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

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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Sweet Valley Twins #8: First Place

6
Mar 2017
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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Sweet Valley Twins #5: Sneaking Out

6
Feb 2017
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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