October 22, 2013

SVU #6, The Love of Her Life: Too Late, Todd

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:20 pm by Jenn

I guess this is Elizabeth and Tom? Tom looks dorky

I guess this is Elizabeth and Tom? Tom looks dorky

Summary: We pick up a few pages before the end of A Married Woman, with Mike coming to Steven and Billie’s apartment looking for Jessica. There’s yelling, there’s the fight over the gun, there’s a shot going off, and then we learn that Steven’s okay but Mike was shot. Fast-forward, and Steve’s arrested while Mike’s taken to the hospital. He’s so bad off that Billie thinks he might be dead. Jessica’s in shock and goes home while Billie starts trying to get Steven a lawyer. (By the way, Ned and Alice are out of town and, as of the end of the book, have no idea what’s happening in Sweet Valley.)

Steven is sent to jail, which is dumb because he hasn’t been arraigned yet, so wouldn’t he be in lockup? Not hanging out in general population with actual murderers? Steven isn’t sure exactly what happened with the gun or who pulled the trigger, but he’s pretty sure he’s going to prison. Elizabeth learns of his arrest from the news and rushes to the police station. Steven will have a bail hearing the next day and will be charged with attempted murder.

Elizabeth encourages Jessica to go see Mike in the hospital, since her presence could help him recover. Except Mike’s in the hospital because he was planning to shoot Jessica, so I think Liz should shut her trap. Anyway, Jessica’s still in shock so she just goes back home. Mike’s mom also bugs her to go to the hospital, so Jess lies to get her to shut up.

Steven gets out on bail, and Jessica finally snaps out of her shock a little, realizing how happy she is that her brother wasn’t hurt. When Mike’s mom calls her again, telling her that Mike is asking for her, she decides to go to the hospital. And then it gets worse: Mike’s paralyzed and might never walk again. (Except this is Sweet Valley, so of course he will.) Now Jessica feels horrible and decides that their wedding vows are more important than her freaking safety and the ability to live her day-to-day life without a guy TRYING TO SHOOT HER, so she won’t be leaving Mike after all.

Amazingly, Mike thinks this is actually the wrong choice. He and Jess have both realized that she was too young to get married. He tells her he’ll get an annulment, and that when Steven is arraigned, he’ll tell the judge that the shooting was his fault. But somewhere between Mike saying this and the arraignment arriving, he changes his mind and almost lets Steven go to jail. But apparently he has a conscience, and when Jessica yells at him, he admits that he accidentally shot himself. So Steven is free, and Jessica is getting an annulment.

Over in the secret society story, we revisit Elizabeth discovering that William is the leader. She’s currently with William at his place, and instead of playing it cool and pretending nothing’s happened, she lets him know that she knows, then takes off. Tom runs into her and she confirms his suspicions about William.

William goes looking for Elizabeth but instead finds Celine, who has moved on from Tom and is now with Peter. William tells her that Elizabeth is on to them, and since Celine knows about the secret society, she’s at risk. Then Celine and William hook up. When Liz gets home, she confirms that she knows about William’s role as the leader of the society. This whole thing is dumb because William just…lets her talk. Like, she’s about to bust you, moron. Stop her!

But no, William doesn’t stop her, and Elizabeth proceeds to get more information on the society out of Tom. Apparently it’s called the Fraternal Order of the Gallows, and he was inducted as a freshman by guys in ski masks. They wind up back at Liz’s dorm, where William attempts to intimidate them, but they tell him they’re going ahead with their story for the TV station. William is STILL too dumb to try to stop them. Instead, he waits a few hours, then kidnaps Elizabeth, with help from Celine and Peter.

Even with an attempt to at least be a competent villain, William is still lame: Elizabeth and Tom pretaped their story, so kidnapping Liz won’t stop it from airing. When it goes live, William flips out. Celine starts to realize that the guy really is crazy, and that they’ve gone too far. While the secret society members gather and plan to throw her in a pit (which apparently will look like suicide? Somehow?), Celine sneaks off and calls Tom. He calls the police and they all rush to rescue Liz. Also rushing to rescue Liz is Todd, who’s decided that he wants to get back together with her. More on that in a minute.

Back to Liz’s almost-murder: Tom fights William, who ends up in the pit, hanging on to the edge with one hand. Tom contemplates dropping him (dude, the police are right there!), but instead pulls him out so William will have to go to prison and think about what he’s done. Or spend the rest of his life plotting revenge. Whichever.

Once Elizabeth is safe, Tom heads off to talk to the police, and Liz runs into Todd. He declares his love and asks her to get back together, but he’s too late. She only has eyes for Tom now. She tells Todd that they agreed to move on and try dating other people, which is exactly what she’s going to do. Todd doesn’t take this well and vows to get her back. It’s kind of scary. Like, even William doesn’t say stuff like that.

Tom comes to see Elizabeth, and after some hugging and chaste kissing, she realizes that he wrote the poem she thought William had written her. Then Tom finally tells her what he’s been wanting to let her know about his life: His freshman year, his family (parents, brother, and sister) was driving out to see him play football when they were killed in a car accident. The second Tom heard, he quit the team. But now his life has meaning again because of Elizabeth, or something stupid and flowery like that.

In other, much more boring stories: Todd and Mark (Alex’s boyfriend) are suspended from the basketball team for a semester because of the department’s illegal recruitment methods. Todd doesn’t think this is so bad, but Mark can’t handle it and decides to quit school and try for an NBA career. Alex still blames Elizabeth for the whole debacle.

Winston and Denise are making out a lot, because Winston’s from Sweet Valley and that’s all he knows how to do with a girlfriend. Everyone thinks they should have sex. Denise doesn’t want to. Winston remains a virgin. Not virgins: Bryan and Nina, who are Doing It.

Thoughts: Elizabeth and Celine hate each other, and Nina’s mentioned not liking her roommate, so why don’t Liz and Nina move in together?

Danny, I like you, so pleas stop telling Winston to try to bang Denise.

When Steven gets out of jail, he’s all, “Colors are brighter! Food tastes better!” He was there one night. Shut up, Steven.

The police arrest the secret society members and then leave Elizabeth to find her own way home. Yeah, leave the girl who was just kidnapped to walk home in the dark. And wouldn’t they need her to go to the police station and make a statement?

Speaking of statements, I’m not sure the police ever took Jessica’s or Billie’s about Mike’s shooting. If they had, there would be three witnesses saying that Steven acted in self-defense/defense of Jessica. This freaking series….


September 25, 2013

SVU #4, Anything for Love: Marry the Man Today, Trouble Though He May Be

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:07 pm by Jenn

This never happened. I don't think Jessica's even met Nina

This never happened. I don’t think Jessica’s even met Nina

Summary: Jessica and Mike have been living together for about a month, and she’s still under the impression that he’s Prince Charming and not at all five seconds away from smacking her the first time she talks back. He wants her to prove her love for him (always a red flag) by marrying him. Of course, Jessica says yes, because for Jess (to paraphrase Taylor Swift), when you’re 18 and somebody tells you they love you, you’re gonna believe them.

So the two lovebirds go off to Vegas and get hitched in a chapel full of cats. Awesome. When they get back from their honeymoon (camping – blergh), Steven yells at Jessica some more. She doesn’t tell him they got married, which ticks Mike off. Jess tries to tell her Theta non-friends (and Isabella), but they all hate her now.

Also, there’s a bigger problem: Parents’ weekend is coming up, and Ned and Alice are still in the dark about Jessica’s living arrangements, not to mention her secret marriage. She doesn’t want to tell them and keeps coming up with excuses. Isabella says she can pretend to move back in over the weekend so her parents don’t know she’s living with Mike. This sets Mike off – he thinks Jessica’s embarrassed by him.

It doesn’t help that when they run into Elizabeth and William, Jess doesn’t say anything about the marriage to her own twin sister. Mike’s a jerk, but he has a point here. Though he’s becoming more and more like the Hulk, so it’s not like Jessica’s wrong to want to keep her association with him quiet. Mike also hates William, and the feeling is mutal. Liz finds out that Jess and Mike are living together, and she’s pretty ticked that Jess and Steven didn’t tell her.

Parents’ weekend arrives, and Jessica has to juggle spending time with Ned and Alice while also attending to Mike’s every need. (He thinks her parents aren’t coming to visit.) When they all go to the apartment complex where everyone who isn’t in a dorm lives, they pass right by Mike. When Jess gets home that night, Mike is furious. He shoves her against a wall, then tells her to lock herself in the bathroom before he hurts her any worse. Elizabeth drops by later and finds the apartment trashed. She tells Jessica they’re leaving, but Jess says no, finally revealing that she and Mike are married.

Nina and Bryan are in the hospital after their assault; she’s okay but he’s in bad shape. Nina’s mom has convinced her to transfer out of SVU so she doesn’t have to deal with the racism and hate crimes. Elizabeth is sad, because Nina’s her only friend. (Her former best friend, Alex, spends the entire book grumbling over how Liz ruined the athletes’ lives with her story about illegal recruitment. Shut up, Alex. Just because you and your boyfriend are fighting doesn’t mean Liz plotted to break you up.)

Elizabeth wants to expose SVU’s secret society, which is most likely behind Nina and Bryan’s attacks. Tom’s against it, though, partly because he’s been getting threatening notes warning him to drop the investigation. The notes all include a broken star. Tom’s inner monologue lets us know that he knows exactly who’s behind the secret society. Liz decides she’ll just investigate by herself. It takes her, like, four years to figure out that the Sigmas aren’t behind the attacks; the secret society is.

Elizabeth talks to William about the investigation, and he tries to make her think Tom’s involved. Meanwhile, Celine finds Elizabeth’s notes on the attacks and tells Peter that she’s investigating. Tom lets Liz know that the secret society isn’t going to put up with her investigation without a fight, and in fact might get violent. Of course, Elizabeth isn’t going to back down. Unfortunately, her stubbornness gets Tom attacked.

Tom realizes that the best way to keep Elizabeth away from the investigation is to bring in someone she hates: Celine. He tells Liz she’ll be helping out. Celine thinks this means Tom likes her, and Peter thinks this means Celine’s two-timing him. Nina tells Liz that she recognized the voice of one of her attackers. They stalk Peter a little and determine that his voice is the one Nina remembers. Elizabeth is still going to investigate, and just let Tom think she’s not. She puts together some things Tom said with what they already know about the society, and starts to think Mike is the leader.

As Bryan starts to recover, he tries to talk Nina into staying at SVU. She eventually decides to stay, possibly partly because her mother wants her to leave so badly, and Nina doesn’t want to give her what she wants. Whatever, because Nina’s mom meets Bryan and ends up liking him. This was a waste of time.

Danny has become friends with Isabella, and he knows about her crush on Tom and wants to help them get together. He tells her that he and Tom will “run into” her at a pizza place, but Tom skips out, leaving Danny and Isabella to hang out together. Later, they pull the “running into” bit again, but Tom sees through it and leaves because he doesn’t want to deal with dating drama. Isabella and Danny are clearly going to end up together, and I’m all for it.

In other plots: Winston has no friends now that he’s not pledging the Sigmas, but Denise doesn’t care. They keep spending time together and boring me. Winston confesses that he told his parents he was dating Denise, so when they come for the weekend, they’ll think she’s his girlfriend. She agrees to go along with it. Alex and Todd are starting to miss Elizabeth, because who wouldn’t want to be friends with her?

Thoughts: Isabella’s favorite pizza is avocado, red onion, and black beans. How did she discover that she liked that combination? Was marijuana involved?

Mike calls Steven an “uptight android.” I’m so confused, in a the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend type of way.

Jessica’s first hint that Mike’s a bad guy should have been that he likes reggae.

I like Denise. And I really like the idea of Winston dating a girl who’s three times tougher than he is.

August 28, 2013

SVU #2, Love, Lies, and Jessica Wakefield: Two Twins, One V Card

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:45 pm by Jenn

Nice hair, Mike

Nice hair, Mike

Summary: It’s been a few days since the Halloween dance, and Jessica hasn’t heard from Mike. She’s handling it like a mature adult, assuming he has something important to do and will contact her when he gets the chance. Ha, as if. She’s so obsessed with Mike that she doesn’t want to leave her dorm in case she misses a call from him.

Mike eventually resurfaces, and Jessica spends all her free time with him, as well as time that’s not really free, such as the time she’s supposed to be spending in class. She even spends the night at his place. Isabella is concerned that she’s going to…give him her flower, as they say on Friends. By the way, Mike lives in Steven and Billie’s apartment building, and when Steven realizes that Jess is spending all her time there, he gets super-overprotective and basically spies on her. Billie is like, “Freak, I’m gonna leave you if you don’t get it together.”

Despite Steven and Isabella’s warnings about Mike, Jessica sleeps with him, so one of the twins is no longer a virgin. He asks her to move in, but she’s at least smart enough to realize that’s too big of a step at this point in their relationship. Then she has a dream about Lila (who’s married, remember) taunting her for being less of a woman, or something. Jessica changes her mind, but when she goes to tell Mike she’ll move in, she finds another woman at his apartment.

There’s nothing left for Jess to do but stalk Mike and see what else he’s been up to. She sees him at a pool hall with another woman and goes off on him, but he just laughs at her. Later, Mike makes up with her without actually explaining why he keeps hanging out with other girls, and Jess is so happy to have him back that she doesn’t care. She even decides to move in with him after all. I’m sure that will turn out just fine.

Tom wants to keep looking into the possibility of illegal recruitment of athletes on SVU’s campus, but since he used to be one of those athletes, he knows he’s not the right person to try to get information. He teams up with Elizabeth (who uncovered the possible scandal in the first place), and she finds that she kind of has a knack for investigative reporting. Unfortunately, she also finds out that her suspicions are probably correct, which means Todd could get in trouble, since he’s benefited from the recruiting. Elizabeth warns him, but he’s offended that she thinks he would accept illegal offers.

While they’re working together and getting to know each other better, Elizabeth starts to develop feelings for Tom, who already has a crush on her. (Isabella also likes Tom, but it’s not clear if he even knows who she is.) Tom writes Liz a poem expressing his feelings for her (yeah, they’re perfect for each other), and though he doesn’t sign it, she thinks it’s from him. At the Homecoming game, Isabella sees Tom looking at Elizabeth (well, he thinks it’s her but it’s really Jess – more on that later) and realizes that he likes her. But she doesn’t seem like the sort of person to try to steal him away.

Celine is in love with William, as we know, and unfortunately for her, William’s growing more and more interested in Elizabeth. Celine rubs it in to Elizabeth that Todd has a new girlfriend, then spreads rumors about Liz so that everyone on campus thinks she’s a party girl. Elizabeth has befriended a girl named Nina who calls Celine on her crap and makes an effort to convince people that she’s lying about Elizabeth.

Celine tells William that Elizabeth has a date to the Homecoming dance (not true), and for some reason that makes him ask Celine to the dance, just as she wanted. This doesn’t really go anywhere, and they’re both annoying, and I’d rather not have to talk about either of them, but oh, well.

The Theta sorority wants both twins (well, they want Jessica; they kind of have to take Elizabeth because Alice was a Theta), but the vice president, Alison, is mad about how Elizabeth treated Peter. She tells Jessica that if Elizabeth wants to pledge, she’ll have to make a public apology to Peter and go to the Homecoming football game with him. When Elizabeth hears about this, she laughs it off; she doesn’t want to be a Theta anyway. So Jessica pulls a twin switch and goes to the game with Peter, fooling Alison and everyone else.

Winston’s having trouble with the Sigma frat brothers, who keep coming to his room to hang out now that they know he lives with a bunch of girls. They flirt with all the girls, who aren’t interested, and the girls eventually tell Winston that he has to fix things. Winston’s kind of a wimp, so instead, the girls decide to humiliate the guys by agreeing to go to Homecoming with them, then standing them up. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

Winston himself likes Denise, one of Jessica’s friends, and…you know, I’m going to cut this short and just skip to the end: She likes him, too.

There’s also a bunch of stuff with Alex and her new boyfriend, who’s one of Todd’s teammates, and how happy they are and blah blah blah, I don’t care.

Thoughts: If Enid wants to go by Alex now, then I’m going to need the ghostwriter to stop calling her Enid.

The Thetas’ president is Magda Helperin. Continuity, my old friend! How nice to see you!

Isabella puts an ad for condoms on the fridge so Jessica will see it. I’m starting to really like her.

In a dream, Jessica wears a chartreuse cat suit. Dream Jessica is as crazy as real Jessica.

Celine: “I’d say that those two might be doing a little bit more than working. If you know what I mean.” William: “No, Celine, I don’t know what you mean. Are you saying that Elizabeth’s going out with Tom?” Celine: “Oh, no, William, I didn’t mean to imply that.” I’m so confused.

August 14, 2013

SVU #1, College Girls: Just Like SVH, But With Fewer Responsible Adults

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:30 pm by Jenn

This is the last time Elizabeth is happy in the entire book

This is the last time Elizabeth is happy in the entire book

Summary: This book is jammed with people and plots, and is unlike SVH in that it’s not boring. I already like this series more. Of course, more content means longer recaps, so we’ll see how much more I like it when I’m an hour into writing and can’t think of any more ways to say Jessica’s a brat.

High school’s finally over, and Elizabeth, Jessica, Enid, Todd, and Winston are going to Sweet Valley University! Bruce also goes there, but he doesn’t have much of a presence in this book. I think Lila’s supposed to be there, too, but she never came back from her summer in Italy, and Jessica later finds out that she married a count. That guy has no idea what he’s getting into. Anyway, Enid decides before they leave that she wants to be known as Alexandra, her middle name. She’s tired of being Liz’s sidekick and wants to have fun.

The twins are living together, which is probably a huge mistake, considering they can barely tolerate living next door to each other at home. Jessica immediately likes college, which makes sense – it’s full of interesting people who don’t know what a pain she is (yet), her parents can’t tell her what to do, and there are tons of cute guys. Classes are just a necessary evil. Elizabeth, however, has a really rough time. Everyone’s too busy to hang out with her, and instead of, you know, trying to make new friends, she just stress-eats and cries a lot.

Elizabeth is also upset that Enid (now Alex) has become so outgoing and is having a great time. In other words, we’re done with boring, drippy Enid, and now we have normal, no-longer-in-Elizabeth’s-shadow Alex. Todd is also having a great time because he’s bonding with the other jocks and gets everything handed to him.

Winston’s one wish in college is to be taken seriously and no longer be seen as a class clown. But things start falling apart as soon as he arrives on campus. Someone screwed up his housing paperwork, and he’s listed as Winnie and placed in a girls’ dorm. The girls adopt him as a lovable pet, and while you’d think living with that many girls would be a college guy’s dream, he’s embarrassed by it. He especially doesn’t want his new friends in the Sigma frat to know.

Like I said, there are a bunch of new characters:

  • Isabella Ricci – Jessica’s friend, who she ends up ditching Elizabeth to live with. Kind of a watered-down version of Lila, but not actively unlikable, at least not yet.
  • Danny Wyatt – Jessica’s first semi-love interest. He’s black, as we’re reminded many times.
  • Peter Wilbourne III – president of Sigma frat and a huge, racist jerk. He basically runs the campus. Isabella warns Jess that Peter will make her life horrible if she dates Danny.
  • Tom Watts – Danny’s roommate. He used to be a jock, but after some unspecified accident, he got into reporting at the TV station.
  • Michael McAllery – a guy Jessica gets into a car accident with. More on him later.
  • Mark Gathers – a guy Alex is interested in. He gets set up on a date with Jessica, which makes Alex sad, but Jess and Mark don’t like each other like that, so it’s okay.
  • Celine Boudreax – Elizabeth’s roommate after Jessica moves out. She’s a horrible person, but only Elizabeth sees it because Celine puts on a demure-Southern-belle act with everyone else, including Todd.
  • William White – a friend of Celine’s. He’s the Sebastian Valmont to her Katherine Merteuil. He’s very interested in Elizabeth, for some reason.

So after Jessica meets Mike (by crashing into his car), she becomes obsessed with him. This is despite the fact that a) he has no interest in her, and b) he’s a huge jerk to her. After the accident, he gets Jessica’s information, supposedly for insurance purposes, then lets himself into her dorm room to bug her. She thinks that since he never filed an insurance claim, he doesn’t plan to make her pay for the damages. She’s too dumb to realize that he seems to be willing to accept sex as a payment option. Isabella and Steven both warn Jess to stay away from him, but…you know, dumb.

Danny takes Jessica to a Sigma party, where he has a run-in with Peter. Tom breaks things up, noting to himself that in the past, Danny would have handled things on his own. We come to learn that Danny has a brother who got into a fight, was stabbed, and is now in a wheelchair. Danny decided that he doesn’t want to get hurt over something trivial, so he no longer uses violence. Elizabeth tears into Peter for his behavior, which means neither twin is on his good list, but Tom is suddenly infatuated with Liz.

Not so infatuated with Liz: Todd, who wants to have sex. Silly Todd. Elizabeth’s distaste with premarital sex even spills over into her relationship with Alex after Alex spends the night in Mark’s room (but they don’t do anything). Elizabeth gets up on the highest horse she’s ever been on, effectively ending her and Alex’s friendship.

Things get worse for Liz: Celine brings a guy back to their room, so Elizabeth sexiles herself, only she has nowhere to go. She ends up spending some time at Steven and Billie’s. Nothing important or interesting happens. Then, because Celine has been so sweet to Todd, he thinks Elizabeth is crazy for not liking her. They fight and end up breaking up. I’m sure that will last.

Oh, by the way, a rumor is spreading around campus that some psychic predicted that someone will be murdered on Halloween. Everyone figures, with no evidence whatsoever, that the victim will be a blond girl. Tom decides to protect Elizabeth, who he officially meets when she starts working with him at the TV station. He thinks the Sigmas started the rumor about the murder, and that they’re targeting Liz. She tells him she doesn’t need protection.

Halloween rolls around, and there’s a dance. Jessica dresses as Penelope from The Odyssey while Elizabeth wears a similar costume as…Justice. Gag. Jess goes to the dance with a guy named Geoff, who’s one of the racist Sigmas and is two seconds away from date-raping her when Danny pops up and saves her. The Sigmas attack Danny, but this time he fights back, later implying to Tom that sometimes you need to be a little violent. He also says that his brother could have taken all of them by himself, even from a wheelchair, which is pretty funny. I like Danny.

Instead of thinking that maybe she shouldn’t be going off alone, Jessica leaves and is attacked by either Peter or William (hard to tell since he’s in a costume). She’s saved again, this time by Mike, who is apparently into her now. And for some reason, that’s how the book ends.

Thoughts: Yay, now you guys get to hear me talk about my college experiences! Get excited! …Hey, where’s everyone going?

The twins, Todd, Alex, and Winston all get to take cars with them to college. Yeah, I bet.

Yes, I’m calling her Alex, because I respect people’s wishes, Elizabeth.

“It wasn’t as if Elizabeth was the annoying member of the Wakefield family. She was the Wakefield twin everybody loved.” Liz sure thinks highly of herself, doesn’t she?

Jessica slams Elizabeth for being into women’s rights. I bet she’ll change her tune when she has her first unplanned pregnancy and needs to find an abortion clinic. Because we all know that of all the girls in the Sweet Valley-verse, Jessica’s the most likely candidate for that to happen to.

Peter: “I’m Peter Wilbourne the Third.” Elizabeth: “You mean they tried twice before you and they still didn’t get it right?” SUH-NAP. That was awesome.

Winston, you idiot. The Sigmas would like you MORE if they knew you live with a bunch of girls.

Jessica, Mike doesn’t want to date you. He wants to plow you. He has freaking cards with his name on them! He’s evil! See, this is what’s going to lead to you needing an abortion clinic.