May 9, 2017

SVT #90, The Cousin War: Blockin’ Robin

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 5:11 pm by Jenn

No one wears her hair like that

Summary: Cousin Robin is coming to visit for two weeks while her parents are on a trip for their anniversary. (No mention of Robin’s younger sister Stacey, so I guess she’s Home Alone-ing it.) Jessica’s top priority while Robin is in town is to find her cousin a “vacation boyfriend.” There’s a Sadie Hawkins dance coming, and she wants to get Robin hooked up with someone. Jessica herself is interested in a guy named Juan, an exchange student from Argentina. She has no problem ditching Aaron…even though, awkwardly, Aaron’s family is Juan’s host family.

A bunch of sixth-graders go bowling together one afternoon, though Elizabeth has to skip the fun to work on a special issue of The Sixers. She asks Todd to be nice to Robin, since she doesn’t know anyone except Jessica. Robin and Todd hit it off, while Jessica tries to get to know Juan better. Robin quickly falls in luv with Todd, telling Elizabeth all about her new crush without mentioning his name. Liz has no idea that her cousin is interested in her sort-of boyfriend. And Jessica has no idea that her new crush, Juan, is interested in Robin.

Robin gets a note and some candy from a secret admirer and figures that Todd is trying to express his interest. Jessica thinks Robin is interested in Juan, so she wants to make a move before her cousin does. When she learns that Robin actually likes Todd, she decides to use this to her advantage – she’ll send Robin after Todd to keep her away from Juan. She doesn’t care that this might hurt Liz. She just wants Juan all to herself.

When Robin gets another secret-admirer note, Jessica eggs her on to go ask Todd to the dance already. But when Robin goes to Casey’s to talk to him, she sees him with Elizabeth. Robin is immediately furious with her cousin, thinking Liz is trying to steal her man. Because she’s 12, she doesn’t stop to think about how Elizabeth and Todd might have already had something going, or that Elizabeth couldn’t steal Todd from Robin when she didn’t know Robin liked him, or that you can’t steal a guy from someone he’s not actually dating. All Robin knows is that her cousin betrayed her.

Jessica sees this is a great time to ask Juan to the dance, but first she needs to make sure Robin doesn’t find out that Liz and Todd are together. She pretends to be Elizabeth and asks Todd to accept when Robin inevitably asks him to the dance. Liz won’t be attending herself since she’s so busy with the Sixers issue. Robin asks Todd to the dance, and he says yes, so he’s really surprised when the real Elizabeth is upset with him for agreeing to go on a date with another girl.

Jess asks Juan to the dance, and he admits that he was hoping Robin would ask him. She tells him Robin’s going with someone else, so Juan accepts her invitation. Meanwhile, Todd feels bad about accidentally hurting Elizabeth, so he backs out of the date with Robin. Robin is stunned to learn that Todd and Liz are sort of dating. Also, now she knows that Juan is her secret admirer, not Todd, and she’s lost her chance to go to the dance with him. To her credit, she feels bad about the way she treated Liz.

To make amends, Robin invites Todd over the night of the dance so she can smooth things over with Liz. The three of them figure out that Jess masqueraded as her twin to get Todd to accept the date with Robin. As retaliation, Elizabeth pretends to be Jessica and tells Juan that Robin wants to be with him. Then Liz gets to go to the dance with Todd, while Robin gets to hang out with her secret admirer, and Jess is alone. Well, at least until she learns that Aaron was helping Juan win over Robin, in part because he didn’t want Juan to be with Jessica. Jess thinks jealousy is hot, so she’s back to liking Aaron. Ick.

Thoughts: Robin knows her way around Sweet Valley pretty well for someone who’s only visited a few times.

“What was the big deal about Robin, anyway?” So Jessica throws over Elizabeth and helps Robin steal Todd, and then wonders what’s so great about her. JESSICA, YOU ARE A HORRIBLE PERSON.

“Then it hit her. The only reason Elizabeth would dress just like Jessica was if she wanted everyone to think she was Jessica.” Check out the big brain on Jess!

May 24, 2012

SVH #120, In Love With the Enemy: Blood On the Dance Floor

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 10:52 pm by Jenn

Are those Sharks or Jets?

Summary: Jessica learns about a surfing competition with a trip to Hawaii for a prize, and she decides she wants to enter, even though she sucks at surfing. She starts working at it, even getting up really early to go to the beach, and meets a guy named Christian Gorman who gives her some pointers. They fall in luuuuuuv, even though Jessica’s dating Ken.

Remember when SVH had that big rivalry with Big Mesa? Well, now they have a rivalry with Palisades High. The Palisades athletes are really mean to the SVH athletes during games, and then pound on Ken a little after a game, so a bunch of the guys from SVH (including Ken, Todd, and Bruce) decide to get revenge. This revenge involves painting something lame on Palisades’ football field. Then the Palisades guys get revenge by TPing and egging the SVH guys’ cars and houses. There’s all this talk about the Palisades guys having a gang, but if they do, it’s the worst, weakest gang ever. And there isn’t even any dancing or singing.

Elizabeth and Enid have befriended a couple of girls from Palisades, and they’ve decided to try to bring peace to the two schools. They start by writing newspaper articles about each other, which is both lame and pretty much ripped straight from “Home and Away.” The articles don’t work. Then a tennis player from Palisades hits Tom McKay with a ball during a game, and freaking John Pfeifer writes about it for the Oracle, and the SVH guys who have been leading the anti-Palisades crusade turn the article into propaganda. Oh, and those guys have been having guys’ nights out to solidify their anti-Palisades hate, which means Tom is not the gayest thing in this paragraph.

All of the plots come together with a school dance. Elizabeth, Enid, and the two Palisades girls organize an SVH/Palisades masquerade at a warehouse, hoping that having the students socialize together will fix everything. (Again, stolen straight from “Home and Away.”) Jessica thinks this will be a good opportunity for her to refocus on Ken, despite having declared her love for Christian just the previous day. Ken and his buddies, however, think the dance is a good opportunity to bust some Palisades skulls. (If you think that sounds like the end of “A Night to Remember,” you’re not the only one.)

Outside the warehouse, Ken, Bruce, Todd, Winston, Aaron, Ronnie, and some other guys take on the Palisades jerks. Elizabeth realizes all the guys are missing and probably planning something bad, so she calls the police. Jessica comes across the scene just as Ken is being pounded to a pulp…by Christian. Ruh-roh!

Thoughts: You know what would have made the “twist” at the end an actual twist? If the back of the book hadn’t said that Christian was the leader of the Palisades gang. And if the book hadn’t been called In Love With the Enemy.

Elizabeth brings salmon and brie on a picnic. Girl, be a teenager, would you?

Ken’s house and car get TPed and he’s upset about the waste of paper. I think he’s dating the wrong twin.

Dear teenage boys of Sweet Valley: Hanging out at Bruce’s house without girls is not a “guys’ night out.” It’s just a night at Bruce’s house without girls. For it to be a guys’ night out, you would have to actually go out.

Also, when planning revenge, wearing jean jackets doesn’t make you look intimidating. It makes you look exactly the opposite of intimidating.

Palisades High’s newspaper is called the Pentagon. Stupid.

July 10, 2011

SVH Magna Edition, A Night to Remember: Welcome to the Jungle

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:40 pm by Jenn

This cover could use a lot more jungle

Summary: It’s Jungle Prom, b%$@#&^.

The twins (mostly Elizabeth) decide that Sweet Valley needs to have a prom, specifically one with a jungle theme. They’ll team up with an environmental organization and donate the prom’s proceeds to them. The organization later decides to give the prom queen a trip to Brazil and the job of spokesperson for their organization. Elizabeth has recently decided that she needs to a) loosen up and b) stop worrying about Jessica and worry more about herself. She figures going for prom queen is a good place to start. Of course, Jessica also wants to be queen.

The twins put together a prom committee, but Jessica skips most of the meetings and does little to no work. She and Elizabeth learn of each other’s desires to be prom queen, and things get tenser and tenser between them. To make matters worse, Elizabeth is mad that Jessica keeps shirking her responsibilities, and Jessica is mad because she thinks Elizabeth is taking over the committee and will be a shoo-in for queen. Jessica tries to make sure she’s a front-runner, giving herself a cheerleading solo at a pep rally and handing out buttons promoting the prom.

Elizabeth is coming unglued, getting more and more obsessed with the prom and becoming queen, to the point where Todd is, like, “Whoa. Chill.” A magazine wants to do an interview with the twins, and when Jessica doesn’t show up, Elizabeth does the interview on her own. So of course Jessica thinks Liz set things up so she’d be excluded. Elizabeth also gets worked up about a school rivalry with Big Mesa (more on that later), and even though she’s been saying the whole book that the Oracle shouldn’t retaliate against all of Big Mesa’s newspapers’ propaganda against them, she writes a scathing article that again has Todd going, “Whoa. Chill.” Liz also taunts Enid about dating a guy from Big Mesa, so now Enid’s, like, “Whoa. Chill.”

By the time the prom comes around, the twins aren’t speaking to each other. Jessica has realized that Todd will most likely be elected king, and since the king’s election comes before the queen’s (I don’t know why they do them separately; I’ve never heard of that being done before), she’s sure Elizabeth will be everyone’s natural choice for queen. As predicted, Todd wins king, and while he’s doing something with raffle tickets, Elizabeth starts dancing with Sam. This is the last straw for Jessica, who finds out a Big Mesa guy has brought in some alcohol and decides to spike Elizabeth’s drink with it. She doesn’t realize that Elizabeth shares some of it with Sam.

Drunk Elizabeth and drunk Sam have a great time dancing, and Elizabeth decides that she doesn’t care anymore about being prom queen. She withdraws her name, saying Jessica should win. So Jess gets the crown, but she hears that Elizabeth dropped out and can’t feel happy about her victory. A bunch of Big Mesa kids show up and create a riot, during which Sam and Elizabeth go out to the twins’ Jeep. Jessica grabs Todd, tells him Elizabeth’s in trouble, and gets him to go after them. She tells Todd that Liz is drunk but doesn’t mention that she spiked her sister’s drink. They head off to Secca Lake, coming across a bad car accident and realizing it involved the Jeep. The police have already arrived, and someone remarks that there’s no way anyone could have survived the crash.

While all this is going on, Lila’s in counseling because she’s still struggling with the John Pfeifer incident. Her counselor, Nathan, is both a guidance counselor at SVH and a volunteer at Project Youth. At first Lila hates having to meet with him, but some comments from Jessica about his hotness and niceness make Lila develop a crush. At the prom, when the riot begins, Nathan finds Lila and takes her to a classroom to get away from the madness. But she starts to think his motives aren’t genuine and that he’s going to attack her. She starts screaming, and when the cops arrive to break up the riot, she tells them Nathan tried to attack her.

Bruce is at the forefront of the SVH/Big Mesa rivalry, basically getting Club X back together to bust heads. He’s also stringing Andrea Slade along and trying to get over Regina. When the prom riot moves to the football field, Bruce gets smacked with a baseball bat and is this close to being finished off when a girl tells his attacker to leave him alone. Bruce is so out of it that at first he thinks the girl is Regina. She starts to help him up, but he gets knocked out.

To be continued on all counts…

Thoughts: This book is SO MUCH BETTER than any of the previous books in the series. It’s like the ghostwriter woke up one morning and realized, “I’ve been writing crap! I need to at least write some soapy, entertaining crap!”

So there was no prom scheduled for SVH until Elizabeth thought it up? Weird, no?

Trivia: Lila loved The Catcher in the Rye.

Hey, it’s Jeffrey! Hi, Jeffrey! Yeah, don’t get too comfortable. You’re not staying.

“Here’s something that might interest you – I know you’re a big fan of my biceps.” I miss you already, Sam.

The prom committee discusses whether they should allow Big Mesa students to buy tickets, which makes no sense to me. If it’s an SVH dance, it should only be open to SVH students and their dates. The Big Mesa students can have their own prom.

Hey, A.J.’s in this book, too! It’s like a big ol’ reunion.

If the chaperones thought Elizabeth was drunk but knew she would never drink, why wouldn’t they suspect that someone spiked the punch?

Lila, taunting Bruce for not having a prom date: “Did your inflatable doll pop when you pinned on her corsage?” Lila for president!

April 2, 2011

Sweet Valley Confidential: What the Crap is This?

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:13 pm by Jenn

Why would you put your name on this, Francine?

Summary: The twins are 27 and haven’t spoken in eight months. Elizabeth lives in New York and writes about off-Broadway plays; Jessica lives in Sweet Valley and works for a green makeup company. Oh, and she’s engaged to Todd, which is why Elizabeth won’t talk to her. Through flashbacks we learn about Todd and Jessica’s affair, Elizabeth’s discovery of it, and the twins’ falling-out.

Long story short, Jessica and Todd fooled around in college, but Elizabeth never knew about it. Jessica wound up moving to L.A., where she met a guy named Regan and married him after only a couple of months of dating. He turned out to be a jerk, and she ditched him while they were in Europe and ran back to Sweet Valley. She moved in with Elizabeth and Todd, and Elizabeth remained oblivious to their sexual tension. Regan showed up to see Jessica, got in a fight with Todd, and announced that it was obvious Jessica and Todd had something going on. Elizabeth finally realized it and left Sweet Valley.

Alice wants Elizabeth to come to Sweet Valley for her mother’s birthday, so Elizabeth decides to bring along Liam, a hot bartender, hoping Jessica will be so interested in him that she’ll show Todd her true colors. Except when Liam flirts with Jessica, Elizabeth gets mad. There’s also some stupid stuff about a playwright named Will who Elizabeth is writing about, and they hook up, but then he gets back together with his ex, and seriously, I can’t believe that was supposed to pass as a storyline.

Jessica decides she’d rather have Elizabeth than Todd, so she leaves him and heads to New York. Elizabeth suddenly forgives her and decides she approves of Todd and Jessica’s relationship. She agrees to be Jessica’s maid of honor. Once again, Jessica gets what she wants, even when that’s HER TWIN SISTER’S BOYFRIEND. And Elizabeth ends up with her best friend, Bruce, which…just…whatever.

The most interesting stuff is what happened to all the lesser characters, but the book barely spends any time on them. We barely learn:

  • Steven married Cara but keeps having affairs. Jessica catches him with Aaron Dallas and tells Cara, which means she’s ruined another relationship with a sibling. And of course, she gets forgiven again.
  • Todd writes a sports column.
  • Ken (and NFL player) and Lila got married two years ago and are separated.
  • Caroline is a real estate broker and runs a gossip website. She’s described as “the Perez Hilton of Sweet Valley.” She also battled cancer, but that doesn’t stop everyone from trash-talking her (Jessica even does it to her face).
  • Jeffrey is a dentist.
  • Enid is dating A.J. Morgan. She’s a Republican, an OB/GYN, and a recovering alcoholic.
  • Robin is a caterer and a food critic.
  • Winston is dead. Bleh.

Thoughts: I hated this book. Hated it. It was like reading about a bunch of people with the same names as SVH characters who act nothing like them. And with all the continuity issues, it’s not hard to think of them as not being the real characters. The book is also horribly written, as if Francine decided a third of the way through that it was a bad idea and then rushed to finish it so she could cash her checks. She has Jessica say “like” 137,000 times, and she’s obviously delighted that she can use whatever kind of language she wants, so she does. This isn’t an SVH book, it’s a book masquerading as an SVH book. It’s not worth your time.

Francine seems to have forgotten that Elizabeth and Todd dated in middle school.

“It’s a body I would know anywhere, even from the back: broad shoulders, neat waist, good legs.” No, Jessica isn’t talking about Todd – she’s talking about Steven. Say it with me: EWWWWWW.

Francine also forgot that Jessica and Aaron dated in middle school. I guess in her world, the whole Sweet Valley Twins series doesn’t exist.

Apparently Amy doesn’t exist either, since she’s not mentioned at all, but I can’t say I’m sad about that.

Trivia: Aaron has one blue eye and one brown eye.

Will thinks Elizabeth is horrible for wanting Liam to seduce Jessica. Oh, really, Will? You know what else is horrible? STEALING YOUR SISTER’S BOYFRIEND. Shut up, Will.

A.J. is described as a blond “bad boy.” Uh, no, he had red hair and he was a southern gentleman. He also dated Jessica. Shouldn’t Francine know this stuff?

There are a ton of other inconsistencies, but I don’t want to spend another minute thinking about this book, so I’m not going to address them. I’m also going to forget this book ever existed.

December 24, 2010

SVH #70, Ms. Quarterback: That’s Not a Bad Title, Actually

Posted in books tagged , , at 9:13 pm by Jenn

If this were ANTM, this picture would have the judges speechless. That's not good

Summary: Ken Matthews, blind since That Fatal Night, has regained enough eyesight that he thinks he can go back to being SVH’s quarterback. Claire Middleton, a new student at SVH, also wants to be the quarterback. Most people are accepting of Claire’s desire to play football, including Ken, who recognizes her talent. Jessica’s one of the few detractors, but mostly just because Claire said something snide to her about cheerleading. The cheerleaders decide to come up with a way to embarrass Claire and make her quit tryouts.

Ken’s girlfriend, Terri, starts to get jealous of Claire and thinks she’s going to steal Ken, even though Claire has demonstrated no interest in him. Terri catches Claire crying over a picture of a guy named Ted and passes this info along to the cheerleaders. Jessica comes up with a cheer about Claire that finishes up with, “We know about Ted,” and they perform it at a scrimmage where the quarterbacks will be chosen (they need a first-string and a second-string). It turns out Ted was Claire’s brother. Who died. Oops.

Terri takes the blame for the cheer and apologizes to Claire, encouraging her to continue with the tryouts. Claire in turn encourages Terri to talk to Ken, since she’s sure Ken still wants to be with her. (She’s right, of course.) Claire makes second-string quarterback to Ken’s first-string, but at their first game, Ken has eye problems and Claire fills in for him. Of course, she wins the game and becomes the new school hero.

In other news, shut up, Amy.

Thoughts: Terri’s description of Claire makes me think she’d rather be with Claire than with Ken.

Ken is kind of a jerk for calling Claire pretty in front of Terri, but if Terri’s going to freak out about losing him just because he’s nice to another girl, maybe I don’t blame him. Chill, Terri.

How is asking a girl about trying out for the football team “investigative reporting”? Shut up, Penny.

Claire’s motto is, “I’d rather die than quit.” You shut up, too, Claire. You know what, everyone in this book needs to shut up.

November 20, 2010

SVH #66, Who’s to Blame?: In Which the Blogger Actually Feels Bad for Elizabeth

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 3:38 pm by Jenn

I know when I'm running away from home, I stop and pose, too

Summary: Elizabeth is all sad because Ned and Alice are separated, and it makes her want to only spend time at home (which ticks off Todd), forget appointments, and do badly in school. Of course, Ned and Alice don’t notice, and Jessica’s too self-centered to notice either. Elizabeth thinks she’s eventually going to ruin her relationship with Todd, so she breaks up with him and starts “playing the field,” which makes Jessica mad (since she’s taking all the eligible guys). There’s a big fight among the three Wakefield kids, and Steven and Jessica tell Elizabeth that they blame her for their parents’ breakup, since she gave out their phone number in Lake Tahoe, and that led to Alice leaving their vacation early.

Elizabeth doesn’t want to deal with the drama anymore, so she decides to run away. Only she sucks at running away, because she only goes as far as Enid’s house, and writes letters telling her family she’s with a friend, so they automatically figure out where she is. But this does lead to the Wakefields all having a conversation, and Jessica and Steven apologizing, and Alice assuring Elizabeth that she would have left even without her role in the situation (or maybe something not quite so harsh). Then Jessica pulls a twin switch, pretending to be Elizabeth to get back together with Todd, then having Elizabeth switch places with her.

Jessica’s having issues of her own – Alice got a huge phone bill and Jessica had to confess that she’s been calling that teen chat line and racking up hundreds of dollars. Alice suspends her allowance, so Jessica plays Mommy against Daddy, first asking Ned to fight the punishment, then getting money out of him for a new outfit. She needs this outfit because she wants to go out with Charlie, the guy she’s been talking to on the chat line who doesn’t seem to want to meet her.

When she does meet him, he’s boring, and completely different from the guy she talked to. That’s because he’s not actually Charlie, he’s Charlie’s friend Brook. Charlie confesses that he pulled a Truth About Cats and Dogs because he doesn’t think he’s good-looking enough for Jessica. (Turns out he’s right, at least in her book.) Jessica sets up a double-date with herself, the two guys, and Amy, so she can be seen in public with an uggo and not feel bad about it. But Brook, Charlie, and Amy all ignore her, so she decides she’s done with men. Yay, Jessica’s going to be a lesbian! No, not quite – she’s going to focus on Ned’s campaign for mayor so that when her father’s running the city, everyone will have to pay attention to her.

Thoughts: Elizabeth thinks something about her makes people mad at her. So I guess she’s been reading about herself on the Internet. (Actually, as the post title says, I felt bad for her in this book. She’s clearly struggling with her parents’ separation, and her family is no help. Not to mention Jessica and Steven are horrible to her.)

Lila has a rule that she never loans money to friends. I’m sure she loans to strangers and casual acquaintances all the time, though.

Really, Amy? You want to go from Bruce to Todd? You know he’s just going to talk about Elizabeth the whole time. (“Elizabeth always cut my meat up for me.” “Elizabeth and I always fed each other dessert.” “You just don’t throw a fork at my head the same way Elizabeth used to.”)

October 23, 2010

SVH #63, The New Elizabeth: I Wanna Be Made

Posted in books tagged , , , at 4:50 pm by Jenn

I'd still rather hang out with the surfboard

Summary: Elizabeth still wants to become more adventurous (since the most exciting thing she did in the last book was get a perm), so she decides to take up surfing. Sean, a guy who works at a surf shop, has made a bet with his friends that he can turn a non-surfer into a surfer with just lesson (rather than the surfer needing to have any talent), so Elizabeth gets her lessons for free. Sean is in luuuuuuuv with her, and doesn’t realize that his longtime friend Laurie is in luuuuuuuv with him, which of course means that she’s jealous of Elizabeth, because high school girls always have to be jealous of other high school girls.

Elizabeth wants to surprise everyone by competing in a surfing competition in a month, so she tells them she’s working on a marine biology project. But she becomes so interested in surfing that she doesn’t spend much time with Todd, and he gets frustrated. At the same time, Laurie, a non-surfer, decides to prove herself to Sean (or something…it’s kind of fuzzy here) by secretly learning to surf as well, then entering the same competition Elizabeth is working toward.

On the day of the competition, Sean loans Elizabeth some expensive board to use, but when she realizes that Laurie’s in love with Sean, she decides not to use it. Then she throws the competition so Laurie can beat her. Because she’s an IDIOT. But Todd’s happy that she was just spending all her time surfing, so everything works out there. And only Bill Chase, who we know is a champion surfer, notices that Elizabeth threw the competition on purpose and didn’t just “accidentally” fall.

In the B plot, Caroline Pearce is awesome. She’s working at a store at the mall called the Unique Boutique, and Jessica’s mad that Caroline’s been gossiping about her Daniella Fromage/Magenta Galaxy disaster, so she decides to get revenge. With some assistance from Lila and Amy, she keeps going to the boutique and doing annoying things like making messes and getting Caroline to carry her bags during a rainstorm, just to be annoying. But Caroline gets the last laugh by giving Jessica a bunch of clothes to try on, taking Jessica’s clothes while she’s undressed, and quitting. Like I said, awesome.

At the very end of the book, Steven and Elizabeth run into a new employee at the boutique, Andrea, who looks just like Tricia. And then Steven blows Cara off to ask Andrea out. I will try to care in time for the next book.

Thoughts: I know I’ve used the Made thing before, but I couldn’t help myself.

Please tell me the Scrabble game Elizabeth invites Todd over for is some bizarre form of foreplay. Apparently he doesn’t care, though, since he’s all happy when he tells Lila and Jessica about it. Fortunately, Lila replies, “I don’t know how you can stand so much excitement.”

Later Todd complains that he and Elizabeth haven’t had fun together in weeks. Well, then you come up with something more exciting than Scrabble.

Why would you want to use a board you’ve never surfed on before in a competition? That doesn’t make sense to me.

August 21, 2010

SVH #56, Lost at Sea: With Jessica as the Movie Star and Winston as the Professor

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

Kate Austen would beat the crap out of Jessica

Summary: On the way home from a school trip to an island, the boat carrying a bunch of SVH students capsizes and they have to bail out into lifeboats. Jessica and Winston wind up together, and when their lifeboat goes under, they’re both…well, lost at sea, like the title says. They end up on a deserted island together and proceed to have a Gilligan’s Island/Lost/Survivor/that episode of The Simpsons based on Lord of the Flies experience.

Winston, who you’d think would be like Gilligan, is actually more like the Professor – he takes care of his and Jessica’s basic needs and makes sure she’s not just sitting around, tanning. She, in turn, treats him like crap and hopes to become famous once she’s back home. After a run-in with a bear (yes, really), which Jessica handles better than Winston, they bond a little and Jessica realizes that Winston isn’t such a goofball after all. Then they get rescued. By…Moe. Okay, no, by a guy in a helicopter. Oh, and they were only stranded for 24 hours. Whoopee. Back in Sweet Valley, Jessica takes credit for everything that Winston did to take care of them on the island. And he lets her. Oh, WINSTON.

Thoughts: Jessica’s chemistry teacher lets her get extra credit by going on a marine biology field trip. Or the ghost writer screwed up when she set up this book at the end of the last one and couldn’t think of a better solution.

Wait, Lois is overweight and her mother’s the school dietician? The ghostwriter understands irony?

Jessica’s teacher calls her intelligent. Clearly he hasn’t learned how to tell the twins apart.

Elizabeth comforts a guilty-feeling Lila by telling her Jessica’s probably stolen as many boys from Lila as Lila has from her. Ha, awesome.

Jeffrey ditches Elizabeth to go study while she’s waiting for news about Jessica. I know he doesn’t like Jess, but he could try a little harder to hide it. Also, Elizabeth goes to school the day after the boating excursion, despite not knowing whether Jessica’s alive or dead. I know she’s a good student, but COME ON.

If I’m ever stranded on an island, I want Winston with me. He finds food, he grabs the First Aid kit from the lifeboat, and he uses a Swiss army knife as a reflective signaling device. He would have kicked butt on Lost. Jessica, on the other hand, would have been the Shannon.

Roger and Olivia broke up? When? Did I miss something? (Well, obviously.)

March 5, 2010

SVH #32, The New Jessica: Meet the New Jessica, Same as the Old Jessica

Posted in books tagged , , , at 10:55 pm by Jenn

Jessica looks so horrible, I can't think of anything snarky to say

Summary: Jessica’s tired of being a twin, so she dyes her hair, starts wearing Lila’s expensive clothes, and talks with a vaguely British accent to stand out and get attention. It makes her even more annoying than normal, if you can believe it. Elizabeth is hurt by Jessica’s makeover because she feels like Jessica’s against her personally, when she really just wants attention. Of course, she never bothers to actually say so to Jessica’s face. Jessica tries to land a modeling gig, but her new look doesn’t appeal to the photographer or fashion-show director who want to work with her – they want someone who looks like Elizabeth. Jessica can’t convince them that they’re identical and that she can change her look back, so she gets Elizabeth to accept the job, then takes her place. She’s dumb enough to have her parents show up without telling them about the switch, though, so she gets busted, but no one cares, and Elizabeth makes the show, too. Because, as usual, beauty is everything in Sweet Valley.

The B plot is tied into the A plot – Elizabeth thinks Jeffrey is really interested in Jessica, which leads to a fight, which leads to a breakup. Somewhere in there Elizabeth loses her journal, which is a pointless development, but it allows Jessica to read the journal and realize that Elizabeth’s upset with her change. Eh, who cares?

Thoughts: Elizabeth says she takes it as a compliment when people say she and Jessica are exactly alike. Um, WHY? Who wants to be compared to Jessica??

Enid thinks Jessica had her makeover to get attention. Enid, Jessica does everything to get attention. Where have you been?

Jessica really thinks she can be a model at five-six? Oh, right. Logic. Never mind.

Jessica is offered $500 for six hours of work. I hate her even more now for making so much more money than me while being only 16 and having no marketable skills or brains.

Jessica makes a move on Jeffrey about five seconds after Elizabeth tells her they’re probably through. That’s a new low, even for Jessica.

November 2, 2009

SVH #8, Heart Breaker: Why Does the Crazy Girl Always Attract All the Guys?

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 5:53 pm by Jenn


The artist could at least try to make these two look 16

Summary: Jessica has sunken her claws into Bill the surfer, even though she doesn’t actually like him – she wants revenge for a time when he rejected her. They’re spending a lot of time together, since they’re starring opposite each other in the school play, and Jessica has Bill wrapped around her finger. Basically, when she says, “Jump,” he says, “How high? For how long? Can I get you anything while I’m up here?” Bill is also teaching shy DeeDee Gordon how to surf, and because he’s doing so much with Jessica, he has no idea that DeeDee’s in love with him. Jessica can see it, but DeeDee isn’t beautiful and popular, so obviously she’s collateral damage in Jessica’s revenge-seeking plan.

Bill saves DeeDee from drowning and realizes he’s fallen in love with her, so he dumps Jessica (at a party, in front of everyone, so way to go, Bill!), which means she’ll probably go for an even sicker revenge plot in the future. In the end, Bill is happy, DeeDee is happy, and Jessica is alone. So sad.

There are three B plots, only one of which is actually kind of interesting. In the first, Elizabeth is jealous of Todd’s ex-girlfriend, Patsy, who’s just moved to town and who he’s spending a lot of time with. It’s a typical I-think-my-boyfriend-is-in-love-with-someone-else-but-I’m-too-chicken-to-say-anything plot, and Elizabeth comes away from it looking as dumb as Jessica. In the second B plot, which is pretty brief, Jessica thinks DeeDee’s father, a Hollywood agent, is going to peg her as the next big thing in Hollywood. She’s wrong, and Bill gets that honor, so Jessica loses again. Awesome. In the third, semi-interesting B plot, Roger Barrett is in love with Lila but she thinks he’s a loser. Elizabeth discovers that Roger is secretly working as a janitor (read: he’s POOR) and agrees not to tell anyone.

Thoughts: Bill might be my new favorite character. He rejects Jessica twice and doesn’t seem to care that he could suffer her wrath. She’s the bratty child who wants her way and he’s the parent who’s putting his foot down and not letting her get away with murder. Supernanny fans, we could all learn a lot from Bill Chase. And even if he turns out to be a serial killer or something in the future, he’s already put up with enough from having to hang out with Jessica, so I think we can cut him some slack.

I know where the Roger stuff is going, and I have a feeling Lila’s going to be getting her own comeuppance. Funny how, at least in the Sweet Valley Twins series, Lila was always considered the spoiled brat and the quintessential mean girl, but from my reading, Jessica’s the one who’s nastier. Not that Lila doesn’t deserve being put in her place herself.

The teens at SVH are putting on Splendor in the Grass. Is that really an appropriate play for high-schoolers? I mean, we weren’t even allowed to do Grease in high school. Maybe Sweet Valley is a lot more liberal than I thought.

I have to ask, what’s up with Jessica and the number 137? In the first eight books of the series, she’s used it about 137 times. Maybe I should start keeping track of how many times it pops up.

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