I have to get this off my chest: This is the dumbest title ever. Ugh! The whole book revolves around babies. I’m decidedly not a fan of stories that are all about babies, so this spelled hell for me from the start. Maybe that is why I finished this book approximately 2 months ago and have been sitting on a half-finished review for nearly as long. I’m more than ready to get to the last Margo book at this point.
This cover is dumb, too. We have Margo as “Marla” (her newest alter-ego), working at the daycare center and taunting some kid who has sad eyes and a bowl cut, but it’s never explained who this kid is. Also, the kid looks like he totally has to take a piss. In the upper right corner, SPOILER ALERT! That’s Liz and Todd, who don’t look anything like themselves if you ask me, but as you’ll see, there really isn’t anyone else it could be. I’m going to have to get used to these kids no longer looking like themselves on these new covers.
So, the main plot here has to do with a baby named Daisy Zvonchenko that Winston is stuck caring for when Daisy’s mother has to leave suddenly in order to bring her journalist husband some papers at an airport or some shit, in a Central American country that’s in the middle of a coup, because he had to leave his passport behind in the hotel when it was taken over by terrorists, and I can’t believe I cared enough to go back through the book just now and make sure I was giving you the accurate story. But that is what I did! Anyway, Mrs. Z. just rings the doorbell, and then gleefully flings Daisy and some baby-care items into Winston’s arms, asks if his parents can look after her real quick and disappears acting like it ain’t no thang. What the fuck, lady? She runs off saying she’ll probably be back the next day, and Winston doesn’t get a chance/doesn’t care enough to run after her and tell her that his parents just left for a week’s vacation, and he was planning to sit around at home and do nothing but eat peanut butter and sardine sandwiches by himself. LMFAO, I am serious – that’s really the only thing he envisions with a house all to himself. Boy, I had different ideas at 16. Well, now Winston is stuck caring for this kid – let the hijinks ensue, am i rite!!! And guess what, Mrs. Z doesn’t come back the next day, like she said she would … or the next day … or the next. She just vanishes. So instead of asking an adult or, I don’t know, another neighbor or something for help, Winston spends the week caring for the baby in secret.
Yeah, so this plot is supposed to be so cute or something, but it’s horrendous. Maria comes over to visit and get some hot sexy times I guess, although that appears to be the last thing on either her or Winston’s mind. Winston hurriedly shoves Daisy in a closet, but then Maria hears her making baby noises and shit, and he has to let the secret out. Winston has been freaking out over how to change a diaper, so he’s secretly kind of glad Maria knows now. Later, Winston’s mom calls, and she keeps hearing Daisy in the background and he keeps lying about what is going on. I don’t get it. It’s not his fault, so why can’t he just say something? Does he want the baby off his hands or not? Then, Maria brings a bunch of her friends over – Amy, Lila, Annie, Pamela, Cheryl, and Jean (who’s now regularly referred to as Jeanie) – to meet the baby the next night, and they all coo and shriek over her. Okay, except for Lila, who’s more concerned that the baby’s clothes look out of fashion. Maria gets the idea to go to Olivia’s boyfriend’s upcoming costume party with the baby and that they should all wear costumes. Gee, I thought they wanted to be inconspicuous about this! Winston starts seeing a future taking care of babies with Maria and gets sick and has to sit down, or something. I would get sick and have to sit down thinking of raising babies with anyone in this freaking universe.Kind of wish Ned and Alice had gotten sick and had to sit down at some point.
The ladies keep coming over to the Egbert house to help Winston with Daisy, because he’s totally incompetent and oh my god, it’s so funny! LOLLLLLLLLZZZ! When Amy makes fun of Winston for being utterly hopeless with diapers, Winston bets her that he’ll be a master at it by “Friday”. If he is, he gets to choose Amy’s costume for the costume party. If he isn’t, then Amy gets to choose Winston’s costume. I’ll just relieve you of the suspense: Winston wins, and Amy has to go to the costume party as a nun! HAH! Now that shit is funny. Good one, Francine.
Winston has been skipping school to take care of Daisy, but he finally realizes he can’t fake it anymore (why not?) and so he comes to school carrying the baby inside a duffel bag. Principal “Chrome Dome” Cooper almost catches him, and then Mr. Collins nearly does as well, and it’s just really silly. The baby gets passed around from student to student. When it’s Lila’s turn to care for Daisy (outside in a school courtyard/park), Lila successfully teaches her to say “Porsche.” Then the principal appears, and Lila has to make up some shit about why she’s hanging around outside while keeping old Chrome Dome from noticing there’s a fucking baby hanging around. Meanwhile, Daisy crawls away without either Lila (or the principal) noticing. When Chrome Dome finally leaves, Lila chases after Daisy and finds her under a bench untying Bruce Patman’s shoelaces. He has no idea, because he’s busy listening to his CD player and singing/drumming along. And after Lila carries Daisy away, he stands up and trips over his shoelaces. Ha ha! OK, I gotta give this scene some credit for the genuine laugh it gave me.
Mrs. Z is still missing in action, so Winston ultimately realizes he needs help, so he, Liz, and Todd take the baby to … the local daycare center. The fuck? They’re going to go in there and ask what to do. Damn, y’all really don’t want to talk to your parents! Not even Ms. Perfect Liz wants to ask her perfect parents for their fucking advice? Probably because she can’t find their absentee asses or is too tired from making their fucking dinner every night. Or you know, you can just call the police … The baby’s mother is overdue to come back and you haven’t heard shit from her and for all you know she is dead. I guess I have to give these kids a break because they’re 16, right? Ughh.
Unbeknownst to the gang, the daycare center is the worst place they could have taken little Daisy. Margo is working there as “Marla” and she gives Winston “advice” from time to time, and she silently flips the fuck out when she sees the Scooby Gang show up with this baby. She starts seething (to herself) about how unfair it is that Liz has Todd, and that Liz loves the baby and the baby has parents who love her too, or something, and starts thinking about how she’ll get revenge on Liz by hurting the baby. What?
The costume party night arrives, and Winston and Maria goes as Ricky and Lucy, and Daisy is Little Ricky. God, does that sound like a trainwreck straight out of hell or what. They hang out on the loud-ass dance floor with the baby and Daisy doesn’t seem bothered by this at all. Maybe I really do know nothing about babies.
Back to Margo/Marla/WTF: Winston is totally freaked out by “Marla’s” weird behavior at the daycare center and thinks she is strange. Then Marla/Margo just randomly appears at his house one day despite Winston never giving her his full name or address, and she says she wants to watch the baby so Winston can catch a break and go out and run errands for a long time. Seems legit. Winston decides it’s cool for her to hang out alone with the baby one day at his house, because everyone in these books is stupid as all fuck, and so he leaves. And then Margo is just about to smother Daisy with a pillow when the doorbell rings, and it’s Liz, showing up unexpectedly. Margo is completely star-struck by coming face-to-face with Liz, who doesn’t recognize her in her “Marla” disguise (remember Margo was just hanging all around Liz at the wedding the previous week). Marla/Margo freezes and she doesn’t know what to do, so she just tears out of the house and Liz is all “Gee, how strange! Huh.” She doesn’t say anything to anyone about this, of course. Of course! Margo has been urging Winston to leave Daisy at the daycare center so she can take her to Social Services, because I guess the gang can’t do that themselves, and so Winston drops Daisy off and waves goodbye. When he gets home, hey! There’s Mrs. Z. And she’s just all, “Oh sorry I couldn’t call, tee hee! I’m sure my baby’s fine.” Winston tears back to the daycare center to pick up Daisy, and gets her as, once again, Margo is clearly about to kill her because all happy babies with good homes and loving parents must die, plus this will teach Liz a lesson somehow. Daisy is saved! Thank god, fuck this dumb ass story.
Major spooky bitch moment: Enid and Liz are hanging out on the beach when Enid suddenly spies Margo standing way down the way just staring at Liz in her maillot. In a blink of an eye, Margo vanishes and Enid freaks the fuck out that there was a dark-haired girl who looked a lot like Liz, just standing there staring at Liz. And then Enid goes back to staring at Liz herself and the moment is forgotten.
What’s going on with everyone else: Let’s start with the twins and their fucking drama. Liz is sad because even though she and Todd danced together at Lila’s parents’ wedding, he still hasn’t tried to talk to her any. Why would he talk to you Liz? That would totally break with the normal post-breakup pattern that you guys have. Liz’s relationship with Jessica, however, is slowly getting patched up. By that I mean that one twin will occasionally act like she remembers the other twin exists. Then, they suddenly start talking more. Jessica asks Liz if she can borrow her sweater and they banter about old times. Jessica invites Liz to come to an “ice cream bash” at Lila’s house and Liz says she already heard about it through Enid (LOL) but she wasn’t going to go because she didn’t think Jessica would want her there. Jessica tells her she would, actually, and then the twins laugh about how funny it is that Lila even invited Enid or something, and everything seems hunky dory again …
BUT there’s still the little matter of that heartfelt letter from Todd that Jessica hid from Liz. Liz goes into Jessica’s room to do her laundry for her (hah! it really is back to normal!) and she finds the letter under Jessica’s bed. For once, Liz isn’t a doormat- she confronts Jessica about it the next morning, and when Jessica starts crying and tries to explain, Liz tells her to shut up and that they won’t ever be friends again. Damn! Then Liz drives herself over to Todd’s house and throws herself into his arms and kisses him, and they are back together again. I don’t get it. Todd is still a complete asshole for everything he did. This letter does not make up for it. He’s an emotionally abusive prick who has already shown himself not averse to giving Liz the silent treatment and yes, sometimes taking off with another woman at the tiniest slight (real or imagined) from his long-time girlfriend. We’ve been seeing this since book 1, and this book is just the latest example (and the worst one). Why do you put up with this, Liz? WHY? (WHY do you write this shit this way, Francine and co.? WHY?) Even worse, Margo spies on Todd and Liz kissing and making up and thinks about how she’ll be the one doing that soon.
Jessica and James start the book by going on a hiking date, where James tries to shove Jessica off the side of the cliff, then “saves’ her. Haha! Jessica believes she just fell or stumbled, but at the same time she cannot shake the feeling that James pushed her, because I mean, he did. Jess decides that’s a crazy thing to think, that this guy she just met and knows zip about, but who’s already obsessed with her, would possibly try to do a thing like that. James later meets up at Kelly’s bar with “Mandy” (Margo’s alter-ego where James is concerned), and he tells her that he pushed Jess to see if she trusts him. Truthfully, James is starting to get weirded out by how much Mandy wants to know about these kids. There are some hints that maybe he’s falling in love with Jessica. One of these hints is that he’s being slightly cagey with Margo about Jessica now. And, you know, he could have killed Jess earlier, but he didn’t! He saved her! Aw, that’s so sweet, James! He still wants that cool $2K Margo promised him, so note he isn’t dropping their arrangement or anything. He wants that cash money more than he wants Jessica to live.
Josh Smith or whatever his name is has arrived in Sweet Valley to find Margo and avenge the death of his little brother. He attempts to get some information out of the crackpot Sweet Valley police force by posing as a reporter. The officer he talks to is just like, “Well son, this is Sweet Valley, it’s a wonderful and amazingly peaceful place.” Who the fuck is he kidding? The officer mentions Liz and Sam’s accident and then brushes it aside like, “Welp, the dude who caused that came forward though.” What? Man, I still can’t believe how Liz just got off scot-free for driving wasted. Though I gotta be honest, this mini-series has made me feel genuinely sorry for old prissy Liz. If this is karma biting her in the ass, it’s leaving scars on that booty.
Margo has continued running around Sweet Valley stealing shit so that she can look just like the twins. Her hair is dyed blonde and she is wearing blue-green contact lenses. One day, she dresses up like Liz and heads to Calico Drive. She briefly considers strangling the Wakefields’ four year old neighbor before waltzing on into the Wakefield house. Alice sees her and fake Liz gives her a hug. Alice is totally fooled. Liz steals a knife from the house and takes off. Real Liz comes in later in totally different clothes and Alice is baffled at her daughter’s sudden reappearance and change of clothes. Liz thinks old mom is losing her fucking mind again. No big deal!
Olivia’s stupid boyfriend Harry’s costume party is coming up, and it promises to be a most douchey evening. Liz and Todd decide to go as Cinderella and Prince Charming. Liz picks out the perfect dress and shawl and heels. What neither she nor Jessica nor Margo realize is that Jessica is putting together the exact same outfit for herself. Margo gets James to give her all the details on Jessica’s outfit, and then she goes out and buys, I mean steals, herself a very similar outfit. It actually sounds kind of pretty – pink dress, silver filmy shawl, silver heels, white glittery pantyhose (whuh?), and hair put up with gold combs and a pink scarf draped over the back like a veil. Jessica plans to wear her rhinestone earrings, which James gave her – but at the last minute, she puts on some pearl drop earrings that Sam had given her instead so that she can feel close to him. On the night of the costume party, Jessica reluctantly tromps downstairs to meet James just as Liz is leaving with Todd. The twins are blown away to find that they are dressed almost exactly alike. The only major difference is that Liz is wearing a pair of crystal earrings. Pay attention kids, this little detail is crucial to the plot.
The party at snooty Harry’s house is on! It’s being held outside at his artsy-fartsy mansion. There’s a dance floor set up on the back lawn next to Harry’s sprawling gardens … the perfect place for a killer like Margo and a pseudo-private detective like Josh to hide! That’s right, Josh Smith has learned about the party by following Lila and Amy at the mall, and he shows up as well to spy on everybody and find Margo. This dude is not right in the head.
Liz and Jess are both still kind of sad from their recent fight. Liz is feeling freaked out in general and having premonitions of awfulness. Oh, and there’s a creepy mime walking around who freaks Liz out briefly, but then, she spends the whole evening being creeped out. She wanders away from the party by herself to take a walk down a garden path and “think” or something, and Jessica steps into her path and then wordlessly disappears. Liz sees that Jessica is wearing the rhinestone earrings instead of the pearl earrings and gets even more spooked. Of course, it’s not really Jessica … it’s Margo. Liz goes back to the dance floor and finds Todd, then leaves for a second. Suddenly, Liz reappears and grabs Todd. He quickly realizes by the way the twin is dancing on him and feeling up his back that this can’t be Liz, because she don’t play like that, so it must be Jessica. He thinks to himself that he’s never seen Jessica hit on anyone like that. ARE YOU KIDDING ME FOOL? She’s spent the past month or so doing more than that to you and throwing herself on your dick ALL.THE.TIME!!! Todd pulls himself away from Jessica and literally runs from her while Jessica stares after him with eyes like “ice picks.” Of course, it wasn’t really Jessica. We know who it was. It’s Margo, and she spends a good amount of the evening standing casually at the edge of the dance floor chatting with Jessica’s friends like she’s Jess, and eating up the attention. Suddenly, she looks up and sees Josh staring at her. She takes off and Josh pursues her but loses sight of her. He has no idea there are twin sisters who look just like Margo tonight, and I’m sure you can see where this is going. When he spies Jessica standing by the punch bowl, he runs up and grabs her and I’m not sure what he’s trying to do with her. Winston knocks Josh out with his bongo drums, and Josh wakes up to see two Margos … a nightmare! He realizes these are twin girls who happen to look just like Margo as he is being thrown out of the party by douchey old Harry. He puts two and two together and realizes Margo is trying to look like the twins and that they are in serious danger. Way to go, Sherlock. I’m for real; you probably should actually join the Sweet Valley police force and smarten those assholes up a little.
So that’s that. Margo leaves this book without having killed any twins or any babies. Poor Margo, she’s probably hurting for the lack of carnage lately. She’s definitely ready to get rid of Liz now, though. She types up a letter to Ned and Alice from a lady in San Francisco claiming she wants to talk to them about a lucrative hotel remodeling deal and will host them at her hotel for two nights for dinner and an interview. Ned and Alice fall for it and prepare to take off and leave the twins alone. Good, because I’m really ready to finish this mini-series and move on.
Other stuff: LMFAO: Maria, talking about who she, Winston, and Daisy can dress as for the costume party: “Who could we be?” Lila responds: “Lizzie Borden’s parents?”
To no one’s surprise, Lila does NOT change diapers.
Jessica has a pair of “psychedelic stirrup pants” in her room.
There is a lot of reminiscing about the last costume party at SVH, which I think took place in Bitter Rivals. Actually, no, there was one in Don’t Go Home with John! But the costumes everyone is remembering are definitely from Bitter Rivals. That means they want to forget the horrible Jon Pfeifer-centric party with Lila confronting him ever happened. Oh, and there was also a costume party in Who’s to Blame. These kids and their damn costume parties!
Lila shows up at the costume party dressed as a Southern belle, with Tony Alimenti as her date. Steven and Billie are there as Mickey and Minnie Mouse … gag me. Enid is an aviator. Bruce and Pamela are a sultan and his harem girl …. why am I not surprised!
Lila has lots of awesome lines in this book. Here’s another one: Maria says, “You’re a great humanitarian, Lila.” Lila replies, “Don’t say things like that in public. Somebody might hear you.”
Elizabeth thinks aloud that she should really stop helping everyone in town with their problems. Shut the front door, the NO SHIT SHERLOCK Award goes to this one right here.
I’m not sure why the series is suddenly bringing back the old forgotten “lost in a black hole” one-off characters, but they really are. In this book, Paul Jeffries is mentioned as a member of the Oracle staff that Mr. Collins is looking for. Paul was last seen in Who’s to Blame? (#66) as a guy with a “bad reputation” that Liz went on a date with.
There’s all sorts of Enid worshiping Liz in this book. I mean, here’s how the fucking book opens: “Enid Rollins lay on her stomach on a beach and watched as her best friend, Elizabeth Wakefield, emerged, dripping, from the surf.” LOL!!! She then openly ogles Liz in her bathing suit and offers to be her date to Winston’s costume party.
In the back of the book… Another ad for the Sweet Valley High fan club. The person who had this book before me cut out the form and sent away for it. There is also another add for 1-800-I LUV BKS.
Coming up next … It’s another Magna Edition and it had better be good, because that’s an awful lot of pages if it sucks. I think it’s also Christmas-themed, which makes me annoyed I didn’t get to it a few months sooner! 🙂 I’m desperate for it to be fun and crrrrrrazy.