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

Archive for December, 2010

#61 Boy Trouble

LIZ: Aw, Patty, whatever's bothering you, I'm sure my hand can help. PATTY: Really? Odd, that's not what Todd said.

Happy New Year everybody! I regret I don’t have a more exciting book to usher in 2011. Coincidentally, this book was the first of the 90s, and here is the plotline we get: Sweet Valley people acting even more childish than usual. I mean, check out this title for starters; Boy Trouble is about as unimaginative and bland as they come for a teen series. In fact I think it’s better suited for something preteen like Sweet Valley Twins or Camp Sunnyside Friends. (Does anyone say preteen anymore? I think the popular lingo is tween but I hate that word! Sounds like someone tried to say “teen” with a mouthful of peanut butter!) It’s not even about Boy Trouble so much as it is about People Trouble or Dumbass Trouble or Tendency to Overreact Trouble. And I truly feel we’ve been overloaded with Liz covers. At least we have our first African American person on the cover. I think Patty is the only black girl who’s mentioned in the series on a semi-regular basis. And she has to share the cover with stupid Elizabeth, wouldn’t you know! If you look at Liz’s hand there, it oddly seems to have been painted the same color as Patty’s skin!

Liz doesn’t even appear in this book that much; she shows up in a few scenes to give Patty advice, since Patty’s own best friend DeeDee Gordon sucks at it, I guess. Liz is doing a new “Personal Profiles” feature in the Oracle that puts a new senior student on the front page every few weeks, and she’s chosen Patty for her first victimsubject. (I guess I forgot Patty is a senior.) So that puts Liz in an oh-so-convenient spot to bnose into Patty’s effing business. We get multiple nauseating sentences about what a caring friend Liz is, how wise she is, how amazing her advice is, bla bla bla like usual!

So what is Patty’s problem? Well, she’s been dating Jim Hollis for over two years; they double date with boring old DeeDee and her boyfriend Bill Chase a lot. Jim is a freshman at Pacific College which is said to be two hours from Sweet Valley. Wasn’t Sweet Valley College also supposed to be two hours away? Or five minutes, or 45 minutes, or an hour, depending on what book you’re reading. Maybe they base these estimates on who’s driving.

Patty is excited because Jim is finally coming home for his first weekend in about a month. He’s been MIA a lot lately; they used to talk on the phone every night, but now Patty can never reach him. But then Patty’s parents announce that her older sister Jana, who’s 21, is coming for her first visit in six months that very same weekend. She’ll want to spend all her time with the family, so Patty is suddenly not allowed to see Jim or something. I don’t get it. Can’t he just hang out with them on and off and then come to visit again the next weekend? Patty tries to explain everything to Jim who throws a fit and they have the dumbest fight EVER. Patty thinks that Jim would probably rather date other girls but isn’t saying so, especially since he’s always missing from his dorm room. It seems like they might’ve broken up during the fight, but Patty isn’t sure and neither am I. Patty is devastated either way, and she comes home expecting to tell Jana all about it. But while Jana has indeed arrived home, she’s brought a man with her … her new fiance. He’s an Air Force man named Ted Brewster, and it’ll be a short engagement … because the wedding’s in two weeks. And then they’re moving to West Germany immediately afterwards hence the reason for the quickie wedding. (No shotguns here.) Damn, that was fast. Her family had never even met or heard of Ted prior to the engagement announcement.

Jana is so wrapped up in the wedding planning that she has no time to listen to Patty and gives her the brush-off whenever Patty tries. So Patty is reduced to calling DeeDee, who convinces her to do a friendly double “date” with her and Bill and Bill’s friend from Santa Monica, Craig McCaffrey, at Guido’s. Craig is funny and makes Patty laugh, but she has no other interest in him. Then they all go see a tearjerker movie that mirrors Patty’s current situation. Patty sniffles and thinks about how she’ll call Jim to make up as soon as she gets home. But when the lights come up, Craig sees her crying and gives her a friendly hug … at the same time Jim comes up the aisle and sees it. Jim himself is with another chick who looks awfully close to him. Jim and Patty are pissed at one another, and go home and have another fight about it over the phone and break up, for real this time.

Liz interviews Patty for the stupid newspaper profile, and convinces her to go to Jim’s and make up. After all, Patty can’t be sure that the girl Jim was with was anything more than a friend, especially since we already know Jim made the wrong assumption about Patty and Craig. But when Patty goes by Jim’s house, he’s in the yard with that same other girl, tossing a Frisbee around. Patty drives home bawling. Jana couldn’t care less; she’s all about her wedding planning and is really abrupt and self-absorbed. Patty never tells her that she and Jim are over, but clearly something is wrong and Jana does know that they had a fight. Patty finally gets upset and yells at Jana about how little she cares about her dumb wedding. Jana is really hurt and yells back that she doesn’t want Patty to be her maid of honor anymore and storms out of the room. Holy shit, the melodrama in the Gilbert family is a little crazy.

Patty’s mom comes in to her room one morning to talk to her and tell her that she’d better make up with Jana because Jana is about to ask their cousin Tracy – a junior at SVH – to be her maid of honor instead. Patty is all, F off Mom, GOD! And refuses to make up with Jana or even attend the wedding, EVEN THOUGH she knows not going will make her mother cry. My mom would probably just force me to be the maid of honor anyway, but I guess Mrs. Gilbert is nicer than that, or something. God, Patty is being such a selfish twat though. Just go to the damn wedding! It’s your sister! I mean, did she murder your boyfriend, or did she just seem rather full of herself? I’ve never gotten that family drama where people refuse to attend a wedding as punishment for some dumb tiff or another. One time my friend had like 15 relatives refuse to show up at her wedding because they were mad at her mom for something totally unrelated to my friend, that was silly anyway. I mean, for real? Oh shit, I’m going off on personal stuff again. Uh, so Patty goes on feeling miserable and not talking to Jim (who’s back at school) and going out of her way to avoid Jana, who storms out of the room whenever Patty appears anyway. The Gilbert household is sure a fun place to be right now.

Oh don’t be afraid, there is a happy ending. I know you guys were really worried. Elizabeth figures out that the chick Jim was hanging around is his cousin Monica, who was in town to show her designs at the Sweet Valley craft fair. Jessica bought some earrings from her there. (See the sub-plot for more on the stupid fair.) So Liz goes to the Gilberts’ house and tells Patty, who’s relieved that Monica is a relative, but still figures Jim doesn’t want anything to do with her since she can never reach him. She figures she was too mean and he’s really done with her and ready to date other girls anyway. Well, it’s true that he’s probably out drying his tears with some hot co-ed’s hastily discarded panties, Patty dear.

Jana needs a ride to the bridal shop for her dress fitting and has no choice but to ask Patty for help. Patty winds up missing her dance lesson to see Jana try on the dress, and they cry and make up and admit they’ve both been acting like complete juveniles. Jana isn’t worried about cousin Tracy being upset that she can’t be maid of honor now, because Tracy didn’t want to take Patty’s place anyway. Then Patty shows Jana a letter she wrote to Jim explaining herself, but is too big of a wimp to mail it. Jana mails it for her with an explanation and an invitation for Jim to come to her wedding and make things right. When she calls Mrs. Hollis to get Jim’s address, she learns that Jim is off at a two-week-long geological class in the mountains and that’s why Patty never heard from him or could reach him. So what about all the times leading up to that class? And you’d think he would’ve just mentioned this class to Patty ahead of time, or explained it to her when she yelled about him seeing other people. DIAGNOSIS: SWALLOW YOUR PRIDE ALREADY.

Jana and Ted have their wedding rehearsal dinner at the Valley Inn. Ted’s best man, Marshall Borden, gives a toast and Patty notices that Ted isn’t even listening, and then he checks his watch and runs out of the Inn right in the middle of it. Wow, that’s really rude. If I were Marshall I would be pissed. And you know they didn’t tell him what was going on ahead of time or he would’ve just delayed his toast a bit or given it earlier! Patty is convinced this means Ted is a cheating asshole or something, or at least not the man Jana thinks he is. Right, he ran out of his own rehearsal dinner because he had to go meet his other woman behind the Valley Inn dumpster. In reality, Ted was going to pick up Jim from the bus stop. He got the letter and came down from the mountains. And he does come to Jana’s wedding the next day, where Patty sees him as she marches to the altar in her rather prissy-sounding bridesmaid dress. Patty and Jim make up and cry all over each other and Patty seems to think she was wrong to question why Jim was never around at school and why he couldn’t just explain about Monica and the geological course ahead of time. I hope this is the end of all their stupid drama, but I doubt it … we have too many books left in the series.

The sub-plot involves another dumb Jessica scheme. She’s bored with all the boys at school, of course, and looking for a hot older man. She runs into DeeDee at the Valley Mall crafts fair, and DeeDee asks Jessica if she could watch her booth for five minutes so she can grab some lunch. DeeDee is selling some artistic T-shirts she painted and they are all the rage. They sound like those giant tees a lot of people wore in the late 80s/early 90s, you know, the ones with the fabric paint and tiny mirrors on them, the ones you had to secure at your hip with one of those special twisty clip thangs. Jessica reluctantly agrees to sit at the booth even though she can’t stand DeeDee. While she’s there, a man in his late 20s comes up and introduces himself as Vincent Delano, co-owner of the new Blue Parrot art store. He’s impressed with the shirt designs and wants to cut a deal to sell them. Jessica thinks Vincent is hot, so she goes ahead and pretends to be the designer, and gives him her number. She isn’t worried about the ruse because she’s sure Vincent is just interested in dating her, a 16-year-old who giggles and bats her eyelashes, and that he’s only pretending to be interested in the shirts so he has an excuse to get her number. Well, why not just say they aren’t yours and give him your number anyway then?

Vincent calls Jess a few days later wanting to set up a time to show the shirts to his partner, Cassie. DeeDee sold all of the shirts, so Jess doesn’t have any to bring to the meeting to pass off as her own. So she decides she’s going to make some new ones herself. Oh this is rich. She barges in on DeeDee and Patty’s lunch table and demands to know where DeeDee gets her paint supplies because she’s decided she wants to make shirts too. DeeDee is completely stunned because of course Jess never told her about Vincent, so she doesn’t know what the fuck is going on or why Jess is so desperate to copy off of her all of a sudden. After Jessica leaves, DeeDee laughs to Patty about how in art class last year, Jessica tried to sculpt a bust of Charlie Markus and it looked awful. But Jessica buys the paints and makes some shirts with landscape art that of course turn out completely hideous. When she shows them to Vincent and Cassie at the Blue Parrot, they are stunned and Jessica acts offended. Finally she’s forced to admit that she isn’t the real artist, and Vincent calls DeeDee and asks to sell the shirts and DeeDee’s whole day has just been made. Well, bully for you Dee. I’m not feeling particularly enthused by this storyline.

Here’s a part I don’t get. After all of the above happens, Jessica sees Patty wearing one of DeeDee’s shirts and almost passes out in shock … why? I’m confused. Who cares? Isn’t everyone supposed to be wearing DeeDee’s shirts? At first I thought it would turn out to be one of Jessica’s ugly shirts that Patty wore as a joke – maybe to let Jess know that Dee found out the truth from Vincent – but nope. So weird.

WTF? So these books seem to be getting lamer and lamer all the time. I believe the 50s ushered in an era of stories that focus on random secondary characters and their pithy problems.

Even the font in this book is whacked out, at least on the cover by-line, and then on the inside front page where the excerpt is. I find it weird, like the editor decided to mix shit up for a change.

I don’t get all these couples that consist of one college boy and one Sweet Valley High girl. How do these things last? When I think about my college days, the last thing I would’ve wanted was some underage boy waiting back at home for me, whining that I spend too many weekends partying elsewhere instead of trekking back to my hometown over and over! (Kudos to you if you made such a thing work in real life, but I never could.)

Have some history: maybe 10 months after this book was released, West and East Germany became one, dating this book rather quickly. But West Germany is mostly referred to as just “Germany” in this book. At this time it was published, the Berlin Wall was already being torn down.

Jessica tries on some earrings at the crafts fair that sound exactly like the ones she used to make (in book 51, Against the Odds) but says they aren’t her style. I guess they brought back some bad memories for her!

Elizabeth totally misrepresents her past with Nicholas Morrow to Patty! She tells her about the date they went on (in book 14, Deceptions) like this: “[Todd] saw me in a restaurant with another guy, Nicholas Morrow. Nicholas and I are very close friends, and that’s it. Still, it looked suspicious to Todd, and he assumed the worst.” WOW. Love how she conveniently leaves out how she pretended to be Jessica when Todd saw them, because she’d been sneaking around on Todd for some time and hiding the date from him, and how they broke up over it later. And I wouldn’t say they are only “very close friends” seeing as how Liz ran right back to Nicholas the second she thought Todd had dumped her when he left for Vermont! Liz is so full of shit!

Elizabeth, of course, isn’t the only delusional twin although she usually takes the cake in that department. Jessica thinks to herself that she still dislikes DeeDee for “snapping up Bill Chase before she herself got a fair shot at him.” Um, if leading the poor lovelorn boy on for weeks on end while you date Tom McKay isn’t a fair shot then I don’t know what is.

Jessica turns down a date with Jim Daley. I think that’s really weird to have two different Jims in one book. (Jim was previously mentioned in #39, Secret Admirer, where Jessica initially broke their date for John Karger.) Here it says he took her to a dance “once” – it wasn’t that dance, because then Jessica found another college boy to go with after John was a no-go.

There is no mention of Ken Matthews or how his eyes are doing!

Lila is almost entirely absent from this book, so it sucks doubly bad for that.

Coming up next: Jessica is foaming at the mouth to find a man in this town she hasn’t already blown at Miller’s Point! Good luck with that!

Lila’s Mysterious Bio in Book 5

Reading Lila’s Story made me curious about the bio I remembered reading in the back of book 5. It was part of a series of similar short character descriptions that appeared in the backs of the earliest books. I think there were only three of them; the other two were for Roger Collins and Bill Chase (whose bio is also at the end of book 5). But although the tidbits we’re given about Mr. Collins and Bill feature prominently in future stories about them, Lila’s never do!

Her bio tells us a little of what we already know: she’s wealthy, she’s spoiled, she wants to help Jessica keep Pi Beta Alpha “free of nerds, fatties, and other types they’ve deemed undesirable.” It also underscores how Liz stays away from Lila because she doesn’t like snobs, and reminds us of Lila’s brief bout of shoplifting. And it tells us once again that Lila’s father is computer chip “new money” and is constantly at odds with the “old money” Patmans, whose dough apparently comes from “canning” or at least that’s what the dominant industry in Sweet Valley was thirty years ago. But here’s what else it says:

Lila’s family. Lila’s mother is a former Hollywood bit actress who’s now “living it up in Europe with her jet-setter friends.” Her mother visits infrequently, and this year she confessed to Lila that George isn’t her real dad. She was already pregnant with Lila when she met George, and he agreed to marry her and give Lila the Fowler name. Her mom wouldn’t say who Lila’s real dad is, but Lila hopes it’s someone famous and now checks out the movie star faces to see if she can find any resemblance to herself. Lila is secretly afraid George doesn’t care about her because she isn’t his real daughter.

Lila’s true love. Lila fell in love for the first time not with Evan Armstrong, as I think we were just lead to believe, but with a boy named Ted Whitlock from Boston. She met him while she was visiting some relatives there the summer before 11th grade, but his family was true old money (from the Mayflower days) and looked down on her. When Lila went home at the end of the summer, they promised to write, but she only got one letter from him – in which he asked why she wasn’t writing him. She’d sent him five letters and thinks his parents threw them out. She finally tried to call him, but his mother answered and told Lila he wasn’t around. According to the book, Lila is hung up on Ted and wants to let him know she still loves him, and even marry him one day.

Lila’s ambitions. I didn’t realize Lila was a serious tennis player, but the bio says she idolizes Chris Evert Lloyd and wants to be a pro player just like she is. Well, you’d think she and Kristin Thompson would be better friends then. Lila also thinks marrying Ted will make her father notice her since Ted is even richer than George. Wow. Major Daddy issues. Major.

So, that’s that. We never heard a word of this ever again! These are the only three character bios that I found in the backs of my books; if you’ve seen more, let me know!

Super Star #1 Lila’s Story

Bitch please.

Welcome to one of my favorite Sweet Valley books ever! The Super Stars books give our favorite secondary characters their own Super Editions! And it’s only right that they should start off with Lila Fowler. I was so happy to read this and see that I still like it just as much as I did back in the day. The best part is that while not in first person, it’s still written entirely from Lila’s wonderfully lofty point of view. So we get to see more of what we already know about Lila: She’s used to the best in life and doesn’t take any crap from anybody, and she’s not the nicest person in the world. She’s a schemer and if she wants something of yours, she’ll have it. But she’s also fiercely loyal and protective of her home, her father, and her friends. Lila knows that revenge is a dish best served ice cold, and she’s one to serve it and never look back. We also get some awesome interaction between Lila and Bruce Patman, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Doesn’t Lila look pretty on this cover? The pearls are a nice touch and help remind us that she is rich in case anybody forgot. Her hair always weirded me out a little – the way it’s curled around looks odd, like there’s a big hairy foot draped over her shoulder. Her expression terrifies me. She has that deadly silent glare of a person who is about two seconds away from having you whacked by her Mafia don (if she won’t do the job herself).

So last I checked we were at the end of the fall football season once again, and now we’re being brought back to yet another summer. Repeat after me: I will not think about this too much. I will not think about this too much. Lila is grouchy because she thinks she’s going to have an awful summer hanging around with her father and his new girlfriend from L.A., Joan Borden, whom Lila detests. Joan is too over-the-top delighted about everything to be real, and Lila knows it. Even worse, Joan has a stupid daughter named Jacqueline who hides in her mother’s shadow and acts all meek and sweet. Lila is used to having her dad all to herself on those rare occasions that he is at home, but now all those moments seem to include Joan and Jacqueline. And you know what else? George seriously seems like he just quit working for the summer so that he can spend all his time parading the Bordens around the country club, or have Eva the housekeeper serve them a lunch of cold soup and salmon on the veranda by the lemon trees in the backyard. He couldn’t even pay that much attention to Lila after she was caught shoplifting for fuck’s sake. When the dumb Borden twats aren’t at Fowler Crest, George spends his time barking at Lila to be nicer to stupid, overly-sweet Jacqueline or warning her to stop spending so much on his charge every week, or making weak attempts to discipline her. (Lila thinks it’s too weird that George is trying to put any limits on her at all, because he usually doesn’t. MUST BE NICE.) Then Lila purchases a suede outfit for $600 at Lisette’s even though her father has ordered her to keep within her weekly charging limit. When George asks her about the charge, she claims the store is wrong and it wasn’t her. And he just takes her word for it even though she’s had a problem with keeping to her spending limit lately. Then when he talks to the store and finds out Lila lied, he gives a lecture that’s all of two sentences and doesn’t revoke her charge card privileges or anything. Gee, that’ll stop her. Man, the adults in these books are just paragons of good parenting!

Lila and Jessica go to a concert by “Karla Xavier” and “West End” at the Sweet Valley High stadium. Gee, where else would they host a concert by two hot rock acts? Lila accidentally bumps into a recent Palisades High graduate named Evan Armstrong, and makes him drop all his drinks. She thinks he’s the hottest guy she’s ever seen and goes crazy over him and his car. Jessica wisely says, “This isn’t like you, Lila. I’ve never seen you making such a fool of yourself over a guy before. Usually I’m the one who does that.” And then Jess has to break the bad news that Evan has been dating some chick from SVH named Sonia Bentley “forever”. Lila is depressed, and Jessica reminds her that’s hardly something that would stop Lila Fowler from getting to know a sexy older man. That’s right! And, it turns out that Sonia has always had the hots for Bruce Patman, and it’s a huge bone of contention between her and Evan. So Lila and Jessica meet Bruce at the country club and Lila makes a deal that Bruce will steal Sonia away from Evan so that she can go after him. There’s all kinds of delicious banter between Lila and Bruce about why she wants him to do this and what she’ll owe him in return. And Bruce does all his normal macho posturing and makes Lila want to barf! Ha ha! Bruce remembers how Sonia threw herself at him while still dating Evan, and the only reason Bruce didn’t close the deal was because he was too busy dating a Sweet Valley College (of course) co-ed named Marly Jackson at the time. So really, we can see that Evan is a total chump for dating a girl who will hop onto Bruce’s dick the first chance she gets. Wow, do you even need Bruce to help out with this? Couldn’t you just tell Sonia Bruce wants to date her and let nature take its course? But Lila chose this route, and Bruce can’t think of anything he wants from Lila in return, so they have to agree that Lila will just owe him one. Heh, heh, heh.

The kids go to the Beach Disco where Lila harasses Bruce all night to get in Sonia’s pants, already, and they bicker back and forth. Lila even gets Winston to dance with her near Sonia and Evan so she can listen to Bruce trying to cut in. Then Bruce sits at a table with Sonia and Evan and becomes that proverbial third-wheel cock-blocker, but Sonia is clearly enthralled, and finally agrees to dance with Bruce. Evan is PISSED and punches a table, and storms outside to seethe about what’s happening, and Lila goes out there and “accidentally” interrupts his melancholy. Evan recognizes her from the drink-spilling incident at the Karla Xavier concert and falls in love at first sight, or so he says. Not that Li isn’t beautiful, but he sounds like a total phony. He tells Lila he can’t believe this is happening to him (oh, come on) and then he gets her number and invites her to watch him in a drag race in “Los Palmos”. This deal’s closed as far as I’m concerned.

Lila introduces Jessica to Joan and Jacqueline, and Joan asks Jessica if she’s “Of the Boston Wakefields? Or the Philadelphia Wakefields?” Holy shit! Jessica is confused and it’s great Man, that Joan is a real whiner, prattling about how neither she nor Jackie can have their faces in the sun when George wants them all to eat outside at the country club. Then George starts getting after Lila for not hanging around Jacqueline and Joan every damn second while using “Joan word[s]” like “glorious” and implying he wants to make the Bordens a permanent part of his life. Silly George, don’t you know that there’s room for only one schemer in your household? Lila consoles herself by continuing her gradual seduction of Evan. Evan mentions that Sonia hates racing and has never seen him compete, a fact that is backed up by some other chicks at the track. That Sonia is a real prize of a girlfriend. Lila pretends to love racing, while thinking that she’ll buy some racing magazines to learn more about it as part of her seduction strategy. They go to eat dinner out and Evan goes on about what drag racing means to him, and Lila tells Evan a little bit about her anger about the Bordens and he seems to understand. They should have called this book The Fast and the Furious. Evan seems nervous, though, about people seeing him out with Lila when he and Sonia are still together. It pisses Lila off, so she amps up her game. They spend the next few days talking constantly and going out to eat at La Scala and to a concert, and then Evan finally breaks up with Sonia and takes Lila out to Miller’s Point and they make out and become an official couple.

But back to the Bordens. George is still being a dick about it. I’m sorry but he is. He claims he gave Lila some time to adjust, but that is bullshit. He’s spent every scene either praising Joan and calling Jacqueline “like a daughter to me” and/or glowering at Lila for not immediately wanting to change her whole life to fit some random bitches who just came out of nowhere and help themselves to Lila’s shit and take it upon themselves to redecorate Fowler Crest. (Joan keeps having shit like cheap-o carpets and sculptures sent to the house.) One night, Lila comes home from Evan’s race to find Joan and George having brandy and Jacqueline wearing one of her best silk bathrobes. George has insisted that Joan spend the night with him – oh, because her car’s making a weird noise, of course, that’s all. And since Joan and Jacqueline can’t ever be apart, little Jackie’s staying too. Jacqueline gushes about how “so fancy, so pretty” the guest suites are that George has put them up in, “like a luxury hotel”, and then gives Lila a cheap ass present of some ugly rhinestone combs. Uh, gee, it’s pretty obvious that these bitches aren’t all that loaded. Take your blinders off, Georgie boy.

George makes Lila take Jacqueline to the beach with her and introduce her to some of her friends. Of course, Jacqueline doesn’t have her own suit so she has to borrow Lila’s new maillot (and she gets mustard on it too). Lila complains about it to Evan, and he doesn’t get what her problem is. And then Lila’s friends say that they all love Jacqueline and Jessica even tells Li that she’s just jealous. Lila is more determined than ever to kick the Bordens’ asses out of Fowler Crest.

When Lila learns that Evan isn’t able to take part in a big race because his parents won’t front him the $500 necessary to buy in – they hate racing and think it’s dangerous – she figures out a good way to get rid of the Bordens. First she talks Evan into letting her lend him the money; he writes her an IOU. (haha … I used to have to write those to my dad when I was a kid and wanted something that went over my allowance) Then Lila takes the money from her father’s petty cash drawer and drops the key to the drawer in Jacqueline’s jacket pocket. And Jacqueline had been admiring a gold chain on Lila’s dresser, so she then winds that up and sticks it under the girl’s pillow. I’m thinking she should’ve put it somewhere less obvious where Jacqueline couldn’t find it so easily, but whatever.

The day after Lila hides the key and the necklace in Jacqueline’s room, a deliveryman comes to the door with a chair that Lila’s mom gave her father. Joan had it reupholstered as a surprise. Bitch did not just do that. Oh, but of course Joan doesn’t have the cash to pay the dude. Oops, she didn’t bring any cash with her from L.A. Riiiiight. So Mr. Fowler is stuck paying the bill which he doesn’t see as a problem. He notices the cash is missing from his petty cash drawer and that the key is lying out on the desk in plain sight. Lila takes that opportunity to proclaim that her chain is missing and that there must be a thief. Everyone plus Eva does a search of the house to see if anything else is missing. Lila finally insists that they search Jacqueline’s room just in case, and leads in there while everyone protests. She lifts up her pillow only to see, of course, that the necklace isn’t there. It’s right back on Lila’s dresser and everyone thinks Lila just forgot where it was and wanted to blame Jackie ’cause she’s jealous. They still think a real thief might’ve gotten in the petty cash drawer though … what the fuck, like he’d go out of his way to take 500 dollars but not any of the priceless paintings and shit hanging around. Mr. Fowler is enraged and lectures Lila probably more than she’s ever been lectured by him the whole rest of her life. This plan is a total and complete failure. Even worse, then Jessica calls Lila wanting to know why she didn’t come to meet her at a free West End concert that night; she’d left a message with Jacqueline. Jacqueline calmly swears that she left the note on Lila’s dresser, next to her gold necklace … burn.

George suddenly takes Joan off to Hawaii with him on a business trip, leaving Jacqueline with Lila and Eva the housekeeper for that time. George just goes ahead and tells Jacqueline to help herself to all of Lila’s things. That is so not cool, George. This girl isn’t supposed to be a charity case, she’s supposed to be rich too. Tell her to go buy her own damn clothes! Jacqueline turns into a complete bitch the moment they leave and gets in all her stuff. Lock your bedroom door, Li. They have an unpleasant encounter where Lila catches Jacqueline trying on her new suede outfit and her gold chain and yells at her. Jacqueline responds by telling Lila “I have to give you credit” for seeing through Jacqueline’s fake exterior and tells her to get used to it. Then she takes off in Lila’s Triumph to go meet Jessica without asking. Holy shit. I hate this chick so much. Lila is forced to take the bus, of all things, to meet Bruce at the Box Tree Cafe, where he will tell her what he wants her to do to make up for his stealing Sonia. Doesn’t her dad have another car she could drive, or a chauffeur or something? At the cafe, Bruce gives Lila a hard time for being late. He says he wants Lila to make sure Evan drops out of another big race that’s coming up. Bruce has money riding on a bet that his friend Toby Clement from Santa Barbara will win, and Evan is the only one who could possibly beat Toby. Lila goes home in a bad mood which only gets worse when she finds George and Joan back early from Hawaii … and engaged.

Lila throws Jacqueline off guard by pretending to be delighted about the engagement, and suggesting they combine Jacqueline’s birthday party with an engagement party … and throw it on Friday, the night of Evan’s big race. Ha ha ha. Then she goes for a walk on the beach with Evan, where she tells him she really needs him at the party that Friday to support her. She acts surprised when Evan says that is the night of his race. It takes almost nothing at all for him to agree to drop out of it to support her. In fact, she doesn’t even come out and ask him, she just puts on a sad face. Evan is totally whipped at this point.

That all seems to change at the night of the big party. Evan spends a lot of time talking to Jacqueline but is still very affectionate with Lila and claims she’s worrying over nothing. Then she overhears Joan and Jacqueline discussing how Joan is just a pennyless gold-digger who plans to divorce George and file for alimony as soon as she can. Lila confronts Jacqueline, implying she knows they are phonies, and Jacqueline is shaken up but just runs away with Lila’s pearl earrings, figuring that if Lila tries to tell George he won’t believe her after the whole gold chain mess. And Jacqueline is right. Lila is all “Listen all of y’all it’s a sabotage” – George doesn’t believe Lila and frankly talks to her like she’s a junior analyst at his microchip business who just spoke out of turn on a conference call, instead of, you know, his daughter.

Lila takes a new tack and throws herself into the planning for the wedding, which is happening in just three weeks, hoping that this will help her figure out a new way to expose the Bordens. Meanwhile, she and Evan aren’t getting along so well, and he gradually becomes more and more distant although he’s at the house an awful lot. It should come as no surprise that Lila eventually stumbles upon Jacqueline and Evan making out in J’s suite at Fowler Crest. Even worse, Evan is complaining to Jacqueline that he knows Lila doesn’t really like racing, she just tolerates it so she can support him … isn’t that what a good significant other should do? Support you in your endeavors even if they don’t particularly have an interest in them? I hate Evan. Jacqueline doesn’t want Evan to break up with Lila yet, because she already hates Jacqueline’s guts and would just make her life even more miserable. In other words, J knows L can kick her ass. Lila doesn’t let them know she’s there; she runs off crying.

The wedding day is finally here; the sprawling lawn of Fowler Crest is set up with 300 guests. Lila and Jacqueline are Joan’s attendants because I guess Joan has no other family, or friends of her own, not that George has ever questioned this even once. Lila finally sees her chance to expose the Whoredens with the little mics that will be used to ensure all 300 guests can hear the ceremony and music. Lila takes three of the mics and hides them among plants and furniture in the sunroom. As she and the Bordens wait there for the wedding march to begin in their ugly peach bridesmaids dresses, she loudly confronts Joan about what she knows and then tells her that Jacqueline told her all about it. Joan is irate and she and Jacqueline start yelling at each other with no further help from Lila. As soon as Lila and Jacqueline start going down the aisle, it’s clear that everyone outside has heard everything. The minister stammers all over himself while people get out of their seats hissing and whispering. George is crushed and he tells Joan he heard everything and she’s appalled. Lila loudly tells them all about how she hid the mics because she knew she had to keep Fowler Crest free of trifling bitches. Joan is reduced to disarray in front of everyone as the minister stammers and mumbles and the wedding planner tries to keep the crowd from going apeshit. George tells her and Jacqueline to get packing and they run inside bawling. I’m thinking someone should go with them to make sure they don’t pack up the fine china and the silver. George tells the audience how special his daughter is, and how the wedding is now going to be a party in honor of his awesome daughter. Man, he got over that quick. I wonder if Lila will also get to accompany him on the honeymoon trip to Japan he had planned for himself and Joan. Kick ass.

Oh, and as for the whole Evan thang? As soon as he hears the truth about Jacqueline, he loses interest, and obviously plans to stay with Lila and act like it never happened. He walks up to George acting all chummy, and then Lila cuts in to tell her dad that Jacqueline lent the missing money from the petty cash drawer to Evan and that she has an IOU for it, and that Evan is very eager to pay George back. Ha ha! Later on, Evan tries to make up with Lila even though it’s now obvious she knows about him and Jacqueline, and she tells him they’re over, and then she gets together with his rival Toby Clement right in front of him, and then for good measure thanks Evan for dropping out of the race when she asked him to so that Toby could win. See ya. And in case you care, Bruce and Sonia do date for a while, but he dumps her for an unnamed blonde chick.

So that’s that! Good-bye, Jacqueline. Good-bye, Joan. Now I ain’t sayin’ you a gold-digger … but you ain’t messin’ with Betsy Martin’s dad.

From the mouth of Lila Fowler: Here’s my favorite exchange:

Joan: “Lila, your father just said the most flattering thing to me at the bar. He said I don’t look old enough to have a daughter Jackie’s age. Isn’t that silly of him?”
Lila: “It certainly is.”
*awkward silence*

LOVE IT. Oh, and this one:

(Lila is taking Jacqueline to the beach with her to meet the twins and friends)

Jacqueline: “Oh! I can’t get over how much alike Elizabeth and Jessica look.”
Lila: “That tends to happen with identical twins.”

It’s so nice to have SOMEONE not give a shit about the twins being twins!

WTF? Lila’s hair was always described as “light brown” but here it’s become “dark brown.”

Typo: Joan’s name is misspelled as “Jean” in one place.

Aaron’s girlfriend Heather Sanford has dropped off the face of the earth. I can’t remember the last time I heard anything about her. Liz tries to figure out who to give all the Karla Xavier tickets to, and names off people and their significant others, but Aaron is mentioned like he’s a single guy. Maybe Heather’s baby-talk finally pushed Aaron all the way over the edge.

There’s one part where Lila sees Jacqueline writing in a blue notebook. Is it supposed to be a diary? I was hoping she’d go get it and see what dirty secrets Jacqueline has.

Do you remember that whole little bio about Lila that appeared in the back of one of the SVH books? I mentioned it here. It talked about how her mother had deserted the family but first revealed that George Fowler wasn’t Lila’s real father. Now not only have we not seen this come to light, but this book tells us that Lila’s mother divorced her father “a few years ago”. It was recent enough that Fowler Crest is still decorated with the original aspects of Lila’s mother’s touch, as Lila points out just to make Joan uncomfortable. Also, when Joan has the chair reupholstered, Lila thinks about how her mother gave it to her father ten years ago. So since this is supposed to be the summer after 11th grade, that means Mrs. Fowler left when Lila was seven, but I’m pretty sure she isn’t around in the Sweet Valley Kids series. (I’d really like to know what the original intent was with Lila’s bio. Was there a book planned to explain more of this that never came out?)

1989-tastic: Jessica is amazed by the white car phone in Lila’s lime green Triumph.

Random facts: Lila’s dad is 45 years old. Lila is 5 feet 7 inches tall. Lila wears a Rolex. Lila and Bruce’s bickering makes it sound like they want to jump each other in this book … wish they would.

Next up: Patty Gilbert is having Boy Trouble and Liz is going to help out … wow, the thought of going back to those kinds of plotlines after reading this book really bums me out!

But It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time!

Wow, well I hope everyone could understand the last entry! Ha ha ha! Well, I was just the life of the party with my two bottles of champagne. Why I came home at 3 AM and then decided it was a great time to finish my latest recap, I’ll never know!

I promise my next recap will be written fully sober. I’m so excited to be reading Lila’s Story in which we see Li hand not one but two bitches their ultimate comeuppance.

Also, thanks for the comments regarding the unfortunate release date of Sweet Valley Confidential! I’ll pre-order it and hope that it does indeed show up early. And if it doesn’t, I might see about reading it on my phone. (I don’t have a Kindle.)

#60 That Fatal Night

This is some bullshit. NOBODY DIES, NOTHING'S FATAL

DISCLAIMER!!! I just got back from a holiday party and I am totally fucking drunk!

I had a good laugh over this cover. I’d seen it many a time, but looking at it now, it’s clear that Terri (she of the odd hair) is trying to strangle Ken. He doesn’t realize what’s happening since he’s blind and all, but look at her! See that devious look in her eye? That hand casually sliding up around his throat? “I’ll teach you to pine for Amy Sutton, fool!”

Speaking of Amy Sutton, she is indeed all about some Ken Matthews. Ken doesn’t seem to be all about her as much, though. Honestly, I don’t know who I would pair Ken up with these days. Bleaaaaugh, whatever. The chocolate cake shot is a hell of a shot. Oh oops, I’m supposed to be talking about Sweet Valley High. Why am I trying to write this after a holiday party? I hope this comes out at least 1/16th as intelligible as it’s supposed to be! I’m ruining my burgeoning writing career!

This book introduces us to Terri Adams. Who? Yeah, me too. Terri is the assistant statistician for the Sweet Valley Gladiators and she has a mad crush on Ken. Her group of friends include Shelley Novak, Jim Roberts, Jennifer Mitchell, John Pfeifer, some sophomore linebacker named Zack Johnson (who’s always on the bench – ha ha!) and Kristin Thompson. Hey, that explains why we never heard of Terri, because we never hear jack about most of those characters either. How convenient, just toss her in with all the other kids that made good one-time cover models in the 50s. Anyway, Zack is crazy about April Dawson – I know that name because she appears on the cover of The Girl They Both Loved, one of the books I’m least looking forward to reviewing in the future. The cover of that one makes me want to vomit profusely. Oh but wait, we’re supposed to be talking about THIS book. Okay, so all the kids go to a post-game party in Ken’s honor, at Amy’s house where she spends the evening literally slobbering all over Ken in front of everyone. Ken is a little weirded out about it because he doesn’t consider his “relationship” with Amy serious or anything. Amy fucking sucks. Meanwhile, Terri thinks about how down-to-earth and sweet Ken is not to let his football fame go to his head. What the fuck? Football is his life, since when is he humble about it? Amy’s parties SUCK, by the way. God! Remember that snoozefest she hosted back in Last Chance? Now she’s serving orange juice and hanging around a refreshment table while Ken stands around pretending to speak German or some shit. Yawwwwwn. Where’s the vodka? At least Terri gets the chance to talk with Ken about football stats, and even though she’s the team’s assistant statistician, he’s still shocked by how much she knows about football. Kill me. Amy gets pissed off that Ken is chatting with Terri and gives her a snotty glare. Amy, go drown yourself in the punch bowl, because I hate you. Also, tonight I spilled drinks all over this girl’s floor not once but three times, and it was really embarrassing.

It’s a really rainy night and Ken gets in an accident after the party with some middle-aged drunk driver man, and everyone is all sad and then Ken loses his eyesight and no one can say for how long because every fucking doctor in this series blows a colossal sack of dicks. Uh, so, the man that made Ken smash into a tree is sad and Ken goes away to a clinic in “Hollyfield” for a month to work on his sight. What? What the fuck, it’s book 60 and we’re still in the fall. I’m know I’m drunk and all, but what the fuck is up with that timeline. FRANCIINE TIMELINE WHAT. So uh, Amy freaks out when she realizes Ken is blind, and dumps him for Scott Trost, after Scott is named the new quarterback. Ken eventually comes back to school and feels like a dick because half the kids are afraid to use the word “see” around him, and act all fucking weird. Liz, of course, helps Terri out who wants to get closer to Ken. I HATE LIZ. Why? I don’t know, I’m just a bitch I guess. Amy yells at Terri in front of everyone about how the accident was her fault – because you know, Terri sent the drunk driver into Ken’s path and all. The worst part is that Terri agrees with Amy and feels bad. WHAT THE FUCK!!! JUST ONCE, just once, it would be good to have a chick stand up for herself. If that was me, I’d be all, LOOK BITCH. I WAS NOT THE DRUNK DRIVER. FUCK OFF AND GO KILL SOMEONE’S EX GIRLFRIEND LIKE YOU DID REGINA OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I SAID IT I SAID IT and then there’d be a mad throw-down. Sorry I guess this school is a wee bit different than mine

Terri starts hanging out with Liz and Ken and she helps Ken out, and Ken can’t handle it because even though he didn’t like Amy that much, he is hurt she already dumped him for Scott. And he’s afraid Terri doesn’t really like him, so he’s mean to her, but then he falls for Terri anyway and they eventually meet on the beach (North Haven Beach) and start walking and talking about the sunset, and make out, and then Ken realizes that he can indeed see the sunset even though he’s blind, and now we can see that yes, he will regain his sight woo wooooooo the next person that plays FELIZ NAVIDAD will have to answer to me

Christmastime is here, and I so wish I was reviewing some Christmasy SV books instead, but we’re not quite up to those yet. Would you guys hate me if I deviated and did a review of a Sweet Valley Twins Super Chiller for the season instead?

WTF? I had a hard time writing this entry. For starters, I’m still drunk, and then December has been a busy month, and I felt weird speed-reading this between working on some nonsense. But I HATE Amy Sutton. Also, this book was just weird. It felt like it was way too short for the serious subject matter contained within. But I can tell you that there is a new Sweet Valley rival called Southside and SV loses to them because Scott Trost is a piece of shit. The game just really serves to illustrate how SV is NOTHING without Ken, NOTHING do y’all hear me

Liz decides to throw Ken a surprise party at lunch with a sheet cake and everything. Enid wants to punch Lila in the face after she makes some remarks about how Ken won’t be able to see the cake or anything. ah ahahaha Can you see Enid getting beat down by Lila ’cause I can!!!

Who the hell is named Enid anyway, I’ve never heard that name on ANYONE or anything, save The Aenid of Greek mythology

There’s all kinds of bullshit about how wise and great Liz is, oh ye great goddess of knowledge, fuck you Liz I will never worship at your altar

OH YEAH. Liz suggests that Terri walk around her house blindfolded for a few hours to see how Ken feels. You guys can think I am a dick if you want, but I’m literally sitting here cracking the fuck up at that scene right now. I don’t know why. HAHAHAAHAHHAHAHAHA however, when I read it, I couldn’t wait to try the same thing.

EDIT to add: Liz lurks around the bathroom door wanting to know why Terri is taking so long in there. No, really. I hate people who do that! What if Terri was just in there trying to take a shit? Guh. I hate when people are all “Was everything okay in there? Why did you take so long?” I’m glad you are so fascinated with my bathroom habits that you have to interrogate me about them! Liz reminds me of a nosy kid sister! Even funnier is when Liz is all offended by a comment Jessica makes about Ken being blind .., she’s all, Oh wow, that’s strange of Jess to be that insensitive. Really? Really? Who’s the blind one here, Liz or Ken?

In the back of the book is THE BEST SV CONTEST EVER!!! All you had to do was write a New Year’s Resolution and send it in, plus the name of your favorite Sweet Valley book, and if you won you’d get that book autogroped by Francine! Oh my god, I wrote “autogroped” not autographed, lord have mercy. This is an open invitation to whoemver won that contest, please contact me, I want to know what happened!

The sub-plot: Jessica is dating Skip Harmon again and he’s a self-centered piece of shit. I guess Jess somehow didn’t notice this the first time she dated him back in book 10. And he has a brand new red Ferrari. WTF!!!! Is he as rich as Bruce? I’m confused! Jessica decides she hates Skip. I hate him too, I hate everyone in this series

Y’all wanna know why I hate Amy Sutton? This book should be all the proof you need of what a ridiculous bitch she is! Go find it and read it! She only likes Ken ’cause she thinks he’s going to be a NFL player one day. And when she hears he was in an accident, her main concern is if he can still play football! BITCH.

Coming up next … It’s the start of a brand new sub-series, the SUPER STARS series in which various secondary SV characters get their own dumb stories, first up is LILA FOWLER with one of my favorite SV books of all time. Hold on LIz, I’ma let you finish, but Lila Fowler had one of the best SV books of all time. OF ALL TIME

A Nerdy Dilemma

Well, I’m scheduled to go on a Caribbean cruise this spring … fabulous, right? Except the dates happen to overlap the release date of Sweet Valley Confidential! In fact, it comes out a day too late for me to grab it before we leave port! I’ve never been on a cruise, so for all I know I’d have zero time to read anyway, but I keep seeing myself stretched out on a chaise lounge in the sun by the pool, enjoying a few hours of an “at sea” day with this tome … I’m a super fast reader, so I’m not afraid of not being able to finish it in those few hours.

Hey, can’t I just wait to read it till I get back? Well, sure, but as soon as I return it’ll be time to go back to work. And I’ll have to avoid umpteen blogs, Tweets, Facebook posts, and loose-lipped friends (of which I have plenty) all giving away what happens while I frantically rush to finish in whatever moments I can snatch. (Spring is a really busy time at my office.) Well, hey, I won’t spend my vacation mourning the failure to read the book, like Liz pretended to mourn her relationship with Jeffrey French. And the upside is that I can distract myself from my post-vacation blues with this when I do have a moment!

#59 In Love Again

WAIT A MINUTE. Why are Todd's eyes BLUE? Everyone knows they are "coffee brown"! I call shenanigans Mathewuse!

“Todd’s back and Elizabeth’s got him!” which means more silly fights and break-ups over trivial things … business as usual!

As we previously learned in the case of Roger Barrett Patman (Rags to Riches), becoming a rich teenager in SV World changes everything, dooming you to a life of popped collars and unbearably boring social events. As you can see from this cover, Todd now dresses in a manner befitting his noveau riche status. Looks like he’s giving his wife a hug before heading off to casual Friday at the office! At least being rich hasn’t made him change his hairdo. And man is he rich. He’s so rich, his car even has a CD player in the dash! (I keep forgetting that this is 1989 and most people didn’t even listen to CDs, let alone have a player in their car.) Despite her pleasant expression (and peach dress-that-I-want-to-like-but-can’t-because-of-that-weird-bodice), Liz feels threatened by the fact that Todd is away most of each weekday at Lovett Academy and that, well, he isn’t a Sweet Valley High Gladiator anymore. Todd and Liz are desperate to spend some time together during the week, so Liz puts off her homework and then walks out of an Oracle meeting Penny calls, and then she fucks up her proofreading and leaves four errors in the newspaper. That would be par for the course for most of the print papers published today – I’m lookin’ at you, Washington Post – but this is the 80s and Penny don’t take no shit, so Liz catches hell. Ha ha, good! As for Todd, he misses three basketball practices to see Liz, and the Lovett coach is pissed and threatens to kick him off the team.

Then Kidd shoes (a clever play on Keds?) announces a Battle of the Schools competition in which ten area public and private schools will compete. The winning school gets to appear in Kidd shoe commercials. The competition will include sports like swimming, tennis, and track and field, goofy games like an obstacle course relay run, and academic shit like a spelling bee and “College Bowl” trivia game show. The public schools asked to compete include Sweet Valley, Big Mesa, and Palisades, and the private schools include Lovett and Crestville. I think it’s said somewhere that only juniors and seniors can compete, but it doesn’t really matter because you know only a select group of people will be chosen to compete anyway. In fact, Chrome Dome and Coach Schultz tell the school that the competitors will be chosen by a lottery, which is BULLSHIT because Bruce Patman and Kristin Thompson are chosen to do tennis, Bill Chase gets swimming, etc. Liz winds up on the relay race team with Ken Matthews, Robin Wilson – and her very recent ex, Jeffrey French. Awk-ward. Even worse (at least in Liz’s eyes), Todd is also doing the relay race – for Lovett. If you ask me, it would be fun to compete against your own boyfriend and make a game out of it, but everyone is all serious about it. Ken even asks Todd to leave when he comes to watch Liz practice, because he might somehow be able to cheat later on. What the fuck? Lovett takes it seriously, too – Courtney Kane is all fired up about Todd and Liz and determined that Lovett will win the Battle over Sweet Valley. ‘Cause that’ll show them.

Todd takes Liz to a boring party Courtney is throwing at the Cedar Springs Country Club. So the Kanes are members of both the Cedar Springs and Sweet Valley CCs? Courtney calls the party a pool party, but it also has polo and dancing and golf. Todd is excited to play golf and polo, but Liz is completely aghast that he might genuinely be interested in these new things. God forbid he try to enjoy the school his dad is making him go to. You know, for someone always bitching about snobs at Lovett, Liz sure acts like one herself sometimes. Anyway, the rest of the kids at this party suck, except for Sheffield Eastman, who’s always nice. It should go without saying that Courtney is mean to Liz all day. Liz reluctantly agrees to play golf because Todd wants to. Then she sees Ben Orson, a sophomore from Sweet Valley that we’ve never heard of before, acting as the caddy for their group and stops to say hi. Courtney’s friends walk by and they all laugh about Liz talking to “the hired help.” Todd himself pretends not to see Ben. Wow, what a bag of dicks. Then Todd vanishes for a while to look at some trophies with Sheffield, and Courtney’s date, Campbell Rochester, keeps following Liz around and bragging about who his dad is and demanding that she dance with him. He’s a total creeper, but Jess says later that Lila is impressed enough with him to “just die” when she hears he was there. Why, Lila? Why? Let’s assume she just hasn’t met him yet.

At this point I do feel bad for Liz. The party sounds terrible, and even though Liz was being a sourpuss, Todd isn’t exactly trying to make sure that she’s having a good time – especially when he knows that Liz-hating Courtney and her ilk are hanging about. Ugggh. Liz finally finds Todd and they leave and go to the Dairi Burger and laugh about how bad the party was. They seem to be getting along great … for now. But another time, Todd suddenly demands that Liz drop out of the Battle because he doesn’t think it’s cool for them to compete against one another. He even gets offended when she wants to know why she has to be the one to quit. Todd gets all pissy about it because he’s obviously still a total douchenozzle!

Then the next day at Dairi Burger, Todd and Liz have another stupid fight. It seems Liz doesn’t like that Todd wants to tell her all about his new school and some kids of famous people he’s met. He’ll be going on a field trip to China later that year which I think is awesome, but it just wilts Liz’s flowers because she doesn’t get how he could possibly like any other school other than Sweet Valley High. As much as Todd annoys me, here he just sounds like someone trying to chat about his daily life, but Liz starts picking at him about it and they have a fight. Todd reacts to Liz by suggesting they break up and Liz doesn’t even try to argue the point. She’s all, “Oh well, that’s that.” Sigh, I guess the era of Todd and Liz fights is officially back! Joy! I wish she’d go running back to Jeffrey on a whim and that he would reject her. Heh heh.

At least we have Courtney Kane to liven up this story. She hangs around with her best friend Dominique Roy, whose sole purpose in this book is to express doubt about Courtney’s schemes and then finally agree that Courtney knows best. (Dominique also drives a blue Alfa Romeo which means that she’s alright with me.) After the qualifying matches leave just Lovett and Sweet Valley going head-to-head for the grand prize (gee, how convenient!), Courtney decides that she will cheat to help Lovett win in the College Bowl. As the College Bowl scene later proves, she has to do this because the kids at Lovett get a horrible education for their money and don’t know shit like which astronaut said the whole “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” or what temperature water boils at. Some of the parents out there need to demand a refund. Courtney tells Dominique about her plan to help these doofuses out during the College Bowl, and Dominique asks her like ten questions about it before finally agreeing because she’s a fucking pushover. They hide behind a curtain at the side of the stage during the College Bowl and move the curtain twice for true and once for false. Jessica sees what’s going on during the Bowl but chooses not to expose Lovett because she’s all wrapped up in her sub-plot bullshit (more on that later). But how no one else notices this obvious cheating is beyond me. I guess it helps that the Battle is being held at Lovett and most of the games are refereed by, coached by, and moderated by Lovett staff and admin.

Liz is supposed to do the rope climbing portion of the relay race. Courtney and Dominique help their senior friend Bob set up the ropes and Courtney deliberately hangs up a rotted rope for Liz to climb because she’s apparently a homicidal maniac. The rope snaps and Liz falls and is mildly hurt. Todd freaks out thinking she’s croaked or something and rushes over to hold her tenderly in his arms. Courtney is a bitch, so she loudly demands that Sweet Valley should forfeit because the rope snapping is somehow their fault. Jesus. Instead, there’s a stupid tug of war between the two teams to settle the matter. Liz and Todd both sit it out because they’re all winded from their terrifying death-defying interlude. Jessica gladly takes Liz’s place and threatens Courtney with the truth about the College Bowl. Some boy named Brent Calder takes over for Todd. Jessica is close to being pulled over the white line and losing when Todd screams out, “GO, SWEET VALLEY HIGH!” and the SV team is suddenly re-energized and yanks the Lovett team over the line just in time! Yes! It’s all because of the power of Todd! He’s back! He’s come to his senses! He realizes there’s no place like Sweet Valley! Land of rainbows and unicorns and pots of gold! He’s going to convince his dad to let him come back to public school! Lollipops angels flowers oh my! This calls for a huge party and a parade and some fattening-ass milkshakes and burgers after school! Heeeeeee!

The sub-plot: Jessica is pissed that Liz is getting more attention than her over the whole Todd thing. So she decides she wants to go to Lovett so that she can meet cute guys and do upstanding social shit like … hang around at wine and cheese parties? Sounds like a blast. She starts being a huge snob to all of her friends and refuses to join in the Battle or cheer for Sweet Valley because she thinks she’s truly a “Lovett girl”. She tells her parents she wants to go to Lovett Academy and they’re all like, “Okay” because let’s be real, they couldn’t give a shit less what their kids do or how much it costs. They’re apparently as rich as the Wilkins and the Kanes and able to send her over there and pay the 40,000 tuition a year or whatever. So Jess gets stricken with the Boring Flu as she occasionally does whenever she dates a rich boring guy or wants to date a rich boring guy. She starts studying chemistry in her room rather than going out to the effing Beach Disco, and she signs up for the first of four entrance exams which I’m sure cost her parents a fair amount of buckage. But then she bombs her initial interview, shudders at all the dress code and other rules she learns about, and finally starts to think that duh, maybe Lovett isn’t so great after all. She is afraid to not go through with it because she’s been such an ass to her friends about it, and you know, I’m sure her parents wouldn’t be pleased to know they paid a few hundred dollars in exam and entrance fees for no good reason. When Jess sees Courtney and Dominique blatantly cheating at the College Bowl, she doesn’t say anything because she’s afraid it might hurt her chances of getting in … like that horrible interview didn’t!!! I mean, Jessica said all of the following at the interview:

“I, uh, I’m very enthusiastic,”

“I-I like to write,” and

“I’ve been studying very hard.” And that’s, quite literally, ALL she says.

Jessica gets over herself after she sees Liz take her nasty fall, and so she pulls that Lovett stick out of her ass and rams it back up Courtney’s where it belongs.

So there are two morals to this whole story, kids: 1) Be true to your school, but only if it’s Sweet Valley High School, and 2) private school kids suck!

Some other crap: I’m getting sick of hearing about how snotty private school kids are supposed to be. Of course, Todd is the exception because he’s been forced to go there. Because Amy, Jessica, Lila, Bruce, and all the other public school kids are just so much nicer because they go to public school. Right!

Jeffrey says that Liz is “as loyal as they come” – right, like she was to you until Todd came back?

We get a confirmation that the nobody Rod Sullivan is in fact dating Olivia Davidson now.

Liz invites Jess to go roller skating with her and Todd. That just makes me smile and giggle. I want to go roller skating too! … but not with them.

Senior Skip Harmon, whom I don’t believe we heard anything from since he took Jessica out way back in book 10, is said to have ignored Jessica in the lunch line recently. It pisses her off so badly that it helps encourage her to look for more mature guys at Lovett. Ha ha! Guess Skip wasn’t impressed with Jess at Miller’s Point!

Liz sadly thinks about how Todd’s Datsun didn’t even have a radio in it … wow, really? Was it common for cars to not have radios in the early-mid 80s? ‘Cause that’s bad. (And I’d be willing to bet that if I cared enough, I could find a scene of Todd and Liz riding along listening to the radio somewhere in an earlier book.)

At one point the author accidentally calls Palisades High School, Pacific Palisades which is funny to me because that is in fact a real town and real high school in L.A.

One of Todd’s friends at Lovett is named Sandy Winters. That’s the second separate kid with the name Sandy and the third with the last name of Winters. There’s also been like fifty Tims in the series. I’m considering putting up a new page here with a list of all the names in the Sweet Valley series thus far so you can see JUST how much these names are repeated over and over because it chaps my ass and I like to bitch about it and let it chap my ass some more. But seriously, should I put the page up?

The College Bowl teams are: For Sweet Valley – Patty Gilbert, Winston Egbert, and Peter de-fucking-Haven whom I still hate after all that bullshit he pulled with Johanna Porter. For Lovett – Sheffield Eastman, Alison deLong (total idiot who’s clearly only at the school because her dad is a movie director), and Bradley Tushingham who is supposed to be a physics nerd.

Here are some more Lovett kids: Roberta Thornton, Jonathan Davis, Jake Iser (beats Bill Chase in swimming), Tim Sollers (got to eat dinner at Michael Jackson’s house once), Jacqueline Livingstone (heiress or something to Livingstone Pictures … woo woo).

The title of this book annoys me because we are supposed to believe Liz and Todd never truly stopped loving each other. So how are they in love again?

So who exactly from Sweet Valley gets to be in the Kidd commercials? There’s no mention of that. Maybe that’ll be the sub-plot in the next book … yeahright

Next up: Amy and Ken are hookin’ up and Jess worries Ken will take it too seriously. Because Jess has personal experience with hooking up with him because she has “nothing better to do at the time”, but it’s not okay when anyone else does it. And I love the way that’s the set-up for book 60, and then we’re told the title is THAT FATAL NIGHT. That’s not fair, it gave false hope that Amy would finally get her comeuppance for Regina. THAT’S RIGHT I SAID IT

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