January 7, 2012
Summary: Picking up where Death Threat left off, Jessica has just realized that Jeremy was behind Sue’s “kidnapping.” Except she immediately talks herself out of thinking he’s a bad guy and convinces herself she’s wrong. Then she convinces herself that she wants to have sex with him, as he’s been pressuring her to do (even though SHE’S 16 and HE’S 23). Jeremy’s also still with Sue, waiting for her inheritance to be deposited in her bank account. He plans to grab it and run as soon as he can.
Elizabeth and Todd do some investigating into the “kidnapping,” since the police seriously don’t give a crap, and they wind up at the cabin where Sue was held, finding some of the instruments of abduction. Sue eavesdrops on Jeremy and Jessica and figures out what Jeremy’s planning. Then she makes the first good decision in the whole mini-series: She tells Jessica everything. Jeremy and Jessica’s first meeting was a set-up, and she and Jeremy were planning to get her inheritance the whole time.
Jessica believes Sue and shares the story with Elizabeth. They call Sam, the PI from the previous book, but can’t get in touch with her, so they decide to call the cops instead. (I know!) But they don’t have any proof, since Steven accidentally taped over their recording from the drop-off. Which is just further proof that the cops don’t care about solving the kidnapping since they didn’t take the tape into evidence.
Sue finds a news article about Jeremy (going by a different name) marrying someone a few years ago, most likely for her money. She also finds a plane ticket and figures out Jeremy’s going to take her inheritance and leave without her. The girls call the bride, who confirms their suspicions. Jessica and Sue both keep pretending they’re into Jeremy, so he won’t think anything’s up; he’s too dumb to catch on.
He’s not too dumb, though, to steal the inheritance before Sue can get to it. The girls and Sue come up with a plan, and Elizabeth lets Todd join up, because the little girls need a big, strong man to protect them. For some reason, part of the plan involves Jessica telling Jeremy that she knows everything he did but still wants to be with him. She tells him she wants to run away with him that night. He’s all, “I get the money AND a hot 16-year-old? Score!”
What Jeremy doesn’t know is that the twins have called Sam and summoned her from L.A. She arrives with more proof that Jeremy’s a golddigger. Then she outfits Jessica with a wire (Sam’s solution to everything) and sends her off with Jeremy to a cabin. The plan is for Sam, Elizabeth, Sue, and Todd to follow them and call the police. Yes, there’s certainly no way this can go wrong.
Jess heads off with Jeremy, but it’s snowing, which leads Sam and her crew to fall behind and wind up in a ditch. Jessica fulfills her part of the plan, getting Jeremy to ‘fess up to everything he’s done; she’s under the impression that the others are right behind her. When she realizes they aren’t, she heads for the phone, but Jeremy catches her and accuses her of trying to rat him out. They fight, she knocks herself out on a coffee table, a Christmas tree catches on fire (didn’t I say to just go with it?), and Jeremy realizes he’s about to get the money and get rid of the blonde without incriminating himself, so he takes off.
He doesn’t get very far, since Sam and her merry band of helpers arrive and try to stop him. They don’t. They do, however, save Jessica from the burning cabin. Well, really, Sue and Elizabeth do. Todd is no help. I still don’t know why he’s there. Jeremy gets nabbed by the police and Sue decides to come clean about her part in everything, so the twins actually brought down a criminal for once.
Other stuff involves Lila painting for Robby since she doesn’t think he’ll be ready for a showing in time, and a now-single Ken having a mad crush on Jessica and wanting to take her to a holiday dance. It’s as boring as it sounds. No, even more boring than that.
Thoughts: This book really could have benefited from Sgt. Johnson from the BSC books. He actually listens to teenagers when they say someone’s a criminal, even if they’re wrong.
There’s really no point in this book taking place over Christmas. The holiday is barely mentioned at all.
Jessica’s idea of lingerie is garters and teddies. Jessica is your grandmother in 1940.
Todd wears white jeans. Ick.
Interesting that everyone worries that Jeremy might kill Jessica in the cabin, but no one worries what might happen if he pressures her to have sex and she says no.
December 28, 2011
Summary: As Jeremy reported at the end of Double-Crossed, Sue is missing. Jeremy takes the twins out looking for her, and we get to confirm what we’ve been suspecting: Jeremy and Sue are scamming everyone to get her inheritance. He’s stashed her in a cabin and is planning to keep her there until everything else gets worked out. Then he takes her necklace and tells the twins he found it in the woods.
The next morning, the Wakefields get a call from the “kidnapper” demanding $500,000 – what a coincidence, that’s the same amount as Sue’s inheritance! Elizabeth is the only one who realizes it. If anyone calls the police, the “kidnapper” will “kill” Sue. Ned calls a friend named Sam (not the dead one) who’s a PI, and he and Alice decide to keep the twins out of school until Sue’s safe.
Sam arrives, and the twins are shocked to learn she’s a woman. There’s, like, three pages here where they talk about it. It’s dumb. Anyway, Jeremy, who is turning into a bigger and bigger jerk as the hours pass, makes another phone call (previously recorded so he can be in the room when the Wakefields get it) demanding $100,000 more because the family called in a detective. He also wants the twins to deliver the money.
And then the book suddenly gets really crazy, and a little awesome. Lila comes by to get Jessica, and Alice acts weird and tells her Jessica’s sick. Lila calls later and Jessica decides it’s okay to tell her what’s going on, despite having just promised her family she wouldn’t say anything. Only Lila can’t really hear her, and she thinks the Wakefields are the ones who are being held hostage. She tells Todd, who’s already suspicious since Elizabeth has been acting weird, and the two spy on the house. They can see the Wakefields inside, looking tense, along with someone in a baseball cap. It’s Jeremy but they don’t recognize him.
Lila and Todd decide to work with Robby to get into the house and overpower the kidnapper. They come up with this convoluted plan to pretend to be from Sweet Valley Power (uniforms and all) and say they need to shut off the electricity. Then Lila will spray the kidnapper with some flame-retardant stuff while the guys help the Wakefields escape. At the same time, Sam, Ned, and Alice come up with their own plan, with Ned getting the money and Sam putting microphones on the twins so she can know what’s going on. And Jeremy has a completely separate plan where he disables Sam’s car, runs the twins off the road, takes the money, and runs away with Sue.
While Lila, Todd, Robby, and Robby’s cousin (who works for the power department) do this whole crazy thing to get the uniforms and a van, Jessica gives Jeremy Steven’s wedding ring, which he has to wear on his pinky because it’s too small. As she’s leaving for the “drop” (yes, they use all the lingo you would find in a crime novel), Jessica decides to take a camcorder with her and record everything. I don’t know why.
Just after the twins and Sam leave, Lila and the others arrive and see Jeremy leaving the house. They tackle him, but when they realize who he is, they let him go. Ned and Alice learn about their wacky plan and have to tell them what’s really going on. Jeremy goes to the cabin, where Sue has decided she’s done with the whole plan, and takes her to the meeting spot. He can’t run the twins off the road anymore, so he just plans to exchange Sue for the money, then go by the house later and pick Sue up so they can run off together. This is the only thing that ends up going as planned.
Back at the Wakefields’, everyone’s relieved that Sue’s safe, even though they weren’t able to catch the “kidnapper.” When she finds out Jessica recorded the whole exchange, she almost chokes on her we’re-glad-you’re-not-dead cake. Sam has everyone watch the recording of the “drop,” but since the “kidnapper” is wearing a mask, no one recognizes him. Jessica, however, recognizes something else: the wedding ring on the man’s pinky.
Thoughts: Jessica makes a good point: She broke up Jeremy and Sue’s wedding, so what would they have done if she hadn’t? Of course, the real question is, why did they do any of this in the first place? If Sue was going to get the inheritance for staying away from Jeremy, why were they together at all? This whole mini-series is overly complicated. Especially for SVH.
Robby’s business class is ending a week into November? I don’t think SVU is on the up-and-up.
Also, why is Robby still around? Why do I have to keep reading about him? Why should I be expected to care about Lila’s love life if Bruce isn’t involved?
There’s an actual funny moment where Lila and Todd plan to go to the Wakefields’, and Lila goes to get Robby first without telling him what’s going on. They spend the drive talking about an argument they had earlier, and when they get to Todd’s house, Robby asks why they’re there. Lila says, “Oh, I almost forgot. The Wakefields have been kidnapped.”
December 24, 2011
Summary: Jessica is in major trouble after stopping Jeremy and Sue’s wedding, so she stays at Lila’s house (since Sue is still staying with the Wakefields). Ned and Alice think Jessica has gone way too far and want to send her to boarding school. Jessica is surprisingly blasé about this, mostly because she isn’t going to let anyone get between her and Jeremy. Speaking of that guy, he proposes, then jets off for Costa Rica for work. When Jessica calls to talk to him, he’s always off doing something and she has to leave a message.
Elizabeth appoints herself Sue’s babysitter, basically, trying to cheer her up. She eavesdrops on a conversation between Sue and Alice, learning that Sue was set to inherit a ton of money from her mother (who herself inherited a fortune from some frozen-dinner empire). If Sue had married Jeremy, she would have been cut off and the money would have gone to Alice. Now, though, if she and Jeremy stay away from each other for two months, she gets the money.
Jeremy asks Jessica to keep their engagement a secret, but she announces it at dinner one night so her parents know she’s really serious about him. The next day, the Wakefields find Sue unconscious in her room, having OD’d on tranquilizers. Jessica actually feels bad, so that’s something. She decides not to say anything to Jeremy. A little later, Sue admits to Elizabeth that she doesn’t actually have the blood disease she said she was dying from.
Jessica watches a film Winston made about romantic spots in Sweet Valley and thinks she sees Jeremy and Sue in it. This plus some other things she’s found out about Jeremy’s slips in honesty make her a little suspicious. At a Halloween party, Jessica finds Jeremy and Sue making out, and she finally realizes that he’s, you know, not that great. But later that night, Jeremy comes by the Wakefields’ house to announce that Sue has disappeared.
Subplots, all of which are dumb:
- Lila signs her boyfriend Robby up for a business class, and he’s furious when he finds out. But he goes to the class and winds up enjoying it. He also signs up for an art class in which he paints nudes, which freaks Lila out.
- Elizabeth takes part in an experimental girls-only math class. She thinks it’s sexist at first, but all the girls in the class enjoy it, and all their grades improve. She decides to write a series of Oracle articles about the class and track people’s progress over time.
- Todd gets a haircut and grows a mustache. Elizabeth hates the facial hair. They fight, then make up.
Also, Winston gets a bad haircut. Yes, this is really an actual plot.
Thoughts: I’m fairly certain Todd gets the hideous haircut Jeremy had on the cover of the last book.
Note to Jessica: If a guy says, “Good girl” to you, you should not be with him.
Someone got paid to write an entire subplot about Todd growing a mustache. Incredible.
Ned used to have a soul patch. Thank God for the “used to” part.
Ned and Alice want to send Jessica to the Milford Academy, where I presume she will be neither seen nor heard.
Bruce: “You little home wrecker, you. You just can’t keep your hands to yourself, can you?” Jessica: “If I remember correctly, you like it when I can’t keep my hands to myself.” Score one for Jess.
December 17, 2011
Summary: Jessica and Jeremy are still making out at Jeremy and Sue’s engagement party. Elizabeth catches them and morphs into super-moral Liz, lecturing Jessica about the whole thing. Her self-help books tell her that Jessica is addicted to love, and it’s an illness that can be treated. Speaking of illnesses, Sue finds out that she has a rare, incurable blood disorder (find me a book or movie where someone has a common, curable blood disorder, please), and she only has a couple of years to live. Jeremy decides he’s going to stick it out and marry her so he doesn’t break her heart before she kicks. Jessica’s devastated.
But a down Jessica is not an out Jessica. She continues trying to get Jeremy alone so they can make out and such. Jeremy keeps protesting, but he’s not exactly doing anything to stop her. Jessica continually invites herself along on Sue and Jeremy’s dates or shows up unexpectedly, and Elizabeth, her self-appointed guardian, keeps going with her. Sue doesn’t seem to think anything’s up. The twins, Lila, and Enid crash Jeremy’s bachelor party and Jess takes the opportunity to make out with him there, and finally Liz decides she’s done babysitting.
Finally, Jeremy and Sue’s wedding day comes. Instead of spending the hours before the ceremony getting ready, Sue goes shopping – and spends a ton of money. Jessica’s suspicious about how she can afford everything, considering she and Jeremy are still young and don’t exactly have high-paying jobs. But it’s the least of her worries, as, you know, the guy she’s in luuuuuuuuuv with is about to marry someone else.
At the ceremony, Jessica does that typical book/movie/TV thing where she actually responds when the minister asks if anyone has any objections. She announces that Jeremy can’t marry Sue because he’s in love with her. The minister calls off the wedding and Sue actually passes out. So now Jessica’s free to be with Jeremy, I guess, but everyone hates her for destroying a dying woman’s wedding.
The B-plots are dumb. Todd comes back from his summer vacation at his grandmother’s house and confesses to Elizabeth that he sorta, kinda hooked up with another girl. (Of course, it’s Todd, so they probably held hands and he kissed her on the cheek a couple times.) Elizabeth was considering telling him about Luke, who, remember, she basically did hook up with, but for some reason she gets all offended and basically breaks up with Todd. She spends the rest of the book trying to avoid him, but Steven tells her that Todd is really, really sorry, so suddenly everything’s okay.
Lila’s back with Jeremy’s friend Robby, who you’ll recall is poor. She wonders if he only likes her for her money, so she spins this incredible yarn about being an orphan whose parents worked for the Fowlers, who took her in after they died. The story involves a girl named Venice. Just saying. Lila plays poor little rich girl (badly) until she realizes Robby may actually like poor Lila more than rich Lila. She comes clean and he tells her he doesn’t care about her wealth, or lack thereof. I’m thinking he might change his mind when he realizes exactly how rich the Fowlers are.
Thoughts: I can’t get over how awful Jeremy looks on the cover. And this is supposed to be a guy two girls are madly in love with. He looks like a 16-year-old wannabe thug who hangs out in front of the 7-Eleven, smoking pot and bullying nerds. He looks like the guy who mops the floor at your local pizza place. He looks like the guy you don’t want to go upstairs with at a high school party. Jeremy is so skeezy that the girls who wind up on 16 and Pregnant are like, “Whoa, dude, put on a condom.” Even Chelsea, you guys. Even Chelsea.
Also, THAT HAIR.
Olivia calls Jeremy “the stud of all studs.” I just threw up in my mouth a little.
Bruce would never participate in a singalong, let alone help lead one. Get it together, ghostwriter.
That no one has beaten Elizabeth with one of her self-help books is a miracle.
December 6, 2011
Summary: The twins are back from their exciting trip to London, but things in Sweet Valley are about to get even more exciting! Okay, maybe not. Jessica meets a guy on the beach, they have an instant connection, they kiss, and he runs off, saying they can’t be together. Even after spending just minutes together, Jessica is convinced that the mystery guy is her twoo wuv, and she’s heartbroken that she can’t be with him. She’s super serious about this guy, y’all. Like, she loves him more than Sam. Even though she doesn’t know his name.
Alice’s college roommate’s daughter, Sue Gibbons, comes to Sweet Valley to get married, despite never having been there, and never spending much time with Alice, and the fact that she and her fiancé don’t know anyone there. Also, Sue is 18 and the wedding is in, like, a month. But whatever. The twins get right to helping her plan the wedding. And wouldn’t you know it – her fiancé, Jeremy Randall, is Jessica’s mystery guy! What are the odds? (No, really, what are the odds that Jessica would randomly run into the guy her family friend is marrying?)
Jessica and Jeremy act like they’ve never met, and certainly like they’ve never made out, but Jessica is upset that she has to help plan his wedding to someone else. She messes around a little, pretending plans have changed so she can spend time with him alone, then taking him to Miller’s Point under the pretense of going somewhere else. All it does it tick Elizabeth off.
Jessica’s next plan is to have Bruce take her to dinner at the restaurant where the happy couple is dining. It’s actually a pretty funny scene, with Jessica having to pretend she’s in love with Bruce as Jeremy gets more and more jealous and Bruce runs up a huge tab she has to pay. There’s also a funny follow-up when Sue sees Bruce kissing Pamela and Jessica’s all, “Oh, they’re just friends.”
As she slowly gets crazier and crazier, Jessica throws Sue’s wedding dress under a truck, but that backfires since the dress isn’t ruined, just muddied, and Jessica winds up having to pay for it to be cleaned. To add insult to injury, Jeremy tells her that, yes, he loves Jessica, but he’s not going to break up with Sue. Finally, the Wakefields throw Sue and Jeremy an engagement party, and Jessica and Jeremy end up dancing, then making out. So at the end of the book, he’s still engaged but can’t stay away from Jessica.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth hates how she fell for a psycho in London, so she starts reading a self-help book to help her become a woman warrior, or something. It’s dumb. She takes Jessica to a group meeting for people who have read the book, and Jessica thinks everyone’s a little nuts. Also, Lila’s dating Robby, a friend of Jeremy’s, and she’s all happy because he’s rich, but when it turns out he isn’t, she dumps him. Sounds about right.
Thoughts: I would like to state for the record that Jeremy is 23 and Jessica, as we know, is 16. I repeat: He’s 23 and she’s 16. Let that sink in.
Elizabeth thinks Jeremy and Sue (who are conservationists) will want to do fieldwork on their honeymoon. Why do you have to take the fun out of everything, Liz?
“If you were broke…would we be lying on this wonderful, soft blanket?” Please tell me Lila doesn’t seriously think only rich people can afford blankets.
Elizabeth chastising Jessica for falling for an unavailable guy is pretty funny considering she basically cheated on Todd just one book ago.
While I get why Jessica should stay out of other people’s relationships (obviously), I don’t get Elizabeth telling her to let Jeremy and Sue stay together because a) they have a lot in common and b) Jeremy leaving Sue would hurt her. Does she think it’s better for Sue to marry a guy who doesn’t really love her, not to mention who’s in love with someone else?
There are some fun (read: dreadful) outfits in this book:
- Sue: “a dressy silk shorts-and-top set”
- Elizabeth: a “yellow sleeveless jumpsuit with wide, flowing legs”
- Enid: a silk pantsuit, because she’s 50 and vacationing in Boca Raton