Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #13: Stretching the Truth

Sweet Valley Twins 13: Stretching the Truth (Image from Calibre data scrape – assumed Shannon’s Sweet Valley Page)

Title: Stretching the Truth

Tagline: Little white lies…

Summary: What’s wrong with Mary Robinson? That’s what Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield want to know. She has a rich new stepfather who has a fabulous yacht and is going to build them a huge house. So why has Mary been acting so strange?

Jessica is confident Mary will be herself again, just as soon as she finds out about the surprise birthday party for her on her father’s yacht! But Jessica is wrong – a party on the yacht is the last thing Mary wants. It could give away her whole secret. In fact, all of Mary’s little white lies would get her into big trouble with her friends! Will anyone want to help poor Mary when they learn the terrible truth?

Initial Thoughts:

Wait just one minute here. Didn’t we have a birthday party for Mary Robinson last time she was the main plot of a book? Oh, wait, no, that was Sophia Rizzo. All these temporary Wakefield BFFs are starting to blur together, even though I really like both Mary and Sophia. Last time, in Three’s a Crowd, Mary (Giaccio at the time) was going to be adopted by her foster family and then shipped off when she decided not to be adopted and then SURPRISE her birth mother showed up and everything was wrapped up neatly.

Super excited that this book sounds like it’s going to be based on ridiculous lies yet again. MUCH EXCITE.

[Dove: I actually really like this book. It’s super dramatic, but still one of the better earlier entries. But then again, I like Mary and her step-dad. Also, that girl on the front cover? The one that is clearly Jessica? That’s Mary. And again I say: WHAT THE FUCK WENT ON IN THE GENETICS OF SWEET VALLEY?]

[Wing: Note from the future. Y’ALL. THIS BOOK. I CAN’T DEAL WITH WHAT’S HAPPENED TO ME.]

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Sweet Valley Twins #12: Keeping Secrets

Sweet Valley Twins 12: Keeping Secrets
Sweet Valley Twins 12: Keeping Secrets

Title: Keeping Secrets

Tagline: Will Jessica and Elizabeth both break their promises? I reckon it’ll be 50-50.

Summary: Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield’s father teaches them a secret language called Ithig. All their friends want to know the secret too, but the twins have made a pact with their father not to give it away. Elizabeth, at least, intends to keep her promise. But Jessica can’t help herself, she teaches her best friend, Lila Fowler, the secret language. That means that soon the whole school will know Ithig.

Now the class decides to use the language against the one teacher they don’t like Ms. McDonald. They will speak only Ithig in class the day the school supervisor comes to review her. At first, Elizabeth is angry at Jessica for breaking her promise about Ithig but now Elizabeth wonders: should she break her own promise and warn Ms. McDonald?

Initial Thoughts:

This premise is a workable subplot at best, or a half-chapter incident at worst. Seriously, I didn’t think the authors would start dialling it in until at least Book 50.

Let’s look at the cover. The twins sit at a restaurant table, while a redhead listens in. Also, a triffid threatens to devour Left Twin.

How thrilling.

[Dove: HIDE THE SALT! LET THE TRIFFID EAT!]

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #11: Buried Treasure

Sweet Valley Twins 11: Buried Treasure (Image from Calibre data
Sweet Valley Twins 11: Buried Treasure (Image from Calibre data scrape – assumed Shannon’s Sweet Valley Page)

Title: Buried Treasure

Tagline: Has Jessica’s good luck run out? [Wing: I can only hope.]

Summary: Jessica Wakefield and her friend Ellen Riteman keep it a secret when they find some money in an old metal box buried in Ellen’s backyard. But then some money disappears from school and suspicion falls on Jessica and Ellen. Can they prove their innocence?

Initial Thoughts

So, on the surface, this could be an entertaining story. Secrets, buried treasure, Jessica finally getting accused of something … and yet, this is Sweet Valley, and I know a book that sounds interesting isn’t actually going to live up to its potential. Also, it will probably make me go boom.

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Sweet Valley Twins #9: Against the Rules

Sweet Valley Twins 9: Against the Rules
Sweet Valley Twins 9: Against the Rules

Title: Against the Rules

Tagline: Is Elizabeth about to make the biggest mistake of her life? I’m guessing no, unless the book focuses on her decision to attend a private tutoring session with Mr Nydick.

Summary: Good friends are big trouble…

Sophia Rizzo is a good writer on the school newspaper, she’s nice, and Elizabeth likes her But all the other kids at Sweet Valley Middle School – including Elizabeth’s twin sister. Jessica – make fun of Sophia because her family is poor and her brother as always in trouble. Even Elizabeth’s parents tell her to stay away from Sophia.

To show Sophia that she’s her friend no matter what anybody says. Elizabeth decides to go against strict orders from her parents and throw a secret birthday party for Sophia.

But is Elizabeth willing to pay the price if she’s caught?

Initial Thoughts:

This promises to be a Very Special Episode of the Sweet Valley Twins saga. Today, we learn about poor people. And Italian Americans. And, thanks to another inspired cover, we know a brunette enjoys a cake.

Woo. And, indeed, Hoo.

[Wing: But the girl on the left appears to hate cake, the brunette, and Liz. And maybe all of Sweet Valley. Girl on the left, are you me?] [Raven: In all seriousness, who is that meant to be? Maybe Amy Sutton? She’s not wearing purple so she’s not a Unigibbon.] (more…)

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Sweet Valley Twins #8: First Place

Sweet Valley Twins 8: First Place by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 8: First Place

Title: First Place

Tagline: Will Elizabeth risk everything for a horse?

Summary: Lila Fowler, the snobbiest girl in Sweet Valley Middle School, has gotten her own beautiful horse – and she doesn’t seem to care.

Elizabeth Wakefield thinks it’s not fair.

Elizabeth absolutely adores horses, so much that she’ll go as far as pretending to be friends with snotty Lila. She’ll even do all of Thunder’s grooming – just for the chance to ride him every day.

Elizabeth’s behaviour makes her own twin sister Jessica furious. Jessica accuses Elizabeth of trying to steal her best friend away. And that’s not all Elizabeth is doing. She’s deceiving everyone at the stable and is making trouble for her closest friend, Amy. Just how far will Elizabeth go before she loses everything – all for the love of a horse?

Initial Thoughts:

I GET THE HORSEY BOOK! This is awesome, because I’m actually a horsey girl. I have all the Jill books by Ruby Ferguson (and I converted them to eBook format); the Eventing Trilogy by Caroline Akrill; The Fly-By-Night books by K M Peyton; not to mention pretty much everything written by the Pullein-Thompson sisters. My friends and I even dubbed ourselves the “Saddle Cover Club” (ribbing on the “Saddle Club”, if that never got a big release abroad). I am horsey girl.

[Wing: … The Saddle Club, both the junior high and high school versions, definitely had a release over here.]

This also has the added bonus of me knowing my shit when it comes to horses. And I will enjoy ripping Liz to pieces.

[Wing: I am also a horse person, but we were a Western riding family, so this is not in my wheelhouse. Letting Dove have the reins on this one.]

[Wing: Why yes, I am just evil enough to go for the easy pun there.]

[Raven: I am not a horse person. I have been bitten by a horse. Horses are rubbish.]

Front Cover:

Liz: Lila, assume the position, and remember, the safe word is “Thunder”.

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Sweet Valley Twins #7: Three’s a Crowd

Sweet Valley Twins #7: Three's a Crowd
Sweet Valley Twins #7: Three’s a Crowd

Title: Three’s a Crowd

Tagline: Why is the twins’ friend Mary suddenly acting like their sister?

Summary: For once, identical twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield agree on something! Their friend, Mary Giaccio, spends too much time at their house. Mary is a foster child in the Altman family, but she’s acting like part of the Wakefield family.

If there’s one thing Jessica and Elizabeth don’t need, it’s a third twin!

They’re desperate to find some way to discourage Mary. Then Jessica overhears a private talk between her parents about Mary’s future. Now she knows something that could solve the twins’ problem and make Mary happy too. But Elizabeth warns Jessica against spreading her news. Does Jessica have any right to interfere with Mary’s life?

[Wing: NOPE. But she’s going to do so anyway, because she’s Jessica Can’t Take No for an Answer Future Rapist Wakefield.]

Initial Thoughts:

Dove wanted me to do this one because it’s apparently about adoption, and I am adopted. So basically, she’s trying to see if Wing Goes Boom enough, will my head literally explode. Let’s find out!

[Dove: Not even read the recap, but given how much Wing hates this series, she will go boom.]

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Sweet Valley Twins #6: The New Girl

Sweet Valley Twins 6: The New Girl
Sweet Valley Twins 6: The New Girl

Title: The New Girl

Tagline: How can twin sisters cause triple trouble? Answer: By kidnapping a classmate and forcing them to undergo radical plastic surgery for the purposes of a joke? Pretty sure Amy would do it willingly.

Summary: Identical twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield don’t always agree on things – until Brooke Dennis arrives at Sweet Valley.

Both twins agree that she’s horrible. She snaps at everyone who tries to be nice to her and she’s constantly saying mean things to people.

To yet even with Brooke, the twins invent a third look-alike sister whom they call Jennifer. Pretty soon all of Sweet Valley Middle School is in on the plan. But then Elizabeth discovers the real reason why Brooke is so mean. Suddenly, the plan to get revenge doesn’t seem like such a good idea.

Can Elizabeth stop her classmates from playing the ultimate joke before Brooke’s heart gets broken?

Initial Thoughts:

The New Girl. What an impressively awful title. And the cover? A frowning brunette points at a smirking blonde. Inspired.

I’m already disappointed in this book, and I’ve not even opened it.

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #5: Sneaking Out

Sweet Valley Twins 5: Sneaking Out
Sweet Valley Twins 5: Sneaking Out

Title: Sneaking Out

Tagline: Will Elizabeth tell her parents if Jessica sneaks out to the rock concert? (No, of course she won’t. Elizabeth would tell anyone if Jess stabbed her in the face.)

Summary: All the kids at Sweet Valley Middle School are talking about the big Johnny Buck concert.

For the second year in a row, the twins’ parents say they are too young to go.

Elizabeth is disappointed, but will do what her parents say. But nothing and no one in the world can stop Jessica from seeing her rock idol – even if it means sneaking out.

Soon Jessica comes up with a plan that she knows will fool her parents – but it means neglecting her responsibilities. Will Elizabeth, once again, step in and take over for her sister – or will she tell her parents the truth?

Initial Thoughts:

This is one of my least favourite books. There’s nothing really wrong with it, it’s just there’s nothing really right with it either.

Jess: I’m just sneaking off, Dog. Don’t tell anyone I’m wearing double denim.

[Wing: There is so, so much wrong with it. SO MUCH. Note: It may be useful to know that I am a dog person through and through.] [Dove: Sorry, I should clarify so I don’t sound as ruthless and cold as Jessibeth: when I say there’s nothing really “wrong” with it, I mean that when you compare it against the other four books we’ve done so far, which contain spite, bullying, body-shaming, and property damage towards “different” people, Jess being ruthless is just business as usual, and this particular book is no more wrong than the ones before it. However, Wing’s right, if you are decent, everyone is Sweet Valley is wrong.] [Wing: I don’t even consider myself decent and yet I hate them all for being terrible. But not Dove. No, Dove I hate for a much different reason. Gee, I wonder what it could be.]

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Sweet Valley Twins #4: Choosing Sides

Sweet Valley Twins 4: Choosing Sides
Sweet Valley Twins 4: Choosing Sides (image from Calibre data scrape – think it’s from Shannon’s Sweet Valley site)

Title: Choosing Sides

Tagline: Is Elizabeth’s best friend more important than her own twin sister? Answer: According to the previous three books, her best friend is her twin sister, but pretty much everyone should be more important than Jessica. Jessica is horrible.

Summary: Amy wants to be on The Boosters, but Elizabeth learns the Unicorns will do anything to keep her off the squad, including Jessica! Whose side should she take? Answer: Jesus fuck, she should take Amy’s side! She dislikes the entire point of the Unicorns and knows how mean and terrible they are. Why would she support more bullying and exclusivity from them?

Initial Thoughts:

I hate everything about this series, these main characters, these books, this writing — everything. The only good thing is waiting for Raven or Dove to go boom.

Also, Dove made me do this for my birthday, because she hates me. *drinks* [Dove: Yeah, but on our other site I gave you a month of werewolves for your birthday.] [Wing: I am as yet undecided whether that makes up for this fiasco. The month of werewolves will end, but I’m scheduled to do these recaps until 20-fucking-21.]

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Sweet Valley Twins #3: The Haunted House

Sweet Valley Twins 3: The Haunted House
Sweet Valley Twins 3: The Haunted House

Title: The Haunted House

Tagline: Will a witch’s spell come between Elizabeth and Jessica? [Dove: Not until Super Chiller #9, and it’s more of a curse than a spell…]

[Wing: SPOILERS.]

Summary: Everyone at Sweet Valley Middle School has always said the Mercandy mansion is haunted. Strange lights flicker in the windows at night, and no one ever sees the owners come and go. So when Nora Mercandy moves into the run-down house, rumours spread fast. Jessica Wakefield and her friends are convinced Nora is a witch.

But Elizabeth, Jessica’s twin, is certain that Nora is just an ordinary girl. She’s determined to stick up for her new friend. She’ll get to the bottom of the mystery of the Mercandy mansion – even if it might mean losing her sister’s friendship!

Initial Thoughts:

Scary witches at Halloween. Sounds fun! As my pseudonym implies, I’m a sucker for a Halloween Special. I’m sure this will be no different. Of course, Nora won’t actually be a witch. If she is, I’ll eat my (large and pointy) hat.

The Front Cover: Blonde Girls Encounter Brunette Outside A Place. How exciting! The brunette is at a jaunty angle, with arms crossed to convey maximum sass. Also, it’s getting dark, so this is the closest I’ll ever get to reading Twilight.

(By the way, I’m Raven. I’m new. Hello!)

[Dove: This was the first ever Sweet Valley book I read. I picked it up in a charity shop during a particularly boring visit with my grandfather. So the moral of this story is: don’t visit your relatives, or you’ll get hooked on awful books filled with hateful characters.]

[Wing: I blame your family for everything. Also, we should recap the Twilight series with Raven.]

[Raven: Not happening.]

[2 Feb 2017 update: Wing: For another take on this book, check out the Super Serials podcast episode.]

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