessica from spying Jeremy naked again and dropping ice water on him from shock, is for him to pursue her. He gives her roses, he flirts, and eventually he asks her to marry him. For a second it seems as if Project Hurricane is a success. Jessica freaks out and runs away. But given time to think about it, Jessica decides that maybe this will work to her advantage. So she takes him up on it. Too bad it was a bit of a joke/scheme, so he's forced to confess. Jessica agrees to forgive and forget, if he'll let her on his show, something she was angling for all along. Sneaky, sneaky.

  Mr. Collins asks Liz to tutor Max Dellon because he's going to flunk and she's Mr. C's best student. She agrees, but when she's not doing dorky back flips over this, Collins asks what's up. A little prodding later, Liz spills the beans about Tricia. Mr. C never comes out and says she should break her promise, but he does say that some promises were never meant to be kept. Liz decides she's going to tell Steve before Cara gets her hooks in any deeper. We're never really told whether Liz just thinks Cara isn't good enough for Steve, or if she just believes that Trish and Steve are her OTP. Thing is, before she can say a word to him, Steve's off.
  Cara and Steve go to a party at his dorm, where Cara makes the mistake of telling Steve that if they're to be a couple, he can't just go around thinking about Tricia all the time. This makes sense, except that if you have to say that, you have no chance of getting the guy you want, the way you want him. Steve blows up and takes her home, effectively "breaking up" without ever copping to being a couple in the works at all. Liz swoops in and tells him that Tricia still loves him and that she only broke it off with him to protect him. The rest of the story comes tumbling out and Steve is at once heartbroken and elated. Yay! Tricia loves him. Woe! She's going to die. So he runs over to the Martins and tells Tricia that he knows, and they cry and all is good.
  For a second it looks like we'll get a relatively happy ending. Tricia and Steve are joined at the hip, Jessica got her guest stint on Frankly Speaking, and Elizabeth's social calender is filled to the brim. She's on her way to the party at the Morrows after a quick study session with Max. But first she has to make it out of the hospital parking lot. She's made it to her car, all creeped out by the lack of people and the storm heading their way, when Creepy Carl, the orderly who so obviously thinks Liz is beautiful [as he's always staring at her, but rarely says much and is just creeeeeeeeeepy] knocks on her window and says their boss lady needs to see her. Liz reluctantly crawls out of the Fiat and he grabs her, chloroforms her, and gently places her on the mattress he's so thoughtfully put in the back of his creepy van.
  We're told that we have to wait an extra month to find out what happens and we fade to black.


Trivia!:

  • Janie McBride is the candy striper who tells Cara about Jeremy's accident and stay at the hospital.

  • Jeremy Franks is a local celebrity who hosts 'Frankly Speaking' which is a talk show. He broke his leg when he skied into a tree. Oops.

  • Tricia Martin's mother died of leukemia when Tricia was nine. This tore her family apart and drove her father to drink.

  • Cara's little brother is 13.

  • When word gets out that the new family in the Godfrey mansion [the Morrows] is loaded and has a teenage son, what's Cara's first thought? I wonder what car he drives. My money would have been on, "I wonder if he's cute." Oh well.

  • Speaking of the Godfrey Mansion, it's even better than Fowler Crest. Mr. Wakefield was Mr. Godfrey's lawyer and handles the estate now that Mr. Godfrey has died.

  • Alice Wakefield was a candy striper when she was around the twins' age.

  • Kurt Morrow was the star QB for the Hawks. Now he's into computers and is totally loaded.

  • Jeremy Franks is in room 213.

  • Tricia Martin is in room 227.

  • Elizabeth decides to call her series for The Oracle about her stint at the hospital, "A Candy Striper's Journal." Um, is it just me, or is that painfully dry?

  • Carl, the creepy custodian, drives a gunmetal gray Chevy van.


Quotes:
  Jessica gave a huge sigh and announced, "Life has no meaning."
  Elizabeth greeted this statement with only the tiniest flicker of surprise. After sixteen years, she was used to her twin's theatrics. p25

For weeks afterward, Jessica had pretended to feel faint whenever a boy she liked came near, in hopes he'd think she had some romantic, incurable disease. It ended the day she pulled her act on Tom McKay and he'd commented nervously that he'd hoped whatever she had wasn't catching. p27


  "You're an angel!" Jeremy called to her as she was leaving.
  "I just hope Jessica doesn't find out about any of this," Elizabeth responded, "or I may end up getting my halo bashed in!" p81




  I won't lie. Back in the day I'd read this book and cry my eyes out. I also would read Lurlene McDaniel books and cry. Emotional masochism at it's best. It was always more about the what if of the story than the actual story itself. What if I were dying and had a really cool boyfriend. Would I tell him, or would I try and hide it until I was gone? If I'd been in Elizabeth's shoes, would I have told Steven, or would I have honored Tricia's wishes? [I'd have told him, even if I knew he'd be all screwed up later on, as he so obviously is.] I could identify with Tricia having a horrible bad hair day on the cover, as my hair desperately wanted to curl when I was in middle school. Now, I'd kill for that problem, but then I had issues. Never did have that sort of bad hair day though, thank the gods.
  I know it's coming, but when Steven says, "Trish, baby, I know," I tear up like a little girl. I hate it when anyone calls anyone who is not a baby "baby", but in this case I make an exception and sniffle like I have for years.
  As time has gone by, I can think of at least two other Jeremy's Jessica's dated. There's that jerk Jeremy [isn't it a Jeremy?] where Jess 'steals' him from Sue or whatever her name is, only he's an ass, and then there's SVH:SY Jeremy, whom I love almost as much as Sam. Not that she actually dates Mr. Franks, it's just one of those names that keeps popping up.
  Totally random, but in the earlier books, before the girls pretty much take over the Fiat, it's so weird to see Jessica and Cara [or any of the characters, really] riding the school bus. Hee.



  *- Lila is almost always referred to as 'Lila Fowler'. Not just her first intro into the book, but anytime Jess or someone says, "Hey, I spent the day with Lila" they always add her last name. It's the ultimate status symbol. I think they knock it off a bit when Cara moves out of the way as Jessica's best friend, but for now she's Lila Fowler. This amuses me, but I'm weird.
the_oracle: (left of normal)
When Love Dies
September 1984

What terrible secret is Tricia keeping from Steven?

The end of romance...


  The Wakefield twins' older brother, Steven, is heartbroken. His girlfriend, Tricia Martin, no longer seems interested in him. She breaks their dates and doesn't return his calls. Steven can't understand why Tricia's feelings have changed so suddenly.
  Jessica is thrilled that Steven isn't dating Tricia anymore. She sees it as the perfect opportunity to pair him with her best friend, Cara Walker. Elizabeth, Jessica's twin, thinks that scheming, gossipy Cara is all wrong for Steven. She's determined to find out the reason for Tricia's strange behavior- and horrified when she discovers the awful truth.

  When Love Dies is pretty much the pivotal moment in Steven Wakefield's life. Moreso than when Tricia actually dies [come on, look at the title. While misleading in that she's still alive at the end of this book, she's going to croak SOON] because this is when the angst cranks up to ungodly levels. But let's take a moment to back up, breathe, and start at the beginning.
  Steven Wakefield is upset. His girlfriend of the entire series thus far [though, seriously, how long has this been? Are we still in fall, did we move to spring, or what?] has been blowing him off left, right, and center. He comes home for weekends, basically just to see her, and drop off laundry for Alice to do, and she won't see him. She abruptly ends their calls, she never writes, she won't send flowers, and gosh oh golly, she probably doesn't say I love you either. Zee pain. Oh, the agony. Though to be fair, that must suck. In fact, it does suck, so I'm sorry, Steve. If it weren't for the fact that you'll obsess over this for the rest of your entire LIFE, this would break my heart.
  Anyway, no one can figure out why formerly sweet and devoted china doll Tricia is daring to be all elusive with one of the great Wakefields. Cara Walker begins spreading the word that Tricia's got a new boyfriend. Being the kind, thoughtful, and considerate little sister that she is, Jessica says as much to Steve and offers to hook him up with Cara. Which is a bit cruel as Cara really likes Steve and well, he's still hung up on his tragic girlfriend. In a fit of desperation, Steve goes to the Martins' home and pushes his way past drunk daddy [why doesn't Steve end up in jail? He's an ass at times and he lacks a lot of the bubbly charm his sisters have] to confront Tricia. She's packing and he assumes that she's going away for the weekend with some other guy. She doesn't deny this and they break up. They're both crushed, though Steve thinks Tricia's pain is because she's been caught.
  So the love birds mope around. Jessica can only stand it when she's the one moping, so she convinces Steve to go to a party at Cara's. The catch? Cara isn't throwing a party. They try and whip one up, but for two of the most popular girls in school, all they can manage is Lila Fowler*, Lila's date, Jessica, Aaron Dallas, Steve, and of course, Cara. Seriously? I could get more people to a party on short notice in high school, and I was one of the social outcasts. :P Beers are handed out because Cara's parents are out and the couples break off to go make out. Cara gets to gossiping, which is sort of what Steve wanted, and when he learns that Tricia does indeed have a new boyfriend he overcompensates. Because he's a jealous, impetuous type, Steve ropes Cara out onto the dance floor, and in an effort to prove he's so over Tricia, kisses Cara. While Cara feels the earth move and fireworks explode overhead, all Steve feels inside is cold and dead.
  Jessica skips home afterward, thrilled that her latest matchmaking ploy has worked. Liz is in shock, what could Steve see in Cara? At school, Liz runs into Tricia and they chat awkwardly about why Tricia ran off the last time Liz saw her, but before Liz can ask, "Why're you being so cold to my bestest big brother?" Cara and Jessica waltz by, discussing Steve and Cara's explosive night out. Loudly. Poor Tricia looks as if her heart is breaking, but there isn't anything anyone, even Super!Liz, can do.
  By now we know that Tricia has leukemia and is dying. It's not a maybe, could be, if we're not lucky sort of thing. This is the, aside from God coming down from on high and giving the girl a break, she's toast. Her mother died of the same thing when she was nine, and that's what led Mr. Martin to drink, and probably what led her sister Betsy to being such a skanktastic wonder. Tricia saw how it ruined her family, how it ruined her father, and she decided that she could not, would not, do that to Steve. So they broke up, and she let him hate her, so that when she dies, he won't care as much, and later on he might forgive her, but it'll be okay because he won't be as emotionally entangled as he could have been. The hard part is that this means she's essentially dying alone. I gather Tricia has NO friends at all, because they're never mentioned and you'd think one of them would know, if she had any.
  So as her heart is breaking over the thought of her boyfriend, ex or otherwise, with Cara of all people, part of her hopes that this means Steve is moving on. So she flashbacks to her dates with Steve and tries to be freakishly, superhumanly strong. *sniffle*

  This, by the way, leads us to the B story. Jessica gets wind that Jeremy Franks, a local TV celeb of sorts, is in the hospital with a broken leg. Maybe had he not skied into a tree, his leg would be fine, but when you're that handsome, well, the trees throw themselves in your way. Cara got the word from Janie McBride, a candy striper at the hospital. Jessica decides that she and Liz will finally give back to the community by becoming candy stripers, too. First she has to talk Liz into it, which is a bit more difficult than one would imagine. However, Liz crumbles as she's no match for the youngest Wakefield, and off they go to the hospital, where they both have similarly bad flashbacks. Liz remembers her coma stint and the aftermath of the accident, while Jessica remembers that she just recently drove a girl to attempted suicide. Despite this bit of foreboding, the twins enter and are quickly welcomed to the fold. Jessica gets maternity and Liz gets... some other floor that you know will house Jeremy Franks. It does, Liz meets him, and Jess is jealous. She goes to visit, and flirts. When she leans over to sign his cast, she loses her balances and reaches out, pen still in hand, and somehow manages to jab the poor guy in the knee. This is just the first of many, many horrible things. Poor Jeremy.
  Now, we know that Tricia's going in and out of the hospital, and during one of her In patient moments, Liz goes to see the new girl. They freak out, Tricia confesses that it wasn't a friend, as she'd previously said, but that she's dying and no, you nosy girl, you cannot tell Steve because it would KILL him, and that would kill Tricia even faster. Or something. Liz promises not to tell and it eats her alive. She also promises to tell Steve, after Tricia's been dead awhile, that she really did love him. This complicates matters as Liz is sure that Steve and Tricia should decide together what to do. If he wants to run for the hills, let it be his/their choice.
  So Liz angsts about this for a bit.

  Back at the hospital, Liz and Jeremy have decided that the only way to keep Jessica from spying Jeremy naked again and dropping ice water on him from shock, is for him to pursue her. He gives her roses, he flirts, and eventually he asks her to marry him. For a second it seems as if Project Hurricane is a success. Jessica freaks out and runs away. But given time to think about it, Jessica decides that maybe this will work to her advantage. So she takes him up on it. Too bad it was a bit of a joke/scheme, so he's forced to confess. Jessica agrees to forgive and forget, if he'll let her on his show, something she was angling for all along. Sneaky, sneaky.

  Mr. Collins asks Liz to tutor Max Dellon because he's going to flunk and she's Mr. C's best student. She agrees, but when she's not doing dorky back flips over this, Collins asks what's up. A little prodding later, Liz spills the beans about Tricia. Mr. C never comes out and says she should break her promise, but he does say that some promises were never meant to be kept. Liz decides she's going to tell Steve before Cara gets her hooks in any deeper. We're never really told whether Liz just thinks Cara isn't good enough for Steve, or if she just believes that Trish and Steve are her OTP. Thing is, before she can say a word to him, Steve's off.
  Cara and Steve go to a party at his dorm, where Cara makes the mistake of telling Steve that if they're to be a couple, he can't just go around thinking about Tricia all the time. This makes sense, except that if you have to say that, you have no chance of getting the guy you want, the way you want him. Steve blows up and takes her home, effectively "breaking up" without ever copping to being a couple in the works at all. Liz swoops in and tells him that Tricia still loves him and that she only broke it off with him to protect him. The rest of the story comes tumbling out and Steve is at once heartbroken and elated. Yay! Tricia loves him. Woe! She's going to die. So he runs over to the Martins and tells Tricia that he knows, and they cry and all is good.
  For a second it looks like we'll get a relatively happy ending. Tricia and Steve are joined at the hip, Jessica got her guest stint on Frankly Speaking, and Elizabeth's social calender is filled to the brim. She's on her way to the party at the Morrows after a quick study session with Max. But first she has to make it out of the hospital parking lot. She's made it to her car, all creeped out by the lack of people and the storm heading their way, when Creepy Carl, the orderly who so obviously thinks Liz is beautiful [as he's always staring at her, but rarely says much and is just creeeeeeeeeepy] knocks on her window and says their boss lady needs to see her. Liz reluctantly crawls out of the Fiat and he grabs her, chloroforms her, and gently places her on the mattress he's so thoughtfully put in the back of his creepy van.
  We're told that we have to wait an extra month to find out what happens and we fade to black.


Trivia!:

  • Janie McBride is the candy striper who tells Cara about Jeremy's accident and stay at the hospital.

  • Jeremy Franks is a local celebrity who hosts 'Frankly Speaking' which is a talk show. He broke his leg when he skied into a tree. Oops.

  • Tricia Martin's mother died of leukemia when Tricia was nine. This tore her family apart and drove her father to drink.

  • Cara's little brother is 13.

  • When word gets out that the new family in the Godfrey mansion [the Morrows] is loaded and has a teenage son, what's Cara's first thought? I wonder what car he drives. My money would have been on, "I wonder if he's cute." Oh well.

  • Speaking of the Godfrey Mansion, it's even better than Fowler Crest. Mr. Wakefield was Mr. Godfrey's lawyer and handles the estate now that Mr. Godfrey has died.

  • Alice Wakefield was a candy striper when she was around the twins' age.

  • Kurt Morrow was the star QB for the Hawks. Now he's into computers and is totally loaded.

  • Jeremy Franks is in room 213.

  • Tricia Martin is in room 227.

  • Elizabeth decides to call her series for The Oracle about her stint at the hospital, "A Candy Striper's Journal." Um, is it just me, or is that painfully dry?

  • Carl, the creepy custodian, drives a gunmetal gray Chevy van.


Quotes:
  Jessica gave a huge sigh and announced, "Life has no meaning."
  Elizabeth greeted this statement with only the tiniest flicker of surprise. After sixteen years, she was used to her twin's theatrics. p25

For weeks afterward, Jessica had pretended to feel faint whenever a boy she liked came near, in hopes he'd think she had some romantic, incurable disease. It ended the day she pulled her act on Tom McKay and he'd commented nervously that he'd hoped whatever she had wasn't catching. p27


  "You're an angel!" Jeremy called to her as she was leaving.
  "I just hope Jessica doesn't find out about any of this," Elizabeth responded, "or I may end up getting my halo bashed in!" p81




  I won't lie. Back in the day I'd read this book and cry my eyes out. I also would read Lurlene McDaniel books and cry. Emotional masochism at it's best. It was always more about the what if of the story than the actual story itself. What if I were dying and had a really cool boyfriend. Would I tell him, or would I try and hide it until I was gone? If I'd been in Elizabeth's shoes, would I have told Steven, or would I have honored Tricia's wishes? [I'd have told him, even if I knew he'd be all screwed up later on, as he so obviously is.] I could identify with Tricia having a horrible bad hair day on the cover, as my hair desperately wanted to curl when I was in middle school. Now, I'd kill for that problem, but then I had issues. Never did have that sort of bad hair day though, thank the gods.
  I know it's coming, but when Steven says, "Trish, baby, I know," I tear up like a little girl. I hate it when anyone calls anyone who is not a baby "baby", but in this case I make an exception and sniffle like I have for years.
  As time has gone by, I can think of at least two other Jeremy's Jessica's dated. There's that jerk Jeremy [isn't it a Jeremy?] where Jess 'steals' him from Sue or whatever her name is, only he's an ass, and then there's SVH:SY Jeremy, whom I love almost as much as Sam. Not that she actually dates Mr. Franks, it's just one of those names that keeps popping up.
  Totally random, but in the earlier books, before the girls pretty much take over the Fiat, it's so weird to see Jessica and Cara [or any of the characters, really] riding the school bus. Hee.



  *- Lila is almost always referred to as 'Lila Fowler'. Not just her first intro into the book, but anytime Jess or someone says, "Hey, I spent the day with Lila" they always add her last name. It's the ultimate status symbol. I think they knock it off a bit when Cara moves out of the way as Jessica's best friend, but for now she's Lila Fowler. This amuses me, but I'm weird.
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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