Don’t get our hopes up!

Don’t we wish that Liz left the country for a while and we didn’t have to deal with her barrettes and piousness? Regina Morrow apparently handed Liz one brochure about some school called Interlochen and Liz had dreams of wiring her amazing short stories overlooking the alps. Liz found out about this place too late after the deadline but fuck me gently with a chainsaw! There’s still a scholarship that she is eligible to apply for! The possibility of Sweet Valley without Liz is too much for her friends and family to imagine. It would kind of be like Jessica without a halter top. Or Robin Wilson without a cheesecake. Or Todd without cheating. You get the picture. She’s INTEGRAL! So everyone reacts to this in the most illogical, irrational, immature way ever. Did we expect anything less?

Q: Liz notices that Jeffrey seems kind of bummed and quiet when she talks about going away. Why do you think this is, Liz?
A: Well, he probably doesn’t realize how important this is to me! So I think the solution is to talk about how much fun I am going to have there nonstop! That will make him realize how much I want to go, and then of course he will support me!

Q: Well, Liz, Enid seems kind of bummed too. Do you think it is for the same reason?
A: Of course not, she doesn’t want to see me be happy! She’s just SO SELFISH! I am just going to not talk to her anymore. Screw any feelings she may be having about the matter! She’s supposed to be my best friend and worship me unconditionally!

Q: Jeffrey and Enid, what are you going to do to make sure Liz stays?
A: Well, instead of talking to her about how we feel, we are going to make her a super-secret but super-special scrapbook filled with pictures of her with us. And we’ll sneak around suspiciously together to get it complete. And in no way would it give her the idea that we are seeing each other.

Q: Jessica and Steven, how will you handle this.
A: Well, in the most mature and reasonably way possible- by sabotaging her interview! Jessica will wear a slutty outfit, and Steven will act like an imbecile. In other words, like ourselves.

Q: Liz, how do you feel about the way everyone is acting?
A: Well, in the last minute, I decided that I don’t want to go anyway. I thought Switzerland was magical. but what could be more magical than Sweet Valley and all of my friends?  The people are too snotty and judgmental. However, I’ll just forgive everyone for the way they are acting! What? of course I won’t hold Jessica accountable for her hideous actions! I’ll just hig her and tell her that I’m so glad she’s my sister, thus enabling her selfish behavior! Yay for friends! let’s all get triple scoop Sundaes at Casey’s!

BUT! ALICE WAKEFIELD ACTS LIKE A PARENT!:

You seem to be asking an awful lot of [Jeffrey]. You suddenly announce that what you want more than anything in the entire world is to move to Switzerland for an entire year and study creative writing. The way you put it, Jeffrey would be a real chauvinist if he didn’t back you on the whole project. You keep emphasizing how important it will be for your development, your writing, your future. Have you even asked Jeffrey how he feels about the whole thing? It seems you’ve done an awful lot of assuming for him. You’ve assumed he’s behind your plan. You’ve assumed that he is going to wait around for you. And now you’re assuming that he’s interested in your best friend! Don’t you think it’s time you two actually sat down and talked?

Then, in a plotline best suited for an ABC Family original movie, Winston has some shenanigans with a lottery ticket. Somehow he accidentally switches his coat with a poor old man’s, and the lottery ticket in the pocket is the winning ticket! Winston is so con sumed with guilt that he returns the coat and the money to the old man, and now his little granddaughter can go to riding camp. Wait, there’s a poor man in Sweet Valley? He must live next to the Martins.

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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 could cut the sexual tension between Todd and Ken with a knife, or #114 “V” for Victory

I am doing this after watching Bring It On: In It to Win It on ABC Family this weekend. It was SO Sweet Valley High. Although it was very difficult for me to tell all the blond girls apart. The VERY blond girl was Jessica, and the other blond from California was so Eizabeth. And they stole the plot from this book. Although, I guess there is a finite amount of cheerleader plots one can think of. Anyway, it was often. Not only was there a cheer-off, but there was an honest-to-god cheer rumble. No joke.

Previously, Jessica quit the squad because Heather Mallone was a beotch, and then Jessica formed her own quad but then the squads combined and they won the state championships after most of the girls learned backflips within a span of a week. And Todd and Ken found out that Liz had an affair with Ken, so none of the four are speaking to each other.

So SVH has a huge sendoff for the team, which included the whole school at yet another pep rally with the marching band (SVH has a marching band?) and all the MEN’S sports teams sending them off. There is a big parade to lead them out to their bus where they will head to Yosemite for the competition. Who is driving the bus? Why aren’t they going with a chaperone? These kids are minors. They could have easily had Mr. Collins. I am sure he would love to be in the middle of a cheerleading competition. They also painted the bus. So they own it? The lowly copy editor who reviewed this book never caught these things?

So they get to the competition and are sharing a bunk with a team from Alabama, which you know talk in exaggerated accents and walk around with haystalks in their mouths. Because they’re not from California. There’s tons of combinations and cheerleading terminology are thrown around, and I’m convinced half of it is fake. Jess and Heath fight about what cheers they should do, because apparently at a National competition, you can do that last minute. Reason #345 that this teams needs ADULT SUPERVISION.

Heather’s old team is there, and the new captain Marissa James is an ass. Heather seems threatened by her and suddenly starts fucking up during the competition. Obvs because Marissa is blackmailing her to do so. So we are left with what Heather is trying to hide. I was thinking a coke habit or a lesbian love affair. Jessica boots her off the team (again, can you do this at a National Competition?) but Liz is all in a huff and gets sexually aroused about follow rules exactly, so she makes her put Heather on the squad. It turns out Heather cheated on a math test to be a part of the squad. Yea, that’s the big secret. The gals come through in the end and come in second overall.

Now that that is out of the way, on to the GOOD STUFF. Ken and Todd approach each other in the hallway and start to have words with each other. They get into a physical altercation, and Bruce walks by and says “hey, the Wakefield twins are not worth it”. Bruce, stop making me want to make out with you. So Todd and Ken jump him. There’s a lot of boys rolling around on each other, and it’s mega-gay. So the boys make up and realize what they really want are their girlfriends back. You know what this calls for..ROAD TRIP!

They head out and plan to surprise the girls at Yosemite. They pass Winston on the way and drag him along, although he really doesn’t want to go. They get there and there are no boys allowed inside. I am surprised that Jessica agreed to go. So as they turn around to drive back the six hours they came, they HAPPEN to stumble upon a cheerleading uniform store. What are the odds? So they decide to get costumes and go in drag to get into the competition.

Okay, Which commences my biggest pet peeves ever– men dressing in drag and acting “feminine” for comedy. I am not talking about an actual drag show, but taking supposed “manly men” and making them act “gay” or “girly” with the punchline being acting this way is so stupid and ridiculous because the irony being that “real” men don’t do this. When men act “like women” they usually act really dumb, shallow, week and stupid, which is pretty sexist. I am not sure if I am explaining it well. but the end result is some massive transphobia and homophobia. Like men who act “feminine” are ones to be laughed at. Also, several people are killed and tortured and ridiculed each year fro acting or appearing different from the gender they are “supposed” to act like, so no, it’s not really that funny to me.

However, this is the most personality that Ken has shown-ever. Even when he was blind for a while. I just really need to quote this verbatim.

“Ken!” called Todd. “Can I borrow your blue eyeshadow?”

“Coming!” Ken called in a falsetto voice. A moment later he sashayed into the bathroom like a runway model, adorned in a classic cheerleader costume. “How do I look, dah-lings?” Ken drawled, his hands on his hips. He pirouetted slowly, pausing to exhibit the cheerleading costume from a variety of angles…Ken whirled in a circle, displaying the flare of his skirt.

Todd put his fingers to his lips and let out an approving whistle.

“Hubba hubba!” said Winston, twisting around to watch the show.

“I always know you’d make a great girl,” said Todd with a grin.

Here’s your eyeshadow, honey,” said Ken, batting his eyelashes at Todd, “but make sure to return it.”

Ugh. See what I mean? Furthermore, I think that Ken and Todd have been dying to do this and flirt with each other, but haven’t had an excuse.

So they sneak into the competition and apparently all the officials are idiots and believe they are women, but everyone else knows that they are men and think it’s a big joke. Jessica gets onstage and makes them do a routine, which includes a lot of “gay” type dancing and “flitting around” which makes me ill. I can’t even talk about it. By being onstage, the guys realize that Marissa’s team slicked the stage with baby oil so SVH would fuck up. Thus, her team is disqualified.

Finally, I HAVE to share all the dumb cheerleading stuff. Could the ghostwriter PLEASE do some research?

There are some triple herkies, Y-split, a “funky monkey” routine where they wear sunglasses and try to act like gangsta rappers, a cheer where they spell “R-O-W-D-I-E” (isn’t it”rowdy”), of course the twin factor “mirror-imaging” .

This was one of the most unbelievable plots ever. And that is saying a lot.

Grade: A

eating disorders, alcoholism and unemployment, oh my! or Sunset Island #6, Sunset Secrets

These covers are really getting irritated. What is more irritating, Carrie’s jumper or the guy in the short shorts with the parrot? Can you imagine how obnoxious these photo shoots must be?

The gals gear up for another reunion, this time over their spring break. Except they all have secrets. I wonder if that is how they picked the title for this one:

  • Carrie has gained weight during her first year of college, due to stress and her relationship with old boyf Josh. So she becomes bulimic.
  • Emma hates Goucher and is all depressed about rich so becomes an alcoholic (mostly from expensive wine, natch)
  • Sam got fired from her job at Disneyworld and has been waitressing at a Denny’s like establishment and is too embarrassed to tell anyone.

They all plan on heading back to Sunset Island and Graham and Claudia allow the girls to throw a big bash at their mansion while they are not there. Have no idea why, considering Carrie keeps fucking up.
Emma’s daddy buys her a new car out of guilt so she and Sam drive up the Coast together to meet Carrie. They have many madcap adventures and stuff. Blah blah blah.

When they get to Sunset Island, Emma is all mooney with Kurt. Carrie sees Billy and he is dating another gal. This totally broke my thirteen-year-old heart when I read that.

Danny, Sam’s friend from Orlando, comes up with his friend, Kevin.They all have a wild time at the party and decide to go to the beach to watch the sunrise. They are all drunk so Kevin drives. There is a crazy accident and Kevin dies and they all sustain minor injuries, despite being thrown from the car. The fleeting and preciousness of life makes them feel SO ALIVE! They all come clean and admit their secrets to each other. Kevin is forgotten in about 5 pages.

Oh, and all their employers ask them to au pair again next summer. Don’t know why, because at one time or another they all fucked up pretty badly. I feel like this was written to be the last book, but then the series picks up and the second summer lasts about 20 years, and all crazy Sweet Valley High shit happens. In other words, awesome. Like I saud, this stuff needs to be read if you haven’t.

I want to lose my virginity to Johnny Angel or Sunset Island #5, Sunset Reunion

These covers always crack my shit up. So way over the top. Billy looks like a massive tool. Or is that supposed to be Presley? It’s such a 90s view of a rocker. He’s wearing a hat because it’s the winter break and the gals are planning to get together in Orlando because Sam is working as a dancer at Disney World. She dropped out of Kansas State and started working there. Reading this gave me the dry heaves because I, too, worked at Disney World when I was around Sam’s age and it was probably the most horrible experience of my life. So please don’t ask me about it.

No sooner are they there when Carrie gets a call from Rock On magazine. Graham Templeton (the famous rock star she was the au pair for) is doing a concert in Miami and they are doing a feature on him, and Graham recommended that Carrie be the photographer. So they all jet out there on a whim and hang around at the concert. Mega-hot singer Johnny Angel is the opening act, and of course he is curious if Sam’s curtains match the drapes.

Graham is also back on drugs, snorting lines in the bathroom between interviews and the mag wants to print that he fell off the wagon, but Carrie wants to protect him so she gets fired from the gig and who do they hire- none other than the creepy Flash Hathaway! He’s the one that took the porno pics of Sam over the summer. Like there are only 2 photogs in the world. Lorell, their enemy from the island, is with him and they are an item. Ick.

Ok, then it totally goes downhill and turns into a ridiculous SVH novel. They all go to a party on Graham’s yacht, and Emma flirts with a boy and realizes she misses Kurt. Flash flirts with Emma and Lorell gets jealous and proclaims her undying love for Flash. Sam goes down to the bunker with Johnny Angel and they almost do it when Johnny’s girlfriend walks in. Sam is upset because she thought Johnny was her soulmate so she goes and hides on the dingy. Carrie and Sam go to comfort her. While they are talking, Lorell in unhinges it and they are lost at sea. How many SVH plots can you count here?

So they are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on a dingy, and Emma totally saves the day because obviously her rich white ass has been sailing/boating before. They are obvs rescued, and Emma realized that she CAN set her mind to anything, and is encouraged to fill out her Peace Corps application.

Check out their outfits for their night on the town in Orlando. Emma wears a short pink dress with black bike shorts with lacy trim underneath, Sam wears a short denim skirt with a tapestry vest (remember those?) with no shirt underneath, and Carrie wears a white sheer bathing suit cover up over a white lycra miniskirt and a white sports bra. [Shudder]

These books were never really real, but when you start throwing in rock stars and stranded at sea crap, it makes me hate it.

Hey Dude! or Sleepover Friends #16, Kate’s Crush

Just some SF tidbits: Merrie was gracious enough to dig up the recipe for Lauren’s favorite dip, from the Super Sleepover Guide:

Lauren’s Onion Soup-Olives-Bacon-Bits-and-Sour-Cream Dip

1 envelope onion soup mix

1 small can pitted black olives

1/8 cup prepared bacon bits or 3 strips bacon, fried crisp

2 cups sour cream

Slice 10-12 olives into small pieces. Mix together everything and try not to eat it all before your guest arrive. The Sleepover Friends like this dip best with barbecue potato chips, but try corn ships or chopped veggies.

Sounds like the appetizer at a bulimic’s convention. Just sayin’.

Also, I just bought these new Vans (I own like eight pairs of Vans) and I actually thought, “hey, these look like something Stephanie would wear because it looks liker her bedspread”. I am going to die alone.

I just reminded myself of that show Hey Dude with Blossom’s boyfriend and Christine Taylor and some gal named Brad. Anyhoo…

The gals are off to a Dude ranch with Stephanie’s grandmother. Why in the hell in YA novels did families take their kids friends on vacation? And why the hell does Nana want four girls with her? Anyway, they do fun dude-ranchy stuff like ride horses and take a boat out to an island and get semi-stranded on an island with tarantulas. They also meet a boy named Keith who is with his family who is really mean and never talks to them.

Stephanie gets the black and white horse to ride, natch.

The gals get riding lessons and every time they go Kate gets a headache and leaves to go to the lodge. The other gals think it is because she has a crush on Keith and is going to hang out with him. Turns out that Kate is just scared of the horses and is afraid to admit it. She also finds out that Keith just got braces and is embarrassed by them and doesn’t want to tell anyone. Actually, he and Pattie hit it off and talk about fossils.

I love how these fifth graders are more successful and proactive at meeting men then I am.

The cover: Patti (who I am assuming is the one on the left) never looks the same from cover to cover. Lauren looks annoying. Kate looks like a celeb I can’t think of right now. Steph’s wearing her favorite colors of course!

Just where in the hell is this city you speak of? Or Sleepover Friends #5: Lauren’s Big Mix-Up

The gals go away for the weekend to stay in “the city” with Nana, Stephanie’s grandmother. She just cannot get enough of these sleepover friends!

Now, the big question is, where in the hell is this “city”? They mention the Pequontic river, which, thanks to Google, does not exist. So, it can be either the Potomac (in Maryland) or the Peconic River on Long Island. And we know the city is on the East Coast, so it could be maybe NYC or DC. Here’s what I’m thinking: it’s NYC. I’ve lived in both NYC and DC and really, not a lot of people in the outliers called DC “the city”. But, people on Long Island did all the time. Plus, it seems to be bigger and busier than DC is. And, for some reason, I’m getting a Washington Heights vibe. I don’t know why. Then again, they go to a History Museum, which can either be the Museum of Natural History or the Smithsonian.

Well, anyway, Lauren gets the wrong suitcase when she is getting off the bus, and there is man’s stuff plus a tape of something. Kate and Lauren later find a dog and the owner invites them to the play she is putting on and they realize it’s the playwright’s suitcase. What a coinky-dink! The playwright goes through Laren’s stuff and finds her journal that says “Riverhurst Elementary” and the names Kate, Lauren, Stephanie, and Patti and calls the school asking if they’s heard of these girls. The school admin is all, “of course! Everyone knows the Sleepover Friends!” ICK! It just made me realize how clique-y these gals are. If I was in their class I’d be kind of jealous. No wonder jenny Carlin hates them. Also, I thought it was weird that this guy had to go through Lauren’s stuff to find her journal. Like her underwear and stuff. What a perv.

So, I need to back up. Stephanie’s friend Tiffany hangs out with them acts like a total “I’ a singer-actress-dancer” stuck up snob and the gals hate her. Kate is all”are all people rude in the city, or just you?” and Tiff storms off. I used to think Kate was a stick in the mud when I first read these, but now I kinda like her. The gang go out shopping IN THE CITY ALONE and Kate and Stephanie get into a big fight and Stephanie and Nana leave and the three rest of them continue to walk around the city. They are getting on the bus but patti gets on without them, and it’s a big drama. And then they go see Stephanie and Patti’s old school, and run into some girl Patti knew who sings in a rock band with seventh graders. Wow, what the hell? I’m impressed that thirteen year olds actually have the discipline and drive to have a band. Anyway, they hang out and make friends blah blah blah.

Other thoughts:

Kate is a film buff and way into obscure foreign films. What fifth-grader likes to watch black and white movies in Swedish?

It’s a ho-down, literally, or Super Edition: Spring Fever

Jessica seriously needs a bra.

I kind of like the ones where they travel. And by like I mean are horrified by the way they make every place they travel into a horrid, cliched version of the actual place. This time: the twins tackle the midwest!

It’s Spring Break AGAIN and the gals are off to spend a week with their great aunt and great uncle, The Walkers in Walkersville, Kansas. Their relatives own the fucking place and run everything in it. Their great-uncle is the mayor. It’s basically like the town in Pleasantville, and Jessica is the one that brings color to the people. Or something.

Also, many of the cliches are for southern towns, not midwest, so I think they may have even screwed up in their offensiveness. There’s barns a plenty and five and tens, and a soda shop. Apparently anywhere outside of Southern California also is in a time warp. The gals just think it is adorable, and oooohhh and ahhhh throught their Southern Califorinian entitlement. I this were real life they’d be complaining that there is no In ‘n Out Burgers. Whatevs. The Walkers (their great aunt and uncle, no relation to Cara) are pretty old fashioned and want the girls to act like proper ladies. You and me and everyone else do too. Seriously. Jessica is all pissed at the oppression. They go the carnival and Jess rubs herself over one of the carnies who runs a corral. She sneaks out at night to see him as he teaches her to ride his horse. Of course, after one date, Jess is using the l-word. Seriously, this falling in love business is annoying. The guy, Alex, has a twin brother Brad, who may be perfect for Liz. If you can’t predict how this will turn out, you’re a moron.

Meanwhile, the gals of the town totally hate the twins. Mostly because the Walkers have talked them up so much as sophiticated Californians and the gals feel threatened. Annie Sue Sawyer (what a hick name, ghostwriters) especially hates them. Meanwhile, other gals in town start copying Jessica’s cutting-edge, California fashion sense. Even the chubby girls in town. How dare they! What is Jessica’s cutting-edge fashion? A headband. With rhinestones. Seriously.

The twins works for an afternoon at the soda shop. They milk cows on a farm. Blah blah blah. Jessica is a total brat for disprespecting the Walkers and sneaking out each night. They are so UNREASONABLE to expect her to be in by nine every night. Of course, Liz bends over and takes it and covers for her. Sigh.

Annie Sue sees Jessica with Alex, and blackmails her so she won’t tell the relatives about her hanging out with a “carnie”. She blackmails her by making Jess give her her hideous accessories. In a storyline totally ripped off from Little House on the Prairie, Annie Sue’s Dad buys her the horse that Alex has been training and Jessica has bonded with. Annie Sue insists on riding her and the horse gets out of control, but Jess saves the day by fucking getting on another horse and rescuing Annie Sue from the crazy horse. From then on Annie Sue totally forgives Jessica and admits she hated her because she was jealius. They make up and are bffs. Annie Sue has a party for the twins at her house and there is a big toast to Jessica and she is the hero. The Walkers totally forgive her for sneaking out and acting like a brat the whole week because she saved the day. Note to everyone: STOP VALIDATING JESSICA’S BULLSHIT!

So there is a big town squaredance and the twins want to double-date with Alex and Brad. Their grandparents don’t want them going with boys they don’t know. Jessica declares that this is the worst. thing. that’s. ever. happened. Elizabeth agrees. I know this is early in the series, so they don’t have the gang wars, werewolfs, vampires and killing each others boyfriends while driving while intoxicated. However, Elizabeth discovers theor boyfs secrets! He’s really one person! FUCKING SURPRISE! Did they not realize it the second they also realized they never saw the two together! Alex declares he feels like two people and wanted to get to know both of them. Liz doesn’t tell Jessica so she can remain happy. They all squaredance off into the sunset.

Other stuff:

When they arrive in Walkersville, Liz muses, “this is what I imagined when I read about the pioneers moving West.” Seriously, get a grip. It’s not like they use outhouses and covered wagons. There is life outside Southern California.

Jessica, of course, packs like 10 suitcases, including her new favorite outfit: a jumpsuit with rhinestones all over it. Sweet!

When Liz is hanging out with “Brad”, he tells her he’s never seen the ocean before, but looking into her aqua-blue eyes is like seeing the ocean for the first time. BARF!

I love (aka hate) how when they travel, they use every cliche about the place they travel. What’s next? A trip to Alaska where Liz rescues some abandoned huskies, and three days later wins a dogsled competions, and Jessica falls in love with an “eskimo” and convinces them to decorate their igloos pink?

Grade: B

The one where someone actually allows Jessica near their children or #101 The Boyfriend War

Seriously, did it really take a 100 books to use this title? I feel like it could be the title of every SVH book.

Ow wow, Jessica and Lila are brutal! First of all, it is nice to see that Jessica has completely forgot about when some crazy lookalike tried to murder her sister and several of her boyfriends died horrible, gruesome deaths. Well, who wouldn’t? it’s Spring Break! WOOO HOOOO!!!! Jessica is bragging to everyone that Lila invited her on a trip to the Carribean to her Uncle’s resort. It totally sounds like its a Sandals resort, which on my list of places to go on vacation, would be my absolute last place to go. Well, second last. Disneyworld is my last.

Liz is staying home working on a school project, because she is a fucking nerd. Todd is away with his parents, so for this book we get a break from his doucheyness. Olivia and Enid are in town, so the nerd brigade goes daily to see old classic movies. Okay, I have to admit, I can’t make fun because I actually wish my friends were organized enough to have a somewhat cool activity like that. But these gals are sixteen, it seems a bit off.

Alice, on the other hand, got offered a consulting job (aren’t all interior designers consultants? I mean, they don’t just keep redesigning the same place over and over again. Anyway.) with Henry Wilson Patman in Chicago, so she is off to there (no doubt filling her days with eating deep dish pizza and seeing the Sears Tower) Bruce has his speedo in knots because his parents are fighting and he suspects that Alice W. and Hanky are having an affair. He’s not upset about his parents, he’s upset that it breaks the perfect image of his family. Omg, that is like sooooo Bruce.

So Elizabeth’s school project is doing some research and a report on a family members life. She is reseacing her mother, because Alice is so fascinating! And successful! And blonde! And this! And could be the twins’ older sister! She finds a wedding picture of Alice and Hank and suspects that they were once married and confirms her suspicions about the affair.

Meanwhile, Jess and Lila arrive at Club Paradise, and Jessica finds that they are to be counselors for the week at the Kiddie Kabana, and Lila tricked her into coming to do it. That was pretty fucking mean of Lila, so she and Lila stop talking. [Why does Lila have to do this? Can’t she get out of working? Doesn’t make sense at all.] Jessica is in charge of seven kids, and they all have names and personalities but honestly I just skimmed because I personally dislike children, and what is this a Baby-Sitters Club book? For real. Anyway, they are unruly, and I honestly can’t blame them because their parents are taking a vacation to an island resort and don’t want to spend time with them. However, Jessica is horrible to them and calls them brats to their faces and yells at them to shut up. Yeesh. They also embarass her when she does her morning perfance (don’t ask).

Of course, she is totally judgemental about the other couselors. They are not pretty enough to hang out with and one of them – OH MY GOD – is overweight. ick! How do they let her walk around in public? Apparently, the only person worthy of being her friend is Lila, but they are still ot speaking and Lila totally has control over her kids. We get a pov from Julia (the chub) and of course she is in awe of Jessica and Lila and the only thing to boost her self-worth is to gain acceptance from them.

So starting with this book, I think they totally overhauled the ghost writing team, because this almost seems like a different book. I am not saying the themes and characters get any better, but for some reason the writing is…a bit snarkier. But the plots get more and more ludicrous, so that’s always fun.

Meanwhile, there is a beefcake windsurfing instructor at the resort named Mick and he is apparetly the most.gorgeous,guy.ever. He is described is being tall and lean, broad shoulders, and incredible tan, and hair that shone like silk. Here’s the first thought that popped into my mind when picturing him: a teenage Fabio. Complete with the accent. So of course all Jessica has to do is flick her hair and put on a skimpy bikini and he runs up to her and professes his love. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why these ruined my childhood. I of course believed that I just had to wait around for a guy to randomly profess his love for me, and it was unecessary to be proactive or show anything about my personality. Unfortnately, my extra llbs and Brenda Walsh bangs didn’t invite this much, so I was a bit crushed.

Mick professes his love to Jessica after 5 minutes on their cheesy date. He speaks in stupid cliches and puns. He is a total ass and Jessica falls for it. Meanwhile, he is also professing his love to Lila. Mick is a alsoa dick and conceited. He’s literally all, “Aren’t I your type? Do you go for tal, attractive guys with great bodies and long, sexy hair?” and “Our kids would be gorgeous and blond, because we are gorgeous and blond”. Gross.

They STILL fall for it, and one day meet each other on the beach and play a game of chicken with Mick and another guy from the club, and they beat the shit out of each other. Hence the cover:

Uh, I presume the guy on the left is Mick. EEEEWWWW he’s got a bowl cut and is wearing bike shorts. Lila looks purty, and I want to smack Jessica, which Lila does. Hard.

So finally, they find out about his two-timing and make up so they can scheme. Turns out Mick is also dating about 6 other girls at the time, including Julia and omg HOW DUMB of her to think that a guy like Mick could like a chub. Take that lesson home, folks. They get back at him at the camp talent show and use him in their magic act, and chop of his prized locks and dye it purple. Don’t tease the queens of all teases, folks!

We end with Liz imgining Alice and Hank getting married, and she and Jess becoming Bruce’s stepsisters. Now THAT is a book I’d want to read.

Other thoughts:

I hate Jessica. Just so you know.

Amy Sutton wants to be a pain in the ass and borrow Elizabeth’s great great grndmother for her own project- the bitch who was in the circus. We totally get reference to the Sweet Valley Saga, where we hear about all the perfect, size six blonde ancestors of the twins.

Finally, after about 95 books, Bruce acknowledges the amnesia incident:

Bruce had never liked Elizabeth Wakefield- in fact, he thought of her as one of the most uptight, sanctimonius kids at schoo. [I’d actually have to agree with Bruce there.] Actually, he reminded himself, there was that one time, early in the school year. Elzabeth had amnesia and her defenses were down. Bruce had tried to take advantage of her- what guy wouldn’t?

WTF? Way to excuse yourself from your behavior. Yea, any guy would have probably tried to rape her, so he was just doing what any guy would do, so he is not at fault.

Grade: B+

Poll: If you could have SVH do a crossover with other dumb YA series, what would it be? I’d like to see a Sunset Island crossover series, where Jessica and Samantha would dress is hideously slutty 80s outfits and fight over the members of Flirting With Danger. And Liz and Carrie can nerd out together. And Lila and Emma can play “who’s richer?” I should start writing fanfiction. Or not.

The one where all of Jessica’s boyfriends die or #100, The Evil Twin

As someone mentioned earlier, Margo, aka the evil twin, is good because she “gets shit done”. I totally agree. But let’s go back to the beginning.

So as I started reading this, I realized it was sixth in a miniseries and was worried that I should have read the first few before this. Then I realized that my IQ is over 40 and I would have no problem. Some background: Jess and Liz were in competition for Jungle Prom queen, and Jess wanted Liz to look like an idiot so she spiked her punch. She accidentally spiked her boyfriend’s Sam’s punch too, and then they drove off and Liz killed him. There was a trial and shit, and in the meantime Jessica stole Todd for a while but then there was a not guilty verdict and Todd is back with Liz, but needless to say, Jess and Liz are talking. Meanwhile, Margo, who is a fucked up foster child who HAPPENS TO LOOK IDENTICAL TO THE TWINS, is on her way to SV to take over Liz’s identity after seeing her picture in the papers. Along the way, Margo killed lots of people, including some boy named Georgie. Georgie’s bro, Josh, is on Margo’s tail to take her down. Margo also hired some guy, James, so spy on the twins, but meanwhile he has fallen in love with Jessica. Because no one can ever not fall in love with them.

I feel bad for Jess- all her boyfriends dying. I mean, I hate Jessica, but isn’t that a little much to put her through? I did start to feel a lil bad for her. And why the hell do boys always fall in love with her? I mean, in high school years “love” really means “lust” but let’s just call it like we see it and not have guys professing their innermost feelings for her, but rather just trying to get into her pants.

Oh, and Jess and Liz are not talking to each other. Because at one point during the trial, Jessica intercepted some love letters from Todd and had her way with them. Also, Liz doesn’t know that Jess was the one that spiked the punch. They both have dreams about the incident, cuz their twins, they have a connection. I guess it must be the matching size six figures.

Finally, Margo gets the same dress as Liz and goes to Lila’s New Year’s Eve ball and lures Liz into a boathouse intending to kill her, but Jessica and Josh show up in time to push Margo through a glass window onto concrete, and a shar of glass goes through her jugular. Didn’t that happen in Ghost?. Good times. Murder always makes for a happy ending.

Ok, plotline out the way.

Showing you the cover here is kind of pointless, because it is a SPECIAL fold out cover, and the inner flap shows Margo dressed as Elizabeth weilding a knife, and Liz showing fear. Also, an inset of the twins in bathrobes opening presents under the tree, and they look about 47. If you own the book you can enjoy it yourselves.

Margo is batshit crazy. No doubt. Something about her growing up in foster homes and being abused. Okay, I’ll give her that, but she kills anybody in her way just for the chance to become a Wakefield. Seriously, Francine makes it seem as if you don’t grow up in a heterosexual nuclear family, you are a lunatic. Suzanne Devlin was a sociopath because she had neglectful parents, Lila is all fucked up because of her broken home, Tricia Martin and the whole town drunk dad thing, etc. etc. Like the Wakefields are the perfect family- pshah. Do Alice and Ted realize one of their twins is a raging cock tease and the other one is a condescending hypocrite?

Speaking of Ned and Alice, Margo hatched a plan to send them on a fake trip to San Francisco on some “lawyer consulting” thing. With a big-shot lawyer that Ted is, why in the hell did he fall for the bait? Well, as soon as they get to San Fran of course they do the toursity stuff- Fisherman’s Warf, Golden Gate, blah blah. I’s like to see Alice end up at Haight-Ashbury and reminisce about her hippy days. Anyway. Alice starts getting mother’s intuition that something is wrong and they try to get home despite train derailings and shit. I hate when they write from the adults’ point of view. It’s insulting.

Ok, so Margo apparently looks so much like the twins she sneaks into the house a lot and pretends to be them. Uh, even their mother couldn’t tell them apart? She also goes shopping with Lila and hangs out with Enid, and they are none the wiser. They just think their friend is in a weird mood. Whatever. Also, didn’t they have a dog, Prince Albert? Where did it go? Wouldn’t the dog detect strangers? Ghost writers, check your notes!!!!

Margo also went out with Todd and they made out and shit, and Todd didn’t say anything. He just thought it was Jessica. What a dick boyfriend.

I love how it is ony Christmastime, and apparently everything that happened in the last 99 books took place over three months. Including several spring breaks, summer trips, etc. Gotta love warped Sweet Valey time. Also, the day before Christmas vacation, every class at SVH has a party. Wtf?

Ken Matthews dressed up as Santa to deliver candy canes. What? Is he showing a hint of personality?

Also, a Jungle Prom? What is going on with that? I’m kind of offended.

Jessica’s friends really don’t offer her support after James dies, because they don’t know what to say. Assholes.

Can I mention that I am still reeling at the possibility that there is a lunatic foster child that LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE THE TWINS??? This is the likedaytime soap fodder.

Now, here is the big question. Why does everyone worship the Wakefield twins? People are dying to be friends with them, idolize them, and go on a killing rampage to become one of them. Surely, SOMEONE must hate them with a passion. Even when they treat one like shit (ahem, Robin Wilson) they still come crawling back for approval/acceptance, and this drives me fucking crazy. My god, Jessica has screwed over countless boys, I am sure they are not too happy with her. She basically hates and ridicules other girls, so there must be some goth/alterna chick at SVH who hates her. And Liz…she acts all perfect and sweet, but we know she is a hypocrite. If we ever saw them in classes, I have a feeling that Liz would be such a know-it-all and a teacher’s pet. Even through grad school there was always one of those in every class and I always loathed them. I mean, this is high school. Jealousy and exclusion are enough to fuel school shootings. Also, have you ever known someone where other people keep telling you how awesome they are and that alone makes you kind of hate them a little? Maybe that’s just me.

My grade: B. The later ones seem to have a totally different feel, and are way dumber. In a good way.

Next time: I got a whole new batch of books from ebay, so I don’t know. I want to get into the trilogies, but there are so many other shit-tastic ones from the 50s and 60s. We shall see.

Today’s poll: If you could look identical to a SVH character and murder them and take over their life, who would it be? I would say Penny Ayala, and turn the boring Oracle into an underground anarchist publication.