March 13, 2013
Summary: Lila is arrested for firebombing the restaurant and spends the night in jail until Steven can bail her out. (I hope Mr. Fowler paid him back later.) Obviously Steven’s boss doesn’t like this, since Lila is the main suspect in the fire at Fowler Crest, so he forces Steven to choose between Lila and his internship. Steven chooses Lila and sets out to investigate on his own and prove her innocence.
Meanwhile, the twins still want Lila and Steven to break up, so they send them letters from each other, talking about their future together and making it clear how little they have in common. This is especially horrible behavior because Lila is now practically homeless, is possibly being stalked, is facing prison time, and can’t reach her parents. Steven is basically the only person she’s been able to turn to for support. But having her date their brother would mess up the twins’ perfect little lives, so they just have to get rid of her.
Anyway, Steven’s investigation actually turns up some evidence: The bomb was made from a can of the brand of soda John Pfeifer drinks. He also gets Lila to demonstrate that she wouldn’t be able to throw the soda/bomb as high or as hard as it was thrown. Not that this evidence is admissible in court, or proves that Pfeifer was the bomber, or was collected by someone not avidly trying to defend the accused culprit. But still, it’s pretty good work.
Because the twins have nothing better to do, they arrange for Steven and Lila to meet up at an SVH football game so they’ll have to discuss (and hopefully fight about) the letters. This actually works, but Lila and Steven figure out that the twins sent the letters and decide to get back at them by pretending they failed. Instead, they encounter Pfeifer, who has another bomb.
Pfeifer commits the cardinal sin of villains: talking too much. He’s mad that Lila’s accusations of attempted rape made him an outcast, so he burned down Fowler Crest and framed her. He detonates the bomb, blowing up SVH’s gym. Lila and Steven somehow make it out all right, but Pfeifer ends up killing himself. The twins feel worse about almost getting Steven and Lila killed than they do about Pfeifer actually dying.
Happy ending: Steven gets his internship back and calls Billie, so they’re on the road to getting back together. Lila’s parents come home and she tells them she doesn’t want any material things to make her feel better; she just wants them around more. And Lila and Steven get their revenge on the twins by pretending they’re engaged.
While all this is going on, Devon makes it to Sweet Valley, where his childhood nanny lives. He’s already been burned twice by relatives who a) only wanted him around because he’s rich or b) were jerks, so he doesn’t want to get too comfortable. But Nana is awesome and just wants Devon to have a stable place to live. Devon’s mad that she never got in touch with him after she stopped working for his family, but it turns out his parents hid all the letters she wrote him. She insists his parents loved him and weren’t horrible people, but the hiding of the letters seems to negate that.
Devon eventually tells Nana about his inheritance, and she makes it clear that she doesn’t care about the money. She’s more than happy to let him live with her no matter what. Devon starts to make himself at home in Sweet Valley, hanging around SVH to see what it would be like to go there. And since it’s required for this series, he sees Elizabeth and immediately falls in luuuuuuuv. Yay?
Thoughts: Devon gets a letter from the law firm of Boyd, Dewey, Cheatam, & Howe. Really, ghostwriter? Really?
Devon’s nanny is named Nan and he calls her Nana. My head hurts.
“You don’t know who I am, but you will be mine.” Dev, I’m pretty sure you can’t say that unless you’re smoking and petting a cat in a top-secret underground lair.
So Pfeifer sets off the bomb, and the next thing we get is the news that he’s dead and everyone else is fine. How anticlimactic. I bet in the next book, the gym will be fine, too.
February 27, 2013
Summary: Lila + Steven = luuuuuuv. But he still has to investigate her, since the DA is convinced she set the fire at Falcon Crest. Steven, however, proves that he knows how to conduct an investigation and tries to find out if Lila has any enemies. He learns what happened with John Pfeifer and snoops around John’s stuff at the Oracle office. There he realizes that the article he got on arsonists was possibly printed from a printer John uses. Now, granted, this isn’t exactly a smoking gun, but the DA won’t even consider John as a suspect.
The new lovebirds are having a bit of a rocky time, partly because the twins are trying to keep them apart because they think the relationship is gross. They do stupid stuff to try to prevent them from going on dates, but it’s pretty lazy scheming.
At dinner one night, Steven tells Lila that the DA still thinks she set the fire. Lila’s upset and leaves the table. Then someone throws a bomb into the restaurant (no, for reals), and all the ingredients are found in Lila’s car, so the police think she did it. Never mind that she has no motive. Or that she would never create something that had to be made with fertilizer.
Elsewhere, Devon goes to Las Vegas to track down his uncle, who turns out to be a con man. Pete tells Devon he’s in love with a woman named Linda, so Devon helps him out by giving her expensive presents and love poems. Then he discovers that casino guests are missing jewelry just like the jewelry Pete’s been sending to Linda. But the obvious connection – that Pete’s stealing the jewelry – isn’t the whole story. Linda is actually Pete’s fence, and it’s become too dangerous for them to meet, so Pete’s using Devon to deliver the goods. Devon decides he needs to move on.
Thoughts: Diamonds = ice, and this story has both fire and diamonds, hence the title, “Fire and Ice.” Get it? …I’ll see myself out.
Man, this Devon kid is boring.
Hey, someone finally remembered Cara’s existence! But we still don’t get an explanation of why a Steven/Cara relationship was okay but a Steven/Lila relationship is gross.
Steven asks Lila to list people who might hate her enough to burn down her house. She names Enid. Yeah, I bet Enid set a fire and tried to kill you. Not that she probably hasn’t wanted to, but that’s different from actually doing it.
The DA tells Steven he’s off the case if he doesn’t stay objective. You’re the one who assigned him to investigate his sister’s friend! This whole thing is stupid.
Elizabeth tries to keep Steven from going on a date with Lila by hiding his keys. That’s brilliant! If you’re seven.
I figured Pete was just stealing stuff and giving it to Linda, so the twist that she’s his fence was pretty good.
February 13, 2013
Summary: Bo breaks up with Lila, and she responds by burning all the letters he wrote her. That night, Fowler Crest catches on fire and Lila gets trapped inside. She’s mostly fine, but the house is half destroyed. Unfortunately, the police think Lila set the fire. Her parents are conveniently out of the country and unreachable, so Lila has to deal with all of this on her own. She winds up moving into the pool house and being mopey for most of the book. She also thinks someone’s following her.
Steven’s home for a semester, working as an intern at the DA’s office. Guess what his first assignment is? Investigating Lila to find out if she set the fire. Even though she’s his sister’s best friend and this is a clear conflict of interest. And even though he’s 18 and has no experience or authority, and is also not a cop, which the ghostwriter doesn’t seem to get. Anyway, he goes back and forth between thinking Lila’s an arsonist who set the first because she wanted attention, and thinking she’s just a poor little rich girl who’s also pretty hot. (By the way, he and Billie broke up, so he’s single again.)
Lila and Steven start spending a lot of time together, since he’s supposed to be investigating her, and quickly start having feelings for each other. And even though Steven isn’t 100 percent sure Lila isn’t a pyromaniac, they end up kissing. Jessica sees and is hilariously grossed out.
We’re also introduced to Devon Whitelaw, who’s been living a Lila-esque life – lots of money, absentee parents. He’s broody and rides a motorcycle. Wait a second…rich, parents are distant, motorcycle, broody. Devon is Dylan McKay! Anyway, his parents die, and in order to inherit their estate, he has to find a guardian. He moves in with an aunt and uncle for a while, and everything seems great, but it soon becomes clear that they just want his money. If only this were a Margo-like situation and Devon ended up being an entertaining psycho bound for Sweet Valley.
Elizabeth spends the whole book obsessing over how Steven’s dealing with his breakup. She keeps inviting him to hang out with her and Todd, and he keeps finding reasons to hang out with Lila instead. Todd, amazingly, does not break up with Liz over this, even though that seems like something he would do. And she would deserve it, because it’s weird.
Thoughts: Why do the twins make such a big deal about Steven coming home? He’s there ALL THE TIME.
Billie gets mad that Steven wants to leave school for an internship for a semester, and she tells him to choose between it and her. Who knew Billie was secretly a jerk?
How can the DA investigate Lila when the police haven’t talked to her and no charges have been brought against her?
“Oh, what’s the point of surmising?” Studying for the SAT, Bruce?
“Who would want to hurt Lila?” Oh, Jessica. So naive.
Why is Lila allowed back into the house? It’s a crime scene! And the DA thinks she’s the criminal!
I get Lila being a suspect, but not once you look at the details. She poured gasoline around the house, took the empty can out to her car, then went back inside, where she could get trapped by the fire? I don’t think so.
“Was it possible? Was [Steven] really interested in one of his sister’s friends?” Hey, remember when Steven dated Cara, Jessica’s best friend? Yeah, no one else in the series remembers that either.
Lila claims she once dug for oysters in the south of France. There is not a chance in the world she ever did that.
January 30, 2013
Summary: There’s a new rule at SVH stating that all clubs need faculty advisors, so the cheerleaders have to find someone they can manipulate into sitting there quietly while they do whatever they want at practices. By the way, Lila is temporary filling in for some cheerleader we don’t care about, so the level of superior feelings on the squad is higher than ever. (By the way, the other girls are Jessica, Heather, Amy, Jade, Annie, Maria Santelli, and Patty.) Also, Jessica and Heather still hate each other. Anyway, the new assistant librarian, Nancy Swanson, is nice and quiet and interested in cheerleading, so Elizabeth suggests her as the squad’s advisor.
Liz is doing her own cheerleading-related thing: She’s been asked to help research a magazine article on SVH’s 1976 cheer squad, which went to nationals. She’s picked both because of her stunning writing ability (I guess?) and because she was on the most recent nationals-worthy squad. The writer is a woman named Diane who was on the squad and I guess needs help calling up her old friends and asking what they’re doing now. The photographer is a guy named Brad, and since he’s young, hot, and shows the slightest bit of interest in Jessica, she’s all over him. He turns out to be a total player and is really annoying, and he keeps popping up and doing nothing interesting, so let’s ignore him.
Elizabeth’s research finds that there was a girl on the ’76 squad who left partway through the year because of some sort of condition. The other cheerleaders remember nothing about her, including her name. Liz and Diane also can’t get in touch with one of the cheerleaders, Loretta, so they go talk to her sister. They learn that Loretta got drunk and drowned not long after nationals. She’d been troubled because during senior year she was in a car accident that killed a classmate named George. I don’t know why Diane doesn’t know any of this, but whatever. Loretta’s sister mentions a girl coming to the house after the car accident and screaming at Loretta for killing her boyfriend.
The cheerleaders don’t notice, but Nancy is a little crazy. She confuses the girls with other people and keeps covering part of her face. Eventually it comes out that Nancy was the cheerleader who left the ’76 squad. She developed some sort of disfiguring facial thing, and the girls bullied her into leaving the squad. Loretta finished her off by threatening to steal George from her if she didn’t quit. Being involved with another cheerleading squad makes Nancy blur the lines between the past and the present, and she decides the SVH girls need to be punished for what the ’76 girls did.
Over the course of a weekend, the cheerleaders start to disappear. First the girls think Amy and Jade have gone to another town to pick up new uniforms. Then they think everyone’s having a sleepover at Maria’s. Finally Nancy goes by the Wakefields’ and kidnaps Jessica at gunpoint, finishing her collection. She ties them all up in a flooded basement and plays ’70s music really loudly because she can’t stand all the noise in her head.
Elizabeth’s research finally proves useful, and she figures out that Nancy was the unknown cheerleader. She goes to talk to her about the article but quickly realizes that something isn’t right. Nancy tosses her in the basement with the other girls, who are all trying to keep their heads above water. Heather’s sick, Amy’s having an allergic reaction to mold, and poor Jade keeps passing out and almost drowning. So it’s an actual scary, life-threatening situation.
Jessica gets herself untied, so there’s a plus in the cheerleaders’ side. The girls just need to get Nancy to open the door so they can let the water out, and they decide the best way to do that is to play along with her crazy. They start cheering and ask her to join them. She opens the door, the water goes whoosh, and the girls are free. Score one for girls being smart and taking care of themselves. Plus, the experience makes Jessica and Heather realize they don’t hate each other that much, so that rivalry’s over, at least for now.
Oh, I almost forgot: There’s also a Liz/Todd fight because he doesn’t like how much time she’s spending on the article. Todd is a jerk. The end.
Thoughts: Some students are upset that all activities need faculty advisors now, but isn’t that standard? I’m pretty sure all clubs at my school had to have advisors. A bunch of guys even had an advisor for their semi-fake snooker club. I’m pretty sure he just sat in the room while they…actually, I don’t know what they did. I doubt they played snooker.
Jessica says “cowabunga.” I’m pretty sure even Bart Simpson had stopped saying that by 1996.
“She’s the new library lady.” You mean librarian? Shut up, Todd.
“Now, Jessica, is that a nice thing to say?” Now, Alice, you haven’t tried to shape Jessica morally for 16 years, so why start now?
Hey, Jeffrey Finch still exists! Good for him.
Dear Elizabeth, if your boyfriend doesn’t support you when you’re doing something that’s really important, DUMP HIM. I mean, you’ve dumped him for less.
Watching an aerobics class, Brad tells Elizabeth, “You’d look really hot in one of those outfits.” Okay, first, don’t ever say that to the sister of the girl you’re dating. Second, EW.
Elizabeth: “I’d rather date a live crocodile, covered with army ants!” Jessica: “Kinky!” Congratulations, SVH, you made a sex joke.
Aw, Jade’s too short to keep her head above the water. I feel you, girl.
November 7, 2012
Summary: SVH students get two weeks off to do internships with various companies, mostly ones their parents work for. But the twins land one with Flair magazine, with Elizabeth working for an editor and Jessica working for a photographer. Liz gets off to a great start, since she’s so motivated and sycophantic, so her boss, Leona, loves her. Jess has a harder time with the photographer, Quentin, who’s in bed with Simone, a thoroughly horrible model who treats everyone like crap, especially Jessica. But Jessica is determined to get in good with Quentin (in more ways than one) because she thinks he can help her break into modeling.
Jessica steals a camera and gets Lila to take photos of her on the beach so she can put together a semi-professional portfolio and impress Quentin. The camera is destroyed, and Lila refuses to pay to replace it, so Jessica tries to keep quiet about it. Cameron, a guy who works in the mailroom and has a crush on Jessica, buys a new camera and passes it off as a cleaned-up version of the old one. Let’s just gloss over the fact that a guy who works in the mailroom would never be able to afford a new camera of that quality.
Todd’s bored interning for his father, and also jealous that Elizabeth is doing so well, so he tries to get her to blow off her tasks and hang out with him. But Liz is a career woman, you see, and wants to do so well at her internship that she lands a real job with Flair during the summer. Todd goes to visit Jessica on a shoot, and Quentin thinks he’s model material and enlists him to pose with Simone. Suddenly Todd is hot stuff and has a big future in modeling. Elizabeth isn’t happy because she doesn’t get that Todd and Simone are only snuggling up to each other because, you know, it’s their job.
It only gets worse with Liz: She talks nonstop about her internship and treats Maria and Enid about as well as Simone treats people. They call her on it but she still doesn’t care, because this is life in the real world, yo, and Liz gotta get paid. But then she has a legitimately good suggestion for the magazine that her boss rejects, so now Liz is sad. Sad, sad Liz. And her friends aren’t around to listen to her mope, because Maria and Enid have wised up and won’t spend any more time with her, and Todd is hanging out with Simone and becoming Mr. Popularity. Sad, sad, sad Liz.
Anyway, back to Jessica. She corners Quentin in the darkroom and makes out with him, because that’s a totally reasonable, normal thing for a 16-year-old girl to do to a 20-something guy with a girlfriend. He keeps kissing her even after he realizes she’s not Simone, then asks her out. Then Jessica and Cameron, who have become friends, get into a big fight because she’s becoming so jerky. They totally do that thing where they scream at each other and then make out. Then he tells her they’re going on a date, and she accepts, but oh, noes! It’s the same night as her date with Quentin! Whatever shall Jessica do??
Jess isn’t the only one with conflicting plans: Leona wants Elizabeth at some get-together that she thinks will help her with her career, but Liz has already made plans with Maria and Enid in an attempt to smooth things over. So if Elizabeth cares about her career, she’ll have to ditch them. Clearly this is the sort of thing all 16-year-olds can relate to.
This book, in a nutshell: Everyone is horrible.
Thoughts: From the back cover: “Fashion! Models! Deadlines!” Yes, deadlines are quite glamorous. I feel positively elegant every time I have to meet one.
I enjoyed the recent three-book break from Elizabeth. It’s a shame it didn’t last longer. Seriously, she is worse than Simone.
Elizabeth got Todd a tie for his 16th birthday. DUMP HER, TODD.
“I always proofread everything four times.” Elizabeth, you may have OCD. Also, I thought you were so perfect that you never made mistakes. Therefore, you shouldn’t have to proofread even once.
Leona to Elizabeth, who thinks getting a trendy haircut and dressing more like a teenager will help her career: “It does take courage to be different. But in this case being different served no purpose.” HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
I’m pretty sure those internships are just excuses for the SVH teachers to take two weeks off and for a bunch of companies to skirt child labor laws.
October 27, 2012
Summary: SVH’s roof collapses after an earthquake, so while the school is closed for a week, Lila and Jessica take a trip to New York. Lila oversleeps and misses their flight, so Jessica goes on by herself. But there’s an emergency during the flight and they have to divert to New Orleans. In the midst of the chaos, Jessica discovers that her disguised seatmate is a rock star named Ryder Mitchell. They immediately fall in luv, but Ryder confesses that he’s going to New York to enter into a fake engagement with an awesomely named singer, Deidra La Monde. He wants to be with Jessica, though, so they make plans to meet at the top of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day.
Lila makes it to New York before Jessica, but she’s mopey because she wanted Bo (her boyfriend from the camp books) to meet her there and he refused to come up from D.C. Little does she know that he’s planning to surprise her there. In other news Lila doesn’t know, there’s a princess named Charlotte (from the made-up country of Laestra) who’s staying in the same hotel and who looks enough like Lila to cause them to be mistaken for each other. In fact, Bo mistakes Charlotte for Lila and gets himself roughed up by her bodyguards. Lila has no idea at first and takes advantage of the mistake to get a nice suite and special treatment.
Jessica finally makes it to New York, and she, Lila, and Bo live it up on Charlotte’s dime. (Well, Laestra’s dime, I guess.) Charlotte, meanwhile, just wants to be left alone, so she poses as Lila and works at a soup kitchen. (Why, yes, we did see this plot in the London books.) There’s some dump subplot with her falling for a guy there, but I don’t care about either of them. Anyway, Jessica and Lila get kidnapped on Valentine’s Day; the kidnappers think Lila is Charlotte and take her for ransom. They’re pretty dumb, and Jess and Lila bicker with each other like they’re Buffy and Cordelia in “Homecoming.” It’s all pretty weak.
The girls swear they’re not who the kidnappers think they are, but promise to get them money (through Lila’s father) if the guys don’t hurt them. They’re taken to Yankee Stadium (because the ghostwriter has to mention every New York landmark at least once in this book) while the kidnappers try to get money while slowly turning on each other, thanks to Jessica planting suspicion in the dumber one’s mind. Meanwhile, Bo realizes Lila’s missing, tries unsuccessfully to get help from the police, and connects with Ryder, who got worried when Jessica didn’t show up at the Empire State Building.
The kidnappers can’t get a hold of George, so Lila tells them to ask Bo for their million-dollar ransom. They tell Bo to bring the money to the stadium, not bothering to tell him to come alone and not call the police or anything. Seriously, they’re dumb. Jessica, smarter than she looks, hides a bottle, breaks it, uses the glass to cut through the ropes on her and Lila’s wrists, and frees them. She also uses baseballs to trip up the kidnappers, ultimately locking them in a storage room.
As the girls escape, the guys arrive with the money but don’t know where to go. The girls head back to their hotel, where they run into Charlotte. She jumps in to help find the guys, but no one calls the police, for some reason. Charlotte’s bodyguards stop the kidnappers before they can kill Ryder and Bo. So good triumphs over evil once again. And then there’s a stupid concert and I don’t care about Ryder.
Thoughts: I guess Ryder isn’t worried about the press finding out he likes underage girls. There’s reference to him being a teenager, but if he’s old enough to get married, he’s probably 18 or 19. And Jessica’s 16. 16! Why do older guys always fall in love with her?
And why doesn’t anyone notice that Lila doesn’t have Charlotte’s foreign accent?
Lila and Jessica eat pickled chestnuts. That’s disgusting.
With this book, the series really joins the ’90s: The rich people all have cell phones. (Except they keep calling them cellular phones.) Also, someone mentions a video dating service. I totally forgot those ever existed.
Bo has a dream about Lila fall off one of the Twin Towers. So…that’s disturbing.
Jessica first finds baseball bats but ditches them in favor of using the baseballs like she’s in Home Alone. Lila suggests that they arm themselves with the baseball bats just in case. Silly Lila, trying to be helpful and smart.
September 25, 2012
Summary: 1789-1793: Lili de Beautemps is really rich. Then the French Revolution comes around and her family loses everything (including their heads). Lili herself is almost guillotined, but she’s saved by Georges Oiseleur, her maid’s brother. (And yes, his name translates to George Fowler.) She spends a few years as a seamstress in Paris, making her own dress when she’s invited to a fancy party. There, she meets Count Matthieu de Bizac, who seems to fall in love with her. She thinks she’s fooled him into thinking she’s a noblewoman, but he knows she’s not and doesn’t care.
Lili and Matthieu get married, but not long after they move into a hotel (while Matthieu looks for a place for them to live and mysteriously disappears for long periods of time), she wakes up one morning to see that he’s taken his stuff and split. It turns out he was married already, and this isn’t the first time he’s seduced another woman and “married” her. Also, he’s left her with no money. Oh, and she’s pregnant. Lili moves into an apartment and prepares to be a single mother. However, she dies just after giving birth and asks her friend Marie to take care of her daughter, Celeste.
Meanwhile, Georges has been looking for Lili, since he’s in love with her. He’s also recovered her family’s estate and wants to get her back home. Instead, he finds out she had a daughter and died. Georges goes hunting for the daughter so she can get the estate.
1809: Celeste grows up with Marie’s children, then goes to work as a maid for the Marquis de Bocage. She’s mostly in charge of waiting on the marquis’ Lila-like daughter Emilie. Georges meets her and thinks she’s like Lili, so he sends her little gifts and arranges for her to be tutored by a woman named Solange (who he winds up falling in love with). Celeste also meets the marquis’ son, Marc, and they have feelings for each other but know nothing can happen because he’s upper-class and she’s a maid.
Marc decides to try to find another woman to distract him from Celeste. He agrees to a ball Emilie wants to throw, but he doesn’t connect with any of the women there. He and Celeste end up kissing, then secretly seeing each other for a few weeks. Then he proposes, but Celeste won’t marry him since she doesn’t want him to give up his inheritance and station in life. Marc’s mother thinks Celeste is a seductive hussy and fires her for sullying her perfect little boy.
Celeste meets up with Georges, who finally figures out that she’s Lili’s daughter. He also finally gets to tell her that he’s restored her family’s estate. Now that she’s rich, the marquis has no reason to object to Celeste marrying Marc. I’m sure she enjoys having in-laws who hated her so much when she was poor. Anyway, Celeste and Marc are pretty much the only people in the book who get to make their relationship work.
1880-1893: Rose, Celeste and Marc’s granddaughter, grows up with Pierre, Georges and Solange’s grandson. They totally have that best-friends-who-are-really-in-love-but-won’t-admit-it relationship, and it’s incredibly boring. Long story short, Pierre tells Rose he loves her, but she doesn’t believe in love, so he goes off and marries someone else. Then Celeste writes a book and marries an American named Robert Eastman.
1914-1960: Celeste and Robert’s daughter, Isabelle, meets two soldiers, Charles Doret and Jacques Oiseleur (a cousin of Pierre’s). Charles is interested in her, but she’s more interested in Jacques and starts sneaking onto the military barracks to meet with him. When World War I begins, Jacques and Charles are both sent to the front. But first, Jacques and Isabelle secretly get married.
After some time, Isabelle goes to the front as well to work as a nurse. She reunites with Charles, who tells her Jacques was killed in battle. Charles and Isabelle start spending time together, and he proposes. Isabelle still loves Jacques but marries Charles anyway, only to find out after the war ends that Jacques didn’t die after all. He’s furious that his wife married his best friend, and he thinks Charles lied about Jacques being dead so he could steal her. He runs off to India, and Charles and Isabelle end up moving to America (specifically, Sweet Valley).
Everything seems peachy in Sweet Valley, where Charles becomes the mayor and Isabelle gets pregnant. One day Jacques shows up in town, now using the name Jack Fowler. Isabelle tells him how she and Charles got together, promising that Charles didn’t manipulate her or lie to her. Jack tells her he’s not in love with her anymore.
Fast-forward to the ’50s, when Charles and Isabelle’s granddaughter, Grace Doret, has just been born. Charles and Jack still hate each other, and Charles decides to block some zoning change that results in Jack losing his ranch. Fast-forward again to 1960, when Jack and Charles have a big fight at Secca Lake, in front of their families, including 16-year-old George Fowler and eight-year-old Grace.
1971-1989: After growing up poor, George has worked his way through college and started his own computer company. He has a chance meeting with Grace and asks her out; neither knows that the other is from a rival family. George also doesn’t know that Grace is engaged to someone else. They start dating but keep the relationship a secret so their families don’t freak out. But Grace’s parents catch them and order her to marry her fiancé and dump George. If she doesn’t, they’ll disown her. Grace decides to stick with the money and the high-class fiancé.
Sometime later, George pulls some business shenanigans and takes over the Dorets’ company. Then he shows up at Grace’s engagement party and proposes. They elope and go to Paris for their honeymoon before the Dorets can find out that a Fowler ruined them financially. When Lila’s born a couple years later, only Isabelle and Jack come to meet her, as Grace is now on the outs with her family.
Two years later, Grace tries to mend fences with her parents. George is furious and orders her not to let them see Lila. Isabelle has a stroke and Grace tells George she wants to go say goodbye, but he again refuses to let Lila go near the Dorets. Grace goes anyway, refusing to leave even when George comes after her. When she gets home, she learns that George has filed for divorce and wants sole custody of Lila. Grace is so upset to lose her child that she runs off to Paris.
Thoughts: Pretty much everyone in this book settles for a second choice. It’s depressing. (Hence my recap title.)
Lila would die if she knew how similar her ancestors were to Elizabeth.
No one tells Lili that Matthieu is married and has fooled other women into marrying him. People in high society in late 18th century France were mean.
The town gossip in 1924 is Evelyn Pearce. Thank goodness we were spared The Pearces of Sweet Valley.
Did we know George made his fortune in computers? Well, we do now. And did we know he was such a jerk? We really do now.
According to this book (which came out in 1996), it’s still 1989. Weird.
August 7, 2012
Summary: The first two books in this mini-series were about Elizabeth hooking up with Joey, Jessica hooking up with Paul, Nicole being a horrible person, the kids being brats, Lila finding her male counterpart, etc. For some reason, the third is about an axe murderer.
But first, color war! It’s a book about summer camp, after all. Elizabeth and Nicole are the team captains, and Nicole fixes things so Joey’s on her team. Somehow Elizabeth finds out and switches him back, though that’s never explained. Nicole also wants to mess with Liz by sending Todd a picture of her kissing Joey, but Maria stops her and tells her to find a new hobby, because as it turns out, Maria is quite awesome.
Jessica goes to visit Paul again, and when they go back to camp, they decide to play a prank, making everyone think Crazy Freddy (an axe murderer from a camp story) is real. The plan is ruined when Jessica and Paul’s sister Tanya are kidnapped by a real axe murderer. I did not make that up. Jessica’s smart enough to pull off Tanya’s friendship bracelet as they’re dragged off, to indicate to people that something’s wrong.
Joey heads off to play hero, and Elizabeth and Nicole both go after him. They barely stop fighting long enough to not let each other die. Joey gets himself knocked out by the axe murderer (Cobra! I love it!), but Paul overpowers the guy, thanks to a diversion caused by Nicole and Elizabeth. Nicole further proves to not be as horrible as she seemed by letting herself get captured so Liz can save the others.
In what I guess is supposed to be comic relief, Lila and Bo go out to look for Jessica and Tanya, but they get lost and wind up spending the night in the woods. A crop-dusting pilot finds them but won’t take them back to camp because a) his boss is a jerk about schedules and b) this guy is clearly a jerk, too, because hello! Stranded people! Have a heart! The pilot calls his brother, for some reason, and the brother recognizes Bo and Lila’s names because they’ve been ordering food from his delivery service all summer. And then they invest in the pilot’s company, and I bet that will never come up again.
So there’s a happy ending, right? Sort of. Liz and Nicole are okay, and Nicole decides she doesn’t want Joey after all, so she’s okay with him being with Elizabeth. But Elizabeth doesn’t really want him either, since her heart belongs to Todd, or whatever. Jessica and Paul are still together, I guess. I don’t care. No one got axe-murdered, so it’s not a happy ending for me.
Thoughts: How do the people in these books never develop PTSD? Jessica was almost killed, but she’s totally fine ten minutes later. Wait, why am I looking for realism in SVH books? Again?
Lila’s defense of Bo paying people to do his chores: “He was providing jobs.” So Lila’s going to end up with a job as a political spin doctor, yes?
“She didn’t understand how she could be cheating on Todd, whom she’d loved for ages.” I love it that Elizabeth’s pretending this is the first time she’s done this.
The campers and counselors play Capture the Flag (of course), which reminds me of playing War on youth-group retreats when I was younger. It was basically Capture the Flag but with a military theme. Some players were designated “lieutenants” or “generals” (five-star, four-star, the whole shebang), and if you captured an officer from the other team, you got points. We also had “grenades” (I think they were balloons filled with paint) we could use to assult another team’s “fort.” We played in the woods after dark, and though we all had flashlights, the team leaders usually made us keep them off. I can’t believe no one ever got lost or horribly injured. I doubt we’d be allowed to play that game today without our parents having to sign sheets of paperwork.
July 24, 2012
Summary: Todd has just arrived at the twins’ camp, but he doesn’t notice that Elizabeth is all over Joey. Todd’s staying for a few days, which means Liz has to cool it with the boy toy and pretend she’s all about Wilkins. She plans to break up with him just before he leaves, but she can’t do it. Whatever, she can totally just see Joey for the summer and Todd will never have to know! Apparently Elizabeth has forgotten that she knows half a dozen people at the camp, and some of them, such as Winston, have no reason not to tell Todd that she’s cheating on him.
But then Nicole throws a wrench in the works by threatening to tell Todd about Liz and Joey’s fling. So Elizabeth dumps Joey, telling him she never loved him. Nicole also makes her talk her up to him. Liz catches Joey and Nicole making out one night, so now it looks like the two of them are together. But at the end of the book, Joey tells Elizabeth that he was just using Nicole to make her jealous, and he really wants to be with Liz. What a lovely guy.
Also lovely: Paul, the guy Jessica’s sneaking out to see. She’s not supposed to leave camp, but she keeps doing it anyway, going into town to see Paul at the diner his family runs. The guy’s a jerk who has trust issues, but Jessica’s smitten and doesn’t take the hint. She invites Paul to the camp play, which she’s starring in, but gets upset when he never responds. A couple hours before the play, she rides a bike to the diner, only to find out that he’s at home. Someone gives her a ride there, and she and Paul make up, but they can’t get back to camp. Elizabeth winds up taking Jessica’s place in the play, with only Lila, Maria Slater, and Liz’s co-star knowing. (Oh, and Joey, but whatever.)
In other romance news, Winston thinks the other Maria is cheating on him because she keeps mentioning a guy named Hank in her letters to him. (Hank Patman? That would be funny.) Some chick named Lara is totally in love with Winston and is basically stalking him. He comes close to cheating with her, but quickly realizes that a) she’s annoying and b) he doesn’t actually like her. And it turns out this Hank guy is old, so he’s no threat, and it’s a good thing Winston didn’t do anything stupid.
Thoughts: Why do they let junior counselors act in the camp play? That seems unfair to the campers.
Points to the ghostwriter for giving the campers names that kids that age would have in the mid-’90s (Jennifer, Aimee, Ashley, Stephanie, Tiffany).
Nicole’s blackmail plan only works if Elizabeth thinks Todd would believe her story. Why would he listen to a girl he met for two seconds, especially if the story was about sweet, kind Elizabeth Wakefield, who would never cheat or even consider being disloyal?
Trivia: Lila can sew.
This is my 500th post. Woop woop!
July 10, 2012
Summary: It’s summer yet again! This one takes the twins, Lila, and a couple other SVH kids to Montana to be junior counselors at a performing-arts camp. Maria Slater, who was friends with Elizabeth in the Sweet Valley Twins books, is also there, along with her best friend, Nicole. Nicole is a bitca. She and Elizabeth immediately hate each other; they’re both writers and want to write the camp play. They also both like a guy named Joey. Because, you know, girls always have to fight over guys.
You’d think that Elizabeth would be a better counselor than Jessica, but the opposite is true. Elizabeth’s kids are complete shrews, while Jessica’s are in love with her and just copy everything she does. It’s annoying, but at least they listen to her. Jess is also good at her job since she’s not distracted by boys. She’s decided that after losing Christian and having her relationship with Ken end disastrously, she’s going to have a boy-free summer. She even becomes the favorite of the camp’s owner and gets to organize a dance.
Elizabeth writes the play, even though it looked like the job was going to Nicole. Nicole steals it and erases it from her hard drive, so there’s no proof that Liz actually wrote the play. On top of that and her kids being horrible, Maria’s siding with Nicole, and Joey’s not interested, so Elizabeth’s not having the best summer. Fortunately, one of Jessica’s campers has been filming pretty much everything, and she gets Nicole on camera confessing to stealing the play. Jessica sees the footage and airs it for the whole camp. Nicole is brought down and suddenly everyone likes Elizabeth.
…Including Joey, who’s now all over her. Elizabeth had what was basically a crush on him, but as soon as he’s actually interested, she’s all, “Todd who?” She actually tells Joey they’re not that serious. And then Todd shows up, so ha ha!
Lila’s interested in a junior counselor named Bo, but he’s outdoorsy, so she pretends she is, too. Except it’s completely obvious that he’s a poser. It turns out he’s basically the male version of Lila, so they’re clearly a match made in Heaven.
Oh, and Jessica hooks up with the brother of the filming camper, but that part of the plot is stupid and tacked-on.
Thoughts: Lila “didn’t come here to make friends,” but it’s the ’90s, so she doesn’t get the joke there.
It seems like the counselors and junior counselors share cabins, so does that mean the campers are in their cabins alone? That seems like a horrible idea. Of course, what I know about summer camp comes from that one BSC Super Special, The Parent Trap, and Bug Juice. (Did anyone else watch Bug Juice? That show was awesome.) Oh, and I read There’s a Bat in Bunk Five, which was also awesome.
Would a seven-year-old know that you can use hydrogen peroxide to bleach your hair? And why was she alone long enough to be able to do it? I’m guessing her parents will be suing the camp that left hydrogen peroxide where a seven-year-old could get her hands on it.
Bo, for future reference, “I’m watching you” is not acceptable as a love note.
When Todd shows up, Elizabeth’s with Joey and she’s wearing Jessica’s bathing suit, so if she were smart, she’d just tell Todd she’s not Liz.