Friday, April 01, 2016

Sweet Valley High Revisited - Bitter Rivals

Hello hello hello! It all went a bit tumbleweedy there, as I've sorta got a bit of real life job uncertainty going on with the last while, so during my down time I'd really taken to doing a lot of sitting around feeling anxious, as well getting into Jane The Virgin on Netflix, because my god that show is adorable and funny and full of lovely sorbet colours and attractive people. So due to the overriding feeling recently being quite upside-down-smiley-face-emoji I wasn't really in the form for blogging. (Also, I'm legging it to Barcelona for a few days next week, so I most likely won't get a post up then either.)

However, some questions needs answering and WILL ELIZABETH BE FORCED TO CHOOSE BETWEEN AMY AND ENID? is most definitely one of them. So let's find out.

Sweet Valley High #29: Bitter Rivals
 

The book begins, as so many of them do, with the Wakefield twins just hanging out by the pool and being devastatingly sexy. This time Enid Rollins is with them and the topic of conversation is the exciting news that Elizabeth's childhood friend Amy Sutton is moving back to Sweet Valley. Enid is worried that Amy mightn't like her and Jessica quietly wonders how it'll all pan out, because "when you're as big a wimp as Enid Rollins, why look forward to meeting someone vivacious and fun?" It's gas how much Jessica hates Enid, when she has been nothing but nice to her, even after Jessica completely screwed her over in the second book for absolutely no good reason.

At school, people are excited about Amy's arrival too, although Lila Fowler remembers her as being "clumsy and tomboyish" so she's not that pushed really. In any case, Lila's cousin Christopher is coming to town too and according to her he's "the world's most fabulous man" (slightly weird, but ok Lila) so she's throwing a big fancy dress party in his honour.

In the meantime, Jessica and Cara have started writing a dating advice column under the name of Miss Lovelorn for The Oracle. Once their first column is written and off to the printer, Jessica tells Cara that she's desperately in love with Jay McGuire, a six foot blonde dude with green eyes in her French class. The only problem is that Jay is going out with Denise Hadley, a redheaded knockout who's a year older than him, so Jessica decides to use their column to "get a message" to Jay, i.e. scheme to break up his relationship somehow. That's So Jessica.

On Saturday morning, Elizabeth is heading out to meet Enid at the beach when the telephone rings. It's Amy, and the Suttons have moved into their new house a day early so they're already in Sweet Valley. Elizabeth races over in the red Fiat Spider to see her right away and they reunite and hug and tell each other how beautiful they've each become. (For real.) Elizabeth invites Amy to stay the night at her house so they can catch up properly, and they're on the way back over when Elizabeth suddenly realises it's half eleven and she was supposed to meet Enid an hour ago. Thinking she might have just gone back home, Elizabeth calls Enid's house but there's no answer, so instead of just driving out to the beach and inviting her back to the house instead, she just does...fuck all.

She thought about getting in the car and running over to the beach to see if Enid was still there, but it seemed unfair to Amy. Enid will understand, she told herself, not feeling entirely sure she was right but not certain what else to do about it, either.

This is such a dick move, Elizabeth.

The twins and Amy have a blast talking and giggling all evening and Jessica and Amy get on even better than before, particularly when Amy tells them all about this guy called John Norton that she was seeing back in Connecticut. Elizabeth thinks that Amy is a little "boy-crazy", because all sixteen year olds should be in super serious long term relationships, I guess, but Jessica gets her and thinks she's the craic. The following day, Elizabeth decides that brunch at the Pancake House with Amy and Enid will be the perfect way to introduce the two girls, so she calls Enid to beg forgiveness for standing her up at the beach. Enid relents and agrees to meet them for pancakes. Amy wears a black jumpsuit to brunch, looks super glam and only orders a grapefruit and black coffee, declaring that she absolutely hates herself if she weighs "a single ounce over one-hundred and ten pounds" and kinda sounds like an absolute dose. Although to be fair, Enid isn't exactly setting the place on fire with her sparkling conversation skills and all she does at first is flatly say "sounds like you two had a lot of fun" while Amy and Liz reminisce. Enid thinks Amy is a total airhead but keeps it to herself and also reckons that Amy isn't exactly enamoured with her either. They're both tough going in their own way.

At school, Amy is a hit and is surrounded by people all day long, but she and Jessica are getting along so well, it's Jessica that's been showing her around and introducing her to people and Elizabeth is feeling a little bit jealous. She thinks Jessica is wasting Amy's time by going on about the sorority and cheerleading and gossip about boys, despite the fact that it's pretty clear that Amy is more interested in all of that than getting a tour of the Oracle offices. Liz thinks it's all "trivial" and she could really do with lightening up and being less judgy, I mean you're sixteen, trivial shit is where it's at. In the words of Eddie Murphy, have a Coke and a smile and shut the fuck up. Anyway, Elizabeth and Enid had been planning a weekend ski trip to Lake Tahoe with Enid's aunt Nancy who has a cabin there. They've already rescheduled it because it was originally going to be the weekend that Amy was moving back to town, so they settle on going the weekend of Lila's big party, because that works best for Nancy and Liz doesn't mind missing it. Enid asks Liz if she wants to invite Amy, but she only suggests it to be sound, as Liz hasn't copped that Amy and Enid haven't exactly hit it off and Liz is all excited and oblivious and this is surely all going to work out without any hitches whatsoever.

Meanwhile, the Miss Lovelorn column has printed two letters that week, one from a junior whose girlfriend is a senior and apparently really bossy and one from a senior with a younger boyfriend who's sick of her friends teasing her about it. How VERY convenient. Miss Lovelorn's advice to them both is to cut their losses and find someone their own age because she's definitely impartial and hasn't made the whole thing up in order to cause trouble between an actual couple who are happy together. Who does Jay McGuire even think he is, having a girlfriend when Jessica Wakefield wants to dry hump him in his car up at Miller's Point, as is her GOD GIVEN RIGHT. Get with the programme, Jay. Everyone at school assumes the letters are from Jay and Denise and Jessica even spots the two of them sitting together in the cafeteria looking miserable, so it's all going to plan.

Elizabeth catches up with Amy, who was supposed to meet her for lunch but forgot, and asks her if she wants to come skiing with her and Enid the following weekend, and Amy says yes but isn't the appropriate level of excited for Liz's liking and then dashes off when she sees Jessica and Cara, because they're taking her to check out cheer practice. Elizabeth is disappointed that Amy likes cheerleading and doesn't want to come with her to see the Oracle office (probably because that sounds REALLY FUCKING BORING, Liz. Just as well you're so much fun at parties. OH WAIT.) and wondering if she's doing something wrong.

She vowed then and there to improve her attitude, to be kinder and more generous with her friend. She was convinced if things were less than she'd expected, it must be her own fault.

Well clearly Amy is going to end up being a villain here, because Elizabeth Wakefield IS HONESTY PERSONIFIED AND ALL THAT IS GOOD AND SPARKLY AND STRAWBERRY-SCENTED IN THE WORLD HOW DARE YOU MAKE HER DOUBT HER KINDNESS AMY YOU MONSTER.

Girls. We need to talk about these pants. I mean, did teenagers ever actually wear them? They look like something your rich middle-aged neighbour wore on holidays to Florida in 1987.
The following week on the way into school in the car, Jessica reveals that Amy is trying out for the cheer squad. "Elizabeth tightened her grip on the wheel", as if she's just found out Amy is boning Mr. Collins but then decides to come along to watch the tryouts and support Amy and makes it sound like the most magnanimous decision anyone has ever made. Amy nails the tryout routine and is announced as the squad's newest member. Elizabeth congratulates her and tells her that she's going to the mall to get ski gloves with Enid and asks if she wants her to pick up an extra pair for her. Amy sort of glazes over (which is ridiculous because when Elizabeth Wakefield is talking to you, you better PAY ATTENTION) and says yes before dashing off again, leaving Elizabeth feeling sort of downhearted about the trip.

Elizabeth meets Enid at The Ski Shop (seriously, just TRY to come up with a shop name, guys. Any name. Also, is there really a market for a shop dedicated entirely to ski stuff in a town where it literally never rains?) and they pick up gloves after laughing at a middle-aged couple struggling with a bunch of packages. Dicks. Elizabeth is meeting Amy at the Dairi Burger later that day, Enid almost comes too, but bails when she hears that Amy will be there, because she has her sussed as a vain bitch who's only using Elizabeth. When Elizabeth pulls up outside the diner, Amy jumps into the car, complaining that she's been waiting ages and asks for a lift home instead. Back at Amy's, she insists on giving Liz a makeover and piles a heap of makeup all over her beautiful, flawless, peaches-and-cream complexion like some kind of fucking vandal and talks about that guy John Norton and cheerleading the whole time. When Liz gives her the ski gloves and Amy realises that the ski trip is the coming weekend and will mean missing Lila's party, she tries to get out of it and asks if they can move it to the next weekend instead. Liz gets mad at her and Amy starts crying, so Liz says she'll talk to Enid about it, even though she's already feeling like she'd prefer if it was just her and Enid going.

As expected, Enid is unhappy about it and suggests that the two of them just go, but Liz feels like that'll finish off all that's left of the relationship that she and Amy seem to have left, even though Amy pretty clearly couldn't give a fuck about the whole thing, so it ends up being a bit frosty between Liz and Enid as it's not fair on Enid's cool aunt Nancy to ask her to reschedule again.

Meanwhile, Jessica sees Jay having lunch alone, so she casually drops into the seat across from him and finds out that things aren't going well between him and Denise. Jessica spring into action and suggests that they go get a burger on Friday night, to which Jay agrees. They go for dinner and to the cinema, and Jessica suggests the Sweet Valley equivalent of Netflix and chill, i.e. that they head up to Miller's Point to talk. However, when they get up there, Jay doesn't actually want to make out, so like a totally rational person, Jessica tells him that Denise is seeing someone behind his back and boom, they get down to business.

While Jessica is out, deceiving her way into getting the shift, Elizabeth is sitting at home after being stood up by Amy again. They were supposed to go see an old film at the cinema and it was Amy's idea, in an effort to make up for her not showing up for their last two lunch dates. Elizabeth starts to realise that Amy's actually kind of a geebag when she suddenly turns up at the door, all apologies and with some story about how her mother roped her into helping out with a last-minute dinner party, and Elizabeth isn't sure what to think anymore. Allow me. She's a geebag and you're a judgmental asshole.

The night of Lila's awesome party arrives and Elizabeth is going dressed as a skier in the gear that she was supposed to wear that weekend at Lake Tahoe (lame), while Jessica is dressed as Cleopatra (excellent). Elizabeth and Enid were supposed to drive to the party together, but when Amy needs a lift too, Enid says she'll make her own way there. Amy is dressed as a ballerina and has decided that she's in love with Lila's cousin Christopher, even though she's never actually met him before and she's kind of being a pain in the hoop about the whole thing. Steven Wakefield is there too, with Cara Walker and they've come as Raggedy Ann and Andy, Winston Egbert is in a plaid swimming togs and flippers, and Lila, glorious, wonderful Lila, is in costume as Lady Diana because FUCKING YASS QUEEEN. LILA YOU MAGNIFICENT BITCH.

Privately Elizabeth thought Jessica's costume was the most outstanding. [...] Lila, who had come as the Princess of Wales didn't look half as good, Elizabeth decided. 

You shut your fucking mouth, Liz.

Enid turns up and she's come dressed in ski gear too, so her and Elizabeth are as unimaginative as each other, they're perfect together. Lila grabs a microphone and introduces the crowd to her cousin Christopher, who is smokin' hot, six foot two and blonde with dazzling blue eyes. Lila tries to drag him over to meet Amy, but he makes a beeline for boring ol' Enid, because it turns out that they went to some sailing camp together a few years ago and are getting along like a house on fire. Jessica's date for the party is Jay, but he storms off when he sees Denise turning up with another dude on her arm. Amy is furious at Enid for taking up all of Christopher's attention, when he was apparently "reserved" for her (Lila's words) and butts in asking him to dance while he's on the floor with Enid. He humours her and goes right back to Enid afterwards, so Amy corners Enid later on in the night and we find out that she's threatened Enid before. She tells her to back off and that she can't steal Christopher like she was trying to steal Liz from her, she tells her she makes her sick and generally acts like a Grade A cunt. Enid tells her she's not going to make a scene because she cares about Elizabeth and Amy stomps off. Christopher is supposed to be bringing Enid home, but Amy finagles her way into getting him to bring her instead and slags off Enid in front of Liz and everyone is upset and angry.

Elizabeth is feeling super miserable the next day and neither Enid or Amy are at home when she tries to call them, so she confides in her mother about what's been going on. Alice points out that Amy has been super manipulative, that maybe Enid was keeping her distance to spare Elizabeth's feelings and that Amy was most likely treating Enid quite differently when Liz wasn't around and that Enid wasn't saying anything out of loyalty to Liz. Alice isn't like a regular mom, she's a cool mom. People think she's Elizabeth and Jessica's older sister, you know. Elizabeth drives over to Enid's house and they talk it all out and make up and Amy can do one.

Back to Jessica's scheme, and things haven't quite panned out the way she'd hoped they would. You see, Jay and Denise both ended up writing to Miss Lovelorn, explaining that they'd each had a big fight and misunderstanding with their other halves and want to get back together. Jessica thought she'd swiped the offending letters from the office before the weekend, but she took the wrong ones home, and they ended up being printed after all, so Jay and Denise each saw how the other was feeling and have gotten back together. And Jessica's lie about Denise cheating on Jay doesn't seem to come up at all or have any repercussions for her, because consequences are for peasants.

Notable outfit:
This one goes out to Jessica's Cleopatra costume, mostly because we got absolutely no details whatsoever about Lila's Diana outfit.

She was going to wear a white sheet, wound around her to make a long skirt, and a gold bandeau top that revealed her tan midriff and shoulders. With dark eye makeup and some exotic jewelry, Jessica knew she would look absolutely stunning.

She had even put glitter on her shoulders so they gleamed!

I love that Jessica pulled off a Cleopatra costume without even bothering with doing the hair right. Blonde Cleopatra ftw.

Things I counted:
Number of pages: 138
References to the twins' blue-green eyes: 10
References to the fact that the twins are blonde: 4
Amount of times someone bites their lip: 16 (It's practically getting into Ana Steele territory there, take it easy, kids)

7 comments :

  1. Please make a Sweet Valley High t-shirt with "consequences are for peasants" on it, so I can buy it.

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  2. Great write up!! I remember this one hitting pretty hard...Amy was ma fav sweet Valley twins. She's just the worst. I recall her not even being grateful that kind, sweet Elizabeth bought her the more expensive red ski gloves!
    I also love that there is completely disproportionate amount of hot red heads in sweet Valley

    How good is Jane the virgin?? Justin Baldoni is everything

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  3. Couple or five things:

    1. WELCOME BACK, we've all missed you!

    2. What's the deal with Elizabeth? She's got a real Lannister expression on her face, like she's deciding whether she should behead one friend, to put the fear into the other, and if so, which one? (Enid, obvs) Or should she just let them fight to the death, and the winner is her new bff?

    3. I imagine your question about their pants, being asked in Mrs. Garrett's voice.

    4. If you don't know/remember who Mrs. Garrett is, you need some Facts of Life re-runs, STAT.

    5. And to answer the actual question: if those pants were made of denim, then YES, I did wear something similar areer-egg colored flats, and full-out 80's hair. There. I've outted myself.

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  4. Huh. That should have said "Easter-egg" colored flats. I'm not sure what happened. Too many mai tais last night, probably.

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  5. This book was one of my faves! I'm pretty sure I dropped it in the pool one summer lol.
    Totes on that Cleopatra costume. Jessica does everything right.

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  6. While trying not to go all "hope yer ok hun" on your ass.... I do hope you're ok :/ x

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