Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sweet Valley High Magna Edition: Return of the Evil Twin

Oh my god! I was so excited when I saw this in a thrift store that I ripped it off the shelf and almost hit my boyfriend in the head. Thrift stores around here never have Sweet Valley High books. I occasionally see copies of the first five books, but seldom any of the others. I found this one and one I was missing, along with all the BSC books and Fear Street ones. Plus I never read this one before. Plus (confession time) I never knew this book existed until I started reading the recap blogs LOL.

So we’re back to that fateful New Year’s Eve night, number 17 I believe, when Liz almost died. The ambulance carrying Margo whisks off into the night, only to swerve off the road, stops and then starts up again. Oh-uh. But of course no one notices it happening. Isn’t that what happened in the Halloween movies?

Now it’s a brand new year and a few weeks away from New Year’s Eve, but the twins are still juniors in high school and the last year still happened. Jess is all annoyed because no one is planning a party, not even Lila. Liz is just happy to be alive and planning a relaxing night at home with Todd, a TV and popcorn. The twins are also working on a fundraising event for the hospital, but have no clue what to do. Ned tells them about a traveling circus that’s in town and Jess decides to hold a NYE party there to raise the money.

The book then jumps to Savannah, Georgia where Nora Chapelle is attending her dad’s funeral. She kind of seems like your typical southern belle, but others are gossiping about how she’s so cold and hasn’t cried. It turns out that her mom died when she was a baby and her dad married this woman Blanche who’s a real bitch.

Blanche gives Nora a check for $50,000, but only if she leaves town and never comes back. I love that she just sends a teenage girl off on her own. She also reveals that Nora’s mom was crazy and so too was her sister. What? Oh yeah, Nora has a twin Margo (duh-duh-duh) and Blanche convinced their dad to put her up for adoption. Apparently Margo was all crazy, biting and hitting other kids, though she never touched her sister. Blanche told him she was going to an upstanding family up north, but used her family connections to have her made a ward of the state in New York. What the hell, is it 1897?

Back in Sweet Valley, the teens are all meeting for a caroling party. Todd’s driving his dad’s old car, has an accident and almost goes off a cliff. Jessica takes too long getting ready and stumbles across the accident. She starts thinking about Sam and the accident last year and freaks out, but still manages to save Todd. Jess actually drags him through the car window.

Liz keeps having these weird feelings and sees the fireball, which is Todd’s car going over the cliff and exploding. She races off in Lila’s car and gets there in time to see the ambulance driving off. She goes to the hospital and sees Todd and Jess getting way too close. Everyone keeps thinking Jess and Todd are a couple, including the newspaper reporter who shows up, and they never correct anyone.

This is actually pretty lame because all of the sudden, Liz is convinced that Jessica wants Todd and he wants her. Every time they’re in the same room together, she thinks they have feelings for her. Jess accurately sums it up by saying, “what did she want me to do, leave him there?” And yeah, I think she would have been happier had you done that.

So Nora finds out all she can about Margo. She gets this whole big file of newspaper clippings, which is funny because there are a bunch of articles about Jessica and Liz. How would the guy who made the file, know to include that stuff? Plus apparently they discovered that she killed the kid in Cleveland and did all the other crap too.

At first she thinks Margo changed her looks and became Liz, then decides that she was probably Jessica. When she reads the rest of the clippings, she realizes that Margo is still alive and decides to head out to Sweet Valley. Oh and we discover that she has a Gemini symbol tattoo on her elbow.

Liz keeps getting pissed about Todd/Jessica. Their parents are so proud of her and Liz gets pissed because it was her boyfriend who almost died and no one is paying attention to her. You just know that if things were reversed, she’d be lapping up the attention. Plus the article hit’s the front page and says Girl saves boyfriend’s life or something like that, so everyone thinks it was Liz at first.

This is one of those books where Ken and Jess are still dating. Liz and Todd are going to the movies, but stop by the Dairi Burger and end up sitting with the whole gang. Jess and Todd keep telling the story over and over again and when he starts ignoring her, Liz asks Ken to go to the movies with her. Later Jess gets super upset because of their history and accuses Liz of stealing her date, so they stop talking yet again.

Ned and Alice apparently don’t pick up on this fact because they invite Ken and Todd over for Christmas Eve dinner. Todd gets all emotional, but keeps looking at Jessica and thinking about how beautiful she is and wondering why he never saw it before. He makes a big toast about her, Liz runs off and he can’t figure out what happened. Oh Todd.

Jess and Liz both start having dreams about Margo, which helps them make up and become friends again. Liz goes to the carnival and sees the fortune teller, who makes a comment about they’re being more than one of her. She points out her twin and the woman gets all mysterious about that not being what she meant. Oh-uh.

Meanwhile Nora is stalking the twins and follows them to the carnival. She then goes to the cemetery, where she’s attacked by someone. Turns out that it’s the very much alive Margo. Nora tells her about their past and invites her back to her hotel. Nora is obsessed with germs and keeping things clean and she doesn’t really seem to like Margo, but goes along with her. Turns out that Margo played dead and that the paramedics knew she was alive, so she killed them. Then she ran the ambulance off the road and escaped.

The new twins set about playing as the Wakefield twins, even sneaking into the house and talking to Ned and Alice. They decide that they must break up the twins if they hope to steal their lives. So Nora pretends to be Todd and goes to the movies with him. Liz sees them and thinks that she’s Jessica. Enid is with her and believes the same thing. Liz flips out on Jess, who was actually out with Ken, and they stop talking. She then goes to Todd’s, freaks out on him and runs off again.

Of course then the evil twins fight because both want to be Jessica. Margo thinks that she’s too wild and that’s why no one believed she was Liz. Nora really wants to be Jess and even says that it would be easier to convince people that Jess had a tattoo like hers, rather than Liz. Eventually she decides to just go along with it.

On New Year’s Eve, Jess makes one last ditch effort to make up with Liz, but it doesn’t work. Todd tries to talk to Enid, but she won’t even look at him because she thinks they saw him making out with Jessica. Jess and Ken hang out, but he won’t go in the hall of mirrors with her. She gets disoriented and later turns up, without the earrings she wore earlier…

Nora gets pissed off because she and Margo had plans to take over the twins that night and finally decides to do it herself. Since Margo isn’t involved, she’ll take over Jessica’s life anyway. She goes to the house and kills Jessica by slashing her with a huge knife. Liz has a nightmare that Jess needs her help and runs in, which causes Nora to run away.

Wait a second! Jessica is dead? Is this like when she died in that other dream? Liz tells everyone that she saw Margo there, but no one believes her because Margo is dead. Everyone is super sad over Jessica and keeps crying all the time. I actually got a little misty eyed when Lila was crying, plus Ken can’t even be around the gang. They decide to hold her service at the school because she was so into school pride. You know, except for that one time when she was going to transfer to the other school…and that time she blew off the school for a guy…and that time she was going to stay at college.

Anyway, Liz realizes that it was Margo she saw with Todd and kind of makes up with him. Then she reads a poem she wrote at the memorial service, but breaks down. She swears that Jess is still alive because she has a feeling, but no one believes her. Nora is getting all freaked out too because she knows that there’s only one twin now and she’s convinced Margo wants to kill her and become Liz.

Somehow Liz realizes that Jess is at the school. Some cops show up at their house, she steals a gun and runs back to the school. Nora is there and about to kill Jess when Liz shows up. Apparently Margo kidnapped Jess and held her hostage in the basement of the school…instead of just killing her. She figures out who Nora is and holds the gun on her until the cops get there. Jess is all shocked that Liz when which one was her, but it really isn’t that hard. Um, isn’t she the one covered in dirt/crap and wearing the clothes from the carnival?

Nora breaks down because she realizes that it was Margo she stabbed in the bed that night. She killed her twin. The cops show up, apologize for not believing her and arrest Nora. The book ends with Lila throwing a party for Jessica. Jessica gets to act all smug when she sees Todd and Liz together because she realizes that they’re just friends and there was never anything else between them. Except when she tried to steal him…and they dated after Sam died…and earlier in this book.


  1. Best SVH storyline ever.

  2. Tricia Martin has 500 dopplegangers, so why not the twins? lol