Sweet Valley High #115: The Treasure of Death Valley
The Big Deal: Big stupid survival thing in Death Valley
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.
“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.