Friday, March 7, 2014

Sweet Valley Kids #23: Lila's Haunted House Party


All the little kids are excited that Mr. Fowler decided to throw a big Halloween party for them at Hathway Manor, a supposedly haunted house. Lila doesn't seem quite as thrilled as everyone else, and even though she's shaking in her shoes, she refuses to say that she's scared of ghosts. It turns out that the ghost who haunts the house is Laura Hathway, who was an invalid and once lived there.

The day of the party arrives, and everyone shows up. They find a portrait of Laura, and it turns out that she looks just like Lila. Lila dresses up an in an old Victorian costume, and she acts just as scared as she did before. Elizabeth goes as a tiger cat, Jessica goes as a genie, and one of the other kids dresses up like a turtle.

The party only takes place on the first floor, but some kids sneak away. They head back downstairs, go through a haunted room, and wind up outside. Elizabeth looks up and sees a light in the window, which everyone thinks is the ghost. They decide to sneak up stairs and check things out. Once up there, they hear a strange noise and run away in fear.

Lila realizes that she lost her necklace, and she has to go after it because she promised her dad she wouldn't lose it. They manage to find an old bookcase that slides open to reveal a hidden doorway. It turns out that Charlie and Jerry went through the doorway and couldn't get out. They were the ones making the weird noises.

The two boys act like big heroes until Todd points out that they got saved by some girls. The twins stick around after the party so Alice can talk to Lila's dad and thank him for throwing such a great party. When they go outside, they see a light flickering in the upstairs window. Elizabeth realizes that it was the same light she saw earlier, which means that the house really was haunted.

*It's actually kind of cute to see the characters acting like real kids. Elizabeth, Todd, and Winston are playing a game in the beginning where they pretend that a florescent light up toy is an alien ray gun.

*Is it bad that when I looked at the cover, I knew the genie was Jessica because it was the slutiest of the costumes?

*There's a mention of the twins dressing alike one day and how they don't always do that, but the SVT books make it clear that they always dressed alike until sixth grade.

*Lila's necklace was a family heirloom, and her dad didn't want her to wear it, which was why she freaked out when it went missing.

*The reason Mr. Fowler rents the house is because his wife was somehow related to the family. Yeah, that totally makes sense. She ran off and left when Lila was a baby, had no contact with her for years, and yet he thinks it's a good idea to expose Lila to that crap.

*There's a picture of the house at the end of the book, and I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't take one step in that house if I was in second grade.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Point Horror Making a Comeback?

Did anyone know that they brought back the Point Horror series? I was checking out the Wikipedia page tonight to see what books I was missing, and noticed that there were four new books added to the list.

2013

  • Defriended (Ruth Baron)
  • Identity Theft (Anna Davies)

2014

  • Wickedpedia (Chris Van Etten) - July 1st
  • Followers (Anna Davies) - July 1st

The two books that come out this year I've never heard of (obviously), but I totally didn't know there were two released under that name last year! Has anyone picked them up or read them? I'm wondering if they were just as good as the originals. I also discovered that there are a number of R.L. Stine ebooks now available, including some of the original Fear Street books.

I'm not really interested in spending $5-6 on a small Fear Street book when I just finished the Divergent series and paid less than that for each of those books. I did notice a couple of newer titles that I haven't read before, so I might pick those up at some point. If anyone knows of a good place to download ebooks, let me know! I'm still missing a handful of Fear Street and Point Horror books.

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?