October 28, 2014

SVU #26, The Trial of Jessica Wakefield: “The Grand Jury Hearing of Jessica Wakefield” Doesn’t Have the Same Ring to It

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:25 pm by Jenn

I have no idea who these people are supposed to be

I have no idea who these people are supposed to be

Summary: Jessica has been arrested, and things aren’t looking good. Because of the amount of cocaine she was found with, the police – including Nick – think she’s a drug dealer. Meanwhile, a suspicious Jordan delivers Celine what she thinks is her money, but what’s actually Lila’s hat. Jordan realizes what was really going on, and Celine warns him not to tell the police, since he’d be arrested, too. The guys she got the drugs from give her five days to get them their money.

Ned and Alice are out of the country, which leaves Steven as the default “grown-up” in the family. He’s barely in the book, though, and does nothing useful, like hire her a lawyer. Jessica struggles in jail, as you can imagine, and I would laugh at her but I know that if it were me, I’d cry the whole time. I actually feel sorry for Jess. Anyway, She tries to convince Nick that she didn’t do anything wrong and didn’t even know drugs would be involved. She just wanted to find out what he was keeping from her. The problem is that no one saw Jordan at the exchange, so it looks like Jessica was just hanging around with a bunch of coke.

Jessica and her public defender end up in front of a judge who’s determined to rid the world of drug crimes. He schedules a grand jury hearing to determine whether there’s enough evidence against Jessica to send her to trial. (This is how the book can get away with the legal proceedings moving so quickly. Otherwise, Jessica would be in jail for months.) No one can afford Jessica’s bail, so she goes back to lockup.

Nick has started to doubt that Jessica’s a drug dealer, and decides that he can’t testify against her. He’s suspended from his job, which just gives him more time to investigate the case on his own. This involves some deducing and other detective stuff that’s not really interesting to read about. Elizabeth is actually the better detective, as she gets Jessica to remember that Jordan was wearing an engineering sweatshirt, which could help them narrow down who he is.

Speaking of Jordan, his guilty conscience makes him call the drug hotline, where Alex happens to take his call. He confesses that his girlfriend got him mixed up in a drug deal, but he got a hatbox instead of money, and now mobsters might be after him. (Ahh, college was crazy for all of us, wasn’t it?) He tells her he’s going to hide out in his hometown.

There’s a Theta gathering, and Celine stupidly wears the hat Jordan gave her. Lila recognizes it and says that Jessica was supposed to pick it up for her. Alex figures out that Celine and Jordan were involved in Jessica’s “drug deal,” and she and Noah head off to try to find Nick. They first encounter Elizabeth, who tells them about Jordan’s engineering shirt. Alex finds Nick at the Theta house, looking for evidence that could clear Jessica, and tells him about the shirt and the call from Jordan.

Celine is next to sneak into the Theta house, looking for things she can steal for money. She comes across Lila’s bank card, which Lila lost a while ago and Isabella returned (but didn’t give back to her in person – good job, Isabella). Celine uses the card to pay off her debts and go on a shopping spree. Then she goes to withdraw money and gets busted by Lila’s own father, causing her to flee (still wearing that stupid hat).

Meanwhile, Nick does some more detectiving, which mainly involves driving all over California to find Jordan. He eventually does, and convinces Jordan to come to Jessica’s hearing. He arrives just in time to get everything sorted out and reveal that Celine was behind the deal. The judge is all, “Sorry, Ms. Wakefield. Your boyfriend is a good cop, though.” Jess is off the hook and back with Nick. Celine and Jordan are allowed to make deals in exchange for ratting out the actual drug dealers, so once again, Celine gets away with a crime. Sigh. At least Lila gets her hat.

The only substantial B-plot: Elizabeth and Tom are through, as he believes his father’s side of the story that he never hit on Elizabeth. Tom is a jerk through the whole book, which is really all you need to know. Liz tries to take her mind off of him and Jessica’s trial by going to a party. She accidentally gets drunk on spiked punch, and a guy who’s been bugging her comes close to raping her. Todd swoops in to save the day. The next morning, Elizabeth wakes up in Todd’s bed and freaks out, thinking they slept together. They didn’t, so Liz is still a lily-white virgin, but now her interest in Todd has been rekindled. So sorry, spending-the-semester-abroad Gin-Yung.

Thoughts: Yeah, like Jessica was really going to go to prison for a drug crime. I mean…middle-class white girl. Come on.

Celine buys turquoise velvet couches. Ick.

Danny declines an invitation to a Rams game so he can go to Jessica’s trial, and Tom thinks, “I finally get a chance to see the Rams play and something Wakefield related ruins it.” So now I definitely hate Tom.

Celine calls fake jewelry “paste.” I learned that term from an SVT book. The circle is complete!

Nick goes to the engineering department and gets hassled by a bunch of nerds. “‘I say he needs a reboot,’ the wiry guy cackled. Nick tensed. A reboot? That sounded threatening. He jumped back from the group and then swung around to face them. No one was going to give him a boot.” Nick, sweetie, you’re embarrassing yourself.

October 14, 2014

SVU #25, Busted!: I Would Like to Exchange a Hat

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:28 pm by Jenn

Nick is actually with the fashion police

Nick is actually with the fashion police

Summary: Still thinking that Nick is a spy, Jessica replaces him at a meeting he’s supposed to go to and pretends she’s a government agent. The person she meets gets spooked, then runs off when Jessica reveals that she doesn’t have any money for him. I’m not sure what would have happened if she’d been asked for information or given nuclear codes or something. She would be a terrible spy, but we already knew that.

On their way to breakfast the next morning, Nick spots someone who could blow his cover, and he has Jessica engage in a car chase to get away from them. Jessica’s like, “All right! Now we’re really getting into spy stuff!” Nick tells her the guys are from his former neighborhood, which was full of bad people. Later, Nick tells his boss that he was spotted by the brother of a drug dealer he put away. His boss is more concerned with the fact that Nick missed his meeting (the one Jessica went to) with a contact who could have been really helpful and might be difficult to get in touch with again. Nick decides to turn to Celine, who’s hinted that she has drug connections.

Celine is busy trying to figure out how she’s going to carry out her plan to get into the Thetas. She told them her grandmother would pay to renovate the sorority’s living room, which is a lie, so now Celine needs some money. She settles on the most ridiculous plan possible to accomplish her goals. First, she singles out a dorky freshman named Jordan who’s so flattered to have her attention that you just know he’ll do anything she wants. Thanks to Alison, Celine is vote into the Thetas, so as long as she can get the money she needs, she’s golden.

Nick shows off some more spy-type skills, like disarming a guy who tries to rob a movie theater while he and Jessica are there. Then he asks the manager to keep his name out of the police report, kind of glossing over the details with Jess. She really just continues to think he’s a spy and keeps spending time with him, because what’s more exciting than a boyfriend who risks his life every day?

Meanwhile, Celine puts the next step of her plan into motion: She tells Jordan that Nick is an environmentalist looking into animal testing at the pharmaceutical company where her (fictional) brother works. Celine’s brother wants to arrange a secret meeting with Nick to pass along some information on his company’s illegal actions. He wants to stay anonymous, so Celine has agreed to get someone else to deliver the information. That someone else is Jordan. Jordan is reluctant to get involved but can’t say no to Celine.

Jessica gets the information about Nick’s meeting with Jordan, so now there are three parties involved who all think something different is going on: Jess thinks state secrets will be exchanged, Nick thinks it’s a drug deal, and Jordan thinks he’s helping a whistleblower. Celine, the only one who knows what’s really happening, buys drugs from some guys who make it clear that she won’t get by on just her charm and pretty face if she doesn’t get them their money. Also, they know her name and where she lives, even though she tried to keep her identity a secret. Celine is a moron. She’s arranging a drug deal so she can pay for a renovation.

As the “deal” draws closer, Nick is pretty casual about the whole thing, thinking it’s a goof and Jordan isn’t serious about it. Jordan gets nervous and asks Celine for details, and she assures him there are no drugs involved. Jessica has to pick up a hat for Lila (don’t ask – she never shuts up about it) and is worried she’ll miss the meet-up.

Jessica arrives in time to meet Jordan, who gives her the package of what he thinks is information on animal testing, but which is actually cocaine. Jessica thinks he’s handing over information on Nick. She doesn’t have any money, and she’s worried that Jordan will hurt her if she doesn’t give him something in return, so she hands over the only thing she has with her: Lila’s hat. Jordan leaves, and Jessica, who has officially bought drugs, gets busted…by Nick.

In the other main plot, Tom is very happy to have family he never knew about, and is spending a lot of time with his long-lost father, George. George takes Tom and Elizabeth to dinner, and starts getting creepy and inappropriate with Liz, touching her more than her boyfriend’s father should. While Tom’s away from the table, George tells Elizabeth how pretty she is and how she should wear diamonds. Elizabeth is uncomfortable and unsure how to react. She decides not to tell Tom anything, instead confiding in Nina, who also isn’t sure what she should do.

George then takes Elizabeth and Tom to a concert on campus, and just as Liz is starting to think she overreacted to George’s previous behavior, he starts getting creepy again. They’re left alone together afterward, and George gives her a diamond necklace and declares his love for her. Elizabeth is able to get away from him before he can kiss her, but she still doesn’t tell Tom what’s going on.

Nina advises Elizabeth to talk to George, so Liz goes to see him at his place. BAD MOVE. Always meet creepsters in public, if you have to meet them at all. George pretends that he knows he was in the wrong and asks if they can make things okay. Then he tries to kiss Elizabeth again. She runs off to cry in the library, where she encounters Todd and tells him everything. He encourages her to talk to Tom. When she does, Tom accuses her of being jealous of his relationship with George and making up his creepiness (which…when has Elizabeth ever done anything like that)? Elizabeth smartly tells him they’re done.

Alex is still struggling with her sobriety, so she decides to volunteer at the campus drug/alcohol abuse hotline. At first she’s just doing things like stuffing envelopes, but then she’s allowed to shadow a guy who takes calls. He lets her take a call of her own and she impresses both of them with her ability to talk to people about drinking and drugs. Making things even better for Alex, she and Noah make up.

The only really interesting thing with this plotline is that Jordan calls the hotline to confide that he thinks Celine got him involved in a drug deal. Alex can’t report anything because it’s all confidential. Then when the “deal” goes down, she and Noah see Jordan running across campus with a hat box, which is a pretty great visual. It’s even funnier when you realize that Celine thinks she’s going to get a stack of money but is really just getting Lila’s hat.

Thoughts: They mention Nina’s haircut again. Seriously, why is that so important?

Tom doesn’t seem upset that his parents lied to him his whole life about who his biological father was.

“On the one hand, it was so like Elizabeth to one-up her without even trying.” And it’s so like Jessica to think that Elizabeth is every trying to one-up her.

It’s funny that Elizabeth thinks Nick is weird because he’s always on his phone when nowadays you’re weird if you don’t do that.

September 30, 2014

SVU #24, His Secret Past: More Like THEIR Secret Pasts

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 6:26 pm by Jenn

I don't think Nick ever learned how to hug

I don’t think Nick ever learned how to hug

Summary: Forget about Ben, Josh, and all of Jessica’s other recent love interests: It’s Nick Fox’s time to shine. Jessica meets him on campus when he sees her ad selling her and Elizabeth’s TV, and Jess immediately falls in luuuuuuuuuv. Nick seems nice but it also a little shady. For example, he pulls out some self-defense moves when someone taps him on the shoulder. What Jessica doesn’t know is that Nick is using her for some mysterious reason. He knows he’s falling in luuuuuuuuv with her, and he has to remind himself that he’s hanging out with her for “business.”

Jessica spots a gun in Nick’s glove compartment and starts to wonder what his deal is. She thinks he could be a spy, which gets her really excited. She overhears him on the phone, arranging a delivery, and tries to get him to tell her what’s going on. He won’t, only saying that he carries a gun for protection after a mugging. His mysterious deliveries, weapon, and pager add up to drug dealer for Lila, who is smarter than anyone gives her credit for.

Nick goes to a party with Jessica, asking if she and her friends will be doing any drugs. Jess assures him that they won’t. Nick realizes he’s not going to get anywhere in his “business” with this group, but he likes hanging out with Jessica, so he doesn’t want to move on just yet. In other news, Celine is back and wants to become a Theta and steal Nick from Jessica. Alison has befriended her, which means Jessica has extra interest in keeping Celine out of the sorority. Celine flirts with Nick, promising him a good time, and he realizes that she’s the one who can get him access to drugs at SVU.

Jess is ticked over Nick’s interest in Celine, but since he insists it’s platonic, she shifts her focus to whatever he’s keeping from her. She answers his cell phone (which is another reason she thinks he’s a spy – in 1996, who other than spies had a cell phone?) and hears about a delivery taking place at 2 a.m. She decides she’ll show up and see what Nick’s up to. Brilliant plan, Jess.

Elizabeth has her own mystery man to deal with: She meets a guy named George Conroy who’s on campus in hopes of finding his son. He’s never actually met his son, as Conroy and his wife split up when the boy was a baby (thanks to Conroy’s cheating), and he thinks his wife let her second husband give the baby his last name. He has little information to go on, except his son’s birth month and the possibility that he goes to school in California. That’s so little to go on that even a professional PI would probably be hesitant to take the case.

But Elizabeth never gives up! She will find this man’s son! She thinks Conroy’s story would make a great piece for the TV station. Who knew she was so opportunistic? She doesn’t seem to care that she has so many other responsibilities, like school and the TV station and the care and feeding of Tom. She’s also planning a big surprise 21st birthday for him.

Oh, did I mention that Tom’s birthday is this month? Elizabeth wants to cheer him up since, you know, his whole family is dead. It doesn’t help that he’s been working on a family-tree project for one of his classes. Isn’t that more of an elementary-school thing? Thanks to all the time Elizabeth’s spending helping Conroy and planning the party, Tom thinks there’s something wrong. Elizabeth is trying extra-hard not to let Tom find out about the party, and she’s not a great actress.

But there’s no time to worry about that! Elizabeth needs to reunite a family! She and Conroy visit a bunch of banks, trying to find out if his son has an account anywhere. Of course, no bank will release confidential information to them. This is really a difficult search, since Conroy doesn’t know if his son is using his stepfather’s last name or his mother’s maiden name, Antoniani. There also doesn’t seem to be any confirmation that the son is a) in California or b) in college. I can’t imagine Conroy has done all this searching in multiple other towns.

Just before the party, Elizabeth goes to get Tom for what she’s told him is a romantic birthday dinner. She sees his family-tree project and learns that his mother’s maiden name is Antoniani. Finally, what’s been clear to readers the whole book clicks into place for Elizabeth: Tom is Conroy’s son. This means his entire family isn’t dead after all. She quickly calls Conroy and has him come to the surprise party. Happy birthday, Tom! Your parents lied to you about your paternity!

Alex is having a bad month. She’s doing poorly in her classes, she’s not happy with her appearance, and she doesn’t like that Noah isn’t good at cheering her up. Basically, Alex is Elizabeth at the beginning of freshman year. (Except it’s still freshman year, so I’m not really sure how long these people have been at SVU.) She’s been sober for a while but is struggling to stay on the wagon. Alex sees Noah hanging out with another girl, and of course she misinterprets the whole thing. Despite being so popular earlier in the series, she apparently doesn’t have any friends now, so she spends the book moping.

Things finally fall apart when Noah tells Alex that, basically, she’s not at a weak enough point to ruin her sobriety, and all she wants is pity. Yeah, dump him, Alex. She goes to Tom’s party, despite feeling mopey, and is harassed by a couple of drunk guys. Nick gets them to leave her alone, then reveals to Alex what he’s been keeping from everyone else, including Jessica: He’s an undercover cop. To! Be! Continued

Thoughts: “Tom had a bad case of the blues, but she had the cure.” Liz, he doesn’t have a “case of the blues.” He’s sad beacuse his ENTIRE FAMILY IS DEAD. A party isn’t going to make that better.

Nick claims that the mob rigs carnival games. Why would they? There’s no money in that.

Jessica: “He’s too smooth and good looking to be into drugs.” Lila: “Do you think you have to pass an ugly test before they let you sell drugs?” Hee.

If Nick is telling strangers who he really is and trusting they’ll just keep their mouths shut, I think it’s fair to say he’s not very good at his job.

Why is it a plot point that Nina got a haircut? Is this going to come back later? Should I remember it? Guys, remember that nina got a haircut in this book, in case it’s important later.

January 28, 2014

SVU Thriller, He’s Watching You: We All Wear Masks

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:17 pm by Jenn

I don't remember a scene where William projects his face onto a wall

I don’t remember a scene where William projects his face onto a wall

Summary: Despite the fact that William revealed his name to Elizabeth in his last stalker note, she hasn’t put 2 and 2 together yet. Not that she would worry if she had, since she believes William is tucked away in an institution, not out and about following her and plotting the deaths of all her friends. He still has an employee, Andrea, under his thumb, and keeps borrowing her car to run errands. Evil errands.

Todd is also out and about, running into a supposed former Big Mesa student, Henry, who thought Todd was a good basketball player in high school. They get coffee together and talk about sports. Todd has to go back to campus for class, so Henry offers to loan him his car. Todd doesn’t find this TOTALLY WEIRD. He borrows the car, but something’s wrong with the steering wheel and he crashes it. When the police show up, they tell him the car was reported stolen and arrest him.

Elizabeth and Alex see the whole thing and go to the police station with Todd. Noah worries that this means Alex still likes Todd (remember, they hooked up a bunch of times), and that Alex isn’t interested in guys who aren’t surrounded by drama. See, girls, guys get insecure, too! Todd’s behavior after the crash doesn’t help him out; he’s angry and even makes his lawyer wonder if he has mental problems. Elizabeth wonders, too, and even thinks that Todd’s the one who’s been leaving her notes. It turns out that Henry was actually William! He loaned Todd the car he keeps borrowing from Andrea, and he rigged it to crash. I’m not really sure why, though.

While Liz is at the police station, Tom and Jessica hang out at a park, and Tom ends up playing some football. He admits that he misses it. Back on campus, a guy named Bob calls Tom, saying he knows he’s a reporter and wants him to do a story about sports at SVU. More specifically, he wants Tom to find out how the other football players feel about James being kicked off the team for raping Maia. He suggests that Tom rejoin the team so he can report undercover. Tom decides this is a great, NOT AT ALL WEIRD idea. Elizabeth is mad that Tom made the decision without consulting her, like he needs to get her permission or something. I’m surprised he doesn’t tell her about going undercover.

The SVU mascot is something called Braino, and the guy who usually plays him has to have surgery, so he’ll be out of commission for a little while. Denise encourages Winston to try out to be his replacement. This is all contrivance for the second half of the book.

William leaves Elizabeth more mutilated dolls, which she still thinks are from Todd. I don’t know why he would get released from the police department and then bring her dolls, but whatever. Todd’s been suspended and has to move off campus. He has no idea what dolls Liz is talking about. More dolls show up later, and Elizabeth tells Jessica that she thinks Todd is messing with her. Jess is the first to suggest that it might be William.

The twins call his institution but are told that he can’t come to the phone. Their strange logic makes them think that that means he’s there. I don’t know. It’s really because Andrea is still keeping William’s little escapes secret, and has been keeping his messages from Celine from him.

Speaking of Celine, she’s still trying to help William, even though she can tell he’s getting creepier and creepier. He asks her to get rid of the wheelchair he was using while he worked at the library. She’s not sure she wants to keep helping him, so he uses a Barbie to threaten her. Celine goes to the institution to see William, and Andrea sees them kissing. When she confronts him later, he kills her. Then he steals a car, drives it into the gorge around the institution (I knew it was a bad idea to have one of those!), and fakes his death.

A guy named Tim calls Danny to suggest that he get a bunch of Tom’s friends together to go to the football team’s big game against State. I’m not sure why none of Tom’s friends thought of this, since the game is a pretty big deal. Nice friends, huh?

Liz still thinks Todd is leaving the dolls, since William is “dead” and Todd is still hanging around. “Dead” William is actually back at the library, drinking champagne with Celine to celebrate his freedom. Except the champagne is just a way for William to poison Celine and get rid of anyone who can rat him out. Later, Todd spots William (who he thinks is “Henry”) at the bar where he’s working and living, and chases him but can’t catch him. When he gets to his apartment, he finds Celine’s comatose body. When the police show up, Todd bolts.

William goes to the hospital to pay Celine a visit (and finish her off). He disguises himself to look a little like Todd so if anyone sees him, they’ll think that’s who he is. He almost finishes Celine off, but he gets spotted and has to run. His plan works, however, and everyone thinks Todd was at the hospital to kill Celine. Elizabeth and Alex disagree about whether he’s capable of something like that. Noah goes to the institution to talk to William’s doctor, Dr. Hemphill, but that’s just another contrivance.

Anyway, football! The twins, Danny, Isabella, Alex, Noah, Denise, Winston, Nina, Bryan, and Maia are all going to go to the game together and surprise Tom. But Winston and Denise will be going as Braino and…Braino’s assistant, I guess – Winston gets the role. Later, he sort-of-jokingly-but-kind-of-seriously proposes to Denise, who only gets the sort-of-jokingly part of it. Whatever, Winston, you’re too young.

Football fever spreads across campus, and everyone buys Braino masks. This works out well for William, who can move around undetected. He alters his plan a little, deciding to spare Jessica. Todd also tries to move around undetected, trying to find out who’s leaving Elizabeth the dolls. He’s not much help.

On game day, Tom confirms that this story he’s doing for Bob is totally legit and he’ll get paid and everything. You keep telling yourself that, Tom. Everyone else prepares to take a van to the game, except Winston, who has to drive the Brainomobile. While he’s getting that car ready, William knocks him out. Jessica shows up to give him something and gets knocked out, too. Later, Winston delivers the van to the others, but it’s clearly William pretending he has a sore throat. Darn those Braino masks, concealing everyone’s features! He tells the others that Jessica’s not going to the game.

The only problem with this plan is that now William has to be Braino. He screws up his act with Denise, who thinks “Winston”‘s mad that he has to work with a partner. Dude, he told you he loved you and proposed! What’s your damage?

Then there’s football, but before things can get too boring, Tom gets a concussion and has to leave the game. While Danny and Noah are chatting with him in the locker room, they realize that Bob, Tim, and Dr. Hemphill all have the same last name. They decide that Elizabeth is in danger, so they tell “Winston” to take her back to campus in the Brainomoble while they head back in the van. Oops! They’ve done exactly what William wanted them to do.

In the car with “Winston,” Elizabeth slowly realizes that something is off. When she tells him he’s acting crazy, he flips out, because there’s nothing a crazy person likes less than being called crazy. The others load up the van and find someone in the luggage compartment: Winston. Poor guy was stuck there the whole day. Unfortunately, the group still thinks Todd is the one they’re trying to protect Liz from. Meanwhile, back at SVU, Jessica is freed from the closet where William stashed her, but she doesn’t see her savior. My money’s still on Mike.

Back on the road, which happens to be winding and treacherous and on a cliff, of course. William reveals himself to Elizabeth and commits the ultimate villain sin: telling her his plans. He was going to kill everyone, frame Todd, and flee the country with Liz. Elizabeth thinks fast, pulling William’s mask down so he can’t see, then grabbing the steering wheel and crashing the car. They drive into the side of a cliff, where William is killed. Allegedly. (Hey, I know two of the books in this series have his name in their titles. I’m not as dumb as Liz.)

But the drama isn’t over! Todd was suspicious the whole time, so he went to the game and followed the Brainomobile when William and Elizabeth left. The people in the van catch up with Liz and Todd, but it soon becomes clear that William tampered with their brakes. Then they see Todd and think Elizabeth is in danger. Todd and Liz try to direct the van to a road away from the cliff, but Danny (driving the van) thinks Todd kidnapped Elizabeth. Liz tells Todd to take his hands off the steering wheel so everyone can see that he’s not holding her at gunpoint. That Liz, always thinking.

In case you were worried that this book would end with a dozen fiery deaths, it doesn’t. Elizabeth gets Danny to realize that he needs to let Todd pass so they can follow him. Despite his reservations, Danny does so. But then there’s more drama! They’re going up a hill, and they’ll start rolling backwards and off the cliff! I…don’t understand. It would have made more sense if they almost drove off the cliff, and everyone had to get out of the van before it fell.

No time for logic – we need more drama! Everyone’s getting out of the van when Danny suddenly has an attack of the chickens. Tom can’t get him to budge, so he punches him in the face, knocks him out, pulls him out, and ends up knocking himself out. I’ve lost count of how many people lose consciousness in this book. A while later, Elizabeth wraps things up with some exposition that doesn’t really matter. And then she finds out that William left his whole estate to her. Which doesn’t matter, since we know he’s not really dead, but that’s for another day.

Thoughts: For Christmas, Ned and Alice gave Elizabeth gold silk pants and a matching jacket. Do they hate her?

William has convinced Andrea that he’s a political prisoner and the country’s trying to keep him from exposing terrorists in the government. Well, yeah. I mean, who wouldn’t fall for that?

Everyone rides to the game in a purple van. Was it Crunch’s?

I have to quote melody_powers from 1bruce1 re: William and Barbies:

Okay, time out. I want you all to do something with me. Close your eyes and visualize a busy Toys ‘R’ Us. Something by Hannah Montana is playing over the sound system, little kids are running around and screaming, and there are people with plastic nametags selling loud electronic toys to frazzled parents.

Now, standing in a long line at a cash register is William White, looking kind of crazy but holding it together because he’s in public. His arms are overloaded with hot pink Barbie doll boxes, stacked so high they almost reach the top of his head.

Seriously, imagine it. Hannah Montana. Screaming kids. William White. Barbies.

Awesome.

January 14, 2014

SVU #11, Take Back the Night: Lila + Bruce 4EVA!!!!!!1!1

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:31 pm by Jenn

Doesn't Jessica look like Charisma Carpenter?

Doesn’t Jessica look like Charisma Carpenter?

Summary: It’s the morning after James attacked Jessica, and Elizabeth wants her sister to report the assault. Jess just wants to move on. James calls her and asks to meet with her, so she heads off to yell at him for his behavior. Elizabeth tells Maia about the assault, and Maia feels guilty for not turning James in when he raped her, since it might have prevented him from hurting anyone else. However, when Liz asks her to talk to Jessica, Maia refuses.

Jess meets with James, who of course doesn’t think he did anything wrong. I mean, she was dressed like a whore, so obviously he was going to try to nail her. If she didn’t want to sleep with him, she should have said something. When Jess and Elizabeth meet up back at their dorm room, Liz tells her that James raped Maia. Then she goes over to see Steven and Billie, planning to tell them about Jessica’s assault. Uh, mind your own business, Liz.

But no, Elizabeth’s business will not be minded! She goes to Sigma House and confronts James, because the best place to have a private conversation with a rapist is in a house full of people who hate you. Liz thinks James is sending her notes, since she stopped him from raping Jessica (and also messed up his car). She calls him out, but he just wants an apology for his wrecked car.

Jessica learns that a Theta named Mariela has a date with James, and tries to convince her to call it off. Mariela thinks she’s just jealous. While talking things over with Tom, Elizabeth comes up with the idea to organize a Take Back the Night rally to get people talking about date rape. Maia thinks it’s a good idea but doesn’t want to attend. Jessica’s leaning towards going, and makes up her mind when Isabella convinces her to use the opportunity to brand James a rapist.

So while they’re at the rally, Jessica gets herself on WSVU and says that she was assaulted. Though she doesn’t name James specifically, she gives enough details that anyone would know who she’s talking about. Maia realizes that James also attacked Jess. Back at her dorm room, Jessica gets another anonymous note (the nice one, not the weird ones Liz has been getting) and a whistle she can keep with her for protection.

Alison and Mariela aren’t as supportive of Jessica’s actions as other people are. They taunt her for being jealous, for trying to humiliate Mariela, and for putting a dent in James’ reputation. Alison also says that everyone’s seen James and Jessica being lovey-dovey together, so no one’s going to believe that he raped her. It’s going to be his word against hers, and he’s a star athlete while she’s a freshman who just got out of a marriage to a loser.

Jessica proceeds with filing charges anyway, which leads to the Sigmas harassing her. James tries to talk to her again, this time coming to her room, but fortunately, this time she won’t give in. Maia tells Elizabeth that she wants to help, but I’m not sure what she plans to do, since she doesn’t want to testify to help Jessica’s case. She also still won’t talk to Jessica about her own assault. She plans to leave SVU if James is found not guilty.

Elizabeth, Steven, and Billie help Jessica get ready for her hearing by asking questions they think she might be asked. They’re all ridiculous questions that no real lawyer would allow to be asked, but the hearing will be in front of a panel of administrators and students, not a real court. Jessica runs into Mike, who wishes her luck (because somehow everyone knows about the charges, though probably not Ned and Alice). Later, Jessica and Elizabeth find a nail in one of their Jeep tires. But then a tow truck arrives and the driver says someone called to let him know they’d broken down. The caller also paid the bill. Weird. I think Mike’s behind all of this.

Anyway, Maia comes to see Jessica just before the hearing, to wish her luck. Jessica reveals that she knows James raped Maia. At the hearing, Jessica testifies about her assault, but no one thinks there’s enough evidence that James intended to hurt her. Jessica wants to tell them that James has raped in the past, but she doesn’t want to bring Maia into it. Even with Elizabeth’s testimony, no one’s convinced that Jessica interpreted the situation correctly. The twins are even accused of creating a publicity stunt for SVU.

When James testifies, he paints himself as completely innocent (of course) and Liz is crazy. He just wanted to have sex with Jessica, but her wacky sister showed up and read the situation wrong. James is cleared, and Jessica is advised to get counseling. But then! Maia shows up, begs to be allowed to testify, and announces that James raped her. For some reason, this destroys him; he didn’t realize he’d hurt her. James isn’t really a bad guy, everyone! He just thinks “no” means “yes”! So that plot’s over.

Lila and Bruce are still stranded, and it turns out that they didn’t really have to be. You know how the first rule of being stranded somewhere is to take inventory of your belongings? (Okay, maybe it’s not the first rule, but it should be.) Yeah, Bruce didn’t do that. They’ve had a map all along and didn’t know it. So now they can get to a ranger station ten miles away. Except they get lost, probably because two rich kids from southern California probably have no idea how to read a map.

Fortunately, Jessica has finally realized that Lila never made it back to school. She calls Mrs. Fowler and reports that Lila’s MIA, so now people are actually looking for Lila and Bruce. The Thetas make arrangements to go looking for them, but they wait too long and never actually go. Instead, there’s just a deus ex machina moment involving a helicopter, and all of a sudden they’re rescued.

Once she’s back in Sweet Valley, Lila can’t stop thinking about Bruce. For various reasons, they don’t see each other while they’re hospitalized, and when Bruce is released without seeing Lila, she worries that they’re not going to pursue a relationship like she wants. But don’t worry, Lila! He just went out to get you flowers! He does want to be with you! It’s just as it always should have been.

I’m still not sure what William’s end game is, but he’s moved from stalking Liz to trying to gaslight her. He steals Elizabeth’s keys and has Celine move her car to make her think she’s crazy, and leave a sonnet behind, I guess to confuse her. Liz keeps seeing William at the library, and he even loans her a book of sonnets. Elizabeth gets a creepy feeling about him but has no concept of following her intuition and avoiding him.

Celine keeps trying to get William to spend time with her so she can make him forget about Liz, but he’s too obsessed to fall for that. Celine and William finally get sick of each other, so William decides to leave Liz notes by himself. After she wakes up from a nightmare in which William is the guy from the library, she finds his latest note, which includes his name. Finally, this is going somewhere!

Time to wrap up Alex’s attempt at having an interesting plot. She’s still talking to T Squared about all her problems while mooning over (and being a klutz around) Noah. She spills some soda around him and calls it fizz, which Noah thinks is awesome. In fact, she’s awesome enough to study with. Wow, way to go, Alex. When she talks to T Squared later, she calls soda “fizz” again, because this is what passes for plot development. Long story short, T Squared is Noah, and he suspects that Enid is Alex.

Alex and Noah go on a date, but she can’t stop thinking about T Squared. She calls him and tells him she wants to meet, which is against the rules of the hotline where he works. It’s also against the rules for the peer counselors to look at the caller ID and find out who they’re talking to, but T Squared/Noah can’t help himself, and he uses it to confirm that he’s been talking to Alex.

If Noah were smart, he would just tell Alex who he is, but noooooo, he has to keep acting like Noah and T Squared are two different people. Then he sees Alex talking to Todd and wonders if they’re together. Finally, Noah calls to ask her out again, and reveals that he’s T Squared. Happy endings for these two boring people.

But dull as Alex’s plot is, it’s not as dull as Isabella and Danny’s. It’s their three-month anniversary, and Danny’s determined to show his girlfriend that he’s romantic. At the same time, Isabella wants to show that she’s not just a posh princess. She decides that they’ll go camping. But that same night, Danny arranges a romantic dinner, and they don’t get each other’s messages about where to meet. Eventually Danny goes to Isabella’s room to wait for her, and he falls asleep there while she camps out alone. Ha ha! How very funny! I wish they had more to do, because I like these characters.

Thoughts: “I keep telling you – the only way to get letters is to write them.” Elizabeth, stop taling like my dad.

Liz tells Steven and Billie about Jessica’s assault without asking her first. Not cool, dude.

At the hearing, the dean asks Jessica, “Are you aware that your accusation could have a profound effect on Mr. Montgomery’s reputation?” And that’s when I threw the book across the room.

Bruce tells the Sigmas not to get revenge on Jessica, threatening anyone who does. That made me say, “Awww.” Even though it’s ironic considering his past crimes.

December 17, 2013

SVU #9, Sorority Scandal: I’m Cold and There Are Wolves After Me

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:28 pm by Jenn

They're clearly not even trying to illustrate a real scene from the book

They’re clearly not even trying to illustrate a real scene from the book

Summary: Elizabeth gets a C on a paper (the horror!) and goes to talk to her professor, George Martin (yes, another George) about it. He’s all, “I was just kidding!” and invites her to work on a project with him, since she likes Lord Byron so much. Elizabeth fails to see the massive red flags he’s practically waving in her face, because he’s hot.

Jessica is still determined to become a Theta, even though VP Alison hates her and the girls all seem snobby (minus Isabella and Denise). She gets another chance, but it requires a dare: She has to steal Professor Martin’s beloved first-edition Byron. When Jessica sneaks into his office to get the book, she’s caught by campus security. If you think this plot sounds like Steve’s storyline in “Emily,” you are correct. It’s almost exactly the same story.

Anyway, Professor Martin is furious that someone wanted to take his precious book, so he plans to press charges against Jess. Elizabeth tries to talk him out of it, but it turns out that Professor Martin doesn’t know the identity or even the name of the would-be thief. Meanwhile, Alison makes all the Thetas shun Jessica, since her arrest is making them look bad. Yet Jessica won’t rat her out because SHE STILL WANTS TO BE A THETA. Sigh.

Liz learns from Professor Martin that security learned of Jessica’s thievery from an anonymous phone call. Clearly, Alison made the call, but it takes a few dozen more pages for anyone to figure that out, and even then, Elizabeth only realizes it because Isabella comes out and tells her. But to be fair, Liz is a little distracted by the fact that Professor Martin is getting too touchy-feely for her liking. She decides to go after Alison, even though Jessica isn’t on board. I guess she’d rather go to jail than be unpopular. She’d also rather bring down Professor Martin than Alison.

Armed with the information from Elizabeth that Professor Martin is a handsy creep, Jessica dresses up as Liz and visits Professor Martin, acting like she wants to date him. He’s all, “Yes, I would love to date you, if by ‘date’ you mean attack you right here and have my way with you.” But Jessica’s smarter than we usually give her credit for – she’s brought a tape recorder with her and has recorded him being creepy and inappropriate. If he doesn’t drop the charges against her, she’ll play the tape for the whole college.

Meanwhile, Liz goes to campus security to get proof that Alison made the phone call telling them about the robbery. It did indeed come from the Theta house, but it was also reporting a bigger crime, so campus security would be sure to come in with full force. Unfortunately for Elizabeth, it’s all a moot point, because Jessica’s blackmail of Professor Martin worked, and the charges have been dropped. She’s keeping the tape, though, because she’s smart. Jess’ next move: revenge on Alison.

In other plots, both interesting and not: On the way back to SVU in Bruce’s plane, Lila and Bruce crash in the mountains. No one knew they were flying together, Bruce is an idiot who didn’t file a flight plan, and everyone thinks Bruce was going on vacation anyway, so no one’s looking for them or has any idea that they crashed. This is all just a plot device to get them closer so they can inevitably fall in love (and what took the writers so long?). There’s an avalanche, wolves, and various other dangerous things. Eventually the two get separated, and they don’t have many supplies, so it’s possible the next book will start with both of them dying of hypothermia.

Elizabeth is being watched by a man in a wheelchair who works in the SVU library. Except we know that he’s William White, who manages to keep escaping and returning to the institution he was sent to after he tried to kill Liz. Celine likes that he’s trying to drive Elizabeth crazy, so she helps him out, doing tasks like leaving Liz a white rose tied in a scarf William took from her. Later, Nina sees a noose in the library; apparently William’s obsessed with hangings.

Bryan has turned into a huge jerk – he’s planning a big march against racism, but shoots down Nina’s idea to allow any interested person to march, not just those in the Black Student Union. I’m pretty sure Bryan just doesn’t like white people. Nina and Bryan spend the whole book fighting, and eventually Nina wins. Well, if you consider dating an annoying guy “winning.”

Billie’s parents come for a visit, and she and Steven try to hide the fact that they live together. Except we know that they’ve been living together since the SVH books, which took place two years before the SVU books, so how have they managed to keep their living arrangements a secret for so long?

Anyway, Steven goes to stay with Mike while Billie’s parents are in town. Then there’s some wackiness about Steven being really bad at hiding where he really lives. But it’s all a waste of time because Billie’s parents had already figured it out and were just letting them make fools of themselves for no reason. Ha…ha?

And finally, the time-filler plot: Winston breaks his arm rollerblading with Denise, and his injury gets him a lot of attention from the girls in his dorm. Denise gets jealous, even though she’s been inviting the girls to dote on him. Basically it’s supposed to be payback for when Denise used Bruce to make Winston jealous, but the plot just makes Denise look like a shrew.

Thoughts: Elizabeth wrote a 15-page paper in two hours. That’s actually really impressive.

Lila and Bruce are stranded for hours before they think to try using the plane’s radio. That’s impressive for completely different reasons.

Mentions of wolves always make me think of this (hence the post title). I know, I’m a huge dork.

Billie wants to be a tax attorney. I got bored just writing that.

Things that are so, so wrong with the Elizabeth/Professor Martin groping plot: 1) She’s embarrassed by it. She has absolutely no reason to be embarrassed. HE should be embarrassed that he can’t keep his hands to himself, especially around his students. 2) Jessica asks if Elizabeth is going to tell Tom, as if she needs to keep it a secret. 3) When Elizabeth does tell Tom, she first asks him not to get mad. He SHOULD get mad – at Professor Martin. 4) “Will I look like a baby if I report him? I don’t even know if it’s against the school rules to do what he did.” She – I just – ELIZABETH. No one is allowed to touch you without your permission. YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS STUFF.

November 5, 2013

SVU #7, Good-bye to Love: The One Where Everyone’s Obsessed With Elizabeth

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:19 pm by Jenn

Ick

Ick

Summary: Stand down, Celine Boudreaux – you’re not needed anymore. The original fabulous queen, Lila Fowler, is back. She’s still in Europe with her husband, Count Tisiano Di Mondicci, and though she’s bored because he has to travel a lot for work, and she misses Sweet Valley, she’s happy. It doesn’t last. While at the beach, Tisiano is killed in a Jet Ski explosion. You read that right. Boom goes the Jet Ski. The count is dead, long live the count. Lila heads back to Sweet Valley.

Once there, she reunites with her friends and starts hanging out at SVU, planning to audit some classes and then enroll the next semester. Jess takes her to hang out with the Thetas, since she wants back in with them, even though Alison hates her. For a while it looks like the group might accept her, but Alison is basically Regina George, so that obviously isn’t going to happen. It’s okay, though, because Lila knows all about Alison, including that the girl has a bit of a shoplifting problem. If Alison causes more trouble, Lila has no problem sharing Alison’s secrets. I missed you, Lila.

Bruce is also back in the mix now, having been barely mentioned in the first few books of the series. He and Lila get back to their little rivalry (though he does acknowledge how difficult it is to lose someone you love, since he lost Regina), mainly over Bruce’s insistence that women can’t fly planes as well as men can. Lila won’t back down, telling him all about the planes she’s flown and all the stuff she can do. She wants to go flying with Bruce, but then she has a nightmare about Tisiano and a plane crash. Methinks Lila has PTSD.

Jessica was so distracted by all the goings-on with Mike that she kind of forgot to study. Now that she doesn’t have him around to keep her from her schoolwork, she’s throwing herself into it, trying to salvage her grades. She also vows not to get hung up on any other boys. You would not be surprised to learn that she doesn’t keep that vow for even half a book.

Elizabeth has to recite a poem for one of her classes, and she does it so well (because she’s tapping into her feelings for Tom) that her professor asks her to recite another poem at some public reading. Elizabeth agrees, but later she realizes that it’s the same night as a big date she has with Tom. She asks Jessica to read in her place, promising to buy her two dresses. You’d think Jessica would jump at the chance to perform and be the center of attention.

Anyway, Jessica does the reading, posing as Elizabeth, and catches the eye of a guy named James who she’d briefly met before. He knows she’s not Liz because Liz doesn’t make his heart go pitter-patter like Jessica does. Jess is hesitant to get involved with another guy, especially while she’s technically still married to Mike, but James seems nice and is sympathetic to her situation, so she decides it’s okay to ease back into dating. Then at the end of the book, she finds out the annulment has been approved, so she’s free to see James.

Steven has been ordered to help Mike with his physical therapy, which makes no sense, not least because Steven was found not guilty, which means there’s no punishment whatsoever. But whatever, this means Steven has to keep hanging out with Mike, which means they keep fighting. Billie’s mad about the whole situation, which I don’t get, because it’s not like Steven wants to hang out with Mike. But she’s mad enough to move out.

So now Mike has contributed to Steven’s relationship issues like Steven contributed to Mike’s relationship issues, which makes them even, right? And now they can kiss and make up? Ha ha, yeah, right. They keep fighting, even after Billie moves back in (which is weird, because nothing changed, so why is she all of a sudden okay with Steven again?). One night Steven’s at Mike’s apartment and starts feeling woozy. He’s half-unconscious by the time he realizes that the gas is on, and that Mike is the only person around who can save him from a fiery, Tisiano-like death.

Todd has turned into an alcoholic stalker. He’s desperate to get Elizabeth back and keeps bugging her to talk to him about a follow-up on her athletics exposé. But Liz is busy being disgustingly schmoopy with Tom. They spend tons of time together and can’t keep their hands off each other. Did I mention they’ve only been dating for a week? It’s really annoying. They almost have sex, but their friends interrupt, so thanks, friends. I didn’t want to have to read that scene.

Elizabeth has also been getting a bunch of semi-threatening, all-creepy notes that say things like “YOU ARE MINE” and “WE’LL BE TOGETHER SOON.” First she thinks they’re from Tom, because semi- that isn’t threatening is sort of romantic, but Tom tells her he only sent one note. Then she thinks they’re from Todd, since he’s gone crazy. It seems pretty clear that they’re something William would send, but since he’s not around, it’s hard to figure that out.

The Sigmas are still allowed on campus, but Celine and Peter have been punished (not very harshly, I have to say) for their role in Elizabeth’s kidnapping. Celine has to live off campus and work in the cafeteria, so I take back what I said about them not getting punished enough, because for Celine, that’s pretty bad. She’s furious with Elizabeth for causing all of her problems, which is ridiculous, but that’s Celine for you.

She wants revenge, so she enlists the help of a couple of guys she’s recently befriended. Guy #1 is a biology student studying fruit flies. Celine convinces him to release the fruit flies in Elizabeth’s room, because I guess he’d rather possibly score with Celine than succeed in academia. This doesn’t work because Elizabeth is so in love with Tom that even a bunch of fruit flies in her room can’t bother her.

Guy #2 is a saxophone player, and Celine gets him to serenade Elizabeth at 6 in the morning. She also tells him that Liz is in love with him. Tom and Elizabeth go to a jazz concert where the sax player is performing, and when he spots them in the audience, he dedicates his next number to Elizabeth. Todd is there, drunk, and thinks it’s hilarious. (It actually is pretty funny.)

Bruce has just come into his trust fund, and he’s like a kid in a candy store with his cool $10 million. He wants to buy a plane. Quick, someone start a meme like the one with the cat that thinks about buying a boat! Anyway, Bruce and Denise (as in Winston’s girlfriend) are doing a class project together, and Winston gets jealous of all the time they’re spending together.

Denise keeps telling him to stop it because there’s nothing going on between them past friendship, and also, Winston is really annoying. At one point he actually goes to Sigma house to retrieve Denise, like she needs a chaperone. She uses some other guy to make Winston jealous, which, let’s be honest, he deserved. Then she assures him that she only wants him, though I’m not sure why, since he’s so needy and jealous. But I do appreciate Denise basically telling him, “Look, Crazypants, I’ll be friends with whoever I want and you’ll just have to deal with it.”

William’s punishment for Elizabeth’s kidnapping and attempted murder is commitment to a psych facility. He befriends an employee and she helps him escape. There’s some other stuff in there, but it basically just serves to reinforce what we already know about William being crazy.

Alex is still a jerk, and pretty much obsessed with how Elizabeth ruined her life by publishing her exposé. She and Todd have been spending time together, drinking and moping and wishing Elizabeth hadn’t changed. After he gets directly rejected by Liz, Todd ends up at Alex’s, and they get drunk and start making out.

Speaking of jerks…Bryan Nelson, man. He gets on Nina’s case about skipping a BSU meeting to study, saying that she’s not committed to the group’s cause. He almost literally tells her that she needs to dump her white friends (mostly meaning Elizabeth) and only hang out with African-Americans. I would love for Denise to give Nina a lesson on how to properly use your backbone.

Thoughts: Why would a count have to sell computer parts?

Trivia: Lila’s middle name is Catherine.

Lila describes Tisiano as “Alec Baldwin, Jason Priestley, and Christian Slater all rolled in one.” That’s a combination I’d rather not picture.

Why is Jessica living with Elizabeth again instead of Isabella?

At first I thought Tom and Elizabeth were a little bit cute together, but then they wouldn’t shut up about their one-week anniversary.

William’s psych facility is surrounded by a gorge to keep patients from leaving the property, but what’s to stop them from killing themselves by jumping into it?

“I’m not into fun anymore.” Let’s be honest, Alex, you’ve never been into fun.

October 22, 2013

SVU #6, The Love of Her Life: Too Late, Todd

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:20 pm by Jenn

I guess this is Elizabeth and Tom? Tom looks dorky

I guess this is Elizabeth and Tom? Tom looks dorky

Summary: We pick up a few pages before the end of A Married Woman, with Mike coming to Steven and Billie’s apartment looking for Jessica. There’s yelling, there’s the fight over the gun, there’s a shot going off, and then we learn that Steven’s okay but Mike was shot. Fast-forward, and Steve’s arrested while Mike’s taken to the hospital. He’s so bad off that Billie thinks he might be dead. Jessica’s in shock and goes home while Billie starts trying to get Steven a lawyer. (By the way, Ned and Alice are out of town and, as of the end of the book, have no idea what’s happening in Sweet Valley.)

Steven is sent to jail, which is dumb because he hasn’t been arraigned yet, so wouldn’t he be in lockup? Not hanging out in general population with actual murderers? Steven isn’t sure exactly what happened with the gun or who pulled the trigger, but he’s pretty sure he’s going to prison. Elizabeth learns of his arrest from the news and rushes to the police station. Steven will have a bail hearing the next day and will be charged with attempted murder.

Elizabeth encourages Jessica to go see Mike in the hospital, since her presence could help him recover. Except Mike’s in the hospital because he was planning to shoot Jessica, so I think Liz should shut her trap. Anyway, Jessica’s still in shock so she just goes back home. Mike’s mom also bugs her to go to the hospital, so Jess lies to get her to shut up.

Steven gets out on bail, and Jessica finally snaps out of her shock a little, realizing how happy she is that her brother wasn’t hurt. When Mike’s mom calls her again, telling her that Mike is asking for her, she decides to go to the hospital. And then it gets worse: Mike’s paralyzed and might never walk again. (Except this is Sweet Valley, so of course he will.) Now Jessica feels horrible and decides that their wedding vows are more important than her freaking safety and the ability to live her day-to-day life without a guy TRYING TO SHOOT HER, so she won’t be leaving Mike after all.

Amazingly, Mike thinks this is actually the wrong choice. He and Jess have both realized that she was too young to get married. He tells her he’ll get an annulment, and that when Steven is arraigned, he’ll tell the judge that the shooting was his fault. But somewhere between Mike saying this and the arraignment arriving, he changes his mind and almost lets Steven go to jail. But apparently he has a conscience, and when Jessica yells at him, he admits that he accidentally shot himself. So Steven is free, and Jessica is getting an annulment.

Over in the secret society story, we revisit Elizabeth discovering that William is the leader. She’s currently with William at his place, and instead of playing it cool and pretending nothing’s happened, she lets him know that she knows, then takes off. Tom runs into her and she confirms his suspicions about William.

William goes looking for Elizabeth but instead finds Celine, who has moved on from Tom and is now with Peter. William tells her that Elizabeth is on to them, and since Celine knows about the secret society, she’s at risk. Then Celine and William hook up. When Liz gets home, she confirms that she knows about William’s role as the leader of the society. This whole thing is dumb because William just…lets her talk. Like, she’s about to bust you, moron. Stop her!

But no, William doesn’t stop her, and Elizabeth proceeds to get more information on the society out of Tom. Apparently it’s called the Fraternal Order of the Gallows, and he was inducted as a freshman by guys in ski masks. They wind up back at Liz’s dorm, where William attempts to intimidate them, but they tell him they’re going ahead with their story for the TV station. William is STILL too dumb to try to stop them. Instead, he waits a few hours, then kidnaps Elizabeth, with help from Celine and Peter.

Even with an attempt to at least be a competent villain, William is still lame: Elizabeth and Tom pretaped their story, so kidnapping Liz won’t stop it from airing. When it goes live, William flips out. Celine starts to realize that the guy really is crazy, and that they’ve gone too far. While the secret society members gather and plan to throw her in a pit (which apparently will look like suicide? Somehow?), Celine sneaks off and calls Tom. He calls the police and they all rush to rescue Liz. Also rushing to rescue Liz is Todd, who’s decided that he wants to get back together with her. More on that in a minute.

Back to Liz’s almost-murder: Tom fights William, who ends up in the pit, hanging on to the edge with one hand. Tom contemplates dropping him (dude, the police are right there!), but instead pulls him out so William will have to go to prison and think about what he’s done. Or spend the rest of his life plotting revenge. Whichever.

Once Elizabeth is safe, Tom heads off to talk to the police, and Liz runs into Todd. He declares his love and asks her to get back together, but he’s too late. She only has eyes for Tom now. She tells Todd that they agreed to move on and try dating other people, which is exactly what she’s going to do. Todd doesn’t take this well and vows to get her back. It’s kind of scary. Like, even William doesn’t say stuff like that.

Tom comes to see Elizabeth, and after some hugging and chaste kissing, she realizes that he wrote the poem she thought William had written her. Then Tom finally tells her what he’s been wanting to let her know about his life: His freshman year, his family (parents, brother, and sister) was driving out to see him play football when they were killed in a car accident. The second Tom heard, he quit the team. But now his life has meaning again because of Elizabeth, or something stupid and flowery like that.

In other, much more boring stories: Todd and Mark (Alex’s boyfriend) are suspended from the basketball team for a semester because of the department’s illegal recruitment methods. Todd doesn’t think this is so bad, but Mark can’t handle it and decides to quit school and try for an NBA career. Alex still blames Elizabeth for the whole debacle.

Winston and Denise are making out a lot, because Winston’s from Sweet Valley and that’s all he knows how to do with a girlfriend. Everyone thinks they should have sex. Denise doesn’t want to. Winston remains a virgin. Not virgins: Bryan and Nina, who are Doing It.

Thoughts: Elizabeth and Celine hate each other, and Nina’s mentioned not liking her roommate, so why don’t Liz and Nina move in together?

Danny, I like you, so pleas stop telling Winston to try to bang Denise.

When Steven gets out of jail, he’s all, “Colors are brighter! Food tastes better!” He was there one night. Shut up, Steven.

The police arrest the secret society members and then leave Elizabeth to find her own way home. Yeah, leave the girl who was just kidnapped to walk home in the dark. And wouldn’t they need her to go to the police station and make a statement?

Speaking of statements, I’m not sure the police ever took Jessica’s or Billie’s about Mike’s shooting. If they had, there would be three witnesses saying that Steven acted in self-defense/defense of Jessica. This freaking series….

September 25, 2013

SVU #4, Anything for Love: Marry the Man Today, Trouble Though He May Be

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:07 pm by Jenn

This never happened. I don't think Jessica's even met Nina

This never happened. I don’t think Jessica’s even met Nina

Summary: Jessica and Mike have been living together for about a month, and she’s still under the impression that he’s Prince Charming and not at all five seconds away from smacking her the first time she talks back. He wants her to prove her love for him (always a red flag) by marrying him. Of course, Jessica says yes, because for Jess (to paraphrase Taylor Swift), when you’re 18 and somebody tells you they love you, you’re gonna believe them.

So the two lovebirds go off to Vegas and get hitched in a chapel full of cats. Awesome. When they get back from their honeymoon (camping – blergh), Steven yells at Jessica some more. She doesn’t tell him they got married, which ticks Mike off. Jess tries to tell her Theta non-friends (and Isabella), but they all hate her now.

Also, there’s a bigger problem: Parents’ weekend is coming up, and Ned and Alice are still in the dark about Jessica’s living arrangements, not to mention her secret marriage. She doesn’t want to tell them and keeps coming up with excuses. Isabella says she can pretend to move back in over the weekend so her parents don’t know she’s living with Mike. This sets Mike off – he thinks Jessica’s embarrassed by him.

It doesn’t help that when they run into Elizabeth and William, Jess doesn’t say anything about the marriage to her own twin sister. Mike’s a jerk, but he has a point here. Though he’s becoming more and more like the Hulk, so it’s not like Jessica’s wrong to want to keep her association with him quiet. Mike also hates William, and the feeling is mutal. Liz finds out that Jess and Mike are living together, and she’s pretty ticked that Jess and Steven didn’t tell her.

Parents’ weekend arrives, and Jessica has to juggle spending time with Ned and Alice while also attending to Mike’s every need. (He thinks her parents aren’t coming to visit.) When they all go to the apartment complex where everyone who isn’t in a dorm lives, they pass right by Mike. When Jess gets home that night, Mike is furious. He shoves her against a wall, then tells her to lock herself in the bathroom before he hurts her any worse. Elizabeth drops by later and finds the apartment trashed. She tells Jessica they’re leaving, but Jess says no, finally revealing that she and Mike are married.

Nina and Bryan are in the hospital after their assault; she’s okay but he’s in bad shape. Nina’s mom has convinced her to transfer out of SVU so she doesn’t have to deal with the racism and hate crimes. Elizabeth is sad, because Nina’s her only friend. (Her former best friend, Alex, spends the entire book grumbling over how Liz ruined the athletes’ lives with her story about illegal recruitment. Shut up, Alex. Just because you and your boyfriend are fighting doesn’t mean Liz plotted to break you up.)

Elizabeth wants to expose SVU’s secret society, which is most likely behind Nina and Bryan’s attacks. Tom’s against it, though, partly because he’s been getting threatening notes warning him to drop the investigation. The notes all include a broken star. Tom’s inner monologue lets us know that he knows exactly who’s behind the secret society. Liz decides she’ll just investigate by herself. It takes her, like, four years to figure out that the Sigmas aren’t behind the attacks; the secret society is.

Elizabeth talks to William about the investigation, and he tries to make her think Tom’s involved. Meanwhile, Celine finds Elizabeth’s notes on the attacks and tells Peter that she’s investigating. Tom lets Liz know that the secret society isn’t going to put up with her investigation without a fight, and in fact might get violent. Of course, Elizabeth isn’t going to back down. Unfortunately, her stubbornness gets Tom attacked.

Tom realizes that the best way to keep Elizabeth away from the investigation is to bring in someone she hates: Celine. He tells Liz she’ll be helping out. Celine thinks this means Tom likes her, and Peter thinks this means Celine’s two-timing him. Nina tells Liz that she recognized the voice of one of her attackers. They stalk Peter a little and determine that his voice is the one Nina remembers. Elizabeth is still going to investigate, and just let Tom think she’s not. She puts together some things Tom said with what they already know about the society, and starts to think Mike is the leader.

As Bryan starts to recover, he tries to talk Nina into staying at SVU. She eventually decides to stay, possibly partly because her mother wants her to leave so badly, and Nina doesn’t want to give her what she wants. Whatever, because Nina’s mom meets Bryan and ends up liking him. This was a waste of time.

Danny has become friends with Isabella, and he knows about her crush on Tom and wants to help them get together. He tells her that he and Tom will “run into” her at a pizza place, but Tom skips out, leaving Danny and Isabella to hang out together. Later, they pull the “running into” bit again, but Tom sees through it and leaves because he doesn’t want to deal with dating drama. Isabella and Danny are clearly going to end up together, and I’m all for it.

In other plots: Winston has no friends now that he’s not pledging the Sigmas, but Denise doesn’t care. They keep spending time together and boring me. Winston confesses that he told his parents he was dating Denise, so when they come for the weekend, they’ll think she’s his girlfriend. She agrees to go along with it. Alex and Todd are starting to miss Elizabeth, because who wouldn’t want to be friends with her?

Thoughts: Isabella’s favorite pizza is avocado, red onion, and black beans. How did she discover that she liked that combination? Was marijuana involved?

Mike calls Steven an “uptight android.” I’m so confused, in a the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend type of way.

Jessica’s first hint that Mike’s a bad guy should have been that he likes reggae.

I like Denise. And I really like the idea of Winston dating a girl who’s three times tougher than he is.

September 11, 2013

SVU #3, What Your Parents Don’t Know…: Jessica, Get Out Now!

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:24 pm by Jenn

She should spill something on them

She should spill something on them

Summary: Jessica’s about to move in with Mike, but he’s hours late to pick her up the night of the move. She’s rightfully ticked, but she forgets all about that when he gives her a car he restored. Jess also figures that the woman she kept seeing him with was helping him with the car. Now she’s happy again, and doesn’t even mind that much when Steven yells at her some more about being with Mike. She tells him they’re going to be living together and she doesn’t care what he thinks.

Jess still wants to be a Theta, but Mike doesn’t like that she spends so much time with them. This is a MAJOR RED FLAG for a relationship, but of course, Jessica doesn’t see it. She skips Theta meetings and events to be with Mike, and doesn’t tell the Thetas that they’re dating, let alone living together. Poor Isabella keeps lying to the VP, Alison, that Jess is still living with her.

Jessica has been spending a lot of money, and she’s down to less than a dollar in her bank account. She wants to cook dinner for Mike, so she pretends to be Elizabeth in order to withdraw $100 from her account. In a perfect world, this book would end with Jessica going to jail, but alas, this isn’t a perfect world. Elizabeth busts her and tells her to get a job. And Jess actually does! As a waitress! Which is one of the last things I would expect her to do!

The Thetas come to her restaurant one night and find out she’s working, and Alison is a total bitca about it, because Thetas don’t have to work for money – they’re either born with it or they marry someone who has it. Jessica finally tells them she’s done with them. Yay, now she has more time to spend with Mike! Who doesn’t like it when he comes home and she’s not there! This is totally another red flag that Jessica really needs to notice! Jess, wake up!

Tom and Elizabeth’s sports-scandal story is out, and they’re happy about their finished product and about their time working together. They quickly move on to their next project: frat hazing, specifically Sigma’s fishy practices. Winston is currently going through those fishy practices – and “fishy” is exactly the right word here, because one of the pledges’ tasks involves eating goldfish. He’s not allowed to talk to anyone outside the frat, so when Elizabeth approaches him to talk about the Sigmas, he runs away.

Liz and Tom decide to pursue the hazing story, and Elizabeth finds out that every seven years, a Sigma pledge dies during the hazing period. Tom has heard rumors of a secret society on campus, and they think it’s connected to the Sigmas. Denise (Winston’s almost-girlfriend) is also concerned with all the hazing and approaches Elizabeth about it.

Then Celine accidentally alerts Liz to what’s going on: Every seven years, the Sigmas single out a pledge who they think is weak, and they treat him worse than the others until he cracks (and, well, dies). This year, Winston is that pledge. Elizabeth and Tom rush over to the Sigma house, where a drunk Winston is on the roof, having been told to walk across it. They get him down and take him to the hospital.

In Elizabeth’s-love-life news: Liz suspects that Tom wrote the unsigned poem she received in the last book, but she’s still not completely sure. Nina thinks William wrote it. Celine decides to mess with Elizabeth, so she tells William about the poem, telling him Tom wrote it. Then she tells Tom that Elizabeth liked the poem. I’m…not really sure what Celine wants to accomplish here. She wants William for herself, but she’s actually doing Elizabeth a favor by letting Tom know that Liz is interested in him.

Anyway, William sends Elizabeth a bunch of white roses and asks her out. They have an okay time. When Tom finally gets up the courage to ask Liz out, she has to decline because she already has a second date lined up with William. Oh, the madness! After they save Winston, Tom comforts Elizabeth, who’s really shaken up over the situation, and they kiss. William interrupts. Ruh-roh!

Nina has her own love interest now: Bryan Nelson, a member of the Black Students Union who wants her to get more involved in the organization. They admit that their parents wouldn’t like them dating; Bryan’s father would find Nina too uninterested in her culture, and Nina’s mother would find Bryan too unsophisticated. (It’s implied that Nina’s mother basically wants her to act white.) Nina starts going to BSU events and gets more interested in Bryan. But the same night that Elizabeth and Tom save Winston from the roof, Nina and Bryan are jumped by a group of students in masks.

Steven is bugging Billie again with all his talk about how he doesn’t want Jessica to live with Mike. She finally tells him that if it’s that big a deal, he should tell their parents and let them deal with it. But Steven invokes the unspoken sibling code of having each other’s backs and doesn’t listen. Interesting, since I’m surprised Jessica didn’t expect him to tell their parents. Billie calls Steven a hypocrite, since they’re living together, too, but of course, it’s different for your little sister. He’s all, “No! I will break them up!” Billie’s all, “You’re sleeping on the couch tonight. And forever.”

In other, unimportant news: Isabella still likes Tom but thinks he and Liz are together, or at least going down that path. Alex is mad that Elizabeth broke the scandal story, since it affects Alex’s boyfriend. She thinks Liz is selfish, and that she wrote the story to get back at Todd for their breakup. Alex apparently shed all of her common sense when she shed the name Enid.

Thoughts: Whoever typeset this book was drunk, and whoever proofread it was even drunker.

The ghostwriter has a scary obsession with Karmann Ghias (misspelled through the entire book). Which are ugly, by the way.

Ned and Alice are going to be ticked when they find out they’re paying room and board for a dorm room Jessica’s not living in.

Jessica drives her new car for the first time and immediately hits something. She’s the Amanda Bynes of Sweet Valley.

No way Peter drives a Jeep. That’s like Bruce Patman driving a Jeep.

Elizabeth drinks wine at dinner with William! That’s crazy!

For not giving Jessica money after she spent all of hers on stupid stuff, Isabella gains major points in my book. Now she just needs an actual plot. So does Danny.

Next page