Friday, June 12, 2015

Sweet Valley High #13: Kidnapped!

This is another one of those books where I can't believe I haven't yet reviewed it!

So Jessica has her sights set on Nicholas Morrow. Even though he's new in town and she hasn't yet met him, she heard he's hot and rich, which is all that really matters. Unfortunately, she promised Elizabeth that they would go to a party at his house together. Her twin has to work at the hospital and then tutor Max Dellon in English.

After putting on her dress, painting her nails, and whining to Steven, she still has like an hour left. Since she absolutely cannot wait any longer, she calls Cara and asks for a ride. Jess takes off, leaving a note for Liz on the kitchen table and an ugly outfit out for her on her bed.

She and Cara meet Regina and Nicholas's mom and dad and then meet Regina. Jessica thinks the other girl is ignoring her because she keeps looking at and talking to Cara before Regina reveals that she's deaf. Not quite sure how Jessica learned everything about the family and not that but whatevs.

When Todd shows up, he instantly starts worrying about Elizabeth and why she isn't there. Jessica lies and says Liz promised to sit for Mr. Collins. Though Todd is initially cool with it, he later calls and finds out she isn't there. He comes back, tosses Jess in the swimming pool, and demands the truth. Jessica has been so concerned with flirting with Nicholas that she didn't realize how much time passed.

Ned and Alice get home from a dinner with some random client. She finds the note Jess left for Liz and freaks out, but Ned tries to calm her down. Then, Jessica calls from the party to ask about her twin and they realize something is wrong. Jess and Todd plan to come home and drive up and down the streets in case the Fiat broke down.

Max is worried about Liz too. Since he's in danger of failing English, Mr. Collins asked Liz to tutor him and his dad made him quit playing in The Droids. When she doesn't show up for their tutoring session, he goes to the hospital to look for her. While checking out her car, the cops show up. Apparently, the same cop accused him of robbing a convenience store and accuses him of hurting Liz before carting him off to jail.

Since the title of this book is Kidnapped, we should get to the kidnapping part. Liz wakes up tied to a chair in some random house. She vaguely remembers getting to her car, smelling something weird, and then passing out. Eventually, someone removes her blindfold and she sees Carl, this weird orderly from the hospital, standing in front of her. He rambles a little about how much he cares about her and how he can't let her go.

Ned and Alice call the hospital and Max before finally calling the police. Jessica blames herself and refuses to eat or change her clothing until her mom makes her. She and Todd keep trying to look for her twin and spend most of the book freaking out. Nicholas comes over and talks with her, which makes her feel a little better, but she still blames herself. They also spend some time blaming Max even though the police released him for lack of evidence.

Carl keeps Elizabeth tied up to a chair until she convinces him that he can trust her. As soon as he unties her, she runs across the room and gets through one door only to find a screened in porch with another locked door. Though he keeps her tied up, he brings home food and books with her, but since he can't read, he chooses three random books. He also makes her pancakes, brings her home a sweater, and makes plans to run away with her to a cabin in the woods.

Jessica and Todd eventually go to the hospital to look for Liz. Carl sees Jessica, thinks she's Liz, and freaks out. He starts talking about their plans, so she pretends to be her sister. He reveals his whole plan as they wait for the police to show up. They then go to his house, find Liz, and bring her home.

Since Liz was "kidnapped" for two whole days or something, she immediately decides to throw a party. Nothing says welcome home from a horrible experience like a party. Nicholas shows up, sees Liz, and gets stars in his eyes. The book ends with her worrying about how her twin will feel given that he never looks at Jess the same way.

*This is the infamous book where Liz gets kidnapped by a guy who pretty much just wants to feed her pancakes and hold her hand.

*If Carl is as creepy as everyone says, how is he not a suspect? The cops never even talk to him. If this happened today, he'd be brought in right away.

*Everyone in SVH assumes that Max had something to do with Liz disappearing, which is actually fairly realistic.

*Carl brings her a book on investing, a book of fairy tales, and some other random book.

*Liz thinks he screwed up when he brings her a sweater until he tells her he went to a shop where no one knows him. I guess he isn't completely dumb.

*Steven is supposedly still hurting over Tricia's death, but he can still crack jokes with Jessica and go out with his friends.

*Steven is worried about the outfit that Jess wears to the party, which he describes as having a neckline as low as a sixteen year old girl can get away with. It creeps me out that her own brother would say that.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Baby-Sitters Club Readers Request: Logan Bruno, Boy Babysitter

I'll admit it, I had no clue I even had this book. I apparently bought it at a thrift store around the same time my roommate boxed up all the books I had in my living room. I just found it the other day with a handful of other books!

So, Logan isn't too happy. He was in a track meet and tripped over his feet at the finish line, which lost him the win. King and some of the other guys make fun of him for it, and King starts teasing him about sitting again too. This all leads to a scene where this guy T-Jam goes off on King. T-Jam just borrowed Logan's English homework and decided he was cool, so he makes a bunch of comments until King runs off with his tail between his legs.

The only problem is that T-Jam is part of a group of guys calling themselves the Badd Boyz. They're like the SMS version of a gang. They wear black leather jackets, smoke, and hang out with a group of high school kids who do even worse. T-Jam and his boys ask Logan to eat with them outside. He gets all self-conscious about eating his sandwich, and then a guy shows up with pizza for them. Mary Anne gives him a lecture, but he thinks the guys are pretty cool.

Cut to that weekend. Logan's dad is friends with this guy Bob who owns the music store. He, T-Jam, and one of the other BB go into the store so he can get Mary Anne a copy of the new Nicky Cash CD who is apparently the new Cam Geary. Bob lets it slip when a new shipment of discs will come in and T-Jam seems to pay way too much attention. Logan sees the guys acting weird and thinks they shoplifted but doesn't have any proof. T-Jam then steals a pair of sunglasses from an unlocked car, but when Logan gives him guff, he puts them back.

The BB want to go back to the strip mall with the music store the next weekend. T-Jam swears he just wants to watch the shipment arrive. The older guys take off, and the younger guys end up with Bob. There's some commotion, Logan runs off, and when he comes back, T-Jam is missing. He says he chased the guy but couldn't find him. On the way home, Logan sees a box of the discs in the car. They just laugh it off and warn him to stay quiet.

Logan freaks out because he wants to tell Bob what happened. T-Jam basically says that if he tells, they'll say he helped him. When he decides to talk, he gets a drawing in his locked of Mary Anne as a rat that says there is more than one way to skin a rat. They then give him a leather jacket and tickets to the Nicky Cash show.

Though he plans on giving the tickets back, Mary Anne finds them and goes crazy, so they make plans to go to the concert and have a romantic dinner together first. While all this is going on, people keep breaking into lockers and stealing stuff. Logan even catches one of the Badd Boyz stealing, but T-Jam says the guy is crazy and who knows what he might do if caught.

We finally get to the dinner, and Mary Anne starts talking about how some seventh grade girl had tickets to the concert but someone stole them. Logan breaks down and tells her that T-Jam gave him the tickets. Mary Anne rushes off to call the girl who shows up just in time to grab the tickets and get to the show.

After telling her the whole story, they go to his parents and tell them. They then go to the police station and repeat the story. The cops agree to have someone waiting when Bob gets his next shipment. They end up catching most of the guys. The SMS guys all get suspended except for one. He gives Logan nasty looks a few times but eventually winds up finding a new group of friends.

King apologizes to Logan and tells him that he once fell for the guys too. They shoplifted some stuff and blamed it on him, which led to him dropping the group. The Badd Boyz then threatened his little brother if he told anyone. To apologize for Mary Anne and thank her for helping him, Logan manages to get tickets to Nicky Cash's next show in New York.

The other story is about how the kids in Stoneybrook are petrified of a new bully named EJ. The Arnold twins tell Claudia that EJ stole their lunches, and the Pike kids reveal that EJ beats the crap out of them if they cross an imaginary line on the sidewalk. No one knows what to do so they do nothing, but Mallory does yell at the triplets for not helping their siblings. The triplets start to say something, but the other kids run them off.

They finally decide that they will all just work together and always travel in a pack. Logan reveals during a BSC meeting at the end of the book that EJ was actually a girl. When they all stopped listening to her, she broke down and cried. Kerry felt so bad for her that she went out and brought EJ into her house, talked to her, and helped her make friends with the kids she bullied.

*Logan says 'tsup a lot in this book. It made me cringe every single time.

*T-Jam is the worst bully. He offers Logan a cigarette, and when he turns it down, T-Jam is all like, "oh hey buddy, I get it. You need your lungs for track."

*Charlie makes fun of them for planning a romantic candlelight dinner. I feel the same way. Eighth grade kids do NOT need to go to fancy restaurants and dine by candlelight.

*Wait a minute, wait a minute! Richard Spier is letting his teenage daughter go to New York City for a rock concert with her boyfriend? WTF?

*It's a big plot point that Cash sold out concerts all over and especially how his concert in Stanford was sold out. It's nice to know that Logan could get tickets in a major city like NYC then.

*Logan explains Mary Anne as wearing an outfit covered in sequins that's like a shirt attached to pants. I'm assuming it's a jumpsuit? He also describes it as being sexy, which is icky.

*Mary Anne says that someone in the club thinks they should kick him out for being a bad influence, and he assumes it's Kristy. That's rich given what happens later with the softball team.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Baby-Sitters Club #49: Claudia and the Genius of Elm Street

Claudia is sitting around and waiting for the other BSC members to show up when she comes up with a great idea. She'll do a bunch of paintings of junk food to combine her two favorite things. After everyone gets there, they get a call from a new client. Ginger Wilder needs someone to watch her daughter Rosie. Her mom did in the past, but she just came down with a case of shingles. Since Claudia is free, she gets the job.

So it turns out that Rosie is one of those kids who can do everything. She plays the piano and violin, sings and dances, is an actor, and also does super good in school. Claudia gets through the day but feels crappy about herself. Rosie sneers at her a lot for not knowing the questions she asks.

Claudia finally calls Janine and asks her for help. She comes over, Rosie gets snotty with her, but Janine helps her before leaving. Stacey gets a job sitting for her when she has an audition for some new show hosted by a guy named Uncle Dandy. Rosie pretty much makes her feel like crap and she vows never to go back.

Jessi then takes one of the jobs, thinking that she can talk to Rosie about dancing. Rosie changes the subject and brags about her acting, so they watch a video of all the commercials she made. Jessi briefly wonders if Rosie doesn't want to talk about dancing because she thinks Jessi might beat her. Janine comes back again to help Rosie, but Rosie once again acts like a huge brat.

We also find out that Rosie gets picked on a lot in school. Gee, I wonder why? The other kids tease her for being a brain and laugh at her because she never went to Disney World. Rosie just snaps back about how she has a career and doesn't have time for other kids.

Claudia goes with her to the Uncle Dandy thing. Rosie totally shoots down some girl who tries to talk to her, but her mom thinks it was the right thing to do. On the way home, Rosie throws a fit because she wants ice cream. When her parents tell her no because she has a big day and has to go to bed early, she throws a hissy fit and curls up in a ball.

While all this is going on, Kristy convinces Claudia to host a show for her paintings. The BSC help her clean out her garage and get it ready. They also make a bunch of invitations and send them out to their charges' parents. Claudia and Mary Anne go to some crossword puzzle championship at the school to cheer her on. The other kids make fun of her again, but some cheer for her when she wins.

While sitting for Rosie after the competition, Claudia and her fight before Rosie takes a piece of paper and starts drawing. Turns out that she's also an amazing artist and that whenever she left Claud alone, which was all the time, she was drawing. Her parents come home and find them laughing but lecture Rosie on all the crap she has coming up. They gush over her trophy before sending her to her room.

Claudia sits them down and tells them that Rosie is really good. They instantly start thinking about how they can squeeze in more lessons and stuff. She explains that she doesn't want Rosie to hate art like she hates everything else. Then, she offers to put some of Rosie's drawings in her show. They agree, so she runs off to share the news.

They day of the art show arrives. Rosie shows up all excited and tells her that her and her parents worked out a new agreement. She'll only do three activities every week now, including taking art classes. Alan shows up, makes a pest of himself, and leaves chewed up gum everywhere until they run him off. In the end, Claudia winds up selling two of her paintings, including one to Janine.

*I think Rosie's grandmother probably just licked someone to get shingles and quit working. Seriously, if I had to spend anytime around this kid, I would probably lock her in a closet.

*Rosie gets pissy because Claudia doesn't know if foxes hibernate. When she says that she doesn't remember, Rosie sneers that she never forget anything she learns. Aw, that's cute. Come back and talk to me when you're a freshman in college.

*At one point Rosie snaps at Janine something about how she can't believe she's in high school. Does it make me a bad person for wanting Janine to randomly show up with one of her science projects and make fun of Rosie for not knowing what is going on?

*The crossword championship is weird. There is one person from each grade and a puzzle they have to finish on a big chalkboard. Whoever finishes first wins, but the teacher points out that the questions increase in difficulty for each level. How is that fair? When we had spelling bee competitions in my school, all grades were put together and got the same words. Rosie really isn't the best in the school; she's just the best in her grade.

*Uncle Dandy is supposed to be the host of a brand new show. When Claudia goes to the filming though, the lights on the sign are burnt out. Wouldn't they fix that before filming the first episode?

*Everyone acts like the show is some huge deal but it kind of isn't at all. I think it's described as showcasing kids from central Connecticut. Ooh.

*Some guy randomly shows up and tells Claudia all this stuff about her artwork. She doesn't get it, so she repeats it to Janine who tells her it makes no sense. As someone who studied art history, it totally made sense. Either Janine is full of it or Claudia repeated it wrong.

*It's nice that Rosie picks the things she wants to do but nothing changes. In later books, she's back to auditioning for movies and commercials again.

*I know that we're supposed to feel sorry for Rosie but I don't. It's one of those things where she acts stuck up and rude to kids her own age but then when they act the same way, we're supposed to believe that's why she was mean. You get what you give kid.