Sweet Valley High Senior Year #1: Can’t Stay Away

The Big Deal: Beginning of the school year dance.

Synopsis:

A new school year is about to start and Sweet Valley is still feeling the aftereffects of the earthquake. The Wakefields are living at Fowler Crest while their house is being rebuilt. Five hundred kids from El Carro High, which was destroyed in the quake, are going to be attending SVH. Nobody is happy about this, including me. It’s just like on Degrassi when Lakehurst burned down and all these badasses had to switch to Degrassi. The El Carro kids wear Doc Martens and black t-shirts and make Liz feel like a goody-two-shoes in her yellow sundress.

Some of the new kids are:

  • · Conner McDermott. Conner expects SVH to be painted pink and be full of airheaded bimbos. He’s a judgmental ass and I hate him.
  • · Melissa Fox. Kind of weird. She’s happy that her locker number has all her favorite integers in it. Melissa was captain of the cheerleading squad at El Carro. She’s kind of a manipulative bitch and I hate her.
  • · Will Simmons. Melissa’s football player boyfriend. Also kind of an ass. Melissa’s friends think she can do better, but they’ve been together since eighth grade and Will is always thinking of something mysterious that happened in Melissa’s past that keeps him with her.
  • · Tia Ramirez. Conner’s best friend. Tia actually appeared in Party Weekend. She was the only El Carro student who was nice to the SVH kids.

There are a few other changes as well: Penny Ayala seems to have disappeared, so Liz is now editor-in-chief of The Oracle. Mr. Collins must have run off with Penny, because this year’s faculty adviser is someone named Mrs. Halsey. The cheerleading squad now has a coach who appears to be calling the shots, and Jessica has to try out again along with everyone else. I haven’t seen a few of the usual suspects around, like Winston or white Maria.

Liz: Conner McDermott is in Liz’s creative writing class. On the first day of school, Conner makes fun of Liz and says she probably writes stupid girly poems. The first assignment is to write an essay on loss. Liz writes about Olivia. Conner is assigned to read Liz’s essay aloud to the class, and she’s assigned to read his. They realize they’re both good writers and now they have crushes on each other.

Liz hates living at Fowler Crest. She thinks it’s terribly stuffy and she hates Lila because she plays her music too loud and Liz can’t sleep. I find it hard to believe that in this ridiculously huge mansion, there’s not another bedroom Liz can move into where she won’t hear Lila’s music. Lila shows up at the first Oracle meeting of the year and says she thinks there should be a fashion editor and it should be her. Liz absolutely refuses to put Lila on the staff, but everyone convinces her to create the fashion editor position and ask interested parties to submit sample articles. Luckily, Lila’s article sucks and Liz can in good conscience appoint someone else to the position. Liz and Lila have an argument about it at dinner one night, and Mrs. Wakefield decides to let Liz move in with her new friend, Megan Sandborn, who knows Liz is unhappy with the Fowlers and has offered her the use of her family’s spare bedroom. Megan keeps talking about her brother and how much he won’t mind having Liz around and sharing a bathroom with her. And the brother, of course, turns out to be none other than Conner McDermott. He and his sister have different fathers, hence the different last names.

Jessica: Jessica has decided Will Simmons will be her boyfriend. She does all her flirty Jessica things and gets him to come over to Fowler Crest one night to study. When he gets there, they end up making out and don’t stop until Will reaches for the zipper at the back of Jessica’s dress. The next day, Will tells Jessica that Ken Matthews, still mourning Olivia’s death, has quit the football team and Will is now the big deal quarterback. He takes her out that night to celebrate, and Jessica tells everyone in the drama club all about it. Tia Ramirez tells her Will has a girlfriend. Jessica doesn’t believe it at first, but it turns out to be true. She’s beyond pissed, and she yells at Will and tells anyone who will listen what a bad kisser he is. Melissa overhears some of this, and she goes to confront Will. He says Jessica is a troublemaker who came on to him but he never kissed her. Melissa decides she doesn’t care whether or not he’s lying. She still loves him and she hates Jessica.

Melissa spreads a bunch of rumors about Jessica, and then she invites Lila and Amy to hang out with the El Carro kids before the dance on Friday. Will tells his football friends a few nasty things about Jessica, so when she shows up at the dance all alone, nobody wants to talk to her and the guys make snide remarks. She sees Will and Melissa dancing together and runs out of the room. At the end of the book, Will feels bad, but I guess not bad enough to do anything about it.

The Cover: That shirt is hideous. I don’t even know who that’s supposed to be. I’m also not sure to what the title is referring. Who can’t stay away from what?

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Comments
  • Lindsay February 15, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Liz, you just need to STFU and let Lila do whatever the hell she wants. No one around here likes you anyway.

    Nice to know Jessica’s still a hobag.

    If that’s a twin on the cover, how did they go from looking like middle aged soccer moms (which is how I will picture them forever and ever until I die) to looking like someone who looks like they should still be in the eighth grade?

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    She really should have just let Lila on the paper. She’d be a way better fashion editor than the nobody Liz picked.

    I hate these covers a lot. That girl doesn’t look anywhere near seventeen, does she?

    [Reply]

    Lindsay Reply:

    Seriously.

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    beej Reply:

    more like her daughter was 17 a while back

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  • Callie February 15, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Oh Senior Year, you will be nothing without Winston! I hope he shows up soon.

    Also, maybe the book title is less about the actual book and more about our inability to stay away from the awesomeness that is Sweet Valley. Obviously we’re all YA addicts with a penchant for blond headed, perfect size 6 teenagers.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I’m thinking you’re right about the title. We all need help.

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  • Dee February 15, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    I actually loved the idea of Jessica being known as the school slut, even with the circumstances not really being her fault this time around. Because I’m sorry, if such a girl like Jessica existed in my high school, she would have had her name carved in bathroon stalls a loooooong time ago!

    No matter how perfect her size 6 figure was :)

    And I’m thinking that’s Elizabeth on the cover. No matter how sad Jessica is about her ho-life, she would not be caught wearing that shirt and those shoes.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Good point about the cover!

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  • Sandy February 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    On the cover. It’s an old pic of Evie from “Out of This World”. lol

    I agree with Dee, that’s Liz on the cover in all her teen angst. Ugh.

    I don’t like El Carro kids. There I said it.

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  • HelenB February 15, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    As much as I dislike Jess, didn’t all her friends already know she was a huge bitch? Why have they only just started caring, when some new kids say so? I especially surprised at Lila and Amy. I know loyalty isn’t their thing, but honestly, listening to Melissa hardly seems worth it.

    Bring back Winston and Maria! And give them their own series.

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    beej Reply:

    jessica shouldn’ve been shocked about her “friends” ditching her.her bff lila framed her for shoplifting in svh and has never been there for her.amy’s an idiot who splits when something glitters in her face.
    i liked winston and maria a lot more than elizabeth and todd

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    beej Reply:

    melissa was a psycho bitch and not the good kind either.she sought revenge on jessica by spreading lies and stealing her “friends” but did nothing to will.and on top of that,she attempted suicide when he left her.where was her mother when all this happened?better yet,why did she still want revenge on jessica after everything that happened to her?

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  • Shannon February 15, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Helen, I would love it if Winston and Maria got their own series.

    This series is very different from the original series. The kids’ motives are actually believable (for the most part), and it’s really hard to reconcile that with the ridiculousness of what came before. Lila just wants to be popular and she’s willing to ditch her best frenemy to get there because said frenemy is no longer popular. I think Amy is just kind of along for the ride because she’s still an airhead.

    Sandy, I haven’t thought about that show in FOREVER! I loved Out of This World!

    [Reply]

    Christine Reply:

    I’ve been waiting for Out Of This World to get released on DVD (If cheese like the SVH tv series can make it…!) I wanted Evie’s time-freeze powers as a kid. Still do, actually.

    Hmm, dunno if I want believable motives in Sweet Valley books… that’s just surreal. And Lila should be above *worrying* about popularity, don’t you think? She’s cool, she’s confident, she’s used to having/being the best! I can’t imagine her ditching Jessica… unless Jess pissed her off… but not because she cares what other people think. Does Senior Year make Lila… lame? :-o

    Couldn’t Conner be contemptuous of Liz (and her writing) for more than one measly book, before falling inevitably in lurve with her? Sigh. And they’re already living together! :P Marriage proposal in the next book, right?

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I remember in one episode, Evie was given an option to have mind-reading powers and SHE TURNED IT DOWN! What was she thinking? I would kill to be able to read minds.

    Lila isn’t really worried, she’s just doing what she has to do to stay at the top of the food chain, you know?

    [Reply]

    Sandy Reply:

    I still attempt to stop time with my fingers. One day. *sighs* One day.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I was always so impressed that she could touch her fingertips together like that all the time. I try to do it and my fingers miss each other.

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  • Svugirl February 15, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    That shirt is soo scary! Love the sites new look.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Thank you! I figured we needed a new style for the new school year.

    [Reply]

  • megan s. February 16, 2010 at 4:35 am

    great makeover!

    i used to skip every part of SY except to read about Jessica cuz she’s my favorite lol

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Ha, maybe that’s what I should start doing!

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  • Anonymoose February 16, 2010 at 6:28 am

    I just stumbled across your blog and read all your recaps of SVH, LOL, gotta love the crappiness of the books (and the awesomeness of Lila).

    Senior Year was pathetic…Conner was an annoying little bastard and we lost all the good characters. :O(

    But hey your recaps will be grat so that’s a plus! :OD

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I know, I HATE Conner! He’s the whiniest little bitch Sweet Valley has ever seen.

    [Reply]

    beej Reply:

    i didn’t like conner either.he left maria and started dating her bff,only to dump her after she tried to help his family.anyone with eyes knew his mom was a drunk and he blamed elizabeth for his life.newsflash dumbass: your mother chose to be a pathetic alkie and your father left you long before elizabeth came along.i’ve seen toddlers act older than him.

    [Reply]

  • rachierach February 16, 2010 at 9:25 am

    So glad you’re back, Shannon!

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Me, too! Thanks!

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  • Ungraceful February 16, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Hello! I’ve been a lurker on you site for ages and i apologize. I think you’re the first blogger to tackle Senior Year, and I am ashamed to say that I am a little excited for it. I actually read Sweet Valley backwards. I started with Senior Year then read SVH. While I’m going to miss the ridiculousness of SVH, it’s going to be fun watching Sweet Valley turn into a Dawson’s Creek knockoff.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Don’t apologize! I’m glad you’ve been reading!

    It really has turned into Dawson’s Creek. It’s horrible. I mean, they’re not bad books, as far as serial YA fiction goes, but it’s just not Sweet Valley without all the silliness.

    [Reply]

    megan s. Reply:

    dawsons creek is way better and has hotter guys! haha

    [Reply]

  • Lorelai February 16, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Yay, you’re back! And with Senior Year! The covers always depict the person writing the diary bit on the back cover, so I think this one might’ve been Liz.

    Oh, and I hate Tia Ramirez. Hate, hate, hate. Remember how much I love Bruce and Lila? THAT’S how much I hate Tia. She’s supposed to be “the nice girl” while everyone else is doing bitchy, selfish things, but she’s so annoying.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Oh, you’re totally right about who’s on the cover. Thanks!

    I’m almost halfway through the series right now and I’m starting to really hate Tia. I didn’t mind her at first, but man, she turns into a real piece of work, doesn’t she?

    [Reply]

  • Sadako February 17, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Great post. Melissa Fox makes me think of Megan Fox. Am I weird?

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  • Janelle February 17, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    I agree with all those who said they’re excited to see a blogger recap SVHSY! It’s gonna be exciting! I recently finished my own re-read of svh and started senior year- I’m only on 5 so this is good timing! I must admit that I’m actually really enjoying reading them- although I hate what they’ve done to Lila and Maria Slater.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I’m kind of enjoying them, too. If you don’t think about them as being part of the Sweet Valley franchise, they aren’t horrible for a YA series, even if most of the characters are obnoxious.

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  • Lori February 18, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    I love Jessica finally getting called out for the she is a slut and after all the crap she’s done and pulled on everyone else she’s finally getting what she deserves

    I hate Liz bitching about Lila, ah its her house Liz you don’t like it go home oh right you don’t have one trying being grateful

    [Reply]

    beej Reply:

    yeah.karma bitch-slapped jessica.
    elizabeth just needs to get her attitude in check.lila did something against her character and shared with her,even though she’s never been fond of elizabeth.eat the whole humble pie and get over yourself,liz.

    [Reply]

  • Kristine February 23, 2010 at 5:57 am

    nice to see new re-caps, Shannon. congratulations on your popularity :-)

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Thank you! I’m glad to be back!

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  • thea March 19, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    i must be the only one on liz’s side. i have always hated lila. oh my god i would have killed myself if i was liz living in that house. plus i imagine it would be weird to ask ppl who are allowing u to live in their house to give u another room cuz their daughter’s loud music and crappy attitude is annoying u…just saying.

    as for the oracle why should liz want to spend any more time around lila. its not like she cares about the paper. she probably never even read it before. lila is just being a bitch as always and liz is rightfully dishing it back.

    p.s: its fun to find somewhere to dish about smtng that was a big part of my high school yrs. i am actually going to go re-read my svh senior yr booksand not feel guilty or childish about it. thanx shannon

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  • stefanie December 28, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Omg, I just stumbled on this site. Amazing!

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  • Natalie March 11, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Penny is gone because she was a senior in the original series where the twins were juniors.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Aha! If I ever knew that, I must have forgotten.

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  • Jenna March 31, 2011 at 11:12 am

    LOL I came to comments to post this, only to be beaten by another schooled Sweet Valley-ite. Oh well. :)

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  • Confused April 13, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    I know Jessica is a slut and what not but I don’t really think she deserves to be exiled and banished when everyone else are sluts as well. At least she is open about it.

    Oh Liz… for a person who always gives people the benefit of the doubt i.e. killers, rapists, psycho killers, would it kill you to give Lila the benefit of the doubt? Yeah you don’t like her that much and currently annoyed with her but… Come on? What the Hell? This is why I dislike her, she sits on her high horse but she is like this evil dictator in disguise.

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  • beej July 10, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    the only person i don’t think got much action in svh is penny and maybe manuel.bruce cheated on regina with amy.elizabeth cheated on todd and jeffery.lila had as many guys as jessica.

    [Reply]

  • sunya September 8, 2011 at 5:54 am

    where can i download free pdf files of sweet valley high senior year

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I wish I knew.

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  • Darren September 29, 2011 at 2:35 am

    I got a question…why isn’t Claire MIddleton the quarterback, why this Will person, and doesn’t Ken still have slight vision trouble and can’t beout there for long periods of tme? Man, these ghost writers messed up to forget poor Claire. LUcky for them, my 2009-2012 version of Sweet Valley in Japan is far better!

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  • bia_lee August 6, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I just love how elisabeth says she was going to reconsider having sex and she never even let any of her boyfriends feel her up

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  • bia_lee August 6, 2012 at 8:51 am

    And why stay with some 1 who cheated on you? Melissa is such a stupid girl….it makes me annoyed. If im not mistaken he cheats three times.

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  • Kylie90210 May 23, 2013 at 12:06 am

    I have mixed feelings about SVSY… It’s much more realistic, and the things we mocked in SVH don’t happen much anymore… But it’s just not the same. I hate mainly, that Lila and Jess grow apart. And then we go back to SVU and it’s all like SVH again. I think that’s why SVU is my favourite.

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  • Zjmama August 20, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    I’m sad to report I immediately knew where Penny went….she graduated earthquake year.

    [Reply]

  • Shannon August 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Haha. I completely forgot she was a senior last year.

    [Reply]

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