Oh, just murder them already!

WHEN SHADOW PUPPETS GO BAD

UUUUUUUGHHHHHHHHH you guys I thought I had closed the chapter on the original Super Thrillers. To my chagrin (what’s a chagrin?) there is STILL this one and I don’t get it, it’s still summer, but Liz is with Todd, and they are still interns at the Sweet Valley News, and somehow they are not aware that this Seth guy writes mystery novels in his spare time. What is going on? Is Joseph Gordon-Levitt about to come in and kick Jessica’s chair over (better yet, a kick in the face).

So, yea. There’s a recent murder in town. Jessica overhears phone calls. The police are inept. Parents are not consulted. Drugs are involved. Jessica meets a twenty something accountant who of course has no choice in life but to ask her out. But he’s an undercover cop. Because, of course he is. There’s drugs in Sweet Valley! Someone must stop this! Jessica gets held hostage by their boss at the newspaper and is almost murdered. Liz saves the day at the last minute. After the FOURTH time Jessica is almost murdered in the same summer (or is it?) she skips off ready to shop at the mall and to get a boner over the latest hunky janitor who was just hired, or something.

Good Lord. Please don’t make me spell out the plot further. As Murtaugh would say….

And in case you haven’t heard…the SWEET VALLEY TEN YEARS LATER website has launched, confirming the actual release of Sweet Valley Confidential. I will admit, I didn’t believe that it would actually happen! But it IS for real! Although ten years for SV is practically 25 years for us. They must be 4 levels of dreams under…I’m going to implant the idea in their brains that Liz should shut the hell up. (Can’t stop with the Inception references!)I have my thoughts on the first chapter at a later time. Thanks to the site for linking me. And not hating me for crapping all over the author they represent. And who would have thought Francie liked poker?

And some housekeeping- I’d like to update the links to the right. If I am missing yours or someone else’s YA blog, drop me an email.

Coming soon- my interview with Amanda Howells, former Sweet Valley University ghostwriter and a giveaway of her new book….

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On the Run: The ending gives away the story, dumbass

It’s the clip-art magnifying glass of doom! Despite witnessing the murder of their houseguest’s girlfriend and then almost being butchered in a garage, the twins lives are pretty much back to the ho-hum of Sweet Valley. They are back interning at the Sweet Valley news for free, and Elizabeth is still believing that one day the editor will give her the assignment of her life, she’ll write it and win the Pulitzer Prize. Keep making coffee and making photocopies, loser.

Meanwhile, the news has a new intern named Darcy Kaymen, who is a redhead and immediately takes a dislike to Elizabeth, who she deems as pompous and boring. We love Darcy! The great thing is, Liz doesn’t try to win Darcy over and concert her to a Wakefield-worshipping zombie, she just kinds of sits and takes it. Awesome! Meanwhile, Darcy and Jessica become besties, because they both enjoy lipgloss and psychopathology.

But oooooo, there’s national news about a well-known criminal case in New York. Frank DeLucca, a notorious mafia leader was arrested but people are afraid to testify against him. Ned has something to say about it: He “feared that DeLucca might be let off and horrible chain of underworld crime would continue.” Because they live in a 1930s film noir. And this guy’s conviction would make New York virtually crime free. Rumor has it that they found a witness but he was going into the witness protection program.

Meanwhile…there’s a new guy, Eric,  that works in the coffeeshop downstairs. He just moved to town and seems very mysterious. I WONDER HOW THAT IS RELATED TO THE SEEMINGLY PASSING MENTION OF SOMEONE GOING INTO THE WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM. Darcy gets hard on for him, but Liz gets a bigger hard on when she finds out that Eric likes sappy love poetry. This makes Darcy mad, so she hates Elizabeth more. Some other business comes up where Darcy thinks that Eric is really some guy who murdered a girl in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and that Liz is in trouble, but meanwhile some weird guys in suits are following the twins around but meanwhile, some kid starts choking in the coffeeshop and Eric’s father is revealed to be…dum dum dum….the doctor who testified! of COURSE they moved to Sweet Valley of all places.

Just when everyone has a big laugh about the mixup and about to head to Casey’s for a deep fried quadruple scoop of bacon and nutella ice cream, some of DeLucca’s guys come in and hold Eric’s family and Liz hostage! Liz somehow saves the day by teaching Eric and his father about the power of trust and they are saved, the bad guys are arrested, and the seedy crime underworld is virtually eradicated. Yay!

I couldn’t deny you the pleasure of hearing Eric’s poetry that caused Elizabeth’s high-wasted briefs in a knot.

No sparrows light here

the sheaves picked clean,

and summer gone

with nothing left to stave off cold

or hunger.

Maybe to love

is always to hurt deeply and not just

to hurt, but to destroy,

knowing this

awful farewell

has been in store for us.

Liz was ready to cheat on Jeffrey with this sap. The only thing stopping them from getting to third base was that Eric and his dad needed to leave Sweet Valley and go ON THE RUN again. See what they did there? Good thing that the nothing else crazy and murder-related happens during this summer….except when it does.

Another Todd and Liz breakup and death threat for the twins; it must be a Tuesday.

Silly me for assuming that these Super Star Editions would give some insight on the characters that the regular series didn’t have time to do because they spent too many pages talking about sea-green eyes and lavalieres. So, class, what have we learned from this book? Todd is boring and has Daddy issues and spends most of his time playing basketball and thinking about how sweet and kind Liz Wakefield is.

It’s summer again. Again. Liz and Todd are feeling the fizzle go out of their relationship, so they decide to sign up to be camp counselors for a two-week camp run by the parks department or something. Yea, nothing says romance like working like crazy for two weeks running around chasing kids and the only time spent together is in the company of children. And also, this rekindling thing? Are they on Yes Dear? What teenagers talk about their relationships like that?

So, because Sweet Valley is the #1 vacation destination for sociopaths to move to so they can enact revenge, Kevin Holmes turns up as one of the counselors in the camp. The back story is that when Todd was “living” in “Vermont”, he witnessed this guy Kevin mugging someone, and Todd being Todd, pinned the guy down until the police came. Then Kevin’s father tried to bribe him to not testify, but Todd being Todd, did his civic duty and went ahead and testified and Kevin got a jail sentence. Kevin vowed to get back at Todd.

Margo should take pointers from this guy. Kevin manipulates everyone into liking him and hating Todd, and threatens Elizabeth’s life if Todd reveals his identity. Meanwhile, Kevin also starts working at Todd’s fathers’ firm, and take an interest in the business, something Todd never does. So now Kevin has turned Todd’s dad against him too. This Kevin guy is a really good sociopath! Which is no wonder why Jessica spends no time rubbing up his non-existence Ken Doll genitals.

So after about eight chapters of Todd being emo and he and Liz squabbling, they decide to break up. Then something not exciting enough to go into detail happens in which another female counselor is mugged, and Kevin frames Todd for it. Todd threatens to turn Kevin in and while Todd is in jail briefly, Kevin lures Elizabeth into the woods and starts to strangler her but Todd gets out of jail and there just in time! Lovers reunited, justice served, and another 45 minutes of my life I will never get back.

By now I am pretty sure that the publishers over at Bantam took the first draft of anything anyone wrote and released it in the series.

Here’s an excerpt of Kevin talking trash about Todd:

Kevin lowered his voice. “There was an…incident with a girl. Nobody knows exactly what happened.” Kevin paused significantly. “But she had to jump out of the car to get away from him. She walked home.” Jessica’s mouth went dry. At that moment, she was relieved that her sister had broke up with Todd.

I’ll tell you what happened. This girl was trying to get some action from Todd and all he wanted to do was give her butterfly kisses and make metaphors about the colors of her eyes. So she bailed. And is Jessica most appalled by the girl having to walk home? And listen Missy, let us not forget when you tried to claim that Todd attacked you. She was probably pissed that someone stole her scheme.

Friends, if you’ve been keeping track, I’ve only a few more recaps to finish the first hundred. The end is nigh…

Stop the Presses, I want to throw up in my mouth.

Book Cover from The Closet

You are going to think I’m kidding here, but this is yet another friggin’ time that the twins are almost murdered. And recover quick enough to celebrate being alive with a nosh at the Dairi Burger. It’s like some sick game from Saw with these Wakefields. Get a pimple and gut and your family and friends are allowed to live, or stay perfect and others suffer! Hahahaha!

We’re back in the summer, and I realized that the first four super thrillers are a miniseries, including later when Nicholas falls for crazy Babs. So that means the timeline jumped all over when these came out? It’s the summer and Liz is with Jeffrey, who is working as a camp counselor in San Francisco. Which is code for sleeping with men in San Francisco. Seriously, there are no sleep away camps in SF, if they wanted to be realistic, they would have said Marin or something. Seriously, don’t fuck with my city ghostwriters!

Steven is home (duh) interning at a law firm, and the Wakefields are hosting his friend Adam who is also interning. Adam is too poor to live on his own, so the Wakefields got a collective boner when they heard that and agreed to house him. Jessica is sick of Elizabeth mooning over Jeffrey being away, so she tries to get her interested in Adam. She writes a fake love note from Adam to Liz. COINCIDENTALLY, the same day, Adam’s girlfriend is murdered by an ex-boyfriend and Jessica witnesses the guy trying to hide the body but gets away before the guy can confront her. There’s a backstory about this girlfriend being rich and her parents not approving of Adam, but really you don’t need to give a fuck.

Let me back up. The twins are interning at the Sweet Valley News during the summer. of course Liz thinks by the end of the summer she will win a nobel prize, and Jessica is forced to by her parents. Jessica’s new dry-hump target is star reporter Seth, who is twenty-two and writes mystery novels on the side. Hubba hubba! Sounds like my kind of nerdy guy. Jessica tries to get Seth into her by making up false leads so they can go solve crimes together. Again, it is SO BEYOND JESSICA’S COMPREHENSION that Seth is maybe not interested in her so she persists on with the bullshit. Also, no one believes her when she says she sees the murder.

Oh yea, and then Adam is arrested for his girlfriend’s murder because everyone thinks he wrote Liz a love note and that made the police think he killed his girlfriend so he could be with Liz. Nice detective work there, Sweet Valley police. Then again, the twins insane beauty and awesomeness can drive people to murder! They just can’t help it! Anyway, Jessica refuses to tell the police that she really wrote the note, SO ADAM STAYS IN JAIL AND ACCUSED OF MURDER. But the important thing is, Jessica isn’t in trouble!

Ned and Alice forbade the twins to drive the Fiat, because the  murderer may recognize the car. There’s an office party at the news, and Jessica gets a ride with Seth, and Liz is supposed to drive Steven’s car, but he didn’t come home in time (the ONE time he is not home, right?) so she says fuck it, I’ll take the Fiat. Jessica is at the party and realizes that the killer is there and is actually a friend of the news editor. Jessica somehow convinces the killer to leave the party, probably with the help of her alluring magnetism, but oops, Liz pulls up in the Fiat as he goes into the garage. Killer guy tries to kill the twins by running into them with his car and beating them with a pipe. You think I’m kidding when I say that. Somehow the twins overcome him and knock him unconscious (they also have super strength) and become the heroes. Jessica somehow does not get in trouble for keeping information from the police, and also is awarded the opportunity to write a front-page story about how she cracked the case.

Oh yea, somehow in all the celebrating someone remembers to release Adam from prison. No bother that his reputation is ruined and his girlfriend is dead, it’s okay because the twins are okay and the beating didn’t ruin their California-girl good looks.

Also? Double Jeopardy does not mean that two people are in jeopardy. Just sayin’.

The real question here is: the Sweet Valley News actually exists, and has more then two employees? What breaking news could they possible have to cover? Well, let’s check out some recent headlines:

Alice Wakefield Tapped to Lead New Town Hall Redesign; Spanish-Style Tiles Expected to Be Involved

Enid Rollins’ Past to Be Revealed as Dangerous and Outlandish, No One Gives Shit

Tricia Martin Still Dead, Sources Confirm

Cheryl Thomas Moves to Sweet Valley, Black Population Up 25%

Jessica’s New Bikini Said to Be Small, Revealing

Local Teacher Roger Collins Proposes New Sleepaway Teen Summer Writing Camp at His House

Toilet Store Opens in Downtown Sweet Valley, No Customers Yet

Local Teen Winston Egbert Beats His Own Record at Taco Eating Contest, Awarded Nothing

Hidden Camera Found in Boys’ Locker Room, Local Teen Tom McKay Tipped Off Police

Local Couple Alice and Ned Wakefield to Publish Book on Parenting

Annie Whitman Goes on Ninth Date this Week, Slut Status Solidified

Bruce Patman Switching to Boxer Briefs, Sources Confirm

Susan Stewart Reveals Identity of Real Father, Sweet Valley Residents say Susan Who?

Local Survey of Sweet Valley Residents reveal that Sweet Valley is the #1 Favorite Place in the World

Local High School Dance Canceled, Project Youth Flooded With Calls from Depressed Students

Police Catch Twenty-Seventh Serial Killer This Year

Town Council Passes a Measure that This Year will have Six Christmases and Eight Summer Vacations

Lois Waller Still Fat, Sources Confirm

Local Sweet Valley Residents Pondering if Jews Really Exist

You never forget your first time.

I guess I never mentioned it before, but No Place to Hide was my first Sweet Valley High book, ever. I think I had been reading a couple of the twins books before I picked this one up at my local B. Dalton. And I remember totally choosing it for the cover.

Yes, that Microsoft Paint magnifying-glass thing totally hooked me. I guess I thought the twins were beyond gorgeous on the cover and my shallow self wanted to glance at the glossy cover and dream of the day that I, too, could grow up and be just as glamorous.

Hoever, I have NO idea why I continued reading, because this was beyond wretched. Maybe even worse than the other non-chlling super thriller. I think after this one I was at the library and saw All Night Long and decided to give it another chance. I cry wolf all the time, but really, this may be the worst one yet.The plotline of this is off the grid. ANd unecessarily complicated.

But, I suppose you want a summary, eh? Okay, I’ll try to muster up the patience to tell you this inane plot.

So it’s back during the summer, and the twins are back working at the newspaper, and Liz is with Jeffrey, and it’s supposedly right after Regina Morrow (shout out to my cat!) has just died. So you work with that timeline.

Oh, the big news? Sweet Valley’s mayoral campaign. Russell Kincaid v. some other old white guy. I can only imagine their campaign promises: “We promise to limit the sumber of ‘minorities’ in the town, make Wakefield day an offical holiday, and build an expansion on the valley mall.” What about the insanse crimes that happen in Sweet Valley?! The cults recruiting innocent kids? The gang warfare?

The twins invite Nicholas Morrow with them to their company picnic down in some podunk town and they take a walk and find this big old house and meet this gal, Barbara who Nicholas gets a big bone for. The big old house belongs to Babs; grandmother, and she is staying there with the housekeeper and her very strict uncle. Okay, so the uncle is kind of a dick and controls Barbara, but Nicholas and the twins kind of freak out and feel it’s a crime and Barbara is totally being abused and want to call Human Rights Watch on them or something. All the man does is give her a curfew and shit.

Nicholas sneaks to the house every night and he and Barbara hang out in the woods, NOT fooling around, NOT groping each other over their clothes, but hanging out with her dog Rory and talking about woe is Babs and her mean family. And talking about possible escape. Um, how about, what movies you like? Silly stuff? They’re teenagers for god’ sake. There are some close calls where they almost get caught and Nicholas keeps getting followed.

Then, of course, instead of calling the police and say, some ADULTS to help, the twins and Nicholas hatch a plan to help Barbara escape. Who do they think they are, the Baby-Sitters Club?

Fast forward about 70 more pages of close calls and Nicholas bemoaning Babs’ plight and we find out that Russell Kincaid, mayoral candidate is the brother to Babs’ Uncle John, and Uncle J wants to get back at Russell for something, so he lures Babs to the house for the summer because she is the spitting image to her grandmother Barbara, who Russell murdered way back in the day, and John wanted him to think he saw a ghost. Because it’s really appropriate to have you middle-aged brother lusting after an underage gal who reminds you of your dead lover. Nice one, ghost writers.

So Barbara of course will never show up in another book, so she breaks up with Nicholas when she moves to Switzerland. To the land of doctors that cure deafness.

Ugh, Terrible. Awful. Shit, the twins are still working at the Valley News? Couldn’t they get real interns from Sweet Valley University? Why am I questioning the logic?

The one that is a big commercial for a Ouiji Board or Super Thriller: Deadly Summer

I have been reluctant to do a Super Thriller, because I remember them being tedious and quite frankly, not all that scary. I was RIGHT!

The timeline of this one is blowing my mind! So it’s summer, AGAIN. But Liz is dating Jeffrey, in the summer. But didn’t Todd move back to SV before the end of the school year? Was this before or after they spent the summer in Malibu? Or after the big bike trip? My head is exploding! Also, the twins are interning at the Sweet Valley News. Why would Jessica even want to do that? And wouldn’t she get fired during her first day? Also, what the hell really happens in Sweet Valley? But the office is always bustling like it’s the Daily Planet or something.

The first half of the book doesn’t have much thrill in it. Elizabeth chided Lila for believing in a Ouji board, and Lila was pissed and plans to get back at Liz for being a condescending asshole. You and me both, Li. She and Jess plan to trick Liz into making her scared of the Ouji board by haing it predict things that will actually happen. The big Endless Summer concert is postponed, and they lead her to believe that the Ouji predicted it. Then Jess reads one of Jeffreys letters to Liz and has it predict that. Soon Liz is believing it and getting freaked out and Lila is loving every moment of it. And so am I- Liz being made the fool is okay in my book.

They also trick Liz into believing that Bruce is dying of an unnamed illness, so of course Liz is going to jump in and comfort him and act like Mother Teresa because she can’t resist “saving” someone. Bruce finds out about Jessica and Lila’s plan, and totally hams it up to manipulate Liz into fooling around with him. He’s actually a little bit hilarious. Liz seems to forget the whole coma-forced-intercourse thing. Jeffrey finally arrives home and is super jealous that Bruce and Liz are spending time together. (Jeffrey had been working as a camp counselor in San Francisco. I think that means he was camping it up in San Francisco, if you know what I mean. Wink. ) The folks who wrote Almost Married should have read the other books first to realize that the Liz/Bruce romance thing had already been done.

Okay, we finally get the the Super Thriller part. Some guy is an escaped from a mental insitution. When he was in high school about 10 years ago, he was in love with a pretty cheerleader who snubbed him so he kidnapped her for a while.

If you do not see exactly where this is going, then you are a moron.

He is also planting fake bombs everywhere, sending SVH into a panic. Liz is also getting prank phone calls. Yawn.

Liz is also doing some baby sitting for Elsa Bennett. One night when she is there a strange guy stops by, looking for Elsa, claiming that he is an old friend, and that Liz “looks like someone he used to know”.

Oh, this is the best: it’s the middle of the summer, and the cheerleaders hold a pep rally at SVH to “get the school back in the team spirit”. Is this legal to have a school event during the summer? Can these people take a fucking break from SVH and get away?

Okay, I’ll admit that I totally skimmed the rest: This crazy guy, Donald, who is Elsa’s brother,takes Liz, Bruce, and Jeffrey hostage at the stadium and threatens to set off a bomb. Becauase Liz looks like the pretty girl that snubbed him. It’s just the curse of being beautiful! Bruce saves the day by grabbing the bomb and running off with it and it explodes. He emerges with like soot on him and a singed collar. It is like in the cartoons, where something explodes. Was the bomb made by ACME? Whatever.

Liz has been kidnapped/held hostage like eighteen times. How does she not have PTSD?

Super thriller my ass.

Grade: F

So an heiress, a tramp, and a nerd walk into a bar….or Sunset Island #1

Okay, originally when doing a blog, I wanted to blog the Sunset Island books, by Cherie Bennett. A year ago I was super depressed so I ordered the whole series on ebay (best $60 I ever spent) and read them over again…I think I gave away my original copies. It totally worked better than prozac, these books always give me the warm fuzzies. I think I was in junior high when I read these, and if I do say so myself I was quite an advanced reader (I read Flowers In the Attic in the seventh grade) so they did seem a bit childish. But awesome nonethless.

They were basically a combo of the Baby-sitters Club, Sweet Valley High, and Beverly Hills 90210. And like the BSC, there were vivid descriptions of outfits, which were my favorite to read. And with some drinking and some talk of sex. Shocker! The three gals are au pairs on Sunset Island, which is a fake island off the coast of Maine.

Ok, so the characters are:

  • Emma: super-rich heiress who wants to break away from her privileged background and hides her wealth from people because she feels people will jusge her. Is very prim and proper.
  • Sam: a redheaded tease who was wild and crazy. She was from Kansas and a dancer. And very thin, as we are told every page. She has a dance scholarship to Kansas State.
  • Carrie: the “fat” one. She got accepted to Yale and was a photographer and had low self esteem. Oh, I’m sorry, they used “curvy” not fat. She is going to Yale in the Fall.

Omg! Hot dogs and sea shells! Double tank tops! Yay! These things represented the epitome of fun. This whole book was kind of like BSC #8, Boy-Crazy Stacey, except for the whole series!!! Did I just blow your mind???

Well, Emma meets the hot swimming instructor Kurt, and he is all working class and she doesn’t want to alienate him by declaring her heiress status (I think she is worth about 125 mil) so she lies to him and her friends. She and Kurt go out on some cheesy dates. Meanwhile, her arch nemesis from boarding school, Diana and her friend Lorell show up on the island and try to make things hell for Emma. They basically act like Jessica and Lila. Finally, Kurt and her friends find out she is rich and yell at her for lying and get mad at her but then they all make up in the end.

Other stuff:

They meet the members of a local band called Flirting with Danger, namely Billy Sampson who Carrie gets a major crush on and some guy Presley who has a southern accent that the author needs to put in all the pronunciations. Sam is all over him. Also, like the BSC, stuff goes on with the kids that they take care of that mirror what is going on with their lives and teach them lessons. The kid that Emma takes care of is in love with her and buys her expensive presents he can’t afford. The lesson is to stop lying to people you care about about your socioeconimc status. Or something.

Emma’s mother is a mess. She dates a 25-year old artist named Austin Payne who shows up on Sunset Island and is all over the teenage girls. Yuck.

Some creepy photographer named Flash Hathaway also hangs out on the island trying to convince girls o pose for him. Creepy, and comes into some plots later on.

Lots of fun outfit descriptions! When she gets to the island, Emma goes to the trendy shop and spends two thousand dollars on stuff like a read leather mini skirt and matching cropped jacket. Noyce. Carrie’s outfit: “an oversized loose-weave pink sweater over a long, flowing gauze-and-chiffon flowerprint skirt. When the oversized sweater slipped off one shoulder Emma could see the narrow strap of a lacy pink loetard. Sam looked stunning in a sheer antique white lace blouse and a black and white polka-dot lace miniskirt”. Holy early nineties, Batman!

We even get boy-clothes descriptions! Billy was wearing “torn, faded jeans and a navy t-shirt that he filled out to perfection. His streaky blond hair was tied back with a piece of rawhide, and he had a tiny diamond stud in one ear.” Welcome to Jon Bon Jovi, circa 1989.

Okay, their interactions with the boys are ultra cheesy, but they actually do have somewhat real conversations about stuff other than their relationship [cough-Liz and Todd-c0ugh].

Emma’s dream is to study primates in the Peace Corps in Africa. Uh, she may want to do some research into the Peace Corps and realize that’s not the point. Plus, they may be a veiled racist statement but I won’t give the author much credit.

Carrie is an au pair for Graham Templeton and his trophy wife Claudia. Graham is a famous rock star (I think is supposed to be like Bruce Springsteen) who happens to have a house on the island. Sam is an au pair for ultra-slutty thirteen year old twins. Think the Wakefield twins if they both were like Jessica.

Grade: A

I know there was some interest in these a while back, and I will try to put these in the mix. Since I read them about a year again, I am not sure I will get all the nitty gritty details because I spend enough of my time reading SVH novels, but some really fun shit happens that I will try to remember. The girls end up becoming back-up singers for Flirting With Danger, Emma and Carrie start a perfume business, Sam designs clothing and they fight and break up with boyfriends a lot. And they wear really bad (i.e. awesome) nineties fashions.

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 we learn that Ms. Dalton has a double identity, or Super Special: Perfect Summer

Perfect summer indeed! Wow, these kids must be left back a lot. Because this is about their eighth summer after their junior year in high school. So they are going on a bike trip up the coast of California, and camping out and staying out in hostels along the way. Actually, that does seem pretty cool. We get all Saved By the Bell style, and out of the twelve students who are on the trip, most of them our the Scooby gang: Jessica, Elizabeth, Lila, Bruce, Charlie something, Annie Whitman (former slut), Todd, Olivia Davidson, Roger Patman, and Chome Dome’s nephew, Barry from Ohio….uh, I don’t even know who the others are. They don’t even mention them. You’d think they could throw in a couple more names. I am surprised they don’t throw in Ken Matthews, he’s always a good placeholder. And guess who is chaperoning…none other than our favorite inappropriate teacher, Roger Collins. Oh, and Ms. Dalton. But it’s awkward between them! More on that later. Enid has to stay home for the summer and work at Casey’s. Hahahaha, fuck the poor kids.

Ok, first things first. Why would Bruce and Lila go on the trip? Wouldn’t they be going to Europe or something? Do they really want to rough it?

Second things second. I have phantom camel toe looking at Jessica’s shorts. Are those comfy for bike riding? Also, is Liz wearing a onesy?

Actually, this totally felt like a Baby-Sitters Club book because most of the chapters started with a letter the twins wrote to Cara and Enid. Elizabeth’s letters are annoying and she analyzes everyone on the trip and thinks she knows all and also assumes that Enid gives a shit. There are so many stories intersecting, I hope you’ll be able to follow. Their first stop is to some movie star producer that is a family friend of the Patmans. But get this….they set up tents and stay outside on the lawn. The fuck? They don’t have a guest house or something? The guys daugher, Courtney Thomas is a total beotch to everyone and is always sneaking off with her boyf, Nolan Ruggers. He has tats! And drives a motorcycle! And is bad news bears. To get his daughter away from him, the prducer guy makes Courtney go on the trip with them. How is that logistically possible? She doesn’t go to svh, so is she allowed? Are their liability issues? Also, Jessica is so judegmental about Nolan. Didn’t she whore it up with Rick Andover not so long ago? And stay out all night with a college guy? And dry hump Bruce Patman? I could go on and on…

Meanwhile at one of the hostels, Lila meets some boys who tell her Ms. Dalton is a former teacher of theirs from Arizona, who was called Beth Curtis. Lila uses this to blackmail Ms. Dalton into doing her chores and picking up her shit. She has it out for her because Ms. Dalton is dating her father. My god, Lila has massive daddy issues.

Barry Cooper, Chrome Dome’s son is overweight…so you know what that means….he’s a disgusting, lazy, idiotic awkward person desperate for approval. And the kids make fun of him the whole time. And he has a crush on Jessica. Because she’s sooooo beautiful. She’s a perfect size six, you know. Because they never mention it.

Courtney does a 180 and acts totally nice and everyone loves her, except Elizabeth, mostly because Todd is friendly with her. Courtney’s plan is to steal Todd away from Liz and bring him home with her to give her Dad the illusion that she’s reformed so she can keep sneaking off with Nolan Ruggers. I don’t know how that will work exactly. She concocts this story that her dad is an alcoloholic and she’s had a terrible childhood, blah blah. Elizabeth doesn’t buy it and Todd basically calls her a heartless bitch. It’s kind of one of the best fights they’ve ever had, and that’s saying a lot because they fight every five seconds. They actual break up and Liz mopes around. Todd is such a gullible prick. Finally he agrees to go home with Courtney for the rest of the summer.

Meanwhile, Jessica meets an older guy, Robbie October, at one of the hostels and is in love with him. He is totally not interested, and Jessica keeps trying. I loved seeing Jessica rejected and embarassed. Bruce cock blocks her a couple of times, and it’s awesome. Finally they meet up at a campsite and Jessica plans to sneak out of her tent at midnight to go into the woods with him. And we are supposed to believe that she has no intention of giving it up. Pshahhhh.

They get caught in a cave with a bear and her cubs and are on the brink of death. The crew starts a search party and Courtney says she wants to stop because she doesn’t feel well. Todd takes her back to the campsite, obviously not caring that Jessica could be dead. Frankly, I don’t blame him. Finally….duhn duhn duhn…Barry saves the day! Now everyone accepts him and is nice to him and he feels like a winner. Bar, these people were mean to you not so long ago. Fuck ’em! They are not your friends! But asw Francine has taught us, the best revenge is to be accepted by your tormentors.

Ms. Dalton comes clean and explains that she was married to a schizophrenic man who killed himself after she left him and his family blames her for his death, and were stalking her, so she had to create a new identity. Um, WHAT? That is heavy shit. This is a teen novel, people.

Other stuff:

Once in a while, there is maaayyyybe a funny line that is actually funny. When they were visiting the estate of a historical figure, Bruce and Lila were competing over who seemed the most unimpressed. Heeee!

Oh also, Charlie, who is Bruce’s friend, starts up with Annie Whitman, but Bruce keeps telling him about Annie’s slutty past (double standards much?) but love prevails. They also mention every line that Annie is “thin”, “slender” or some derivative. We get it. THIN IS IN! OK! STOP SHOVING IT DOWN OUR THROATS!

Every place they visit, they hang with some locals and tell them how awesome Sweet Valley is. Uh, really? A waspy town with one bar and judgemental residents?

Apparently Todd’s eyes crinkle when he smiles. Swoon!

They make a stop in Anaheim and Disneyland, and this ghostwriter actually stops to explain what Disneyland is. Wtf.

Robbie October was kicked out of a hostel for throwing a beer bottle out the window! The horror!

There’s a really cringe-worthy chapter that is written from Mr. Collin’s POV and then Ms. Dalton’s where they make up. He saves her from a jellyfish. It’s just bad, having these writers trying to take an adult perspective.

Todd and Liz make up, Jessica lives, Roger and Nora get back together, Courtney is exposed as a fake. Whatever, just another day in Sweet Valley world.

My grade: B

Next up: #27 Lovestruck, and then Francine’s attempt at diversity, #50 Out of Reach. I’m doing that one for you, Onnie.

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

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

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

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

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

Other thoughts:

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

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

My grade: C-