Sweet Valley High Super Edition #1: Perfect Summer

Well, it looks like this is the next book, even though the book after this seems to pick back up right after the events of #21.

The moral of the story: If you save a Wakefield twin from a bear you can overcome your nerd status even if you are pudgy and awkward. Also, if you smoke you’ll start a forest fire.


The twins are going on a month long bicycle trip with Annie, Todd, Bruce, Roger, Olivia, Lila, Charlie Markus (a friend of Bruce’s we’ve never heard of), Mr. Collins, Ms. Dalton and Chrome Dome’s nephew Barry Cooper. For some reason everyone expects Barry to be gorgeous and they’re disappointed when he’s a “pudgy, pale-faced boy.”

Things you need to know for this book:

  • Ms. Dalton and Mr. Collins have broken up.
  • Ms. Dalton is back with Lila’s dad.
  • Lila hates Ms. Dalton.
  • Bruce is being mean to Roger.
  • Liz mentions that Annie and Ricky have broken up recently.
  • Charlie has a crush on Annie.
  • Barry Cooper has a crush on Jessica. Of course. I love that all the nerdy guys are in love with Jessica, but when she wants someone hot and popular she has to resort to trickery and lies and still usually doesn’t end up snagging him.

Liz writes a three page letter to Enid after only one night on the road. The group stays in Los Angeles at the home of Steve Thomas, a friend of the Patmans’, where they set up their tents in the front yard rather than stay inside the huge mansion. I’d be pissed. Steve’s daughter Courtney is a bitch. Well, actually, she’s a lot like Jessica and Lila, but I guess we’re not supposed to realize that. She has a delinquent punk of a boyfriend and he’s turning her into a disobedient brat. Steve begs Mr. Collins and Ms. Dalton to take Courtney with them for the rest of the trip and they agree. What kind of trip is this, anyway? Just anyone can join? Both Steve and Courtney keep calling the Sweet Valley group “you people” and no one seems to mind. Courtney flirts with Todd and Liz gets jealous. In a letter to her boyfriend, Courtney outlines her plot to make Todd fall for her so she can bring him home to her father and make him think she’s turned over a new leaf. Right.

Lila meets a couple guys who tell her Ms. Dalton looks exactly like a teacher from their school named Ms. Curtis who disappeared a year and a half ago. Hmm, that’s around the time Ms. Dalton showed up in Sweet Valley. Lila drops the name in front of Ms. Dalton, effectively blackmailing her. Lila tells Jessica that Ms. Dalton used to live in Arizona, where she was married to some guy but left him. The guy killed himself a few days later.

Jessica falls in love with Robbie October, a guy who’s cycling up the coast on the same path as the Sweet Valley group. She strikes out with him at first because she has to help Bruce make hamburgers for the group and Robbie doesn’t like people who play by the rules. He’s such a badass. Bruce is actually kind of funny in this book and I might warm up to him if he weren’t a rapist. Jessica finally manages to get Robbie interested in her again and she sneaks off one night to be with Robbie. They get stuck hiding from a bear in a cave. When the group realizes Jessica has been gone all night, they go searching for her. Liz, Todd and Courtney take one path while another group takes the other. Courtney starts acting like she needs to go back and Todd goes with her. ‘Cause he’s an idiot. Anyway, they find Jessica and Barry saves the day ’cause he knows about bears and he becomes everyone’s new best friend.

Todd, predictably, can’t figure out why Liz is so upset about Courtney and they break up. Courtney puts the last part of her plan into action and asks Todd to come back to Beverly Hills with her. He agrees. That night a forest fire breaks out because of Courtney’s carelessly discarded cigarette. Liz doesn’t know about the cigarette so she blames herself because she was the one who was supposed to put out the campfire. Bruce is kind of valiant and won’t let Roger risk his life to put out the fire. It’s kind of sweet, but not really relevant to anything else, so… Anyway, Liz later tells Mr. Collins the fire was her fault and also that Todd is leaving the trip to help Courtney with her father (Courtney has told Todd her father is a drunk to gain his sympathy). Mr. Collins tells Liz the real reason Courtney came on the trip, and Liz outs her to the entire group. She and Todd get back together, Mr. Collins and Ms. Dalton get back together, Annie and Charlie are together, Olivia and Roger are still together. It’s a big ol’ love fest.


Annie told her all about the town of Sweet Valley, and Courtney appeared to be properly captivated.

I guess that’s the test. If you’re not properly captivated with stories about Sweet Valley, you’re not welcome.

“You’ve never minded it before when I had friends who were girls. Just like I’ve never had problems with your male friends. No jealousy.”

I will direct your attention to the tags at the bottom of this post, where you can click on Liz-Todd: Jealousy and find many examples of Todd and Liz minding each other’s friends of the opposite sex.

[Mr. Collins] told Elizabeth about John Curtis and his family and everything Nora Dalton had tried to leave behind.

Mr. Collins is really inappropriate on this whole trip. He wears nothing but shorts while he sleeps in a tent with male students. He tells Liz he considers her not just as a student, but also a friend. He dances with Liz at one of their rest stops. All that had me wondering about him, but this bothers me a lot. I guess it shouldn’t, since right after this Ms. Dalton tells the rest of the group everything anyway.

The Cover: What can I even say about those outfits? Liz does look kind of hot, but Jessica looks like she’s wearing pajamas and they both need to be introduced to low rider jeans.

It’s nice to actually have some background scenery instead of the usual gray oblivion everyone’s always standing in front of.

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  • Jenn April 7, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    I remember HATING that cover when I was a kid. Those have to be some super uncomfortable shorts for sitting on a bike all day 🙂


  • Whitney G April 7, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    Wow, Liz does look hott.

    I’ve never read this one before, but now I must. A bear? Too awesome.


  • Kate April 8, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Jenn, that was my thought too! Short shorts + bike seat = mighty chafed inner thighs!

    Also, “SUPER EDITION!” Really? Super? It almost seems as though it should be called “summer edition” instead, but that didn’t have enough pizazz for the editor.


  • Shannon April 8, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Kate, it’s Super because it has 225 pages instead of 150. More drivel = Super Edition!

    Yeah, those shorts are just…not right.


  • nugirl77 May 5, 2009 at 7:04 am

    NO NO NO! This cover is all wrong! Liz’s hair looks awful, Jessica’s uplifted arm looks out of proportion to the rest of her body and they both look like Wakefield Twin impersonators / stand-ins (bad ones, at that). What’s WRONG with these Super Edition covers? 🙂


  • Jan aka Girl Talk Read June 25, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    HATED Jessica’s shorts!!! I LOVED this book as an impressionable 11 year old- it seemed so SCANDALOUS!!! Courtney SMOKED!!!
    And yeah we never heard about Charlie Markus again!


  • dirtywingsgirl January 31, 2010 at 2:17 am

    “Steve’s daughter Courtney is a bitch.”
    Francine Pascal must have really hated a person called Courtney (see Courtney Kane, as well as this Perfect Summer Courtney)
    Not to mention Suzanne…see Suzannes Hanlon and Devlin (both evil bitches).


  • Kylie90210 August 3, 2010 at 12:16 am

    I always confuse Courtney with a Suzanne. Doesn’t Barry like, loose weight by the end of this?


  • AJ January 23, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    My favorite quote was “Somebody should give both Todd and Courtney a sound spanking!” from Jessica.
    OOH, Jessie, you little dom! What would you use? A belt? Whip?Paddle?


  • Anonymous January 25, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Yeah both twins are getting serious camel-toe!


  • bayerngirl74 May 24, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Erm, I had a pair of those kick-ass shorts Jessica is wearing on the cover. They were super hot. I was a very fashionable teen, you see.


  • Carol November 25, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    The first time I read ‘Perfect Summer’, I was 12 years old and even though I lived in California I had not been to all the places they mentioned. It was really cool re-reading it now as an adult because since then I have visited all the places mentioned in the book. From L.A. to Santa Barbara to Hearst Castle to Santa Cruz and so on… I can truly identify when they talk about the scenery. I remember Jessica saying how Big Sur was a perfect place to fall in love. I always thought so too 🙂 Specially after seeing The Sandpiper 😛 ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGZXMpOkoso )

    Here are some of the places mentioned:

    Hearst Castle


    Big Sur

    This is a bike view of the Pacific Coast Highway 🙂

    *As for the story of the book, I enjoyed it but man… there were times I felt like slapping Todd to wake him up! Unbelievable lol


  • Jenna September 16, 2012 at 3:58 am

    Haha except apparently Francine remembered Charlie because he ended up married to Annie Whitman by the events of Confidential!


  • Jenna September 16, 2012 at 4:04 am

    You know, I thought for sure that when I read this the first time it mentioned something about him being fit and tanned and looking great… but upon re-reading, there is no mention of that at all. Maybe I was just inserting my own ideas about what Francine usually would do in her books? Because everyone knows you can’t be fat AND lovable in Sweet Valley.


  • Lucy July 27, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Just discovered your blog tonight and cannot stop reading them …. Oh and “Bruce is actually kind of funny in this book and I might warm up to him if he weren’t a rapist.” was genius. I almost spat my drink all over my iPad reading that …. Kudos. Can’t wait to read the rest. 🙂


  • Erica Chestnut July 13, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Yep, I’m pretty sure you are supposed to forget about Bruce being a rapist in every book since the one where he tried to rape Liz, especially since all of Sweet Valley, including Liz, apparently has. Also, how much did I hate Todd in this book? So much I almost tricked myself into believing he was real and slapping him through the book. He really is the stupidest boyfriend ever.


  • Erica Chestnut July 13, 2014 at 9:38 am

    I forgot some other things that boggled the mind. So, we never hear any of this about Ms. Dalton again, really? Come on ghostwriters, do your research. Also, how is it that Mr. Collins makes such a big deal out of the forest fire and rules being broken but no one even says anything to Jessica for leaving camp in the middle of the night to go hiking with a complete stranger, all night long. That’s just insane. Great chaperonage Mr. Collins.


  • Selena June 9, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Oh, yes. I’d totally be the first to go on a month long bike trip…with the guy who tried to rape me. Who WOULDN’T?

    I honestly can’t believe that none of this stuff seemed weird to me as a teen reading these, that I wanted to be Liz, and that I thought their parents were so great.

    Obviously I was a pretty dense teenager.


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