Sometimes I like to pretend my grandmother is my cleaning lady, or Rosa’s Lie #81

Wow. No words for this glorious cover. First off, it looks like Rosa’s left boob is going to keep growing and overtake her whole body. Jessica’s jacket? Dayum. And Liz’s jeans are way high. My question is, how can one ever look at this and be okay with it? I guess we were. I was watching old episodes of 90210 and realized that Brenda’s jeans were under her armpits, but I still wanted to be her. So much that I had her bangs from age 15 to 22. That’s another story.

Rose Jameson is a sensation! She just started SVH, and at least 10 boys have asked her out so far. if you are a poor sophomore, that makes you the town whore. Pi Beta Alpha is alo accepting new pledges, and off course they want Rosa! She’s pretty! She’s popular! Does she hae any sort of personality? The book doesn’t indicate so. But, I guess, who cares?

But…shhhhh, don’t tell anyone…Rose is Mexican. She is really ashamed and doesn’t want anyone in Sweet Valley to know. That is why she changed her name from Rosa to Rose, and it relieved that her parents could pass for white. Now, before you pass judgement on Rosa, think about it. She is just a kid and living in Sweet Valley. Wouldn’t you jump at the chance to not be ostracized and tokenized? To further make her feel like shit, she watched Lila act like a bitch to her maid, who is Mexican. Lila complains….oh Lila, stop making it hard to like you! Apparently, all the Mexican kids at school hang out together. This is first I’ve heard of any non-Caucasion students, minus Jade and Manuel.

She is doing everything she can to hide it, and in fact, makes up this whole story about how she moved from Boston and her parents are decendents of colonists and her ancestors came over on the Mayflower. She goes overboard with the whiteness there. I am surprised she doesn’t tel anyne her family runs a working plnatation. She tells Lila that she was a debutante in Boston Society and that makes Lila putty in her hands.

Through all this pledging, Liz and Enid are both involved in the festivities. Oh, it’s okay for them to bash PBA but when they get the chance to judge people they jump right on board! Hypocrites! hate!

To make matters worse, Rosa’s grandmother will be visiting from Mexico. This is the first time she has seen Nana in years, and of course all she can think about is what will her new friends think? Also, Nana rules. I want her to have her own spin-off series. Could have been an awesome SV Saga, but can you imagine their depictions of Mexico? Lots of burros and sombreros. Anyway. Nana does awesome things like copy the pattern of Rosa’s favorite “American” dress and make her own with emroidery, etc. And bakes a fantastic cake for party Rosa is having for her friends, but Rosa thinks it looks too “Mexican” and throws it away, uneaten. At that same party, she had planned for her parents to take Nana to a concert, but Nana comes back because she frgot something and Rosa tells everyone that it “was just the cleaning lady.” OH. MUH. GAWD. Can we make a list of the most awful things that characters do? This may even be above anything Amy Sutton ever did.

Finally, at the closing pledge picnic, Rosa thinks she is going to get away with everything, but wouldncha know, a pesky Mexican girl has to go ahead and wonder into the picnic and fall into a well. What are the odds? Rosa can either let the girl suffer and die and keep her secret, or talk to the girl in Spanish and tell her to calm down. She actually hesitates for a while with that one. Finally, she decides to talk to the girl. Now, if I were Rosa, I could have still kept my cover by saying something like, “I picked up my Spanish during summers at our resort in Cabos San Lucas” or some shit like that. But she runs away in tears, and the gals come find her at home and tell her “It’s okay that your Mexican, we don’t mind, we’ll overlook it.” What the fuck? Again, another time that I wish a character would tell the SVH posse to fuck off and die and just be theselves, but no, acceptance by them is the only thing that matters.

Wait, Rosa has a little bit of a spine, because at the induction ceremony she decides not to join, because she needs to be a part of something that celebrates who she is and not “overlooks” it. Well, that was kind of a victory, although she vows to stay friends with everyone. Which, I don’t think happens because I am pretty sure we never hear from her again.

The secondary story is that Todd wants to amp up the frat because he is sick of Bruce being a dick. It took 70 books for him to realize this? They both propose pledges and keep proposing more and more obnoxious dares for each one. Finally, at the end, they kiss and make up and let everyone in. They WISH they kissed. Again, can we get some adult at the school to grow some balls and monitor this? One of the tasks is to steal a clock from the school and to steal a schoolbus. The good thing is that we get tons of SVH students coming out of the woodwork to add to the list. Although it is kind of weird, being at we are in book 70 and we’ve never heard about them until now.

Some quotes. I’m going to let them speak for themselves:

Sweet Valley, California! Rosa thought. It really is a place where dreams come true!”

[upon arriving at the PBA meeting at Casa Fowler] “In the back by the pool, there are a dozen fairy-tale princesses, Rose thought, and they’re going to make me a fairy-tale princess too.

[Lila, upon seeing Sandra Bacon with her boyfriend, Manuel] “I don’t know how she can date him” she murmered to Amy. “He’s so ethnic and working class.”

Shocker! The PBAs are co-sponsoring a dance with Phi Episilon. It must be a Friday.

One of the pledge tasks was to sneak into the men’s locker room and steal things. Liz claims she knows what kind of deoderant Todd uses. Ew.

I seem to have a touch of the multiple sclerosis, or Super Edition: Special Christmas

Reeeeediculuuuuuusssss! But, this one reminded me of why I love SVH. As in, truly enjoy it for its own sake. The drama! The intrigue! The scheming!

First of all, I want you to know it took me a lot to do a “Christmas” book. I don’t celebrate it, detest the commercialization of it (I suggest you watch this movie) and am tiring of it being shoved down my throat every year. My current job is the first job I’ve had that has not forced me to take vacation days during the break. Anyway, this is not about me. On with the drahma.

It’s nearing winter vacation, and SVH classes are winding down. In fact, they cancel classes one day to have a Christmas party in the gym. Okay, maybe it is before schools realized the idea of inclusiveness (my elementary school classrooms always had Xmas trees) but canceling classes? They are also doing a secret Santa, and Jessica has her sights set on rubbing her loins on the new German exchange student, Hans. She is convinced that he has her as her SS. but actually he has Lila. Also, Lila and Jessica are competing for the title of Miss Christmastime, which a useless titles sponsored by the town. Probably the same town councilmember that proposes the Miss Teen Sweet Valley. Gross.

Oh, and the Xmas ball is being held at the Patmans. Is everyone invited? All 83 students?

The Wakefields set up their tree and Ned suggests blue and silver decorations. Maybe because he is secretly one of the chosen people? Do the twins even know they are a quarter Jewish? If they found out would the whole school be spreading rumors about it? Would Jessica be kicked off the squad?

Ok, onto the good stuff: the Wakefields find out that Suzanne Devlin is coming to visit again…her last visit was less than good for the frail egos of Sweet Valley. The Wakefield offspring are horrified and they pretend it is because Suzanne was so horrible last time. Really, Liz is mad because Suxanne made a fool of her, Jessica is pissed because someone will potentially out-sociopath her and take the attention away from her. Steven, I am not sure why he is mad. Maybe because Suzanne being around will cause him to spend more time at college, where I’d imagine his parents are paying through the roof for his housing which he is never at.

The Wakefield bunch scheme and scheme…Liz tries calling Suzy to convince her not to come. Jessica plans on…shortsheeting her bed. Steven just sits there and offers no helpful suggestions. Pretty much like always.

Meanwhile Todd is planning a visit home. He will be staying with Ken and the genetically-engineered Matthews family. Firstly, Liz doesn’t blonk an eye at this…considering SHE HAD AN AFFAIR WITH KEN RIGHT AFTER TODD MOVED. Oh, that’s right, they stuck that in after the fact. Liz is nervous about being alone with Todd.

Meanwhile, we get a lil bit from Todd’s perspective, including a flashback to when he was skiing in Killington, Vermont when he ran into Suzy. And one thing led to another and…they took a WALK TOGETHER! I know, totally scandalous. What a whore.

So we also get a brief POV from Alice when she picks up Suzy from the airport. I actually hate when the writers write from the adults’ perspectve. It’s insulting or something. Alice has decided to hide the fact that Suzanne has multiple sclerosis from the twins because Suzanne has asked her to. Of course, the parents in this worls are always at the mercy of the sixteen year olds that tell them what to do. Alice notices that Suzanne looks pale and weak, and that made her look “lovlier than the last time she saw her.” Note to teenage girls: get a serious illness.

Finally, Jessica cooks up a scheme with Aaron Dallas, whom Suzy screwed over last time. Jess makes Aaron invite Suz to a pre-party as his cousin’s house and tells her to meet him there. When, in fact, he will give her the address of a run-down warehouse or something. What? That is the worst they could come up with? Oh yea, this is coming from the twins who once in middle school decided to get back at someone by making them a faulty chair.

So the twins and Suzanne share some champagne before they head out [WAIT, THE TWINS ACTUALLY ARE DRINKING? And they do it like it is no biggie. I am actually kind of proud of them for acting like real teenagers.] Suzanne also takes her new meds and wonders briefly about the interactions. She calls her doctor in NYC to ask him but just leaves a message. Suz heads out in the Fiat and of course passes out while driving and the car flips over or something. She ends up in the hospital and the “look on Todd’s face” was all she needed to know about how he felt about Suzanne, and she is okay with that.

Also, Suzanne’s doctor from New York flies in to see Suzanne. Um, inappropriate much? He also comes to deliver the news that…oh my god, this is the worst plot twist…that she has mono, not MS. Can someone revoke his license immediately? “We’ve been racking our brains all day, and we finally figured out what happened. You see, you had an udetected virus and several months later began to experience a very rare complication from it.” I don’t have a medical degree, but isn’t there a very simple blood test to see if someone has mono? I only know because everytime my nose starts running I am convinced I have mono and demand that my doctor do the test.

So Todd and Suzanne have Liz’s blessing…yea right, like she’s give Todd up that easily.

Oh, and Winston is really Jessica’s secret santa. Yawn. Jessica switches Lila’s Miss Christmastime dress with an elf costume and hilarity ensues. Double yawn.

So many tidbits!

  • Dues for Pi Beta Alpha are seventeen dollars a semester, and Liz complains its too much. YOu know what Liz, then QUIT!
  • Olivia’s secret santa arranged for the swim team to come serenade her in the Dairi Burger wearing only speedos! Hotttt!
  • The Droids were performing at the Beach Disco, and they wrote a song for Todd’s homecoming for him and Liz called “I’ll Wait for You.” Why are the Wakefields in the center of the fucking universe?
  • Aaron Dallas: “Jessica, you should really go into politics. You’re really good at getting people on your side you know that?” Jessica: “What a wonderful way to put it.” Don’t encourage her!
  • When their parents tell the twins about Suzanne’s MS and how she could possibly end up in a wheelchair: “A wheelchair!” Elizabeth exclaimed. As hard as she tried , she couldn’t imagine pretty, vivacious, independent Suzanne trapped in a wheelchair. I know! It is such a tragedy when an attractive person has a disability!

My grade: A++++

p.s. I totally scored at a used book store and got one of the BSC Claifornia Diaries, a Friends Forever book, and other good stuff. Stay tuned.

All the way with Tom McKay, or #30 Jealous Lies

I’ll manage to squeeze this one in before I leave.

I totally decided to do this one because I wanted some assinine sorority action, like Jessica organizing an assembly where she circle’s the pledge’ fat in the auditorium and having it sponsored by the school. Firstly, it involves Sandra Bacon and Jean West, who are really boring. I also get Jean West confused with Maria Santinelli.

Jean and Sandy are bffs and are in cheerleading together, but Sandy has always been jealous of Jean and doesn’t want her in Pi Beta Alpha so she can have an identity of her own. I can see her point, kind of. If Sandy is so plain and boring like she thinks she is, how is she a cheerleader and in PBA? I thought only the prettiest and most popular were in it, according to Jessica. Whatevs.

So Sandy sets up Jean with a difficult pledge task, taking a (pre-gay) Tom Mckay to the big party. Sandy lets on to Tom that Jean is only showing interest in him as a pledge, and Tom decides to stand her up. Jean’s next pledge is to make Tom fall in love with her and then snub him at the big Friday the 13th dance (what the fuck would this school do without a dance on Friday night? Probably kill themselves). Well, in case you’re an idiot, I don’t have to tell you that Tom and jean do end up falling in love, and Sandra comes clean to Jean and they make up. Snore.

Where are our favorite madonna/whore twins? Don’t worry, they are busy manipulating family members. Steven announces he wants to take some time off from college to work on a cruise ship. Everyone is of course aghast but you know what? I would say, go for it Steve, Firstly, get the hell out of Sweet Valley for a while and see other places! Get out of your privileged bubble! Realize that other places are not like Sweet Valley! There are non-thin, non-white, non-judgemental people out there! He spends too much time at home anyway. Also, it wouldn’t hurt for him to make an hourly salary for manual labor, let him gain some perspective. Also, if he is not feeling college right now, it’s called a leave of absebce! But of course, these are my rational reasons and everyone could NOT fathom WHY anyone would leave Sweet Valley. So the twins hatch a plan to convince him that they want him to go, and then he’ll realize he’ll want to stay. Wy to manipulate your family member’s emotions. Anf of course, he does stay. Duh.

I hate how Liz and Enid are still in the sorority, despite being opposed to it. If they really were against it, they would de-pledge. I think they secretly enjoy it but of COURSE would never admit it. Hypocrites.

Haha, about Tom: “He was exactly the kind of guy most girls dreamed about, but he seldom dated. The last girl he’d gone with was Jessica Wakefield, and a few people joked that she had turned him off the female sex forever.” Foreshadowing????

Other thoughts:

The girls do water ballet in gym class. Wtf?

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 where Todd and Liz get together (for the first time), or #1 Double Love

Well, book one seems like the logical place to start? Because if it’s one thing that Fran Pascal and her ghostwriters know about, it’s logical plot devices. Ok, so we meet the twins and their annoying perfect selves and all the gang briefly. Liz has a crush on Todd. Scratch that. She’s in LOVE with him. After he looks at her in the caf and then they have a five minute convo about some chemistry exam. But Jessical also likes him. No, she doesn’t actually like him, to her he’s just another notch on her belt to validate herself through her sexual attractiveness. So Jessica basically goes after Todd, and Elizabeth basically wants to commit suicide when she hears Jessica talking about him. In all fairness, Liz never even tells Jessica her feelings. Ugh. I hate defending Jessica.

Then Jessica walks home from cheerleading practice instead of catching a ride from her friend because she “enjoys the attention she will attract” if she walks home. Ugh. Then the town punk picks her up and asks her for a date (in Francine’s world, a boy always asks for a proper “date” even though he is a complete fuck up). Of course, because it strokes Jess’ ego, says yes and lies to her parents and goes with him to Kelly’s, the town bar (Sweet Valley has one bar, apparently), and she gets into a brawl, or caused a brawl, or something, and the police come. Because the system is unfair and Jess is a manipulative skank, she convinces the cop to let her off. So he gives her a ride home. THe policeman calls her Elizabeth on her way out of the car, and Carline Pierce, the school gossip, overhears and then spreads it all over time that Elizabeth was at a bar and arrested.

The next day it is all over school and I am surprised that they don’t brand a letter “A” into Liz’s chest. Because she was out at a BAR! And possibly DRINKING! Jayzus. Kids these days have blow job parties and cook crystal meth after school. But apparently no teenagers drink at SVH. Jessica let’s them believe it, and Liz’s friend Enid is ahamed and breaks off their friendship. Todd of course sees Liz in a different light and decided to go to the dance with Jess.

After the dance, Todd doesn’t want to make out with Jess, which of course if a man doesn’t want Jessica, there MUST be something wrong with him. So she tells Liz that he tried to sexual assualt her. Because Francine likes to perpetuate the sterotype that women often cry rape. Thanks, Fran. So then Liz thinks Todd is a creep and there is more miscommunication.

Finally, somehow, it is all worked out, and Todd and Liz kiss and use stupid metaphors about their love. So, at least Liz grows some balls and tries to get back at Jessica. Ok, back up. Liz writes the gossip column for the school newspaper, The Oracle, and no one knows who it is. When they find out, they throw the person in the pool. Liz lets everyone think Jess is her, so they storm Jess and throw her in the pool. Oh, those SVH kids and their hijinks!

Oh yea, the twins’ brother Steven, who is in college, keeps coming around. It’s because he is secretly seeing Tricia Martin, but he is embarassed about it because she comes from a bad family, and her father is the “town drunk”. Because there IS ONLY ONE DRUNK IN SWEET VALLEY. Well, I guess that can happen when there is only one bar.

Some other points.

  • First, the twins are rushing Pi Alpha, the “best” sorority on campus. And they have to pledge and be hazed. (Liz was forced to have a pizza delivered to her science class). If your high school had a sorority, please let me know because WTF???? How is that allowed and sanctioned by the school? How do they allow hazing? WHERE ARE THE ADULTS?
  • Ok, my high school had a joke of a newspaper. So it took them half a school year to print a story about a tree that was planted outside or something like that. This is like a full time endeavor. I also get it confused with The Blaze and expect Andrea Zuckerman to be shouting orders at everyone. And they have a gossip column? How is that okay? Can Mr. Collins, the pervy advisor, please put a stop to it?
  • I hate how Jessica never wears a watch, because things don’t really start “until she gets there.”
  • If someone wants to make a statement, is mad at someone, or wants to flirt, they use the person’s full name. “I’ll get back at you Jessica Wakefield, if its the last thing I do!”; “Todd Wilkins, you are one hunk of man!” When Todd and Liz fight (which is uh, ALWAYS) they call each other Miss Wakefield and Mr. Wilkins. How…kinky?
  • Francine aka Kate William does not understand how a sense of humor works. Do teens ever/have they ever talked like this?: When Rick asks her out again, she’s all, “No thanks, I’d rather go on a date with an Octopus!” HAR HAR HAR!
  • The Fowlers and Patmans are set up to be this Hatfield and McCoys of Sweet Valley. They are both fighting over property of the SVH foodball field.Like they’s give a flying fuck.

Two words ladies: hot oil treatment. What’s with the bangs? Oh I forget, it’s 1984. That denim jacket should have more pins on it, Jess. Oh, and btw, you have a combover.

My grade: C+