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

Archive for April, 2009

#14 Deceptions

Well, folks, we’re on book 14, and this is easily the dumbest one yet. I hadn’t had the pleasure of reading this one before, and I see I didn’t miss much. The writing is crap and the story is borrrrring, so let’s get this over with, already, so I can go read about town tramp Betsy Martin instead.

What’s going on? Nicholas Morrow is handsome, rich, and 18 years old, and with once glance at Elizabeth’s “ravishing” smile (gag me), he’s in love with her. He’s also a bit of a freakin’ creeper. He spends the rest of her welcome home party following her around, coercing her into dancing with him and pretty much breathing down her neck while she nervously giggles and tries to shoo him away. As with most creepers, he doesn’t take the hint and professes his undying love to Liz by the end of the night. Liz tells him about Todd, and he keeps whining and bugging her for a date anyway. He finally wins the prize by sending Liz on a guilt trip by telling her she’s not being fair and making her think she is somehow a bad person if she doesn’t go out with this tool when she already has a boyfriend. Her eyes actually fill with tears of misery. Yes, she’s that naive.

And uh … yeah, the days before the date drag on and on as we get to read page after page of Liz feeling guilty and trying to figure out how to tell Todd, which, of course, she doesn’t. I don’t know why not; he’d probably punch Nicholas’s lights out and save the day! Meanwhile, Jessica is convinced she’s hopelessly in love with Nicholas herself and concocts an elaborate scheme (see the sub-plot) to get him, not realizing it’s Liz’s ass he wants. Man, for someone who’s supposed to “always get her man” Jessica sure has to struggle to make dudes notice her a lot.

Let’s just end this crapola story here and now. Liz goes on the dumb date without telling Todd, probably because he already hates Nicholas, with good reason. The dude drooled all over his girl right in front of him at a party, after all. Plus, Todd is such a controlling douchebag that he’d probably hate his guts without a good reason anyway. I mean, he and Liz go to the movies, and Todd tells them what movie they’re going to see, even though Liz doesn’t really like it, and then tells her what movie they’re going to see next time also. He doesn’t even try to compromise or see what she wants to watch. And she just accepts this, doesn’t voice any opinions or anything. Reading this scene now, I’m disgusted because I’m reminded of too many asses I dated in the past — and dumped right quick. I hate boys who try to tell me what to do! AAAAH!

Uh, anyway. Liz is no prize either, because she’s still going on this stupidass date behind her boyfriend’s back, with a boy she doesn’t even like, just to avoid hurting his feelings by, you know, saying “NO, I DON’T CHEAT ON MY MAN. GET OVER YOURSELF, YOU AREN’T AS GREAT AS YOU THINK YOU ARE.” And if she says, “Oh, Todd!” one more time in one more book, I might vomit on the pages. She says it three times between pages 84 and 85 of this book while she’s fawning over how great he is. Lord have mercy, wake up, girl.

Liz goes on the date to an fancyass restaurant called Cote d’or in Malvina (some other town), thinking Todd will be celebrating his mom’s birthday in Sweet Valley, but … surrrrrrrprise! He shows up at the restaurant and catches them holding hands and having coffee, right after the pair agree to be “just friends” because Liz doesn’t love old Saint Nick. (Did you guys drink coffee at 16? I didn’t.) To get out of the situation, Liz pretends to be her twin. Man, that’s convenient, although since she sees Todd long before he sees her, she could just duck under the table or something. Todd buys it, but feels weird and decides to go to the Wakefield house to apologize to Liz for doubting her before Jess gets home to tell her … You guessed it, he meets Jessica instead, plants a big old kiss on her (while she’s wearing a bathrobe), and the story comes out. Man, this part is juicy!

Okay, in truth, I feel kind of bad ragging on Liz like that. I know what it’s like to be expected to be the “nice chick” who never hurts anybody’s feelings, and to feel like you have to put up with dudes’ assholish behavior. But I got over that mess real fast. I was disappointed Liz didn’t call Nicholas and tell him to fuck off and stop bothering her. Or hey, that she didn’t really do anything scandalous with Nicholas. I mean, if you’re going to do something behind Todd’s back, at least make it good.

So, how do they make up (because you know they will)? Well, Elizabeth and Todd both mope around crying all day, and fucking Todd messes up the basketball game and almost makes Sweet Valley lose … NO WAY! Come on Todd, you can’t do that! But then Nicholas goes and has a little pep talk with Todd and lets him know that Liz only went out with him because he basically bullied her into it. You see, Todd, there’s no need to worry! She only did it because she’s a stupid pushover like she’s always been! After this heartwarming talk, Todd bounds back onto the court and totally wows the crowd with his hot b-ball moves! YES! SWEET VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL RULES!

And, yes, there’s a totally barf-inducing make-up scene. Liz walks home by herself so she can throw a solitary pity party, and Todd runs after her and they smooch under the stars and bleaaaaaaaauggggggggggh there goes my breakfast!

This book really made me hate these two. Total tools. Every guy in this series is a total ass, I swear.

The sub-plot: Jessica freaks out over a bad grade, until she realizes she can get Randy Mason to fix it for her. She convinces him to hack into the school’s computer network and change the grade, but he gets caught. Elizabeth finds out, of course, and forces Jessica to go over to the principal’s office and confess. Liz, you big narc! No one really gets in trouble, though, because Liz is such a known goody-goody that she then does a 180 and promises the principal that Jessica really isn’t THAT bad. LAME. I really hope there’s a book somewhere where Liz just busts out and goes crazy and turns into a Betsy Martin type. Maybe she should hit her head again.

WTF? I think this entry really says it all, but seriously: Why is every guy at Sweet Valley a cockface? Todd is the biggest douche on the history of the Earth. You should’ve heard him bagging on Betsy Martin when she came into the Dairi Burger drunk; he is just DISGUSTED at the horrible spectacle. I guess underage drinking is practically unheard of by the other kids at school. He calls her “trash” and continues to pass judgment on her and other people while Liz swoons over him, going, “Oh, Todd!” Grow some ovaries, Liz. This dude sucks.

Also, the ghostwriter really goes all out to show you how rich and over-the-top Nicholas Morrow is. He has birds fluttering in a gold cage, or some such nonsense, and his mannerisms are ridiculous.

The cover: Liz has the stupidest look on her face, like she’s being naughty, when her real attitude throughout the whole book is, “Oh, waaaaaaah, woe is me!” Nicholas has sandy blondish-brown hair, but the book describes it as black. FAIL.

In the back of the book: An ad for a special book in the Sweet Dreams teen romance series … what’s so special about it? The girl in the story is going to be an extra in a Michael Jackson video and finds love on the set! Does this mean there’s a paragraph or two where she interacts with Michael? It reminds me of that time I saw there was going to be a Baby-sitters Club book called Stacey and the New Kids on the Block or something. I was so excited because NKOTB was my favorite group as a kid, but then it turned out it was really about … some new kids … on her block.

Here’s a picture of Star Struck (has anyone read this?):

What’s up next? Tricia Martin finally passes away from cancer … oops, did I spoil something? Not to worry, she leaves her terrible ho-bag druggie sister behind!

#13 Kidnapped!

I am fairly certain this is the very first SVH book I ever read! And I blame it for my subsequent obsession with being tied up … uh, anyway …

What’s going on: Well, we have, once again, a book focused on Elizabeth in peril! And it’s far more ridiculous than I remembered. Our favorite little goody-goody was gagged with chloroform and dragged away by Carl, the disturbed orderly, outside Fowler Memorial Hospital at the end of our last book. She was supposed to go tutor punker Max Dellon, who’s flunking English, before heading off to rich new boy Nicholas Morrow’s party, which it sounds like Max wasn’t invited to. Burrrrn! Jessica, who apparently ditched Aaron Dallas after one date in the last book, is too busy flirting with Nicholas (and being fascinated by his gorgeous, deaf sister, Regina), who adores her right off the bat, to be concerned that Liz is late for the party. Or, at least, that’s what this book would have you believe, but it also has Jessica wondering where Liz is at 7:30 … when she’s not supposed to be there until 8. Oooookay. Max is worrying, however, so he takes off on his own to find Liz. Todd is worrying, too, so he gets Jessica’s attention by shoving her into the Morrows’ indoor pool. Nice work, Todd.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth wakes up gagged and bound to a chair in a windowless little shack with Carl. He buys her some food, a blue cardigan, and some random books, and he lets her go to the bathroom once. He spends most of his time with her creepily stroking her hair, telling her he loves her and sharing his plan to move them way up in the mountains where no one can find them. Yes, that Carl is damned creepy. Liz engineers what she thinks is a clever plan to escape the shack by convincing him to untie her, then making a mad break for the door while screaming and yelling. Carl recaptures her before she makes it outside and she immediately loses all resolve. I’m serious. She immediately decides she’s just doomed to stay here forever, even though Carl takes off for 8 hours two days in a row to go to work. She doesn’t make any sort of plan to hop for the door, chew through her ropes, anything! She needs to take a clue from Erica Pratt! (Google that name.) Instead she tries to “keep going” by thinking about how much she loves her sister and her boyfriend. She figures poor Jessica never even made it to the Morrows’ party because she was supposed to wait for Liz to come by the house so they could ride over together. Uh … Liz, how well do you really know your twin?
While Liz just sits and mopes in her chair, everyone else in Sweet Valley is freaking out. Liz is gone for a total of two days, and the complete hackjob SV police squad are like something out of an SNL skit. They catch Max rooting around in Liz’s abandoned car trying to find out what happened to her, and instead of even checking out the scene, they just haul Max off to the station for questioning and threaten him with buttrape in juvy hall the whole time. They’re way harsher to him than they ever were to Rick Andover. Plus, I don’t think if Max actually killed a girl he’d just be headed to juvy. Then, when the cops realize they don’t have anything to hold Max on, they let him go and announce that Liz must be a runaway. Yep. Their reasoning for this? If someone had kidnapped Liz, they would’ve sent a ransom note by now! Because A) a ransomer would nab LIZ, not Lila or Regina, and B) apparently SV cops aren’t familiar with the classic 80s faces on the milk cartons! And because runaways leave their purse and all that shit in their car. That makes lots of sense! What in the fuck!
Jessica cries miserably and blames herself for Liz’s disappearance while Todd shows off his true asshole self by punching Max Dellon in the face at school when Max insists he hasn’t seen Liz. Unlike many readers, I’ve never been charmed by Todd. He just acts like a complete toolbag. Now maybe you can see why. Nicholas comes to see Jess to comfort her, and she thinks to herself that normally having him in her bedroom would be fodder for all kinds of fantasies. Uhhhh … like what, chastely kissing? Or is this supposed to be a masturbation reference?
Elizabeth is finally saved when Jessica, Todd and Max do some investigating of their own by heading to the hospital. They run into Carl, who freaks out thinking Jessica is Elizabeth. He must be truly crazy not to realize Liz has a twin after all the time Jessica spent on that same hall wooing Jeremy Frank. He starts yelling at Jessica for escaping and she pulls some weird shit that’s supposed to be clever, but isn’t. She pretends to be Liz, and I guess it’s so Carl won’t try to make a break for it, or something, even though he’s already surrounded by ten people who have already jumped his ass. I thought she was going to trick him into saying where he was keeping Liz. That would have been the intelligent thing to do. Instead, Carl confesses to the cops where Liz is. Uh, again, A) how did the hospital not have the address of someone who works there? Is that shack not his home? Because he acts like it is, and B) what if he never confessed? Everyone just assumes he’s going to let it out when he’s captured.
I think I’ve been watching too much Law & Order.
Everyone cheers and goes to rescue Liz without stopping to think that she could’ve been raped or beaten or half-starved. They just assume she’s all right and don’t bother to ask her when they find her. The Wakefields throw a big reunion party and Todd and Liz make out in the den. Mrs. Wakefield sees and we learn that she’s bothered that the two are so serious, implying she worries they might have sex, and that she secretly wishes Liz would be more like Jessica and date around! You mean, making out with random boys in cars and almost getting date-raped every other book? Sounds great! But then Liz meets Nicholas … and it’s immediately apparent that he wants a piece of her … hell, the ghostwriter makes it sound like he practically undresses her with his eyes!
The cover: Lord have mercy, I forgot to snark on the cover when I first posted this. Well, the cover doesn’t represent what actually happened. Liz isn’t kidnapped in front of a plain white wall, but outside the hospital in the dark! Carl doesn’t sneak up on her out of nowhere while she holds her hand to her face in a melodramatic pose, either. He comes up and talks to her, then abruptly grabs her. And, that’s supposed to be her candy striper’s uniform? When I think candy striper, I think bright red with candy cane stripes and a little hat … but I probably got that from Saved by the Bell.

The sub-plot: The whole book revolves around Liz and her disappearance. I guess you could count the blurb about Max Dellon passing his English test on his own, but since he’s thinking the whole time about Liz and getting upset, I’d say not.
Back of the book: The usual, plus an order form for some Paul Zindel YA novels like My Darling, My Hamburger (I think that’s the one about abortion), The Pigman, and I Never Loved Your Mind. Did anybody ever read these? I haven’t (I don’t think), but I know I got a couple off Ebay with a big book lot …
Next time …. Nicholas Morrow makes a move on Liz and she doesn’t exactly run the other way!

#12 When Love Dies

Yeah, I’m writing this instead of working on an analysis chart for my master’s degree. So if I flunk out of school, it is totally Francine Pascal’s fault! *Jessica-like pout*

Alright, so we’re on book 12, and I must say that the main storyline was about as dull as I feared it would be, while simultaneously stirring my heartstrings just a wee tad. However, a lighthearted silly side story starring Jessica making a fool out of herself over a boy (because that’s not new or anything) kept the edge off.

The plot: Steven Wakefield’s longtime girlfriend, Tricia Martin, a senior at SVH, doesn’t want to go out with him anymore. She refuses to see him, and after weeks of moping and crying, he finally dumps her because she all but admits she is seeing someone else.
Tricia disappears from school, and rumors run rampant around school about Tricia being no good – you know, like the rest of her apparently derelict family. Jessica decides this is the perfect time to set up her heartbroken bro with her gossipy, boring cheerleader best friend, Cara, who’s been crushing on him forever. Steve agrees to go out with Cara to an extremely lame high school party she throws on a whim, but can’t stop thinking about Tricia the whole time and is basically the worst date ever. I mean, he only kisses Cara at one point because he’s imagining she’s Tricia, which is sorta creepy if you ask me.

Of course, Tricia isn’t actually hitting it with anybody else. She is dying of leukemia, and she has it in her head that it will be easier for Steve if he thinks she just hates his guts and is a cheating biotch. Nevermind that when she dies, he’ll discover these were all lies and feel even more pain. Tricia, you’re an odd soul. Elizabeth, of course, finds out the truth when she sees Tricia in a room at the hospital (where she’s a candy striper — see sub-plot), where she gets the story but promises to keep it a secret. After agonizing over it for way too many pages, she finally tells Steve, who has already ditched Cara at some dumb dorm party (who the hell threw parties in their dorms? anybody? just curious if anyone ever actually had a real kegger in their dorm room!) after getting mad at her for suggesting she become his new girlfriend. So Steve finds out the truth, he and Tricia reunite, and there’s all kinds of crying and sappy love lines and what have you. Yawwwwwwwn.

The cover: Steve’s head looks really odd to me … too small, and somewhat alien-like! And it’s titled at such an odd angle that he’s practically cross-eyed. Tricia definitely looks like a ghost in this one … check that Victorian blouse, that vacant expression, and her uh, holy-hot-rollers hair. That plus the title … When Love Dies … get it? pretty much give away what is actually going on here. PS Tricia has blue eyes in the book … not dark brown like she does here!

Tricia doesn’t actually die in this book. It’s just set up for the future, maybe fooling some readers into thinking she might actually live. Hey, Liz beat death! Yeah, yeah … but she’s a Wakefield.

The sub-plot: This one had some slapstick comedy relief. I’m not going to sit here and act like I didn’t get a little chuckle out of it. Jessica learns from gossipyass Cara that Jeremy Frank, a local TV star (interesting …) is in the hospital with a broken leg. Man, these days I don’t think a hospital would keep you in there for that long when you just broke a bone! They want your ass out of there! Uh, I digress … of course, Jessica decides that 25-year-old Jeremy is the perfect man for her and that she wants a spot on his show, so she persuades Liz to become a candy striper with her so she can meet him. But Liz meets him first, and then Jessica acts like such an idiot fawning over him that she stabs him with a pencil, and spills water on him, as he’s buck-naked, when she walks in on his sponge bath and freaks out. Whatsa matter Jess, never seen a penis before? I think Bruce P. would have a little something to say about that. Anyway, Jess is acting like such an ass that Liz hatches a plot with Jeremy to scare her off by having him fall madly in love with her and beg her to marry him. Real smart, guys … Jess is at first freaked out, but then she decides a prolonged engagement that she can eventually break off is a great idea! The truth comes out and, once again, Jessica is humiliated by some dude she made a jackass out of herself for. *cue Simpsons’ Nelson laugh* HA ha!

WTF? This book says Steven is 18, but the last one distinctly said he was 19. What in hell, did we go back in time?

-I have never known a college kid, even a really homesick one, who was home from school every single weekend the way Steven is. I guess he doesn’t party much.

-Cara brings out a six-pack of beer at her dumb party! GASP! This is actually a bit of a shock for me as I thought SVH books always treated alcohol as solely evil and the cause of great misfortune, such as attempted rapes and motorcycle accidents.

-Random character: Janie McBride, a fellow candystriper.

-Caroline Pierce is described as wearing a “plaid shirtwaist.” I had to look up what that is, and here it is:

VOMIT!!!! Did people really wear these things back in the 80s? (Do they wear them now?)

-Even though it’s a prank, Jeremy’s going after Jess is another thing that is creepy. 25 + 16 = yuck.

-We learn about Tricia’s family again — her mom died when she was 9 from leukemia, her older sister Betsy is a big druggie and sleeps around, and her dad is a total drunkard. They apparently live in the slums of Sweet Valley. I thought Sweet Valley was such a nice place to be! I guess that’s only if you are upper middle-class and have a typical nuclear fam. Heh. Uh, anyway, does anyone remember Betsy Martin from the Sweet Valley Twins books? Those weren’t out till two years after When Love Dies was published, but Betsy was an eighth-grade member of the Unicorns (the middle school equivalent of Pi Beta Alpha) and apparently really popular and gorgeous, or whatever. My oh my, Betsy, how ye have grown.

In the back of the book: A Sweet Valley High QUIZ! You have to get all the answers right in order to enter the Sweet Valley High Star-Studded Contest, which includes a 2-night stay in New York City, a Broadway show, a salon makeover, and dinner with Francine Pascal!!! Entries are due by Halloween 1984, so you better get crackin’! The person who had this book before me marked all the answers already, so I guess I’m good to go! (The authors of the quiz messed up one of the answers though … it’s “Miller’s Point” not “Millers Pond”! Get it right! GOD!)

(In all seriousness, I would love to interview the person that won this contest!)

Next time: Liz has been KIDNAPPED by Carl the crazy hospital orderly! It happened at the end of this book; now we get to find out … Will Elizabeth be saved? Didn’t Elizabeth just have a trauma? Make Jessica have one. Also, we apparently have to wait an extra month for #13 to come out … uh, or those people still living in 1984 do.

#11 Too Good to Be True

This was one of my absolute favorite SVHs as a kid, so kind of hard for me to snark on it … but rest assured I can, and I will, because there are plenty of things that are just effed in this one!

The story: It’s spring break at Sweet Valley, and the kids are off for two weeks. TWO WHOLE WEEKS? We only got one week off! Hmmmph. Anyway, Mr. Wakefield and his old lawyer friend, Mr. Devlin, have decided to do a daughter exchange. Suzanne Devlin will come to stay at the Wakefields’ house and hang out with one of the twins, while the other twin goes off to New York City to see the sights. Mr. Wakefield flips a coin to see who goes to NYC. Liz wins, but of course, Jessica manipulates her into staying behind by telling her all about how Lila Fowler has a huge crush on Todd and will probably make a move on him behind Liz’s back. Liz, you are a chump.

“Suzy” shows up, and she’s apparently the most gorgeous girl anyone has ever laid eyes on. She’s also extremely sweet, kind, and helpful, and talks sort of like a priss from an old timey movie (“Oh! It’s just the sweetest thing I ever saw!” or whatever), yet nobody suspects that she is kind of weird. Winston Egbert, whose girlfriend Mandy moved away, falls hard for Suzy and starts going all out to woo her.

Of course, underneath it all, Suzy is really a cold-hearted bitch. She hates her rich parents for constantly leaving her alone and shipping her off to boarding school in Europe every year. She thinks nasty thoughts about everyone and rummages through their belongings, thinking about the time she found a bag of pot in her cousin Ruthie’s stuff and was able to blackmail her with it for a long time. She hates Sweet Valley, the Wakefields, and everybody else in it, especially Winston, whom she describes as a “big goon.” I can’t say I blame her! He sounds extremely annoying in this book and I’d want to knock him out, myself! In truth, I kind of like Suzanne. Probably because she hates Liz and steals her precious gold lavaliere that we hear about in every book. I was hoping she’d flush it down the toilet or something, to be honest with you. Ha ha!

The only person who really intrigues Suzanne is Mr. Collins, the handsome English teacher who’s always hanging around. He’s at the junior class picnic at Seneca Lake, and he saves bikini-clad Suzy from supposedly drowning, who proceeds to grope his chest and moan her thanks. This makes old Mr. Collins awfully uncomfortable. Well, what the fuck are you doing at a junior class picnic then! Can’t these kids hold their own after-school activities without a chaperone?

Suzanne takes over Elizabeth’s Collins babysitting job for her when Todd surprises her with Lakers tickets. She acts like a total bitch to little Teddy Collins, snoops through Roger’s things, and takes a bath to get ready for a night of seduction. When Mr. Collins gets home, she throws herself at him, asks him for alcohol and moans like a classic soap opera vixen! Sweet! Mr. Collins pulls himself away with “difficulty” and Suzanne knows that he wants to hit it and calls him on it! But he tells her he’s doing her a favor and she furiously storms out of his house. On the way home, she tears her clothes, messes her hair and starts crying, then comes back and tells Elizabeth that Mr. Collins tried to rape her. Ohhhhhh no she didn’t! Oh, yes, she did. The school goes into a furor, and Mr. Collins is placed on leave while an investigation is conducted as a “formality,” but his career is pretty much over. No cops are involved, though; it’s just the principal. This place is so weird.

Of course, in the end Suzy gets her just deserts. She attends Lila Fowler’s big birthday bash with Aaron Dallas, and is caught unawares when Liz confronts her with the lavaliere that she found coiled in Suzy’s suitcase. (She was putting a present in there for her, but I bet she was actually hoping to nose around, that meddler.) Suzanne retaliates by spreading rumors all over the party that Liz hit her head again and is starting to act all messed up like she did in Dear Sister. Liz is humiliated, but she gets in Suzanne’s face in front of everyone and tells her that even Mr. Collins knows what a loser she is! ZING! Then, Winston makes a perfectly timed entrance with a big glass of red punch that he “accidentally” spills down Suzanne’s dress. She starts screaming at him about how much she hates him, and everyone walks away in disgust while she cries! This book is awesome. Needless to say, everything is fine and dandy in Sweet Valley yet again.

I really love Suzanne. True bad girls are few and far between in this town. You know Suzanne would never stop somebody from untying that bikini top!

*SPOILER FOR UPCOMING BOOK*: Suzanne will reappear in a later Super Edition, but I’m afraid I don’t like what they do with her character in that one 😦

The cover: Suzanne really doesn’t look too gorgeous in this picture. Ehhhh, I guess it’s just her expression. Liz has her first cover in several books and looks like a total priss, but her expression is hilarious. (“Bitch please!”) But she’s wearing her lavaliere, which had been missing for many weeks before she realized THE TRUTH (dun dun dun) about this biotch. So, it doesn’t gel with the story. I disapprove.

The sub-plot: Of course, our side story is about Jessica’s misadventures in the Big Apple. I probably enjoyed this part of the book much more than the tales about crazy Suzanne. Jessica stays with the Devlins in their posh apartment, where she goes all out to try to seduce Suzanne’s 20-year-old boyfriend, Pete McCafferty. Now, Jessica, what have we learned about trying to get with older men? Pete takes her around town at the request of the Devlins, but is totally bored with her, which of course enrages our fair blond one. When are you going to learn you aren’t all that, Jess? Jessica doesn’t see a whole lot of sights except when she goes out with Pete; she mostly seems pretty bored and whines about dinner parties with boring Devlin relatives and friends, like a 13-year-old named Martha whom we know is a loser because she went to fat camp. I think we all know about Jessica’s intolerance of anyone who weighs more than 100 pounds. She does go to a party Suzanne’s best friend Evelyn Meeker throws in her honor. Evelyn dates a 25-year-old but is Jess and Suzy’s age. She stays at his apartment when her parents aren’t in town. The guests include a boy named Simon who clearly has a boner from talking about his money and an unnamed redhead who calls him “crass”. These kids are all pretty boring; they stand around speculating about what they’re going to do with their inheritance and trust funds. Yawn! I’d fall asleep at a party like that today, let alone when I was 16. A boy named Malcolm leers at her (but according to Evelyn, he’s cool ’cause he drives a Maserati) and Jess doesn’t seem to dig him. She is so bored that she gets completely trashed on the wine. Suzanne’s friends laugh about her low alcohol tolerance and send her home in a cab after she passes out in the bathroom.

Finally, Pete makes his move on Jessica after she throws herself at him for the umpteenth time, only – SURPRISE! – he wants to do it with her! Of course, Jess is shocked and appalled, and Pete winds up telling her what a cocktease she is and she doesn’t know what to say. Then he tries to rape her. The Devlins come home early and find the pair of them struggling on the floor in the middle of a smashed glass of brandy. That’s right, they were drinking brandy before Pete went for it. I don’t know what kind of lesson they want us to take from this.

WTF? First of all, what is up with this recurring rape theme? We even get two rape storylines for the price of one with this book!

-Again, why is Mr. Collins at the junior class picnic? And Bruce Patman’s there, too … one of the few seniors who had been “invited.” Ooooooh, goody for him. Are there even more than 3 seniors at this school?

-Steven comes home from college EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND and does nothing but mope around because Tricia won’t talk to him again. LOSER! Go hit up a frat party or something!

-Jessica imagines that she’s going to be discovered by a model scout while in NYC. She’ll be the next Cheryl Tiegs and end up on the cover of Cosmopolitan. HAHA, can you see that shit?

-One thing that has really been bothering me is that attempted rape is shown as something that only happens to chicks who are cockteases. But seriously … what the hell kind of lesson is this supposed to be teaching? If you’re going to put rape in a book, why treat the subject so lightly? And why isn’t anybody ever arrested? I guess that part is at least on the realistic side :/

-And furthermore … what message do these books send by having a few incidents where girls get back at guys that don’t want them, by accusing them of raping them? Come on, Francine Pascal, come up with something else!

-Finally … Liz actually rationalizes Jessica’s own behavior by telling herself that even Jess wouldn’t do the things Suzy has done. Oh, really, Liz? Double Love anyone? You big doormat.

At the back of the book: Nothing of note.

Next time: Steven continues to mope as we learn why Tricia will not speak to him. I haven’t read this book before, and I’m not really looking forward to a hundred-some pages of crying, whiny Steven.

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