Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sweet Valley High Revisited - Super Edition: Spring Fever

I'm here! I'm back! That was quite a bit of a lag between posts, but you see I was busy with a constant low-level panic about my job situation and what the hell I was going to do with my life for the last few months so I wasn't really in a Sweet Valley typa place. Until now! And guys, it's finally, FINALLY the last of these lame Super Editions which always seem to culminate in a contrived life-or-death situation and then we never hear from any of the peripheral characters or boys Jessica falls in love with ever again. So after this one it'll be back to the regular Sweet Valley timeline and the next lil series of breakaway books are the Super Thrillers, where we'll get some murder-mystery-stalker-shenanigans going on and I for one cannot wait. But for now, it's the swan song of this seasonal series, so farewell Super Editions and don't let the door hit you in the blonde vagina on the way out.

Sweet Valley High Super Edition: Spring Fever

It's Spring Break! Again! And the Wakefield twins are taking their perfect size six asses to Kansas for eleven days to stay with Alice's uncle Herman and aunt Shirley for what appears to be no good reason. The gals are packing for their trip and Alice, who is described as "neat, pert and blue-eyed" (oh my) cautions them that their great-aunt and uncle are the same generation as their grandparents and not to alarm the old people basically, because they're not used to teenagers. She also reminds Jessica that they agreed that packing conservative things is the way to go for Walkersville when she sees a white jumpsuit studded with rhinestones in her daughter's case. Amazing. Elizabeth is excited because she's "always wanted to go to a little midwestern town" which is such a dumb lie Liz, knock it off.

Shirley and Herman collect the twins from the airport and Jessica admires the scenery on the way to the house. 

"I've never seen anything so flat before!" Jessica added, her eyes wide.

And if Elizabeth was any fun at all she's make a crack about Jessica's chest or something here. Come on, it's so obvious. The twins fill Herman and Shirley in on the goings-on back in Sweet Valley and what Steven is up to in college and how he has "a wonderful girlfriend, Cora Walker." Cora! Poor Cara Walker, I don't know why the ghostwriter has slighted you like this. They get to Walkersville and it's lovely and like a storybook, according to Elizabeth. Herman is the mayor and has an old fashioned five and ten cent store, which I can only assume is something closer to Main Street USA in Disneyland rather than a shop like Dealz or €uro2. It has a soda fountain inside, which is popular with the local teens, so Jessica pipes up and suggests that her and Liz could help out behind the counter while they're around. Shirley and Herman's house is all nice and Kansas-y with wicker chairs on the porch and copper pots and pans in the kitchen and patchwork quilts in the bedrooms. Once the twins get settled, Shirley barges into their room and tells them they're ready to head into town to show them around. Jessica isn't impressed, as she wanted just her and Liz to have a look around so she could scope out the local hot dudes, which will now be trickier to do with an elderly aunt and uncle in tow.

Shirley and Herman bring them around the town and Jessica feels like a movie star because everyone is openly gaping at the sight of her and Liz. Also, Jessica is thrilled that her outfit of "tight black stirrup pants, bright raspberry t-shirt, and black, man-tailored jacket" stands out so much, oh and she's wearing pointy black sunglasses that genuinely startled her aunt when she saw them. Jessica's fashion choices are not for the faint of heart so strap in, Shirley. Jessica manages to break away from the group under the pretense of checking out a craft shop across the road and once they've gone well ahead of her, she makes a beeline for a shop she saw a bunch of lads standing outside earlier. The poor simple country folk are transfixed by Jessica as she tosses her hair around and flashes flirtatious smiles, enjoying making them all turn red by asking for the time and the fact that they "couldn't believe she was really from California". However, two local gals then turn up and Jessica is totally flummoxed when they're all cold and unfriendly to this hot blonde stranger who's simultaneously chatting up everyone's boyfriend. One of the girls, Annie Sue (really), then starts pointedly talking about a party that everyone's going to that night and doesn't invite Jessica. Clearly she has no idea who she's talking to. Jessica catches up with Liz and the relatives and Shirley makes a big deal about what a sweet girl Annie Sue is, but all the girls they see in town look like they're ready to murder the twins when they see them. We're not in Sweet Valley anymore, bitches.
There's a carnival coming to Walkersville and the twins lose their fucking minds with excitement.

Jessica had grabbed Elizabeth by the hand and yanked her out of her chair. "Let's go figure out what we're going to wear!" she shrieked.

Jessica decides on her sparkly white Dolly Parton-as-fuck jumpsuit, Elizabeth tells her she looks like someone on a game show and Aunt Shirley nearly faints when she sees it. Jessica has also taken the liberty of adding an oversize pair of silver earrings and white leather boots, like the absolute champ that she is, and everyone heads out to the fair. Oh, but first Aunt Shirley warns the girls about the unspoken rule in the town about boys who work at the carnival, "known as 'carnies' in local slang" and the secret rule is not to hook up with them, basically. They take a look around and there's a Ferris Wheel and food and a bunch of tents and the twins manage to break away from their aunt and uncle for a go on the Ferris Wheel, from which Jessica spots a hot guy working at a corral for horse riding. The twins go over and Jessica pretends to be super into horses. The dude's name is Alex and his dad owns the carnival, so he's helping out during spring break. They talk about California for a bit and even Elizabeth thinks he's a ride as well.

He seemed smart, too. Not at all like a "carnie".

Real nice, Liz. Anyway, when Jessica mentions that Liz wants to be a writer, Alex tells them that his brother Brad does as well and guess what, they're identical twins too! However, Annie Sue then turns up with her boyfriend and interrupts the conversation. Her boyfriend Dennis asks Jessica if the rhinestones on her jumpsuit are real diamonds and Annie Sue tries to monopolise Alex's attention by yammering on about horses. She tries to pet a stallion called Midnight and Alex gives out to her, because he hasn't been broken yet and is really skittish around strangers. Great idea having him out at the carnival then, Alex. Annie Sue goes off in a huff, dragging Dennis with her and Jessica asks Alex if he'll give her a riding lesson. AYOOO. Alex says he could meet her after the carnival when it closes at ten and Jessica agrees, despite Elizabeth's warning that Shirley and Herman definitely won't let her go out alone at that hour.

They get back to the house and Aunt Shirley mentions that she saw the twins talking to Annie Sue and goes on about what a wonderful girl she is, until Jessica tells her that Annie Sue doesn't seem to like her and Liz all that much. Aunt Shirley won't hear of it and says she's been telling Annie Sue all about her amazing, smart, pretty nieces for months, so Liz reckons maybe she's just sick of hearing about the Wakefields and that's why she's been so frosty to them. Jessica then casually mentions that she's heading back into town to see a guy she met earlier and Shirley has a totally normal reaction.

"You met-" Aunt Shirley turned white. "Herman," she said weakly, clutching her heart. "My pills-"

Shirley's a messy bitch who lives for drama.

There's no way they're letting Jessica out, so she apologises for upsetting her aunt and feigns sleepiness, saying she's heading to bed except she's obviously sneaking out instead. Jessica has a wonderful evening with Alex who, upon learning that Jessica has never ridden a horse before decides that she's the perfect person to ride Midnight, as he's almost broken in and she won't have any bad habits. She also won't have a fucking clue what she's doing and this is a terrible idea. But apparently it's ok because it turns out that Jessica is a natural. At riding. Of course she is. She also arranges to meet Alex and his brother the following afternoon so they can introduce Brad and Liz and they can bond over books and being absolutely negative craic.

The next morning, Jessica and Elizabeth head to their uncle's shop to work at the soda fountain. Jessica had forgotten that they were supposed to be working so she tells Liz that she'll cover for her and that she should head off at three o'clock to meet Alex and Brad at the corral. Before all that though, they have to get through their shift behind the counter, scooping ice cream and flipping burgers in fetching striped aprons and paper hats. A lady called Mindy works behind the counter too and shows them the ropes, then decides they know what they're doing and just bails before the lunch rush to do some errands for the guy that runs the shop. What the fuck, Mindy. The twins get through the busy period and are eventually left with a gang of the local boys that Jessica met on the first day, including Annie Sue's boyfriend Dennis, who asks the twins if they're going to the square dance that weekend and if they have dates yet. However, then Annie Sue turns up with a gang of local girls and gets all snappy with Dennis for talking to those blonde hussies. We find out that Annie Sue (that name is so annoying to type out every time, goddamn you ghostwriter and your stereotypical hick name choices) has been telling the other girls that the twins were mocking their clothes and think they're stupid. When Jessica protests and says that Annie Sue is lying, she whirls around and accuses Jessica and Elizabeth of trying to steal their boyfriends, before storming off with her gang and the lads trailing along behind her all sheepish.

Elizabeth heads off to meet Alex and Brad at the corral while Jessica mans the counter, but is disappointed to see Alex alone when she arrives. She says hi and asks him where Brad is, but he laughs and says that he's Brad and that Alex couldn't make it as he's meeting a prospective buyer for Midnight. They go for a walk and get along wonderfully, as Brad is sensitive and writes poetry and is shyer than his brother and Elizabeth thinks she might actually fancy him, which is awkward because Jeffrey is waiting for her back in Sweet Valley, being blonde and handsome. They decide to meet up again, but Brad is only free in the afternoons as he has to look after his little sister while Alex and his father are at the carnival in the evenings.

Just look at these assholes.

A few days later, Aunt Shirley tells the twins that they've been invited out to Annie Sue's grandmother's farm for a welcome to Walkersville lunch with Annie Sue (f u ghostwriter) and her pals. She's already accepted on the twins' behalf so there's no getting out of it. Uncle Herman drives them out to the farm, where they are welcomed by Mrs. Sawyer, Annie's grandmother, who is kind and lovely and in the middle of making an apple tart for their lunch. Annie (no more Sue for you!) is due to arrive with her friends around noon, but her little sister Janie is there and instructed by her grandmother to give the girls a tour of the farm. However, Annie has prepped her little sister to torment the twins, so she tries to get Jessica to milk a temperamental cow called Brownie who kicks everyone other than Mrs. Sawyer, until Elizabeth stops her just in time. Over the course of the morning, she also tries to steer the twins into poison ivy, ditches them in the woods so they get lost and gets them to feed the pigs which results in Elizabeth nearly being trampled into the Kansas dirt by stampeding livestock. They get back to the house for noon, but there's no sign of Annie and her girl gang, so they drink lemonade with Mrs. Sawyer on the porch. After waiting for almost an hour, it becomes clear that Annie is standing them up and Mrs. Sawyer is visibly upset as they go ahead and have lunch with six empty places set at the table. Fuck Annie Sue for having her lovely nanny make a massive lunch and not turning up out of spite for the twins, the lil bitch.

Jessica continues to pretend to go to bed early so she can sneak out to see Alex and Elizabeth meets Brad again for another afternoon date. On her way to meet him, she notices that some of the local girls have started to dress like Jessica, as she sees one in a pink headband similar to one Jessica wore a few days before and another in a sweatshirt dress, again as previously seen on Jessica. One of the nights that Jessica is out with Alex at the corral and riding around on Midnight, she gets him to agree to take her to the square dance and to make it a double date with Brad and Elizabeth. However, as she's saying goodbye to Alex, she sees Annie Sue staring intently at her and realises that this means trouble as she's been caught out after eleven and with a carnie, no less. I mean, Annie Sue is also out at that hour with her boyfriend, but it doesn't stop her from threatening to tell Herman and Shirley and blackmailing Jessica into giving her her "rhinestone-studded headband" at the dime store counter the following day. Over the course of the week, she also makes Jessica give her other belongings, such as a rhinestone pin, a plastic sports watch (you just know it was that wonderful 80s shade of bright yellow that the SPORTS version of everything was) and - gasp, the indignity - Jessica's red cowboy boots.

Elizabeth meets Brad for one last date before the big square dance, and he has to go set up the corral that night as a favour for his brother. Brad ends up accidentally cutting his hand on a gate with a nail sticking out of it, so Liz patches him up with a first aid kit and is relieved to find that there's no romantic spark between them, they're just friends and she's still in love with Jeffrey back home. Over dinner, Shirley and Herman mention how much fun it will be for them and the girls to all go to the square dance together. Jessica is horrified and she and Liz explain that they have dates for the dance, but Shirley and Herman aren't having it and insist that because they've never met these boys or their families, they're not allowed to go with them. A distraught Jessica sneaks out again after dinner to find Alex so she can tell him that she'll never see him again as the twins are going home on Monday. Before she gets a chance to tell him that she can't go to the dance, he hurriedly explains that a guy called Sawyer is going to buy Midnight and he has to run off to meet him, so would Jessica mind watching the corral for a few minutes.

As soon as Alex leaves, Annie Sue turns up and starts crowing about how her father is buying Midnight for her. She makes Jessica give her the necklace of "big silver beads" she's wearing and then saunters into the corral and climbs up on Midnight, despite Jessica telling her not to, because he's not fully trained. Annie imperiously declares that she's been riding horses since she was three and yanks on the reins, making the horse all skittish and anxious. I mean, in real life, the girl who's been riding horses all her life is the one who knows how to handle a temperamental horse, even if she's mean to the twins, not some bird who's never even been near a stable since that week and is getting sporadic lessons from a guy she's dry-humping after hours at the town carnival, but real-world logic doesn't apply to Wakefield twins and I should really know that by now. Anyway, a metallic crash comes from the stables and spooks Midnight, sending him racing off around the corral with a terrified Annie Sue on board. Jessica climbs onto another horse and chases after Midnight, (how big is this corral lads, seriously) managing to get her horse in front of the stallion, slowing him down and then taking the reins from Annie Sue and patting Midnight so he calms down, because she's the fucking horse whisperer now on top of everything else. Alex has come back on the scene at this stage and races over, taking back control of Midnight and everything is grand again. Oh and a crowd had gathered in the meantime and now they're all cheering like a shower of absolute dopes because more loud noises are just what the giant nervous horse needs.

While all this was going on, Shirley came into the bedroom to speak to the twins about their decision, only to find Elizabeth there on her own, forcing her to explain that Jessica took off to see Alex one last time. Shirley and Herman freak out and head over to the carnival to find her with Liz in tow and arrive at the corral just as everything has calmed down. Annie Sue's dad Mr. Sawyer then tells them how Jessica bravely saved his daughter's life, so everyone is cool again. Annie Sue apologises to Jessica for being such a horrible bitch to her and Elizabeth and explains that she's always been the one in charge with the kids her age around Walkersville and that she's a bit spoiled and always got what she wanted, as an only child. An only child?


However, in this case, it seems like the ghostwriter has delivered a final fuck you by not reading her own book, as Janie is then mentioned not three pages later by Annie Sue herself, so let that be a lesson to us all about getting our ghost-hopes up. Annie decides to throw a party that night at her house so everyone can get to know each other properly before the square dance and she can give Jessica all her stuff back. Everyone goes to the impromptu party at the Sawyer's massive house and has a great time and the twins are getting along great with Annie Sue and her friends now, particularly after Annie makes a big speech in front of everyone apologising to the twins for her behaviour, because only public repentance will do when you've messed with the Wakefields. Later, when Jessica drags Alex over to Elizabeth to talk about the square dance that they're now allowed to attend, Elizabeth notices that Alex has a bandage on his hand in the exact spot where Brad was cut on the nail. Well whaddaya know. Elizabeth angrily confronts him when Jessica goes upstairs to borrow a gingham dress from Annie Sue for the dance and he confesses that his name really is Alex and yes, he made up the whole twin thing. Elizabeth is furious but tells him to come up with a reason why Brad won't be at the dance and she'll go along with it for Jessica's sake, because Jessica is in love with him.

They go to the dance and Elizabeth decides to fuck with Alex a bit by letting Annie Sue in on what he pulled and getting her to interrupt him when he's dancing with Jessica, telling him that Elizabeth wants to dance with him too and then doing the same thing for Jessica when he's dancing with Liz. After an evening of being dragged in two directions, Alex gets Liz alone and apologises properly, explaining that he liked them both and couldn't decide who he liked more so this way he could spend time with the two of them, but he's fallen for Jessica. Elizabeth forgives him as she sees that he "cares for Jessica a great deal" and promises not to reveal the truth to her sister, so I suppose that's fine then and they all have a great evening at the end of their "precious" trip to Walkersville, which sounded like it sucked really, what with all the unpaid labour and getting the cold shoulder from local girls and blackmailing. Not to mention that fact that Elizabeth should have immediately sold Alex out for being an absolute creep but whatever. THE END.

Notable outfit:

In fairness, Jessica's white rhinestone jumpsuit is tough to beat, but when the twins go to the square dance, they actually wear almost exactly what's on the ridiculous cover.

"I look exactly like those girls always do in the movies!" she exclaimed, delighted. The skirt of the gingham dress stood away from her body, held out by the crinoline petticoat. The bodice fit very close, accentuating her slim waist and torso and the neckline plunged just low enough to look good - but not so low as to raise an objection from their aunt and uncle.

"You look fantastic!" Elizabeth said. She had decided to wear something simpler that night, a slim-cut denim skirt and a red and white checked cotton blouse. A bright bandana tied around her neck completed the look.

Go on Jessica, putting the ho in hoe-down.

Things I counted:
Number of pages: 233
References to the twins' blue-green eyes: 3
References to the fact that the twins are blonde: 6