Welcome to The Wedding … gee, I wonder what’s going to happen in this book? The cover and the title aren’t complete spoilers or anything. We have a scene of Lila in a pink dress with Grace Rimaldi, her long lost mother, (re-)marrying what I believe is our first glimpse ever of Lila’s dad, George Fowler. Lila looks very pretty, but also very different. Up on the right-hand side, Jessica celebrates a win at the dirt bike race track with … some dude. (Hang tight, we’ll learn more about who he is in a sec.)
As the main plot in this one seems to be Lila’s ongoing scheme to get her parents back together, let’s start with that. The book opens with a fabulous, “sophisticated” ladies’ luncheon at Fowler Crest, where all of Lila’s friends mill around telling Lila how fabulous Grace is while Lila preens and goes, “I know.” Lila is less thrilled with the appearance of Grace’s live-in boyfriend from Paris, Pierre Ballot, whom Lila has dubbed “Pierre the Pill.” She avoids him and is rude to him until Grace confronts her and tells her Lila should really give Pierre a chance. Lila reluctantly agrees. Later, Lila is hanging out with that bitch Suzanne Hanlon and some other girls when they see Amy come hurriedly stumbling up the back lawn, obviously upset about something. Amy tells Lila she has a headache and has to go home and abruptly leaves, but it’s clear she’s just making some shit up. Later, Lila is painting her nails in her room when Amy calls and tells her that she was talking to Pierre outside when he started coming on to her and slid his hand onto her boob. Lila is outraged and promises to tell Grace and take care of this. But when she DOES go to tell Grace, she can’t bring herself to because she’s afraid Grace won’t believe her. With Grace only staying one more week, Lila had best hurry that shit up and tell her mother she is dating a molester. Lila decides she will first make Pierre’s life hell.
Lila eats breakfast outside with her mother and father before school one morning. When Grace goes inside to take a phone call from her office, George drifts into a stupor and starts mumbling to himself about how he messed everything up in the past. Then he snaps back to himself when Grace returns and acts like he never said all that. Lila and Grace talk about plans for the next day: Lila is going to go to dinner with Pierre, Grace, and George and make nice. Not only that, but Lila got the whole day off with school so she can hang out with Pierre and “get to know him better.” Ugh, gross. I would just tell Grace if I were you, Li. This guy could be dangerous!
Lila starts her day with Pierre by dragging him to a “notoriously bad” Sweet Valley restaurant called Tony’s Diner and suggesting he order the greasiest item on the menu. She suggests he surf, which he sucks at, and takes him on a shopping trip with her at the Valley Mall where she deliberately loads him down with way too many packages when he offers to carry them. Next, she makes him play tennis with her until he’s worn out. With Pierre exhausted but still trying to be polite for some reason, Lila eats lunch at some cafe called the Beach Cove while suggesting Pierre have “a few drinks.” He eagerly agrees, gulping down Scotches until he’s totally wasted. When they get back to Fowler Crest, Lila takes his drunk ass to the basement where he tumbles down the stairs. Since he’s not dead, Lila drags him into a storage closet which she claims is a guest shower, then locks a passed-out Pierre inside and drives off to meet her parents at Cote d’Or without him. Shortly after she arrives, George asks Grace to marry him (again). Grace hesitates because of gross Pierre. Ugh, Grace! You need to take a tip from Vanilla Ice:
I guess old George is the hero now. I guess he’s sorry he separated his child from her mother. Anyway! As the pair sit there staring at each other, drunkass Pierre shows up shouting and causing a “disgraceful commotion.” Haha! I love the writer’s choice of words. The restaurant quickly throws Pierre out (literally), and Lila comes outside and tells him if he doesn’t get out of her family’s life forever, she’ll expose what he did to Amy. That’s the end of Pierre, of course. Lila comes back inside to find her mother has accepted her father’s proposal and is wearing a big old sparkler.
The couple take about two weeks to plan the wedding, which is held at Fowler Crest and is the event of the year. Although the cover makes it look like they get married on the balcony, the ceremony is in the back yard. Also, Lila’s maid of honor dress is nothing like the mehhh one on the cover – it’s described as being a mauve dress with cap sleeves. Grace wears the wedding dress she originally married George in and I’m wondering if that’s bad luck … Grace is described as the most beautiful woman ever, and Lila is said to have inherited her beauty. A bunch of Lila’s friends are at the wedding, including some I didn’t think Lila would have bothered to invite (like Olivia), but I guess Li was in one of her more gracious moods. The wedding is a smashing success.
The sub-plots: Todd is still “dating” Jessica, but he’s obviously just not that into her. He spends his time moping around thinking about Liz and how he’s still in love with her. I’m so tired of his bullshit. Jessica surprises him by leaving the Grace luncheon early to come be with Todd, and he’s just like a robot following her around, rebuffing nearly every attempt she makes to touch him. They dance to a band and he barely touches her. Just tell her already, you fool! I have never hated Todd so much in my life. Jessica realizes Todd doesn’t care about her, but she’s deranged and determined to hang onto him because if he goes back to Elizabeth, they’ll be happy again and Jessica will be all alone, missing Sam. Ugh. You know, I don’t think Elizabeth should ever take Todd back, but I know that’s not the way it works in these books. Anyway, when Todd proves to be the worst, most mopey dance partner in the world on their date, Jessica drags his ass out to the beach, ignoring his claims that he has to go help his mom or something. They sit on the sand and Jessica tries her best to initiate a makeout session, and he finally utters the words we’ve all been longing to hear: “It’s over.” Jessica denies his offer of a ride home and starts walking; Artie Western finds her and gives her a ride to the cemetery where she cries and rolls around in the dirt at Sam’s grave. I guess she is re-enacting their old makeout sessions or something, but it’s not clear. LOL, I’m mean. Jessica suddenly has a revelation that she’s got to move on with her life. She gets the idea to host a charity dirt bike race to fund Students Against Drunk Driving at the track next to Secca Lake … apparently that’s where the Sweet Valley track is, or something. She whips into the planning and Alice is happy to see her daughter “getting back to her old self.” By the way, since Liz was declared not guilty or whatever at her “trial,” Alice has regained her marbles and stopped cleaning everything to the point of scaring people, or whatever she was doing before. That’s all it took.
The dirt bike rally race is attended by everyone. I keep reading in these latest books that the racetrack is right next to Secca Lake, which I can’t help but think must be the shittiest location. Doesn’t that make the lake fucking noisy? Don’t people hike and picnic there and shit? Whatever. Anyway, the race is a huge smashing success. Liz decides to go with her parents and Enid, but then feels bad when Jessica’s opening speech mentions that drunk driving killed Sam Woodruff and no one should ever drink and drive. At the last minute, right before the racers take off, a new rider wearing a black helmet and going by the moniker “Black Lightning” shows up and is allowed to enter. He wins, beating Artie Western by a hair, and it turns out it’s a handsome dude named James. James and Jessica become an item almost immediately and Jessica is convinced she’s in love. James wants to know Jessica’s life story and encourages her to tell him absolutely everything about herself, but doesn’t want to volunteer anything about himself and won’t let Jessica take any pictures of him. Jessica fails to see what’s weird about that. I think we’re supposed to believe this is Jessica bouncing back from Sam, and too grief-stricken still to see the obvious, but really, it all makes sense to me. Jessica just naturally believes everything should be about her as it is, so of course she doesn’t find James’ overly inquisitive behavior strange!
Liz is still not doing very well. She feels guilty for killing Sam, but she does make the effort to venture out of the house some. She catches up on her schoolwork at the library with Enid, and then they go to the Dairi Burger where they eat with Winston. Just then, Sam’s old best friend Ted Carpenter appears. Ted has never been mentioned in this series before. He comes right over to Liz and tells her he’s glad she’s having such a good time since she killed his friend, and nothing changes that fact. Oi. He leaves and Liz runs out of the restaurant in tears. After breaking up with Jessica, Todd tries to offer Liz a ride home so he can talk to her, and she turns his ass down. Haha, asshole! Todd drives off in surprise, probably talking like Eeyore to himself: “Well, I guess that’s it for old Todd.” One night, Jessica hears Liz having one of her nightmares, and she goes into her room and holds her and comforts her. Jessica decides to tell Liz the truth – but just as she starts to, stupid Alice pops up wanting to know what all the racket is, and that’s the end of that. Before and after this scene, Jessica continues to avoid her sister.
Since Maria Santelli is out of town, Winston offers himself as Liz’s date for the Fowler wedding, and they dance up a storm. I wonder if they were dancing the way Liz and Sam were at the Jungle Prom? Haha, I have no shame. Unfortunately, when a long ass slow song comes on, Todd asks Liz to dance and she accepts. They have this gross heartfelt slow dance spin around the floor for “at least 10 minutes”, and afterwards Liz looks at Todd in tears. He brushes her tears away, and she tells him, “Thank you” and walks away. No Liz, tell him “Fuck you”!
Margo, who has been living under the assumed name of “Mandy” in a boarding house run by Mrs. Palmer (“an old hag” according to Margo), finds the Wakefields’ address in the phone book and hides in some bushes across the street from their house. She watches everyone go off to school and work and learns that the twins have a brother named Steven who goes to college, which she didn’t know before because I guess it wasn’t mentioned in the newspapers. She thinks Ned and Alice are the most perfect and beautiful parents she’s ever seen, and can’t wait to become their “daughter.” God, Margo is freaking interesting, let me tell you, and I mean that very sincerely. Margo realizes that Liz and Jess aren’t getting along, and she decides she can likely use this to her advantage as she seeks to assume Liz’s identity. She heads off to Kelly’s the dumpy bar we haven’t heard anything about in a while, and has a shot of Wild Turkey with some old drunks. A dirt bike racer named James comes in and Margo sucks up to him and offers to pay him $2,000 if he will enter the dirt bike rally and date Jessica so he can get all the dirt on the Wakefields to share with “Mandy.” Meanwhile, Margo is hanging around the Valley Mall wearing wigs and eavesdropping on conversations at Casey’s Place, trying to collect intel on the Wakefields. She shows up one day at the W. house as Alice is struggling to bring four bags of groceries inside and helps her out of nowhere, then abruptly vanishes when Alice turns to thank her. Margo finds out about the Fowler wedding, and inquires about a job with Valley Caterers, who are catering the event, surprise. Margo is really rude to the receptionist there, which everyone knows is a huge no-no when you’re looking for a job, but I guess that won’t hurt our crazy Margo any. Margo wears one of her disguises with a red wig and the owner, Mrs. D’Angelo, actually takes Margo into her office just to tell her “Sorry, we don’t have any openings; leave me your resume and I’ll call you if something opens up.” Margo isn’t playing around, so she steals an employee file of one of the wedding workers when Mrs. D’Angelo isn’t looking and then rents a car under an alias and drives to that employee’s home. She sees the employee come out with her baby and strap the baby in the car. As the employee walks around the car, Margo guns the engine and hits the woman, killing her, then backs up so the woman’s body will fall off the hood of her car, then drives forward over the lady’s body and takes off as the baby is left behind, crying hysterically. Damn!!! She then wipes down the rental car and leaves it parked in some deserted area. This is actually a really disturbing scene. The dead catering lady should have been Todd or somebody like that. Mrs. D’Angelo calls Margo right after and tells her she’s now needed. Margo shows up at the wedding for work as “Mandy” where Mrs. D’Angelo keeps her close by and chatters about how as soon as she saw Mandy, she knew she had that “something special that a caterer needs.” What the fuck does that mean? Margo hangs around the Wakefields and their friends in her red wig all night, freaking people out. When Mrs. D’Angelo tries to get her to hang back with her in the kitchen more, Margo almost stabs her with a butcher knife, but she’s interrupted by another server. Margo listens to the gossip of the high school wedding guests, like Caroline Pearce (seriously, what is Caroline doing at Lila’s wedding?!). She learns Jessica stole Liz’s boyfriend before she got with James. Then Margo witnesses Winston and Liz dancing and wonders what Liz is doing with such a slob. Seriously, Margo just sounds like Jessica. Then Margo sees Todd dancing with Elizabeth and decides Todd is ridiculously handsome. They’ll be together as soon as Margo kills Elizabeth and assumes her identity, she thinks. (Margo has purchased blue-green contacts so that her eyes are “the color of the ocean” like the twins’ … barf.) Margo, please kill Todd instead. Go ahead, just cut his head off and stuff it in the toilet once Pierre is done with it post-Tony’s Diner.
Lastly, Josh Smith is still looking for Margo following the events in the last book. He finds out she took the train to San Diego and starts to drive there. But on the way there he suddenly remembers that she had a Sweet Valley newspaper with her – DUH! He curses himself and turns around …
Stuff of note… Jessica goes to visit Sam’s grave at Valley Memorial Cemetery. I thought he was buried in Bridgewater, you know, where he’s from, the last time she went there.
Jessica and Todd go to a beach cafe called the Wave Cafe and listen to a band called The Sensations.
We learn Grace is president of a multi-million dollar stationery company.
In keeping with the tradition of abruptly changing characters’ last names from book to book, Pierre’s last name was Ballot in a previous book, but here it’s “Le Peu.” I can’t tell if that’s a continuity error or if they’re trying to make some kind of joke out of him, but I don’t think these books are clever enough for it to be the latter. (“Le peu” means “the little” in French, at least according to a quick Google translate, or you could also say they’re trying to make it sound like Pepe Le Pew the Looney Tunes skunk, I guess.)
The Wakefield parents come to the dirt bike rally, although Mrs. Wakefield remarks it’s “nerve-wracking.” The book explains: “Ever since Elizabeth’s serious accident on Todd’s motorcycle, her mother hadn’t been fond of any bikes with motors.” Actually, Mrs. Wakefield hadn’t been fond of bikes with motors since well before that when the twins’ cousin Rexy was killed in a motorcycle accident, and that’s a large driver of the plot behind the book in which the Liz/Todd bike accident occurred (Dangerous Love). (Maybe the ghostwriter didn’t read far back enough in the Sweet Valley ghostwriter’s bible, haha.)
Here’s Jessica and Lila talking about James:
Jessica: Everything I want to do, he wants to do.
Lila: I assume you’ve been to Miller’s Point, then.
I read Lila’s remark as some kind of sick burn given the way this book just dealt with Pamela’s background story, but Jessica just giggles and nods and says, “I’ve been to heaven.” Don’t worry, I’m sure they didn’t have SEX! Seriously, how does Jessica get away with this while girls like Annie Whitman and Pamela Robertson have their “reputations” ruined? So confusing.
Steven is at the wedding with Billie, now his girlfriend, and Olivia is there with that creepy fucker Harry. You know, that lying fucker from The Morning After. Nicholas Morrow is also there with his girlfriend Ann Hunter, the idiot who decided him puking and acting like a moron was cute and all.
New people: Kathryn Schwartz is introduced as the president of the Sweet Valley High chapter of SADD, but I don’t think we ever see her. And then the book actually lists out all the dirt bike rally racers. The ones from Sweet Valley are Artie Western, Michael Harris, and April Dawson. The racers from Bridgewater are Joel Richards, Tom Lawrence, and Chris Andrews, and there’s a guy named Rod Metcalf from Big Mesa, and Elizabeth somehow knows who all of these people are even though we’ve never heard of them before and Liz never even paid any attention to dirt bike racing that I can remember. She does read the newspaper, so I guess there’s that.
I can’t get over the way Jessica is always trying to say it’s okay for her to steal Todd from Liz because Liz stole Todd from her first (referring to the events of Double Love). Yeah, that is NOT what happened. To refresh everyone’s memory, Todd liked Liz, but Jessica wanted him so she went out of her way to ruin her sister’s “reputation” (there’s that shit again) so that Todd would think Liz was the bad twin. Todd fell for Jessica’s bullshit, and asked her to go to a dance with him. When Todd started to wise up, Jessica lied and told Liz that Todd had tried to rape her so that Liz wouldn’t want to be with Todd anyway. The whole scheme failed in the end, so I guess to Jessica, this all amounts to Liz “stealing” Todd from her.
Prince Albert (the dog) re-appears in this book!
George Fowler has an original Picasso in his house, which is mentioned like it’s just to be expected. Haha! Baller.
In the back of the book: There’s an ad asking readers to send in a form to join the Sweet Valley High Fan Club and get some goodies! Did anyone join this? What did you get and was it worth it? (The ad states new club members will receive a welcome kit with: a membership card, an SVH “Secret Treasure Box,” SVH stationery, an “Official Fan Club” pencil, three bookmarks, a door hanger, two skeins of floss & instructions for making your own flower barrette (so you can look like Liz, I guess), and two editions of The Oracle newsletter.And it implies you’ll get more shit later on.)
Coming up next: Margo continues with her evil plans, and there’s something dumb about Winston and a baby.