A 30-something's lovingly sarcastic journey through all of Sweet Valley High, and then some (with lots of swears)

#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!
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Comments on: "#1 Double Love" (19)

  1. Hilarious – it’s all so serious and everyone must talk about everything and get over everything . How long does the first book cover? A week? Goodness.

  2. Jessica is an outrageous bitch in this and lis is the biggest wimp. Maybe later on we discover that lis took jessicas lung or kidney or something and that’s why she forgives her in four seconds. They can’t be 16 !!! Theyre 22 at least. Why is Jessica wearing slinky outfits with a neck line so low todd would be panting!! And her mum just smiles the way parents do when their kids are happy?
    What a crock of shit lol I do enjoy reading these- guilty pleasure. I can see why at 11 12 I liked these- twins seemed so glamorous. It’s only as a grown up, you realise the NO 16 yr old is like that.

  3. steelmag9 said:

    This is so hilarous! But what was even funnier now was the audio tapes they had back then. They used actors and the dialogue was so hysterical and so full of histronics.

    @Karina: I swear, I wanted to be a teenager so bad when I first started reading these books when I was 8. I thought it was going to be full of drama and boyfriends and dances. How disappointed I was when I found out otherwise.

  4. I don’t care what anyone says about the entire Sweet Valley Series, they were the best brain candy ever. I started SVT in second grade and by grade four, I was doing double duty with SVT and SVH. I was the only girl in the hood with the entire collection and I still own them to this day. I didn’t care if that town was lily white and not damn person looked like me. I went along for the ride in Liz and Jess’ Fiat, crushed on Steven, and cursed out Todd for his douchiness and then fell in love with him and Liz. This series, was the best along with the Baby Sitters Club and I was slightly disappointed that I had two boys because who will I pass the entire SV collection too? I guess the grandbabies in twenty-five years or so.

  5. Anyone know what ages these books are appropriate for?

    • Supposedly ages 12 and up, as indicated by the copyright info in the book. but damn, these books are hilariously bad at the age i am now!

  6. Catherine said:

    “You know something, I have never heard of a “lavalier” outside of an SVH book.”

    Thank God that’s not just me. Who calls them that

  7. I also started reading these in 2nd grade. I didnt understand everything. Now at 26, i am rereading this delightful garbage. Robin was always my fave character. If they make a new series, i must be Robin. But it needs to be set in the 80s. No modernizing this shit.

    Anyways this review echoes all my thoughts. I was delighted. Jessica reminds me of my own stepsister named… Jessica who is also an evil bitch. And Liz needs to smack the shit out of her. And Todd would have also been slapped and told off.

  8. I have been collecting all of my old SVH books & I have to admit that most of them are inane. However, I am enjoying revisiting my childhood by reading them. The more I read, the more I am convinced that Jessica is bipolar. Her moods switch so quickly & she is most definitely a pathological liar! I used to get so mad that Elizabeth would let her twin do her so wrong. If Jessica were my sister I would beat her ass a few times so she got the message not to f**k with me! I have to laugh that Jessica calls Betsy Martin & Annie Whitman trashy when Jess leads one guy on after another. Jess is just jealous because she has no moral fiber. In my high school she would have been beaten down if she tried to steal another chick’s guy…..

  9. i was a Todd and Elizabeth fan. i like their character is a popular, attractive and kind personality… but reading it again, i just realized that todd is a total douchebag!

    In totality, i really enjoyed reading the series.

    • by Dane Youssef

      RESPONDING TO WHAT jamie said:

      Todd is no more a douche-bag–oh let’s face it, a straight-out douche than Elizabeth herself is. They’re both pure absolute concentrated, undiluted, fresh douche. That’s why the two deserve each other.

      Boys are often just pawns for the girl’s sick games in the hamlet of “Sweet Valley.” He was usually either the white heroic valiant and gallant knight on horseback… or something for the girls to desire and battle to the death over. Damn them.

      But back to my original bullet-point–Liz and Todd really deserve each other. Which is probably why (SPOILERS!) Jess wound up with him in the end. All the infidelity between these kids–fictional characters, once again. Try to remember all that. I imagine every time Liz was snogging another boy, Todd was seeing how far Jess would go… further than Liz would let him, I imagine. Which is why they broke up again (try to contain your surprise) in college.

      Hey, Liz cheated every chance she got. Jess, even more so. Even the chances she didn’t get. Maybe it’s really Liz and Jess who deserve each other.

      Yeah definitely, that makes more sense.

      I keep waiting for it to be discovered that Winston actually faked his death, he goes to find Todd, professes his true feeling which he had repressed all the years they’ve known for each other, Todd (after some coaxing) admits the same, the two find love in each other’s arms and run away together to Vermont. Or Holland. Or Canada. To open a bed-and-breakfast and maybe even have their own talk-show.

      They certainly deserve one more than Jess or Lila.

      Yeah, I’d watch that. Wouldn’t you?

      –For Todd and Winston… Forever, Dane Youssef

  10. WAS “BEVERLY HILLS 90210” A RIP-OFF OF “SWEET VALLEY HIGH”

    by Dane Youssef

    Yeah, maybe this is just me, but….

    I just couldn’t help but notice…

    I had read some of the tomes in Miss Francine Pascal’s world-renown series. Seriously, it didn’t just have a cult following. It was a full-blown mainstream religion. It took the whole world by storm. And check out “90210.” Not the big 2008 re-boot that’s all the more recent.

    I’m talking about the original series that completely defined more than 90% of the 1990’s. Which “S.V.H.” did itself for reading, the 80’s and girls. In a good way, of course.

    But in really looking at the two… ‘couldn’t help but notice the blinding similarities.

    “SVH” was a white-hot commodity back then. Hell, it was a worldwide phenomenon. But the original 90210 series that first premiered in 1990.

    I know it found it’s very own voice and became very influential.

    But I noticed a really funny thing. Really funny. It was… well, exactly what the headline up there says. In the first season of a show, it’s still defining it’s voice. And the show seemed like… “Sweet Valley High.”

    No really, it seemed like early on… Season One was entirely patterned after the “S.V.H.” book series. Not just the characters, but the plot threads, the gimmicks… even the same tone! The scheming and manipulative plots of a lot of the girls, the focus on the school newspaper which let to major-league journalism, kids who looked like models and were impossibly perfect, the lurid affairs, the fact that these were all gorgeous children whose everyday problems were even gorgeous in some way. The use of themes as date rape, homosexual rights, alcoholism, domestic violence, Anti-semitism, drug abuse, teenage suicide, homicide, teenage pregnancy, AIDS, bulimia and abortion. Some of the characters even sound the same! They just changed a few things–like cutting up the likes of Liz, Todd, Jess, Bruce, Lila, Winston, Steven, Enid, Devon, Ned, Alice, Nicholas and Regina, Jeffrey, Amy, etc… and just moved a few things around.

    Very few.

    But I’m very astute, friends. I could tell.

    Come on, look at the show early on… the location of Southern California (most soaps in the ’80’s took place in the South since “Dallas” paved the way for that), the use of the twins (Liz and Jess, Brandon and Brenda), the parents of the twins are very similar in each series–the dad is even a lawyer in both series!

    Did “90210” creators Darren Starr, Aaron Spelling and co. hear about the fanatical book series trend Miss Pascal was partly responsible for? And seeing all the hype it was getting, just try to turn it into a TV show–and with very, very, VERY slight differences so as they wouldn’t have to give her one red penny for it?

    Anyone who really read the books and watched S01 should easily pick up on what I’m getting at.

    Well… I’m anxious to hear diagnoses from the rest of you. What’s your two-cents?

  11. WAS “BEVERLY HILLS 90210″ A RIP-OFF OF “SWEET VALLEY HIGH”
    by Dane Youssef

    Yeah, maybe this is just me, but….

    I just couldn’t help but notice…

    I had read some of the tomes in Miss Francine Pascal’s world-renown series. Seriously, it didn’t just have a cult following. It was a full-blown mainstream religion. It took the whole world by storm. And check out “90210.” Not the big 2008 re-boot that’s all the more recent.
    I’m talking about the original series that completely defined more than 90% of the 1990′s. Which “S.V.H.” did itself for reading, the 80′s and girls. In a good way, of course.
    But in really looking at the two… ‘couldn’t help but notice the blinding similarities.

    “S.V.H.” was a white-hot commodity back then. Hell, it was a worldwide phenomenon. But the original 90210 series that first premiered in 1990.

    I know it found it’s very own voice and became very influential.

    But I noticed a really funny thing. Really funny. It was… well, exactly what the headline up there says. In the first season of a show, it’s still defining it’s voice. And the show seemed like… “Sweet Valley High.”

    No really, it seemed like early on… Season One was entirely patterned after the “S.V.H.” book series. Not just the characters, but the plot threads, the gimmicks… even the same tone! The scheming and manipulative plots of a lot of the girls, the focus on the school newspaper which let to major-league journalism, kids who looked like models and were impossibly perfect, the lurid affairs, the fact that these were all gorgeous children whose everyday problems were even gorgeous in some way. The use of themes as date rape, homosexual rights, alcoholism, domestic violence, Anti-semitism, drug abuse, teenage suicide, homicide, teenage pregnancy, AIDS, bulimia and abortion. Some of the characters even sound the same! They just changed a few things–like cutting up the likes of Liz, Todd, Jess, Bruce, Lila, Winston, Steven, Enid, Devon, Ned, Alice, Nicholas and Regina, Jeffrey, Amy, etc… and just moved a few things around.

    Very few.

    But I’m very astute, friends. I could tell.

    Come on, look at the show early on… the location of Southern California (most soaps in the ’80′s took place in the South since “Dallas” paved the way for that), the use of the twins (Liz and Jess, Brandon and Brenda), the parents of the twins are very similar in each series–the dad is even a lawyer in both series!

    Did “90210″ creators Darren Starr, Aaron Spelling and co. hear about the fanatical book series trend Miss Pascal was partly responsible for? And seeing all the hype it was getting, just try to turn it into a TV show–and with very, very, VERY slight differences so as they wouldn’t have to give her one red penny for it?

    Anyone who really read the books and watched S01 should easily pick up on what I’m getting at.

    Well… I’m anxious to hear diagnoses from the rest of you. What’s your two-cents?

    –Noticing Fraud and Theft When I See In Black & White (and In Living Color), Dane Youssef

  12. I’m a few years late in replying to this blog, but I have to tell you, your blog literally made my day. 🙂 I realize that i really hate these books, but for some reason, I love reading them! I can’t wait to read the rest of your reviews.

  13. Hey
    Can someone read the chapters and record?
    Please if you got the audios or Sweet Valley Kids/Twins send them to msoofloo@yahoo.com
    Thanks a zillion
    Mehdi Sufi

  14. […] Adult * I Totally Paused * Red Lemonade * Shannon’s Sweet Valley High Blog * Snark Squad * Snark Valley * Sweet Valley Diaries * The Wide World of Sweet […]

  15. Kristen Lee said:

    Lol I had every single one of these books but when I was 14 or 15 our house burnt down and I lost every single book I owned. That included my Nancy Drew set and Hardy Boys set. Now I’m 40 and just replaced almost all my Nancy Drew books (I’m picky, I want the matte covers) so next I need to work on these. Lol But I just found a digital copy of Double Love and read it, but after reading the snark it just wasn’t the same. Lol Guess I better just get the titles and leave the snark alone, even though it’s hilarious.

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