Well, since there’s plenty of Liz in this book, we get all the horribly corny bad jokes throughout while they wrap presents, and all Enid’s inner thoughts about how great Liz is … blarrrrgh. Then the last day of school before winter vacation arrives. The book announces none of the teachers expect anyone to do any real work, which seems to be the case most of the time anyway, and so they have in-class parties all day and then head over to the Dairi Burger. Liz is sad because Todd is going on a ski vacation with his rich family in Utah over the entire break. I guess that’s better than the LASt Christmas in her junior year, or one of the last, in which Todd essentially left her for Suzanne Devlin. Sweet Valley is an endless time-loop of holiday disappointments. But when Liz comes into the Dairi Burger, she winds up getting stuck under the mistletoe with none other than the boy she dumped in order to get back together with Todd – Jeffrey French. See, I told you he’s only useful when he’s got something to do with Liz. Jeffrey and Liz jokingly kiss at everyone’s insistence, but it gets Liz all hot and bothered and she has to gulp Enid’s soda to calm down. Then Jessica comes in and stands under the mistletoe asking for kisses and Bruce takes her up on it while everyone hoots and hollers. Next Jessica runs around rubbing herself all over every boy in the room and making stupid “Have you been bad or good?”-type come-ons at them. She realizes she’s dated every last one of them except for Jeffrey, so she runs over and holds the mistletoe over his head. Jeffrey is all excited until he realizes it’s Jess, not Liz, but he gives her a quick kiss anyway. Jessica starts thinking about how she can help Jeffrey get over Liz by seducing him, or something. For fuck’s sake!
Enid has a friendly conversation with Jeffrey at the Dairi Burger about what to buy his mom for Christmas. He winds up asking her to go to the Sweet Valley High ice skating party with him. It’s supposed to be a friendly date, but Enid feels guilty about it and hides it from Liz. Liz says she isn’t going to the skating party because she’s too busy moping around about Todd being gone. Cry me a fucking river! But then on the morning of, Jessica drags Liz out of bed and convinces her to go, and then of course Liz sees Enid and Jeffrey skating together, figures out that Enid hid their date from her, and gets jealous. Enid tells her it’s not a big deal and Liz seems okay, but then she avoids Enid and Jeffrey for the whole rest of the skating party. Enid realizes she is crushing hard on Jeffrey and feels even guiltier. Then Jessica sees a hot boy skating by that Lila knows, named Brian Saunders. He graduated from Big Mesa High and is now at the University of Colorado. Jessica is apparently the best skater around, but she pretends to stumble into Brian and that she needs help getting around the rink. They are flirting when Enid skates right into them. Brian knows who Enid is and tries to talk to her, but Enid recognizes Brian as a “bad” guy from her past, and hightails it out of there while Brian stares after her in dismay and forgets Jessica exists. Ha ha ha! Jessica is such a bitch most of the time that it serves her right. That doesn’t stop her from grilling Enid about him later, though, but Enid won’t tell her shit about him because it’s none of her effing business.
That night, Jeffrey takes Enid to see a horror movie and they have a great time, but Enid thinks he still loves Liz because he keeps talking about her. So what? At least 80 percent of anything Enid talks about at any given moment has to do with Liz, too. Enid decides the best way to test Jeffrey’s feelings for her is to buy him a Christmas present and see what his reaction is. So she goes to the Valley Mall and buys him … a postcard and a pint of ice cream. No, really. Okay, so the postcard is a vintage picture of the ice skater/actress Sonja Henie, whom Jeffrey compared Enid to at the skating party, but it’s still … a postcard! That’ll show him you care. You know, there are so many references to classic movies and movie stars in these books that it’s hard to believe they are about 1980s/1990s teenagers. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE classic movies and movie stars, but I’m also not the entire population of a Southern California high school.
Hehehe, so Enid goes over to Jeffrey’s and gives him his presents and he gives her a book of poetry. Then Jeffrey tells Enid that he needs to ask her a question … Enid is sure he’s going to ask her out … but instead, Jeffrey asks Enid if she thinks Liz might still be interested in him! Why? Because Liz brought some homemade cookies over to him earlier that day (presumably after many books of not even talking to his ass) that she said she made ‘specially for him. Enid is devastated but succeeds in hiding it. Jeffrey is majorly confused and it’s obvious he still has feelings for Liz and kind of wants to do something about it, but he can’t be sure what Liz is thinking, and it’s unethical for him to steal Todd’s chick anyway. Why not? Didn’t Todd steal her from you? Just pass her back and forth, that’s what everyone does with the other twin.
Enid is really upset that Liz didn’t tell her she was baking Jeffrey cookies earlier when she talked to her on the phone, and thinks Liz might’ve done it deliberately to sabotage Enid’s potential relationship with him. “Elizabeth and her Christmas cookies had ruined everything.” Do you guys have ANY idea how hard I laughed when I read that quote? Seriously, I fucking died. HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAA! Enid goes home and Jeffrey tries to call and ask her out to drive go-carts or some shit, but she turns him down because she felt like he lead her on and she’s upset about it. She’s also mad that Liz is essentially leading Jeffrey on, because she kind of is. I hate Liz. But again, Jeffrey hasn’t a clue that Enid is upset with him, because Enid doesn’t exactly come out and say anything to him. She’s all passive-aggressive like that. Then Brian Saunders calls to ask her out and claims he has changed for the better and that he always liked her. Enid agrees to go out with him and then she just … goes. These kids seriously have no supervision at all. You’d think Enid’s mom would at least remember all the assholes Enid used to hang around with and monitor her daughter’s friendships at least a teeny tiny bit.
Brian takes Enid out for Thai food at Bangkok Palace, where he orders a beer and asks Enid if she wants one. Enid declines but isn’t offended that Brian is drinking because she “knew that it was possible to drink beer sensibly. And beer was probably refreshing with spicy food.” Uh, if you’re 21, I guess? Because the drinking age in California has been 21 since before December 1990 (when this was published). I’m confused. He just ordered beer in a restaurant and nobody carded him. Maybe he looks old. Or maybe he’s actually 21. You know those older men love them some Enid jailbait. That didn’t explain how he seemed to think he could get a 16-year-old a beer successfully. This isn’t the Shady Lady!
After dinner, Brian asks Enid if she wants to go say hi to some college friends of his who are having a Christmas gathering. Enid reluctantly says yes, and Brian suddenly seems intent on getting there and not on talking to her. He was really polite earlier! When they get there, the party is full of loud music, smoke (cigarettes and pot), free Dixie cups of beer, couples making out, and laughing drunk people. Okay, so it’s like a typical college party. Enid doesn’t want to be there, especially not after Brian almost immediately vanishes after introducing her to some chick named Jackie. Enid finally finds him in the basement, playing a drinking game I never heard of. You put a paper towel over a Dixie cup and then a quarter over that. Then you make holes in the paper towel with a cigarette until the quarter falls through. If you’re the one who makes the quarter fall, you have to chug the cup. Anyone ever play that one? Anyway, Brian loses, so he chugs the cup while Enid tries to get his attention so they can go home. But he’s already wasted and doesn’t give a shit about what Enid wants anymore, so he goes back to ignoring her and she calls herself a cab home. That Brian is a real ass. God, you know, I went on a date like that once in college, with this boy who had been begging me to go out with him all semester. We went to a party together that was supposed to be awesome, but it was boring, and he ignored me all fucking night, then didn’t get why I didn’t want to go out with him again. That boy sucks. Another time, this other boy asked me out and then brought his friend along and they proceeded to spend the whole evening babbling about girls they had slept with while my date occasionally ordered me some potato skins. I went back home super early. God! What the fuck is wrong with people! Enid, how dare you remind me of these injustices!
Christmas Eve rolls around and Liz is still whining to herself about how her Christmas is useless without Todd, or something. God, I just want to puke! We learn that Liz basically DID make those cookies just to lead Jeffrey on! Liz makes herself feel better by talking on the phone all lovey-dovey to her main man. Gee, it must be nice for you to be reassured you still have Todd while the boy you dumped for him sits at home pining for your ass. Meanwhile, Enid is having family problems on top of everything else. Her father is in town on business and is supposed to meet her for lunch on Christmas Eve at the Sweet Valley Regency, but when she gets there, she finds him drunk off his ass in the hotel’s Oak Room bar. What really sucks about this is that Mrs. Rollins and Enid had been fighting about Enid ditching other family plans so that she could see her dad. Man, Enid’s Christmas sucks a dick. She gets home in despair and then Jeffrey calls to ask her to attend George Warren’s Christmas Eve party with him, and she says okay. Almost as soon as they get there, Jeffrey and Liz go into a den to have a private talk about Elizabeth and her Christmas cookies ruining everything. They agree the past is past or something, but that they’ll always be friends, which is bullshit I’m sure, and then when they come out of the den they’re under mistletoe again. They do another kiss for old times’ sake (right) and embrace. Enid sees them from across the room and is miserable, so she goes to sit on the patio and feel sorry for herself. Then there’s a funny scene where Jessica runs into Brian and tries to flirt with him, but he just asks her if she’s seen Enid. Then she runs into Jeffrey and tries to flirt with him, but he also just asks her if she’s seen Enid. HAHAHA! Then she runs into Liz but Liz just wants to know if she has seen Enid! Jessica is confused and pissed. Ha ha ha!
Brian Saunders finds Enid first, and he apologizes to her for the way he behaved on their date, and they wind up slow dancing together because Enid wants to show Liz she doesn’t give a fuck about her smoochin’ on Jeffrey. Both Liz and Jeffrey try to interrupt Enid and Brian, which really annoys me. They remind me of hovering parents. Then Brian and Enid leave the party together for Miller’s Point. They run into George on the way out, who gives Enid a “do you know what you’re doing?” look. Okay, first of all, what the fuck is Brian doing at George’s party anyway? We heard so much about how bad “the old crowd” that Enid and George used to hang with is, so why would George even let Brian in the door since Brian clearly hasn’t changed? I think old Georgie still likes hittin’ the bong every now and again.
On the way to Miller’s Point, Enid thinks about whether a relationship with Brian could work even though he’d be off at college in Colorado. Are you joking me? What the hell Enid? You just broke up with Hugh at the end of the very last book and here you are desperately trying to latch onto a new man already. I guess that’s the way it works when you have no real friends except for Elizabeth Wakefield and whatever boy you are dating at the time. When they get to the Point, Brian kisses Enid but she doesn’t feel excited by it or anything. Then Brian whips out a joint and convinces Enid to smoke it with him. They also pass around a bottle of bourbon. This scene is hilarious, with them attempting to sing the “12 Days of Christmas” and slurring shit, calling turtle doves “turldoves” and pear trees “bear trees”. Then Brian wants to know what a bear tree is. (Answer: According to Enid, it’s a tree with bears in it. Thanks for clearing that up, Enid.)
Meanwhile, Jessica has finally met an eligible bachelor at the party, Steve’s college buddy Michael. Within about 5 to 10 minutes of being introduced, they’re headed off to the Point. What the fuck is up with Jessica in this book? She’s seriously flirting with EVERY boy she comes across, even Winston, whom she can’t stand, and George, because she thinks it’s funny to get a boy with a girlfriend all hot and bothered. And she had the audacity to criticize Annie Whitman back in the day?
At the Point, Jess and Michael don’t get to make out because the car next to them starts blaring really loud music. Jessica storms over there and raps on the window, but the occupants don’t answer, so she throws open the car door to find … Enid and Brian, lost in a haze of smoke and with the bourbon bottle sitting between them. Jessica is stunned and asks Enid if she’s drunk, but Enid can’t really answer. Jessica rushes right back to the car and gets Michael to take her back to George’s party … not because she’s concerned, but because she can’t wait to spread the juicy gossip. Meanwhile, Liz has called Mrs. Rollins to say she’s worried about Enid because she left with Brian and no one knows where they went. Take a wild guess, woman. Mrs. Rollins freaks out because she knows Brian was a bad boy … so why did you let your daughter go out with him the other night? WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON IN THIS DAMN TOWN! Then Mr. Rollins shows up, hungover yet sober, looking to apologize to Enid. When he hears she’s missing with Brian, he drives to Kelly’s to look for her, or maybe it was the Shady Lady. (Mrs. Rollins calls it “the Pink Lady, or something like that.”) When he gets there, he sees all the drunks at the bar and realizes that’s going to be him someday, so he throws out a bottle of gin that was in his glove compartment and swears, “No more.” Then he peels off for George’s party, where he asks all the kids if they’ve seen Enid. Jessica arrives with Michael at the same time, so she takes a moment to step forward and dramatically proclaim that she saw Enid wasted at the Point. Rather than praising her as she had hoped, everyone jumps all over her for not giving Enid a ride back to the party. What the fuck was Jessica supposed to do, drag her out of the car? How fucking stupid. Jeffrey, Liz, Lila, and Jessica all run around with Mr. Rollins looking for Brian and Enid. This is at least the second Christmas in which everyone is furious with Jessica and she gets driven around to look for some poor girl she wronged.
While Scooby and friends are sniffing out Enid’s whereabouts, Brian is driving all over town at high speeds, cackling like a maniac while Enid screams hysterically. This is so much like the Rick Andover car chase scene from Double Love. Enid is so embarrassed that Jessica saw them, because she knows Jessica will tell everyone. Enid wants to be taken home, but Brian thinks she lead him on and is refusing. He sideswipes two cars, yells about what a drag Enid is a couple of times, and finally speeds back up to the Point, where Brian tries to play chicken with Mr. Rollins’ car (which is coming back down after looking for Enid). Brian loses the game, so to speak. He smashes through a guardrail and flips the car. Mr. Rollins saves both Enid and Brian from the car, but it explodes and he and Brian are badly burned. How dramatic. Would you expect anything less?
The wrap-up, ’cause I’m starting to not care anymore: Enid wakes up to a Christmas in the hospital. Jeffrey, Lila, Liz, and Jess all come to her room to give her presents and whatnot. Jessica is only there because she feels guilty, I’m sure, and Lila is probably just there because she’s already spending Christmas with the Wakefields since Mr. Fowler is away on business again. Mrs. Rollins gives Enid an update on her father and Enid goes to see him and he says he’s checking into rehab right after he’s released from the hospital. Brian is going to do the same because now he realizes he needs help. How nice. Then Lila Fowler throws a big New Year’s party. She tries to flirt with Jeffrey (Lila, please give up on him already. He only likes boring chicks) but he’s intent on finding Enid. Jessica intends to get Michael to fall in love with her at the party. Enid and Jeffrey talk on the balcony about how the time isn’t right for a relationship, but they’ll take it slow and see what happens. That doesn’t stop them from sharing a New Year’s kiss. So are they going to be the next hot Sweet Valley item? I read several books after this one, but I don’t recall them ever being together.
What the fuck? For starters, I’m wondering if it’s even possible for a Sweet Valley Christmas book to be published without all the horribly cheesy jokes. You should hear all the ridiculous Christmasy shit Jessica says while trying to flirt with dudes at the Dairi Burger.
Enid gives Liz a satin, heart-shaped box that she bought for her at a specialty store for Christmas. It must have cost at least a decent amount of her allowance. And what does Liz give Enid? A picture of the two of them in a frame. Never before have presents so accurately represented each girl’s view of the friendship.
Neil Freemount is still an active part of the regular Sweet Valley gang, but Andy Jenkins is nowhere to be found or even mentioned! There are SO many things I could say about this that I just can’t even …
This book talks about how Jessica once spread a rumor that Bruce kisses like a jellyfish (but he really doesn’t), but that incident doesn’t happen until a book published AFTER this one. I double-checked!
Liz gives Jessica bright pink hoop earrings for Christmas. Jessica was going to give Liz a pair of bright green sunglasses with hot pink flamingoes on them. (She gives them to Enid in the hospital instead.) How typical of Jessica to give Liz something Liz would never wear, but Jessica could “borrow” for herself later.
We’re told that “as far as Jessica was concerned” her relationship with Bruce was a disaster because “Jessica didn’t like going out with anyone who demanded more attention than she did.” Gee, that’s a good way to sum up that Bruce was emotionally abusive and cheated on her all the time, and she put up with it until she saw for herself that he was cheating on her with that Aline girl.
Enid’s cousin is also named Brian. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, then you should know what this name repetition does to me. I was working on a new page that lists all of the characters so you can see how often basic names are repeated, but typing out “Tim” something like eight times was irritating the stick I have up my ass just a little too much. I don’t want to get hemorrhoids.
We learn that Enid was 14 when she ran with “the old crowd.”
The ghostwriter says that “just about the worst thing that had ever happened to Elizabeth” was Todd moving to Vermont. Are. you. fucking. joking.
At the New Year’s party, Liz and Jeffrey smile at each other knowing their time together is up and their confused feelings were just that, confusion, because Liz loves Todd and Jeffrey kind of likes Enid. Then Liz exchanges a look with Todd that shows her feelings and she knows he understands perfectly. What? So did Liz tell Todd everything that happened? Just try to tell me that Todd wouldn’t have punched Jeffrey in the jaw if he knew what went on while he was away!
Jess and Liz eat all the shitty candy and Christmas snacks they want and don’t gain a pound. I hate them.
The cover: Enid looks really pretty if you ask me. I like her hair better that way then I do on her other covers, that’s for sure!
From the mouth of Lila Fowler: “Humble is for other people. I have a reputation to maintain, you know.”
(in her underwear, preparing for the party) “Think anyone would notice if I went downstairs like this?”
(in response to Jessica saying she’s so mad she could just bite someone) “That sounds like fun. Did you have anyone particular in mind?”
Coming up next: Jessica vies for a shot at fame. Business as usual.