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!

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….

You’ve got to make your own kind of music, sing your own special song

Is making fun of Olivia's receding hairline too easy?

Olivia’s an artist. Did you know that? She’s super artsy dresser too. And she’s an original. And she usually has paint splattered on her clothes. Because she’s an artist.
But for real you guys. Olivia has a studio in the garage that her parents set up for her. Which is pretty cool. Even the Kishis didn’t do that for Claudia. Also, why is it that the free spirits are always artists? I’m a mid-level manager in higher education administration, and I consider myself a free spirit. Aren’t I? Where’s my book? Liv is starting to experiment with Abstract Expressionism. You guys, I took 4 art history courses in college so I’m so the expert on this stuff.

Which, way to go ghost writers, for looking in an encyclopedia (that’s the written version of Wikipedia for those of you born after 1986) for things to include for her artwork. She’s trying to experiment with stuff but is nervous that other people won’t get it. Which, I’m just sayin’, is a valid concern, because I am sure in Sweet Valley, people’s houses are filled with pre-Raphaellite Ophelias and Van Goh’s “Starry Night”.

Olivia is also taking classes at the local college and meets fellow artist James. They never actually attend any classes, but that is where they meet. James, oh James. James is totally that douchebag artist who lives for nothing but his art. And lives in squalor because he loves his ART! Olivia has a total girlboner for James, but James is more interested in fondling his charcoal brushes than Olivia’s peasant skirts.

James shows Olivia his shiity artist loft, with his super high ceilings, concrete floors and cupboard of ramen noodles. James is SUCH the archetypal hipster in that he lives in a loft in a seedy part of town to gain “cred” while simultaneously gentrifying the area, and then acting all holier-than-though about it. Olivia gets her hemp underwear in a bunch because she is starting to think that she may not be making a lot of money as an artist and is she willing to give up everything to be a slave to her art like James? Surprisingly, James doesn’t make a move. James reminds me of Miles from Work of Art on Bravo, who is a total douche. (Are you watching that? It’s similar to Project Runway, except instead of Heidi’s German accent, we get China Chow’s Brooklyn accent and just as much crazy personalities).

Oh, James, that good looking guy that you just keep hanging on to every word and get excited to see him even if he treats you like shit every time but you think this is the time he will realize how awesome you are and you hate yourself for coming back for more because you consider yourself a total feminist and this isn’t you but you are just mesmerized by his skinny build and his tats and his ability to talk about deep things even though he can’t do simple things like do his dishes or his laundry and oh my god he is such an asshole but oh my god he is really hot. Not like I have experience with anyone like that or anything….

Coincidentally, because it helps the plot along, Olivia’s cousin Emily shows up for a visit because she wants to look at colleges in California. Emily is a professional college-applier, and it is all she talks about and thinks about. SERIOUSLY, WHY DOES E VERY CHARACTER HAVE ONE DIMENSIONAL IDENTITIES? Why can’t she like art AND college? Like parties AND be on the school newspaper. Ugh. ALSO, if Emily is really into getting into good schools, shouldn’t she be someone who is occupied with grades and extra-curriculars because that helps college? Her only activity is actually applying to colleges. A color coordinated Filofax organizing brochures and applications doesn’t impress the Ivies. I don’t get how this shit gets written.

Olivia doesn’t really like Emily and vice versa. Emily comes with Olivia to meet James and although she acts like a giant tool and annoyed that they taqlk about art, James’ douchey artist in peril charms works on Emily. So much that she borrows some of Olivia’s clothes and goes to see James on her own, trying to convince him that she is artier than he thinks. I don’t know folks, I just report what I read.

Olivia decides to quit art to be more practical and gets a job at her mother’s department store and starts hanging out with the owner’s son, who actually buys clothes for her. Emily reports to James that Olivia has given up art, and James suddenly realizes that Olivia probably won’t fall for his douchebag artist persona ANYMORE, and finally admits that he loves her. Olivia realizes that she should continue with art, because it’s what she loves! Besides, as we all know, she won’t live past high school anyway, so might as well makes some splatter drawings! Yes, I went there. Plus, her mother was an artist and gave up on her dream, and now she’s a measly manager at a dept store, and she doesn’t want Olivia to make a mistake. Yay, all is resolved! Who’s up for a triple bacon cheeseburger and lard fries at the DB?

Of course, it wouldn’t be an SV book if we didn’t include the inhaling and exhaling of the Wakefield twins. Because it is Christmastime again, they also gets jobs at Simpson’s Department Store. Liz does such a good job she gets medals for department store working, and Jessica is all set on nailing the son of the owner. She has never met him, but is convinced that once they meet he will ask her out- of course not even stopping to consider if she will like him, but he does have money and status, of course. The intense fixation on this just feeds into Jessica’s diagnosis of a Socipathic Narcassist, and is not at all charming, which I am sure the writers thought they were doing. So her plotline is the wacky hijinks that happen as she tries to be in the same place with him. Imagine her surprise when the guy chooses Olivia over her. Zing!

Oh yes. Important to mention that this is the book where Olivia wears a record in her hair. Prompting Lila to snark: “She thinks this is Greenwhich Village or something”. Oh, to remember the time when Greenwhich Village was actually Greenwhich Village. New Yorkers, are you with me?

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

“Bruce Patman’s Advice for Dating”

Actual product sold at the fund raiser*.

I find it interesting, since the last post about Lila’s Story, all the love for Lila coming through. I’m not excluding myself from this, you all know my love for Lila. In fact, so much that I role play Lila (halp!) I also know a good chunk of us would consider giving it up for Bruce Patman in the backseat of 1BruCE1 (again, myself included, god help me).

The question is, even today, as adult, smart, strong, independent women, we still find Lila and Bruce to be the “favorites.” Why is that? Shouldn’t we, looking back, realize that the characters we should like the most are, say, Olivia Davidson? She’s smart, artsy, independent and likes to go against the crowd? What about Liz, who is loyal to her friends, likes to write, and is passionate about issues? We still find them irritating. Yet we find a gal who is essentially a spoiled brat who gets her rocks off putting down others. (Sorry Lila, you know it’s true girl)

It makes sense for us as pre-teens to love them because as pre-teens we are told through peers and media that money and looks are what matters. True, that message is still around us all the time, but as adults, shouldn’t we have a better time seeing through that? I think it is that Francine (aka ghostwriters) did such a good job of consciously AND unconsciously validating the characteristics of the rich, good looking characters and making them the protagonists, and having the other characters always ruining their fun. So much to the point that even today, we as adults rereading them root for the Bruces and the Lilas of the story.

I’m not calling anyone else about that, because I consider myself one of these people. I find myself cheering when Lila makes a snarky comment or devises an evil plan and rolling my eyes whenever Liz brings up some issue about basic human goodwill. If all of us smart women of today are buying into that, what hope was there for us as awkward tweens?

Anyway, moving on to Bruce. I gotta say, I wanted more insight into Bruce’s mind. How does he feel about all the women he’s (supposedly) conquested? Does he keep a Barney Stinson-esque list? What are his techniques? How often does he look at himself naked in the mirror and talk to his cock? Does he even have any male friends? Does he actually talk to anyone in the senior class? Sorry, none of that. We get a watered down narrative about Bruce’s temper tantrums and his rich white man problems.

I want to take a swim in his chin cleft.

Furthermore, Bruce doesn’t even get the point of view narrative through the whole thing! The twins even get some screentime! And, as we are reminded for the gazillionth time, Roger has just moved in after he found out he is a Patman, and he is having a hard time adjusting to the new lifestyle. Ok, we get it. Just eat some caviar and enjoy it already. He is happy that Bruce is finally acting like a friend. The ice queen Marie Patman still hates him. Man, she is a piece of work.

Strangley, we get a Claudia Kishi-esque description of Bruce’s outfit:

Bruce was wearing a navy linen sports coat and an imported silk tie. The creases in his gray trousers looked as if they’d been cut with a knife. He had even slicked his hair back with a dab of gel. Bruce looked fantastic- his dark, chiseled good looks shown off to their best advantage.

Grandpa Patman is paying them all a visit, who started the big Patman fortune (I thought they were old money?) Gramps prides Bruce in being Bruce, and chides Roger for having his shirt untucked and not caring about the family business. Like Bruce does? He spends most of his time stroking 1BRUCE1, pressing pleats into his chinos and lightly brushing girls’ breasts.

A typical Friday night for Bruce.

Gramps proposes a contest between the two boys- he gives them two thousand dollars each, and gives them four weeks to see who can make the most profit off of it. What then ensues is some of the dumbest hijinks ever. Hold that thought.

Meanwhile, SVH has dopted project SAVE, and one member of each of the grades is selected to the committee. I’ll give you three guesses who the junior class rep is. Tracy Atkins is the senior class rep, and Bruce is getting a hard on for her because she just got a new haircut that according to him, makes her look like “a supermodel”. Bruce is obsessed with her, despite her disinterest in him. She’s got no personality, kind of a hybrid of Liz and pe-makeover Lynne Henry. Oh no wait, her “special needs” little brother goes to the Nicholson school that project SAVE is fund raising for. Apparently, the school needs five thousand dollars to stay open another year. Jeez. What sort of crap school is this? Taught out of a cardboard box? That pays for crayons, maybe.

Also, Regina is never mentioned by Bruce, nor is Bruce’s feelings about her death. Supposedly it happened during that school year, but either he is totally over it or the ghostwriters didn’t want to bother with that extremely important plot point. Also, he interacts with Liz, who finds him slightly annoying. Did he not remember the coma-date-rape incident? Tracy Atkins asks Liz for advice about Bruce, and Liz is all, “if you like him go for it!” What a friend.

Bruce has a 1BRUCE1 fender-bender and needs it fixed, so that’s $500. Then he decides to buy $100 concert tix to surprise Tracy with. Who declines him after Bruce shows up at her house unannounced expecting her to drop everything and go with him. The nerve of that girl! Bruce can hardly believe it either. Then Bruce plays poker with some guys from the country club, and loses seven hundred dollars. Roger meanwhile, is unsuccessfully at the stock market. Yes, this sounds riveting, doesn’t it?

Liz and her saint-in-training Tracy think of the perfect fund raising idea: Harbor Days! For two Saturdays, vendors will set up booths in the park and give half the profits to the charity. Any SVH student can also set up a booth. That is….not really a good fund raising idea. Plus, the four students seem to pull this together in about three days with no adult help. Chya right. Bruce first decides that he wants to sell copies of his black book of all hot girls’ phone numbers. For real, he really thinks this is a good idea. Luckily Tracy come up with the idea that Bruce should sell “Bruce Patman’s advice for Dating” books. So, he writes the book in like a day and they create copies and are ready to go. Here’s a sample:

What do you say to a girl you’ve just met who you want to go out with? A. You’re gorgeous, B. I dive a Porsche. Want a Ride? C. You’re in for the best night of your life now that you’ve met me. D. All of the above.

Roger decides to sell white caps that he will custom make for people. What? Who will buy those? Since when is he a good artist? Oh, it was the eighties. Bruce, being Bruce, sabotages his paint and trades the waterproof paint for water soluble paint and gets a kid to start throwing water balloons on them. Ruh-roh! For the second Harbor Days, Roger sells enlarged photographs taken by Jim, that guy who started the photography club. Bruce decides to sell homeade ice cream. Yes, it is that ridiculous. Bruce has a plan to once again sabotage Roger’s photo paper, but doesn’t at the last minute. That makes him think he is a hero.

Tracy finds out about Bruce’s antics and breaks it off with him, and Bruce gets a bit of a guilt complex and ends up just giving all his money to the SAVE charity. And, fior that matter, why is SAVE always capitalized? Is it an acronym? So, at his parents coming-home-from-vacation-surprise-party-that-for-some-reason-SVH-students-were-invited-to, Grandpa Patman wants to declare a winner of the contest. Turns out Roger also gave his profits to charity, so they are both broke. Grandpa Patman realizes the error of his ways and apologizes for the contest. Hank Patman also says that Patman industries will be the benefactor of the Nicholson school and it will never have to close. Seriously, he could have decided that sooner so the Project SAVE committee wouldn’t have to go through all the trouble. A tie is declared. Does that mean they will both run the company? Neither? Never really resolved. Are we surprised? Nope.

I wish this never existed. It didn’t do anything to redeem Bruce, and it didn’t to anything to make us hate Bruce, in a good way. Only when he is a secondary character in other books do we get his one-eyebrow-raised, smarmy remarks that we love so much. Here he seemed- developmentally challenged. And not just immature in the way he deals with girls, but seriously challenged socially and mentally. He is completely clueless on picking up the social cues of others, and not just because he was too confident. But because he just…couldn’t. And aside from a brief fling with Tracy and a poker game with someone he knew somewhat, no friends were mentioned. Really, Bruce? Is that why you try to fill that void in your soul with fast cars and innocent women? We can’t expect the ghostwriters to be that deep.

*Cover done by my amazing friend John who has an uncanny talent for creating fake album/book covers.

Poor Little Rich Girl

Courtesy of The Closet

Courtesy of The Closet

Oh Lila. Why do you have to be this way? We love your cool, snarky exterior but when you got your own Super Star, we thought we’d see the real Lila, one that was actually cool and smart and had it together. Unfortunately, it took for you to experience sexual assault until you had feelings and dealt with your problems and had emotions.

Mr. Fowler (who I imagine as John Hamm) has a new ladyfriend, Joan, who has a daughter Jacqueline. Fuck, I have to type that name every time. Lila suspects Joan is after her father’s money, because she never pays for anything and they always are staying at Fowler Crest (in the guest room of course!). Lila tries to tell her father but he won’t have it, he’s totally hot for Joan. Lila and her father have an odd relationship, but that’s the most obvious statement ever. Also, did you know that the Fowlers have a housekeeper named Eva? Who Lila has known since she was little? Not like we ever hear from her. And I hope Eva gets a good fucking salary, because you wouldn’t believe the crap she needs to do. Joan and Jacqueline are over for lunch, and Eva has to prepare lobster tails and shrimp cocktail, creme brulee and swan ice sculptures.

Meanwhile, Lila’s got problems of her own. She meets Evan Armstrong as a concert, and decides she’s in love. Evan is nuttin’ special. Kind of a cross between Todd and Ken Matthews, if you can imagine that snoozefest. Problem is, he’s dating some gal named Sonia. Lila enlists Bruce into luring Sonia away. And damn! The sexual tension between Lila and Bruce jumps out of the page. Bruce of course has Sonia dropping her panties at the first revving of 1BRUCE1, and Lila seduces Evan with her womanly wiles.

So, Lila’s scheming to get Evan is pretty much like Joan scheming to get George Fowler, amiryte? You’d think it was a parallel story, right? Let’s not give the ghost writers that much credit. Joan and George leave for the week and leave the gals at Fowler Crest. Jacqueline reveals herself to be a scheming shrew, and steals Lila’s car to go off and jaunt with Lila’s friends who love her.

Finally, Lila is able to reveal Joan’s true intentions by hiding microphones in her dressing room before the wedding, while she conveniently talks about her scheme to marry him and take his money. George apologizes profusely to Lila, and somehow is not too upset, and decides to make the wedding a party for Lila instead. Woopsies! No real adult reactions allowed in Sweet Valley. Meanwhiles, Lila finds out that Evan has been canoodling with Jacqueline, but dumps his ass before he can dump hers. So really, Lila didn’t really learn a lesson, she just got away with her bratty tactics. And the universe is aligned in the world of Sweet Valley.

You know what? I don’t even think Liz was in this book. So it had that going for it.

Yup, the Wakefield twins are the same annoying shrews in France, too

Elizabeth "Wow, France is full of poor schmucks I can help"; Jessica: "Hey France, check out my boobs!"

I really hate when an SVH book exceeds my expectations, but that happens…rarely. Here is the last of the “old school” Super Editions I have yet to caption, and I was avoiding it because I thought I knew the plot. The twins head to France, so I thought that meant Elizabeth getting a job as a famous artiste and meeting men at the Louvre, and Jessica falling in love with a guy in a beret and making out on top of the Eiffel Tower. But shame on me, the girls are actually off to Cannes, not Paris. Way to throw me a curve ball, Francine!

Yea, but the book turned out to be full of rehashed plots from other books. I ask for the thousandth time- do the ghostwriters even READ the other books? Quality control was not big in the 80s I guess.

So we are on another mysterious Spring Break, this is when Liz is between Todd and Jeffrey (not that way, you pervs!) The twins are on a French exchange program, sponsored by Ms. Dalton, who, is nowhere to be seen chaperoning this thing; the twins are by themselves on the plane. I don’t even know where the other students are. Furthermore, the twins are just pawned off onto a single mother who does enough and now has to feed and house these spoiled brats.

Liz is excited to improve on her French and thinks that by the end of the week she will be fluent. Ferme la bouche, Liz. Also? The twins are like, super stoked to make friends on this trip, and the first few days are all up in arms that they don’t have someone to hang out with. Like they can’t possibly fathom being somewhere where not everyone is clamoring to hang out with them.

They are staying with a woman named Avery Glitze, who we hear several times is a slender woman. The fuck? Like it matters? The fam speaks English, but Liz insists on speaking in French. Of course.

Avery has a son named Rene, who at first is awesome, because he hates the twins on site and makes overtly snotty remarks to them all the time.  But as meddler Liz finds out, Rene is ANGRY! He’s HURT! Because his American father abandoned the family. And you know what happens to teens without a heterosexual two parent household…So Rene hates all Americans. Plus, he was swimming at the beach once and his friend drowned so he’s also afraid of the water. Kind of unrelated, but very convenient to the plot. The meaner he is to Liz [he actually invites her to go to lunch with he and his friends, and berades her the whole time. It’s kind of awesome] the more she tries to meddle with him and find out his feelings about his father and Americans. It’s such an unstable inverse relationship between the two.

Jessica decides to take a jog one morning, and meets some guy at his house because he drivesd an expensive car. She agrees to let him take her out and see the town. Oh, I mean “the Riviera”. She finds him boring because he doesn’t want to talk about her all the time. Meanwhile, Liz finds a puppy and it turns out that it belongs to a Countess. The Countess invites Liz over and they chat and she tells liz that she is an intelligent, intriguing young lady. This is the theme of the trip- Liz seeking out people who will kiss her ass. The Countess instroduces Liz to her grandson, Jean-Claude (of COURSE that’s his name) and they go and hang out. J-C is like the French Bruce Patman.

Jessica is bored with Marc but of course gets all hot under the collar for J-C, so she pulls the old twin switcheroo (A-GAIN) and pretends to be Elizabeth and secretly hangs out with J-C behind Elizabeth’s back. Liz thinks J-C dumps her so she spends her time working on Rene. She discovers that Rene’s father writes him every month but Rene throws away the letters. Liz, in her meddliest of meddling, SAVES one of the letters behind Rene’s back and convinces him to read it. BUTT THE FUCK OUT, LIZ. (I couldn’t figure out how to say that in French).

Meanwhile, nerdy Marc stops by the house and Liz figures out what Jessica’s been up. Liz, so devastated by the fact that she hasn’t made ANY friends on the trip, forces Marc to hang out with her. He takes her to a gallery opening, where she talks to the artist about her interpretation of his work, and the artist points out that Liz is a mature, intelligent insightful young lady. Of course.

Liz, of course, is talking to all of these people in perfect, fluent French. Of course.

One night Jessica is late for dinner because she and J-L were picnicking on a small island (where J-C of course brought several types of cheeses to sample) and the sailboat capsized in the storm. Liz makes Rene help save them and they both dive in the water, saving them! I feel like this is the eighth time that one of the twins jumps in water to save someone. Well, at least here , here, here, and here. In fact, Rene suddenly overcomes his fear of swimming, JUST TO SAVE THE WAKEFIELDS! Liz cures his fear! He also then decides that Liz helped him overcome his hatred for his father! Liz is all, “good thing I saved the letter from your father and read it!”

Liz also forgives Jessica for deceiving her, pretending to be her, and stealing her date, and thus enabling her. Audrey Glitze also forgives Jessica by totally disregarding her rules and staying out late. Because she’s a fucking Wakefield.

This all happens in the first three days of their vacation. I shit you not. The book ends with the twins looking forward to the second half of their time in Cannes, now that they all have made friends and established themselves as the center of the world. If the book were to go on, I am sure the French president would have made them dignitaries or something.

Oh, I almost forgot. Audrey’s daughter, Ferney (yea), is staying with the Wakefields. It is an exchange, remember? Ferney is a dead ringer (pun intended) for Tricia Martin. Wait, another one? What, is she a cylon? Of course, Steven, who is always home to hang out with her, total neglects Cara and Cara has a near-meltdown. The exact same thing that happened when that Andrea girl showed. up. DO YOUR HOMEWORK EDITORS. Is that too much to ask. Also, do Cara and Steven fight as much as Liz and Todd? That might be true.

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?