Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #36: Mary is Missing

Sweet Valley Twins 36: Mary is Missing by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 36: Mary is Missing by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Mary is Missing by Francine Pascal

Summary: Missing person…

Jessica Wakefield is convinced that Mary Wallace has disappeared. No one has heard a word from her in three days. She hasn’t been at school, she didn’t turn up for Lila’s ice cream party, and worst of all, the Unicorns’ treasury money seems to be missing. [Wing: Oh, god, are we back to “stolen” money actually being misplaced?] What’s more, Mrs. Wallace, Mary’s mother, is acting very strange.

Jessica’s twin sister, Elizabeth, thinks that Jessica is just being her usual overdramatic self, until the twins get a mysterious and confusing phone message. Maybe Jessica’s idea isn’t so farfetched after all. Maybe Mary has been kidnapped. If that’s the case. Mary is in big trouble… and the twins had better figure out that cryptic phone message fast.

Tagline: How can a twelve-year old girl disappear into thin air? [Raven: Mr Nydick’s Love-Wagon?]

Initial Thoughts

Well here we are, and I survived one year in Sweet Valley. I think it’s like dog years, because the past twelve months feel like they’ve lasted a decade. #sweetvalleytime

This time last year, I was horrified by what I’d agreed to when I read my first Sweet Valley book. This year, I know that while I hated a huge amount of the books, I did love a few and enjoy even more.

Dove swears we’re into the good books. We’ll see about that.

[Dove: This is a ridiculous book. The premise is so full of holes and silliness that there are multiple idiot balls that need grasping with an iron grip in order for it to happen (and believe me, Wing covers them), but on the other side, this book is fun.]

[Wing: Oh lord, here we go.]

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Posted in Super Chillers

Sweet Valley Twins Super Chiller #1: The Christmas Ghost

Super Chiller 1: The Christmas Ghost by Jamie Suzanne
Super Chiller 1: The Christmas Ghost by Jamie Suzanne

Title: The Christmas Ghost

Tagline: This year Jessica is in for a very scary Christmas

Summary: Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are looking forward to the most glorious Christmas ever. The tree is decorated, the presents are wrapped, and movie star Beau Dillon is coming to town! The actor, who’ll be in Sweet Valley to publicize his new movie, has agreed to help Elizabeth raise money for the children’s wing of the local hospital. But when the teen star arrives at the Wakefields’ house, it’s Jessica, not Elizabeth, he meets.

What’s the harm in pretending to be your twin? No harm, Jessica thinks – until strange things start happening and three ghostly visitors appear. Is Jessica’s imagination working overtime or have the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future come to teach Jessica the lesson of a lifetime?

Initial Thoughts:

Ok, first of all, I think if you’ve listened to the podcast you may know this, but I don’t assume that everyone does: I LOVE THE SUPER CHILLERS. Actual ghosts are here.

Before I was confident enough to ask Wing to take on this gigantic recapping project, I used the “mentionitus” method of testing the waters. While we sat on PointHorror.com, griping about how rarely the bad guy (known on that site as the “Muffin Man”) was supernatural, I would say lightly-casually-oh-I’m-not-hinting, “It’s funny, Sweet Valley Twins has a much younger audience, but they always had real ghosts in their ghost stories.” Wing would raise a scathing eyebrow and say that she’d never read Sweet Valley. Ever. And she was sort of proud of that.

Then curiosity would overcome her. “Really? Because in Babysitters’ Club, it was always the Scooby Doo villain – a human pretending to be a ghost. So you have actual ghosts?”

“Actual ghosts,” I would say. “And it’s odd, they seem to act up the most over Christmas.”

And that is the groundwork of how you get someone who clearly is going to hate something, to do it anyway. [Raven: I have such an inappropriate comment here.] Mention that one thing they like. (Also, there will be werewolves in Sweet Valley High.) [Wing: I feel like I should be more upset that my BFF so blatantly exploits my weaknesses, and yet.] [Dove: I do realise that the above is basically “how to brainwash your friends”. But I had an agenda. And here we are.]

Second of all, I adore A Christmas Carol. I know most people do, but I feel like I might go the extra mile. I feel like I’ve seen every fandom-variation of this story – heck, I’ve even written one. I adore this story.

I’ll admit The Carnival Ghost is a better story on its own merits, because it’s not fanfic of an iconic tale, but this one holds a special place in my heart.

The Cover: Why is the ghost awkwardly pointing to the left? Jessica looks great, but the ghost looks like it wasn’t happy to be modelling for the cover.

[Wing: Tis truly the season for Christmas Carol retellings. We did a few over at the Devil’s Elbow (Fright Christmas and The Fright Before Christmas), and yet somehow this has the best versions of the ghosts. I mean, come on: an angry flying unicorn? Clearly this was going to win.]

[Dove: … seriously? I win?]

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #34: Jessica the Rock Star

Sweet Valley Twins 34: Jessica the Rock Star by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 34: Jessica the Rock Star by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Jessica the Rock Star

Summary: An unforgettable performance…

After seeing singer Melody Power in concert, Jessica is more convinced than ever that she too can become a rock star. And when she finds out that four of the cutest boys at Sweet Valley Middle School are forming a band and need a girl singer, she grabs the opportunity to launch her new career.

When Jessica starts rehearsing with the band, Elizabeth Wakefield thinks the whole thing is a nightmare! The more Jessica tries to sing like Melody Power, the worse she sounds. What can Elizabeth do to save her sister from total embarrassment? Jessica’s singing debut is about to become a rock ‘n’ roll disaster!

[Wing: I have so many questions, starting with why the boys need a girl singer, why the band can’t be made up of girls, and why Jessica is trying to sing like someone else instead of her own amazing self. She sure was confident last time we saw her singing.]

Tagline: Can Elizabeth keep her twin from putting on a terrible performance? [Wing: … why would it be terrible? The twins can sing.] [Raven: Singing’s only half the story.]

Initial Thoughts

On the one hand, I love when Jessica is on stage and performing. On the other hand, I loved it when it was acting and hated it when it was singing last time. This very well could be a mess.

[Wing: My schedule is really fucking thrown off right now. This will go up without Dove and Raven’s comments, because I didn’t realise I was up this week until late Sunday night. Check back later for their delightful snark.]

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #32: Jessica on Stage

Sweet Valley Twins 32: Jessica on Stage by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 32: Jessica on Stage by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Jessica on Stage

Summary: Bitten by the acting bug…

Jessica’s latest dream is to become an actress. So when she discovers that Sweet Valley’s own Mrs. Harrington is really Dolores Dufay, star of stage and screen, she can barely contain her excitement.

With help from her twin sister Elizabeth, [Wing: Must you meddle in everything, Elizabeth? Must you?] Jessica and Mrs. Harrington develop a true friendship. And with some special behind-the-scenes coaching from the famous actress, she gets the lead in a play that her Saturday acting class is producing. But it looks like curtains for Jessica when her acting partner gets stage fright on opening night. Will the show go on – or will Jessica’s stage career be over before it begins? [Wing: That acting partner, and, hell, Mrs Harrington, better hope the show goes on, or it’ll be curtains for them.]

Tagline: Is Jessica about to get her big break?

Initial Thoughts

Totally forgot this was my weekend to recap because Dove and I switched books, and so I’m coming into this even more stressed than usual. Is Dolores Dufay supposed to bring to mind Doris Day? Otherwise, I’ve got nothing.

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #31: Jessica’s Bad Idea

Sweet Valley Twins 31: Jessicas Bad Idea by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 31: Jessicas Bad Idea by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Jessica’s Bad Idea

Tagline: Has someone taken Jessica’s place as “most popular girl”?

Summary: Everyone has always made fun of Sandra Ferris. She’s gawky and shy, and people whisper about her everywhere she goes. But the Wakefield twins step in and change Sandra’s life by giving her a new look – hair, clothes, make-up, the works!

Suddenly, the ugly duckling turns into a beautiful swan, and that means trouble for Jessica. Now Sandra is getting all the attention. And even worse, Jessica discovers that Sandra is running against her for Sweet Valley’s sixth-grade Citizen of the Year… and it looks as if she just might win. Jessica has to find some way to tame the monster she has created – and her time is running short!

Initial Thoughts:

For reasons I can’t quite explain to myself, I sort-of enjoy this book. I also could barely explain them to Wing, but she did swap with me. I don’t know why I like this book, I don’t like the makeover trope at all and I want to punch Sandra for most of the book. But at least I feel strongly about it. When it comes to Jessica on Stage, the book I swapped with Wing, my feelings are a shrug and the word “meh”. [Wing: Whereas I wanted to punch everyone for most of the book, so status quo.]

The cover: Sorry, Jessica, but that is a horrible top. Sandra looks great though.

ALSO ALSO: If anyone can figure out why this cover hurts my soul, I will send them a free copy of Lila’s Music Video. The book. If I had Lila’s actual music video… I’d need to find someone to convert it to mp4, so I could put it on YouTube. Hint: I like my covers to be uniform. This one is not uniform.

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #30: Princess Elizabeth

Sweet Valley Twins 30: Princess Elizabeth by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 30: Princess Elizabeth by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Princess Elizabeth

Tagline: Did Elizabeth break her promise to her new friend? [Wing: It is always Jessica and some sort of twin shenanigans. Why are they even bothering to make it seem like a question?] [Raven: Spoilers!]

Summary: Arthur Castle, an exchange student from a small country called Santa Dora, is coming to Sweet Valley Middle School and the sixth graders can’t wait! They have planned all kinds of welcoming events and parties for him.

Arthur doesn’t want anyone to fuss over him. He wants more than anything to be treated just like any other boy. He also wants to discover what real American kids are like. When Arthur meets Elizabeth Wakefield, his dream comes true. Their friendship grows quickly, and soon he even tells her his deepest secret – that he is actually a prince! The next day his secret is all over the school, and Arthur is furious. He thought he had made a true friend in Elizabeth. How could she betray his trust!

Initial Thoughts:

I don’t like this book. I’ve been on a run of books I don’t like, and I’d like to get off.

On reflection, my anti-royal stance has made this book impossible. I should have swapped with Wing. I did come up with a reason – I’ve found Wing will always swap books as long as you come up with a reason. Raven won’t. He knows me too well. [Wing: Well, since I dislike pretty much every book in some way or another, it’s no skin off my nose to recap a specific one (except for things like dogs or adoption or USA politics — oh, wait, that’s in this book. However, Dove was too slow this time, and I’d already written my last recap and couldn’t switch. Actually, now that I know she’s just switching to get away from the books she hates, I’m going to start saying no.]

The Front Cover: Why is Elizabeth getting married? No, really, Elizabeth, why are you getting married? You’re twelve.

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #29: Jessica and the Brat Attack

Sweet Valley Twins 29: Jessica and the Brat Attack by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 29: Jessica and the Brat Attack by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Jessica and the Brat Attack

Summary: More than she can handle…

Jessica Wakefield can’t wait for the school fair – until she gets stuck being in charge of the water-balloon booth. Who wants to be drenched by every kid at Sweet Valley Middle School? So when her twin sister, Elizabeth, is offered a baby-sitting job that day, Jessica sees the perfect opportunity to steal the job away and stick her sister with the water-balloon booth.

But Jessica’s plan backfires. The kids she baby-sits turn out to be real monsters. The minute their parents leave, they begin tearing up the house – and her! Jessica needs help fast. But will Elizabeth feel too betrayed and too wet to come to her sister’s aid?

Tagline: Jessica meets her match when she takes up baby-sitting!

Initial Thoughts

Wait, so we just finished a book that was all about them pretending to switch places because they switch places so often, and now we have non-consensual switching places? I am already tired of this Twin Magic Gone Wrong thing and all I’ve done is read the summary.

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #27: Teamwork

Sweet Valley Twins 27: Teamwork by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 27: Teamwork by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Teamwork

Summary: Dollars and sense…

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.]

Initial Thoughts

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.]

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #26: Taking Charge

Sweet Valley Twins 26: Taking Charge by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 26: Taking Charge by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Taking Charge

Tagline: How far should the twins go to help a friend?

Summary: Even though Jessica and Elizabeth don’t always see eye to eye, they know their problems aren’t half as bad as those of their classmate, Patrick Morris. At least the twins have one big, happy family.

Patrick’s parents seem to be the meanest people in the world. They don’t let him have more than one friend visit at a time, they refuse to let him go to the big rock concert with the gang and, worst of all, they forbid him to join the Sweet Valley band!

That’s when Patrick decides to take matters into his own hands. And, if his parents don’t listen this time, they’ll really be sorry!

Initial Thoughts:

To be honest, I don’t like this book at all. I think it’s silly and functions strongly on “because the plot says so”. I did swap with Wing to get this book, but that’s because the next book is a dog book, and Raven and I are solidly in the “cat people” camp, while Wing adores her wonderful dog. Also, there’s the vibe of bad parenting, which ties in to my background. In all honesty, I’d rather be recapping April Fool! but it really did make sense to leave that with Raven – and he’d fight me for it anyway. [Raven: Damn straight.] [Wing: Doggy! I can’t wait for the doggy book.]

The cover:

Elizabeth: If you don’t get back into that decrepit deathtrap right now, Patrick Morris, I’m going to drag you in by your ear!

Seriously, it looks like she’s trying to put him in America’s Most Deadly Time-Outs for the lulz.

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Posted in Podcasts

Episode 9: Belinda Billie B*ll*cks

Dove: Apparently I didn’t remember to update this on Monday, so:

Wing, Raven and Dove talk about Sweet Valley Twins 24: Jumping to Conclusions; Super Edition 2: Holiday Mischief; and 25: Standing Out. 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.

You can read our recaps at Sweet Valley Onlinetumblr or visit us at Facebook or Twitter (follow @SweetValley_)

The book mentioned can be found here.

Also: TB, I’m so sorry, but I (Dove) keep referring to you as “TG”. Apologies.