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!

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #17: Boys Against Girls

Sweet Valley Twins 17: Boys Against Girls - Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 17: Boys Against Girls – Jamie Suzanne

Title: Boys Against Girls

Tagline: Elizabeth and Jessica team up to battle their biggest enemy – boys!

Summary: All the girls in Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield’s sixth-grade class are about to explode! Mr. Davis, their new teacher, is giving all the good assignments to the boys and treating the girls as if they were less than human. And now boys are even beginning to think that they really are better than the girls!

Something definitely has to be done. Led by Elizabeth and Jessica, the girls come up with a surefire plan to teach the teacher and all the boys a lesson they will never forget!

Initial Thoughts:

I love this book. I think it’s a great example of what the writers can do when they use Jessica’s scheming for good instead of evil.

The Cover: Behold the boy with no bottom half! See how he ends below the t-shirt and floats intimidatingly at a Wakefield twin.

[Wing: Well, you did promise me real ghosts and other horror things in this series. Maybe it’s starting earlier than you thought.] [Raven: In my headcanon, he’s a centaur.]

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #14: Tug of War

Sweet Valley Twins 14: Tug of War by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 14: Tug of War by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Tug of War

Tagline: May the odds be ever in your favour. There can only be one winner!

Summary: The halls of Sweet Valley Middle School are buzzing. Identical twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are running against each other for sixth-grade president! It’s sure to be the most dramatic event of the year – because each one will go to any length to win.

The candidates disagree on everything, right down to how they should make use of the sixth-grade class money. But all this fighting can’t go on without taking its toll. Both sisters know that if they want to remain friends, one of them will have to drop out of the race. But which one will it be?

Initial Thoughts:

This is a story I don’t like, because it comes hot on the heels of Buried Treasure, which again has Elizabeth running for another student council position, and it feels way too early in the series to be reusing plots.

The Cover: Jessica is two seconds away from thwapping Elizabeth’s smug face with that sign. And I’m ok with that. Also, Elizabeth, are you eight? I swear I wore that dress to Selina H’s birthday party when she was eight. We played murder in the dark. [Wing: I would like more details on this game, because I am unhappy to be back to a Wakefield book after my surprise joy during my last recap.] [Raven: Ah, Murder in the Dark. One of the sexier games when I was a kid.] [Dove: Were you playing with Mr Nydick?[Wing: On the one hand, this sounds like way more fun than Heads Up, Seven Up, which is what we played in school all the time. On the other hand, if I’ve found the right game, I much prefer the version called Werewolf. Shocking, I know.]

Also, they’re in Lib Dem and Tory colours. Not a good sign.

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #10: One of the Gang

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. (more…)

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #8: First Place

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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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #5: Sneaking Out

Sweet Valley Twins 5: Sneaking Out
Sweet Valley Twins 5: Sneaking Out

Title: Sneaking Out

Tagline: Will Elizabeth tell her parents if Jessica sneaks out to the rock concert? (No, of course she won’t. Elizabeth would tell anyone if Jess stabbed her in the face.)

Summary: All the kids at Sweet Valley Middle School are talking about the big Johnny Buck concert.

For the second year in a row, the twins’ parents say they are too young to go.

Elizabeth is disappointed, but will do what her parents say. But nothing and no one in the world can stop Jessica from seeing her rock idol – even if it means sneaking out.

Soon Jessica comes up with a plan that she knows will fool her parents – but it means neglecting her responsibilities. Will Elizabeth, once again, step in and take over for her sister – or will she tell her parents the truth?

Initial Thoughts:

This is one of my least favourite books. There’s nothing really wrong with it, it’s just there’s nothing really right with it either.

Jess: I’m just sneaking off, Dog. Don’t tell anyone I’m wearing double denim.

[Wing: There is so, so much wrong with it. SO MUCH. Note: It may be useful to know that I am a dog person through and through.] [Dove: Sorry, I should clarify so I don’t sound as ruthless and cold as Jessibeth: when I say there’s nothing really “wrong” with it, I mean that when you compare it against the other four books we’ve done so far, which contain spite, bullying, body-shaming, and property damage towards “different” people, Jess being ruthless is just business as usual, and this particular book is no more wrong than the ones before it. However, Wing’s right, if you are decent, everyone is Sweet Valley is wrong.] [Wing: I don’t even consider myself decent and yet I hate them all for being terrible. But not Dove. No, Dove I hate for a much different reason. Gee, I wonder what it could be.]

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Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #2: Teacher’s Pet

Sweet Valley Twins #2: Teacher’s Pet

Title: Teacher’s Pet

Tagline: Will Jessica steal the lead in the ballet recital from Elizabeth? (The answer to that question is always yes. If Jessica can steal something from Elizabeth, she will. And Elizabeth will be like, “Oh, Jess, you’re so funny.”) [Raven: Alternate Tagline – “Elizabeth waves her hands in the air, while Jessica just doesn’t care.”]

Summary: The twins start ballet class and compete for a solo. Jessica is the better dancer but Elizabeth is the teacher’s pet!

Initial Thoughts:

I’ve read this book far too often to have any initial thoughts about it. Sorry.

[Wing: My first time. It was not as terrible as the first one, because there’s a lot less body shaming, but the entire Wakefield family is still pretty obnoxious.]

[Raven: Ballet? Bring it on.]

Front cover:

Liz: I’m a pretty ballerina, watch me twirl!

Jess: Fuck you! Give me four years and I’ll kill my boyfriend and frame you for it. That’ll fucking teach you!

(Out of all three of us recappers, I’m the only one who has any idea what comes after SVT – I’ve not read all the books, but I’ve read Twins, a bit of High (and plenty of recaps), about eight of Uni and all of Confidential and Sweet Life.)

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

 

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