Alice doesn’t live here anymore, or #25 Nowhere to Run

The ghostwriter of this one FAILS AT LIFE.

I know it is like crying wolf when I keep saying that “this is the worst SVH book ever” but maybe this one is it. The ghostwriter not only failed basic literature classes, but also was either raised in Antarctica or inside a plastic bubble because no one in reality ever acts like this. It’s like an unfunny episode of Full House.

I can barely write about it. But, the cover already tells us several things:
1. Emily is a brunette, and is therefore not as good as a Wakefield.
2. Liz is concerned for her, so you know that Emily’s life must be complete shit.
3. Neither of these teens have breasts.
4. Liz’s barettes do not match her outfit exactly, so she probably woke up late and was in a hurry.

Here we go. Emily Mayer, who is the drummer of the droids, grew up with her father after her mother left them when Emily was a kid. Because SVH is all up in useless gossip, she is ashamed that her mother left and told everyone that she died. Mr. Emily just married a heinous bitch named Karen who just had a baby named Karrie. Yes, that’s her name. Karen bosses Emily around and makes her babysit all the time and always blames her for everything and is basically acts like the stepmother from hell. Mr. Emily is a complete pushover and does not notice any of this and tells Emily to be nicer to Karen, because Karen is having a rough time. It seems like Karen even hates her own baby, but that’s another issue. Karen forces Emily to quit the drums and it all comes to a head when Em and her crush/The Droids bassist are practicing in Emily’s basement and Karen comes down and yells at Emily. Now, it can be embarassing when your parents yell at you in front of your friends, but for Emily it’s like the sign of the apocolypse.

Of course, she runs to Liz for help. She doesn’t even know Liz, but of course she “hears” that Liz is good at helping people with their problems. I’ll bet it’s because Liz hangs up fucking flyers in the bathroom with the little tear-off tabs with her home number. Karen is with Karrie when the baby starts choking and Emily performs the Hemlich maneuver (I guess she was paying attention to the poster in the high school cafeteria) and saves the baby. Mr. Emily comes home and sees the situation and thinks Emily hurt the baby and Karen does nothing to defend her. What the fuck? This just went from family drama to Law and Order. Emily plans on running away but finally Karen and Pa come and beg her to stay and Karen admits she doesn’t know how to raise her own child and she is sorry and Mr. Emily sees the error of his ways. Oh yea, and Emily sold her drums earlier but her crush Dan bought them from her to eventually give back to her and of course they get together at the end. Because how else would you know that the book was ending if there wasn’t a new couple formed?

Elsewhere, Ned’s parents, Grandma Wakefield and Grandpa Wakefield, are visiting from Michigan. And yes, the twins and Steven call them “Grandpa Wakefield” and “Grandma Wakefield” so there’s that. Like they want to be sure to note that they are actually Ned’s parents. [Were they mentioned in the Wakefield Legacy?] Jessica is enthralled with them and talks of nothing else. At first I was thinking, wow, Jessica is actually respectful of her elders, but it’s actually because she is jealous of the other kids who get to see their grandparents often. Leave it to Jess to make it about herself. They do crazy shit like go hot air ballooning and eat Chinese food with the twins. We get some passages from Alice’s point of view, and she starts to feel like a bad mother because the twins would rather spent time with their G-parents than her. First of all, they are visiting for like a week, so what the fuck Alice, just let them spend time together. Second of all, you JUST NOW REALIZE that you are a bad mother? How about the fact that one of your daughters is the biggest cocktease in the county? Or the other one is a condescending asshole? Ugh. Why even bring up this plot? Ned tells the twins this and what is their solution? They plan to throw the g-parents a going away party and ask their Mom to help them out. That automatically makes Alice feel better. Not only do the twins solve everyone else’s problems, but they also have a special power over adults.

Of course, Emily runs straight to the Wakefields after she runs away and of course, Grandma Wakefield forces her on her bosom and demands she talk to them. And then the Mayers come over to grovel towards Emily there so the Wakefields can look on smugly. Charles and Caroline Ingalls pulled this shit all the time.

What’s the moral of the story? If you don’t have a hetero-nuclear family, you are shit out of luck. And babies choke sometimes. Oh, and parents, you should always bend over and take it from your kids. I think the kids are taking lessons from the Stephanie Green school of controlling your parents.

Grade: F

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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.