Sweet Valley Online

Evil twins snarkily recap Sweet Valley Twins, High, University, Confidential & Sweet Life

Everything you need to know

22
Apr 2017

Welcome to Sweet Valley Online, where we are in the process of recapping Sweet Valley Twins and all of the offshoots, in publication order. Since it has lots and lots of characters, here’s a cheat sheet. And here’s our book shelf.

We update every Monday, with three text recaps and one podcast in a four week period. During the podcast we discuss Bleak Valley, which is Raven’s twisted idea. Long story short: Liz is an only child. Sweet Valley is all in her head.

You can find our podcasts here or download/listen to them on your favourite podcast provider. The music in our podcast is provided by Stuart Taylor, and you can contact him on taylorstuart602@gmail.com to commission music for yourself.

Finally, we are twinned with PointHorror.com, and if you need something a little less saccharine, maybe that will fit the bill.

General

Sweet Valley Twins 38: Lois Strikes Back

15
Jan 2018
Sweet Valley Twins 38: Lois Strikes Back by Jamie Suzanne

Sweet Valley Twins 38: Lois Strikes Back by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Lois Strikes Back

Tagline: Has Bruce gone too far?

Summary: Winner takes all…

Lois Waller has always been too shy about being overweight to join in school activities. When the Sweet Valley PTA decides to have a bike-a-thon, Lois finds the courage to take part. It’s a chance for her to win a brand-new mountain bike—and it’s the perfect opportunity to put snobby Bruce Patman in his place.

Everyone at Sweet Valley Middle School knows how much Bruce bullies Lois. Although Jessica Wakefield thinks that anything Bruce does is perfect, her twin sister Elizabeth disagrees and is on Lois’s side. Elizabeth thinks Lois has a good shot at winning. But she doesn’t know how far Bruce Patman will go to see Lois lose!

Initial Thoughts:

At last! A book about a peripheral character I (we) love! I’m sure this will go a long way towards rectifying the cruelty inherent in each and every one of her previous appearances!

‘Tschyeah, right.

Let’s assess the cover…

THAT’S Lois? REALLY?! She’s LITERALLY EXACTLY THE SAME SIZE AS EVERYONE ELSE. I’m guessing that the artists missed a memo, and the publishers thought “fuck it.”

Also, THAT’S Bruce?! THAT’S the cutest boy in the whole school? He’s got a face like a slapped arse!

[Dove: This is the thing that really annoys me, because it either means that Lois is a pound or two heavier than the “normal” kids and must be treated like she’s the size of a house. Or she’s bigger than that, and we cannot possibly have a heavy girl on the cover of a book about pretty, thin, perfect people.]

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Episode 14: A Year In Review

12
Jan 2018

Wing, Raven and Dove look back at the highs, lows and ithigs from a tumultuous year of recapping at Sweet Valley Online.

Music is provided by Stuart Taylor, who can be contacted on taylorstuart602@gmail.com if you wish to commission music.

You can read our recaps at Sweet Valley Online, tumblr or visit us at Facebook or Twitter (follow @SweetValley_)

Podcasts

Fanfic: Five Days to Change the World

12
Jan 2018

Title: Five Days to Change the World

Summary: The Unicorns say Ellen can’t talk to Amy at their party. Ellen can only talk to her date. The solution is obvious. To Ellen, at least.

Notes: (because I don’t see these as warnings) girl/girl tween slash, hand-holding.

Dedication: for Wing, who begged for this in her recap.

Timeline: All over the place, just like the books. It’s set straight after Mary is Missing, but I borrow pairings that happen later, and reference “sort-of boyfriends”. So, um… I’m feeling very Jamie Suzanne today.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.

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Episode 13: A Great-Looking Sweater

11
Jan 2018

Wing, Raven and Dove talk about Sweet Valley Twins 34: Jessica the Rock Star; 35: Amy’s Pen Pal; and Super Chiller 1: The Christmas Ghost. They also discuss Bleak Valley and how these books tie into this theory.

Music is provided by Stuart Taylor, who can be contacted on taylorstuart602@gmail.com if you wish to commission music.

You can read our recaps at Sweet Valley Online, tumblr or visit us at Facebook or Twitter (follow @SweetValley_)

[Raven: Hello! Just a quick shout out of apology for the delay in this podcast. Don’t blame Dove or Wing… this fubar was all Raven. We are looking to go to a shorter, weekly podcast from next week. Stay tuned, and (in the spirit of the podcast) Merry Christmas / Happy New Year!]

 

Podcasts

Sweet Valley Twins #37: The War Between the Twins

8
Jan 2018
Sweet Valley Twins 37: The War Between the Twins by Jamie Suzanne

Sweet Valley Twins 37: The War Between the Twins by Jamie Suzanne

Title: The War Between the Twins

Tagline: The twins are fighting mad… at each other!

Summary: Bitter rivals…

Jessica Wakefield has written an article about the Unicorn Club for the class newspaper The Sweet Valley Sixers. As its editor, her twin sister Elizabeth has promised to run the article in the very next issue. But when Elizabeth has to take Jessica’s article out at the last minute, Jessica is furious!

Jessica and her fellow Unicorns decide to teach Elizabeth a lesson by starting their own paper, The Unicorn News. Before long, it’s clear that Sweet Valley Middle School isn’t big enough for two newspapers, and Jessica’s begins to take the lead. Will Elizabeth’s beloved Sixers be able to hold its own against the sensational news that the Unicorns print?

Initial Thoughts:

This always sticks in my head as being yet another rehash of the student council story, which I hated both times they did it already. However, each time I read it, I remember that I actually like this story, because we have #BestJess and Sulky!Liz and forgery and pre-photoshop MY HED IZ PASTEDE ON YAY.

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Sweet Valley Twins #36: Mary is Missing

1
Jan 2018
Sweet Valley Twins 36: Mary is Missing by Jamie Suzanne

Sweet Valley Twins 36: Mary is Missing by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Mary is Missing by Francine Pascal

Summary: Missing person…

Jessica Wakefield is convinced that Mary Wallace has disappeared. No one has heard a word from her in three days. She hasn’t been at school, she didn’t turn up for Lila’s ice cream party, and worst of all, the Unicorns’ treasury money seems to be missing. [Wing: Oh, god, are we back to “stolen” money actually being misplaced?] What’s more, Mrs. Wallace, Mary’s mother, is acting very strange.

Jessica’s twin sister, Elizabeth, thinks that Jessica is just being her usual overdramatic self, until the twins get a mysterious and confusing phone message. Maybe Jessica’s idea isn’t so farfetched after all. Maybe Mary has been kidnapped. If that’s the case. Mary is in big trouble… and the twins had better figure out that cryptic phone message fast.

Tagline: How can a twelve-year old girl disappear into thin air? [Raven: Mr Nydick’s Love-Wagon?]

Initial Thoughts

Well here we are, and I survived one year in Sweet Valley. I think it’s like dog years, because the past twelve months feel like they’ve lasted a decade. #sweetvalleytime

This time last year, I was horrified by what I’d agreed to when I read my first Sweet Valley book. This year, I know that while I hated a huge amount of the books, I did love a few and enjoy even more.

Dove swears we’re into the good books. We’ll see about that.

[Dove: This is a ridiculous book. The premise is so full of holes and silliness that there are multiple idiot balls that need grasping with an iron grip in order for it to happen (and believe me, Wing covers them), but on the other side, this book is fun.]

[Wing: Oh lord, here we go.]

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Sweet Valley Twins Super Chiller #1: The Christmas Ghost

18
Dec 2017
Super Chiller 1: The Christmas Ghost by Jamie Suzanne

Super Chiller 1: The Christmas Ghost by Jamie Suzanne

Title: The Christmas Ghost

Tagline: This year Jessica is in for a very scary Christmas

Summary: Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are looking forward to the most glorious Christmas ever. The tree is decorated, the presents are wrapped, and movie star Beau Dillon is coming to town! The actor, who’ll be in Sweet Valley to publicize his new movie, has agreed to help Elizabeth raise money for the children’s wing of the local hospital. But when the teen star arrives at the Wakefields’ house, it’s Jessica, not Elizabeth, he meets.

What’s the harm in pretending to be your twin? No harm, Jessica thinks – until strange things start happening and three ghostly visitors appear. Is Jessica’s imagination working overtime or have the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future come to teach Jessica the lesson of a lifetime?

Initial Thoughts:

Ok, first of all, I think if you’ve listened to the podcast you may know this, but I don’t assume that everyone does: I LOVE THE SUPER CHILLERS. Actual ghosts are here.

Before I was confident enough to ask Wing to take on this gigantic recapping project, I used the “mentionitus” method of testing the waters. While we sat on PointHorror.com, griping about how rarely the bad guy (known on that site as the “Muffin Man”) was supernatural, I would say lightly-casually-oh-I’m-not-hinting, “It’s funny, Sweet Valley Twins has a much younger audience, but they always had real ghosts in their ghost stories.” Wing would raise a scathing eyebrow and say that she’d never read Sweet Valley. Ever. And she was sort of proud of that.

Then curiosity would overcome her. “Really? Because in Babysitters’ Club, it was always the Scooby Doo villain – a human pretending to be a ghost. So you have actual ghosts?”

“Actual ghosts,” I would say. “And it’s odd, they seem to act up the most over Christmas.”

And that is the groundwork of how you get someone who clearly is going to hate something, to do it anyway. [Raven: I have such an inappropriate comment here.] Mention that one thing they like. (Also, there will be werewolves in Sweet Valley High.) [Wing: I feel like I should be more upset that my BFF so blatantly exploits my weaknesses, and yet.] [Dove: I do realise that the above is basically “how to brainwash your friends”. But I had an agenda. And here we are.]

Second of all, I adore A Christmas Carol. I know most people do, but I feel like I might go the extra mile. I feel like I’ve seen every fandom-variation of this story – heck, I’ve even written one. I adore this story.

I’ll admit The Carnival Ghost is a better story on its own merits, because it’s not fanfic of an iconic tale, but this one holds a special place in my heart.

The Cover: Why is the ghost awkwardly pointing to the left? Jessica looks great, but the ghost looks like it wasn’t happy to be modelling for the cover.

[Wing: Tis truly the season for Christmas Carol retellings. We did a few over at the Devil’s Elbow (Fright Christmas and The Fright Before Christmas), and yet somehow this has the best versions of the ghosts. I mean, come on: an angry flying unicorn? Clearly this was going to win.]

[Dove: … seriously? I win?]

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Q&A Session with Michael Grant

15
Dec 2017

I plucked up my courage and finally sent Michael Grant (@MichaelGrantBks) a private message to ask him about his experience writing Sweet Valley with his wife Katherine Applegate (@Kaaauthor).

Shortly after, I got a response, answering my questions in full. I’m just going to be bouncing off the walls a bit here.

If you are not familiar with these lovely writers (known on this site collectively as #BestJamieSuzanne), I suggest you run out and buy all 28 of the Making Out series released under Katherine Applegate’s name, but co-written between them (or at least the first eight, thereafter ghosties happen) and the Gone series by Michael Grant, together with the new book, Monster.

So, would you like some insight on the Sweet Valley process?

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Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins 35: Amy’s Pen Pal

11
Dec 2017
Sweet Valley Twins 35: Amy’s Pen Pal by Jamie Suzanne

Sweet Valley Twins 35: Amy’s Pen Pal by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Amy’s Pen Pal

Tagline: What happens when a friend turns out to be too good to be true?

Summary: Elizabeth Wakefield and her best friend Amy Sutton have big plans for the holiday weekend, including a fabulous party, a family barbecue, and the chance to see a dreamy disc jockey broadcast live from the Sweet Valley Mall.

But the weekend gets off to a surprising start when Amy’s pen pal from San Francisco turns up unexpectedly. Samantha Williams seems every bit as nice as her letters until Amy introduces her to the Unicorns. Suddenly, the popular girls can’t get enough of Sam and her stories, and Amy begins to feel left out. Why hasn’t Sam ever told her about all those wonderful things she’s done? Elizabeth and Jessica have a feeling that she’s making it all up. But will Elizabeth be able to stand by while her twin plans a coldhearted plot to uncover the truth?

Initial Thoughts:

Interesting… this is the first book in the series to quote a character’s name other than Elizabeth or Jessica. Way to go, Amy, you’ve made it to the Big Leagues!

I’m guessing the pen pal is a jeb-end.

The cover? It’s a symphony in pink. And Samantha looks like a proper slapped arse. Mardy cow. [Dove: She has no soul.]

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Buck the Odds (Holla Holla, Lois Waller)

8
Dec 2017

Hi everyone. Raven here.

For the month of November, the marvellous Dove chronicled one of the lesser-known periods of Sweet Valley Twins history: the town’s ill-fated participation in Lila Fowler’s Hunger Games. The harrowing (yet hilarious) tale can be found, chapter and verse, on the site, so go ahead and reacquaint yourselves with the details via the links below:

Chapters: 1 & 2, 3 & 4, 5 , 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 & 24, 25, 26.

*MILD SPOILER ALERT*

As readers will be aware, one of the stalwart commentators on the Hunger Games, the esteemed rock chanteur Johnny Buck, took a particular shine to one of the less-favoured tributes: Sweet Valley’s Designated Fatso, Lois Waller. In fact, his adoration for Lois has translated itself into a surprisingly heartfelt and upbeat track, planned for his long-awaited new album My Love For You Is Like A Buck (Berserker).

I spoke to Johnny on Wednesday, at 2:45pm as he headed out to the stage for his latest concert at Secca Lake. He had the following words for his fans…

Big up to all my Sexy MotherBuckers out there in Sweet Valley and beyond! I hope to see everyone at a concert venue near you soon, for my (Early) Afternoon Delight Tour, offering post-lunchtime lakeside rock n’ roll for all my fans. My new album hits the malls next month, but until then, here’s a rough cut of my tribute to a Tribute: Buck the Odds (Holla Holla Lois Waller). It’s a departure from my usual style. Hope you like it! Until next time… Peace, Love and Bucking. JB X

Thanks to Johnny Buck for sharing his creative vision with us, here at Sweet Valley Online!

*Representatives of Johnny Buck would like to make it clear that the rough nature of the singing in the supplied track is in no way representative of the quality promised by the finished album, available at all good music stockists from January 1st.
*Representatives of Johnny Buck would also like to make it clear that any violent imagery perceived in the lyrics of the supplied track are purely the views of the singer Johnny Buck (and the Fowler Hunger Games Initiative) and in no way reflect the values of their parent company SV Record Holdings, PLC.
*Representatives of Johnny Buck would finally like to make it clear that any improper language towards the twelve-year-old Lois Waller percieved in the lyrics of the supplied track were purely included for artistic effect, and in no way reflect the actual desires of their client. As with most of the crap that happens in Sweet Valley, it’s best not to think about it too deeply.

Buck the Odds (Holla Holla Lois Waller)

Switch on my television, looking for that list of names,
Those still alive in the Sweet Valley Middle Hunger Games.
Watching the action but I’m dreading every cannon boom,
Wait for the confirmation, building tension in the room.
Oh, how my heart stands still,
Sky writing claims the kill,
A stranger’s name across the sky, sky, sky.

They say that you’re too fat, you’ll never win like that,
But you will make them see, this is your destiny.
You’ll beat them at their game, the world will know your name,
We shout for victory, cry holla holla…
We raise our voices for Lois Waller.

Go Lois Waller, with your agile mind and sturdy thighs,
Hunt down those matchstick kids and see the terror in their eyes,
I ship my chosen tribute battle gear and paraphernalia,
Go Lois Waller, may the odds be ever in your favour.
Track down those wastes of space,
Use rocks to smash their face,
Just keep on pummelling, die, die, die.

And for the greater good, she’s gonna spill their blood,
She’s gonna tear out tongues, smash knees and puncture lungs,
Those pretty teens must die, no need to ask her why,
She’ll rip their hearts right out for a dollar…
So raise a clenched fist for Lois Waller.

So keep your Jessicas, your Lilas and your Amy Suttons,
Your Liz, your Kens, your Brookes, your Winstons won’t amount to nothin’.
Their bodies may be thin, you know their souls are so much thinner,
Go Lois Waller, you’re my winner winner chicken dinner.
That girl, she makes me quiver,
I stand when she delivers,
A potent chemistry, my my…

The Wakefields always win, ‘cause they are blonde and thin,
But you are strong and smart, and you have won my heart,
Oh Lois, fan my flame, I hunger for your game,
You’re getting me hot under the collar…
I raise my flagpole for Lois Waller.

(Music: Johnny Buck / Stuart Taylor. Lyrics: Johnny Buck / Raven)


Raven here again. Thanks for listening, hope you enjoyed the song. It was fun to do. Even if I did screw up the lyrics and have trouble breathing. 🙂

Of course, the words are easy. It’s the music that makes it. Much MUCH thanks to the amazing Stuart Taylor, who took my feeble warblings and made something awesome. Apologies to Stu (and the listener) for my terrible singing. As the old saying goes, you can’t polish a turd… but Stu managed to roll it in glitter and make something shiny.

And finally, more kudos to Dove. Her story is amazing. Seriously, go read it again.

NaNoWriMo