Monday, May 18, 2015

Sweet Valley High Revisited - Say Goodbye

Does everybody else have that Madonna song stuck in their heads now too? Thought as much. Let's proceed!

Sweet Valley High #23: Say Goodbye

Elizabeth Wakefield is miserable. She feels like a part of her is "dying", her aqua coloured eyes are brimming with tears, tears that are probably getting all up in her sun-kissed blonde hair, and when she takes her perfect size six body outside the house, she's so upset that she's "blind to the beauty of her neighbourhood." The reason that Elizabeth's perfect California face isn't paying any attention to her perfect California surroundings is that her perfect California boyfriend is moving away to stupid Vermont in a week's time.

Todd's father has to move for work, so in between crying on each other, he and Elizabeth have decided to have a long distance relationship and not see other people, even though they don't even know when they'll get to see each other again. Both Enid and big bro Steven think it's a bad idea, though. Steven has seen this kind of thing with his college buddies and it never works out, apparently.

"People have what they call 'hometown honeys' - girlfriends or boyfriends they've left behind."

Because Steven is going to college in 1940s wartime America.

Meanwhile, Jessica owes her parents almost a hundred dollars after buying an outfit in Lisette's and charging it to Ned and Alice's account without telling them. She has to find a part time job to earn enough to pay them back and ends up with a job as a receptionist at the Perfect Match Computer Dating Agency. Most excellent. While she's telling Steven about her new gig, Jessica decides it's high time he got his fine ass back out on the market.

He's so good looking, she mused.

Pretty weird, Jess.

The agency is owned by Mary Ann, a "pert brunette" in her twenties and the office has heart shaped notepads, a heart shaped keyring for the keys, pink index cards and pink pencils, because Mary Ann respects a theme, goddammit. Jessica ends up telling her new boss all about Elizabeth and Todd and how boring she thinks Todd is. While chatting to her, Jessica hits on the idea of setting Elizabeth up with the handsome and fabulously wealthy Nicholas Morrow. Remember Nicholas Morrow? He's the college-aged dude who was new in town and relentlessly pursued Elizabeth, a sixteen year old with a steady boyfriend, and guilted her into going on a date with him, despite her repeated protestations. Nice guy.

One evening in the dating agency's office, Jessica compiles a shortlist of ladyeez to set her brother up with, one of which is a forty three year old divorceé called Beatrice. She calls Beatrice up and tells her that the computer has found her perfect match, and gives her Steven's phone number. Steven is eighteen.

Anyway, it's time for Todd to go, so he and Elizabeth have a mega-tearful goodbye in the driveway of his parents house and she sadly watches the car drive away. Elizabeth then proceeds to spend all her time moping around her room, writing letters to Todd, letting her work for the school paper slide and generally being antisocial.

But the worst, the very worst was the apathetic look in her blue-green eyes.

Noooo! The eyes of a Wakefield twin FLASH and SPARKLE and SHINE! They're practically a pair of tiny turquoise headlights, this just won't do!

Jessica tries to get Elizabeth back to her old self by asking sexy ol' Mr Collins to send Liz to the upcoming regatta to cover it for The Oracle. She then convinces Nicholas Morrow to offer to take Liz to the race, as he's sailing in it and one of the favourites to win. Liz goes with him and the race is all super exciting and Nicholas wins. Oh and he shows her his boat beforehand, it's called Seabird but he tells her that its secret name is My Favourite Twin. Bleuuuuugh.

After the race, Nicholas invites the twins to come for a fancy lunch on his dad's yacht and is all over Elizabeth. He tells her that he's there for her if she needs a shoulder to cry on, even though he quite clearly wants to get into her pants. Elizabeth is relieved that he just wants to be friends, but also doesn't quite 100% believe that and feels guilty for enjoying his attention and company. The next day, the twins go to the Morrow's house for a barbeque being held in honour of Nicholas's cousin Jeffrey, who's in from New York. Jessica briefly "considered falling in love with him", but decides not to (because that's how it works) as all the money is in Nicholas's family and Jeffrey is probably a poor relative.

Jeffrey was twenty one, with brown, crinkly hair and wire-frame glasses.

He wants to be an archeologist and keeps talking about the Aztecs and I have to say, I'm kind of into Jeffrey. He sounds like Classroom Indiana Jones and as we all know, he can get it. Nicholas asks Elizabeth whether she and Todd have decided to date other people, she tells him they haven't and he asks her to the cinema. But he does so "huskily", so he must mean business.

Todd. That jacket. No.

In the meantime, Beatrice has been calling up Steven and asking him out to dinner and quite rightly, he's completely weirded out and can't figure how she got his number. Jessica decides that she'll have to deploy her second choice for Steven, some bird called Jody, and calls her up, telling her to come by the house on Saturday. I'm not sure which part of this she thinks is a good idea.

Todd calls the house while Elizabeth is over at Enid's and Jessica takes the opportunity to tell him that Elizabeth is miserable and not going out with her friends or writing for the school paper, making out like he's holding her back and urging him to let her go. She pretty much guilts Todd into agreeing with her and instead of actually talking to his girlfriend about it, he just takes the word of her sister, a notorious liar, schemer and shit-stirrer and just stops returning Liz's calls or replying to her letters. Great job, Todd.

Liz goes to the cinema with Nicholas to the new James Bond film (going by the date of this book, it's A View To A Kill, fyi) and they kiss afterwards. Nicholas apologises and Elizabeth says she needs more time. He tells her to think everything over and not to push herself and then IMMEDIATELY pesters her to go for ice cream with him at the weekend. How is she supposed to think things over when YOU WON'T LEAVE HER ALONE? Riddle me that, Morrow.

The next day, Steven and Elizabeth are hanging out by the pool when the doorbell rings. Elizabeth answers to find some punk rocker chick waiting outside and looking for Steven. Elizabeth "repressed the desire to burst out laughing" because she's a judgey little bitch and invites her in. It turns out that this is Jody and Steven naturally has no idea what's going on. When she tells him he's supposed to be her other half, he suggests that she has the wrong house and Elizabeth bursts out laughing, which is RUDE. But I guess we're not supposed to feel bad for this girl, because she lights a cigarette and has long nails, so for some reason it's fine that Elizabeth is ridiculing her TO HER FACE. It's not Jody's fault that Jessica is an exasperating schemer, after all.

Anyway, Elizabeth has seemingly thrown herself into dating Nicholas, despite still pining for Todd and not knowing why he hasn't returned any of her calls. Steven and Enid are concerned and think she's rushing into it, even though they both thought that Liz and Todd doing long distance was a bad idea, so make your goddamn minds up jerks. Elizabeth decides that she's been unfairly leading Nicholas on, as she's still in love with Todd, so she resolves to tell Nicholas how she really feels and to write to Todd to find out what exactly is going on. However, she won't get a chance to talk to Nicholas until the following night, when they're supposed to be going to a party at Lila Fowler's house, so she decides not to ruin his evening and will break up with him after the party.

It was going to be a terrible blow when he found out that Elizabeth wanted to cut things off.

A fate worse then death, being denied that sweet Wakefield ass.

The next day, Todd is back in town to close his father's bank accounts and "make enquiries about the furniture", and tie up various other loose ends that it seems a bit odd to send a sixteen year old to do. He hasn't told anyone that he's back in town, and wants to drop by Elizabeth's house to surprise her. Even though he decided to ignore her phonecalls in an effort to make her move on, with no explanation. He's all confused about his feelings and chickens out of calling to the house, instead deciding to show up at Lila's party that night.

"I'm too much of a coward to face her alone", he admitted. 

Todd has an entire conversation with himself in the car, while he works it all out. Sunset Beach style.

Steven is on the way home for dinner before Lila's party, and sees a girl pulled in off the side of the road with a flat tyre. It turns out that it's Cara Walker, which shocks him for some reason.

It was Cara Walker - just about the last person Steven would have expected to run into on Route 29. Somehow he'd always gotten the impression that Cara was incapable of driving to the supermarket, let alone taking the car out on the expressway.

Is that because you're a massive dickhead, Steven? I think it miiiight beeee.

He helps her change the tyre and she thanks him but gets a bit upset, as she's been having family problems and has had a lot on her mind lately. Steven graciously takes pity on her and they go for coffee at a nearby place, where she fills him in on the fact that her parents have separated and how hard it's been, not least because they've split her and little brother up, and he's now living in Chicago with their father.

Steven couldn't get over the change in Cara. The tragic battle that had been waged in her household had had one positive effect: Cara had grown up. Gone was the spoiled, silly girl Steven had once known. In her place was a sensitive, intelligent young woman, whom Steven thought he wouldn't mind getting to know better.

Ok FIRST OF ALL, she's still sixteen Stevie, so put those pants back on. SECOND OF ALL, fuck you. She's a kid and shouldn't HAVE to "grow up" and deal with this kind of thing. Sixteen year old girls can be both silly and intelligent, you massive dick. It's what being sixteen is FOR. You just couldn't bother your hole getting to know her properly, so now that she's going through a terrible time you suddenly deem her worthy of your precious attention. And her misery giving you a boner is not a "positive effect", it's you being CREEPY.

They decide to go to Lila's party together and spend their time there in deep conversation, which enrages Betsy Martin, (sister of Tricia, Steve's former girlfriend/Victorian ghost doll who died from leukemia a few months previously - these kids live in an actual soap opera) because she feels like it's too soon after Tricia.

Todd then shows up, surprising everyone, especially Liz, who is caught rapid dancing with Nicholas with her head on his shoulder. Todd runs off and Nicholas takes Liz home because she wants to be alone. When they get to the house, she tells Nicholas that she's not ready to be involved with him and apologises. He's hurt, but accepts her decision for once in his life, which is something. Jessica comes home shortly afterwards and confesses to Elizabeth that she told Todd to leave Liz alone. Elizabeth runs off to track Todd down and eventually finds him sitting outside his old house.

They have a big long talk and decide that they'll lead their separate lives and date other people, but they still love each other so they're leaving things open ended for now, whatever that means. Elizabeth decides that they're both better off now, so she's not mad at Jessica for interfering any more, because Jessica literally gets away with EVERYTHING so why change the habit of a lifetime? Also, it turns out that after they left the party, Betsy Martin kicked off at Steve and made a huge scene, accusing him of forgetting about her sister. Steve stormed out without saying goodbye to Cara and everyone involved is pretty upset, so now we have our storyline for the next book. Woo!

Notable outfit:
Shoutout to Jody McGuire, injecting some much-needed rock 'n roll into a town full of squares.

Wearing a black leather jacket and skintight leather trousers, the girl who stood there looked like someone in a movie about punk rockers. She had at least six earrings in one ear and the longest fingernails Elizabeth had ever seen.

You know, apart from being a dick move, Elizabeth laughing at this girl was a risky move, because she sounds like she would fuck. Her. Up.

Things I counted:
Number of pages:153
References to the twins' blue-green eyes: 4
References to the fact that the twins are blonde: 10
Amount of times people look "miffed": 4

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  1. You lost me for a while after Todd's solo car convo... I immediately got distracted trying to find some sweet footage of Eddie Cibran as international jewel thief Cole Deschanel

  2. Oh my god you've just made me realise why Sunset Beach was so comfortably familar!! It was really Sweet Valley High redone!!

    I'm also wondering what someone as cool sounding as Jody (I wish I could rock that outfit) was doing in the pink palace of lurve that Jessica was working in.......

  3. I'm going to make a confession that will make me look old and sad in equal measures. This book inspired me to start my own dating agency. With my sister. We cut pictures out of magazines and stuck them on A4 pages and gave people new names and new personalities and matched them up and went to their weddings. All without leaving a room! Kids imagination......*shakes fist*

  4. You are funny!!!
    This is great!I haven't thought of these books in awhile, but something made me look up "Lila from Sweet Valley"--it was the red carpet pics from Cannes. And I remembered Lila was trying out for a modelling agency or something, but they told her her face was too flat, and they went for one of the blondies instead. 'Member that one?


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