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.]
Tagline: Jessica and Elizabeth have made the perfect match! [Wing: Considering that girl looks even more like a Wakefield than Steven does and that they are wearing weird matching outfits, I’m pretty sure Jessica and Steven are dating now.] [Dove: I had never noticed how much she looks like the twins.] [Raven: It’s been established before that the cover artist can olny draw two faces.]
Summary: Playing Cupid.
Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield usually find their older brother, Steven, annoying, but now they feel sorry for him. He’s been wandering around the house in a daze because he’s in love with Jill Hale. His problem is that Jill likes Steven’s best friend, and it looks like Steven’s going to be lovesick forever! The twins decide to help Steven get over Jill. Maybe Cathy Connors is the solution…
The twins think Cathy and Steven make a perfect couple, but Steven only sees Cathy as his friend. Can the twins help turn a friendship into true love?
I don’t really like matchmaking stories, and I’m already annoyed by the mere premise of this book. This is going to be great.
[Dove: I hate Steven. But… I do actually like this book.]
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.]
Tagline: Having a famous parent should be great… shouldn’t it? [Raven: I dunno, you don’t hear many people shouting stuff like “My dad’s Fred West!”]
Summary: A mom with a secret…
Brooke Dennis’s dream has come true. Her mother, who has been living in Paris, is moving back to Sweet Valley. When she returns, Brooke’s mother has a new family—and a new career. [Wing: This made me think the new family was supposed to be one of the surprises, which infuriated me, so thank god it wasn’t that.] It turns out that she is Coco, the incredible new rock singer all Sweet Valley is talking about!
When Brooke finds out that her mum is the cool new singer, she’s ecstatic—until she learns that she must keep her mother’s identity a secret. Coco’s agent thinks that if the public finds out that Coco has a family, it will ruin her image.
How is Brooke going to keep something so fabulous a secret—especially when all of her friends are going Coco crazy!
First off: the cover, as you can see, says “mum”, the British spelling, but the book itself says “mom” all the way through. Why bother changing the cover but not the content? We English have grown up on American books, we know what a “mom” is. We also figured out sneakers, trash cans, sidewalks, parking lots, and so forth. It’s ok, we can keep up. Ok, so we don’t totally get the American use of “jumper”, but mom/mum is pretty self-explanatory. [Raven: Fun Fact – originally, this book was entitled Brooke And Her Rock-StarMaoam.]
I’ve only read this book maybe once or twice in my tween-teen years. I only recently bought a copy when I was finishing my collection. At the time, I wasn’t all that fussed about it. It seemed like your standard Sweet Valley fare, OMG the angst I feel for being soooo soopah speshul! I’m rich and my mommy’s famous, cry meeee a riiiiivahhhh!. Reading it as an adult who is now aware of her issues? Yeah, this is not a healthy book at all.
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.
Summary: While Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield are away on holiday in Mexico, twins Jessica and Elizabeth and their older brother, Steven, are left with May Brown, the world’s most horrible baby-sitter!
But the Wakefield kids are determined to throw a party on Saturday night, with great food, fabulous music, all their friends – and no adults. They make an elaborate plan to get May out of the house, and the party of the year is on!
By the end of the party, the house is a wreck. How will Jessica, Elizabeth, and Steven ever get the mess cleared up before May – and their parents – come home?
I do quite like the cover, with the Little Wakefields tidying up after what can only be perceived as a thoroughly mediocre party. The broom-wielding Steven’s clearly eying up his sisters and saying “right, who wants the first paddlin’?” [Wing: Jessica. Or at least that’s what he’s hoping.]
One thing that does piss me off, however, is the crooked flower-painting on the wall. Firstly, it’s a completely shit picture. Secondly, by itself it’s obviously too small for the wall it’s being displayed on. Thirdly, it has been hung far too low.
Alice is an interior designer. She’s shit at her job.
[Dove: Also, I love that Chalet Girl (a film that is far better than it should be) directly references this advert. If you’re not a Brit, screw you. That joke isn’t for you. As for the actual book we’re recapping, there was a lot that just had me shaking my head and silently judging.]
[Wing: I feel like I’ve read this book before, but that is impossible, because I’ve never read any Sweet Valley until we started these recaps last year. Is there another parents gone/party weekend book that has similar beats in the plot? Most likely.]
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.]