Friday, October 30, 2015

Sweet Valley Twins #6: The New Girl


Not sure why I never recapped this one, but here goes!

Brooke Dennis just moved to Sweet Valley, and she is such a bitch that it makes me hate a sixth grade girl! She ran into Jessica when she was walking Mrs. Brambles' dog Sally and tried to kick the poor old dog. Naturally, Jessica is less than happy when Alice announces that Mr. Dennis is her new client and that he and his daughter are coming over for dessert. Jessica feigns a stomachache and runs off, leaving Elizabeth to fend for herself.

Mr. Dennis seems pretty nice and mentions how Brooke barely ate at dinner. She literally turns up her nose every time someone tries to talk to her and refuses to eat dessert. When Liz suggests they listen to the new Johnny Buck tape, Brooke laughingly grimaces and says she only listens to classical music. She then bitches about their house, the school she hasn't seen yet, and pretty much everyone in town.

Elizabeth admits to Jessica that she was write and that the new girl is awful. Unfortunately, Alice promised that they would walk to school the next day. He's some super rich guy who can afford to hire a stylist for his daughter, but he lives right down the street? Whatever. There's some big book fair coming up, and Jessica spent a ton of time on a poster of her favorite Nancy Drew books. She cons her dad into driving her to school with the poster, leaving Elizabeth stuck with Brooke again. Brooke acts the same way during their walk as she did the night before. She also tells on Charlie for throwing a spitwad at Caroline, which is something you apparently never ever do.

Brooke winds up in Jessica's English class. Since she doesn't have time to work on a project of her own, the teacher has her help Lila. Brooke almost instantly knocks over the bottle of paint, which spills over Jessica's poster and ruins it. When Mr. Bowman comes over, she denies that she did it and says that Lila bumped her arm on purpose. He just sighs and makes them both clean up while Jessica cries.

Cut to lunch and everyone chatting about her being a mega bitch. Brooke saunters over and just sits down with them. When they tell her the seat is reserved, she pitches a fit, which leads Jessica to say it's reserved for her sister. She explains that they are actually triplets, the seat is for Jennifer, and then takes off. Jessica comes back in a cardigan with a bow over her ear, acts all sweet and nice, and Brooke runs away.

Everyone then gets in on the act. Anytime they see Jessica with a bow in her hair, they call her Jennifer. Since she has Unicorn meetings and other “commitments,” she convinces Liz to take on the role sometimes. Brooke keeps acting like a huge bitch, even saying that Jessica deserved to have her poster ruined. When they go to the basketball game that night and Jessica falls, Liz even sees Brooke smiling. Creepy.

At Lila's birthday party, where she apparently invited everyone but Brooke, they decide to get back at her. She told Elizabeth/Jennifer about her birthday on Monday, which is the same day as the book thing. They go to Bruce and Jerry, who come up with a plan to make a collapsing seat. They'll sneak it into the auditorium, make her sit there, and she'll make a fool of herself in front of everyone.

Monday arrives, and Brooke goes to see Liz to ask about Jennifer. Liz initially plans to just ignore her but Brooke keeps coming back, so she dresses up as Jenn. Brooke takes her outside and gives her a piece of cake. She cries about how her mom left her and how her dad cares so little about her that he didn't even realize she doesn't like chocolate cake. Liz feels so bad that she decides not to go forward with the prank.

Yeah, that doesn't really work. The other kids block all the seats until they wind up in front, and when Liz tries to take the bad seat, Jessica stops her. Mr. Bowman asked Jessica to present the winner with the best book project, and she wins. He tells her that the committee decided her project showed the best promise and should have won. Whatever. Brooke is so excited and tells Liz/Jennifer that maybe now Jessica will let up on her. WTF? When she goes to sit down, the seat collapses and everyone laughs. Mr Bowman comes over as she cries over Jennifer betraying her, only to learn that it's Liz and they aren't really triplets.

Brooke runs off, and while Elizabeth catches up to her, Brooke refuses to talk to her. Liz gets home just in time to find Alice pissed off at Jessica because Mr. Dennis called her. They talk it over and decide to make it up to her with a party. The twins then call all their friends, invite them over, and have big talk, which leads to everyone feeling super bad. Despite his and her best efforts, both Alice and Mr. Dennis fail to get Brooke to come over.

Steven then points out that Jennifer was the one who really hurt her. They dress up like their fake triplet, pick up Sally, put a bow in her hair, and head to Brooke's house. Though she initially laughs, she then scowls and acts like a bitch again. The twins apologize and convince her to come to their house. Everyone surprises her, she gets all teared up and apologizes for being a bitch. Mr. Dennis then announces that her mom is coming back for a visit that summer. Brooke laughs and asks if she can give up the fancy clothes he got for her for simple clothes and everyone giggles.

What the hell? Brooke is such a MAJOR bitch in this book! She seriously laughs when someone gets hurt and then has the nerve to say she's glad Jess won the prize so she'll be nicer to her. I'm sorry, did I miss the point where you were nice to her even once? Not to mention her trying to kick a poor dog! Her explanation was that when she met Jessica, she figured she was the type of girl who had everything while the poor little rich girl had nothing. Um no, you tried to kick the dog after complaining that she clearly wasn't a purebred before walking off with your nose in the air.

*There are multiple mentions of Jessica being a great actress in this book, which makes me miss Francine not making her a starlet in Sweet Valley Confidential. I could totally see Jessica starring in some WB drama or stuck making movies like Sharknado.

*They keep saying that Brooke is tall constantly, but on the cover, she's roughly the same height as the twins.

*There's all these mentions of her being perfectly dressed and looking so great, but one description has her in shades of emerald and lime green. Is it just me, or do those colors not go together at all?

*Jessica also describes her as wearing (gasp) stockings and says she looks like the cover of Seventeen. Wouldn't Jess want to be her best friend?

*Brooke's description of her mom is strange too. She says that her parents divorced, her mom got pregnant, got married, and moved with her new husband to Europe but couldn't take her. It kind of comes across like her mom got married right after the divorce and was pregnant right off the bat, which sounds like cheating to me.

*Since when does Jessica like Nancy Drew? She should totally call Claudia and talk about their favorite books.

*BTW, her “project” was a poster where she traced her favorite book covers and outlined each one with blue glitter paint. That sounds...strange?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Ghosts of Fear Street #18: Camp Fear Ghouls (R.L. Stine)


The Waynesbridge Scouts are like totally the coolest group of girls around. That's why Lizzy and her best friend Caroline are so worried when they hear that the invitations just went out. While Caroline finds one of the tell tale pink envelopes in her locker, Lizzy doesn't get one. Arden, the daughter of the troop leader, hates her for not inviting her to her birthday party and set it up so she wouldn't get in. Lizzy tries to play it off like it's no big deal, but the two girls fight when Caroline decides to join anyway.

While on the way home, Lizzy sees a dark figure hiding behind a tree in her yard. The figure is actually Amy, one of the Camp Fear Girls, who wants her to join their troop. Lizzy finds an invitation waiting for her at home. A note on the bottom warns her to be there or beware and appears out of nowhere.

A bus comes to pick her up the next day, but the driver never stops for anyone else and takes her right to Fear Street. The woman then tells her that she needs to walk the rest of the way. Lizzy keeps freaking out because she thinks the address is for the Fear Street Cemetery, but then she finds the house. No one answers the door and then there's an icy cold hand on her back. It's really just Amy who shows her the secret knock and takes her inside.

The place is totally tricked out with both a Super Nintendo and a Sega Genesis plus lots of snacks. All the girls welcome her to their troop and tell her their leader had to run some errands. They then tell her the story of the original Camp Fear Girls. They went on an overnight camping trip in the woods and were never seen again. People say they turned into monsters and now walk Fear Street looking for new members. If you join, you become one of the undead and can never leave again. Lizzy looks around and sees that Amy is one of the undead.

Just as she goes running for the door, Amy pulls her back and shows her it was just a mask. They all have a good laugh and tell her it was her first initiation. Her next is an overnight camping trip where she can earn three badges. She gets a little worried when she sees that their badges have coffins, knives, and other creepy things on them, but she gets distracted when they tell her it's Prank Night.

As the newest member, she gets to pick who they prank, and she naturally picks Caroline. The other girls mix up a batch of weird green slime that makes Lizzy start having some gruesome thoughts. They sneak over to Caroline’s house and throw the slime on her when she comes out. They then run off laughing and giggling.

When Lizzy gets home, she has a message to call Caroline. It turns out that the girls actually slimed her brother and that Caroline didn't really like her troop. When she hears about the Camp Fear Girls, she begs Lizzy to get her an invitation. Lizzy does try taking her to the house the next day but it's gone, which makes Caroline think she just wants to keep the troop to herself.

They then run into Amy who tells them that the house really is there. She does flip out when Lizzy asks about Caroline joining the group. Amy keeps acting weird until Lizzy says she'll drop out if her friend can't join. They hear a scream that Amy denies hearing. She then goes from refusing to let Caroline join because it would take them past 13 members to agreeing she can join.

Lizzy then notices that all the other girls are standing under the nearby bridge. They tell her they were cleaning up the river to earn a merit badge. She notices that one of the girls, Pearl is missing, but no one will answer her when she asks what happened to the other girl. She heads home and gets a call from Caroline about how she got an invitation to join and go on the overnight.

The two girls take the same bus to the camping trip, which takes place in the Fear Woods. Caroline keeps whining and complaining, and they both freak out when they hear something in the woods. They have to use a map to find the other girls, and when Lizzy is about to give up, they find the rest of the troop. This time, everyone tells her that they never had a member named Pearl.

Amy tells Caroline the story of the Camp Fear Girls and what happened to them so many years ago. She then transforms into a ghoul, and all the other girls transform too. Lizzy and Caroline take off running with the girls chasing them. Amy tells them that the girls went camping and made a fire, but they accidentally used the bones of an evil man instead of wood and were cursed. They needed her because one of the other girls tried to escape and now they need Caroline because they destroyed Pearl. They have to earn three merit badges or become a ghoul like them.

Lizzy decides to try earning the rock collecting badge first. The girls take them to a clearing and tell them they have five minutes to fill a bag with glowing blue rocks. The rocks are actually burning hot, but they figure out that if they toss or move the rocks first, the rocks cool off. They get through the first task and do arts and crafts next, which involves making lanyard necklaces.

Caroline is the only one who knows how to make them, so she makes one for Lizzy and starts making a second. The ropes turn into worms and she almost fails because they crawl all over her. Though she gets through it at the last second, the worms in Lizzy's necklace come to life again and start strangling her. Caroline breaks the necklace to save her, and Amy gives them their last task: they must swim across Fear Lake in the middle of the night.

The water is ice cold, and something grabs Caroline and pulls her under. Lizzy winds up saving her from some huge monster with black tentacles. They almost freeze but manage to get all the way across the lake. That's when Amy says she lied and that if they passed all three tests and earned their badges, they'd actually become members of the troop.

The other girls start singing their troop song, which slowly transforms our two girls into ghouls. Lizzy remembers a best friend song they made up in second grade and starts singing it. Caroline joins in and slowly turns back into her normal self. She then gasps and points to Pearl who is now hovering above the campfire.

Pearl was apparently their leader and is very unhappy at what they did to her. She makes them count off and forces Lizzy and Caroline to count to 13 and 14. There's suddenly a huge bolt of lightning. Pearl tells them that they can't have more than 13 girls, smiles, and floats away. There's a noise in the woods, and Lizzy's parents show up. They heard a storm warning and came to find them.

The girls lie and say that the rest of the troop ditched them. Her mom gives her an invitation that came in the mail for the local drama club. Caroline takes it from her and rips it into pieces. Just as they get out of the woods, the bus driver shows up, tells them she'll them the next night, and smiles.

*Oh my goodness, a parent who actually gives a damn! Lizzy's mom won't let her join or get on the bus until she has the chance to talk with the driver first.

*I strongly, strongly dislike Caroline. She practically screams at her best friend for asking her to not join the one troop and then acts like a whiny baby when Lizzy doesn't want to share her new troop with her.

*Is it weird that I totally don't know how to make a lanyard? I even went to camp!