Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #19: The Bully

Sweet Valley Twins 19: The Bully - Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 19: The Bully – Jamie Suzanne

Title: The Bully

Tagline: How do you stop the meanest kid in Sweet Valley? [Dove: Wait. How do you even find the meanest kid in Sweet Valley? Who compiled the initial list? Who narrowed it down? Were independent ombudsmen involved? Why isn’t Jessica the meanest kid in Sweet Valley? I have so many fucking questions.]

Summary: Dennis Cookman is the biggest bully at Sweet Valley Middle School. Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, along with the whole sixth grade, are trying to figure out what to do about him. When Dennis smashes Jimmy Underwood’s bicycle, some of the kids feel he’s gone too far.

Just because Dennis is bigger and older doesn’t give him the right to pick on the sixth graders. Something has to be done to stop this bully once and for all! That’s when Ken Matthews comes up with the perfect dare that will expose Dennis Cookman as the coward that he really is.

Initial Thoughts:

I love/hate this book. I’ll explain what I love and what I don’t. Oh, and I’ve been reading this book since 1990, and it was only on this read-through I was able to figure out the layout of the cave to make the plot make sense. Note from the future: Or did I? Someone draw me a fucking picture!

The cover: Why is Jessica gazing at a spot over Dennis’ right shoulder? Did she – SQUIRREL!

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #18: Center of Attention

Sweet Valley Twins 18: Center of Attention - Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 18: Center of Attention – Jamie Suzanne

Title: Centre of Attention

Summary: Stepping over the line…

Jessica Wakefield just can’t stop her wild imagination. Her mother is very ill, and Jessica thinks it’s much worse – she might even be dying! Soon, the news spreads all over Sweet Valley Middle School. Elizabeth, Jessica’s twin sister, is furious, but Jessica loves being the center of all that attention.

Even the teachers feel sorry for Jessica, and they let her skip her homework and be excused from tests. And now, Jessica has a chance to get the lead in the school musical – if she can manage to take advantage of everyone’s sympathy just one more time.

Tagline: Has Jessica finally gone too far? [Wing: WHAT DO YOU MEAN, FINALLY?!]

Initial Thoughts

Oh my god, I am going to hate everything about this. Not only does that premise sound terrible on its own, but I spent more than a decade watching my mother die a slow, painful death, so I am particularly touchy about sick mother/dead mother stories.

(At least I’ll probably be back to my hatred of all things Sweet Valley, which I understand a lot better than my unexpected moments of love for it.)

[Wing: Note from the future: It gets real in here, from the text and the recappers, especially about parental death, heart ache, and abusive childhoods.]

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Posted in Super Editions

Sweet Valley Twins Super Edition #1: The Class Trip

Super Edition 1: The Class Trip - Jamie Suzanne
Super Edition 1: The Class Trip – Jamie Suzanne

Title: The Class Trip

Tagline: Finally, it’s the day for the big adventure!

Summary: It’s the Sweet Valley Middle School sixth grade trip to a fabulous amusement park. Both twins, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, have been waiting for this day for ages. And now that it finally here they’re not even talking to each other.

Despite their argument Elizabeth can’t stay angry for long. [Raven: I can’t believe they’re now putting their stock phrases in the bloody SUMMARIES.] But when she goes to apologize to Jessica, she is nowhere to be found. As Elizabeth searches for her lost sister, she’s caught up in a series of exciting and dangerous adventures as incredible as Alice’s trip through Wonderland – adventures that lead the Wakefield twins to discover what real friendship and sisterhood – is all about!

Initial Thoughts:

Ooooh, a Super Edition! What on earth can be Super about it? The last few books have been pretty super in themselves, so maybe this book will be extra special and fun!

[~~# Future Raven: NOPE. #~~]

And the cover! Four kids in front of a bus! I recognise Elizabeth and Jessica in the middle, but why is the demure Liz wearing purple? Is there some Twin Magic for us to enjoy? And who are the others? I trust they’ll be integral to the plot of the upcoming book!

[~~# Future Raven: Double NOPE. They are superfluous to the so-called “action.” Also, hello! I’m from the future, and I eat my food in lozenge form. #~~]

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #15: The Older Boy

Sweet Valley Twins 15: The Older Boy - Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 15: The Older Boy – Jamie Suzanne

Title: The Older Boy

Tagline: Jessica has the biggest secret of her life! [Dove: Until book 42: Jessica’s Secret.[Wing: From stealing money to fucking dating older boys, Jess is on a roll.]

Summary: The most exciting thing has just happened to Jessica Wakefield! Josh Angler, the cutest junior at Sweet Valley High has asked her out on a date. She’s had to lie a little about her age – well, a lot – and pretend she’s in high school. She’ll even have Josh pick her up at her friend Lila’s house so her family won’t discover her little charade – but it will all be worth it, won’t it?

Jessica’s plan backfires when she and Josh wind up on a double date with none other than her own brother, Steven Wakefield! Will Steven keep Jessica’s secret or will he decide to pay her back for all the things she’s ever done to him?

Initial Thoughts:

Wow. That’s a short summary. Might as well go with “Jessica creates an incestuous paedophile.”

The cover? Pretty decent, to be fair. The boy certainly does look older. And they are stood outside something that looks very American. Is it a mall? Or a motel? Or maybe a twinkie? Who knows! [Wing: Perhaps it is meant to be the roller rink. Also, as I mention in the podcast episode, at least Josh looks youngish. In the similar book and cover, Dawn and the Older Boy, the older boy is probably the same age as Josh, but looks to be in his 30s.]

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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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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #12: Keeping Secrets

Sweet Valley Twins 12: Keeping Secrets
Sweet Valley Twins 12: Keeping Secrets
Sweet Valley Twins #12: Keeping Secrets – Single

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 – Single

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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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

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…)

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

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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