- #BestJamieSuzanne (14)
The #BestJamieSuzanne(s) are Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant. They gave Jessica her first period. They wrote from #39 onwards for 17-19 books. And they answered my squeeful questions. Hands down they are #BestJamieSuzanne
- #BestJess (2)
This is a Jess that uses her powers for good. She might still be cutting bitches left and right, but this time you’re cheering her on. Or she’s being smart. Or awesome. Whatever she’s doing, we like it. And not in the usual “Holy shit, Jessica’s a wrongun,” way.
- #BlessJess (1)
Every so often, Jessica tugs on our heartstrings. It doesn’t happen often. Probably about as often as Elizabeth stands up for herself, and similarly, it needs to be recorded for historical purposes.
- A+ parenting (33)
Nobody in Sweet Valley should be allowed to have a child.
- Alice is too tired to parent (1)
Alice comes home from a hard day’s couple of hours at work utterly exhausted. Thank god she has two daughters Elizabeth as well as a son and a husband who will pick up the slack. And run the house. Because Alice is just too fucking tired to parent, ok?
- Always With the Incest (6)
Steven is a little too interested in Jessica's hotness. (And other weirdly incestuous vibes.)
- Big Mesa SUCKS! (2)
- Bleak Valley aka Sweet Valley Low (9)
Summed up by Raven in his post “Welcome to Bleak Valley”, and the subject of the second half of our podcast. Long story short: Elizabeth is an abused only child and everything that happens in the books is all in her head as a coping mechanism.
- Book-long soulmates (22)
Elizabeth has spotted a new potential BFF-for-a-book. Like, they’re not as cool as Amy, but Amy’s so boring, because she hasn’t got any problems Liz can fix, so they’ve agreed to BFF other people for a book, because Liz needs an exciting BFF with a bucket of angst that Liz can pour away while smiling beatifically.
- Celebrity Overload (1)
Everyone’s famous. If they’re not, they’ve got a famous relative. Or neighbour. Or Alice is designing their Sweet Valley abode. There’s a lot of fucking famous people, alright?
- comments by Dove (68)
[Deep purple is Dove's colour.]
- comments by Raven (71)
[Maroon is Raven's colour.]
- comments by Wing (70)
[Deep blue is Wing's colour.]
- Dance Baby Dance (8)
There's a lot of dancing in this series.
- Don't be a bully be a star (17)
Look, if Saint Elizabeth doesn't think it's a big deal, all this bullying probably won't have any negative effects on anyone.
- Double Dipping Plot (15)
Wait, this plot sounds familiar...
- Dove goes BOOM! (4)
While Wing is blazing through every page of every book, flamethrower at the ready, Dove is a little less likely to explode. But she does. Usually about horses and bad parents. Because that’s how she rolls.
- Dove holds a grudge (1)
Occasionally, it has been noted that Dove may harp on, just a few times, if something really grinds her gears. I mean, she doesn’t go on and on and on about it, linking to books multiple times in the same recap. Oh no. But every once in awhile, Dove holds a grudge. (Which would make a great Making Out title.)
- Elizabeth Has A Spine! (10)
Holy shit. Elizabeth just stood up for herself. This moment needs to be marked for posterity.
- Elizabeth is SMART (1)
Elizabeth is smart. We’re constantly told this. So why are we, the readers, already at the answer when she’s barely formed the question?
- Ewww poor people! (8)
Aside from fatties, poor people are the WORST.
- For the hundred and thirty-seventh time... (10)
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!
- FUCK YOU TAMARA CHASE (8)
Disclaimer: Wing and Dove have no idea why Raven has a beef with Tamara. He doesn’t even explain himself in the recap. But hey, all caps sweary tags are fun.
- Great Ghosties (7)
Sometimes, despite not being Team Grapplegate (see #BestJamieSuzanne), a ghostie will just knock a book out of the park, and at least one of us will be charmed. Usually all three of us.
- horse books by non-riders (2)
Is there anything more infuriating about reading a topic you are well versed in, but the writer’s knowledge would have room left over if poured into a thimble?
- I'm running away! (10)
That's it. Cannot deal with my #FirstWorldProblems any longer. I'm running away. (For, like, two hours tops, before my parents bring me home, reassure me that they love me, and I realise it's all a big misunderstanding, because nobody actually has issues here.)
- I'm scared of Jessica (14)
Quite frankly, this kid is far too ruthless for a supposedly well-liked twelve year old.
- Jessica's New Fave Hobby (9)
Jessica is like a Sim. She has a One True Hobby. Jessica is like a Sim being played by Dove. She gets her One True Hobby rerolled every five or six minutes because actually, come to think of it, that one’s boring, let’s see what else is out there.
- KIDNAPPING REALLY?! (1)
Yes, really. There’s a kidnapping in Sweet Valley. Probably more than one. I can’t believe Wing’s incredulous about this.
- KOALA SIGHTING! (3)
Elizabeth has a stuffed koala toy on her bedroom shelf. For some reason, Raven thinks it’s important to note it any time this is mentioned.
- Lila is THE BEST (1)
I mean, I know we all know it, but sometimes it needs a tag.
- lo! a haunted house (1)
For such a desirable location as Sweet Valley, there are a lot of run-down haunted mansions knocking about. Possibly this is a clever commentary on the lack of affordable housing for the working classes. But more likely it’s because the plot demands it.
- massively offensive twaddle (2)
It took Dove ages to name this tag, because she was trying not to swear. Forgetting, of course, that Raven had created “FUCK YOU TAMARA CHASE” for no reason at all. But yes, pretty much every time there’s a visitor to Sweet Valley, they will be steeped in stereotypes and someone will ask if they have washing machines in their country. Also, the local white kids may turn this idiocy to local people of colour or poor people.
- MOAR IDENTICAL TWINS (1)
Sometimes the twins meet more twins. And they’re identical, because all twins in Sweet Valley are identical. It gets very twinny very quickly.
- Needs More Werewolves (2)
Wing thinks every story needs more werewolves. (Even stories with werewolves.)
- new levels of boredom (1)
It is impressive when a Jamie is this dull. Usually the Jessica plotlines keep us awake, but even she can’t save a book this dull.
- No means no - unless you're Jessica (16)
Book 1: When Jessica Wakefield wanted something, there was no ‘maybe’. There was only ‘yes’.
Book 5: Elizabeth wasn’t surprised. After all, Jessica almost never took no for an answer.
- Not enough Ellen (1)
Dove loves Ellen Riteman. She doesn’t see the point of books that lack Ellen. We need more Ellen.
- Plucky girl detectives (11)
Crime happening in Sweet Valley? (Surely not! Tony Rizzo, put that VCR down!) Don’t worry, the Wakefields are on the case. Usually it’s Elizabeth, but sometimes Jessica helps too. Officer Carey has nothing on the incisive mind of Elizabeth Wakefield. Hell, Columbo, Poirot and Sherlock combined would be flummoxed by the amazing way this twelve year old can solve crime!
- Poor little Jessica (8)
Everyone is being MEAN to Jessica, and it's not her fault.
- potential girlslash (denied) (2)
- Raven APPROVES of the faculty?! (1)
See below for the default setting, but every once in awhile, Raven does not want to murder every single adult at Sweet Valley Middle School.
- Raven disapproves of the faculty (5)
Just follow this tag to see just how much Raven disapproves of the teaching staff. And it’s not hard to see why. From the unspeakable (Mr Nydick), to missing money, to ignoring students, to detentions over nothing, to running the Hunger Games… the Sweet Valley Middle School faculty are not going to do well on their Ofsted inspection. (There’s a joke that will resonate with everyone who isn’t English, right?)
- Raven goes BOOM (7)
Kind of like when Wing goes boom, but with more strange swearwords.
- recaps by Dove (33)
- recaps by Raven (31)
- recaps by Wing (32)
- Shame you're not a perfect size 6 (18)
Look, we all know that fat people are the worst. And that being a perfect size 6 is the dream. Well, before size zero happened.
- SISTERS BEFORE MISTERS (1)
Every once in a while, a girl will choose her friends over a fella. This happens rarely in Sweet Valley, but it really needs keeping in check. I mean, where will this silliness lead? Who needs friends when you’ve got a hot boyfriend? Get it together, girls.
- sketchy student-teacher relationships (6)
In Sweet Valley, is there any other kind?
- Something Must Be Done (12)
Someone, usually Elizabeth, is going to sort this shit out. Right now.
- STEP AWAY FROM MY GIRL/BOYFRIEND BITCH (1)
Because rather than face the fact your relationship has issues, it’s just easier to tell that slutty bitch or sleazy jock to get away from your squeeze, right?
- SUPERNATURAL OOOOH (7)
Ghosts. Lots of ghosts. Take that, Baby Sitters Club! We have actual supernatural here.
- Sweet Valley Time (10)
Sweet Valley has its own time. A month is precisely as long as anyone needs it to be. A year has as many Halloweens/Christmases/birthdays/etc., as the plot requires. Why don’t people get this?
- THANK GOD FOR ELIZABETH (17)
How on earth would we survive without Saint Elizabeth?
- That brand new tradition we've always had (6)
The perfect tag for when you’re nearly 100 books in and the Jamie Suzanne of the week tries to convince you that the twins and their friends have ALWAYS done this, visited there, met here, etc, but you know otherwise.
- The new girl/boy (18)
It’s amazing how frequently there are new kids joining Sweet Valley Middle School mid-year.
- The tears of a saint (10)
Elizabeth is crying once more.
- The twins CAN sing (4)
The twins can sing beautifully. Their voices are magical.
- The twins CANNOT sing (2)
COVER YOUR EARS, WORST SINGERS EVER!
- too many Peters (13)
We are 40 books in, and there are six Peters already (Peter Jeffries, Peter DeHaven, Peter Sampson, Peter Moore, Pete Stone and Peter Burns). That is a new Peter every 6.6 books. The stats don’t lie. For fuck’s sake, Jamie Suzanne, John is the most common boy’s name.
- Twin Death Match! (3)
The twins are at war. Battle lines are drawn. Spleens will be ripped out. That sort of thing.
- TWIN MAGIC (12)
No book is complete without an awesome twin switch. Also, presumably, this tag could also reference actual twin magic, in the few books where they have twin intuition.
- Twin magic: DENIED (0)
When the twins outright state that there is nothing special, magical or mystical about their connection and they are just regular people without twin intuition.
- Wakefields Must Win (13)
The universe will literally crumble to dust if one of those spoilt blonde twigs doesn’t win. No matter what they do, no matter what Jessica lies about, the universe will rearrange itself to prove that the twins are right and they always win. Sorry, maybe I should flag this as “spoilers”.
- Wing goes BOOM (10)
Either the book, or Raven and Dove, provoke Wing to the point where she explodes like an explodey fiery thing, raining down death and destruction on everything surrounding us.
- Wing's heart grew 10 sizes (8)
Wing hates everything. Wing wants to burn everything with fire. Until this. Now she is calm. She collects kittens and draws rainbows.