About the Book
- Francine Pascal
YOU GUYS! I’m so glad it’s Friday, for so many reasons! First, because my entire goal for the day is to lay around in bed, drinking mimosas with The Ambassador, when not cooking brunch or eating French food tonight. Second, because tomorrow is Saturday, and that means FOOTBALL! And third, because TODAY IS SVH DAY, WHAT WHAT!!!
If you’ve been keeping up with our shenanigans recently, you’ll know that last weekend, the FYAers got together at lovely hostess-with-the-mostest Meredith’s house to drink Effies, stuff ourselves with pizza, and make crude blow job motions on camera, but more importantly, TO PLAY THE SWEET VALLEY HIGH BOARD GAME. (Which right now is sitting in the trunk of my car, still, so that I can bring it out at any social gathering.)
And what you may not know, if you haven’t yet watched Sarah’s amazing video recap of events, is that I WON THE GAME. Which is only just and fair. I mean, I’m the one who has dreams that Winston Egbert and Lila Fowler are going to swingers’ clubs together – yes, that actually happened the other night in my dreamworld – so CLEARLY I deserve all the winnings I can get, even if they are just for board games and we all just wanted the whole thing to be over.
So, step inside, and let’s see what Sweet Valley High has in store for us this week. HINT: REGINA DIES A DEATH.
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 36: Last Chance
In which Peter DeHaven is just fucking things up for people left and right.
Number Of Drinks Taken: 41
First Page On Which the Twins Are Described As “Blonde, Blue-eyed, All-American Good Looks” or equivalent: page 2 and 4. One page just simply wasn’t enough, and the twins are so pretty that the author needed to take a slight pause on page three to regroup and refocus.
Main Plot: Johanna Porter, school drop-out and sadly not former Tribute prone to disrobing/being awesome, has returned to Sweet Valley High! Well done, Johanna! She dropped out of school because she wasn’t good at music – or something like that – and apparently her parents just went along with that because they wanted Johanna to Be Her Own Person, or whatever else New Age-y, California, Hippie Parent bullshit people spout to cover up the fact that they’re too lazy to properly parent their children. I mean, hey, be a lazy parent; I don’t give a rat’s ass. But don’t try to trump it up by spouting some psychobabble about how your 14 year old daughter should be allowed to “go her own way” and “make her own mistakes,” i.e. do a lot of drugs and pop out 4 charming, yetillegitimate, children by the age of 18, which you will then take to raising in your mansion. You know, in the South, we also have lazy parents, but they at least are honest with themselves, and spend most of their time sitting on the front porch drinking PBR instead of talking about how Little Mackenzye is a savant who only needs to work through her taste for eating heroin before churning out a few symphonies. I’M JUST SAYIN’.
Anyway. Where was I? Oh yeah, Johanna. Well, her mom kicked the bucket and when Johanna was rooting through her stuff, she found a journal in which her mother wrote her innermost thoughts and feelings, namely, “Boy, it sure would be nice if my damn daughter would go back and get a high school education.” So Johanna returns to school and soon catches the eye/boner of Peter DeHaven, who is a GIANT DOUCHELORD who also likes science. AND DOUCHERY.
Peter DeHaven is dating Amy Sutton, who you may recall is Elizabeth’s former best friend from the days of the Unicorns, but who has changed into a boy-crazy, empty-headed teenage girl. Amy is not particularly pleased about the fact that Johanna keeps hanging out with Peter and helping him with his science fair project, and she makes Johanna cry, or something. Whatever! Ladies! Do not fight over Peter DeHaven! He is so unworth it to actually be WORTH NOTHING. He is the PESOS of boyfriends! Except I think right now even the peso is worth more than the dollar. What is the world coming to when America can’t smugly proclaim itself better than even its closest neighbors without any evidence to back that claim up? Pretty soon, we’re going to end up a humbled people, begging for UN intervention to stop the raging genocide in our country and not receiving it because the world superpower, China, doesn’t approve of the way we farm our goats, or whatever.
Whatever, whatever, it all works itself out when Peter DeHaven is revealed to be a douchecanoe of the first fleet, and Johanna learns she’s really good at math and science and she accepts herself for being no good at music. Hey, Johanna, SOME OF US are also no good at music, but we don’t even have an academic talent to fall back on! We have no talents to fall back on, until a friend suggests starting a website in which we can, in part, reread Sweet Valley High books and then make fun of them!
Sub-Plot Not In Least Bit Related To Main Plot: Jessica gets it into her head that Cara and Stephen/Steven (since the spelling of his name seems to change in every book – or maybe it’s just cause I’m drunk and I hallucinate that- I’m going to start referring to him as Stephen/Steven) have become too boring as a couple. Jessica is, as usual, quite correct. Stephen/Steven! Cara! Spice it up a little! Maybe go to the swingers club with Winston and Lila?
Jessica decides to break up the couple, mostly by insinuating to one that the other is bored/having sex with nubile co-eds. It mostly works but then it doesn’t, and we all have a hearty laugh, the end.
Improbable High School Moment: People are seriously just allowed to drop out of school? And their parents don’t have to give permission? I mean, duh, I know that happens, but if I had dropped out of high school, I also would have been dropped from my house, and my parents certainly wouldn’t let me stay in their house, rent-free, and also not lectured me five times daily about how I Was Never Going To Amount To Anything and also I Am Not Living Up To My Full Potential. Johanna’s parents suck. I’m glad one of them is dead.
Most Offensive Portion: Ugh, Peter DeHaven’s gross, chauvinistic, douchebaggish dismissal of Johanna’s ideas about his science project. Peter DeHaven, YOU ARE THE WORST. I wouldn’t vote for your science project even if the science fair were this one, my most favorite Science Fair of all time. My uncle is named Steve! God Made Kitty! Thermodynamics of Hellfire! (I’m pretty sure that link is a joke BUT I WANT IT TO BE REAL. And feature the Duggars.)
Sweet Valley High 37: Rumors
In which SVH turns into a VC Andrews book
Number Of Drinks Taken: 18
First Page On Which the Twins Are Described As “Blonde, Blue-eyed, All-American Good Looks” or equivalent: page 3
Main Plot: Susan Stewart, a character that no one has ever mentioned before, but we’re supposed to all of a sudden care about, lives with her guardian, Aunt Helen, but does not know who her parents are. All she knows is that her mother randomly sends money for her, and that people at the country club accept her, even though she does not particularly come from money. She’s basically like Harriet Smith, to be honest, and is the natural daughter of no one knows whom.I hope she doesn’t turn down Robert Martin’s proposal. He’s very genteel, for a farmer.
Anyway, Lila, of course, can’t have anyone encroaching on her Rich Girl turf, so she starts a rumor that Susan’s mother is in a home for the criminally insane. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why Lila is my favorite.
Strangely, no one wants to talk to Susan now that her mom kills people with insanity, and her stupid posh boyfriend – whose parents are racist, classist assholes – dumps her. Have you ever noticed that both the rich people and the poor people suck in Sweet Valley? Only people who are upper-middle-class don’t actively suck. Hmph. As a poor person who hopes to someday become fabulously wealthy, this hurts my feelings.
Meanwhile, some famous movie director has come to Sweet Valley in order to cast his new movie, or whatever, and of course it turns out that he is Susan’s father, and Aunt Helen is Susan’s mother, and Director Dad wants to come take Susan away because his other kid is dead now and he’s looking for a replacement. Or whatever! Point being, Susan has parents and the rich people like her again, but she has Learned Her Lesson and starts dating some upper-middle-class dude named Allan (thanks, of course, to Elizabeth).
Sub-Plot Not In Least Bit Related To Main Plot: Jessica grows convinced that her mom is knocked up with a fourth Wakefield child. I KNOW. It’s a horrifying prospect. Alice Wakefield is tired, and goes to the doctor because she keeps getting sick in the mornings, and has sudden cravings for pistachio ice cream. Jessica enlists Elizabeth’s help in deducing whether there is a fetus hatching in Alice’s womb, and then they try to hint to their mom that they think a baby would be nice – leading Alice and Ned to somewhat hilariously ask them whether they were “in trouble” – and then it turns out, of course, that Alice isn’t preggers. So everyone complains that Jessica has jumped to her Conclusions mat, but HELLO, THOSE ARE VERY VALID PREGNANCY SYMPTOMS. And also, the symptoms are never explained, so WHY does Alice feel tired and dizzy and sick in the mornings and desirous of pistachio ice cream, huh? WHY?
Improbable High School Moment: Aunt Helen, Susan’s guardian/mom, explains that the reason she kept up the “guardian” lie for SIXTEEN YEARS was because she didn’t want Susan to be judged by the other kids in town for having a single mother. I was going to write that no one fucking cares whether their friends have one parent, two parents or 18 parents, but then I remembered that this was Sweet Valley and that OF COURSE they would care. So I’m changing this title to Probable High School Moment.
Most Offensive Portion: Um, hello, Susan’s Director Dad! You’ve known about your child’s existence for sixteen years, but you only decide to come meet her after your other kid dies? What, you feel like you should be keeping a quota, or something? Or is this just what you do, cycle your kids out? After Susan dies to Teach Us All A Lesson, will you start talking to one of your other illegitimate children? I HATE YOU, DIRECTOR DAD.
Sweet Valley High 38: Leaving Home
In which Elizabeth wants to go to Swiss boarding school and for some reason people are sad about that.
Number Of Drinks Taken: 30
First Page On Which the Twins Are Described As “Blonde, Blue-eyed, All-American Good Looks” or equivalent: page 2
Main Plot: Oh, Jesus. Elizabeth gets it into her head that she wants to go to some Swiss boarding school so that she can learn to be a writer, or whatever. She particularly wants to go to Switzerland so that she can be more like her fictional hero, Dick Diver. Can I just say, as a person who has read Tender Is the Night many, many times? QUELLE PUTAIN DE SURPRISE. Dick Diver is the douchiest, most sanctimonious asshole to ever grace the page, and delights in “assisting” those members of his friends and family who are mired in their own personal hellholes – hellholes typically caused or abetted by Dick Fucking Diver himself. I can totally see Elizabeth marrying a victim of repeated sexual molestation simply for the joy of “fixing” them. I have never said this before, and I’ll surely never say it again, but: Ghostwriter of Sweet Valley High 38, I applaud you and your narrative choices!
Liz is super-psyched to go to Switzerland, but of course everyone else is panicked at the very thought of not having Elizabeth around to meddle in their affairs and tell them how to behave! How will they ever keep her in Sweet Valley? Luckily for Jess and Stephen/Steven, Elizabeth must pass a series of interviews in order to gain the scholarship to the Swiss school, so that provides Jessica plenty of opportunities to ruin Liz’s chances. Although, why she would want to, I have no idea at all. Particularly since Elizabeth stresses to her ENTIRE FAMILY that they aren’t nearly good enough on their own to impress the scholarship board and that they’ll ruin everything if they act like themselves. God, Elizabeth, I HATE YOU.
Oh yeah, and meanwhile, Elizabeth grows convinced that J French is sticking it into Enid’s girly hole, because they’re spending a lot of time together. But really they’re making a scrapbook of memories for Liz to take to Switzerland.
Stephen/Steven actually sums up this entirebook series with just one quote, on page 124:
Elizabeth is all that matters.
You’re right, Stephen/Steven. You’re right.
Anyway, Liz gets the scholarship but then realizes that Sweet Valley is way more magical than Switzerland, and dramatically announces her intention to stay and meddle in the affairs of all Sweet Valley citizens, from now until forever. This announcement is actually greeted witha slow clap. Only in Sweet Valley/every cheesy movie ever made, folks. Magical!
Sub-Plot Not In Least Bit Related To Main Plot: Winston wins the lottery. Not a particularly good lottery – not mega-millions or anything – just 25,000 dollars. Which, hey, if someone wanted to give me 25,000 dollars for doing nothing, I wouldn’t say no. But I don’t really consider it winning the lottery unless the winnings are enough to purchase a private jet.
It turns out, though, that Winston accidentally got his ticket switched with an old, poor man. Winston dickers back and forth in his head about whether to tell the old dude, but finally he does because this is Sweet Valley and people are really honest in a disgusting sort of way. I suppose we’re all to find this incredibly endearing, but I only find it to be incredibly dumb. Winston, if you’re too good to take the 25K, you can give it to me. That actually goes for anyone reading this.
Improbable High School Moment: First of all, what minor child is allowed to play the lottery? And then what 16 year old boy decides to give his lotto winnings to some old man? Winston, I love you, but you suck.
Most Offensive Portion: Forever and always, Miss Elizabeth Wakefield. Telling your family that they need to behave differently to impress the scholarship person? Go set yourself on fire, you shitheel.
Oh! Also, at one point, Lila eats sushi for lunch on Monday. This offends my love of sushi. Lila! NEVER EVER EAT SUSHI ON MONDAY. Not unless you can personally attest that the fish was caught that morning. Cause, otherwise, you’re eating Saturday’s fish, since the fish market is closed on Sunday. TWO DAY OLD RAW FISH. Girl, please.
Sweet Valley High 39: Secret Admirer
In which Penny Ayala, Editor of the Oracle, gets herself a man.
Number Of Drinks Taken: 34
First Page On Which the Twins Are Described As “Blonde, Blue-eyed, All-American Good Looks” or equivalent: page 5
Main Plot: Lynne Henry, who you may remember from, like, ten books ago, gets an idea that The Oracle should start running personal ads, for all those sad little losers who don’t have dates to the prom. She and Liz encourage Penny, the Editor of the Oracle, to post an ad as well. Penny is very pretty but shy and doesn’t know how to dress well, so no boys like her. She places an ad and then new boy Kirk Anderson, Neil Freemont and a bunch of other boys respond to her. They do it as a joke, only Neil Freemont totally falls in love with his Dream Girl from her personal ad, even though he doesn’t know who she is. Gosh, this sounds so familiar . . . oh, yeah! IT IS EXACTLY THE PLOT OF LYNNE HENRY’S BOOK, ALONE IN THE CROWD.
Anyway, once Kirk and Neil find out that Penny is the author of the ad, Kirk totally makes fun of her. But of course by now Neil has a love boner for Penny, and they hook up. Elizabeth overhears Kirk making fun of Penny and decides to get back at him in a stupid plot that isn’t even worth using my fingers to type out, and I guess all’s well that ends well for everyone but lame old Kirk. And, presumably, now that Penny is gettings some hot Sweet Valley High Teenage Boy Sex Action, she isn’t such a lame, stuck-up, serious student all the time. All it takes is a boy! A boy will solve everything!
Sub-Plot Not In Least Bit Related To Main Plot: Aw, man, it kinda is, I have to say. I know; I know! This keeps happening! Someone in the Cabal is clearly paying attention to how books are supposed to be written. This will not do at all.
Anyway, Jessica and Lila are bored with high school boys (well, you see how picky they are about their shoes, and they only go on their feet), so they decide to place personal ads in the . . . high school newspaper? Well, apparently, Stephen/Steven has a subscription to The Oracle and has it delivered to his dorm. Of course he fucking does.
Jess gets contacted by a few people. First she goes out on a date with a Fat Guy, and gets out of the date in like five minutes, because clearly Fat People can not be loved. Man, she even ditches out before dinner. Jessica! At least use him for a free meal!
Then she meets John, who is swoony, and a sociology major, and seems really, really interested in Jessica. Jessica and Lila agree to have a showdown with their dates at the Beach Disco so they can see who raked in a better catch, but, ha ha, in a shocking turn of events that no one could have predicted unless they are a sentient being, both girls have been “dating” John, who of course hasn’t been dating either girl, and only taking them out in order to complete his sociology project. Whatever, whatever, GET TO REGINA DYING ALREADY.
Improbable High School Moment: Personal ads? In the school newspaper? The adminstration really would allow that? I mean, I guess they’re not Craigslist-style ads, BUT STILL.
Most Offensive Portion: That I even had to suffer through this book knowing that laying just beyond it was the book in which Regina dies. STOP TRYING TO KEEP ME FROM REGINA’S DEATH!
Sweet Valley High 40: On The Edge
In which Regina Morrow tries cocaine JUST ONCE and then DIES.
Number Of Drinks Taken: 16. This is SRS BZNZ.
First Page On Which the Twins Are Described As “Blonde, Blue-eyed, All-American Good Looks” or equivalent: page 9
Main Plot: You guys!! You guys!! IT IS FINALLY HERE!!! The book that irrevocably shaped my childhood, the book that made me Just Say No to any type of snorting drugs (well, that, and the picture they showed us in DARE of a blown-out septum. Ew.), the book that made me paranoid that I might have a secret heart murmur that could kill me AT ANY TIME if I so much as looked at any drug harder than NyQuil. REGINA MORROW IS FINALLY GONNA DIE!!
I’m getting ahead of myself! So, Amy Sutton is hot on the tail of Bruce Patman, and would like to speak huskily to him while putting her hand on his engorged member. The two are paired up on a health project about THE DANGER OF DRUGS IN SWEET VALLEY and they find out all sorts of things about the drug subculture of SVH, like which students may be smoking the hash pipe (Enid Rollins, they’re on to you!). Amy and Bruce speak in husky tones to each other, and totally sneak off to make out BEHIND A TREE at a barbeque that the Wakefields are hosting. Regina sees this, of course, and storms off, angry not only at Bruce and Amy, but also at Elizabeth for not telling her about it beforehand.
Everyone’s real sad that they made the deaf girl cry, but Regina finds a new friend in Justin, who is From The Wrong Side Of The Tracks, and Knows What Real Pain Is. Justin is still in love with his ex-girlfriend, Molly Hecht, who is delving deeper and deeper into the world of drugs. She may start injecting heroin between her toes soon! Molly Hecht! Heroin is no good for you! Stick to opium; that’s what all the famous authors liked.
So anyway, there’s all this buzz in the air, because Molly’s hosting a party in which THERE WILL BE DRUGS. She’s gonna drink your milkshake! Drink it up! And Molly’s invited the town drug dealer, named Buzz, to come and deal the drugs at the party.
Bruce and Liz get wind of the party and try to talk Regina out of going to it, but of course they do so in the most douchetastic, patronizing way possible, so Regina doesn’t listen to them. Then, right before going to the party at Molly’s, she sits down to write a mysterious letter! Ooh! It’s like she knows!
Anyway, then the party is happening and Molly’s friend Jan, who is The Biggest Drug User In School, is there and being really mean to Regina, who she thinks is stealing Justin from Molly. Or maybe she’s just being mean because she’s a bitch. Or maybe she’s being mean because she is on DRUGS and they have ALTERED HER PERSONALITY FOREVER, as my DARE officer would have said.
Finally, Buzz the drug-dealer shows up to the party. Buzz is the world’s lamest drug dealer and he does things like pull out a Ziploc bag of coke and say, “Would you take a look at this?” Buzz, it’s cocaine, not a catfish you caught at the lake. A little decorum, if you please.
Regina, having never experienced cocaine before even though her mom was a model and her parents are rich and she went to school with rich kids all her life, is all “Why are you carrying around powdered sugar?” Everyone makes fun of her ignorance, which leads her to deciding to sample the cocaine. She snorts two lines, and then has a heart attack and dies. Oh, but she makes sure to ask for fucking ELIZABETH before she dies, because apparently it’s a rule that anyone must inquire after Elizabeth before dying. I’ll tell you what – when I’m on my deathbed, which may be today, for all I know, I’m sure as fuck not going to ask for Elizabeth Wakefield. I’m going to ask for a Coca-Cola Classic, cheese fondue, and an orgasm.
Anyhoo, let’s move on. After Regina Morrow tragically dies from doing cocaine JUST ONCE, Elizabeth receives a letter in the mail. It was from Regina, in which she forgave Liz and said she hoped they could be friends forever. Awww. Too late! Cocaine kills!
Sub-Plot Not In Least Bit Related To Main Plot: There is no sub-plot! This is all of the plot! COCAINE WILL KILL YOU IN YOUR FACE! Don’t do it! You could havea heart murmur that no one ever diagnosed before, even though you were born with a handicap and were presumably in and out of doctors’ offices for most of your young life!! And do you really want your last few moments to be spent on Molly Hecht’s gross couch, asking to talk to Elizabeth Wakefield? NO. So stay away from drugs, kids, or you too will TOTALLY DIE.
Improbable High School Moment: Dude. Molly Hecht’s party starts at 7 pm. SEVEN. IN THE EVENING. Who the hell goes to any party that starts at 7 pm, much less a party in which there will be free-flowing drug use?
ALSO, you probably WON’T die from doing cocaine JUST ONCE. Probably.
Most Offensive Portion: The fact that, now that Regina’s dead, I have nothing more to look forward to. Well, except for the book in which Jessica and Winston get stranded on a deserted island for several weeks. But that book is like sixty books away!!! What will I look forward to in the meantime? This is just like the day after Christmas. Regina Morrow’s Death is totally the Boxing Day of books.
I suppose I shall struggle through, though, so tune in next month so that we can all silently sit in judgement of Molly Hecht together, okay?