July 1, 2014
SVT #12, Buried Treasure: What’s in the Box? WHAT’S IN THE BOX??
Summary: While burying Ellen Riteman’s brother Mark’s pet parakeet, the two of them and Jessica come across a box buried in the Ritemans’ backyard. The girls send poor little Mark on an errand, promising they’ll wait for him to come back before they open the box, then proceed to open the box. Inside are $200, some pictures, and love letters. The girls barely glance at the letters, which are between two people named Jane and William; William wants to marry Jane, but she’s uncertain about their compatibility since her family doesn’t like him. Whatever – free money!
When Mark gets back, the girls pretend they’re opening the box for the first time and that only the letters are inside. Mark is smart enough to be suspicious. The girls immediately start spending the money, though they have to lie about how they got the things they buy. For example, Ellen got some really expensive earrings from her aunt. Jessica “found” a Walkman on a bench at the mall. Elizabeth is suspicious about that last one. The girls also hand in money for a class trip, claiming they sold chocolate bars as part of a fundraiser, but Elizabeth knows Jessica still has a full box of candy. Nothing gets past Nancy Drew, Jr.
Amy’s in charge of looking after the money for the trip, and when it disappears, people think she stole it. Amy points the finger at Jessica and Ellen – after all, they’ve recently come into some pricey items. Elizabeth is stuck in the middle, and the accusations against Jessica hurt her campaign for class treasurer. Who would want a treasurer whose twin sister might be a thief?
Elizabeth is running against super-dork Peter DeHaven, and her connection to an alleged thief combined with Peter’s slow undorkening threaten to make her lose the campaign. Amy and Elizabeth fight about the money – Elizabeth doesn’t think Amy took it, but she thinks Amy was careless enough to lose it – and Ken (who’s sort of, kind of Amy’s boyfriend, in the tame ways 12-year-olds can be boyfriend and girlfriend) shows signs of being on Team Amy Stole It. Amy thinks Ken is interested in Elizabeth, so she quits as Liz’s campaign manager and starts helping Peter. Ooh, betrayal. Amy’s showing signs of the shady girl she grows up to be.
While all this is going on, Jessica and Ellen are getting some heat. Mrs. Wyler, the teacher organizing the class trip, mentions that there are rumors going around about them taking the money, but since they deny they stole it, she can’t do much. The girls are no longer enjoying the things they bought. Mark busts them, figuring out that they found money in the box, so the girls hide their stuff at Jessica’s and play dumb when Mark tells his mother about the money.
The night before the Student Council candidates give their campaign speeches, Jessica borrows Elizabeth’s notebook for homework. Not realizing this, Elizabeth puts her speech in Jessica’s notebook. The notebooks get switched back, and when it’s time for her speech, Liz doesn’t have her notes. She totally blanks and gives the world’s worst speech. To add insult to injury, Peter is suddenly cool, and everyone loves his weird speech/rap.
So Elizabeth has been humiliated and lost her best friend, so when she starts crying in Mr. Bowman’s room, it’s hard not to feel sorry for her. Mr. Bowman asks her and Amy go to get something from a supply closet, and they end up getting locked inside. Which…who put in a supply closet that locks from the outside? Anyway, this gives the girls a chance to talk, and they make up. Then they find the money, which Mrs. Wyler must have accidentally put in the closet a few days earlier. Everyone’s problem is solved!
Before everyone learns this, though, Mrs. Wyler summons the Wakefields and Ritemans to the school to discuss the missing money. Jessica and Ellen decide that they’ll find a way to get the money back so they’ll get out of trouble. A woman shows up at the Ritemans’ house, and Jessica freaks because she looks just like Jane in the pictures from the box. The woman is Laura, Jane’s granddaughter; she was in town and wanted to see her grandmother’s old house. She tells the girls that her grandmother didn’t marry William, and she always seemed liked something was missing from her life.
When Alice and Mrs. Riteman arrive, Jessica and Ellen tell them everything. Laura lets them keep the money (good, since they spent it already), and the girls reluctantly agree to give what they haven’t spent, about $50, to Mark. I shudder to think what a kid in elementary school will spend all that money on. Laura reveals that she’s in a similar situation as Jane was, and reading her letters has helped her decide to marry the man she truly loves.
So yay, a person we know nothing about and will never hear about again is happy! Elizabeth is class treasurer, because cool clothes and sudden popularity only get you so far! Jessica and Ellen aren’t thieves! Amy and Elizabeth are friends again! Amy and Ken are…whatever again! Mark can buy a new parakeet, maybe! Happy endings, yaaaaaay!
Thoughts: I didn’t remember Olivia Davidson ever showing up in the Sweet Valley Twins series, but she pops up here.
Elizabeth thinks red glitter is too flashy. Liz, chill out.
Jessica’s story is that she found a Walkman in a shopping bag on a bench at the mall, and Elizabeth is totally okay with her taking it. That doesn’t scream “stealing” to her? Stuff lying around isn’t just free to a good home.
Jessica buys an orange and purple shirt. Gag.
“She had never been more disappointed in her twin in all their twelve years.” Oh, Elizabeth. She’s just getting started.
SVMS stuents get to take class trips to Disneyland. One of the many perks of living in Southern California. But growing up right outside D.C., I got to go on class trips to the Air and Space Museum and the National Zoo.
Amy, when a boy asks you out for ice cream, you don’t invite someone else to come with you.