dirtbike rallies: all the rage in Sweet Valley

[Cover from The Closet]

Was there a ghostwriter strike that we didn’t know about? Was anyone ever doing quality control when these things were released? I can’t even…ugh. I’ll have to organize my thoughts in a list or else it will be a bunch of random cursing and jumble.

  • Michael Harris is quite the winner. As you may (or not) remember, he was in a secret relationship with Maria Santelli, was controlling and mean and forced Maria to become his child bride. She dumped him for Winston Egbert, and lucky Michael he’s found love with April Dawson. And guess what? He’s a controlling asshole and doesn’t want to do anything fun with April and guilts her into practicing for dirt bike rallies 24 hours a day. When she confronts him on it, he belittles her. Of course, April’s of the “he yells at me because he cares” variety, so it’s okay. He’s intense, y’all.
  • Yes, April is a dirtbike racer. Of course, she rides a pink bike. Just to remind us that she has a vagina.
  • Speaking of vagina, those jeans are riding up hers.
  • April Dawson suddenly popped out of nowhere, and doesn’t seem to have any friends other than Michael. Oh, and the Wakefield twins. Because if you are not friends with them the Sweet Valley chamber of commerce makes you move away. This gal sure is lucky. Just when she needs someone to talk to, Liz pops out of nowhere! Just when she needs a friend to go shopping with, Jessica is there!
  • And don’t even get me started…the cover and title HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE STORY.  Somewhere, James feels betrayed. And no one bothered to fix that? April is not caught between two guys in a love triangle. Michael and Artie Western used to be bffs but Michael challenged him to a race but almost kills him and they are fighting. April agrees to be Artie’s partner in the dirt bike relay and Michael gets mad and challenges him to a duel…ON DIRT BIKES. Artie ends up in the hospital and they make up and April forgives Michael for being a violent, controlling freak. He’s intense, y’all.
  • This is also the book where Jessica meets Sam Woodruff, at a dirtbike rally where she is cheering on her suddenly new bff, April. Sam actually seems pretty nice and has a personality. Too bad he’ll be roadkill in about 20 books.
  • Jessica is scared that her parents will be angry that she is dating a guy on a dirt bike since the coma debacle with Liz (at least there’s continuity). But they are magically ok with it. They brush it off as “yea, so your sister had a bad accident and was in a coma and for a while turned into a nympho, but we’ll let this one slide.” Good parenting, Nalice.
  • You thought we were free and clear of Liz and Todd’s salty and sweet french fry and milkshake kisses? No such luck. They decide to do an “Anything you can do, I can do better” number and challenge each other to do tasks typical of the opposit gender, to show that being a guy/girl is so hard! Way to break gender role stereotypes. Liz makes Todd bake cookies and knit something and Todd makes Liz build a shelf and change a tire. Hilarity ensues. Vomit escapes my mouth.
  • Is it just me or are the guys on the cover kind of hung? Also, Jean Tuxedo seems to be looking at April’s hair and thinking “dayum, could you have more bangs?”
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26 comments

  1. thefutureamerican · March 11, 2009

    The guy on the right looks almost exactly like Cameron from season 3 of Laguna Beach.

    April looks like a casually dressed Stepford Wife. “I am in a love triangle. I am conflicted. End communication.”

    And the guy on the left looks more womanly than she does. “Oh! Sweetie, the pink helmet is FABULOUS!”

  2. Sadako · March 11, 2009

    Guy on the left is way more womanly! That’s why I think he’s totally staring deep into leather jacket’s eyes, longingly.

  3. Magpie · March 11, 2009

    “They decide to do an “Anything you can do, I can do better” number and challenge each other to do tasks typical of the opposit gender, to show that being a guy/girl is so hard! Way to break gender role stereotypes.”

    I must only have read this book for the first time a couple of years ago, and I could not believe this B-plot. It started off OK, but then when it basically ended with Liz being all, “Yes, you’re right, men and women should totes just stick to their own thing”, I wanted to gouge my own eyes out. I can’t believe they got away with marketing this crap to impressionable girls.

    Plus, I seem to remember that the tasks Todd gave Liz were way more difficult than the ones he had to do. She had to change a wheel on the car, and he had to, like, do a laundry load or something. Is that the best the ghostwriter could come up with?

    OK, this response has ended up sounding much more vitriolic than I intended it to be. Sorry! :)

  4. ihatewheat · March 11, 2009

    Rant on! I also remember Enid and Liz going to the hardware store and feeling dumb. But then Jessica goes back with Liz, flirts with the sales guy and they get what they need. Yay girl power.

  5. Janelle · March 11, 2009

    I read this one not too long ago and I remember thinking the same thing about the cover and the title! Totally not what the book was about!

    Sam was definitely the high point in this one- he was kinda hot! I loved the Sam/Jessica relationship!

  6. Jade Wu's Toe Shoe · March 11, 2009

    Does April look ever so slightly like Drew Barrymore, or is it me?

  7. Magpie · March 11, 2009

    Ihatewheat, I forgot about that bit in the hardware store! Ugh. The entirety of the feminist movement obviously passed Sweet Valley by. I’m impressed that everybody here is so well-adjusted considering what we grew up reading! We should all be off baking cupcakes and doing the grocery shopping, ’cause that’s what Liz would be doing.

  8. sunstreakedblonde · March 11, 2009

    That cover is a thing of 80s beauty. April, I wouldn’t be smirking so much considering you’re sporting Mom jeans and being courted by a guy in a jean tux and a guy whose style icon is Peter DeLuise in 21 Jump Street.

    And yes, I am aware it is really sad that I have this much knowledge of 21 Jump Street.

  9. Tannaqui · March 11, 2009

    Lol, Peter DeLuise! I knew he reminded me of someone. Well the guy on the left ain’t no Johnny Depp, that’s for sure. (Also, he seems really interested in the Reader Of The Month sticker.)

    Man those jeans look uncomfortable. And way tmi.

  10. calico drive · March 11, 2009

    i loved the hardware store bit:) best part of this lame ass book. also
    “when she needs someone to talk to, Liz pops out of nowhere! Just when she needs a friend to go shopping with, Jessica is there! ” poor
    delsional me wanted this to be me when i was younger reading SVH. oh the shame….

  11. Jade Wu's Toe Shoe · March 11, 2009

    I love baking cupcakes! And grocery shopping, especially when I have awesome coupons. I still hate Liz, though.

    Oh, and Tannaqui, after reading your comment about the guy on the left eyeing the ROTM sticker, I scrolled up to look at the cover again and laughed for about three minutes straight.

  12. Magpie · March 11, 2009

    Jade Wu’s Toe Shoe, I also love baking cupcakes, I just don’t appreciate being told by Liz that I should have to! :) And more accurately, I enjoy eating cupcakes after they’ve been made.

  13. Rio · March 11, 2009

    But, Magpie, how will you get a perfect size-six figure if you enjoy the consumption of cupcakes? The HORROR . . .

  14. Sadako · March 11, 2009

    Actually, didn’t they revamp them to be perfect size fours now? (Or is it size twos?)

  15. BartTempleton · March 11, 2009

    Once again, my weird magic power to have completely bypassed all the non-Wakie-centric books astonishes me! Seriously, every time you do recaps of these random tertiary character-driven SVHs, I realize I avoided them somehow…and believe me, I read a whole hell of a lot of Sweet Valley from age 8 to age 14.

    A few thoughts:

    1. Um, Jimmy? Preoccupied with crotches much?

    2. Am I wrong in suspecting that books numbered this high (#80) actually was published in the early 90s? And if I’m right, what is the explanation for this cover, Jimmy?

    3. The amount of continuity in this book frankly shocks me. I’ve never heard of a Sweet Valley with this many multiple-book threads.

    4. Glad to see you’ve absorbed my hatred of the Sweet-Salty Milkshake-French Fry kiss. I’m afraid my frequent rants on the subject have infected you, and I apologize. You will be thinking about it henceforth everytime Tiz/Lodd play sucky-face.

  16. willaful · March 11, 2009

    I think all three of them look pretty hung.

  17. Eli · March 11, 2009

    Yeah the Texas Tuxedo sported by the guy on the left is HAWT!

  18. James · March 11, 2009

    what’s with all the feathered hair on these covers???

  19. Anne · March 11, 2009

    I think the guy on the right is thinking: “If I stare at you like this, you won’t notice that I’m only a couple of inches away from Boob-land… mmm… Boobland. Why does that other guy keep staring at me though?”.

    Although, on second thought, not many Sweet Valley women have boobs… probably due to the lack of body fat they need to keep their perfect figures.

  20. tinypants · March 11, 2009

    Seriously, the cameltoe on this cover is OOC — but I agree with willaful, they’re all pretty intense.

    Also in the one where he almost marries Maria Santelli, Michael Harris is like, on the tennis team. How do you go from tennis to dirt bikes? Apparently something was really up with Michael during the 46 books he didn’t appear in.

    • Sarah · March 11, 2009

      I agree. Why didn’t they mention the dirt biking in the one where he almost marries Maria? Because in this one it is said that he’s been doing it for years! Also, that stupid bet with Liz and Todd took away from the main plot. Anyway, it was good but I wish they would have done more with motocross in future books! Just picture Jess trying it!!

  21. Elizabeth · March 11, 2009

    Tennis wasn’t sufficiently intense.

  22. Jade Wu's Toe Shoe · March 11, 2009

    *Hands Magpie a virtual cupcake*

    (But in observance of Rio’s sage comment, I left off the frosting!)

  23. Vanessa Saxton · March 11, 2009

    I actually have this one in my collection and have yet to read it. Nothing about it is appealing and it just looks so bad. I may have to read it now after the fantastic re-cap. April has a very Drew-like smile to her, JadeWu. I just can’t get over the awful bangs. It looks very similar to my 6th grade hair cut from 1990.

  24. Misha · March 11, 2009

    My God that’s a lot of acid-washed denim!

  25. Mab · March 11, 2009

    LOVE this blog!! Thanks for all the hilariously sarcastic recaps!! You are a seriously talented writer. I just read 78 of your recaps in 2 days – they are more addictive than SVH books!! Keep up the awesome work!!

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