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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Lovestruck #27

Ken looks like a 40-year-old porn star on this cover. He also has an ape-like quality to him in this picture, and appears to want to be anywhere but with Suzanne. Suzanne is super pretty, even though she has a soccer mom hair cut going on.

*Possible unpopular opinion*.......I liked Suzanne. She's supposed to be snobby and horrible, but you know what? She's a lot less snotty than the twins. She's elegant, poised and cultured. She speaks French, knows which utensils to use at a fancy dinner, and loves old movies and classical music. Suzanne is the woman I wish I could be. Yes, I am jealous of a fictional sixteen year old. God help me.

Ok, let me stop raving about Suzanne and begin the recap of this award-winning novel. Ken is an all-star football player, and has been a back ground character for much of the series. It turns out that he's actually a likeable guy (at least compared to many of the other SVH guys. Todd, Nicolas, I'm talkin' bout you).

As was mentioned at the end of my last recap, Ken is failing English and it might keep him from playing in the big game!!!!!!! Apparently the team has zero chance of winning without Ken, which doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Can one team member really carry the whole team like that? Seriously? I don't watch sports so I have no clue how this works. Guess the SVH football team kinda sucks, huh?

I'm freaking out you guys! The game comes right before Sweet Valley's Centennial celebration, and if they lose it'll put a big damper on everything! Personally, I'm more concerned about the fact that Jessica Wakefield is in charge of planning the party. Who put a irresponsible teen girl in charge of a town's hundred year anniversary party? Isn't this something that a group of adults should be doing? Me and my logic.

Jessica is left to plan the party completely by herself when Lila ditches her to go shopping in New York ( I would have done the same). But she seems to be doing okay. She even got Liz and Ken to man the kissing booths.

Wait..kissing booths? I had to stop and google "do kissing booths exist". Apparently they did about 30 years ago, but now people are too worried about catching herpes. Guess that makes sense.

But no one in Sweet Valley would have herpes (especially since no one has sex), so bring on the kissing booths!

We hear a lot about how Suzanne and Ken are just SOOOO wrong for each other. Ken pretends to be interested in Mozart and foreign films, so Suzanne draws the conclusion that he likes that stuff. Sounds pretty damn reasonable. It's also reasonable that Suzanne would think that Ken isn't really into football, since he never tells her how much it means to him. Yet Suzanne is made out to be the bad guy here, as if she's supposed to read his mind. Wtf? Alright, so they're not made for each other. The miscommunication is Ken's fault...he's the one pretending to be something he's not. Maybe Ken isn't so likeable.

But back to Ken's school problem. Creepy Mr. Collins (remember him?) is giving Ken one more chance to pull up his English grade. If Ken can write a good short story, than his grade will go up and he can play football. Town busybody Elizabeth generously offers to help him out (because she's such a talented writer) and even gives Ken one of her private short stories. She's "funny" about her stories and has never shown it to anyone else. Ken must feel so privileged. He tries in vain to write his own story, but keeps getting distracted by Suzanne (who has NO idea that he's failing English. Some relationship! He doesn't tell her anything).

In the midst of all this crap, Liz, Ken and Suzanne go to some poetry reading that Suzanne put together (I swear Suzanne is so classy and awesome. Totally fangirling over here!). Liz makes fun of the poets, thinking, " She knew how much the poem must have meant to the girl, but it just seemed silly". Yeah. But when Liz reads her ahhhhhmazing poem about her mom, the rooms goes silent and everyone is so impressed. I want to reach in the book and strangle her.

The big day rolls around, and the paper is due. Ken accepts an F and doesn't play in the big game. Life goes on.

LOL nah. Actually, Ken puts his name on Liz's short story and turns it in. The story is so great that Mr. Collins wants to print it in the Oracle for the big centennial issue. Of course Liz wrote the greatest story ever told. Bleh. Liz is proud of Ken...until she realizes that the story is hers. Oops.
Liz confronts Ken, and like the doormat she is, she doesn't tell anyone that the story is really hers. After confronting Ken, she feels sorry for him, and hopes that he'll turn himself in.


In real life, Ken would never turn himself in. But this is Sweet he does. Ken writes a story about how he stole Liz's story and tells Liz to put that in the Oracle. It's basically a public confession to the whole school. He gets called into the principle's office, and admits that he stole Liz's story and blah blah blah. He should get in HUGE trouble because plagiarism is a really big deal.

Well he should, but he doesn't. Surprised? Didn't think so. Principle Cooper and super creep Collins are so impressed by Ken's "bravery", that they agree to give him a C for his story and ignore the whole cheating thing. Amazing. I should have been an all-star football player. Actually, I should have gone to Sweet Valley High.

Suzanne still has some common sense left and breaks up with him. She's the only one who calls him what he is, a thief! I'm liking her more and more.
This knocks Ken into reality, and he wonders how the football team is gonna feel about him now.
The football team congratulates him on his amazing bravery, and fellow player Scott Trost calls him a "special person". Gag. Like a group of teenage boys would really act like that? Don't mind me, I'm just bitter.

Suzanne tries to get Ken back after he wins the big game, and he calls her a "bore". Ooooh snap. 
The big centennial party is a huge hit, despite the fact that Jessica serves everyone sandwiches and chips. They raise a ton of money for some charity or something and everyone's happy.

From what I remember, Suzanne doesn't appear much in the series after this. 'Sobs'. But I won't be sad for too long, because the next book is one of my FAVORITES!! It's all about outcast Lynne Henry and it's one of the best SVH books out there. That's not an opinion, it's a fact.

Soooo what's the moral? Don't pretend to be someone else for a girlfriend/boyfriend. Don't steal someone else's story (unless you're a football player). And if someone steals your story, just sit back and wait for them to turn themselves in. I can't wait to apply these lessons to my own life!

Friday, April 25, 2014

#26 Hostage!

Another book with an exclamation point in the title! We all know what that exclamation point means-this book is gonna be packed with action and adventure. I'm dying of excitement. Truly.

Let's begin with the festive cover. It appears that Regina is being held hostage. It took me a few hours of careful study to come to this conclusion, but I'm pretty sure that's what's going on. I bet you can't guess who's going to come to Regina's rescue (hint: her name starts with an Eliz and ends with abeth).

For those of you who aren't in the SVH loop, Regina Morrow is the beautiful (but NOT as beautiful as the Wakefields-and don't you forget it!) deaf girl who's dating Bruce Patman. Bruce used to be a class A jerkwad and date rapist extraordinaire, but Regina's love changed him.

 Regina is supposed to be in Switzerland undergoing a "special treatment" to restore her hearing-but wait-she's back in Sweet Valley! Random character Eddie Strong was making a delivery to her home and he saw her. Per usual, Eddie told our dear Elizabeth that he saw Regina (No one can breathe in this town without telling Liz about it). Liz wonders why Regina hasn't contacted her, and when she learns that Bruce hasn't heard from her either, she gets worried.

Bruce and Liz try to go see Regina, but a mean looking lady answers the door. She claims to be Regina's aunt and refuses to let them see Regina. According to Bruce, neither of Regina's parents have something's not right. Good old Liz actually does the reasonable thing and contacts the police. Jessica thinks Liz is overreacting-until the cops call back and say that they didn't find anything suspicious. Then suddenly Jessica decides that Liz is right, something suspicious is going on! And who better to solve the case than the Wakefield twins (and Bruce)?

Thankfully, we don't have to wait for the twins and Bruce to find out what's going on.
Cut to Regina. She's scared, and yes, she's being held Hostage! Apparently Regina's dad has been working for years on some computer chip prototype thingy and it's worth tons of cash. A "mean looking" man and a woman named Claire want that prototype, and have a pretty solid plan to get it. They tricked Regina into going to the airport, and kidnapped her from there. They're going to force her dad to call the plant manager and tell him to give the chip to Regina. Brother Nicholas is visiting someone in San Francisco and has no idea that anything weird is going on. I'm not clear on why they didn't kidnap him too. He is annoying as hell though, so maybe that's why.

Once they get the chip...well I guess they'll sell it? Would that work though..I mean if they let the family go wouldn't the dad press charges...or something? Wouldn't there be a very small selection of companies/people to sell a computer chip to? The average person isn't gonna pay big bucks for some prototype. It's not like you can pawn something like that. Maybe this plan isn't all that solid. And maybe I'm just wayyy over thinking this.

Our group of amateur detectives come up with a plan to contact Regina. Bruce disguises himself as a delivery boy for groceries, or something, and they put a note to Regina inside of a magazine. Regina thinks "If anyone could save her and her parents, it would be those three". Right. Gotta say, if my life depended on Bruce and the Wakefield twins...well I wouldn't be so optimistic.
 Regina writes back, tossing the letter out the window for them to find. Bruce and the twins sneak out (Well, they don't really sneak out. Bruce's parents are outta town, and the Wakefield parents are too oblivious to notice anything) that night and get the letter.

Regina tells them the whole terrifying story and instructs them not to call the police. Basically she's expecting three high school kids to rescue her entire family from dangerous criminals. No pressure! She mentions that she overheard a phone convo between the two kidnappers, and Claire said "money is heaven". They suspect that it's some kind of code. Mysterious!  They call Nicholas and tell him that he has to get back to Sweet Valley ASAP. Couldn't we just leave Nicholas out of this? Dammit.

Nic and Liz go to the house to spy on Regina's captors or something. How interesting that even in this perilous situation, Nic finds a way to be alone with Liz. He really is obsessed with her. Must be those "California good looks". Gag. He kisses her when one of the kidnappers drives by, so the kidnapper will think they're just a couple making out and not get suspicious. Riiggghht. Uh-huh. I'm on to you, Nic.

Nic recognizes one of the criminals as a man named Phillip Denson. He doesn't say much about Phil except "that guy's a mess". I guess that's one way to describe a kidnapper/thief. After a little more sleuthing, we find out that Regina's parents are being held at Phil's house. The Morrow's are understandably scared and angry. Skye Morrow (I've always wanted a cool name like Skye! My parents really dropped the ball on that one.) even describes Phil as "a mean little man with grandiose ideas." I would have stronger words for someone who KIDNAPPED me, but perhaps I'm just dramatic.

Jessica figures out the "money is heaven" code- it's Monday at seven! Meaning that the whole using Regina to pick up the computer chip prototype plan will happen then. Jessica credits her mystery solving skills to reading a lot of mystery novels. So if I read enough Nancy Drew, I can achieve my dream of being a private investigator? Yes!

Now they just have to figure out what to do on Monday at seven. Elizabeth's plan is for Bruce and Jessica to go to Phil's house and rescue the Morrows at seven, since Claire will be at the plant with Regina getting the chip. Liz and Nic will go to the plant (funny how Nic and Elizabeth always end up alone together in these plans) and Liz will distract Claire while Nic calls the police. I must admit, it's a better plan than I could come up with. The second I found out my friend was being held hostage, I'd probably just freak out and cry like a two year old. I'm not so good in emergency situations...

One problem with the plan-they don't know where Phil will be during all of this. I would assume Phil would be waiting outside of the plant, or at his house making sure the Morrows don't escape..I mean duh. Where else would he be at a time like that, clubbing? The beach? Then again..this is SVH. So these things are possible. They decide to have Jessica use her flirting powers to get the info out of Phil's son, Mitch.

Then they all go to the beach and talk about Ken Matthews. It wouldn't be an SVH book without a beach trip and some gossip! Ken is failing English and might get kicked off of the football team because of it. The team needs Ken to win the upcoming big game! Si tragique! 

This is clearly earth shattering news, but we still have the whole hostage thing going let's get back to that, shall we? We finally learn what Phil is going to do when he gets the chip. He apparently has a man in Rio de Janerio who's gonna pay him boatloads of money for it. I'm not going to think too much into this, or I'll get a headache. (It happens every time I try to analyze SVH plots too much. I call it the "SVHeadache." I know, I really should be in medical school.) When Mr. Morrow asks what Phil's planning to do to them after he gets the chip, he advises them not to worry about it. Well, that's reassuring.

Jessica goes to Phil's place and flirts with Mitch, telling him that she's coming over Monday night. Mitch hesitates, but ultimately, Jessica's hot blonde flirting powers are too much for him to resist.

Jessica shows up that night with Bruce is waiting in the car nearby, ready to ambush the Phil and save the Morrows. Things don't go quite as planned, and before we know it, Phil is pointing his gun at Bruce, Jessica and the Morrows. Oops! Mitch, presumably driven by his lust for Jessica, lunges at his dad and knocks the gun out of his hands. The four of them escape to the car and rush to the plant, where Liz and Nicholas are waiting for Regina and Claire to come out.

Once they come out, Elizabeth desperately tries to distract Claire while Nic calls the cops. Before the police can get there, Jessica, Bruce, the Morrows and Phil all show up. Party time! Except not really, 'cause Phil is furious and ready to kill everyone. But not before he tells us why he's so angry with the Morrows! Five years ago, Kurt Morrow had Phil arrested for stealing from the company. Phil went to jail, lost his wife, and couldn't get another job. Like most people in this situation, Phil realized the most reasonable thing to do was to hold his ex-boss's family hostage and steal a valuable computer chip.

Phil intends to kill the everyone and run off with Claire and the chip, but the time he took to tell his sob story was just long enough for the cops to get there and arrest him. Everyone is saved and I'm just so relieved! They celebrate by picking up pizzas at Guido's and planning a party. Is that what real people do after a traumatic event like that? If I had just gone through all of that, I would need a strong drink, not a damn pizza.

At the party, we get a little intro into the next book Lovestruck. Basically Ken is dating some snotty chick named Suzanne (no, not this Suzanne) and she doesn't care about his budding football career. They're totally mismatched and for some reason this is the entire school's business. Can't wait to read alllllll about it!

So, you ask, what is the moral of this story? If you fire an employee for embezzling, watch your back. He might kidnap you and your family. But if you are kidnapped, don't get the cops involved, get some high schoolers to save you.

Seems legit!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

#25 Nowhere to run

So I STILL don't have book #24, Memories. I thought I'd wait until I got it...then I got distracted by moving, new job etc. By the way, my brother saw my SVH collection when he was helping me move and he looked at me like I had brain damage. Which I probably do. But screw that, I miss this ridiculous blog! So, on to #25, Nowhere to Run. Don't be fooled by the dramatic title, this book is not all that thrilling.

On the cover we have Emily looking distraught and Saint Liz comforting her. So creative. I don't blame the artist. Not their fault that nearly every book involves Elizabeth comforting/counseling/patronizing someone. Emily is also wayyyy prettier than Liz. Funny how the other characters are often better looking than the legendary Wakefields on the covers.

Naturally the book starts off with the obligatory description of the Wakefield (gorgeous, heart-shaped faces, shiny blond hair yadda yadda yadda). Jessica is described as being on "Jessica Standard Time" which is a cutesy way of saying that she's chronically late to everything and too selfish too care about how that may inconvenience others. People that are always late drive me freaking nuts. Annoying.

The Wakefield grandparents are coming to town, and the twins are super stoked. (Yeah I just used the word stoked. I'm bringin' it back.) While Jessica is gushing over the upcoming grandparent visit, Liz is distracted by Droid's drummer Emily Mayer, who appears to be upset. It's like Elizabeth has a radar for people in distress. Someone is having a problem? I MUST MEDDLE! Em and Droids singer Dana are discussing the baby that Em's step mom just had. Dana thinks it must be fun having a new baby around the house, Emily (and me) disagree. Emily makes a dramatic exit, yelling about how her step mom Karen wants to get rid of her and how she won't let that happen. Liz furrows her brow and acts concerned.

Emily isn't being dramatic-Karen really is out to get her. Ever since she had baby Karrie (don't you love the K theme? Is this where Kris Kardashian got the idea?) she's been threatening to send Emily to boarding school. She's convinced Em's dad that the Droids are too wild (HAHAHAHA) and a bad influence. She's a real-life evil stepmother!

Emily joins the school newspaper to make Karen happy, and ends up pouring her heart out to Liz. Elizabeth does her typical concerned routine and it's all very touching. Yawn. Emily bores me. Liz bores me. I'm bored.

So on to the Wakefield grandparents visit! Grandpa and Grandma Wakefield are charming and perfect..and mama Alice is jealous. Yes, Alice is jealous of the attention her in-laws are getting from the twins. She dramatically tells Ned that she must have been neglecting the twins and that she feels like she's "lost touch" with them. Was she ever in touch with them? Even in the SVKids and Twins books, she wasn't paying much attention to them. The whole thing is stupid. (I don't like this it obvious yet?)

Meanwhile, in Emily-land, Evil Karen is forcing Em to babysit and treating her like an indentured servant. Emily's dad seems to be totally oblivious. The one bright spot in Emily's dreary existence is her blossoming friendship/romance with Droids drummer Dan. I don't think band members dating is a good idea, but hey, I'm freakin' tone deaf so what do I know about these things. ('sobs' I'll NEVER get to be in the Droids! So many crushed dreams.)

Before I go further let me mention that Emily's mom is not dead-that's just what she tells everyone. Truth is, her mom ran off with some other guy. You don't want news like that to get around Sweet Valley- cheating is only okay if you're Jessica Wakefield.

Emily invites Dan over to show him her new drum something or other, and Karen flies off the handle. Psycho Karen screams at her and even calls her a "tramp just like her mother". Dayum. It's super awkward for Dan and he leaves. What's the first thing Emily does after this embarrassing scene? Uh-huh..she calls Elizabeth. Never saw that coming. She goes to the Wakefield home and is comforted by Grandma Wakefield, who is actually pretty likeable. A likeable Wakefield? I must be getting soft in my old age.

Em tries to talk with her dad, who refuses to believe that he married a two-faced monster. She avoids Dan and Dan confides in-barf- Elizabeth. Not a close friend, nope, of course not. Liz should really just open a counseling office at the school. I don't recall SVH having a school counselor...maybe they just figure Liz already does it, so why bother? Liz gives her typical vague, useless advice.

The poor girl is so distraught that she decides to sell her drums, hoping that it will placate Super Bitch Karen. Dan buys the drums "for a friend", because he knows she's gonna regret selling them. Aw that's sweet. I'm actually not being sarcastic.

The major dramatic event of this seemingly never-ending book is when Emily saves baby Karrie from choking. Karrie chokes, Karen starts to lose it, Em slaps her to snap her out of it and performs the Heimlich maneuver on Karrie. Em's dad walks in and sees Karen sobbing and holding the baby, and assumes that Emily tried to hurt Karrie. He acts completely unreasonable and kicks Emily out. I'm starting to understand why Emily's mom ran off with another guy.

Speaking of her mom, Emily is at her wit's end and starts planning to take a bus to Chicago and live with her mother. The plan falls apart when Emily discovers that her mom ran off to Mexico with some guy awhile ago and never bothered to tell her. More boring stuff happens. Emily ends up at the Wakefield home again. Krazy Karen and Em's dad go there to talk to her, and everything is sorted out. They apologize to Emily and they all reunite right there at the magical Wakefield residence. Dan surprises Emily with her drums, and they admit to liking each other, I guess. I wasn't really paying attention.

Throughout this engaging novel there's some more crap about how Alice is jelly over all of the attention grandpa and grandma are getting. Dumb. The twins pick up on this and have a special dinner or something to soothe Alice's hurt feelings. Once again, dumb.

Thank God this book is over. I already know the next book is gonna be much better because it involves Regina and a cray cray hostage situation! Bring it on!

Moral of this lame story? Don't save your baby half-sister from choking because your dad will blame you. Don't be too nice to your grandparents, cause' your mom will get jealous. Don't sell your drum set!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sweet Valley Saga: The Fowlers of Sweet Valley

I don't have book #24 Memories( yet) so this is the perfect excuse to recap another Sweet Valley Saga!! This is the best SVS, in my opinion (and as a Sweet valley expert, you should trust my opinion). How could it not be the best? It's all about Lila! Well, the ancestors of Lila.

I used to love this cover so much when I was a kid. Okay, I still love it. It's so dramatic and pretty! The women on the panel appear to be (in order from top to bottom) Lili, Rose, Isabelle (or Grace? I never was sure who that was supposed to be) annnnnd LILA! When you open the cover, you see Celeste and Marc kissing, and later welcoming a baby into the world. There's Lili about to have her head cut off by angry peasants, and something else is happening in the upper left corner, but that stupid bar code blocks it. I will always resent that damn bar code.

This SVS starts off the way a Fowler Saga should-with a snobby, rich girl ordering her maid around.
 The snobby girl is none other than Lili de Beautemps, the french 1789 version of Lila. Lili's maid, Marie Oiseleur is helping her get ready for her debutante ball (I've always wanted to have a debutante ball! Is it too late to have one at 25?).

Marie doubles as Lili's childhood best friend, and her family has been working for the Beautemps for generations. Like our lovely Lila, Lili's mother is not in her life. She died when Lili was a child, and now it's just Lili and her brothers. Lili is, of course, the most beautiful girl at her ball, and she even gets to dance with the prince! Sigh, Lili is living my dream.

But not for long! History fans already know that 1789 was the start of a little thing called the French Revolution. Marie and her brother, Georges both attempt to warn Lili and tell her to leave before it's too late. Lili shrugs off their warnings and is caught by surprise when a group of angry peasants storms her home and imprisons her family. The mob than takes them to the guillotine and beheads Lili's brother and father. Before they can chop off Lili's head, Georges arrives on horseback and saves her. Romantic! Why can't a cute french guy show up on a horse and save me from the guillotine? Some girls get all the luck.

Lili's luck doesn't last long. Georges drops her off in near a small town and tells her that he can't stay with her, They gaze into one another's eyes and realize that they're in love. But alas, Georges needs to get back to revolting, and Lili has to begin a new life.

Fast forward to 1792, and Lili is a dressmaker living in a rented basement. Lili runs into an old family friend, Madame Fouchette, and is invited to a fancy rich people party. One problem...Lili's not rich anymore! But thanks to Lili's lies (she tells everyone that she's living with a well-off Aunt and Uncle) no one has to know that. At the party, Lili meets the dashing Count Matthieu Bizac.

After a few months of dating (and Lili borrowing tons of money from her BFF Babette) the charming Count proposes. They honeymoon in Italy and it's all tres romantique. But, once again Lili's luck runs out. The Count abandons her, leaving her at a hotel! Lili searches high and low, but Matthieu is gone for good. She finally goes to Madame Fouchette, who tells her that Matthieu is already married, and whatever ceremony he had with Lili was a fraud. Apparently he's done this to other women, and will probably do it again.

 So, no one decided to let Lili in on this before they got "married"? That's pretty effed up.
Even though they were never married, they "lived as man and wife" and Lili is now pregnant.

Embarrassed, Lili  refuses to go back to her old friends (Did she ever pay Babette back? I've always wanted to know, for some reason) or old job. Pregnant and alone, poor Lili struggles just to eat everyday, until the friendly Marie Chardin begins bringing her food. Marie and her husband own the boulangerie, which according to Google, is a French bakery. Things seem to be looking up for Lili, until she dies in childbirth. Before she dies, Lili names the baby Celeste and asks Marie to raise her. Lili's life was pretty damn depressing! I need a Prozac after reading that.

Hey, whatever happened to Georges, you ask?  If you're like me, you forgot all about him.
Well, Georges has been busy thriving while Lili was struggling, and is now a rich landowner. He has the property deed for Lili's old family estate and has made it his life's mission to return the estate to Lili, and marry her. In his searches, Georges finds out about Lili's fake marriage, resulting pregnancy, and death. Distraught, he vows to find Lili's child and give them their rightful inheritance.

1809. It's Celeste's 16th birthday, and she celebrates with her adoptive family, the Chardins. The book makes it clear that Celeste is incredibly beautiful "Physically, she was like a swan among more humble fowl". Nice.

Celeste won't be hanging around the "humble fowl" for much longer. She's off to work as a maid for the snotty Lafitte family and their even snottier daughter, Emilie. Emilie is a royal bitch, and just reading about her annoyed me. She even has a bell that she rings whenever she wants Celeste's help. And I thought kids today were spoiled! Her mom and dad aren't a whole lot better.

But guess who's friends with the Lafittes? Georges, of course! What a total coincidence! Even more coincidental, Georges spots Celeste and senses that there's something special about her. He begins anonymously giving her gifts and paying Emilie's tutor, Solange, to educate her. Celeste can't believe her luck, and wonders who her benefactor is.

It's been about 20 pages without any mention of romance, and that is unacceptable in a Sweet Valley book! Time for a love story! Emilie's brother Marc has been away at school, and when he returns he falls in love with none other than Celeste. They makeout a whole lot, and fall in luv. But their love can never be. The Lafittes would disown Marc if he married a servant girl! Marc doesn't care, and asks Celeste to marry him anyway. He wants to give up his inheritance and run away with her! SO ROMANTIC. It's clear that I need to move to 1800's era France. All I need is a plane and a time machine. Let's make it happen!

Celeste spoils the romantic-ness by refusing to marry Marc. She won't let him give up his fortune for her. Marc is not dissuaded, and tells his parents that he wants to marry Celeste. His parents are scandalized, and throw Celeste out of the house.

As Celeste does the 1800's version of  walk of shame, she comes across Georges, who offers her a ride home. On the way, Georges asks her about her family history and Celeste tells him about her mother's death. Things get super crazy when she shows Georges the picture in her locket, and the pic is of Lili! Celeste is the person Georges has been looking for this whole time! (Why am I so excited? I knew that.)

Celeste is now richer than the Lafitte family, and is cleared to marry Marc. If I were her, I'd want to move far, far away from Marc's awful family!

Skip to 1865. Celeste is a grandma! Her only child Claude and his wife have had a baby and named her Rose. The book reminds us that Celeste is still a great beauty in her old age (We couldn't have an ugly grandma in a Sweet Valley book, now could we?!). Even baby Rose is beautiful, with purple eyes and "flaming red hair" (Do people actually have purple eyes? I only knew one person with purple eyes, and hers were contacts).

It's now 1880 (time flies in Sweet Valley Saga world) and Rose is 15. She's also incredibly annoying. The ghostwriter tries to paint her as spirited and fun, but she's just really annoying.
Did I mention that Rose was my least favorite character in this Saga?

Rose hangs out with her BFF Pierre Oiseleur and I can't see why he'd want to be friends with her. She pushes him into doing mischievous things and throws a tantrum when he tells her that he is leaving for boarding school. Does his last name sound familiar? That's because he's the grandson of Georges, who married Celeste's tutor Solange right around the time Celeste married Marc. Pierre must have really low self-esteem (and terrible taste in women) because he's in love with Rose, who claims to not be interested in marriage (or him) at all.

Everyone from grandma Celeste to Rose's friends to me think that she is secretly in love with Pierre, but Rose refuses to admit it. The ghostwriter tells us over and over again how Rose is different than other girls. She's into politics and books! She's so intellectual and independent!
Barf. We get it.

Time flies again to 1885, and Rose is now 20. She's living on her own and attending college in Paris.
She wear pants (because she's different, remember?) and hangs around with a bunch of artists and "radicals". Pierre warns her about one of these friends, a gentleman named Leo who's known for breaking hearts. Rose declares "If he breaks my heart, so what?"
On the very next page, Rose is at Pierre's doorstep crying over Leo. He was seeing two women behind her back! "So what?" (Can't you feel all of the sympathy I have for Rose? I can't wait until her part of the book is over.)

Poor, deluded Pierre hopes that maybe Rose will see what a good guy he is, and return his love. Rose crushes his dreams and announces that she is swearing off men entirely. Time to move on Pierre, she really isn't that great of a catch.
Pierre finallllllly gets it when he proclaims his love for Rose, and she rejects him. She has doubts about it after, but pushes them out her mind. She's going to show the world what a woman can do without a man!

Jump to 1888, and Rose is heading home to see her parents, who are having a big party for the Oiseleur family. The Oiseleurs have something big to announce!
Rose spends extra time getting ready for the party, because Pierre will be there. Yes folks, Rose has at last admitted to herself that she's in love with Pierre!
Fortunately for Pierre (He seems too nice to get stuck with Rose) Rose's timing stinks. The big announcement is that Pierre is getting married!

Rose is heartbroken, and holds back tears throughout the engagement dinner and wedding. Once again, I have zero sympathy for her. Thankfully we're almost done with Rose, so I'll stop complaining soon. Rose goes on to marry an unfortunate man named Robert Eastman, and they have a child together named Isabelle.

Isabelle (Thank God) is pretty much the opposite of Rose. We don't have to hear about how "independent" and "different" she is every two seconds, and I couldn't be happier. However, the ghostwriter just couldn't resist reminding us that "at almost fifty, Rose was still a strikingly beautiful woman". Sweet Valley characters only get more gorgeous as they age! Where do I get that super power?

16 year old Isabelle goes to her first dance and meets a nice young man named Charles Doret...but the guy she really wants is (You're never gonna believe this!) Jacques Oiseleur. Yup, he's the second cousin (or something) of Pierre! These Sagas really love to pair the same families together generation after generation, don't they?

Charles and Jacques are both in the French Army, and they're best friends. Charles is such a good friend, that he doesn't mind when Isabelle and Jacques become a couple.
But 'sigh', it's 1914 and France is about to go to war with Germany! Isabelle and Jacques get married before he leaves for war, without telling her parents. Romantic!
Even more romantic, Isabelle starts volunteering at a army hospital in Paris everyday after school. Okay, so maybe that's not so romantic.

Even less romantic, Charles soon delivers the news that Jacques has died in battle. Hey, wasn't there another Jacques that died in a war? Poor Isabelle faints when she hears the news, and is utterly devastated. I actually feel bad for her, because she's not totally irritating like her mother.
After a few years, Charles asks Isabelle to marry him, even though he knows that she will always love Jacques. Charles reasons, "I'll love you enough for the both of us".

Oh Charles. That is not a good thing to base a relationship on.
It works out okay, until SURPRISE! Jacques isn't really dead! Turns out he was just a prisoner of war. When the war ends he comes home to find his wife married to his best friend. Awkward. Jacques is so mad that he gets on the next boat to America.
Charles and Isabelle are shocked, but eventually decide that they need to start over, and they move to America as well. Guess where they move? I'll give you one guess (I bet you'll never get it).

Sweet Valley!

And guess who else is in Sweet Valley? That's right- Jacques. Only now he goes by the name Jack Fowler. So you can see where this is going.
Charles is mayor of Sweet Valley, and he and Isabelle live comfortably until she sees Jack walking down the street. She nearly faints, and the town gossip, Evelyn Pierce (So being a gossip is genetic?) is right there to catch her.

According to the ever-helpful Evelyn, Jack is a "vagabond" and "poor and rough as could be". Sounds kind of sexy, amirite ladies?!? How the hell did they all end up living in Sweet Valley? Seriously, one town out of how many towns in the U.S.A? Really?

Charles has known about this insane coincidence for months, and tried to make peace with Jack, but Jack wasn't having it. Isabelle sneaks over to Jack's ranch to make amends, and he forgives her, but still hates Charles. He tells her that he doesn't love her anymore, and to go home to her husband.  So....guess things aren't going to work out between Jack and Isabelle?

We're teleported to 1952, and Charles and Isabelle have a grandchild (they had two daughters and two sons) named Grace. Charles is still mayor of Sweet Valley, and has become rich from his manufacturing company. Isabelle is "still the most strikingly beautiful woman in Sweet Valley", in case you were worried. Charles is still bitter about Isabelle's love for Jack, and is doing some kind of mayor-zoning-law-thing to block Jack from selling his ranch and making a fortune.

Jack is married to some chick named Anita and has three kids and one grandson, George. Jack is broke because of Charles' zoning-law-thing and vows "the bad blood between us will never die".

Almost 20 years later, George Fowler is an adult and starting his own computer company. He runs into-guess who!-Grace Doret on the beach, and sparks fly. He doesn't realize that she's the granddaughter of his family enemies until they go out for dinner at a clam bar (yuck). They both decide it's no big deal (And you know it's definitely going to be a huge deal). OMG it's like Romeo and Juliet!

Another minor issue: Grace is engaged to Everett Garrison the Third. Oops.
Even after she tells George this, they continue to date and fall in love. Things come to a halt when Grace's parents catch them making out. Uh oh! Her parents threaten to disown her, and spineless Grace dumps George and agrees to go forward with her wedding to Everett. At their wedding party, Grace gets some good advice from Grandma Isabelle "Marry the one you love."
I guess Isabelle should know....

Grace leaves the party to sob hysterically outside, when George appears and proposes to her!
George and Grace elope to Paris, but before they leave George's company buys out Charles' company's stock, or something like that. Charles is pissed, and he's even more pissed when he finds out that Grace has run away with George.

A number of years later, Grace gives birth to Lila (yay!) and even though her parents still aren't speaking to her, grandma Isabelle shows up to meet her great-grandchild. Jack Fowler arrives, and he and Isabelle share a sad but kinda romantic moment. They're still in love after all of these years, and Isabelle's marriage to Charles has been "a bitter disappointment". Ouch. They find comfort in the fact that now, the Dorets and Oiseleurs-I mean, Fowlers-are together again.
And most importantly, this union produced Lila Fowler, the best character Sweet Valley has EVER HAD EVER.

If you've read the SVH books (or any of my amazing, fabulous recaps) than you know that Grace and George don't stay together for much longer. George works too much, and Grace feels abandoned. George is livid when Grace takes Lila to see her parents, who have finally decided realized that seeing their grandchild is more important than a decades-old family feud. Grace is fed up and goes to stay with her parents, taking Lila with her.

In a seriously screwed up move, George sues her for custody, and as you know, he wins. Grace runs off to France, and Lila ends up with some pretty serious mommy issues.
The Saga ends with 16 year old Lila dealing with the fallout from John Pfeifer sexually assaulting her. George knows that Lila needs her mother, and asks Grace to come back and help. Grace comes back and she and George reunite! The reunion story is covered in more detail in the Evil Twin miniseries, which I cannot wait to recap because SERIOUSLY that miniseries is CRAZY.

And so, like all the Sagas, this has a happy ending. Awww, I think I feel my ice-cold heart melting. Just a little.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

#23 Say Goodbye

This cover isn't too bad. Granted, Todd and Elizabeth both have majorly poufy hair, but hey it was the 80's!

It's happening. The tragic, the inevitable, the absolute worse thing that has ever happened to Sweet Valley!

Todd is moving to Vermont 'sobs'.

Okay, you got me. I don't really care. Actually, I'm pretty thrilled because it means there will be no Liz and Todd drama in the upcoming books! Woohoo! This book should have been annoying, (A whole book about Elizabeth missing Todd? Barf.) It wasn't, thanks to Jessica's disastrous matchmaking efforts.

Now, Jessica is often attempting to play matchmaker, (or couple breaker-upper), but this time, she's a professional. Yes, dear readers, our selfish Jessica got a job! Jess ran up a $100 bill at Lisette's, and amazingly the Wakefield parents make her to get a job to pay for it. Hell has officially frozen over! Jess gets a job at a matchmaking company, answering phones...but we know that's not all she's going to do! (Where can I get a job like this? )

So Todd leaves, and Liz is a total mess. She writes to him every day and spends all of her free time pining over him and waiting for him to call. Everyone from Enid to her parents discourage her from having a long distance relationship with Todd, but she refuses to listen. It's almost enough to actually make me feel bad for Liz....almost. The important part is, Todd is gone! If I had more than one friend, I'd throw a party to celebrate.

Jessica is having her own problems though. And by problems, I mean that Jessica has a problem with Steve not dating anyone, and Liz moping over Todd. How dare they not go on dates with different people every weekend? The absolute nerve!

Jessica sets out to solve these troubling issues in the only way Jessica can, by scheming and sneaking around. When her boss steps out, Jess sneaks into her private office and starts going through all of the dating profiles to find the perfect woman for Steve, until her boss catches her. Does the boss fire her? Reprimand her? Oh no, of course not. The incredibly understanding boss actually gives Jess the keys to the office and invites her to look through the profiles anytime she wants. (seriously, how can I get this job?!)

Lucky Steven! Now our dear Jessica can find the perfect woman for him. Except Steven does not want her help-at all. He makes that pretty clear early in the book:
"Do me a favor, Jess. Don't help me again! I'm probably better off on my own."
Jessica completely ignores this, thinking to herself:
"He's so good looking"
Jessica decides that super hot Steve doesn't know what's good for him, and that by "don't help me", he meant "please Jessica, help me find a date!"

But wait, Liz needs Jess's help too! Jessica starts talking to Nicholas Morrow (you may remember him as the guy that guilted Liz into going on a date with him) Jess convinces Nic that Liz needs someone new in her life, and that new person is him! She compares Liz's love of Todd to smoking, telling Nic: "She got really dependent on him, and now she's having withdrawal symptoms"
Trust me Jess, cigarettes are much more exciting than Todd Wilkins.

Jessica even enlists the help of Mr. Collins, convincing him to give Liz an assignment to write a story on the upcoming sailing competition-which Nicholas is going to be competing in! With Jessica's encouragement, Nicholas calls Liz and offers her a ride to the competition. Elizabeth agrees, telling herself that Nic doesn't like her like that anymore, and that it's just a friendly gesture. Right.

This "friendly gesture" quickly turns romantic when Nicholas tells Liz that his boat has two names: the public name, Seabird and the private name, My favorite twin.
Gee, don't come on too strong or anything, Nic.

Liz is both uncomfortable and intrigued. Is Jessica's plan actually working? Guess so, because Liz agrees to go to a BBQ for Nic's cousin, Jeffrey. Jess "considered falling in love with him for a wild moment", but decided against it because Jeffrey is not rich. You dodged a bullet, Jeff!

Jess's plan is definitely not working with Steve, possibly because she picked a random 43 year old woman and didn't tell Steve that she was setting him up. She tells this poor woman that Steve was chosen for her by the matchmaking service, and instructs her to call Steve. Steve is totally confused and declines going on a date with her. This doesn't deter Jessica, who finds another woman from the matchmaking service, and tells her to show up at their house on Saturday.

How desperate are these women? If a matchmaking service told me to show up at some random guy's house without even speaking to him beforehand...well I might say yes, because I'm pretty desperate right now.

But let's get back to Elizabeth's dilemma. Despite all of the obvious signs that Nicholas wants more, Liz somehow convinces herself that he just wants to be friends. She even goes to a movie with him, and he kisses her after! Gasp, what would Todd think?! Well, being the doormat that he is, Todd would probably think "It's ok, I'll take you back".

Liz isn't sure about seeing Nicholas again, until Todd suddenly stops calling and writing for a week. After only a week, yes a week, of not hearing from Todd, Liz decides to start dating Nicholas. Jess is already fantasizing about what will happen when Liz and Nic get together, picturing the Morrow family naming a wing in their house "the Jessica wing" after her. Because people name things after you when you set them up with the amazing Elizabeth Wakefield.

But why did Todd disappear? You know this has something, (okay, everything), to do with Jessica! Jess answers the phone one day when Todd calls, and literally cries about how depressed Liz is, how she never leaves her room and is slacking on her schoolwork. Todd feels horrible and decides to back off. So instead of talking it over with Liz, he just ignores her. Smart.

Why does anyone in SVH still trust Jessica?! She's been proven to be a liar time and time again. Really, were they all dropped on their heads as babies?

Speaking of stupidity, the woman from the matchmaking service shows up at the house-and SHOCKER, Steven is not interested! Steve finds out that she's from the matchmaking service, that Jess works at, and is super angry. Naturally, Jessica's reaction is to set Steve up with one more woman from the agency, Melissa . Buttt when she tries to badger this woman into dating Steve, her response is " I've decided I prefer food to men." Good move, Melissa.

Don't worry too much about Steve's love life though (I know it was your top concern). Steve runs into Cara Walker when she's stuck with a flat tire on the highway. He helps her out, takes her to coffee after, and sparks fly! Cara's parents are getting divorced, and that has apparently made her less shallow and more appealing to Steve. Now I can rest easy, knowing that Steve will love again.

However, Betsy (you may remember her from Promises) is not pleased with this. She sees Steve with Cara at Lila's party, (did I mention there was a party? Well, there is.), and gets angry. She's pissed that Steve has "the nerve to carry on with someone else so soon after Trish". Hey, at least he waited a good 11 books to start dating again after Tricia's death. I mean, has she seen how quickly everyone else in SVH moves on from relationships???

As for Todd and Liz, Todd is back in town, (damn, already?), for the weekend. Todd's going to Lila's party to talk to Elizabeth. Problem is, Liz is going to the party with Nicholas! Uh oh! Liz wants to break things off with Nic because she still loves Todd, but she figures it would be best to do it after the party. After all, parties are SO rare in Sweet Valley, and she wouldn't want to mess up this party for Nic! As you may have guessed, things go bad. Todd walks in to see Liz slow-dancing with Nicholas and resting her head on his shoulder. The second she sees Todd, Liz pushes Nic away and runs after him. I'd feel bad for Nicholas, but I'm still not over how annoying he was in this book. No sympathy for you, Nic!

Todd stomps away and Liz has a major emotional breakdown. Elizabeth finds Todd, and
they have yet another sappy reunion-well kind of. They agree that they're still in love, but that they can't maintain the long-distance thing. Good, now we can stop hearing about Todd for the next few books. Dreams do come true!

We wrap up the book with Lila telling the twins that Betsy made a scene at her party. Former town tramp Betsy went up to Steve and Cara and freaked out, accusing him of forgetting about Tricia. Will Betsy stand in the way of Steve and Cara's budding love story?!? I'm dying to find out, and I know you are too!

Moral? If your boyfriend moves to Vermont, don't even bother with the long distance thing-especially if your boyfriend is anywhere near as dull as Todd Wilkins,
Don't use your matchmaking job to set your brother up with random women!
Good, solid life lessons. Thanks again, Sweet Valley!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

SVH #22 Too much in love

Well Bill and DeeDee look...mature for sixteen. Did anyone ever think to make the teens on the covers look like, I don't know teens? Me and my crazy ideas! Also, Bill looks like a pompous ass and DeeDee looks like a desperate wreck. I'm thinking that's going to set the tone for this book...

We start this great American novel with the usual "sun-streaked blonde hair" and "sparkling blue-green eyes" spiel and Ned announcing that he and Alice are going to Mexico to pick up documents from a lawyer. Clearly it's impossible for someone to mail something from Mexico to California. Impossible, I tell you!

Alice makes a point of telling the twins that she has some very important papers she has on her desk in the study. These papers are plans for some interior designer project and they cannot be replaced. So you know something bad is going to happen to those papers.

SVH is having a talent show soon, and Elizabeth is involved in planning it, (surprise, surprise). Liz calls up DeeDee Gordon to ask her to be in charge of designing the sets. Like all SVH books that feature minor characters in the main story, we need some kind of connection between the twins and said minor character. DeeDee acts kind of weird and says she needs to ask Bill before she commits to it. Liz spends about a page and a half fretting over DeeDee, wondering if she's alright, because Liz is the sensitive, caring twin dammit! And don't you ever forget that! (I may have had a bit too much caffeine this morning)

Speaking of acting weird, Todd is also behaving strangely. Now why would that be? If you've read
this , you already know.

Being a psychic, I know exactly what you're thinking. Why is DeeDee acting strange? What's going on? The suspense is killing me! Fear not, on the next page we start to find out. DeeDee shows up at Bill's house unexpectedly, and horror of horrors, he's at the library! Without her! But it's not just that incident. DeeDee has felt Bill pulling away from her for the past few weeks. It terrifies her because her parents got divorced, and according to her mother the divorce was caused by them not spending enough time together. DeeDee vows that this will not happen to her relationship with Bill.
And I quote: "Bill needs to see how much I depend on him, how much I need to be with him. Once he see's that, he'll never leave me"

Bad idea DeeDee. Not that I would know, from experience, or anything.....

We also learn, (in a convo with her BFF, Patty Gilbert), that DeeDee has given up the design classes she was taking. She doesn't want anything to interfere with her precious Bill time. She wonders to herself why Patty, who is independent and outgoing, is still friends with her. I want to make fun of Dee, (and rest assured, I will) , but I gotta say, I feel bad for her. I've been that clingy girlfriend, and it is not a good time. But enough about my problems, because....

..Jessica Wakefield is planning a party! And who cares about my issues when a party is about to happen in Sweet Valley?!? Liz is aghast at the idea- Jessica wants to have a party when their parents are gone? Who woulda thought???!? I can't wait! SVH parties are the only parties I get invited to, so I am beyond excited.

Meanwhile, DeeDee continues to be a clingmonster ,(it's a medical term), and Bill is more and more turned off. She follows him everywhere, and acts more like an obsessed stalker than girlfriend. Like many SVH books, it is almost painful to read, and I am embarrassed for her. Poor Bill is totally confused and wonders what happened to his formerly cool girlfriend. He agrees to go to a movie with Dana Larson (just as friends), and decides not to tell DeeDee because he knows she'll freak out. This is not going to end well.

Back to the party!!!! (Can you feel my excitement?) Jessica enlists none other than Lila Fowler's help with party planning, and Lila is full of great suggestions, such as inviting college frat guys. Inviting frat boys to your house is always a fabulous idea. Thanks, Lila! Jess agrees and imagines meeting the man of her dreams "handsome, rich, with a gorgeous car". Not just a nice car, but a gorgeous car. Reach for the stars, Jess.

In preparation for the party, Jessica attempts to make mini pizzas and wash the bed sheets, resulting in a fire in the kitchen and a broken washing machine. Any guesses as to why she needed to wash the bed sheets for a party? I can think of a few, but I'm trying to keep this blog PG. (ok, maybe PG-13)

In the midst of all of this exciting party planning, Jess runs into Bill and Dana Larson leaving the movie theater and practically jumps for joy. Finally, a chance to get back at DeeDee for what happened in this book ! Jess casually lets it slip to Dee that Bill was out with another girl, and of course DeeDee flips out. She corners Bill, and Bill responds by breaking up with her. Bet you didn't see that coming!

The break up is utterly devastating. I cried, I sobbed, I called in sick to work. That's how hard it hit me. Dee takes it better than I did, and after one attempt to get back together with Bill, she begins to heal and regain her self-esteem. She has an epiphany of sorts, and realizes how crazy she's been acting. She finally gets all the way back to normal thanks to Patty's scheming (for once, Jessica is not the one scheming! How novel.) Patty, with Elizabeth's help, cooks up a plan to force DeeDee to become independent again. Basically, Liz fakes sick so DeeDee is forced to take control of the talent show. This plan totally works and DeeDee's confidence comes back. In typical Sweet Valley fashion, DeeDee's issues are totally resolved within days.

Now that DeeDee is okay, it's time to party!! Yes, the party we (I), have been waiting for is finally here.

Brief summary: 19 frat guys show up, and SHOCKER, they bring beer! Frat guys bringing beer to a party? So odd. Some random Pi Beta sorority sister gets drunk, beer is spilled on Alice's important papers (I told you something would happen to the papers! Psychic.) The neighbors call the cops, and Jessica is about to be taken down to the station, when big bro Steve shows up and saves the day. So all in all, a good party! I know I had a great time.

Jessica swallows her pride and goes to the artistic DeeDee to help her fix Alice's papers. She even apologizes to DeeDee for telling her about Bill and Dana-and get this,-it's a genuine apology! Don't get too worried, I'm sure Jessica's trademark selfishness will be back in the next book. DeeDee saves the day by somehow copying Alice's design perfectly, and Elizabeth tells Dee about she and Patty's deceptive plan to make her take over the talent show. DeeDee doesn't get mad and they all share a hearty laugh. How nice.

But, wait! Alice and Ned are coming home early! Now there's no time to replace the broken vase! Jessica is forced to come clean about the party, the broken washing machine, and fire in the kitchen. Alice and Ned respond by grounding her for a month and giving her a stern lecture.

Haha, just kidding, no. They don't do a damn thing. Ned figures that Jess "has probably punished herself enough" and they drop it. No punishment whatsoever, except Jess has to pay to replace the vase. Note that any money Jessica has comes from her allowance...which comes from her parents. So Alice and Ned are essentially paying to replace the vase. Genius parenting. Now I see why Jessica is such a well-rounded, responsible young lady.

Oh, you thought this was over? Not yet! We still have the talent show! The talent show goes off without a hitch, and Bill even asks DeeDee if they can rekindle their relationship. Dee agrees, but tells Bill that they have to take it slow. But wait!  The talent show isn't over just yet! Todd gets onstage and recites a depressing poem. Elizabeth knows now that something is definitely wrong, and Todd breaks the bad news: he's moving to Vermont! I'm heartbroken, really, I am. More on Todd's tragic news in our next story, #23 Say Goodbye.

Moral of the story: don't drop everything you care about to focus on a relationship. Being super clingy and not having your own interests is a major turn-off, and you should never be fully emotionally dependent on another person. Wow...that is actually a pretty good lesson. Well done, ghostwriter.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Checking in

Don't worry , I haven't abandoned the blog! (again). I have just been busy with the holidays and I will be doing my next glorious recap soon! The next recap is going to be Too much in love, which I have never I look forward to reading about Bill and Dee Dee's relationship drama! I'm guessing that Elizabeth will intervene somehow, and Jessica will probably be in the B plot or making things worse for Bill and Dee Dee somehow. Psychic!