Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sweet Valley Twins #58: Elizabeth and the Orphans

Mrs. Arnett divides the class up for a special project on families. Each student has to do a report on their partner’s family. Jessica gets paired with Lila and Elizabeth gets paired with Melissa McCormick, a girl rarely ever mentioned before. Melissa tells her that her project should be easy since it’s just her, her older brother Andy and her mom.

When she gets home that night, she finds her mom laying on the couch and coughing. Her mom has heart problems and been in and out of the hospital for years. We also learn that their parents separated years ago, but apparently never got divorced. They haven’t heard from their dad even once since he skipped out and Andy hates him.

The principal calls Melissa into his office and tells her that her mom had a heart attack. He rushes her to the hospital, where they meet Andy and his principal. They get to see their mom in her room, but she acts really down and defeated. She makes them promise that they will always look out for each other. A few minutes after leaving her room, the doctors call a special code, rush inside and do everything they can, but their mom still dies.

Social service shows up on their doorstep the next day because a nurse contacted them. Their neighbor, Mrs. Franco, offers to take them in until they can reach their dad. Andy lies, telling her that he is in Europe, but he should be back any day. Their neighbors are leaving on a trip for Europe and the wife decides that she should call social services before leaving.

Andy pays one of his old basketball buddies $50 to call and pretend that he is their dad. Sam calls Mrs. Franco, promises that he’s on his way into town and she leaves happily. Andy claims that between their mom’s bank account and the cash around the house, they have more than enough to last for a few months. Money runs out pretty fast and he quits the basketball team so he can get a part-time job.

Melissa wants to work too, but he won’t let her. She stays at home, cleaning the house and cooking dinner for him, which she burns. Andy starts skipping school and the principal schedules a phone meeting with his “dad”. Sam comes over, answers the phone and leaves, saying Andy owes him a future favor.

The pressure of lying to everyone keeps grating on Melissa and she finally breaks down to Elizabeth because Sweet Valley has no other helpers. Elizabeth helps by cleaning the house, cooking dinner and talking to her. They clean Mrs. McCormick’s bedroom and find a stash of letters under the bed. Melissa learns that her dad kept writing and sending money, but she always sent the money back.

Melissa tries talking to Andy, but he doesn’t care. He claims that their dad made up the stories on paper because he never showed up or gave them money in person. Melissa goes back to acting like a doormat, until she sees three guys in black sneaking around the neighbor’s house. She calls the police and when they get there, she discovers that one of the guys was Andy.

Melissa calls Elizabeth, who asks her dad for help. Ned posts his bond and gets him out of jail, but both kids get foster care. Elizabeth mopes over what to do for days and finally sends a letter to their dad at his last known address. Melissa and Andy meet at their house with their social workers to pick up some stuff. Mr. McCormick shows up at the last possible minute, rescuing the kids from foster care.

Jessica and Steven spend the whole book fighting over completely stupid crap. She thinks he spends too much time on the phone with his new girlfriend. She makes a phone schedule and he won’t follow it, but it is unfair. They fight over food, the couch and who gets to throw a pool party. When they find out what happened to Melissa and Andy, they make up and throw one huge party for all their friends.


  1. I remember reading this book as a kid. I'm a twin so I was a big fan of the books.

  2. I actually like the SVT books still.