Friday, June 5, 2015

Sweet Valley High Super Edition #6: Spring Fever


Jessica and Elizabeth are off to 1884 Kansas for the summer. I know it's actually supposed to be 1987, but everyone acts like it's the 19th century. Alice apparently spent her summers there with her Aunt Shirley and Uncle Herman, who is the mayor of his small town. She wants the twins to go and have as much fun as she once did, but she does seem a little antsy, especially when she sees all the jumpsuits and ballgowns that Jess packs. Liz also warns her that there's really nothing to do there but she won't listen.

Turns out that there really is nothing to do in Walkersville, Kansas. There's no movie theater, no malls, nada. Aunt Shirley gives the girls a lecture on spending time with the right people and how they should avoid the wrong people. Once they get there, Jessica wants to run off and check out the town, but Aunt Shirley won't let the twins go alone.

Jess immediately sets her sights on this cute guy named Dennis, but his girlfriend then comes over and gets all uppity. Turns out that she's Annie Sue and the granddaughter of the twins' aunt's best friend. Aunt Shirley then makes the twins walk back home while she gushes about how Annie Sue is just the best girl in the whole wide world and how she told her all about the twins and how great they are.

When the twins finally go into town the next day by themselves, everyone ignores them. It turns out that Annie Sue told them that the twins think they're all hicks and think they're so much better than everyone else in Kansas. All the teens in town pretty much ignore them. The twins offered to work the soda fountain in town for the day. Dennis tries to talk to Jess, sees Annie Sue, and runs off with his tail between his legs.

Uncle Herman then announces that the carnival is coming to town. He warns the twins that it's pretty small and probably not what they're used to. They get super excited until they see how lame it is and Aunt Shirley gives them a big lecture about carnie people.

Jessica instantly meets this cute guy named Alex. His dad owns the carnival, and Alex is in charge of the horses. He shows her this horse, Midnight, that he's been working with because the horse is wild and untamed. They make plans to meet up later. When Jessica tells Aunt Shirley about him, the older woman clutches her pearls and almost passes out. Jessica then pretends that she's tired and goes to bed before sneaking out and leaving Liz to cover for her.

It turns out that Alex has an identical twin brother who is exactly like Liz. His brother Brad works at night and Alex works during the day, so they can't all go out together. Brad and Liz go out during the day, and Jess goes out with Alex at night. Since Aunt Shirley doesn't like carnie people, Jess keeps making up excuses to go to bed super early. Their aunt eventually decides that Jessica must be sick because she's always sleeping.

Aunt Shirley also works out a plan for the twins to go to her best friend's house and spend the day with Annie Sue and her friends. Annie Sue's little sister takes them on a wild chase around the farm before ditching them in the middle of the woods. Needless to say, Annie Sue never shows up. Her little sister lets it slip that it was all a trick, but her grandmother thinks she would never do that. Aunt Shirley also thinks it was some misunderstanding and that Annie Sue just had the date wrong.

On a date with Brad, Liz sees him accidentally cut his hand. He looks really uncomfortable about it and changes the subject. Later that same night, Jess goes to see Alex and finds out that Annie Sue's dad bought the crazy horse for her. Annie Sues show up and demands that she should ride him. Alex isn't around, Jess tries to calm her down, and Annie Sue takes off anyway. The horse goes cray-cray and almost throws her, but Jessica shows up at the last possible second and saves the day.

Since this is a huge deal in town, Annie Sue's parents throw a spur of the moment party. The twins finally tell their aunt and uncle about their new guys, and they finally agree to let them go to some big square dance with them if they can meet them first. Liz sees that Alex has an injury on his hand just like Brad and realizes that they're the same person and that it was always just Alex. He admits that he lied because he liked them both but now he just likes Jess. Liz doesn't really care and promises to keep his secret.

Annie Sue and Jess become besties and exchange clothes for the square dance. Liz and Annie Sue decide to drive Alex crazy and make him think that both twins like him. Liz keeps hanging on him and going after him for a few hours before admitting that she doesn't actually like him and that she just wanted to pay him back. Aunt Shirley and Uncle Herman later apologize for being super overprotective and admit that they don't have a lot of experience with teenage girls.

*There is literally a scene where Shirley grabs her pearls and gasps, "my pills" when she hears that Jessica went out with someone. It really made me want to toss the book across the room.

*Liz is all worried about going out with Brad because Jeffrey is waiting for her at home. How is that different from all the other times that she cheated on one of her boyfriends?

*Annie Sue is a total bitch, and she acts really pompous when around the twins' family. Aunt Shirley is still always like, "oh that Annie Sue is just the sweetest girl in town."

*Jess thinks that Alex might be the one and talks about coming back to visit him and writing him. Plus, she and Annie Sue become best friends in the end. Naturally, none of these people ever get mentioned again.

*Shirley and Herman are Alice's great aunt and uncle. Funny how neither of them makes an appearance in the heritage books.

*Liz really does wear something like the cover image to the square dance, but Jess borrows an outfit straight out of the musical Oklahoma to wear, which is nothing like the cover.

*The twins share a bedroom on the bottom floor with its own entrance while their aunt and uncle sleep upstairs. Yet, Shirley just expects the twins to go to sleep at 10 and trusts that they won't sneak out. She's right, she knows nothing about teens.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sweet Valley High #57: Teacher Crush



Sweet Valley High apparently took a page from Stoneybrook Middle School's playbook and announces some huge new program. They're bringing in a bunch of professionals to run little mini programs for students. All the students sign up for up to three or four classes they want to take, and the school tries to assign them to one of those classes.

Jessica is less than happy because Lila recently started bragging about how her dad is dating some random Hollywood star. Even though she has no proof, she won't stop talking about it and about how she hangs out with this lady all the time. Lila decides to sign up for the class on dress design to make the woman some fancy dress that she'll love. Jessica puts electronics down as one of her last choices on the assumption that it will be full of hot guys. Unfortunately for her, she winds up in the class and it's a bunch of "nerds" like Jeffrey, Winston, and Randy Mason.

Elizabeth, who never once exhibited any interest in art, decides to sign up for a painting class with Enid, and Olivia winds up in the class too. Their teacher turns out to be this hot guy in his early 20s who demands that they all call him Stuart. During their first class, he praises Olivia for her work and singles her out in front of everyone.

In case you missed the name of the book or have no clue what will happen next, Olivia develops a huge crush on Stuart. They're constantly talking after class and spending a lot of time together. She changes the way she dresses for him and even shows up at his apartment one morning to ask him for advice. He then takes her shopping for a special gift that he wants to give someone special that Friday, which just so happens to be her birthday. Her parents want to do something special for her, but she begs off and claims she already has plans. The only downside is that Stuart invites her to hear him lecture some college students, and she overhears someone mention anther woman.

The art students get to have a big show on her birthday. Stuart shows up with some random hot girl who he introduces as his girlfriend. Olivia feels pretty stupid for thinking he liked her. When she shows up at home, her mom tells her that they need to pick up her dad from work before going out for her birthday. They get home and all her friends are there waiting for her to throw her a surprise party, including Rod Sullivan. Though he later becomes an asshat, here he's just some random cute guy with the hots for her.

Jessica does really bad in her class because she knows nothing about electronics. She finally convinces Randy to help her make a lie detector test. Lila decides to design a dress that conveniently looks like one Jess just bought. She keeps screwing up everything and messing up the dress. Then she convinces Jess to let her pass off hers as the one she made in exchange for hearing a big secret.

Everyone loves the lie detector test and wants to try it out. She makes Lila try it, asks her about her dad, and finds out that Lila was really telling the truth. Lila thanks her for not outing her about the dress. At the very end, the big secret she had comes out. Todd's dad just got a new promotion that will bring him back to Sweet Valley. Everyone stares at Liz who makes up and excuse before fleeing.

*Olivia wears a clingy dress, a leather jacket, and knee high boots. I think it sounds way better than what she normally wears.

*Stuart's first assignment is to create the feel of a color without actually using that color. That seems pretty tough for a first assignment.

*Does anyone really buy that Olivia has no painting experience? Given that she's the "arty" one, it seems like she probably picked up a paintbrush before.

*Anyone remember the Olivia's Story book? You know, the one where her mother hates her painting and artistic side? Yeah, in this one, her mom helps her set up a studio in the basement.

*Why do young teachers in these books never understand the effects they have on young girls? Stuart lets her into his apartment, takes her shopping, and goes to the museum with her but never picks up on her crush.

*Elizabeth refuses to believe that Olivia has a crush on Stuart. Then, when everyone in school starts talking about it, she worries for a few chapters before deciding to basically do nothing.

*Lila says that her dad and the actress/model will be on the cover of a magazine the following week, but no one ever brings it up again. It's also funny that Jessica is the only one who doesn't believe her.