Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sweet Valley High Revisited - Crash Landing!

After all that board-game excitement and boyfriend thievery, I suppose it's time to see what's been going down in Sweet Valley town. And this one has an exclamation mark in the title, so you just KNOW it's going to be good.

Sweet Valley High #20: Crash Landing!

Enid Rollins is in the air in a two-seater Cessna with her boyfriend George, on his first flight as a qualified pilot. She's having a lovely time, but George is wracked with guilt because he has to break up with her after this, having fallen in love with Robin Wilson, who used to be fat, as we are constantly reminded. But before George can come clean, there's a problem with the plane's engine and they go crashing into Secca Lake. George is knocked out from the impact and Enid saves his life by pulling him out of the cabin before the plane sinks, but damages her spine in the process, resulting in her losing all feeling in her legs.

The pair are rescued by the emergency services, while Todd and a bunch of Sweet Valley students watch from the lakeside, where they had been having a picnic and playing football like the sexy, wholesome teenagers they are. I particularly enjoyed this exchange between Todd and Ken Matthews (I almost typed Ken Adams there, and that's what happens when repeat episodes of Friends on Comedy Central are the background noise of my life):

"Does anyone know what happened to the people in the plane?" Todd continued, worried.
"We don't know yet," Ken Matthews said, soberly. 
"But it's not just people, Todd. According to Robin Wilson it's Enid Rollins and George Warren."


Jessica and Elizabeth are in the police station after the whole Jessica-almost-being-murdered thing and hear about the accident on the police radio, prompting Jessica to exclaim "I'll die if anything happens to Enid!" Which, as we all know is BULLLLSHIIIIITTTTTT seeing as Jessica has slagged Enid off in every single book so far, deliberately tried to ruin her reputation and constantly wishes that Elizabeth wasn't her BFF.

They all rush off to the hospital to find that George is fine but Enid is now paralyzed from the waist down. George is utterly miserable and decides that Enid must never find out about him and Robin and that he's going to stay with her now because he blames himself for what happened.

Meanwhile, Jessica and Lila have signed up for a gourmet cooking class because Lila has been banging on about how important it is to know how to make "elegant dishes" (says the girl with actual servants) and talked Jessica into joining her. It's awkward at first but they make up quickly after the events of the last book, because "Jessica was too good a friend to stay mad at for long" (wuh? Jessica is a TERRIBLE FRIEND. She literally JUST STOLE YOUR BOYFRIEND.)

Anyway, the teacher arrives and he's a sexy French dude called Jean-Pierre, so naturally Jessica is immediately on high alert. He's "the handsomest man she'd ever seen" (in this book anyway) and is all crooked smiles and charm and sexy Frenchness.

On the way home in Lila's lime green Triumph (so amazing), Lila tells Jessica that Robin Wilson has broken up with her boyfriend for some other guy and as they're passing Robin's house they see George Warren coming down the driveway to his car. Escandalo!

Robin wasn't actually home and George was calling over to tell her that they can't see each other anymore and he's staying with Enid. In any case, Jessica runs to Elizabeth with her wrong end of the stick and tells her what she saw, launching a Sweet Valley High cold war against Robin. The next day at school, Jessica and Cara are frosty and mean to Robin, with Jessica justifying it afterwards as them doing what they can to help Enid. Because bullying someone is the perfect way to help Enid. Of course.

This bit is swiftly followed by yet another reminder that Robin used to be fat and a line with a message so outrageously bad it's actually hard not to laugh.

A strict diet-and-exercise regime had helped Robin to become one of the prettiest girls in the junior class.


Anyway, Jessica continues to justify being horrible to Robin, with the following logic:

Fair's fair, she told herself. Robin shouldn't see George behind Enid's back. And that's all there is to it.

Because she's clearly forgotten EVERYTHING THAT JUST HAPPENED.

Poor Robin doesn't understand why her friends are giving her the brush-off and can't figure out why Jessica and Cara seem to be mad at her.

I'm just getting paranoid, Robin decided, looking hungrily at the ice-cream Cara had left uneaten in her bowl.

LOOKING HUNGRILY. Because lest we forget, Robin Wilson is nothing if not a walking bag of food issues and a fat bird at heart. However, even Elizabeth is short with her when she asks how Enid is doing, so something is definitely wrong when even Saint Liz won't give her the time of day. Afterwards, Robin eats a massive slice of chocolate cake with ice cream on top, because "it wouldn't matter if she did get fat again" now that "it didn't look like she had any friends left to notice". Goddammit ghostwriter, don't make me come over there.

ENIIIID! I am highly enjoying everyone's t-shirts on this cover. Although considering that Elizabeth wasn't there for the crash and she doesn't actually see Enid until she's in hospital, I'm not sure what's going here, unless Elizabeth is after sneaking into Enid's room to prop her up while she's asleep. Much weirder stuff has happened in these books.

Elizabeth visits Enid in hospital, but George is there and it's all a bit tense and awkward. Elizabeth mentions the upcoming school dance and Enid becomes all sad and wistful that she's going to miss it. The school has so many dances though, it's a wonder they can get through a single curriculum, so there isn't really anything to be too worried about on that front. Elizabeth feels guilty about keeping the truth about George and Robin from Enid and George feels terrible too, so as it stands, everyone is miserable.

Everyone except Jessica, who's still eye-banging her sexy cooking teacher and has come up with a plan to surprise her parents with a spectacular and romantic dinner on their wedding anniversary. This is because Jessica forgets it every year and then feels like an asshole when Elizabeth gives them some thoughtful and meaningful present. But really, what kind of jerk sibling doesn't give you a heads-up if they're getting your parents a cool gift for a special occasion, especially when you're all living in the same house? Liz is the asshole here.

Robin persuades Elizabeth to meet her in Casey's after school, because she's lonely and sad and needs someone to talk to, as everyone in school is freezing her out. She actually says "You're my only hope!" I see you, Star Wars fan ghostwriter. I see you. Robin orders a sundae and immediately regrets it, telling Liz that she's started to put weight back on.

"You look fine to me," Elizabeth fibbed. As a matter of fact, Robin did look as if she'd gained some weight.

FUUUUUCK YOUUUUUUU! Elizabeth Wakefield, the Obi Wan of quietly judgemental bitchery.

Elizabeth tells Robin that she's been avoiding her because she feels awkward about the whole her and George thing and Robin insists that they haven't even spoken since they both decided to stop seeing each other unless Enid gets better. Elizabeth is having none of it and storms out, leaving Robin and her sundae alone together, at last.

Enid has an operation on her back that all went well, but she's still in a wheelchair, even though the doctors said she should be able to walk again now. Elizabeth decides to host a dinner party for Enid, George and Todd at her house, because an integral part of being a Sweet Valley teenager is to act like a fucking middle-aged married couple. There's even classical music on in the background. It turns out that Enid has been skipping physical therapy and feels like there's something up with George, who is all quiet and nervous, so the whole evening ends up being weird and tense.

Meanwhile, Jessica has resolved to ask Jean Pierre to be her date to the dance, despite the fact that he's well into his twenties and that's surely the type of thing that'll put your name on some kind of register. However, before she gets the opportunity to ask him and make a show of herself, his gorgeous redhead wife appears, which thankfully puts an end to that scheme.

The night of the dance arrives, Jessica is looking foxy and tanned in her cream coloured dress, Robin Wilson is definitely getting fat (She really looks like she's gained some weight, Jessica thought critically) and then Enid shows up in a wheelchair and a hush falls over the whole gym like it's a wild west saloon, because the kids at this school are dicks.

Enid is super self-conscious and tells George to go dance with someone. The idiot goes and dances with Robin and apparently it's obvious to everyone that they're in love. Things haven't been right between George and Enid since the crash, so she figures out what's going on and confronts him, confirming her suspicions.

A few nights later, Jessica makes dinner for the family as a trial run for her surprise anniversary dinner for Ned and Alice, but manages to give everyone food poisoning with dodgy clams. FINALLY, something that Jessica isn't spectacular at.

Enid's mother calls over to see Elizabeth, because she's worried about her daughter's lack of progress, and of course even the adults in Sweet Valley come to Elizabeth Wakefield for help. Mrs Rollins explains that Enid's spine is physically back to normal and she should be able to walk by now, but the doctors seem to think there's some kind of psychological block stopping her from recovering fully. Elizabeth then drops over to Mr Collins at his house to pester him outside school hours for help, because being a teacher in Sweet Valley is a 24/7 job. Which must suuuck.

The Wakefields go out for dinner once they've all recovered from Jessica poisoning them, and she's getting fed up of everyone taking the piss out of her disastrous cooking. Then to top off her bad mood, Elizabeth surprises Ned and Alice with tickets to a dinner-theatre evening for their anniversary on Friday. Dick. So Jessica's secret plan to make dinner for them goes tits up and nobody seems to care when she tells them about it. Womp womp.

Elizabeth has come up with a plan to jolt Enid past her mental block and get her out of the wheelchair, so she invites her over to the house one evening. She's recruited Mr Collins' six year old son Teddy to take part in this mysterious plan, which turns out to be her leaving Teddy and Enid alone for a few minutes in the back garden and having Teddy PRETEND TO DROWN IN THE POOL.


Anyway, her insane plan works and Enid jumps out of her chair to save Teddy (who can actually swim really well) and everybody is super happy because Enid can walk again. Enid then cuts George loose so he can be with Robin and later that day everyone goes to Casey's for ice cream or whatever and Elizabeth gets a STANDING OVATION when she walks in. Because even when you've overcome a psychological hurdle and propelled yourself out of a wheelchair to save a drowning child, Elizabeth Wakefield is somehow still the hero.

Notable outfit:
Another disappointing lack of hilarious dresses and ruffles and whathaveyou, so this one goes out to the ever-foxy Mr. Collins and the Robert Redford head on him.

That night Mr. Collins looked even more dashing than usual in a white linen jacket and navy blue trousers.

You forgot to be on a yacht, Roger. With Don Johnson.

Things I counted:
Number of pages:151
References to the twins' blue-green eyes: 8
References to the fact that the twins are blonde: 6
Amount of times people bite their lip: 7 (We're almost getting Fifty Shades of Grey levels of lip biting up in here.)

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