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

#45 Family Secrets


This cover is probably my worst nightmare

I think I’m all Sweet Valley-ed out. I’ve taken forever to finish this one.


As you may have guessed by this creepy-ass cover, the twins have a relative who looks just like them. She’s even boobless like they are. Her name is Kelly Bates, she’s from Tucson, and she’s the daughter of Alice’s sister Laura and her very handsome ex-husband Greg. We know Greg is very handsome because Jessica goes on about it after seeing his picture and says she’s sorry he’s too old for her. WHOA, Jess, WHOA. I know you aren’t technically related to him, but he’s still your ex-uncle by marriage and that’s just gross.

Aunt Laura is getting remarried to a man named Tony who has some children from a previous marriage, and Kelly has problems with it. So, she’s being sent off to live with the Wakefields for a while so she can get over it until the marriage is over. She’s going to be there for a “few weeks” but it’s long enough for her to need to attend classes at SVH. Then she’s just transfer back to her old school and magically accept her new family, I guess. How the fuck is that supposed to work, Aunt Laura? Your kid isn’t going to feel like she’s being sent away for convenience’s sake while you get your new family going? But the twins are delighted that Kelly is coming to town. And get this, she LOOKS JUST LIKE THEM. That’s right, another Wakefield clone. Great, JUST GREAT. The twins and Kelly dress similar for Kelly’s first day at school and walk around showing Kelly off and shocking everybody with their “triplet.” It’s the biggest hit of the year. Barf. The twins are highly amused with themselves.

Not surprisingly, Kelly doesn’t seem to appreciate being shuttled off to the Wakefield home while her mom’s wedding takes place without her. She doesn’t have anything positive to say about her mom, and won’t come to the phone when she calls. But she’s always babbling to anyone who’ll listen about how amazing and perfect her dad is. And, of course, how good-looking he is. This wouldn’t be Sweet Valley without some questionable relative-worship. Yet Alice is telling the kids that Greg is a jackass and that Laura had every reason to leave him. And Kelly has horrible nightmares that leave her crying. Then Kelly tells the twins she plans to stay in Sweet Valley for good. She’s going to get her father, whose home is a few towns away, to agree to move there and she’ll attend Sweet Valley High and never see her mother again. The twins are confused.

Being presumptuous and all, the twins decide to set Kelly up with Nicholas Morrow without ever asking her if she wants to meet him or even date anyone. Nicholas likes Kelly, which should be obvious since she looks just like the twins and so he can pretend she is Liz while he bangs her. He asks her to go to some costume dance at the country club and she says okay. The twins and Kelly decide to dress up as the Hear No Evil-See No Evil-Speak No Evil monkeys. Gag me. But then Kelly meets Kirk Anderson the asshole. They go out to the Dairi Burger and she is totally charmed by him and agrees to go to the costume dance with him rather than Nicholas. The twins are distressed.

Kirk takes Kelly on a date to the Beach Disco, but he shows up 30 minutes late. Then he runs away to talk to “an old friend” for several minutes in the middle of the date and leaves Kelly hanging out on the deck by herself. Yet Kelly finds him charming and oh-so-nice. Bla, bla. I’m getting tired of hearing about Kirk Anderson, actually. I feel like this should be Bruce Patman causing the problems. Come back, Bruce! We know you’re tired of Amy already. Soon afterwards, Jessica hears from Cara that Kirk has gone back to his ex-girlfriend Marci Kaplan. But Kelly thinks that’s not accurate and that Kirk is only dating her. Then Kelly takes her sweet time telling Nicholas she isn’t going to the costume dance with him. Kirk stands Kelly up for a beach party, and then he goes out with Marci right in front of Kelly’s face while making excuses that they are just friends. Kelly puts up with it and it’s like Jessica and Bruce all over again.

Kelly badmouths her mom to Lila and Cara in front of Jessica and says that Laura broke Greg’s heart when she left him and he had to quit his job. Jessica tries to talk to Lila about it, but Lila just isn’t interested in hearing about the drama, haha. Then Cara warns Kelly that Kirk has a “reputation” (read: he’s a date rapist) and Kelly brushes off her advice. She thinks that can’t possibly be true because Kirk hasn’t even tried to kiss her yet. But Kelly is still worried because everyone and their brother is telling her that Kirk and Marci are definitely together again, so she sends Kirk notes in study hall bugging him for the truth. He is very irritated and keeps telling her he and Marci are friends and nothing more.

Enid shows up for the first time in the whole book, and it’s so Liz can talk to someone about her problems. Typical. Liz explains to Enid that she doesn’t get why Kelly thinks her dad’s so great, since Alice has told the twins that he has a bad temper and used to cheat on Kelly’s mom. But it turns out that Kelly’s mom has done a great deal to hide the truth from her daughter, because she doesn’t want Kelly to think her father is a jerk, so now Kelly thinks that her mom left her dad for no reason and that her mom is the jerk instead. Good going Laura.

Kelly’s seventeenth birthday arrives, and she’s super excited because her father is supposed to come and take her out at 5:00. He shows up at 6:30, doesn’t have a gift for her, and leaves maybe five or ten minutes later saying he has to get to a business dinner. Everyone is shocked, but Kelly acts like it’s no big deal while struggling to hold back her tears.

Everyone goes to the costume party, and Kelly agrees to take off to Miller’s Point with Kirk. He guzzles beer while driving and then gets very rapey with Kelly, all shoving his hand under her leotard and shit. Then he gets mad when she tells him to stop it, and starts smashing beer bottles against the rocks. This brings back a nasty memory for Kelly of her father flipping out and breaking everything in their house when she was eight, and she freaks out and runs off crying. Jean West and Tom McKay find her and take her home where Liz initially thinks Kirk raped her. The truth comes out, everyone talks about it, her mother explains why she didn’t want Kelly to have a bad impression of her father thus allowing her to continue to suppress these evil memories, and Kelly goes back to Tucson with her mother, and that’s another relative we won’t be hearing much of again.

So the moral of the story is, you should never bottle up your problems and ignore them, but have to face them! And talk it out! Or it causes even more problems! And ruins everything! You can’t SEE NO EVIL HEAR NO EVIL SPEAK NO EVIL! GET IT! LIKE THE COSTUMES OH MY GOD LOLLLLLZZZZ!111

The sub-plot: There is none. Too bad. I could’ve used a break from this deep shit.

From the mouth of Lila Fowler: “Wow. He really sounds like a great father. All mine ever does is buy me stuff – he doesn’t have much imagination.”

Other stuff: As Ned reviews the latest credit card bill, we learn that Jessica got a new cheerleading uniform recently. It’s on the bill as a charge from Sport Zone. Didn’t they just have a dumb fundraiser with rocking chairs to raise funds so that they wouldn’t have to pay for those themselves? Liz has a charge on the bill from the Book Worm and it’s for “reference books” – of course.

Kelly is a better tennis player than Jessica, who’s supposed to be a whiz. I must be weird; I grew up knowing almost nobody who played tennis.

Kelly stays in Jessica’s room. Why does Jessica always have to put up all the guests in her room, especially when it’s such a mess all the time? Just wondering.

Here are some costume ideas Nicholas, the twins and Kelly had before settling on the three monkeys: Three Little Pigs, Three Blind Mice, the Three Musketeers, the three Bronte sisters … yes, I said the three Brontes, and I’ll give you one guess whose idea THAT was.

Here are the other kids’ costumes at the dumb dance: Jeffrey is a fucking “ragged, dirty wino.” He stumbles around pretending to be a drunk homeless person with soot on his face (black face?) and is dressed in rags. Holy shit, that’s politically correct. Enid is a hippie. Lila is Princess Diana. Ken is Donald Duck. Susan Stewart is Rita Hayworth. Winston Egbert is a bunch of grapes. Sandy Bacon is an authentic Mexican woman or something. Robin Wilson is a snorkeler. Kirk is a pirate. The Droids are dressed in Army fatigues, and yes, they are playing their dumb songs. This costume party sucks.

Robin Wilson is suddenly a platform diver. What?

There’s a brief and very random mention of Steven bringing home a list of professors who need a baby sitter, on request for Jessica. Jessica is trying to find a way to make money and show off for Lila … because babysitting is going to equal what, a tenth of Lila’s allowance? And I’m confused, isn’t Sweet Valley College still two hours away from Calico Drive? It’s never mentioned again so I guess I don’t give a crap … unless it’s going to be the sub-plot in the next book … no, please lord no.

Oh, and guess who is completely absent from this story? Abbie Richardson. Just like that, she’s gone … presto!

Next up: Thank God, another Super Thriller where the twins can be nosy little wenches. Also, Robin Wilson is upset about getting into Sarah Lawrence College early admission. Come on, no one really wants to go to any school other than Sweet Valley College. Jessica is mildly interested in all her dramz.


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