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

#48 Slam Book Fever

Now, we’re on to one of those books that I consider a milestone in the series. Everyone tried to get a slam book when this came out! Don’t deny it! But I remembered this book as being juicier than it was. My almost-30 self was just not impressed. I guess I’m uh, a little out of the target age range now.

Checking out the cover: Amy looks terrible. She looked “cute” on her other two covers, but here she’s just … fug. I really hate Amy Sutton, so this pleases me. I’m digging Jessica’s sweater. Her face looks more like Dana Larson’s from Starting Over, however. Don’t you think?

Amy Sutton is feeling all pleased with herself. You see, back in Connecticut, everyone had a Slam Book, and even though it’s been like 20 books since she moved here, she’s just now telling everyone about this. She explains how a Slam Book works. First, you “carefully” write your name inside the front cover. Gee, that’s a huge step right there. Next, you divide your book into two parts: one for boys, and one for girls. Then, you put headings at the top of each blank page, which should be superlatives like: Prettiest, Most Popular, Class Clown, etc. Amy even comes up with a third section called “Crystal Ball”, the headings of which are predictions like: Most Likely to Run for President, bla bla. After you’ve come up with these headings, you write down the names of people you think best fit the categories in your book, then swap with your friends. Everyone passes the books around and writes their own choices down in each other’s books, and when you get yours back you have a ton of anonymous gossip! Sounds like a blast, right? Well, of course we have Little Miss Goody-goody Liz Wakefield speaking up to let everyone know that this sounds like it could potentially hurt some feelings. She explains how she gets terribly mean submissions to include in the Eyes and Ears column and how careful she has to be about writing it. I love the way she thinks her gossip is the standard to which all gossip should be held. But Amy goes ahead and gives her ugly ass a pat on the back for starting a new fad at SVH. Everyone makes a “special” trip to the stationery shop to purchase the same speckled composition books that you can get in the grocery store. Then the trouble starts, allowing Elizabeth to once again feel good about herself for always knowing what’s best.

A hot new redhead named Adam Joseph “A.J.” Morgan has moved to Sweet Valley from Atlanta. He plays basketball and is an Army brat. Wait, there’s an Army base near Sweet Valley? Jessica immediately develops a serious crush on A.J. She can’t even talk right when he’s around, blushes and stammers, and messes up the cheerleading formations at the b’ball game. To tell you the truth, that’s more realistic than Jessica’s usual purring at new dudes. And it’s really cute! People keep asking Jess what’s wrong with her, but she doesn’t want anyone to know she’s crushing on A.J., so she keeps denying it. She flies into a rage when she’s listed as “Biggest Flirt” in the Slam Books because she’s afraid A.J. will think she’s well, um … herself. Cara, Lila, and Amy are all like, “What the hell? You’re a total cocktease, Jess!” Jess is also listed as “Most Likely to Have Six Kids” which I presume is the Sweet Valley consequence of being “Biggest Flirt” … šŸ˜‰

Meanwhile, things are not good with Olivia and Roger. They keep fighting and eventually they decide it’s best to just end the relationship. Olivia is devastated and throws herself into her new literary magazine, Visions. Jeffrey is helping her by doing all the photography. He then decides Olivia would be the perfect model for a series of pictures he wants to include. He would’ve used Liz as the model, but some of the photos have to show the model as looking depressed and angry, and Liz’s face is too sunny for those. Yes, this is true! Even on the cover of book 4, her mean face is too smiley! Haha. Liz is cool with Jeffrey using Olivia as the model … for now.

Things take a nasty turn when everyone checks out their Slam Books and sees that Jeffrey and Olivia have been listed as “Future Couple.” Everyone freaks the hell out. It’s just words, you guys! Liz becomes worried that she and Jeffrey might somehow be threatened by this. Then they also see that under the same heading, Elizabeth and A.J. have been listed, too. Jessica is really upset since she’s harboring the secret infatuation with A.J. Wow, so much drama over some dumb prediction someone wrote in a book.

Liz can’t help but notice that Jeffrey is spending all his time with Olivia. He does sound rather disconnected. Then he doesn’t reassure her in the manner to which she is accustomed so she starts ignoring him and pulling her usual bullshit. The last straw is when Jeffrey calls her to say he’s standing her up for a beach date because he suddenly noticed the light outside was just perfect for a photo shoot in Las Palmas Canyon. So now he’s not going to make it back in time. He even calls Olivia “Liv”! Liz is really sad. Right after they hang up, Cara shows up at the house to hit the beach with Jessica. Cara is upset because she was at an appointment in “Riverside” (where the H is that?) and saw Olivia and Jeffrey in a parking lot at a rest stop, and Jeffrey was holding Olivia in his arms. Rather than confront Jeffrey later, Liz stomps off to the beach with Cara and Jessica where they meet Lila. A.J. goes by, and Liz decides the best way to handle her sadness over Jeffrey is to flirt outrageously with A.J. and get him to give her windsurfing lessons. Wow, so now we have crazy Dear Sister Liz all over again. Everyone is stunned by Liz’s nutty behavior, and A.J. clearly does not want to give her windsurfing lessons, but is too big of a wimp to say so. Jeffrey and Olivia show up and are really confused about what’s happening. Cara explains what she saw, and Olivia says she had something in her eye and Jeffrey pulled over to help her get it out. Lila offers to straighten things out with Liz for him and makes him a bet: if Liz doesn’t want to speak with him again in ten minutes, she’ll owe Jeffrey dinner out at L’Escalier. Everyone gasps because this is THE ritziest French restaurant in town! As opposed to the last few French restaurants we heard about that were supposed to be the ritziest. I guess they keep building new ones all the time.

Of course, the plan fails and Lila conveniently owes Jeffrey a dinner out. That same night, Liz goes out with A.J. while Jessica stews because she can’t bring herself to tell Liz how much she likes A.J. I kind of think this is her just deserts (and yes, it’s just deserts, not just desserts – look it up) for the shit she pulled in book 1, but just barely. Lila starts hanging on “Jeff” at school all the time to “discuss strategy” because Jeffrey is too stupid to try to talk to his girlfriend himself. So obviously, this calls for an elaborate plan to fix things. Jessica has to dress up as Liz and convince everyone with a slam book that she needs to borrow them for the Oracle. The idea is that every book but Lila’s will have “Jeffrey and Olivia” and “Elizabeth and A.J.” under the “Future Couple” category. Why wouldn’t Lila just write it in her own book? But somehow, their stupid theory is right. Lila still isn’t over Jeffrey preferring Liz to her from umpteen books ago, so this was her bright idea to steal him. I would scoff, but clearly since these kids don’t know how to communicate like normal couples, she was on the right track. Jessica is just enraged that Lila would try to do something like this, because she’s never had the idea of stealing Jeffrey herself or anything. (Ahem, book 32.) All it takes to get J and E back together is showing them how Lila’s book is the only one that doesn’t have “Jeffrey and Olivia” in it. Then all of a sudden it makes sense and Liz believes that Jeffrey really didn’t cheat on her. Urrrrrrrrrr! This is so juvenile! They make up and all is well.

In the meantime, A.J. tells Jessica he really likes her. Liz is not for him, although I guess he liked her enough to take her out. And why does he like Jess? Because she’s so quiet, and shy! Like the good Southern girls he’s used to from back home! So now Jessica is going to change her whole personality to make sure he stays interested in her. Sounds like a great plan, that one. Aside from that, what bothers me is how the implication is that A.J. likes a docile, submissive creature. I don’t know, it just gets to the feminist in me. You know I take this shit too seriously anyway.

So how does everyone get back at Lila? They create a new category called “Biggest Sneak” and write Lila’s name in all the books! Ooooooooh! That’ll show her!

How many of you tried to start your own slam book craze because of this book?

The sub-plot doesn’t really exist since everything just interchanges anyway.

Other stuff: Random characters: Paul Isaacs and Jason Mann. They’re basketball players. It kind of bothers me how a character is mentioned in mere passing, usually with no speaking parts, and we will never hear of them again, yet they get names like they are important. Oh, Paul Isaacs! The basketball dude, riiiiiight! Maybe the ghostwriter just wants to do a shout-out to his/her friends by putting their names in the book. That’s totally something I would do, so I guess I need to take the stick out of my ass.

Everyone makes a big deal out of Lila’s shiny gold swimsuit and the fact that her towel says “THE RITZ” on it.

In case you were wondering, L’Escalier means “The Stairs”! Ha ha

From the mouth of Lila Fowler: Talking about her Italian bathing suit: “Italy’s the best. You guys should try to get some stuff airmailed over for you. Sweet Valley just doesn’t have any real selection.”

Coming up next: I review the Sweet Valley High Slam Book itself! You know you had to have one!

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