Identical twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are delighted when their cousin Robin comes to Sweet Valley for a visit. They can’t wait for Robin to meet their friends—and maybe even find a date in time for the Girls-Ask-Boys Dance at Sweet Valley Middle School.
When Robin meets Todd Wilkins, she’s certain he’s the one for her. But she’s in for a big surprise: Todd already has a girlfriend—and her name is Elizabeth Wakefield! Will Robin have to fight her own cousin to win the boy of her dreams?
Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no. I hate love triangles. I know, I know, this is not the series for that (at least when we get to SVH, I’ve heard), but god, I hate love triangles, I hate girls fighting over a boy, I hate the tagline and the summary.
I am not looking forward to this book.
[Dove: Well, I hate love triangles. I hate Robin. I pretty much hate Sweet Valley High’s format of using boy trouble as plots A, B and C in a single book. This is just going to be awesome isn’t it? … Or…?]
[Raven: Pretty much sick of love-centric stories in this series. They always devolve into everyone going “well, we’re not really boyfriend and girlfriend, even though we’ve been together for forty damn books. Look, I just wanna snog this hot newcomer, k?”]
Title: Sweet Valley Twins #84: Romeo and Two Juliets
Tagline: Will the real Juliet please stand up?
Summary: A battle for stardom…
Jessica Wakefield is dying to play the part of Juliet in the Sweet Valley Middle School production of Romeo and Juliet. But during the week of auditions, she comes down with an awful case of flu! The only way she can win the part now is by getting her twin, Elizabeth, to try out—pretending she’s Jessica!
Elizabeth reluctantly agrees. She has a great audition and wins the part for Jessica. But there’s a slight problem—Elizabeth falls in love with the part and won’t give it up!
Who will get to play Juliet?
I have been earwormed because of that tagline.
And now you have, too.
Also, the answer to that question of who will play Juliet? I’m 99.9% certain it will be Jessica, and that other .1% is that it will be both of them and they’ll take turns. In part because acting is Jessica’s thing, and Elizabeth’s thing is writing, but also because despite recent events, Elizabeth has no spine, especially when it comes to giving in to Jessica.
[Dove: I second Wing’s theory. Doesn’t Jessica always get what she wants? Also, enjoy the alternative cover by me.
Just so you all know: I loathe Shakespeare – the stories are fine, I hate the wording that everyone finds so magical. Probably because I was forced to memorise a full act of the play overnight because Mrs Martin, the worst teacher in the world, gave an exaggeratedly spiteful punishment for talking during class. And, the following day when I had spent all night memorising, hadn’t slept, was reciting it in the shower, on the bus, during assembly in preparation, she said, “Oh, I can’t be bothered to listen to you. Go away.” That’s the kind of thing that makes you hate Shakespeare. Not the fault of Shakespeare, obviously, and I enjoy modern-day retellings, but in its pure form, I loathe it. So this book was a bit of a problem for me when everyone’s like, “Yay, Shakespeare!” my brain just went, “I still fucking hate Mrs Martin.”]
[Raven: On the other side of the coin, I love Shakespeare. I studied film, theatre and television at University, and have acted in a fair few Shakespearian productions. Personally, I think that liking Shakespeare is a direct corrolation to having a good English teacher. As Dove demonstrates above.]
Tagline:Can Cammi help Anna survive at Middle School?
Summary: From the minute she arrives at Sweet Valley Middle School, everybody loves Anna Reynolds. She’s outgoing and funny—and almost as boy-crazy as the Unicorns! All of Anna’s new friends are especially impressed that she can handle the pressures of school as a hearing-impaired student.
The only one who isn’t impressed is Cammi Adams. For some reason, Cammi is convinced that Anna won’t last long at their school. When her prediction starts to come true. Cammi realizes that she may be the only one who can help Anna. But if she does, it will mean revealing a secret she wants to keep hidden forever!
ALERT! ALERT! A MINORITY HAS BREACHED THE TOWN DEFENSES!
DEPLOY THE WAKEFIELD AGENTS! JESSICA001 TO BULLY THE MINORITY INTO LEAVING, AND ELIZABETH001 TO BEFRIEND AND TERRIFY THE MINORITY. IF THEY DON’T SUCCEED, DEPLOY NYDICK001 WITH OPTIONAL WHIRLYCOCK ATTACHMENT.
[Dove: You missed out she’s a twofer. She’s both Asian and disabled. Sweet Valley will not tolerate this. The wall building will commence shortly.]
[Wing: Obligatory BURN SWEET VALLEY TO THE GROUND just to get us off on the right foot.]
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.]
Title: Jessica and the Money Mix-Up by Francine Pascal
Summary: A matter of trust…
When Jessica Wakefield’s father asks her to run an errand for him, she jumps at the chance. It’s the perfect opportunity to prove to her dad that she can be trusted. All she has to do is deliver an envelope of money for a charity to Mr. Hopper, who lives three blocks away.
What could possibly go wrong? Jessica doesn’t know that she’s about to be sidetracked by Sweet Valley Middle School’s biggest gossip. Or that, when she hides the money to deliver it later, her hiding place will disappear! Jessica’s only hope is to find the money—fast. With Elizabeth’s help, she’ll search all over Sweet Valley. But will the twins find it before their father discovers the money is gone?
Tagline: Jessica is in the biggest trouble of her life!
I … am not looking forward to this book. It might have been a bad idea to start recapping the Baby-Sitters Club books, which I love so much, while recapping Sweet Valley. Similar character age, similar target audience, and yet, I love the hell out of those books and spend a great deal of time hating these.
On the other hand, this is the fourth SVT book I’ve read this week (the last week of December, as I write this), so maybe I’ve just overwhelmed my ability to deal.
[Dove: No, you’re not wrong. I know this is the first Michael Grant/Katherine Applegate book, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. As you can see from our Q&A session with him, he wasn’t delighted by this outline. But I promise it does get better.]
Spending money is one thing the Wakefield twins are very good at, but earning money isn’t that easy. Especially earning $87.50 in just three weeks. [Wing: Didn’t Jessica easily earn around that amount just a few books ago by selling Ginny’s artwork to local stores and taking a cut of it? Why can’t she do that again?] [Raven: Because Ginny told her to strongly do one?] That’s how much Jessica and Elizabeth need to take a bus trip to visit their great-aunt Helen.
Mr. Wakefield has told the twins that they must be responsible for earning their own bus fare. [Wing: … but why?] Elizabeth’s Idea of dog-sitting is the perfect solution, especially since their friend Ken is helping them. [[Wing: Is he earning the money for himself or for their bus fare?] But that’s when Joe comes along. The poor dog has been abused and the three suspect that Joe’s owner is the guilty one.
If Jessica, Elizabeth, and Ken keep quiet about Joe and collect their pay, the twins will have all the money they need. But what’s more important – the trip or a dog who needs help? [Wing: Yeah, that dog is dead if it has to rely on the Wakefields.]
Tagline: Can the twins prove that they’re not babies any more? [Wing: Well, considering the dog on the cover and what happened the last time a Wakefield took care of a dog, I’m going to say NOPE. Also, who is that dude on the cover? Is that supposed to be Steven? Because too young. Ken? Because EVERYONE LOOKS LIKE A WAKEFIELD.]
[Dove: It’s Ken. Steven has brown hair.]
That dog is a dead dog, and once again the Wakefield looks are taking over Sweet Valley.
[Dove: About three weeks ago, I said to Raven: Shall I tell Wing this is a book where the dog “goes to live on a farm” in the end? Raven said no, because he doesn’t want to see our site burn.]
Tagline: Will Jessica and Elizabeth both break their promises? I reckon it’ll be 50-50.
Summary: Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield’s father teaches them a secret language called Ithig. All their friends want to know the secret too, but the twins have made a pact with their father not to give it away. Elizabeth, at least, intends to keep her promise. But Jessica can’t help herself, she teaches her best friend, Lila Fowler, the secret language. That means that soon the whole school will know Ithig.
Now the class decides to use the language against the one teacher they don’t like Ms. McDonald. They will speak only Ithig in class the day the school supervisor comes to review her. At first, Elizabeth is angry at Jessica for breaking her promise about Ithig but now Elizabeth wonders: should she break her own promise and warn Ms. McDonald?
This premise is a workable subplot at best, or a half-chapter incident at worst. Seriously, I didn’t think the authors would start dialling it in until at least Book 50.
Let’s look at the cover. The twins sit at a restaurant table, while a redhead listens in. Also, a triffid threatens to devour Left Twin.
Tagline: Is Elizabeth’s best friend more important than her own twin sister? Answer: According to the previous three books, her best friend is her twin sister, but pretty much everyone should be more important than Jessica. Jessica is horrible.
Summary: Amy wants to be on The Boosters, but Elizabeth learns the Unicorns will do anything to keep her off the squad, including Jessica! Whose side should she take? Answer: Jesus fuck, she should take Amy’s side! She dislikes the entire point of the Unicorns and knows how mean and terrible they are. Why would she support more bullying and exclusivity from them?
I hate everything about this series, these main characters, these books, this writing — everything. The only good thing is waiting for Raven or Dove to go boom.
Also, Dove made me do this for my birthday, because she hates me. *drinks* [Dove: Yeah, but on our other site I gave you a month of werewolves for your birthday.] [Wing: I am as yet undecided whether that makes up for this fiasco.The month of werewolves will end, but I’m scheduled to do these recaps until 20-fucking-21.]