Sweet Valley Online

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

Sweet Valley Twins #25: Standing Out

28
Aug 2017
Sweet Valley Twins 25: Standing Out by Jamie Suzanne

Sweet Valley Twins 25: Standing Out by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Standing Out

Tagline: Can a girl really be one of the guys? [Dove: Of course not. Gender roles and stereotyping are so important. Girls must bake and wear makeup and boys must lift heavy things and be macho.]

Summary: Billie Layton is a real tomboy. She’s the only girl on the Little League softball team and the most respected athlete at Sweet Valley Middle School. But suddenly her whole world is turning upside down.

First, Billie’s parents are expecting a new baby and don’t seem to have any time for her. Then there’s her longtime friend, Jim Sturbridge, who’s always been Billie’s best friend, but now he seems interested only in Sally Holcomb – and Billie is jealous! Could it be that Billie likes Jim as a boyfriend and not just a buddy? Something is happening to Billie and it’s very confusing! How can Elizabeth and Jessica convince Billie that she can have everything she wants?

Initial Thoughts:

I actually really like this book. It’s one of the early books that I re-read often as a kid. However, the message of this book is breathtakingly offensive. So it’s yin and yang for me.

[Wing: WHY IS THIS BOOK SO TERRIBLE? It has some really great moments, AND THEN IT IS TERRIBLE.]

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Sweet Valley Twins #23: Claim to Fame

31
Jul 2017
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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Sweet Valley Twins #22: Out of Place

24
Jul 2017
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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Sweet Valley Twins #21: Left Behind

18
Jul 2017
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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Sweet Valley Twins #16: Second Best

22
May 2017
Sweet Valley Twins 16: Second Best - Jamie Suzanne

Sweet Valley Twins 16: Second Best – Jamie Suzanne

Title: Second Best [Wing: Why does the boy on the left — Tom? — look like a male Wakefield twin? What is going on with the genetics in Sweet Valley?] [Raven: Really? You wanna pull at THAT thread?] [Dove: Or it’s all very simple, and Alice has mothered more than three children.]

Summary: Things are happening fast for the Wakefield twins. The biggest party of the year is coming up. If Jessica can get “un-grounded” in time, she’ll be able to go. Elizabeth is entering a state-wide essay contest, hoping to win the $100 prize. And both twins are putting in extra time on their special school projects.

Cute, smart and popular Tom McKay is in Jessica’s work group. His anti-social brother, Dylan, is in Elizabeth’s. Dylan feels that he will never be as good as his brother. So why should he even bother to try? Elizabeth really wants to prove to Dylan that he can be the best at something, too. But can she help him without coming between the two brothers?

Tagline: Is the boys’ problem too tough for even Elizabeth to handle… [Wing: EVEN ELIZABETH WTF]

Initial Thoughts

Oh, god. I’m not ready. What if I like another book? What am I going to do?!

[Dove: Not a fan of this book – the story itself is good, but like Tug of War, there’s a lot of Elizabeth smugness in it.]

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Sweet Valley Twins #10: One of the Gang

27
Mar 2017
Sweet Valley Twins 10: One of the Gang

Sweet Valley Twins 10: One of the Gang (Image not mine, it’s from Calibre’s data scrape, so probably Shannon’s Sweet Valley page)

Title: One of the Gang

Tagline: Is Jessica really as perfect as she thinks she is? (No. Jessica is a barely functioning sociopath – used in the literal sense, not the salacious.)

Summary: Jessica Wakefield has always been the center of everything at school. And Pamela Jacobson has always spent her time on the sidelines, especially in gym. When Jessica hurts her ankle, she starts to feel left out, too. Suddenly, the two girls have something in common.

Jessica, who is chairman of the Mini Olympics, can hardly get to and from class, let alone run the committee meetings. And bossy Lila Fowler begins to take advantage of Jessica’s injury to gain more power so she can run the Olympics her way! That’s when Jessica comes up with a plan. With Pamela’s help, it might just put both of them in the winner’s circle!

Initial Thoughts:

I actually asked for this one. I was due to do Buried Treasure next week, but we have agreed between the three of us that at any point you can request or suggest books that you’re not assigned, based on your experiences or interest. For example, if it hadn’t turned it out that way naturally, I was quite determined Wing should get the books with the adoption storylines, because she is very outspoken on adoption. Raven will be recapping A Christmas Without Elizabeth, because It’s a Wonderful Life is one of his favourite movies of all time [Raven: Every time a fatty is mocked, an angel gets its wings.].

And I wanted this because it deals with physical disability in school. Something I have oodles and oodles of experience with. And now’s probably a good place to explain everything, so you don’t have to wonder which disability I have. Read more about the perfect twins »

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Sweet Valley Twins #9: Against the Rules

13
Mar 2017
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.] Read more about the perfect twins »

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Sweet Valley Twins #8: First Place

6
Mar 2017
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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Sweet Valley Twins #4: Choosing Sides

30
Jan 2017
Sweet Valley Twins 4: Choosing Sides

Sweet Valley Twins 4: Choosing Sides (image from Calibre data scrape – think it’s from Shannon’s Sweet Valley site)

Title: Choosing Sides

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?

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.

Initial Thoughts:

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.]

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Sweet Valley Twins #3: The Haunted House

16
Jan 2017
Sweet Valley Twins 3: The Haunted House

Sweet Valley Twins 3: The Haunted House

Title: The Haunted House

Tagline: Will a witch’s spell come between Elizabeth and Jessica? [Dove: Not until Super Chiller #9, and it’s more of a curse than a spell…]

[Wing: SPOILERS.]

Summary: Everyone at Sweet Valley Middle School has always said the Mercandy mansion is haunted. Strange lights flicker in the windows at night, and no one ever sees the owners come and go. So when Nora Mercandy moves into the run-down house, rumours spread fast. Jessica Wakefield and her friends are convinced Nora is a witch.

But Elizabeth, Jessica’s twin, is certain that Nora is just an ordinary girl. She’s determined to stick up for her new friend. She’ll get to the bottom of the mystery of the Mercandy mansion – even if it might mean losing her sister’s friendship!

Initial Thoughts:

Scary witches at Halloween. Sounds fun! As my pseudonym implies, I’m a sucker for a Halloween Special. I’m sure this will be no different. Of course, Nora won’t actually be a witch. If she is, I’ll eat my (large and pointy) hat.

The Front Cover: Blonde Girls Encounter Brunette Outside A Place. How exciting! The brunette is at a jaunty angle, with arms crossed to convey maximum sass. Also, it’s getting dark, so this is the closest I’ll ever get to reading Twilight.

(By the way, I’m Raven. I’m new. Hello!)

[Dove: This was the first ever Sweet Valley book I read. I picked it up in a charity shop during a particularly boring visit with my grandfather. So the moral of this story is: don’t visit your relatives, or you’ll get hooked on awful books filled with hateful characters.]

[Wing: I blame your family for everything. Also, we should recap the Twilight series with Raven.]

[Raven: Not happening.]

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

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