Friday, October 18, 2019

Sweet Valley Twins #106: Breakfast of Enemies

Jessica and Lila love this magazine called California Girl, which does an article called “Real Girl” each month about a normal reader. They both entered for the next month's issue and used Lila's address so they could find out together. Though letters come, Jessica gets a generic form rejection letter and Lila gets picked. They'll come to her house for a photo shoot and to learn all about her.

This naturally makes Lila the center of attention. Jessica tries to make it seem like she was the runner up, but Lila busts her and tells them she got a form letter. They all want to hear everything about the shoot. Janet even brags about how they're cousins. When Jessica finds out that Corny O wants to shoot a new commercial with twins, she decides that she and Liz should go for it. Liz agrees after realizing that she could use they money to buy software for the newspaper.

After practicing for a few days, they finally tell Ned and Alice about the commercial. They think it's a terrible idea because the way the twins fought during the whole Romeo and Juliet think. The only way they agree to let them try out is if they can be nice and get along until the audition. This leads to them going overboard with the compliments and even getting Steven involved so they can look better when compared to him.

At the audition, they get lines and a new jingle. They have to sing and say the lines together. Jessica gets called in first, and Stan, the director, just wants to hear her. He then calls in Liz. After hours of waiting, they get the news that he picked them. Stan gives them a contract and asks them to take it home and have their parents sign it. He also tells them that they're using twins to get around child labor laws. They'll basically share the commercial and each shoot half.

The problem arises when Jessica gets sick of hearing Lila brag constantly about her photo shoot. Jess tells them all about the commercial, but people just make fun or her and say that she's lying. To prove them wrong, she sings the new jingle. It's so ridiculous that they laugh at her even more. Janet says it would be embarrassing to go on national television and sing that. People start teasing Liz too, which makes her furious and sends her home after her twin.

After they fight again, Ned reminds them that they have a contract and that they have to work together. If he hears one more argument before the commercial is done, they're both grounded for a month. Jessica then watches her favorite actress on television talk about how actors are more important than directors and sometimes need to change things on their own, which gives her a new idea.

She first suggests to Stan that they change the jingle. When he rejects that idea, she shows up in way too much makeup. She then tries to change her outfit. Stan finally says that if she can't get it together, he'll fire them both. Knowing that she has plans for the money, Liz comes up with an idea of her own. She locks Jess in the makeup room and does her part. Liz then leaves and comes back to do Jessica's part.

It works well until Jessica rushes the set. Stan ignores her complaints and gives them one more scene. They both need to run around on an obstacle course and do different tasks that they'll them impose on a different background. The twins end up swings that crash into each other and fight, knocking over a giant box of the cereal and throwing it at each other. Stan then fires them both.

In the middle of all this, Steven decides that he wants to act too and gets Jess to call Stan and suggest him for a different commercial. Stan says he needs male twins for another cereal commercial and has auditions the following week. Steven tries to get Joe to pretend to be his twin and approaches a random guy in the mall named Manny who already has a twin, Danny. He finally finds a guy who kind of looks like him and goes to the audition. Stan throws them out because of his last name and also because he looks too much like the twins.

Liz and Jess feel bad about messing things up, especially Jess. Lila's magazine comes out, everyone makes a big deal out of it, and then they notice an ad for the twins' new commercial. They don't want to tell anyone that they were fired and turn down anyone who wants to watch it together with them. It turns out that Stan used their fighting with words about how twins share everything and love each other until it comes to the last serving of Corny O. Everyone loves the commercial, so the twins agree to stop fighting and enjoy a temporary truce.

*Lila has a lock on her mailbox and seems shocked that the Wakefields don't lock up their mail. As she says, you never know what's in there.

*Since when would Janet be upset about any Unicorn appearing in a national television commercial? She says that Jess singing the jingle will make them all look bad.

*This reminds me of the SVH book with the television show that I just recapped. In no way would Lila represent a typical California girl! Seriously, who thinks that a spoiled rich girl with numerous credit cards and a car phone (in the 80s) is typical?

*In case you were wondering, Manny and Danny get the other commercial LOL.

*The twins beat out more than 200 other twins for the parts despite the fact that other girls could sing and move completely in unison.

*Why would the director make such a big deal out of them doing everything together if he didn't plan on shooting them together? He says it's because he needed their shots to work together but it doesn't really make sense.

*It's nice to see Ned and Alice occasionally acting like real concerned parents of two kids.

*Bruce actually suggests buying enough copies of California Girl that every kid in school would get a copy, just to see Lila.

*When Steven hears who won the commercial he wanted, he runs upstairs and screams.

*Ned and Alice let the twins have a small amount of money for now and put the rest in their college accounts. He says that they'll pick up a lot from interest. I can totally see Jess spending it all in her first semester!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Nancy Drew (All New) Girl Detective #14: Bad Times, Big Crimes (2005)

Nancy just finished up a case and spent the last 30 hours on her feet, but she promised Ned that she'd go to a lecture with him at his college. Bess and George meet them there. Tracey Gaines, the granddaughter of two famous gangsters, just finished up a big project and wants to share what she learned. Nancy keeps falling asleep, and at one point, Ned wakes her up. She notices him wearing a suit exactly like every other man in the crowd, and all the women are in dresses. A newspaper she finds lists the date as 1930, the same year the woman researched.

Bess and George find a very confused Nancy outside and start talking about taking bread to Hooverville. It seems as though Nancy really did go back in time and landed smack dab in the middle of the Great Depression. After seeing Hooverville, they stumble across the Smith family. Clay Gaines and his partner, Edward Parker, are in the midst of evicting the family from their home. Bob lost the house while gambling. Nancy offers to let them stay with her.

After dropping Bess and George off at home, she gets lost because nothing looks familiar. Charlie, the same guy who saves her all the time in the modern era, finds her and helps her get home before telling her that his family is moving on to greener pastures. She gets home in time to see the chief with her dad. The chief tells her to leave them alone, but she does overhear them talking about some big bank robberies. That's when the Smith family shows up.

Carson is nice enough to let them stay for awhile, and Hannah makes a big dinner for the whole group. It's the parents, Bob and Sylvia, their four kids, a pet mouse, cat, rat, and two dogs. Nancy keeps pumping Bob for information on the casino where he lost his house. He keeps pointing out that she's a girl and can't do all the things she wants to do. She just knows that she can figure out what happened and get them their house back.

When Nancy learns that the only school in town shut down because the town couldn't afford to may the teacher anymore, she heads to Hooverville to speak to the teacher. The woman refuses to be a charity case, but Nancy comes up with a barter idea. All the parents will trade different things to get the teacher back. The idea comes to her after running into Ned. He works for the grocer in exchange for food for his family and didn't tell her because he didn't want her to look down at him. Nancy assures him that he's still her guy and gives him a kiss on the cheek.

She goes back to Hooverville the next morning though and finds the police tearing through. Deirdre shows up in a fancy party dress to help the cops find the person who stole an apple pie she made. They arrest a 10 year old boy and take in his whole family on suspicion of being bank robbers. Apparently stealing a pie because you're hungry is the same as robbing a bank.

Carson agrees to go over to the jail and see what he can do, but Nancy gets there first. Chief McGinnis already let the kid and his family go but warned them about stealing. Since Nancy knows Clay Gaines is a bad guy from the future, she brings him up to the chief. The chief thinks Clay is a good guy and actually has plans to meet him later. She drops a bunch of hints about setting up a roadblock to stop the real thief from leaving town. When he finally picks up on her hints, she gushes about how he's so smart and handsome before leaving as she rolls her eyes.

With some help from Ned in the form of suits that belong to him and his dad, Nancy and the gals dress up like gangsters. Since Bess still looks way too feminine, she literally takes them to a farm down the street, cuts some hair off a horse, and makes a fake mustache that she glues on Bess. Edward lets them into the casino after she claims that they know Clay but then slams the door on the them and locks it. He comes back with two other guys and sits everyone down to play some poker. George keeps winning, and Nancy makes an excuse to use the bathroom and take a look around. She finds Clay's ledger with all the proof that he's a thief.

Though the girls want to leave and stop playing, Clay won't let them leave because George is up by so much. Bess sneezes, which causes her fake mustache to fly across the table, and the guys realize all three are gals. After a short fight, they manage to get away. Nancy sends the other two to the police and leads the guys away from them. Chief McGinnis then shows up and stops Clay and his wife. Nancy shows him the ledger, but before he can do anything, they take off.

They don't even get a mile up the road before they run into a slew of cops. It turns out that George called the police departments in every nearby city for help. Chief McGinnis then takes all the credit, but Nancy gets the Smith's house deed from the ledger and takes it to them. Bob is so grateful that he gives Nancy a brand new dress he just made. She then heads to town hall for a special speech, feels tired, rubs her eyes, and wakes to find herself back in the present.

Tracey Gaines finishes up the speech with information on how the official word said that cops from other towns came in to help. Word on the street was that a female dogooder that no one ever named came forward and actually brought them down. Ned thinks that's funny and points out that it sounds like someone he knows. Nancy just smiles.

At the very end, Bess and George take Nancy to meet their Aunt Eliza who lived through the Great Depression. She has a frog that Nancy correctly guesses the name of based on the frog Eliza Smith had in the past but says it was just a guess. Eliza then gives her that look and tells her to stick to that story and that she'll never say a word.

*This book literally takes place less than a week after the last one, which I only know because Ned and Nancy talk about it at the beginning.

*My favorite part of this book is that Nancy has a blue convertible coupe just like she had in the original books when she went back in time.

*Deirdre's family is somehow still super wealthy and has no problems. She even says that anyone who wants to work can find a job, which made me roll my eyes.

*Carson worries about Nancy going out in the middle of the night when it's actually 8:30, but that's still way too late for a girl to be out alone.

*George has two hours to teach Bess and Nancy how to play poker and everything they know to beat the bad guys. That sounds a little impossible to me.

Sweet Valley High #71: Starring Jessica!

Eric Parker is some dude who graduated from Sweet Valley High and now hosts a national talk show. He announced plans to have a real high school student on to talk about what life is like for the typical American teenager. The teenager he picks will be someone from Sweet Valley. Everyone goes overboard to fill out their applications and get picked.

Jessica assumes that her only real competition is Lila. She asks for Liz's help with her application, especially the section on her hobbies and interests. It's lots of boys, shopping, and hanging out with not much else. Liz reminds her that she was a babysitter before and that she worked as a hospital volunteer, which is not something I would personally want to remember. Jessica gets annoyed when she sees that Lila left out all the information about her rich dad though.

Liz also suggests that Jessica write an article for the paper. She comes up with an idea about bad dates, which Penny loves. Liz convinces her to change some of the names though to protect the innocent. When the article comes out, people go nuts. They can't stop talking about it, and Penny even says that the first draft was perfect. The only person not happy is Bruce but mainly because Jess claims he kisses like a dead jellyfish.

Since Penny never ever said anything like that about Liz's work before, she starts thinking that maybe she isn't cut out to be a writer. Luckily, Enid heard that Secca Lake just started a new junior ranger program and needs volunteers. They both go to the first meeting and learn that they need to take a test and get a 100% to join the program. Both pass and become junior rangers, but then Don, the head of the program, asks Liz to be his senior junior ranger. It's way more work, but she agrees.

Eric can't settle on who to pick for his show, so he picks six candidates and asks them to come in for an interview. Lila finds out that they changed rooms, goes to her interview, sneaks back, and takes down the sign so Jessica will miss it. Jessica does nearly miss it but finds out the truth and gets there right in time. Eric takes time out to announce that he picked Jessica and that Lila is the alternate.

Jessica and Lila almost immediately start fighting about who really deserves to be on his show. Lila thinks that Jessica lied on her application, and Jessica thinks that Lila wasn't completely honest. They stop talking. Bruce is so upset about the article that he storms into the girls' locker room and goes off on her. Lila decides to work with him on a plan to show up Jessica.

Lila calls Jess on the day of the show to make up and ask her to go shopping. She takes her to a town about an hour away and promises that they'll be back in plenty of time. The workers keep eyeing Jessica, and when she goes into the dressing room, Lila takes off with her purse. She runs outside, and the woman grab her and call the cops to have her arrested for shoplifting.

When the cops show up, the women say that a Detective Tapman called in with a tip that a shoplifter matching her description hit a bunch of stores in town. Jess points out that she was in school all day, and the cops say there is no detective with that name on the force. Since it's a prank, they let her go. It's too late for her to make it back in time for the show, so she calls Liz.

Lila heads home all excited that she'll get to be on the show. She meets up with Bruce and can't help noticing how good he looks coming out of the pool. After they congratulate each other on a good job, they actually kiss. It must be good because he almost falls back in the water.

Liz has been working like crazy at the lake. She's the one always called in to help when someone calls off or they need an extra person. It's taking time away from her writing and making her worry if she can do both. Don calls that night for help, and though she worries about turning him down, he just laughs it off because it's not a big deal. Liz then dresses like Jess, goes to the show, and locks Lila in the dressing room.

One of the cops offers to take Jessica to the interview, but she gets there just in time to see her twin playing as her. After the show, Liz switches clothes with her so she can go out and get all the attention. Lila demands to know how she pulled it off before storming off. She also stops to scream at Bruce and tell him that Jessica was right and that he does kiss like a jellyfish.

Liz decides that she just can't do both things anymore and decides to quit the junior rangers. It's not really that big of a deal since it's just one more thing the twins only do in one book. Cara and Amy then make Lila and Jessica make up. They kind of agree that they were both in the wrong. Lila then wants to talk about Andrea Slade, the new girl in town who is oh so cool.

*Jess's article had her shipwrecked trip with Winston on it. How was that a bad date? She basically sat around, moped, and acted like a huge bitch while he took care of everything!

*Amy agrees that Bruce kisses like a dead jellyfish. It's ironic then that she went after him so hard core while he was dating someone else...

*Some guy dated Jess before and was going to ask her out again but changed his mind after reading the article because he didn't want to wind up in the next one. People say that Jess is too pretty and popular for guys to care, but really? I can imagine some guys not being too thrilled at the idea of dating her.

*Amy is one of the only people who doesn't care about getting on the show and says something about how her mom doesn't really like Eric. Jessica thinks she's just jealous because her mom is only on the local news.

*How is Lila or Jessica the typical American teenager? Lila has everything handed to her on a silver platter, and Jessica has the perfect California life. I wouldn't want to see either one of them on television.

*I know I say this a lot, but Jessica is such a bitch in this book! She just automatically assumes that she should get the interview and keeps going off on people about how Lila isn't honest with her application. She then puts shit on hers that isn't real either. During her interview, she even makes a big deal out of the hospital having the Fowler name and outright lies about how Lila travels all the time and spends more time traveling than she does in school.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #164: The Mystery of the Mother Wolf (2002)

Nancy and the girls are off to Elk River Ranch in Wyoming. Alice, the best friend of her aunt Eloise, invited them to spend some time with her and her husband, John. They'll also meet Jenny, her daughter, and Jenny's fiancee, Paul. Paul is a zoology student and helping build a wolf sanctuary on their land. Bess is less then pleased with the news, especially after hearing that they also have a pet wolf.

While on the way to the ranch, they have a run in with Rusty. He's their closest neighbor and has a yard absolutely filled to the brim with junk. Rusty fires a slingshot at the car windshield and makes a big deal out of how he doesn't like people around his property. They finally get to the ranch and meet Dody, a guest, and his son, Dexter, who Bess instantly develops a crush on.

Nancy almost instantly finds an old pocket knife in the room she shares with George. Since it has RM on it, she thinks it might belong to Rusty. That freaks Alice out because she can't imagine him sneaking around the ranch. She tells her that it must belong to Ross, one of their ranch hands. They then meet Jenny and Paul, who just wants to talk about how awesome wolves are.

The two take the girls out to see Rainbow, the wolf pet. Her parents died, her pack abandoned her, and Alice found her just in the nick of time. Rainbow recently had puppies with their sled dog, Grover, and the girls want to check things out. Before they can get there though, they almost get run over by a truck.

Stella, the driver, is Paul's grandmother, and she has this guy Bill with her. Bill owns a ranch nearby and is worried about having a wolf sanctuary so close. He wants assurances that the wolves won't escape and kill his livestock. This gives Paul an excuse to talk about how they would never do that because it's not like wolves do this every single day. As they look at the puppies, Alice casually mentions that there was an intruder the night before.

Nancy wakes up in the middle of the night to noises outside and instantly wakes up George. They head downstairs and eventually find most of the ranch out in the barn. Someone broke in, shot Grover with a tranquilizer dart, and then ran off with Rainbow. John calls the vet to learn what to do about the puppies and how to care for Grover. Nancy goes outside to look for clues and actually becomes disoriented in the blizzard that suddenly hit. This is not my Nancy.

Paul luckily comes by as he returns back from working outside and helps her find her way back to the barn. Nancy thinks that Rusty must be behind everything and wants to check him out. John comes in and tells everyone that someone stole the puppies. They waited until he took Grover out for a walk, sneaked into the house where they took them to keep them warm, and stole them.

The girls go to Rusty's house and sneak around. The find that he has a bunch of cats, apparently never cleans his house, and has a pig skull on display. When they start sneaking around outside, he catches them and locks the girls in a pen with a big hog that charges. Rusty steps in at the last second and warns them about snooping around. When Nancy shows him the pocket watch, he says it isn't his but takes it anyway.

They decide to take a break from the case and do a little skiing with Dexter. While on the chair lift, their chair stops in the middle of the trail. Nancy throws her ski pole like a javelin to tell ski patrol they're up there. Ski patrol finds them and helps them down. One guy tells her it's really weird. Someone told him the last chair on the lift was the one before them and all their phones stopped working.

All they want to do is go back to the ranch and relax. Alice tells them all about this program designed to introduce Canadian wolves into the region. These defenders group pushed for the program, but local ranchers aren't happy because the wolves attack and kill livestock. When they finally get back, they find a note from someone that warns them to ban wild wolves or they'll never see their tame ones again.

Paul thinks the note was left for him and feels bad but not bad enough to suggest that they take the sled dogs out for a run. Though he assures them that he does this trail all the time and that it's perfectly safe, they go off the trail, one of the dogs goes over a ravine, and they almost go in too. He manages to move the dogs and save the last one. Nancy finds that someone cut the reins.

The girls then go with Jenny to check out the neighboring ranch and decide to use snowshoes. Though they have fun, the snow starts again and the wind picks up. Jenny then notices a pack of wild wolves on the trail with them. Ross luckily shows up with his snowmobile and helps them get back before deciding to visit a friend. Bess stays behind, while Nancy and George to to the other ranch.

They stop when they see a snowmobile just like the one Ross drives sitting in front of the town's general store. When they get closer, they find him buying five radio collars, the exact size for wolf hybrid puppies. Ross takes off on a trail they can't drive on with their car, but Nancy convinces an old guy to let her borrow one of his snowmobiles. They follow his tracks and find that he went to Coyote Corners, which is the name of the ranch that Paul's grandmother owns. It doesn't take long before they hear someone asking her about the wolf puppy she sold him.

Ross sees Nancy and waves his stun gun around in the air. George sneaks over to the guy who bought one of the puppies, whispers something to him, and he heads for the hills. Nancy then karate chops the stun gun out of Ross's hand, but Stella then grabs a lamp and goes after her. Stella gets the stun gun and holds it to Nancy's neck as Ross grabs George. They start taking them to something called the bear cave, which does not sound at all safe.

On the way, Stella explains that her husband recently passed away and left more of his money than she expected to his kids from her first marriage. She had enough to live comfortably but not enough to go on a safari like she always wanted. So she and Ross worked together to steal and sell the puppies. Ross accidentally left behind his pocket watch while checking on Rainbow. When it's all done though, she totally plans on giving Rainbow back.

As they step outside though, they find the cops waiting. They arrest the two, and George reveals that she told the buyer the puppies were stolen and asked him to call the cops. Ross was the one who messed up the chair lift and did all the other stuff, but Dody was responsible for the note. The guy from the other ranch asked him to leave it there to try and scare them into being on his side. Rainbow is so happy to be home that she not only lets Nancy pet her, but also lets her hold one of her puppies.

*Alice says the town can't do anything about all the junk in Rusty's yard, which is kind of ridiculous. My dad lived in a kind of rural area and had a neighbor who constantly called the township on him over stuff in his yard. They came out 4-6 times last year to tell him he had to take stuff off his driveway, burn tree limbs, and random stuff like that. They also came out at least three times since he passed away while we were going through the house!

*I love that even though Jenny and Paul are engaged, they have separate rooms. This book came out in 2002, not 1802.

*Paul talks about how people just don't understand wolves and how they're actually gentle creatures. He goes on and on about how he worked with them in college and never felt scared or worried. That's great but not very realistic. There's a reason we don't walk up to wild wolves and try to pet them.

*When Nancy and George can't find Jenny in her room after hearing noises outside, they immediately think that she's in trouble. I'd probably assume she sneaked off for some late night fun with her future husband!

*Nancy thinks it's suspicious that Paul slept through all the commotion and didn't come out, but there's no mention of Bess either, so she apparently slept through it too.

*Jenny explains that introducing wild wolves isn't such a bad thing because as long as they have enough wild animals to prey on, they won't attack livestock. Oh, so it's okay for the wolves to eat all the local animals then?

*According to Paul, he has a stun gun that he uses when working with wild wolves. He basically knocks them out and then puts a radio collar on them. Yeah, that sounds way safer than using a tranquilizer gun.

*The guy they borrow the snowmobile from literally has to tell them how to operate it but lets them go after getting 20 bucks. Will $20 cover all the repairs if they crash or break it?

*I honestly have no idea how much wolf hybrid puppies sell for, but would selling five dogs really pay for an African safari vacation?

Monday, September 30, 2019

The Baby-Sitters Club Super Special #9: Starring the Baby-Sitters Club!

I have no idea how I never did this book for my blog given how many times I read it over the years!

SMS announces plans to put on a musical extravaganza, and if they use that term one more time, I may hit someone. They'll hold open auditions for both the elementary and high schools as well as the middle school. Jessi just recently became the sixth grade correspondent for the paper and thinks that she'll be the star in the musical version of Peter Pan. Now, let's get on with it.

Jessi: Despite assuming that she'll be Peter Pan, Jessi isn't as good at singing and acting as she is with dancing. When she gets cast as a pirate, she throws a hissy fit and drops out. The director then asks her to choreograph dance numbers for the little kids. She then crosses her name off the program listing because she thinks she should get credit for so much more. In the end, Pete, who was cast as Nana and the crocodile, breaks his nose. Jessi takes his place as both characters.

Mary Anne: Mary Anne hates the idea of being on stage so much that she almost wets herself walking into the auditorium. While sitting for Matt and Haley though, the director notices and asks her to be the backstage babysitter. She winds up taking care of everyone but fights with Mallory when the other girl acts like a sitter too.

Kristy: Kristy wants to be Nana and the crocodile but does such a good job at the auditions that she wins the part of Peter Pan. She keeps forgetting all of her lines and lets Cokie psych her out a few times. Since this is Kristy though, she gets over all that and does a great job. She wishes that her dad was there after the show and has her mom send him a copy of the program. Bart shows up and gives her flowers as does Charlie, but Bart gives her a kiss too.

Dawn: Dawn tries out for the part of Tiger Lily and gets the Wendy role. Since she's such a free thinker (picture me rolling my eyes here), she tries to change the words and make Wendy teach Peter things rather than do them for him. The director keeps yelling at her until she finally does the play the right way. She feels bad for not telling her dad about the musical. Richard brings her flowers and a copy of the musical that he filmed for her dad. Jack is super proud of her and asks that she not keep secrets from him again.

Stacey and Sam: These two birdbrains are kind of dating, but Sam is worried because his friends keep making fun of him for dating a kid in junior high. Charlie suggests that he show his friends how much fun they have together, but he goes overboard and calls Stacey darling and dear all the time after they're cast as Mr. and Mrs. Darling. After Charlie tells him that he's an idiot, he apologizes to Stacey who forgives him and asks him to be normal from now on.

Claudia: Claudia really doesn't get a story. She wants to work on sets and gets the role of set designer.

Mallory: Mallory wants to work on costumes and gets to work with an older girl. She gets all nervous about measuring guys, so the other girl does it for her. Mallory also tries to take over backstage and keeps getting in the way, which causes Mary Anne to yell at her. Since this is a BSC book, they quickly make up.

We also get random chapters from people like Logan who almost gets thrown out of the play because he won't stop goofing off and Cokie who doesn't want Mallory to make her look bad. Jackie gets a few chapters too because he doesn't want to wear a nightshirt in front of everyone as his costume. He is also scared of the animal costumes but gets over it after he sees Jessi in the costumes.

*Karen auditions for the role of Tinker Bell and throws a hissy fit after she learns that it isn't a role. She keeps acting out until the director finally lets her be Tinker Bell, proving that she'll grow up to become a “can I talk to your manager?” chicks who throws fits as an adult.

*I bought a new copy because I lost mine, and the new copy came with the BSC Christmas card in the middle with the replica Ann M. Martin signature on the back!

*These books try way too hard to make Stacey seem super mature. When Sam tells her why he's been acting weird, she literally closes her eyes and takes a deep breath as if he's a kid and not her boyfriend.

*Dawn brings bean salad, sugar free juice, raisins, and other “healthy” foods for lunch. As if fruit juice is oh so healthy! She also flips out later because she didn't eat all day and Mary Anne makes her eat peanut butter crackers from the vending machine. Dawn can literally taste the chemicals.

*Cokie wants a dressing room. Kristy says she knows of the perfect place and takes her to the mop closet. Cokie wins in the end though because they actually let her use it as a dressing room.

*Mallory and one other person are the only ones mentioned as working on costumes. You're telling me that those two girls made every single costume for everyone in the musical?

*My bad, they don't make the animal costumes. Despite measuring Pete, she later says that they sent them back to the costume shop. I'd also like to point out that since Jessi fits in them, she's the same size as Pete.

*Squirt becomes obsessed with the Mary Martin Peter Pan video after Jessi watches it and makes them play it for him all the time. That not something a two year old would like?

*When Jessi broaches Emily with the idea of doing a set of articles from the inside of the musical, she seems confused at first and then says something along the lines of, “oh that's right, you're the dancer, so of course you'll be involved.” All of her friends though think that she's getting her hopes up. That don't actually say anything to her though.

*Mary Anne comes with the Braddock kids originally because their mom hired her to sit. She then becomes the backstage babysitter. First of all, why did they need a sitter when there were other kids there on their own? Second of all, did she get paid for any of this?

*Speaking of which, Kristy lets them shut down the club for the entirety of the musical. There's a scene where someone calls and Claudia says that they'll be back the next week. Having done school musicals before, that's a hell of a long time to shut down shop!

Friday, September 27, 2019

The Nancy Drew Notebooks #22: The Clue in the Glue (1998)

Nancy's class is in the middle of a science fair. George's dad helped her create a mobile of the planets on a wood base. Jason, one of the boys in their class, steals the bubbles that Nancy and Bess used for their project and starts tossing it around the room with these boys Andrew and David. The bottle knocks into the mobile, and one of the planets breaks. Mrs. Reynolds, their teachers, tells George that she can fix it in the morning.

When they get back the next day though, someone already fixed it. They left a note behind on paper with smiley faces on it, and Nancy finds a bottle of empty glue under the table. George tells them that she got a few other notes on the same paper and thought it was Bess because her family has the same paper. Nancy decides to investigate and find the culprit.

Andrew and Jason are the two main suspects. One note says that George is pretty, and Andrew keeps showing up to compliment her on random things. Jason shows off his project, which is invisible ink. He writes a message to show the class, and Nancy sees that it's on smiley face paper. Jason hides the paper from her, and when she tries to get it from him, he throws it away. David writes a note with the ink too.

George and Nancy keep passing notes to each other in class, and their teacher keeps warning them about it. She gives George one more warning and then catches her with one of the notes. Before George can explain, her teacher bans her from coming to the planetarium on their field trip and even calls her home to tell her mom. Nancy takes the last note, notices that it has a squiggle line under one word and realizes that David underlines things the same way. She solves the case, George gets to go on the field trip, and Nancy decides that boys aren't so bad after all, at least some boys.

*Nancy has a favorite sweater that is red and white with snowflakes on it. Bess has a favorite pink hat that she wears in cold weather, which has pink and white roses on the sides.

*The girls automatically assume that whoever sent George the notes is a boy because of the one that says she's pretty. That's kind of funny given that she gave off a lesbian vibe in some of the teen books.

*Instead of Togo, Nancy now has a puppy named Chip, which is short for Chocolate Chip.

*Nancy and Bess make frozen soap bubbles for their project. They blow bubbles outside in the cold until each one freezes and develops all these ice crystals on the outside. It kind of makes me wish it was still cold enough in Ohio to try this!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Sweet Valley Kids #45: Elizabeth's Piano Lessons

Amy conveniently spent the night with Julie Porter and is eager to talk about how her friend is taking piano lessons. Julie's teacher plans on holding a recital, which means that she gets to wear a new pretty dress in front of tons of people. Jessica decides that it sounds like fun and that they should take piano lessons too. Elizabeth disagrees and wants to take riding lessons with Amy instead. Her twin mysteriously tells her that it doesn't matter.

When they get home that night, Alice reveals that she signed them up for piano lessons. Their Aunt Helen conveniently called that morning and offered to pay for the kids' lessons. Steven wants to go to summer basketball camp, and when Jess told her how much Liz wanted to take piano lessons, Alice signed them up. Jess even announces that she heard their mom on the phone that morning and knew all about it in advance.

Since even little Liz is still Liz, she decided to go through with it anyway. She plays in the park until the last possible second before her lesson and seems really unhappy. While Jess does great, Liz is awful. She can't concentrate because she doesn't want to be there and hates practicing at home. Their teacher, Leo, tells Jess that he picked out a song for the twins to do together. Jess keeps trying to make Liz practice at home, but it always sounds awful.

Aunt Helen shows up for their recital and listens to the twins play. At the end, she takes Liz for a walk and tells her a story. When she was a kid, she took four year of piano lessons. Her mom thought she loved them, but she just wanted to ride horses. When she told her mom, her mom canceled her lessons and side her up for horseback riding. Liz then tells her all about the classes she actually wants to take. Ned and Alice let Liz drop out and everyone goes to see Jessica play at the recital. They then take Liz to the stable and announced that they signed her up for horseback riding lessons, so everyone wins.

*How can a kid in the second grade be so manipulative? Jessica literally lies to everyone so she can take lessons and doesn't care how her twin feels because she wants a fancy dress and to be the center of attention.

*I love that Liz is the musical one in high school and that Alice even says she was always more interested in music. In this book, Jess is great at piano and Liz sucks.

*Jess says they already take a ton of lessons like modern dance and soccer, so I'm not sure why they even needed something new.

*I'd really like to know if this book came out around the time they introduced Julie in the Sweet Valley High series!

*Ned and Alice immediately go out and rent an upright piano for the twins after signing them up for lessons. I guess that makes sense but it seems like a serious investment for something your kids might hate.