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

#26 Hostage!

This book was the biggest letdown I’ve had in the whole series so far. It is the stupidest fucking Sweet Valley High story written yet. I can’t believe that I can honestly sit here and tell you that book 25 was BETTER than this piece of steaming, smelly, fresh-plopped crap. Holy shit. Did anyone actually read this sack of shit as a kid and think, “Wow! This is a really moving story!” Whereas previous “dramatic” stories like book 7, or 13, or the one where Tricia dies, are just cheesy, and lame, and typical teen drama — this one is FUCKING DUMB. This book made me seriously question my commitment to finishing the series. It also made me want to throw it across the room. It was genuinely painful to read. I couldn’t even laugh at it after a while.
As we learned at the end of the last book, Eddie Strong went to deliver groceries to the Morrow house and was met by a strange woman claiming to be Regina’s aunt … and, he SAW Regina, who’s supposed to be in Bern, Switzerland getting her ears worked on. But no one else had any idea that Regina was back in the U.S. Liz is immediately suspicious and she gets Jessica and Bruce all worked up about it. And of course nosy Liz goes to the Morrow estate, where she sees Regina looking scared just after “Aunt Claire” said she wasn’t there. Liz tries to talk to Regina, but Claire orders her upstairs and won’t let Liz come in or talk to her. Bruce points out that Regina’s parents are both only children. Liz calls the police and they check it out, find nothing out of the ordinary, and are annoyed she sent them over there, probably because they still remember bringing “Elizabeth” home from that disastrous date with Rick Andover in book 1. So the three cook up a scheme to deliver groceries to Regina’s house in Bruce’s black Porsche, and sneak a note into a fashion magazine for Regina. At least they think to hide the Porsche so no one will look and wonder what the hell a grocery store boy is doing driving that. Their letter somehow doesn’t fall out until Regina opens up the magazine. Regina responds by hiding a note in her silver compact (because as a rich kid she wouldn’t have a plastic one) and throwing it out the window for the Three Musketeers to pick up.
The twins and Bruce learn from her note that Regina was kidnapped from the airport in Switzerland and forced to fly back to Sweet Valley (yes, I KNOW) and her parents are being held in a separate location. Regina can’t leave the house on her own because Claire has threatened to have her parents killed if she does. Meanwhile, Nicholas is off in San Francisco with some friend of his named Buddy Ames, so the three little detectives get him to come back and help out, too. 

The whole stupid reason for the kidnapping is that Claire and her cronies want a microchip that the Morrows’ company has just developed. Rather than just breaking in and stealing the shit, using inside intel, or, I don’t know, getting one of the Morrows to hand it over at gunpoint, they’ve instead decided the best way to do this is kidnap Regina FROM SWITZERLAND, fly her ON A PLANE, and have her go to the Morrows’ company and ask them to give her the chip at a designated day and time. Of course, they will also have Mr. Morrow call the company and instruct them to give Regina the chip. There’s so much wrong with this storyline that I don’t even want to get into it. I’ll be going off for ten paragraphs more than usual. So now the kids just have to figure out when, exactly, this plan is to transpire, so they can interfere and hopefully get shot. The only clue they have is the phrase “Money is heaven” which Regina could just make out Claire saying on the phone. Of course what Claire really said is “Monday at seven” but no one has figured this out yet. Some detectives.
Nicholas and Liz go to spy on the Morrow estate, and see this strange dude coming down the driveway. Nicholas of course takes that opportunity to lay one on Liz so dude will just think they are out for a “romantic drive” and happened to pull over to make out right in front of someone’s house. I’m getting a migraine. Later on, Nicholas realizes the strange man is Phillip Denson, whom Mr. Morrow had arrested for stealing from the company several years ago. Now he’s out of prison, and he means BUSINESS.
Everyone spends time racking their brains to figure out how to help Regina, rather than give the note to the police and show that they now have proof Regina is in trouble. The twins and Bruce decide to go out to Phillip’s house in Fort Carroll and Liz feels guilty about skipping school. I guess it’s okay to do it in order to play a trick on DeeDee but not to help your kidnapped friend. Anyway, yeah, you read that right: they’re going to go to Phillip’s house and confront him … aaaagh I can’t stand this. Then Jessica figures out that Claire’s “Money is heaven” really means “Monday at seven” and everyone freaks out praising and congratulating her because they were all too stupid to figure that out themselves. Also, because Jessica supposedly read a lot of mystery novels and that’s why she’s so good at this. I didn’t even know Jessica read. No one in this book acts like themselves. I hate this book.
They pull off the plan about visiting Philip’s house. Jessica claims to be doing a stupid school poll, and flirts with Phillip’s son Mitch, who’s mowing the lawn with his shirt off, to get information out of him. Mitch is all nervous and insists his dad is asleep. Jess sees the Morrows inside the house and they flip out and run away from the windows. Later Jessica gets Mitch, who basically stammers and shakes all over the place whenever she talks to him, to sort of agree to go on a date with her the next Monday, just so she can show up and get Bruce to herd the Morrows out of the house while he’s distracted.
So Bruce and Jessica go to rescue the Morrows from Phillip’s house on Monday at seven while he’s supposedly out helping Claire steal the chip. The plan fails because Phillip shows up unexpectedly and pulls a gun and everyone freaks the fuck out. They get away because Mitch tackles him, and they all run to meet the others at the plant, where Liz is posing as a reporter to try and distract Claire. Claire probably thinks it’s weird that a sixteen-year-old is claiming to be a Sweet Valley News reporter. She eventually gets annoyed and pulls her own gun and everyone cries and yells while a nearby security guard goes to lock up the plant and is completely oblivious. Nicholas calls the police and they think he’s just making shit up even when he says he’s the Morrows’ son and he knows for a fact they have been captured. Then the police get a call from Mr. Morrow and are all like, “Oh okay, he just verified your story … never mind!” What kind of fucking crackpot police force is this! When the police finally fucking come, everyone gets dragged away, and the kids are hailed as “the four heroes.” Meanwhile, Regina’s mom quickly recovers, where she was practically peeing on herself with fright before, and throws a huge party. Regina is going to stay in Sweet Valley with her love, Bruce, and Elizabeth is moved by their embracing and making out in front of everyone.
Oh yeah, Regina can hear now. Woo woooo.

This book SUCKS. It’s horribly written, the plot is ridiculous even for a kid’s/teenager’s book, and the ghostwriter clearly didn’t do much research on the characters before writing it. Jessica and Bruce spend too much time bickering over stupid shit because Jessica gets insulted every time Bruce insinuates dudes are charmed by her, and it’s supposed to be cute and funny but it’s incredibly nauseating. Also, I think Jess is just still pissed about losing her hymen to Bruce or something. The book is also full of obvious lines like, “The sooner the woman [Claire] suspected what she [Liz] was going to do, the harder her job would be.” NO SHIT SHERLOCK.

The subplot doesn’t really exist; it’s just an arc about Ken failing English that seems pretty out of place. Ken fail English? Unpossible!
We also learned … that Regina is a 16-year-old junior. I’m only putting this down because I occasionally get confused and think she is a sophomore.
Jessica uses baby oil when she tans (to get more sun). Hellooooo skin cancer.
There’s also a scene where Jessica works out to an aerobics record — yes, like a record on a turntable!
The Wakefields have an extra phone line installed in this book. Jessica calls Eddie on it, while Liz calls Bruce. I remember it used to be a huge deal if you had a separate, private line in your house. But you can’t beat Bruce’s cordless phone!
Jessica claims her detective skills are better than Liz’s because she read Agatha Christie all the time as a kid while Liz read “big boring” novels. Funny, in Sweet Valley Twins, Liz reads “Amanda Howard” mysteries and shit like that while Jessica doesn’t read anything.
Nicholas makes the twins nervous by threatening to go punch Claire in the face a couple of times. I’m telling you, this guy’s a douche.

Mrs. Morrow quickly recovers from her trauma yet insists that Regina needs a week at home from school to “rest” … oookay.

Bruce and Regina reunite and see each other for the first time since Regina left Sweet Valley. It’s supposed to be amazing that they are together again. Um, isn’t Bruce loaded? Couldn’t he have just hopped a plane over to Switzerland every weekend? Or during the summer and Christmas breaks that took place since book 18?
Buddy Ames is mentioned a couple of times, but of course we never meet him and probably never will.

There’s one scene where Elizabeth takes a carton of milk out of the fridge. Then a few lines later, she pours herself a glass of juice.

I know the whole premise of this book is pretty dumb, but I just have to say … really, Regina? You went ahead and got on this plane to Sweet Valley with this woman who says she has a gun? I was flying back in 1986, and it’s not like the airports didn’t have any metal detectors or security measures! What the hell? And WHY would the woman need YOU to get the microchip when she can just force one of your parents to do it? Come on, run away screaming to security or something! What is she going to do, shoot you in the middle of the airport?
I saw the cover of this book when I was pretty little and my sister had it. I remember thinking that some big scary man had come to gag Regina with that rag and that’s how she was kidnapped. Then when I was 7, I read Christopher Pike’s Gimme a Kiss and decided that, like someone in that book, Hostage‘s baddie must have had a rag soaked in chloroform to knock her out with. Yeah … nope. Chalk this up to another cover scene that never happens in the book (see also: book 20). Also, I think what I thought was a man on the cover is supposed to be Claire, since Regina doesn’t really spend much time with Phillip. We don’t have to worry about the chest looking manly because we already know that no one in Sweet Valley actually has boobs except that hobag Annie Whitman.
The back of the book has the same old mail-in order forms as usual, and then funnily enough there’s one encouraging you to buy Bantam versions of Wuthering Heights, Little Women, and Jane Eyre. The ad is headlined, “Stories of Love That Will Live Forever.” It’s interesting to see these books advertised in a Sweet Valley High novel.
Next up … we’ll find out what happens between Ken and his new girlfriend, Suzanne Hanlon, who wants to change him. I for one don’t care so much. Ken has always struck me as the stereotypical dumb jock, and Suzanne is a character that’s barely been mentioned before.  We’ve been told she is a PBA member, and she’s wealthy and into things like poetry and classical music. Because only rich people like that crap.

Comments on: "#26 Hostage!" (6)

  1. steelmag9 said:

    This is the funniest post yet! I read your recaps and I can’t believe that I thought SVH was pretty good reading when I was a kid. I read these books now to de-stress from dealing with the travails of providing guidance and wisdom of teen moms. I cannot wait until you get to the prom magna edition and the earthquake/aftermath books.

    • Oh my god … your comment brought me back to the pain of reading Hostage … It has to be the worst one I’ve read so far. It’s THAT bad!

      And I can’t wait to get to the prom books and beyond either, because I’ve never read any books past #94 🙂 i think they are going to be crazy based on everything I’ve heard!

      Thanks for reading!

  2. steelmag9 said:


  3. Hilarious! I remember reading this story and liking it back in 7th grade lol. I always liked Regina tho. Your recap describing the twins and Bruce attempting to rescue Regina and save the day makes me think of Scoobie Doo and those “meddling kids” catching the bad guy, you know, opposed to the cops doing their job and all lol.

    The part about Liz pulling out the milk carton and pouring juice sticks out, too. I remember catching that when I originally read it too lol.

  4. OMG this book was so bad I felt the same way you did while I was re-reading it. The entire plot was just ridiculous and full of holes. Even as a kid, this was not one of the ones that I read more than once. No, just, no!

  5. Hahaha, this was actually my absolute favorite when I was growing up. And I promise I’m not a complete imbecile. 🙂

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