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

Archive for January, 2010

New Goal

My new goal is to finish all of the Sweet Valley books by early 2011, when, according to Shannon’s Sweet Valley High blog (now at http://shannonsweetvalley.com/), the latest series update, Sweet Valley Confidential is supposed to come out! Yes! Given that these books are all superfast reads, that is totally doable as long as I stay focused … gotta stay focused. I’d also like to read the “extras” I have – two TV series tie-ins, a “Meet the Wakefields” book, the SVH Slam Book, and the six “redone” SVH books from the ’00s – as well as some old S.V. Twins and Kids books I have lying around at home, and maybe a Unicorn Club or two. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves! 🙂 I still have a life and all … 🙂


#24 Memories

This is the first cover that shows Cara. She’s got a totally 80’s-tastic feathered hairdo and bangs, and appears to have some fuzz on her upper lip. Her outfit is interesting. Steven looks like an SVH teacher rather than an 18 year old (or 19 year old, depending on which book you are reading).

Cara’s parents split up in the last book and her dad moved away with her brother, so she has changed, apparently. Now she’s caring and understanding (and still boring). She “understands what it’s like to lose someone” even though you know, her dad and bro are still alive and all. She’s also moved to a new apartment with her mom, which confuses me because I would think her mom would just keep the house. Well, what do I know. Cara still really likes Steven, and he’s started to genuinely like her. But Steven has been hanging out with Betsy hardcore so they can talk all about Tricia, and Betsy doesn’t approve of Steven dating anyone else ever again.

Jessica still hates Betsy and she still wants to set Cara up with Steve, even though she apparently couldn’t care less about Cara’s problems. She never talks to her about them and just rolls her eyes whenever Cara seems “nice”. You’re such a great friend, Jessica!

Meanwhile, Liz also doesn’t want Cara and Steve together, because she’s convinced Cara is a gossipy ass. I’m sorry, but who is it that writes “Eyes and Ears” again? Steven yells at Liz for being judgmental, and it’s TOTALLY AWESOME!

There is a high school charity volleyball game between SV and their rival Big Mesa, and Steve, who loves hanging around high schoolers, goes to the follow-up dance at the Caravan with his friend Artie Western, who’s a senior. Cara eagerly talks to Steven and he ignores her and makes her feel like an ass, all because Betsy Martin shows up and he doesn’t want Betsy to yell at him again. Wuss. Betsy, too, just loves going to high school events and is apparently home all the time. Is she done with art school already? (She’s still dating Jason Stone by the way) Artie has a crush on Cara and they dance and she agrees to go on a date, then begs off because she doesn’t really like him and we never hear from him ever again. Steve apologizes to Cara for being a dick, she understands, they start dating but take it slow which she understands, and he wants to hide it from everyone and she understands. She’s just so damned understanding! They go to the Valley Inn for Cara’s birthday (her sixteenth or seventeenth? Still jailbait either way) which was apparently Tricia’s favorite place, and her favorite song “Always” plays while Steve is dancing with Cara. Steve flips out and dashes out of the restaurant leaving money for the meal but not for Cara’s cab ride home. Class act Steve. Cara is humiliated once again, but for some reason, still wants this sad mopey dude. So of course, Betsy gets a talking to from Liz and she then arranges to reunite the two would-be lovers on the steps of the high school using mysterious, anonymous notes. She also has Teddy Collins present them with drawings of one another. They get together, kissing and declaring their love as Tricia smiles down …ew.

If you think the sub-plot might provide some kind of reprieve from this mess, think again! There are two dumbass storylines. In one, Elizabeth sees Michael Sellers, a Big Mesa volleyball player who’s on the opposing team, around Sweet Valley and then in the charity game. He looks so much like Todd that she gets obsessed. She fucks up most of the game and he notices her and Jess is all over that and encourages Liz to bone him. However, at the dance Michael acts like an ass and Liz finally dumps him to hang out with Winston, realizing how silly she was being. I think she was being positively mental myself. Liz, you need help.

The second storyline involves Jess overhearing her mom talking to Winston’s mom Sharon about her movie director brother who is coming for a visit. Jess worms her way into Winston’s house and life in order to meet said director, and it’s pretty creepy. Although Winston has always had a crush on her, he is suddenly less dazzled by her and curious about why she wants to hang out with his 40 year old uncle Marty so much. It turns out Marty isn’t a director — that’s the OTHER brother Phil, who wound up having to fly to Europe instead — but a civil engineer working on a trash project. Jess has to sit through an hour of talking about trash after telling Marty she’s very interested in his work. She is so upset afterwards that she can’t eat until Liz agrees to treat her to a giant Dairi Burger meal, which of course will not stick to her perfect size six frame at all. Meanwhile, everyone now thinks Jess wants a piece of Winston, and she is humiliated. Didn’t they already think that in book 2? She lived through that one! Cut the melodramatics, Jess! You need help also.

Here are some other things that we learned from this book:

-Jessica has a “brown princess phone” which I guess is supposed to match her “Hershey Bar” brown-painted room. Fug-tastic.
-Alice laughs and tells Jess something like, “Oh Jess, you know I never rely on you for anything.” HAHAHA, IT’S FUNNY ‘CAUSE IT’S TRUE!
-At the dance at the Caravan, “Elizabeth walked over to Enid, who was standing on the sidelines.” If that isn’t a line to sum up the entire friendship, I don’t know what is!
-Enid feels sorry for herself because she isn’t dating anyone. Guess it didn’t work out with that Paul dude a couple of books back. Who was that by the way? Maybe Paul Sherwood?
-Lila is apparently a stellar volleyball player, because of course they have their own court at home.
-In a jaw-dropping moment, Steve learns from his dad in a heart-to-heart that he is named after his father’s best college buddy, who was killed their junior year in a car accident. Yes, Ned named his kid after his dead friend, and Steven just now learns about this. But Steve is basically just like, OK, whatever Dad, thanks for trying to relate. WTF!!!!!
-What type of fucking law does Ned Wakefield actually practice? He is conveniently involved in saving the school football field in book 1 (civil law/property law?) AND arguing for visitation rights for Ricky Capaldo’s grandparents in book 21 (implying family law). We are told at one point (again, I think book 1) that he does deal with civil cases, but then, in this very book I believe, we hear that he has to spend his day reading up on a case he is “defending.” Many books later, we learn he deals with CRIMINAL law. WHICH IS IT?

Back of book: Ads/order forms for Caitlin, SVH, and Sweet Dreams Winners.

Next: Emily Mayer, drummer for the Droids, is upset because her dad and stepmom want to send her to a boarding school. Also because her new baby half sister’s name is Karen and her stepmom’s name is also Karen and the baby cries and keeps her awake … and I think we are supposed to care about this. However, before we can even get into the story, we have an awesome Super Edition that was published first! YES!

#23 Say Goodbye

I currently feel like I’m stuck in an arc of the dumbest SV books ever. Yes, I know they’re all kind of dumb. I’m doing this SVH project out of a mixture of love/hate, the same way I love to watch shitty low-budget horror movies on the Sci-Fi (or is that SyFy) channel. But every time I thought about reading this sad tale of Liz losing her precious toolbag Todd, I wanted to retch. We learned in the last book that Todd was moving away because he read a stupid poem or some shit at the talent show in front of everyone. Yes, he and his family are moving to Vermont. He sells his Datsun and the family takes off like, one week after the announcement. Elizabeth is mopey and miserable and Jessica can’t stand it. Of course, her main motivation is that she doesn’t like Todd after he chose Liz over her in book 1. Waaaah. So, Jess decides that she will have Nicholas Morrow replace Todd — we already know that Nicholas is in love with Liz, since Liz gave in to his overly pushy, creepy tactics in book 14. Barf. It’s also pretty funny that Jessica wants Nicholas to replace Todd when Nicholas also chose Liz over Jess! Shouldn’t she be pissed about that also, since she throws such a tantrum over Todd? (Why do they keep insisting that Jess always gets her man?)

After Todd leaves, Jess tells him when he calls that Liz is miserable and that it’s in her best interest for Todd to leave her alone. Because Todd is stupid and apparently doesn’t remember what a scheming bitch Jessica is, he falls for it and just stops calling and writing. Because Liz is stupid and spends all day writing to Todd and hanging around waiting for his call, she doesn’t even get mad at his sudden silence, and instead just assumes he stopped loving her. She starts going out with Nicholas and basically throwing herself at him. Meanwhile, Todd plans a surprise visit to Sweet Valley, where he of course finds Liz dreamily slow dancing with rich, creepy Nicholas. I’m serious — he gives me the heebie jeebies! Nicholas realizes Liz is still in love with Todd and leaves them be. Durrrr – was she really supposed to get over “coffee-colored eyes” Todd that quickly! Liz finds Todd at his old house later and they make out and decide they won’t strictly decide that neither can ever date anyone else — they’ll stay together but put it on a “let’s see as we go along” basis, making Enid, Jessica, their parents, and everyone else in Sweet Valley happy as that’s what they’ve been insisting they do all along.

The cover: Liz looks like a crying mess, which is appropriate. She always wears those dumb matching barrettes. Todd actually doesn’t look like a tool. He does look a lot older than 16, but that’s typical. The way he’s holding Liz’s hand makes her look super fragile. The cover is bright yellow which seems inappropriate given the sad subject matter.

The subplot: Jess ran up her parents’ charge account for a new outfit from Lisette’s and has to get a job to pay it off. She works for a matchmaking company and of course everything there is pink. She starts snooping around in everyone’s lives and trying to find Steve a new match, completely against company rules I’m sure. She calls three women and tells them about Steven, then asks them not to inform him how they got his number — uh, okay. She stupidly picks these three: Beatrice Barber, a 40 year old who calls Steven nonstop, Jody MacGuire, a punker chick who randomly shows up at the house and blows Jessica’s cover (which of course infuriates Steve, who is home too much anyway), and Melissa Porter, a girl who apparently loves food (read: fat) so much that she decides to not even pursue Steven. We can see that despite book 21, Jessica is really up to her old tricks again! At Lila’s party, Jessica is stuck with some nerd named Spence Millgate who misrepresented himself to the matchmaker agency (just shocking), and Steven is dancing with Cara until Betsy Martin throws a fit over it, and we are all ready for book 24.

This book was just odd. It was more interesting than I thought it would be, though. Thank God for silly side plots. Seriously, why is Steven home so goddamn much? What a loser!

Back of book: Nothing interesting.

Next: Cara and Steven find themselves together again … but this time there’s not one, but two Martin sisters in the way.

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