Cara and Steven vie for the title of most irritating couple. Ever.

Photo courtesy of The Closet.

This one has me 100% convinced that each writer makes no effort to read the previous books. Or the editors suck. Or else they don’t care. I hate Cara and Steve.

Star commenter Rio pointed this out for an earlier book, but this one is basically a to-do list of SVH cliches.

1. Jessica manipulates other people to serve her. Despite wanting them to get together originally, she finds Cara boring and always talking about Steve, and doesn’t like it. She convinces Cara that she needs to play hard to get and addm mystery to the relationship. Thus backfiring. And thus Jessica not having to take any responsibility for it.

Steven Wakefield today.

2. Steven has a phobia of college. Get this- he’s sick and arranges to come home for two weeks because HE HAS ALLERGIES. My theory is that the wet the bed the first night of college and the guys in the dorm constantly berade him. Cara is stoked to spend time with him but he acts all annoyed because he has work to do. Yea, I'[m sure a guy would come home for college for two weeks and NOT want to spend time with his underage girlfriend who is constantly rubbing up against him.

3. The Oracle is apparently the most important journalistic medium in the world. Oh noes! Readership is down. They decide that they need a humor section. Don’t worry, they ask Winston to be the editor. He turns them down. They decide to have a contest for a new humor columnist. Cue convenient plot device to introduce Abbie Richardson.

Abbie' future cartoon career.

4. A poor pathetic schmuck is taken under Elizabeth’s wing. Abbie Richardson dated a guy from another school for two years, and thus never hung out with anyone at SVH. They broke up and now she is trying to reintegrate herself into SVH social scene. I have to say, that’s pretty weak of Abbie. “Oh, I didn’t need you when I had a boyfriend, and now that I’m alone, I’ll make the effort.” Of course, her dream is to hang out with the Scooby gang, who kind of finds her annoying. SWhe’s not invited to Cara’s super special birthday lunch at the yacht club (what is she, 67?) and is devastated. She does, however, enter the humor contest with a comic strip called Jenny, about a socially awkward sixteen year old girl. Get it? She can’t express her feeling through real life, so she does it through the comic strip. OMG SO DEEP. bbir comes and hangs out at the Wakefields every afternoon and Elizabeth helps her with her comic strip. How?

But Abbie didn’t want to burden Elizabeth with her problems. That wasn’t the way to make friends, she reminded herself. The way to make friends was to be nice to people, to listen to them, to offer the help them, not to dump your own troubles on their shoulders. Abbie thanked Elizabeth warmly for all her help and sighed as she watched her walk down the hallway. She wished she were Elizabeth Wakefield- she was so popular, so self-assured.

Since Steven is always around, he befriends Abbie too, because he loves hanging out with high school girls. Abbie is so sweet and kind, he tells her all about his problems with Cara. Abbie foams at the mouth because she hangs with the Wakefields. Jessica is suspicious, and suspects Abbie is trying to steal Steven from Cara. Yawn.

5. A ghost of Tricia Martin haunts Steven. So, in order to add mystery to the relationship, Cara starts writing anonymous love notes to Steven on floral stationary. But guess what? It’s the same magical wonderful stationary that perfect wonderful brave Tricia used to have. What are the odds? Steven thinks its someone playing a joke on him. Turns out it was Cara, and they laugh about the whole thing and promise to be more open and communicative with each other. Except until they get engaged when neither of them wants to get married. Not to speak ill of the dead, but what was so great about Tricia? Her pale, luminescent skin and her thin figure (caused by the Leukemia?)

Once everything is straightened out, the whole gang realizes they were not treating Abbie all that great. They all make a pilgrimage to her house and declare how awesome she is, and Elizabeth tells her that her cartoon Jenny won the humor competition. It’s the happiest day of Abbir’s life! Except that we never see her again after this book. Typical.

33 thoughts on “Cara and Steven vie for the title of most irritating couple. Ever.

  1. Sarah C. says:

    When I read this one I remember thinking that Steven’s mysterious malady was AIDS (because who really comes home two weeks for allergies?) and that SVH was finally going to tackle something serious and timely.

    Random, vaguely incestuous quote:
    “Steven looked as handsome as ever, just like a younger version of their father, with his dark hair, broad shoulders, and eyes that crinkled at the corners when he smiled.”

  2. Rio says:

    Yay, I’m a star commenter! (bows)

    IHW, mucho props to you for the Blago pic. By this time Cara would probably look like Sarah Palin. And the twins would look like Cindy McCain. (Ew.)

    Why is Jessica so obsessed with Steven and Cara’s relationship? One of these days I expect her to attempt to seduce him à la Cruel Intentions.

    “he’s sick and arranges to come home for two weeks because HE HAS ALLERGIES.” Worst. Plot. Contrivance. Ever. I have allergies and they suck, but all I need to do is pop a Claritin and I’m good to go. Couldn’t they have given him an ulcer or something?

  3. Magpie says:

    “Not to speak ill of the dead, but what was so great about Tricia?”

    She managed to be such a brave, kind, and beautiful person even though she came from a poor family. Who would have thought that somebody with little money could also be nice and not an alcoholic or something?

  4. Anne says:

    I used to have terrible allergies which led to sinus infections every time, so I’m going to cut Steve some slack here. But seriously, wouldn’t you at least stay at school, because maybe they’re not as bad in the morning and you can make one class, and as perfect as Sweet Valley is, does the town really have the same resources as the university if he’s really that concerned about doing his work?

    Steve and Cara annoy the crap out of me. Give me Todd and Liz any day!

  5. gnatalby says:

    Haven’t read this… but I would expect a lot more drama from a book called Pretenses.

    Like cold blooded murder. And it’s not like SVH doesn’t go there.

  6. Amber Tan says:

    “what was so great about Tricia? Her pale, luminescent skin and her thin figure (caused by the Leukemia?)”

    My money’s on her nifty fashion sense. High-necked ruffled school-marm blouses are TEH HAWT doncha know.

  7. maybeimamazed02 says:

    Not to compare good YA lit with, um, crap, but the only other time I’ve read a character describe her brother in such a way was Wasteland, by Francesca Lia Block. Which is about incest. And every comment is usually followed by the character thinking, “I KNOW I’m not supposed to be thinking this because it’s WRONG.”

  8. Amber Tan says:

    “Not to speak ill of the dead, but what was so great about Tricia?”

    “She managed to be such a brave, kind, and beautiful person even though she came from a poor family.”

    Naw, Magpie. It had to be her nifty fashion sense. Ruffled high-necked school marm blouses are TEH HAWT doncha know. 😉

  9. Amy Slutton says:

    OMG, this is such a coincidence. I just got this very book off ebay and read it on Saturday!

    Am I am dumbass for being totally intrigued as to who the mystery love letter author was until the very end? At first I assumed it was Jessica – then I started wondering if it was one of Lila’s schemes (a la Slam Book Fever) so she could make a play for Steven, or maybe it was actually Abbie. I wanted to LMAO when it turned out to be Cara. Why the hell didn’t she confront Steve the second she realized the love letter thing was turning into a complete disaster?? Oh wait, need I actually ask?

    Also, this revives the memories (and hate) of all the times Jessica “decides” when people should get together or break up. Like in Memories, when Todd moves away. And people just forgive her, or find some way to rationalize it! WTF!

  10. Amy Slutton says:

    Also, am I the only one who thinks that sending your boyfriend anonymous hot lusty letters that he will most likely assume are not from you, is probably the stupidest idea ever?

      • bookslide says:

        We know the top two are: 1) Julian’s revenge scheme against Caitlin and 2) Elena’s plot to get Stefan in The Vampire Diaries (first tell everyone he’s secretly a narc and then be the Homecoming Queen–that’s it). So this might be three.

  11. willaful says:

    I just read a romance in which the heroine had worked at “Dairy Burger” and it gave a little extra snort of laughter to one of the most snort-worthy book ever.

  12. Sarah C. says:


    If you are a dumbass, so am I. I thought there might be some perversely interesting explanation like someone (besides his girlfriend) really trying to eff with Steven’s mind, eventually driving him crazy and leading to his incarceration with Carl the Orderly and all of the random criminally insane people from the Super Thrillers. Obviously, my expectations were too high. Cara inadvertantly bought Tricia’s signature stationery: same lame taste in men, same lame taste in note cards.

    I also like how in this one Jessica and Elizabeth supposedly mend their own clothes. I call bullshit on that one–this is Sweet Valley not Plum Creek!

  13. Jen S. says:

    OMFG, WHEN are the ghostwriters going to stop dragging poor Zombie Tricia out of her grave??? This is like, what, the FOURTH time Tricia has “haunted” Steven in some manner? God, you two, not only was this a high school romance, Tricia, you’re DEAD! There has got to be one or two dead guys in the afterlife you can get it on with.

    And Cara, Jesus. You make a jellyfish look like a giraffe with your lack of backbone. Aren’t you the same girl who heartlessly minxed her way through the hapless population of SVH without a backward glance? Steven “Blagovich” Wakefield is not worth this kind of effort, believe me. Him and his allergies. JESUS.

  14. seejanesew says:

    “Not to speak ill of the dead, but what was so great about Tricia?”

    There are certain times in my life where I like to drag out one of my all time favorite movie quotes:

    “What is it with this chick? She have beer-flavored nipples?” – Patrick Verona, 10 Things I Hate About You

  15. RollingStone says:

    Wouldn’t it have been easier to just make Steven a commuter instead of making up dumb excuses for him to be home when the plot requires it? I’m not sure how far away the college is supposed to be, but it can’t be that far if he comes home all the time.

  16. Lauri says:

    It’s evidently far enough away that he can shoot Jess’s husband and no one ever mentions it to his parents.
    This is all supposed to be in one year he was haunted 4 times. Maybe he was “taking something for his depression” that caused these hallucinations that ended up causing him to have nasal problems…

  17. tinypants says:

    “same lame taste in men, same lame taste in note cards.” = amazing.

    But really like Sarah C. said, it’s when Abbie starts helping Jessica with her mending pile (wha?) that this book just goes off the rails. Not sure however if it’s the idea of Alice making sure the girls keep up with their hand sewing or Abbie being THAT completely invertebrate that she’s like “let me just help you with this” that is more ludicrous. Between the “helpfulness,” the terrible comic, and the ridiculous I’m-single-so-let-me-give-having-friends-a-shot thing, Abbie is really a bottomfeeder among bottomfeeders when it comes to one-shot characters.

    Also though wasn’t there some subplot where Abbie’s stupid comic was competing against something possibly even more preposterous that Amy Sutton was doing? Like maybe horoscopes, or a(nother) gossip column? And of course Abbie was all, “Gee, Amy’s stuff is so great.”

  18. ihatewheat says:

    Seriously, Abbie is all “I just like helping people so much!” and everyone is all, “Abbie is so nice and helpful!” it’s really quite sad.

    Even sadder? When Abbie tells her mother that she thinks she may be invited to Cara’s party, so they go out and buy a new dress only for Abbie to pretend she is sick to not tell her mother she was not invited.

  19. Vanessa Saxton says:

    The thing I didn’t get when I read this one is how Steven recognized Trica’s stationary. Why would she have stationary? Who the heck writes letters to their boyfriend who lives in the same town! I mean, I assume Steven lives in SV since he goes to SVU and is home all of the time, not too sure of the proximity since continuance as to location has always been a mystery.
    But, I have some insight as to why Tricia’s ghost keeps popping up. I read in some interview somewhere that Francine’s favorite all time book was When Love Dies, specifically the Tricia Martin character. I think she actually wrote that one (of the entire series she penned 6 of them). I can imagine the monthly ghostwriter meeting Francie dealing out another Tricia inspired plot with the GW’s thinking are you serious, lady? Another Tricia plot? Let the dead rest! Maybe Francie shouldn’t have killed her off so soon.

  20. Amy Slutton says:

    Omigosh, yes, the whole thing about Abbie’s mom buying her a dress and Abbie pretending she was sick was sooooooo sad.

  21. Janelle says:

    Hey- does anyone happen to know which ones Francine actually wrote? I’ve always kind of wondered about that… It would be interesting to compare and see if she’s continuous within her books!

  22. Vanessa Saxton says:

    Janelle- I have been searching for years as to which ones she wrote. All I could ever come up with was she wrote 6 of the entire series. I think she probably wrote Double Love since it was the first ever. I doubt she wrote any of the Sweet Valley Kids or Sweet Valley University since I don’t think it was as popular as High and Twins. I wish Francie would grace this board with her presence and shed some insight.

  23. Janelle says:

    Vanessa, that would be awesome!! Maybe we could get her to tell us something about this elusive “Sweet Valley Confidential” that may or may not be published someday!

  24. katie says:

    Every single character in that book annoyed the shit out of me. I remembered Cara being clingy, Steven and his desire for underage girls…and wouldnt stop banging on about tricia (i know its understandable…but seriously, the ghostwriters need to find something new!)…i hated jess and her manipulative ways. why does she always get away with everything?? Elizabeth and her meddling.

    I quite liked Abbie. i prefer her and steve together. but shes such a doormat.

    jess always has her ways in ruining ppls lives…yet ppl still worship her. GAHHH! wtf?

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