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.

GHOSTWRITER. TEENAGERS DO NO WATCH HUMPHREY BOGART MOVIES. THEY WATCH ACTION MOVIES AND HORROR MOVIES AND THE NOTEBOOK. STOP PRETENDING YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT TEENAGERS.

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.

August 20, 2012

SVH #126, Tall, Dark, and Deadly: Look Who’s Stalking

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 8:31 pm by Jenn

Okay, the guy in the window is legit creepy, but the rest of the book is ridiculous

Summary: Jessica goes looking for a lost earring in a Dumpster at the Dairi Burger and instead finds a kitten. Oh, and a dead guy. His blood has been drained and there’s something on his neck that looks like a bite mark. So clearly this was an accidental death and the police have no reason to investigate. Yeah, I wish. Anyway, no one knows what happened, and the only witness is the cat, who Jessica takes home and names Jasmine.

In what’s certainly a coincidence that has nothing to do with the murder, there’s a new guy in school, Jonathan Cain. He’s pale and wears dark clothes and is all mysterious. You know, like someone whose name rhymes with Bedward Mullen. All the girls at school immediately fall in love with him, especially Jessica, who makes him her latest obsession, and Enid, who goes goth for him. Enid’s ticked that Elizabeth’s hanging out with Maria Slater, which means Liz isn’t around to tell her she’s being a huge idiot.

Elizabeth thinks Jonathan’s a jerk, but Jessica basically starts stalking him. She buys a hot red dress to impress him, then jumps on the back of his motorcycle. Rather than call the police to report a psych stalker, Jonathan tells Liz to keep her sister away from him. Enid also stalks him, following him home to a huge mansion that looks like it’s really abandoned. Oh, and Jessica finds her earring on her windowsill, which is admittedly weird.

In the middle of all this, Liz is flipping out over Joey, her camp crush, who’s going to be transferring to UCLA. She thinks about dumping Todd but chickens out. Maria proves to be the smartest person in the series by giving her actual good advice (like “cut it out already), but of course Elizabeth won’t listen to her. Liz gets a letter from Joey and finds a paddle from camp in her locker, so it looks like Jessica and Enid aren’t the only stalkers in the book. Elizabeth decides it’s better to be bored with Todd but not hurt his feelings, so she tries to forget about Joey.

The stories collide when Jessica sneaks out one night to go see Jonathan. Enid’s also on her way there because the girl is seriously, seriously obsessed. Elizabeth hears a news report about a blond teenager being found at Secca Lake with her blood drained. She thinks it’s Jessica and calls Todd to come get her and take her to the lake. But instead, Joey shows up. Meanwhile, Jessica goes to Jonathan’s house, where he kisses her, then tells her she made a mistake coming there.

Thoughts: I hate this everyone’s-in-love-with-the-vampiry-guy Twilight crap. I prefer my vampire stories to involve slayers and souls.

Of course Enid goes goth. Of all the SVH teens, she’s the one who would go goth.

Maria drives a tan Mercedes. Why get a Mercedes if you’re not going to get one that’s red or silver?

After she loses the earring, Jessica keeps wearing the other one by itself. That is a weird girl. But I can’t help thinking of the other girls at school doing the same thing, like Jessica’s Regina George accidentally starting a new trend.

When Jessica jumps on his motorcycle, Jonathan drivers her around for a while, then yells at her about it. So why let her ride with you if you didn’t want her to?

August 7, 2012

SVH #125, Camp Killer: And Then Suddenly There’s an Axe Murderer

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 10:00 pm by Jenn

I love that guy with the axe. His name’s Cobra!

Summary: The first two books in this mini-series were about Elizabeth hooking up with Joey, Jessica hooking up with Paul, Nicole being a horrible person, the kids being brats, Lila finding her male counterpart, etc. For some reason, the third is about an axe murderer.

But first, color war! It’s a book about summer camp, after all. Elizabeth and Nicole are the team captains, and Nicole fixes things so Joey’s on her team. Somehow Elizabeth finds out and switches him back, though that’s never explained. Nicole also wants to mess with Liz by sending Todd a picture of her kissing Joey, but Maria stops her and tells her to find a new hobby, because as it turns out, Maria is quite awesome.

Jessica goes to visit Paul again, and when they go back to camp, they decide to play a prank, making everyone think Crazy Freddy (an axe murderer from a camp story) is real. The plan is ruined when Jessica and Paul’s sister Tanya are kidnapped by a real axe murderer. I did not make that up. Jessica’s smart enough to pull off Tanya’s friendship bracelet as they’re dragged off, to indicate to people that something’s wrong.

Joey heads off to play hero, and Elizabeth and Nicole both go after him. They barely stop fighting long enough to not let each other die. Joey gets himself knocked out by the axe murderer (Cobra! I love it!), but Paul overpowers the guy, thanks to a diversion caused by Nicole and Elizabeth. Nicole further proves to not be as horrible as she seemed by letting herself get captured so Liz can save the others.

In what I guess is supposed to be comic relief, Lila and Bo go out to look for Jessica and Tanya, but they get lost and wind up spending the night in the woods. A crop-dusting pilot finds them but won’t take them back to camp because a) his boss is a jerk about schedules and b) this guy is clearly a jerk, too, because hello! Stranded people! Have a heart! The pilot calls his brother, for some reason, and the brother recognizes Bo and Lila’s names because they’ve been ordering food from his delivery service all summer. And then they invest in the pilot’s company, and I bet that will never come up again.

So there’s a happy ending, right? Sort of. Liz and Nicole are okay, and Nicole decides she doesn’t want Joey after all, so she’s okay with him being with Elizabeth. But Elizabeth doesn’t really want him either, since her heart belongs to Todd, or whatever. Jessica and Paul are still together, I guess. I don’t care. No one got axe-murdered, so it’s not a happy ending for me.

Thoughts: How do the people in these books never develop PTSD? Jessica was almost killed, but she’s totally fine ten minutes later. Wait, why am I looking for realism in SVH books? Again?

Lila’s defense of Bo paying people to do his chores: “He was providing jobs.” So Lila’s going to end up with a job as a political spin doctor, yes?

“She didn’t understand how she could be cheating on Todd, whom she’d loved for ages.” I love it that Elizabeth’s pretending this is the first time she’s done this.

The campers and counselors play Capture the Flag (of course), which reminds me of playing War on youth-group retreats when I was younger. It was basically Capture the Flag but with a military theme. Some players were designated “lieutenants” or “generals” (five-star, four-star, the whole shebang), and if you captured an officer from the other team, you got points. We also had “grenades” (I think they were balloons filled with paint) we could use to assult another team’s “fort.” We played in the woods after dark, and though we all had flashlights, the team leaders usually made us keep them off. I can’t believe no one ever got lost or horribly injured. I doubt we’d be allowed to play that game today without our parents having to sign sheets of paperwork.

July 24, 2012

SVH #124, Meet Me at Midnight: It’s Not Cheating If You Don’t Get Caught

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , at 9:16 pm by Jenn

Boring!

Summary: Todd has just arrived at the twins’ camp, but he doesn’t notice that Elizabeth is all over Joey. Todd’s staying for a few days, which means Liz has to cool it with the boy toy and pretend she’s all about Wilkins. She plans to break up with him just before he leaves, but she can’t do it. Whatever, she can totally just see Joey for the summer and Todd will never have to know! Apparently Elizabeth has forgotten that she knows half a dozen people at the camp, and some of them, such as Winston, have no reason not to tell Todd that she’s cheating on him.

But then Nicole throws a wrench in the works by threatening to tell Todd about Liz and Joey’s fling. So Elizabeth dumps Joey, telling him she never loved him. Nicole also makes her talk her up to him. Liz catches Joey and Nicole making out one night, so now it looks like the two of them are together. But at the end of the book, Joey tells Elizabeth that he was just using Nicole to make her jealous, and he really wants to be with Liz. What a lovely guy.

Also lovely: Paul, the guy Jessica’s sneaking out to see. She’s not supposed to leave camp, but she keeps doing it anyway, going into town to see Paul at the diner his family runs. The guy’s a jerk who has trust issues, but Jessica’s smitten and doesn’t take the hint. She invites Paul to the camp play, which she’s starring in, but gets upset when he never responds. A couple hours before the play, she rides a bike to the diner, only to find out that he’s at home. Someone gives her a ride there, and she and Paul make up, but they can’t get back to camp. Elizabeth winds up taking Jessica’s place in the play, with only Lila, Maria Slater, and Liz’s co-star knowing. (Oh, and Joey, but whatever.)

In other romance news, Winston thinks the other Maria is cheating on him because she keeps mentioning a guy named Hank in her letters to him. (Hank Patman? That would be funny.) Some chick named Lara is totally in love with Winston and is basically stalking him. He comes close to cheating with her, but quickly realizes that a) she’s annoying and b) he doesn’t actually like her. And it turns out this Hank guy is old, so he’s no threat, and it’s a good thing Winston didn’t do anything stupid.

Thoughts: Why do they let junior counselors act in the camp play? That seems unfair to the campers.

Points to the ghostwriter for giving the campers names that kids that age would have in the mid-’90s (Jennifer, Aimee, Ashley, Stephanie, Tiffany).

Nicole’s blackmail plan only works if Elizabeth thinks Todd would believe her story. Why would he listen to a girl he met for two seconds, especially if the story was about sweet, kind Elizabeth Wakefield, who would never cheat or even consider being disloyal?

Trivia: Lila can sew.

This is my 500th post. Woop woop!

July 10, 2012

SVH #123, Elizabeth’s Rival: The Enemy of My Enemy is Still a Horrible Person

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

Those kids look deformed and it’s freaking me out

Summary: It’s summer yet again! This one takes the twins, Lila, and a couple other SVH kids to Montana to be junior counselors at a performing-arts camp. Maria Slater, who was friends with Elizabeth in the Sweet Valley Twins books, is also there, along with her best friend, Nicole. Nicole is a bitca. She and Elizabeth immediately hate each other; they’re both writers and want to write the camp play. They also both like a guy named Joey. Because, you know, girls always have to fight over guys.

You’d think that Elizabeth would be a better counselor than Jessica, but the opposite is true. Elizabeth’s kids are complete shrews, while Jessica’s are in love with her and just copy everything she does. It’s annoying, but at least they listen to her. Jess is also good at her job since she’s not distracted by boys. She’s decided that after losing Christian and having her relationship with Ken end disastrously, she’s going to have a boy-free summer. She even becomes the favorite of the camp’s owner and gets to organize a dance.

Elizabeth writes the play, even though it looked like the job was going to Nicole. Nicole steals it and erases it from her hard drive, so there’s no proof that Liz actually wrote the play. On top of that and her kids being horrible, Maria’s siding with Nicole, and Joey’s not interested, so Elizabeth’s not having the best summer. Fortunately, one of Jessica’s campers has been filming pretty much everything, and she gets Nicole on camera confessing to stealing the play. Jessica sees the footage and airs it for the whole camp. Nicole is brought down and suddenly everyone likes Elizabeth.

…Including Joey, who’s now all over her. Elizabeth had what was basically a crush on him, but as soon as he’s actually interested, she’s all, “Todd who?” She actually tells Joey they’re not that serious. And then Todd shows up, so ha ha!

Lila’s interested in a junior counselor named Bo, but he’s outdoorsy, so she pretends she is, too. Except it’s completely obvious that he’s a poser. It turns out he’s basically the male version of Lila, so they’re clearly a match made in Heaven.

Oh, and Jessica hooks up with the brother of the filming camper, but that part of the plot is stupid and tacked-on.

Thoughts: Lila “didn’t come here to make friends,” but it’s the ’90s, so she doesn’t get the joke there.

It seems like the counselors and junior counselors share cabins, so does that mean the campers are in their cabins alone? That seems like a horrible idea. Of course, what I know about summer camp comes from that one BSC Super Special, The Parent Trap, and Bug Juice. (Did anyone else watch Bug Juice? That show was awesome.) Oh, and I read There’s a Bat in Bunk Five, which was also awesome.

Would a seven-year-old know that you can use hydrogen peroxide to bleach your hair? And why was she alone long enough to be able to do it? I’m guessing her parents will be suing the camp that left hydrogen peroxide where a seven-year-old could get her hands on it.

Bo, for future reference, “I’m watching you” is not acceptable as a love note.

When Todd shows up, Elizabeth’s with Joey and she’s wearing Jessica’s bathing suit, so if she were smart, she’d just tell Todd she’s not Liz.