I get by with a little help from my memes.

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

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

REALLY? REALLY? ARE YOU SERIOUS?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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‘Tis Pity She’s Not a Whore.

I don’t know why I subjected myself to more of this miniseries, it’s not like the previous one was so stellar.  This miniseries was also the point where the big changeover happened, where SVH tried to change into multi-book storylines. Kind of like when Beverly Hills, 90210 went from self-contained stories in single episodes (Brenda may have breast cancer! Brandon dates a teenage mom! Kelly almost gets raped on Halloween!) to a continuous melodrama. Yea, it didn’t work for that, either.

Nothing much has changed in this one. Elizabeth still feels guilty for killing Sam. Sam continues to be dead. Jessica still mourns over Sam and is mad at Elizabeth. Lila continues to not shut her trap about her mother Grace. Margo continues to murder small children, drowning them in lakes and killing old women in public restrooms. You know, the usual.

How does Jessica extract her revenge on Liz? By leaving the newspaper article about the arrest where Liz can see it. Oooo, burn. And putting the moves on Todd. You know, because he is just dumb enough to fall for it.

Lila finally meets her mother but is mad because she also has an annoying French boyfriend she pays attention to instead of Lila. This guy is such a French stereotype he wears a stripe shirt and beret while miming eating a baguette.

Also, Liz is arrested for the murder of Sam, and she spends the evening in jail. Uh, would they really put a minor in jail? Maybe, I don’t know. Also, while she is in the clink, Liz gets harassed by some badass hookers.  One of them was “wearing a lot of makeup, and was dressed in a short, tight, satin skirt, a skimpy halter top, and glittery silver stockings.” Isn’t that something Jessica would wear to the beach disco? They taunt her and call her rich girl, and tell her that her blond California looks drives the guys wild and could earn her a lot of money.  I am surprised at this point Liz doesn’t talk to these women and talk them out of a life of prostitution and into a life of crocheting or something. But Liz just shrinks back and is scared. Of course, because all sex workers are disgusting, immoral people who choose their line of work. Thanks, Sweet Valley for another lesson. Also, I am intrigued that Sweet Valley actually has sex workers. Where’s the demand? Probably when Ned is entertaining clients.

And does Sweet Valley have the WORST police force ever? Liz cannot remember anything about the night of the accident, and doesn’t know why she had alcohol in her system. Don’t the cops ever ask her IF SHE HAD ANYTHING TO DRINK at the dance and finding out the punch? Spiking punch at the dance is the oldest high school cliche in the book, right up there with spying on girls in the locker room. They couldn’t think of this? What the hell are they teaching them in the police academy?

There’s also some, ahem, comedy, in this one. I guess the ghosties wanted to offset the image of the bloated body of a dead child floating in the lake. Nicholas Morrow goes on the show Hunks and has to go on three dates with three girls and talk about it on the show. And it’s about as funny as Winston’s lunchtime comedy shows. It also reinforces that anyone outside of the mainstream, chino-wearing, cheerleader/football player archetype is beyond FREAKISH! The first woman he goes out with is kind of punk, has tattoos and takes him to a biker bar. Therefore, is a total freak who doesn’t deserve to live. Nicholas is all embarrassed by her and is harassed by the people at the bar who think he is a narc. I just think he is a tool. The other girl he goes out with giggles all the time and wears a sweatshirt and jeans on their date, The NERVE! She should be burned at the stake. The third girl is pretty and perfect looking, but Nicholas screws up the date by getting a flat tire and puking, but she doesn’t mind and kisses him on the show. She doesn’t seem to have any sort of personality. Just like the perfect Sweet Valley girl should.

Can I get an ahem for this being the worst cover ever? Todd and Jess have the longest legs ever, and Liz’s hair confuses me. And OMG! Is that the Wakefield’s splkit-level pefect house in the background??? Is this the first time we’ve seen it?

The Big Night- the prom they’ve been waiting fourteen years for where everyone acts like a complete sociopath and I can’t believe I fucking read this whole thing

Elizabeth shook her head, fresh tears streaming down her face. “But it’s prom night…and I’ve ruined it! Because I’m such a ba-bad person.” She swiped at the moisture soaking her eyes and cheeks, knowing she was probably smearing mascara all over her face but not caring. What did it matter now? Bit by bit she ripped the tissue in pieces, watching morosely as the scraps fluttered to the floor. Just like her chances with Todd and Devon, the tissue was shredded and mangled.

I’ve always been a fairly advanced reader, but seriously this whole Sweet Valley High project is seriously making me dumber. The writing above makes Stephenie Meyer look like Tolstoy.

Really, in order to be a ghost writer, you’d think a requirement would be to at least be familiar with the other books. So we won’t get something like this which makes no sense and rehashes almost 30 other book plots.

But, kudos to making this about the junior prom! We’ve made some progress in our completely illogical timeline! No worries that a Jungle Prom already happened and Jessica’s beloved died after it and Elizabeth was almost given the electric chair. Nah, it wasn’t even mentioned despite some of the prom stuff triggering that. But our twin femme-bots have much more to worry about.

This is part of a five-part miniseries [good lord] and this is the second book, and apparently in the book before this, Liz and Todd break up (no you guys, for realsies this time!) and she starts going out with Devon Whitelaw, a poor little rich boy with a motorcycle. Wait, a MOTORCYCLE? Didn’t Liz, uh have some issues with that, say 130 books ago? never mind that. Of course Jessica wanted him for herself, but he preferred Liz. What else is new? Jessica should have cried rape on him like she did with Todd, because that worked so well last time. No, I’m not being sarcastic. She and Todd actually did have some flings, no?

Meanwhile, Lila and Jessica don’t have dates, and they interviewed guys but both liked the same guy but promised each other they wouldn’t ask the guy, but they both did behind each other’s backs because they are heartless nasty bitches. This guy, Jordan, is awesome because he called shenanigans on them and dumped them both. So for Lila, this is the worst thing in the world for her. For Jessica, she decides to steal someone’s date. Just another day in the life of these horrible wenches.

Meanwhile, on Friday afternoon, Elizabeth was out doing something and Jess was home to take Devon’s message that he would meet Liz at the restaurant instead of Secca lake. Jess is too busy getting ready to remember to tell her. So Liz is waiting like a sad sack at Secca Lake, and Tood shows up because he wanted to go there and think about all the good times he had with Liz. Of course, they get back together and Liz is all fuck Devon, he stood me up and decides to go to the prom with Todd. [smacks forehead] Gah Liz, you were making so much progress with breaking up with him!

Jessica decides to go to the restaurant to explain things to Devon but takes one look at him and her loins vibrate and she decides to be Liz for the evening and at the end of the night Devon will be so in love with her that he won’t care that she tricked him. She acts all Jessica and they head out to the prom. Meanwhile, when they get there she runs into Liz with Todd, and hatches a plan. She convinces Liz to let Devon think she is Liz, therefore she won’t hurt Devon’s feelings and Liz can also be with Todd. Liz, supposedly being the sensible one, agrees.

Back the fuck up. Soooo many stupid things about this.

So what will Liz do at the end of the night? Date them both? Think that they won’t ever find out about each other?

Will they not see each other at the same prom, supposedly dancing with “Elizabeth”?

Apparently, their personalities don’t matter, because no one can ever tell what twin they are with. This is what annoys me about the twin switch- apparently people are so enraptured with their looks, that they don’t seem to notice the person has no idea about any past conversations. Hey, if Margo and Nora pulled it off, go to town.

Yea, so as you can imagine, it doesn’t work out. Lila is so pissed that Jessica is with Devon and that she doesn’t have a date, she decides to tell Devon the plan, and Devon feels like a total ass, so he yells at Liz, and so does Todd. Waaaaahhhhhhh! Liz runs off and Enid of course is right behind her, foaming at the mouth about the thought of comforting her.

Meanwhile, Courtney Kane, who we know is evil because she is wearing a slutty dress, is pissed because Todd dumped her for Liz. For like the third time. Oh Court, when will you learn that the Wakefield twins poop rainbows? She and Lila hatch a plan to make them miserable and Lila can get with Devon. Apparently this plan includes locking the twins plus Enid and maria Slater in a tool shed while the rest of the class goes on a yacht for the after prom party (all paid for by the school, mind you).

Finally the Scooby gang gets out of the shed and they miss the yacht launch, and here is where the book turns into a Michael Bay film. Liz and the gang jump into a speed boat and Liz drives the thing at like 90 miles an hour and they catch up with the yacht and they see Courtney push Todd over the edge. Liz of course jumps off the boat to save him, and pulls him to safety. She is more concerned that he will then profess he undying love to her instead of him being alive. He gives her the brush off and she bursts into tears again.

What would a Sweet Valley prom be without deranged killers, high speed boat chases and a Liz and Todd fight?

Also, I want to note that Enid’s date was Blubber Johnson. And he’s kind of a moron.  Maria Slater’s (who is she? Another Liz disciple?} goes with a black model named Tyler Becksmith, obviously supposed to be Tyson Beckford. Ah, the late nineties.

This Devon Whitelaw character is so entranced with Liz that he’s kind of scary stalkerish. And he may be even more of a tool than Todd. “You have a way with words, Ms. Wakefield. The next thing you know, you’ll be spouting poerty. maybe you’ll even write a special poem abouyt our first dance together and read it to me by the beach one night.”

The Morning After…Pill that I need to take to expunge this horrid mess from my memory.

Yup, I went there. Because this was SVH horribleness at its…best. So, it seems that the Pascal empire probably brought in some consultants because their series was getting dated and the kids wanted something more! They needed more scandal, more serial killers, more cheating! So then they stopped everything, whipped out the super special “A Night to Remember” with the Jungle Prom. And then the covers got more modern and the birth of the minseries happened. Apparently Liz and Jess were vying to be the Queen on the Jungle Prom, and Jessica wanted to humiliate Elizabeth, so she spikes her punch. However, Liz runs off with Sam and kills him. You know, the usual teen fare.

Well, barely anything happens plot-wise, because they gotta stretch it out over six books. We meet Margo, who begins to run from her foster home on Long Island (repreSENT!) and the raspy voice in her head tells her to head to Southern California. Meanwhile, she leaves her foster sister in a kerosene-soaked kitchen and tells her to stick a knife in the toaster. Wow, that’s great. Didn’t the ghosties worry that someone would imitate it? Like when Marylin Manson told kids to bring guns to school?

Apparently at the dance, there was a big showdown with Big Mesa. And apparently no one reads anything because we have the same plotline later on, with no reference to a previous school rivalry brawl. During the fight, Bruce falls for Pamela Robertson, but apparently she is the biggest slut since…Bruce. Double standard much? That’s Brucie on the left bottom of the cover watching Pammy being dropped off for a night of sexin’.

And obvs the brunette is Lila, we know this because of the preppy scarf over the sweater look. She is running from Nathan Pritchard, the school counselor who tried to take advantage of her at the dance. Only he didn’t really, she just thought that up. Stupid Lila! Doesn’t she know rape is usually something women cry when they are confused? Lila goes totally emo and George doesn’t know what to do so he calls Lila’s heathen mother, who ran off to Paris with her boyf a while back.

And then we have an Olivia storyline, which is even painful to have to go over again. She is taking art classes at a special arts and farts and craft school, and some guy wants to buy her painting for a thousand bucks. He tricks her into thinking she will be making a speech at an arts foundation, but really its his house and he tells her to trick her there to be alone with her. Instead of not trusting him, she falls in lurve because he’s rich. In Sweet Valley world, stalking is a huge turn-on, bonus points if its a rich guy (ain’t that right, Nicholas?)

And then there is the sob story with the twins. Yikes. Can’t even bring myself to summarize. Better to relive some of the craptastic quotes.

[Bruce on the rivalry with Big Mesa] For several weeks tension had been building between the two schools. A few weiners like Todd Wilkins had tried to diffuse the situation. Yup, he called Todd a weiner. Good insult, Bruce.

[Alice talking about her latest interior degin job] “You’ll love the plans for the new wing of the city building,” Alice Wakefield was saying as she drove toward the school. “We’re going with a Spanish-style look, with lots of sunlight.” Why wouldn’t she go with Spanish-style? It’s the only style she knows.

Amy was used to talking with people about their problems. She was a volunteer on the Project Youth Hotline after school. But it was different when the people in trouble were your own best friends, Amy had discovered. I bring this up because I can’t fucking stand how after like two hours of hotline work, Amy has become a saint. And seriously, are there that many people calling the hotline? And once people realize they are talking to Amy, wouldn’t they hang the fuck up?

[Bruce again, on the prowl for Pamela] He stepped out of the Porsche, patted the hood protectively, and walked up to two girls who wee passing by. Normally he wouldn’t bother with girls as plain as these two- the heavyset one had thick glasses, and her friend was mousy looking. Good lord, she has glasses! How do they even let her out of the house? Also, note they go to Big Mesa, because SVH would never let these girls roam their halls.

“I was flipping the channels on the TV late last night and I saw the strangest program” Mr. Wakefield began…”It’s a brand new show. Has anyone heard of Hunks?” Wow, totally early 90s reference, probably written because of the popularity of Studs. Wait a minute, why the fuck was Ned watching this? This leads into a future plot where everyone feels bad for Nicholas Morrow and gets him on the show. I can’t wait to read that plotline. Except that I can.

[Margo at a job interview] She smiled broadly. “You know how active teenage boys are!” What I know about teenage boys could curl your hair, lady, Margo bragged silently. Wait, hold up! Now Margo is a slutty McSlutterson? That was never mentioned again. Of course, Margo the serial killer is a non-virgin, because girls who have sex are evil. And if you have sex before the age of 18 in Sweet Valley, your fate is apparently to be pushed out of a window and murdered.

[Winston talking to Bruce] “I heard you were chasing after some new woman- did you finally catch her? That would explain all the extreme happiness”. “Either that or the Dow Jones is up,” Maria said dryly. Sorry, I just had to include this one because it is a rare occasion that one of these alleged teens says something remotely witty.

[When the police finally show up to question Elizabeth about the accident]. “Elizabeth, we’re trying to be patient with you, but you’ve already been given a lot more breaks than you know about. Normally, in a case like this, we would have pulled you in weeks ago.””Frankly, I’ve been wondering why you didn’t,” Ned Wakefield admitted. AAARRRRGGHHHHH! The twins are so fucking perfect that even the police give them special treatment? Questioning my ass, Elizabeth would have been HANDCUFFED AND DRAGGED AWAY at the scene of the crime. AND Jessica hides the fact that she spiked the drink, and lets Elizabeth go through the whole trial? And Jessica isn’t arrested for withholding that? Ugh. Why am I even surprised?

#129 Cover Girls

Cover Girl? What?

Oh, Cover Girls. Damn.

There’s a two-week minibreak at SVH so the students can take two-week internships. Actually, not a bad idea, Chrome Dome, it’s good to give these kids a slice of the real world. Except it would make for a boring series if the twins were REAL interns- making photocopies and staring at a computer. I’ll give you my opinion about interns- if they don’t have a specific role or position, they are really a pain in the ass. I was at a previous job when I supervised several interns and it was actually way more work for me to give them things to do, and when I did, they complained it wasn’t enough substance. What did they expect, they weren’t getting paid! Ugh. Anyway, I’ve uncovered the ads that the twins answered when looking for their internships.

EDITORIAL INTERN

Looking for an aspiring writer, who despite turning up their nose at fashion mags, suddenly will attach their lips to the ass of anyone that works in the editorial department. Preferred qualifications: someone who is so full of themselves that when they pitch an idea, and it is not immediately the cover story for the magazine, will pitch a fit and feel like they are not being appreciated. Will neglect friends and boyfriends because she actually believes she will get a job at Flair if she works hard enough. Will ignore needs of friends because she thinks her internship is superior. Will automatically be given the job if she can manage to finagle her boyfriend to visiting her at work and he magically is offered a job as a model and then throws jealous fits when he talks to supermodels. Send resume and cover letter. No calls please.

And Jessica’s , um…”Internship”

PHOTOGRAPHER’S ASSISTANT

World-famous fashion photgrapher Quenton Berg looking for an underage girl to be his personal slave. Must be willing to hatch a plan to seduce him in order for him to make her a model. Must endure humiliating tasks and put up with a supermodel’s bitchy antics. Preferred qualifications: must flaunt their goods with a poor lowly mailroom clerk in order to create love triangle. Will stop at nothing to be noticed as a supermodel.

I wasn’t too thrilled about this one at first because quite frankly the cover makes me want to punch someone in the face. The Daniel twins always looked like 35 year old porn stars to me. Also, what does it have to do with anything? Liz is also wearing a three-year old’s bathing suit. Although it does remind me of when sunflower patterns were all the rage. I maaaayyyy have had a sunflower babydoll dress that I maaaayyy have worn with bike pants and Doc Martens.

But seriously! How do they come up with this stuff! Of course, even at Flair magazine, everyone clamors over the twins despite being two-week only high school interns. It’s like the Hills, where they are magically handed glamorous jobs and talk about absolutely nothing but themselves. And what happened to Ingenue magazine? At least Flair mag is actually in LA.

And isn’t it just like SV for someone to be discovered as a model in two seconds flat? And Todd totally gets to march around in a skimpy Speedo, and Liz is kind of disgusted. And apparently sexual harassment is on the menu at Flair. While Jessica is napping, the mail room guy makes out with her. And Jessica shuts herself in the darkroom with Quentin and makes out with him so he won’t know who it is.

However innocuous, this quote really cracked me up. “As they walked to Todd’s car he chatted excitedly about the possibility of modeling for Quentin- studiously avoiding any mention of Simone, Elizabeth noticed. She had never seen Todd look so happy and alive. And she never felt so rotten.” O rly Liz? Being jealous of Todd working with a supermodel makes you feel the most rotten ever? Even more than when you were kidnapped and almost raped? And when you were held at gunpoint several times? Or attacked by a werewolf? Or when you got drunk and killed your sister’s boyfriend and was on trial for murder? Yea. those don’t even compare.

Raise your hand if you are soooo over Todd and Liz cheating on each other and/or getting jealous and/or fighting in every g-damn book.

The Gangs of Sweet Valley, or #121 The High School Wars

I cannot tell a lie. I had to skim this one. I had to do this so I wouldn’t gouge my eyes out. Dreadful. Ok, remember all the gang stuff that started because someone insulted Ken? And Jessica fell madly and deeply in love like she’s never felt before and with the most gorgeous guy she’s ever seen? Yea, that happened. He’s the rival Palisades gang leader.

So really I’ll just say there’s lots of drama and Jess and Christian Gorman act like they are Romeo and Juliet.They’ve known each other a week, don’t even know anything about each other, and constantly talk about how they love each other. Let’s call it what it is, they are teenagers in lust. Oh, and Ken finds out when he catches them on a “real date”. That’s what the cover depicts. Ken is coming out of a restaurant, not a restroom. Jessica lies to the police about the brawl. And Todd gets arrested for beating the crap out of the Palisades guys. Liz blames the whole drama on herself.

Yeesh, so after the big warehouse dance brawl (which was really some skinny white guys throwing some punches at each other) Chrome Dome calls an assembly. He forbades anyone from wearing school colors or SVH paraphanelia. What if Liz wants to wear her “Oracle” press pass? Is that forbaden now? Wow, my father can relate. He taught at an inner-city school for 30 years where he watched gang fights going on in the hallways and he has had to confiscate razor blades from his students. I should totally tell him to read this, he could relate. The principal is putting together a task force of students to help assuage all the violence. Task force? Liz just had an orgasm. The task force is useless, duh. But it is like a halfway home for forgotten characters. Jade Wu and David Prentiss are on it, and off course, Jade is described as “exotic” and “almond-eyed”. Oh, and A.J. Morgan! He’s there too! He lives! It’s amazing when one of Jessica’s boyfriends gets out alive. I wonder why Jeffrey French is not there too.
Ken has a cell phone! They call Jessica from his car because she is afraid she drowned at the beach while surfing. “Drowned in Christian’s pool of love” is more like it.

Jessica and Christian spend much of their time on an infaltable mattress in the back of his van. Classy.

Todd lives at 1010 Country Club Drive, in case you were wondering. And lives in a mansion. Wtf, he’s rich now?

Yea so…these middle books in the trilogies blow. Just the same scene over and over again. But some good quotes:

“Jessica had kissed plenty of boys, and she’d been in love, seriously in love- but she’s never felt quite like this. It’s like we’ve always known each other somehow, and at the same time it’s so exciting , and brand-new, she thought, gazing deep into Christian’s soulful blue eyes. Like we’re meant to be together. He’s my destiny.” We’ve NEVER heard this before.

Todd calls Liz out on her shit and says “she’s …writing holier-than-thou editorials and campaigning for the Nobel Peach Prize.” Ha! Todd’s been reading this site.

We’re left with the cliffhanger, will the schools ever put their rivalry behind them? What will become of Christian and Jessica? I may never know because I don’t know if I can bear to read the next one in the series. Except that I do know what happens.

Grade: F

The Bloods and the Crips have nothing on SVH and Palisades; or In Love With the Enemy, #120

As I was reading every word of this, I felt like this book was written to be ridiculed. Like the ghostwriters were giving me a big wink with every inane pararaph. Yes, I know this was written in 1998, but let’s just pretend that they came into the future and knew I would one day be embarking on this project. Also, this convinced me that the ghostwriters were about 67 years old, from another country, or raised in a cave by wolves because their depictions of teenagers and high school is so fucking off-base.

Oh my god. Head spinning. So much to cover. So, the book opens at the big Palisades v. SVH football game. (Isn’t every one of their games the big game?) and Jessica is leading the cheerleaders in a super-amazing, awesome routine. Ready for this? It’s a rap routine and Amy puts on a backwards baseball cap and they point their fingers at the audience like “rappers”. WTF???? So bad I cringed when I read that. I think Heather stole this routine from the East Compton Clovers.

Well, Greg McMullen, a Palisades player, knocks Ken over and he gets all huffy about it. Isn’t that what football is? Get over yourself, pretty boy. After the game Greg and his neanderthalls rough Ken up in the parking lot.

Meanwhile, Jessica and her witches are at the beach during a surf competition, and the winner of the contest gets a trip to Hawaii and a tv interview. So Jessica decides she has to win the trip and be on tv, so SHE DECIDES SHE WILL WIN THE SURF CONTEST. Lucky we have Lila who reminds Jessica that she is a stupid egomaniac. Rosie Shaw, the top female surger totally overhears this and laughs at Jess. I like this Rosie. Can we get a spin-off series please?

So Jess gets up at five every day to try surfing. Luckily, a hunk from the beach is there to help her and of course falls for her instantly. His name is Christian Gorman. He could be Jewish, no? Except for the first name. Of course.

h, backtrack a little. At the aformentioned game, Liz and Enid meet Marla and Caitlin, who are the editors for the Palisades newspaper. They decide they need to out-nerd each other and collaborate on an event that will foster teamwork between the schools. So they wrack their brains and come up with….I’ll let you guess what the event is…haven’t figured it out yet?…. a DANCE. Because they NEVER have the idea to do that. And, it must be a Friday coming up. Also, don’t they need permission from the school? Of course not, when Chrome Dome bends over and takes it in the ass whenever a Wakefield wants something. I’ll bet Mr. Collins will be there.

Meanwhile,the two schools start to prank each other, which includes stringing toilet paper all over Ken’s lawn, spray-painting the foo0tball field, and other hardcore gangsta stuff. It reminded me of the East-West Coast rap wars.

Bruce, Ronnie Edwards, Ken, Todd and others go really hardcore and show up in school wearing jean jackets and sunglasses. WATCH OUT! They may start…breaking out in song! To save money, I am surprised Bruce didn’t pull out his Club X leather jackets. Also, I wonder if they are also wearing jeans? Because that would be horrifying, a jean jacket with jeans, which I call a jean tuxedo. It’s a big no-no.

Liz is all pissy that Todd is involved and that Todd is thinking for himself, and Jess actually doesn’t care what Ken is doing because she is ducking face with her mysterious surf teacher. He doesn’t tell her anything about himself and that unbalance of power in the relationship only makes Jess want him more. They exchange I love you’s after two days together.

So the rumor is that a big throwdown is going to happen at the upcoming dance, which is now a masquerade ball and will take place at an abandoned warehouse. This sounds more like a rave to me…where are the glowsticks? Also, who is funding this? Liz and Enid and Caitlin and Marla consider cancelling it, but it turns out the rumble will happen anyway, so they figure it is better to have people around. I don’t even know why Enid is involved, it just seems she is doing it because Liz is. Enid needs to go back to crystal meth, she was way more interesting then.

So the dance happens and the SVH gang heads out back to start the rumble with the Palisades guys, who are in leather jackets and sunglasses. They start to fight and it like West Side Story, although more like the the Gap commercials than the real thing. Ken goes down and Jessica runs out to see….that the gang leader is none other than Christian Gorman! Gasp! Then she passes out for some reason. Cliffhanger!!!!

Grade: A+ for being a complete parody of itself.

At the dance Bruce tells Jessica she looks like a bruise because she is wearing blue and black. Love that Bruce.

Liz and Enid meet Caitline and Marla over brunch at a swanky place. Now, I brunched all the time when I lived in NY, but what teenagers do this? Liz is a fucking grandma.

Bring It On! or #113 The Pom Pom Wars

So, last time we left the gals, Jessica quit the team and found out about Liz and Ken’s torrid affair. Which still totally infuriates me, because it was so thrown in there after the affect! And with Ken, of all people! And suddenly Liz’s obsession with ken comes out of the woodwork! Even last miniseries when she was all up in Bruce’s speedo!!!

Ken actually does something useful- suggests that Jessica start her own cheerleading squad. So Jess goes out and recruits good dancers and gymnasts, along with Lila and Maria and Jean, who Heather booted. And…Jade Wu! I totally thought she would never appear in the series again. I must eat my words. And some gal Patty Gilbert, who I am apparently supposed to know about.

Jessica also blackmails Liz to be on her team. Either she joins or Jess tells Todd about Ken. So, um, yeah.

Lots of pages that throw in some cheerleading terminology and how Jessica is getting frustrated with her team. Blah blah blah. Apparently one can learn to do backflips and extensive pyramids within two days practice. Including Liz.

Lots of instances where Liz is crazy jealous of Ken and Jessica and mean to Todd. Seriously, this needs to get resolved quick because these scenes are just the same things over and over again.

Heather’s squad only has four people: her, Annie Whitman, Amy Sutton, and Sandra Bacon. And she forbids them all from talking Jessica. Although that is mean, I love how Jessica has tasted her own medicine and IT IS BITTER! I would have loved for Annie Whitman to be all, “remember when you made me feel so horrible I tried to kill myself when you kept me out of the squad? Payback’s a bitch!”. And didn’t Jessica once keep Amy Sutton off their stupid fucking baton twirling team once in the twins series? Maybe I just dreamt that.

Ok, so a scout came to one of the games and wants Heather’s team to go to the nationals. Ooookaaaayyyy, I was not a cheerleader in high school (surprise) but I don’t think that is how the national cheerleading competition works. First of all, you need an ADULT SUPERVISOR which they clearly don’t have.

Jess wants to be recruited to the nationals too, so she has her squad show up to the scout’s house. Listen, i am sure his wife is pissed enough that her husband watches high school girls shake their asses all day, he doesn’t need them showing up at his house. So he loves them but tells them that Heather already has the team that is going. On the way back they decide to stop at the football game in progress and sabotage the halftime. Jess gives her cassette to the PA guy and they come out and do their thing before Heather’s squad can. And the crowd goes wild!! Also, every student is at the football game, apparently.

Jessica get a brilliant idea that the school should VOTE on who gets to go to nationals, and approaches Chrome Dome with the idea of a cheer-off. NOTE TO ADULTS: IT’S OK TO SAY NO TO JESSICA. Ignoring any type of precedents, respect for the National Cheerleading Association, or boundaries, agrees to it. I think he even cancels class. What the fuck. Does everyone in the school really care? I’ll bet Lois Waller throws up in her mouth when she realizes she’s required to go to this shit show.

So both teams kick ass, and it’s a dead tie! The other members hatch a plan to tell both Heather and Jessica that they will each be the sole captains and to join the teams. Of course their egos both agree. So then they go to the regionals and win. Because forming a team within the span of three weeks makes you the best. But, I guess if you have the Wakefield twins, you’re the best.

MIRACULOUSLY, Heather and Jessica now get along. Nice plot consistency. At point, Ken comes up to Liz thinking she’s Jess and invites her out that night. Liz plays along and tells Jess that Ken had to cancel so she can go out with him. So they go to Miller’s Point or whatever and start making out and BAM! Ken realizes it’s Liz and BAM! Liz realizes she’s suddenly over Ken. If she got over him that quickly, did we REALLY need to hear all the incessant whining over her feelings?

They go to tell Todd and Jessica to come clean but it turns out that Jess and Todd found out and are super-pissed. Todd and Liz cheating on each other? It must be a Tuesday.

Can we talk about the cover? There are too many fucking blondes, I can’t tell who is who. First i thought the girls in the bleachers with the stringy hair were Liz and Jess, spying and plotting on Heather’s team, but then I realized that must be Heather and someone else spying on Jess’ new team. And that must be Jessica doing that spazzy jump. Isn’t Jade Asian and Patty is black? Where are they?

My grade: A-

The one where yet again no boy can resist Jessica or #107 Jessica’s Secret Love

Jessica’s guy looks like an insurance salesman.

Wow, I gess after the whole getting chased by lunatic werewolves, I guess plots that matter are hard to come by. This was written by a 12 year old. Sigh. Another book where Jessica is validated simply for being a skinny blonde. So the twins are home from a stint in London and are at the beach, and some guy hits Jessica on the head with a frisbee! He come over to apologize and BAM! within three seconds they decide they are soul mates. Maybe I am just too old and cynical to buy this. So they make out after saying 2 words to each other. Then the guy runs off and says he can’t be with Jessica. After this encounter Jessica decides that Mystery Beach Man is the most. important. man. she’s ever. met. She claims to care for him more than she did for Sam, the alleged love of her life that Elizabeth killed when she was driving drunk. Who boy. So Jessica mopes around and Liz totally enables her.

So if you are still awake to be involved in this plot, Sue Gibbons is Alice’s friend’s daughter who is coming to Sweet Valley to get married. And she’s eighteen. And her mom just died so she decides what better to share her wedding joy with than complete strangers. And the Wakefields are totally the Ingalls here. In case you don’t have the intelligence of at least a first-grader, I don’t have to tell you that Sue’s fiance turns out to be the beach guy. And his name is Jeremy Randall, and he’s twenty-three. And works for a nature non-profit in nyc. Okay, so I am sure he finds some hot blonde teenager while visiting CA and decides that she is the love of her life, rather than some girl he wants to bone. We further learn why J & J are menat for each other: they both like the same engagement ring, they both want a wedding on the beach, and their names begin with the same letter. Yes, for real.

Sigh. What else? Jess convinces Bruce to take her to the same restaurant Jeremy and Sue are at and to pretend to be her date so make Jeremy jealous. She tricks Jeremy into taking him in to going to Miller’s Point (what a cock tease). Oh, and Lila falls in Lurve with Jeremy’s friend Robby who pretends to be rich to pretend to impress Lila, but in fact he is bone broke and then Lila’ all conflicted about it.

Jess somehow tricks Jeremy into trying on his tux and then she puts on Sue’s wedding dress and that’s when they realize they were really meant to be. There is some sobbing and ego-stroking galore.

The whole werewolves in London thing happened right before this, and Liz is traumatized because she fell for a serial killer. So she starts going crazy with self-help books and attending “Primal Woman” seminars. During the seminar Liz picks a new name, which is Runs-with-the-Wind. She suggests the name She-Who-Shops-A-Lot for Jessica. See? Once every few hundred books there is something REMOTELY funny.

Jessica’s outfit choices for her fake date with Bruce: white palazzo pants, sheer babydoll dress over leggings, or a fitted coral suit. Hawt. She ends up wearing a silk aquamarine dress with an elastic back holding the bodice in place, with a matching bolero jacket piped in white. SWEET! I think I wore that at my Bat Mitzvah.

Oh, it magically happens to be summer again. Love how the time warp continuum works in Sweet Valley.

Sue Gibbons is annoying. She supposedly works for an environmental group but is quite shallow and materialistic. Liz is all condescending and points that out, and for once I have to agree with her.

Aother thing: when Jessica raids Elizabeth’s closet, she chooses the dress that Elizabeth wore to the jungle prom. THE ONE THAT SHE WAS WEARING WHEN SHE KILLED JESSICA’S BOYFRIEND. And she doesn’t bat an eyelash. ghostwriters, get a grip! Copy Editor, get on your game!

Also, this whole love thing was insulting. They really throw around the word too much. I can understand that Jeremy and Jessica may want to fool around with each other, but this whole true love thing in ridiculous. And he’s twenty-three, so ew.

You know what? Bruce Patman was eerily charming in this book. He agrees to pose as Jessica’s date then kind of makes fun of her and makes her pay for his dinner. It’s a sad sick world when Bruce is the character I am enjoying.

Grade: F (I would go lower if I could)

This mini-series drags on for like another four books, and I don’t know if I can bear it. Just by reading the backs it looks as if Jeremy is faking with Jessica to somehow get Sue’s inheritance, and I don’t understand the logic of that and quite frankly I don’t care.

Also, didn’t the Wakefields have a dog? Did something happen to it or is it lazy writing?

On deck: the Pom Pom wars, some AJ Morgan action, Annie Whitman slutfest, Club X, Steven Wakefield drama….

The one where Liz and Todd go to the videomat, or #102 Almost Married

Alrghty, if you remember last time, Bruce’ Dad and Liz’s mom were supposedly having an affair. Liz’s Mom is jetting off again to Chicago to work for Hank “Hanky Panky” Patman and Ned is off in a lawyer business trip. I think these ghostwriters actually have no clue what lawyers/interior designers do. You’d think they wouldnt be so keen on leaving when last time, say, AN EVIL PSYCHOPATH TRIED TO KILL LIZ. Just a thought.

Todd’s parents are away too, so they decide to live together! Wh Wh Eh what? Don’ even worry, Todd is sleeping on the couch. What is the point? And they can’t tell anyone because it is seeewww scandalous! And we know that SVH loves meaningless, non-scandalous gossip!

So in order to keep Jess fom yapping, she has Todd do all her chores like cook her breakfast. You would think this is awkward, considering he and Jess had a thing. But hilarity ensues when Todd tried to make bacon and French Toast.

So Liz is a total BEAST this whole time. You would think I couldn’t hate her more. Oh, but wait. Liz is supposed to be all sensitive and shit, but she keeps running off with Bruce because they have a connection. And if Todd looks at her the wrong way, she has a hissy fit and the world stops, but she can blow off Todd while he is living at her house to go splash around with Bruce in the pool. Her parents aren’t here, and she can bone her boyfriend on the kitchen table whenever she wants, and she is running off to do research on her parents.

Bruce and Liz spend time on campus where her parents met and relive the memories. Alice was a activitst (read: dirty hippie) and Hank was a frat boy, but there ws a sit-in and and Hank drove a fucking helicopter and dropped some food for the activists. Uh, okay. Liz declares she’s in love with Bruce and its weird because they may be siblings. They really throw around the word love too much. I know they are teens, but come on here.

Finally there is a party and Bruce and Liz make out and Todd finds them and then Liz dives in the pool, hits her head and Todd relalizes he loves her and all is well.

Edited to add: the parents come home during the party and Liz gets in trouble for having a party and have Todd stay over. In yer FACE Liz! Also, the parents are not having an affair. Alice left Hanky at the altar. They are just friends now.

Bleccccchhhhh.

Thoughts:

Gradually people find out they are living together and it is the talk of the school! Because the Wakefields are always the center of attention.

Bruce is supposed to be in love with this Pamela gal, who- you won’t blieve this- ia actual nice and down to earth, and not annoying. Bruce dumps her ass.

I actually like the way the twins look at the top of the cover. They have some wicked bangs, the kind that start way far back. And actually their faces are round and full, which I am inclined to say look really great but we really know what it means…bulimia bloat. And Todd actually looks 16. He has an overbite, it’s kind of cute.

In the back of this book, there is the opportunity to join the SVH fancub! Here’s what you get for the low price of $6.25:

  • A membership card with your own personal Fan Club ID number
  • A Sweet Valley High Secret Treasure Box
  • Sweet Valley High Stationery
  • Official Fan Club Pencil (for secret note writing)
  • Three bookmarks
  • A “Members Only” Doorhanger
  • Teo Skeins of embroidery floss with flower barrette instruction leaflet
  • Two editions of The Oracle newsletter

Did anyone have this? Sounds like a fucking blast. Did it also come with a raging STI and some laxatives/diet pills?

Anyone join this?

My grade: C-

Next time: Jessa Fields, anyone?