July 31, 2013

SVH Super Edition, Aftershock: Then We Came to the End

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 8:27 pm by Jenn

Cue "I Will Remember You"

Cue “I Will Remember You”

Summary: There was an earthquake, Olivia’s dead, and now everyone’s super-sad. The Wakefields’ house was destroyed, so they’re staying at Fowler Crest. Elizabeth is depressed because Olivia’s dead; Jessica’s depressed because she feels guilty for not being able to save Alyssa. Lila’s not depressed, she’s just Lila. A lot of the book involves people driving around town, looking at destruction, and having flashbacks.

Elizabeth can’t remember what happened after the earthquake, so when Enid tells her that she thinks Devon saved them, Liz figures that makes sense and goes along with it. The girls smother Devon with affection, and though it’s obvious to anyone with an IQ above 50 that he did nothing, he keeps the lie going. Enid tells some reporters that Devon saved her life, so now everyone thinks he’s a hero.

Maria Slater is the only one who doubts Devon – she vaguely remembers hearing Elizabeth yell for Devon after the earthquake, and she thinks they were fighting. Liz is so sold on Devon being a hero that she gets into a big fight with Maria for not contributing to the hero narrative. Then they make up and Maria hypnotizes her. Yes, really.

At Olivia’s funeral, Elizabeth sees Dana’s snake bracelet, and it jogs her memory about the snake she encountered after the earthquake. Suddenly she remembers everything, including her fight with Devon and having to save Enid by herself. Later, Ken confirms that some stranger helped Liz and Enid after Elizabeth had already done what she could on her own. Suddenly everyone hates Devon, and they basically run him out of town like an angry mob. Smell ya later, Devon!

Jessica and Ken are both struggling with feelings of survivor guilt and feeling responsible for Alyssa and Olivia’s deaths. Jessica’s depressed enough that she even considers killing herself. Alyssa’s parents aren’t mad at Jessica, since she was selfless enough to try to help a stranger, but Alyssa’s brother Bryan is furious with her. After some yelling, he admits that he’s actually just mad at himself for not being able to save his sister.

Maria Santelli has set up a refugee center for the people whose homes were damaged, and a bunch of families get matched up so they have places to stay. The Santellis are hosting a little boy whose father is in the hospital and not expected to recover. Jessica connects with the boy and spends some time with him, trying to take both their minds off of what happened. Just as she’s feeling at her lowest, the boy’s father wakes up, and she realizes that there are still miracles in the world.

Olivia’s parents want Ken to give the eulogy at her memorial service. He really doesn’t want to, so they ask him to spend some time in Olivia’s room while he thinks about it. Ken looks through Olivia’s paintings and finds one she did of him that captures the person no one else sees him as. Somehow this changes his mind.

Lila and Todd feel some residual attraction to each other after having spent the earthquake together. After Olivia’s funeral, Lila gets emotional, realizing how mean she’s been to people and how her snobbery made her miss out on having a friendship with a nice person. Todd comforts her and they finally kiss…and immediately realize they have no chemistry. Lila even yells at him for having the nerve to kiss her at a funeral. Hee.

Of course, things with Elizabeth and Todd are still an issue. He was already heading for basketball camp for the summer, so they agree to stick to their plan not to keep in touch. Which means Elizabeth is truly guy-less. I’m sure that’ll last.

And…that’s it!

Thoughts: “Bill Jozniak was a famous computer company owner.” Bill Gates + Steve Jobs + Steve Wozniak, I assume?

“Maybe Elizabeth will hate me for it…but my survival always comes first.” And that’s why Devon is single.

What was the city planning to do with all the people who are suddenly homeless if Maria Santelli hadn’t set up a refugee center? Why is a 16-year-old doing all the work?

Elizabeth is way too smart to let a 16-year-old hypnotize her. Though it’s pretty funny when Maria wants to see Liz’s watch, and Liz thinks she’s going to hypnotize her by waving a watch, but Maria just wants to know what time it is.

Before Olivia’s memorial service starts, Elizabeth gets emotional and Maria tells her to “pull it together.” Seriously? HER FRIEND DIED. Shut up, Slater.

Oh, really, Nicholas? You thought of Olivia as a sister? Were you even in the last 20 books?

It’s over! I read the whole series! (Minus the diaries, but I don’t care about those.) It took forever, but I did it! And I can’t even say goodbye to these people because next I’m going to read Sweet Valley University! Ahhhhhhhhhh!

July 17, 2013

SVH Super Edition, Earthquake: The One With the Killer Fridge

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:44 pm by Jenn

I guess the guy on the bottom left is Ken? He looks doofy

I guess the guy on the bottom left is Ken? He looks doofy

Summary: This book has four plots, so I’ll split the recap into four parts:

Jessica and Steven: After their car accident at the end of Last Wish, Jess and Steven are fine, but the new Jeep joins the long list of totaled Wakefield vehicles. (RIP, buddy. You almost made it an entire book.) Jessica wants to go home to make sure Elizabeth’s okay, since her twin spidey sense is telling her something’s wrong. Steven, however, wants to keep going to the gas station where Billie’s stranded. They get into a big fight over it, and even though it would be reasonable for him to just drop her at home and go after Billie himself, and even though Steven practically says he’d rather go get Billie than worry about his own sister, they go downtown.

Once Billie has been retrieved (and she’s fine), she and Steven realize that Ned and Alice are also downtown. Jessica finally heads home while the elder Wakefields are rescued. But on her way, Jess runs into a guy named Bryan whose 12-year-old sister Alyssa is clinging to the edge of a big crevasse in the road. Jessica tries to help Bryan save her, but the girl can’t hold on long enough, and she falls into the pit and dies. That’s right, SVH killed off a 12-year-old. But wait, there’s more!

Elizabeth: At the house, which is massively damaged and about two seconds from collapsing, Elizabeth finds Enid unconscious in a big pool of water. There are downed power lines, and Liz realizes that Enid has been shocked. She tries to get Devon to help her rescue Enid, but he’s some combination of in shock and a huge jerk, so he just sits there and taunts that there’s nothing they can do and they’re all going to die. So for those of you compiling mental lists of which SVH characters to have around in an emergency, Devon should not be on that list.

Elizabeth, however, should. Even though she makes a detour into the swimming pool, and even though she has to face down a rattlesnake (no, seriously), and even though she can’t actually pick Enid up and carry her to safety, Elizabeth manages to get her away from the live wires. Unfortunately, she herself gets shocked in the process, so now she’s unconscious, too.

Todd and Lila: These two spend the whole book trapped in the bathroom, fighting like Xander and Cordelia in Buffy’s basement (I know I made that reference before, I think with Lila and Bruce, but it’s even more appropriate here). Lila first thinks there’s nothing to worry about, but then there’s a fire, which freaks her out because of the fire at her house. Todd proves to also be good in an emergency, though he can’t find a way out of the room. The two of them end up sitting together in the bathtub, kissing goodbye. Fortunately, firefighters arrive just seconds before they can be burned alive.

And the rest: Ronnie Edwards is dead. Try to hold back your tears. Almost everyone else is okay, despite some minor injuries. Winston and Ken take charge, and Winston winds up being the person to get the rescue squad to the house. Ken spends most of the book with Olivia, who’s badly injured, as well as trapped under a beam and the Wakefields’ refrigerator. By the time the rescue crew arrives, she’s died from internal injuries. And it’s actually pretty sad.

Thoughts: Devon doesn’t see the point in calling the fire department. When there’s a fire. And people are trapped in a house. Shut up, Devon. I’m so happy to almost be rid of you.

How is Jessica being immature and selfish by worrying about Elizabeth? You shut up, too, Steven.

I don’t really have anything else to say, so I’ll just tell Devon to shut up again. Shut up some more, Devon.

July 3, 2013

SVH Super Edition, Last Wish: All Shook Up

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 6:39 pm by Jenn

"Is it over?" indeed

“Is it over?” indeed

Summary: You guys, the twins are finally turning 17!!! Each wants to throw a surprise party for the other, so there’s a lot of secret planning and trying to figure out what the other girl would consider a fun party. Elizabeth rents out the Beach Disco (after having to promise the manager that she can get 100 people to come), and Jessica plans a classy beach party with a string quartet. She has no money, so she asks Steven for a loan (then gets Lila to give her an advance on that loan).

Lila and Amy get invitations to both parties and have to come up with a plan to keep people from choosing one party over the other, and to keep the twins from finding out about each other’s party. They enlist Enid and Maria Slater to help, and the girls come up with some grand scheme that they think is brilliant but really isn’t. Basically, they manufacture reasons for the parties to be canceled, then get the twins back to their own house, where there’s one monster party. Ned and Alice leave, but Steven and Billie stick around to chaperone.

There’s a lot of drama going on in Sweet Valley in the two weeks leading up to the party. Winston and Maria Santelli are fighting because he’s unable to keep his mouth shut about things she told him in confidence. (This is one of the reasons no one lets him in on the party-planning scheme.) Olivia and Ken are fighting because she did a nude painting of him and wants to enter it in an art show. He demands that she destroy it, but she wants to be free to express herself as an artist.

The Todd/Elizabeth/Devon triangle is still in play, but they’re all still awkward around each other because of what happened at prom. Todd even plans to ditch the party, then changes his mind. Devon gets Elizabeth a really boring present, in order to prove…you know what, I don’t even know what he’s trying to prove. My eyes glaze over whenever I read his name. And finally, Bruce has been bragging that he’s going to Harvard when he’s only on the waiting list. When he gets rejected, he tells everyone he’d rather go to SVU anyway (though his dad has to buy a building to get him in).

There’s a minor earthquake, and Prince Albert is acting crazy, but everyone plans to have a good time at the party (even the people who are fighting with each other). Things get off to a great start when the twins arrive, very happy with the way things have turned out. Then they get their birthday present from their parents – a new Jeep, to replace the one Todd destroyed – and they’re even happier.

The fighting couples make up, with Olivia showing Ken a revised version of the nude portrait that doesn’t show anything R-rated. He “allows” her to keep the original painting, and she promises never to display it. Billie leaves to get some ice, taking Steven’s car, but it breaks down, so Jessica and Steven take the new Jeep to go get her. Todd comes to the party, telling Elizabeth that he’s going to a basketball camp for the summer, and they agree to reassess things when he gets back.

Then all Hell breaks loose. There’s a huge earthquake that takes down various parts of the Wakefields’ house (including the chimney, and that would scare the heck out of me). Olivia, Ken, Annie, and Maria Santelli get trapped in the kitchen, and things don’t look good for Olivia. Winston can’t find his girlfriend. Todd and Lila are in the bathroom together (he was trying to kick her out of there when the earthquake hit). Jessica and Steven get into a major car accident. And it looks like when the next book starts, people are going to have to pick through a lot of wreckage to find out who’s survived.

Thoughts: Before they get the Jeep from their parents, the twins think they’ll have to pay for a new car themselves. But why? Did their insurance not cover Todd driving it off a cliff?

Ken’s mad about the painting because people will think Olivia’s seen him naked, and I guess by extension that they’ve had sex. I’m sorry, no teenage boy would be mad about that.

Lila: “It makes even more sense to let the servants straighten up. It makes them feel useful.” Jessica: “You’re a real humanitarian, Lila.” Lila: “Don’t ever say that! Not even in jest.” I think Lila grew up to be Jenna from 30 Rock.

Olivia, re: the nude painting: “I used my imagination.” Maria Slater: “With a hunk like Ken for a boyfriend, I’d use my imagination, too.” I love Maria.

Jessica sits on Steven’s lap. JESSICA, STAAAAAAHP.

June 8, 2013

SVH #142, The Big Night: A Woman Scorned

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , at 2:50 pm by Jenn

That's Liz in front, Jess in the chair, and Lila looking like Leighton Meester

That’s Liz in front, Jess in the chair, and Lila looking like Leighton Meester

Summary: It’s finally time for prom! No, not Jungle Prom, a new one. Elizabeth and Devon are on good terms after he set her up to see if she’d choose him or Todd, and they’re going to the dance together. (By the way, there are three events that night: Lila’s pre-prom party, the prom itself, and an after-party on a yacht.) Devon and Liz plan to have dinner first, but he calls to tell her to meet him at the restaurant instead of Secca Lake. Jessica forgets to give Elizabeth the message, so Liz winds up at the lake, where she runs into Todd. She thinks Devon has stood her up, so she and Todd decide to go to the dance together, even though he was supposed to go with Courtney.

Remember how Jessica and Lila both made dates with the same guy but didn’t know it? The guy, Jordan, thinks they’re horrible for going behind each other’s backs, so he ditches them both, leaving them both dateless. Jessica suggests that they just steal other girls’ dates at the prom. She goes to tell Devon that Elizabeth didn’t get his message, then decides to pretend to be Liz and spend the pre-prom time with him, then give him to Liz for the prom. Devon falls for it.

Elizabeth and Todd skip the pre-party, so they’re not there when Courtney shows up, ticked about having been dumped just before the prom. Lila tells her to come to the prom anyway. Courtney does, and when she sees Todd and Liz together, she freaks out. Meanwhile, no one (except Enid and possibly Maria Slater) notices that Devon and Todd both think they’re with Elizabeth, and Devon thinks Todd is with Jessica. I really have no idea how Devon goes the entire dance without figuring out he’s with the wrong twin. Well, at least until Courtney tells him who he’s really with.

Devon confronts Elizabeth, whose default reaction is to start crying. (I can’t feel that bad for her; she went along with Jessica’s plans and let Jess pretend to be her.) Todd is also ticked, so Liz is single again. Lila wants revenge on Jessica, so she and Courtney arrange to lock the twins up in a shed. Liz is with Enid and Maria, so Lila locks them in, too. Then everyone else heads to the yacht for the after-party.

Tyler and Blubber (Maria and Enid’s dates) free the girls, and they all take a speedboat out to meet the yacht. No, I don’t know who would rent a speedboat to a bunch of 16-year-olds after dark. On the boat, Courtney goes fully insane and pushes Todd overboard. Elizabeth rescues him, but he still doesn’t want to be with her. Then Jessica sees Lila and Devon together and gets mad, though I don’t think they’re actually doing anything.

Thoughts: Guys, the first 1,000 people who log on to the Sweet Valley website get a free ‘N Sync cassette sample and autographed picture! Hurry, hurry, hurry!

“We’ve beend reaming about prom night for years, and it’s finally here!” You’ve already had a prom, Jess. Remember? Your boyfriend died?

I’m surprised Lila finds Jessica’s twin switch so objectionable. Maybe she’s just jealous that she can’t do it.

Winston: “You only have one junior prom.” No, you don’t! Am I the only one who remembers Jungle Prom?

The twins think they can pull off the switch for the entire dance. The problem is that they would need everyone else to go along with it for it to work. As soon as anyone talks to Elizabeth and Todd, and finds out that’s Liz, it’s obvious Jessica’s with Devon. To have everyone either pretend Jessica is Elizabeth and vice versa would be impossible.

Tyler wears a navy jacket with black pants. As a model, he should really know better.

May 22, 2013

SVH #141, A Picture-Perfect Prom?: Where the Boys Are

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 8:35 pm by Jenn

Check out the whale tail on Elizabeth!

Check out the whale tail on Elizabeth!

Summary: Elizabeth is single, which means she won’t have a date to the upcoming prom. She serves on the prom committee with Todd, and they’re kind of on good terms. Devon, meanwhile, is really mopey. He helps out the committee one day, and suddenly Liz is all over him. So the guys aren’t sure who she wants to be with, and she isn’t sure which of the guys she wants to be with.

Todd wants to ask Elizabeth to the prom, but he sees her getting close with Devon and gets mad. He decides to ask Courtney to the prom to make Liz jealous. It works, and also clues Devon in that Elizabeth isn’t completely over Todd. Devon decides he wants to find out once and for all who Liz wants. He asks her to dinner, then sends her flowers, supposedly from Todd, and asks her to meet him at the same time she’s supposed to be with Devon.

Devon follows Elizabeth the night of the date (because he’s a creepy stalker now), and his widdle heart breaks when he realizes she’s going to meet Todd. (Though Todd isn’t actually going to be there.) He doesn’t realize that she’s planning to tell Todd she doesn’t want to get back together. So instead of meeting Todd, Elizabeth meets Devon, and he’s not happy.

Jessica and Lila are also dateless, so they decide to examine all the eligible guys at school to decide who the best candidates are. They wind up making a sort of catalog, complete with pictures, rankings, and keywords. Elizabeth accidentally takes it to school with her, mistaking it for a regular notebook, and Winston and Enid see it. Winston then reads a portion of the catalog over the loudspeaker. Since Liz brought the notebook to school, Jessica blames her.

Lila and Jessica come up with another idea to meet guys: Put personals in other schools’ newspapers. Then they basically audition a bunch of boys. They both like the same guy, Jordan, and agree not to pursue him since they can’t agree on who should ask him to prom. But, of course, they both ask him anyway. For some reason, he says yes to both of them.

In other news, Blubber has a crush on Enid, and she will NOT SHUT UP about it. He asks her to prom, and even though she doesn’t want to go with him, she says yes. Go away, Enid.

Thoughts: Lila: “I just shivered, so someone is probably touching the prom dress meant for me.” Heh.

Enid jokingly asks Elizabeth to the prom. At least I think she’s joking. It’s hard to tell with her.

“I was just blinded for a second by your attractive ankles.” Todd, you need psychiatric help.

Bruce: “[Jessica] and Lila have obviously gone insane. Of course it wasn’t a long trip for them, but now they’ve unpacked their bags and settled in to stay.” Heh again.

Maria Slater gets a date with a model, Tyler Becksmith, who I’m 99% is based on Tyson Beckford. In which case, nice job, Maria.

And you know why she gates to go to the prom with a supermodel? Because she didn’t whine when she didn’t have a date. Unannoying behavior gets rewarded, ENID.

There are lots of references to past characters and plots – the ones I caught were Bruce kisses like a dead jellyfish, Peter DeHaven, Charlie Markus, Suzanne Hanlon, and Jeremy Frank.

December 4, 2012

SVH #131, Fashion Victim: Beauties and Beasts

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 9:44 pm by Jenn

Whichever one this is, I don't like her

Whichever one this is, I don’t like her

Summary: The bad news is that Elizabeth had her brilliant idea snaked by Leona. The good news is that Enid and Maria don’t hate her anymore. The three of them and Reggie, who works at Flair, team up to get Elizabeth a meeting with Gordon Lewis, the head of Flair, so she can present her idea without Leona knowing. This involves Elizabeth pretending she actually works there and Enid pretending to be her secretary. Also, Reggie has a crush on Gordon, so the girls want to help fix them up. The four of them also wind up at a fancy party, where Reggie talks Liz up so Gordon thinks she’s a hotshot.

The meeting goes really well, but Leona crashes it and announces that Elizabeth stole her idea instead of the other way around. Elizabeth and Reggie both get fired, though Elizabeth was just an intern and her two weeks are up anyway. Liz sneaks into Leona’s house and steals the tape recorder Leona used to dictate the letter to Gordon talking about her idea and how Elizabeth shouldn’t know about the meeting. Unfortunately, the letter has been erased.

Leona calls Liz and asks her to meet for lunch, but on the way there, someone tries to run Elizabeth off the road and kill her. Todd happens to be driving by and saves her. This almost leads to a reconciliation between the two lovebirds, but Liz is still mad. Todd goes to the police to report the incident and learns that the driver is a known hitman. So Leona hired him to kill Elizabeth so she wouldn’t spill that Leona stole her idea. Overreact much?

Elizabeth goes back to Flair to confront Leona, who pulls a gun and tries to kidnap her (even though Leona’s on crutches). Liz pushes the intercom button on Leona’s phone and a bunch of people hear her talking about stealing the idea. Then the police show up and hopefully take Leona to an asylum or something, because she’s insane. So Liz winds up with credit for the magazine idea, like it even matters anymore, and Todd goes Lloyd Dobler on her and wins her back.

Meanwhile, Jessica is sick of Quentin, even though he’s opening doors to the glam life. She wants to be with Cameron, but he’s no longer working at Flair. He seems to be waiting tables at “Spago’s” now. (Psst, ghostwriter: It’s Spago.) Then Jess finds out that Quentin isn’t using her spread after all. She goes to confront him, and Simone tells her that Quentin was just using Jess to make Simone jealous.

But then Jessica gets a copy of the magazine with her spread in it, plus an invitation to a party thrown by Edward McGee, the president of the company that owns Flair. Jessica rushes to the party and meets McGee’s son – Cameron. He was pulling an Undercover Boss in the mailroom and is actually the new vice president of the company (which makes his relationship with Jessica even grosser). He overruled Quentin and put Jessica in the magazine. Congratulations on your sugar daddy, Jess.

Oh, and Todd? Moved into a crappy apartment, has no money, isn’t wanted at Flair anymore, and can’t cook. But the good news is that he realizes how horrible Simone is and dumps her. Eventually he winds up moving back home. I know you all were worried about him.

Thoughts: Quentin says he won “the VH1 award for best fashion photographer.” Who wants to tell him that was just a setup for Zoolander?

“Maria’s outfit of a cashmere sweater and slim-fitting black moleskin pants, with silver hoops in her ears, was much too artsy and unique for the editorial department.” Yes, if you don’t know what “artsy” or “unique” mean.

Later she wears “a tailored black leather sleeveless jacket with gold buttons.” Isn’t a sleeveless jacket just a vest?

Jessica thinks she loves Cameron after two weeks and, like, one-and-a-half dates. Yep, sounds about right.

Todd going to the police may be the only smart thing he’s ever done. Elizabeth’s all, “La la la, I was almost killed, whatever, la la la.” Todd’s all, “Maybe we should find out why this happened?”

In a photo that actually makes it into the magazine, Jessica wears “a belted maillot with a sheer cape.” Is anyone else thinking that sounds like a superhero costume?

They keep calling Jessica’s early copy of the magazine “blue pages,” but I don’t think that’s a thing. They probably mean blue lines. Couldn’t the ghostwriter have done the barest minimum of research?

November 21, 2012

SVH #130, Model Flirt: Easy, Sleazy, Beautiful

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 5:15 pm by Jenn

No self-respecting fashion photographer would have that haircut

Summary: Elizabeth’s boss, Leona, goes away for a couple of days and leaves Liz in charge. Then Leona breaks her leg and has to take more time off, so she has Elizabeth go to her house to get her mail and collect her messages. Liz kind of pretends to be Leona, which is weird, then hears a recording Leona made of a letter she was going to send to someone at Flair, pitching an idea Elizabeth had for a column written by a reader. Liz realizes that Leona is Bad News. She confides in a co-worker, who convinces her to rat Leona out.

Jessica has those two dates planned for the same night, and somehow convinces Elizabeth to pretend to be her and go out with Cameron while Jess is with creepy teenager-dating Quentin. Jessica would rather spend time with Cameron, but remember, he’s just a mailroom peon while Quentin is a photographer who could get Jessica into modeling. Elizabeth feels bad for Cameron and gets revenge on Jessica by ordering food Jess hates, then making her eat it when they switch places. The joke is on both of them, though, because Cameron figures out the switch.

Jessica’s still determined to be a model, so she ruins some of Simone’s film, then offers to sub in for her when Quentin redoes the shoot. Apparently she’s gorgeous and perfect and blah blah blah, though she realizes that modeling isn’t as fun as she thought. Jessica patches things up with Cameron and he agrees to give her a second chance, but then he catches Quentin kissing her and goes back to thinking that Jessica is horrible. (Which she is. She clearly has no problems basically sleeping her way to the top.)

In Todd-related news, he and Elizabeth are basically kaput, since she saw him kissing Simone. He doesn’t care, since he gets to hang out with people who are just as awesome and gorgeous as he is. He also doesn’t care that his parents don’t like his new job. He breaks curfew and they warn him not to push it. Todd’s sick of being treated like a child, so he keeps breaking the rules. Eventually his parents tell him he has to stop modeling. Todd decides to move out instead. I’m sure that will go well.

Oh, and Maria and Enid try desperately to be interesting, going on a disastrous double date and shutting Elizabeth out because she was so mean to them before. Yawn.

Thoughts: I guess Elizabeth can date and make out with whoever she wants, but if Todd even looks at another girl, he’s devil spawn.

“With her funky retro look, Maria had a style all her own. Tonight she was wearing a pale blue forties dress with huge square buttons and thick army boots on her feet. An exotic green silk scarf was tied over her head, hiding her hair completely.” I can’t stop rolling my eyes.

There’s a restaurant in Sweet Valley called Bobo’s Burger Barn, where you can draw on the tablecloths. It makes the Dairi Burger seem like Le Cirque.

Enid has a mini-backpack. Remember those?

Cameron orders a steak and fries at a French restaurant. Dealbreaker!

Ghostwriter, stop trying to make us care about Enid and Maria. It’s a losing battle.

November 7, 2012

SVH #129, Cover Girls: America’s Next Top Psychopath

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 8:30 pm by Jenn

Putting girls in bathing suits on the cover of a book for girls isn’t going to increase your sales

Summary: SVH students get two weeks off to do internships with various companies, mostly ones their parents work for. But the twins land one with Flair magazine, with Elizabeth working for an editor and Jessica working for a photographer. Liz gets off to a great start, since she’s so motivated and sycophantic, so her boss, Leona, loves her. Jess has a harder time with the photographer, Quentin, who’s in bed with Simone, a thoroughly horrible model who treats everyone like crap, especially Jessica. But Jessica is determined to get in good with Quentin (in more ways than one) because she thinks he can help her break into modeling.

Jessica steals a camera and gets Lila to take photos of her on the beach so she can put together a semi-professional portfolio and impress Quentin. The camera is destroyed, and Lila refuses to pay to replace it, so Jessica tries to keep quiet about it. Cameron, a guy who works in the mailroom and has a crush on Jessica, buys a new camera and passes it off as a cleaned-up version of the old one. Let’s just gloss over the fact that a guy who works in the mailroom would never be able to afford a new camera of that quality.

Todd’s bored interning for his father, and also jealous that Elizabeth is doing so well, so he tries to get her to blow off her tasks and hang out with him. But Liz is a career woman, you see, and wants to do so well at her internship that she lands a real job with Flair during the summer. Todd goes to visit Jessica on a shoot, and Quentin thinks he’s model material and enlists him to pose with Simone. Suddenly Todd is hot stuff and has a big future in modeling. Elizabeth isn’t happy because she doesn’t get that Todd and Simone are only snuggling up to each other because, you know, it’s their job.

It only gets worse with Liz: She talks nonstop about her internship and treats Maria and Enid about as well as Simone treats people. They call her on it but she still doesn’t care, because this is life in the real world, yo, and Liz gotta get paid. But then she has a legitimately good suggestion for the magazine that her boss rejects, so now Liz is sad. Sad, sad Liz. And her friends aren’t around to listen to her mope, because Maria and Enid have wised up and won’t spend any more time with her, and Todd is hanging out with Simone and becoming Mr. Popularity. Sad, sad, sad Liz.

Anyway, back to Jessica. She corners Quentin in the darkroom and makes out with him, because that’s a totally reasonable, normal thing for a 16-year-old girl to do to a 20-something guy with a girlfriend. He keeps kissing her even after he realizes she’s not Simone, then asks her out. Then Jessica and Cameron, who have become friends, get into a big fight because she’s becoming so jerky. They totally do that thing where they scream at each other and then make out. Then he tells her they’re going on a date, and she accepts, but oh, noes! It’s the same night as her date with Quentin! Whatever shall Jessica do??

Jess isn’t the only one with conflicting plans: Leona wants Elizabeth at some get-together that she thinks will help her with her career, but Liz has already made plans with Maria and Enid in an attempt to smooth things over. So if Elizabeth cares about her career, she’ll have to ditch them. Clearly this is the sort of thing all 16-year-olds can relate to.

This book, in a nutshell: Everyone is horrible.

Thoughts: From the back cover: “Fashion! Models! Deadlines!” Yes, deadlines are quite glamorous. I feel positively elegant every time I have to meet one.

I enjoyed the recent three-book break from Elizabeth. It’s a shame it didn’t last longer. Seriously, she is worse than Simone.

Elizabeth got Todd a tie for his 16th birthday. DUMP HER, TODD.

“I always proofread everything four times.” Elizabeth, you may have OCD. Also, I thought you were so perfect that you never made mistakes. Therefore, you shouldn’t have to proofread even once.

Leona to Elizabeth, who thinks getting a trendy haircut and dressing more like a teenager will help her career: “It does take courage to be different. But in this case being different served no purpose.” HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

I’m pretty sure those internships are just excuses for the SVH teachers to take two weeks off and for a bunch of companies to skirt child labor laws.

September 11, 2012

SVH #128, Kiss of a Killer: Night of the Living Undead

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 10:13 pm by Jenn

But…where did they get torches?

Summary: Apparently at the end of Dance of Death, Katrina wasn’t completely dead, but now she is. Ned and Alice decide to finally do some parenting and tell Jessica she can’t see Jonathan anymore. Jessica gets them to have dinner with him, and Joey comes over as well so Elizabeth can continue to be uncomfortable with their relationship. (Obviously she’s going to get back with Todd. Whatever.)

Then Enid is attacked and ends up in a coma. The SVH kids want to go after the killer for revenge for the attack and Katrina’s death. Never mind that they don’t know who the killer is. Enid wakes up briefly and says Jonathan’s name, making Elizabeth think she named her attacker. She and Maria go to Jonathan’s mansion and find some books about vampires, which convince Liz that that’s what he is.

Jessica sneaks off with Jonathan, but Elizabeth sees and tells Alice and Ned. They call the police, who find the couple at a beach cave where the other attack victims’ blood was also found. So Jonathan took Jessica to a cave possibly used as a hideout by the killer, but only Elizabeth is suspicious. She shares her vampire theory with the other SVH kids, who turn themselves into an angry mob and take off to find Jonathan.

Liz gets a call from Enid’s mother telling her that Enid only said Jonathan’s name because he found her after the attack and got her to the hospital. Elizabeth starts to doubt that Jonathan’s the killer and/or a vampire. By then, the angry mob has ditched her, and Jessica has the Jeep, so Liz is stuck without a ride. She calls Joey, who’s mad that she ditched him and only wants him for his car. P.S. Joey’s a jerk. Fortunately, Todd’s still around and drives Elizabeth to the cave.

Jessica’s there with Jonathan, who’s announced that he needs to leave town. He knows Elizabeth and Maria stole his vampire books and thinks they know something they shouldn’t. Jessica begs to go with him, promising to stay with him forever. He tells her he has a ring that keeps him safe from sunlight, and they can share it. Before he can suck Jessica’s blood or anything, Liz and Todd show up and warn Jonathan about the teenage vigilantes. He runs off, leaving Jessica behind, heartbroken, at least until the next hot guy comes along. And there’s never any explanation of a) who the killer is or b) whether Jonathan’s really a vampire. Make up your own conclusions!

Thoughts: Proof Enid is totally messed up in the head: While everyone’s freaking out over Katrina’s death (and she’s more concerned over the fact that Jonathan chose Jessica over her), she wonders if Jonathan would like her more if she cleaned his house.

Ned grounds the girls and bans Jessica from seeing Jonathan, then lets her invite him to dinner and gives her his credit card to buy a new dress. Which would involve going shopping, which would defeat the purpose of a grounding. So…way to parent, Ned. Again.

Also, I would rather let Jonathan suck my blood than eat with the Wakefields.

Winston: “It does seem unlikely that a town the size of Sweet Valley would have two deranged killers.” Substitute “dozens” for “two” and you have one of the (many, many) problems with the series.

“It was a long-standing tradition among the Wakefiend kids…that they watched out for each other without parental involvement.” Because that’s always worked out so well in the past.

I wonder what kind of results Maria got when she looked up vampires on the Internet in 1996. Back then, it was pretty much just Dracula and Anne Rice, right?

Todd: “Jonathan is still innocent until proven guilty.” Lila: “Oh, sure. But what about Katrina? She was innocent until proven dead!” Um…what?

September 1, 2012

SVH #127, Dance of Death: Disturbing Behavior

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 1:56 pm by Jenn

That’s the guy everyone’s so excited about? Everyone needs to calm down

Summary: Some girl is dead and Jessica’s with Jonathan. But first, let’s deal with Elizabeth’s love life. Todd catches her with Joey and decides he’s done being oblivious/letting her cheat on him whenever she wants without consequences. Elizabeth doesn’t really have time to deal with him, though, since she thinks Jessica’s been murdered. She and Joey race to Secca Lake, but of course the deal girl isn’t Jessica. She’s safe and sound (…I guess) with Jonathan, who’s still playing his “I’m so attracted to you but we can’t be together” game with her. He kicks her out, but when Enid shows up, he lets her in and sucks face with her. Then he sucks neck with her. Though he’s the only one doing the sucking.

Now that two teenagers are dead, Sweet Valley decides to try to protect everyone else. They institute a curfew for everyone under 18, which the SVH kids hate. Bruce and the now-goth Todd (because remember, everyone loves Jonathan and wants to be exactly like him) decide to host a big party at Jonathan’s house to a) offer everyone some curfew-breaking fun and b) spend time with their new idol. Jonathan objects to the party but ultimately decides there isn’t much he can do about it. Before then, he sucks on Enid’s neck some more, and now Jessica’s really ticked. Then her cat gets murdered, seemingly by the same person who killed the two teenagers and drained their blood.

Elizabeth is still worried about Jessica spending time with Jonathan, so she decides to go to the party to keep an eye on her. She doesn’t want to tell Joey about the party, since she’s realized she’s not as into him as she was over the summer, but he learns about it and gets mad that she lied about her plans. Maria goes to the party with Liz, and they’re basically the only two people there who aren’t obsessed with Jonathan and haven’t gone goth. (Maria is also the only sane person left in Sweet Valley. I kind of love her.) Elizabeth sees Todd dancing with Amy’s visiting cousin Katrina and gets jealous, then kind of wishes she’d brought Joey with her.

Jessica decides it’s time to seduce Jonathan, or something, so she waits for him in his bedroom. He tells her he does want to be with her and Enid means nothing to him. While they’re making out, the lights go out and all the candles in the house are blown out. Elizabeth enlists Todd to help her turn on the breakers, and when the lights come back on, they hear screaming. Katrina’s dead, and her blood has been drained.

Thoughts: “The new Enid was hip and sophisticated.” No, sweetie. The new Enid is emo. No one emo has ever been mistaken for hip or sophisticated.

Everyone’s mad that the curfew is 10 p.m. First of all, 10 p.m. is pretty generous. Second, I think the second teen was killed earlier in the evening than that, so it’s not going to do much good.


Todd’s plan is to become like Jonathan and make Elizabeth regret ditching him. Too bad Elizabeth doesn’t like Jonathan and that will probably just turn her off even more.

I want Joey to be the killer. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Enid and the other goth girls still hang out at the Dairi Burger. How dark and sinister.

The teens having a party while there’s a serial killer on the loose reminds me of Scream. And everything worked out well there, so it’s a great idea.

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