Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sweet Valley University Thriller Edition: Wanted for Murder

On the one hand, I kind of like this book because it follows the continuity of the series; no more 300 spring break and Christmas events in a single school year. On the other hand, it needs another title, something like “Liz, stop giving your sister everything she wants”.

Liz and Jess are driving to Vail to spend the rest of Christmas break with Danny, Isabelle and Tom. Tom keeps getting worried because Liz and Jess are making the drive alone. Billie and Steven were originally part of the group, but Steven got sick so the twins have to drive alone. The others are flying out, which I can’t see Jessica allowing. Liz explains that everything will be fine because they have $500 each to spend on the trip.

Um, does anyone else think that is not enough money? Supposedly they’re staying at a fancy hotel, paying for their own equipment and lift tickets, plus gas and hotel rooms on the drive there and back. Plus they’re staying in Vail for a week! Oh well, the twins would probably win the lottery or something.

They finally head off on the road and a few hours later Jess spots a hot guy standing by the side of the road, wearing a cowboy hat and no shirt. She gets all excited because he’s soooo hot, even after Liz points out that he probably isn’t a real cowboy. Jess wants to pick him up, but Liz instead calls for help at their next stop.

While they’re eating, the guy walks in and spots them right off the bat. It turns out that his name is Scott Culver, a med student from California who’s conveniently going to Vail for winter break. He wants to earn enough money to pay his way through school working as a ski instructor, but his car broke down. After some cajoling, Liz agrees to let him ride along with them and he agrees to pay for gas.

Scott is a tool, which means that Jess is in love with him. He flashes her some dark eyes and hot chest and she melts like buttah. They stop at a gas station and he runs inside real fast to pay, not letting either twin follow. Then he convinces the girls to drive through Las Vegas and stop there for the night. He explains that hotels on the Strip are really not that expensive because nobody visits in the winter! Remind me not to book him as my travel agent.

They stop at Caesar’s because they totally fall for his shit and of course learn that they can’t afford a room. Jess comes up with an idea that they should all three share a room and Liz somehow agrees to this plan. Still, it’s like the night before New Year’s and even if the hotel had a room, which is doubtful, that would be like ¾ of their trip money gone. Jess and Scott run off together so they can make out in privacy, without Liz watching.

Liz still isn’t too sure about Scott and neither is Tom when she tells him about their new friend. Yet she keeps going along with Jessica’s plans because she thinks that her sister needs it. At one point, she even says that a little harmless flirting might be what Jess needs to get over her funk. Uh yeah, she’s in a funk because her marriage exploded and she had to tell her parents about it. I don’t think that her jumping on a new guy is really going to make the situation any better.

Scott loses all his money at a high stakes poker game after leaving Jess for the night and goes through a bad funk. He asks the twins to stop at a small gas station so he can fill up the car and Jess follows him inside as he tries to rob the place. He shoves her in front, shoots the one worker and drags her off. Liz is trying to talk to Tom on the phone, but Scott grabs her and throws her in the car.

An FBI agent (Jeff Marks) is hot on the trail of a robber/murderer who just so happens to have killed his own fiancĂ©. He gets word of another robbery and checks out the surveillance tape, all excited because no other place had one before. It turns out that only Jessica is visible on the tape and he thinks she’s the killer. He calls Sweet Valley because of her sweatshirt and the reporter he talks to, thinks it’s Liz and pulls up all the stories on Sam’s death.

Apparently those are the only stories mentioning either twin, which I call bull shit on. Like every other book in the Sweet Valley High series, one of the twins is getting mentioned in the paper. They were on a soap opera, Liz wrote stories about it, Jess won some beauty pageant, they both did an internship on the paper, etc.

Anyway, he sends an agent to Steven’s apartment, who verifies that it’s actually Jessica and that neither twin would rob or kill someone. Tom calls the agent too and they start tracing his phone. Liz and Jess try to escape, but Scott won’t let them. They finally do get away, she calls Tom, he traces the call and then goes on the run from the FBI, who obviously catch him. There’s actually a whole scene where he leads them on a car chase.

I cannot believe how long this review is already, so let’s just summarize the rest. The twins go to some town in the middle of nowhere and their Jeep dies so Jess convinces some shop keep to let them borrow his car. They drive off and Scott pops up in the backseat. He saw a news report that there was another suspect in the case and somehow realized the twins would borrow that particular car, of the several others on the block.

They have a huge car crash and he falls out of the car, but Jess manages to get the car started and flies off. Then he somehow makes his way back to the car, by borrowing a motorcycle from someone in this way too trusting town. They start chasing each other all around Arizona and because Scott knows the area so well, he pushes the twins toward some random area of the Grand Canyon because he wants to force them over the edge.

Agent Jeff is now in love with Jessica, based solely on the picture, despite the fact that his fiance only died ten days ago and gets a helicopter up in the air. The helicopter comes down, almost on top of Scott and the twins manage to escape. He gives Scott the chance to turn himself in, but Scott instead runs his motorcycle over the edge. Jeff comforts Jess, Tom comforts Liz and everyone thinks it’s so great that they’ll never mention this again!