For starters, I could rag on this cover allllllll night. What the FUCK is going on here? Todd is pretending it’s Saturday Night Fever while Liz has the most obvious blowjob face I have ever seen! It took me a while to see that Todd does have a shirt on under that deep V-neck, and that it looks like it’s the same color as Liz’s fugly sweater and barrettes. When you start matching outfit colors, you’re officially a vomit-inducing couple that needs to break up to spare everyone else’s sense of well-being. But yeah, Liz’s face is what really blows me away … or blows Todd away. God! Someone please make a porno based on this cover. And, even the color of this book is ugly. It looks like someone puked up a whole vat of nacho cheese that they gorged themselves on at the Dairi Burger. It was probably Jessica so that she wouldn’t gain a fourth of a pound.
So WHY is Liz making her best oh-face at Todd? It seems these two douches are terribly saddened that both Aaron Dallas and Dana Larson have given up on love, which they announce at some lame-ass party that Patty Gilbert is throwing for her boyfriend Jim. Yeah, I’m sure Jim couldn’t wait to come home from college to stand around eating chips and dips with a bunch of kids who just recently got their drivers’ licenses. There’s a reason he’s never around, Patty dear. Anyway, we learn that Aaron’s girlfriend Heather Sanford moved away recently and Dana recently broke up with that kid she met through Jessica in Who’s Who? (Jessica is pissed off about it because she thanks herself for getting them together and doesn’t like this threat to her sense of high self-worth. Piss off Jess.) Dana even writes a song about it called “Fed Up with Love.” Fed up with love, or fed up with knowing your music career is over once you graduate?
So after Patty’s party, Todd and Liz are busy sucking face and, as usual, Liz is getting off on bemoaning the plight of every person in the world who doesn’t have a love as perfect and fight-ridden as the one she shares with Todd. I seem to recall her thinking the same lofty thoughts about her relationship with Jeffrey before she kicked him to the curb when Todd came back to town. What an uppity bitch. Okay sorry, I got stuck in my Liz hate again! It’s such an easy thing to do. Liz and Todd decide that they will launch “Operation Pair-up” (LAME) to get Dana and Aaron together. Why? Oh, no reason, but opposites have to attract and most everyone else that they give a tiny bit of a shit about is taken already. Todd thinks the plan won’t work and so he and Liz come up with a stupid bet to fuck this book up even further. If Dana and Aaron do fall in love, then Liz wins and Todd has to grant her three wishes. If Dana and Aaron wind up hating each other as they very well could with these two assholes mucking around in their business, then Liz loses and has to perform three tasks of Todd’s bidding. Heh heh! This could be totally awesome! From the look of the cover, we already know what one of Todd’s three wishes will be.
Todd and Liz start inviting Dana and Aaron along on double dates: first to a classic old movie and pizza at Guido’s, and then to some jazz concert in the park where they sit on blankets and talk about how interesting jazz is. I don’t mean to sound like an ass, but do these kids date like old people or what? Actually, I do mean to sound like an ass, who am I kidding. I mean, do these kids ever just go parking and drinking or anything like that? Dana and Aaron go out of their way to sound like neither has any interest in “romance” or “love” and talk about how over-rated it is, and it’s very forced and just stupid. Todd and Liz also tell each kid lies about the other, making it sound like Aaron talks about Dana all the time and Dana has a crush on Aaron. You see, Todd isn’t trying to keep Dana and Aaron apart, his part of the bet is just that it won’t work out between them. So in other words, Todd is willing to play with their feelings even though he thinks it might end badly. I told you guys this before, but he is a DICK.
Eventually some bullshit goes down where Todd leaves a nice secret admirer card in Dana’s locker, knowing she’ll think it was Aaron. Dana is really flattered and shows Liz the card. Liz recognizes Todd’s handwriting and realizes he sent it. She doesn’t tell Dana that but asks Dana not to say anything to Aaron since he’s probably too shy to talk about it, or something like that. Aaron asks Dana out on their first real date to see a play and then eat at the Box Tree Cafe, where she goes ahead and mentions the note to him. Aaron has no idea what Dana is talking about, and Dana realizes that Todd and Liz have been setting her up. By this time she’s developed real feelings for Aaron and had thought he felt the same, and now she thinks he only wants to be friends even though he’s holding her hands and about to tell her something. So she starts crying and runs out of the restaurant. What a baby! Hahaha! Back at home, Todd and Liz are enjoying some chaste stroking on the couch when Dana calls Liz and bitches her out. Then Liz gets mad at Todd and they have a huge fight and he leaves. Then Jessica comes in, already in a bad mood over her own drama (see the sub-plot), and bitches out Liz as well for setting Dana and Aaron up. She’s had a stick up her ass about the whole plan because she likes to date Aaron occasionally and thinks Liz should be setting her up with him. Or, you know, Liz could just mind her own damn business for a change. That would be good too.
Dana spends the next few days avoiding Aaron while Todd ignores Liz. So that last part is business as usual. Then the big Battle of the Bands rolls around (again, see the sub-plot) and Aaron finally gets Dana to talk to him. They go out to the soccer field and make out and then Dana feels energized and the Droids easily win the Battle. Shocker. Then Dana and Aaron realize they have to do something to get Todd and Liz to make up, because their undeniable immaturity even for teenagers is somehow not their own goddamned responsibility to get the fuck over, themselves! So Dana and Aaron each put a fake “let’s make up” card in Todd and Liz’s lockers to get them to meet and make up. And of course all is forgiven.
Yes, this means that Liz won the bet. So what are her three wishes? I’ll tell you if you promise not to comment-bomb this post demanding new keyboards because you all puked in yours.
Okay, so Liz was going to ask for a dozen roses, for Todd to carry her books all week, and for Todd to do all her chores for a week, but then the fucking chump decided she’d rather have the following instead:
1. “I wish you and I will never have such a pointless argument ever again …” (GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.)
2. “I wish we’ll always be together and as happy as we are right now …” (DITTO)
3. “I wish you’d give me the biggest, best kiss ever, right this very instant!” (HURRRRRRRRL)
And how does Todd respond? “One Todd Wilkins Deluxe Smooch, coming right up!”
Hey … I gave you fair warning with that one! And as for Dana and Aaron? I give it 10 books, tops. Okay, I’m cheating a bit because I know eventually there’s a book about Dana trying to hook up with some other dude … sue me why don’tcha.
It really twists my panties in a wad, how the twins get away with fucking with their friends like this. They can eff with them all they want and get people infuriated but it will all work out in the end. And I don’t get why on earth it is so unthinkable for someone to want to stay single for a change. Dana’s had like 50 random boyfriends since the start of the series. The girl can take a damn break if she wants to, leave her alone! Liz is such a fucking hypocrite too … remember how she used to get all mad when Jessica would try to hook her up with people after she and Todd broke up?
The sub-plot finds Jessica trying to cash in on fame … again. You see, the winner of the Battle of the Bands gets a trip to L.A. to play in some big concert or some shit. You know, I don’t think there’s even any mention of who’s hosting this Battle, but maybe there is and I forgot already. Jessica is desperate to meet famous people, so she decides to be a roadie for one of the competing bands, Baja Beat, so that if they win she can hitch a ride along to L.A. and cocktease famous dudes. But Baja Beat doesn’t need a roadie so they point Jessica to a dude named Spy Lazarus and his band, Spontaneous Combustion. Jessica ropes Lila into helping them out. All the members of Spontaneous Combustion are butt-ugly instead of gorgeous like Jess had stupidly assumed. Along with Spy, there’s Hal, Pete, Wheels, and Motorhead, or Motor for short. How original. And *gasp!* they smoke cigarettes! And blow the smoke in Jessica’s face. That’s rude as shit but I laughed my ass off when I read that, especially when Jessica sweetly agreed to be their roadie anyway simply because she hoped to eventually be able to suck some rock star dick because of it. Lila, meanwhile, immediately hates the gig and spends all her time filing her nails and sitting down complaining while Jessica hauls all the equipment and does all the work. You know, I think that’s her comeuppance considering all the work she usually hauls off on everyone else. Lila is probably just hanging around because it amuses her to see Jess get what she deserves. Spontaneous Combustion’s songs suck; they’re really loud and “scream” their lyrics. So what that means is they probably don’t sound like a pop band singing about how sunny Sweet Valley is. The band members call Jess and Li “chick” and “chicklet” and Jess just keeps on putting up with it. “Wheels” even asks Jess out and he even pinches her ass on stage at the Battle while she’s trying to set up all HIS shitty equipment! Jessica puts up with his sexual harassment, much to my shock, just because she’s so desperate to get to Hollywood since all her 137 other schemes have failed. I hate to think of the message this book sent to little girls that read it.
Lila meanwhile mysteriously turns up with a sprained wrist the day of the Battle and takes off, leaving Jess to set up the amps and instruments herself. Jess is so mad at Lila that she doesn’t pay attention to where she’s wiring everything and then when the band comes on, the speakers blow and set off a small fireworks display in the gym. Spontaneous Combustion’s shot at stardom is ruined! Ohhhhhh no! Jessica takes off running, but Spy finds her later and bitches her out and fires her.
WTF? Well, how about this book says the boy Dana dated previously was named Brent. His name was Brett. Come on editors, it’s not that difficult to fact-check these things so please try to pay attention.
The book introduces some new characters that will pop up later – Jamie Peters the rock star, Claire Middleton the shy new student, and Andy Jenkins, who is quite possibly the only black male at Sweet Valley High. We never heard of Andy before, but he’s Neil Freemount’s best friend and Patty Gilbert’s cousin Tracy’s boyfriend. And he’s in the band Baja Beat. And he’s easygoing and level-headed when Charlie Cashman the bully pushes him around in the lunch line. And speaking of Patty, she’s suddenly “one of the most popular students at Sweet Valley High” – when did that happen? Her best friend is that drip DeeDee Gordon for god’s sake.
Plus, a couple of old characters are brought back from Never-Never Land (Sally Larson and Lynne Henry). I think it is funny they will go out of their way to assure us these kids still exist while Abbie Richardson is just GONE. One book and she’s history. And where the hell are Jeffrey and A.J.? Isn’t Jeffrey Aaron’s best friend in all the world? With every new book that spotlights a Liz and Todd fight, I miss Jeffrey more and more. He would have never even agreed to participate in this fucking bet.
One of the things Dana and Aaron bond over is how a soccer team works similar to a band playing together. Their deep conversation makes Dana care about soccer, so she goes to see Aaron play in a championship game. That’s right, the soccer team is apparently back even though they won a championship already! And they’re playing Big Mesa AGAIN even though they already had to beat them in the last championship (way back when Aaron had his little rage problem in Out of Control). I think the book tries to explain it away by saying that this championship game is some special citizens’ center game, or some bullshit like that.
Here are some of Spontaneous Combustion’s songs: “Hold Me Till I Hate You” and “Just Call Me Mr. Zero”. So which do you like better, these song titles or the Droids’?
Oh, and the fourth and final band playing at the Battle is “the Suede Men” … the hell?
The Droids wear animal print shirts that DeeDee and Olivia painted for their Battle set and they have vines hung up in the background. Hot.
At one point Dana thinks about how she and her band mates socialize in different circles. Since when? Because last time I checked they were all great friends who hung out together all the time, outside of band practice. Now all of a sudden Dana is good friends with Liz. The last time Liz deigned to speak to Dana was when she was having problems at home with her cousin Sally. See? You can only stay friends with Liz if your life is very problematic. As soon as everything’s a-okay and she can pat herself on the back, she’s off to the next troubled soul. Even Enid is going missing these days.
Jessica sounds like she’s looking for “the one”. This book talks about how it’s impossible to find the right dude and Jessica is like, “Oh yeah I totally agree” Since when does she care about having one special dude? She had her chance with that and she didn’t want it!
What is the moral of this story? Well, here’s what Liz learned: “Never again would she interfere in someone else’s affairs, even if it was with the best of intentions.” BULL. SHIT.
On a side note, I HATE disgusting commercials about people’s mucus! There’s one on right now! I can’t tell which makes me sicker, that or every SVH book I’ve made myself read this new year!
From the mouth of Lila Fowler: Jessica, on the way to meet Spy: “I tell you what. I’ll be an incredibly generous, unselfish friend and give you first dibs on him!”
Lila: “Thanks, but if he has eyes, I won’t need your help.”
Coming up next: I guess The Love Bet was meant to give us a break after all the heavy-handedness of the Ned and Alice Separation. But now some serious shit is about to go down in a book about racism. I am almost afraid to see how Sweet Valley will handle this topic.