A 30-something's lovingly sarcastic journey through all of Sweet Valley High, and then some

Archive for February, 2009

#4 Power Play

This is the one in which Jessica Wakefield tries to sabotage some poor innocent person! Oh, wait … that’s every book so far!

The Cover: …is a depressing gray. That’s somehow appropriate for the subject matter. Liz and Jess are all up in each other’s faces! They look … different from the previous covers. I somehow figured their profile views wouldn’t be quite so delicately featured. Jessica’s shirt is really farmgirl. Ha ha ha, the cover of Sweet Valley Twins: April Fools shows Jessica dressed up in a red gingham shirt in order to make people think she’s Liz, because only Liz would wear one of those, right? HA HA HA! Tables have turned!

The Plot: Robin Wilson is an overweight social outcast whose greatest dream in life is to join Pi Beta Alpha. She believes that if she does this, everyone will suddenly adore and love her. Even sadder, she also believes that Jessica Wakefield (now the PBA president — how does that work? she’s only a junior) is her best friend, despite the fact that Jessica treats her like an underling, running the errands that Jessica is too lazy to do. Jessica makes snotty comments about Robin behind her back and leads her on into thinking that yes, she will be a PBA pledge. Liz realizes that Jessica will never actually do this, so she goes ahead and shows up for her first meeting in eons just to nominate Robin. Jessica flips out and screams and yells at Liz for daring to do such a thing (after the meeting, of course). Liz is determined, though; Robin’s mom has been talking to her about badly Robin wants to be in the sorority! So thus our great “power play” is set up: Bitchy McBitcherson vs. Saint Liz the Meddler (Robin’s new confidante).

Of course, this is Jessica’s cue to override Liz by sending Robin on all sorts of pledge tasks that are extremely degrading and demeaning, which are:

  • Going to the beach, in a bikini. Liz is a dumbass and doesn’t understand why Robin is so upset about this. Jeez, even size sixes get nervous about showing up half-naked in front of their friends. Oh, I forgot: her body is perfect. *eye roll*
  • Running laps around the track every day while kids sit on bleachers and yell taunts at her. Why the hell does she think these kids are her friends? She honestly seems to think that she deserves this kind of treatment and it’s really sad.
  • Getting Bruce Patman to go to some disco dance with her. As he was yelling the worst of the comments at the track, it’s pretty much guaranteed he will say no. And yes, I said disco! It’s 1984 … was disco still popular then?

Elizabeth is so desperate for Robin to get into PBA that she bribes Bruce into agreeing to take Robin to the dance by promising to write a dumb tennis star article about him for The Oracle. Liz fucking sucks for pandering to Robin’s desperate need for approval like that. She’s just setting her up to be blackballed. Like Jessica is actually going to vote to let her in.

So yeah, Bruce takes Robin and he leads her out into the middle of the floor, gets everyone’s attention, then publicly humiliates her about her weight with everyone listening. He calls her the Queen Mary. Ouch. After he leaves her standing there, she runs into the bathroom where Liz dumbly tries to comfort her and Enid blocks people from coming in …. hysterical. Yeah, if I had to pee, I’d really let Enid Rollins stop me from getting to the toilet. Meanwhile, Todd gets all up in Bruce’s face about what he did, so Liz runs out there to break that up while sending “shy” Allen Walters after Robin, who’s run out of the school. Allen and Robin bond and agree to go back and have one more dance.

Needless to say, when pledge time comes around, Robin is blackballed. She is stunned. Really, Robin? Elizabeth is disgusted and shocked. Really, Liz? Liz writes an article for the Oracle about snobby bitches in the halls of Sweet Valley High. Sounds like some objective reporting there, Liz. Either way, Jessica is pissed. Robin misses school for a bit, then when she does appear, she goes into a stupor and stops talking to people. Then she suddenly starts exercising and dieting. In a matter of a few weeks, she miraculously loses all that weight, becomes co-captain of the cheerleaders, and beats Jessica out for Miss Sweet Valley High. Yep. YEP.

Robin gets together with Allen, and all is well. She sure showed them! Now she’s the equivalent of homecoming queen (I guess — if she’s that, then where does that leave Jessica, the Fall Queen?) and a head cheerleader. Everything anybody at SVH ever dreamed of – hanging with the bitches who loved to humiliate you in the past. Sounds like a blast. Robin is even invited by PBA to join them after all, but thankfully the ghostwriter has her turn their bitch asses down!

The subplot: Lila Fowler keeps stealing stuff from luxury store Lisette’s and giving it to Jessica when she gets tired of it. Elizabeth figures it out and has to come save Jessica from being arrested when she goes shopping with Lila, since the store thinks Jessica was in on it. Lila is arrested and Elizabeth has to testify for her character in juvenile court. Mr. Fowler takes them out for dinner at the Palomar House, which we learn is the poshest restaurant in Sweet Valley. Jessica is furious with Liz for not explaining to her what’s going on with Lila, and is too dumb to figure out that LILA was the one doing the shoplifting!

WTF? I have a whole lot of WTF’s for this book, but I’ll try to keep them down …

-Let’s start with the obvious: Robin Wilson somehow dropping all that weight, when she was described as basically grossly obse before, in a matter of weeks is ridiculous. Unless “grossly obese” in Sweet Valley world equates to a size 8. Which wouldn’t surprise me!

-Lila Fowler says that Suzanne Hanlon should be let into PBA because her father is filthy rich and drives a Rolls Royce. Oh that Lila.

-Most hilarious quote in the entire book: Part of the football team runs through the cafeteria with a banner that reads: “ROBIN HAS US THROBBIN’.” Gold, pure gold

-The people at Lisette’s are aware that someone is stealing from them and make a big deal out of telling Liz they have enhanced security measures in place (because for a time, they’re convinced she is the thief). So they just go ahead and keep their jewelry out on the counter where anyone can get to it. 14K gold rings are just right there for anybody to grab, not in a case. Makes sense.

-The girls at school are described as transforming into fashion plates in order to get voted Miss Sweet Valley High.

-Although I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I must say the writing style was a wee tad melodramatic. And the dialogue makes me think that the same ghostwriter wrote this and Double Love.

-I find it really strange that Robin appears to have no friends simply because she’s fat, especially since she’s also described as being smart and kind. Sure, the popular crowd didn’t want her around, but do you mean to tell me everyone is an equally shallow asshole at this place?

-Liz is horrified when Robin chows down on a candy bar as a reaction to stress. “‘Robin, doesn’t eating like that make you – don’t say ‘fat,’ she warned herself – break out?'” Way to go, Liz. 1) I’m sure Robin is well aware that her snack choice is not the best in the world and 2) nice cover-up. For some reason Robin actually can’t tell what Liz was about to say.

-When Robin starts dieting near the end of the book, she eats “lettuce leaves, two tomato slices, and a hard-boiled egg.” Dude, that sounds like a crash diet to me! For fuck’s sake! What a great example of a proper way to diet, Francine. Kill me.

-Robin’s mother told her that being best friends with the Wakefield twins was something she desperately needed to do. Vomit.
-Robin paid attention to The Iliad in class, so she’s awesome in my book!

Ads in the back of the book: Nothing fun. Just your typical SVH and Sweet Dreams mail-in order forms.

Next time: Jessica might get done by a college boy!


#3 Playing with Fire

OOOH! I’m very excited about this one; it’s one of the few early SVH books that I didn’t read as a kid. Something about the pink of this cover takes me right back to my 80s series reading … Secret of the Unicorn Queen, Sweet Valley Kids, Twins, and High, Camp Sunnyside Friends, Girl Talk, BSC, all of it! Speaking of the cover …

The cover: Not much to say about this one except that it’s definitely appropriate for the subject matter. Bruce looks extremely possessive and also like a tool, which he is. I’m also pretty positive the cover model for Bruce was Patrick Muldoon! Don’t they look a lot alike? I wish there was a way we could find out who posed for all these paintings!

The plot: So, what’s going on here? Well, Jessica is still mad that she’s stuck with Winston Egbert, as she’s Fall Queen and he’s Fall King. Yes, a fate worse than death, Jess. But things change when SVH has a dance-off contest and Bruce finally notices Jess and cuts in on her and Winston. Winston is duly humiliated. I feel really bad for him and kind of want to give him a hug! But seriously, Winston, why are you after this girl? She’s mean!

Jess and Bruce become a couple and Liz is immediately worried her sister is going to get her cherry popped and starts following them around. I’m sorry, was that too vulgar? Well, that seems to be the whole basis of this book! The blurb on the back even talks about how Liz is worried about “how far” her sister will go for Bruce. Remember, virginity is the most important virtue of respectable young ladies of Sweet Valley (just the ladies, though), and if Jessica loses it, she’s RUINED!

Anyway, they all go to a post-dance party at Ken Matthews’s lakeside house. Ken is back with Lila again so I guess he’s already forgiven her for last book’s escapades. Jessica stops Bruce from taking off her bikini top in the middle of the lake … oh my, this is scandalous! It says: “…Jessica had no idea what he was doing until she felt the cool water swirl under her bikini top and hit her breasts.” THE GHOSTWRITER SAID “BREASTS.” Now, Jessica is scared that if she appears too slow, Bruce will ditch her, but she doesn’t like the way this is going, so she coyly ties her top back on and suggests they go into the woods instead … because yeah, he definitely won’t try anything there. Liz freaks out and deliberately interrupts them … this scene is just hysterical. She hears them rolling around in the leaves and is mortified but knows she must stop them… and of course, she doesn’t succeed. She really sounds like a parent in this scene, pretty much ordering Jessica to get up NOW … nice try, Liz. Jessica spends the rest of the book acting completely un-Jessica like. She deliberately flubs a tennis game because Bruce gets mad when she beats him, lets Bruce literally order her around (under his spoken threat that he will dump her if she defies him), and buys a bunch of boring new outfits because Bruce likes them. She skips class to make out with him on the lawn, where apparently nobody notices but Liz … at my school, we had a “resource officer” who roamed around yelling at ALL the slobbering couples. I know because he got me a few times. Jessica also ditches her schoolwork for Bruce and winds up concocting an elaborate scheme to blackmail Emily Mayer into letting her cheat off Emily’s chem test .. but Emily confesses to the chem teacher! She doesn’t rat out Jessica, though. At first this pissed me off, till I remembered that “snitches get stitches”…. I guess it was important to protect the young readers.

J and B spend all their dates down at the beach parking and I can only imagine what’s going on down there … geee, I guess he finally got that bikini top untied. At the end of the book, everyone goes to Bruce’s country club 18th birthday celebration, which to me is hysterical, because don’t they all hate him? Well, hey, he IS rich, kids. Free food and party! Jessica is upset because she thought they were going to have a nice date for the two of them, because that’s what Bruce told her, because again, he’s a dick. Bruce leaves Jessica sitting a a table by herself for hours while he dances with other chicks. I mean, he literally tells her to just stay there and so she does! This is honestly one of the saddest scenes I have read in an SVH book … sadder than when certain characters died. Jessica is most definitely a shell of who she was in this scene; even Liz wouldn’t have succumbed to this much emotional abuse. Everybody goes out for pizza, and Bruce acts like he’s going to go home, so Jessica agrees to ride home with Elizabeth and Todd. Then Liz gets Todd to take a long time going home, then turn around and come back to the pizza place (I believe it was the famed Guido’s) only to find Bruce is still there … with a pretty redhead named Aline Montgomery. Jessica shows her true colors, dumps pizza and soda on Bruce. He jumps up and falls backwards into the water fountain … a pizza place with a water fountain? That’s pretty sweet. Jessica also lets the air out of his tires! I knew someone who let the air out of my ex-boyfriend’s tires in high school! But it wasn’t me! (unfortunately)

Sub-plot: Robin Wilson is an obese girl who follows Jessica around trying to get her attention, which Jessica of course uses to her full advantage by having her run errands for her. So a girl with no self-esteem gets used by another girl with no self-esteem who’s being used by somebody else.
-The Droids (Dana Larson, Emily Mayer, Guy Chesney, Max Dellon, and Dan Scott) get a shady manager who promises to make them big stars, but they wind up just playing crap clubs with names like The Seaside Express. (The hell?) Turns out the manager just wants some of Dana … who if I’m not mistaken is only 16 … this sub-plot was kind of boring.

WTF? The whole theme of this book is to be yourself and avoid giving up everything for a guy … which to me contrasts somewhat with the underlying series theme that you aren’t really anyone till you have a hot man interested in you. I know some people who read this one back in the day would say that Jessica was just getting what she deserved, but I find it really sad that this crazy loudmouthed biotch can be reduced to such a timid mouse just because her stupid boyfriend thinks she should. That’s emotional abuse, and it was bad enough in this book that I halfway expected Bruce to start beating Jessica up. I actually wish the book would have showed more depth with this topic, but what am I saying? This is a Sweet Valley book.

-Jessica meanly tells Robin that Winston Egbert is interested in her and makes things awkward between them.

-Did any of your schools have dance-off contests? ‘Cause I thought it was just Bayside High before this.

-Apparently, when you join PBA, you get a teddy bear. Jessica’s is named Bartholomew.

-Jessica was on the swim team in “junior high” – can anyone tell me if in the Sweet Valley Junior High series, there was in fact a swim team that Jessica was on? I’m just curious. 🙂

-Apparently Bruce previously dated Lila, Cara Walker (who tells Liz he tried to control her too), and some other popular chick named Heather Morgan, and dumped them all. Lila considers herself a Bruce expert so Jessica consults her for advice on catching this patsy fool. Oh, Lila. Why didn’t you say “Stay the hell away”?

-And, expert on Bruce? Does this mean Lila had sex with the Patman? NOOO WAY.

-Bruce drives a black Porsche with 1BRUCE1 license plates. This is probably a well-known fact among most of you reading this, but I just had to mention it!

-I’m actually surprised that Jessica dumped Bruce and flipped out the second she saw him at Guido’s with that chick … because up until that moment it was pretty obvious that he was starting to ditch her to get some elsewhere.

-Isn’t it odd that the Wakefield parents didn’t do more to keep Jessica away from this creep? If my parents had seen me literally mooning around at home waiting for the phone to ring and acting the way Jess does in this book, they would’ve pulled the plug on that mess right quick.

Ads in the back of the book: Includes mail-away form for the first Caitlin trilogy, another Francine Pascal series. I never read any of those, or saw them anywhere, for that matter but they appear to star a Lila Fowler-like character. Another form for a Sweet Dreams spin-off series called On Our Own, which I never heard of before. AND a form I remember quite well, for the free Love Letters newsletter! It includes “The latest gossip about the SWEET VALLEY HIGH gang”, “The real life stories about SWEET DREAMS cover girls” and “Who’s in love … and who’s not.” How could you turn that down! I know I never sent away for this one and now I’m kicking myself! It was FREE! I would pay a pretty penny to get some of these newsletters now. Because I thrive on all things retro pop culture. Also because I do not have all of my marbles.

Coming up next: Jessica hates people who aren’t a size six.

#2 Secrets

Special Note: Thanks to LEAH for swapping me a few new copies of the re-issued SVH series (YAY!!!) for some old SVH books! Also, if anyone has a SVH or SV-related blog that I haven’t already linked to on the right … please let me know the details so I can post yours, too! I love reading the writing of fellow SV lovers! 🙂

On to the book…
It’s the one in which we will learn the TRUTH about that nerdy Enid Rollins! You might recall in the last book that Enid kept hinting to Elizabeth that she knew a thing or two about drinking and slutting around! Here it comes!

The Cover: This was one of my favorites as a kid. Check out Elizabeth’s perfectly shocked expression. Doesn’t she look like 30-something mom angry at something her kid did in this picture? Or a schoolteacher? Jess is hilarious with her mischievous face and pastel pink, perfectly 80s landline phone!

The Plot: Enid Rollins reveals to Elizabeth that her old druggie boyfriend, George Warren, has been writing letters to her from college. Yes, that’s right, I said old DRUGGIE boyfriend! See, about two years ago, Enid reacted to her parents’ divorce by becoming a wild party animal. It’s even implied that she had SEX (or, at least, she’s “not … pure”). The fun ended when she and George struck a little boy with George’s car while they were cruising around buzzing on speed. Enid cleaned up, and is desperate to keep this shameful secret from everyone at school. Because seeing the way they reacted to Elizabeth’s supposed one wild night in the last book, we already know what they’d have to say about Enid!

Now, George is clean and wants to see her, but Enid is scared her dickish boyfriend Ronnie Edwards, whom she’s been dating for a couple of months, will find out and dump her. She loves Ronnie for some reason that I can’t figure out. He sounds like an ass. Enid shows Elizabeth the letters, and dumbly drops one under Liz’s bed, where Jessica finds it. Jessica sees Enid as her only real competition for queen of the Fall Ball (Enid Rollins? Really Jess?), and so she makes a copy of the letter and sticks it in Ronnie’s locker, knowing that Ronnie will now make sure nobody votes for Enid. Especially since this letter just happens to be the one which details everything in Enid’s past. Ronnie reacts to the letter by getting rough with Enid in his car and yelling that he knows she’s not as “pure” as she pretends! Enid is devastated to lose the love of this upstanding young man.

Enid blames mild-mannered, dependable old Liz for letting the secret out, and of course Jessica helps her keep this notion. So Ronnie takes Jessica to the ball after she basically throws herself at him at one of Lila Fowler’s wine and cheese parties, which helps cement her win as Queen. Hysterical. But sexy clean Sweet Valley College boy George Warren saves the day by showing up to take Enid to the ball, and they fall in love instantly. Ooooo. Enid and Liz make up, but Liz is too wimpy to let her sister have it and tell Enid who really spilled the secret. Instead, Liz gets back at Jessica by getting everyone to vote for Winston as Fall King instead of Jessica’s beloved Bruce Patman, whom she’s been lusting after at least since her freshman year. (Winston, by the way, is supposed to be super good friends with George or something.) Liz spreads rumors that Jessica is crushing on Winston. Everyone thinks that’s adorable, so clearly Winston isn’t as big of a nerd as Jessica keeps acting like he is. Liz also forces Jessica to kiss Winston in front of everyone by threatening to tell everyone what Jessica did to Enid if she doesn’t. But wait! You mean to tell me that would be worse than Enid’s slatternly behavior at this school? But Jessica moans and cries because Bruce Patman isn’t the king and is waltzing around with some 19-year-old … gross. WAAAAAAH Jessica. Cry me a fucking river!

The Sub-plot: Lila is mad that her fledgling relationship with high school football hero Ken Matthews is in danger because he has a crush on French teacher Ms. Dalton. Even worse, Ms. Dalton is dating Lila’s father! So Lila spreads a rumor that Ken and Ms. Dalton are doing it. Ms. Dalton reacts by ceasing to teach for a while … why is it that pretty much every woman/girl in this book is a total wimp for the most part? Don’t worry, the truth comes out so Ms. Dalton doesn’t have to stand up for herself or anything. She returns to school and Ken ditches Lila.

WTF? Why is it that virginity is like a precious diamond for women to hang on to at this school? AND, apparently, once you’ve had sex that gives every dude license to treat you like you’re walking around with a giant “ASKING FOR IT” sign. Enid’s not pure, so Ronnie can stop being “gentle” now! Wonderful!

-I guess this is just 80s slang, but someone who doesn’t drink or do any drugs is called “straight”… as in, “George was totally straight now.” HAHAHA

-In case you care, Enid has a little brother who never shows up, and I think Winston says he has a brother also, who also never shows up.

In the Back of the Book: An ad for the Sweet Dreams romances, among other things! I remember I tried to read those, but they bored me.

Coming up next… Jessica finally lands that smug tool, Bruce Patman!

#1 Double Love

We’re going straight back to October 1983 for this, our intro to Sweet Valley, the most perfect, Saved by the Bell-like town in the world!

Fair warning: Since this is the first book and is packed with sub-plots, this is going to be the longest entry ever!
The cover: I don’t know what it is about this particular cover, but every single copy I have ever come across has some kind of big scratch across either Jessica or Elizabeth’s face! Mine has a slight white dot on Liz’s mouth. The twins don’t look too bad in this pic. I love Jessica’s mischievous smile. She’s all ready for some good old fashioned boy stealin’. And they’re wearing those gold lavaliers. You know something, I have never heard of a “lavalier” outside of an SVH book.

Who are these girls? They’re Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, those famous size-six, sunstreaked blonde, blue-green-eyed 16-year-old twins with the matching dimples in their left cheeks. Don’t worry, if you didn’t memorize these details the first time, they will be mentioned again, like on every other page of this book.

Jessica is the outgoing, “dazzling” (read: bitchy) co-captain of the SVH cheerleaders (odd since she’s only a junior), and Elizabeth is a studious, sweethearted wuss who lets her sister walk all over her and get whatever she wants, then sits at home and cries about it all day. Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Okay, so both girls are pledging the “best” SVH sorority, Pi Beta Alpha, but Jessica is the only one who really gives a shit about it. Liz is too busy with her secret writing gig as the “Eyes and Ears” gossip columnist for the SVH newspaper, The Oracle. It’s a tradition every year that when the identity of the Eyes and Ears columnist is discovered, that person gets tossed, fully-clothed, into the school swimming pool. Considering that Liz is supposed to be kindhearted and non-gossipy, it seems odd that she would be writing this column and not Jessica. But whatever …

The twins hang out with a bunch of big shot jocks (like Ken Matthews), snobby cliquish chicks (like Lila Fowler and Cara Walker), and a couple of nerds (like Winston Egbert and Enid Rollins) at places like the Dairi Burger restaurant and the school dances, which appear to be held every other week. SVH’s “hottest” rock band, The Droids, fronted by Dana Larson, always plays at each dance. I guess that makes The Droids the only SVH band.

The plot: Liz is crushing hard on Todd Wilkins, the star of the basketball team. He obviously likes her too, but when Jessica figures this out, she flips out! How DARE a cute boy prefer Liz to her! She starts hanging around Todd all the time, and Liz just steps back. She thinks she was wrong and that he does want Jess, and she doesn’t dare interfere. Yes, Liz, he’s following you around all over school, trying to talk to you, and looking less than thrilled whenever your sister interrupts, but yeah, he really wants her, not you! That makes so much sense. Liz is secretly devastated that she can’t have Todd, but she decides to be oh-so-noble and not say a word and instead sits at home crying miserably about her bad luck … on way too many pages.
Meanwhile, Jessica’s plan to snare Todd isn’t going as well as she’d hoped, so it’s even more hilarious that Liz is too much of a dumbass to see that Todd wants HER. Jessica is so irritated that Todd isn’t paying enough attention to her that she does this little hip-swaying walk home to attract men … yes, great idea Jess, attract strange men to make yourself feel better. She’s propositioned by Rick Andover, the classic trashy high school dropout, who comes screeching up next to her and demands that she go on a date with him. They wind up at Kelly’s, a total dive bar down at the beach. Jessica demurely sips her beer while having a panic attack over the atmosphere and the fact that Rick is pretty much trying to finger her under the table. Okay, he just slides his hand around on her knee but he’s definitely trying to get some. Jessica is properly horrified! Of course, she had NO IDEA that this crazy man who picked her up while she was swinging her ass around might want to hit it. She asks Rick to take her home, he says no way, and a fight breaks out when this big burly dude tries to help out Jessica’s crying, whiny, terrified ass. A cop shows up and takes Jessica home. As she’s blubbering out what happened, he asks for her name. Being an ace cop, the dude doesn’t ask for Jessica’s ID or anything. When she sobs “Wakefield” he just assumes she’s Elizabeth … this is getting better and better.
The cop drops Fake Liz off at her house and yells at “Elizabeth” that he doesn’t want to see her out with Rick Andover again. Nosy neighbor Caroline Pearce overhears and runs home to dial up everyone on her Princess phone (yes, that’s what it says!) and spread the word! Oh my! The next day, everyone at school is SHOCKED and APPALLED by this clearly unbelievable behavior. Everyone knows that anyone who goes to KELLY’S to drink BEER with RICK ANDOVER is obviously a complete slutface. Liz is branded Trollop of the Year and everyone starts treating her like shit. Filthy rich, whorish, asshole Bruce Patman cracks jokes about her “talents” (DOUBLE STANDARD ALERT!). Boring Enid Rollins assures Liz she’ll always be her best friend even though she’s completely ruined her reputation (without actually coming out and telling Liz what she’s talking about!). Todd W. is just in dismay and miserable at Liz’s behavior, that is such an affront to him personally. Because they’re dating and all! Because he’s not letting Jessica totally cock-block him or anything!
Liz is so wimpy that she goes a whole day without asking anyone what the fuck is going on, and once she does realize what happened she’s still too wimpy to come out and make it known that Jessica was the big offender, not her. Jessica cries and moans about what a terrible place Kelly’s is — there was DRINKING! and FIGHTING! no way! Not at A BAR! – and agrees to tell Todd the truth, but she does half-heartedly, and he thinks she’s just trying to protect Liz. So he makes out with her in front of the whole school (which earns all kinds of whistles — apparently kids making out at high school is unheard of), and agrees to take her to the fraternity-sorority dance, held by Pi Beta Alpha and Todd’s frat, Phi Epsilon. Jessica is delighted with herself, but Liz keeps crying alone in her room. See, she can’t just come out and tell everyone what really happened, because Jessica is just so “adorable” that she can’t bear to do this to her sister. Wow, they both suck.
Liz is stuck going to the dance with class clown Winston Egbert, who has been in love with Jessica for all of his life despite the fact she is a complete biotch to him (like she is to everyone). Todd and Liz spend the evening staring longingly across the gym floor at one another. Awwww, waaaah. This mopefest ends when Liz goes home early to cry some more and to imagine that Todd is out feeling up Jessica. In reality, Todd is actually on the porch with Jessica, privately mooning over Liz and giving Jess a chaste peck on the cheek. Jessica is so furious that he didn’t try to tongue her or anything that she runs upstairs and concocts a story for her sister that Todd tried to sexually assault her in his car. Liz is very angry and automatically believes this story because she is a complete idiot.
Now, this is not to say that Todd is a fantastic person. He calls Liz up and very condescendingly tells her he’s decided to grant her his forgiveness for going out with Rick Andover. Liz thinks he’s trying to apologize for groping her sister, and when she realizes what he’s really saying … oh blah. It’s supposed to be a hilarious mix-up scene but it actually just pissed me off! Todd is such a douchebag and Liz is such a doormat! These two deserve each other. But before we can finally end this charade, we have to read through some bullshit where Liz sees Todd with the Droids’ drummer Emily Mayer at the Dairi Burger and cries some more as she assumes he’s dating her now. LAME, LIZ. LAME.
The truth is FINALLY revealed when Rick Andover forces his way into the twins’ car as they drive home in their mom’s little red Fiat Spider. He takes them on a crazy joyride around the DB parking lot, where Todd picks up the chase at the sight of Liz’s terrified face! I’m surprised he didn’t think she deserved it. Todd corners Rick at Kelly’s and saves the day by knocking him out cold. Jessica runs to kiss Todd but Liz finally grows some ovaries and pushes Jessica out of the way and kisses Todd herself. Now, keep in mind that at this point, Liz still thinks Todd tried to assault Jessica! She’s already spent some time trying to rationalize it in her brain. Yes, let’s all rationalize attempted sexual assault so we can still feel okay about dating the assaulter, sounds great. They go home and Liz’s daydreams about Todd stroking her hair become reality as they smooch in the car after finding out that no, Todd did not try to force himself on Jessica and no, it wasn’t Liz at Kelly’s, it was Jess! Liz then storms upstairs and gets the truth out of her sister, who of course twists it all around for her benefit. Liz still manages to get her twin tossed in the SVH pool at a school party. She does this by tricking Jess into dressing as Liz, and then getting Dana Larson to announce that Liz is the Eyes and Ears chick … ha, ha, Jess. The end.
The sub-plots: The twins’ older brother Steven acts all weird and loony because he’s moping over his secret girlfriend, Tricia Martin, who comes from the trashiest family in town. Tricia is mad because he doesn’t want to be seen with her. At the same time, the twins are harassing him because they think he’s actually banging her slutty older sister, Betsy Martin, who has the worst reputation around. I guess she must hang out at Kelly’s a lot. Steve finally gets approval to date Tricia from his parents (who rightly note that at 18, he can date who he wants, for fuck’s sake). This is after he’s been crying in bed like a loser for a few weekends in a row over the girl HE TREATED LIKE CRAP BECAUSE HE’S TOO MUCH OF A MAMA’S BOY TO TELL HIS FAMILY ABOUT HER, then runs off and says “sorry” to Tricia and she instantly forgives him.
The “old rich” Patmans and the “nouveau riche” Fowlers have a big fight over who gets to do what with the SVH football field; each wants to develop it for some nefarious purpose. This whole thing is resolved with a court case that seems to take two seconds. The SVH field is SAVED!
The twins and Steve suspect their Cleaverized parents are splitting up because Mr. Wakefield is supposedly having an affair with Marianna West, a sexy “divorcee” who’s working on the football field case with him. Of course, once Mr. Wakefield reveals that Marianna is actually the newest partner at the law firm, it’s alright. Suddenly the fact that he touches her a lot and spends hours alone with her at her house is a-okay!
There’s some totally boring shit about Enid Rollins and her new boyfriend Ronnie Edwards and what a controlling dbag he is.
That’s a lot of subplots for one book!
WTF? The junior class seems to run the school at SVH. I don’t think I read about a single senior in this whole book, except Patman, who seems to hang out with only juniors.
Todd is a douche for assuming the rumor about Liz is true without asking her and for acting like it’s the worst thing he’s ever heard. Listen to this dickish shit: “Todd, a sad, faraway look in his brown eyes, said, ‘Maybe there’s just so much a person can take. I mean, how long can you go on trusting someone, believing in someone?'”

Todd is also a total douchebag for deciding that he can grant “forgiveness” to Elizabeth for her unspeakable behavior. *eye roll* (Todd speaking) “‘But I want you to know it’s all right. You made a mistake – it’s over. I’m willing to forget about it.'” (Again, he is NOT DATING LIZ YET)
Everyone is a douchebag for giving Liz hell for going out with Rick and supposedly acting like a strumpet when Bruce Patman bangs every chick alive and is still seen as an incredible dreamboat.
Fun fact: Lila sings soprano in the school choir.

That rally on the football field was totally Bayside High, with Jessica shaking her pom-poms and “Kenny” Matthews leading a dumb shout and some kind of crazy march to save the field. Where’s the Tigers mascot and Zack Morris?
Seriously, what is up with this school? Liz is just an unbelievable pariah for running around with Rick Andover and going to a bar at 16! If she went to my school all the kids would be like, Liz is a badass!

Bruce Patman makes this hilarious quote: “‘Hey, when it comes to having a disgrace in the family, Jessica Wakefield, just consider your dear sister, the pub crawler. And I do mean crawler!'”

Why does Jessica get off so easily for crying rape against Todd? That’s horrible shit! Of course, I guess we had to have something to kick off the perpetual rape theme that runs throughout this series.
Liz is a wimpy doormat and totally pisses me off. If you couldn’t tell.
Rick calls the twins “Heaven” and “Heavenly” WTF?
This book really cracks me up due to the Sweet Valley Twins Super Chiller, The Christmas Ghost, which places a twelve-year-old Jessica in a A Christmas Carol-like story in the Scrooge role. Christmas Future shows Jessica she will be the most unpopular and disliked girl in school if she doesn’t change her evil ways. One of the evil things she is shown is how her future self tried to steal Todd from Elizabeth. As you can see in this book, Jessica really learned a lot from that terrifying night! (Of course, the SVT series debuted after this book was written, but whatever)
Ads in the back of the book: Nothing too cool in this copy; just some order forms for more SVH books, including the very first Super Thriller, and an offer to send away for Bantam’s shop-at-home catalog. I sent away for this when I was six or seven and perused it for hours. I never took them up on their “buy four books, get the fifth for 50 cents” offer though.
Next: Enid’s mysterious past is about to be revealed! We’ll find out why she was so much cooler before!

Snark Valley High!

So … I recently completed my collection of Sweet Valley High books .. those beloved soap opera novels of my youth. From 1983 to 2003, the original SVH series made us laugh, cry, shake our heads, and roll our eyes. At 27 years old, I am more than happy to revisit the shame of a well-placed stereotype, the ludicrousness of a Jessica Wakefield scheme, the irritation of another description of twin girls with perfect size six figures.

I’ll be posting an entry for each SVH book as I read them, in order of publication … This is really just a fun little project for myself as there are already several other blogs out there that do the exact same thing! (See: http://thedairiburger.wordpress.com/, http://community.livejournal.com/1bruce1/, http://web.mac.com/mcflaxbart/Sweet_Valley_Diaries/Blog/Blog.html — all lots of fun 🙂 I also plan to pick up the re-issues of the SVH novels and see what those are all about as well …

It’s especially fun for me because the last SVH book that I read was #92, She’s Not What She Seems, with crazy old Paula Perrine! So, I’m afraid I’ve completely missed out on the whole Jungle Prom, Morning After, earthquakes, werewolves, Secret Diaries thang … but that’s about to change. To tell you the truth, I can’t tell you if that’s good or bad. We’re about to find out!