Friday, February 15, 2013

Sweet Valley Junior High #4: The Cool Crowd


The Wakefields go out of town because hey, if you had the twins as your kids, you need frequent breaks too. They decide that Steven is mature enough to be in charge, and he actually does a pretty good job. After track practice, Jessica runs into Lila, who can't get over how sweaty and gross she looks. Lila mentions that she's having a party that night and invites her over.

When Lila calls that night, Jessica doesn't want to admit that Steven won't let her out on a school night. She lies and says she had a guy over, and she mentions that she might have a party on Saturday. Elizabeth warns her that Steven will never agree to it, but Jessica thinks she can talk him into it. He does but only if she does a bunch of chores for him.

Jessica plans on having a little sleepover with some of her old and new friends. She almost doesn't invite Kristen because she's with Lacey, but she decides to bite the bullet and do it. Lacey invites herself to the party after hearing that her parents are out of town, and things spiral out of control from there. Lacey announces that her boyfriend Gel and all of his high school friends are coming, and Lila tells her that she also invited a bunch of high school guys.

Elizabeth, Sal, and Anna are working on their first issue of Zone, and Anna works up the nerve to show her a poem she wrote. Elizabeth thinks that it's great and suggests that she submit some more work. It turns out that all of her poems are about her older brother who died when a drunk teenager hit him on the way home from a party. She realizes that Elizabeth doesn't know the whole story, but she can't figure out how to tell her.

Sal submits a cartoon that he drew about Elisapeth Warren, aka Wonder Girl. As soon as Anna sees it, she realizes that it's Elizabeth, but Liz the genius has no clue. Anna says that it needs some more work and leaves in a hurry. Sal apparently didn't realize that it was about Elizabeth either, until he saw the look on Anna's face. He later goes over to see her and she's freaking out because her dad expects her to run the house. He feels so bad that he decides to act like her brother.

Because he's a huge moron, he does this all wrong. He shows up to walk her to school and brings her flowers. He then tells her that he likes a friend as more than a friend and gives her a little look, which makes her think that he likes her. In the midst of all this, Elizabeth runs a mockup of issue with Sal's cartoon on the front, even though they all agreed to use Anna's poem on the front page.

Jessica starts realizing that her new friends are slightly better than her old friends. They offer to help and bring stuff to the party, while everyone else just wants to have fun. Kristen, Brian, and Bethel even show up early to help her set out food and get the house ready. Steven, meanwhile, freaks out because his girlfriend Kathy heard he was having a party and thinks he didn't invite her. The twins go overboard to make sure that he never leaves the house because someone might tell him about the party.

Sal buys Anna a little stuffed pig named Carey-y and gives it to her before the party. She spends some time getting ready and putting on makeup, and he tells her that she looks beautiful. Somehow, he still doesn't realizing that she might be reading things all wrong.

Cut to the actual party. Lila shows up with some random guy who knows Steven at the same time that Lacey shows up with her high school guy. They act really bitchy to each other and Lila storms off without introducing any of her guests. More high school kids start showing up, and Jessica realizes that she barely recognizes anyone there. Bethel and Lacey have a minor confrontation, which ends when a high school guy, who knew Bethel's older sister, ignores Lacey for her.

One of the neighbors call the cops, and they threaten to shut down the party. Jessica, Brian, and Kristen pretend that it's a practice for a musical. He doesn't believe them, but he does give them a warning. Jessica tries to turn down the music, but Gel just turns it up. Elizabeth and Sal run upstairs to find some mellow music. They wind up getting close and kissing.

Then, someone spikes the punch. Anna notices it, and feeling crappy since Sal ditched her, she runs away from the party. Jessica asks Lila for help, and she refuses because she doesn't want anyone to hate her. Lacey and Lila get into it again, and when Lila asks her for help, she walks away. She pulls the plug on the music and everyone storms out except for her SVJH friends.

They all start cleaning up the house, and Liz and Sal come back. Kristen realizes why Anna ran off, and they tell the twins about her older brother, which makes Liz feel like crap. The Wakefields come back from their trip, and despite their best efforts, a neighbor tells them about the party. They all get grounded, but Jessica thinks that it's worth it because she is now officially popular.

*I love that Jessica tells Lila she runs track because track is cool at SVJH. Lila totally believes her because Jess basically says that she would never do anything uncool.

*To throw the party, she has to wash his car twice a week and do his laundry every week in addition to all of his regular chores.

*The twins actually make a carb-heavy dinner so that Steven will fall asleep right after dinner. It's kind of funny that they do it so he won't hear anyone talking about the party.

*Lila's double-e friends bring homemade chocolates. Ronald eats them all and goes wild, which is hysterical, especially when he starts crowd surfing.

*Todd and Aaron also come to the party. Jessica walks off with Aaron because he looks super cute, but it's a little weird because she never mentions him again, even in this book.

*Liz flips out because she doesn't know how to introduce Todd to Sal. Once she starts talking to him, she learns that Todd is now a jock who is more concerned with basketball than reading, and she thinks about how cool Sal is compared to him. At least it kind of explains why Todd is a jock in SVH.

*I'm not exactly sure why a bunch of driving-age teens would want to hang out with junior high kids. Even though it's Steven's house, they still know its a SVJH party.

*Yes, and people actually smoke in this book. Someone leaves a cigarette on the couch, which sets a cushion on fire, scandalous.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sweet Valley Twins #41: Jessica's New Look


Jessica is all atwitter because there are boys sitting at the Unicorner. She recently discovered that she likes Aaron Dallas, and since he's at the table, she ditches her twin to sit with him. The boys start talking about basketball, and she's the only one who follows the game. Lila actually thinks that the Lakers play baseball. Aaron asks her to go to a game with him and his parents, and she becomes the first sixth grader to get a real date.

Unfortunately, one of her teachers noticed that she keeps squinting and getting headaches, and he thinks she needs to see an eye doctor. He sends home a note, which she hides under her mattress. Alice finds out anyway when the teacher sends home a letter, and she makes both twins go to the doctor.

Jessica discovers that she needs glasses, while Elizabeth has perfect vision. She throws a major fit, which Alice tries to diffuse by letting each one get a new outfit. Jessica picks out some god awful purple outfit, but she still doesn't want to wear glasses. She spends over an hour trying on different pairs before she gets a purple pair that everyone else likes.

She decides that just because she has to get glasses that doesn't mean she has to wear glasses. She wears them around the house, but hides the glasses in her bag on the way to school. Their parents take them out to the movies, and she runs into Lila in the theater. Lila blackmails her into giving her that new outfit and her new purple earrings so she won't tell everyone.

The Sweet Valley Tribune apparently cannot find adult writers because they started a new column written by middle school students. Elizabeth gets picked to do the next one, and she has to write on the topic of kids who make a difference in their community. Janet wants to get the Unicorns involved, but Liz and Amy laugh at the idea. They decide to run a skate-a-thon to raise money for a new set of encyclopedias.

When Liz, Amy, and Jessica get to the skating rink, they discover a problem. The owner thought everyone would bring their own skates, so he doesn't have any available. Amy and Liz make fun of them before going inside to discover that it was a lie. They made it up to make them look stupid (?).

Jessica left her glasses at home, and she gets all excited when she skates with Aaron. She notices her parents walking into the rink and she bumps into Lois, sending her sprawling. She grabs her glasses and pretends like she's trying them on before ditching Aaron and running off. Her parents catch her and ground her until she starts wearing her glasses.

She decides that she isn't going out with Aaron and announces that she won't leave the house until she no longer needs glasses. Elizabeth pretends that she likes Aaron, even faking a talk with Amy on the phone about her crush. She keeps telling Jess that she wants to take her place, and Jessica finally tells her to just do it.

Elizabeth tells her mom her new idea, and they run off to the mall. She comes home wearing glasses with plain glass inside, and Jessica thinks she looks cute, but that glasses fit her personality. They work fine on those who like school, but she's a cute popular girl! Aaron shows up for their date, and Elizabeth pretends that she's Jessica. Aaron thinks that she looks really cute in her glasses, so Jessica realizes that he will like her. They trade clothes and she heads off on her date.

Elizabeth's article is a big hit around the school, and everyone loves Jessica's new glasses. Liz notices that Lila has Jessica's new outfit, but she claims that it's okay because she has something even better and makes some googly eyes at Aaron. The book ends with the Unicorns getting annoyed at Mandy Miller.

*Jessica only has to wear glasses for a few months before her eyes will recover. This is something that they do a lot in books and on television, but does it ever really happen? I was in fourth or fifth grade when I got glasses, and everyone I know who got glasses at a young age still wear them.

*Steven is sometimes such a typical older brother. He gets ready to make fun of her glasses, gets a look from Ned, and starts laughing to himself.

*Lila says that her dad took her to the theater because he felt bad about spending so much time at work. It's funny how sometimes this bothers her and sometimes she loves that he's gone so much.

*The point of the newspaper column was to focus on kids helping in their community. How is the Unicorn Club buying encyclopedias for SVMS helping the community? Especially since it's established that there are other middle schools/junior highs in the area.

*I love that her glasses are only mentioned in passing in a few books after this.

*There is a funny scene where Jessica rides her bike in front of what looks like a piece of crumpled paper, but it's actually a white cat that belongs to Aaron's little sister, and she takes a header in his front yard.