Title: The Great Boyfriend Switch
Tagline: The Valentine’s Day dance isn’t what anyone was expecting…
Summary: Mixed-up romance…
As Valentine’s Day approaches, everyone at Sweet Valley Middle School is pairing up for the first dance of the year. Elizabeth Wakefield has been asked by sweet and serious Todd Wilkins, and her twin sister, Jessica, is going with wild and funny Aaron Dallas. The twins and all their friends are sure it’s going to be the most romantic night out ever.
But when they get to the dance, everyone seems to go a little crazy. Jessica abandons Aaron to dance song after song with Bruce Patman. And devious Veronica Brooks goes after Todd, leaving Elizabeth with no one to dance with—except Aaron! Romance is in the air all right, but will these mixed-up couples ever get straightened out again?
Now THIS is what Twin Magic is all about! Clandestine sexual misdirection. A Valentine’s Day dance, boyfriends and girlfriends and relationship woes. Wonderful.
The cover? A bunch of girls. Presumably all the Unicorns. Fair enough. The composition is a bit weird, it’s pretty lopsided.
Nothing else to say about it, really.
[Raven: Hello! As you can see, this recap is a day late. That’s all on me. Apologies! However, yesterday (Monday) was my birthday, so I’m going to claim Birthday Boy Privileges. Bosh. Done.]
[Dove: I actually love the cover of this. I’m slightly envious of the American covers, which show the entire picture with a banner across with the title – although I prefer the UK layout overall. I like it when the picture clearly references something that happens in the book, and this is a picture of the photo Ned took of all the girls before their first date. Adorable. Everyone looks so pretty. Except for Janet. Janet always looks terrible. And why isn’t Ellen on the front cover. I’m guessing the cover goes (back to front, left to right): Janet, (Belinda or Mandy, maybe?), Lila; Mary, (Belinda or Mandy?), Amy; Elizabeth, Jessica. Commenters, feel free to correct me. I’m really confused about the two brunettes in the middle, they don’t actually look like anyone we’ve seen before on the covers. Amy’s hair is way darker than usual too.]
[Wing: Surprisingly cute cover. Haven’t at least some of them already had first dates? Also, busy week, haven’t had a chance to comment until Wednesday, 21 November, but here I go.]
“It’s going to be awful,” Amy Sutton said.
Amy Sutton, lending her voice to all fair readers of this series as they embark upon their next book. I hope you’re wrong this time, you lank-haired spunkwaffle.
Amy and the twins are discussing the upcoming school dance. It’s their first, apparently, which conveniently forgets the dance in April Fools! (don’t forget the exclamation mark!). Elizabeth and Jessica think it’s going to be wonderful, Elizabeth for the gymnasium decorations and Jessica for the “real” DJ that’s coming in from Los Angeles. Eat your heart out, Dave Carlquist.
Amy is adamant that the whole thing will suck balls. A Dance, she posits, will only bring out the worst in the Sweet Valley School sixth-grade male contingent. They’d be monkey-noises, farty-armpits and booger-chompers. Both the twins stick up for their beaus – Elizabeth has the studious Todd, Jessica the puckish Aaron – and even Amy claims that her tiny boyfriend-of-sorts Ken Matthews would be far too mature for such shenanigans.
Suddenly, those three boys and more appear, and horse around for the camera. How convenient.
Next, Veronica Brooks – the snotty new girl we met in the last book’s foreshadowing – rocks up and reintroduces herself. She snarkily complements Liz on her 98 in the math(s) test yesterday (compared with her 97), to show she is a sore loser. Then she mocks the boys, this school, everything. Get fucked, Veronica Brooks. This FUCKING school may be a witch, but it’s our witch, so cut it the hell down. [Dove: … Raven has fully converted to Sweet Valley now.] [Wing: Raven, I told you not to drink the koolaid. Says the woman who, once a week or so, wears a pink shirt talking about how adorable Jessica Wakefield is.]
The boys bite back, and Veronica comes back with the line that defines the book…
Veronica gazed challengingly at the boys. “At my old school; we had dates to the dances.”
My, how mature. So this book is about dates, and dances.
Later that morning, it appears the sixth grade has date fever. First, Todd asks Elizabeth to be his date, a fact which Amy can’t help but reveal gleefully to Veronica Brooks (who apparently wants to be Elizabeth so badly I feel like I’m in a remake of Single White Female), then we learn that Lila has been asked out by Jake Hamilton, Jessica by Aaron Dallas, Tamara Chase by FUCK YOU TAMARA CHASE, and Sophia Rizzo and Nora Mercandy by Patrick Morris (playa). [Wing: Well damn, Sophia and Nora, what’s going on over there? Surely one or both of you can dig up a better date. (Get it? GET IT?)]
The only one without a date? Amy.
Suddenly, a wild Ken Matthews appears! He’s super unromantic!
Amy, awash with anticipation, is slapped by the kipper of rejection as Ken asks for a math(s) book rather than a date. Denied! I do feel a little sorry for her here, as it does seem that Ken has just chickened out of asking the real question.
By lunchtime, everyone bar Amy is paired up. Luckily for the lank-haired spunkwaffle, Jessica and the Unicorns have a plan to help those, well, less romantically fortunate than themselves…
“Amy’s not in a very good mood,” Elizabeth explained.
Jessica sat down next to her sister. “Yeah, yeah, whatever. But listen, this will cheer you up, Amy. The Unicorns are having a special meeting this afternoon and it’s going to be open to non-Unicorns. We’ll be talking about the dance, and since so many of us have dates, the Unicorns thought it would be a good idea to have a fashion and beauty seminar. I mean, we are experts in that department.”
Team Boring are amazed that the Unicorns are opening their meeting to non-members, which to be fair does seem like a pretty big step. Elizabeth tries to tactfully decline Jessica’s offer, because she’s Elizabeth fucking Wakefield, but Amy declares that they will attend.
Elizabeth couldn’t help giggling. “Amy, are you serious about this?”
“I need all the help I can get,” Amy said. “Who knows, maybe I can pick up some advice on how to get a date.”
Chapter two cuts to the abovementioned meeting, and Janet Howell is calling for order as the assembled girls raise a ruckus. Once silence reigns, she presents the first order of business: should she get her hair cut. A lively Unicorn-driven debate ensues, in which Lila asserts that Janet has a massive face, which reflects very badly on the Unicorns. [Dove: I actually think it’s cute that the Unicorns realise that a First Date To A Dance is such a big deal they actually want to share this experience with everyone. And that they’re such snobs about how they go about it. A+]
I have a friend who has a very large face.
In that way that men do, I poke fun at the size of his face at every opportunity.
He largely takes it with good grace, but one day he snapped a little. Apparently, after meeting an optician at a pub, he’d drunkenly asked how one would go about measuring the size of a face for the purposes of making spectacles. The size of a face is determined by measuring the distance between pupils, or so he was told.
“I’ve got a ruler with me,” he snapped. “Let’s measure the size of our faces. THEN we’ll see who’s got a large face!”
Turns out that my mate? He’s got a massive fucking face.
Talk turns to high heels, and the girls discuss the pros and cons of such footwear. Billy / Belinda Leyton is determined to go Full Formal in high heels, no matter how much she’ll tower over her date. Next up it’s clothes, in relation to skin tones, and Tamara is particularly nonplussed when the other Unicorns accuse her of having green skin.
Randomly, Amy knows all about seasonal colour theories regarding clothes and skin tone. She shares the information with the Unicorns, and suggests they check out Carnival, a clothing store in the mall (previously known as Sweet Valley Clothing Store In The Mall That Deals With Seasonal Colour Theories And Skin Tones, or SVCSITMTDWSCTAST). The Unicorns applaud happily.
Elizabeth gave Amy a curious look. “How did you know that?” she asked her quietly.
Amy blushed. “I went last week,” she admitted. “And I’m a Winter.”
Brace yourself, Ken…
The meeting turns to the dance, and their upcoming dates. A list is posited, to include all the pairings for future generations and the greater glory of the Unicorns. Predictably, all the girls have a date bar Amy.
“Amy, who is your date?”
“I don’t have one,” Amy replied.
Janet looked up, startled. There were sympathetic murmurs from the other girls.
“That’s why I’m here,” Amy said impatiently. “I was hoping you guys could help me.”
Kimberly reached over and patted Amy on the shoulder. “You came to the right place.”
Next morning in school, we learn the true horror behind Kimberly’s innocuous comment. Amy has been MADE OVER.
Liz isn’t impressed, but has the good grace to couch her language in bland platitudes. Ken, on the other hand, things she looks like she’s been hit by a bus.
As soon as he saw Amy’s face his eyes widened and his jaw dropped. “Wow,” he said, staring at her eyes. “What does the other guy look like?”
Poor Amy! Pretty sure Ken actually hates you. Let’s face it, so do we. [Dove: Not me. This is the one book where I actually like Amy. Why? Because she’s being Amy. Not Elizabeth’s counter-reaction or fangirl.] [Raven: Excellent point. Although the book she was trying to save for her parents’ anniversary gift also saw her doing stuff on her own too.]
In class later that day, Mr Bowman piles on the Liz love. This is NOT to be confused with Mr Nydick’s signature brand of student love. Elizabeth scored the highest on her essay, which presumably was on the Wakefields or some shit. Veronica, in second, absolutely despises her for it. Todd, on the other hand, thinks she’s dreamy, and she returns the feels.
After a tiny contretemps in the school hallway in which Veronica stomps into Elizabeth, Amy reveals that Veronica hates the more saintly Wakefield Twin because she seems to be in first place all the time… especially in the mind of Todd. Apparently, Veroncia had hoped Todd would ask her to the dance, but she and Amy were the only girls left without a date. [Wing: … how? How are they the only two left? How are the numbers so nearly perfectly matched? How is there not that one group that never does dances?]
As they discuss the shitstorm, Ken Matthews rocks up and piles on the charm. He believes that the entire school has gone into Dating Meltdown, and reckons he and Amy should stick together in the face of such idiocy. He then fucks off. Nice work, Ken. Such a romantic.
Amy and Liz laugh, and take the piss out of Ken’s delivery, but we all know that Amy is thrilled that she’s actually got a date of sorts.
Amy seems strangely front-and-centre on this book. We’re two chapters in, and it’s all spunkwaffle, all the time.
Can’t say I’m liking that, to be honest. [Dove: But she’s being Amy, not Liz’s sidekick, so it’s actually interesting.]
We skip to the night of the dance, and the Unicorns / Team Boring are dressing in the Wakefield Compound. Steven, surrounded by such nubility, literally wanks himself into space.
It’s carnage, but it’s fun.
[Wing: So freaking adorable.]
The girls all pitch in to help each other, boundaries be damned. Lila even gives Amy an expensive silk scarf. Bless Lila, we do love her.
Next, talk turns to shoes. Specifically, heels. The Unicorns believe Amy should wear them, even though Ken is only eight inches tall.
While I’m taking this out of context, I still have to quote it.
“They’ll really make Ken stand up and pay attention, too,” Melissa whispered to Elizabeth.
So, Ken has a foot fetish, I’m guessing.
Amy tries them, and is predictably shit, so declares that she’ll stick to flats. Belinda is also having some issues with the pointy footwear, but everyone is having fun regardless. Suddenly, a bellow rises from Mr Wakefield.
“Evacuate immediately. This is an emergency. Please head for the nearest exit. Those needing medical treatment will be seen on the patio.”
Of course, it’s a dad joke, a bit of banter that is referencing the state of the house since Hurricane Unicorn came blasting through. Steven gets roped in, momentarily, before ducking back into his room to continue the 72-hour wankathon. Hollywood Jones probably won’t be showing that record being broken on his TV show any time soon.
One by one, the dates for the various girls arrive to escort their charges to the dance, much to the amusement of Ned. Eventually, Todd and Aaron arrive to collect Elizabeth and Jessica respectively. [Dove: This is also the part where Ned takes a photo before they all leave, which gives us our front cover. And my confusion over all the brunettes.]
Todd is nervous, while Aaron moon-walks into the house. (No, seriously. He actually does this.)
Elizabeth shares a knowing look with Amy. Todd and Aaron are so different, but each is special in his own way.
FOR FUCK’S SAKE, WE HAVE THIS SAME-BUT-DIFFERENT BULLSHIT ABOUT THWE TWINS IN EVERY BOOK, DO WE HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THE PERIPHERAL CHARACTERS TOO?!
As they leave, Todd presents Elizabeth with a gold locket shaped like a heart. Inside, a pair of pictures. One of Todd, one of Elizabeth. How very bless, and clichéd. Then again, they are twelve, so I can’t expect much more.
Aaron ends the scene by chivvying everyone along.
“Let’s go,” Aaron said excitedly. He grabbed Jessica’s arm and propelled her toward his father’s car, which was waiting for them at the curb. “Get ready to have the best time anybody’s ever had in the Sweet Valley Middle School gym!”
Mr Nydick begs to differ.
I swear I enjoyed this book a lot more on my initial read.
This time, I dunno… it all seems a little blah. I know that the whole romance thing isn’t meant for me, but hell, the entire series isn’t meant for me and I still get a lot of fun out of it.
All the talk of dates, and dances, and skin tones, and high heels, and gold lockets… I cannot be arsed.
[Dove: I really liked this as a tween. It feels like such an American rite of passage for girls that reading about it was fun – dates and dances were not an English thing in the very early 90s. It would be nice if the girls were this nice to each other all the time, but miracles cannot be wrought.]
Happily, I believe it gets better soon.
At the dance – specifically, by the punch bowl – Jessica and Elizabeth chat shit. So far, the evening has been perfect. OF course, things are about to GO DOWN, courtesy of one spoilt little rich kid named Bruce Patman, who is staring at Jessica from across the dancefloor in a way that IS NOT CREEPY IN ANY WAY DEAR ME NO.
In a nice spot of continuity, Jessica recalls the Dance Marathon from the previous book, at which Bruce Patman had asked Jessica to save him a dance. As Aaron approaches from the DJ booth, where he was asking for requests, Bruce Patman swoops past and asks Jessica to get down and boogie.
Jessica immediately agrees. OMG, it’s BRUCE PATMAN you guys! Elizabeth tugs her sister’s sleeve in a vague attempt to be the cherub on her shoulder, but Jessica’s frothing at the gusset for some hot Patman Action.
What was “just one dance” soon becomes two, and three, and more. Todd Wilkins and Elizabeth watch from the sidelines, slightly aghast. They discuss the situation, and their special bond of mutual respect and friendship.
“What’s so great about Bruce, anyway?” Todd asked. “Why do all the girls act so ridiculous when he’s around?”
Elizabeth laughed. “I don’t know. He’s cute, but he’s not very nice. I’ve heard him say things that really hurt people’s feelings.”
“He seems like a real jerk to me. Maybe girls just like guys who are jerks,” Todd said philosophically.
Elizabeth glanced down at her locket. “Not all girls.” She smiled up at him. “I prefer guys who are nice and considerate. I can’t imagine you hurting anybody’s feelings. That’s one of the things I like most about you.”
Blarg. Gag me with a spoon.
The twee pre-teen twinkletwats head over to keep a disconsolate Aaron company, who’s nursing a fifth of rootbeer and shouting obscenities at a balloon. He’s not, but how cool would it be if he were! As they talk, Veronic Brooks sashays in and bad-mouths the punch. Sadly, Elizabeth doesn’t punch her bad mouth, so the slight goes unredeemed. And then this snooty bitch has the stone cold steel flaps to ask Todd – ELIZABETH’S DATE – to dance. Todd, the mollusc that Liz loves, can’t say no, as Liz has told him mere moments earlier that she loves boys who are weak-willed and pliant spongiforms.
This leaves Todd and Aaron stood like lemons, together yet alone, by the lacklustre punch which I’m pretty sure Mr Nydick has jizzed in.
After four songs with no respite, Elizabeth is getting rather annoyed. And rightly so, to be fair. The fourth song is a slow smoocher, and Todd doesn’t appear too unhappy with the clinch he’s in.
Of course, it’s bad for Elizabeth, but it’s worse for Aaron. It seems that Jessica has been dancing with Bruce for an entire semester, and finally the moon-walking wetwang decides he can’t stands nomore. He slams down his empty punch cup, and strides across the dancefloor to cut in on Sweet Valley Middle’s very own Patrick Bateman.
At that moment, Elizabeth saw Bruce and Jessica step into the light. Elizabeth had a perfect view of Jessica’s face as she gazed up at Bruce adoringly—and she had a perfect view as Bruce slowly bent down and gave Jessica a long, lingering kiss!
[Wing: Yet another first kiss? Time will tell.]
Yeah, Jess, you’re a right bitch. At least Allie had the right-hook comeback. Wax on, wax off, motherfuckers.
Aaron sees everything, and stomps off, pissed. Elizabeth, desperate to solve a problem, dashes after him. She tries convince him that her sister doesn’t mean anything by it (pshaw, like really?), and Aaron bitterly waxes lyrical about the whole shebang, and about how alike he and Elizabeth are at the moment.
WTF MORE “THESE CHILDREN ARE ALIKE BUT DIFFERENT IT’S A FUCKING MYSTERY” BOLLOCKS.
Elizabeth was surprised to hear Aaron being so serious and perceptive. He was usually such a clown.
Aaron forced himself to smile. “Maybe you and I should have come to the dance together. We’re spending most of it together anyway.” He stood up. “Let’s pretend we’re each other’s date for this last dance. That way we won’t have to worry about what Todd and Jessica are doing.” He held out his arms.
“OK.” Elizabeth smiled. She put her arms around Aaron and they slow-danced to the romantic song coming from the gym.
Uh-oh… I’ve seen enough hentai to know where this is going.
Suddenly Aaron’s face was very close to hers. The next thing she knew, Aaron was kissing her, very softly—right on the lips!
FUCKING HELL, AARON. You and Jessica are obviously PERFECT for each other.
There’s an audible gasp behind the pair of them, and they break apart before Liz can slip him the tongue. Someone has seen them. Can we guess who, guys and gals?
It’s a naked Mr Nydick!
It’s Caroline Pearce! And she’s not exactly known for her reticence. This will be all around the school before you can say “statutory.”
Sure enough, when Monday rolls around, the school halls are abuzz with the gossip. As she walks through the whispering halls, she thinks back to the Saturday night car journey back from the dance, in which all four passengers (Liz, Jess, Todd, Aaron) sat in cold and stony silence. [Dove: I love that Jessica is initially bubbly and delighted, apparently oblivious that she’s ruined everyone’s night, but eventually sinks into a sullen silence with the rest of them when their mood infects her.]
Sophia and Sarah are waiting at Liz’s locker, keen to catch up on the true skinny. It seems the rumour mill is working overtime.
“Is it true that you and Aaron were making out on the dance floor?” Sarah asked. “That’s what I heard.”
“And I heard that Jessica and Bruce Patman are a couple now,” Sophia said.
“Was there really a fistfight?” Sarah asked.
Liz downplays it because she;s a fucking lettuce with no sense of drama, and then the fabulous Jessica flounces by in a full-on slanging match with the irrepressible Aaron. THAT’S how you do a breakup, you amateur.
Later on, Todd and Elizabeth have a rather clipped conversation regarding each other’s conduct at the dance. Todd rightfully complains about the Aaron / Liz lip lock, and Elizabeth rightfully complains about Todd’s constant dancing with her nemesis Veronica. Soon, voices are raised and tempers are flared. Eventually, Todd stomps off with a derisory snort.
Todd glared at her through narrowed eyes for a moment. “Girls!” he said in disgust. Then he turned and marched away.
Elizabeth, relegated to Second-Stomper-Offer, decamps to Mrs Arnette’s class, where she is forced through lack of option to sit next to her angry sister. They immediately start arguing, each blaming the other for the debauchery at the dance. Soon enough, their hissing exchange rouses the Dreaded Lank-Haired Spunkwaffle.
“Will you two please be quiet?” Amy said exasperatedly from behind them. “I think you should both get a grip. Ken’s so embarrassed by the way everybody’s acting that he told me this morning he doesn’t want to have anything to do with girls and dating until the eighth grade. Thanks a bunch, both of you!”
Fuck off, Amy. This book’s not about you.
Now we’re getting there!
Once the plot has finally kicked in, this book is becoming delightful.
In the lunchroom, the intrigue intensifies. And strangely enough, it’s kicked off by Elizabeth.
That day at lunchtime, Elizabeth sat alone at a table, entertaining herself by throwing dirty looks at Jessica. Jessica sat with the Unicorns at the table they called the Unicorner, throwing dirty looks right back. Suddenly Jessica’s face went red.
Elizabeth glanced up and saw Aaron standing right next to her with his tray. OK, Jessica. Now watch this, Elizabeth thought grimly. “Sit down,” she said, trying to smile pleasantly at Aaron.
Aaron and Elizabeth talk about the dance, and the colossal fuckwittery that ensued. All the while, Elizabeth catches Jessica’s eye and tries to make her jealous. Soon, Aaron cottons on to the game, and joins in too.
As they do so, Jessica waves to Bruce in an attempt to play back the favour. Soon, the pair are laughing and joking, and Aaron and Elizabeth are laughing and joking, and no one is happy apart of Bruce who probably has no clue what’s happening. [Wing: I … I can’t believe they’ve made Bruce the least shitty person in this part.]
At that moment Amy Sutton passed by with her tray and noticed Elizabeth and Aaron laughing hysterically. “What’s so funny?” she asked them.
“Nothing!” Elizabeth snapped.
Hah! Nice work, Jamie Suzanne!
The next chapter sees the inevitable Unicorn OMG BRUCE PATMAN IS ADORABLE super-love-in session. Ellen and Kimberley are impressed, and Janet is, well, classic Janet.
“We’re very proud of you, Jessica,” Janet said with a smile. “This looks great for the Unicorns.”
Bruce rocks up, and takes Jessica to Casey’s Place. She waves her friends goodbye. In another type of book, we’d be identifying her by her dental records in the next chapter.
In a delightful scene, Bruce talks about nothing but Bruce as they head towards the ice cream parlour. Jessica does her best be involved, and to have a conversation like a normal fucking human, but Patman is all about Patman. [Wing: Aaah, there’s the obnoxious Bruce I hate.]
To be honest, it gets a little ridiculous…
“You know, a couple of people have told me I look like Johnny Buck, the rock star. What do you think?”
Jessica frowned, studying his face. “A little bit, I guess.”
“A little bit!” Bruce exclaimed, looking crestfallen. Jessica knew immediately that she had made a blunder.
“I was just kidding,” she corrected herself quickly, giving him her most dazzling smile. “You look exactly like Johnny Buck. I’ve always thought so.”
Bruce looked pleased. “Really?”
“Oh, absolutely,” Jessica said firmly.
Fuck off, Bruce. Fuck off, Jamie Suzanne. I know he’s a prick, but this is trowelled on.
At Casey’s Place, Bruce continues to bore, and be a boor. Jessica senses something is rotten, but still, OMG BRUCE PATMAN AMIRITE? Then, Aaron and Elizabeth enter, and it’s back to the one-upmanship and fake laughter.
Jessica is incensed that Aaron and Elizabeth are together, especially as the rest of Casey’s Place is packed with her wittering (and would-be-twitteriing) classmates. In fact, does Casey’s Place actually have ANY other customers? Or is it just a massive honey trap that lures in unsuspecting children? Is it actually NYDICK’s Place?
Fighting fire with fire, Jess makes to flirt with the idiotic Bruce once more, when Elizabeth and Aaron go nuclear: they start holding hands.
SHIT’S GETTING REAL.
To cap it all, in walks Todd… with Veronica! She’s looking smug, and Elizabeth is laughing hysterically at Aaron’s jokes, and Jessica is laughing at Bruce even though he’s not said anything. It’s a proper shitstorm. I bet the staff at Casey’s Place are pissing themselves laughing.
That night, back at the Wakefield Compound, Aaron phones… Elizabeth. Jessica does her best to seem unconcerned.
Here is the phone call, in its entirety.
“Hello,” she said.
“Hi,” she heard Aaron’s voice say over the line. “It’s me, Aaron.”
“I know,” Elizabeth said. “How are you?”
“Fine,” Aaron responded. “How are you?”
“Fine,” Elizabeth answered.
There was a long pause. Elizabeth tapped her foot impatiently. “So,” she said at last. “What did you do this afternoon after we left Casey’s?”
“Not much,” Aaron replied.
Elizabeth sighed. However talkative Aaron was in person, he didn’t seem to have much to say on the telephone.
“Well, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow,” Aaron said finally. “So long.”
“Good-bye,” Elizabeth said, hanging up the phone.
Jesus wept, that’s poor. Gotta up your game, Aaron, if you want to land a Wakefield.
Next, Bruce calls for Jessica, much to the amusement of Steven. Back off, pervo, you’re just jealous. Elizabeth snaps at Steven as Jessica heads to take the call, earning a rebuke from her gin-addled mother.
Suddenly a lump formed in Elizabeth’s throat. “I’m sorry,” she muttered. Then, as her family watched in amazement, Elizabeth ran out of the room, up the stairs, and into her room. She slammed the door with a loud bang.
I hate Jessica, she thought angrily. I hate Bruce. I hate Veronica. And I hate Todd, too! Elizabeth tore the locket from around her neck and threw it angrily onto her night table.
Then she flopped down on her bed and burst into tears.
Ah, young love. Sometimes I’m glad I was shy and fat and at an all-boys school growing up. I saved all this bullshit for my later teens.
We then cut to the Unicorns being smug about the romance in their lives. Jake Hamilton can’t stop calling Lila, a miscellaneous Peter put a rose on Mandy’s desk, Winston Egbert did a shit on Mrs Arnette’s chest, all kinds of crap. Jessica, however, is not having fun being in the web of Bruce Patman.
The Unicorns enquire about Jessica’s love life, and she’s torn. No, not like that, you sickos. She’s torn because… well, she says it best.
Jessica felt as if she was riding on an emotional seesaw. Her spirits soared when she realized how much the other Unicorns admired and envied her. But they plummeted when she realized that the only way she could keep up her image was by having Bruce as her boyfriend.
Poor girl, having to choose between her reputation and her happiness. How very Jessica.
When Aaron and Elizabeth enter the school canteen together, Jessica internally loses her shit. She realises that she really wants to be with Aaron, and that Bruce is a Grade A shitbox. Also, fuck that Elizabeth bitch.
In a fit of unhappiness, Jessica heads to her locker, where she bumps into Veronica. Immediately sensing weakness, Veronica hones in on Jessica.
“I know how you feel,” a voice said behind her as she left the cafeteria.
Jessica turned and saw Veronica Brooks smiling knowingly at her.
“What are you talking about?” Jessica demanded.
“If my sister stole my boyfriend, I’d be really upset, too,” Veronica said.
Using the whole Wakefield pukenado as fuel, the awful Veronica is looking to undermine Elizabeth at every turn. Again, back off you cow. Elizabeth’s our witch, so cut her the hell down.
In a manipulative exchange, Jessica is convinced that Veronica speaks the truth, that Elizabeth is the devil, and that no one can see her twin for what she truly is except for Jessica herself.
“You’re right,” Jessica said with a nod. “We are the only two people who see her for what she is.”
“Maybe if we put our heads together,” Veronica whispered conspiratorially, “we can change that.”
I sense the towering walls of faeces that surround Elizabeth are about to come tumbling down upon her.
We end the chapter with Elizabeth being bored by Aaron’s prattle about soccer, with Jessica and Veronica giving Elizabeth the evils across the school hallway, and with Amy revealing that Ellen has planned another boy-girl dance party for the upcoming Valentine’s Day.
The next chapter starts with Operation Fuck Over My Sister in full effect. Jessica and Veronica are in Jessica’s room, discussing the Elizabeth problem. Once Elizabeth leaves for Amy’s, where she is probably going to co-write an article for the Sixers ranking the teachers in Sweet Valley Middle School, Veronica springs into action.
“Here’s our chance,” Veronica said eagerly. “I’ve got a great idea. Let’s go in her room.”
Jessica hesitated. “I don’t know…” she began uneasily. It was one thing to bring Veronica home and say nasty things about Elizabeth behind her back. It was another thing to let Veronica into Elizabeth’s room without her permission.
“Looks like Elizabeth’s not the only goody-goody in the family.” Veronica laughed nastily.
“I am not a goody-goody,” Jessica protested. “I’m a Unicorn. We’re wild,” she said proudly.
Pffft. You may be a Unicorn, girl, but you’re no Jaguar.
Nonplussed, Veronica doubles down.
“Are you going to let yourself be intimidated by Miss Perfect all your life?” Veronica asked condescendingly.
“Of course not,” Jessica snapped.
“Then get even with her,” Veronica said. “It’ll teach her a lesson. Elizabeth needs to be taken down a peg or two. She’s been asking for it.”
Jessica, so adept at convincing herself that a particularly bad course of action is a good idea, soon crumples like a cheap suit. And once in Elizabeth’s room, Veronica has a field day. First, she changes a few of the answers on Elizabeth’s homework assignment. Then she takes Elizabeth’s private journal and makes to read it.
To her credit, Jessica isn’t down to fuck with her sister to this extent. She snatches the journal from Veronica’s hands. Again, Veronica doubles down and accuses Jessica of being chicken. As Jessica collects loose pages from the journal that have spilled on the floor, she spies two things:
- An essay written by Elizabeth entitled Why My Sister Is My Best Friend, and
- Veronica pocketing something from Elizabeth’s dresser.
It’s the locket that Todd gave her, isn’t it.
“If I were you,” Veronica said, “I wouldn’t say a word to anybody about this.” Her tone was vaguely threatening, and Jessica swallowed nervously.
Veronica took a step in her direction, and Jessica involuntarily backed away. “Don’t forget, Jessica, there’s no way you can tell on me without telling on yourself. That wouldn’t make either one of us look very good, would it?”
Jesus, Veronica is a Grade A See-You-Next-Tuesday. She’s probably the most unlikeable, irredeemable scumbag in the series thus far. Apart from Madame Andre, naturally. Fuck Madame Andre.
Veronica sashays out the door, convinced she’s pulled one over on the Sainted Elizabeth and cemented the silence of her unwilling accomplice. Lila rings and tells Jessica about the Valentine’s Day party at Ellen’s house next Friday. And Scene.
At school on Tuesday, we have the aftermath of Veronica’s homework meddling. Ms Wyler hands back all the math(s) homework. Veronica is top of the class. Elizabeth has been graded an F, and needs to see Ms Wyler after class. Liz is mortified, and it doesn’t help matters when she gets a dressing down (albeit a well-intentioned one) after class.
Ms. Wyler tapped her fingers thoughtfully on the desk. “Sometimes when an assignment is too easy for a student, that student tends to rush through it and get sloppy. I don’t like that, Elizabeth. When I give these assignments, I expect you to take your time and do them right. Please don’t let this happen again. Math is not about being fast. It’s about being accurate.”
“I’m sorry,” Elizabeth said softly. She hurried out of the classroom feeling as if she might burst into tears.
I actually feel sorry for Elizabeth in this instance. Sure, she has no backbone: I’m convinced if I were sure I’d done a decent job on an easy assignment, I’d call shenanigans and demand a recount, or at the very least a look at my work one more time. I get that Liz wouldn’t jump to the immediate “someone tampered with my work” conclusion, because she’s so trusting, but let’s face it, she’s lived with Jessica for so long I’m gobsmacked when she’s surprised by anything.
Later, Mandy is discussing Elizabeth’s fall from grace with a silent yet repentant Jessica. Jess is horrified that her sister actually got an F, as she didn’t expect Veronica to be so goddamn ruthless with the edits. And when talk turns to romance once more, Jessica can’t help but betray her inner feelings for Aaron (and disdain for Bruce). Mandy picks up on it immediately. Good work, Mandy. You’re awesome.
After a hectic bout of remorseful inner monologuing, Jessica concludes that Elizabeth is probably still pining for Todd, just as she is still pining for Aaron. And our hectic little schemer comes up with the apparent perfect plan with which it can all be sorted out. Of course she does! #bestjess.
The chapter concludes with Elizabeth and Aaron having yet another of their boring conversations, in which neither of them is saying anything remotely interesting to the other. Elizabeth is distracted, but not by her math(s) homework fail mystery. Like her sister, she is beginning to understand that Jessica might be in a similar situation to herself.
Veronica rocks up with her big bag of vitriol and spite. She lauds it over her apparently “vanquished” nemesis, claiming that Liz is no longer number one with Ms Wyler, with Todd, or with Aaron.
“Seems like every time I see Aaron, he’s looking at Jessica,” Veronica said. “Maybe he doesn’t like you as much as you think he does.”
Veronica didn’t know it, but this was the best news Elizabeth had had all day.
Hah! Fuck you, Veronica. First major misstep in your campaign of hate. Seriously, is there a Sweet Valley Volcano into which we can throw this monstrous asshat? [Dove: No, but there is a fault line. If you just wait four more years, you can throw her in when it opens up.] [ Raven: *blinks* That’s actually a thing?] [Wing: Oh god, there’s going to be a Sweet Valley earthquake book? That’ll be super fun.]
Finally, as she pines for her lost chance with Todd Wilkins (yeah, somehow I think this relationship break won’t stick), Elizabeth has an idea on how she can put everything right.
It’s the same idea, isn’t it.
Of course it is.
Twin fucking Magic, y’all.
Before the party at Ellen’s there’s time for Amy to have another makeover, courtesy of the Unicorns. This time, they are focussing on one of the key attributes of the lank-haired spunkwaffle: her lank-hairedness.
Amy, dressed as a stereotypical hippie because Ken had one looked at a Best of the Sixties CD – no, really – is told that to drive her man wild, she must iron her hair flat like an authentic Flower Child.
Fringed vest? Why not.
Peace Symbol on cheek. … … Fine, I guess.
Hair ironed straight by a twelve year old? GET FUCKED.
Amy, I don’t blame you. Lila would probably do a fine job, despite her laconic demeanour, but even so. She might also accidentally iron your ear, then throw money at you until you shut the fuck up. [Dove: As if Lila’s ever held an iron in her life.]
Elizabeth and Amy then head to the drugstore, in order to trial Amy’s new look before she unleashes it on Sweet Valley Middle School. Apparently, Ken is going to be there. Unfortunately for Amy, in a great little scene, we discover Ken isn’t driven into the sexual frenzy that Amy is looking for.
Ken turned around and caught sight of her. His jaw dropped for a moment. Then he began to laugh hysterically.
“Oh, no,” Amy groaned. “I do look stupid. I never should have trusted Lila and Kimberly.”
Ken came over and clapped Amy on the back. “You’ve really got a great sense of humor, Amy. Who else would get dressed up for Halloween around Valentine’s Day? That’s a great gag. It really tells people how you feel about all this silly romantic stuff.”
Phew! I guess Amy dodged a bullet there. At least Ken thought it was all a joke, rather than awkwardly concluding that Amy had actually regressed to the Sixties for some dark, unfathomable reason.
Once Ken fucks off, Amy laments that he knows considers her a joke. To be honest, she shouldn’t give herself such a hard time. Ken obviously has a lot of time for Amy, in his own special way.
Once the subject returns to the topic of Elizabeth and Todd (and Jessica and Aaron), we learn a little about her plans for the dance. Specifically, her plan to win back Todd.
- Wear the locket Todd gave her.
Really? That’s the big fucking plan, is it? That sauce is so weak, it’s practically water.
She smiled as she began to imagine the night of the party. Todd would look over in her direction, see the locket, and immediately turn away from Veronica. The music would swell and Todd would run toward her in slow motion. “Elizabeth!” he would cry. “Elizabeth!”
Okay, so that’s funny!
Ken creeps up on the pair, and asks Amy a question.
Ken cleared his throat. “I’ve been thinking,” he said, nervously kicking the bottom of Amy’s stool. “We probably ought to plan on going to Ellen’s party together. That way, neither of us has to worry about getting a date.” He gave Peter a contemptuous look. “You sure won’t catch me asking some girl out,” he said. Then he turned and hurried away.
Amy turned toward Elizabeth and shook her head in confusion. “If I’m not a girl, what am I? Chopped liver?”
Wow. “What am I, chopped liver?”
Is that phrase well-known in the US? Because I thought it was just a saying used specifically in the North of England. [Wing: It was pretty big over here in the 80s and/or 90s. I still hear it today, but rarely.] Let’s Google it! Yeah!
Okay then. So now we know. And knowing is half the battle.
Party Night finally arrives, and the twins eat dinner early so they can change in time. Both of them are subdued and quiet, until they bond over a snarky comment from Steven. Both of them seemed poised to pull off their glorious masterplan, but in order for it to work, each has to wait for the other to get dressed. Thus begins a mildly amusing (and perhaps overlong) game of cat and mouse in which Jessica waits for Elizabeth to dress, and Elizabeth waits for Jessica. The upshot? Both Jessica and Elizabeth wander around like sheep in their underwear for best part of an hour, and Steven WANKS HIMSELF INTO A COMA.
I feel sorry for Jessica in this exchange. Based on past experience, she has every expectation that Elizabeth will have donned her twin-set and pearls within five minutes of finishing dinner. At least Jessica has FORM for procrastination in clothing choice.
As they both wait in a classic Norwegian Standoff, Elizabeth discovers that her locket is missing. She looks for it everywhere, including a brief spell on her hands and knees in her underwear, for which time we have to be happy that Steven had returned from space and gone into a coma, because had he seen that he would have literally masturbated the planet in half.
Elizabeth blames herself, and then concludes that it must have fallen off the dresser and been sucked up by the hoover at the hands of her drunken mother. Way to go, Alice. We all know it’s Veronica, of course, but it’s nice that Elizabeth doesn’t suspect foul play. You’d think that after all their misadventures, Elizabeth’s first port of call would be to bray on Jessica’s door and demand she return the pawn ticket from when Jessica sold it to buy the latest Johnny Buck album.
Eventually, we get past this rather longwinded exchange with both girls dressed, and both girls armed with a twin-disguise so they can each pretend to be each other. And neither girl knows about the plan of the other.
Cutting to the party, we learn that Ellen’s place is lovely, and the Ritemans have pulled out all the stops with their decorations. This makes a huge lie over the comment by Jessica in The Magic Christmas:
“I haven’t seen people this bored since Ellen Riteman’s birthday party,” Jessica commented.
Fuck off, Jessica. Yeah, that’s right, folks. I’m now smacking down a character in this book for her crappy comments in a previous book. And it’s a comment made in a dream world, and I’m lampshading it for the readers. #fourthwallbreak #deadpool #motherfuckingchimichangas. [Dove: I feel oddly proud that I’ve started a very small wave of Ellen fandom over here.] [Wing: SOMEHOW, I am also #teamellen. And now I want Raven to write Deadpool fic. His humour would work well.]
Ken hates the romantic schmaltz of the party. He tells Amy so, repeatedly.
“Look at the little heart-shaped lanterns around the pool,” Amy said, pointing.
“Those can be a real fire hazard if you’re not careful,” Ken said seriously.
Way to go, you idiot. You’re not getting to second base with that attitude.
After thanking Ellen for the invite, Ken continues his disparaging anti-romantic sentiment for line after line, much to Amy’s dismay. Eventually, he does complement his date of her looks, which for once came from Amy’s own playbook rather than that of the Unicorns.
She looked down at her gray stirrup pants and matching tunic top. “You like this outfit, huh?” she said, hoping to prompt another compliment.
Ken looked her up and down and nodded. “Yeah, I really do. It reminds me of my baseball uniform.”
Damn, son. Swing and a miss.
Todd approaches, with a gloating Victoria in tow. And wouldn’t you know it, but she’s wearing a locket exactly like the one Todd gave Elizabeth! Amy is furious on Elizabeth’s behalf: how dare Todd give Veronica a locket just like that. What a scumbag!
Excellent work all round.
Amy snaps at Todd and stomps off. When Ken tags along and asks what’s the matter, Amy explodes.
“I think boys stink!” Amy shouted angrily, whirling around to face him. “I think Aaron stinks. I think Bruce stinks. I think Todd stinks. And I think you stink most of all!”
Go for it, Spunkwaffle! Show a little sass.
Ken is taken aback, and (gloriously) tries to pull back on his idiocy and present some romance for Amy to enjoy. As she calls him on the ridiculous lantern comment, he offers he slim hope before smashing it spectacularly on the rocks.
He smacked his hand against his forehead. “Why didn’t I see it right away? It’s so obvious.”
Amy blushed. It really was obvious. They were perfect for each other. But Amy didn’t want to make Ken feel bad. “It took me a while to see it, too,” she said soothingly.
“You’re just trying to make me feel better,” Ken said. “I mean, how can they be a fire hazard when they’re around the swimming pool? Water can’t catch on fire.”
Nope. [Dove: I found it oddly satisfying when she called him a “nincompoop”. What a gloriously PG insult. It utterly fits Sweet Valley.]
Eventually, Ken pulls it out of the bag.
Ken looked around and then smiled at Amy. “You know,” he said thoughtfully, “these lanterns really are pretty.”
“I guess so,” Amy replied, no longer caring much.
“And so are you,” Ken added shyly.
There ya go, Tiny. Score one for the home team.
The Wakefields finally arrive, and it’s time to get this Twin Magic plan started. First, Aaron grabs Elizabeth and forces her to dance. This means Liz has little chance to slip away and change into Jessica through clothing swap and demonic ritual.
Meanwhile, Jessica corners Veronica in the living room, and gives her both barrels. She threatens to expose Veronica if she follows through on her threat of TEASING ELIZABETH, and Veronica fires back: she threatens to take Bruce Patman away from Jessica, just as she took Todd from Elizabeth.
Veronica, Veronica, Veronica… read the room, girl. You’re now actively offering the Wakefields the exact things they want. You’ve got the emotional intelligence of a melon baller.
Bruce rocks up, spouts bollocks about his hair, then holds court with a hareem of Unicorns (with Veronica leading the charge), all fawning over his every word while Jessica slips away. Silently thanking Veronica for her cack-handed attempts at evil, she changes into her Elizabeth costume, and approaches Todd.
At the same time, Elizabeth has extricated herself from the dancefloor, and is changing into her Jessica costume. Next stop, Aaron! [Dove: Also a delightful moment when one twin is in the bathroom changing, and the other is outside internally complaining about how long the person in the bathroom is taking. Eventually Outside Twin gives up and finds another bathroom, seconds before Inside Twin steps out. (I can’t be bothered to look up which twin is which.)] [Wing: This book would make such a delightful tv show episode.]
We’re on the final stretch now… First up, it’s the Todd and Eliz(ica) Show!
Jessica does her best Elizabeth impression, as she watches Todd flail around like a lovesick puppy. First, he chokes on his soda (hah!), and then he leans back on a wall which isn’t there (double hah!).
It’s obvious to Jessica that Todd still likes Elizabeth, which is music to her ears. Still, convincing him that “they” should be together would be tricky.
Todd looked at her gravely. Jessica knew this was going to be tough. He was pretty intelligent. And so was Elizabeth. Jessica bit her lip. She needed to think of something intelligent to talk about.
“So, Todd,” she began again, “read any good books lately?”
Perfect! Nice work, Jamie Suzanne.
Aaron and Jess(ibeth) goes a little better. Aaron angrily lashes out at “Jessica”, and Elizabeth rightfully surmises it’s because his feelings are hurt. “Jessica” then apologises for treating him badly. “Jessica” also tells Aaron that “she” still likes him, and that “Elizabeth” probably still likes Todd. Aaron ponders things, and concludes that “Jess” is right. But there’s a seventh grade elephant in the room, that goes by the name Bruce Patman.
[Aaron] scowled at Jessica. “If you like me so much, how come you left me standing all alone at the dance and went off with Bruce?”
Good question, Elizabeth thought. But she was prepared for it. “You know how carried away I get with things. Being asked to dance by a seventh grader is every sixth-grade girl’s dream. If some girl in the seventh grade paid a lot of attention to you, wouldn’t it turn your head?”
Aaron looked thoughtful. “Yeah, I guess it would. So I suppose I can’t really blame you.” He scowled again. “But did you have to kiss him?”
Elizabeth sighed. “Let me see if I can explain about that.”
Good luck, Liz. Let’s face it, the whole thing was pretty cut and dried.
Back with Todd and Eliz(ica), Todd is boring the pants off Jessica (figuratively speaking). His talks of book reading weren’t exactly riveting.
“It was really exciting,” Todd went on. “It was almost as good as the other book I read last week.”
“The other book?” Jessica said, stunned. “You read two books last week? For fun?” Get a life, she thought. Then she remembered that she was supposed to be Elizabeth. “I mean, that’s great,” she said. “I can’t believe you read two whole books.”
As soon as it was out of her mouth she knew it was the wrong thing to say.
Yep, it seems that Jessica isn’t a very good Elizabeth after all. Todd calls her on it, claiming she was doing a ‘Jessica’ thing and complementing a boy just to make him like her. Way to go, Todd! Well spotted, and totally legit. Jessica herself even admits it, internally at least.
Jessica is not having fun.
She was beginning to get a little rattled. The twins had changed places lots of times, but this was the first time Jessica had tried to fool a boyfriend. It was more nerve-wracking than she had expected.
Jessica pulls a decent Elizabeth-style monologue out of her arse, and hopes Todd is back on track with a bat of her eyelashes.
He’s not convinced, of course.
“I’d better find my date,” Todd said. “I don’t want to be rude.” He started to walk away, but Jessica grabbed his sleeve and yanked him back.
“Veronica’s busy talking to Bruce,” she said. “Don’t worry about her.”
Todd looked startled at Elizabeth’s sudden aggressiveness. “You’re the one who’s changed, Elizabeth,” he suddenly burst out. “And not for the better, either.”
Todd then says that Veronica “told him what she’d done.” And Veronica rocks up!
Long story short? Veronica mocks “Elizabeth”. “Elizabeth” snaps at Veronica and pisses off Todd. Veronica and Todd go to dance. Amy grabs “Elizabeth” and tells her about the locket… and “Elizabeth” sees red.
“Elizabeth” stomps over to Veronica, and demands that she hands over the locket. Veronica, again, doubles down, but this time Todd is listening. He asks Veronica why she told him that Liz had discarded the locket in a school bin, from which Veronica had retrieved it, but “Elizabeth” repeatedly accuses Veronica of stealing it from her room. [Dove: How fucking creepy is that if the the lie was true though? “Oh, I was just eyeballing your ex, going through her trash, like you do, and I found something she didn’t want and I’M GOING TO WEAR IT. AND WHEN SHE’S DONE WITH AARON, I WILL WEAR HIS SKIN LIKE A ONESIE.”] [Raven: Yep, I didn’t clock how utterly classless that was. Veronica is an ass.]
Todd, to his credit, believes “Elizabeth”. Why should he not? Liz don’t lie, folks.
Voices are raised, and it’s all elbows and handbags for a brief moment. It eventually boils over into shoving…
Veronica shoved Jessica’s shoulder. “Why don’t you get lost and let me and Todd work this out?”
Jessica shoved Veronica back. “What makes you such a jerk, anyway?”
Veronica shoved Jessica again, a little harder. “What makes you such a goody-goody?”
“Who are you calling a goody-goody?” Jessica hissed, pushing Veronica so that she stumbled into Todd.
“Please stop it, Elizabeth,” Todd begged.
“Stay out of this,” snapped Veronica. She gave Jessica a hard shove that sent her hurtling backwards, across the patio, through the door, and into the living room.
IT IS ON, PEOPLE!
I for one feel sorry for the Ritemans. None of this shit would have happened on Lila’s watch.
We briefly cut back to Aaron and Jess(ibeth).
“So you never really wanted to kiss Bruce?”
“No,” Elizabeth repeated for the fifteenth time. “I just couldn’t get out of the way fast enough.” She knew she was probably stretching the truth a little. But after all, stretching the truth was Jessica’s specialty.
Aaron sighed happily. “Oh, Jessica, I can’t believe how silly we’ve—”
But he never got to finish his sentence.
Boom! The fight from the living room spills out onto the patio. This is more action packed than it has any right to be, folks! Loving it!
“Elizabeth” falls at “Jessica’s” feet, and we begin to enter the endgame.
Both boys are now convinced that they want to be with their original partner. Yay!
As [Elizabeth] watched, Todd turned back toward her sister. “I’m so sorry, Elizabeth. I believe you about Veronica. I believe you about the locket. I believe you about everything. And I’m sorry I abandoned you at the dance. Can we please be friends again?”
Aaron turned to Elizabeth. “Can we be friends again, too, Jessica?”
At that moment, a romantic ballad began to play. “Let’s make it up with a kiss,” sang Johnny Buck over the speakers.
Elizabeth smiled at Aaron.
Jessica smiled at Todd.
Both boys step forward for a kiss… with their disguised twin counterpart! Glorious.
Making their excuses, the twins dart away together to change. Once alone, they laugh like loons and bond once more. THE STATUS QUO HAS BEEN RESTORED. Apart from Steven, who’s still in his wanking coma.
Clothes are changed, plots are tied up, apologies are made, and it seems that the twins (and Amy) are ready for a romantic kiss on the dancefloor. Of course, it wouldn’t be Sweet Valley without one final twist, and the romance is thoroughly thwarted by a food fight. Exasperated but happy, the three girls head home, unkissed.
As they leave, they spot Veronica leaving with Bruce. Seems like a good match. Before she disappears, Veronica vows revenge on Jessica like a proper panto villain. Exciting! Veronica is a great baddie, I hate her so much. I’m glad she’ll have another book (or maybe more).
[Dove: I adore the spoilerific end text encouraging you to buy the next book:
How will Veronica get her revenge? Find out in Sweet Valley Twins No 67, Jessica the Thief.
I feel like it’s answered its own question there.] [Raven: BUT WHAT DOES SHE STEAL? Mr Nydick’s heart?]
This book is really cute. It’s fun, from start to finish. It’s also the Twin story we all really want to read. Romantic subterfuge, at the wholesome hand-holding level.
On first read, I was ready to give this top marks. However, on a re-read, there are a few bits that drag on a little, in particular the whole “twins getting ready from the final party” nonsense. And the setup before the first party also left me a little cold, but I guess that’s me being a stinky boy.
Overall, I did enjoy this a lot. Despite its flaws. If the rest of the series is this good, I wouldn’t complain. It’s probably a good thing that there are worse books coming (probably), as complaining is the fun part, right?
[Dove: I love this book. I think it’s fun and cute, and romantic in a very tame, hand-holding way. I love Twin Magic when it’s used correctly, and I love a good relationship samba. This was just fun. Also, I think this is our first, but not last, sighting of Valentine’s Day this year.]
[Wing: This is adorable. Adorable. Possibly my favourite of the regular series books so far. I, too, love romantic shenanigans like this, the girls were all amazing to each other except for Veronica and her terribleness is intentionally villanous, and the twins were delightful.]
Looking back at things I’ve enjoyed, and smashing them to pieces with the Snark-Hammer. Lover of games of every stripe and hue. NOT A REAL BIRD.