Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #93: The Incredible Madame Jessica

Sweet Valley Twins #93: The Incredible Madame Jessica by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins #93: The Incredible Madame Jessica by Jamie Suzanne

Title: The Incredible Madame Jessica

Tagline: Good fortune or bad luck?

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?

Initial Thoughts:

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.

Example:

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.]

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Posted in Magna Editions

Sweet Valley Twins Magna Edition #2: A Christmas Without Elizabeth

Magna Edition 2 - A Christmas Without Elizabeth
Magna Edition 2: A Christmas Without Elizabeth

Title: A Christmas Without Elizabeth

Tagline: What if Elizabeth had never been born? [Dove: The series would merely be called “Sweet Valley Kid?”]

Summary: The strangest gift of all…

Elizabeth Wakefield is in terrible trouble. She was in charge of keeping all the money that Sweet Valley Middle School raised for a Christmas party. But Elizabeth secretly lent the money to a homeless family so that they would have a home over Christmas. [Raven: Of COURSE she did.] Now Elizabeth has been caught without the money and without an excuse. Everyone is furious with her.

Elizabeth decides to run away. She thinks Sweet Valley would be better off if she’d never been born. On her way out of town in a terrible storm, Elizabeth meets a mysterious girl who claims to be her guardian angel—and shows her just how important she is after all.

Initial Thoughts:

This book is based on one of my favourite films: It’s a Wonderful Life. If you’ve not seen it, track it down and give it a watch. It’s from 1946, and likely available via number of streaming services. It’s one of only two films to make me cry*. The first was Watership Down when I was six, the second was this when I was twenty-two. [Wing: God, Watership Down, not an okay heartbreak in that one.]

(*Then I hit mid-thirties, and they released Up. Downhill from there. Nowadays? Shit, I well up if I can’t find my fucking socks.)

[Dove: The cover. Why does Elizabeth have a bob? Their hair is always long on all the other covers.]

A Sweet Valley book, based on its central premise? I’ve an open mind. I’ve no beef with such chicanery. Cows aren’t sacred. I present the following video link as Exhibit A… a song about my favourite film, by my favourite band, which is legitimately one of my favourite things ever.

Seriously, if you can’t spare 2 hours 10 minutes for the film, spare three minutes for the video.

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Middle School Yearbook Superlatives

SVMS Yearbook Cover 2018
SVMS Yearbook Cover 2018

Raven and Dove never did yearbooks. They never did superlatives. They felt like they missed out.

Here are what they came up with…

Best…

Best (and worst) Singer…

Most likely to…

The Rest…

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #68: The Middle School Gets Married

Sweet Valley Twins #68: The Middle School Gets Married by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins #68: The Middle School Gets Married by Jamie Suzanne

Title: The Middle School Gets Married

Tagline: Wedding bells in Sweet Valley?

Summary: Married, with children… [Wing: This is not a reference I expected to see here. Is it an actual reference to the show? No idea, but I like it.]

As part of a health-class project, all the students at Sweet Valley Middle School are pairing up into simulated marriages. Their assignment is to manage a make believe household and care for an egg that represents a baby.

The only problem is, their teacher. Mr. Siegel, is picking the couples Elizabeth Wakefield finds herself paired with snobby Bruce Patman, who refuses to help out. Jessica Wakefield’s pretend husband, Rick Hunter, teases her mercilessly and refuses to stop. And Todd Wilkins gets stuck with Lila Fowler, who only wants to eat out! [Dove: Lies, Lila/Todd get two lines of screen time and the subject of eating doesn’t even come up.] Can the middle-schoolers survive two whole weeks of married life?

Initial Thoughts:

I love-love-love this book. This is one of my favourite tropes, and I love to see it popping up in media I enjoy, and this book started my love of it. Dawson’s Creek did a marriage project episode, and it was pretty good. But, y’know, the downside of Dawson’s Creek is that Joey’s in it.

I wish there were pictures of all the couples. I always assume the couple on the right/back of the cover is Lila/Todd, but maybe it’s Sophia/Patrick, since they get more screen time. Sophia has black hair on both her previous book covers, and the boy doesn’t look like Patrick or Todd particularly, but I will concede that he has Patrick’s hair. [Raven: How do you know this? They are all literally the same, especially the boys.] [Dove: … I didn’t have a lot of friends when I was a tween. Shut up.] [Wing: I sort of want Dove to annotate every cover with the character names and what is wrong with the depiction.]

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #62: Sarah’s Dad and Sophia’s Mum

Sweet Valley Twins 62: Sarah’s Dad and Sophia’s Mom by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 62: Sarah’s Dad and Sophia’s Mom by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Sarah’s Dad and Sophia’s Mum

Tagline: Will worst enemies become sisters?

Summary: Hate at first sight…

Sarah Thomas and Sophia Rizzo can’t stand each other. Without doubt, no two girls in their year at Sweet Valley Middle School are more different. [Wing: Not even the Wakefield twins who look alike but are really very different?] When Elizabeth Wakefield starts working on an art project with Sarah and Sophia, she hopes the two girls will become friends. But soon even patient Elizabeth is fed up with their constant bickering.

Sarah and Sophia’s fighting finally leads to a visit to the principal. The girls know they’re in big trouble, but they don’t know just how big. When Sarah’s father and Sophia’s mother meet in the principal’s office, it’s love at first sight. And Sarah and Sophia are united at last—to try to break up their parents!

Initial Thoughts

The Rizzos are back! What is up with the dark-haired girl’s hair? Why do we have to have a Wakefield on the cover? Some people pay a lot of money for abstract art like that. I think they’ve touched on how the Rizzos will earn money now.

Otherwise, I’ve got nothing.

[Dove: I hadn’t noticed until you mentioned it, but you’re right, Sophia has curly hair on her previous front cover. This kid has lego hair.]

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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 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 #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 #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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