About the Book

Title: Rags to Riches (Sweet Valley High #16)
Love Letters (Sweet Valley High #17)
Head Over Heels (Sweet Valley High #18)
Showdown (Sweet Valley High #19)
Crash Landing! (Sweet Valley High #20)
Published: 1985

You guys didn’t think I’d forgotten about poor Sweet Valley High, did you? Well, I didn’t forget. I willfully ignored them. That’s different.

But lo, here I am, with yet another installment of our favorite shitbags, Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, and their many and varied friends and family members, all as horrible as they are (except for Lila, of course!).

Where we last left off, Tricia Martin had just kicked the bucket and everyone had a sad. Of course, Tricia Martin’s tragic young death has cast a shadow over Sweet Valley, leaving everyone struggling with their grief for the next few months. Ha ha! Just kidding! No one ever talks about her again! Smell ya later, Tricia!

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 16: Rags to Riches

In which Roger Barrett’s mom follows Tricia to The Great Beyond (stalker much?), and Roger becomes Instantly Rich

Number Of Drinks Taken: 31! Now we’re talkin’!

First Page On Which the Twins Are Described As “Blonde, Blue-eyed, All-American Good Looks” or equivalent: page 7

Main Plot: Guess what! Roger Barrett isn’t Roger Barrett at all! He’s actually Roger Patman! You see, Mr Patman (Bruce’s dad)’s brother totally had an extramarital affair with Roger’s mother, and Roger was the result! You guys! This is nearly as scandalous as Jesse James cheating on Sandy Bullock! Except that Roger’s mom isn’t America’s Sweetheart, so no one really cares.

The Mr Patman who is Bruce’s dad takes Roger in, much to the dismay of 1Bruce1 and Bruce’s mom. Of course, now that Roger is a Patman, Jessica has him in her sights. She only needs a little help from Bruce’s mom, who hates Roger because he’s poor and likes running. (Such a filthy, solitary sport.)

Of course, where does this leave poor, frizzy-haired Olivia? Handmaking her own clothes, as always, and whining cause her boyfriend is too rich for her now. Um, Olivia? Shut up. If anyone in your life becomes suddenly rich, it is AWESOME. Or, well, I imagine it would be, anyway. Endless mimosas!

Anyway, Elizabeth fixes everything, of course, because she can’t stand to not intrude in other people’s lives. Ugh. I hate you, Elizabeth Wakefield.

Sub-Plot Not In Least Bit Related To Main Plot: Regina Morrow has been spotted with a mysterious older man! Who kisses her! ON THE CHEEK! CLEARLY they are having relations of a sexual nature!

Or at least that’s what Lila thinks, so she follows Regina around in her lime green Triumph. (Not the most stealth car.) It turns out that Regina has actually landed a big modeling contract, even though, as we all know, she has a disability. Man! Deaf people! They’re just like us!

Lila tries to go for the modeling job as well, but gets turned down. Regina is just too beautiful, you guys! And do you know why? Do you? It’s cause her beauty comes from the inside. And because she has good genes, but whatever.

Improbable High School Moment: I can’t decide, but I think it’s that Mrs Patman so willingly involved a high school student in her subterfuge. I mean, this is high-level, family-ruining espionage, lady. Hire Serena van der Woodson, at the very least.

Most Offensive Portion: Pretty much everytime Elizabeth shows up in this book. Ugh! She’s such a smarmy know-it-all! You know what, Elizabeth? You’re LAME. And your hair looks stupid in that fucking ponytail.

Sweet Valley High 17: Love Letters

In which Caroline Pearce dates George Glass

Number Of Drinks Taken: 15

First Page On Which the Twins Are Described As “Blonde, Blue-eyed, All-American Good Looks” or equivalent: page 9

Main Plot: Caroline Pearce is a sad, lonely, miserable little girl. Is it because she has red hair? Is it because she dresses like a nerd who thinks J Crew is way too wild? No. It’s because everyone hates her. And why does everyone hate Caroline Pearce? Is it because she gossips like crazy? Is it because she is ALWAYS intruding on people’s private conversations? Is it because she’s needy and clingy? No, of course not! It’s because she doesn’t have a boyfriend. Don’t you see? Having a boyfriend makes everything better! No one will care that you have told the entire school about that itching sensation down there as long as you have someone to split a vanilla malt with at the Dairi Burger!

So Caroline does what any normal, sane girl with vague sociopathic tendencies would do. She invents a boyfriend. Adam is wonderful, and gorgeous, and oh so romantic! So romantic, in fact, that he straight up cribs from Robert Browning, because Adam is also a cliche. (Well, at least it isn’t Byron.)

Jessica and Lila think this is AWESOME (or maybe a little unbelievable) and no one seems to think it’s weird that a 16 year old boy says things like “Tomorrow we meet the same then, dearest? May I take your hand in mine?” even though NO ONE TALKS LIKE THAT EVER.

But! By strange coincidence, Elizabeth is writing a One Act play about Robert Browning. Because that’s just the sort of thing she would do. Because she is determined to make me despise her. Anyway, Elizabeth is reading her One Act for her family, and Jessica recognizes the quotes from Caroline’s letters. She thinks that Adam’s just a plagiarizer, and doesn’t realize that Caroline is actually the plagiarizer, and that Adam’s not real. Probably because even Jessica doesn’t think someone can be crazy enough to invent a boyfriend. (I invented boyfriends all the time when I was single. They were usually large, short-tempered and just in the bathroom, and wouldn’t like to see Douchey McCargoShorts hitting on me at the bar. Ahem.)

Elizabeth finds out Caroline’s secret and, incredibly, agrees NOT TO PERFORM HER ONE ACT PLAY BECAUSE THEN PEOPLE WILL DISCOVER CAROLINE’S SECRET. I could actually vomit. Liz! You are the DUMBEST HUMAN ALIVE.

The day of Lila and Jessica’s party shows up, Caroline gets up the nerve to tell everyone the truth, and just in the nick of time, a friend that Todd hired shows up so that he can pretend to be Adam at the party. But lo, Caroline has Grown As A Person in these last 15 pages, and tells the truth anyway. And then she and Fake-Adam totally make out. Because Fake-Adam has just met her and doesn’t know how annoying she is.

Sub-Plot Not In Least Bit Related To Main Plot: Actually, it sort of is! (I know; I was upset too.) Caroline goes digging through the Wakefield’s trash, because she’s that desperate for a scoop, and finds a letter addressed to Mrs Wakefield, offering her a job in San Francisco. SAN FRANCISCO! Can you imagine? Leaving tidy, small Sweet Valley for San Francisco, that capital of hedonism, opera and Chinese food? WHAT IS MRS WAKEFIELD THINKING? So Jessica and Elizabeth hatch a scheme to keep their parents from wanting to leave Sweet Valley. Mostly it involves tourism brochures and some veal. I dunno. But anyway, eventually Ned and Alice decide that stinky old San Francisco, with its gays and charming townhouses, in no way tops Sweet Valley’s split-level ranch homes and heteronormative behavior. Thank God!

Improbable High School Moment:

I had a lover—shame avaunt! This poor wrenched body, grim and gaunt, Was kissed all over till it burned, By lips the truest, love e’er turned His heart’s own tint: one night they kissed My soul out in a burning mist.


Most Offensive Portion: Seriously, Liz Wakefield? You would seriously not complete an assignment because it might make people realize that someone else was telling a fib? SERIOUSLY?

Sweet Valley High 18: Head Over Heels

In which Bruce Patman and Regina Morrow are sittin’ in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G!

Number Of Drinks Taken: 19 (low, considering Bruce shows up a lot!)

First Page On Which the Twins Are Described As “Blonde, Blue-eyed, All-American Good Looks” or equivalent: pg 2. Ah, back to old form.

Main Plot: Y’all. Y’ALL. Regina Morrow is IN LOVE with Bruce Patman!! I know! I can’t believe it either! I guess she sees something we don’t? I mean, he is really cute. And he does drive a Porche. And I guess he’s never tried to date rape her. So he probably seems like a good catch. What’s even CRAZIER is that Bruce is totally in love with Regina too! Yes! Even though she’s deaf!

Because Regina has a Magic Vagina, Bruce totally turns into a nice guy. I think he probably even helps old ladies across the street! That’s what a Magic Vagina is capable of!

Jessica, of course, must interfere with Their Perfect Love, because she is Jessica and that’s just how she is. Also, she and Lila made a bet, and if Jessica can get them to break up, Lila has to write her History term paper. I’d take that bet!

Jessica succeeds in breaking them up (by telling Regina that Bruce is only dating her to be voted Farm King, or something). But the whole thing is even further tangled because Regina’s family wants her to go to Switzerland and have an operation to get her hearing restored. (Oh! Also we learn Why Regina Is Deaf. Her mom took DIET PILLS. WHILST PREGNANT. Did you know that diet pills will ruin your fetus’s hearing?? That’s why I go the opposite direction and only eat things containing cheese and carbs. Not that I’m preggers or anything but maybe someday an alien fetus will be implanted in me like in X-Files and I won’t know about it and at least this way the alien baby won’t be deaf when it hatches from my cauterized womb.)

Moving on.

Everything gets worked out, but Bruce realizes that, if Regina knows that he really does love her, she’ll never leave for Switzerland. (Don’t be so sure, Bruce. Have you had fondue before?) So he selflessly allows Regina to think he’s an asshole so that she’ll board the plane, aka, he takes the choice out of her hands and decides how she will live her life. Thanks, Bruce! You’re a swell dude!

Sub-Plot Not In Least Bit Related To Main Plot: There’s a carnival? And Mrs. Morrow is the parent helper? Which is how Liz finds out about Regina and Bruce’s fight in time to help Bruce slip an apology letter in Regina’s bag? Which means this is the SECOND BOOK IN A ROW in which the sub-plot is at least a bit related to the main plot. DAMNIT, SWEET VALLEY! Don’t go getting good on me!

Improbable High School Moment: And, even worse, pretty much all of the stuff is believable! I mean, Regina and Bruce fall head over heels in a week, but I only have to look at the Facebook status updates of my 15 year old cousin Kodi to know that that’s true-to-life. Regina refuses to go to Switzerland for a year, because she’s finally settled in at SVH and has a boyfriend. Also pretty realistic. Even Bruce having a dramatic change of heart is fairly realistic for a high school boy (though maybe not a high school boy who drives a Porche). Damnit, Sweet Valley High! This is your second warning!

Most Offensive Portion: That Bruce just makes up Regina’s mind for her. ugh! I guess I expect nothing better from a date rapist.

Sweet Valley High 19: Showdown

In which Lila and Jessica both date Crazy Jack

Number Of Drinks Taken: 19

First Page On Which the Twins Are Described As “Blonde, Blue-eyed, All-American Good Looks” or equivalent: pg 3

Main Plot: Lila meets smooth, handsome Jack working as part of her father’s construction crew. Even though Jack totally works with his hands (ew!), Lila suspects that he’s actually a rich boy in disguise! Which he is! Jack is making his own way! He’s learning about hard work and independance! He won’t be tied down by his father’s demands!

Yeah, right.

Jessica meets Jack at Lila’s pool party, and is instantly smitten. Soon, Jack starts dating BOTH girls – Lila on the weekends, and Jessica during the week. Jack keeps promising Jessica that he’ll break it off with Lila, and meanwhile proposes to Lila.

All this is INCREDIBLY boring. Until! Jessica snoops around in Jack’s medicine cabinet and finds DRUGS. Not just pansy-ass Enid Rollins drugs, either. ACTUAL DRUGS LIKE YOU SEE ON CABLE TV.

It turns out that Jack is totally a CRAZYCAKES person who pretends to be rich and also pretends his family (who tragically died when he was young) is still alive. Dang! Why wasn’t this whole book about how AWESOME Jack is? You know who would have known how to write this shit? V.C. Andrews. She wouldn’t have tied up Jack’s storyline in 5 pages at the Dairi Burger. She would have had him out raping his sister or something and then kidnapping someone, killing them and them pretending to be him. Man! I wish I were reading V.C. Andrews!

Sub-Plot Not In Least Bit Related To Main Plot: OH NO. So Liz is tasked with taking over the editor-in-chief job at the Oracle from Penny, who’s come down with a case of mono (slut). Liz starts noticing these awesome photos from a mysterious photographer who turns out to be Penny’s little sister Anita, but none of that is important. What IS important is that, as Liz is going through Anita’s work, she comes across a photo of George Warren and Former Fattie Robin Wilson . . . KISSING. George Warren is Enid’s boyfriend, you may remember. WHAT THE WHAT? How can anyone cheat on plain, boring Enid? With a FORMER FATTIE?!!?! George, have you no shame?

Improbable High School Moment: Former Fattie Robin Wilson is getting her pilot’s license! SHE IS SIXTEEN. Also, who the hell gets engaged in high school??? Wait, scratch that, the first time a guy asked me to marry him was in high school. High school boys are weird (they don’t grow out of it).

Most Offensive Portion: Um, I believe I have already covered this. WHY wasn’t this book written by V.C. Andrews????

Sweet Valley High 20: Crash Landing!

In which George tries to break up with Enid, crashes his plane, and Enid is paralyzed

Number Of Drinks Taken: 15

First Page On Which the Twins Are Described As “Blonde, Blue-eyed, All-American Good Looks” or equivalent: pg 13

Main Plot: So remember how Liz found out that George was cheating on Enid with Former Fattie Robin Wilson? She confronted them, OF COURSE, and George promised that he was going to tell Enid the truth – and dump her- that night as he took her up as his first passenger.

Well, that plan totally worked except for how George crashed the plane, and Enid broke her spine trying to rescue him. Oops. It’s always something, isn’t it, George?

So, Enid’s paralyzed, George is paralyzed with guilt, and Former Fattie Robin Wilson is EATING HER SHAME. (That’s the first smart thing she’s done in 10 books!)

Enid has an operation and every gets upset because she is supposed to miraculously walk again, and it isn’t happening. OBVS the writers in the Francine Pascal Cabal have never seen Friday Night Lights. They don’t start walking again, Lyla, okay? STREET IS NEVER GOING TO WALK AGAIN.

Elizabeth thinks that Enid is just stubbornly refusing to walk because she doesn’t want to lose George. So she hatches a plan with Teddy, Mr Collins’ six-year-old. SIX. Okay? I just want you to keep that age in your head because ELIZABETH IS A FUCKING MORON.

Her plan is to get Teddy to pretend he is drowning so that Enid,a lifeguard, will jump in and save him. IS SHE HIGH? You don’t ask a six year old to pretend they are drowning and HOPE your whackadoo best friend will remember how to use her legs and jump in and save him! Elizabeth! I HATE YOU.

Anyway, her plan works, of course, cause Liz shits gold biscuits, and Enid realizes that she could fly walk all along, and she selflessly lets George go to date Former Fattie Robin Wilson EVEN THOUGH HE WAS CHEATING ON HER FOR WEEKS. Ugh! Enid! At least key his car!

Sub-Plot Not In Least Bit Related To Main Plot: Jess and Lila (prior to last week’s slight debacle with a homocidal maniac) signed up for a gourmet cooking course. Their instructor is hot, and French, which of course insures Jessica’s interest. But, as it turns out, Jess has a real knack for cooking! She even makes puff pastry, from scratch! I can’t make puff pastry from scratch! (Of course, if I had a marble pastry board, I could. Man! I need to get married so I can register for cooking stuff!)

Jessica decides to cook a special dinner for her parents’ anniversary, and does a trial run at dinner the week before. Unfortunately, she cooks mussels, and unfortunately, she doesn’t know that the mussels have to open while steaming, and serves them anyway. So, okay, everyone gets food poisoning. But they’re TOTAL JERKFACES about it. Like, Jessica tried, okay? Shut up, Ned and Alice Wakefield! And smug Elizabeth! I hate all of you so much!

Improbable High School Moment: What 16 year old just shrugs their shoulders when they find out their boyfriend/girlfriend is cheating on them. Has the Cabal ever even MET a 16 year old? Ugh!

Most Offensive Portion: Man, the Wakefields are SUCH ASSHOLES. Okay, so, yes, Jessica poisoned them. But it was an ACCIDENT. And she’s TRYING to do something nice. And all they can do is make fun of her. Fucking Wakefield douchecanoes!

That’s it for this round! Next time, we have runaways, the ghost of Dead Tricia, Grandma and Grandpa Wakefield and, even more importantly, our first SVH Series Book, Perfect Summer!!! I’M SO EXCITED! I’M SO EXCITED! I’M SO SCARED!

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