Monday, July 19, 2010

Sweet Valley High Super Stars: Todd’s Story

Wow, a book totally devoted to Todd Wilkins! I’m sure I would have devoured this book 15-20 years ago. Of course back then, I thought Todd was the perfect guy lol.

So it’s the 14th summer vacation during the junior year of high school. Todd, Enid, Cara, Liz, Jess and a few other kids are working as camp counselors at Secca Lake. The camp is all weird too because it only lasts for two weeks. Somehow the kids are still going to be able to find jobs for the rest of the summer. Jess is only working on the chance that she might meet cute guys (of course), but everyone else actually wants to work there.

Liz has suddenly decided that her relationship with Todd isn’t healthy because he doesn’t pledge his undying love to her every single day. I know it’s more complicated than that, but it basically feels that way. She tries to force him into talking to her and then throws a fit because he doesn’t want to go over his every thought with her.

Todd is having problems because his dad wants him to work at his company and he doesn’t want to. His summer gets even worse when he goes to camp and runs into Kevin Collins. Kevin acts like they don’t know each other, but Todd actually put him in jail. Apparently he saw Kevin robbing an old man, called the cops, tackled him and pinned him to the ground until they got there.

Kevin came from a super wealthy family and his dad worked with Mr. Wilkins. He tried to pay Todd to forget he saw anything, but he turned him down. He didn’t tell anyone about it because he didn’t want to disappoint anyone. Kevin vowed to get back at him, right before he went to prison.

This book kind of reminds me of the ones when Heather moves to town and turns everyone against Jessica because that’s exactly what happens here. Somehow everyone is ready to believe the worst in Todd and accept all of Kevin’s little stories without a second thought. Kevin kicks Todd’s ass in basketball because he was a big star back in Vermont, but got kicked off the team for his violent behavior.

The smart thing would be for Todd to tell everyone about what happened, but he naturally doesn’t do that. Instead, he acts super jealous and follows Kevin around, just in case he does something. Kevin tells everyone that Todd had an attitude problem, practically date raped a girl in Vermont and had problems for his bad behavior on the basketball court. Everyone believes him and starts distancing themselves from Todd.

Kevin originally has eyes for Jessica, but turns to Liz. Todd gets upset and Liz breaks things off. She doesn’t even stop to wonder why he’s worried about Kevin, she just thinks that he has an attitude problem and should talk to her. Kevin also worms his way into the Wilkins’ house by asking Mr. Wilkins for help getting a job. He starts acting like Kevin is the perfect guy, even though he spent time in prison. Seriously? My parents would have kicked my ass for even talking to a guy like this when I was 16.

Then things at camp start disappearing. Cara loses her car keys, Winston loses his baseball cap, that kind of thing. Plus Liz loses her necklace. Then someone starts attacking people in Sweet Valley, just like the stuff Kevin did. The “best” thing is when the news says that nothing like this has happened in Sweet Valley in years. Nope, just kidnappings, hostages, corporate espionage, drunk driving and the like.

Kevin asks Liz out, right in front of Todd. She doesn’t want to go, but then agrees because she realizes that Todd isn’t paying attention to her. They go out on one date, which pisses Jessica off and Liz realizes that something isn’t right with him, yet still continues to see him.

Todd goes to Secca Lake after a fight with his dad and sees Kevin attack Melissa, another camp counselor. Instead of going to the cops, he tells Aaron and Winston about everything. The cops end up arresting him because they find his engraved pen at the site. Kevin broke into his car and stole it, but they think he attacked her anyway.

Jessica then finds Liz’s missing necklace in Kevin’s car and the guys tell her what they know about Kevin, even though they didn’t really believe him before. Liz takes a walk with Kevin and he starts rambling about his brother and attacks her, but Todd shows up at the last second and saves her.

The cops arrest Kevin, who announces that he attacked Melissa and did the other crimes in town. He then tells a long story about his older brother who was his dad’s favorite and how he died in a car accident while with Kevin. His dad blamed him and Kevin started stealing and attacking people to fill the void left by his brother. Yeah, really doesn’t make sense.

Everyone apologizes and Todd forgives them for giving him the cold shoulder all night long. His dad apologizes for picking Kevin over him and Liz forgives him for not paying attention to her. She really doesn’t apologize, even though she was a bitch and somehow Todd ends up feeling bad about everything so I guess it’s business as usual in Sweet Valley!


  1. His dad blamed him and Kevin started stealing and attacking people to fill the void left by his brother.
    his brther stole, and when he died, Kevin had to steal aswell.:) makes sense!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. MY REVIEW OF TODD'S STORY by Dane Youssef

    "Wow, a book totally devoted to Todd

    Wilkins! I’m sure I would have devoured this book 15-20 years ago. Of course back then, I thought Todd was the perfect guy lol."

    The whole point of Todd is that he WAS the perfect guy. He was written to the be the perfect guy. That's how fantasy-writing works.

    I know girls stopped looking at Todd as the "perfect guy" after he "Confidential" when he had the sexual affair with Jessica--he had affairs with her before that, but they didn't involve actual genital penetration.

    This was a nice chapter in the archive--before the entire series didn't start sucking to death.

    Yeah, that’s right, folks. He’s the star of this one. That’s why there’s a literal star next to his name. He saves the day here.

    You’d think a “Sweet Valley” book that isn’t just completely focused on The Bobsey Twins themselves would be really interesting. But I don’t think this one tries very hard. Or at all. I know these books are primarily for adolescents. Not even High Schoolers. More like the Elementary crowd. Junior High Schoolers at the most. I like Todd. A lot more than a lot of other characters, but I do wish sincerely that they’d give him a better-written story. Maybe someone will. They haven’t discontinued these yet. It’s like the OZ books or MAD Magazine. Generation after generation of hired hands are still working at the writing desk, scribing these.

    Good luck, Todd. And better luck next time. Tell you what, call me. I can write you a better story. I’ll design your next personal vehicle.

    –Currently At Work On It… Your Current No. 1 Fan, Dane Youssef

  4. Looking back on it now though, Todd really wasn't the perfect guy. He comes across as a little too "adult sometimes." Like he'll treat Liz to a dinner in a four-star restaurant or a gourmet picnic on the beach. What kind of high school girl is really into that?

    Then there's the whole cheating issue. Granted, he doesn't cheat on her as much as she cheats on him but he still does it. Not to mention that he ditched her for her twin after Sam died.

  5. P.S. HERE by Dane Youssef

    A lot of high school girls would be into that... a four-star restaurant or a beach-side gourmet picnic. Oh, wait... what kind of high-school girl?

    Elizabeth. Come on. Definitely Elizabeth.

    And as for "not cheating on her as much as she cheated on him".... well, remember, these books all the Wakefield Gemini these two more than anything. We don't follow TODD all the time. His affairs could be more... undocumented.

    Yes, it's true that these two... were PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER. Ms. Pascal designed it that way. So why did they constantly commit infidelity? Why were they so unfaithful to one another? Remember the Devon series? And the Sam series? Why did they do this to one another? Again and again and again?

    Because it's a soap-opera! They all fucked about! It was all for the sake of... "drama." That's why it was... the way it was. Come on! It was all a show! That's why they did IT. His cheating made the girls furious... no matter how many times she cheated first or a lot of other bad thing she did to him. People took this thing really serious--WAY TOO SERIOUSLY. As if this was life or death for them. Well, it was life. Their life. Someone honestly had to take them aside and reassure them these people don't really exist... And sadly, that just makes them even angrier. It's... A... SOAP!

    Oh, and just one more thing... Maybe you misread the whole "Sam" prom thing. But what happened specifically was both Liz and Jess were up for Prom Queen. Jess was so sure she was set to win. She and her boyfriend Sam. But just to be sure... she laced her sister's punch with booze. She won anyway. And spent the Prom with Sam. Jessica was furious--feeling Elizabeth had stolen him away. She eventually went home with him, not realizing she was bombed. She got into a total wreck--and Sam wound up getting killed. Not only did Liz blame herself, but Jessica blamed Liz too and she decide, "She stole my love, I'm going to steal hers..." And Todd was really just trying to be a friend. When Jessica reached out to him, she just wanted to hurt her sister. She blames Liz for everything--even though it was Jess who drugged her! Todd just needs a confidant and think Jess does, too. He still plans to be with Liz and doesn't realize he's being manipulated. That he's being used. He wants to be there for Liz in her hour of need, when she's about ready to swing from the gallows--but Jessica does everything to keep them apart. Keeping Todd busy with her, trying to get him to fall in love with her, telling him not to leave her side or she'll crumble. At one point, Todd writes a letter to Elizabeth making a plea... Jessica finds it and destroys it, then says Elizabeth read it and decided she wants nothing more to do with him. Todd buys it, and...

    Come on. THAT'S what happened. But once again--it DIDN'T HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE! It's all a wild, implausible fantasy.

    Oh, and Jessica Wakefield is the devil. The She-Devil. That's right, the devil is a woman. Is anyone surprised?

    --All Kinds of Love, Dane Youssef