Monday, March 3, 2014

Sweet Valley Twins #23: Claim to Fame

It's the 25th anniversary of Sweet Valley Middle School, and the school announces a new contest. They're going to build a new sports filed and they want kids to form teams of four. Each team needs to find four things that represent the 1960s when the school was first built. The team that wins will place their items in a time capsule and get their pictures taken for the time capsule too.

Jessica is naturally all over this. She dreams of how much people will love her when they see her picture in the capsule. Jessica and Lila form a team filled with Unicorns, while Elizabeth and Amy form a team with Julie. Their teacher suggests they ask George Henkel to join as their fourth. They don't really know him, but they ask and he agrees. It turns out that Elizabeth does some volunteer work for his dad, but George explains that he lives with his aunt and uncle and doesn't talk to his dad.

Jessica's team goes to the mall and run into Bruce, who shows him the hood ornament from a Corvette Stingray that he found. They feel a little disappointed until he reveals that it belonged to his dad's first car and he hasn't asked permission to use it yet. They win up finding a really expensive movie posters from the 1960s, which Lila buys with her credit card. They then find a Beatles album at Lila's house.

Elizabeth's team has some good luck too. They find a Sweet Valley yearbook from the year the school opened at a thrift store. They then get an autographed picture of President Kennedy from Amy's mom. Elizabeth does some more volunteer work at Mr. Henkel's house and they end up talking. She mentions meeting his son, but he blows her off. She asks Ned about it, and he tells her that Henkel served in Vietnam, came home with some problems, his wife died, and her sister gained custody of his son.

She ends up going to the library to research topics about the 1960s and finds that Mr. Henkel was a big football star. Sweet Valley naturally won the championship in its first year, and he threw (or caught?) the game winning touchdown. When she tells him about it, he shows her the football. She asks him for it, but he tells her no. She then convices George to ask his dad, which he finally does, and his dad tells him no.

Sweet Valley decides to throw a dance for the the school. Jessica tries to iron her hair before Alice catches her and does her hair. She gives Jessica super straight hair and puts Elizabeth in a beehive. George never planned on going to the dance, but he does, has a good time, and even develops a crush on Nora.

Elizabeth asks Jessica to drop some books off at Mr. Henkel's house. He thinks she's her twin and gives her the football, deciding that he should help his son. Jessica immediately tells the club about it and decides to use it for their entry. Elizabeth finds out and tells her that she'll tell Mr. Henkel, so Jessica hands it back over. She tries to give it to George, who tells her that if his dad wanted to give it to him, he would have. I guess he forgot about all those times he didn't go see him. She takes it to Mr. Henkel, who takes it back because George didn't want it.

Her team decides to just enter two things, and the Unicorns add a 1960s fashion magazine to their entry. Just as they start to announce the winner of the contest, Mr. Henkel shows up. He makes a big speech about the importance of family and hands over the football to his son. Their team wins, but it's okay because Jessica realizes that when people see the picture, they might think it's her.

*Good job on the yearbook! I was literally just at a thrift store today that had vintage yearbooks for sale, and they wanted $20+ per book.

*You have to love the continuity in these books. Sweet Valley opened in the 1960s and has its 25th anniversary. This book came out in 1988, which means we're passed the time they would open the time capsule, but SVC took place while they were still in their 20s.

*BTW, Sweet Valley Middle School opened as Sweet Valley Junior High. Yet the SVJH books took place in a school that was already established.

*Mr. Henkel tells George that the football is the most important thing in his life, and Elizabeth acts all shocked that he would say that. What did she expect? He makes it pretty clear that he has no contact with his son and George never goes to see him, but she still thinks his son should be more important.

*She also gets upset when Mr. Henkel takes back the ball. He told her that if his son wanted an apology and for him to beg him to take it, he didn't want him to have it. She says it isn't like that, but it's pretty much exactly what she said.

*Janet shows up a few times to bitch and moan about how the Unicorns have to win the contest, but she doesn't even enter. The Unicorns only have the one team.

*Why would Mr. Patman keep just the hood ornament off his Corvette? Bruce says it's his dad's first car, so it's a little strange.

*The Unicorns keep riding Jessica about how she shouldn't have given back the football until Janet defends her. They also accuse Elizabeth of blackmailing her, which isn't really true. She only says that she'll tell him what happened.

*What did Jessica think would happen? She would just take the football, enter it, and Elizabeth wouldn't say anything?


  1. Well, to be fair, Elizabeth does tend to be a doormat so it makes sense that Jessica would think she could take credit for the football and Liz wouldn't say anything. I remember only reading this one once, someone in my town clearly loved it because it was constantly checked out when I would go to the library.

  2. If it makes you feel any better, the copy I picked up in a thrift store had a bunch of dog eared pages, so it was well loved too. My favorite when I was a kid was always the one where Jessica sneaks out for a Johnny Buck concert :)