Friday, August 19, 2016

Sweet Valley High #79: The Long Lost Brother

You probably don't remember Sara Eastborne because I think she only appeared in the book where Jessica entered the beauty contest because Sara took dance classes from the same teacher. She now gets her very own book and her very own chance to bitch about her twin brother Tim. Though she tells everyone that he's a straight A student and star of the track team who lives with their dad on the East Coast, he's actually in reform school after becoming an alcoholic and stealing a car. I think you get why she kept his real self a secret.

Sara also has a boyfriend named Bob. Bob is rich and snotty, which means that his parents are even worse. He takes her to dinner at the country club to meet them and then snaps at her for not paying attention. When she drifts off and thinks about her brother, his mom asks what she thinks about tanning beds and acts super disapproving when she can't respond. Bob lectures her on making a bad impression on his parents, despite the fact that his dad spent most of the night running away from the table to talk to other rich guys. Though he invites her to Lila's pool party the next day, he strongly recommends that she wear a specific suit so all the guys will stare at him and wish they were him.

It doesn't take long before she gets the big news that Tim is moving to Sweet Valley. He's on probation and got permission to live with his mom. As soon as he arrives, she tells him exactly what she told everyone about him and demands that he go along with her stories. Tim doesn't necessarily agree because he knows what can happen when you lie but begrudgingly agrees to do whatever she wants. Yeah, this will go well.

Saint Elizabeth is up to her old tricks again. Her article on Project Youth went so well that she decided to do a whole series on other services in town. She goes to an Alateen meeting and even gets to take a tour of the shelter for battered women. While attending an AA meeting, she has the chance to meet a new guy. Tim tries to convince her to dump her boyfriend for him before laughing it off.

It isn't until the next day in school that she learns he's Sara's twin brother. Liz briefly wonders why the other girl would keep him a secret and why she won't even look at him before introducing him to her own twin. Tim starts making friends right off the bat. Unfortunately, one of those friends is Sara's best friend Amanda. Though she tries to keep them apart, they have a spark and keep seeing each other.

You may remember Jerry “Crunch” McAllister as either the annoying kid from SVT or the drop out from Dangerous Love. He's suddenly hanging around all the time because he has it bad for Amanda. Though he keeps asking her out all the time and offering her rides, she keeps turning him down and ignoring him. Tim stops outside the Dairi Burger one night to admire his van. When the van turns up missing, Crunch blames it on Tim.

Since he has a record, the cops come to their house and take Tim in for questioning. Their mom hires a lawyer, and their dad flies into town to help. Sara realizes that this is big news and that soon everyone will know the truth. People start looking at her funny, and Amanda snaps at her for not being honest about her twin. When Sara tells her how she lost all her friends when Tim screwed up before, Amanda just walks away. Bob decides this will reflect badly on his parents so he breaks up with her and asks for his jacket back.

Though they have no proof, the cops tell Tim not to leave town. He begs Sara to believe in him but she can't after everything that happened in the past. When they go to school, Crunch actually shows up, picks a fight with Tim, and punches him in the face. Mr. Collins and some other teachers break it up, tell Crunch to leave, and send Tim to the principal's office where he gets suspended. I see Sweet Valley instituted its own zero tolerance before the rest of the world.

Having her dad around is pretty nice. They share some family dinners together, talk a lot, and he seems to have changed from the workaholic he was in the past. Sara eventually asks her mom if they might get back together, and she explains that they're finally friends and have no desire to be with each other. Liz, since it's always Liz, encourages her to go to a meeting. It goes so well that Sara finally starts making up with people. Though Amanda forgives her, she isn't quite ready to see Tim again.

Sara also has a long talk with her dad, which ends when he tells her that he's dating someone and wants to marry her. He also asks her to come visit him for a few weeks in the summer. To make up with her brother, Sara makes his favorite dinner: chili and cornbread. Since the police found the real thief, he's now free. When he doesn't come home, she checks her room and finds a note from him about how he decided to go back home with their dad.

That leaves her to rush to the airport to stop him. Their dad winks at her before hopping on the plane, and Tim agrees to come home with her. They laugh and have a good time together before calling their mom to tell her everything is fine now. Tim even jokes about how she should let him drive the car from now on. Crunch shows up at school, and Sara gets so mad that she pokes him with her finger, calls him some names, and tells him to leave. He and Tim both laugh before he apologizes to the other guy. Amanda then makes up with Tim too.

In other news, Jessica really hates being Miss Teen Sweet Valley. She keeps missing out on dates and fun stuff because of her commitments. Though she begs Liz to help, her twin tells her to just call her runner up for help. After much whining and complaining, Liz agrees to take her twin's spot just one time and hands out samples at some store opening at the mall. Sara sees her and realizes that it's Liz, but when Amanda asks her, she says she can't reveal a twin secret.

*So the organization that offers protection for battered women lets some random teen visit their shelter. That would make me feel super confident as a resident.

*Liz says Jessica loves Tim's charming personality. He literally says something like, “there's two of you” and then laughs with them. Whoa, totally charming!

*Bob shows up at the end and asks Sara to be his date that weekend. When she turns him down, he races off and leaves skid marks behind. Bob is a tool.

*While Bob is a tool, so too is Sara. She contemplates breaking up with him early in the book but changes her mind because he's rich and popular.

*Bob gets so distracted when Jessica shows up to the pool party in a very tiny bikini that he gets hit in the head with a volleyball. He totally deserved it.

*Does anyone at SVH really want to read a series of articles about groups that help abused women or the homeless? I think Liz thinks The Oracle is way better than it actually is.

*Jessica thinks it's depressing that someone women let themselves get beat, which is ironic given that she marries an abusive asshole in SVU and then a second abusive asshole in the Sweet Life series.

*People really seem to hate Sara, but I kind of get her. She was a popular kid at her old school until her brother started hanging out with a rough crowd, drank all the time, and then started stealing cars. Literally every single one of her friends dropped her after that. I can get why she didn't want people to know the truth about him. Hating on her is kind of like hating on Sophia in SVT.

*I'm not a big fan of the Tim and Amanda thing. He knows how his sister feels and knows why she's worried, but it takes like 30 seconds for him to agree to go out on a date with her.


  1. "So the organization that offers protection for battered women lets some random teen visit their shelter. That would make me feel super confident as a resident."

    It's probably because she's a teenage girl. I bet if she were a dude, they wouldn't have let her in. Not that it's right: she could easily be working with one of the guys these women are hiding from. I always wondered about these things whenever I read California Diaries #4, and Amalia volunteered with her sister at a women's shelter.

    For some reason when I saw the cover, I thought it was a SVT book, and by the end of your post, I was so confused that I had to go back to the top to look at it again. There's just something about the way Liz is drawn that looks particularly like the SVT books.

    1. It annoyed me though because it wasn't so much a shelter as a safe house, like the place they take women who need more protection. Letting some random girl just walk in, interview residents, and be a huge nuisance would freak me out.