Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sweet Valley University #30: Beauty and the Beach

I really hate that these little mini-series come out of nowhere, don’t follow the other books in the series and mention characters that don’t exist outside the lifeguard world.

So Liz, Jessica and Nina are all going back to Sweet Valley Shore to lifeguard. Liz keeps thinking about Ryan and wondering if he’s coming back. Nina wants nothing to do with men at all because Bryan cheated on her. Jess is all wrapped up in thoughts of Ben, despite the fact that they haven’t talked in months. She’s sure he’ll still love her though.

Jessica sees Ben and they do a little flirting, but he acts kind of distant and she totally doesn’t pick up on it. He tells her that he has to help a friend get ready for the summer. I love how in the last series, everyone had to come early and try out for the team, even those who did it before. In this book, everyone who worked last summer has a spot already. Then we’re treated to a Liz and Ryan makeout scene.

Winston pops up and goes to see Wendy. She and Pedro are now totally in love and married, but he’s gone for the summer on yet another tour. She’s staying in his mansion for the summer and asks Winston to move in. okay, why is she not touring with him? She has no job and no responsibilities and it’s implied that she’s still in school, which means they haven’t had time together. Don’t bitch about him not being around, if you’re not willing to make an effort!

Jessica meets this new lifeguard Miranda, who lives with two other newbies: Theo and Priya. She suggests Jess tap Theo, but she tells her that she already has a boyfriend and starts in about Ben. Priya then turns up and starts kissing Ben. Turns out that they started dating in school and she came to the shore to be with him.

Nina takes out an inner tube for the day because she needs to get away from everything. Basically she sees Ben kissing someone and thinks he’s a cheat too. Of course she doesn’t blame Jessica, who was totally with Nick by this point and never even called Ben to see if he was coming that summer or if he still liked her. She falls asleep and washes up on a deserted beach.

A good portion of the book seems to revolve around Jessica and Ben. She’s totally destroyed by his new relationship and decides she wants him back. Miranda is on her side because Priya is a bitch. Actually I kind of am too, until Ben turns into a dick. Ben basically goes out of his way to show how smart they are and how stupid Jessica is. He makes fun of her for not knowing Russian authors and basically calls her a bimbo.

Nina meets this guy Stu, who’s also kind of a dick. He’s super laidback, does yoga and acts like he knows everything about meditation and spirituality. I know the writer set it up for him to be a mysterious, hot guy, but it really turns me off. He completely takes care of her, until she’s ready to leave his island.

Liz and Ryan go to dinner at Patti’s house, his AA sponsor. Patti wanders out of the kitchen with a beer and offers one to the group. Liz is all freaked out because Ryan can’t drink, her hubby won’t drink around her and she thinks Patti bought it for her. When everyone turns her down, she opens it and drinks it herself.

Ryan tells Liz that Patti started drinking a few weeks ago, but it’s not a big deal. She thinks that if she can drink in moderation, it’s fine. Yes that’s true, but alcoholics can’t drink in moderation! The next day, they come across a group of guys drinking on the beach, which isn’t allowed. Liz, who doesn’t want him around alcohol at all, gets all pissed when he won’t help her carry off the beer.

Stu starts calling Nina his little mermaid and being all sweet, but she hates men. He shows up at the beach and she blows him off and yet he still won’t give up. She gets jealous when another woman hits on him. Then she sees him rebuff the girl because his heart belongs to someone else and kind of melts a little. When she rescues a swimmer, Stu leaves her a sweet note and she feels even better.

Liz goes off on Ryan about the drinking and he doesn’t want to talk to her because she doesn’t get it. She really doesn’t get it. She thinks that she understands it because she snuck into one AA meeting, but she has no clue. He gets kind of pissed at her and yet they still make a date.

Jessica decides to read Crime and Punishment because she thinks it will make Ben love her again. Of course Priya realizes what she’s doing and makes her look like an ass. She makes up a bunch of stuff in the book and gets Jess to fall for it. Then Ben just laughs it off. I’m sorry, but (a) what kind of guy does that shit? Even if he doesn’t care about Jess anymore, he still has to share a house with her! And (b) who wants to be with a bitchy girl like that? She must give awesome head.

The book starts nearing the end. Winston goes to work at an ice cream shop, but he’s forced to wear a stupid ice cream cone costume. A group of kids bully him and Jessica has to save his ass. Then Nina runs off and makes out with Stu. Jessica gets close to saving a group of drowning kids, but Priya trips her (on purpose) and then takes all the credit. Winston gets arrested and when Wendy bails him out, she tells him that she’s filing for divorce.

Jessica is super pissed about what happened and gets into a huge fight with Priya at the house. Priya starts making all this literary references and brings up Dangerous Liaisons. Out of nowhere, Jessica picks up a mistake she made and totally calls her on it. Turns out that she watched the movie and retained more information. Ben agrees with her and kind of shows her some respect, which pisses Priya off.

Liz is getting ready for her hot date with Ryan and has just enough time to get her hair done. She looks at her watch and realizes that the steam from the salon broke it and she’s now runni9ng late. She gets in the car (with wet hair!) and gets halfway there, when her car breaks down. She finds a payphone, but of course it’s broken. Wasn’t this book like 1996 or 1998? Why doesn’t she have a cell phone? Anyway, Ryan is waiting for her at the restaurant and thinks she stood him up. As Liz cries her eyes out, he starts drinking again. Yeah, blame your drinking on someone else, what a champ.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sweet Valley University #29: One Last Kiss

Liz and Todd are in the hospital, watching to see what happens with Gin-Yung. Liz decides to leave and they have a moment, where you’d think one of them is dying. Liz feels guilty because Gin is dying, but at the same time, she wonders what that’s going to mean for them. Gin’s sister Kim goes off on Todd, which I think is completely uncalled for.

Basically Kim tells him that he was a horrible boyfriend, even though they decided to break up BEFORE she went to London. She tells him that it would mean a lot if he stuck around and basically guilts him into staying there, but she’s bitchy about it too. She tells him to show up and pretend like he’s still in love with Gin, to make her last days better.

Meanwhile Tom is pitching a fit because he discovered the photos his dad George, took of Liz. He goes off on him and George apologizes, calling it unfortunate. He says that he fell in love with her for being kind to him and helping him find Tom, but that he fell for her before he ever met Tom. He also reminds him that he now has Dana, but Tom doesn’t give a shit about Dana anymore. Even though he’s been dating her for books and was wowed by her before, now he can’t stand the sight of her and keeps comparing her to Liz. Yeah, give me a frigid blond over a hot, funny girl like Dana any day!

We’re also treated to an annoying sub-plot involving Jessica. She now wants to be a cop, which I find hysterical. There is no way she could handle training for the police force. She talks to Nick about it and he shoots her down right away. She also starts thinking that he’s boring because he’d rather curl up on the couch with Chinese, then go out dancing all night long.

Nick gets a call about a sting going down on a chop shop and has to rush off. Isn’t this like his 17th undercover case in like 3 books? Guess Sweet Valley is a lot bigger than we thought. His friend Bill calls, wanting to ask Nick to bring his vintage hubcap to the sting. Apparently he bought it and had Nick pick it up for him. Jess intercepts the call and decides to take it there herself, thinking that it’s some kind of evidence for the case.

This is how out of touch the chick is with reality. She spends the night watching action movies and picking an outfit because she thinks that’s the key to being a good cop. She shows up and Nick flips out. The bad guys start shooting and he tosses her under a truck. A guy grabs him and holds a gun to his head, so Jessica wings the hubcap at him and saves Nick. She expects everyone to treat her like a hero, but they kind of treat her like a dumb blond because she completely blew their operation.

She shows up at the station the next day, rambling about how she saved the day and it’s proof that she should be a cop. She goes on and on about how she expects the force to pay for her dry cleaning and they should reimburse her for future outfits needed for operations. Nick finally shuts her up, just before I fling the book at the wall.

Tom spends most of the book moping over Liz and making Dana feel like crap. They literally had a date the day before, but now he realizes that he has no feelings for her. I love that later we find out he was sleeping with her at this time too. He’s such a dick. Danny finally convinces him to write Liz a letter and leave it at the station.

Liz stops by the station and runs into their new intern Scott Sinclair. He ups her ego (like she needs it) and convinces her that print media is much better than television reporting. She starts having second thoughts about working for the television station.

Tom writes an incredibly sappy letter and leaves it on Liz’s desk. Dana stops by, thinking that she can surprise him and finds the letter. She reads it and I kind of want to groan. He goes on and on about how he’s so sorry and he misses her and never stopped loving her. Really? Because I remember you calling her a whore and stuff not that long ago. Dana hides the letter.

Todd keeps going to the hospital and making Gin feel better. He brings her candy and they talk about all their shared memories. Then he realizes that he loved her all along, even though in the last book, he told Liz that they had fun, but it wasn’t love. He waffles between the two girls for the whole book. He goes to Liz, tells her he loves her and then runs back to Gin. They finally decide to take some time apart, while he takes care of Gin.

I know this is supposed to be all heart breaking, but I don’t really buy it. This is probably the fourth girl he’s dated in like 3 months, but now she’s suddenly the love of his life. It also reminds me how pissed I was that he and Liz never got back together in the rest of the series. Kim never apologizes for being a bitch, but she does reveal to him that Gin faked having a boyfriend, to make Todd feel better about falling in love with Liz. That makes him realize that she sacrificed her last days of happiness, to make him happy.

Look, all that means is that she loved you, not that you loved her. Considering that he didn’t even want to go to the hospital and can’t stay away from Liz, I think that’s pretty much proof he doesn’t love Gin. He is there when she dies though, but I can’t say it’s all that sad. It kind of reminded me of a bad TV movie, with her not being able to see and calling Todd her angel. She even asks him to sing to her and tells him to keep loving before she dies.

Tom notices that Liz’s letter is gone and spots her outside. He thinks she’s coming to tell him that she loves him too and gets all ready. She’s actually on her way there to quit, when she runs into Todd. He tells her about Gin and breaks down in her arms. Tom looks outside, sees them together and pretty much vows to make her life a living hell.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sweet Valley University #26: The Trial of Jessica Wakefield

So Jessica gets hauled in the police station, where they rip her a new one for selling the cocaine. Liz has no idea it happened, so she continues to moon over Tom. She calls him, begging for a second change and he finally agrees to meet her in 15 minutes. They meet and Tom calls it off, when she refuses to take back what she said about his dad.

I love how this book keeps referring to Liz as being sexually harassed by his dad. I don’t think he was really harassing her, so much as hitting on her and possibly even stalking her.

The book then jumps to Celine, who’s waiting around for Jordan. He tells her that he got back a package, but the cops arrested the girl who took his package. Celine kicks him out and flips out because he didn’t get any money. She needs the money to pay for the stuff at the Theta house and to pay back the guys who gave her the drugs on loan. First of all, I’d be more worried about the drug dealers coming for me and second, what kind of dealer gives someone that much coke on credit? Especially someone they’ve never seen before! They do show up at the Theta house and tell her if she doesn’t pay within 5 days, she’s a goner.

Of course no one bothers to tell the Wakefields that their daughter is in jail. Apparently they’re going on some long awaited dream trip to Australia, so Steven and Billie agree to cover the bail. They wait until the next day to call Liz, who seems more concerned about picking out clothes for Jess than the fact that she’s in jail. Note to Liz: she can’t wear her own fucking clothes in prison.

Jessica meets this woman Marian in jail, but for some reason, can’t see her face. I guess they have rooms rather than cells. The woman tried to kill her abusive husband and warns Jess about Judge Dodd. The next day, a group of women gang up on Jessica and Marian saves her ass. She realizes it’s her when she sees some special ring the woman wears.

Jess goes to court and of course gets Dodd. He decides to hold a grand jury hearing to see if the charges should stick. Apparently they want 12 years minimum for the possession, which seems about right. He sets her bail at $250,000 and of course no one can raise $25,000 for bond. I love this! Doesn’t Lila spend that much on clothes and makeup every month? Couldn’t Bruce pawn one of his rings to cover the costs?

Nick goes to see her. He doesn’t believe her story at all, but we’re treated to pages where he talks about how beautiful she is and how she doesn’t see him like a drug dealer. He starts investigating her case and gets thrown off the force, actually suspended. The chief basically tells him that the case is over and they caught their man, but he won’t stop.

Alex is now working at the call center and gets a call from Jordan. Using a fake name, he tells her what happened with Celine and starts freaking out before hanging up. He calls back again, telling her that he’s leaving town. She runs to Noah and they tell Nick what they learned.

This leads to a truly uncomfortable situation where Nick goes to the engineering department and learns about the internet. I know it was the late 1990s and not everyone knew what it was at the time, but come on! We had it in our house for a few years by then and I was using it everyday at school. Nick thinks they’re talking about actual surfing and that the guys are going to attack when they talk about firewalls and shit. He goes off a search for Jordan.

Tom goes to see his dad and gives him the chance to fess up. Good old George actually cries, trying to figure out why Liz would lie about him. Then he goes back to being weird and creepy, but Tom fails to pick up on it. Like he wants to go to the trial, just to be there for her and practically forces Tom to go.

Celine gets a notice from her credit card, saying that if she doesn’t pay her bill in three days, they’ll repossess the furniture in the Theta house. Um, I’m pretty sure the credit card can’t do that. They can sue her, but not actually take what she bought. How would they even know what she bought and what belonged to the house?

She tries to break into a safe at the house, but it doesn’t work. She does find Lila’s bank card, puts on the hat from the hatbox and passes herself off as Lila. She loves how they treat her so much that she thinks about going back a few times and taking out more money. I love this part too. She shows up in a big hat, keeps her face covered, presents Lila’s bank card and they give her the money. No ID, nothing! She sees some guy walk out and thinks it’s the manager, but it’s actually George Fowler. She grabs the money and runs.

Liz goes to a frat party, where she ends up drinking way too much punch. Two guys literally tell her the punch is spiked, but she thinks they’re making fun of her for not drinking beer. Someone grabs her and it turns out it’s Todd. She wakes up the next day in his bed and her first thought is that he took advantage of her. Nice way to trust a guy. He actually slept on the floor. She notices how hot he looks before realizing that the trial’s about to start. He gives her his lucky sweatband.

At the trial, they’re basically about to agree to a real trial, when Nick comes running in with Jordan. He tells the cop what happened and he arrests Celine on the spot. It doesn’t help that she wore the hat from the hatbox to the trial. Jessica is let off, Nick gets his job back and they make up. Liz sees Tom leaving and realizes that he came to the trial because he loves her. She goes to take back Todd’s sweatband and forgets all about Tom when she sees him looking all hot. The book ends with them kissing, or actually Liz throwing herself at him.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sweet Valley University #24: His Secret Past

This is the first book for Nick Fox, but seeing as how it comes directly after Jessica “falling” for Ben, it kind of annoys me.

Anyway, Jessica goes to the student union, where she bitches about all the people there who she thinks should be sent away and killed…or something like that. Mainly she just complains because her outfit is so much cooler than theirs. Considering she’s wearing a cream colored suede skirt and short-sleeved jacket, I’m not impressed.

She hangs up a notice to sell their old television, even though it’s full of lies. A hot guy sees the notice and asks her about it. She confesses that it’s not very good, but he still wants to see it. His name is Nick Fox and he’s a transfer student. They walk back to her dorm room, he winces at her crappy television, but agrees to buy it anyway. They make plans to go out that night because she only knows his name so naturally he’s a great guy.

Liz is having problems of her own because she’s apparently been working at some outreach program and wants to get college credit for it. I love how this has never been mentioned before and is never mentioned again, but it’s such a big deal. She even thinks about punching the desk when the bursar refuses to give her credits. Apparently the group has helped twenty whole people since it started. However do they find the time?

Suddenly some random guy pops up, begging the bursar for help in finding his son. He says that he only knows the boy’s mother’s maiden name, but wants her help in finding him. Both he and Liz are stunned when the bursar refuses to help. Seriously? How do they know he’s not some old lover or stalker? Liz agrees to help no matter what, only pausing for a second to think that Tom might want some attention.

The other storyline involves Alex, who suddenly feels crappy about her life. She thinks she’s failing a few of her classes and Noah never seems to have any time for her. We also have Tom, who is all mopey because he’s about to turn 21 and has no one to celebrate with since his parents and siblings are dead.

Nick and Jessica are standing outside her room when someone taps him on the shoulder. He freaks out and grabs them, only to find that it’s Celine. Apparently she’s back at school and now bestiest with Alison Quinn. Does SVU not have some sort of morals clause? Alison invites Nick to a party at the sorority house, telling Jessica that she has some big news.

Liz tries to talk to Tom about Mr. Conroy (George), but he barely pays attention. She does run into Todd and they have a long talk, before parting as friends. Alex tries to talk to Noah, but when she confesses that she’s craving alcohol, he flips out. He goes off on her about giving up everything she worked for and they seemingly breakup. Considering he wants to be a psychologist, he’s kind of an ass about the whole thing.

Jessica talks to Izzy and Lila, wanting to brag about Nick, but neither really care. She gets all huffy, which is kind of funny. I can totally see them not giving a shit after all the guys she’s already dated this year. In the midst of all this, Liz decides to throw Tom a surprise party, not getting that he doesn’t give a shit and is more concerned about the fact that she keeps ignoring him.

Nick and Jessica finally go on their first date and of course he falls in love with her. They go to a carnival and he can’t stop marveling about how she eats everything she wants and wants to ride all the exciting rides. On the way home, she spots a gun in his glove box, but then pretends she doesn’t see it because it just makes him more exciting.

George finally tells Liz the story of his life, which doesn’t make him out to be such a great guy. He was a big cheater and alcoholic, who cheated on his pregnant wife. He was even with another woman when she gave birth to his son. She divorced him and left with his son. He promised her that he wouldn’t contact him until he turned 21.

Liz suggests he go to the bank, which of course won’t give him any help. Are they really this dumb? How the fuck does Liz keep getting viewed as so smart? Anyway, George gives her a hug, which she thinks goes on a little too long and makes her feel uncomfortable, but she promises to keep helping him anyway.

Jessica sneaks up on Nick on the quad because she can’t resist seeing him all shirtless. She hears him talking about picking up a delivery and decides that he must be some kind of spy. She grabs him and he tosses her over his shoulder. Later he tells her that he came from a rough LA neighborhood and has to always be on his toes. He even says he has a permit for the gun and got it after he was robbed.

Let’s just sum up the other crap fast. Tom gets pissed off because Liz keeps ignoring him and avoiding him. He goes out with Danny and gets super drunk for his birthday. Then Liz and Nina talk, which ends with Nina deciding to cut off her braids because they make her look too young. Later she shows up with short hair and everyone gushes about how she looks so mature.

Jessica talks to Lila about how exciting Nick is, but she doesn’t really give a shit. She tells her that he’s acting kind of suspicious, which pisses Jess off because she barely knows him, but he’s perfect.

We finally get to the sorority party and it turns out the big announcement is that Celine’s grandma is paying to redecorate the living room/sitting room. Alison thinks this is the perfect time to put Celine up for nomination. Um, don’t they only do this like twice a year? Can they just nominate someone for no reason? Jessica goes off about how Celine is a murderer (kind of) and they agree to table the talk until later.

Jessica warns Nick about Celine, but he takes her side, saying she reminds him of an old friend he had. She tells him he can’t be friends with both, he tells her he won’t pick sides and she storms off. Surprisingly enough, Noah then defends Celine too, which makes me wonder if they’re poisoning the men at this school.

Celine calls Nick the next day and asks if he wants to meet her “adult” friends. He calls Jess and apologizes, even though he reminds himself that he shouldn’t even be talking to her. He’s an undercover cop looking for drug dealers and she can’t help him. They go on another date, where she decides he’s perfect because he brought her turkey and goat cheese sandwiches. She invites him to Tom’s party.

We finally get to the fucking party and everyone’s waiting around. Liz goes to see Tom, who tries to blow her off. She makes him feel guilty, saying she had all his favorite foods flown in from around the world. If my girlfriend ignored me for over a week straight and didn’t even call, I’d answer the door naked and wrapped around another girl.

She sees his sociology project on the table and starts reading it because it’s his family tree. What the fuck does that have to do with sociology? She sees a name, runs downstairs and calls George, inviting him to the party. Gee, I wonder where this is going?

Tom is suitably surprised and everyone has fun at the party. Alex runs into a few guys she knew during her “party days”, which was…oh, six days ago. Nick saves her and then confesses that he’s actually an undercover cop. Kick him off the force already!

Jessica and Nick run into Celine, who starts flirting with him. She gets pissed off when he doesn’t blow her off. He has Jess hold his coat while he gets drinks and she answers his cell phone. She hears someone tell her to pick up the package behind the science lab and decides to get involved in his “spy” work.

The book *finally* ends with Liz dragging Tom over to George and giving him his present. Instead of telling him a single fucking thing or having any respect for him, she just says “Tom this is your dad”. She must have nipples that leak beer…oh wait, no guy has ever seen her nips, never mind.