the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (Default)
Trouble At Home
May 1990


Is the Wakefield family coming apart?
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Family problems...


   There's trouble in the usually happy Wakefield household, and Jessica, Elizabeth, and their brother, Steven, are caught in the middle.
  Mrs. Wakefield is so busy at work that she's hardly ever home. When she is home, all she and Mr. Wakefield seem to do is fight. Tensions increase when Mr. Wakefield decides to run for mayor of Sweet Valley and Mrs. Wakefield doesn't like the people backing him. They have a huge argument that just might end their marriage. Elizabeth, Jessica, and Steven can't do anything to help. Could this be the end of the perfect Wakefield family?


  Huh. That is not really what happens in this book at all. Spoilers for the next book(s), book blurb people! Onward.

   I... Uh... look. If you could see my notebook where I scribble (and lord, do I mean scribble) my notes for these books, you would see "WTF!!" repeated over and over, usually with an explanation as to why I'm WTF-ing that time. Not always. I threw this book down numerous times because while I am good at suspension of disbelief, there are lines, people. LINES. And this book sets those lines ablaze at every turn.
  Also, nothing is resolved by the end of the book. Nothing.

  Sigh. Let us begin.

   Trouble At Home is probably SVH's attempt to show that no family is perfect and that even the families we think are perfect still have their own struggles. In the Wakefield's case, it's that Ned and Alice have been body snatched by their teen counterparts and no one noticed or something because I don't even know how to begin to explain the levels of WTF going on here.
  But I guess I'll try. Alice Wakefield's design firm is in the running to design the new wing of the mall. Jessica's super excited because surely they'll name it the Alice Wakefield wing and she'll get discounts at all the new stores and totally, that will happen, Jessica. I live in a place with like, one and a half malls and for the longest time one of them was known as the mall to get shot at so we pretended it didn't exist so while I did my time as a mallrat, it was at a very, very simple/basic mall that stunts my ability to fathom malls having wings, really. Soooooo... I dunno. It's a big deal because over the course of the book, Alice is put in charge of the design team and if things are a success, she'll be the star of the show. If things fail, she's going to lose her head at work.
  I can never keep up with how Alice's design firm works. Sometimes I think she's a minion (though usually I think that's more in the Kids/Twins books) and sometimes I think it's her show, dammit (usually SVH). Anyway, Alice is very upfront about how this is a Big Deal for her career and that it's going to mean she's not going to be home as much. I feel like this should be mentioned considering how big a part it'll play in the WTF later.

   Ned Wakefield is thrilled that his friend Peter Santelli is running for mayor. Hell, the whole Wakefield clan is thrilled and all five of them turn out to support him at the start of the book at a fund raiser. The next morning, the paper's headlines scream Mayor Candidate Accepts Bribes! and shit goes sideways.
  Peter begs Ned to take the case despite the fact that Ned hasn't tried a criminal case in 15 years, a fact that I am sure will be retconned before long and is probably a retcon anyway. Ned initially tries to find a way to get Peter to find legal counsel more up to the task (y'know, a lawyer who specializes in this) but the kids are so excited for Ned and Alice is so against it (because, like you already said, Ned, it's not your area!) that he decides he's going to do it, gosh dangit!
  And this is where the book hits all the WTF buttons at the same time and my brain exploded just trying to keep up with them all.
  Ned officially takes the case Wednesday night, in that he goes over to the Santelli home to discuss taking the case. Thursday morning, he's all kinds of excited by the thought of being able to do something good (clear Peter's name). Thursday night he's ready to do the walk of doom and gloom.
  Alice is less than pleased when Ned has to back out of going boating with the senior partner at her design firm but Alice? Honey? I'm pretty sure your boss understands that hey, if your husband is going to be defending the mayoral candidate in a trial that starts the next day (WTF!), he's kinda gonna miss the boating thing. Seriously, later all of Ned's law buddies will trip all over themselves to congratulate Alice on heading the design team for the fucking mall, but Alice doesn't think her husband trying to save an honest man's reputation would be something worth backing? (We're ignoring the whole not his area of law angle at this point because if Ned managed to pull this trick off, it would be big news and that news would be good for Alice's firm way more than her designing the new wing of the mall would be for Ned's business but we're expected to just not think of this.)
  But also bullshit about that trial starting less than a week after the alleged bribes were found. Seriously. Bull. Shit. No way, no how.
  So Ned's working on Peter's case and Alice is working on trying to win the mall project and by Friday, Peter's case has been thrown out due to insufficient evidence (seriously, wtf did anyone expect to happen when they had less than a week to build a case against him) and Alice is now heading the mall project. Ned is less than jazzed for her, guys. Less than jazzed.

   At some point, Henry Patman comes a knockin' and tells Ned that he'd be an excellent mayor since Peter has dropped out of the race. Ned's not so sure since it would be an awfully big undertaking for his family and also, it's a lot of responsibility... so he asks for time to consider it and to talk to Alice about it.
  Jessica overhears this, btw, and is sure Daddy is about to become president. Oi. This is, naturally, going to bite everyone on the ass. But Liz makes her promise not to say anything because Ned should talk to Alice about it first and hey, maybe nothing will come of it.
  Ned then spends the next for-freaking-ever not talking to Alice about it. Part of this is because I swear to Christ, Alice never fucking calls home when she's going to be late for dinner and that shit is annoying to the point that I'm breaking my "keep profanity to a minimum" rule. You have a fucking car phone by the end of the book, call home and leave a message on the machine or something, goddammit! It's not that hard to be polite and considerate of others, especially when you've failed to do so numerous times in the recent past and it ALWAYS gets thrown in your face. Just pick up the phone, dammit. Not once is it mentioned that she's tried to call and that Jessica's hogging it due to the B plot (C plot?) and in fact she's forever apologizing after she rolls up late for not even thinking to call. NYARGH.
  Still. Ned should've said something before their big Tahoe weekend because he had plenty of time to do so. He just didn't. I feel like at the very least this should be something to have come up before bed. "Alice, you'll never believe who stopped by..." Sigh.

   Anyway, the Wakefields apparently go up to Lake Tahoe every year as a weekend getaway. There are no phones in the cabin and they basically spend three days just hanging out and being goobers together. The rule is no work, so we all know where this is going.
  Liz has spent the whole book worrying about her family falling apart. When she speaks to her mother's assistant, she tries to get Julia to convince Alice to take the weekend off because if she doesn't, bad things will happen. Julia isn't willing to do so until she has a way to reach Alice if an emergency comes up, so Liz reluctantly gives the main Inn's number to Julia and in return Julia and the rest of the firm make sure that Alice gets her weekend getaway.
  While at the cabin, Jessica lets the mayor thing drop and Alice thinks it's laughable so naturally Ned's like "fuck that, I'd make a fantastic mayor" but the two sort of meet in the middle. Ned points out that this would be a serious time commitment and he didn't want to be away from his family so much.
  Alas, the warm fuzzy moments of the weekend give way to the Inn's owner's son showing up saying that Alice has an emergency call and Ned's pissed that Alice gave out the number. Alice insists she didn't, but still goes to call work back. Liz admits to her mother later that she's the one to have given out the number but... doesn't tell her father? I don't get why she didn't tell both of them, honestly. Alice says it's okay, that Ned is just itching for a fight and Liz asks why and this part made me sad... Alice admits she doesn't know why.
  I waffle on how this book does my head in at different times. Alice chooses to hide her achievements and how work is going from Ned after he 'loses' the case because ... she doesn't want to rub her success in his face? I dunno. But that already happened when she burst home late the day it happened and shared the good news. The cat has escaped the bag and set it on fire, Alice. Maybe, especially when you recognize that it's not working, you should break the cycle of not telling your husband what's going on in your life. I think I get what they were going for but at the same time... no?
  And Ned, be happy for your wife, dammit. Just because you're starting a midlife crisis doesn't mean you can't be happy that Alice is doing good things.

   Sigh. Anyway, Sunday Alice gets another call from work and this time she says she has to leave early because Sal, that jackass, got the brilliant idea to do all the work on the computer and the computer glitched and this is 1990, so she's hosed. But Alice, you're so hosed that honestly, you could stay at the cabin the extra three or so hours and it wouldn't make any damn difference. If this had been the call from the day before, I'd argue it was an emergency and worth the call and she should go. But it's only a few hours and they could have waited to tell her and she could wait to go in to fix things. Seriously, wtf.

  Ned's pissed when Alice doesn't see it this way and tells her that if she leaves, she's not just leaving the family weekend, she's leaving her family.
  And she does.

  Damn, Alice.

  Btw, Ned, I'm pretty sure that part of your running appeal for mayor was your home life so this? This is a stupid fucking idea.

   Jessica's subplot (Liz's was basically keeping the house from falling apart while everyone else did their own thing and she probably kept them all from starving to death) is that she sees a teen party line shown on TV. Despite Liz pointing out how expensive they are and how skeevy it all is, Jessica calls and immediately finds a guy named Charlie. She spends the rest of the book falling for him because he sounds so sexy when he's giving her compliment after compliment. Charlie, however, keeps putting her off and Jessica can't understand why. She worries he thinks she won't be as awesome as she is, but Jess? It's far more likely that he's the one with the secret but what do I know, right? In any case, this is also not resolved by the time Alice ditches her family at Lake Tahoe.

  Ultimately I'm left wondering whether Prince Albert scammed every member of the family out of food every day by giving them big sad puppy eyes and that everyone assumed no one else was taking care of the dog... or did he really have to rely on Liz to have time in her schedule to do all the things?


Trivia Time:

  • When Liz gets home at 5pm Monday, she notes that it's not unusual for Jessica to still be at cheer practice.

  • Jess, btw, got home early so this point is kind of moot.

  • There are four messages on the answering machine and three of them are boys calling for Jessica. One is from Ben and one is from David and Jessica thinks, "I wonder what he wants?" before slipping the message Liz scribbled down into her pocket. We never find out who the third message is from.

  • The fourth message on the machine is from Alice an hour earlier who is running late and wants the family to pick her up on the way to the fund raiser. I'm left with so many questions, like where is her car?

  • The fund raiser is for Peter Santelli and it's a dinner and reception being held in the garden of a civic center downtown.

  • When Jess got home early, she immediately took Prince Albert for a walk outside and then proceeds to make a huge deal of it when she runs into Liz.

  • Jessica is convinced that Maria's dad (Peter) will become mayor and then take the cheerleaders to Washington DC to meet the President. Liz and I are less sure that this is how politics work.

  • Liz claims that Maria is more her friend than Jessica's outside of cheerleading. My initial thought was "really?" but the book then goes out of its way to make sure that I believe that Jessica, Lila, and Amy are awful people so...

  • There's a new guy at Ned's law office named Griffin Pierce. He's described as "really aggressive, money hungry young lawyer" who will take on any case if it's glamorous enough or going to bring in a ton of money. Also, when the twins meet him, he's "thirty going on fifty" and is wearing gray from head to toe. He's an insensitive ass and comments about it being a surprise that Ned would show up at a get together after he lost Peter's case.

  • Jessica suggests that her father ditch law and become an actor to avoid Griffin.

  • Jessica also thinks the new mall wing should be called the Alice Wakefield Wing.

  • Ned is initially very supportive of Alice's firm being in the running for the mall project.

  • The morning after Peter's fund raiser, the paper runs this headline: Mayor Candidate Charged With Accepting Bribes! and nary a peep is written about how odds are good that Jessica and Liz would know the writer or at least the editor of the paper. Wasted throwback potential.

  • Jessica kind of wants Peter to be crooked so he can be like a movie she saw recently.

  • In case you wondered, Jessica's best friends are listed as Lila and Amy with Cara only being mentioned as Steven's girlfriend.

  • Lila comments that there's no point in inviting Maria to dinner now since there's no way her father will be mayor now.

  • Amy and Jessica were extra nice to Maria at practice but there's no reason to keep that up either. I can't tell whether I'm supposed to laugh at how awful these three are or just note that they are, indeed, awful.

  • Lila's father bought her a video camera for her half birthday and Jessica seethes that it's bad enough that Lila has a car phone. Whoa, remember those?

  • Oh, 900 numbers and teens. What could go wrong?

  • Someone mysteriously deposited ten thousand dollars into Peter Santelli's bank account but despite the fact that this book takes place over at least a two week span, we end the book still not knowing who did it. This is just one of the many WTF notations.

  • Ned claims he hasn't taken a criminal case in 15 years.

  • When Jessica calls her teen party line, she meets Charlie, Sara, Micheal, Michelle, Nicola, and Bea. We later learn that Sara's got a thing for Charlie and Micheal takes turns flirting with Bea and Nicola.

  • Charlie is from Riverdale, a town near Sweet Valley. So many towns we've never heard of that only pop up when the plot calls for them. Also, I have so many Archie crossover things here that I'm gonna hush.

  • Liz's locket from Todd (the one he gave her when he moved away) makes a reappearance. ♥

  • Peter calls Ned Wednesday night and begs him to be his lawyer. Ned initially says no and then agrees and apparently goes over Wednesday night. Thursday morning, Ned is gung ho about the case but after spending one day, he's already beaten come Thursday night. Friday he's bitching because Alice will be working even longer hours at work after being appointed head of the project. Time has no meaning anymore.

  • Dough Phelps is the senior partner at Alice's design firm and the Wakefields are supposed to go boating with him Sunday and it's very important that the whole family go.

  • Ned promised the weekend to Peter Santelli since the trial starts Monday.

  • Ned also points out that the family doesn't have to cancel the boating trip, just Ned. Don't make me agree with you, Ned... but yeah, Doug should understand, Alice.

  • Jessica has a phone date with Charlie at 8:15... that she keeps by calling the party line. I never did get how that was supposed to work but my brother was the one who racked up our bill calling a 900 number repeatedly (wrestling, calm down).

  • Jess is flattered that Charlie likes her without ever having seen her, and she's pretty sure that most guys are 99% attracted to her looks whereas Charlie has no idea how fantastic she is.

  • Liz pays for the family's groceries by using their charge at the store.

  • Also, there are a lot of dates to the grocery store for Liz and Todd in this book and I have to admit they're pretty cute.

  • Ingenue magazine says playing the field is so passe.

  • Earl Wasserman is a new guy on the party line and asks if it really costs $1 a minute.

  • The judge suspects Peter's case due to insufficient evidence. This means that while he's not been found guilty, his name has also not been cleared. Peter drops out of the race shortly thereafter.

  • When the dinner Liz makes starts to fall apart as the family waits for Alice, Ned flips out and demands they just deal with frozen dinners. You know what Liz made? Spaghetti, salad, and bread. You know the only part of this equation currently borked? The noodles. It's even mentioned that the sauce is still just fine. Liz even comments that they just need to make more noodles... if they have any. Liz, my love, when you're trying to restock the pantry at home and make a meal such as this, you always buy extra noodles. Always. What if people wanted seconds? What if you dropped the first box on the floor? Seriously, it's not like she was budgeting.

  • Also: once more Alice does not bother to call her damn family when she's going to be late for dinner. It's like she called once, off screen before the book started, and that was supposed to hold her the rest of forever. Not how it works.

  • Jessica invites Charlie to a concert in Big Mesa where "some group from the East Coast" will be playing.

  • Charlie would love to but his brother is coming home from Stamford that weekend.

  • Charlie is a Jr., something Jessica finds out when she calls his house and gets Charlie's father (Charlie Sr.) first.

  • Ned belongs to Psi Epsilon, a legal fraternity I'm 99% sure we've never heard of before now.

  • Alice is super jazzed that the Psi Epsilon annual dinner will have a state supreme court justice and a leading criminal lawyer from San Francisco attending. They didn't go last year because they were out of town but Alice loves these kinds of things. The dinner will be held at Tosca's, a new Italian restaurant in Sweet Valley.

  • This is a bad idea for many reasons, not the least of which the fact that Ned is super down about the law at the moment and seeing people who are either doing far better than he is or just annoying money grubbing lawyer cliches is not going to help. But what do I know, I'm just the reader and Liz is agreeing.

  • Jessica wears a fuschia mini dress and matching tights to the Psi Epsilon dinner.

  • Alice got a car phone but tells Jessica not to touch because it's really expensive.

  • Alice also winds up in the paper when her firm wins the mall bid.

  • Sy Underwood, "a small beaming man" who met Ned at the last Psi Epsilon bash, is thrilled over Alice's good fortune and confesses to wanting to be an architect when he was an undergrad.

  • Sy is the first of many people who congratulate Alice on her achievements while pointedly ignoring Ned's recent set back.

  • After his run in with Griffin, Ned leaves but Alice makes the kids stay another half an hour before packing it in.

  • Henry Patman and James Knapp, a political analyst who was assisting Peter's campaign, stop by to convince Ned to run for mayor.

  • The Wakefields go to Lake Tahoe every year. They rent a "charming redwood cabin with three bedrooms, a small kitchen, and a tiny living room with a fireplace" and no phone and BBQ most of their meals. Various other traditions include putting on their PJs, having hot chocolate and playing charades, hiking, and going to the Inn for dinner Saturday night.

  • Alice's assistant is Julia.

  • Almost any time Alice is mentioned having to do something with someone at the office, it's Sal. And Sal is always having an emergency. Fire Sal, Alice. Sal is also the one who got the bright idea to use the 'interactive software' to design part of the wing and of course the computer went down.



Quotes:

Elizabeth gave her twin a wry smile. Trust Jessica to take the one household chore she'd done all month and make it seem like the labors of Hercules! - Don't mind me, I'll be over here snickering, p3

"Jessica, from your voice... your name... you are poetry," Charlie said.
This was too much. Here was this guy saying these incredible things to her-right in front of the others on the line!- and he hadn't even seen her yet. Jessica had always been convinced that her looks were about ninety-nine percent of the reason guys asked her out. But Charlie couldn't see her. So why did he like her and not the others? - Aww. I will forever be a sucker for the "pretty girl is found awesome by someone who can't see her beauty and it throws her" trope. p39

"I've decided- just from your voice- that you're blond. Am I right?"
Jessica giggled. "You're right," she confessed.
"I could tell," Charlie said triumphantly. "You have the blondest voice I've ever heard."
Jessica felt shivers of delight go through her. Imagine how thrilled Charlie was going to be when he found out just how blond she really was! - I... uh... phrasing? This is so weird. I'm at turns amused and befuddled, really. p 47

This was Jessica's favorite kind of conversation. She loved hearing a list of all her positive characteristics. - Oh, Jessica. p86

"You're a perfect candidate, Ned. You're young, strong, smart-with a wonderful background in law. You've got a beautiful family. You're honest. You're ethical. You're exactly what this community needs, and who this community will vote for." - James Knapp is good at fluffing egos, eh? p 99

The Wakefields' courtship was like something out of a fairy tale. They met, they fell in love, they got married, and they really did live happily ever after.
Until now. - Liz, don't make me sad. p121


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   My mental notes on this from however long it's been since I read this were basically: Mr. Wakefield goes to Washington, Ned and Alice set their marriage ablaze, Jessica doesn't care. Re-reading it didn't really change those thoughts, alas. It wasn't boring like I feared it would be, but it was painful because this book really should have had half these things peppered in previous books and then dealt with the trial vs. the mall time suck instead of trying to get us to believe all of this took place in under a month.
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Who's Who?
February 1990


Will the real Jessica please stand up?
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Scheming again...


   Jessica Wakefield has a fantastic idea! She's bored with all the guys at Sweet Valley High, so a computer dating service seems like the perfect way to spice up her love life- especially when she invents two new sparkling personalities to help her out!

  Jessica becomes sophisticated Daniella Fromage and also Magenta Galaxy, a wild corker with a passion for anything hot. The two guys she gets set up with seem to be exactly what she wanted. With the reluctant help of her twin sister, Elizabeth, Jessica must somehow manage to juggle them both. Who will finally meet her perfect match- Daniella, Magenta... or Jessica?


  
  I feel like this one doesn't really even need a recap, which probably explains why it took so long to happen.* I've come across people who remember Sweet Valley for a very small handful of things:
  The cover of Double Love, the Evil Twin (occasionally the Return Of as well), tragically dead Regina, and a weird mix of The New Jessica, Daniella Fromage and Magenta freakin' Galaxy.
  Depending on how well the person knew their Sweet Valley, they either realize TNJ is a completely different book or they think it's the one where Jessica creates her weird alter egos that you just know she'd use online later on. (What, you know damn well that Jessica went by Magenta Galaxy online. Don't even try to pretend otherwise.)



   Listen up, kiddies, for the story of the birth of Magenta Freakin' Galaxy.

   We begin with the Wakefield twins shopping at the mall. In a shocking twist of events, they are shopping for a dress for Elizabeth! Stop the presses, Liz is the cause of this shopping expedition? Gasp!

   Anyway, Liz has found the perfect dress for the Valentine's dance that's coming up. For someone who is going to spend the rest of this book and the next worrying about being too boring, she's made an unusual color choice for this particular dance: blue-green that seems to shimmer back and forth between the colors. Since this is my favorite nail polish color ever, I must approve but still. You're more of a rebel than you give yourself credit for, Wakefield Twin #1.
  The only problem with the dress is that it's way too pricey and Liz can't justify the expense, so she puts it back and fails to love anything else nearly as much. To perfectly illustrate the differences between our carbon copies, Jess suggests just getting the dress because it's PERFECTION and Liz clearly loves it. Mom will totally understand once she sees Liz in the dress.
  Liz is the responsible twin, guys, and Jess is the 'impulsive bankrupt your parents in the pursuit of your own happiness' twin. Huzzah! Now that that's sorted out, let's get this A plot rolling.

   There's a new store in the mall called Lovestruck Computer Dating. They advertise "Teens Our Specialty" which sounds a million kinds of creepy, honestly. I'm not sure if that's due to all the years of L&O:SVU or what, but yeah. Anyway, Jess is thrilled because she's SO BORED by all the guys she's dated and by Elizabeth's estimates, Jessica has dated everyone at SVH. Twice over by now, probably.
  Jess pulls her twin inside and gets the scoop on how the enterprise works. Jess grabs an application for herself and then declares that her twin needs one, too. Before Liz can blow it by declaring her undying love for Todd again, Jessica pulls her away and points out that duh, of course the second application is for Jessica. Just be cool, Liz. Jess has this all figured out. Her problem with her last matchmaking company is that she filled out all the answers honestly (I... don't think that was the problem, Jess) and this time she's going to fill out the application in order to snag the kind of guy she wants.
  Because she's Jessica, she has a backup plan already in motion.

   First we have Daniella Fromage, who is the beret wearing twin on the front of the book. Daniella, in a valiant effort to overcome her last name being French for cheese, has a deep love for foreign films, modern poetry, French cuisine, and world travel. She also happens to be based a bit on Suzanne Hanlon, only less insufferable.

   Magenta Galaxy is the wild rocker who likes everything new and anything hot, including fast cars, loud dance bands, and the latest fashions- the wilder the better. She's based on Dana Larson, although I'm going to need the story of Dana dancing on a coffee counter at 4am after scarfing down a burger since that's also part of Magenta's profile.

  Liz is completely baffled as to why Jessica would bother to base these two characters on people they know (you're going to be a fun writer, aren't you, Lizzie?) and why not just give the girls real names and have the company matchmake for them. Jess scoffs at this and then Liz points out that her last go round of being someone else didn't work out so well. Jess does not wish to discuss A.J. because it's still a sore subject, even if she does realize that she's not meant to be tied down to just one guy yet. Jessica then returns the applications to the pile and makes sure that they're not together so no one sees the same address but different last names.

  Right, because that's going to be the problem they have with the names... I suppose that since they specialize in teenagers they also specialize in knowing that false names are also going to be part of the deal. Enh, it gave us Magenta Galaxy so let's roll with it.


   Not too long afterward, the twins arrive home on a Friday and find a letter waiting for Daniella Fromage. They've found her a match in Pierre Du Lac who sounds positively dreamy to Jessica. She calls Lovestruck to give them permission to let Pierre have her phone number, only Prince Albert is having none of this. When Jessica tells her Prince, repeatedly, to leave her be, the woman on the other end of the call is confused as to why she'd need help dating if she has a prince already.
  I really cannot tell you if little me found this funny or if younger me also pulled the "are you serious? Really?" sarcastic face at the thought of someone being that Amelia Bedelia about anything as a freakin' adult. :P

   And then reality comes crashing down as Jessica realizes she says she wants a guy interested in things she knows very little about and now she has to learn enough to fake it. But how? Liz suggests a crash course and of course! So Jessica makes an appointment with Suzanne Hanlon and Elizabeth is left to wonder just how wrong this whole Fromage thing is going to wind up before the end.

   Turns out that Jessica is capable of being on time if it's important enough, as she rolls up to the Hanlon house at 10am on the dot. I think we're supposed to be impressed by the Hanlon estate but really, is it Fowler Crest or Bruce's mansion or even Regina's home? No? Then no one cares. Sorry, Suzanne.

  Then Magenta gets a hit in the form of Brett S. because last names just aren't cool. So Jess gets Dana to give her a crash course in being a new kind of awesome (all in the name of true love, which I suspect Dana agrees to because Jessica's schemes have got to be legendary at SVH) and then Jess spends the rest of her week cramming as much sophistication and punk rock music into her brain as is fictionally possible. When Liz tires of hearing the Psychedelic Overtones cranked up to 11, she asks Jessica to turn the crap down but, as always, Jess can't hear her. Oh the wackiness of that setup will never get old.

   This transitions to Liz still not understanding why Jessica would go to such lengths to get a guy who isn't even going to get to know the real Jessica (there are so many punchlines here that I literally cannot choose between them, so form your own) and that NONE of this is Jessica's style.
  Jessica shoots back that maybe it could be and she'll never know if she never tries and, as always, Jessica's logic works in the moment. Then she points out that just because Elizabeth is content to never push boundaries and to know her limitations, it doesn't mean that Jessica has to feel the same way. Liz worries that maybe she is boring and a coward and the set up for The New Elizabeth is born. It's also our C-plot since Magenta and Daniella are going to be A and B in alternating form.
  To be fair, I agree that especially at sixteen, Jessica should be allowed to push her boundaries at times and that Liz is also right in that this plan is doomed to failure. But it's not because it's Jessica's plan, it's because even after learning about all these things, she has absolutely no interest in them outside of landing a guy. Also, they're all fakers but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

   Because we needed more of Jessica's crash course, we switch to Jessica studying at Lila's. Lila's upset because Jessica went to Suzanne when she wanted to learn to be sophisticated and honestly, I don't blame her. It's particularly amusing since last time she did go to Lila but I digress. Jessica tells Lila that it's because Suzanne is so snobby and over the top and that Lila is decidedly more real but the reality is that Jessica suspects that Pierre is expecting Old Money like the Hanlons and not New Money like the Fowlers. We do have partial confirmation that Lila's father is the richest man in Sweet Valley and that's even with Lila spending money like crazy.
  We're treated to Lila quizzing Jessica on such things as who painted Starry Night and who is Abbie Hoffman, both questions Jessica missed that Lila knew. I could have done with more Lila time but it wasn't meant to be.

   Friday night, date night with Pierre. Jessica panics when she realizes she has no idea how to create the perfect sophisticated look for her date. I call BS because you know damn well that Jessica would have thought to ask Lila for help with that at least, but this gives us a chance to remember that Elizabeth is a classy broad. In a matter of moments she assembles a gorgeous ensemble and even manages to nail the accessories.

  At the restaurant (Chez Sam, really?), Jessica and Pierre are smitten by how gorgeous the other is but conversation never manages to flow easily. Pierre's mistakes are pretty obvious once you've picked up on his whole being a big faker, but Jessica assumes that he's making jokes throughout the night so she doesn't realize anything is amiss, although she is a little concerned when he doesn't order from the French menu in French.
  Realizing his mistake, Pierre explains that before Jessica arrived, he and the waiter were chatting but the waiter is French Canadian and their accents are just so totally different that it was easier to order in English. I really hope kid!me howled at that the way adult me because it's priceless, truly.

  Anyway, the rest of the date goes on in much the same way but a second date is set up because hello, gorgeous, and also Pierre is a great kisser?




   Saturday we learn that the Wakefield parents aren't completely clueless as Alice inquires as to where all the weird stuff in Jessica's room came from. Weird stuff? Paratrooper outfit, young lady. Crisis is averted when Jessica says she's borrowing things from friends and then Jessica asks Liz to help her get ready again since it went so well the previous night.

  I'll buy Liz being a natural at helping Jessica dress up as Daniella, but doing the Magenta look? Really? Elizabeth Wakefield? I'm torn on this because I adore the sisterly bonding and yet... Elizabeth is probably the last person in SV I'd ask for help with a rocker look. Maybe Todd would be last, but still.

   Anyway, Jessica decides Magenta needs a blue streak in her hair and has Liz pick out a section of hair for the spray on color. Liz does (bang and an inch wide chunk on the right side of Jessica's head, so the cover's not completely accurate) and Jessica debates a pink streak as well. Liz cannot say No! fast enough and Jessica agrees that maybe too much would just be too much in this case.

  Brett S. arrives in an old brown Oldsmobile that he says is his father's and Jessica, in an attempt to be cool, says she gets that he's making a real statement with the car. She's hip, you dig?
  The go to the Rock Spot and on the way there conversation is stilted at best until Brett throws on some heavy metal which is so not Jessica's scene at all. The headache only gets worse when she realizes that there's no chance for chatting in the club and that Brett is too cool for dancing.
  Still, he looks hot in his leather jacket and that covers a multitude of sins, I guess, since this sounds like an awful date to me. When the night ends, Jessica's left with ringing in her ears and hearts in her eyes.

   Wednesday night, Jessica and Pierre go see some weird French movie that Jessica asks Pierre to explain the French idioms and he panics and points out that there will be subtitles you know. The movie bores Jessica to tears and confuses her due to the language barrier and the fact that she's clearly not drinking enough Absinthe to get the full meaning behind everything. On their way out of the theater, Jessica thinks she sees Brett but that would be crazy since he's not into this scene and she chalks it up to going a little crazy due to all the switching back and forth.

  Back to Liz, the next phase in her Be More Daring campaign (after painting her toenails red) is to sit somewhere other than her usual lunch table with Enid. Enid points out that you can't plan spontaneity and Liz sulks a bit because she's just not good at this at all.

   Our ghostie remembers that this is the plot for the following book, so we switch back to Jessica who is getting ready to go to Jax, some club where people stage dive. Jessica hopes that Brett's aversion to dancing also extends to stage diving but not to heading out to Millers Point. We never do find out how that date plays out, alas.

  Friday #3, Alice intercepts a call for Magenta. Jessica decides to have Brett call Lila and leave messages there and I think we all know how well this is going to work.

   Saturday morning, Liz tries to convince the readers and her mother that Jessica would enjoy reading A Tale of Two Cities before deciding she's off to the mall to buy that dress she wanted. Jessica, in a rare moment of awesomeness and flush with cash somehow, offered to go halfsies on the dress with her twin. Awww. Liz invites Jess to the mall, but she's probably half deaf from the night before and is still sound asleep by the time Liz has showered and gotten ready and only truly awakens when Pierre calls to invite her to dinner that night.

  Liz heads off to the mall where she sees a sign for a two-week perm. After making sure it really lasts for only two weeks, Liz decides to go for it before hitting Lisette's to pick up her dress. While there she runs into Lila who has been trying all morning to get a hold of Jessica who is either on the phone the whole time or has accidentally left it off the hook. Lila's surprised by the hair and impressed by the dress and leaves Liz to deal with the fallout of Brett having made a date with Magenta for that night.



   Uh oh.





   Liz hightails it home and suggests that Jessica just cancel one of the dates. Jessica can't because the Hershey bar ate Brett's number and Pierre is going to be out all day. Ohnoes!
  Then Jessica gets a positively brilliant idea. Hey, Liz, remember when I said you'd owe me for the dress? Time to pay up! Todd'll totally understand you flaking out the weekend before Valentine's Day but neither of my true loves will, so it's time to Twin Up. Liz points out that she has no idea how to be Magenta or Daniella and that both boys have gone on dates with Jessica and Liz will just fuck things up.

   Fear not, Jessica has that covered as well. We'll take them to the Lotus House for Chinese and you'll sit in one dining room and I'll sit in the other and every 15 minutes we'll switch places. Luckily black works for sophisticated and edgy rocker. And Jessica will curl her hair and it'll be just like Liz's perm!



  What could possibly go wrong...



   Liz, as Daniella, finds that Pierre is full of shit, not knowing where Paris is (not on the Riviera, folks) and finds him a snob despite not knowing a damn thing about things he claims to know about. She orders ginger chicken before heading off to make a phone call.

  The twins switch and Liz voices her dislike of Pierre. Jessica points out that it's like, half of one date with the dude and by the time the night's over she'll have her date for the dance and just be cool, Liz, especially since you're being Magenta now.

  Liz as Magenta finds Brett to be just as big a faker as Pierre, if not more so since even Elizabeth knows that the Stones sing Sympathy for the Devil and not the Doors. She orders ginger chicken and doesn't really bother to make an excuse when her fifteen minutes are up even though Brett is trying to tell her something important as their dinner arrives.

   We follow Jessica back to Brett and she flips out when she realizes she's still wearing Daniella's watch. Honey, at this point I don't think Brett's gonna notice a watch. She takes a bite out of her dinner and nearly gags as apparently the twins do not agree on ginger. Still, she forces herself to shovel the food in because it's easier than making small talk, or something.
  When Brett works up the nerve to have his heart to heart with Magenta, Jessica runs off to the bathroom again. I kind of love her for not even thinking of being embarrassed about the fact that she's run to the bathroom three times in the last hour, leaving her date to probably think she's got some issue or another. Seriously, the thought does not cross her mind til much, much later.

   Back in the bathroom, Elizabeth has had enough of Pierre's bullshit and calls him on being a big faker. Considering she's pretending to be her twin who is pretending to be someone else, I'd say she's kind of lacking a leg to stand on but whatever. Jessica's ticked and heads off to make nice with Pierre, which leaves Liz to ruin things with Brett, too. The night with Pierre ends shortly after dinner and Jessica gets home before Elizabeth does.

  Liz somehow manages to be humiliated by all this which is something I sort of understand and sort of don't. These guys don't know she exists, so why would she care if they thought Magenta/Daniella was... I don't even follow the logic since she's the one calling people out on their lies. All she had to do was order a dinner she liked and pretend to care for fifteen minutes at a time. I get horribly bad secondhand embarrassment for people (real and fictional) and I've got some fantastic social anxiety going on but this? This sounds pretty simple, at least for the dinner portion.

   Anyway, the twins blow up at one another and Liz tells Jessica she's better off without the faking fakers and Jessica points out that this was not Elizabeth's decision to make. She's allowed to voice her opinion, but she doesn't get to decide who Jessica dates simply because she doesn't like them.
  The twins sleep it off and for once, Jessica is up and at 'em before Liz is in the morning. Jessica heads down to the tennis courts where she burns off her anger playing a set with Cara. While there she runs into a cute guy named Tony and realizes that when you have the choice between being Jessica Wakefield or being anyone else, duh, you choose Jessica Wakefield every time.

   Unfortunately back at home, Liz feels bad about ruining her sister's dates so she proves she's inept at plotting by calling both boys and having them come by the house at... the same time? She waits impatiently for Jess to come home but Jess doesn't make it home until just before Pierre arrives. Whoops. Liz disappears and Jess is ticked. They retire to the living room where Pierre confesses that his name is Pete and he's not at all like the guy he was pretending to be. Before Jessica can respond, the doorbell rings and Brett arrives.
  Turns out he's more like Pierre than rocker dude, and Jessica is once more interrupted by the doorbell. Suzanne and Dana have arrived together (but apart) because Jessica told them they could pick up their stuff that afternoon. Jessica storms upstairs to murder her twin but decides the homicide will have to wait after she realizes that maybe this madcap adventure was always doomed to failure. When she returns downstairs, she can't find anyone.

   The foursome is out on the patio by the pool and they've broken up into couples, with Dana chatting Pete up and Brett and Suzanne hitting it off. The newly minted couples drift off, leaving Jessica to get away with her lies mostly scott free.

   We end the book with Liz getting ready for the Valentine's Day Dance and people reacting to her permed hair with various shades of surprise and disbelief that the sensible twin wants to be more rebellious. Todd completely dismisses Elizabeth's feelings which is a bit unusual for old Todd, but Todd-with-money is a bit of an ass. I've always kind of felt that he went to Vermont and aliens took over his body. Anyway, Liz is determined to show everyone that Jessica isn't the only Wakefield with nerve.



Trivia Crack:

  • Lovestruck Computer Dating: Teens Our Specialty

  • As part of their opening promotion, Lovestruck is only charging $5 per application.

  • The receptionist at LS is a redhead.

  • Once a match is made, the girl gives LS permission to give her phone number to the guy, at least that's how it worked for Magenta and Daniella.

  • Daniella Fromage is an intellectual who loves foreign films, modern poetry, French cuisine, and world travel. Jessica gives her the barest hint of an accent and uses a throatier voice for her. "A meaningful conversation in front of a crackling fire, with an opera on the stereo" is her idea of the perfect evening.

  • Magenta Galaxy, on the other hand, is a wild rocker whose passions are everything new and anything hot. She likes fast cars, loud dance bands, and the latest fashions-the wilder, the better. Her perfect evening? Cruising the hippest music clubs in L.A. and ending the evening in a coffee shop at four in the morning, eating hamburgers and dancing on the counter top. She's got a royal blue streak in her bangs and an inch wide on the right side of her head. She also is prone to giant bangle bracelets.

  • Jessica still gets upset when forced to think about the breakup with A.J. This makes my little 'shipper heart absurdly happy.

  • The book takes place about a month before Valentine's Day since we cycle through at least three weekends.

  • Friday afternoon (two days after she signs up) Daniella has a match in Pierre Du Lac.

  • Pierre Du Lac was born in France and spent his childhood going back and forth between the Riviera and Paris, has traveled extensively "on the Continent and in Europe" (silly boy, it's the same thing), speaks four languages, plans to be a novelist or a museum curator, plays the piano, loves jogging and sailing, and his favorite foods are truffles and foie gras.

  • Pierre is tall and slim, with a "narrow and sensitive" face, light brown hair, dark lashes, bright blue eyes, is tanned, and has dimples when he smiles.

  • Prince Albert is so excited to see Jessica that he demands a hug before he'll leave her alone.

  • Jessica's appointment with Suzanne is at the Hanlon's home at 10am and she's on time.

  • Mason is the Hanlon's gloomy looking butler. I imagine living with Suzanne and her parents has probably sucked the joy from him.

  • Suzanne is in PBA with Jessica, something I forget.

  • The Hanlons have a solarium and have vacationed in Italy. They also have the albums, not scrapbooks, of photographs to prove it.

  • Suzanne lends Jessica a Neiman-Marcus shopping bag with several silk blouses, 2 Chanel purses, two designer scarves, a pair of Gucci shoes, and several accessories.

  • As of this book, Liz is still practicing her recorder.

  • Chez Sam is in Pacific Shores and their menus are all in French. No English for you.

  • Jessica knows that thon is French for tuna fish, so she orders thon aux herbes so she doesn't accidentally wind up eating calves' brains or something equally disgusting. Pierre follows suit.

  • Pierre claims he ordered in English because the waiter was French Canadian and their accents were just too different, so English was easier.

  • Brett S. wants to be a race car driver or a rock guitarist, or maybe both. He believes in "living life to the max." He says he's tall, dark, and wild and likes his girls to be tall, blond, and wild. He drives his father's old brown Oldsmobile. He's tall and lean with golden brown eyes, dark brown hair, a strong jaw, high cheekbones, and a black leather jacket he apparently wears the hell out of. He shows up to their first date wearing said jacket, a white t-shirt, skintight black jeans, and black motorcycle boots, as well as dark sunglasses. (Sunglasses at Night. I did not realize one could do duck lips while singing but hey, the 80's were a progressive time)

  • Since when is 5'6" for a girl considered tall?

  • Jess imagines that Brett will be tall and lanky with a leather jacket, swept back black hair, piercing dark eyes, and a "very kissable mouth."

  • Jessica admits that she admires Dana for her style and envies her ability to get up in front of crowds and sing with The Droids.

  • Brett calls Magenta at 4pm Sunday, has just the sort of voice Jessica imagined: cool, sulky, and sexy. Because... sulky is sexy?

  • Brett is taking Magenta to the Rock Spot (located outside of the Valley) at 8pm Saturday night. X-Press is playing.

  • Dana brings a tape deck to her crash course with Jessica in the cafeteria at SVH.

  • Dana agrees because Jessica claims it's True Love.

  • Various bands mentioned during the Magenta storyline: Blues Hogs (too derivitive according to Brett), Psychedelic Overtones, X-Press, the Beatles, the Doors, and the Rolling Stones.

  • Jumping Jimmy's showcases new talent every Thursday night.

  • Jessica has taped maps of Europe and pictures of French paintings all over her walls during this.

  • Jessica is also the one who inadvertently prompts The New Elizabeth when she points out that while she might fly too close to the sun, Elizabeth never even thinks of getting off the ground.

  • Elizabeth's first act of being less predictable? She writes DARE TO BE DIFFERENT in her journal.

  • Lila's housekeeper is still Eva.

  • Lila is upset that Jessica went to Suzanne Hanlon instead of coming her to her for her sophistication crash course.

  • Jessica claims it's because Lila is more real than Suzanne is, but it's really because Suzanne is Old Money and Lila is very much New Money.

  • Lila has a pink upholstered chair in her room, but both girls hang out on her canopy bed for their study session.

  • Quiz questions include: What is an aubergine? (eggplant), Who is the conductor of The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields? (it's chamber music and Sir Neville Marriner is), Who painted Starry Night (Jessica initially guesses Renoir), Who is Abbie Hoffman (Jessica guesses the lead guitarist for the Dead and then files him under "dead Hippie"), and Where's the best place to buy vintage records in Sweet Valley? (Tune Town on Fifth Street)

  • Lila asks about David Hockney but he's not on Jessica's list so she has no time. Lila points out that if she's asked, she can't say that but Jessica's not worried.

  • Liz comforts herself with the notion that she can always order ginger ale instead of root beer, but also admits this is pretty lame as far as being different goes. (It really, really is, Liz. Root beer is the superior choice in this case and dammit, now I want some.)

  • Jessica splits the cost of the dress Elizabeth wants from Lisette's. Aww.

  • Le Chou Farci is the most expensive restaurant in town and Suzanne claims her family eats there at least once a week.

  • When Daniella says she wants to "drown myself in the dance", Pierre asks which dance. Jessica is puzzled because The Dance is ballet.

  • Pierre also thinks Fellini is pasta, but Jessica is sure he's joking.

  • Pierre claims to love Verdet's poetry as well as Baroness Rolfenhausen, who is better known in Europe than in America. Or y'know, is fictional.

  • Their next date is set for the Odeon, Sweet Valley's revival movie theater, Wednesday evening.

  • Jessica wants Pierre to kiss her hand and both cheeks because "It would be so European." She still practically swoons when he just kisses her on the lips.

  • Liz and Todd bailed on their lame movie and after Todd leaves, Elizabeth decides to paint her toenails red as another step in the direction of Different.

  • Alice wonders where the strange things like the paratrooper outfit and the black rubber and clear plastic necklace in Jessica's room have come from.

  • Jessica hates heavy metal.

  • Brett claims he comes to the club to hear the music and that dancing ruins that.

  • On her way out the door to the movie from hell with Pierre, Jessica notices a strand of blue left in her hair, so she yanks it out.

  • Pierre confuses Ingrid Bergman with Ingmar Bergman.

  • Brett is at the movie from hell.

  • Liz and Enid always sit at a table in the middle of the lunchroom with a bunch of their friends.

  • Brett takes Magenta to Jax which is one of those places where people throw themselves off the stage.

  • Jessica trims her own split ends.

  • Liz finishes A Tale of Two Cities and thinks Jessica would like it. Alice and I remain skeptical.

  • Sheer Glamour is running a Two Week Perm for $20 special.

  • Pierre is set to pick Daniella up at 6pm and Brett is picking Magenta up at 6:15.

  • Brett calls Lila to set up a date for Magenta at 11:15am, and Lila spends the morning calling the Wakefields but can't get through because Jessica is on the line each time Lila calls.

  • Lila runs into Liz at Lisette's and tells her about the date.

  • Lotus House is a large Chinese restaurant with two dining rooms, thus enabling the switching back and forth. It's on Fremont Blvd, just past the Bank of California.

  • Pierre is on a San Fransisco kick, saying they have the best Chinese food outside the People's Republic, of course. He also waxes poetic about their theater, exhibits, "that sort of thing." Liz, as Daniella, is not impressed.

  • When pressed, Pierre says his last exhibit was on Greek pottery, but it wasn't as good as anything at the Louvre. Liz thinks he's just name dropping now.

  • Liz happens to be at the table during the ordering portion of both dates and she orders ginger chicken both times.

  • Jessica hates ginger and wishes Liz got something normal like moo shu pork.

  • Liz judges Brett for ordering sweet and sour pork since it's not all that exciting. She'd probably hate my orders then.

  • Brett stumbles and attributes Sympathy for the Devil to the Doors and not the Stones. Even Liz knows he's wrong, but give him another four/five years and he just might not have known it was a cover. Then again, I'm guessing he wouldn't know who Guns N' Roses are either.

  • Tony Mangino is 5'10" (he's described as four inches taller than Jess) with straight blond hair, blue eyes, a dimple in his chin, and is supposed to be really cute. He's also smart enough to not tell Jessica that she plays well for a girl but that she plays well for anyone. He's Jessica's date for the Valentine's Dance.

  • Jessica leaves Pete Lake (in his black jeans and black t-shirt) in the living room when she answers the door.

  • Brett gets left in the den and he shows up wearing a bright blue polo shirt, chinos, and brown boat shoes. He and Suzanne are both going to the Altschuler Gallery that afternoon.





Quotes:
"I'm telling you, Liz. The boys around here are so immature it makes me want to join a convent sometimes."
"The junior and senior boys would have to proclaim a national day of mourning if you did that." - Jess and Liz know how to open a story, page 1.

She tried not to ogle the fine antiques and lavishly decorated rooms as she followed Mason through the house. She knew it wasn't classy to ogle. - Oh, Jess. page 19

"Listen, Jess, don't you think it's kind of useless, all this studying you're doing? You're trying to turn yourself into something you're not."
"I'm not yet, but I could be," her twin insisted in a confident voice. "Why shouldn't I go for something I want? You never get anything if you don't take a chance." - For once Jessica makes sense, page 33

"For your information," Lila said, "Abbie Hoffman was that sixties radical hippie who died in 1989. Even I know that."
Jessica looked at the ceiling. "OK, OK. Abbie Hoffman, dead hippie." - page 42

She knew the French ate some pretty horrible things, but she wasn't willing to be that sophisticated. - Jessica draws the lines at calves' brains, page 52

For the time being, though, Magenta was going to going to listen to the music and enjoy it, even if Jessica had to go deaf doing it! - page 70

"You look awfully pretty, Jess," her father said as he passed her in the hall. "I hope I didn't have to pay for that outfit, though." page 73

"First of all," Enid began, "you can't plan to be more spontaneous. That's a contradiction in terms." - You tell her, Enid. page 78

Jessica and Lila were always involving each other in their crazy schemes. Their whole friendship seemed to be built on mutual plots and subterfuges. - Precisely. page 83

"Speaking of Jessica, where is she?" Mrs. Wakefield asked. "Sleeping?"
Elizabeth smiled. "Remember, she needs her beauty sleep, Mom."
"At this rate, she'll be the most beautiful girl in the world." - page 85

"It's her problem, not yours."
At that, Elizabeth let out a short, sarcastic laugh. "Lila, Jessica's problems always have a way of turning into my problems." - Liz knows what's what, page 92

Jessica crossed her arms. "I figured out what to do about tonight."
"That's good," Elizabeth replied. A little crease of uncertainty appeared in her forehead. "What are you going to do?"
"You mean, what are we going to do," Jessica corrected her.
Elizabeth whirled around to face her twin. "What are you talking about?" Her heart began pounding.
Jessica walked over and stood next to Elizabeth. Their identical images looked back at them from the mirror. "We've done it before," Jessica said softly. - This is the set up to an entirely different kind of story, I suspect. page 98

"What were you and Brett talking about, just so I know?"
"Oh, classic rock 'n' roll. The Beatles, you know. All those ancient bands." - Liz and Jessica making people feel old since forever. Page 110.

What's going on? she wondered. First Pierre thinks Paris on the Riviera, and now Brett mixes up classic songs even I know about! -Liz, page 113


Fashion File:
The strapless dress was made of a shimmery fabric that looked blue from one angle and green from another. - Liz's Valentine's dress from Lisette's.

Dana looked down at her wrists. She was wearing four thick black bangles on each arm. They went perfectly with her skintight black pants, black and white-checked shoes, and lime green T-shirt. In one ear she wore a guitar pick dangling from a silver wire. - The 80's-ness of this, it burns! page 30

Daniella wears a cream colored silk blouse, navy blue linen pants with a silk scarf in red, blue, and gold artfully tied over the shirt. She opts for Suzanne's little red bag and her own blue suede flats complete the look. Her hair is "pulled back neatly and clipped with a wide gold barrette." pages 44 and 50.
For her outfit, she had chosen tight black bicycle pants, a black tank top, and a red leather jacket she had borrowed from Lila. Almost anything from Dana's collection would look right with the ensemble.
"The guitar pick earring, definitely," Elizabeth said. "And those black bangles." - Magenta's first outfit, page 64

She glanced at her reflection in the hall mirror. The blue jacket and white linen skirt were two more items borrowed from Suzanne.
She turned her head from side to side to admire her borrowed pearl stud earrings. - page 73

On Thursday night Jessica had another blue streak in her hair. She wriggled into a blue strapless minidress and fastened a necklace of dice and tiddlywinks around her neck. In among the clicking pieces were Scrabble tiles that spelled out "Hard Rock." - Jessica completes this look with a side ponytail on the right side of her head, page 79



The French movie that probably haunted everyone who read this: "As far as Jessica could tell, all the characters believed they were in purgatory, though to her it looked just like a doctor's waiting room. Every once in a while a nurse would call someone's name, and that person would look shocked and begin talking morosely about his childhood. Then the scene would switch to someone's apartment, and the characters would begin to talk about opera and the family's cheese-making factory. It didn't make any sense at all!

To make matters worse, every once in awhile a little red ball would roll across whatever room the characters were in. No one in the film seemed to notice it. Jessica didn't have the slightest idea what it was supposed to symbolize, but she knew she had to have an opinion by the time the film was over."


 photo whoswho_eng_zpslg7x26zg.png




   Who's Who? is a fun read. I particularly love the bits of twin bonding between Liz and Jessica, like when Jessica gives Liz the money for the dress and how Liz helps Jessica get ready for her dates. It's sweet and it's why I love to read the SV books, honestly. I have sister envy something fierce and WW definitely feeds right into that.
  Magenta Galaxy is definitely worth remembering and was definitely ahead of her time. :p The B/C plot is a bit weird since it's all a set up for the next book but really, this book couldn't handle anything too heavy plot wise since there's a lot of crazy going on with the Daniella/Magenta antics. I do find it funny that only one person matched up for both personalities but hey, let's not pick too much at this book. It's what, 25 years old?

   And now you feel old, too, so my job here is done! And looking back on this, holy crap, this is long. It feels like it's longer than the book itself. Oops. Sorry about that. Maybe it'll make up for the three year absence? Cover wise, am I the only one getting Geena Davis vibes from Jess/Magenta?

Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] luxken27 for the scan of the original book cover. Also, happy belated birthday!









*- Or, y'know, not. I moved twice in the last two years and there was the year of having to pack prior to the first move (you live somewhere for 15 years, you accumulate a lot of crap. Double that when someone finds all the crap you never unpacked from the previous house where your family lived for like, 30/40 years. A LOT of those things were books and for awhile there I couldn't stand to LOOK at another book, let alone do anything with them. Throw in a few waltzes with death and general fuckery and here we are. No evil twins, however. Not that I'm aware of anyway...
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Sooooo. Working, sort of, on reading the updated version of Playing With Fire. Whoever decided the phrase, "wake up and smell the beautiful" or whatever it was [and I promise I'll share because it's close to that] should have been fired right there on the spot. Later we replace beautiful with pathetic and my brain stops and dies a painful death. Once I convinced it to come back to life with the promise of sugary caffeine, I read the preview for Power Play.

Oh.

My.

Lord.

Miss SVH? Really? Really?

Good. Freakin'. God. We couldn't have left it as a simple Jessica is a heinous bitch concerning the sanctity of PBA why, exactly? The beauties. The hell?
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Sooooo. Working, sort of, on reading the updated version of Playing With Fire. Whoever decided the phrase, "wake up and smell the beautiful" or whatever it was [and I promise I'll share because it's close to that] should have been fired right there on the spot. Later we replace beautiful with pathetic and my brain stops and dies a painful death. Once I convinced it to come back to life with the promise of sugary caffeine, I read the preview for Power Play.

Oh.

My.

Lord.

Miss SVH? Really? Really?

Good. Freakin'. God. We couldn't have left it as a simple Jessica is a heinous bitch concerning the sanctity of PBA why, exactly? The beauties. The hell?
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (Default)
Spring Fever
April 1987


Double the fun...


   The Wakefield twins never expected that the sleepy town of Walkersville, Kansas, would be twice as exciting as their own home town. But when Jessica and Elizabeth spend spring break at their great aunt and uncle's house in the country, they discover that small-town life can have its share of big adventures.
   At first, things don't look so promising. Instead of a warm welcome, the local girls give them the cold shoulder. And Aunt Shirley and Uncle Herman won't let the twins out of their sight. But things brighten up when the girls meet gorgeous identical twins at a local carnival, Alex and Brad Parker. Jessica thinks Brad might be the man of her dreams, but how can she get to know him when she's being watched so closely by her aunt and uncle? Then trouble really begins to brew when Elizabeth makes an unexpected discovery about the Parker twins....
   Come along to the country with Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, and catch Spring Fever!
* Yes. Brad. They can't even keep track of things for the back of the book. Oi.


   For some reason I always want to call this one Spring Fling. Is it years of YA/juvenile fiction with rhyming titles corrupting my poor, unsuspecting brain, or would it would better than a fever? I dunno. You decide for me and let me know.
  It's funny, but for a super edition, not a whole lot happens this go round. Jessica and Elizabeth are off on another spring break whirlwind adventure, this time to Walkersville, Kansas, to stay with Alice's Aunt Shirley and Uncle Herman. Something tells me that if I were from a small town in Kansas, I probably wouldn't be all that fond of this book. Walkersville is very small, although there's no shortage of teenagers willing to either lust openly after the twins, or hate on them because the queen bitch tells them to. Uncle Herman is the mayor and also the owner of the local five-and-dime, which is an old fashioned place with a soda fountain. I think calling the place a five-and-dime is enough of a clue that the place isn't all that modern. Which I don't mock for anything other than being a bit redundant.
  Uncle Herman and Aunt Shirley have been talking the girls up to anyone who would listen, which I would imagine to be everyone since the man is the mayor and all... Which means that the previously mentioned queen bee ain't all that thrilled when she appears at the soda shoppe and finds her boyfriend panting after a hot blond. She all but declares war on Jessica, and we're treated to our second, Wait-wtf moment of the book. The first is that Cara Walker is called Cora and as a child, I spent a good twenty minutes trying to figure out if the writer had forgotten Cara's name [blasphemy!] or if Steve had a new, freakishly similarly named girlfriend no one had told me about. Eventually I figured it was Cara and the author was a moron, because it's not like the A and the O are anywhere near one another.


   Mr. and Mrs. Walker [Herman and Shirley] are Jessica and Elizabeth's great uncle and aunt, which means that they're Grandma's age. You and I know this, but the kids in the back might not. Anyway, as such, they're not exactly as lenient as, say, Alice and Ned. They escort the twins everywhere, discourage them from hanging out with undesirables, and generally cramp Jessica's style. Later we'll realize these people aren't real at all, because no one who was sixty-something in 1987 would let Jessica get away with what she does, but we're skipping ahead.
  To break up the perfectly relaxing routine the twins have fallen into, a carnival comes to town. It's nothing big, but Jessica meets Alex, a handsome horse training carnie whose father owns the carnival. She falls head over heels and makes plans to visit him when the carnival closes. When she asks her aunt and uncle if she can wander into town at 10pm, she damn near well kills her aunt who says something about, "Herman, my pills!" After I finish giggling myself into a coma, Jessica continues trying to convince them that she'll be fine, she does this sort of thing all the time... and when that doesn't work, she agrees that she was talking crazy, and gosh, oh golly, is she tired. Isn't that weird? One minute she's raring to go, the next she just cannot keep her pretty eyes open. See you suckers in the morning! Liz follows and sure enough, Jessica is proving that the only reason the twins are staying in the sun room downstairs instead of one of the bedrooms upstairs is so that Jessica can slip out with the greatest of ease. When asked what exactly she's supposed to do if their aunt and uncle come looking for her, Jessica tells her to tell 'em she's in the can and away she goes, promises of this being the first, last, and only trip to the carnival after dark. Which is Jessica speak for "This is cool for the rest of our visit, right? Thanks, Liz, love ya, bye!" How is it that Liz and Jessica have been together forever, but I can speak the sneaky twin-speak and Liz cannot? Oh, Margo, you'd have killed Jessica immediately after assuming Liz's identity just for the sheer annoyance.

   Alex and Jessica hit it off, but Alex cannot get out of work long enough to see Jessica during the day. Jess is bummed, but like I just said, she's more than willing to sneak out, night after night, to get a little carnie action. Woo. What I failed to mention earlier is that Alex has a twin named Brad. It's funny, when I think of the name Brad, I think of two people. Brad Pitt, sure, but mostly I think of Brad from Hey Dude. Anyone else?
  Brad meets Liz the next day and they really hit it off, too. Which is all well and good until you remember she's dating Jeffrey at this point. Liz feels bad, but Jessica [and her own hormones] manages to convince her that vacation romances don't really count as cheating. It's experiencing something new! Even as she admits she'd be ticked if she found out Jeffrey was meeting girls without telling or thinking of her, she still goes on with the Brad dates. Sometime after nearly kissing the boy, Liz gets a call from Jeffrey and suddenly she realizes that for as much as she likes Brad, it might have been the novelty of finally dating a twin with her twin [even going so far as to say, "I just can't get over how identical you two are" or something, and then kicking herself since she hates it when people say that to her] or maybe the country air, but she's really In Love with Jeffrey, so she and Brad cool off.
  To distract us from the lovey dovey stuff going on, let's return to the displaced queen b, shall we? I said there were at least two WTF moments in this book, and the second is that when Annie Sue declares war on the twins, Jessica doesn't immediately fire back. She doesn't scheme or plot, and not just out of respect for her aunt and uncle, but because she's just so shocked at someone she doesn't even know disliking her, that she's more prone to tears and shock than declaring war right back. Which I might sort of see for the first round or two, but by the time Annie brings her little sister into the mix, Jessica should be planning revenge, not bending over and asking for more.
  For the most part, Annie Sue flits around being bitchy towards either twin if she crosses their path, but doesn't really plot anything outside of that. Maybe because her friends are adopting Jessica's wild and crazy styles [the headbands, the dresses], or maybe because luck handed her such an opportunity, but her grandmother is best friends with Shirley, so naturally the twins are invited to the farm for the day. They go, sure that something horrible will happen, but not sure how to avoid it without being rude. When they arrive, they find that Annie isn't around yet, so Janie, her little sister, gives them the tour. She gets them lost, nearly gets Jessica kicked in the head by a cow, and there's a pig stampede. If I thought these were Janie's ideas, I'd be impressed. Annie stands them up [along with all her friends] which is actually really, really bitchy since her grandmother is beyond embarrassed as well as confused. The twins try very hard to be polite and assure her that it's not her fault that Annie Sue is a psychotic bitch. By this point Janie's copped to Annie Sue having planned all the little bits of evil, and the twins go home, confused and miserable.
  Now, I have to say that Annie Sue has guts. I'm fairly certain that the older members of my family would be from the same era as AS's grandmother, as well as Shirley and Herman, and you know what? Even the most polite, sweetest ones of the bunch would have tanned my hide if I tried anything like that. There are certain things you do not do, and I find it really hard to believe she did not get punished for that little stunt. Then again, maybe it's possible that factored into her next bit of bitchery.
  She manages to catch Jessica and Alex meeting [and smooching] after dark at the carnival. Jessica knows she's busted, but doesn't say a word to Elizabeth until Annie Sue begins to blackmail both twins. I like to think this is all crap, and that Annie Sue was grounded, too, and couldn't have told a damn thing, but I like adding things to these stories, so ignore me. Annie's really ambitious in her blackmail as she manages to waltz off with all of Jessica's fantastic accessories, with promises of more on the way. She even blackmails Elizabeth and Liz is beyond pissed, but she doesn't want to get her twin in trouble, so along with the whole mess she goes.
  There's a big square dance at the end of the carnival, and the twins have agreed to double date. On Liz's last date with Brad, he cuts his hand, and by now the suspicion that Brad doesn't actually exist is a certainty. But I've got no proof other than Brad/Alex are never in the same place at the same time, and also, they're a little too identical. But I've known twins who really did look like the same person, only you'd see them standing right next to one another, so... it could happen, I told my younger self. I kept holding out for another twist, but in my heart I knew the truth.

   Now, we can't leave the book with the twins not being the most fabulous of the fab, so we must have MORE drama. The twins ask if they can go to the dance with Brad/Alex and their aunt and uncle think about it before ultimately deciding they can't because they don't know these boys and also, isn't 16 a little young to be dating? Whatever. Jessica blows up and slips out to go and tell Alex their plans are ruined. Liz tries to cover for Jessica yet again...
  I should point out that with Jessica doing her nightly, "Oh, GOSH, I'm so tired!" routine nightly but sleeping so late every morning, Aunt Shirley is worried that Jessica's sick, or maybe she's depressed... but that she should call Alice anyway. Liz manages to convince her that Jessica's just been running on empty so long that she's catching up on her sleep and recharging, and honestly, it's a good thing! Really.
  Anyway, the night of her stalk off, Jessica's busted. Shirley and Herman come to talk to the twins and Liz cannot lie her way out of this mess, so she cops to Jessica sneaking out to visit Alex and tell him of their woe. Shirley and Herman freak out and away they all run to the carnival.
  The carnival where Annie Sue's father is buying her Midnight, a gorgeous horse who isn't all that fond of people and is still being broken in. Because Jessica's just that good, she's been riding Midnight with no problem during her dates with Alex, so she's left with the horse while Alex goes off to finalize a few things with Mr. Sawyer. Annie appears, hops up on Midnight, and all hell breaks loose. Jessica hops a horse and charges after the girl who has spent her entire vacation tormenting her, and pretty much saves her life, until Alex appears to finish saving the day. By now there's a huge crowd and everyone knows how brave Jessica and Alex are, and it's okay for Alex to go with Jessica to the dance, and sure, Brad can go too, they suppose, and hey, what's with your hand, Alex? You've hurt it in the exact same spot as Brad?
  Liz blows Alex off when he tries to explain [yes!] but does agree not to tell Jessica, since that should be his job.
  Needless to say, he chickens out and Liz is ticked. So the night of the dance, she enlists Annie Sue [who is magically their bestest friend after throwing them a true Welcome to Walkersville party] in her plan to show Alex what it's really like dating two girls at once. This is just Liz having Annie Sue go up to him and interrupt his dance with whichever twin he's currently dancing with to say that the other girl is painfully lonely and needs his attention.
  Alex finally cracks and asks Elizabeth what the fuck is wrong with her, cuz he's about to die. We find out that Alex couldn't decide which girl he liked best and even when it became clear that his heart belonged with Jessica, he couldn't figure out a way to come clean without coming across like an ass. Also, it was liberating to be Brad, to indulge the side of him that gets lost under his more Jessica-like personality traits. Because she's a pushover, Liz accepts this as an explanation and points out that everyone is multi layered, but she loses points for not looking to the future for a blooming onion analogy. Sigh.
  The third wtf moment is that Shirley and Herman don't punish Jessica at all, even if they haven't figured out that all her sleeping sickness problems were really her sneaking out more than once. For as strict as they were portrayed, they would have done SOMETHING. Anything. Sigh. Even as a kid I knew my grand-anythings would kill me dead for such behavior.

Trivial Matters:

  • Uncle Herman Walker's grandfather founded Walkersville, Kansas. Hence the name.

  • Lila's in Rome while the twins are in Kansas. Jess doesn't think this is exactly fair.

  • Want to refer to the twins by some cutesy name? Don't go with "clones, carbon copies, double images, or the ditto sisters" as they've heard them all. The ditto sisters? Oh lord.

  • Aunt Shirley is petite with dark hair, peppered with silver, almond shaped blue eyes, and a heart condition.

  • Uncle Herman is slightly portly, in his mid 60's, silver gray hair and mustache, and a booming voice, befitting the mayor of a small town.

  • Uncle Herman and Aunt Shirley are Alice's family, and when she was 16, she spent time out in Walkersville as well.

  • Jessica takes four pieces of luggage, including a dress bag [last thing off the plane] to Elizabeth's one piece.

  • The Walkers have a navy blue Chevrolet.

  • The infamous Cora incident happens on page 17. How's that for painfully trivial?

  • Uncle Herman's five and dime is imaginatively named "Walker's" and John Campbell runs the place while Herman does mayor type stuff. Walker's also boasts a soda fountain that Mindy mans. Yay!

  • 5 Elms, the Walker's home, is six blocks from the center of town.

  • Dennis Stevens, Sam, Matthew, Hank, and Louis greet Jessica happily until lithe brunette Annie Sue Sawyer and Mary, her plump blond sidekick, arrive.

  • Much is made of how uncomfortable Liz is being attracted to the same guy Jessica is [until Brad waltzes onto the scene] and all I can think is, "HELLO! Todd Wilkins, book one!" Oi. And that's not even going into the numerous boyfriend swaps they'll do later on.

  • Tall, broad shouldered, curly dark hair, astonishingly blue eyes, and tanned to perfection, Alex Parker is destined to be on the cover of some romance novel sometime in his future. He claims to have a twin, Brad, and a little sister, Evie. His father owns the carnival but is never seen or heard from.

  • Mrs. Sawyer, Annie Sue's grandmother, has hazel eyes, silver hair, and seems to be in her early 60's.

  • Janie Sawyer is nine and a half and a hellion.

  • Brownie, Mrs. Sawyer's cow, is cranky and only lets Mrs. Sawyer milk her, and always/only from the left side. Janie tries to get Jess to approach from the right side and Jess nearly gets kicked for her trouble.

  • Items Annie Sue blackmailed Jessica out of: A rhinestone headband made in LA, gifted from Lila, a plastic sport watch, a rhinestone pin, the promise of Jessica's red cowboy boots, and a big beaded silver necklace the night Midnight went nuts. She also snagged Elizabeth's sunglasses.

  • 'Brad' ripped his right hand on a nail, and before you go screaming about lock jaw, he had his tetanus shot a couple of months prior. Fun times, that shot.

  • Annie Sue and Dennis have known one another since they were six and it seems likely they'll get married. Jessica is horrified at the thought.

  • Jessica wears a red and white gingham dress with a petticoat that she borrowed from Annie Sue and Liz goes with a "slim-cut denim skirt and a red and white checked cotton blouse." There's mention of a bright bandanna around her neck, so... mostly what the girls are wearing on the cover.



Quotes:
"You think they have tornadoes all the time, like in The Wizard of Oz?" Jessica asked hopefully.
Elizabeth laughed. "Not in April, silly," she scoffed. - p9

"No one goes on vacation for peace and quiet, Liz," she said reprovingly. "Not unless you're middle aged or something." - I would kill for some peace, quiet, and fun, Jessica. p 9

"It's just lucky she came equipped. Only my sister would have enough accessories to keep a whole town satisfied!" - Liz is right, if you don't count how Lila would probably have three times the stuff of a Wakefield twin. p 170

"We should probably scold you for sneaking out of the house, but, Jessica, we're so proud of you for being such a heroine tonight that nothing else seems to matter!" - Bull. Shit. Aunt Shirley might, might, might cave that easy, but uncle Herman would have that girl's hide, do you hear me? p196

Well, the way Elizabeth saw it, Alex had his dream evening ahead of him now. He had both Wakefield girls as his dates.
Only Elizabeth intended to make Alex see that two Wakefield girls was too much for anyone, even Alex Parker. - Dirty? 226

"You're a good kid, you know that?" Alex said huskily. - I'd have punched him for that. Kid? Bite me, Alex. p231


   There's probably a reason this was the last Super Edition for awhile, and not just because the Thrillers took over for the next however many books. While a lovely pieces of candy floss, it's not exactly the best of the Supers. Annie Sue's hatred could have been so much more fun and a permanent thing, but it wasn't, and the book felt awfully short for a book that's supposed to be longer than normal. I dunno, I don't think I read this one as a little kid, and probably closer to when I started to fall out of love with the series, as I don't have the nostalgic attachment I do for most of the other books.
  That said, all this book really was missing was for it to be summer and to have the book happen over the fourth of July. :p

  Also, while I may not have been in love with the book, I felt cheated that the twins never did visit the south, but we could visit Kansas? Sigh. You could do much worse than this book, but you could also do better. To make up for the lackluster joy in the book, I point to the cover, which I actually like, but I was raised with a love for gingham... and also the knowledge that if you were to do Annie Sue's initials, she'd be ASS. I'm mature, I am, I am.
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (Default)
Spring Fever
April 1987


Double the fun...


   The Wakefield twins never expected that the sleepy town of Walkersville, Kansas, would be twice as exciting as their own home town. But when Jessica and Elizabeth spend spring break at their great aunt and uncle's house in the country, they discover that small-town life can have its share of big adventures.
   At first, things don't look so promising. Instead of a warm welcome, the local girls give them the cold shoulder. And Aunt Shirley and Uncle Herman won't let the twins out of their sight. But things brighten up when the girls meet gorgeous identical twins at a local carnival, Alex and Brad Parker. Jessica thinks Brad might be the man of her dreams, but how can she get to know him when she's being watched so closely by her aunt and uncle? Then trouble really begins to brew when Elizabeth makes an unexpected discovery about the Parker twins....
   Come along to the country with Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, and catch Spring Fever!
* Yes. Brad. They can't even keep track of things for the back of the book. Oi.


   For some reason I always want to call this one Spring Fling. Is it years of YA/juvenile fiction with rhyming titles corrupting my poor, unsuspecting brain, or would it would better than a fever? I dunno. You decide for me and let me know.
  It's funny, but for a super edition, not a whole lot happens this go round. Jessica and Elizabeth are off on another spring break whirlwind adventure, this time to Walkersville, Kansas, to stay with Alice's Aunt Shirley and Uncle Herman. Something tells me that if I were from a small town in Kansas, I probably wouldn't be all that fond of this book. Walkersville is very small, although there's no shortage of teenagers willing to either lust openly after the twins, or hate on them because the queen bitch tells them to. Uncle Herman is the mayor and also the owner of the local five-and-dime, which is an old fashioned place with a soda fountain. I think calling the place a five-and-dime is enough of a clue that the place isn't all that modern. Which I don't mock for anything other than being a bit redundant.
  Uncle Herman and Aunt Shirley have been talking the girls up to anyone who would listen, which I would imagine to be everyone since the man is the mayor and all... Which means that the previously mentioned queen bee ain't all that thrilled when she appears at the soda shoppe and finds her boyfriend panting after a hot blond. She all but declares war on Jessica, and we're treated to our second, Wait-wtf moment of the book. The first is that Cara Walker is called Cora and as a child, I spent a good twenty minutes trying to figure out if the writer had forgotten Cara's name [blasphemy!] or if Steve had a new, freakishly similarly named girlfriend no one had told me about. Eventually I figured it was Cara and the author was a moron, because it's not like the A and the O are anywhere near one another.


   Mr. and Mrs. Walker [Herman and Shirley] are Jessica and Elizabeth's great uncle and aunt, which means that they're Grandma's age. You and I know this, but the kids in the back might not. Anyway, as such, they're not exactly as lenient as, say, Alice and Ned. They escort the twins everywhere, discourage them from hanging out with undesirables, and generally cramp Jessica's style. Later we'll realize these people aren't real at all, because no one who was sixty-something in 1987 would let Jessica get away with what she does, but we're skipping ahead.
  To break up the perfectly relaxing routine the twins have fallen into, a carnival comes to town. It's nothing big, but Jessica meets Alex, a handsome horse training carnie whose father owns the carnival. She falls head over heels and makes plans to visit him when the carnival closes. When she asks her aunt and uncle if she can wander into town at 10pm, she damn near well kills her aunt who says something about, "Herman, my pills!" After I finish giggling myself into a coma, Jessica continues trying to convince them that she'll be fine, she does this sort of thing all the time... and when that doesn't work, she agrees that she was talking crazy, and gosh, oh golly, is she tired. Isn't that weird? One minute she's raring to go, the next she just cannot keep her pretty eyes open. See you suckers in the morning! Liz follows and sure enough, Jessica is proving that the only reason the twins are staying in the sun room downstairs instead of one of the bedrooms upstairs is so that Jessica can slip out with the greatest of ease. When asked what exactly she's supposed to do if their aunt and uncle come looking for her, Jessica tells her to tell 'em she's in the can and away she goes, promises of this being the first, last, and only trip to the carnival after dark. Which is Jessica speak for "This is cool for the rest of our visit, right? Thanks, Liz, love ya, bye!" How is it that Liz and Jessica have been together forever, but I can speak the sneaky twin-speak and Liz cannot? Oh, Margo, you'd have killed Jessica immediately after assuming Liz's identity just for the sheer annoyance.

   Alex and Jessica hit it off, but Alex cannot get out of work long enough to see Jessica during the day. Jess is bummed, but like I just said, she's more than willing to sneak out, night after night, to get a little carnie action. Woo. What I failed to mention earlier is that Alex has a twin named Brad. It's funny, when I think of the name Brad, I think of two people. Brad Pitt, sure, but mostly I think of Brad from Hey Dude. Anyone else?
  Brad meets Liz the next day and they really hit it off, too. Which is all well and good until you remember she's dating Jeffrey at this point. Liz feels bad, but Jessica [and her own hormones] manages to convince her that vacation romances don't really count as cheating. It's experiencing something new! Even as she admits she'd be ticked if she found out Jeffrey was meeting girls without telling or thinking of her, she still goes on with the Brad dates. Sometime after nearly kissing the boy, Liz gets a call from Jeffrey and suddenly she realizes that for as much as she likes Brad, it might have been the novelty of finally dating a twin with her twin [even going so far as to say, "I just can't get over how identical you two are" or something, and then kicking herself since she hates it when people say that to her] or maybe the country air, but she's really In Love with Jeffrey, so she and Brad cool off.
  To distract us from the lovey dovey stuff going on, let's return to the displaced queen b, shall we? I said there were at least two WTF moments in this book, and the second is that when Annie Sue declares war on the twins, Jessica doesn't immediately fire back. She doesn't scheme or plot, and not just out of respect for her aunt and uncle, but because she's just so shocked at someone she doesn't even know disliking her, that she's more prone to tears and shock than declaring war right back. Which I might sort of see for the first round or two, but by the time Annie brings her little sister into the mix, Jessica should be planning revenge, not bending over and asking for more.
  For the most part, Annie Sue flits around being bitchy towards either twin if she crosses their path, but doesn't really plot anything outside of that. Maybe because her friends are adopting Jessica's wild and crazy styles [the headbands, the dresses], or maybe because luck handed her such an opportunity, but her grandmother is best friends with Shirley, so naturally the twins are invited to the farm for the day. They go, sure that something horrible will happen, but not sure how to avoid it without being rude. When they arrive, they find that Annie isn't around yet, so Janie, her little sister, gives them the tour. She gets them lost, nearly gets Jessica kicked in the head by a cow, and there's a pig stampede. If I thought these were Janie's ideas, I'd be impressed. Annie stands them up [along with all her friends] which is actually really, really bitchy since her grandmother is beyond embarrassed as well as confused. The twins try very hard to be polite and assure her that it's not her fault that Annie Sue is a psychotic bitch. By this point Janie's copped to Annie Sue having planned all the little bits of evil, and the twins go home, confused and miserable.
  Now, I have to say that Annie Sue has guts. I'm fairly certain that the older members of my family would be from the same era as AS's grandmother, as well as Shirley and Herman, and you know what? Even the most polite, sweetest ones of the bunch would have tanned my hide if I tried anything like that. There are certain things you do not do, and I find it really hard to believe she did not get punished for that little stunt. Then again, maybe it's possible that factored into her next bit of bitchery.
  She manages to catch Jessica and Alex meeting [and smooching] after dark at the carnival. Jessica knows she's busted, but doesn't say a word to Elizabeth until Annie Sue begins to blackmail both twins. I like to think this is all crap, and that Annie Sue was grounded, too, and couldn't have told a damn thing, but I like adding things to these stories, so ignore me. Annie's really ambitious in her blackmail as she manages to waltz off with all of Jessica's fantastic accessories, with promises of more on the way. She even blackmails Elizabeth and Liz is beyond pissed, but she doesn't want to get her twin in trouble, so along with the whole mess she goes.
  There's a big square dance at the end of the carnival, and the twins have agreed to double date. On Liz's last date with Brad, he cuts his hand, and by now the suspicion that Brad doesn't actually exist is a certainty. But I've got no proof other than Brad/Alex are never in the same place at the same time, and also, they're a little too identical. But I've known twins who really did look like the same person, only you'd see them standing right next to one another, so... it could happen, I told my younger self. I kept holding out for another twist, but in my heart I knew the truth.

   Now, we can't leave the book with the twins not being the most fabulous of the fab, so we must have MORE drama. The twins ask if they can go to the dance with Brad/Alex and their aunt and uncle think about it before ultimately deciding they can't because they don't know these boys and also, isn't 16 a little young to be dating? Whatever. Jessica blows up and slips out to go and tell Alex their plans are ruined. Liz tries to cover for Jessica yet again...
  I should point out that with Jessica doing her nightly, "Oh, GOSH, I'm so tired!" routine nightly but sleeping so late every morning, Aunt Shirley is worried that Jessica's sick, or maybe she's depressed... but that she should call Alice anyway. Liz manages to convince her that Jessica's just been running on empty so long that she's catching up on her sleep and recharging, and honestly, it's a good thing! Really.
  Anyway, the night of her stalk off, Jessica's busted. Shirley and Herman come to talk to the twins and Liz cannot lie her way out of this mess, so she cops to Jessica sneaking out to visit Alex and tell him of their woe. Shirley and Herman freak out and away they all run to the carnival.
  The carnival where Annie Sue's father is buying her Midnight, a gorgeous horse who isn't all that fond of people and is still being broken in. Because Jessica's just that good, she's been riding Midnight with no problem during her dates with Alex, so she's left with the horse while Alex goes off to finalize a few things with Mr. Sawyer. Annie appears, hops up on Midnight, and all hell breaks loose. Jessica hops a horse and charges after the girl who has spent her entire vacation tormenting her, and pretty much saves her life, until Alex appears to finish saving the day. By now there's a huge crowd and everyone knows how brave Jessica and Alex are, and it's okay for Alex to go with Jessica to the dance, and sure, Brad can go too, they suppose, and hey, what's with your hand, Alex? You've hurt it in the exact same spot as Brad?
  Liz blows Alex off when he tries to explain [yes!] but does agree not to tell Jessica, since that should be his job.
  Needless to say, he chickens out and Liz is ticked. So the night of the dance, she enlists Annie Sue [who is magically their bestest friend after throwing them a true Welcome to Walkersville party] in her plan to show Alex what it's really like dating two girls at once. This is just Liz having Annie Sue go up to him and interrupt his dance with whichever twin he's currently dancing with to say that the other girl is painfully lonely and needs his attention.
  Alex finally cracks and asks Elizabeth what the fuck is wrong with her, cuz he's about to die. We find out that Alex couldn't decide which girl he liked best and even when it became clear that his heart belonged with Jessica, he couldn't figure out a way to come clean without coming across like an ass. Also, it was liberating to be Brad, to indulge the side of him that gets lost under his more Jessica-like personality traits. Because she's a pushover, Liz accepts this as an explanation and points out that everyone is multi layered, but she loses points for not looking to the future for a blooming onion analogy. Sigh.
  The third wtf moment is that Shirley and Herman don't punish Jessica at all, even if they haven't figured out that all her sleeping sickness problems were really her sneaking out more than once. For as strict as they were portrayed, they would have done SOMETHING. Anything. Sigh. Even as a kid I knew my grand-anythings would kill me dead for such behavior.

Trivial Matters:

  • Uncle Herman Walker's grandfather founded Walkersville, Kansas. Hence the name.

  • Lila's in Rome while the twins are in Kansas. Jess doesn't think this is exactly fair.

  • Want to refer to the twins by some cutesy name? Don't go with "clones, carbon copies, double images, or the ditto sisters" as they've heard them all. The ditto sisters? Oh lord.

  • Aunt Shirley is petite with dark hair, peppered with silver, almond shaped blue eyes, and a heart condition.

  • Uncle Herman is slightly portly, in his mid 60's, silver gray hair and mustache, and a booming voice, befitting the mayor of a small town.

  • Uncle Herman and Aunt Shirley are Alice's family, and when she was 16, she spent time out in Walkersville as well.

  • Jessica takes four pieces of luggage, including a dress bag [last thing off the plane] to Elizabeth's one piece.

  • The Walkers have a navy blue Chevrolet.

  • The infamous Cora incident happens on page 17. How's that for painfully trivial?

  • Uncle Herman's five and dime is imaginatively named "Walker's" and John Campbell runs the place while Herman does mayor type stuff. Walker's also boasts a soda fountain that Mindy mans. Yay!

  • 5 Elms, the Walker's home, is six blocks from the center of town.

  • Dennis Stevens, Sam, Matthew, Hank, and Louis greet Jessica happily until lithe brunette Annie Sue Sawyer and Mary, her plump blond sidekick, arrive.

  • Much is made of how uncomfortable Liz is being attracted to the same guy Jessica is [until Brad waltzes onto the scene] and all I can think is, "HELLO! Todd Wilkins, book one!" Oi. And that's not even going into the numerous boyfriend swaps they'll do later on.

  • Tall, broad shouldered, curly dark hair, astonishingly blue eyes, and tanned to perfection, Alex Parker is destined to be on the cover of some romance novel sometime in his future. He claims to have a twin, Brad, and a little sister, Evie. His father owns the carnival but is never seen or heard from.

  • Mrs. Sawyer, Annie Sue's grandmother, has hazel eyes, silver hair, and seems to be in her early 60's.

  • Janie Sawyer is nine and a half and a hellion.

  • Brownie, Mrs. Sawyer's cow, is cranky and only lets Mrs. Sawyer milk her, and always/only from the left side. Janie tries to get Jess to approach from the right side and Jess nearly gets kicked for her trouble.

  • Items Annie Sue blackmailed Jessica out of: A rhinestone headband made in LA, gifted from Lila, a plastic sport watch, a rhinestone pin, the promise of Jessica's red cowboy boots, and a big beaded silver necklace the night Midnight went nuts. She also snagged Elizabeth's sunglasses.

  • 'Brad' ripped his right hand on a nail, and before you go screaming about lock jaw, he had his tetanus shot a couple of months prior. Fun times, that shot.

  • Annie Sue and Dennis have known one another since they were six and it seems likely they'll get married. Jessica is horrified at the thought.

  • Jessica wears a red and white gingham dress with a petticoat that she borrowed from Annie Sue and Liz goes with a "slim-cut denim skirt and a red and white checked cotton blouse." There's mention of a bright bandanna around her neck, so... mostly what the girls are wearing on the cover.



Quotes:
"You think they have tornadoes all the time, like in The Wizard of Oz?" Jessica asked hopefully.
Elizabeth laughed. "Not in April, silly," she scoffed. - p9

"No one goes on vacation for peace and quiet, Liz," she said reprovingly. "Not unless you're middle aged or something." - I would kill for some peace, quiet, and fun, Jessica. p 9

"It's just lucky she came equipped. Only my sister would have enough accessories to keep a whole town satisfied!" - Liz is right, if you don't count how Lila would probably have three times the stuff of a Wakefield twin. p 170

"We should probably scold you for sneaking out of the house, but, Jessica, we're so proud of you for being such a heroine tonight that nothing else seems to matter!" - Bull. Shit. Aunt Shirley might, might, might cave that easy, but uncle Herman would have that girl's hide, do you hear me? p196

Well, the way Elizabeth saw it, Alex had his dream evening ahead of him now. He had both Wakefield girls as his dates.
Only Elizabeth intended to make Alex see that two Wakefield girls was too much for anyone, even Alex Parker. - Dirty? 226

"You're a good kid, you know that?" Alex said huskily. - I'd have punched him for that. Kid? Bite me, Alex. p231


   There's probably a reason this was the last Super Edition for awhile, and not just because the Thrillers took over for the next however many books. While a lovely pieces of candy floss, it's not exactly the best of the Supers. Annie Sue's hatred could have been so much more fun and a permanent thing, but it wasn't, and the book felt awfully short for a book that's supposed to be longer than normal. I dunno, I don't think I read this one as a little kid, and probably closer to when I started to fall out of love with the series, as I don't have the nostalgic attachment I do for most of the other books.
  That said, all this book really was missing was for it to be summer and to have the book happen over the fourth of July. :p

  Also, while I may not have been in love with the book, I felt cheated that the twins never did visit the south, but we could visit Kansas? Sigh. You could do much worse than this book, but you could also do better. To make up for the lackluster joy in the book, I point to the cover, which I actually like, but I was raised with a love for gingham... and also the knowledge that if you were to do Annie Sue's initials, she'd be ASS. I'm mature, I am, I am.
the_oracle: (tear)
Winter Carnival
December 1986


A winter wonderland...


   Winter's here and everyone at Sweet Valley High is excited about the upcoming Winter Carnival. It's a very special weekend at a mountain ski resort, with ice skating, skiing, sledding, and a spectacular ball.
   But Elizabeth Wakefield's got the midwinter blues. She's especially upset with her twin, Jessica, who's been avoiding chores and borrowing clothes without asking. Elizabeth is so sick and tired of Jessica's inconsiderate attitude that she sometimes wishes she never had a sister! And when Jessica's string of broken promises threatens to destroy Elizabeth's romance with Jeffrey French, it looks as though Winter Carnival will turn into a snowy disaster!
   Join the Sweet Valley High gang for their mid-winter break at Winter Carnival!

  Let's get one thing straight right away. Reality has no place in the Valley. None. And I don't mean that "twelve strangers picked specifically for their drama-queen/skanky ways in the hopes of generating insane ratings" reality, I mean honest to God reality. Mundane, normal stuff. No place!
  That said, Winter Carnival would have been much better off had they left out the over-the-top surrealism of the last few chapters. Until then, it's an interesting look behind the perfect twin facade. Liz, you see, is an unhappy camper. While the rest of us would probably consider her life more than charmed, psychotic sister, true-luv shipped to Vermont, and that whole kidnapping thing aside, she does have to put up with Jessica on a daily basis.
  And thus begins our trouble. Liz has to walk home, in the rain, because Jessica just took off with the car, leaving Liz stranded. You or I might have asked our twin if she needed a ride home. We might not, considering Liz does have Jeffrey/Enid/the numerous people who owe her for fixing their lives, whether they asked her to or not. So we might conclude that like Kim Possible, Liz is never without options. We'd be wrong. Anyway, Liz is grumpy, grumpy, grumpy. Lately Jessica has been getting on her nerves something fierce, what with her borrowing things without asking, ducking out of dinner detail repeatedly... basically being Jessica.
  Liz gets a bit snippy when Jessica lets her parents think that the delicious meal they're eating was her own creation when all she did was reheat Elizabeth's masterpiece. Then Liz notices Jess is wearing her mulberry sweater, which was a gift from Enid that Liz hasn't worn all that often. Liz goes apeshit. But what's really getting to Liz is that Jessica and Amy swiped Enid and Elizabeth's answers for a trivia game show, and then Amy and Jess won. Liz points out that if their roles had been reversed, Jess would have wheedled her way into a spot on TV, but Jess calls bullshit. [Honey, that only works if the other person IS full of it, not if it's true...] Then she says it doesn't matter, Amy's so excited that even if Jess wanted to hand it over, she couldn't possibly. Rightio.
  Then Liz finds out that she didn't win the essay contest she entered, but she did get an honorable mention. Liz is bummed that she didn't win flat out and when she finds out that the cheerleaders, led by Jessica, are on their way to All State, she hits a new low. She's jealous of Jessica in a big way, and nothing anyone can say can snap her out of it.
  Well, not entirely true. Jeffrey [you remember Jeffy, right?] sweet talks her out of her funk, only to send her home to bathe [mmhmm, not going there] and then he'll whisk her away to dinner and all her worries will fall by the wayside, cuz... well, let's not be too explicit. That's not the sort of guy Jeffrey is, after all.
  Problem is that Jessica, despite promising to make dinner on her actual night to do so, flits off to Amy's to cram for the trivia show. Liz calls Amy's house to bitch the blondes out, but Lana, Amy's maid [I know, right?] says the girls have gone to the library to look up the longest river in Africa. Let's take a moment, shall we? How many of you know that answer? Mmmhmm. How many of you knew that when you were the recommended reading age for these books? Mmmhmm. I figure nothing else I can say will point out that Amy lost all her braincells and then some. I think the sucking void that is her mind also took out half of Jessica's brain. Instead of using her superior intellect to figure out which library the two might've gone to and, I dunno, called and asked if two stunningly vapid blondes were running around killing braincells, Liz goes full on martyr and cancels her date with Jeffrey. Jeffrey sort of understands, but tells her that she should tell her twin where to shove it, because this shit just can't keep happening. If she can't tell Jess where to step off, she should tell her parents.

  Nup, that won't happen. What I don't get is why neither Ned nor Alice ever call Jess on this shit UNLESS it's one of the "woe is Jessica!" books that happen every so often. Otherwise they smile and wish her good luck on not getting knocked up this go round. Hell, this time Alice comes home, asks where Jess is, is told she's out despite it being her night to do dinner, and in response she shrugs and shows off this spangly [Liz's word, not mine] silver Lycra ski suit she bought her youngest for the Winter Carnival.
  Um, no. I don't care if she is "studying." It's easy enough to figure out that out of, let's say 10 nights, Liz has made dinner eight times. I figure that the weekends are iffy on whether the Wakefields eat together or require dinner made by either of the twins, but I factor in that either Sunday or Friday, they might. Anyway, the point is for them to share the workload, and it's not sharing if one of them is doing all the work. Even at the height of my brother's do nothing and get away with it-'phase', my parents still noticed after awhile. And not just because I'd rat him out at every given opportunity.
  Liz, stuff the older sister crap and tell your parents that Jessica's taking advantage of you. Then tell her yourself and actually stick to it, dammit.
  ...Surprisingly enough, she actually does this. Well, not the part where she tells her parents, but the part where she tells Jessica that she's skipped dinner duty three times in two weeks and that while it's annoying to have everyone else expect her to be perfect-robo-twin, it's particularly vexing for her very own twin to expect the same. Jessica is horrified at the thought of having to be Saint Elizabeth and vows to be a better sister.
  If you believe this, well...
  Liz puts Jess to the test almost immediately. Liz has promised to drive little Teddy Collins home from Ricky Alden's birthday party while Mr. Collins is out of town. Seems his sister, Heather, doesn't drive. But Liz is playing tennis Friday afternoon with Jeffrey and won't be back in time to get Mr. Alden's call about where his house is [why not call BEFORE for the directions, Liz?] annnnnnd what time to pick Teddy up. Jessica promises to take the message, and leave a note telling Liz when/where so that when Liz gets back from tennis, she can run out and pick Teddy up.
  You know this is going to end badly. It has to. And so it does.
  Oh, Jessica takes the message alright. She takes the message along with her on her date with David. Which means Liz never picks Teddy up and looks like a total flake, and I wouldn't blame Heather if she were mighty ticked at Liz. If I were Ricky's dad, I would wonder why a high school girl was picking Teddy up in the first place, but as other people have mentioned, Liz and Mr. C have an odd sort of relationship.
  So, Jess has a disastrous date. David is the cute guy on the opposing trivia team, and Jess has fallen for him for obvious reasons. Namely, he's cute and she figures that if she can get him hot and bothered enough, he'll let her and Amy win the mock game and then they'll get to be on TV. David tells her she's lovely, but that's never gonna happen. Prior to that, though, he takes Jessica to meet his older sister, sister's boyfriend, and they all have sushi. Jessica inhales horseradish instead and damn near chokes, then realizes she fucked up big time with the whole Teddy/Ricky/Liz fiasco. THEN David tells her no.
  So she's in a right pitiful mood when she gets home, and heads straight to Liz to offer a half-assed apology and some serious sympathy over what a jerk David is.
  Liz is pissed the hell off and tells Jessica to go fuck herself, cuz Liz is sick and tired of being unable to depend on her stupid, selfish, flighty, flaky, self absorbed skank of a twin.

   Jess: 137 million, Liz: 1.


  In an effort to make things up to Liz, Jessica decides to try and figure out what's REALLY bothering her twin. Because it couldn't possibly be that Jessica is royally screwing her over every day that ends in "y", could it? No. Then Todd of all people calls! Jess is sure that this means that Liz is really in love with Todd still, and that with him visiting for the Winter Carnival, Liz is all torn up over Jeffrey vs. Todd. So when Todd asks her to pass along a message about the PTA dinner he's asked Liz to attend with him, Jessica does just that. She skips out the door, heads right to the DB, and tells Liz that Todd's all atwitter about their non-date-date, wink wink, nudge nudge.
  Right.
  In.
  Front.
  Of.
  Jeffrey.
   Who had no idea Liz was bailing on the first night of the WC so she could go out with her ex. He's pissed and excuses himself, ready to leave Liz at the DB. Man, early Jeffrey had balls. Todd would never have done that until later in the series when he was an asshole all the time. Liz and Jeffrey fight it out and when he drops her off, Jeffrey doesn't really make any motion to see her in safely, or even really say goodbye.
  So what does Elizabeth do? She asks Jessica for relationship advice. Jess tells her that a little jealousy never hurt anyone [the mind, it boggles!] and that Liz should let Jeffrey think he's got a little to worry about, just so their relationship won't get stale, and they won't take one another for granted.
  And Elizabeth agrees.
  The next day at some picnic or party or whatever the hell it is the popular kids at SVH do on their weekends, Enid tells Elizabeth that she's pretty sure Jeffrey's sensitive and besides that, he's not a headcase like Jessica, and she didn't think Liz was either. Liz ignores Enid, fucks things up further with Jeffrey, and can't even really blame Jessica, because this one? Not really Jessie's fault.
  Damnation!
  Days pass and Liz is worried. She thinks it's ridiculous that Jeffrey is SO jealous of a PTA dinner with Todd, but Jeffrey's never had a serious girlfriend, leading the less mature of us to wonder about his boyfriend history. Um, anywayyyyyyyyyyyyy....
  So Jeffrey decides he'll drive out to this deserted little slice of canyon and if Liz shows up, they'll have a little chat about the state of their union. And if she doesn't show up, obviously there's nothing to talk about and their relationship is as dead as it looks at the moment.
  Liz tells Jessica that she HAS to have the car back by 4:30 because the Liz/Jeffrey relationship depends on it. Jess agrees, but this is where everyone else realizes it ain't. gonna. happen. You see, today is the day when Jessica and Amy go all trivia nerd and beat the pants off real trivia nerds and win the coveted TV time for a local access trivia bowl game show. Exciting. Anyway, upon winning, they all go out for pizza and Jessica has totally forgotten Elizabeth.
  A couple of things come to mind in all this. The first? Why didn't Elizabeth just drive Amy and Jessica to the trivia thing? Or why didn't she insist Amy drive? Doesn't Amy have a car? They've got a housekeeper, so I imagine the Suttons have the money for Ames to have her own transportation. Barring that, where are Lila and Cara? Or ANY of Jessica's admirers? By choosing to leave your fate in the hands of your ditzy sister and even flakier former best friend, you have actually spoken volumes about what you think of your relationship with Jeffy, Lizzie.
  Also, when Jessica doesn't make it home on time [SHOCKER] and you can't find a car to borrow, or afford the taxi out to the canyon, why don't you hike/bike ride/take the taxi/bus to Jeffrey's house and wait for him? Huh? Explain that you tried your second-best and when you realized you'd never be able to meet him, you ran right over to wait for him to get home.
  And if you can't be bothered to do that, you call and leave a thousand messages for him. But seriously, you haul yourself over there and plant your ass on the porch until he comes home. If he tells you to fuck off, fine. That's his right. But at least you'll have tried.
  Why, oh why am I at all invested in Elizabeth's stupidity at this point?

  Now that Jessica's botched just about everything up, she decides she has to fix it. She gets Todd to back off on the PTA thing, which makes Liz feel worse since she fought so hard to convince Jeffrey she SHOULD go since he's a friend and all. Then Jess forges a note from Liz to Jeffrey and tells him to meet her at the ski-lodge at 6:30 Friday evening. Problem this time? She never has time to tell Liz to meet Jeffrey, because Amy fucking Sutton proves she's a moron. When you're going away for a weekend, don't you start to pack a little beforehand? Even if it's just finding the fucking suitcases prior to the hour before you're supposed to leave? Not Amy. Amy runs around like a chicken with its head cut off, only less coordinated. Just when Jessica thinks she's home free, Amy's all "I forgot my allergy pills, Jess! I NEED them." Bitch, I would have pawned you off on Sandy Bacon when she drove by. Not Jessica. She and Amy drive up to Mont Blanc and since they run out of gas, hit all the lights, and various other hi-larious problems ensue, Jess has just enough time to run to the lodge and pretend to be Liz. It works, Jeffrey thinks they're on their way to being cool... Only Jess is spotted by Chrissy Nolan, a gossipy senior girl who makes a comment about the cute blond and the other twin and Liz. Freaks. Out.

  Oh. My. GOD, Liz, take a chill pill. For the last time! Jeffrey and Jessica aren't romantically entangled just yet! But no. Liz runs off, cons Ken into taking her to the bus station, where she runs into Steve and Cara as she takes the bus home. When she does get home, Jessica gets a hold of her and Liz tells her to fuck off. Again. Then she lies down for a nap.
  She's woken by the sound of the phone ringing, and when she answers, it's a cop. Never a good sign when the cops call, unless you're related to the one on the phone. She's not. He's calling because Jessica was in an accident on the way down from Mont Blanc. She's at Fowler Memorial and it doesn't look good. Liz runs out of the house, only to realize that Steve's car is in the shop, her parents are both out [why'd they take both their cars?], and she doesn't know anyone else who can take her since they're all up at Mont Blanc. Then Todd of all people drives by and she flags him down. Why in the HELL is Todd driving a black Camero? Doesn't matter. He takes her to the hospital where she arrives just in time to find out that Jessica is gone. Liz faints.
  When she comes to, Jessica is still dead. Her parents are in shock, Liz is in denial and to help her deal, her pediatrician has prescribed some major pills, which she takes and helps take the edge off everything. The days pass by in a blur, due to the drugs and all, and Liz is handling all of this remarkably well considering she's sure that her family blames her for Jessica's death, since Jess wouldn't have died if the twins hadn't been fighting. Enid's throwing a small 'remember Jessica' sort of thing at her house. The guest list is a little odd, with Steve, Cara, Enid, Liz, Todd, Winston, Amy, Lila, Regina & Bruce, Roger, and Olivia. You had me right up until Roger and Olivia. I guess they're there to support Liz, not so much because they'll necessarily miss Jessica. Jeffy shows up and the shit hits the fan. He and Todd duel in the yard and the world goes even wonkier when Enid runs out into the yard wearing Jessica's silver ski suit. She's calling Liz's name only...
  Not.
  Because everything after Liz drifted off to sleep has been a dream. Jess, Steve, Cara, and Jeffrey are all at the Wakefield's! They're fine! Jess is alive! Liz instantly forgives everything, hugs her twin to death, and all is well.
  The book ends with the Snow Ball Enid's been working on for the WC. Happily ever after. Oh, and the Todd/Jeffrey jokes literally write themselves as they bond over the weekend.



Trivial Matters:

  • Liz calls her essay for the Young Writer's Society, "Double or Nothing." Like everything else she writes, it's about being a twin. Later, she'll think that she should have called it "Double Standard." Her faculty sponsor is Mr. Collins, and she gets honorable mention.

  • The Winter Carnival weekend is for juniors, seniors, and SVH alumni. Am I the only one thinking of all the pervy guys trying to get with a naive/super slutty SVH student? Guess so.

  • The WC is held at Mont Blanc, a ski resort an hour and a half away from SV. Among other amenities, there's a ballroom.

  • The local TV station has created a trivia game show, and they've run a contest to get names for the show as well as contestants. After they swipe Liz and Enid's answers, Amy and Jessica are chosen, and their bit of witticism for a name? Trivia Bowl. Egads, Brain...

  • There's one team from SVH and one from Westwood High. Come on, ghosties, how many frickin' high schools are we up to by now?

  • The Trivia Show's entry form has ten sample questions and a space for a name suggestion for the show.

  • Trivia Bowl will air on KSVC. Those are some easy call letters, eh?

  • Jessica's all over the cold lasagna. While I agree leftover lasagna is better than fresh from the oven, I prefer mine warmed. To each their freakish ways, I suppose, Wakefield.

  • The Trivia Bowl people called Amy first. Luckily Jessica was there, too.

  • Winston demands that the dance at the WC be called the Snow Ball. Enid caves, but holds firm against all his other wackily lame ideas. In my head, Enid and Win were totally doing other things rather than planning the Snow Ball. Just sayin'...

  • Enid is co-chair of the dance committee, in case you hadn't figured that out yet.

  • Friday night there's a pizza party to begin the WC weekend. It's at 7pm, which happens to fall too close to the PTA dinner Todd's invited Elizabeth to go to.

  • Various chaperons include Ms. Dalton, Mr. Collins, Ms. Howard...

  • There are four students to each room. The only rooms worth noting: Liz/Enid/Olivia/Regina and Jessica/Cara/Lila/Amy. That last one sounds like a bad idea begging to happen.

  • Amy is organizing a miniture ice show for the WC. Ken and Bill are setting up a mock winter Olympics, with four teams competing for the glory and bragging rights of winning.

  • If you're not athletically inclined, there's always card or board games inside the lodge, as well as ping pong.

  • Elizabeth is Jeffrey's first serious girlfriend.

  • Todd played Big Brother to Timothy Bryce, who won a basketball scholarship to b-ball camp and is being honored [along with a zillion other snot nosed brats] at a PTA dinner, originally scheduled for Sunday, but moved to Friday for no reason other than to fuck with Elizabeth's weekend plans with Jeffrey.

  • The SVH squad has been picked as a finalist for the All-State cheerleading squad, leading Jess to prance around shrieking, "Can you believe we might be the best in the state?!?" as if we couldn't figure out what All-State meant.

  • Nina Davidson is a VIP from an architecture firm in San Diego who has been running Alice ragged.

  • Another high school! Bayberry Hills Academy, Jess is sure that they would have gotten the All-State nomination instead.

  • David Campbell is a senior at Westwood High. He's got brown eyes that wrinkle at the corners like Ned Wakefield's. His mother owns Bibi's, and his sister, Barbara, is 19 and crazy in that affected way that seems to be an epidemic in the Valley. Her boyfriend Mitch is just as affected/crazy.

  • Scott Hamlin runs Trivia Bowl.

  • Jeffrey's big plan was to whisk Liz off for a romantic evening at Tiberino's. The plan dies when Jessica and Amy go to the library to look up the longest river in Africa. No word on whether they figured it out or not.

  • The Suttons have a housekeeper named Lana.

  • Jessica is convinced her father needs to watch his weight, so she's vowed the family will eat salad 2 nights a week. Um, it might also have something to do with salads being impossibly easy to fix...

  • Alice picks up a silver, Lycra ski suit for Jessica at The Ski Shop.

  • Enid recently gave Elizabeth a mulberry sweater and Liz goes nuts when Jessica borrows it. Jess just borrowed it because she promised to show Amy her pants. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried...

  • When asked to name all the states starting with the letter M, Jessica misses Massachusetts, Mississippi, Maryland and Minnesota.

  • Winston informs Jessica and Amy that Charles Darwin's most famous voyage was made while sailing in The Beagle.

  • Also, the first two letters on every boat registered in California? CA. Jess is sure they wouldn't ask something like this. Uh, it's a trivia show, Jess. You're lucky they aren't asking really off the wall crap.

  • Mr. Collins has a sister, Heather, but she doesn't drive.

  • David drives a blue MG.

  • David, Barbara, Mitch, and Jessica go to A Taste of Tokyo [for sashimi], which is half an hour away.

  • Jessica thinks David is a jerk for not promising to take it easy on Amy and Jessica during the Trivia Bowl, but concedes that he's a considerate jerk when he waits until she's safely inside before starting his car and driving off.

  • Ned and Alice both work in downtown Sweet Valley.

  • At the picnic where Jeffrey and Liz prove they suck at playing proper headgames, Jessica plays Frisbee baseball. Also at the picnic? Caroline, Enid, Ken, and Bill. Man, the way they keep pairing Bill and Ken up, a girl could get to thinking the wrong thing. But I won't. Much longer. Promise.

  • Jeffrey is looking super sexy, in Elizabeth's opinion, in his madras pants. Go on, google 'em. I've got time.

  • Jeffrey drives out to Las Palmas Canyon, where he'll be waiting at the intersection of Route 27 and Canyon Drive. If Liz hasn't shown up by 6pm, I dunno, he'll go find Todd and get down and dirty. Who knows.

  • The Trivia Bowl starts at 3:30 and Jess is sure she'll be home by 4:30. She might've been had she not gone out for pizza with the gang at Pizza Palace. Hell, she volunteers to drive, thus further damning herself.

  • Jake Thomas is David's partner. Mike Mallory is the host of Trivia Bowl.

  • David and Thomas dominate the first half of TB *snort* and Amy and Jessica take the second half. There's a tie, and the tie-breaker? How many fluid cups are in a gallon. David says 24, but Jessica and Amy say, "Nuh uh! 16!" The girls win. Yay for them.

  • The drive to the canyon takes at least half an hour and a taxi ride'll cost $30. Liz doesn't have that much cash, and while she considers raiding the emergency money, she still wouldn't have enough. Bummer.

  • When Jessica is gossiping on the phone, she prefers to lie on her stomach, stretched across the bed, her ankles crossed in the air, her chin propped up on one hand. Now you know.

  • Todd visits with such regularity that the ghosty gets away with saying that when he does visit, you can be sure he'll be staying with either Ken or Winston. For the record, Winston won bunk rights this time.

  • Todd's flight comes in at 3pm, and he'll be back at Winston's by 4:30.

  • Amy can't drive a stick and has terrible night vision because her contacts make oncoming headlights shimmer.

  • The girls are bunking in the main building at Mont Blanc and the guys are in the Lodge, a hundred yards away. Woo?

  • Chrissy Nolan is a senior and a gossip to boot.

  • Ms. Dalton and Ms. Howard at the second floor chaperons, where Liz's room happens to be.

  • Ken took Liz to the bus station. He wanted to stay with her, but she wouldn't let him.

  • Steve and Cara took the bus to MB because Steve's car was in the shop.

  • Liz takes the 7:15 bus back to SV, and she's the only passenger, so she sits up front with Hank, the bus driver.

  • Liz actually wishes, repeatedly, that Jessica had never been born; that she had no sister at all. Damn, Liz.

  • Jessica 'crashes' on Route 17, down from MB, when she smashed into a tree. The docs say she didn't suffer, I say it was a fucking car accident and she didn't die immediately. I don't think she was having fun waiting for someone to drive by and call 911 for her.

  • Todd drives up in a black Camero.

  • Dr. Davis is the twins pediatrician. He appears wearing large coke-bottle glasses that he doesn't normally have outside of dreamtime.

  • Jessica's last words were, "Tell Liz I love her and I'm sorry." Guilt trip from beyond the grave!

  • Ned starts smoking after Jessica's death. Liz is shocked.

  • After less than a week, Alice turns the Hershey Bar white chocolate, and cleans everything out to make a guest room. Guess Liz isn't the only one knocking back the happy pills...

  • Enid's little shindig for Jessica involved the following: Steve, Liz, Todd, Winston, Amy, Lila, Regina, Bruce, Roger, and Olivia.

  • When Liz comes home in a tizzy from MB, Ned and Alice are out at a party.

  • On the way back to MB, they're running late because Jessica overslept.

  • Mock Olympics: Jessica is on the blue team, Bruce is building the world's biggest snowman which bears more than a little resemblance to Chrome Dome Cooper, Todd and Jeffrey are both part of the red team, Aaron and Bill are part of the yellow team, and your guess is as good as mine for the white team.

  • The Droids wrote Snow Girl for the Snow Ball. They're all dressed in white, as is everything else at the SB.



Quote me:

  "She's like a whirlwind!" Elizabeth had exclaimed once to Enid Rollins her best friend.
  "And you're so dependable," Enid had said loyally. - Uncool, Rollins. Whirlwind versus dependable? Which is more flattering, hmm? p4

  "What's wrong?" Jessica asked, still gorging herself on lasagna.
  "Nothing," Elizabeth lied. "It's just that Enid and I really wanted to be on that show. We worked so hard on our entry form and-"
  "Don't worry about it," Jessica advised her. "It's just a dumb trivia show. It's not such a big deal."
  Elizabeth just stared at her. "But if I'd won and you really wanted to be on it, I bet you'd twist my arm until I have in and let you," she pointed out.
  Jessica giggled. "I wouldn't do that," she protested. - And a hundred and thirty seven people just called bullshit, Jessica. p9/10


  "It's only an essay contest anyway," Jessica pointed out. "Come on, Liz. Don't be depressed. Who cares about essays?" - Thoughtful she is not, ladies and gentlemen. p29

  Since her own taste was conservative, it amazed Elizabeth that Jessica borrowed so many of her things. - Truer words were never spoken. p48

  "You're you, and I'm me, and wherever we go people are going to expect me to be on time and to wear navy-blue and they're not going to expect you to do either."
  Jessica stared at her sister. She couldn't imagine a worse fate than the one Elizabeth was describing for herself.- The horror! p57/58

  Mitch was even worse. He kept talking about Hollywood and going into "film," and he was wearing the weirdest clothes-an oversized Hawaiian shirt fastened at the throat with a jeweled pin, and strangely cut linen pants that made him look emaciated. His glasses were kelly green, and when Jessica made a remark about them Mitch gave her a scornful look. "I have twenty-five pair of glasses," he told her. "I change them to go with what I'm wearing." - Mitch, congrats. You're the biggest tool we've had in awhile. Yay, you! p72





   My favorite thing about Winter Carnival, aside from the reality of Liz not always loving being "dependable" as opposed to glamorous? Jeffrey being jealous of Todd's history with Liz. He's heard so much about how awesome Todd was at EVERYTHING, and how everyone expected Todd and Liz to be together, forever, aww, that it makes complete sense that he wouldn't be looking forward to the guy coming back and hanging out immediately with Elizabeth. But he never actually tells Liz any of this during their fighting madness, so she just things he's jealous and overprotective, and more than a little cro-mag in his mindset.
  Superficially speaking, I had a sweater like Elizabeth's, without the funky turtleneck thing going on. But then again, I was in elementary school...
the_oracle: (tear)
Winter Carnival
December 1986


A winter wonderland...


   Winter's here and everyone at Sweet Valley High is excited about the upcoming Winter Carnival. It's a very special weekend at a mountain ski resort, with ice skating, skiing, sledding, and a spectacular ball.
   But Elizabeth Wakefield's got the midwinter blues. She's especially upset with her twin, Jessica, who's been avoiding chores and borrowing clothes without asking. Elizabeth is so sick and tired of Jessica's inconsiderate attitude that she sometimes wishes she never had a sister! And when Jessica's string of broken promises threatens to destroy Elizabeth's romance with Jeffrey French, it looks as though Winter Carnival will turn into a snowy disaster!
   Join the Sweet Valley High gang for their mid-winter break at Winter Carnival!

  Let's get one thing straight right away. Reality has no place in the Valley. None. And I don't mean that "twelve strangers picked specifically for their drama-queen/skanky ways in the hopes of generating insane ratings" reality, I mean honest to God reality. Mundane, normal stuff. No place!
  That said, Winter Carnival would have been much better off had they left out the over-the-top surrealism of the last few chapters. Until then, it's an interesting look behind the perfect twin facade. Liz, you see, is an unhappy camper. While the rest of us would probably consider her life more than charmed, psychotic sister, true-luv shipped to Vermont, and that whole kidnapping thing aside, she does have to put up with Jessica on a daily basis.
  And thus begins our trouble. Liz has to walk home, in the rain, because Jessica just took off with the car, leaving Liz stranded. You or I might have asked our twin if she needed a ride home. We might not, considering Liz does have Jeffrey/Enid/the numerous people who owe her for fixing their lives, whether they asked her to or not. So we might conclude that like Kim Possible, Liz is never without options. We'd be wrong. Anyway, Liz is grumpy, grumpy, grumpy. Lately Jessica has been getting on her nerves something fierce, what with her borrowing things without asking, ducking out of dinner detail repeatedly... basically being Jessica.
  Liz gets a bit snippy when Jessica lets her parents think that the delicious meal they're eating was her own creation when all she did was reheat Elizabeth's masterpiece. Then Liz notices Jess is wearing her mulberry sweater, which was a gift from Enid that Liz hasn't worn all that often. Liz goes apeshit. But what's really getting to Liz is that Jessica and Amy swiped Enid and Elizabeth's answers for a trivia game show, and then Amy and Jess won. Liz points out that if their roles had been reversed, Jess would have wheedled her way into a spot on TV, but Jess calls bullshit. [Honey, that only works if the other person IS full of it, not if it's true...] Then she says it doesn't matter, Amy's so excited that even if Jess wanted to hand it over, she couldn't possibly. Rightio.
  Then Liz finds out that she didn't win the essay contest she entered, but she did get an honorable mention. Liz is bummed that she didn't win flat out and when she finds out that the cheerleaders, led by Jessica, are on their way to All State, she hits a new low. She's jealous of Jessica in a big way, and nothing anyone can say can snap her out of it.
  Well, not entirely true. Jeffrey [you remember Jeffy, right?] sweet talks her out of her funk, only to send her home to bathe [mmhmm, not going there] and then he'll whisk her away to dinner and all her worries will fall by the wayside, cuz... well, let's not be too explicit. That's not the sort of guy Jeffrey is, after all.
  Problem is that Jessica, despite promising to make dinner on her actual night to do so, flits off to Amy's to cram for the trivia show. Liz calls Amy's house to bitch the blondes out, but Lana, Amy's maid [I know, right?] says the girls have gone to the library to look up the longest river in Africa. Let's take a moment, shall we? How many of you know that answer? Mmmhmm. How many of you knew that when you were the recommended reading age for these books? Mmmhmm. I figure nothing else I can say will point out that Amy lost all her braincells and then some. I think the sucking void that is her mind also took out half of Jessica's brain. Instead of using her superior intellect to figure out which library the two might've gone to and, I dunno, called and asked if two stunningly vapid blondes were running around killing braincells, Liz goes full on martyr and cancels her date with Jeffrey. Jeffrey sort of understands, but tells her that she should tell her twin where to shove it, because this shit just can't keep happening. If she can't tell Jess where to step off, she should tell her parents.

  Nup, that won't happen. What I don't get is why neither Ned nor Alice ever call Jess on this shit UNLESS it's one of the "woe is Jessica!" books that happen every so often. Otherwise they smile and wish her good luck on not getting knocked up this go round. Hell, this time Alice comes home, asks where Jess is, is told she's out despite it being her night to do dinner, and in response she shrugs and shows off this spangly [Liz's word, not mine] silver Lycra ski suit she bought her youngest for the Winter Carnival.
  Um, no. I don't care if she is "studying." It's easy enough to figure out that out of, let's say 10 nights, Liz has made dinner eight times. I figure that the weekends are iffy on whether the Wakefields eat together or require dinner made by either of the twins, but I factor in that either Sunday or Friday, they might. Anyway, the point is for them to share the workload, and it's not sharing if one of them is doing all the work. Even at the height of my brother's do nothing and get away with it-'phase', my parents still noticed after awhile. And not just because I'd rat him out at every given opportunity.
  Liz, stuff the older sister crap and tell your parents that Jessica's taking advantage of you. Then tell her yourself and actually stick to it, dammit.
  ...Surprisingly enough, she actually does this. Well, not the part where she tells her parents, but the part where she tells Jessica that she's skipped dinner duty three times in two weeks and that while it's annoying to have everyone else expect her to be perfect-robo-twin, it's particularly vexing for her very own twin to expect the same. Jessica is horrified at the thought of having to be Saint Elizabeth and vows to be a better sister.
  If you believe this, well...
  Liz puts Jess to the test almost immediately. Liz has promised to drive little Teddy Collins home from Ricky Alden's birthday party while Mr. Collins is out of town. Seems his sister, Heather, doesn't drive. But Liz is playing tennis Friday afternoon with Jeffrey and won't be back in time to get Mr. Alden's call about where his house is [why not call BEFORE for the directions, Liz?] annnnnnd what time to pick Teddy up. Jessica promises to take the message, and leave a note telling Liz when/where so that when Liz gets back from tennis, she can run out and pick Teddy up.
  You know this is going to end badly. It has to. And so it does.
  Oh, Jessica takes the message alright. She takes the message along with her on her date with David. Which means Liz never picks Teddy up and looks like a total flake, and I wouldn't blame Heather if she were mighty ticked at Liz. If I were Ricky's dad, I would wonder why a high school girl was picking Teddy up in the first place, but as other people have mentioned, Liz and Mr. C have an odd sort of relationship.
  So, Jess has a disastrous date. David is the cute guy on the opposing trivia team, and Jess has fallen for him for obvious reasons. Namely, he's cute and she figures that if she can get him hot and bothered enough, he'll let her and Amy win the mock game and then they'll get to be on TV. David tells her she's lovely, but that's never gonna happen. Prior to that, though, he takes Jessica to meet his older sister, sister's boyfriend, and they all have sushi. Jessica inhales horseradish instead and damn near chokes, then realizes she fucked up big time with the whole Teddy/Ricky/Liz fiasco. THEN David tells her no.
  So she's in a right pitiful mood when she gets home, and heads straight to Liz to offer a half-assed apology and some serious sympathy over what a jerk David is.
  Liz is pissed the hell off and tells Jessica to go fuck herself, cuz Liz is sick and tired of being unable to depend on her stupid, selfish, flighty, flaky, self absorbed skank of a twin.

   Jess: 137 million, Liz: 1.


  In an effort to make things up to Liz, Jessica decides to try and figure out what's REALLY bothering her twin. Because it couldn't possibly be that Jessica is royally screwing her over every day that ends in "y", could it? No. Then Todd of all people calls! Jess is sure that this means that Liz is really in love with Todd still, and that with him visiting for the Winter Carnival, Liz is all torn up over Jeffrey vs. Todd. So when Todd asks her to pass along a message about the PTA dinner he's asked Liz to attend with him, Jessica does just that. She skips out the door, heads right to the DB, and tells Liz that Todd's all atwitter about their non-date-date, wink wink, nudge nudge.
  Right.
  In.
  Front.
  Of.
  Jeffrey.
   Who had no idea Liz was bailing on the first night of the WC so she could go out with her ex. He's pissed and excuses himself, ready to leave Liz at the DB. Man, early Jeffrey had balls. Todd would never have done that until later in the series when he was an asshole all the time. Liz and Jeffrey fight it out and when he drops her off, Jeffrey doesn't really make any motion to see her in safely, or even really say goodbye.
  So what does Elizabeth do? She asks Jessica for relationship advice. Jess tells her that a little jealousy never hurt anyone [the mind, it boggles!] and that Liz should let Jeffrey think he's got a little to worry about, just so their relationship won't get stale, and they won't take one another for granted.
  And Elizabeth agrees.
  The next day at some picnic or party or whatever the hell it is the popular kids at SVH do on their weekends, Enid tells Elizabeth that she's pretty sure Jeffrey's sensitive and besides that, he's not a headcase like Jessica, and she didn't think Liz was either. Liz ignores Enid, fucks things up further with Jeffrey, and can't even really blame Jessica, because this one? Not really Jessie's fault.
  Damnation!
  Days pass and Liz is worried. She thinks it's ridiculous that Jeffrey is SO jealous of a PTA dinner with Todd, but Jeffrey's never had a serious girlfriend, leading the less mature of us to wonder about his boyfriend history. Um, anywayyyyyyyyyyyyy....
  So Jeffrey decides he'll drive out to this deserted little slice of canyon and if Liz shows up, they'll have a little chat about the state of their union. And if she doesn't show up, obviously there's nothing to talk about and their relationship is as dead as it looks at the moment.
  Liz tells Jessica that she HAS to have the car back by 4:30 because the Liz/Jeffrey relationship depends on it. Jess agrees, but this is where everyone else realizes it ain't. gonna. happen. You see, today is the day when Jessica and Amy go all trivia nerd and beat the pants off real trivia nerds and win the coveted TV time for a local access trivia bowl game show. Exciting. Anyway, upon winning, they all go out for pizza and Jessica has totally forgotten Elizabeth.
  A couple of things come to mind in all this. The first? Why didn't Elizabeth just drive Amy and Jessica to the trivia thing? Or why didn't she insist Amy drive? Doesn't Amy have a car? They've got a housekeeper, so I imagine the Suttons have the money for Ames to have her own transportation. Barring that, where are Lila and Cara? Or ANY of Jessica's admirers? By choosing to leave your fate in the hands of your ditzy sister and even flakier former best friend, you have actually spoken volumes about what you think of your relationship with Jeffy, Lizzie.
  Also, when Jessica doesn't make it home on time [SHOCKER] and you can't find a car to borrow, or afford the taxi out to the canyon, why don't you hike/bike ride/take the taxi/bus to Jeffrey's house and wait for him? Huh? Explain that you tried your second-best and when you realized you'd never be able to meet him, you ran right over to wait for him to get home.
  And if you can't be bothered to do that, you call and leave a thousand messages for him. But seriously, you haul yourself over there and plant your ass on the porch until he comes home. If he tells you to fuck off, fine. That's his right. But at least you'll have tried.
  Why, oh why am I at all invested in Elizabeth's stupidity at this point?

  Now that Jessica's botched just about everything up, she decides she has to fix it. She gets Todd to back off on the PTA thing, which makes Liz feel worse since she fought so hard to convince Jeffrey she SHOULD go since he's a friend and all. Then Jess forges a note from Liz to Jeffrey and tells him to meet her at the ski-lodge at 6:30 Friday evening. Problem this time? She never has time to tell Liz to meet Jeffrey, because Amy fucking Sutton proves she's a moron. When you're going away for a weekend, don't you start to pack a little beforehand? Even if it's just finding the fucking suitcases prior to the hour before you're supposed to leave? Not Amy. Amy runs around like a chicken with its head cut off, only less coordinated. Just when Jessica thinks she's home free, Amy's all "I forgot my allergy pills, Jess! I NEED them." Bitch, I would have pawned you off on Sandy Bacon when she drove by. Not Jessica. She and Amy drive up to Mont Blanc and since they run out of gas, hit all the lights, and various other hi-larious problems ensue, Jess has just enough time to run to the lodge and pretend to be Liz. It works, Jeffrey thinks they're on their way to being cool... Only Jess is spotted by Chrissy Nolan, a gossipy senior girl who makes a comment about the cute blond and the other twin and Liz. Freaks. Out.

  Oh. My. GOD, Liz, take a chill pill. For the last time! Jeffrey and Jessica aren't romantically entangled just yet! But no. Liz runs off, cons Ken into taking her to the bus station, where she runs into Steve and Cara as she takes the bus home. When she does get home, Jessica gets a hold of her and Liz tells her to fuck off. Again. Then she lies down for a nap.
  She's woken by the sound of the phone ringing, and when she answers, it's a cop. Never a good sign when the cops call, unless you're related to the one on the phone. She's not. He's calling because Jessica was in an accident on the way down from Mont Blanc. She's at Fowler Memorial and it doesn't look good. Liz runs out of the house, only to realize that Steve's car is in the shop, her parents are both out [why'd they take both their cars?], and she doesn't know anyone else who can take her since they're all up at Mont Blanc. Then Todd of all people drives by and she flags him down. Why in the HELL is Todd driving a black Camero? Doesn't matter. He takes her to the hospital where she arrives just in time to find out that Jessica is gone. Liz faints.
  When she comes to, Jessica is still dead. Her parents are in shock, Liz is in denial and to help her deal, her pediatrician has prescribed some major pills, which she takes and helps take the edge off everything. The days pass by in a blur, due to the drugs and all, and Liz is handling all of this remarkably well considering she's sure that her family blames her for Jessica's death, since Jess wouldn't have died if the twins hadn't been fighting. Enid's throwing a small 'remember Jessica' sort of thing at her house. The guest list is a little odd, with Steve, Cara, Enid, Liz, Todd, Winston, Amy, Lila, Regina & Bruce, Roger, and Olivia. You had me right up until Roger and Olivia. I guess they're there to support Liz, not so much because they'll necessarily miss Jessica. Jeffy shows up and the shit hits the fan. He and Todd duel in the yard and the world goes even wonkier when Enid runs out into the yard wearing Jessica's silver ski suit. She's calling Liz's name only...
  Not.
  Because everything after Liz drifted off to sleep has been a dream. Jess, Steve, Cara, and Jeffrey are all at the Wakefield's! They're fine! Jess is alive! Liz instantly forgives everything, hugs her twin to death, and all is well.
  The book ends with the Snow Ball Enid's been working on for the WC. Happily ever after. Oh, and the Todd/Jeffrey jokes literally write themselves as they bond over the weekend.



Trivial Matters:

  • Liz calls her essay for the Young Writer's Society, "Double or Nothing." Like everything else she writes, it's about being a twin. Later, she'll think that she should have called it "Double Standard." Her faculty sponsor is Mr. Collins, and she gets honorable mention.

  • The Winter Carnival weekend is for juniors, seniors, and SVH alumni. Am I the only one thinking of all the pervy guys trying to get with a naive/super slutty SVH student? Guess so.

  • The WC is held at Mont Blanc, a ski resort an hour and a half away from SV. Among other amenities, there's a ballroom.

  • The local TV station has created a trivia game show, and they've run a contest to get names for the show as well as contestants. After they swipe Liz and Enid's answers, Amy and Jessica are chosen, and their bit of witticism for a name? Trivia Bowl. Egads, Brain...

  • There's one team from SVH and one from Westwood High. Come on, ghosties, how many frickin' high schools are we up to by now?

  • The Trivia Show's entry form has ten sample questions and a space for a name suggestion for the show.

  • Trivia Bowl will air on KSVC. Those are some easy call letters, eh?

  • Jessica's all over the cold lasagna. While I agree leftover lasagna is better than fresh from the oven, I prefer mine warmed. To each their freakish ways, I suppose, Wakefield.

  • The Trivia Bowl people called Amy first. Luckily Jessica was there, too.

  • Winston demands that the dance at the WC be called the Snow Ball. Enid caves, but holds firm against all his other wackily lame ideas. In my head, Enid and Win were totally doing other things rather than planning the Snow Ball. Just sayin'...

  • Enid is co-chair of the dance committee, in case you hadn't figured that out yet.

  • Friday night there's a pizza party to begin the WC weekend. It's at 7pm, which happens to fall too close to the PTA dinner Todd's invited Elizabeth to go to.

  • Various chaperons include Ms. Dalton, Mr. Collins, Ms. Howard...

  • There are four students to each room. The only rooms worth noting: Liz/Enid/Olivia/Regina and Jessica/Cara/Lila/Amy. That last one sounds like a bad idea begging to happen.

  • Amy is organizing a miniture ice show for the WC. Ken and Bill are setting up a mock winter Olympics, with four teams competing for the glory and bragging rights of winning.

  • If you're not athletically inclined, there's always card or board games inside the lodge, as well as ping pong.

  • Elizabeth is Jeffrey's first serious girlfriend.

  • Todd played Big Brother to Timothy Bryce, who won a basketball scholarship to b-ball camp and is being honored [along with a zillion other snot nosed brats] at a PTA dinner, originally scheduled for Sunday, but moved to Friday for no reason other than to fuck with Elizabeth's weekend plans with Jeffrey.

  • The SVH squad has been picked as a finalist for the All-State cheerleading squad, leading Jess to prance around shrieking, "Can you believe we might be the best in the state?!?" as if we couldn't figure out what All-State meant.

  • Nina Davidson is a VIP from an architecture firm in San Diego who has been running Alice ragged.

  • Another high school! Bayberry Hills Academy, Jess is sure that they would have gotten the All-State nomination instead.

  • David Campbell is a senior at Westwood High. He's got brown eyes that wrinkle at the corners like Ned Wakefield's. His mother owns Bibi's, and his sister, Barbara, is 19 and crazy in that affected way that seems to be an epidemic in the Valley. Her boyfriend Mitch is just as affected/crazy.

  • Scott Hamlin runs Trivia Bowl.

  • Jeffrey's big plan was to whisk Liz off for a romantic evening at Tiberino's. The plan dies when Jessica and Amy go to the library to look up the longest river in Africa. No word on whether they figured it out or not.

  • The Suttons have a housekeeper named Lana.

  • Jessica is convinced her father needs to watch his weight, so she's vowed the family will eat salad 2 nights a week. Um, it might also have something to do with salads being impossibly easy to fix...

  • Alice picks up a silver, Lycra ski suit for Jessica at The Ski Shop.

  • Enid recently gave Elizabeth a mulberry sweater and Liz goes nuts when Jessica borrows it. Jess just borrowed it because she promised to show Amy her pants. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried...

  • When asked to name all the states starting with the letter M, Jessica misses Massachusetts, Mississippi, Maryland and Minnesota.

  • Winston informs Jessica and Amy that Charles Darwin's most famous voyage was made while sailing in The Beagle.

  • Also, the first two letters on every boat registered in California? CA. Jess is sure they wouldn't ask something like this. Uh, it's a trivia show, Jess. You're lucky they aren't asking really off the wall crap.

  • Mr. Collins has a sister, Heather, but she doesn't drive.

  • David drives a blue MG.

  • David, Barbara, Mitch, and Jessica go to A Taste of Tokyo [for sashimi], which is half an hour away.

  • Jessica thinks David is a jerk for not promising to take it easy on Amy and Jessica during the Trivia Bowl, but concedes that he's a considerate jerk when he waits until she's safely inside before starting his car and driving off.

  • Ned and Alice both work in downtown Sweet Valley.

  • At the picnic where Jeffrey and Liz prove they suck at playing proper headgames, Jessica plays Frisbee baseball. Also at the picnic? Caroline, Enid, Ken, and Bill. Man, the way they keep pairing Bill and Ken up, a girl could get to thinking the wrong thing. But I won't. Much longer. Promise.

  • Jeffrey is looking super sexy, in Elizabeth's opinion, in his madras pants. Go on, google 'em. I've got time.

  • Jeffrey drives out to Las Palmas Canyon, where he'll be waiting at the intersection of Route 27 and Canyon Drive. If Liz hasn't shown up by 6pm, I dunno, he'll go find Todd and get down and dirty. Who knows.

  • The Trivia Bowl starts at 3:30 and Jess is sure she'll be home by 4:30. She might've been had she not gone out for pizza with the gang at Pizza Palace. Hell, she volunteers to drive, thus further damning herself.

  • Jake Thomas is David's partner. Mike Mallory is the host of Trivia Bowl.

  • David and Thomas dominate the first half of TB *snort* and Amy and Jessica take the second half. There's a tie, and the tie-breaker? How many fluid cups are in a gallon. David says 24, but Jessica and Amy say, "Nuh uh! 16!" The girls win. Yay for them.

  • The drive to the canyon takes at least half an hour and a taxi ride'll cost $30. Liz doesn't have that much cash, and while she considers raiding the emergency money, she still wouldn't have enough. Bummer.

  • When Jessica is gossiping on the phone, she prefers to lie on her stomach, stretched across the bed, her ankles crossed in the air, her chin propped up on one hand. Now you know.

  • Todd visits with such regularity that the ghosty gets away with saying that when he does visit, you can be sure he'll be staying with either Ken or Winston. For the record, Winston won bunk rights this time.

  • Todd's flight comes in at 3pm, and he'll be back at Winston's by 4:30.

  • Amy can't drive a stick and has terrible night vision because her contacts make oncoming headlights shimmer.

  • The girls are bunking in the main building at Mont Blanc and the guys are in the Lodge, a hundred yards away. Woo?

  • Chrissy Nolan is a senior and a gossip to boot.

  • Ms. Dalton and Ms. Howard at the second floor chaperons, where Liz's room happens to be.

  • Ken took Liz to the bus station. He wanted to stay with her, but she wouldn't let him.

  • Steve and Cara took the bus to MB because Steve's car was in the shop.

  • Liz takes the 7:15 bus back to SV, and she's the only passenger, so she sits up front with Hank, the bus driver.

  • Liz actually wishes, repeatedly, that Jessica had never been born; that she had no sister at all. Damn, Liz.

  • Jessica 'crashes' on Route 17, down from MB, when she smashed into a tree. The docs say she didn't suffer, I say it was a fucking car accident and she didn't die immediately. I don't think she was having fun waiting for someone to drive by and call 911 for her.

  • Todd drives up in a black Camero.

  • Dr. Davis is the twins pediatrician. He appears wearing large coke-bottle glasses that he doesn't normally have outside of dreamtime.

  • Jessica's last words were, "Tell Liz I love her and I'm sorry." Guilt trip from beyond the grave!

  • Ned starts smoking after Jessica's death. Liz is shocked.

  • After less than a week, Alice turns the Hershey Bar white chocolate, and cleans everything out to make a guest room. Guess Liz isn't the only one knocking back the happy pills...

  • Enid's little shindig for Jessica involved the following: Steve, Liz, Todd, Winston, Amy, Lila, Regina, Bruce, Roger, and Olivia.

  • When Liz comes home in a tizzy from MB, Ned and Alice are out at a party.

  • On the way back to MB, they're running late because Jessica overslept.

  • Mock Olympics: Jessica is on the blue team, Bruce is building the world's biggest snowman which bears more than a little resemblance to Chrome Dome Cooper, Todd and Jeffrey are both part of the red team, Aaron and Bill are part of the yellow team, and your guess is as good as mine for the white team.

  • The Droids wrote Snow Girl for the Snow Ball. They're all dressed in white, as is everything else at the SB.



Quote me:

  "She's like a whirlwind!" Elizabeth had exclaimed once to Enid Rollins her best friend.
  "And you're so dependable," Enid had said loyally. - Uncool, Rollins. Whirlwind versus dependable? Which is more flattering, hmm? p4

  "What's wrong?" Jessica asked, still gorging herself on lasagna.
  "Nothing," Elizabeth lied. "It's just that Enid and I really wanted to be on that show. We worked so hard on our entry form and-"
  "Don't worry about it," Jessica advised her. "It's just a dumb trivia show. It's not such a big deal."
  Elizabeth just stared at her. "But if I'd won and you really wanted to be on it, I bet you'd twist my arm until I have in and let you," she pointed out.
  Jessica giggled. "I wouldn't do that," she protested. - And a hundred and thirty seven people just called bullshit, Jessica. p9/10


  "It's only an essay contest anyway," Jessica pointed out. "Come on, Liz. Don't be depressed. Who cares about essays?" - Thoughtful she is not, ladies and gentlemen. p29

  Since her own taste was conservative, it amazed Elizabeth that Jessica borrowed so many of her things. - Truer words were never spoken. p48

  "You're you, and I'm me, and wherever we go people are going to expect me to be on time and to wear navy-blue and they're not going to expect you to do either."
  Jessica stared at her sister. She couldn't imagine a worse fate than the one Elizabeth was describing for herself.- The horror! p57/58

  Mitch was even worse. He kept talking about Hollywood and going into "film," and he was wearing the weirdest clothes-an oversized Hawaiian shirt fastened at the throat with a jeweled pin, and strangely cut linen pants that made him look emaciated. His glasses were kelly green, and when Jessica made a remark about them Mitch gave her a scornful look. "I have twenty-five pair of glasses," he told her. "I change them to go with what I'm wearing." - Mitch, congrats. You're the biggest tool we've had in awhile. Yay, you! p72





   My favorite thing about Winter Carnival, aside from the reality of Liz not always loving being "dependable" as opposed to glamorous? Jeffrey being jealous of Todd's history with Liz. He's heard so much about how awesome Todd was at EVERYTHING, and how everyone expected Todd and Liz to be together, forever, aww, that it makes complete sense that he wouldn't be looking forward to the guy coming back and hanging out immediately with Elizabeth. But he never actually tells Liz any of this during their fighting madness, so she just things he's jealous and overprotective, and more than a little cro-mag in his mindset.
  Superficially speaking, I had a sweater like Elizabeth's, without the funky turtleneck thing going on. But then again, I was in elementary school...
the_oracle: (yay)
Special Christmas
December, 1985



Deck the halls of Sweet Valley High...



   The Wakefield twins and their friends at Sweet Valley High are in festive spirits. It's Christmas vacation, the annual parade is just days away, secret Santas are busy making surprise gifts, and everyone's talking about the holiday dance at the Patmans' mansion. Jessica Wakefield is determined to be named Miss Christmastime, and Elizabeth is counting the days until she's reunited with her faraway boyfriend, Todd Wilkins.
   It seems nothing can spoil Jessica and Elizabeth's holiday-until Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield announce the arrival of an unwelcome houseguest. Now it looks as though this Christmas might be the worst ever!

   Catch the holiday spirit with Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield and the rest of the Sweet Valley gang. You'll never forget this Special Christmas!



   So, the card at the front of my copy of Special Christmas says it's due November 1st.

   1994.



   With that in mind, onward! Special Christmas is one of those books I actually really like in parts [Jessica's scheming] and hate in others [Suzy's redemption and the last fucking chapter or two] and they combine in a way that sort of requires a bottle of something should be kept handy, just in case. I like the Christmas SV books, even when they're crap. Let's be fair. This is no Evil Twin, or even The Evil Twin Returns. It sure as hell isn't The Magic Christmas, but it's not horrible.
   Except that last couple of chapters. Really, so bad, that if you have breakables around you, you should move to a nice windowless, padded room with nothing of interest at all prior to finishing the book.

   It's finally Christmas in the Valley and Liz has overdosed on Christmas spirit! She's so happy that you either want to smack her or join her as she runs around spreading Christmas cheer. I'm thinking smacking is the most likely reaction. Mr. Collins gives up trying to teach anyone anything on the last day of school, particularly the last class of the day before their big assembly where we'll run right into the first WTF moment. But before we get there, we find out that Todd is coming back for Christmas, and everyone is expecting a big lovey dovey reunion starring their favorite lovebirds, Liz and Todd. Liz is nervous because Todd's been gone for a few months and she's not sure how well they'll connect.
   Let's not dwell on that, as we head out to the assembly where the entire school is matched up as Secret Santas. Take a moment to let that wash over you. Go on. I've got time. My nails need filing anyway.

   You ready? Let's poke holes in that little scenario, shall we?
   The entire school, guys. What are the odds that you'll get someone you know's name? What are the odds? Can't you see the senior who gets the transfer freshman no one really knows and decides to blow it off? Hmm? At first I thought, well maybe they separate it by grade, but then part of my brain said, no, someone gets Bruce's name, and he's a senior so... Those unpopular kids are screwed six ways to Sunday. What about the Jewish kids? Or anyone who doesn't celebrate Christmas? Do they just shut the fuck up because it's the mid-eighties and we haven't gotten so PC yet?
   Also, Bruce's family is hosting the entire party for the entire school the following Friday. Ready for even more pain inducing logic? If Mr. C has given up teaching the day before vacation, that means the Secret Santas have to go out of their way during the first week of vacation to gift/spoil/surprise their lucky pick. What if your Secret Santa went on vacation?
   Silly me, no one actually leaves the Valley for the holiday. What was I thinking? Must stop overthinking.

   There's talk of Hans, the hot German exchange student that Jessica has her eye on. The twins are dressed matchy matchy because they're going to surprise their parents with a picture of themselves all grown up to pair up with the one of them from when they were younger. This is cute enough, but I keep thinking of the one picture I distinctly remember of my brother and I all dressed up and we're in [relatively] sedate Hawaiian shirts. I'm not thinking I want to revisit that look, plus we'd have to bleach our hair, and that's painful...
   Anyway, Liz is all excited because the Secret Santas will be awesome, even if she knows for a fact that Hans doesn't have Jessica's name [as Jessica not so secretly hopes] but has Lila's instead. And then Steven comes home. Before the twins can die of joy, Steve announces their parents have obviously been kidnapped and replaced by clones because they've finally lost their damn minds. Seems someone told Suzanne Devlin she could come back to the Valley. You remember Suzy, don't you? Accused Mr. C of rape and that was the highlight of her visit? Freakout ensues. Finally Steve and Liz say maybe they'll just talk to their parents, convince them they're insane and that Suzy should not be allowed back in SV. Really. Ever. It's for the best.
   So they try, but Jessica's overly melodramatic and things go south. Quickly. Ned and Alice refuse to back down, offering up cryptic answers when asked why Suzy is so desperate to make amends now, or why Mr. Collins would ever forgive the skank, or much of anything at all. By now, you've realized Suzy is obviously deathly ill or something along those lines, because you're not an idiot and there's nothing subtle here. For whatever reason, Alice decides that Jess should clean her room and they'll stick Suzy there again. Maybe because she's familiar with it, maybe just to get Jess to clean. I dunno. My parents would have just had whichever one of us had the cleaner room move out, and the two of us would have killed one another. Luckily it never came to that.
   Anyway, Todd appears and Suzy appears and it's all kinds of awkward. Todd and Liz have no time to themselves because Ken [Todd's staying with Ken this time] has organized a huge welcome back party that rages on until 2am. Rock on, Ken. Rock on. Todd actually gets surprisingly little play, but the Todd/Liz long distance thing gets plenty of airtime, which is... odd. We're told Todd has been gone for months on end by this point, and we've officially just said to hell with any time line at all.
   The second Suzy appears on the scene, she's a disarming mix of beautifully tragic and actually sweet mixed in with the memory of how she played everyone last time. Only... there's no hint of bitchcraft this go round. None. But she does freak people out. She's Posh-Spice Skinny. She's beyond pale. She's got the shakes, she has headaches, she takes naps all the time, oh, and she pops pills like they're candy. So Jess deduces that Suzy is a druggie.
   Yes. Jessica tries to keep Suzy away from SV by having Liz call and try to dissuade her by pointing out that everyone is still awfully sore about last time. No luck. So she works out a plan with her siblings to be icy cold towards Devilish Devlin. When Steve thaws [wuss!] she enlists Aaron and Winston to be super mean Secret Santas, although she does have to lie to get them to help. They send her mean notes, empty packages, and Suzy realizes no one wants her there. However, this is where the big flaw in Jessica's plan appears. Suzy decides to ask Aaron to lunch to apologize to him. Jess convinces Aaron to tell her, gosh he's sorry, but he's booked all week, maybe she'd like to go to a little get together at his cousin's house prior to Bruce's big party, but don't tell the twins since they can't come? And Suze is thrilled, so she says yes. If Aaron hadn't done that, at Jessica's bidding, Suze would have left already. D'oh!

   There's a bunch of little stuff about the Secret Santas mixed in with Liz angsting over her feelings, or lack thereof, towards Todd. Olivia is serenaded by the boy's swim team, clad in their bathing suits and towels, at the DB. Jessica gets a lovely tiny musical jewelry box that plays Fur Elise, so she's sure Hans is her SS. There's Jessica taking over for Cara as an elf at the mall with Santa. She only agrees because she thinks she'll be there for a couple of hours, max, but Santa tells her she's it until the day is over at 5pm. Thing is, Jess has to be at the Civic Center for the Miss Christmastime pageant, and wouldn't you know that Lila set the whole thing up? Cara wasn't sick, but she didn't know Jess would be stuck there, either. Gasp! Jess vows revenge. She's going to trick Lila into having to dress up like an elf for the parade the next week, and Jessica will be wearing that crown and looking lovely on the Miss Christmastime float. Or something. She plots a bit throughout the rest of the book, but we don't find out how she tricks Li.
   Lila lovers, that's about as good as you'll get since Li spends most of the book at La Venue getting her thighs toned. Yes. Seriously.

   We find out that back in Vermont, Todd ran into Suzy about a month ago while skiing. They hit it off, and Todd realized he sort of thought of kissing her, but then she started asking about Liz and the moment was over. Todd doesn't tell Liz when she informs him of Suzy's arrival, so he has to get Suzy not to spill the beans. Thing is, Jess overhears and decides that Suzy only deigned to visit because she wanted to hook up with Todd, and that the two had planned this behind Liz's back.
   By now a few things are painfully obvious:
   Todd's got a thing for Suzy. Suzy's really got a thing for Todd. Liz doesn't have a thing for Todd. Todd may or may not still feel something for Liz, but he really wants a shot at Suze. I... really don't give a damn at this point, which is unusual, because you'd think I'd be all over this. Not so.
   We somehow find our way to Friday, and Suzy's got some new pills imported from her doc in NYC. She gets ready, looks loverly and channeling Tricia's Victorian look from book 12, proceeds to valiantly drive off into the ether, content to die for the sins of Jessica Wakefield. *yawn* See, Aaron calls, tells Suzy he's got a flat, she should borrow a car from the Wakefields [they've got at least four, after all] and meet him at the house on Forrest Lane. We know this is a trick, that the house has been abandoned for awhile and is quite possibly haunted. Dunno. Don't care. Suzy takes off after a glass of champagne and I do wonder why the Wakefields keep giving their kids and their kids' friends wine/champagne before letting them drive. Do they have fantastic life insurance policies or something?
   Suzy heads off in the Fiat and mere seconds later Mr. & Mrs. Wakefield return from their drinks at the Beckwiths. Dr. Harrison, Suzy's NYC doc calls and it's basically, "OMG! If she even looks at this bottle after taking those meds, she'll DIE! How could you let her go off even though we haven't told you what the fuck is going on? How could you?" To which they all crumble. Right. Yes. The kids tell you they don't want the girl around, you force her on them, you leave the booze and tell the kids to have some, but when Suzy drives off after a glass, it's the kids' fault for not using their psychic abilities to know the drug interaction would be bad, even though they didn't know she was taking anything. They just suspected.
   My brain. She screams in agony from this point onward.
   Suze does her drunk driving impression in front of some cops, and when she flips the Fiat, they're right there to take her to the hospital. Jess gets screamed at for engineering the horrible Secret Santa pranks, and we drive off to the haunted house, only to find no trace of Suze. They call around and find her in the hospital and everyone heads that way. We find out that Suze has MS, and gosh, she might end up in a wheelchair! No wonder she's found God apologizing for being a royal bitch before. Um, okay. I guess.
   Todd is all frantic and everyone realizes he's got a thing for Suzy, but the best part of this is Jessica recognizing the look on his face. It's the same one he had when he thought he'd killed Liz back in book six/seven. I love that little bit of recognition, but hate just about everything else going on.
   Suze is fine, of course, but they're keeping her overnight and then for however longer for observation and to run a battery of tests. Fun times. Jessica accuses Todd and Suzy of sneaking around, Todd sets the record straight, and Liz finds she cares surprisingly little.
   They make it to Bruce's where they tell everyone about Suzy and her MS and I'm left to ponder, isn't that just what she DIDN'T want to happen? We find out that Winston is Jessica's Santa, and that Bill was Olivia's. Thrills! Todd and Liz chat and realize they're just friends and that the spark is gone. Liz totally lies and says she's not the jealous type [she is! they both are!] and all is well.
   Then Jess schemes a little and the next day at the hospital we find Suzy and Todd snuggling. Then there's a dramatic scene where the SV doctors have found that Suzy never had MS to begin with! She had mono and then a rare reaction to the drugs they've been giving her and that was what was making her sick! She's cured!
   I feel cheated because on House, then Foreman would show up and say she's dying because they goofed, or her eyes would bleed or something. Instead the boy's swim team appears again [with shirts that spell out merry Christmas, Suzy] to sing to Suzy. It's all perfectly perfect.
   And I throw the fucking book at the wall.

   The end.




Trivial:

  • For those playing the who has what class game, this go round we have English with Liz, John, and Olivia.

  • Mr. Collins has been voted Best Liked Teacher for a few years running. That category needs a new name. Immediately.

  • Liz and Jess get their portrait done at Hunt's Photography.

  • Secret Santa roundup: Jessica got Bruce, Winston got Jessica, Liz got Aaron, Hans got Lila [Liz had to point her out], and Bill got Olivia. No one else was worth mentioning, I guess.

  • Lila wins the title of Miss Christmastime, but Jessica somehow tricks her and gets Lila's spot on the float in the Christmas parade. Lila gets stuck in an elf suit with green paint on Santa's float.

  • Suzy's set to stay with the Wakefields for two weeks, the entirety of their winter vacation. How... thoughtful.

  • Various nicknames for Suzy include: Demolition Devlin, Devilface Devlin, Devilish Devlin, Devil May Care Devlin, Suzanne the Devil

  • Jessica never told Steven exactly what Suzy's boytoy did, or tried to do, when she was in NYC.

  • Liz considers a wallet too extravagant a gift for Todd. ...How? Is this a wallet made of baby skin?

  • Suzy is apparently 5'7". I'm still taller, bitch.

  • Being Santa's elf is a PBA thing that Cara was supposed to do, but for whatever reason, Lila had all the information. Li then conned Cara into pretending she had a cold so Jessica would take over for her.

  • Cara is, as of this point, still flighty and not with Steven, even though she and Steven got together pretty much immediately after Todd left California. My head, she hurts. Woe.

  • PBA charges $17 at the start of each term. Popularity don't come cheap.

  • Jessica wracks up a palm sized wooden jewelry box that plays Fur Elise, a bouquet of daisies, and the promise of a dinner for two at Second Season, a new restaurant in town.

  • Aaron is now dating Patsy Webber, who is notoriously jealous. Fab.

  • Knowing this, Liz still gave Aaron a coupon for a free back massage, and it sounded like she meant she would be the one doing the massaging. I'm not thinking Patsy's gonna like that...

  • Bathing suit clad boy's swim team members serenaded Olivia at the Dairi Burger, and sang no less than five carols, starting with Silent Night. Later they'll put on shirts for Suzy and sing for her, too. Sluts.

  • Enid's faceless boytoy of the week? Chip Ettleson, a cute brunette freshman at SV College, whom Enid describes as "sweet, maybe too sweet." Naughty, naughty, Enid.

  • Steve wusses out in their plan to be cruel to Suzy. Dude wusses out almost immediately. Must be able to smell that sweet scent of near death by mono.

  • Todd's been in Vermont since at least October, as that's when he started skiing for the year.

  • Todd's VT high school is Lawrence High.

  • His best skiing buddy is Jerry Peterson, forward on the basketball team at Lawrence, and obviously an ass or leg man, as he falls for Suzy when she's facing away from them.

  • When describing "McMahon's" it sounds like Jerry and Todd have taken Suzy to some weird mix of McDonald's and the Texas Roadhouse, what with there being a jukebox and sawdust on the floor, but it's a burger restaurant. Can't you just hear the twang, y'all?

  • Suzy can't ski, so she prances around in white ski clothes. Practical!

  • Lila's spending $300 a day to tone her thighs at "La Venue". The rest of us are snickering.

  • Suzanne needs the concept of a Secret Santa explained to her. Which would have been fine if this had been the introduction for the Secret Santas for the book, but no, by now we all know what they are, so this is just to make them seem quaint. Or make Suzy look stupid.

  • Suzy and Todd ran into one another in mid November at Killington. Wouldn't mid-November pretty much be right before Thanksgiving?

  • Jess calls Suzy "anorectic" and wonders about the odds of anorexia explaining Suzy's super-skinny ways.

  • Stores around town and their lame names: Kitchen 'n Cookery, Discount Discs.

  • For Bruce, Jessica buys a bag of jelly beans, an oversize chocolate chip cookie, and a pocket mirror. The mirror is priceless.

  • The Droids wrote a song for/about Todd/Liz called "I'll Wait For You." Wonder if they regretted that once the news of the couple breaking up spread...

  • Aaron's cousin is Eddie, and he's married, and most definitely not having a Christmas party and would sure as hell not want Devil May Care Devlin to show up.

  • 1580 is the house on Forrest Lane if you're looking to go ghost hunting.

  • Liz decides to give Todd a scarf.

  • Going to the SV Civic Center to hear the SV Choir perform Handel's Messiah is what really signifies the beginning of Christmas for Jessica. Thanks to Suzy fainting, this year they missed it. Fucking drama queen...

  • Alice still has the ugly Styrofoam angels Liz and Jessica made in the first grade. Aww.

  • Steve finds a glass angel that belonged to Ned's grandmother. Suzy wisely declines the offer to put it on the tree as she faints about two seconds later.

  • Suzy flips the Fiat on Route One, about ten minutes away from Calico Drive.

  • Dr. Ford is her doc in SV, Dr. Harrison is her doc in NYC. Obviously you should avoid Harrison as he can't tell the difference between mono and MS.

  • Just think, Suzy, instead of nearly dying and then being cured, you could have been in Saint Moritz, gossip girling it up before Blair and Serena were even twinkles in anyone's eye.

  • Jackson's Foreign Cars is where the police tow the Fiat, which pretty much came out of it's little flip scratch free. Even the car doesn't like you enough to try and kill you, Suze.

  • Bruce's family has that Architectural Digest blue & silver tree Ned keeps pushing for. Somehow this is the one thing I always remember about this book, aside from wanting to kill whomever said, "Remember Suzy? I think we should bring her back, but castrate her. And then cure her of her MS by saying it was mono."

  • Suzy's in room 312, for those who like to know such things.



Quotable:
"Jess," Elizabeth cried, throwing her arms around her twin. "It's almost Christmas!"
"I know, I know," Jessica giggled and tried to disentangle herself. "How long as she been like this?" -since someone spiked the punch? p5

Jessica sighed. "Trust me. What we have on our hands here is a hysterical, devious drug addict. And the sooner we get her out of here, the better." -Sounds about right. p119

Headaches? That's what happened when you tried to swallow half a medicine cabinet with your coffee every morning. - So true, Jessica. So true. p124

"One look at you, and my problems don't seem so insurmountable," Elizabeth told her warmly.
Enid giggled. "Thanks. Does that mean you look at me and think: God, I could look like her?" -Sometimes I really do love these two. Sigh. p171


And now, my holiday gift to you:

"Remember what the Fowlers did last year to decorate their house?"
Elizabeth groaned, then laughed. Lila's father's company had made him a wealthy man practically overnight. Sometimes he went overboard trying to show what he could afford. The previous year he had spent a fortune having a "winter wonderland" set up on the rolling lawn in front of the Fowlers' mansion. The display featured a sleigh with eight plastic reindeer and a life size Santa, false ice statues, and artificial snowmen. "It was the tackiest thing ever," Jessica remembered happily. p13


The triumphant return of 137:
"Then you saw them, too," Jessica remarked.
"Saw what?"
"The pills!" Jessica exploded. "What else? She must have a hundred and thirty-seven different kinds in that little makeup case she's keeping under the sink in the bathroom." -Privacy? What's that? p118

"Pills," Jessica told him. "All sizes and colors. She must carry about a hundred and thirty-seven pounds of them around all the time." - Get your 'scripts here, folks! p129





   I hate that they redeemed Suzy. HATE. There are some people in this world who are just bitchy. They will always be bitchy, and not even facing an illness such as MS would change them. Suzy's actions before were obnoxious and don't really scream poor little rich girl, as Lila's similarly fucked on a regular basis, but does she prance around accusing innocent people of rape? Well, not until someone actually does try to, and then she has an excuse, kay?
   But what I hate most of all, is that Suzy's "punishment", if you want to look at it that way, was lifted so easily. She comes to SV, gets into a wreck, and they find out that the people in NYC don't know what the fuck they're talking about. Seriously, Suzy's parents are loaded. They didn't get a second opinion? Fucking mono.

   Though I do like other parts. I love the singing swim team. I love Suzy going on about how weird it is to have a warm Christmas and Jess informs her that they ALWAYS have warm Christmases... bitch. Of course, part of that is that I can relate to the warm Christmas bit, seeing as I think we've had a white Christmas once in the last twenty or so years. Okay, and I love that she just doesn't think before she opens her mouth and for once, it's okay for Jess to point out that, hello, you're being rude.
   I also like the brief alliance of the Terrible Trio. I love betting to see which "responsible" sibling will bail out on Jessica's scheme first. Can't discuss the scheme without discussing Jessica's motivation and getting away with it. My parents might have understood the need to protect the family/friends from an obvious bitch angle, but they would have so punished me for being a bitch in return [unless Jess had happened to be right and Suzy was just there to get with Todd. How awesome...] but of course, that doesn't happen.
   Sigh.

Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] myfavouritescar for the picture for Germany's version of Special Christmas. And sharing the collection of DOOM [which we say lovingly, I assure you] so that the rest of us are envious and amazed.


the_oracle: (yay)
Special Christmas
December, 1985



Deck the halls of Sweet Valley High...



   The Wakefield twins and their friends at Sweet Valley High are in festive spirits. It's Christmas vacation, the annual parade is just days away, secret Santas are busy making surprise gifts, and everyone's talking about the holiday dance at the Patmans' mansion. Jessica Wakefield is determined to be named Miss Christmastime, and Elizabeth is counting the days until she's reunited with her faraway boyfriend, Todd Wilkins.
   It seems nothing can spoil Jessica and Elizabeth's holiday-until Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield announce the arrival of an unwelcome houseguest. Now it looks as though this Christmas might be the worst ever!

   Catch the holiday spirit with Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield and the rest of the Sweet Valley gang. You'll never forget this Special Christmas!



   So, the card at the front of my copy of Special Christmas says it's due November 1st.

   1994.



   With that in mind, onward! Special Christmas is one of those books I actually really like in parts [Jessica's scheming] and hate in others [Suzy's redemption and the last fucking chapter or two] and they combine in a way that sort of requires a bottle of something should be kept handy, just in case. I like the Christmas SV books, even when they're crap. Let's be fair. This is no Evil Twin, or even The Evil Twin Returns. It sure as hell isn't The Magic Christmas, but it's not horrible.
   Except that last couple of chapters. Really, so bad, that if you have breakables around you, you should move to a nice windowless, padded room with nothing of interest at all prior to finishing the book.

   It's finally Christmas in the Valley and Liz has overdosed on Christmas spirit! She's so happy that you either want to smack her or join her as she runs around spreading Christmas cheer. I'm thinking smacking is the most likely reaction. Mr. Collins gives up trying to teach anyone anything on the last day of school, particularly the last class of the day before their big assembly where we'll run right into the first WTF moment. But before we get there, we find out that Todd is coming back for Christmas, and everyone is expecting a big lovey dovey reunion starring their favorite lovebirds, Liz and Todd. Liz is nervous because Todd's been gone for a few months and she's not sure how well they'll connect.
   Let's not dwell on that, as we head out to the assembly where the entire school is matched up as Secret Santas. Take a moment to let that wash over you. Go on. I've got time. My nails need filing anyway.

   You ready? Let's poke holes in that little scenario, shall we?
   The entire school, guys. What are the odds that you'll get someone you know's name? What are the odds? Can't you see the senior who gets the transfer freshman no one really knows and decides to blow it off? Hmm? At first I thought, well maybe they separate it by grade, but then part of my brain said, no, someone gets Bruce's name, and he's a senior so... Those unpopular kids are screwed six ways to Sunday. What about the Jewish kids? Or anyone who doesn't celebrate Christmas? Do they just shut the fuck up because it's the mid-eighties and we haven't gotten so PC yet?
   Also, Bruce's family is hosting the entire party for the entire school the following Friday. Ready for even more pain inducing logic? If Mr. C has given up teaching the day before vacation, that means the Secret Santas have to go out of their way during the first week of vacation to gift/spoil/surprise their lucky pick. What if your Secret Santa went on vacation?
   Silly me, no one actually leaves the Valley for the holiday. What was I thinking? Must stop overthinking.

   There's talk of Hans, the hot German exchange student that Jessica has her eye on. The twins are dressed matchy matchy because they're going to surprise their parents with a picture of themselves all grown up to pair up with the one of them from when they were younger. This is cute enough, but I keep thinking of the one picture I distinctly remember of my brother and I all dressed up and we're in [relatively] sedate Hawaiian shirts. I'm not thinking I want to revisit that look, plus we'd have to bleach our hair, and that's painful...
   Anyway, Liz is all excited because the Secret Santas will be awesome, even if she knows for a fact that Hans doesn't have Jessica's name [as Jessica not so secretly hopes] but has Lila's instead. And then Steven comes home. Before the twins can die of joy, Steve announces their parents have obviously been kidnapped and replaced by clones because they've finally lost their damn minds. Seems someone told Suzanne Devlin she could come back to the Valley. You remember Suzy, don't you? Accused Mr. C of rape and that was the highlight of her visit? Freakout ensues. Finally Steve and Liz say maybe they'll just talk to their parents, convince them they're insane and that Suzy should not be allowed back in SV. Really. Ever. It's for the best.
   So they try, but Jessica's overly melodramatic and things go south. Quickly. Ned and Alice refuse to back down, offering up cryptic answers when asked why Suzy is so desperate to make amends now, or why Mr. Collins would ever forgive the skank, or much of anything at all. By now, you've realized Suzy is obviously deathly ill or something along those lines, because you're not an idiot and there's nothing subtle here. For whatever reason, Alice decides that Jess should clean her room and they'll stick Suzy there again. Maybe because she's familiar with it, maybe just to get Jess to clean. I dunno. My parents would have just had whichever one of us had the cleaner room move out, and the two of us would have killed one another. Luckily it never came to that.
   Anyway, Todd appears and Suzy appears and it's all kinds of awkward. Todd and Liz have no time to themselves because Ken [Todd's staying with Ken this time] has organized a huge welcome back party that rages on until 2am. Rock on, Ken. Rock on. Todd actually gets surprisingly little play, but the Todd/Liz long distance thing gets plenty of airtime, which is... odd. We're told Todd has been gone for months on end by this point, and we've officially just said to hell with any time line at all.
   The second Suzy appears on the scene, she's a disarming mix of beautifully tragic and actually sweet mixed in with the memory of how she played everyone last time. Only... there's no hint of bitchcraft this go round. None. But she does freak people out. She's Posh-Spice Skinny. She's beyond pale. She's got the shakes, she has headaches, she takes naps all the time, oh, and she pops pills like they're candy. So Jess deduces that Suzy is a druggie.
   Yes. Jessica tries to keep Suzy away from SV by having Liz call and try to dissuade her by pointing out that everyone is still awfully sore about last time. No luck. So she works out a plan with her siblings to be icy cold towards Devilish Devlin. When Steve thaws [wuss!] she enlists Aaron and Winston to be super mean Secret Santas, although she does have to lie to get them to help. They send her mean notes, empty packages, and Suzy realizes no one wants her there. However, this is where the big flaw in Jessica's plan appears. Suzy decides to ask Aaron to lunch to apologize to him. Jess convinces Aaron to tell her, gosh he's sorry, but he's booked all week, maybe she'd like to go to a little get together at his cousin's house prior to Bruce's big party, but don't tell the twins since they can't come? And Suze is thrilled, so she says yes. If Aaron hadn't done that, at Jessica's bidding, Suze would have left already. D'oh!

   There's a bunch of little stuff about the Secret Santas mixed in with Liz angsting over her feelings, or lack thereof, towards Todd. Olivia is serenaded by the boy's swim team, clad in their bathing suits and towels, at the DB. Jessica gets a lovely tiny musical jewelry box that plays Fur Elise, so she's sure Hans is her SS. There's Jessica taking over for Cara as an elf at the mall with Santa. She only agrees because she thinks she'll be there for a couple of hours, max, but Santa tells her she's it until the day is over at 5pm. Thing is, Jess has to be at the Civic Center for the Miss Christmastime pageant, and wouldn't you know that Lila set the whole thing up? Cara wasn't sick, but she didn't know Jess would be stuck there, either. Gasp! Jess vows revenge. She's going to trick Lila into having to dress up like an elf for the parade the next week, and Jessica will be wearing that crown and looking lovely on the Miss Christmastime float. Or something. She plots a bit throughout the rest of the book, but we don't find out how she tricks Li.
   Lila lovers, that's about as good as you'll get since Li spends most of the book at La Venue getting her thighs toned. Yes. Seriously.

   We find out that back in Vermont, Todd ran into Suzy about a month ago while skiing. They hit it off, and Todd realized he sort of thought of kissing her, but then she started asking about Liz and the moment was over. Todd doesn't tell Liz when she informs him of Suzy's arrival, so he has to get Suzy not to spill the beans. Thing is, Jess overhears and decides that Suzy only deigned to visit because she wanted to hook up with Todd, and that the two had planned this behind Liz's back.
   By now a few things are painfully obvious:
   Todd's got a thing for Suzy. Suzy's really got a thing for Todd. Liz doesn't have a thing for Todd. Todd may or may not still feel something for Liz, but he really wants a shot at Suze. I... really don't give a damn at this point, which is unusual, because you'd think I'd be all over this. Not so.
   We somehow find our way to Friday, and Suzy's got some new pills imported from her doc in NYC. She gets ready, looks loverly and channeling Tricia's Victorian look from book 12, proceeds to valiantly drive off into the ether, content to die for the sins of Jessica Wakefield. *yawn* See, Aaron calls, tells Suzy he's got a flat, she should borrow a car from the Wakefields [they've got at least four, after all] and meet him at the house on Forrest Lane. We know this is a trick, that the house has been abandoned for awhile and is quite possibly haunted. Dunno. Don't care. Suzy takes off after a glass of champagne and I do wonder why the Wakefields keep giving their kids and their kids' friends wine/champagne before letting them drive. Do they have fantastic life insurance policies or something?
   Suzy heads off in the Fiat and mere seconds later Mr. & Mrs. Wakefield return from their drinks at the Beckwiths. Dr. Harrison, Suzy's NYC doc calls and it's basically, "OMG! If she even looks at this bottle after taking those meds, she'll DIE! How could you let her go off even though we haven't told you what the fuck is going on? How could you?" To which they all crumble. Right. Yes. The kids tell you they don't want the girl around, you force her on them, you leave the booze and tell the kids to have some, but when Suzy drives off after a glass, it's the kids' fault for not using their psychic abilities to know the drug interaction would be bad, even though they didn't know she was taking anything. They just suspected.
   My brain. She screams in agony from this point onward.
   Suze does her drunk driving impression in front of some cops, and when she flips the Fiat, they're right there to take her to the hospital. Jess gets screamed at for engineering the horrible Secret Santa pranks, and we drive off to the haunted house, only to find no trace of Suze. They call around and find her in the hospital and everyone heads that way. We find out that Suze has MS, and gosh, she might end up in a wheelchair! No wonder she's found God apologizing for being a royal bitch before. Um, okay. I guess.
   Todd is all frantic and everyone realizes he's got a thing for Suzy, but the best part of this is Jessica recognizing the look on his face. It's the same one he had when he thought he'd killed Liz back in book six/seven. I love that little bit of recognition, but hate just about everything else going on.
   Suze is fine, of course, but they're keeping her overnight and then for however longer for observation and to run a battery of tests. Fun times. Jessica accuses Todd and Suzy of sneaking around, Todd sets the record straight, and Liz finds she cares surprisingly little.
   They make it to Bruce's where they tell everyone about Suzy and her MS and I'm left to ponder, isn't that just what she DIDN'T want to happen? We find out that Winston is Jessica's Santa, and that Bill was Olivia's. Thrills! Todd and Liz chat and realize they're just friends and that the spark is gone. Liz totally lies and says she's not the jealous type [she is! they both are!] and all is well.
   Then Jess schemes a little and the next day at the hospital we find Suzy and Todd snuggling. Then there's a dramatic scene where the SV doctors have found that Suzy never had MS to begin with! She had mono and then a rare reaction to the drugs they've been giving her and that was what was making her sick! She's cured!
   I feel cheated because on House, then Foreman would show up and say she's dying because they goofed, or her eyes would bleed or something. Instead the boy's swim team appears again [with shirts that spell out merry Christmas, Suzy] to sing to Suzy. It's all perfectly perfect.
   And I throw the fucking book at the wall.

   The end.




Trivial:

  • For those playing the who has what class game, this go round we have English with Liz, John, and Olivia.

  • Mr. Collins has been voted Best Liked Teacher for a few years running. That category needs a new name. Immediately.

  • Liz and Jess get their portrait done at Hunt's Photography.

  • Secret Santa roundup: Jessica got Bruce, Winston got Jessica, Liz got Aaron, Hans got Lila [Liz had to point her out], and Bill got Olivia. No one else was worth mentioning, I guess.

  • Lila wins the title of Miss Christmastime, but Jessica somehow tricks her and gets Lila's spot on the float in the Christmas parade. Lila gets stuck in an elf suit with green paint on Santa's float.

  • Suzy's set to stay with the Wakefields for two weeks, the entirety of their winter vacation. How... thoughtful.

  • Various nicknames for Suzy include: Demolition Devlin, Devilface Devlin, Devilish Devlin, Devil May Care Devlin, Suzanne the Devil

  • Jessica never told Steven exactly what Suzy's boytoy did, or tried to do, when she was in NYC.

  • Liz considers a wallet too extravagant a gift for Todd. ...How? Is this a wallet made of baby skin?

  • Suzy is apparently 5'7". I'm still taller, bitch.

  • Being Santa's elf is a PBA thing that Cara was supposed to do, but for whatever reason, Lila had all the information. Li then conned Cara into pretending she had a cold so Jessica would take over for her.

  • Cara is, as of this point, still flighty and not with Steven, even though she and Steven got together pretty much immediately after Todd left California. My head, she hurts. Woe.

  • PBA charges $17 at the start of each term. Popularity don't come cheap.

  • Jessica wracks up a palm sized wooden jewelry box that plays Fur Elise, a bouquet of daisies, and the promise of a dinner for two at Second Season, a new restaurant in town.

  • Aaron is now dating Patsy Webber, who is notoriously jealous. Fab.

  • Knowing this, Liz still gave Aaron a coupon for a free back massage, and it sounded like she meant she would be the one doing the massaging. I'm not thinking Patsy's gonna like that...

  • Bathing suit clad boy's swim team members serenaded Olivia at the Dairi Burger, and sang no less than five carols, starting with Silent Night. Later they'll put on shirts for Suzy and sing for her, too. Sluts.

  • Enid's faceless boytoy of the week? Chip Ettleson, a cute brunette freshman at SV College, whom Enid describes as "sweet, maybe too sweet." Naughty, naughty, Enid.

  • Steve wusses out in their plan to be cruel to Suzy. Dude wusses out almost immediately. Must be able to smell that sweet scent of near death by mono.

  • Todd's been in Vermont since at least October, as that's when he started skiing for the year.

  • Todd's VT high school is Lawrence High.

  • His best skiing buddy is Jerry Peterson, forward on the basketball team at Lawrence, and obviously an ass or leg man, as he falls for Suzy when she's facing away from them.

  • When describing "McMahon's" it sounds like Jerry and Todd have taken Suzy to some weird mix of McDonald's and the Texas Roadhouse, what with there being a jukebox and sawdust on the floor, but it's a burger restaurant. Can't you just hear the twang, y'all?

  • Suzy can't ski, so she prances around in white ski clothes. Practical!

  • Lila's spending $300 a day to tone her thighs at "La Venue". The rest of us are snickering.

  • Suzanne needs the concept of a Secret Santa explained to her. Which would have been fine if this had been the introduction for the Secret Santas for the book, but no, by now we all know what they are, so this is just to make them seem quaint. Or make Suzy look stupid.

  • Suzy and Todd ran into one another in mid November at Killington. Wouldn't mid-November pretty much be right before Thanksgiving?

  • Jess calls Suzy "anorectic" and wonders about the odds of anorexia explaining Suzy's super-skinny ways.

  • Stores around town and their lame names: Kitchen 'n Cookery, Discount Discs.

  • For Bruce, Jessica buys a bag of jelly beans, an oversize chocolate chip cookie, and a pocket mirror. The mirror is priceless.

  • The Droids wrote a song for/about Todd/Liz called "I'll Wait For You." Wonder if they regretted that once the news of the couple breaking up spread...

  • Aaron's cousin is Eddie, and he's married, and most definitely not having a Christmas party and would sure as hell not want Devil May Care Devlin to show up.

  • 1580 is the house on Forrest Lane if you're looking to go ghost hunting.

  • Liz decides to give Todd a scarf.

  • Going to the SV Civic Center to hear the SV Choir perform Handel's Messiah is what really signifies the beginning of Christmas for Jessica. Thanks to Suzy fainting, this year they missed it. Fucking drama queen...

  • Alice still has the ugly Styrofoam angels Liz and Jessica made in the first grade. Aww.

  • Steve finds a glass angel that belonged to Ned's grandmother. Suzy wisely declines the offer to put it on the tree as she faints about two seconds later.

  • Suzy flips the Fiat on Route One, about ten minutes away from Calico Drive.

  • Dr. Ford is her doc in SV, Dr. Harrison is her doc in NYC. Obviously you should avoid Harrison as he can't tell the difference between mono and MS.

  • Just think, Suzy, instead of nearly dying and then being cured, you could have been in Saint Moritz, gossip girling it up before Blair and Serena were even twinkles in anyone's eye.

  • Jackson's Foreign Cars is where the police tow the Fiat, which pretty much came out of it's little flip scratch free. Even the car doesn't like you enough to try and kill you, Suze.

  • Bruce's family has that Architectural Digest blue & silver tree Ned keeps pushing for. Somehow this is the one thing I always remember about this book, aside from wanting to kill whomever said, "Remember Suzy? I think we should bring her back, but castrate her. And then cure her of her MS by saying it was mono."

  • Suzy's in room 312, for those who like to know such things.



Quotable:
"Jess," Elizabeth cried, throwing her arms around her twin. "It's almost Christmas!"
"I know, I know," Jessica giggled and tried to disentangle herself. "How long as she been like this?" -since someone spiked the punch? p5

Jessica sighed. "Trust me. What we have on our hands here is a hysterical, devious drug addict. And the sooner we get her out of here, the better." -Sounds about right. p119

Headaches? That's what happened when you tried to swallow half a medicine cabinet with your coffee every morning. - So true, Jessica. So true. p124

"One look at you, and my problems don't seem so insurmountable," Elizabeth told her warmly.
Enid giggled. "Thanks. Does that mean you look at me and think: God, I could look like her?" -Sometimes I really do love these two. Sigh. p171


And now, my holiday gift to you:

"Remember what the Fowlers did last year to decorate their house?"
Elizabeth groaned, then laughed. Lila's father's company had made him a wealthy man practically overnight. Sometimes he went overboard trying to show what he could afford. The previous year he had spent a fortune having a "winter wonderland" set up on the rolling lawn in front of the Fowlers' mansion. The display featured a sleigh with eight plastic reindeer and a life size Santa, false ice statues, and artificial snowmen. "It was the tackiest thing ever," Jessica remembered happily. p13


The triumphant return of 137:
"Then you saw them, too," Jessica remarked.
"Saw what?"
"The pills!" Jessica exploded. "What else? She must have a hundred and thirty-seven different kinds in that little makeup case she's keeping under the sink in the bathroom." -Privacy? What's that? p118

"Pills," Jessica told him. "All sizes and colors. She must carry about a hundred and thirty-seven pounds of them around all the time." - Get your 'scripts here, folks! p129





   I hate that they redeemed Suzy. HATE. There are some people in this world who are just bitchy. They will always be bitchy, and not even facing an illness such as MS would change them. Suzy's actions before were obnoxious and don't really scream poor little rich girl, as Lila's similarly fucked on a regular basis, but does she prance around accusing innocent people of rape? Well, not until someone actually does try to, and then she has an excuse, kay?
   But what I hate most of all, is that Suzy's "punishment", if you want to look at it that way, was lifted so easily. She comes to SV, gets into a wreck, and they find out that the people in NYC don't know what the fuck they're talking about. Seriously, Suzy's parents are loaded. They didn't get a second opinion? Fucking mono.

   Though I do like other parts. I love the singing swim team. I love Suzy going on about how weird it is to have a warm Christmas and Jess informs her that they ALWAYS have warm Christmases... bitch. Of course, part of that is that I can relate to the warm Christmas bit, seeing as I think we've had a white Christmas once in the last twenty or so years. Okay, and I love that she just doesn't think before she opens her mouth and for once, it's okay for Jess to point out that, hello, you're being rude.
   I also like the brief alliance of the Terrible Trio. I love betting to see which "responsible" sibling will bail out on Jessica's scheme first. Can't discuss the scheme without discussing Jessica's motivation and getting away with it. My parents might have understood the need to protect the family/friends from an obvious bitch angle, but they would have so punished me for being a bitch in return [unless Jess had happened to be right and Suzy was just there to get with Todd. How awesome...] but of course, that doesn't happen.
   Sigh.

Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] myfavouritescar for the picture for Germany's version of Special Christmas. And sharing the collection of DOOM [which we say lovingly, I assure you] so that the rest of us are envious and amazed.


the_oracle: (gasp!)
Kidnapped!
weird, my copy says April 1984, but given that we know that's wrong, we'll say November, 1984

  Elizabeth's nightmare is about to begin...

  A living nightmare...


   Elizabeth Wakefield never imagined that her evening of volunteer work at Sweet Valley's hospital would turn into the most horrifying night of her life. But when a strong hand clamps a chloroformed rag over her mouth and she is pulled from her car, Elizabeth's hellish ordeal begins.
   When she regains consciousness, Elizabeth finds herself tied to a chair in an isolated shack. She has been kidnapped-by Carl, a lonely and disturbed orderly from the hospital. Elizabeth doesn't know what Carl wants from her, but it's clear he's on the brink of insanity. Somehow Elizabeth must escape-before it's too late!


  If you don't know what Kidnapped! is about, you're either incredibly new to the Valley or you're an idiot. It tells you in the title, the cover makes it obvious which twin gets 'napped and everything else is on the back cover. But really, all you need to know, you learned last go round anyway. Carl, the creepy custodian, kidnaps Elizabeth because he likes her. He thoughtfully prepared his van with a mattress in the back so she'd be comfy as he escorted her to the run down section of town [hey, any bets on whether the Martins live close by?] and this is pretty much where we'll meet up with Liz. Later.

  The book actually begins with a cute little scene between Steven and Jessica, both getting ready for their evenings out. Steve has a date with Tricia, his tragically ill girlfriend, and Jessica is going to a party at the Morrows' mansion. So yes, this book picks up as soon as the last one left off. This is starting to become a pattern. Steve zips Jessica's dress up and they chat a bit. Jessica bites her tongue about Tricia, seeing as she's dying and all, and Steve does his best to convince her that maybe she'll be a little chilly in her outfit, seeing as it's so low cut and all. He also offers her a ride to the party, but Jess says she's waiting for Liz who'll be home at eight, so they can go together. Twins making a bigger splash than two pretty blondes arriving separately, I suppose.
  However, Jess sucks at waiting. She picks out an outfit for Liz, to help speed her sister along when she finally gets home. She paces and freaks out by ten 'til eight, and calls Cara to pick her up. That's right. She can't even wait ten more minutes, less if you consider that Cara had to take at least two minutes to drive over. Sigh. Jess leaves Elizabeth a note on the fridge, and heads off to party.
  Introducing the Morrows. We have Kurt and Skye.Tall, dark, and gorgeous would describe them both. They dash out on their way to their own party, and then we meet Regina. At first, Cara and Jessica don't know anything is wrong. That is, until Regina repeatedly ignores anything Jessica says. Jess is a little upset. Why is the new girl being such an unbelievable bitch? Then Regina trips, and instead of figuring that high heels plus a new house might equal a bit of a problem, Jess assumes Regina's drunk. She taps the girl on the shoulder and asks where the booze is. Naturally, with Regina facing Jessica, she's able to read Jessica's lips and tells the blond that this ain't that kind of party. Regina then offers them the non-alcoholic goodies and explains that she's deaf. She can lip read and is all sorts of other fabulous though, so don't worry. Nicholas descends upon the party and he and Jessica immediately begin chatting. Turns out that Nicholas pretty much adores his little sister and when he thinks Jessica is pitying her, he's a bit of a jerk. Jessica points out that with Regina's good looks and obvious fearlessness, the girl is someone to be reckoned with, so pity is so not the word for her. And thus Jessica spends the rest of the night with Nicholas, chatting away.

  Let's switch back to Liz who comes to, briefly, and wonders what the hell is going on. It takes her a minute to remember that she's been kidnapped, but she can't remember who did it. She passes out again, because she's a drama queen. Or maybe the chloroform is that strong. Dunno.
  Todd notices that Liz isn't at the party, so he goes to ask Jess about the whereabouts of her twin. Jess lies and says, "Oh, didn't Liz call and tell you? She's babysitting for Collins tonight." Like hell. Todd figures that if anyone would be worried about Liz, it would be Jessica, so he wanders off to do whatever it is Todds do when not part of Elizabeth+Todd. Thing is, eventually Todd realizes that Elizabeth would have called him [not like, say, when she went off with Todd and didn't tell Collins about the change, right, Toddy?] and he was home all night before the party... So he goes to call her at Collins' place. Mr. C answers and Todd is confused. They have a bit of a moment and then Todd stalks off towards Jessica. He's ticked because Liz is not the sort of girl to be late without letting people know, and when he finds Jessica poolside with Nicholas, and she tries to blow him off again, he shoves her in the pool. Nicholas freaks out and just before he can have Todd kicked off the premises, Todd gets it through Jessica's thick skull that something is WRONG. Jessica flashes back to the last time she screwed Liz over and recalls that the Fiat is a fussy machine, and maybe Liz is stranded somewhere. So off they run to the nearest phone to call home.

  Liz, however, is still stuck with Carl. She's at his home, tied to a chair, and unhappy about it all. In record time, she convinces him to take off her gag and she screams bloody blue murder. He clamps his hand over her mouth and explains that this was so not cool. Again she convinces him that she'll be good and won't do that again. She was just afraid and startled and stuff, y'know? Kidnapping being a little new to her and all. In her infinite wisdom, Liz decides she'll have him untie her and as soon as he's done that, she'll make a break for it. Which sort of works, only she didn't count on Carl having an enclosed porch. Who knew shacks had them? Certainly not worldly wise Elizabeth. Carl grabs her and their moment together is gone. He ties her back up and he goes to sleep in his room.
  Now, I'm not sure whether it's fair to find fault with her plot to run away or not. On the one hand, you want to get out immediately. On the other hand, you should have some freakin' idea of your escape plan beyond, "Well, I escape. That's my plan." Then there's the prospect of sleeping arrangements. If she's not tied up, would Carl expect her to sleep with him, even if it is just sleeping? Or would he be foolish enough to trust her in the living room? Rather than find out, she bolts and it doesn't pay off.
  The next morning, Carl gives her cardboard tasting pancakes because he overheard her telling their boss she loves her mother's pancakes. Sweet, if only not a kidnapper, eh? Liz is shocked that he's going in to work. He points out that he doesn't have a phone so he can't call out, and besides, he's not stupid. If he doesn't show, they'll know something is up. God, get with the program, Lizzie. However, he does have a gift for her. Three books, to be precise. One's a book on investing, one's a bedtime storybook, and the other is a book on raising farm animals. Turns out Carl can't read, so he just grabbed the first ones he saw.
  Liz doesn't even bother to try and read the most promising of the bunch [hello, bedtime stories!] and instead freaks out the whole day. Uh...huh. Cuz that helps so very, very much.

   Now, I should point out, there is one other little problem here. Liz was running late because she had to tutor Max Dellon. When Liz never shows up, Max takes off and goes to look for her. He heads right for the hospital and sees her car. He's ticked. If she had to work late, she should have called. He kicks one of the tires before he realizes that there's a scarf on the ground, the car door is ajar, and Elizabeth's sweater is on the front seat. Something is seriously up. Instead of calling the cops, he breaks into the glove compartment for "clues." Dude, you have to break in, the kidnapper didn't do a damn thing in the car, okay? Leave their stuff alone. Before common sense can pass that message along, the police bust Max. Turns out he'd already run into one of the cops a couple of nights before after a late night with the Droids and a munchies run. The cop stopped him for "suspicious behavior" and Max copped serious attitude. That bites him on the ass and they haul him off to jail for attempting to steal the Fiat.
  Also worth mentioning, the Wakefields [Ned and Alice] return from their party and they're feeling a bit frisky. Alice notices Jessica's note on the fridge and starts to worry. Ned points out that Liz might not have seen it at all because it's a stupid place for a note when Liz was going to just come home to change. Alice agrees, but ever since Elizabeth's accident, she's been secretly Mom-spying on Liz and usually knows where Liz is at any given time of the day. [So do you. At school, at the Oracle office, at the hospital, out with Toddy, probably at the beach or the Dairi Burger, or home, with the occasional mall stop or Oracle research/library, thrown in for good measure. It ain't that difficult.] She's not doing well with this obvious glitch in the system, but when Jessica calls home looking for Liz, she falls apart. Despite a search party, no one can find Liz. The next day doesn't help much either, but Jess does talk to Nicholas who stops by to see how she is and to share a story of sibling guilt.
  It seems that when he was ten and Regina eight, their parents foolishly left him in charge of her one day on vacation. They were firmly in their "I hate you//I hate you more!" phase, so this makes absolutely no sense. My parents wouldn't leave me in charge of my little brother until we were both well old enough to know that juvie would be our best option, and prison would be more likely if we managed to make good on our threats to kill one another. Seriously, we had a babysitter when I was 13, that's how bad things could be. I was a babysitter by then, too. Go figure. Anyway. The two go their separate ways, the loft catches on fire, and Nicholas runs out without even thinking to grab Regina. He won't go back inside and he's sure she was inside and that he's killed her. He's also sure his parents blame him and oh, the angst. Jess says that it's lovely he tried to cheer her up, but fairytales aren't cutting it. He points out that he just shared some serious angst and it wasn't a fairytale for him. She then says that it's obvious Regina lived, seeing as she's met the girl, and Nicholas says yes, she'd managed to sneak out while he was busy ignoring her. Jess is a bit of a bitch and cries, "Yeah, she came back! I may never see my sister again!" and collapses into a tear filled heap. Um, drama queen, table for one.
  After work, Carl brings Liz a lovely sweater of blue to match her eyes. Liz is thinking, "SCORE!" because she's sure that he bought it from the hospital gift shop. Way to assume he has no life outside the hospital and his dreary little home, Liz. Real nice. *cough* Nope, he bought it elsewhere because he's not an idiot... idiot. Liz despairs further when Carl says he's taking her away to the mountains, where she won't be tied up because she won't be able to escape anyway. They're leaving tomorrow. Yay!
  So. Monday brings us no closer to finding Elizabeth, but the high school kids are at school. I cannot see Alice letting Jessica walk out the front door, myself, but maybe I lack vision. Or maybe this is one of those things you just aren't supposed to think about. OR, maybe, it's in some hope of finding normalcy. I don't really know. Todd's there as well, and he walks to the cluster of the In crowd [Lila, Cara, you know the drill] and Lila has a theory. It must be bunnies! Max did it, obviously. He was missing for part of Saturday and so was Liz, obviously, and the cops did bust him in her car, so two and two must equal world's dumbest kidnapper. Duh. Todd mulls this over all day, despite sticking up for Max initially.
  Max, by the way, is having an incredibly shitty day. He had to spend all of Sunday studying Othello and considering he couldn't even begin to decipher Shakespeare two days ago, he's not exactly feeling like he's going to pass Collins' test at the end of the day. If he doesn't, he'll have to go to summer school and he has to quit music cold turkey. Great plan, Dellons. Great, great plan. Anyway, Collins calls Max to the front and Max assumes that Collins, like half the school, assumes he had something to do with Liz's disappearance. Collins doesn't, because it just doesn't make any sense, and SV isn't the sort of place where crazy just happens. Nope, there must be a reason. Right?
  Nope, Collins wants to offer Max an extension. Max blows him off and then kicks himself for it almost immediately. Still, he feels relatively confident that he's actually managed to comprehend the Bard. Who knew?
  After class, he's walking along, minding his own business, when Todd comes up to him and asks for a more thorough explanation of what the hell happened Saturday. Max says he doesn't know, but he really wishes Liz would turn up, especially given how much trouble the girl has gotten him into. Todd freaks the hell out and punches the guy. Jess interrupts and tells Todd that he's behaving totally irrationally and out of character. Uh, no. No, Todd has anger management issues and we've already been through this. Hell, he shoved you in a pool earlier, fulfilling many a fantasy, but still. The dude's not exactly all calm and rational when around either Wakefield, or when they come up in conversation.
  Somehow, the trio decide that since the police are sure that Liz is a runaway and thus there's little point in investigating further, that they will just have to do the sleuthing. So off they race to the hospital. Where nothing, nothing, nothing happens until Max heads up to the third floor. He's about to go talk to a custodian [hi, Carl!] when Carl sees Jessica and flips out. "Elizabeth! What are you doing not being kidnapped!" he all but yells as he runs towards her and then smashes her against the wall. Max tackles him and Jess wonders how Carl could not know that Liz has a twin. How rude, right? Right. Blah, blah, the cops are called, they haul him away and Carl is sad because his love, his Liz, is not Liz, but instead her evil twin. Jess goes with the cops to pick Liz up and upon being rescued, Liz declares she'd like to bathe, eat, sleep, and plan a party celebrating her rescue. Aw.
  The book ends with Liz opening the door at the party, and Nicholas Morrow is there. He's obviously smitten with her, and Liz is a bit worried about this. Note that next book, the tone of this little exchange totally changes.

Trivia!

  • Steve has a plaid comforter and his own tiny bathroom.

  • Steve is 6'1", for those of you playing along at home.

  • Nicholas Morrow grew up in Boston, except that part where he went to an exclusive boarding school in Connecticut, that he graduated from in June. He's taking the year off to study his father's business.

  • Cara and Jessica subscribe to the theory that thou shalt not chase after one another's boy toys. This might explain why Cara and Jess are never as explosively competitive as Lila and Jessica are, eh? Even more surprising, this book claims that they actually adhere to that commandment.

  • Max Dellon is a horrible student, and as he has no interest in school, he's just coasting/failing. But the only teacher who actually calls his parents? Mr. Collins. For shame, everyone else. For. Shame.

  • Max and Guy Chesney starting jamming *snort* together two years ago. At first they'd play Saturday mornings, which would then extend to Sunday mornings, and slowly they acquired Dan Scott, Emily, and Dana. Thus The Droids were born.

  • Evidently, Caroline has a thing for Winston. Poor Win.

  • Nicholas is shorter than Todd by several inches. This could partially explain why Nich has such a problem with Todd. That and Todd keeps trying to assault Jessica in Nicholas' house the first time they meet. Hrm.

  • Ned Wakefield calls Jessica "princess." Hee!

  • Elizabeth is an idiot. She assumes that Jessica was the first person to notice she was missing, and was so worried that she probably missed the party and began the search immediately. Jessica? Miss a party where an eligible rich boy was first appearing? Have you lost your damn mind, woman?

  • Liz wants to spend her first five hours as a free woman in the bath, or at least that's what she's thinking by day two of her ordeal.

  • For their 13th birthday, Jessica gave Elizabeth a bright yellow sweater. Liz wasn't all that fond of the brightness, but it was a gift, so she dealt. Thing is, Jessica borrowed it so much that it became apparent that Jessica didn't give a flying fig about Liz's feelings on the matter and instead, she essentially bought herself a gift. To retaliate, Liz shrinks the sweater, but puts it back in her drawer as if nothing is wrong. When Jess finds out what happened, she flips out and pillow world war 1 erupts. We know this because Liz concentrates on this story as a way to stay sane while Carl is away.

  • Carl lives at the end of St. James Avenue, in the bad part of town. Still, the dude does have a porch, so that should count for something.

  • Also, apparently 5'6" is considered tall, as one of the twins is described as such at the end of the book. ...Right.



Quotable Sweet Valley:

"I'm ready," Cara said with a trace of wistfulness. "Maybe this time I'll find someone who wants me." Poor Cara. p16

"Look, it's not my fault my stupid brother can't see how good you'd be for him. Maybe after Tricia dies, you two could start over again."
"Jessica, that's morbid!"
"No, that's life, Cara," Jessica said matter-of-factly. "We all know she's going to die, and afterward my poor brother is going to need someone to help him pick up the pieces. It might as well be you." Jessica is, oddly enough, a realist at times. p17


Cara didn't bother to respond. She knew Jessica was like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police-she always got her man. p18



  Kidnapped isn't so bad to re-read. It has it's moments of wait, what? But it's also a bit unusual as we don't really get to see Steve and Jessica interact without Liz there to keep the peace, and this go round they don't even need that. We also don't normally see Ned and Alice without the kids and it's a bit jarring, but hey, they should have lives outside of being parents... Though some might say that it's kind of obvious, given how often they go out to parties and dinner and leave their kids to fend for themselves. Hell, Sundays the twins are supposed to hunt and gather their own meals. I'd forgotten this tidbit, as the Wakefields are always presented as this kind of family you expect to sit down and chat over Sunday dinner, even if they don't attend church, y'know?
  Speaking of the Wakefields, I'd also forgotten that they're a little worried about Liz and Todd, especially how serious the couple is about one another. Towards the end of the book, Alice walks by and sees the couple making out and it's not so much the kissing and groping that bother Alice, but the intensity behind it. If Todd were just a fling, she wouldn't worry so, but he isn't, so I guess she's worried that Liz is gonna sleep with Todd. Trust us, A, that ain't gonna happen, no matter what anyone hopes to the contrary. Kind of funny, and easily mockable, but in the context of the book, it works, somehow.
  Lastly, we have Carl. I always envisioned Carl to be older than the 25-ish we're given. I always tacked on another ten years, because 25 seemed too young, too close to Mr. Collins [and Ms. Dalton] and it seemed weirder that way. Also, how many 25 year olds do you know who just want to occasionally pet some girl's hair, when they've been obsessing? Of course, I suppose you could say the same of a 35 year old. Someone was stunted in their development, which I guess is best for Liz. Don't want to darken the series too much, too soon. I kinda felt bad for Carl, but you don't just go around kidnapping pretty people, even if the cops don't seem to care. Nor do you kidnap other people of the non-pretty persuasion. But the thing I don't get [I know, just one? you ask] is how could Carl not know Liz had a twin? Did he never see Jessica, or interact with her? Cuz she would have blown him off so fast your head would spin clean off. Wouldn't he wonder? Wouldn't that have been a fun twist? If Carl had been okay with stalking Liz, but when he works up the courage to talk to Liz, it's really Jessica, and she tells him to fuck off and die, so he snaps, and the next time he has a chance, he nabs Liz, and it is Liz and she's all, "ohhhh...that darn Jessica!"
  Back to Alice and Ned, isn't it also kinda funny that Alice memorizes Liz's schedule but Jessica always seemed like the twin most likely to get into trouble, and she does [all those older boys, Alice!] but it's Liz Alice obsesses over. Still, Jessica's ability to hide her antics aside, I like my SVH with a dash of realism. Not too much, or you end up with a salty, tear soaked melodramatically overdone bummer that is Senior Year, but a little to balance out the rampant crazy that leaks off the pages when you least expect it.
  The other thing I 'love' is how the back cover gives the impression that it's through any luck or skill on Elizabeth's behalf that she's rescued. Nope, she tries, but is thwarted. Repeatedly. It's dumb luck that saves her.

   Let's look at the newly added covers, shall we? I like how Hungary actually tried to make their Liz looked scared... even if she's apparently being kidnapped while doing the Robot. Russia, you're being fined for making a mockery of Nicholas Morrow. That and the TV show are really harshing my childhood crush, man. Not cool!
  Together with When Love Dies, Kidnapped! is one of those classic early SVH books that every passing fan should read, at least once. Just to say they have.


Kidnapped Non English Cover, part 2
the_oracle: (gasp!)
Kidnapped!
weird, my copy says April 1984, but given that we know that's wrong, we'll say November, 1984

  Elizabeth's nightmare is about to begin...

  A living nightmare...


   Elizabeth Wakefield never imagined that her evening of volunteer work at Sweet Valley's hospital would turn into the most horrifying night of her life. But when a strong hand clamps a chloroformed rag over her mouth and she is pulled from her car, Elizabeth's hellish ordeal begins.
   When she regains consciousness, Elizabeth finds herself tied to a chair in an isolated shack. She has been kidnapped-by Carl, a lonely and disturbed orderly from the hospital. Elizabeth doesn't know what Carl wants from her, but it's clear he's on the brink of insanity. Somehow Elizabeth must escape-before it's too late!


  If you don't know what Kidnapped! is about, you're either incredibly new to the Valley or you're an idiot. It tells you in the title, the cover makes it obvious which twin gets 'napped and everything else is on the back cover. But really, all you need to know, you learned last go round anyway. Carl, the creepy custodian, kidnaps Elizabeth because he likes her. He thoughtfully prepared his van with a mattress in the back so she'd be comfy as he escorted her to the run down section of town [hey, any bets on whether the Martins live close by?] and this is pretty much where we'll meet up with Liz. Later.

  The book actually begins with a cute little scene between Steven and Jessica, both getting ready for their evenings out. Steve has a date with Tricia, his tragically ill girlfriend, and Jessica is going to a party at the Morrows' mansion. So yes, this book picks up as soon as the last one left off. This is starting to become a pattern. Steve zips Jessica's dress up and they chat a bit. Jessica bites her tongue about Tricia, seeing as she's dying and all, and Steve does his best to convince her that maybe she'll be a little chilly in her outfit, seeing as it's so low cut and all. He also offers her a ride to the party, but Jess says she's waiting for Liz who'll be home at eight, so they can go together. Twins making a bigger splash than two pretty blondes arriving separately, I suppose.
  However, Jess sucks at waiting. She picks out an outfit for Liz, to help speed her sister along when she finally gets home. She paces and freaks out by ten 'til eight, and calls Cara to pick her up. That's right. She can't even wait ten more minutes, less if you consider that Cara had to take at least two minutes to drive over. Sigh. Jess leaves Elizabeth a note on the fridge, and heads off to party.
  Introducing the Morrows. We have Kurt and Skye.Tall, dark, and gorgeous would describe them both. They dash out on their way to their own party, and then we meet Regina. At first, Cara and Jessica don't know anything is wrong. That is, until Regina repeatedly ignores anything Jessica says. Jess is a little upset. Why is the new girl being such an unbelievable bitch? Then Regina trips, and instead of figuring that high heels plus a new house might equal a bit of a problem, Jess assumes Regina's drunk. She taps the girl on the shoulder and asks where the booze is. Naturally, with Regina facing Jessica, she's able to read Jessica's lips and tells the blond that this ain't that kind of party. Regina then offers them the non-alcoholic goodies and explains that she's deaf. She can lip read and is all sorts of other fabulous though, so don't worry. Nicholas descends upon the party and he and Jessica immediately begin chatting. Turns out that Nicholas pretty much adores his little sister and when he thinks Jessica is pitying her, he's a bit of a jerk. Jessica points out that with Regina's good looks and obvious fearlessness, the girl is someone to be reckoned with, so pity is so not the word for her. And thus Jessica spends the rest of the night with Nicholas, chatting away.

  Let's switch back to Liz who comes to, briefly, and wonders what the hell is going on. It takes her a minute to remember that she's been kidnapped, but she can't remember who did it. She passes out again, because she's a drama queen. Or maybe the chloroform is that strong. Dunno.
  Todd notices that Liz isn't at the party, so he goes to ask Jess about the whereabouts of her twin. Jess lies and says, "Oh, didn't Liz call and tell you? She's babysitting for Collins tonight." Like hell. Todd figures that if anyone would be worried about Liz, it would be Jessica, so he wanders off to do whatever it is Todds do when not part of Elizabeth+Todd. Thing is, eventually Todd realizes that Elizabeth would have called him [not like, say, when she went off with Todd and didn't tell Collins about the change, right, Toddy?] and he was home all night before the party... So he goes to call her at Collins' place. Mr. C answers and Todd is confused. They have a bit of a moment and then Todd stalks off towards Jessica. He's ticked because Liz is not the sort of girl to be late without letting people know, and when he finds Jessica poolside with Nicholas, and she tries to blow him off again, he shoves her in the pool. Nicholas freaks out and just before he can have Todd kicked off the premises, Todd gets it through Jessica's thick skull that something is WRONG. Jessica flashes back to the last time she screwed Liz over and recalls that the Fiat is a fussy machine, and maybe Liz is stranded somewhere. So off they run to the nearest phone to call home.

  Liz, however, is still stuck with Carl. She's at his home, tied to a chair, and unhappy about it all. In record time, she convinces him to take off her gag and she screams bloody blue murder. He clamps his hand over her mouth and explains that this was so not cool. Again she convinces him that she'll be good and won't do that again. She was just afraid and startled and stuff, y'know? Kidnapping being a little new to her and all. In her infinite wisdom, Liz decides she'll have him untie her and as soon as he's done that, she'll make a break for it. Which sort of works, only she didn't count on Carl having an enclosed porch. Who knew shacks had them? Certainly not worldly wise Elizabeth. Carl grabs her and their moment together is gone. He ties her back up and he goes to sleep in his room.
  Now, I'm not sure whether it's fair to find fault with her plot to run away or not. On the one hand, you want to get out immediately. On the other hand, you should have some freakin' idea of your escape plan beyond, "Well, I escape. That's my plan." Then there's the prospect of sleeping arrangements. If she's not tied up, would Carl expect her to sleep with him, even if it is just sleeping? Or would he be foolish enough to trust her in the living room? Rather than find out, she bolts and it doesn't pay off.
  The next morning, Carl gives her cardboard tasting pancakes because he overheard her telling their boss she loves her mother's pancakes. Sweet, if only not a kidnapper, eh? Liz is shocked that he's going in to work. He points out that he doesn't have a phone so he can't call out, and besides, he's not stupid. If he doesn't show, they'll know something is up. God, get with the program, Lizzie. However, he does have a gift for her. Three books, to be precise. One's a book on investing, one's a bedtime storybook, and the other is a book on raising farm animals. Turns out Carl can't read, so he just grabbed the first ones he saw.
  Liz doesn't even bother to try and read the most promising of the bunch [hello, bedtime stories!] and instead freaks out the whole day. Uh...huh. Cuz that helps so very, very much.

   Now, I should point out, there is one other little problem here. Liz was running late because she had to tutor Max Dellon. When Liz never shows up, Max takes off and goes to look for her. He heads right for the hospital and sees her car. He's ticked. If she had to work late, she should have called. He kicks one of the tires before he realizes that there's a scarf on the ground, the car door is ajar, and Elizabeth's sweater is on the front seat. Something is seriously up. Instead of calling the cops, he breaks into the glove compartment for "clues." Dude, you have to break in, the kidnapper didn't do a damn thing in the car, okay? Leave their stuff alone. Before common sense can pass that message along, the police bust Max. Turns out he'd already run into one of the cops a couple of nights before after a late night with the Droids and a munchies run. The cop stopped him for "suspicious behavior" and Max copped serious attitude. That bites him on the ass and they haul him off to jail for attempting to steal the Fiat.
  Also worth mentioning, the Wakefields [Ned and Alice] return from their party and they're feeling a bit frisky. Alice notices Jessica's note on the fridge and starts to worry. Ned points out that Liz might not have seen it at all because it's a stupid place for a note when Liz was going to just come home to change. Alice agrees, but ever since Elizabeth's accident, she's been secretly Mom-spying on Liz and usually knows where Liz is at any given time of the day. [So do you. At school, at the Oracle office, at the hospital, out with Toddy, probably at the beach or the Dairi Burger, or home, with the occasional mall stop or Oracle research/library, thrown in for good measure. It ain't that difficult.] She's not doing well with this obvious glitch in the system, but when Jessica calls home looking for Liz, she falls apart. Despite a search party, no one can find Liz. The next day doesn't help much either, but Jess does talk to Nicholas who stops by to see how she is and to share a story of sibling guilt.
  It seems that when he was ten and Regina eight, their parents foolishly left him in charge of her one day on vacation. They were firmly in their "I hate you//I hate you more!" phase, so this makes absolutely no sense. My parents wouldn't leave me in charge of my little brother until we were both well old enough to know that juvie would be our best option, and prison would be more likely if we managed to make good on our threats to kill one another. Seriously, we had a babysitter when I was 13, that's how bad things could be. I was a babysitter by then, too. Go figure. Anyway. The two go their separate ways, the loft catches on fire, and Nicholas runs out without even thinking to grab Regina. He won't go back inside and he's sure she was inside and that he's killed her. He's also sure his parents blame him and oh, the angst. Jess says that it's lovely he tried to cheer her up, but fairytales aren't cutting it. He points out that he just shared some serious angst and it wasn't a fairytale for him. She then says that it's obvious Regina lived, seeing as she's met the girl, and Nicholas says yes, she'd managed to sneak out while he was busy ignoring her. Jess is a bit of a bitch and cries, "Yeah, she came back! I may never see my sister again!" and collapses into a tear filled heap. Um, drama queen, table for one.
  After work, Carl brings Liz a lovely sweater of blue to match her eyes. Liz is thinking, "SCORE!" because she's sure that he bought it from the hospital gift shop. Way to assume he has no life outside the hospital and his dreary little home, Liz. Real nice. *cough* Nope, he bought it elsewhere because he's not an idiot... idiot. Liz despairs further when Carl says he's taking her away to the mountains, where she won't be tied up because she won't be able to escape anyway. They're leaving tomorrow. Yay!
  So. Monday brings us no closer to finding Elizabeth, but the high school kids are at school. I cannot see Alice letting Jessica walk out the front door, myself, but maybe I lack vision. Or maybe this is one of those things you just aren't supposed to think about. OR, maybe, it's in some hope of finding normalcy. I don't really know. Todd's there as well, and he walks to the cluster of the In crowd [Lila, Cara, you know the drill] and Lila has a theory. It must be bunnies! Max did it, obviously. He was missing for part of Saturday and so was Liz, obviously, and the cops did bust him in her car, so two and two must equal world's dumbest kidnapper. Duh. Todd mulls this over all day, despite sticking up for Max initially.
  Max, by the way, is having an incredibly shitty day. He had to spend all of Sunday studying Othello and considering he couldn't even begin to decipher Shakespeare two days ago, he's not exactly feeling like he's going to pass Collins' test at the end of the day. If he doesn't, he'll have to go to summer school and he has to quit music cold turkey. Great plan, Dellons. Great, great plan. Anyway, Collins calls Max to the front and Max assumes that Collins, like half the school, assumes he had something to do with Liz's disappearance. Collins doesn't, because it just doesn't make any sense, and SV isn't the sort of place where crazy just happens. Nope, there must be a reason. Right?
  Nope, Collins wants to offer Max an extension. Max blows him off and then kicks himself for it almost immediately. Still, he feels relatively confident that he's actually managed to comprehend the Bard. Who knew?
  After class, he's walking along, minding his own business, when Todd comes up to him and asks for a more thorough explanation of what the hell happened Saturday. Max says he doesn't know, but he really wishes Liz would turn up, especially given how much trouble the girl has gotten him into. Todd freaks the hell out and punches the guy. Jess interrupts and tells Todd that he's behaving totally irrationally and out of character. Uh, no. No, Todd has anger management issues and we've already been through this. Hell, he shoved you in a pool earlier, fulfilling many a fantasy, but still. The dude's not exactly all calm and rational when around either Wakefield, or when they come up in conversation.
  Somehow, the trio decide that since the police are sure that Liz is a runaway and thus there's little point in investigating further, that they will just have to do the sleuthing. So off they race to the hospital. Where nothing, nothing, nothing happens until Max heads up to the third floor. He's about to go talk to a custodian [hi, Carl!] when Carl sees Jessica and flips out. "Elizabeth! What are you doing not being kidnapped!" he all but yells as he runs towards her and then smashes her against the wall. Max tackles him and Jess wonders how Carl could not know that Liz has a twin. How rude, right? Right. Blah, blah, the cops are called, they haul him away and Carl is sad because his love, his Liz, is not Liz, but instead her evil twin. Jess goes with the cops to pick Liz up and upon being rescued, Liz declares she'd like to bathe, eat, sleep, and plan a party celebrating her rescue. Aw.
  The book ends with Liz opening the door at the party, and Nicholas Morrow is there. He's obviously smitten with her, and Liz is a bit worried about this. Note that next book, the tone of this little exchange totally changes.

Trivia!

  • Steve has a plaid comforter and his own tiny bathroom.

  • Steve is 6'1", for those of you playing along at home.

  • Nicholas Morrow grew up in Boston, except that part where he went to an exclusive boarding school in Connecticut, that he graduated from in June. He's taking the year off to study his father's business.

  • Cara and Jessica subscribe to the theory that thou shalt not chase after one another's boy toys. This might explain why Cara and Jess are never as explosively competitive as Lila and Jessica are, eh? Even more surprising, this book claims that they actually adhere to that commandment.

  • Max Dellon is a horrible student, and as he has no interest in school, he's just coasting/failing. But the only teacher who actually calls his parents? Mr. Collins. For shame, everyone else. For. Shame.

  • Max and Guy Chesney starting jamming *snort* together two years ago. At first they'd play Saturday mornings, which would then extend to Sunday mornings, and slowly they acquired Dan Scott, Emily, and Dana. Thus The Droids were born.

  • Evidently, Caroline has a thing for Winston. Poor Win.

  • Nicholas is shorter than Todd by several inches. This could partially explain why Nich has such a problem with Todd. That and Todd keeps trying to assault Jessica in Nicholas' house the first time they meet. Hrm.

  • Ned Wakefield calls Jessica "princess." Hee!

  • Elizabeth is an idiot. She assumes that Jessica was the first person to notice she was missing, and was so worried that she probably missed the party and began the search immediately. Jessica? Miss a party where an eligible rich boy was first appearing? Have you lost your damn mind, woman?

  • Liz wants to spend her first five hours as a free woman in the bath, or at least that's what she's thinking by day two of her ordeal.

  • For their 13th birthday, Jessica gave Elizabeth a bright yellow sweater. Liz wasn't all that fond of the brightness, but it was a gift, so she dealt. Thing is, Jessica borrowed it so much that it became apparent that Jessica didn't give a flying fig about Liz's feelings on the matter and instead, she essentially bought herself a gift. To retaliate, Liz shrinks the sweater, but puts it back in her drawer as if nothing is wrong. When Jess finds out what happened, she flips out and pillow world war 1 erupts. We know this because Liz concentrates on this story as a way to stay sane while Carl is away.

  • Carl lives at the end of St. James Avenue, in the bad part of town. Still, the dude does have a porch, so that should count for something.

  • Also, apparently 5'6" is considered tall, as one of the twins is described as such at the end of the book. ...Right.



Quotable Sweet Valley:

"I'm ready," Cara said with a trace of wistfulness. "Maybe this time I'll find someone who wants me." Poor Cara. p16

"Look, it's not my fault my stupid brother can't see how good you'd be for him. Maybe after Tricia dies, you two could start over again."
"Jessica, that's morbid!"
"No, that's life, Cara," Jessica said matter-of-factly. "We all know she's going to die, and afterward my poor brother is going to need someone to help him pick up the pieces. It might as well be you." Jessica is, oddly enough, a realist at times. p17


Cara didn't bother to respond. She knew Jessica was like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police-she always got her man. p18



  Kidnapped isn't so bad to re-read. It has it's moments of wait, what? But it's also a bit unusual as we don't really get to see Steve and Jessica interact without Liz there to keep the peace, and this go round they don't even need that. We also don't normally see Ned and Alice without the kids and it's a bit jarring, but hey, they should have lives outside of being parents... Though some might say that it's kind of obvious, given how often they go out to parties and dinner and leave their kids to fend for themselves. Hell, Sundays the twins are supposed to hunt and gather their own meals. I'd forgotten this tidbit, as the Wakefields are always presented as this kind of family you expect to sit down and chat over Sunday dinner, even if they don't attend church, y'know?
  Speaking of the Wakefields, I'd also forgotten that they're a little worried about Liz and Todd, especially how serious the couple is about one another. Towards the end of the book, Alice walks by and sees the couple making out and it's not so much the kissing and groping that bother Alice, but the intensity behind it. If Todd were just a fling, she wouldn't worry so, but he isn't, so I guess she's worried that Liz is gonna sleep with Todd. Trust us, A, that ain't gonna happen, no matter what anyone hopes to the contrary. Kind of funny, and easily mockable, but in the context of the book, it works, somehow.
  Lastly, we have Carl. I always envisioned Carl to be older than the 25-ish we're given. I always tacked on another ten years, because 25 seemed too young, too close to Mr. Collins [and Ms. Dalton] and it seemed weirder that way. Also, how many 25 year olds do you know who just want to occasionally pet some girl's hair, when they've been obsessing? Of course, I suppose you could say the same of a 35 year old. Someone was stunted in their development, which I guess is best for Liz. Don't want to darken the series too much, too soon. I kinda felt bad for Carl, but you don't just go around kidnapping pretty people, even if the cops don't seem to care. Nor do you kidnap other people of the non-pretty persuasion. But the thing I don't get [I know, just one? you ask] is how could Carl not know Liz had a twin? Did he never see Jessica, or interact with her? Cuz she would have blown him off so fast your head would spin clean off. Wouldn't he wonder? Wouldn't that have been a fun twist? If Carl had been okay with stalking Liz, but when he works up the courage to talk to Liz, it's really Jessica, and she tells him to fuck off and die, so he snaps, and the next time he has a chance, he nabs Liz, and it is Liz and she's all, "ohhhh...that darn Jessica!"
  Back to Alice and Ned, isn't it also kinda funny that Alice memorizes Liz's schedule but Jessica always seemed like the twin most likely to get into trouble, and she does [all those older boys, Alice!] but it's Liz Alice obsesses over. Still, Jessica's ability to hide her antics aside, I like my SVH with a dash of realism. Not too much, or you end up with a salty, tear soaked melodramatically overdone bummer that is Senior Year, but a little to balance out the rampant crazy that leaks off the pages when you least expect it.
  The other thing I 'love' is how the back cover gives the impression that it's through any luck or skill on Elizabeth's behalf that she's rescued. Nope, she tries, but is thwarted. Repeatedly. It's dumb luck that saves her.
  Together with When Love Dies, Kidnapped! is one of those classic early SVH books that every passing fan should read, at least once. Just to say they have.

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