Sweet Valley High #115: The Treasure of Death Valley

SVH115The Moral of the Story: Never go camping with the Wakefield twins.

The Big Deal: Big stupid survival thing in Death Valley

Synopsis:

The Sweet Valley Survival Society has held an essay contest. The six winners will be camping for four days in Death Valley with limited supplies. Somehow, the winners are Liz, Jessica, Todd, Ken, Bruce and Heather. Am I supposed to believe Jessica, Heather and Bruce actually wrote essays for this thing? They have a crash course before the trip where they learn about compasses and shit, and then Kay, the instructor, drives them out to the desert. Liz can’t believe everyone is complaining so much and she keeps going on and on about what a great opportunity this is. Even Todd rolls his eyes at her. When they get to the dropoff point, Kay gives them some last minute instructions and breaks the group into three sets of “buddies.” Jessica and Todd, Liz and Bruce, Heather and Ken. Jessica is pissed that Heather will be flirting with Ken for four days, and Todd isn’t happy about Liz being paired with Bruce.

Kay leaves and Liz takes charge because nobody else seems interested in doing so. Jessica and Todd try to get her to switch everyone’s partners, but Liz is adamant that they stick to the rules. Jessica spends the day getting upset at Ken for actually letting Heather flirt with him. When they make camp for the night, Jessica tells Ken she’s jealous, but Ken says she has nothing to worry about.

The next day, Liz tries not to be pissy when Ken says he wants to navigate. At lunchtime, they stop near an old mine shaft. Heather turns on the portable television she’s brought along and they all listen to a newscast about three criminals who escaped from a nearby prison. Then Bruce decides he wants to explore the mine shaft. Liz, as Bruce’s buddy, decides she’d better go in after him to make sure he doesn’t die. She finds a satchel with some papers in it and grabs it and runs when the shaft starts to collapse. Once outside, Liz opens the satchel and finds it’s full of gold nuggets. There’s also a map and a diary. The diary says something about a curse involving the “Treasure of the Scorpion.” Apparently, if you find the treasure, you’re supposed to leave half of it for the next lucky traveler, along with a copy of the map. Everyone except Liz wants to go hunting for the rest of the gold, marked by Xs on the map.

Liz actually comes around to the idea of looking for the rest of the gold because it would make such a great story. Everyone is excited when she says they can at least look at one X on the map, but they all think she’s crazy when she and Todd start to bury half the treasure. Bruce and Jessica yell at them, so Liz and Todd relent and say it would be silly to believe in the curse. The group packs up and everyone goes on their merry way, happily babbling about what they’re going to spend their money on. They have to climb up some rocks and Todd totally checks out Jessica’s legs. Then he gets pissed when Liz accepts Bruce’s help. Then Liz and Bruce have a conversation about the stock market, and Liz can’t help but notice how attractive he is and remember their brief romance. And of course Bruce remembers how hot Liz is and starts wondering how he can get her alone. Gross.

When they finally get to the area marked on the treasure map, Bruce discovers a cave and everyone wants to explore it. They come to a fork in the path and Bruce takes Liz in one direction while everyone else goes the other way. Bruce is about to ask Liz if she wants to make out when Jessica suddenly yells that she found the treasure. Everyone meets outside. Bruce and Jessica want to go searching for the rest of the marked spots on the map, but Liz gets Todd, Ken and Heather on her side. Now Bruce and Jessica are pissed at Liz, so she gets snippy with Todd and pretty soon everyone goes to bed angry with everyone else.

The next day, Liz is so exhausted that Todd feels sorry for her and offers to take over the navigating. Jessica knows Todd sucks at reading maps and stuff, so she “helps” him, making sure to lead everyone to the final treasure rather than to the rendezvous point. When Liz realizes they’re going in the wrong direction, she yells at everyone, calling Jessica deceitful, Todd spineless, Heather spoiled, Ken worthless and Bruce a buffoon. Then she sees that there’s a stream ahead, and since they need water they have no choice but to continue toward the treasure.

It turns out the stream is really a raging river. To get across, the gang decides to try “that special arm-linking technique” they were taught. Everything goes according to plan for about five seconds, and then Heather decides she’s too scared to hold on. She lets go and gets swept away. Everyone else continues across, and then they run down the riverbank until they see Heather holding on to a log. When Heather is safe, Ken yells at Jessica for letting go of her. Bruce says he was holding onto Heather’s other hand as hard as he could, but Heather let go. Ken doesn’t care, he just wants to be mad at Jessica for some reason. Jessica stalks off and Liz follows her. Everyone talks about how stuck up the twins are.

That night, Ken and Heather sit together for a while. Jessica wants to make Ken jealous, so she goes and flirts with Bruce. Bruce knows exactly what she’s trying to do and has no problem playing along. Jessica suddenly becomes convinced that Heather is going to steal her gold in the middle of the night, so she puts it in her sleeping bag when nobody is looking. She wakes up later to go to the bathroom, and when she comes back she finds the gold is gone. She starts yelling and wakes everyone up. Heather comes out of the woods and Jessica accuses her of stealing the gold, but Heather says she has an alibi. Then Ken comes out of the woods and sheepishly says Heather was with him. You bastard. Bruce jokingly says the escaped convicts must have stolen it and everyone goes to sleep.

The next morning, Jessica and Heather have a screaming match because Jessica is still convinced Heather stole her gold. Heather again says smugly that she was with Ken, then she stands next to him and links her arm through his. Ken says he doesn’t want to take sides. Heather gets pissed and walks away. She walks down the riverbank for a while, plotting her revenge. Then she hears someone laughing. Peeking from behind a big rock, Heather sees three men in blue jumpsuits, Jessica’s bag of gold between them. She goes back to camp, but nobody believes she saw the convicts.

Everyone gets moving again and stupid Heather manages to fall and sprain her ankle. So now the boys are forced to help her walk, which makes the twins even more angry at the world. At around the time they’re supposed to be getting picked up at the rendezvous point, the gang arrives at the final treasure spot marked on the map. They go into the cave and find six skeletons. They run outside and it starts to rain. Sucks to be them.

Quotes:

“It’s not up to you, Todd. It’s my job to make sure my buddy gets out of Death Valley alive. I have to face up to that.”

Liz, you are a bunch of high school kids on a camping trip. It is not that serious.

Elizabeth didn’t look forward to her parents’ reaction when they heard how she and Jessica had nearly lost their lives over some gold.

Why? Do you think they’ll suddenly start reacting to your near death experiences?

“What is with those Wakefield women that makes them think they’re better than everybody?” Ken asked.

Maybe it’s because the whole town celebrates every time a Wakefield gets up in the morning.

The Cover: I cannot figure out who is supposed to be who on this cover, but I’m sure that’s a Wakefield on the right with the Virgin Mary glow around her head.

The Moral of the Story: Never go camping with the Wakefield twins.

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Comments
  • Sandy October 21, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Just like Saved by the Bell, the same group of kids gets picked for an adventure.
    I really really REALLY don’t like Heather in this book. They shouldn’t have looked for her when she got swept away. She would be the megag-douche on the trip.
    And the nerve of Ken!!!! Seriously, you can’t be that horny.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I was really kind of hoping Heather would go away. I mean come on, ghostwriters. If you can kill Regina, you can kill Heather, right?

    [Reply]

    Darren Reply:

    I know what you mean. They should’ve done what the TV version did, I forgot what it was, but I think Heather got booted off the squad for it! Too bad the book version didn’t have ideas like that!

    One thing that’s sad is just as Jessica has a great thing going with Ken, just like Sam and just like AJ, she finds a way to fuck that one up eventually! Thankfully the ancesotrs on her side didn’t have that much of a problem with their lives! Jessica/Ken were perhaps the best for each other, going to be sad to see Ken/Olivia! Yuck!

    [Reply]

    megan s. Reply:

    yes he can. jessica never gave him any!

    [Reply]

  • Kate October 21, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Man, everyone’s a cheater in sweet valley!

    I think the halo signifies possession of gold, like in a retro video game.

    Does the ghost writer have any idea how heavy a satchel of gold nuggets would be? Really, really, really heavy. Gold’s dense stuff.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I know what it’s supposed to signify, but doesn’t it look like a Virgin Mary halo?

    Seriously, there is not one faithful person in all of Sweet Valley.

    [Reply]

    Kate Reply:

    Oh, it’s totally saintly, which is hilarious on the Wakefields.

    All I could think of when I looked at it was Mario getting the star and getting all shimmery with super-powers until it wore off. The gold must be like that! Cha-ching!

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Ha! Oh, Kate, this is why I love you. <3 I love Mario, too.

    [Reply]

  • Merrie October 21, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Check out the “Hit TV Series” stars on top of the cover — awesome!

    Yeah, I have a hard time believing Jessica and Bruce wrote essays for this, too. And Ken. He probably just copied what Elizabeth wrote.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    And Ken. He probably just copied what Elizabeth wrote.

    Ha! This really made me laugh.

    The “Hit TV Series!!!!” stars are a little out of control. I swear they get bigger with every passing book.

    [Reply]

  • HelenB October 21, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    This whole thing is so ridiculous, I love it. And it’s probably pretty sad that the only thing that really got me was that a satchel full of gold nuggets would probably be to heavy for someone to just pick up and run with. Jessica writing an essay? It could happen! Two couples breaking up in a matter of hours? Hey, this is Sweet Valley! A satchel full of gold? That’s crazy, man!

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    And of course, the weight of the gold is the only thing I didn’t think of!

    [Reply]

  • Golden Touch October 21, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    I have this book lol, I remember I loved it and was scared when I first read it!
    x

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Ha, sometimes I’m so embarrassed that I had any sort of reaction to these books when I was younger.

    [Reply]

    Sandy Reply:

    What were you scared of? The escaped prisoners or the fact that your significant other can cheat on you?

    [Reply]

    HelenB Reply:

    Being swept away by a river would scare the bejeezus out of me!

    [Reply]

  • Lindsay October 21, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Christ, everyone in Sweet Valley is so annoying and disgusting. And they need to get some new meat in that town so everyone will stop making out with the same damn people all the time.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Agreed!

    [Reply]

    Kate Reply:

    Seriously. Everyone should have both mono and cold sores by now, for sure.

    [Reply]

    Lindsay Reply:

    Ha!

    [Reply]

  • Lorelai October 21, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    “Bruce is about to ask Liz if she wants to make out.”
    At least he’s asking now, instead of forcing paper cup after paper cup of wine down her throat.

    This series is just a Bruce overload, isn’t it? Me loves it! I must admit that the Death Valley books were some of my faves growing up. (I loved them almost as much as the Betrayal miniseries, which I literally cannot wait for.)

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    There is just a little too much Bruce in this miniseries for my liking. But I don’t have a big crush on him like some of you weirdos. 😉

    [Reply]

    Lorelai Reply:

    That little winky-face man in no way makes up for you paying out the Bruce-lovers of the world. It’s not our fault that we are the way we are. We can’t help who we love, you know. I will express my seriousness with a little angry-face man…if I can remember how it goes >:(

    [Reply]

    Lorelai Reply:

    Haha that was not my attempted angry-face man, that was a typo.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Ha! Well then where’s your angry faced man? Let’s see it!

    [Reply]

    Sandy Reply:

    We’re not weird!
    I defend it by saying he’s hot and rich!

    [Reply]

    Karla Reply:

    Yeah! Who cares if he’s a douche? That just makes him hotter.

    [Reply]

  • megan s. October 21, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    why would they leave lila behind and bring heather?

    guess lila knew better then to go in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of idiots!

    [Reply]

    Lorelai Reply:

    Exactly. Lila’d be like, “Traipsing around the wilderness aimlessly? Ew, no thanks.” I’m surprised Bruce bothered.

    [Reply]

    HelenB Reply:

    I can see Bruce’s thought process: “Outdoors. Aren’t there snakes outdoors? Girls are scared of snakes! So scared they might just leap into my arms? Plus, a chance to have two Wakefields at once! I’m in!”

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    You guys all crack me up.

    [Reply]

  • Girl talk read October 22, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Well, in the Sweet Valley Twins books Ken is smart, pretty funny, and short- and much more likable than than the stupid android athlete they have him be in SVH. And Shannon this book sounds HORRIBLE how did you get through it you poor thing!

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Yeah, I remember liking Ken a lot more in the SVT books.

    These couple books were really bad. Honestly, I have a really hard time with the ones where they’re not at school. I just like those a lot better than the ones where they’re on some kind of adventure.

    [Reply]

    Sandy Reply:

    Remember the SWT book when Ken makes the basketball team by practicing with a tennis ball!?!?! I was on the edge of my seat reading that! Is he gonna make the team, is he gonna get cut, will he make the shot?!?

    Now I realize how ridiculous that was. As if a tennis ball could magically make you a better basketball player!!

    [Reply]

    Merrie Reply:

    I totally remember that book! And Amy was practicing baton and they had their try-outs at the same time and both rocked them!

    Didn’t they finish at the same time and everyone cheered?

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I didn’t remember that until you mentioned the part about Amy.

    I really miss SVT. I might have to do them next instead of Senior Year.

    [Reply]

  • rachierach October 22, 2009 at 9:46 am

    when you wrap up SVH–and I know you’ll be thrilled…you gotta move on to SVT…much better characters. Kinda.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I plan to eventually do all of them. I think I’ll move on to Senior Year next, simply because my mother-in-law got confused and bought me almost the whole series, thinking she was getting me SVH books. I only have a couple SVT books.

    [Reply]

    Anonymous Reply:

    Oh, dear lord…I can’t even imagine how awful Senior Year ones are. I remember one of the University editions where Liz, Jess and Enid all end up at SVU along with Winston Egbert!

    [Reply]

    rachierach Reply:

    Oh, it’s Rache replying, I came up as anonymous…

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Yeah, this is like SBTB or Boy Meets World, they’ll go their whole lives hanging around the same group of people.

    I haven’t even opened a Senior Year book, but judging by the covers, I think they’ll be horrifically bad.

    [Reply]

    Lindsay Reply:

    I found a couple of the Senior Year ones at Goodwill a few months ago. I think I got through five pages of the first one before I said no way. When you do read those, be strong!

    [Reply]

  • Margo Rising October 24, 2009 at 10:17 am

    I think I loved this one because I enjoyed hating Liz so much in it.

    [Reply]

  • anon. May 19, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    wow random twin angels on the top of the book cover are different.. guess they matured..

    [Reply]

  • Kylie90210 May 10, 2013 at 2:30 am

    I struggled with this one, mainly because ‘camping’ bores me, and Heather annoys me. Your recap is brilliant though.

    [Reply]

  • 137 Times April 1, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Wtf? Lila, Jess, and Heather wrote essays for this trip? Why didn’t they include Enid?

    [Reply]

  • Dane Youssef October 8, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    I guess this is the very first cover where they started using pictures of the Daniel twins for the series… I just wish they used the WHOLE CAST at this point…

    Ah, well… It happened eventually…

    –Sincere As Always, Dane Youssef

    [Reply]

  • Dane Youssef October 8, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Ah, a “gold rush” episode. Like these people aren’t already greedy, selfish, back-stabbing and self-destructive enough. The fuckers… Kill each other already.

    I do kind of wish this thing had more of a “Treasure of Sierra Madre” payoff.

    I’m just glad the whole thing didn’t end with the usual “the gold mine is now just a tourist attraction” gag…

    But these people deserve nothing less…

    –Sincerely Sincere, Dane Youssef

    [Reply]

  • Kim December 13, 2015 at 1:40 am

    “Liz can’t believe everyone is complaining so much and she keeps going on and on about what a great opportunity this is.”

    “Kay leaves and Liz takes charge because nobody else seems interested in doing so.”

    Aside from Liz, why the hell did these people enter a contest they clearly have no interest in? What was the point?

    “Jessica and Todd, Liz and Bruce, Heather and Ken.”

    You gotta be kidding me. With the exception of Heather & Ken, this is ironically pretty much how things end up in SV Confidential. Now I’m convinced the writer has been planning the Jessica/Todd Liz/Bruce hook ups from the beginning.

    “Liz, as Bruce’s buddy, decides she’d better go in after him to make sure he doesn’t die.”

    No Liz, please let him die.

    “Liz can’t help but notice how attractive he is and remember their brief romance.”

    Are they seriously referring to the time Bruce tried to rape Liz as a “brief romance”? I can’t.

    “And of course Bruce remembers how hot Liz is and starts wondering how he can get her alone. Gross.”

    Hope he doesn’t try to rape her again. I seriously hate him.

    “When Liz realizes they’re going in the wrong direction, she yells at everyone, calling Jessica deceitful, Todd spineless, Heather spoiled, Ken worthless and Bruce a buffoon.”

    I can’t really argue with this, sounds to me like she’s right on the money for the most part.

    “Ken doesn’t care, he just wants to be mad at Jessica for some reason.”

    My guess is he probably thinks Jessica let go of Heather on purpose. He knows she doesn’t like her.

    “Maybe it’s because the whole town celebrates every time a Wakefield gets up in the morning.”

    I have to cosign this. The constant Wakefield worship gets a little old.

    [Reply]

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