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Evil twins snarkily recap Sweet Valley Twins, High, University, Confidential & Sweet Life

Sweet Valley Twins #2: Teacher’s Pet

9
Jan 2017
Sweet Valley Twins 2: Teacher's Pet

Sweet Valley Twins 2: Teacher’s Pet
(Image not mine, came from Calibre’s data scrape – I think from Shannon’s Sweet Valley Blog)

Title: Teacher’s Pet

Tagline: Will Jessica steal the lead in the ballet recital from Elizabeth? (The answer to that question is always yes. If Jessica can steal something from Elizabeth, she will. And Elizabeth will be like, “Oh, Jess, you’re so funny.”) [Raven: Alternate Tagline – “Elizabeth waves her hands in the air, while Jessica just doesn’t care.”]

Summary: The twins start ballet class and compete for a solo. Jessica is the better dancer but Elizabeth is the teacher’s pet!

Initial Thoughts:

I’ve read this book far too often to have any initial thoughts about it. Sorry.

[Wing: My first time. It was not as terrible as the first one, because there’s a lot less body shaming, but the entire Wakefield family is still pretty obnoxious.]

[Raven: Ballet? Bring it on.]

Front cover:

Liz: I’m a pretty ballerina, watch me twirl!

Jess: Fuck you! Give me four years and I’ll kill my boyfriend and frame you for it. That’ll fucking teach you!

(Out of all three of us recappers, I’m the only one who has any idea what comes after SVT – I’ve not read all the books, but I’ve read Twins, a bit of High (and plenty of recaps), about eight of Uni and all of Confidential and Sweet Life.)

[2 Feb 2017 update: Wing: For another take on this book, check out the Super Serials podcast episode.]

 

Recap:

So, we start with Jessica moaning about Madame André asking the twins to come in on a Saturday for a ballet practice. Since Jessica practices “day and night as it is”, she feels this is superfluous. I feel that if Jessica’s practicing day and night, surely it’s better in a ballet studio than in the basement, using an old sofa as a barre.

Also, would Madame André really do this? They’re only twelve, they won’t be on pointe yet, there’s no show they’re rehearsing for yet. I’m thinking no. Also, shouldn’t Madame André already have classes on a Saturday? I’ve never read of any other teacher in the studio. There’s no sign of Patty Gilbert, who lives for ballet. I guess she won’t be invented for another 64 books. [Raven: In my head, Madame André’s first name is Peta.] [Dove: I know it’s bad form to explain the joke, but I’m not sure that reference will travel. If the USA doesn’t know who David “Del Boy” Jason is, then it’s a sad fucking day if they do know this dude and his mysterious girl.]

Then we’re given the paragraph that I already hate and Wing and Raven will come to hate. The one that describes just how perfect and adorable these twins are, but how totes different they are: Jess is a shallow, snobby, vapid bully, and Liz is a boring, studious, condescending dickhead. It doesn’t use those words, but the subtext is there. Also, the text basically says that when Liz hangs out with her friends, it’s serious business, but when Jess does the same, it’s shallow.

Jess complains that Madame André never notices when she does anything awesome because she’s too busy staring at Liz adoringly and shilling her to the class. And she had plans with the Unicorns. She had overheard Bruce Patman say he was going to the beach, so the Unicorns were going to stalk him and, presumably, giggle a lot.

[Wing: Stalking = romance is terrible here, too, damn it.] [Dove: But not unrealistic. I once had a job where during my lunch I had to look after the boss’ 11 year old daughter. This involved me walking around after her, while she followed boys, and clapped really loudly to get their attention, then giggled and ran off. I really REALLY hated that part of my job. And yes, legally I wasn’t obliged, but I was sixteen and too shy to stand up for myself back then.]

As they get ready for class, everyone (Amy Sutton and Kerry Glen) says they think Liz will get the solo, because she is the bestest thing evah. During class, Jess deliberately stands next to Amy, because Amy is awful at ballet, and it will make her look good. (Awful at ballet. Because she’s clumsy and inelegant. But goes on to be an integral part of The Boosters, a cheerleading squad that does jumps, splits and pyramids.)

Madame André repeatedly corrects Amy and praises Jessica, and then they get to battement glissé, which is Jessica’s favourite step. Just FYI, this is Jessica’s favourite step:

Boring, eh? I feel sure that Jessica would like something far more flashy. I’m fairly sure this ghost writer just pulled words from Flowers in the Attic to make it sound ballety.

[Wing: Well, since she’s been dancing for about 30 seconds, that’s not a terrible surprise. And it makes for a really nice stretching routine.]

Anyway, Madame André goes into throes of ecstasy over Elizabeth’s battement glissé and doesn’t notice Jessica. Obv. [Raven: By the end of the book, I have serious issues with Madame André. But at this point, based on my perceived notion of narrative progression, she gets a pass. Surely she has a reason for ignoring Jessica…]

The recital will take place in three weeks at Sweet Valley High’s auditorium. I’m frankly astounded they’ve managed to secure that location, given that they have prom three times a week at SVH. They are doing Coppelia, which is about a life-size doll so lifelike that Swanilda and her boyfriend, Franz, think she’s a real girl. Most will be the corps, four will be dancing dolls and one will be Swanilda. Presumably Franz is more of an abstract concept than an actual person? I know fuck all about ballet, so this could be how things go. Or it could be Sweet Valley curling its toes in horror about gender-swapping roles.

[Wing: Probably the latter, but I think the specific scene they’re doing doesn’t actually include Franz in the first place. It’s been awhile since I saw a performance, though.]

And Madame André is smiling adoringly at Liz when she talks about the Swanilda role, so Jess has no hope.

After class, Liz is gushing with excitement, and Jess is surly and says that Madame André never pays attention to her.

“That is not true,” said Elizabeth. It hurt her to think of Jessica saying mean things about someone as wonderful as Madame André.

(emphasis mine)

Liz, grow a pair. Someone’s allowed to not like someone you adore.

Mommy Wakefield is all like, it’s fine, I’m sure she’s delighted to have the most adorable perfect twins in the whole world in her class, don’t be snotty, Jess.

Jess runs in the house, and Steven calls her twinkle toes, and she goes up to her room to have a sulk. It’s not fair, Madame André has hated her ever since Jessica dressed up all spangly to get her attention, but that was weeks ago, surely she should be over that by now (true). Liz doesn’t even like dancing that much, and doesn’t practice as much (also true), and she likes writing much better than dancing (again, true). This is one of those rare times when Jess is wallowing in justified self-pity.

Liz comes in and says that it’s all going to be ok, and the reason Madame André doesn’t notice her is because she’s always standing next to Amy, and Madame André is so busy correcting her, she never sees Jess, which is probably good logic. Liz then suggests that they both help Amy, and Jess has a little fantasy of Madame André finally noticing her and saying, “I did not realize you were so dedicated.

The next morning Jess sees the Unicorns and tells them about the recital, and they are supportive, in their own superficial, reflected glory kind of way. There’s a Unicorn meeting after school, Jess thinks she has other plans, but can’t think of what they are, so shrugs it off.

After school, Liz and Amy start practicing, since Jessica is nowhere to be seen. Liz gives Amy some tips and helps her with pirouettes, which is her favourite step. Hi thar, ghost writer, so you’re saying that the attention-seeking twin likes the sedate toe-pointing move best, and the boring twin prefers to twirl?

Anyway, Amy falls over and is hopeless. And I still find this bollocks, because in book 4 she’s an awesome cheerleader, which is choreography with gymnast tricks.

At the Unicorn meeting, Jess suddenly remembers she had plans to help Amy, but then Lila says she wants to talk about her Halloween party, so Jess figures she’ll stick around until they’ve talked about that, then leave early [Raven: Seeding for Book 3… cute!]. The party doesn’t come up at all, however:

Mary Giaccio said that Ross Bradley, a tall eighth-grader, looked as if he were getting a mustache. The girls had giggled so hard about that, it had taken Janet a full ten minutes to get everyone quiet again.

Even aged twelve, I can’t remember finding facial hair that hysterical. These girls have a rather basic sense of humour, don’t they?

Jess gets home, and asks why Liz didn’t remember she had a Unicorn meeting, and to be honest, I don’t blame Liz for not knowing something she was never told. Jess gets stroppy and calls Liz a teacher’s pet and Liz nearly cries over this – seriously, Liz, grow a pair.

At ballet practice, Madame André notes how much better Amy is, and she says that Liz helped her.

“But of course. Elizabeth is a dedicated dancer,” said Madame, giving Elizabeth a radiant smile.

[Raven: Careful, Madame André. You’ll end up on a register with Mr Nydick.]

[Wing: Dove, I think we need a sketchy teacher-student tag. I shall make one!]

I’m pretty sure this book is the reason that Jessica ruins her sister’s life at least once a book once they get to High School.

After this, the twins don’t talk at all:

“Steven, will you ask Elizabeth to pass the mashed potatoes, please?” Jessica would say, smiling sweetly at her brother and then glaring at her sister behind his back.

Elizabeth, too, would smile at Steven as she handed the mashed potatoes to him. “Tell Jessica to eat my share,” she would say innocently. “I’m watching my weight for the recital.”

A+ parenting, Ned and Alice. Your kids aren’t talking and one is body shaming/crash dieting and nobody’s going to say a word? Gold stars all round.

On the day of the audition, Alice asks if either of them want to go to the mall with her since the audition isn’t until 3pm and it’s nine now. Jess loves to shop, but decides to practice (this may be the sole book where Jess actually works for the thing she wants), and Liz decides to go to get away from the bad atmosphere.

Right after they leave, Madame André calls to say she has changed the audition time to 11am for absolutely no reason at all. I hope she goes broke, this is no way to run a business. First of all, she runs no classes on Saturdays, and then the classes she does bother to run are changed at the drop of a hat as per her whims. Guess what, Madame André, plenty of people make plans on the weekend – and these kids rely on the parents to drop them off, since Sweet Valley is so upper middle class it doesn’t need a public transport system. Possibly mum has already thought, right, so I’ve got one kid at tennis at ten, coffee with my friend at midday, then I’m dropping off the other kid at ballet at three. This has fucked up everyone’s weekend. Madame André is a fucking moron.

(Why yes, I really do hate it when people change my plans last minute, how could you tell?)

[Raven: She still has a pass from me at this point. Her teaching methods aren’t simply idiocy, right…?]

Jess is naturally elated. Even Madame André can’t possibly give a solo to someone who never auditioned. Still, in order to make a token effort, she writes a note to Liz about the time change and sticks it on the fridge.

Oh, ok, and then she gets on the bus. I have absolutely no recollection of anyone in Sweet Valley ever using public transport ever. And then it happens. So, let’s see if it ever happens again. Wing, Raven: keep a lookout for public transport.

[Wing: Haven’t they walked to class in just a few minutes every other time so far? Why in the world does she even need to ride a bus in the first place? I don’t believe Sweet Valley even knows what a bus is.]

Jess gets to the studio, and several people are near vomiting in fear, including Amy. They freak. the. fuck. out. when they realise that Liz isn’t there, and start suggesting they call the mall to page her. Jess is all like, “Dude, she shouldn’t have gone shopping then, should she? If she was that dedicated, she wouldn’t have gone out.” And actually, I think that’s fair, since we do have a visible history of Madame André randomly demanding that people come to the studio at the drop of a hat. Apparently, you should treat ballet as if you’re on call for Miranda Priestley. [Raven: Sorry, disagree. Jessica is a small bag of dicks here. I agree with everything she does until she breaks out the “looks like Lizzie couldn’t give a pimply shit about the ballet” comment. That just wasn’t smart. She’d achieved all her goals without this final jab to her sister’s spleen (note: metaphorical spleen, not actual spleen).]

[Wing: Actual spleen would be more fun.]

The auditions are alphabetical by surname, so Jess gets to watch everyone, a few are good, but not as good as her. Amy is truly awful and falls over. Jess dances, and thinks she’s smashed it, but Madame André is staring at her with the cold dead eyes of a serial killer, heartbroken that her beloved Liz hasn’t auditioned.

Just as the auditions are being wrapped up, Liz bursts in. JOY.

Thank god Alice is a moron who forgot her credit cards, so Liz came home and saw the note, and thinks Jess is BEST. SISTER. EVAH.

She dances in a mediocre fashion, but Jess knows she was better. Madame André is glowing with joy after that audition, so Jess doesn’t have much hope.

At home, Jess wallows in self-pity and cannot wait for the three days until the announcement to be over. [Raven: At this point, I’m feeling for Jessica, but presuming the narrative is leading us down the “Jess thinks she’s the shiznit, but in reality she’s not all that” road. But having the other auditioning girls make concrete errors in their routines put a chink in this theory’s armour.] [Dove: Ah, Raven, Raven, Raven, the problem with that theory is that the Wakefields are perfect. Jess is always the best. Or Liz is. They’re both better than all of us.]

Liz dances around her room, grinning like a dickhead, thinking that if she gets the solo, it will be all thanks to Jess. She knows she flubbed some steps, but since Madame André is always telling her how good she is, she can only assume everyone else flubbed more.

Then Amy calls and tells her that Jess actually told Madame André that Liz wasn’t bothered about coming to the audition. Then she rages. And Liz!rage is a truly boring thing to behold. She just sulks a bit, doesn’t talk to Jess and wonders why her twin is so awful. (Just wait until SVH, Liz. Just you wait.)

At ballet on Tuesday, Madame André makes them practice first before telling them who got what part. Liz is apparently still having problems with her fouettés and jetés. After some YouTube-ing, fouettés appear to be spins, and jetés are more toe pointing. [Wing: Jetés are jumps from one foot to another. Plain jetés are small jumps, tour jetés are much larger; from the description later, it sounds more like tour jetés in the solo, but that seems unlikely considering they’ve only been dancing a few weeks at this point. In fact, I’m not entirely sure how they can do any part of Coppelia at this stage in their training, because basically they should know barre work and maybe how to walk across the floor, but whatever.  And fouettés are turns/spins, but there are specific leg movements during them; your leg comes up, to the side, and then in to the middle; the biggest problem people have with them is that they travel with each turn, but you’re meant to stay in one place. Pirouettes are also turns, but your leg is steady in place until you finish the rotations and come back down. It does kind of make sense that she could do pirouettes but struggle with the others. And this ends Wing’s Ballet Hour.] [Raven: I’m sensing this book’s not meant for me.] [Wing: Boys can ballet too. Don’t make me start linking to Dance Academy clips.] [Dove: Raven may not ballet, but he can moonwalk.] I thought Liz’s favourite step was a pirouette, and her battement glissé as awesome? Like I said, I think this ghost writer just grabbed a load of words. And to be fair, my twelve year old self didn’t have YouTube to see what these things were.

Jess never has problems with any steps, Liz notices, but then reasons that Jess probably screws up plenty when Liz isn’t looking.

Madame André dismisses them, then “remembers” to announce the parts. Dickhead. The dancing dolls are Cammi Adams, Jo Morris, Kerri Glenn, and Melissa McCormick (Jo Morris will never be seen or heard from again after this book, possibly Jessica killed her and buried her under the stage). And naturally Liz gets the lead. Jess is in the corps.

Liz, the “nice” twin, classily has this to say to her sister:

“Jessica Wakefield, I know that you never thought I’d get home early enough to see that note and get to the audition on time. You wrote it only to make yourself look good. Then you told everyone that I didn’t care enough about the audition to show up. Well, I got the part anyway.”

Jessica’s face was white. “It wouldn’t have mattered if you hadn’t gotten to the audition on time,” Jessica countered. “It wouldn’t have mattered if you hadn’t gotten there at all! You’re teacher’s pet! Madame loves you, and she hates me even though I’m a much better dancer than you are!”

Everyone crowds round Liz to congratulate her, and she notices that Jess sneaks out.

Madame André bursts in yelling that something “terrible” has happened. Coppelia, the life-size doll is missing.

[Wing: Or it came to life and will now slaughter everyone in Sweet Valley. Two guesses which story I hope is true!] [Raven: Sadly, it’s Sweet Valley, not Death Valley. As for the doll’s disappearance, I reckon it was Mr Nydick… when they find it, a quick once-over with a blacklight would be prudent.] [Wing: And this is why our site is being flagged as dangerous. *jazz hands*] [Dove: I did not initally read that as jazz hands.]

Jess smirks at this news and doesn’t help them search for the doll.

When they get home, Liz bubbles on to her mum about how excited she is, and how sad it is that Jessica didn’t get the part because she’s never worked so hard. Alice basically says that Jess is spoilt and she’ll have to suck it up, buttercup. Again, A+ parenting. If Jess is spoilt, Alice, that’s your fault. You and Ned raised her this way.

Upstairs, Jess is bothered by her brother, who’s dressed up as the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and there’s talk of the Mercandy haunted house (foreshadowing for the next book, something they totally give up on in later books). [Wing: Sad they give it up. I am charmed by how happy it makes Raven.] She tells him it’s a gross costume then tells him to go away, then feels bad she was mean to him (seriously, Jess? That sounded like normal sibling interaction to me – plenty of my friends were far ruder to their siblings when we were that age).

Then her mum comes in and tells her to stop being a brat.

Liz can’t sleep because she thinks Jess stole Coppelia.

Jess tells the Unicorns that of course she didn’t get the part, it went to the teacher’s pet, Liz.

Caroline Pearce gets the gossip mill running on that one, even though she wasn’t present for the Unicorns’ conversation (I guess she’s bugged Sweet Valley Middle School or something), and by lunch time it reaches Liz. Liz is pissed off when she hears it, and snaps at Caroline that Jess just can’t stand it when someone’s better than her at something.

After school, Jessica goes straight to the basement to practice, until Liz loses her temper and tells Jess to stop hogging it. Jess says Liz doesn’t need to practice, Madame André will praise her no matter how “terrible” her dancing is.

Liz bursts into tears. We really need a counter for how many times she cries. And now we have one. “The tears of a saint.”

Her parents overhear and tell her off for what she said. Alice gives a life lesson:

“Madame André has the right to choose anyone she wants to dance the lead. There’s nothing you can do about that. You simply must accept it.”

See? Even they know Liz sucks at dancing!

Liz has gone off the idea of dancing, so goes to her mother for advice. Once again, Alice is all: “Yeah, your twin is a spoilt brat, no idea how that happened, because it would be really bad if we let her have her own way all the time. Just suck it up and eventually Jess will calm down. Or kill her boyfriend and frame you for it.”

Madame André calls another last-minute practice on Saturday. MADAME ANDRÉ WILL NOT BE HAMSTRUNG BY YOUR SILLY RULES AND SCHEDULES AND BUSINESS WORKING PRACTICES, YOU PRACTICE WHEN SHE SAYS!

[Wing: FOR THAT MATTER, how in the world are they putting on even one dance from a ballet like Coppelia on only two weeks worth of practices?] [Dove: I think I’ve already warned you that time passes strangely in Sweet Valley. In a town that has six Halloweens, two weeks is probably a lot.]

Coppelia still hasn’t turned up. Liz still flubs steps and notices that Jess is too good for the corps. But since she didn’t see Jess’ audition, she couldn’t possibly know whether Jess is a better dancer than her. I mean, she’s flubbing steps that Jess can do perfectly, Jess is out-dancing everyone else in the class, but sure, Liz, by all means, go with that as a reason for not knowing who’s better.

At home, Jess is looking for a sweatshirt in the dryer while Liz practices, and Liz keeps flubbing, so she gives her advice on how to stop fucking up. Apparently her jumps are higher than anyone else when doing a jeté. And on a second google of it, there’s loads of different types of jetés, so I was wrong earlier, this is a jumping move, not a toe-pointing move. Well, you probably do some toe pointing while jumping. I really don’t get ballet.

[Wing: I see Wing’s Ballet Hour was unnecessary.]

That night, Liz can’t sleep as she finally figures out that the girl who can do moves flawlessly is a bit better than the girl who flubs them. [Raven: At this point, I’ve dropped the “Jess is actually crap” theory. We’ve confirmation that she’s actually great! So that means Madame André is playing the Mysterious Mentor game and will instill Jessica with purpose and respect when she reveals her profound teaching techniques… won’t she?]

The next day, Madame André is ecstatic with Liz’s improvement. Liz gets herself a hair shirt and wallows in self-recrimination, like the saint that she is. Oh, poor Jessica, she’s so much better than everyone ever!

Coppelia is still missing so Amy volunteers to dress as Coppelia and sit very still on stage. I don’t get this at all – and I’m not willing to YouTube an entire ballet – Coppelia is so lifelike that Swanilda and Franz think she’s real, but she literally never moves, yet other dolls come to life and dance? What the fuck were they huffing when they wrote this story?

[Wing: The dolls are basically animatronics, and have been wound up so they can dance. Coppelia is the same, but she is not wound up during the dance they are performing. Basically, Swanilda comes in with some friends (the corps dancers), and they figure out the people are really dolls, and wind some of them up. Later in the ballet, Swanilda wears Coppelia’s clothes because she’s trying to hide, and ends up dancing Coppelia as a real girl for awhile. And so ends another Wing Ballet Hour.]

Liz thinks Amy is marvellous for coming up with such a brilliant idea, and it must be so hard for her to give up dancing, and Amy, master of subtlety that she is, is like “Nah, I hate to dance, sitting still for the entire recital is like the best thing evah!”

Liz considers just offering the part to Jess, but thinks Jess has too much pride to accept it. Clearly, Liz has never read any other books in this series, because Jess would gladly rip out Liz’s kidney with her bare hands if Liz even vaguely hinted she wasn’t using it right this second. As she walks, she trips over and comes up with a “wonderful” idea.

She calls Amy to get her in on it and Amy initially thinks that Jess has brainwashed Liz into thinking she’s teacher’s pet. But no, Liz says she’s going to pretend to twist her ankle tomorrow at the last minute, and Jess will have to go on for her. Madame André won’t notice, because they’re identical and everything will be marvellous. [Raven: Do all the books hinge on Twin Magic? I hope not. That’ll get boring pretty quick. Do we have a “Twin Magic Finisher” tag?] [Wing: Well, we do now.]

Meanwhile, Jess decides, fuck it. I’m not going to the stupid recital, because the dress is ugly and nobody will even notice if I’m there.

The next morning, Jess makes her announcement, the family tries to reason with her, and get nowhere, but Steven manages to get her to go by calling her jealous. She says she’ll go, but she won’t dance.

When getting out of the van at the high school, Liz feigns her twisted ankle and Jess agrees to dance the part. [Wing: They do this in front of the Wakefield parents, who see nothing wrong with NOT TELLING THE INSTRUCTOR.] Then Amy offers for Liz to be Coppelia, and she will dance in the corps, because she thinks Liz deserves to be on stage at least.

Jess dances beautifully and afterwards Madame André is gushing to Ned and Alice about how Elizabeth is the BEST. THING. EVAH. They’re like, “Nope, that was Jess.” And Madame André is shocked that she was so blind, she apologises, and says they are both stars. Liz comes clean about her fake injury and then Amy admits she stole Coppelia, with the sole intent of taking her place, because she fucking hates to dance. And it’s hugs all round.

[Raven: Right. So it turns out that Madame André doesn’t have a Grand Plan of Teaching Excellence, and that everything she says and does in this book is to be taken at face value. And that is SO MUCH FUCKING BULLSHIT. She runs a private ballet school in a posh neighbourhood, for which the lessons are presumably expensive. And throughout the entire book, she gives NOT ONE WORD OF COACHING OR ADVICE to Jessica, other than the admonishment for playing dress-up in lesson one (from the previous book). She goes ENTIRE LESSONS giving Jess the silent stink-eye. Things are all setting up nicely for the teacher’s face turn, the grand reveal of why she’s supplying cold shoulder, her ‘Wax On Wax Off’ Mister Fucking Miyagi Moment of Excellence in which she explains that her apparent apathy was to instill Jessica with a stronger work ethic and a sense of self-worth (or some other bollocks)… but no. SHE’S ACTUALLY JUST A COCKWOMBLE. There’s no rhyme, no reason for her actions; she JUST HATES JESSICA. And all this comes out in front of the Elder Wakefields, who don’t lay into Madame André for not doing her fucking job as a teacher and ACTUALLY TEACHING their least-favourite daughter. Nope, they just smile and nod and sit there like fucking Coppelias. Daddy Wakefield is a lawyer, why isn’t he suing Madame André for breach of contract? Elder Wakefields: next time, try Googling for reviews (or whatever) before packing your daughters off to strange places. Jessica: your actions and feelings are entirely justified throughout this book. And Madame André? One day, a disgruntled student will burn down your ballet studio. When they do, I hope you are inside it.]

[Wing: Oh, damn, now I see why everyone is so happy when I go boom. NEW TAG.]

[Dove: *preens* I’m married to that angry man! Also, neither of the parents bothered to apologise to Jess when they heard straight from the teacher’s mouth that she had been ignoring her. How many times did they call her for talk that was basically, “Stop being a brat”?]

And then the final chapter is foreshadowing the next book. Halloween is coming soon (for the first time, there are about six more Halloweens after that), and the Mercandy mansion is haunted, and a witch lives there, etc.

Jess and Liz see a girl of their age with dark hair getting out of a taxi outside the mansion. The taxi driver literally won’t set foot on the property, because the rumours of a middle school are serious business to a person who bolsters their income with tips for being helpful.

Suddenly, she’s gone, snatched up by the house. Ooooh.

Final Thoughts:

These books are so tame compared to the later books, where there’s robberies and visiting celebrities and movies being filmed.  It’s kind of cute.

Also, I think this is probably the one time Jessica’s jealousy of Liz was justified.

[Wing: It’s not as terrible as the first, and I like ballet, so that part was fun. (I’ve also decided we need a “dance baby dance” tag. I still hate the Wakefields with a fiery passion of rage.]

[Raven: The subject matter left me a bit cold in this one, I must admit. But I can honestly say, hand on heart, it’s the first time I’ve ever felt pure white rage for an imaginary frenchwoman.]

[Wing: I love it when Raven Goes Boom.]

I am Dove. I am: Team Jessica (Sweet Valley); Team Bad Guy (Point Horror);  Team Geiger (Making Out); Team Nina/Lucas (Making Out); and I am the voice of a claymation cow named Daisy, and I was in an advert for Fairy Liquid in the 80s.

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4 Comments

  1. Carly
    Posted 9 January 2017 at 6:15 pm Permalink

    I’m not entirely sure how they can do any part of Coppelia at this stage in their training, because basically they should know barre work and maybe how to walk across the floor, but whatever.

    OMIGOD THANK YOU. Every time there’s a children’s dance recital in media, they’re like, “These ten year olds are performing selections from Giselle or freaking Romeo and Juliet, where dancers sometimes actually LOSE WEIGHT during one performance,” and I’m just standing here slack jawed because nah, y’all bitches doing chasse dressed in dollar store tutus, I am ON TO YOU.

    Also, I haven’t read these books in ages, but following your reviews, it seems like there’s actually no continuity re: Jessica’s dance skills? At one moment she’s a clumsy train wreck, and twenty pages later she performs everything perfectly? I mean, I realize that expecting the author(s?) to maintain a thought for a hot second is probably asking too much, but since it’s, you know, the crux of the plot, maybe it would be nice to know?

    • Carly
      Posted 9 January 2017 at 6:18 pm Permalink

      OMG where did that picture of me come from I did not okay this

      • Posted 9 January 2017 at 6:42 pm Permalink

        The site is linked to Gravatar. If you go to Gravatar.com (which itself is attached to WordPress.com), you can add different emails and change your picture. Most wordpress sites are attached to gravatar, so this may happen on other sites too. Good luck on getting it changed – just to clarify, our site did not go data mining or anything sinister like that.

        Also, thanks for commenting. There is absolutely no continuity in these books at all. Sometimes there’s a bit of carry over for a few books, but then it gets dropped. Other times it outright contradicts itself. In one book, the twins are just regular people without twin intuition and in the next they’ll be like “dude, my twin sense is tingling”.

    • Posted 10 January 2017 at 4:42 pm Permalink

      Continuity? What’s that?

      Pretty sure that’s the battle cry of Sweet Valley authors.

      The ballet thing annoys me so much. I realize that there are modifications that can be done to make certain dances easier, but come on! The Wakefields have been taking dance classes for less than two months at this point! Not a single dancer in that class is ready for even a modified version of Coppelia.

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