Sweet Valley High #122: A Kiss Before Dying

SVH122Read part one of this miniseries here. Read part two here.

The Moral of the Story: Everything is Elizabeth’s fault.

The Big Deal: Rumble at Bruce’s house, surfing competition

Synopsis:

Well, the cops have come and arrested Bruce and Todd for their jackassery and Liz is feeling a little guilty. Lila has spread out her Persian rug on the hood of her car, and she and Amy are hanging out watching the excitement. They tell Liz they saw Jessica get into a blue VW bus and leave. Liz, Enid and Maria take Winston to the hospital, where a bunch of other SVH guys treat him like a hero and make the girls sick. Then Liz goes home and stays up All Night Long waiting for Jessica to come home from her date with Christian. I guess Jessica staying out all night is no longer something to name a book after. Jessica tells Liz she’s been seeing Christian, and Liz freaks out about Jessica going out with a gang leader. And here I thought he was just a high school bully. Now he’s a gang leader. Please.

At school on Monday, Todd won’t talk to Liz and Ken goes ahead and confirms that he and Jessica are no longer a couple. I guess we’re supposed to feel sorry for the twins. Then at lunch, the boys and the girls have some words. Liz gets up and announces that the girls won’t have anything to do with the guys until the stupid war is over. All the girls go along with it and the boys are dismayed. They think it sucks that the girls just can’t understand what it’s like to be a man. Bruce says something really mean to Jessica and she goes outside to cry. Then Christian comes along like a knight in a shining VW bus and they go off to surf their cares away.

Liz, Enid and Olivia go to Palisades High to talk to Caitlin and Marla. Some big, butch gang member’s girlfriend named Rosie Shaw (a.k.a. Jessica’s opponent in the upcoming surfing competition) comes up to Liz and says she wants to talk in private. Rosie charms the pants off Liz (figuratively speaking) and tells her she’s going to try to come up with a dynamite plan to end the war. Liz immediately trusts this girl that even her friends seem to dislike, and for some horrible reason tells Rosie about Jessica and Christian. Rosie calls Liz that night and tells her to meet her the next day at a crappy diner near Palisades High. She’s come up with a plan that is simply too diabolical to be uttered over the phone.

Liz skips her afternoon classes the next day and drives to the Silverhead Diner, where Rosie lays it all out: Liz needs to find out where the SVH guys will be hanging out that night, then Rosie and Liz will go to each group of guys, one at a time, and tell them each that the other side wants to surrender. Liz is in complete awe of this plan and later sweet talks Todd into telling her the guys will be hanging out in Bruce’s basement. She calls Rosie and has absolutely no suspicions when Rosie wants detailed directions to Bruce’s house and asks whether or not the Patmans have guard dogs or anything. Rosie tells Liz to meet her at the Silverhead Diner at nine o’clock and they’ll go from there. To absolutely nobody’s surprise (except Liz’s), Rosie doesn’t show up. Liz finally figures out Rosie has set up a trap. She calls Jessica to warn her and apologize for trusting Rosie and telling her about Christian. She and Enid pick up Jessica and head over to Bruce’s house.

Todd is at Bruce’s trying to persuade the guys to end the war when someone starts yelling outside. They all run out and find Rosie Shaw. She tells Todd how stupid his girlfriend is. Then the Palisades guys, their faces painted in “grotesque designs,” start running around Bruce’s yard. Then everyone gets all quiet and Todd is terrified to see one of the Palisades guys has brass knuckles.

The guys trade insults for a while, and then Christian comes driving up in his awesome VW bus. He wants to know which one of his former friends left him the note that said to go to Bruce’s house or “kiss the cheerleader goodbye.” The girls show up just as the fighting starts. Christian falls and cracks his head on the ground and then falls into the pool.

Sweet Valley turns into Melodrama City. Jessica dives into the pool and brings Christian up. She and Liz administer CPR while Enid calls 911. The ambulance comes and takes Christian away. Suddenly, everyone is friends. Todd holds Liz’s hand while PH guys pile into SVH guys’ cars and everyone rushes off to the hospital. After a while, a doctor comes out and says Christian has died. Jessica sinks to the floor screaming, “No!” Rosie Shaw weeps on Winston’s shoulder. Aaron Dallas and some Palisades guy named Doug console each other. Nothing like a dead teenager to bring folks together.

Christian’s mother comes over after a couple weeks and gives Jessica Christian’s surfboard. Jessica uses it to win the freaking surf competition.

Quotes:

Elizabeth had known Bruce since childhood. He did have a hot temper and a reckless side, but it shocked her to see him treated like a dangerous criminal.

He is a dangerous criminal. But Liz, I’m done trying to remind you of the time he tried to rape you (remember that?).

Jessica: I never planned to fall in love with Christian. It just happened.

Ken: Oh, sure. And your mouth just happened to become fused with his as you were walking into the restaurant…Tell me something, Jessica…does that sort of thing just happen to you often?

Jessica: It really does! I just can’t explain it!

It didn’t matter how different they were; when times got tough, the Wakefield twins stuck together.

LOLOLOL

Pamela and Bruce had been dating on and off for some time and had recently gotten back together.

So that’s where she’s been.

The Cover: Ew, remember the nineties when everyone wore those horrible flannel hoodie things that Ken has on? And bright yellow sweaters were all the rage? And faceless crowds stood in shadows behind you everywhere you went?

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Comments
  • Lindsay November 5, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    I’m willing to get on board with the “Everything is Elizabeth’s fault” thing.

    Also, Holy Shoulderpads, Batman!

    jackassery-going into the vernacular. Thank you.

    Lila. Laying out on a Persian rug. Atop the Triumph? Thank you, ghost writers, for always making Lila just that more awesome.

    Then the Palisades guys, their faces painted in “grotesque designs,” start running around Bruce’s yard.

    The fuck? Are they warriors now, or something? Who does that?!

    Also, Jessica should be banned from having boyfriends. That’s 2 now that you’ve killed, Jessica. (I’m blaming her, even if she wasn’t directly responsible)

    It’s amazing no one wants to talk about attempted rape in SV. It happens in like one book then BAM, they boys get to go on loving life. I hate them. However, the fact Bruce made Jess cry cheered me up a bit.

    Final thing: OH MY FREAKING GOD! My bestie, Evelyn and I wrote something JUST LIKE THIS when we were 10 and writing pathetic SV fanfiction:

    Jessica: I never planned to fall in love with Christian. It just happened.

    Ken: Oh, sure. And your mouth just happened to become fused with his as you were walking into the restaurant…Tell me something, Jessica…does that sort of thing just happen to you often?

    Only it was between Lodd (my name for Liz and Todd). This confirms my suspicions that Francine Pascal is just a 10 year old me.

    [Reply]

    Lindsay Reply:

    wow, that was a long reply

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    Shannon Reply:

    Ha ha, my cousin and I used to write our own SVH stories too. They were terrible. Which means we probably could have been SVH ghostwriters and nobody would have known the difference.

    I LOVE Lila and her Persian rug.

    I totally agree that Jessica shouldn’t be allowed to have boyfriends. They keep dying!

    [Reply]

    Lindsay Reply:

    Oo, and I totally had those horrid flannel hoodie things in high school. And matching jeans of different colors to go with. Ugly, ugly fashion

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    Sucky Stackhouse Reply:

    In grade 7, I wrote an SVH story. I should find that piece of crap. I’m sure FP used it in a later book as a story line. All I remember from the book is that I hated Caroline Pearce and put her down something awful. Well, awful for a 7th grader.

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  • Amanda November 5, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Whoa whoa whoa after all this gang crap Christian just slips and dies???? Tre messed up.

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    Lindsay Reply:

    I agree. He should have been knifed or something. I mean, it’s a gang war! Hello!

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    Shannon Reply:

    Oh, but it’s because of the war!

    I think maybe somebody got knocked into him and he lost his balance. It would have been a much better lesson if he’d been shanked like poor JT on Degrassi.

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    Amanda Reply:

    That would had been awesome.

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  • Sandy November 5, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Nooooooooo! I should have expected that he would die. That is too sad. Once again with the stereotypes: surfer drives VW bus.

    Also I’m curious as to what Bruce said that made Jess cry. Please tell me even if it was nothing. 😀

    And I so did the flannel thing in jr. high, with my combat boots (or Chuck Taylors), while listeing to Nirvana’s Nevermind. What.A.Dork.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I’m drawing a total blank about what Bruce said. I’ll take a look when I get home tonight and let you know.

    Completely unrelated: I tried to listen to Nevermind a while back for the first time in ages. Somewhere along the way I must have gotten old, because I thought it sounded like crap.

    [Reply]

    Sandy Reply:

    It probably did. I can totally see myself listening to it because my friends did. I couldn’t tell my friends my real secret: that I like pop music. :O

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    Shannon Reply:

    Ha ha, I couldn’t tell my friends that I listened to Meat Loaf all the time when I was alone.

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    Shannon Reply:

    Well, no wonder I forgot what Bruce said:

    “You’re going to pay, Wakefield,” he said. “And I mean big.”
    Jessica closed her eyes, reeling from Bruce’s cutting remarks.

    Then she has some kind of panic attack and runs outside to cry about it.

    [Reply]

    Sandy Reply:

    “cutting” remarks?!?!?

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Yeah, I think Jess was feeling a tad sensitive that day.

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  • Merrie November 5, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    “Then the Palisades guys, their faces painted in “grotesque designs,” start running around Bruce’s yard.”

    Maybe they saw Braveheart the night before.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I bet they did. Or the ghostwriter did.

    I’m just curious what “grotesque” is supposed to mean in this context. I’m trying to create a mental image and I can’t come up with anything.

    [Reply]

    Merrie Reply:

    I keep picturing KISS.

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  • Sadako November 5, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Whoever ghostwrote this must have been an Ira Levin fan. Or got lucky, because that was the title of his first book.

    [Reply]

    Sandy Reply:

    I was thinking the same thing! I wonder what year the Matt Dillon version came out.

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  • Sadako November 5, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    1991…Hmmm. When did this book come out?

    [Reply]

    Sandy Reply:

    Amazon has it at Feb 1996, I was going to subtract the time written by the author. But that would be December or January, considering In Love with the Enemy came out December 1995. And that is just sad how I researced this. Why do I try to get inside their minds?

    [Reply]

  • Anners Scribonia Caesar November 5, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Those flannel hoody-thingies were deadly.

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  • Lori November 5, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Lila you are so cool

    With three dead boyfriends you’d think guys would be avoiding Jessica. You think Ken’s secretly thinking how lucky he is to have gotten out alive?

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I know I would be if I were him. He barely made it out alive. I thought for sure he was going to die in the Death Valley books.

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  • Lorelai November 5, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    As lame as it sounds, I still want to read this book. It represents a part of my childhood I never quite finishes.

    I’ve never hated the twins more than in this series. Jessica’s all, “Oh, I’m cheating on my boyfriend but it’s okay because I’m in love! Why is everyone mad at me? I’m in LOVE?!”

    “He IS a dangerous criminal”
    That may be, Shannon, but that whole rapist phase was a long time ago. Plus, he made Jessica cry. Shouldn’t all be forgiven?
    Although having said that, I do remember in the last book he and Ken have a conversation where Bruce suggests they find out who all the Palisades guys date so they can “go after their girlfriends.” When Bruce becomes a ‘gang leader’, he really commits.

    Thank you for your great recap 🙂

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    LOL @ his “rapist phase.” I’m still not over it, but making Jessica cry goes a long way.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    [Reply]

  • Darren November 5, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    So who is at fault for the Jessica/Ken break up, is it Jessica or is it Ken? why even break them up for when they had a great thing going! Even Cory and Toppanga fooled around with other people until they settled, why break Jessica and Ken up for? I say to me that was the beginning of the end of Sweet valley to break up a great couple, and then saddling Ken with Olivia later on.

    [Reply]

    Lorelai Reply:

    Well, offhand, I’d probably say that Jessica is at fault. Cory and Topanga may have fooled around with other people, but Jessica states about fifteen billion times in these books that she TOTALLY LOVES Christian. Her reasons for cheating on Ken is that while Ken’s an okay boyfriend, she doesn’t TOTALLY LOVE him like she TOTALLY LOVES Christian. Even if Ken had forgiven her for this, I doubt they would’ve made it. Or Ken would’ve died. Either/or.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    This. All of it.

    You know if they’d stayed together, Jessica would have wound up cheating with someone else or, as Lorelai said, Ken would have died.

    [Reply]

    Kate Reply:

    What I never understand is why these girls can’t just call up their boyfriends and break it off when they fall so madly in love with surfers and warewolf wannabes.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Because they don’t want to hurt their feelings, of course!

    How a Wakefield twin thinks: “I can’t break up with Ken/Todd/Jeffrey/whoever because he loves me so much he’ll just die if he can’t be my boyfriend! It’s so much better if I cheat on him. There’s no way he’ll ever find out!”

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  • Kate November 6, 2009 at 11:46 am

    The funniest part of this book, to me, is that Liz’s idea to stop the highschool wars is right out of an ancient Greek play called Lysistrata — only in Lysistrata, the women of the warring groups just withhold sex until there is peace.

    I guess ghostwriting for SVH is the kind of job that ancient greek literature scholars get after they finish their cushy degrees? At least it pays.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I’ll bet that’s what Liz would do if she knew sex existed.

    [Reply]

  • Darren November 7, 2009 at 11:18 am

    I still feel Jessica had a good thing going with Ken, like she had with Sam. Of all the guy Jessica dated, I think Sam was the best boyfriend for her. I don’t know why at that ‘Jungle Prom’ they call it why Jessica did those things that ruined it for her and Sam, and then ruined her life with LIz for like 6 months. Too bad things worked out like that. Kind of ironic if Ken did die. But then Olivia wouldn’t have fallen for Ken if that happened. That is odd how she and Rod were dating when they broke up (I remember reading that one) and the she dates Harry. But then Olivia must’ve broke up with this Harry to date Ken.

    ONe would think Jessica/Ken would’ve sat down and talked about what happened. I feel bad for the history of the Wakefield generations, you have one twin that’s good, but sometimes a goody goody and the other a general fuck up that messes up on good things. Where in the world have these generation of Wakefields gone wrong I ask?

    [Reply]

  • Meredith December 28, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    I think it’s pretty funny that Jessica can win a surfing competition when she just learned how to surf LOL, plus her boyfriends keep dying or they are just plain jerks. And Christian isn’t even the last guy to die either, that guy in Nick in SVU is.

    [Reply]

  • Grandma Wakefield February 5, 2012 at 4:48 am

    Just spent many hours reading through this magnificent site. I love it so, so much. Shannon, I can’t thank you enough.

    NFI why I’m starting here, but I always liked Lila’s Persian rug thing. Kinda wish I’d thought of it. BUT, how the hell does she fit it in the Triumph? Hasn’t she moaned before about the tiny trunk/boot in that thing? It’s mentioned somewhere that she has to find two guys to help her get it out, but where’s she keeping it? Strapped to one side?

    I love Lila anyway.

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  • Sandra August 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    How many boyfriends of hers have died now? And in the book it said “she’ll always love him”. But then she goes back to her slutty life. I wonder what’s gonna happen when she dies and all the dead boyfriends are reunited with her?
    Christian: She said she’ll love ME forever!
    Sam: Hey, her sister killed me while she and I were drunk!
    Christian: That doesn’t help you all. and, JESSICA!! You dirty little hoebag!! HOW many guys have you went out since i died!! BITCH!!

    [Reply]

  • Kylie August 27, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    It always annoyed me that Christian was sooo important to Jess, she loses Ken over him, but then in Montana, she falls for Paul! Christian is barely dead Jess! I’m sure his Mum would like the surfboard back thank-you!

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  • MacKenzie April 4, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    1st point: The title of the book is a dead give away for the tragic ending.
    2nd Point: Jessica is poison for many guys this is the third and then there was that one guy in Sweet Valley University!
    3rd point: How stupid and fake was it for Jessica who just learned how to surf to win a surf contest! Please!

    [Reply]

  • Krista November 3, 2013 at 10:51 am

    “Lila has spread out her Persian rug on the hood of her car, and she and Amy are hanging out watching the excitement.”

    God, Lila is the bitch I want to be.

    I never totally understood how Christian died. I always interpreted it as he broke his neck, but I guess it could have been a head injury?

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  • Krista November 3, 2013 at 10:58 am

    “I’ll bet that’s what Liz would do if she knew sex existed.”

    LOL – Sweet Valley, the Land that Sex Forgot.

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  • Jenna March 5, 2014 at 2:58 am

    Wasn’t Jess’s room chocolate brown???? In this book it’s purple… wtf????

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  • Kim January 5, 2016 at 8:50 am

    ““You’re going to pay, Wakefield,” he said. “And I mean big.”
    Jessica closed her eyes, reeling from Bruce’s cutting remarks.”

    Idk, that kinda sounds like a threat to me, nothing to cry over tho, but still a threat nonetheless.

    [Reply]

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