Go back to College, Steven or SVH # 135 Lila’s New Flame

18 Oct

Before I forget, the TEAM MARGO shirt is still up for grabs here

There is so much I love about this photo. It could only be better if the Chuck Bass of Sweet Valley [yes that’s you Bruce Patman], walked into the frame at that moment.

Since SVH junior year has reached 1997, there’s also some awesome outfits in this one:

Jessica picked through some clothes on the floor and pulled out a short, tangerine-coloured skirt and a pale blue silk T-shirt. The ensemble suited Jessica perfectly. The skirt hung elegantly at the hip, and the T-shirt brought out the colour of her ocean-blue eyes.

“Very few people understand the perils of this profession,” she said, sliding off the bed. She grabbed a short, fitted black raincoat from her chair and slipped it on. “What do you think of this?”

The raincoat was beautiful. It was made of a sleek, rubbery material that was surprisingly elegant.  The form suited Jessica as well. It tapered in at the waist and flared out at the hips, accentuating Jessica’s figure.

I think the coat is meant to be shinier, like this:

But I can’t get this out of my mind:

Lila was sitting in a chair in the corner, staring out the window. She was wearing a casual black cotton dress and a pair of flat black pumps that Jessica had loaned her.

And now for the book:

I’ve always known Steven was mildly inappropriate: hooking up with schoolgirls Tricia Martin and Cara Walker, “playfully swatting” his younger sisters on the arse, and attending every SVH junior year party in existence led me to that conclusion many moons ago. When he finally met his live-in lover Billie Winkler around the prom thriller miniseries, I thought Steven had eventually grown up and come to his senses. But then, he decided to come back to Sweet Valley for a law internship, hook up with his client and 16-year-old sister’s best friend Lila Fowler, and leave me without a shadow of a doubt: Steven Wakefield is a creep.

I digress to ask you something that has bothered me for a couple of decades:

What is the deal with the distance between SVU and Sweet Valley proper? Recently I read SVH #17 “Love Letters” [don’t bother], where Caroline Pearce’s sister, Anita, commutes to the college because it is “5 minutes away.” The Pearces live next door to the Wakefields, so why Steven lives on campus and has to travel home is quite confusing. Then again, he’s home at least once every book.

Maybe Calico Drive is longer than we thought…Anyhow  —

Lila has broken up with Bo Creighton, the preppy snob she met at Camp Echo Mountain [you know, where they had caviar specially shipped from Paris]. She claims that they drifted apart because “their lives started changing”. Uh, Lila? You haven’t changed since Sweet Valley Kids. You know, poor little rich girl, leeches off Daddy, hangs out with Jessica, goes to Venice on Spring Break?

George and Grace are away on their 137th honeymoon, and Lila is miserable so she decides to burn all Bo’s old love letters. The letters are full of poetry attempts  like, “My dreams are of this world/ Clear and perpetual/And when you’re not here/ I dream that I sleep I dream that I dream.” Don’t worry, I don’t get it either. Although I think Vanessa Pike might be behind some of them.

So Lila goes to bed, all woeful and alone, and while she’s asleep an entire wing of Fowler Crest is burned down, almost singeing her to a crisp.

A word of warning: There are plenty of awful fire puns and metaphors throughout the whole three part series [For starters, the other titles include “Too Hot to Handle” and “Fight Fire With Fire”.] Most of the imagery involves Lila surrounded by fire of some description, usually candles, so that 8-year-old readers and idiots like Steven “Mr Law” Wakefield, might think Lila is a pyro and burned down her house herself.

But back to seedbag Steven: he has chosen his summer internship at a Sweet Valley law firm over his relationship with Billie Winkler, which I find amusing if book #17 was true and SVU is only five minutes away from the Wakefield’s place. He begins on day one by meeting the fricken DA, who gives him the job of investigating Miss Lila Fowler, now a prime murder suspect after traces of gasoline were found around the Fowler’s estate.

May I remind everyone that Steven is an 18/19 year old [it changes] PRE-LAW STUDENT. Maybe Daddy Ned gave him a leg up? Either way, I’m fairly certain that the Fowlers can probably afford better legal representation for their only daughter, and that Steven’s main occupation should be making photocopies and running down to the Box Tree Café to buy people cappuccinos.

So while Lila is recovering from smoke inhalation and her parents are uncontactable on a desert island somewhere, Steven snoops around, trying to get information out of the twinkies about their family friend. This is so ridiculous in so many ways. I’m beginning to think that Return of the Evil Twin and Beware the Wolfman were more believable.

So Steven does his detective work, simultaneously falling in love with Lila, and he eventually comes to the conclusion that not only did she NOT start the fire [it was always burning since the world’s been turning….] but that he is hopelessly attracted to the third high-schooler THIS YEAR.

The cover photo doesn’t actually happen till the final scene, and Jessica is supposedly wearing the raincoat ensemble when it does.

Either way, the twins are horrified, which means that the next two books can only involve scheming, manipulation and Elizabeth and Jessica getting their way, as usual.

In keeping with the hot, smouldering kind of theme, Devon Whitelaw makes his way toward Sweet Valley to become Elizabeth’s most recent obsessor. I was in year five when I first read about Devon, and was well and truly of the belief that Liz and Todd, if not Liz and Jeffery, were destined to be together forever, and that Whitelaw was scum. Part of me still wants him to crash and burn so I will delve no further into how his parents didn’t love him and everyone is out for his money.

P.S. This possibly negates a recap of the subsequent books in the miniseries, but ….John Pfeifer, the psycho who once sexually assaulted Lila, is actually the pyromaniac who started the fire. Because he’s a sports editor, and sports editors are evil.

Quick tribute to the cassette tape I made after first reading this miniseries in 1999, including some Aussie classics. Sorry Lila. I wonder if the Droids did a cover?

That’s all for now, but remind me that if Lila and Mary-Anne ever meet up after she has her baby, they at least have a house fire in common.

Stay Warm!


6 Responses to “Go back to College, Steven or SVH # 135 Lila’s New Flame”

  1. Daniella October 18, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    First. I am so impressed that you have a tangerine skirt that meets the description. LOVE it!

    And I second the whole part about a legal intern investigating a major potential arson case. Investigating is what INVESTIGATORS are for!!

    • winstonegbert October 18, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

      it’s actually a scrap of fabric! My sister is a kick-ass clothes designer so there’s always scraps of fabric lying around her place for me to steal

  2. Totally Sweet Valley October 18, 2010 at 7:32 pm #

    Can’t begin to describe how many shades of awesome this (and your last few blog posts) were! 🙂
    Especially the outfits, haha.

    And big lols at your compilation tape : “Midnight Oil”, haha, sooo aussie!

    I think the standard definition of the ‘commute’ to SVU from Sweet Valley is around 2 hours. I’m reading the College miniseries right now and thats what they say in that one, and I think thats about consistent with SVU?

  3. winstonegbert October 18, 2010 at 9:48 pm #

    I love that college miniseries! Jessica has a brain, and Tom Watts is on the college football team [which, now I think about it makes no sense since he was only a year ahead of the twinkies in SVU]

  4. shan h October 21, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    I am pretty sure there was confusion on Buffy the Vampire Slayer on how far away the college was.
    SVU threw me when Liz gained weight at the start and Jessica got married.


  1. Devon Whitelaw, or “If You are the One” | WHAT WINSTON SAW - April 9, 2019

    […] introduction is early on in the “Fire” trilogy. I recapped the first book in that arc, Lila’s New Flame, back in 2010. The A plot of the trilogy revolves around Steven creeping all over high schoolers […]

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