March 27, 2013
Summary: This book is stupid and boring and painfully long, and I don’t want to have to think about it again after I publish this post.
So anyway, back in 1998, there was this thing called the “Internet.” And on the Internet (a series of tubes, many of which contained cats), you could log into these things called “chat rooms” and have conversations with people who lived all over the world. All you needed was a computer! And guess what? Olivia Davidson has a computer! So she logs into these chat rooms and talks to people about art and poetry and all that hippie stuff she’s into.
Guess who else has a computer? Ken Matthews! One day he decides to use it to find out a score from an El Carro High School football game. He logs into a chat room and asks if anyone there is from El Carro. Someone responds, and Ken thinks that person is from El Carro. But she’s not! It’s Olivia! And she thinks Ken goes to El Carro! But he doesn’t! They both go to Sweet Valley High! HOW AMAZING!
So Ken and Olivia start talking a lot in the chat room, and sometimes in private chat rooms, which is like instant messaging but not. Ken decides not to reveal that he’s a jock, and he lets Olivia teach him about poetry. At one point they basically have cybersex and it’s really uncomfortable. (For me. I don’t know if it was uncomfortable for them. I hope they used cyberprotection.) Then they decide to meet, but they’re each too dumb to realize who the other is, so they both think the other didn’t show up.
When they reconnect in a chat room, Olivia and Ken realize that they know each other, and that each has fallen in luuuuuuuuv with someone he/she never thought he/she would be interested in. Because, see, jocks and artists can’t comingle. And that’s where we get the other plot.
There’s a dance at SVH, and a fight about music leads to a brawl between the popular kids/jocks and the artsy kids/”burnouts”/nerds. It ends when a football player named Blubber sends druggie Justin Belson to the hospital. The lines are clearly drawn between the cliques, with only a few people (Elizabeth and Winston, really) floating among groups. The ghostwriter brings back a couple other previous characters – Keith the hippie and Nicky the rebel – to round out the outcasts.
The burnouts/nerds/hippies get revenge on Blubber by stealing a test he got a D on and posting it on a bulletin board. (A real bulletin board, not one of those bulletin boards you find on the Interwebs.) Because Blubber has a temper and is an easy target, the outcasts keep targeting him, picking on him at a football game until he beats up Nicky. Elizabeth thinks Blubber crossed the line, but Jessica and Todd side with the other jocks/popular kids. This leads to another almost-breakup between Todd and Liz, because we have to have one of those every other book.
Blubber ends up getting suspended from the football team because of his grades, and he is NOT happy about it. One night Jessica goes out with two football players, Danny and Bryce – and yes, she goes out with both of them at the same time, which, let’s not even get into that – and they decide to go by Blubber’s house to see how he is. He’s not great: They arrive just as an ambulance is taking him to the hospital, because Blubber tried to commit suicide.
It turns out Blubber was having a rough time because his parents are splitting up, but the school finally steps in and tries to stop all the madness with the cliques. Everyone calms down, and Olivia even comes up with an idea to fix things: a dance! I mean, of course. Everyone has to dress up in someone else’s clothes, because they’re taking the “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” thing way too literally. But it breaks the ice, and people start mingling, and everything’s good. Also, Olivia and Ken get together, in case you cared. I didn’t.
Thoughts: The book starts in SVH’s gym, so either they rebuilt it really quickly or we’re pretending Fight Fire With Fire ever happened.
In case you’ve been keeping track, Bruce and Pamela are back together.
“I still hate it when guys try to settle things by punching each other out.” Whatever, Jessica, you’re totally the type of girl who would find that hot.
Olivia’s outfit when she goes to meet Ken: “batik-print sarong pants in royal purple with a matching loose vest over a simple white tank top.” Sarong pants?
June 10, 2012
Summary: We pick up right after In Love With the Enemy left off, with the police arriving to bust up the warehouse brawl and Jessica having just realized that Christian goes to Palisades High. The guys in the fight all get arrested, and more insults are flung, so suffice it to say that they haven’t learned their lessons. Principal Cooper tries to tighten things up at SVH, forbidding anyone from wearing school colors like there’s an actual gang and not a bunch of snobby rich boys who don’t like some other boys. I mean, really, the “gangs” in this series are the weakest gangs ever. And yes, I’m including dancing gangs in that collection.
Anyway, the principal forms a task force to work on ending the “warfare,” and of course Elizabeth joins it. That just makes the wedge between her and Todd even bigger. Then Elizabeth invites Caitlin and Marla, her two new Palisades friends, to a party Todd’s having, where they’re obviously not welcome, so that makes things between Liz and Todd even worse.
Jessica clues Elizabeth in on her relationship with Christian, which Ken eventually finds out about when he overhears the twins. He gets really creepy, following Jessica on a date, then confronts her and tears into her, which, let’s be honest, she deserved. So they’re definitely over. The SVH guys slash some of the Palisades’ guys’ tires, and Winston almost gets caught. Later, he gets a call from Todd telling him to meet at the warehouse for a super-special gang get-together. Except none of the other guys shows up, because Todd wasn’t the caller – Winston was lured there by the guys from Palisades.
Todd figures this out, and basically every character in the miniseries winds up at the warehouse. Elizabeth calls the police again since she’s worried that Winston is really in danger. The SVH and Palisades guys start pounding on each other, and when the police arrive, they’re all arrested again. (Christian doesn’t, since he got there too late to really do anything and was smart enough to stay out of it.) Todd’s mad because, once again, Liz got him arrested. Hey, Todd, if you want to stop getting arrested, stop committing crimes. It’s called actions and consequences.
Thoughts: Christian flees the first fight to avoid being caught by the police, even though Jessica has just passed out and only regained consciousness a minute earlier. Yeah, he’s a real winner.
Elizabeth is surprised that Jessica passed out, thinking she would have been cheering on the fighters. Ah, so even Elizabeth thinks Jess is a sociopath.
One of SVH’s colors is white, so good luck enforcing that school-color ban, Chrome Dome.
Todd actually tells Elizabeth that the guys fought because they were “protecting [their] women.” Okay, but women had nothing to do with it, Testosterony Tony.
May 24, 2012
Summary: Jessica learns about a surfing competition with a trip to Hawaii for a prize, and she decides she wants to enter, even though she sucks at surfing. She starts working at it, even getting up really early to go to the beach, and meets a guy named Christian Gorman who gives her some pointers. They fall in luuuuuuv, even though Jessica’s dating Ken.
Remember when SVH had that big rivalry with Big Mesa? Well, now they have a rivalry with Palisades High. The Palisades athletes are really mean to the SVH athletes during games, and then pound on Ken a little after a game, so a bunch of the guys from SVH (including Ken, Todd, and Bruce) decide to get revenge. This revenge involves painting something lame on Palisades’ football field. Then the Palisades guys get revenge by TPing and egging the SVH guys’ cars and houses. There’s all this talk about the Palisades guys having a gang, but if they do, it’s the worst, weakest gang ever. And there isn’t even any dancing or singing.
Elizabeth and Enid have befriended a couple of girls from Palisades, and they’ve decided to try to bring peace to the two schools. They start by writing newspaper articles about each other, which is both lame and pretty much ripped straight from “Home and Away.” The articles don’t work. Then a tennis player from Palisades hits Tom McKay with a ball during a game, and freaking John Pfeifer writes about it for the Oracle, and the SVH guys who have been leading the anti-Palisades crusade turn the article into propaganda. Oh, and those guys have been having guys’ nights out to solidify their anti-Palisades hate, which means Tom is not the gayest thing in this paragraph.
All of the plots come together with a school dance. Elizabeth, Enid, and the two Palisades girls organize an SVH/Palisades masquerade at a warehouse, hoping that having the students socialize together will fix everything. (Again, stolen straight from “Home and Away.”) Jessica thinks this will be a good opportunity for her to refocus on Ken, despite having declared her love for Christian just the previous day. Ken and his buddies, however, think the dance is a good opportunity to bust some Palisades skulls. (If you think that sounds like the end of “A Night to Remember,” you’re not the only one.)
Outside the warehouse, Ken, Bruce, Todd, Winston, Aaron, Ronnie, and some other guys take on the Palisades jerks. Elizabeth realizes all the guys are missing and probably planning something bad, so she calls the police. Jessica comes across the scene just as Ken is being pounded to a pulp…by Christian. Ruh-roh!
Thoughts: You know what would have made the “twist” at the end an actual twist? If the back of the book hadn’t said that Christian was the leader of the Palisades gang. And if the book hadn’t been called In Love With the Enemy.
Elizabeth brings salmon and brie on a picnic. Girl, be a teenager, would you?
Ken’s house and car get TPed and he’s upset about the waste of paper. I think he’s dating the wrong twin.
Dear teenage boys of Sweet Valley: Hanging out at Bruce’s house without girls is not a “guys’ night out.” It’s just a night at Bruce’s house without girls. For it to be a guys’ night out, you would have to actually go out.
Also, when planning revenge, wearing jean jackets doesn’t make you look intimidating. It makes you look exactly the opposite of intimidating.
Palisades High’s newspaper is called the Pentagon. Stupid.
April 29, 2012
Summary: Remember how Elizabeth decided she was going to stay at SVU? She tells Todd, and he is TICKED. And remember how Jessica was dating a college student named Zach? And how Magda, a girl from the sorority Jessica wants to join, also likes him? Jessica actually makes Zach leave a diner through a bathroom window before Magda and some Theta sisters can see them together. (I’m assuming they also dined and dashed.) Somehow, Zach still wants to be with Jess, and she decides she’ll stay at SVU, too.
Everyone thinks this is a horrible idea except the twins, and their friends decide to use some good, old-fashioned reverse psychology to make them change their minds. Headed by Enid, Lila, Todd, and Ken, they pretend they’re thrilled that the twins are leaving, rather than trying to talk them into staying. Their reasoning is awesome: Ned and Alice can travel instead of parenting, Lila will now be the most popular girl in school, and Enid will be the smartest, and will take over Elizabeth’s Oracle column.
Elizabeth starts her internship, which she won in the essay contest, but the editor-in-chief is sleazy, especially when you consider that he keeps checking out a 16-year-old. Also, Elizabeth hates doing what are basically secretarial tasks, though I don’t know what more she expected from, you know, an internship. Still, no one makes Elizabeth Wakefield fetch coffee, so she quits after two days.
Jess is still trying to hold onto Zach and pretend she’s in college. Billie knows about her scheme and is, for some reason, going along with it. Jessica finds out she wouldn’t be able to join the cheerleading squad until the next year, and that’s enough to make her second-guess her decision to stay at SVU. Keep in mind that neither twin is actually attending classes, so they’re only seeing the social part of college and making decisions based on that. Whatever, Jessica also misses Ken, even when she’s making out with Zach.
But there’s a big formal party at the end of the week, and Zach invites Jessica, so she’s obviously going to stick it out until then. However, she doesn’t want Magda to see her with Zach. She convinces Elizabeth to go to the party with Magda and two guys, but pretending to be Jessica. Jessica will in turn pretend to be Elizabeth with Zach, but only as far as Magda is concerned. In other words, Zach knows she’s Jessica, but Magda thinks she’s Elizabeth. Yes, that means two Jessicas. Just go with it.
Liz tells Magda that her sister (Elizabeth, as far as Magda knows) is all over Zach, and Magda’s surprisingly fine with it: She found out that Zach is also a high school student pretending to be in college. Elizabeth hilariously decides not to break the news to Jess.
The SVH kids are still on the Get the Girls Back bandwagon, so they all take a trip to SVU and, with help from Steven and Billie, arrange a surprise goodbye party. While they’re setting up, Todd and Ken crash the formal to get their girlfriends back. Todd sees Elizabeth (really Jessica) with Zach and thinks she’s happy. When the real Elizabeth sees him, she’s thrilled. Ken sees the real Jessica with her real new boyfriend and is rightfully angry. Zach is angry, too, when Jessica pretends they were just set up on a blind date. Then Magda spills the beans about Zach being in high school, which leads to a fight between him and Jess, but they ultimately laugh it off because the whole thing is ridiculous.
The action moves to the surprise party, where the twins’ friends run an actual slide show full of pictures of all their happy times in high school. I hope with all my heart that it was set to “I Will Remember You.” To the surprise of absolutely no one, the twins decide to go back to SVH, and Ken forgives Jessica, because why would he let a little cheating get in the way of his relationship with the hottest girl in school?
Thoughts: Magda and the Thetas would be a good name for a ’50s girl group.
Elizabeth is excited because the newspaper where she’s interning has Lexis/Nexis. Wasn’t that outdated even in 1995?
You’d think the newspaper’s editor-in-chief would know that “editor-in-chief” is hyphenated.
Also, if he called me “sweetheart” or any of the other names he calls Elizabeth, I would walk right out of his office within the first 30 seconds of meeting him, instead of putting up with it for two days like Liz.
Lila calls Todd a Philistine. I need Lila in my life for real.
Oh, wait, then she says an all-chocolate cake “goes against all the rules of dessert.” Never mind.
SVU’s football team is the Vanguards. What the–?
Zach: “How could I have been so stupid?” Jessica: “It is kind of amazing.” HA!
Todd, don’t make out with your girlfriend on her brother’s bed. That’s gross.
April 10, 2012
Summary: The twins are about to take the SAT, and they respond to it exactly as you would expect: Elizabeth studies her butt off while Jessica couldn’t care less. Their scores are the opposite of what you would expect. While Elizabeth barely clears 900, Jessica scores in the 1400s. No one thinks Jess is smart enough to have done that well, and she’s accused of cheating (they think she put her name on Elizabeth’s test, which is both stupid and impossible, but only one of the SAT-related mistakes the ghostwriter makes in this book).
Jessica gets suspended while the school board investigates, and everyone turns on her – even Elizabeth – because they think she’s guilty. Basically, they’re all, “You’re not smart, you’re hot!” Ken basically says to Jessica’s face that he doesn’t think she’s bright enough to do so well. Now both twins are mopey, since Liz thinks she’s a moron for scoring badly, and knows she won’t fulfill her suddenly lifelong goal of going to Harvard. She also thinks she’s too dumb to be a writer, which is a topic I won’t touch.
The girls retake the SAT, this time with the opposite approaches – Jessica studies while Elizabeth slacks. And lo and behold, their scores are reversed. Now the school board is convinced Jessica cheated the first time and that her low scores the second time around are more accurate. Elizabeth realizes that no one convinced her of cheating the second time, and Jessica’s a victim of a double standard, as well as being discriminated against because she’s usually seen as dumb. She decides that Jessica should get a mock trial to prove she didn’t cheat.
The school ends up divided between the Jessica supporters and the Jessica detractors (led by Bruce and Heather). Elizabeth appoints herself Jessica’s defense attorney and tries to clear her sister’s name. Despite really bad witness testimony and Elizabeth failure to point out (as I said many times while reading this book) that the SAT doesn’t measure intelligence, and that people considered “smart” can score poorly on it while people who aren’t considered “smart” can do well, and that students are only tested on math and vocabulary anyway, which is hardly a way of measuring, say, scientific aptitude, Jessica is found not guilty. And now she and Elizabeth get to visit Steven at school. Yay.
In other news, Todd thinks he’s hot stuff because a bunch of basketball recruiters want him. His head grows to unimaginable, gigantic proportions, and even Elizabeth can’t stand him anymore. But then he breaks his ankle and can’t play basketball for a while, and his head returns to normal size. Actually, that plot never gets resolved. Whatever.
Thoughts: The other thing I kept grumbling throughout this book, along with what I said above about the SAT not measuring intelligence, was that everyone keeps saying people “aced” the test when they didn’t. Dear Sweet Valley High students: To ace the SAT, you must score 1600 (back then; now it’s 2400). Scores in the 1400s are not “ace” scores. All of you need to shut up.
Two books ago, Elizabeth was so bored with Todd, she was practically cheating on him, and now she wants them to go to the same college. I hate you, Elizabeth Wakefield. I hate you like Bruce hates poor people.
In case you were wondering (and I know you were), Bill Chase and DeeDee Gordon are still together.
Since when has it been Elizabeth’s dream to go to Harvard?
SVU only requires a score of 1000 for admission. Only the best for SVU.
Jessica first tells Ken she didn’t do that well on the test, and he says, “Well, I’m not too surprised, Jess. It’s not like anyone expected you to do really well.” Okay, first of all, you only got a 1080, so shut up. Second of all, shut up again.
Todd, scoring in the 1200s is not “exceptional.” You shut up, too.
If Elizabeth were really as smart as she thinks she is, she’d know you can take the SAT more than once and she should stop freaking out about her first scores.
March 10, 2012
Summary: When we left our little campers, they were in a cave with skeletons, and it had just started raining. They set off to finish their trek, but Heather’s ankle injury is so bad that she can’t walk, and the guys can’t really carry her. Finally Jessica agrees to stay behind with Heather (it was going to be her or Ken, and Jessica doesn’t want the two of them alone together) while the other four finish the hike and send help back to the girls.
Elizabeth and the guys can’t choose between a high path and a low path, so Elizabeth and Ken take the high one (which she thinks is safer because the recent rain could turn into a flash flood) while Todd and Bruce take the low one. Back at the campsite, Jessica and Heather are just starting to get along better when the escaped convicts Heather spotted earlier find them and take them hostage. Jessica nicknames the mean ones Moe and Larry, and the nice, cute one Jack. (Don’t ask.) They want the kids’ gold, but they also wouldn’t mind killing a few teenagers, so they set off a flare to get the other four kids to come back.
There’s this really stupid part where Elizabeth almost falls off a cliff, and Bruce saves her but a bald eagle takes his gold. Yeah, I said it was stupid. Then Todd and Ken catch up to them and they all see the flare. Elizabeth, Bruce, and Todd head back to the campsite and are taken hostage, but Ken hangs back and the convicts don’t know he’s lurking around. The cons take the gold and leave, and the kids get untied and start to leave, but then stop to save Jack from a flood. He tells them he was in prison for armed robbery but is totally reformed, which I guess excuses him for freaking breaking out of prison.
Moe and Larry resurface, and Moe holds Elizabeth at knifepoint in a cave since he’s mad that his gold is gone. (Maybe an eagle took it?) Jessica does the old sick-prisoner routine and distracts him long enough so Jack can save Elizabeth. But Moe’s so mad that he shoots Jack, killing him. Then everyone hears an airplane, which the kids think was sent to get them. Moe goes outside to check it out, ordering Larry to kill the teens or be killed himself. Jessica saves the day again, convincing Larry not to kill them. Instead, he shoots six bullets into the roof of the cave and runs off to join Moe. Unfortunately, the bullets cause a cave-in.
There are, like, 20 things that happen, including the kids almost drowning, and Heather continuing to be helpless (and useless), but the teens eventually realize that the walls of the cave aren’t rock, just shale. They punch through and get outside, only to find themselves right near the spot where they were supposed to finish their trek. And then they find out the gold they risked their lives to get was pyrite, AKA fool’s gold. Wah wah waaaaaaaah.
Thoughts: I have the British version of this book, and the cover calls it “the final title in the terrifying Desert Adventure mini-series.” I’m not sure you can call two books a “mini-series.” Other words in that sentence that aren’t used correctly: “terrifying,” “adventure,” “the.”
If this were Lost, Elizabeth would be Jack, Bruce would be Sawyer, Todd would be Kate, Heather would be Shannon, and Jessica and Ken would be Nikki and Paolo.
When she’s about to fall off the cliff, Elizabeth thinks of her parents, Jessica, Todd, Enid, and Mr. Collins. So she thinks about her English teacher and not her brother. I don’t even know how to respond to that.
It’s too bad Jessica doesn’t stick with her Three Stooges nicknames and call Jack “Curly.” Then I could have made really bad “legend of Curly’s gold” jokes.
March 1, 2012
Summary: The twins, Todd, Bruce, Ken, and Heather “win” an essay contest and are “rewarded” with a four-day survival trek in Death Valley. Other than Liz and Todd, no one is particularly excited about it, and I’m not sure how it’s enforceable, but there you go. Anyway, they have four days to get to a predetermined point, and they have a certain amount of food, a map with water-collection spots marked, and…that’s about it. No adults or guides or anything. Just six teenagers of varying levels of intelligence in the desert. This doesn’t seem legal.
The teens are paired off as “buddies,” and of course no one is happy with his or her pairing. Bruce is with Elizabeth, Jessica is with Todd, and Ken is with Heather. Everyone wants to switch, but Elizabeth wants to be all mature and adult and follow the rules. Frankly, I’m surprised she’s not dead in the sand by the end of this book, especially with how controlling she is.
There are two supposedly exciting things that happen: The kids find a mine shaft with gold in it, and they hear about three escaped convicts who are possibly also in Death Valley. There’s more gold in other places, which means the teens will have to go out of their way to get it, and there’s some sort of curse that requires leaving half the gold and a map behind for the next person to stumble across it. (How many people are stumbling around in Death Valley, coming across old mine shafts?) So the teens get a bunch of gold, and they fight a lot, and Heather almost dies, and everyone hates each other, and I’m really shortcutting this because it’s boring.
Jessica starts getting paranoid about Heather stealing her gold, so she puts it in her sleeping bag, but when she gets up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, it disappears. She accuses Heather, but Heather had an alibi in that she was making out with Ken. Heather comes across the escaped convicts and hears them talking about the gold, which they know the kids have. She tries to convince the other teens that the cons took Jess’ stash, but they don’t believe her. Then she hurts her ankle and is all helpless. When the kids find the final gold location, there are skeletons, and then the storm they were trying to beat arrives. Apparently that’s good enough for a cliffhanger.
Thoughts: I would make fun of Heatherfor bringing along a little TV so she can watch her soap opera, but I totally get it.
Heather puts her sleeping bag with Ken’s and Jessica’s, and Bruce asks if she’s “going for a threesome.” A sex joke in a Sweet Valley High book? That’s madness!
Hank Patman has a friend named Bentley Wentworth. Of course he does.
Todd totally checks out Jessica’s legs at one point. Whatever, Todd, we all know you’re asexual.
February 4, 2012
Summary: The good news is that the SVH cheerleading squad has just won the state championship. The bad news is that Heather is still Heather, and she and Jessica still hate each other. Also, Liz and Jessica aren’t speaking because of the whole Ken thing. Elizabeth apologizes and tries to explain things to both Jessica and Todd, but they’re too mad to listen.
Suddenly it’s time for nationals, so the cheerleaders head to Yosemite for a long weekend. Todd and Ken get into a fistfight, then quickly make up and decide to follow the girls to Yosemite. They pick up Winston on the way and make it a road trip. In Yosemite, Heather runs into the squad from her school in Nevada, and the captain, Marissa, tries to shake her up by leaving her a clipping of a news story about a cheating scandal on the squad.
Heather screws up one of SVH’s routines, leading Jessica to call for her ouster. She can’t get a unanimous vote, so she has to suck it up and deal with it. Meanwhile, the guys learn that boys aren’t allowed at the competition, so they get some uniforms and dress up as girls. Yes, this really happens. Yes, it is as dumb as it sounds. Heather screws up another routine, and this time almost everyone is on Jessica’s side about kicking her off the squad. Elizabeth is the only hold-out, so Jessica sends her away to get something and holds another vote, in which Heather is removed.
Heather decides to lay all her cards on the table, because now she has nothing to lose. She tells Jessica that she was going to be removed from her squad in Nevada if she didn’t pass math, so she cheated on a test. She got caught and was kicked off the squad. Marissa threatened to tell the SVH girls about the cheating if Heather didn’t ensure they didn’t place in the competition. Jessica encourages Heather to tell the whole squad, and now the SVH girls want Heather back. They also want to get revenge on Marissa and her squad.
Marissa, however, is still being a mean girl: She and her girls lock the SVH cheerleaders in their cabin just before a competition round. The girls attempt to build a human pyramid to get through a really high window, but they don’t have enough time to get it right. Fortunately, there are boys around to rescue the helpless females, and Todd, Ken, and Winston (now masquerading as Tilda, Kendall, and Winnie) show up in time to save them. Marissa’s squad also removes the elastic from the SVH squad’s skirts before another round, but the girls just wear unitards, so that was stupid.
The girls perform better and better in the competition, and if they can ace every round before the grand finale, which is worth a third of the points, they can place. Things get even better when Elizabeth and Jessica, amused by the sight of the three guys in drag, let down their guards with each other and make up. For some reason, they want to punish the guys, so they make them perform in front of everyone at the competition, but this actually works to the girls’ advantage: Marissa’s squad put baby oil on the stage, and the SVH squad is able to find out about it before they compete.
Marissa’s squad wins the competition and SVH places second. But Marissa’s squad is DQ’d for the baby oil, so the SVH girls win. Then the twins make up with the guys and everyone goes home happy. Except Marissa’s squad, which is banned from the conference. Ha ha!
Thoughts: Apparently John Pfeifer is still at SVH, not in jail, being ironically violated every night by a guy named Rocco.
If Jessica blackmailed Elizabeth onto the squad by threatening to tell Todd about Ken, and Todd now knows everything, why is Liz still on the squad? She won’t stop complaining about cheerleading, and there are plenty of other girls who are just as good at cheering, so why keep giving Jess what she wants?
When Todd and Ken are fighting, Bruce calls out, “The Wakefield girls aren’t worth all this trouble!” Right?! Who wants that kind of drama?
The ghostwriter doesn’t realize that cheerleading isn’t an all-girl sport. Of course, if we made a list of everything the ghostwriter doesn’t know, it would be endless.
When Todd, Ken, and Winston (sorry: Tilda, Kendall, and Winnie) are asked where they’re from, Todd says Saskatchewan. Too bad it’s a national competition and Saskatchewan is in a different country.
If each squad does three routines a day and there are 50 squads, the judges have to watch and score 150 routines a day. That can’t be possible.
Jessica looks at cheerleading uniforms that she describes as “like a jumpsuit, with suspenders.” What the–?”
January 24, 2012
Summary: Jessica’s upset about learning that Elizabeth and Ken had some super-secret affair that was never mentioned until the last book, but there’s no time for that! Jessica’s no longer on the cheerleading squad, and that’s so much more important than anything ever. Ken suggests that she start her own squad, so Jessica goes right to work recruiting dancers (some who we’ve read about before, like Jade and Patty), as well as Sandy and Maria. She also gets Lila to join the squad.
Jess thinks Elizabeth will make a good cheerleader, too, so she blackmails her into joining: If Liz doesn’t, Jessica will tell Todd about her relationship with Ken. We all know how Elizabeth feels about cheerleading, but she hates Heather even more than cheering, so she decides to stick with it. The squad ends up being awesome, despite having only three actual cheerleaders on it. The only problem is that Heather’s now-teeny squad (there are only four girls left on it) is already going to regionals, and only one squad from each school can go.
Since Wakefields never take no for an answer, Jessica tries to convince the cheerleading scout to give her squad a chance. It doesn’t work. The girls then crash halftime at a football game and get the people of Sweet Valley on their side. Mr. Cooper allows the two squads to have a cheer-off at school, and the squads tie. The scout says they can both go to regionals if they combine. The girls are pleased with this, except Jessica and Heather, who refuse to either work together or let the other girl lead the squad.
Elizabeth and the other cheerleaders dream up a supposedly brilliant plan to convince each captain that the other has decided to step down. Somehow, Jessica and Heather don’t figure this out during their practices. The squads go to regionals together and win. Heather and Jessica aren’t happy to learn that they were fooled by their teammates, but they’re so happy to be going to states that they decide to let it go.
Through all of this, Elizabeth still has it bad for Ken, who’s now hot and heavy with Jessica. Well, as hot and heavy as teenagers in Sweet Valley get with each other. At one point Ken mistakes her for Jessica and Elizabeth is all, “This is heaven.” After regionals, Elizabeth fails to tell Jessica that Ken wants to take her to watch a meteor shower. She then cancels her own date with Todd, dresses up and Jessica, and goes on the date with Ken, who’s totally fooled. When they make out, he figures out she’s not Jessica, but Elizabeth realizes that she wants to be with Todd anyway.
Jessica’s at a party at Lila’s while this is going down, and she doesn’t know anything’s up until Heather mentions seeing Elizabeth and Ken together. Jessica rushes home, sees that Elizabeth’s borrowed her clothes, and realizes what her supposedly saintly twin is up to. Ken and Liz decide to tell Todd everything, but it’s too late: Jessica has already told him everything.
Thoughts: Elizabeth writes in her diary, “Ken kissed me like no one’s ever kissed me before.” With tongue?
Jessica puts her awesome squad together in about a week. I’m imagining it all as an ’80s movie montage.
After Jessica blackmails Elizabeth, they don’t talk about Ken at all, and Elizabeth doesn’t even seem that mad about being blackmailed. What a waste of potential drama.
Guido’s has a waterfall? Is it really Casa Bonita? Does it have food and fun in a festive atmosphere?
January 14, 2012
Summary: Jessica is over Jeremy and ready to move on with Ken Matthews. Then we get a total retcon: While Todd was in Vermont, Elizabeth and Ken secretly dated. They never told anyone because Ken was Todd’s best friend, and I guess because Elizabeth is supposed to be so perfect and pure that she would never be with anyone other than Todd (Jeffrey who?). So despite not mentioning the relationship in the previous 60+ books since Todd returned (except in Elizabeth’s Secret Diary, Volume 1, which I have no desire to deal with), Elizabeth is suddenly not sure she’s really over Ken.
Jessica is completely oblivious to this, and distracted by something else anyway: There’s a new girl at school named Heather Mallone, and everyone loves her, except Jessica. Heather is gorgeous, friendly, and good at everything. Oh, and she’s a total bitca. Heather is a fantastic cheerleader, and everyone on the squad wants her to join, but Jessica doesn’t like her. She basically hazes Heather, but everything backfires and Heather passes all her little tests. Then Robin Wilson moves away, leaving Jessica the only captain, and everyone elects Heather as her cocaptain.
Jessica and Heather continue their subtle rivalry, which grows more and more as Heather tries to take over the cheerleading squad. She’s convinced the girls that she can take them to nationals. One day when Jessica’s out sick, Heather kicks Maria and Sandy off the squad, which makes Jessica even madder. However, Heather’s basically a drill sergeant, and Jessica realizes that she just needs to wait things out until everyone else decides they don’t want to work with her. Unfortunately, Heather is also a bit of a cult leader and has everyone willing to do whatever she wants them to do. The last straw comes when Heather has the girls perform a cheer Jessica doesn’t know at a football game. Just like the title says, Jessica quits the squad.
Elizabeth spends the whole book also being a bitca, trying to convince Jessica that she and Ken are all wrong for each other because she can’t stand seeing her sister with the guy she thinks she might still be in love with. Ken appears to be completely over Liz, though, and really interested in Jessica. Jessica finds a photo of Elizabeth and Ken together, then reads Liz’s diary and learns about their secret relationship. So now she’s ticked, which probably means that in the next book, the fur is going to fly.
Thoughts: Robin moves because her father got transferred to Colorado, but we know from previous books that Robin’s parents are divorced and she lives with her mother, so her dad moving wouldn’t affect her. Nice try, ghostwriter.
In most books, Heather would be likable and Jessica’s attitude toward her would be unreasonable. But Heather’s really annoying and I hate her, so I’m on Jessica’s side.
Ken barely seems to remember being with Elizabeth. It would be awesome if it turns out she imagined the whole thing.
I’d love to see the girls try to make it to nationals with only six people on the squad.