The Sweet Life

It might be a good idea to revisit the Sweet Valley Confidential recap before reading this one. I had to. And as always, spoilers await. Don’t read on if you don’t want to know what happens!

It’s been three years since the Wakefield-Wilkins wedding. Here’s what we’ve missed:

  • Jessica is vice president of George Fowler’s green marketing company VERTPLUS.NET (yes, it’s capitalized like that and yes, George Fowler’s name has been corrected since SVC). She’s found her calling as a PR genius, but she and Todd separated four months ago because, you know, women are supposed to stay home with the kids. They have a two-year-old son named Jake.
  • Liz and Bruce have been living together. Bruce is wealthier than ever and he runs a foundation or something.
  • Sweet Valley is now “just a suburb of L.A.” and Liz and Todd both write for the L.A. Tribune – Todd a sports column and Liz a blog.
  • Steven and Aaron have a four-month-old named Emma. A woman named Linda Carson was their surrogate mother and they don’t want to know whose sperm made the baby.
  • Lila is about to audition for True Housewives of Sweet Valley because what else would she be doing with her life? She’s still married to Ken.
  • Enid’s been having an affair with the husband of a patient.
  • Liz’s friend Liam from New York is a star in L.A. now and he’s in love with Jessica.

Let’s go ahead and get Lila’s business out of the way since it has nothing to do with the rest of the story and I know you’re all dying to know what she’s up to. She wants to be a “True Housewife” (think Real Housewives of Wherever) so her daddy will pay attention to her again. Ken is an NFL superstar and Lila figures it’s her turn to be famous. Ken occasionally packs a suitcase and acts like he’s ending the marriage, but he always comes back. Lila wins a spot as a True Housewife, and the first meet and greet is filmed at her house. There are three other women, and Lila figures the producers will love her if she acts the part of Rich Snob. So she spends the entire day saying mean and nasty things about Ken and being a bitch to the other women. Ken sees the footage that night and packs a bag and leaves. And that’s all the Lila this book has to offer. Not enough Lila! We’ll be seeing more of her in upcoming episodes, don’t worry.

Jessica finds out Todd has been seen around town with another Tribune reporter named Sarah Miller. She can’t resist Googling Sarah, and she finds some articles where Sarah has quoted Jessica without giving her credit. Fuck. That. Jessica sends the articles along with her original interviews to Sarah’s editor, Walt Tyndale. Two weeks later, Caroline tells her that Sarah’s been fired. Todd comes over to yell at Jessica for ruining Sarah’s life and accuse her of manipulating him into loving her. He says he wouldn’t be surprised if she had pretended to be Liz on purpose at that one party. After saying he’ll “fuck whomever I please,” he storms out in a huff and goes to Sarah’s. Sarah is totally baffled that her boyfriend’s wife is so mad at her over one little mistake. Clearly, she’s an idiot. She and Todd start making out, but Todd apologizes and leaves when Sarah tries to have sex with him.

That same morning, Bruce gets a call from his PA (personal assistant? public announcer? Port Authority?), Dean. One of the Patman Foundation’s summer interns is accusing Bruce of sexual assault. Liz knows Bruce wouldn’t do such a thing (because he’s changed since his sexual assaultin’ days!) and she’s convinced this all has something to do with Rick Warner. Rick recently gave in and let Bruce win a land deal for one of his foundations, and Liz thinks it’s suspicious that he gave in so easily. Whatever the case, things are looking pretty terrible for Bruce’s reputation.

Liz gets an urgent text from Jessica telling her to come over right away. Thinking Jessica might know something about this Bruce situation that’s all over the news, she rushes over there. Of course, Jessica just wants to cry about Todd. Liz lets her get it out of her system, and then she finally gets to talk about her own problems. To her credit, as soon as Jessica finds out what’s going on, she jumps into action, running out the door and yelling about crisis intervention.

Jessica talks to Bruce and his lawyer, Ben Bookman, and finds out there was an incident a while back at the Charm Club. Bruce says he was there to meet someone named Alan Bloom, but Alan never showed. While he was waiting, a girl came up to Bruce and started crying about her abusive father. Bruce tried to help her and get her to a women’s shelter, and then he felt sick and the owner let him take a nap in the office. When he woke up, the girl was gone. Jessica emails all these details to Liz, who calls Alan Bloom and finds out he never set up any meeting at the Charm Club. Then she tracks down the bartender. He tells Liz that Bruce got drunk and hit on the girl and she turned him down.

Jess takes a break from rescuing Bruce to go on a date with Liam. She’s convinced herself that Todd went and fucked Sarah (Jessica and Todd have filthy mouths) as soon as their fight was over, so she figures she might as well move on with her life, too. She accidentally leaves her cell phone at home, so she misses Todd’s many apologetic texts. She doesn’t see them until after she’s had sex with Liam. Well done, Jess.

Liz spends all day talking to Patman Foundation interns and worrying about how pretty they all are. She finally finds the right one, Robin Platt. She goes to Robin’s house and judges the shabby exterior before ringing the bell. She pretends to be a therapist sent by Robin’s priest to help her through this troublesome ordeal. When Robin lets her in, she judges the furnishings, too. She thinks it’s weird that there’s nothing feminine about the place and it makes her think again that Rick Warner is behind this. Then she gets sucked into Robin’s sad story.

Robin’s story: Bruce got drunk and complained to Robin about his lame girlfriend and their lousy sex life. She went to the bathroom and Bruce was waiting for her when she got out. He pushed her into the office and started trying to rip her clothes off, and Robin was able to knock him down and escape because he was drunk.

To Be Continued…

Quotes:

“Another half hour and I’d have put him to bed and he’d have missed seeing his mother for the whole goddamn day because her work was more important than her kid!”

“That’s so unfair!” She answered him in that same sizzle of words. “How many times do you miss putting him to bed?”

“I’m not his mother!”

I feel like Todd has always been the kind of guy who thinks mothers should all be of the stay-at-home variety. Remember that time his mom baked a cake for no reason at all? That’s what he wants, but he married a woman who probably can’t figure out a toaster oven.

It had been thirty years, and she still didn’t get how people, even ones who knew them well, could mix them up. Todd never did.

Yeah…except all those times he did.

“I know you don’t read it, but my blog is really edgy now.”

I’m sure it is, Liz. You are edginess personified.

“Kenny, it’s not me. I was just pretending to be a bitch.”

“Not pretending.”

Ken Matthews, loquacious as ever.

Jessica felt like she was on a mission. A fuck mission.

Oh, Jessica. You’re a little bit ridiculous.

My thoughts:

I think it’s awesome that Jessica has found a job she likes (and is good at!). She doesn’t say “like” and “so” as much as she did in SVC, but the habit isn’t completely broken. She’s still able to go out and do Jessica things because she has a superhero of a nanny, Liza, to take care of the kid. But all in all she seems to be the only character who’s grown and matured. Which is fucking bizarre.

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Comments
  • Kim July 15, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    A “fuck mission”? What the hell?

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  • Kyla July 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I’m reading the second one tonight! I devoured this first one like crack cocaine. I didn’t think the 2nd would be available already, but it is. I love how you include quotes. The next one has Francine writing “With” somebody, thank god. This whole “like” thing, with no commas, really has got to stop.

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  • Fear Street July 15, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    “Jessica felt like she was on a mission. A fuck mission.” Oh Franny.

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  • Sarah July 16, 2012 at 10:45 am

    I like how Jessica is suddenly this great investigator. Where are all Liz’s detective and investigating skills?!?! Why is she being useless?

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  • Jenn July 17, 2012 at 5:54 am

    Jessica didn’t really come across as mature to me. She still put herself first all the time, like Liz would come over and they go into another room, letting her two-year-old kid play by himself. Or how she left her cell phone at home and when Liam told her to just forget about it, she did! What kind of mother does that? She started bringing Liam up pretty early in the book too, even though she supposedly still loved Todd.

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  • Shannon July 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    No, she isn’t fully mature yet, and probably never will be. But I do think she’s the only character who has changed for the better (except possibly Bruce, but the jury is out until we know for sure whether or not he’s actually a sex offender).

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  • Whallie July 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I love that you’re blogging about these new books, and I read each recap you post, but I was so unsatisfied and felt that I wasted my time with Confidential that I can’t move on and continue with this rubbish any longer. The SVH books are the best. They were written at time where that decade (the 80′s) were and always will be the shit! No other can compare. I like only rolling my eyes at Jessica trying to seduce a boy, or Liz being a know-it-all. This I can’t stand. There are like 20 dramatic and stupid stories in one, and the writing “like” and “fuck” is just tasteless and immature. Thanks for posting though and letting me save my money for something else that’s actually worth reading.

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  • Easy Annie July 18, 2012 at 12:17 am

    I’m sure Todd now has no trouble telling the twins apart now that he’s had sex with both of them. :)

    I don’t approve of cheating, but I just don’t feel sorry for Todd here, especially after what he did to Liz. What an ass. This is Jessica Wakefield we’re talking about here. What did he expect to happen? She thought he was out screwing Sarah. If you’ll excuse a seriously bad pun, Jessica isn’t going to take that lying down.

    I have to give thumbs up to the Bruce attempted rape thing. I’m looking forward to seeing where this one goes. I have to admit, I’m a little surprised that he and Liz never got married. I’d be curious to see how a child of Elizabeth and Bruce would turn out.

    Poor Jake. That kid is going to be messed up.

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  • Karrah July 19, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I wonder why durring those pages of Liz discribing how hard it was decorating their mansion (gag) she didnt utilize her mother, isnt she the hottest interior decorator in S.V?

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  • Lauri July 22, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Am I the only one who doesn’t want to think of Steven and Aaron’s sperm in a race for an egg? EEEWWW
    Also, someone should tell Francine that saying “fuck” actually makes me think people are less mature and stupid instead of grown up as she’s trying.

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  • Bec W July 30, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Great recap. I just finished this ‘book’ tonight, on to #2 now. I was flabbergasted that they’ve got Bruce WRONGLY accused of rape, when he…well, you’ve all read SVH #6. I mean, WTF. If you’re going to pretend it never happened, why bring it up again? I feel reallt empathetic towards rape victims, and it just pisses me off to see sexual assault storylines crammed in because the author is trying to make ‘scandalous’, ‘edgy’ storylines. I hate seeing it appearing in a trashy, shallow storyline.
    But anyway, yeah. This was shorter than I expected, but I guess it is an ‘e-serial’. I was glad there were less ‘like’s in the dialogue. Lila is written as a complete brainless idiot – I thought she had a lot more class in the SVH series, even if she was still quite selfish and materialistic back then. I guess I ‘sort of’ understand the rift created in the Jessica/Todd relationship, but it still seems so petty and silly. What the fuck kind of guy in 2012 gets mad because his wife has a job? And how could he not understand a) Jessica wanting a journalist accountable for not quoting her, and b) Jessica wanting revenge on the woman he is cheating with? It could all be so easily solved with a proper conversation, but they both act like idiots towards each other and stuff everything up.
    Still, I must say I love revisiting the characters, whatever flaws these e-books may have! looking forward to reading on…

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  • Nikki August 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    ok i can’t even read these stories i’ completely disappointed. ken and lila? jess and todd have a kid. like wtf!!

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  • Dane Youssef June 5, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Everyone hates Todd with a white-hot passion like he’s a real life person and he really had a two-decade long affair with his girlfriend’s identical twin sister and had a child with her. People, these are just books! This is a soap-opera!

    And even so, Liz cheated on Todd all the time! And vice-verse. These things weren’t real life. It was all just for thrills… And it’s apparently working. Just remind yourselves that this kind of daytime serial romance isn’t physically possible. At all…

    I’m still expecting Liz and Todd to wind up back together somehow.

    And who knows? Maybe the Wakefield girls will wind up rich and famous in and then and Todd will wind up with Steven. And maybe they’ll clone Winston back to life. Whatever.

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  • Pathvain July 20, 2013 at 1:59 am

    I am kind of relieved that three years passed in between the first two. Having 50 or so Christmases and birthdays in a year must be a strain on checking accounts-except for Bruce and Lila, of course.

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  • Krista November 3, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    “I’m still expecting Liz and Todd to wind up back together somehow. ”

    I have no doubt that Liz and Todd are going to fall into bed at least a couple of times in this series.

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  • Kanna-Chan January 29, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Holy crow! They’re cussing now! Sweet Valley is one books series that grows with the reader.

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  • Kanna-Chan February 21, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    ‘sigh’ I lost all the respect I gained for Lila during the time she and Bruce were stranded in the wilderness. She’s gone back to being a weak, whiny, spoiled, useless bitch.

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  • Natalie April 30, 2014 at 5:59 am

    A fuck mission.. I can fuck WHOMever I please..???
    Trying FAR FAR too hard Francine , urgh

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  • 137 Times July 21, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    A lot of weird couples. I see Jess is still Jess. She’ll never fully grow up.

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