Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sweet Valley Confidential #1: The Sweet Life (Sorry This is so Long!)

How can a Sweet Valley book be so freaking boring??? The Sweet Life opens with Jessica getting ready to give a big presentation. She’s now a big muckety muck at the PR firm where she works (despite the fact that she changed majors from communications to art history in SVU). Her assistant/friend Katy keeps her on her toes, making sure that she remembers to take the right photos into the meeting with Revlon.

Jessica decides to throw a party to launch the new line, complete with naked women walking around and painted to look like they were painted in clothing. Grrr. It’s kind of like they want people to think it’s paint, then think it’s clothes, and it’s actually paint. Everyone drools all over themselves because it’s the best idea ever! Except Courtney, a middle aged (gasp) woman who got replaced by Jessica.

She rushes home to find Todd playing with their two-year-old Jake. Todd seems kind of cold, gets pissed that she’s late, and storms off to cover a basketball game. She calls Liz and asks her to bring dinner over. Jessica thinks about how everyone thinks Liz shouldn’t have forgiven her, but she did and they’re completely past everything.

Liz stops by, they eat, and she plays with her nephew. She thinks about how uncomfortable it is being around Todd, especially since they work on the same paper. It’s even harder now that Jess and Todd are separated. I’d be a lot more excited if I didn’t know that they’d be back together by the end.

Then Liz goes home to the fancy architect designed house that she shares with Bruce. We literally get almost an entire chapter of Liz talking about all the great stuff she has and how she doesn’t think she will ever feel comfortable in Bruce’s house/world, even though she lived comfortably growing up. I wish I was exaggerating, but it’s seriously almost a whole chapter of Saint Liz whining about how her life is so grand and how she feels uncomfortable.

Liz hears a rumor that the new reporter Sarah is out to get Todd. When Jessica hears, she decides to google her. She learns that she has a Master’s degree from Northwestern and worked for several Chicago newspapers, but Jessica thinks she looks boyish. Then, she finds an article the woman wrote about green cosmetics and something sounds familiar. Of course, it turns out that she ripped off comments Jessica made to other magazines and somehow the LA Trib never caught onto her plagiarism.

Jessica turns her in and she gets fired. Todd shows up, screams at Jessica for ruining another woman’s life, and the fists come out. He ends up telling her that she tricked him into falling for her all those years ago and their relationship is just a lie. Her storms over to Sarah’s apartment and they almost have sex, but he rushes off before it happens. I like to image that he ran off with tears in his eyes.

Bruce, who is now even richer and does a bunch of charity work saw them together and told Liz. Liz naturally told her sister and Jessica went back on her bitchy streak. Then we get Lila auditioning for The Real Housewives of Sweet Valley, landing a role, and deciding that she needs to con Ken into joining her.

After, I believe, the second instance of Liz and Bruce having sex, he gets a phone call and flips out. Some random intern accused him of having sex with her and since no unsuccessful people ever come out of Sweet Valley, it runs on all the news stations and the public makes a huge deal of it. Liz completely stands by her man because he would never, ever do something like that…er, except for the one time he did.

See? This is the shit that bugs me about these books! Bruce literally tried to date rape Liz in high school, gets accused of raping another girl, and she’s unwilling to believe he would ever possibly do that. It’s like the whole thing just gets swept under the rug. I’m betting Francine doesn’t even remember it. Or, if people complain, she’ll pop a scene in the next book where someone brings it up and Liz is all like, “oh that wasn’t rape haha, that was just Bruce being super cute.”

Jess texts Liz to come over immediately because she’s freaking out. Liz thinks she has some news about Bruce, but no, Jess just wants to moan about her own life. When Liz finally gets the chance to tell her what happened, Jess suddenly becomes a professional. She meets with Bruce and his lawyer to talk strategy, which is ridiculous because all she does is listen to the story, send Liz her notes, and say they need to get a website going with female celebrities sticking up for him. Um, Jessica if you want to deny something happened, having a bunch of hot ass women is probably not going to help.

Oh and the story is something like Bruce’s employee/co-worker Alan sent him a note to set up a meeting. Bruce went and Alan never showed up. He met some chick who cried to him about how her father beat her all the time and he started getting sick while drinking with her. He fell asleep in the back office, and she was gone when he woke up. The next day, Alan never mentions the meeting and…my god Francine, how can you still keep coming up with this high school bull shit storylines and expect us to believe them. Does anyone not see where this is going?

Oh and the story got leaked by a priest, which sounds all kinds of suspicious. No worries though because celebrities randomly start calling Jessica’s office to volunteer their services because people like Angelina Jolie and Susan Sarandon (the two she mentions) have nothing better to do than film a fucking “he’s awesome” video for Bruce’s website.

Liz tracks down the bartender working that night and he tells her his version. He says that he saw Bruce hitting on the other woman at the end of the bar and she kept rejecting him. He looked back and they were both gone, but a few minutes later, the girl came running out of the bathroom crying, grabbed her coat, and ran. Liz spends a whole sentence wondering if it might be true, but Bruce would never do that! Yup, just like he totally didn’t two-time Jessica, cheated on Regina with Amy…I could do this all night.

The first day of shooting TRHOSV starts and everyone shows up at Lila’s house. One of the girls, Ashley, mentions that she’s newly divorced and immediately starts hitting on Ken. Lila keeps separating them, but the director keeps throwing them together. She decides to just start acting like a huge bitch so she’ll be the star of the show. The director tells her that they’re supposed to be friends, but she keeps up her bitch persona, even making rude comments about her marriage. Ken sees the dailies and when she suggests they celebrate, she sees him with his suitcase. She tells him that she was just playing a bitch role, and he tells her that she’s not playing, ouch. She kind of begs him for another chance, but he storms out with his stuff.

Caroline shows up at Jess’s house the next day to tell her all about Todd hooking up with the other girl. Jess actually takes her coffee cup and tosses her out of the house LOL. Then we get a chapter from Liz where she goes to the priest who revealed the story, saying that the girl wanted other women to know.

Then she starts tracking down all the female interns to try and find the girl. Every single girl gushes about how handsome, strong, smart, sweet, etc. Bruce is and she gets a little nervous. He’s been helping people find jobs and getting them scholarships to go to college without telling her. She starts doubting him again because he kept all these secrets from her, but then she decides that she has to clear his name because their futures depend on it. That would be a lot more believable if she didn’t cheat on every guy she ever dated.

Jessica sets up a date with Liam, the guy from the last book who is now a huge movie star. Of course he’s a star! He stepped foot in Sweet Valley and that’s enough. They go out to dinner, he tells her he loves her, and she has sex with him. Meanwhile, Todd realizes he was an ass and tries calling her. He sends her a bunch of texts, professing his love and begging for another chance. When he realizes where she is, he gives up. Jessica makes Liam take her home without even cuddling, and finds her cell phone with 12 messages from Todd at home.

Liz goes to the intern’s house and pretends like she’s a therapist that the priest sent over. The girl, Robin, lets her in and gets her a drink of water. They start talking and Liz makes up a fake story about being raped herself. I fucking hate her. Robin opens up and starts revealing secrets that Bruce told her, like how he lives with a woman who got dumped by her boyfriend for her twin sister, and how he feels like he’s her second choice.

Liz keeps staring at her, thinking she has a hard look to her and must be lying. When the chick tells her this stuff, Liz gets a little freaked out. She starts doubting Bruce and asks the girl about her dad, who tells her that he died a few years ago. The girl asks if she should go on, or just forget about everything. The book ends with Liz wondering if she could make it end by convincing the girl to drop the case.

Ugh, I read a review of this earlier where someone said it was more “realistic” and I want to smack that person. It was far better than SVC, but not nearly as good as the original books.

*Whoever knew that Todd had blondish brown hair? After 200+ books of him being described as always having dark brown hair, now he suddenly has blondish brown hair.

*Liz knows so little French that she can barely communicate with her personal chef. That’s funny because I remember her being a stellar speaker and picking up the language in just a few weeks!

*Jessica says that she didn’t have a job and didn’t do anything when they first got married. Um, wasn’t she doing the same damn thing in Sweet Valley Confidential. Don’t get me started on how she went from an assistant to leading the team in a few years, even though she had to take time off to stay with the baby and now complains that people look down on her because she takes too much time off for her family.

*Todd sends a text like “R U Kidding?” which is believable, but then takes the time to put an apostrophe in don’t. Does anyone actually do that?

*Liz doesn’t eat red meat, which is ironic given all the barbeques she went to in high school! Not to mention the Dairi Burger LOL.

*Bruce has a Warhol of his mother hanging in his house, which is a little strange. Given her description in the early books and the special edition book, she doesn’t seem like the kind of woman hanging out with Warhol.

*Wait, Bruce is related to a former president? When did that happen? You know he would have brought it up on every other page in SVH.

*I guess we’re supposed to believe that Lila doesn’t know what the Super Bowl is, all she knows is that Ken played in some big game in Miami and they went to a party. Yeah…

*Jessica uses her “connections” to get newspapers and TV shows to run special stories on famous people accused of stuff like Bruce and having the stories be untrue. I’m thinking Francine didn’t use any examples because you know, celebrities do shit like this all the time.

*Since when has George Fowler (yes, she got his name right this time) had a nephew? Oh wait, is this the one that came to the party and went gaga for Enid?

*According to Jessica, she “made up her mind to have sex” as a teenager. Didn’t she lose her virginity to Mike, who she actually married?