Thursday, April 21, 2016

Sweet Valley High Revisited - Taking Sides

Forget Batman V Superman, (because it's terrible) the big showdown this year (or in 1986, whatevs) is Elizabeth V Jessica! What could they possibly be squabbling over? Something ultimately pointless? Let's find out!

Sweet Valley High #31: Taking Sides


The Wakefield twins are sitting in the sunshine out on the lawn outside Sweet Valley High, with Lila Fowler and Enid Rollins, even though Jessica can't bear Enid and Elizabeth thinks Lila is a snobby wagon. In case anyone had forgotten, Jessica and Elizabeth are SPECTACULARLY beautiful, with their tumbling locks of spun-gold hair and sparkling, twinkling, glittering aquamarine eyes.

They had the kind of looks that make California girls famous around the world. 

And the kind of relatability that...nope, I got nothing.

There's a new dude in town, he's blonde and tall and handsome, his name is Jeffrey French and both Enid and Lila have the hots for his Oregon farm-boy ass. Jessica brings Lila across the lawn to introduce her to him and Enid is raging, even though she was getting all cosy with Lila's fancy cousin Christopher just two books ago, but he seems to have disappeared into the ether. Elizabeth is determined not to let Lila "walk all over poor Jeffrey" (hey, you don't know what he's into, Liz) and is going to do her damnedest to get him and Enid together.

Also, the twins have this annoying fifteen year old cousin called Jenny who's coming to stay with them for two weeks and she simply idolises Jessica. Unfortunately for Jenny, Jessica can't stand her.

Thick glasses, unkempt hair, at least ten pounds overweight, and dressed in the most unflattering fuschia sweats, Jenny was, as far as Jessica was concerned, a mess.

Oh Jessica. The most problematic of faves.

"I'm on a diet," Jenny announced cheerfully. "I've made up my mind, just looking at you two. I want to be thin, too!"

STAAHP.

Lila overheard Aaron Dallas mentioning that he and Jeffrey will be at Casey's ice cream parlour that evening, so she gets Jessica to come with her and they're crammed into a booth with Ken Matthews, Eddie Winters (Jessica's latest crush) and Jenny, who insisted on coming too and is currently horsing into a massive banana split, so Jessica is judging her internally, and generally being awful. Eddie and Ken seem to get along with her though, and ask her about the book she took along with her, like normal, sound lads. Jeffrey and Aaron show up and they all squash into the booth so Lila can coo and purr and murmur at Jeffrey and she decides then and there to throw a pool party for the following day as a ploy to get her hooks into him. On the way home, Jenny lets slip to Jessica that Elizabeth is scheming to get Enid and Jeffrey together, so Jessica tells Jenny not to mention the pool party to Elizabeth, pretending like Lila never invites Liz to stuff and it'd only hurt her feelings, which keeps Liz and Enid out of the way.

The pool party is a smash, there's a cabana and a grill filled with sizzling hamburgers but Lila is annoyed, because Jeffrey is being all friendly and chatty with everyone there and he's not paying enough attention to her. Jessica is also failing to command the attention of Eddie Winters, as he's busy playing water volleyball and giving piggybacks to Jenny, despite the fact that Jessica is wearing a tiny bikini and aiming her hotness right at him all afternoon. The next day, Jenny inadvertently mentions the party to Elizabeth, because pretty much her only purpose in this book is to mistakenly rat each twin out to the other. Elizabeth is furious and tells Enid that she should go to the volleyball match that's on the following night and she'll make sure that Jeffrey joins her there. Eddie drops over to the house and Jessica is delighted, until Jenny inserts herself between the two of them again and keeps talking to Eddie about books and foreign films and what have you and Jessica decides that he's just a really good guy because he's just being polite in putting up with Jenny.

The next day at school, Elizabeth is sitting in the Oracle office with editor Penny Ayala, talking about how it's PTA Food Drive Week and what a great initiative it is. Hang on, why is Jenny coming to stay for two weeks when she should surely be in school herself? What's she doing all day? I'm not sure the ghostwriter thought this through. But back to Liz and Penny.

"It's hard to believe there are people in our own town who don't have enough to eat!" "I know" Penny said soberly. 

That's because you don't know any poor people. Aside from Tricia Martin, and she's dead.

Sexy ol' Roger Collins pops in and asks if one of them would mind staying on for Jeffrey French, as he's a photographer, and going to help the paper out with the supplement they're putting together for the food drive but he needs to be shown around the office. Elizabeth says she'll stay and Penny asks if she's sure.

Elizabeth laughed, making little shooing motions with her hands. "Go on, both of you!" she said lightly.

I 100% read that as "little shooting motions" the first time around and had a truly wonderful image in my head of Elizabeth doing finger guns, going "pew pew pew!" at Penny and Mr. Collins. So disappointed. Anyway, Jeffrey comes along and Elizabeth finds the way he looks at her "unnerving", but in a good way I guess? They actually get along really well and chat for ages and it's half five before Elizabeth remembers that she's supposed to be trying to set him up with Enid, so she starts going on about how wonderful Enid is and how Jeffrey should get to know her, although he's pretty obviously into Elizabeth. She tells him that she was supposed to go to the volleyball game with Enid that night and he should take her place, because she promised her mother that she'd hang out with Jenny for the evening. Jeffrey sort of noncommittally says it's a good idea and then asks if Liz wants to get a Coke with him at Casey's, but she fobs him off and can't figure why he seems disappointed. HE'S INTO YOU, DUMMY. "The kind of looks that make California girls famous around the world", remember?

Elizabeth sorta looks like she's staring right past Jessica on this cover, like her eyeline doesn't quite match up with Jessica's. No wonder Jess looks so pissed off. That and the fact that she's been been caught in a boring ass polo shirt.

However, later that night, Enid rings Liz all upset because Jeffrey never showed up and Liz finds out from Jenny (of course) that Jeffrey was at the Beach Disco with her, Jessica, Lila, Eddie, Roger and Olivia and that Lila was dancing with Jeffrey all night. Also, Jessica and Jenny are meeting Eddie on Friday night, and while Jessica is doing some leg lifts in her room (while listening to her Walkman, obvs), Jenny suggests that they go to the Plaza to see Wuthering Heights and goes on about how cute Eddie is, oblivious to Jessica's annoyance at the whole situation.

Back in school, Jeffrey comes over all chatty to Elizabeth, who's pissed off with him for going to the Beach Disco instead of the volleyball game like he never actually said he would. He explains that Lila asked him to come to the disco, and told him that Jessica was taking Jenny there to show her around, so he assumed that meant Liz would be there too. Liz is bewildered, nay FLUMMOXED by this and in the meantime, Enid is flailing around trying to think of a way to get Jeffrey to notice her, because Lila is campaigning hard and already bought him a new camera and tripod, which he won't accept. There's a charity auction coming up at school as part of the food drive, where the students bid with cans of food, so Enid cooks up a plan to get Elizabeth to convince Jeffrey to offer a date with him as an auction item and then Enid will make sure to be the highest bidder. Elizabeth agrees to the plan and gets Jeffrey on board, but feels like a dope because she reckons he thinks she's doing all this as a roundabout way to go out with him herself.

The day of the auction, Enid asks if Jessica and Lila can help to pack the food cans to be taken to City Hall when the auction is over, and Lila's like "You mean actually putting them in boxes?", because bitch please, as if Lila has ever packed in her fabulous life. They quickly make up excuses why they can't help out, which keeps them out of the way for the auction and it's actually pretty impressively sneaky of Enid. When Jeffrey's date night comes up, Caroline Pearce and some other bird called Stacie are bidding back and forth until they get to twenty five cans, when Enid steps in and bids seventy five. Way to play it cool, E.

But whatever about that, the other items up for auction are the best part of this bit. Well, two of the other items. Namely, "a voucher for a homemade dinner cooked by none other than Mr. Collins", because that man genuinely doesn't know the meaning of the word APPROPRIATE and "a candid snapshot of Bruce Patman in a bathing suit" HOLY FUCK WHAAAT. Unfortunately we don't find out who won the bidding on either of those, so we'll never know who spent a cosy underage evening with sexy Roger Collins or who publicly bought Bruce Patman wank material.

On Friday night, Jessica is being driven up the wall by Jenny on their night out with Eddie and feeling like he's ignoring her and just talking about dumb mystery novels and dumb classical music with her dumb cousin. They end up at Dairi Burger, where Jessica just sits quietly "sipping angrily at her Diet Coke" while the other two chat, (I don't know how exactly you can sip angrily, but if anyone can do it, it's Jessica Wakefield) until she sees Enid and Jeffrey out together and discovers the whole auction plan. WHO CARES, ask about the Bruce photo and the sex-dinner! PRIORITIES, JESSICA. Anyway, Enid and Jeffrey's date is going reasonably well, in that he's polite and attentive, but they're not clicking and Enid accepts that there's nothing there between them.

On Sunday there's a big beach party as the final event for the Food Drive week, although I'm not sure how a bunch of fancy teenagers hanging out at the beach trying to fuck each other helps the poor of Sweet Valley, but what do I know. Enid tries to tell Elizabeth that it's not going to happen between her and Jeffrey and they should drop it, but for some reason Liz insists that she doesn't give up and arranges for Jeffrey to take a bunch of photos of Enid for a profile about her, as she's head of the student committee for the food drive. These kids, they're all on committees and president or chairman of this and that, just chill with the bureaucracy would ye. Anyway, Elizabeth drags Jeffrey away from the dancefloor and a fuming Lila Fowler and it's really awkward when she lumps him and Enid together and runs off. Jessica then confronts Elizabeth about her scheming against her and Lila and they have it out over all the shenanigans each of them pulled. Then Enid gives out to Elizabeth for trying to force her and Jeffrey together and then Jeffrey gives out to her too for playing games with him and trying to decide who he should go out with, so everyone is mad at poor, beautiful Liz.

While she's crying all alone further down the beach, Jessica comes over and patches things up, and also makes Elizabeth realise that she totally fancies Jeffrey. She also reveals that Eddie is currently slow dancing with Jenny and he's a lost cause. Jenny is fifteen and Eddie is a senior, so that makes him around seventeen, yeah? Hm. HMM. Elizabeth and Jessica rejoin the party and Jenny tells them that Eddie is coming to Dallas to visit her after she goes home. Jenny is eating a hot dog and Elizabeth makes a comment about how being in love is meant to make you lose your appetite, but Jenny says they're just friends.

"Love is too stupid," she added licking a bit of mustard off her hand.

I am HIGHLY suspicious of this seventeen year old dude arranging to go all the way to Texas see a clearly very immature fifteen year old girl that he's "just friends" with. I'M WATCHING YOU, EDDIE WINTERS.

Anyway, Elizabeth then finds Enid and apologises to her and they make up, and then she goes and does the same with Jeffrey, only their conversation ends with a heap of smooching on the dancefloor and Elizabeth Wakefield is now OFF THE MARKET, DUDES.

Notable outfit: 
This one is notable because it sounds fucking awesome.

Elizabeth couldn't believe the way Lila was acting. First of all, she was dressed inappropriately for a picnic on the beach. Her one-piece, white jumpsuit would have been more suitable on a Hollywood set. And those gold-spangled high heels were just too much.

SHUT UP LIZ, SHE OBVIOUSLY LOOKS AMAZING.

Things I counted:
Number of pages: 134
References to the twins' blue-green eyes: 5
References to the fact that the twins are blonde: 3

Amount of times people blush: 17
Amount of times Jenny's weight is brought up: 7 (Not gonna lie, it's pretty bleak.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sweet Valley High Revisited - Jealous Lies

Hi! Barcelona is super fun and pretty! But perhaps more importantly, GET A LOAD OF THIS SHINY ASS BOMBER JACKET. I can actually feel those stretchy, striped cuffs on my wrists.

Sweet Valley High #30: Jealous Lies


The Wakefields are having breakfast in their lovely, tastefully decorated split-level home, and by the time we've gotten to page five Alice's eyes have been twinkling, Ned's have been crinkling and Elizabeth has been winking, so we're off to a great start already. Steven is coming home soon for a whole week and Alice wants to plan something "really special" for his visit, even though he's always coming home, but whatever. Also, the fancy Pi Beta Alpha sorority that the twins are members of is having some important meeting to discuss new pledges and I still don't understand why a high school has a sorority. The meeting is happening at Lila Fowler's house, as she's the pledge chairman. Man, I don't know, let's just go with this whole thing. At the meeting, Sandra Bacon is sitting towards the back, thinking about how average and unmemorable she is, compared to her bff Jean West, who is gorgeous, plays the flute, is a fabulous dancer, a great cheerleader, an A student, a great cook and never wears jeans. However, Jean isn't in PBA, and Sandy wants to keep it that way, as it's the one thing she has that Jean doesn't, but everyone expects her to nominate Jean when her turn comes so she can't back out. Sandy needs to chill the fuck out, she's a cheerleader and in this stupid posh sorority so she's obviously cute and skinny, considering the emotional torture that very group put Robin Wilson through when she wanted to join back when she was chubby.

A quick aside about how much these girls' names bother me. I love some nice crispy bacon, like any sane person, but Sandy Bacon sounds like there's all bits of gritty sand on my lovely rashers and now I can't eat them. Jean West just makes me think of John West, i.e. the tuna and I don't like fish, so these two dumb names just immediately make me think of ruined rashers and smelly cans of tuna and those two things are just upsetting. It's making me want to refer to Sandy as Crispy Bacon instead and I'm just not going to use Jean's full name ever.

So. Crispy nominates Jean as expected, and now has to be her sponsor, to get her through the pledge period. The following day, the two of them are chatting in the school swimming pool between practising water ballet routines, because OMG OF COURSE Sweet Valley High has a synchronised swimming class! Yes! Crispy reassures Jean that she'll ace whatever challenge the pledges have to do, which is a big lie because Crispy is already plotting against her friend. The pledges all have to bring an assigned dude to a party, and Crispy is trying to think of someone who'll turn Jean down, which is a tall order, considering how totally wonderful she is at everything. However, while at lunch with Elizabeth and Winston Egbert, Winston mentions that he ran into Tom McKay that morning and he was really glum because he tried to talk to Jean and was given the brush off. "He was good and mad, to tell you the truth." How dare Jean not give him her full and undivided attention when he starts up a conversation, uninvited! Like, fuck this guy. Maybe she was busy dude, put your pants back on. In any case, Crispy sees this as a perfect opportunity to throw an obstacle in Jean's way, and suggests to Lila that she be assigned to bring Tom as her date to a party at Cara's.

The last girl he'd gone with was Jessica Wakefield, and a few people joked that she had turned him off the female sex forever, having strung him along until someone better came along.

Ha! Although at the end of that particular book, Tom was hooking up with Sexy Patsy Webber, who seems to have disappeared from the face of Sweet Valley. Jessica probably murdered her.

Lila suggests to Jean that she should watch some tennis match that Tom is playing and then talk to him afterwards and tell him how brilliant he is. She then ruins Crispy's sabotage plan by wingwomaning Jean into inviting Tom as her date to Cara's party, and Jean tells Crispy that she's actually really starting to like Tom after properly talking to him.

Back over at the Wakefield house, Steven is home and the family are having dinner together. Once Jessica is done admiring her hot brother ("she couldn't help thinking how good Steven looked"), he announces that he's planning to leave college and go working on a cruise ship called the Bellefleur, owned by his roommate's father. Ned and Alice freak out and Steven storms off, so Elizabeth suggests that they try reverse psychology on him and act like they're all on board (I'm sorry) with the idea. They were going to throw a totally pointless surprise party for him while he was home so now they're going to make it a bon voyage party instead and Ned reckons that dropping out will lose its appeal if they don't put up any opposition. Okay, sure.

Meanwhile, Crispy is plotting again and drops into The Tennis Shop, where Tom works, under the pretence of buying tennis shoes for her mother. She then drops some not so subtle hints that he's been invited to the party that night as a task for Jean and then runs off crying guilty, salty tears. Tom had started to really like Jean, so he's pretty stung by it all and decides he's not going to let her make a fool of him. Jean is getting ready for the party and looking forward to seeing Tom, but over an hour after he was supposed to pick her up, he calls her and says he's not feeling well but he'll be over soon. Then at around ten, at which point the party is in full swing and poor Jean is still hanging around a home waiting, he calls again and says he's in hospital with food poisoning. So she heads off to the party alone and super late and is the only pledge who has failed in her task. Crispy then sells her out in front of the rest of the sorority and suggests that she should check Tom's story out and call the hospital. Of course, he's not there and then everyone knows that she's been stood up and made to look like an asshole. Jean tells the sorority girls that she's going to get revenge on him by acting like she believed his story, making him start to care about about her, getting him to come to the school dance on Friday as her date, and then, because it'll be the day of her and Dana's birthday, they'll start the dancing and she'll invite some other guy to dance, making HIM look like the asshole. Jessica loves the plan, obviously, and Lila and Cara agree that it'll be her substitute task, but then Crispy pipes up and says it's not fair to break the rules for Jean, so the two friends end up having a row.

♪ Look at meee/I'm Sandy B/dressed up like a Pink Ladyyy

While the row is going on, Steven is talking to Cara, who has been prepped by Jessica to be cool with his cruise ship decision. When he told her about it first she was really upset, and now that she's acting like she's fine with it and that they should go their separate ways because long distance relationships don't work, Steven gets all huffy and storms off. He does that a lot in this book. The next day, Jessica brings him a bunch of brochures about the Far East and goes on about all the great presents he'll be able to buy her on his travels. Ned and Alice have also been playing along, and Ned landed him with a heap of paperwork to sort out health insurance policies and stuff for when he leaves college. Steven tells Jessica that he and Cara are breaking up and Jessica quite rightly points out that he just dropped this bombshell on Cara and expected her to wait around for eight or nine months at a time before she'd see him, without even talking it through with her first. The ridiculous plan seems to be working though, as Steve is starting to question his decision to go.

Jean is feeling sad about her row with Crispy. She only wanted to join the sorority in the first place because she felt like the two of them were drifting apart and she wanted to spend more time with her friend. In the meantime, she gets started on her revenge plan for Tom and calls over to his house with a bag of get well soon presents, laying on the fake concern and generally being super nice to him. Tom is totally caught off guard and figures that she must really like him and they arrange to have lunch at school the next day. While at school, Crispy begs Jean for forgiveness, but instead of just coming clean about her weird jealousy, she says that she only did what she did because she's afraid the other girls will accuse her of favouritism and says that she's been put under loads of pressure from the other members since nominating Jean, and then they make up.

At lunch, Tom surprises Jean with a picnic and she acts like she loves it, even though she's kinda being a lil bitch about it. "This guy is off his rocker, Jean thought with disgust as she sat down." Even though she apparently hates picnics, she has a nice time talking to Tom about their respective brothers and even momentarily forgets that's she's supposed to be exacting revenge on him. That evening he wants to take her somewhere he thinks she'll love and surprises her with a trip to some amusement park at Clinton Falls, wherever that that is. He's really starting to care for Jean but he's slightly worried that they're too different and she's too sophisticated for him. However, Jean is afraid of heights and apparently hates this surprise even more than the picnic, but he takes her on the Ferris wheel and holds her hand and the view is so amazing at the top and she realises this is so special to him that they start shifting. Also, he pays an entrance fee to get into the park and then has to buy tickets for the Ferris wheel once they're in, and I have to say Tom, this special park of yours is a fucking rip-off.

Back at school, Elizabeth is at a lunch table with Cara, Jessica, Lila and Jean, and Lila goes through Jean's plan for Tom at the school dance, which is all news to Elizabeth.

She frowned at Jean, thinking that it hardly seemed fair to get back at Tom in front of the whole school. But she wouldn't have dreamed of saying anything in front of all the other girls. Besides, she didn't know Jean well enough to intrude.

As if that stopped her literally every other time she's stuck her oar into other people's business uninvited.

In any case, Jean is feeling bad about her plan for Tom and doesn't think she can go through with it because she really likes him now. They're hanging out in the back garden of his house and he confesses that he didn't really have food poisoning and she admits that she was bringing him to Cara's party as part of her pledge task and that she feels awful about it. When she asks why he stood her up, Tom tells her that Crispy had called into the shop and dropped a bunch of hints about the task and Jean realises that Crispy has been plotting against her all this time.

In school, Elizabeth is proofreading her Eyes and Ears column in the student lounge, when Crispy bursts in, looking upset because she thought the room would be empty. She sits down and Elizabeth mentions that Jean's revenge plan is a bit lousy, whereupon Crispy bursts into tears and says it's not Jean's fault and runs off. There's literally no point to this bit whatsoever, it's just an attempt to crowbar Elizabeth into a story line that doesn't involve her. Crispy ends up in Mr. Collins' classroom and confesses that she's done something terrible to someone she cares about, so he tells her that she either has to come clean and apologise or hope the other person doesn't find out.

Outside of class he was a great listener - and a wonderful shoulder to cry on.

Shoulder to cry on, lap to sit on, potayto potahto.

Steve tries to talk to Ned and Alice about whether he should take the cruise ship job or not and gets all huffy when they tell him it's his decision to make. So he's mad when they don't want him to go and he's mad when they're being supportive. He then calls Cara to talk it over with her and she's still pretending to be all breezy and also says it's up to him, so Steve gets all upset and decides to stay in college after all, thinking that none of them care about him anyway.

The night of the school dance rolls around and because it's on Friday the Thirteenth, it's got a spooky theme and everyone is wearing black.

Black crepe paper and forbidding-looking moons festooned the walls; papier-mâché black cats perched on the table where the punch was being served, and eerie music was playing. Students had to pass under a big ladder to enter the gym and the decoration theme of unlucky objects was carried out everywhere.

I have to say, I'm 100% into this theme and execution. Bravo, dance committee. 

Jean arrives with Tom and has decided that she's not going to go through with her plan after all, because she really likes him (despite the fact that she's hated every surprise he's organised for her thus far) so she's resigned herself to not getting into the sorority, sadly thinking that Crispy will get what she wanted after all. Dana and Jean are called forward to choose their dancing partners, Jean calls out Tom's name, and the sorority bitches are all really cross. They start giving out about Jean, saying she was leading them on and that she should be dropped from the pledge list for good. Crispy gets all upset and comes to her defence, saying that it was all her fault and that she was sabotaging Jean's efforts all along because she was jealous and to kick her out instead and let Jean join. While all this is going on, Jean's dance has ended and she's overheard the whole confession. The girls tearfully make up and the sorority decides to accept Jean and also to let Crispy stay because she's been punished enough. Also, Tom and Jean are in love now and everything is awesome. 

The following night is the surprise party for Steve at the Wakefield house. He comes into the room with Cara, everyone jumps out and there's a big bon voyage banner, so he announces that he's actually not going now. The twins are all excited and flip the banner over, so it says "Welcome Home, Steve!" instead and reveal that they'd all been yanking his chain the whole time, because it had to be his decision, YES WE KNOW, JESUS.

Notable outfit: 
Tragically, the amazing (and suuuper flammable-looking) sorority bomber jackets aren't actually mentioned in the book at all, otherwise it would obviously be all about them here. Instead, when Jean calls over to Tom's with the care package for his fake food poisoning, she dresses in an outfit that she thinks he'll like, i.e. cute, simple and outdoorsy. 

She had taken special pains getting dressed, finally selecting a pair of linen walking shorts and a Fair Isle cotton sweater.

I looked up Fair Isle jumpers and they're actually pretty nice, but boy do linen walking shorts sound terrible.

Things I counted:
Number of pages: 135
References to the twins' blue-green eyes: 4
References to the fact that the twins are blonde: 1 (ONE? Not nearly good enough. I could have FORGOTTEN they were blonde, for GOD'S SAKE.) 

Amount of times Steve storms out of a room: 3

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)

 
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