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.
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 19, 2012
Thoughts: Jessica and Elizabeth’s “reward” for retaking the SAT is to visit Steven at SVU. (Apparently Steven doesn’t get a say in this.) They immediately take over his and Billie’s apartment, and Jessica throws a big party with a bunch of college kids. Steven and Billie go to a bed and breakfast but have a horrible experience and come back early, before the twins can clean up the post-party mess. So they’re off to a great start.
At the party, Jessica meets a guy named Zach who thinks she’s a college student. You might be shocked to learn that she does not correct his misperception and instead goes along with it. Elizabeth meets a guy named Ian, but they’re totally just friends! You guys, seriously! Just friends! She loves Todd! Don’t even think like that!
Jessica loves college life because a) there are no parents to tell her what to do, b) the sisters in the sorority she wants to pledge like her, and c) Zach is hottt. They hang out a bunch, and Jessica keeps pretending she’s a college student, even getting poor, patient, doesn’t-deserve-this-crap Billie to go along with her lies. But then Jess finds out that Magda, the treasurer of her desired sorority, likes Zach, and she worries that that will keep her from being asked to pledge. Despite the fact that she won’t be in college for two more years, and Magda probably will have graduated by then.
Elizabeth goes to a journalism class with Ian (who is totally JUST A FRIEND, I swear!) and gets yelled at by the professor for thinking she’s just as good as anyone else there. It’s awesome. The professor announces an essay contest, with the essay being due first thing the next morning. When she asks if Liz is going to write one, of course Elizabeth can’t say no. She stays up all night working on it and wins the contest, because Elizabeth is awesome at everything, which means that hanging out with a boy she has feelings for is NOT CHEATING, because awesome girls don’t do that.
Anyway, the prize is an internship and publication in a national magazine. (AS IF.) The professor tells everyone that Elizabeth is awesome (thank you, but we already knew that), and encourages her to leave SVH, get her GED, and enroll at SVU so she can become a famous journalist faster. So of course, Liz listens to her, because when people say nice things about her, she believes them.
Meanwhile, Steven and Billie keep trying to get some alone time so they can…I don’t know, make out? ‘Cause they’re not having sex (see below).
Thoughts: Why is this book called College Weekend when the twins are at SVU for a week? And why is this miniseries called “Loving Ambitions” when that makes no sense?
I highly doubt that the people who brought the keg to the twins’ party would just abandon it there, especially since it wasn’t empty.
Steven and Billie really confuse me. It seems like their apartment only has one bedroom, but when Billie first moved in, they had two bedrooms. That was the whole point of Steven getting a roommate. So we can assume they’re sharing a bed, right? But when they go to the bed and breakfast, Steven sleeps on the couch. And there’s no way a Wakefield would have premarital sex, right? I mean, he’s not Annie Whitman.
Zach and Jessica drink wine at dinner, so enjoy your arrest for giving alcohol to a minor, Zach.
August 8, 2011
Summary: So, yeah, Elizabeth’s still on the hook for Sam’s death. The Wakefields are basically falling apart, with the twins not speaking to each other, Ned trying to come up with a defense, and Alice slowly losing it. Jessica is still trying to stick it to Liz by dating Todd, who’s only with her out of pity and wants to get back together with Elizabeth. Todd writes Liz a letter, but Jessica intercepts it and tells him Elizabeth tore it up after she read it.
Elizabeth still can’t remember what happened the night of Sam’s death, so things aren’t looking so good for her. Until she gets a deus ex machina in the form of a guy who was driving drunk on the same road at the same time. He confesses to running Elizabeth’s car off the road and killing Sam. Suddenly, Elizabeth’s hopeless defense is moot, and she’s free. Jessica is only pleased because she still hasn’t been busted for spiking Elizabeth’s drink. Now she’s jealous that everyone’s happy about Elizabeth but doesn’t seem to care that Sam’s still dead.
Lila’s mom is still in town, and Lila thinks her parents are finding their way back to each other. Grace wants to stay in Sweet Valley, but she admits to Lila that things with her and George are complicated. She was very young (19) when she married George, and they’d only been together for a couple of months. He was poor when they got together, while her family was rich, and he felt threatened by her wealth. Eventually Grace left, taking Lila with her, but George, now rich, threatened her with a custody battle if she didn’t leave Lila with him. Grace felt her hands were tied, so she gave in, then went to Europe to get away from the situation. Now Lila wants to reunite her parents.
Pamela’s at SVH but everyone thinks she’s a slut, especially Bruce, so she has no friends. Amy realizes that they haven’t treated Pamela fairly, so she and Lila befriend her. Amy then goes to Bruce and gets him to see that people’s reputations aren’t always accurate. He finds Pamela basically being kidnapped by some Big Mesa jerk, saves her, and gets the girl.
Steven and his roommate, Billie, are falling in loooooooove. When people start talking about how Alice is losing it, Steven thinks Billie spilled what he confided to her. They get into a big fight and she moves out. Then Steven finds out Jessica was the blabbermouth, and he and Billie make up. Yes, that’s really it.
And then there’s Margo. She’s about to get to Sweet Valley when she encounters the brother of the kid she killed in The Arrest. He tells her the police are looking for her, so she makes a brief detour to San Diego. Sometime later, she does make it to Sweet Valley, where she learns that Elizabeth has been cleared of killing Sam, and that she has a twin sister. Margo buys a blond wig and decides she’s going to take Elizabeth’s place.
Thoughts: All right, Alice finally cracked! I knew it was only a matter of time.
“Maybe a guy should be there for his girlfriend instead of turning around and dating her twin sister.” That Todd, he’s a sharp one.
“Even at Big Mesa, everyone knew that Elizabeth Wakefield was one of the nicest kids at Sweet Valley High.” Are you freaking kidding me?
Phew, Maria’s last name is back intact.
Why do the cheerleaders cheer at soccer games? Is that normal?
I can’t believe Elizabeth doesn’t get a big celebration when she goes back to school after being exonerated. No slow clap or anything!
July 25, 2011
Summary: Elizabeth is officially in trouble. She’s been arrested for involuntary manslaughter, and her reward is a night in lockup. Her defense attorney is kind of a jerk, so Ned fires him and plans to take on her case himself, with help from Steven. (Yes, Steven is exactly the person I would want working to keep me out of prison.) Though Liz still can’t remember most of the night of the accident that killed Sam, Steven gets her to focus enough to remember seeing lights, which makes them think there was another car on the road.
Elizabeth is also dealing with everyone at school shunning her, except Enid. Todd wants to reconnect with her, but she avoids him, and he winds up spending time with Jessica. Jessica’s decided that she needs to get revenge on Elizabeth for killing Sam, and stealing Todd is the best idea she can come up with. She uses Sam’s death a bit to get his sympathy (though part of her emotions are sincere), and by the end of the book, Jess and Todd are making out, though Todd is thinking of the other twin the whole time.
Margo continues her cross-country tour of horror by killing the kid she was babysitting, stealing from his parents, and taking a bus to Texas. She only gets off there because the voice in her head, which she thinks is too tired to speak to her directly, sends her a sign in the form of the song “Money.” Margo sees a photo in a newspaper and thinks it’s of her, but it’s really of Elizabeth. And then, for some reason, she kills the old woman who’d bought the paper.
Lila’s mom Grace is coming to visit from Paris, and Lila will NOT shut up about it. Grace brings her annoying boyfriend along with her, so Lila isn’t able to get the one-on-one time she’d hoped for with the mother she hasn’t seen in 14 years. She’s understandably ticked, but also doesn’t make much of an effort to reconnect with her mom. She comes home one day and finds Grace crying in the house, which makes her realize that she’s not the only one dealing with a difficult situation.
Olivia gets Nicholas cast on a reality dating show called Hunks, where a guy goes out with three girls and the girls get to talk about the experience on TV. The first date is with a biker chick and the second is with a girl who won’t stop giggling. The third is with a very nice girl named Ann, but the events of the date don’t go smoothly, so Nicholas thinks he’s 0 for 3. When they go back on the show, the first two girls trash Nicholas while Ann gushes over how romantic their evening was and agrees to go out with him again.
Pamela tries to tell Bruce that her reputation is all a rumor: She went out with a guy named Jake and would only kiss him, but he told everyone at Big Mesa that they had sex. Every subsequent guy she went out with told the same lie, and eventually everyone started to believe that Pamela was giving the milk away for free. Too bad Bruce and Pamela are harassed by some Big Mesa before she can explain everything, so he never finds this out. Pamela also decides to transfer to SVH but doesn’t get a chance to tell Bruce before it happens, so he’s surprised to see her at school one day.
Steven’s been hanging around the house a lot, despite his parents’ insistence that he stay at school, and Jessica’s mad that he’s paying more attention to Elizabeth than to her. Whatever. Steven needs a roommate, and someone named Billie is interested, but since Steven’s at home, there’s no time for them to meet. Eventually Steven gets a message to Billie saying to just move in whenever. He doesn’t learn until the move-in is already underway that Billie’s a girl.
Thoughts: Why did Steven get a two-bedroom apartment if he doesn’t have a roommate yet?
Nicholas considers himself “business-like, but with an edge of flamboyance and originality.” Since when?
Maria Santini? Shut up, ghostwriter.
Lila says she’s pretty sure Grace doesn’t like purple, but when she goes to meet her, she wears purple. Ghostwriter, it’s like you’re not even trying.
There’s a weird section where all of the characters interact in some way (Todd almost hits Pamela with his car, Lila and Nicholas almost get into an accident) that seems like a lot of work for nothing. Maybe the ghostwriter was spending too much time on this section to get other important details right, like Maria’s last name.
Nicholas wears green slacks. Dear Nicholas: why?
Nicholas: “I’m swearing off women forever after this.” Oh, yeah? I hear Tom McKay is single….
I know I’m talking a lot about Nicholas, but when did he become friends with so many people at SVH? He never went there. And why do they all call him Nick?
July 2, 2011
Summary: Steven and Cheryl have been spending a lot of time together, and people start to think that they’re dating. They insist they’re just friends but wonder if they can’t see each other as possible romantic partners because they’re different races. They go to dinner together and have a run-in with some skinheads, which shakes both of them up, especially Cheryl. Steven kisses her and they decide to try out a relationship.
The only problem is that they’re not really that interested in each other. But they want to prove to everyone that an interracial couple can work, so they stick with it. A few students at SVH aren’t in favor of the pair, and Lila keeps pointing out that it’s never going to work. Jessica wants to prove her wrong, so she keeps supporting her brother and Cheryl very loudly. For some reason, Cheryl thinks she’s only doing that to hide her prejudice.
Steven takes Cheryl to meet some of his friends, including a black guy he invited at the last minute, Martin. Cheryl and Martin immediately hit it off and clearly have more in common than Cheryl and Steven do. But they still feel like they have something to prove, so they stay together. Basically, this goes on forever, until Cheryl’s dad and Annie’s mom’s wedding, when Cheryl gives a toast about love being colorblind and blah blah blah. Steven and Cheryl finally realize they don’t like each other like that, so they’re done. And then she tells Martin he can call her.
While all this is going on, Jessica decides she should make the wedding cake, and she manages to pull it off.
Thoughts: Let’s be up-front: I couldn’t care less about this book. It’s the only thing standing between me and Jungle Prom. (Well, this and one more BSC book.) Also, I don’t give a crap about anything involving Steven.
Lila: “My counselor says I’m extraordinarily sensitive.” Yeah, well, your counselor’s lying to you.
Why does Steven only date girls in high schol? Oh, right, I forgot – I don’t give a crap about anything involving Steven.
Everyone makes a big deal about Steven and Cheryl being an interracial couple, and Jessica even says they’re the first at SVH, but what about Sandra and Manuel?
If my teenaged daughter told me her friend was going to make my wedding cake, I’d have her tested for drugs.
Heh, even when Jessica’s being sincere and nice, people think she’s lying.
And here ends the series as we know it. I am beyond excited for all the craziness ahead. BEYOND.
June 13, 2011
Summary: Annie Whitman’s mom tells her she’s getting remarried, which is a shock to Annie, since she didn’t even know her mom was dating someone. Her fiancé, Walter Thomas, is a famous photographer, and he and his daughter, Cheryl (who’s Annie’s age), are moving to Sweet Valley from New York to live with the Whitmans. Oh, and they’re black. Annie doesn’t care about that last part, but she’s worried about how other people in Sweet Valley will react.
The Whitmans and Thomases buy the house next to the Wakefields, and the twins are happy to have a friend as their neighbor. They also don’t care that the Thomases are black. Walter and Cheryl arrive in Sweet Valley and everything seems to go well with the newly formed family. Annie and Cheryl are a little too nice to each other; each girl gives the other the bedroom she really wanted. Annie also gets a little weird about Cheryl’s race, not telling anyone because she doesn’t want to make it a big deal, but wondering if people will think she was trying to hide it.
Annie decides to throw a party to welcome Cheryl to Sweet Valley and give her a chance to meet a bunch of people from SVH. She realizes that all her friends are white and invites some non-white students, even though she doesn’t know them that well. Cheryl kind of figures out that Annie’s not really friends with those students, and Annie thinks Cheryl feels embarrassed. She tries to get Cheryl really involved in life in Sweet Valley, but Cheryl’s having trouble adjusting to life outside of New York and doesn’t like all the same activities Annie does. She does, however, like Steven.
Since Annie’s in Pi Beta Alpha, she wants Cheryl to join, too, so she nominates her. Suzanne Hanlon is her usual snooty self and comments that Cheryl’s a lot different from the other PBA members. She also indicates to Annie that if she makes all the food for a pool party Suzanne’s throwing, she’ll vote for Cheryl. In the meantime, Cheryl talks to Elizabeth and Rosa Jameson about PBA and comes up with more and more reasons not to become a member. She agrees to go to the pool party, since Annie really wants her to, but she’s been talking to Tony, Annie’s ex, who she thinks wants her back, and says she’ll only go to the party if Annie invites Tony.
Cheryl announces at the party that she’s going to decline membership to PBA since she has too many other things she wants to do. Annie blasts her for quitting after Annie stuck her neck out, and Cheryl plays the race card, for some reason, saying white people always want black people to be grateful to them. Cheryl talks things over with Steven, who notes that people can get along without having a lot in common – after all, Jessica and Elizabeth are identical in looks only. And then, randomly, Annie’s mom gets appendicitis, and she and Cheryl rush to the hospital, but Annie’s mom is fine, and then Annie and Cheryl make up. Like I said, random.
Thoughts: Okay, there is way too much going on in this book: Annie’s mom is getting remarried, Cheryl and Walter are black, Tony wants to get back together with Annie, everyone moves into the new house, Cheryl and Steven are hanging out, Cheryl feels out of place in California, Annie wants her in PBA…. This is like five books in one.
However, this book also contains a page-long teaser about the Prom Thriller miniseries. So! Excited!
“A lot of the other models Mom knows are black. Why shouldn’t she have fallen in love with someone who happens to be black?” Um, what? That makes no sense. “She knows black people, so it’s not surprising that she’s marrying one of them”? I mean, I know a lot of women, but people would be pretty surprised if I married one.
“You actually have sororities in high school here? Sweet Valley sounds like something out of a 1950′s beach-party movie.” Cheryl sure caught on quickly.
April 2, 2011
Summary: The twins are 27 and haven’t spoken in eight months. Elizabeth lives in New York and writes about off-Broadway plays; Jessica lives in Sweet Valley and works for a green makeup company. Oh, and she’s engaged to Todd, which is why Elizabeth won’t talk to her. Through flashbacks we learn about Todd and Jessica’s affair, Elizabeth’s discovery of it, and the twins’ falling-out.
Long story short, Jessica and Todd fooled around in college, but Elizabeth never knew about it. Jessica wound up moving to L.A., where she met a guy named Regan and married him after only a couple of months of dating. He turned out to be a jerk, and she ditched him while they were in Europe and ran back to Sweet Valley. She moved in with Elizabeth and Todd, and Elizabeth remained oblivious to their sexual tension. Regan showed up to see Jessica, got in a fight with Todd, and announced that it was obvious Jessica and Todd had something going on. Elizabeth finally realized it and left Sweet Valley.
Alice wants Elizabeth to come to Sweet Valley for her mother’s birthday, so Elizabeth decides to bring along Liam, a hot bartender, hoping Jessica will be so interested in him that she’ll show Todd her true colors. Except when Liam flirts with Jessica, Elizabeth gets mad. There’s also some stupid stuff about a playwright named Will who Elizabeth is writing about, and they hook up, but then he gets back together with his ex, and seriously, I can’t believe that was supposed to pass as a storyline.
Jessica decides she’d rather have Elizabeth than Todd, so she leaves him and heads to New York. Elizabeth suddenly forgives her and decides she approves of Todd and Jessica’s relationship. She agrees to be Jessica’s maid of honor. Once again, Jessica gets what she wants, even when that’s HER TWIN SISTER’S BOYFRIEND. And Elizabeth ends up with her best friend, Bruce, which…just…whatever.
The most interesting stuff is what happened to all the lesser characters, but the book barely spends any time on them. We barely learn:
- Steven married Cara but keeps having affairs. Jessica catches him with Aaron Dallas and tells Cara, which means she’s ruined another relationship with a sibling. And of course, she gets forgiven again.
- Todd writes a sports column.
- Ken (and NFL player) and Lila got married two years ago and are separated.
- Caroline is a real estate broker and runs a gossip website. She’s described as “the Perez Hilton of Sweet Valley.” She also battled cancer, but that doesn’t stop everyone from trash-talking her (Jessica even does it to her face).
- Jeffrey is a dentist.
- Enid is dating A.J. Morgan. She’s a Republican, an OB/GYN, and a recovering alcoholic.
- Robin is a caterer and a food critic.
- Winston is dead. Bleh.
Thoughts: I hated this book. Hated it. It was like reading about a bunch of people with the same names as SVH characters who act nothing like them. And with all the continuity issues, it’s not hard to think of them as not being the real characters. The book is also horribly written, as if Francine decided a third of the way through that it was a bad idea and then rushed to finish it so she could cash her checks. She has Jessica say “like” 137,000 times, and she’s obviously delighted that she can use whatever kind of language she wants, so she does. This isn’t an SVH book, it’s a book masquerading as an SVH book. It’s not worth your time.
Francine seems to have forgotten that Elizabeth and Todd dated in middle school.
“It’s a body I would know anywhere, even from the back: broad shoulders, neat waist, good legs.” No, Jessica isn’t talking about Todd – she’s talking about Steven. Say it with me: EWWWWWW.
Francine also forgot that Jessica and Aaron dated in middle school. I guess in her world, the whole Sweet Valley Twins series doesn’t exist.
Apparently Amy doesn’t exist either, since she’s not mentioned at all, but I can’t say I’m sad about that.
Trivia: Aaron has one blue eye and one brown eye.
Will thinks Elizabeth is horrible for wanting Liam to seduce Jessica. Oh, really, Will? You know what else is horrible? STEALING YOUR SISTER’S BOYFRIEND. Shut up, Will.
A.J. is described as a blond “bad boy.” Uh, no, he had red hair and he was a southern gentleman. He also dated Jessica. Shouldn’t Francine know this stuff?
There are a ton of other inconsistencies, but I don’t want to spend another minute thinking about this book, so I’m not going to address them. I’m also going to forget this book ever existed.