August 6, 2013

What I Learned from Sweet Valley High

Posted in books tagged at 8:03 pm by Jenn

Some of the old covers really don't hold up over time

Some of the old covers really don’t hold up over time

Reader Catherine suggested that I write a post about everything I learned from reading SVH. I thought it was a good idea, and a nice way to wrap up the series. So here’s what I learned about an ’80s/’90s YA series about identical twins, one good and one evil (or sometimes both evil). Feel free to add your own in the comments:

  • Identical twins may look the same, but they actually have differences! Sometimes a lot of differences!
  • It’s okay to date your sister’s ex-boyfriend…or your sister’s current boyfriend.
  • Some things are forgivable, like attempted rape. Some things are not, like forgetting to give someone a phone message or a letter.
  • There’s noting worse than a “fast girl” or a high school dropout.
  • There’s always a chance your separated or divorced parents will get back together.
  • You could have upwards of three doppelgangers out in the world. Most of them are evil.
  • No matter how many times you cheat on your boyfriend, he will always want you back.
  • Don’t do drugs. Ever.
  • If you date Jessica, there’s roughly a 70 percent chance you’ll end up dead.
  • Teenagers love discos and old movies.
  • Very few men have a problem with dating a 16-year-old girl.
  • Deafness, blindness, and paralysis can be cured.
  • Identical twins run in families. Never mind what science says.
  • Always be yourself. Unless it’ll keep you from being popular.
  • Police are horrible. Solve all crimes and go into all dangerous situations by yourself.
  • And finally, the Wakefield twins are prettier, smarter, more talented, more charming, and just plain better than you in every way. Kneel before them in awe.

July 31, 2013

SVH Super Edition, Aftershock: Then We Came to the End

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

Cue "I Will Remember You"

Cue “I Will Remember You”

Summary: There was an earthquake, Olivia’s dead, and now everyone’s super-sad. The Wakefields’ house was destroyed, so they’re staying at Fowler Crest. Elizabeth is depressed because Olivia’s dead; Jessica’s depressed because she feels guilty for not being able to save Alyssa. Lila’s not depressed, she’s just Lila. A lot of the book involves people driving around town, looking at destruction, and having flashbacks.

Elizabeth can’t remember what happened after the earthquake, so when Enid tells her that she thinks Devon saved them, Liz figures that makes sense and goes along with it. The girls smother Devon with affection, and though it’s obvious to anyone with an IQ above 50 that he did nothing, he keeps the lie going. Enid tells some reporters that Devon saved her life, so now everyone thinks he’s a hero.

Maria Slater is the only one who doubts Devon – she vaguely remembers hearing Elizabeth yell for Devon after the earthquake, and she thinks they were fighting. Liz is so sold on Devon being a hero that she gets into a big fight with Maria for not contributing to the hero narrative. Then they make up and Maria hypnotizes her. Yes, really.

At Olivia’s funeral, Elizabeth sees Dana’s snake bracelet, and it jogs her memory about the snake she encountered after the earthquake. Suddenly she remembers everything, including her fight with Devon and having to save Enid by herself. Later, Ken confirms that some stranger helped Liz and Enid after Elizabeth had already done what she could on her own. Suddenly everyone hates Devon, and they basically run him out of town like an angry mob. Smell ya later, Devon!

Jessica and Ken are both struggling with feelings of survivor guilt and feeling responsible for Alyssa and Olivia’s deaths. Jessica’s depressed enough that she even considers killing herself. Alyssa’s parents aren’t mad at Jessica, since she was selfless enough to try to help a stranger, but Alyssa’s brother Bryan is furious with her. After some yelling, he admits that he’s actually just mad at himself for not being able to save his sister.

Maria Santelli has set up a refugee center for the people whose homes were damaged, and a bunch of families get matched up so they have places to stay. The Santellis are hosting a little boy whose father is in the hospital and not expected to recover. Jessica connects with the boy and spends some time with him, trying to take both their minds off of what happened. Just as she’s feeling at her lowest, the boy’s father wakes up, and she realizes that there are still miracles in the world.

Olivia’s parents want Ken to give the eulogy at her memorial service. He really doesn’t want to, so they ask him to spend some time in Olivia’s room while he thinks about it. Ken looks through Olivia’s paintings and finds one she did of him that captures the person no one else sees him as. Somehow this changes his mind.

Lila and Todd feel some residual attraction to each other after having spent the earthquake together. After Olivia’s funeral, Lila gets emotional, realizing how mean she’s been to people and how her snobbery made her miss out on having a friendship with a nice person. Todd comforts her and they finally kiss…and immediately realize they have no chemistry. Lila even yells at him for having the nerve to kiss her at a funeral. Hee.

Of course, things with Elizabeth and Todd are still an issue. He was already heading for basketball camp for the summer, so they agree to stick to their plan not to keep in touch. Which means Elizabeth is truly guy-less. I’m sure that’ll last.

And…that’s it!

Thoughts: “Bill Jozniak was a famous computer company owner.” Bill Gates + Steve Jobs + Steve Wozniak, I assume?

“Maybe Elizabeth will hate me for it…but my survival always comes first.” And that’s why Devon is single.

What was the city planning to do with all the people who are suddenly homeless if Maria Santelli hadn’t set up a refugee center? Why is a 16-year-old doing all the work?

Elizabeth is way too smart to let a 16-year-old hypnotize her. Though it’s pretty funny when Maria wants to see Liz’s watch, and Liz thinks she’s going to hypnotize her by waving a watch, but Maria just wants to know what time it is.

Before Olivia’s memorial service starts, Elizabeth gets emotional and Maria tells her to “pull it together.” Seriously? HER FRIEND DIED. Shut up, Slater.

Oh, really, Nicholas? You thought of Olivia as a sister? Were you even in the last 20 books?

It’s over! I read the whole series! (Minus the diaries, but I don’t care about those.) It took forever, but I did it! And I can’t even say goodbye to these people because next I’m going to read Sweet Valley University! Ahhhhhhhhhh!

July 17, 2013

SVH Super Edition, Earthquake: The One With the Killer Fridge

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:44 pm by Jenn

I guess the guy on the bottom left is Ken? He looks doofy

I guess the guy on the bottom left is Ken? He looks doofy

Summary: This book has four plots, so I’ll split the recap into four parts:

Jessica and Steven: After their car accident at the end of Last Wish, Jess and Steven are fine, but the new Jeep joins the long list of totaled Wakefield vehicles. (RIP, buddy. You almost made it an entire book.) Jessica wants to go home to make sure Elizabeth’s okay, since her twin spidey sense is telling her something’s wrong. Steven, however, wants to keep going to the gas station where Billie’s stranded. They get into a big fight over it, and even though it would be reasonable for him to just drop her at home and go after Billie himself, and even though Steven practically says he’d rather go get Billie than worry about his own sister, they go downtown.

Once Billie has been retrieved (and she’s fine), she and Steven realize that Ned and Alice are also downtown. Jessica finally heads home while the elder Wakefields are rescued. But on her way, Jess runs into a guy named Bryan whose 12-year-old sister Alyssa is clinging to the edge of a big crevasse in the road. Jessica tries to help Bryan save her, but the girl can’t hold on long enough, and she falls into the pit and dies. That’s right, SVH killed off a 12-year-old. But wait, there’s more!

Elizabeth: At the house, which is massively damaged and about two seconds from collapsing, Elizabeth finds Enid unconscious in a big pool of water. There are downed power lines, and Liz realizes that Enid has been shocked. She tries to get Devon to help her rescue Enid, but he’s some combination of in shock and a huge jerk, so he just sits there and taunts that there’s nothing they can do and they’re all going to die. So for those of you compiling mental lists of which SVH characters to have around in an emergency, Devon should not be on that list.

Elizabeth, however, should. Even though she makes a detour into the swimming pool, and even though she has to face down a rattlesnake (no, seriously), and even though she can’t actually pick Enid up and carry her to safety, Elizabeth manages to get her away from the live wires. Unfortunately, she herself gets shocked in the process, so now she’s unconscious, too.

Todd and Lila: These two spend the whole book trapped in the bathroom, fighting like Xander and Cordelia in Buffy’s basement (I know I made that reference before, I think with Lila and Bruce, but it’s even more appropriate here). Lila first thinks there’s nothing to worry about, but then there’s a fire, which freaks her out because of the fire at her house. Todd proves to also be good in an emergency, though he can’t find a way out of the room. The two of them end up sitting together in the bathtub, kissing goodbye. Fortunately, firefighters arrive just seconds before they can be burned alive.

And the rest: Ronnie Edwards is dead. Try to hold back your tears. Almost everyone else is okay, despite some minor injuries. Winston and Ken take charge, and Winston winds up being the person to get the rescue squad to the house. Ken spends most of the book with Olivia, who’s badly injured, as well as trapped under a beam and the Wakefields’ refrigerator. By the time the rescue crew arrives, she’s died from internal injuries. And it’s actually pretty sad.

Thoughts: Devon doesn’t see the point in calling the fire department. When there’s a fire. And people are trapped in a house. Shut up, Devon. I’m so happy to almost be rid of you.

How is Jessica being immature and selfish by worrying about Elizabeth? You shut up, too, Steven.

I don’t really have anything else to say, so I’ll just tell Devon to shut up again. Shut up some more, Devon.

July 3, 2013

SVH Super Edition, Last Wish: All Shook Up

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 6:39 pm by Jenn

"Is it over?" indeed

“Is it over?” indeed

Summary: You guys, the twins are finally turning 17!!! Each wants to throw a surprise party for the other, so there’s a lot of secret planning and trying to figure out what the other girl would consider a fun party. Elizabeth rents out the Beach Disco (after having to promise the manager that she can get 100 people to come), and Jessica plans a classy beach party with a string quartet. She has no money, so she asks Steven for a loan (then gets Lila to give her an advance on that loan).

Lila and Amy get invitations to both parties and have to come up with a plan to keep people from choosing one party over the other, and to keep the twins from finding out about each other’s party. They enlist Enid and Maria Slater to help, and the girls come up with some grand scheme that they think is brilliant but really isn’t. Basically, they manufacture reasons for the parties to be canceled, then get the twins back to their own house, where there’s one monster party. Ned and Alice leave, but Steven and Billie stick around to chaperone.

There’s a lot of drama going on in Sweet Valley in the two weeks leading up to the party. Winston and Maria Santelli are fighting because he’s unable to keep his mouth shut about things she told him in confidence. (This is one of the reasons no one lets him in on the party-planning scheme.) Olivia and Ken are fighting because she did a nude painting of him and wants to enter it in an art show. He demands that she destroy it, but she wants to be free to express herself as an artist.

The Todd/Elizabeth/Devon triangle is still in play, but they’re all still awkward around each other because of what happened at prom. Todd even plans to ditch the party, then changes his mind. Devon gets Elizabeth a really boring present, in order to prove…you know what, I don’t even know what he’s trying to prove. My eyes glaze over whenever I read his name. And finally, Bruce has been bragging that he’s going to Harvard when he’s only on the waiting list. When he gets rejected, he tells everyone he’d rather go to SVU anyway (though his dad has to buy a building to get him in).

There’s a minor earthquake, and Prince Albert is acting crazy, but everyone plans to have a good time at the party (even the people who are fighting with each other). Things get off to a great start when the twins arrive, very happy with the way things have turned out. Then they get their birthday present from their parents – a new Jeep, to replace the one Todd destroyed – and they’re even happier.

The fighting couples make up, with Olivia showing Ken a revised version of the nude portrait that doesn’t show anything R-rated. He “allows” her to keep the original painting, and she promises never to display it. Billie leaves to get some ice, taking Steven’s car, but it breaks down, so Jessica and Steven take the new Jeep to go get her. Todd comes to the party, telling Elizabeth that he’s going to a basketball camp for the summer, and they agree to reassess things when he gets back.

Then all Hell breaks loose. There’s a huge earthquake that takes down various parts of the Wakefields’ house (including the chimney, and that would scare the heck out of me). Olivia, Ken, Annie, and Maria Santelli get trapped in the kitchen, and things don’t look good for Olivia. Winston can’t find his girlfriend. Todd and Lila are in the bathroom together (he was trying to kick her out of there when the earthquake hit). Jessica and Steven get into a major car accident. And it looks like when the next book starts, people are going to have to pick through a lot of wreckage to find out who’s survived.

Thoughts: Before they get the Jeep from their parents, the twins think they’ll have to pay for a new car themselves. But why? Did their insurance not cover Todd driving it off a cliff?

Ken’s mad about the painting because people will think Olivia’s seen him naked, and I guess by extension that they’ve had sex. I’m sorry, no teenage boy would be mad about that.

Lila: “It makes even more sense to let the servants straighten up. It makes them feel useful.” Jessica: “You’re a real humanitarian, Lila.” Lila: “Don’t ever say that! Not even in jest.” I think Lila grew up to be Jenna from 30 Rock.

Olivia, re: the nude painting: “I used my imagination.” Maria Slater: “With a hunk like Ken for a boyfriend, I’d use my imagination, too.” I love Maria.

Jessica sits on Steven’s lap. JESSICA, STAAAAAAHP.

June 19, 2013

SVH #143, Party Weekend!: Dance Like Nobody’s Watching. Because They’re Not. Because You’re In the Dark

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , at 8:33 pm by Jenn

No way are those girls size sixes. They're twos, at most

No way are those girls are size sixes. They’re twos, at most

Summary: Apparently the weekend after prom has been designated Monster School Competition Weekend. There’s a big fair with all the local high schools, and then the juniors have their own competition. This year’s is a talent show; each school can only have a certain number of students involved, and they have two days to put together an act. Olivia has been elected SVH’s team captain. Of course, the other juniors on SVH’s team are all characters we know: the twins, Lila, Maria Slater, Winston, Ken, and Devon. Ken, Olivia, and Devon will do the behind-the-scenes work while the others will do a stupid group dance.

Things get off to a bad start. Jessica meets Erica, the captain of El Carro’s team, who’s a horrible shrew to both Jess and Olivia. Ken meets her and doesn’t think she’s that bad, so Olivia’s ticked that he doesn’t hate the same person she hates. Olivia’s totally a mouse through the book, and she thinks she’s not an “A-lister” like the twins and the other people involved with the act. It’s pathetic and annoying, and I never thought Olivia was this bad before.

Ken and Olivia’s relationship hits more rocks when Jessica “accidentally” spills grape juice on Erica, and Ken says Olivia should apologize. Wow, Ken’s annoying, too. Then he’s upset that Olivia won’t go to a dance celebrating the Monster School Competition Weekend. To be fair, they only have two days to get everything ready for the talent show, and Olivia’s making everyone’s costume, so Ken should probably shut up.

Jessica’s been having some tough times, too – the competition between the schools makes her think of Christian, whose death was the result of school rivalries. She also keeps thinking she sees him. The night of the dance, Jessica has a date with a guy named Josh, who goes to Palisades, Christian’s school. Josh brings a guy along when he picks up Jess, and he looks so much like Christian that it makes her faint. It turns out the guy is Christian’s never-before-mentioned brother, Jason, who was at boarding school when Christian died. Even after that drama, he’s barely mentioned again in the book.

Anyway, at the dance, a girl from El Carro tells Jessica that she should check out SVH’s practice room. Jessica thinks she’s being lured into a trap, so she ignores the girl. Then she changes her mind and finds the room destroyed. El Carro has vandalized a bunch of SVH’s stuff, including their props. The twins were using some stuff from their bedrooms as set dressing, and Liz had brought Christian’s surfboard along. Jessica’s devastated to see that it’s been ruined.

Jessica, Maria, and Lila decide to get revenge that night, but then Jessica has a dream (or possibly a hallucination) where Christian reminds her that vengeance can get out of hand and lead to violence. Jess tells Maria and Lila that the revenge plan is tabled, and they’re kind of hilariously ticked.

The SVH kids keep working on their act, and for some reason Jessica wants to make a grand entrance via rigging that will allow her to fly. I don’t know. The El Carro kids find out, and Erica schemes to cut the power during SVH’s act so Jessica will be stuck up high in the dark. Ken overhears and realizes that Olivia was right about Erica being a bitca. He tells Todd, who’s been randomly hanging around during the book.

Little does Ken know that Jessica isn’t going to do the entrance – Olivia is. Jessica gets sick at the last minute and convinces Olivia to take her place. Ken arrives just as the lights go out, and he manages to rescue his girlfriend. Now, of course, everything’s okay. A bunch of kids start fighting, so Jessica and Josh project a picture of Christian on a screen to remind them where violence can lead.

There’s some dumb stuff sprinkled in the story about the Liz/Devon/Todd triangle (Todd’s mad at Elizabeth, and kind of depressed all over the place), but it doesn’t go anywhere. Basically, Todd ends up feeling like an outcast because everyone else has bonded over the talent show and he didn’t participate. Also, Devon and Elizabeth got to spend time together, so he got the short straw there, too. Pretend you care.

Thoughts: I don’t get why this book is called Party Weekend! when there’s…no party.

Maybe schools in the area shouldn’t have big competitions anymore, considering all the violence that’s erupted due to school rivalries. Christian’s death wasn’t the only time the rivalries got out of hand; there was also the incident at Jungle Prom.

You know, I didn’t think about it with the last book, but why is Todd mad at Elizabeth? The twin switch didn’t involve lying to him. Shouldn’t he be happy about it, since it a) embarrassed Devon and b) allowed him to go to the prom with Liz?

Winston drives an orange VW Beetle. Of course he does.

Elizabeth: “Just don’t get carried away.” Jessica: “I’d love to see Erica and her team carried away – on stretchers!” Lame, Jess. You can do better.

After the SVH kids decide not to get revenge on El Carro, I don’t get why they don’t rat El Carro out for vandalism. Elizabeth admits later that she’d like to see them get disqualified, so…get them disqualified. I’m sure they want to compete and beat them, blah blah blah, but people who play that dirty shouldn’t be allowed to play anymore.

SVH didn’t even get to finish their performance, but the judges score the other schools anyway. Shenanigans! I call shenanigans!

June 8, 2013

SVH #142, The Big Night: A Woman Scorned

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , at 2:50 pm by Jenn

That's Liz in front, Jess in the chair, and Lila looking like Leighton Meester

That’s Liz in front, Jess in the chair, and Lila looking like Leighton Meester

Summary: It’s finally time for prom! No, not Jungle Prom, a new one. Elizabeth and Devon are on good terms after he set her up to see if she’d choose him or Todd, and they’re going to the dance together. (By the way, there are three events that night: Lila’s pre-prom party, the prom itself, and an after-party on a yacht.) Devon and Liz plan to have dinner first, but he calls to tell her to meet him at the restaurant instead of Secca Lake. Jessica forgets to give Elizabeth the message, so Liz winds up at the lake, where she runs into Todd. She thinks Devon has stood her up, so she and Todd decide to go to the dance together, even though he was supposed to go with Courtney.

Remember how Jessica and Lila both made dates with the same guy but didn’t know it? The guy, Jordan, thinks they’re horrible for going behind each other’s backs, so he ditches them both, leaving them both dateless. Jessica suggests that they just steal other girls’ dates at the prom. She goes to tell Devon that Elizabeth didn’t get his message, then decides to pretend to be Liz and spend the pre-prom time with him, then give him to Liz for the prom. Devon falls for it.

Elizabeth and Todd skip the pre-party, so they’re not there when Courtney shows up, ticked about having been dumped just before the prom. Lila tells her to come to the prom anyway. Courtney does, and when she sees Todd and Liz together, she freaks out. Meanwhile, no one (except Enid and possibly Maria Slater) notices that Devon and Todd both think they’re with Elizabeth, and Devon thinks Todd is with Jessica. I really have no idea how Devon goes the entire dance without figuring out he’s with the wrong twin. Well, at least until Courtney tells him who he’s really with.

Devon confronts Elizabeth, whose default reaction is to start crying. (I can’t feel that bad for her; she went along with Jessica’s plans and let Jess pretend to be her.) Todd is also ticked, so Liz is single again. Lila wants revenge on Jessica, so she and Courtney arrange to lock the twins up in a shed. Liz is with Enid and Maria, so Lila locks them in, too. Then everyone else heads to the yacht for the after-party.

Tyler and Blubber (Maria and Enid’s dates) free the girls, and they all take a speedboat out to meet the yacht. No, I don’t know who would rent a speedboat to a bunch of 16-year-olds after dark. On the boat, Courtney goes fully insane and pushes Todd overboard. Elizabeth rescues him, but he still doesn’t want to be with her. Then Jessica sees Lila and Devon together and gets mad, though I don’t think they’re actually doing anything.

Thoughts: Guys, the first 1,000 people who log on to the Sweet Valley website get a free ‘N Sync cassette sample and autographed picture! Hurry, hurry, hurry!

“We’ve beend reaming about prom night for years, and it’s finally here!” You’ve already had a prom, Jess. Remember? Your boyfriend died?

I’m surprised Lila finds Jessica’s twin switch so objectionable. Maybe she’s just jealous that she can’t do it.

Winston: “You only have one junior prom.” No, you don’t! Am I the only one who remembers Jungle Prom?

The twins think they can pull off the switch for the entire dance. The problem is that they would need everyone else to go along with it for it to work. As soon as anyone talks to Elizabeth and Todd, and finds out that’s Liz, it’s obvious Jessica’s with Devon. To have everyone either pretend Jessica is Elizabeth and vice versa would be impossible.

Tyler wears a navy jacket with black pants. As a model, he should really know better.

May 22, 2013

SVH #141, A Picture-Perfect Prom?: Where the Boys Are

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 8:35 pm by Jenn

Check out the whale tail on Elizabeth!

Check out the whale tail on Elizabeth!

Summary: Elizabeth is single, which means she won’t have a date to the upcoming prom. She serves on the prom committee with Todd, and they’re kind of on good terms. Devon, meanwhile, is really mopey. He helps out the committee one day, and suddenly Liz is all over him. So the guys aren’t sure who she wants to be with, and she isn’t sure which of the guys she wants to be with.

Todd wants to ask Elizabeth to the prom, but he sees her getting close with Devon and gets mad. He decides to ask Courtney to the prom to make Liz jealous. It works, and also clues Devon in that Elizabeth isn’t completely over Todd. Devon decides he wants to find out once and for all who Liz wants. He asks her to dinner, then sends her flowers, supposedly from Todd, and asks her to meet him at the same time she’s supposed to be with Devon.

Devon follows Elizabeth the night of the date (because he’s a creepy stalker now), and his widdle heart breaks when he realizes she’s going to meet Todd. (Though Todd isn’t actually going to be there.) He doesn’t realize that she’s planning to tell Todd she doesn’t want to get back together. So instead of meeting Todd, Elizabeth meets Devon, and he’s not happy.

Jessica and Lila are also dateless, so they decide to examine all the eligible guys at school to decide who the best candidates are. They wind up making a sort of catalog, complete with pictures, rankings, and keywords. Elizabeth accidentally takes it to school with her, mistaking it for a regular notebook, and Winston and Enid see it. Winston then reads a portion of the catalog over the loudspeaker. Since Liz brought the notebook to school, Jessica blames her.

Lila and Jessica come up with another idea to meet guys: Put personals in other schools’ newspapers. Then they basically audition a bunch of boys. They both like the same guy, Jordan, and agree not to pursue him since they can’t agree on who should ask him to prom. But, of course, they both ask him anyway. For some reason, he says yes to both of them.

In other news, Blubber has a crush on Enid, and she will NOT SHUT UP about it. He asks her to prom, and even though she doesn’t want to go with him, she says yes. Go away, Enid.

Thoughts: Lila: “I just shivered, so someone is probably touching the prom dress meant for me.” Heh.

Enid jokingly asks Elizabeth to the prom. At least I think she’s joking. It’s hard to tell with her.

“I was just blinded for a second by your attractive ankles.” Todd, you need psychiatric help.

Bruce: “[Jessica] and Lila have obviously gone insane. Of course it wasn’t a long trip for them, but now they’ve unpacked their bags and settled in to stay.” Heh again.

Maria Slater gets a date with a model, Tyler Becksmith, who I’m 99% is based on Tyson Beckford. In which case, nice job, Maria.

And you know why she gates to go to the prom with a supermodel? Because she didn’t whine when she didn’t have a date. Unannoying behavior gets rewarded, ENID.

There are lots of references to past characters and plots – the ones I caught were Bruce kisses like a dead jellyfish, Peter DeHaven, Charlie Markus, Suzanne Hanlon, and Jeremy Frank.

May 8, 2013

SVH #140, Please Forgive Me: The Great Outdoors

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

Whichever guy this is, Elizabeth shouldn't choose him

Whichever guy this is, Elizabeth shouldn’t choose him

Summary: Elizabeth decides she needs a break from both Todd and Devon, since the last time she saw them, they were acting like cavemen. She hears about an adventure program where people go out in the woods and learn to live off the land and fend for themselves, so she signs up. It’s boring, so just imagine what you think would happen on that sort of trek, and I’ll tell you you’re right and move on.

Jessica wants to cheer everyone up and take their minds off of all the drama, so she decides to throw a big party at Secca Lake. This is actually, amazingly, a good idea. Jess’s friends agree to help with the party, but none of the guys will help. Also, they keep disappearing and acting kind of weird. This is because Todd has gotten them all interested in mountain biking, and they all start hanging out in the mountains and convening with nature to relieve stress. The girls follow them one day and find out what they’re doing, and they’re kind of confused.

Devon is really mopey because he’s lost Elizabeth, so he decides to leave town. First, though, he runs into all the guys in the mountains. Instead of getting into another fight with him, Todd invites him to bike with them. Suddenly everyone’s mellow and forgiving, and it’s weird. They happen to be biking in the same area where Elizabeth is having her back-to-nature experience, but when she sees Todd and Devon, she thinks she’s hallucinating from hunger. The girls also wind up in the same place, and Jess tries to get Liz to leave with them, but she wants to finish her trek.

The time apart (and with nature) has been good for Elizabeth, Todd, and Devon, with Todd and Liz agreeing that they can just be friends. But the guys had both agreed to give her some space, so when Devon arrives at the Wakefields’ and sees Todd leaving, he gets mad. (Never mind that Devon shouldn’t be there either.) Now the guys will fight to the deal! Or something.

But first, the Secca Lake party! Todd heads out to get something for the party in the twins’ Jeep. Jessica calls right after he leaves to tell Elizabeth not to use the Jeep; the brakes aren’t working. It’s too late for Elizabeth to stop Todd, so she and Devon take his motorcycle to try to catch up with him. Unfortunately, Todd crashes before they can get to him, and the Jeep almost falls off a cliff. Devon and Liz save him, and though he’s injured, he’ll be fine.

Todd’s parents are away, and they ask Elizabeth to look after Todd until they can get to the hospital. But she realizes that she needs to be single for a while, and they can still only be friends. She visits Todd, taking Devon with her, then announces that she’s done with boys for the time being. Or, in other words, “I choose me.”

Thoughts: So it turns out Devon is really emo. Fantastic.

“This was more like it. A bunch of guys, the mountains, and good times.” I think that means Elizabeth finally drove Todd to the other team.

Lila wears an orange shirt, brown pants, and racing gloves. Did she lose a bet?

Suddenly everyone has a cell phone, but I don’t remember that many people having them in 1998.

April 24, 2013

SVH #139, Elizabeth is Mine: He Blinded Me With Science

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 6:42 pm by Jenn

Wait, are Todd and Devon twins, too?

Wait, are Todd and Devon twins, too?

Summary: While Elizabeth and Devon have the world’s longest makeout session, Jessica quickly decides that the best way to get revenge is to pretend to hook up with Todd. Todd somehow has too much class for that, and instead goes to the beach to confirm that Jessica was telling him the truth. He wants Elizabeth back, even though she’ll probably just cheat on him again five minutes later.

Jessica still wants revenge, so she comes up with a so-crazy-it-just-might-work-plan: If she can get Todd interested in another girl, Elizabeth will get jealous and want him back. Then Jessica can swoop in and take Devon for herself. She thinks Courtney is perfect for the role of Todd’s new love interest, and of course Courtney’s game, because she still likes him.

In boring land, there’s a science fair coming up, and Elizabeth wants to enter with Devon. He resists because he doesn’t want everyone to know how super-smart he is, or something. Jessica also tries to appeal of Devon’s science knowledge by getting him to tutor her. It backfires. Jessica continues her revenge plan by stealing the ring Todd gave Elizabeth, then passing herself off as Liz so Todd thinks she’s wearing the ring and wants to get back together with him.

Jess sets up Todd and Courtney, then arranges for Elizabeth to catch them together at Guido’s. This also backfires – Elizabeth figures that if Todd’s already moved on, it’s okay for her to be with Devon. So you’d think this would all work itself out, right? Wrong.

Jessica wants to impress Devon by entering the science fair, so she teams up with Bruce, who’s mad at Devon for not wanting to hang out with the other rich kids. They decide to make a volcano, which is so dumb in so many ways. Jessica then takes things a step too far by sabotaging Liz and Devon’s project for no reason. Also, the volcano blows up, which is kind of a metaphor for Todd and Courtney’s relationship – it’s over practically before it begins.

Elizabeth asks Todd to meet her so she can give back the ring. He’s confused, since he thought he saw her wearing it. They figure out that Jess pulled a twin switch. Meanwhile, Jessica knows that if the two of them talk, they’ll bust her on everything, so she grabs Courtney to…I don’t know, flirt with Todd again? Devon shows up as well and gets mad because Liz is with Todd. Todd tries to solve the problem in the weirdest possible way: by proposing to Elizabeth. She doesn’t respond, and Todd and Devon start pounding on each other. Elizabeth decides they’re both jerks and leaves, possibly the smartest thing she’s ever done.

Thoughts: There is way too much science in this book.

Todd, upon hearing that Elizabeth kissed Devon: “There’s no way Elizabeth would do that to me.” Really, Todd? Have you forgotten the five other times she’s done it to you?

“A science fair! What a cool idea!” Shut up, Enid.

When Todd and Courtney first became friends, she tried to get some alone time with him by asking him for a tour of their fathers’ company after hours. They wound up accidentally crashing a black-tie event. Now Mr. Wilkins warns Todd of upcoming events by sending him an invitation and writing on it, “You are not invited.” Ha! Awesome.

Bruce, I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to make a volcano for a science fair after the age of ten.

I REFUSE to believe that Lila and Amy build a robot. The ghostwriter must be high.

Speaking of which, Sandra and Jeanie’s project is using a prism to make a rainbow. Are you kidding me? That’s not an experiment! I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your souls!

April 10, 2013

SVH #138, What Jessica Wants…: Why Don’t You Love Me, Guy I Barely Know??

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 6:13 pm by Jenn

I kind of like this cover. I mean, it never happened, but it looks like something Jess would do

I kind of like this cover. I mean, it never happened, but it looks like something Jess would do

Summary: Remember Devon? He’s officially going to SVH now. Remember how he spotted Jessica in a previous book and wanted to meet her? Now he’s more interested in Elizabeth. They have chemistry together (the class, not the romantic sparks…well, both, I guess), and he immediately falls in luuuuv. Elizabeth likes him, but she’s with Todd, so she tries to get Devon interested in Jessica. Devon thinks Jess is too shallow for him. Jessica just thinks he’s playing hard to get.

Devon, by the way, has a hard time with the word “no.” He knows Elizabeth has a boyfriend, but he keeps bugging her to go out with him. He thinks she’s been with Todd too long and needs to try dating someone else. Little does he know how many times Liz has tried dating someone else, only to end up back with the Toddster. Speaking of Todd, he’s trying to do something sweet and romantic for the anniversary of the first time Elizabeth was published in the Oracle. He settles on making her dinner, but has to call Enid for help since he’s a horrible cook.

Jessica invites Devon to a party, but he skips it to hang out with Liz. He asks her to meet him for dinner the next night. Elizabeth feels so bad for Jessica that she tells her Devon will meet her the next night. When Jess arrives, she realizes that Devon thought he was meeting Elizabeth. She pretends to be Liz until Devon figures it out. He thinks Elizabeth sent Jessica to mess with him, and Jess is equally mad that Elizabeth didn’t tell her the truth, and that Devon doesn’t want her. But she lies to Liz, saying they had a great time.

Finally, it’s the day of Elizabeth and Todd’s big, romantic get-together. He asks Jessica to bring Liz to the beach so he can surprise her. Instead, Elizabeth winds up talking to Devon, and they kiss. Jessica sees them and runs to the beach to tell Todd what his girlfriend’s up to.

Thoughts: Shannon of Shannon’s Sweet Valley High Blog is totally right about this book: It’s very Rory/Dean/Jess from seasons 2 and 3 of Gilmore Girls.

Some of these books reaaaaaally don’t need to be 200 pages. Like this one.

Elizabeth wears a short-sleeved sweater with pearl buttons, linen pants, and white leather sandals. Dude, even Andrea Zuckerman thinks you need to loosen up.

Devon is supposedly super-smart, but they put him in a chemistry class where they’re testing acids and bases. SVH sucks.

Todd thinks the C in a recipe means centimeter, not cup. I have no words.

I’m down to only eight books left in the SVH series, but never fear: I have already gotten my hands on more than half of the Sweet Valley University books. The madness will continue!

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