I hope you are ready to get your Wakefield on. The books in this post is the strongest list in of Sweet Valley High books so far with the first five out of five rating (and there are two of them on this list!) and no misses. Remember that because of the nature of this series, this blog does contain spoilers. While I don’t delve into too much detail, you will at least get the ‘what’ and depending on the book sometimes the ‘who’ and ‘why’. (I try my best to always leave out the ‘how’.) So, if you intend to read these books yourself, read this blog at your own risk. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy this group of books because just like yesterday’s Fear Street edition, the series really hits its stride with these! 🙂
Sweet Valley Scale: 4.5 out of 5 Twins
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: Fourth Place
Roger Barrett has always had a hopeless crush on rich, snobby Lila Fowler, but the only attention Lila ever gives Roger is to make fun of him. And why not? Roger is clumsy, shy and secretly works as a janitor after school. When Roger wins the qualifying heat for a big race, however, he becomes a school celebrity overnight. To his surprise even Lila begins so show interest in him. But Roger knows that if he participates in the race finals, he’ll lose his job. Will Lila still notice him when he is no longer a star?
This book is all about the poor boy in love with the rich girl who will never return his love because he is poor. I just summed up the ‘big deal’ of the entire book. BUT the how and details of this story is what keeps things interesting and rather, well, hilarious. Roger can’t compete in the race that makes him suddenly socially relevant because the time of the race conflicts with his work schedule and he can’t get it off. He needs the job to help support his family (yep, an admirable poor boy no less). Meanwhile Jessica finds out Roger is working as a janitor because she is ‘helping out’ at her dad’s office, mainly to try to get some personal time with an intern at the office next to her father’s. Jessica promises to keep Roger’s job a secret when Elizabeth mentions the boy she is gunning for. Of course, the man Jessica lands and what happens is as funny as Lila dating a cleaning boy. They both get their just desserts in this book and the effect is sweet. What are you waiting for?
“Wrong Kind Of Girl”
Sweet Valley Scale: 4 out of 5 Twins
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: Fifth Place
Jessica Wakefield has sworn never to let Annie Whitman on the Sweet Valley cheerleading squad. Even though Annie is beautiful, talented and has the grace and spirit to be a cheerleader, she also has a reputation at school… they call her “Easy Annie” because she goes out with a different boy every night. When Annie is the most obvious choice after tryouts Jessica is pulling every mean trick she can to keep Annie from becoming a cheerleader. Only Elizabeth knows what Annie is really like. Can Elizabeth change her twin’s mind before she shatters Annie’s dreams?
This book reminds me of “Power Play” (see Confessions Of A Bookaholic: Guilty Pleasure Edition #3 – Sweet Valley High Books 4-8). Substitute cheerleading for the sorority and there you have it. I found this book to be ridiculous mostly because of the hypocrisy. In the series so far, Jessica has had more boyfriends than there have been books and yet Annie has a reputation for going on too many dates. Yep that would be the blemish on her reputation, rather than innuendos about her being fast, she simply dates too much. Annie is sweet and this tale is a reminder of unwarranted reputations that one can be labeled with in high school. Jessica is as despicable as usual, in her attempts to keep Annie off the squad. I find it amusing that Jessica (who is co-captain of the cheerleaders along with Robin Wilson, again that “Power Play” tie-in) is worried about how the cheerleaders will come across if an ‘easy’ girl joins their ranks rather than how the cheerleaders will actually perform. Especially, while Annie was quite the spirited gymnast who would clearly be an asset, every other girl who tried out could barely manage a cartwheel. Jessica gives the other cheerleaders an ultimatum: Annie or her. So, of course they don’t choose Annie, which is so upsetting that she tries to kill herself, which makes Jessica feel so horrible, for being horrible, she makes Annie a cheerleader after everything. Are you nauseated yet? Again, if you miss high school hijinks or drama then this book is for you!
“Too Good To Be True”
Sweet Valley Scale: 5 out of 5 Twins
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: Second Place
Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are beside themselves with excitement. Glamorous and sophisticated Suzanne Devlin is visiting Sweet Valley for two weeks while Jessica takes her place in New York City. At first, Jessica is having the time of her life in New York and Suzanne is a hit in Sweet Valley: she is friendly, beautiful and not the least bit stuck-up. All the boys are crazy about Suzanne, but then she accuses Elizabeth’s favorite teacher, Mr. Collins, of trying to seduce her. Elizabeth knows there is more to Suzanne than meets the eye while Jessica realizes the fast life in New York, may be more than she bargained for. Can Elizabeth discover the truth about Suzanne before it is too late for Mr. Collins? Can Jessica handle going toe-to-toe with Suzanne’s crowd in New York? Find out how the twins each handle something that is too good to be true…
This is the first 5 out of 5 Sweet Valley High book. I feel that fact alone should receive a moment of pause… all right, I’m over it. This was a fun and fast read. Suzanne Devlin is positively ghoulish and for a girl of sixteen years, she could give Susan Lucci some early pointers. Her guise of perfection (angelic yet flirty, sexy yet demure and proper, smart, warm yet cool and above everyone else) is polished and everyone buys it. Even when Suzanne first accuses Mr. Collins of making a move on her, many people actually believe her to some degree (seriously). Jessica is not as big of a deal in this book, but she finds her exciting New York experience to either be too boring or her having to fight off Suzanne’s boyfriend who doesn’t understand what “no” means. (Seriously, this is the second or third attempted date rape that the writers brush off as ‘no big deal’, but I digress.) What happens at the end of this book is deeply satisfying as Suzanne is found out (and there is more than the Mr. Collins debacle) and Elizabeth saves the day, but not in an eye roll kind of way, as per usual. It is also nice to root for Jessica for a change and while she is crazy, if you surround her with even worse crazies she rises to the occasion of sanity. Welcome to Earth Jessica, if only you would stay a little longer.
“When Love Dies”
Sweet Valley Scale: 4.5 out of 5 Twins
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: Third Place
Steven Wakefield, the twins’ older brother is heartbroken. His long-time girlfriend, Tricia Martin, doesn’t return his calls and breaks their dates. She no longer seems interested in him, but Steven cannot figure out why. Jessica is ecstatic Steven isn’t dating Tricia anymore. Not only did she hate her family being associated with the Martins and their reputation, but she also sees it as the perfect opportunity to pair him with her best friend, Cara Walker. Elizabeth thinks that Cara is all wrong for Steven, and more importantly that Tricia is his one true love. She is determined to find out the reason for Tricia’s strange behavior and is horrified when she discovers the terrible truth.
“When Love Dies” is one of the books that solidifies Sweet Valley High as more than just a high school drama, but a melodramatic soap opera for the ages (whose main characters just happen to be in high school). Steven has been dating Tricia Martin since the beginning of the series. He is head over heels in love with the Sweet Valley High senior (he is a freshman in college). Elizabeth thinks they make a great couple, but Jessica hates it because Tricia’s father is a drunk, her sister a loser and her mother dead, which of course means that Tricia is otherwise trash (in Jessica’s eyes) and apparently such a status is contagious. Tricia continues to blow Steven off and Jessica tries (and succeeds and fails at the same time) to play matchmaker with her brother and best friend. Elizabeth finds out why Tricia is keeping Steven at a distance when she is volunteering at the hospital SPOILER Tricia is ill and does not have much time left. She makes Elizabeth promise not to tell Steven. She only broke up with him to spare him the pain of losing her; the same pain she felt when she lost her mother. I liked Elizabeth in the middle of this. I felt it was a moral dilemma that was actually for once a dilemma. Should Elizabeth keep her promise, particularly when it is not her place to tell her brother the truth or come clean, because she knows while Tricia’s heart is in the right place, Steven will be much more devastated if he doesn’t get to say goodbye. This book is elevated against many others as it deals with real life themes: real love, real loss and a real illness that I will not spoil for you (yet). Read it (but have tissues handy if you are an absolute sap – no judgment).
Sweet Valley Scale: 5 out of 5 Twins
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: First Place
It was just like any other evening for Elizabeth Wakefield, as she finished her evening shift volunteering at Sweet Valley’s hospital. But soon it becomes the beginning of the most horrifying ordeal of her life, when a strong hand clamps the chloroformed rag over her mouth and she is pulled from her car. When Elizabeth regains consciousness, she finds herself tied to a chair in an isolated shack. She has been kidnapped by a lonely and disturbed man who seems on the brink of sanity. Elizabeth doesn’t know what he wants from her, but it is clear he has no plans of letting her go. Somehow Elizabeth must escape, before it’s too late!
Elizabeth is kidnapped! What more is there to say? Elizabeth is kidnapped! Technically, Elizabeth is kidnapped at the very end of the previous book. For once, the book’s back cover, includes the happenings of the entire book, because Elizabeth isn’t rescued until the final (did I spoil that she was rescued at all, I mean really?) twenty pages. This book is fantastic! When the reader is with Elizabeth it is a complete rush of adrenaline as she tries to plot her escape from a maniac. When the reader is with Jessica she is at a fabulous party at the mansion of wealthy newcomers (and throwing herself desperately at their son of course) to Sweet Valley. Of course, it is not discovered that something has happened to Elizabeth because Jessica lies to everyone that she has talked to Elizabeth because she was supposed to wait for her twin and go to the party together, but when rich hunks are waiting, well… Of course, Jessica is wracked with guilt (apparently being partly responsible for your twin’s coma five books ago wasn’t enough for Jessica to learn her lesson) when she realizes something has happened to her sister and the second half of the book is all about figuring out where Elizabeth is and how to rescue her. Who knew a lack of ransom demand could be so inconvenient? This is the best Sweet Valley High book I have covered to far! What are you waiting for?
There is not much more to say, just like yesterday’s Fear Street list these books speak for themselves. Until next week…