Sweet Valley Twins #33: Elizabeth’s New Hero

The Moral of the Story: If your parents won’t let you do what you want, threaten to defect to another country.

The Big Deal: Ze Germans are coming.

Townsperson with a Problem: Christoph, doesn’t like gymnastics


Ten East German gymnast boys are coming to Sweet Valley for some kind of gymnastics exhibition. Caroline Pearce has been bragging that one of the boys, Christoph Beckmann, will be staying with her family. But wait! Caroline’s grandmother gets sick so Christoph will be staying with the Wakefields instead. Steven is upset because he thinks the East Germans are spies. The twins think he’s an idiot.

Sweet Valley is apparently important enough to have its very own international airport, and the mayor – along with almost everyone else in town – is there to welcome the gymnasts. There’s a stage and everything, so Jessica is feeling pretty self-important. The Wakefields take Christoph home and feed him a typical American dinner of hamburgers and French fries (the twins’ idea, natch). Liz asks Christoph about his family and he tells them his father was a gymnast who never made it to the Olympics because of an injury. He seems really down about the whole conversation, so I imagine Elizabeth will want to do something about that in the near future.

While the twins argue the next morning over who’s going to hang out with the kid, Steven steals Christoph away to play basketball. He’s gotten over his fear of spies and has decided to take Christoph to the SVH football game, ruining Jessica’s plan for Christoph to meet the Unicorns at the Dairi Burger and Liz’s hopes of an interview for the Sixers. The twins reluctantly go to the football game because at least that way they’ll get to hang out with Christoph and maybe he’ll answer some of Liz’s interview questions. After the game, they take Christoph out for his very first ever pizza, then they explore every store in the mall and have some ice cream. Christoph says this is way more fun than practicing gymnastics, which makes Liz worry about him again.

The next day, the kids are all hanging in Steve’s room listening to records. Christoph says he wants to be a drummer in a rock band but his dad won’t let him do anything besides gymnastics. Liz feels sorry for him. A couple of Christoph’s teammates, Bruno and Konrad, come over. Konrad seems okay, but Bruno disapproves of listening to records when a person could be working out and practicing gymnastics. What a downer. He’s also a jerk the next day at school. The boys put on a mock competition for all the gym classes, and Bruno shoves Christoph when Christoph scores better than he does.

After school, we meet more of Christoph’s teammates: Viktor, Dieter, Hans, Oskar, and Max. Everyone’s having a great time until Bruno comes along and yells at Christoph in German. Christoph gets pissed and storms out, so Jessica follows him to make sure he doesn’t get lost on the way home. Along the way, we learn that Bruno has threatened to tell Christoph’s parents that he hasn’t been working very hard, and that would be terrible because Christoph’s dad is a total Nazi about gymnastics. (You all knew that joke was coming.) They pass a music store and Christoph gazes wistfully at the drum set in the window and Jessica feels sorry for him.

Two days later there’s an exhibition at the high school. Bruno lies and tells Christoph the time of the exhibition has been changed to eight o’clock, so Christoph is late. His coach is a dick and won’t let Christoph perform. Because he was unable to practice, he performs very badly the next night at a big important competition. He mopes around, worrying about his father’s reaction, until the big dance the next night, when Liz arranges for him to play drums with the band.

The boys are supposed to go home the next day, but Christoph is feeling sick. His coach comes over and says Christoph will have to stay where he is for a few days. Coach will come back on Thursday to take him home. Christoph spends the next few days in bed, until the twins find out he’s been faking. They confront him and he says he doesn’t want to go back to East Germany. His mother calls and he tells her he’s defecting to America.

The twins talk to their parents, and they say they’ll have a chat with Christoph, but Jessica has a Big Plan. Christoph’s birthday is the next day, and Jessica wants to throw him a party that will make him homesick. So, at the party they serve strudel and play some German music and then Christoph’s dad calls and tells him he doesn’t have to do gymnastics anymore if he doesn’t want to. His sister tells him he’s getting a new drum set for his birthday. Crisis averted.

Setup for the next book: The twins have won tickets to the Melody Power concert next week.


“Hi, girls.” Mrs. Wakefield greeted them cheerfully when they entered the kitchen. Then she took a sizzling roast from the oven.

Why not.

The Cover: Argh, Elizabeth does not wear purple! Also, not sure why Christoph is her new hero. I don’t recall him doing anything heroic.

And now some funny German stuff:



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  • Suckie Stackhouse March 13, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    Thank God Christoph finally went to the US to eat pizza, because they don’t have that in Germany…oh, wait, they do. Okay then, thank God the twins took him for ice cream because they don’t have that in…oh…wait…yes they do. Jeebus Christ(oph), it’s a good thing Francine is so worldly, or she’d have to adhere to strict stereotypes, like East Germans being freakazoids (which, okay, they kind of are…considering there’s no more East and West). I want to scheisse all over FP, but that could be because I lived in Germany a couple times and that’s just part of the culture there :S

    Drums, is there any crisis they can’t fix?


  • Anonymous March 14, 2013 at 4:22 am

    Did Germany have a thing against pizza in the 70s – 80s?

    Also, them German names. They’re so… German. Oh SVH.


  • Anonymous March 14, 2013 at 4:24 am

    And why does Liz have massive man arms on that cover. Holy hell, that is freaky.


  • Noemi March 14, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Liz’s smile is creeping me out…
    Great post, though! Great to have you back.


  • Margarita March 16, 2013 at 3:54 am

    That whole cover is off. She seems to be smaller but taller than Christoph. She has a short torso, but really long arms.


  • Kim March 20, 2013 at 5:09 am

    LOL East Germany


  • Sharon March 20, 2013 at 8:58 am

    He’s a very small German if he’s the same height as Liz. Still, at least he got to try Pizza, which is totally a traditional American dish and not in any way European.


  • Kathryn March 24, 2013 at 5:08 am

    Can someone please explain how the guy is a hero? I totally missed that.


  • Kim March 25, 2013 at 2:45 am

    *key the Footloose Bonnie Tyler song*


  • Jill March 27, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Christophe totally looks like one of the twins. Maybe Ned should be checking into whether Alice ever went on an exchange trip to Germany lasting, hmm, about 9 months?


  • Sushi April 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Aww shoot, I’ve been reading a recap every time I finish a book (and sometimes halfway through) and now I’m all caught up!
    I’m amused that Christoph has apparently travelled all over Europe and somehow never eaten pizza.


  • lavender May 9, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    “After the game, they take Christoph out for his very first ever pizza…”

    Stupid twins, do they seriously believe this shit, knowing the pizza originated in Europe?????

    Love your blog Shannon!


  • Sophie June 14, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Bruno’s such a b****


  • Sera C July 13, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    My parents are german but I’ve never had Strudel before. I belive its one of those local specialities that they don’t actually eat everywhere in Germany…


  • Alex Kennedy July 20, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Why is the book called “Elizabeth’s New Hero?” Odd. Yes, Elisabeth admired Christoph, but she did not worship him. It should be called “The Twins and the Boys from Germany” or something lame like that.


  • Natasha May 25, 2017 at 2:46 am

    Why does Christoph look exactly like Liz?


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