Friday, June 19, 2015

Sweet Valley Twins #24: Jumping to Conclusions

Jessica and Elizabeth plan a special dinner for their parents' anniversary. Jess actually makes a bunch of food, Steven picks up a cake, the twins decorate the house, and Liz finds the cake topper from their wedding cake. When Ned and Alice get home though, they're mainly surprised that they both completely forgot about their anniversary. They laugh it off but it makes Jessica wonder.

Those wonders turn to worries when she realizes how much time her mom's been spending with her new client, Mr. Howard. He's one of the richest men in California and apparently looks like a movie star too. He comes by the house to drop some stuff off and keeps calling Alice all the time. Jessica tries to talk to Elizabeth, but she doesn't really seem to buy it.

That all changes when Liz starts a living history project with Pamela and Amy. They all decide to interview their parents and find out how they met. Every time she tries to talk to her parents, they blow her off. Ned is too busy watching basketball on television, and Alice is too busy with Mr. Howard and decorating his office. While at the mall, she spots Jessica running around in a hat and trench coat (i.e. the cover picture) and spying on their mom. Jessica sees them shopping for an engagement ring, which makes Liz realize that Jessica was right and that their mom is in love with another man. Yup, sounds about right.

When Mr. Howard comes over to drop some stuff off, Alice convinces him to stay for lunch. Jessica doctors up his salad with a "special" dressing made from garlic, hot sauce, and a bunch of other stuff. It makes him sick, she convinces him that it's her mom's secret blend, and he winds up leaving the table. They think they convinced him to leave their mom alone but then overhear them making plans again.

Alice asks them to drop off some documents at his office for her. They wear a bunch of ugly clothes and make up a ton of lies when they see him about how their mom made the clothes for them. Just when Jessica thinks he's about to run off, she hears him on the phone and talking with someone about running away/eloping together that weekend. She runs to tell Liz what she heard, Liz tells her friends, and they all rush to tell Steven before coming up with a new plan.

Since Ned finally got off his ass and planned something for his anniversary, they call and leave a message with Mr. Howard's secretary to invite him over for dinner on Saturday night. After their parents go out to some Italian restaurant, they get rid of the good furniture, bring out some ugly stuff, and go crazy with bad clothes and makeup. Steven invites over some players from his team.

They tell Mr. Howard that the kids in the house are Alice's kids from her previous marriages, all ten of them, and that she's an alcoholic who probably forgot she invited him over. Some of the players run in dragging Amy between them. Mr. Howard tries to stop them, which causes everyone to start laughing, and he realizes they played a prank on him. Before he can really do anything, Ned and Alice show up followed by some beautiful woman.

Turns out the woman is his real fiancee and that he and Alice really do just work together. Everyone has a good laugh over the kids' crazy antics. Alice then announces that Mr. Howard wanted her to decorate his other office but she decided against it because she needs to focus more on her family. They then take the whole group out to the restaurant to celebrate their anniversary as a family.

In the end, Elizabeth reveals to Amy and Pamela how her parents met, which is completely unlike the other stories we heard. Alice was working as a waitress while looking for an interior design job, and Ned was in law school when he came into the restaurant. She ended up tripping and spilling a platter of food over him, his boss gave him a chef's outfit and treated him to a meal. Since his friends all left, as did his date, Ned invited Alice to eat with him, and they fell in love. Huh. That's almost a better story than the whole drowning thing, more realistic too.

*Amy's mom and dad met when they both worked at some rinky dink amusement park. They were randomly chosen to ride the ferris wheel together, it got stuck on the top, and they fell in love by the time they came back down.

*Pamela's parents met when her mom sprained her ankle during some sorority thing. Her dad was the doctor who treated her and asked her out after a few appointments.

*Speaking of Pamela, it was a little weird to see her in this book. I thought she disappeared after that one where she transferred to Sweet Valley from her special school. I still think it's odd that Denny, her older brother, gets a few mentions in SVH but she pretty much goes the way of Janet and Ellen.

*Alice points out at the end of the book that she only took her interior decorating job because she wanted to work part time. Um, then why is it that the twins have to do so much work around the house and she always seems to be working? My mom worked part time when I was growing up and was pretty much always home when I got back from school.

*Ned is ridiculously oblivious. He's all like, "oh gee, your mom didn't come home from work again? I didn't even notice." I like to think that there's an unwritten book where Alice totally cheats on him, he walks in on her in bed with some random guy, and just asks when dinner will be ready.

*Every time Alice makes frozen dinners, like in this one, I want to giggle. I thought she was one of those super moms who always made dinners from scratch or had frozen homemade dinners waiting in the freezer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Sweet Valley High #113: The Pom-Pom Wars

Jessica is totes sad about losing her squad to that evil bitch Heather Malone and depressing it up at home when she finds photos of Liz and Ken. After going through her twin's diary, she finds out about the torrid affair they had when Todd first moved away. Before she can mope too much though, Ken stops by to cheer her up and suggests that she start her own squad.

Even though this makes no sense to me, she thinks it's a great idea and even teases Liz about joining the squad. Liz pretty much tells her that she'd rather be covered in honey and ants than cheer. Jess gets Sandy and Maria, the two girls Heather dropped from the squad, and Lila to join her new one. They then announce the try outs to the whole school and target some of the girls they like the best, namely dancers.

Jessica and Lila make a bet. If Liz tries out for the squad, Lila will buy uniforms for everyone, but if she doesn't, Jess gets the bill. Jess then blackmails Liz into trying out, telling her that she'll tell Todd about her relationship with Ken if she doesn't. Liz naturally earns a spot on the squad, as does Jade Wu, Patty Gilbert, and a few others.

There's a whole bunch of boring stuff too, like Jessica flipping out because the girls who have no cheerleading experience can't follow her. She winds up making them watch a visualization tape, which turns them into experts overnight. Seriously, they basically only practice together for a week but become an amazing squad.

Heather than calls Lila and lets it slip that only one squad from each high school can go to regionals and her squad already got the nod. Jess calls the coordinator who tells her the same thing, but then Liz says they should just go to him. They surprise him at his home and do a good job, but he still tells them they can't go.

Jess convinces the girls to go to the football game because SVH is losing. They sneak in and change the music, rush out on the field during halftime, and drive the crowd crazy. The team ends up coming back from 21 points behind to win by 14 points. Everyone tells them that they were great and should always be on the field, but Amy bursts into tears and accuses Jessica of humiliating her.

Since everything always works out for her, she goes to Principal Cooper and asks him to let the squad vote on a team to send to the competition. He agrees and schedules a cheer off for the end of the week. Both teams do really well, and it somehow ends in a tie. Cooper tells them that they'll have to combine both squads under Jessica and Heather.

As they hate each other, they refuse. The two squads come together and convince both girls that they decided to let the other be the sole captain and that both should let the other girl pretend to have some control. They spend a few days or something practicing and getting ready for the competition.

Right before the competition, Ken comes up and mistakes Liz for Jess, which is something he did a bunch of other times. He makes plans with her to go to the beach later that night. Liz pretends to be her twin and decides to tell Jessica about his plans later. Heather catches them but doesn't seem like she saw anything.

They, of course, win the competition, but Heather and Jess flip out when they call both captains to the stage. The other girls finally step up and tell them that they're in it together. They finally decide to work together for once and stop being brats, though I doubt that will last long.

Cut to Liz deciding to go on Jessica's date. She's been super jealous and lusting over Ken throughout the whole book. After lying to Todd about being tired, she steals an outfit from Jess and goes out with Ken. As soon as they start making out, she can't stop thinking about Todd. Ken realizes that she's Liz and takes things surprisingly well. He admits that he was drawn to Jess because she looked like Liz but fell in love with her because she's Jess. Liz apologizes and decides to tell Todd the truth.

While celebrating with Lila and the girls, Heather walks up and makes a cryptic comment to Jess about Liz and Ken that sets her off. She tries calling home and then calls Todd who hasn't seen Liz all night. After running home and finding her twin and some of her clothes missing, she instantly decides that they're having an affair behind her back.

Liz and Ken arrive at Todd's house to find him pale and Jessica crying with Liz's diary in her hands. Todd basically calls Liz a whore, which causes her to run off in the Jeep. Jessica then calls Ken a liar and tells him to go after the woman he really loves before rushing off herself.

*Liz tells Penny that she can't write an article on the squads because she can't remain neutral. Funny because she usually just writes whatever she wants and shoves her opinions down the throats of all readers.

*Since when is the Jeep white? Liz knows what Jessica did because she sees their white Jeep at Todd's house.

*What chance in hell would a squad of four girls have competing in a cheerleader competition? Heather kicked so many girls off that the squad only has four girls.

*Amy accusing Jessica of humiliating her was super funny because it came a few chapters after her and the other girls ditched her in the middle of the cafeteria because they didn't want to make Heather mad.

*It's funny that Jessica flips out so much over Ken given that she cheats on him with the college guy in a few books and later leaves him for a completely different guy.

*Todd tells Liz that Ken confessed he's only been in love once before, which freaks her out because he meant her. Yup, I'm sure he meant your one week relationship and not the months he was with Terri.

*Jessica also has some big balls when you think about the fact that she dated Todd multiple times and pretended to be Liz in the past to get him.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Baby-Sitters Club #48: Jessi's Wish

Becca comes home upset because the Kids' Club she's in might have to shut down. One of the club sponsors plans on taking an extended trip with her husband and the club can't survive with only one sponsor. After giving it some thought, Jessi offers to take her place. The teacher isn't too sure but agrees to let her help on a trial basis. Jessi goes back to the BSC and suggests that they all take a month off to do some volunteer work. Surprisingly everyone, including Kristy, agrees.

One of the members of the Kids' Club, Danielle, left because she had cancer. The kids did a fundraising drive to give the kids in the hospital toys. Danielle writes them back and lets them know that she gets to come home soon. When she does come back, no one is really sure how to treat her or what to do around her. Naturally, Becca and Charlotte who never really knew her are the ones who make her feel home again.

Jessi bonds with Danielle too and learns that she really only has two wishes. One is to go to Disney World and the other is to graduate from elementary school. It really gets to Jessi that most kids think about driving or graduating from high school but Danielle only thinks about the short term. When she tells the others, Mary Anne tells her about a foundation that grants kids wishes.

The foundation tells her that she needs information from the parents, so she calls Danielle's mom and dad to tell them what they need to do. She later learns that the foundation agreed to send Danielle, her parents, and her little brother to Disney. Danielle writes everyone letters and brings them home stickers, but she also brings back special gifts for Jessi, Charlotte, and Becca.

Jessi shows up for the last meeting of the Kids' Club before the old teacher comes back. She finds out that Danielle is back in the hospital again. Her cancer came back to the point where they don't know when or even if she'll come home again. Jessi decides to write her often and be her friend until she gets better.

*The club decides that anyone who is free will show up for meetings and that they'll depend more on the associate members for help. I find it hard to believe Kristy would agree to this.

*Mary Anne works for the disabled son of her parents, Stacey volunteers in a diabetes clinic, Dawn works with disabled kids, Mallory volunteers at the park, Claudia teaches art classes, and Kristy works in a daycare type place.

*Kristy walks into the daycare and finds the place in chaos, so she naturally takes over and does the job better than the adults do. There is seriously a scene where two teachers are working with eight babies. One won't stop crying until Kristy rocks it to sleep, and the teachers are all in shock because she never goes to sleep that easy for them.

*Jessi says that Mary Anne and Dawn's barn is awesome and wonders why they don't live there. Dawn says that it's way too cold in the winter and way too hot in the summer. I wonder how much insulating they had to use when they turned it into a house.