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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!