January 9, 2018

SVT #118, No Escape!: Well, a Landslide Brought Them Down

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 5:10 pm by Jenn

I hope Terry gets workers’ comp

Summary: SVMS thinks 12-year-olds enjoy caving, so they’ve arranged a field trip for the sixth-graders to explore some caves. Jessica couldn’t care less about the trip itself, but she’s interested in hanging out with Aaron. Lila suddenly has a crush on him, too, so Jess isn’t thrilled to have to compete for Aaron’s attention. Aaron is a big fan of cave exploration, so the girls try to pretend they’re excited.

A cool new store called Metro is opening at the mall, and there will be a bunch of giveaways and sales. Jess and Lila are dying to go, but all the kids going on the field trip are supposed to attend a mandatory safety lecture at the same time. Eyeshadow is more important than safety, so the girls recruit Unicorns Tamara and Kimberly, here being more useful than they’ve been in the entire series, to attend the lecture for them and take the safety quiz at the end. (Anyone who doesn’t pass the quiz can’t go on the trip.) Since the seminar is run by a group outside of SVMS, the people in charge won’t know that Tamara and Kimberly aren’t Lila and Jess.

Elizabeth, of course, takes the lecture super-seriously, writing down everything they’re supposed to bring along, like garbage bags and three sources of light. Meanwhile, Jess and Lila buy phosphorescent nail polish and eyeshadow. Apparently neon is still hip in Sweet Valley in 1998, so the Unicorns are excited about the makeup. Lila and Jess give some to Kimberly and Tamara to thank them for attending the lecture for them. They don’t bother listening when Kimberly and Tamara want to tell them what they should know for the trip.

Liz packs everything essential for the trip, knowing that this is a situation that needs to be taken seriously. Jess is like, “I have gum and eyeshadow; I’m good to go.” The kids are split into smaller groups to explore different caves, and the twins wind up with each other’s bags. Elizabeth isn’t worried, though, since she’s sure Jessica packed everything she was supposed to. Oh, Liz. She’s in a group with Aaron, Lila, Winston, and Maria – in other words, three people who take the trip seriously, one who would rather be anywhere else, and Winston. Lila entertains herself by drawing on the cave walls with her glowing makeup.

There’s an earthquake and a landslide, and Elizabeth’s group gets trapped. Their guide, Terry, breaks his leg and hits his head, causing him to keep losing consciousness. A bunch of the kids’ bags get swept away by an icy river, which Liz falls into. While her bag (well, Jessica’s bag) is saved, it doesn’t have any of the supplies Liz hoped it would. She has to settle for putting on leggings and plastic bags to warm herself up.

Thanks to the earthquake, the river gets dammed up, and the water level in the cave starts to rise. The kids realize that they’re in danger, but the only way out is a small passageway. It also comes out that Aaron and Winston both cheated off of Liz on the safety quiz, so they’re clueless about what to do. (Even Aaron, the self-proclaimed cave expert.) Elizabeth agrees to crawl through the passageway and get help. She manages to take three light sources with her, but her flashlight breaks, and she doesn’t have many matches. She’s able to mark her path with glowing eyeshadow, though.

The other groups were less affected by the earthquake, if at all, so they’re all outside, waiting for Liz’s group. The kids are worried about their friends, but the group that runs the cave tours has a policy of waiting three hours to go looking for anyone missing. This is a horrible policy, especially with children involved. They keep insisting that Terry’s a good guide, so he’ll save the kids if anything bad happens. Yeah, unless Terry’s dead. I doubt this was all spelled out on the permission slip these kids’ parents had to sign. Wait, this is Sweet Valley. Their parents probably don’t even know where they are.

Jessica desperately wants to go find her sister; she feels horrible that Elizabeth doesn’t have anything that could actually help her. She, Amy, and Todd sneak off to go on a rescue mission. They find the marks Lila made on the walls and are able to find Elizabeth’s group and send help to them. Liz, however, has no idea where she’s going and has run out of matches. She can hear a rescue team searching for her, but they can’t hear her yelling for help. She searches her things and finds a camera Jessica threw in her bag. Liz uses the flash to get the rescuers’ attention and is found.

Liz is pretty ticked at Jessica for not packing right, but it’s hard to hold a grudge when Jessica is apologetic and so happy that Liz is okay. They use the last photo on the camera to commemorate their field trip. Somehow, the book doesn’t end with the kids’ families filing a class-action lawsuit against the tour group.

Thoughts: I don’t buy Lila wanting to go on the trip just because everyone else is going. She should have gotten Tamara to fail the quiz for her.

I’ll never cheat on a quiz again, she thought. On second thought, maybe that was a bit drastic.” That’s our Jess.

Lila: “What kind of cave is this? I’m going to see if Daddy can sue them.” Winston: “Lila…you can’t sue a ground tremor.” She’ll probably try, though.



  1. MrToddWilkins said,

    What book(s) are you doing next,if any?

    • Jenn said,

      Probably no more books for now, but I’ll add another TV show.

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