April 24, 2013
Summary: While Elizabeth and Devon have the world’s longest makeout session, Jessica quickly decides that the best way to get revenge is to pretend to hook up with Todd. Todd somehow has too much class for that, and instead goes to the beach to confirm that Jessica was telling him the truth. He wants Elizabeth back, even though she’ll probably just cheat on him again five minutes later.
Jessica still wants revenge, so she comes up with a so-crazy-it-just-might-work-plan: If she can get Todd interested in another girl, Elizabeth will get jealous and want him back. Then Jessica can swoop in and take Devon for herself. She thinks Courtney is perfect for the role of Todd’s new love interest, and of course Courtney’s game, because she still likes him.
In boring land, there’s a science fair coming up, and Elizabeth wants to enter with Devon. He resists because he doesn’t want everyone to know how super-smart he is, or something. Jessica also tries to appeal of Devon’s science knowledge by getting him to tutor her. It backfires. Jessica continues her revenge plan by stealing the ring Todd gave Elizabeth, then passing herself off as Liz so Todd thinks she’s wearing the ring and wants to get back together with him.
Jess sets up Todd and Courtney, then arranges for Elizabeth to catch them together at Guido’s. This also backfires – Elizabeth figures that if Todd’s already moved on, it’s okay for her to be with Devon. So you’d think this would all work itself out, right? Wrong.
Jessica wants to impress Devon by entering the science fair, so she teams up with Bruce, who’s mad at Devon for not wanting to hang out with the other rich kids. They decide to make a volcano, which is so dumb in so many ways. Jessica then takes things a step too far by sabotaging Liz and Devon’s project for no reason. Also, the volcano blows up, which is kind of a metaphor for Todd and Courtney’s relationship – it’s over practically before it begins.
Elizabeth asks Todd to meet her so she can give back the ring. He’s confused, since he thought he saw her wearing it. They figure out that Jess pulled a twin switch. Meanwhile, Jessica knows that if the two of them talk, they’ll bust her on everything, so she grabs Courtney to…I don’t know, flirt with Todd again? Devon shows up as well and gets mad because Liz is with Todd. Todd tries to solve the problem in the weirdest possible way: by proposing to Elizabeth. She doesn’t respond, and Todd and Devon start pounding on each other. Elizabeth decides they’re both jerks and leaves, possibly the smartest thing she’s ever done.
Thoughts: There is way too much science in this book.
Todd, upon hearing that Elizabeth kissed Devon: “There’s no way Elizabeth would do that to me.” Really, Todd? Have you forgotten the five other times she’s done it to you?
“A science fair! What a cool idea!” Shut up, Enid.
When Todd and Courtney first became friends, she tried to get some alone time with him by asking him for a tour of their fathers’ company after hours. They wound up accidentally crashing a black-tie event. Now Mr. Wilkins warns Todd of upcoming events by sending him an invitation and writing on it, “You are not invited.” Ha! Awesome.
Bruce, I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to make a volcano for a science fair after the age of ten.
I REFUSE to believe that Lila and Amy build a robot. The ghostwriter must be high.
Speaking of which, Sandra and Jeanie’s project is using a prism to make a rainbow. Are you kidding me? That’s not an experiment! I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your souls!
April 10, 2013
Summary: Remember Devon? He’s officially going to SVH now. Remember how he spotted Jessica in a previous book and wanted to meet her? Now he’s more interested in Elizabeth. They have chemistry together (the class, not the romantic sparks…well, both, I guess), and he immediately falls in luuuuv. Elizabeth likes him, but she’s with Todd, so she tries to get Devon interested in Jessica. Devon thinks Jess is too shallow for him. Jessica just thinks he’s playing hard to get.
Devon, by the way, has a hard time with the word “no.” He knows Elizabeth has a boyfriend, but he keeps bugging her to go out with him. He thinks she’s been with Todd too long and needs to try dating someone else. Little does he know how many times Liz has tried dating someone else, only to end up back with the Toddster. Speaking of Todd, he’s trying to do something sweet and romantic for the anniversary of the first time Elizabeth was published in the Oracle. He settles on making her dinner, but has to call Enid for help since he’s a horrible cook.
Jessica invites Devon to a party, but he skips it to hang out with Liz. He asks her to meet him for dinner the next night. Elizabeth feels so bad for Jessica that she tells her Devon will meet her the next night. When Jess arrives, she realizes that Devon thought he was meeting Elizabeth. She pretends to be Liz until Devon figures it out. He thinks Elizabeth sent Jessica to mess with him, and Jess is equally mad that Elizabeth didn’t tell her the truth, and that Devon doesn’t want her. But she lies to Liz, saying they had a great time.
Finally, it’s the day of Elizabeth and Todd’s big, romantic get-together. He asks Jessica to bring Liz to the beach so he can surprise her. Instead, Elizabeth winds up talking to Devon, and they kiss. Jessica sees them and runs to the beach to tell Todd what his girlfriend’s up to.
Thoughts: Shannon of Shannon’s Sweet Valley High Blog is totally right about this book: It’s very Rory/Dean/Jess from seasons 2 and 3 of Gilmore Girls.
Some of these books reaaaaaally don’t need to be 200 pages. Like this one.
Elizabeth wears a short-sleeved sweater with pearl buttons, linen pants, and white leather sandals. Dude, even Andrea Zuckerman thinks you need to loosen up.
Devon is supposedly super-smart, but they put him in a chemistry class where they’re testing acids and bases. SVH sucks.
Todd thinks the C in a recipe means centimeter, not cup. I have no words.
I’m down to only eight books left in the SVH series, but never fear: I have already gotten my hands on more than half of the Sweet Valley University books. The madness will continue!
November 21, 2012
Summary: Elizabeth’s boss, Leona, goes away for a couple of days and leaves Liz in charge. Then Leona breaks her leg and has to take more time off, so she has Elizabeth go to her house to get her mail and collect her messages. Liz kind of pretends to be Leona, which is weird, then hears a recording Leona made of a letter she was going to send to someone at Flair, pitching an idea Elizabeth had for a column written by a reader. Liz realizes that Leona is Bad News. She confides in a co-worker, who convinces her to rat Leona out.
Jessica has those two dates planned for the same night, and somehow convinces Elizabeth to pretend to be her and go out with Cameron while Jess is with creepy teenager-dating Quentin. Jessica would rather spend time with Cameron, but remember, he’s just a mailroom peon while Quentin is a photographer who could get Jessica into modeling. Elizabeth feels bad for Cameron and gets revenge on Jessica by ordering food Jess hates, then making her eat it when they switch places. The joke is on both of them, though, because Cameron figures out the switch.
Jessica’s still determined to be a model, so she ruins some of Simone’s film, then offers to sub in for her when Quentin redoes the shoot. Apparently she’s gorgeous and perfect and blah blah blah, though she realizes that modeling isn’t as fun as she thought. Jessica patches things up with Cameron and he agrees to give her a second chance, but then he catches Quentin kissing her and goes back to thinking that Jessica is horrible. (Which she is. She clearly has no problems basically sleeping her way to the top.)
In Todd-related news, he and Elizabeth are basically kaput, since she saw him kissing Simone. He doesn’t care, since he gets to hang out with people who are just as awesome and gorgeous as he is. He also doesn’t care that his parents don’t like his new job. He breaks curfew and they warn him not to push it. Todd’s sick of being treated like a child, so he keeps breaking the rules. Eventually his parents tell him he has to stop modeling. Todd decides to move out instead. I’m sure that will go well.
Oh, and Maria and Enid try desperately to be interesting, going on a disastrous double date and shutting Elizabeth out because she was so mean to them before. Yawn.
Thoughts: I guess Elizabeth can date and make out with whoever she wants, but if Todd even looks at another girl, he’s devil spawn.
“With her funky retro look, Maria had a style all her own. Tonight she was wearing a pale blue forties dress with huge square buttons and thick army boots on her feet. An exotic green silk scarf was tied over her head, hiding her hair completely.” I can’t stop rolling my eyes.
There’s a restaurant in Sweet Valley called Bobo’s Burger Barn, where you can draw on the tablecloths. It makes the Dairi Burger seem like Le Cirque.
Enid has a mini-backpack. Remember those?
Cameron orders a steak and fries at a French restaurant. Dealbreaker!
Ghostwriter, stop trying to make us care about Enid and Maria. It’s a losing battle.
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.
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!
May 12, 2012
Summary: It’s Christmas! But first we have to be reminded of the events of “last year,” when Margo terrorized the twins and supposedly died. “Supposedly” because she somehow survived a huge piece of glass to the jugular, overpowered the paramedics in the ambulance carting her off, killed them, and escaped. Oh, and it turns out she has her own identical twin, Nora. Margo was evil even as a child, and the twins’ stepmother made their father give Margo away. Now their father is dead, and the stepmother is kicking Nora out. Nora finds out about Margo and sets off to reunite with her. And yes, Nora is also crazy (girl can see smells).
In Sweet Valley, school’s out, and the twins and their friends are having a caroling party at Secca Lake. Todd and Jessica are both late, and Todd winds up crashing his car, which almost falls off a cliff. Jessica saves him and goes to the hospital with him. He’s not badly injured, but he’s definitely enough in shock to suddenly consider Jessica the greatest person on the planet, since she saved his life. Elizabeth isn’t happy about it, especially when the newspaper does an article on the story and calls Jessica Todd’s girlfriend.
Elizabeth is already on edge from dreams she’s having that are similar to the ones she had last year, about seeing a girl who looks like the twins but seems to want to kill them. Also, New Year’s Eve is approaching, which means the anniversary of Margo’s attempts on Liz’s life are, too. Todd keeps fawning all over Jessica, which just gets Elizabeth more and more frustrated. However, she doesn’t want to be fighting with Jessica on Christmas like she was last year, so the girls make up on Christmas Eve.
Nora traces Margo’s journey to Sweet Valley, learning about the twins along the way. She decides to finish what Margo started and take them out. On Christmas Eve, she visits Margo’s grave but instead finds Margo herself. The girls decide to kill both twins and take their place. It would be easier if they get Liz and Jess mad at each other first, so they can’t tell each other about any suspicions they might have, so Nora poses as Jessica posing as Elizabeth (got that?), goes on a date with Todd to a movie Liz is seeing with Enid, and makes sure Elizabeth sees them making out. It works, and Liz is furious with Jessica, who’s incredibly confused, since she was with Ken the whole time.
Elizabeth is mad at Jessica all week, but on New Year’s Eve, the twins are helping put on a fundraising carnival, so they have to be at the same place. Jessica winds up going to the House of Mirrors by herself and isn’t seen for a little while. Nora and Margo have been fighting over which of them gets to be Jessica once the twins are dead, with Margo showing herself to be alpha twin. She was Elizabeth last year, and now she wants to be Jessica. Plus, Nora has a tattoo on her arm of the Gemini sign, which Ned and Alice would be more likely to buy as something Jessica would get.
Nora is growing crazier and crazier, now hearing Margo talking to her in her head. She decides to make a move herself. In the early hours of New Year’s Day, she sneaks into the Wakefields’ house to stab Jessica, remove her body, and take her place. But Elizabeth wakes up and catches Nora going out the window, then sees Jessica dead in the bed.
Liz is traumatized, understandably (and it’s actually genuinely sad, sort of), and keeps telling people that Margo killed Jessica. Of course, everyone thinks Margo is dead, even though her body was never recovered, so they write off Elizabeth’s accusations as crazy talk. She has dreams about Jessica telling her she’s still alive and Liz has to save her, which doesn’t help her try to convince people she’s sane. Speaking of insanity, Margo has disappeared, and Nora is paranoid that she’s going to get revenge for Nora’s botched plan. She decides to kill Margo, then Elizabeth, and live out the rest of her life as Liz.
The Wakefields hold a memorial service for Jessica at the school, and Elizabeth thinks she can feel Jessica’s presence there. She figures out that Todd wasn’t with Jessica at the movies, but Margo (close, but no cigar), which just adds to her theory that Margo isn’t dead. Then Elizabeth has a dream about two Margos and starts to think Margo had her own twin. She’s pretty sure Jessica is still alive. When the police come by to ask her more about the night of Jessica’s murder, Elizabeth excuses herself, steals a cop’s gun, and heads to the school.
Nora’s also on her way there, thinking that’s where Margo’s lying in wait to finish her off. Also there? Jessica, who Margo kidnapped in the House of Mirrors. Nora tries to stab Jessica, who grabs the knife from her and fights her off. When Elizabeth arrives, she sees two girls who look exactly alike and can’t figure out which is the real Jessica. She decides which one is the fake, turns the gun on her, and gets her to spill that she’s Nora. That means she killed Margo, not Jessica, in Jess’ bed. So Nora is taken away and the Wakefields get Jessica back. She asks Liz how she decided which girl was which, and Elizabeth explains that, on top of her “twin’s intuition,” she knew Jessica didn’t have a Gemini tattoo.
Thoughts: So Margo was presumed dead and her body was never found, but someone made a headstone for her, dug a grave, and buried an empty coffin? Seems like overkill. Um, so to speak.
The twins have had some pretty terrible ideas, but renting out a carnival for a New Year’s Eve benefit is pretty awesome.
First he breaks his ankle, then he breaks his wrist. The ghostwriter must really hate Todd.
Trivia: Ned drives an LTD.
It’s pretty bad that Todd can’t tell the difference between Elizabeth and Nora when he kisses them.
If I were a cop investigating the murder of a girl who’d just had a huge fight with her sister, and that sister was trying to blame someone presumed to be dead, I’d probably suspect the sister. But when has anyone in Sweet Valley used logic?
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.
March 24, 2012
Summary: Ten years ago, when Ned was an ADA, he put a man named John Marin in prison for kidnapping and killing two women. As he was taken away, Marin vowed revenge on the twins. Now Marin’s out, and he’s coming to collect.
(That summary sounds a lot more interesting than what actually happens.)
The twins are working as waitresses at a marina café for the summer. There’s a contest for tips, but that’s not important. Also, their boss keeps calling them the wrong names, but that also isn’t important. What’s important is that Ken is away and Elizabeth is once again bored with Todd, and both girls fall in love with new guys. Jessica’s guy is Scott, who’s interning for a TV mini-series to be set in a California high school. He starts hanging out with Jessica under the auspices of getting her input on the show. Elizabeth’s guy is Ben, a writer with a boat.
Unbeknownst (I have to use big words in this recap to make up for the brain cells I lost reading this book) to the twins, Ned keeps finding notes and various other clues indicating that Marin has been in the house. For example, Jessica’s lavaliere disappears, and Marin sends it to Ned to let him know how close he can get to the girls. Ned gets more and more freaked out, even though he has a private investigator watching the girls at work. He asks the twins if they’ve met any new people, but neither wants the other to know about her new guy, so they both say no.
There are also some
red herrings other strange people hanging around the marina, like a creepy guy who keeps staring at the twins, and a sailor who always orders a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast. Since Ned hasn’t told the girls what’s going on, they have no reason to think that anyone’s a threat. Then one night Jessica sees someone with a knife in the storage room, and when the twins ID him as the creepy marina guy, they’re told it’s Marin. Only he’s been in lockup since the previous night. Oh, and he’s not really Marin, but a guy Marin hired to watch the twins, then planted the lavaliere on to frame him.
Ned goes to see the PI to find out about the mixup and instead finds him dead. Jessica heads home while Elizabeth goes out with Ben. The police go to the Wakefields’, and Ned finally tells Jessica about Marin. When she sees his mugshot, she realizes he’s Scott. But at least Elizabeth’s safe, since that means Ben is the real deal. Except he’s not, as another waitress IDs him as the same guy Jessica was seeing. Yes, both twins were dating a murderer who wanted to kill them. Neat!
The ending is the only good part of the book. The Coast Guard takes Jess, Ned, and some cops out to the boat Elizabeth and Ben are on. Elizabeth realizes her new man is no good and starts to jump overboard. She gets knocked out, but Jessica saves her. Marin jumps in a dinghy, which the police find shredded; they believe he was killed by sharks. The Wakefields go home…and are greeted by Marin, who escaped and was hiding in the basement. He knocks out Ned, but Ned eventually overpowers him and Marin goes back to prison. Supposedly…
Thoughts: It kind of makes sense that both twins would fall in love with a killer. We already knew Jessica was a horrible judge of character, and Elizabeth is totally the kind of person who would write letters to a serial killer.
Elizabeth: “Somehow I’m going to find a way to have a summer full of adventure, risk, and life experiences!” Didn’t you have that last summer, when you went to London and almost got murdered? Wasn’t that enough for you? Maybe you should stop dating killers.
Someone needs to write a book where Marin and Margo team up. It would be the best SVH book ever.
“He’s a writer, for heaven’s sake. What could be duller than that?” I’d say something mean about Jessica for that, but I’m too busy deconstructing Proust so I can experience his work through a post-modern lens.
I liked the horror movie-ish twist toward the end, with Marin coming back, but they should have ended the book with him escaping, not getting arrested. They needed a cliffhanger to lead into the next book.
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 16, 2012
Summary: David is outside a hospital nursery, making a video about his new sister, Erin, born two days ago. Kelly is clearly still not thrilled to be a big sister and is calling the baby “it.” At the Walshes’, Jim is ranting about Brenda’s out-of-control behavior. Cindy corrects that she’s in perfect control and has been since Jim started his war against Dylan. His complaints aren’t going to fix anything. Cindy suggests holding out a little longer to see what happens. (Nice parenting, there, Cindy.)
Brenda cleans Dylan’s place and generally acts like a housewife while Dylan tries to continue to bach it up. At the beach club, Steve flirts with a girl named Rory while Donna and Kelly discuss their upcoming six-week trip to Paris. Donna’s nervous about the trip since she doesn’t speak French. Kelly spots Cindy but only talks to her after she confirms that Brenda and her parents are still on the outs.
Brandon also meets Rory and flirts with her. He and Steve celebrate their successes at picking up girls, soon realizing they picked up the same girl. Steve decides not to compete with Brandon since he’s sure Brandon will win. But when Rory walks by, she tells Steve she’ll see him in a couple of hours. Another look around helps the guys realize that there’s not one but two Rorys: They’re identical twins. The guys suggest double-dating.
Brandon runs into Cindy, who’s at the club without Jim; he’s too busy moping to come to the beach. She asks Brandon to go check on Brenda for them. Kelly holds the baby for the first time and finally drops her attitude. Brenda and Dylan fight like a married couple and are interrupted by Brandon; they try to pretend everything’s fine. Later, Brandon reports to his parents that he knows Brenda isn’t completely happy. Also, Dylan’s sleeping on the couch. Brandon advises his parents to extend an olive branch.
Jackie goes to check on the baby in the middle of the night and finds Kelly taking care of her. She’s become very philosophical about babies and sisterhood and family. She doesn’t want to miss out on enjoying time with her family, now that she finally has one, so she wants to skip the trip to Paris. The next day, Kelly and Donna tell Brenda that Kelly’s not going to Europe but Donna’s mom is making her go by herself. Donna asks Brenda to come instead, but Brenda declines.
Dylan complains to Brandon about how crazy Brenda’s making him. Brandon reminds him that he can send her home, but Dylan wants to stand by his principles. Brenda visits Cindy at home and pretends that everything is going great. She clearly misses home but won’t move back in until Jim shows her some respect. Cindy reminds her that she has to earn respect. Brenda mentions that Kelly isn’t going to Paris after all; she kind of wishes she could go instead.
At the beach club, Steve asks Brandon if they can spend the day as planned (Steve with Rory, Brandon with her sister Claire), then swap sisters the next day. Then if one is a “dud,” neither guy is stuck with her. Brandon thinks this is because Steve doesn’t like Rory. Steve just wasn’t thrilled to spend his date with her in the ER, since Rory thought she had food poisoning. They go get the girls but Rory still isn’t feeling well.
Cindy tells Jim that she thinks Brenda came over looking for a way to make peace. If he wants to make things right with her, he needs to listen to his wife. Dylan comes home to a moping Brenda, who tells him about her visit to see Cindy. She wonders if the Walshes would have been better off if they’d stayed in Minnesota. Rory still isn’t 100 percent, telling Steve that now she has sinusitis. Dylan gets a letter from his trustees summoning him to Jim’s office the next day: Jim’s considering freezing his accounts.
Steve still wants to swap dates, but Brandon doesn’t want to have to go out with Rory just because Steve has a twin thing. He knows the sisters will be insulted if Steve suggests a switch. He’s wrong, since the girls are already on board. Donna begs David to come to Paris with her, but he’s taking summer classes so he can graduate early. Brenda and Kelly talk on the phone, and Kelly’s clearly gone off the deep end with the baby love. Brenda thanks Dylan for going to see Jim and standing up for her. Dylan notes that he doesn’t really have a choice.
At their meeting, Jim tells Dylan that since he’s cohabitating with a minor, he’s committing statutory rape and jeopardizing his trust. Jim’s allowed to freeze his assets until Brenda moves out. Dylan says Jim and Brenda’s inability to communicate isn’t his fault; Jim agrees, but it’s still his problem. He can tell that things aren’t perfect at home, so he asks Dylan to help him and Cindy convince Brenda to go to Paris with Donna. Dylan calls it blackmail. Jim calls it “creative parenting.”
Brandon is still against the twin swap, telling Steve to go out with Claire while he breaks up with Rory. The twins arrive, dressed identically, and Brandon starts to give Rory the news, then realizes she’s not Rory. Claire’s going out with Steve to get revenge for the swap idea. Dylan tells Brenda they’re going to dinner at the Walshes’ whether she likes it or not. Steve tries to hook up with Claire, telling her that Rory’s boring and less hot than her twin. He makes out with her until she tells him she’s really Rory.
Dylan takes Brenda home for dinner, asking her not to say anything she’ll regret later. She decides not to talk at all. Jim presents her with a ticket to Paris with the idea of giving everyone some space. Brenda sees it as a way to get her away from Dylan, as well as a bribe. She’s upset and storms out. Dylan tries to convince her that she’s giving up a great opportunity just to stick it to her father.
Cindy admits to Brenda that the trip was her idea, and she didn’t mean for it to be a way to keep her and Dylan apart. She wanted to spend her junior year at the Sorbonne but stayed in Minnesota to be with Jim. Now it’s 20 years later and she’s never been anywhere. Cindy knows the family will get through their problems whether Brenda goes to Paris or not.
Brenda wonders why things are always so complicated, but Dylan tells her getting on a plane is simple. If their relationship can’t survive six weeks apart, then Jim’s right and they don’t belong together. Brenda makes her decision, and Dylan tells Jim that he got what he wanted. Jim thinks the Paris trip will be good for everyone. Dylan agrees, saying that’s why he didn’t tell Brenda about the whole trust thing. He adds that Jim only needs to ask him for things in the future.
The next day, Brandon complains to Steve that after Brenda tantrums and running away, she gets to go to Paris. (Dude, good point. Talk about creative parenting) Steve admits that his strikeout with Rory was one of the most embarrassing moments in his life. Brandon invites Andrea to a goodbye party for Brenda, but she already has plans with Jay. Brandon is totally, not in any way, shape, or form jealous.
Jim advises Brenda to spend some of her time in Paris thinking about the kind of relationship she wants to have with her family. Brenda thanks him for giving her another chance. Everyone says goodbye to Brenda and Donna, the latter of whom is no longer sad but is now scared since she’s afraid of flying. As they leave, Kelly tells Dylan that she might not stay with Jake – in fact, she might get together with Dylan. The last thing Brenda sees as she heads to the airport is Kelly and Dylan together.
Thoughts: Rory and Claire are played by Leanna and Monica Creel, who aren’t actually twins, but two of a set of identical triplets. Leanna played Tori on the Kelly-and-Jessie-less episodes of Saved by the Bell.
Kelly: “The only way anybody can tell it’s a girl is beacuse they wrap in her a pink blanket.” David: “I got news for you, Kel: That’s not the only way they can tell it’s a girl.” HA! Score one for David.
Brandon, your gum-chomping habit is becoming worrisome.
Steve’s idea of foreplay: “Let’s do it. Let’s go for it.” Gee, Steve, I don’t know why Kelly ever broke up with you. You sure seem like a catch.
So we’re all clear that Dylan basically traded Brenda for money? Right? I mean, you can say he gave her up so he wouldn’t go to jail (though since she’s 17, she’s most likely above the age of consent), but really, it was so he wouldn’t get cut off, yes?