Thursday, November 16, 2017

SVT #97- Too Scared To Sleep

Intro:  This book is part 1 of the Frightening Four Miniseries!  I’m sooooo excited to recap it for you because these are my absolute favorite Sweet Valley Twins books.  This was written right around the time I progressed to SVH, so I have only read this miniseries once.  I remember it being absolutely terrifying to 12 year old me.

Cover:  It appears to be Elizabeth (based on the hairstyle) and a small child.  The child is wearing pajamas and has scratches on her back.  Elizabeth’s face is very round and her head appears to be too small for her neck.  She also has some sort of weird side bang action happening around her hairline.  There’s a shadow of what appears to be a person in the left hand corner, and a lamp appears to have been knocked over on the right.

Recap:  The inside cover tells me that this was written in July of 1996, so I must have been younger that I thought when I read this.  In July of 1996, I would have been 10 and a half, so no wonder I was so captivated by this.

We begin with a cold open.  It’s Big Bad POV!  In this case, our Big Bad is a girl.  She’s climbing stairs to a widow’s walk and brooding about how the house is her’s and she doesn’t want anyone else to live there.  Unfortunately, a new family has moved in and the girl is displeased.  They have lots of little kids, so I can’t say that I blame her too much.  (FYI- I despise children, so forgive me if I get a little upset by this book because there’s just so many pages of them.)

Our story begins on a Saturday.  Liz and Jess are riding their bikes to the beach for a volleyball game.    They ride past a creepy old Victorian house that is known as the Sullivan Mansion despite the fact that it’s vacant.  We learn that it’s a Sweet Valley tradition to run past it on Halloween, shrieking at the top of one’s lungs.  I shudder at the thought of multiple screaming children and feel sorry for the neighbors.  This book suddenly becomes even more terrifying with that mental image.

Lucky for me, the book then launches into a totally awkward description of the Twins (it seriously just starts out of nowhere, completely unprovoked) as they see a moving truck arrive.  There’s a bunch of small children running around (I’m already having nightmares) and a very stressed-out looking woman directing the movers around, so naturally the twins just gawk at them before barging in and introducing themselves.

The newcomers are the Riccoli family.  Mrs. Riccoli drops everything to introduce the twins to have 5 (!) children.  We have:
Olivia, the oldest
Andrew, 2nd oldest
Gretchen (age 7)
Juliana (age 5)h
And, Nate (age 2)
Jesus fuck, woman!  Time to get your husband fixed!  He must have a very good job if you can afford a 6+ bedroom mansion, 5 kids, and another house in Sacramento!  (Mr. R won’t be moving to Sweet Valley for another 2 months, but I’m going to bet that is a lie that they’re telling the kids.)  Mrs. R is a part-time professor at SVU (which I thought was like an hour away from Sweet Valley, buut I guess it’s only 10 minutes away in this book) so I doubt she’s the one paying the bills.
In true Elizabeth form, Liz offers to help, much to Jessica’s disgust.  Jess reminds her that they’re on their way to meet friends, but before she can drag Liz away Mrs. R gives them her number and asks if they know any good baby-sitters.  Across the country in Connecticut, Kristy Thomas s
Lakes her head in disgust and screams “they took our jobs!”

As you can probably tell, I am not a parent, but I just can’t imagine trusting some random 12 year old kids that you just met with your children!  There’s A LOT of irresponsible parenting in this book, even by Sweet Valley standards!

We jump forward a bit and find our favorite twins at Casey’s with Winston, Todd, and Amy.  As usual, Jess is stuffing her face.  She realizes that she has no money and tries to con Liz into paying for her ice cream, but -oh no!- Liz thought that Jess was paying for both of them!  The new manager (WTF happened to Casey?!), Joe, promptly calls the police and has them arrested for stealing.  The twins go to jail and the book ends there, sparing me from having to read 100+ pages about a boring baby-sitting job!  I celebrate with a cocktail.   Oh, wait...since there are never any consequences for Jessica’s actions, Joe promises to start a tab for the twins and tells them that they can pay him whenever they get the money (assuming he doesn’t get fired first, which is what SHOULD happen).  Liz suddenly gets a Great Idea (!) and decides to start a baby-sitting service.  The Riccoli family alone will be a huge task, so everyone agrees that it’s a Great Idea.  Kristy Thomas then begins to make her way to Sweet Valley (just like Margo, but with even more REVENGE!) to put a stop to this.

Later that day, Winston is on a secret mission.  No one can find out the horrible secret he’s been hiding, because we need a totally lame subplot or something.  His mom is forcing him to take accordion lessons and learn polka!  This leads to a very stupid B plot where Charlie Cashman catches him and blackmails him into paying so his secret won’t be exposed.  It’s just stupid and I won’t waste much time on it.  Basically, Win is afraid of people thinking he’s a super nerd so he goes along with it and is forced to take baby-sitting jobs to get cash for Charlie.  I feel a bit bad for him, but it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to me.

Liz calls Mrs. Riccoli that night to volunteer the service of her and her friends.  The book tells us that she’s “almost willing to work for free” just to help the lady out.  I don’t really understand this.  She can obviously afford a nanny, yet she’s going to leave 5 fucking kids alone at night with only a couple 12 year olds for supervision?!  I’m beginning to think that she’s lying about her career and is secretly a high end escort from 4 to 8 pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Or maybe she’s secretly a member of the Baby-Sitters Club and is using that time to attend meetings via cordless phone like Dawn did when she moved to California.

On Monday, Liz and Jess show up and find the Riccoli house empty.  They barge in and investigate, but then they hear a scream.  The chapter ends very dramatically with them fleeing the house, but of course it’s just the Riccoli kids being assholes and playing a joke in them.  Yawn.  The inside of the house is absolutely hideous with an orange shag rug, a plaid couch, and pink and red striped bean bag chairs.  Jess shudders at the sight, and makes a mental note to tell Mrs. R about the interior design magic of Mrs. Wakefield.

The evening goes smoothly, until bedtime.  Juliana (the 5 year old) refuses to go to sleep.  She’s been having bad dreams since they moved in.  Apparently a “monster girl” keeps attacking her (and I squeal in delight because I just remembered why I love these books so much).   I don’t like kids, even fictional ones, but I have a soft spot in my heart for Juliana Riccoli because I know what’s really going on here.  Of course, Liz is logical and tells poor Juliana that it isn’t real and her fears are unfounded.  Idiot.

Mrs. R returns home and pays each twin $10.   Math time!  3 hours for $20 equals $6.67ish an hour.  In 1996, that would be acceptable for one person as an hourly wage for watching 1 or 2 children.  Bitch has FIVE, and is paying each twin $3.33 an hour, which is like .67 cents per child per hour.  That’s fucked up.  I wonder how much the BSC charges per hour.  Those Kid Kit supplies and pizza parties aren’t cheap, you know.  Before leaving, Jess “tactfully” mentions that the house could use some redecorating and that her mother is “a master an renovating old houses”.  I call bullshit on that statement, but Mrs. R is thrilled to hear that and promises to give Alice a call soon.  Shouldn’t she had called her prior to hiring the twins?  In what world do 12 year olds go off to baby-sit for complete strangers without first getting parental consent?!  I started baby-sitting when I was 10 and I would never have been allowed to go to a stranger’s house without my parents first meeting them and checking the situation out.  Even when I was older, my mom still insisted on meeting anyone I sat for (and it was super rare for me to watch kids that weren’t family friends already).

As the twins are leaving, a creepy old man with hedge clippers accosts them.  He says he’s Mr. Brangwen, the gardener.   Why is he trimming bushes at 9 pm?  Because he’s creepy like that.  He yells at them for leaning their bikes against the hedges (which is understandable) and tells them that he’s been the gardener at the mansion for his entire life.  I laugh because I picture him as a 3 year old pushing a wheelbarrow, but then I realize that child labor was probably perfectly legal when he was a child so now I feel bad for him.  He warns them that the house is bad and to never close their eyes in the house.  Creepy.

Not much happens for the next chapter except for Juliana having another nightmare while Liz is baby-sitting with Amy.  They debate telling Mrs. R about it, but decide that it will resolve itself eventually.

Meanwhile, in the B plot,  Win gets a call for another baby-sitting job.  Proving that Sweet Valley parents are all short bus special, the Karsten family asks him to watch their 8 month old twins, Kevin and Karla.  This can’t possibly go wrong, but at this point I feel those parents deserve everything they get for allowing an unknown 12 year old boy to watch their infants!  I know almost nothing about babies but this is just getting ridiculous. Win arrives at their house and realizes they’re RICh, so he’s excited about the prospect of getting enough money to pay Charlie from just one sitting job.  As expected, Win is a complete idiot and is shocked when the twins both start crying and don’t stop.  He tries to shut them up by making them bottles but can’t remember what babies drink...same, Winston, same.  He finally decided on milk and, since warm milk makes people tired he figures hot milk will knock those semen demons the fuck out immediately.  As much as I hate babies, even I know that this is a poor choice.  I’m about 10 seconds away from calling Sweet Valley CPS, but then I decide that they’re probably too busy having a Social Services happy hour booze cruise on Secca Lake.  As predicted, the babies soil themselves prior to eating and Win is forced to change diapers.  He does a decent job, but puts the pink diaper on the boychild.  He decides to just leave it that way.  He then realizes that he’s burnt the milk so he gives them soda instead.  Again, EIGHT MONTHS OLD!  I laugh when Kevin throws his against the wall.  He settles on feeding them Cheerios and Jell-o, and I wonder if they’re old enough to eat those things, but they don’t choke or anything.  Win ends up getting paid $15 for THREE hours.  What.  The.  Fuck.

Back in Twintown, Liz is meeting Maria Slater for a movie.  She runs into Mr. Brangwen and thinks he’s following her.  He warns her about the house again and says “she’ll get you in your sleep”...  Liz runs away from him in fear.  Jess, meanwhile, is at home with Alice when Mrs. R calls about her interior decoration skills.  Jess wants her mother to get the job so she can get a raise on her allowance, so she volunteers to watch the kids for free while the 2 meet.  Mrs. R doesn’t have time to tell Alice her address (again, letting a 12 year old go to a stranger’s house without even knowing the address?!  That’s absolutely ridiculous) but Jess promises to show her mom where the house is located.

Liz has the next sitting job, this time with Todd.  I’m bashing my head against the wall at the ignorance of the Wakefield parents.  I know Liz is the responsible twin, but leaving her and her boyfriend unsupervised just seems wrong.  Liz tells Todd about how creepy Mr. Brangwen is acting and they decide that she should just tell him to fuck off with his creepy bullshit.  And then they go makeup in Mrs. R’s bedroom, probably.

On Monday, Alice is celebrating getting not just the Riccoli job, but also 2 of Mrs. R’s professor friends have called for her services.  She’s making a special dinner, which Jess describes to Lila over the phone.  (Side note: This is Lila’s only appearance in this book, on pages 90-92, and I am upset by this.  Lila must despise children as much as I do.). The menu is pretty Basic Bitch: steak, baked potatoes, corn, salad, and cherry pie.  It sounds good, but doesn’t seem very special to me.  Lila agrees, and makes some comments about how ugly the Riccoli house sounds.  Jess gets hypocritical and tells Lila that it’s wrong to judge someone based on their decor.  She thinks about how snobby Lila is acting (ha) and how Lila never has to work for anything.  I really wish there was more Lila in this book, she is such a delight.

Back to Winston, Charlie is pressuring him for more money, so he agrees to sit for the twins again.  They’re being little assholes and breaking everything in the house (which reads as more like Win is being an asshole and breaking shit by playing airplane with them).  He finally gets them to sleep and decides to microwave some spaghetti before cleaning up.  Dumbass puts it in a metal-rimmed bowl and throws it in the microwave for 5 minutes.  He abandons it and sits on his ass for a few minutes, until the Karstens come home unexpectedly.  They’re understandably displeased by the state of their house, and absolutely livid when they microwave explodes.  To make it worse, dumbass Win used Mrs. K’s fucking TIFFANY bowl!  (Although, keeping something like that with your everyday dishes is a bit stupid, IMO.  That was probably a $200 bowl.). Of course, he’s fired.  He’s stupid enough to ask for payment, which he doesn’t receive.  Charlie comes to collect payment the next evening, but Win thinks fast and locks him in the garage.  Charlie starts CRYING because he’s afraid of the dark.  This means that he can’t extort and blackmail Win anymore because Win will tell everybody.

While Win is blackmailing his blackmailer, Jess and Alice are on their way to the Riccoli house.  Alice freaks out when she sees it, and refuses to go inside.  Jess and Mrs. R are very confused by her sudden departure.  Still, the evening goes fairly well.  Jess is sitting with Todd this time, and I’m too lazy to make a Sweet Valley Confidential joke.

The next morning, Liz is shocked when she sees an article in the newspaper.  Creepy Mr. Brangwen has died in his sleep!  In. His. Sleep.  Dun dun dun...  Jess, meanwhile is pressuring Alice about the previous afternoon.  She wants answers, but Alice isn’t talking.  Alice says she just doesn’t want to decorate that house, and basically tells Jess to fuck off with all the questions.

Our B plot concludes with Mrs. K calling Win to apologize.  She’s practically groveling because, in the 2 days since he destroyed her house, they tried a new baby-sitter and it didn’t go well.  Boychild kept screaming “Win-Win” all night, and girlchild cried the entire time.  Since no one in Sweet Valley wants to parent their own children these days, she begs him to sit again on Friday.  He has to practice the accordion that night, but decides that he can bring it along for the twins to play with (because, fuck the neighbors and my sanity).  He’s offered double pay, and I still think $5 an hour to watch an infant is absolutely ridiculous.  But he’s happy about it.

Liz tries to get out of sitting with Jess, but no one will cover for her.  Amy convinced her that the house isn’t haunted and that Juliana’s night terrors will stop now that Mr. Brangwen is dead (and...that is a disturbing sentence to type out).  Spoiler- the bad dreams haven’t stopped, and now Juliana isn’t sleeping at all.  Liz bargains with her and let’s her sleep on the couch.  Juliana is excited about sleeping on the couch “like a grown-up”, which just fuels my theory that Mr. and Mrs. R are actually in the process of a divorce.  She wakes up from a particularly bad dream with scratches all over her body and Liz is terrified because they look fresh.  And, in all honesty, that’s creepy as hell.

Jess puts Gretchen to bed and is asked to go fetch her teddy bear that Andrew threw on the 3rd floor (asshole).  The third floor is creepy as fuck with no lights and Jess trips over something. She crashes into the wall and notices a hidden, sealed door.  Of course, she opens it and just happens to find a candle and matches.  The light illuminates 2 large windows and a glass door, which are “covered in wood”.  I’m not sure if that means they’re boarded up or just have wooden framework.  The room appears to be a little girl’s room, but it obviously hasn’t been used in years because it’s super dusty. Jess snoops around a bit before noticing a bulletin board with photos on it.  A photo of two teenage girls in party dresses catches her eye, so she takes it down.  She realizes that one of the girls is in fact a young Alice Wakefield, and the caption of the back confirms this.  The other girl is named Eva, and shits about to get real!

Flashback to the Big Bad POV, the girl is watching Jess and getting upset that she keeps touching things that aren’t hers.  She swears that she will make Jess suffer...  To be continued.

Final thoughts:  I hate children, but I hate the parents of Sweet Valley so much more!  This book was infuriating, but I can’t wait to read part 2!  This is such a fucked up story arc and I love when Sweet Valley gets dark.

Monday, May 22, 2017

SVT #4- Choosing Sides

Intro- Today is your lucky day!  I'm bored, so I read another book from my collection.

Cover- This is the edition I have.  It was published in 1986 (when your truly was approximately one year old, but this is a Scholastic reprinting from like 1998. As you can see, their uniforms are very conservative.  Jess seems to have pretty good regrowth going on, like the Twins often do on these newer covers.  Natural blonde, ha!  Also, that girl on the far right looks like a young Mila Kunis.  I think that's supposed to be Ellen, with Lila hiding in the background.  Amy looks better on this cover than she does on the original one, but I can totally see that she's going to grow up to become a girl of questionable morals.  Love her shoe and sock combo!

Summary- Liz is setting the dinner table for Jessica.  Again.  Because Jessica has very important cheerleading stuff to do!  She's prancing about her room in a leotard, and this leads us to a description of the Twins.  (Side note: there's an awkward paragraph where Liz makes Jess go downstairs for dinner and Steven asks "who's that babe in the leotard?" And I cringe.). Jess babbles about how the Unicorns have started the first-ever cheerleading squad at SVMS.  They're called the Boosters and consist of Jess, Lila, Ellen, and Janet, so you know they're super cool and everybody wants to join!  They have to have open auditions for the rest of the school.  Jess is pissed that so many "gross girls" like Amy Slutton and Lois Waller signed up.  Leave me girl Lois alone, you vile bitch!  At Lois is trying to participate in physical activities and better herself.  You sit down, and think about how mean it is to discourage her!

The next morning, Liz thinks about how her house is one of the nicest ones on the block as she leaves for school (I totally didn't even make this up!).  She and Jess walk with Nora Mercandy, and I'd forgotten who that was so I got all excited thinking it was Crazy Nora.  Sadly, it wasn't.  At school, the Boosters hold their first round of tryouts.  They teach everyone the lamest cheer ever "(boy's name) (boy's name), he's our man!  If he can't do it, no one can!".

Meanwhile, because we need to establish a subplot that we can later connect to the main plot, the boys are having basketball tryouts!  Go Bruce!!!!  Bruce makes fun of Ken Matthews for being short and Ken considers leaving until Liz sees and decides to meddle.  She convinces him to stay, and the coach (thinking that the tallest boy on the court is Ken) raves about how Mr. Matthews was his best player, All-State, blah blah blah, I'm getting bored.  Ken has to tell the coach that he's mistaken and the coach is surprised by how short Ken is.  (Side note:  has he never heard of Allen Iverson, or Steph Curry?!)  Ken leave crying and runs into Liz, who offers him help from Steven.  Didn't Ken grow up to be a professional football player or something?  He probably owes it all to Steven Wakefield.

Liz is sad that Amy ditched her for the Boosters, so she basically forces Ken into coming over.  Ken says her house is nice (and I swear there was at least one SVK book where he went to their birthday party or something) and we learn that "Elizabeth loved to hear people admire her family's house".  Shut up, Liz.  Anyways, Ken totally sucks at basketball, so Liz gives him a tennis ball to practice with.  As he's starting to improve, my darling Bruce rides by on his bike and makes fun of him again. I laughed, because I've missed Bruce terribly.

After Ken leaves, Jess complains to Liz about Amy and makes fun of her for hanging out with Ken.  Jessica is terrible in this book, and she says that Liz being friends with Ken is bad for her (Jessica's) reputation.  Especially if someone like Bruce saw them together!  Amy calls at some point and apologizes for ditching Liz earlier.  She tells Liz that she just really wants to be a Booster, and also asks why Liz and Ken were talking earlier.  Hmmmm...

Bruce is awesome, so he's told everyone that Liz and Ken are dating by the next day.  I guess Todd was on vacation or something, because he doesn't show up to punch Ken. Jess is pissed, Amy is jealous.  Ken laughs it off and says he's not giving up on his sportsball.  He talks to Amy about the Boosters and sparks fly between them.  Amy is not very interesting at age 12, so I have no idea why. Maybe Ken has psychic powers and knows that Amy will put out eventually.

Because we have to start teasing the next book (#5 Sneaking Out), Liz is at home writing an article.  Jess is playing the new Johnny Buck album too loudly, so Liz barges into her room to demand that she lower the volume.  While she's in there, she looks at the hat that Johnny Buck threw in her direction that she let Jessica have.  (It's like when I went to a Red Sox game and Big Papi threw his batting gloves at my sister and I, but we only caught one and she let me have it.  Now, we live together and we share it!)  Jessica's room is basically a shrine to Johnny.  I picture him looking like Justin Bieber with a mullet and acid washed jeans, possibly a studded leather jacket and feathered bangs.  Jessica again tells Liz to stay away from Ken "Social Suicide" Matthews.

Meanwhile, Ken practices and starts to improve.  He can't get his mind off Amy and it's pretty lame.  Amy is also practicing hard.  Apparently she's super good at baton twirling but the Boosters aren't aware of this yet.  Lila and Ellen call her and suggest that she quit.  She hangs up on them.

The next day, over a lunch of "pizzaburgers", Lila tells Jess that Johnny Buck is coming to town in the next book!  Jess is all upset because tickets cost $25!  Oh, the humanity!  Janet sits down and announces that she has a plan.  The Unicorns write a letter to Amy (pretending to be Ken) and tell her that she really sucks and that she should just give up.  They also write one to Ken (from Amy), professing her love and wanting to know if he loves her too.  It's all pretty stupid, so I'm starting on beer #3 for the day.  Amy immediately figures out that Ken didn't write the letter, but Ken gets all butthurt over his and refuses to talk to Amy.  Liz overheard Lila and Ellen discussing the letters in the bathroom and confronts them.  They tell her that they have a "special surprise" waiting for Amy at her next audition.

Liz straightens things out with Ken before his tryouts, but Amy will not listen to her warnings about the Unicorns' dastardly plan.  Basically, they make her do that stupid cheer from earlier using Ken's name, and she has to do it all alone in front of everyone.  Surprisingly, it distracts my Bruce, and Ken is able to score on him a few times.  He likes that stupid cheer and is motivated.  After Amy finishes, she keeps cheering and gets the crowd involved too.  Then she busts out her super sweet baton skillz and the Boosters beg her to join.  Ken also gets a spot on the basketball team and is going to surprise his dad with the news.

Cue awkward exposition/teaser for the next book.  Johnny Buck is coming, as we all know.  And Jess will do anything to go.

Afterthoughts- I picked this book up, thinking it was a newer one because of the cover.  These older books are pretty short, so it only took like an hour to read and blog.  Maybe I'll attempt the Jungle Prom series next because these SVTs are melting my brain.  But, points for Bruc being on 1/3 of the pages.

SVT Super Chiller #6- The Curse of the Golden Heart

Into- I'm back! I was going to do the entire Jungle Prom story arc for my triumphant return, but I decided to do a totally random recap, just to get the feel of things again. Today, we recap and revisit a Super Chiller ghostwritten by Jamie Suzanne in June of 1994. I was 8 1/2 when this was published, so I'm sure it was very scary band intriguing back then. Let's see if it stands the test of time...

 Cover- I'm having trouble uploading a cover imagine, but there's not much going on anyways. We have the Twins scuba diving near a shipwreck and Liz is holding the aforementioned Golden Heart. It did not happen like this in the book, naturally. Also, this book is from the "And Friends" era. I never understood why they bothered with that subtitle, since every book centered around the Twins meddling in someone's life anyways.

Recap- It's Spring Break in Sweet Valley (again)! Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to recall the Twins going to Great Aunt Helen's haunted hotel, AND also to San Diego for Spring Break...maybe they get a month off or something? Anyways, they're at the beach with Lila, Steven, and Joe Howell. The Twins decide to go snorkeling at a place called Pirate's Cove even though it has a bad reputation for dangerous waters and shady beach guys. Jess immediately ditches Liz in the water, of course. Liz thinks she sees a shipwreck and starts collection junk. She finds a handle from an old cup, a fishing reel, some shells, and a rusty object covered in barnacles. And I totally have NO idea what that object will turn out to be...*sigh*, I forgot how predictable these books are. As she's searching, a weird current comes out of nowhere and she almost drowns. But, she doesn't and I'm sad.

 They leave the water and see some creepy old guy in full diving gear staring at them. Add in a random throwaway paragraph where they run into their neighbor Mr. Walker. He mentions that he's leaving the next day for Colorado (probably because marijuana is legal there, and it's pretty cool). I thought that would be important to the story, so I took the time to write it down. Trust me, nothing comes of this and I'm not sure why it was even mentioned.

The Twins return to the beach the next day. Janet and Amy Slutton join them (and I mentally ponder exactly how Janet and Lila are related. I know they're cousins, but which parent is related to which? We never really see Mr. Fowler giving Janet any special gifts or anything, so maybe her mom and Lila's mom are sisters?). Joe and Steven find a conveniently-placed flyer for scuba lessons at Pirate's Cove and everyone signs up. Side note: the lessons will be held at a "seedy" shack, and I'm already seeing numerous red flags. They meet the instructor and he's a Scottish guy named Joshua Farrell. Turns out he was the creepy guy Liz and Jess saw near the shipwreck!

 The Twins and Steven rent their scuba gear, while Lila's dad buys hers. She even has a purple wetsuit! I love her so much. As they're getting ready for their first lesson, letters arrive for the Twins. They're super old looking and written in fancy script and seem to be a chain letter. Something about The Curse of Carlotta and how something has been taken from the sea. Carlotta is pretty unhappy about this, and warns them that they too will be cursed if they don't send 6 copies of the letter to their friends...uh oh.

 This is apparently important enough for the Unicorns to hold an emergency meeting. Ellen is confused, naturally. Lila can't send out her letters because her dad's secretary is on vacation (have I mentioned how much I love Lila?!) and I sense trouble. Liz also refuses to send out her letters, because she's an idiot. Good, let her be cursed and drown so she can't steal Bruce from me in the future. Also, where is Bruce?! I hope he's spending his spring break planning our wedding, but I digress.

 Liz has a nightmare about being on a sinking ship. As she's trying to escape (and I'm crossing my fingers that she doesn't), she sees an older man and a man with a red beard sword fighting. The old man calls the red bearded man a traitor and the red bearded man tells a beautiful dark haired woman named Carlotta to escape. She refuses to go without him. As Liz wakes up, she has the fleeting thought that the red bearded guy looks like Joshua Farrell. Scuba lessons officially start the next day so everyone (including Lila, which I find to be absolute bullshit) takes the bus to the beach. They sit through a 2 hour safety class but then aren't even able to go in the water because Joshua thinks it's too rough. As they prepare to leave, Lila realizes that she's lost her super fancy expensive diving watch. Bummer. Jess sleeps over at Fowler Crest that night. She treats us to a description of Lila's super pimp private bathroom. Lila has her own shower AND a whirlpool tub. She even has special lavender monogram towels AND her own phone next to the tub. I'm jealous, because my bathroom is nice but it only has a shower! I miss taking bubble baths, damnit. Lila breaks a nail and rips her robe while Jess is in the bathroom. She also falls down and Mrs Pervis comes upstairs. She's worried about Lila because apparently Lila fell down the stairs that morning, followed by a slip on the kitchen floor, and a collision with the cabinets. Lila convinces her that she's just clumsy, but we all know it's that damn curse. Lila decides to do her letters all by herself but, when she pulls out her top of the line/super expensive fountain pen, ink explodes everywhere! She decides to type them on Mr. F's computer (because it's 1994 and computers cost like a million and five dollars, so she doesn't have her own yet), but the entire computer crashes. Fuck.

 Another day, another diving lesson. Liz goes to look for Joshua at his shack (the number on the shack is 1779, and that could be important later), and sees him sitting at his table. She goes in to get his attention, but it turns out to just be an empty wetsuit! Omg, I'm like totally super chilled right now...not. They partner up for lessons and nobody picks Liz (hahaha, I love this) so she's partnered with Joshua. As she's swimming underwater, she looks into his mask and sees nothing! Totally empty! Omg! The only cool thing that happens in this chapter is that she almost drowns again out of fear. But sadly, today is not my lucky day. At this point, I'm getting really bored with this book, so I crack a beer. It's a pretty good beer. 7% ABV, Extra IPA. It's more interesting than a book where Liz keeps escaping death.

 Lila comes over that night, super upset. Apparently, the computer managed to send the letter to EVERYONE involved with Fowler Enterprises! Mr. F is NOT pleased and he's going to ground Lila when/if he ever comes back from his business trip! He might even take away her allowance! When Lila leaves, Liz notices that another letter has arrived. She keeps trying to figure out what she has that this Carlotta bitch wants, but of course she still has no idea. She looks over her "treasure box" another time, and tosses the rusty barnacle object into the trash. She has another dream that night about Carlotta and the red beard guy.

 Lila comes up with the brilliant idea that Liz can just read the letter onto a tape, make copies, and play them for people. But, when they go to record, the tape starts saying "Curse of Carlotta" in a scratchy voice. Liz smashed the tape and is still like "fuck these letters"! Idiot. Nothing much happens for like half a chapter, except for Liz finding a scorpion in her lunch and then deciding not to participate in her scuba lesson. Then, randomly, some employee from Fowler Enterprises shows up on her doorstep and asks about the curse. His name is John Filber (oh good, at least it's not Pfeifer) and the curse is significant to his family. Liz and Jess agree to meet him at the beach the next day so he can show them something... nope, totally doesn't sound shady at all, this is a great idea!!!! I hope he drowns Liz, Crazy Margo Style! Sadly, he doesn't. He just shows them something metallic that's been embedded in coral for like 200 years. Apparently his great great great great grandfather showed his great great great grandfather, and the tradition continues. John can't touch it for some reason, but the Twins start getting ideas. Finally, this book is taking forever and I need another beer. Liz thinks about how John reminds her of Joshua.

 That night, they have a fire on the beach and Joshua tells ghost stories (because hanging around at night with a bunch of 12-14 year olds is totally not creepy enough already). Liz asks about the shipwreck, and finally we get some exposition...

 In 1779, a pirate named Red Beard (I bet the writers put SO much thought into that name) had amassed a great fortune from doing pirate stuff. He buried it off the coast of the Bee World, and made a map. One day, he overtakes a governor's ship and finds his greatest treasure of all, the governor's niece Carlotta. Since she's all noble and shit, she can't marry a pirate even though she's totally taken with his sexy ginger beard and cool pirate outfit, so he gives up piracy (or is it "pirating"?) and the governor pardons him and his men. He gives Red Beard a locket with his coat of arms on it and Red Beard gives half of it to Carlotta. I think it's slightly rude to destroy such a nice gift. Then, one night, as Red and Carlotta are sailing around doing non-pirate things, a storm hits! The ship's bosun (whatever that is, I'm too lazy to research it) isn't at his post because he's looking for Red's map, so the ship sinks and everyone dies. The legend is that the bosun's ghost can't rest until the 2 halves of the locket (and thus Carlotta and Red) are reunited.

 Liz looks at the letters later and realize that they're dated 1779, and that it's the same as the address of Joshua's shack! Omg, is he a Pirate Ghost?! Does anyone remember that episode of South Park? she gets another letter, basically saying the same shit about how Carlotta wants her stuff back, but Liz is dumb and still hasn't figured it out. Steven comes to collect her trash and complains about the rusty barnacle object almost ripping the bag. Finally, Liz gets her head out of her ass and realizes this could be important. She cleans it up and (duh), it's Carlotta's half of the locket!!! It has half of a map on it! They're gonna be rich! She then realizes that John's relative was the ship's bosun and that's why he can't touch the locket. Ok, whatever. Jessica wants to buy a Rolls Royce and a mansion in Hollywood for their parents, and Steven wants to buy the LA Rams. (Fun fact time! The LA Rams moved to St. Louis in 1995, and then returned to LA in 2016).

 Liz still isn't sure about this whole thing, so she decides to go to the library the next day. Nerd. She toddles off to the big downtown library and along the way she noticed that Sweet Valley could really use more benches. And that the big town clock has been broken for years but the town is using their resources for other projects. She thinks about how nice it would be to "grant all of Sweet Valley's civic wishes" by updating the homeless shelter and filling the daycare with new toys. And I vomit. You go do that, Saint Elizabeth, and Steven and I will be over here, enjoying our football team. Maybe we'll buy the Red Sox too, and the Lakers. The librarian, Mr. Dallas (I wonder if he's any relation to Aaron Dallas) shows Liz some info about the shipwreck, along with a convenient list of all crew members on board. As she's leaving the library, Steven jumps out of the bushes and grabs her. He's been following her all day and has noticed that John is also following her. Creeper. They run home to hide and create a plan for retrieving the other half of the locket.

 Liz has another lame dream about Carlotta, and learns that Carlotta isn't the one cursing her. Apparently, the bosun is responsible for the curse. Because, he's a dick. The Twins and Steven go to the beach at night (and it's raining, because of course it is). Steven dives down with a hammer and smashes the coral until the locket is free. As he surfaces, John reveals himself to have been hiding under the pier. He grabs it and is all like "bwahahah! I'm rich, fuckers! Peace out!" But, as he runs away, he trips and the locket falls into the sea. Liz sees a ghostly figure walking further down the beach, but then it disappears. So nobody's rich and we never find out what the treasure was. Liz reveals later to Jess and Steven that Joshua was listed as the bosun and he survived the wreck. He died a tortured soul in Pirate's Cove. The book ends with Liz having a dream about Red and Carlotta being reunited on a ship.

 Afterthoughts- Why did they allude to Red Beard looking so much like Joshua if Joshua was actually the bosun? Was there just like a whole crew of ginger pirates in 1779 Sweet Valley, or is it a literal red herring?! (Lol, see what I did there?!). Overall, this book was pretty terrible but now I've read it so you don't have to. You're welcome.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


You know what grinds my gears? Reading all of these blogs that are like "sorry I haven't posted, I'll try to be better..." and "new post coming soon"...posted 2 years ago. I've read all of my favorite blogs in their entireties, and now I'm bored! Bored enough to start posting again? Possibly...I did get a shiny new MacBook last summer, plus I steal my roommate's wifi and have a bit of free time...just saying.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Unicorn Club #11 - Angels Keep Out

Intro:  I know I haven't blogged in months, and I blame this book for my absence.  It nearly caused the death of this blog!  It's a terribly boring story that, like most of these UC books, just won't end!  Seriously, my notes alone cover 5 pages and it keeps switching back and forth between twin perspectives to tell a story with a predictable conclusion.  So please bear with me as I struggle through this one, which was published in May of 1996, according to my notes.  

Cover:  Apologies for the terrible image as I am STILL without proper Internet and being forced to write this on my iPhone. Shown here we have 4 girls in purple shirts (Ellen is holding the pointer in front of a poorly-drawn party map, Jess is the blonde, and I'm guessing Kimberly is the slutty-looking one while Mandy is in front with some awesome high top Chucks).  The back cover tells us that it's a Jessica book (read: brace yourself for some lame Elizabeth chapters!) and that the UC is having a co-ed party.  Not to be outdone, those damn Angels are having one as well...on the same night!  And they're stealing the UC's party ideas, as well as their guests!  

Story:  We begin our story on a Thursday.  Jess is at the daycare center, eating all of the poor kids' graham crackers because apparently her 3 daily meals and after school trip to the Dairi Burger weren't satisfying enough.  As she's consuming the last of the snacks, it's mentioned that the center is running low on supplies.  Lila suggests a fund raiser, because Mr. Fowler is currently out of town and is thus unable to solve this financial crisis.  Jess loves the idea and agrees to mention it at the next UC meeting.

With that important plot device established, we are then informed that the UC is still suffering the after effects of the tragic UC/Angels split.  I missed that book, but even I know that Mandy originally sided with the Angels but has since rejoined the UC (excellent choice, Mandy).  Jess and Li (and SarahLynn) make fun of the Angels for being "goody-goody".  (Side note: has anyone ever used that phrase outside of SV?!). They're quickly put in their place by some kid named Gabriella (who I'm picturing as a 6 year old Vanessa Hudgens) and her claims that her "major hunk" of a brother (an 8th grader named Antonio) says that the Angels are the best club at SVMS.  Because I guess 8th grade boys in SV are concerned with that sort of thing.  Yawn.  

Naturally, this launches Jess and Li into a panic.  It's obviously a MAJOR crisis and they decided to call an emergency UC meeting at Jess' house on Saturday.  Kill me now, please.  

Jess runs home to establish one of the book's lame subplots and, upon barging into Liz's room, discovers her twin writing Todd's name repeatedly on a piece of paper (psycho much?!  I can only hope that Margo has taken over!).  Jess teases Liz about her creepy Todd obsession, and Liz declares that she's in live with him.  Jess gives her some boy advice (awww) and admits that Todd is "very cute" but about as exciting as a math quiz.  Ha.  Nonetheless, she's happy that she and Liz still have something in common.  (No, she doesn't mean TODD...yet, just boys in general.)

The following chapter takes us to Friday (sweet, I just started a job where I have weekends off for the first time EVER!  Yay, Friday!).  Oddly, it's told from Liz's POV.  Damnit, I thought that the creation of the Angels meant no more Liz chapters!  Fuck.  Liz is sitting at the stupidly-named Angeliner (wtf, that makes zero sense) and staring creepily at Todd.  She's so into her stalking that she's completely ignoring her friends.  Since she's spacing on her own chapter, the book helpfully introduces us to the Angels...

We meet Mary and Maria with minimal detail but, oddly, we get a lot of background on Evie.  And it's all wrong!   Her mother has somehow been resurrected from the dead (see books 2, 3, and 5 recaps) along with her grandfather!  They both "live" with Evie and her grandmother, who's awesome and runs a thrift store.  The ever-captivating Angels' lunch discussion centers on cleaning their rooms and doing homework.  No wonder Liz isn't listening.  

Liz has a super lame daydream about Todd showing up with a rose and declaring the day to be Elizabeth Wakefield Day!  Lame lame lame.  Liz's dream day involves dancing on the beach and her fantasy ends with Todd learning in for a kiss while SarahLynn vomits in the Pacific Ocean due to excessive amounts of LAME.  Liz comes out of her stupor and is sad that she can't tell her friends about her crush. Because they're shitty friends who would accuse her of acting like a Unicorn if she acknowledges the opposite sex...I guess.  

Back in AngelLand, everybody's whining about how much they miss Mandy, so Liz decides to cheer everyone up...with brownies.  The binge sesh is scheduled for the following day (Saturday) at Casa Wakefield.  Uh oh!

The book then randomly switches to Saturday.  We are spared more Lame Liz and join Jess at the Fowler's pool!  All of the UC is present and they're freaking out about Antonio considering them only the 2nd best club!  Hey, at least you still outrank the Eights!  Kimberly considers this to be a major "public relations problem", to which Ellen (LOVE!) replies "I get along with the public just fine!"   Awww.  Luckily, Kim has a plan already.  

The UC decides to garner free publicity and advertising by throwing a party!  The gala event will consist of a BBQ at the Wakefields (because, it's not like anyone else in the club has a sweet house where one could throw a better party?!) and the Angels are NOT invited!  Jess and Mandy naturally think this is a bitch move and Li begins to agree.  But Kimberly has spoken, and her word is apparently the law. 

Chapter 3 takes us back to the Angels pity party.  Liz is choosing a sexy outfit in the hopes of impressing Todd.  Her hotness consists of an old red sweater, a black and white checkered mini skirts, and black pumps.  What 13 year old wears pumps?!  That outfit sounds atrocious and I hope Kimberly (SVMS' answer to Regina George) makes fun of it.  Liz whines internally about not being able to tell the Angels about Todd.  I guess they missed the entire SVT series or something.  

The Angels agonize over proper party attire (and I begin to think about how the Angels are actually quite similar to the UC...) and decide that their only salvation is Mandy's "awesome" fashion sense.  The Angels basically feel inferior to the UC at this point, so they trash talk the UC to make themselves feel better (see, no difference at all!).  The Angels discuss how stupid the UC is because they like boys and have crushes, which the Angels deem "shallow".  I guess they've forgotten about that atrocity that is UC book #5 at this point...MARY!   Anyways, Liz feels sad because she actually likes boys, and she thinks that she's just like the Unicorns.  (Oh, honey, you WISH!)

The Angels mope around Casa Wakefield and Mrs. W, sensing their melancholy, suggests throwing a party to raise their spirits.  Because parents in SV apparently think nothing of blowing a ton of cash on snacks for club meetings, their willingness to finance massive parties for the entire student body of SVMS is merely an afterthought.  The Angels decide to throw a BBQ...and Liz secretly dreams about inviting Todd.  Because the Wakefield backyard will be the location, Liz decides she has to invite Jess but, bitchily, hopes her twin won't want to attend.  Ouch. 

Jess comes home and announces her intention to throw her party the following Saturday (with no protests of short notice or consideration of expenses from her parents, sigh).  Liz is all "WTF?!", and Jess accuses Liz of stealing her party idea.  Mrs. W, presumably not wanting to cover 2 separate sets of party expenses, suggests combining the functions.  Yeah fucking right!

On Monday, the UC gathers around the Unicorner and expresses their outrage over the Angels decision to throw a party. Mandy is the only one with a soul, so she is secretly sad that they can't combine their festivities.  Li decides to offer up Fowler Crest as a party locale, which she really should have done in the first place and spared me the hour that I had to spend reading this horribly boring book.  

Mandy's still feeling sad after school so she ventures to the daycare center, where Liz is also trying to cheer herself up.  They talk and realize that they miss each other and that their friendships are really more important than their lame clubs.  Liz invites Mandy to the Angels party, which has been moved to Friday.  

While at the center, Liz overhears the director complaining about the lack of funds.  Of course, she decides to further complicate the plot by enlisting the Angels to help with the crisis.  Because switching the party to a different day solved the original dilemma, this plot device will surely lead to the UC and Angels crossing paths...

Because Luz hasn't reached her daily lameness quota, she runs into Todd on her way home.  And I begin to space out a little as they discuss the weather.  For real.  Liz randomly blurts out that Todd is invited to their party and he accepts the invite, saying "it's a date!"   I imagine that this causes Liz to faint from happiness. 

Meanwhile, the UC is at Li's again.  They've decided to have a gourmet dinner party with hot new chef Jean Jacques (how much more stereotypical can these books' portrayal of the French get?!).  They're currently tasting the menu and discussing when they will have their party.  (Wait, I thought they were doing it on Saturday?). Mandy informs everyone that the Angels' party has moved to Friday at 7 and suddenly Jess and Kim decide that they want to have theirs on Friday at 7, too!  Seriously?!  Bitches.  Mandy and Ellen (who, as president, should REALLY contribute more!) are unsure of this.  

Jess goes home and tells Liz that the Angels should probably just cancel their party because the UC is obviously superior in the party department.  Liz gets upset when Jess tells her about the scheduling and accuses Jess of stealing her date/time.  Liz calls the UC "nasty" and "unfair", so Jess plays the bitch card and says that Mandy was the one who told them about the date change.  Liz wants to cry, but since this isn't SVT, she gets pissed instead.  Oh no.  

On Tuesday, Liz is still mad.  Mandy approaches her and apologizes for tipping off the UC.  She blames Kimberly and says that she wishes they could co-exist.   Liz vows that the UC won't spoil her lame Todd party.  

After school, the Angels continue their planning.  The UC interrupts them and this causes a Unicorns vs. Angels standoff.  Liz insults Li's house by calling it "Fowler Crust" (ease up there, baby girl!  I know it's not a Spanish tiled split level, but I'm sure your mother put a lot of time into designing it!).  Jess laughs at her lame twin and announces that the party has moved locations yet again, and both clubs vow to have their parties.  By any means necessary.  Or something.  (I'm so bored at this point...even my notes say "who gives a fuck?")

Jess and the UC decide to unwind at the daycare center.  She gets right to work with Li, tackling the mountain of dishes.  (And I noted that Lila doing dishes completely contradicts another book where it is stated that Li has never touched a dish in her entire life!).  Kim is also present, totally just there to complain about how much she hates the center and all of the little brats.  I agree, can we go to Lisette's or Casey's instead?!   The girls ignored the kids and discuss possible party locations.  In the midst of this, the sink (much like everything else in the poorly-built building) breaks.  Well, that's just ghetto as hell.  

We then switch to later in the evening, where Liz and Jess are still fighting.  Casa Wakefield is full of tension, and Liz wishes that this wasn't the case as she needs some sisterly advice.  She finally breaks down and tells Jess about her upcoming "date" with Todd.  Jess quickly crushes her spirits (sweet!) by informing her that Todd will be attending the UC party instead.  This angers Liz and she vows not to lose the club war -or Todd- to Jessica, or anyone else!  (SVC foreshadowing at its finest!)

In the following chapter (#7, so halfway through this terrible torture!), Liz worries more about Todd (as she rightfully should) and decides to get revenge by making her party even bigger!   Of course, Jess overhears this and this means WAR!

On Wednesday, the UC still doesn't have a party location and Jess agonizes over this, as well as thinking about the state of ghettoness at the daycare center.  Predictably, inspiration strikes and Mandy suggests throwing the party at the center and making it a fund raiser!   Brilliant.  

Liz, meanwhile, is still creepily obsessed with Todd.  So much so that she's spaced on her party ideas.  Suddenly, her thoughts turn to the daycare center and, predictably, inspiration strikes twice in one lunch period!  The Angels LOVE the idea, and Mary decides to make their fundraiser a secret theme with a secret location so the UC can't ruin it.  Hmmm...

Back to Jess, she's decided that the theme should be a casino night!  I guess she missed the episode of Degrassi where they attempted this and it ended with a stabbing...I don't blame her, new Degrassi sucks!  The center director loves the idea, and promises not to inform the Angels of what's transpiring.   She does, however, feel that this book has dragged on too much and that this whole war is stupid, so she voices her wish that the clubs settle differences and combine their parties.  (Wait, how did she know that the Angels were also planning a party?!  Curious, no?).  

Meanwhile, Liz and Evie hit the party store for ideas before heading to the center.  They propose throwing a carnival-themed party in the center's play yard, and the director readily agrees.  She promises not to tell the UC anything...what a scandalous bitch!   I hope this ends in bloodshed and she's held liable...

To celebrate, Evie and Liz join the Angels at Casey's and -gasp!- Todd is there!  Liz suddenly gets really paranoid that Jess will impersonate her and try to convince Todd to divulge party details.  She decides to stay a step ahead of Jess and formulates a plan of her own, using Todd as a pawn.  (Life lesson- the best way to get a guy's attention is to manipulate him...?  I don't know anymore!)

Of course, the very thing Liz fears has occurred to Jess as well.  On Thursday, she dresses up as Liz and has a conversation with Todd.  He, having already foretold of this, tells her he's very excited about the Angels' BBQ.  Later, he informs Liz that Operation Fool Jess was a glowing success.  Yawn.  

At this point, this book has officially taken me longer to recap than it originally took to read!  You guys are lucky I love you enough to continue.  *Sigh*.   Anyways, Jess waltzes up to the Angels at lunch and tells them that she knows all about their little BBQ.  Liz pretends to be mad, but she's secretly pleased that her plan is working. 

The UC is pleased with their knowledge and they hang a banner (omg!  I LOVE banners!) that announces that maps to the party locale will be available at Casey's.   They're also pleased that Aaron Dallas will be attending.  (Side note: does Steven even exist in these books?  He must be off somewhere with Bruce...).   Not to be outdone, the Angels hang their own banner, promising maps at Guido's.  

Finally, we approach our final standoff as Friday arrives!  The UC crowd into Mr. Fowler's limo, which is being driven by a man named Charles.  Excuse me, but RICHARD is the name of the Fowler's driver, so I'm beginning to wonder if the UC is about to be taken hostage by this strange new character.  Kimberly, however, does not share my concern as she begins talking mad shit about the Angels and how crappy the Wakefields' house is.  Just when I start to think that she's being a total count minus the "o", she starts in on how lame Liz is, and I find it impossible to hate her.  The UC arrives at the center and the director warns them not to venture outside because the yard has been dug up and it's unsafe.  I guess a water main or something allegedly broke because, you know, the building sucks.  

Liz, meanwhile, arrives at the daycare center with the Angels.  They're told not to go inside because something broke inside.  

The guests, having realized that both parties are at the center, arrive.  Bruce (!!!!!!  Thank god, this book just redeemed itself!!!) is present!!!!   Fuck my hatred of the Angels, I will go to any party that Bruce wants.  Neither club has realized that the other is present, so Liz is shocked when she disobeys the order to go inside (most likely she was trying to stop her guests from experiencing the disaster zone inside...I spaced out again so I'm not 100% positive) and sees the other party.  

Chaos ensues when both clubs realize that their parties are at the same venue.  Accusations of idea-theft are hurled back and forth between the clubs.  In typical Jess fashion, she realizes that she forgot to bring the food in the midst of the confrontation (wtf?!  Nobody noticed this when they picked her up?!) and runs to the kitchen to try and pillage snacks (from the under-funded center that started this whole thing...hello, plot contrivance!).  Liz suddenly realizes that she forgot to bring soda (my guess is that Ned and Alice were like "fuck no, we're not providing food AND drinks for hundreds of teenagers who deemed our house unworthy of hosting their respective parties!", and they simply neglected to purchase anything, knowing Jess and Liz would be too absorbed by their feud to remember on their own...).  Jess and Liz collide in the kitchen and WW3 ensues!

Their fight is interrupted almost immediately, much to my disappointment.  The director says that they sound like a couple of 5 year olds and that she thought that this whole situation would teach the clubs to co-exist.  Her logic escapes me, but it somehow leads to the twins apologizing to each other and remembering that their parties have a bigger purpose- the poor, disadvantaged children of SV!   Without any more thought, they agree to combine both parties.  

The UC, however, isn't so easily convinced.  Kim is adamant that the parties stay segregated, until she learns that there isn't any food!  Liz comes to the rescue by setting up the food table (why didn't they set up food/beverages BEFORE the guests arrived?!) halfway between the parties while Mandy sets up the drinks right beside her.  Awww.  Todd is impressed by the festivities and he rewards Liz with some hand-holding AND a kiss.  *gag*.  The Angels witness this and want to know what's up with Liz and Todd.  Liz is then forced to admit that she likes him and -shocker!- nobody cares!   A ton of money is raised, and all is well in SV...

We end with a lead-in to book #12, Five Girls and a Baby, which I don't own.  I wish I did because it HAS to be better than this!  

*The SarahLynn Summary:*
You have NO idea how happy I am to have this one out of the way!  Like I said, I almost chose to abandon my beloved blog over recapping this one, but I've come too far to turn back now.  At least Bruce made an appearance, but otherwise this was a complete waste of time.  

Coming Up Next:  I'm not entirely sure, possibly some TV recaps to restore my sanity.  I watched a few episodes, took notes, and was positive that I posted them months ago, but apparently not!  I believe we left off somewhere in season 2...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Unicorn Club #16 - Bon Voyage, Unicorns!

Intro: This is one of the last UC books that I read the first time around. It's part one of a two part Caribbean miniseries! In typical SarahLynn fashion, I currently only have book one, but I'm sure you'll be able to figure out the ending based on this recap alone. Plus, it's all taking place on a cruise ship, so you know nothing from this will have any permanence whatsoever.

Cover: There's the cruise ship (which I secretly start to hope is a Carnival ship...c'mon, disaster at sea! I watched CNN a lot when I was off work with my broken arm, so I'm well aware of recent stories regarding broken cruise ships). Jess is rocking some orange shorts and she appears to need a hair appointment just as badly as I do. Oh, the regrowth! I will assume the rest of the girls are UC members, but I have no idea who's who on these covers.

Recap: This book is from February of 1997, so the UC is post-Angels split, pre Rachel (lucky for me. I just don't like her). The club currently consists of Jess, Li, Ellen, Mandy, and Kimberly, and they're joining 100's of 7th and 8th graders on a 10 day cruise! Lila, of course, has been on THREE cruises already, but even she's excited about the BOY factor. It's going to be "hyperwonderful"! Whatever that means. Dream Teen Magazine is sponsoring the festivities.

The club packs for the cruise. And we get a description of their departure outfits! Lila, who is bringing tons of designer clothing, is wearing a lime green rib-knit silk minidress (???), and she wants to share a room with Ellen, who is still depressed about her parents divorcing. Ellen is so sad (and has such an underdeveloped personality) that she merely threw whatever into one suitcase and left without caring. Thus, more closet space for Lila and her 5 suitcases. Ellen has somehow become club president (what?! When?!) by this point.

In the other cabin, Mandy has brought lots of retro 60's beachwear (damnit, Mandy's a total hipster in training, and to think she was once my favorite, however briefly) and Jess went for a casual look. She packed white shorts, flippy little skirts, and little tshirts. Kimberly is all Sporty Spice, so she brought tons of Spandex athletic clothes. They unpack and meet Li and Ellen for a mixer party. Ellen ends up getting ditched by everyone when BOYS start showing up. Awwww.

The UC are worst friends to Ellen than normal in this book, so it takes them awhile to notice that she's gone. They go looking, and find her attempting to leave the ship. She tries to jump back on the dock but instead falls into the water and has to be rescued. She is returned to the ship and forced to stay on the cruise. She's upset that her friends aren't hanging out together and that no one ever bothers to include her in anything.

Her shit friends eventually figure out that she's feeling neglected (I always hated how self involved everyone was in these books, no one seems to notice when their friends have problems!). They decide that she's lacking self confidence and will never get a boy with that attitude.

Ellen, meanwhile, IS attracting attention. A cute surfer boy comes up to say hello. His name is Curtis Bowman (any relation to Mr. Bowman from SVT?) and he thought Ellen's trip overboard was cool. Of course, he's not up to UC standards, so the Bitch Squad -I mean UC- breaks it up. They each decide to pick out a guy for Ellen and give her makeovers!!!! (I love makeovers, but I legit like Ellen for who she is, damnit!!!!)

Li finds her guy first. She's shopping at one of the ship's boutiques and she meets Jared from San Francisco. He's stuck up, snobby, and gold card rich!!!

Jess also finds an eligible bachelor of her own. His name is Sam (not Woodruff, or even Collins, sadly) and he's from Oregon.

Ellen, meanwhile, is desperate to escape the ship. The captain refuses to let her leave and she's stuck with her negligent friends. At dinner, everyone brings a potential hookup for Ellen, but she isn't into it at all. She knows a setup when she sees it, and she doesn't want her friends interfering with her love life. (Understandable, even my own bestie meddles in my love life on occasion, and it never ends well. Still, I appreciate her efforts.). Ellen also hates the food (hey now, at least it isn't onion sandwiches..) but she cheers up a bit when Curtis appears. He also hates the food, and they both agree that junk food is much better. (Yes! I'm eating Sriracha chips right now!). Curtis convinces Ellen to let loose, and they dance like idiots, much to the embarrassment of the UC.

The suitors chosen for Ellen question why she's spazzing out on the dance floor. Li explains to Jared that Ellen is a royal descendant, and as a result of all royals being inbred, she has a "tic" that makes her all twitchy and uncoordinated. After this, the UC is forced to intervene because Curtis = unacceptable.

Ellen spends the next few chapters getting madeover and dating Li and Jess's choices. First, Li makes her over and teaches her to act stuck up and bored. Ellen goes sightseeing with Jared when the ship docks.

Jess gets her hands on Ellen that same evening. She makesover Ellen for the ship's disco and forces her to go with Sam. Since Jess is always so happy, Ellen must act bubbly and totally different from what Lila taught her. She does alright, but when she runs into Li and Jared she has to act snobby again. She ditches Sam and dances with Jared. Li is displeased that she was out with Sam and that she's taking Jared for granted because he's a great guy...hmmmm, curious.

Sam whines to Jess about Ellen ditching him and she tells him to cut in. Ellen gives him the cold shoulder, and Jess realizes that Lila is behind this. She also realizes that Ellen is stupid enough to listen. Ouch.

Jess confronts Ellen and smoothes things over with Sam. The whole UC is fighting about their boys by this point and Ellen is totally over it. She goes to her room and -surprise- Curtis shows up, with junk food!!!! Sweet. (I'm totally picturing Curtis as Spicoli from Fast Times, btw.) Ellen likes spending time with him because she can just be herself and Curtis is accepting of that. She starts enjoying herself.

Of course, the UC cannot allow this!!!! They bust in and declare an emergency meeting. Ellen is upset but her "friends" assure her that they just want the best for her. They even manage to make her feel GUILTY. Those. Bitches!!!!

At breakfast the next morning, Jess and Li talk to their bachelors without Ellen present. (Hands up if you can see where this is going...). Mandy joins them with HER choice, Jack. Jack is an artist type who paints and writes. He wears all black and thus Ellen is manipulated into another makeover. Mandy puts her in all black (even lipstick...ewww) and tells her that she's an artist/dancer now. (Ellen? As a dancer? Now I'm terrified...)

The UC continues to fight about their various boys, but they all agree that they hate Curtis. Kimberly suggests athletic type Peter for date #4, and Ellen ends up getting yet another makeover. Now she's a tennis player (and at least none of her clothing will be dirty after this trip, since she's borrowing multiple outfits on a daily basis...) and she loses to Peter on purpose. Ellen doesn't even like tennis. Sigh.

The UC continues to argue, each believing that they've found the perfect guy for Ellen. They accuse each other of confusing Ellen and agree that their only motive in all of this is finding a guy for Ellen so that they can start looking for their own. Selfish, much?!

Since it has yet to occur to Ellen that she can stand up for herself, she accepts an invitation to join Jared in the ship's VIP club. It's so exclusive that even LILA can't join! Omfg!!!! I want in!!! It's for the children of Presidents (ohhh, are the Bush girls there? I want to party with them!) and diplomats (like Declan from Degrassi...even more appealing!) and movie stars and millionaires. So tell me again why Li is excluded from this? Mr. F has 36 bedrooms in his house, that's like billionaire shit!!!! And, surprise, the other 3 romantic prospects have also sent Ellen flowers and date invites! She accepts them all. (Step your game up, Curtis! You're losing her!)

While Ellen is out slutting, the UC finally hangs out together. They talk, and realize that Ellen isn't right for any of their choices! She just mimicks them! (And we all know each girl is actually perfect for her choice, so I don't know why they don't just figure it out...and why does this need 2 parts?!). Mandy cries when she talks about Jack and Ellen. And it's even worse when she sees them kissing. The rest of the UC feels similarly, and they start to resent Ellen.

Of course, Ellen's secretly hung up on Curtis, but since the UC doesn't approve, she's trying to make them happy. Wow, there's a serious lack of communication. This would NOT have happened under Janet Howell, IMO.

All of the UC finally realize that they're each in love with their choice. This leads to them all sitting around and crying (sweet, they kind of deserve this). Li is the only one who isn't depressed. She sabotaged Ellen's snob behavior, as well as her shoes for the evening! And it's the night of Ellen's VIP dinner with Jared!

The UC gets all slutted up in their club clothes and head to the disco. All of the boys ignore them and only want Ellen. Ellen, meanwhile, is at her VIP dinner. Her sabotaged shoes fail her and she collapses into the table. She's not hurt, but she is embarrassed.

The UC hears of this and rushes to see Ellen in the infirmary. It's full of flowers from her various boys. They apologize for being such bitches and trying to make Ellen into a carbon copy. She forgives them and announces that she loves being popular. And she won't let them down again. No one will be rejected, she'll just date all 4! Which leads us to book #17 - "Boyfriends For Everyone"!

The UC has created a monster!!!! A brainless slutty poser monster, but still a monster!!!! They deserve everything that happens to them in the following book. Yet, by title alone, we all know how this one ends up. Thus, I can safely skip over it and start on some SVH recaps. I was going to do UC #11 - "Angels Keep Out", but my notes for that one fill 5 pages, and I need a break from this series!!!!

The Unicorn Club #18 - Rachel's In, Lila's Out

Intro: Keeping with my Lila theme (because it makes me happy)!!!! I've never read this book before, possibly because it's from June of 1997, and I was more into SVH and Christoper Pike by this time.

Cover: We have a pool! Possibly the one at Fowler Crest, since this IS a Lila book. Jess is impossibly thin on the cover, with impossibly long legs. Lila looks younger than she did on the cover for #14, and she does not look happy. There's a black girl floating in the pool (Maria? Or is this the Rachel character?), and I am officially intrigued.

The back cover tells us that Mr. F is selling their house, which is now Fowler Mansion, and some bitch named Rachel Grant is moving Lila's old room. Lila is pissed and out for revenge, but she also thinks Rachel has a secret...

Recap: This is one of the third person narrated books. I liked the early, first person ones, but maybe this will be easier to summarize...PLEASE!!!

We start with Lila waking up on a Saturday morning. She looks around her fabulous bedroom and thinks about how she loves her stuff. And life in general. I guess Mr. F has kept his promise to make more time for Li? We shall see...

Lila goes and has breakfast with her dad, and he asks about her plans for the day, because he's trying to make an effort. Li plans on floating in the pool and shopping with her friends. Mr. F, of course, can't even get their names right! But give him some credit, at least he's trying. He wants to continue a discussion about the house that he started in a previous book. (2 books prior, when the UC was on a cruise ship.)

Before I explain why he wants to discuss this, I have to list what we've learned so far about Fowler Mansion/Manor/Crest:
•Largest house in SV
•Olympic sized swimming pool
•Movie theater
•Stained glass windows
•Antiques everywhere
•Imported Turkish rugs
•Wroght iron stairs
•Louis XIV dining table
•Horse riding stable in front yard
•Internet in every room
•Entire house equipped with a speaker system

The Fowlers also own a few other properties, which I feel the need to list:
•Condo in Vail
•Apartment in NYC
•Villa in Northern Italy

This is the reason why Mr. F has decided to sell the mansion and buy a smaller, more intimate cottage on Secca Lake. It only has SIX bedrooms, omg!!!! Apparently a 75 room mansion is too big for just the two of them, and they never even use the 4 sunrooms or the conservatory. The neighbors are also selling their house, and I'm happy that I know nothing about real estate. Lila walks around, dazed. She strokes the built-in spice rack, and the 3 balconies, plus the multi level sinks.

Lila's mood is not improved when the UC comes for a sleepover. They all discuss how much they love Lila's house and freeloading. Lila just sits and listens, feeling sad.

Three days later, the mansion next door sells. Wow, that Lila goes out to enjoy the pool while she still can. Pause, there's a girl in the pool! She's wearing the same suit as Lila, so she must be important. She's described as full-figured, and cocoa-colored, and I have no comments. She also boasts the longest, thickest eyelashes that Lila has ever seen. So we (myself and Li) automatically hate this ho. Bitch adds insult to injury by dropping her soda can into the pool. She also drops peanuts into the pool. Ewwww. Anyways, crazy girl claims to live there and tells LILA to get her another soda. Oh hell no!!!!

Pool Girl's friend, Tina, rushes to get the soda, and Lila finds out that she is the Rachel from the title, and Fowler Mansion is ghetto compared to Rachel's old house. Rachel's house had 2 movie theaters, and a full time projectionist. Plus, her stable held 8 horses, while Li's only holds 4. And her house had a climbing wall. (And I'm super annoyed by this chick. I call bullshit!!!!!). Rachel also hates Li's "ditzy" bedroom chandeliers. And, oh yeah, she has a MOM. She mentions that her mom is in Europe with Tina's mom, who is their decorator. Lila immediately hates this bitch, and when she asks Tina if Mama Rachel is as terrible as her demon spawn, Tina dodges the question. Shady...

Lila storms into Mr. F's meeting with Rachel's father, Mr. Grant (G, for short), and throws a fit. Mr. G further escalates the situation by saying that Li is just like his Rachel. Oh snap. Both fathers agree that they have spoiled daughters. To Li's dismay, Mr. F offers to let Rachel stay with them while Mr. G goes on a business trip...with Tina's mom (hmmmm)!!!! He accepts, and Bitchface will be staying for a couple weeks.

Oddly, we get a Rachel POV here. She hates this new girl, Lisa, Lily, Laura, whatever her name is. She's also jealous of Tina because she's lucky for some undisclosed reason. Plus, Rachel doesn't want to stay at the mansion, there's only one place that she wants to stay...

Back to Lila (yay!), she's still depressed. She thinks her friends only like her for her house, so she doesn't tell them that she has to move. She feels like the house is more of a Unicorn Club member than she is, being that her friends are always over, even when she isn't home! (Wow, that's rude as hell! And it totally reminded me of Billy Madison, so that's how I will picture Lila's house from now on...) Lila overhears something about Tina going home to her mother that night, and she finds this suspicious. (Maybe Tina has two mommies like I do!!!!!)

Rachel shows up for her extended sleepover with 7 duffel bags, an overnight bag, and 2 boxes with "KEEP OUT" written on them. Again, SHADY. Out of the mansions 3 dozen (yes, 36!) bedrooms, she immediately takes over Lila's room. Bitch starts ripping posters off of the walls and piles her stuff all over. I would have kicked her ass at this point, but Lila goes for the psychological attack and asks where Rachel's mom REASlLY is. Rachel lies, and Li is evermore suspicious.

The UC randomly shows up uninvited, because Lila has a better house than any of them. (Seriously, how rude!). Lila doesn't want to tell them that she's moving, or about Rachel upstairs, so she drags everyone to Casey's.

The book switches to Rachel POV again. We learn that she's unhappy about something, and that she wonders just how much Li knows about her mother. Suddenly, Jess bursts in to use the bathroom. Rachel tells her that she lives there...cover blown.

Jess of course questions Li about this, and Lila lies. She claims Rachel is the crazy daughter of one of Mr. F's college roommates, and that she's been kicked out of her asylum (ha!) so it's a big secret. Jess accepts this and no one else in the UC finds out.

Later, we get more Rachel. She's alone, and jealous that Li has friends. Rachel moved around alot, so all she has is Tina (who I haven't seen in awhile...). Rachel decides to be nicer to Lila. Li, of course, is not having this! When Rachel invites her to watch tv in her room, Li thinks she's just rubbing it in.

The girls continue their ridiculous show of one-upsmanship and this leads to a fight. Lila feels superior because she has friends, but Bitch Rachel has a MOTHER!!! Damn, she went there. Rachel's mother calls randomly and Lila, being pissed off and jealous, eavesdrops and thinks about how Rachel doesn't deserve a mother. Harsh, but I can't be too hard on Lila.

While eavesdropping, Lila learns that Rachel's mom can't see her for some reason. But, she has Lakers tickets... The Lakers play in LA (and I hate them! When they play my team, I get "KobeDrunk" aka- blackout drunk, and it's never pretty...), so Mrs. G is local. Also, the phone line isn't fuzzy like on normal international calls...

Lila, in true Lila fashion, calls Rachel out on this shit. She knows that the Lakers play in California, NOT Rome. (Actually, I think they have played in Europe on at least one occasion since this was written, damn future NBA Europe expansion!). Rachel considers killing Lila (for real, she's psycho!) but instead she just cries.

Jess overhears her blubbering (sorry, I'm finding it difficult to be sympathetic towards Rachel. Bitch, why lie? At least you HAVE a mom...) and informs Lila about the incident. Somehow, Ellen finds out about Rachel (aka- the crazy girl, lol) and BRUCE (first mention of him in ALL of my UC reading!!!!) does as well. Before the day is done, Kimberly knows, too.

Thinking quickly, Li tells Jess that Rachel is actually -wait for it- a ghost! Ridiculous, but UC Jess is pretty stupid, so she believes it. Caroline Pearce also hears about the ghost at Lila's, so soon all of SV will know as well. It's even going in the school paper!

Apparently, Rachel does not have to attend school during her stay at Lila's, so she's laying by the pool. She meets the new neighbors, Alexander and Amelia Q. Witherspoon, and wishes that her father had purchased their house instead. Her logic is flawed, however, she thinks buying the Witherspoon House = not having to deal with Lila. Ummmm, sorry hun, but that would make you NEIGHBORS...

Lila arrives home and shows Rachel the article about the ghost in the paper. Rachel asks if the house is really haunted, and Li confirms that it's haunted as shit. Rachel gets upset because her mom is afraid of ghosts, and because of this shell never come to visit Rachel now. Conversely, she decides that Lila may have just solved her housing dilemma. She decides to make Fowler Manor even more haunted so her father won't buy it.

Lila is still hung up on solving the mystery of Rachel's mom, so she calls Tina's mom and pretends to be a client referred by Mrs. Grant. Tina's mom falls silent, and Lila gets nothing. She also calls Tina and claims to be the authorities (not a total lie, she IS the authority on designer swimwear). Tina refuses to talk about Mrs. G, so Li comes up with a theory... Mrs. G is a fugitive "from justice"! Oh no, that is the worst kind of fugitive!!!!

Lila decides that she must have done something awful, like bank robbery. Or maybe she drowns babies, or even -omg- sneaks into Johnny Buck concerts with fake tickets!!!! Seriously, I love Lila!!! She calls the police to ask, but of course they reveal nothing.

Rachel begins setting up her ghost experiment. She walks around making ghost noises. Lila does this as well, in an effort to scare Rachel, but neither girl hears the other because the house is just too large. Jess and Ellen (who are apparently just hanging out at Lila's without Li even knowing...) see Ghost Rachel and inform Lila of her haunted attic. The neighbors catch sight of Ghost Lila and inform Rachel of her existence. So, basically, both girls are doing the exact same thing and both believe the house is haunted.

Rachel and Lila each run from their respective ghosts and end up crashing into each other. Scared, they decide to stay together and end up sharing one of the many couches. They get to talking about the UC and Li's friends. Rachel admits that she's jealous because she's always moving and she gets shipped away to boarding school. (Which I always thought would be awesome! Zoey 101 basically confirmed this for me, so SarahLynn Junior will be getting shipped away to boarding school someday...)

The following day, the Witherspoons ask Lila about the haunting. They suggest calling an exterminator (the fuck?! Are they serious with that?!) and give Li a letter that arrived in their mail by mistake. It's a letter for Rachel and it contains lots of paper. Rachel reads it and gets upset, so Li commits a felony and goes through the papers. It turns out that Mrs. G is a physicist at UCLA (my ever-assuming ass thought that it would end up that she was in rehab for the crack, I must admit...bad SarahLynn!) and the reason she's not around is that she's divorcing Mr. G. She blames herself for all of the problems this is causing Rachel. (As she should, that selfish bitch!!!! What kind of woman abandons her obviously disturbed teenage daughter?!)

Li talks to Rachel and learns that Rachel also blames herself. Lila quickly switches the subject to how sad she is, and how her friends love her house more than her. Rachel basically laughs at her and says she's crazy. And, we have a breakthrough!!!! Both girls realize that they, like, totally understand each other! That wrapped up well.

Later, the UC comes over and Li makes Rachel hide, but the UC has specifically come to ghost hunt! They're successful and they catch her. Rachel breaks down and cries. She tells them the truth and they're upset that Li didn't tell them she was moving. They assure Lila that they actually like HER, and not just because her house is awesome. Lila isn't mad at Rachel for spilling things and they decide to try this friendship thing.

Li and Rachel join forces and play Ghost one last time. Their plan: scare the Witherspoons into moving. Thus, the mansion next door to Lila's will be on the market. It works nicely, and both fathers agree to be neighbors. Mr. F had a change of heart and realized that he truly loved his mansion!!!! But it doesn't end there...Rachel gets invited to join the Unicorns!!!!! And she accepts!!!! Just so there's no weirdness, she tells all of them about her mother up front.

The book can't end without a setup for #19, so we get the girls looking at super thin model Katherine Pierce in a magazine. There's something "haunted" about her...and you don't get to find out what it is because I do not own "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World", apologies.

Rachel is a Bitchface. Plus, this was super difficult for me to recap because my sister is named Rachael, and autocorrect kept changing the spelling to my sisters version. I did enjoy the descriptions of Fowler Mansion/Manor/Crest, and all of the Lila actions. But, the ghost subplot was super lame and boring. Also, I read this a few months ago (before I broke my dominant arm and had to learn how to do everything right handed) and looking at my left handed handwriting makes me sad :(. It was just so pretty, I hate being a righty!!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I've FINALLY decided that I'm ready to blog again!!!! It's been over a year, so this is kind of a new beginning for me. To prove I'm serious, here's a glimpse into the world of SarahLynn (aka- my recapping notebook! Aka- everything I've ever written pertaining to this blog!).

The Unicorn Club #14 - Lila on the Loose

Intro: I'm back, bitches! After an extended hiatus, I have re-read my entire blog and come to the conclusion that I miss Sweet Valley. Plus, I'm hardly working these days (thanks to a broken arm sustained at work 10 weeks ago) and I'm bored. The only problem, I'm currently computer-less, so I'm writing this on my iPhone. First world problems, I guess. So, lets do this!

I'm picking up with the Unicorn Club books, because I have 3 summaries ready to go and I just want to be done with this hell! We're going to start with a LILA recap, because Lila is my favorite! And this just happens to be my favorite UC book, so hopefully this renews my enthusiasm for the SV Universe.

This book was published in November of 1996, and obviously I skipped about 9 books to get to this point. But whatever, at least I'm back to blogging :)

Cover: Judging by the idiot with the lampshade on his head and the balloons, it's PARTY TIME! We see Lila, looking about 23-25 years of age, getting slutty with some random guy. I like where this is going.
The back cover intro tells us that Lila is awesome (duh), and that she has some real daddy issues. Her dad works a lot and Li has decided to test his love for her. Or something.

Recap: We begin on a Sunday afternoon. Jess and Li are at the hair salon, celebrating the fact that Li got an A on a recent math test. Lila's dad is "tremendously proud" of her, and they will be going to dinner at a fancy French place to celebrate. Li even bought a new outfit for the occasion! She also mentions that she used to dance around the ballroom with her father to some song about salty rag dogs on special occasions, but now she's too mature for that shit.

Jess, in typical Jess fashion, fails to see why this is so special. She has dinner with her dad every night, and her mom as well. Lila ignores her insensitivity and claims that this is one of the biggest nights of her life, and secretly hopes that this will be a turning point in her relationship with her father. Poor Li is sick of only having paid servants for company, damnit.

Li and Jess head to Casey's to pregame for dinner and they see Jimmy Lancer inside with his friends. Li previously lied to the UC about having gone out with Jimmy (who is a high school boy!) in some book that I didn't read, so Jess forces her to say "hi". Lila Fowler never backs down from a challenge, so she struts right up to him and stares awkwardly at him until his dick friends start laughing. Apparently Li has accidentally put her hand in Jimmy's sundae. (What kind of sundae? Chocolate? Caramel? Butterscotch? I hope it was strawberry.)

Jimmy is slightly more mature than his friends, so he quickly wipes Lila's hand clean and introduces her to everyone. He calls her the prettiest girl at SVMS, and Li is officially crushing HARD! Uh oh...

As usual, Mr. F is late to dinner that evening. The head chef greets Lila personally and gives her the best table. Because Lila is awesome. Everyone stares at poor Li as she waits forever for her father. She starts wishing she had invited Jimmy, and when the waiter informs her that Mr. F is delayed by a meeting, Lila snaps. She orders one of everything, to-go. She plans on a late dinner at home with her father, but we all know how this will turn out...

Lila returns to Fowler Crest (no word if its "Crest" or "Manor", but that is my preferred term) and sets the fancy dining table with the best China. She waits patiently, still all dressed up and feeling very grown up, until 11 pm, when she passes out from exhaustion. Mrs. Pervis, the housekeeper, wakes her up at 1 am to inform her that her father had to fly to NYC on business. Li is understandably upset by this and she mopes off to be feeling more alone than she ever has before. (Points if you get that reference!)

The following day, Monday, Li is at school with the UC. The club currently consists of Mandy, Ellen, Kimberly, Jessica, and Lila. The UC is pressing Lila for details about her sophisticated evening of fatherly doting, and this makes Li sad again. She covers well, describing a fabulous evening complete with an A-shaped cake in honor of her grade. The UC eats this up, until Caroline Pearce interrupts and announces that her family was dining out and witnessed all of Lila's embarrassment. BUSTED!!!!

Li must quickly regain social standing, so she suggests throwing an epic party! A HUGE one, with HIGH SCHOOL BOYS!!!! I am SO there!!!!!

After school, Lila visits Ellie at the Daycare Center. Ellie is super hyper, because she's going to a family dinner at The Dairi Burger. Lila is super jealous (awww), and she notices that all of the little brats are talking about their families. Even Jess and Liz (in all of her Angels Club holiness) join in. They're having a family dinner and game night (which includes Pictionary, yawn...break out some CandyLand or the Carmen San Diego board game). Lila can't stand the thought of another solo dinner, so she invites herself to what is already the 4th meal mentioned in this book.

Lila has a fabulous time at dinner. Even though the Wakefields have terrible table manners and Steven teases all the girls, Li is just happy to be around a real family despite the pain she feels about her lack of one. She even volunteers to help clear the table. (She says she learned how to do it from watching tv, and that's just one of many reasons why I LOVE Li.).

Mr. F returns on Tuesday morning and offers zero apologies for blowing off his own daughter. Lila decides to act bratty and, when that fails, she calls him out for missing such an important event. He responds by saying he's very proud of her SCIENCE grade (it was math, you deadbeat!) and giving her a $100 bill. Big. Fucking. Deal. Lila wants a father, not money, but Mr. F just doesn't get the hint.

Thus, the party is ON! Li sets it for Saturday and decides to finance it entirely. Sweet! Count me in! She wants to go to the mall for supplies, but everybody has family obligations so she goes alone.

While she shops, she runs into Jimmy and ends up dropping serious $$$ at the CD store on some imported CDs. I totally remember doing that back in the day. Oh, how iTunes has changed life as we know it!

Lila tries again (unsuccessfully) at dinner to discuss "important" things with her father. He doesn't listen to her babble about Jimmy, and he basically ignores her. It's really sad, but I'm ready to see Lila get pissed! If memory serves, she shops like crazy in this book! And I adore shopping scenes!

At lunch on Wednesday (meal #8 in this book) Lila continues to lie to her friends. They're getting smarter, and they refuse to believe that Li is dating Jimmy. She's pissed, and lets these bitches know that she in fact has a date with him on Friday. They're going to the fancy French place! The UC doubts that Mr. F would allow Lila to date a high school boy, but we know he doesn't give a fuck. Lila secretly wishes that he did, of course. But he has no objections when she calls Jimmy and asks him to agree to this. His response is "sure, kiddo", and I laugh because no high school boys talk like that. Trust me, I live a block from my local high school and the things I overhear on my daily walks to the store would SHOCK and OFFEND anyone.

Friday arrives at last, and Lila is nervous. She tries to get out of her date by asking Mr. F to do something with her. Of course, he's busy being a businessman, so he basically throws a credit card at Lila. She gets even more angry and screams at him that she has a date with a high school boy. He is a seriously neglectful parent and he simply ignores his daughter, so...

Lila goes shopping!!!!! Yay, finally!!!! She buys 4 designer swimsuits, 2 of which don't even fit. (Hmmm, maybe they'll fit me...). And then she proceeds to tear the mall up something proper. She pillaged the finest stores and spends upwards of $534 (specific). But that's not enough to get her the attention that she wants, so she goes on to spend $300 on skin care (ahem, she's 13, that's just crazy!) and $600 on sports equipment. She also buys $1000 worth of CDs for Jimmy, plus 5 platinum unicorn necklaces. I do not know the cost of those but she ends up maxing out a card with a $75K limit! WOW, I am impressed! Go Lila! When her card comes up declined, she simply pulls out another one. Damn, remember when the children's hospital struggled to raise $100 for that laser in the Christmas chiller?!

It's finally date time! Jimmy is out of his element and has no idea what "5 star" means. Typical of a high school boy, finally some realism! Lila gifts him with a new diving watch and he -jokingly- suggests that she buy him the matching speedboat. Lila makes a mental note to do just that, and SarahLynn shakes her head in disbelief. Lila has checked out! She also invites him to the party and tells him to invite friends.

Lila goes home from her date on top of the world. But then she remembers that her homework assignment is an essay about family (it WOULD be) and she can't think of anything. To make matters worse, Jimmy calls to thank Mr. F for the $$$$ dinner, and Mr. F is too busy to be bothered with that.

Sidenote- why didn't the credit card company bother to alert Mr. F that upwards of $75K was charged to his card? I would think that such spending would alert somebody, somewhere. Plus, allowing anybody who isn't the cardholder access to such vast amounts of $$$ just seems risky. I dated a guy with an American Express Centurion Card (aka- the Black Card), and every time I used the card he was alerted via text...

The day of the party, Lila has one major obstacle- Mrs Pervis. She obviously won't leave Li alone, so Jess calls and says that Mr. F wants Li to join him in Greece. Mrs. P is thrilled to have a weekend away from Lila's recent brat attacks, so she runs off to visit her daughter without checking to see how legit the situation is. Li and Jess also trick the chauffeur into taking the weekend off. So, party on!!!!

Predictably, Jimmy invites like all of SVH, and Lila invites all of SVMS. Shit gets crazy out of control- kids are on the roof, chicken fighting in the Olympic sized po, and even eating cookies in the pool!!!! Omfg!!!! Lila looks around for Jimmy and finds him...with his girlfriend Hilary! See, since he's in high school, he thinks of Lila as a cute KID, like a little sister type. (Bullshit, James, you led her on!!!! And accepting those extravagant gifts was just fucked up. You, sir, are an ass. ) Dejected, Lila runs outside and cries.

Liz and Jess find her crying and hysterical. Party over, get the fuck out! Their attempts at restoring order are unsuccessful and the high school kids run wild. They even get in a sod fight and destroy the lawn! Those assholes. Obviously, this is NOT the crowd that Steven and Joe associate with...

Suddenly, Mr. F appears (don't worry, he's leaving again at midnight) and kicks all of the unruly teens out. He goes to inspect the house for damages, leaving Li alone to cry some more. He returns and grounds her for being so irresponsible. She has had enough by this point. She blows up at him and basically tells him that he's the worst father ever and that money doesn't equal love. She even goes so far as to say that he's not even a father, before she runs outside and cries some more while hiding in an old tree.

At this point, Lila decides that she doesn't even care if she ever sees him again (and I try to picture Lila living in the tree forever, but I just can't with that) and she passes out crying. She has nightmares about him drowning, and wakes up to him hugging her in the pouring rain. Awww, too little too late, dude. He was so worried when she ran out that he cancelled his trip, yet he still waited until 2 am to find her. Curious, but at least he bothered to look, I guess. He admits to being a shitty parental and begs Li for another chance. I predict this will last for the duration of this book and not much longer.

The following morning, Li wakes up to him baking in his Armani suit (oh, hell no...) and he announces that they're spending the day together!!!! Lila's grounded for 2 weeks for the party incident (but NOT for her spending...again, WOW) and he's also grounded himself. To being a father. I predict that he pulls out his Blackberry as soon as Li is out of the room... Lila apologizes as well, and they do that salty dog rag dance that's mentioned on page one.

The book doesn't really lead-in to #15 because of that damn dog dance, but of course there's a blurb pimping it despite this. Kimberly thinks she's "Too Cool for the Unicorns" and might possibly become a member of that damn 8x8 Club from books 2 and 3. I hate those bitches!!!! That Amanda bitch is EVIL, damnit. Luckily, I have yet to purchase that book.

****SarahLynn's Summary****
As someone who does not have a real father myself (he's an executive type, walked out when I was just a little SarahLynn, never calls, sends cash when asked, and has 3 sons under age 8...), I completely related to this. Poor Lila is all alone in this world :( No wonder she has relationship issues for YEARS, I do as well!!!!
And...this concludes my first recap of 2013! My last one was in February of 2012, so this feels great!!!! I missed this, and I hope people start reading again :)