October 23, 2009

SVH #4, Power Play: Let’s All Pick On the Fat Girl

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 4:04 pm by Jenn

Personal space, ladies

Personal space, ladies

Summary: Jessica’s shadow, Robin, wants to join SVH’s most popular sorority, Pi Beta Alpha. Of course, no one wants a fat girl around, so no one wants to sponsor her. Elizabeth happens to be a member of PBA, because that’s totally realistic of her, so she sponsors Robin and helps her with the “tasks” the sorority requires her to complete before the members will vote on her induction. These tasks include running around the school track five times a day for a week, playing volleyball on the beach while wearing a bikini, and asking Bruce Patman to a school dance (where she’s publicly humiliated by him).

Robin is blackballed from PBA, and while it looks like this is going to send her over the deep end, instead it spurs her on to lose weight, dress better, and totally ignore the petty, catty brats who have made her life miserable. In the end, she becomes Miss Sweet Valley High and co-captain of the cheerleading squad (without experience? I bet), then turns down PBA when they come calling again. That’s a win for the former chubster.

In the B plot, Jessica has a bunch of new expensive accessories, and Elizabeth suspects that she’s shoplifting them. After a while, Jessica is arrested for the crime, but it’s only because people at the mall think she’s Elizabeth, who was previously acting suspicious. It turns out poor little Lila Fowler has been stealing to get Daddy’s attention and giving some of her hot goods to Jessica. Lila gets off with probation and Elizabeth tries to help her by encouraging her father to spend more time with her, but that falls through.

Thoughts: Jessica is, once again, a poor excuse for a human being. She makes Robin run her errands, leading her to believe that she’ll be a shoo-in for induction into PBA. Then she leads the anti-Robin charge and masterminds her blackballing, making anti-fat remarks through the entire book. After Robin starts becoming popular and shunning the PBA girls, Jessica wonders why she doesn’t like the popular people since they’ve done so much for her. She even says to Elizabeth, “Beauty is only skin deep, Liz. Just remember that. It’s what’s underneath that really counts.” If Jessica existed in real life, I would pour honey on her and tie her to an anthill. Seriously, she’s a sociopath – she has no emotions about anyone who’s not her.

By the way, do high schools actually have sororities? Aren’t they just cliques with dues and meetings? I don’t get the point. I guess it’s just another way for the rich snobs at SVH to rub their richness in other people’s faces.

I’m so disappointed Robin didn’t do a full-on Carrie at the end of this book. She would have earned it.

October 12, 2009

SVH #2, Secrets: Jessica is the Reason Password Protection Was Created

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , at 11:06 pm by Jenn

Not pictured: Jessica's horns

Not pictured: Jessica's horns

Summary: Jessica really wants to be Homecoming queen, because that sort of thing actually matters to vapid popular girls with no personalities or interests. She’s shocked – SHOCKED! – when Elizabeth’s best friend, Enid Rollins, is nominated for queen, and even more shocked – MORE SHOCKED! – to learn that Enid stands a chance of winning.

Enid herself couldn’t care less about the competition since her old friend George is coming to town, and she’s afraid her boyfriend Ronnie will find out the secret they’ve been keeping for two years – one night they got drunk and high on E, went for a drive, and struck and paralyzed a kid. Jessica learns this juicy tidbit thanks to a round of snooping on Elizabeth’s computer and proceeds to send the information Ronnie’s way. Ronnie dumps Enid, who blames Elizabeth, because Elizabeth is obviously evil and would completely stab her best friend in the back for no apparent reason. IN BIZARRO WORLD.

So Enid thinks that Elizabeth betrayed her, and Jessica, being Jessica, backs up this idea so she doesn’t get found out. Because, you know, evil. Jessica also covers her tracks by telling Elizabeth that she’s taking Ronnie to the Homecoming dance because she wants to get him and Enid back together. Jessica really wants to be with Bruce Patman, who doesn’t seem to care at all about her, which means he at least has one more shred of common sense than Jessica. Of course, Elizabeth figures everything out and gets revenge on Jessica by getting the class dork, Winston, elected Homecoming king so he has to dance with Jessica.

The B plot is that rumors are circling about Ms. Dalton, the French teacher who’s dating Lila’s father, hooking up with a student, Ken Matthews. It turns out Lila started the rumor to break up her father’s relationship, but the plot doesn’t really go anywhere.

Thoughts: Yeah, so Jessica broke up a relationship, lied to everyone about her role in the stunt, and tried to make herself look like the good guy, all so she could win Homecoming queen. And all Elizabeth does in return is make her dance with a dorky guy. Are you kidding me, Elizabeth? I know she’s your sister and all, but that’s all you’re going to do to her? Jessica’s never going to get her come-uppance, is she? This is going to be a very disappointing series. Someone should keep a list of all of Jessica’s transgressions and come up with a fitting punishment. I volunteer!

October 9, 2009

SVH #1, Double Love: Oh, No, She Di-in’t

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 11:03 pm by Jenn

'83 cover = denim; '08 cover = cleavage

'83 cover = denim; '08 cover = cleavage

Summary: Elizabeth is in love with Todd Wilkins. Jessica likes him, too. Since Jessica always gets whatever she wants, she goes after Todd. Elizabeth is sad but too much of a doormat to say anything about it to Jessica. Jessica is too oblivious to know that she’s stolen her sister’s crush. This goes on for 100 pages or so, until Todd rejects Jessica, who’s so astonished that anyone would not want to be with her that she tells Elizabeth he tried to rape her. OH, NO, SHE DI-IN’T. Yes, she did. Evil little troll.

So now Elizabeth thinks Todd is a jerk, until the token bad boy, Rick Andover, basically kidnaps the twins and takes them for a joy ride (in their own car, weirdly enough). Todd saves them and Elizabeth kisses him. In YA literature, kissing always equals dating, so Todd and Elizabeth are automatically an item, as the teens apparently say in this universe. In other storylines, the twins’ brother Steven is dating Tricia Martin, daughter of a known drug addict/dealer; the younger Wakefields think their father’s having an affair with a colleague, Marianna West; and Bruce Patman and Lila Fowler’s fathers are fighting over SVH’s football field.

Thoughts: My first thought about five pages into the book was, “Does Jessica have any redeeming qualities?” 222 pages later, I still think the answer is no. The girl is a self-entitled princess in the worst way; she’s completely selfish, egotistical, and oblivious to everyone around her. She’d make the perfect only child. Basically, she’s a narcissist and everyone knows it, but no one does anything about it. They’re all enabling her. Oooh, she makes me so mad.

I find it hard to believe that Todd, the dreamy captain of the football team (do football teams really have captains?), would go for the class brain. But considering his other choices – Jessica and her equally vapid friends – it makes a strange kind of sense.

With all the updates made in the ’08 version, the book does seem pretty modern, like any other YA book written recently. I’d say something profound about teenagers facing the same issues through the decades, but no one wants to read that. It’s not snarky enough. I’ll just wrap this up by saying that I’m going to spend the rest of this project waiting for someone to smack Jessica in the face, and that Rick Andover is totally Jay from Degrassi: The Next Generation.

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