I am excited about this week’s Sweet Valley High list because it includes the first ever Super Edition and it lives up that name. I don’t even have anything else to say, I just want to get to these books. Enjoy! 🙂
It is finally summer in Sweet Valley, and the Wakefield twins are taking a bike trip up the beautiful California coast with a group of their friends. What could be more exciting than a month of warm sunshine, beautiful beaches and loads of fun at every stop? But the dream of a perfect vacation soon fades. Elizabeth Wakefield is on the edge of breaking up with her boyfriend, Todd Wilkins, over another girl. Her twin sister, Jessica, chases after sexy Robbie October, who completely ignores her. Bruce Patman is awful to his cousin Roger while Lila Fowler holds a grudge against Ms. Dalton and Ms. Dalton is hardly speaking to Mr. Collins. Can this feuding group unite when an unexpected disaster threatens all of their lives?
Let me preface this by saying that Sweet Valley High Super Editions do not make sense in terms of the Sweet Valley timeline. I cover them by order of publication and for the most part it works out, but for this first one everything seems off. Annie was happily dating Ricky in the last book, but is suddenly single as if she had always been (and they were together for eleven books – practically a lifetime in Sweet Valley High terms). Also, Bruce is kind of a pig again, when his love for Regina Morrow had made him more bearable in previous books and again in the books directly after this. Moral of the story – pay too close attention to the chronology of the books when dealing with these ‘Super Editions’ and you may drive yourself a tad batty. Overall though, when it comes to relationships and other chronology issues, future Super Editions fit in where they should.
This book would make first place on any Sweet Valley High list so far – it really earns its ‘Super’ cred. The group of people on this bike trip are: Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, Bruce and Roger Patman, Olivia Davidson, Annie Whitman, Lila Fowler, Barry Cooper, Ms. Dalton, Mr. Collins, Todd Wilkins, and Charlie Markus. Ms. Dalton broke up with Mr. Collins before the trip so they are sour to each other for most of the book. Charlie (a friend of Bruce’s we have never heard of) is into Annie, but Bruce discourages that because of her old reputation (see book #10 Wrong Kind Of Girl). Barry is the principal’s nephew who is an overweight nerd that can’t keep up, so few people have patience for him.
Early on in the trip, they stay with ‘a friend of the Patmans’ who has crazy rich digs in Los Angeles. He asks the teachers (begs is more like it) to take this wild child daughter, Courtney, with them because her boyfriend is trouble. They do, but don’t tell anyone why and she is a witch, but instantly begins scheming her way back to LA. She plays the damsel card and lies to Todd, saying her father drinks and scares her. For some reason this makes Todd completely ignore and forget about Elizabeth and when she gets upset that he is hanging all over Courtney he has the nerve to say Elizabeth is insensitive. Courtney weaves her web of lies and soon Todd and Elizabeth break up. Todd is either the biggest moron in the world or just a creep, but I don’t want to underestimate him so I would say he is a little of both (especially in this book).
Ms. Dalton’s secret past comes to light including a completely different identity (complete with name change) and Lila tries to use it against her (she still hates Ms. Dalton). Jessica falls for a bad boy named Robbie who is only interested in her when he has no other options. Todd is about to go back to Los Angeles with Courtney when danger surrounds all of them. In the end Courtney’s true self is outed and Elizabeth and Todd get back together, which seriously bugs me. (Girl, you can do better!) Everyone else more or less makes up or hooks up – fun for all. You know you have to read this book and I don’t even need to give you a reason, but just in case there are fires and liars and bears – oh my! 😉
“Too Much In Love”
Sweet Valley Scale: 3 out of 5 Twins
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: Fourth Place
Bill Chase and DeeDee Gordon have been happy together for a long time. Lately, however, DeeDee has become too dependent on Bill; she wants to do everything and go everywhere with him. Bill begins to feel as though he doesn’t have any room to breathe and decides it is over between them. Elizabeth Wakefield doesn’t know why DeeDee is acting so needy, but she knows DeeDee’s odd behavior is killing her relationship. Can Elizabeth help DeeDee regain her independence before it’s too late?
This book focuses on DeeDee Gordon and Bill Chase, who originally got together in book #8 Heartbreaker (Confessions Of A Bookaholic: Guilty Pleasure Edition #3 – Sweet Valley High Books 4-8). This was one of those books where the focus was not on either twin and they were both more or less stable in the background. This book irritated the hell out of me. DeeDee was a strong individual before and this book was about how she becomes such a clingy nonperson she drives Bill away and they break up. There really isn’t a reason for this change (at least not one that sticks). DeeDee’s best friend is tired of her obsession and helps DeeDee get it together once Bill dumps her. She finally gets her confidence back, Bill is into her again and she plays coy. This book is as high school as it gets. I could not figure out why DeeDee became this sad person (she gives up an art class with one of her idols to spend time with Bill when he is busy – ugh). This isn’t about a girl worshipping and listening to her boyfriend no matter what, but a girl who loses herself completely in a boy and doesn’t seem to care. I think that was why it was hard for me to connect to this book, especially since DeeDee had been smart, capable and such an individual before. This was a case of when stupid hurts.
Also, the twins throw a wild party when their parents are out of town. That was fun – you’ll have to read the book to see if they get caught. 😉
Sweet Valley Scale: 3 out of 5 Twins
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: Third Place
Elizabeth Wakefield’s heart is breaking. Her longtime boyfriend, Todd Wilkins, is leaving Sweet Valley and moving to Vermont. They only have one more week together before Todd, the only boy Elizabeth has ever loved, will be gone – forever. Elizabeth’s scheming twin sister, Jessica, is thrilled. She never liked Todd anyway. Jessica immediately begins to hunt for a new boyfriend for Elizabeth. But when Jessica’s plan backfires the only thing it accomplishes is threatening Elizabeth and Todd’s lasting love.
Todd’s dad is transferred to Vermont for his job. This book is a played out melodramatic goodbye to Sweet Valley High’s sweetest couple, and I say good riddance. Todd has always been a chauvinistic creep and Elizabeth can do so much better (refer back to “Perfect Summer” if you have to ask why). A lot of nothing and small things happen in this book. Elizabeth and Todd have a painful (as in over-acted) goodbye scene in the beginning and once he is gone Nicholas Morrow, who is still totally into Elizabeth, asks to take her to a party and without meaning to, she strings him along (that a girl). Todd stops all contact because when he calls Jessica tells him that he needs to let Elizabeth go. Elizabeth thinks Todd has met someone new since he won’t talk to her and goes to the party with Nicholas. Todd shows up to finalize some things for his family’s move (why they would send a teenager to do so when his mother is perfectly capable and not busy with work – who knows) and sees Elizabeth with Nicholas, freaks out and runs away. Elizabeth tracks him down; they have a ‘deep’ conversation and decide while they will always love each other, they won’t hold each other back either. Then Elizabeth tells Nicholas they will never be more than friends. (Okay, time out. I don’t get this at all. Nicholas is gorgeous, a genius, has a kick-ass job, is sensitive and thoughtful – not a possessive pig – and is filthy rich, and Elizabeth is hung up on Todd? I seriously want to shake her – just saying.)
Meanwhile, Jessica takes a job at an online dating service to pay her parents back for money she owes them and sets her brother up on dates because she is tired of him moping around about his dead girlfriend Tricia Martin (it has been a few months after all). I don’t know where her head is though, I mean she sets him up with freaks and one of them is 43! There is nothing wrong with being 43, unless you are trying to date someone who is 18. He doesn’t like any of them (shocker) and gets royally ticked at Jess for pulling these stunts (they were the kind of blind dates you don’t know about, who just show up). This was the highlight of this book as far as entertainment though!
Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield’s older brother Steven hasn’t dated anyone since his girlfriend Tricia died of leukemia. He can’t even look at another girl without thinking about Tricia. Even so, Steven is drawn to Cara Walker. Once considered to be one of Sweet Valley High’s biggest flirts and gossips, Cara has changed since her parents divorced and her brother and father moved away. She understands the pain of losing someone. But when Tricia’s sister Betsy sees Steven and Cara dancing together at a party, she accuses Steven of forgetting about Tricia. Steven feels torn after Betsy’s accusation. He can’t deny his attraction to Cara, but how can he ever love another girl after Tricia?
Everyone is worried about Steven not being over his dead girlfriend Tricia (even his parents talk to him about it), but I don’t get it. It has been a few months – it is not like his biological clock is ticking and he isn’t moping, he just isn’t dating – geez. Anyway, he starts to fall for Cara Walker and Betsy Martin (Tricia’s sister, the former junkie) sees them and freaks out, making Steven feel like crap and accusing him of forgetting about Tricia. This ranks on the ‘what the hell’ scale as much as everyone trying to push him into another relationship. Meanwhile, Elizabeth swears she keeps seeing Todd around town (but he is in Vermont, remember) and Jessica overhears her mother saying that Winston Egbert’s relative is a movie director and is in town. Jessica finds an excuse to be at Winston’s house (when she doesn’t even like him) and is completely ignored by said movie director. Elizabeth discovers the truth about her mystery man, who is named Michael but soon realizes he is a complete jack ass. (How is this any different from Todd himself?) Jessica and the movie director turn out to be as big of a disaster as Elizabeth and Michael. It is just a little hilarious.
Back to the book’s focus, Cara is upset that Steven is acting like a jerk on account of his newfound guilt, he is torn and decides to make it up to her, but ruins her birthday by acting like an even bigger creep instead. Elizabeth goes to Betsy and explains Steven needs to move on, but it doesn’t mean he won’t always love Tricia. Betsy sees the light (of course, Elizabeth has spoken) and leaves Steven a note telling him to basically go for it. He does and he and Cara make out. Isn’t that romantic?
This is a fine book to read, even if you aren’t a rabid Sweet Valley High fan. Nothing too crazy, but still entertaining with an ending that makes you want to say ‘Awww’.
I know what you’re thinking – that ‘Special Edition’ kicked some serious rear. Even if the rest of the list left things to be desired, the Super Edition makes it all worth it. Just wait until the next list because it has the second Super Edition ever and the other books on that list hold their own against it. It is going to be sweet! 🙂