Monday, March 21, 2011

Great TV Viewing (Season 1 , Episode 13) - "Club X"

This is the episode that I have been waiting to recap ever since I started this blog last winter. It's my absolute favorite SVH episode OF ALL TIME!!!! Not only do I remember it very clearly (well, most of it, I got a little surprise while re-watching it -more about that later), AND it's about BRUCE!!! I won't spoil the episode for you by telling you what I remember, so let's just get to the recap...

Of course, this episode opens with the theme song. My wireless was going in and out, and the screen froze on Bruce for a good three minutes. It was fabulous. Then we cut to the SVH parking lot. The Principal's car alarm is going off and, when he shuts it off, a trash bag is rigged to explode above it. Gross yellow jelly-like shit gets all over it, and everyone (well, Jess and Lila, so everyone who matters!) is buzzing about this new club on campus. Sadly, it is NOT the Unicorn Club or the Boosters or even the self-righteous's BETTER than ALL of those combined!!!! It's -wait for it- CLUB X!!!!! It's super-secret, and ultra-exclusive and it's members have been playing practical jokes on everybody all week long. Basically, Club X is THE SHIT!!!! (I doubt it...they don't wear PURPLE, real clubs wear purple!!!) Jess is desperate to join Club X because it's like 3 minutes into the episode and no hotties have appeared yet, so she has to jump into this plot somehow. Finally, a hottie does appear -BRUCE!!!!! Jess is my girl, so she totally gets that Bruce is fully OFF LIMITS until I am of legal age (this is like 1995, so I'm still just 9 years of age) and refrains from falling in love with him. She does, however, mention that she admires Club X (which SO obviously consists of mainly Bruce, Manny, and Black Carl, plus a few random extras, they might as well have matching Secret Club jackets) and is interested in joining. Bruce denies any involvement, but he does slip and inform Jess that it isn't for girls. (Because starting No Girls Allowed clubs in high school is the best way to get laid?!?! Okay, Bruce.) Jess smartly replies, "So that must be why YOU aren't in it..." and I laugh because it was a well-delivered line. I applaud her quick wit and clever thinking on that one, it would have taken me at least 5 minutes to come up with that!!! At least Bruce is still hot.
Because we are on Coolness Overload with all the Jess and Bruce action, we have to check in with the dorky cliques just to be fair. Liz, Winston, and Todd are at the Moon Beach. Liz and Win are upset because Todd has been super spacey lately. He made plans with both of them that day, but he instead ditches them to go play basketball. He's on a one-on-one winning streak these days, and he's winning lots of $$$$ off of bets. I don't blame him for blowing them off, that sounds WAY more fun!!!
Club X continues to rule SVH with their lame pranks the following day. They set all of the biology class frogs free in the school swimming pool. (Can frogs survive in swimming pools? I would think that the chlorine would kill them, and now I'm picturing a pool full of dead frogs and I feel like crying.) Jess is still bored, and she's still ready to do ANYTHING to join Club X. Lila and Liz think she's crazy for wanting to do things that could get her in trouble. (Hey Lila, remember that time you told Liz to put shaving cream on a certain poor fat girl's sundae back in the 6th grade? What happened to THAT Lila?!?!) Jess doesn't care, and she's super excited when she opens her locker and finds a secret invitation to Club X's secret warehouse. Liz tries to tell Jess not to go, but Jess will not be stopped.
Jess shows up at the warehouse and she can't hardly wait to do some bad things with the Club X gentleman, and I just re-read what I wrote, and it sounds super dirty, LOL. Either way, Jess is looking for trouble and it appears that she has found it. Bruce and Co. show up in disguise, but Jess knows who they are so she rips off Bruce's robe and reveals his striped shirt and red polo double-collared shirt combo. I swear, wardrobe on this show was an EPIC FAIL, Bruce only owns like 5 shirts, and he usually wears 2 or 3 at a time, so we see LOTS of outfit repetition. Jess will be initiated the next day at school.
Jess's initiation is to steal a car. Bruce is just trying to get her in trouble so she can't join his club, but Jess isn't stupid and she knows this. She sneaks Bruce's keys out of the pocket of his SHORT white shorts (haha, 1990's guys wore some funny stuff) and drives away in 1BRUCE1!!! I'm super jealous, I WANT TO DRIVE 1BRUCE1!!! But, since I cannot, I cheer for Jess. She just keeps being clever.
While all of this is happening, Liz is sitting outside the Sweet Valley Charity Center, waiting for Todd's spacey ass to come get her. (Lazy bitch, Jess is rolling around in 1BRUCE1, so you could have driven the Jeep and NOT inconvenienced Todd!) He doesn't show up, so Liz just sits outside and waits. While she waits, the MOST EXCITING THING EVER happens! KURT RAMBIS comes out of the Charity Center!!!!
-Now, for those of you who are not familiar with professional basketball, Kurt Rambis played for the Los Angeles Lakers back in the day. He won a few championships and wore some funny-looking glasses...

[There was an image here, but I removed it. Google him, I guarantee you will laugh!!!]

He later became assistant coach for the Lakers and got a few more rings. But his story doesn't end there. Two years ago, he became head coach of MY team, the Minnesota Timberwolves. They are obviously NOT the Lakers (who have won rings TWICE after Rambis left...HA!), but I still enjoy watching them so I was quite surprised to see Kurt on SVH!!! I saw him in person just yesterday, and now I can't wait until the next game so I can get my SVH DVDs personally autographed. Sadly, he has gotten contacts since this episode was made, and he is slowly balding with age, so compared to SVH Rambis, he's looking rough!!! I bet he will get teased mercilessly by the players once I inform them of this cameo, I LOVE IT!!!!-
Anyways, back to the show. Kurt Rambis comes out of the Charity Center (and the BF does something I never though I would ever witness -he asks me to turn the volume UP on SVH so he can watch Kurt Rambis!!! This is a turning point in our relationship!!!) and some kid asks for his autograph. I witness this on the regular, and Kurt is often a dick about it, but when he signs he usually gives a good autograph and he always personalizes. (I guess so people can't re-sell it on E-Bay and make big bucks or something...) He stays true to himself and asks the TV kid what his name is as he signs, and I'm just loving it!!! Kurt talks to Liz and drives her home. He has never offered ME a ride home, just sayin', so we know Liz is super special.
Instead of going home, Rambis drives Liz to the MB (we don't get to see him driving, sadly) and she immediately bitches at Todd about not picking her up. Winston joins in the bitching, because Todd keeps blowing him...OFF, you perverts!!!. Todd must have finally realized how much they suck, because he's all like "Whatever! I do what I want!" *Cartman Voice* and he leaves to go win some more bets. (Dude, where I come from, people get SHOT over shit like that...I like where this is going!) Win says that Todd needs to stop being such a greedy dick, and Liz has a plan to make that happen...
But luckily we are spared from any more of that poor excuse for drama that I could care less about. Jess is now in Club X!!!! (Side note: In the book, they had matching black leather club jackets...where are THOSE?!?! Jess is wearing a track windbreaker that looks like it belongs to Bruce because it's HUGE on her.) Bruce introduces her to the Wheel of Misfortune. Instead of panels with dollar amounts or "BANKRUPT", it has each of their names on it (kind of defeats the purpose of secrecy...) and whoever it lands on has to execute the next stunt or be tortured. I want to join so I can NOT complete my task and be tortured by Bruce... The prank at stake involves putting soap in the new fountain that the Principal is unveiling the next afternoon. Predictably, the wheel lands on Jess's name.
Jess dresses up as a groundskeeper and pours in the soap. Bruce stops the Principal in the hallway and mentions that he saw a suspicious lady groundskeeper by the fountain. Principal runs out to check and tries to chase Jess down. Thinking quickly, she turns on the sprinklers and runs into the school. She quickly pours soap on the tile floor and quick changes clothes. She almost gets away with it, but the Principal notices that her legs and shoes are wet. (Why is he looking at her legs?!?!) Jess gets pulled into the office.
Sadly, we don't get to watch Jess getting punished, but Kurt Rambis is back!!! Liz and Winston ask him to help them with the Todd situation and Rambis is a nice guy (back then, at least) so he agrees to help. (I LOVE when real people that I know are TV characters!!!! It just furthers my theory that TV is actually REAL!!! I can't wait to ask Rambis if he got to meet BRUCE!!!!)
Later that evening, Jess returns to the Club X warehouse and spins the wheel out of anger. She's pissed that Club X got her in trouble (and I have no sympathy, she knew the risks involved!) and she's even more pissed when she realizes that the wheel stops at her name EVERY TIME she spins it. She pulls off her name and discovers a magnet behind it. She quickly switches her name with Bruce's and waits for everyone else to arrive. They do a moment later, and they discuss the next stunt. Bruce has decided that the next one will involve wearing a ski mask and running across the field during a football game with a CLUB X RULES! banner. It's extremely lame, and Jess is unimpressed. She suggests that someone skydive onto the field with the banner instead. (Seems like a dead giveaway to me...How many people at SVH have private planes to jump out of? We can eliminate Lila right away because TV Lila doesn't have the balls to do anything of that caliber, so obviously Bruce is the most likely suspect...) Bruce doesn't know the wheel has been re-rigged, so he agrees to it. He is SHOCKED when the wheel lands on his name, but he can't back out of it because it's HIS club! Ha! Score two for Jess!!!
Meanwhile, Winston and Liz are putting their plan into effect. Winston challenges Todd to a game, and Todd is cocky as hell, so he agrees to bet everything. He thinks Win will be easy to beat, but he has a surprise in store! They agree to play the following day.
The next day, Bruce prepares to make his dive on to the football field. Jess stays behind and calls the skydive company. She arranges for Bruce to land in a new, undisclosed location. He makes the jump and imagines getting famous for it. He imagines it will be in the paper, on the news, and a Movie of the Week! I would totally watch that!!! Sadly, he realizes too late that he is not landing on the field. Instead, he lands in the Principal's car (luckily, it's a convertible, I think non-convertible vehicles are illegal in Sweet Valley) and is promptly busted. To make matters worse, his Club X banner is stretched out behind him and the Principal figures it all out! All of Club X gets detention!!!
While all of this is happening, Winston is preparing for battle with Todd. Todd easily gets a few shots over Win because he's a star basketball player and Win has NO game. Todd gives Win a free shot because he sucks so badly, and Win promptly sprains his ankle and cannot play. Todd shows no concern for his friend and demands that Win pay up. Liz says the game isn't over, and Win should be allowed to choose a replacement. Todd looks around and says that Liz can pick anybody she wants and he will demolish them. Naturally, Liz picks Kurt Rambis, Kurt isn't old and bald like he is now, so he and his special sport glasses and mustache (which is rumored to have super powers, BTW) easily beat Todd's arrogant ass into submission in the form of A MONTAGE!!! Hell yeah!!! It simply does NOT get any better than a Rambis montage!!! I wish they did these in real life...that would make sitting through basketball a whole lot easier. I also wonder why Rambis hasn't taught his current players any of the skills he's displaying in this montage. They would be UNSTOPPABLE!!!! (Oh wait, 2011 Rambis is too busy yelling at poor Kevin Love and trying not to get fired...) Kurt is quite tan (and he's showing it off with some short shorts, of course) and I'm surprised because I went to practice not two weeks ago and was particularly horrified by how pale his legs were. Seriously, dude was WHITE!!! Anyways, 1995 Rambis kicks T-Wilk's sorry ass (and I wish Todd would at least threaten to punch him!) and tells him that he may have lost, but he still has potential and he should never forget the important stuff. (I guess he's talking about his charity work, but I'm not really sure because I'm still not over the fact that KURT RAMBIS IS ON SWEET VALLEY HIGH!!!) Todd learns his lesson and Liz makes Win return Todd's money. Todd is inspired by Rambis, so he promises to donate it to charity (right...) and Liz is proud. He tells her that he was only playing for money so he could take her whitewater rafting. But he promises that he will get more money and take her anyways, even if he has to get a part time job. Liz is even more impressed by him, and they share a disgusting kiss on the basketball court. (DUDE, that is SACRED to me! Don't ever disrespect the court!)

The SarahLynn Summary
*Bruce started a secret club for his boys. Maybe that's why he didn't accept that marriage proposal he received from a certain 6 year-old back in 1991...
*Jessica wants to do bad things and get in trouble with the Club X boys.
*Liz knows Kurt Rambis. I also know Kurt, so I guess that means I know someone who knows the Wakefields!!!! HA, I know you're ALL super jealous of me today.
*Todd is good at basketball, and everybody else in Sweet Valley isn't.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Great TV Viewing (Season 1 , Episode 12) - "Photographic Evidence"

I know I promised you lots of things last week, but I've had to SHARE my computer over the weekend!!!! The BF needed it for work, and I was bribed into complying. I decided to attempt to posh several things today (although I'm still not sure what exactly I'm going to post, I have a few things ready to go), and I'm starting off with a TV recap.
I don't really remember this episode, but I can imagine that it's something like 'Regina's Legacy', only without Regina and probably no legacy. I also don't remember that book, and since the episodes usually are nothing like the books, it probably won't matter anyways.

I'm watching it on my iPhone, just trying to figure out the easiest way to watch TV and blog simultaneously. The theme song plays, and then we open up in the kitchen with Jess and Liz. Jess has a problem- two guys asked her out on the same night! Liz isn't listening because she's reading the paper and talking to herself. Jess makes a smoothie, and throws a banana PEEL into it with a whole apple...and she's pissed Liz isn't listening. Liz finally listens and tells Jess that they both suck, so STFU!
Liz is working on a photojournalism project with Winston at the lake after school. Liz has some sort of safari vest on, and they snap some pictures in my favorite style -A MONTAGE!!!! There's lots of beach body shots, and bikinis, and it's all very 1990's California. Most. Boring. Montage. Ever!!! Winston falls in the water, so they decide to leave. As they're loading up the Jeep, a black van rolls up and Liz snaps a picture. Some white-haired guy is being forced into the van. One of his abductors sees Liz take the photo and he chases her. His accomplice (who is supposed to be good-looking despite his rolled-up shirt sleeves) gets the Jeep's license plate number. Sadly, dude chasing Liz fails and Liz heads back to school (always the smart thing to do when someone is FOLLOWING you...NOT! No wonder these girls get kidnapped on a weekly basis) to develop her photos. She swears that she's seen the white-haired guy before, but her pic of him is all messed up due to glare on the van window. So they have to fix it somehow...I know nothing about photograph beyond my cell phone and Sony CyberShot, so I'll go along with that. Liz can't fix the photo right then, because she has to go home and makeout with Todd (and their dark room time was up anyways) while telling him about the beach and the picture. (Typical Liz, she even finds a way to make making out boring!!!) She tries to tell Jess, but Jess doesn't give a shit so she leaves.
Liz is watching the NEWS (see, I told you she's BORING!!!!) and she stops sucking Todd's face long enough to see a photo of the white-haired dude. He's a key witness in a Congressional drug smuggling hearing (what does all that mean? Who's smuggling what?!? People shouldn't "smuggle" stuff, I know that much, but that was a lot of big words and Google wasn't helpful) and he's been missing for 5 days. His name is Roland something and foul play is suspected! Liz calls the police.
Meanwhile, Jess and Lila roll up to the Moon Beach in the Jeep. Since the episode is already 7 minutes old, Jess is contractually obligated (see, I can use big words too!) to fall in love with someone. Unfortunately, it's the rolled-up shirt sleeve guy from the beach!!! He's following her (how convenient that Liz just happens to have an identical twin who gets mistaken for her...), but obviously Jess doesn't know. He comes up and apologizes to Jess -thinking she's Liz- for his friend's behavior earlier, and she has no idea what he's talking about. But she's Jess, and she has to have a different guy in every episode, so she plays along. He asks about the picture, and she says that she left it at school. She asks him if he wants to get together and look at it sometime. Jess gives him her BUSINESS CARD!!! Yes, Jess has had CARDS made! Okay then.
The next morning, Jess asks Liz about the guy from the MB, but Liz is too self-centered to listen. Liz goes to school and bitches to Win and Todd about how the police didn't take her seriously (just wait until Prom Night, Lizzie!!!) because everybody is calling in crazy tips because they have nothing better to do. They get to the dark room and discover that it's been TRASHED! All of Liz's photos are gone (my educated guess- Mr. Collins was hoping to find a bikini shot of Liz) and Liz just knows that it was the guys from the beach. Winston may have a way to prove to the police that Liz is telling the truth... This would NEVER happen to me, I would have taken digital pictures and posted to Facebook or TwitPic.
Luckily, Liz had the picture with her, so it survived! Win scans it into the computer (WOW, he IS a nerd!!!) and starts to go to work on it. He says it may take days, so I go and get myself a snack while I wait.
Jess is at home, and the MB guy (Chad) calls her for a date. He reminds her to bring the picture, and Jess promises to do so. Of course, she doesn't have the picture, so she decides to show up looking super hot so dude forgets all about the picture. Unfortunately, it's a set-up and he's being forced into it by the guy that chased Liz (his name is Blake, BTW). Blake tells Chad to get the picture and then get rid of "the girl", and Chad is EVIL, so he agrees.
Jess tears apart Liz's room, looking for the picture. Her date outfit is all black and low-cut and her hair looks super shiny. "Damn, she gorgeous!!!" Liz and Todd come in (I wonder what they were going to do in Liz's bedroom...probably read the newspaper or play Scrabble) and catch Jess pillaging. She says she was just borrowing Liz's thesaurus (likely story) and asks about the pictures. Liz says they're at school. Chad shows up and takes Jess out to the Moon Beach, of course.
Win is at school, finally getting somewhere on the photo. I wonder if he has a key to the school or if he just lives there, because it's obviously evening time. He calls Liz and tells her.
Chad keeps asking Jess for the picture, and he finally gets pissed and grabs her arm. She insists that she left it at school and he starts to get super mad. Jess is freaked, so she looks around for an escape. Enid and Manny come in, and Jess yells at them to come sit with her. Enid and Manny should immediately suspect that something is wrong, because Jess hates them, and Enid is wearing ugly brown overalls that I'm sure offend Jess as much as they do me, but Enid and Manny are idiots, so they think Jess is actually being nice. Chad says that was a stupid thing to do, and he opens his jacket and tells Jess he has a gun. Because it's like 1994 and you can't show guns on TV (unless you're like Canadian and you go to Degrassi), we hear him cock the gun but we don't get to see it. Chad tells Enid and Manny to get the hell away from them (only in nicer words), and they do. He demands to know where the picture is (she told you's at SCHOOL!!!), and she tells him that Liz took the picture. He cocks the gun again (which should be OBVIOUS to other people...) and drags Jess to the door. Lila comes in and tries to go with them (take her, dude, her dad's LOADED and she could be a useful bargaining chip!!!), but Chad tells her she's not going with them. Lila asks where they're going and Chad tells her they're going to a movie. Jess quickly tells her that they're stopping by school, and Chad straight up scoops her up and carries her out the door. (If this were me, this thug would be getting up close and personal with the spiked heels of my Louboutins, but Jess has obviously never taken self defense classes, so she just lets dude abduct her.) Winston pulls up at the MB to meet Liz and Todd with the picture as Jess and Chad drive away.
Winston shows Liz the picture and it's fixed! Enid and Manny come up and ask Liz about Jess's new guy. Enid says he reminds her of Satan (LOL, well put!), and Liz says she's never met this new guy. Manny asks Liz how that can be true, since he's IN THE PICTURE SHE'S HOLDING!!!! Oh, SNAP!!!! Lila comes up and says that that must be the picture Chad was asking Jess about. She tells Liz that he's out with Jess at that moment.
Chad brings Jess to school (WHY is this building accessible at this time? Did they give every student their own key? It's puzzling to say the least) and forces her to open Liz's locker. He still has his gun pointed at her, and I'm beginning to wonder if it's even a real gun and not like a banana in his pocket or something... She's freaked, so she can't remember Liz's locker combo. Chad kicks the door open and gets even more pissed because the picture isn't there.
Meanwhile, Liz and Co. are sneaking up on them. Lila asks if there's a different number for 911 because the number is busy. (Good thing she has money, because the writers made her character pretty damn stupid!) Lila finally gets through and the police are on their way. Lila's work is done, and she doesn't want to die at school, so she leaves. Chad has Jess pressed up against the lockers, and Liz is right around the corner. She grabs a large globe and tells Todd to hit Chad with it when he comes around the corner. She jumps out with the picture and gets Chad's attention. Chad switches his stance. He stands behind Jess with his arm around her neck, and it totally looks like he wants to play 'Twilight', but I think he's supposed to be pointing his alleged gun at her back, and it just looks dirty to me. He FINALLY pulls out the gun and Liz gives him the picture. Stupid ass Enid messes up the plan and Chad discovers their hiding place. He waves his gun around (I guess he DID have one after all...) and makes everybody line up against the wall. He wants the negatives of the photo, but they're in the BMW outside. Chad drags Jess toward the door yet again, and tells everybody to stay where they are and not come after him and Jess. He says that, if they do, he will kill Jess and all of her "phony little friends". Luckily, Lila pops up out of nowhere and hits him over the head because "nobody calls (her) phony!" It's pretty funny. Jess hugs Lila and the cops bust in and arrest Chad.
Liz apologizes for not listening to Jess earlier (see, I knew there was a pattern with that for some reason!) and promises not to be such a self-centered brat all the time. The newspaper declares them heroes, and Lila gets most of the credit. Nobody is kidnapped anymore, and the Roland guy is found and he goes to testify at the trial (I thought it was a there a difference?) Unfortunately, Liz is now left without a photography project (I think they would probably let her get away without doing it, given the circumstances AND the fact that she is A FREAKIN' WAKEFIELD, after all...) and she's all super worried about failing. But this IS Sweet Valley, so of course this issue instantly resolves itself when Winston shows Liz that her photo of the kidnapping was on the front page of the paper!!!! Of course it was, everybody was SO obsessed with this damn photo that it made me want to scream!!!!

The SarahLynn Summary
*Liz doesn't pay enough attention to Jess, and Jess gets herself in trouble. Jess is a lot like my 5 year-old nephew. If you leave him unattended for more than 30 seconds, all hell breaks loose!!!
*Book Lila would hate TV Lila. I wonder who's responsible for casting her...
*Bruce was nowhere to be found. I wonder what he was up to, and if he will ever get his own episode.
*Todd didn't threaten anybody, not even the bad guys. I never thought I would see the day when T-Wilk was ascared of some thugs!!!
*Enid is as boring as Olivia was in the books. But Manny is kind of cute, for a '90's guy.
*SVH never locks it's doors and it does not have an alarm system. One would think that, considering their local crime and murder and attempted rape statistics, SV would invest in some better security.
*The SVPD may take months to investigate a car accident, but they respond in less than 1 minute when a Wakefield is in trouble!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

SVH #95 - The Morning After

I remember liking this one better than 'A Night To Remember' because it had MARGO!!!! When I read this for the first time I was like "Who is this Margo girl, and why is this important to Sweet Valley?" It made no sense at first but, stretched over the next few books, it all started to come into focus. I read this miniseries straight through (ending with 'The Evil Twin', then discovering that there was a sequel to it and making my dad drive me to the bookstore at 11 PM so I could also read that), but sadly my current SVH collection ends with this one.
The cover is one of the re-designed ones. BRUCE is on it!!! He's got an armful of flowers for some ho, but she apparently only has eyes for that John Travolta-looking dude... There's also a picture of some girl who could really use a bra (I think it's supposed to be LILA) and some prep school-looking guy (Nathan, most likely). The twins are hovering up in the sky, leading me to wonder if they're dead and in heaven... Lending proof to my theory, the book's tagline asks me, "Could the twins be split forever?" I am now picturing axe murderers and machete-wielding, hockey mask-wearing stalkers chasing Liz and Jess through the pleasant streets of Sweet Valley, and I like where this is going!!!
This book was published in July of 1993 and it's another Kate William masterpiece. the inside cover says it's for ages 12+, and I am thrilled because I fall into the "+" category!!!! So nobody can make fun of me for reading this!!!!


*Tuesday, Three Days After The Jungle Prom...(ironically, the "Morning After" is skipped entirely)
Ever since the fateful Jungle Prom, Liz has been dealing with a recurring nightmare. In her dream, she's at Secca Lake and she sees Jess standing down the shore, rocking some sort of hippy knit hat. She runs to Jess, but stops running when she sees how cold Jess's eyes are. "Jess" takes off her hat, and dark hair falls out. It's described as "the color of midnight", and I wonder if that means BLUE. Anyways, this strange new girl pulls out a butcher knife and starts to swing it at Liz. (Liz considers this a nightmare?!?! It sounds FABULOUS to me... I like this book already.)
The book begins with Liz waking up from that dream (of course, KW neglected to tell me it was at dream until AFTER I'd already read it...damn her, getting my hopes up!!!) and launches into a recap of the previous book. I hate KW for that, because her recap is SO much shorter than mine, and I should have read this book first. Then I could have just stolen HER recap and saved myself HOURS!!! Whatever, Sam is DEAD, and Liz is alive, long story short. Liz has no recollection of the Jungle Prom or the accident. I find it hilarious that Liz cannot remember 'A Night To Remember'!!!!
Jess is still mad at Liz, and everyone in Sweet Valley is feeling the aftermath of the JP. Sam's funeral was the day before, and Liz had the balls to show her face at it. Jess, however, is a complete mess and she wasn't able to go. I feel terrible when I learn that she had to be sedated after seeing Sam's dead body at the accident scene. Jess hasn't been able to leave her room, and she refuses to speak to Liz. It's about a million times worst than it was in the previous book, and Liz feels guilty.
Jess wakes up, bathed in sunlight, and her first thought is how much Sam loves the sunlight in her hair. Then she remembers Sam is in fact DEAD, and it's super sad. Jess sees Liz in the bathroom and neither of them can speak. They just don't have anything to say, I guess. Jess quickly leaves and thinks about how sad Liz must also be. She wishes they could help each other somehow, but then she decides that LIZ KILLED SAM and therefore doesn't deserve anything Jess has to offer. This is a real theme in this book, and it's weird seeing them like this. A lot of this book takes place in people's thoughts (very limited dialogue), and it's kind of a nice departure from the ordinary, despite how depressing it is.
We get a break from all that depressing Jungle Prom nonsense at last when the book switches to Bruce. He's still thinking about the girl who saved his life at the JP, but he's also sad about Sam dying. They weren't friends, but Bruce thought he was a nice guy despite the fact that Jess had him totally whipped!!! Bruce is also thinking about Lila. He thinks Lila is gorgeous, but she's been a total train wreck lately. He also blesses us with a recap of the JP, and then he goes back to thinking about his mystery girl. Unable to contain his infatuation, he decides to straight stalk the bitch by hanging around Big Mesa until he runs into her. (Not his brightest idea, I must admit, BM HATES SWEET VALLEY, and Bruce is like the poster child for SV...hmmm, hope he brings a body guard!!!)

*Wednesday, Four Days After The Jungle Prom...
Lila returns to school for the first time after accusing Nathan of attempted rape. Nobody will look her in the eyes, except for Amy. (We actually can see a brief glimpse of the old SVT Amy in this book. She actually really cares about Lila, I think. And it seems that she's the only character that actually SPEAKS in this book!!!) Lila feels like everybody is talking about her behind her back, and she thinks that they all believe that she made up the accusation. She kind of did, IMO, but the girl is obviously traumatized so I won't hold it against her. Obviously, Lila needed help LONG before any of this and nobody cared enough to get it for her. Even though Lila hates writing (she thinks it's for nerds like Liz. And yes, "nerds like Elizabeth" is her exact thought...I kind of disagree with her, but I write this blog for FUN so what do I know?!?!), she is so overcome with all of this weirdness that she can't contain herself. In the middle of class, she takes out a piece of paper and writes down all her feelings. Her head is a mess:
*Wishes Jessica was there
*More confusion
*Still hasn't told her dad anything
*Still feels abandoned by the mother she never knew
*And some more confusion
I feel like MY head is going to explode!!!! That's A LOT to deal with!!!! Making things worse, the Principal calls her into his office and tells her that he spoke to her father that morning. Mr. F is in Amsterdam (wonder what he's up to...donkey show?!? Please, let it be a donkey show!!!!) and Lila wasn't even aware that he was going there (see, I knew he was going there to see a donkey show!!!). That's sad that the Principal knows this and Lila doesn't!!! Anyways, when Mr. F gets back he will be coming in for a meeting...WITH NATHAN!!!! (Seriously, why is he not IN JAIL?!?!)

*Monday, 9 Days After The Jungle Prom
Liz and Jess return to school. Jess drives separately because they're still not speaking. (Good, I was sick and tired of listening to them go back and forth about the damn JP Queen!!!) Enid is the only person who will talk to Liz, and even Todd avoids her. (Good, I was getting tired of him already and I'm only 1 book into SVH!!!!)
Jess and Lila eat lunch with their usual clique, but neither one has much to say (OBVIOUSLY!!!) and they're both totally out of it. Amy's getting sick of all this silence and shit, so she tries to get them talking. She tells them about Bruce and his mystery girl, but neither one cares that much. Amy works at Project Youth, so she remarks on how "manic" Bruce has been lately. (Leave him alone, BITCH, you DID cause his girlfriend to die tragically, so maybe you should be all guilty and quiet like everyone else..) Amy also notices how Lila has stopped caring about her appearance. She is wearing a 6 month-old sweater (that she got on SALE, ewwww) and baggy jeans, so it's obvious that Lila has given up on life entirely. Amy, full of helpful suggestions as always, suggests that they skip the rest of the day and go shopping. I guess hell finally froze over when Sam died because JESS AND LILA DO NOT WANT TO SHOP!!!!! O. M. G.!!!!!!
Luckily, Bruce shows up just then and lightens my mood considerably. Amy asks him about the mystery girl, and he knows she's a gossipy little ho, so he doesn't bother to tell her any of the details. He simply leaves school (I guess their school day ends after lunch... it was actually the same way at my high school) and travels to Big Mesa in his beloved 1BRUCE1. He is straight stalking this girl, and she hasn't shown up after a while, so he gets bored and asks some plain, ugly girls about her. He learns that her name is Pamela and that she is not very popular. He asks a few more people about her, and it seems that EVERYBODY hates her. Bruce assumes that this is because she risked her social status when she saved him from certain death at the JP...I'm so sure!!! Bruce wants more info, so he asks some kid named Edwin (obviously, a dorky kid) where he can find Pamela. Edwin tells Bruce that Pamela is on the tennis team. Unfortunately, the tennis team is on a trip up the coast for the entire week!!!! So Bruce has to wait...

*Wednesday, 11 Days After The Jungle Prom...

Lila, Mr. F, and Nathan meet with the Principal. Lila observes that the place is a total sausage fest, and she again wishes that she had a mother to go through this with her. She tells her JP (Jungle Prom, not John Pfeifer) story (and I again wish that I had read this book first and just saved myself all the trouble), and the Principal keeps interrupting her with questions. She answers one wrong, and he immediately accuses her of changing her story. In real life, Lila would NOT have been forced to do this in front of Nathan... I guess Mr. F gave all 17 of his lawyers the day off. Mr. F. gets pissed when the Principal does this, and he immediately jumps to Lila's defense. He and the Principal argue back and forth for several minutes, and Lila is ignored. She looks over at Nathan and sees that he has tears in his eyes. Finally, Mr. F. and the Principal agree that arguing won't get them anywhere, and they allow Nathan to tell his side. He swears that he wasn't trying to hurt Lila. He feels terrible that she is so scared, and blames that for her misinterpreting his actions. He also apologizes and says that he is afraid for Lila's well-being because she is so terrified of everything and everyone. Lila listens to him and realizes that he is sincere and that she overreacted. She feels super bad about the things she said and begins to cry. She sobs hard as she and Mr. F. leave. Mr. F. has no idea how to deal with having a teenage daughter, let alone one with PTSD and emotional problems, so he is powerless to help and this makes him sad as well.

*Saturday, Two Weeks After The Jungle Prom...
Steven comes home for the weekend. He and Liz talk over breakfast (Liz hardly eats, and I begin to worry that the teenagers of SV will starve to death before this is all over. These kids normally eat about 7 meals per day, PLUS snacks and Dairi Burger trips...) and Liz is all depressed that everybody is avoiding her. Jess still won't speak to her, and she hardly says a word to anyone else. (Again, I ponder the parenting skills of Ned and Alice...rather than bringing their daughter who recently lost the love of her life in a tragic accident to a proper therapist who could actually HELP HER, they just sit around and act like everything will fix itself...) Ned, oblivious to all of his daughter's suffering, tells Steven about a new TV dating show, "Hunks". It makes no sense why he's babbling on about this, but it's a part of one of the subplots (more about that later, we're focusing on the 4 main characters right now) so I thought I'd make a note of it.
Meanwhile, Bruce is rolling around in 1BRUCE1, still stalking Pamela. She's back from her tennis trip, and he randomly shows up at her tennis practice. He meets her and is even more in love with her in the daylight. He thinks he's finally found The One (just wait a few more years, Bruce!!!! Someday, when I'm 25 and you're 30...) and he asks her out. She's a bitchy little ho, and she breaks my heart by accepting!!! At least Bruce is happy, I guess. And it's nice to finally get sone dialogue instead of just a story told through internal thoughts...
Enid comes to visit Liz over the weekend. Todd isn't speaking to her either, and Enid is a loser so she doesn't have any other friends besides Liz. I bet, if she did, she too would avoid Liz... Enid tells Liz that Caroline Pearce (AKA- the Perez Hilton of Sweet Valley!!!) is saying that Liz and Sam were getting all snuggly and sexy at the Jungle Prom. Liz still doesn't remember anything. (I suggest that she read my wonderful, albeit time-consuming, recap, but she doesn't take my advice...) Enid was at the JP, and I know she spoke to Liz, but she doesn't give us her perspective on anything... Thanks for helping, Enid...NOT!!!! Liz says she was sober, and she didn't think her punch was spiked. I'm surprised the SVPD didn't do a toxicology test on Sam, and Liz would have probably been breathalized at the accident scene since she wasn't injured, but the SVPD is nothing like Benson and Stabler, I guess. Maybe having a totally prominent attorney for a father helps you get around things like that... Enid observes that Liz's desk is a complete mess, and Liz reveals that she hasn't been able to write anything since Sam died. (Thank god!!!! I hate when I have to read all of that crap she writes.) Liz talks some more, she's worried about the legal implications and what's gonna happen to her (I say, "Give her the chair!!!!"). Enid tells her not to worry because she's A FREAKIN' WAKEFIELD and that means everything will magically right itself by the end of the book (oh wait, this is the NEW miniseries format, so it won't!!!!!). Liz starts yelling at Enid (sweet!!!) and blaming herself for killing Sam. I consider that a confession, and I wonder if a judge would admit this book as evidence in his courtroom... Luckily, the police haven't been able to determine who was driving, so Liz is safe for now. (Either way, she should have been QUESTIONED, just sayin'.)
Lila spends the entire weekend in her bedroom. She hasn't answered her phone in over a week. She's now dealing with the guilt of lying about Nathan, and she's afraid to talk to anybody because she thinks they will accuse her of lying. (Seriously, she must have really sucky friends!!!!) Her father FINALLY tries to talk to her, but Lila has officially lost it and she can't talk to him about anything without crying. Mr. F. has FINALLY had enough (again, another example of "fine" SV parenting right there), and he realizes that only one person can help Lila now...HER MOTHER!!!! (I personally think that meeting the woman that abandoned her AS AN INFANT will give Lila even more to deal with, and the stress will probably drive her insane, but I guess Mr. F. is desperate and willing to try anything. Maybe he finally read 'A Night To Remember' and saw how many times Lila wished for a mother...)

*Tuesday, 17 Days After The Jungle Prom
Bruce and Pamela go out to dinner. I'm not too thrilled about it, but at least BRUCE is eating, so I don't have to worry about him dying of starvation with everyone else. He's still all in love with this girl, despite only meeting her a few days earlier. He thinks about Regina and how he messed up that relationship by dating that ho Amy Sutton. He had loved Regina, but he hadn't been ready to commit to a relationship. He does blame himself for her untimely death, and I hope Pamela also meets an untimely demise... Sadly, she survives their date (and, BTW, where's the part where the twins get "split forever"?!?! I'm just sitting here, waiting for the axe murder to show up...) and Bruce kisses her goodnight at the end of their date. He's so in love with her that it makes me sick, especially when he thinks about how she's the only thing that matters to him in the entire world.

*Saturday, 3 Weeks After The Jungle Prom...
Jess drives the rental car to Sam's favorite dirk bike race track. It's the day of his Big Race, but he's dead so he won't be racing. There's a memorial planned for before the race, but Jess can't bring herself to go inside and face everybody. Instead, she drives to the cemetery and visits Sam's grave for the first time. She finally cries and blames Liz for killing him. She's super angry, and she admits to herself that she's afraid to let the anger go because she's even more afraid of what lies beneath all of it. It begins to rain, and poor Jess sits on Sam's grave. Her thoughts are full of memories (including my personal favorite: Sam dressed up as Batman). She also blames herself for her part in the accident, and the truth finally hits her. SHE'S RESPONSIBLE FOR SAM'S DEATH!!!! She lays on the ground and cries tears into the freshly-dug soil as a torrential downpour mixes with her tears. I admit, I even cried a little.
I cry some more as the book brings me back to my beloved Bruce. He's getting ready for his next date with Pamela, and Roger is there!!!! Bruce goes on and on about how much he loves Pamela, and Roger warns him against moving too fast. He reminds Bruce that he doesn't know everything about Pamela, and Bruce wonders if Roger knows something that he doesn't. Bruce thinks about it some more, and decides that Roger is just jealous. Rather than ask Roger what he knows, Bruce goes along on his merry way.
At this point, Mr. Fowler has finally had enough of Lila being so sad all of the time (see, I told you he finally read 'A Night To Remember'!!!!). He loves her a lot, and he thinks about how rough she looks. Lila's normally the "prettiest, most popular girl in town" (awww, that's cute that he thinks that!!! He probably has no idea who the Wakefields are...), but now she looks like hell. She's been wearing a GRAY SWEATSUIT ALL WEEK LONG (which should have been his first indication that something was wrong). He knew this day was coming ever since Lila was little and HE sent Grace away. (He never mentioned THAT before, kind of puts the situation in a new light...) Mr. F. finally accepts the fact that he is incapable of raising a teenage girl and dealing with her vast emotional issues, so he picks up his office phone and calls Grace Fowler (Lila's MOM!!!) in Paris.

*Friday, 27 Days After The Jungle Prom...
Bruce is at lunch with a random assortment of friends. (Winston/Maria, Amy/Barry, Ken, Todd, and Jessica...where's Lila? By my count, she's missed about a month of school at this point.) Bruce is still in love, and he's on top of the world. He tries to play the role of the concerned guy by asking Jess how she's holding up, but Jess still can't communicate to anybody, so she gets up and leaves abruptly. Bruce observes how Todd's eyes follow Jess everywhere she goes, and Bruce is happy that somebody is watching out for her. (I'm sure Bruce knows exactly what she's going through, even if he won't admit it...) Everybody else is VERY curious about his mystery girl, so he finally tells them all about Pamela. Amy laughs at him when he says her name, and apparently EVERYBODY KNOWS SHE'S A HO!!!! Bruce is super embarrassed. Good, hopefully he dumps her ass!!!!!

*Saturday, 4 Weeks After The Jungle Prom...

Steven is again home for the weekend. He feels obligated to return home every chance he gets because his family is still so shaken up. He tries desperately to hold them together and make them snap out of it, but even his father has stopped babbling about the "Hunks" show. Even Prince Albert (the dog) is depressed. A miracle occurs and STEVEN DOESN'T FEEL LIKE EATING!!!! That's how you know Sweet Valley is DOOMED!!!!
Finally, a ray of sunshine brightens up this miserable excuse for a book!!!! Mr. F. tells Lila that he spoke to her mother. Grace will be flying in the following week!!!! Lila is THRILLED that her father finally got it!!!! She cries and hugs him. He returns her hug and cries tears of his own. It's very touching, and probably the best part of the book thus far. (Aside from MARGO, but I'm not to the point of discussing her just hold on!!!!)
Bruce lays in his bed on Saturday night (alone, luckily for me!!!) and thinks about how terrible his last date with Pamela was. She had been perfect as usual, and dinner had been good, but Bruce was unable to focus on anything but what a whore she is. He does what he does best- MAKES EXCUSES FOR PEOPLE!!!! (seriously, does he HAVE to justify EVERYTHING?!?!)- and decides that he loves her no matter what. He plans to go to her house as soon as the sun rises so they can have a romantic picnic.

*Sunday, 29 Days After The Jungle Prom...
Bruce arrives at Pamela's house with a dozen roses. (No word on the picnic basket...) As he's arriving, he sees her in her driveway. She's kissing some guy who drives a Trans Am (haha, score one for 1BRUCE1!!!!), and Bruce is understandably upset by this. He screams at her and calls her a slut and a harlot (oh wait, that was ME screaming at her!!!!!), and she tells Bruce that she was just breaking up with the Trans Am Guy. Bruce isn't falling for that shit, so he throws the flowers down and jumps into 1BRUCE1 (I wish he had rammed the stupid Trans Am...or maybe run over Pamela, but no such luck). he speeds away and Pamela yells "I LOVE YOU" after him. What a stupid ho!!!!
Back at the Spanish-tiled Wakefield rambler, Steven has finally reached his breaking point with all the weirdness. He begs Liz to go apologize to Jess, but she's too much of a zombie to do so. He tries to talk to Jess as well, but she's still all messed up as well. He realizes that his family is beyond help, so he decides to return to school and not come home for awhile. He says goodbye to Liz and takes off. Steven, OUT!!!! Jess overhears him talking to Liz and again blames Liz for ruining everything.
The police FINALLY make an appearance, approximately ONE MONTH after the JP!!!! Jess is downstairs when Alice answers the door. Jess notices that Alice looks scared, and she worries that somebody is about to get arrested. Then she remembers that the police have no idea that she was involved in any of it, so she knows that they've come for Liz. Liz comes downstairs and the Detectives (Marsh and Perez) inform her that her blood alcohol level was above the legal limit (NO SHIT!!!! She's a MINOR, so the limit is ZERO!!!! Again, I wonder why she wasn't tested at the scene...) and so was Sam's. They FINALLY get to questioning her, but she still has no idea what happened. Her parents defend her, saying that Liz would never lie, and she legitimately has no idea what happened. Jess thinks about telling the truth, but she realizes that he parents wouldn't come to her aid that fast if the situation were reversed and SHE was being questioned, so Jess keeps quiet. The police announce that Liz was in fact driving the Jeep at the time of the accident, so she is arrested for involuntary manslaughter. The police ask Liz how it feels to know that SHE killed her boyfriend (yes, they think SAM was Liz's boyfriend, that's some good Detective work right there...), and this pisses Jess off so much that she just sits back and watches Liz get Mirandized.
In another fabulous display of quality policemanship, the officers inform Ned and Alice that Liz should have been questioned weeks ago (just like I said!!!!). But, because she's A FREAKIN' WAKEFIELD (seriously this time!!!!) and her daddy is a totally important pillar of the legal community, she wasn't. (I am SO sick of this girl getting preferential treatment because she's an honor student and newspaper editor... I had a 4.5 GPA back in high school, and that didn't mean shit to the police when they questioned ME!!!! And it wasn't even for murder or drunk driving, it was for LITTERING and UNDERAGE SMOKING... slightly better, no?!?!) The officers also allow Ned to drive Liz to the booking facility in his own vehicle. (Any parent in that situation would consider helping their child run away!!!! Don't deny it!!!!) Jess marvels at how composed and cooperative Liz is during all of this. She doesn't miss a beat, even though she's obviously SOL at this point, and Jess is impressed. As Liz is led away, she looks at Jess and mouths, "I'm sorry..." with her eyes full of love...

Which bring us to...
The Most Boring Subplot EVER!!!!
Olivia Davidson (the crazy hippy art chick) hasn't had a date in FOREVER. Possibly because she's a hippy chick and doesn't shower, but most likely because her last boyfriend moved away to Paris to be an artist. But Olivia isn't all depressed like everybody else in SV. She goes to art class and discovers that one of her paintings sold at a recent art show...for ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!! Plus, the buyer wants her to give a speech at some benefit for an art foundation. And it seems that some hot blond guy in her art class has been checking her out lately...
Olivia is so happy about all of this that she wanders around downtown in a happy daze. She stops to talk to some puppies in the pet shop window. (This girl has "CRAZY FUTURE HOARDER" written all over her, mark my words!!!!) She tells the puppies how happy she is, and thinks about how she's probably the ONLY happy person in SV. I hate to do so, but I agree with that statement. Nicholas Morrow shows up and, rather than questioning the sanity of a girl who is talking to puppies, he takes her out to eat in celebration of her selling the painting. All we really learn from all of this is that Olivia needs a man, and Nicholas is single. But they don't seem to be able to work that equation.
Olivia goes to give her art speech. She puts on the only passable outfit of the entire book. She's dressed up for the occasion in purple tights, a black skirt, a purple shell top (whatever that means), and a long loose blazer. She goes to the address she was given, and there's no party!!!! (Of course not, who in their right mind would throw a party at this time?!?! The Wakefields AND Lila are out of commission, so it would suck for sure!!!) The blond guy from her art class bought the painting (cuz he's LOADED RICH!!!!! HELL YEAH!!!!!) and it was all a setup to ask her out. Dude's name is Harry Minton (haha) and he has gray eyes (three characters in this book are mentioned as having gray eyes- Sam and Margo...). Olivia likes him, and she's desperate for a date, so she's thrilled. SarahLynn is genuinely creeped out by's just WEIRD!!!!
Olivia and Nicholas go out to brunch the following weekend and she tells him about her date. He's happy for her, but he's still single. He is looking to change that (and I want to hook him up with Olivia just so I don't have to read anymore about her!!!!) and he wouldn't mind meeting somebody in an unconventional way like Olivia did. At last, all that "Hunks" bullshit comes into play after Nicholas leaves. Olivia sees an ad for the show in the paper and decides to sign Nicholas up for it. I personally would be PISSED if she did that to me, but sadly her boring-ass subplot ends before he finds out...

And Now, THE GOOD STUFF!!!!!!
In the dirty basement bedroom of a ghetto-ass house, sixteen year-old Margo is watching her 5 year-old foster sister, Nina, through the window. Nina is looking for her, but Margo lied about where she would be so Nina wouldn't be able to find her. Nina nearly steps on a broken bottle in the yard as she desperately searches for Margo. Margo laughs as she witnesses this. Nina adores Margo, but Margo hates the little brat. Margo hates a lot of things. She hates her life, and the dirty ghetto house she lives in with her foster family. Luckily, Margo has finally stolen enough money to run away to Cleveland on a bus. Sadly, Nina caught her stealing and now knows what Margo is planning to do. Margo needs to stop Nina from telling, and the Secret Voice in Margo's head (yep, she's got one!!!!) agrees that something must be done.
Margo wanders around the roach-filled kitchen (seriously, do these poor children NOT have a social worker?!?!) at 2 AM and enjoys the quietness of the house. She's hungry, and since they're ghetto, the only food in the house is some bread. Margo makes some toast, and it sticks in the toaster. She tries to get it out with A KNIFE (not so brilliant...) and flames shoot out like crazy. The Secret Voice starts to whisper "FIRE...FIRE", and Margo's plan begins to take shape.
A few days later, Margo is left at home to babysit Nina. Nina is always described as being DIRTY, and I have a serious problem with this!!! Somebody needs to evaluate this living situation. If they lived in SV, the Wakefields AND Social Services would be all over these people!!!! Margo spend the entire day being nice to Nina, because she's going to KILL HER that evening. She starves Nina all day, and refuses to feed her. Poor little Nina is forced to beg Margo for food. Margo finally tosses the bread to her and tells her to make toast. Margo thinks about how much her life sucks, and how Nina's life really sucks too. She considers taking Nina with her, but decides it would be too obvious and Nina would just get her in trouble. Margo splashes gas all over (Nina sees her and swears she won't tell, the girl is TERRIFIED of Margo!!!!) and goes to her bedroom. She dresses up like a boy and goes back to the kitchen. Nina's toast has stuck, and she tried to use her fingers to remove it. Margo calls her stupid and tosses her a butter knife. Margo leaves and locks the door from the outside. She watches the fire from a block away, and the neighbors go to investigate. They come back and announce that Nina's dead, but the "other girl" hasn't been found. They all assume that the fire was so large that it killed her as well. In her head, Margo picks out her new name -MICHELLE- and she gets the hell out of town!!!!
Margo gets as far as New York City somehow. The fire is on the news nationwide, and the news reports that Margo's body hasn't been found (obviously!!!). The Secret Voice tells Margo that she needs to keep moving. It tells her that she's heading west. She leaves NYC and gets a babysitting job for an 8 year-old boy named Georgie. He has a HOTT 18 year-old brother, and Margo wants to do him, but she decides not to because she doesn't need anything attached to her. She rents a room at the local YMCA and tricks Georgie's mom into giving her a pay advance. She also steals a ruby ring, and uses her force of will to make Georgie fear her as Nina had. The kid is terrified of her, so this sitting job is a pretty sweet gig for the time being.
The Secret Voice in her head reminds her that she will travel father in the near future. It has chosen CALIFORNIA ("Cal-i-for-niaaaa", *Arnold Voice*) and her new life is waiting...

The SarahLynn Summary
*Sam is dead and everyone else isn't, except for Regina, and Bruce is still kind of pissed about that.
*Jess and Liz still hate each other, but Liz secretly still loves Jess.
*Bruce has fallen in love with his dream girl, but she's a major whore.
*Lila is really sad, but her mom's coming to visit.
*Olivia is still boring.
*Margo is evil, and she's coming to California.
*Sweet Valley police are incompetent. Rather than taking a potential witness's statement at the scene of the accident, they wait like a month to question.
*Sweet Valley parents are just as incompetent. Rather than getting their children professional help, they seem to believe that they are still living in the Sweet Valley Twins world where everything is solved by the end of the book. They also allow their children to sink into deep states of depression for months at a time without noticing.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

SVH Magna Edition - A Night To Remember

I'm skipping forward a bit with this one (although, technically I'm NOT because this book was published in June of 1993 -BEFORE the book I previously recapped *The Christmas Ghost*...weird, I know) and getting right to the good stuff!!!! This was my absolute FAVORITE SVH moment because that tragic Jungle Prom led to the MARGO -and later NORA- stories, and I actually remember reading these books. (Back in 7th grade, FYI. I even did a series of book reports of these, but sadly I lost them many year ago, so we may never know 12 year-old SarahLynn's perspective...) I was HOOKED on this miniseries, I practically read it straight through (my mom actually has a photo of me reading this one at a junior high basketball game...I was on the Dance Squad, so I had some downtime before halftime), and I remember all of these very vividly.
The cover is another fold-out. It shows a corsage, and the twins in their prom photos. They look like they do on every other day, but they're in prom dresses, so I assume this is said Night To Remember. Jess has her hair in a FINGERWAVE. (I went to Cosmetology school, and I had to do SO many of these to graduate...even though NOBODY gets these anymore!!!!) The cover opens up and reveals pictures of Liz/Todd and Sam/Jess. The boys look all extra fancy, so I'm assuming that I was correct earlier when I said it was prom night. There's also a photo of Liz and Jess, but it's ripped in half. I've read this before, so I know that doesn't happen in the's just foreshadowing the future. The caption also foreshadows- "One night...Changed Sweet Valley forever." OMG, I can't wait to re-read this, especially once I look at the back cover and see BRUCE's name!!!! (And also LILA, I like her as well.)
Unfortunately, Kate William (haha, William + Kate) wrote this book. My good friend Jamie Suzanne must have been in food rehab or anorexia counseling at the time. I don't remember any other KW books off the top of my head, but I hope she writes as well as JS!!!!
I don't want to spoil anything in the intro, so let's travel back in time to two weeks before the madness that was The Jungle Prom...

Jessica bursts into Liz's room and announces that she has successfully completed her life's mission- achieving the PERFECT TAN!!!! And just in time for the SVH beach party (PARTY ON PAGE ONE!!!!! This is going to be FABULOUS, I can already tell). This launched KW into a description of the twins. Separate interests, BFFs, ect. Jess goes to shower before the party, Liz applies body lotion (this scene kind of disturbs me, especially after Jess re-enters wearing a towel). After Jess's shower, they discuss their fabulous boyfriends/escorts for the evening. They each think that they have the perfect boyfriend, and Jess mentions that Lila (who fits into this convo because she is currently single due to John Pfeifer being a complete asshole) is going to the party as well. We then get a description of Lila, and we learn that Liz finds her to be a spoiled snob, but she "tactfully" keeps that opinion to herself. (No, Elizabeth, you actually tell us that EVERY TIME Lila is introduced to us...) Lila had tried to get out of going to the party by saying she wanted to watch a Tarzan movie on TV (Lila doesn't have a DVR?!?!), but Jess thinks that, since the whole 'Don't Go Home With John' book happened, Lila is all scary and withdrawn and depressing, so she needs to go out.
Jess blowdrys her hair (it takes her FIVE minutes...I'm jealous because it usually takes me 1/2 an hour) and Liz thinks about how long it's been since Sweet Valley had a "big, really fun dance" (damn, it HAS been awhile!!!!), and comes up with a Great Idea. No, she's NOT starting a baby-sitting club or anything, she was just thinking about Lila watching the Tarzan movie and inadvertently comes up with a theme for SVH's upcoming prom...JUNGLE PROM!!!!! (I scream, "NOOOOO", and the BF looks at me and says, "Jungle Prom?" He knows exactly how I feel about this damn Jungle Prom.) I wish this book had a blank page right there, so I could quick write myself in and stop Liz from ever having this idea. Jess hasn't read this book yet, so she thinks that the Jungle Prom sounds like a fabulous idea, and she suggests that Liz involve one of her many environmental charities as a sponsor. Liz loves the idea- she even has a charity in mind, Environmental Alert (creative, I wonder if KW had JS help her with that gem), then the twins argue about how people should dress. Liz wants formal, Jess wants it jungle-style (I bet she does...), they realize that it doesn't need to be decided yet, so the argument ends quickly, and it's onto -my favorite part- OUTFIT DESCRIPTIONS!!!!!

Liz: Black cotton jersey shorts, jade-green tanktop; Jess: very short denim cut-offs, brightly colored T-shirt. Nothing too outrageous, but still outfits nonetheless!!!!

They go to the beach party. It's a school event, so all of our SV-BFFs are there, and most have dates. They're dancing to boombox music and going wild (well, Sweet Valley-style wild), but Liz and Todd are stupid -so they're off somewhere slow-dancing. I'm lazy, so I'll just list the couples:
*Jess and Sam Woodruff (from Bridgewater, Jess is IN LOVE, *and I also love Sam!!!!)
*Winston and Maria Santelli (the white one, or the black one? I never know.)
*DeeDee Gordon and Bill Chase
*Amy Sutton (her "knockout legs" are looking wonderfully skanky in a hot pink Lycra micromini, in case you care to know) and Barry Rork (Who the hell is he?)
*"Stuffed-shirt" Bruce Patman (Jess calls him that, not me -I say "SEXY ASS 18 YEAR OLD BRUCE!!!!!!") and Andrea Slade (the Rock Star's daughter, no relation to Brooke Dennis and her Rock Star Mom)
*Lila and Tony Alimenti (who is he? His name sounds like he's a Sopranos character...)

Jess and Same are making out. Everybody is (AT A SCHOOL EVENT...Mr. Collins must be chaperoning), except for Lila and Tony. Lila is still not over the John-thing (I don't blame her one bit, I have to say, date rape -even if it's ATTEMPTED- is NEVER acceptable, and it is TRAUMATIC, plus it's kind of nice to see somebody act like a normal -non-Wakefield- human being for once...), and we learn that she is currently in counseling at Project Youth. I feel horrible for Lila right now. The poor girl is OBVIOUSLY experiencing PTSD, and she's SO sad in this book. I again want to write myself in, because this is really hard to read.
Bruce tells everybody that Big Mesa is planning on crashing and raiding their party, so the boys brace themselves for a confrontation. The rivalry between the two schools is at an all-time high lately, it seems. (I'm thinking of great fictional school rivalries...Degrassi/Lakehurst, Bayside/Valley, ect.)
Since Big Mesa (who I despise, and will now refer to as "BM" for the remainder of this...because it's FUNNY) is not currently attacking, Bruce needs some cheap amusement to distract himself from this rage that he has towards BM. He dares Jess to swim out to the buoy in the middle of the lake (it's NIGHT, so it's DARK and scary). She takes off her shorts "striptease-style" (reason #2 why I think Mr. Collins is chaperoning this festivity), and Liz is scared for her. She thinks there's sharks in the water ("Baby, there's a shark in the water..."), and begs Jess not to. Jess is undeterred, and she swims 100 laps a day in the pool at home, so she does this dare with ease. Liz worries the entire time, and thinks that Jess is an "ungrateful idiot" for not taking her advice (for whatever reason, it's not like anything BAD happened, so let it go...) and she vows that she's done with Jess's shit. She's going to only look out for herself FROM NOW ON. Like, maybe even FOREVER.
Lila is unamused by all of this. She's NOT having a good time, even though Tony is a perfectly nice guy and he isn't ugly or poor or anything, and she wishes BM would hurry up and raid the party so she has an excuse to leave. She thinks about how lonely she is, and how her father is always gone. The only person she has to talk to these days is a guy named Nathan Pritchard, her counselor at Project Youth. She doesn't like being alone with Tony, so she agrees to dance with him. She actually lightens up a bit as she dances, she even smiles a little. But then a slow song comes on and she fakes an excuse so she doesn't have to dance with Tony. She watches her happy friends dancing. She -disturbingly- observes that that Barry Rork guy has "biceps like Popeye", at least on his right arm (hey now, he's a TENNIS PLAYER, so don't go thinking dirty thoughts!!!!), and he could pin Amy to the ground with one arm if he wanted to. (Amy would probably be into that, actually...) I feel really bad for Lila because her world has obviously turned into a dark, scark abyss since I last saw her. (OK, so the last time I saw her, she was in 6th grade at Jess's Elizabeth-themed Christmas party, but still.)
A short distances away, Bruce is dancing with Andrea. He's feeling all sorts of angry lately, and he just can't figure out why (or else he's just not admitting to it). He's still hoping BM raids so he can kick some ass. In the meantime, he busies himself by taking Andrea off to a quiet part of the beach where he's laid out a blanket. (Save you premeditated date-rape comments, because I refuse to believe them!!!! NOT LISTENING!!!!) He kisses her deeply (and mentally rates the kiss as "good, but not great", I'll show him "GREAT"!!!!!), Andrea is into him so she starts trying to unbutton his polo shirt. Bruce thinks about how he considers her merely a "way to pass the time" (obviously, because I was only SEVEN when this was written). Bruce is seriously bored by her, even if she is a rich hottie with a Rock Star Dad, and he thinks that she's shallow and she makes it too easy. This girl is pathetic, she keeps after Bruce despite the fact that he's told her repeatedly that he's not into commitment. Luckily, Bruce gets his wish and BM raids the party!!!! They're REALLY badass (not!!!), all dressed in their school colors -red and black-, and some students are wearing bull masks -their mascot is a bull. The BM assholes spray shaving cream all over the place, tip over some food tables, grab a few girls and drag them a couple feet (scary, especially for poor Lila), AND they throw the CASSETTES IN THE WATER!!!!! O. M. F. G. NOT THE CASSETTES!!!!! SOMEBODY SAVE THEM!!!!!
Then it's over, and the BM kids leave. Bruce is PISSED (because, you know, he's been kind of a rage-a-holic these days...) and he wants REVENGE!!!! He also blames Enid's BF Hugh for having a part in all of that (because he's FROM BIG MESA, that damn traitor!!!!). The party relocates to the Dairi Burger, but Bruce doesn't go in for milkshakes... Instead, he sits outside in 1BRUCE1 after ditching Andrea and gathers his closet confidants (the book calls the "cronies", but that word reminds me of the best show ever to air on Comedy Central -LIL BUSH!!!!, and I am still not over the fact that it was canceled, so I'll call them whatever I prefer) for a secret strategy meeting. Bruce's inner circle consists of former Club X members (minus Jess, he thinks she ruined everything back when Club X was up and running), and Winston and Roger (yes, Poor Roger Barrett-turned-Barrett-Patman). Bruce is focused on one thing above all else, (sadly, it's NOT me) REVENGE!!!! (This is a theme with Bruce in this book, I can already tell.) Roger and Winston aren't up for it, so they leave Bruce and his cohorts from Club X to exact it on their own.
Inside, everyone else is also talking about how much they hate BM. Even Liz is dropping the angel facade and bitching (*sarcasm* how out of character for her!!!!! *sarcasm*) about how those damn BM assholes trashed the ORACLE (Oh, no, not the Oracle!!!!) in their paper, The Bull's Eye. Luckily, SVH has "another bunch of athletic matches against Big Mesa coming up". I don't know why I just did a direct-quote of that, I guess I thought it was a funny way of saying, "SVH is gonna play some more sports, and there doesn't seem to be any other high schools in California, so they're gonna play those dicks from Big Mesa like 837 times during this extended school year". The SVH students (well, most of them) will get their revenge on the field!!!! Or the court, or the track, or the pool, ect.
Lila doesn't even bother to go to the DB with her friends. Tony, being the gentleman that he is, drives her to her expansive Georgian (for this book, at least)-style mansion on Country Club Drive. Tony walks her to the door and leans closer to her as she panics and slams the door in his face. Lila locks the door, and thinks about how afraid she is. She sits on the floor and cries. Her father calls (he's away on business), and Lila thinks about how little he actually knows about her. He has NO IDEA what she's going through. She didn't tell him she was seeing Nathan at Project Youth, because he doesn't even know about JOHN!!!!! (I think it's REALLY sad that Lila has NOBODY to talk to about ANYTHING, and I feel bad for Lila.) Lila hangs up the phone and is sadder than ever. Nobody loves her!!!! Everybody is out to hurt her, it seems. She thinks about her mother and how she abandoned her when she was just an infant. Her mother has never visited her, EVER, and that breaks my heart. Lila and I cry some more.
At school on Monday, Liz announces that Environmental Alert has agreed to sponsor the Jungle Prom (DAMN THEM FOR THAT!!!!). Everybody is SUPER Thrilled, and they shower Liz with praise and adoration. She gives Jess her due credit for coming up with the charity idea, but her little circle of followers is too busy kissing her ass to care about Jessica. Everyone thinks Liz should be Prom Queen, and it seems Liz has started to think that way herself.
I'm feeling sick after having to read like 30 pages of people telling Liz how awesome and perfect she is, so I'm quite thrilled when the book switches to Lila (it abruptly switches from one character to another ALL THE TIME, it's kind of hard to follow). Lila is in her lime green Triumph, arriving at Project Youth for a session with Nathan. We learn that Nate is also her guidance counselor at school (umm, OK...I think that would be considered a conflict of interest, but whatever) and his office has throw pillows on the chairs and sofa. I wonder if he's met Tom McKay yet, but Alice Wakefield probably decorated his office so I'm going to say the fruity decor is not of his choosing. (Note: I occasionally make unintentional gay jokes, and references that could be considered homophobic, but I am by NO MEANS anti-gay. In fact, I have TWO MOMMIES!!!!) Nate calls Lila by her nickname ("Li", I don't remember anyone calling her that before this book...) and she doesn't totally hate him, but she doesn't feel fully comfortable discussing every detail of her life with him. He asks about her dad, she explains that he's busy because he's important (making excuses for him abandoning you again, Li?). The topic switches quickly to Lila's date with Tony. Lila cries and says that Tony came on too strong (I was there, Li, he really didn't!!!!). Nate asks if he tried to have -wait for it- "SEX" with her (yes, SEX is actually written right there on -of all the pages in this book- page 137!!!!!), and Lila admits that he wasn't that forceful. Nathan says that Lila needs to feel in control of her situation, and that talking about these things will help her accomplish that. Nathan asks her some questions (and I myself question his methods because I watch Law and Order and it sounds to me like he's one of those parents coaching their children through falsified accounts of horrible acts... *cough* MichaelJacksonTrial *cough*. It really does sound like he's putting ideas in her head, but it guess it's like supposed to be reverse psychology.) Nate uses his questionable methods to suggest that Tony might not have been so bad, and Lila agrees. Lila is scared, I get it, and I miss the Lila I used to know.
Meanwhile, Liz and "tall, strong, wonderful" Todd are eating at Casey's. SVH's basketball team is playing BM the night before the Jungle Prom!!!! Lia and Todd are psyched for the game, and the prom. Todd is imagine Liz and himself as King and Queen, and Liz is really starting to get into the idea. On the other side of town, at Guido's, Jess and her crew (Lila, Amy, former-fat-girl Robin Wilson) are also discussing the prom. Jess skipped the Prom Committee (from her on, the "PC") meeting that day, so she thinks that Liz is probably pissed at her, but she doesn't care that deeply. Jess has a brilliant idea- She wants to ban Big Mesa students from their prom!!!! Amy points out that Hugh, Enid's BF, goes to Big Mesa (I just couldn't in good conscious write "goes to BM", I kept cracking up!!!!), but Jess "frankly (doesn't) give a darn what drippy Enid and her drippy boyfriend were going to do". ( 1- what is a "DRIP"?!?! and 2- I don't much care what Enid and Hugh do either...) Jess is also thinking about something else- how badly she wants to be Prom Queen. And, since she's Jess, NOBODY will stand in her way!!!!
Jess (and Liz's) desire to be Prom Queen grows even more when Liz announces that Enivronmental Alret is going to give whoever wins the crown a free trip to Brazil, plus a job as a student staffer who gets to do speeches and PR stuff for them. Jess doesn't hear anything after "free trip to Brazil", so she spends the entire day picturing herself surrounded by South American "hunks" and wearing an "impossibly brief bikini" on the beach. I Googled the last quote, and I saw some scary stuff!!!! I would like to see how SV boys would react if Jess was wearing some of the things I have just seen... Lila tells Jess that Brazil is over-rated, and California beaches are better. (Sorry, Lila, I'm going to have to settle this and declare Brazilian beaches to be superior to California beaches.) Lila points out all the work Jess will have to do for Environmental Alert, and tells Jess that she'll probably be too busy saving the rainforests to go to the beach. Jess is shocked to learn that BRAZIL HAS RAINFORESTS!!!! (She really didn't know this?!?! Even I'm embarrassed for her. At least she's pretty.) Jess decided to tell them she's allergic to jungles. I imagine that will work about as well as the time I told my boss I was allergic to snow...
Alice comes home, and Lila observes how "smashing" and young she looks, with a jealous feeling in her stomach. Alice asks them about their days (Jess got an A on a French quiz...interesting), and says she's making Chinese food (Jess's favorite) and cold rice and salad (Liz's favorite) for dinner. Lila wishes she had a mother to ask her about her day and cook her favorite foods, and I can see the foreshadowing of future books taking shape. After Alice goes to start cooking, Jess just keeps rolling with the brilliance and says, "Moms are great, aren't they, Lila?" Lila wants to punch her in the face (oh wait, BRUCE wants to punch people, Lila just feels sad), and she says that she wouldn't know. Even I thought this was a thoughtless statement on Jess's part...what is up with her in this chapter?!?! Did all those pool chemicals kill her brain cells, or did she get into the Jungle Juice a few chapters too early?
A few days pass. Liz goes to her PC meetings, Jess skips the meetings. The entire committee is voting for Liz to be Prom Queen (Jess still doesn't know any of this is going on...uh oh!!!!). Liz brings up the dress code issue. She mentions that she wants it to be formal, but some students think a jungle dress code would be more fun. Despite Jess's absence, Liz holds a vote on the subject, and formal wins out. Liz also suggests that they make a miniyearbook to give away as a prom souvenior. Everybody loves her idea, of course, and Liz thinks that she is sure to win the Prom Queen's crown after that brilliant display of chairmanship...
There's A LOT of wasted pages in this book. I swear, both Liz and Jess spend like half the book talking about how they're going to be Queen. And neither one has any idea that the other wants to be Queen, but everyone else seems to know. I'm getting really sick of having to add this into EVERY SINGLE PARAGRAPH!!!!! I get it- Liz wants to be Prom Queen, Jess wants to be Prom Queen, ONLY ONE WILL WIN!!!!! Frankly, I'm sick of discussing this issue, so I will trust you to remember that this is the case.
Finally, the twins shut up about being Prom Queen (for like half a page!!!!). We switch to Bruce. Andrea wants to make a date with him that weekend (the weekend before the Jungle Prom, in case you're keeping track), but Bruce is sick of her. He is trying to trick her into breaking up with him so he doesn't have to do it himself. He thinks she's pathetic, but at the same time he's having fun using her and seeing how far he can push her. (USE ME, BRUCE!!!!!!) He responds to her offer with the most annoying thing he can think of to say, "Maybe...if nothing better comes up". (ie. Me!!!!!) Suddenly, there's a commotion in the parking lot. Those BM assholes (LOL, I just realized that I have called them that several times without realizing the obvious inuendo...) have rolled through and trashed vehicles!!!! I would laugh, but they've VIOLATED 1BRUCE1, so now I'm joining Bruce in his quest for REVENGE!!!!! My favorite Porsche now has "SVH WIMP" written on the hood in shaving cream.
Several other vehicles have also been vandalized (all with shaving cream, LAME!!!! Not ONE slashed tire or busted-out tail light...) The book only tells us what happened to the IMPORTANT ones:
*Twins' Jeep: shaving cream all over the windows
*Lila's Triumph: "SVH BIMBO"

Bruce is "nearly blind with impotent anger" (whatever THAT is supposed to mean, I do not like the use of 'Bruce' and 'impotent' in the same sentence...) and he wants REVENGE!!!! But the BM students are long gone, so he merely lets the anger simmer beneath the surface for awhile longer. Much to my happiness, he removes his shirt (!!!!!) and begins to clean 1BRUCE1...awwwww, he LOVES that car soooo much, he LITERALLY gave it the shirt off his back!!!! I like this very much, and I wish the book had pictures like in the SVKids books...
Sadly, I do not get to hear about Bruce wiping the shaving cream off as his rippling biceps throb with the effort, but that doesn't stop me from imagining it in my head!!!! Sadly, the book switches to Liz at the Oracle office with Mr. Collins. He's telling her how great she is (seriously, it seems like all I've been hearing so far is how she should be Prom Queen...) and she's loving it because she's a praise-whore!!! Big Mesa has mailed Liz a copy of their newspaper. (SVH's team is called the Gladiators, have they ever mentioned that before? I do not recall ever hearing it...) They have a front page article that trashes the SVH athletics ONE BY ONE (WTF, who is in charge at BM?!?! This would NEVER be acceptable, EVER!!!! I wish they had trashed Lila, because she learned what libel is in 'A Christmas Without Elizabeth', and her dad has 17 lawyers, so she would totally sue everyone in Big Mesa.) They even trash Todd!!! They say that they should change his nickname from 'Whizzer' (WTF?!?!) to 'Whimper' because they're gonna kick some SVH ass at the Big Game and thus he will cry. No, I think 'Whizzer' is a WAY worse nickname, there's just SO much you could do with that one. They also trash the SVH cheerleaders (again, BY NAME, and they're REALLY hard on Jess), but Liz still refuses to sink to their level. She decided to turn the other cheek and not dignify it with a response. Me, I would have personally delivered a copy of the paper to the superintendent of the Big Mesa School District, and BM probably would have had to forfeit the Big Game and some teachers -and possibly the Principal- would surely have been fired...
This book keeps switching characters on me (the next one does too, so I may have to style my next recap differently), so now I get to read about Lila. Good, I like her better anyways!!! She's at therapy with Nathan again. He really wants her to open up to him and tell him what's bothering her. He wants her to trust him so badly, but poor Lila just can't allow herself to do that. It really breaks my heart to see Lila like this. She has everything, but yet she has nothing and she's just so lost.
My sadness for Lila is soon forgotten as I turn the pages and find Bruce practicing his tennis playing in his backyard. He's all psyched up for his upcoming match against BM. Roger is also in the competitive spirit. He's on the track team, and they are also playing BM soon!!! Bruce and Roger take a break, and Bruce strips down to his shorts because he's all sweaty. (!!!!!) Bruce goes for a quick swim, and Roger asks him about Andrea. Roger asks Bruce why he's so mean and uncaring towards her. (And by the way he says it, I think Roger sort of LIKES Andrea...) Bruce doesn't answer, he's not in a talking mood and he hates when Roger tries to have brotherly conversations with him. ("Broments", I like to call them.) Bruce is again feeling the rage rising up inside him, so he leaves before he can punch Roger in the face (lucky for me, I don't know who I would side with in that fight). As soon as he's alone, Bruce thinks about his anger and how it's been overtaking his life lately. He feels like he's a ticking time-bomb, and he wonders when he will finally explode...
Back to Passive Liz in the Oracle office. She's reading the new edition of the Oracle, and she notices that Caroline Pearce's article on the Jungle Prom has been changed. Instead of the boring short article that Liz has dictated, Caroline has a full interview with...JESSICA!!!! Every sentence begins with "Jessica"!!!! (Hey Liz, she's just giving the people what they want!!!) Liz is MAD because she feels that Jess is trying to take all the credit without doing the work, so she confronts Jess. Jess says that Caroline asked her about the article, and Jess merely helped her make it more interesting. Liz decides that it's just a case of Jessica being Jessica, so she lets it go. But then (finally, on page 137...that's where all the important stuff happens!!!) they both realize that they want to be Prom Queen!!! Jess laughs when she finds out Liz wants to be Queen, because it's more of a Jessica Thing than an Elizabeth Thing. This pissed Liz off -again- and she yells at Jess. SHE wants to be in the spotlight for once!!!! SHE wants all the attention!!!! (Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!!!!!) After she finishes her ranting, the twins stare coldly at one another and both refuse to back down.
The staredown lasts through the entire dinner, and afterwards Jess goes to see Sam because there's just too much crazy tension in her house. (She obviously has NO IDEA what happens in the following book, it's like amplified by one million...) She makes out with Sam and they discuss his big dirt bike race that's coming up in a couple weeks. Sam's happy that she's going to spend an afternoon at the dirty bike track with him, and he tells her how much he loves her. (I always LOVED their relationship. Sam was the best thing to ever happen to Jess, IMO.) He also breaks my heart when he says, "I could stay with you forever, Jess". (I'm wiping away tears, imagining their wedding and future...) Jess thinks about how happy she is, and she wonders how long the feeling will actually last. She wishes it could last forever. They talk some more, and it's implied that they will be spending the ENTIRE PROM NIGHT TOGETHER!!!!!
The following day, there's a PEP RALLY at SVH!!!!! They need to up the school spirit factor for all the upcoming athletic matches against that damn Big Mesa, I guess. Liz is in the bleachers, watching Jess cheer. ("She wears high heels, I wear sneakers, she's cheer captain, and I'm on the bleachers..." Sorry, I had to.) Liz thinks about how Jess truly does have more school spirit than anyone else, and Jess goes onto prove this to us. She's written a SPECTACULAR CHEER for all the SVH athletes. Each one is mentioned by name (let's, tennis, AND track teams -girls AND boys...that's like a 30 minute cheer!!!!) and there's "dazzling jumps" after each name!!!! Jess finishes off the routine with a spectacular tumbling pass (hmmm, lots of flips and handsprings...where's her fulls?!?! You HAD to be able to do a full twist to be on Varsity at my school, and yet she's the CAPTAIN...) that ends with a Chinese split. (I was a cheerleader/dancer for five years, but before that I was a gymnast, so I know that a Chinese split is where the legs go out on the sides, but "Chinese split" is more of a martial arts term...interesting.) Jess also makes a speech to the entire student body, and tells them to elect the person with the most school spirit as their Prom Queen. (She never actually mentions herself, but Liz knows exactly what she's doing.) Liz is again angered by this. (This book has lots of anger issues...I think it needs to go the therapy like Lila because she seems to be the only one who isn't running around about to turn into the Incredible Hulk...)
After the pep rally, Jess drags Lila to Lisette's for some prom dress shopping. (TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE PROM!!!! I'm actually going to prom this year *for the FIRST time ever!!!!* and I bought my dress back in November!!!!) Lila thinks about how she doesn't really want to go to prom, and how she just doesn't give a shit about anything that she used to care about. It's almost like she's become an entirely different person, and I wonder if perhaps SHE had an evil doppleganger who has taken her place... Nathan thinks Lila should go to prom because she hasn't been out if months, and Lila is considering going just because he thinks she should. Jess is babbling about being Prom Queen, and Lila tells her not to just assume that she will win. Lila says that Liz has gotten pretty popular these days and she seems determined to win. Jess forgets about all of that when she sees the perfect dress!!! (Midnight blue taffeta with a low-cut neck and back, because nothing says sexy like some taffeta!!!!) And it's -of course- A SIZE 6!!!! (I have to comment on their dress size at this point. I suppose a size 6 was considered perfect back then, but now it seems like a size 6 is a little on the...full-figured side. I have nothing against curvy girls -if you got it, rock it!!!!- and I think all bodies are beautiful, but most of the girls I know don't wear above a size 3/4...)
Unfortunately, Liz is also at the Mall with Enid. Liz suggests Lisette's, and she soon finds her own perfect dress. She goes to try it on, and of course she runs into Jess in the dressing room. They both picked the same dress!!!! (And my mind immediately flashes to Paige and Manny on Degrassi...)

Is it just me, or could this scene right here be used as an illustration in a future SV book? I could swear that I'm looking right into the future...

Liz and Jess have yet another staredown in the dressing room. It ends with neither one wanting the dress. Seeing the other wearing it totally ruined it for them. It was probably an ugly dress anyways. Both are now more determined than ever to be Prom Queen. (And I am now more determined than ever to finish this recap so I never have to write about someone wanting to be Prom Queen EVER AGAIN!!!!!)
I get a break from all that Prom Queen BS when the book does what it does best- switches characters!!!! Luckily, Jess and Liz were both in that last chapter, so I get to read about Bruce now!!!! He's at the marina (uh-oh!!! Look out for crazy bitches who want to be Wakefields!!!) and he's about to go sail his daddy's yacht when he runs into Nicholas Morrow. (He's Regina's brother, in case you forgot.) Bruce isn't thrilled that his dead girlfriend's brother is there. Nicholas is a nice guy, so he tries to conversate with Bruce. He mentions that he hasn't seen Bruce since Regina died (and Bruce wonders how Nicholas can say her name without crying or cursing...awww), and he asks Bruce about Andrea. Because Sweet Valley is such a small town, Andrea just happens to be Nicholas's ex. Nicholas is cool with Bruce dating her though, but Bruce is over all of it so he gets really quiet and retreats into his own mind as Nicholas talks to him. Bruce looks at Nicholas and thinks about how sad his eyes look. Bruce can't bear to look at him after he notices that, so he forgets about sailing and runs away. It's pretty sad, actually. I think maybe Bruce and Lila need to sit down and talk, maybe they could help each other in some way. Bruce goes home and walks around his bedroom. He doesn't even bother to turn the lights on because he's just that upset about everything. He looks at a picture of Regina that he's hidden in his dresser drawer and he cries "anguished, bitter tears".
Meanwhile, Jess and the rest of the SVH cheerleaders have gotten their revenge on the BM cheerleaders at the SVH/BM track meet (Roger won!!!! Yay!!!!) by giving them trick gum that turned their teeth green. It's so juvenile and lame that I will not even dignify it by commenting on how juvenile and lame it is!!! Jess is still gloating about it HOURS later as she and Lila take a walk on the beach. They run into Nathan and his dog, and Jess is amazed that he's so hot, and she wonders why Lila never mentioned his hotness before. Nathan asks them to join him, but Lila suddenly doesn't feel like walking anymore, so they get in her Triumph and drive away. Jess complains about Liz taking the Jeep that day, and she suddenly realizes that she forgot to pick up Sam after the meet!!! Oh no, Sam's gonna be PISSED!!!
Luckily, Liz is stalking Sam. (Okay, not really, but it would be kind of interesting if she did...) She has been at school all afternoon working on the prom and she's super stressed about it. She wishes Jess would help, but her thoughts are interrupted by poor forgotten Sam standing on the side of the road. Since Jess neglected to pick him up, he was walking to the Wakefields' house, hoping somebody would be there to drive him back to Bridgewater. Liz offers to drive him home, and he accepts. On the way, they discuss the prom, and Sam says he wishes that all of this Prom Queen BS would end so Liz and Jess can be friends again. Sam misses all the fun they used to have together (NOT in a dirty way, this isn't "The Basketball Diaries", sorry!!!) and thinks that all of this is silly. I agree, I knew there was a reason I liked Sam so much!!! Liz thinks about what he said, and she also marvels at how good he and Jess are as a couple. She loves the fact that Sam and Jess are in love and that Jess finally has a boyfriend as wonderful as her precious Todd.
The day after the track meet, those dicks from BM print yet another article in their paper trashing our precious SVH. They accuse students of cheating (again, naming names!!!) and SVH administration of hiring biased, untrained referees. They also accuse the SV cheerleaders of trying to POISON the BM squad (LOL, I laughed SO hard when I read that part, because I'm just that immature). Obviously, they're exaggerating and just trying to start some shit, and I again wonder who is in charge over there at BM... The article also calls for REVENGE ON SWEET VALLEY HIGH. Uh oh, there's bout to be some serious shit going down!!!!! Liz is infuriated (yet AGAIN), and she wants to retaliate. This time TODD (seriously, of all people!!!) tells her to let it go and turn the other cheek. When TODD suggests NOT kicking ass, you know things are ass-backwards in Sweet Valley!!!! Is this a parallel universe or something?!?! Liz agrees to let it go for the time being, because she has other things to worry about- like the fact that Jess is currently at lunch passing out Save-The-Rainforest buttons to get more votes for Prom Queen. Liz is pissed by this as well, and again Todd suggests that she ignore it. (I swear, they totally just wrote the same thing twice and replaced "Big Mesa" with "Jessica") Liz has finally had enough!!! She's SO sick of Jess taking all the credit and stealing her spotlight!!!!
Jess goes to dinner with Sam that night. She goes on and on about being Prom Queen, for like the billionth time. (I'm about to run for Prom Queen myself just to shut them up!!!! I have long blonde hair and aqua eyes, I could totally win!!!!) Sam still thinks the whole issue is stupid, so he tries to talk her into making up with Liz so they both shut up about it. I like the way he thinks. This time, it's Jess's turn to get angry. She finds out Liz drove Sam home and she thinks Liz did it to make her look bad. She decides that Liz is a shady bitch and she no longer trusts her.
Meanwhile, poor sad Lila is at home, alone again. She's looking through her massive walk-in closet and thinking about the prom. She has an entire wall full of gowns, and she knows that she's the prettiest girl in Sweet Valley, plus Nathan is chaperoning the prom. She thinks about how cute he is and realizes that he's actually helping her get through her life. She also thinks that he's probably her best friend in the entire world right now (how sad, I'll be her best friend!!!!) and she's kind of falling in love with him. (Uh oh!!!!) She hopes to run into him at the prom when she's wearing a pretty dress and looking gorgeous... I would have something to say about all of this, but Lila seems happy for the first time in this miserable excuse for a book, so I'll just let her have that much.
The following day, Jess decides to FINALLY grace one of Liz's boring-ass PC meetings with her presence. She brings her friends, so Liz won't be able to manipulate the PC into doing things her way. Jess suggests that SVH ban Big Mesa from their prom entirely. Liz is, of course, against it (and here I thought she too HATED BM...), so she suggests that NO students from other schools (ie. SAM) be allowed to attend. Jess is horrified, and the PC takes a vote on the issue. It's a tie, so the whole school votes on the issue the next day. Liz wins, and the prom is open to everyone with a ticket.
In the midst of all this, Sweet Sixteen Magazine wants to do a story on the Jungle Prom because it's such a unique concept. They're going to interview Liz and Jess, and photograph them in organically-produced fashions!!! Liz shows up to meet the writer and photographer the following day, but Jess is running late as usual. The photographer is a real creeper, and he wants to shoot his pics outside to get that "sexy, healthy glow" from the afternoon lighting. (SEXY??? Dude, maybe you shouldn't be working for a magazine aimed at 16 year-olds...) Creepy photo guy meets Liz, TOUCHES her hair, and declares her to be absolutely gorgeous. He really wants to see how hot Jess is as well, but she's STILL not there, so Liz is forced to do everything solo. When Jess shows up (45 minutes late, she wanted to look PERFECT), Lois Waller (!!!! Sadly, most of Lois's lines consist of her babbling about food...) tells her that Liz already left. Jess is pissed and wants to shoot Liz (seriously, she says that!!!!), but there's nothing she can do about it now.
Jess waits to Liz to get home from the shoot in her darkened house. Liz finally arrives, and Jess immediately jumps on her for lying. Liz isn't hearing it, she tells Jess that it was HER fault, and this leads to another standoff.
Liz channels her anger into an article for the Oracle. She totally trashes BM in the harshest words that she knows. Todd calls her article "hostile" and tries to talk her out of printing it, but Liz resolved to be a different person in chapter 1, so she goes on with printing it.
The next day -Friday- is the Big Game vs. BM!!!! Jess is cheering, and Liz is also there to support Todd. We get a nice full-paragraph description of Todd running plays (!!!!Like I said, I'm a basketball girl!!!!) and he makes the game-winning shot!!!! Liz sits in the stands, being a real bitch. She hates BM, and Enid and Hugh because Hugh goes to Big Mesa. Enid calls her on her bitchy attitude, but Liz just snaps back at her and nobody enjoys the game. Suddenly, the BM bench is bombarded by water balloons!!!! Bruce and his crew (in their Club X jackets!!!!) are responsible... No fights break out or anything, but it's very clear that SVH and BM will be going to WAR very soon!!!!
After the game, everyone celebrates at the Dairi Burger. Liz and Todd are surrounded by admirers, and Jess watches bitterly from her and Sam's table. Everyone LOVES Liz and Todd, and Jess is stuck with a "nobody boyfriend" who rides dirt bikes and lives in Bridgewater, so they aren't a power couple like Liz and Todd. Jess is kind of jealous when she realizes that Todd's game-winner makes him the obvious choice for Prom King. Jess also begins to prepare for battle (but her opponent is LIZ, not Big Mesa). Also preparing for battle is Bruce. he and his boys are in the back of the DB, wearing their cool jackets, and plotting out their secret revenge. Tensions are rising all over the place...
The night of the Jungle Prom has arrived (NO!!!!!! I wish I had the Butterfly Effect so I could go back in time and stop what happens after this!!!!). Liz is decorating the gym and thinking about Jess. They still aren't speaking, and their last fight was the worst fight they've ever had. All of the stress finally gets to Liz, and -on page 261, a new record!!!!- she breaks down and cries. Jess shows up for her decorating shift hours later. She purposely picked the last shift so all of the work would be done before she arrived, and so she has nothing to do but admire how nice and jungle-y the gym looks. (One might call it a "Jungle-gym"!!!!! LOL, I'm so funny sometimes.) She climbs up on the stage and imagines herself as Prom Queen. In the midst of her fantasies, she notices that Liz has left her day planner behind. Liz's ENTIRE life is planned out in that thing!!!! Jess reads it and realizes that Liz has worked SUPER hard on the entire prom, and she thinks to herself that maybe Liz does deserve to be Prom Queen.
At the same time, Lila is at home by herself. She's getting ready for prom and seriously crushing on Nathan. Her dad calls, and she tells him that it's Prom Night. He hasn't read this book, so he tells her to go and enjoy herself. Lila wishes he was around more, but she doesn't want to be sad anymore, so she goes back to thinking about Nathan.
Liz gets dressed for prom (a flowy ice-blue silk dress), and so does Jess (a ruby-red strapless dress that's VERY clingy), but neither speaks to the other. They run into each other in the bathroom, but neither wants to apologize, so it's super tense. Not helping matters any, Sam and Todd arrive together and the twins are forced into group pictures. They put on fake smiles, but everyone leaves the house pissed off and tense.
At the Jungle Prom, everybody praises Liz for creating such a perfect jungle atmosphere. She gets lots of attention, and she appears to be a shoo-in for Queen. This upsets Jess and she tries to gain some sympathy from Sam. He's totally over the whole thing (as am I, Sam!!!! Wanna go hit up the Dairi Burger or Miller's Point instead?!?! Oh wait, I've been drinking, so maybe I shouldn't drive...) so he just tries to talk some sense into her. She isn't having that, so she storms off and tries to have fun by herself.
While she's wandering around admiring her friends' hideously-bright 1990's prom fashions, BM kids show up and demand to be let in. Nobody stops them, but Bruce witnesses this and he is PISSED. Jessica is as well, but for some reason TODD stops them from kicking some BM ass. Seriously, what's up with Todd? He should give Bruce some of those meds that they got him on...
Lila doesn't care about any of this. She's hovering near the wall and trying to hide behind a jungle plant. Nathan appears and they talk for a few minutes. Their convo is light, friendly, and he even calls her "Li" like her friends do. (since when?!?!) But then Nathan has to go deal with the BM bunch and all their bullshit, so he leaves Lila by herself. He does promise to dance with her though.
The Jungle Prom continues on, much to my sadness and dismay. I really wish I could just write myself into the book so I could fix everything for everyone... Seriously. reading this book is worse than watching "Vanilla Sky". My heart breaks even more as Todd is crowned Prom King (I voted for BRUCE...) and there's now ONE HOUR remaining until the Queen is crowned (I am slightly happy about this, because I simply cannot stomach any more "I'M going to be Queen" bullshit!!!!). Liz cries as Todd gets his crown and everyone gives him a rousing round of applause. Todd now has to do his Kingly duties (counting ballots and drawing raffle prizes), so Liz is alone. She runs into Sam and they decide to dance since Jess is still off somewhere trippin'. Jess sees them dancing and thinks about how Liz is out to steal EVERYTHING from her. She decides that Liz is an evil, boyfriend-stealing bitch, and SHE MUST BE STOPPED!!! Jess finds a guy from BM who is obviously drunk and coerces him into giving her some alcohol. The guy is so drunk that he's trying to guess what her name is. He guesses Elizabeth and Jess nearly snaps, but instead she just says "I'm JESSICA!!!!" and leaves him to his drunkenness. Jess pours some alcohol into Liz's drink (it's MAGIC clear alcohol, so it can't be smelled or tasted...I think I'll order a bottle of that next time I go to the club), because Liz was DUMB ENOUGH TO LEAVE HER DRINK UNATTENDED!!!! Seriously, she almost deserves what happens next for being so stupid. (Just ask Darcy from Degrassi about the dangers of leaving your drink abandoned!!!!) Liz unknowingly drinks half of her spiked punch and then pours the rest into Sam's cup because it was nearly empty. (Gross, that's how H1N1 spreads, Liz...) Sam also consumes his Magic Jungle Juice, and he and Liz return to their dancing.
Lila is also dancing. With NATHAN. I don't know if that's considered appropriate, but I'll let it go because Lila is still happy. She wonders if Nathan likes her like she likes him, and she never gets the chance to ask because their dance is suddenly interrupted. Everyone's watching Liz and Sam, and people are whispering that they're DRUNK!!!! Liz and Sam are doing a little of the ol' bump-and-grind. Nathan shows how good of a chaperone he is by saying that he isn't going to interrupt the Liz and Sam Sex Show because Liz is -well, she's ELIZABETH. Liz would NEVER get drunk, and Lila confirms that Liz is not a drinker. Everyone thinks SO highly of Liz and it makes me sick!!!! The girl is OBVIOUSLY wasted, and I worry that she's going to get alcohol poisoning (because if you can DIE from one line of cocaine, then surely half a glass of Magic Jungle Juice can give you alcohol poisoning), but everyone thinks Liz and Sam are just having a REALLY good time, so the Jungle Prom continues. In the midst of all this, more of those dicks from BM arrive. They don't have tickets, but they have money and some brought dates, so Nathan lets them in. (I'm overlooking his questionable counseling methods, but this is getting ridiculous.)
Liz is still off enjoying herself when she sees Enid. She runs to her BFF and apologizes for being such a bitch at the Big Game. Liz is drunk to the point of no return, so she finally realizes that her argument with Jess is insanely stupid and that Jess was BORN TO BE PROM QUEEN. Sam agrees with her, and he tells Liz how much he loves Jess. (Again, I cry as I imagine their wedding...) Liz withdraws from the Prom Queen race, and Jess wins by default. She thinks she won legitimately, but some bitchy girls tell her as she's being crowned that Liz dropped out, so her victory is bittersweet. Jess gets her crown, and she feels hollow and empty. She wonders if being Prom Queen was really worth losing her sister over. As she stands in Liz's rightful place beside Todd, they witness Sam and Liz embracing on the dance floor. Neither one of them is paying attention to any of this, and they look more than friendly. (Are there any fan-fics of this secret moment between Sam and Liz? I can't help but wonder what they said and how they came to be embracing...I like to imagine that Sam had an engagement ring for Jess in his pocket, and he was preparing to propose after prom...) Todd finally acts like himself (for the first time in this book) and says that he wants to run into the crowd and rip Liz and Sam apart. Jess just stands there, feeling nothing. (I wish she had gone all Carrie White on their asses!!!! That would have made the 2 hours I've spent reading this worth it.)
As all of this unfolds, Bruce is over in the shadows brooding. He is disappointed that he didn't win King. He voted for himself, of course, and Lila comes over and gives him shit for it. She also makes fun of his lack of a prom date, asking if his inflatable doll popped as he was pinning on her corsage. (Inflatable doll...hmmm, does THAT really have a place in a book meant to young adults?!?! SarahLynn thinks NO.) Bruce tells her that she better watch her ass because the BM guys (yes, my Bruce is still on THAT) are WORSE THAN JOHN PFEIFER. (Even I think that was a very mean thing to say, especially since it's obvious that Lila was severely traumatized by whatever this John guy did.) Luckily for Bruce, Lila doesn't have time to respond because all of a sudden a FIGHT breaks out!!!! BM guys run through the gym and start punching random people and knocking shit over as they tear down the jungle decorations. The fight is MASSIVE, and it spills outside. Bruce leads the way to the football field and all hell breaks loose. Some of the BM guys even have weapons, but Bruce doesn't care. His rage has finally exploded and he's out for REVENGE!!!! In all of the chaos, Liz and Sam decide to leave. Jess and Todd try to go after them, but the surging crowd is too much and Todd is swept up in it (possibly punching people as he goes). Jess runs outside just in time to see Liz and Sam leaving in the Jeep.
Lila tries to run to the exit as soon as the fight breaks out, but there's people everywhere and she's still terrified of being touched, so she runs to the wall. She gets caught between two groups of girls in a massive catfight, but Nathan (awesome chaperone that he is) SAVES HER (doesn't do anything about the catfight) and leads her into an empty classroom for safety. Once inside, he closes the door and says that it's nice and quiet. He takes a step toward her (W.T.F., this guy is beyond STRANGE) and she panics. Lila sees John's face in her mind and she screams as loud as she can. The cops show up and raid the prom, and they hear Lila. She's hysterical, and she tells them that Nathan tried to attack her. Nathan denies it, but the cops arrest him. (But they neglect to Mirandize him...)
Bruce is still fighting on the field. He's going HARD, and he's finally working through his anger. It's almost therapeutic for him, but then a guy from BM pops up and hits him with a baseball bat. The guy is seriously about to KILL BRUCE (oh hell no!!!! Book, don't make me come in there!!!!!), but some random girl stops him before he has the chance. (Remind me to send her a thank-you card.) Bruce looks up at her and thinks he's seeing an angel. He falls in love with her in less than a second, but then somebody kicks him in the head and he blacks out as the cops arrive.
Jess and Todd avoid the cops and get into Todd's BMW. They chase after Liz and Sam. Todd still can't make sense of anything, so Jess screams at him that Liz is drunk and she has no idea how it happened. He finally gets it as they turn a corner and see the Jeep crashed and smashed. Blood and broken glass are everywhere, and the book abruptly ends with that cheerful image, so now I have to read the next book to see who survived... I hope THIS version is different and LIZ died...

In Case You're Keeping Track...

Elizabeth's Cry Count: 3
Party Count: 2
Snack/Meal/Dairi Burger Count: 12 (a NEW RECORD!!!!!)

*The cliffhanger ending. I like the possibility of Liz's untimely death, even though I know it doesn't happen.
*Lots of BRUCE!!!!! Even if he was a bit of a rage-a-holic, and he wasn't very nice to Lila, he's still my favorite!!!! And ROGER was in this book too!!!!
*The descriptive Big Game scene. As a basketball girl, I was able to appreciate this.
*Seeing Lila going through all of her emotions. It's nice to see her life from another angle, even if it IS depressingly tragic.
*Sam. I LOVE SAM!!!!! I really wanted him to marry Jess...

*Todd winning Prom King. You already know who I voted for...
*Nathan. I don't understand his methods AT ALL!!!!
*1BRUCE1 was senselessly vandalized. Like, put shaving cream on ENID'S car next time!!!! Don't hurt the Porsche!!!! It's INNOCENT, damnit!!!!
*My memories of SVH books are hazy at best, so all these random characters that they mentioned were super confusing and made it hard to follow at times.
*The way the book randomly switches characters. It made recapping this one a total bitch!!!! 'The Morning After' is even worse in this sense, so my next one will be slightly different in an effort to save my last lingering threads of sanity.
*Lila was just SO sad and lost in this book. I felt really bad for her.