Friday, July 26, 2013

Sweet Valley Twins Super Chiller #1: The Christmas Ghost

Since Sweet Valley can apparently do nothing without the help of kids, it lets the local schools raise money for the new children's wing at the hospital. Elizabeth, Amy, and her friends decide to hold a bazaar, while Jessica gets distracted with Lila's plans for her Christmas party. She promises to help her bake cookies and runs off to help her pick out decorations, and she doesn't even want to get up when it comes time to go to the bazaar.

While window shopping a few weeks before Christmas, they see a porcelain carousel horse. Elizabeth thinks about how it reminds her of the carousel that was once in the park, and Jessica just likes it because it looks like a unicorn. Elizabeth later hears her twin telling their mother all about it. When she points out that it sounds like something her twin might like, Jessica says that she didn't even like it.

The middle school pledged to raise $100, but the bazaar brings in less than $44. Elizabeth gets the brilliant idea to ask movie star Beau Dillon for help. Even though Alice warns her that he's a busy actor, she writes him anyway because she knows he'll be in town. He writes her back with his agent's phone number, and they schedule a meeting at the house.

Jessica naturally decides that she was always interested in helping her twin raise money and she can't wait to meet Beau. At Lila's party, Elizabeth tells everyone about the letter, and Lila accuses her of lying to be the center of attention. Jessica goes from bragging about meeting Beau to hiding in the background. Everyone pretty much acts like it's a huge lie because Elizabeth wants attention.

Even though it really annoys her, she decides not to tell anyone. A few days later, she finds Jessica going through things in their parents' closet, looking for gifts. Jessica starts bragging about how Alice bought her the carousel horse, and it leads to a huge fight. Elizabeth finally tells her that if she doesn't stop being so selfish, she'll wind up without any friends.

Beau agrees to stop by their house a few days before Christmas. Elizabeth waits around all day and actually apologizes to her whore sister for being so mean. She finally has to leave to hand out presents to the needy, and Jessica mopes around the house thinking about how everyone will tease her. He shows up late because of car trouble, agrees to help with the fundraising, and makes plans to see her a few days after Christmas. Then, he calls her Elizabeth.

Since this is Jessica, she decides not to tell her twin what happened. Elizabeth walks around looking super sad because she really thought he would step up and help her. Jessica is mainly annoyed and irritated, and she can't figure out why she won't just let it go. All that matters to her is that she gets to go on a date with him.

When she goes to bed on Christmas Eve, she thinks that she sees her lamp turning into a clown lamp they had as kids. She remembers how much Elizabeth broke it and how much it scared her, so she broke it and claimed she didn't know what happened. She later notices that the unicorn on a poster Lila bought her for Christmas seems to come to life. It all ends with a little blond girl sitting at the foot of her bed.

The little girl says that she's the Ghost of Christmas Past, and Jessica realizes that she looks just like the twins did. She takes her back in time, showing her how much Elizabeth loved the carousel at the park. She also sees them in second grade when they were best friend. She was so close to Liz that she even turned down Lila when she wanted to sit with her at lunch. The GOCP also shows her the start of sixth grade when Elizabeth went home crying to their mom over the Unicorn club and how she lost her twin. It makes her feel bad because she was so busy with her own life that she didn't realize how much her sister was hurting.

The Ghost of Christmas Present later visits her, and it's the unicorn from the poster. He takes her on a long ride that makes her lose her slipper. The unicorn takes her to Christmas Day, but lets her see life through the eyes and mind of her sister. She sees Elizabeth moping a little over the carousel horse, and she sees herself get snippy about how she won't let Liz borrow her new Christmas shirt. She also learns that her twin is still thinking about Beau and how he let her down.

This all leads up to her meeting the Ghost of Christmas Future. Wearing a long white robe, it takes her to a high school party by the lake. She sees a tall blond girl surrounded by friends, and immediately decides that it must be her and that it proves Elizabeth was wrong about her being selfish. The blond mentions her sister being in the woods on a sorority initiation, and she asks one of the guys if he hung up the tags in the right spot. Apparently, the girl had to follow a line of flags back to the party. He says he did, but he later tells someone else that he put them too high for her to see, and they all laugh about it.

Jessica wonders what her twin did wrong, and she goes into the woods to find her. She eventually does, but learns that it's actually high school Jessica in the woods. She also gets to see her teen self sitting alone at a football game, while Elizabeth is surrounded by all of her friends. She then sees herself at the Dairi Burger when Bruce asks her on a date. It turns out that he wants to take her to a dog show and enter her, which makes everyone laugh.

She eavesdrops on a few girls and learns that people hate her because she's a horrible person. They point out a long list of things she did wrong in the past ending with the Beau situation. She keeps seeing her twin surrounded by cool people and wearing a silver bracelet with a heart-shaped charm on it. She confronts the ghost about what happened and grabs his cloak, which falls off and shows her nothing is underneath.

Jessica wakes up in her bedroom on Christmas morning. She rushes downstairs and tells Elizabeth that Beau showed up after all. She also opens the carousel horse and hands it over to her twin because she liked it a lot more. Beau sends Elizabeth a bunch of flowers and the bracelet she wore in the future with a note about meeting her later. Jessica vows to always put her twin first and not act like a bitch, something she sadly doesn't remember later.

*Little Jessica called Bruce Fat Man the Pat Man, which cracked me up. It makes him blush and all of his friends laugh at him.

*It's funny that she thinks she isn't selfish because if she were, she wouldn't have her friends from the Unicorn club. Yup, those girls are totally not selfish.

*One of the cheerleaders is a pretty girl with brown hair named Cara. I guess that's Francine's way of letting us know that Cara only moved to town after middle school.

*This book is odd because the first few chapters focus completely on Elizabeth before changing to a Jessica story.

*The Wakefields wouldn't even let the twins go to a concert alone, so what makes her think they would let her go out with a teenage actor? Then again, what makes her think a 17 year old guy would actually ask a 14 year old girl on a date?

*Jessica doesn't want to get on Lila's bad side because she got her something really good for Christmas. It's a poster of a purple unicorn. Seriously, with Lila's money, she couldn't afford something a little better for her best friend?

*When she sees teen Liz, her group of friends include Todd and Winston. I love that Amy wasn't included in the story because the ghostwriter knew she wasn't in SVH yet.

*Jessica sees Beau at home at one point, and this teenage actor apparently has a big ass Malibu mansion to himself. While that seems pretty common today, it seems a little less so in the late 80s.

*Don't get me started on the fact that Elizabeth wrote to Beau and got a response back in less than a week. Do I really need to tell my Christian Slater story again?

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