Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #19: The Bully

Sweet Valley Twins 19: The Bully - Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 19: The Bully – Jamie Suzanne

Title: The Bully

Tagline: How do you stop the meanest kid in Sweet Valley? [Dove: Wait. How do you even find the meanest kid in Sweet Valley? Who compiled the initial list? Who narrowed it down? Were independent ombudsmen involved? Why isn’t Jessica the meanest kid in Sweet Valley? I have so many fucking questions.]

Summary: Dennis Cookman is the biggest bully at Sweet Valley Middle School. Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, along with the whole sixth grade, are trying to figure out what to do about him. When Dennis smashes Jimmy Underwood’s bicycle, some of the kids feel he’s gone too far.

Just because Dennis is bigger and older doesn’t give him the right to pick on the sixth graders. Something has to be done to stop this bully once and for all! That’s when Ken Matthews comes up with the perfect dare that will expose Dennis Cookman as the coward that he really is.

Initial Thoughts:

I love/hate this book. I’ll explain what I love and what I don’t. Oh, and I’ve been reading this book since 1990, and it was only on this read-through I was able to figure out the layout of the cave to make the plot make sense. Note from the future: Or did I? Someone draw me a fucking picture!

The cover: Why is Jessica gazing at a spot over Dennis’ right shoulder? Did she – SQUIRREL!

(more…)

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #16: Second Best

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.]

(more…)

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #12: Keeping Secrets

Sweet Valley Twins 12: Keeping Secrets
Sweet Valley Twins 12: Keeping Secrets
Sweet Valley Twins #12: Keeping Secrets – Single

Title: Keeping Secrets

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?

Initial Thoughts:

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.

How thrilling.

[Dove: HIDE THE SALT! LET THE TRIFFID EAT!]

(more…)

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #11: Buried Treasure

Sweet Valley Twins #11: Buried Treasure – Single

Title: Buried Treasure

Tagline: Has Jessica’s good luck run out? [Wing: I can only hope.]

Summary: Jessica Wakefield and her friend Ellen Riteman keep it a secret when they find some money in an old metal box buried in Ellen’s backyard. But then some money disappears from school and suspicion falls on Jessica and Ellen. Can they prove their innocence?

Initial Thoughts

So, on the surface, this could be an entertaining story. Secrets, buried treasure, Jessica finally getting accused of something … and yet, this is Sweet Valley, and I know a book that sounds interesting isn’t actually going to live up to its potential. Also, it will probably make me go boom.

(more…)

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #9: Against the Rules

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.] (more…)

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #6: The New Girl

Sweet Valley Twins 6: The New Girl
Sweet Valley Twins 6: The New Girl

Title: The New Girl

Tagline: How can twin sisters cause triple trouble? Answer: By kidnapping a classmate and forcing them to undergo radical plastic surgery for the purposes of a joke? Pretty sure Amy would do it willingly.

Summary: Identical twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield don’t always agree on things – until Brooke Dennis arrives at Sweet Valley.

Both twins agree that she’s horrible. She snaps at everyone who tries to be nice to her and she’s constantly saying mean things to people.

To yet even with Brooke, the twins invent a third look-alike sister whom they call Jennifer. Pretty soon all of Sweet Valley Middle School is in on the plan. But then Elizabeth discovers the real reason why Brooke is so mean. Suddenly, the plan to get revenge doesn’t seem like such a good idea.

Can Elizabeth stop her classmates from playing the ultimate joke before Brooke’s heart gets broken?

Initial Thoughts:

The New Girl. What an impressively awful title. And the cover? A frowning brunette points at a smirking blonde. Inspired.

I’m already disappointed in this book, and I’ve not even opened it.

(more…)

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #4: Choosing Sides

Sweet Valley Twins #4: Choosing Sides

Title: Choosing Sides

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?

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.]

(more…)

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #3: The Haunted House

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.]

(more…)

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #1: Best Friends

Sweet Valley Twins 1 - Best Friends
Sweet Valley Twins 1 – Best Friends
Sweet Valley Twins #1: Best Friends (Single)

Title: Best Friends

Tagline: Elizabeth is afraid she’s losing her best friend — her twin sister!

Summary: Growing apart…

The twins’ close friendship in threatened when Jessica is admitted to an exclusive girls’ club.

Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield feel special because they’re identical twins. For twelve years they’ve dressed alike, shared a room, and done everything together. But when they start Sweet Valley Middle School, everything begins to change.

Elizabeth wants to work on the class newspaper, but Jessica doesn’t. Jessica would rather join the Unicorns, a snobby all-girls club. Even though Elizabeth isn’t interested in the same things as her twin, she tries to tag along. But is she losing her best friend?

Initial Thoughts:

Dude, your twin sister/BFF will always be there, if Dove is any example. (She is, after all, the good twin.) Also, I was so, so annoyed when it felt like my siblings were always trying to do the same activities I did, even though looking back on it now, I can see we just have similar taste in what is fun, and I should have enjoyed it more.

I find the cover of this book extremely creepy; all that pink, yes, but also how pastel the world is: their shirts, their hair, their skin, their house, their yard, their sky — everything is washed out and terrifying. Suburban horror at its best. [Dove: It’s red. The cover is red, not pink.] [Raven: The cover is red, but the picture of the twins is indeed majorly pink. Got your back, Wing. *fist bump*]

[Wing: *fist bump* Dove is going to regret letting Raven join us.]

[2 Feb 2017 update: Wing: For another take on this book, though one that hits on a lot of the things that made us go boom as well, check out the Super Serials podcast episode.]

(more…)