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Evil twins snarkily recap Sweet Valley Twins, High, University, Confidential & Sweet Life

Sweet Valley Twins #68: The Middle School Gets Married

10
Dec 2018
Sweet Valley Twins #68: The Middle School Gets Married by Jamie Suzanne

Sweet Valley Twins #68: The Middle School Gets Married by Jamie Suzanne

Title: The Middle School Gets Married

Tagline: Wedding bells in Sweet Valley?

Summary: Married, with children… [Wing: This is not a reference I expected to see here. Is it an actual reference to the show? No idea, but I like it.]

As part of a health-class project, all the students at Sweet Valley Middle School are pairing up into simulated marriages. Their assignment is to manage a make believe household and care for an egg that represents a baby.

The only problem is, their teacher. Mr. Siegel, is picking the couples Elizabeth Wakefield finds herself paired with snobby Bruce Patman, who refuses to help out. Jessica Wakefield’s pretend husband, Rick Hunter, teases her mercilessly and refuses to stop. And Todd Wilkins gets stuck with Lila Fowler, who only wants to eat out! [Dove: Lies, Lila/Todd get two lines of screen time and the subject of eating doesn’t even come up.] Can the middle-schoolers survive two whole weeks of married life?

Initial Thoughts:

I love-love-love this book. This is one of my favourite tropes, and I love to see it popping up in media I enjoy, and this book started my love of it. Dawson’s Creek did a marriage project episode, and it was pretty good. But, y’know, the downside of Dawson’s Creek is that Joey’s in it.

I wish there were pictures of all the couples. I always assume the couple on the right/back of the cover is Lila/Todd, but maybe it’s Sophia/Patrick, since they get more screen time. Sophia has black hair on both her previous book covers, and the boy doesn’t look like Patrick or Todd particularly, but I will concede that he has Patrick’s hair. [Raven: How do you know this? They are all literally the same, especially the boys.] [Dove: … I didn’t have a lot of friends when I was a tween. Shut up.] [Wing: I sort of want Dove to annotate every cover with the character names and what is wrong with the depiction.]

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Sweet Valley Twins Magna Edition #1: The Magic Christmas

5
Nov 2018
Sweet Valley Twins Magna Edition #1: The Magic Christmas by Jamie Suzanne

Sweet Valley Twins Magna Edition #1: The Magic Christmas by Jamie Suzanne

Title: The Magic Christmas

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.

Initial Thoughts:

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.]

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Sweet Valley Twins #51: Elizabeth the Impossible

4
Jun 2018
Sweet Valley Twins 51: Elizabeth the Impossible by Jamie Suzanne

Sweet Valley Twins 51: Elizabeth the Impossible by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Elizabeth the Impossible

Tagline: Has Jessica created a monster? [Dove: Well, evil begets evil, I suppose.]

Summary: Jessica Wakefield is convinced that her sister, Elizabeth, is perfect. Who else is as smart, friendly, and creative as her identical twin? So when Sweet Valley Middle School announces it will be choosing a Model Student, Jessica launches a secret campaign to make sure Elizabeth wins.

But Jessica doesn’t count on what happens. As soon as word gets out about the contest, Elizabeth takes becoming a Model Student a bit too seriously. She starts telling everyone what to wear, what to eat, and how to act. Elizabeth’s become positively bossy! Jessica would do anything to get the old Elizabeth back. What will it take to turn Elizabeth the Impossible back into the girl everyone knows and loves.

Initial Thoughts:

I deliberately swapped for this one. This is a book I love. I think it’s a joy to poke fun at Elizabeth, and this book really delivers.

Also, if you read it with a cynical eye, it’s actually a story of dysfunctional relationships, and someone with no power socially using one single pressure point to take over another person entirely, to the point where they drop their friends and change their life to appease this one person. Basically, Elizabeth/Pamela is one fucked up ship. And it’s hella interesting. And once I get to a certain point in the story, I will go into that a bit more in depth.

Warning: As above, I’m going to liken the Pamela/Elizabeth friendship to an abusive relationship. While it’s going to be light, I will use phrases used by emotional abusers that may act as triggers. It’s light, but exercise good judgement.

Note: I’m going to quote a metric fucktonne of this book.

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Sweet Valley Twins #37: The War Between the Twins

8
Jan 2018
Sweet Valley Twins 37: The War Between the Twins by Jamie Suzanne

Sweet Valley Twins 37: The War Between the Twins by Jamie Suzanne

Title: The War Between the Twins

Tagline: The twins are fighting mad… at each other!

Summary: Bitter rivals…

Jessica Wakefield has written an article about the Unicorn Club for the class newspaper The Sweet Valley Sixers. As its editor, her twin sister Elizabeth has promised to run the article in the very next issue. But when Elizabeth has to take Jessica’s article out at the last minute, Jessica is furious!

Jessica and her fellow Unicorns decide to teach Elizabeth a lesson by starting their own paper, The Unicorn News. Before long, it’s clear that Sweet Valley Middle School isn’t big enough for two newspapers, and Jessica’s begins to take the lead. Will Elizabeth’s beloved Sixers be able to hold its own against the sensational news that the Unicorns print?

Initial Thoughts:

This always sticks in my head as being yet another rehash of the student council story, which I hated both times they did it already. However, each time I read it, I remember that I actually like this story, because we have #BestJess and Sulky!Liz and forgery and pre-photoshop MY HED IZ PASTEDE ON YAY.

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Sweet Valley Twins #29: Jessica and the Brat Attack

9
Oct 2017
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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Sweet Valley Twins #28: April Fool!

25
Sep 2017
Sweet Valley Twins 28: April Fool by Jamie Suzanne

Sweet Valley Twins 28: April Fool by Jamie Suzanne

Title: April Fool!

Tagline: Is Elizabeth pretending to be Jessica – or is Elizabeth really Elizabeth?

Summary: It’s April Fools’ Day and the Wakefield twins are about to play their biggest and best trick ever. Usually Elizabeth and Jessica pretend to be each other. But this year they won’t switch identities, everybody will just think they did.

When April 1 comes, the twins’ trick works perfectly – too perfectly for Elizabeth. Everyone believes she is Jessica pretending to be Elizabeth. And being Jessica always means getting into trouble. By the end of the day, Elizabeth is beginning to wonder whether she is the biggest April Fool of all for agreeing to be part of this charade.

[Raven: Or are WE the fools for recapping this ridiculous series? You decide!]

[Wing: We are certainly the fools for having to read this book. I raced through it as fast as I could and still wish I could get that 15 minutes back. In order to get through this recap, I’ve embraced my inner Jessica and put on a face mask (mint and charcoal). It will be dried in 10 minutes. I will devote that much more time to this book, and then that’s it, straight to the final thoughts section, even though I normally love Raven’s recaps. This book is just that boring.]

Initial Thoughts:

Ah, a rare thing… a book title containing an exclamation mark / point. Although scouring the SVT series, it seems it has another eight such books to keep it company.

I quite like April Fools’ Day, but I appreciate that the mileage of others may vary on this issue. The day generally consists of half the people partaking and recounting hilarious pranks, while the other half sneer and condescend at the pranksters and pray for a swift resolution to the enforced jollity. Any form of awkward interaction gets the thumbs up from me.

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Sweet Valley Twins #25: Standing Out

28
Aug 2017
Sweet Valley Twins 25: Standing Out by Jamie Suzanne

Sweet Valley Twins 25: Standing Out by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Standing Out

Tagline: Can a girl really be one of the guys? [Dove: Of course not. Gender roles and stereotyping are so important. Girls must bake and wear makeup and boys must lift heavy things and be macho.]

Summary: Billie Layton is a real tomboy. She’s the only girl on the Little League softball team and the most respected athlete at Sweet Valley Middle School. But suddenly her whole world is turning upside down.

First, Billie’s parents are expecting a new baby and don’t seem to have any time for her. Then there’s her longtime friend, Jim Sturbridge, who’s always been Billie’s best friend, but now he seems interested only in Sally Holcomb – and Billie is jealous! Could it be that Billie likes Jim as a boyfriend and not just a buddy? Something is happening to Billie and it’s very confusing! How can Elizabeth and Jessica convince Billie that she can have everything she wants?

Initial Thoughts:

I actually really like this book. It’s one of the early books that I re-read often as a kid. However, the message of this book is breathtakingly offensive. So it’s yin and yang for me.

[Wing: WHY IS THIS BOOK SO TERRIBLE? It has some really great moments, AND THEN IT IS TERRIBLE.]

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Sweet Valley Twins #19: The Bully

26
Jun 2017
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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Sweet Valley Twins #16: Second Best

22
May 2017
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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Sweet Valley Twins #12: Keeping Secrets

10
Apr 2017
Sweet Valley Twins 12: Keeping Secrets

Sweet Valley Twins 12: Keeping Secrets

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!]

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