Author Archive

Sweet Valley Twins #48: Mandy Miller Fights Back

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

SVT048The Moral of the Story: Wanna be popular? Get yourself a life-threatening illness!

The Big Deal: The Unicorns spend the whole book planning a party, but they end up canceling it.

Classmate with a Problem: Mandy Miller, wants to be a Unicorn


Mandy Miller has been hanging around the Unicorns, especially Jessica, and being super annoying and trying to get invited to join their club. During an emergency meeting before school, the Unicorns decide that while Mandy is very pleasant and makes them laugh, she just isn’t Unicorn material because she wears homemade clothes and she’s friendly and…well, I think that’s it. It’s decided that Jessica has to be the one to let her down.

Jessica is late to her social studies class because of the meeting, and she finds herself partnered up with Mandy for some project. Liz later tells Jessica that Mandy was the only one who was willing to work with her because Jessica sucks at school. In fact, she sucks so bad at school that Mrs. Arnette gives her a progress report to take home for her parents to sign.

Mandy invites Jessica over after school so they can talk about their project, and Jessica decides that will be the best time to give her the bad news about the Unicorns. But, of course, once she and Mandy get to talking, Jessica realizes they have a lot in common and she can’t bring herself to do it. When Mandy asks her to go to the library the next day, Jessica gets worried that someone will see them in public together. She offers to let Mandy borrow an outfit and Mandy tells her she’ll wear her own clothes, thank you very much.

Jessica finally manages to tell Mandy she isn’t going to be a Unicorn, but she kind of blunders her way through it and makes it sound like Mandy isn’t good enough for the club. Mandy gets mad and they yell at each other for a minute, and then Jessica goes home and feels sorry for herself. They apologize to each other the next day and go to Mandy’s house again to work on their project. It’s going to be a vaudeville routine, and while looking through a trunk of costumes, Mandy falls down. Mandy has also been dropping things lately. When they present their routine to the class on Friday, Mandy forgets one of her lines and her timing is off. When Jessica asks if she’s okay, Mandy says she’s been tired and there’s a bump under her arm that’s been bothering her.

Jessica doesn’t hear from Mandy all weekend, and she doesn’t come to school until Wednesday morning, when she faints during gym class and gets sent home. She stays home the rest of the week, and on Monday, Jessica gets a call from Mandy’s mother. Mandy wants to see her and it’s very important. Jessica is supposed to have dinner at Lila’s, but she visits Mandy instead.

Mandy has cancer. She’s going to have surgery on Friday and then they’ll know if it’s spread or not. Mandy tells Jessica it’s okay to tell everyone at school, so Jessica tells Caroline Pearce the next morning and by lunchtime everyone knows. Oddly, the Unicorns send Mandy flowers but don’t ask Jessica to sign the card. They don’t know Jessica and Mandy are friends, but it seems weird anyway. Mandy’s mother calls Jessica one day to tell her Mandy can finally have visitors. Jessica is surprised that all the Unicorns are already there. It turns out they didn’t invite her or ask her to sign the card because they thought Mandy and Jessica didn’t like each other after Jessica had to tell Mandy she wasn’t going to be a Unicorn.

When Mandy starts radiation and her hair falls out, the Unicorns use their party fund money to buy her a nice wig. Then they ask her to join the Unicorns. Mandy isn’t sure at first, but Jessica tells her she thinks the Unicorns really have come to like her. Mandy agrees to join.


“I may not have as much money as Lila Fowler, or as many clothes as Janet Howell,” she said through clenched teeth. “And I may not be as pretty as you are, or as popular as Ellen Riteman. But that doesn’t mean I’m not good enough to be a Unicorn!”

Oh, Mandy. Money, clothes, looks, and popularity are literally all the Unicorns care about.

Best Outfit: Mandy – khaki pants, red t-shirt that says “Ski Bear Valley,” army fatigue jacket, purple sneakers

The Cover: Jessica looks less sad about her sick friend, and more sad that Lila is stealing said friend.

Sweet Valley Twins #47: Jessica’s New Look

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

SVT047The Moral of the Story: Wearing glasses isn’t so bad as long as boys still think you’re cute.

The Big Deal: Skate-A-Thon


There are BOYS sitting at the Unicorns’ table in the lunchroom (a.k.a. the Unicorner). One of them is Aaron Dallas, who Jessica thinks is the cutest boy in school. She wows him with her basketball smarts (suddenly there’s a girls’ basketball team and Jessica is apparently on it?) and he asks her to go to a Lakers game with him and his parents. The other Unicorns are annoyed, especially since Jessica won’t shut up about it.

Mr. Bowman chooses Liz to be a Junior Journalist for a thing the Sweet Valley Tribune is doing. She’s supposed to write about kids making a difference. The fame-hungry Unicorns want her to write about them so they start trying to come up with good deeds they can do. After throwing out ideas such as community curling irons in the girls’ locker room and new uniforms for the Boosters, they settle on a skate-a-thon to raise money for a new encyclopedia set for the library.

Jessica has been having a lot of headaches lately and is having trouble seeing the chalkboard at school. Mr. Bowman tells her she should get her eyes examined because she might need glasses. Jessica is horrified by the idea because only nerds wear glasses. She hides the note Mr. Bowman sends home to her parents, but he calls them anyway and Jessica has to go to the eye doctor.

The doctor determines that Jessica’s eyes each work fine on their own, but they don’t focus well together. Wearing glasses for a few months will solve the problem. Is that really a thing? Seems made up. Jessica reluctantly picks out some purple frames, and she only wears them when she’s around her parents. Things are going fine until the Wakefields go to a movie and run into Lila. Jessica buys Lila’s silence by giving her an outfit she just got and carrying Lila’s books for her at school. Because, you know, her life will be over if anyone even suspects she owns a pair of glasses. I don’t think Lila even cares about the glasses, she’s just irritated with Jessica because she still won’t stop talking about her upcoming date with Aaron.

The Unicorns’ skate-a-thon is surprisingly successful, but it ends for Jessica when her parents show up and see her not wearing her glasses. They go home, where Jessica locks herself in her room and claims she’s canceling her date with Aaron and never leaving the house again. No amount of bribery or trickery will make her change her mind.

Liz tries to trick Jessica into thinking she’s going to ask Aaron out, but Jessica isn’t buying it because Liz is a terrible actress. Liz pretends to admit defeat and offers to call Aaron and cancel the date. Instead, she pretends to be Jessica when Aaron comes to pick her up. Jessica sees him compliment the glasses, and now that she knows she can still be attractive to boys, she decides to keep wearing them and go on the date. Liz runs upstairs so they can switch clothes, and Jessica has a wonderful time at the sportsball game.


Elizabeth put the finishing touches on a peanut butter and banana sandwich and placed it on a plate.

What would “finishing touches” on such a sandwich entail?

The Cover: WHAT A NERD! Actually, that dress is worse than the glasses will ever be.

Sweet Valley High #46: Mademoiselle Jessica

Friday, September 11th, 2015

SVT046The Moral of the Story: If you’re going to make up a story, do not leave it around the house. Your conscientious sister will mail it and then you have to pretend to like France.

The Big Deal: Unicorn party at Jessica’s, Dynamo concert, fake French dinner


Lila calls all the Unicorns to the Dairi Burger to announce that she has decided Brooke Dennis is Unicorn material. She states her case, everyone agrees, and then Lila goes on to talk about the new stereo her father just bought her and her latest trip to Hawaii. Jessica, as usual, is super jealous and wants Lila to shut up. Brooke, meanwhile, is enjoying an afternoon at the beach with Liz and Amy. She tells them she’s been hanging out with Lila a little lately, but she’s going to back off from being friends because Lila never stops bragging about herself. Case in point, Lila calls Jessica later that night to talk at her for half an hour about the VIP sky box from which she’ll be watching the next Dynamo concert.

Jessica is feeling pretty inferior about her stupid regular family. Just then, she comes across a contest in Teenager Magazine. Just write an essay about your perfect family and you could win a trip to France! Jessica fictionalizes her family members: Ned is a high powered lawyer who paints magnificent paintings on the side, Alice supplements her interior design income by being a prima ballerina, and Steven is a star basketball player who is also a trombone virtuoso. She just writes the essay for fun and has no plans to send it in, but Liz sees it laying around and assumes it’s supposed to be mailed. Jessica is horrified, but forgets about it after a week or so.

The Unicorns throw a party/meeting at Jessica’s house and invite Brooke. They tell her they want her to join and can’t figure out why she wants to think about it for a day or two. Then a special delivery from Teenager Magazine arrives. Jessica’s been chosen as a finalist. She thinks she’ll have to contact the contest people and tell them they’ve made a mistake, but Lila is such a bitch about the whole thing (Paris isn’t that big a deal and you’ll never win anyway, Jessica) that she decides she’ll actually try to win.

Brooke tells Liz about the contest, and Liz tells Jessica to withdraw. But when Marie Harris from the magazine calls to schedule a time to come and observe the family, Jessica is so caught off guard that she agrees. She finally presents the situation to her family, and she’s amazed when her mother agrees to go along with it. She’s so happy she runs out the door, leaving Alice to explain to everyone else that she thinks Jessica needs to learn a lesson. She calls the magazine people and tells them what’s going on, and the rest of the family plans the best way to humiliate Jessica when Marie gets to their house. What a really great family.

At lunch that day, Jessica tells the Unicorns her idea for Brooke’s pledge task is to have her dress in a maid’s uniform and serve dinner when Marie is at the house. Brooke spent a year in Paris and she speaks French, you see. Brooke agrees because she thinks it’s amusing, especially when Liz tells her about Alice’s plan. Brooke even comes over with some old costumes for the Wakefields to wear, telling Jessica they’re all the latest rage in Paris. Jessica thinks they all look weird, but whatevs, Brooke says they’re French.

Jessica spends an entire evening cleaning the house and thanking her lucky stars that she has such an awesome family that really comes through for her. She doesn’t know they’re all a bunch of jerks. The night of the interview, while Jessica is upstairs getting ready, Steven messes up the house, cluttering up every room. Jessica is mortified when Marie gets there and the house is a mess. She tries to keep things okay, but Ned comes in wearing a beret and has a paintbrush behind his ear, Alice serves macaroni for dinner while wearing a chef’s hat, and Steven actually plays his trombone. Badly. After Ned shows off his latest painting (it’s horrible), Alice announces she’s going to perform a dance in the living room. That’s when Jessica demands to know what the fuck is going on.

Marie explains that Alice contacted her and the whole evening has been a joke. Everyone gives Jessica a hard time about exaggerating in a contest SHE DIDN’T EVEN MEAN TO ENTER. It’s all good though. Alice has been doing an interior design job for the parents of Dynamo’s lead singer, Nick England. She gets front row tickets for Brooke and the Wakefield kids, and Nick England pulls Jessica on stage to dance with him. Meanwhile, Lila is stuck in the VIP box, where the PA system is out and the closed circuit television isn’t working. Sucks to be you, Lila!

Oh, and Brooke turns down the invitation to be a Unicorn. Lila doesn’t understand.


“You all remember, don’t you, that my father just bought me a fantastic new stereo?”

Oh, Lila. You’re the greatest.

The Cover: This cover is boring, but Jessica’s hair is really good.

Sweet Valley Twins #45: Lucy Takes the Reins

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

SVT045The Moral of the Story: Twelve-year-olds know better than their parents what’s best for them.

The Big Deal: Horse jumping or whatever competition

Classmate with a Problem: Lucy Benson, secretive and weird


Liz has suddenly remembered that she likes horses, so she goes to the stable to hang out with Ted’s horse, Thunder. She finds out Ted is behind on his payments to the stables and he’ll have to sell Thunder if he doesn’t come up with some money soon. His only real hope is to win a riding competition and pay off the stable with the prize money. One day, Liz and Ted meet a girl named Lucy Benson. She’s just lurking around the stables, as one does. She says she’s been riding since she was seven and used to have an awesome horse. Liz wants to ask what happened to the horse, but Lucy seems sad. When Ted offers to let her ride Thunder, Lucy gets skittish and runs away.

Jessica and Lila go to the beach to discover there’s been an oil spill. Jessica rescues a baby seal that’s stuck in a hole. A cute boy named Adam Scott (lol) comes along and says he’s with a group called Ecology Now, and they’ll be working on cleaning up the beach. Lila thinks it sounds gross, but Jessica decides to volunteer. She starts rethinking this decision the next day when she realizes she doesn’t want to get all dirty, and besides, Aaron Dallas is way cuter than Adam Scott.

Um, excuse me. Nobody is cuter than Adam Scott.


Adam Scott being cute.

The sixth grade tours the aquarium the next day, and Jessica is happy to see the seal she rescued. She’s named him Whiskers. Unfortunately, Whiskers isn’t looking so good and Jessica is worried he won’t pull through. She runs into Adam Scott, who asks her why she wasn’t at the beach the day before. Jessica, now remembering how cute Adam is, assures him she’ll be there after school today. Elsewhere at the aquarium, Liz tries to say hi to Lucy and ask her if she’ll be at the stable later, but Lucy is weird and doesn’t seem interested in talking to her.

Ellen Riteman comes to the stable after school to practice riding her horse, Snow White. Lucy tries to offer her some advice, but Ellen is snobby and won’t listen. She tries to goad Lucy into riding Snow White to prove she knows about horses, but Lucy gets weird and runs off again. She tells Liz she wants to ride, but she won’t say why she won’t do it. Very mysterious. Meanwhile, Jessica is at the beach helping clean up the oil spill and hating her life. She’s ruined her outfit and she’s thinking again that Aaron Dallas really is much cuter than Adam Scott.



At the stable the next day, Lucy and Ellen flash their claws at each other again. Lucy gets fed up and tells Ted she’d like to borrow Thunder for a minute. Liz asks if she’s trying to prove something to Ellen, but Lucy says she has to prove something to herself, y’all. She gets on the horse and gets him to jump over all the things with ease, though Liz thinks she looks scared. Ellen still isn’t impressed and she asks why Lucy doesn’t have her own horse. Lucy continues to be very mysterious on the subject of her erstwhile horse.

Liz calls Lucy later that night to invite her over for dinner sometime. Lucy’s dad answers the phone and says Liz must be one of Lucy’s friends from glee club, which is weird, and then Lucy seems totally uninterested in having dinner at the Wakefields’ house. Which, I mean, it does sound kind of lame.

Lucy doesn’t mention Liz’s dinner invitation the next day at the stable, so Liz decides not to bother her about it. It’s starting to storm and the horses are getting antsy. There’s a flash of lightning and Thunder throws Ted. The girls call an ambulance and everyone ends up at the hospital, where Lucy starts acting pretty damned weird. She mutters about how much she hates hospitals, and is totally rude when a nurse recognizes her and asks how she’s feeling. Lucy insists to Liz (who hasn’t said a word) that the nurse is a friend of her mom’s and she hardly even knows her. I’m kind of hoping we find out Lucy was in the psych ward at some point.

Ted’s leg is broken and there’s no way he’ll be able to compete, which means he’ll have to sell Thunder. Liz asks Lucy to compete in his place, but she just can’t, you guys. Then she looks at a list of the other people who are competing. When she sees there’s a girl named Alison Thatcher on the list, she decides she’s going to do it after all. What is going on with this girl?

Adam and Jessica go to the aquarium on Saturday to visit Whiskers. Jessica is super happy to feed Whiskers and doesn’t even mind getting her outfit dirty. Now that she cares so much about animals, she feels way better about getting all grossified while cleaning up the beach. Ellen stops by the beach and tells Jessica how weird this Lucy chick is. She wants Jessica to nose around and find out what Lucy’s secret is.

You know, I just have to say I have never liked books about animals and I don’t like this one, either. I’m bored.

Anyway. Lucy finally accepts Liz’s invitation to dinner. Jessica asks her a thousand probing questions, and Lucy excuses herself to take some aspirin. She pulls a medicine bottle out of her backpack that doesn’t look anything like aspirin. Hmmm. Later that evening, Dr. Robinson from the aquarium calls Jessica to tell her Whiskers might be dying. It’s a rough day for everyone.

Jessica can’t deal with school the next day, so she goes to the nurse’s office and pretends to be sick. While she’s there, she overhears Lucy come in and talk to the nurse. Apparently, there was some kind of accident before Lucy’s family moved to Sweet Valley. Lucy has to take pills now and her parents won’t let her ride a horse. That’s why she had to sell hers. That same day, Liz is doing research for an article about the competition and she finds a thing about Lucy’s accident. She fell off her horse during a competition. She was taken to the hospital and Alison Thatcher won the blue ribbon. Liz gently confronts Lucy about it and Lucy tells her the reason she fell that day is because she has epilepsy. End of chapter. Very dramatic.

Lucy swears Liz to secrecy. She wants to ride in the competition to prove to herself and her parents that she can still live a normal life. If her parents find out before the competition, they’ll never let her do it. Unfortunately, Jessica has already told Ellen everything she found out, and Ellen is planning to call Lucy’s parents. Ellen is convinced Lucy is going to beat her in the competition, so she wants to make sure Lucy can’t compete. When Liz finds out Ellen’s plan, she frantically tries calling Lucy to warn her.

Luckily, nobody is home at the Bensons’ house that night, and Lucy shows up early for the competition the next day. Liz tells her about Ellen’s plan. Ellen is acting awfully smug when she gets there, and Lucy is afraid she got through to her parents after all. And sure enough, just as Lucy is about to take a difficult jump, her mother comes out of nowhere shouting her name and waving her arms. Because that surely won’t make someone fuck up and fall off a horse. Lucy manages to keep her wits about her and she rides through the course with no mistakes. Her parents are obnoxious, but after a single paragraph speech from Lucy about not letting epilepsy beat her, the parents come around and tell her she can keep riding.

Lucy wins, naturally. And Whiskers the seal is just fine. Jessica cries when he’s finally released back into the ocean a month later, and that’s pretty sad. Oh, and Adam Scott’s cuteness hasn’t been mentioned in like sixty pages, so I guess we don’t care about him anymore.

Great, now he's brooding. Way to go, Jess.

Great, now he’s brooding. Way to go, Jess.



“Well, it’s probably a dumb theory—“ Lucy began.

“Probably,” Ellen interrupted.

I hate Ellen, but this was such a Lila thing to say. I dig it.


“I’m so afraid I might let Ted down. Or worse.”

“Worse? What do you mean?”

Lucy shrugged. “Oh, nothing,” she said quickly.

She kept saying weirdly ominous things like this. I don’t think she’d be much fun to hang out with.


The Cover: Blah, blah, horses and stuff. I wonder if the reason I never cared about horses is because I didn’t want to wear stupid riding gear.

Sweet Valley Twins #44: Amy Moves In

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

SVT044The Moral of the Story: Tell the truth and be yourself! Otherwise, you have to be friends with the Unicorns.

The Big Deal: Fire!


The Suttons’ house burns down and Amy moves in with the Wakefields while her parents look for a new place to live. Since this is the biggest thing to happen in Sweet Valley since the latest kidnapping/murder, Jessica is thrilled to have Amy in her house. She calls the Unicorns to come over and makes Amy tell them her story. Everyone is convinced Amy had to jump out the window and that’s how she broke her arm, and Amy is interrupted every time she tries to dispute the story (she actually broke it when she tripped over her shoelace). When Amy realizes the Unicorns are actually interested in what she has to say, she starts playing into their drama and embellishing her story. Only Liz knows the truth.

When Liz sends Jessica away so she and Amy can get ready for bed, Jessica starts feeling all hurt and jealous. Liz was spending all her time with Amy even before the Suttons’ house burned down and now she’s trying to hog all of Amy’s time. She sends Liz downstairs to make breakfast the next morning while she braids a purple ribbon into Amy’s hair. Then she calls Lila and arranges to have Mr. Fowler take her and Amy to school. There’s no room for Liz in Mr. Fowler’s car, of course, but she insists Amy take the ride because she needs to “take it easy” right now. You know, because she has a broken arm.

The Unicorns make Amy sit with them at lunch so she can tell them her super exciting story. When they start asking what might have caused the fire, Amy squirms because she’s pretty sure it was all her fault. She had made a fire in the fireplace that night and apparently shoveled the ashes into a paper bag because she’s so smart. So that’s why she acts kind of bitchy when Liz says she wants to interview Amy for the Sixers. Amy says she’d rather not work with Liz; she wants to write the story herself.

Things are tense between Liz and Amy, and it gets worse when Jessica brings home a ton of clothes for Amy donated by the Unicorns. She’s also eating lunch with them every day. The only time she hangs out with Liz is when she needs someone to do something for her. Because, you know, she can’t do anything for herself with the cast on her arm. She feels crappy for the way she’s been treating Liz, especially when she accidentally lets it slip to the Unicorns that Liz sleeps with a stuffed koala bear.

Liz yells at Amy about the way she’s been acting, and Amy moves into Jessica’s room that night. But Jessica’s room kind of sucks because Amy’s sick of hearing about how Liz’s sleeping with a stuffed animal has ruined Jessica’s life. Then she gets roped into spending the entire weekend with the Unicorns, but now they seem to be growing tired of her and her stupid fire story. They’ve moved onto other things, like helping Brooke Dennis prepare for her upcoming party.

Liz notices that the Unicorns have kind of ditched Amy, and she feels bad. She starts speaking to Amy again, and Amy apologizes and everything is okay again. The very next day, Amy’s parents come over and say they’ve found a new house that they can move into that week and it’s only a block away from the Wakefields’ house. Also, they’ve found out the cause of the fire was faulty wiring, so Amy’s off the hook for that. Everything is back to normal.


“Why don’t you go downstairs and help Mom with breakfast, Elizabeth?”

“Good idea. Is cereal OK, Amy?”

Does Alice really need help making cereal?

Elizabeth felt her face flame. Slob was the very worst name she had ever called anybody.

That’s the worst thing she’s ever called anyone and she feels bad about it? Ugh, such a goody-two-shoes.

The Cover: Lila and Amy have weird faces. Actually, Amy looks like Diana Scarwid, who you may remember as Isabel from Lost, the mom from Wonderfalls, Mother Superior from Pushing Daisies…or really any of the other ten million things she’s been in.



Sweet Valley Twins Super Chiller #3: The Carnival Ghost

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

SVTSC03The Moral of the Story: Don’t befriend weird carnie kids.

The Big Deal: Carnival, party at Lila’s


It’s the day after Christmas. The Wakefields have some Chinese food for lunch (I guess Ned isn’t allergic to Chinese food today), and the twins don’t like the fortunes in their fortune cookies. Jessica’s says vanity is her greatest weakness, and Liz’s suggests she avoids high places. Only one of those fortunes comes into play later in the book.

The Caldwell Carnival comes to town and the twins get there as soon as it opens. At the end of the haunted house, there are two paths. Jessica takes the Vampire door, leaving Liz to take the Ghost door. Liz is scared, but she meets a girl named Claire who tells her not to be afraid. Claire says her father owns the carnival and she’s been through the spook house a thousand times. She goes ahead of Liz and disappears. No big deal. Liz goes into the ghost room. At the end of the room is an open grave, and the haunted house’s exit is through it. There’s a tombstone with the initials C.C. and the dates 1882-1892. The whole experience makes Liz feel all creeped. Myself, I think that sounds like an awesome haunted house.

Jessica goes to the fortune teller, who tells her a happy event will happen to her soon. That night, the Wakefield parents announce they’re raising the kids’ allowances, and Jessica is amazed that Mademoiselle Z could really see the future. She goes back that night with the Unicorns, and Lila makes fun of the fortune teller. Mademoiselle Z tells her a great misfortune will fall upon her, and as soon as Lila’s outside the tent, she falls in the mud and ruins the Johnny Buck t-shirt she just won.

The next morning, Jessica wakes up to find Liz has already left for the carnival. She didn’t even make her bed, and that’s just bizarre. Amy comes by looking for her, and she tells Jessica she found out some strange stuff about the carnival and she wanted Liz’s help researching it. Liz is busy hanging out with Claire at the carnival. Claire’s weird. She can read Liz’s mind, which you’d think would make Liz freak out, but she just thinks it’s a neat trick. Mademoiselle Z sees Liz and Claire together and makes a face at them. When Jessica gets to the carnival later, she stops in to see Z, and Z (thinking she’s Liz) tells her she’ll have no future if she doesn’t stay away from the carnival. Jessica gets freaked out and runs away. That night, the twins see a man in a black hat and black raincoat standing across the street, staring right into Jessica’s window. Maybe call the cops, kids. That’s just inappropriate.

Liz goes off to the carnival again the next morning. She runs into Julie Porter at the gate and tells her all about Claire, and they go into the carnival hoping the three of them can spend the day together. But Julie suddenly gets freaked out and says she has to leave. As soon as she’s gone, Claire shows up. Claire takes Liz through a private entrance in the fun house, and they’re able to watch the people going through it. Then Claire turns Liz’s lemonade black. Liz is grossed out and thinks it’s a terrible magic trick. That night, Jessica wakes up to something tapping at her window, and a voice telling her to stay away. She figures it’s a nightmare.

The next day, Claire makes some game tickets appear in Liz’s pocket and then takes her to the shooting gallery. The attendant doesn’t seem to notice Claire at all. Liz is talking to her parents that night about Claire being the carnival owner’s daughter, and Ned says he thought the carnival was owned by a corporation or something. The parents tell Liz to invite Claire over for dinner on New Year’s Day. Jessica wakes up again that night and hears a weird moaning. It’s coming from Elizabeth’s room. Liz is having a nightmare. She’s in front of an open grave. The tombstone says C.C., but then it changes to E.W. A skeleton pops out and says, “I declare, declare, declare, clare, clare…” And then Jessica wakes Liz up.

So we’re pretty sure Claire’s a ghost, right?

At the carnival the next day, Liz is trying to remember what her mother told her to ask Claire, but she seems to forget a lot of things these days. Mademoiselle Z comes along and tells Claire to stop what she’s doing. She’s obviously afraid of Claire. Liz wants to know what’s going on, and Claire tells her Z is just a crazy old woman.

On New Year’s Eve, Lila has a carnival themed party. And She’s got tents and rides and games and everything. Liz is completely out of it all night. All she can think of is Claire and how she should really be at the carnival with her. Amy tries to talk to her about the article they’re supposed to be writing about the carnival, but Liz blows her off. For some reason, the haunted house (Lila’s pool house) really creeps Liz out. Jessica is the fortune teller. She and Lila wrote up a bunch of fortunes and put them in a couple of fishbowls, and Jessica reads one for each kid. When it’s Lila’s turn, the fortune Jessica reads for her tells Lila she’s going to go bald. Neither girl wrote that fortune and they don’t know how it could have gotten into the bowl.

Mrs. Wakefield asks Liz the next day if she remembered to ask Claire to dinner, but Liz has trouble remembering anything she and Claire talk about. She thinks Claire said she would come, and she’s disappointed when she doesn’t show up. The carnival is closed for the holiday and Liz has been acting weird all day about not being able to see Claire. The next morning, Alice tells Liz she has to clean her room before she goes to the carnival, and they have an argument. Then Amy comes over to try to talk to Liz about the Sixers article, and Liz snaps at her and tells Amy to leave her alone.

Jessica wants to know what’s happening to Liz, so she decides to help Amy with her research. They visit a man named Mr. Melman. He designed the haunted house. Mr. Melman tells them the original haunted house was burned down, possibly by a local kid who went crazy because of it. The story was never really clear. When Mr. Melman designed the new haunted house, the ghost room Liz went through was the last part he built. When he built it, the open grave had a wooden tombstone that said RIP, but when he went to work the next day, it was a solid granite tombstone with the initials C.C. and the dates 1882-1892.

The Wakefield parents tell Liz she can’t hang out with Claire anymore until they get to meet her, so Liz sneaks out. Jessica sees her leaving and follows her to the carnival. She gets there just as Patrick Morris comes running out the gate in a panic. He tells Jessica he was on the Ferris wheel and had a car to himself. His car got stopped at the very top, and he heard a girl’s voice asking him to come and play with him. He looked out and saw a white, wispy figure in midair.

Jessica is afraid to go inside the gates because of Mademoiselle Z’s fortune, but she doesn’t have to. It’s starting to storm and the carnival is closing. Liz comes out all upset that she hardly got to say hello to Claire. Jessica tries to tell Liz what Patrick said, but Liz thinks Jessica is just jealous of Claire and trying to scare her away from the carnival. Jessica says she doesn’t like the way Liz is sneaking around behind their parents’ backs, but Liz tells her Claire just today suggested Liz be nicer to her parents. Jessica thinks Claire is up to something.

The next morning, Liz kisses up and does a bunch of chores, so the parents tell her she’s allowed to go to the carnival as long as she’s home by five. The parents are out that evening, so Steven and Jessica are the only ones who notice that Liz still isn’t home at eight. Steven insists Liz is fine, but Jessica is freaking out. The phone rings, and someone tells Jessica to get the girl away from the carnival because the evil one is about to strike. Thanks for the vague threat.

Jessica gets to the carnival just as it’s about to close, and she goes running around the place looking for Liz. Finally, the last place to look is the haunted house. It’s shut down for the night, but unlocked. A voice tells her to leave through the ghost room, so she tries to go through the vampire room instead. It’s locked, and the front entrance is locked, so she has to go through the ghost room. She’s terrified at this point and she’s pretty sure one of the sheets hanging from the ceiling actually has a ghost inside it. She tries to leave, but the exit inside the grave won’t open. Suddenly, Mademoiselle Z is there with her assistant, and they take her back to Z’s tent.

Z says she knew Jessica was in terrible danger, and that’s why she sent her assistant, who’s also her fiancé, to Jessica’s house to tap on her window and scare her away from the carnival. Then she tells Jessica all about the little girl whose parents used to own the carnival. The girl decided to sneak out one night and ride the Ferris wheel, and she managed to fall from the very top and die. The little girl, of course, was Claire. When Z tells Jessica the girl she’s been spending all her time with has been dead for a century, Jessica finally figures out that Z thinks she’s Liz.

So Liz is still in danger, of course. Jessica, Z, and Nicolai the fiancé find her on the Ferris wheel. Jessica manages to jump into Liz’s car before it leaves the platform and she tries to talk to Liz, but Liz is staring into space and not responding. When they’re at the top, the wheel stops and Claire floats up to ask Liz to play. Liz tries to get up, but Jessica is holding onto her. She breaks free and starts putting a leg over the rail. Jessica superstrengths her away. Claire suddenly turns into a gross skeleton, and one of her eye sockets launches some kind of light at Jessica. Seeing that Claire hurt Jessica snaps Liz out of her trance and she tells Claire she’s not going to come play with her, dammit. Claire disappears and the twins go home.

By the way, it was brother Steven who slipped the fortune about Lila going bald into the fishbowl, so Lila retaliates by showing up at the house in a bald cap. Steven goes to his room and slams the door.


“I have you, Elizabeth. And you’ll be my friend forever and ever,” Claire said confidently.

Never trust someone who says you’ll be friends forever and ever.

The Cover: It looks like Liz is wearing a Hawaiian shirt and it gives this cover a ridiculous feel.

Sweet Valley Twins #43: Elizabeth’s First Kiss

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

SVT043The Moral of the Story: Once one kid has a boyfriend, they’re all gonna want one.

The Big Deal: Bowling. And love is in the air.


Liz has a crush on Todd Wilkins, but Jessica is interested in him, too, and it seems like he likes her. Jessica and the Unicorns are calling him Jessica’s boyfriend, which is kind of weird but whatever. So basically, this is a middle school version of Double Love. Liz asks for Jessica’s advice about boys, and she doesn’t like it when Jessica tells her to pretend to like the same stuff the boy likes. Jessica begs Liz to tell her who she likes, but Liz doesn’t want to tell her it’s Todd because ain’t nobody got time for that drama.

Jessica listens in on a phone conversation brother Steven has with a girl named Candice Stapleton, and she’s grossed out by their flirting. Later that night, Steven brings home a girl named Lindsay so they can watch the hockey game. Jessica wants to know why, since he doesn’t even like hockey, and Steven gets all embarrassed. Liz thinks it’s interesting that her brother is pretending to like stuff to impress a girl. Then Jessica sees Steven at the mall with Candice, and he’s got Lindsay over the next day to hang out. He doesn’t really like Candice but he doesn’t know how to get rid of her. Oh, Steven. I’ll save you the suspense and tell you he ends up with Lindsay.

Liz asks Jessica to give her a makeover, and she goes to school looking like Jessica. She doesn’t really like it, but, I mean, what did she expect? The Unicorns are in awe of Jessica’s work, and they watch as all the boys flock to Elizabeth. They see Jim Sturbridge handing Liz a piece of paper, and they get it into their heads that Jim is the boy Liz likes. Liz tells Jessica it isn’t Jim, but she still won’t say who it is and Jessica is FURIOUS.

The Unicorns spread a rumor that Liz is looking for a boyfriend, so Liz stops curling her hair because she’s humiliated. She doesn’t want anyone to think she’s changing her look to find a boyfriend. Liz tells Jessica she’ll never speak to her again unless she gets the Unicorns to stop spreading rumors about her. The Unicorns stop talking about her, but it’s too late. Liz’s milkshake brings all the boys to the yard and they won’t leave her alone. Randy Mason even gives her a bracelet, and Liz wants to cry when Todd sees them together. She’s really concerned that he thinks she’s actually out trolling for a boyfriend.

Jessica is super smart and she’s starting to think that maybe Todd really isn’t that interested in her. Whenever they talk, he always asks her about Liz. But she does manage to talk him and his friends into going bowling with her, Lila, and Ellen on Friday night. When they get to the bowling alley, pretty much everyone in school is there because these kids have a serious groupthink mentality going on. The Unicorns end up in a lane next to Bruce, Aaron, and some other guys, and Aaron starts flirting with Jessica. And by the way, isn’t Bruce in seventh grade? Doesn’t he have any friends in his own class? Just wondering.

When Liz gets to the bowling alley with Amy and Julie, the only lane open is the one next to Todd, Ken, and Tom McKay. Todd is being super nice to her, so Liz assumes he thinks she’s Jessica. When they have a minute alone, she tells him he’s got the wrong twin, but he tells her it was really Liz he liked all along, and he never believed the Unicorns’ rumor. They go to Casey’s Place to have milkshakes because that’s what adorable sixth graders do on dates. On the way back to the bowling alley, Todd kisses her cheek. Then Liz remembers that Jessica likes Todd and she feels totally guilty. Not to worry, though. They run into Jessica along the way, and she’s holding hands with Aaron.


She had known Todd since kindergarten. But since fourth grade, she really hadn’t seen much of him.

He’s probably been hanging out with Minkus and Mr. Turner in the other hallway.


The Cover: That shoe looks gigantic. I hate Todd’s face.

Sweet Valley Twins #42: Jessica’s Secret

Monday, May 5th, 2014

SVT042The Moral of the Story: Elizabeth Wakefield is more mature than you. Because she’s gotten her period.

The Big Deal: Trip to San Diego


Well, it’s finally happened. A Sweet Valley resident is having a normal bodily function. Elizabeth Wakefield has gotten her period. Blossomed into womanhood and all that. She assumes Jessica’s gotten hers, too, because they’re twins, but alas, Jessica is still just a little girl. Jess is bummed for a minute, but when Alice makes a big deal about the twins being so grown up now, she decides to make the best of things and ask if she and Liz can go to San Diego to visit their cousin Robin.

I guess the idea of being around two preteen girls on their period is rather frightening to the Wakefield parents, so they immediately agree to let the twins go to San Diego by themselves. Lila and the rest of the Unicorns are totally jealous, and they gush about it at lunch. (Gushing pun not intended, but I’m keeping it there.) Suddenly, however, the eighth-grade Unicorns start talking about PMS breakouts and junk, and Jessica gets all aggravated and resentful of people who have already gotten their periods. Jessica expresses this aggravation by making fun of Liz’s clothes.

When the twins get to San Diego, they find Robin has turned into another Jessica. She’s all into boys and makeup and she’s been invited to join a super exclusive club at school called the Jaguars. She tells the twins she has a sixteen-year-old boyfriend named Johnny who drives a red convertible, but it’s obvious to me that she’s lying. Then she starts yapping about how she sure could use a cigarette right about now. Oh, she’s just the coolest.

Robin’s parents tell her she can have a slumber party on the condition that she invite her old friend Becky. Becky was Robin’s best buddy before Robin was asked to join the Jaguars, but now Robin is much too mature for a goody-goody like her. I predict Becky and Liz will get along splendidly.

The “Jags” show up and act like snotty bitches. They haven’t brought sleeping bags or anything because slumber parties are sooooo lame, and they make fun of Becky for no reason. The only reason they bothered to show up at all is because they’ve decided tonight is the night for Robin’s initiation into the Jaguars. She has to sneak into Johnny’s house and get him to drive her to the park, where the Jags will be waiting for them. Liz thinks that doesn’t sound too difficult, considering Johnny is Robin’s boyfriend, but Robin seems awfully nervous.

Becky and Liz stay behind while Jessica and Robin leave with the rest of the bitches. Becky tells Liz a mysterious story about another Jag initiation; the girl being initiated was out of school for the next week and wouldn’t tell anyone what happened. Now Liz is afraid something will happen to Robin. Thanks, Beck. Meanwhile, Jessica and Robin walk to Johnny’s house, and Robin confesses along the way that Johnny doesn’t actually know who she is. She sneaks into his house anyway, only to discover that it is not, in fact, Johnny’s house.

Back at Robin’s, Liz is worrying herself sick. Robin’s little sister, Stacey, comes out for a glass of water, and she wakes up her parents when she discovers Robin and most of her friends missing. Robin’s parents take off to go look for them, and when they bring Robin and Jessica back to the house, Jessica is furious that Liz tattled (Liz doesn’t explain that she didn’t do the tattling). Liz and Becky sleep in the family room that night, and Liz sits outside with her while Becky waits for her dad to pick her up the next morning. This is where they would promise to find each other on Facebook, if such a thing had existed back then.

Jessica doesn’t speak to Liz until they’re about halfway home to Sweet Valley. They have to change buses, and Jessica, naturally, messes things up by wandering around the bus station while the bus pulls away. Luckily, I guess, Liz got off the bus to look for Jessica, so they’re stranded together. They make up because there’s really nothing better to do. Jessica apologizes for being so snotty. She confesses that she never got her period, and then she goes to the bathroom to discover she’s just gotten it. Hooray?


How much longer can I go on pretending? Jessica wondered. She knew that sooner or later someone was bound to figure out the awful truth.

She makes it sound like she’s murdered someone.

Robin: So, what do you think of the Jags?

Liz: Well, it’s awfully soon to judge. Besides, what I think isn’t important. It’s what you think that matters, Robin.

Oh, just say you hate them and be done with it.

The Cover: Ironically, that’s the face I make when I know my period is about to start.

Sweet Valley Twins #41: The Twins Get Caught

Friday, April 18th, 2014

SVT041The Moral of the Story: Your grandparents are probably cooler than you think.

The Big Deal: Big Party


Mrs. Wakefield’s parents are coming for a ten day visit, and Jessica is pissed that she has to move into Elizabeth’s room. She’s also concerned that she’s going to have to spend a lot of time with the old folks. There’s a ton of super fun Unicorn stuff coming up over the next week and Jessica doesn’t want to miss any of it. And Jessica is still angry that her parents won’t let her get her ears pierced because they think she’s too young. Which is just silly to me. In sixth grade I had three holes in each ear and a super cool pair of earrings that had three studs connected by a chain. The Wakefield parents are so uptight sometimes.

The grandparents get to town and everything they do and say makes the twins worry about how old and decrepit they’re getting. It’s stupid. Then brother Steven comes home from a party at the Hangout (super cool new teen club in town) and he’s got a black eye. Apparently a bunch of guys from Big Mesa were there and they were mad about a basketball game they lost to SVH a week ago. There was a big fight, and now Steven isn’t allowed to go to the Hangout anymore.

On Saturday morning, Liz gets up early to make a breakfast of oatmeal and soft boiled eggs for the grandparents (nobody else will eat it), and then the grandparents surprise her by asking her to go jogging around the block with them. And their frailty is never mentioned again. And in other news, Jessica hates Liz’s boring room, so she decides to decorate the walls with a bunch of purple ribbon and pictures cut out of magazines. Liz hates it. It’s never mentioned again and I don’t care.

Jessica goes to the mall with Ellen and Lila so Ellen can get her ears pierced. Jessica wants nothing to do with it so she wanders away by herself and runs into Todd Wilkins. I’m pretty sure this is Todd’s first appearance, but apparently Jessica has “always” thought he was cute, even though he never talks to girls. He asks if Liz is around, and then leaves in a hurry when Jessica says she’s not. Lila and Ellen are totally jealous that Todd talked to Jessica.

Aaron Dallas is going to have a party. It’s going to be the BIGGEST EVENT IN SWEET VALLEY HISTORY. Everyone is invited. Todd asks Jessica if she and Liz will be there, and seems happy when she says they will. Jessica assumes he’s in love with her. The problem with the party is that it’s going to be at the Hangout. As soon as the Wakefield parents find out, they forbid the twins from going.

Jessica is feeling horribly mistreated by her parents, so she gets her ears pierced. (I’m going to interject here just to ask if twelve-year-olds were really able to go to the mall and get their ears pierced without parental permission. Even back in 1990 when this book came out, I would think there would be rules about that sort of thing.) Her parents try to ground her, but Grandma saves the day when she says it was her fault for telling Jessica she thought twelve was old enough for earrings. Grandma also tries to get Mrs. Wakefield to let the twins go to the party, but Alice is being all parental for once and she won’t budge.

Lila goads Jessica into trying to sneak out to the party. While Jessica is trying to convince Liz to sneak out with her, the grandparents come in and overhear everything. And that’s them “getting caught.” Instead of getting them into trouble, the grandparents tell the parents that they should really let the twins go to the party. For some reason, the parents are more receptive this time and they let them go.

The party is marvelous. Todd asks Jessica to dance and now everyone thinks they’re going to be a couple. The grandparents finally go home and Jessica gets to move back into her room.


“Steven!” she cried. “Are you hurt?”

Steven was standing at the entry to the living room. The sleeve of his shirt was torn. There was a scratch on his face. And his left eye was beginning to turn several shades of purple.

Yes, I think it’s safe to say he’s hurt.

The Cover: I don’t even know what scene this is. I guess it’s Jessica on the phone with Lila. I wanted her hair so badly.

Sweet Valley Twins #40: Danny Means Trouble

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

SVT040The Moral of the Story: Celebrities fix everything.

The Big Deal: Big track meet, Parents’ Night

Classmate with a Problem: Danny Jackson, trouble


Danny Jackson is the best runner on the track team, but he’s a pain in the ass who’s always getting in trouble. After cutting off some of Julie Porter’s hair in class one day, the principal tells him he won’t be able to run track if he keeps screwing around. The next day, Danny is assigned all new classes, and now he’s in the twins’ homeroom and almost all of Jessica’s classes. In social studies, he draws a picture of Mrs. Arnette on the chalkboard while she’s out of the room, and in science class he and Ken get into a big fight. Somehow, he does not get kicked off the track team.

There’s a big track meet against Pinecrest, “the best school in the area.” Danny manages to break a school record, and Liz asks him some questions for the Sixers. When she mentions that his parents must be proud of him, Danny gets all pissed off and tells her to mind her own business. Jim Sturbridge tells Liz that Danny’s parents are scientists and they don’t really like sports.

In social studies one day, Danny tries to tell Mrs. Arnette that a good way to learn about the judicial system is the watch The Citizens’ Court, which sounds like a Judge Judy kind of show. Mrs. Arnette says television isn’t a good way to learn and she and Danny have a heated discussion that ends in a detention threat. And when he’s called on to read in English class, he suggests to a substitute teacher that they discuss what they’ve already read. When Mrs. Winderhoven (lol) doesn’t agree with him, he pretends there’s a mouse under his desk and makes everyone freak out. So, Danny is smart and cares about learning, he’s just got an issue with authority? Principal Clark says if Danny gets in trouble one more time, he’s off the track team. The next meet is three weeks away, and the twins are sure he won’t be able to stay out of trouble that long.

Meanwhile, Jessica notices that Bruce Patman is interested in one of the girls on the track team, so she decides she’ll be more appealing to him if she starts doing aerobics. She spends all weekend working out and by Monday morning she can barely move. And in other news, Lila is getting her ears pierced, so Jessica asks her parents if she can get hers pierced, too. Her parents decide she and Liz can both get their ears pierced when they’re fourteen. Jessica is not happy. Liz couldn’t care less.

And now it’s Parents’ Night at the middle school. It seems to consist of students and their parents roaming aimlessly around the school and stopping into whatever classroom they feel like visiting. The Wakefields go to their math classroom and overhear Ms. Wyler talking to Danny and his parents about his B grade. His parents are disappointed he’s not getting an A, and Ms. Wyler says he’s just having some trouble with the word problems. And then Liz hears them telling Mr. Bowman they think Danny should quit track so he’ll have more time for studying.

Liz asks Danny to look over her track article for the Sixers so he can make sure she’s got all his facts straight. It becomes immediately obvious that Danny doesn’t read very well. Liz tries to talk to him about it because she just can’t help herself, and Danny starts freaking out and ripping pages out of books and generally being a weirdo. Mr. Clark comes out of nowhere and takes him away to the principal’s office. Liz feels like it’s all her fault. She goes to Mr. Clark after school to tell him there’s a reason for Danny’s behavior, but she doesn’t want to tell him what it is so it’s kind of out of Mr. Clark’s hands. Danny is suspended from the track team.

Elizabeth has never felt more guilty about anything in her life, and she just has to tell someone Danny’s secret, so she chooses Jessica. Seems like a bad plan, but maybe Jessica won’t tell anyone. Liz also tells her father. Both Jessica and Mr. Wakefield tell her to let Danny sort it out on his own because it’s not her place to tell his teachers.

The twins read an article about Greg Voynow (lol), an Olympic runner who couldn’t read until he was nineteen. Liz writes him a letter and of course he calls right away and offers to come to Sweet Valley the next day and talk to Danny. So this grown man comes to meet Danny at school, talks to him for a minute about running, and then lures him away in his car to get some ice cream so they can talk. Seems legit. They go to Casey’s Place and eat sundaes while Greg tells Danny all about his own learning disability. Danny agrees to talk to Mr. Bowman the next day. Meanwhile, Liz is upset that Jessica got to meet Greg and she couldn’t because there was a Sixers emergency. Greg is gorgeous and Liz has her first crush.

Danny tells Mr. Bowman about his troubles and starts getting tutored. Mr. Clark lets him back on the track team and they win the next big meet. Greg Voynow comes to school to give a lecture about education and learning disabilities, and he calls Liz on stage to thank her for getting in touch with him. He kisses her on the cheek and Jessica is furious.

Update on Jessica’s workout obsession: She runs through the park one day in her super cool purple aerobic tights. Bruce Patman and Jake Hamilton are there and they make fun of her clothes and of how slow she’s running. Another day, she runs to the beach and discovers she has a blister. Jake Hamilton happens to be there and he offers to have his mom drive her home. Jessica is embarrassed, and when she gets home she weighs herself and discovers she’s gained three pounds. She decides to give up on working out.


“That’s funny. You don’t look like you gained any weight,” Lila remarked.

“I didn’t!” Jessica said.

“Then why would you want to exercise?” Lila asked.

My thoughts exactly.


“Do you have trouble reading?” she asked. “Because if you do, I—“

Danny scowled. “Just leave me alone, will you?” he almost yelled. “Stop being such a pain!”

For real, just leave everyone alone.

The Cover: That kid looks ANGRY! And he looks like he’s about five, which is weird. Loving Liz’s floodpants.