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

Archive for December, 2009

#22 Too Much in Love

In an effort to make these posts somewhat easier to read, I’m condensing them a little. That’s easy to do with this book because it’s as boring as it looks. DeeDee has gotten some kind of complex about independent women because she thinks her dad left her mom for being too “her.” Now she’s scared shitless that Bill might ditch her, too, even though he actually loves her for her feisty, stand-alone nature. DeeDee ditches her art classes, hangs around Bill all day, refuses to make decisions without his consent, and is a general pain in the ass. When DeeDee hears that Bill went on a “friend date” with Dana Larson, who’s apparently already attached to some older dude from out of town, she flips out. (And of course she hears this from Jessica, who still hates DeeDee for “stealing” Bill from her.) They break up, and I’ll give you one guess who steps in to save the day! Elizabeth is in charge of a talent show (who else would do it?), and she fakes being sick so that DeeDee – who’s reluctantly in charge of the designs – will have no choice but to step up and take control. Or, you know, she could’ve just broken down and ruined everything, but this is Sweet Valley. DeeDee saves the show, Bill is impressed, and they get back together. Clap clap clap. DeeDee also makes up with her best friend Patty Gilbert, who I believe is the lone black character in the entire series so far, and who I also don’t think we’ve ever heard of before!

The sub-plot revolves around Alice and Ned going away for a week and leaving the twins by themselves; I guess they assume Elizabeth will stop Jessica from getting too wild. But Jess promptly breaks the washing machine and causes a grease fire in the kitchen. (I guess we’ve seen the end of the “Jessica is a gourmet chef” arc.) To top it off, Jessica decides to throw a wild party. Liz whines that she wants nothing to do with it but doesn’t really do anything to halt it. You can already tell she’s going to get off scot-free when things go wrong. (She apparently never learned anything from the one they threw in middle school … “THE BIG PARTY WEEKEND” anyone?) Lila promises to get her college sophomore boyfriend Drake (maybe Drake Howard from book 16?) to bring some of his frat brothers, and Jess is SHOCKED when they show up with BEER! Well, I am SHOCKED that frat boys would even have any interest in attending some 16-year-old’s party. While Jessica frets that they are out of soda (yes, she really does!), Lila flirts with some senior smart dude named Peter West, then makes out with Drake on the couch for half an hour while Peter scowls. A “skinny senior” named Louisa dances “wildly” with Drake’s friend Ted and then pukes in the precious Wakefield toilet, which is now tainted forever. Winston puts on a magic show for all the nerds at the party and promptly breaks a crystal vase. Someone else spills beer all over Mrs. Wakefield’s interior design plans. The police come and, get this, they don’t even really give a crap. I would think in this town, they’d consider this a major offense. But all they demand is that someone who is 18 or older take responsibility — and wouldn’t you know, Steven shows up in the nick of time. Then the officers basically laugh it off and walk away. Uh, okay. The twins get DeeDee to retrace the ruined plans so that Mrs. Wakefield is never the wiser. But as for that vase? Rather than just making up a story about how it got knocked over or something, Jessica goes ahead and confesses the whole thing to her parents! I guess they would’ve heard about it from the neighbors eventually anyway. She catches only a tiny amount of shit for it, and Elizabeth gets absolutely none, even though she didn’t exactly bar the door.

I get that this book is supposed to warn girls about losing their sense of self to a boy. But seeing as the message is coming from a series that repeatedly insinuates girls also aren’t anything special unless they have a boy who loves them, I think that’s laughable. So is the fact that the ghostwriter keeps rubbing it in that DeeDee isn’t pretty and that’s not why Bill loves her (in case we couldn’t already tell from her weird eyes and pseudo-mullet on the cover. I wonder if Amanda Bearse modeled for it, not to slam her but it kind of looks like her). Bill even thinks to himself at one point that DeeDee isn’t that pretty, but that’s okay because he loves her spirit, or some shit. OKAY! WE GET IT! SHE’S NOT A WAKEFIELD!

This book also introduces us to a slew of brand new one-shot characters. I’m sure we won’t hear from most of them ever again! This includes some dude that Enid has a date with named Paul. I guess they’re trying to make sure that she doesn’t come off as THAT big of a loser. And Patty and her college boyfriend Jim double-date with DeeDee and Bill, and I’m sure Jim must’ve dumped Patty after he saw what dumbass friends she has … and realized he’s dating a 16-year-old.

So, what’s happening in the next book? Let me set it up for you. The talent show rolls around and is a huge hit, of course. Todd gets up on the stage after acting weird all week and reads a stupid goodbye poem and starts bawling. Yes, he’s moving, and this was the way he decided to announce it to everyone (except Liz is too stupid to figure it out until he spells it out for her)! Will his love with Liz survive? God, let’s hope not.

Super Edition #1 Perfect Summer

Oh God, do I have to read this? That was my first thought upon looking at this book. You see, I already read it once before, and it was rather craptastic. I’ve always loved a good Super Edition, but this one was really stupid. In the interest of keeping with my goal to read (or re-read) every single SVH book from beginning to end — to make sure I don’t miss any of the excruciating little details! — I went for it. You know I can’t miss a chance to over-analyze this one along with all the rest!

A Super Edition, in case you didn’t know, is a lengthier tome that isn’t part of the “regular” series but whose events always fit in the timeline (or are supposed to). Super Editions are a treasured part of most YA series. In SVH’s case, there were originally six released, with two each for the summer, winter, and spring seasons respectively. (Eventually, more were put out.)

So, here’s the gist of our first SVH Super Edition. The Sweet Valley kids are going on a bike trip up the coast for the summer. I guess Liz and Jess put off those tour guide jobs they were so excited about several books ago. Anyway, we’ve got Lila, Todd, Olivia, Annie, Bruce, Roger, Principal “Chrome Dome” Cooper’s nephew – Ohio kid Barry Cooper, and Bruce’s friend Charlie Markus coming along for the ride. Enid and Cara are staying at home so Jessica and Liz can write gossipy letters to them. And, I’ll give you one guess who’s going to chaperone! That’s right, Mr. Roger Collins, and his recent love interest Nora Dalton, who apparently broke up with him recently for an as-yet-unstated reason.

One of the key attributes of a typical Super Edition is, along with the holiday season, vacation, and/or momentous event that christens it, we also must have some type of conflict for everyone in the book. So here’s everyone’s respective problem:
The main issue is, surprise surprise!, Elizabeth and Todd‘s. You see, early on the trip the class stops at Patman friend Steve Thomas’s giant mansion to spend the night (in tents in the backyard — wtf?), where they meet his over-the-top spoilt rich bitch daughter, Courtney Thomas. Courtney makes a big deal out of being snotty to everybody while openly defying her dad’s wishes that she not date a motorcycle-driving baaaaad boy named Nolan Ruggers. Yet when her dad suggests she join the goody-goody SVH trip in order to get her away from Nolan and provide her with discipline, she is surprisingly agreeable to the idea. Elizabeth and Jessica are promptly suspicious, especially when Courtney sucks up to the whole group and spends most of her time either crying and sniffling all over Todd about her terribly rough life (more on this later), or randomly disappearing from the group. Liz is terribly upset and jealous while Todd, total douche that he is, acts like Liz is a complete bitch for not supporting poor wittle Courtney.
Jessica is crushing wildly on a dude named Robbie October (yes, that’s really his name!), but every time she runs into him, Bruce calls her out on her shit and embarrasses her in front of him. Robbie is clearly like every other older jackass Jess pursues, but even after she hears that he got kicked out of a youth hostel for tossing beer cans out the window, she still wants to cocktease him a little.
Olivia doesn’t really have any conflicts other than trying to support Roger as he and Bruce bicker at one another about whether or not Roger is a “real” Patman. Oh, Bruce, I thought snagging Regina had made you a kindler, gentler Patman!
Barry Cooper is apparently very fat and ridiculously clumsy. He lusts after Jessica and gets picked on by Bruce constantly.
Lila hates Ms. Dalton‘s guts because she’s dating her father again. Roger Collins (as he’s referred to pretty much every single time in this book) can’t understand why Nora left him and is devastated, but he spends more time ruminating on Courtney and Liz. *eye roll*
Charlie and Annie keep trying to get together, but are stopped by Bruce’s taunts about Annie’s old slut days. Again, pot calling the kettle black, Bruce. (I have no idea what happened to Ricky Capaldo; Liz’s first letter to Enid explains they broke up but are still good friends.) Annie thinks Charlie agrees with Bruce and spends some time sitting around crying about that. I’m not even going to waste time on this plotline, as eventually Charlie explains she just misheard him, and they reunite.
The Liz-Todd-Courtney triangle is unbelievably tiresome. First of all, I can’t stand Todd, and this book just proves my point about what a douche he is. He can’t seem to understand why his girlfriend is upset that he’s spending all his time with Courtney, hugging her on all the rides at Disneyland, and snuggling up to her in her sleeping bag/holding her hand when she cries, very unconvincingly, that her father is a secret alcoholic and that’s why he sent her on this trip. He rails against Liz for even daring to express doubts about precious Courtney, and eventually they break up (for at least the third or fourth time, already) when Liz says she can’t take it anymore. Of course, we’re already on to Courtney after we read a ridiculously stupid letter she writes to Nolan, explaining that she is charming Todd away from Liz so that she can bring Todd home, convince her father she’s changed, and then … go back to Nolan? This plan MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL (and I don’t know why I expected it to).
Meanwhile, Jessica hates Courtney’s guts, as well as Todd’s for making her sister so miserable. She and Lila are initially a team against Courtney and Ms. Dalton (because they’re apparently still in grade school), but eventually start fighting after Lila seems charmed by Courtney’s fake-alky-dad story. Lila goes out of her way to make Ms. Dalton miserable, doing dumb shit like sticking lime Jell-O in the bottom of her sleeping bag. But she finds much a better tactic after she meets two dudes from Arizona, Pat and Don, at one of the youth hostels, who help her unravel that Ms. Dalton is REALLY Beth Curtis, a young divorcee who left her abusive, rich husband behind and was subsequently shunned by the community when he killed himself later. Now Mr. Fowler has subtly blackmailed Ms. Dalton into dating him again by implying he knows the whole story and will give her away to Ms. Dalton’s ex’s crazyass family if she doesn’t become his paramour. That’s really fucked up. Nice work, old George. Lila doesn’t know that Nora is only dating her dad again because he is evil and is making her, so she promptly blackmails Ms. Dalton into doing Lila’s share of the daily work. But after saving Nora from drowning, Roger Collins soon cajoles the truth out of her, and all is right with the world again … yawn. And I’m fairly certain we will never hear of the Beth Curtis shit ever again.
Jessica makes an idiot out of herself to get close to Robbie October, throwing herself at him and then claiming she thought he was someone she used to know named Bart Templeton. Robbie is clearly a huge sleaze, but Jess … oh, you know how she is. Long story short, the pair sneak off together one night and wind up hopelessly lost and bickering with each other, then trapped in a cave by a giant she-bear. I am not making this up. The rest of the camp goes looking for them and Barry finally proves himself as he encourages the she-bear to chase after him instead. GOD this is dumb.
Courtney throws herself at Todd after he and Liz break up, they make out in the woods, and he somehow fails to notice the smell and taste of the cigarette that she just threw out when she saw him approaching. Later, a huge fire blows up and the kids have to work together to put it out. Liz thinks it’s her fault, but it soon becomes clear that Courtney did it with her *GASP* cigarette! Liz exposes Courtney, Todd sees Courtney for who she is, he and Liz make up … wah, wah. The day is saved.
WTF? First of all — Robbie October? Is that a porn star name or what?
-The kids spend the night in TENTS IN THE BACKYARD at the Thomases’ place. I am shocked Lila and Bruce did not demand more upscale quarters!
-I’m shocked that Jessica, Lila, and Bruce are on this trip at all, come to think of it.
-There’s a scene where the kids dance in a canteen to Jackson 5 that is pretty much the most ridiculous thing I have read yet. Liz dances with “Roger Collins”, of course. Gag me.
-At one point, Olivia pulls out her guitar. How the fuck can you bicycle comfortably with that thing strapped to your bike?
-The kids have lobster for one of their routine campground stops … seriously, what the hell kind of bike trip is this?
-Steven and Jessica have a dumb argument on the family’s way to drop off the twins for the trip. Jessica yells, “Steve, why don’t you make like a seafood special and just clam up.” WOW. That’s the worst I’ve read yet!
-Bruce checks out chicks at the hostel and decides to try to pick one up at Jessica’s suggestion. Uh … did the ghostwriter forget all about Regina and how Bruce is supposed to be loyal to her? Hahahaha.
-Robbie has a brother named Danny. I was disappointed they didn’t hook Danny up with Lila.
-Lila flirts wildly with a boy named Tom and goes on a “walk” with him. Get it girrrrl
-There was apparently a nerd in Cara and Jessica’s math class named Theo who wore polyester pants … the horror!
-Jessica complains that Robbie tried to “get romantic” with her while they were trapped in the cave overnight, and Lila points out that Jess was “aching for Robbie to get romantic” anyway! HAHAHA! I love when people call Jess out on her shit! It’s such a rare occurrence.
-Mr. Collins has to save Ms. Dalton when she sees a stingray and freaks the fuck out rather than just… you know … swimming away.
-Barry is so clumsy that it’s kind of ridiculous. I’m reminded of the stupidity of Bella Swan in the Twilight books. Even after he redeems himself to the group, he promptly wrecks it by spilling hot and sour soup all over everyone at a Chinese restaurant. Of course, we know there’s no real place for him in Sweet Valley-land anyway since he’s fat, which Jessica and Bruce don’t let us forget for a second. Only size sixes here, Barry!
-In case you care, Enid apparently had a summer romance with some dude named Hank.
The cover has the twins striking silly poses with their bikes. Liz looks like a two-year-old in that ugly yellow outfit. Jess’s shorts are kind of cute but also look like they are going right up her crotch when she rides … ouch.
The back of the book announces the Caitlin trilogy and encourages you to stay tuned.

#21 Runaway

Alright, so we’re up to #21 now, and as you may have gathered from the previous book’s sub-plot, Jessica isn’t doing very well lately. Her family is treating her shittier and shittier, even when she’s not her usual messy, bitchy, inconsiderate, flaky self. After last book’s mussels fiasco, Jessica isn’t giving up on proving she really is a fabulous cook. She even makes a delicious-sounding chicken dinner for the Wakefield clan here, but they make stupid jokes as they clean their plates. I kind of hate them all. Meanwhile, Elizabeth is still the delightful good sister, and Ned Wakefield drools over her stupid, obvious opinion about the latest case he is working on (see the sub-plot) while acting like Jessica’s is dumb and pointless. If Ned seriously hadn’t already thought about Liz’s points on his own, he is the worst lawyer I’ve ever heard of.

Let’s be real for a sec: Jessica is an inconsiderate bitch most of the time who flies into a ridiculous rage when a boy dares choose someone over her (which happens fairly often). It’s true. But you know what? Elizabeth is a self-righteous, meddling little twat, and her family encourages this while bopping Jessica on the head for doing the same thing. I think a classic scene that illustrates this is in the very first chapter of this book, where Jessica invites Steven (who’s dropped out of school for the term) to come to Cara’s stupid ass high school party with her so he can have some fun for a change. Steven, Ned, and Alice promptly jump all over Jessica for being inconsiderate until Liz butts in to tell them it was actually her idea and that she just had Jessica do the asking for her. Then, it’s okay! Jess is correctly pissed about this. She gets really depressed about this (as well as the events of last book), but only Elizabeth notices. Liz actually tries to say something to their parents, but they couldn’t care less. What good parents they are. But then Jess meets Nicky Shepard. Nicky runs with a “rough crowd” and is the stereotypical sensitive bad boy. He’s so nice that he keeps coming after Jessica even after she and Cara bitchily shun him at the Dairi Burger. This intrigues Jess, and she winds up kissing Nicky in Cara’s bathhouse at her party, and leaves the party with him. Steven, who’s busy avoiding Cara at the party and moping around, attempts to cock block Nicky as he leaves with Jess. Steven, fuck off! Where were you when Jessica dated Bruce?!

Jessica grows more and more comfortable around Nicky, who catches her as she goes to see a movie by herself and takes her to see a park he likes instead. She even goes to a party with him in Tierra Verde (another made-up town, I’m sure), where she meets his “wrong crowd” friends. These oh-so-terrible people really just sit around drinking, smoking pot, and gossiping, like typical high school kids, but I suppose Sweet Valley doesn’t have any of those. (Of course, Cara had beer at a party in book 12, so frankly, the pot is really the only big difference here.) The party is thrown by a friend of Nicky’s named Mike, who is the only one there with a common name. The rest are Sheila, who offers Jess beer about five times even though she keeps getting turned down, June, a straight-edge high school dropout, and then Tad and Susan, who could possibly be getting together behind Sheila’s back. Oooooh, drama. These kids might be more interesting than Jessica’s group. Nicky and Jess leave the party early, which is a relief since we all know Jessica can’t hold her liquor. Nicky is drunk and wrecks his nice Mustang, and his dad shows up and yells at him about what a loser he is.

Soon Nicky confides that he’s planning to move to San Francisco and start some kind of business with his friend Denny, and he wants Jessica to come with him. Jessica can’t make up her mind right away, so Nicky leaves without her and waits for her to join him. Jessica decides to play a game with her family by packing her things and going, but leaving a note behind on her dresser explaining herself and apologizing. She figures if they really love her, they’ll come after her when they see it. Haha, sounds like a fantastic plan there Jess. And in a typical twist, Jessica slams her door on her way out, and the breeze knocks the note behind her dresser. Oh noeeees! Does this mean she’s really leaving Sweet Valley for good?!

Liz figures the whole deal out anyway when she sees how uncharacteristically neat Jessica’s room is. Of course, the family trusts Liz to lead them in the right direction, so they believe her and everyone flies into a panic looking for Jessica. I have a hard time believing this, myself. I mean, they basically laughed with relief at Jessica’ mood change (see “Random”), so why would they suddenly think a neat room means she went somewhere? Their search leads them to the Shepards’ house, where Nicky’s mom is coerced into telling Ned that yes, Nicky left home, and she doesn’t know where and hey, doesn’t really care. So Steven thinks to call his friend Joe Seegar who runs with Nicky’s crowd … Steve, what are you doing talking to dregs like that? Smooth Steven gets Joe to admit where Nicky went by claiming he owes Nicky 100 bucks. Hope that doesn’t come back to bite you in the ass later, Steve! Steve and Liz rush to the bus stop to find Jess’s bus pulling away, where she’s crying to herself while a little old lady calls her “honey” repeatedly and gives her teen magazines from the bus stop. The saintly Wakefield siblings chase the bus to Carver City, where they rush onboard and tearfully reunite with their sister, pissing off the bus driver who is tired of everyone’s bullshit!

While this book was far more well-written that the rest, the ending is UNBELIEVABLE because guess what? Jessica offers to fix everybody a nice dinner on the eve of her return home. And you know what these assholes do? They just laugh and make jokes sabout Jessica’s cooking AGAIN. Keep in mind that this is AFTER she already cooked them a fantastic meal to make up for the stupid fucking mussels, and received a star certificate (or whatever) from her chef idol, Jean-Pierre. Isn’t that part of the reason they got in this mess in the first place? And she just laughs along and agrees that they should order a pizza instead. Only she suggests her dad give her too much money for that pizza, so she can use the extra to get a sweater. And Ned laughs and agrees that’s best, thus enabling her typical behavior. So basically, no one has learned shit from this episode. Give me a fucking break!

The sub-plot: After Liz’ gives her oh-so-brilliant opinion on the case Ned’s working on, he invites her to come watch and write an article about it for the school paper. That sounds really professional of him, to get his sixteen-year-old daughter to air her classmate’s dirty laundry to the school! You see, the case is about Ricky Capaldo’s mother not wanting Ricky’s grandparents to see her son. When Ricky finds out about Liz’s reporting, he begs her to drop the idea. Now, Liz could’ve just anonymized everyone in her article, but she refuses because she is a self-righteous twat who thinks it’s her business to air. She even sends Ricky on a guilt trip about not staning up for himself, causing him to launch into a grandiose speech in the courtroom that sways his mother’s mind. And he thanks Liz for it and apologizes to her for … WHAT EXACTLY? Don’t enable her Ricky! She is such a douche!

The cover is an appropriately dismal shade of gray. I really like Jessica’s outfit, and it’s nice to see her without makeup and a huge smirk on her face for a change! Not that I laugh in the face of her sadness …

Random: Jessica is still fooling around with Neil Freemount when the book begins. At this point, Neil is just a side character with no personality, so I think it’s funny this has been dragged out for so long!

People are drinking Tab in this book, which is interesting since previously we heard they were always drinking Coke. Jessica must have gained half a pound and freaked out! Or Tab just paid a little extra money to have their brand name mentioned several times within one chapter.

Cara says she is on a diet. I guess SHE gained half a pound. Kill me.

Alice says, “I agree that Jess isn’t herself these days, but I think it’s a change for the better.” OUCH.

Although Liz is supposed to be such great friends with Annie, she once again shows she doesn’t really give a crap as she has to ask Ricky how Annie is doing these days.

Ned pulls a fucking “Think of the children” line! He actually says, “Think of the children, your honor. The children.” … and it makes me want to ruin my book, by projectile vomiting on it.

In the back of the book: My copy doesn’t have any ads in the back of it at all. In fact, even the typical “next book” blurb isn’t there. That’s okay; it’s just about DeeDee crying over Bill anyway, so you know it’s going to be dull! But before that even came out, we have our very first Super Edition ever!

#20 Crash Landing!

I read this book as a kid. In fact, I think it was one of the first ones I read.
The cover pisses me off because A) Enid’s hair is ugly B) Liz has a mustache and C) THAT SCENE NEVER HAPPENS. I dig Enid’s shirt though. I’m being serious.
Well, let’s get on with it. Supposedly super sexy Sweet Valley College student George is about to tell Enid he doesn’t love her anymore and is banging yet another high school chick behind her back. Given that all the SVC students seem to love scoring with the SVH juniors, I guess that isn’t really so strange. Anyway. Before George can tell Enid the bad news — Robin’s already broken up with Allen Walters — he wrecks the plane in Secca Lake, a favorite Sweet Valley hangout. A lot of people see the crash and are properly horrified, even though it’s just Enid and no one really likes her. Okay, that was mean of me. Enid falls and hurts her spine while trying to save George from the sinking plane and is paralyzed temporarily from the waist down. She has surgery to try to fix it, but by then she has figured out that George and Robin are in love when she sees them dancing at the latest big SVH dance, and so she deliberately doesn’t get better so that George will feel obligated to take care of her. Yes, she has actually has some kind of psychological block that keeps her from walking, even though physically she should be able to. Liz talks to Enid’s doctor and figures it out, and she hatches a crackpot plan to make Enid walk again, which involves having Mr. Collins’s son Teddy pretend to drown in the Wakefield pool when only Enid is around to save him. Man, that is fucked up. Also, Mr. Collins just lends Liz his kid without even asking what is going on!
Meanwhile, the Pi Betas figure out that George has been cheating on Enid with Robyn, and whereas before Jessica fucking hated Enid, she now takes it upon herself to lead a snub campaign against Robin. I’m guessing this is really an excuse for payback for the events of Book 4. Robin reacts by eating like crazy and gains at least 15 pounds back which of course automatically makes her a big fatty *eye roll*
In the end, Enid forgives George and Robin and gives them her blessing to get back together, this time in the open. She is so apologetic for her behavior towards the pair of them, even though they were having an affair behind her back. What the fuck ever. Even worse, Liz is hailed as the ultimate hero for “saving” Enid and it makes me want to vomit all over the pages.
The subplot: Jessica and Lila take a cooking class together that they apparently signed up for before the Jack fiasco. Lila still isn’t talking to Jess, but they slowly patch it up. Jessica falls for Jean-Pierre Baptiste, their hot cooking instructor, and Lila eventually softens toward Jess (because she’s “too good a friend” …who tried to steal your fiance) while still thinking she is crazy for trying to ask Jean-Pierre to that week’s high school dance. Anyway, it turns out he is married to a redheaded lady named Lizbette (what?) anyway. I secretly think Lila deliberately let Jess get her just desserts with this one. Jess winds up going to the dance with Lila’s ex Ken Matthews anyway, so I guess she didn’t make out too badly, although she thinks Ken is boring! Lila goes with an SVC sophomore named Louis Scott, and Robin is stuck with some guy named Stan who knows her cousin or some shit.
Now, Jessica is a great cook who makes shit like exotic mustard in class. She decides to one-up Liz for their parents’ anniversary that year by making them an amazing dinner. Since Liz hasn’t even mentioned this anniversary, she assumes her sister forgot it this year and that this is her big opportunity to finally look like the caring, reliable, generous daughter. To prep for the big night, Jessica cooks the family a fabulous dinner of mussels. Everyone is already totally suspicious of the meal before she even serves it, and frankly acts like an ass that she is cooking for them. Unfortunately for Jess, she bought bad mussels. Apparently if the mussel shells don’t open when you steam them, they’re bad and you’re supposed to throw them out, but Jess doesn’t realize and so she just splits them open herself. The entire family gets ridiculously ill, and to top it off, Jess doesn’t get to redeem herself at the Wakefield anniversary because Liz DID remember and has already purchased the parents dinner theater tickets and man, is Jess pissed. Frankly, I would be also! WTF is Liz doing buying a present like that without even asking her sister if she wants to chip in? Also, what kind of allowance do these kids get?
(Am I a bad person because I have never done anything for my parents’ anniversary other than said, “Happy Anniversary”?)
WTF? Liz blushes when she finds Ms. Dalton at Mr. Collins’s house. I guess the implication that someone in this town is having sex is too much for her.
In the back of the book is the same Caitlin preview that was in the last!
Next up, we’ll see Jessica teach the Wakefields to fuck with her!

#19 Showdown

This is the most disappointing book I have read yet. I wasn’t really expecting much from the others, but I couldn’t wait to get into a good old catfight. Nope! Not only is the cover a sickening shade of Pepto-Bismol vomit (which unfortunately doesn’t show up well here), but it’s totally misleading. Jessica and Lila never actually confront each other and … oh, let’s just get into it already.
Jessica hoes herself out to Lila’s new love interest, construction worker Jack Howard, right in front of Lila at Lila’s thousandth party this year, and Lila just gets annoyed. Come on, bitch-slap a ho! Jack agrees to go out with Jessica when Lila isn’t listening. He makes out wildly with J on their romantic beach date, and names a fucking star after her. Jessica is amazed that he isn’t trying to get in her panties, as am I. Come on, she practically offered him her vag at Lila’s party!
Jack promises to break up with Lila that weekend but instead spends the whole weekend with her. Jessica pouts and Jack says he just had a hard time because she was so upset or something. Jessica buys it because she is a complete moron and they make out some more and probably do a little finger banging. Gross, I’m grossing myself out. Okay, so then …
Lila gets more serious with Jack and he winds up asking her to marry him. The scene is ridiculous as Lila gets all giddy about her new fiance and then barely appears to shed a tear when Liz finally informs her what is really going down. WTF? Of course, maybe she did cry, and we were just robbed of that scene.
Jack turns out to be a knife-wielding drug user (pills and pot! oh my!) who likes to rob girls at knifepoint. We first become aware of this when Nicholas’s old richie school friend, David Matson, visits and thinks he knows Jack. Then he remembers and tells them the story. They rush to save Jessica and there she is with Jack’s knife to her throat.
Now, what’s the aftermath of all this? Well, the Wakefields just laugh off Jessica’s nearly getting killed. Her parents don’t appear to be even remotely upset at how close they came to having only one twin, nor do they even get mad at the fact that their jailbait is hanging out at some 19 year old’s place. Maybe my parents are the only ones who weren’t chill about that shit, who knows.
Here are some other things I said WTF about: Jack steals Mr. Fowler’s cufflinks collection, never has any money while he’s with Jess, and has red eyes all the time, yet no one guesses he’s not what he says he is. Oh yeah, not to mention he’s a CONSTRUCTION WORKER who wears nice clothes. Well, he did make up a story about leaving his wealthy family to strike it out on his own, which is why Lila finds him acceptable. It turns out his little sister died and he went crazy afterwards, or something like that. I’m too lazy right now to go dig out the book and find out.
There is a tickle fight between the twins which grosses me out.
The subplot is ridiculous. Penny Ayala’s little sister, Tina the freshman, takes mysterious “photos” anonymously for the Oracle and leaves it at the office while Penny is sick. Liz finds out it’s Tina; Tina explains Penny would just make fun of her if she knew. Of course, one of the photos is of George Warren making out with Robin Wilson which segues into our next book. Tina confesses to Penny, Penny of course is delighted and Liz angrily confronts the CHEATERS all CHEATERS TV show style … yeah no but that would be hilarious! George promises to tell Enid when he takes her up for her first (and last) flight with him. (Robin has already broken up with Allen.) Liz agrees to keep quiet until then, but is tormented. And so you also have the lead-in to the next book … can you guess what might make this break-up a thousand times worse?
The back of the book has the same shit as the last one, with the Caitlin preview and all.

#18 Head Over Heels

Oh, lord! This one was one of the least exciting of all. Let’s hurry and get it over with. So, Bruce and Regina got together in the last book, and are now a full-fledged couple. She is only a sophomore, so of course everyone is afraid Bruce will break her heart, just like everyone else’s. Or maybe she’s a junior — I’m fairly certain a future book, or perhaps this one, readjusts what class she is in.

Lila and Jessica, who both dated Bruce in the past, are sure Bruce can’t be for real about Regina. Jessica is still traumatized by her brief relationship with Bruce, but I don’t think we are going to hear another mention of Lila dating him for quite some time. The two little witches make a bet on when B will dump R, and the loser has to write the winner’s term paper. Lila thinks their love is for real; Jess is sure it can’t be since Bruce never truly loved HER, after all, and clearly she is the most irresistable chick in school.

Now, in the meantime Regina learns about a new treatment that could restore her hearing. Her family is all about it because her mother feels guilty for destroying her daughter’s hearing with diet pills when Regina was still a little fetus. Yes, she took diet pills while pregnant in order to look better as a model … yikes. But regardless of how much Regina’s family pleads, Regina refuses to get this treatment because it would mean she’d have to go to Switzerland for a year and be away from Bruce the whole time. Regina doesn’t tell Bruce about the treatment, and meanwhile, Bruce doesn’t tell Regina that he’s running for Centennial Committee president against Ken Matthews. Do you smell a convenient set-up for a Wakefield scheme?

Let’s make a long story short. Jessica wins her bet with Li by successfully breaking the happy couple up herself. She tells Regina about Bruce’s run, and that he’s deliberately not telling her because he’s just using her to make him look good so he can win. (Why wouldn’t he tell her anyway? How would she think he was using her if he told her he was going to run? That’s really stupid.) Regina cries, throws a bracelet Bruce gave her at him, and confuses the shit out of him because, like most people in this book, she won’t tell him the real reason for her anger. She rushes home and makes plans to leave for Switzerland immediately. Jessica crows over her victory, and Lila is stuck writing her paper, which she deliberately fucks up. Jessica gets a low grade while Lila gets a B-something. Hilarious!

Of course, it doesn’t stop here. Liz, who’s in charge (of course!) of some dumb upcoming school festival, steps in to save the day. She tells Bruce about the treatment and explains what happened to him. Bruce writes his “darling” Regina a letter explaining that he hid his plans from her to surprise her when he won. He further states that she must get the treatments and he will wait for her. I have my doubts about that one, but anyway. Liz goes to see Regina and hides the letter in her carry-on so she won’t see it until it’s too late to change her mind about Switzerland. And … all is well. That’s the beauty of true love.

There isn’t much of a subplot. There’s a bit about the Patmans and the Fowlers battling to see who can donate the most, but at the end only 800 dollars is raised … that’s it? El cheapos! And of course we have the storyline leading up to the next book in which Lila meets a hot, mysteriously well-dressed construction worker named Jack, whom she is afraid to introduce to anybody because he’s all blue collar, you see.

Now for my WTFs: For starters, I don’t like the way they treat deaf people in this book, like they are something to be pitied, but at least it’s a learning experience for the kids, I guess. Also, many of the deaf people I have met did not view being deaf as a “handicap.” They saw it as just an attribute of theirs and enjoyed the bond they shared with other deaf people. They did not in any way feel something was “wrong” with them. I would like to get a deaf person’s opinion of this book.
-Regina has never kissed a boy before Bruce.
-Ken Matthews is extremely pissed and bitter about Bruce running against him.
-Bruce actually wins despite his previous dick status!
-Liz saves the day… I don’t get this. Bruce is an ass who is at least an attempted rapist. Yet here’s Liz forgiving him after he traumatized her, and seeing him as sensitive.
-A random side character named Donald Essex appears to convince Regina to give the treatment a try. Jessica flirts with him and then there’s some stupid mix-up where Donald then sees Liz and thinks she’s Jessica and Todd gets all jealous. I’m pretty sure we never hear from him again. Maybe Todd had something to do with this? Hahaha.
-Lila says her father thinks gambling and betting money is “vulgar”.
-Regina’s mom’s name is Skye; reminds me of model Ione Skye.
-Bruce and Regina’s makeout sessions are sickening.
-Bruce’s mom is an ass to Regina and yells at her even though Bruce has already told her she can lipread … what a bitch!
-Liz and Todd snark at each other and it’s the same old boring shit from before … yawwwwwn.

The cover is interesting. Bruce actually looks slightly younger than his SVH#3 cover (about 28 or 30 this time), and definitely less rapey. Regina is cute and I actually dig her dress. Is that the same purple dress that Lila was ragging on in an earlier book?

The back of the book has a letter from Francine about her new trilogy, Caitlin, and an excerpt of the first book. Caitlin is a rich, popular snob who is determined to win the heart of Jed Michaels and … snnnooork, oops, I fell asleep on it!

Next up: Thank god, something more interesting. Lila and Jessica fight over Jack.

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