Friday, December 2, 2016

Goosebumps #41: Bad Hare Day

Tim loves magic and dreams of being a professional magician like his idol Amaz-O. Until then though, he just puts on shows for his friends. His sister, Ginny who is a total brat, keeps interrupting and making him look stupid. During one show, she starts trying to attack him with karate moves as the other kids laugh. Since this is an R.L. Stine book, his parents do nothing.

He and his best friend Foz head to the local magic shop. Mr. Malik, the owner, rushes out of nowhere with a sword sticking through his chest. After begging them to help, he laughs and shows them it was just a trick. He makes rude comments about how they never spend any money while showing them a bunch of $200-500+ tricks for sale. Right before they leave, he gives them two tickets to the Amaz-O show at the Midnight Mansion.

Ginny naturally assumes that she will go with him since Foz can't because of his aunt's birthday. They fight over the ticket until their parents tell them that since it's on a school night, neither one is going. Tim tries out his latest trick to make Foz's sister's rabbit disappear. The rabbit runs away and almost gets eaten by a cat, which causes everyone to laugh at him. Since he wants to learn better tricks, he sneaks out that night to go to the show. Ginny catches him and demands that she go too or she'll wake up their parents.

The host originally tells them that they can't get in without their parents but accepts their lie that their parents are right behind them. Amaz-O himself singles out Tim in the crowd to be his volunteer at the end. Amazo-O does a few tricks like having a flock of birds fly out of his hat and seemingly eating a bunch of needles and thread before spitting out a series of threaded needles. At the very end, he does make Tim disappear, but Tim just slides down a chute on the stage. The only problem is that no one ever comes to get him and the only door he can find is locked.

He manages to get the door open and actually find the star's dressing room. When Amaz-O tells him to get lost and calls him a punk though, he steals the magician's case. Ginny naturally demands that he share it with her, but he says that the magician gave it to him as a thank you gift. Ginny then says he shares it with her or she'll tell their parents. Security guards then come out of nowhere, and they just barely get away, which is hard because Ginny almost doesn't find her bike.

Instead of sharing it with her though, he opens it up himself. The case explodes, he flips out, and then he discovers a computer chip hidden in the case that makes an explosion sound. While wearing the magician's coat, he feels something weird and suddenly sees snakes coming out of all the pockets. After throwing off the jacket and almost screaming, he sees that the snakes are all just electronic.

Ginny gets pissed that he used the case without her and confesses everything to their mom. Lucky for them, she was washing dishes and didn't hear. When he tries to do a trick involving a palmed ball under a cup, nothing works. Balls suddenly appear under each cup, and more balls fall out of the case. A torrent of snakes and doves follow. While fighting with a magic wand he winds, he accidentally turns Ginny into a rabbit. An improvement, I think.

After trying a few things that don't work, a piece of paper with instructions on it falls out of his pocket. The paper naturally flies off, and despite running for blocks, they can't catch it. Since their parents arrive unexpectedly, Tim and Foz take Ginny back to the Midnight Mansion only to find it locked. No worries, Tim finds a hidden back entrance and sneaks them inside.

They get to the dressing room, see Amaz-O laying down, and call his name a bunch of times before shaking him. He instantly rolls into the floor, and they realize that he's just a dummy. The real Amaz-O is actually a talking white rabbit. He tells the kids that he was once the world's best magician until a sorcerer transformed him into a rabbit. Though he'd like to help, there's absolutely nothing he can do about Ginny. Yay! I mean, aw, that's so sad.

The only reason he can't help is because the magic will wear off on its own. Tim asks Foz to take Ginny back home while he talks to Amaz-O. The magician is so impressed with his work that he offers to take Tim under his wig and make him part of the show. Tim agrees without thinking twice and later learns that Amaz-O switched places with him so that he's now a rabbit. It's not too bad though. Even though he has to use the name Fluffy, he gets to be on stage every night...

*Ginny keeps making this boi-oi-oing noise that is just as annoying as Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory and really makes me want to punch her.

*Midnight Mansion was once a private home, but the woman who lived there went crazy, had 50 cats, and would throw rocks at visitors. Someone bought it and turned it into a club after she dies, but that seems like the kind of reputation that never really goes away.

*Tim's mom supports Ginny's karate classes because she needs to defend herself but has no time for his magic tricks. She just rolls her eyes. They also say nothing after his sister kicks him in the stomach except to point out that he's fine a few hours later.

*Ginny knows Tim used the case without her because she finds it hidden in the attic and sees it was opened. Doesn't that mean she planned on using it without him?

*The sorcerer's name was Frank. Tim comments on it, and the rabbit literally rolls his eyes since Tim's best friend is named Foz.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sweet Valley High Magna Edition: Jessica's Secret Diary

This secret diary takes place between books #30 and #40 and involves Jessica going after Jeffrey behind her twin's back.

Jessica has a new beau named Jack. He's tall, handsome, and has the more perfect eyes. For the first time since Sam died, she actually thinks she's happy. While at a Bruce party, Lila and Amy keep rolling their eyes because she won't shut up about him. She finally admits that she's in love with him and that she can't wait to tell him.

The only problem is that she's in the middle of yet another identity crisis. She recently failed a French test that Elizabeth aced. While dancing with Jack, another couple bump into them and apologize, calling her Elizabeth. To cope with it, she imagines the first time she met Jack and how he keeps coming over all the time to see her. She's sure he's about to tell her he loves her, especially when he takes her for a romantic walk on the beach.

When she tells him how she feels though, he drops a bombshell. He's actually in love with her twin. Despite the fact that they've been dating, spending a lot of time together, and apparently making out, he loves Liz. Jessica rushes home and decides to run away yet again. As she starts packing though, she comes across her secret diaries and sits down to read.

Remember when Jessica completely changed her look with the hair dye and everything? We learn that she actually had a crush on Jeffrey back then. When she found out he liked her new look, she couldn't stop thinking about the way his hand felt on her shoulder. Then, when she discovered that he was still in love with her twin, she was more than a little disappointed.

After like 100 pages, we still aren't up the Jeffrey story, so let's look at what does happen.

*Jessica brings home Prince Albert.
*She grows excited about Maria's secret engagement.
*She sells Tofu Glow products.
*After trying to break up Cara and Steven yet again, she contemplates breaking up Liz and Jeffrey because he's like totally the perfect boyfriend ever.
*Susan Stewart finds out her caretaker is her mom and that her dad is famous.
*When Liz looks at going away to school in Switzerland, Jess thinks she's stupid for leaving behind such a hunk of a boyfriend.

Jessica dresses up like her twin to talk with Jeffrey about Switzerland. He admits that he feels like she doesn't care what he thinks and tells her how much he loves her. She pushes the issue enough that it looks all wounded. Jess then comes home and writes in her diary about how she's completely and totally in love with Jeffrey French. She also contemplates telling her sister to go so she'll have a shot with him but decides that keeping Liz in Sweet Valley is way more important.

After Amy steals Bruce from Regina and Regina goes crazy, Jessica finally gets her shot with Jeffrey. Liz asks her to pass a long a message that she's too busy with school to meet him for their date. Instead, she dresses up like her twin and goes out with him. She gets by not knowing past conversations because he thinks she's so worried about her friend.

Jeffrey tells her that she's more intense than usual and that it intrigues him. They take a walk on the beach, he kisses her, and they both get really really into it. He then stops and pulls away because it took him like an hour to realize he wasn't kissing his girlfriend. Jessica says she saw guilt, shock, and even excitement in his eyes. Instead of walking away though, he grabs her and kisses her again. When they walk back to the car, she says that they both knew it was the first and last time they would ever kiss because Liz meant so much to them both.

The last few pages deal with Regina's death. In the end, Jessica puts down her diary and cries because as bad as her life is, at least she has a life, unlike Regina. She then puts all of her stuff away and decides to stick around.

*Jessica mentions multiple times how lame, dull, and boring Todd is. Ah, true love.

*Jack is a douche. He literally tells her that he didn't realize she had such strong feelings for him. Really dude? The girl you've been dating for weeks might have feelings for you?

*She's actually cool with being fake married to Winston in this book, unlike the original. She says that at least he'll make her laugh.

*There's an actual sweet mention of how she feels bad for Lila because even though she has lots of money, she doesn't have a mother.

*Gag me with a spoon! She actually says gag me with a spoon! Also, gag me with a ski pole! LOL

*The back makes it seem like this book is all about Jessica sneaking around with Jeffrey, but it's totally not. She mentions having a crush on him or thinking he's cute and/or perfect a few times, they share one kiss, and that's it. So disappointing.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Ghosts of Fear Street #16: Don't Ever Get Sick at Granny's

Corey is less than happy about being stuck in a car for four hours with his parents and older sister after the air conditioner stops working. I can't say I blame him. Meg, his sister, has the chance to audition for some fancy ballet school, which will set her up for life. While his parents take her and stay in a hotel, they'll leave him at his granny's house.

The odd thing is that Corey doesn't remember ever meeting granny before. Even though they claim they just visited last summer, he has no memory of her. His mom points out that granny gave him awesome gifts like his skateboard. When they get there though, his dad ominously warns him that he should never, ever get sick at granny's house.

Granny turns out to be a pretty cool older chick. She has an entertainment area set up with surround sound, a big ass television, and lots of movies. There's even a pool table and pinball machine in the basement. After putting the number of the hotel on the refrigerator, they kick back and watch some movies. She seems less than thrilled when Corey sneezes though.

No matter how many times he tells himself not to get sick, he can't stop sneezing. Granny demands that he sleep in six wool blankets to sweat out his cold. He begs her not to make him because wool makes him itch, but she literally traps him in bed that night. When he wakes, he's still stuck in bed and now covered with red blotches all over his body from the wool.

Granny prances into his room in a creepy nurse's outfit and helps him out from under the blankets. She then gives him a glass of water and keeps making him drink more and more until he almost wets himself. Turns out that she wants him to drink an entire gallon in one sitting. She then brings in a gallon of orange juice and makes him drink that too. Unlike me, who would have totally wet the bed, he manages to hold it in and make it to the bathroom.

The next step in the healing process is some healthy exercise, which requires the use of a homemade treadmill. She makes him run for a long time before excusing herself, which allows him to jump off and make his escape. Though he plans on grabbing the hotel phone number and running off, he finds himself locked in his room. Granny comes in, accuses him of being a liar when he says he just stopped running, and makes it clear that little boys who like being sick and don't get better never last very long in her house.

Granny's next treatment involves the use of a stinky ointment that she smears all over him. After she leaves him for the night, he tries to escape again and notices weird green fur growing all over his body. He also starts rapidly growing to the point where he thinks he might explode. Once it all stops, he rushes downstairs and to no one's surprise finds the phone number missing.

It actually just fell off though, so he grabs it and hides under her bed with her phone. He calls the hotel and learns that no one ever checked in under his parents' name, which is when he hears someone calling his name. It turns out that Meg came back to save him and somehow ended up trapped inside the walls of the house. She remembers calling a cab, having it drop her off, crawling through a doggy door, seeing a long tunnel, and then the wall itself. Corey rips open the wall and gets her to follow him down the tunnel.

All that happens is that they find a bunch of dead mice and a dead end, which forces them back to granny's room. Granny herself then suddenly appears with two pitchers of water, one for both of them. Corey can't figure out how she knew Meg was there, but he does notice that she seems worried about the water. Remembering The Wizard of Oz, he tosses the water over her. She suddenly starts melting right before their eyes. To make things worse, the entire room then starts melting as if covered in lava and there is no way out.

He then comes to back in his own bedroom with his mom standing next to his bed. She tells him that he was having a fever dream and that there is no granny. Corey finally starts feeling better, but just as he drifts off, he sees granny standing next to him with more water. He then wakes up yet again with Meg standing over him and talking to their mom. Meg laughs about the bad dream he had that made all four of his legs move, her mom makes a comment about how he's a silly dog, and he relaxes in knowing that he's in the right place. Corey then wonders if today is the day that he'll finally catch the annoying cat down the street...

Well, I can safely say that I did not see that coming. I thought it would end with him just being sick at home or that the whole thing was a nightmare and that his granny really was caring for him. I never suspected that he was a dog the whole time!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sweet Valley Kids #34: The Best Thanksgiving Every

In honor of the upcoming holiday...

It's almost Thanksgiving in Sweet Valley, so the kids all talk about the food they can't wait to try. Suzie, a friend of the twins who almost never gets a mention, suddenly gets quiet and doesn't want to talk. Jessica also notices her talking about something serious with their dance teacher, which ends with the teacher giving her a hug.

The twins decide to invite Suzie over to their house to hang out. She first says she can't come, but then Alice promises to drive her home. The twins also see her outside of the dance studio waiting for her mom. They think it's weird that her mom walks to pick her up because their apartment is so far away. Oh, and they also see her and her brother outside the ice cream store acting really weird.

Since their grandparents can't make it for Thanksgiving, Ned and Alice decide the whole family should volunteer at a homeless shelter. Jessica refuses because shelters are gross and filled with poor people. She's clearly been spending too much time around Lila. Suzie then tells her that she's right and that the shelter is absolutely horrible.

While hanging out at their house, she tells them both that shelters are bad places. She talks about crying babies all night, people shouting, and all kids of other stuff. Supposedly she knows all about it because her mom volunteers so much. Though she tries to walk home, Alice drops her off at her apartment building. They then see Suzie sneak out the front door and run away.

When Alice confronts her, Suzie completely breaks down. To no one's surprise, she's been living in the homeless shelter. Her mom quit her job to stay home with her brother, and then her dad lost his job. After a year, they lost their apartment too. Alice promises that things will get better. Jessica feels bad but decides that volunteering at the shelter might make Suzie feel better about her situation.

Volunteering actually goes pretty well except that her dad is late. He finally shows up to announce that he just got a new job doing construction on a nearby development. Since it will last for a year, the construction industry will recover by then and they can get an apartment in the meantime. Everyone then rejoices because it's a miracle. Yeah, a miracle that someone did job interviews on Thanksgiving!

*Winston and his family always have rice instead of mashed potatoes, which just seems weird. Jessica claims that everyone has apple pie, but Todd says his family has pumpkin. Yeah, I'll take pumpkin pie over apple pie any day of the week.

*Amy is going through a habit of eating baked bean sandwiches, which is literally cold baked beans between two slices of bread. No thank you.

*According to Alice, they'll eat at the shelter then come home and have a second meal later. How is that even possible? We do Thanksgiving at our house, my boyfriend and I, and we literally spend most of the night before and the day of cooking to have everything done by four or so. There is no time in our schedule to take a few hours off.

*Suzie was telling their teacher that she couldn't afford her lessons anymore, but the teacher told her she could attend for free. She confesses to the twins that her dad doesn't think it's right and was going to make her quit.

*Jessica and Elizabeth suggest letting Suzie and her family move in with them, which Alice immediately shoots down because it isn't practical. Yeah, because everything they do is oh so practical.

*Jessica wants to wear her new fancy blue dress to the shelter until Elizabeth points out that it might make Suzie feel bad. They decide to wear jeans instead.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Unicorn Club #19: The Most Beautiful Girl in the World

Rachel is the newest member of the Unicorn Club. Not only is she as rich as Lila, but she's also a little more generous too. While Jessica is hanging out with her, they see an ad for a new chain of spas called Slenderella featuring Katherine Pierce. In case you don't know because I didn't, Katherine Pierce was once the it girl. She modeled, had tons of friends, and even her own show.

The ad lets viewers know that if they sign up as a member, they can enter a contest to spend a weekend enjoying the Katherine Pierce lifestyle. Rachel instantly calls and becomes a member. She then signs up all the other girls. Since she gets one more entry form for each one she buys, Rachel pays for them all. Lila is less than happy about this.

During their first visit, Mrs. Malone, the woman in charge of the club, takes Rachel aside and gushes all over her. Lila gets pissed off until she finds out that she can get entry forms for each purchase she buys. She buys brand new workout outfits for each club member and gets a ton of forms. Mrs. Malone then sets her up to have a private meeting with Katherine.

Katherine tells Lila that she has modeling potential and then goes on and on about the benefits of Slenderella and all its products. Lila pretty much lives off that meeting for days. She doesn't stop talking about it, though she never mentions that Katherine spent more time on her phone than talking to her. Katherine is so busy opening all these spas that she even skips her sister's birthday party.

It quickly turns into a major competition between Lila and Rachel. They both buy a ton of stuff and spend way too much of daddy's money. They both have some private meetings with Katherine, but all she ever talks about is Slenderella and its benefits. Both wind up signing up for a special “custom” program built just for them. Rachel signs up for one to help her lose weight, and Lila signs up for one to enhance her figure.

The other girls aren't quite as serious about the whole thing. They exercise every now and then but mainly just sit around trying to catch a glimpse of Katherine. They also make time to go to the movies or go shopping. Rachel and Lila have so many classes they must attend that they never have time for their friends.

One day, the girls come across Katherine in the locker room. When she finds out they know Rachel and Lila, she immediately starts talking up the Slenderella lifestyle and all the things they need. One service she recommends costs more than they earn in allowance in a year. Mandy starts thinking that maybe Katherine only recommended it because she thought they were rich too.

Mandy has some worries on her mind. Her mom sprung her favorite meal on her right before telling her that she has a check up with her cancer doctor. During her appointment, she hears that doctors rushed Katherine to the emergency room. Mrs. Malone is on hand and tells everyone that another member got her hand caught on a machine but that it absolutely wasn't Katherine. Mandy finds out from her former nurse that it really was Katherine.

She tells Jessica who doesn't really believe her, but they both notice that Katherine stops teaching classes and stops showing up at the spa. Mrs. Malone tells them that she's busy at another spa. They ride there and find out her schedule says she's in Sweet Valley. Mandy and Jessica then spot Katherine at a convenience store, but she looks awful and runs away from them.

When Mandy gets the news that she's cancer free, she also finds out that Katherine is back in the hospital for malnutrition, dehydration, and exhaustion. Her nurse friend breaks multiple laws to tell her what the chart said and her room number. Katherine breaks down crying because her career failed. She couldn't find work at all until the Slenderella opportunity arose. They kept her so busy though and made her follow such a strict routine that she never had time for anything else. When Mandy begs her to come forward with the truth, Katherine tells her that she can't sacrifice her career. Mandy then reveals that she had cancer and that some things are more important than a job.

Rachel is chilling at home when she sees on the news that the contest winner will get a weekend of the same Slenderella lifestyle that Katherine follows. She and Lila commiserate because they both assumed they'd get to go to Hollywood parties and meet celebrities. Both wonder if all the work they put into the program was worth it. Though they try to cancel their membership, Mrs. Malone tells them that she sees potential in them and that they could both be models.

This all ends with the news coming to do a story on the spa. Katherine shows up and admits that they're horrible people. She tells girls to eat healthy and be happy. Malone completely freaks out, and I assume the news cameras chase her around like a Benny Hill skit. Katherine then gets a brand new job as a consumer rights reporter for a local Sweet Valley station and invites the Unicorns to celebrate at a party with all her famous friends.

*Rachel's house has a huge screening room with a professional popcorn maker and soda fountain. I would totally have this in my dream home, but I would skip the family branded cups and popcorn bowls they use.

*Her dad also creates custom labels with their family name for all their movies, which is kind of overkill.

*Enhancing her figure really means getting bigger boobs. Mandy keeps seeing Lila peeking down the front of her shirt LOL.

*Lila literally has two exercise classes every day on top of school. How would any company think that is acceptable for a seventh grader?

*Mandy's favorite meal is lasagna with garlic bread and avocado salad. One of these things is not like the other...

*So Katherine has no career anymore but can somehow get all her famous friends to come out for a random party? Also, is she really old enough to be a TV reporter? Who wants to see some teenage girl advising you of your rights?

*The programs Lila and Rachel follow include “energy/meal replacement” drinks, visualization therapy, exercise classes, and seaweed wraps and treatments like that.

*In a truly creepy moment, Rachel finds out that her visualization therapy sessions have a two-way camera in the room with a therapist actually watching her. When she tries to skip out early, the woman starts screaming at her through the television.

*I totally have the Prince song stuck in my head right now...

*Lila an Rachel keep falling for this crap because Katherine and Malone tell them they have model potential. All they really get from it though is the chance to be in her exercise class when the television films it. Lila gets all excited because she appears on screen for like five seconds but then realizes that even after months of following the program, she looks exactly the same.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Nancy Drew Files #13: Wings of Fear (1987)

Sorry for the extreme lack of posts lately! I promise that I'll be back to my usual crazy posting self as soon as possible! :)

Nancy is all chilling at home, maxing and relaxing, when she gets a phone call from her old friend Jennifer. Instead of asking pleasant questions like how are you and how have you been since I ran away from River Heights over a year ago, she immediately flips out about how her close friend Rod was murdered. See, Jennifer works for Victory Airlines and worked with Rod. He kept flashing around large bundles of cash and bragging about working with smugglers, so she's pretty convinced someone murdered him for talking. Sounds reasonable.

Since Nancy can't do anything on her own and George already has plans, Bess agrees to fly last minute with her to Seattle. Jennifer greets then and instantly makes them go and talk with Mr. Talbot, the owner of the airline. He's really no help, mainly because someone literally just threw a rock through his office window. A rock, by the way, with a written warning on it that Nancy should keep her mouth shut and go back to River Heights. You know that's not going to keep her away.

We get to meet Sean, Jennifer's boyfriend. He's totally cool with everything but does spend a good portion of his time trying to calm Jen down and convince her that nothing is wrong. He gives Nancy a tour of the airport, which makes his girlfriend pout for way too long about him “ignoring” her. He also arranges for both Nancy and Bess to join a new group of college students working for the airline.

After hearing that Rod mentioned something about a 747, Nancy convinces herself that it was a warning about the smugglers. Jennifer storms around a ton and moans about how they keep avoiding her and leaving her out of stuff. It doesn't help when Nancy takes off after a plan. The plane was from China and grounded because of mechanical failure. Before it takes off again, she rushes after it to look for evidence.

All that really happens though is that some dude locks her inside the cargo hold as the plane takes off. Sean saves her and tells her the engine failures stopped the plane yet again. They then go to a party and meet Jennifer's roommate Miranda. Miranda suddenly flips out upon learning of the investigation and practically throws a Chinese vase at Nancy. She says Rod gave it to her when they dated before and that she worries it was stolen.

Despite no one knowing whether this is part of a smuggling ring, Nancy sneaks into the baggage handling area of the airport to look for similar vases. She meets Grant Sweeney instead. As the head of the baggage department, he is less than friendly about some random girl sneaking around. Even though he's just doing his job, he goes to the top of her suspect list.

Jennifer, who still feels threatened by her old “best” friend, decides to do some investigation work of her own. She then surprises Nancy by announcing that she knows who the smugglers are. While working as a flight attendant, she saw some Chinese guys acting sneaky over a bag of diamonds. Mr. Talbot doesn't seem to really care, but when Nancy points out that there might be a logical explanation, Jennifer stops off in a fit.

No Nancy Drew book is complete without at least one guy falling in love with her. This time it's a baggage handler named Paul. He starts coming around all the time and asking her out. Even after she tells him she has a serious boyfriend back home, he won't stop. After talking with him and asking Sweeney some questions, she's still no closer to finding out the truth.

It doesn't help that Sweeney wants absolutely nothing to do with her. He almost attacks her with a heavy wrench but claims he thought she was a smuggler. Sean starts acting really cool towards her, and Paul turns on her too. He even stops her from chasing after Sweeney when she see's the older man doing something suspicious. Both guys tell her that Sweeney told them to avoid her because she was investigating a smuggling ring and wants to pin it on them.

While on the way from that meeting, she runs into a slightly older flight attendant named Linda. Everyone hates her because she's so rude just downright mean. Nancy follows Linda to a top secret meeting with Sweeney and overhears them talking about the smuggling ring and how Nancy is getting too close. Linda freaks out because she realized Bess is a plant and that they're going to find out the truth. Someone then grabs Nancy from behind and drags her off.

It's only Sean though. He sits down with Nancy, and they uncover some more facts. It turns out that 747 refers to the time of the flight and not the plane. Just as they decide to tell Jennifer what they found, she comes home, sees them together, and instantly decides that they're sneaking around behind her back. She storms off like a six year old, leaving Sean to chase after her, apologize for doing nothing wrong, and begging her to help them.

This leads to Nancy dressing up in Bess's clothes and changing her hair color temporarily to board a flight to LA with Linda as the head flight attendant. Linda randomly snaps at some guy on the flight and doesn't seem happy to see him. After they land, Bess introduces Nancy to Mark, a hunky pilot who took her out to dinner. They go over everything they know and somehow come up with the idea that the smugglers are operating in LA.

Nancy then randomly spots a 747 mark on a box in the airport, follows the person carrying the box, and opens it when the guy leaves to find a bunch of Chinese vases hidden inside. Oh you silly smugglers and you're easily identifiable marks! For reasons I don't understand, Nancy realizes that Talbot himself is behind the smuggling ring. She tracks down Blake Maxwell, a big wig in the airline, to ask for his help. They find out that Talbot took off running after Linda mentioned Bess to him. When Sean goes to get Maxwell, they learn that his office number is 747. Gasp, or something.

Since they were stupid enough to give them what little evidence they found and since this was before 9/11, they rush to stop the plane from taking off because he's on it. They actually get Nancy a ticket on the flight, where she tells Bess everything they found before confronting Linda. Linda confesses that she was involved but wanted out and that the man from the earlier flight was someone hired to cause “mechanical” troubles. She then tells Nancy that Maxwell set her up and got all the ladies on the same flight so he could get rid of the evidence just as the plane starts going down.

Turns out that they arranged for a bomb to go off in the cargo hold. Mark manages to bring the plane down safely, Linda helps everyone off the plane, and the cops arrest Maxwell. The cops tell them that Maxwell bugged Talbot's office to listen to his calls and that Linda threw the rock through the window because she wanted to protect Nancy. Paul pops up again to ask Nancy out, and she invites him to go out with the whole group for dinner because she fells bad for being mean to him. Bess then asks if they can rent a car to head home, but Nancy tells her no because she doesn't want to wait another minute longer to be back in Ned's arms. Aw.

*My old college roommate was in town a few weeks ago when I picked a few of these books up. We both agreed that this is one of the most 80s covers ever! Nancy does wear this exact outfit in the book though.

*Jennifer is really awful in this book. If I were Nancy, I would have just taken off after her second hissy fit and told her to solve the crime on her own.

*After a particularly rough fight, Jennifer and Miranda decide to unwind by baking a batch of coconut macaroon cookies. Yup, nothing says relaxing like making a batch of the world's hardest cookies...

*Bess mopes around because she and Nancy flip a coin to see who will sleep on the floor and who gets the couch, which she loses. Nancy then has to point out that Bess got the couch the night before and that she has some hotshot pilot chasing after her, so her life isn't too bad.

*I seriously think the ghostwriters deliberately created all guys, with the exceptions of Ned and Carson, to be awful just to make them look better. There are way too many books with a guy chasing after her who just won't leave her alone, even after finding out she has a boyfriend.

*Bess is apparently such a cow that when she lets Nancy borrow a skirt and sweater, Nancy “swims” in her clothes. I hate this crap.

*Just so you know, Maxwell is in this book so little until the end that he's not even one of the suspects in the beginning!

*Nice empowering message there at the end. If you're mean to a guy who won't stop hitting on you when you tell him not to, you should totally go out with him later to make up for it.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sweet Valley Twins #65: Patty's Last Dance

Patty Gilbert is a major dance star. Don't worry if you've never heard of her before. She appears in the book before this one and like two SVH books before she goes off to wherever one-time friends of the twins wind up. She takes an advanced ballet class under Madame Baril with Kerry Glenn. You might remember her as the twins' close friend way back in the early books who kind of disappeared later.

Madame Baril makes a special announcement at the beginning of class to let them all know that Patty got the lead in Swan Lake. Kerry congratulates her, and even though she was worried she would lose the role to Kerry, Patty kind of ignores her and walks off. See, she's one of those stuck up ballerinas who thinks she can't have any friends. After telling her older sister Jana, and seeing her go off with her own friends, she starts wishing that she had at least one friend to celebrate with.

During their next rehearsal, Madame Baril notices something off when Patty leans over but says she was wrong. Patty instantly starts worrying that her body is all wrong and that she'll never be a professional dancer. After her mom measures her, she learns that she grew more than an inch and assumes that's it. Nope. Madame Baril thinks there's something wrong with her back and that she should get it checked out.

Since that means going to the doctor and possibly losing the lead, Patty just lies and says everything is fine. Madame Baril then tells her a story about her former best friend and fellow competitor. The other girl hurt her ankle once but refused to see a doctor because of her upcoming performance. Though she begged her friend to get help, the other girl ignored her. On opening night, she did a jump and instantly hit the ground because her ankle was broken. Though she recovered and came back to class, she never danced the same way again. Madame gives Patty the “look” before saying it's a good thing she's totally fine.

This naturally makes Patty keep freaking out until she finally tells her mom she needs to see the doctor. Of course she lies and says it was just for the show. The doctor quickly discovers that she has scoliosis and recommends she see a specialist. Patty looks in the encyclopedia and sees that she may need to wear a brace, which causes her to flip out yet again. The specialist agrees that she needs to get fitted for a Milwaukee brace as soon as possible.

Since she can barely concentrate, Madame Baril naturally notices. She finally makes the decision to replace her with Kerry in the lead role. Kerry speaks up for Patty and says she thinks it's just her jumps. If they work on the jumps together, she thinks Patty will do better. Madame agrees but gives them just two days. This leads to them becoming friends and even going to Casey's to split a sundae. Kerry introduces her to the Unicorn Club, and Patty starts wondering if maybe she does need friends. She also takes Kerry's advice and get fitted for the brace as soon as possible.

The two become such good friends that Kerry even offers to help her adjust after getting the brace and goes to the fitting with her. She also forces Patty to talk to a girl in a brace. The other girl answers some of her questions and then gives over her phone number in case Patty needs more help. Patty calms down long enough to think about what to tell her teacher.

Patty tells everyone at the beginning of rehearsal and says that she'll step down if needed. Madame tells her that she can still dance until she gets her brace and that it's still her role. The teacher asks if her doctor will let her dance later too. Patty admits that she can still take classes three times a week for up to an hour without wearing her brace. Madame basically tells her that she still has a spot in her class but acts butt hurt about Patty lying to her originally.

As this is Sweet Valley, Swan Lake goes perfectly. She even gets a standing ovation. When her parents get her up on stage so they can take a picture for later, she runs and grabs Kerry. Patty says that when she thinks back on that night, she wants to think about her new friend. Madame then takes her aside, tells her she taught another girl with scoliosis, and that she knows it won't be easy for Patty to watch others like that student did. She does, however, want to offer Patty the same job she offered that girl: assistant teacher. Patty cries and accepts.

In other news, Sweet Valley is obsessed with some new show called You'll Never Believe This. Hollywood Jones, a slick and good looking older guy, goes across the state to film people trying to break records. When he announces the show is coming to Sweet Valley, the girls go crazy. Jessica and Mandy come up with a plan to break the record for a dance marathon. Unfortunately, Liz finds out that the record is seven months and that the state record is over a month. They can only hope to break the record for kids under 14, which is just over 11 hours.

While kids line up to volunteer, they quickly change their minds after hearing how long they have to dance. Jessica sends a letter to the studio and lies to say that they have 100 people signed up when they really have a fraction of that. When she gets a nice kind of rejection letter back, she calls, speaks with Hollywood's assistant, and tells him that they now have 200 people signed up. The assistant then agrees that the show will come by.

They face stiff competition from Big Mesa. Their school planned a three-legged race and have 146 people signed up. Jessica lies to everyone about how she talked to Hollywood himself on the phone to get more people to volunteer. They wind up with just over 100 people. Hollywood does come to the school to interview her and lets it slip that he never spoke to her on the phone, that it was his assistant, which causes the Unicorns to sort of make fun of her.

Cut to the dance marathon. Hollywood and his crew come by to film, but he keeps pointing out that there aren't a lot of people there. He makes it clear that unless more people show up, they probably won't make it on his show. It doesn't help that multiple people drop out in the middle too. When he comes back and just looks bored, Jessica gets everyone to form a congo line around the gym. She yells for him to join them, but he refuses until she says it will look great on television. He then jumps right to the head of the line.

A few weeks later, they still don't know if they'll appear on the show. It turns out that they do, but that Hollywood blocked out Jessica and only focused on the last few minutes that featured him. Jessica kind of mumbles about how he stole the show from her, someone comments on how they were such good phone buddies and all, she turns bright red, and then she claims that he wasn't that good looking anyway.

Oh, and there's some new girl in school named Veronica. She just moved into the mansion next door to Lila and is kind of a bitch. She interrupts the TV interview with Hollywood Jones, complains about Lila singing next door, and whines about how her old school was so much cooler. In the end, she threatens her and Liz's teacher for giving her a bad grade and claims that he'll regret it. Thank god she's not older or we'd have another Suzanne Devlin on our hands!

*Patty started dancing when she was super little and is super shocked that Kerry moved up to the advanced class after just three years of lessons. Wouldn't that mean that Kerry is way better than her?

*My only knowledge of scoliosis comes from this book and the BSC book, so I have no clue how it works. Patty's doctor actually examines her in less than five minutes, has her bend over twice, and instantly knows it's scoliosis. Is that really how it works?

*Speaking of the BSC, I have to wonder which came first, this book or the one where Anna finds out she has scoliosis?

*You have to love that the ballet teacher wants to replace Patty like a week before the big show with someone who has never danced the role or even rehearsed it before.

*They get two days to make Patty better, but Kerry then skips the first day because of another commitment. They literally rehearse together one day, and Patty is suddenly awesome again.

*Kerry goes with her to the fitting, which is sweet and all, but literally no one else does. Where the hell are her parents with her insurance info??

*I don't get the whole madame thing. She tells Patty to see a doctor, tells her that whole story about her friend, and acts suspicious when Patty says she's fine. When Patty then confesses that she has scoliosis, the teacher is all shocked that she wasn't fine after all. What the heck?

*Patty gets tears in her eyes when she gets a standing ovation. No offense, but you're a kid and that means jack shit. My sixth grade production of Oklahoma got a standing ovation and that thing was crap! LOL

*Jessica truly starts out young. She swoons over Hollywood at the beginning, even after Liz points out that he's in his 30s.