About the Book

Title: Runaway (Sweet Valley High #21)
Too Much in Love (Sweet Valley High #22)
Say Goodbye (Sweet Valley High #23)
Memories (Sweet Valley High #24)
Nowhere to Run (Sweet Valley High #25)
Perfect Summer (SVH Super Edition #01)
Published: 1985

What ho, FYAers? Have you all been very busy perfecting your tans, flipping your sun-kissed blonde hair over your shoulder, watching your perfect size six figures and ruining strangers’ lives by interfering in their personal problems?

Good!! Then that means you’re ready for another round of Sweet Valley High drinking!

Where last we left off, the Wakefields were being extra-jerky to my beloved Jessica. I’m sure that they’ll immediately apologize and in no way will she have to take drastic action to win their love and approval! This is Sweet Valley, after all! Nothing bad happens here, except for all the rapes and death. And werewolves.

The Official Sweet Valley High Drinking Game:

Take 1 drink anytime: 

• the words “blonde,” “sun-streaked,” “blue-green eyes” or “perfect figure” are mentioned in relation to the Wakefield twins’ looks
•  anyone goes to the beach, or talks about going to the beach
•  Liz and Jess get to drive the Fiat
•  Jess mentions the number “37” (you guys, seriously, she does this a lot)
•  they mention Steve, the eldest Wakefield child
•  Bruce Patman shows up
•  Jessica flakes on chores, Elizabeth talks to herself, or Todd or Enid are lame
•  “Eyes and Ears,” the gossip column that Elizabeth writes for The Oracle, the student newspaper, is mentioned
•  the fucking matching lavaliers are mentioned

Sweet Valley High 21: Runaway

In which Jessica, fed up with the Wakefields’ jerkitude, runs away.

Number Of Drinks Taken: 18

First Page On Which the Twins Are Described As “Blonde, Blue-eyed, All-American Good Looks” or equivalent: page 11!

Main Plot: Haven’t you been listening? The Wakefields are JERKS. Honestly, there’s not a one of them I wouldn’t punch in the throat, soon as look at them, except for Jessica. Sweet, lovely, vivacious, will probably become a serial killer sometime in the future, Jessica. Sigh.

But I digress. Anyway, following up from the last book, the Wakefields still continue to berate, belittle and otherwise be jerky to Jessica. (see what I did there?) When she tries to impress them, they mock her. When she makes a mistake, they roll their eyes and complain. I FUCKING HATE THESE PEOPLE.

Jessica meets a random Mysterious Loner Guy named Nicky, and he convinces her to run away with him to San Francisco. (Even though, only two books ago, San Fran was considered evil. Jess, I can’t keep up with your mercurial nature!) Jessica slooooowly leaves Liz a note, slooooowly boards a bus, slooooowly makes her way north, etc, all in a bid to see if her family even notices that she’s alive.

Liz and Stephen finally locate Jess’s bus and a big, tearful reunion is had by all. Jessica comes home, the Wakefields apologize, and treat her nicely for approximately 8 hours before turning into dickfaces again.

Sub-Plot Not In Least Bit Related To Main Plot: I should enter a macro into my PC that types out the words “Elizabeth Wakefield needlessly meddles in someone else’s business because she’s a fucknugget who is addicted to Other People’s Drama.” The macro can fire anytime I pound my head against my keyboard out of frustration that Liz Wakefield is allowed to exist on the pages of any sort of book, much less ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-ONE OF THEM (not counting SVU, or SV:Elizabeth, where she becomes a diplomatic attache).

Seriously, I work 60 hours a week in a job I hate where people endlessly bitch at me and yet Francine Pascal is busy diving into a pool of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck even though she has PLAGUED THIS UNIVERSE with this terrible character! I hate my life!

Anyway. Ricky Calpado – remember him? The SVH cheerleaders’ manager who fell for sweet-but-skanky Annie Whitman, even though she has the world’s worst haircut and lives in an apartment – is having a bad time of it. See, his father ran out on his mom AND isn’t paying child-support or spending any time with Ricky or his sister. That’s bad enough, but now Ricky’s mom has refused to let Ricky’s paternal grandparents spend any time with the kids, due to their son being a deadbeat dad, and all. Which, I’d like to point out as part of the Legal Service we provide here at FYA, she is well within her legal rights to do. Jerky, maybe. But still legal.

So Ricky’s grandparents hire Ned Wakefield to sue for visitation rights. And Ned, because his Douchitude was passed down to Elizabeth, encourages his daughter to write an article about the entire situation, even though A) Ricky has specifically told Elizabeth that he doesn’t want to discuss his issues and B) since when are Family Court cases public fodder? And of course, Elizabeth writes this article, over Ricky’s strident objections, because “she feels it will help him in the long run.” (And not, presumbaly, because she’d have a chance to be published in the actual Sweet Valley newspaper.) ELIZABETH WAKEFIELD! Listen to me very carefully!! I HATE YOU. SO MUCH. IT’S LIKE FLAMES. ON THE SIDE OF MY FACE. HEAVING. HEAVING BREASTS.

Improbable High School Moment: The Sweet Valley newspaper is letting high schoolers write articles now? I mean, our paper lets high school kids write articles, too, but only for the “Zest” feature, and it is usually about whether sexting is in, out, or so five minutes ago.

Most Offensive Portion: I’ve written a song!! It goes like this:

I hate Elizabeth Waaaakefield
doo-dah! doo-dah!
I hate Elizabeth Waaaaakefield
All the doo-dah day!
Hypocritical douche!
Meddling in other people’s shit!
I wish she’d get run over by a giant truck
All the doo-dah day!

Sweet Valley High Super Edition: PERFECT SUMMER (!!)

In which people take a long trip on a longer highway, but sadly not a long trip off a short pier.

Number Of Drinks Taken: 46! Bruce Patman!

First Page On Which the Twins Are Described As “Blonde, Blue-eyed, All-American Good Looks” or equivalent: page 6

Main Plot: This is the first “super” edition of an SVH book, which was published between book 21 and book 22, though not set between those times, because of course that would make sense. In fact, as far as I can tell, this book is set about 20 books in the future, which makes it almost like an episode of Battlestar Galactica, except not good. Do you know what a “super” edition of a book means, friends? It means that Erin gets “super” annoyed. For longer.

It’s the summer!! To celebrate, some of the students of Sweet Valley are going to travel up the California coast! On bikes. For a month. WHAT? This is something people would do for fun?? It’s like the MS150, if MS stood for Motherfucking Stupid and no one was there to greet you with beer when you made it to Austin. WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS IF NOT FOR CHARITY AND BEER?

So, Liz, Jess, Todd, Bruce, Lila, Roger, Annie Whitman (who has, by this point, broken up with Ricky Calpado even though they were just together in the last book!!), Mr Collins, the Hot French teacher, and some other people I don’t care about are all riding their bikes up the California coast for a month. To be honest, this entire book, being a SUPER EDITION, doesn’t really fit my typical review outline, so I will list all of the various sub-plots (and lo, there are many) below.

Sub-Plot Not In Least Bit Related To Main Plot:

1.  Lila is mad at the Hot French Teacher because the Hot French Teacher is dating her dad. Unbeknownst to everyone, The Hot French Teacher has a dark past (of course). In typical SVH fashion, her “dark past” is comprised of having been married before (SCANDAL!) to a rich guy (DRAMA!) who was an abusive drunk (QUELLE SURPRISE!). At some point she left the abusive drunk, and he killed himself and now his family blames The Hot French Teacher. So she escaped to Sweet Valley High and changed her name, which means she actually CHOSE to have the name Nora. Huh. Anyway, if her secret ever gets out, her life will be ruined in some way that isn’t really explained. Lila finds out the secret (how?) and blackmails The Hot French Teacher (why?) and The Hot French Teacher cries a lot. But eventually there’s a fire and everything works itself out.

2.  Mr Collins who, you may remember, looks like Robert Redford, loves The Hot French Teacher and is sad she’s dating Lila’s dad. This causes angst and discomfort during the trip. Eventually, there’s a fire and everything works itself out.

3.  Jessica is jonesin’ for a hot guy she met at a youth hostel. She stalks him up the coastline. Eventually they slip out together to the woods. He turns out to be a jerk. But eventually there’s an angry bear and everything works itself out.

4.  Mr Cooper’s nephew comes on the trip. He is fat, almost as fat as Former Fattie Robin Wilson was before she replaced nutrients with popularity. He is slow on his bicycle and everyone makes fun of him. But eventually there’s an angry bear and everything works itself out.

5.  The group takes on the spoiled daughter of a famous Hollywood producer. She has a boyfriend with a motorcycle and also she’s a cow. In order to convince her dad that she’s changed for the better, she starts taking an interest in Todd, rightly assuming that her father’s concerns will be suffocated under the wet blanket that is Todd’s dull personality. Liz has a sad. Liz and Todd fight. They break up. But eventually there’s a fire and everything works itself out.

Improbable High School Moment: I give up.


Sweet Valley High 22: Too Much In Love

In which DeeDee Gordon is clinically depressed, but nobody cares.

Number Of Drinks Taken: 19

First Page On Which the Twins Are Described As “Blonde, Blue-eyed, All-American Good Looks” or equivalent: page 5

Main Plot: DeeDee Gordon has been dating her boyfriend, Blond Surfer Bill Chase, ever since she stole him right from under Jessica’s nose. DeeDee used to be feisty and independent, but lately she is clingy, and only ever wants to do things that Bill does. (Whether DeeDee Gordon wants to masturbate while thinking about herself is anyone’s guess.)

The thing is, DeeDee Gordon is depressed. Like, super, clinically depressed. No one seems to care about that, though; they just want DeeDee to stop being so clingy! So instead of offering therapy or even a shoulder to cry on, DeeDee’s best friend Patty and Elizabeth “The Meddler” Wakefield create some sort of plot to overload DeeDee with tons of stressful work, to make her feel more confident. Because this is Sweet Valley, this actually works. I caution you, however, that if you know a DeeDee in your real life, maybe what you should give her is a bunch of flowers and a prescription for Paxil.

Sub-Plot Not In Least Bit Related To Main Plot: Ned and Alice Wakefield are going on a vacation to Mexico, and leaving their 16 year old daughters alone for a week and a half. PARTY!

Can I just ask? Did anyone’s parents actually ever leave them alone for days at a time during high school? My parents wouldn’t even leave for the weekend when I was a teenager. Probably because they had learned from TV that, were I left to my own devices, I’d throw a kegger. The thing is, I didn’t really have that many friends. So, had I been left alone, I probably would have spent my time taking a really long bath, and maybe drinking a few Screwdrivers to feel edgy. Parents!! Why didn’t you trust me to be a lonely nerd?!?!

Anyway, party. Shit gets broken, place gets trashed. Everything is cleaned up by the time Ned and Alice get home, though, so what is even the point? What is even the point?

Improbable High School Moment: Jess throws this party and she gets upset because college boys crash and bring beer. The end.

Most Offensive Portion: That no one seems to care that DeeDee Gordon is CRYING FOR HELP. God. I hate these people so much!!

Sweet Valley High 23: Say Goodbye

In which Erin has a party cause Todd is leaving town!!

Number Of Drinks Taken: 20

First Page On Which the Twins Are Described As “Blonde, Blue-eyed, All-American Good Looks” or equivalent: page 2

Main Plot: Todd is leaving Sweet Valley!! OH HAPPY DAY! Todd’s dad’s job transferred him to Vermont and now Todd has to leave forever and ever for like 20 books! HOORAY!!!

Elizabeth is, of course, devestated, because how can she live, if living is without Todd? She can’t live. She can’t give anymore. Todd and Elizabeth spend a lot of time clinging to each other, bemoaning their lot in life, promising to write each other every day. What they don’t spend a lot of time doing is what other, real, people would do in their situation, aka Bone. A lot. This is but one of many reasons why I hate them both. At least give me some (tear-filled, emotional) sexy times, people!!

After Todd moves, Elizabeth pines and pines and pines. For about a week. And then she starts accidentally dating Nicholas Morrow. AGAIN. Elizabeth! I thought you’d learned your lesson NINE BOOKS AGO.

Sub-Plot Not In Least Bit Related To Main Plot: Jessica has to get a job to pay off a dress she charged to her parent’s account. (Not credit card, mind, this is the 80s. People still had charge accounts at stores. Ha ha ha, that’s so cute!) Like all of Jess’s jobs, this one is short-lived. She starts working for a computer dating agency (but not like eHarmony or anything! Remember, this is the 80s! People had to go into the dating agency and fill out a profile in person! And then the computer matched them on 37 unique personality traits! And contacted the people about their matches! Man! We’ve really come a long way, huh?) and gets the bright idea to start matching up Steven. Of course, he’s still glomming around the house feeling sad about his dead girlfriend, so Jess’s plan doesn’t really work. However, Steve does start looking at Cara in a new light . . .

Improbable High School Moment: Listen. If you think two sixteen year old kids who claim to be desperately in love and are about to be separated by 2000 miles aren’t going to spend their last few days fucking like bunnies, you are insane in the membrane. I mean, at least some hand jobs are in order, JEEZ.

Most Offensive Portion: Um, this whole book personally offended me. And no, I’m actually not kidding this time. Liz? Todd? Sad that you’re 16 and moving a few time zones away but can spend all your income saving up to visit each other and call each other? SHUT UP I HATE YOU BOTH.

Sweet Valley High 24: Memories

In which the ghost of Tragically Dead Tricia comes to rattle some chains.

Number Of Drinks Taken: 16

First Page On Which the Twins Are Described As “Blonde, Blue-eyed, All-American Good Looks” or equivalent: page 5

Main Plot: Tricia, Tricia, Tricia. MAN! Tragically Dead Tricia ruins EVERYTHING! Steven’s just getting over her – i.e. he is thinking about another lady and how she might look in her underpants – and then her memory comes back to haunt him, usually aided by Tragically Dead Tricia’s ex-stoner sister Betsy the Boozer.

Steve’s set his sights on Cara, but pretty much every five minutes he is wracked with guilt over finding a girl other than Tragically Dead Tricia attractive. Even though I’m pretty sure that Tricia’s flesh is starting to be stripped away from her body by now.

Eventually, Liz (of course) meddles in affairs and tells Betsy to give it up and let Steve bone Cara in peace. Betsy agrees and draws them both a picture. I don’t know.

Sub-Plot Not In Least Bit Related To Main Plot: Oh, Lord. Somehow Liz has found a guy who looks like Todd, so of course she’s fucking obsessed with him. It turns out this guy is a volleyball player at Big Mesa, the rival school, and Liz meets him during a volleyball game. (In which the Team Captain is John Pfeifer! Gentle readers! Don’t go home with John! Because he will do a rape on you. But not for another 70 books or so.)

Turns out the Todd-alike is a giant douche. So, pretty much just like the real Todd! Great! Moving on.

Improbable High School Moment: Cara is SUPER mature about all of Steve’s fuckitude. I mean, I know her parents just got divorced and Cara’s dad and brother moved to Chicago and now she doesn’t gossip anymore, but still. She’s really patient, even when Steven ditches her in the middle of a date. I’m just sayin, Cara. Key his car.

Most Offensive Portion: That John Pfeifer hasn’t been exposed as a date rapist yet! WHY MUST I WAIT ANOTHER SEVENTY BOOKS?

Sweet Valley High 25: Nowhere to Run

In which Emily has a wicked stepmother.

Number Of Drinks Taken: 12

First Page On Which the Twins Are Described As “Blonde, Blue-eyed, All-American Good Looks” or equivalent: pagina dos

Main Plot: Meh. Emily, the drummer for super successful Sweet Valley High band Zack Attack The Droids, is having some problems at home. Specifically, her problem is her stepmother, who is kind of a crazy bitch. She lays down all these rules on Emily and makes her cry a lot.

Emily wants to run away and live with her biological mother, who left when Emily was younger. But of course, she can’t find her bio mom, cause her bio mom has run off to Mexico. Sorry, Ems!

Elizabeth decides to meddle in Emily’s life to help her. (New drinking game rule! Drink anytime you’re reading one of my SVH reviews and you read the words “Elizabeth decides to meddle.”) She and Emily’s maybe-more-than-friend team up and there’s some melarky about buying Emily’s drums and, I don’t know, I had taken two Tylenol PM before reading this book, so I’m not really sure what happens.

At some point, though, Emily’s baby half-sister Karrie chokes on a bead and Emily saves her. Eventually, this leads Emily’s stepmother to like her again. It only took the near-death of a tiny baby! How incredibly likely and undramatic!

Sub-Plot Not In Least Bit Related To Main Plot: Grandpa and Grandma Wakefield are visiting and Liz and Jess are INORDINANTLY excited. They plan all these events with their grandparents and talk about how awesome it all is. This leads their mother Alice to feel sad and guilty, because she thinks she’s spending too much time at work. (Ned, who spends all his time at work, doesn’t feel guilty at all, of course, because the patriarchy is just fine with men working all the time and being parents. I hate you, patriarchy!)

Liz and Jess cluelessly make their mom feel even worse, because it is a truth universally acknowledged that no one in the entire world can be quite as cruel as a teenage girl can be to her mother. (Sorry, Mom!) But eventually they wise up and everyone is happy again.

Improbable High School Moment: Um. I love my grandparents. I wish they were still alive. But do teenagers REALLY get that excited to spend time with their grandparents?

Most Offensive Portion: I am going to punch you in your balls, patriarchy! Stop making me feel guilty!

Okay!! That’s it for this round! I hope you have enjoyed your latest journey through the Tunnel of Lols that is Sweet Valley High. Come back next time for kidnapping, rocking chairs and an Enid vs Amy Sutton THROWDOWN (with Bobby Flay)!

Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink.