Friday, October 31, 2014

Sweet Valley Twins #87: The Mother-Daughter Switch


Jessica has an unfortunate experience with their neighbor Mrs. Wolsky. The woman is driving down the road while Jessica is roller blading. When the neighbor makes a turn into her driveway, Jess loses her balance and falls down. Mrs. Wolsky climbs out of her car, takes one look at her, and snaps at her about how she needs to be more responsible and pay attention to stuff.

When Jessica gets home, Steven reminds her and Elizabeth that their friends are coming cover. Apparently, they and Alice decided to have a party for Mother's Day for all the twins' friends and their moms. Both girls forgot to pick up the stuff they were supposed to, but they assume Alice took care of everything. When Alice gets home, it turns out that she forgot too. She's been so busy designing a sun porch for Mrs. Wolsky that she barely remembers her own name. She snaps at the girls about how she can't trust them to do anything and they'll have to just make the best of it.

Since they have basically no food in the house or time to go to the store, they serve bologna sandwiches with lots of tomatoes. They also have mustard and some pickle slices. They don't have enough lemonade, so Jessica adds three pitchers of water to one packet of drink mix. Their friends all laugh at them and leave early. Jessica says she's mortified, and Alice says that kids have no clue how hard things are for adults. They decide to switch places for the week. Alice gets to act like a kid, while the twins get put in charge of the adult stuff.

Alice actually does pretty well at first. She eats powdered sugar doughnuts for breakfast, goofs off with Ned, and does a lot of lounging around the house. She also throws the twins' words back at them a few times. She claims she needs her beauty sleep so she doesn't have to clean the house and kind of turns into Jessica.

Elizabeth had a school assignment where she needed to watch three television shows and write a paper about them. Super hard, right? Alice can't figure out how to work the VCR. She ends up recording a lot of static and destroying a bunch of tapes. Steven tries to explain to her how to do it, but she gets confused and messes up again.

The Unicorns planned a fundraising project where all the girls get donations and rollerblade. Jessica got $75 in donations but she wants more, and Alice agrees to help. She runs around town asking all the neighbors, but no one wants to donate. She ends up writing down names anyway and donating the money herself. When she tries to blade though, she keeps falling down and hurting herself.

The twins have to do the cooking and cleaning. They keep screwing up dinner and everyone complains all the time. Jessica takes her money and buys Dairi Burger for dinner. They cut the burgers in half, add tomatoes and mustard, and serve them with potato salad that they doctored up with pepper and more tomatoes. Everyone loves dinner, and Alice even asks for the recipe for the potato salad. Apparently Ned and Alice don't like eating fast food for dinner so the twins need to hide it. Steven finds the wrapper from the potato salad and outs them to everyone.

The big thing is that Mrs. Wakefield was doing a sun porch for their neighbor. The twins go shopping for furniture and find that everything is outrageously expensive. They try to figure out what to do, but since they have no clue what their mom actually does, they freak out. They go to Alice and ask her to switch back, but she turns them down.

They finally come up with an idea to take all their sun porch furniture and move it to Mrs. Wolsky's house. Steven catches it and agrees not to tell on them if they let him film them and dress them up like robbers. When they get home, Ned talks to them and they find a picture that Alice made for them. It has poems made out of their names. He says that she made it for them and planned to give it to them at the party before things got screwed up.

They feel so bad that they rush to the fundraising thing and come up with a new plan. Alice finishes the event hours after everyone else and runs into Amy who asks for a ride back to the Wakefield house. When they get there, the twins shout surprise. They planned a brand new party in her honor. Everything goes well, everyone has a good time, and the twins manage to keep everyone off the patio.

The next day, they come home to find the sun porch completely redecorated. Turns out that Alice bought everything for the Wolsky porch as a back up plan in case the twins failed. Mrs. Wolsky ended up loving their furniture so much that she paid her for the job, and Alice redecorated their porch with the new furniture. I guess that's all well that ends well?

*Alice really is a bad parent. She tells the twins after the party that they can't expect her to buy everything and plan the party too. Really? She wants two sixth grade girls to plan a party, shop for everything, send out the invites, and clean the house too?

*One of their neighbors calls Ned and warns him about thieves he saw in the area. Yeah, I'm sure someone would see two blonde 11 year olds, one who has a mustache and fake goatee drawn on her face and the other in a skull cap, and think they're actually robbers.

*Alice pretty much puts her job on the line here. She promised to have the porch done by Sunday night, but the twins run the stuff over there early in the morning. She never even bothers to find out what happened until the next day. It doesn't matter if she's teaching them a lesson, it's a shitty way to run a business.

*Steven plans on being a director in this book, which is really just an excuse for him to run around and film people. It really doesn't serve any purpose except for them to always have tomatoes around. He wants to use them to mimic blood or something.

*I love that in this book, the twins suddenly can't cook. In all the other books, they share cooking duties to help Alice.

*The funniest moment comes when Alice gets tired of eating doughnuts and wants to make an omelet. Jessica tells her that she's not responsible enough to cook her own food, which is something she told Jessica after she almost "burned down the house" while making an omelet.

*Ned and Alice also play loud rock music late at night, which pisses off the twins. They go in to tell them to be quiet and find them slow dancing to the song "Lyin' Eyes". I don't know about you, but that's not the kind of romantic song I want to dance to!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Point Thriller: Camp Fear (Carol Ellis)


Woo-who! I just located a box of books from my last move. Let's pretend it wasn't three years ago, shall we? While many were books already covered here on the blog, there were a few hidden gems in there like this one. Believe it or not, I have probably had this for at least four years and never got around to recapping it :)

Prologue:

A group of counselors are out in the woods gathering branches and down wood to make a fire. They're all laughing and having fun, even though it rained the night before. Look, I just took a trip to the Moonville Tunnel a few weeks ago (Google it if you like haunted places!), and hiking through muddy woods is anything but fun. Anywho, one of the counselors slips and falls in the mud, warned you buddy, and suddenly starts screaming. Everyone looks and sees a dead body wearing a Camp Silverlake shirt.

Seven Years Later.

First, we get an italicized couple of paragraphs from someone warning that he remembered what happened so long ago. Even if no one else remembers, he'll make them.

Then we get to Rachel. She's one of the counselors working at Camp Silverlake for the summer. There's a bunch of other people: Mark, Steve, Stacey, Terry. I'm not sure if we need to really know the differences between them. They all camped there as kids and came back as teens. Tim and Michelle are the two people in charge of them until the other counselors arrive with the kids. Rachel notices that they seem a little iffy about the past and don't really want to talk about it. Gee, I wonder why?

After making some jokes about Mr. Drummond, the camp's caretaker, they decide to head off for the night. Apparently, Tim and Michelle get to stay in this huge lodge by themselves while everyone else stays in cabins with the kids. This hot guy Jordan walks with Rachel for a bit, flirts with her, and then disappears. She hears someone following her, freaks out, and runs into her cabin.

Turns out that it was just Mr. Drummond checking on them, but the girls get all antsy and pretty much hide under their beds. We learn that Teresa has a boyfriend back home, that Linda is super organized, and that Stacey thinks they should all go to bed at eleven. Rachel wakes later in the night and freaks out when she hears someone rifling around outside. She gets over it super fast and falls back asleep.

After another paragraph from Mr. Italicized, we get back to the story. Rachel get tasked with creating a display for the bulletin board in the cafeteria. While going through old pictures, she finds one of some of her fellow camp counselors, which is odd since they literally just told her that they barely knew each other back then. She finds a picture of this sad looking boy staring out at the water and for some reason decides to make it the centerpiece. Drummond stops by, looks really angry when he sees it, mentions that she's new, and storms off. She also finds a picture of this guy Paul from when he was a kid before hearing someone screaming outside.

She races out and sees Stacey floundering in the water. Steve and Mark took her out in a boat, and Steve thought it would be fun to toss her overboard. Turns out that she's deathly afraid of water and they had to rescue her. She tells everyone that Steve is petrified of snakes and makes a big deal about her own fear. Everyone else, including me, thinks it's weird that she would agree to be a counselor at a camp on a big ass lake.

The others see her display and wander in to see her. Mark looks super pissed and everyone else keeps waiting for him to say something before they do anything. She thinks he's pissed because she was making fun of them with embarrassing pictures, and when she tells him that, he suddenly calms down and everyone else just laughs it off. Paul later tells her that the little boy died the summer they were all campers.

They then decide to have some fun as a group. After arguing, they decide to take a hike. When they head towards a rock outcropping, Mark suddenly finds a knot in his shoelace and tells everyone to go on ahead. Rachel is the only one who realizes that he won't go with them because he's afraid of heights. When they see each other later, he acts really cool and kind of ignores her.

Even though the book was setting up a Rachel/Jordan pairing, she starts spending time with Paul too. Slutty girl. The girls want to play a prank on the guys, which involves hiding in the woods, throwing stuff at their cabin, and hiding wet leaves in their sleeping bags. Rachel gets separated and freaked out because she doesn't know where they are. She hears someone tracking her through the woods, but it's really just Paul looking for her. The other girls pop up and act like she's crazy for being scared of the dark woods. Right when they get back to their cabin though, they hear an eerie scream coming from the woods.

They think it's just a wild animal until it keeps coming. After running to the boys' cabin, they find Steve on the ground with a rattlesnake a few feet away. One of the girls runs to get Drummon, who comes back and stabs the snake with a shovel before carrying it away. Steve grabs Stacey and pretty much shakes her like a Polaroid picture before the others separate them. Steven kind of apologizes, the girls go back to their cabin, and go through every inch of the room looking for snakes before going to bed.

Blah, blah, blah. More about Rachel and Jordan and then Rachel and Paul. She finds out that someone took the picture down from the bulletin board, and then she gets some alone time with Paul. He says that they only see each other when they accidentally run into each other and that they need to plan to see each other more. Then she asks him about the little boy. His name was Johnny, and he was the nerd of the camp. They picked on him, called him names, threw stuff at him, and generally made his life a living head. On an overnight hike, he sneaked out of the tent, but no one noticed until the next day when they found his body.

Later that same day, Stacey seems super whiny and someone tells her to take a nap. She later disappears, and Rachel realizes that she fell asleep in a boat tied on the freaking water, and the boat floated away. The boat then starts sinking, and Stacey wakes up and freaks out. Rachel gets to her and "saves her life" before anyone else can. This all leads to Stacey freaking out even more about how someone is clearly coming after them, they should call the police, and no one knows who is next on the list.

Rachel has a bad dream that ends with her waking and screaming Johnny's names. Terry and Linda ask about him because they weren't there that summer. She tells him who Johnny was, and Stacey gets snippy and tells her to leave it in the past. The next day, she comes back to her cabin and finds the dead snake and a big kitchen knife in her bed. Terry says that she can't help and runs away, leaving her to get some help from Drummond before burying the snake in the woods. She decides that it was a warning to her to be quiet.

Then the whole group goes hiking in the woods but separates. Rachel and Paul hear Linda screaming and find her stuck on the rock outcropping. She hurt her ankle and Mark was so terrified that he couldn't help her. Jordan shows up and Linda gets snappy because he supposedly went for help. They get her safe, and she apologizes to Mark because she forgot about his fear of heights, which seems to piss him off even more, because she acknowledged his fear.

Tim and Michelle take off for the night and the group separates. Linda and Rachel go back to their cabin, but Linda ends up leaving. A storm comes through, and the wind sends papers in the cabin flying. Rachel finds letters from Johnny to his big sister Linda complaining about how mean the other kids were to him and how much he wanted to come home. No explanation at all for why they would basically be the same age though.

Rachel runs off and finds Linda holding a gun on Mark, Steve, Jordan, and Stacey. Johnny told her that Jordan was just a follower and would probably stop picking on him if the others did, so she gives him an option. She can kill him or everyone else. Rachel sneaks up behind her and tackles her to the ground. Drummond shows up to say that it was his gun and that it was never loaded, Linda goes into shock, and everyone else kind of acts like they didn't do anything wrong. Hey, kids will be kids, right? Dirty, mean, cruel, could punch them in the throat kids. And then Rachel and Paul do some more flirting. No better way to start a relationship than someone trying to kill you.