This is a book with bad advice, childish tantrums, lies, melodramatic teen love, what not to do in a relationship, and one twin showing her sociopathic tendencies… so you know, just another day in Sweet Valley…
Sweet Valley Scale: 3.5 out of 5 Twins
John Pfeifer, the sports editor for the Sweet Valley High Oracle, is worried that his good friend Jennifer Mitchell is becoming too involved with dropout Rick Andover. When he finds out that Jennifer plans to run away to New York with Rick, he enlists Elizabeth Wakefield’s help to stop them. And then Rick is arrested. Jennifer is convinced that her father has framed him and tipped off the police. Furious, she refuses to speak to her father ever again. But John is the one who is really responsible for Rick’s arrest. But there is no way he can admit it now that Jennifer has turned to him for comfort. Until Mr. Mitchell becomes seriously ill, and John is faced with a terrible dilemma. Should he tell Jennifer the truth and risk losing her friendship, or let her go on thinking that her father is to blame?
I’m not going to lie, this was the worst Sweet Valley book I have read in awhile. And I don’t mean so bad that it’s good – this just stayed… well, sad. So, John Pfeifer has it bad for his best friend Jennifer Mitchell. But Jennifer has it bad for bad boy Rick Andover. If the name sounds familiar that is because he has been behind all kinds of trouble in Sweet Valley, and he was Sweet Valley’s original bad boy. He was the guy Jessica was interested in, in the very first book Sweet Valley High #1 Double Love and that love story ended with Jessica in the back of a police car – I rest my case. But Jennifer is like every other stupid girl (and me, oh I was totally this girl in high school) who thinks he is just misunderstood and she can smooth out his “rough around the edges” quality. He’s a worthwhile project… she hasn’t learned yet that such projects are never worthwhile. 😛
So John, is all bummed and so of course Elizabeth asks him what is bothering him and of course he pours his heart out to her. He is worried that Jennifer is going to get in some serious trouble because of Rick. I mean the guy is a thug. He doesn’t know what to do, and Elizabeth tells him not to do anything. Because people have to make their own mistakes. But later that night Jennifer tells John she and Rick are going to run away together. They’re going to New York to start a band, and he listens to this while internally wigging. He talks to Elizabeth again, and she doesn’t think he should tell anyone. And now I wonder what kind of sense Elizabeth has. When it is about jealousy or dating the wrong guy – sure stand by and wait for the heartache and be there to support your friend. But when we’re talking about an underage girl running away with a violent criminal who is way too old for her, and going across the country – you fucking say something!
John actually listens to her, but that Friday he and Elizabeth happen upon Rick Andover and John has a feeling tonight is the big night. So he wants to follow Rick, and convinces Elizabeth to go with him. They see him rob the music store where he works, and call the store owner, who then calls the police. Again, this is Elizabeth’s doing – John wanted to call the police, and I question where her sense is (and why everyone is listening to her when she isn’t making any sense). Rick is arrested, the money and instruments he stole are recovered. But he has no way to let Jennifer know, who is waiting for him at an intersection they decided on, until two in the morning before she gives up.
The next morning she finds out Rick was arrested and thinks it has to be some kind of mistake because she is an idiot. She is really awful to her mom and dad, who don’t seem too strict, or too lenient, they’re “just right” (sorry I had a Goldilocks moment there). But she is being a spoiled brat and the angsty teenage daughter cliché. Then she suddenly “remembers” hearing a click on the telephone the other night when she was talking to Rick and suddenly she is positive her dad was listening in on their conversation and somehow framed Rick and then tipped off the police. And now I want to slap her – she is perhaps the dumbest character in Sweet Valley history so far – and that is quite a claim to make!
Jennifer is a complete passive-aggressive bitch to both of her parents, and she avoids everyone at school except John. She feels comfortable with him, and tells him about her suspicions about her father framing Rick. And John is instantly torn. He wants to come clean then and there, but Jennifer is so furious he knows she’ll just hate him. I don’t think John should focus on who turned Rick in, and fessing up – he just needs to look into getting her a serious reality check. Because even though the money and the merchandise were found on him, Jennifer thinks he was set up. You prove he really did rob the place, and I don’t think she would be pissed at anyone. Problem solved.
But John doesn’t tell her, because he is in love with her and couldn’t bear her hating him. But then her dad has a heart attack and is in the hospital, awaiting heart surgery. Jennifer is called down to the school’s main office, and John is with her when the secretary tells Jennifer and gives her a pass to miss her classes so she can go see him, but she refuses to. I don’t even know what to say at this point. I mean if your parent is potentially dying in a hospital – you go and see them when you’re just fighting about something trivial like rules or punishments or who you’re allowed to date. Sure, if your parents were criminals, abusive bastards or some other unmentionable – maybe you don’t. But they don’t have those kind of parents in Sweet Valley. 😛
John knows he can’t keep lying to Jennifer, because they can’t have a relationship that way, even though as the days go by they get closer and closer, in the way John has always longed for. But her dad needing heart surgery puts a very real clock on when he needs to come clean. He talks to Elizabeth about it, my guess is because she keeps giving such awful advice that he hopes she tells him not to worry about telling Jennifer the truth, but no dice. She says that he must, and she drives him over to Jennifer’s house, because if he won’t then she will.
John’s confession comes out as an angry rant, and I am kind of surprised, but also grateful because what the hell has this bitch (Jennifer) been smoking this whole time? Jennifer is pissed at John for turning Rick in, and even more for making her think her father was to blame (when really he never put that idea in her head, he just didn’t correct it) and she asks for a ride to the hospital. Because Elizabeth was driving the Fiat, Jennifer has to sit on John’s lap the entire ride there. Awkward…
When they arrive, they find out Mr. Mitchell has taken a turn for the worse and he is already back in surgery (emergency bypass). The next day Elizabeth finds out that Jennifer’s dad made it through surgery and tells John, and then convinces him to come to the hospital with her. She thinks it is the perfect time for him to try and make things right with Jennifer. I’m not sure if I agree with her on the timing, but then again my timing usually sucks. John is too nervous to get out of the car, so Elizabeth goes inside, buys a bouquet of flowers and makes a note out “from John” and takes it up to see Jennifer. They talk, and Jennifer has finally seen the light. She wants to talk to John, Elizabeth fetches him, and everything is all good again!
In the background things are not all peachy keen with Jessica and A.J. Jessica is reverting back into her demented self that has chased all the other boys away. She is flirting with other guys in front of A.J. and by flirting, the words “open invitation” were actually used so, um, yeah. And she keeps making him do whatever she wants. He made plans for them to have dinner with his family, and Jessica pulls out every trick and charm she knows to get him to cancel and go to a party with her instead. And this pattern repeated itself throughout the entire book. Jessica keeps bragging about how she has him wrapped around her finger and can make him to anything she wants, but you know what’s coming…
The only thing Elizabeth did right this book was buying the flowers and saying they were from John and trying to meddle in the right kind of way. Everything else… Elizabeth you are the sensible twin. Please remember that.
As far as the other Wakefield… Jessica and A.J. have been going strong for the past three books, but I feel in my heart (and gut) this book marks the beginning of the end for them. Sad! A.J. is like the best male character in the series so far, and he is a hunky redhead. Jessica, you are giving me one more reason to hate you!