When Ms. Shepard becomes the student teacher in Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield’s social studies class, school becomes a lot more exciting. Ms. Shepard organizes a weekend field trip to a pioneer farm where the six th graders will have to live just as the pioneers did—with no modern conveniences.
The boys bet that the girls won’t be able to survive without their hair dryers. The girls insist that the boys can’t live without TV and junk food. The battle of the year is on, and both sides are determined to win!
Loving the cover. Purple dungarees! [Dove: This is one of my favourite covers. Wakefield Gothic.] [Wing: I love that plaid, too.]
One issue: I am led to believe these girls are identical twins. The books, I feel, are pretty clear in this regard. Why, then, do these two girls look so palpably different? Dungers-Twin has a thicker and more Were-Pig nose than Plaid-Twin. Plaid-Twin has a wider mouth than Dungers-Twin. And NEITHER twin has a FUCKING dimple in her left cheek.
Tagline: Can Melissa and Andy make it on their own? [Raven: They’ve got to hold on to what they’ve got. It doesn’t make a difference if they make it or not. They’ve got each other, and that’s a lot. For love… they’ll give it a shot. #AndyUsedToWorkOnTheDocks.]
Summary:Friends in need…
Elizabeth Wakefield’s friend Melissa McCormick needs help. Her mother has suddenly died, leaving Melissa and her brother, Andy, alone. Their father left years ago, so they have only each other to depend on.
If the social workers find out that Melissa and Andy are now orphans, they will be put in separate foster homes. So Andy devises a plan: he and Melissa will get jobs to pay the bills and they’ll tell everyone that their father is returning home soon.
Only Elizabeth knows the truth, and she sees how fast the bills and responsibilities are piling up. She also knows she has to do something—the right thing—before it’s too late.
I have to be honest, I didn’t re-read this one after purchase. I really liked Melissa in a later book, Poor Lila, but I don’t know if her characterisation is the same in both. Honestly, I don’t like parent death books. It pisses me off. I know everyone’s grief process is different, but I have never once seen a kid in a book grieve like I did.
Backstory, my dad died when I was nine. (My well-meaning but idiotic family never explained he got cancer. They told me he had a stomach bug. This has left me with a deep-seated phobia of vomiting.) What happened was: he was healthy, he was sick for a few months, he died. I cried for about 20 minutes straight after hearing about it, and while I was intermittently sad for a period of time after, I was not broken. This event changed my life, obviously, but mostly because it left me in the care of an emotional abuser. I hate parent death books because most of the time the grief is gigantic and life-changing, and the parent is their best friend, even twenty years later the wound isn’t healed, and oh gosh, wouldn’t things just be perfect if dead parent was still alive?
For this reason, I try to avoid books with a parent death in them. So I read this once, maybe twice, for completest reasons, but never returned.
[Wing: Sorry, all, unexpected family stuff over the weekend, and I’m only having a chance to comment Monday, 20 August, around 10 a.m. Central USA time.]
Summary: You can’t be too rich… or can you? When Jessica, Elizabeth, and Steven Wakefield’s great-aunt Helen arrives in Sweet Valley, she brings a big surprise: one hundred dollars in cash for each of them!
Now the Wakefield kids are faced with a problem: how will they spend all this cash? [Dove: #FirstWorldProblems]
Jessica shows off by showering her friends with presents. When the money runs out, how will she explain she is broke? Elizabeth buys an autographed copy of her favorite author’s latest mystery, and her money madness leads her to believe there’s a mystery right under her nose! Steven takes beautiful Jill Hale on a dream date to an expensive restaurant. But when the dinner bill arrives, Steven realizes he is not so rich after all.
Can money buy the Wakefields friendship, mystery and romance?
Let’s get this out of the way before we start:
EXTENDED, y’all! Two minutes of amazement. If you’ve not watched Orphan Black, you’re missing out. Seriously. [Dove: I think Orphan Black was inspired by Sweet Valley High, when so many people looked like the twins/stole their lives/twin switches/etc. Also: EXTENDED SCENE FOR THE WIN.]
Next… one hundred dollars. In cash. Each. DAMN, that’s a pretty hefty sum for a tween in the late Eighties.
Only two Wakefields on the cover? I’ll be generous and say it’s Steven and Elizabeth. Jessica’s obviously out of shot, having spent her cash on drugs, now earning Steven’s cash in a time-honoured fashion.
[Wing: I am thrown by the FUCK YOU TAMARA CHASE tag, so this is going to be interesting.]
Title: Sweet Valley Twins Super Edition #4: The Unicorns Go Hawaiian
Summary: Aloha, Unicorns!
Just when Jessica Wakefield becomes bored with Sweet Valley, [Wing: So every book then?] she wins a trip to Hawaii. [Wing: Wut. Already starting off with a Wakefields must win trope? Damn it.] She takes five of her best friends from the exclusive Unicorn Club and they’re ready to have the time of their lives.
But things don’t turn out the way they had planned. Jessica has a streak of bad luck, Janet Howell is convinced she is a Hawaiian princess, [Wing: WUT. GOD DAMN IT.] and Mandy Miller, Mary Wallace, and Ellen Riteman find out a secret they must keep from Lila Fowler.
The girls don’t understand why their trip to paradise is turning out to be the worst holiday ever… until they discover the curse of the Hawaiian volcano goddess! [Wing: WHAT THE EVER LOVING FUCK ARE YOU SHITTING ME RIGHT NOW. I DON’T WANT TO RECAP THIS.]
Tagline: It’s the trip of a lifetime! [Wing: Considering how rich most of Sweet Valley is, I doubt that.]
WHAT THE FUCK I WANT TO BURN EVERYTHING DOWN OH MY GOD.
Over on Twitter, Dove encouraged me to post a list of the things I rage-feared would happen in this book. I did that right before I read anything about the book.
Here is my list:
Some sort of bullshit Hawaiian princess storyline
Only white people live in Hawaii except for the SUPER SPECIAL magical native.
Someone (probably Jessica) will be amazeballs at surfing without even trying.
Someone (probably Jessica) will be amazeballs at hula, just as good as the “locals.”
People who live in Hawaii will be called Hawaiians indiscriminately from Hawaiians being actual native peoples.
Everyone will wear cheap tourist “Hawaiian” shirts and plastic leis.
All the food will be “Hawaiian” simply by adding pineapple to it. There will be no mac salad, loco moco, malasadas, or L&L (oh my god I’m so hungry right now).
WW2 references + American imperialism.
Fucking haoles the whole entire lot of them, in that terrible stereotypical loud, brash, rich white American tourist way.
CLEARLY I DID NOT SET MY EXPECTATIONS LOW ENOUGH VOLCANO GODDESS CURSE OH MY GOD I NEED STRONGER LIQUOR AND MORE FIRE. [Raven: This is gonna be AWESOME.] [Dove: Or she’s going to drink so hard she falls off her chair and doesn’t finish the recap.]
Shallow: The girls on that cover are not wearing nearly enough purple.
It’s green. It’s gooey. It gobbles up humans. It’s The Slime that Ate Sweet Valley coming soon to a cinema near you and starring Jessica Wakefield!
At first, Jessica is thrilled to win the leading role in the Sweet Valley Middle School’s sixth-grade movie. But soon she learns that being an actress is hard work. When she discovers that she’ll actually have to kiss Winston Egbert and Randy Mason on camera, she begs her twin sister, Elizabeth, to rewrite the script. But it’s too late. The show must go on.
To Jessica, the only thing worse than getting gobbled up by The Slime is having to kiss two boys in front of all her friends!
I like this book. I actually wish the movie was a Sweet Valley book. It sounds like a NaNo project – a schlocky b-movie about an ooze that covers an adorably perfect town.
I have suggested that Raven write the script for the movie, complete with director’s/writer’s notes in the margin, for NaNo this year. He wasn’t completely opposed to it. So if I mention it here, hopefully Rosey and Jessica T will bully him into it. [Raven: No pressure… *eyeroll*]
Note: If I refer to the Slime as the Smooze, I’m not even sorry. NOTHING CAN STOP THE SMOOZE.
[Wing: I’m already fond of this book because it sounds like a Goosebumps story.]
Winston Egbert wants to join the Boosters, Sweet Valley Middle School’s cheering squad. No way, the girls say! A boy as a cheerleader? So what if Winston happens to be a terrific gymnast? So what if he makes up fantastic cheers? Jessica Wakefield and the other Boosters vow they’ll do anything to keep Winston off the squad.
At first Winston endures the girls’ nasty pranks, Charlie Cashman’s bullying, and his classmates’ giggles. But something happens to make Winston give up for good!
When the state cheering competition arrives, the Boosters are surprised to see that almost every other squad has a boy as a member. Without Winston, they’re sure to lose! Is there any way the Boosters can get Winston back?
Tagline: Winston Egbert wants to join the Boosters! [Wing: We get it, book. WE GET IT.]
Oh, good, I bet this book is filled with gender essentialism. Y’all know how much I love that. BOYS? In CHEERLEADING? Heaven forbid.
[Dove: I really enjoy this book. It’s good fun, and the Unicorns are hilariously ridiculous.]
Tagline: What’s the new girl hiding? [Raven: A cock?] [Dove: That she’s been there all along and the Wakefield twins are just really fucking unobservant?] [Wing: Backyards full of bodies. She’ll be Jessica’s new BFF.]
Summary: Maria Slater has been an actress since she was three years old, but now that she’s twelve she can’t find any work. So Maria hopes to forget her past and start life again at Sweet Valley Middle School, where she can play the role she has always wanted: the typical sixth-grader.
But for Maria, being typical becomes harder and harder, especially when Jessica Wakefield discovers Maria’s secret past Everyone wants to be friends with a movie star, but will anyone want to be friends with plain old Maria?
HOLY FUCK JESSICA’S HAND IS FUCKING HUGE.
Also, there’s a black girl in Sweet Valley. Unexpected. I can’t see this ending well.
Since they were seven, Elizabeth and Jessica have wanted a little sister. Now that they’re twelve, the twins know they’re responsible enough to help out with a new baby, and they’re determined to prove it to their parents.
The twins get their chance when neighbors go on holiday and leave their five-year-old daughter with the Wakefields. Chrissy is so cute and sweet that Jessica and Elizabeth think it’s going to be easy to take care of her.
But from the moment Chrissy arrives, it’s clear that she’s spoiled. Before long the twins begin to wish she would just disappear!
When they get their wish and Chrissy does disappear, the twins are faced with their biggest problem yet .They’ve got to find Chrissy before her parents come back! [Wing: Why does anyone ever trust the Wakefield twins with any living creature? WHY?]
Tagline: Are Jessica and Elizabeth ready to be big sisters? [Wing: NOPE.]
We already know that Jessica hates to baby-sit and isn’t all that great at it. Why are we having yet another story where she tries? What is her obsession with having a little sister? Why does this book even exist?
Summary: Mandy Miller wants to join the Unicorns, but the Unicorns don’t want Mandy Miller! She wears wild second-hand clothes, and the other members think she tries too hard to fit in.
Jessica thinks she’s funny and nice, and she likes her offbeat way of dressing. The Unicorns have asked Jessica to tell Mandy that she can’t join, but Jessica just can’t bring herself to break the bad news.
How can Jessica be friends with the Unicorns and Mandy at the same time? Suddenly Mandy gets some frightening news that makes the Unicorns seem unimportant to both Mandy and Jessica—and now Jessica is afraid of losing her new friend for good!
Mandy sounds like an old friend of mine, from my college days. Let’s call her Plover. She had her own unique dress sense and a fun, gregarious personality. She was very popular. She’s now a super-ace singer and photographer, still rocking her style with aplomb.
I think I’m going to like Mandy Miller.
[Raven: This recap is like Gandalf, in that this recap is never late, nor is it early. It arrives precisely when it means to. By this, I mean this recap is late, so I’m attempting to put a wizard’s hat on it. So, apologies. But if you really think about it, IS this recap late? Yes it is. But IS it? Yes. But it’s actually ON TIME. *waves hands in a mesmerising way*]
Tagline: Jessica’s got a new secret – will the whole school find out?
Summary: It’s the most exciting day of Jessica’s life—Aaron Dallas has asked her out! Nothing could ruin Jessica’s wonderful mood—except the fact that she has to start wearing glasses. Jessica is convinced that the Unicorns will drop her the second they see her. And Aaron is sure to change his mind about their date.
For Jessica there is just one solution—she’ll never leave her room again! How can Elizabeth help her sister realize that wearing glasses is definitely not a tragedy?
I’m going to be 100% honest here. I can’t get behind Jessica’s thinking at all. I actually misread the final line on an eye test deliberately when I was 11 because I was so desperate to wear glasses. I think they’re cool. So I just want to hoof Jess in the face because this is a major comedown from the #BestJess who ruined a billion outfits to save a baby seal.