Working Class: Only if they are hot, please

I can’t believe at only book #19 the ghostwriters went downhill so quickly. Also, I was kind of saving this one for a bit because I thought it would be one of the more fun ones. Why do I continue to have expectations?

What this book could have been:

  • Lila and Jessica both have an interest in the same guy.
  • The guy seems mysterious and too good to be true.
  • Lila and Jessica both try antics that result in hijinks to compete for the guy
  • They both realize the guy is not worth it and decide to remain friends (frenemies)
  • OR the guy realizes the girls are mean-spirited and dumps them both, both teaching them a lesson

What we get is:

  • Jack is a LOWLY construction worker that Lila meets, and everyone is all judgmental and disgusted by that. However, Lila’s digging it and declares him her new man. Everyone is convinced that Jack is really hiding some secret identity, like he’s the prince of some tiny nation, because no one can REALLY be just a construction worker. Ugh, the working class!
  • Jessica proves her insane sociopath personality and hits on Jack at Lila’s party while Lila is not looking and gives Jack her phone number. Really Jess? You are a disgusting, mentally ill manipulator.
  • Jack begins to date both the women, but only Jessica knows. Jack convinces Jessica that he went out with Lila because he felt bad for her. After one, date, Jack and Jessica are walking on the beach and Jessica declares she is in love. From what? He smells her hair and he talks about how hot she is. Furthermore, Jack, who is older and has his own apartment, doesn’t even try to tap that ass. yea right.
  • After one weekend together, Jack tells Lila he wants to marry her. Because…why? All we see is them making lovey talk over lunch. Francine, can you please show the normal steps of attraction? Even with teenagers?
  • Coincidentally, Nicholas Morrow sees Jack out with Jessica and recognizes him as someone he used to go to prep school with in Connecticut. What are the odds? Also, Francine, did you know that there are other states on the east coast besides Connecticut? Nicholas remembers that Jack had an evil side and held a girl at knifepoint at school and was kicked out. Also he had violent mood swings that made him like “Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde.” In other words, he was probably bipolar. But god forbid these books are medically correct.
  • Nicholas uses this an excuse to go impress Liz by being the hero and saving Jessica. Nicholas, Liz, and Nicholas’ unimportant friend go to Jack’s apartment to save Jessica. Well, good! They are just in time! Jessica, determined to find Jack’s real identity, rifles around in his bathroom and finds a shoebox of pills and marijuana. Oooooo nooo, teh drugs! If having a shoebox full of pills and a pinch of skunk is a crime, than put me away forever. When Jessica confronts Jack, he holds her at knife point. Good judgment on guys, Jess! Well, this wouldn’t have happened if Jack worked at, say,  his father’s company, but he was a construction worker, for god’s sake.
  • The Scooby squad bursts in and saves Jessica at the last minute! Boy was that lucky! They all laugh about Jessica’s shenanigans with boys and then go out for a triple bacon cheesburgers at the Dairi Burger. You know, normal reactions when your life is threatned by the man you thought you loved. Deb Morgan would agree.
  • There is never a g-damn SHOWDOWN between Lila and Jessica, so wtf? Liz calls Lila to find out Jack’s address, Liz tells her that Jess has been seeing Jack and now Jack is probably trying to kill Jessica, Lila responds with “thank Jess for saving me the trouble!”. Ok.
  • Oh? And the subplot? Penny Ayala has mono (what? I thought guys didn’t want to kiss her? ZING!) so Liz of course is taking over as editor and she’s a fucking martyr about it. Turns out there’s a fantastic photographer at SVH who leaves their photos under the Oracle door. Liz wants to find out who it is, and it turns out that it’s Tina Ayala, Penny’s sister, who doesn’t want Penny to know its her because Penny never takes her seriously. Liz, always happy to tell families what to do, and convinces Tina to tell Penny. Well, this happens “offscreen” and all is well. Way to build up tension and suspense, ghostwriters. NOT.

Wow, what. an. absolute. stinker. The plot made no sense, had no purposeful plot turns and devices, and none of the conflicts were ever resolved thoroughly. Why was Jack even manipulating the two girls/ just because he was crazy and on drugs? Well, the one thing we got was a great cover, loving Lila’s pearls and general hotness, where Jess looks like an anorexic soccer mom.

Jack has got some game! Here’s how we wooed the ladies:

The ocean wind blew softly as they strolled down to the water’s edge. “It’s so vast, so wild,” Jack reflected as he stared out at the seemingly boundless sea. “It makes you feel like nothing more than one of these tiny grains of sand. Know what I mean?”

and here’s the deal sealer:

“I think I’ll name a star after you.” He and Jessica looked upward. Every star in the sky sparkled like a cut diamond. “That one,” Jack proclaimed, reaching his finger out to point towards the star. “Because it shines more brightly than all the rest.” Jessica followed his outstretched arm with her eyes. “But, Jack, that’s the North Star!” “Not to me, it’s not. Not any longer.” Jack carewssed Jessica’s cheek with his fingertips. “From now on that star is called Jessica, and every time I look at it, I’ll tink of this wonderful evening.”

Wow, it was great seeing my lunch again.

The Long Lost Brother, as performed by the cast of True Blood

Photobucket

Cast:

Sara Eastbourne….Tara Thornton

Tim Eastbourne….Jason Stackhouse

Liz Wakefield…Sookie Stackhouse

Enid Rollins…Jessica Hamby

Amanda Hayes…Arlene

Todd Wilkins…Bill Compton

Jerry “Crunch” McAllistar…Sam Merlotte

Photobucket Hey Amanda, I am so glad my life has become so perfect after moving to Sweet Valley! I have you as a bff, and a popular boyfriend! We don’t have anything in common, and I have zero personality, but he’s popular, so who cares.

Photobucket I know! So what’s this about your twin brother moving to Sweet Valley!

Photobucket OMG! How did you find out???I’m so ashamed of him. He used to…DRINK ALCOHOL! AND STEAL CARS! When everyone finds out, it will be the TALK OF THE SCHOOL! MY LIFE IS RUINED!

—-

Photobucket Hey Sara, how’s it going?

Photobucket How dare you talk to me Tim! Since you’ve been in jail, been an alcoholic and in reform school, you can’t imagine how hard I have it. Please pretend that you are normal so that you will not ruin my reputation at Sweet Valley. I’m five steps away from being spoken to by a Wakefield, don’t you ruin it for me.

Photobucket ok fine. I’ll do it if that will make you accept me into your perfect little world.

———-

Photobucket Hi, I’m Tim, and I’m an alcoholic. What’s a pretty girl like you doing at an AA meeting?

PhotobucketI am actually just sitting in on all the self-help meetings here to get a sense of what it is like not to be perfect.

Photobucket Well, I hope all the girls in Sweet Valley are as pretty as you.

Photobucket Haha, you are such a tease. But actually, the answer is no.

—-

Later, at school

Photobucket Tim, it’s you! Nevermind that AA is supposed to be confidential! Welcome to Sweet Valley! I didn’t knoe you were a student here! Let me tell you how perfect and wonderful it is. I’m Liz.

Photobucket I love it already if all the girls look like you!

Photobucket Hey, lay off my woman, Tim. Wanna shoot hoopies later?

Photobucket Sure! I’m just a regular, nice high school guy who has never committed any crime!

Photobucket Wow, what a swell guy!

Photobucket I know! Now if only he had a deep, dark problem I could help him solve…oh wait, I’m late to meet Enid!

Photobucket Hey Liz, I am so glad we are volunteering for the battered women’s shelter. Not only will it make a good article for the newspaper, but you can brag that you did it.

Photobucket that’s not why I’m doing it, Enid.

Photobucket Oh, so why again are we doing this?

Photobucket So I can spend my time doing something good. And to remind all the readers that I come from a perfect home that would never consist of domestic violence. And also, as a convenient plot device.

Photobucket Oh, right. Can I touch your hair?

Photobucket Check out my sweeeet new van. It’s purple and has a lion on it.

Photobucket Wow that IS sweet. Can I take a look?

PhotobucketSure thing man.

5 minutes later

PhotobucketHey, someone stole my van!

PhotobucketIt’s TIM! Of course, I’ll never forgive him! Once a car thief, always a car thief!

Photobucket I can’t believe it! He seemed like such a nice guy! He shot hoops with me for the love of Pete!

Photobucket[tripping over cafeteria tables] Susan you look like you need help!

Photobucket Oh god, it’s awful. Tim is ruining my life! Everyone will hate me because Tim is such a loser! Everyone will be talking about it! Remember when Enid had a pen pal? That was all the school could talk about!

Photobucket I know what you need. I’m going over to the community center where the support groups are held so I can go touch people’s shoulders. You should come along!

Photobucket Wow, after one meeting, I’ve seen the error of my ways. I should support you Tim! I’ve been horrible! Good thing I caught you last minute before you were going to fly back to Connecticut!

Photobucket Hey, great. Despite your extreme selfishness and brattiness, I’ll accept your forgiveness and come live with you!

Photobucket Ah, another life saved. I am damn good.

Photobucket Too bad we’ll never hear about these two in any future books.

——

Some notes:

Sara Eastbourne is the biggest brat ever. She is super moody and makes Tim’s problems all about her. God knows why anyone likes her.

Why is everyone from Connecticut? Does it seem like such a foreign land compared to Sweet Valley? Probably.

Jessica is still committed to doing appearasnces as Miss Teen Sweet Valley, including doing promotions for auto dealers and shops at the mall. She complains incessantly until Liz fills in for her- AGAIN! Liz seems to secretly enjoy it.

When Liz learns that many battered women don’t leave their abusers, she gets really mad and upset. Shut up Liz. Liz also thinks she is all saintly because she goes to the shelter and throws a whiffle ball around with the kids. After she comes home and sighs loudly, Alice tells her: “You may not believe it, but your helping in your own way by writing responsible articles. As long as society ignores such problems, very little progress will be made. The more people are forced to think about domestic violence, to face the fact that it is really happening, the sooner we’ll find lasting solutions.” THAT’S RIGHT.  LIZ IS SAVING THE WORLD BY WRITING FOR A CRAPPY HIGH SCHOOL NEWSPAPER.

Did I mention: shut up, Susan. Shut up, Liz.

We hear a thousand tiny violins playing for Jessica’s problems, or #21, Runaway

I feel like this storyline is repeated about a thousand times. The best part of the book is the cover.

Jessica actually looks really pretty! And now I see where American Apparel gets its ideas from!




For a mere $78, you can have this ‘Runaway Jessica” ensemble.

Poooor Jessica. No one cares about her. Her parents love Liz more. Whenever Liz says something they take her seriously. Well, Jessica, maybe if you stopped acting like a psychopath slut and manipulating everyone around you for five minutes, maybe they would take you seriously too.

Ok, there is also some big case that Ned is working on involving Ricky Capoldo, and quite frankly, I barely paid attention. There is some custody battle going on. You would think Ned took an oath to keep the details private, but he blabs it to his family. Liz is all, oooooo!!! a chance to meddle in people’s lives. And somehow she is writing about it for the Sweet Valley News. It must be a slow news day. Also, wouldn’t Ricky NOT want this broadcast everywhere? Jess is all grumpy because Ned asked Liz to go and not Jess.

BUT this is amazing, groundbreaking. Ned shows some decent parenting and actually calls Jessica out on her bullshit and gets snippy with Liz when she asks her dad to go up and talk to Jessica. Essentially, telling her father how to parent.

“Look Liz”, Ned Wakefield interrupted. “I know you have Jessica’s best interests at heart, but I don’t think your mother and I should have to bend to her every whim. First of all, you two are very different, and I just don’t think this is the kind of thing Jessica would be interested in.”

“But Dad, maybe if you just talked to her-”

Her father cut her off again. “No, Liz. We’ve always tried to raise you as individuals. Jessica can make up her own mind, and you have to start realizing that. There are lots of times when we do things for Jessica that don’t suit you. If Jess wants to come along, fine, but I’m not going to beg her.”

Hallelujah! So basically the trial happens and it’a all about family values, blah blah blah. Liz talks to Ricky and gives him saintly advice about his family and all is solved blah. Sorry I kinda skimmed that part.

Meanwhile, Jessica is all poor me and distances herself with her friends. She notices Nicky Shepard, who we never heard of before this and of course he notices Jessica. Nicky has a shitty homelife and is planning on running away to San Francisco. I thought that in the eighties, you ran away to San Fran to come out. Jess plans on joining him. Boo fucking hoo.

Jessica write a letter to Elizabeth for the purpose of her finding it and coming to beg her to come home. It’s pretty dumb, but the p.s. is priceless: “p.s., you can have my jeans because they make me look fat”. Jess continues to take the bus and gets more and more upset that her family doesn’t come to stop her. Turns out the letter fell behind the dresser.

She actually gets on the bus to San Fran and no one chases after her HAHAHAHA! Plus she’s stuck talking to an elderly woman. Because no one ever grows old and gross in Sweet Valley. Finally the family finds out and they go apeshit looking for her. Steven and Liz find her at the next bus station and BEG her to come home. Why did they give in to her manipulation and continue to kiss her ass? if I were them I’d be pissed at what a brat she’s been.

After she gets home, the Wakefields have a long talk. That’s exactly what the book says. They don’t even tell us what the talk was about– which is kind of important. Did they apologize profusely to Jess? or did they tell her to stop acting like a brat?

Meanwhile she stops giving a shit about Nicky Shepard, and he is never mentioned, he is probably living on the streets of San Fran now. That would be an awesome spin off.

Grade: C+

Regina’s overdose, or #40 On the Edge

Let’s talk about this cover. Regina? Quite pretty in a “normal” kind of way. Also? Not looking like model material. And the pic of Bruce- is that a headshot? I wouldn’t be surprised if he had some made up. Also, thanks to Merrie who pointed out that Bruce looks like a young John Barrowman.

Good call. Also, Torchwood is pretty good.

Bruce, reverting back t0 his old ways, is fooling around with Amy Sutton. They are working on a project together about teen drug use. (Foreshadowing! Dun Dun Dunnnn…) Regina doesn’t know and Liz decides not to tell her. You could say that’s asinine of Liz, but I have been in the same situation and it is hard to be the bearer of the bad news. (Did I just defend Liz?)

So the Wakefields have a BBQ and Amy and Bruce fool around and everybody knows it is going on and Regina feels like an idiot. She gets mad at Liz for not telling her and basically tells Bruce to shove it. And he does, right up Amy Sutton.

Regina ends up hanging out with Justin Belson, who is a troublemaker with bad grades, who also hangs out with Molly Hecht and some badass named Jan. Honestly, these people actually seem interesting. She is invited to a party at Jan’s house, which will be WILD because Buzz the drug dealer will be there. And he doesn’t get his name from a bumblebee, if you know what I’m saying.Everyone warns Regina that he is bad news. God, they are so judgmental! Like BRUCE is so perfect?

So Bruce and Amy meet with Amy’s cousin Mimi about their drug project. I get the impression that Mimi is a social worker or someone who works in drug rehabilitation, but apparently she’s all that ans a police detective or something. She’s all, “we are hearing about a drug deal that is going to go down at a party with some guy named Buzz”. The fuck? Like there is only ONE drug dealer in all of Sweet Valley?

So Nicholas Morrow gets word about the party and jumps in his car and speeds towards the party. He gets stopped by cops because he was doing, I think, a hundred in a thirty-mile-an-hour zone and doesn’t have his license. He’s all “but there is a teenagers having a party! We must stop them!” Instead of cuffing him right then, the cops are all “we MUST get to that party! You’re right!”My head is in my hands.

Meanwhile, the party is in full swing. it seems WAY more fun that any party that Lila has with her fucking finger sandwiches and dumb decorations. Molly is peeved at Regina for hanging out with Justin, who is her ex-boyf and Regina actually feels bad because she knows the feeling. She wants to come clean with Molly, but big mean Jan decides to give her a hard time, goading her on to snort the cocaine. Regina does like three lines in a row, and I am no drug addict, but I know that is kind of a lot. She goes into cardiac arrest just as the cops and Nicholas burst in.

Okay the Scooby Gang are hanging out at Lila’s when they hear the news. Of course, Regina is kind of conscious for a bit and the first person she asks for is Liz. Because of course, the Wakefields are in the center of EVERYONE’s world, and if course you don’t want to walk into the light without getting one last glimpse of their sun-streaked hair!

Anyway, it’s too late. Regina is dunzo. It seems she suffered from a heart murmur and the cocaine gave her a heart attack. Ok, so, if the ghostwriters wanted to send a “drugs are bad” message, they totally fucked up. It comes across as, “if you are going to drugs, make sure you don’t have a rare congenital heart disease. Otherwise, go for it. Especially if you are ugly.”

Liz gets a letter that Regina wrote to her before she went to the party and mailed it. Who MAILS letters to their friends? Oh yea, this is before cell phones and emails. What would SVH look like with that technology? It forgives liz for everything and practically anoints sainthood on her for being a good friend.

Then, as you know, Justin and Molly become outcasts and of course Liz saves the fucking day.

I find it HIGHLY unlikely that Bruce or Lila have never done coke before.

Also, why is Enid and Liz invited to Lila’s? Don’t they all hate each other?

Speaking of Enid, she is all “I know what it’s like to run with the bad crowd”. Oh yea, like that one time you got a parking ticket? Shut up.

Grade: A-

The one in which we learn about the seedy underbelly of Sweet Valley, or #41 Outcast

I chose this one to read strictly based on the picture. First off, love Molly’s hair. That kind of feathering takes serious effort. Plus, who are those wicked old harpies in the back? Does this take place at a high school or on the Golden Girls’ set?

Ok, this is the book directly after the one where Regina dies (she was the one who “tamed” Bruce Patman) from taking cocaine at a party. Molly had the party where Regina overdosed, and feels guilty and like an outcast. Her bff Justin won’t talk to her and she feels close to the edge. Because SVH is the moral police and apparently she is the only one at the school who has dabbled in drugs. Pshaaaah, right. Like Bruce Patman hasn’t done a couple lines off of a hooker’s ass? Like Lila Fowler hasn’t snuck into Daddy’s liquor cabinet? Like Jessica wouldn’t do some mushrooms if a hot college boy told her to? I’ll bet Liz would take Aderol to get better grades. I hate these people.

So, Jessica seemingly does an unselfish thing and decides to set up a scholarship fund in Regina’s memory. Because Regina was deaf and overcame odds. Or something. Really she is doing it to be in the spotlight and to make the Pi Beta Alphas and the cheerleading team look great. Asshole. Her father decides that his law firm will handle the collection and investment of the money. Shouldn’t a financial planning firm do that? Isn’t Ned a civil lawyer? Why am I even questioning this? Oh, and they will sponsor a dance marathon to raise money. Seriously, these kids wouldn’t know what to do if their school didn’t have a dance every week.

Where was Bruce in all this? Didn’t his girlfriend just die? Oh right, he takes out his anger on some innocent pledges later on.

So Molly’s all wah wah poor me and decides to visit Regina’s grave to ask for forgiveness. Nicholas Morrow, her brother, is there and yells at her and tells her to eat shit and die basically. [I totally forgot about Nicholas Morrow and what a BABE he is.] So then Molls decides to run away with Buzz, the dealer who gave Regina the coke at the aformentioned party. Buzz lives in a run down apartment in the run-down area of Sweet Valley. And hangs out at….you guessed it, Kelly’s. The ONE seedy bar in Sweet Valley.

Not only does SVH have Saved by the Bell syndrome, but it also has what I am calling Little House on the Prairie Syndrome. Have you ever noticed that when other people in Walnut Grove are having problems, like personal or family problems, the Ingalls always swoop in and solve it, invited or not? They tell other families how to raise their kids and shit. It used to piss me off. Elizabeth does the same thing. She thinks that Molly needs help and calls Josh and some others to tell them to be nicer to Molly. Back off, you condescending meddler. It reeks of holier-than-thou-ness. So all is solved and everyone is happy. Molly decides to stay and quit drugs. They hint that Molly may even win the Regina memorial scholarship when she turns her life around and quits drugs. Or something.

I’ll bet that Molly and Justin Belson are never mentioned again.

Also, I’ve realized that the books become sucky once Jeffrey French is in the picture. Even if he isn’t directly involved with the plot, they are of lesser quality (quality being relative). Plus, he is SUCH a closet case. He comes over Liz’s house and they watch a PBS special together. GAY!

My grade: D-