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: Two Boy Weekend

You’re a popular, blond teenager. Your boyfriend is going to be away for four days. Do you:

  • (A) Pine after him by listening to your favorite songs that remind you of him, and spend the time hanging out with your girlfriends- it’s fun to have some girl time anyway!
  • (B) throw a massive temper tantrum, try to convince said boyfriend to cancel his plans despite it being important to him, practically threaten suicide, and sit on the beach for hours crying and feeling sorry for yourself

Great! You chose (B). Now, while you sit on the beach contemplating how awful your life is, you see a cute guy on the beach. Do you:

  • (C) Be faithful to your boyfriend for two fucking seconds. Maybe just admire him.
  • (D) Decide that he is the best looking guy you have ever seen and declare yourself in love with him. Of course agree to go out with him because he is instantly in love with you.

Great! You chose (D) You guys spend the whole weekend together. He doesn’t share anything about himself, but spends hours listening to you babble on about yourself.  After that weekend, and after your boyfriend returns, this guy, Christopher calls you incessantly after you ask him not too. Finally, you agree to go out with him one more time, and he threatens to smash into a brick wall with you in the car unless you promise to go out with him. Do you:

  • (E) tell your parents and seek help immediately. Maybe even call the police?….
  • (F) Decide to go out with him anyway, because you don’t want your boyfriend finding out about him. After all, your boyfriend is getting an award at a dance at the country club, and that will make you and him king and queen of the party, so you don’t want to miss that opportunity and therefore will continue to let Christopher harass you and threaten you. After all, you got a new dress!

You’ve chosen (F). Great! It’s the day of the party. However, Christopher finds out about the party, since he’s been stalking you. He shows up to break the news to your boyfriend, and probably to physically harm you for not choosing to be with him. When he arrives, he sees your identical twin sister and thinks it’s you. He starts talking to her and trying ti win her over. Should your twin sister:

  • (G) avoid this psycho, reveal herself to be your twin, alert some security at the party…or get the fuck away from this guy, or
  • (H) pretend to be you and agree to take a walk in the deserted woods with Christopher, so he won’t ruin your chances of being queen of the country club dance.

Well you chose…(H). Way to go…I guess? Still thinking your sister is you, he ties her up and shoves her in the trunk of his car in hopes of kidnapping her. This brings up some major issues because this is not the first time your sister was kidnapped. Not long ago, she was held hostage and fed frozen pancakes. Finally, after about an hour of dancing in the spotlight, you begin to feel a TAD BIT worried about your sister. You find her boyfriend and go off to find her. Just your luck! You catch them just as Liz is being thrown in the trunk. Jeffrey punches him out and you free Liz from the ropes. Yay! Does Liz:

  • (I) freak out from the incident, go ballistic on you, screaming for the police and have a flashback to her earlier ordeal?
  • (J) Hop out of the car, smooth her sensible skirt and laugh the whole thing off.

Great, you chose…..give me a fucking break. You chose (J)? Really? Really? Well, ok. So Christopher gets hauled off by security. Turns out he’s an escaped mental patient who has done this to girls before. Tee hee! Silly you! You probably should have asked more about him and not talked so much about yourself. You all head back to the party. Your boyfriend, A.J., asks you where you’ve been. You:

  • (K) Explain that you were cheating on him and because of your selfish actions, almost got your sister raped and/or killed.
  • (L) Say that things just aren’t working out, maybe you need time apart, and end up parting amicably so that the break up is NO FAULT of yours and he actually apologizes to you.

of COURSE you chose (L). You’re Jessica Wakefield.

—-

Francine, stop trying to make rape-chic happen. Seriously, were we supposed to think Jessica was dumb? Or that this was funny? What is the lesson learned? That they should just expect it because they are Wakefields, it’s part of life, if this happens it will all work out? That if they just ignore the guy threatening them, they can work it out themselves? That girls are powerless about the men that threaten violence against them? There was no lesson learned….Jessica has NO consequences from cheating on her boyfriend, not telling anyone about the guy threatening her, almost getting Elizabeth killed. She learns nothing. Elizabeth, as usual, enables her by cleaning up her mess.

Meanwhile, Jessica may be an even bigger sociopath than this Christopher guy. I’ve GOTTA transcribe Jessica’s reaction to A.J. having the NERVE to go away for four days. And when her friends wouldn’t wallow in her self-pity with her.

Her friends’ laughter drifted to her, and Jessica felt a surge of loneliness and betrayal. They were acting as if nothing was different, she thought. They weren’t making the least effort to cheer her up, and they were all going to Ken Matthew’s party later and didn’t even care if she went or not. I could disappear off the face of the earth, and they’d never know the difference. Feeling completely rejected, she dove into an oncoming wave and swam a few quick strokes out. She cut through another wave and felt her hair drag out behind her. They’d be really sorry if I drowned, she added silently. Then they’d wish they’d been nicer to me when they had the chance.

I call your bluff, Jessica. Drown yourself.

Regina’s Legacy

Liz: Broad-shouldered and...constipated?

I was going to try to make this one into a one act play or some other format, but it is so goddamn horrible I have to spell it out for you. I couldn’t have made this worse if I tried.

Elizabeth is the center of everyone’s world. The Morrows are going through dead Regina’s stuff, trying to decide what to do with it. Her most prized possession is her camera, so instead of giving it to Nicholas, or, say, the doctor that cured her deafness, they give it to Liz because Regina liked her so much. Of course.

Sweet Valley High is the most unrealistic school in the world. Some guy Jim (who?) starts a photography club and it’s all the rage. BAM! Suddenly SVH has a state of the art darkroom. Wow, Liz, how convenient that you were just given a camera! The club decides to work on a project together. They could do anything in the world, like to a photo essay about the elderly, endangered species, still-lifes…Of course, what do they do? “I could be about life at Sweet Valley High”, Elizabeth suggested. “It could be aphoto essay. Barf! Vom! More navel gazing. And apparently the whole school is supposed to care about the activities of these kids. It’s almost like in High School Musical 3 when their school musical is based on the lives of the main characters, as if the whole school gives a crap. Or, even better, remember in their senior year, the kids of Beverly Hills 90210, had a senior breakfast, and they highlighted the activities of only Brenda and Brandon and their friends? As if West Beverly High cared about their camping trip? I digress.

The kids get entangled in a crime and seek no help from the authorities or their parents. Liz is out taking pics at the beach, and photographs some shady looking guys. They try to attack her to get the camera, and she doesn’t tell any adult. She decides to enlist Todd in investigating the crime, and Todd is happy to go along because it means no fighting and Liz gets all worked up about fighting crime he probably saw a chance to grab some boob. It’s like when Tobias and Lindsay rekindled their passion while spying on Michael’s blind girlfriend.

Jessica is a total idiot and will do anything for the attention from a guy. The creepy criminal who chased Liz sees Jess in her car, pulls her over, and asks about the photograph. Jessica pretends to be Liz because she thinks this creepy thirty-something guy, Chad, is in to her. They go out and Chad demands the picture, so she tells him its in the SVH darkroom. The darkroom gets trashed, and JESSICA TAKES NO RESPONSIBILITY.

Sweet Valley is in an alternate universe. The bad guys…get this… are into DRUGS! ZOMG! How can anyone be that horrible awful? Liz and Todd trail Chad as he tries to take Jessica captive, they get stopped by a cop for speeding, and…

“She’s in terrible trouble,” Elizabeth continued. “The man she is involved in may be involved with drugs!” Elizabeth had never been so serious in her life. The police officer must have sensed this.

After the bad guys are caught, their trial makes national news. Because selling drugs is so horrific! It almost never happens…IN THE FUCKING WORLD! I think the ghostwriters are raised in caves in isolation and have to write in order to be fed. That can be the only explanation for the fucked up, out of left field ways they view teenagers and the world.

Once again, the twins are the center of the universe. The photo club has been keeping their secret photo essay project a secret from anyone, all to the extent that their friends get mad and Jim’s girlfriend breaks up with him. All over this fucking stupid photo essay. Also, the Morrows decide to donate money to rebuild the darkroom so the twins and their friends can continue to have a photography club, and it’s something Regina would have enjoyed.

And here’s and ending that will bring tears to your eyes and chunks to your throat:

“Todd, do you think it might have been partly due to my memory of Regina, and the fact that I was using her camera, that I felt so driven to discover the connection between the photo and the three men on the beach and the news story about the drug ring?”

“You mean because drugs caused Regina’s death?

Elizabeth nodded. “It’s almost as if, in a weird sort of way, some justice has been done. With the help of Regina’s camera, a major drug ring was exposed! Who knows how many lives have been saved?”

The one where Jessica wins the fashion show and the boy or #49 playing for keeps

So this one really bothered me. I mean, all of them bothered me, but this one had my head spinning.

A.J. is cute, for a SVH boy. His hair needs some layering and less feathering. Also, I was promised that he was a redhead. So I was thinking Prince Harry redhead, so I am let down. Also love the matching bland-colored shirts. Jessica needs a better bra.

So after the Slam Book fiasco was resolved, A.J. Morgan and Jessica are dating. But Jessica is putting on the pretense that she is shy, quiet, and studious…like Liz. Everyone is telling her to be herself, but she knows that A.J. doesn’t like obnoxious borderline cases like the real Jessica, and she wants to keep him. I don’t even know why they are dating, because she acts a fool all the time. She reads him bad poetry and tries to talk about wordly things. They even go to a Save the Whales meeting.

Meanwhile, some rich girl Pamela who goes to a private school is trying to steal A.J. A.J. totally wants to bone her, but is trying not to cheat on Jessica. He enjoys Jessica’s seriousness, but is really torn up because he’s a teenage boy and wants to pork a girl. So he is kind of attracted to Pamela.

Meanwhile Lisette’s (you know, the super classy store in the mall) is having a fashion show contest, and the winner gets a custom-designed wardrobe. How does this help the store? Publicity, I guess? Everyone and their mother kisses Jessica’s ass and tells her she would obvs win this thing (ugh) but she thinks A.J. wouldn’t approve. After an awkward double date with A.J., Jeffrey and Liz, she decides to enter. Jessica, honey, it was probably awkward because Jeff is a closet case, not because of you.

So Pamela chick enters the contest, and tries to trip up Jessica by ruining her outfits. The show was ultimate cheese. Pam rips the back of one of Jess’ dresses, so instead of turning around, Jessica “dances” backwards. Also, she models a denim dress that zippers up the sides (classy) but Pam jams the zippers, so Jess belts the dress with it open on both sides. Gross. Finally, she and Pam have a shrieking fight that the audience overhears, and A.J. realizes that Jess is a firecracker and they live happily ever after. And Jess wins a wardrobe of cheap mall attire.

Okaaaayyyyy, so you think the message here is that you should never compromise who you are to get a boy right? Don’t think so fast. Well, you shouldn’t change yourself if you are already shallow, superficial and slutty. So on the one hand we are getting the message that Jessica should be herself, but on the other hand her “act” of being smart and serious is not going to get the guy. Being a superficial, flirtatious slut is what gets the guy. See the twisted logic? This kills me. It’s like Francine was almost on a roll with sending an important message, but then fucks it up with her deluded superficial bullshit.

Other thoughts:

Why the hell doesn’t A.J. hear old stories about Jessica? He doesn’t seem to have any friends. They could give him some general-friends like Aaron Dallas and Tom McKay (when he was straight). Also, I don’t really get what is special about him. He seems rather boring. He makes Todd look exciting, and that is saying something. He’s outdoorsy, we’re told, but whatever.

Elizabeth feels bad that Jessica has to pretend and wants her to be her true self. She “misses the scheming, manipulative Jessica”. And I quote. Wha? She really misses the Jessica that steals her boyfriends and calls people fat? I hate the Wakefield family.

Pamela is a total vixen. She lures A.J. to her house- and get this- one of the straps of her sundress slides down. This is the closest we get to talking about sex since the Bruce-Liz-amnesia thing.

Amy Sutton doesn’t enter the fashion show because she thinks she’s too fat. She has to sit on Lila’s lap in the Fiat and Lila complains how much she weighs. Great friends.

When Jessica enters the fashion contest, the salesperson asks her size and Jess is all “size 6, duh”. As if the salesperson is supposed to have read the series.

Grade: D

Women’s Lib! or #76, Miss Teen Sweet Valley

Only in Sweet Valley: the Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a Miss Teen Sweet Valley contest and holding it in the SVH auditorium. They are doing this as a fundraiser. How this will make them money I don’t know. I guess they are expecting all the pervs out there to buy tickets. And also, why the fuck is this allowed in the school? Am I surprised by it?

Liz and her fucking matching barettes.

Jessica is ecstatic of course, and is sure she will win. In fact, she waits a bit to sign up because she doesn’t want to make the other contestants scared.

It was hard to keep her intention of entering , and winning, to herself. But it was better to wait and see who else was signing up in order to evaluate her competition. If the other candidates knew Jessica was entering, they were bound to get discouraged and withdraw. In either case, the pageant would be canceled or Jessica would win simply because she was the only person in the contest.

How do the ghostwriters sleep at night?

Elizabeth, on the other hand, suddenly grows a spine and goes on a campaign to get it canceled, because she feels it is demeaning to women. She writes a long article in The Oracle. The Sweet Valley News reads it and wants to print it. Seriously, because the ONLY news worth printing in Sweet Valley has to do with the Wakefield twins. Plus, the local news LOVES the story and has the twins on tv to debate the issue. Please let that be a shitty local access channel, and not the nightly news.

Jessica really really wants to win. Why? So her brother’s college friend will notice her. And she’s an egomanical sociopath. Wow, great reasons. The guy, Frazer, actually ignores jess and doesn’t seem interested. Wh-wh-wh-what? How is it biologically possible that a guy ignores Jessica?

Meanwhile, Jess is taking modern dance lessons to work on her talent portion. Her teacheris very short with her and keeps giving her a hard time. That’s impossible! Jessica is amazing at everything she does! How dare someone day otherwise! Oh, actually, he’s hard on her because HE’S NEVER SEEN TALENT LIKE HERS…EVER. And it’s his duty to encourage such talent. Again, stop. validating. Jessica.

Liz finds a loophole in which she can get the pageant cancelled, but all for her love of Jess she lets it go on. Any person wishing to have an event in the school auditorium needs permision from the superintendent, who has been out of town “visiting the Soviet Uniton meeing with Soviet educators.” The fuck? He’s a superintendent of schools, not a spy for the CIA.

So Jessica fucks up during the dance portion, and is all ashamed and doesn’t want to go. In order to help her, Liz enters the swimsuit part posing as Jessica, because doncha know that she has a perfect size-six, tanned body.

So, Jessica finally wins. And she starts to think…I screwed up the dance portion…did I really win just because I’m pretty? Of course because she is about to have a profound thought about the superficiality of it all, it is forgotten of course. Through rumors she heard that the prize was 10,000 bucks and a shopping spree, but it turns out the prizes are reallya haircut at the new styling salon in the mall, a month’s free bowling at Al’s Alley, a set of encyclopedias (omg remember those?) a twenty-five dollar gift certificate for Things for Girls, ten free movie rentals at Quick-dash. Bwahahaha.

Ok, but then…this is infuriating. Frazer then shows up and is like, I’ve liked you this whole time but was afraid to ask you out. WHAT? It’s like even when Jessica doesn’t get what she wants it’s like it’s because she is so awesome that it will always work out in the end anyway.

Other thoughts:

One of the other contestants is deaf (not Regina, she’s dead) and Jessica was all, oh it’s okay because her hearing aids were hidden behind her hair.

The one with the infamous Jessa Fields #32 The New Jessica

Firstly, I love the way people find their way here through internet searches.

Here are the most popular searches that have gotten people here:

  • Jessica boobs
  • touching boobs
  • Amy Wilkins (some fanfic maybe?)
  • bulimia tips

Nice, guys. Nice.

This one comes right after the whole Jeffrey French hoopla. Jessica is getting all pissypants after maybe one or two people mistake her for Liz. She is wearing Liz’s peach sweater knit dress (ew) so what should she expect? She feels she doesn’t have her own identity (I could call her some things that could give her an identity) so what better to solve this than…A MAKEOVER! Makeovers give her a sense of control in a world of chaos. Luckily, Lila’s Dad just recently tried to buy his daughter’s respect by bringing her back tons of stuff from Paris. I am surprised she lets Jess borrow it.

So Jessica’s makeover consists of:

  • dying her hair black
  • appearing paler
  • losing more weight to be “gaunt” (those exact words)
  • speaking in a “slightly” British accent (wtf?)
  • reading European fashion magazines
  • sipping capuccinos at Sweet Valley’s Eurotrash coffeeshop
  • renaming herself “Jessa Fields”

Of COURSE she makes a splash at SVH. I hate how Jessica always gets so much attention, it totally validates her borderline behavior. And the kids of SVH (all 5 of them) canNOT stop talking about Jessica. In fact, the day she shows up in school with her new look, “girls were jumping up to surround Jessica, touching her hair, walking around her to inspect her outfit, exclaiming excitedly”. Fucking please. And Ms. Dalton totally allows it.

One of the best.covers. ever!

Liz is rocking the Mom jeans. And the goddamn barettes, again. This is the sad part- Jessica’s outfit is kind of what people are wearing lately. In fact, I am a lil ashamed to say I wore something similar yesterday, A Blazer over a tunic with a chunky beaded necklace. Don’t worry, I’ll burn it. The belt over the shirt is even “back in”, as they say. I still don’t like it, I can’t stand clothes that defy functional purposes. And the hair would look good if it weren’t for those awwwwful bangs. I hate how it makes the wave over the forehead. It’s almost a little Donald Trump-esque.

Also, the one disappointing this is that SVH never really detailed outfits, which was my favorite part of most YA novels (I had a field day with Claud and Stacy’s outfits from the Baby-Sitters Club, and loved Sam’s stupid Mickey-Mouse boxes, suspenders, and red cowboy boot ensembles in Sunset Island) but here we get full descriptions!

  • “She had tied her hair back in a lose ponytail, and a few tendrils curled in wisps at her cheeks [I hate this look. Very Laura Ingalls Wilder]. Her eyes were drakened with lavish makeup- definately sultrier than her usual look. White powder helped achieve the ethereal , pale effect she was striving for….she was wearing an olive green leather skirt with a slit up the back. The skirt was so straight it was hard to walk. Matching hose with a lacy pattern and three-inch heels…a silky, oversized blouse and green leather belt worn on her hips…a chunky necklace and big gold earrings” ICK! So matchy-matchy!
  • “a black silk jumpsuit [cameltoe central] and red high-heeled boots…a red scarf completed the look…along with oversized earrings that Elizabeth thought were a but much for everyday.”
  • “a new outfit from Lisette’s [where else?]…a white, really slim-cut skirt that that was several inches longer than what she usually wore, with a white sweater with sequins on it. A white beret completed the look”. [I think this was the outfit I wore to my sixth grade class photo].

Liz gets really upset because she loves being a twin…I guess she forgot all the times Jessica fucks her over and stole her boyfriends. Liz even thinks Jeffrey likes Jessica’s new look and they have a dumb fight and Jessica even tries to make a move. Blah.

How many books does modeling have to be a central plot point? So everyone obvs tells Jess she should be a model so she goes to a photographer who tells her about a gig in the local dept store, but then they see Liz and they’re all, THAT’s what we want, a gorgeous, perfect size six California blonde with silky blonde hair and blue-green eyes. Well, not in those words, but you know what I mean. So finally Jess drops her look so she could be in the show, and then the twins BOTH get to be in the show! Yay! Happy ending! The moral is, beauty is more than skin deep. And by that I mean, you should always base your appearance on what a model casting agent tells you.

I was feeling very listy today!

Other thoughts:

Jess uses shampoo-in black dye that supposedly washes out after 2 washings. Uh, wouldn’t that rub off everywhere? And does that mean she didn’t wash her hair throughout the whole book?

Jessica thinks her new look makes her look “slightly Eastern”. Does she mean Eastern European? Middle Eastern? Wtf?

Oh, there’s a subplot where Liz thinks she loses her diary. Snoozefest 2007.

When complaining about her chores to Cara, she assumes Cara does the dishes and her brother takes out the trash. Obvs, how dare we go outside the gender norms.

Mr. Collins recognizes the peach dress that Jessica is wearing as the one that Liz wore a couple days ago. Why in the hell does he remember that? Dirty old man.

Jessica’s white outfit, the whole thing, cost $67. I know there’s inflation, but I thought Lisette’s was high-end fashion, not a loosely veiled version of Mandee.

Fun fact: the twins’ grandmother has a PhD in history. Random.

Also, I just realized that this book contained no school dance/picnic/auction/big game/danceathon! Omg! How did they survive?

Grade: A + +

Today’s poll: was there ever an outfit from tv/movie/books that you tried to emulate? Many of you know that I rocked the Brenda Walsh bangs through much of high school and college. I also was OBSESSED with the outfit MaryAnne Spier wore to the dance with Logan- the skirt with pictures of the Eiffel Tower and the words “London” and “Paris” and whatnot. I wanted one so bad, so my mom bought me some E.J. Gitano version of it. I can’t believe I admitted that.

The one where all of Jessica’s boyfriends die or #100, The Evil Twin

As someone mentioned earlier, Margo, aka the evil twin, is good because she “gets shit done”. I totally agree. But let’s go back to the beginning.

So as I started reading this, I realized it was sixth in a miniseries and was worried that I should have read the first few before this. Then I realized that my IQ is over 40 and I would have no problem. Some background: Jess and Liz were in competition for Jungle Prom queen, and Jess wanted Liz to look like an idiot so she spiked her punch. She accidentally spiked her boyfriend’s Sam’s punch too, and then they drove off and Liz killed him. There was a trial and shit, and in the meantime Jessica stole Todd for a while but then there was a not guilty verdict and Todd is back with Liz, but needless to say, Jess and Liz are talking. Meanwhile, Margo, who is a fucked up foster child who HAPPENS TO LOOK IDENTICAL TO THE TWINS, is on her way to SV to take over Liz’s identity after seeing her picture in the papers. Along the way, Margo killed lots of people, including some boy named Georgie. Georgie’s bro, Josh, is on Margo’s tail to take her down. Margo also hired some guy, James, so spy on the twins, but meanwhile he has fallen in love with Jessica. Because no one can ever not fall in love with them.

I feel bad for Jess- all her boyfriends dying. I mean, I hate Jessica, but isn’t that a little much to put her through? I did start to feel a lil bad for her. And why the hell do boys always fall in love with her? I mean, in high school years “love” really means “lust” but let’s just call it like we see it and not have guys professing their innermost feelings for her, but rather just trying to get into her pants.

Oh, and Jess and Liz are not talking to each other. Because at one point during the trial, Jessica intercepted some love letters from Todd and had her way with them. Also, Liz doesn’t know that Jess was the one that spiked the punch. They both have dreams about the incident, cuz their twins, they have a connection. I guess it must be the matching size six figures.

Finally, Margo gets the same dress as Liz and goes to Lila’s New Year’s Eve ball and lures Liz into a boathouse intending to kill her, but Jessica and Josh show up in time to push Margo through a glass window onto concrete, and a shar of glass goes through her jugular. Didn’t that happen in Ghost?. Good times. Murder always makes for a happy ending.

Ok, plotline out the way.

Showing you the cover here is kind of pointless, because it is a SPECIAL fold out cover, and the inner flap shows Margo dressed as Elizabeth weilding a knife, and Liz showing fear. Also, an inset of the twins in bathrobes opening presents under the tree, and they look about 47. If you own the book you can enjoy it yourselves.

Margo is batshit crazy. No doubt. Something about her growing up in foster homes and being abused. Okay, I’ll give her that, but she kills anybody in her way just for the chance to become a Wakefield. Seriously, Francine makes it seem as if you don’t grow up in a heterosexual nuclear family, you are a lunatic. Suzanne Devlin was a sociopath because she had neglectful parents, Lila is all fucked up because of her broken home, Tricia Martin and the whole town drunk dad thing, etc. etc. Like the Wakefields are the perfect family- pshah. Do Alice and Ted realize one of their twins is a raging cock tease and the other one is a condescending hypocrite?

Speaking of Ned and Alice, Margo hatched a plan to send them on a fake trip to San Francisco on some “lawyer consulting” thing. With a big-shot lawyer that Ted is, why in the hell did he fall for the bait? Well, as soon as they get to San Fran of course they do the toursity stuff- Fisherman’s Warf, Golden Gate, blah blah. I’s like to see Alice end up at Haight-Ashbury and reminisce about her hippy days. Anyway. Alice starts getting mother’s intuition that something is wrong and they try to get home despite train derailings and shit. I hate when they write from the adults’ point of view. It’s insulting.

Ok, so Margo apparently looks so much like the twins she sneaks into the house a lot and pretends to be them. Uh, even their mother couldn’t tell them apart? She also goes shopping with Lila and hangs out with Enid, and they are none the wiser. They just think their friend is in a weird mood. Whatever. Also, didn’t they have a dog, Prince Albert? Where did it go? Wouldn’t the dog detect strangers? Ghost writers, check your notes!!!!

Margo also went out with Todd and they made out and shit, and Todd didn’t say anything. He just thought it was Jessica. What a dick boyfriend.

I love how it is ony Christmastime, and apparently everything that happened in the last 99 books took place over three months. Including several spring breaks, summer trips, etc. Gotta love warped Sweet Valey time. Also, the day before Christmas vacation, every class at SVH has a party. Wtf?

Ken Matthews dressed up as Santa to deliver candy canes. What? Is he showing a hint of personality?

Also, a Jungle Prom? What is going on with that? I’m kind of offended.

Jessica’s friends really don’t offer her support after James dies, because they don’t know what to say. Assholes.

Can I mention that I am still reeling at the possibility that there is a lunatic foster child that LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE THE TWINS??? This is the likedaytime soap fodder.

Now, here is the big question. Why does everyone worship the Wakefield twins? People are dying to be friends with them, idolize them, and go on a killing rampage to become one of them. Surely, SOMEONE must hate them with a passion. Even when they treat one like shit (ahem, Robin Wilson) they still come crawling back for approval/acceptance, and this drives me fucking crazy. My god, Jessica has screwed over countless boys, I am sure they are not too happy with her. She basically hates and ridicules other girls, so there must be some goth/alterna chick at SVH who hates her. And Liz…she acts all perfect and sweet, but we know she is a hypocrite. If we ever saw them in classes, I have a feeling that Liz would be such a know-it-all and a teacher’s pet. Even through grad school there was always one of those in every class and I always loathed them. I mean, this is high school. Jealousy and exclusion are enough to fuel school shootings. Also, have you ever known someone where other people keep telling you how awesome they are and that alone makes you kind of hate them a little? Maybe that’s just me.

My grade: B. The later ones seem to have a totally different feel, and are way dumber. In a good way.

Next time: I got a whole new batch of books from ebay, so I don’t know. I want to get into the trilogies, but there are so many other shit-tastic ones from the 50s and 60s. We shall see.

Today’s poll: If you could look identical to a SVH character and murder them and take over their life, who would it be? I would say Penny Ayala, and turn the boring Oracle into an underground anarchist publication.

The one where they think they’re in a baby sitters’ club book, or Super Edition: Malibu Summer

I don’t know what makes this a super edition. Maybe because it’s about 20 pages longer than the usual book? In case we forgot that Elizabeth is the Madonna and Jessica is the whore, Liz gets to wear a hideously conservative suit and Jess gets the bikini.

So, it’s summer vacation and I am pretty sure the next book after this they are back in their junior year. Whatevs. That won’t keep me up at night. Jessica wants to work in Malibu as mother’s helpers, so she convinces (i.e. manipluates) Liz into giving up her job at the Sweet Valley news to do it with her. She even makes Liz interview for her as well. That’s ethical. Jessica takes a job at a small house with a baby because the family are cousins of Tony Sargent, a famous singer. This is someone that was just mentioned here, and I am pretty sure will never be mentioned again after this book. Liz gets a job in a large rich house for a girl that is unloved and neglected. Weird, because I just caught Uptown Girls yesterday. Of course, Liz, at sixteen, teaches them how to raise their child and how to treat each other. Blech.

This one was so bad and tedious I can barely tell you the rest. If I wanted a book about mother’s helpers, I would read Sunet Island. For reals. So….Tony Sargent, the singer, needs to hide out because apparently he banged a groupie and now her boyfriend wants to kill him. So he hides out at his cousin’s house and poses as a Yale senior. Elizabeth meets him when she is over covering for Jessica and they fall in love. Because he likes books. But he is 21! and too old! Her parents won’t approve, so she is struggling. Yelllooooo, you’re in Malibu without them, stop being such a LOOOOOOSSSSER, Liz. Seriously, this is so unrealistic. I think they are trying to create a good role model character, but Jesus H Christ I want to fucking punch Elizabeth. Ok, so there is some sort of big rainstorm and the little neglected girl runs away and Liz runs away with the singer. Jessica saves the little girl from being swept away by the storm and the stalker finds Elizabeth and the guy and attempts to kill him. Ho-hum.

All is well, but Elizabeth is mad when she finds her lovah is really Tony Sargent undercover. She is mad? Pleez. Also, they can never really have a relationship because he is such a big celeb. So she has to give him up. um, WHAT? This put me over the edge. Yea, it couldn’t work, but if you had the chance to DATE a celeb, you TAKE IT! I am nearing thirty and if I made out with a celeb, even B-List, I’d do it! Liz is such a fucking grandma!!!!!!! I am acting as if I am surprised that SVH is unrealistic.

Other thoughts:

Elizabeth talks shit about Lila yet hangs out with her all summer. Just sayin’.

Because Jessica and Lila are sooooooo pretty, they pick up guys wherever they go. Lila picks up a guy at the mall (so unlike her). Turns out he is a younger guy and he hides that fact from her (geeeee, we’ve never seen THAT plot device before.

My grade: C-

The one where you think Jessica has sex but the title and cover are misleading, or #5 All Night Long

I was totally not allowed to read this one. For the apparent sexual content it promised. BUT….when I did read it, it did not deliver. Jessica was out all night because she wouldn’t sleep with a college guy on the first date and she couldn’t get a ride home until the morning. LAME!

I digress. First, let’s start with the cover. Why did Jessica and her date stop at the Sears portrait studio? Why in the hell does Scott have a porn moustache? He looks old enough to be my father. Or a little bit like a drag king. Creepy. And Jessica and her damn feathered hair.

Jessica hangs out with aformentioned moustached college guy, Scott, at a beach party. They are drinking! SHOCKER! And they are passing around a joint. This is how Jessica knows she is in the “fast lane”. Jessica has no real contact, just talks in sexual innuendos and acts like a third grader, like dumping mud on him and runs away. Hot. I’ll have to try that one. They go to some abandoned boathouse or something and Scott starts kissing her “like he means business”. She protests and he pins her down and threatens that he won’t let her leave until she “gives it up”.

Hold it there. Here is the chance for the issue of date violence and date rape to be addressed, but good old Francine decides to go with the blame the victim route. Scott says, ” Go ahead, Jessie baby. Tell them. Tell them how you lied to [your parents] so you could sneak up here with me. Tell them how you just happened to be in a deserted boathouse, practically naked, when I came along and tried to take advantage of you.” Great. Fantastic. He leaves her in the boathouse to find her way back.

The All Night Long refers to the time it takes Jessica to find her way back and get a ride home. When she gets back she bullies into covering for her. Elizabeth is a total doormat, so does it and has multiple panic attacks in the process. Oh, and fights with Todd. Big shocker. Jess actually makes Liz feel bad for not helping her enough. She even has to pretend to be Jessica in front of her Mom so that she can cover. How does her Mom not know? Jessica basically blames her whole situation on Elizabeth, justifying her dumb actions as Elizabeth not stopping her. Whoa. Some serious denial. And totally yells at Elizabeth that she hates her once she gets back, and Liz just takes it and begs for forgiveness. Based on the novel that is about an inch think, I’ve diagnosed Jessica with Histrionic Personality Disorder:

    • Constant seeking of reassurance or approval.
    • Excessive dramatics with exaggerated displays of emotions.
    • Excessive sensitivity to criticism or disapproval.
    • Inappropriately seductive appearance or behavior.
    • Excessive concern with physical appearance.
    • A need to be the center of attention (self-centeredness).
    • Low tolerance for frustration or delayed gratification.
    • Rapidly shifting emotional states that may appear shallow to others.
    • Opinions are easily influenced by other people, but difficult to back up with details.
    • Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are.
    • Make rash decisions
    • Threaten or attempt suicide to get attention

Yep, seems about right.

Other things:

When describing Olivia Davidson, the arts editor for The Oracle, it mentions that she is “big on anti-nuke rallies and eats alafalfa srprouts and whole-grain breads”. Oh come on, Francine, we know what you really want to say- that she’s a dyke. Just say it.

Enid also recouts a college party she heard about from her cousin. “It was kind of a grown up pajama party, with everyone wearing nightshirts and nightgowns, and on the floor strewn with mattresses for them to sit on instead of chairs. According to Enid’s cousin, things had gotten pretty out of hand, especially with all the drinking that had been going on.” The fuck???

These characters either have no sense of humor, or they were purposely written with the sense of humor geared towards four year olds. When Todd and Liz are fighting over the fact that Liz is being manipulated by Jessica, she calls off their Saturday night date. “I’d rather go out with Jaws!” is her retort. Okay, maybe the reference meant more in 1982. That would mean today, that insult would translate to “I’d rather go out with Shrek!” Okay, it still doesn’t work.

I think Bruce Patman is a thinly veiled allegory for free market capitalism and corporate greed. And Liz represents socialism. It’s like Animal Farm with teenagers.

The moral: if you manipulate and emotionally abuse your sibling long enough, you will finally break them down. Or something.

My grade: B