the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (Default)
Who's To Blame?
July 1990

Elizabeth is running away!
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   Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield's parents have separated. Mr. Wakefield has moved into an apartment of his own, and the house seems empty without him. Elizabeth has never been so miserable. She would do anything to bring her family together again.
  Then Jessica tells her twin that she thinks their parents' separation is all Elizabeth's fault! Distraught and guilt-ridden, Elizabeth decides to move away from home. If she really is the cause of her parents' unhappiness, perhaps they'll get back together once she is out of the way...

  Spoiler: Liz's harebrained plan kinda works. I mean, she runs away and Ned comes running back. But I shouldn't point that out because it's not exactly what she had in mind and it's not like he's home for good by the end of the book, eh?

   Anyway, we begin our book on the first day of an unnamed month. For a change of pace, Jessica is waking Liz up because Liz has overslept this particular Saturday. Turns out it's Ned's moving day, which is why Liz didn't want to get up. I'm not going to snark this because I totally get not wanting to get up and face reality, but I do have to wonder: why is Ned the one moving out considering Alice was the one who walked away from her family? I assume this is just because it's always the father to move out, especially when the book was written, but still. It doesn't make a ton of sense.
  Alice has already left by the time Liz is woken up and Jessica's ticked that her mother couldn't even be bothered to stick around for this, but Liz gets that it's probably too hard for Alice to watch/help her husband move out.
   It's weird that we're told that Ned has a lot of stuff to move and that moving all these boxes helps keep Liz's mind off what's happening but all his stuff can fit in his car? What about furniture? Is he renting a furnished apartment? That would make sense, I suppose, but we're never told.

  The kids ride over to the new place in Steven's VW and I'm left wondering why one of them doesn't go with Ned but perhaps he just really needed that last bit of room in his car. It's possible. When they get there, everyone is varying shades of off. Steve doesn't say much, Liz is trying not to cry at how depressing the building itself is, and Jessica's over there thrilled about the cool dimmer switch for the chandelier. Jess, your mother is an interior decorator. I'm pretty sure this isn't some new technology for you to be amazed by.
  Ned tells the kids that they're welcome any time and that he knows this is hard on all of them and Liz has to be dragged away by her siblings because her heart is breaking.

   The next day, our ghosty is most confused as to whether you can use the words brunch and breakfast interchangeably. You cannot, ghosty. You cannot. I do like the callback to Sunday brunches at the Wakefields, however so I'll let this one go. Brunch doesn't go well when Alice nopes on out of there without so much as a muffin on her way to work and the kids decide to go for one another's throats. Honestly, Alice, I get that this is hard for you, but the kids all ask you to stay and you run off. Again. This isn't an emergency at work, this is you avoiding your family/emotions.
  Jessica and Steven immediately take opposing sides, with Jessica squarely on team Ned and Steven on team Alice. Liz tries to point out that there should be no sides in this and she gets jumped on and the family is basically at war, with Liz convinced that this is all her fault. If you take a shot each time she mentions this, you will need a new liver. Or, like me, you'll quickly lose track and just say to hell with it.
  After the brunch from hell, Liz rides over to Enid's house and marvels at how different it is at Enid's. She's felt uncomfortable at Todd's lately because his family is still very happy family-esque while Enid's is just as happy, it isn't the perfect family either since Mr. Rollins isn't around. Things are easier for Liz at Enid's and I get the awww's because I will forever adore Enid and Elizabeth's friendship. FOREVER.
   Alas, despite acknowledging that Enid knows quite a bit about divorce, she still refuses to listen when Enid assures her that no matter what Elizabeth thinks, this is not her fault. This has to do with Ned and Alice and not anything Elizabeth (or Jessica or Steven) has done. Oh, Liz. You are so far down the rabbit hole of "no one understands my pain, my pain is so unique" that you might be the most realistic version of a teenager you've been in quite awhile. Alas, it's also annoying as shit because even as a kid I knew you were being extra dumb.

   Sunday evening, Jessica heads to Lila's for dinner and Steve's MIA so Liz and her mother are alone for dinner and this seems to depress them both. I dunno, I'm making tacos for one right now and that's not so bad, so what's wrong with tacos for two? Anyway, they discuss how Alice has been thinking about how she's made some mistakes. Like, I dunno, not taking that ultimatum seriously, I guess. Alice says her career is important, but not as important as her marriage and Liz takes this to mean that this is ALL HER FAULT.
  Oi, Liz. Just oi. (Also: I hope that Alice and Ned both realize that it's not just Alice who was spending too much time on other things because if not, the rage that will fill me in the next book might just be too much for the world to stand.)
   Remember Jessica's B plot last book involving Charlie, the guy she met on the teen party line? Well, that bill finally comes due and Alice flips her shit because the phone bill is $375. I feel your pain, Jess. A friend and I racked up a similar bill making calls to Australia and other places. And then I did it again solo years later and had to give up the best shoes ever... because unlike Jessica, I knew enough to know that I had to pay for my mistake. Nope, Jessica gets fussed at by Alice and has her allowance revoked (seriously, how does Jessica still have an allowance? She's always over-spent on something or gotten an advance.) and there's even talk of her getting a job to pay off the rest. Jessica will not stand for this taking of responsibility, so at first she tries to play it off as if she had to call the teen line because of the trouble at home. Alice ain't buying this BS and so Jessica gets the idea to sell her song of woe to her father. Ned falls for it and later calls Alice to suggest that perhaps she was too harsh on their youngest. Naturally this goes over spectacularly well... but it doesn't stop Jessica from exploiting Ned's guilt later on.

   Liz, meanwhile, is flaking out at school. We only see proof of this with English class and The Oracle. Seems she blew off a big interview for the paper and Penny stops by to ask what's up. Mr. Collins is also baffled by Liz half-assing a paper and I'm gonna have to call full BS on Collins and partial on Penny. Penny claims to be worried that Liz has finally tired of The Oracle and moved on to other things, while Collins seems to have absolutely no idea that Ned and Alice have broken up. Bull. Shit. Lila and Amy know about it, and you know damn well those two can't keep their mouths shut and also there's no flippin' way Caroline hasn't gotten wind of this, so this shit is all over the school. Also, Sweet Valley has always been portrayed as a small town kinda place so you know full well that adults talk and Collins would know, especially since he's the 'cool' teacher.
  Sigh. Anyway, Collins is all confused as to why Liz isn't doing her work up to her normal standards and why she's staring off into space when he's trying to teach Othello over here. Liz decides not to talk about it because it'll make it too real and I could quibble with this, but again, I get it.
  Todd, however, is going to somehow manage to make me aww and want to strangle him all in the same book. Such skill! You see, Todd knows about the Wakefield separation and he's doing his best to be there for Liz. He offers his shoulder repeatedly and tries to make sure that Liz takes time for herself instead of simply taking on all the problems at home by herself. In return, Liz is both amazed and freaked out. She's so sure that she caused her parents' split and that she's the reason Steven and Jessica are at each other's throats (I mean, it's not like they fight a lot anyway... oh, wait) that she's sure she doesn't deserve Todd, especially since he's being so nice and attentive to her. Plus, all love ends terribly and you should avoid pain at all costs.
   Come Friday, Todd has bought tickets to see one of Liz's favorite singers that we've never heard of at a club we've also never heard of, and Liz is not here for this. She wants to go home, chill with her mother and her family, and basically just unplug from the world. Todd tries to understand. I think. This is one of the argh moments. On the one hand, I get where he's coming from. Liz needs to get out and take her mind off the stuff at home. On the other, I get that Liz feels she should be at home with her mother for the first weekend of the split. Todd comes up with the idea that he could get a third ticket and Alice could go with them and Liz shoots this down real quick.
  Todd pushes things and Liz winds up dumping him mere minutes after thinking how lucky she is to have him in her life. Depression, folks. It's a helluva drug.
  Liz spends the evening with her mother and tells Todd she's not discussing things further until Monday. She admits her split to Jessica later and Jessica is thrilled because Liz on the loose! Remember this feeling, Clone 2, because you're gonna regret it really soon.
   Enid stops by over the weekend to ask WTF is going on with Liz and Todd and Liz continues to blame herself for things and says she's not ready for a relationship at the moment. Enid gives her the look of "bitch, you crazy" but it goes right over Elizabeth's head. I love that Enid has taken it upon herself to try and tether Liz to reality because no one else, other than Todd, is trying. Seriously, not a single other friend of Elizabeth's shows up unless you count Penny, and that was a work thing. I expected better of Olivia, honestly.
  Also, as an aside, how is Maria Santelli holding up? This book doesn't mention it but I wonder.

   Anyway, the next week Liz goes to school in a micro-mini skirt and accepts all the dates, so long as you aren't Todd Wilkins. Jessica gets fed up with this real fast, especially once her B plot goes south. You see, she's tired of Amy and Lila mocking her for having a boyfriend she's never actually met, so she corners Charlie and forces him to appear on an actual date. And he does and he's almost too good looking for words, but he's dull as dishwater and nothing like his phone personality. Jessica gives him a second chance and he's somehow even worse over dinner at a sushi place.
  With Charlie shuttled off to the side temporarily, Jess is on the prowl. Alas, her sister has lined up dates with all the guys we've never heard of before who are somehow real catches. Also: how many redheads go to SVH? There's some new Texan dude and Allison something or other is flitting around Todd and I swear anytime we split Todd and Liz up and he gets a random girl in his orbit, she's a redhead "with a great figure." Weird.

   Sigh. By Thursday, Jessica is pissed off and she goes OFF on Liz after her day from hell. Not only is Liz hogging all the eligible potential boyfriends, but she's also the reason Ned and Alice split up and Jessica is tired of no one talking about that. Steve, who had until that moment been feuding with Jessica, is aghast. Liz, did you really give out the number to the Inn and kill our parents' weekend getaway? I mean, uh, obviously that couldn't be the only reason they split but... the damage is done. Liz gets the idea to run away and the next day she meets Enid at the Box Tree Cafe and explains that she's running away to Dallas or Michigan.
  Enid, being awesome, tells her that no she's not. She's coming home with her so that when she snaps out of this insanity (she's nicer about it), she won't be miles away and that much poorer. Plus, Enid wants to keep her best friend close by and dude, I get this on a level I can't even begin to articulate. All the love, Enid. All the love.
  Enid's mother is fine with this so long as Liz tells her parents where she is. Liz fudges this in the letters Enid makes her type, but I think Enid lets her get away with it because anyone who hears that Liz is "staying with a friend" is going to assume that friend is Enid. Liz is one step ahead and after they deliver the letters to both Wakefield parents (well, the houses), she takes the phone of the hook and keeps it off all night long.
  While the remaining Wakefields freak out (they do try Enid's first, btw), Enid calms Liz down with rom-coms and talking and being awesome. I suspect cookies were also involved.
  The next morning Alice has tracked Liz down to Enid's (I assume someone eventually put the phone back on the hook) and takes her home where Ned and Alice explain that they handled the split badly and that it was never meant to be permanent, but that they needed space and it wasn't Elizabeth's fault because it wasn't anyone's fault... and things look up for the first time in forever.
  To make up for being a royal bitch, Jessica cooks up a scheme to get Todd and Liz back together. She ropes Steve in and of course the plan works because twin switches always do. Jess dresses like Liz, has Todd meet her at the fourth picnic table at Secca Lake and then confesses she was a dumbass to break up with him. Steve and Liz are within earshot of Todd confessing his love for Liz and before he can do anything like get smoochy, Jessica runs back to her car for something and on the way tags Liz in and the lovebirds live happily ever after.
   Just in time for the PBA costume party. Jessica has learned that the Charlie she met wasn't the real Charlie and was instead a cute but hopelessly dull friend of his named Brook. Jessica convinces the real Charlie to go on a double date with Brook, Amy, and Jessica to the costume party. Charlie agrees and when he shows up Jessica admits (in her head) that he's not conventionally handsome, but he's awfully taken with Amy and her 'satire of a cheerleader' costume. No, Charles, she is a cheerleader because she's too lazy to think of a better costume. I expected better of you. Brook, however, is excused because no one cares about him. Jessica the Intergalactic Space Princess swears off men forever and pledges her newfound free time to making sure Ned Wakefield is elected Mayor.

   I feel like lightning and thunder should crash as we fade to black.


  • Liz set her alarm on Ned's moving day for 9am but slept through it. Jessica finally woke her up at 10:30am.

  • Ned moves out on the first of the month (a Saturday) though we're never told which month this is.

  • Alice leaves the house around 9:30am, well before Ned moved out. Jessica is ticked but Liz gets it.

  • Ned's new building is plain sandstone, six stories tall, without much character.

  • Every time James Knapp is mentioned, it's always as "Henry Patman's friend."

  • Liz notes that Alice appears to have lost weight and that there are dark circles under her eyes, all of which cause her to look older. Yep, busy at work and failing home life will age you.

  • Enid says she ate a gallon of fudge ripple icecream when her father moved out.

  • Alice admits to Liz that she should never have left the Tahoe trip and that while work is important to her, it's not more important than her marriage and family.

  • It's been eons since we had a dance, so PBA is here to rectify it. Amy wants fun and casual and Lila wants formal. (Isn't this the same issue that will later kill Sam as it prompts the twins to duke it out over being queen of the jungle prom?) Ultimately, the sorority goes with a costume party.

  • The book takes place over the course of a little over two weeks, just in case you wondered. That's how long it takes for PBA to come up with the party and plan it. I'm impressed.

  • Jessica claims that "some weirdo was calling Japan and giving the Fowlers' phone card number" and ran up a $600 bill. Not sure if this actually happened or if it's something she's throwing out there to see if Alice will let her off the hook before having to tell the truth.

  • Of the $375 phone bill, Jessica racked up about $300 worth. Alice mutters about $11 on the 8th and $14 on the 9th... Honestly, given the way the last book portrayed Jessica's marathon phone sessions, I think they got off light.

  • I don't know about you guys, but it tickles me that everyone assumes when a 900 number is mentioned that it's a party line and not, y'know, a sex line.

  • Jessica favors Ned to such a degree that she asks if she can move in with him should Ned and Alice divorce.

  • Amy suggestions for costumes for Jessica and Charlie? Phantoms or the Invisible Man.

  • Apparently Sweet Valley has multiple skating rinks.

  • Amy has heard Charlie over the phone but still threatens to tell PBA that Jessica made the guy up if he doesn't materialize soon.

  • Todd suggests: Bonnie & Clyde, Batman and Catwoman, King and Queen of Hearts, book ends.

  • Liz snaps that they don't have to have matching costumes, but they wind up as Romeo and Juliet. Liz, I think Todd's ideas were better.

  • Jessica snarks that Steven is always around considering he's supposed to be at college.

  • The Wednesday after Ned moved out, Steve has still not called or talked to his father at all.

  • Jessica sets a date with Charlie for 3pm at the downtown Sweet Valley Roller Rink.

  • Liz gets a "see me about this" not a grade on her paper.

  • Liz forgets that she had a date with Todd to go shopping for his mother's birthday gift.

  • Jessica comes in with the mail, all excited over junk mail prizes. Can't decide whether to laugh at her or think this is adorable.

  • Penny complains that Liz has missed two Oracle meetings this month, but she makes this claim on Thursday and the month just started Saturday so either Penny doesn't mean calendar month or Liz is really just blowing everything off.

  • Liz also blew off her interview with Jason Fisherman, leader of the local chapter of the California Civic Rights group. No word on whether this was a double booking for her shopping date with Todd or if Thursday is just when Jason called Penny to complain.

  • Jessica only has $11 in her wallet but when she asks Lila for a loan, Lila turns her down and suggests that duh, try Ned. Guilt is an excellent motivator.

  • School gets out early Friday due to a teachers' meeting.

  • Liz says she loves Todd's maroon and blue plaid flannel shirt.

  • Sondra Gray is one of Liz's favorite singers, and she'll be performing that Friday night at the Palace.

  • Jessica comes home around 10pm on Friday night after dinner with her father. That seems kinda late, even if she was hitting him up for money.

  • Jessica uses Ned's guilt money to buy a suede vest and "western looking jeans." Man, I remember the brief Western craze...

  • Jessica tells Amy not to make a play for Todd because Liz would be mad and then Jessica would have to be mad at Amy. Aww.

  • "Charlie's" voice is higher, he's tall around 6'2, with fairly thick sandy blond hair. He's almost too handsome with chiseled features and very smooth skin. He has dark eyes and a perfect smile, and comes to the rink wearing jeans and a trendy sweater. Alas, Brook Atkins has the personality of cardboard.

  • Charlie and Jessica try again Wednesday night for sushi, which goes even worse.

  • Enid returns some books to Liz and tries to plead Todd's case the weekend of the breakup.

  • Paul Jeffries is a cute senior who has written a few articles for The Oracle. He's tall with dark, curly hair, a nice smile, and grey blue eyes. He recently broke up with his girlfriend and a lot of people think he's the most eligible guy at school. (What, I wonder, does Bruce Patman have to say about this?) Enid thinks he's a womanizer who has gone out with a dozen girls this month alone. Pretty impressive since the month just started.

  • Liz dates Paul on Monday, Steve Anderson, a quiet but attractive junior on Tuesday (tennis date), goes to the beach with John Campbell, a cute redheaded Texan with green eyes, on Wednesday and is set to go out with Paul again on Thursday for icecream.

  • Paul confuses Jessica and Liz and Jessica is not happy about it.

  • Jessica runs out of gas four blocks from home and has to walk to the gas station, convince someone to help her out, and then gets home only to find out that she's forgotten her keys and is locked out.

  • Steve learns the truth about the Tahoe trip during the Thursday blowout.

  • Ned and Alice have lunch that same Thursday and it's "nice."

  • Liz blanks on her English exam.

  • She decides to run away to Dallas to live with her aunt, uncle, and cousin Jenny, or if they won't have her, her grandparents in Michigan.

  • Steven's VW is yellow, in case you wondered.

  • "Dear Mom, Dad, Jessica, and Steven, I want you to know how sorry I am for what's happened. I know I'm to blame for everything. I don't feel right living at home now, as you can probably understand. But please don't worry about me- I'm staying with a friend, and I'm absolutely fine. I promise I'll call you as soon as I feel ready. I love you all- and again, I'm so, so sorry. Love, Elizabeth." - Liz's letter that Enid makes her write two copies of so Ned isn't left out.

  • Mrs. Rollins says that Elizabeth can stay with them as long as Liz lets her parents know where she is so they don't worry. You'll notice she doesn't do that.

  • Lila's date for the PBA dance is a guy she met at a dance class she's taking.

  • Amy plans to ask a guy out from her tennis class but that falls through.

  • Jessica calls the party line again and talks to Sara who tells her that Charlie sent his friend Brook Atkins in his place.

  • When Sara tries to warn Jessica that Charlie's really not handsome, Jessica is pretty jealous at the thought of Sara having met Charlie.

  • The real Charlie Ryan has a bumpy nose, is a little too thin, has brown eyes that are a little too close together, and comes to the PBA party dressed as a pirate.

  • The reason it takes all night for Alice to track Liz down at Enid's is because Todd's family seems to have gone out/is not answering the phone, and Elizabeth left the phone off the hook at Enid's.

  • Enid and Elizabeth stay up until 2am watching videos on the TV in Enid's room where Mrs. Rollins has set up a cot with a cozy quilt and two down pillows for Elizabeth to sleep on. They watch at least one rom-com and talk about the Todd situation.

  • Todd spends the week of his breakup with Liz alternating between being hounded by Amy, hanging out with cute sophomore Allison (who has short red hair and a great figure), and bugging Enid about his breakup.

  • For the twin switch at Secca Lake, Jessica wears blue jeans, a white cotton sweater, and does her hair in a french braid. She's less than thrilled at Elizabeth's sartorial choices, btw.

  • Jessica and Todd meet at the 4th picnic table at Secca Lake.

  • Jessica goes to the PBA party as an intergalactic princess with lots of foil in her hair and a silver cape on loan from Lila. Not gonna lie, her costume sounds awesome.

  • Amy shows up as a cheerleader and Brook is "the country club type." Oh, honey, that is not a costume.

  • Brook is meant to be Jessica's date but he and Charlie spend the night fawning over Amy.

Elizabeth stared at her twin. "You know that isn't true-" she began.
But that was the last thing to say to Jessica right then. "Quit sounding so preachy, Liz! How do you know what I know and what I don't?" - Jessica wants in on that realistic teenager action. pg 16

"Listen, you don't want to watch this junk," Todd said, switching off the video with the remote control. "Tell me what you're feeling instead." - Look, I know everyone and their sister calls Logan Bruno out for setting up unrealistic expectations, but this? Your move, Bruno. pg 11

"Hey, have you given any thought as to who we should dress up as for the party?" he asked Elizabeth. "How about Bonnie and Clyde? I could wear a fedora and try to look dangerous." - I don't know why, but Todd cracks me up each time I read this. pg 39

Todd was waiting for her outside of English class, his jacket slung over one shoulder. For just an instant Elizabeth felt butterflies in her stomach, the way she had when she and Todd first met.
"Hey," he said, leaning over and giving her a warm hug. "Remember me? I just thought I'd come charm you to death and see if I couldn't convince you to fall in love with me all over again." - These are your lead ups to Liz breaking up with Todd, btw. Sure, other stuff happens in the meantime, but this is how it begins. pg 64

"Playing the field is one thing. Going for all the players at one time is another," Jessica said hotly. - Liz, I think Jessica just called you a ho. pg 102

Maybe she shouldn't have accused her of causing the separation, she thought. It wasn't all Elizabeth's fault - like fifty or sixty percent or so. - How generous, Jessica. p110

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   WtB is actually a better book than Trouble at Home. Stuff actually happens and if you're like me and enjoy a good starting point for What If... stories, this one's got a fair amount. For instance, Jessica is forever harping on Liz being a one guy kinda gal, right? How it's dull and she should play the field like Jessica! But literally every single time she's done so thus far in the series, she out Jessicas- Jessica. Every. Single. Time. Liz and Todd break up and she spends the next week dating someone new pretty much every day. Even Jessica can't pull that off, but Liz does it like it's no big deal. Stop wishing for Liz to be more like you, Jess. You can never handle it.
  Or what about the idea of Todd/Amy? I can't actually picture it, at all, but I blame a big part of that on the fact that I can't really stand SVH!Amy so my brain tries not to think about her. Ever. Whatever the case, Amy does make a play for him off-screen.
   Mostly I enjoy Enid just being a really good friend to Liz, especially when she knows Liz is going overboard. She tries to talk Liz down from her woe is me mentality and when that doesn't work, she makes sure that she's around for when Liz needs her. Enid is good people. ♥
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.


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

 photo troubleathome_eng_zpsu3otmcxs.png

   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.


May. 1st, 2017 04:51 am
the_oracle: (amy thinks)
So I've begun work on #65, but the next book after that is Bruce's Story. Do I pick Bruce up after the trilogy of Wakefield pain or do I go in order?
the_oracle: (left of normal)
The Ghost of Tricia Martin
April 1990

Has Tricia Martin come back to Steven?
 photo 64_GhostofTricia_zpsrh79hyv0.png
Mirror image...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trivial Pursuit:

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

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

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

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

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

  • Andrea's grandfather died in a car crash.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Liz has math right before lunch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Steve's hang gliding teacher is Bart.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 photo ghostoftricia_eng_zpstlbpkejc.png

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

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

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

Surf's Up

Apr. 18th, 2017 01:05 pm
the_oracle: (geekout)
The New Elizabeth
March 1990

Elizabeth's ready for a change!
 photo 63_TheNewElizabeth_zpsfr5jcl6s.png
Surf's up...

   If one more person calls Elizabeth Wakefield responsible or predictable, she'll scream! In an effort to prove that she can be just as adventurous as Jessica, her daring identical twin, Elizabeth secretly decides to take up surfing. That will show her friends she knows how to take risks.
  But from the start, Elizabeth's new hobby causes problems. She has a sneaking suspicion that her surfing instructor is falling in love with her. And even worse, she has to lie to her steady boyfriend, Todd, in order to keep her surfing a surprise. Todd's becoming suspicious and angry- and Elizabeth is beginning to wonder if a daredevil reputation is worth the trouble after all.

   I liiiiiiiiiiiiiive! I mean, uh, hey. It's been awhile, huh? Well, let's not waste any precious time on explanations or anything and just jump right into the book, shall we? :p

   The New Elizabeth has the misfortune to come on the heels of Jessica's over the top antics in Who's Who? which also happens to be one of those books that people who didn't even read SVH back in the day seem to know about. I guess when you call yourself Magenta Galaxy people tend to take notice.
  With Jessica's antics still so fresh in anyone's memory (even if it's been decades, really), it's pretty much impossible for poor Elizabeth to live up to that. Really. So we're going to adjust the bar for her because it's not fair to expect her to Jessica it out of the park right away. I mean, she helps with almost all of Jessica's really insane plots and not once does anyone give her credit for that. Well, not in a good way, that is.
  A quick glance at the American cover of the book will tell you how Elizabeth is gonna rebel. By getting a perm and surfing her heart out. Uh...kay. Sure. You do you, Liz. To be fair, she initially wants to try hang gliding or scuba diving or climbing Mt. Everest, or even learning to fly a plane, but mountain climbing is probably not too easy to do in Sweet Valley and that plane thing nearly killed Enid. Oh, and the other two are more do-able, but only if you have Fowler or Patman finances. Or, y'know, Steven Wakefield's finances apparently, according to the end of the book? I dunno. I'm skipping ahead.
  Not wanting to spend the hundreds of bucks on equipment, not to mention lessons, Liz leaves the sporting goods shop defeated. Right up until she sees a sign offering surfing lessons down at Moon Beach for only seven bucks! Score!
  Confession time. Despite the books mentioning Moon Beach more than a couple of times, I always associate it with the TV show. Dunno why since it's made fairly clear, in this book anyway, that Moon Beach is right there in Big Mesa. This is kind of a plot point because Liz doesn't want anyone to know that she's learning to surf so they'll all be surprised when she totally kicks ass at it. Because of course she will, right? Right.

   Liz, you live in a beach town where if your friends aren't at the Dairi Burger or at the mall, they are at the beach. Why is surfing your big shocker? Sigh. I mean, wait, no, let's let the plot naturally unfold.
  So, Liz gets to the Moon Beach Surf Club and walks right in on a bet, wherein Sean Blake is betting his friends he can turn the next sucker to walk through the door into an expert surfer since it's all about how great a teacher he is. Or something. Really, the bet is mentioned a fair bit and it's kind of useless right from the start given how good Liz turns out to be at this. Anyway, Sean offers her free lessons and is up front about the bet and Liz takes him up on his offer, breaking Laurie MacNeil's heart. Laurie, for those wondering, is Sean's childhood friend who has the hots for him. The previous Saturday they went out on their first date but Laurie can tell that just one look at Liz and she's been forgotten. Sigh.
  Still, Laurie's not a complete idiot. She decides that if Liz can learn to surf than so can she. And she'll enter the big surfing competition, too! Yes, of course there's a big competition to cap off the bet. Duh. Are you new here or something? :P

   From the very first lesson, Liz proves that she's a surfing natural, even if her first attempt ends in her wiping out. Her second attempt is amazing, of course, and this basically continues for the rest of her lessons. Unlike the BSC, Liz and Sean meet Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and I'm a little confused as to why Saturday since Liz wants to keep this secret. Even with her cover of doing extra credit at the Marine Biology Center, this still seems a bit... weird. Naturally it's never the Saturday lessons that trip Todd up, proving once more that Liz knows more than I do.
  Throughout her lessons, Sean warns her about pearling and riptides, so naturally the weekend before the big competition, there's a storm that leaves the ocean pretty nasty. Liz, being Liz, is sure she can handle the waves, and of course her board flies out and conks her on the head and she's whisked away in a rid tide. Fear not because Sean saves her!
  Which is when things get super weird for Liz. See, when she meets Laurie and the gang, Laurie gives Liz the idea that Sean is off the market, but Sean spends pretty much every moment he's not warning Liz about riptides and pearling flirting with Liz. Liz figures he's just a flirt, like Jessica, and thinks nothing of it... until he gives her a silver charm shaped like a surfboard. And then she realizes oh, duh. Laurie likes Sean and Sean's clueless. Liz finally mentions Todd even though this is like, six lessons in at this point and Sean is the kind of guy who doesn't really see a boyfriend as a deterrent. So really, he's a lot like Jessica. Score another point for Liz. Anyway, after the Near Death Experience, Liz lets Sean comfort her a little more than is strictly necessary and then lets him drive her home. Which is fine, btw. What isn't fine? When Liz sees Todd's car parked at her house, she panics and has Sean drop her off at a neighbor's while babbling about her vacation home in the mountains being the split level home. Really, you guys discuss what kind of house she lives in but not her boyfriend? Weird.
   Naturally Todd sees this and decides, whelp, Liz must be cheating and he makes up a story about having to break their date and disappears for the rest of the weekend. Part of me wonders why the hell Liz didn't just have Sean drop her off at the house, but then I guess she figured Todd would mozie on her and introduce himself and then Sean would say "hey, your gf is amazing at this surfing thing. Also, I think she's hot." and the jig would be up. Still, this could easily be avoided with a quick, "hey, my boyfriend and friends don't know I've taken up surfing and I wanna surprise them at the competition. Just pretend you're my marine biology partner if Todd says anything, k?" Seriously, that would take the same amount of time as pretending you have a vacation home, Liz. Maybe less time, really. Sigh. This is why Jessica is the schemer, eh?
  Liz gets around this by inviting everyone and their hamster to her 'presentation' down at Moon Beach and everyone reacts the same way you'd expect them to, aside from Enid. Enid would normally be portrayed as psyched about this but even she's like "umm... this sounds...great, yeah..." Luckily someone mentions the surfing competition taking place right before Liz's presentation and all is right with the world.

   The day of the competition, Sean offers to let Liz use his super expensive, super important surfboard. Because, you know, he's still in love with her. Liz agrees until she overhears Laurie and a friend talking about how much Laurie likes Sean and how much winning might actually get his attention for once. Liz decides the only way for Laurie and Sean to get together is for her to refuse the board and also throw the match.
  Liz is thrilled when all her friends freak out when they hear her name announced as the next competitor and figures yep, it's enough to know that she could do something unusual and that she doesn't need to win. So at the end of her ride, she belly flops into the ocean and everyone loses their minds. I don't get why they all act like just because the end wasn't perfect the rest wasn't, but it's enough for Liz. Laurie's the next person in the water and I swear, it takes Liz pointing it out to Sean for him to notice.
  Laurie is, of course, amazing and she wins and I think I'd have preferred it had Liz not thrown the match and Laurie still beat her. But that would deprive me of one of my favorite moments in the book: Bill Chase, SVH's very own surfing god, asks why Liz sabotaged herself. Funny how Bill could tell, but Sean (who has been presented as the best surfer EVER) couldn't. I like to think that when people mention the belly flop later on in Bill's presence he corrects them.
   Liz and Todd make up and Liz decides she's had enough of surfing for awhile. Weird how they have her obsess and then drop it so fast... I mean, that's always been Jessica's trait. *cough* I kid, I kid. I like it when we see how similar the two are and also, it's not like people don't fall in and out of love with hobbies all the time.

   B-Plot time! If you weren't thrilled with Elizabeth's surfing lessons, well, fear not because we have a tale of Jessica Wakefield's revenge. Turns out that Caroline has been telling everyone about Jessica's stint as Magenta and Daniella and Jessica is pissed. When Caroline damages her parents' new car and has to pay for the repairs, Jessica decides that she will go harass Caroline at work. Since Jessica will be with someone actually spending money (Lila, usually), Caroline's boss won't say anything even as Jessica makes a mess of everything she comes across.
  Jessica's lucky that Caroline's manager is a jerk because otherwise they'd have thrown her ass out since not once has Jessica spent a dime. Anyway, Caroline can't catch a break but continues to provoke Jessica by calling her Magenta. Honestly, I don't blame her... and her revenge is the single best thing about this book, hands down.
  Jessica finally ventures to Unique Boutique on her own and Caroline greets her and is exceptionally helpful and pleasant. Jessica is confused but rolls with it, not even screeching when Caroline bustles into the changing room while Jessica's in her skivvies and gathers up all the clothes that Jessica's strewn about. All the clothes, guys. She takes Jessica's actual clothes as well. When Jessica realizes this, she overhears Caroline telling her manager that as of today (payday), she no longer needs this job and she promptly quits. The last we see of her, she's sailing out of the store still holding Jessica's clothes.
  I cackled. Legitimately cackled.

   And to set us up for the next book? Steve and Liz stop by the UB after Steve asks some questions at the Sports Shack about hang gliding. Both are shocked to meet the coworker Caroline vaguely told Liz about earlier. Why? Because it's another freakin' Tricia Martin doppelganger. The book ends with Steven breaking a date with Cara and asking Andrea (the clone) out.



  • Liz picks up: Mountain Climber Magazine, Scuba Digest, Hang Gliding Monthly, and The Serious Adventurer when trying to plan her new adventurous self.

  • She goes to the sporting goods store downtown and falls in love with, among other things, a pretty hang glider and a hot pink wet suit that costs $300. The clerk is very nice about letting Liz down gently about the prices and time commitment involved in all these activities.

  • Btw, Liz didn't even stop to think about how expensive these hobbies would be until the clerk pointed out how long it would take to learn the basics and how much stuff would be involved, not just the shiny things.

  • "Surfing Lessons. Only $7 an hour. Moon Beach Surf Club, Big Mesa. Rental Boards Available." - The sign in the window that sends Liz to her surfing destiny.

  • Moon Beach is half an hour north of Sweet Valley.

  • Sean Blake is a senior at Big Mesa high school who is a serious surfer. He's tall with a long and muscular body, longish sun-streaked blonde hair, and a dark tan. Frequently seen wearing lime-green zinc oxide that somehow brings out the green in his gold flecked green eyes, he's also cocky and self assured. His friends teasingly call him Mr. Surfing Encyclopedia. Works at the Moon Beach Surf Club.

  • Sammy and Dave are Sean's friends and co-workers. Both are juniors at Big Mesa.

  • Laurie MacNeil is a senior at Big Mesa and naturally athletic, though she never tried surfing until Liz appeared on the scene. She winds up doing most of her practicing at Crescent Beach where the Big Mesa crowd is less likely to appear. She works at the Moon Beach Ice Cream Parlor. During their junior trip, Laurie was the only person to not turn over in the rapids. Laurie is described as really pretty by Liz.

  • In sixth grade, Laurie and Sean started their own neighborhood softball league and Laurie was the star.

  • There's a cafe next to the surfing clubhouse where the Big Mesa kids hang out.

  • The Moon Beach Ice Cream Parlor is a few doors down from the surf club.

  • Other Big Mesa students: John Monroe and Phil Carter.

  • In her excitement over her new hobby, Liz forgets that she has a tennis date with Todd on Tuesday.

  • Liz's cover story is that she's doing an extra credit project down at the Marine Biology Center. Todd teases her about how safe this is.

  • Caroline Pearce has apparently taken up gossiping again as she spreads word of the story of Magenta Galaxy and Daniella Fromage. I'm 99% sure that Caroline's been gossiping again for awhile but what do I know, book?

  • Elizabeth's surf board is a purple board with a hot pink stripe, so the cover is accurate!

  • The bet: Does it take raw talent or simply determination and a great teacher to become a great surfer? Obviously Sean is on the side of determination and a great teacher. Sammy and Dave seem to lean towards talent. If Sean wins, the boys buy him a new surf board of his choice. If Sean loses, he works weekends for the next three months.

  • The bet ignores the fact that Liz seems to be naturally talented in the art of surfing.

  • Liz is about to slather on some suntan oil when Sean stops her since oil and a surfboard? Not the best combo. She protests that she doesn't want to get burned, but I always think of suntan oil as something with like an spf of 4, meant to grab the sun's rays, not keep them away.

  • Liz wipes out on her first wave because she forgets to turn left. She nearly repeats this on the second wave but Sean hollers at her to turn left.

  • Her first successful ride lasted fifteen seconds and felt like fifteen minutes.

  • Sean proceeds to hang ten when persuaded to show Liz "how it's really done."

  • Tuesday night, Caroline borrows her parents' new car, the car she's not allowed to touch, and promptly puts a new dent in the fender and scratches the side. She has to pay for all the repairs and has to get a job down at the Unique Boutique, a new shop at the mall. How she managed to get a job less than 24 hours after the mess, I'll never know as Jessica is telling Lila all this Wednesday afternoon. Guess UB was desperate.

  • Elizabeth's surfing lessons are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

  • On her second lesson, she learns to stand on the board and on her first ride of the day the board smacks her on the ass when she wipes out.

  • Her second lesson lasts two hours instead of the normal one.

  • When asked who Sean thinks is the best surfer, he names Bob Simmons without hesitation. His reasons? Simmons lost the use of his left arm but surfed on and designed the kind of boards still used. Not entirely accurate but hey, you couldn't just Google this stuff back in '90 so...

  • Liz is shocked that an original Simmons board is worth five thousand dollars. She'd lose her mind if she knew that one would later go for $18,500 at auction.

  • Sean collects rare surfboards and keeps them in his garage at home. He has an original Simmons and a heavy red board made of redwood from the 1930's.

  • After their two hour lesson, Liz goes back to Sean's house to see Sean's collection, still thinking that Sean and Laurie are a couple and that he's just flirty.

  • Todd calls Liz at 3:30, 4:30, and 5:30. Dude, chill.

  • I can't figure out if this is a continuity error or just a strangely placed bit, but in the same chapter with Liz's Thursday lesson, Jessica and Lila launch Jessica's revenge plan against Caroline. Only that was set for Friday after school. But the next chapter starts on Saturday so I'll leave it up to you to decide.

  • Sean warns Liz about pearling, rip tides, and how dangerous the ocean can be after a storm even if the weather is nice. You know where this went.

  • Sean invites Liz to Jackson's Bluff to 'check out the tides and waves' but leaves out the fact that it's a notorious makeout point for Big Mesa students.

  • Ned Wakefield's newest case involves the family of a pro surfer killed in a rip tide whose family is suing because there were no warning signs on the beach. He says this might be of special interest to Liz but Liz is still operating under the whole marine biology project thing so...

  • Jess offers Liz the use of her leopard print skirt.

  • Liz and Todd blow off the new French film downtown and go to the beach to admire the full moon. And makeout. Only Liz seems to spend a lot of time making googly eyes at the water.

  • We skip ten days after their date. In those ten dates, Liz has had three more lessons, so we basically just miss a week of her mastering the art of surfing.

  • Sean gives Liz a small silver shaped surfboard charm and Liz is delighted for a second because she hasn't gotten a new charm in awhile. She quickly realizes that Sean and Laurie aren't a couple and Laurie overhears Sean scoffing at the idea of being interested in Laurie. Sadness.

  • After Liz nearly dies, Sean drives her home but Liz panics when she sees Todd's car and has Sean drop her off at a neighbor's house. She claims that the split level home she's talked about is her family's vacation home up in the mountains.

  • Sean treats Liz to a soda at the Moon Beach Cafe after she successfully completes her first lesson after her NDE.

  • Caroline's revenge on Jessica, who has been the worst customer ever? She dotes on Jessica and when Jessica's changing clothes in the dressing room, Caroline gathers up all the merchandise in the room, including Jessica's clothes. Jessica notices too late and before she can demand Caroline return them before Jessica tells her boss, Caroline quits her job and sails out the store with Jessica's clothes and a parting shot at Magenta.

  • Bill Chase knows Elizabeth chose to wipe out, he just doesn't get why.

  • Liz tells him it was in the name of romance.

  • Liz and Todd go to Mario's for their celebratory dinner.

  • Steven read all of Elizabeth's sporty mags and decided he wanted to take up hang gliding while he's home for a month long independent study project.

  • After meeting Andrea, the Tricia doppelganger at Unique Boutique, Steve begs off a date with Cara, saying he needs to get started on his Legal Ethics research. Instead, he promptly calls Andrea at work and asks her out.

Quotable Sweet Valley:
  "Let's just say your sister has a weird way of being adventurous, Jess," Lila continued, munching on a potato chip. "I mean, some people drive race cars, climb mountains, or sail boats around the world, but Elizabeth gets her hair curled." - Lila Fowler, pg 1

  "But if you don't tell me exactly who told you that story in exactly two and a half seconds, I'm going to perform some experimental theater on your face!" - Jessica is not thrilled about Magenta's exploits being made public. Better be careful, Winston. p23

   Elizabeth felt she deserved a triple scoop with extra chocolate sprinkles, but she settled for a small cone, since she would be heading home for dinner soon. She didn't want to surprise everyone with how fat she could get! - screw you, ghosty. Also, save the fat for college, Liz. pg 35

 photo newelizabeth_eng2_zpsmoqwq6cu.png

   This is a book I think I liked more as a kid. I remember being super excited when Skipper or Barbie came out with a swimsuit that looked like the one Liz is wearing on the cover of this, so the surfing thing probably got played out a fair amount. As an adult it's... meh? It's not a bad book, it's just hard to get worked up by Liz learning to surf. I'm not sure if it would have been better if the book didn't realize that surfing was also pretty tame compared to Jessica's antics and had just played it like this was the biggest, baddest thing ever or if that would have made things worse.
  Mostly the book feels like filler between two more interesting sounding books: #62 where Jessica loses her damn mind and #64 where Steven falls for yet another Tricia lookalike. Kid!me ate up all the Tricia drama like you would not believe.
   One of the things I really did enjoy was how Laurie didn't instantly dislike Elizabeth simply because Sean was interested in her. Instead of blaming Liz and being exceptionally catty, Laurie is friendly towards Liz when their paths cross and doubles down on her own strategy for getting the guy. Too bad we'll never see them again so my interest taps out there. Seriously though, it's nice when the Valley doesn't pit innocent people against one another.
  Unrelated, but Liz mentions how disappointed she is that Caroline's back to gossiping but I swear this isn't a new thing. Hadn't she fallen off the gossip wagon by the time Regina died at the very least? And that was 20 books ago!
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Who's Who?
February 1990

Will the real Jessica please stand up?
 photo 62_WhosWho_zpsfqh8a0wc.png
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.

"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 [ 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)
Oh, look. An update. Must be the end of the world.

Or else it's the first twelve books in the SVH series being released in e-book format. You decide.

All twelve will drop November 27, 2012 and these are the updated 'covers'. I'm unsure how I feel about them, but I'll be honest and say if they were re-releasing them in actual tangible form? I'd buy the hell out of them. My shame, I have none.

01. Double Love @ Amazon and Barnes & Noble, both for $2.99

02. Secrets @ Amazon and BN (behold the scratches scanned in!)

03. Playing With Fire @ Amazon and BN

04. Power Play @ Amazon and BN

05. All Night Long @ Amazon and BN

06. Dangerous Love @ Amazon and BN

07. Dear Sister @ Amazon and BN (am I the only one sad they covered Lizbeth's picture?)

08. Heartbreaker @ Amazon and BN

09. Racing Hearts @ Amazon and BN

10. Wrong Kind Of Girl @ Amazon and BN

11. Too Good To Be True @ Amazon and BN (my eyes are bleeding!)

12. When Love Dies @ Amazon and BN

Bonus, Amazon has a super zoom for those who are seriously into their SV artwork. *coughmecough*
the_oracle: (gasp!)
FP & Cara Lockwood

  Two things you need to know, spoiler-lite version:
1. There are still no lesbians allowed in the Valley.
2. Son. Of. A. Bitch! We end on a cliffhanger. Yeah.

What the ever loving hell? )

Spoilers contained within this post. As in how this all ends. Also, the Todd punch to end all Todd punches.
the_oracle: (better than you)
Cutting the Ties
FP & Cara Lockwood

  I'm not sure a single tie here is cut, just so you know.

Can you spoil a book where nothing happens? )

Soo... on the plus side, this installment didn't make my head explode too often. On the downside, it didn't really make me want to read the final 'book' either. So there's that.
the_oracle: (amy thinks)
Secrets & Seductions
The Sweet Life #4
FP & Cara Lockwood

Spoilers ahoy, matey! )

   Basically, this installment is for you if you want Bruce to instruct you to, "look what you did to me" in a sexual way OR if you wondered what screwing Todd Wilkins would be like.

  So... there's that?
the_oracle: (plotting)
Too Many Doubts
Francine Pascal and Cara Lockwood (yes. I finally looked 'er up.)

   Soooooo... this is going to be awkward. I apologize in advance if I venture into jackass territory, but this installment is... you have to read it to believe it?

Spoilers ahoy! )

  I need to stop dancing around this because I haven't even gotten to the actual recap here, have I? Oi.

Now with more actual recap! )

If you need me, I'll be slamming my head into the nearest wall since I'm fresh out of scotch.
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
After months of waiting, let The Sweet Life begin!

review! Spoilers ahead! )

Oh... honey, no. Just no! )

No cuts! Never forget a day that might live in infamy!

I'll see you all on the other side. Godspeed, my friends.

eta: Thoughts/mini reviews of both have been added.
the_oracle: (gasp!)
Where was I when this memo was sent out? Did you all know that The Sweet Life was pushed back to my birthday (July!) and was now going to be weekly? o_O How did I miss this? This is important information!

The Sweet Life #1 7/10
Can you still call them covers? )

Soooooo. Why'd you neglect to tell me, internet?


May. 9th, 2012 07:21 am
the_oracle: (left of normal)
Today's random SVH mention that I didn't see coming?

Chapter 33 of Letters to Kurt contains this:

Sweet Valley Highjacked, where most girls are Elizabeths who want to be Jessicas.
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)
Boy Trouble
January 1990

Patty's life is falling apart.
Can Elizabeth help?

  Boy Trouble, or, the book that took forever to recap because life got in the way! Yeah, we'll go with Boy Trouble. Less tricky to pronounce. :p
   Don't let the cover fool you; Elizabeth Wakefield is barely a supporting character in this tale. Jessica, on the other hand, is our comedic b-story, but that would take away from the pain and anguish poor Patty is emoting on the cover. Or something.
  Patty Gilbert's thrilled. Her boyfriend, Jim Hollis, is finally coming for a visit after three long weeks of studying up at Pacific College, where he's a freshman. Unfortunately for her, her older sister, Jana, chooses that same weekend to descend upon the family with a big surprise. Since Patty hasn't seen her sister in six months, she tries to call Jim to see if he can visit the following weekend instead. Only Jim isn't answering his phone. Ever. Patty's a little worried by this, but tries to tell herself it's perfectly natural for someone not to answer their phone at midnight on a Thursday. Given the number of drunk people who race across the road every Thursday on my way to work, I'll say nothing further about the subject.

   Jim arrives in the Valley and for one moment everything is perfect. They kiss and talk cute and both are just so happy to see one another that this couldn't possibly explode in their faces, right? Riiiiiight.
  When Patty drops the news about Jana, Jim does what every thoughtful and considerate boyfriend would do. He gracefully bows out of the weekend's plans and decides to spend quality time with his family, or perhaps just chill at the beach with any of his remaining SV friends. No? Okay, then he points out that since he and Patty have been dating for two years, obviously the Gilberts wouldn't mind him joining in on the family activities once Patty knows what they are. No?

  Instead, Jim reacts as if Patty has just run over his foot and told him to walk it off. "But I drove two hours after cramming for a calculus test!" and other such facts are thrown about. Dude. Go take a nap or something. Instead he lays into his girlfriend for wanting to spend time with her sister. Nice, Hollis. Real nice. In return, Patty jumps to the most obvious conclusion: he's picking a fight with her because he's cheating and wants to get back to PC so he can score with girls who are not his girlfriend. You bastard!
   Yeah. Jim doesn't see that one coming and the two end up breaking up then and there. Awkward. On the drive home, Patty debates turning around and admitting that she obviously took twice the legal limit of crazy this morning and perhaps they should discuss things like the adults they so obviously fancy themselves to be. Instead she decides to let them cool off and resume the fight at a later time. Besides, Jana's home and ohmygosh, this couldn't possibly go wrong in any way, right?!
  Why do you keep jinxing yourself, woman?

   Jana's home alright. And she's brought Ted with her. Ted? Ted. Ted is Jana's fiancé . Surprise!
  Patty reacts the way most of us would. "Wait, last I heard you weren't even dating anyone. Are you knocked up?" Well, fine, she doesn't say that last part, but the first part is definitely thought. Then Patty pastes a smile on her face and tries to summon up some happy for her sister because marriage is a big deal.
  But wait, there's more! Jana's getting married in two weeks! Surprise!
  And then she and Ted are moving to West Germany! Trifecta of surprises!

   Patty is a bit stunned by this, and I don't blame her. On a good day, this would be enough to put me in a bit of a funk because you're losing your sister (that's how it'll feel, anyway) and having to plan a wedding in an extraordinarily short time. But remember, Patty isn't having a good day. Her day sucks because she and her longtime boyfriend just broke up... and now she'll be hearing nothing but wedding talk. Congratulations, Patty, I think this qualifies as a level of hell. Enjoy your stay.
  Sadly, Patty doesn't use her one drama queen for a day card at the start of this whole mess, by bursting into tears and having someone say, it's not that bad, we'll still talk on the phone and then she could blurt out the whole Jim situation and bam! Crises averted. But no, that would make the book too short, so instead she reacts as a mature adult and represses her true feelings, figuring that she'll have time to talk to Jana later.

  B-story time! Jessica Wakefield is tired of the same old boys, the same old scene, the same old thing. She's tired of the beach (yawn, another beach cookout for another former boy toy's birthday), she's tired of the boring boys who go to boring old Sweet Valley High... so she winds up at a Crafts Fair at the mall, looking for something, or someone, different. Instead she finds a bunch of old hippies and she is not impressed. Shopping wise though, things have gone well. She runs into DeeDee Gordon who begs her to watch over her t-shirt booth while DeeDee runs to get lunch and something to drink. Jessica reluctantly agrees, since she's not in a massive hurry to admit defeat and head over to the beach party.
   While manning DeeDee's booth, Jessica makes eye contact with a seriously handsome twenty-something guy. He makes his way over to 'her' booth and the two flirt up a storm. Well, at least Jessica thinks they're flirting. Vincent seems to be interested in DeeDee's shirts, but naturally assumes Jessica's the artist he wants. Jessica doesn't correct him, figuring he won't care one way or another since she's Jessica Wakefield and once he's had a chance to date her, who'd even remember some painted t-shirts at a crafts fair?
  Vincent promises to call her and Jessica is sure he will. And he does. Eventually. He says he wants Jessica to meet his partner, Cassie, and they can hammer out the details concerning selling her shirts in their store. Jessica figures they're painted shirts, how hard can it be?
   Based on the shocked reactions that greet her (and her own frank admission that they're awful), pretty hard. Turns out Vincent really did want the shirts and not a date with Jessica (shocker!) and while Cassie does try to let Jessica down easy, Vincent wants the name of the real artist. He then calls DeeDee who is over the moon at having her artwork recognized as good enough to sell. Aww, DeeDee. If only I cared more about you, I'd be touched.

  Back to Patty's predicament. DeeDee decides that Patty should get out of the house and invites her to the movies with Bill and Bill's friend Craig. Patty reluctantly agrees and I have to admit that Craig is actually amusing and I wish he'd pop up again. Who knew that was possible? Anyway, they all head to the movies and of course it's a love story (DeeDee, we need to talk about your friendship status...) and by the end of the film, Patty has decided she can work things out with Jim. Unfortunately, the lights go up and Patty sees Jim... with another girl.
   Also? Jim totally sees Craig with his arm around Patty. Not good. When Jim calls to explain that the girl he was with is his cousin (in town for the crafts fair), Patty blows up and tells him to go fuck himself. Nice, Gilbert.
  Depressed, Patty isn't exactly in the mood for her interview with Elizabeth. Liz is starting this new column called Personal Profiles, which is a spotlight on a senior at SVH. Patty is their first star. I do have to take a minute to bitch that Liz and her friends act like it's going to be super hard to do PP and Eyes & Ears at the same time. Really? I ain't buying that from Serious Reporter Elizabeth Wakefield, so stop it right now.
   Anyway, Liz invites Patty over to talk, off the record, and points out that she's a good listener, even though thus far she hasn't exactly proven that to be true this book. Whatever, Patty goes and the two discuss Jim, Jana, and how Patty wouldn't be able to limit herself to an hour a weekend by the pool. I'm with you, Patty.
  Liz convinces Patty that it's possible Jim's 'date' was simply a friend, like Craig was just a friend of Bill's and not an actual movie date. Patty agrees and drives by his house after leaving Elizabeth's. But there he is, playing Frisbee on the front lawn with his cousin. How dare he?! Patty speeds by and is most upset.
   Eventually Patty tells Jana that maybe if she spent a little less time stressing about a wedding she chose to orchestrate in less than two weeks and a little more time on the fact that Patty is clearly unhappy, maybe she wouldn't a colossal bitch of a sister. Jana fires back that Patty's been this incredibly awful sister for not being thrilled to help plan things in minute detail. The two are not speaking to one another at all by the weekend before the wedding. Oops.

  The deep freeze continues until Jana makes a scheduling mistake and needs Patty to drive her to the bridal shop for her dress fitting. Patty agrees to drive her, but when they arrive at the store, Jana then wants Patty to come in with her. Again, Patty agrees, but makes Jana promise to be quick. Yeah, that's not gonna happen, Patty.
   Doesn't matter because this is a set-up so that Patty will take one look at Jana in her wedding dress and start to thaw. Patty realizes that she should be there for Jana at her wedding and they've got such a short time left that they shouldn't be fighting... assuming Jana apologizes first. And she does. Aww, the two make-up and go home to really discuss the break-up between Jim and Patty. By now Patty knows the girl was Jim's cousin (Jessica bought some earrings from her, Liz admired the earrings and found out the true identity of the mystery girl, and quickly headed over to Patty's house to deliver the news.) but he won't answer any of her calls, so obviously he's avoiding her even though this is well before caller ID. SIGH. But Patty did write this really heartfelt letter she's been too chicken to send. Jana gets an idea...
  Turns out Jim is on some special class trip for his geology course and is in the mountains without any contact with the outside world really. Jana sends Patty's letter to him and includes a note of her own, asking him to call her when he gets the letter. He does and a Plan is made.

  Wedding day! Everyone is all teary and happy and blah, blah, blah. While walking down the aisle, Patty spies her boyfriend (ex?) standing at the end of the second row of pews in the church. Jim! He kisses her on the cheek and later, at the reception we find out that Ted, who'd previously disappeared from his own wedding rehearsal dinner, prompting Patty to wonder about him, drove out to pick Jim up so he could surprise Patty at the wedding. The two make up and not a word is said about Jim's insane blow-up that prompted this whole mess.

  The book ends with Jessica bemoaning the lack of interesting guys in SV. Next up?
What kind of scheme does Jessica have planned to meet the boy of her dreams? Find out in Sweet Valley High #62, Who's Who?


  • Liz has a new column: Personal Profiles. It centers on one senior and details their plans for the future as well as highlighting some of their memorable experiences at SVH.

  • Patty Gilbert is the first person up to be interviewed for PP. She's got dark, almond eyes and long black hair.

  • Jessica's best friends are apparently Lila and Amy with no mention of Cara whatsoever. Sad face.

  • There's a Crafts Fair at the Mall over the weekend. One of DeeDee's friends from her design class at the Civics Center was supposed to help her run her booth, but they came down with the flu.

  • DeeDee brings 20 shirts to the Crafts Fair.

  • The Crafts Fair starts at noon, but all the vendors must arrive an hour earlier to set up. Poor DeeDee has one of the outside booths in the mall parking lot.

  • Jim Hollis is Patty's boyfriend. He's a freshman at Pacific College.

  • Pacific College is two hours north of SV.

  • Most of Patty's plans for Jim's visit seem to include food, including a picnic at the beach and a romantic dinner.

  • Jim has a calculus test Friday.

  • Much is made about the fact that Jim hasn't been home in three weeks and hasn't been calling as much. Bad form, Hollis.

  • Also bad form? Liz says, "I thought you two got together every weekend" mere minutes after DeeDee told her this hadn't been true for the past three weeks. Liz, learn to listen!

  • Patty is supposed to visit Liz at home 7pm Sunday evening for her PP interview.

  • Patty writes this info on her notebook cover as a reminder and I immediately suffer flashbacks to middle and high school.

  • Patty takes the bus to dance class at the Modern Dance Academy. The bus stop, at the corner of Ocean Avenue and Ridgeview, is three blocks from her home.

  • Mrs. Gilbert drives a Buick and works at a computer consulting firm.

  • Jana Gilbert, 21, is Patty's older sister. She lives in San Francisco, where she has a job at Bay Area Environmental Coalition, a non profit environmental organization, and drives a blue VW. She hasn't been home in six months.

  • There's a palm tree outside Patty's bedroom window.

  • Patty plans to follow Jim to Pacific College, where she'll study liberal arts and major in dance.

  • When Jim gets back to town, he calls Patty and DeeDee's house.

  • Jim's house on Orchard Road is a stucco ranch design.

  • Orchard Road seems to intersect Ocean Avenue. For those of you making a map at home, that is.

  • Jim gets inexplicably angry when Patty tells him that Jana is in town and that their couple weekend is going to be massively downgraded. While I can understand why he'd be upset at the plans changing, given the fact that Jana seems to seriously think Patty/Jim are one day going to get married themselves, it makes no sense to not invite him along for part of the surprise weekend. In any case, dude goes OFF and it's never explained why he's so pissed off.

  • Patty accuses Jim of cheating.

  • Ted Brewster is Jana's fiancé . He's a tall, broad shouldered, handsome black man who drives a sports car and is in the Air Force. He's originally from Philadelphia, where his mother, Martha, is a second grade teacher and his father is the principal of an elementary school. He's an only child. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and in three weeks he will be transfered to an Air Force base in West Germany.

  • That's right, Jana and Ted have two weeks to plan their wedding. Surprise!

  • Mr. Gilbert courted his bride-to-be by visiting her every Sunday for two years, sitting in the parlor room with her parents as chaperons. Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert say it was decidedly not love at first sight.

  • The wedding reception will be held at the Gilbert's home and Jana wants Reverend Jacobsen to officiate.

  • Jana's wedding dress is coming from Elaine's Bridals.

  • Bill is out surfing with a friend of his, Craig McCaffrey.

  • Alert the media: Jessica Wakefield is bored with the beach scene. Not even a cookout on the beach in honor of Aaron's birthday can cheer her up.

  • DeeDee informs a customer that all of her t-shirts are large because people like to wear them big. Customer agrees and shells out money that even Jess finds a little pricey.

  • By 1pm, DeeDee has sold six shirts already. Her system for keeping track of the shirts is fairly simple. Each shirt is priced and marked with a number so that when one is sold, DeeDee writes it down in a book to keep track of which styles went first. By the end of the day she's sold 19 shirts.

  • Vincent Deleno, 20, is the co-owner of Blue Parrot Crafts. He's got longish black hair, sexy brown eyes, and is rugged and romantic. When Jessica first sees him, she thinks he's an Italian director or maybe a famous artist.

  • Blue Parrots Crafts sells handmade pottery and glass, as well as unique women's clothing and accessories.

  • Normally, Patty eats 2-3 slices of pizza from Guido's.

  • Patty's studied all kinds of dance, including ballet, but says she prefers modern and jazz.

  • After the disaster at the movie theatre, where Jim thought Patty was dating Craig and Patty thought Jim was dating his cousin, Jim calls to explain his side but Patty goes off on him, hanging up before he can say much of anything at all.

  • Patty's usual Sunday breakfast includes bacon, eggs, and cinnamon coffee cake.

  • The phone in Patty's room is beige. Ah, memories.

  • Liz loves fresh pineapple and tries to allot herself at least one hour by the pool every Sunday.

  • Patty's bridesmaid dress is from Bibi's. It's cornflower blue with tiny white flowers, a scooped neckline, and little puff sleeves.

  • Alice Wakefield usually works til 6pm.

  • The Wakefield's kitchen phone cord reaches all the way to the dining room.

  • Mr. Gilbert is left in charge of the wine and champagne at the reception.

  • Aunt Marlene is throwing Jana a bridal shower, and cousin Tracy (a junior at SVH) is tapped to be Jana's maid of honor when Patty and Jana blow up at one another. Tracy doesn't mind stepping down when the sisters make up.

  • Jim Daley asks Jessica out for Friday night and she turns him down.

  • DeeDee buys her fabric paint at Ferriter's Design Supply on Main Street.

  • Patty doesn't have dance class on Wednesdays.

  • Jana's problems: The caterers need the menu and a headcount by the day after tomorrow, the florist can't get gerber daisies for the centerpieces, and she has to hire an organist to play during the ceremony because one is not included in the church. *

  • Jess ditches cheerleading practice to meet with Vincent and Cassie at Blue Parrot. Robin runs practice.

  • After the disastrous meeting, Vincent calls DeeDee and offers her the same opportunity he offered Jessica when he thought she was the artist. DeeDee flips out at her designs being sold in a real store.

  • Jana seems to consider DeeDee a part of their extended family and this gives me warm fuzzies.

  • When Jana makes up her mind to do something, she does it. Case in point, getting Jim and Patty back together.

  • Jim went to the mountains for two weeks for a geology course. His mother suggests sending a letter care of general delivery at the local Post Office.

  • Ted's family makes it to SV Thursday and the Gilberts invite them over to dinner. This is the first time they've met Jana. The Brewsters are hosting the rehearsal dinner at the Valley Inn, which Liz remembers as the last place Jeffrey took her when they were dating. *sniffle*

  • Ted's best man is Marshall Borden, an Air Force buddy.

  • Patty and Jim's two year anniversary was a "a few months ago" at the Valley Inn.

  • Ted disappears after Marshall's toast and only Patty seems to notice or care.

  • Jana is set to walk down the aisle at 11:30AM, but they're still home at 11AM.

  • Jana feels like getting married is that magical step that will turn her into a grown-up.

  • Patty's Maid of Honor gift is a gold chain with a pearl pendant.

  • The florists forgot to bring the men's boutonnières.

  • Patty doesn't get nervous when she dances in front of an audience, but she is nervous to walk down the aisle during her sister's wedding. Oddly enough, I of the terrible stage fright (and complete fear of public speaking), had no problem heading down the aisle at my friend's wedding.

  • While walking down the aisle, Patty sees a tall, handsome young man in a gray suit, standing at the end of the second row of pews. Jim! Just before she stands at the front of the church to await Jana's entrance, Jim kisses Patty on the cheek. I may have aww'd at this moment.

  • Patty's whole family was in on the plot to reunite Jim and Patty. Aww and again I say they'd have been fine with Jim taking part of some of the weekend fun when Jana first arrived!

  • When DeeDee asked Jessica about Vincent's offer, Jessica pretended she'd simply forgotten the conversation, not that she'd tried to swoop in and date Vincent.

   One thing was for sure: They needed this weekend together if their romance was going to survive. - Three weeks, guys. That's all I'm sayin'. p7

  "I'll never forget the first time I saw him. He was wearing his uniform, and he looked like something out of a movie. An Officer and a Gentlemen, you know?"
  Patty nodded. She didn't think he was that handsome, but there was no need to upset Jana. - Because upsetting her will come later. p33/34

   "This way I'll be standing at the altar to prompt you. I could even hold cue cards if you want."
  Jana giggled and rolled her eyes. "I think I can manage 'I do.'" - Patty/Jana, p35

Jessica hated keeping secrets, and for the past week had been dying to announce her latest caper. - p122

  "You must be starving after that brutal cheerleading practice," Elizabeth joked, rummaging in her book bag for the keys. - Geez, Liz, don't be such a cheer-hater. Given the comments characters have made over the series, I'd say Jess probably is hungry after working her ass off for the last hour or so. Shove it, middle Wakefield. p135

   "Dad, I'm so nervous," Patty whispered as they stood in the back of the church, listening to the organist's prelude.
   "Me, too," Mr. Gilbert admitted, smoothing the lapels of his morning coat. "I've never been the father of the bride before." p 143

Fashion File:
  Jessica emerged from her bedroom. She frowned down at Elizabeth, who was wearing shorts and an oversize t-shirt over her new powder blue bathing suit. - p41

   She wove her way among the lunch tables, her mint-green jersey miniskirt swinging against her slim, tanned legs. - Jessica always dresses to kill? p91

  Five minutes later she reemerged into the now empty hallway. Instead of the bright blue tank top and stone-washed miniskirt she had worn to school, Jessica had changed into a boxy, wheat-colored linen jacket and matching knee-length skirt that she had smuggled out of Elizabeth's closet that morning. The jacket sleeves could be rolled up slightly, and with a lacy camisole, her new earrings, and her hair loose, Jessica thought she looked artsy, sophisticated... and entirely irresistible. - p123

* Jana, we need to talk. These aren't problems enough to push you over the edge. Having to guard the wedding cake because you don't want the bride's little sister to destroy it after she feels ignored all day while trying not to make the bride feel like she's being ignored? Yeah. That's a problem. Yours are just part of the whole "getting married in two weeks, yay!" thing.

(on the right, hardback)

   Sooo... this took forever. 2011 sucked. My computer died a couple of weeks ago which wiped out my review of this as well as my picture folders (noooooooooo) and... yeah. Mostly 2011 sucked and this year wasn't really off to a great start either. :/

  That aside, Boy Trouble isn't actually a bad book. I like the way it's written, and I'll try not to hold the miscommunication against anyone for long because there's no point in it. Patty's justifiably upset at the people in her life, but she's not overly obnoxious about it. She's able to be happy for DeeDee when things are going well in her life while Patty's still broken up over Jim and Jana's non-stop wedding chatter. She realizes she should be happy for Jana and does try, though apparently it's easy to see through her although NO ONE asks her about it at home. That's a little odd, truthfully.
  Jessica's B-story is fun and isn't drawn out too long, either. She gets called out on her scheme but still manages to avoid outright humiliation, and it serves as a nice set-up for the next book.
  Overall, it's one of the better written books and is fairly believable at times, plus I love the way Jana and Patty tease one another. Also? Craig is love.
the_oracle: (twins shattered)
  So... last week my computer died. I'm not even sure a professional could wrestle the contents of it away from it's rapidly decomposing corpse, though I may see about it in the future. I wasn't caught completely off-guard, but enough so that basically the only thing that made it to the lifeboats were my digital camera pictures. I didn't worry too much because I thought I'd backed up my Sweet Valley folder a few times already on various discs.

  Apparently I thought wrong. So all the book covers I'd acquired over the years? Gone. Poof! The snark that would not snark properly I was actually about halfway through and would've posted by now? Also gone, poof! Ditto the old ones and the various things I'd tinkered with, just waiting for the right time to make use of them (like the mini books that came with the dolls)... all gone, unless there's some miracle disc waiting in my room. Thing is, I'm not counting on that.

  We're currently up to #61, Boy Trouble. I don't really recall there being that many variations of it outside the hardback/original cover (y'know, I don't recall seeing a revised version of this one either. Hmm), but if you're wanting to share anything, I would quite happily accept. This goes for anything beyond this book as well.

Until then, I'm going to have to re-find the notebook o' trivia and begin from the beginning once more. Oh, the humanity of it all! :P

On the plus side, I'm not dead.

No, seriously. That's a plus side for someone, right?
the_oracle: (gasp!)
Deadly Summer
July 1989



  Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are working as summer interns at The Sweet Valley News when they hear that a patient has escaped from a nearby psychiatric hospital. Assigned to research the man's past for an article, the twins discover that Donald Redman was once a student at Sweet Valley High.
   They learn that his fellow students tormented him and that after a disturbing incident involving one of those students, Redman was expelled. He vowed to get revenge for his humiliation.
  Now a fugitive, Redman sees Elizabeth and mistakes her for the popular, beautiful girl who hurt him most all those years ago. When their paths cross in the deserted high school stadium, he knows he finally has his chance to get even! Can he be stopped before it's too late?

   Somehow during my travels I missed 'capping this one. I suspect it's because my copy of Lost at Sea doesn't tell me to go and read it despite it being the next book in the series. Feh. Also, I think I read it at the right time and just... never worked my magic for some reason. *muse* Anyway, we slide back in time a little bit and head back to the newsroom once more for Deadly Summer.

  The book kicks off with the summer of the Newsroom coming to a close. Lila's jetted off to London with her father (GEORGE, Francine. GEORGE.) and returned, Lizbeth and Enid are doing their reverse snobbery towards Lila and Jessica, and, oh yes, this is before Toddles came back, so Liz and Jeffrey are still together. Except he's still at camp and sending her letters, but still. They are together.
   So, when Lila returns from London, she brings with her a Ouija board because they're "all the rage" in London, dontcha know. Personally, I love that Lila and Jessica sort of believe in this stuff enough to give it a whirl, while Liz is too much of a stick in the mud to even give it the benefit of the doubt. In fact, Liz is openly surprised that Lila, someone she considers a bit above it all, would waste her time. She makes a comment to that effect (only I believe the words "smarter than that", that being Jessica, btw, were used) and Lila gets pissed right the hell off. She stalks off and everyone else makes that same uncomfortable "" face that you do when one of your group completely loses their damn mind. Good, good times. Doesn't matter. Liz and Enid discuss Jeffrey's latest letter, debating what this "surprise" he's hinting about could possibly be. (Any and all who haven't read the book and still guess "He's coming back early!" you may move to the head of the line for your prize. It's a little pin that says, "I'm smarter than the smart twin.")
  Lila returns, sits for a couple of minutes, and then decides she's done with this popstand. So she grabs Jessica, who is spending the night, and they make their dramatic exit. (Jessica, for some reason, keeps saying y'all. Was this a thing back then or is our ghosty a newbie?) All the way home, Lila is huffing and puffing about how upset she is and how she doesn't want to talk about it, which of course means she waits three seconds for Jessica to ask, and then she unloads. How dare that holier than thou Elizabeth Wakefield dare call her stupid in front of all their friends? Why's she always got a stick rammed up her ass, and why does she feel the need to assume that her point of view is the only valid one in the entire godforsaken series? For crying out loud, doesn't it just get on your last damn nerve, Jessica?
   Jessica, true to form, isn't exactly listening. She's debating the merits of painting her nails one vibrant, summery shade, or painting each nail a different hue. (Mine are currently sporting the latter look, but it was an Easter/trial and error thing.) Eventually she checks back into the conversation because she can tell that Lila is plotting something fun. And boy, is she. She decides that she and Jessica need to teach Elizabeth a lesson. They're going to make Elizabeth go from non-believer to psychic adviser junkie in no time flat. And the best way to do that is, of course, trickery. It's very simple. They'll have the Ouija board make a prediction so completely out of left field that Elizabeth will naturally be skeptical. And then it will come true!
  That's great and all, Fowler, but how exactly do you propose they do that?
   Simple. Lila knows for a fact that the big end of the summer concert that's scheduled for that weekend is being postponed. The board will tell them this, Liz will scoff, it'll be true, and Liz will be hooked. An adorable moment of Jess being ticked that Lila knew this for 24 hours and didn't tell her already passes, and then Jessica decides that nothing is better than a Lila scheme, so she's in.

  The next night, the trap is set. Lila points out that Elizabeth should be open enough to try something before she completely writes it off, and Elizabeth reluctantly agrees. The book is worth the price of admission alone for the scenes where Jessica and Lila ham it up with the spirits. Elizabeth leaves when it becomes clear that of course this is all bunk. Obviously Lila or Jessica is pushing the planchette and really, the concert postponed? Yeah, right.

   Only the next day at work, Liz finds out that due to a union issue, the concert really has been pushed back. SHOCK. Amazement! And then her journal, which has gone missing, is found above the fridge, just like the board said! And Jessica, that paragon of virtue, swears that she didn't steal the journal and place it there, God, Lizzie, what kind of monster do you take her for?!

  But really, I think we all know that this is simply the b-story. Our A game, if you will, centers around something far more Sweet Valley-ish. During a particularly slow news day (remember, this is before the internet) everyone is kind of waiting around for something good to come down the pike. Only it's not happening. Not happening...
   BAM. Escaped patient from a mental hospital! Everyone perks right up because well, it's hard to beat an escaped mental patient on a slow news day, k? Turns out that Donald Redman has ties to Sweet Valley. He went to SVH until he was expelled for unknown reasons in his senior year. Elizabeth finds that he was obsessed with a particularly bitchy blond and that something happened between the two of them, probably leading to his expulsion. Also, for those playing along at home, he was arrested numerous times during his senior year for a variety of things. You can see the little thought bubbles above everyone's head. "Nuuuuuutjob."
  It's a gift from the newspaper gods!

  So naturally Liz goes to a babysitting gig after work. For someone we've never met before, but apparently this is a standing, steady gig. While sitting, Liz gets a lot of hangup phone calls and she's a little unnerved by it. Maybe the universe is trying to tell her something, just like the Ouija board said! Or maybe, Liz, your new boss has a secret.

  Or, you know, maybe it was Lila making prank calls as part of her plot to turn Elizabeth into a believer. Whatever. See, Lila's thought of the perfect end to this little charade. She's going to have the board reluctantly tell Elizabeth (and Jessica and Lila) that Bruce Patman, who is currently being his jerkoff self, has a terminal disease that he hasn't told anyone about. Lila wants to see if Elizabeth can overcome her dislike of Bruce simply because a Ouija board said so.
   The kicker? Elizabeth totally buys this. So every time they run into Bruce, Liz turns on the sympathetic charm and Bruce, never one to turn down the harder to get Wakefield, doesn't exactly run away.

  Meanwhile, Donald Redman, who is a bit of a bomb enthusiast, starts leaving little presents around town. He leaves a bomb at the movie theatre while Jessica and Lila are playing hooky (well, Jessica is). But it's not a real bomb. He leaves one at the Be True To Your School event SVH has at their football stadium. And he possibly left one at the airport, too. The city is working itself into a panic and really, I'm still more interested in Lila's scheme. How is this possible? There are bombs being left around Sweet Valley, self! Get with the program!

  Jessica isn't happy about the way Bruce keeps looking at her sister, so she tells Bruce that Liz isn't interested, she just thinks he's dying of some terminal disease. She figures that since Elizabeth's interest isn't in Bruce himself, but in being such a good person that she can overcome what a terrible person Bruce is, Bruce will exit stage left. Instead Bruce decides to kick it up a notch. He calls Elizabeth when she's working, he wants to come over and visit while she's sitting, and she never once questions the fact that Bruce went from being, y'know, Bruce Fucking Patman to acting all "siiiiiiiigh. You know how it is" without ever actually talking about his mysterious illness at all. Never! She's just so fixated on being such a speshul snowflake that she doesn't ask him anything at all, like why the sudden change in 'tude? Cuz as far as he knows (if he were, in fact, sick) she knows NOTHING about it. So... what the hell?
   Anyway. Bruce shows up at the sitting job, Liz chases him away, and some weird guy shows up looking for Elsa, the mother of the kid Liz is babysitting. Liz offers to take a message but does not let the guy into the house because she's not that dumb. (Kristy would approve. I think.) She's a bit perplexed as to why he seemed a bit familiar, but really. This is Sweet Valley. Everyone seems familiar.

  Remember how we all knew Jeffrey's surprise involved him coming back early? Yeah. He shows up just in time to catch Liz telling Bruce how amazing he is. No. Really. I'm not kidding. Bruce is visiting and playing the sick card and Liz is just lapping it up, so it's a little on the awkward side when Jeffrey interrupts them. That said, it's adorable the way Liz just leaves Bruce hanging to run over and hug Jeffrey to welcome him back. Unfortunately the homecoming is marred by the whole Bruce won't get lost thing. Sooooooo... all three go to the Be True To Your School Thing. Where Bruce and Jeffrey fight over Liz and Liz gets tired of this bullshit, stalks off to get a drink, and the whole bomb threat thing happens.
   Elizabeth is now juggling her love for Jeffrey, her need to keep Bruce's secret (not that Bruce has even flat out confirmed things), and oh yeah, that nutty bomber running around. Good, good times. While at work, Liz realizes that Elsa's college friend is quite possibly Donald Redman. You darken the hair, add some stubble, throw on some glasses that really do the trick for Liz (if you're into that sort of thing) and voila! Same guy. But Elizabeth doesn't want to get this poor guy lynched if she's wrong, so she calls Elsa and asks about the guy. Elsa acts totally weird about it but Liz doesn't pick up on this, probably because she's still stuck on the whole tragic Bruce thing. I don't know.

  Elsa, it turns out, is Donald Redman's sister. She doesn't want to turn her brother in, even if he did try and kill their parents back in the day, because he's the only family she has left now. Thing is, he's acting strange. He keeps asking about Melanie, and Elsa realizes his grasp on reality isn't nearly as strong as it should be. Really, Elsa? The fact that he's leaving bombs around town didn't give you a tip off FIRST? Good grief. There's being blind to the truth and then there's just willfully being a dumbass.
   Whatever. So. Where were we? Oh. Yeah. You know who we haven't heard from in awhile? Lila. See, Lila schemes pretty well and she includes backup plans in case certain Wakefields whose names begin with J start to back out of their little agreement. When Jessica wants Lila to pull back and drop the whole thing, Lila points out that Jessica repeatedly lie, stole, and withheld information from Elizabeth, all in an effort to trick her. Really, how is that going to look to the middle Wakefield? Exactly.
  But why, oh why, is Lila so hellbent on this going down the way she wants? Oh. Yeah. About that. See, Lila figured that when Elizabeth got wind of Bruce being sick, she would run to him and attempt to ease his suffering. Bruce has never made any secret about the fact that he's got a thing for the more prudish twin, so Li figured that they would spark like crazy. And even if they didn't, they'd be close enough that when Jeffrey got home, he'd be so put off by the betrayal that he'd fall right into Lila's arms.
  Yeah. Lila's scheming for Jeffrey. AGAIN. What the hell, ghosties? Doesn't Lila deserve someone new to fawn over? I'd start a drinking game for this section of the SVH series, only it wouldn't exactly be fair to anyone's liver, because Lila only seems to show interest in Jeffrey during this stretch of the series.

  Anyway, Lila's interest takes the book down to a dangerous place when Bruce decides to make a play for Liz. He brags to Jeffrey that while Jeffy thinks he has a date with his own girlfriend, Bruce is positive that he'll be the one to end up with the middle Wakefield on his arm this evening. Since Elizabeth hasn't explained her newfound connection to the richest boy in town, Jeffrey isn't exactly thrilled at the prospect, but because he's not Todd, he doesn't immediately launch himself at Bruce, either.
   Bruce, never one to play fair, plays the sick card to lure Elizabeth out to visit him at the tennis courts. Liz, being Liz, falls for it. She swears her twin and Lila to secrecy and heads off to talk Bruce off the ledge before her date with Jeffrey. I can see trusting Jessica (and no, not just if you're psychotic), but trusting Lila seems pretty dim. Sure enough, Lila excuses herself out to her car where she waits for Jeffrey to arrive at Casa Wakefield. When he does, she 'accidentally' lets it slip that Liz has gone to see Bruce. Jeffrey speeds off to rescue his girlfriend from Bruce's clutches.
  Later, Jess and Lila get bored and decide to play with the Ouija board to kill time. Both accuse the other of moving the planchette around when it spells out danger for EW at the stadium. Jessica's twin sense is tingling and when Elsa appears on her doorstep trying to warn Elizabeth that Donald Redman is indeed the creepy guy who appeared on her porch, the trio call the cops and head off to the rescue. Cuz, you know, they'll be oodles of help.

  But, but why would they be at the stadium. you might find yourself asking. Well, they aren't supposed to be. Bruce called Liz from the tennis courts and the stadium is right next door and much better for a private conversation. When Jeffrey breaks in on Elizabeth "comforting" Bruce, Jeffrey is a little peeved when Liz won't give him any further information beyond "why can't you trust me?!" (Uh, your track record with Toddles, Liz. It speaks for itself.) While Liz is struggling with her desire to keep her boyfriend and her need to keep Bruce's secret, she realizes that Bruce doesn't look at all sick. Jeffrey's accusation that Bruce was bragging about their 'date' beforehand makes her finally question just what the hell has been going on. She asks Bruce if he's sick and he admits that he's not. Humiliated, Elizabeth runs away. Frankly, I can't blame her for that.
   She makes her way towards the exit only to decide at the last second to hide out in the utility room just in case someone comes looking for her.

  Bad move, Wakefield. Bad, bad move. This just so happens to be where Redman is hiding as he assembles his bombs for the following night's concert. Since Redman is a little nutter-butters, he still thinks that Elizabeth is Melanie and revenge is going to be so sweet. Redman noticed Bruce and Liz when they arrived at the SVH stadium, so her just falling into his lap? Bonus. Because he knows that Bruce is around, and Redman is crazy and thinks that Melanie and Bruce are plotting against him, he hurts Elizabeth, forcing her to scream, which in turn leads to Bruce and Jeffrey bursting in to rescue her.
   Only Redman still has Elizabeth in his grasp and when Jeffrey attempts to make even one step closer to his girlfriend, Redman twists her arm and Elizabeth's cry of pain pretty much stops the whole 'rush the nutjob' plan before it even begins. Then Redman does something strange after the door closes. He flings Elizabeth towards the boys and resumes his bomb making, while showing them the switch he's going to use to set this sucker off.
  Once again, Bruce proves that he's actually pretty good in a crisis and points out that hello, bomb would take Redman out, too. Sadly, Bruce hasn't realized just how many cards short of a full deck their captor is.
   "You really think I would make a bomb that can kill me? I'm the only one this bomb can't kill!"
  Riiiiiight. Tell us more, they say in the nicest, most awed sort of way. It quickly becomes clear that if they weren't screwed before, they certainly are now, as Redman details his plan for blowing the building to bits. His nasty habit of accusing "Melanie" of lying to him and plotting against him doesn't exactly give them the warm fuzzies, but no matter how she tries to deny it, Redman still believes that Elizabeth is that cold hearted bitch, Melanie. Wrong twin, Donald. It's okay, it happens all the time.
  While Redman is doing his bomb building, Jessica, Lila, and Elsa have arrived at the stadium along with the police. It doesn't take long for the police to announce their presence, which just sends Donald off the edge again, convinced that Melanie is still fucking with him. Then Elsa starts to speak and Redman shows the first signs of actual humanity and starts to cry when she reminds him of who he used to be while proving who she is. One of the things Elsa says while trying to bring her brother back to earth happens to be about Elizabeth. Donald clings to the Melanie illusion a little longer, but reality intrudes. As he attempts to convince himself that Elsa is an impostor, Jeffrey takes a flying leap at the man with a bomb switch in hands. They fall to the ground and the switch disappears under a cabinet. Not to be subdued too easily, Redman manages to hit the switch before it leaves his hands.
  Jeffrey orders Liz and Bruce to get out of there, but Bruce is Bruce Friggin' Patman. He takes orders from no one. He grabs the bomb and runs. Seriously, take a moment to take that mental picture in. Takes the bomb and runs.
   Run, Bruce, run!

  Redman freaks out like a five year old whose candy has just been taken from him. He goes running after Bruce. Jeffrey and Liz frantically try to grab the switch so they can.. I dunno. Turn the bomb off? Who knows. The two labor over moving the cabinet out of the way and finally retrieve the remote control switch, only they're just as confused as I am as to what their plan was when they began the heavy lifting.
"What do I do?"
"Smash it! Rip out the wires!"

  Brilliant. Liz does this, cutting her hands in the process, and for one brief, shining moment logic screams "I don't think this is how that works!" and then... KABOOM.

  No, it's not the end of SVH, though wouldn't it be awesome if they had What If... books? I'd have gobbled those up faster than the regular ones. Um, anyway, back to the point at hand.
   We switch back to Lila and Jessica who still have no idea what's going on in the stadium. When the explosion occurs, they think it must mean that all three are dead. Lila flips out, both at the explosion and at the look on Jessica's face. Say what you will about Miss Fowler, but unless we're in SY territory, she's there when Liz narrowly cheats death and scares Jessica into white-hair territory.
  Jeffrey and Liz are stunned, both by the blast and the sudden, horrible death of Bruce. Realizing that they should probably leave the area as quickly as possible, they shuffle off into the corridor and attempt to make their way to freedom. Out of the smoke a figure emerges. For one moment Elizabeth is sure that it's Redman and that he's come back to finish them. Jeffrey, not having had the extra time with Redman, realizes very quickly that it's actually Bruce. They fall all over one another to get to him and find out what the hell happened.
  The police swarm them and Bruce offers a very brief account of Redman's last actions. Donald Redman caught up with Bruce, took the bomb, and was laughing as he presumably ran away. The blast was close enough that you're left with the impression that Bruce saw more than he'll ever admit, but for the moment we need everyone out of the building so that Jessica can run and embrace her twin. Jessica explains that while the Ouija board did tell them that Elizabeth was in danger, Jessica's twin sense was tingling beforehand. The Ouija board just gave a voice to her fears.
   The twins promise no more messing around with the Ouija board and off they limp into the sunset.

Trivial Pursuit:

  • Lila went to London and returned with a Ouija board, which she claims is the "latest craze" there.

  • Jess greets the SVH gang at the DB with "y'all." Repeatedly. Weird.

  • This ghosty subscribes to the theory that Lila is incredibly insecure. Which I can buy, but she's fairly secure in other ways, ways that aren't acknowledged by our author.

  • Lila's bathroom is described as having wall-to-wall mirrors.

  • Jessica debates painting her nails all the same color (Tropic Flame) or going with a different color on each nail. (Wow, the fashion world really does just cycle back around.)

  • The Endless Summer concert is postponed a week due to a musician's union issue.

  • Lila, Jessica, and Elizabeth see no problem in using the Ouija board in Jessica's room. I'm sorry, but the Hershey Bar is the last place in Casa Wakefield I'd use that. If only because I'm not sure you'd find space on the floor for three teenage girls.

  • Jessica lies straight to Elizabeth's face about reading Jeffrey's letters. And stealing her journal.

  • Elsa Bartel is the latest person to employ Elizabeth as a babysitter. Her husband is out on a business trip and she needs help watching her son, Max, who is five. She's on the board of directors at Max's daycare.

  • After the Ouija board correctly "predicts" the concert being postponed, Liz starts to read "The Beginner's Guide to Occultism."

  • Everyone is described as "drawling" in this book. It's kind of weird, y'all.

  • Anita Solarz is a recently hired staff reporter at the SVN.

  • Donald Redman escaped from the San Rafael Hospital.

  • Speaking of Redman: he's 32, white, paranoid schizophrenic who went to SVH and received straight A's. He was in the science club, liked electronics, but was suspended multiple times for fighting with his teachers. He became obsessed with the homecoming queen their senior year. She was dating the football captain. He was arrested for "disturbing the peace, threatening people, neighbors complaining, that sort of thing." He also kidnapped the homecoming queen, which quite probably led to his expulsion from SVH. A few years after that, he was committed to the SRH after he attempted to kill his parents with an exceptionally well crafted bomb. He also had a sister, who later turns out to be Elsa Bartel.

  • Bruce calls Elizabeth "Goldilocks."

  • Enid is confused by the sudden affection Liz has for Bruce.

  • Homecoming Queen, Melanie, reminds me a lot of Amy: Very stuck on herself and hasn't got the brains not to antagonize someone who is clearly off his rocker.

  • Jessica plays hooky from her internship so she and Lila can go to the 2pm showing of "Terror in the Subway, Part 4" at the Valley Cinema.

  • Redman calls the newspaper office around 3pm and gets Seth's phone, which Liz has answered. He tells them where the bomb is. Since danger follows the twins, it's at the Valley Cinema.

  • Seth takes the pictures for the newspaper story about the Valley Cinema bomb.

  • Neil Freemount and Bruce went to the same movie as Jessica and Lila. Sandy Bacon and Maria Santelli were shopping nearby.

  • The 'bomb' isn't real and is about the size of a typewriter. It has a red ribbon and a tag that says "Got ya. See you next time, kids."

  • After the movie bomb scare, Jessica decides to tell Bruce the real reason Elizabeth seems interested. Instead of being offended, Bruce seems to see the potential in having easy access to Saint Liz.

  • After Jessica's bombshell (sorry, too easy), Bruce immediately starts laying on the "you know"s and veiled comments to being sick, despite not having done so before. Liz never questions his change in attitude or why Bruce would assume she would know a blasted thing. This irks me more than it should.

  • A young, dark haired man with glasses (wire-rim, the kind Liz likes) shows up to see Elsa while Liz is babysitting. He claims to be an old friend from college.

  • The cheerleaders have organized the Be True To Your School night at the football stadium.

  • Liz wants Jeffrey to trust her, despite the fact that she's been described repeatedly as being a fairly jealous person, and he walked in on her telling Bruce how amazing he was.

  • The Droids perform A Plus, which is apparently one of their most popular songs.

  • Redman leaves a "bomb" at the airport as well as the Be True event.

  • In case you needed to know: Police Commissioner Dreyfus.

  • Elsa works at Allied Equity Systems.

  • For some reason, Elsa stands by Donald even after he starts leaving bombs around town. It's not until he starts going on about "Melanie" (Liz) that Elsa decides to turn him in.

  • Our ghosty this go round has Jeffrey resisting the urge to punch people. Silly, ghosty. That's Toddles with the punching problem.

  • Redman is putting a bundle of TNT and plastic in each of the following sections of the stadium for the concert: A1, C3, D1, F3.

  • Redman drives a blue Toyota.

  • When they were children, Donald taught Elsa about astronomy.

  • After Redman hits the switch on the bomb, Bruce takes it and runs. Liz and Jeffrey frantically try to get to the remote, but when they do, all they can figure out to do is destroy it and hope for the best.

  • It's implied that Bruce saw Redman die.


"I can't find a rational explanation for why you always need to borrow my clothes when you have twice as many as I do and when you like totally different styles, but I sort of doubt there's anything supernatural about it." - Liz says what everyone else has been thinking since the early 80's. p5

  "Hell-o Bruce," Ken and Winston intoned in a singsong unison. - Tell me, am I the only one to hear helllllloooooo nurse in that? p9

  Dear Jeffrey, everything is the same in Sweet Valley. Bruce is negotiating for total world domination, and my sister has completely flipped out again. - p10

  Jessica let out a peal of laughter. "She'll be so surprised. She won't know what to say."
  "For once," Lila added.
  Their eyes met, and they both giggled. Jessica had to hand it to her best friend. If there was anyone who could cook up a plan, it was Lila Fowler. - I love devious!Lila and Jessica working together against Liz. I'm pretty sure this makes me a bad person. :p p16/17

   Jessica's mind was racing. Lila was right, it was the ultimate test. If Elizabeth could overcome her dislike of Bruce enough to be kind and sympathetic to him, it would prove she definitely believed what the Ouija board said. A laugh of pure delight welled up in Jessica's throat as she imagined her sister's reaction. It would be a priceless scene: Elizabeth in a tug-of-war between her conscience and her disgust for egotistical, infuriating, pain-in-the-neck Bruce Patman. - Is it wrong that I agree with the glee in this scene? p42

  "But we have to work up to it slowly," warned Lila. "We can't just go, 'Whammo! Bruce is dying.'"
  Jessica nodded and let out a weak chuckle. "Right. I'll sneak another look at her journal and find something to use."
  "And then..."
  "And then, 'Whammo! Bruce is dying,'" Jessica finished for Lila. p43

  "I'm a pessimist because I think the police will find an escaped lunatic before he starts parading through Sweet Valley with a chainsaw?" - Oh, Jessica. You slay me. p50

  Lila curled her legs up under her and frowned. "What should Bruce have?" she added.
  Jessica snickered. "How about the plague?"
  "Can you die of leprosy?" Lila asked with a malicious giggle. "I mean, if he's got to go, he might as well have something really interesting." - Remind me again not to tick those two off. p61

  In the past, Jessica had often poked her nose into Elizabeth's relationships, trying to stir up trouble. But for Lila to do it struck her as unfair. After all, Lila wasn't Elizabeth's twin sister. - Can you imagine what that would have been like? Glorious. p77

  Lila gave Bruce a withering look. "Give me a break. Since when are you such an expert?"
  "Hey, I'm good at a lot of things." Bruce smirked at Lila, who turned her back on him. - 94

"You know there could never be anything between Bruce and me," she added. - Oh, really, Liz? p116

  All she could think of was that he had deliberately ignored her request to wait for her at home and that he had shattered a special, deeply personal moment between her and Bruce. - Uh, that sounds really... strange, Liz. p169

  "Bruce, are you or are you not sick?"
  "Sick?" Jeffrey sounded surprised.
  Bruce looked thoughtful. "Well, not-exactly sick, but I think I'm about to get a major headache." - ♥ p171


  There are certain SVH books that cross a line. Some are in poor taste, some are badly executed, some involve vampires or werewolves, and some just make you wonder how exactly that pitch meeting went. "So you know what SVH needs more of? Lonely bombers."
   So Deadly Summer is a pretty odd book. I like it, but it's one of those where my brain has attached exactly one label to the book (crazy bomber!) and so re-reading it, even twice within a five month period, it seems somehow new and familiar all at the same time. It's disorienting, to tell the truth. It definitely plays out in the far reaches of the plausibility fields for the series, but there's enough other stuff going on that you can't put the damn thing down. Lila and Jessica plotting to humble Liz? Brilliant. Lila having a secondary plot? Genius. POV chapters from Redman? Thumbs up. Bruce deciding to go full throttle with whole sickness angle just to see how much he can get away with? Fabulous. Jeffrey logically being miffed that his girlfriend is spending waaaaaaaaaay too much time with Bruce? Yes, thank you, I'll have another slice of this crazy pie.

  I love the little bits of Lila/Jessica friendship that flitter through, and it's funny reading this after the whole SVC thing because of the L/B pairing and the initial take on Lila's personality. Scheming Lila is second only to caring Lila, and they both make appearances here. Overall, this is one of the more cracktacular Thrillers and it deserves better cover art. Jess is okay but Liz is looking a little...well, you tell me.

the_oracle: (troo wuv)

“We were surprised by the reaction,” said Dan Weiss, the publisher at large at St. Martin’s, part of Macmillan. “It speaks to the fact that initially there was a real core group of fanatic fans, who are always the preservationists. They don’t want things to change.”

Ms. Pascal is not unsympathetic. “Sweet Valley was their adolescence and I’ve done some very radical things,” she said. “But you are different from that inchoate person of 16, and you have to allow that change to those characters.”


“You remember how innocent and chaste they were,” said Ms. Teeman, who read the books when she was younger. “But when you make it an adult novel, naturally some of that innocence has to go away. This is a novel for adults, and we expect these characters to grow up and be adults.”

Ms. Pascal said she was already considering writing another book, now that “Sweet Valley Confidential” had received some positive reviews and achieved best-seller status. A film based on the original series is in the works.

“I knew that this one would wake up those readers, the old fans,” she said. “But that’s the whole point of it.”

Courtesy of The NY Times and the delightful [ profile] livfreeverse at SV Unlimited.

  Uh, no. spoilers ho! )

Making more of these books had better involve fixing what you screwed up and dropping a house on Caroline. Also, possibly, maybe you should go back and try and find some sort of warmth for the characters, because as it stands, if fictional characters could sue? SVC would give them a solid case against FP. Especially you, AJ. Take notice, Francine. That is AJ. He's the redhead, not the blonde, in the icon.

I suppose I should rejoice that there's obviously a section of the fanbase not content to just accept SVC as it stands. I might not necessarily run into them, but at least they exist.

Another book. Good grief.
the_oracle: the cover image from Double Love, classic SVH (classic)


  I'm more than halfway through this and my very limited review thus far? Two versions.

What the shit is this?!

the_oracle: (better than you)
Lila's Story
December 1989


   Lila Fowler is the richest girl at Sweet Valley High. She wears designer clothes, lives in a mansion, and has an allowance at least three times the size of her friends'. And as an only child, she's always had all of her father's affection. Lila has everything a girl could possibly want.
  But before long Lila's happiness is shattered. Her father brings home a beautiful new girlfriend, Joan. And Joan has a daughter, Jacqueline, who's the same age as Lila. Soon it seems that Joan and Jacqueline are taking over Fowler Crest and Lila is furious. Then Mr. Fowler drops a bombshell-he and Joan are getting married! If Lila can't stop them, her life will change forever!

  Read all about the most exciting people at Sweet Valley High in the Super Star Editions!

  Disclaimer: For some reason re-reading this book made me realize that it bore no resemblance to the book in my memory. I remembered that it had to do with golddiggers and Lila having to foil them but... somehow all the other details went poof. It was a bit like reading a new SVH book, but one that seemed terribly off because my brain kept trying to put in different plots. Disconcerting to say the least.

   So, you might know that Lila has daddy issues. She also has regular issues, but it's the daddy issues that are usually on display. For instance, Li isn't big on her father ignoring her, but he continues to do so with the added bonus of throwing a bunch of cash and expensive gifts her way to make up for the fact that he's ignoring her. Occasionally Saint Liz will stop by and remind the man he could save a fortune by just spending a Sunday afternoon with his only child*, but Saint Liz is lacking in this book. Thing is, Lila's always been a bit iffy on her father dating. On the one hand, it means he's more distracted which means even less time for Lila, but her shopping is now completely unrestrained. Lila likes that part. Also, for the most part George is rarely serious about anyone. But when he is, Lila hates them since it means her three seconds of Daddy's attention are permanently sucked away for the duration of his relationship with whomever. See Ms. Dalton.

  Naturally this means that Lila is most displeased when she realizes that her father has gone and fallen into a serious relationship with a woman who drives Lila batty. Joan Borden has somehow managed to ensnare George Fowler and shows no signs of letting him go. While she says that she's well off and from an old money sort of family (asking random people if they're related to people back East and then following with "oh..." and wandering off is never a good idea, Joan), Lila quickly notices that the Bordens (Joan frequently seems to bring her daughter Jacqueline along with her) never seem to pay for anything or host George at their home. Instead they're freeloading off the Fowlers and George doesn't seem to notice or care. Oddly enough he does notice how much Lila's been spending.
   Still, Lila is a little distracted. You see, she's fallen for a random guy at a concert. When Jessica identifies the guy, the terrible duo concoct a scheme to steal dreamboat Evan away from his girlfriend. Luckily for Lila, Evan's girlfriend, Sonia, had a thing for Bruce Patman the year before. Evan is crazy jealous, so it doesn't take a genius to figure out that if you sweet talk Bruce into distracting Sonia, Lila can swoop in to console poor, devastated Evan. The real problem crops up when Bruce can't think of anything he wants from Lila, so she has to promise to do him a favor, any favor, at a later date.
  If this were one of the supernaturally themed supers, this would be proof that Bruce actually is, in fact, the devil. But it's not, so you just know it's going to come back to bite Lila in the duff at the worst possible time. Keep that thought in mind.
   The plan works, because no one can resist the charm of Bruce when they're already a little under his spell. (Lila comes the closest to resisting and we all know how that turns out.) Lila and Evan hit it off immediately and it takes no time at all for Lila to have a boyfriend that we actually hear about that Jessica doesn't come along and steal three seconds later. Sign of the Apocalypse count is up to at least three for this book alone.

   At first Lila finds everything about Evan fascinating. She's drawn to his love for racing, and while she finds it incredibly dull hanging out at the racetrack after the initial rush wears off, she still does it because Evan has told her that Sonia never really supported his racing. Nothing like being told how much better you are than the one who came before you, right? Everything seems pretty awesome on the Evan front, which means that things on the home front have taken a serious nose-dive.

   Joan and Jacqueline have all but moved into Fowler Crest, and Lila ain't happy. While her father is surprisingly home more often, he's frequently making comparisons between Jacqueline (whom I hate because her name is a pain in the ass to type out!) and Lila where Lila falls short. Also miff-worthy is the fact that Joan and George keep foisting Jacqueline off on Lila and Jacqueline is just so damn nice all the time. She's entirely too sweet, but everyone else has the same reaction whenever Lila makes a snide comment about this fact. "What, you'd prefer her to be a bitch?" only in slightly different words. Lila can't get anyone to understand why someone this nice bothers her so much. Not even her boyfriend, a point that irritates Lila greatly.
  On the other hand, Evan's too pretty to dump over something that Lila herself can't properly explain, so she tries to think of ways to get the Bordens out of her life before things get too serious. (They've moved in, Li. I'd say it's pretty damn serious.)

   Evan, once he's started to grate on Li's nerves just a little, begins to show a few more cracks in his perfect facade. He moans about not having the money to compete in a race, but when Lila offers to front him the money (something she feels will bind them together, as he wouldn't just take $500 from someone he wasn't serious about, right? Oh, honey...) he refuses just enough to seem like he's not taking advantage of her. Lila has a bit of a problem just coming up with $500 on the spot, but then she's reminded that her father leaves a petty cash drawer. Thinking she'll kill two birds with one stone, she takes the money and leaves the key in with the Borden's stuff. It mysteriously finds its way back to George's desk, although not where it should be.
   Failure spurs Lila on to think of something better. She attempts to frame Jacqueline as the thief by hiding a necklace in the younger Borden's room, only Jacqueline is sneakier than Lila imagines and has already returned it to Lila's room. So Lila looks like a jackass (again) in front of her father after she's just all but flat out accused Jacqueline of being the thief. (The first time is when George gets wind of Lila's $600 shopping spree and she lies about it. To his face.)
  Before you go thinking that Jacqueline is as innocent as she appears, she pulls a few stunts of her own. She loses Lila's messages from her friends and when George and Joan go out of town, she doesn't even bother trying to keep up appearances unless Eva, the housekeeper, is around.
  Lila's pulled in two directions at once when she realizes that maybe things with Evan aren't quite what she expected at the same time that George announces he and Joan are engaged and will be getting married ASAP. Lila is beyond horrified.
  So she does what any good schemer would do: she decides to beat the Bordens at their own game. She turns on the charm after the engagement party and attempts to be as helpful as possible so that Joan won't know what hit her, while Jacqueline will know something is up, but won't be sure what that something is until it's too late.

   What about Bruce? He calls in his favor. The big race Evan's been going on about all summer is finally at hand (the one Lila paid for), but Bruce wants Lila to get Evan to drop out so that Bruce's friend can win and (because Bruce isn't known for doing things out of the kindness of his heart) Bruce can win his bet. Nice, Patman. Lila reluctantly does so, feeling awful that she's making Evan drop out of something he was so looking forward to, although this way she'll have Evan's support at the engagement party.
  Too bad Evan and Jacqueline hit it off a little too well. When Lila calls Evan on fraternizing with the enemy, he's shocked that she would be so upset about him being nice to her soon to be sister. Li coldly corrects him (stepsister!) and the two sort of make up, mostly agreeing to disagree. In the three weeks leading up to the wedding, Li realizes that while Evan shows up almost daily, he seems to be pulling away all the same. Still, why else would Evan keep coming around if he's lost interest?
   Oh, Lila. There's another attractive brunette in the house these days. Jacqueline. Lila catches them together, although they don't know it, and Lila realizes that much like the Bordens are using George for his money, Evan was doing the same thing to Lila. The racing thing? He fed Jacqueline the same line about Lila not supporting his racing, which is when Lila realizes how much of a fool she's been. Dude can't even think up new lines to hook the gullible girls. Un. Cool.
  Lila has also overheard Joan and Jacqueline discussing their plan to trap George just long enough to get alimony and then they'll finally be super rich. (I'm not the only one with the prenup part of Gold Digger stuck in their head, right?) Doubting he'll believe her, but still knowing she owes it to her father to try, she attempts to share the knowledge with her father. Not surprisingly, he doesn't believe her for a variety of reasons. Spoiled little rich girl, has bitched endlessly about the Js since they arrived, the array of lies Lila's already shared over the course of the book...
   So Lila does her best to seem as excited as possible about the impending nuptials while trying to find a way to stop them. Yeah. It's wedding day and Lila's still stymied, so she wanders around the grounds aimlessly. Somehow she ends up hearing about the soundsystem they've got rigged for the wedding so that all three hundred guests will be able to hear the vows.

  Light. Bulb!

   Lila wires the sunroom where the bride and her maids are awaiting their musical cue and takes a big gamble. When the guests have been seated and everyone is just about ready to wait for the bridesmaids to waltz down the aisle, Lila tells Joan to cut the crap, that Jacqueline already broke character, and that with everyone in the room already in on the plan, there's no need to keep up the act. Joan reacts (fool!) and of course everything they say can and will be used against them in the next scene. When Joan walks down the aisle, the guests turn feral. Clueless, Joan doesn't understand what's happening until George tells her to go to hell. When the Bordens have fled for the house (I do hope that Eva or someone is watching to make sure they've only taken their own things...), George announces that Lila has saved the day. Huzzah! The peasants rejoice.
  Evan appears and Lila tells her father that Evan borrowed the missing money from Jacqueline and that he's ever so anxious to pay it back. Then Lila flounces off, free at last of the annoying people who have spent the last 210 pages making her life miserable.
  Because Lila is Lila Fowler, she finds someone new at the party thrown instead of the reception. The guy Bruce wanted to win the race so Bruce would win his bet? Yeah, he's just what Miss Fowler is looking for after the disaster with Evan.
   Proof that you can momentarily throw Lila off her game but she will win out in the end, so it's best to get out of her way. And that means you, Patman.

* A thought. Does George have other children that he prefers to spend time with and that is why he's always away on "business"? I know it's sacrilege to think that anyone might be more delightful than Miss Lila Fowler, but George, especially in this book, has never struck me as the brightest star in the sky. Besides, if middle school!Amy can have a secret sister, it would make even more sense for Lila. :P Work with me, ghosties of the past!


  • It's summer vacation time. Again.

  • George Fowler is having Lila stick to a limit on her credit cards.

  • Lila's blown it two months in a row.

  • Joan Borden is described as very "glamorous" by Amy who sees the couple out at the movies and even Lila admits she's beautiful. She and her daughter, Jacqueline, live in LA. She has a nasty habit of calling George pet names. Her chestnut hair is cut in the "latest" style, whatever that would be. She's elegantly thin, with a penchant for very high heels, is very pale and conscientious of her sun exposure, and her mother was an Alden-Westcott.

  • Karla Xavier is a singer-songwriter throwing a benefit concert for the homeless at the SV Stadium. Her voice is described as "rich and deep."

  • West End is a new local band opening for KX. Do the Droids know about them? Was there a battle of the bands and we missed it?

  • Aaron has a thing for Karla Xavier, so he, Enid, Hugh, Todd&Liz, Amy, Cara, Jess, Steven, and Lila attend the concert, as Liz managed to score ten tickets.

  • Last week Lila left her keys in the Triumph's ignition. Oops.

  • Li also has a huge gold keyring, and has apparently recently gotten a car phone, much to Jessica's delight.

  • George Fowler is 45 with silver tinged hair. Dreamy?

  • Lila blows $600 at Lisettes on a suede jacket and skirt, then lies to her father about the charge when he asks her about it.

  • I always wondered who Dorota/Blair reminded me of. Turns out it's Lila and her housekeeper, Eva.

  • Fowler Crest has lemon trees in the backyard. It also apparently is a 20 room mansion with Picassos here and there.

  • When Joan compliments Lila on her father's decorating tastes, Lila gloats that her mother did most of the decorating along with her interior decorators.

  • Evan Armstrong is the current object of Lila's affections. He's got a long, lean build, tops out at 6'2", and has sun streaked blond hair, with broad shoulders, square handsome features (naturally), but dresses casually. He graduated from Palisades a year ago and drives a Lancia Coupe. His parents broke up earlier this year.

  • Sonia Bentley is Evan's longtime girlfriend. She's a tiny wisp of a thing who tried out for cheerleading and was awful. She's frequently seen wearing sundresses.

  • Lila is an inch taller than the twins, is prone to 'extra awful' headaches, and she listens to jazz when she's stressed.

  • Sonia had a crush on Bruce, but at the time he was dating Marly Jackson from Sweet Valley College.

  • Aaron is friends with Sonia. It's a good thing he has a girlfriend, or else we'd have been robbed of prime Lila/Bruce snark.

  • Bruce considers hitting on Jacqueline (which means the girl has to be pretty) but ultimately doesn't.

  • Joan orders the most expensive item on the menu at the SV Country Club, a cold seafood salad.

  • Lila dances with Winston. Sign of the Apocalypse count has been bumped to four. Maybe five since it's her choice.

  • The Droid's newest song is "Why Not You."

  • Evan races at the Stoddard Race Club, located at the Davis Speedway out in Los Palmos which is about half an hour away from SV.

  • Evan races a red Thunderbird for a guy named Forest.

  • Despite the fact that Lila repeatedly calls Joan by her name, Lila is still thrown when Jacqueline calls Mr. Fowler "George."

  • Lila hates the rhinestone combs that J&J give her, thinking they're hideously ugly.

  • Want a picnic but don't want to have to go to the effort of making up a picnic basket? It's okay, Lila will call and order one delivered, just like she did for Evan when he was out at the track.

  • Lila loves La Scala.

  • Proof that Jacqueline is evil: She borrows Lila's black and gold maillot from Lisette's that Lila has yet to wear. Also, it cost more than a hundred dollars and she spilled food on it.

  • Proof that Evan is evil: He doesn't get that this would bug Lila. Really, dude?

  • Pete, the guy who owns Evan's racing team, wants each driver to pony up $500 to help pay the cost of 'reboring the whole fleet.'

  • Evan is paid monthly.

  • Joan Borden had a chair that George gave Lila's mother reupholstered. She conveniently didn't have any money on her when it was delivered, so George paid $600 for the gift.

  • George and Joan go to Honolulu for business and pleasure. I assure you Lila is not the only one cringing at being told that.

  • Bruce has money riding on Toby Clement to win the race Evan's been talking about for the entire book. When Lila talks Evan out of the race, Toby does indeed win. Later he'll also catch Lila's eye when she's freed from Evan.

  • It rained the night before the wedding.

  • George and Joan are going to get married on the grounds of Fowler Crest, under a big white and yellow tent at four in the afternoon.

  • Three hundred guests are invited to the wedding.

  • Joan will be walking down the aisle to "Jesu." On the sixth bar, Lila and Jacqueline are supposed to start down the aisle.

Quotable Sweet Valley:
  Lila got into her car, and Jessica watched her speed off. She had known Lila for a long time, but she couldn't remember her friend ever getting quite so upset over one of her father's girlfriends. - Really, Jessica? Because Lila had a massive hatred of Ms. Dalton and took to spreading stories about Ken and Ms. Dalton just to break the couple up. I'd say that's pretty upset. Bah! p11

  Her father was acting exactly like a teenager. He blushed and smiled at every single thing Joan said. He asked a zillion ridiculously questions about their ride from L.A. as if they'd taken a space shuttle instead of driving for an hour or so on the freeway. - Lila's mind is a delicious place to stay awhile. p22

  "She's awful, Jess. I have to figure out some way to get rid of her."
  Jessica's eyes brightened. "Can I help? This sounds like the sort of thing I'm good at." - So. True. p32

   As Bruce looked from one girl to the other, a smile slowly spread across his face. "I should've guessed that. Sounds like a Jessica Wakefield plot," he mused. "Actually, I kind of like this idea. I like being the knight in shining armor who clears the way for your big romance." -Make of that what you will. p49

"Lila, your father just said the most flattering thing to me at the bar. He said I don't look old enough to have a daughter Jackie's age. Isn't that silly of him?"
"It certainly is," Lila said.
- Marry me, Fowler? p55

  If Lila beat her up, she would probably thank her for it.
  Lila hoped that Amy would show up at the beach. She couldn't wait to see what she would make of Jacqueline Borden. She'd probably destroy her in minutes-something Lila wouldn't exactly mind watching! - This. THIS is why I read SVH. Here's to you both, Lila and Amy. p105

  "Well, you managed to get some glorious color," Evan said, tilting his glass to toast her. - I cannot explain why this tickles me so, but it does. p110

  Not that Lila cared that much about car races, but she really liked the image of herself as the supportive girlfriend, especially since Sonia had let Evan down over and over again when it came to racing. - Oh, Lila. Never change. p160

  Lila had taken special pains getting ready. She was wearing white designer jeans and a new mauve suede vest over a white t-shirt. It was a look she had stolen from Ingenue magazine and it was a big hit. Even Jessica was impressed. - I love that Li dresses to impress... Jess. Also, begin the drinking game for each time a look of Li's has the word "designer" used to describe it. Your liver transplant is scheduled, yes? p31/32

  Lila adjusted the top of the designer jumpsuit she had bought before her father had so severely limited her buying power. She thought the look was dynamite. By opening a few buttons on the oversize top of the white jumpsuit, it slid silkily off one shoulder, an effect Lila intended to use to full advantage. The white showed off her tan to perfection, and the gold chains around her neck were a perfect addition. - What Li wears to Aaron and Winston's Beach Disco party. p59

  She hoped she had chosen the right thing to wear-tight-fitting stonewashed jeans and a magenta T-shirt made by her favorite designer. She wanted to stand out, but not too much. -p77

  Not even the breathtaking view or the pleasure of seeing Evan dressed in a sport coat and fashionable trousers could erase the dreadful memory of the day at the beach.
  She was wearing a creamy white sweater and matching skirt, and the sun had turned her skin a golden tan, the color shown off by her dress and her pearl earrings. - Lila and Evan dressed for dinner at La Scala, p110

   She had to admit Joan's dress was spectacular: a long, straight, elegant off-white satin gown with antique lace. She wished she could say the same about the dresses that Joan had chosen for Lila and Jacqueline to wear. They were stiff, formal, and Lila thought pretty ugly-peach colored satin with little-girl necklines and high waists. p197


   Despite the book being about Lila and my having a soft spot for the Wakefield's best friends, Lila's story was a bit disappointing. Maybe it's because just about any of Lila's love interests seem to either want her best friend or her money or maybe it's because the only other storyline they seem to come up with for Lila hinges on her daddy issues. Possibly it's because I was expecting a different story and spent half the book thinking, "Wait, what?", but Lila's Story seems like it could have been more interesting. Also, I'm a sucker for Lila/Jessica fun times and they were sorely lacking this go round. I'm not expecting L/J to go around making cookies like Enid and Elizabeth do, but one bit of scheming and then Jessica spending the book bitching about Lila's bitchiness does not a warm fuzzy give, ok?

   On the plus side, it's pretty much all Lila, all the time, and I'm not sure Lila would have it any other way. Also, the Lila/Bruce tension is worth the price of admission alone.



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

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