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

#7 Dear Sister

Ahhh, another Sweet Valley classic! I felt like I should be kicking back in a giant armchair by the fire, smoking a pipe and introducing Jessica as she cries by Elizabeth’s bedside …

The cover: A lovely lavender with a dead serious (and somehow very 30-something-looking) Jessica clutching a black and white picture of her sister, Elizabeth. The tag line, the blurb on the back, and the excerpt in the front of the book are all designed to make us think that Liz is in a coma for the entire book, and that we won’t find out if she lives until the end. But…

The plot completely breezes past this part. Liz wakes up at the end of Chapter One, after several pages of helpless crying from Jessica and Todd and a sexy doctor convincing Jessica that all she has to do is beg Liz to wake up. So, yeah, Liz wakes up, and she flirts with that doctor and basically every other male she comes across – except Todd. She decides Enid is indeed a bore, that too much makeup is not enough, and that grades and chores are for chumps while clothes and boys-only parties at the Wakefield lair are totally awesome. Yeah … she wants a party with a ton of boys all to herself. What’s that about? Dreams of gangbangs? (She’s talked out of that last idea by Jessica, who secretly wishes that they could have that kind of party!) So Liz has become Jessica, pretty much. Yet Jessica is completely shocked and feels like she doesn’t have a sister anymore, but when she tries to talk to her parents about it, they brush her off. Nice parenting there, Ned and Alice.

Jess realizes Liz now equals Jessica with an extra dash of crazy and starts to see things from old Liz’s view … or so we think. Todd decides that crazy new Liz just hates him because the accident is somehow his fault and slunks around the school moping and losing basketball games. Enid just kind of fades away after one confused conversation with Jessica. Nice. Meanwhile, I don’t recall seeing any mention of Crunch McAllister getting his due for driving drunk! And if there is one, it’s so small that I forgot all about it! A perfect opportunity to teach kids about driving drunk … wasted. Way to go

Anyway, crazy new Liz:

  • Flirts with Mr. Collins. INAPPROP!
  • Writes a fake item in Eyes and Ears about Susan Stewart cheating on Ken Matthews, because she thinks this will help her get into Ken’s pants
  • Gets fired from the paper for writing that shit
  • Coaxes Winston into letting her copy his paper because she doesn’t wanna do hers
  • Gets in big trouble for cheating
  • Pisses Lila off for trying to steal her boyfriend Tim (um, Tim who?)
  • Drives Max Dellon’s motorcycle (Max is another Droid)
  • Causes Jessica and Todd to bond over the situation! WOW!
  • Gets wasted with Bruce at Lila’s “pickup party” (yes, I said pickup party … sounds like college!)
  • Rides off in Bruce’s Porsche and is about to drunkenly do him when Todd punches Bruce and makes Liz go home
  • Stands up Bill Chase, who’s been in love with her for a long time, to run off with Bruce. (Todd actually tells Bill to just go ahead and date Liz if that’s what he wants. We aren’t supposed to think Todd would want to punch Bill out??)
  • Almost bangs Bruce at his parents’ beach house! He slides his hand onto her breast and she says it feels good! You dirty slut, Liz.

The only reason Bruce doesn’t get to hit it with Liz is because she falls and hits her head in the bedroom and comes back to life. When she freaks out and tries to get away from Bruce, he tries to scare her into banging him with threats of ruining her reputation, and shows her how strong tennis has made his wrists by twisting Liz’s around … oh, Bruce, you silly rapist, you. Yes, another one. Liz wrecks Bruce’s shit and tears out of the house and up the beach to find Todd and sob in his arms. Epic FAIL, Bruce!

The sub-plot ties in nicely. The Percy twins, twelve-year-old bores from down the street, come to stay with the Wakefields for a few weeks while their parents are away. The Wakefield twins are supposed to look after them, but of course Liz always takes off at just the right time, wrecking her sister’s dates with Danny Stauffer (she’s with him again) by forcing Jess to look after the twins instead. Eventually Jessica has to stand Danny up for a beach date to take the twins to a music audition (no cell phones = you lose) and when she does get to the beach, she spots Danny with his arm around some other girl. But then the twins help Jessica defend herself to her parents after she gets a speeding ticket and then hits some man’s car.

WTF? Jessica has to promise Danny “anything” he wants (a blowjob?) in order to get him to take the twins along with them to their drive-in movie date.
-Jessica tells her reflection that she’s glad she lost TWO POUNDS because “Danny wouldn’t want to put his arms around a blimpo.” Yes, because a size six with two extra pounds is a real blimpo, Jessica fucking Wakefield! I read this as a young, impressionable girl! Can I blame this chick for every body image problem I’ve ever had?
-The twins dress as “sexy matadors” for Lila’s pickup party … WHAT. THE. FUCK.
-Bruce keeps calling Liz “Sweet Liz.” So creepy.
-After Liz stands up Bill, Jessica decides to take a page from her old book of tricks and impersonates Liz so she can meet Bill instead. She’s mad because Bill’s never paid her any attention, even turning her down for the Sadie Hawkins dance one time. She gets Bill to admit he’s fallen in love with her (her = Liz), and makes out with him on the beach. then spills the beans about her real identity. She’s doing this because the plan is somehow supposed to get Bill to fall out of love with Liz and in love with Jess. Because that makes tons of sense.

Personally speaking, I think this book was an excuse for Liz to have some real fun for a change without having to suffer any consequences. Hey, it was that bump on her head! She can’t be blamed if she loses her golden hymen to Bruce Patman! I so wish she had bumped her head again AFTER the dirty deed was already done!

EDIT: Trivia Time! I’ve now heard that this book was originally supposed to be called About-Face and that one of the original printings of book 5 has an excerpt from book 7 with that title.

In the back of the book is nothing special.

Next up: Jessica torments Bill because she has learned nothing from Dear Sister.


Comments on: "#7 Dear Sister" (4)

  1. Yeh creepy dr guy in chapter one. How inappropriate is that ? Why is he calling a sixteen yr old girl beautiful and cupping her face???! WTF? I don’t think you should be touching patients relatives dr especially 16 girls on their own. Gripping jessicas shoulders … I don’t think so mr. This is all in case we’ve forgotten how gorgeous the twins are and overdeveloped for 16 year olds. I was ok at 16- started to fill out lol but there weren’t that many 16 yr old girls I knew that waltzed around in bikinis and had curves. Theyre all so over sexualised …I only see that now as an adult.

  2. Erica Chestnut said:

    I have just started re-reading this series for a bit of nostalgia and am loving this site. I agree with everything written here except you did not mention the fact that Ned and Alice agreed to watch the Percy twins and then would make a mad dash for the door anytime that they needed something. Jessica had to look after them because her parents were ridiculously sorry. Also, if my daughter had just gotten out to the hospital after almost dying, I would definitely be on the lookout for any major behavioral changes. They don’t give a crap and Jessica comments that she knows they will blame her for it when they find out about Liz’s problems. WTF.

  3. by Dane Youssef

    Muy muchas gracias and merci beau-coup to one Snark Valley for meticulously taking the time and effort to put this thing up. And as for this chapter in the infinite, never-ending “Sweet Valley” chronicles… a really nice build-up… but the worst pay-off imaginable.

    Well, as far as I’m concerned. And everyone else who had the random misfortune of life to read it, I’m sure.

    I mean, come on… The way they tried to end all this… the pathetic attempt at a conclusion they concocted… It’s like they wanted to deliberately insult their readers without just writing in big, bold letters on the very last page: “YOU ARE ALL IDIOTS WHO WANT ESCAPIST FANTASY SOAP-TRIPE SO BADLY, WE DON’T EVEN HAVE TO TRY.”

    Honestly… the way they tried to resolve all this… in other words, put everything neatly back to usual–tie things up with a nice, neat little bow–was really terrible. She’s at the Patman’s place with Bruce still in full “Uber-Jessica” mode and ready to do the nasty until Liz bumps her head and the personality is instantly resolved. Uh-huh. Right. OK, so it was standard overly- common soap-opera amnesia. She doesn’t even remember offering it up to Bruce. But he wants it and he’s going to get it one way or the other. So he forces himself on her and she races out and into the arms of Todd Wilkins.

    Does anyone else feel more than just a little nauseous here? Seriously… they couldn’t find a better way to end all this? It’s painful… it’s embarrassing.

    I think we all know why these things are out-of-print. No wonder “SVH” is so over. After reading “The Sweet Life”… many have given up their lifetime subscription to the fan club. And there haven’t especially been any new members.

    These things have just become obsolete. They even re-imagined them in 2008 The re-working was a huge improvement. But come on. Entertainment has really come a long way. Somehow, these thing just do not hold up. Just the whole idea. The whole concept.

    –-For Our Headmaster of The “SVH” Blog, For Liz and Todd, For Miss Pascal, For the Readers… and all of the town of “Sweet Valley,” Dane Youssef

  4. This was the first book, during my recent revisits to Sweet Valley, that my nostalgia goggles just couldn’t de-WTF-ize. Even knowing these stories are supposed to be escapist fantasies couldn’t keep me from mentally crying foul at the Wakefield parents. Who apparently don’t know their kids well enough to notice any difference in Liz’s post-coma personality. She suddenly wants to throw herself a party a week after getting out of the hospital, and insists on getting new clothes for said party? Totally normal! Her grades start slipping? Disappointing, but no big deal! OMG she actually PLAGIARIZES a school assignment??!! SO not cool and she is SO grounded (but can still go to Lila’s “pick-up party” as long as she really promises to do her homework later), but this couldn’t POSSIBLY have anything to do with Liz’s recent head injury (which the doctor apparently didn’t consider serious enough for a follow-up appointment), nope, the idea doesn’t even occur to Mom & Dad Wakefield.

    Most Observant and Involved Parents of the Year, give ’em a round of applause, folks! Oh, and let’s not forget the supporting cast of Liz’s teachers, who also showed an amazing ability to (not) put 2 and 2 together!

    I mean, I know this is Sweet Valley, where the usual laws of logic don’t apply, but COME! ON!

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