I get by with a little help from my memes.

I guess at some point someone at Bantam books suddenly read one of their own SVH books and thought “we still publish these? Really?”  and realized how horrible they are. Someone thought- “we need a new image!”  So they brought some “young hip” consultants  to revamp the SVH books. So, just like Robin Wilson, within a month, we get new fancy new look covers and more schmaltz and intrigue. the new era of SVH- the one that led to the eighteen-book-long miniseries including police, jail, arrests, fighting, tv dating shows, high school gang rivalry, and of course, everyone’s favorite child-murderess. There’s really no way to capture the absurdness of this one, except for having an imaginary conversation with this book and scream at it and also incorporate some of my favorite memes.

Liz and Jess are getting ready to go out one night with their bestest, nicest, genital-less boyfriends when somehow they both come to the conclusion that they haven’t had a school dance in a while.

REALLY? REALLY? ARE YOU SERIOUS?

Then they come up with the idea that it should be a JUNGLE prom. And…..that they should get the local non-profit, Environmental Alert, to sponsor it.

For sers, Capt. Picard. HOW WOULD THIS HELP A NON PROFIT ORG? THE MEASLEY TEN BUCKS A TICKET WOULD BARELY COVER THE PRINTER CARTRIDGE COSTS FOR THE OFFICE OF THIS ORG. I’ve worked in non-profits, I know unless you are going to write a check with six zeroes, nothing truly can make that big an impact. AND IF YOU WANT TO HELP THE ENVIRONMENT, DON’T HAVE A DANCE! NO CREPE PAPER AND LEFTOVER FOOD THAT IS WASTEFUL! NO CONSUMERISM FROM BUYING ALL THE CLOTHES!

Later the gang is at a beach party and they CAN’T STOP TALKING ABOUT HOW AWESOME THEIR SCHOOL IS. And here is the description of how happenin’ this party is.

DeeDee Gordon and Bill Chase, the drama club president and top surfer, respectively, were doing the twist. Amy Sutton, whose knockout legs looked longer than ever thanks to a hot pink lycra mini-skirt shimmied up to her boyfriend Barry Rork. Tall, well-built Ken Matthews grasped his petite girlfriend, Terri Adams, by the waist; she squealed with delight as he lifted her high over his head. April Dawson and Michael Harris were hopping around, clapping their hands and singing along to the music.

IS THIS REAL LIFE???? REALLY FUCKING CURRENT AND HIP WAY TO DESCRIBE A HIGH SCHOOL PARTY. PEOPLE CLAPPING? NOOOOO!!!!!!!! MY MIND!!!! IT IS BLOWN!!!!

Meanwhile, kids from Big Mesa come by and raid the party, wearing Big Mesa gear. And by raid, I mean, steal the boombox and knock over the table of chips and dip. Big whoop. No big deal. of course Bruce Patman has a roid rage and THREATENS TO WEAR HIS CLUB X JACKET AT THEM. Apparently, it’s an all-out war of the schools…just like twenty books later? Really? DOES ANY EDITOR EVER FUCKING READ THESE THINGS? In the midst of the raid, Bruce spots a beautiful girl who saves him from being trampled, and his boner gets a boner. Don’t even worry about that, because it’s not resolved until the last book of the series and he ends up dumping her to get an over-the-pants hand job from Liz. But whatever.

Even better: at some point, Big Mesa’s newspaper publishes as issue that INSULTS THE ORACLE. OH NO THEY DI’INT!

Oh then something something, Jessica does something to piss of Liz but then makes Liz feels bad for feeling bad for Jessica, and Elizabeth declares she will never fall prey to Jessica’s selfishness again, it’s time to put Liz first! That will last five minutes.

Then someone decides that there should be a prom king and prom queen, BECAUSE THAT WILL HELP THE ENVIRONMENT. And the group likes the idea so much, they will send the prom queen (not the king, mind you) on a trip to Brazil to represent the org and give speeches.

HOW IN THE FUCK DOES THAT HELP? ThE JET FUEL ALONE COULD POWER A WHOLE THIRD WORLD VILLAGE.

Obviously, Jessica is thinking about bikinis and men she could hypnotize with her crusty blond bangs, and Elizabeth is thinking about helping poor Brazilllians start a gossip column in their village. This heat things up, and both girls want to be prom queen. Jessica is mad at Liz because obviously, Jessica is destined to be prom queen and Liz should be aware of that. Um, Jessica,

Liz and Jess fight, and Jessica goes into turbo-sociopath mode. They actually have daily prom committee meetings – because the school decided they would sponsor this- because it is the Wakefields after all-and Jessica never shows up and expects Liz to do all the work. liz knows this, but her nipples get hard when she makes to-do lists, so she can’t resist. Then the twins start campaigning for prom queen against each other, like it’s the only thing that matters. And blah blah blah, fight, fight, boyfriend snuggle, silent treatment, etc. Then Jessica decides to not allow people from Big Mesa because of the rivalry to win her favors. And then does a half-assed attempt at sticking to the theme by giving out “save the rainforest” and if A WHOLE RAINFOREST WAS PROBABLY KILLED TO MAKE THESE BUTTONS.

Liz mopes around because she’s fighting with Jessica, and thinks she should maybe drop out of the prom queen campaign. Her friends convince her she’s still worthy, she keeps protesting and OF COURSE they have to tell her a thousand times that she’s fabulous. Enid does a power point presentation for Liz on why she’s such an awesome friend. Except that liz remains a sad Keanu.

Time to get ready for the prom- the twins, although not speaking to each other, bith picked dresses that match their personality. Jessica chooses a pink, low cut number (to represent her vagina) and Liz picks a froffy blue off the shoulder number (to represent the cold glare of judgement). So how did they look? Let’s find out….

My thoughts:

How does Jessica get her hair so….crusty? And SOMEONE GET HER A FLAT IRON…STAT! And Liz….I just don’t even…

Elizabeth decides to make a prom mini-year book for the prom. Documenting all the pics of them prepping the prom and to…remember the three hours they spent in their high school gym? These kids are the most self-fellating bunch of kids ever.

And thus we have the part where Jessica turns into SOCIOPATH-OTRON 5000 ™. She starts seething at Elizabeth for taking what is RIGHTFULLY HERS. Todd wins prom king and she thinks Liz is a shoe-in. She then sees her dancing with Sam, and luckily, some kid wondered in from a another, more realistic YA novel where they drink, and Liz spikes Liz’s drink with vodka. Liz and Sam get drunk after a few sips and they do the tango and the Charleston (YES THAT HAPPENS). Suddenly Big Mesa raids the gym and everyone runs out to their cars, and Liz and Sam jump in the jeep, and apparently have an alcohol blood level of .98, they crash the van and Jessica and Todd run after them, only to see the jeep turned over and Sam and Liz presumably dead.

WHERE ARE ANY ADULTS/SCHOOL OFFICALS DURING THIS DANCE? GOOD FUCKING LORD.

Meanwhiles, during this time, Lila is seeing a counselor at Project Youth named Nathan because of her traumatic experience with J-Rape Pfeiffer. Who is also a counselor at SVH. Is that ethical? Real-life therapists, please shed some light. What is NOT appropriate is that he calls her “Li” and sees her on the beach and approaches her and wants to hang out with her.

WHAT? One of the first things i did with my new therapist was decide what we would do if we ever saw each other in public (we would not acknowledge each other- that’s how I roll). Lila starts having feelings for Nathan, because of course she’s a damaged, silly woman who will stupidly show misguided affection for the first man that pays attention to her. During the Big Mesa raid, Lila freaks and NATHAN THINKS IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO PULL HER INTO AN EMPTY CLASSROOM SHUT THE DOOR AND ATTEMPT TO EMBRACE HER.

You know what happens in the next few books. The judicial system changes to fit Liz’s needs and Margo drowns children. Double fried-chicken skin butter bacon burgers all around at the Dairi Burger!

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Oh, just murder them already!

WHEN SHADOW PUPPETS GO BAD

UUUUUUUGHHHHHHHHH you guys I thought I had closed the chapter on the original Super Thrillers. To my chagrin (what’s a chagrin?) there is STILL this one and I don’t get it, it’s still summer, but Liz is with Todd, and they are still interns at the Sweet Valley News, and somehow they are not aware that this Seth guy writes mystery novels in his spare time. What is going on? Is Joseph Gordon-Levitt about to come in and kick Jessica’s chair over (better yet, a kick in the face).

So, yea. There’s a recent murder in town. Jessica overhears phone calls. The police are inept. Parents are not consulted. Drugs are involved. Jessica meets a twenty something accountant who of course has no choice in life but to ask her out. But he’s an undercover cop. Because, of course he is. There’s drugs in Sweet Valley! Someone must stop this! Jessica gets held hostage by their boss at the newspaper and is almost murdered. Liz saves the day at the last minute. After the FOURTH time Jessica is almost murdered in the same summer (or is it?) she skips off ready to shop at the mall and to get a boner over the latest hunky janitor who was just hired, or something.

Good Lord. Please don’t make me spell out the plot further. As Murtaugh would say….

And in case you haven’t heard…the SWEET VALLEY TEN YEARS LATER website has launched, confirming the actual release of Sweet Valley Confidential. I will admit, I didn’t believe that it would actually happen! But it IS for real! Although ten years for SV is practically 25 years for us. They must be 4 levels of dreams under…I’m going to implant the idea in their brains that Liz should shut the hell up. (Can’t stop with the Inception references!)I have my thoughts on the first chapter at a later time. Thanks to the site for linking me. And not hating me for crapping all over the author they represent. And who would have thought Francie liked poker?

And some housekeeping- I’d like to update the links to the right. If I am missing yours or someone else’s YA blog, drop me an email.

Coming soon- my interview with Amanda Howells, former Sweet Valley University ghostwriter and a giveaway of her new book….

On the Run: The ending gives away the story, dumbass

It’s the clip-art magnifying glass of doom! Despite witnessing the murder of their houseguest’s girlfriend and then almost being butchered in a garage, the twins lives are pretty much back to the ho-hum of Sweet Valley. They are back interning at the Sweet Valley news for free, and Elizabeth is still believing that one day the editor will give her the assignment of her life, she’ll write it and win the Pulitzer Prize. Keep making coffee and making photocopies, loser.

Meanwhile, the news has a new intern named Darcy Kaymen, who is a redhead and immediately takes a dislike to Elizabeth, who she deems as pompous and boring. We love Darcy! The great thing is, Liz doesn’t try to win Darcy over and concert her to a Wakefield-worshipping zombie, she just kinds of sits and takes it. Awesome! Meanwhile, Darcy and Jessica become besties, because they both enjoy lipgloss and psychopathology.

But oooooo, there’s national news about a well-known criminal case in New York. Frank DeLucca, a notorious mafia leader was arrested but people are afraid to testify against him. Ned has something to say about it: He “feared that DeLucca might be let off and horrible chain of underworld crime would continue.” Because they live in a 1930s film noir. And this guy’s conviction would make New York virtually crime free. Rumor has it that they found a witness but he was going into the witness protection program.

Meanwhile…there’s a new guy, Eric,  that works in the coffeeshop downstairs. He just moved to town and seems very mysterious. I WONDER HOW THAT IS RELATED TO THE SEEMINGLY PASSING MENTION OF SOMEONE GOING INTO THE WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM. Darcy gets hard on for him, but Liz gets a bigger hard on when she finds out that Eric likes sappy love poetry. This makes Darcy mad, so she hates Elizabeth more. Some other business comes up where Darcy thinks that Eric is really some guy who murdered a girl in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and that Liz is in trouble, but meanwhile some weird guys in suits are following the twins around but meanwhile, some kid starts choking in the coffeeshop and Eric’s father is revealed to be…dum dum dum….the doctor who testified! of COURSE they moved to Sweet Valley of all places.

Just when everyone has a big laugh about the mixup and about to head to Casey’s for a deep fried quadruple scoop of bacon and nutella ice cream, some of DeLucca’s guys come in and hold Eric’s family and Liz hostage! Liz somehow saves the day by teaching Eric and his father about the power of trust and they are saved, the bad guys are arrested, and the seedy crime underworld is virtually eradicated. Yay!

I couldn’t deny you the pleasure of hearing Eric’s poetry that caused Elizabeth’s high-wasted briefs in a knot.

No sparrows light here

the sheaves picked clean,

and summer gone

with nothing left to stave off cold

or hunger.

Maybe to love

is always to hurt deeply and not just

to hurt, but to destroy,

knowing this

awful farewell

has been in store for us.

Liz was ready to cheat on Jeffrey with this sap. The only thing stopping them from getting to third base was that Eric and his dad needed to leave Sweet Valley and go ON THE RUN again. See what they did there? Good thing that the nothing else crazy and murder-related happens during this summer….except when it does.

Trouble at Home, as acted by the cast of Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room”

Picture provided by L.L.Bean's special emo edition


Ned: Oh hi Alice.


Alice: Oh…hey Ned.


Ned: Wow, you look really sexy.


Alice: I guess. My mother has breast cancer. And I just got a big interior decorating design job at the mall, so I won’t be around more.


Ned: Wow, that’s great Alice. Haha.


Alice: Did you get the big case at work?


Ned: No.


Alice: You didn’t get it, did you?


Ned: No, it’s not fair. I have to work harder. But I bought you something.


Alice: Flowers again! I love you!


Ned: I love you to, Lisa. Let’s do it.

—–

[The next day…]


Alice: Hey everyone, sorry I’m home late. I was spending lots of time on my important architecture project.


Steven: Hi everyone.


Ned: Oh hi Steven!


Steven: I’m home from college.


Ned: Oh that’s nice. Your mother and I are going upstairs.


Steven: Can I come?


Ned: Oh, Steven, you are so funny. Haha.


Alice: Steven, I told you not to!


Steven: I just like to watch you guys. You are like the perfect couple.


Alice: btw, the way, I have to work tomorrow also.


Ned: Alice, YOU ARE TEARING ME APART! You don’t care about this family at all!


Alice:  I don’t want to talk about it!

—-


Maria: Oh my god Liz, my father, the mayor, was framed as a briber. Now he will go on trial. He needs a lawyer.


Liz: My dad will probably do it.


Maria: Thanks Liz. Your dad is my dad’s favorite lawyer.


Ned: That’s me!


Liz: Dad, are you going to defend Mr. Santelli in his bribery trial?


Ned: Yes. No one hurts Peter. Those motherfaaaaakers.


Steven: Thanks for meeting me for coffee. So Dad, how’s your sex life?


Ned: Oh Steven, not so great. Maria Santelli’s father, the former mayor, asked me to defend him in his trial. I’m a very important lawyer, who can practice every type of law. Although, this will cause your mother and I to see each other even less.


Steven: Oh that’s too bad. Well, I have to get going.

—-


Liz: Oh my gosh! Mom and Dad fighting is awful. It makes me not believe in love.


Enid: Oh hi Liz, I didn’t know that was you. You are my favorite friend.


Liz: Yes, that’s me. I am so glad we are going on vacation as a family. It will finally reunite my parents. No work will be involved. Although, I did give my mom’s secretary the number at the cabin just in case they need her.


Ned: Oh wow, we are taking a vacation and you invited the whole family. What a good idea.


Alice: Yes, but I just have a little work to do.


Steven: Mom, you promised!


Liz: Mom, the front desk says you have a call from your secretary.


Ned: That’s it! Everyone deceived me! I hate everyone! Goodbye world!


Liz: I can’t believe Mom’s secretary called us on vacation and Dad got so mad he said they were getting separated!


Jess: Oh Liz, stop being judgmental. I can do what I want. In fact, since Mom and Dad are barely paying attention to us anymore, and I wanted to something that will impress Lila, I’ve been calling a party chat line, and I’ve met someone!


Liz: Wow, that’s great Jessica. What’s he like?


Jess: Well, we haven’t actually met yet….

[flashback to the teen line]**


Charlie: How’re you doing gorgeous? I’ve been thinking about you all day long….I’ve been building a mental picture of you today. I’ve decided- just from your voice- that you’re blond. Am I right?


Jess: [giggling] You’re right.


Charlie: I could tell. You have the blondest voice I’ver ever heard.


Jessica: [thinking] Imagine how thrilled Charlie was going to be when he discovered how blond she really was! I can’t wait until we actually meet. It will be perfect.

**This scene contains the actual dialogue from the book.

—–

For those not familiar with with the masterpiece that is The Room, check out info  here and here.  Even if you don’t, there is nothing in this book that is important, except that Ned and Alice break up after squabbling. Ned is allowed to work at all hours, but once Alice starts putting more time into her career, she is neglecting her family. Good old fashioned family values. We know that Liz makes it all about her by running away and Jessica doesn’t give a shit about Charlie after she meets him, and prefers his hot but stupid impostor and then the twins get their parents back together whilst exposing a political scandal.

Lila clutches her pearls, literally.

Cover courtesy of The Closet

Truthfully, I’ve been avoiding writing about this one. I am unsure if the purpose of having a sexual assault storyline is to:

(a) bring awareness to the issue

(b) use it to make an interesting storyline

(c) a cautionary tale for teenage girls

For any of these, it still is pretty damn frustrating. Not much else to do but give you the deets:

Lila and John Pfeiffer, sports reporter, are starting to hang out. Lila is into John because he is really interesting and genuine, not like the rich dolts she usually dates. Also, he actually listens to her and cares what she has to say. So, since it is actual a somewhat interesting and actual less shallow relationmship, it has to be too good to be true.

They finally go out on a date, Lila wears a black spandex dress, and they go to Miller’s point. They start making out, and Lila enjoys it, but then he gets aggressive, and then…well, you can guess, it’s pretty scary. John tells her “you know you want it” and even unbuckles his belt. Which is ironically the most specific reference to someone’s actual anatomy in any book.

Lila manages to get away and is (obvi) very upset. She shuts herself in, and…gasp!…doesn’t care about her looks or makeup. Of course, Mr. Fowler is out of town. Many of Lila’s friends get annoyed by her sulking and depression. Really, she’s being such a buzzkill. Surprisingly, Lila completely rebuffs her housekeeper, Eva’s offers of support. It is pretty sad that Eva is the only parent-like figure that Lila has, and she doesn’t seem to realize it.

John suddenly turns from an interesting guy to an aggressive sociopath. He taunts Lila in the hall and threatens her if she tells anyone. Meanwhile, Lila has another one of her famous parties and John has the audacity to show up, and after he taunts Lila more she breaks down and yells at him for what happened. It’s all over school and the students are divided between believing Lila and believing she made it up. I think Caroline Pierce had an aneurysm when she heard this gossip.

Here’s the other surprising thing: Jessica seems to be the only one who cares that Lila is acting different. She claims it is because she misses having someone to go shopping with, but at least she gives Lila some tough love and is pretty assertive in supporting her and getting her help. It is maybe the one time where I don’t totally hate Jessica. I know, right?

Elizabeth, despite being the savior of the needy, is doubtful of Lila. The fuck? Suddenly she is not going to feel empathy for Lila because she thinks Lila is a snob and god forbid anyone special enough to work at The Oracle should dare do something like that? Or maybe she is just mad the attention is on someone she isn’t able to help.

Another student, Susan Wyler,  emerges from the character bermuda triangle, and admits to Lila that she went out with John and the same thing happened. (I feel like this is similar to an episode of 90210. Or something.) They both confront John in the Dairi Burger, stating that he needs help. Suddenly John’s friends realize what happen and leaving him sitting all along, to ponder the error of his ways. Lila suddenly feels a bit better, but isn’t totally cured by the end of the book, which is a bit more realistic. Although she does end up getting involved with the world’s most inappropriate therapist, but I’ll write about that later.

In the completely ridiculous subplot, Sam and Jessica are going through…the opposite of sexual assault, I think? As in, they can’t keep their hands off each other and they are afraid that they will let things go to far. Just get over it and wear a condom. What’s the big deal? They both seem to want it badly, and the only reason they find they want to stop is because of some uptight morals and not because of their own choice. So they both decide to engage in activities that won’t allow them to have too much physical contact, and hilarity ensues. And then they resolve it by just agreeing to trust each other.

Why was the sexual assault plotline juxtaposed with the ridiculous subplot? Anyone who has taken Intro to Women’s Studies knows that sexual assault is not about sex specifically. Was that trying to lighten the tone?

Ok, now I shall step onto my soapbox. John seemed to be angry because he broke up with Jennifer Mitchell, who was being distant and wishy-washy with him. It got him annoyed and of the “you girls are all alike, you seem to want one thing, and then say another! No means yes!” mentality. So really, it’s not John’s fault that he tried to assault Lila? It’s because his girlfriend dumped him? THE FUCK??!?##

It seems that these teen stories of sexual assault seem to follow the same pattern: Girl likes guy, they go out, guy attacks, girl sinks into deep depression and blames herself, guy manipulates situation and terrorizes girl, only with the assistance of a savior helping them, confronts boy and shall overcome. Sure, it may help in giving some PSA about assault, but it doesn’t always happen this way. There are a HUGE array of emotions that happen after an assault, and all of them are valid. Some girls may not get upset, they may channel it in other ways or report it right away. Some girls often stay in a relationship with the guy. I just don’t remember seeing any deviation from the standard plot. And the “I Spit On Your Grave’s are few and far between. Even Thelma and Louise was a unique take on it.

I didn’t read this one the first time around (probably because it didn’t include a party, a makeover or a Slam Book) so I am not sure what I would have got from it the first time. Never trust guys? Be careful who you date, they might rape you? If it happens, it will ruin your life? If it happens, there is hope? I’m not sure.

Despite my annoyance for the expected story arc involving sexual assault, this recalls one of my favorite made for tv-movies, When He’s Not A Stranger, starring the always lovely Annabeth Gish. The assault scene is actually very hard to watch, but it’s very compelling, and she does triumph in the end, with the help of the less significant Dillon brother. Also, in a very odd way, this made me excited to go to college. NOT because of the assault, but it portrayed college not as a wild party with crazy shenanigans, but as a serene place where a gal can just spend her time quietly studying and befriending a nice, non-macho guy in her science class. (Dammit, it’s not on Netflix).

On a completely different note, I must insist that everyone drop what they are doing immediately and read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and the sequel, Catching Fire. It is an example of young adult fiction that is amazing and compelling, and appeals to adults as well. I read both books with a 72 hour period. As fellow book lovers I know you can relate to this experience; it was the kind of book that caused me to lay in bed awake and think about for hours. It haunted me as I went through my day. I loved the sci-fi element, the writing style, the premise, and the fact that the characters were set in a world where modern day standards of attractiveness and social norms did not exist. It had just enough of a love triangle to be enticing and not ridiculous and irritating.  I am counting the days until the third book is released in August. Grab a copy and clear your schedule.

Redundancy, Inc.

I am really running out of ways to express how awful these are, how ludicrous the plots are, and how despicable the twins are. So, this time, I will just explain the plot and then scream about how dumb it is.

Liz and Jess are both having money woes. Elizabeth wants to buy an expensive warm-up jacket for Todd, and Jessica wants to buy…probably some baby hooker outfit at Lisette’s so she can snag some town drug dealer/serial killer in disguise. Okay, for real, she wants a portable disc player, a birthday present for Sam, and to repaint her Hershey Bar room. They are bemoaning this while having party at their house, where conveniently the only people who are invited the main characters and characters that conveniently fit the plot du jour.

Abruptly, Lila and Amy have to leave because they both have to write letters to people that they have been putting off (on a Friday night).

YES, BECAUSE THAT IS THE NUMBER ONE ABSORBER OF TEENAGER’S TIME! KEEPING UP CORRESPONDENCE! WOW, THANKS FOR REALLY CAPTURING THE STRIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER!

This suddenly gives Jess an idea for how to make money. She will start a letter-writing business! Because so many people always have letters they want to write!

WOW, BRILLIANT IDEA YOU GUYS. BECAUSE THIS IS THE #1 COMPLAINT OF EVERYONE IN THE EARLY NINETIES. TOOOO MANY LETTERS TO WRITE! I MEAN, THE iPHONE WOULD HAVE BEEN INVENTED IN 1994 BUT STEVE JOBS WAS JUST TOOOO BUSY WRITING LETTERS TO WORK ON IT.

Elizabeth actually likes the idea, and they decide to start their own company called Letters R Us. They will take requests from people who need to have letters written, and charge $5 for each letter. Jessica will be in charge of setting up the PO Box for people to send their requests, will organize the requests, and drop off the finished letters at the post office. Elizabeth will write the content of the letters.

REALLY LIZ? REALLY? THAT’S EQUAL WORK? DO YOU REALIZE THAT ALL JESSICA NEEDS TO DO IS ORGANIZE LETTERS? THAT IS BASICALLY STACKING ONE LETTER ON TOP OF THE OTHER, BUT YOU NEED TO TYPE OUT EVERY SINGLE ONE? IF YOU ARE THAT DUMB, YOU DESERVE TO BE TRAMPLED ON MY JESSICA.

They put up ads all over town (ah, these pre-internet stories are so quaint) and they get several letters the first day they check the PO box. They go through some of the requests where people write to them explaining the background info about why they want to send a letter, and what they want the letter to say.

OMG ARE YOU KIDDING ME? IF YOU TOOK THE TIME TO WRITE ALL THAT, THEN WRITE THE FUCKING LETTER YOURSELF! THIS MAKES NO SENSE!

Jessica looks through the letters, and sees one from a girl in high school who is feeling neglected by her boyfriend, and starts to develop feelings for someone who she is becoming friends with, the star of the boys’s basketball team. Omg! Jess realizes that shwe is talking about Todd “Wizzer” Wilkins and the person is Shelley Novak, annoying emo star of the women’s basketball team, who is feeling neglected by her boyfriend Jim, who is spending a lot of time putting the yearbook together. (Save your time, Jim. This school year lasts 15 years). Jessica sees this, and doesn’t want Liz to see it. She figures that Shelly will send the letter, and Todd won’t do anything but just be flattered. So, she wakes up extra early, takes the letter, retypes it and changes Shelley’s name, and puts it back in the pile so Liz won’t get upset.

AS OPPOSED TO JUST THROWING OUT THE LETTER? WOULDN’T THAT HAVE BEEN QUICKER AND EASIER, YOU FUCKING MORON?

Liz happily writes the letter and is clueless. Meanwhile, Liz is spending so much time on the letter writing business to get the jacket for Todd, that she starts neglecting Todd, even though he makes picnic lunches for them with strawberries and brie cheese that he plans on feeding her. Liz gets frustrated and wants to write a letter to Liz saying they want to break up. He requests Letters R Us to write it, and Jessica sees it first, and intercepts changing the name, and Liz ends up writing her own break up letter. OH THE IRONY! Jessica figures Liz will figure it out, and Todd will finally come to his senses. Actually, it’s more like she feels guilty for not telling Liz the truth the first time she figures she’ll just keep up the charade and avoid the outcome.

REALLY JESSICA? YOU DID IT AGAIN? INSTEAD OF JUST TELLING LIZ THE TRUTH, OR CONFRONTING TODD, YOU TAKE THE TIME TO REWRITE THE REQUEST??? AND ARE YOU REALLY THAT STUPID LIZ??!?!?!

Well, what do you know, Liz and Todd break up, and every time one of them times to explain the mishap, one storms out of the room, prolonging the fighting for at least five more chapters. Finally, Jessica, probably feeling bad, writes a letter to LETTERS R US, posing as Todd, asking for a letter to his girlfriend explaining he is sorry and how much he loves her. Aw, all is well, Todd and Liz make up, and Liz is able to give Todd the jacket. What does Todd do in response?

BUYS LIZ A FUCKING MATCHING JACKET!

Todd: “I wouldn’t think of wearing this unless you let me order a matching one for you. After all, I want everyone to know we’re meant for each other, now and for all time.”

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST WILKINS, THEN HOW ABOUT YOU STOP GIVING HER KISSES THAT HAVE NAMES AND STOP FIGHTING AND BREAKING UP AND NOT MATCHING CLOTHES?

These books are not helping my anger management issues.

Ted Kaczynski would agree; Who’s Who?

Image courtesy of The Closet

Maybe Ted Kaczynski would agree with me here…. about how technology is a harm to society (to grossly paraphrase). Because, the use of the internet and cell phones would completely negate the occurrence of this book ever being released. But wait, he would say that the use of any telephones takes away personal freedom. Wait…I don’t know. But I did just have a flash of a super thriller in which someone is sending mail bombs in Sweet Valley and Liz coaxes the person to stop by offeringt to co-write their manifesto and publish it in the Oracle. But anyway.

Let’s all thank god that we were able to have this bestowed on us as a reminder of simpler times when lack of cell phone and internet communication can lead to wacky dating hijinks.

Liz and Jess are at the mall together and they see a new company called Lovestruck Dating Service where “Teens Are Our Specialty.” Ok, stop right there, that is really weird and creepy. Someone wants to make money off of getting teens to hook up. Of course, Jess is interested. She doesn’t want the same kind of guy she always dates (someone with a pulse and the ability to walk on the beach at night) and doesn’t know if she wants a daring, wild type or a cultured sophisticated type. So she’ll fill out two, and invent two alter-egos!

Daniella Fromage seemed to be an intellectual. She liked foreign films, modern poetry, French cuisine, and world travel. Her idea of a perfect evening was meaningful conversation in front of a crackling fire, with opera on the stereo.

In other words, seventy-eight years old.

Magenta Galaxy was a wild rocker whose passions were “everything new and hot”. She liked fast cars, loud dance bands [what is that? Like a jam band?], the latest fashons- the wilder the better. Her perfect evening consisted of cruising the hippest music clubs in L.A. and ending up in a coffee shop at four in the morning, eating hamburgers and dancing on the countertop.”

In other words, a bartender at Coyote Ugly or a speed addict.

Two buys answer her ad, Pierre (the sophisiticated one) and Bret S (the rocker type). Jessica models Daniella after Suzanne Hanlon, the uppity bitch who Ken used to date. Suzanne teacher her about vacationing in Italy and famous painters and old art films and gives her Gucci shoes and silk blouses. Magenta is modeled after Dana Larson, who tries to make her listen to punk bands, but of course is weird and bizarre to Jessica, because of course anything mainstream that the twins listen to is really what is cool, and any subculture is used for comedic affect.

Pierre takes her to a French restaurant, where they talk about the French Riviera or Monet paintings or some shit. Brett takes her to the Rock Spot, which plays loud music that Jessica has to pretend to like. Here’s my beef with this book. Jessica pulls of her personas so the guys are convinced, but the guys seem really boring, and it doesn’t seem as if Jessica actually likes them, or has fun. The important thing is that her plan worked, and she is delighted when they both ask her out again. So, apparently, the most important thing here is to trick the boys and have them ask you out, not that you actually like them or enjoy their company. But am I surprised by this by now? Why do I keep having expectations for reasonable, healthy behavior from these books?

Pierre’s date of course makes fun of people who dare to be intellectual. Jessica actually mutters “Viva la differance!” which made me laugh, but of course they go to an artsy film with weird symbols. Jesus, they could have seen an indie film, not The Cremaster Cycle. And of course, the punks at the rock club are just weirdos who thrash around to the music, not people who have an obvious passion for the music or the culture. If it’s not Jamie Peters music, it’s just “weird”.

Jessica can’t have Brett or Pierre call her at home, so she gives them Lila’s number, who will take a message for Jessica. Because Lila doesn’t really give a shit, she mixes things up and now both Magneta and Daniella have dates on the same night. If course, it’s aperfect time for a twin switch! They will all go to the same restaurant but Liz and Jess will meet in the ladies room and switch outfits every fifteen minutes. Liz, of course agrees to this assinine plan. They both wear black leotards and black skirts and just switch up the accessories. Hence we get the outfits depicted on the cover. And for once, we really don’t know who is who! Well done, Jimmy, well done. Well, the plan works…sort of. Elizabeth exposes Pierre as a fake, and Brett tries to tell Jessica something, but she is too busy thinking about her awesome plan to hear what he has to say.

Liz has both guys come over on Saturday afternoon so Jessica can come clean. Coincidentally, Dana and Suzanne also come by to pick up their clothes. ….and if you don’t see this plot twist coming, you’re as dumb as Jerry “Crunch” McAllistar. Turns out Pierre was really a rocker trying to be sophiticated, and Brett was a suave cultured guy trying to be a rocker. Oh the hilarity! So they actually hit it off with Dana and Suzanne, who are more like them, and Jessica has no one. But, just so the ghostwriters can assure us that Jessica never loses, some guy asks for her number while she’s playinbg tennis, because he enjoys her fierceness.

My dear readers, I realize you want me to get on with the outfit descriptions, because that’s really the point of this book.

One of Dana’s outfits: “She was wearing four thick bangles on each arm. They went perfectly with her skintight black pants, black and white checkered shoes, and lime green t-shirt. In one ear she wore a guitar pick dangling from a silver wire.”

Jessica’s first date as Daniella: a cream colored silk blouse, blue linen pants, a red, blue and gold silk scarf, and blue suede flats, and a small red bag. As Michael Kors would say, “too matchy-matchy.” As I would say, “real estate agent.”

Jessica’s first date as Magenta: “tight black bicycle pants, a black tank top, and a red leather jacket she had borrowed from Lila” and bnagle bracelets and guitar pick earrings. And, of course, the infamous blue stripe in her hair. This sounds like my outfot for the first day of fourth grade. (Minus the blue hair and my jacket was a windbreaker, not leather.)

Another outfit for Magenta Galaxy: “a strapless minidress with a necklace of dice and tiddlywinks around her neck. In among the clicking pieces were Scrabble tiles that spelled out ‘Hard Rock’.” Wow, tiddlywinks IS an actual word. It passed my spellcheck. And, isn’t that one of those obnox necklaces that everyone had, that weighed ten pounds because of all the charms?

Yea, and wearing something that says “Hard Rock” does not make you more “rock”. It’s like wearing the band t-shirt to the band you are going to see.

The highlight of the book? The fact that the proper grammar was used for the title.

Choose Your Own (mis)Adventure: Elizabeth Betrayed

Courtesy of The Closet

What is so horrid that has Olivia Davidson clutching her pearls? And why is Olivia wearing pearls? She must have read somewhere that Sylvia Plath stuffed pearls down her throat to kill herself, and it makes her feel more arty or something. And Penny Ayala, wearing a blue and purple ensemble? Those colors are crazy! Leave the mental patient look to Claudia Kishi. I digress, let’s get to it. I don’t even need to tell you what the “correct” answers are.

You are a member of the school paper, and the editor-in-chief is called away to a conference for a week. Do you:
(A) Not worry too much, you have an advisor to help you and no biggie if it gets published a day late. This isn’t USA Today, you know.
(B) Freak out, martyr yourself to the cause to getting the next issue out on the exact deadline, abandon all your friends to work on it, and worry that if the student body doesn’t read the expose on the new lunch items or the PTA agenda, the world will implode in on itself.

You are Olivia. You have a new boyfriend, Rod Sullivan, even though he seems to have no distinguishing personality traits from any other boring vanilla guy at SVH. He talks incessantly about what an amazing writer Elizabeth Wakefield is and how amazing she is, while ignoring your accomplishments founding Sweet Valley’s best (and only) literary magazine. Do you:
(A) Tell him to put it back in his pants, and then dump him. He clearly does not respect you.
(B) Put up with it. It is Liz Wakefield, after all. She can’t help that she is so amazing. Besides, she seems to be your only friend anyway.

You are Liz. Your supposed friend’s new boyfriend keeps showing up everywhere you are and constantly tells you you are amazing and smart and wants to talk about how you are amazing writer. Do you:
(A) Think to talk about it with your friend. She deserves to know what is going on. Also, tell Rod you are uncomfortable because Olivia is your good friend.
(B) Bask in the praise and admiration. After all, you can’t help that people love you! It’s not your fault! It’s the curse of being a Wakefield!

You’re Liz, and you’ve spent a lot of time struggling over being the interim editor, and talking how hard you are working as the interim editor, that you don’t have the time to complete the English assignment for Mr. Collins. Rod happens to be buy and offers to share his notes on the research paper that is due. You use them gratefully. Mr. Collins notices that your essay is similar to a famous art critic and suspends you from the Oracle for plagiarize. You:

(A) take responsibility and realize that you were trying to find an easy way out
(B) are in shock and awe! You are Elizabweth Wakefield! You are an innocent victim! This is all Rod’s fault for offering to help her! Plus, it is also Olivia Davidson’s fault! For not telling Ron not to do it!

You are Olivia, and you feel horrible about the whole situation. Do you:
(A) Stand by your friend (since she seems to be your only one)
(B) Believe your boyfriend because…he is so amazing? And charismatic? Meanwhile, it takes some berating from Jessica Wakefield to finally realize that Rod is dishonest asshole with a hard on for Liz’s writing. Goddamn, where would you be without these Wakefield twins? Well, most likely crushed under a refrigerator.

Well, there is a theme of TRUTH and HONESTY in this book. Lila gets her hair done and gets it dyed purple, and Jessica refuses to tell her that it looks terrible because she thinks it will hurt Lila’s feelings. Meanwhile, they are at the mall, and everyone stares and laughs at Lila, and Lila is mad that Jessica let her leave the house like that. This, my friends, is further proof that these ghostwriters are from some small cave in Antarctica, because since WHEN is purple hair at the mall UNACCEPTABLE? Wasn’t Manic Panic, like, specifically invented to be sold at malls? Yeesh. So Jessica vows to tell the truth to people, at all times, which results in Jessica raising the socipathic notch up to a thousand. her friends hate it, and decide to giver a taste of her own medicine, which is awesome but only lasts about two pages because they realize that, okay, maybe a little lying is ok. Nothing like a little moral relativism to pass the time between football games and Winston’s hot-dog eating contests.

In an even more ludacris C-plot, Mr. Wakefield develops a fetish for meercats. Yes, you read that right.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Photobucket

"Todd! I can see your chest hair!"

…or, for you younger, hip folk, Cruel Intentions.

Liz and Todd are so smug in their amazing relationship that they want to spread their smug all over another couples to make as happy as they are. Or, they need some titillating activity to spice up their relationship, and we all know Elizabeth won’t do back-door action. So this is the next best thing.

The players: Aaron Dallas, non-descriptive blonde soccer player. Wait, wasn’t he Jeffrey’s bff? So why does he now want to hang out with Liz and Todd? Why am, I questioning continuity? Heather Sanford, the cool fashion girl who Liz hated on, moved away, probably to Connecticut or London, the only 2 places anyone movies to.

Dana Lason: funky, independent lead singer of the Droids who is fed up with love and wants to concentrate on her music. Wait, what? An SVH female is okay with not having a boyfriend? Better fix that soon!

Conveniently for everyone involved, there is a Battle of the Bands coming up, and The Droids are writing a new song for it. Please note that resident black student Andy Jenkins is mentioned as leading a band called “Baja Beat” because of course he needs to be in an “ethnic” band.

Oner night at Miller’s Point, instead of having sex, Todd and Liz hatch a scheme called “Operation Pair-Up”. Yes, it is capitalized and repeated ad nausem throughout the book. If Aaron and Dana start dating, Todd has to grant Liz three wishes. If not, Liz has to grant Todd three wishes. I’ll give you three guesses what Todd’s wishes are and what Liz’s AREN’T.

Liz and Todd scheme to get those two crazy kids together, there’s something involving a note supposedly written from Aaron to Dana, and none of it matters, because as you guessed it, Dana and Aaron end up together, and laugh at themselves for swearing off love. I mean, really, who are they, Lois Waller or Penny Ayala? Of course they should be dating to be happy!

Get your barf bags in place, because here how it ends up for Liz and Todd:

“You won the bet” Todd conceded good-naturedly, nodding. “You’ve earned your three wishes. So what are they going to be?”

“Let’s see….” Elizabeth thought for a moment. “A dozen roses would be nice, and someone to do my chores and carry my books for a week would be a real treat.”

Todd laughed. “I deserve it- I was going to make you wash my car!”

“But after everything that’s ahppened, there are other things I’d like more.” Elizabeth grinned up at him. “Are you ready?”

Todd grinned. “Your wish is my command.”

“Then I wish you and I will never have such a pointless argument ever again…”

“One”, counted Todd.

“And I wish you’d give me the biggest, best kiss ever, right this very instant!”

“One Todd Wilkins Deluxe Smooch, coming right up!” Todd promised as he pulled Elizabeth close.

Oh good lord. Too. Much. Too. Hate. On. Really Liz? A dozen roses? How about one: not putting you in a coma, two: not allowing you to fall in the hands of a serial killer multiple times and three: not acting like such a boring dud. And Todd, really? You were going to have Liz WASH YOUR CAR? How about One: Not cheating on you with every guy with a lopsided smile that wanders into town and two: going a little further, than, say, GIVING YOUR KISSES A BRAND NAME???

The other redonculous thing is that Dana and Aaron, suddenly for this book, exist for the sole purpose of being friends with Todd and Liz. Liz invites Dana out (to trick her into hanging out with Aaron) to some theater thing, and Dana doesn’t think it is weird that Liz never asked her to hang out before? And now suddenly she is going to Liz for relationship advice? Does she not even hang out with her BANDMATES? And Dana, funky, eclectic, singer of a band has no friends other than Liz? And Aaron, popular soccer player, doesn’t have a groups of “br’ahs”? Ugh. Details, details.

In other infuriating plotlines, Lila and Jessica “Penny Lane” Wakefield decide that they want in on the band action and decide to be roadies for one of the bands in the battle so they can hang with the band. But hilarity ensues and at the battle Jessica screws up and the amps blow up! Oh noes! Everyone laugh! The band is a heavy metal band, and of course is portrayed as gross and incompetent. Because any character that is not clean cut and hangs out at the Dairi Burger up a Wakefield’s ass is a total comedic plot device of stupidity and any originality is used to show how stupid and weird they are. Meanwhile, this makes my panties drop in under a second, so touche, ghostwriters.

Can any good come of this ridiculous plot and idiotic display of characters? Well, yes. A book about the Droids made me think about some of my favorite fictitious bands. Edited: I seemed to forget lots of important ones, so click “more” to see the full list.

Continue reading

Stop the Presses, I want to throw up in my mouth.

Book Cover from The Closet

You are going to think I’m kidding here, but this is yet another friggin’ time that the twins are almost murdered. And recover quick enough to celebrate being alive with a nosh at the Dairi Burger. It’s like some sick game from Saw with these Wakefields. Get a pimple and gut and your family and friends are allowed to live, or stay perfect and others suffer! Hahahaha!

We’re back in the summer, and I realized that the first four super thrillers are a miniseries, including later when Nicholas falls for crazy Babs. So that means the timeline jumped all over when these came out? It’s the summer and Liz is with Jeffrey, who is working as a camp counselor in San Francisco. Which is code for sleeping with men in San Francisco. Seriously, there are no sleep away camps in SF, if they wanted to be realistic, they would have said Marin or something. Seriously, don’t fuck with my city ghostwriters!

Steven is home (duh) interning at a law firm, and the Wakefields are hosting his friend Adam who is also interning. Adam is too poor to live on his own, so the Wakefields got a collective boner when they heard that and agreed to house him. Jessica is sick of Elizabeth mooning over Jeffrey being away, so she tries to get her interested in Adam. She writes a fake love note from Adam to Liz. COINCIDENTALLY, the same day, Adam’s girlfriend is murdered by an ex-boyfriend and Jessica witnesses the guy trying to hide the body but gets away before the guy can confront her. There’s a backstory about this girlfriend being rich and her parents not approving of Adam, but really you don’t need to give a fuck.

Let me back up. The twins are interning at the Sweet Valley News during the summer. of course Liz thinks by the end of the summer she will win a nobel prize, and Jessica is forced to by her parents. Jessica’s new dry-hump target is star reporter Seth, who is twenty-two and writes mystery novels on the side. Hubba hubba! Sounds like my kind of nerdy guy. Jessica tries to get Seth into her by making up false leads so they can go solve crimes together. Again, it is SO BEYOND JESSICA’S COMPREHENSION that Seth is maybe not interested in her so she persists on with the bullshit. Also, no one believes her when she says she sees the murder.

Oh yea, and then Adam is arrested for his girlfriend’s murder because everyone thinks he wrote Liz a love note and that made the police think he killed his girlfriend so he could be with Liz. Nice detective work there, Sweet Valley police. Then again, the twins insane beauty and awesomeness can drive people to murder! They just can’t help it! Anyway, Jessica refuses to tell the police that she really wrote the note, SO ADAM STAYS IN JAIL AND ACCUSED OF MURDER. But the important thing is, Jessica isn’t in trouble!

Ned and Alice forbade the twins to drive the Fiat, because the  murderer may recognize the car. There’s an office party at the news, and Jessica gets a ride with Seth, and Liz is supposed to drive Steven’s car, but he didn’t come home in time (the ONE time he is not home, right?) so she says fuck it, I’ll take the Fiat. Jessica is at the party and realizes that the killer is there and is actually a friend of the news editor. Jessica somehow convinces the killer to leave the party, probably with the help of her alluring magnetism, but oops, Liz pulls up in the Fiat as he goes into the garage. Killer guy tries to kill the twins by running into them with his car and beating them with a pipe. You think I’m kidding when I say that. Somehow the twins overcome him and knock him unconscious (they also have super strength) and become the heroes. Jessica somehow does not get in trouble for keeping information from the police, and also is awarded the opportunity to write a front-page story about how she cracked the case.

Oh yea, somehow in all the celebrating someone remembers to release Adam from prison. No bother that his reputation is ruined and his girlfriend is dead, it’s okay because the twins are okay and the beating didn’t ruin their California-girl good looks.

Also? Double Jeopardy does not mean that two people are in jeopardy. Just sayin’.

The real question here is: the Sweet Valley News actually exists, and has more then two employees? What breaking news could they possible have to cover? Well, let’s check out some recent headlines:

Alice Wakefield Tapped to Lead New Town Hall Redesign; Spanish-Style Tiles Expected to Be Involved

Enid Rollins’ Past to Be Revealed as Dangerous and Outlandish, No One Gives Shit

Tricia Martin Still Dead, Sources Confirm

Cheryl Thomas Moves to Sweet Valley, Black Population Up 25%

Jessica’s New Bikini Said to Be Small, Revealing

Local Teacher Roger Collins Proposes New Sleepaway Teen Summer Writing Camp at His House

Toilet Store Opens in Downtown Sweet Valley, No Customers Yet

Local Teen Winston Egbert Beats His Own Record at Taco Eating Contest, Awarded Nothing

Hidden Camera Found in Boys’ Locker Room, Local Teen Tom McKay Tipped Off Police

Local Couple Alice and Ned Wakefield to Publish Book on Parenting

Annie Whitman Goes on Ninth Date this Week, Slut Status Solidified

Bruce Patman Switching to Boxer Briefs, Sources Confirm

Susan Stewart Reveals Identity of Real Father, Sweet Valley Residents say Susan Who?

Local Survey of Sweet Valley Residents reveal that Sweet Valley is the #1 Favorite Place in the World

Local High School Dance Canceled, Project Youth Flooded With Calls from Depressed Students

Police Catch Twenty-Seventh Serial Killer This Year

Town Council Passes a Measure that This Year will have Six Christmases and Eight Summer Vacations

Lois Waller Still Fat, Sources Confirm

Local Sweet Valley Residents Pondering if Jews Really Exist