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

The ghostwriter of this one FAILS AT LIFE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grade: F

The one with the artifical intelligence science project, or #36, Last Chance

My god, Amy Sutton is a worthless, disgusting, soul-sucking piece of shit. And the thing is, I am not sure if her high school persona is supposed to be hatelful to the reader, or supposed to personify popularity. Apparently in junior high she was smart and nice and driven, and now she is anything but, and that is really never addressed. My god, even Jessica gets annoyed with her. And that’s saying a lot.

The Clark Kent guy is Peter DeHaven, someone who apparently is the shit at SVH and we are only hearing about him now. He’s a computer science genius, and he’s been accepted to MIT. Funny how he’s totally smart and the gals are all over him, but god forbid a girl does well in school and she’s a hideous dog. Oh, and he maaaaayyyy be wearing pleated jeans. It’s hard to tell. The blonde is Amy, duh. The other gal is Johanna Porter, sister of Julie Porter, the one who was caught up in the pledging mayhem.

Jo dropped out of school because she was failing and had no motivation. Her parents and sister Julie were way into music and she wasn’t, so she felt like the outcast of her family. She had no interest in music, so she felt she wasn’t repected. I actually felt for her a little. Then her mother was killed and felt even more alienated and depressed. She has been working as a waitress at the Whistle Stop which she actually enjoyed more than SVH because the people were real and she felt respected. Honestly, she is better off being there and making an honest living. But, she decides to give school another try. Once she arrives every is all bitchy and judgemental. She chats with Pete, who is a childhood friend, but is also going out with Amy. When Amy is away, he and Johanna hang out, although he only talks about himself and doesn’t seem to care about her. Although, she is starved for attention and sympathy and unfortunately totally falls in lurve with him. However, he is a total dick and won’t break up with Amy. He doesn’t even like her, he guesses it is just easier to be with her.

Meanwhile, guess who is assigned to tutor Jo to help her catch up? That’s right, our resident Ingalls, Miss Liz Wakefield. Not only does she tutor her in school, she tutors her in LIFE! Why the fuck does she always have to tutor people? Ken, Annie, and now Johanna! As if Liz wasn’t sticking her condescending nose into everything already, she goes and confronts Peter about how he is treating Jo. Yea, like she has the right to say how to treat people in relationships.

Finally Peter does realize he really does love Johanna but he is staying with Amy because he is not truly interested in her, so he never has to be vulnerable. Finally after Johanna drops out again, he finds her at the Whistle Stop and professes his love for her, but….she TELLS HIM TO FUCK OFF! And that she needs to get her life together for her, and not for anyone else! Can it be true? Does a character actually grow a spine? I am actually overjoyed that things don’t end up in a stupid cliched happy ending with a kiss.

Meanwhile, for now reason other than she is a manipulative sociopath, Jessica decides that she does not want Cara and Steven to go out anymore. She feels that since she got them together, she OWNS them and has the right to break them up. She makes each of them believe that they are seeing other people. They fight about it and when they realize that it was Jessica that was behind it all, she pulls this shit: “I was only testing you two…if you really loved each other, you’d never fall for any of that stuff I said.” And Steven and Cara bend over and take it. Cara: “She’s right, Steve. We’re really the ones at fault. We should have trusted each other.” And Jessica gets way with it!!!! Why does she get all this validation?

Other stuff:

It seems that every character is soooo beautiful and that has to be mentioned a thousand times. Is there anyone at this school who is NOT beautiful? If so, they never get any airtime. In fact, I think they have to take special classes. Joanna’s “long hair made her look old-fashined, and her eyes were such a beautiful shade of green. That afternoon she was wearing a flowered jumper and a Victorian lace blouse. She had a style all her own, which Elzabeth thought was charming. But she couldn’t help thinking that it was a shame it was that Johanna couldn’t show the same independent style when it came to expressing her ideas.” SHUT UP LIZ! Also, I think I wore that outfit for my secind-grade school pictures.

God, Amy is so dreadful. She hates when Peter talks about his science stuff because it bores her, so she doesn’t allow him to talk about it.

Steven has a math assignment from college that Johanna helps him with. It is pictures of pieces of paper with fold lines and you have to imagine the shape of the final folded project. Wtf is that? It’s like an IQ test. And, suddenly after one chemistry test, the teachers claim that Johanna is gifted and enroll her in collge courses. Wow. SVH has some great assessment tools.

The author uses “computer programs” very loosely here. Peter’s science project is one that he is writing a program for a robot psychologist. It will answer yes or no questions and from the answers determine the patient’s emotional state. Yes. The one part he gets stuck on is how to program it to determine love. And Johanna helps him solve that part too, because what do you know, she’s suddenly a computer whiz. And see what we did there? Johanna “helps” him learn love. Barf.

Of course, there is a dance in this book. A PTA dance. What in the hell does that mean? A PTA-themed dance? A PTA sponsored dance? Why in the hell would anyone go to it anyway? Jess and Cara look real classy. “Jessica fluffed up her hair and admired her leather miniskirt and skimpy white top”. Cara was dressed in “a pair of tight black jeans and a sparkly t-shirt” Actually, that sounds kind of cute. Anayway, I’m still baffled over this PTA dance. The Droids are playing, natch.

Did I mention I hate Amy?

Grade: C

The one where we learn that sluts don’t make good cheerleaders, or #10 Wrong Kind of Girl

Annie looks like Brittany Murphy, pre-anorexia and cocaine. Like in the Clueless days. Jessica’s smirk and stupid wavy bangs make me want to punch her directly in her size-six stomach. Ugh.

Okay, just a warning: I’ll be quoting verbatim from many parts of this one. Because it is so fucking horrible you won’t believe it. First:

The cheerleaders at Sweet Valley High were the cream of the crop- the prettiest, most sought after girls not only in the school but in the town of Sweet Valley, California. They included Robin Wilson, the current Miss Sweet Valley High; Helen Bradley, a stunning redhead, Jean West, a pixie brunette; and Maria Santinelli, who could do backflips that took everyone’s breath away. Finally, there was Jessica, who at five feet six, with a crown of glorious, sun-streaked blond hair, and sprakling blue-green eyes, was the envy of most of the girls in Sweet Valley High…..Of course, looks were only part of it. It took more than that to make the SVH cheering squad…you had to keep your grades up…and the cheerleaders had some indefinable style….above, all she had to have talent.

Great! If they are unique women, they shall only be known by hair color and looks. Second of all, there doesn’t seem to be an adult coach or anything overseeing the team, so wtf? Can a school really allow the students to pick their own members based on looks? ARRRGGGHHHH!!!

So Jessica labels Annie a slut because she has “dated” several different guys, including Rick Andover, Bruce Patman and others. As far as I know, Annie hasn’t slept with any of them, but gets the nickname “Easy Annie”. And she doesn’t want a tramp on her team, because others will start thinking they are tramps. Is it REALLY not possible that someone at SVH does not already think that Jessica is a slut? Can someone PLEASE call her out on her hypocracy? I think the real reason she doesn’t want her on the team is some jealousy thing, because Annie is really thin (we have to hear about it every page) and talented and may move in and steal the attention from guys.

Oh another reason Annie is a vile outcast: she lives in AN APARTMENT! AND HAS A SINGLE MOM! OMG! THE HORROR! Her mother had her at sixteen (wow, at least some teenagers in SVH are having sex) and kind of doesn’t act like a mom and I get the feeling this is why Annie gets her validation from male attention. Which, is a legit reason, but can we please have some characters with non-traditional family structures that are well-adjusted? Because, you know, it does happen. And by my calculations, Annie’s mother is my age. Wow. I need to sit with that thought for a while. Again, Francine implies that if you don’t grow up in a family with 2 straight parents, 2.5 kids and a dog, you are a ruined and tainted person.

Liz is tutoring Annie to get her grades up to she can be eligible to try out for the cheerleading team. And Liz can’t stick her nose out of people’s business and thinks that without her help people will fail.

Oh right, Annie and Jessica have a dance-off at the Beach Disco. How Britney and Justin of them.

Oh, Annie did some modeling when she was thirteen. Who HASN’T been a model in Sweet Valley? The hell? The writers need to understand that pretty people don’ t automatically become models. There is an in-between on the scale of attractiveness.

Annie makes it through the semi-finals and finals and impresses everyone, apparently she is good. And thin and pretty. But Jessica schemes and wines and bullies the rest of the team to pick Cara Walker and Sandra Bacon. I wish Robin Wilson, as co-captain, would stand up to Jessica. I wonder how she even puts up with her.

Also to mention that the team has a manager, Ricky Capuldo, who is shy and is afraid of dating girls, but loves to hang out with the cheerleaders. Um, gay much? But he does have a major thing for Annie. And calls Jessica out on her shit, so that put him on my short list of SVH characters that are bearable.

So Annie doesn’t make the squad, and she tried to kill herself. I guess I should feel bad, but I feel like this does not do justice to the notion of suicide, and glosses over it and suggests people try to kill themselves are just overreacting about an event, and ignores any deep-rooted depression and issues. But why would I even expect Francine to take this seriously? The doctors say she has “no will to live”. Jessica suddenly feels guilty and realizes what a cruel, heartless, selfish wench she’s been. However, that doesn’t carry past the last page of this book, so don’t get too excited.

The twins come in and explain the situation to her doctor, and

Dr. Hammond pressed his hands together and stared at Jessica for a long time. “Do you really want to help Annie?” he asked….”I don’t know” he said slowly, “Perhaps…it’s possible. Now Jessica, you must tell me something. Are you willing to have Annie on the cheerleading squad? If you aren’t, then please say so right now. It would be terrible to raise her hopes and then let her down again. That would be quite traumatic.”…

Wtf? Why does the doctor even entertain this thought? Seriously, if someone was brought in because of an intentional overdose, they would be sent to psych to be under observation for a few days, and here this doctor is prescribing a talk from a stupid teenager to help Annie. HE THINKS THAT BECOMING A CHEERLEADER WILL OVERCOME A SERIOUS MEDICAL CONDITION. Someone take his license away! ARRGGHHH! THE RAGE! So anyway, Jessica asks Annie to be on the team and that wakes her out of her coma or whatever. And all is happy and well. You’d think that maybe Jessica would learn something, but we have a hundred or so books after this that prove she learned nothing.

So…[taking deep breaths]…what is the moral of this one? If you want to change your life for the better, you need to be validated by an exclusive group that bases people on looks. That’s one. The other one is, just as we saw in the Robin Wilson weight-a-palooza, was that the best way to get revenge on those that are being mean and judgmental is to become just like them and be accepted. Seriously, if Robin and Annie are that talented and good looking, they could go off by themselves and make their own clique. Thirdly, if you are blond and pretty and come from an upper-middle class home, it is okay to date around. However, if you are poor and brunette and come from a single family home, it’s considered slutty. These are great messages, Francine. Thank you.

Other thoughts:

They mention that Mr. Collins is in his late-twenties. So, Mr. Collins is actually younger than I am. Yikes.

Want to hear some gross Lizz-Todd lovey dovey talk?

Elizbeth felt Todd as he put his strong arms around her, hugging her tightly. “When we hold each other like this, I believe you. But you had me scared.” “Scared? You? The star basketball player of Sweet Valley High is scared by little old me?” she teased. “I’d better run right down to the Oracle office and stop the presses.” Todd’s response was a tender kiss. “if the opposing team had five beautiful blondes exactly like you, I’d be helpless,” he confessed when they finished their embrace. “But that’s be impossible, because there is no one exactly like you, Liz”.

I threw up in my mouth when I read this. Also, what Todd says is actually kind of gay when you think about it.

Grade: B-

Rage factor: 146 million

The one where Tom McKay is too gay to function, or #75 Amy’s True Love

Wow, this is crazy! There are characters calling each other out on their faults! And character growth! And accountability for actions! And GAYS!!!!! Of course, within 132 pages all is resolved and homophobia is eradicated, but at least its better than using date rape and parties as a centerpiece of the plot.

We get some Amy Sutton point of view. She thinks her parents ignore her because they are famous (Mom’s a sportscaster and Dad’s a photographer) and she is mad because she thinks her dad likes spending more time with her mother than her. (Wow, and I thought Lila had daddy issues). And I think they are hinting that that is the reason that she seeks approval from men. When her parents ask her what is new, she talks only about boys and nothing else. Mama Sutton tells Amy that she needs to stop being so shallow and start thinking about her future. Yay! A parent doing her job! Take note, Alice Wakefied!

Amy is also failing sociology [hold up. They offer sociology at SVH? I am so jealous. All schools should do this, instead of trying to get everyone to simply regurgitate dates from eurocentric history. You’d think the kids from SVH would be more aware of race/class issues. But why am I even putting faith in the SV public school systems? They practically sponsor orgies and pledging]. For extra credit, the teacher reccomends that Amy volunteer at Project Youth, which I guess is a like a counseling center for troubled youth. Amy doesn’t want anyone to know she is doing it, because it may ruin her image. There is another student, Barry Rork who works there, and of course loves Amy but she thinks he is beneath her because he wears glasses. I think they try to infer that he is Jewish.

So Amy’s solution is…to get a boyfriend. Yes folks, that is how she thinks her parents will take her seriously. This gal needs therapy, stat. Also, Lila and Jessica are being cunts as usual and getting annoyed at Amy for being so self-centered and boy-crazy. I don’t even have to say hypocrite alert. So they freeze Amy out.

So Amy’s target is Tom McKay, tennis player extraordinaire and otherwise nondescriptive jock. Amy tries way too hard and Tom is obvs not interested. Barry is a friend of Tom’s and promises Tom he will try to keep Amy away and promises Amy to help her get Tom. Wheeee! I feel a spin-off rom-com coming on! Although Amy really comes on strong and chases him around and is totally oblivious to the fact that Tom is getting creeped out by her. Heeee! I love it when these broads get rejected.

Meanwhile, Enid’s cousin Jake comes to visit, and everybody loves him, and Jess and Lila try to get with him. And Tom plays tennis with him and when he is with him, he feels warm and fuzzy …down there. Alas, Jake is GAY!!!! I didn’t think that gays existed in Sweet Valley. Or were allowed to set foot in the town. Enid is a big ol’ homophobe when Jake tells her and Tom gets all weird when he finds out because BAM! suddenly he realizes he is gay. So he goes to Pro-Yo (Project Youth, duh) to talk about it and runs into Liz there (she is inerviewing Amy and Barry for The Oracle) and runs into Tom and of course has to meddle and becomes Tom’s informal counselor because she can’t help but stick her fucking nose in everyone else’s problems.

And Amy actually likes working at Pro-Yo and realizes she likes Barry, and Barry has glasses and thus no self-esteem to he settles for being second choice. So she gains some purpose and builds some character. Well, good for her I guess.

Finally Enid realizes that Jake is a person too, and Tom comes out to his friends, and everyone skips of hand in hand into the rainbow-colored sunset.

Thoughts:

Amy was always annoying, but reading this from her point of view made me think she is retarded. As in, actually retarded.

I love how the ghostwriter justifies that Jake is gay: he’s from San Francisco and that he has no attraction to either Lila or Jessica (because if you are guy and you don’t like them, there is no other possibilty…HATE!)

Ugh, the cover. Is that supposed to be Tom? And how does no one know he’s not gay? I think he is wearing foundation. And jeez, Amy looks BUSTED! A little like Sloth from the goonies.

I expected a post-script from Francine talking about how it’s okay to be gay and maybe a hotline, but maybe I expected too much, because all there was some feature on the reader of the month. Shannon Allison from Hawaii claims, “Reading about Regina’s death really taught me about drugs.” BWA! Reading about the twins size six figures gave me an eating disorder, so Shannon, we have something in common.

I’ll bet anyone a sundae at Casey’s that no book ever touches on sexuality issues ever again. Although….

Next time: Sweet Valley holds its first gay pride parade, and Elzabeth is in charge of the committee but falls into conflict when she cheats on Todd with the lesbian co-chair, but of course they make up in the end. Meanwhile, a new gay club opens up in town and Alice is called upon to design the interior, which makes her spend less time at home driving Ned into the arms of a wayward go-go boy. Mr. Collins moonlights as a shirtless bartender which gets him in trouble with the schoolboard, but the kids stage a sit in demanding they let him keep his job. In order to be more inclusive, Liz makes sure she adds gay rumors to her Eyes and Ears column. Meanwhile, Jessica is mistaken for a drag queen and asked to compete in a drag show., which she does just to win but then Lila gets jealous and also enters. At the last minute Jess gets hurt forcing Liz to compete at the last second, thus saving Sweet Valley Pride from cancellation. Bruce heads up the Sweet Valley Committee Against Gay Marriage, but then changes his tune when Tom and Jake ask him to officiate the wedding. Meanwhile, Winston discovers the cure for AIDS.

Grade: A

The one where the Swiss invent the miracle cure for deafness, or #18 Head Over Heels

Sorry, going old school for this one. Regina and Bruce are in lurrrrve. You know how we know they are in lurve? They sit in Bruce’s Porsche and murmur sweet nothings to each other. Except Regina needs to be looking right at Bruce, since she lipreads, so I don’t know if and how that interferes with the cuddling. Anyway, Bruce is a changed man. No more date raping girls with amnesia or anything like that. In fact, Regina is the first girl he tells he loves, and Bruce is the first boy that Regina has kissed. For a second, and I mean a SECOND, it kind of softened my heart a little.

Lila is still totes jealous of Regina, because there is only room for one rich brunette. Apparently there is room for two size six blondes, thank god. Jessica is still bitter Bruce dumped her ass and is basically a selfish heartless cunt, so she doesn’t want to see anyone happy, so she really wants them to break up. Jessica and Lila make a bet about their longevity- and the loser has to write the other person’s history term paper. AND it’s 15 pages long. Remember is high school when anything over 5 pages was like writing a novel? Of course this is the mid-80s so no computers, so maybe it’s handwritten. Anyway, why I am fixated on that?

Meanwhile, SVH is holding a carnival (along with dances, they have picnics, carnivals and talent shows ever week) and oh guess who is chairing the committee. Yes, fucking Liz Wakefield. The committee consists of what I guess is the only members of the junior class, so Liz, Todd, Enid, Ken Olivia and Roger, and Todd. Todd acts like a tool at all the meetings and makes bad puns. Winston won’t shut up and keeps trying too hard. Mr. Collins is advising, duh. Apparently you have to run a campaign to be president of the Centennial Committee. [Did I dream it, or is there another book in which they have a Centennial Carnival? Anyone? Anyone?] Ken wants to job, put is peeved when Bruce signs up to run also. Bruce is actually doing it as a surprise fo Regina (yea, cuz that’s the way to woo a high school girl).

Meanwhile, Regina’s fam breaks the news to her: there is a doctor in Switzerland that can cure her deafness. Wow! That’s amazing! That is great news for the deaf community! It’s a mirac–oh. It cost a thousan jillion dollars and only super-rich deaf people can benefit. Fantastic. Regina has to move to Sweden to undergo the treatment. She doesn’t want to go because she doesn’t want to leave Bruce. She doesn’t tell Bruce so she won’t feel guilty.

Jessica, wanting to win her bet, tells Regina that Bruce is only dating her so he can gain credibility and win the Centennial committee election. Only a moron would believe that. So, naturally Regina does. So she breaks up with Bruce and decides to go to Switzerland after all. Liz of course becomes Meddley McMeddlesalot and and tells Bruce about Regina’s cure and how he can’t tell her he loves her so she may not go. So essentially, they manipulate her. Bruce writes Regina a letter to read on the plane, and it is so awful (awesome) I have to reprint it.

Dear Regina,

By the time you read this, it will be too late to change your mind about the treatments. And you musn’t change your mind, my dearest. [Yes, teenage boys love to use musn’t. And dearest? Is he in the Victorian era?]- not for anything. Elizabeth told me everythind, and I must admit that at first all I could think of was rushing over to your house and putting things right again. I never cared about anything but you. I signed up to run in the election last Thursday- exactly five days ago. I was wrong not to mention it to you at once, but I wanted to surprise you if I won. I can’t believe you could ever imagine my using you. I love you with all my heart, and always will [unless you one day die from a drug overdose]. In fact it’s because I love you that I can’t explain this all to you before Friday. If there’s the slightest chance that you might be able to hear again one day after these treatments, you must go through them. I’m, not selfish enough to let you stay in Sweet Valley for my sake, Regina. But I’m too selfish to let you go thinking badly of me. You must know that I’ve loved you with all my heart from the first. [first what? Ghost writers, finish the phrase!]

Awwww. This sounds like my fifth grade self attempting to write a romance novel. Which I did attempt, by the way. Don’ even ask me about it, it is long gone. I made sure I burned that shit. Anyhoo, Jessica obvs loses the bet and Lila writes her history paper and gets a bad grade. So I guess that is supposed to teach you not to cheat? Or that if you do cheat, make sure you pick someone who is smart? Oh and the carnival is a success, blah blah.

Covergoodness! Sorry to say, but Regina does not look like model material. And Bruce is a hottie pitottie. It’s that cleft chin, gets me everytime. Or maybe it’s the pleated chinos. And the fearthered hair. He looks about 30 years older than her.

Other stuff:

Regina has dinner at the Patman estate. Bruce’s mom yells when she is talking to Regina. Marie Patman is such a peach.

Winston runs a booth at the carnival where people can pay to throw pies at him. Oh Winston, making people laugh with you is not going to stop them from laughing at you.

Jess describing Olivia Davidson: “she dresses like a freak in Indian cotton dresses and funny sandals and doesn’t care about anything but drawing and poety. A fate worse than death”. Actually, for me, a fate worse than death is to hang around with a vapid blond twin. But that’s just me.

Oh, Lila flirts with a construction worker she meets at her dad’s office. Ooooo, a working class man! Hawt. I think it’s the setup for the next book.

In the back of the edition of the book I have, there is an exerpt from a Francine book called Loving, about a rich, pretty vapid girl in a boarding school. I think I did read this series. Anyway, if you have the book and read it’s it’s awesome, and actually even more awesome (worse) than SVH. I wish I could find it somewhere.

My grade: B-

Okay, let’s get down to the nitty gritty with this week’s poll. It’s going to be your old standard “who would you rather do”

Nicholas Morrow / Steven Wakefield

Bruce Patman / Ken Matthews

Next time: the miniseries where the twins’ mother and Bruce’s dad supposedly have an affair, Todd moves in, and Liz gets with Bruce again. In other words, awesomeness. I know lots of you have been requesting stuff, but some of the books I don’t have (yet). I am currently on ebay bidding on Return of the Evil Twin and the pom-pom wars miniseries, but I don’t want to jinx it.

The one where cheaters always win, or #27 Lovestruck


Ken doesn’t really look that Lovestruck. In fact, he looks annoyed. Maybe it’s his wavy hair. Or hint of some man-teats.

Oh, it’s tough being a popular jock. All the pressure of being the star quarterback. It can really make high school pretty tough. Ken is dating Suzanne Hanlon. Suze is rich of course, and is uber-sophisticated. You know why? She likes “films” not movies. She also goes to art shows and poetry readings. She hangs out with people who wear black berets. Ken lurves her and pretends to like what she likes. Mostly he just hangs out with her with a blank expression on his face. It’s rully entertaining. Suze’s sophisticated friends hate on Ken for being a jock, but deep down that really hurts Ken. Yea, jocks really have it tough, especially during high school. Cry me a river, Mathews.

Ken goes to Suzanne’s house for dinner, and of course it’s a huge deal with maids serving trout and a butler waiting on them hand and foot. It’s very Upstairs, Downstairs. I’ll bet a hundred bucks the maid was wearing one of those white aprons. Suzeanne’s dad talks about how stupid football is of course and inside that makes Ken MAD! He wants to show everyone that playing football is respectable. Excuse me while I don’t give a fuck.

So, also, Ken is in danger of failing English. If he fails, he can’t play in the big game against Palasades High. And everyone is counting on him! It’s so hard being Ken! The only thing that will help him pass if he complete’s Mr. Collins assignment, to write a short story. I’m not one to defend Ken, but having high school juniors write a good short story is pretty tough. Nonetheless, he totally procrastinates and Suzanne keeps asking him to do stuff and he doesn’t want to refuse because he lurves her.

So this is the kicker. Elizabeth hears that Ken is having trouble so she is all “I should call him and offer my help cuz I’m rully good at English.” BUTT OUT! Gawd, she is so condescending. Ken’s all, uh, ok. Which pretty much sums up his personality. She shows him a short story she wrote and shows him how she created an outline and notes for the story. Which, I hate to say, is a pretty smart thing to do. At the last moment, Ken chokes and can’t write his story. So…wait for it…he submits Liz’s story as his own.

So everyone makes a big deal and actually they want to publish the story in the Centenniel Edition of The Oracle (cuz Sweet Valley is celebrating its centenniel. Woo-fucking hoo.) Liz just takes it and doesn’t put up much fuss. Asshole. She shouldn’t have shoved her way into the situation either. She confronts ken and he’s all, uh, okay. At the last minute Ken write a story about how a high school student is having trouble and cheats on an exam. See what he did there? He admitted what he did without actually admitting it. How Ernest Hemingway of him.

Ok, so Chrome Dome and the football coach call him in and are all, you cheated and anyone else who did it would get expelled, but Mr. Collins is all, I’ll give you a C for the course so you’ll still pass and can play in the big game. WTF? Why is he let off so easy? He wins the big game and everyone metaphorically sucks his cock. Suzanne is all, let’s get out of here football’s boring and he’s all, fuck off Suzanne if you hate football I can’t date you. The moral is: be yourself. And if you are popular and good-looking enough, you can get away with anything.

Stupid subplot: Jessica is in charge of planning the Centenniel picnic and drives everyone crazy in the process. She forgets to order the food and makes about five thousand pbj sandwhiches. It’s a total success anyway and she gets tons of praise. So the moral of this story is: if you are beautiful, it doesn’t matter if you fuck up. Great.

Ok, maybe there was a bit of humor in the book. Jessica keeps getting Lila to do tedious tasks for the picnic by telling her she’s the co-chair and giving her other fake titles. Lila totally goes for it. I didn’t say ha ha funny, I meant amusing funny.

Other thoughts:

Holy shit, it was painful to read stuff from Ken’s perspective. He is fucking boring moron. When he talks about Suzanne, he’s all “ooooo, she’s so pretty, I like her soooooo much.” Yes, that is the way that sixteen year old boys talk about girls.

Suzanne gives Ken some classical music to listen to and he pretends to like it in front of her. When she is not there, he thinks it is lame and wants to ROCK OUT so…he puts on the Rolling Stones. Oh, like they are so hip and current? Douchebag.

When Ken goes to Suzanne’s house, he thinks the butler is her father. Oh, stupid proletariat.

Elizabeth’s short story is called “The New Kid” and it about a boy who moves to Sweet Valley who hates it at first but then discovers how wonderful the town is. Can these kids shut up about their town?

My Grade: F

And now another douchey clip from the SVH tv show. Did they do the Liz in a coma plot? This may be part of it. Check out what a tool Todd is.

The one where Robin Wilson loses 100 pounds and joins the cheerleading squad in a timespan of a week, or #4, Power Play

Jessica “I like gingham”.

Elizabeth: “I am going to give you an open-mouth kiss”.

Also, Elizabeth has a receding hairline.

I digress. Jayzuz, this one was disturbing. So many horrible messages sent to young impressionable minds. So let’s get into it. If you remember in book three, Jessica strung Robin Wilson along and took advanatage of her. She even told her she would nominate her to be a Pi Beta Alpha. Now that the whole thing with Bruce went haywire, she wants to forget it. Elizabeth thinks it is unfair and thinks Jessica should keep her promise. Okay, I’ll give her that. Jessica doesn’t want anyone fat in her sorority. So, you would think that Elizabeth would be on Robin’s side for Robin, but no, she just does it to prove a point to Jessica, Lila and Cara, the trifecta of c*nts. So to try to dissaude her, they give Robin these impossible hazing tasks, like running five miles around the track while people oink at her. And make her go to the beach in a bikini. Ok, everyone say it with me: WHY DOES THE SCHOOL ALLOW THIS? MR. COLLINS, DO SOMETHING!

Instead of telling Robin that she shouldn’t go through this, she helps her complete the tasks. I think she secretly wants to see Robin go through it. So Robin does do everything they ask, so they give her one final task: get Bruce Patman to ask her to the Discomarathon (another dance-a-thon?). That’s a punishment, he may try to touch her boob. Or drug her and date rape her. It could happen. So Elizabeth goes to him and promises to write a feature for him in the Oracle if he asks her to the dance. His ego wins out, and they go to the dance. Once they get there, he acts all Bruce Patman-y and says to everyone when he arrives, “Ok, that’s it. I brought you to the dance, Tubby. I’ve got better things to do now. Hey! Anyone want to steer the Queen Mary around the floor tonight?” Wow, real nice. So Robin is humiliated and finally realizes that everyone is having a laugh at her expense with this whole pledging thing. Just NOW she realizes it. So she runs out and after that withdraws from everyone and walks around not talking to anyone and all withdrawn. And acts pretty suicidal. Jessica and the Pi Betas blackball her.

So apparently, a few days go by and Elizabeth starts noticing that Robin is losing weight. Then, maybe another week goes by and suddenly she is a size zero. And BOOM everyone wants a piece. Even Patman. And get this…Elizabeth talks to Robin’s mother!!!! What a fucking tool. Ok, the nominations are heating up for the Miss Sweet Valley High title. Ok, what school sponsors a beauty pageant? WTF??? In what fucked up world is Francine in? Of course, Robin wins, which is a big fuck you to the Pi Betas, because Miss Sweet Valley High is ALWAYS a Pi Beta, doncha know. Then, Robin tried out for the cheerleading squad and is made co-captain with Jessica. Uh, Robin has never cheerled in her life, now co-captain? Apparenty the only requirement for the team is being skinny.

Ok, back it up. Apparently, Robin also happens to be one of the smartest students at Sweet Valley. But that doesn’t seem to matter here. Only when does she win Miss Sweet Valley does she get acceptance and self-confidence. Ugh. And she gets acceptance from the people that once mocked her. UGH! Seriously, if Robin is smart, just wait it out a year. She’ll go off to a good college and be successful and Jessica will have three kids by age 20. But no, being thin and popular is the ultimate success. Of course, how could I forget.

And obviously, since Robin is fat, she is a bumbling idiot as well. Don’t you know the two go hand in hand? When Liz is with her, she stuffs her face with candy bars all afternoon. When she gets the news she is pledging, she rushes to the fridge to eat an entire cheesecake. Francine really hates overweight people. According to her, they get what they deserve.

When Robin is losing weight, there is an obligatory scene where she explains to Liz that she is not starving herself. I think it is a little late for a public service announcement.

Oh yea. There is a side story about how Lila is shoplifting because she wants more attention from Daddy. Elizabeth forces her to confront the store and tell the truth. Because Elizabeth is full on Little House on the Prairie syndrome.

The moral of the story: thin is in.

Other tidbits:

Robin wears tent dresses everyday, because my god, no one must make clothes in her size, ANYWHERE. Actually, if she were around today, she’d be totally hip.

Omg, a really dumb Todd/Elizabeth moment: Liz won’t tell Todd why she is pissed at Jessica, so Todd apparently pretends to be a fortune teller: “Don’t tell me. Let me gaze into zee futur. Ziss beeg trouble starts with a J is look almost as bee-yoo-tiful as you.” I cringed when I read that.

We get a description of Fowler Crest (Lila’s estate): sculptures on the grounds, red brick courtyard with a big fountain filled with tropical fish. Francine has such a fetish for rich people.

During the campaign for Miss Sweet Valley, the football team has a sign that says “Robin has us Throbbin'”. Heh.

On another note, I sheepishly netflixed the first season of the Sweet Valley High tv show. Oh god, what a mistake. It was paaaaaaiiiiinful. Not funny and no matter what they were wearing or what they were doing, the twins looked like porn stars. And there was this horrendous scene at a dance (where else?) where Elizabeth and Winston do a choreographed dance (you can see a lil of it in the credits. And Todd is fugly (Ryan James Bittle) and Bruce looks about 50 (Brock Burnett). Full cringe factor in effect.

My grade: F

Next time: Perfect Summer and then Lovestruck, told from Ken Matthew’s perspective. Because he’s so insightful. Or something.

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-