Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sweet Valley High #84: The Stolen Diary


Something seems off with Todd and Liz lately, at least in Todd's mind anyway. He keeps growing distant and doesn't seem to want to spend any time with her. After he skips lunch with her, she tries to talk to him, and he says he had to help a friend with homework. When he screeches about how they don't need to spend every moment together...wait, is this seriously Todd talking? Anyway, they have a fight, she tells him that she's not his mom, they fight some more, and it ends with them deciding to take a break and try being friends.

Liz naturally assumes that their break will be over quickly. Jessica then hears from Caroline and Lila that this chick Peggy has her eyes on Todd and that she was the one he was helping. Plus, they've been spending a ton of time together lately. When she tries to tell Liz, she doesn't really care. She thinks that Todd will come back soon enough.

Enter Kris Lynch. He's somehow cute, tall, and draws cartoons for the Oracle, but I don't remember him and Liz doesn't either. When he asks her to the dance, she tells him that she isn't sure what her plans are yet. She really just wants to mope around in classic Liz fashion, but she keeps seeing Todd and Peggy in the halls together. She agrees to hang out with Jessica and Sam and later agrees to go to the dance as Kris's date.

Kris goes all out for their big date. He shows up in a Cadillac with a chauffeur, a big ass box of candy in a heart shaped box, and a dozen roses. Liz spends most of the night watching Todd dance with Peggy and not paying attention to him. She's so surprised when he asks her out again that she accepts without really thinking about it. Everyone at school starts talking about it. Lila even notes that he drove her home from school, they ate lunch together a few times, and some other stuff.

All of their classmates naturally assume that they're now a couple. Maria even plans a party and invites everyone around Liz without asking Liz herself. When she brings it up, Maria says that her boyfriend already accepted for them both. This makes Liz realize that she doesn't really like Kris, at least not in that way, and that she needs to do something about it.

Cut to the party. Liz keeps trying to get Kris alone. He thinks that she wants some alone-alone time, but she really just wants to break things off. When she drags him into a dark room, they see Todd and Peggy in a somewhat compromising position. Kris drags her into a fairly intense kiss before she suggests that they get out of there. He thinks she wants to go up to Miller's Point. Gee, why would he ever assume that? He kind of throws himself at her, they have a huge fight, and he ends up leaving her on the side of the road.

Since Liz and Todd can never break up for too long, he approaches her in school and tells her that the break was a stupid idea. What she thought she saw was actually Todd telling Peggy that he was still in love with Liz and wanted to get back together with her. After talking things through for 30 seconds, they decide that they were both just stressed and get back together. Todd's happiness lasts for a few minutes before Kris shows up.

He tells Todd that this is just Liz's way of getting revenge on him and that she really loves Kris. To prove it, he reveals a bunch of details about their love life and says that Liz told him all about it. Todd is so upset that he storms away and stands Liz up for their big romantic date night. When she calls him, he tells her that she knows what she did. Kris does the same thing to Enid, so neither of them will talk to her.

Speaking of Enid, she's been moping over Hugh for awhile. They're on yet another of their breaks, and she heard through the grapevine that he's now seeing someone else. Elizabeth convinces her that she needs to make a move if she wants him back. They head to Big Mesa to do a little stalking, find him outside of the Moon Beach Cafe, and invite him to join them for lunch.

Liz comes up with an idea where Enid will call him and say that she lost her earring and ask him to look for it. After chickening out a few times, she works up the nerve to call him. Hugh calls back, says he found it, and they make arrangements to meet up. Enid borrows the Fiat, which is on its last legs. The car dies and she misses the meeting.

It takes her far too long to call him and tell him what happened, but he thinks it's funny and agrees to meet again. This time, Hugh never shows up. He calls a few times, and she won't talk to him because she thinks he did it on purpose. She finally goes to see him at work and finds him hugging a hot girl, so she runs off in tears.

Back to the Liz story. Jessica talks to Enid, hears what Kris said, and talks to Todd who has the same story. Since Liz kept losing her diary throughout the book, Jessica eventually realizes that Kris read it. He denies it, until Jessica tells him that she'll tell everyone what he did and spread some other rumors too. Kris breaks down and apologizes to everyone, so they all make up. Enid and Hugh show up at the Dairi Burger. Turns out that it was all a big misunderstanding and the girl was just a friend upset over being dumped. Oh, and Jessica learns that her favorite soap opera is looking for a set of twins...

*Liz says that her cheese sandwich doesn't taste the same without Todd there. It's kind of cringe worthy and cute at the same time.

*Todd brings up some bowling coach named Justin who liked Liz. I have no idea what book that is from but it doesn't sound familiar. It may be from the one where Cara leaves because that gets brought up a few times.

*Elizabeth gushes over how she and Jess went to the mall and the beach and how guys were all over them because they're just so gorgeous and amazing. I want to throw something at her.

*Jessica says that what Liz knows about guys could only fill a postcard but that what she knows could fill a book. Not something you want to hear a teen girl bragging about.

*Lila says that Kris and Liz is like the lead singer of a heavy metal band dating the homecoming queen.

*Kris has gasp an earring! How did we get through so many Sweet Valley books in the 90s without having a guy with an earring before?

*I've read this book twice in the last week, and there's never any explanation for why Hugh stood her up. That whole scene took up half a chapter!

*The Fiat keeps breaking down all the time, which is foreshadowing to the twins getting their Jeep.

*Lila apparently keeps a diary but changes her hiding space in case someone breaks into her house. Jessica wryly points out that anyone breaking into Fowler Crest probably wouldn't be on the hunt for her diary.

*Kris apologizes in the form of a cartoon that he draws, which appears on the front page of the Oracle. I'm guessing it was a slow news week?

*Peggy is a brunette, so we know that she could never, ever steal someone away from one of the twins.

*Liz doesn't seem too bothered by the whole soap opera thing in this book, which is funny given how much she fights it later.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Ghosts of Fear Street #11: The Boy Who Ate Fear Street (R.L. Stine)


Sam is a fairly peculiar little kid. He only eats white foods, including Cream of Wheat and mashed potatoes. The only things he ever drinks are milk and Sprite. His best friend Kevin and little sister Lissa invite him over for dinner one night. They tell him they have a big surprise and that their mom is making him macaroni and cheese. My macaroni and cheese never comes out white but whatevs.

The big surprise is that their great Aunt Sylvie is in town. She is cooking when he gets there and tries to get him to taste it. He sees a big ass creature coming at him and tries to run, but the others look at him like it's crazy because she was just making squid stew. Sylvie doesn't believe that he only eats white food and points out that it's strange. More strange is the fact that she believes she can communicate with the dead and that she sleeps on a mat on the floor.

Sam feels something crawling on him while checking out her room and flips out. The others run in and point out that it's just her pet snake. When they finally sit down to dinner, Sylvie keeps staring at him funny. While eating rice pudding, he tastes something spicy and freaks out. She claims that it was just a spice her dead uncle recommended and throws it out. When he asks why she won't eat it, she just says it isn't for her.

Oh, and she also tells him this random story about why it might be a good thing that he doesn't eat everything. There was this kid in a village who only ever ate beets and rice. He and his friends were out in the woods, they found a mysterious bush with red berries on it, and he was the only one who didn't eat. The other kids went home and were so hungry that they ate everything until they exploded.

Sam is pretty pissed about Sylvie’s spices, and I would be too, but everyone else thinks it's funny. He gets hungry in the middle of the night and goes downstairs to make a mayonnaise and white bread sandwich. It tastes pretty good, but when he turns on the light, he realizes that he's eating dishwashing soap on moldy sponges. The next morning, he tries to eat his Cream of Wheat and it's so gross that he spits it out.

Worried that he can't eat anything anymore, he skips lunch. His teacher asks him to make some posters and banners for him by gluing leaves onto poster board. This ends with him eating half of the jar of paste and getting caught by Kevin. After almost passing out while running laps in gym, he can't wait to get home. The only problem is that he finds himself drawn to his dog's food. He just barely stops himself from eating it. Then, he starts working on homework and realizes that he's eating a snack. When he looks down, he sees that he was eating the fleas off his dog's back. Yummy.

Blaming it on Sylvie, he tries to call and yell at her. At first, his voice is too loud and then it's too soft. Then he starts talking so fast that she yells at him and hangs up. It takes some time before his voice goes back to normal. He finally decides that he needs to tell his friends about their aunt and plans to do it at lunch the next day.

Before he can, Sylvie herself shows up. She gives him a paper bag with eyeballs inside, but they're really just stones for his mom to put in some doll. Sylvie then does some mumbo jumbo over him before laughing and leaving. When he tries to tell them what happened, nothing comes out except the names of different dog breeds. Sam finally gets the truth out, but they don't really believe them.

They do come over later that day with plans to take him back to their home and go through Sylvie's books. This seems like a better plan than his, which involved going to a veterinarian since he can't find the address or phone number for his regular doctor in the book. It probably doesn't help that he gets a cut in his hand and starts bleeding blue blood.

On the way to their house, he sees a big tree and can't stop thinking about the leaves. Before his friends can stop them, he starts grabbing the leaves and stuffing them down his throat. They manage to distract him and get him away, but then he starts eating flowers and reaches for a worm to eat too. Lissa tosses her jacket over his head, and they drag him back to their house.

They go through her books and find nothing, though Sam does attempt to eat a jar of face cream. After that, they find Sylvia surrounded by snakes. She claims that she's a witch doctor and then laughs it off as a joke. Sam accuses her of poisoning him or putting a curse on him, but she says it was nothing and that he's fine. She even offers to help, but he goes running from the house.

Once outside, he starts feeling this weird sensation taking over his body and his skin starts swelling. He manages to get home before almost passing out on the ground. His dad finds him and starts talking to his mom about how he must have ate something wrong that short circuited his system and gets out his toolbox. Yup, turns out that our little Sam is a doll, or as his dad says, his mom's "favorite toy."

At the end of the book, he's eating lunch with Kevin when Lissa walks up to their table. She points out that his meatball and ketchup sandwich on rye is disgusting and completely unlike him. Sam points out that he's just another boy, just like Kevin.

Did anyone else have any idea that was coming? There were maybe two or three mentions of his mom making dolls and that it was what she did for a living, but I absolutely did not guess that ending!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Friends Forever #5: Kristy Power


Kristy and Cary really don't get along. She gives us a quick recap about what happened between them in the past and a recap about her friends too. This book comes after the Claudia/Stacey debacle so they aren't really talking. Mary Annie is still upset over breaking up with Logan but still thinks it was the right decision.

Claudia, Cary, Alan, Cokie, and Kristy are all in the same English class. Their teacher is on maternity leave, so they have this cool younger guy named Ted teaching their class. He wants them to better understand the differences between fiction and non-fiction, so he gives them a new assignment. They have to read a fiction book and write a report on how it made them feel and do a biography of a classmate. He pairs Kristy up with Cary and Claudia with Jeremy. This will go well.

Cary and Kristy immediately ask him to change his mind and give them new partners because of what happened when they paired up to teach that class before but he refuses. He tells them that they'll just have to learn how to work together. Kristy decides to get over it by thinking more about her upcoming Christmas party.

When they come into class one day, they find their principal waiting for him. Apparently, a parent complained about the list of books that he passed out. All eyes go to Merrie, who pretty much sounds like Mary Anne with a mom instead of a dad. She wears long dresses, knee socks, and has her hair in braids. Merrie blushes and looks away. The principal announces that SMS has a rule where teachers need to submit reading lists for approval first, which Ted didn't do. He's temporarily suspended until a hearing is held.

A substitute teacher comes in, and Kristy thinks she's bland until they start talking about Ted. The substitute convinces them to speak out on his behalf. This turns into a big huge thing, with parents on both sides of the issue. Merrie's mom is the leader of a group who thinks he's the devil, but most of the BSC parents are on the teacher's side.

Kristy ends up going to Cary's house to meet his family to learn more for her paper. His brothers tell her about how he cut hair off dolls when he was younger, stole a pack of gum, and other random things. She then winds up in his room and sees his journal on the desk. Kristy sees something about him being a hacker or something like that and how it's the reason they left his old town. She manages to slightly calm down before he catches her in his room.

Cary then comes to her house. Sam delights in telling him all about how Kristy once peed on Santa and a bunch of other stuff, including the "spaghetti incident." I really want to know what this is, but she refuses to spill. She begs him not to write about some stuff, they get into a fight, and she lets it slip that she knows about his past. Cary acts confused, then gets upset and stops talking to her. He ignores her in school and even gives her a list of questions to answer so he can finish his report.

There is a huge public meeting about Ted. Merrie's mom shows up and acts like a crazy person. Claudia's mom gives an eloquent speech that moves the audience before Kristy gets up to speak. Merrie's mom flips out again about how that one student doesn't speak for the entire student body. Merrie stands up to her mom and says that Kristy really does. I'll spare you a few chapters: Ted gets his job back.

Kristy has some problems with her party list. Claudia lets it slip that Jeremy told her how swimming with dolphins was one of his most memorable experiences. Stacey freaks out that he didn't tell her about it, and Mary Anne says that it was just one memorable experience and maybe he'll tell her the most one. Claudia reveals that he told her that but that she can't share, Stacey gets ticked, and Kristy wonders if they can both be at the party. She also wonders if Mary Anne can handle seeing Logan, especially when MA questions whether he'll bring a date.

After getting the cold shoulder from Cary, Kristy finally prepares to apologize to him. Before she can, Ted reveals that Cary likes to write and that he's working on a book idea in a notebook. She realizes that what she read was the book, but he points out that she still shouldn't have read it. After a few more chapters, she finally does apologize. He accepts but lets her know that they aren't really friends.

The night of the party finally arrives. Logan shows up alone, but he and Mary Anne spend the whole night avoiding each other and constantly being in different rooms. Kristy also notices that Jeremy spends more time with Claudia than Stacey and that he seems to have more fun with Claudia. Just when she thinks that Cary will never show up, she sees him with Alan. They talk, and after he makes a sarcastic comment, she realizes that they'll probably be okay.

*Cary makes a bunch of comments about how her home is so big and asks about the servants. It might be funny if Cary hadn't been to or by her house multiple times before.

*Kristy says that Nannie plans to make her amazing pecan cookies. Nothing says wild teenage party like pecan cookies.

*Nannie also asks her advice about how much garlic to put in her beef stew. Yup, I'm sure that a 13-year-old girl would know better than a woman with decades of cooking experience.

*Dawn comes to the party because she's back for Christmas, but she has jet lag, sleeps in late, and gets to the party after the other BSC members are already there. Jessi and Mal come in together too and keep giggling and talking. That makes the later books seem a little odd.

*Mary Anne cries and can't eat when she thinks about Logan bringing someone else to the party. Maybe you shouldn't have dumped him then?

*Ted wants them to look for other sources to write the biography project. Cary says that he found mentions of Kristy in a bunch of newspapers, but she says that he's still too new to town to have that kind of information. I'm guessing that most eighth grade kids don't have many mentions in any papers.

*Kristy specifically says that she has a computer in her room, which she hides when Cary comes over. The Internet was big when this book came out, but she never once thought to look him up. If he really caused some huge computer problem and people ran him out of town, it would probably show up online.

*Sadly, this is the last book in the Friends Forever series that I own. I'm not sure when or if I'll get around to reading the rest.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sweet Valley Twins Super Chiller #8: The Secret of the Magic Pen


Jessica and Elizabeth are completely bored even though summer just started. Lila took off on some trip across Europe with her dad, and Amy enrolled in a summer program for super smart kids that Liz – for some reason – decided to skip. Luckily, Ned and Alice announce that they got them enrolled in a two-week summer camp starting in a few days. Liz can't wait to sit down and work on her novel, while Jessica just wants to go shopping.

They run into Mandy Miller on the bus and meet two new girls. Starr is African American girl obsessed with Shakespeare. She seriously quotes his plays constantly. Miranda is obsessed with acting and actually acted in some Shakespeare plays before. When they arrive at camp, Jessica shares a bunk with Miranda, and Starr and Liz share a bunk.

At the first campfire, they hear about how Roland Barge, this super famous novelist from the 1940s, once came up there to stay in one of the cabins and write. They also learn that there are a series of caves running under the ground. Their counselor takes them on a tour of the caves. This girl Priscilla complains about the caves, the walking, the food, and anything else she can name before seeing a bat and running screaming from the caves. Liz stays behind because she sees something on the ground. When she finally picks it up, it's an antique fountain pen that she slips in her pocket without anyone seeing.

She shows it to Jess, but since it doesn't concern her, she doesn't really care. When she finally sits down to write, the story just pours out of her. It's all about this women named Amelia who lived at the camp when it was a private estate. She was a maid but dreamed of being a writer. Amelia shared her stories with this guy Richard who thought she would be a success. One day, after he visited her and left, she found the pages of her manuscript burning up in the fireplace.

Jessica auditions for a role in some play that's pretty much The Prince and The Pauper. Priscilla goes out for the lead and keeps bragging about how she's so good. Jessica loses her script, blames the other girl, and their counselor finds the pages burning in the fireplace. Liz thinks it's creepy given what she just wrote, but once again, it doesn't concern Jess so she doesn't care.

The writing half of the camp plans to put out a newspaper at the end of their program, and Elizabeth gets to write an article about Barge's life. Any admiration that she had for him disappears when she learns about his life. He always refused to talk about his life before he became famous, and he lived as a recluse who barely spent any of his millions. He was known as an asshole, and no one knows how or when he died.

Priscilla does really badly at her audition. She reads the stage directions, seems to have stage freight, and just does horribly. Jessica gets the lead in the play, and Priscilla gets assigned the role of a maid, which she refuses to play. Liz then decides to sit down and do some more writing on her novel, but nothing comes out. That's when she realizes that it's not her doing the writing but the pen, because she tried to write with a pencil.

She goes back to writing with the pen and adds more to the story. Amelia found a note from Richard asking her to meet him on the lake later that night. She heads off in her boat and gets to the middle of the water just as a storm hits. When she sees a light, she thinks that it's Richard coming to her rescue. The next morning, she wakes up and finds that a random fisherman saved her life, and he reveals that someone rigged her boat to sink in the water.

Gunnie, the owner of the camp and the director of the play, rides Jessica a little too hard one day. Wanting to find a quiet place to rehearse, Jess takes a rowboat onto the water just as a storm arrive. Liz, realizing that the story was a sign of what might happen, takes off after her. A random fisherman saves them both and points out that someone tampered with the boat.

Liz and Jess later come across Gunnie. When she reveals that she knew Roland during his younger years, Liz sits her down for an interview. Her uncle originally owned the property and left it to her when he died. It turns out that Roland originally went by the name of Richard and was infatuated with a servant named Amelia. Basically everything from her story is true. The only difference is that she says Amelia left behind a note that said she was running away with another man, which devastated Richard. She tells Jessica and has her read the pages, and her sister finally gives a shit.

When she writes some more, she learns even more about what happened. Richard left another note for Amelia and asked her to meet him in the caves. She was a little scared but didn't have a way to get in touch with him to change their plans. Once she got to the caves, Richard lured her deeper inside before grabbing her and strangling her.

Liz runs to check on Jessica and somehow convinces Gunnie to go with her to the caves. They find Jessica laying on the ground and moaning, and she claims that someone tried to strangle her. The pen comes to life and has Liz write a special message on the cave wall. It says that she's Amelia and that Richard murdered her. Gunnie points out that they can't do anything without proof, which causes the pen to make her write again with a message to check underneath the stables.

They run to the stables, life the boards, and find all the proof they need. Roland left behind all of her manuscripts and his failed attempts at writing. He only had one novel published under his name, which was a huge failure. He also conveniently left behind a journal that detailed how he killed Amelia and then later went back to that same spot and killed himself.

Elizabeth writes a huge article that lands on the front page of the camp newspaper. When they get home, Jessica gets a call from Lila using a French accent. Liz interrupts the phone call to tell her that there's a rave review for her acting in the paper too. When Lila asks what they did in boring old Sweet Valley, Jessica lets her know that her summer was anything but boring.

*Jessica comes into Elizabeth's room in a purple bikini and starts checking herself for tan lines in the mirror. Am I the only one that finds that creepy of a kid?

*Jessica has always dreamed about going away to camp. I guess she forgot about the 317 times she already went?

*Steven is the only one who thinks the idea of a sixth grader writing a novel is ridiculous. Alice, Ned, and Jessica think that she'll whip it out in no time.

*Is it really realistic for sixth grade kids to know so much about Shakespeare? I think I was a freshmen when we read his work for the first time and even then, I wasn't sure I understood it at all.

*Gunnie is kind of a bitch. She practically screams at them that the play has to go perfectly and that no one is practicing enough. Lady, this is a play put on by kids and and you only gave them less than two weeks anyway!

*Gunnie also says that she inherited the estate but then says she only had the stables and another part. But in Elizabeth's story, some of the camp buildings actually sit right on top of the old buildings that were part of the estate.

*If Barge was really that famous, why wouldn't the story run in major newspapers instead of some rinky dink camp paper?

*Those camp writers move awfully fast! The play takes part the last night of camp, but Liz shows Jessica a review of her performance in the paper. Plus, why didn't Jessica want to read it before?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sweet Valley High #77: Cheating to Win






Annie has a brand new boyfriend in the form of Tony Estenban. He's a big deal track star with a number of scouts from colleges and Olympic teams watching him. Since they've only gone out a few times, they're still keeping things under wraps. Liz finds out about it when Roger invites her and Todd over for a special dinner. A friend of his mom's has this son Mitch who got in trouble at school. She begged Roger to keep an eye on him during his break from school, and the Patmans somehow agreed to this idea.

There's a big ass meet coming up soon, but there's also a kind of important meet even sooner. Annie shows up and roots for Tony, but he trips and hurts himself. They end up rushing him to the hospital to do a bunch of tests. The doctor determines that he's generally okay and explains that he'll need to sit out for a few weeks and rest his knee. He can do some exercises but not a whole lot.

While at the gym to use the whirlpool, Tony runs into the super shady and right out of an afterschool special Lou. Someone makes a joke about Lou's special vitamins and how they might help Tony. He's intrigued, but he explains that his doctors already have him some painkillers and other stuff. Lou tells him to come and see him if anything changes.

Things do change when Tony finds out he can start running again. He's so sluggish that everyone keeps passing him on the track. Though the coach thinks he's doing good, he thinks he sucks. He hits up Lou, who offers him his magic vitamins for a low low price of just $10. Tony gets the pills and only briefly wonders what they are.

Not long after taking the pills, Tony notices that he experiences less pain, can run faster, and is just generally a great athlete. Nothing can stand in his way...except for that pesky anger management issue that will arise later. He goes back to Lou and finds out that it was only an introductory price. The price is now $100, and Lou can't get any more for at least a week. Tony keeps showing up at the gym to see if they came in yet, which causes Lou to tell him to shut up or else.

Annie isn't too happy with Tony lately. He seems to have some serious anger issues that carried over from the track. He's yelled at Annie a few times and made her feel like crap a few more times. When getting something from his locker, she finds the bottle of pills. Since she has a cousin named Beth who is a science grad student, she steals one and has her test it.

Beth has some startling news for anyone who hasn't read the recap or even the title of the book. The pills are steroids. She warns Annie about all the risk factors and encourages her to gently talk things over with him. Tony explodes about how she invaded his privacy and how he must definitely isn't taking steroids before storming out of her apartment. Tony actually does know he's taking steroids. He overheard some guys at the gym talking and then heard about some other guys taking steroids and recognized the side effects.

Since no one can do absolutely anything without Elizabeth's approval, Annie confesses everything to her. They go to see Roger and come up with a plan. Beth, who apparently works at a one stop shop chemical laboratory, creates a placebo that looks just like the real thing. Tony takes those pills and thinks they're the real thing.

When he hears Lou warning another of his customers about being a snitch, he finally realizes that his magic vitamins are actually steroids. Tony tells his dad what happened and then goes to his coach. Even though he's broken 900 high school athlete regulations, they let him go. A blood test reveals that the drugs are no longer in his system, and they determine that he never really got any of the good affects anyway.

There are two B-plots, but only one relates to Tony. Mitch becomes Tony's biggest fan. While he barely listens to Roger, he hangs on every word Tony says. He even agrees to go miniature golfing and bowling because Tony says it's cool. Tony's aggressive side comes out at the bowling alley, and he kind of tears the younger kid apart. He eventually apologizes, and Mitch uses his savings to come back to Sweet Valley and cheer him on in the big meet.

The other plot is about Liz and Todd. Todd thinks that they're boring and complains that they never see each other alone anymore. No matter what they do or what plans they make, something always comes up. Todd gets really aloof to the point where he makes plans without her and stops calling her or even talking to her in school.

Liz asks Enid and Annie for help, and Annie gives her a book of romantic getaways. She picks out a fancy restaurant located in a castle on the coast, and they make plans to kidnap her. Todd asks Winston for help planning something similar, and Winston borrows the book from Liz. See where this is going?

Winston shows up at the Wakefield house and tells Liz that Todd was in an accident and needs her to come right away. In a completely mean side note, he actually tells her that Todd crashed a motorcycle. He takes her to the beach by the restaurant, and Enid and Annie show up a few minutes later with Todd in tow. They all get a kick out of things, and Liz and Todd agree to stop fighting...until next week.

*Ha! The restaurant actually looks down on Liz and Todd and comes close to asking if their parents are with them. It's nice to see someone realizing that teenagers should not be dining in four star romantic restaurants.

*I wondered if this was a lead up to the book where Todd suggests they take a break, but then I realized that book comes way later in the series.

*Jessica is hardly in this book except to press Annie for information on her new relationship. It's a little weird that Liz is the one she goes to for help. I guess they're better friends, but it seems like Annie and Jess would be closer.

*Is it weird that I read this book and hated Tony before it started? Given that he cheats on her and dumps her later, I don't really care what he does.

*Jessica also shows up long enough to bitch about her Miss Teen Sweet Valley commitments. Elizabeth acts all self righteous and uppity about how she hates beauty pageants.

*Tony's dad is one of those uber athletic competitive dads. He basically spends the whole book talking about how winning is more important than anything, and Tony even remembers him telling him to kill his opponents. In the end, his dad is super confused on why Tony would do anything to win.

*Could Lou be any more like an afterschool special or a movie of the week? The only thing missing is a few gym rats acting as his enforcers.

*I can't believe Winston said Todd was in a motorcycle accident! How could that not make Liz burst into tears and freak out? Then again, he doesn't have a problem kidnapping someone who was once shoved in the trunk of a car and kidnapped by another couple of psychos.

*Where is the follow up book where Annie feels bad because her cousin got fired for running tests for her without permission and using lab equipment to make fake pills?

*I'm an online writer, and I helped create content for a site all about natural and synthetic steroids. If Tony is already acting aggressive, gaining more energy, etc., then the drugs are in his system. It's BS the way the ghostwriter pushed it all off like it was all in his mind.