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

Nice sunglasses

Lila and Jess are hanging out at Jessica’s house while Jake is out with Liza, the nanny. Lila is still surprised Jessica “went the kid route.” Me too, since the kid is freakin’ never around. Lila is upset with Jessica because she needs to talk about how to get Ken back, and all Jessica can talk about is her plan to save Bruce Patman. Lila thinks about how she’s never liked Bruce (except you know, that one time in college that she did a little more than just like him) and how she thinks he’s probably guilty, simply because the whole incident makes her uncomfortable by reminding her of John Pfeifer.

Since he left her, Ken has completely ignored Lila’s texts and calls. This has never happened before. When Lila asked Ken for a divorce three years ago, Ken was the one begging Lila to take him back. Lila doesn’t like it. She realizes she might almost love Ken.

Jessica ignores Liam’s numerous texts, checking up on her, and figures that as long as she doesn’t tell anyone she slept with him, Todd will never know. Jess decides her best bet for getting Todd back is to quit her job so she can be the stay-at-home mommy and wife he wants. Oh, God. Jessica calls Todd, who’s delighted to hear from her at long last after all those texts he sent, and Jessica insinuates nothing happened with Liam other than dinner. Todd is obviously relieved. They make plans to meet at “their” restaurant – Le Bouchon, where Todd proposed to Jessica – and Jessica will tell Todd about her job then. Liz comes over before Jessica’s latest fabulous VERTPLUS.NET party and thinks about how dull and boring she is next to Jessica, and how maybe she really has always been the boring twin. Well, duh. Liz is having a hard time with what Robin told her alter-ego, fake therapist “Laura Christer,” about Bruce – that he drunkenly complained to Robin his girlfriend was a horrible bore and bad lay. Liz is also having a few twinges of jealousy about Jessica and Todd, and sort of secretly hoping they don’t reunite. She’s also horrified when Jessica tells her that she’s going to quit her job for Todd, because this is a job Jessica excels at. Liz doesn’t share any of these thoughts with Jessica; she just mopes around in her flats while Jessica gets dressed in her fabulous slinky red gown. She doesn’t even tell Jessica that she knows the name of Bruce’s accuser and that she’s met with her. Instead she just says she finds herself kind of doubting Bruce’s story. Jessica assures her Bruce will be vindicated in the end.

Liz eats dinner with Bruce at his house, where she questions him about some of the things she has heard. She doesn’t let him know she’s met Robin and spoken with her. Bruce gets angry that Liz doesn’t believe him. Liz has an uncomfortable flashback to that time in Dear Sister when Bruce tried to force himself on Liz after she attempted to back out of sex with him at his parents’ beach house. Liz apparently barely remembers the full details, because she only recalls he tried to make her kiss him or something.

Liz drives over to Robin’s house again where Robin says someone keeps calling her and hanging up, and she’s sure that means somebody has discovered that she is Bruce’s accuser. Liz can’t help but feel bad for Robin, who’s afraid to leave her house and looks just awful. Liz offers to rent out a house near the church for Robin, with her own money, to keep her away from the prying eyes of the press, as well as from Bruce. Since Liz’s name will be on the lease, no one will find Robin.

Lila dresses herself up in a very skimpy mini-dress and goes to the stadium to see Ken. An intern lets Lila right into the men’s room, where Ken ignores her and walks out the back door. Lila is briefly interrupted by some cameramen asking if she and Ken are still together. Lila lies and says yes. Then she flees to the parking lot, where she finds Ken outside his Porsche – with Ashley Morgan, Lila’s sexpot True Housewives co-star, hanging all over him. Lila uses all her old tricks to get Ken to come back to her, but he coldly tells her it’s over, and he and Ashley leave together in the Porsche. Not giving up, Lila waits until the next True Housewives filming, which is a cocktail party at co-star Devone Waters’s house. Ashley isn’t there because she’s probably off banging Ken and pretending to be interested in his football career. (For the record, we learn that Lila has only been to two of Ken’s football games. Daaaamn!) Devone offers Lila wine, and she turns it down in favor of club soda. She then starts crying and tells Devone and Marina that Ken has left her for Ashley, and, even worse, Lila is pregnant. (She isn’t, of course.) Now the shit will really hit the fan! I gotta say, now this is really getting good.

Moving right along … Remember in the first Sweet Life book when Jessica made Caroline Pearce leave her house because she was mad Caroline had told her about Todd (allegedly) sleeping with Sarah Miller? Now Caroline is ready for revenge. She’s never wanted anything more than to be friends with the Wakefield twins, and Jessica has rejected her friendship for the last time. In yoga class, Caroline’s friend Amy Dent shows her a cell phone picture of Liam O’Connor at the Imagine hotel (where Amy works) with a pretty drunk blond girl, waiting for the elevator to his room. The girl is Jessica, of course, and it’s from that night. Now Caroline knows about it. Even worse, Amy then says she went by Liam’s room that night (to see if he needed anything – yeah right), and heard Liam and Jess having loud sex. Caroline goes right home and posts a blog entry about what Amy said, complete with the picture, and then sends the link to Todd.

Jessica texts Annie Whitman looking for some legal advice for Bruce. Annie thinks about how she’s always had a “soft spot” for Bruce. (That’s one way to put it, Annie.) We learn Annie divorced Charlie Markus six months ago because he was jealous of her fabulous career as a defense lawyer in San Diego. Charlie couldn’t make his books sell, so he wrote one called Easy Annie. Since Charlie is supposedly the boy who saved Annie from her reputation in high school, that didn’t go over so well with Annie. (News flash: It was NOT Charlie Markus! It was Ricky Capaldo! Annie didn’t date Charlie until later! Come on Francine, get it RIGHT.) After divorcing Charlie, Annie moved from San Diego to Sweet Valley, and they share custody of their six-year-old son. Annie looks forward to helping Bruce out. She likes Jessica now that motherhood has made her a more bearable person than she was in high school, when she tried to keep Annie off the cheerleading team. (The whole part where Annie tried to kill herself as a result is left out.)

Aaron and Steven argue over their baby daughter, Emma. Aaron is really going overboard spoiling Emma. He thinks if she sleeps in her crib instead of with her dads, she’ll turn into a sociopath. He calls the crib “the pink prison” and gives Emma a new toy every time she cries. Ugh. Steven is afraid that if Emma sleeps in the bed with them, she’ll suffocate, and that she’ll also turn into a spoiled brat like his sister. But he won’t assert himself, so Aaron keeps on acting like an idiot and giving Emma whatever she wants. I couldn’t really give any less of a crap about this storyline.

Jessica’s MEANGREEN launch party is a mega hit. Woooo. Everyone loves the body paint suits on the models. At the end of the night, Jessica tells her boss Michael Wilson that she is leaving the company. He’s upset both because she’s awesome and because the reason she gives is that she and Todd are going to work on their marriage. He really wants him some Jessica. After the party, Jessica meets Todd at the restaurant, where they reconcile and he’s delighted to hear she’s quitting her job for him. Then Jessica goes to the bathroom while Todd checks his email on his smartphone. He sees Caroline’s blog post and realizes he was right, Jessica really is a horrible scheming person. When Jessica comes back out of the bathroom, Todd has left. Jessica checks her own email. Caroline has sent the same blog post to her.

Elizabeth keeps dodging Bruce’s questions about why she is pulling away from him. She won’t go on TV with him to defend him because she knows Robin will recognize her. She continues to investigate Robin’s past, talking to her old bosses, but can’t find anything to show she isn’t trustworthy – quite the opposite, in fact. Liz also keeps going over to Robin’s new house, a bungalow by her church, to meet with her. Robin cries and says she’s considering just dropping the case because she can’t stand seeing all these celebrities, like actress Christina Black, on television with Bruce defending him. A chapter ends with a cliffhanger, with Robin begging “Laura” to tell her if she should drop the case and move back to her hometown in Kentucky, or stay and fight it, and Liz struggling to figure out what she should say.

Bruce texts Liz and begs her to come stay with him that night because he needs her, but she makes up some bullshit reason that she can’t. He knows it’s bullshit and feels more miserable than ever. Then he meets at a bar called Nevin’s Pub with a private detective, Gavin MacKay, who’s figured out the identity of Bruce’s accuser. He shows him pictures of Robin Platt outside her new home; Bruce recognizes her as the girl he talked to that night at the bar, but he doesn’t remember her being an intern. Gavin tells him he’ll be able to give Bruce the name of the person on the lease tomorrow. After Gavin leaves, Bruce gets completely wasted and GPSes his way to the house. He bangs on the door screaming at Robin and breaks her window while demanding to know why she is lying about him. The police show up and drag him away while the neighbors snap cell phone pictures of him in the squad car. OHHHH SHIT!

The cover: If I had to guess, I would say the girl is Jessica and the boy is Todd. Her expression makes her look like she’s keeping something, and he looks somewhat happy – probably because they are getting back together (or were, anyway). We could also say it’s Liz and Bruce, but I doubt it, since the girl looks too fashionable to be Liz, and the boy looks much too happy to be Bruce in this book.

By the way, I took a look at the credits and saw that the cover photos for all the Sweet Life e-books are stock photos from popular stock photo websites, like Shutterstock and Getty Images. I’m guessing the same is true of the original SVC book. I can’t post the full picture here, even with watermark, without major copyright violations, so you can follow this link to see the full photo of Jessica pulled from Shutterstock, copyrighted by Andresr: Full picture at Shutterstock

What do you think? I think this was a good one to use for Jess. The man’s image is by ZAM-Photography and comes from Getty Images, but I can’t seem to find it there. So no full look at Todd for now.

The two women shown on the cover of the first book are two separate photographs as well, by Joerg Steffens at Corbis Images. He has so many photographs of blonde women that I’m not going to bother trying to find each one, but I’m pretty sure these chicks don’t actually look anything alike, haha!

I feel like Elizabeth the hack investigator, looking this crap up. Yes, I found the images for the rest of the books too and I’ll post them with the other two reviews.

Other stuff: Lila gets mad when Jessica touches her on the shoulder and gives her a patronizing look. Has Jessica turned into Liz?

Lila thinks Jessica’s patronizing look is “the kind of look you gave losers and pathetic women whose husbands had left them for other women. Lila wasn’t going to be lumped in with them.”

Throughout this book and the last, Robin Platt keeps calling Bruce “Mr. Patman”. It’s incredibly annoying to me, although I guess it does underscore how much older they are.

Since we already have a main character in the SV series named Robin, I really wish they had come up with a different name for Bruce’s accuser. Y’all know what a nerd I am about name redundancy. IT’S GETTING TO ME.

So yeah, I thought that this book is much better than the first! Lots of scandal!

Coming up next: The promo for the next book says “the secrets are more scandalous than ever!” which is exactly what it said about Lies & Omissions. In the next book, Too Many Doubts, we’ll hear about whether Bruce and Liz, and Todd and Jess will survive. No clue about Lila’s fake baby!

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