Posts Tagged ‘Jessica: Negligence’

Sweet Valley High #54: The Big Party Weekend

Friday, May 27th, 2016

SVT054The Moral of the Story: No consequences! Ever! Do whatever you want!

The Big Deal: Party at the Wakefield house


The Wakefield parents are going to Mexico. Good riddance. They never do much parenting anyway, which is probably why Jessica and Steven assume the kids will get to look after themselves. They start planning a party for Saturday night and inviting all their friends. It’s not until the day before they leave that the parents tell them a very nice elderly woman named May Brown will be staying with the children. She’s a total stranger, but she comes “highly recommended” so I guess that’s safer than leaving the kids alone?

The parents leave Wednesday after the kids go to school, and when the twins get home that afternoon they find Steven and May glaring at each other in the kitchen. The old woman won’t let them have any snacks, they have to go to bed at nine, they only get one hour of TV a day, and she has the nerve to suggest the twins wear nametags so she can tell them apart. She’s a real bitch about all of it. The kids decide to get rid of her. They pull a few stupid pranks, like putting garlic in May’s coffee and setting her alarm clock to go off in the middle of the night, but all that gets them is the loss of phone privileges.

While all this is going on, Steven and the twins are also on a mission to clean out the garage and have a garage sale. They don’t get many customers, but Jessica manages to accidentally sell their mother’s antique wooden rose, given to her by her great-great-grandmother. So now Liz is freaking out, but Jessica is happy they’ll have money to buy stuff for the party she’s still convinced she’s going to have. Liz goes to every pawn shop in town trying to find the rose, but no luck.

In other news, Amy Sutton has a boyfriend all of a sudden. His name is Rob. Amy found him at the mall. Liz is surprised because she thought Amy liked Ken, but Amy says Ken is more interested in sportsball, and besides, Rob is in eighth grade and he’s really cute. Amy is showing signs of becoming her future self. Amy and Rob drag Todd and Liz on a double date to Casey’s, and Rob is a total ass.

Saturday rolls around and May is still the worst baby-sitter ever, so Steven and the twins put their latest plan into action. Steve tries to get himself a snack, which prompts May to yell at him about her no snacking rule, so Steven packs a bag and leaves the house, saying he’s never coming back. A few hours later, he calls May and tells her he got a ride to a friend’s house really far away, but the friend isn’t home and May needs to come get him. When she’s gone, Steven comes home from the supermarket with party supplies.

The party starts out okay, but it gets out of control pretty fast. Amy’s stupid boyfriend keeps putting on terrible music and turning it up too loud, there are people outside throwing food into the pool, and half the guests are people the Wakefields don’t even know. Amy tells Rob to get lost and then asks Ken to walk her home, so that’s all right. Then Aaron says he has to leave and just as he’s kissing Jessica good night for the first time ever, someone starts a food fight and Jessica gets hit in the face with a piece of bologna. Soon, the only people left are strangers who want to dance on the furniture. That’s when May comes home.

May is royally pissed, and she goes right upstairs and starts packing. The twins apologize and beg her to help them get rid of the kids downstairs. May relents and starts yelling, and pretty soon all the jerkface kids are gone. Steven and the twins apologize some more, and May apologizes to them for being so strict and terrible all week. They all call it even. The next morning, the kids wake up super early and clean the house while May is off on some errand. She comes back later with the antique rose Jessica accidentally sold. It turns out one of the pawn shop guys Liz talked to was at an auction in Big Mesa and he saw the rose. May went up there and bought it back. When the Wakefield parents finally come home, the kids are actually sad to see May leave.

So, to recap: the kids threw a raging party and did not get in trouble, and the antique rose is back where it belongs. Nobody is grounded or in jail. Everything is wonderful.


“I’m not wearing a nametag,” Jessica said. “You can tell us apart by our hair. I wear mine down, and Elizabeth wears hers up.”

Always and forever.

The Cover: Steven, with his expressionless face, is apparently sweeping the couch. Well done, young Steven.

Sweet Valley Twins #39: Jessica and the Money Mix-Up

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

SVT039The Moral of the Story: Your parents totally won’t mind if you lose five hundred dollars.

The Big Deal: Just some roller-skating. Nothing to see here.

Classmate with a Problem: Jessica, stupid.


The first thing that happens here is Jessica spends an hour trying to decide what to wear roller-skating, and after all that time she comes up with a yellow t-shirt and jeans. Crisis averted. She had to call Lila for her input, and Mr. Wakefield is pissed that the phone was tied up for so long. He was expecting important business calls. The man is an idiot, so in order to let Jessica make it up to him, he asks her to take an envelope with five hundred dollars in it to the home of one of his associates. So stupid.

Jessica gets stopped by Caroline Pearce on her way to the guy’s house, and she spends half an hour talking to Caroline about the possibility of Bruce bringing a date roller skating that night. When Jessica finally gets to Mr. Hopper’s house, the next door neighbor tells her Mr. Hopper has gone out for the evening and he’s leaving town at six the next morning. Jessica figures she’ll get up early and bring the money then. In the meantime, she decides to hide the money in a tennis racket case in the utility closet.

Unfortunately, Mr. Wakefield goes on a cleaning kick that night, and Steven takes the tennis racket back to his friend Peter Moore, from whom he borrowed it. When Jessica finds out the next morning, she ropes Liz into going to Peter’s house with her. But the racket actually belongs to Peter’s dad and he’s out using it right now.

The twins go to the country club, and after Jessica is caught under a table groping in the racket case, Mr. Moore tells her he never saw the money. The twins go home in defeat. They decide to do some odd jobs around the neighborhood and make up the money before Mr. Hopper gets back from vacation next week.

The odd jobs go badly, of course. Jessica clearly has ADD and can’t concentrate on anything for more than a minute, so Liz ends up doing all the work, as we all could have predicted. Jessica’s only real hope is to win some radio contest she’s entered. The prize is a thousand dollars. The contest involves writing to the radio station and telling them who your favorite artist is. If the radio station announces Jessica’s name, she’ll have to call and identify five Johnny Buck songs based on a few seconds of music.

Jessica’s name actually does get announced on the radio, and she gets four songs right, but fucks up on the last one. Naturally. She goes downstairs to finally tell her father what happened, and gets down there just in time to see an envelope fall out of his pocket as he’s walking out the door. When he gets home that night, Jessica tells him she lost the money. He looks all smug for a minute and reaches into his pocket and looks worried when the envelope isn’t there. Jessica gives him the envelope and they both apologize to each other and all is right with the world again. Jessica agrees to always go to her parents when something like this happens. Yeah, right.

Also in this book: Ellen tries to change the official color of the Unicorns from purple to red. What is she thinking? Also noteworthy, Alice is out of town for most of this book. You’d never know. She’s not much of a presence in the twins’ lives even when she’s around.

Setup for the next book: Some kid named Danny Jackson keeps getting into trouble at school.

The Cover: High-waisted elastic-band shorts. How awesome was 1990?

Sweet Valley Twins #30: Princess Elizabeth

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

The Moral of the Story: Princes are people, too!

The Big Deal: Party at Ellen’s

Classmate with a Problem: Arthur Castle, prince


The sixth grade is super excited because they’re about to get a visit from Arthur Castle, an exchange student from Santa Dora. The Sixers is going to put out a special issue. The Unicorns, not wanting to be outdone by a dumb newspaper, decide to throw an elaborate party with all kinds of Santa Doran food and decorations.

When Arthur makes his first appearance in homeroom, the Unicorns make a big spectacle of themselves with a welcome cheer and some Santa Doran pastries that taste like cardboard. Liz can tell Arthur doesn’t like the spotlight. In science class, Liz and Arthur bond over the differences between Fahrenheit and Celsius, and Arthur asks Liz to walk home with him after school. Along the way, Arthur tells Liz he’s feeling very frustrated because he wants to know about America and all anyone will talk to him about is Santa Dora. Liz and Amy decide to take him to the mall, since that’s super American. They also come up with the idea to put together a scrapbook of American stuff that he can take home with him. Jessica thinks that’s a stupid idea, but she contributes a picture of Johnny Buck.

Arthur has a great time at the mall. He buys a football and a baseball bat and all kinds of other American things (including a “stuffed Texas longhorn steer” and a history of the Texas Rangers, wtf I thought this was California) and then they all go back to Amy’s house for milk and cookies. He asks a million questions about America, but clams up when they ask him about his country. The next day, Liz and Arthur go to the beach and then get some milkshakes at Casey’s. Arthur goes to pay for the shakes and a Santa Doran bill falls out of his wallet. Liz picks it up and notices the face on the bill is Arthur’s.

Well, it looks like Arthur’s real name is Arthur Castillo and he’s the prince of Santa Dora. He begs Liz not to tell anyone because he just wants to be a normal kid for a minute. Liz promises to keep his secret. The next morning, Arthur runs up to Liz at school and doesn’t even let her speak before he once again begs her not to tell anyone he’s a prince. Then he runs off down the hallway. But oh no! That wasn’t Elizabeth, it was Jessica! This is the greatest news ever and she can’t wait to share it with the Unicorns.

The Unicorns go crazy. They all teach themselves how to curtsy and Jessica gets a book out of the library about how to act around royalty. So the next day at school, they all call Arthur “Your Royal Highness” and fawn all over him. Arthur calls Liz that night to tell her how upset he is and he doesn’t believe her when she says she didn’t tell anyone. Now everyone is treating Arthur differently. Even Amy thinks the scrapbook is a stupid idea now. Liz feels awful about everything and she continues to work on the scrapbook. She decides to stay home from the Unicorns’ party. She and Arthur were supposed to go together, but he’s going with Jessica now.

Arthur is acting all mopey at the party and Jessica finally asks him what his deal is. He tells her he just wanted to be a regular kid and it’s all Elizabeth’s fault that he had to go to museums and stuff all week instead of doing fun kid stuff. Jessica finally tells him that she was the one who blabbed. Arthur, ecstatic that Liz was really his friend all along, leaves the party to go talk to Elizabeth.

All is forgiven. Arthur isn’t mad at Liz and Liz convinces him not to be mad at Jessica either. Jessica still feels bad so she spreads the word at school the next morning that Arthur just wants to be treated like everyone else. Apparently, everyone else always gets hit with spitballs and paper airplanes and gets knocked over by Charlie Cashman. I’d be pissed, but Arthur enjoys his last day in Sweet Valley immensely. He loves his scrapbook and he invites both twins to a party at the Santa Doran consulate in Los Angeles where they have a wonderful time. And everything is fine until he comes back to town and proposes to Dana.

Setup for the next book: There’s a new girl named Sandra Ferris and she’s ugly.


So for the next half hour, under Jessica’s direction, the Unicorns practiced curtsying to one another and murmuring, “Yes, Your Royal Highness,” and “No, Your Royal Highness,” and “So kind of you to say so, Your Royal Highness.”

Picture a roomful of the most popular girls from your middle school spending thirty minutes teaching each other how to curtsy. Kind of hilarious.

The Cover: I hate this cover. Arthur looks like a lizard. What are all those medals for, Arthur? And Liz looks like she’s on her way to her wedding except she forgot to do something with her hair.

Sweet Valley Twins #26: Taking Charge

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

The Moral of the Story: If you don’t let your kid play the sax, he might run away from home.

The Big Deal: Concert at the lake

Classmate with a Problem: Patrick Morris, crappy parents


Patrick Morris has the worst parents. They make him do homework! He’s not allowed to have snacks! He has a curfew! Jessica doesn’t know how he can survive. Patrick is sick one day so the twins bring him his homework after school. He’s allowed to have only one friend over at a time so there’s twin switch shenanigans when his mom comes home early from work. That Saturday, there’s a concert at Secca Lake. A high school band called The Wild Ones is putting on a show as a fundraiser to buy library books and all the kids are going to be there. When the twins stop by Patrick’s house to see if he wants to go, his mom is rude and weird.

Patrick wants to play the saxophone in the school band, but his parents won’t even let him try out and they won’t tell him why. The school gives him a saxophone to practice with and he convinces the twins to let him keep it at their house. He comes over to practice and drives everyone crazy, but his tryout is great and he makes the band. His parents still won’t let him join and they refuse to talk about it.

Jessica and Winston get paired up to do a science project together. Winston’s got a whole thing he wants to do with mold, so Jessica has to keep a bunch of pieces of moldy bread around the house and that’s gross. Their project gets chosen to be on display at the library on Saturday and Jessica promises Winston she’ll be there. But come on, we all know that’s a lie. There’s a football game and Bruce is having a party afterward, so of course Jessica won’t be going to the library. The party turns out to be just a bunch of guys playing football in the yard, so Jessica leaves. When she gets home, Liz tells her Patrick has disappeared.

Everyone is in a panic. Patrick’s parents come over to the Wakefields’ house with the cops, and Liz doesn’t hesitate to tell the police that Patrick has probably run away because he thinks his parents hate him. The next morning, Liz finds a note stuck in the back door. It says, “We have Patrick. Stop looking for him. If you don’t it could be very bad for him.” Well that’s certainly frightening, but Winston comes over and says Patrick’s hiding in the Egberts’ basement and he made Winston write the note.

The twins go to Winston’s house to try to talk some sense into Patrick, but he refuses to go home. He makes the twins promise not to tell anyone where he is. Liz wrestles with this promise for a while, but ends up telling her parents where Patrick is. Patrick knew this would happen, so he runs away to an abandoned church, where he falls through the floor and has to be rescued by his father, who ignores the policemen when they tell him not to go in there. After the rescue, Mr. Morris explains that he lost his job and that’s why he and Patrick’s mother have been so strict lately. But not to worry, he just landed another job! And Patrick explains that he can borrow a saxophone from school so it won’t cost anything for him to join the band! Yay!


“I’m not going to judge the way other people run their families, honey. It’s hard enough for parents to take care of their own kids.” Mrs. Wakefield yawned. “I’d like to lie down for a while before I start supper. Will you girls put the groceries away?”

I’m surprised she’s actually going to cook dinner for once instead of making the twins do it.

Patrick seemed not to have heard a word they said. “Today’s the day I should have been playing with the band,” he announced sadly.

The Cover: I don’t know what this is all about. I’m guessing that’s the abandoned church, but this doesn’t look like any scene from the book.

Sweet Valley Twins #7: Three’s a Crowd

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

The Moral of the Story: Hey, all you foster kids. Don’t make any rash decisions about letting people adopt you. Your real parents are probably out there looking for you.


The Unicorns need to raise money to sponsor a dance, so they decide to collect recipes from their favorite celebrities and sell them in a celebrity cookbook. Jessica volunteers Liz and her typewriter, and because Liz has no choice but to succumb to Jessica’s every whim, she agrees. She’s supposed to call Mr. Bowman to get some information for her Career Day article, but she has Jessica call him instead while she types Jessica’s letter to Parker Smith. Naturally, Jessica doesn’t write anything down, and she gets all the names and dates wrong when she relays the information to Liz. Blah blah blah, Liz has to stay up all night retyping her article after Mr. Bowman tells her everything is wrong.

Mary Giaccio has been hanging around the Wakefield house a lot lately. Jessica is irritated because it seems like Mary would rather hang out with Mrs. Wakefield than with Jessica. Mary invites herself over almost every day. Jessica pretends to be sick one day just so she can tell Mary she can’t come over, but she just comes home with Liz instead. Jessica’s getting pissed. Liz notices Mary’s obsession with Mrs. Wakefield, too, and she reluctantly agrees when Jessica asks her not to invite Mary over anymore.

After a few days of making up excuses whenever Mary invites herself over, Liz goes ahead and tells her the truth, that Mary follows Mrs. Wakefield around all the time and it’s weird. Mary spends a few days being depressed, and then she gives Jessica her bracelet so they can be friends again. Mary’s had this bracelet for as long as she can remember, and Jessica has always admired it.

And that’s how it comes to pass that Mary and Jessica are hanging out at the Wakefield house when they spill grape juice on the “ditto master” of the school newspaper. Instead of telling Liz what happened, they decide to fix it themselves, changing headlines as Jessica sees fit and misspelling words all over the place. Ned Wakefield comes home that night and says Mary’s foster mother called him that day. She and her husband are interested in adopting Mary and they want to know the legal process. Now Ned is an adoption lawyer. Jessica thinks this is wonderful news and she knows just how to spread the word. She sneaks the newspaper into her room and handwrites a line about Mary getting adopted in the gossip column.

Mary is horrified when the paper comes out, and so is Liz. Mary tells Liz she could never let anyone adopt her because she’s sure her real mother is out there somewhere, looking for her. When Mary was little, her mother left her in the care of a friend while she went to Florida to care for her sick grandmother. The friend took Mary to California and then abandoned her. The authorities took Mary and put her in foster care, and nobody’s been able to find Mary’s mother in the last seven years.

Until one day…

Liz is sitting outside the school waiting for Amy when a woman who looks just like her mother shows up. She’s looking for Mary. Liz knows Mary is at home with Jessica, so she takes this strange woman to her house. Liz, didn’t anyone ever tell you about STRANGER DANGER? Anyway, Liz figures out this woman is Mary’s mother.

So, big reunion. Lots of hugging. Mary’s mother is so enchanted with Sweet Valley that she decides to move there. The celebrity cookbook is a success and the school newspaper wins a contest. Just another day in Sweet Valley.


“Hi, Amy and Elizabeth,” interrupted Lois. She lumbered over to the stage.

Fat people have to “lumber” around. Because, you know, they’re fat.

The Cover: Liz, wipe that smug off your face. You did not find Mary’s mother for her. And can we discuss Mary’s hair for a moment? It looks like a mop.


Sweet Valley Twins #5: Sneaking Out

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

The Moral of the Story: Johnny Buck does not love you.

The Big Deal: Johnny Buck concert


Super rock star Johnny Buck is coming to Sweet Valley, but Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield won’t let the twins go because they’re too young. Liz, ever the optimist, decides she’ll just have to be the best daughter ever so maybe her parents will let her go to the next concert. But Jessica wants to go to this one, dammit. She starts thinking of ways to earn the money for a ticket. She’s determined to get Johnny to sign the cap he threw to her from his hotel window when he was in town last year.

Some old woman named Mrs. Bramble needs someone to watch her dog for a few days, and Jessica thinks this is the perfect job for her even though she’s terrified of dogs. As you can expect, the second Jessica gets the dog home, she totally ignores it and lets the rest of the family take care of it. Meanwhile, she’s telling all her friends that she’s meeting Johnny Buck after the show and that he’s all excited to be an honorary Unicorn.

Jessica manages to avoid Sally the dog until Saturday morning, when nobody else is home. She walks Sally and then starts looking for something to wear to the concert that night. She settles on the brand new dress Elizabeth was going to wear to the sixth grade dance, along with the gold hoop earrings Liz bought their mother for her birthday.

Mrs. Bramble calls and says her bus has been delayed and she won’t make it back to Sweet Valley until later that night. Jessica freaks out because there’s nobody home to watch Sally. She tethers Sally to a tree in the backyard and leaves, and as soon as she’s gone, Sally darts after a stupid cat and Jessica’s knot comes undone. When Liz gets home and discovers Sally is missing, she calls Amy in a panic and they both search the neighborhood for the dog. They don’t find her, and Mrs. Wakefield is home when they get back to Liz’s house.

Because Jessica was deceitful and this is a children’s book, she has a terrible time at the concert. She leaves her seat to get closer to the stage, and loses sight of Lila in the crowd. When she gets near the front, she notices a bunch of other girls with caps exactly like the one Johnny threw to her. Believe it or not, Jessica thought Johnny had singled her out and thrown her that hat because he loved her or something, so she’s totally humiliated when she realizes he’s been handing them out all over the place. She never does get his autograph, and she mopes all the way home.

Mrs. Wakefield is furious that Jessica was so irresponsible as to leave Sally alone just so she could “go to Lila’s and hang out,” and she has to explain things to Mrs. Bramble when she shows up to get her dog. Alice wants to go to the Fowlers’ to get Jessica and make her help look for Sally, but Liz doesn’t want Jessica to get in trouble for sneaking off to the Johnny Buck concert. She suggests they go to Mrs. Bramble’s house first to see if maybe Sally made her way home.

Sally is, in fact, at Mrs. Bramble’s house. Mrs. Wakefield insists on going to get Jessica and making her apologize. Liz knocks on Lila’s door and gets pissed when she sees Jessica wearing her dress and only one of her mother’s earrings. She still doesn’t tell her mother what Jessica did, and she warns Jessica that she’s going to have to pay Mrs. Bramble her $25 back.

At Mrs. Bramble’s house, Jessica starts crying and she confesses everything to Mrs. Bramble, who takes pity on her. She tells Jessica she can tell her mother she refused to take the money, but Jessica will have to pay it back by walking Sally every day for the next month. All’s well that ends well.


Elizabeth couldn’t bear to see her twin punished, even when she deserved it!

Why not?

The Cover: I like the tagline: Will Elizabeth tell her parents if Jessica sneaks out to the rock concert? The answer is no. It’s always no.

Sweet Valley High #136: Too Hot to Handle

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

SVH136Read part one of this miniseries here.

The Moral of the Story: Having bad taste in guys will get you arrested.

The Big Deal: Another big fire


Jessica is totally disgusted about Lila and Steve (who wouldn’t be?). Liz drags her upstairs before she can make a scene, so Jessica doesn’t see Lila until the next morning. She tries to convince her friend that Steve is all wrong for her because he’s a “burgers-and-baseball kind of guy.” Lila doesn’t care. Jessica tells her she’s just going to take a little break from their friendship until this whole Steve situation blows over. Damn, that’s cold.

Steve’s boss is ridiculous and won’t even consider the possibility that Lila didn’t start the fire. Steve mentions investigating former employees at Fowler Crest, but the boss won’t allow it. He says they’ve already found their arsonist. This guy is the worst D.A. ever. He’s insistent that Steve remain close to Lila. I don’t understand if he’s hoping Steve will get a confession or what. I don’t think Steve gets it either, as he spends a lot of time blinking in a confused way. Depending on the time of day and who he’s talking to, Steve is alternately sure Lila isn’t the arsonist and worried she might be. I hate Steven so much.

Steve asks Lila about any enemies she has, and she tells him about John Pfeifer. Steve decides John is the arsonist and he gets Liz to let him into the Oracle office to search John’s desk. He finds a document that looks like it went through the printer all slanted, and it looks like it came from the same printer as a mysterious web printout Steve received at work one day. The printout Steve got was a list of traits of an arsonist, most of which applied to Lila. Steve thinks he’s onto something, and just then John comes in, demanding to know why Steve and Liz are going through his shit. He and Steve exchange words, and Steve basically tells him he thinks John set the fire.

That night, Liz tells Jessica what happened, but now she’s somehow got it into her head that Lila might really be responsible for everything. She even goes so far as to wonder if Lila lied about John trying to rape her. What a bitch. Jessica says Lila can’t possibly be the one who set the fire because she loves Fowler Crest and she loves her clothes and wouldn’t want to get gasoline on them.

Steve’s boss is totally unimpressed with his theory about John Pfeifer and is still convinced Lila’s the only person in the world who could have possibly started the fire. Steve takes Lila out for dinner and has to break the news to her that she’s still the number one suspect. She doesn’t take it too well and gets kind of snippy. She gets up to use the bathroom, and while she’s gone, someone throws something through the restaurant’s window and a fire starts. Steve and Lila find each other in the ensuing chaos. When they get outside, there are some police officers hanging around Lila’s car. They place Lila under arrest because they found all the makings of a homemade bomb in the Triumph.

Devon Whitelaw has some adventures with his uncle Pete in Las Vegas, but decides to move on when he discovers Pete is a thief. I skimmed most of his story because I so don’t care, but his story accounted for most of this book. Hence the sort of short recap. Sorry about that.


“Looking up information on the computer?” [Steve] repeated, bells going off in his head. “You mean like surfing the Net?” The printout on arsonists that someone had mysteriously left on his desk had been downloaded from a Web page.

I still can’t get over early internet and computer descriptions.

“Remember back in middle school, when Lila went on a shoplifting spree to get back at her father?”

Actually, that was just “months ago.” SVT scholars, did she do this in middle school as well?

The Cover: Um, I guess that’s Devon? He’s not even in Sweet Valley yet. Is it really time for him to have his very own book cover?

Sweet Valley High Super Thriller #11: “R” for Revenge

Monday, December 14th, 2009

ST09-OuterThe Moral of the Story: Sweet Valley High needs to start doing psych evals on potential cheerleaders.

The Big Deal: Big basketball tournament


In the prologue, the SVH cheerleading squad is tied up in somebody’s basement, which is filling with water while “Free Bird” plays on a radio upstairs. Oh boy. I can’t wait to see how this happened…

One day, Liz is called to the principal’s office after school. Mr. Cooper introduces her to Diane and Brad, a writer and photographer from Scoop magazine. They’re in Sweet Valley because they’re going to write an article about “The Girls of Seventy-Six.” The “Girls” are the SVH cheerleading squad of 1976, who did nothing more extraordinary than win the state competition that year. Diane happened to be on that squad, but I still can’t imagine why a national magazine would care about it. Anyway, the article is a “where are they now?” kind of thing, and Mr. Cooper has offered Liz up as a research assistant. In exchange, she’ll get a credit in the magazine.

Liz leaves for the library to start her research right away. Brad follows her and obnoxiously starts flirting and asking her where da party at. He’s confused and thinks Liz is the cheerleader who was just showing off for him on the football field. Just so you’re aware, Brad is the best looking guy we’ve ever seen. Liz gets rid of him. In the library, she tells Ms. Swanson, the new shy library assistant, all about the article. We can assume Ms. Swanson mysteriously has something to do with the Girls of Seventy-Six because she wears hippie clothes, says things like “far out,” listens to classic rock and has a bad reaction to Liz’s talk about the article.

Jessica and her cheerleaders are all upset because the school board just made a rule that all school activities must now have a faculty adviser. Finally! They can’t think of anyone who would still let them do sexy moves and wear skimpy outfits and this pains them. Liz suggests Ms. Swanson. Jessica thinks that’s a great idea because she figures she’ll be too shy to tell the cheerleaders what to do. At her very first practice, Ms. Swanson starts to get weird when she confuses the cheerleaders with the Girls of Seventy-Six. Meanwhile, Liz finds out there was another girl on the ’76 squad who dropped out because she had some kind of weird disease. Of course, nobody remembers her name, but I’ll bet you anything it’s Nancy Swanson. Anyway, all this research is taking up too much of Liz’s time and Todd gets pissy like he always does and they have a big fight.

Amy and Jade don’t show up for cheerleading practice on Friday, but Nancy tells the rest of the squad that she sent them up the coast to pick up the new uniforms. Later that night, Nancy sits in her beanbag chair listening to her Doobie Brothers records loud enough to drown out the noises coming from her basement. She remembers being seventeen and suddenly having this unnamed mysterious disease that makes her twitch and stuff. The other girls kicked her off the cheerleading squad and one of them Loretta, stole her boyfriend, George. So I guess it all traumatized her so bad that she wants to punish the current cheerleaders. Whatever. I mean, that’s pretty shitty, but don’t be a crazed maniac because of it. The next day, she kidnaps Heather and throws her in the basement with Amy and Jade. Amy’s and Heather’s mothers both call Jessica to find out if she knows where their daughters might be, but Jessica is too wrapped up in her dates with Brad to concern herself with such things.

Liz accompanies Diane and Brad to Gina Bari’s house. Gina’s sister is Loretta, the captain of the ’76 squad. She tells our gang that Loretta died shortly after graduation, but that she was never the same after “the accident.” Apparently, Loretta and George were driving around when George grabbed the wheel and steered the car off a bridge. George died instantly, and later there was some mysterious ugly girl whose name nobody can remember on Loretta’s front lawn screaming at Loretta for killing her boyfriend. The September after she took her squad to nationals, Loretta got drunk and drowned in the quarry. The story gives Liz flashbacks to the accident that killed Sam. She’s all sad and stuff and decides to stop being mad at Todd because she needs him. Todd hangs up on her when she calls. Ha! But damn, they make up the next day.

On Sunday, Annie and Jessica meet at the mall and realize all the other cheerleaders are missing except Lila. Then Jessica goes home and gets pissed that Lila isn’t there like she said she’d be. *facepalm* Jessica is about to get ready for a date with Brad when a car pulls up outside. Lila’s at the wheel and Annie’s in the backseat. Nancy is in the passenger seat and she tells Jessica to hop in so they can talk. Jessica says she has to be somewhere else, but Nancy pulls out a gun and tells her she’d better just go ahead and get in the fucking car.

So now we’ve caught up to the prologue. The cheerleaders are in the basement and “Free Bird” is playing upstairs while water pours out of a pipe. For some reason, when none of the cheerleaders come home Sunday night, all their parents come to the conclusion that they’re at Maria’s house having a big party because her parents are out of town. Nobody goes over there or anything, but they take the fact that nobody is answering the phone there as proof of this party. Then, when all the cheerleaders skip school on Monday, everyone thinks they’re just a bunch of wild and crazy gals. Nobody worries.

Jessica manages to get herself untied and she unties everyone else. They all gather at the top of the stairs near the apparently watertight door, but the water level is still rising. Liz shows up because she had a flash of brilliance and deduced that Nancy was the missing cheerleader from 1976 and she wants to talk to her for the article. When she gets there, all that happens is that she gets thrown into the basement with the others. Well done.

Since Nancy seems to be living in the past and keeps calling the cheerleaders by the names of the girls on the ’76 squad, Liz comes up with the idea of going along with it and pretending they want Nancy on the squad. The plan gets Amy’s Project-Youth-volunteer seal of approval, so they all start chanting some cheer and then yelling for Nancy to join them. Finally, Nancy opens the door and the water rushes out and knocks her over. The cheerleaders go free and Nancy gets arrested. Hooray!

I guess that’ll show the school board what happens when you try to impose a little adult supervision over the cheerleaders.


“Cowabunga! Brad is looking better and better every minute!”

Did anyone besides Ninja Turtles ever actually say “cowabunga?” Especially as late as October of 1997?

“Why can’t he cut me a little slack now and then when I’m working on a writing project that matters to me? He does this every single time!”

He really does. Maybe it’s time to BREAK UP!!

The Cover: Very compelling picture, I guess. But not really what happened in the book.


Sweet Valley High #125: Camp Killer

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

SVH125Read part one of this miniseries here. Read part two here.

The Moral of the Story: Nothing brings people together like a crazed woodsman.

The Big Deal: Summer camp color war


Even though camp is almost over, Liz is suddenly all spooked out by the camp legend, which is this: A long time ago, a counselor fell in love with a guy who lived in the forest and chopped wood all day long. When the camp owner found out about it, she told the woodsman he could never set foot in the camp again and the counselor wasn’t allowed anywhere near him. So the girl ran away into the forest to be with her woodsman. There was a search after she disappeared, but nobody ever saw her or the woodsman again. People assumed she died, but sometimes you can still hear the sound of chopping wood…

Whatever. It’s a stupid story, but Liz based her play on it and now she’s walking around with a sense of impending doom. ‘Cause she’s psychic, don’t forget. Joey tells the story while everyone sits around the campfire one night and says there’s more to the story, something about an ax murderer named Crazy Freddy. Later, Liz makes out with Joey in the woods for a while and then goes back to the cabin, where she starts to panic because Jessica isn’t back yet. Jessica and Paul wake up in the middle of the night from where they fell asleep looking at the stars. I guess Paul’s parents took his car and are never coming back or something, so he and Jessica walk to his neighbors’ house and Paul borrows one of their horses to take Jessica back to camp.

There’s a big camp color war coming up. The teams are announced, and of course Nicole and Liz are the opposing captains. Nicole is crazier than ever and thinks she deserves Joey because she likes him the most or something. She wants to fuck up Liz’s life, so she writes Todd a letter and includes a picture of Joey and Liz kissing. Maria catches her and won’t let Nicole send it. Dammit. Nicole gets Liz out into the woods alone one night and starts swinging an ax around, trying to scare her. Maria has a talk with Nicole and she agrees to stop being such a bitch.

Paul is in big trouble for stealing the neighbor’s horse and he’s grounded or something. This has Jessica in a tizzy, and the day of the color war, she sneaks out to see him, leaving Liz to cover for her and participate in all her color war activities as well as her own. Paul and Jessica have this great idea that they’re going to pretend to be Crazy Freddy and sneak into camp and scare everyone. That goes just great for about five seconds. Then an actual crazed ax murderer grabs Jessica and starts to drag her away. Tanya, Paul’s sister and one of Jessica’s campers, runs into the woods and starts yelling at the guy to let Jessica go, so the guy punches her and takes her with him. He takes them to a cabin where they cower in a corner.

There’s commotion at the camp about Tanya having gone missing. Joey says he knows of an abandoned cabin and runs into the woods alone. The rest of the counselors pair up and start searching. Nicole and Liz have to work together to save the day. Aww. They meet up with Paul, who tells them Jessica was with him and she’s missing now, too. The three of them find the cabin. They look in the window and see Joey, Jessica and Tanya. There’s some plan that involves Nicole and Liz acting as bait and Paul getting the better of the guy, but of course Liz nearly gets captured. Nicole distracts the guy and he captures her while Liz gets away. Meanwhile, Paul breaks a window at the back of the cabin, climbs inside and cuts Tanya and Jessica loose.

You know what, whatever. You know they all get away in the end. Nicole and Liz become friends for the last two days of camp and everything is great. Nicole also gives Liz and Joey her blessing because she’s pissed at him for running into the woods alone like some kind of macho man and she doesn’t want him anymore.

While all this has been going on, Lila and Bo have gotten lost in the woods. It’s kind of hilarious because they’re walking along talking about how they don’t even mind being lost together because they’re so in love. They end up sleeping on a gravel road, and they wake up the next morning to a crop dusting plane landing nearby. The pilot calls his boss to see if he can take Lila and Bo back to camp, but the boss says no way. The guy starts grumbling about how he only needs a thousand more dollars to buy the plane and go into business with his brother. Lila and Bo decide to invest in the company and they each give him five hundred dollars. They get back to camp, where nobody has really even noticed they were gone. I guess if you’re not a Wakefield or a cute eight-year-old, nobody cares about you.


She shoveled a forkful of dry, tasteless scrambled eggs into her mouth.

Ew. Please stop with the forkfuls of food being shoveled into people’s mouths.

Will I be able to stop loving Joey when I return to Sweet Valley?

I predict you will forget all about him.

The Cover: This cover cracks me up. Just look at that madman back there. Ha ha.

Sweet Valley High #118: College Weekend

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

SVH118Read part one of this miniseries here.

The Moral of the Story: All males who go to college are sexy.

The Big Deal: Party at Steve’s


Well, the twins are off to their College Adventure. For some reason, Ned and Alice thought it would be totally okay to pull the twins out of school for a week and send them to stay with Steve and his girlfriend, Billie, at Sweet Valley University. As expected, Liz is all about preparing for her college future while Jessica just wants to party. On the way to Steve’s apartment, Jessica decides she’s going to throw a big bash that night. She invites a bunch of guys at a minimart and tells them to bring their friends. Steve and Billie are going out of town for the night. Billie forgot when the twins were coming and she booked a night at a bed and breakfast for her and Steve. Jessica thinks that’s great because now she doesn’t have to tell Steve about her party.

The twins go exploring the campus. Liz joins some people who are sitting around discussing Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (because that’s what brainy college students do) and Jessica meets some sorority girls who are doing their nails and talking about boys (because that’s what sorority girls do). Jessica invites everyone she meets to the party and can’t believe Liz isn’t doing the same.

The party is a disaster or a success, depending on which twin you ask. It gets out of hand and someone brings in a keg, and then the police show up and make everyone leave. On the upside, the twins meet a couple of guys. Jessica tells her guy, Zach Marsden, that she’s a transfer student from Princeton and that Liz is actually her younger sister. She does not mention Ken. Liz meets Ian and actually tells him the truth about Todd and high school and all that jazz.

Jessica starts going out with Zach every night and going to some of his classes with him. She also spends a lot of time pre-rushing Theta Alpha Theta, the sorority Jessica’s new friends belong to and also Alice’s old sorority. One of the girls, Magda, tells Jessica she really likes a guy named Zach Marsden and intends to get him. So now Jessica is torn. She doesn’t want Magda to find out about her and Zach, but she doesn’t want to stop seeing him. Oh, how difficult it must be to have Jessica Wakefield’s life. She decides to do nothing, and the next time she goes out with Zach, Magda walks into the restaurant. Jessica is sure this means she’ll be blackballed from the sorority. Oh, dear.

Liz is all excited to go with Ian to his journalism class because the professor is Felicia Newkirk, “the first woman to break into the male-dominated White House press corps.” This woman is like Liz’s hero, so it’s really upsetting when she gets into an argument with her during the class. I’m not sure why, something about Liz being interested in television journalism and Felicia accusing her of being just a pretty face. Whatever. Felicia gets bored with Liz and moves on. She announces an essay contest and Liz vows to win it and prove herself to Felicia. She stays up all night writing some obnoxious thing about binge drinking on college campuses. She feels like she has firsthand knowledge on the subject since she just threw a kegger a couple nights ago.

OF COURSE she wins the contest. The prize is having Felicia edit the essay for publication in a national magazine, and also an internship with the university’s “nationally distributed newspaper.” Why does the whole nation need to know what’s happening at Sweet Valley University? Anyway, Felicia suggests that Liz take her high school equivalency test and get to work at SVU. Liz decides that’s what she’s going to do. Right.


“Jake!” another male voice called out. “Are you bothering this fine specimen of womanhood?”

Jessica turned, thrilled to see a second gorgeous guy with mocha-brown skin and a flattop approaching the Jeep.

“Lay off, Phil. I spotted her first!” Jake said, putting an arm around Jessica’s shoulders.

Jessica is hot enough to make complete strangers argue over her.

Being popular was the last thing Jessica Wakefield would ever have to worry about.

Oh, and she’s popular, too.

Steven and Billie had decided to do the unthinkable – forgo their afternoon classes to spend a romantic afternoon in their apartment.

How scandalous. Don’t hurt yourself over there on the wild side, guys.

Why didn’t I think of that before? Elizabeth admonished herself. I have firsthand knowledge of one of the most important issues facing college students today: alcohol.

Liz, freaking out because a couple guys brought a keg to your brother’s apartment hardly qualifies as firsthand knowledge about alcohol.

The Cover: There is something really wrong with blond guy who must be Zach. His shoulder area is all messed up. Ian looks like an even nerdier version of Winston Egbert, if that’s even possible. Jessica looks cute, but Liz looks like crap.