Posts Tagged ‘Dance’

Sweet Valley Twins #37: The War Between the Twins

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

SVT037The Moral of the Story: Things always work out for Wakefields.

The Big Deal: School dance

Classmate with a Problem: Twins, fighting

Synopsis:

The Unicorns have been getting pissy with Liz because she never prints anything about the Unicorns and their shopping trips in the school paper. Liz tells Jessica she can write an article and she promises it will appear in the next issue, but apparently there’s just too much news going on right now and she has to leave the article out. Jessica is spending the night at Lila’s that night, so Liz has to wait until school the next morning to tell her the bad news. She thinks this conversation is much too important to have over the phone. So of course she isn’t able to get to Jessica before Jessica sees that her article is missing from the paper. Jessica is furious. She says the Unicorns are going to start their own newspaper. God, that’s going to be so awful. Can you imagine?

The Unicorns have a meeting to discuss newspaper business. Janet appoints herself editor-in-chief and lays out all the other decisions they’ll have to make, like who the other editors are and how many pages the paper will be. At the end of the day, the only thing they’ve decided on is that it should be printed on purple paper. At the next meeting, Janet, sick of the indecision, just assigns positions and tasks to everyone and decides on the name The Unicorn News, which everyone hates. Janet appoints Jessica as news editor, her second-in-command. Jessica is really happy about it until Janet starts giving her everyone’s articles and telling her to correct their spelling. Janet has a super important dance to plan, so she can’t be bothered with newspaper stuff right now.

Mary and Jessica are the only ones really taking things seriously, and they spend all weekend putting the paper together while the rest of the Unicorns go shopping and whatnot. And then they’re told they can’t use the ditto machine on Monday, which sucks because they wanted their paper to come out on Tuesday, the day before the Sixers. They aren’t able to use the machine until Thursday, and that’s when they discover the purple paper Lila bought is almost the same color as the ink and the paper is impossible to read. Still, the girls are sure everyone will want to read their paper, and they’re flabbergasted when almost nobody takes a copy.

Most of the Unicorns want to give up on the paper, but Jessica convinces them not to. Janet reluctantly agrees, but appoints Jessica as editor-in-chief because Janet herself is much too busy with the dance committee. Jessica actually seems to have a grasp of how things should be going. She decides to change the name to The Middle School News, print it on white paper, and make it four pages instead of eight. She also decides they won’t post just Unicorn stuff (they printed the minutes from their last meeting in the first paper, complete with a ten minute argument about what the Unicorns’ least favorite color is), but nobody can think of what they actually should print. Then Lila comes up with the idea of a fake interview with Donny Diamond, some famous rock star.

The Donny Diamond interview is a huge success. The Unicorns have to print more copies of their paper, while almost nobody is reading the stupid Sixers with its article about the cafeteria staff. Liz and Amy are feeling pretty crappy about it, and then Nora tells them the Unicorns are hanging posters advertising their next issue, in which Donny Diamond will be answering students’ questions. Liz is surprised Jessica never mentioned an interview with Donny Diamond, but she knows Lila works in the music industry and figures it’s all above board.

While going through questions for Donny’s column, the Unicorns find a letter that says the sender doesn’t think Donny actually knows the Unicorns and they should print a picture of them and Donny together in the next issue to prove it. Jessica manages to find a picture of all the Unicorns posing with Janet’s brother, Sam, and she pastes a picture of Donny’s head over Sam’s head. The Unicorns charge fifteen cents for the paper and end up making forty-five dollars. Meanwhile, Lila is in charge of the music for the upcoming dance, and she’s been advertising a mystery guest because she hasn’t come up with any ideas for music yet. Ticket sales are going crazy, and I’m guessing it’s because everyone thinks the mystery guest will be Donny Diamond, seeing as how he’s an honorary Unicorn now.

Letters keep coming in with questions for Donny. Even Ms. Langberg, the gym teacher, asks Jessica all kinds of uncomfortable questions about how they met Donny and what he’s like. But the Unicorns have already answered all the easy ones and these questions are harder. They also get another letter from the person who doesn’t believe Donny knows the Unicorns. This person says he/she knows the photo was a fake. Jessica is convinced it’s the Sixers staff sending the letters. I think it’s probably Ms. Langberg.

Liz starts hearing rumors that Donny Diamond will be at the dance. She knows that ain’t never gonna happen, and she tries to tell Jessica how disappointed people are going to be when Donny isn’t there, but Jessica just accuses her of writing those letters and runs off to find Lila. She tells Lila about the rumors and Lila freaks out because she still hasn’t found a mystery guest for the dance. Jessica and Lila try to talk to Janet, but she just says rumors are good for business. That’s not helpful, especially since brother Steven tells Jessica the news is all over the high school and the students there are getting their younger siblings to buy tickets to the dance so they can hear Donny Diamond. Then Lila tells Jessica her music industry uncle just called. He completely forgot he was supposed to be looking for someone for Lila’s dance, and it’s too late now to get anyone.

Ms. Langberg pulls Jessica and Lila aside the next morning and asks them point blank if they know Donny Diamond. Since they’re being asked by a teacher, they have no choice but to tell her the truth. Ms. Langberg tells them she understands how things got carried away and aggressively suggests that the dance is the perfect place to apologize to the whole school for lying. When she asks Lila who the mystery guest actually is and Lila tells her there isn’t one, Ms. Langberg says she’ll get her accordion-playing cousin and his band, Donald Kaminsky and the Polka Dots, to play and everything will be fine. The girls feel like they have to agree. I’m taking bets now on what Donny Diamond’s real name is.

At the dance, Lila and Jessica get up on stage and explain everything. It does not go over well. The crowd is booing and hissing, so the girls run off stage. Then the curtains sweep back and there’s a weird looking guy with crazy red hair and nerdy glasses playing the accordion. The crowd starts chanting, “WE WANT DONNY.” So Donald Kaminsky takes off his wig and glasses, grabs a guitar and starts playing. He was Donny Diamond all along, guys.

After Donny’s set, Ms. Langberg calls Jessica and Lila backstage and introduces them to Donny. He chastises them for telling lies about him and says he was the one who sent the letters. He showed up tonight because Ms. Langberg told him lots of people were expecting him and he didn’t want people to be disappointed. He approves when the girls tell him they’ll use the money they made from the newspapers for something the whole school can use and that they won’t be printing anymore newspapers. Then he tells them to round up the rest of the Unicorns so they can get a real picture taken with him. What a really nice guy.

Oh, the twins have made up at some point during all this, and Liz offers to let Jessica write an article about Donny’s appearance at the dance for the next issue of the Sixers.

Quotes:

How did all this begin? And where is it going to end? Elizabeth wondered.

Melodramatic tween is melodramatic.

“This list is much too long,” Janet said authoritatively. “The editors can come up with a shorter one.” Since there were no editors, it was not clear just when there would be a shorter list. Nobody seemed to mind.

This cracked me up because it reads like Douglas Adams. I’m sure that was unintentional.

“Editor-in-chief, huh?” asked the twins’ fourteen-year-old brother, Steven. “I guess we’ll have to call you Big Chief Jessie.” He put his hand to his mouth and did an Indian war-whoop. “Woo-woo-woo-woo.”

You’re hilarious, Steven. No, really. Super funny.

The Cover: I always loved the way Jessica looked on this cover. High-waisted jeans notwithstanding.

Sweet Valley Twins #33: Elizabeth’s New Hero

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

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

Synopsis:

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.

Quotes:

“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:

 

 

Sweet Valley Twins Super Edition #3: The Big Camp Secret

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

The Moral of the Story: Run away to camp if you want your parents to stop fighting.

The Big Deal: Summer camp

Classmate with a Problem: Grace Oliver, fighting parents

Synopsis:

The twins and all their friends are excited because it’s suddenly summer and they’re all going to Camp Laconda. Well, not everyone: Grace Oliver can’t go because her parents are thinking about getting a divorce. Mr. and Mrs. Oliver have decided to take separate vacations while they think things through, and instead of letting Grace go to camp and have some fun, they’re making her stay with her godmother. Lila can’t go either because she’s going to Paris instead. Jessica is determined to make summer camp more exciting than Paris. Good luck, Jess.

Mrs. Edwards, the camp director, tells a ghost story the first night at camp. It’s about an Indian girl named Crying Moon who died searching for her lost love, Running Bear. When Jessica sees a light on in the shack on Crying Moon Mountain later, she dares Liz and Amy to climb up there the next night. She goes with them, and in a creepy shack that reminds me of Jacob’s cabin on LOST, the girls find Grace Oliver. She didn’t feel like going to her godmother’s so she ran away to camp. Jessica and the rest of Bunk Seven invite her to hang around with them during the day. With so many girls at camp, they figure nobody will notice an extra one.

All the other campers find out, but they think it’s totally fun and they have a good time hiding Grace. But there’s a girl in Bunk Three named Barbara Fields who’s moody and lame, and Liz is afraid she’s going to tattle. Instead, Barbara covers for Grace one night when the counselors do a head count. Not out of the goodness of her heart, you understand. There’s an empty bed in Bunk Seven, and Barbara moves in to make everyone miserable. She blackmails the whole camp and makes everyone do whatever she wants, under the threat that she’ll tell Mrs. Edwards about Grace if they don’t.

Meanwhile, Jessica is determined to get Mrs. Edwards to let the girls have a dance with the boys’ camp across the lake. She’s been passing a petition around, and she takes a canoe out to where the boys are swimming one day and asks them to get some signatures at their camp, too. When Bunk Seven goes on an overnight camping trip in the woods, the boys show up with three pages of signatures. (They don’t even get in trouble, what kind of camp is this?) Jessica is about to present the petition to Mrs. Edwards when Barbara tells her to forget it because she doesn’t want a dance. Jessica is livid.

Grace has been spending a lot of time creating a clay sculpture of a horse. It’s pretty good and she’s sad she can’t enter it in the arts and crafts contest. She’s upset when she sees it on display with Barbara’s name on it. Everyone at camp gets mad at Barbara when she gets the first place trophy, and Grace doesn’t like that everyone has to put up with Barbara’s shit just because of her. The next morning, Barbara disappears for a while and comes back with an envelope with Liz’s name on it. It’s a note from Grace; she’s decided to go to her godmother’s. But now it’s raining and the girls are worried about Grace trying to walk to the bus station.

The twins tell Mrs. Edwards everything and the camp is divided into search parties. Barbara runs off when nobody wants her in their group. She goes to the shack on the hill and finds Grace there. Grace was on her way to the bus station that morning, but turned back when the rain started. She twisted her ankle on her way back up the hill, and while looking for something to wrap it with, she found some letters in a drawer. Barbara has been coming up to the cabin every day (I guess while Grace was having fun at camp) and crying over the letters her crappy divorced parents have been sending her. Grace mentions the letters and tries to bond with Barbara, but Barb’s pissed. She runs out the door, and then lightning strikes the shack’s roof.

The cabin is on fire. Barbara runs back inside and finds Grace motionless on the floor. Why is she motionless on the floor? Don’t know. Barbara wakes her up and drags her out just as the search party makes it up the hill. Grace’s parents are there and they tell her they’re going to stop fighting so much and then they tell her she can stay at camp. Grace tells everyone Barbara saved her life and Barbara opens up about her family problems. The dance is a success and everyone goes home happy.

Quotes:

After dinner the girls all lined up outside the auditorium for a special showing of Old Yeller. Elizabeth loved the book and couldn’t wait to see the movie. Everyone was excited.

I bet they didn’t feel so good about it after the movie was over. What an awful thing to show a bunch of kids at camp.

“You know, Barbara, you’ve really changed,” Elizabeth said seriously. “I wouldn’t have thought it a week ago, but I really think of you as a friend.”

Shut up, Liz, I hate you.

The Cover: The cover had me convinced there would be ghosts. There were no ghosts. Disappointment.

Sweet Valley Twins #23: Claim to Fame

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

The Moral of the Story: Footballs from the 60s bring families together.

The Big Deal: Time capsule contest

Classmate with a Problem: George Henkel, estranged from father

Synopsis:

Sweet Valley Middle School opened twenty-five years ago. To celebrate the anniversary, the school is going to bury a time capsule to be opened another twenty-five years from now. (Incidentally, that would be in 2013. That’s next year. OMG, I’m so old.) To get the kids into it, there’s going to be a contest. Four-person groups will try to find three things that best represent the 60s – because that’s when the school opened –  and whoever finds the most awesome things will get their pictures put into the time capsule. The Unicorns are determined to win because they want everlasting fame. And I guess we’re putting the things from the 60s into a time capsule in the 80s. I don’t really get it.

Liz, Amy and Julie get stuck with a kid named George Henkel. He’s quiet and morose and totally uncommunicative when Liz asks him why he doesn’t live with his father. Mr. Howard Henkel is a wheelchair-bound curmudgeon who lives near the Wakefields. Liz goes to his house sometimes and helps out around the house. Liz is looking through newspapers from the 60s and she finds out Mr. Henkel was a football player. He won some special game for the SVMS team and was given the football from the game. Liz asks George if his dad still has the ball, and George says he didn’t know anything about it because he doesn’t talk to his father.

Liz talks to her own father and finds out Mr. Henkel went off to Vietnam and came back in a wheelchair. His wife died when George was a baby, and then George went to live with his aunt and uncle. Liz thinks it’s tragic, but Ned tells her she should leave it alone. Ned clearly doesn’t know his daughter very well. The next time Liz goes to see Mr. Henkel, she asks him about the big game. He tells her all about it and even shows her the magical football. But he gets crabby when she asks if she can have it for the time capsule. He says it’s all he has.

The school is planning a 60s-style dance and Liz tells George he should go with her, Amy and Julie. At the dance, Liz notices George noticing Nora Mercandy, so she suggests he go ask her to do the twist with him. Everyone has a great time, and George is so relaxed and happy that he finally agrees to talk to his father about getting that football. George shows up at the Wakefield house the next day to tell Liz that his dad sucks and won’t let him have his super important football.

Later that day, Jessica goes to Mr. Henkel’s house to drop off some books Liz got for him. Mr. Henkel thinks she’s Liz and he gives her the football, babbling about how he should have treated his son better and not letting Jessica get a word in to say she’s not Elizabeth. Once she has her hands on the football, though, she shuts up and starts daydreaming about how her team is going to win the time capsule contest. By lunchtime on Monday, everyone at school has heard about Jessica getting the football. The Unicorns are impressed. Liz is not. Liz gets the truth out of Jessica and makes her hand over the football. When Liz tries to give it to George, he says he doesn’t want it unless his father gives it to him in person. So Liz tells Mr. Henkel and Mr. Henkel gets crabby and says the deal’s off.

Time’s up and everyone goes to the big ceremony at school. Jessica’s team has found a movie poster, a Beatles record and an old fashion magazine. Liz’s team has an autographed picture of President Kennedy and a textbook from the first year the school was open. They weren’t able to find a third item. But wait! In the middle of the ceremony, Mr. Henkel makes a dramatic entrance, wheeling himself onto the field, football in his lap. He goes straight to the stage and talks to Mr. Clark, who calls George to the stage.

Mr. Henkel makes a big speech about looking forward instead of backward and then he hands the ball to George. Big hug, Liz’s team wins, everyone is happy except the Unicorns. Jessica’s silver lining is that Liz is getting her picture put in the time capsule and people might mistake her for Jessica.

Setup for the next book: the twins think their mother is having an affair.

Quotes:

“The Unicorns are very happy about this,” [Janet] told Jessica. “This is a great accomplishment and we won’t forget it.”

Sometimes Janet sounds like a mob boss.

The Cover: I have always loved this cover. I think it’s because I’m obsessed with the 60s and 70s.

Sweet Valley High Senior Year #46: Prom Night

Monday, May 31st, 2010

The Moral of the Story: If you want to have a bad time, go to prom with Trent.

The Big Deal: Prom at the beach!

Synopsis:

Liz and Jeff: The whole gang gets together at House of Java and Andy starts talking about his plans to go to New York next year to try his hand at stand up comedy. Jeff starts going on and on about how horrible New York is and how glad he is that he decided not to go to NYU. Liz is really irritated with Jeff these days because he’s acting so weird, but he can’t figure out why she’s so upset.

Jeff has begged Liz to let him write an article for The Oracle, but he can’t come up with a good story idea. He eventually decides to recycle an essay from last year, and he goes over to Liz’s with a report about The Catcher in the Rye. Liz recognizes it because Mr. Collins read it in front of the class last year. She doesn’t know what Jeff’s deal is, but she tells him she can’t put a book report in the newspaper and she’ll just have to call Maria to see if she has anything to fill the space. Jeff stays up all night writing an article about the pressure seniors feel to choose a career path, and he gives it to Liz the next morning. She says it’s perfect.

Andy and Dave: Dave is going to school in New York next year and he’s acting kind of weird about Andy joining him. Then when they go to get their tuxes for prom, Dave doesn’t seem to want the clerk to know he and Andy are going together. Andy gets pissed and starts yelling at Dave in the parking lot. He says if Dave is ashamed or embarrassed by him, then maybe he just shouldn’t go to the prom with him. Dave says that’s fine and drives away. Andy tells Six all about it, and she says she and Andy should go together. Andy sends Tia an email about how bummed he is to not be going with Dave, and Tia forwards the email to Dave and tells him to come to the prom.

Tia and Trent: There’s a policy in place that says only SVH seniors can be elected prom king and queen, which means nobody whose date is from another school can be elected. Trent decides he wants to make Tia’s prom super special, so he anonymously gets on the SVH virtual bulletin board and proposes a policy change. The response is overwhelming and the change is made. Meanwhile, Tia is wondering why everyone cares so much about something so stupid. She’s totally not interested in being prom queen.

Trent and Jeremy go to the One Stop Prom Shop (ugh) to get their tuxes. Jeremy has a swatch of fabric from Jessica’s dress and a picture of the flowers she wants for her corsage, and Trent has nothing. He makes fun of Jeremy for being whipped and says he’s taking care of all of this on his own to show Tia how much he cares. When the saleslady asks Trent what kind of corsage he wants, he says he wants a wreath for Tia’s hair. Jeremy and the saleslady try to talk him out of it, but Trent is sure he knows what he’s doing. Then he decides that instead of riding in the limo with everyone else, he and Tia will get their own. Unfortunately, all the smaller size limos are taken, so Trent ends up reserving a horse drawn carriage.

Trent makes another post on the SVH bulletin board, asking for people to vote for him and Tia as king and queen. Tia freaks out. She calls Trent and yells at him, telling him she does not want to be queen. She also tells him she wanted to pick out tux and corsage stuff together. Trent feels dumb.

Pre-Prom Madness: The girls spend all day at the Wakefield house getting ready, and then Jeff and Jeremy show up. Liz and Jeff go to Jeff’s car to get her corsage, and a bunch of papers fall out of the glove box. Among them is a rejection letter from NYU. Because the glove box is where you keep stuff like that. Liz realizes Jeff’s new look and personality are all because of the rejection, and she’s super pissed that he didn’t just tell her the truth.

Trent is really late and Tia is getting nervous. She’s horrified when he shows up in a horse drawn carriage, and even more horrified when he tries to put the wreath of flowers on her head. Luckily, Jessica pushes him out of the way before he can do too much damage to Tia’s hairdo. Everyone is supposed to go to a pre-prom party at Maria’s (huh, remember Maria?), and Tia is surprised when the carriage pulls up in front of the fanciest restaurant in town instead of Maria’s house. She manages to step in horse manure, and everyone in the restaurant gives her dirty looks because she smells like shit. She manages to clean up her shoe and get rid of the wreath, but then the whole menu is in French, so Tia isn’t quite sure what she’s ordering. She’s disgusted when the waiter brings her a whole fish, scales and all. Trent’s food doesn’t look much better, so they just pay the $120 check and leave.

At the Prom: Six goes off to try to talk to this senior guy she has a crush on, but he shoots her down. Andy finds her and comforts her, and she leans over to give him a kiss on the cheek. She misses and gets his lips instead, and that is, of course, when Dave finds them. He’s a little freaked out, but Andy chases after him and they make up and everything is great. The only reason Dave didn’t want Andy to come to New York with him was because he was worried Andy would resent him or something if his comedy career didn’t work out.

Tia and Trent are crowned king and queen. Tia reluctantly gets up onstage, but starts crying when she’s told they’ve won a gift certificate to the French restaurant from earlier. Trent tries to kiss her, but she walks offstage. Melissa says something snotty because she’s pissed she and Will didn’t win, and Tia throws her crown at her before storming off. Tia tells Trent she hates that he changed all their prom plans, Trent apologizes, and Tia eventually sees the humor in the situation.

Liz spent all of Maria’s party glaring at Jeff, and he finally tries to talk to her in the middle of the dance floor. She tells him he’s changed and she doesn’t like the new him. They break up, and Liz goes for a walk up the beach. And who should she find sitting on the beach and playing his guitar? That’s right, Conner. Todd’s car broke down, so Conner gave him and Megan a ride to the prom. Conner and Liz chat for a minute, and then she asks him to dance. They dance…and then they kiss. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Quotes:

“Mmmm. Thanks,” she said, tearing off a piece of the bagel and plopping it into her mouth.

Ew! Why can’t these ghostwriters talk about food without making me want to throw up?

The Cover: Tia certainly looks happy for someone having the worst prom experience ever.

Sweet Valley High Senior Year #39: Best of Enemies

Friday, May 14th, 2010

The Moral of the Story: Any excuse for a dance, right?

The Big Deal: President’s Day dance

Synopsis:

Melissa is a manipulative bitch: Melissa is totally pissed that Will kissed another girl, but she figures he can make it up to her and then things will be back to normal. So she goes to school all ready to listen to his groveling, and she’s thoroughly confused when Will never shows up at her locker. She finally sees him near the end of the day and he tells her he thinks they should break up. The cheerleaders have to organize a President’s Day dance (don’t ask), and Melissa is determined that she and Will are back together before the dance can happen, and that way she won’t have to go dateless and nobody will ever know about the breakup.

Melissa and Jessica are both assigned to work on music for the dance, and neither one of them is happy about it. Melissa is so depressed about Will that she just tells Jessica to do all the work herself. Jessica makes some crappy flyers to let everyone know she’s looking for a band (aw, I guess the Droids broke up or are no longer the go-to band for dances), and then gets pissed when Melissa says she sent a mass email to the students telling them when their bands could audition. Jessica thinks the best way to get back at Melissa (for what, actually helping?) is to overwhelm her with work. So she gets Jeremy to put up flyers at Big Mesa and Steven to put up flyers at the university.

Audition time rolls around and Jessica the genius has a headache from listening to so many terrible bands. She really didn’t think this one through. A couple of girls are gossiping outside the auditorium, and Jessica hears them say Will dumped Melissa after he made out with Erika Brooks. Melissa freaks out and leaves, and Jessica actually feels bad for her. Why? Some guy named Ronald comes up to Jessica and gives her a CD. Ronald and Jessica apparently shared a locker back in eighth grade and now he’s a DJ. He offers to work at the dance for a sweetly discounted price. Jessica hires him.

After a weird pep talk from her mother (“remind Will of what he’s missing”), Melissa decides to go snag a college boy toy. She puts on a black leather miniskirt, heads out to the SVU campus and crashes the first party she can find. She starts flirting with a good looking guy, but backs off when he introduces himself as Steve Wakefield. She finds what seems to be the most lecherous guy in the room, Kel, and makes vaguely sexy promises to show him a good time if he’ll go with her to the SVH dance. Kel, apparently willing to go to considerable lengths for jailbait, agrees.

Andy and Dave are gay: Dave’s father has been avoiding him since Dave announced he’s gay, but his mom is really cool. Dave tells her about Andy, and Ms. Niles insists on taking the two of them to dinner so she can meet him. Andy sweeps her off her feet and the three of them have a lovely time together, so Andy thinks everything is awesome now. He can’t believe it when Dave doesn’t want to go to the dance with him.

At the dance: Andy is overjoyed when Dave shows up after all. Alanna kind of freaks out a little when she realizes someone has spiked the punch, but she manages not to drink any. Melissa, on the other hand, gets totally sloshed and Will is sickened because she’s letting Kel put his hands all over her. Will is having a bad time anyway because Erika is pretty much ignoring him, and the night just gets worse when he and Melissa are voted as President and First Lady (because it’s a President’s Day dance, of course). Melissa gets angry about this for some reason and makes a huge scene. She tells Will that she and Kel are leaving to have some “real fun.”

After they leave, Ronald the DJ tells Jessica that Kel is a total perv whose dad has a lot of money so “charges against him tend to get dropped.” Kel apparently did something to one of Ronald’s friends, and he’s worried something bad is going to happen to Melissa. Jessica finds them in the parking lot. She can tell Melissa doesn’t really want to be anywhere near Kel, so she makes something up about Melissa needing to come back inside. Kel starts to get fresh, but Jeremy and Trent come out as backup. Kel leaves and Jeremy and Jessica take Melissa home. Jessica thinks Melissa is asleep in the backseat and she tells Jeremy she was really looking forward to the dance because it would have been their first dance together. Melissa hears this and leaves a CD in the car for Jessica and Jeremy to listen to. They pop it in and dance around in Melissa’s driveway. I think. I kind of stopped paying attention toward the end there.

Quotes:

Mrs. Fox: It’s very simple, Melissa. All you have to do is remind Will of what he’s missing.

Melissa: You think I should just prance around in some hot outfit and flirt with other guys until Will starts paying attention again?

Mrs. Fox: That is precisely what I think.

Well, at least we know Melissa comes by her crazy honestly. It clearly runs in the family.

The Cover: I think I’d look pretty bitchy too if I had a Wakefield giving me pitying looks all the time.

Sweet Valley High Senior Year #23: Falling Apart

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

The Moral of the Story: Homecoming is the best time to start making out with your ex-boyfriend’s best friend.

The Big Deal: Homecoming

Synopsis:

Conner’s father has left him alone pretty much all weekend, and Conner’s annoyed by his lack of interest. He goes to a park and drinks the bottle of vodka he had in his trunk, and then he goes to the bar where he and his dad got drunk together the other night. He’s feeling pretty good until some redneck puts a country song on the jukebox. Conner flips out and tries to attack the guy, but he’s too drunk and his swing totally misses. The bartender shoves him into a booth where he just sort of puts his head down and spaces out for a while, and a little while later his father comes and drags him away. He puts him in a car, and then Conner blacks out.

Conner wakes up the next morning in a hospital bed. His father looks disgusted as he explains that Conner drank so much he got alcohol poisoning and could have died. The boy finally gets it through his fat head that he has a problem, and he calls his mother and tells her he’s coming home and wants to check into rehab.

Back in Sweet Valley, Liz is sitting around feeling sorry for herself and avoiding Evan’s calls because she doesn’t know what to say to him. Jessica is angry about all the time Liz has been spending with Evan because she doesn’t think Liz should be pursuing a guy Jessica used to date. Yeah, because Jessica has never done that to Liz. Liz keeps trying to tell herself she doesn’t like Evan that way.

Homecoming is just around the corner and Liz is on the planning committee with Jessica, but quits after Jessica yells at her about Evan. Maria quits because she’d rather mope about her breakup with Ken. Tia tries to quit because she doesn’t want to hang out with Liz after their fight about Evan, but Jessica tells her Liz isn’t on the committee anymore so Tia won’t have to deal with her.

A Wakefield family dinner is interrupted by the doorbell. Liz is shocked to see Conner at the door. She invites him in and he tells her he’s going to rehab. He leans toward her like he’s going to kiss her or something, and she instinctively backs away. She realizes she doesn’t love him anymore and wants him to leave. Conner seems to sense something like that, so he tells her they should take a break. Even though she agrees, Liz is of course pissed off that he doesn’t want to be with her anymore. Whatever.

Tia and Liz apologize to each other, and Tia sort of gives Liz and Evan her blessing. So when Evan asks Liz to the homecoming dance, she accepts. She tells Jessica she’s going with him and can’t figure out why Jessica is so mad. Jessica says she’d been planning on asking Evan to the dance and now she has to go dateless.

Will is still sulking about his knee and refusing to go back to school or let Melissa come over. She finally gets fed up when she calls and his mother says he’s not there even though Melissa can hear him in the background saying he doesn’t want to talk to her. She hangs up, and then Ken calls. He asks her to go to homecoming – just as friends – and Melissa thinks it’s a great way to get back at Will for being such a jackass.

There’s some boring stuff about Andy not doing well in school again and also getting all whiny about the fact that Conner only went to see Liz and Tia in person to tell them he was back and going to rehab, and didn’t come to see Andy at all. In the end, Conner sends Andy an email to apologize that he didn’t have time before leaving for the clinic, and also for blowing him off when Andy came to him with his concerns about being gay. Andy is placated.

Tia, Andy and Jessica go to prom together and have a nice friendly time. Jeremy shows up with Jade, but she’s freaking weird and she spends the whole night dancing with everyone but him. Jessica notices Jeremy standing by himself and goes over to talk to him. She doesn’t want to be a bitch, so she tries to tell him to work things out with Jade even though she really wants him for herself. So selfless. Of course, Jeremy is sickened by the way Jade’s acting and doesn’t even care about her anymore, and he’s bummed that Jessica is so obviously over him. Ugh. Liz and Evan dance together and then kiss in the middle of the dance floor.

The Cover: Liz is brooding, I guess. You know, ‘cause she’s Falling Apart.

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

Monday, February 15th, 2010

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?

Sweet Valley High #143: Party Weekend

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

SVH143Read part one of this miniseries here. Read part two here.

The Moral of the Story: Screw finding a moral, I barely even know what this one is supposed to be about. This is even worse than the damned werewolf books.

The Big Deal: Brunch party at Lila’s, inter-school fair, dance and talent show

Synopsis:

The morning after the prom, Jessica drags Liz over to Lila’s brunch party so they can confront her about teaming up with Courtney and trying to steal Devon. The three of them start arguing on Lila’s front lawn about who should really get Devon, but then the man himself shows up and tells them all to fuck off. Then Olivia gets there and says she has some important news.

Apparently, it’s a tradition in Sweet Valley to have an inter-school fair the day after prom. It’s a big deal. There’s some kind of contest to get the juniors excited about their senior year, but the details are kept secret until the last minute. Olivia is SVH’s leader, and she tells everyone she just heard that the contest is going to be a talent show. They have two days to put together an awesome act.

Everyone heads on over to Palisades High for the fair. Except they don’t even do any fair-type stuff because they have to work on their talent show act. As soon as they get there, Jessica and Olivia have a run-in with Erica Dixon, the El Carro team’s captain. She’s a total bitch and steals SVH’s practice space for some reason. Jessica is pissed that Olivia is content to just let Erica push her around, so she vows to get even. Then she walks outside and sees Christian Gorman leaning against a tree. And he disappears. Great, just what this series needs: ghosts.

The number SVH puts together for the show is a dance routine to the song Opposites Attract, and it will feature a “good twin, evil twin” theme. Naturally. Olivia has Liz and Devon go to the Wakefields’ house to get stuff from the twins’ rooms that they can use as set dressing to show a contrast between the twins. Things are really awkward between Liz and Devon. Meanwhile, Olivia has the worst self-esteem in the world, and she gets all bent out of shape when Ken hears about the problem with Erica and says he thinks Erica is nice. Everyone eats lunch together and Jessica spills some grape juice on Erica’s shirt. Erica freaks out and threatens to kill everyone. Later, Ken tells Olivia she should apologize to her.

This plot is a freaking mess.

There’s a big dance that night for all the schools. Olivia won’t go because she’s so afraid of seeing Erica. She and Ken have a fight about it and she tells him to go without her and then gets depressed when he actually does it. Jessica has managed to get a date with a Palisades guy named Josh Brighton, and he shows up at the Wakefields’ house with Christian’s ghost, who actually turns out to be Christian’s brother, Jason. After Jessica faints and wakes up, she gets Liz to join them and go to the dance. When they get there, the only nice girl from El Carro’s team, Tia, tells them they’d better go check out their practice area. It’s been totally trashed. Everything has been spray painted with El Carro’s colors. Jessica gets Lila and Maria to agree to sneaking back late that night and trashing El Carro’s stuff. She’s waiting for them to come pick her up, and then suddenly Christian is sitting on her bed. He’s come to remind her that it was a school war just like this one that caused his death. When Lila and Maria show up, Jessica tells them the plan is off.

Deep breaths. Go to a zen place. It’s the only way we’re getting through this. Don’t worry, it’s almost over.

The next day, everyone trudges back to Palisades High to practice some more and to clean up the mess El Carro made. And suddenly, Jessica gets it into her head that she should use the auditorium’s rigging from their last production of Peter Pan to fly down onto the stage as a grand finale. Ken overhears some El Carro kids talking about cutting the ropes, and he finally gets that Erica is a bitch and Olivia was right all along.

That night, Sweet Valley is just about to go on when Jessica starts throwing up. I guess she’s sick and there’s no way she can go on. Everyone is about to call it quits and go home, but Jessica tells Olivia to take her place. Suddenly, Olivia knows how to dance. Erica doesn’t cut the ropes, but she does turn off the lights just as Olivia is climbing the scaffolding to get to the ropes. She falls and ends up hanging from the rafters, and Ken gets to rush in and be all heroic and save her.

A big fight breaks out on stage between El Carro and Sweet Valley. Palisades takes Sweet Valley’s side because I guess they’re allies now. Jessica is back in the projection room with Josh, and she’s sure someone is going to get hurt or killed. A well timed projection of a picture of Christian quiets everyone down. And they all lived happily ever after, except for Todd, who sees everyone hanging out at the Dairi Burger later and gives them all a “hurt look.”

Worst. Book. Ever.

Quotes:

I am not going to let Jessica Wakefield or anyone else destroy my self-confidence! [Olivia] vowed.

Not that they’d have far to go if you did.

He’s really nice – and hot! she thought. I’ll bet Josh could help keep my mind off Christian.

Right. When I start seeing my ex’s ghost, a new boyfriend is just the thing to help me get over it.

Elizabeth listened for her cue, then shimmied toward the center as her twin did the same from the other side. She and Jessica joined hands, then jumped apart, then faced forward and pumped their elbows back. Jessica executed a handspring, and Lila followed. Then Elizabeth and Maria performed perfect leaps.

This dance routine sucks ass.

The Cover: What the hell are you guys wearing?

Sweet Valley High #142: The Big Night

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

SVH142Read part one of this miniseries here.

The Moral of the Story: You can only fuck around on your boyfriend for so long before he finally gets sick of it. In this case, fifteen years.

The Big Deal: Junior Prom

Synopsis:

Devon corners Liz at the beach and yells at her for skipping their date to meet Todd. Then he tells her he’s the one who asked her to come to the beach because he wanted to see which guy she’d choose. Liz tells him she just wanted to return Todd’s ring. Devon immediately starts apologizing and Liz decides to forgive him.

Suddenly, it’s prom night. Devon calls and leaves a message with Jessica for Liz to meet him at some restaurant instead of at Secca Lake like they’d planned. Predictably, Jessica forgets to pass on the message and Liz ends up waiting around for an hour for Devon to show up at the lake. Why isn’t he picking her up at home? I love a good plot contrivance. Todd shows up at the lake. He wanted to go there because it’s “their” place. Liz is touched and confused and stuff, but after waiting so long for Devon, she decides to just go to the prom with Todd.

Meanwhile, Jessica’s limo pulls up at Jordan’s house. Right next to Lila’s limo. They spot each other and race to the front door. When Jordan answers the doorbell, he’s wearing boxers and eating a chili dog. He tells Lila and Jessica they’re a couple of morons for going behind each other’s backs. Then he slams the door in their faces. For some reason, this makes Jessica remember Devon’s message for Liz. She goes to the restaurant, planning to explain herself to Devon, but when she sees him looking all lonely and sad, she can’t help but pretend to be Liz. She figures they can go to Lila’s pre-prom party together, and then when they get to the dance, she and Liz can switch dresses and Devon will never know the difference.

Everything is going just great at Lila’s party except black Maria keeps giving Jessica and Devon weird looks. Enid looks absolutely miserable with Blubber Johnson and Devon keeps suggesting “Liz” go talk to her, but Jessica changes the subject. When everyone is leaving to go to the dance, Courtney Kane shows up. She stomps up the driveway and demands to know where Todd is. He apparently called her and said he decided not to go to the prom, but Courtney is sure he’s with Liz. Lila says nobody’s seen him, but Courtney is welcome to accompany her to the prom to see if he shows up. In the limo, Devon and Jessica flirt a whole bunch and Jessica decides she’s not going to give him back to Liz.

Liz and Todd go straight from the lake to the country club ballroom, reminiscing about old times the whole way. Which I imagine goes something like this: “Hey, remember that time you cheated on me with my sister?” “Which time?” They’re the first ones at the dance and they decide to have a spin around the dance floor before anyone else gets there. And of course that’s when the whole crew comes in and sees them together. Courtney screams, “I can’t take this anymore!” and runs out of the room. Everyone else looks on in shock because they think it’s Jessica dancing with Todd. Liz is pretty shocked herself to see Jessica and Devon together. Jessica drags Liz away and comes up with the worst plan ever: Jessica will hang out with Devon and pretend to be Liz all night while Liz enjoys her prom night with Todd. How is this a good plan? So there are two Elizabeths and no Jessicas at this prom? Whatever. They’re not even trying anymore.

Jessica has a great time with Devon, but then Lila drags her off to the bathroom, where she threatens to tell Devon the truth. She’s miserable because she doesn’t have a date, so she wants to spread the misery around. They argue for a minute and then Lila says Jessica’s not worth the effort. After they leave the bathroom, Courtney comes out of a stall feeling like an evil genius. While Jessica talks to some of the cheerleaders, Courtney tells Devon he’s been dancing with Jessica all night. Devon is pissed. He marches over to Todd and Liz and makes a scene. Both Devon and Todd are completely disgusted with the twins. Liz runs out of the room in tears.

Jessica finally decides to come back to the ballroom, and Lila catches her and tells her Devon and Todd found out what was happening and that Liz wants to talk to her and is waiting in the golf shed. Jessica runs off that way, but she doesn’t know that Lila and Courtney are working together to bring the twins down. Liz is actually in the pool house crying to Enid and black Maria. Lila runs in and tells Liz that Jessica wants to talk in the golf shed, and she’s aggravated when Enid and Maria insist on going with her. While Courtney is locking the twins, Enid and Maria in the shed, Lila goes on to do the rest of her job. She’s supposed to convince Todd and Devon to get on the party yacht the school is renting.

Maria’s date, Tyler, and Blubber Johnson find the girls and Blubber breaks down the door. Well, that’s one upside to dating a football player. They run to the dock and get there just as the yacht starts sailing away. They get hold of a speedboat and go after it. I don’t really get what they’re going to do when they get to it, but we never get to find out because as soon as they get close, they see Courtney push Todd overboard. So she’s not just a bitch, she’s also homicidal. Liz jumps in and saves Todd. Once he’s on the speedboat, he thanks Liz for saving his life, but tells her he doesn’t ever want to see her again.

Quotes:

Todd’s jaw tightened. “You heard me. I don’t want to see you anymore. I can’t let you keep playing with me the way you have been.” He closed his eyes, and when he spoke again, his voice sounded distant and harsh, not at all like Todd. “I won’t play the fool anymore, Liz.”

Todd’s breakup speech.

The Cover: Doesn’t Lila look like some kind of dominatrix back there? Or, like, a madam keeping an eye on her girls?