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: (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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