Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #24: Jumping to Conclusions

Sweet Valley Twins 24: Jumping to Conclusions by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 24: Jumping to Conclusions by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Jumping to Conclusions

Tagline: Is Mrs Wakefield hiding something from the twins?

Summary: Elizabeth Wakefield thinks that her twin sister, Jessica, must be wrong: their very own mother in love with a strange man? There’s no way it could be true. But how else can they explain all of Mom’s hushed phone calls and her mysterious trips out? Even their brother, Steven, spotted Mom having a fancy lunch with a very handsome and rich-looking man!

Now, even Elizabeth is beginning to believe the worst. There’s only one way to find out the truth, but they’ll need the help of their friends. Can they round up the pang and put the plan into action before it’s too late?

Initial Thoughts:

So, Alice has apparently been playing away, has she? Can’t say I blame her. Ned is a proper bellend. I’m betting in the Grounds for Divorce section of their Decree Nisi it just says “ithig.” Of course, despite the intrigue in the summary, I’m betting Jess has the wrong end of the Infidelity Stick… the book is called Jumping to Conclusions, so Alice is undoubtedly innocent.

As for the cover, it’s one of the best so far, with Jessica dressing in the trench coat uniform of the private eye. Either that, or she’s a flasher. [Dove: I love this cover. It’s so Jessica.[Wing: I agree, this is the greatest cover we’ve seen. It’s ridiculous and Jessica is adorably over the top.]

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #23: Claim to Fame

Sweet Valley Twins 23: Claim to Fame by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 23: Claim to Fame by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Claim to Fame

Tagline: Which twin will go down in history? [Raven: Jessica, of course. Murder One.]

Summary: For its 25th anniversary celebration, Sweet Valley Middle School is burying a time capsule – and a special school-wide contest will decide what goes inside. Identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are each determined to win. Jessica is teamed with her fellow Unicorns, and Elizabeth and her friends are with George Henkel, the shyest boy in school, who is without a mother and hardly ever sees his father.

With the race just about even, Elizabeth stumbles on the one thing that will definitely make her team win – an old football that belongs to George Henkel’s father! It’s the football that was used to score the winning touchdown at Sweet Valley’s first state championship. Now, there’s more at stake than just winning. Maybe Elizabeth can also bring George and his dad back together again… if Jessica doesn’t get to the football first!

Initial Thoughts:

Thrilling cover. The twins. Being twinny.

What the hell has this got to do with fame? Maybe a promo shot for whatever fame-related escapades occur in the narrative. Either that, or it’s an advertisement for a specialist massage parlour.

Hopefully the book will have a happy ending.

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #22: Out of Place

Sweet Valley Twins 22: Out of Place - Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 22: Out of Place – Jamie Suzanne

Title: Out of Place

Tagline: Is there room at Sweet Valley for an outsider? [Dove: No. Absolutely not. Not even if she’s white.]

Summary: Ginny Lu Culpepper had such high hopes for her life in Sweet Valley. But after just one day of being ridiculed by her new classmates, she’s beginning to wish she was back home in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, Then Elizabeth Wakefield comes to her rescue. Ginny Lu realizes that being different doesn’t have to be bad. Being different makes her quite special.

Even Elizabeth’s twin sister, Jessica, is willing to help Ginny Lu – especially when it will mean getting herself out of a jam at the same time. But how can the twins convince the other kids to give the new girl a chance?

Initial Thoughts:

Don’t wanna. Don’t wanna. DON’T WANNA.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not as bad as some books (Class Trip, I’m eyeballing you right now), but it’s just not good either. In all honesty, I’d have been happier doing Left Behind. This is just stupid. The only reason I didn’t ask for a swap was because this is a horse book, and I get them (just like Wing gets adoption, and Raven gets… whatever Wing and I are actively trying to avoid). [Raven: Thanks for that.]

As an indication of how much I don’t want to do this: since opening this document, I have re-organised my “rock” folder in my music, including re-naming all of my Aerosmith songs, and finding HD cover artwork for them. While I was at it, I updated the settings of Mp3tag, so if I need to update anything else with the specific settings I used for “The Very Best of Aerosmith”, then I have them saved.

Side note: If, like me, every time you listen to Crazy by Aerosmith, you wonder just how high Steven Tyler’s range is, well, here’s a breakdown of all the best singers.

What do you mean I’m shirking? Oh, all right, let’s get on with this.

tl;dr: DON’T WANNA.

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #21: Left Behind

Sweet Valley Twins 21: Left Behind - Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 21: Left Behind – Jamie Suzanne

Title: Left Behind by Francine Pascal

Summary: Out in the cold…

Elizabeth Wakefield’s good friend, Sarah Thomas, is miserable. [Wing: Good friend? I don’t remember hearing a damn thing about her.] Her father is spending most of his time with his fiancée, Annie – a woman Sarah doesn’t like at all. She thinks Annie is just after her father’s money, but doesn’t know how to prove it without sounding like a jealous brat.

Some of Sarah’s friends begin to notice the change in her, and when Elizabeth asks her what’s wrong, Sarah just starts to cry. She desperately wants to tell Elizabeth the truth, but Annie has made her swear never to talk to anyone about her. If Annie is really as awful as Sarah thinks, can Elizabeth help her to come forward with the truth before it’s too late?

Tagline: How can Sarah win back her father’s attention? [Wing: Based on that cover, in a terrible, illegal way.]

Initial Thoughts

There is literally nothing about this book that makes me think this is going to go well. Is Annie abusing her? Because all that talk about Annie making Sarah promise not to talk to anyone about her sort of leans that way.

[Dove: I actually love this book. So much more than the one I recapped. Also, as pointed out on Shannon’s Sweet Valley blog, what the fuck has happened to Sarah’s left arm? What is seen cannot be unseen.] [Raven: That’s some creepy Samara shit right there.[Wing: Well fuck, I hadn’t noticed it at first, but now I can’t stop looking at it. I hate you.]

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #20: Playing Hooky

Sweet Valley Twins 20: Playing Hooky - Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 20: Playing Hooky – Jamie Suzanne

Title: Playing Hooky

Tagline: How far will Elizabeth go to save her sister? [Raven: Not as far as Jessica, I’m sure.]

[Wing: Not sure Jessica would go any sort of distance to save anyone else but herself.]

Summary: Kent Kellerman, soap opera star, is coming to town. One whole episode of his show is being filmed downtown and Jessica and Lila have passes to get on the set. There’s one small problem. The filming is to take place during school hours. They’d only have to skip one little class…

Now both girls must face up to their punishment. For Jessica, that means no extracurricular activities, no Booster club, and worst of all, no playing in the basketball championship playoffs. Without Jessica, the team is sure to lose and she’ll become Sweet Valley’s most unpopular girl. That is, unless her twin sister, Elizabeth, agrees to save the day – and the game!

Initial Thoughts:

The cover is nothing more than a Circle of Predatory Grooming. Seriously, I thought the Adult Torso was actually handing the nameless twin a condom.

[Dove: To be fair, that’s what it looks like in the thumbnail.]

It’s actually a slip of paper or some sort. Perhaps our American Correspondent can shed some light on this arcane school tradition.

[Wing: American schools are truly bastions of safe sex education. Or really, he’s giving her a detention slip or something similar.]

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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 Podcasts

Episode 6: My Legs are Spatulas

Wing, Raven and Dove talk about Sweet Valley Twins 16 Second Best; 17 Boys Against Girls and Super Edition 1: The Class Trip. They also discuss Bleak Valley and how these books tie into this theory. Music is provided by Stuart Taylor, who can be contacted on taylorstuart602@gmail.com if you wish to commission music