Archive | November, 2010

PICKING UP WHERE MARGO LEFT OFF: SVH#111 “A DEADLY CHRISTMAS”

30 Nov

It’s been just ten books since Margo fell to her death in the Fowler’s pool house [or DID she?] but already it’s that time of year again! Yes, by book #111 we enter our fifth Yuletide celebration of the year! Congratulations, Francine, on mastering the fifth dimension and allowing the twins to remain sixteen for five successive Christmases.

But enough of that, and onto the insanity that is: “A Deadly Christmas.” It is probably the most sexual Christmas of the SVH series, but you must first understand that although “Playing With Fire” implied that Jessica was doing the unspeakable with Bruce, she is in fact a virgin in this one. Only in Sweet Valley.

Cover courtesy of ShannonSweetValley

I love the cover, because Jessica looks like she is about to be burnt to death. For reals, this time. Also, I get all nostalgic about the cutouts, with the deceivingly pleasant, festive exterior. Mwah ha ha!

I also love the plot, which is centred around Jessica falling madly in love with a guy who is trying to screw over the Wakefields. Among my favourite SV books are those where Jessica thinks she’s met “the one” and he’s all “Ha blondie – let’s see how much I can get out of you while I concurrently screw your sister/hook up with Lila behind your back/ win at tennis.”

In the previous five books of this miniseries, the Wakefields have been visited by an old family friend who we’ve never heard of before, called Sue Gibbons. [Remember, Sue = EVIL in Sweet Valley]. She bears the news that not only has her mother died [which is true] but that she has a rare, terminal blood disorder [which is not.]

Sue and her environmentalist fiancée Jeremy want to have a Sweet Valley wedding, of course. But there’s a twist – Sue’s deceased mother disapproved of Jeremy, so if the couple are married, Sue will not receive the inheritance. Instead, it will be left to Alice, who will probably blow the whole thing on renovating the Spanish tiles or sneaking off to the Hilton Hotel with Henry Patman. So Sue and Jeremy concoct a devious plan  – to fake a break-up and steal the money!

Jeremy pursues a lovestruck Jessica Wakefield, to try to convince the Wakefields that the engagement is off. Then Sue comes up with the mysterious blood disease, and Jeremy agrees to marry her. In the aptly titled “Left At The Altar” Jeremy ditches Sue and makes Jessica his fiancée. But really, he’s only breaking it off so Sue and he can run off with the fortune. Or at least that’s what Sue thinks…Instead, Jeremy is out to rip off all of them and return to Costa Rica with his wife, and his fortune. THE FUCK?! Ugh, I take it back. This plot is awful and makes zero sense. For example, why bother planning the wedding? Why doesn’t Sue pretend Jeremy doesn’t exist, take the damn money from Nalice and then elope? Also why is it that because Jeremy is found to be a career criminal he can’t be an environmentalist? Haven’t you heard of Peter Garrett? You may have mastered the dimension of time, Fran Pasc, but the characters are still completely 1-D.

The real fun is watching Jeremy wrap both girls around his finger.

He kidnaps Sue and ties her up in a cabin, then demands the inheritance from the Wakefields as ransom. Methinks young Jeremy is a complete sicko, because at this point in time, Sue is entitled to the inheritance anyway. [Don’t worry, the dumb ass Wakefields don’t suspect it’s him. Idiots.]

Next, he plans a romantic getaway with Jessica, and asks her to do the deed and prove her love for him. Seriously? She’s sixteen, you dirty man. Jessica agonizes about it, and thinks about condoms [yes, they say the C-word in this one!], and shivers a lot. I think they used the same ghostwriter from every single Elizabeth-centric story arc in SVU.

We learn that he is planning to scoot with the money in exactly ten days because he is a very devious man. [Ten bucks says he checks into The Shady Lady on the way out.]

I have ten days to kill so I might as well enjoy myself, Jeremy thought. Might as well get some kicks along the way.

Excuse me while I go file a DOCS report.

Of course, super sleuth Liz is onto it by then, and his true identity is revealed and Jessica is rescued from the burning cabin and everyone lives happily ever after and sings bloody Christmas carols and Sue has no rare blood disorder after all. Sheesh!

In the B-plot, Lila is dating a starving artist, called Robby. First he pretends to be rich, then she pretends to be poor, and now they are happy. Yawn. Who kidnapped our Lila? I can’t wait till the camp miniseries where she hooks up with Beauregard Creighton the Third and they get caviar shipped from Paris.

But now I will leave you with this, a quote from everyone’s favorite hypocrite,

“Now he was engaged to Jessica and supposedly through with Sue, but Elizabeth didn’t trust him for a second. In Elizabeth’s opinion, if Jeremy cheated on Sue, that meant he wouldn’t hesitate to cheat on Jessica, either. While Jessica was fickle and impetuous when it came to matters of the heart, Elizabeth drew great happiness and satisfaction from the fact that she and her boyfriend, Todd Wilkins, had weathered romantic storms to forge a relationship that would last.”

Smug bitch.

I suppose the 13 infidelities she committed during junior year don’t count as cheating?

People in glass houses, Lizzie. People in glass houses usually get pushed and lacerate their carotid arteries, like Margo did. Here’s hoping.

Any others you’d like to see for our Christmas countdown? I will do anything from the BSC to Sweet Valley Twins, High or, with gritted teeth, University. I am keen to get my hands on a particular SVT Super Edition, “A Christmas Without Elizabeth.” It sounds AWESOME, although possibly too good to be true…

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Chapter 18 MAGNA EDITION THE BOYFRIEND WAR, OR, THAT FATAL NIGHT

26 Nov

What Lila Fowler wants, she gets. Stacey McGill really should remember that.

26-year-old Elizabeth Wakefield tiptoed down the front steps of her parent’s house on Calico Drive, sneaking a glance at the silver wristwatch on her left arm.

6:58, it read. She would be in plenty of time for her flight back to Stoneybrook, to witness the final few days of court in what was widely dubbed, “The Collins Debacle”.

Her father, Ned, an esteemed lawyer in Southern California, had flown there a few days ago to give Richard Spier a few pointers on representing the defendant. But no matter which way she looked at it, Elizabeth realized that her former English teacher would be behind bars for a very long time. Elizabeth tucked her Macbook Pro under her arm, a feeling of pride surging through her chest as she thought of the brilliant piece of investigative journalism she’d written on the case. It would be front page of the Stoneybrook News, for sure! A small victory in light of the past few horrible months, she mused. She wheeled her suitcase along the gravel drive, and perched herself under her favourite oak tree to await the hire car that would deliver her to Sweet Valley airport.

A cool mist settled on her bare skin, and Elizabeth shivered, drawing her woolen cardigan around her shoulders. The sun was just peeking over the horizon, marking the first day of December. Sweet Valley was being bombarded with the usual Yuletide commercialism – everywhere from Lisettes to The Shady Lady was having a sale or a ham raffle. Even Dyan Sutton couldn’t resist playing “Deck the Halls” as she delivered her end-of-year sports wrap on WXSV. Elizabeth normally loved celebrating Christmas – but this year, her heart wasn’t in it. The festivities seemed removed from her, somehow. In just a few short months, she’d traded her hometown, her successful newspaper job and her family for a bunch of strangers in icy Connecticut. Her long-time boyfriend Todd had left her for the first harlot he’d laid eyes on outside of California, and she was lucky to see her identical twin, Jessica, once a month. Her trusty friend Enid was missing and feared dead, and her new fling, Sam Thomas, had barely called all week.

Elizabeth sighed, vowing to stop feeling sorry for herself. She drew her knees to her chin as another cool draught wafted over her. Elizabeth sniffed the air, suddenly aware of the overpowering odour of flesh. She fought back a wave of nausea as the smell infiltrated her nostrils. It was the smell of death. Elizabeth stood up quickly ran toward the garage. Then it caught her eye – a limp, lifeless carcass on a patch of grass in front of her.

“Prince Albert!” She yelped at the creature, which was showing about as many signs of life as Lois Waller’s hair. “Wake up! Prince Albert!”

The dog didn’t stir. Elizabeth bent down and threw her arms around the animal, her salty tears mingling with the blood draining from his neck.

She fiddled with its collar through blurry eyes, noticing a small piece of green and red cardboard attached to the leather. A gift tag. She turned it over, fearing the worst. In handwritten red scrawl on the back read the ominous warning: “Wreck the Halls With Bloody Bodies.”

Elizabeth stood suddenly, just as the Happy Cabbie pulled into the driveway. An involuntary shudder coursed through her body. Someone, something was out to get her and everyone she loved. She had to hightail it out of Sweet Valley, and fast. Elizabeth grabbed her luggage and lunged into the hire car, slamming the door.

She had a feeling the worst was yet to come.

* * *

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IT’S A SWEET VALLEY CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN!

22 Nov
As the festive season approaches, I can’t stop thinking about all the hysteria that might ensue:

Evil twins, pool pushes, Fowler parties, mono-masquerading as MS, broken engagements resulting in rare blood disorders, and Jessica Wakefield getting trapped in a burning house…..[fingers crossed]
Christmas is indeed a magical time, especially in Sweet Valley where you celebrate an average of six every year, much like the Halloween epidemic in Stoneybrook.
So to celebrate, I’m donning my Ken-Matthews-inspired elf suit, and in the six or so weeks leading up to December 25, I will be recapping the best Sweet Valley Christmases [and maybe even a BSC Christmas or two.]
“When Lila Met Stacey” will also approach a festive climax, because we all know that December brings out the best in our Margo…
Wreck the Halls With Bloody Bodies, Peeps!

Christmas Edition #1

Sweet Valley University #8 “Home For Christmas.”

I’m not the biggest fan of SVU: The virginity saga, the dead boyfriend syndrome, the attempts at Enid, nay, Alexandra, having a personality…However, Winston getting babes and the inevitable hook-up of Bruce and Lila made several of these abominations bearable. And so to kick off Christmas Season, I will make a rare exception and recap “Home For Christmas.”

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When Lila Met Stacey Chapter 17 “Annie Whitman Strikes Back”

18 Nov
Twenty-six year-old Jessica Wakefield chewed nervously on the phone cord as she waited for an answer.
“Pick up, pick up,” she prayed aloud. The ringing continued.
“C’mon, answer the phone, Easy Annie!”
“Easy Annie?” barked a voice on the other end. “Who is this?”
“Annie!” Jessica put on her sweetest voice. That had been way close! “It’s Jessica Wakefield. Listen I’m calling for a favour.”
“A favour?” There was a long silence.
“Y-yes,” Jessica hesitated.
“Lemme get this straight – ” Annie demanded incredulously, “You kicked me off the cheer-squad in junior year, told the entire school I was a slut – despite quadrupling my tally of conquests yourself – and then forced me to OD on Vidocin. And now you have the hide to call me after a decade FOR A FAVOUR!?”
Jessica took a deep breath and calmed herself. There was no point getting angry. “It’s been a long time—-“ she began.
“Unbelievable!” Annie interrupted. “You Wakefields think the world revolves around you, don’t you!?”
“Annie,” Jessica tried to calm her. “It’s for Lila, not me. She needs your help.”
“Lila Fowler?!” Annie screeched with rage. There was a loud clatter followed by the monotonous beep of a dead line. She’d hung up!
Jessica sighed and dropped the phone onto the receiver. It was no use trying to bargain with a tart, anyway.
It had seemed like a great idea – prostituting Easy Annie to John Pfeifer in Lila’s place. Sure, Annie wasn’t beautiful in the conventional way that Lila was, but with a clever disguise, surely the pyromaniac would fall for it. And then Lila would be off the hook, and Magenta Galaxy would have a new home.

Rumour has it that Courtney Cox posed
for this portrait of Easy Annie

“Jess?” Lila’s thin voice diffused into the room from her sofa. “Any luck?”
“She wouldn’t even let me ask!” Jessica called, shaking her head. “Like  an extra favour would’ve made a difference to her, anyway,” she grumbled, shaking her head.
She turned to Stacey MacGill and Nicholas Morrow, who were feeding each other diet peanut butter across the kitchen table.
“Would you guys get a room?”
Nicholas cleared his throat. “Uh, actually Jess, I was just about to offer to help you out.” He tenderly wiped a peanut fragment from Stacey’s cheek.
“Well?” Jessica demanded. “What could you possibly do?”
Nicholas smiled. He was used to Jessica getting in a huff when she didn’t get her own way.
“For starters, my mom called last night, and she’s offered you her old warehouse for Magenta Galaxy”.
Skye Morrow was an ex-Ingenue model and clothes designer.
Jessica crossed her arms, unable to resist a smile. This was good – very good. It still didn’t solve the problem of Pyromaniac Pfeifer, though.
“And John? How are you planning on taking him down?”
Nicholas flashed her a handsome smile. He was such a hunk, Jessica couldn’t help noticing.
“The old fashioned way,” he whispered, fixing his slate-gray eyes on Jessica. “A duel.”
* * *

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The one where Winston Egbert’s Yearbook Wish Comes True or SVH #56 Lost At Sea

14 Nov

Winston’s Secret Diary, Volume I

Thanks, Fran-Pasc, for once again giving us a glimmer of hope.

Don’t sweat it – this isn’t a recap of 20 books, just one book that felt like it went for 20 years. Then again, time is a little skewed in Sweet Valley, where I live.

There was a time when I thought I’d love to be stuck on a desert island with Jessica – I even wrote it in the yearbook in sophomore year, right after I’d answered the “what-would-you-save-if-your-house-was-on-fire” question with “marshmallows.” But things changed when I met Maria Santelli. She’s like a brunette version of Jessica without all the batshit-craziness – a babe in a cheergirl costume who knows how to shut up and let me be the attention whore.

But just how much of a psycho Jessica really is I never fully appreciated until we were stranded on Anacapa island, facing imminent death.

Be careful what you wish for folks, because it might turn out like this:

It started out like most Thursdays in Sweet Valley – bright and sunny. I was psyched to be going on a boat trip with Mr Russo to study the ecology of local rock pools! I also took the buddy system very seriously – I was partnered with Jessica, Randy Mason and Lois Waller. Did you know, Lois is fat? Now that Robin Wilson is anorexic, Lois is back to being our resident chubby chick. Shame! Also, her mother is the school dietician.

Being a class clown does have its downsides – I seem to be a magnet for freaks like Caroline Pearce and the aforementioned metabolically challenged.

However, the trip was uneventful, despite Jessica refusing my attempts to get a lifejacket on her. [She was flirting with Ken Matthews, who currently has the personality of a corpse. My goal for this year is to get him in drag.]

Anyway, while she was batting her eyelids and purring, I was busy trying to sort out our ecology project. You’ll regret that Jessica, I remember thinking to myself. Little did I know just how much.

Anyways, after I’d stumbled over my own feet half a dozen times and studied the marine life of Anacapa Island, we were headed back to SVH to get past first base with Maria in the parking lot reconnect and share our findings. I put a hermit crab on Jess’s head as well. Hehe.

But we never made it back-  no, an intense storm came out of nowhere and the trusty Maverick went down like Annie Whitman on a slow Tuesday. I was incredibly scared but managed to coax Jessica into a lifeboat. Of course, it capsized, and Jessica was forced to swim for her life. I on the other hand regained control of the boat and oared myself to Anacapa Island. Did I deliberately let Jessica go? That’s one secret I’ll never tell….

These measly biceps did me proud, plowing through the fierce swell and torrential rain, and I drifted up on the beach at nightfall, and fell into a deep slumber.

I spent the following morning foraging berries and cooking fish and stuff, then bitchy McBitch decided to waltz on over to the island and steal some for lunch. Oh and I made a fire out of sticks. Mad skills.

Jess decided to ignore me until she got too hungry [I knew she couldn’t survive a day without one of those fricken blueberry pancake breakfasts. Hard to believe she’s still a six]. Then we bonded over wood-gathering.

I didn’t even try to make a move, although it had been a looooong 48 hours. And Maria and I normally get up to a whole bunch of stuff the Wakefields wouldn’t even dream about.

But I did get her to help me make a shelter and shit, you know the whole wilderness survival thing. There was lots of sulking, although she did save me from a bear at one point.

And I did open up to her about how being the class clown isn’t always a barrel of laughs. I almost smacked one on her when the storm came, and I definitely came the conclusion that if there were no sheep, I’d be happy to contribute to the gene pool with Jessica.

Meanwhile, she was worrying about never shaving her legs or shopping at Lisettes again.

But just when we thought the end was nigh and we were destined to a Tom-Hanks style existence….a chopper showed up. No matter what happens in Sweet Valley, there is always someone to rescue you. Unless of course you happen to be standing at the fridge when the earthquake strikes [which reminds me, how DID Lois Waller and Robin Wilson survive???]

Home safe now, now to refuel with a double whopper and a Clam Special from the Dairi Burger.

You know you love me

xoxoWinstonEgbert

When Lila Met Stacey Chapter 16: The Wakefield Legacy, the Untold Story

11 Nov

Margo Pike strolled onto the eastern deck of Sweet Valley Country Club on Sunday afternoon, relishing the warm Californian sun on her bare legs. It had been a bold move going out in public as Elizabeth today, but so far it had been worth it. It was her seventeenth birthday, after all, and Bruce was spoiling her rotten! She took a sip of her cosmopolitan and wondered for a second whether anyone in the Pike family had noticed her absence yet. It was getting on for a month, after all. Nah, she thought bitterly, a sardonic sneer momentarily crossing her attractive face. Margo turned her attention back to the court, where Bruce was servng his cousin an absolute walloping. She hoped that word of Bruce’s date with “Elizabeth” would reach Hank’s ears before too long. But he was apparently in Chicago on a business trip for a couple of weeks.

“Jessica! Jess!”

A whiny voice called her attention, and she turned to see a willowy blonde skipping toward her.

Amy Sutton, Margo groaned inwardly. She’d already pegged the girl as a slut from her yearbook shots and her facebook profile.

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Introducing Trusty-Sort-of-Boyfriend-Todd: Sweet Valley Twins #43 Elizabeth’s First Kiss

8 Nov

Between the combover, the mutism and the vacant look on his face, Todd had all the makings of a Liz Wakefield project.

For obvious reasons, I skipped to the last chapter first, knowing that if the kiss happened as promised, Fran-Pasc wouldn’t waste it on the rest of the book. And it happened…kind of. Although it was more of a peck on the cheek and less of a salty-french-fried-chocolate-millshake-makeout. They are twelve, after all. And he is only her sort-of-boyfriend. So after plowing through all the ocean-eyed-sunstreaked-haired-same-but-different mantra, I discovered that this book is pretty much a toned down version of Double Love [i.e. The twins fight over Todd, but Jessica doesn’t accuse him of sexual assault.]

Jessica has the hots for Todd, or at least the idea of Todd, and because all the Unicorns are getting sort-of-boyfriends, she needs one too. Only strangely, whenever Todd is around her, all he wants to do is talk about Liz, because THAT’S ALL ANYONE DOES IN SWEET VALLEY.

I quite like Liz in this book [SHAME!] – she actually seems like a real 12-year-old noticing boys for the first time. In true Liz fashion, she overanalyzes everything that Todd says and does, which reminds me of myself until oh, about four years ago. And I am in my 20s. For instance, she and Toddles have an awkward conversation about bowling in which she admits how clumsy she is, and then she proceeds to beat herself up for the next week for so stupidly offending him. Then, when Jessica asks her to go bowling she wonders if Todd will think she’s going because of him, but then if she stays home Jess will get a crack at TBT and BLAH BLAH BLAH. I still hate Liz, but maybe that means I hate myself.

As is the case in Double Love, Jessica pursues Todd with vigor, and Liz lets her get away with it, because she is a doormat. Without confessing who her crush is, Liz asks Jess for dating advice, and of course gets the solution to all relationship woes, a makeover, from her twin. Please note Jessica hasn’t been kissed yet, which surprises me. So Liz rocks up at SVMS decked out in purple and with her hair curled, and because Lila is a bitch [who I love] she sends a rumour around that Liz is looking for a boyfriend. So everyone from me to Randy Mason chases after her, even though it’s TBT she wants. [Trusty Boyfriend Todd? Trusty sort-of-boyfriend Todd? TSOBT?]

Anyway – eventually the whole gang decides to go to the bowling alley, and TSOBT only agrees to go with Jess because Elizabeth will be there too. Todd, you are waaaaay simple.

And you have an extraordinarily long neck

Luckily, Jessica ditches him for Aaron Dallas, so he is free to go off and hold hands with Liz and deliver the timely peck. What would have been awesome is if, when they were bowling, Liz did something clumsy and Todd fell for her in spite of it. But no, we are in Sweet Valley, so instead we get this scene:

“If I bowl a strike,” said Elizabeth, “it’ll be the first one in my whole life.”
“There’s a first time for everything,” Julie reminded her. “Come on, we want to win!”
Elizabeth stepped back, took two running steps, and threw the ball. To her enormous surprise, it went straight down the middle of the lane and smashed into the pins. Every single one of them crashed to the floor.
“A strike!” Amy yelled, jumping up and down. “I knew you could do it! Now we’re ahead!”
“Hey,” Todd said admiringly, “that was pretty good.”

Screw you, Liz. On the night of my first pash, I tripped over the bloody sound equipment at the school dance and the plastics laughed in my face. So screw you.

While all this is transpiring, [maybe bad things happen to me because I use words like ‘transpiring’] Steven is two-timing a sporty feminist chick called Lindsay [who I dig], and an flirtatious, vapid airhead called Candace [who I do not.] I liked Steven waaaay more in SVT, when he didn’t fawn over his sisters and mope after much-younger girls and dead people. He totally strings both girls along, then has to ditch Candace at the bowling alley and break her little heart. Go Steve! The only thing I dislike is that he asks Liz for relationship advice.

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