This book has political scandal, sleuthing, and love schemes, both trying to bring people together and keep them apart. And on that last one, it is twin versus twin. Get ready for some fun! 😉
“The Parent Plot”
Sweet Valley Scale: 4 out of 5 Twins
Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield’s father is running for mayor of Sweet Valley. Both of the twins are hard at work on the campaign, but they’re taking opposite sides in an even bigger contest: a contest to bring romance into their parents’ lives. Even though Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield only recently separated, Jessica thinks it’s time for them to start dating other people – and she’s going to make sure that’s exactly what happens. But Elizabeth is just as determined to get her parents back together, and she’s thinking up some romantic schemes of her own. It’s Jessica versus Elizabeth – may the best twin win!
So, I admit this book was much better than the last few books, but “The Parent Trap” it was not. So Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield are still separated and living apart. Liz is still super sad about it, but Jessica has moved on. Yep, it’s only been a few weeks, but Jessica thinks that her parents should date other people and she is just the matchmaker to help them find true love, whether they know it, or want it, or not. Good lord, this is so screwed up. I mean if your parents are truly better people without each other – fine. Or is they have had problems for years, or have been trying for years, but none of these statements apply to this situation. I don’t know what else to say…
Mr. Wakefield is running for mayor, which we’ve known about for the last two books, but it’s actually included in the story instead of just mentioned (finally). Elizabeth and Jessica keep helping out on their father’s campaign and Elizabeth asks Maria Santelli if she wants to join them, because everyone is icing Maria out at school. For those of you who missed “Trouble At Home” Maria’s father was running for mayor but then he was accused by an “anonymous source” of taking bribes. The Wakefields knew he was innocent, and there wasn’t enough proof to charge him, but the damage was done and Mr. Santelli dropped out of the mayoral race. Mr. Wakefield, who is his friend and helped defend him against the charges, was urged to take his place by Santelli’s advisor Mr. Knapp and Bruce Patman’s father, Henry Patman. Maria is happy to help and grateful for something to do besides listen to all the whispers behind her back. At the office though, Mr. Knapp is a complete ass to Maria and says something seriously fucked about her father. And he does it with a smile on his face. Liz thinks he is the most insensitive man in the world, but right away I think it’s more than that. I don’t trust him. I don’t like him. I want him to get hit by a bus.
Jessica and Elizabeth are both scheming to get their parents back together (Elizabeth) or with someone else (Jessica), even though they both promised not to interfere. Elizabeth tries to force her parents to talk on the phone with a pretty sad excuse for a scheme and that doesn’t work. Jessica is eyeing a woman who works on her father’s campaign to go out with her father. But after some unfortunate recon, Jessica discovers the woman has a fiancé. Then when she gets a D on an English paper, she decides to set her mother up with Mr. Collins, her English teacher. She thinks Mr. Collins is handsome and if it helps her grade, then even better! Classic Jessica.
Mrs. Wakefield does end up having dinner with Mr. Collins, but it is completely platonic (Mr. Collins has done the whole separation/divorce thing, so it’s common ground) and they go to Chez Sam the following night. But it turns out Mr. Wakefield is taking the girls there as a special treat and Jessica is freaking out and trying, without success, to get out of it. There is sure to be fall out… but there isn’t. Elizabeth acts/feels like it is the end of the world, but then Mrs. Wakefield and Mr. Collins come over and the five of them have dinner together. I love how whenever Elizabeth tries to get her parents together they end up mad at each other, and whenever Jessica tries to keep them apart and set them up with other people, they end up together, in their own lovey dovey world. Sounds about right.
That same night Maria stops at Mr. Wakefield’s campaign office because she forgot her history book. You already know she is going to find more than just a book in there. The phone rings and she picks it up, only to hear Mr. Knapp talking to Sy Robertson, another guy who worked on her father’s campaign before he had to drop out. Turns out, these two are in cahoots together, and are trying to push through a big development project that would destroy Sweet Valley’s coastline. Mr. Santelli saw through what they were trying to do and wouldn’t get on board so Mr. Knapp deposited money into his account and framed him for accepting bribes. They talk about how Mr. Wakefield has no idea what they’re doing and they’re sure he’ll be elected, but once he is he’ll have to play ball because of… we don’t know because they never directly say. But we can assume they have set something up to make Mr. Wakefield look beyond bad if he doesn’t get on board. I knew I didn’t like this guy, and I have to say I’m kind of impressed the ghostwriter had someone besides the other opponent be responsible for the whole Santelli frame-up thing. Maybe they’re getting better?
Maria tells Liz, but they agree they need something concrete before they tell anyone else. You know, like actual evidence. The next day they meet with Terry, Mr. Knapp’s nephew who also is not a fan of his uncle, and figure out what to do. They decide to search Knapp’s office to find something incriminating. Liz is really against this, which bugged the crap out of me. In the other series she is Ms. Detective, playing Harriet the Spy would have totally done it for her. Now when her father is at risk, she’s like, “But, you guys…” Ugh, so disappointing.
Anyways, Liz distracts the guard while Maria and Terry search Knapp’s office. I found this amusing, but I think it was a “me” thing. Then Mr. Knapp comes back and Liz races upstairs to tell the others to hide. They do, in a closet, and after Mr. Knapp leaves, they find what they’re looking for (including a receipt for Santelli’s mystery deposit) and make copies and then put everything back the way that it was.
Liz finally comes clean to her father about everything, and he’s understandably upset, so she suggests he talk to Mrs. Wakefield. I’m not sure why beyond the whole, “I want my parents back together,” thing because Mrs. Wakefield is an interior designer. Political sabotage and criminal conspiracies are not exactly her forte. Mrs. Wakefield is so supportive and she and Mr. Wakefield have a great talk. Okay… Elizabeth is sure this is the beginning of the end of the separation. And I’m thinking that is the only reason he ever went to talk to his wife – you know so the ghostwriter could conveniently make them good again.
The next day at Mr. Wakefield’s big rally he talks about corruption politics and references Mr. Santelli and how he stood up against a crook and was set up as a result. Mr. Wakefield drops out of the race because it is the honorable thing to do. I don’t understand this, but I honestly don’t care either. Mr. Knapp knows he has been found out and tries to make a run for it, but is arrested before he can escape. I kind of wanted more from this scene. Where were the tears? What about some public humiliation? I was disappointed he was just caught… and that was it. Of course, again that’s probably just a “me” thing.
Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield are back together (you know it was bound to happen now that Mrs. Wakefield is no longer working fulltime) and Mr. Wakefield moves back home. Mr. Santelli, now officially cleared, is back in the running for mayor, and guess what… He wins! Don’t you just love those happy endings… 😉
See, it really wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I almost gave this book a 4.5 after all was said and done, but I wasn’t sure if that was for the book itself or the fact that it was so short. I finished in less than two hours, and I’m a slow reader. Yay for fast and easy! (Books people, I was talking books.) 😛