Friday, October 15, 2010

Sweet Valley High #66: Who’s to Blame?

It’s Liz, it’s all Liz’s fault!

The book opens with Ned and Alice officially getting separating. This is probably the most stable and realistic thing they’ve done in all of the books, but of course no one is happy. Ned is moving across town and into some bland apartment complex and all the kids are helping. There’s a funny scene where he mentions that now he’ll have more time to work on his campaign. Considering how Sweet Valley is, I’m surprised they don’t run him out of town for not having a stable home life.

Liz keeps blaming herself for their split. They took one weekend away from Sweet Valley as a family and she gave Alice’s assistant their number. She called and Alice ran off, which was apparently the last straw for Ned.

Everyone tries to put on a chipper face about the whole thing. Steve starts coming home from college a lot…wait, is that any different from any other week? Liz throws herself into making their mom feel better and Jess is, well Jessica. In the last book, she started calling some teen hotline that charges a shit-load of money.

Alice finds the phone bill and naturally freaks out. I think it came to over $300 or something. She demands that Jessica pay back the total bill from her allowance. Instead, she runs to Ned and whines that she only started calling the line because of their problems and because she wanted someone to talk to. Ned calls Alice, who then goes off on Jessica about playing her parents against each other.

Jessica’s been talking to this guy Charlie on the teen line and they exchanged home numbers. She’s tots in love with him, but he keeps putting off her suggestions of a meet up. Eventually she gives into pressure from Amy of all people and demands that they meet for a roller skating date that weekend. Ah, the 1980s. She then runs to Ned and gets money for a new date outfit. Somehow a suede vest and “western-style” jeans don’t really sound all that cool to me.

Jessica and Charlie meet at the skating rink, with Amy lurking in the shadows because she wants to get a look at him. He’s really cute, but also incredibly bland. Every time she makes a joke, he doesn’t get it and he doesn’t say much. She decides not to see him again, but then he calls and makes a big deal out of their date.

So they go on a second date and the same basic thing happens. She finally decides not to see him anymore, but calls the teen hotline and learns that she wasn’t going out with Charlie. Charlie told another girl on the hotline that he was worried Jess wouldn’t find him attractive so he convinced his friend Brook to take his place. She wonders what he looks like and Amy (accurately) points out that Jessica wouldn’t date him if he wasn’t good looking.

Throughout the whole book, Liz keeps blaming herself for what happened with her parents. She keeps focusing on making their mom feel better, while Jessica hangs out with Ned, even asking if she can move with him if they get divorced. They eventually go after each other, with Steven stuck in the middle.

Liz even decides to break up with Todd. She decides that she doesn’t really have enough time for a relationship because she needs to spend time with her mom. This changes pretty quickly, when she starts dating a bunch of random guys. She tells Enid that she just wants something fun and worthless for awhile and not a serious relationship. This sets Jess off because there can only be one whore in the Wakefield family.

Liz finally decides to run away from home. She plans to run away to Texas and live with her aunt or Detroit, to live with her grandparents. Enid convinces her to come to her house for a few days instead. Liz leaves notes for both her parents, telling them that she’s going to stay with a friend, without saying who. Then she takes the phone off the hook, so no one can reach her.

Of course everyone finds the notes and freak out. Ned rushes over because he’s so worried. Here’s the part I love. In every Sweet Valley High book, we’re constantly told how popular the twins are. Yet, the only friends they call are Enid and Todd. They never even think to call any of her other supposed “friends”.

Liz spends one night with Enid and suddenly everything is fine again. She goes home and everyone is happy. To make up to her for the other crap, Jess and Steve decide to help her get back together with Todd. Jess dresses up like Liz and talks to Todd out by the lake. Steve drives Liz there and makes her listen to them talk. Once Todd professes his love, Jessica slips out and makes Liz go back, so they make up too.

Jessica comes up with the best plan every at the end of the book. She calls Charlie and tells him that she knows what he did and that she wants to set him up with her friend Amy. Jess and Brook, Amy and Charlie all go to some dance held by the sorority. Jess figures that she’ll have both the cute Charlie and the real Charlie and they’ll fight over her all night. Instead, Charlie and Brook end up spending the entire night with Amy, leaving Jess out in the cold. It would be a lot more satisfying if they ever mentioned him again…

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