April 5, 2016
SVT #51, Elizabeth the Impossible: For Your Consideration
Summary: Elizabeth’s life is pretty fabulous right now – she got to write an article for the Sweet Valley Tribune as part of their Junior Journalist column, and she won a national essay competition in Teen Scene magazine. Everyone’s proud of her, especially some random girl named Pamela McDonald who is apparently obsessed with Liz.
The middle-school students learn about a contest to find model students in various schools. Each school gets to nominate someone, and Jessica thinks Elizabeth fits the bill. Considering some of the criteria are things like being studious, pleasant, and helpful, this certainly does sound like something right up Elizabeth’s alley. The teachers are the ones doing the nominating, so Jess talks up her twin to every teacher she can think of. Pamela also thinks Liz should be nominated, and wants to go so far as to circulate a petition asking the teachers to consider her. This is like Oscar campaigning.
Elizabeth likes the idea of being nominated but doesn’t want to draw attention to herself the way Jessica and Pamela do. Then she overhears Mr. Bowman telling the principal that he’s considering nominating her. Suddenly Liz is determined to find out everything she can about being a model student so she can fit the criteria perfectly. Thus begins her insufferability (is that a word? It is now!) in this book.
Liz starts getting up early, wearing preppy clothes (even preppier than she usually does), and taking everything way too seriously. Think Tracy Flick from Election, but even more annoying. For example, a couple of captions in the Sixers accidentally got swapped, so Liz decides she needs to oversee every detail of the paper’s production so it’s all perfect. Her staff thinks she’s crazy.
In fact, everyone’s gotten fed up with Liz, except Pamela. She’s so eager to help Elizabeth become a model student that she encourages Liz to be the most boring, straight-laced 12-year-old in history. The recapper at 1bruce1 makes the excellent analogy that Pamela is the Iago to Elizabeth’s Othello, telling her that everyone else is wrong and she should keep doing what she’s doing.
Elizabeth turns into a little bossypants, urging Jessica to focus less on shopping and more on playing chess or the harp. She starts jogging with Pamela (since a model student is healthy) and throws out the family’s junk food. Her parents are a lot nicer about this than I would be, considering she’s throwing away perfectly good food that other people eat, and that she didn’t pay for. When Aaron calls during dinner, Liz won’t let Jessica come to the phone. She even tells Aaron not to call during mealtimes, which embarrasses both him and Jess.
Amy comes over to hang out and quickly regrets it. She’s annoyed that Elizabeth and Pamela are such close friends now, since all Pamela does is talk about how great Liz is. When Pamela shows up, Amy tells her off, which is pretty awesome. Liz doesn’t listen, just continuing to let Pamela egg her on. Elizabeth somehow doesn’t get her hair torn out when she tells Janet she shouldn’t eat two pieces of cheesecake at lunch, since they’ll make her fat.
At the end of her rope, Jess perks up when she hears a rumor that Todd might be nominated for model student. She turns her campaign to him, talking him up to teachers so they’ll drop Elizabeth as the nominee. At first Liz thinks Todd is no competition, but she soon realizes that he’s just as well-rounded and wonderful as she is. And at this point, everyone sees it. Even Todd thinks Elizabeth has gone around the bend.
The Sweet Valley Tribune wants to interview Elizabeth about her article, and they really want to include her friends. Too bad everyone has turned on her. She manages to get some of them to meet with the interviewer, but Amy just takes the opportunity to mention that some people are much more humble than others when their accomplishments are recognized.
Pamela learns that Jess is backing Todd now, and lets Elizabeth know. Elizabeth hears the principal talking about the contest and how Todd may end up being the nominee. She gets caught eavesdropping and is punished with a week’s worth of detention. Liz realizes that this could be the end of her consideration for the nomination. When Pamela tells her that Jess is campaigning for Todd, Liz is actually happy – he deserves it. She finally tells Pamela that her friendship isn’t really friendship; she’s just a toady, and Elizabeth doesn’t need one.
In the end, it’s a moot point. Sweet Valley Middle School is so big (apparently) that they’re allowed to nominate two students, and Elizabeth and Todd both get nods. I’m not sure what they get for being nominated, other than bragging rights, but Elizabeth is back to normal now, which is enough to make everyone happy. Except Pamela, who we never hear from again. And that makes ME happy.
Thoughts: Apparently Elizabeth doesn’t see everything in the Sixers before it’s printed. Then what’s the point of her being the editor? I mean, if it were a real paper with lots of sections, it would make sense to have editors for each section, but it can’t be that many pages.
Todd’s pretty awesome in SVT, so what ruins him in SVH? I’m going to guess…Elizabeth.
A week of detention seems excessive for eavesdropping, but Elizabeth was such a jerk in this book that she deserves it.