October 10, 2012

SVH Saga, The Patmans of Sweet Valley: Patman Begins

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 8:23 pm by Jenn

I don’t like the way that cowboy is looking at me

Summary: 1825-1846: Sophie Edmonton, daughter of an English duke, falls in love with a stable hand named Henry Patman. (Sigh.) Since he’s poor, she has to keep the relationship from her father. Sophie and Henry plan to elope, but her sister Melanie reads her diary and tells their father what they’re planning. Henry winds up deported and Sophie winds up with a lord. Meanwhile, Henry goes to New York and wins a plantation in a poker game.

1851-1852: Sophie’s daughter Emma runs away from a planned marriage so she can become an actress in London. She changes her name to Vanessa and doesn’t tell anyone her father’s an earl. She lives with a guy named Patrick, who falls in love with her and proposes, and though she accepts at first, she ultimately leaves to join a traveling troupe. She falls in love with the director, who is secretly the son of a marquess. Why are all these rich people pretending not to be rich?

1861-1864: There’s this really boring section about James Patman (Henry’s son) disagreeing with his family about slavery being wrong, then helping free slaves via the Underground Railroad. He marries a former slave named Hope and she gets pregnant, but before she can have the baby, she’s murdered. (This was the only part of the book I had any kind of emotional connection to. Everything else was bleh.) James goes back home and learns that his whole family’s dead. Cheerful!

1886: Katherine (granddaughter of Emma) is an up-and-coming teenage actress. She travels to America with the Royal Shakespeare Company and falls in love with James’ son John in Kansas. The night she’s supposed to leave, he plans to meet her at the train station and propose. But there’s a robbery at the bar where John works and Katherine leaves on a train just before he can get to her. She’s hurt because she thought John stood her up, but she reads about the hold-up in the newspaper and goes back to Kansas. She’s too late, though – John has already split town. Oh, and her whole family is dead, too, because of a fire. What’s up with people’s whole families getting wiped out?

1890-1893: John goes to Texas and hooks up with a cowgirl named Samantha (no relation to this Samantha). Just as he’s about to head to another city to look for work, since their ranch isn’t doing well, they find oil.

1924-1927: William (one of John and Samantha’s kids) marries Helena and they have a son named Paul who dies when he’s just  few weeks old. Hold on to that thought.

1941-1945: Katherine has a daughter named Cassandra, who becomes a doctor and works at a hospital in Europe during World War II. She falls in love with a wounded solder named Spencer and gets pregnant. But Spencer returns to the war and is killed in battle, and the news makes Cassandra miscarry. In 1945, Spencer’s best friend Peter looks Cassandra up and they get together. She’s supposedly not able to have any more kids, but has two anyway, Marie and Peter.

Meanwhile, a guy named Reginald Rainier starts working for William and becomes like a son to him. Helena meets him and thinks he looks like William. Some digging turns up a very soap operaish story: Reginald and Paul (William and Helena’s son, remember) were switched at birth, and Reginald is really a Patman. So now Reginald has money and marries his girlfriend May, who, if you ask me is a little too interested in his sudden inheritance. They name their first child Henry, after Reginald’s adoptive father. (They later have a son named Paul – that would be Roger Barrett Patman’s father – and I thought it was sweet that they named him after William and Helena’s late “son.”)

1960s: The two families come together again – Henry and Marie go to high school together and get engaged their senior year. She learns she has leukemia and thinks she’s going to die, so she breaks up with Henry in a letter. He’s in California at the time and decides to go to college there instead of Harvard. As we know, he gets together with Alice but she dumps him for Ned. A few years later, Marie moves to L.A. and runs into Henry. She finally tells him about her illness and recovery, and he forgives her for lying. They quickly get engaged, get married, and have everyone’s favorite potential rapist, Bruce.

Thoughts: Henry’s not just a stable hand, he’s a stable hand who says, “As you wish.” I think we all know who that character is based on.

Find me one person who cares what Bruce Patman’s great-great-grand-something thought about slavery. I dare you. I mean, there’s a whole chapter of the family fighting about secession. SO BORING.

I know people didn’t live as long in the past, but did they all have to get married after two months of dating? Because pretty much everyone in this book (and the other sagas) practically runs to the altar. And these aren’t even shotgun weddings.

Bruce’s ancestors are all better people than he is. And Marie and Hank seem like normal people, so I can’t figure out where they went wrong with the kid.

October 22, 2011

SVH #103, Operation Love Match: Written in the Stars

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , at 6:13 pm by Jenn

Is Bruce auditioning for a role in "Grease"?

Summary: Mercury’s in retrograde, which means Jessica’s life is a big mess. (No one else’s life is a big mess, though, which makes no sense. Whatever, none of this makes sense.) She’s klutzy, she’s having bad luck all over the place, and all of her attempts to get Bruce’s parents back together are falling apart. Oh, yeah, Jessica and Elizabeth have taken it upon themselves to get the Patmans back together. Jessica is exactly the person I would entrust to fix my parents’ marriage.

Jessica’s currently obsessed with astrology, so she uses a book about it to make her plans. (Just pretend those two things are connected.) She writes a letter from Hank to Marie, but forgets to put a stamp on it, so she tries to fish it out of the mailbox. Instead, she gets stuck, then busted by the police for mail tampering. Cute new senior Michael Hampton sees all of this, so Jessica tells him she’s Elizabeth. She continues to do this every time she does something dorky or clumsy in front of him, like getting stuck in her locker.

The next wacky plan the twins and Bruce come up with is putting super glue in the Patmans’ lawyers’ car ignitions so they can’t go to a meeting to discuss the divorce. Then they plan to go to the lawyers’ office and put the Patmans’ wedding album out for them to see, hoping they’ll reminisce together and remember how much they love each other. But Jessica gets stuck in an elevator and can’t get the album upstairs. The Patmans arrive and start reminiscing anyway, and are very close to getting back together when Marie sees one of Alice’s scarves in Hank’s coat pocket. (He took Bruce’s coat accidentally, and the scarf was one Jessica borrowed.)

During this craziness, Jessica flirts with Michael and tries to talk herself up to him. He’s actually attracted to Elizabeth, or Jessica-pretending-to-be-Elizabeth, since he finds her clumsiness endearing. He sends Liz flowers, she figures out what’s going on, and she agrees to meet him for a date. But she wants to get Michael’s attention on Jessica, so she acts completely calm and put-together to make Michael realize he’s fallen for the wrong twin. It works, and Michael figures out that Jessica was pretending to be Elizabeth.

Back to the love games. Jessica and Bruce buy a bunch of goldenrods for Marie, but it turns out she’s allergic and she winds up in the hospital. Out of ideas, Jessica decides to have Elizabeth tape a conversation with Alice in which Alice states straight out that she and Hank are done, so Marie will stop thinking they’re having an affair. Except the wrong tape gets delivered. Finally, the meddling teens decide to go all out and have an intervention: They’ll display mementos from the Patmans’ marriage and show then footage from their honeymoon to hit them over the head with what they’re throwing away.

The day the plan is supposed to go into action, the twins get locked in their bathroom (don’t ask) and Bruce has car trouble that keeps him from getting to the house on time. The Patmans work things out on their own, so the plan basically worked, just in a different way than Bruce and the twins planned. In the end, almost everyone is happy: The Patmans are back together, as are Bruce and Pamela. Jessica and Michael, however, don’t work out, since he’s too awkward for her. Eh, two out of three ain’t bad.

Thoughts: Lila wants to throw a masquerade ball? She just had a big party! Where people almost died! What is up with this girl?

Ned: “As a family, we’ve never believed in meddling in other people’s private affairs.” HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Ned, you so crazy.

Elizabeth got a laptop! That’s pretty impressive for 1994.

Elizabeth’s bedroom is beige and cream. Well, that’s certainly conducive to sleep; it has me yawning just reading about it.

I’m 99 percent sure you can’t hire lawyers from the same firm to represent opposing sides in a case. Why would a husband and wife be willing to go against in each other in court anyway?

Bruce would never create, let alone participate in, a secret handshake with the twins.

Michael’s poem to Elizabeth is ridiculous:

I never dreamed or hoped I’d see,
A girl like you who trips like me.
You’re beautiful and clumsy, too,
You’re just my secret dream come true.
I’ll see your face where e’er I roam,
Won’t you please let me drive you home?

Todd actually nibbles on Elizabeth’s ear. Todd, you disgust me.

October 12, 2011

SVH #102, Almost Married: Playing House

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , at 10:30 pm by Jenn

I feel your pain, Jess

Summary: Ned and Alice are going out of town, as are Todd’s parents, so he decides to move into the Wakefields’ house for the week for a sort of practice marriage with Elizabeth. (Don’t freak out – he’s sleeping on the couch. You know Elizabeth Wakefield would never share a bed with someone unless they were married or both wearing five layers of clothes.) Jessica will only keep quiet about it if he does all her chores and makes her dinner every night.

Elizabeth is flipping out because of the picture she found of Hank and Alice, which she’s told Jessica about. She’s sure that Alice and Hank were once married, and Bruce is sure that they’re now having an affair. Elizabeth and Bruce keep meeting up to talk, and they start to think they’re developing feelings for each other. Because Elizabeth is spending so much time with Bruce, Todd feels jealous and lonely. Also, people keep finding out about him living at the Wakefields’, so it’s not so much of a secret anymore.

Todd gets clingy, and Elizabeth gets frustrated, so she starts avoiding him and making up reasons to see Bruce. Todd also complains when the twins decide to throw a pool party, acting like he really lives there and gets a say in what happens at the house. Pamela has also noticed all the Liz/Bruce closeness, and at the party, she decides it’s time to cut her man loose. Bruce pouts for about two seconds, then immediately goes to make out with Elizabeth. Which Todd sees, of course.

There’s a big fight, Todd leaves, and Elizabeth decides to go for a swim. She almost drowns but Todd comes back and saves her. He’s realized that he wasn’t listening to her or communicating with her in an appropriate way. Seriously, zero real teenagers act like Todd. Anyway, Liz’s near-drowning solves everything, so they’re okay. Then Alice comes home early and the twins confront her about the photo and her possible affair. She tells them the real story and promises that she’s not cheating. Now Bruce wants to get his parents back together. Like anyone cares about them.

Thoughts: I can’t believe Ned and Alice are okay with leaving the twins home alone after what happened the last time. Oh, right, horrible parents. I forgot.

First of all, there shouldn’t be a wedding picture of Alice and Hank if they didn’t get married. The bride and groom usually wait until after the wedding to take photos together; otherwise they break the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride in her dress before she walks down the aisle. Second of all, would you keep a non-wedding picture of yourself with a guy you didn’t marry after you’ve moved and married someone else? Does Ned know about this picture?

Sweet Valley now has a Laundromat/video store/cappuccino bar. Quick, name three things no one associates with each other ever. But actually, it’s a great idea for a business: You can watch a movie and have coffee while you wait for your laundry to finish.

Apparently Bruce knows some Latin dance moves. Who knew?

September 28, 2011

SVH #101, The Boyfriend War: An Affair to Remember

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 11:08 pm by Jenn

"Look at us having fun! Don't you wish you were having this much fun?"Summary: Lila takes Jessica to Jamaica for spring break, not telling her until they’re already there that it’s not really a vacation. They’ve been volunteered by Lila’s mom to work at Kiddie Paradise, which is basically a place where parents drop their kids for a week and never deal with them. Jessica’s furious and doesn’t want to have anything to do with Lila. And since the girls aren’t talking, they don’t realize that they’re dating the same guy, Mick (who’s also dating one of the other Kiddie Paradise employees).

Once the girls figure out that Mick is a jerk, they enlist Jessica’s wild group of kids to help them get revenge. They break Mick’s watch and cut and dye his hair purple all under the guise of a magic show. It’s lame, but Lila and Jessica are okay again. As if we ever thought something could break them up for good.

Elizabeth gets the better plot: She’s back in Sweet Valley, researching Alice’s family for an English project. Except Alice won’t be around to interview because she’s now working for Hank and will be going to Chicago with him. This upsets Bruce, as his parents are getting divorced and he thinks Hank and Alice are having an affair. He keeps insisting on this to Elizabeth, who thinks he’s crazy…until she finds a photo of Alice and Hank in a wedding gown and tux. So now Elizabeth isn’t so sure that things between Hank and Alice are innocent.

The really lame plot goes to Amy, who doesn’t think her family is interesting enough for the English project and tries to steal info on Alice’s family instead. She specifically wants to write about Jessamyn. When Elizabeth wonders what her interest is, Amy says that she thinks people in Alice’s family history might help shed some light on who she is. Elizabeth decides she’s right and she should include Jessamyn in her paper. So Amy shot herself in the foot on that one.

Thoughts: Kiddie Paradise is basically summer camp on an island. I really don’t think the parents have any interaction with the kids the whole time they’re there. It’s weird.

I’m fairly certain Lila is in no way related to someone who goes by Jimmo.

Jessica: “I never even got to show you my new red dress for wearing to the disco!” Did that sentence get translated from another language?

Enid says, “Yoo-hoo.” Of course she does.

In case there was any doubt that Bruce is a creep, he has no regrets about trying to rape Elizabeth in Dear Sister.

April 8, 2011

SVH Saga, The Wakefield Legacy: The Untold Story: I’m Sorry, We’re All Out of Colons

Posted in books tagged , , , at 11:20 pm by Jenn

Under the flap is the Hindenburg. I am not kidding

Summary: We already got Alice’s family history; this is Ned’s.

1866: Theodore Wakefield, son of the Earl of Wakefield, is expected to marry his brother’s fiancée after his brother dies. He doesn’t want to, so instead he heads to America. On the way, he meets Alice Larson, whom he saves from drowning. As we already know, they get separated after they arrive in the States, and remain each other’s “one who got away.”

1876: Theodore works for the circus, training horses. There’s a young half-Native-American trapeze artist named Dancing Wind who has a big ol’ crush on him. Jessamyn shows up and Theodore thinks that her mother might be his long-lost Alice. Worried that she could lose Theodore, Dancing Wind attempts a dangerous stunt to get his attention, but ends up injuring herself and ending her career as a circus performer. Still, it works, as Theodore realizes he’s in love with her. They end up getting married and having twins, Sarah and James, but Dancing Wind dies just after giving birth.

1905-1907: Sarah falls in love with a boy named Edward, who her father doesn’t approve of because he’s not rich. They secretly see each other until James dues of influenza and Sarah feels guilty about lying. Theodore reads Sarah’s diary, learns about her relationship with Edward, and tells her to break things off or move out. Sarah bites the bullet and runs off with Edward. They go to San Francisco to get married, but before they can, the great San Francisco earthquake hits and they’re trapped in a hotel. They get sort-of married and have sex, but Edward dies trying to save someone else in the hotel.

Sarah goes home to Theodore and soon learns that she’s knocked up. She admits that she and Edward weren’t legally married, and Theodore sends her off to have her illegitimate child by herself. After the baby (also named Edward) is born, Theodore comes to get Sarah, telling her she can’t bring the baby with her. She refuses to go with her father but also doesn’t want her child to be raised with the stigma of illegitimacy, so she decides to tell him he’s an orphan and she’s his aunt.

1924-1937: Edward, Jr., now called Ted (as in the guy in Samantha and Amanda’s story), works in a jazz club but wants to be a journalist. He hangs out with jazz musicians, befriending the daughter of one; she encourages him to follow his dream and write. He decides to forgo college, but Sarah doesn’t support his decision. Soon after, she learns that her father has died and finally comes clean to Ted about his real family history. For some reason, this makes him decide to go to college after all.

We get little pieces of Ted’s side of the Amanda/Samantha story, and learn that he never found out that Samantha fooled him. After what he thought was Amanda’s betrayal, he heads to Dancing Wind’s reservation to learn more about her tribe. There, he meets a journalist named Julia Marks. There’s some stuff about a broken treaty and her wanting to break the story about it, but it’s all just backdrop to Ted and Julia falling in love, even though he didn’t think he was ready to be with anyone after what happened with Amanda. But they end up getting married and have a son, Robert.

Julia goes to Germany on assignment and uncovers some of the doings of the Nazis, another story she wants to break. Before she can, she takes a fateful trip on the Hindenburg. Yes, they went there.

1943-1945: 16-year-old Robert lies about his age so he can enlist to fight in World War II. His ship is sent to the Philippines to rescue some American nurses who have been captured as POWs by the Japanese. One of them is Hannah Weiss, a Jewish 18-year-old who also enlisted when she was 16. She’s managed to use a radio to contact American soldiers, and she and Robert start communicating (and falling in love, of course). When the women are finally liberated, Hannah and Robert finally meet for the first time and continue their relationship in person. He proposes just after the war ends and they get married on his ship. Years later, they have Ned.

1960s: This is the boring section, and it goes on forever. Long story short: Hank Patman is a jerk and won’t leave Ned’s cousin Rachel alone. Ned is upset about how migrant workers are treated, and Hank doesn’t care. Ned, Rachel, and Hank all end up at the same college (and as we know, Alice goes there, too). Ned dates a hippie chick named Rainbow, only she’s not really a hippie; she wanted to get close to Ned by pretending they had hippie things in common, but she really just wants a lawyer boyfriend. I don’t know. Ned saves Alice from drowning and falls for her, but she’s with Hank. Blah, blah, Ned’s side of Alice’s story from the other book, and we all know how it ends.

Thoughts: I know I read this book when I was younger, but the Dancing Wind section is the only part I remember.

So Ned is part Native American and half Jewish – who knew?

Sarah writes stories and wears a watch. Yeah, got it.

Edward and Sarah get “married” by writing their vows on a piece of paper. Grey’s Anatomy totally stole this idea!

Why doesn’t Sarah just tell Ted that she’s his mother and his father’s dead? The lie about being his aunt makes no sense.

Major continuity failure: In Nowhere to Run, Hannah told Emily that when she met Robert, he was widowed and had an 11-year-old son. But in this book, when they first start talking, Robert’s only 16. Big oops there.

February 5, 2011

SVH Saga, The Wakefields of Sweet Valley: Except They’re Not Wakefields

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 10:38 pm by Jenn

Chill out, lower-right-corner twin

Summary: This one’s a doozy. It’s the history of Alice’s side of the family (which is why the title makes no sense – they’re not Wakefields):

1866: On the way from Sweden to the U.S., Alice Larson jumps in the ocean to save a boy from drowning but has to be saved herself – by a guy named Theodore Wakefield. They fall in love but are separated when they go through customs in New York.

1884: Alice’s seven-year-old identical twins Elisabeth and Jessamyn Johnson (get it?) go to the circus, where Alice learns there’s a Magnificent Theo W. who takes care of the horses. Oh, and Jessamyn rides a horse.

1893: 16-year-old Jessamyn runs away with the circus to be a bareback rider. Back home in Minnesota, Elisabeth has an old Native American man teach her to ride. When she learns that the man, who also taught Jessamyn to ride, is dying, Elisabeth hops a train to find Jessamyn and bring her home. But first she shows off her riding skills and is killed when she falls off the horse.

1900-1906: Jessamyn manages a hotel in San Francisco and falls in love with two men, Taylor Watson and Bruce (ha!) Farber. She almost chooses Bruce over Taylor but changes her mind when Taylor proves to be less selfish while rescuing people during the great San Francisco earthquake.

1925-1927: Jessamyn and Taylor’s identical twins, Samantha and Amanda Watson, are teenagers living in Detroit when they both fall in love with their brother’s college friend, Ted Wakefield. (Yeah, I know.) Samantha has no idea that Ted and Amanda are interested in each other until she finds a letter Ted wrote to her sister and realizes they’ve been writing to each other for months. She takes Ted to Overlook Valley (no Miller’s Point?) and tries to make out with him, but he tells her he’s in love with Amanda.

So Samantha goes to see her ex-boyfriend, a bootlegger, then dresses up as Amanda and takes Ted to a club he and Amanda had been to earlier that evening. The Feds arrest him there, having been told that Ted’s paying his tuition with money he made from bootlegging. There are bottles in Ted’s car, thanks to Samantha, but they’re not enough evidence for the charges to stick. Still, Ted thinks that Amanda framed him, so that’s over. Amanda figures out what Samantha did and cuts her out of her life.

A few months later, Samantha heads off to Hollywood and becomes a movie star. She also marries a guy named Jack Lewis and has a daughter, Marjorie. The labor is rough and Samantha’s dying, but Amanda shows up in time for them to reconcile. Amanda moves to Sweet Valley (aha!) with Jack and Marjorie to help raise Samantha’s daughter.

1935-1942: Jack and Marjorie move to France while Amanda stays in the States, teaching English at SVH. When the Nazis make life in France too dangerous, Jack sends Marjorie back to Sweet Valley. Before she can go, she learns that the U.S. has entered World War II, Americans in France are now in danger, and Jack has been arrested. Members of the Resistance, including Jack’s girlfriend, hide Marjorie with a Jewish girl named Sophy whose brother, Jacques, is also a member of the Resistance.

Months later, Jacques shows up and gets Marjorie involved in the Resistance; they need someone who’s fluent in both English and French to transmit and receieve coded messages to/from England and the U.S. In a complete non-surprise, Marjorie and Jacques fall in love. One day Marjorie gets word that Sophy has been arrested and that the Nazis are now looking for her. She also learns that Jack is still alive and may have planned his arrest so he could infiltrate a POW camp. (Apparently Alice’s family could give the Bristows a run for their money. Who knew?)

Marjorie decides to offer herself in exchange for Sophy, who Jacques plans to send to the States. When the trade is supposed to be made, Marjorie runs to hop on a train with Sophy, and Jacques is killed. Sophy sends Marjorie to the States in her place since she loves France too much to leave. Back in the U.S., Marjorie marries an American pilot who was shot down in France.

1960s: Hank Patman tries to get Alice Robertson, Marjorie’s daughter, to fall in love with him by arranging a food drop for some fellow protesting college students. She eventually agrees to marry him, but soon spots him with another girl at the beach. The next thing Alice knows, she’s drowning, but she’s saved by…Ned Wakefield. Ned becomes a little stalkerish and keeps showing up where Alice is. She’s still with Hank, though, so he doesn’t pursue anything. On their wedding day, Alice overhears Hank saying he did the food drop as a sort of publicity stunt, and not because he actually cares about anyone other than himself. Alice skips out on the wedding, goes to Ned’s, and the rest is history.

Thoughts: I didn’t read a lot of SVH books when I was younger, but I did read this one, as well as The Wakefield Legacy. I remember wanting to learn more about Prohibition after reading the Amanda/Samantha section.

If Alice Larson had children named Steven, Elisabeth, and Jessamyn, but her husband’s name was George, does that mean Ned isn’t the real father of Alice’s kids? Oh, is George Fowler their father??

16-year-old Elisabeth likes Tom Wilkens. Gag.

Bruce Farber: “Taylor Watson is my rival.” Lame. No one actually says someone is his/her rival.

Samantha says 137! Awesome.

If you took a drink every time the ghostwriter uses ’20s slang in the Amanda/Samantha section, you’d be drunk after ten pages.

Ted writes to Amanda, “Your letters are exquisite agony.” Now we know which side of the family Elizabeth’s sucky writing comes from.

Jessica may be somewhat evil, but she would never do to Elizabeth what Samantha does to Ted and Amanda. She does have a conscience, as small as it is. And Amanda isn’t blameless here – she gets involved with Ted knowing that Samantha’s in love with him.

“‘He was accompanied by a beautiful blonde in a pink dress!’ Why, that almost sounds as if it could be me.” You sure think highly of yourself, don’t you, Amanda?

One of Amanda’s students at SVH is Walter Egbert. Oy.

I’m surprised Hank lets Bruce associate with Jessica and Elizabeth, considering their mother left him at the altar.

No two-year-old knows the word “identical.” And Steven’s not that smart to begin with.

December 5, 2009

SVH #16, Rags to Riches: Motive? What Motive?

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 12:02 am by Jenn

Roger proves that popped collars never looked good

Summary: Roger moves in with the Patmans, his newly acquired family, and tries to adjust to life as a rich snob. Jessica wants him, for some reason, and decides to get his girlfriend Olivia out of the way by showing her and Roger how out-of-place Olivia is in his new life. It works until Roger figures it all out and…does nothing, really. I mean, he gets back together with Olivia, but it’s not like he comes up with some nefarious plot to teach Jessica a lesson or anything.

In the B plot, Regina has been meeting some mysterious older man, which makes everyone at SVH gossip about her. It turns out she’s been hired to do some modeling, but for some reason she doesn’t just come out and say it. So then she appears on a magazine cover and…uh, that’s it.

Thoughts: This book would have been more interesting if it had better developed the contrast between Roger, who’s suddenly rich, and Bruce, who’s been rich his whole life. Instead, Bruce barely makes an appearance and doesn’t seem to have an opinion either way about having a long-lost cousin. Instead the drama comes from Olivia and Roger’s relationship, and it makes no sense. Oh, no, Olivia doesn’t fit in! Well, neither does Roger, so what’s the big deal?

Also, why does Jessica want to go out with Roger? I guess she’s just a golddigger. (Yeah, like you’re surprised.) It just comes out of the blue. Maybe she’s gotten so horrible that now she just wants to break up couples for the heck of it. I wouldn’t put it past her.

And what does Lila have against Regina? When she finds out Regina’s been modeling, she gets really jealous and wants to put a stop to it. What does she care? Has she ever even interacted with Regina? I thought Regina was so perfect and loveable that no one could ever hate her. Also, we’re reminded again and again that she’s beautiful. Is Lila allowed to hate other beautiful people? I thought she was only allowed to hate the ugly and/or poor.

I figured Hank Patman, Bruce’s father, would be a jerk, considering how awful his wife and son are, but he’s actually pretty okay. He accepts Roger into the family immediately, treats him like his own son, and tells him his friends are always welcome at the house. Of course, he’ll probably end up killing a puppy later just to prove me wrong, but as of this point, he’s not a bad guy.

Mrs. Patman, however, is just weird. She wears lounging pajamas to a barbecue. First of all, lounging pajamas? Those are different from pajamas you wear to bed? And who would wear them in front of guests? Hey, maybe she’s an alcoholic. Snobby, non-working wives of rich businessmen are usually alcoholics.

The mall contains stores called the Tennis Shop and the Designer Shop. Is the mall actually just called the Mall?

Unintenionally funniest quote of the book, regarding Jessica’s new “friendship” with Olivia: “Elizabeth couldn’t suppress a twinge of uneasiness about her sister’s newfound generosity. Was it possible Jessica had something else in mind other than good-natured friendship?” Is it possible I know more about Jessica than Elizabeth does?