March 1, 2012
SVH #115, The Treasure of Death Valley: Good as Gold
Summary: The twins, Todd, Bruce, Ken, and Heather “win” an essay contest and are “rewarded” with a four-day survival trek in Death Valley. Other than Liz and Todd, no one is particularly excited about it, and I’m not sure how it’s enforceable, but there you go. Anyway, they have four days to get to a predetermined point, and they have a certain amount of food, a map with water-collection spots marked, and…that’s about it. No adults or guides or anything. Just six teenagers of varying levels of intelligence in the desert. This doesn’t seem legal.
The teens are paired off as “buddies,” and of course no one is happy with his or her pairing. Bruce is with Elizabeth, Jessica is with Todd, and Ken is with Heather. Everyone wants to switch, but Elizabeth wants to be all mature and adult and follow the rules. Frankly, I’m surprised she’s not dead in the sand by the end of this book, especially with how controlling she is.
There are two supposedly exciting things that happen: The kids find a mine shaft with gold in it, and they hear about three escaped convicts who are possibly also in Death Valley. There’s more gold in other places, which means the teens will have to go out of their way to get it, and there’s some sort of curse that requires leaving half the gold and a map behind for the next person to stumble across it. (How many people are stumbling around in Death Valley, coming across old mine shafts?) So the teens get a bunch of gold, and they fight a lot, and Heather almost dies, and everyone hates each other, and I’m really shortcutting this because it’s boring.
Jessica starts getting paranoid about Heather stealing her gold, so she puts it in her sleeping bag, but when she gets up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, it disappears. She accuses Heather, but Heather had an alibi in that she was making out with Ken. Heather comes across the escaped convicts and hears them talking about the gold, which they know the kids have. She tries to convince the other teens that the cons took Jess’ stash, but they don’t believe her. Then she hurts her ankle and is all helpless. When the kids find the final gold location, there are skeletons, and then the storm they were trying to beat arrives. Apparently that’s good enough for a cliffhanger.
Thoughts: I would make fun of Heatherfor bringing along a little TV so she can watch her soap opera, but I totally get it.
Heather puts her sleeping bag with Ken’s and Jessica’s, and Bruce asks if she’s “going for a threesome.” A sex joke in a Sweet Valley High book? That’s madness!
Hank Patman has a friend named Bentley Wentworth. Of course he does.
Todd totally checks out Jessica’s legs at one point. Whatever, Todd, we all know you’re asexual.