Evil triplets snarkily recap Sweet Valley Twins, High, University, Confidential & Sweet Life
Tag: For the hundred and thirty-seventh time…
So what if Sweet Valley has fourteen Halloweens, twenty-three Christmases and six Valentine’s Days a year? So what if this is Jessica’s hundred and thirty-seventh first kiss? Cannon says this is the first time, ok!
Raven: Hello! How the flippin’ ‘eck are ya? Yeah, it’s been a while. Have you been hitting the gym? You look good. Nice shoes!
In April, we declared a short break. Turns out, it was a long break. But we’re back! This week it’s a podcast, recorded pre-break (the last of our “banked” material). And next week, it’s a recap from moi which is, quite frankly, rather odd. Then there’s Wing, then there’s Dove, and we’re back in the groove.
More recaps, more podacts, and more snark. And then it’s Christmas! Yay!
Tagline: Three-way calls can be triple the trouble!
Summary: Making enemies and influencing people…
Jessica Wakefield and her twin sister, Elizabeth, have persuaded their parents to get three-way calling for their phone. Jessica is psyched – more gossiping, more matchmaking, more fun!
There’s just one problem. Jessica didn’t read the instructions carefully, [Wing: Is anyone surprised?] and when she thinks she’s dishing gossip to Lila Fowler, she’s also dishing it to Ellen Riteman. And the gossip is about Ellen. The gossip spreads until the entire Unicorn Club is in an all-out gossip war!
Can Jessica turn her telephone tricks around and win her friends back? [Raven: Ah, a comedy basic. Nice.]
Note: Thank you to @idecisivekepner who provided the last sentence of this book. More on that when we get there.
I read this a few years ago when it arrived from an eBay seller, but I honestly couldn’t remember much about it other than this was an Ellen book. And that she doesn’t get within 5 miles of a stable. This book is about Ellen, and not the shrill screamingharpy that she gets turned into when a Jamie gets confused by the brief of “write about Ellen”.
Let’s do this.
(For those of you who weren’t here for the past hundred books: I love Ellen. She is my favourite character. My love for her has infected Raven and Wing. So I suspect we’ve all set our hopes rather high.)
[Wing: Well I have now. Prior to this week, I didn’t know it was an Ellen book.]
Tagline: Jessica and Elizabeth discover the greatest gift of all…
Summary:Christmas gifts they’ll never forget…
When Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield’s grandparents give them a pair of matching antique dolls for Christmas, they are a little surprised. Their grandparents should know they are too old to play with dolls! Then the twins learn that the dolls are a family legacy from a past generation of twins. But that’s not all that’s special about the dolls. Before they know it, Jessica and Elizabeth are thrown into the most magical adventure of their lives. And along the way they learn what being twins – and best friends – really means.
This is the John Cena of Sweet Valley. One half of the audience is chanting “Let’s go, Cena!” while the other half is chanting, “Cena sucks!” On my first read, I was firmly in the “Cena sucks!” part of the arena, cheerfully holding my “Even the marines hate Cena!” sign aloft. On the second read, I found myself, not by choice, on the other side, revelling in each of his five moves of doom with gleeful delight.
(Apologies to the non-wrestling fans for that analogy. But I’m sure you got the gist.)
The first time I read it, I’m not sure what my expectations were – maybe another haunting, past life regression, or possibly time travel – and I was angrily disappointed that I had bought a book that lied to me. Also, it’s Christmas. Do not fuck with my dreamy expectations of Christmas. Wing may remember a year when I had ranted so extensively about my broken fairy (twinkle) lights, that I featured in the background of two fanfics arguing with the lights, and bat (of Nostalgic Bookshelf) made me twinkling LJ icons, and, more recently, @buffywatcher23 sends me frequent Christmas gifs and links. I very much love the idea of Christmas, especially in twee fiction. I’m actually trying to work out how I can legally pay for the Hallmark channel via a US proxy and VPN because I love their scenery porn so much.
And despite the cover, this is not a Christmas book. Apologies for the spoilers, but that cover is lying to you. And if you can just let that go, you might move over to my side of the arena, holding your “I ♥ Cena” sign next to mine.
[Wing: Damn it. *preps a sign* Also, I keep reading this as manga edition, which would be something different, but probably also fun.]
Title: Sweet Valley Twins Super Edition #4: The Unicorns Go Hawaiian
Summary: Aloha, Unicorns!
Just when Jessica Wakefield becomes bored with Sweet Valley, [Wing: So every book then?] she wins a trip to Hawaii. [Wing: Wut. Already starting off with a Wakefields must win trope? Damn it.] She takes five of her best friends from the exclusive Unicorn Club and they’re ready to have the time of their lives.
But things don’t turn out the way they had planned. Jessica has a streak of bad luck, Janet Howell is convinced she is a Hawaiian princess, [Wing: WUT. GOD DAMN IT.] and Mandy Miller, Mary Wallace, and Ellen Riteman find out a secret they must keep from Lila Fowler.
The girls don’t understand why their trip to paradise is turning out to be the worst holiday ever… until they discover the curse of the Hawaiian volcano goddess! [Wing: WHAT THE EVER LOVING FUCK ARE YOU SHITTING ME RIGHT NOW. I DON’T WANT TO RECAP THIS.]
Tagline: It’s the trip of a lifetime! [Wing: Considering how rich most of Sweet Valley is, I doubt that.]
WHAT THE FUCK I WANT TO BURN EVERYTHING DOWN OH MY GOD.
Over on Twitter, Dove encouraged me to post a list of the things I rage-feared would happen in this book. I did that right before I read anything about the book.
Here is my list:
Some sort of bullshit Hawaiian princess storyline
Only white people live in Hawaii except for the SUPER SPECIAL magical native.
Someone (probably Jessica) will be amazeballs at surfing without even trying.
Someone (probably Jessica) will be amazeballs at hula, just as good as the “locals.”
People who live in Hawaii will be called Hawaiians indiscriminately from Hawaiians being actual native peoples.
Everyone will wear cheap tourist “Hawaiian” shirts and plastic leis.
All the food will be “Hawaiian” simply by adding pineapple to it. There will be no mac salad, loco moco, malasadas, or L&L (oh my god I’m so hungry right now).
WW2 references + American imperialism.
Fucking haoles the whole entire lot of them, in that terrible stereotypical loud, brash, rich white American tourist way.
CLEARLY I DID NOT SET MY EXPECTATIONS LOW ENOUGH VOLCANO GODDESS CURSE OH MY GOD I NEED STRONGER LIQUOR AND MORE FIRE. [Raven: This is gonna be AWESOME.] [Dove: Or she’s going to drink so hard she falls off her chair and doesn’t finish the recap.]
Shallow: The girls on that cover are not wearing nearly enough purple.
It’s green. It’s gooey. It gobbles up humans. It’s The Slime that Ate Sweet Valley coming soon to a cinema near you and starring Jessica Wakefield!
At first, Jessica is thrilled to win the leading role in the Sweet Valley Middle School’s sixth-grade movie. But soon she learns that being an actress is hard work. When she discovers that she’ll actually have to kiss Winston Egbert and Randy Mason on camera, she begs her twin sister, Elizabeth, to rewrite the script. But it’s too late. The show must go on.
To Jessica, the only thing worse than getting gobbled up by The Slime is having to kiss two boys in front of all her friends!
I like this book. I actually wish the movie was a Sweet Valley book. It sounds like a NaNo project – a schlocky b-movie about an ooze that covers an adorably perfect town.
I have suggested that Raven write the script for the movie, complete with director’s/writer’s notes in the margin, for NaNo this year. He wasn’t completely opposed to it. So if I mention it here, hopefully Rosey and Jessica T will bully him into it. [Raven: No pressure… *eyeroll*]
Note: If I refer to the Slime as the Smooze, I’m not even sorry. NOTHING CAN STOP THE SMOOZE.
[Wing: I’m already fond of this book because it sounds like a Goosebumps story.]
A travelling carnival is on its way to Sweet Valley and Jessica and Elizabeth can’t wait to ride on the roller coaster, have their fortunes told, and try their luck at the games. But when they get there some odd things happen to the twins. A fortune-teller warns Jessica to stay away from the carnival. And a mysterious girl named Claire seems to appear out of nowhere and suddenly becomes best friends with Elizabeth.
Elizabeth is strangely drawn to Claire. She begins to ignore her friends, her chores, and even her sister to spend time with her new friend. It’s as if she’s under an evil spell… a spell no one, not even Jessica, can break. And if her twin is in danger, how can Jessica help her?
I have been looking forward to this book for so, so long. Dove may have sold me on giving Sweet Valley as a whole a try because she promised me werewolves in books to come (much, much later), but she sold me on Sweet Valley Twins specifically because there are supernatural books. We’ve had a couple, and they’ve been fun, but this one is right in my sweet spot: potential ghost, travelling carnival, roller coasters, fortune tellers, mysterious new girls. I cannot wait.
And, finally, I don’t have to wait. I predict this will be a wild ride. Good or bad? We’ll see.
[Dove: First off, apologies for the tardiness of mine and Raven’s comments. Second of all: BEST SWEET VALLEY BOOK EVER. EVER. EVER.]
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?
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.]
Summary: The Sweet Valley Middle School Choral Group is off to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national choral championship. Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield and their friend Anna can’t wait to go. For the twins, it’s their first big trip away from home. For Anna, it’s her chance to find her long-lost sister Leslie, who she has just discovered is living in Washington, D.C.
Jessica comes up with a brilliant plan to bring Anna and Leslie back together again. But they don’t realize that their dangerous escapade is about to become an international news event!
Tagline: Excitement and danger await the twins in Washington, D.C.!
I can’t even bring myself to make a political joke right now. That is how much the world has worn me down. I’ll be back to fine form next time, and I hope Raven has just as much vitriol to share for this super edition as he did during his recap of The Class Trip. [Raven: I promise nothing,]
Oh, wait, one thing: remind me, last time, were the twins able to sing or not able to sing? I know back in the musical book, they could, but I could have sworn there was something since then that said they couldn’t. We’re only 26 books in, and I already can’t keep it straight.
[Dove: In Sweet Valley High they can’t sing more often than not, but I find in Twins they more often can sing than not. Maybe the Jamie Suzannes thought girls’ voices change as well as boys and that explains it?]
Tagline: Jessica has the biggest secret of her life! [Dove: Until book 42: Jessica’s Secret.] [Wing: From stealing money to fucking dating older boys, Jess is on a roll.]
Summary: The most exciting thing has just happened to Jessica Wakefield! Josh Angler, the cutest junior at Sweet Valley High has asked her out on a date. She’s had to lie a little about her age – well, a lot – and pretend she’s in high school. She’ll even have Josh pick her up at her friend Lila’s house so her family won’t discover her little charade – but it will all be worth it, won’t it?
Jessica’s plan backfires when she and Josh wind up on a double date with none other than her own brother, Steven Wakefield! Will Steven keep Jessica’s secret or will he decide to pay her back for all the things she’s ever done to him?
Wow. That’s a short summary. Might as well go with “Jessica creates an incestuous paedophile.”
The cover? Pretty decent, to be fair. The boy certainly does look older. And they are stood outside something that looks very American. Is it a mall? Or a motel? Or maybe a twinkie? Who knows! [Wing: Perhaps it is meant to be the roller rink. Also, as I mention in the podcast episode, at least Josh looks youngish. In the similar book and cover, Dawn and the Older Boy, the older boy is probably the same age as Josh, but looks to be in his 30s.]
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…]
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!
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.]