I liked Robin Wilson better when she was fat.

Cover Courtesy of The Closet

I feel bad for Robin Wilson. Not only does she no longer remember what cheesecake tastes like, but she really is miserable all the time. So much for losing all that weight, winning Miss Slut Teen Valley or whatever, and being co-captain of the cheerleading team. And she doesn’t have those two candy bars smushed in her purse to look forward to as an afternoon snack. She must have lost her personality and backbone from dieting so much. All she does is mope around school with no true friends, and mope around until the weekend when she can see George Warren, and then mope when she’s out with him. This girl is just screaming for some Cymbalta, because her depression hurts everywhere. But she’s a cheerleader! And thin! Life should be perfect.

To make matters worse, her own mother sold her out for a new kitchen! Aunt Fiona, and it’s never explained whose aunt she is, has offered to pay for Robin to go to Sarah Lawrence College. If she enrolls, and a year early, not only will she pay, but she will also remodel the Wilson’s kitchen. Ms. Wilson already had her tiles picked out before she considered what Robin wanted. Robin has no backbone the entire book and misses out on every chance to stand up for herself. She is seething inside, and everyone talks about how Robin is independent and makes her own decisions…but Robin, you need to let people know what those are instead of just walking around, being all emo. Also, is Sarah Lawrence code for lesbian?

Well, Robin has a big diving match coming up, and everyone who’s anybody is going to be there, simply because Elizabeth wrote a feature on it in The Oracle. (Technically, shouldn’t John “Rapey” Pfeiffer be covering sports? Detail, details. ) Robin’s family and Aunt Fiona don’t come because they think it is a waste of time. And Robin’s mother is too excited on the plans for her new kitchen. Why don’t you take that money and get some psychotherapy for your daughter? George is at the match, and realizes that Robin’s family should be there, and goes home to get them. Robin, meanwhile, watching from the diving board, suspects that George is cheating on her and has a mini-mental breakdown. Yea, this girl’s self-esteem is through the roof! George brings her family back, Aunt Fiona has a change of heart, and Robin tells them that she doesn’t want to go to college early because she’s so happy in Sweet Valley. Really? All is well. Until Robin develops a raging case of anorexia.

Robin is Jo from The Facts of Life, and George is 39 years old.

This is definitely in the top 5 worst.

Oh yea, even the subplot is…what’s the word?…oh yea, FUCKING RETARDED. I hate to use that word, but nothing else really fits. Jessica has to make some money (I think to pay off a credit card debt or something) so she takes a babysitting job. A college guy who writes music needs someone to watch his sister so he can have time alone to compose music. Of course, this guy is the most!gorgeous!guy!Jessica’s!ever!seen! so she plots ways to be around him, and manipulating his sister to get his attention. When the guy seems annoyed by Jessica, she is dumbfounded- how is it possible that anyone can resist her? he must be faking it. Jessica tells him that she’s a master at the recorder* to impress him, so she figures she can learn to play the recorder in a day. She buys one, but of course gives up after five minutes because it’s not lip gloss or the local escaped mental patient she can flirt with.

Elizabeth wanders into her room one day (but how can she find anything? It’s like a TORNADO struck Jessica’s bedroom!) and picks up the recorder and plays it a little. Turns out she’s FANTASTIC at it, and loves it. However, she doesn’t want to tell Jessica, because she knows that she is always better than Jessica at everything and doesn’t want to make her feel bad once again. Chyah. So she sneaks around with the recorder while Jessica is not home. She shows more guilt over the recorder than she does when she cheats on her boyfriend of the moment. To not keep you in suspense, Jessica finds out, doesn’t give a shit, and Liz becomes a recorder virtuoso. Fuck a duck.

Oh yea, Jessica and her soulful musician. Finally, she resorts to fainting in front of him to get his attention. Musician guy is so upset that he reveals that all along he’s secretly liked Jessica (DAMMIT! Can anyone please reject Jessica? And not validate her selfish behavior?) and asks her out, although he’s off to Julliard in a few weeks. Jessica loses her boner because she doesn’t do long distance relationships. Well, at least she’s aware of it, considering she threatened suicide when her boyfriend was away for the weekend.

*Before you make fun of the recorder, I’ll have you know it’s way more than the plastic instrument you played “Hot Cross Buns” on in grade school. My mother is quite the accomplished player and performs with legit ensembles (and sometimes at Renaissance faires, to her chagrin). Shout out to my Mom! [waves].

Penny Ayala, pathetic piece of crapa

[Cover from The Closet.]

The halls of SVH are all abuzz with the new personal ads in The Oracle. Oh, how archaic! People place personal ads and then people write letters to an anonymous mailbox. High-schoolers nowadays can place an ad on craigslist and be banging a thirty year old within the hour. Anyway, for some reason, Lynne Henry is organizing the whole thing, and she doesn’t even work for the paper. I don’t know why. One smooch from Guy Chesney and she goes from frumptress to Mary Tyler Moore.

Liz suggests that Penny place an ad and Penny gets all stand-offish, and Liz decides to pity her because Penny doesn’t have a boyfriend, and Liz is all, well, I’m awesome and I have a hot boyfriend so I should help her.  And Liz seriously won’t leave it alone, and writes endless entries in her journal about poor, pathetic, unlovable Penny. And practically puts a gun to her head to write an ad. And here is where we get to know the real Penny. No longer is she the secondary character that dumps big deadlines on Liz’s shoulders, but she’s someone who appears to be a bitch on the outside, because deep down, she just wants to be loved! Even Jeffrey thinks Liz is being annoying about it.

“Anything wrong?”

“Not really,” she said slowly. “Just someone I wish I could help, that’s all. “

He chuckled. “The usual.”

Seriously, the gross thing about Penny is that she’s into school and writing and ambitious. My god, what a troll! This will all resolve itself when she goes off to college and meets a hot literature grad student but not having a date to the dance in Sweet Valley is akin to leprosy, so let’s all pity Penny for a moment, shall we?

Penny places an ad that tries a bit too hard, but is kind of funny and gets in equally funny response. Little does she know that who answered her ad was Neil Fremount, who hangs out with super dick Kirk Anderson. And we know Kirk is a dick because he drives a Trans Am. They answer the ad as Jamie, as a goof. They make plans to meet at the mall so they can see the gal show up and see what she looks like. And hence we get one of the first covers from Jimmy where the characters are not posing for a Sears portrait studio. That’s Penny, in the mall bookstore, annoyed that Jamie is late, and wearing her red headband to let him know that it is her.

The guys show up, laugh that it is Penny and tell Neil that she will make him write term papers for her. Seriously though? That seems way more exciting than stuffing my face with cheeseburgers and going to the Beach Disco every five minutes. Meanwhile, it started as a joke, but Neil has really started to feel something! And he’s gone out with lots of pretty girls (ahem, Jessica) but finds them boring. He likes Penny’s sass and brains.

Penny gets upset and Neil finally stands up to his dick friends and he and Penny meet at the Dairi Burger for some cutesy flirting. All is resolved. And Penny has a date to the dance! Phew! I thought she’s have to spend all weekend at home studying for the SATs. Thank god she was saved for that.

Meanwhile, Jessica and Lila have a wager over who can attract the best guy with their personal ad. Jessica meets one guy, Paulo, who she can’t even deal with because he’s overweight. Jessica makes up a story about how she has a deadly disease (Mono? MS?) and gets headaches. Paulo, the bumbling fat idiot thinks she’s really brave. Then she meets a totally hot college guy who wants to know all about her. Turns out it’s the same guy that Lila has met as well. Turns out that he is a student doing a sociology project on girls who place personal ads. So Jessica is made an ass of, which was nice.  Why in the holy hell are college students answering ads placed in a high school newspaper?

Here is Jessica’s ad:

Are you devastatingly handsome? Are romantic and wild? Do you like girls who aren’t afraid of danger? Are you the type of guy who goes for what he wants? Are you in college? If you answered yes to all the above questions, drop me a line. I’ve been looking for you.

That sounds like an open invitation for someone to kidnap her and feed her frozen pancakes.

Robin Wilson should be in the X-Men

[photo from The Closet]

Can we come to a consensus that this may be one of the best covers ever? Robin is GORGE! FEROSH! FIERCE! (I’ve been watching Season 4 of Project Runway). She does look a bit like Britney Spears in the face. Also, cute shirt! But look, it’s so beeeg! She us just wasting away!

Ok, so this book was especially difficult to read, especially as someone who has struggled with weight issues since…well, birth.I will give this ghostie credit; they did seem to do some research about eating disorders.

We once again are from the viewpoint of Robin Wilson, only 70 books later and after her magical transformation. However, she is still unhappy, maybe even more so. She is really insecure about her boyfriend, George Warren, who isn’t coming home from college to see her as much and he is spending time with his attractive partner. ONCE A CHEATER ALWAYS A CHEATER, RIIIIGGHHHHT?

Robin is quite insecure, and acts all passive-aggressive with George and doesn’t say how she is feeling but acts all withdrawn and mopey. I want to hate her for it, but she does have some issues, and hasn’t exactly have friends who role model appropriate relationships. Which brings me to…Robin still hangs out with the cheerleader/sorority gang who she supposedly was shunning? I guess Maria and Sandra are alright (i.e. boring) but she is around Jessica a lot, and Jessica still hasn’t gotten over the fact that Robin was once fat. In fact, they all are planning a fundraiser with the world’s largest ice cream sundae, which Robin was in charge of, but Jessica keeps passive-aggressively taking over. Ugh. And Robin kind of takes it. And does she really want to be a cheerleader that badly? She’s also on the diving team. Which leads me to something else: Robin gets thin and suddenly she’s a superior athlete. Doesn’t that take some work? You can be thin and a shitty athlete, easily. This concept is insulting to athletes. Wow, is there anyone SVH doesn’t offend?

And since when are Robin and Elizabeth such besties? Of course it is convenient for Liz to be the friend so she can jump in and save her.

Robin at first feels that she needs to be skinnier so George will not dump her. But then it kind of spirals out of control and Robin stops eating as a sense of control because she is so anxious about planning the fundraiser and not being confident in her relationship with George. And it is pretty heartbreaking and shockingly realistic when she has a panic attack when trying to eat her lunch.

BUT as serious as her eating disorder is, about a week or two passes and suddenly her cheerleading uniform is 3 sizes too big and her bathing suit is practically falling off. I mean, seriously? This girl has insane metabolism. I mean, seriously, if skipping dinner one night allows her to lose 20 pounds, what the fuck? Either that or she has an insane mutant X-Men superpower.

Finally, at the fundraiser she collapses from pneumonia from having not eaten. I’m no eating disorder treatment expert, but at the hospital, a doctor comes in and curtly says “you have anorexia. So eat your breakfast.” Um, problem solved?

George comes to see her in the hospital and is concerned and apologizes for being distant. Now, the way this COULD have gone was that George could have said, I love you, you’re beautiful, and George’s love could have cured her and they all go laughing off to the Dairi Burger for triple cheeseburgers. (Kind of like that rad episode of Full House where DJ is ano for a day and then after the big family talk, they all have a spaghetti dinner and stuffs her face.) BUT, some credit here, Robin acknowledges that the problem lies within her and having George as a boyfriend doesn’t solve everything, and she needs to get help before she can be with him again. Well done, ghostwriter, whoever you are.

Lois Waller makes an appearance again, only for Robin to be mortified at how Lois can be so chubby and STILL have a boyfriend? I think Robin is more baffled by Lois’ apparently healthy attitude toward her body. Go Lo!

Um, yea. Pretty intense. I have to say it was handled better than I thought, but of course the issue is not brought up again and Jessica starts picking on fat girls again.

Quotes!

“Why is everyone in this country so obsessed with being skinny?” asked Elizabeth angrily. “it’s not right. Girls and women are made to feel ugly if they don’t look like models or beauty pageant contestants.” Um, maybe BECAUSE OF BOOKS LIKE THESE?

[Elizabeth] glanced over at Lois one more time. Lois would never be a fashion model, but she clearly had a great relationship with Gene, and her outlook on life was completely optimistic. So what difference did it make if she couldn’t wear size-six jeans? None at all, Elizabeth told herself confidently. None at all. SMUG BITCH!

eating disorders, alcoholism and unemployment, oh my! or Sunset Island #6, Sunset Secrets

These covers are really getting irritated. What is more irritating, Carrie’s jumper or the guy in the short shorts with the parrot? Can you imagine how obnoxious these photo shoots must be?

The gals gear up for another reunion, this time over their spring break. Except they all have secrets. I wonder if that is how they picked the title for this one:

  • Carrie has gained weight during her first year of college, due to stress and her relationship with old boyf Josh. So she becomes bulimic.
  • Emma hates Goucher and is all depressed about rich so becomes an alcoholic (mostly from expensive wine, natch)
  • Sam got fired from her job at Disneyworld and has been waitressing at a Denny’s like establishment and is too embarrassed to tell anyone.

They all plan on heading back to Sunset Island and Graham and Claudia allow the girls to throw a big bash at their mansion while they are not there. Have no idea why, considering Carrie keeps fucking up.
Emma’s daddy buys her a new car out of guilt so she and Sam drive up the Coast together to meet Carrie. They have many madcap adventures and stuff. Blah blah blah.

When they get to Sunset Island, Emma is all mooney with Kurt. Carrie sees Billy and he is dating another gal. This totally broke my thirteen-year-old heart when I read that.

Danny, Sam’s friend from Orlando, comes up with his friend, Kevin.They all have a wild time at the party and decide to go to the beach to watch the sunrise. They are all drunk so Kevin drives. There is a crazy accident and Kevin dies and they all sustain minor injuries, despite being thrown from the car. The fleeting and preciousness of life makes them feel SO ALIVE! They all come clean and admit their secrets to each other. Kevin is forgotten in about 5 pages.

Oh, and all their employers ask them to au pair again next summer. Don’t know why, because at one time or another they all fucked up pretty badly. I feel like this was written to be the last book, but then the series picks up and the second summer lasts about 20 years, and all crazy Sweet Valley High shit happens. In other words, awesome. Like I saud, this stuff needs to be read if you haven’t.

The one where Jessica gets a taste of her own medicine or #112 Jessica Quits the squad

Oh great. Another one about fucking cheerleading. Apparently these gals get into motorcycle accidents often because they are always forgetting the way they act. I am glad that I just read#10 recently for a compare/contrast.

I also want to say that I like the pic of the twins on top of these later miniseries ones, I think they actually looks pretty. But, of course, the pics on the main cover look nothing like that. Continuity errors are kind of a theme though.

Yes, that’s Ken Matthews that Jessica is kissing. And he is a hot commodity in this book. They actually ran out of guys to dry hump, so they got back to Ken. And the title totally gives away the ending, because Jessica quits at the last chapter. But I am getting ahead of myself.

So after the Jeremy Randall fiasco, Jessica is feeling mistrustful of love, until she realizes she has feelings for Ken. Weird! You can be friends with a boy before dating him!

Heather Mallone moves to town, and she is totally the Regina George of SVH. She’s super gorge, and everyone falls all over her. Jessica hates her on sight. Mostly because she is jealous. Thanks for perpetuating this mean-girl mentality. Everyone is all up in Heather and the boys in the school actually pant over her. Literally. I really don’t blame Heather for being a total beotch right back to Jessica, because Jessica is hate-worthy. If they had made friends right at the start, they’d be bffs and doing lines of coke off Bruce Patman’s crotch together. But Heather is a total asshole. She points out how much fat is in Jessica’s lunch. oooo, burn!

Heather was also a cheerleader at her old school, and so good that the squad, with the exception of Jessica, decide they want her on the team. Uh, don’t they have a process? Anyone can walk on? Can someone please get these girls an adult to coach them and supervise them?

So Jessica, being Jessica, decides to put Heather through a series of tests to see if she’s “fit” to be a cheerleader. Um, HAZING? ADULT SUPERVISION, PLEASE? One is to be seen talking to the chess club. Heather does it and has no qualms about it. Jessica is miffed. She makes Heather wear a hideous outfit to school, consisting of patchwork overalls and an orange cowboy hat. Everyone ooohs and aaahhhs over her, claiming that grunge is so in right now. [Checked the publish date. 1994. Yup, that sounds about right]. Finally, Jessica makes Heather sing the national anthem during homeroom. She does and makes it jazzy and rappy. Whatever that means. HAH! I love seeing Jessica defeated. Everyone, inclusing Lila, seems to love Heather.

Suddenly, Robin Wilson learns that she has to move away to Denver. Everyone is all sad and Robin is crying over missing all her best friends on the team. Robin, are you really that upset? Are these really your friends? Amy throws a going away party for her and Heather arrives and flirts with Ken Matthews. Jessica accidentally on purpose pushes her in the pool. Yea, that’s an original storyline.

For real, Jessica is a sociopath. And not in the she-s just such a bitch way, but in the actual clinical way. I know she may have secretly always hated Robin, but her first thought was when she heard Robin was moving away was, good, I get to be the sole captain of the team, and her second thought was great, I get to buy a new sexy dress for Robin’s going away party. Jeez. So the gals on the team totally drank Heather’s Kool-Aid, and automatically make Heather the other co-captain.

Now, Heather starts beating Jessica at her own game. I have to say, it makes me like Heather, even if she is supposed to be the enemy. She keeps showing up Jessica at practice and showing the gals cooler moves that are more dance-y hip-hoppy than Jessica’s stuff. Jessica is sick for a meeting and kicks Maria Santinelli and Jean West off the team. Heather also institutes a new diet, which consists of:

You can start with one half a grapefruit for breakfast and a big glass of water. For lunch you can have any kind of vegetables you want as long as you don’t put anything on them. You can even eat rice with your vegetables as long as it’s brown rice. For dinner you can have a salad, but you have to use lemon juice for your dressing. Oh, and in the afternoon, you can have a piece of fruit OR a carrot stick.”

Uh, how many girls followed that diet after reading this? And subsequently started growing fine hair all over their bodies and stopped mentruating?

Woops, I gotta back up. So Ken and Jessica are totally hot and heavy. Problem Liz is SUPER JEALOUS because she once had a fling with Ken. We are told it was when Todd moved back to Vermont for a short time. Wasn’t that say…a hundred books or so ago? AND WE NEVER HEARD ABOUT IT??? And what about Jeffrey French? Did he just never exist!! ARRRGGHHHH continuity! Liz acts like a complete and total douchebag. Even worse that Jessica would. She mopes around and is totally rude to Todd, and tries to bring Jessica down and convinces her to be mistrustful of Todd. When Jessica is getting ready for her date with Ken, Liz tells her she looks fat. Nice. Real nice.

Apparently Ken and Liz would spend hours talking about books and movies. Ken? Ken Matthews? The same one who hated cultural stuff and only liked football? And were totally in love. Although, Ken seems to be in love with Jessica because he takes her to the Box Tree Cafe (natch) and makes a picnic for her with brie cheese. Who the fuck does that? If someone did that for me now, at my age, I’d laugh at them. But maybe that’s just me, and you could charm your way into my pants in about five minutes by talking about obscure British comedies. But I digress.

At the end, Jessica finds out about Liz and Ken because she finds a framed picture of Ken and Liz doing those stupid carnival photo booth things. And is peeved. Plus, Heather pulls the last straw at the big game by leading the girls in a cheer that Jessica never learned, leaving her lookin stupid. So Jessica quits and huffs off the field, thus fullfilling the title of the book. So really, the titles gave away what happens in the last chapter, so that was pretty dumb.

I also want to point out that Heather moves to town, joins the squad, Robin learns she is moving away, actually then moves away, and Jessica quits…all in the span of a week.

Oh, you can bet I’ll continue this miniseries. Seriously, caring about cheerleading issues is at the top if my list.

Other thoughts:

When Heather is announced as cocaptain, guys call out “Babe-ormama! What a dish!” Seriously, Francine. Have you ever actually heard teenagers talk?
Lila actually gives Jess a pep talk and tells her that Jessica is better than all this crap, and that Lila is on her side. Aw, see, Lila does come through sometimes.

Can Annie Whitman please run up to Jessica and say NOW YOU KNOW HOW IT FEELS, BITCH!

Grade: A-

Poll: who is the blame? Jessica or Heather? Who is a more annoying couple? Jessica and Ken, Liz and Ken, or Liz and Todd?

The one with the infamous Jessa Fields #32 The New Jessica

Firstly, I love the way people find their way here through internet searches.

Here are the most popular searches that have gotten people here:

  • Jessica boobs
  • touching boobs
  • Amy Wilkins (some fanfic maybe?)
  • bulimia tips

Nice, guys. Nice.

This one comes right after the whole Jeffrey French hoopla. Jessica is getting all pissypants after maybe one or two people mistake her for Liz. She is wearing Liz’s peach sweater knit dress (ew) so what should she expect? She feels she doesn’t have her own identity (I could call her some things that could give her an identity) so what better to solve this than…A MAKEOVER! Makeovers give her a sense of control in a world of chaos. Luckily, Lila’s Dad just recently tried to buy his daughter’s respect by bringing her back tons of stuff from Paris. I am surprised she lets Jess borrow it.

So Jessica’s makeover consists of:

  • dying her hair black
  • appearing paler
  • losing more weight to be “gaunt” (those exact words)
  • speaking in a “slightly” British accent (wtf?)
  • reading European fashion magazines
  • sipping capuccinos at Sweet Valley’s Eurotrash coffeeshop
  • renaming herself “Jessa Fields”

Of COURSE she makes a splash at SVH. I hate how Jessica always gets so much attention, it totally validates her borderline behavior. And the kids of SVH (all 5 of them) canNOT stop talking about Jessica. In fact, the day she shows up in school with her new look, “girls were jumping up to surround Jessica, touching her hair, walking around her to inspect her outfit, exclaiming excitedly”. Fucking please. And Ms. Dalton totally allows it.

One of the best.covers. ever!

Liz is rocking the Mom jeans. And the goddamn barettes, again. This is the sad part- Jessica’s outfit is kind of what people are wearing lately. In fact, I am a lil ashamed to say I wore something similar yesterday, A Blazer over a tunic with a chunky beaded necklace. Don’t worry, I’ll burn it. The belt over the shirt is even “back in”, as they say. I still don’t like it, I can’t stand clothes that defy functional purposes. And the hair would look good if it weren’t for those awwwwful bangs. I hate how it makes the wave over the forehead. It’s almost a little Donald Trump-esque.

Also, the one disappointing this is that SVH never really detailed outfits, which was my favorite part of most YA novels (I had a field day with Claud and Stacy’s outfits from the Baby-Sitters Club, and loved Sam’s stupid Mickey-Mouse boxes, suspenders, and red cowboy boot ensembles in Sunset Island) but here we get full descriptions!

  • “She had tied her hair back in a lose ponytail, and a few tendrils curled in wisps at her cheeks [I hate this look. Very Laura Ingalls Wilder]. Her eyes were drakened with lavish makeup- definately sultrier than her usual look. White powder helped achieve the ethereal , pale effect she was striving for….she was wearing an olive green leather skirt with a slit up the back. The skirt was so straight it was hard to walk. Matching hose with a lacy pattern and three-inch heels…a silky, oversized blouse and green leather belt worn on her hips…a chunky necklace and big gold earrings” ICK! So matchy-matchy!
  • “a black silk jumpsuit [cameltoe central] and red high-heeled boots…a red scarf completed the look…along with oversized earrings that Elizabeth thought were a but much for everyday.”
  • “a new outfit from Lisette’s [where else?]…a white, really slim-cut skirt that that was several inches longer than what she usually wore, with a white sweater with sequins on it. A white beret completed the look”. [I think this was the outfit I wore to my sixth grade class photo].

Liz gets really upset because she loves being a twin…I guess she forgot all the times Jessica fucks her over and stole her boyfriends. Liz even thinks Jeffrey likes Jessica’s new look and they have a dumb fight and Jessica even tries to make a move. Blah.

How many books does modeling have to be a central plot point? So everyone obvs tells Jess she should be a model so she goes to a photographer who tells her about a gig in the local dept store, but then they see Liz and they’re all, THAT’s what we want, a gorgeous, perfect size six California blonde with silky blonde hair and blue-green eyes. Well, not in those words, but you know what I mean. So finally Jess drops her look so she could be in the show, and then the twins BOTH get to be in the show! Yay! Happy ending! The moral is, beauty is more than skin deep. And by that I mean, you should always base your appearance on what a model casting agent tells you.

I was feeling very listy today!

Other thoughts:

Jess uses shampoo-in black dye that supposedly washes out after 2 washings. Uh, wouldn’t that rub off everywhere? And does that mean she didn’t wash her hair throughout the whole book?

Jessica thinks her new look makes her look “slightly Eastern”. Does she mean Eastern European? Middle Eastern? Wtf?

Oh, there’s a subplot where Liz thinks she loses her diary. Snoozefest 2007.

When complaining about her chores to Cara, she assumes Cara does the dishes and her brother takes out the trash. Obvs, how dare we go outside the gender norms.

Mr. Collins recognizes the peach dress that Jessica is wearing as the one that Liz wore a couple days ago. Why in the hell does he remember that? Dirty old man.

Jessica’s white outfit, the whole thing, cost $67. I know there’s inflation, but I thought Lisette’s was high-end fashion, not a loosely veiled version of Mandee.

Fun fact: the twins’ grandmother has a PhD in history. Random.

Also, I just realized that this book contained no school dance/picnic/auction/big game/danceathon! Omg! How did they survive?

Grade: A + +

Today’s poll: was there ever an outfit from tv/movie/books that you tried to emulate? Many of you know that I rocked the Brenda Walsh bangs through much of high school and college. I also was OBSESSED with the outfit MaryAnne Spier wore to the dance with Logan- the skirt with pictures of the Eiffel Tower and the words “London” and “Paris” and whatnot. I wanted one so bad, so my mom bought me some E.J. Gitano version of it. I can’t believe I admitted that.

The one where Jeffrey French moves to town and everyone wants a piece, or #31 Taking Sides

I especially hate this cover. Elizabeth’s yellow barettes match her yellow shirt. Jessica’s hair irritates me. She is really balding, it seems. And it’s all feathered. It looks like what happens when I leave my hair wet and unbrushed and let it airdry. Ick.

Jeffrey French is making a big splash- Enid and Lila both like him. So Liz helps Enid get with him and Jessica helps Lila get with him because she can’t stand to see a hottie like Jeffrey with a drip like Enid. Kind of have to agree with her. So Lila turns on the usual charm and Enid acts like an ass and whines and never does anything to approach Jeffrey, she relies on Liz to set things up. Lila does what a usual 16 year old would do, which is a have a pool party and invite Jeffrey and purposely not invite Liz and Enid. Liz decides to get to know Jeffrey more so she can help him get with Enid. He works on the Oracle as a photographer so they chat a lot and of course like each other because if you don’t want to date a Wakefield twin, there is obviously something wrong with you.

Ok, stupid school event: a charity auction that students use canned food to bet and then the proceeds go to charity. I am not sure what they will do with all the food, the one poor person in Sweet Valley just became a Patman. Maybe give it to Betsey Martin’s drunk father? Or Jade Wu’s friend with the single Mom who we never hear from again? Guess who is the chair of the auction? Fucking Elizabeth. So Enid convinces Liz to make Jeffrey auction off himself so Enid can bid on him. Great idea Enid, pay to go out with him. Fucking idiot. The auction is for services, and here are the things being auctioned off.

  • A tape of the Droids playing live (barf)
  • A home made dinner cooked by Mr. Collins (please help this man set professional boundaries)
  • A pen that the history teacher used to mark papers (I’ll bet Liz bet a million cans on that)
  • A candid pic of Bruce in his bathing suit (BWAH!)

Again, WHERE ARE THE ADULTS? That is so not appropriate to do. Seriously, I am sure Bruce loved the attention, but I small a lawsuit.

Subplot: The Wakefield’s “little” cousin Jenny comes to visit. She is fifteen, a year younger, and they make her act like a mentally challenged eight year old. Guess why she’s annoying? Sigh. I can’t even say it. Because she’s a few lbs overweight, which is the kiss of death in Sweet Valley. And wears glasses. OH MY GOD DOES SHE HAVE NO SHAME? She clings to Jessica because obvs Jessica is the epitome of what every teen should be like. She tags along with Jessica on some dates with this guy Eddie, and Jessica gets annoyed that Eddie seems to be polite to Jenny and talking to her, but it turns out he likes Jenny because they like “stupid” things, like books, old movies and classical music. Yea, that’s bullshit, real people just like cheerleading, Pi Beta Alpha, and shopping at Lisette’s. HATE! At least Jessica didn’t get the guy.

Thoughts:

This time when describing the twins, ghost writer adds: “they had the kind of looks that make California girls famous around the world”. First of all, HATE! Second, I believe David Lee Roth gets the credit for that.

Oh, and throughout this thing, Liz HAD NO IDEA why she felt weird around Jeffrey. How in the hell did she not realize she liked him? They’re sixteen, hormones are raging.

Well, we do learn some things about Jeffrey- he is from Oregon (woot!), likes soccer and photogaphy. That description alone makes him about 100% more complex than all the characters combined. Also, he’s kind of a tool. And probably gay.

Alice actually acted like a parent and told Jess to stfu when she was complaining about Jenny. Thank you for finally disciplining your spoiled, sociopath daughter.

Grade: C-

Poll: which one of the auction items would you take? They are all pretty bad. Sadly, I’d take the pic of Bruce.

The one where someone actually allows Jessica near their children or #101 The Boyfriend War

Seriously, did it really take a 100 books to use this title? I feel like it could be the title of every SVH book.

Ow wow, Jessica and Lila are brutal! First of all, it is nice to see that Jessica has completely forgot about when some crazy lookalike tried to murder her sister and several of her boyfriends died horrible, gruesome deaths. Well, who wouldn’t? it’s Spring Break! WOOO HOOOO!!!! Jessica is bragging to everyone that Lila invited her on a trip to the Carribean to her Uncle’s resort. It totally sounds like its a Sandals resort, which on my list of places to go on vacation, would be my absolute last place to go. Well, second last. Disneyworld is my last.

Liz is staying home working on a school project, because she is a fucking nerd. Todd is away with his parents, so for this book we get a break from his doucheyness. Olivia and Enid are in town, so the nerd brigade goes daily to see old classic movies. Okay, I have to admit, I can’t make fun because I actually wish my friends were organized enough to have a somewhat cool activity like that. But these gals are sixteen, it seems a bit off.

Alice, on the other hand, got offered a consulting job (aren’t all interior designers consultants? I mean, they don’t just keep redesigning the same place over and over again. Anyway.) with Henry Wilson Patman in Chicago, so she is off to there (no doubt filling her days with eating deep dish pizza and seeing the Sears Tower) Bruce has his speedo in knots because his parents are fighting and he suspects that Alice W. and Hanky are having an affair. He’s not upset about his parents, he’s upset that it breaks the perfect image of his family. Omg, that is like sooooo Bruce.

So Elizabeth’s school project is doing some research and a report on a family members life. She is reseacing her mother, because Alice is so fascinating! And successful! And blonde! And this! And could be the twins’ older sister! She finds a wedding picture of Alice and Hank and suspects that they were once married and confirms her suspicions about the affair.

Meanwhile, Jess and Lila arrive at Club Paradise, and Jessica finds that they are to be counselors for the week at the Kiddie Kabana, and Lila tricked her into coming to do it. That was pretty fucking mean of Lila, so she and Lila stop talking. [Why does Lila have to do this? Can’t she get out of working? Doesn’t make sense at all.] Jessica is in charge of seven kids, and they all have names and personalities but honestly I just skimmed because I personally dislike children, and what is this a Baby-Sitters Club book? For real. Anyway, they are unruly, and I honestly can’t blame them because their parents are taking a vacation to an island resort and don’t want to spend time with them. However, Jessica is horrible to them and calls them brats to their faces and yells at them to shut up. Yeesh. They also embarass her when she does her morning perfance (don’t ask).

Of course, she is totally judgemental about the other couselors. They are not pretty enough to hang out with and one of them – OH MY GOD – is overweight. ick! How do they let her walk around in public? Apparently, the only person worthy of being her friend is Lila, but they are still ot speaking and Lila totally has control over her kids. We get a pov from Julia (the chub) and of course she is in awe of Jessica and Lila and the only thing to boost her self-worth is to gain acceptance from them.

So starting with this book, I think they totally overhauled the ghost writing team, because this almost seems like a different book. I am not saying the themes and characters get any better, but for some reason the writing is…a bit snarkier. But the plots get more and more ludicrous, so that’s always fun.

Meanwhile, there is a beefcake windsurfing instructor at the resort named Mick and he is apparetly the most.gorgeous,guy.ever. He is described is being tall and lean, broad shoulders, and incredible tan, and hair that shone like silk. Here’s the first thought that popped into my mind when picturing him: a teenage Fabio. Complete with the accent. So of course all Jessica has to do is flick her hair and put on a skimpy bikini and he runs up to her and professes his love. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why these ruined my childhood. I of course believed that I just had to wait around for a guy to randomly profess his love for me, and it was unecessary to be proactive or show anything about my personality. Unfortnately, my extra llbs and Brenda Walsh bangs didn’t invite this much, so I was a bit crushed.

Mick professes his love to Jessica after 5 minutes on their cheesy date. He speaks in stupid cliches and puns. He is a total ass and Jessica falls for it. Meanwhile, he is also professing his love to Lila. Mick is a alsoa dick and conceited. He’s literally all, “Aren’t I your type? Do you go for tal, attractive guys with great bodies and long, sexy hair?” and “Our kids would be gorgeous and blond, because we are gorgeous and blond”. Gross.

They STILL fall for it, and one day meet each other on the beach and play a game of chicken with Mick and another guy from the club, and they beat the shit out of each other. Hence the cover:

Uh, I presume the guy on the left is Mick. EEEEWWWW he’s got a bowl cut and is wearing bike shorts. Lila looks purty, and I want to smack Jessica, which Lila does. Hard.

So finally, they find out about his two-timing and make up so they can scheme. Turns out Mick is also dating about 6 other girls at the time, including Julia and omg HOW DUMB of her to think that a guy like Mick could like a chub. Take that lesson home, folks. They get back at him at the camp talent show and use him in their magic act, and chop of his prized locks and dye it purple. Don’t tease the queens of all teases, folks!

We end with Liz imgining Alice and Hank getting married, and she and Jess becoming Bruce’s stepsisters. Now THAT is a book I’d want to read.

Other thoughts:

I hate Jessica. Just so you know.

Amy Sutton wants to be a pain in the ass and borrow Elizabeth’s great great grndmother for her own project- the bitch who was in the circus. We totally get reference to the Sweet Valley Saga, where we hear about all the perfect, size six blonde ancestors of the twins.

Finally, after about 95 books, Bruce acknowledges the amnesia incident:

Bruce had never liked Elizabeth Wakefield- in fact, he thought of her as one of the most uptight, sanctimonius kids at schoo. [I’d actually have to agree with Bruce there.] Actually, he reminded himself, there was that one time, early in the school year. Elzabeth had amnesia and her defenses were down. Bruce had tried to take advantage of her- what guy wouldn’t?

WTF? Way to excuse yourself from your behavior. Yea, any guy would have probably tried to rape her, so he was just doing what any guy would do, so he is not at fault.

Grade: B+

Poll: If you could have SVH do a crossover with other dumb YA series, what would it be? I’d like to see a Sunset Island crossover series, where Jessica and Samantha would dress is hideously slutty 80s outfits and fight over the members of Flirting With Danger. And Liz and Carrie can nerd out together. And Lila and Emma can play “who’s richer?” I should start writing fanfiction. Or not.

The one with the crash landing or #20 Crash Landing!

Ok, when I say this one was bad, I don’t mean like so bad it was good, I mean so fucking stupid. George Warren, Enid’s boyf, has fallen in love with former fatty Robin Wilson while they are taking flying classes. [cue needle scratching across record]

Um, what? Flying lessons? The last I heard of any teenagers taking flying lessons was when Theo and Cockroach convinced their parents to let them do it and then decided it was too expensive. Why the fuck is Robin taking flying classes? Isn’t she too busy cheerleading and losing weight at explosive rates? I know they are rich kids, but please.

So George takes Enid up in his plane one last time before he plans on dumping her (uh, why?) but they crash land in the water. See how the book got its title? So Enid is now paralyzed and George feels guilty for wanting to dump her and reluctantly stays with her. Enid knows about him and Robin but manipulates George into staying with her. They even go to a dance (it is Friday, after all) and Enid really sees that George is really in love with Robin and needs to let go. Um, sad?

But, she still can’t walk and Liz thinks it’s psychosomatic. So she hatches a plan using Mr. Collins son Teddy. This is rull appropriate. She leaves him in the pool with Enid and Teddy pretends to drown and Enid is forced to jump up and save him. It was totally like when Nellie Olsen fell off Laura’s horse and pretended to be paralyzed but then Laura pushed her into a lake forcing her to stand up. Except that it wasn’t as cool.

And here’s the icing on the cake: Liz is a HERO after playing that trick on Enid. People at school run up to her and cheer. Errrrr, isn’t Enid the one who just became unparalyzed? Shouldn’t someone give a shit?

Um, the cover? It makes it look like Liz is saving Enid right after the crash. Or, if they are in the hospital, shouldn’t she not move Enid around like that?

Other thoughts:

Robin Wilson gets all stressed and guilty, so of course she starts stuffing her face. Eating is weakness. The book takes place over the span of a week, and she puts on ten pounds. And both Liz and Jessica both take notice in the form of condescending thoughts in italics.

So high school kids and their love lives can often be shallow, but I really don’t know why some of these kids are together. They never really talk about why why and how George and Robin fell in love. Their love of planes? Their burning desires for mainstream acceptance?

Sorry y’all, I couldn’t give you more. This one was dreadful.

My grade: F

Next time: Rags to Riches: it is so fucking ridiculous you won’t believe it.

The one where Mr. Collins is actually being appropriate, or #11 Too Good to Be True

Firstly, thanks to all the new readers I’ve acquired lately. Please keep passing along the link. I want as many people to get the joy (i.e., pain) of remembering and reliving the oppressive, manipulative, shallow Sweet Valley World. It’s done wonders for my self-esteem. I hope it has helped yours too.

Damn, I did not realize that attempted sexual assault was one of Francine’s favorite topics. I am not sure if she is using it to exploit the problem and a serious social issues that utilize the fucked up gender dymanics in society. My guess is not.

Cover girls: Suzanne’s not all that. I love the “bitch please” look Elizabeth’s got going on.

Mr. Devlin is a lawyer friend of Ned’s who live in New York City, and suggests an exchange of his daughter Suzanne for one of the twins. They both want to go, so Ned ends up flipping a coin. Elizabeth wins, and because she is a total doormat and Jessica is a totally borderline sociopath, she guilts Elizabeth into letting her go.

Suzanne, apparently is a “knockout” and looks like a movie star/supermodel. We have to hear 100 times how skinny she is. And she’s nice and helpful and loves everyone and everyone loves her. There is a junior class picnic (i.e., I think the only people who go are our usual main characters) and everyone is all up on Suzy. Winston keeps serenading her with dumb songs. I’ll give you five guesses as to what teacher is chaperoning the picnic. Suzy supposedly almost drowns in the lake and Mr. Collins jumps in to save her and pparently tuches her chest a lot. I don’t know. That’ swhat is says. It seems fishy, but no one questions it because Suzy is so wonderful. And skinny.

Jess and the city. Cue the mention of every clichéd image of New York City in the eighties. They eat at Windows on the World, ride in a horse-frawn carriage around Central park, go shopping at Tiffany’s….Of course the Devlins are rich. Jess meets Suzanne’s boyf Pete, who is essentially an Upper East Side Bruce patman. She forces him to go out with her, and they go to a symphony and Jess is bored and tried every desperate way she can to hook up with Pete. He’s not having it. I love when Jessica is rejected. Jessica is also having a shitty time in nyc. She expected men to fall all over her, but she hangs out with Suzanne’s bitchy friends and gets drunk and passes out at their party. She also endures a boring dinner party thrown by Mrs. Devlin where the only teen there is a girl who plays to flute and -HEAVEN FORBID!- just got back from a camp for overweight kids. Holy shit, could she hammer in the message any further? Overweight people are gross. We get it. But you know what else is gross? Manipulative sociopath southern Californian teenagers ho base their self-worth on their attractiveness to men. HATE!

Just a side thought- since she hangs out with wealthy assholes in nyc in the eighties, I just imagined an American Psycho crossover, where Jess meets Patrick Bateman, who will kill/sleep with any woman he can find, and he finds her so repulsive even HE doesn’t want to be around her. Slash fiction writers, get going on that.

Ok, back at Sweet Valley, Liz lost her lavaliere, you know the one her parents gave her and Jess on their sixteenth birthdays. They only mention it in every single fucking book. It turns out that Suzy stole it! Because she’s mean!!! It turns out that Suzy is a bitter hag because her parents put her in boarding schools all her life and don’t care about her. So she lashes out by manipulating men and others around her. Sure, she’s fucked up, but finally an interesting character! Can we get a spin-off series please? And she has her sights set on Mr. Collins. So, when Liz has a job babysitting Teddy, his son, Todd gets Laker tickets for that night so Suzy glady steps in to cover for Liz. When she gets there, Mr. Collins is all back off girly, but she persists. After he gets home she tries to get him to give her some wine and to kiss her. They imply that Rog gets an erection, but at least he has some good sense to tell her to get the fuck out of his house. Suzy wants revenge, so she rips her shirt and tells Liz that Mr Collins attacked her. Liz, being the hue pushover, believes it, and has Ned and Alice tell the SVH principal.

Back over to attempted rape story #2, Jessica is out with Pete again in New York, and finally she invites him up to the Devlin’s apt. He gets kinda drunk and akes his move, and Jessica pushes him away, and he’s all “you’ve been begging me, you little cocktease” and the Devlin’s come home in time. Um, I am not sure what the message is here. Don’t lead men on? Is this supposed to parallel the other sexual assault storyline? I have no idea. I think when Francine doesn’t know where the plot is going she just throws sexual violence in.

Lila has a birfday party at Fowler Crest and on the way Todd and Liz drop by Mr. Collins’ to ask him his side and Liz realizes she’s been a fool. She goes to confront Suzy at the party and then Suzanne shows her true colors and everyone realizes what a faker she is. It’s all very Melrose place. Winston also accidentally on purpose spills punch on her white Hallston dress which enrages her. Well, at least she’s not fat.

Suzy goes home, Jess comes home and lies and says she had a wonderful time in nyc. Sweet Valley goes back to harmony.

Other thoughts:

Talk about appropriate. Liz babysits for Mr. Collins? Isn’t that a little weird? Plus, she kisses him on the cheek when she leaves his house.

Lila invites the whole junior class to her birthday, instead of just the people she likes. Still it seems as if the same ten or so people are there.

Suzanne tried to spread a rumor at the party that Liz hit her head and turned into slutty Elizabeth again. Bruce is around when they are talking about it. Uh, awkward? I wonder if she and Bruce have ever talked about it.

My grade: D-