November 30, 2009
BSC Super Special #1, Baby-Sitters on Board!: Don’t Be Fooled by the Exclamation Point. It’s Not That Exciting
Summary: The Pikes win a cruise to Bahamas/trip to Disney World and invite Mary Anne and Stacey to come along as mother’s helpers, as they were so great at the beach. Then Watson decides to take the Brewer/Thomas family on the same trip, and bring Dawn and Claudia along so that we don’t have to wonder where they are or suffer through some boring plotline about them being back home. As in all the super specials, the chapters alternate between all the sitters, plus a couple other people. Everyone has a different plot:
Kristy fights with Dawn because Dawn’s a neat freak and Kristy’s a slob. She also meets some random grumpy older guy and hangs out with him.
Stacey meets a kid named Marc who has a heart condition and has to get around in a wheelchair. They bond because her diabetes helps her understand him better.
Mary Anne keeps seeing a girl named Alex who claims to be an orphan whose aunt is a countess. Turns out she’s just a lying liar who lies for attention, and her parents are singers.
Claudia is stalked by a “secret admirer” who buys her lots of stuff and ends up being Alex’s brother.
Dawn falls in love with some guy named Parker.
Mallory goes all Harriet the Spy on everyone, because things turned out so well for that girl.
Karen is a brat and thinks she has a personal ghost.
Byron Pike finds what he thinks is a treasure map and gets Adam, Jordan, Nicky, and David Michael all excited about looking for treasure. Except the map is actually a diagram of a Dutch copy machine. Hee hee hee.
Thoughts: I always loved the super specials as a kid because I liked reading longer books. (I’m still that way.) But this one…eh. It leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe because once you’ve been on a cruise and gone to Disney World, you know that reading about other people doing it is nowhere near as interesting.
I’m planning to read the super specials in the order they were published alongside the other books, but whoever determined the publication order screwed up a little – this book should actually come before 13, since Stacey’s still in Stoneybrook and Mallory isn’t in the club yet. It’s a little confusing to go back a step, but it means less Mallory, so I’m fine with it.
I don’t get why the Pikes would bring mother’s helpers on an all-expenses-paid family vacation financed by Mr. Pike’s company. Did they pay for all 12 people to come? Maybe that’s why they have to lay off people in book 39. The Pikes spend zero time with the kids on the trip, too. Why would you take your kids to Disney World and not experience it with them? And why would Watson pay for Dawn and Claudia to come along? Why not Logan and Shannon, too?
I never got invited into an airplane cockpit as a kid. I used to be bitter about it, but then I saw Airplane!
So here’s where Kristy screws up as a sitter. She lets Karen go from the ship’s pool to her room by herself, then doesn’t go looking for her when she doesn’t come back in a timely manner. Karen is six, Kristy. You’re an idiot. Also, Karen doesn’t get in trouble for stopping by a beauty parlor for a manicure and a café for a Coke, charging both to Watson’s room. She also barely gets in trouble for lying at the character breakfast and saying it’s her birthday. Does this child get away with everything?
How was Claudia’s secret admirer sure she would get the glass of juice with his note? How did she know the note was for her? Also, he’s a stalker. I bet Ann M. Martin is on Team Edward.
I can’t believe the Pikes and Kristy’s mom let David-Michael and Nicky Pike, who are seven and eight respectively, go off alone with the triplets, who are all ten. That’s insane.
Stacey has a snobby moment: “An older woman was at a table in front of ours, and a girl my age was at a table in back of ours. But neither of them looked like she deserved a Secret Admirer.” “Deserved”? Who does Stacey think she is, Jessica Wakefield?
Dawn drinks soda? With all those chemicals? I’m shocked.
More from annoying Dawn: When Stacey and Mary Anne complain about being tired after a day of sitting at Disney World, Dawn says, “Touchy, touchy.” This from the girl who’s on a free vacation and spent the whole day with a cute buy. Cram it, Veggie Girl.
Karen thinks a ghost is following her around. Watson should probably do something about those visual hallucinations. When she lies that it’s her birthday so people will sing to her, she tells Watson that the ghost made her do it. Problem!
Claudia pulls a Cordelia Chase: “I felt fooled. ‘I feel fooled,’ I told him.” Love it.
Dawn wears this hideous-sounding outfit, which is actually Claudia’s: “A white tank top under lavender overalls, lavender push-down socks, lavender high-top sneakers, and a beaded Indian belt.” Is she trying to be Violet from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?
November 28, 2009
Summary: Tricia dies (that was quick), and Steven promises that he’ll look after her supposedly hell-raising sister Betsy. This means letting Betsy crash at the Wakefields’ since her dad is MIA. Jessica hates this, since Betsy’s trash and she doesn’t want to be associated with her. She also doesn’t like that Steven’s spending so much time with Betsy, because if anything is Jessica’s business, it’s who her siblings are associated with.
Betsy starts down the path to righteousness – she stops going to bars and starts getting more interested in her artwork, with some encouragement from Steven and his friend Jason. Then Jessica finds out about the promise Steven made to Tricia and makes Betsy think that Tricia’s the only reason Steven’s being nice to her. Tricia quickly reverts to being a bad girl, drinking about a third of a rum and Coke (ooh, scandalous!) and hanging out with the skeezy Crash McAllister. Steven and Jason track her down, punch out one of the guys she’s with, and tell her she’s going to art school. All better!
The B plot is much more interesting than the A plot. Roger Barrett’s mom needs surgery, and everyone’s surprised when Bruce Patman’s father Hank arranges to pay all of her medical bills. At the very end of the book, the reasoning behind this comes out: Roger’s real father was Paul Patman, Hank’s brother. Gotta love paternity surprises.
The C plot, which is actually more like a D- plot, sees Winston eating lots of pizza. Yawn.
Thoughts: Really, the A plot is incredibly boring. Couldn’t they have had Tricia’s ghost haunt people or something? Who freaking cares about Betsy? She’s the worst bad girl ever. She drinks, does drugs, and supposedly sleeps with a lot of guys, but she says “darned.” Wow, what a rebel.
Jessica’s really become maddening. I wish someone would sit her down and tell her how to care about other people. I think she was born without a superego. Her ego ate it.
It also ate her sense of irony. Jessica, Lila, and Cara ask Bruce why his father is paying for Roger’s mother’s operation, and Bruce says that he’s “watching out for the little people.” Jessica gets all haughty and asks, “What right do you have to label anyone a little person?” Yeah, Bruce, that’s her job!
November 27, 2009
Summary: Now that Stacey’s back in New York, the club needs a new member, and Mallory is the most fitting candidate. However, she’s two years younger than the other girls, and the club has been burned in the past by bad sitters, so they go to extremes to make sure she’ll work out. They give her a ridiculous test (including questions about tourniquets, the human digestive system, and other subjects that the girls later admit they themselves know nothing about), blame her for an accident that broke her younger brother’s finger, and watch her like a hawk on a trial sitting job. Ultimately, when the girls announce that they don’t want Mallory in the club, she realizes that they’re complete jerks and she doesn’t want to hang out with them anyway.
Mallory has recently met a new girl at school, Jessi Ramsey, who understands how she feels about being an outside because she’s black. (Apparently suburban Connecticut in the ’80s was the equivalent of everywhere else in the U.S. in the ’50s. I’m surprised Jessi’s allowed to eat in the cafeteria with the other kids.) They bond over horse books and their love of kids, and decide to start their own sitting club. It doesn’t go very well, and the BSC girls still need someone to replace Stacey, so they decide that they were too hard on Mallory and invite both her and Jessi to join. Happy ending!
Thoughts: As irritating as Mallory is later in the series, and for as much grief as I give her, she’s not horrible in this book. I give her major credit for basically noticing that Jessi’s black and then letting it go. She wants a best friend and she doesn’t care what that person looks like. The other girls in the club also barely react to Jessi’s skin color. They even agree that if any family they sit for doesn’t want Jessi as a sitter, they’ll stop working for that family. Maybe the BSC girls can solve some problems in other countries.
Interestingly, Mallory isn’t yet a redhead. She says everyone in her family has dark brown hair. Apparently the cover artist didn’t get that memo, though, since she has red hair on the cover.
Jessi and Mallory name their sitting club Kids Incorporated. Fergie and Jennifer Love Hewitt aren’t invited to join.
Claudia tells Mallory to give kids healthy snacks. Irony!
Speaking of Claudia’s eating habits, she and Dawn have a heated exchange about junk food while Claudia’s looking for a misplaced package of Ring-Dings. I think it officially kicks off Dawn’s transformation into Earth-worshipping granola-loving sun-goddess Dawn:
“Did one of you guys take it?” Claudia asked accusingly.
“Are you kidding? That trash?” replied Dawn. “I wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. You know, you’re going to rot your teeth, Claudia. Your face is going to break out and people will call you–.”
“They will call me happy,” Claudia interrupted her, “because that’s what I am when I eat Ring-Dings. So you can just stop lecturing me about food. If I ate health food, I’d probably turn into a rabbit like you. A skinny, pale rabbit.”
Kristy may be a businesswoman, but she doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of free enterprise. She can’t get over the idea of Mallory and Jessi starting their own sitting club. They’re not even the first rival sitting club. Chill out, Kristy.
Mallory has the weird outfit in the book: a “red jumper that said Mallory across the front, a short-sleeved white blouse, and white tights with little red hearts all over them.” Is she 11 or 4? vanessa tells her she looks like a valentine. Zinged by a 9-year-old!
Summary: Again starting just minutes after the last book ends, Nicholas meets Elizabeth and immediately falls for her, having no idea that Jessica’s already fallen for him. Nicholas asks Elizabeth out on a date, which she accepts without telling Todd or Jessica. They go to a restaurant an hour outside Sweet Valley, but Todd turns up and spots Elizabeth. Elizabeth decides to pretend to be Jessica, and it works – until Todd goes to the Wakefields’ to see her and finds out that Jessica’s there. This is why Elizabeth should leave the lying to her sister. Todd gets understandably upset with Elizabeth, but Nicholas smoothes things over by telling him that Elizabeth still loves him. And they all lived happily ever blah.
In the B plot, Jessica seduces a nerd named Randy Mason so he’ll teach her about computers and she’ll have something to talk about with Nicholas. Thanks to an article in the Oracle, Jessica learns about the brand-new-in-the-’80s idea of hacking and convinces Randy to hack into the school’s new computer (yes, singular) to change her math grade. They get caught but not punished. Of course.
Thoughts: Elizabeth shows her dark side in this book. She keeps Nicholas’ infatuation with her from Jessica and Todd, lies to Todd’s face, and goes out with a guy who’s not her boyfriend. As if that all weren’t bad enough, why would she lead on a guy who’s obviously in love with her – he’s even told her this – when she knows their relationship (or lack thereof) isn’t going to go anywhere?
Actually, Nicholas shouldn’t have a relationship with anyone. He’s creepy. He tells Elizabeth he’s in love with her after spending just a few hours with her, hours he spent following her around like a puppy dog. Then he pesters her for a date despite her multiple refusals. He literally won’t take “no” for an answer. That kind of guy is bad news.
Elizabeth herself isn’t much of a catch. She tells Enid about her date with Nicholas, admitting, “I don’t want to [go out with him]. But Nicholas absolutely insisted.” Girl, he can insist until he’s blue in the face; that doesn’t mean you have to go! I really hope no one’s using Elizabeth as any kind of role model.
In other Elizabeth news, when she finds out about Jessica’s hacking experience, she drags her to school to make her confess to the principal. Then when he threatens Jessica and Randy with suspension, making Jessica cry (not like that ever happens), Elizabeth also starts to cry and begs for mercy for her twin. Someone please return this girl’s backbone.
I have to say, computer hacking is exactly something that would intrigue Jessica. She gets to manipulate data to her benefit. I’m surprised she didn’t invent it.
November 26, 2009
Summary: Stacey’s father is being transferred back to New York, so she has about a month to say goodbye to all of her friends. It’s not enough. Uh, and that’s basically it.
Thoughts: I’m not sure why Ann M. Martin decided to send Stacey back to New York, but it only lasts for 15 books, so it’s kind of a waste. And seriously, Stacey moving is pretty much the only plot. There are a couple of sitting jobs recounted – Jeff still wants to go back to California, the Pikes pretend to be secret agents – but it’s all about Stacey.
This is where all the foreshadowing about Mallory joining the club pays off. The BSC girls aren’t sure they should take on an 11-year-old – and with good reason, since most parents, given the choice between an 11-year-old sitter and a 13-year-old one, would choose the older girl – but they figure that with seven younger brothers and sisters, Mallory can hold her own. And since her parents let her help out with watching her siblings while they’re out and another sitter is present, she’s probably qualified enough.
Though speaking of the Pikes’ two-sitters-for-seven-kids rule, why is it that they hire two girls to watch seven kids but Kristy watches seven kids on her own?
Another moment that doesn’t quite hang together: Stacey says it’s too far for her father to live in Connecticut and commute to work in New York, but later in the series, that’s exactly what Abby’s mom does.
When Stacey first tells Claudia that she’s moving back to New York, the girls come up with the idea of Stacey moving in with the Kishis. It’s a completely age-appropriate suggestion, and once again a reminder that despite their maturity when it comes to watching kids, these girls are still in middle school.
Dawn claims that people in California don’t have yard sales. Dawn, just because you’ve never been to one doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
Speaking of Dawn, when she becomes the new treasurer of the BSC, Claudia remarks, “Too bad she can’t add.” Oh, so now we’re commenting on people’s weaknesses? Watch yourself, Spelling Queen.
Funny how Charlotte Johanssen is so attached to Stacey – with her shyness, sensitivity, and tears, she’s more like Mary Anne.
There are two standout outfits described in this book, and, surprisingly, Claudia’s is the less flashy one. She wears “a purple-and-white striped body suit under a gray jumper-thing. The legs of her body suit stretched all the way to her ankles, but she was wearing purple push-down socks anyway. Around her middle was a wide purple belt with a buckle in the shape of a telephone.” Incidentally, I really wanted push-down socks when I read these books, and I wasn’t even sure what they were. I’m still not sure. Anyway, the weirder outfit is worn by Dawn: “She was wearing a very short kilt, an oversized red sweater, and yellow socks over red tights. On her head was a red beret with a sparkly initial pin attached to the side.” She’s dressed like a French ketchup/mustard bottle.
Summary: Picking up where When Love Dies left off, Elizabeth is being held captive in some house while her family and friends take hours to realize that she’s missing. When they do, Jessica blames herself, because even in bad times, Jessica knows how to make it all about herself.
There isn’t much in the way of storytelling there; no one would mistake this book for an actual thriller. There is a semi-interesting moment when Max Dellon, a classmate Elizabeth was supposed to meet with for a tutoring session, goes to the hospital (where she was last seen) to find her and instead finds her car, then gets arrested because the police think he was trying to steal it and/or is responsible for her disappearance. But obviously, since the reader knows the real kidnapper is Carl the weird orderly, this isn’t much of a twist.
Eventually Carl sees Jessica at the hospital and mistakes her for Elizabeth, making it obvious to her and Max that he’s the kidnapper. Elizabeth is rescued, everything is good, the end.
The B plot, as much as there is one, is about the Morrows, a new rich (of course) family who’s just moved to Sweet Valley. They have a daughter, Regina, who’s deaf, and a son, Nicholas, who Jessica is immediately taken with. And just when things seem to be going Jessica’s way in the love department, Nicholas meets Elizabeth, and suddenly he wants a different twin. Dun, dun, DUN!
Thoughts: Yeah, so Elizabeth isn’t ever really in danger. Carl keeps her tied to a chair for a couple of days, but he feeds her every once in a while and even brings her books. He’s in love with her, so it makes sense that he wouldn’t want to hurt her. He just wants to run off with her so they can be together forever.
Also, can I just say that Elizabeth doesn’t try very hard to escape? Not that I expect a kidnapping victim to save him- or herself, because obviously that isn’t always possible, but she just kind of sits there and resigns herself to being with Carl forever. Kick him, Elizabeth! Bite him! Give him a paper cut with one of those books! Anything!
I hope Max’s parents sued the Sweet Valley Police Department for arresting him when he didn’t do anything wrong. I understand them questioning him for being around the scene of a crime, but arresting him? Nowadays that would never fly. Those cops would have to give a public apology at the very least.
Does anyone else find it a little creepy that Jessica asks her towel-clad brother to zip up her dress? I have three brothers and not only would I never ask any one of them to zip up something I was wearing, I wouldn’t spend two seconds in a room with any one of them if he was only wearing a towel.
To really drive home how much it’s always about Jessica, the first 30 pages of a book in which Elizabeth is kidnapped are dedicated to the other one.
I have to admit, I’m kind of looking forward to the next book, just to see how Jessica reacts when she finds out Nicholas likes Elizabeth. (This is starting to sound like an episode of General Hospital.) Jessica isn’t exactly known for not getting what she wants, and the idea of the guy she likes being interested in her identical twin instead will no doubt drive her crazy. This could be what pushes her over the edge. Excitement!
November 22, 2009
Summary: There’s a new girl in school named Ashley Wyeth. She dresses weird and likes art, so she and Claudia are soulmates. Until Ashley becomes strangely territorial, wanting Claudia to only hang out with her and only spend her time doing art-related things. This leads to skipped BSC meetings (THE HORROR) and some very crabby BSC girls. Once the Kool-Aid makes its way out of Claudia’s system, she realizes that her new “friend” is actually a jealous, pretentious, irritating snob, so she breaks ties with her and returns to the BSC fold. Because if you’re going to engage in cult-like behavior, it should be to a group that can help you earn money.
There isn’t really a B plot, but there’s a mention of Dawn’s brother Jeff having trouble in Stoneybrook and wanting to go back to California. This is a theme in the next couple of books and comes to a head in book 15.
Thoughts: I used to think this book was really boring, and I wasn’t exactly looking forward to rereading it, but this time around, I found it kind of hilarious. And I mean intentionally hilarious. Claudia’s funny! There’s an especially funny moment when Ashley announces to the BSC girls that she’s Claudia’s mentor, and Claudia thinks that that isn’t helpful to sorting out the situation because Ashley’s the only person who knows what the word “mentor” means. (Which I find sad, since they’re in the eighth grade.) There’s also the mean note Stacey leaves Claudia which reads, “In my breadbox of friends, you are a CRUMB,” and Claudia making a list of lists of things to do. I never caught a lot of the humor in this book before.
I also never realized how much of a girl crush Claudia has on Ashley in the beginning. It borders on a tiny obsession. Ashley really does become a mentor to Claudia, which is just strange since she’s a freaking 13-year-old hippie. She’s not exactly Georgia O’Keeffe. She also hilariously tells Claudia that by doing things like sitting, spending time with her friends, and, I don’t know, homework, she’s ruining her “career.” She’s 13, you freak. Also, I don’t think you can call it a career until you actually make some money doing it.
The unintentionally funny moments come when Claudia and Stacey note how weird Ashley’s clothes are. Stacey can’t get over the fact that Ashley wears bellbottoms, and Claudia describes an outfit that she wears that doesn’t match. Yes, Claudia. Talking about a girl’s clothes not matching. Is it ironic in here or is it just me? (Claudia: “What, we’re ironing now?”)
Kristy, Stacey, Mary Anne, and Dawn decide to get revenge on Claudia for missing meetings by eating a bunch of her snacks, then hiding the leftovers in the wrong places. Remind me never to make them mad.
In the one chapter that talks about Jeff, he gets in trouble at school, is told he can’t leave until his teacher talks to his mom (I…actually don’t think that’s legal), and, since he can’t reach Mrs. Schafer, calls Dawn to come in and talk to his teacher instead. Since when is a 13-year-old an acceptable parent or guardian for a ten-year-old? Though the situation is made even better when Dawn has to bring Myriah and Gabbie Perkins, her sitting charges, with her to the school. She pulls them in a wagon and they’re covered in makeup because they’ve been playing beauty parlor. I bet Jeff’s teacher retired after that meeting.
Summary: Tricia Martin has dumped Steven and is letting him think she’s seeing someone else, but she’s actually dying of leukemia and doesn’t want to make him watch. Because that’s reasonable. Jessica encourages Steven to get together with her best friend, Cara Walker, who has a crush on him. It goes nowhere because Steven still loves Tricia. Elizabeth finds out about Tricia’s illness and at first keeps it quiet, per Tricia’s instructions, but then decides to tell Steven. And it all works out, so yay, happy ending! Oh, except Tricia’s still dying. Bummer.
The B plot revolves around Jessica (just like the world) – she convinces Elizabeth to volunteer as a hospital candy striper with her, but Jessica has never heard of charity or helping others, so obviously she has an ulterior motive. Jeremy Frank, the hot host of a local talk show (called Frankly Speaking, har har), is hospitalized and Jessica wants to meet him and get on his TV show. Jessica = Lucy Ricardo. Elizabeth and Jeremy scheme to make Jessica think he’s actually in love with her, to the extent that he actually proposes after talking to her twice. At first Jessica reacts exactly the way Elizabeth expected – she freaks out – but then she decides to get engaged (not married, mind you) because it’ll probably be good for her future career as an actress. The truth comes out but Jessica gets on the show anyway, which is all she wanted, so she’s happy.
At the very end of the book, a weird hospital orderly kidnaps Elizabeth, and we’re left with an actual cliffhanger. Until you realize that this is only book 12, so Elizabeth will probably be okay.
Thoughts: In case you didn’t know how different Elizabeth and Jessica are, that’s highlighted a lot in this book. When Elizabeth finds out Tricia’s sick, she agrees to keep it a secret. Jessica, on the other hand, doesn’t know what a secret is. And Jessica doesn’t care that Steven is sad about his breakup; she just wants him together with Cara: “It really bugged her the way her brother carried on about the trouble he was having with his dumb girlfriend – as if she were really, well, somebody.”
But the biggest difference between the twins is that Elizabeth has a brain and Jessica sold hers for some magic beans. She really thinks Jeremy – who’s 25, mind you – wants to marry her after talking to her twice? That he’s in love with her without even going out on a date with her? That it’s not only really creepy but also illegal for a 25-year-old to have a relationship with a 16-year-old? See, beans.
I think my favorite part of the book is that Carl’s considered creepy because he drops stuff. If clumsiness is the same as creepiness, I’m Dracula.
November 21, 2009
Summary: Kristy’s having trouble getting along with the rich kids in her new neighborhood, especially Shannon Kilbourne, who’s mad that the BSC girls have moved in on her territory. They engage in a series of juvenile pranks – Shannon actually goes for the old order-a-pizza-and-make-the-other-person-pay-for-it trick – and eventually…just kind of stop fighting. I don’t know, it’s weird. But the BSC girls end up inviting Shannon to become an associate member. And this is the only book where Shannon is heavily featured, so don’t get too attached.
The more memorable plot, however, revolves around the Thomases’ dog, Louie, and his health problems. He develops arthritis that gets so bad, they eventually decide to put him down. And it’s actually really sad and made me dread having to reread the book. But Shannon brings the Thomases one of her dog’s puppies, as sort of a peace offering, and they’re able to move on. Except David Michael names the puppy Shannon, so thanks for confusing everyone, DM.
The B plot introduces us to the Delaney kids, who will also be featured in book 39. Amanda, who’s eight, is the epitome of snobby and makes me not blame Kristy for thinking everyone in the neighborhood is a snob. Amanda and her younger brother Max are brats who bosses Kristy around when she sits for them, marking possibly the only time Kristy actually takes crap from someone. But then Stacey sits for the kids, packing some reverse psychology in her Kid Kit, and turns them into normal kids.
Thoughts: Louie’s death really is pretty emotional, especially for anyone who’s experienced the death of a pet. These books are usually so innocent and mostly fun, and it’s a jolt to come across a plot like this. Poor Louie.
In later books, Shannon – who really is barely mentioned ever again, except in the obligatory second-chapter club descriptions – seems like such a nice person, but she’s a real witch here. The pranks she pulls on Kristy are mostly dumb and harmless, except for one: She calls Kristy while she’s sitting and tells her the house she’s in is on fire. What a lovely person.
Shannon also introduces herself to Kristy using her full name. Who does that?
Stacey’s usage of reverse psychology on the Delaney kids is her most awesome moment ever. No wonder Stacey likes Mary Poppins so much – she kind of is Mary Poppins. Except with more of a challenge. No one ever wanted to shove Michael and Jane down a flight of stairs.
For such a sad book, it actually contains a pretty good joke. Karen tells the BSC girls that the ghost of Ben Brewer, which she believes haunts the house, sometimes chases her down the hall: “He says otherwise he never gets any exercise.” Mary Anne replies, “You mean any e-x-o-r-c-i-s-e?” Who knew the mouse could bring the funny?
November 19, 2009
Summary: Jessica goes to New York while Ned’s friend’s daughter Suzanne comes to Sweet Valley for two weeks. Suzanne snows everyone into thinking she’s the sweetest, most wonderful person in the world, so of course, she’s not. She even steals Elizabeth’s gold lavaliere! The horror! For some reason Suzanne sets her sights on Mr. Collins, everyone’s favorite teacher/unnecessary party chaperon, and when he rejects her, she tells Elizabeth that he tried to rape her. (That pretty much says all you need to know about Suzanne.)
Since you’re guilty until proven innocent in Sweet Valley, everyone turns on Mr. Collins. But then Elizabeth finds her missing lavaliere in Suzanne’s belongings and realized Suzanne stole it, which of course means that she also lied about Mr. Collins. Then Winston spills punch on Suzanne and the truth comes out. I swear it happened in that order.
In the B plot, Jessica tries to steal Suzanne’s boyfriend in New York. Ironically, he does try to rape her. And…that’s about it. Oh, and Steven’s girlfriend Tricia keeps breaking dates, so Jessica thinks she’s cheating on him.
Thoughts: Suzanne’s scheming and lying make Jessica look like an amateur. Even after she finds out that Elizabeth’s on to her, she tries to make everyone think Elizabeth’s crazy because she hit her head – that she’s acting like someone else the same way she did in Dear Sister. Nice thinking, crazy girl.
Though Jessica gets in some scheming of her own. Elizabeth actually wins the coin toss to decide which twin will go to New York, but Jessica convinces her to let her go instead by telling her that if Elizabeth leaves town, Lila will steal Todd. What a wonderful sister. Also, Jessica continues to prove that by buying herself a necklace and giving Elizabeth a bunch of free perfume samples.
The essence of Jessica can be summed up nicely in this quote: “Enthroned before her was the dream boy of a lifetime. Jessica didn’t care if he was Suzanne’s boyfriend or not. Why should she be loyal to a girl she’d never even met?” It’s a good thing Jessica and Suzanne never actually meet, because the two of them combined would be a super-powerful team of evil.
Just to show how dated this book is, Jessica fantasizes about meeting Mick Jagger at an “impossibly chic Manhattan disco.”