July 25, 2011

SVH #96, The Arrest: It Sucks to Be a Wakefield

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:15 pm by Jenn

Jessica is pretty much perfect here – look at that body language

Summary: Elizabeth is officially in trouble. She’s been arrested for involuntary manslaughter, and her reward is a night in lockup. Her defense attorney is kind of a jerk, so Ned fires him and plans to take on her case himself, with help from Steven. (Yes, Steven is exactly the person I would want working to keep me out of prison.) Though Liz still can’t remember most of the night of the accident that killed Sam, Steven gets her to focus enough to remember seeing lights, which makes them think there was another car on the road.

Elizabeth is also dealing with everyone at school shunning her, except Enid. Todd wants to reconnect with her, but she avoids him, and he winds up spending time with Jessica. Jessica’s decided that she needs to get revenge on Elizabeth for killing Sam, and stealing Todd is the best idea she can come up with. She uses Sam’s death a bit to get his sympathy (though part of her emotions are sincere), and by the end of the book, Jess and Todd are making out, though Todd is thinking of the other twin the whole time.

Margo continues her cross-country tour of horror by killing the kid she was babysitting, stealing from his parents, and taking a bus to Texas. She only gets off there because the voice in her head, which she thinks is too tired to speak to her directly, sends her a sign in the form of the song “Money.” Margo sees a photo in a newspaper and thinks it’s of her, but it’s really of Elizabeth. And then, for some reason, she kills the old woman who’d bought the paper.

Lila’s mom Grace is coming to visit from Paris, and Lila will NOT shut up about it. Grace brings her annoying boyfriend along with her, so Lila isn’t able to get the one-on-one time she’d hoped for with the mother she hasn’t seen in 14 years. She’s understandably ticked, but also doesn’t make much of an effort to reconnect with her mom. She comes home one day and finds Grace crying in the house, which makes her realize that she’s not the only one dealing with a difficult situation.

Olivia gets Nicholas cast on a reality dating show called Hunks, where a guy goes out with three girls and the girls get to talk about the experience on TV. The first date is with a biker chick and the second is with a girl who won’t stop giggling. The third is with a very nice girl named Ann, but the events of the date don’t go smoothly, so Nicholas thinks he’s 0 for 3. When they go back on the show, the first two girls trash Nicholas while Ann gushes over how romantic their evening was and agrees to go out with him again.

Pamela tries to tell Bruce that her reputation is all a rumor: She went out with a guy named Jake and would only kiss him, but he told everyone at Big Mesa that they had sex. Every subsequent guy she went out with told the same lie, and eventually everyone started to believe that Pamela was giving the milk away for free. Too bad Bruce and Pamela are harassed by some Big Mesa before she can explain everything, so he never finds this out. Pamela also decides to transfer to SVH but doesn’t get a chance to tell Bruce before it happens, so he’s surprised to see her at school one day.

Steven’s been hanging around the house a lot, despite his parents’ insistence that he stay at school, and Jessica’s mad that he’s paying more attention to Elizabeth than to her. Whatever. Steven needs a roommate, and someone named Billie is interested, but since Steven’s at home, there’s no time for them to meet. Eventually Steven gets a message to Billie saying to just move in whenever. He doesn’t learn until the move-in is already underway that Billie’s a girl.

Thoughts: Why did Steven get a two-bedroom apartment if he doesn’t have a roommate yet?

Nicholas considers himself “business-like, but with an edge of flamboyance and originality.” Since when?

Maria Santini? Shut up, ghostwriter.

Lila says she’s pretty sure Grace doesn’t like purple, but when she goes to meet her, she wears purple. Ghostwriter, it’s like you’re not even trying.

There’s a weird section where all of the characters interact in some way (Todd almost hits Pamela with his car, Lila and Nicholas almost get into an accident) that seems like a lot of work for nothing. Maybe the ghostwriter was spending too much time on this section to get other important details right, like Maria’s last name.

Nicholas wears green slacks. Dear Nicholas: why?

Nicholas: “I’m swearing off women forever after this.” Oh, yeah? I hear Tom McKay is single….

I know I’m talking a lot about Nicholas, but when did he become friends with so many people at SVH? He never went there. And why do they all call him Nick?

July 16, 2011

SVH #95, The Morning After: Here Comes the Crazy

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , at 11:36 pm by Jenn

I didn't realize Pamela's ex was an escapee from Grease

Summary: Despite the title, it’s been a few days since the ending of A Night to Remember. Sam’s dead, Elizabeth survived the crash, the twins aren’t speaking, and everyone’s depressed. Elizabeth also hasn’t spoken to Todd, as she’s embarrassed about how she acted with Sam at the prom. She doesn’t remember the events surrounding the crash and has no idea that Jessica spiked her drink. Jessica’s furious with Elizabeth for killing Sam, but she also feels bad about the alcohol and her role in the accident.

Three weeks after Sam’s death, the police come to the Wakefields’ house to question Elizabeth. (Way to do your job, cops.) Jessica’s worried at first that they found out she spiked the drinks, but they’re clueless. The cops press Elizabeth to tell them what happened before the crash, but she can’t remember any of it. She insists that she wasn’t drinking, despite how high her blood alcohol level was at the time of the accident. Without any answers and unsure whether Elizabeth is telling the truth, the police arrest her for involuntary manslaughter. Jessica says nothing about what she did.

Lila’s also depressed because of what happened with Nathan at the prom – or, more accurately, what she thinks happened with him. A meeting with him, Mr. Cooper, and her father makes her realize that the encounter was completely innocent, but that just makes her more depressed, since now she thinks something’s wrong with her. She keeps blowing off her friends and skipping school while her father tries to figure out what to do to get her back to her normal self. Finally George decides there’s only one person who can help her: her mother, Grace. He calls her and asks her to come back to Sweet Valley. When Lila finds out, she’s thrilled.

Bruce stakes out Big Mesa High to find out who the girl was who saved him the night of the prom. He learns that her name is Pamela Robertson, but she doesn’t seem to be very popular at her school. He takes her out and they discover that they have a ton in common with each other. Everything’s going great for Bruce until Amy tells him Pamela has a reputation as a slut. He decides he still wants to be with her, but when he takes her some flowers, he sees her getting out of a car and kissing a guy she appears to have spent the night with. Pamela insists that nothing happened and that she loves Bruce (after one day? Uh-huh), but he won’t listen.

Olivia and Nicholas have become friends. She’s offered $1,000 for one of her paintings; in exchange, she has to speak at a fundraiser. When she arrives for the fundraiser, she learns that a) there isn’t one, and b) the guy who wants to buy her painting is Harry, some rich 18-year-old she’s seen hanging around her art class. Olivia’s first response should be fear over a guy who lied to get her to come to his house, but she thinks he’s cute, so she’s going to get to know him better. She also agrees to help Nicholas find a girlfriend, most likely with the help of a TV dating show called Hunks.

Oh, and there’s a crazy chick named Margo who’s making her way across the country, lying about her name and killing children. Fun!

Thoughts: The cops wait three weeks to question Elizabeth? They didn’t arrest her at the scene, after finding out how drunk she was? To paraphrase Principal Snyder, “The police of [Sweet Valley] are deeply stupid.”

I wish they hadn’t skipped over Sam’s funeral, especially since Elizabeth went to it. They already cram enough into these books; they couldn’t spare a few pages for that?

“Artists don’t carry umbrellas.” Olivia, you make no sense. I guess artists don’t use logic either.

If Harry’s parents are so rich, why do they have wicker furniture?

January 5, 2011

SVH #72, Rock Star’s Girl: Raise Your Hand If Ew

Posted in books tagged , , , at 11:37 pm by Jenn

Looks like Nicole Kidman went blonde

Summary: Things must be pretty boring in Sweet Valley right now, because when a new girl named Andrea Slade starts school, everyone’s interested. Most interested are Elizabeth, Enid, and Nicholas Morrow, who develops a love connection with her. Maybe everyone’s intrigued because she’s all secretive about what her dad does and where they live. Anyway, rock star Jamie Peters is also in town, as spotted by Lila; he’s living in the big, expensive house a childhood friend of hers lived in. She takes Jessica and Amy to spy on him in his bushes, and during one stakeout, they see Andrea with him and decide that they must be dating.

Elizabeth, logical twin that she is, points out that Jamie could be Andrea’s father, though there’s no discussion of how Jessica, Amy, and Lila could mistake daughterly behavior for girlfriendly behavior. (That’s the ew part – doesn’t anyone else think it’s gross that someone could be mistaken for a relative’s girlfriend?) They tell Nicholas that Andrea’s shacking up with Jamie, which makes him think she’s a two-timer. At the same time, the girls have spread the Andrea-and-Jamie-sitting-in-a-tree story around school, giving Andrea just what she didn’t want: Attention from people just because she knows Jamie.

Andrea doesn’t come home, so Jamie calls Elizabeth, who goes off with Enid and Nicholas to find her. Elizabeth now has confirmation that Jamie is Andrea’s father, so now everyone else looks foolish. The search party finds Andrea, everyone works everything out, and, for some reason, Jessica and Lila decide to head back to the bushes. Five bucks says this is the only book where Andrea gets a plot.

In the B plot, Lila takes up the marimba. Yeah, I don’t know.

Thoughts: For some reason, I keep thinking I’ve seen this plot somewhere else; I’ve either read a book or seen a movie or TV show with a similar story. I just can’t place it.

They never explain why Jamie and Andrea have different last names. I would suspect that Peters is Jamie’s stage name, though Slade sounds more rock-starrish, no?

Amy uses the word “teenyboppers.” I knew I hated that girl.

Why do the characters always comment on other characters being pretty? Are they just driving home the fact that there are no ugly people in Sweet Valley?

Nicholas likes reggae music? Not a chance.

I wonder why Cara doesn’t hang out with Jessica, Lila, and Amy as much as the three of them hang out together. Maybe because her IQ is the same as theirs combined.

Wait, wait, wait. Andrea’s 16 and has never had a crush? Does that strike anyone else as really, really weird?

Nicholas takes Andrea on a date to the Dairi Burger. Wow. Cheapskate.

Of course Andrea wants to stay in Sweet Valley. Everyone who spends five minutes there never wants to leave. It’s like the mafia – once you’re in, the only way out is death.

July 16, 2010

SVH Super Thriller, No Place to Hide: I Love You, Girl I Met Five Minutes Ago

Posted in books tagged , , , at 10:59 pm by Jenn

Your face is going to freeze like that, Liz

Summary: The twins invite Nicholas to a work picnic (it’s STILL same summer it was in Double Jeopardy and On the Run, and they’re STILL interning at the Sweet Valley News) since he’s still depressed over Regina’s death. Nicholas trespasses and meets a girl named Barbara, who’s spending the summer with her uncle. The uncle isn’t a nice guy, and somehow Nicholas gets it in his head that he’s, I don’t know, abusive or something (it’s never really clear), and he feels like he needs to rescue Barbara. They start meeting in secret, and Barbara tells Nicholas how some guy keeps coming by to visit her uncle, and the housekeeper keeps freaking out about the nearby cliffs, probably because Barbara’s grandmother died there.

I pretty much completely lost the thread about halfway through, and things only got more convoluted from there, so I can’t exactly sum everything up. Basically, there was a love triangle, and “Uncle John” isn’t really Barbara’s uncle, but he’s also the brother of a skeevy guy running for mayor, who turned out to possibly have killed Barbara’s grandmother. There’s something about an artists’ colony in there, too, but it makes no sense. And John brought Barbara to live with him to try to gaslight his brother, I guess. And then the brother dies and John gets arrested and totally confesses, though there’s no lawyer there, so that could probably get thrown out in court. And it turns out Barbara’s real grandfather, who secretly married her grandmother before she was involved with the mayor guy, is still alive, so…good for them, I guess.

Oh, and Nicholas and Barbara totally fall in looooove, but then she goes back to Europe. Sucks to be Nicholas, again.

Thoughts: So it’s been the same summer for three Super Thrillers, and it’s only July. Please tell me it’s not the same summer in all of these “thrillers” (which aren’t the slightest bit thrilling).

Jessica thinks the more handsome mayoral candidate should win. And that’s why 16-year-olds aren’t allowed to vote.

Darcy makes a very brief (thankfully) appearance in this book. Haven’t we all been through enough?

Nicholas falls in love with Barbara after spending about ten minutes with her. I wonder how many girls grew up with unreasonable expectations of love because of these books.

Barbara, stop telling Nicholas he can’t call you. You didn’t give him your phone number. He literally can’t call you.

Instead of calling the police after getting a threatening phone call, Elizabeth grabs Jessica and Nicholas for an emergency meeting. Dang it, Elizabeth, you’re not Kristy Thomas!

Nicholas’ plan to get Barbara away from her possibly-dangerous uncle is to grab her while one of the twins distracts the uncle. I love how he’s willing to put one of the twins in danger for a girl he met, like, ten days ago. He also claims he can’t think of any other plan. Because clearly, once he came up with the put-a-Wakefield-in-danger idea, he stopped thinking. On another note, why would he let the twins draw straws (well, toothpicks) to determine who would do the distracting? Why would he even consider letting his plan hinge on Jessica?

I’m sorry, is the paramedic tending to Elizabeth trying to flirt with Jessica? That’s professional. Also, she’s 16, you moron.

June 13, 2010

SVH #45, Family Secrets: Daddy Issues

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

Oh, crap, now there are three of them

Thoughts: The twins’ cousin Kelly comes to stay with the Wakefields because (try to follow this logic) her mom’s getting remarried and she hasn’t adjusted to having a new stepfather and stepbrothers. I guess she’ll do her adjusting in another state, nowhere near these new family members, instead of getting to know them or something. Anyway, Kelly goes on and on about how awesome her dad is, though Alice and Ned think he’s a jerk but won’t say why because Kelly’s mom doesn’t want her to know the truth. Kelly also has nightmares that she can’t quite piece together.

Kelly starts dating Kirk the jerk from Secret Admirer, and he continues to live up to his nickname, showing up really late for dates and hanging out with other girls. (Not that Kelly’s all that much better, since she agrees to go to a costume party with Nicholas Morrow, then ditches him for Kirk.) Kirk proves his jerkiness at the party, coming close to earning this post an “attempted rape” tag, and his actions cause Kelly to remember what her dreams are about: Her dad lost his temper one night and started trashing the house, so her mom left him. (He was also a big cheater, so the fact that Kelly dated a guy so much like him says that she has some big daddy issues.) Kelly decides that Daddy isn’t as great as she thought, and then moves back home with her mom. A whole lot of build-up to basically nothing.

Thoughts: Why do the twins want to fix Kelly up with Nicholas, of all people? Did they just pick a name out of a hat?

Jessica, sweetheart, wearing different-colored shirts is not dressing “exactly the same” as Elizabeth and Kelly. Try to keep up.

In Pretenses, the Wakefields say Kelly will stay in Steven’s room, but here, she’s in Jessica’s. Friggin’ ghostwriter.

Jessica, Elizabeth, and Kelly’s decision to go to the costume party as the no-evil monkeys (See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Speak No Evil) is actually really creative. Too bad Jessica isn’t Speak No Evil.

Cara tells Kelly that Kirk is “pretty daring, if you know what I mean.” Cara, we never know what you mean.

The Droids have a song called “Dance Bop”? I thought they were a rock band.

Once again, someone (this time it’s Kelly) gets in a car with a drinking driver. These characters keeping disproving the theory of survival of the fittest.

May 21, 2010

SVH #41, Outcast: I Don’t Care About Any of These People

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 9:50 pm by Jenn

That includes you, Farrah

Summary: Molly, the chick who threw the party where Regina died, is now an outcast (oh, that’s where that came from!) because everyone blames her for Regina’s death. The only person who will talk to Molly is Buzz the drug dealer, who’s on the run from the cops. For most of the book, people ignore, insult, or talk trash about Molly; in a memorable (well, relatively) scene, Nicholas even yells at Molly while they’re at Regina’s grave. Even Elizabeth is a jerk about the situation until she realizes that Molly has feelings, too, and St. Elizabeth needs to be nice to her.

From there things just get stupid. Molly decides to skip town with Buzz. Elizabeth goes to her friend Justin to try to get him to talk to Molly. He won’t, because…actually, I’m not really sure. This isn’t exactly what you would call a well-written book. Anyway, Elizabeth catches Molly taking a bunch of money out of her bank account and tells Justin, who goes to stop her from running away. There’s a car chase and an attempted stabbing, and then Justin knocks Buzz out. I guess everyone lives happily ever after? I don’t get why I’m supposed to care about these people.

In the B plot, Jessica has a heart! She wants to do something nice in Regina’s memory, so she gets PBA to create a scholarship in Regina’s name. See, Elizabeth, you can do something other than involve yourself in other people’s business.

Thoughts: The Wakefields do some actual parenting, telling their kids not to do drugs. Of course, they waited until their kids were 16 and 18 before doing this parenting….

How did Enid get inducted into PBA? I thought Elizabeth was the only person who liked her.

“The hope drained from Molly’s heart like water from a broken glass.” Look at the ghost writer, all writerly!

Am I the only person who thinks of the principal from Back to the Future whenever Principal “Chrome Dome” Cooper makes an appearance?

Elizabeth sucks at writing. Avoid the passive voice, Ms. Perfect!

May 14, 2010

SVH #40, On the Edge: The One Time Elizabeth Doesn’t Meddle, Someone Dies

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

She's sad because Bruce is prettier than she is

Summary: Amy decides she wants to steal Bruce from Regina, and since Regina doesn’t bother to stand up to her and Bruce is a teenage boy who will go wherever he might get sex, it works. Jessica, Elizabeth, and various others are no help; they know what Amy’s up to but don’t a) try to stop her or b) warn Regina that someone’s after her boyfriend. What nice friends. Poor, lonely Regina starts hanging out with a guy named Justin who’s friends with a bunch of druggies, and they wind up at a druggie party one night. Again, everyone knows about it, but no one meddles enough to stop Regina from going to the party. (Not that I’m blaming Liz, per se. But seriously, the girl can’t stop interfering in other people’s lives, and this is the one time she doesn’t.)

Nicholas learns of the party and heads over to get his sister, but he’s pulled over for speeding and taken to the police station since he also doesn’t have his license with him. Meanwhile, Regina gets mean-girled and peer-pressured into drinking a bunch of beers and trying cocaine, which – who knew? – is bad. Nicholas arrives with the police just minutes after Regina starts suffering the ill effects of two hits of cocaine, namely a rapid heartbeat that eventually leads to her death. So everyone’s sad and blaming themselves for her death, but Molly, some chick who was at the party, just wants Justin to talk to her again. Dear ghostwriter, no one cares about Molly. So let’s never speak about her ag – wait, she’s in the next book? Not cool!

Thoughts: A lot of YA books and movies overdo the drugs-are-bad-mmmkay? theme, but I thought it was handled well here. Regina’s always been known as a “good girl,” but sometimes good girls do the wrong thing. And it’s not just the hard-core drug-users who can overdose or suffer consequences; even one hit can be your downfall. So as cheesy as this series often is, this book is actually a little meaningful. I’m sure things will go back to normal in a manner of pages.

Bruce tells Amy, “I’d kind of forgotten how much fun it is to spread the wealth – to share the old Bruce magic with more than one girl.” I’m gagging and vomiting. I’m gavomiting.

Elizabeth told Regina about her motorcycle accident. Wonder if she happened to mention that Bruce tried to rape her.

There’s a Justin Belson, a Jan Brown, and a Jay Benson. Aw, they all have my initials – I could be a druggie, too!

Sweet Valley’s resident drug dealer’s name is Buzz. Hee.

Regina believes that cocaine isn’t addictive and alcohol won’t alter its effects. What kind of crappy drug education does SVH promote?

As she’s dying, Regina asks to see Elizabeth. To help speed things along?

“First the choir sang a chorus from a German mass that Regina had always loved.” You mean in the four months she’s been able to hear?

January 20, 2010

SVH #26, Hostage!: In Which Jessica Actually Outsmarts Someone

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

Regina would never know how her kidnapper knew about her fear of washcloths

Summary: Regina Morrow has been spotted in town, but no one knew she was coming back from Switzerland, or why she hasn’t told anyone she’s in Sweet Valley. After some sleuthing, Jessica, Elizabeth, and Bruce figure out that she’s being held hostage in her own home. They use a magazine to sneak a note in to her, and she sends them back a note detailing the situation – her parents are also being held hostage so that one of her father’s ex-employees can get a computer chip and sell it for millions of dollars.

Jessica turns on the charm to flirt with the son of one of the kidnappers, and with the information she gleans from him and what Regina has told them, she, Elizabeth, Bruce, and Nicholas Morrow come up with a plan to rescue all three Morrows (which they have to do at the same time and without the police, of course). It’s an overly convoluted plan, but it does work, and there’s even some tension, especially when Nicholas almost gets shot.

Oh, and Regina’s hearing has almost been completely restored, thanks to the treatments in Switzerland, so she’s staying in Sweet Valley. And there’s a tiny bit in the book about Ken Matthews failing English, but who cares about Ken Matthews?

Thoughts: This book was actually…not bad! Kind of good, even. It had an actual plot with actual tension. It was completely unrealistic, of course, but still interesting.

The kidnappers are completely inept, though. One answers the door at the hostages’ house, lets Regina wander around and be seen by visitors, and uses her real name. The other keeps the Morrows in full view of a window. Who, exactly, is the brains behind this operation?

Jessica’s smarter than Elizabeth in this book, which is really scary.

Nicholas pulls the look-innocent-by-kissing-me ploy on Elizabeth. What a coincidence that he would pull that on the girl he once declared his love for. Oh, and when they meet up with Bruce and Jessica, Bruce asks, “How’d you make out?” HA! Oh, Bruce, I kind of love you.

January 3, 2010

SVH #23, Say Goodbye: The World’s Lamest Love Triangle

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 11:58 pm by Jenn

I thought Jessica was the twin who could fake cry

Summary: Todd is moving to Vermont, as we learned in Too Much in Love, and Elizabeth is all torn up about it. I don’t blame her – he sounds like the perfect guy. Which probably means he secretly kicks puppies or something. Anyway, once Todd is gone, Jessica’s worried that Elizabeth will just mope around (she hits the nail on the head there), so she encourages Nicholas Morrow to, um, befriend Elizabeth (since Nicholas has already declared his love for her). Nicholas doesn’t need any encouragement in that department and is eager to swoop in and pick up where Todd left off. Except Elizabeth is all, “Waaaah, Toddddddddd!” and not ready to be with someone else. Todd comes back for a surprise visit, spots Elizabeth and Nicholas together, and decides that they need to see other people while still being in love and stuff. I don’t know, teenagers are weird.

In the B plot, Jessica has to pay her parents back for a dress she bought (at Lisette’s, natch), so she gets a part-time job at a computer-dating company. Wow, this book was before its time. She decides to find a girl for Steven, who hasn’t dated anyone since Tricia died. You’d think she’d be great at that, but she’s an idiot, so she’s not. But then Steven runs into Cara, who’s suddenly all mature and stuff, and it looks like something’s developing there…until Betsy Martin shows up and ruins it all. Blast that Betsy Martin! Oh, wait, I don’t care.

Thoughts: Elizabeth is understandably upset that Todd’s moving 2,000 miles away. Who wants to tell her that California to Vermont is actually 3,000 miles?

Jessica considers hooking Steven up with a 43-year-old divorcée. Yes, she should absolutely be a matchmaker.

Nicholas’ private name for his boat is My Favorite Twin. Elizabeth, he’s going to boil your bunny!

Jessica “consider[s] falling in love” with Nicholas’ cousin. How appropriate that someone who’s so manipulative can manipulate her own emotions. Though why would she consider falling in love with a guy who reminds her of a librarian?

There are two unintentionally creepy moments in this book. At least I think they’re unintentional. Please, please let them be unintentional. The first is between Alice and Steven: “A warm smile flashed between mother and son. Mrs. Wakefield, a slim, honey-blond woman, looked especially attractive that night in a slate-blue dress.” Why are those sentences in the same paragraph?? The second is between Elizabeth and Steven: She tells him that Nicholas is “tall, dark, and handsome. He looks a lot like you, in fact.” Where’s Sigmund Freud when you really need him?

November 27, 2009

SVH #14, Deceptions: Elizabeth’s as Bad as the Other One

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 5:09 pm by Jenn

He parts his hair on the dangerous side

Summary: Again starting just minutes after the last book ends, Nicholas meets Elizabeth and immediately falls for her, having no idea that Jessica’s already fallen for him. Nicholas asks Elizabeth out on a date, which she accepts without telling Todd or Jessica. They go to a restaurant an hour outside Sweet Valley, but Todd turns up and spots Elizabeth. Elizabeth decides to pretend to be Jessica, and it works – until Todd goes to the Wakefields’ to see her and finds out that Jessica’s there. This is why Elizabeth should leave the lying to her sister. Todd gets understandably upset with Elizabeth, but Nicholas smoothes things over by telling him that Elizabeth still loves him. And they all lived happily ever blah.

In the B plot, Jessica seduces a nerd named Randy Mason so he’ll teach her about computers and she’ll have something to talk about with Nicholas. Thanks to an article in the Oracle, Jessica learns about the brand-new-in-the-’80s idea of hacking and convinces Randy to hack into the school’s new computer (yes, singular) to change her math grade. They get caught but not punished. Of course.

Thoughts: Elizabeth shows her dark side in this book. She keeps Nicholas’ infatuation with her from Jessica and Todd, lies to Todd’s face, and goes out with a guy who’s not her boyfriend. As if that all weren’t bad enough, why would she lead on a guy who’s obviously in love with her – he’s even told her this – when she knows their relationship (or lack thereof) isn’t going to go anywhere?

Actually, Nicholas shouldn’t have a relationship with anyone. He’s creepy. He tells Elizabeth he’s in love with her after spending just a few hours with her, hours he spent following her around like a puppy dog. Then he pesters her for a date despite her multiple refusals. He literally won’t take “no” for an answer. That kind of guy is bad news.

Elizabeth herself isn’t much of a catch. She tells Enid about her date with Nicholas, admitting, “I don’t want to [go out with him]. But Nicholas absolutely insisted.” Girl, he can insist until he’s blue in the face; that doesn’t mean you have to go! I really hope no one’s using Elizabeth as any kind of role model.

In other Elizabeth news, when she finds out about Jessica’s hacking experience, she drags her to school to make her confess to the principal. Then when he threatens Jessica and Randy with suspension, making Jessica cry (not like that ever happens), Elizabeth also starts to cry and begs for mercy for her twin. Someone please return this girl’s backbone.

I have to say, computer hacking is exactly something that would intrigue Jessica. She gets to manipulate data to her benefit. I’m surprised she didn’t invent it.

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