Tuesday, May 10, 2011

SVH #1 - Double Love

I was sick a couple weeks ago and the BF bought me the omnibus edition (with the first three books!!!), so I decided to quickly recap this one while it was still fresh in my mind. The last SVH book I recapped was The Morning After, so we're now traveling backwards through time to the beginning. This book was written in 1983, which makes it even older than I am!!! Wow, that's a crazy thought.
I'm more than a little disappointed that the omnibus edition did not feature the individual covers, and whoever wrote the cover descriptions has obviously never read a single SVH book...

It's very pink, and it has old school pics of Liz and Jess on it. Nothing too fancy, but the back has an intriguing tagline...
"One good, one bad, both are California blond"
Well, that's one way of putting it, I guess. I could have written a better line... And the inside cover gives us quick descriptions of the three novels enclosed. The writer asks if JESSICA will sell out HER BEST FRIEND, Enid. What a dumbass. I'm surprised NOBODY caught that error.
Moving onto the original cover, we have Jess in a denim jacket and Liz in a white sweater. They don't really look like twins to me. Their faces have different bone structure and Jess's face is fatter than Liz's. Plus, what in the world is going on with Jess's bangs? And Liz appears to have a mullet. Did people really wear their hair like that in the '80's?

We begin with Jess in front of the bathroom mirror, complaining about her appearance. She feels fat, but yet she complains that she has "the world's skinniest legs" and bony knees. Long story short, girl has body and self-esteem issues. Of course, the writer breaks in and tells us that Jess isn't anywhere near as hideous as she has led us to believe. She's actually the "most adorable, dazzling 16 year-old" in the entire world. Liz comes in and the writer launches into the first-ever description of the twins. Jess fun-loving and shit, and Liz writes for the Oracle. But...Liz isn't as boring as you would think!!! She writes a GOSSIP column (hahaha, I can only imagine her idea of "gossip"...overdue library books and cookie parties, I assume) and nobody knows about it. If the students at SVH knew that she wrote it, tradition dictates that she will be thrown into the school swimming pool.
Liz goes to take a shower and the phone rings. Jess answers it and is surprised that it's none other than the school's star basketball player, Todd Wilkins!!! He's calling to speak to Liz, but Jess quickly dashes his dreams by informing him that Liz is in the shower. Todd gets flustered, and Jess quickly uses this to her advantage. She has a crush on Todd, apparently, and she needs a date to the Phi Beta Epsilon dance. Todd does not get her subtle hints, so Jess quickly tires of talking to him. She tells him that she has to hang up because today is a BIG day for her and Liz. They're pledging Phi Beta Alpha (they have sororities in high school? I never knew that). Todd wishes her luck, and I liked the SVC version of events better. It provided much more insight into this scene.
Since it's a special occasion, Liz allows Jess to borrow her new "tuxedo shirt", pants, AND bow tie outfit. Wow, just WOW!!! *Googling* I wonder if it's one of those t-shirts with the printed tuxedo front, or an actual tuxedo? Either way, that's HOT!!!! (J/K) We learn that, despite pledging with Jess, Liz thinks that Phi Beta Alphas are a bunch of snobby, stuck-up girls. Jess thinks they're the prettiest and most popular girls at SVH. (Where have we heard THAT before?!?)
Over breakfast, Mr. W. announces that he's working late that evening. This means that the twins get to drive to school in their mother's FIAT SPIDER!!!! Hell yeah!!! Jess is as excited as I am: "Am I going to be hot today! In my tuxedo shirt, driving my Fiat!" Yes, she actually said that!!! NOTHING is sexier than a Fiat/Tuxedo shirt combo. NOTHING!!! Sadly, Jess and her tuxedo shirt (notice how quickly is became HER tuxedo shirt...) will be riding shotgun. Jess has lost her driving privileges because of a little fender-bender, so Mr. W. hands the keys to Liz.
On the way to school, Liz gushes about how wonderful Sweet Valley is and how lucky they are to live in such a nice place. And they're even luckier than ever now that they have a new in-ground pool in their backyard!!! (I thought they had said pool prior to this? I swear I remember it being there through the SVT years...) Jess, in contrast, is wishing that she lived up in the mansions in the hills next door to Lila and Bruce. Liz points out that life isn't easy for Lila and Bruce despite their massive stacks of cash. The Fowler family wants to develop every inch of Sweet Valley, but the Patmans want everything to be preserved, so they fight about this all of the time. Jess barely listens to Liz's argument because another thought has popped into her head. She's curious as to why her father has worked late ALL week...
Liz stops to pick up Enid a few blocks from school. Jess despises Enid (she calls her "Eeny", LOL) and is pissed that Liz is picking her up. Liz, of course, likes Enid (no homo) because she has a great personality, even if she is a little quiet. Still, Liz thinks Enid may not be totally open with her, and also that Enid may have a few secrets of her own. (Damn, setting up book #2 eighteen pages into book #1, that's some pimpin' shit right there!!!) Whatever the case, Jess doesn't give a shit. BRUCE (!!!!) is driving his gorgeous ass by in his sexy black Porsche (which goes by the name of 1BRUCE1) and Jess immediately jumps out of the Fiat, lest Bruce see her with those two losers!!!
Enid talks about some hottie named Ronnie Edwards the entire way to school. Enid's going to the PBA/PBE dance with him. And I want to know why ENID was invited to join PBA?!?! WTF??? Lila and Jess must be SO mad about this. Liz barely listens because she is too into obsessing over Todd. See, Liz has a HUGE crush on Todd. She's just never acted on it because she thinks that Todd isn't her "type". Liz is shocked when she rolls up to school and Todd approaches the Fiat. He says he has something important to discuss with her, so she promises to meet him after school. Of course, Jess ruins the moment by saying that she's 110% positive that Todd wants to ask her (Jess) to the Big Dance. Liz is a bitch, so she gets all upset and cries about this in the bathroom. It never occurs to her to actually TELL Jess that she's into Todd, so I have no sympathy for this shit.
Liz shows up to meet Todd after school, but she arrives just in time to see him leaving with Jess in the Fiat. Dejected, Liz walks home alone to find Steven in the kitchen. He's starving (as usual), so Liz makes him a giant sandwich and they discuss Mr. W.'s frequent absences and overall shady behaviors. Jess arrives home (wow, that was fast) and tries to set Steven up with Cara Walker (who he actually ended up marrying at some point..), but Steven isn't interested. He claims to have plans with someone, lots of plans, non-homosexual plans, dammit!!! But I suspect that's just a cover. Jess does too, and when Liz inquires as to her afternoon with Todd, Jess switches the subject back to Steven's secret "flaming love affair". If she ONLY knew how true that statement would turn out to be... Liz gets mad at Jess for changing subjects and she has a meltdown when Jess says that Todd will probably ask her to the dance. Liz throws a sponge against a wall (OMG!!!) and runs from the room. She cries to Mrs. W. about what a whore Jess is, and Jess uses this as the perfect distraction to phone Todd.
The following day, Liz sits in the Oracle office and daydreams about Todd. Her fantasies are pretty lame- hand holding and -GASP- a kiss on the forehead in the middle of the lunch room!!! OMG, that is the most G-rated fantasy EVER!!! I had better ones when I was like 12!!! Cara Walker comes in and shatters Liz's fantasy world by coming in and announcing that Jess and Todd are the hot new couple at SVH!!! They even went to MILLER'S POINT!!!! Oh, snap!!! Liz is upset by this, and she finishes writing her column with tears in her eyes. Mr. Collins swoops in and "as usual, he knew what to do". He hands Liz his handkerchief and she spills her guts to him. He consoles her in his typical inappropriate matter, and then John Pfeiffer (sports editor, rapist, and arsonist) rolls in and mentions Todd's incredible basketball skills and game-winning shots. Liz peaces out on that note and goes off to cry somewhere. She runs into Todd in the hallway and he apologizes for blowing her off the day before. He asks if Jess explained what happened, but Jess quickly intrudes and steals Todd away yet again. (Hmmm, I see a pattern forming here...)
Once they're alone, Todd seems fixated on Liz. He asks Jess who Liz is taking to the Big Dance, and Jess responds by telling him that Liz is a major slut who likes college guys, hoping that Todd will shut up about her inferior twin and ask her (Jess) to that damn dance. Todd again misses her not-so-subtle hints, and Jess walks home alone. She doesn't mind doing this because she "never failed to attract a good deal of attention from passing cars". No, honey, that doesn't make you hot, that makes you a PROSTITUTE!!!
Of course, her strategy pays off. As soon as her feet hit the pavement, Rick Andover rolls up in his badass Camaro and offers her a ride. Rick is a total badass- he's a DROPOUT and he smells like leather and gasoline. He looks like a junior version of Clint Eastwood (oh no, they did NOT just say that!!! Hell no!!!) and he keeps calling Jess "Heaven". That's really annoying!!! I want to punch him, but then I remember that this is only a book, and he's not real. Rick decides that he likes what he sees and he wants to take Jess out for some "serious boogeying", whatever THAT means...
Jess agrees and the following day she sneaks out to meet Rick. In a rare show of parenting, Mr. and Mrs. W. do not approve of her seeing Rick, so she lets her entire family think that she's going out with Todd. (Of course, this breaks Liz's heart, but she's too stupid to actually TELL this to Jess.) Rick takes Jess to Kelly's Roadhouse for "boilermakers" (a beer and a shot, sometimes mixed together...gross) and they have no problem getting served- without even so much as an ID check!!!! (Damn, where was this place when I was 16?!?!) Jess isn't into drinking, so she quickly gets bored. Rick tries to rectify this by giving her "moist kisses" (ewww, that sounds HORRIBLE!!! I'll take Bruce's jellyfish kisses or Todd's dry kisses over that any day!!!) and by pressuring her to have a quickie in the bar bathroom. Of course, his ass gets rejected and he immediately takes out his aggression by fighting with some fellow patrons. The bartender decides to press charges and calls the police. (I personally think that was a BAD idea, barkeep!!! Being that YOU were serving MINORS not five minutes ago... I bet Kelly fired that guy SO fast!!!)
The evening ends with Jess being escorted home in a cop car. She gets off with a warning because she wasn't drinking and also because she's A FREAKIN' WAKEFIELD!!! The cop is Emily Mayer's uncle and he thinks Jess is Liz. She doesn't bother to correct him, and Caroline Pearce witnesses the entire ordeal. The rumors start to fly (and Phase One of SVC concludes).
Jess tries to set the story straight before school, but Liz is too busy obsessing over Todd (yes, STILL) to listen. She gets to school and wonders why everyone is staring at her. Even Bruce is impressed, so you know it's kind of a Big Deal!!! Enid approaches and spouts some BS about making mistakes and learning from them, but she quickly scurries off when Ronnie arrives. Good riddance. Ronnie is none-too-happy about what "Liz" did, and he makes his feelings known to Enid. Enid tries to stand up for Liz, but Ronnie won't hear of it. Who died and made him King of Judgement?!?!
All day, Liz gets weird stares and whispers. Even Mr. Collins is acting weird...well, weirder than usual. Liz calls him on it, and he tells her that there's some sort of issue with the school's football field, and that it will be important to the story later...
Liz goes home and calls Enid to discuss the weirdness. Enid tells her what's up, and Liz is PISSED at Jess. She waits for Jess to return home and, when she does, Liz forces Jess to explain herself. Jess is too busy crying to answer right away, so Liz decides to put her anger aside and meddle for a moment. Jess is upset because she has figured out what Steven's been hiding. Apparently, Big Brother has been creepin' around with Betsey Martin!!! Betsey Martin is a WHORE!!! And she isn't blonde, and she doesn't have a pool, and her mom is dead, and her dad is the town drunk!!! Oh, shit!!! NOOOO!!! That distracts Liz long enough for Jess to slip out SOME of the truth regarding her run-in with the law. Liz forgives Jess for ruining her image because Jess was out with Rick and not Todd. Okay then.
Meanwhile, Enid and Ronnie go out on a date. They drag Todd out with them. You see, Todd is upset because of the rumor about Liz. (Again, nobody even bothers to ASK for clarification on this...surely everybody's aware that Liz has a twin.) Ronnie is blissfully unaware of Todd's crush on Liz (yes, Todd is in love with LIZ today) and he brings up the incident. Enid jumps in to defend Liz, but Ronnie is a dick and he refuses to listen. He says that some things are unforgivable. (Wow, lighten up dude, or at least get the whole story before jumping to conclusions!!!) Enid shuts up and thinks to herself about the horrible secret that she's hiding from Ronnie. She knows he would think the same way about her if he knew about her police record and the horrible accident that they tell us about in book #2, so Enid vows to never tell Ronnie about that. And I don't really care!!! 1) It's NOT like Ronnie is some major prize or anything, and 2) Enid SUCKS!!!!
At school the following day, Liz is desperate to find Todd and set things straight. Sadly, she soon gets distracted by all of the drama surrounding the SVH football field. It seems that the school's lease on the land has expired (WTF?!?) and now George Fowler wants to buy it so he can build a factory for his silicon computer chips. In contrast, Bruce's family is fighting to preserve the land and build an English garden. The student body wants to save the football field, so they organize a sit-in. The entire school gangs up on both Bruce and Lila, and chaos ensues. Everybody yells, and insults are hurled. Liz steps in (of course) and Lila immediately tells her to STFU. (This is also Lila's first official SVH appearance!!!) Lila tells Liz -in front of EVERYBODY- that nobody cares what she has to say because everybody knows Liz is a wild slut who frequents Kelly's Roadhouse with the likes of Rick Andover!!! Bruce also jumps on Liz's case, telling her that everybody knows she's TRASH because her dad keeps sneaking around and working late with that "trampy broad" Marianna West (his sexy new assistant at the office, AKA- the reason Jess and Liz are suspicious of Mr. W.'s late nights at the office). Liz leaves them to their fighting and goes back to the safety of the Oracle office, replaying Bruce's words in her mind and growing even more suspicious of her father. (Damn, this book has A LOT of subplots!!!)
Todd observes all of this and tries to talk to Liz as she walks away. She isn't in the mood to explain herself to him, so she just ignores him. Jess approaches and tells Todd the truth because she can't stand Liz's sadness. Todd is an absolute idiot, and he thinks that Jess is just trying to cover for Liz. (He's known them since KINDERGARTEN, but yet he doesn't get that Jess = the bad one. I guess he didn't read the back of the book like I did!!!!) Todd kisses Jess in front of everybody and asks her to be his date for the dance.
When Liz hears of this, she is even more depressed. Bruce asks her to be his date for the dance, and she TURNS HIM DOWN!!!! What. A. Bitch!!!! Winston convinces her to go with him (as friends), and Liz reluctantly agrees. Win is so happy that he runs across campus "screaming like a deranged chimpanzee"...creepy!!!!
That evening, Liz is still upset and Jess is positively bursting with happiness. Steven comes home for dinner and all three of them sit around wondering where their parents are. During all of this, Jess confronts him about his secret affair with Betsey Martin, and Steven admits that he was actually dating TRICIA MARTIN. But it won't be an issue for the "perfect" Wakefield family because Steven couldn't bear the shame of dating someone from such a horrible, vile family and he and Tricia have broken up. Liz and Steven sit around and mope while Jessica bubbles over with happiness.
Finally, the day of the Big Dance arrives!!! Of course, the Droids are the musical entertainment. But Todd is too broken up over the whole Liz-is-a-slut thing to enjoy his date with Jess. Jess picks up on this, and it angers her. She feels insulted when the evening ends with a quick kiss on the cheek instead of some backseat fun sexy time at Miller's Point. She decides that NO MAN rejects Jessica Wakefield and she vows REVENGE!!!!
As soon as she enters the house, Jess runs to Liz and cries. In an effort to ruin Todd's image, she tells Liz that Todd tried to force her to do stuff with him. Liz -in a moment of Todd-esque awesomeness- threatens to kill Todd!!!! This satisfies Jess's desire for revenge and she goes to bed, pleased with herself for obliterating Liz's stupid crush on Todd. (Amazing that NOBODY brought THIS little incident up on their wedding day!!!)
Steven is unable to sleep. He continues to mope about the house. Finally, the parentals reappear and convince him to talk about it. As it turns out, they actually APPROVE of him and Tricia. Unlike their idiot children, Mr. and Mrs. W. are able to realize that Tricia has no control of her crappy life. It's not her fault that her mom is dead, or that her dad is a drunk, or even that her sister is such a fucking slut!!! Steven admits that it was stupid of him to let that interfere with his LOVE of Tricia and he decides to go and reclaim his love!!! He does this quite easily. (Poor Tricia, she should have at least smacked him for being such an ass!!!) On the way home, he sees his father's car driving down the street. Steven decides to follow his father home, but he's shocked when his father pulls into an unfamiliar driveway. Steven sees Mr. W. getting out of his car, accompanied by that trampy broad, Marianna!!!!
The following day, Liz is mad at the world. She hates Todd for what he did to Jess, and she avoids him entirely. He gets frustrated by this and calls her at home. He tells her that -get this shit- HE FORGIVES HER FOR GOING OUT WITH RICK AND DRINKING!!!! Rightfully so, Liz is PISSED that Todd is being such a self-righteous little prick (plus, she still thinks he tried to rape her sister). Liz hangs up on him and prepares to go to court the following day to cover the football field trial for the Oracle.
While in court, Liz is surprised to see that her father is representing SVH's side with the aid of none other than Marianna!!!! Of course, it's her duty as a reporter to be unbiased, so she is forced to write about that slut Marianna like she doesn't hate the homewrecking slut's stupid ugly guts. As the proceedings unfold, Liz is surprised to see that Marianna is doing all the lawyer-ing and presenting a very good case for the school. Of course, Team Wakefield is victorious and the judge immediately rules that the school is allowed to renew it's lease and keep their football field!!! Yay!!! Liz returns to school and announces the victory. The entire student body celebrates this by hoisting Liz onto their shoulders like a hero. Why?!?! I have no clue, it's not like she did anything... Of course, Liz gives most of the credit to Marianna.
Liz goes home and gushes to her mom about how wonderful her father was in court. Mrs. W. is already hard at work cooking a special celebration dinner. She even invited Marianna, and she tells Liz that Mr. W. has a special announcement. Liz automatically decides that he's decided to leave the family and hook up with Marianna. She IS a trampy broad, after all. Liz tells Jess about this and they both begin to worry. (Me, I just sit back and try to contain my frustration. This scenario is totally improbable, even in Sweet Valley!!!) Steven comes home and tells the twins that he's invited Tricia over for dinner, and now Jess and Liz are even more worried.
Of course, Mr. W. has the good sense not to inform his family of his cheating ways. Marianna is actually the new partner at his law firm!!!! (Way to sleep your way to success, Marianna!!!) Everybody is relieved by this news, and dinner goes very smoothly.
Since dinner wasn't satisfying enough for Liz, she meets up with Enid at the Dairi Burger. Todd is also there- with Emily Mayer!!! Liz acts like it doesn't bother her, but she secretly wants to cry. She finally has to admit to herself that -accused rapist or not- she has feelings for Todd. She decides to get over it and even goes out on a date with (the newly single) Ken Matthews. They're just FRIENDS, though, so Liz's heartbreak never fully fades...
One day sometime later, Rick Andover randomly shows up on Calico Drive. He's highly intoxicated and he forces both twins to go for a drive with him. He gets in the driver's seat and rolls the Fiat down the city streets with reckless abandon. He's on some crazy rant about the assholes at Kelly's and how they messed up his life by getting him arrested. He decides to go back and get his revenge! (Apparently, the guy who owns Kelly's bribed somebody somewhere to avoid losing his liquor license for serving minors...and the bartender has NOT been fired either.) As he drives like a crazy guy, he passes the Dairi Burger. A large crowd witnesses his craziness and Todd hops into his trusty Datsun to play the hero.
Todd chases Rick all the way to Kelly's and tries to stop him from raising hell. Rick throws a punch, and Todd retaliates. Todd easily kicks Rick's drunken ass and is rewarded with a kiss from Liz. Todd finally realizes that Jess was the one who got in trouble at Kelly's, and he feels like a tool for treating Liz like he did. Everything is quickly resolved, and Liz kisses Todd some more.
Liz finally breaks away from Todd long enough to yell at Jess for the whole Kelly's incident (wait, I thought she was over it when she learned Jess was out with Rick instead of Todd?). Jess apologizes and tells Liz that she only lied so she wouldn't be kicked off the cheerleading squad. (Even I think that was kind of shallow!!!) Liz knows that the cheer squad is the most important thing in Jess's life (obviously even more important than her twin sister...) and she quickly forgives Jess. But don't worry, Liz has already decided to teach Jess a lesson.
The following day, Liz puts her revenge plan into effect. She reclaims her tuxedo shirt from Jess's closet and "accidentally" spills water on Jess's outfit. Liz lends Jess a clean outfit and Todd drives them to school for some pep rally celebrating the football field. Everybody keeps confusing Liz and Jess, and Liz's plan is working!!!! Todd is her co-conspirator, and Liz quickly makes up an excuse to leave him alone with Jess (that was her first mistake!!!). Remember how I told you that Liz writes that secret gossip column for the Oracle? And how the writer gets thrown into the pool once his/her identity is revealed? Well, Liz remembers, and she suspects the Mr. Collins is the one who's behind the great revelation. (Insert tasteless comment re. Mr. Collins here!!!!) Liz keeps up the Jess charade and runs around telling everybody that "Liz" writes the column. Since Jess is dressed in Liz's clothes and standing with Todd (possibly making out or hugging...or worse) everyone surrounds her and throws her into the pool. She tries to protest, but everyone believes she's Liz!!! Liz and Todd sneak away from all of this and go off somewhere to makeout.
While all this unfolds, Enid is lurking about somewhere. She's thinking about her horrible secret...and setting up book #2 in the process. It promises to be a real snooze-fest, I can already tell!!!!

****The SarahLynn Summary****
*Where were places like Kelly's Roadhouse when I was 16?
*Bruce = gorgeous.
*Enid = boring as hell. I dread book #2 immensely.

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