Sweet Valley Twins #112: If Looks Could Kill

Sweet Valley Twins #112: If Looks Could Kill by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins #112: If Looks Could Kill by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins #112: If Looks Could Kill by Jamie Suzanne (USA Cover)

Title: Sweet Valley Twins #112: If Looks Could Kill

Summary: The Wakefield sisters are determined to keep their New Year’s resolution. Even if it kills them.

Identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield have always considered themselves best friends, but lately they’ve been acting more like best enemies. So they make a New Year’s resolution: no more arguing or disagreeing about anything.

Jessica forces herself to gush over Elizabeth’s new blouse, even though it’s the dweebiest thing she’s ever seen. Elizabeth pretends she’s thrilled to run into Jessica and her Unicorn Club friends at the movies, even though the Unicorns are the snobbiest girls on the planet. And when adorable Eric Weinberg moves to Sweet Valley, the twins decide they can both have crushes on him.

Jessica and Elizabeth will always be sisters… but will they always be best friends? [Wing: Oh come on, they’re not best friends half the time anyway.]

Tagline: A twin truce?

Initial Thoughts

Isn’t every day basically a twin truce for them? And oh god, the twins have a crush on the same guy, we’ve never seen that happen before. I don’t want to do this.

Recap

To my utter delight because the only thing I love more than shopping is reading about people shopping, we open with Jessica and Elizabeth at the mall on New Year’s Eve, well, shopping. Jessica is besotted with a purple and gold makeup bag that has a million compartments; Elizabeth is unimpressed both because she wants to go to the bookstore to get more information about rocks and minerals (what, no Sweet Valley Rocks & Minerals store to visit?) and because she doesn’t understand why Jessica would need all those compartments when she doesn’t have that much makeup. I do not for a second believe Jessica doesn’t have enough makeup to fill that entire damn thing and probably another to boot. [Dove: Seconded. I wasn’t even super into makeup aged twelve, and I had enough to fill a makeup bag.]

Elizabeth has spent the last week talking about her rock and mineral collection, so I guess that’s our hobby of the book. [Raven: 112 books in, and we’re only hearing about this now? I thought rotating hobbies was Jessica’s thing?]

Lila’s hosting a “school party” at her mansion that night to celebrate NYE and I am (again?) confused by what ghostie means by school party. Has Lila invited the entire school, even those who would reflect poorly on the Unicorns? I have my doubts.

Though Jessica does still consider Elizabeth her best friend, apparently her sister has been annoying her over their winter break. They’ve spent too much time together, Jessica decides. Also, for someone who is complaining about Elizabeth being too interested in her rock and mineral collection, Jessica has thought those exact words about a hundred times in two pages. [Dove: Also? Fucking harsh judgement on her sister? Didn’t she just learn to be a better person on Christmas Eve? She gave her $50 to charity FFS.] [Raven: To be fair, Jessica has spent about thirty thousand identical days with Elizabeth, all of them in the last Groundhog Day style book. I’d be pig sick of her too.]

Elizabeth considers buying one of the make-up bags herself because the padded compartments would protect her rocks from slamming against each other when she moves around the collection [Dove: This reminded me of the brief craze of polishing rocks early in lockdown. Only with machines. YouTube it. There’s billions of videos.] and Jessica loses her shit, at least internally, because god forbid someone else own the same bag she does and use it in ways she doesn’t approve. The second the Unicorns found out that Elizabeth owned one too, they would mock the shit out of Jessica, and she’s well aware of that.

Oh god, Steven. At least he’s with Joe who almost always tempers some of Steven’s terribleness. Well, sometimes tempers it. Used to, at least. Will I miss anything if I flat refuse to read Steven’s storyline?

I’m going to guess no, because they spend this entire scene talking about all the television Steven’s been watching.

Back at the mall, Jessica and Elizabeth run into Eric Weinberg, our latest new kid. He knows both of them but can’t tell them apart. Jessica tells him it’s easy, she’s the pretty one, and I legit laughed. Oh, Jessica, you’re a mess and I love you.

Jessica flirts with Eric, Elizabeth’s awkward, Eric seems delighted by Jessica’s flirtations, Elizabeth’s jealous — I am not looking forward to them fighting over a boy again. (Multiple readers have pointed out that Raven and I are not going to do well when we reach SVH. Based on my continued frustration when a love triangle pops up (which they seem to do more frequently now), you are correct, readers, I, at least, am not going to do well.) [Dove: Also, didn’t Jessica just fall in love with new boy Mike on Christmas Eve? And he just joined the school in December, just like Eric. Why wasn’t Eric at the Christmas Eve party if he’s so cute? Or why isn’t Mike still in the picture? Why am I even asking? That book couldn’t hold its own continuity, much less anything else in this fucking series.]

(Oh, wait, apparently the student government paid for decorations and things for Lila’s party and everyone at school is invited. I still do not believe Lila would actually do this. She doesn’t need the student government to pay for anything and she’s much more likely to want an exclusive party so she can rub that in the faces of everyone who isn’t invited.)

Turns out, and I’m sure you’re all shocked to learn this, Eric is also a rock collector. 

Joe eats his sundae and then starts in on Steven’s, because Joe was an idiot who ordered for his friend before Steven showed up even though he saw Steven wouldn’t be torn away from the television. (Though, to be fair to Joe, Steven’s main characterisation is that he eats everything. It’s a shock that anything distracted him from food.)

Then Patty shows up. Patty, who is also new. Patty who is Eric’s big sister. Joe is incredibly jealous of Eric hanging out with pretty Patty right up until he figures out they are siblings. 

I guess in Sweet Valley where high school students date sixth graders all the damn time, it’s not completely foolish to assume this young kid talking to a teenager is her boyfriend and not her brother.

Joe is completely awkward when he and Patty start talking, oddly shy and apparently this happens when he talks to girls. I am fucking charmed by this. Can we dump Steven and keep Joe with much better subplots? [Dove: Except, y’know, literally all the other books before this one that says Joe is really cool and desirable and never fumbles talking to a girl, and it’s Steven that’s the epic failure.] [Raven: It appears that the part of Steven is being played by Joe today.]

Then Steven arrives, more television talk, and Steven invites Patty out sometime. Uh, don’t you have a girlfriend, Wakefield? [Dove: It did say earlier that he was “on the outs” with Cathy. No why or where they really stand, but it was half-heartedly covered. I hope she’s found someone better.]

Steven goes home all proud of himself for making progress with Patty and then loses himself watching some sort of animal show about raccoons. I don’t care.

Jessica and Elizabeth argue about who Eric likes more, Steven shouts at them for distracting him from his television, Alice tells the girls to stop fighting and says that though Aunt Nancy and Uncle Kirk (cousin Robin’s parents) invited the Wakefield siblings to go skiing over spring break. Alice is going to let Steven go but Jessica and Elizabeth have been fighting too much and she doesn’t trust them to go without Alice and Ned. They’re not mature enough to go.

Uh. (a) Obviously they fight when you’re around so what difference does that make? (b) They’ve fought while visiting with cousin Robin before, more than once. (c) You’ve left them home with a “responsible” adult when you left the country, why can’t they spend time with their actual family. [Raven: Also (d) pretty sure the invite is from Nancy and Kirk, not Alice. I’m sure it was made with Robin and Stacy in mind, as they’d likely love to hang out with the twins. Alice has no right to modify the invite to just palm off Steven, who hates twelve-year-old girls (like Robin), onto her sister on the holidays.]

So basically, Joe and Steven love triangle, Jessica and Elizabeth love triangle, and the twins aren’t mature enough to do something with their family. This entire book is simply revisiting old plotlines, isn’t it. Can I be done already?

The girls blame each other, of course, and then swear not to fight anymore, swear to make their resolution getting along more. They even ask Alice for help — I don’t think gin is going to make either of you less likely to fight, especially Jessica — and Alice waivers and decides that if they can go the next week without fighting, she’ll let them go on the ski trip for spring break. So basically, seven days now (or less, that’s not clear) and then they can fight all they want in the several weeks (if not a couple of months) between now and spring break. Makes perfect sense.

Alice decides to continue this parenting kick of hers and suggests that Steven give up television for a week to show how much more responsible he is than his sisters. That — that’s actually a good way to handle Steven. Damn, Alice, good job this one time.

Steven still swears he doesn’t care about television at all and will have no problem going cold turkey. [Raven: I mean, sure? It’s not as if he’s really been arsed with TV before his love for it became an informed attribute in this fucking book.]

He immediately struggles and I am even more bored than I was before.

At dinner, a surly Steven tries to get the twins to fight. Subtle. He fails.

Good god, we’re still not to Lila’s party and it feels like I’ve been recapping for weeks.

Once we FINALLY get to the party, first thing we see is Janet clocking Eric in all his cuteness. Jessica tries to dissuade her (he’s too young for you, Janet, which is not the best way to go about this) to no avail, not even when she brings up Denny.

(As if Jessica doesn’t have a semi-boyfriend she’s ignoring, too.) [Dove: Or the dude she left her sort-of boyfriend for in the last book.]

Turns out, Denny is making a fool of himself trying to get a sixth grade girl to like him. Nothing at all like what Janet would do trying to get Eric a … sixth grade boy … to like … her.

Never change, Janet.

Eric and Elizabeth start talking about their rock collection but Janet interrupts them pretty quickly and aggressively flirts him away from Elizabeth. Awkward.

There’s waaaaay too much talk of rocks and minerals, Jessica gets annoyed that Janet is cockblocking her (cuntblocking her?), Lila and Janet rock up (heeeeeee) long enough to make fun of Elizabeth and friends talking about rock collections, and Janet and Lila order Jessica to stop Elizabeth from collecting rocks because it’s a bad look for the Unicorn Club.

The … the Unicorn Club Elizabeth didn’t join? Uh.

Jessica stands the fuck up to Janet even if she finds it very difficult because she can’t pick a fight with Elizabeth, not and still get to go skiing. So, the love of her sibling, who the fuck cares, the Unicorns can fuck around with her all they want, or Janet flirting with Eric, what’s a cute boy really, but a ski trip, by god, that’s worth standing up to Janet.

The twins admit to their resolution and the rest of them talk about what resolutions they’ll make. Amy resolves not to be tardy for the next week, Maria not to admire herself in any mirrors (oh, honey), Lila and Janet first mock resolutions (they’re for children, Lila says, and Janet thinks only weak people need them) but Amy dares them to prove it, so Janet ends up agreeing to give up sweets and, at Amy’s prompting, Lila resolves not to brag for an entire week. 

[Dove: So many of these resolutions are such bollocks. We’ve never seen Joe addicted to ice cream. We’ve never seen Maria primping and preening like a Unicorn. And Janet is fucking obsessed with oral hygeine of late, so she doesn’t eat as many sweets as pretty much anyone else here. It reminds me of when I was about seven and found out a classmate of mine was being paid £10 if she could give up biting her nails. I thought this was terrific. £10 buys a lot of MLP swag in 1987. I went to my parents and pitched the idea of them doing the same thing. With bemused smiles, my parents said, “But Dove, you don’t bite your nails.”] [Raven: Agreed on all counts. A resolution book could have been fun, if it actually paid attention to the characters and gave them flavourful resolutions. Lila not bragging was on point, but would have been better if it were not SPENDING. Steven should have been the no ice cream resolution, as being a gannet is is one discernable trait. Amy could have been, I dunno, not being a lank-haired spunkwaffle?]

This also turns into a full on game where the losers will have to wear cloth diapers (outside their clothing) to a special party Lila will have for all of them and Steven, Joe, and their friends.

…did Steven pay to make this happen?

Next chapter is Steven recapping everything that has already happened, including the diaper bet which we literally just read about. Fuck off. He’s struggling not to watch television and decides to distract himself by setting Jessica and Elizabeth up to fight.

First step: eat one of the two cupcakes that are left so that the twins only have one to fight over. 

Elizabeth buys a new blouse (green and yellow with large brown buttons) that she (claims she) loves and Jessica hates and wants to mock but can’t. They run into some of the Unicorns on their way to the movies, one last good-bye to the end of winter break. (They’re going to watch the latest Arnold Weissenhammer movie, Desert Tornado, where he’s escaping from terrorists and stuff in the Sahara. Ghostie. Really. Desert Tornado. Totally not a nod to Desert Storm, not at all. Ghostie. Come on.)

Joe listens to Janet on the phone with Lila; the girls are talking about their resolutions. He is annoyed because Janet always sounds so perfect, fake perfect. She notices him eavesdropping, they give each other shit about their resolutions, and she leaves him alone.

Joe’s public resolution is to stay away from Casey’s for a week, but his private one is to ask Patty out on a date, preferably to the party about the end of the resolutions.

Oh fuck, I am goddamn charmed by how nervous he is. JOE HOWELL. I did not see this coming. He’s so fucking nervous, y’all, he even has vague hopes that the roof will cave in or the phone company will cancel their phone service, all so he doesn’t have to do something as hard as calling Patty.

So fucking charmed.

His mother comes home just as he starts dialling and he is saved. Joe.

Alice and Ned are going to chaperone the end-of-resolution party with the Howells. Why? They never fucking chaperone. Does any parent in Sweet Valley actually chaperone? I can’t believe Joe Howell is the plot I’m the most invested in right now (…okay, invested in at all). [Dove: Hey… does anyone remember that other Christmas when Ned and Alice wouldn’t let the twins go to the Howells’ Christmas Party because high school boys would be there… no? I FUCKING REMEMBER.]

Steven sets the twins up to fight over the cupcake and it almost works but then the girls catch themselves and split it. Alice is proud of them and calls them very mature. Steven keeps pushing, but fails to get a rise out of them. He’s not even doing anything particularly terrible, but god, I am exhausted by him. Go away.

… Maria makes everyone a scorecard for the resolution game (she made it using a spreadsheet program, so I’m betting Dove smiled at this [Dove: *nods approvingly* Also, you guys just wait until you hear my next spreadsheet project. Wing, in particular, you’re going to love/hate it.]). Whens someone breaks their resolution, they will mark a big x in the box “like they’re dead or something.”

Um.

It was Amy’s idea to call it a kill.

U M.

So you’ve moved on to wooing Jessica, have you.

The entire point of calling it a kill column is because Janet has been such a shit about everything, and Elizabeth is down with that reasoning. Is everyone about to turn on Janet? I’d be down with that, too, though mostly because I want a quick resolution to this plot.

That night, the twins sit down to watch television, Ratshark one of Steven’s favourite shows, apparently, and talk loudly trying to woo him into watching with them. And it almost works, he lingers on the stairs until he gets caught and then swears he was chasing a pencil that fell from his “tight little grasp” and oh my god no, Steven, just stop.

Amy’s out to kill Janet (and when Elizabeth hears her say it that way, she momentarily thinks Amy means literally because Elizabeth is a fucking idiot) by teasing her with delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies — and a piece of cake, a slice of pie, and three chocolate bars.

Uh, that sugar high is going to send you flying, Sutton.

Meanwhile, Lila is doing the same damn thing with double-fudge chocolate cake.

SVMS full of these girls on sugar highs is not something I want to experience myself but I do hope it goes all Hunger Games up in here. [Dove: Everyone dies.]

Janet turns this back on them by tormenting Lila that chocolate has empty calories and will make her gain weight. Because that’s just the most terrible thing in the world. It is clever, though, because when Lila nearly brags about her own perfect weight, Janet then teases her about how chocolate will mess up her teeth.

But Janet, her teeth are perfect, no one has better teeth — and bam, Janet gets her first confirmed kill and we have the first person who’ll be in a diaper.

…shit, now that they’ve added the whole attempt to kill each other part (symbolically, at least), I’m far more interested.

Joe is struggling with thoughts of the Super Sundaes he can’t have this week and trying to bury that craving in two hot dogs, three apples, two bags of potato chips, and Hostess Ding Dongs. No number on how many of those he ate.

He sees Patty is just utterly enthralled by how cute upturned nose, short dark hair, and smile to herself (because she’s alone). Ugh, Joe, why am I finding this so charming. He’s nervous and adorable and — oh fuck, tries to talk himself into bravery by focusing on whatever Steven would say. DON’T DO IT, JOE. DON’T DO IT. [Dove: Something like, “Hi, Patty, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m the handsomest boy in school, and probably the cleverest and you’re probably very much in love with me — because who isn’t? — but I picked you out. So dress up pretty and I might just date you.” – or at least, that’s how his brain seems to work.]

He calls her name just as she’s about to enter her classroom, but she doesn’t hear him and he can’t follow her into the room that’s not casual at all and now he’s relaxed and he’ll try tomorrow, that’ll be better.

UGH JOE YOUR NERVES ARE SO CUTE. HOW.

On Wednesday, Amy’s not feeling so well and she can’t figure out why as she sits there with three donuts. I cannot imagine what has you feeling ill, girl. Cannot.

Amy gets Maria involved in offering one of them to Janet, but Janet comes back with an excellent riposte again and talks about there being something on Maria’s face then gives her a small mirror. DON’T DO IT, MARIA.

Maria examines her face, looking for whatever has Janet worried, and when she doesn’t find it, she says that her skin is as smooth as ever.

It’s not until this point that oh so smart Elizabeth figures out what’s happening and, sure enough, Janet tricked her into admiring herself in a mirror and breaking her resolution. And that’s confirmed kill number two.

Yeah, now that the kill part of the game has been added, I find myself liking Janet, too. She’s pretty smart with how she’s been handling things.

Amy moves to trying to tempt Janet with milk shakes at the Dairi Burger, tricking her there by saying she’s considering writing a story about the Unicorns for the school paper. Amy buys a strawberry shake, which is the flavour Janet says she likes best, but Janet’s also acting bored as hell.

Meanwhile, Steven is writing this: My dearest Jessica, I just wanted to say that … I love you? You’re incredibly foxy? Without you, my life wouldn’t be worth living? You’re at the heart of my life?

Yeah, he’s writing her a note from Eric so that he can leave it where Elizabeth can see, but he’s not struggling at all to come up with romantic(ish) things to say to his sister. Oh, Wakefield, you’re not hiding anything.

Next, Amy and Janet end up at the candy store so Amy can try some fudge even though she feels terrible and could barely finish her shake.

Gee, I wonder if Janet’s got another target in her sights.

(No, really, I did not expect to enjoy Janet, but her hunting her way through the competitors is great.) [Raven: Janet is a legit shark in this book.]

Meanwhile, Steven writes a letter from Eric to Elizabeth and all he says is: Dear Elizabeth, looking forward to our big date next week! xoxo

…without you my life wouldn’t be worth living to looking forward to our big date? WE SEE YOU, STEVEN.

Amy’s eaten the following in one day to try to tempt Janet: ice cream, brownies, fudge, milk shakes, doughnuts and apparently even more. Amy, you are going to vomit that all back up and be late for school in the morning (if you even manage to go) and I will not even feel sorry for you. Trying to trick her into breaking her resolution is one thing, and is apparently encouraged in this game, but doing the same thing over and over and failing is boring as shit. Janet’s got this down!

The latest food is mint peanut butter fudge, which sounds horrifying and I love both mint fudge and peanut butter fudge. Together, though, god no.

And next is pie at Some Crumb Bakery.

Amy doesn’t realise that Janet has been tricking her until after she’s eaten the pie and is struggling to keep all her food down and Janet leaves her alone and tells her not to be late the next morning.

You are all fools living in Janet’s world, and I can’t believe this is happening. Fuck, I love Janet methodically finding weaknesses and taking them down.

Elizabeth and Jessica find the letters but before they start fighting, Steven tips his hand, poking at them too impatiently and they simply exchange the notes which, apparently, were written on paper that says “From the desk of Steven Wakefield” at the top.

(a) I don’t believe Steven has and uses stationery like that. (b) Good god Steven’s an idiot. [Raven: Steven is indeed an idiot. Didn’t he have stationary like this in another book? Or at least he talked about having it?]

Amy’s late the next morning, giving Janet her third kill. Janet brags on it to Jessica, she made Amy throw up half the night. Not poison, of course, she rushes to explain, though I’d be more worried about giving Jessica ideas on how to handle you than anything, she just got her to eat far too much sweet food.

…AND JESSICA IS FUCKING INTIMIDATED BY JANET GLOATING OVER HER THREE KILLS.

Well goddamn, Janet, this is your book.

Joe keeps trying to talk himself into at least saying hello to Patty, and I cannot help how charmed I am at his awkward shyness. I know I’ve said that half a dozen times so far, but it’s just adorable! And a nice change from Steven’s — well, everything.

Next up, Steven attacks Jessica’s make-up case, dumping out all her make-up into a plastic bag and then putting some of the dirty gray stones from Elizabeth’s rock collection into the make-up case.

He then steals Elizabeth’s favourite sweater, gets it wet, and drops it onto the bathroom floor as if Jessica had borrowed it and for some reason soaked it with water? [Raven: Anything to get the jizz out of it, I guess.]

The twins manage to bottle up their rage even while Steven waits for them to explode (though this time, at least, he waits in silence and doesn’t try to prompt them into it, so at least he has learned a little something from previous failures, unlike anyone else in the damn book).

Steven calls looking to talk to Joe but gets Janet instead. He figures out she, too, likes Eric, and he promises her a date with Eric (since he and Patty are so close) if she helps him break the twins.

And then we learn that Joe had just got home when the call happened, picked up another phone when it rang, and was listening in on the entire call. Joe, you sly dog. Look at you go.

Steven takes Elizabeth to a rock and mineral show and swears I DIDN’T TELL ANY UNICORN ABOUT THIS SHOW ELIZABETH DEAR SISTER NO ONE BUT JESSICA BECAUSE THE UNICORNS MAKE FUN OF YOU AND I WOULDN’T WANT ANYONE TO KNOW THAT WE’RE HERE SO THEY CAN MAKE FUN OF YOU.

Subtle.

And of course Steven and Elizabeth promptly overhear Janet, Ellen, and Lila making fun of her to Jessica. Steven tries to throw Jessica under the bus, Jessica says that she finds rocks interesting, and the twins take off on a guided tour of the rock show.

…there’s a guided tour of a rock show? A rock show is basically a bunch of dealers selling rocks and collectors showing off pieces of their collection, not really something that needs a guided fucking tour but sure, why not. [Raven: Also… a rock show? In Sweet Valley? Between Christrmas and New Year? Which ELIZABETH DIDN’T MENTION EARLIER DESPITE HER “GOING ON” ABOUT ROCKS ALL THE TIME? I call mountainous bullshit.]

I will say, the twins are really stepping up.

Steven blames Janet, of course. 

Elizabeth talks about the rocks, telling them all sorts of details, and Jessica gets so bored that she starts naming rocks because they listen to her better if you do. Fucking adorable.

Finally, Jessica gets too bored of her own game to continue and they all go to Casey’s where Steven will pay as he promised, Janet says. Not exactly what he promised, but okay.

Joe’s on his way to the rock and mineral show when he sees the twins at Casey’s. He’s resolved to not step foot inside for any reason this week but almost gives in, then settles down to wait.

Jessica orders them same shake that Elizabeth does and apparently this is the thing that is going to make Elizabeth snap, her sister copying her. And to be honest, Sister Canary annoyed the shit out of me when we were younger because she was always doing the same things I was. In our case, it’s because we have similar interests and so of course we did the same sort of activities, but at the time we were too close in age and not close enough emotionally, and I was deeply annoyed. Now I love it and she’s one of my BFFs.

But if I had to not fight with my twin sister for one fucking week so I could go on a ski trip, I could fucking ignore my fucking twin ordering the same fucking shake. Who the fuck cares? [Dove: This really seemed to come from out of nowhere. But then again, I was bored out of my mind the whole book, so… maybe it makes sense? *shrugs* I don’t know or care.] [Raven: I hated this meltdown, which appeared like an RKO.]

Joe storms up to stop them from fighting and tells them that Janet and Steven have been plotting together against them. Just as they agree to team up, Janet catches Joe inside and he becomes her fourth confirmed kill.

So there are unconfirmed kills, too? Damn, Janet, you’ve got this.

Jessica and Elizabeth talk up this “movie” a friend “loaned” them that they have to return the next morning before school, talking about the babes and the jail escape and the bombs everywhere and the helicopter and the frogman. Honestly, it sounds like any number of blockbuster action movies. Have fun in Hollywood (again), girls.

Meanwhile, Joe calls Eric and sets up his own thing in play and then asks to talk to Patty. We don’t get to see how the conversation goes, but he does manage to start it strong and I am proud of him.

Steven falls for the twins’ trap, sneaks down to watch the movie, and the twins get a confirmed kill. Excellent.

Apparently, Janet and the twins are the only three left in the game. Sure, why not.

The twins have stepped up their game, too. They left a box of candy on Janet’s desk in study hall with a note that it was from Denny. (Well, they did this along with Lila, Amy, and Maria, and I’m sad that team up isn’t coming up with better ideas.)

Janet’s still annoyed that Denny is walking around with that other girl, I’m assuming the one in sixth grade. Because why not. Janet starts bragging about her new boyfriend, Eric, and then he shows up and brings Janet with a batch of his famous chocolate chip cookies.

She says she’ll save them for the party but he says he made another batch for the party and while she holds steady for awhile, when he says he hopes she’s not one of those boring girls who never eat sweets (fuck that noise, people can eat or not eat whatever they want), she snaps and forces herself to eat one.

And apparently Joe successfully asked Patty to come to the party even though he’ll be wearing a diaper too. Look at you go, dude.

Just when it looks like the twins will get through this without failing, it turns out that Steven told Elizabeth that Jessica would bring the diapers and Jessica not having them sets off their fight.

When the three of them show up at the party, Elizabeth breaks down and tells Alice and Ned the truth about the three of them tricking each other. 

BUT THEY STILL GET TO GO SKIING BECAUSE AUNT NANCY HAS NOW INVITED ALICE AND NED. (Because some of their other friends had to cancel going with them, which makes me laugh that Alice and Ned’s children were invited first but not Alice and Ned themselves, not until other adults had to back out.)

Janet declares herself the winner because she had so many kills; Lila claims winning because she was out first and got to watch everyone do silly things for the next week. The twins apologise to each other because of course they do. Eric dances with both Jessica and Elizabeth because Janet’s cute and all but he’s “way too young to be tied down.” Oh good lord. Patty’s been waiting for Steven to call and ask her out but Joe called instead (because Steven was too damn busy playing this game) and Joe and Patty have hit it off now.

Jessica is glad that everything is back to normal and even though they all broke their resolutions, no one had to wear a diaper.

Next time, we find out what happens when Elizabeth and Jessica are selected to be on Young Love, or at least that’s what the very last lines of the book tell me. 

Final Thoughts

The resolutions game became unexpectedly delightful when it became a killing game, and I remain utterly charmed by Joe and his shy awkwardness. Actually, Janet and Joe were both on fire this book, and I would love other stories where they get to be like this. [Dove: 134 books in and finally we get a Janet POV!]

Otherwise, though, this book was a bunch of plot points that have been told in other books (possibly in a better way) and reminded me just how much I dislike love triangles with these characters. (And in general, most of the time.)

I know we’re coming up on the end of the SVT part of the series, and even though this is by far not the first time we’ve had double dipping plots and it’s not like earlier books were all that original, it feels like we’re treading water in a bad way, making no progress toward any sort of actual story but not reaching the end yet, either. Is it a sign that this part went on too long? Is it the only way to have books like this (ghost-written, and quickly, and churned out with short, shallow stories)? Whatever it is, I’ve been feeling for awhile now that we’re on this sharp angle back into books that annoy me the way early books did, so maybe we’ve seen the rise and fall of my ability to fully enjoy this part of the series. Maybe the next will be better.

[Dove: Wing has well articulated above how I’m feeling about the series by this point. Every time we talk, we excitedly count the books we have left, and when we’ll be finished — if we include the Unicorn Club, this time next year (35 books). If we ignore the Unicorn Club but do include Team Sweet Valley, August of this year (12 books). If we ignore Team Sweet Valley (and we kind of do for reasons none of us can explain), July of this year (10 books). We’re so damned close to the end, and we’re all bored of the rehashed plots and the utter continuity snarl that we’re having to endure to get there. This is a great example of this nonsense. A new boy that Jessica likes! We did that last book. Fighting! We did that the book before. Steven is a tool. WE DO THAT EVERY FUCKING BOOK.]

[Raven: Janet was great in this book, but Joe and Steven annoyed the ever-loving piss out of me, as did the twins andtheir countless arguments. The whole “let’s all go skiing, yay” shit rendered the entire book pointless, and the resolutions for things that characters did not care about for the preceeding one-hundred-plus preceeding book were just embarrassing.

As for the series as a whole, I’m looking forward to the Unicorn Club books, as they will hopefully concentrate on the characters I like, and not Steven or Alice or The New Girl. But Sweet Valley High? Sheesh.]

I am the evil twin. I'm in a feud with R.L. Stine, but he hasn't found me here yet. Every story needs more werewolves.