March 27, 2013

SVH Super Edition, Mystery Date: Like “You’ve Got Mail,” Without the Charm or Cuteness

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 8:32 pm by Jenn

Aww, Olivia's cute

Aww, Olivia’s cute

Summary: This book is stupid and boring and painfully long, and I don’t want to have to think about it again after I publish this post.

So anyway, back in 1998, there was this thing called the “Internet.” And on the Internet (a series of tubes, many of which contained cats), you could log into these things called “chat rooms” and have conversations with people who lived all over the world. All you needed was a computer! And guess what? Olivia Davidson has a computer! So she logs into these chat rooms and talks to people about art and poetry and all that hippie stuff she’s into.

Guess who else has a computer? Ken Matthews! One day he decides to use it to find out a score from an El Carro High School football game. He logs into a chat room and asks if anyone there is from El Carro. Someone responds, and Ken thinks that person is from El Carro. But she’s not! It’s Olivia! And she thinks Ken goes to El Carro! But he doesn’t! They both go to Sweet Valley High! HOW AMAZING!

So Ken and Olivia start talking a lot in the chat room, and sometimes in private chat rooms, which is like instant messaging but not. Ken decides not to reveal that he’s a jock, and he lets Olivia teach him about poetry. At one point they basically have cybersex and it’s really uncomfortable. (For me. I don’t know if it was uncomfortable for them. I hope they used cyberprotection.) Then they decide to meet, but they’re each too dumb to realize who the other is, so they both think the other didn’t show up.

When they reconnect in a chat room, Olivia and Ken realize that they know each other, and that each has fallen in luuuuuuuuv with someone he/she never thought he/she would be interested in. Because, see, jocks and artists can’t comingle. And that’s where we get the other plot.

There’s a dance at SVH, and a fight about music leads to a brawl between the popular kids/jocks and the artsy kids/”burnouts”/nerds. It ends when a football player named Blubber sends druggie Justin Belson to the hospital. The lines are clearly drawn between the cliques, with only a few people (Elizabeth and Winston, really) floating among groups. The ghostwriter brings back a couple other previous characters – Keith the hippie and Nicky the rebel – to round out the outcasts.

The burnouts/nerds/hippies get revenge on Blubber by stealing a test he got a D on and posting it on a bulletin board. (A real bulletin board, not one of those bulletin boards you find on the Interwebs.) Because Blubber has a temper and is an easy target, the outcasts keep targeting him, picking on him at a football game until he beats up Nicky. Elizabeth thinks Blubber crossed the line, but Jessica and Todd side with the other jocks/popular kids. This leads to another almost-breakup between Todd and Liz, because we have to have one of those every other book.

Blubber ends up getting suspended from the football team because of his grades, and he is NOT happy about it. One night Jessica goes out with two football players, Danny and Bryce – and yes, she goes out with both of them at the same time, which, let’s not even get into that – and they decide to go by Blubber’s house to see how he is. He’s not great: They arrive just as an ambulance is taking him to the hospital, because Blubber tried to commit suicide.

It turns out Blubber was having a rough time because his parents are splitting up, but the school finally steps in and tries to stop all the madness with the cliques. Everyone calms down, and Olivia even comes up with an idea to fix things: a dance! I mean, of course. Everyone has to dress up in someone else’s clothes, because they’re taking the “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” thing way too literally. But it breaks the ice, and people start mingling, and everything’s good. Also, Olivia and Ken get together, in case you cared. I didn’t.

Thoughts: The book starts in SVH’s gym, so either they rebuilt it really quickly or we’re pretending Fight Fire With Fire ever happened.

In case you’ve been keeping track, Bruce and Pamela are back together.

“I still hate it when guys try to settle things by punching each other out.” Whatever, Jessica, you’re totally the type of girl who would find that hot.

Olivia’s outfit when she goes to meet Ken: “batik-print sarong pants in royal purple with a matching loose vest over a simple white tank top.” Sarong pants?

March 13, 2013

SVH #137, Fight Fire with Fire: Burning for You

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:02 pm by Jenn

Whichever twin is on the left, I like her dress

Whichever twin is on the left, I like her dress

Summary: Lila is arrested for firebombing the restaurant and spends the night in jail until Steven can bail her out. (I hope Mr. Fowler paid him back later.) Obviously Steven’s boss doesn’t like this, since Lila is the main suspect in the fire at Fowler Crest, so he forces Steven to choose between Lila and his internship. Steven chooses Lila and sets out to investigate on his own and prove her innocence.

Meanwhile, the twins still want Lila and Steven to break up, so they send them letters from each other, talking about their future together and making it clear how little they have in common. This is especially horrible behavior because Lila is now practically homeless, is possibly being stalked, is facing prison time, and can’t reach her parents. Steven is basically the only person she’s been able to turn to for support. But having her date their brother would mess up the twins’ perfect little lives, so they just have to get rid of her.

Anyway, Steven’s investigation actually turns up some evidence: The bomb was made from a can of the brand of soda John Pfeifer drinks. He also gets Lila to demonstrate that she wouldn’t be able to throw the soda/bomb as high or as hard as it was thrown. Not that this evidence is admissible in court, or proves that Pfeifer was the bomber, or was collected by someone not avidly trying to defend the accused culprit. But still, it’s pretty good work.

Because the twins have nothing better to do, they arrange for Steven and Lila to meet up at an SVH football game so they’ll have to discuss (and hopefully fight about) the letters. This actually works, but Lila and Steven figure out that the twins sent the letters and decide to get back at them by pretending they failed. Instead, they encounter Pfeifer, who has another bomb.

Pfeifer commits the cardinal sin of villains: talking too much. He’s mad that Lila’s accusations of attempted rape made him an outcast, so he burned down Fowler Crest and framed her. He detonates the bomb, blowing up SVH’s gym. Lila and Steven somehow make it out all right, but Pfeifer ends up killing himself. The twins feel worse about almost getting Steven and Lila killed than they do about Pfeifer actually dying.

Happy ending: Steven gets his internship back and calls Billie, so they’re on the road to getting back together. Lila’s parents come home and she tells them she doesn’t want any material things to make her feel better; she just wants them around more. And Lila and Steven get their revenge on the twins by pretending they’re engaged.

While all this is going on, Devon makes it to Sweet Valley, where his childhood nanny lives. He’s already been burned twice by relatives who a) only wanted him around because he’s rich or b) were jerks, so he doesn’t want to get too comfortable. But Nana is awesome and just wants Devon to have a stable place to live. Devon’s mad that she never got in touch with him after she stopped working for his family, but it turns out his parents hid all the letters she wrote him. She insists his parents loved him and weren’t horrible people, but the hiding of the letters seems to negate that.

Devon eventually tells Nana about his inheritance, and she makes it clear that she doesn’t care about the money. She’s more than happy to let him live with her no matter what. Devon starts to make himself at home in Sweet Valley, hanging around SVH to see what it would be like to go there. And since it’s required for this series, he sees Elizabeth and immediately falls in luuuuuuuv. Yay?

Thoughts: Devon gets a letter from the law firm of Boyd, Dewey, Cheatam, & Howe. Really, ghostwriter? Really?

Devon’s nanny is named Nan and he calls her Nana. My head hurts.

“You don’t know who I am, but you will be mine.” Dev, I’m pretty sure you can’t say that unless you’re smoking and petting a cat in a top-secret underground lair.

So Pfeifer sets off the bomb, and the next thing we get is the news that he’s dead and everyone else is fine. How anticlimactic. I bet in the next book, the gym will be fine, too.

February 27, 2013

SVH #136, Too Hot to Handle: Fire and Ice

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 7:59 pm by Jenn

This is what would happen if Brandon and Dylan had a baby

This is what would happen if Brandon and Dylan had a baby

Summary: Lila + Steven = luuuuuuv. But he still has to investigate her, since the DA is convinced she set the fire at Falcon Crest. Steven, however, proves that he knows how to conduct an investigation and tries to find out if Lila has any enemies. He learns what happened with John Pfeifer and snoops around John’s stuff at the Oracle office. There he realizes that the article he got on arsonists was possibly printed from a printer John uses. Now, granted, this isn’t exactly a smoking gun, but the DA won’t even consider John as a suspect.

The new lovebirds are having a bit of a rocky time, partly because the twins are trying to keep them apart because they think the relationship is gross. They do stupid stuff to try to prevent them from going on dates, but it’s pretty lazy scheming.

At dinner one night, Steven tells Lila that the DA still thinks she set the fire. Lila’s upset and leaves the table. Then someone throws a bomb into the restaurant (no, for reals), and all the ingredients are found in Lila’s car, so the police think she did it. Never mind that she has no motive. Or that she would never create something that had to be made with fertilizer.

Elsewhere, Devon goes to Las Vegas to track down his uncle, who turns out to be a con man. Pete tells Devon he’s in love with a woman named Linda, so Devon helps him out by giving her expensive presents and love poems. Then he discovers that casino guests are missing jewelry just like the jewelry Pete’s been sending to Linda. But the obvious connection – that Pete’s stealing the jewelry – isn’t the whole story. Linda is actually Pete’s fence, and it’s become too dangerous for them to meet, so Pete’s using Devon to deliver the goods. Devon decides he needs to move on.

Thoughts: Diamonds = ice, and this story has both fire and diamonds, hence the title, “Fire and Ice.” Get it? …I’ll see myself out.

Man, this Devon kid is boring.

Hey, someone finally remembered Cara’s existence! But we still don’t get an explanation of why a Steven/Cara relationship was okay but a Steven/Lila relationship is gross.

Steven asks Lila to list people who might hate her enough to burn down her house. She names Enid. Yeah, I bet Enid set a fire and tried to kill you. Not that she probably hasn’t wanted to, but that’s different from actually doing it.

The DA tells Steven he’s off the case if he doesn’t stay objective. You’re the one who assigned him to investigate his sister’s friend! This whole thing is stupid.

Elizabeth tries to keep Steven from going on a date with Lila by hiding his keys. That’s brilliant! If you’re seven.

I figured Pete was just stealing stuff and giving it to Linda, so the twist that she’s his fence was pretty good.

February 13, 2013

SVH #135, Lila’s New Flame: The Girl Who Played With Fire

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 8:23 pm by Jenn

That kiss looks horrible. And Steven looks 40

That kiss looks horrible. And Steven looks 40

Summary: Bo breaks up with Lila, and she responds by burning all the letters he wrote her. That night, Fowler Crest catches on fire and Lila gets trapped inside. She’s mostly fine, but the house is half destroyed. Unfortunately, the police think Lila set the fire. Her parents are conveniently out of the country and unreachable, so Lila has to deal with all of this on her own. She winds up moving into the pool house and being mopey for most of the book. She also thinks someone’s following her.

Steven’s home for a semester, working as an intern at the DA’s office. Guess what his first assignment is? Investigating Lila to find out if she set the fire. Even though she’s his sister’s best friend and this is a clear conflict of interest. And even though he’s 18 and has no experience or authority, and is also not a cop, which the ghostwriter doesn’t seem to get. Anyway, he goes back and forth between thinking Lila’s an arsonist who set the first because she wanted attention, and thinking she’s just a poor little rich girl who’s also pretty hot. (By the way, he and Billie broke up, so he’s single again.)

Lila and Steven start spending a lot of time together, since he’s supposed to be investigating her, and quickly start having feelings for each other. And even though Steven isn’t 100 percent sure Lila isn’t a pyromaniac, they end up kissing. Jessica sees and is hilariously grossed out.

We’re also introduced to Devon Whitelaw, who’s been living a Lila-esque life – lots of money, absentee parents. He’s broody and rides a motorcycle. Wait a second…rich, parents are distant, motorcycle, broody. Devon is Dylan McKay! Anyway, his parents die, and in order to inherit their estate, he has to find a guardian. He moves in with an aunt and uncle for a while, and everything seems great, but it soon becomes clear that they just want his money. If only this were a Margo-like situation and Devon ended up being an entertaining psycho bound for Sweet Valley.

Elizabeth spends the whole book obsessing over how Steven’s dealing with his breakup. She keeps inviting him to hang out with her and Todd, and he keeps finding reasons to hang out with Lila instead. Todd, amazingly, does not break up with Liz over this, even though that seems like something he would do. And she would deserve it, because it’s weird.

Thoughts: Why do the twins make such a big deal about Steven coming home? He’s there ALL THE TIME.

Billie gets mad that Steven wants to leave school for an internship for a semester, and she tells him to choose between it and her. Who knew Billie was secretly a jerk?

How can the DA investigate Lila when the police haven’t talked to her and no charges have been brought against her?

“Oh, what’s the point of surmising?” Studying for the SAT, Bruce?

“Who would want to hurt Lila?” Oh, Jessica. So naive.

Why is Lila allowed back into the house? It’s a crime scene! And the DA thinks she’s the criminal!

I get Lila being a suspect, but not once you look at the details. She poured gasoline around the house, took the empty can out to her car, then went back inside, where she could get trapped by the fire? I don’t think so.

“Was it possible? Was [Steven] really interested in one of his sister’s friends?” Hey, remember when Steven dated Cara, Jessica’s best friend? Yeah, no one else in the series remembers that either.

Lila claims she once dug for oysters in the south of France. There is not a chance in the world she ever did that.

January 30, 2013

SVH Super Thriller, “R” for Revenge: Three Cheers for the Crazy Lady

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 8:43 pm by Jenn

Jessica has a little Tori Spelling thing going on

Jessica has a little Tori Spelling thing going on

Summary: There’s a new rule at SVH stating that all clubs need faculty advisors, so the cheerleaders have to find someone they can manipulate into sitting there quietly while they do whatever they want at practices. By the way, Lila is temporary filling in for some cheerleader we don’t care about, so the level of superior feelings on the squad is higher than ever. (By the way, the other girls are Jessica, Heather, Amy, Jade, Annie, Maria Santelli, and Patty.) Also, Jessica and Heather still hate each other. Anyway, the new assistant librarian, Nancy Swanson, is nice and quiet and interested in cheerleading, so Elizabeth suggests her as the squad’s advisor.

Liz is doing her own cheerleading-related thing: She’s been asked to help research a magazine article on SVH’s 1976 cheer squad, which went to nationals. She’s picked both because of her stunning writing ability (I guess?) and because she was on the most recent nationals-worthy squad. The writer is a woman named Diane who was on the squad and I guess needs help calling up her old friends and asking what they’re doing now. The photographer is a guy named Brad, and since he’s young, hot, and shows the slightest bit of interest in Jessica, she’s all over him. He turns out to be a total player and is really annoying, and he keeps popping up and doing nothing interesting, so let’s ignore him.

Elizabeth’s research finds that there was a girl on the ’76 squad who left partway through the year because of some sort of condition. The other cheerleaders remember nothing about her, including her name. Liz and Diane also can’t get in touch with one of the cheerleaders, Loretta, so they go talk to her sister. They learn that Loretta got drunk and drowned not long after nationals. She’d been troubled because during senior year she was in a car accident that killed a classmate named George. I don’t know why Diane doesn’t know any of this, but whatever. Loretta’s sister mentions a girl coming to the house after the car accident and screaming at Loretta for killing her boyfriend.

The cheerleaders don’t notice, but Nancy is a little crazy. She confuses the girls with other people and keeps covering part of her face. Eventually it comes out that Nancy was the cheerleader who left the ’76 squad. She developed some sort of disfiguring facial thing, and the girls bullied her into leaving the squad. Loretta finished her off by threatening to steal George from her if she didn’t quit. Being involved with another cheerleading squad makes Nancy blur the lines between the past and the present, and she decides the SVH girls need to be punished for what the ’76 girls did.

Over the course of a weekend, the cheerleaders start to disappear. First the girls think Amy and Jade have gone to another town to pick up new uniforms. Then they think everyone’s having a sleepover at Maria’s. Finally Nancy goes by the Wakefields’ and kidnaps Jessica at gunpoint, finishing her collection. She ties them all up in a flooded basement and plays ’70s music really loudly because she can’t stand all the noise in her head.

Elizabeth’s research finally proves useful, and she figures out that Nancy was the unknown cheerleader. She goes to talk to her about the article but quickly realizes that something isn’t right. Nancy tosses her in the basement with the other girls, who are all trying to keep their heads above water. Heather’s sick, Amy’s having an allergic reaction to mold, and poor Jade keeps passing out and almost drowning. So it’s an actual scary, life-threatening situation.

Jessica gets herself untied, so there’s a plus in the cheerleaders’ side. The girls just need to get Nancy to open the door so they can let the water out, and they decide the best way to do that is to play along with her crazy. They start cheering and ask her to join them. She opens the door, the water goes whoosh, and the girls are free. Score one for girls being smart and taking care of themselves. Plus, the experience makes Jessica and Heather realize they don’t hate each other that much, so that rivalry’s over, at least for now.

Oh, I almost forgot: There’s also a Liz/Todd fight because he doesn’t like how much time she’s spending on the article. Todd is a jerk. The end.

Thoughts: Some students are upset that all activities need faculty advisors now, but isn’t that standard? I’m pretty sure all clubs at my school had to have advisors. A bunch of guys even had an advisor for their semi-fake snooker club. I’m pretty sure he just sat in the room while they…actually, I don’t know what they did. I doubt they played snooker.

Jessica says “cowabunga.” I’m pretty sure even Bart Simpson had stopped saying that by 1996.

“She’s the new library lady.” You mean librarian? Shut up, Todd.

“Now, Jessica, is that a nice thing to say?” Now, Alice, you haven’t tried to shape Jessica morally for 16 years, so why start now?

Hey, Jeffrey Finch still exists! Good for him.

Dear Elizabeth, if your boyfriend doesn’t support you when you’re doing something that’s really important, DUMP HIM. I mean, you’ve dumped him for less.

Watching an aerobics class, Brad tells Elizabeth, “You’d look really hot in one of those outfits.” Okay, first, don’t ever say that to the sister of the girl you’re dating. Second, EW.

Elizabeth: “I’d rather date a live crocodile, covered with army ants!” Jessica: “Kinky!” Congratulations, SVH, you made a sex joke.

Aw, Jade’s too short to keep her head above the water. I feel you, girl.

January 16, 2013

SVH #134, Happily Ever After: Today Was a Fairy Tale

Posted in books tagged , at 8:21 pm by Jenn

That's Laurent? I don't see the appeal

That’s Laurent? I don’t see the appeal

Summary: Joy rings out throughout the land because the Wakefield twins are locked in a dungeon. Sadly, they don’t stay there long. The kids they’ve been taking care of free them, because apparently full-grown dungeon guards are no match for kindergarteners. The girls take off into the woods, then decide to look for Jacques so Jessica can find out the whole story behind the stolen jewel. They can’t find him, so they go back to the woods for the night. Meanwhile, Laurent goes in search of the twins and instead encounters Jacques. Jacques wants to get to the girls first, so he sends Laurent back to the castle, telling him they might be there, and goes searching on his own.

This all ends anticlimactically when the girls return to the castle just as Laurent is giving a press conference (uh-huh) to announce his engagement to Antonia. He’s only doing it because his parents told him the twins wouldn’t be prosecuted if he agreed to the arranged marriage. Elizabeth is ticked. Jacques decides to turn himself in so his father won’t be arrested, and he’s sent to the dungeon. Jessica tries to break him out, but it’s Jessica, so of course it doesn’t work.

Now that the twins are known to be innocent, Laurent changes his mind about marrying Antonia. The countess tells Elizabeth that if she comes between Laurent and Antonia, their countries could end up enemies, and there could be an international incident. As if we didn’t know that one day a Wakefield twin would be responsible for an international incident. Elizabeth doesn’t want to be responsible for that, so she packs up and takes a train out of there. Except Laurent finds out what she’s doing, follows her to the train station on his horse, and gets the conductor to stop the train. Like, literally riding a white horse to rescue her. Um, as if. He declares his love for Elizabeth and asks her to marry him.

Liz considers staying in France, since she doesn’t think she has a reason to go back to Sweet Valley. Except, you know, her family’s there. And she’s still in high school. And she’s only known this guy for a few weeks. And his parents hate her. But she would get to be a princess! Of course, we’re not lucky enough to be rid of Elizabeth, and she decides to go back to Sweety Valley.

Jacques’ father confesses to Laurent that he, not Jacques, is the jewel thief. Laurent feels bad for them and helps Jacques escape from the dungeon. He and his father run off, so Jessica is minus one French jewel-thief boyfriend. I’m sure she’ll find another one as soon as she gets back to California. That, or she’ll just find any old guy and completely forget about Jacques by the next book.

On the way back home, Jessica finally comes clean to Elizabeth about burning a letter Todd sent her back when the twins were fighting in the first book of this ridiculous trilogy. Elizabeth is appalled, and you’d think that after being thrown in a dungeon and having to sleep in the woods, she’d get a little perspective and decide this isn’t that bad. It doesn’t really get resolved anyway, because we fast-forward to Liz meeting up with Todd in Sweet Valley and the two of them getting back together. Of course.

Thoughts: The amount of ridiculousness in this book is off the charts, even for this series.

Laurent’s father: “You are obsessed with this romantic notion of marrying for love!” I think Laurent’s father is also Christian’s father from Moulin Rouge.

Elizabeth gets back together with Todd without telling him anything about Laurent. Because she is awful. I wish she had been responsible for an international incident.

January 3, 2013

SVH #133, To Catch a Thief: More Like “To Catch Some Zs”

Posted in books tagged , , at 8:52 pm by Jenn

Why does Liz's dress look like a wedding gown?

Why does Liz’s dress look like a wedding gown?

Summary: This book is the worst combination of boring and unbelievable I’ve ever seen.

Okay, so Jessica’s in luuuuuuuuuv with Jacques, who keeps trying to get back the emerald he gave her (which he stole from the countess who’s staying at the same chateau as the twins). He keeps sneaking into her room to look for it, then pretending he was there for another reason. Every time Jacques asks for it back, Jessica threatens to dump him, so he backs off. Eventually he tries to exchange a pearl bracelet for the emerald, but Jessica keeps both. Jacques is an idiot. Of course, so is Jessica, but we knew that.

Elizabeth’s in luuuuuuuuuuuuuv with Laurent, but he hasn’t told her that he’s supposed to marry the countess’ daughter Antonia. She overhears some servants talking about the marriage but thinks Laurent is going to propose to her, which freaks her out because they don’t know each other that well. Finally, a realistic response to a declaration of love from a guy she’s only known for two weeks. But then Liz sees Laurent holding hands with Antonia and finds out about their arranged relationship. She has a Jessica-like cry-fest, which is, again, more realistic than anything else this supposed 16-year-old has ever done.

But that’s where the realistic part of the story ends. The countess loses a diamond necklace, which Jacques stole, and the twins think she hid it to get the insurance money. They figure she did the same with the jewel she supposedly lost on the train; Jess hasn’t put it together that that’s what Jacques gave her. The twins participate in a tableau vivant (living art) guessing game, posing with the kids in a scene from Cinderella. Jessica, as the Fairy Godmother, wears the emerald, and the countess screams when she sees it, ruining the tableau. Then the countess has guards (there are guards?) throw the twins in the dungeon (there’s a dungeon??), where Jessica finally figures out that Jacques stole the countess’ emerald and gave it to her.

Thoughts: Elizabeth’s babysitting guide says that the best way to get children to behave is to take away privileges. But according to the last book, it also says to reason with kids, not discipline them, so we obviously can’t trust anything it says.

Why do the countess and Antonia need three bathrooms?

Jacques sneaks into Jessica’s room, can’t leave without her seeing him, and winds up sleeping in her closet. Creeeeeeeeep.

The tableau game sounds fun – you recreate a scene or a painting, and people have to guess what it is. It’s a nice twist on the regular kind of tableau vivant.

I hope the twins contact the American embassy immediately and report the whole dungeon thing. I also hope someone thought through who will be taking care of the children while their au pairs are chained to a wall, being fed bread and water. Because clearly no one else wants to do it.

December 19, 2012

SVH #132, Once Upon a Time: French Twists

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

Jessica's shoes make me cry. Elizabeth is the poster girl for '90s fashion

Jessica’s shoes make me cry. Elizabeth is the poster girl for ’90s fashion

Summary: For their 118th summer, the twins will be serving as au pairs for a royal family in the south of France. (Just go with it, as usual.) Just before they leave, Todd tells Elizabeth that she can feel free to see other people during the summer, which she was probably going to do anyway. Only she thinks this means he can’t trust her (…he can’t), so they break up. That means she’s in a great mood on the trip to France.

The girls take a train to the castle they’ll be staying in (Château d’Amour Inconnu), and Jessica meets a guy named Jacques and his father Louis. Jacques is supposedly the Duke of Norveaux. He and Jessica quickly fall in luuuuuuuuv, or at least she does. He’s shady and gives her an emerald just before a countess (who’s traveling with her daughter Antonia and will also be staying at the castle) announces that a jewel she had with her is missing. Jessica is too dumb to put the pieces together.

The castle is really nice, as are the royals, but the twins are put up in a small attic room, which isn’t so great. Also, the kids they have to take care of are brats. They’re all told to stay out of a big hedge maze on the property, but one of the kids runs into it and Elizabeth has to go after him. While they’re wandering around, they spot the kids’ older half-brother, Laurent. There’s some crap about an old love story surrounding the castle, and Laurent dreaming of meeting a blond woman, and Elizabeth having a dream about him, too, but I don’t care. Also, he doesn’t want to be royalty. Again, I don’t care.

The twins get in a fight about how Jessica isn’t doing her share of the work (I mean, obviously), so they decide to split shifts with the kids. Jessica’s so mad that when she finds a letter Todd send Elizabeth, she burns it. Elizabeth is caught in a rainstorm and winds up at Laurent’s cottage, where they get to know each other and, of course, start falling in luuuuuuuuuuuuv. She misses her shift with the kids, but Jessica was worried about her, so it’s all good and they make up. Jess decides not to say anything about Todd’s letter, hoping he just writes back.

While Elizabeth is out with Laurent, Jessica’s in their bedroom alone when someone grabs her. It’s Jacques, who says he came to see her and was only looking through her things (!) to figure out which side of the room was hers. Jessica’s so happy to see him that she doesn’t confront him with the information she’s learned: There is no Norveaux, so he can’t be the duke of it. Dun!

Thoughts: Château d’Amour Inconnu means Castle of Unknown Love. Barf.

Why do royals in SVH never want to be royals?

The ghostwriter has completely forgotten that the twins have been to France before.

After meeting the countess and Antonia, who are completely nasty to anyone who isn’t high-class, Elizabeth thinks, “Thank goodness I’m from America – where everyone is equal!” HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Maybe in Sweet Valley, where there are no poor people or minorities.

I find it hard to believe that no one cleaned the maid’s quarters before the twins arrived. But then again, I also find it hard to believe that French royals agreed to let two random American 16-year-olds watch their kids all summer, so whatever.

“Pierre, the oldest child, was wearing a blue-and-white sailor suit.” Of course. What else do fictional European children wear?

Elizabeth keeps reading this babysitting book, and it’s hilarious. “Children should be reasoned with, not disciplined.” “Children respond instantly to authority.” That book was written either by a hippie or by someone who’s never spent more than two minutes with a child.

December 4, 2012

SVH #131, Fashion Victim: Beauties and Beasts

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 9:44 pm by Jenn

Whichever one this is, I don't like her

Whichever one this is, I don’t like her

Summary: The bad news is that Elizabeth had her brilliant idea snaked by Leona. The good news is that Enid and Maria don’t hate her anymore. The three of them and Reggie, who works at Flair, team up to get Elizabeth a meeting with Gordon Lewis, the head of Flair, so she can present her idea without Leona knowing. This involves Elizabeth pretending she actually works there and Enid pretending to be her secretary. Also, Reggie has a crush on Gordon, so the girls want to help fix them up. The four of them also wind up at a fancy party, where Reggie talks Liz up so Gordon thinks she’s a hotshot.

The meeting goes really well, but Leona crashes it and announces that Elizabeth stole her idea instead of the other way around. Elizabeth and Reggie both get fired, though Elizabeth was just an intern and her two weeks are up anyway. Liz sneaks into Leona’s house and steals the tape recorder Leona used to dictate the letter to Gordon talking about her idea and how Elizabeth shouldn’t know about the meeting. Unfortunately, the letter has been erased.

Leona calls Liz and asks her to meet for lunch, but on the way there, someone tries to run Elizabeth off the road and kill her. Todd happens to be driving by and saves her. This almost leads to a reconciliation between the two lovebirds, but Liz is still mad. Todd goes to the police to report the incident and learns that the driver is a known hitman. So Leona hired him to kill Elizabeth so she wouldn’t spill that Leona stole her idea. Overreact much?

Elizabeth goes back to Flair to confront Leona, who pulls a gun and tries to kidnap her (even though Leona’s on crutches). Liz pushes the intercom button on Leona’s phone and a bunch of people hear her talking about stealing the idea. Then the police show up and hopefully take Leona to an asylum or something, because she’s insane. So Liz winds up with credit for the magazine idea, like it even matters anymore, and Todd goes Lloyd Dobler on her and wins her back.

Meanwhile, Jessica is sick of Quentin, even though he’s opening doors to the glam life. She wants to be with Cameron, but he’s no longer working at Flair. He seems to be waiting tables at “Spago’s” now. (Psst, ghostwriter: It’s Spago.) Then Jess finds out that Quentin isn’t using her spread after all. She goes to confront him, and Simone tells her that Quentin was just using Jess to make Simone jealous.

But then Jessica gets a copy of the magazine with her spread in it, plus an invitation to a party thrown by Edward McGee, the president of the company that owns Flair. Jessica rushes to the party and meets McGee’s son – Cameron. He was pulling an Undercover Boss in the mailroom and is actually the new vice president of the company (which makes his relationship with Jessica even grosser). He overruled Quentin and put Jessica in the magazine. Congratulations on your sugar daddy, Jess.

Oh, and Todd? Moved into a crappy apartment, has no money, isn’t wanted at Flair anymore, and can’t cook. But the good news is that he realizes how horrible Simone is and dumps her. Eventually he winds up moving back home. I know you all were worried about him.

Thoughts: Quentin says he won “the VH1 award for best fashion photographer.” Who wants to tell him that was just a setup for Zoolander?

“Maria’s outfit of a cashmere sweater and slim-fitting black moleskin pants, with silver hoops in her ears, was much too artsy and unique for the editorial department.” Yes, if you don’t know what “artsy” or “unique” mean.

Later she wears “a tailored black leather sleeveless jacket with gold buttons.” Isn’t a sleeveless jacket just a vest?

Jessica thinks she loves Cameron after two weeks and, like, one-and-a-half dates. Yep, sounds about right.

Todd going to the police may be the only smart thing he’s ever done. Elizabeth’s all, “La la la, I was almost killed, whatever, la la la.” Todd’s all, “Maybe we should find out why this happened?”

In a photo that actually makes it into the magazine, Jessica wears “a belted maillot with a sheer cape.” Is anyone else thinking that sounds like a superhero costume?

They keep calling Jessica’s early copy of the magazine “blue pages,” but I don’t think that’s a thing. They probably mean blue lines. Couldn’t the ghostwriter have done the barest minimum of research?

November 21, 2012

SVH #130, Model Flirt: Easy, Sleazy, Beautiful

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 5:15 pm by Jenn

No self-respecting fashion photographer would have that haircut

Summary: Elizabeth’s boss, Leona, goes away for a couple of days and leaves Liz in charge. Then Leona breaks her leg and has to take more time off, so she has Elizabeth go to her house to get her mail and collect her messages. Liz kind of pretends to be Leona, which is weird, then hears a recording Leona made of a letter she was going to send to someone at Flair, pitching an idea Elizabeth had for a column written by a reader. Liz realizes that Leona is Bad News. She confides in a co-worker, who convinces her to rat Leona out.

Jessica has those two dates planned for the same night, and somehow convinces Elizabeth to pretend to be her and go out with Cameron while Jess is with creepy teenager-dating Quentin. Jessica would rather spend time with Cameron, but remember, he’s just a mailroom peon while Quentin is a photographer who could get Jessica into modeling. Elizabeth feels bad for Cameron and gets revenge on Jessica by ordering food Jess hates, then making her eat it when they switch places. The joke is on both of them, though, because Cameron figures out the switch.

Jessica’s still determined to be a model, so she ruins some of Simone’s film, then offers to sub in for her when Quentin redoes the shoot. Apparently she’s gorgeous and perfect and blah blah blah, though she realizes that modeling isn’t as fun as she thought. Jessica patches things up with Cameron and he agrees to give her a second chance, but then he catches Quentin kissing her and goes back to thinking that Jessica is horrible. (Which she is. She clearly has no problems basically sleeping her way to the top.)

In Todd-related news, he and Elizabeth are basically kaput, since she saw him kissing Simone. He doesn’t care, since he gets to hang out with people who are just as awesome and gorgeous as he is. He also doesn’t care that his parents don’t like his new job. He breaks curfew and they warn him not to push it. Todd’s sick of being treated like a child, so he keeps breaking the rules. Eventually his parents tell him he has to stop modeling. Todd decides to move out instead. I’m sure that will go well.

Oh, and Maria and Enid try desperately to be interesting, going on a disastrous double date and shutting Elizabeth out because she was so mean to them before. Yawn.

Thoughts: I guess Elizabeth can date and make out with whoever she wants, but if Todd even looks at another girl, he’s devil spawn.

“With her funky retro look, Maria had a style all her own. Tonight she was wearing a pale blue forties dress with huge square buttons and thick army boots on her feet. An exotic green silk scarf was tied over her head, hiding her hair completely.” I can’t stop rolling my eyes.

There’s a restaurant in Sweet Valley called Bobo’s Burger Barn, where you can draw on the tablecloths. It makes the Dairi Burger seem like Le Cirque.

Enid has a mini-backpack. Remember those?

Cameron orders a steak and fries at a French restaurant. Dealbreaker!

Ghostwriter, stop trying to make us care about Enid and Maria. It’s a losing battle.

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