Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman

In today’s installment, the part of DeeDee will be played by Amanda Bearse. The part of Bill will be played by Bill’s chest. I wish he looked a bit more Zabka-esque on this cover. (Also, this never gets old.)

DeeDee used to be interesting because she used to take drafting classes at theCivic Center. Hold on to that nugget because it will be conveneient later. After she got together with mega-hunk Bill Chase, she is all about him, and talks nothing of him, and gets all jealous and crazy about him. And can’t even wipe her own ass without checking with Bill first. Ew.Bill, even though he is a nice guy (he’s such a nice guy) he is getting sick of it. He dumps DeeDee (say that 10 times fast) and she practically throws herself off Miller’s point. By the way, I’m ready to push her. Hey ghostwriter, you should portray DeeDee as needy, not mentally challenged.

Liz to the rescue! Meanwhile, there’s a talent show coming up, and Mr. Collins has APPOINTED Liz as the coordinator. She wants DeeDee to design the sets (is Olivia Davidson busy?) but DeeDee can’t do it by herself because suddenly she is a three-year old and she can’t even wipe her ass by herself without freaking out. Liz hatches a plan with DeeDee’s best friend, Patty Gilbert (Patty’s black, by the way) where Liz will pretend to be sick for the week and make DeeDee take over to prove that she can take charge and handle herself on her own. Wow Liz, great plan! And you can get out of doing the work, AND be the hero in the end!!

Uh, do I need to tell you the end? DeeDee takes over, gains confidence, and Bill gets her back. But, they are going to take is slow because DeeDee needs to be her own person! She’s a modern, independent woman! And she’s fascinating because she takes drafting classes at the civic center!

Oh yea, that. Alice and Ned take a trip to Mexico for the week and leave the twins at home. Of course, Jessica throws a party. Lila has her college boyfriend put up a flyer in the frat house about it. Chyah, because frat guys are just looking for a suburban teeanger’s house to party at. Only if you are in a John Hughes movie, I guess. The last thing Alice says before she leaves is, “whatever you do, don’t ruin the sketches left on my drafting table, it’s the only copy”! Dun dun dun…..good use of foreshadowing there. Someone spills beer on it during the party, and DeeDee, since OH MY GOD SHE’S BEEN TAKING DRAFTING CLASSES AT THE CIVIC CENTER came and fixed it. Her sense of enabling the Wakefields…oh I mean taking charge gives her her confidence back!

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#92 She’s Not What She Seems: The formula

Single White Female

Crazy Margo


Lady Macbeth


Competitive Eating


Vapid friendships


Saved By the Bell group mentality


Donald Trump Hair

She’s Not What She Seems is Evil Twin lite. The Val’ is putting on Macbeth as their school production. Thankfully, they actually reference the time 90 books ago when Bill and Jessica were in Splendor in the Grass. Jessica is obsessed with playing Lady Mac and doesn’t shut up about it. Of course she gets it and gets so into it and herself and her friends start getting annoyyed. [Let’s stop here a second and say Shakespeare is hard to pull off for seasoned actors, you really think this stoopid lot can do it?] It takes this to get her friends to hate Jessica?

Paula is the new gal in town, and immediately suctions herself to Jessica’s ass. She becomes her own personal obsessed fan, and trails her and helps her prepair for the part. Eventually everyone hangs out with Paula because she tells them her mom is dead and her Dad beats her. Because having a non-nuclear family in Sweet Valley is the equivalent to having syphilis. You can imagine how much Liz was foaming at the mouth about a new project. Jessica starts to suspect that Paula is…get ready for it…not what she seems! And that she is trying to undermine Jessica. The gang doesn’t believe her and thinks Jessica is jealous.

Finally, just when you think Paula is going to do something like, I don’t know, try to kill Jessica, she goes and makes her miss opening night so she can play Lady Macbeth. And turns out she lied about not having parents. And as using Jessica to be friends with the popular crowd. Eventually everyone finds out and Jessica is reinstated to her elevated status and the homeostasis of Sweet Valley is restored.

Other things:

  • Lila is cast as a witch and is all embarassed and annoyed. Cue the “Lila, you don’t have to act!” comments.
  • Winston is cast as the crazy kooky sidekick. Shocker!
  • Liz is of course in charge of the publicity committee, and they act like this play is fucking summer stock. It’s the headline of the Sweet Valley News, and even LA magazine does a review! Wtf, I am sure people in LA care about a high school play.
  • After every rehearsal, the Scooby gang goes to the DB and get quadrouple orders of onion rings. Per person. Yeeks. Like all those cheerleaders would eat that.
  • The whole gang hangs out together all the time in this one- Lila, Amy, Liz, Annie, Robin, Todd- uh, I thought Liz hated those people? Also, it annoys to no end me that Annie and Robin hang out with this group- the same group that mocked them and say…drove them to a suicide attempt?
  • The SVH teachers are giving less work to cast members and going easy with them on exams. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. They cancel classes to have an assembly everytime a Wakefield has a bowel movement.

Bill Chase: just a fool in love or #8 Heartbreaker

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I’ve decided to go old school and go back to the early numbers I haven’t recapped yet. Before I rip into the content, this might be one of the best (worst) covers ever. Firstly, it looks like they took Jessica’s head from the Double Love cover and glued it on another body. And that two-tone bikini! Straight out of the Newport News catalog! Bill looks big, dopey and scary. I know Jessica is supposed to be slender, but he looks out of proportion. He’s trying to impress Jess with his armpit aroma. Also, is there a Sweet Valley Surf club? Methinks not. Finally, the awesome part. It looks like cover model was William Zabka, famous for playing the high school asshole in classic teen movies. You know, the blond ringleader of Cobra Kai. Hit it, Joe Esposito!

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And now for the er,um…plot. Hit it, Mariah! At the end of the last book, Bill was in love with Elizabeth, but while Elizabeth was in her coma-induced slut mission, Jessica tricked Bill into going out with her and made him fall in love with her. Don’t question, just go with it. So now Bill and Jessica have the lead in a school play and he is hopelessly in love with her and she eats it up. But has no real interest in him and strings him along. Why is she doing this? “I’m only getting him back for ignoring me in the beginning.” Let’s all say it in unison: Jessica is a SOCIOPATH! Ugh. And Bill likes her because Jessica looks like his old girlfriend Julianne who died tragically a few years back. Boo-fucking-hoo.

However, DeeDee Gordon is also in love with Bill, but he sees her as just a friend, and someone who he is teaching to surf. You know that DeeDee is a fucking loser because she has brown hair and freckles. Finally Bill realizes that Jess is a douchebag maniac and realizes that the very thing he is looking for is something he can’t see. And she is just fine being second choice. Hit it, Vanessa!

Oh, DeeDee’s dad is a famous movie producer and he is bringing his producer friend to the play to scout some talent. Pshaaahhhh! Jessica of course thinks they mean her but really they want to nake Bill is a star, but he’s not sure he wants the moviestar life. “Come on” the producer says. “I can get your great roles in The Karate Kid one AND two, plus a featured role on Just One of the Guys.”

As much as Francine depicts the girls horribly in these books, she’s not really too keen on the men. The boys in these books are seriously interchangeable, and have no distinguishable personalities and are really just playthings of the girls. When they do have distinctive personalities, it’s to be a misogynist asshole (Bruce) or a nerdy loser (Winston). The only way to tell the guys apart is which sport they play.

The other dreadful plotline is that Liz is jealous of an old girlfriend of Todd’s that transfers to SVH and they fight about it and Liz gets all insecure until Todd has to profess how perfect she is and how in love he is with her before she feels better. VOMIT. Did they really get this annoying so early? The gal is Patsy Webber, who could be a supermodel, apparently. “Patsy looked too sophisticated to be in high school. She was wearing a straw-slim skirt belted with a wide leather sash around her tiny waist and delicate high heels. Her coppery-red hair was cut fashionable short in back, with a tumble of curls that dipped over her forehead. A pair of slanted green eyes regarded Elizabeth with friendly interest.” First of all, that haircut sounds dreadful. Second of all, she’s dressed like a hooker at the Paramus Mall in New Jersey.

This one was so quote-tastic, so here we go:

When Jessica sees Bill and DeeDee at the beach together, she determinedly set off down the beach. Aware of the stares she was getting in her bronze, wet-look bikini, she added a slight swing to her hips, for the benefit of the male audience. Ugh. What’s wet-look? That must be an eighties thing.

Oh also, Jessica orders a cheeseburger, double fries, and chocolate milkshake at the DB, but is scared that it may make her breakout. Remember when people thought acne was caused by junk food? Oh, the eighties.

“You’re in love with Liz, and she’s Jessica’s twin,” Bill defended weakly. “Jessica’s not Liz,” Todd said. “They may look alike, but that’s where the similarity ends.” Has Todd been reading the other books?

Lois Waller has nothing to do with this plot, but they had to have her make an appearance so that they can ridicule her. The nerd brigade (Olivia, Enid, and Lois) roll up into the parking lot and Lois is “always trying so hard to impress people and be the center of things.” And Jessica ISN’T? “Please, spare me the cracks about being blind,” Lois chimed in, blinking behind the thick glasses she wore. They were always slipping down her nose, no matter how often she poked them back into place. “I can’t even find my way out of the shower without my glasses!” Heh! O misfortune for not being blond, size six and blessed with aqua-marine eyes with perfect 20/20 vision! Is there even a book in the series where Lois gets some plotline? Or is she just there as a cautionary tale of what happens when you are not a Wakefield?

There’s an actual mention of sophomore year! The neverending junior year time continuum explodes!

The plot of the play they are in is: “Deanie tries to commit suicide by drowning herself and afterward, her boyfriend, Bud, feels so guilty he can hardly live with himself.” A little heavy for high school? Wtf, school board?

I think this ghostwriter is still bitter that she did not score a job writing harlequin romances and is taking one last shot at impressing them:

“Bill…” DeeDee murmed weakly. She was stopped from saying anymore by the warm, gentle pressure of Bill’s lips against hers. DeeDee forgot that she was half drowned and shivering from the cold. She forgot that her head was throbbing as if she’s charged straight into a brick wall. The only thing she was aware of was the wet, salty warmth of Bill’s kiss. Heat flooded through her. Her frozen toes and fingers tingles as they thawed. She sighed-a long, shuddery sigh- as Bill gathered her to him in a sandy embrace. With her cheek pressed to his strong chest, she could hear the steady hammering of his heart. A strange, floaty feeling crept over her. None of what was happening seemed real somehow. Was she dreaming it? His lips were moving over her hair, gently brushing agaist her cheek. His mouth closed over hers once again. At that moment they were caught in a sudden surge of white water. It swirled around them, sending up fans of foamy spray. DeeDee forgot how threatening the sea had seemed such a short while agao. Now the water felt teasing and delicious as it fizzed over her body, mingling with the salty taste of Bill’s kiss.

I’ve been reading A Conderacy of Dunces, and for one, wondering why I never read it before now, and two, have taken to having Ignatius J. Reillyesque outburts as I read SVH books. My thought about reading the above passage was “can I believe this revolting offense to literature? What an abortion to the eyes!”