Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sweet Valley High Revisited - Out Of Control

The other night, while looking through the bookshelves for something to read in bed, I came upon a Sweet Valley High book that I had recently bought while charity shop shopping. It was number 35 in the series, Out Of Control was the title and I thought to myself, "why yes, I'll have some of that". What followed was an immediate nostalgia buzz. The opening line was about Elizabeth Wakefield brushing her blonde hair, with the following pages repeatedly beating me over the head with the fact that she and her twin had the most amazing blue-green eyes OF ALL TIME.

I had already posted about the genetically superior Wakefields here, back when I first heard that Diablo Cody was writing a Sweet Valley High film and then I included Crazy Margo in my list of favourite lady villains here, but I wanted to write about them again. All those long denim-clad legs and peaches-and-cream complexions and insane storylines are just TOO DELIGHTFUL. Which is why I decided to track down as many books from the series as I can and review each one as I read them. They won't be in sequence, as I'll just be picking up whatever I can find, but hopefully that won't matter all too much.

So without further ado, here is the first installment of a shiny new series: Sweet Valley High Revisited!

Sweet Valley High #35: Out Of Control

We are introduced to the Wakefield twins in the usual style and assured of their golden blonde hair, dazzling blue-green eyes and matching lavaliere necklaces. I had to look up what exactly a lavaliere is and it would appear that it's just a fancy way of saying pendant necklace. (Thanks for making that unnecessarily confusing, Francine.) So once we've established what a pair of rides Elizabeth and Jessica are, it transpires that Jessica has decided to get involved in selling Tofu-Glo, a line of natural health and beauty products made from soybeans, which is IN NO WAY a scam.

Elizabeth drives to the school to watch her boyfriend Jeffrey at football training (well, soccer, if we're going to be all American about it) and "deftly" pulls the car into a parking space. I love how they felt the need to say how brilliant she is at parking, for not only are the Wakefields amazing at life, their spatial awareness is SECOND TO NONE.

Anyway, Jeffrey's teammate and best friend Aaron has been super cranky lately and keeps shouting at people for like, no reason and even though Elizabeth KNOWS that this is because his parents are splitting up, she moans about how much time Jeffrey spends with him and can't seem to get her head around why he's still friends with him. Eh, maybe because his best mate is having a really hard time at home, you insensitive wagon. She's also really mean to Aaron's girlfriend Heather, dismissing her as a vain, shallow twit based solely on the fact that she dresses well (too well for Elizabeth - "wasn't it a little elaborate for the Valley cinema?") and wants to be a fashion designer. Elizabeth is in no position to snark on what Heather wears. Just look at the state of her pants on the book cover.

Exhibit A.
Are those even pants? Either way that is one HIGH ASS waistband, woman.

Oh, and Heather has the nerve to try to be friends with Elizabeth, which seems to piss her right off. Doesn't she realise that it's up to The Glorious Wakefields to decide if you're worthy to be their friend, not the other way around? FOOLISH HUMAN. Elizabeth then proceeds to take the piss out of Heather behind her back by doing a cruel impression of her at Jessica's Tofu-Glo party, when all Heather has ever done is have the cheek to be nice to her. I have to say, for the twin that's meant to be the sound one, Elizabeth is a right little geebag in this book.

Continuing in this bitchy vein, Elizabeth then writes an article about Aaron punching a teammate on the pitch during training, explaining how he's going to be booted off the team if he has another outburst. She half-assedly debates whether or not she should publish it, as it'll make Jeffrey and Aaron really mad at her, (Aaron already has enough to be dealing with what with his parents' divorce and all, not that she gives a chocolate covered fuck) but she has some notion that she's a totally hardcore journalist, honour-bound to report the facts and not actually a teenager writing a gossip column for her school newspaper. As expected, Jeffrey and Aaron are pissed off with her and when she and Jeffrey have a big row, she blames Aaron for it! For real! She held him entirely to blame for causing this argument. What the actual FUCK, Elizabeth? However, Heather thinks it might be what Aaron needed to get him to cop on to himself. Elizabeth then realises that Heather is actually really creative and sweet, which is what everyone else who wasn't a judgemental asshole already knew.

To reassure herself that she did the right thing, Elizabeth consults her favourite teacher/school paper's advisor, Mr. Collins. They have a brief exchange where his eyes seem to twinkle an inordinate amount and he playfully says "Oh please! Never call me that!" when she refers to him as an authority figure. Dude, you're a teacher. Cop the fuck on. Also, he winks at her when she's leaving. It's all pretty inappropriate. I got the feeling that if they ever got freaky together she'd probably call him Daddy mid-fuck. Shudder.

In the meantime/story that nobody really cares about, Jessica has sold her Tofu-Glo tat to half the town, who are now demanding their money back seeing as the products are a load of shite and were meant to be kept refrigerated.

ANYWAY. Elizabeth and Jeffrey kiss and make up, but then it all kicks off when they run into Aaron and Heather. Aaron demands an apology from Elizabeth for writing her stupid article, Jeffrey tells him he's acting like a spoiled brat, everyone gets a bit het up and Aaron decks him and runs off crying. Of course, punching his mate now means that Aaron is off the football team. Oh no! There's a big game coming up and everything! Heather talks him into seeing the school's guidance counseller, while Elizabeth lords it over Jeffrey that she was right all along. "Do you believe me now?" Elizabeth asked, her voice gentle. There was no satisfaction in being proven right. Get ta fuck, Liz! You're only loving it! What's the weather like up on that high horse of yours?

So everybody makes up with each other and Aaron goes off to Mrs. Green, the counsellor. They have a chat and when he asks her if she thinks he has an emotional problem, she LAUGHS IN HIS FACE. Where the hell does this high school get their staff from? If they're not creeping on sixteen year old girls, they're taking the piss out of troubled young fellas. Anyway, after she's laughed at him, they straighten the whole thing out and he gets to stay on the football team. Sweet Valley win their big match, Aaron's rage problems seem to have dissolved entirely and everybody's friends again. Yay!

Oh, and Jessica ended up stuck with all that Tofu-Glo crap, in debt and having to pay for it all to be taken away to the dump. BUT it turns out that the twins' dad Ned conveniently made some enquiries and discovered that there's a big lawsuit going on against the company and all the suckers that bought into the scheme are getting settlements, so she gets all her money back plus damages and doesn't have to learn any life lessons. Double yay!

Notable outfit:
Seeing as Heather was the fashionable one who made her own clothes, this is her moment.

The dress, of pale peach cotton, fell gracefully from a dropped waist. A collar made of dozens of overlapping "petals" in white and pink added a lovely flowerlike quality to the otherwise simple design.

Erm, yes. Lovely.

Things I counted:
Number of pages: 154
References to the twins' blue-green eyes: 4
References to the fact that the twins are blonde: 6
Amount of times Elizabeth shakes her head: 13
Appearances of the words "eyes" or "eye": 75


  1. Bravo! Love it. I too always thought Mr Collins was a bit of a perv. All that grinning and 'talk to me, I'm an adult but a GOOD adult' twinkling going on.

    And Elizabeth is a sanctamonious little wagon alright.

    More, more I say!

  2. Brilliant post. It's been years since I read a Sweet Valley High book but you have me wanting to give them another go.

  3. Ah this was hilarious - had me chuckling away like a looper at the desk. More, more!

  4. Ahaha!! Loved this! Wasn't Elizabeth's boyfriend called Todd?! Maybe she had 2, being the "pure one"!

    Do more of these please!!

  5. Thanks for the comments ladies! I'm joining my local library on the way home so there will be more of these, I promise.

    Maria - I think he moved away but I'm pretty certain he comes back and Liz drops Jeffrey like it's hot to get back with Todd. Pure one me arse!

  6. Yes, Todd fecks off to Vermont for about 10 books but as soon as he returns Liz dumps his replacement, Jeffrey, who is almost never heard of again. Poor Jeffrey.

  7. ahaha, brilliant! I loved these when I was younger. I totally just looked up the theme song to the tv programme as well.


  8. Dude, no mention of their PERFECT SIZE SIX FIGURES. Which, come to think of it, would be practically obese by today's standards. (I'm joking of course!).

    Loving this so much.

  9. Annie - Dammit! This book actually informed us of their figures when it mentioned that their Ma was still so slim that she could fit into her daughter's size 6 clothes. Barf!

  10. i just love the sweet valley twins!i read every book growing up. i work at a school here in sweden and its so funny because the kids at my school just love the twins to. They are crazy about them!


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