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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!