Sweet Valley Twins #19: The Bully

The Moral of the Story: If you want someone to stop being a bully, arrange things so that he owes you his life.

The Big Deal: Nothing special happening this week.


Dennis Cookman is a jerk. He’s a great big seventh-grader who likes to pick on all the sixth-graders. In the last week, he’s punched Jimmy Underwood in the eye, ruined Olivia’s mural and gotten Lila to give him twenty-five dollars. The sixth-graders have a meeting – at some vacant lot that’s described as a favorite place for meetings even though we’ve never heard of it – to discuss what’s to be done about this Cookman slob. Steven Wakefield wanders by, and his sage advice is to tell a teacher.

This turns out to be a bad idea. Mr. Bowman tells Dennis to straighten up, so of course Dennis just terrorizes the kids more. They come up with a plan to scare Dennis. At this vacant lot where everyone’s been having secret meetings, there’s a cave. Right. This cave is called Dead Man’s Cave and all the kids are afraid of it. Aaron’s plan is to say, in front of Dennis, that he’s going to spend the night in the cave. He knows about a hidden pipe that leads out of the cave. I guess Dennis watching him go into a cave and then come out again in the morning is supposed to be some kind of payback. I don’t know why.

The Unicorns want Grace Oliver to join in their awesomeness. They’ve decided to bring back initiation rites. They make Grace stand up and recite a poem in the middle of English class and then get her to steal a bunch of people’s history homework. Then Jessica comes up with the grand idea to make Grace eat lunch with Dennis. Grace is terrified, but she does her best to be nice to Dennis, even when he tells her to get lost. Somehow, she actually does get Dennis to eat with her and she decides he’s really not so bad.

After Aaron comes out of the cave unscathed, Ken and Jimmy each spend a night there. They figure Dennis will want to show he’s tougher than them, but Dennis is scared to sleep in the cave and he says he can’t do it because he has a sore throat. The whole school taunts him until he agrees to do it. Everyone gathers at the cave that night and Dennis goes in. And then it starts to rain. Aaron panics because he knows the cave will flood, so he and Ken go running in to save Dennis. Dennis won’t listen to them and thinks they’re just trying to get him out of the cave so they can make fun of him for being scared. Then Grace comes along and convinces Dennis the boys are telling the truth. I don’t really get what happens next, but for some reason Ken, Aaron and Jimmy have to pull Dennis out of the cave because the water is rising and…I don’t know, Dennis can’t walk out on his own, I guess. Dennis stops being mean to everyone after they save his life.

This is a terrible book.


“Well, maybe this whole thing isn’t boring after all,” Jessica pronounced, tossing back her hair. “If it’s going to make Dennis look like a baby, it might just turn out to be fun.” Her eyes sparkled. “We better make it official Unicorn business to bug him today – and to be sure to be at Larson’s lot tonight!”

It’s good to have official business to take care of.

The Cover: I LOVE Lila hiding behind Jessica.


  • Afrancis September 28, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Awful. Just terrible.


  • megan s September 28, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Wow I’ve never read this one!


  • Tashina September 30, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    “This is a terrible book.” Perfect. I actually remember this one, and yes. Yes it is.


  • Olivia October 2, 2011 at 1:41 am

    Yeah this was one of the not so great ones. I remember thinking that even as a kid.


  • Enid the Penid October 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    This just goes to show you, don’t trust anyone who has the name “Dennis”, either as a first name or last name (Brooke Dennis, Dennis Cookman). Wait, my uncle’s name is Dennis. Well, he’s off my list now. He must be an ass.

    Also, there’s been a lot of pointing going on with the covers lately. Are they playing Pull My Fart Finger? I hope so.

    I wonder what farts smell like in Sweet Valley. Probably like cotton candy.


  • pibetaalpha October 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Dennis always reminded me of the bully Deke Simmons on Good Morning, Miss Bliss (Saved by the Bell), who was a bully but really just misunderstood and forlorn under it all.

    Also, Jessica and Lila remind me of the French Knights on Monty Python and the Holy Grail when they’re looking out of the castle at the big giant rabbit.


  • Sonnie October 7, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Did all of the kids get lip injections? And I thought Lila had dark brown eyes? That’s what they are on the cover of Lila’s Story. Maybe she wears colored contacts, I dunno.


    Suckie Stackhouse Reply:

    Lila can afford any eye colour she wants 🙂 She doens’t bother with contacts, she just gets eye implants.


  • Claire October 25, 2011 at 1:34 am



  • Twisted Sister October 30, 2011 at 11:33 pm



  • 137 Times July 21, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Weird how we never heard of this cave before. Has Larson’s Lot ever been mentioned? I don’t think we ever hear about Dennis Cookman again. People and places seem to pop up and disappear only after their part in the episode is finished. I think of SVT as tv show.


  • KannaChan May 22, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    @137 Times Dennis Cookman is mentioned again in The Unicorns At War.


  • Alex Kennedy July 17, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Interesting how this Cookman character just suddenly pops up and is never heard from until “The War Between the Twins.” It must also take a lot for Lila to part with her precious money. If Denny was so tough, why would he agree to spend the night outside of a cave? Does he not have better things to do??? Well at least Dennis the Menace was converted into being a Nice Boy.


  • Alex Kennedy October 19, 2016 at 9:24 am

    ^^^ “If Denny was so tough, why would he agree to spend the night outside of a cave?” – I meant if he was so tough, why would he cave into the demands of others when he spent the night in the cave? Even though it was a dare, if he was so tough he would not have listened to the other children daring him to do something. If he was such a bully, why would he inconvenience himself by sleeping outside? Perhaps Things at Home were so terrible that Dennis was glad to be away.


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