Sweet Valley High #7: Dear Sister

The moral of the story: It’s okay to act like a total bitch as long as you have a medical condition from which you’ll recover one day and not remember any of your bitchiness. All will be forgiven.

The Big Deal: “Welcome home” party at the Wakefields’ and a “pickup party” at Lila’s

Synopsis:

Most of the first chapter (part of which is for some reason told from Liz’s perspective, even though she’s in a coma) consists of Jessica blabbering to a comatose Liz about how guilty she feels about what happened, blah, blah, blah. Then Liz wakes up and has turned into Jessica. Jess is fine with that until Liz returns to school and everyone thinks she’s Jessica.

Then out of nowhere, Ned mentions that the Percys are going to Europe and their children will be staying with the Wakefields. First of all, who the frak are the Percys? And why do they have twin girls? The twins are brunettes, so they’re described as fragile and bratty. Anyway, Liz goes out on a date and sticks Jessica with the kids.

All this time poor Todd is having trouble adjusting to his girlfriend being the town whore. It all comes to a head at a disastrous basketball game. As we all know, losing a game is the absolute worst thing that can ever happen in Sweet Valley. It’s like that scene in Pleasantville in which all the basketballs miss the net. Worst. Thing. Ever. This prompts the basketball coach to have a talk with Todd about how if Liz is acting different then something must be wrong.

Because Ned and Alice are the worst parents in the world, Jessica gets stuck taking the Percy twins to some flute audition, which causes her to miss a date. Then, because she’s frustrated, she has a fender bender in the Fiat. When Ned and Alice find out, the Percy twins lie for Jessica and keep her out of trouble so all’s good in the hood on that front.

Lila has a “pickup party,” which seems to be code for “be a slut and see who you end up with.” Liz leaves with Bruce, who is well on his way to date raping her when Todd shows up and punches him. The next weekend, Liz goes out with Bruce again while Jessica pretends to be Liz to go on a date with Bill Chase (Liz has double booked her Saturday night).

At the Patmans’ beach house, Liz and Bruce are about to get down when Liz falls and hits her head. She suddenly has no memory of anything since the hospital and doesn’t know why she’s with Bruce. Bruce, troubled young man that he is, threatens to rape her if she doesn’t give it up willingly. Liz runs out of the house and into the arms of Todd Wilkins, who just so happens to be right there. Everything is wonderful again.

Quotes:

“She’ll probably have all the work made up and a dozen stories written for The Oracle before I finish that one stupid book report on Moby Dick. I mean, Todd, who really cares about whales?”

Todd did, but he let the comment slide by.

I don’t know why, but this really cracked me up.

As soon as the Percy twins were settled in Steven’s room, Ned and Alice Wakefield left for a game of bridge.

There is so much wrong with this sentence. First, Ned and Alice drop this bombshell that these bratty twins are coming to stay for a few weeks, then as soon as they’re there, they leave? Second, we know their last name is Wakefield, you don’t have to mention it all the time. And last, bridge? A game of bridge? Really?

“Elizabeth, I hope you know that I’m a friend, not only a teacher and an adviser. And friends don’t dish out a lot of applesauce to each other.”

Oh, Mr. Collins. What does that mean? He says it twice in this book. It must be some ’80’s slang that I don’t know anything about.

“But I saw you two on the beach together. If you were with Bruce, who’s with Bill?”

Hmm, I don’t know, Todd. Let’s think about that one. *facepalm*

Jessica and the Number 137:

“I’m just wondering if Todd’s seen you in that nightgown. I bet it’d raise his temperature about a hundred and thirty-seven degrees!”

Why, she’s doing at least a hundred and thirty-seven things I usually do, Jessica raged inwardly.

“Who told you that?”

“You did, a hundred and thirty-seven times.”

The Cover: The cover and the synopsis on the back both want you to think the whole book is about waiting for Liz to wake up from her coma. She wakes up on page 12.

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Comments
  • R. G. Quimby March 14, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    I’m going to start using the expression “to dish out applesauce.” I have no idea what it means, but I think it could change based on context. Like… hmm… I haven’t gotten a call-back from an internship interview I did this week, so I guess I could be all, “I can’t believe they smiled at me throughout the entire interview and haven’t even bothered to call me back yet. What kind of apple sauce are they trying to dish out over there?”

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  • outpostroad March 14, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Lol, or you could be like, “I guess I’d better call them and dish out some applesauce to get them to cooperate.” It could totally go both ways, ha ha.

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  • nugirl77 May 5, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I seriously am NOT dishing out any applesauce when I say this, but this is my most favorite SVH book! I can’t even fault the book cover (the twins are ravishing, totally gorgeous!)!

    I think I love this story so much because it was the first time (since I’d started reading the series) that Jessica seemed REAL to me – that she had feelings, emotions and a conscience. In books #1 – #6 Jess is always persistently portrayed as manipulative, vicious, hateful, spoiled and shallow. Her “bond” with her twin seemed patently insincere as she never seemed to cause Liz anything but pain and suffering. So when Liz almost dies, and then stays “sick” until she’s hit on the head again, it was a little unnerving to read about Jess’ dilemma with her forced role reversal, her new responsibilities and sense of uncertainty. Suddenly, Jess isn’t as obnoxious as she usually is. (I know, she quickly reverts to her scheming, narcissistic self, but that’s another story – ie #8 Heart Breaker!)

    It was also fun to read about Liz “out-Jessica-ing Jessica” with her antics, wild outfits and reckless, inconsiderate behavior. Liz does get to break out of her box, but only for a little while, and only because she’s mentally ill. Poor Liz!

    Bruce Patman and his lecherous ploy to avenge himself on Liz in his den of iniquity (ie his parents’ beach house – GROSS!!!) is best left unsaid. 1JERK1 is what I’d like to change on Bruce’s stupid Porsche license plate for what he tried to do to Liz after deliberately getting her drunk.

    Sometimes, a good knock on the head is all that’s needed. 🙂

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  • girltalkread June 3, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    http://13readingat30.wordpress.com/

    Yes I am linking to my blog again- it’s Jan- and also how come Bruce almost raping Liz is never really mentioned again, but when John Pfeiffer tried to rape Lila ( wrong as it was of course) he was a pariah when everyone found out?

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    Shannon Reply:

    Ugh, it bothers me to no end that nobody seems to care that Bruce tried to rape Liz. All I can think is that it happened at the beginning of the series, nobody was sure if SVH would last or what direction it would go in, blah blah blah. But seriously, it pisses me right off.

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  • Enid Rollins August 4, 2009 at 11:04 am

    I think this was the first SV I read, and the rape scene was so unrealistic and almost insulting. But the rest was so funny and cheesy!

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  • Darren August 13, 2009 at 5:24 am

    I don’t understand that Steven shows up in book 6, and is ignored in book 7. He doesn’t know something is going on with Liz? And Bruce, I don’t think he was trying to rape her, it was more like ‘advantage’.

    If this was a Jem show, Liz would be a member of the Misfits, or the Stingers the way she behaved!

    Cant’ wait for the rewrite. Please omit the little kids Jessica has to watch in book 7.

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    Shannon Reply:

    Re: Bruce
    “Give it up willingly or I’ll take it by force” sounds to me like a threat of rape. Liz had to run away from him!

    Yeah, where the hell is Steven in this book? It’s been a while now since I read it, but I don’t remember him being around much.

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  • thea March 19, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    i finally remember bruce reading ur synopsis for this book. i remember this one. i remember liking it alot. i think for the same reasons nugirl77 listed. jessica and liz seem to switch roles for that issue. jess got to see life from liz’s eyes and sees how inconsiderate she is all the time. and liz got to losen up and have some fun and be bad for the 1st time.

    bruce patman is a douche.
    …i really wonder where all my old sv high, teen and kid books disappeared to over the last 20 plus yrs.

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  • Jessica Squits the Quad April 5, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    LOL @ a game of bridge!! Who wrote this, Agatha Christie? No, I’m sorry, Agatha. You would never have written a pile of crap like this book.

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  • Jen June 10, 2010 at 2:17 am

    Heh, Books 6 & 7 were two of my favorites back when I first read the series. But I always seem to remember a scene when Todd, super excited, is buying ‘his and hers’ helmets. As a sort of teaser in book 5 maybe. But I’ve never seen that scene again re-reading the books. Did I misremember or imagine it? Oh well.

    On another note – did you know that at one point book seven was actually titled “About Face”?

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    Anonymous Reply:

    It’s in book six he buys Elizabeth a pink helmet.

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  • Darren June 14, 2010 at 3:49 am

    What happened to Steven? It makes no sense that he shows up in 6, and is not aware of Elizabeth misbehaving in 7. He should’ve had a part and the Percy twins axed.

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  • Kylie90210 July 19, 2010 at 12:43 am

    The Bruce thing bothers me to no end. Really. Why not have some other character take on this role? I know they didn’t know they’d end up changing him over the years, but still. Love Liz being the new Jess, although I find myself sympathising with Jess!

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  • Olivia September 13, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    I think the character Bruce just got shafted because they need to have some kind of jerky antagonist and that’s what he was introduced as in the first place a, fast jerk who thinks he’s awsome. Every book needs to haves character you can hate. Too bad that backfired on them.

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  • . March 25, 2011 at 12:34 am

    i can not get over how hard i laughed at the quotes.

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  • Sweet Valley, New York - #Crasstalk April 4, 2011 at 8:03 am

    […] a long story.” Ahem. First of all, I assume the “not conscious” reference is to SVH #7: Dear Sister, in which Lizzie’s head is all messed up because of her motorcycle accident and she ends up […]

  • Anonymous April 26, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    The whale quote- Todd does do that project in book 6 on them so that kind of makes sense.

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  • Marie Claire Steichler September 29, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Hey!
    I’m so glad I found this blog.
    I just really desperately want to know, will Elizabeth and Todd ever get back together?!
    After this book? ):
    They were the perfect couple!

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  • Karrah May 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    jess looks like the chick that plays the mom on raising hope..

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  • miu December 26, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    when jessica wasnt portrayed in a totally negative way she was more likable than liz. liz can sound so self righteous and arrogant and jessica was a bit more honest (when she wasnt portrayed as a bitch). i think thats why she was pushed back into “the bad one” because liz was supposed to be “the good one” and the most liked one

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  • Dane Youssef February 20, 2013 at 12:45 am

    The way they tried to end all this… the pathetic attempt at a conclusion they concocted… It’s like they wanted to deliberately insult their readers without just writing in big, bold letters on the very last page: “YOU ARE ALL IDIOTS WHO WANT ESCAPIST FANTASY SOAP-TRIPE SO BADLY, WE DON’T EVEN HAVE TO TRY.”

    Honestly… the way they tried to resolve all this… in other words, put everything neatly back to usual–tie things up with a nice, neat little bow–was really terrible. She’s at the Patman’s place with Bruce still in full “Uber-Jessica” mode and ready to do the nasty until Liz bumps her head and the personality is instantly resolved. Uh-huh. Right. OK, so it was standard overly- common soap-opera amnesia. She doesn’t even remember offering it up to Bruce. But he wants it and he’s going to get it one way or the other. So he forces himself on her and she races out and into the arms of Todd Wilkins.

    Does anyone else feel more than just a little nauseous here? Seriously… they couldn’t find a better way to end all this? It’s painful… it’s embarrassing.

    I think we all know why these things are out-of-print. No wonder “SVH” is so over. After reading “The Sweet Life”… many have given up their lifetime subscription to the fan club. And there haven’t especially been any new members.

    These things have just become obsolete. They even re-imagined them in 2008 The re-working was a huge improvement. But come on. Entertainment has really come a long way. Somehow, these thing just do not hold up. Just the whole idea. The whole concept.

    –-For Our Headmaster of The “SVH” Blog, For Liz and Todd, For Miss Pascal, For the Readers… and all of the town of “Sweet Valley,” Dane Youssef

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  • Anonymous May 6, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    I think it’s worth mentioning that I first discovered your blog when a google search for “dish out applesauce to each other” led me to this very page. My life has never been the same since.

    But seriously, what the fridge does that mean?

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  • Top Ten Book Covers | The Englishist May 21, 2013 at 7:01 am

    […] lazy and didn’t feel like uploading new book covers. Which is my way of saying, SVH’s Dear Sister totally belongs on this week’s top ten list. Oh well. Anyway, here are the covers, presented […]

  • 137 Times March 29, 2014 at 3:51 am

    Great recap!

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  • Jessa Fields October 25, 2015 at 6:16 am

    I know this comment is waayyy overdue, but, is anyone else disturbed by the fact that at one time there was a “Rexy Wakefield” in existence?

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