Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sweet Valley Twins #18: Center of Attention

Mrs. Wakefield is sick and apparently she’s been sick for a few weeks. Ned has to go out of town on a business trip and she planned on going, but backs out at the last minute. Both the twins notice that she isn’t feeling well, but good old Jessica finds a way to turn it back around on herself. She becomes convinced that Alice isn’t really sick, just ignoring her. She sees her talking to Liz, but then later she’s too tired to talk to her.

Jessica answers the phone one day and listens as her mom talks to a doctor. It turns out that Alice has a lump on her neck. They think it’s a swollen gland, but it might be cancer so they’re doing a biopsy. They aren’t sure if it’s a virus or something more serious. Jess keeps it all to herself, but lets a few details slip when Caroline Pierce calls that night.

By the next day, Caroline has spread it all over school that Alice is dying and Jessica can barely go on. Auditions for the upcoming school musical are coming up and everyone thinks Jess is perfect for the lead. She kind of lets everyone believe that their mom is really sick, while Liz feels bad that everyone thinks it’s true.

The doctor does the biopsy and promises to call on Friday with the results. Right before the auditions, they learn that she’s fine and should get better in a few days. Dana Larson, who’s her biggest competition, decides to step aside because she thinks Alice is dying and this is her last chance to see her daughter on stage. Jessica decides not to tell anyone the truth and just take the role.

There’s also some trouble at home because Jessica keeps bossing everyone around. She makes up chore lists and then gives her siblings the worst jobs. She does stuff like cleaning the counters and taking Alice ice cream, while making them cook, do laundry and dishes. She also takes some money from the emergency stash, to buy pizza and other stuff for herself.

Ned finally comes home from his trip and everything goes back to normal, except that everyone thinks their mom is dying still. Ned discovers the missing money and demands that Jess pay it back out of her allowance. She makes him think she was using the money to get Alice flowers, so he also makes her buy a bouquet for her mom.

Dana and some other girls show up at the Wakefield house. Jessica realizes that she can’t keep lying, especially not when her family is laughing and joking around. She reveals that Alice isn’t dying and gives Dana the lead role. The teacher calls and offers Jess a smaller part in the play, so everything kind of works out for her in the end.

*Jessica orders a small pizza from Guido’s and it comes to $3, plus 50 cents for delivery. First of all that’s really cheap! Second, even back then I’d assume most places had a minimum purchase price for delivery.

*Alice and Ned keep around $5-10 in the cookie jar for “small emergencies”. Even back then, I can’t imagine that small amount really doing anything.

*Jessica actually does seem kind of sympathetic in the beginning of the book. She’s really worried about Alice and thinks her mom is going to die and leave her all alone.

*She spends a good chunk of the book moping over some lame ass purple sweater from the mall. It’s pale purple, with a silver unicorn embroidered on the front. When she finally gets it, she announces that it was the only one in the store, which seems unbelievable. Oh and it cost $40, which is a hella lot for a pre-teen girl’s shirt in the 80s!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sweet Valley High #60: That Fatal Night

The football team is on a winning streak and everyone in town is now attending the games. I want to point out here that Ken makes a comment about how there are only six games left in the season. That makes the rest of the series even more confusing. Anyway, Amy Sutton is all hot to trot for Ken and constantly flirting with him and cheering him on. Terri Adams also has a thing for him, but of course won’t tell him that.

Amy decides to throw a big celebration-victory party at her house and somehow Terri gets an invite. Naturally Amy throws herself all over Ken, makes a big deal about him and kisses him in front of everyone. He seems a little uncomfortable and eagerly offers to take Winston and Maria home. Terri asks Winston for a ride and winds up in the car with them.

It starts raining when they leave and Winston’s parents are home, so he decides to take Maria home and let Ken drive Terri back. This, despite the fact that Terri only lives a few blocks down the road. They talk about football and have a nice conversation, but when she suggests he stay behind until the rain stops, he decides to go back to the party. He drives off, thinking about what a great girl she is.

Jessica also needs a ride home because her date is a conceited ass. She, Todd and Liz leave together and notice an accident scene. Liz spots Ken’s bumper stickers on the car and they pull over. When they see him loaded into an ambulance, they decide to go back and tell everyone at the party what happened. Amy puts the blame on Terri because she was the last one to see him and the reason he wasn’t at the party. Amy does go to the hospital, but she only cares about how soon he’ll be back on the field.

Terri goes back to school excited about the connection she had with Ken. Then she discovers that Ken had a bad accident and Amy is blaming everything on her. Back at the hospital, the doctors take off the bandages and Ken realizes that he’s blind. The doctor tells his family that there’s a chance he might regain his sight in the future.

The twins stop by for a visit and Ken has to tell them about his blindness. Jess finds Amy, who’s stopping by and tells him what happened. She makes up a bunch of excuses to leave and then asks Jess not to tell him she even stopped by. Wow. Then she goes back to school and confronts Terri, blaming her for ruining Ken’s life. Again, I say wow.

Terri is so upset over what happened that she naturally turns to Liz for support. Ken is now at some random blindness center and Liz suggests they pay him a visit. He tells her that the accident wasn’t her fault and not to blame herself. Then suddenly he’s back at school, but everyone now treats him differently. Even poor Winston is acting like a spaz and Amy doesn’t want anything to do with him, of course.

Ken takes a walk by himself and overhears a group of guys talking. One of them is Scott Trost, who’s now the quarterback and he’s talking about how Amy Sutton is all over him. Terri stops by and they have a nice talk. She grows a little worried about him and once again turns to Liz, who suggests she try seeing what it’s like to be blind. Terri walks around her house with a blindfold on for like five minutes and suddenly gets how hard his life is.

Liz and Enid throw a party for Ken. I’m assuming they do this because Liz feels guilty that she was all in love with him (according to the Secret Diary) and now she’s being a tool when he’s blind. She warns Amy not to ruin the party and asks her not to come, but she totally shows up and treats him crappy.

That’s okay though because Terri asks him out on a date. They go to the beach and when he says that he misses running, she stands up and helps him run. They go to a game together and start spending a lot of time together. He thinks about kissing her, but decides that she’s just spending time with him out of sympathy or guilt. Ken kind of takes advantage of her, like she keeps helping him and doesn’t have time to do her own homework or study for a test, which she later fails. She tries talking to him and he snaps, thinking she’s abandoning him. Terri reveals that she’s in love with him before running away.

Ken realizes that he was an asshole and that he loves her. He keeps trying to call her, but she’s gone and he decides she must be at their section of the beach. He manages to get on the bus and track her down. As soon as she sees him, she throws herself into his arms. They kiss a little, declare their love for each other and then he kind of sees again, though it’s awhile before he gets his vision back.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sweet Valley Twins #43: Elizabeth’s First Kiss

Apparently Liz and Todd were good friends up until fourth grade and then stopped talking. Forget the fact that in SVH, he just moved to town. They danced together at this party and now she kind of likes him, but Jessica is now in love with him too. Actually, Jessica just wants to be the first sixth grade Unicorn with a boyfriend and Todd kind of fits the bill. Plus, everyone keeps seeing them together and thinks he likes her.

Lila is obsessed with this guy Jake, who’s in eighth grade. She tells Janet and he sends back a message that Lila is kind of cute and maybe they can talk sometime. Ellen is also obsessed with another guy, so it seems like everything is lining up for the club. Jessica spots Todd riding by her house on his bike and he keeps showing up in the same places, so she thinks he likes her.

Liz thinks Todd likes Jessica too and I’m sure I’ve read this book before. Oh wait, this is the junior high version of the first SVH book! Anyway, she asks Jess for some advice on snagging and guy and her twin gives her the best advice ever: completely change yourself to make a guy like you. Please note my sarcasm in that line. Jess lends her clothes, curls her hair and puts makeup on her. Suddenly the guys are all flocking around Liz and the Unicorns are eying her too.

Todd talks to Liz and asks if she likes bowling because a new place just opened. She doesn’t realize that he’s trying to ask her out and talks about how she doesn’t really like it. Days later she realizes what happened, but by then the Unicorns have spread a rumor that she wants a boyfriend. Guys keep asking her out and she gives up makeup and changes her hair back.

Jess, Lila and Ellen go to the mall and run into their group of guys. Todd keeps bringing up Liz and then mentions bowling. Jessica turns it around and suddenly they have a triple date for the weekend. Liz is devastated and also pissed because she and her twin had plans to go bowling. Rumors go around school that Todd and Jess are officially a couple.

Of course the big date night arrives and none of the guys even talk to, let alone look at, the girls. Jess ends up bowling at the lane right next to some other guys and keeps eying Aaron Dallas. They do some flirting and she doesn’t even notice when Todd starts talking to Liz. He asks her to skip bowling and go for some ice cream. Then he admits that he’s liked her all along and really wants to spend time with her. He kisses her on the cheek, which is totally scandalous. She worries about what Jess will think, but then sees her twin wander in, holding hands with Aaron. All’s well that ends well I guess.