Friday, February 21, 2014

Sweet Valley Twins #38: Lois Strikes Back

Sweet Valley Middle School needs to raise money for some new library books and supplies. They decide to a do a bike-a-thon where the kids get donations for each mile they ride on their bikes. They also give away a free top of the line racing bike to the winner. Nearly everyone in school decides to ride, except for Bruce who thinks it's a waste of time because he already has an expensive new bike.

Lois decides to ride too, which surprises everyone because she's so fat and overweight (their words, not mine). Bruce especially likes picking on her and making fun of her. At one point, he stands up and tells everyone what's on her lunch tray, and everyone laughs at her for eating so much.

While waiting in line for lunch a few days later, Bruce accidentally trips over her book bag. He decides that she did it on purpose and decides to get back at her. Lois worked really hard to get a lot of donations, and she got 23 people to sponsor her. Bruce goes to his parents, and they both agree to donate $10 per mile, which comes out to $600 total.

Lois is super upset until Elizabeth points out that she's at $17.50 per mile. She can't find anyone else willing to donate to her, and her mom won't let her ask for donations at the retirement home where she works. One of the residents overhears and agrees to sponsor her and gets other residents to help too. It turns out that if they both run the whole race, she'll make just a little more than him.

While all this is going on, Jessica decides to play spoiled brat. I know, completely shocking. She doesn't think it's fair that she and Elizabeth have to split their sponsors with each other because most people won't sponsor them both. She tries to convince Liz to drop out, but her twin actually won't this time.

Lila gets the new Johnny Buck cassette from her uncle and invites Jessica to listen. The other Unicorns decide to quit the marathon and go to her house instead. Ned acts like a dad and tells Jessica that she can't drop out but she can go to Lila's house after she finishes. This leads Jessica to ride four miles and quit.

Since Bruce and Lois are the two frontrunners, Elizabeth and Amy decide to follow them during the race. Elizabeth and Lois make it 22 miles before Lois can't go anymore. Amy makes it through the whole race, but she does say that she lost sight of Bruce after eight miles. No one knows if he finished or not until he comes to school on Monday with the full check from his parents.

Elizabeth decides that something seems suspicious. Everyone who finished the race got a gift certificate for a free ice cream sundae, but when someone mentions it to Bruce, he doesn't know what they're talking about. No one saw him at the finish line, and no one saw him after the eighth mile either. Jessica lets is slip that he got to Lila's house not long after she did.

Even though they suspect he didn't win, they can't prove it. Lois decides to step up and talk to Bruce about the race. She tells him that she knows he cheated, which he denies, but when she says he was worried she would actually beat him, he slips up. Bruce reveals that he wrecked his bike after mile eight and pretended that he finished.

SVMS holds a big presentation and award Lois the bike. Everyone oohs and ahs over her because she lost a few pounds and suddenly looks great. Elizabeth acts super proud like she's the one who won the race, and Jessica wonders if people will stop thinking Lois is gross.

*Her total meal is a serving of spaghetti, garlic bread, milk, ice cream, and a piece of cake. Oh yeah, she's a total fatty.

*Also, take a look at her on the cover. Does that girl look anywhere near overweight? Yeah, I didn't think so.

*Jessica bets Elizabeth that Bruce finished the race, and when she loses, she has to do all of her chores for a week.

*We get real parenting from New and Alice as in they tell the girls they need to figure out what to do about their sponsors and that Jessica has to finish the race. Then they turn into themselves again. They tell her they're disappointed that she only went four miles, but they don't punish her in any way.

*If I ever hear one of my kids talking about some girl being fat and gross like Alice hears Jessica, they are in big trouble. I won't just tsk tsk it away and say it isn't nice.

*Apparently, Lila has an uncle Scott who works in Los Angeles for some big deal record company, but of course, we'll never hear about him again.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Baby-Sitters Club Mystery #9: Kristy and the Haunted Mansion

Kristy, Bart and Charlie take a group of kids to another big game. This is one of the few books where the Krushers and the Bashers play together as the Krashers. At the end of the game, they start back home and it starts raining. Charlie gets lost, the rain starts coming down harder, and they somehow get across a bridge just before the rain washes it away.

They find a big house in the middle of nowhere and decide to stop and ask for help. They see a smaller house nearby, and a man comes out and tells them that he's the caretaker for the bigger house. He gives them a little food and some blankets and offers to let them stay in the bigger house for the night. He then makes a cryptic comment about their odds at lasting throughout the night.

Everyone takes a tour of the house, and they find a girl's room. They do a little more touring before winding up back in the same room. Karen finds a diary, and Patty, one of Bart's players, finds the key. Kristy reads it, and it's from a girl named Dorothy who lived in the house. She writes about how she wants to marry this guy Will but her father doesn't approved because he's poor. She briefly mentions hoping that Will won't treat her like her dad did before deciding to run away with him.

The boys find a few scrapbooks filled with newspaper articles about Dorothy. The last night she wrote in her diary, she disappeared. The police decided that she probably drowned while crossing the river during a storm. Jackie remembers his brother telling him that the house was haunted, but Kristy tries to calm all the kids down. They also find an album with photos of Dorothy, her father, and Will inside, and Bart thinks the man looks familiar.

When the storm passes, the caretaker tells them that workers came to fix the bridge. Bart realizes that the caretaker is actually Will, and he admits it. He tells them that he bought the old house as a way to feel closer to Dorothy. They all have a long talk before heading home, where everyone welcomes them and acts really worried.

Kristy throws a slumber party for the BSC at her house. Karen comes in and shows them a picture she took from the house. Mary Anne realizes that she knows Dorothy: she's the woman who owns Sew Fine, the sewing store downtown. They go over as a group the next morning, and Kristy calls her Dorothy.

The woman admits that she is Dorothy. When she ran away from her father's house, she fell in the water and almost drowned. That made her realize that living with Will would be like living with her father so she basically just left town. She traveled for years and came back to Stoneybrook ten years earlier to open a sewing store. Kristy convinces her to talk to Will, and they call kind of just laugh or talk about how romantic the story is. Oh, and Dawn wonders if the house is actually haunted.

*Literally everyone gets home and are there for at least an hour before they think it's odd they haven't made it back yet. What is wrong with these people?

*The Pikes drive all the way to the game, take Mallory and Mary Anne with them, pick up Nicky from the game, drive home, and drop Mary Anne at home. Mrs. Pike goes to get milk, but she reminds MA that she has a sitting job. So basically, Mary Anne goes home just to get a call that Kristy is missing and then heads to the Pike house.

*The Krashers are losing by quite a bit but come back to win the game. Can't they just let them lose every now and then?

*Charlie defers to his much younger sister multiple times because she "always" has such great ideas. Yes, but she's also THIRTEEN!!

*They have to use flashlights when they first walk in the house, but a few pages later, Kristy says that there's still enough light coming in that they don't need flashlights or their lantern. Also, it's later in the day and storming outside, so how could they see without lights?

*The empty house that no one lives in still has running water.

*Kristy blushes when Bart says he likes spending time with her, and she mentions multiple times that she really likes dating him. Guess she forgot all about that later in the series.

*Stoneybrook is so close to this house that Shea (Jackie's brother) knows about the house, but it's so far away that Dorothy and Will never crossed paths in all those years?

*Claudia wears white jeans, white shoes, and a tie-dyed shirt she made herself. She apparently is a complete moron though because she wears it out in the rain, and the dye runs all over everything.

*She has to call Janine to bring her clothes, and Janine can't handle being around Lucy Newton for even a few minutes because she doesn't understand kids.

*Watson is a super millionaire, but he doesn't know what to do when his own children are missing. Seriously? He basically just stays home by the phone until they call him the next day.

*Yeah, so if a bridge gets washed away because of a storm, I'm pretty sure they can't just fix it within a few hours.