Friday, April 20, 2012

Sweet Valley Twins Super Chiller: The Curse of the Ruby Necklace


Jessica and Elizabeth are playing around on the beach when Jessica finds something buried in the sand. It’s a necklace with a few gems poking through the grit. When Elizabeth asks to see it, Jessica immediately pulls her hand back. There is something about it that makes her feel like it belongs to her. She sleeps with it under her pillow that night and has vivid nightmares. She sees herself fighting with a man who only has four fingers and standing on a balcony.

The twins go for a walk on the beach and see some people at the old Keller mansion. They accidentally run into the director Becka and she offers them roles as extras in the movie. It’s so exciting that Alice calls their cousin Robin and invites her down for spring break, which is conveniently the next week. Word gets out about the movie and the whole middle school goes down. Maria is one of the only people that gets a role.

The movie stars a young and spoiled actress named Shawn. She throws multiple tantrums on the set and basically makes life a living hell for everyone. Elizabeth decides to investigate the story of the old mansion and discovers that it surrounds two little girls. Lillian had her 12th birthday party and got a ruby necklace from her mother. Her cousin Hilda lived with the family because her parents died and they fought over the necklace. Lillian ran upstairs with Hilda chasing her. The next thing people knew, Lillian crashed over a balcony and died, and everyone blamed Hilda because she was there.

Jessica starts having nightmares and can’t sleep. She falls asleep in class and has such a violent nightmare that they send her home. Liz finds the necklace in her twin’s backpack and feels drawn to it. Jessica gives it to her and Liz has nightmares that night. They compare notes and discover that they had the exact same nightmare. Liz is also worried when she discovers that the movie is based on the true story of the two girls. She talks to Becka, who tells her that they tried finding Hilda before filming and could not track her down. She went to an institution, got released at 18, and disappeared.

The twins take Robin to the set and she gets a role in the movie. Shawn screams at one girl so much that the girl quits the film. Liz takes the necklace to school and gets it cleaner. Alice sees it and tells the girls that it is costume jewelry. Becka invites the girls to watch the rushes from filming. They see the ghost of Lillian walk across the room, pick up a wedding photo, and put it back down. No one else can see her except them.

Liz also has a weird run in with an old man on the set Mr. Brooks. She sees him sneaking around upstairs and he claims that he’s a smoker and can’t smoke downstairs because people complain. When she goes downstairs later, she sees several people smoking on the set. The girls decide that they need to find out if anyone else experiences the same thing. Robin agrees to sleep with the necklace. She puts it on, instead of under her pillow, and has much more intense dreams.

Then they decide to track down Hilda. They find that she got married and moved away, but came back to Sweet Valley after her husband died. They go to her house and she won’t let them in until Liz makes a comment about seeing Lillian. Hilda tells them that she didn’t kill Lillian, but no one believed her. The necklace belonged to her mother and passed to her aunt. Her aunt decided to give it to Lillian, not realizing that it was important to Hilda. The girls fought, but Hilda let her run away. When she went upstairs, she saw Lillian hanging over the side of the balcony.

She tried to save her, but just managed to grab her dress. When everyone found her, she was still holding a scrap of the dress. The handyman Harry told everyone that he passed by the room and saw her push Lillian over the side. She tells them that he only had four fingers on one hand and always kept that hand tucked inside his pocket.

The girls head back to the film set and tell Becka what’s been going on. She kind of believes them because she believes in the supernatural. She runs the rushes, but only Robin can see Lillian now. They somehow start suspecting Mr. Brooks. Liz pretends to trip and fall, and when he helps her up, she sees that he only has four fingers on one hand.

They decide to set a trap for him. They put Jessica in gray makeup so she looks dead and she runs through the house wearing the necklace. Mr. Brooks doesn’t buy it, but he does attack her because he sees the necklace. Everyone watches through a two-way mirror the crew setup. Liz rushes to help Jessica, but Harry/Brooks locked the door from the inside.

Harry fights with Jessica and manages to rip the necklace off her throat before she goes over the balcony. Don’t worry though because she lands on a huge airbag they setup for the stunt where Shawn went over the side. While holding the necklace, Harry sees Lillian. We don’t hear her side, but he confesses to killing her for the necklace years ago because it’s actual rubies and diamonds, and worth millions. He came back to the house just to look for the necklace again.

The twins get Hilda and bring her back to the set. They hand over the necklace and Becka turns on the rushes. Hilda gets to say goodbye to her cousin, who wanted to see her one last time.

*Yeah so the extra thing? The director gives the twins lines in the movie without mentioning SAG or anything. She also gives them forms for their parents to sign and they just drop it off without her checking with their parents or even calling them on the phone.

*Lila wants a role in the movie, but acts like a brat when she meets Becka. Becka tells her that she looks too modern/contemporary for a movie set in the 1940s. Yet apparently the twins with their classic “California looks” are perfectly fine.

*Maria and Shawn are really nasty to each other. Shawn calls her a washed up actress and says that she couldn’t handle Hollywood. I’m not sure why, but I think I believe her LOL.

*I just want to point out that Maria is African American, so I don’t even want to think about what her role is supposed to be in this movie.

*They never explain what happened to the necklace! I’m assuming that Hilda got to keep it, but who knows?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sweet Valley High #89: Elizabeth Betrayed


Penny is taking off for a few weeks for a special assignment in Washington DC. Apparently, the government picked just one high school newspaper editor, and they naturally picked someone from Sweet Valley! Everyone wonders who she will pick to be the replacement editor. Olivia thinks that she might get picked because she runs the lit magazine herself. But of course, Penny actually picks Elizabeth.

Elizabeth instantly imagines herself as the greatest thing that ever hit town. She fantasizes about Penny staying in DC so she can be the full-time editor. Instead, she discovers that everyone comes down with the flu at the same time. Mr. Collins gets sick too, so she is short on writers and has no adviser.

At the same time, Olivia isn't happy with her boyfriend Rod. Every time they go out or see each other, he wants to talk about Liz. He keeps suggesting they go on a double date and cozies up to her. When they go on a double date, he spends the whole time talking to Liz and ignoring Olivia. He even tells her that Liz has the same dress as her, after she spend four hours getting ready.

When more people get sick, Liz doesn't have enough articles to fill the paper. Rod tells Olivia that he wants to her Liz, and Olivia points out that he has no experience and hates writing. He does an article that lands on the front page and everyone loves it. When Liz needs help with her English assignment, he offers to help her with that too. She doesn't have time to check it, but she sends it in anyway.

Mr. Collins calls Liz to his office and shows her the paper with a big F on it. He tells her that she plagiarized large sections of it. She gets an automatic failure, which drops her grade and puts her on probation. She also loses her spot on the Oracle. Liz confronts Rod who tells her that it isn't his fault she didn't check her facts. He refuses to take any responsibility and blows her off. She mopes and whines for a few days, wondering what to do.

Jessica gets in trouble for lying, yet again. Lila puts purple streaks in her hair and Jess tells her it looks great. When she finds other people making fun of her, she blows up on Jessica. She later gives Jess a magazine article about the importance of being honest, and Jess decides to be honest from now on.

She tells her mom that her dress is ugly, tells her dad that she hates a new sculpture he bought and tells Liz that a poem she wrote is boring. She also tells a lot of people at school what she thinks about them. When Liz refuses to tell Olivia what Rod did, Jessica goes to see her. She tells her the whole story and Olivia doesn't know what to do.

Olivia finally confronts Rod, and he says that he didn't do anything wrong. She goes over his article, and she discovers that he stole sections from Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. She tells Penny, and they go to see Mr. Collins. He immediately recognizes the stolen work and calls a meeting with Rod and Liz.

Now that he knows what happened, he lets Liz rewrite her paper. He warns Rod that he will check all of his work carefully from now on. Olivia talks to Rod who tells her that he never really meant to hurt Liz, he just wanted to help her. And then she apologizes to Liz for being jealous of her and not trusting her. Jessica gets her comeuppance too. Lila convinces everyone to only tell the truth to Jessica. She gets annoyed and they all call a truce.

*Did anyone's high school have a lit magazine or weekly newspaper? I went to a kind of small high school, which size wise seems similar to SVH. We had a newspaper that came out every few weeks, and no one was interested in a lit mag.

*I actually think Lila's hair sounds cool! She just gets some purple highlights, which I had when I was a teenager. People keep thinking she's an alien, and one little kid cries. Sounds like this one was written by a conservative person...LOL

*Yeah, so Liz goes on the double date in an old sweatshirt, shorts and her hair in a ponytail with no makeup because she spent the day at the beach. Yet, she is SO gorgeous that people (men and women, according to Olivia) stop and watch her walking by.

*I feel bad for Olivia in this one. She actually spots Rod and Liz holding hands, but Liz plays it off like it was no big deal, even though she knew he had feelings for her! Then, he keeps lying to her and she just keeps putting up with it.

*Is Rod in any of the later books? There really isn't an ending between them. He never admits that he had a crush on Liz. He tells Olivia that he liked her as a friend, and they don't break up.

*I'm so glad that in Sweet Valley, plagiarism just results in a bad grade. At my high school, it was an immediate suspension. It's also nice that she gets the chance to write her paper again. Even if she didn't cheat intentionally, she still cheated. Somehow, it wasn't okay to steal the thoughts of a professional, but when they learn she just wrote what Rod told her was his thoughts, she got off the hook.

*Everyone gets pissed at Rod, and they claim that he needs to take responsibility. Um, why should he? He didn't really do anything wrong. If I tell you that I came up with the theory of relativity and you write my words in your paper, that's your own damn fault. I didn't tell you to steal my words!