The plot: Todd and Liz made up in the last book after their first big breakup, so now it’s time to throw something else their way. Todd has finally saved up enough money to get a Yamaha bike. He also wastes money on a hot pink helmet for Liz because she’s too big of a baby to tell him she’s not allowed to ride. You see, the Wakefields apparently had a cousin, Rexy, who was killed in a motorcycle accident three years ago. Ever since then, Ned and Alice have been convinced motorcycles are the devil and the twins are forbidden to ride one.
When Liz eventually bites the bullet and tells Todd the truth, he’s disappointed and offers to chat with her parents. They’re pleased he asked them about it, but still refuse to let Liz ride. Todd’s bike gets a lot of attention from the other kids at school. He even stops Jerry “Crunch” McAllister (another teenaged drunk) from beating the crap out of Danny Stauffer for hitting his giant van, simply by distracting him with his flashy bike. All the girls swoon, and Todd can now make good use of that helmet by giving other girls, like Enid Rollins and Mandy Farmer, rides around town. Who the hell is Mandy Farmer? She’s apparently “shapely.” Liz seethes with jealousy and probably secretly wishes Enid would shut the fuck up about her boring sweet 16 birthday party plans, because I know I do. (Did you know Enid is really supposed to be in tenth grade, but she’s so smart she skipped a grade?) Uh, anyway, Liz accepts a ride home with Guy Chesney (from The Droids) one day, who’s still a bit of a douche and hits on her. Todd seethes with jealousy at THAT. Liz concocts a romance in her head between Todd and Mandy and starts flipping out, but it turns out Mandy is actually getting together with Winston Egbert, who finally appears to be over pseudo-trollop Jessica Wakefield. They straighten it out and laugh at their idiocy, but Liz gets steamed again when Todd takes forever to show up at Enid’s boring country club party. (I think I’m just jealous because I never had a big sweet sixteen.) By the time he does show up, everyone but Enid’s mother have taken off to dance at some all ages club called the Caravan, and Liz’s ride, Jessica, is at Miller’s Point rolling around in the backseat with Enid’s college-age cousin, Brian. What a shock! Todd explains he’s been with Crunch McAllister because Crunch is going to buy Todd’s bike. Liz is both sad and happy and she then cajoles Todd into giving her a ride to the Caravan. Meanwhile, Jessica feels guilty for being a mean bitch and gets Brian to grudgingly drive them back to the country club to check on Liz. On the way there, they come across THE ACCIDENT: Todd’s crumpled bike and Crunch’s van! Jessica freaks out wondering how she’s going to tell Liz that something has happened to her boyfriend, when she happens to see Liz lying on the ground unconscious and bloodied. She was thrown from the bike when drunken Crunch hit them head on, and she wasn’t wearing her helmet. The book ends with the Wakefield family gathered in the hospital as Liz lies in a coma and Ned Wakefield tries not to strangle Todd to death! WILL LIZ LIVE?
The subplot: There isn’t one … unless you count Jessica’s dating adventures, which I don’t. She is hanging out with Danny Stauffer until his fight with Crunch. Since Danny doesn’t successfully defend himself, she’s disgusted and needles Liz into asking Enid to get her together with Brian. (Is this the cousin who told Enid about the wild college slumber party?) It’s implied that Brian feels Jessica up when she has to adjust the straps of her top, or something.
WTF? -When we found out the Wakefields’ cousin was named Rexy, did anyone else think “OH REXY! You’re so … SEXY!” Empire Records? Anyone?
-Speaking of Rexy, I’m sure there’s a perfectly good reason he was described as like a brother to Jessica, yet we never heard anything about him in any of the series about the twins’ younger days (that I know of)? I guess by the time they started rolling those out, they figured the readers were too young to deal with someone being killed off.
-I don’t get why Rexy’s death is the motorcycle’s fault. It says he was killed in a head-on collision with a station wagon. If he’d been in a car, he probably still would have been killed or at least very seriously injured. It’s not like the motorcycle made him drift into the path of the wagon.
-And, why is Liz’s coma Todd’s fault? Or even Liz’s fault? Crunch is the drunk dickhead that hit them!
-A big part of the story is the re-opening of the Dairi Burger after a remodeling project, but I don’t remember it ever being closed!
-We learn the Dairi Burger is owned by the Doherty brothers. I don’t think they were mentioned before.
-Jerry McAllister HAS been mentioned before … in Sweet Valley Twins! And I seem to remember he was a pretty nice dude in that series! This was before his “Crunch” nickname.
-I was going to make fun of Liz’s melodramatic whining that Enid shared something (a motorcycle ride) with Todd that Liz “never can.” Never? I mean, for fuck’s sake, when you’re 18 you can take all the rides with Todd you want, Liz! (assuming you are actually still speaking to one another) But, then I remembered that when I was 16, 18 seemed an eternity away. And I understood. Just a little.
The cover…does not fit with the story. The only time Liz rides Todd’s motorcycle is at night, and it’s daytime here. Neither of them are wearing helmets although Todd, at least, always did. Todd has nice arms though. I have never ridden a motorcycle (although I’d really like to), but the way they’re sitting doesn’t look like the way you should sit on a motorcycle. Liz, for one, seems like she’d fly right off the back of it!
In the back of the book we get a character profile for Mr. Collins, in which we learn of his disastrous divorce, his love for his son Teddy, and his relationship with Ms. Dalton, the teacher. (No more Mr. Fowler!) We also get an excerpt from SVH book 7, which is designed to make us think that maybe Liz is going to die! Book order forms include one for the Super Editions, which weren’t out when this book was originally released (this isn’t a first printing, of course) and which are made out to be the most fun books in the world (which they kind of are).