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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!

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