Friday, November 11, 2011

At long last I have returned to reading Sweet Valley!!! I haven't picked up a book since the whole breakup thing, so this is a big step for me!!! I hope to return to regular blogging sometime around the holidays, provided Santa brings me that laptop I asked for...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Unicorn Club #3 - The Best Friend Game

Intro: Well, it's been awhile, hasn't it? Life still hasn't returned to normal for me and it kind of really sucks right now, but I decided that my return has been postponed long enough. Please forgive me if this post is not up to my usual standards as I am not the same person I was 2 months ago. Also, I still have yet to buy my own laptop and the one I'm using SUCKS. Like big time. Hopefully I'm able to get this post published with minimal difficulty. Now, onto the real reason you're reading this...My triumphant return!!!!

Cover: This book was published in March of 1993, which is made painfully obvious by the outfits our beloved Unicorns are wearing. Those patterns are HIDEOUS!!!! Ewww. In a stunning nod to continuity, all of the girls are wearing the official club jackets they were given for their work on that stupid movie in book #2. In the background we have (from left to right) either Mandy or Lila (I'm guessing Mandy because I don't think Lila would ever wear such an ugly skirt, even in 1993), token black girl Maria, and some scary looking girl with frizzy hair. In the foreground we have one of the Wakefield twins (judging by the outfit I'm going with Liz) and some creeper guy who I'm assuming is the host of said Best Friend Game. I'm very concerned with where his right hand may be...

Flipping over, the back cover is narrated by Liz. Apparently there's a new club in town...The Eight Times Eight Club (aka- The Eights) and those bitches seem to be one-upping our beloved UC at just about everything these days. Oh snap, no they didn't!!!! DAMN!!!! The Unicorns hate them and it seems the two clubs will soon be competing against each other on some stupid game show...

Story: We begin with Liz telling us how much she loves mystery novels, and that she once got a B in her second grade class. This book is already boring the hell out of me and I'm only like 2 pages in...sigh. I MISS BRUCE!!!! Why wasn't he in any of the UC books? Anyways, as I mentally add a few paragraphs about the overall greatness that is B-Pattz, Liz babbles on about the Unicorn Club and basically recaps books 1 and 2 for us. I wish I had read this book first and spared myself the headaches of that stupid Maria book!!! Luckily, it's been awhile since I read books 1 and 2 so I am forced to pay attention. It seems the UC still has yet to replace Mr. Clarks toupee that they destroyed in book 1, so they're still trying to raise that damn $300. In the meantime, they've come up with a few very stupid solutions (ie. a video advertising spray-on hair).

Luckily, we are soon spared from that lame subplot and the real story surfaces. It seems some bitch named Amanda Harmon (who?) has started a new club at SVMS. It's a group of 8 eigth-graders that call themselves the Eight Times Eight Club. But apparently this isn't TOO important right now because the UC quickly abandons their hate session to watch their new favorite game show- The Best Friend Game. It's some crappy cable access show on channel 32. Two teams of up to eight players go head-to-head answering questions about their BFFs. The Unicorns are all obsessed with watching this crap, and they freak out when the host (Brandon Blitzen) announces that the show is looking for contestants. All they have to do is write an essay about their clique. I think you know who gets roped into writing that...

Liz quickly knocks out the essay. Of course, she makes sure to mention Mandy's 48-page battle with cancer, and the fact that Evie is Asian. She also discusses Maria's movie career, and mentions that Mary lives with her adopted family. If memory serves, Mary's mother returned BEFORE she could be adopted. I guess she abandoned Mary again. Poor girl. Liz quickly mails the essay (e-mail woulb have been faster, hun...) and the waiting begins.

To pass the time, Liz and Jess go to the daycare center and visit the poor disadvantaged children that frequent it. Jess has a fun idea for the following weekend- taking the little brats to the SVMS football game!!! Because this is Sweet Valley, 4 of the parents are allowing their children to go to this game under the supervision of the world's most irresponsible 13 year-old... This is going to end REAL well, I'm sure.

I'm assuming that all of the story thus far took place on a Friday, because the story picks up again on a Monday morning at SVMS. Jess and Lila waste no time bragging to the Eights about how they're going to be on TV. Liz reminds them that they haven't been selected yet. But Jess and Li don't care, they've lived in Sweet Valley their entire lives and they are well-aware that they WILL be chosen. That's just how life works in SV, duh Liz!!! The book gives us a little more detail about those damn Eights- they always dress exactly alike. They have matching plaid shirts and plaid scrunchies in their hair. How 1993 of them!!!

On Thursday, the UC is notified that they have been selected for the show, and they immediately begin to work on building their knowledge of one another. We learn some "interesting" favorite food trivia facts here, such as:

*Liz's favorite food is pineapple upside-down cake (I started to mark this as a continuity error here- see my "JFK" entry- but it's quickly explained that Liz learned to love pineapple in a cooking class she took the year before)
*Jess loves chocolate mousse
*Ellen likes banana chocolate chip ice cream
*Lila, of course, is more sophisticated. Her favorite is pesto spinach pizza.

We also learn a few of the girls' astrological signs:

*Maria- Capricorn
*Ellen- Pisces
*Mary- Aries
*Lila- Leo
(Of course, as soon as someone brings up Liz and Jess's birthday, they subject is quickly changed and we are left to speculate on our own.)

As luck would have it, the UC soon discovers that the Eights have also been selected to appear on the show. The Unicorns are pissed, so they blow off steam by shopping for purple outfits to wear with their club jackets. (Yet I see NO purple clothing under said jackets in the cover pic...WTF.) Liz also decides to promote the Unicorn's appearance on the show by writing an article for the school newspaper. The rest of the UC is upset that she also has to include the Eights in her article to avoid being accused of media bias. Lila handles this matter by calling in a favor and getting an article published on the front page of the local section of the Sweet Valley newspaper. There's even a giant photo of Lila to go along with it. HA!!! I love Lila. The Eights are pissed, natch, and they retailiate by slapping 8 ball stickers all over the SVMS locker rooms. This infuriates the UC because, if you recall, they're still on probation for the toupee incident, and a stunt like that might make the principal re-reconsider his decision to allow social clubs to form on school grounds. OH NO!!!! If I were a Unicorn, those Eights would get quite the talking to after school let out...maybe that's why I was not invited to join. The principal is also still bitching about his toupee money, so the UC quickly cleans up the mess made by the Eights.

The following day is the day of the football game. SVMS is playing -wait for it- BIG MESA!!!! NOOO!!! I hope there's not a rumble on the football field. I'm imagining that there will be, and those poor kids from the daycare center will be caught in the middle of it. But luckily this is still middle school and the worst drama that happens involves the Eights passing out their own special edition of the school newspaper featuring an article about their appearance on the show. Jess is so pissed about this that she manages to lose two of the children she is supervising. (Hands up if this surprises you...) Jess runs around the field in a panic, but she finds the kids before halftime starts. As she's leading them back to the group, the Eights run out onto the field and perform a special halftime cheer. Everybody applauds and is in complete awe of how awesome the Eights are, and the UC has finally had enough!!! They decide that the MUST beat the Eights (on the show, of course...damn, I was hoping for some sort of rumble) and Liz is positive that it can be accomplished. All the Unicorns have to do is practice nonstop...

To gain support, the UC hangs banners all over the school. Of course, the Eights also have banners. This leads to a standoff, and a bet is proposed. The losing club must perform "Puff the Maic Dragon" in front of the entire school!!! Awesome, I LOVED that song when I was a kid, and everytime I hear it now I think of Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents. ("You a pothead, Focker?" Haha, NetFlix it if you haven't been fortunate enough to see it!!!) Apparently both clubs consider this humilitaing for some reason, probably because they're all too absorbed in their Johnny Buck and Melody Powers cassettes to appreciate a true classic...

Finally, game show day is upon us!!! Ned and Alice show up at the studio for the taping, along with Steven and some of his friends. Yes, HIGH SCHOOL BOYS!!!! Plus, a bunch of the Unicorns' other friends are in the audience. (Wait, they have OTHER FRIENDS?!?! Who??? Bruce??? Please, please, let him show up. I miss him terribly!!!) Of course, the Eights have also brought their own supporters, AND they have matching t-shirts. Those bitches!!!! I despise them. Go Unicorns!!!

Brandon Blitzen starts the show by pairing everybody up with their own teammates and the questions begin. Because this is confusing as hell in my notes, I'm charting this out for you. We'll begin with who is being ASKED the question, followed by their answer and follow it up with the real answers in parenthesies).

*Liz, Question: What is Jessica's definition of happiness?, Answer: Shopping in Beverly Hills with Johnny Buck. (A happy, safe family...awww)
*Lila, Question: If Ellen were stranded on a desert island, what one item would she bring?, Answer: A CD player. (In typical Ellen fashion, Ellen asks WHY she is being sent to this island, and then responds with FOOD. See, she's not completely stupid, although I would have gone with a BOAT or an airplane, but that's just me.)
*Mandy, Question: What is Mary's idea of a perfect date?, Answer: Someone preppy, because Mary is preppy. (A nice person is Mary's response...well, I should hope so!!!!)
*Maria, Question: What is Evie's prized possession?, Answer: Her violin. (It's actually her grandmother's store. Evie is such a sweetie!!!)

Obviously, that round was an epic fail. It kind of pisses me off nonetheless because the questions were SOOOO general and vauge!!! Not to mention TYPICAL as hell. How does this show get ratings?!?!

On the opposite side of the stage, the Eights dominate the round and answer every question correctly. The Unicorns decide that they need to pick the most obvious, generic answers for the following round. It fails epically, and the score stands at 95-0 after the first two rounds. The final question involves Liz having to answer a question about what rating (1-10) Jess would give to the food in the school cafeteria. WTF on that, this show sucks!!! I'm changing the channel...oh wait, this is a BOOK. Damnit!!! Jess tries to cheat and tap out the answer but Liz refuses to cheat and she gets it wrong. Jess freaks out because the Unicorns look like complete idiots and the Eights win the grand prize of $25 to spend at some CD store. (Wait, $25 each, or $25 total? I'm confused...oh wait, who cares, it's finally over!!!!) In consolation, the UC receives some soap and shampoo samples and a free dinner at some place called Weird Wally's. It's described as a clown-themed restraunt that caters to little kids. Oh, the shame!!! The whole club is upset, and this leads to them all getting in some stupid fight about how they suck at being best friends or whatever. Sigh, at least it's better than the last book. I wanted to bitchslap Maria when she was wallowing in her bedroom!!!

In typical Liz fashion, Liz goes home and cries. Eventually, she gets her composure back and begins to realize that the Eights got every question correct because they are all shallow, and shallow people are incapable of independant thought. Or some shit, I honestly stopped caring like forever ago!!! Basically, the Eights are all lemmings, and the Unicorns are all just sooo individual. Liz is all like "Who cares if Lila is a Taurus? We're best friends because we SUPPORT each other, not because we try to imitate each other..." (Damn you, writers, Lila is a LEO, you told me this and I AM taking notes!!! How can you mess up the continuity like that?!?!) Either way, lesson learned, and this shit can wrap up anytime...please, it's Saturday night and I have places to be!!!! Oh, the things I do for my readers (assuming I have any left after my absense!!!!).

The following day, the Unicorns avoid each other as much as possible. Liz tries to reason with everyone, but even Mandy blows her off. Not helping the situation any, a group of boys stages a "Worst Enemies" show in the cafeteria at lunchtime. Basically they really only make fun of Ellen, which infuriates me to no end!!!! I actually like her...those guys are total douchebags, IMHO. The Eights approach Liz and demand to hear "Puff the Magic Dragon", and Liz promises to deliver a performance on Monday.

School ends, and we pick back up the folowing morning. Conveniently, the Unicorns had previously volunteered to run some sort of open house at the daycare center. (Sidenote: What kind of establishment allows a group of 13 year-olds to oversee an operation such as this? I could see this happening in Stoneybrook, but this is NOT a BSC book, and I am beginning to wonder if the writers are aware of this. I miss the OLD Unicorn Club!!!! They would NEVER waste their precious Saturdays doing this shit!!!) Because all of the kids will be there, Liz finds it imperative that the Unicorns put aside their differences and band together so the kids aren't upset. Because, if you recall, those daycare center brats rallied to save the club back in book 1...again, biting the BSC, damn!!! So Liz goes on Def-con and somehow manages to talk Mandy into calling an emergency meeting. Everybody shows up, but nobody bothers to put any effort into their appearance, so you know they just don't care!!! Nobody is wearing anything purple, OMFG!!!! They all act like total bitches to each other and argue some more about why they lost. Liz eventually convinces them that they are still best friends, because their differences are what make each of them special. And, since the Eights are all essentially the same person, the Eights suck. Whatever, I was over this like 2 chapters ago. Liz fixes the situation, and then the Unicorns realize that they still have to hold up their end of the bet. Luckily, Liz has a plan for that as well... MODERNIZATION!!!! They're going to perform a RAP version, complete with a dance!!!! Leave it to Liz to ruin what might have been the ONLY enjoyable moment of this book. Bitch.

Monday arrives, and the Eights start the day by harassing the Unicorns about their obligation. The Unicorns fake distress and whine about how humiliating it is and how tough the song was to learn. The Eights laugh at them, but they are quickly silenced when the Unicorns enter the cafeteria rocking sideways purple hats with green dragons on them. (Were those hats made by Ed Hardy? I think so.) The Unicorns launch right into their routine and everybody loves it. People actually stand up and start dancing to the beat. Only in Sweet Valley!!!! The Eights slink out of the caf in defeat and the Unicorns all congratulate each other on a fabulous performance.

Unfortunately, Mr. Clark is waiting outside the cafeteria. He is still on that toupee thing (seriously? It's been 2 whole books dude, get over it!!!), and he drags the Unicorns into his office for a little chat. Amazingly, he then reveals that all of their stupid alternative suggestions for curing his baldness have led him to the revelation that bald is beautiful. He no longer feels the need to hide it, so he agrees to let them off the hook. Well, not entirely...he wants $100 from them. But he plans to use the money to fund a beach volleyball court AND the Unicorns will get a plaque informing all future students that they sponsored it. Way to re-enforce their negative behavior, guy.

The book concludes with the Unicorns leaving the office. They're still BFFs and it's all good (for now) so the story can end anytime now... On the way back to class, Lila announces that she's going to the daycare center after school to visit her favorite child, Ellie. Liz hears this and begins to think about the time that Ellie ran away to Lila's mansion... Thus setting up book 4, which I do not own, but I DO remember reading it!!! It was a favorite, actually, so if anyone has a copy feel free to send it my way :)

Conclusion: Seriously, could I have chosen a more boring book to recap?!?! Probably not, but at least I finally got a recap posted!!!! Hopefully I will be buying my new laptop within the next week or so, which will allow me to post at my normal rate again!!!! I missed this more than you will ever know, and I thank you for sticking by me during all of this. I have no shortage of appreciation for all of you guys, and I hope I was able to entertain you.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Hey Strangers,
I know I swore I would return to posting soon, but life got a little crazy on me. Getting over the breakup was easy enough, but restarting life at 25 has not been so easy. On the positive side, I have discovered the wonderful world of DATING!!! I never knew what I was missing!!!! Damn, this is FUN!!! On the other hand, I still haven't gone back to work so I'm broke, and living with Mom is STRESSFUL!!!! Seriously, I'm more stressed about my living situation than anything else. Also, I still have yet to buy a new laptop and I'm forced to share my little sister's (she's been great about this, but Facebook keeps occupying most of my time...damn boys!!!!). I have a few recaps ready to bust out, so expect my triumphant return any time now!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Love It

Sorry for the multiple status updates lately. I'm still fighting through this (although once I learned that she MOVED IN WITH HIM, this breakup got a little easier!!!) but I think I should be back to posting this week for sure!!!! I'm thinking my next recap will be Rachel's In, Lila's Out from the Unicorn Club series. Since this new bitch is named Rachael, I'm sure I will have LOTS of comments after reading that book :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Back To Reality (Somewhat)

Hello again!!!!
After what has easily been the worst week of my life, I'm finding myself here in the midst of week 2 of the single life. I'm all moved in now, but I must regretfully inform you that I had to leave my laptop behind. I was devastated, but my mom does have a computer so I should be back on schedule really soon. I'm already bored of sitting at home (haven't been to work in over a week!!!) so I decided to attempt a post for you guys. Please forgive me if it lacks my usual touch, I've changed A LOT since he broke my heart. And thanks so much for being there for me while I'm going through this!!! I appreciate you beyond comprehension!!!
Here We Go Again...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Find Your Love/Find Your Heart

Hey again,
I'm still having trouble finding my happy place right now, so forgive my complete lack of posts. I discovered why the BF broke up with me...he was CHEATING. Ouch, that set me back a little but I'm slowly recovering. I'm also moving back to Mommy's house this week!!!! I'm taking my laptop, and all my Sweet Valley books have been packed, so perhaps I will return to posting very soon. Thanks for all your support while I'm going through this shit, I appreciate your concern and kind words. Not to mention the fact that you read my blog!!! I promise I will be back to normal (whatever that may be, I am currently unsure) very soon!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Elizabeth and Jessica!!!

With everything that's been going on in my life right now, I completely spaced on the twins' birthday!!!! I had intended to do a special post of June 13th to celebrate the occasion, but I'm still stuck on a few issues right now. I guess there's always next year, right?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Just an FYI....

Hello again, friends!!!!
It appears that my life has become more dramatic than any SV book. My BF of NINE YEARS has decided to break up with me (5 days before our 9 year anniversary), so forgive me if I post too little (or too much...) in these upcoming days/weeks/months/ect. I cleaned out my recapping notebook last week, so my supply is limited to say the least (although I DO have another Unicorn Club recap coming your way, maybe as early as tomorrow). Also, I'm putting my original stories ("Freshman Year" and "...Winston") on hold until my situation improves. I'm sorry, but I have little energy for creative pursuits right now and I wouldn't want you to have to read subpar postings!!!!
Come back soon!!!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

SVT Super Edition #9 - The Twins Go To College

Wow, I've gotten a lot of page views this week! It seems my most popular post was Maria's Movie Comeback, so I'm planning on reading a few more Unicorn Club books this week. But, as for today, I'm feeling lazy so I decided to recap a SVT Super Edition that I read last week. Jessica and Elizabeth are going to college! And we're going with them! This is exciting to me, since I am a college dropout and this is probably the closest I will ever get to going back to school...

This book came out right when I stopped reading SVT. It was published in August of 1997, and a very talented (or not) group of brothers from Tulsa, Oklahoma were a top the pop music charts with a little song called "Mmmbop", so I was just too busy to be bothered with reading the SVTs. My mind was maturing, and Sweet Valley High was just SO much cooler. Besides, Jess and Liz had been in the 6th grade for most of my life at this point, and I was getting a little tired of it.

Cover Story:
I cannot tell which twin is which here. I would assume the one with the ponytail is Liz, but she's wearing a purple shirt so I just don't know!!! Both twins appear to be wearing Doc Martins (which seem a little dated, even for 1997, IMO) and they're SUPER tan. It's almost creepy how tan these girls are. Looking at this, I'm surprised SVC didn't feature one of them getting skin cancer...

I'm seeing a pattern with these Super Editions. Jess and Lila are hanging out, talking about how awesome summer is and how they don't have to go to school. Of course, this pleases them. They continue to complain about school, and they both agree that school should teach classes about important stuff, like shopping. (Side note: My high school was located in a shopping mall, and I took a fashion design class where we got extra credit for bringing in clothing designed by people we were studying. I had an A+ in the class, and my parents had the credit card bills to prove it.) I agree with Jess and Li here, learning should be hands-on and FUN, dammit!!! As if on cue, Jess checks the mail and sees that a letter has arrived from Sweet Valley University. It's addressed to both Liz and Jess, and it informs them that they have been accepted into SVU's summer study program.

The program lasts 2 weeks, and the students get to live on campus. Jess is not at all excited, however. Her parents forced her to apply with Liz because they're sick of looking at their hideous spawn and they just want the house to themselves so they can get shitfaced and maybe throw a key party. Oh wait, they're shipping Steven off to basketball camp (sweet!!! Can I go too?!?!) and going on a second honeymoon to the Grand Canyon. Ewww, I did NOT need that mental image. No matter how much she begs, Ned and Alice refuse to let her stay home, even though Lila volunteers one of her many guest rooms. Lila says her father probably won't even notice, but the parentals have spoken and Jess is going to college.

Jess is allowed to throw herself a going away sleepover, and all the Unicorns show up wearing ALL BLACK. Yep, NOT A SPECK OF PURPLE, so you know this is seriously terrible! They even give Jess a sympathy card. Meanwhile, Liz and Amy are also having a sleepover. Of course, they're being super lame. They're -get this!- ROLLING UP SOCKS. Liz is also looking over the course catalog and debating whether to bring a T-shirt with the names of her 5th grade classmates on it, or a T-shirt with a yogurt company logo. I sincerely hope she isn't planning on taking fashion classes. In case you care, the yogurt tee wins because Liz wants to feel older. She also gushes about romance and how her parents met at college.

Back in UnicornLand, Jess pops a VHS into the VCR (oh, 1997!!! DVD was still an entire year away...) starring some actor named McKinley Carlson. ("that kid who got famous for screaming"...hmmm, I wonder who HE is supposed to be!) Jess doesn't know what the name of the movie is, but she knows that Steven recorded it long ago. (I will NOT make gay joke, I will NOT make gay joke...) Luckily, it isn't gay porn or anything (oops, I made a gay joke) and the entire UC gets totally absorbed by the plot, which is OBVIOUSLY ripped off from "Home Alone". Jess laughs to herself when she realizes the movie is called "Jailbreak". The UC unearths Jess's SVU info packet and they all gather round to see what kind of torture Jess is in store for.

As luck would have it, SVU sounds like the nicest college ever. Like a Harvard for rich kids, LOL! There's widescreen TVs in every room, huge beds, a game room fully stocked with SEGA machines, AND a pool. It gets better still- it's within walking distance from a MALL that has a tanning salon! Plus, there's NO curfew or homework checks. Jess is a little more excited after learning this, but she still hates the idea of having to go to classes in the summer. She decides to pick an easy course and ends up choosing ceramics. (Liz chooses Romantic poetry, or "RoPo", as I like to call it.)

Ned and Alice bring the twins to SVU the following day. Liz and Jess are anxious to sign up for their "majors" before the classes fill up, but the 'rents want to wander around campus first. They take a walk down memory lane and it takes FOREVER!!! Jess and Liz grow more and more impatient. Finally, they look up at the school's clock tower and realize that they spent way too long reliving their college years. They make a quick departure and Liz and Jess begin making the most out of college life. They're not rooming together, and we meet Liz's roomie first...

Marion Hobart: Marion is the child of two detectives, and she plans on following in their footsteps. She is also a master of disguise, and she greets Liz and Jess by mimicking them so well that they believe she is their long-lost triplet. (ANOTHER one?!? Oh hell no, call me when this ends!!! I'm warning you now, Jamie Suzanne, there better not be any twin switches in this one!!!) She's studying criminology and Liz asks her if she reads Amanda Howard mysteries. Marion calls AH "dated" (oooh, Liz is gonna kick her ass!!!) and starts telling Liz all about REAL detective work. Both Liz and Jess think she's pretty cool, but Jess thinks her roommate will be a million times more awesome so she rushes off to meet her.

Jess's roommate is named Susan Rainer, and she is GORGEOUS!!! She's from LA, and she immediately insults Jess for living in the suburbs and wearing T-shirts. In short, Susan = Megabitch!!! She tells Jess she only signed up for this stupid program because she already dated all the boys in LA, and Jess agrees that boys were they only reason she came, too. Susan laughs at her and tells her that she doesn't stand a chance with ANY boy because she is wearing a T-shirt... BITCH!!!!

All of the girls go to the snack bar, where Susan continues to be Megabitch. Liz tells Jess to focus of Susan's good qualities, but Jess can't find any. Jess is soon distracted when a cute boy joins them. His name is Mike and he has soft brown eyes. He's in the Nature Scout program and he's leaving for a canoe trip in a few days. (He gives us A LOT of info when we first meet him, I wonder if this might be important later.) Susan walks up to him and immediately steals him from Jess, so now Jess REALLY hates that bitch. She tries to confront her, and Susan just ignores her. Even I hate this bitch.

That evening, Liz goes for a walk around campus. She stops on a bridge and looks up at the clock tower. She yells out some poetry (typical) and turns around to see a sandy-haired boy standing behind her. He's also into poetry!!!! They have some lame discussion about it, and I totally tune them out because I hate poetry. Not because I'm uneducated or anything, I really did TRY to like it back in school. But it really isn't my thing. I blame Liz for ruining it with her stupid poems that I had to read in like every SVT book growing up. Liz goes back to her dorm without even getting dude's name, and Marion offers to investigate him for her. Because she's an amateur detective, you know.

The next morning, everybody goes off to their respective classes. Jess's ceramics class is full of boys, and -the best part- NO SUSAN!!!! There's even a guy who looks like BRUCE!!!! (Ooooh, can he be my partner?) Once class starts, Jess realizes that making pottery consists of more that just tossing some clay on a wheel and punching it until it looks pretty. The teacher assigns like a million projects, and Jess begins working on a clay pot. Of course, she didn't pay attention to the instructions and she ends up splattering clay all over herself. Everybody laughs at her and she hides in the back until class ends.

Liz, meanwhile, is sitting in her RoPo class. The girl next to her is a idiot. Chick starts babbling about how she LOVES "Romantic poetry", and Liz laughs at her mentally because this dumb bitch thinks RoPo = GREETING CARD POEMS!!!! Girl whips out a Hallmark card from her BF, and Liz again laughs inside her head because this girl obviously has no idea what REAL poetry is all about. The teacher walks in and -gasp- it's the boy from the bridge!!!! His name is Ethan and he's a student at SVU. He's also a Teaching Assistant and he's in charge of the summer class. Liz figures he must be like 18 years old, even though he doesn't LOOK that old. She wishes with all her heart that she could make herself not look 12... (I'm warning you now, this only gets MORE fucked up as we go along!!!!)

Classes let out for the day and Jess sneaks out after everyone leaves. She gets lost leaving the art building and ends up in SVU's art gallery. She looks around and sees an ugly old clay pot with weird lines on it. She looks closer and sees that it's the image of a face, screaming in pain. She backs up in fear and bumps into a old woman wearing a black and white dress with a black cape. The old woman tells her that the pot is a CURSE POT used for getting rid of one's enemies. Jess automatically thinks of Susan, and the old woman continues to talk. She basically gives Jess a curse pot recipe...

Step 1) Make an imperfect pot (That seems a little contrived to me!!!! Being that we ARE talking about JESS here, it just seems TOO perfect...)
Step 2) Etch in the face of the one you want to curse
Step 3) Draw evil signs in the clay while it's still wet to draw in evil spirits
Step 4) Fire the pot in the kiln and the cursed one's spirit will be trapped inside

(Quick pause as I roll up some Play-Doh and try to draw my boss's face into it...)
Jess digests all of this, still thinking about Susan. When she turns around, the woman has vanished. It's almost like she was never there. Suddenly, Jess is scared. She's alone in a creepy museum with all sorts of cursed shit, after all. She runs for an exit and ends up crashing into a guy who's wheeling a cart full of pottery. She smashes most of it and decides that, since she's had such a terrible day, she's going to run away from college.

While all of this is going on, Liz and Marion are having a hypothetical discussion about disguises. Liz wants to know how "someone" could make themselves look older. Marion suggests standing up straight, wearing heels, wearing different clothes, changing one's name, and using different expressions. Liz takes it all in, and decides to start by choosing a grown up name. She ponders this for awhile and picks a "cool, mature, and slightly romantic" name- GERALDINE!!!! Really, THAT'S her idea of a COOL name?!?! Me, I would have gone with JESSICA, or LILA, because nobody is cooler than them. No wonder Liz is the lame twin!!!! She keeps rolling with the "coolness" by deciding that "Geraldine" will use grown up expressions like "My, my!" and "Indeed!" Shoot me now, PLEASE!!!!! Liz also goes to the mall and buys herself some slutty new clothes and earrings. Plus some makeup and high heels. (Jess, having decided to run away, walks by the boutique while waiting for Lila's limo. She sees Liz all slutted up and decides to stay and see what's up with that...)

Liz immediately goes to find Ethan after she finishes shopping. She pretends to be Geraldine and introduces herself as Liz's older sister. She also makes it a point to tell him -several times- that she is 18. Ethan quickly switches the subject to Liz and talks about how much he loves her poetry. He says her poems are better than his, and I begin to wonder why HE is teaching poetry because he obviously knows NOTHING about it!!!! Liz = terrible poet, we ALL know this!!!! Even you Team Elizabeth girls HAVE to admit it from time to time!!! "Geraldine" quickly switches the subject back to her 18 year-old self. She says she too writes poetry, and she offers to show him her work. He agrees to look at it, and asks if she can bring some of Liz's work along. (His fixation with Liz is starting to disturb me, and I've known this guy for like 10 pages...) He even goes so far as to suggest that "Geraldine" bring Liz on their "date". Now that's messed up.

Liz makes an excuse because she knows producing Liz for the date will be impossible. (I HATE when people FORGET that they have identical twins...don't you? Just blackmail Jess into it...I think she still owes you from that last Super Edition!!!) Jess finds her and interrogates her about her new look, but Liz won't comment at this time.

The next day, Jess has finally had enough of Susan being a Megabitch. She goes to ceramics and makes a pot with Susan's face on it. Liz, meanwhile, sits in class and drools over Ethan's sexiness. He also stares at her, and it creeps me out!!!! She stays after class and he tells her that he met her sister. She asks which one because she has TWO. She tells him she has an identical twin, but all he wants to know is why she can't go out with him and Geraldine. He seems very disappointed, and I seem very disturbed. Dude, she's 12!!!!

Before I go insane from my rage at this guy who is obviously way too involved with this 12 year-old, we switch back to Jess in the art building. She's leaving class, thinking about how fabulous her clay pot looks. Of course, it has it's flaws, but Susan's face is surprisingly accurate. On her way out the door, she runs into the guy from the art gallery. He apologizes for yelling when she smashed the priceless pottery and introduces himself as Bernard. To make up for being such an ass, he offers to show her the large kiln where all of SVU's pottery gets baked. She goes along and tosses her curse pot inside.

Jess returns to her dorm to find no sign of Susan. All her stuff is still there, but nobody has seen her ALL day. In fact, half of the dining hall seems to be empty. Marion reminds Liz and Jess that the Nature Scouts went on their canoe trip until Friday (it's Tuesday right now). When asked where Megabitch is, Jess responds with "IDK" and "IDC", and then explains to Liz what this means. That language seems out of place in Sweet Valley, even if it IS 1997!!! That creeper Bernard joins the group and tells Jess that her pot turned out fabulous. The clay she used turned a silvery shade during firing, and the face pops right out at you. Bernard asks Jess to join him at lunch the next day and she agrees. Again, I find this disturbing!!!! Does SVU even bother to screen their faculty?!?! These scenarios where these college guys ask 12 year-olds out on dates is just WRONG!!!! Somebody call Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC, please!!!! I'll make the sweet tea myself!!!! (In case you didn't get that, I'm referring to "To Catch A Predator", best show ever!!!!)

Jess eats with Bernard the creeper and he tells her more about himself. He's working at SVU for a summer job while he takes summer program classes. He's been on campus for like 3 weeks already, and he's met lots of cool people. He particularly mentions meeting some cool dudes, and I begin to relax because Bernard is obviously one of those gay art guys. But still, how old is this dude? Don't you have to be at least 16 to work? What is he doing in a program for 12 year-olds? I just don't get it!!!! I probably never will...

Liz goes back to Ethan's class and he tells her that he's seeing Geraldine that evening. He can't take his eyes off Liz STILL, and I am about to write myself into this book so I can kick his creeper ass!!!! He pisses me off further by telling Liz that he thinks she -Liz- is more down-to-earth and that Geraldine says "My, my!" and "Indeed!" WAY too much!!!! (I hate to agree with a perve, but I have to right now. Geraldine SUCKS. Jess could have created a WAY better alter ego.) Ethan goes right back to pissing me off by asking Liz to lunch. She has to write poems for "Geraldine" to bring on the date, so she refuses. Smart girl. There should really be rules about student/teacher interactions...

Jess spends her afternoon at the pool, followed by a trip to the mall. She's enjoying life without Susan to the fullest. She even puts the curse pot in her dorm room before getting ready for dinner. She puts on her jacket and finds a piece of paper in the pocket. It's got a poem written on it and it's called "Ode to Blue-Green Eyes". It's about a girl with blue-green eyes, and it mentions meeting said girl on a bridge. (I'll give you three guesses who wrote it...ewww.) Jess is confused, but she just assumes that Bernard wrote the poem and he added the bridge to be poetic. (Which, even if Bernard DID write this, doesn't make it any less creepy to me.) As Jess is mooning over her love poem, the Resident Advisor knocks on the door. Jess asks where Megabitch Susan is, and the RA is shocked because she hasn't seen her in awhile, and Jess mentions that Susan has been gone since yesterday. The RA kind of yells at Jess for not reporting that, but Jess had assumed Susan was sleeping in someone else's room and she really didn't care that much. The RA says that Susan could be laying somewhere dying, and Jess kind of likes that mental image. The RA makes Jess report this to security, but nobody starts a search party or really takes any action. Nice, grounds for a lawsuit!!!! Alone again, Jess stares at her curse pot and wonders if she was responsible. The guilt gets to her, and she runs to find Liz.

Liz is in the cafeteria (as Geraldine) with Ethan. Jess wonders what's up with that, but she really doesn't care that much because this is about HER!!!! She runs up to Liz and Liz greets her with "Oh, hi, Elizabeth..." Liz mentally begs Jess to play along, and she does because she's a good sister. Jess tries to talk poetry, but Ethan keeps staring at her and it creeps her out. She's also confused as to why Ethan is calling Liz "Geraldine", and she figures it out much like I would:
Liz + "oodles of grown-up clothing" = Geraldine.
Liz and Ethan continue to babble about poems, and Jess jumps in, telling them about the poem she found in her jacket. Liz is too busy pretending to be Geraldine to listen, but Ethan hangs on her every word. He asks if the poem was about eyes, and I gag a little. Dude, TWELVE TWELVE TWELVE!!!! Do I have to beat it into you?!?! Liz is pissed that Jess is ruining their "date" so she drags her away to yell at her. Once alone, Jess tells Liz about the curse pot and begs her for help. Jess wants to go locate the weird lady from the gallery, but Liz would rather play dress-up and talk poetry. Jess blackmails Liz into helping, as usual.

Later that evening, Jess and Liz sneak across campus to the art gallery. Being the super detective that she is, Marion follows them and offers to help. She breaks into the gallery using a paper clip and all three girls venture inside the creepy, dark museum in a scene ripped straight from Scooby-Doo. (Liz is TOTALLY Velma, Jess is Daphne, and Marion gets to be Fred.) There's apparently NO alarms...note to self. They find they curse pot, but no creepy old lady. They hear footsteps echoing around them, so they hide until they feel it's safe to sneak back out.

The next morning, Bernard finds Jess and tells her that somebody broke into the gallery. The curse pot has been stolen!!!! Jess is genuinely creeped out, especially when she learns that the thief only stole the pot. Nothing else was disturbed. Jess quickly changes the subject and asks Bernard about the creepy old lady. He knows exactly who she's talking about, and he tells her that the lady's name is Hatta Something-or-other and she's a local artist who used to teach at SVU. In exchange for this info, Bernard asks Jess to eat with him again. She agrees, and I'm really starting to question the way that SVU runs their summer program. On one hand, we have a missing 12 year-old that NOBODY seems to be looking for. And, on the other hand, we have teachers and employees asking "students" out for meals. Remind me NEVER to enroll SarahLynn Junior in this program!!!!

Continuing with this disturbing shit, Liz is again hanging out with Ethan after class. He tells her he liked the lame poems that Geraldine showed him, and he asks if Liz liked HIS poem. She has no idea what he's talking about, but his comment about blue-green eyes sounds vaugely familiar. He ups the creeper factor by telling her that he has 3 tickets to some concert, and he wants Liz to join him and Geraldine. Liz quickly makes an excuse not to go, but Ethan tells her that, if she's not going, he and Geraldine will not be going either. Wow, that's a little extreme there, buddy!!! Liz quickly saves her own ass by agreeing to go visit Hatta with Jess if Jess agrees to play Liz for the evening.

Jess and Liz take the bus to Hatta's house. She lives like 5 miles outside of town. (In this book, SVU is actually located in Sweet Valley...I wonder what's outside of Sweet Valley? *"Pleasantville" reference* I bet it's like the end of "The Truman Show" where Jim Carey goes to leave TrumanLand and all he finds is the walls of the large dome that covers his world...) Hatta lives next to a river in a house with flowers outside. Her flowers are planted in old kitchen sinks and a toilet bowl and the twins find this odd. (Growing up, the guy across the street collected claw-foot bathtubs that he used as I'm used to this.) Hatta's house has a roof made out of multicolored tiles, and her front door is painted a luminous black. She sees her visitors arriving and invites them in for tea. (Question: Why is it that every time these girls go to investigate a suspicious person, said suspect invites them inside for tea?)

The inside of Hatta's house is full of her pottery and Hatta quickly explains that she used to be an art teacher at SVU. She even hosts weekly teas for SVU students who are interested in her work. Jess quickly discovers that Hatta has the stolen curse pot. She asks why Hatta took it and Hatta explains that she made it (ummm, duh!) and she decided she wanted it back. She felt that it was giving young people the wrong idea about art (okay, crazy lady who plants flowers in toilets). She didn't break into the gallery either, she still has a key from her teaching days. Jess tells Hatta about her own curse pot and Hatta reacts by worrying. She promises to look into ways to reverse the curse and the twins leave because they have a date with Ethan.

Once back at SVU, the twins tell Marion about their findings. She's skeptical, and she mentions that there is a possibility that Megabitch Susan was MURDERED!!! The last person to see Susan was Nature Scout Mike, so he's now Marion's number one suspect. The murder investigation is put on hold when Ethan calls and announces that he has obtained an extra concert ticket for Jessica. The twins freak out because there's no way they can pull this off. But then they remember that Marion is a disguise master and -coincidentally- she looks very similar to them anyways. She could almost be their fraternal twin, so they get her to join their confusing charade. (Just so you can keep track- Liz = Geraldine, Jess = Liz, Marion = Jess... I was SO hoping for a book free of twin switches, and now we have a TRIPLE twin switch on our hands. *SIGH*)

Everybody goes to the concert, and Marion starts off with a pretty good Jessica impression. Until Ethan asks where she goes to school and she blanks. She responds with "School is school, you know how it is..." (Brilliant.) Ethan starts to say that he actually doesn't know and that there's something he hasn't told Liz or Geraldine, but the group is quickly interrupted by one of Ethan's friends. If you guessed that it's BERNARD, you were right. He immediately messes up everything by telling Ethan that Marion is so not Jessica and that Jess is the one Ethan keeps calling Elizabeth. The girls fake sick and make a quick exit, leaving Ethan and Bernard to argue about who's who in this scenario.

Back at their dorm, Jess reaches into her pocket and finds another love poem that is so obviously from Ethan. She still thinks Bernard is her mystery writer, so she shows it to Liz. Liz knows otherwise, and begins to wonder why Ethan is giving Jess poems. Marion interrupts this display of dumbness by calling Liz a "dummy" and explaining (very slowly, I'm sure) that Ethan thought Jess was Liz (umm, duh, again) and he is giving the poems to the twin he believes to be Liz. Ethan obviously likes her, and Liz is happy despite the fact that I am now screaming at this horrible development. I swear, I'm about to toss this book out the window and into the pool. This is just so wrong. Wrong. Wrong. BTW, I hate Ethan. And Bernard's pretty shady too. Can we go back to sweet Valley now?!?!

The following day (Friday), Liz goes to talk to Ethan about his little love poems. He admits that he sent them, and then tells her that things are not going to work out between him and Geraldine. Because she's TOO OLD for him. (Ummm, dude, you're not looking any better here!!!) Oh wait, there's more!!!! Ethan is only SIXTEEN years old. He's some sort of super genius like Dougie Howser and shit, that's why he's in college. (Still, him being 16 doesn't make this any less creepy. Liz is STILL 12.) He really, really likes Liz, but he's starting to realize that he is too old for her. (Ya think? You fucking creeper, just go away and scam on some chick your own age!!! Even Steven Wakefield said Janet Howell was too young for him!!!) Liz agrees that 16 is too old, but she thanks him for the poems and promises to keep them forever. (Until Mr. Wakefield reads this book and finds them and uses them as evidence when he sues the shit out of SVU for this. Oh wait, he'd actually have to give a shit about his daughters to do that...) Liz even wrote Ethan a special poem. He too promises to keep it forever. This doesn't make me feel any better about this book, however.

Jessica, meanwhile, is pursuing her own college crush. (So, is Bernard 16 too? They never tell us anything!!!) She apologizes to him for leaving the concert early and convinces him to join herself, Liz, and Ethan on a trip to Hatta's house. Somebody did some research (I forget who, does it even matter?) and discovered that Jess made her pot out of some clay that Hatta had donated to the program. You see, Hatta has her own personal clay deposit in the river near her house and she likes to donate portions of it from time to time. Anyways, the curse could possibly be broken if the pot is returned to the spot it came from, which is the river. Jess gets there, tosses the pot into the river without much ceremony, and marvels at the way the pot shattered immediately. It's lying on the rocks in millions of pieces, and Bernard remarks that it's almost like it WANTED to be destroyed. Okay then. As everybody stands there staring at the pieces, they catch sight of the Nature Scouts returning from their canoe trip. Megabitch Susan is leading the way in the canoe she's sharing with Mike. Curse broken. The End...or not...

Of course, this book has only had ONE party so we need to quick work in another one. SVU has a dance to celebrate the first week of the program ending. Apparently, SVU still doesn't give a shit about the rules because Ethan is there, dancing with Liz. Bernard is also there, dancing with Jess, but I guess their storyline isn't as important because she'll fall madly in love with someone else as soon as the next book starts... Ethan and Liz are talking about how, despite him being in love with her in a really creepy way, they can still be friends. Ethan has to disgust me one more time by saying that the age difference won't matter in the future, like when she's 16 and he's 20. (Nope, that's still ILLEGAL, you dumbasses!!!) And, until then, he'll still have a crush on her... Gag me.

****The SarahLynn Perspective****
*This is probably the most fucked up book I have ever read. Ethan should be arrested, and Liz should also get her ass kicked for being so stupid. Geraldine, really?!?!
*Correct me if I'm wrong, but NO 16 year-old boy in his right mind would turn down an 18 year-old to crush on her 12 year-old sister. Most would be like "An 18 year-old? SWEET!!!!" Just ask SVH Bruce!!!!
*I like how nobody gave a shit when Megabitch disappeared. Even if they did discover that Susan was on a nature trip, somebody could have bothered to inform Jess of this... And I'm surprised that the RA had no idea Susan went on the trip. Who runs this program anyways? I have a few issues I would like to bring to light with them.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

SVT Super Edition #8 - Jessica's First Kiss

In honor of summer finally arriving, I thought I'd break from my posting schedule (yet again) and break out some camp-themed books. I found this one in the pile, and I actually remember reading it!!! My mom bought it for me to read at summer camp, and I finished it the first day. I remember hoping that I too would get my first kiss at camp. I didn't, at least not THAT year!!! The next year was another story...

Cover Impressions:
We have a very large campfire with extremely high flames that almost look like someone threw some of that magic fire dust from "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" on it. I remember that the main theme in this book was Liz being super clean and perfect, while Jess refused to shower for some reason, so I assume that Liz and Todd are the couple on the left. Liz's face looks weird, and her jaw looks almost...unhinged for some reason. Todd appears to be giving her a fist pound while he looks at Jess across the fire. Jess looks a hot mess, in contrast. She has shit in her hair, and she appears to be covered with mud. I think that's Aaron Dallas next to her. Aaron seems to be checking Todd out, and I wonder if I have stumbled upon a long-lost prequel to SVC...

The back cover promises "A wild romance" (because they're CAMPING, and they want ROMANCE, I guess). It also promises a twin switch, so I just know this will be a GREAT book. (or not...) Did anyone notice that the title of this book can be abbreviated as "JFK"? That amuses me for some reason, and I hope someone asks me what I'd doing so I can respond with, "Just blogging about JFK!" That would make me seem smarter, I imagine.

Oh yeah, one more thing. The inside of this book has an ad for a WEBSITE. That just seems weird for Sweet Valley to have a website... (This book was published in April of 1997, which means Liz and Jess have been in the 6th grade for ELEVEN years at this point.)

The book begins with Jess and Lila discussing SVMS's upcoming trip to some place called Bannerman's Estate. They're super excited because this is a week-long trip and they don't have to go to school, except for like one class a day, and -best of all- Jess doesn't have to see Steven for an entire week!!! (No wonder he likes Liz better.) And the entire Unicorn Club will be there. Yay!!!!

Lila is excited for another reason. She's been to estates before, and she tells Jess all about them. There's Jacuzzi tubs in every room, tanning salons, Olympic-sized pools in the basement, a masseuse, and an entire box of chocolates on the pillow every night. She also tells Jess that there's an evening dress code (fancy-style), and she's looking forward to seeing Bruce "in tails" every evening. Me too, Lila!!! This place sounds sweet!!!

Across the hall, Liz is in her room, writing some sort of stupid chant about camp. It really sucks, so I won't even bother transcribing it for you. Even Liz admits to herself that it's super lame, and she decides to close it out with a few lines about Todd. Because nothing cures LAME like T-Wilk...NOT. She imagines herself strolling hand-in-hand with Toddy on some scenic trails... Thankfully, Jess and Lila choose that moment to invade Liz's room. They tell her all about how fabulous Bannerman's is going to be, and Liz laughs at them. (Liz also asks Jess if she wants to switch places as part of their April Fools' Day tradition...April Fools' is the following Saturday. Both twins agree that it's childish, and they decide not to do it.)

Liz quickly crushes Jess and Li's spirits. She breaks out the Bannerman's Estate info packet and shows that that it's actually A CAMPGROUND!!!! Like with tents and sleeping bags and bugs and trees... The worst part- no TVs, microwaves, or blowdryers!!!! Li says she'll have to spend hours packing all of that stuff, but Liz points out that they're FORBIDDEN items. There's not even any electrical outlets!!! Jess and Li are crushed, and Lila insists that she NEEDS her laptop and modem so she can E-mail her dad. (He's in some place called Rangoon. I Googled it, it's in Burma and it's most commonly spelled "Yangoon".) Jess sees Liz's lame chant/poem on her desk and reads it out loud for Lila to laugh at. She gets bored about halfway through, and she misses the lines about Todd, but Jess and Li know what it's about anyways. They laugh at Liz and leave her alone to finish packing.

Once alone, Liz re-reads her lame poem and decides it doesn't suck (umm, no, it DOES!!!!). She decides to expand the ending and it's SO stupid that I am OBLIGATED to repeat it:

"...this young mister and miss will take a quick moment and might even kiss!"

Yeah, now you see why I didn't bother to share the rest of it. I don't see why she's in such a rush to kiss Todd. I guess she doesn't know that that is ALL they will do during the 137 years they spend in high school... Kiss or no kiss, Liz thinks that this is going to be a magic trip. LOL, magic trip!!! Back in her own room, Jess is thinking about Liz's poem as well. She's replaced Liz and Todd with herself and Aaron Dallas. She thinks about him kissing her, and realizes that it will be HER FIRST KISS. (Oh, poor Aaron!!! Another victim of the Wakefield children.)

On the bus ride to the campground, Liz and Todd hold hands and discuss spending some time alone. Winston tells some stupid stories, and Liz starts singing stupid kids' songs to drown Win out (and to annoy the Unicorns). Janet Howell forces Jess to stop the song, but Jess fails and Janet is MAD. She banishes Jess from sitting with the UC, so Jess sits next to Aaron. He's babbling on about some bear show he watched on TV, and how he hopes to find a bear in the woods. (I bet he does!!!) Jess suggests he delay his bear hunting and take a romantic walk beneath the stars, hand-in-hand. Aaron isn't feeling it (obviously) and he switches the subject back to his bear hunt.

At camp, Liz babbles on and on about how much she loves nature and outside and junk. The UC, however, are already failing at outdoor living. There's bugs and mud and rain and gross camp food, and they want to go home as soon as they see the inside of their tent.

On the boys' side of camp, Aaron sets his alarm and wakes up in the middle of the night. He starts screaming that he saw a bear, and everybody freaks out. Bruce stabs the roof of the tent with his pocketknife, and everybody runs outside screaming. (I think Aaron just wanted to see everybody in their PJs, but he insists he was just playing a joke.) Nobody sees a bear, so they go back to bed. A new student (a 7th grader named Dennis Asher) figures out that Aaron was lying, and he forces Aaron to sleep under the hole in the tent. And of course, it rains all night.

At breakfast the next morning, Liz is looking perfect and more beautiful than ever. (Gag me.) The fresh air is making her all glowy and refreshed. She loads up her plate and joins Todd for breakfast. He has pineapple syrup on his pancakes (ewww, I'm allergic, and that would probably KILL me), but Liz refuses to try any. She hates pineapple, even though Jess loves it. Jess likes pineapple soda and pineapple pizza, gross. The UC are not early risers, so they end up sleeping through breakfast. Liz wakes them up before their daily class and announces that, since everybody else has already signed up for the good classes, the UC will be stuck going to a history lecture.

the Unicorns wake up and realize that they all look like straight crap. They're full of bug bites and covered in mud, but they refuse to shower. There's sulfur in the water, and it smells like rotten eggs. Jess calls it "disgusto", and that's like the third time I've heard that term in this book. Did anybody ever actually say that? Doubtful.

Liz and Todd go on a nature walk after class is dismissed. She finds a four leaf clover and gives half of it to Todd so he will also have good luck. It's super lame, almost as lame as her lame poem of lameness. Lame!!!!

Back to interesting people, Jess has again set her sights on Aaron. (Why does Jess always go after what she cannot have? This pattern started early.) He also looks like crap from having to spend the night under the leaking roof. He bitches about this, and tells Jess that he despises Dennis. She again tries to entice him into a romantic walk and, as soon as she reaches for his hand, he begins to scream about bears again. Jess freaks and jumps into a bush to hide. Aaron laughs at her and she starts to cry. She runs away, humiliated, and sees Dennis swimming in the lake. She realizes he's kind of cute. She also decides that, since she's mad at Aaron, she likes Dennis for bullying Aaron. And it couldn't hurt to make Aaron jealous... She starts to approach, but then realizes that she's covered in disgusting, so she turns and heads back to camp.

That night, everybody sits around the campfire and roasts marshmallows. Liz is in a great mood, and she leads a sing-a-long. Everybody is surprised to discover that Dennis can sing like Johnny Buck, and Jess falls even more in love with him. Winston regales everybody with his version of the history of Bannerman's Estate. He tells a story about twin sisters who love the same man. (Sounds familiar...) He tells the twins he wants to marry one of them, and he asks them to decide. One of the twins grabs a knife (also sounding familiar...) and kills the other so she can marry the dude as her sister. Aaron sits back in the shadows and scoffs at the idea of marriage. He thinks that no self-respecting dude would ever want to do that. (Unless he was marrying another self-respecting dude...oh wait, that thought is about 10 years in the future!!!) Aaron feels sort of bad about scaring Jess and making her cry, but the truth is that he's just not ready for a serious relationship. (Unless it's with a dude!!! Yeah, I am having a fabulous time with this!!!) Aaron goes back to thinking about bears, because he's planned yet another bear joke for the evening.

Jessica listens to Win's story and feels like it has a special meaning for her. (She has no idea just how correct she is!!!) She ponders it all night long and decides that the story is telling her to switch places with Liz. She decides to get Dennis's attention, but since she is so filthy, she will pass Liz off as herself. Of course, she decides not to actually TELL Liz about any of this. Jess figures she can use Liz to catch Dennis's eye, and then she will move in on him when they're back at home and she's pretty again. Confusing, I know. I personally HATE when they twin switch on us!!! (From here on out, when twin switching occurs, I will use quotations to indictate it. ie: "Liz"= Jess) Jess stalks Dennis all morning long and signs "Liz" up for canoeing so she can talk to him.

Jess shows up to canoeing in all her gross glory. She tells Dennis that her twin sister "Jessica" has a major crush on him. But "Jess" is shy, so he should keep his distance and admire her from afar. She also tells him that "Jess" likes to play tricks on people and tell them she's Elizabeth. Thus, she sets it up so, when he calls Liz "Jess" and she corrects him, he won't be suspicious. Wow, I'm already confused.

At dinner that night, Dennis stares at the twin he believes to be Jess. She notices him staring at her and she wonders why. Dennis finally come over and says "Hi, Jessica". Liz doesn't have a chance to correct him, and she thinks he's just confused because he's new.

After lights out, the Unicorns complain about how much camping sucks. Janet starts screaming because she saw a spider. A huge one, with LEGS!!!! The UC decides to take turns standing guard all night long in case the spider shows up again. Jess gets selected for the honor, and she looks even crappier than usual in the morning. That still doesn't stop her from going ahead with her plan. She stalks the activities board again and notices that Liz and Todd have signed up for tennis. She convinces Dennis to sign up and crosses off Todd's name. She adds her name to the orienteering sign-up and also adds Todd. And this is sounding more and more like SVC every time I turn a page... Jess has no idea what orienteering is, but she needs to keep Todd away from Liz and Dennis. In true SVC fashion, Bruce quickly signs up for tennis in Todd's place. Jess goes orienteering and discovers that it sucks. It's basically finding your way out of the woods with a map and a compass, but she quickly manages to destroy both and spends hours lost in the woods.

Meanwhile, Liz is upset that somebody crossed Todd's name off of the tennis list. She accuses Bruce of doing it, but he denies it. She sees Jess and Todd walking to their orienteering class and wonders what's up with that. She also wonders why Dennis keeps calling her Jessica, even after she corrects him like a million times.

At the evening campfire, Dennis asks Jess (the real Jess) why "Jessica" is acting so weird and insisting that she's Elizabeth. He also wants to know what's up with that Todd guy and why he's all over "Jess". Jess quickly explains that Todd is HER sort-of-boyfriend and he likes to flirt with "Jess" to make "Liz" jealous. (Seriously, I feel like I'm reading a watered-down version of SVC right now. Amazing that even THAT is a recycled storyline...) Jess sees Liz and Todd going off on another nature walk and she quickly decides she needs to keep them apart. She waits a little while and then runs up to them. She shows them her WATCH (which at first struck me as odd, but then I remembered that ELIZABETH wears a watch 24/7, and Jess is impersonating her, so it makes sense) and tells they that they're an hour late for curfew. They run back to camp, only to realize that Jess's watch is an hour fast. Liz gets mad and accuses Jess of trying to keep her and Todd apart. She thinks Jess wants Todd for herself, but -for once- Jess tells the "complete truth" and swears it's not like that. Wow, even the "complete truth" turns out to be a lie with this girl...

The next morning, the Unicorns have reached a breaking point. They're desperate to get out of camp, so Lila marches into the director's office and demands to use the phone so she can call her dad. She's denied, so the UC decided to fake being sick so they get sent home. Epic fail.

While this is happening, Todd is staking out the activity board. He's going to make damn sure that he and Liz are in the same class, so he agrees to let Liz sign them up for basket making. Jess crosses him out again and signs up Dennis. (Important detail: Jess has a slight stomachache.) She signs Todd and herself up for something else so Liz and Dennis are forced to be partners. Liz spends all of class wondering why Jess is spending so much time with Todd, and why this Dennis dude is all over her. She finally figures it all out and tells Todd all about it after class. He's pissed, of course, and he wants to teach Jess a lesson!!!! (I bet he does!!!)

The UC is still trying to go home that afternoon. They have resorted to sending their parents ESP messages when Jess comes back to the tent, looking even worse than before. She's all pale and shit and she throws up all over everything. She gets sent to the infirmary and has to spend the night.

With Jess out of the picture, Liz's scheme falls right into place. Todd's in on it too, of course. She decides to make Dennis fall totally in love with her, and she lures him into the woods for a nature walk. She talks about how "Liz" is the twin that likes to switch places, and she picks up a leaf. She splits it in half and tells him that it will be his way of identifying the "REAL" Jessica. She comes on super strong and tells Dennis that she wants to spend EVERY possible second with him. She wants to go to class with him, and eat with him...

Back in UnicornLand, everybody is envious that the nurse ended up sending Jess home. They decide that their only option is to break all of the camp rules so they can get sent home. They stage a fake fight using ketchup, but the director refuses to send him home. She instead puts them in charge of cleaning the grease traps in the camp kitchen. Gross. I was on kitchen duty at camp one time as punishment for smoking a cigarette and I actually threw up from the grossness of it, and I have a super strong stomach!!! The UC decides that their only remaining option is to escape and hitchhike their way home.

They end the day with yet another campfire. Aaron sits back in the shadows and watches Dennis and "Jess". His jealousy is building, but he's more focused on his latest bear prank. For this one, he's going all out. He slips away from the group and sneaks into the campground's nature center/museum. He steals a bear skin and returns to the fire as Winston starts to tell a ghost story about a bear. He jumps out and everybody runs. Of course, he gets busted and sentenced to grease trap duty with the Unicorns. He doesn't mind this, because the scared looks on everybody's faces made it totally worth it.

Aaron is still upset about the Dennis/"Jessica" thing, so he confronts Dennis that night. Aaron basically tells Dennis to step off and get off his Kool-Aid, and Dennis laughs at him. Dennis thinks he's better than Aaron in every way, so Aaron can just STFU and go back to thinking about boys -I mean BEARS, sorry!!! Aaron wants to fuck Dennis up, Arnold Weisenhammer style (who? They've mentioned him like 5 times), but he doesn't for some reason. SVH Aaron would have, and SVH Todd would have joined in too, but SVT Aaron isn't that cool yet. Aaron simply vents his frustrations by writing "Dennis Asher is a JERK and an IDIOT and a FOOL" in some dirt. As he's "raging", he catches sight of the UC with massive amounts of luggage. He wonders where they're going, and he decides to follow.

The UC tries to escape, but they got totally lost and run into a bear. They run out of the woods screaming after dropping their luggage, and Aaron is left alone to face the bear. He climbs up a tree to escape and screams for help. Since he's been all Boy-Who-Cried-Wolf, everybody thinks it's another joke and he ends up spending the night in the tree. Karma is a bitch, dude. Even Liz and Todd (who are on yet another nature walk) ignore his screaming in favor of kissing each other ON THE CHEEK!!!

The next day is Saturday, the last day of camp. It's also April Fools' Day, FYI. Jess is back in SV and she wakes up feeling fabulous. She showers like 30 times and scrubs herself clean. She goes to the salon and gets all whored up before going to SVMS to meet the bus. And Dennis, of course.

On the bus ride home, Liz says she needs her space and makes Dennis ride home on another bus so she can ride with her precious Todd in peace. Dennis is stuck on the bus with the Unicorns and Aaron. Everybody is laughing at Aaron because he looks like he spent the night in a tree. The UC denies seeing a bear, and Aaron gets even more shit for that. Everybody makes all sorts of stupid bear jokes, and Aaron thinks about how Jess would have believed him, even if nobody else does. She would have rubbed his back and told everybody he wasn't lying. Dennis is an ass, so he starts talking about "Jess" and how much he misses her already. Aaron again wants to punch him in his stupid face, but they arrive at SVMS before he is able to.

Jess meets the bus looking absolutely perfect. Dennis runs up to her and talks about all the fun times they had at camp. He also mentions eating dinner with "her" the night before. It was pizza, and he had the pineapple kind. Jess says how much she loved the pineapple pizza, and Dennis pauses on that. The night before, "Jessica" mentioned that she hates pineapple, but "Elizabeth" loves it. So he's super confused and believes he's talking to Liz. He approaches actual Liz (who is standing with Todd) and demands to see her leaf. As planned, she fails to produce it and Dennis is super confused and feels a little played. He swears off Wakefields forever. (Smart kid, I wonder if he shows up in any other books? Or was that grounds for banishment?) Jess is pissed, but Liz is happy she got her revenge. She goes out with Todd to celebrate, and Jess goes home to pout.

As Jess mopes about, I begin to feel cheated. I was promised a KISS, damn you!!!! There's only like 2 pages left and NOTHING has happened. Unless you count some kiss on the cheek action between Liz and Todd, and I don't... Lucky for me, Aaron shows up on the doorstep. He's also all cleaned up, and he's on a mission. (No, he's not witnessing for Jehovah or selling Avon...he's on a totally non-gay romantic-type of mission!!!) He apologizes to her for being such an ass, and he tells her that he still likes her. He asks about Dennis, and promises to leave her alone so she can date him. He lets her know that, if she changes her mind, she can always date him. She remembers all of the reasons why she likes him, and tells him that Dennis is out of the picture. He responds by kissing her ON THE LIPS!!!!! Awww...too bad he turns out to be gay.

****The SarahLynn Perspective****
*I'm very upset that I had to read like 200 pages of camping/bear/twin switching bullshit in order to get to the kiss. But, all of that aside, it was well worth it to "see" Jess so happy and to witness this moment in Sweet Valley history.
*I really wish Aaron hadn't turned out to be the gay one. He was one of my favorite characters, and having to make all these gay jokes kind of ruins that specialness. Not that I mind gayness at all or anything. It just would have been easier if they made Charlie Cashman or Rick Andover or Denny Jacobson gay instead of Aaron because they're less involved with this whole thing.
*I knid of want to go camping after reading this. But I hate camping, so I will NOT be doing it. Maybe I'll go GLAMPING though...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Unicorn Club #2 - Maria's Movie Comeback

I must apologize for recapping out of order here, but I did not plan on doing a UC book. I just couldn't resist when I saw this on the shelf at the used book store, especially since I haven't read a Unicorn Club book in ages. I know I read most of them, but this was one of the first ones that I read, so I don't remember much of it. Sorry to all you OCD readers out there, I couldn't locate book #1 first!!!!

From left to right we have some random Asian girl (Jade Wu?), Jessica (wearing a very stupid hat), Maria (oooh, she's THAT Maria, I can never keep my Marias straight!!!), and some girl rocking some jeggings. Mystery girl looks like Lindsay Lohan, so I will assume that is who she is until I am told otherwise.

The back cover of this fine novel is the most confusing thing I have ever read. It begins, oddly, with "Pfew!" Whatever that means. Maria is narrating this one, and it appears to be autographed by her!!! WOW, remind me to E-Bay this copy!!! Maria goes onto tell us that the UC is trying to raise money for a new hairpiece for their principal, Mr. Clark. Jess stole his old one, I guess. To accomplish this, they got jobs, but then the roof caved in at this daycare center where they volunteer. Maria confuses the hell out of me by saying, "Mr. Clark's roof was one thing..." (I now begin to mourn the loss of the daycare center's hairpiece!!!) so now Maria is going to be in some movie to raise the money for the roof and the hairpiece (wait, I thought they got jobs to cover that? What the hell? I am SO confused right now.) and she's all worked up over having to kiss some "super-hunk" on camera.

The back cover also (helpfully) lists the entire Unicorn Club for me: Lila, Mary, Jessica, Ellen, Maria, Elizabeth, Mandy, and Evie. (Oh, now I know who the Asian girl on the cover is!!! I always liked Evie!!!)

This book was published in February of 1994, and the author is listed as Alice Nicole Johansson. I cheer inwardly because of my intense hatred of Jamie Suzanne.

We begin with a Unicorn Club (UC, as I like to call it) meeting at Mandy's house. Maria, one of the newest Unicorns wastes no time launching into a description of the UC. Janet Howell has gone onto high school (NOOOO!!!!), and Mandy Miller appears to have taken over. But, since Mandy is in charge, the Unicorns are all nice and shit. Mandy's philosophy: "A good club brings out the best in its' members, not the worst". The UC is no longer all snobby and boy-crazed. They've even let ELIZABETH join, and now they ALL do charity work. Apparently, this charity work is a new thing.

You see, in book #1, the UC got into a DARE WAR to see who was fit to replace Janet. Things spiraled out of control, and Jess and Lila ended up stealing the principal's toupee. Jess also painted a purple stripe down an entire hallway of lockers, so now Jess has to repaint in addition to replacing the toupee. Mr. Clark was so pissed that he sentenced the entire UC to 30 hours of community service and placed them on probation. They ended up working at the daycare center, and they are actually enjoying it.

Next, Maria describes each member of the club. I'll keep it simple:
Mandy: President, full of sensible solutions and common sense (wait- are we talking about LIZ?!?!), free spirit, and a thrifty fashionista who can put together amazing outfits for dirt cheap.
Mary: Sweet, preppy, blonde.
Lila: Lives like a Beverly Hills movie star, has a rich dad. Lila is secretly very sweet and charitable. She likes to give money to poor people.
Ellen: Hard-to-read, ditsy and funny, but kind of a follower. (Ouch, Maria is a bit MEAN if you ask me.)
Jess and Liz: Twins (duh!), Liz is down to earth and brilliant; Jess is spaced out and basically stupid when it come to school. Jess always causes trouble and expects to be bailed out by Liz. Liz has vowed not to let Jess drag her into so much shit this year...yeah, right!!! Liz is also Maria's BFF.
Maria: Former child star, was once on the cover of "FOLKS" magazine (obvious rip-off!!!) with her dazzling smile. Star of macaroni and toilet paper commercials, TV, and a few movies. She hit an awkward age and the parts stopped coming, so her parents moved her to Sweet Valley with her older sister Nina. Maria's dad is a financial analyst for a big accounting firm, so you know he didn't screw her out of any of her Hollywood $$$. Apparently, Maria's parents are straight stupid, however, they believe SVMS is one of the finest middle schools in the country. Okay then...keep believing that.

Anyways, back to our recap-within-a-recap, book #1 ends with the kids from the daycare center going to Mr. Clark and protesting his banishment of the Unicorn Club. They made signs and protested, and it seems more appropriate for a BSC book. Luckily, Mr. Clark agreed not to banish the UC. Instead, the girls must pay for the damages and do their community service...

Back to the present, the UC is brainstorming to raise money. Mandy looks down at her outfit and inspiration strikes. (Her outfit- baggy canvas pants, a ribbed T-shirt, a string vest, and a hat like a Smurf would wear...yes, Maria tells us that.) Mandy shops at thrift stores (duh), and there's a new one in Sweet Valley called the Attic. The owner is looking for somebody to work the closing shift while she is out of town for 2 weeks. It's from 3:30 to 6:30, so it works out perfectly for the Unicorns. And I seriously question the sanity of anyone who would even consider hiring a crew of 13 years olds to operate a business...

Maria leaves the meeting with Liz. She tells Liz that she auditioned for the lead in the upcoming SVMS play. Maria is positive that she will get it (wow, cocky much?), and Liz reassures her that nobody is more talented than THE Maria Slater, child STAR!!! Maria agrees, of course. Liz also shows Maria an article she found in some random paper. It seems that a director by the name of Tom Sanders is coming to Sweet Valley to shoot an indie/teen flick!!!!

Liz and Maria speculate that this is happening because a movie was filmed in SV the previous year. Yes, it was that damn RUBY NECKLACE movie!!! Maria mentioned that the director (who is now a MALE...what happened to Becka? Sex change, I imagine) had a REAL monster in the movie- Shawn Brockaway. My heart aches when I realize that this means that, even a year later, no one has noticed that Shawn obviously needs either a break from acting, or psychiatric help and a good emancipation lawyer... That poor, poor child. I hope she isn't in this movie, because watching her inward turmoil is truly heart-wrenching.

The following day, Mandy and Maria go to the Attic to apply for the positions. The store's inventory looks familiar to Maria, and she soon learns why. The owner, Clara Kim, is also a former actress. She met Maria while they were filming a diaper commercial, and they filmed a TV movie together a few summers prior. Clara has moved to SV with her granddaughter, Evie. (Wait, they're just meeting Evie NOW? But she's listed as a UC member on the back of the book. Way to spoil this one!!!) Evie is a year younger than Maria, but they used to be great friends. Evie obviously lives with Clara because she was on set everyday, and Maria visited Evie at Clara's every weekend while filming. Maria wonders why Clara is selling all of her furniture...

Evie shows up just then, carrying a violin case and acting shy. Maria does not remember her being shy at all, so she is suspicious of the situation. Clara explains that, as she aged, work became harder and harder to get and she began to go broke. She sold her huge Beverly Hills estate and moved to SV where living is cheaper. Clara is desperate for money, so she's going to NYC to meet with people who can get her jobs. Evie will be staying home, and working a few hours. Clara says that Evie is super talented, and that her violin will have to always be her #1 priority, and I begin to wonder if Clara is a stage grandmother. She's obviously trying to make Evie famous, and I question her motives. Maria is thrilled to have Evie back in her life. Evie used to follow Maria everywhere like a shadow, and Maria loved being worshiped. Clara hires them on the spot, and Maria runs to tell Liz the good news.

At Casa Wakefield, Liz and Maria decide to make it a point to befriend Evie ASAP. Because, you know, they LOVE a good excuse to make someone a charity case. And Evie is a perfect victim for this. That poor girl obviously had low self-esteem from the moment she met Maria, and throw in a broke grandmother (PLUS, no parent)... Interrupting this, the rest of the UC returns home from buying locker paint. Well, they ordered the paint and will have to pick it up later. In the meantime, they've outfitted themselves in cute painting clothes. Jess imagines it will only take an hour to paint the lockers (not likely, trust me!!!), so she begins a long string of putting off going back to get the paint. It continues for most of the book, and I won't bother to mention it each time. The Unicorns also brought home like a million pieces of paper with paint colors on them. I like to do that when I go to hardward stores, even if I'm not painting anything. I just like to explore my options.

Maria goes home and tells her family all about Clara. Her mom promises to invite Clara and Evie over for dinner as soon as Clara returns. Maria is pleased, and she -bitchily- thinks how it's about damn time that somebody did something nice for Clara and Evie. Since, you know, they're all broke and shit.

The following day, the UC goes to service the community by going to the daycare center. Maria explains how it's a non-profit place, and most of the families are poor and disadvantaged. The families rely on the center to watch their children while they look for work (or sit at the welfare office, as Maria probably assumes). The Unicorns have bonded with the children that frequent the place, and we get a description of some of them.

Sadly, the UC arrives to find the center's roof has caved in!!! Nobody was hurt, but the law prohibits having kids in such conditions, so the center is forced to shut down. Since they're non-profit, they have zero money to fix the damages, and all of the parents whine about this to the Unicorns as they collect their kids. The mother of a little Asian boy named Arthur Foo (he has like 20 brothers and sisters) is particularly upset. She cannot miss work, so her oldest son will have to stop going to college so somebody can watch Arthur. She actually ASKS if school attendance is mandatory for children under 16, and she seems to be disappointed by the fact that it is. I think somebody should really be calling CPS right about now... Ellie (Lila's favorite child at the shelter, she even got her mother a job working for Mr. F.!!!) is very upset, and her mother is devastated that she will have to miss work to watch her. She believes she may get fired. (So she can dump her problems on 13 year olds, but she stops shy of ASKING Lila to explain this to her father? Knowing Lila gets whatever she wants? Wow, Mrs. Ellie is none-too-smart.) QUICK, CALL THE BSC!!!! I bet Kristy Thomas would already have shown up with emergency babysitting reinforcements had this happened in Stoneybrook...

Maria and Mandy start working that afternoon. Since this is SV, they spend much of their shift trying on clothes. (I work retail and you can get FIRED for doing that if it isn't your scheduled break... This is exactly why you do NOT hire 13 year olds!!!) The rest of the UC shows up to keep them company, and Maria gets her Derek Zoolander on by giving them an impromptu fashion show with outfits created by Mandy. Suddenly, Tom Sanders (indie director mentioned earlier) strolls in and declares that their style is perfect for his movie, "Secondhand Rose". He recognizes Maria right away, and -creepily- tells her that he's been a fan since her first commercial (wait...she did DIAPER commercials, dude!!!) and she'll be perfect for a small part in his newest teen movie. It's low-budget and indie, but all of his movies have been successful. Tommy boy is the mastermind behind such winners as "Teen Magic" and "Prom Secret", and all of the Unicorns are fans. He offers Maria double scale for her work, and she holds out for triple because she is in desperate need of some serious cash flow. He agrees without so much as a second thought. Because Maria is just THAT great.

Maria's parents agree to let her do the movie even though they wanted her to be a normal girl. They think she's being unselfish by donating her earnings, so the daycare center is saved!!!! Yay!!!

At school, Maria continues Project Evie. She invites her little minion to sit with the UC at lunch, and Evie immediately raves about how famous Maria was and how great she is. The UC is hurt that Maria never told them exactly how successful her career was, so they quickly change the subject to Evie. Evie readily tells them how broke her grandmother is before leaving to practice her violin. As soon as she's gone, the UC agrees to make Project Evie a team effort. They decide to start a thrift store clothing trend so Clara will make lots of money and not be so broke.

Maria's day goes from bad to worse when she gets an essay back and sees a "B" instead of the "A" she wanted. She tries to talk the teacher into changing it with one of her famous smiles, but he doesn't fall for it. Maria is beginning to think she's lost her mojo. It gets even worse when Maria goes to work and is unable to sell some furniture to some snobby rich people. They don't even recognize her!!!! Oh, the HORROR!!!! NOT!!!! Deal with it, bitch.

Things progress even further when Maria's script is delivered. She learns that she has a KISSING SCENE. She's never done one before because she was too young, but now she has to kiss a super-hottie named Brad Marshall. He's like the hottest teen star ever. Like, hotter than Zac Efron and Justin Bieber combined!!! Maria's worked with him before, and she has a HUGE secret crush on him. (The book says she's "in crush" with him, whatever that means...) Oh shit!!! Nobody knows about this, but I imagine they soon will.

The UC debuts their thrift store getups the next day at school. Liz wears a pink cashmere sweater set with a poodle skirt and pearls, and nobody is surprised at all. But, as for the rest of the UC, they look SMASHING!!!! Everybody is shocked by how awesome they look, and nobody believes that their outfits were each less than $15. Randy Mason (super-nerd) "volunteers" to be made over, and the UC turns him into the "Prince of Trendy" by combining elements of Buddy Holly, Elvis, and James Dean. All sexy men, but not exactly "trendy", even in 1994. Everybody from SVMS shows up at the store to watch the makeover, and to buy outfits styled by Mandy. Evie is in awe of the boom in business, and Jess chooses that moment to inform Evie that they're doing it so she won't be so broke anymore. Maria expects Evie to get pissed, but Evie merely thanks them and hugs them because she appreciates it. What a nice girl!!!!

As the day of the shoot draws near, Maria begins to doubt herself and she starts to have panic attacks. She talks about this to her sister, and Nina tells her that she'll be just fine. Maria only thinks she sucks, but it's actually just her style that's changed. She's like, more mature now. Maria is doubtful of this, and she also begins to feel super ugly and even more awkward than before. None of this is helped by the fact that Maria is informed that she will NOT be the lead in the school play.

Maria holds it all inside and goes to school like she always does. Tom randomly shows up one day and wants to shoot some photos of Maria at school. He thinks it will be great publicity for the movie, and the principal agrees to it. Tom follows Maria around and notices how fashion-y everybody is dressed. He loves it, and instantly decides to film Maria's scene at SVMS, in front of the lockers that Jess STILL hasn't painted. So now Maria has to kiss Brad in front of EVERYBODY. Tom even wants to use SVMS students as extras, as long as everybody wears clothing chosen by Mandy. The principal agrees to it, but he insists that Jess paint the lockers before filming. Brad appears just then and kisses Maria on the cheek. Maria is now even more freaked because Brad = super gorgeous.

Maris thinks things over, and she raises a moral question. All of the Unicorns feel responsible for saving the center and replacing the toupee, even if Jess caused most of the chaos. Maria wonders if it is truly HER sole responsibility to buy the center a new roof. (I think they should have INSURANCE, but don't tell Maria because I want that insufferable bitch to SUFFER!!!!!!!) Maria proves just how insufferable by faking sick and getting sympathy from MANDY MILLER. Dude, she had CANCER, you bitch!!! Maria so generously agrees to cover Mandy's shift at the Attic so that Mandy can go to the doctor and make sure she hasn't gotten cancer again. Maria practices lying to Tom in the emptiness of the store, desperate to back out of the film. Evie comes home early and hears her.

This time, Evie doesn't hold back. She lets loose and yells at Maria for letting everybody down. She's disgusted by how easily Maria is giving up, and she lets her know this. She calls Maria a fake actress and basically tells her she sucks as a human being. See, I knew there was a reason why I liked Evie!!! Maris goes home and cries about it.

Maria's mom knows something's up with Maria, but even she thinks Maria is a terrible person for wanting to back out of her promise. She tells Maria that, ultimately, the decision is hers alone, so Maria will need to call Tom herself if she plans on backing out. Maria doesn't want to let the kids down, so she thinks about it for two days. Her mom LETS her skip school to mope around in her pajamas, and she writes down all of Maria's ignored calls for her. (Mommy = enabler. Maria will never stop being such an intolerable brat if she is allowed to behave this way. If she was my kid, this would NOT be happening!!!)

Finally, the UC has had enough of Maria's little tantrum. They all join forces and show up randomly at Maria's. Evie is with them and she tells Maria that this intervention was her idea. She feels bad about the things she said, and she started to worry about Maria's selfish ass after 2 days of nobody being able to contact her. Tom has also called her friends, desperate to reach her. Maria continues to play sick, but the UC knows it's BS. They pretend that Brad is with them, and after Maria jumps up in a frantic rush to get pretty-looking, they call her on her shit. Obviously, Maria is SO not sick!!! Everybody talks about how everybody is allowed to have their own private problems, but this has become a group problem now that Maria promised the center their new roof. Maria finally cracks and admits that she sucks at acting and doesn't want anybody to see her fail. Everybody is super-understanding, and they promise to be her friends no matter what happens. (This type of shit would NEVER go down under Janet Howell's command...Maria would have been blacklisted for even thinking she was cut out to be a Unicorn. Dammit, Janet, why did you have to go to high school?!?!) Amazingly, Clara picks this moment to return from NY. Evie left a note saying there was an emergency at Maria's, and Clara ran over as soon as she got home. Clara sets Maria straight about her acting skills, and Maria agrees to try because it's obvious everybody loves her so much.

Remember the Jessica subplot? She's put off painting the lockers as long as humanly possible (2 entire weeks!!!), so the UC is forced to sneak into the school and paint the ruined lockers on the day of the movie shoot. They break in and open the paint cans, only to realize that the paint guys messed up on the color. Instead of the ugly Industrial Pink, they ended up with IMPERIAL Pink. It's like, bubblegum pink!!! Electric pink, candy-heart pink... Awesome!!! I love pink!!! With no time to waste, they quickly slap the paint onto the lockers and run off to change for the shoot. Evie wears the outfit she has on in the cover photo, but nobody else wears anything even remotely close, and Maria thinks that Evie just may be the prettiest girl in the group. (Oh, the blasphemy!!!! NOBODY is prettier than a Wakefield. Nobody!!!!)

Mr. Clark sees the lockers and is pretty pissed about the color, but Tom loves it so the shooting begins... Maria gets totally into character and just lets her acting juices flow. The kiss goes flawlessly, and Maria realizes that she doesn't suck after all. She gets her scene shot in ONE take (take that, Shawn Brockaway!!!! And not one of the extras messed up this time!!!!), but disaster strikes as she does a reaction shot. She swoons into the freshly painted lockers, and Jess jumps into the scene with a WET PAINT sign. Maria stays in character and goes with it. Tom, of course, LOVES it and decides to leave it exactly like it is, Jess and all. With shooting complete, Tom writes Maria a check. The UC stands beside her and admires the production crew's matching jackets. They talk about getting their own UC jackets as soon as they get out of debt. (They still have to pay Mr. Clark for his hairpiece, I guess. Another thing that would never happen under Janet... Remember Mandy's cancer? The UC got her a wig like 1 page into her illness!!!) With the check in hand, they quickly run to the daycare center. (Wait- they didn't have to go to CLASS?!?! Was school canceled for the day? So much for SVMS being one of the finest schools in the country...)

The story wraps up one week later at the next UC meeting. Mandy has 2 letter to share. One is from the daycare center director, thanking them for their hard work, and the other is from Clara, thanking them for watching the store. Clara paid them DOUBLE for the increase in business (wait, I thought she was BROKE?!?!), but that still isn't enough to cover the correct paint for the lockers and Mr. C's toupee. Sigh, maybe they shouldn't have gotten him that roof they mentioned on the back cover!!!! Mandy also has another surprise. Tom sent her a mysterious box!!! (No, no Justin Timberlake reference will be made here, because I like Mandy, and I would probably have sent her a gift simply for the fact that she has to put up with this Maria bitch on a daily basis!!!!) Inside the box are purple satin jackets for everyone!!! The even say UNICORNS on the back, and each girl has her name on the front. Also, each jacket is tailored differently for each girl. Ellen's fits perfectly, Liz's is on the snug side (why?), Jess's has a funky baginess to it, Lila's has an elegant flair in the back, and Mandy's is HUGE, with she loves. Weird, I know.

At the bottom of the box is another jacket. It doesn't have a name, just a patch sewn over where the name would go. Mandy suggests giving it to Evie and letting her join the club. Maria seconds that, and Evie (who has been waiting outside) runs in to thank them, Mandy pulls a loose thread on the patch and reveals Evie's name. Awww... And thus, the UC is complete (for now...)

Oh wait, we still have one more matter to discuss, as much as it pains me. Remember Maria being passed up for the lead in the school play? She meets with the drama coach and demands to know why. The teacher inflates Maria's (already bloated) ego by saying that the role would not have been a challenge for THE Maria Slater. School is a place of learning, and Maria already knew what the teacher was trying to teach. The girl who got the part is less experienced, and she will stand to gain much more experience than Maria would have. Maria accepts this, and I feel cheated because I thought this would be the end, but it ISN'T...

Maria leaves the drama room and Evie is waiting for her. Evie wants to ask Maria some questions about herself because she (Evie) has been watching a cable show called "The Best Friend Game". It's a trivia show where groups of friends test the knowledge about one another, and Evie is curious to see how well the Unicorns know each other. (I wonder why...) Maria assures her that the UC is likethis, and that they know EVERYTHING about each other. But she secretly doubts this, and a poster for a fund raiser being held by a club know as the Eight Times Eight catches her eye. She begins to wonder who these bitches are...

****The SarahLynn Perspective****
*Maria is a BITCH. First-class style!!!! Seriously, her thoughts are always so self-righteous and condescending. And the way she treats Evie like her own personal charity case is sickening. Just because somebody doesn't have millions of movie dollars like you do, it doesn't mean they're not happy!!!! And Maria has a SUPER EGO, for real.
*What are the odds of there being TWO charitable good-girls' clubs at one middle school?!?! I think those Eight Times Eight hos are in for a beatdown, Unicorn-style!!! (Well, if JANET was in charge, they would be...)