Archive | December, 2010

The One Where Margo Drops The Ball – SVH #100 “The Evil Twin”

29 Dec

Yesterday, someone arrived at this website using the search terms, “Margo’s Carvery”. I kid you not.

Part 1: The Book

This epic Magna Edition marks not only the end of the jungle prom/ dead boyfriend/ doppleganger six-book saga, but heralds the beginning of a new-look Sweet Valley . Gone are our shoulder patting, fluffy-haired, O-mouthed circle covers; moreover, one-book plots starring random misfit characters whom Elizabeth can rescue are a thing of the past. Instead, we have 100-odd books with increasingly ridonkulous plots drawn out over “miniseries”, starring werewolves, monarchs, vampires, and the odd face-transplanter. Liz cheats on Todd at least once per story arc, and Jessica morphs into an even more caricatured version of herself.

Our story begins with the twins fretting in front of their respective mirrors, on the final day of school before another Christmas vacation. There are no mentions of previous “annual” traditions including the Miss Christmastime parade and Handel’s Messiah.

Continue reading

Advertisements

When Lila Met Stacey Chapter 21: “The Evil Twins”

23 Dec

It is with just a hint of sadness that I close the curtain on “When Lila Met Stacey”, a labour of love that has occupied the best part of the past four months.  And what more fitting way to go out than with a Christmas-themed Magna Edition on my favourite day of year.

When you get to the end of this chapter, you will understand why there is nowhere else for us to go. [Then again, this is Sweet Valley, where even carotid artery lacerations and falling fridges don’t equate to fatality….just a thought]

Maybe it will get published in the Oracle someday. Or, if I’m super lucky, the Sweet Valley Tribune. Merry Christmas, or should I say, Happy Horrordays

THE EVIL TWINS

“Steven? Can you zip me?” Twenty-six year old Jessica Wakefield called to her handsome brother as she painted on one final layer of mascara. She stepped back from the mirror to gauge the full effect, admiring the way her pink ballgown showed off her athletic, sized-six figure.

Steven hurried into the bathroom shared by his younger twin sisters, and let out a long, low whistle. “You look amazing, Jess,” he whispered, bending his muscular body over the garment.

“Are you ready?” It was Elizabeth, from her bedroom. “It’s almost seven.”

Jessica turned to Steven and rolled her eyes. Ten years on and still Elizabeth didn’t understand the concept of fashionable lateness. Jessica, meanwhile, never wore a wristwatch and believed that no party started until she’d arrived. However, Lila had sent her a “hurry up” text half an hour ago – apparently Nicholas Morrow had bailed. Jessica could only assume he was still grieving over Stacey McGill’s untimely death, which had been almost an entire week ago!

Jessica met her twin on the stairs with a grin. They were dressed the same tonight – although Jessica knew that being exactly one pound lighter, she had the edge.

“Take those barrettes out,” Jessica ordered. “We’re supposed to be identical – it’s cuter.”

Elizabeth reluctantly obliged and smoothed the hem of her magenta skirt.

“Ben! Sam!” she bellowed at their dates, who were seated patiently downstairs.

“Fire up the jeep!”

As the twins descended the stairs, a faint rumble of thunder sounded across the Californian sky. An involuntary shudder wracked Jessica’s slim body, and she stole a glance at her twin. Elizabeth met her gaze, her blue-green eyes widened in fear. Jessica clutched a hand to her heart as the conniption washed over her, trying to ignore the growing premonition that she would be lucky to escape this Christmas alive.

Continue reading

When Lila Met Stacey Chapter 20: “Special Christmas” or “The Baby-Sitter’s Christmas Vacation.”

17 Dec

Let the Church bells sound for the penultimate chapter of “When Lila Met Stacey”

“Hold still!” 17-year-old Margo Pike barked at her boyfriend Bruce Patman as she fiddled with the lapels of his jacket. It was Christmas morning and the couple was preparing for a traditional breakfast feast with Bruce’s family.

Bruce pouted and turned front-on to his antique full-length mirror. He looked incredibly studly this morning, thought Margo, a feeling of pride surging through her chest.

“I don’t know about this tie, Margs,” he said critically, squinting his coffee-coloured eyes. “It’s a little too….festive.”

“Well it’s a special occasion,” Margo snapped back. In more ways than one, she added silently.

“Do you have the supplies?” Bruce urged in a hushed tone, as though reading her mind.

Margo turned toward the mahogany dresser and began rifling through the top drawer.

“All present and correct,” she rasped, flinging the items onto Bruce’s four-post bed. The magic jungle prom juice glistened in its crystal vial, and her butchers knife caught the morning light filtering through the window, casting a jovial Christmas glitter across the nightstand.

Margo turned toward the handsome heir. “I’m going to need your utmost concentration, Bruce,” she leveled with him, her aqua eyes piercing his own with a steely gaze.

“Forget about Alice boning your Dad, forget Amy Slutton and Stacey McGill. All that matters now is that on the stroke of midnight, our diabolical plan succeeds and I become–”

“Elizabeth Wakefield.” He finished for her. “And then we can talk about the threesome with Jessica?”

“And then we can have an orgy with the entire fucking babysitters club,” she confirmed.

“Merry Christmas, Elizabeth,” Bruce whispered.

“Merry Christmas Bruce,” Margo rasped.

* * *

Continue reading

My Christmas Wish: Sweet Valley Twins Special Edition “A Christmas Without Elizabeth”

13 Dec

I am totally digging this cover. For starters, there’s a shot of a woe-begone Liz with all her hair chopped off, sporting a fugly and completely unflattering red ensemble. But that has nothing on the title, nor the by-line: ““What If Elizabeth Had Never Been Born?” Oh, what if! Please, ghostwriters, make my day –

The first part of the book is actually rather likeable. Jessica had been elected head of the SVMS party planning committee, and like Angela of “The Office” fame, the power is going to her head. She has a kitty of $186 to spend, once she’s come up with a knockout theme to impress all the boys she’s after. Liz, meanwhile, is helping at the homeless shelter, and she befriends a poor family called the Glasses, whom she can pity and shoulder pat whenever she likes. The volunteer work is so all-consuming that she is blowing off TBT, Amy, homework and even the Sixers. She steals the $186 and gives it to Mrs Glass to put a down-payment on a rental property. Because they are poor, I fear it may be a place on the Wrong Side Of The Tracks, possibly near The Shady Lady or The Martins. Mr Glass is “working away” and uncontactable, and without the money for a week’s rent, the family are evicted. That night, Jessica figures out that her twin stole the money, and Elizabeth is the subject of everyone’s anger from the Glass kids to the Unicorns. And so she bawls, and feels sorry for herself and wishes that she had never been born… [If Only].

That was the first part of the book. The good bit. From here on in, Liz is taken around town by a spectre, whose sole purpose is to visit Liz and prove how wonderful she is and how the universe wouldn’t function without her. The angel, however, is fairly shrewd, making this observation about St Liz:

“Personality Problems Profile. Elizabeth can be very self critical. She takes on more responsibility than is age-appropriate. She can be stubborn and exhibits a tendency towards self-righteousness. She is a major goody-goody.”

She then takes Liz for a spin around the Valley, “A Christmas Carol” style, showing all the things that would’ve happened had Elizabeth never been born:

#1 Without Liz, Sophia Rizzo is a social pariah, and her brother ends up in reform school because he got in so many fights defending her.

#2 Sophia’s mom and Sarah Thomas’ dad never get married.

#3 Sarah Thomas is dead. [Apparently without Liz, she would have died from falling down a flight of stairs.]

Dear God.

#4 Denny Jacobsen is dead. Without St Liz, there was no-one to rescue him when a monster wave hit and his surfboard whacked him on the head.

I’m starting to see a pattern here.

#5 Brooke Dennis a social outcast. [Maybe a leper?]

#6 Mary Giaccio/Wallace is still in foster care and has mousy, limp hair.

#7 TBT is miserable and boring without the love of his life and stays at home playing video games all day [so really, nothing’s changed.]

#8 Amy and Winston are not on the Booster’s cheer-squad. OK, I read Booster Boycott, and Liz had nothing to do with me being on that squad, dammit!

#9 I get beaten up by Jerry McAllister and Charlie Cashman. [Would’ve liked to see Liz stopping that one. ]

#10 The Unicorns are called the Sharks and they smoke actual cigarettes! OMG!

Enough, spirit, enough! Show me no more!

#11 Alice is accused of having an affair and Nalice divorces, because there was no St Liz to defend her! [She’s been boning Hank Patman all along, I knew it! If only Liz had covered it up and she could continue her wicked ways….]

#12 Ned is a divorced alcoholic who hangs out at Kelly’s.

#13 Steven has a tattoo, an earring and a ponytail. He is also in the hood. This is what happens as a direct result of a divorce in Sweet Valley. And the divorce is a direct result of Elizabeth never having been born.

Here’s an excerpt of the Wakefields, sans Liz:

Mrs Wakefield ran out the door after him. “Will you at least be home to open gifts tomorrow morning?”

Steven stopped in midstride halfway across the lawn. “Did you get me that CD player I want?”

“Steven, you know we don’t have that kind of money –“

“Then the answer’s no.”

 

#14 Without Liz, Jessica is ugly and unpopular. When the Sharks come round pretending to be her friend, she jumps at the chance. They then force her to scale City Hall and remove the star from the top, and she falls to her death.

It is now that Elizabeth realizes she is crucial to everyone’s livelihood, and agrees to go back to the real world.

When she “wakes up”, she’s at the SVMS Christmas party, as the guest of honour. A guest of honour? At a fucking Christmas party? With all this miracle work, she’s practically Jesus Christ, so why am I not surprised?

Everyone is gushing over her, and the crowd cheers every time she opens her mouth. Then the friggen Glasses turn up with good news – they’ve moved into an even better apartment! In the space of one day! Even Mr Glass is there, which is surprising because I was beginning to think he might be George…

The moral of the story – Elizabeth Wakefield is central to the functioning of Sweet Valley, to California and to the entire solar system. Can I have the past two hours of my life back? Please? Francine, if you’re reading this: “A Christmas Without Elizabeth” is the perfect title for a spin-off series, where Margo finally has her way….Just a thought.

***

As many of you know, I am a major Sweet Valley nut. But above and beyond that, I am a Christmas dork. I freaking love Christmas. I turn into this corny, Catholic, caroling version of myself. So this year, I decided to put a Sweet Valley spin on my Christmas decorations. The Evil Twin scene from last week is in the living room. And this is what became of my book collection:

Christmas Isn’t Christmas Without A Car Crash or Sweet Valley High Super Edition #2 “SPECIAL CHRISTMAS”

9 Dec

This book seemed so nuts to me, even as a twelve year old. It’s not because Elizabeth has a casual bottle of champers, or ‘cause Todd starts hooking up with her nemesis, Suzanne Devlin [duh, Toddster]. No, it’s because of the insane plot twist where Suzanne is diagnosed, then undiagnosed of multiple sclerosis, with a full neurological recovery in the space of a Christmas break. Between Suzie and Mike McAllery, we could write the fucking Christmas Edition of any medical journal. Or Woman’s Day.

Cover courtesy of ShannonSweetValley

Continue reading

When Lila Met Stacey, Chapter 19: MAGNA EDITION “GOODBYE STACEY, GOODBYE”

5 Dec

The soulful drone of a church organ filled the massive cathedral, a somber reminder that Christmas Eve was devoid of its cheer this time around. 25-year-old Claudia Kishi felt a tear roll down her alabaster cheek as the mahogany coffin came into view. Her best friend, Stacey McGill, had been brutally knifed in Jessica Wakefield’s apartment just two nights before. For the life of her, Claudia still couldn’t believe who – or what – could commit such an evil crime. Stacey was one of the most awesome girls who’d ever lived: She was queen of Stoneybrook Middle School, a doting babysitter, and a mathematical genius. The flock of Stoneyrbookites who’d turned out was a testimony to that fact. To her right was the entire Pike family: Mallory was casting a withering glare at Jessica Wakefield and her current squeeze, Ben Hobart. Mrs Pike was doing some sort of head count among her offspring, and gnawing on her bottom lip as though something were amiss. Come to think of it, Margo wasn’t in attendance, Claudia noticed absently. Kristy Thomas, Bart Taylor, Dawn Schafer, and Logan Bruno were propping up a heavily pregnant Mary-Anne Spier in the seat adjacent.

“Who’s that?” Lila Fowler, who was standing next to her in the pew, pointed at an attractive African-American twenty-something.

“That’s Jessi Ramsey,” Claudia responded. “Did you know, Jessi is black?”

“No shit, Sherlock,” Lila muttered drily, rolling her eyes.

A few rows along, Charlotte Johannsen was draped over Steven Wakefield, and Shannon Kilbourne was filling the gap beside them. Directly in front of them was a whole row of ex-sitting charges: Hayley and Matt Braddock, Buddy, Marnie and Suzie Barrett, Amanda and Max Delaney, the Perkins, the Arnold twins, and even Jenny Prezzioso.

Richard Spier and Watson Brewer filed in with their wives, and Karen Brewer slowly and purposefully sauntered in after them, pausing to kneel beside the altar. Claudia resisted a giggle – her former sitting charge and Kristy’s step-sister was wearing a long black velvet gown and a matching veil with a wire fascinator. Trust Karen Brewer to treat today like a fucking wedding. Claudia watched on as Karen gracefully slipped into a seat beside her brothers – Andrew Brewer was throwing spitballs at David Michael, and Charlie was snoozing. Jade let out a cry from her pram and Claudia bent down, stuffing a gummi bear in her mouth to silence her.

She averted her gaze to the elaborate ceiling, and in every wooden carving she saw a memory of Stacey – the fun, the fights, everything from kid-kits to diabetic comas to holidays at Camp Mowhawk and Shadow Lake. The memories were all that remained – Stacey McGill was no more.

MORE:

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: