August 19, 2014

SVU #22, Elizabeth’s Summer Love: Everyone Loves a Brooding Hunk

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:45 pm by Jenn

If you didn't know this book was from the '90s, this cover would clear that right up

If you didn’t know this book was from the ’90s, this cover would clear that right up

Summary: It’s been a month since the last book, and guess who’s not having a good summer? Jessica Wakefield, that’s who. She hates her job, Ben keeps bugging her, and worst of all, Elizabeth took the guy she wanted. She tells Nina she’s sick so Nina will go to work for her, which is a waste of a fake sick day, since the weather’s bad and they end up closing the beach. Perhaps a visit from Isabella will help? Jessica likes that…and would like it even more if Isabella brought Danny and Tom with her, so Elizabeth will have to put the brakes on whatever she has going on with Ryan. Jessica just won’t let her sister know her boyfriend’s coming, so Tom can surprise her.

Apparently Elizabeth and Ryan aren’t really together, despite their kiss in the last book, because other than being co-workers, they don’t have much of a connection. He doesn’t want to pursue anything because she has a boyfriend, and because it would cut into his time spent being emo. But Liz is still a dirty cheater, so whatever. Jessica, on the other hand, is still having to dodge Ben, who catches her at a salon on what’s supposed to be her sick day. Like he’s never gotten a manicure to cure an upset stomach. Nina catches them both at the salon and yells at Jessica for lying to her. Why is she so surprised?

Jessica tries to avoid Rachel by ducking into a fortuneteller’s, where she learns that a guy in her present was her husband in a last life. She’ll also hurt him very soon. Jessica’s sure the guy is Ryan. She heads out to find him; he’s with Elizabeth on the beach. He sees someone in trouble in the water, and the two of them go in to save her. As they celebrate after their rescue, Jessica spots them together and decides to tell Tom what his girlfriend’s been up. But then something hits her in the head and knocks her out.

Despite the fact that he just saved a life, Ryan gets yelled at by the captain guy in charge of all the lifeguards. It seems he didn’t put up “no swimming” signs, which is a big no-no during bad weather. Only Ryan DID put up the signs – it looks like someone cut the ropes tying them up. Also, one of the signs was the thing that hit Jessica in the head. Hee. Sorry, it’s not really funny, but…hee hee. Ahem. Anyway, Ben tells Nina that the signs were cut loose; that combined with Paloma’s poisoning makes him suspect that South Beach is trying to sabotage Sweet Valley Shore. Nina starts wondering if Paul is involved.

Elizabeth bugs Ryan a bunch about why they can’t be together, and he tells her that something happened last summer that haunts him. We already know what it is from the last book: Last summer, someone drowned. Never mind that it wasn’t on his watch and that it was in no way his fault. Ryan feels like Sweet Valley Shore is his beach, so everything that happens there is his responsibility. Maybe Ryan should look into a job that’s not quite so high-pressure. Anyway, he’s concerned about his reputation, and about losing focus on the job. But he’ll still go to an upcoming rave with her.

Elizabeth goes out to buy a new dress for said rave, and while she’s gone, Tom, Danny, and Isabella arrive in town. Liz gets ready for her big date, and just as she’s going down to meet Ryan, she runs into Tom. He thinks she was getting all prettied up for him. Ryan has no idea what’s going on. He and Jessica quickly pretend that they’re going to the rave together, which couldn’t make Jess happier.

After the rave, Ben discovers that Paloma’s missing, and apparently it was Jessica’s job to watch him, for some reason. I don’t know why the dog needs a sitter. They get into a huge fight and she screams that she hates him. Ben replies that he loves her. Ugh, no, you don’t! You’ve known her for 30 days, and she spent 29 of them yelling at you! Speaking of yelling, everyone else piles on Jessica for various reasons, so Jess decides she’s done with the shore and wants to go home with Isabella. It’s not like she’ll be a huge loss to the lifeguard squad.

The next day is July 4th, the beach’s busiest day of the year. Ryan is nowhere to be found – he left the rave with the captain and hasn’t been seen since. Nina takes charge, because Nina is awesome. She also tells Elizabeth about the person who drowned the summer before, and how Ryan blames himself. He skipped out on work a bunch of times after that, and now he’s going back to his old ways by not showing up to the beach. Nina thinks it’s because he saw Elizabeth and Tom together. Uh…that’s not a sign of stability. That’s not really something you want in a lifeguard.

A boat capsizes, with six drunk people on board. The Sweet Valley lifeguards rush out to rescue them, with Ryan making a surprise appearance to help out. Everyone is saved, and the lifeguards all come out looking good, including Jessica, who’s been having a good day. Ryan explains that he was off looking for a stolen boat holding all the fireworks for that night (though…why is that a lifeguard’s responsibility?). He has to reassure Elizabeth that he didn’t abandon the squad.

After the fireworks that night, Tom, Danny, Isabella, and Jessica the quitter leave, with Tom still having no idea that he hasn’t been the only person kissing his girlfriend this summer. She’s now more interested in Ryan than ever, and even imagines him while she’s making out with Tom. Dude, just break up with him.

Jessica’s almost back to SVU when she decides to go back to the beach and finish out the summer. She apologizes to everyone in the house, even though I don’t think she did much wrong, other than scheming against Elizabeth and lying to Nina about being sick. She’s starting to think that Ben, not Ryan, is her past-life husband, and that they’re destined to be together. Ben’s like, “I can get behind that.” Ick. He’s just not appealing.

The next morning, Elizabeth goes to see Ryan for some more making out. While their lips are busy, a kid almost drowns. Ryan blames Elizabeth for distracting him and for not following all the proper procedures in the rescue. Elizabeth cries. I bet the kid who almost drowned is, like, “Sorry to interrupt your relationship drama, but could I trouble you for some CPR?”

Paul, the guy Nina’s been hanging out with (but resisting romantically because of Bryan), tells her he’s been asked to join the South Beach lifeguard squad, the rivals of Nina and Co.’s squad. Nina still likes Paul, but she’s getting a little suspicious about him. First of all, he carries a diving knife, despite still working in a surf shop. Second of all, he happens to conveniently find Paloma after she’s fed poisoned hot dogs. (Poor puppy! She’s okay, though.)

The night of the rave, Paul takes Nina for a private boat ride, which is definitely sketchy. When the boat’s engine dies, Nina clues in that this might not be a safe situation. Her solution is to jump out and swim for the shore. Later, Paul swears that he didn’t do anything to sabotage Sweet Valley, and Nina decides to believe him. I don’t know why she thinks he’s telling the truth when two seconds ago she thought he wasn’t.

Winston’s summer is going badly, since he wasn’t picked as a lifeguard and hasn’t found a job anywhere else. Wendy encourages him to interview for a job at Hamburger Harry’s. The job is, unfortunately, as the restaurant’s mascot, which means Winston has to wear a big hamburger costume and try to get people to come eat there. He tries to quit after just an hour, but Hamburger Harry didn’t become King of the Hamburgers by being a fool. He guilts Winston into staying.

The next challenge Winston has to face is Hot Dog Howie. That would be the mascot of a hot dog place, for those of you who can’t keep up with this sophisticated literature. The two mascots pick a fight, and people on the boardwalk egg them on, placing bets on who will win. Winston and Howie secretly get together and organize a big fight so they can get a little extra income from everyone’s bets. Unfortunately, Howie’s been doing this a while, and he doesn’t go easy on Winston. It’s probably worth it for the money, though.

Wendy keeps getting flowers from Pedro, who is totally in love with her and can’t take a hint. I think she should stop accepting the flowers, which might send him mixed signals, but what do I know? Pedro has gone from kind of sweet to pretty much a stalker, what with all the flowers and pretending to be drowning so Wendy will come rescue him. Wendy, that’s not the behavior of a well man. You’re right to keep your distance.

Pedro shows up at the gang’s house the night of the rave and tags along with Wendy and Winston. Wendy has such a fabulous time with Pedro at the rave that she doesn’t seem to care anymore that he only asked her out originally because Winston made him. Pedro also says he loves her, so Wendy’s on her way to fulfilling every fangirl’s dream of dating her celebrity crush.

Thoughts: Winston’s hesitant to take the hamburger job, but how is dressing as a hamburger any different than being SVU’s mascot? At least as a hamburger, Winston gets paid.

The mental picture of Jessica getting hit with a sign is hilarious.

Nina wears “a long, red flannel granny gown with little black-and-white cows all over it.” Thumbs down for a nightgown, but that would make a cute pair of pajama pants.

These people are spending a lot of money for college students who can’t be making much over minimum wage.

Nina would rather dive into cold water and swim home than stay in the boat with Paul. And that’s why she’s awesome.

The rave features line dancing. Yeah, sure, okay.

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