The winter of my discontent

Exciting news! Our super sleuths have uncovered a relic of the SVH series, the Automatic Super Edition Plot Generator ™, which the ghostwriters used to save time. Some would say it is the precursor to the Family Guy Joke Generator (as seen here). Ghost writers just had to pick these categories out of a hat and throw in some stuff about lavelieres and the beach, and bam! Another super edition.

Time of Year:
a break from school
an unspecified time that will never be mentioned again

Jessica is: (you may choose more than one)
in love with a new boy
out to make herself a celebrity
having a pity party
hatching a plan to ruin the life of an overweight/ugly girl
fucking Liz over

Elizabeth is: (choose six)
bending over taking it from Jessica
enabling Jessica’s behavior
cheating on Todd
cheating on Jeffrey
fighting with Todd
fighting with Jeffrey
fighting with Jessica
solving a crime
talking about writing

The big event where everything comes to a head is:
A dance
a party at Lila’s
a trip to a foreign country
a vacation
a battle of wills against a crazy psycho


Seriously though, this one was kind of a rip off. We didn’t get to the actual fucking carnival until the last few pages, and it seemed like it took bits and pieces from every other plot.

Firstly, the time continuum thing here was so wacked. So, it’s wintertime again, and Liz is with Jeffrey and Todd is going to be in town. However, not the same winter where Todd and Suzanne get together, or where Enid gets with Jeffrey because Liz already dumped him for Todd. I’m not even going to try to wrap my head around that.

There’s a big winter carnival up at a ski lodge for Sweet Valley high students and alum. Of course Steven will be there, because why the hell would be be at class? The way they word it is that Steven is “taking time off from college” to attend. Like he actually contacted his professors and asked to be excused because he wanted to romp in the snow with his high school friends, instead of just leaving for the weekend. That is something Steven would do, and in the SV world, it would be perfectly acceptable.

Liz is with Jeffrey and Todd is coming in for a visit, and he wants Liz to go to an awards banquet with him to honor him for being a Big Brother is a child or something. Because Todd’s a saint. Jeffrey gets mad and Liz has no idea why, when, oh SHE GETS FUCKING JEALOUS EVERYTIME HER BOYFRIEND IS WITHIN 5 FEET OF ANOTHER WOMAN. There’s also this bullshit where she keeps mentioning that Jeffrey really doesn’t understand how relationships work because this is his first relationship. Excuse me, WHAT? Because Liz is an expert? Bish plz.

Oh and Jessica keeps fucking her over, what else is new. Liz and Enid were going to be on a trivia show but Jess and Amy stole their answers and went on the show instead. (And Jessica tried to get on the opposing team captain to convince him to let them win. Prostitute much?). Oh, and Jess forgot to give Liz several phone calls which causes her to look like a fool. For once, Liz actually gets pissed. Finally, Jess is tired of watching Liz and Jeffrey fight (welcome to the club) and up at the lodge pretends to be Liz so she can have them make up. Liz sees them and thinks that Jess and Jeffrey are doing it (although according to one of the stupud Secret Diaries, Jeffrey and Jess did get up on each other). Liz proclaimes “I wish I never had a sister.” Dun dun dun. This is the equivalent to “I wish the goblins would take you away…right now.” Anyone? Anyone?

So Liz becomes a huge attention whore and runs away to the bus stop and goes home. Jess calls her and demands whats wrong but Liz won’t tell her. Jessica then drives home from the lodge but on the way home gets into an accident and is killed.


We can only hope, right? I wonder if people reading this one for the first time thought it really happened. Turns out Jess is alive and Liz forgives her for everything because she was so upset aout her dream. Therefore, Jessica is once again enabled and doesn’t have to truly apologize for the crap she did to Liz.

All is well and they have a jolly time at the carnival, throwing snowballs and luging and crap. Jeffrey and Todd share a homoerotic moment. Maybe I am just overananalyzing it.

Shit, I was bored just writing the recap. This one totally fails.

At the carnival, Liz is sharing a room with Enid, Olivia and Regina. Most boring room ever.

Everyone thinks Winston is a kook because he wants to name the dance “The Snow Ball”. I think it should be called “The Blue Ball.”

Also, the cover picture never happened in the book. I wish they would fall down that mountain on their size six asses.

42 thoughts on “The winter of my discontent

  1. Nan says:

    We had a “Beach Ball” dance when I was in ninth grade. Sweet Valley must not have been very far from my high school…

  2. Christopher says:

    I remember reading this book when it first came out and like a big ole sap I cried when Jessica died. I knew in the back of mind that Jessica could never be killed or it would be the end of the series but it still moved me enough to bawl like a fool.

  3. Ellen Riteman says:

    I read this a couple of years ago, and had high hopes, I mean with carnival in the title it had to be good!
    Sigh, this book did suck. All I really remember is Liz taking the bus home like a fucking loser.
    And can Steven PLEASE stop hanging with the 16 yr olds? He is sooo creepy.

  4. Sarah C. says:

    I love the recap ihatewheat! Like others, I read this one and kept waiting for the winter fun–of which we get about 10 pages.

    My favorite part is the dress Elizabeth wears to the dances; she tells Jeffrey that it looked like something Jessica would buy. Said dress is “silver silk, with slightly puffy sleeves ending at the elbow, a round neck, and a soft, full skirt.” Puffed sleeves and a poofy skirt–what a style departure for our gal. Oh Liz, you are sexy when you try. I can see this dress, oh how I can see it. I am transported to my middle school formal, the “Spring Fling.” Now I can see myself–the sprayed up swoop of ratty bangs, the honker of a zit with maybelline foundation caked on it, the suntan pantyhose, the tummy that stuck out farther than my meager little chest, the Coty exclamation perfume. I should stop now.

    Jeffrey is wearing a white jacket and trousers; he reminds me of Crystal Ken with the white tux and shimmering vest. Did anyone else have Crystal Ken? Lila is resplendent in “an extravagant dress with white feathers all over it” anticipating Bjork’s swan gown by a decade. No doubt her father brought the gown from France.

    ihatewheat, you’re right on the money about Todd and Jeffrey’s little homoerotic interlude. To me it’s a lot like Tom McKay’s tennis bonding with Enid’s gay cousin in “Amy’s True Love.”

    The two win a ski relay race–note the passing of the phallic baton. Todd invites Jeffrey to come to Vermont to teach him “a few tricks.” Jeffrey looks at Todd with”genuine warmth” and “gruffly” says “Nice being your partner” whilst slapping Todd on his back “once more” (why can’t they stop touching each other?). As J and T ski off together (where, why?), Elizabeth says, “Enid, I think I’ve started a wonderful friendship (love the Casablanca reference). You think either of them will remember to ask me to dance tonight?” No, they’ll be too busy swapping eyeshadows and trying on cheerleading skirts with Ken Matthews.

  5. Cyanne says:

    >Liz proclaimes “I wish I never had a sister.” Dun dun dun. This is the equivalent to “I wish the goblins would take you away…right now.” Anyone? Anyone?

    *jumps up and down waving hand* Me, me, pick ME!!!”

    Sorry, but I’ve been reading this blog for months (and U Rock) but until now I’ve been too lazy to post. But dangle a Labyrinth ref in front of me…and I can’t resist!

    I remember loving this book because, in my tween ignorance I actually thought that Jessica DIED. Like REALLY died. And my 13 year old self was like, “WOW one of the Sweet Valley Twins DIED, this book is so awesome!”

    And then I read the end. And felt somewhat cheated (though I do love Jessica, but seriously who doesn’t feel cheated when somebody dies and the authors are like, “oh PSYCH it was all a dream.” Jerks.

  6. ihatewheat says:

    Sarah, thanks for adding that. Liz’ dress was hideous. I am going to try to add “passing the baton” as a phrase in my vocab. Time for a Secret Diary maybe?

    Cyanne, didn’t you get the hint when Enid was suddenly wearing Jessica’s silver ski suit?

    🙂 🙂

  7. Jody says:

    I remember thinking that the whole dream sequence was pretty neat! It started out realistic, then slowly got more and more surreal. Kind of like the final episode of “Newhart”.

    I also liked the way it went on and on, and just as I had stopped expecting the other shoe to drop and started thinking “holy shit, maybe Jessica really is dead” we finally get the it-was-only-a-dream copout. But I’m lame.

  8. Cyanne says:

    to ihatewheat:

    I only noticed the ski suit upon reading it the second time…the first time through I fell hook, line and sinker. *sigh* But yes when I reread it, I was embarassed that I hadn’t seen it coming…cause seriously, since “Dear Sister” haven’t we all known the Sweet Valley Twins never die? And it’s not like the ghost writers were subtle or anything 🙂

  9. nichole says:

    Ah, great Labyrinth reference. That would be quite a remake, instead of Jennifer Connelly doing battle with Jareth, let’s recast with the Wakefield Twins. Jareth can capture Jessica and Liz has 13 hours to save her.

    I have clearly given this too much thought.

    Sarah C. – I didn’t have Crystal Ken, but I did have Crystal Barbie and her outfit would have fit right in at the winter carnival.

  10. Cara Walker says:

    I remember the first time I read this book I felt totally ripped off because the carnival was barely mentioned and only at the end! I think I only read it once or twice because I found it too boring for words. All this book is Liz telling everyone that life sucks… blah blah blah. And Jess being selfish… what a shock. And Jeffrey having issues with Todd. Who honestly cares? I have no idea how this made it to Super Edition.

  11. Gingernut says:

    Just read this one recently when I saw you were going to recap it (that’s how much I love this site, I bought the book off Ebay in anticipation!)… man it sucked! The winter carnival theme was totally pointless, they could have worked the whole book around a normal school dance and released it as part of the main series. Of course it would still have sucked.

    I love how melodramatic Liz got, telling people she lost the essay competition when she came fourth out of two hundred.

    I also loved her resigned ‘no, I can’t come to the special dinner you’re treating me to at my favourite restaurant Jeffrey, because Jessica is supposed to cook my parents’ dinner and she hasn’t shown up so now I have to do it’. I mean she’s always kind of a martyr, but seriously, she could have gone, they could have ordered takeaway, Jessica would have got into trouble because their parents actually have enough backbone to tell her to stop being so selfish, and then all the rest of the book wouldn’t have happened. It’s weird because I’m sure the theme of the book is meant to be ‘Jessica is so unreasonable, Liz is a saint to put up with her’, but it turns out to be ‘Liz is a moron and only has herself to blame’.

    Also the dream sequence reminded me of a Sweet Valley Twins book I totally have to find again, where Liz gets melodramatic and wishes she had never been born. She then gets an angel showing her what Sweet Valley would have been like without her… except they get it wrong and instead of it being more fun and less judgemental, everyone is a criminal, unattractive, dead, clinically depressed… even at twelve I found this kind of hard to swallow!

  12. Janet Howell says:

    Why did I miss out on this book? Darn. One less winter with the Wakefields. Is that a good or bad thing?

    And… The Blue Ball. For the win. Yesh. Every guy in Sweet Valley would be a part of that save for Bruce Patman.

  13. Kathryn says:

    Why is Todd winning an award in California when he lives in Vermont? That makes no sense. Wait, I just said a SVH book makes no sense. Obviously I make no sense and need some coffee.

    IHW, love the Automatic Soper Edition Plot Generator ™!

  14. Janelle says:

    Gingernut- I love that Sweet Valley Twins book!! It’s so “it’s a wonderful life!” It’s called A Christmas Without Elizabeth. My favorite of those ones though, is The Magic Christmas! Liz and Jess get these dolls from their grandparents that come to life and take the twins into this magical world- sooo awesome!

  15. Amy Slutton says:

    For whatever reason, this was always one of my favorite covers. I loved what the twins were wearing, and I was dying for a silver spandex ski suit. I was also disappointed that there wasn’t an actual carnival in the book. I had always thought that would be the coolest idea ever — carnival rides in the snow! Count me in as one of the teary-eyed kids who actually thought Jessica had died.

    Labyrinth!! Oooooh, I so had the hots for David Bowie in that movie! Those pants! He looked so wicked!

    Does anyone else cringe over those atrocious Droids lyrics to “Snow Girl”?

    Sarah C. — I still love Exclamation 🙂

  16. Robyn says:

    I agree with you Amy… This one was my favorite too, but I’m pretty positive it was based on my intense desire for a silver ski suit and that alone that drove my love for this book. And perhaps slightly, my desire for a world where Jessica was dead and could no longer get her way no matter what.

  17. Enid Rollins says:

    This was the first SV I ever read. I really did think Jess died!! I was all ‘crap, new to the series and too late for the insane fun’. But it was a dream, and Liz couldn’t hold Jessica accountable for being a jerk, because the dream might come true. Jerka$$.

    I thought the silver and gold ski suits sounded so…eeww!

  18. Becca says:

    This book was kind of a downer to me, but as noted, there are TONS of good outfit descriptions. I loved Liz’s sweater on the front – I was pretty obsessed with that light aqua color for awhile (maybe because my eyes are merely boring brown and not the color of the Pacific Ocean?) so I really wanted it. And the poof-sleeved silver dress was right up my alley. But Liz’s whining and Jessica’s backstabbery in that gameshow thing bugged big time. Plus the Todd and Jeffrey malarkey. At least we thought Jess was dead for awhile!

  19. Merrie says:

    My son has to memorize the states and capitals for the social studies quiz, and I always think and Ned and Alice asking Jessica to name all the states that start with M.

    Maine, Missouri, Michigan, Montana, Massachusetts, Maryland … That’s all, right?

  20. Cara loves Steven says:

    omg janelle…the magic christmas! i remember that being so good…. i highly doubt it was. haha.

    i think liz looks like edie brit from desperate housewives on the cover. anyone??

  21. Lauri says:

    I’ve been reading this and 1bruce1 compulsively lately, and now I must comment!
    1. Enid’s ski suit – I didn’t think they could kill Jess, but it kept going on. I thought Liz thought she was seeing Enid in Jess’s ski suit because she had taken to many tranquilizers.
    2. Liz’s dress. Liz, honey, Jessica wouldn’t wear something with a round neck, even if it was silver, she would have picked a strapless number.

  22. Shannon River says:

    I know I read this book, but I cannot remember it at all! Yep, kind of a snooze fest. I do remember wondering why it took them so long to get to the actual CARNIVAL part of the story and how lame it was.

    BTW, this doesn’t really have anything to do with this post but here’s a link that I found interesting:

  23. Renee says:

    Im not understanding how enid in jessica’s ski suit gives away that it was a dream….sorry, I didn’t read this one but am still trying helplessly to follow along and understand the insanity that is SVH lol.

    p.s. jessica and liz on the cover are kind of fugly…like for real.

  24. ihatewheat says:

    After Jessica “dies” Liz keeps seeing things that don’t make sense. Like their Mom starts suddnely wearing Jessica’s clothes and Enid holds a vigil for Jessica at her house and when Liz arrives Enid is wearing the ski suit that Jessica wore at the carnival.

  25. LucyHoneychurch says:

    How many times does Liz have these weirdo fucking hallucinations? Clearly it stems from childhood and that ludicrous SVT Super Edition where they go to the amusement park and Liz hits her head and imagines she’s fighting dragons or something equally stupid.

    Off-topic, but can you even imagine the kind of novel Liz would write as an adult? The only person who would probably buy and read it would be Mr. Collins, who always just wanted a piece of Wakefield ass anyway.

  26. cupcakekitty says:

    Labyrinth! I love it. So I’ve been lurking around but a Labyrinth reference deserves a post…

    I heart this website 😀

  27. Cara Walker says:

    Cara Loves Steven – Liz totally looks like Edie Brit from Desperate Housewives on this cover! I always wondered why the cover illustrations made Liz and Jess look like they were at least in their late thirties. It seriously warped my mind about how I would look at 16 when I was a child!

  28. kiwimusume says:

    I also loved her resigned ‘no, I can’t come to the special dinner you’re treating me to at my favourite restaurant Jeffrey, because Jessica is supposed to cook my parents’ dinner and she hasn’t shown up so now I have to do it’. I mean she’s always kind of a martyr, but seriously, she could have gone, they could have ordered takeaway, Jessica would have got into trouble because their parents actually have enough backbone to tell her to stop being so selfish, and then all the rest of the book wouldn’t have happened.

    Word. And is she really too thick to realise that her bending over and taking it up the ass just encourages Jessica to keep doing it? (Wow, that sounded all kinds of wrong, didn’t it? :P)

  29. leila says:

    all I have to say is EXCLAMATION PERFUME!!!!
    even the bottle was shaped like an exclamation point; oh the cleverness!

    yes. me too. we should start a support group.

  30. Rio says:

    “Does anyone else cringe over those atrocious Droids lyrics to “Snow Girl”?”

    For old times’ sake:

    We live in such a cold world
    Don’t let it make us cold
    You know you are my snow girl
    You turn ice into gold
    You took my heart, girl, which was ice
    One look from you and I’m on fire
    So let’s just listen to our hearts, girl
    Lift our hearts up even higher . . .


  31. Scott says:

    Another total WTF thing in this retarded book – Steven mentions studying psychology. Exactly when did he start minoring in that while majoring in Law? And I love how the gorgeous always sunny perfect coastal town is now suddenly only an hour and a half away from a mountain ski resort while still being in California. Couldn’t they at least take the train to Colorado?
    AND there is a direct bus from Mont BLOWS FunWorld to Sweet Valley.
    I think this is the worst one I’ve read.

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