- 'Steven on a lawnmower' levels of bad (5)
- #BestJamieSuzanne (30)
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.
- #CancelSteven (2)
We all know that Steven Wakefield is an obnoxious prick, but sometimes he is so entitled/toxic/stupid/whatever that he just needs to be yeeted into the sun. Use this tag sparingly. His baseline for entitlement/toxicity/stupidity is surprisingly high. This is for the unforgivable moments.
- #NotMyWinston (2)
Winston is out of character. So, #NotMyWinston
- #TeamGrapplegate (17)
Books written by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant, who are basically gods as far as we recappers are concerned.
- 75 fucking rooms (1)
Apparently Fowler Crest has 75 rooms. Dove found this so hard to believe she made it the entire core of her recap.
- A+ parenting (65)
Nobody in Sweet Valley should be allowed to have a child.
- Acceptable In The Eighties (2)
- Alice is too tired to parent (2)
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?
- all Asians are called Anna (1)
Anna Reynolds in Twins, and Anna Wang in Junior High. Dove momentarily blamed Sweet Valley High for Anna Wu, but she is a character in Chuck (sorry Jade Wu, I forgot your first name). Even so. We haven’t met Jade yet, so both Asian students are called Anna.
- Always With the Incest (11)
Steven is a little too interested in Jessica's hotness. (And other weirdly incestuous vibes.)
- AMY SUTTON IS FUCKING AWESOME (1)
Amy Sutton is so rarely awesome that this really needs to be recorded for posterity.
- Big Mesa SUCKS! (4)
We all know this. Though Dove’s Animal Crossing island is actually called Big Mesa. Also, we Brits (Raven and Dove) say it “Big Messa”, because we’re idiots. Wing does correct us, but we don’t care.
- 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 (27)
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.
- BRUCE PATMAN IS A RAPIST (1)
- 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?
- clothes porn (1)
- comments by Dove (131)
[Deep purple is Dove's colour.]
- comments by Raven (133)
[Maroon is Raven's colour.]
- comments by Wing (131)
[Deep blue is Wing's colour.]
- cultural appropriation (1)
Yeah. No funny sass here. This is a thing that happens. More often that we’ve tagged it because we didn’t have this tag early on.
- Dance Baby Dance (17)
There's a lot of dancing in this series.
- Did no one READ these books when they wrote Twins?! (1)
- Disabilities: Eeeeevil! (1)
- Disabilities: Inspirational (2)
- Don't be a bully be a star (32)
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 (40)
Wait, this plot sounds familiar...
- Dove goes BOOM! (19)
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.)
- EARTHQUAKE! (1)
BEWARE OF FRIDGES, CAVES AND SNOW GLOBES!
- Elizabeth = barely literate box of rocks (1)
Elizabeth Wakefield, allegedly the smartest person in her grade, is baffled by: sarcasm, hyperbole and metaphors. In fact, she thinks the former is an indication that Robin is the thickest person in the world, and the latter indicates that Robin’s mental health has just yeeted itself off into the atmosphere. Elizabeth is SMART.
- Elizabeth Has A Spine! (28)
Holy shit. Elizabeth just stood up for herself. This moment needs to be marked for posterity.
- Elizabeth is Jessica today (1)
And not in a good way.
- Elizabeth is SMART (3)
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?
- Elizabeth literally says "Snob Squad" out loud (1)
This will never happen again.
- Everybody Sucks Here (1)
We asked r/AITA and Reddit confirmed that literally nobody involved in this has an ounce of humanity.
- Ewww poor people! (19)
Aside from fatties, poor people are the WORST.
- False rape/SA allegations as revenge (2)
Good god, we did not expect this. But yeah. This is a thing that happens. Thank you, Francine Pascal, for teaching teenage boys that girls cry rape all the time because they’re pissy about something really insignificant. You woman-hating waste of fucking humanity.
- Fat shaming: DENIED (1)
We need to record this for posterity. There was an option to loathe a perfectly nice chubby girl based on her dress size, and it was just breezed right past. And the most important thing to note is that the first use of this tag came in Junior High, where Jessica saw a chubby girl and her first thought was that she was very pretty and had great hair. Jessica. Now you see why we need this tag, right?
- For the hundred and thirty-seventh time... (26)
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 THIS BOOK. FUCK THIS WRITER. AND FUCK FRANCINE PASCAL. (1)
No. Seriously. I stand by that. This is a badly written book, written by an awful human being, following guidelines set out by an awful human being. And don’t blame the outline entirely – see how Grapplegate managed not to be toxic using Francine’s horrible worldbuilding? It’s possible. So I judge Francine and this ghostie harshly. And so should you. There’s no need for this level of cruelty/fuckwittery/bad messaging to impressionable tweens/teens.
- FUCK YOU ELIZABETH WAKEFIELD (1)
Let’s be real here, everyone has thought this (complete with capitals of rage) at more than one point in their life.
- FUCK YOU KIMBERLY HAVER (5)
Apparently sometimes we just do not like the seventh/eighth grade Unicorns.
- FUCK YOU TAMARA CHASE (16)
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.
- GIRL FRIENDSHIPS FTW (2)
It happens so rarely, we need this tag.
- Godwin's Law (1)
From Wiki: Godwin's law (or Godwin's rule of Hitler analogies) is an Internet adage asserting that "as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1". That is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Adolf Hitler or his deeds, the point at which effectively the discussion or thread often ends. But in this case: littering = nazis
- GRAFFITI: IT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE (1)
Life lesson right here.
- Great Ghosties (18)
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 hate everyone (1)
I think this might be the theme song to Sweet Valley High.
- I HATE STEVEN (7)
I mean, who doesn’t?
- I'm running away! (14)
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 (22)
Quite frankly, this kid is far too ruthless for a supposedly well-liked twelve year old.
- JC goes BOOM! (1)
Despite the fact that she doesn’t even go here, if JC of Oh God Why?! Nostalgia goes boom, you guys need to know about it. She’s awesome.
- Jessica (16) throws screaming wall-kicking tantrums (1)
Jessica stamps her feet, screams, hits the wall, kicks whatever’s nearest over the smallest (often imagined or user-generated) slight… and she’s the coolest girl in the school? Fuck. That.
- Jessica is a wrongun (1)
- Jessica's New Fave Hobby (19)
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.
- Katherine Applegate (2)
Katherine Applegate was once half of the greatest Jamie Suzanne tag team of all time, with her husband, Michael Grant. We stan hard on this site for them. Check out our Q&A with Michael Grant.
- 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.
- Ko-fi (1)
- 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 (2)
I mean, I know we all know it, but sometimes it needs a tag.
- LITERALLY the best in the series (2)
This tag needs to be used sparingly. It is the best of the best, not just a book we enjoyed. And therefore, it’s barely applied to anything. So anything tagged as such is really worth your time.
- lo! a haunted house (12)
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.
- Magical Native Americans (1)
- massively offensive twaddle (3)
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.
- Michael Grant (2)
Michael Grant was once half of the greatest Jamie Suzanne tag team of all time, with his wife, Katherine Applegate. We stan hard on this site for them. Check out our Q&A with Michael Grant.
- MOAR IDENTICAL TWINS (5)
Sometimes the twins meet more twins. And they’re identical, because all twins in Sweet Valley are identical. It gets very twinny very quickly.
- Ned Wakefield: Worst Lawyer in the World (1)
- Needs More Werewolves (9)
Wing thinks every story needs more werewolves. (Even stories with werewolves.)
- NEW HOT BOYFRIEND = ALL FIXED NOW (1)
Why bother fixing all the underlying issues, like self-worth, body image, or feeling lonely or depressed? You have a hot boyfriend. That’s all you need in Sweet Valley!
- new levels of boredom (3)
This Jamie is dialing it in. And we can tell.
- NO GHOSTIE NO (4)
You know how we love #TeamGrapplegate? This is the opposite. This is a Jamie who makes terrible decisions. (Or, if we’re being kind, doesn’t have the same nerve as Grapplegate to say, “This sucks. We’re doing this instead.”)
- No means no - unless you're Jessica (27)
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.
- No means no - unless you're NicholasMorrow (1)
- no seriously THIS IS AMAZING (1)
- Not enough Ellen (2)
Dove loves Ellen Riteman. She doesn’t see the point of books that lack Ellen. We need more Ellen.
- OMG teh WaKeFiEld tWinZ! (2)
When an adult who should know better loses their goddamned mind over meeting one of the amazing Wakefield twins.
- Paedophile Klaxon (2)
Mr. Nydick, is that you? (Or Mr. Collins, in Sweet Valley High, I guess.)
- Patreon (1)
- Plucky girl detectives (20)
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 (11)
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 (11)
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 (13)
Kind of like when Wing goes boom, but with more strange swearwords.
- real true bffs (2)
- ROCK ON TAMARA CHASE (1)
Apparently, despite Raven’s loathing for Tamara, she’s done something good here. It must be celebrated.
- sexual predators (1)
- Shame you're not a perfect size 6 (30)
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 (2)
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 (12)
In Sweet Valley, is there any other kind?
- Something Must Be Done (25)
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?
- Steven is ABSENT (yay) (5)
This tag represents pure delight from the Sweet Valley community. Probably even for the Wakefield family too.
- Steven isn't an asshat for once (3)
The opposite of #CancelSteven, a tag that must be used sparingly. This too will be used sparingly, but mostly because he's a twat.
- SUPERNATURAL OOOOH (17)
Ghosts. Lots of ghosts. Take that, Baby Sitters Club! We have actual supernatural here.
- Sweet Valley is the Valley of Death (1)
- Sweet Valley Time (19)
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?
- Teamwork Makes the Dream Work (1)
- THANK GOD FOR ELIZABETH (27)
How on earth would we survive without Saint Elizabeth?
- THANKS I HATE IT (1)
- That brand new tradition we've always had (17)
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.
- that's not what quip means (1)
- The new girl/boy (31)
It’s amazing how frequently there are new kids joining Sweet Valley Middle School mid-year.
- The Simpsons did it (1)
By this point, The Simpsons have done everything, but this one is eye-poking.
- The tears of a saint (22)
Elizabeth is crying once more.
- The twins CAN sing (10)
The twins can sing beautifully. Their voices are magical.
- The twins CANNOT sing (6)
COVER YOUR EARS, WORST SINGERS EVER!
- this story is allegedly NOT about the Wakefields (1)
- TODD WILKINS IS ENTITLED TO YOUR SECRETS (1)
- TODD-SMASH (1)
- too many Peters (22)
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! (4)
The twins are at war. Battle lines are drawn. Spleens will be ripped out. That sort of thing.
- TWIN MAGIC (26)
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 (25)
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”.
- We ride at dawn! (1)
- Well THAT wasn't in Sweet Valley Twins (1)
- What are the cave's dimensions? (5)
Sometimes something is so utterly incomprehensible that you just need to ask “What are the cave’s dimensions?” The phrase comes from The Bully, where a cave has a water run-off that actually goes uphill, therefore instead of draining the cave, it floods it. And you have to ask, who the fuck not only came up with this asinine idea, but how many people signed off on it?
- Wing goes BOOM (27)
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 (14)
Wing hates everything. Wing wants to burn everything with fire. Until this. Now she is calm. She collects kittens and draws rainbows.
Evil twins, Wing (she/her) and Dove (she/her), trade Point Horror for Sweet Valley. And they have a secret triplet, Raven (he/him), joining them for a dude’s point of view.
We will be recapping Sweet Valley Twins (and all the special editions, including The Unicorn Club) to start with, and if Wing survives that, we may try other Sweet Valley series.
We upload every week for three weeks, and take a week off. We upload the recap on Monday, and the podcast the following weekend.
Our next recap will be Sweet Valley High #18: Head Over Heels (Wing on 6 Feb 2023) .
Our Podcast music is provided by Stuart Taylor of Legacy Breakfast.
Elizabeth looks like Jessica. Jessica looks like Elizabeth. Stephen looks like Mr Bowman, which Ned finds suspicious.
Jess is a party girl. She like boys. Liz is a bookworm. She likes… worms?
There once lived a couple of twins,
One saintly, and one full of sins,
Liz wants a fine horse;
Jess buried a corpse
Behind the school gym, by the bins.
- Bleak Valley (1)
- Fanfiction (24)
- NaNoWriMo (23)
- General (16)
- Ghost Writers (2)
- Patreon Exclusives (1)
- Podcasts (37)
- Sweet Valley High (21)
- Sweet Valley Junior High (2)
- Sweet Valley Twins (171)
#BestJamieSuzanne #TeamGrapplegate A+ parenting Always With the Incest Bleak Valley aka Sweet Valley Low Book-long soulmates comments by Dove comments by Raven comments by Wing Dance Baby Dance Don't be a bully be a star Double Dipping Plot Dove goes BOOM! Elizabeth Has A Spine! Ewww poor people! For the hundred and thirty-seventh time... FUCK YOU TAMARA CHASE Great Ghosties I'm running away! I'm scared of Jessica I HATE STEVEN Jessica's New Fave Hobby lo! a haunted house Needs More Werewolves No means no - unless you're Jessica Plucky girl detectives Poor little Jessica Raven disapproves of the faculty Raven goes BOOM Shame you're not a perfect size 6 sketchy student-teacher relationships Something Must Be Done SUPERNATURAL OOOOH Sweet Valley Time THANK GOD FOR ELIZABETH That brand new tradition we've always had The new girl/boy The tears of a saint The twins CANNOT sing The twins CAN sing too many Peters TWIN MAGIC Wakefields Must Win Wing's heart grew 10 sizes Wing goes BOOM
Aaron Dallas Alice Wakefield Amy Sutton Belinda "Billie" Layton Betsy Gordon Brooke Dennis Bruce Patman Caroline Pearce Cathy Connors Charlie Cashman Denny Jacobson Elizabeth Wakefield Ellen Riteman Evie Kim George Fowler Grace Oliver Janet Howell Jerry McAllister Jessica Wakefield Joe (aka "Sam") Howell Johnny Buck Julie Porter Ken Matthews Kimberly Haver Lila Fowler Lois Waller Mandy Miller Maria Slater Mary Giaccio-Robinson-Wallace Melissa McCormick Mr Bowman Mr Clark Mr Nydick Mrs Arnette Ms Wyler Ned Wakefield Nora Mercandy Olivia Davidson Rick Hunter Sarah Thomas Sophia Rizzo Steven Wakefield Tamara Chase Todd Wilkins Winston Egbert
Amy Sutton Anna Barrett Arthur Castle aka Castillo Belinda "Billie" Layton Betsy Martin Brian Boyd Brooke Dennis Cammi Adams Chrissy Steele Christoph Bachmann Danny Jackson Denny Jacobson (but not through choice) Dylan McKay George Henkel Ginny Lu Culpepper Grace Oliver Joe Carrey Kala Ken Matthews Leslie Forsythe Lila Fowler Lois Waller Lucy Benson Mandy Miller Maria Slater Mary Giaccio-Robinson-Wallace Melissa McCormick Miranda Page Nora Mercandy Pamela Jacobson Pamela McDonald Patrick Morris Poor disabled and homeless Benjamin Robin (Wakefield?) Robin Wilson Samantha Williams Sam Sloane Sandra Ferris Sarah Thomas Sophia Rizzo Starr Johnson The (homeless) Glass family Winston Egbert
Acting Baby-Sitting Ballet Basketball Becoming a lawyer Being a Bag of Dicks Being a Big Sister Being Famous Being Jailbait Being psychic Being the good twin Being treated like a grownup Candy Striping Caring about the disabled Catching Criminals Ceramics Changing Herself for a Boy Cheerleading Comedy Dogs (yes really) Fashion Designer France Gymnastics Having her picture taken Horse Riding House-Sitting Hypnosis Intellectual Property Theft Ithig Lying Modelling Murder Re-living Days Running a Student Paper Saving the Environment Seals Singing Skiing Softball Solving Mysteries Student Council Surfing Treasure Hunting Unabashed EEEVIL Using her evil powers of scheming for good