Tagline: On a hill on the outskirts of Sweet Valley sits a beautiful old Victorian house—empty until a big family move in… the perfect clients for Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield’s new babysitting service…
Summary: Little by little, Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield’s dream job of baby-sitting for the Riccoli kids is turning into a nightmare. Andrew Riccoli dreams that someone tried to set fire to his room—and then wakes up in a cloud of smoke. Then Gretchen Riccoli dreams she’s falling—and wakes up at the bottom of the mansion’s dark, winding staircase. The twins are getting scared… too scared to close their eyes in the Riccoli mansion.
Don’t go to sleep, Sweet Valley… you may never wake up!
The first book in this series is hardly a zinger. For a spooky book with an action-packed premise, not a lot happened.
Here’s hoping the second swings a little harder for the fences.
[Dove: This is where I really lost my patience with this mini-series. The b-plot is my personal bugbear and I will never forgive or forget. I hate this mini-series.]
[Wing: I did not have high expectations. I was partially correct.]
Tagline: The first title in the scary Nightmare Mansion mini-series
Summary:On a hill on the outskirts of Sweet Valley sits a beautiful old Victorian house—empty until a big family move in… the perfect clients for Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield’s new baby-sitting service…
The Wakefield twins and their friends love baby-sitting for the Riccolis, until little Juliana Riccoli starts having horrible nightmares. One night she wakes up crying, saying a monster attacked her. The twins tell her that bad dreams aren’t real, but Elizabeth is secretly afraid. If the monster isn’t real, why does Juliana have deep scratches on her back?
Don’t go to sleep, Sweet Valley… you may never wake up!
Hey kids, do you love Baby-Sitters Club?
YEAH! (excited cheering from a bunch of tweens in the 80s/90s)
And do you love A Nightmare on Elm Street?
YEAH! (one or two kids back away nervously muttering that their mum wouldn’t approve)
And do you love it when boys are so utterly mentally incapacitated that it’s actually cruel to leave them alone without adult supervision?
… (kids look unenthusiastic. a tumbleweed blows past)
WELL, GREAT! THIS SERIES IS FOR YOU.
] [Dove: Damn you for using my favourite Meat Loaf song.]
[Wing: Nothing like opening with a Meat Loaf song to put Wing in a good mood.]
Summary: Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are witnesses to an armed robbery! Though the crook was disguised as a clown, all the evidence points to Joe Carrey as the culprit. Elizabeth can’t believe it! Joe is the ice cream scooper at Casey’s, and he’s one of the nicest people she’s ever met.
Then Elizabeth investigates more deeply and finds a clue that just doesn’t fit. It’s enough to convince her that Joe Carrey is innocent. But can Elizabeth convince the jury?
Criminals and intrigue and trials and shit.
Looks like there’s been a robbery at a store committed by a clown, not to be confused with a Robbery at the Mall committed by a chicken. Excellent work there, plot manatees!
I’ve enjoyed a fair few of the Plucky Girl Detectives books, so I hope this one doesn’t disappoint.
[Dove: At this point, I am so over the Plucky Girl Detectives books. I think no crime gets solved in Sweet Valley without Elizabeth being involved.] [Wing: Wasn’t the very first Plucky Girl Detective story driven by Jessica?]
Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield and their friends have joined the girls’ basketball team. They ask the boys’ team to come and root for them—it’s only fair, since the Boosters cheer at every one of the boys’ games. But the boys say no way—girls’ sports are stupid.
Outraged, the girls boycott the boys’ games. And once the Boosters stop cheering, the undefeated boys’ team starts losing… and keeps losing.
The superstitious boys are getting desperate. They need the girls in order to win. After the boys beg and beg, the girls finally agree to come back under one condition: they not only want the boys to come to their games, they want boy cheerleaders!
I don’t really have any beyond the fact that the last line of the last book was that the twins were like, “OMG! Why have I never played basketball before? It’s super awesome!” and my feeling was very much: They have.
In fact, Jessica’s hobby of choice was basketball in Steven’s Enemy… admittedly because of the wide array of cute boys that play it, but even so, she cared then. And I’m sure in the earlier books before we started tracking such things, she’s played on the school team. [Raven: Elizabeth also coached Ken Matthews to a standard that allowed him to win a spot on the team. With a tennis ball.] [Wing: #4, Choosing Sides, is where Elizabeth coached Ken after Steven, basketball genius (and apparently coaching genius, too) failed. In #20, Playing Hooky, Jessica’s the fucking star of the SVMS sixth grade girls basketball team. #47, Jessica’s New Look, has at least one of her dates with Aaron to watch the Lakers play. #82 is Steven’s Enemy, in case you want to go back and see yet another book where Jessica discovered her love of basketball. So yeah, I’m going to have a hard time giving this book a fair chance because I am so goddamn annoyed that (a) the twins are discovering basketball all over again, (b) they have to create a sixth grade girls basketball team, and (c) I’m pretty sure there’s a continuity error around the boys team, too.]
Also, Jessica’s been on a bunch of dates with Aaron to see the Lakers play – partly because Aaron was wowed by Jessica’s obvious knowledge and enjoyment of the game, rather than just “yay, date!”
So basically, I’m coming in to a completely new book with a chip on my shoulder thanks to the clumsiness of the previous Jamie, who may well not be this Jamie.
Also, it’s about sexism, so, y’know, I suspect I’ll be a mite tetchy throughout.
Note: Any spelling mistakes or random lines of characters should have been edited out. But if not, I have kittens. Kittens who think the tippy-tappy of my soft keyboard is the most magic thing ever and must be pounced on.
Summary: The news that rocks Elizabeth’s world… [Dove: Yes, Elizabeth. This is all about you.] [Raven: It’s always about Elizabeth.]
Elizabeth Wakefield has always thought that Brian Boyd, the class bully, was bad news. He’s mean and loud—nothing but trouble. As far as she’s concerned, Sweet Valley Middle School would be better off without him! Then she learns a terrible secret about Brian: he’s been taken away from his parents because they physically abuse him.
Elizabeth and her friends are horrified, and so are some Middle School parents when they see how scared and upset their kids are. When Brian is sent to a school closer to his new home, there’s a big sigh of relief.
Now Elizabeth has finally got her wish—the school is rid of Brian. So why does she still feel so rotten?
Why does Elizabeth feel so rotten? Because she’s intruding on someone else’s life again, I bet. I’m already angry at this book, and I haven’t read more than the summary and the tagline. I have no faith that ghostie will handle child abuse well at all, I have a feeling they are going to try to blame his Nazism on his abuse, and I’m primed to burn Sweet Valley to ash.
Summary: Identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are ready for the trip of their lives. They’ve been selected to participate in their school’s Bonjour Paris! project, and they get to live with a real French family in the City of Lights for two whole weeks!
But on the plane, Jessica makes a startling discovery about their French mother, Madame du Noir. And when the twins meet her in the Paris airport, Jessica is absolutely convinced: Madame du Noir is wanted for murder, and Jessica and Elizabeth are her next victims!
The twins are determined to escape from Madame du Noir’s clutches—even if it means running all over Paris!
I’m sure the title of this is a play on the title of another film or sone, but all I have at the moment is “The Cars That Ate Paris” and my Google-Fu feels weak today. Sound off in the comments if you’re feeling in an enlightening mood.
So… this book! The title is exciting at least. Two weeks in Paris with the Wakefield Twins? What could be better?
Polio could be better.
[Dove: I was sure the twins weren’t allowed to go to Paris after the whole Mademoiselle Jessica thing…]
Summary:The mysterious powers of Jessica Wakefield…
Jessica Wakefield can see the future! She’s been saying so for months, and when she opens up a fortune-telling booth at the Sweet Valley Middle School fair, she finally proves it. Everything she predicts comes true—her studious twin sister, Elizabeth, flunks a history test, Patrick Morris breaks up with Sophia Rizzo, and Aaron Dallas gets suspended from the basketball team.
Jessica is elated—she’s the hottest act in town. The only problem is, she’s telling everyone exactly what they don’t want to hear—and the more she predicts, the more people blame her for their bad luck! Does Jessica have to lose her psychic powers to keep her friends?
Another psychic/fortune teller book? Are you kidding me? They really love coming back to this well, don’t they? [Raven: My thoughts exactly. Not AGAIN.]
I suppose this irritates me because I do not believe in fortune telling, ghosts, mediums, psychics, etc. Put them in a supernatural book where these things are real, and I’ll love the hell out of them if it works within the story, but when books are set in the real world? Nope.
The Conjuring movies. Absolutely love the fictional Ed and Lorraine Warren. They seem like sweet, generous people, motivated by God to help families suffering from spiritual torment. Lovely. (And the fact that Patrick Wilson plays Ed doesn’t hurt.)
Real life: Ed and Lorraine are complete scam artists, attaching themselves to high profile cases to give themselves some oomph.
Also, I might be a bit grumpy because I’ve left my recap to the last minute and have to use my weekend to get it down.
[Wing: On the one hand, I do believe in some supernatural things. On the other hand, Dove’s absolutely right in that most people who do it in the public eye are scammers. On the other other hand, I’m not looking forward to another repeat plot. On the other other other hand, it cannot be as bad as the last book.]
Summary: Identical twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield and their friends from Sweet Valley Middle School are shipwrecked! After their ferry was hijacked on a school field trip, the twins saved the day by tying up the hijackers and seizing the helm. But the boat got caught in a storm, and now the twins and their classmates are stranded on an island in the middle of nowhere.
Elizabeth and Jessica are determined to escape. But it won’t be easy. The hijackers have found their way to the island—and they’re out to kill!
I did not enjoy Deadly Voyage, the first half of this Nightmare at Sea sequence, as much as Raven and Dove, but I love stranded on an island stories, and I hope to like this one a lot better. Though that summary does give away the fact that Elizabeth survived the cliffhanger ending of the last book. Which is not actually a surprise, because we know SVH exists, but still shouldn’t be given away in the damn summary.
[Dove: Not just SVH, before then we’ve got the Unicorn Club, Team Sweet Valley (two books only) and Junior High. I mean, it’d be fucking awesome if they killed her off and stuck to it, that would show real balls, but it wasn’t likely.]
[Raven: You mean to say that Elizabeth Wakefield is in the SVH books too? SPOILERS!]
Summary: It’s the best field trip of the year: identical twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield and their classmates from Sweet Valley Middle School are taking a ferry to a Pacific island, where they’ll get to see porpoises and unusual birds. But soon after they set sail, the twins discover that their teachers have been left behind!
Desperate to get back to shore, the girls search for the captain—and find him bound and gagged! The boat is in the hands of thieves, and the twins and their friends are in serious danger!
Well, the premise sounds interesting, at least. The twins, hijacked on a school trip! Gotta beat Ithig, or books about one of the countless School Dances.
The premise also promises the Sweet Valley Twins cast at war with “thieves” … perhaps this could be Jamie Suzanne’s version of Die Hard?
Every time Die Hard comes up, I hear this now. Every. Time.]
One point: This is the first part in a two-part series (or, as it says on the cover, a “sequence”) . As the second part of the sequence is called Escape from Terror Island, I’m presuming Part One ends with the SVT Crew marooned on the aforementioned Island of Terror…
Maybe the voyage won’t be as deadly as advertised. Or maybe Ellen Riteman will get killed. Who knows?!