Posted in Magna Editions

Sweet Valley Twins Magna Edition #3: BIG for Christmas

Magna Edition 3 - BIG For Christmas
Magna Edition 3: BIG For Christmas

Title: BIG for Christmas

Tagline: A wish come true…

Summary: A Christmas miracle…

Identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield have been invited to the biggest, best Christmas party of the year. They can’t wait. Even high school kids will be there. They’ve already planned the perfect outfits when they hear the terrible news: their parents forbid them to go. Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield insist they’re too young.

The twins are absolutely furious. They go to bed that night, wishing more than anything that they were grown-ups with the freedom to do whatever they wanted.

The next morning, Jessica and Elizabeth wake up and discover that the most amazing thing has happened…

Initial Thoughts:

Sweet Valley Twins Magna Edition #3: BIG for Christmas (cover by Dove)

I love Big, it’s one of my feel-good movies – I especially like the story I heard that De Niro was up for the lead role, and actually spent some time with Jared Rushton (the kid who played Billy) to get into the role. Rushton apparently spent this time yelling, “Come on, De Niro, keep up!” and hounding him into rough-housing.

And I love – I guess? – Sweet Valley.

Among the things I also love? Christmas. I would watch Hallmark Christmas movies year round if it didn’t make them less special.

So this has to be a winner, right? I mean, look at how awesome The Christmas Ghost was.

PS: Fuck these stupid covers. Here, have mine instead. [Raven: Lovely cover!]

[Wing: Dove’s covers are always so wonderful. I’m looking forward to all the rest. As for the rest of the things, I’m not as big (ahem) a fan of Big as Dove, but I saw a stage show of it once and there was a scene with beautiful stars as a gift, and it was one of the loveliest things I’ve ever seen on stage, so I am inordinately fond of Big now.]

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #77: Todd Runs Away

Sweet Valley Twins #77: Todd Runs Away by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins #77: Todd Runs Away by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Todd Runs Away

Tagline: It’s not the answer… [Wing: Yes it is. Get out of Sweet Valley. Get out.]

Summary: There’s only one way out… [Dove: ALL RIGHT! TODD’S GOING TO JIM JONES THIS THING!] [Raven: I went to Kurt Cobain, myself.]

Todd Wilkins is a great basketball player. His dad thinks that nothing is more important. But when Todd joins a creative-writing class taught by an exciting new teacher named Mark Ramirez, Todd discovers he has other talents, too.

The more time Todd spends on his writing, the less time he spends on basketball—and Mr. Wilkins isn’t happy. But he doesn’t blame Todd. Instead, he wants the school to fire Mr. Ramirez.

Todd doesn’t want to let either his father or his teacher down, but he can’t find a solution to his problems. So Todd plans to run away. Can Elizabeth Wakefield convince him not to go?

Initial Thoughts

For some inexplicable reason, every time I thought about recapping this book, I thought it was about Steven running away. Wishful thinking, I guess! Also, recapping two books in a row is a recipe for me hating the second book. I’ll try to be fair to this one, but between that and the Elizabeth to the Rescue setup, well … I’m ready to hate it.

[Wing: Note from the future. Holy. Shit.] [Dove: I’m very frightened that this means that Wing liked it. I’m getting very alarmed that we’ve finally worn her down.]

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Posted in Magna Editions

Sweet Valley Twins Magna Edition #2: A Christmas Without Elizabeth

Magna Edition 2 - A Christmas Without Elizabeth
Magna Edition 2: A Christmas Without Elizabeth

Title: A Christmas Without Elizabeth

Tagline: What if Elizabeth had never been born? [Dove: The series would merely be called “Sweet Valley Kid?”]

Summary: The strangest gift of all…

Elizabeth Wakefield is in terrible trouble. She was in charge of keeping all the money that Sweet Valley Middle School raised for a Christmas party. But Elizabeth secretly lent the money to a homeless family so that they would have a home over Christmas. [Raven: Of COURSE she did.] Now Elizabeth has been caught without the money and without an excuse. Everyone is furious with her.

Elizabeth decides to run away. She thinks Sweet Valley would be better off if she’d never been born. On her way out of town in a terrible storm, Elizabeth meets a mysterious girl who claims to be her guardian angel—and shows her just how important she is after all.

Initial Thoughts:

This book is based on one of my favourite films: It’s a Wonderful Life. If you’ve not seen it, track it down and give it a watch. It’s from 1946, and likely available via number of streaming services. It’s one of only two films to make me cry*. The first was Watership Down when I was six, the second was this when I was twenty-two. [Wing: God, Watership Down, not an okay heartbreak in that one.]

(*Then I hit mid-thirties, and they released Up. Downhill from there. Nowadays? Shit, I well up if I can’t find my fucking socks.)

[Dove: The cover. Why does Elizabeth have a bob? Their hair is always long on all the other covers.]

A Sweet Valley book, based on its central premise? I’ve an open mind. I’ve no beef with such chicanery. Cows aren’t sacred. I present the following video link as Exhibit A… a song about my favourite film, by my favourite band, which is legitimately one of my favourite things ever.

Seriously, if you can’t spare 2 hours 10 minutes for the film, spare three minutes for the video.

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #55: Brooke and her Rock-Star Mom

Sweet Valley Twins #55: Brooke and her Rock-Star Mom by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins #55: Brooke and her Rock-Star Mom by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Brooke and Her Rock-Star Mom

Tagline: Having a famous parent should be great… shouldn’t it? [Raven: I dunno, you don’t hear many people shouting stuff like “My dad’s Fred West!”]

Summary: A mom with a secret…

Brooke Dennis’s dream has come true. Her mother, who has been living in Paris, is moving back to Sweet Valley. When she returns, Brooke’s mother has a new family—and a new career. [Wing: This made me think the new family was supposed to be one of the surprises, which infuriated me, so thank god it wasn’t that.] It turns out that she is Coco, the incredible new rock singer all Sweet Valley is talking about!

Sweet Valley Twins #55: Brooke and her Rock-Star Mom (USA Cover)

When Brooke finds out that her mum is the cool new singer, she’s ecstatic—until she learns that she must keep her mother’s identity a secret. Coco’s agent thinks that if the public finds out that Coco has a family, it will ruin her image.

How is Brooke going to keep something so fabulous a secret—especially when all of her friends are going Coco crazy!

Initial Thoughts:

First off: the cover, as you can see, says “mum”, the British spelling, but the book itself says “mom” all the way through. Why bother changing the cover but not the content? We English have grown up on American books, we know what a “mom” is. We also figured out sneakers, trash cans, sidewalks, parking lots, and so forth. It’s ok, we can keep up. Ok, so we don’t totally get the American use of “jumper”, but mom/mum is pretty self-explanatory. [Raven: Fun Fact – originally, this book was entitled Brooke And Her Rock-Star Maoam.]

I’ve only read this book maybe once or twice in my tween-teen years. I only recently bought a copy when I was finishing my collection. At the time, I wasn’t all that fussed about it. It seemed like your standard Sweet Valley fare, OMG the angst I feel for being soooo soopah speshul! I’m rich and my mommy’s famous, cry meeee a riiiiivahhhh!. Reading it as an adult who is now aware of her issues? Yeah, this is not a healthy book at all.

#TeamBrooke (or #TeamBrookette)

OMG, THE SONG TITLES IN THIS BOOK.

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #54: The Big Party Weekend

Sweet Valley Twins 54: The Big Party Weekend by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 54: The Big Party Weekend by Jamie Suzanne

Title: The Big Party Weekend

Tagline: Mum and Dad will be back any minute!

Summary: While Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield are away on holiday in Mexico, twins Jessica and Elizabeth and their older brother, Steven, are left with May Brown, the world’s most horrible baby-sitter!

But the Wakefield kids are determined to throw a party on Saturday night, with great food, fabulous music, all their friends – and no adults. They make an elaborate plan to get May out of the house, and the party of the year is on!

By the end of the party, the house is a wreck. How will Jessica, Elizabeth, and Steven ever get the mess cleared up before May – and their parents – come home?

Initial Thoughts:

I do quite like the cover, with the Little Wakefields tidying up after what can only be perceived as a thoroughly mediocre party. The broom-wielding Steven’s clearly eying up his sisters and saying “right, who wants the first paddlin’?” [Wing: Jessica. Or at least that’s what he’s hoping.]

One thing that does piss me off, however, is the crooked flower-painting on the wall. Firstly, it’s a completely shit picture. Secondly, by itself it’s obviously too small for the wall it’s being displayed on. Thirdly, it has been hung far too low.

Alice is an interior designer. She’s shit at her job.

Also, this:

[Dove: Also, I love that Chalet Girl (a film that is far better than it should be) directly references this advert. If you’re not a Brit, screw you. That joke isn’t for you. As for the actual book we’re recapping, there was a lot that just had me shaking my head and silently judging.]

[Wing: I feel like I’ve read this book before, but that is impossible, because I’ve never read any Sweet Valley until we started these recaps last year. Is there another parents gone/party weekend book that has similar beats in the plot? Most likely.]

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #35: Amy’s Pen Pal

Sweet Valley Twins 35: Amy’s Pen Pal by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 35: Amy’s Pen Pal by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Amy’s Pen Pal

Tagline: What happens when a friend turns out to be too good to be true?

Summary: Elizabeth Wakefield and her best friend Amy Sutton have big plans for the holiday weekend, including a fabulous party, a family barbecue, and the chance to see a dreamy disc jockey broadcast live from the Sweet Valley Mall.

But the weekend gets off to a surprising start when Amy’s pen pal from San Francisco turns up unexpectedly. Samantha Williams seems every bit as nice as her letters until Amy introduces her to the Unicorns. Suddenly, the popular girls can’t get enough of Sam and her stories, and Amy begins to feel left out. Why hasn’t Sam ever told her about all those wonderful things she’s done? Elizabeth and Jessica have a feeling that she’s making it all up. But will Elizabeth be able to stand by while her twin plans a coldhearted plot to uncover the truth?

Initial Thoughts:

Interesting… this is the first book in the series to quote a character’s name other than Elizabeth or Jessica. Way to go, Amy, you’ve made it to the Big Leagues!

I’m guessing the pen pal is a jeb-end.

The cover? It’s a symphony in pink. And Samantha looks like a proper slapped arse. Mardy cow. [Dove: She has no soul.]

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #33: Elizabeth’s New Hero

Sweet Valley Twins 33: Elizabeth’s New Hero by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 33: Elizabeth’s New Hero by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Elizabeth’s New Hero

Tagline: Can the twins keep their new friend from making a terrible mistake?

Summary: When a team of East German gymnasts visits Sweet Valley, it’s one of the biggest events in the town’s history. Jessica and Elizabeth – and the whole Wakefield family – are right in the center of things. They’re playing host to Christoph Beckmann, a cute blue-eyed boy who happens to be one of the best gymnasts on the team.

As the days go by, the twins learn more and more about their new friend. He tells them that it is his parents who wish him to be a champion and that he just wants to have fun and be like other kids his age. [Raven: Didn’t we just do this with Prince Arthur?] So with the help of the Wakefields, he gets his wish. Between hamburgers, basketball and surfing, Jessica, Elizabeth, and Steven may have done too good a job. Now Christoph refuses to go back to his country. Can Jessica and Elizabeth make him understand all that he’ll be missing if he stays?

[Wing: Why is the underage boy in a foreign country not all that friendly with his country even making that choice?]

Initial Thoughts:

Cute Boys! Gymnastics! Defection!

This book promises everything!

Let’s look at the cover… Elizabeth Wakefield meets Ellen Degeneres. I swear the artists for these covers can only draw three faces, tops.

[Dove: Raven’s not wrong. That blonde male model is Ken Matthews and Tom McKay too.]

Also, GYM EQUIPMENT! It looks like Phys Ed is pretty underfunded at Sweet Valley Middle School. Explains why a lot of the girls have been spotted using a recumbent Mr Nydick as a pommel horse.

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Posted in Super Editions, Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins Super Edition #3: The Big Camp Secret

Super Editions 3: The Big Camp Secret by Jamie Suzanne
Super Edition 3: The Big Camp Secret by Jamie Suzanne

Title: The Big Camp Secret

Tagline: Sleep-away camp has some hidden surprises for the twins!

Summary: Identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield can’t believe they’re finally at sleep-away camp! Even though there are no boys, and Elizabeth’s friend Grace had to cancel her plans to go at the last minute, it will be two whole weeks of fun, fun, fun!

The twins waste no time diving into their favorite activities. Jessica begins to arrange a rendezvous with the boys’ camp across the lake. Elizabeth spends much of her time riding horses and making new friends. But the real excitement starts when Grace turns up in the most unexpected place.

Should the twins take a chance and hide Grace? If they do and they’re caught, camp may just turn out to be the worst two weeks of their lives!

Initial Thoughts:

The Big Camp Secret?

Joke just writes itself.

[Raven: Hi everyone! Quick note for you: this recap went up VERY LATE INDEED, all down to me, and both Wing and Dove have yet to comment on my asinine blatherings. So, if you’re a big fan of the comment back-and-forth, come back tomorrow morning (Tuesday) when, hopefully, all will be complete and I’ll delete this note. Cheers!]

[Dove: Thanks to my insomnia, I’m up in time to comment, but keep in mind I’ve only had a maximum of five hours’ sleep, you may want to wait for Wing.]

[Wing: And on Wednesday, 25 Oct, I finally have a chance to comment. Nothing like a lot of build-up for not a lot of snark.]

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #22: Out of Place

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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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.]

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