The one that should be called, “Too Good To Be True” or SVH #21 Runaway

1 Nov

Covers thieved from Shannon’s Sweet Valley High Page and The Closet

I voted for #60, That Fatal Night, mainly because Ken looks just as I imagined him – a corpse with no personality. But this one runs a close second, and I’ve gotta say I heart the flashdance appeal of Jessica’s outfit.


Nobody loves Jessica Wakefield! Elizabeth is tired of her selfish ways, Ned doesn’t invite her to an important court hearing, and everyone teases her about how she is a bad cook, a terrible student and moreover, bad at life.

[Forget the cover – this book is AWESOME!]

For once, I have to empathise with Liz – Jessica steals her new blue silk blouse and it turns up, scrunched in a ball in her chaotic room while the sociopath is lounging on her bed, wondering what to wear on a date with Neil Freemount. I have been there, and my sister is a whole 32 months and four minutes older, and it is not fun. Team Elizabeth? Moi? Just this once…

Although I give kudos to Ned for not giving in to his whiny youngest daughter, he is actually a bit of a bastard in this book. Like here, for instance:

“You know,” their father said, laughing, “I have never been able to teach your mother how to do justice to a salad. That woman has a master’s degree, and she still cant mix a decent dressing.”

Read: Get back in the kitchen, bitch. And not to work your interior-designer’s magic on the Spanish tiles…..

I can only hope she feeds him Chinese food and sends him into anaphylactic shock. That’ll show him.

When he’s not being a reasonable father to his daughter or a chauvinistic prick to his wife, Ned is worrying about Steven, who is home from college AGAIN, but this time- for good!

Apparently he’s the only person in Sweet Valley who does actual grieving after someone dies! It’s been 9 books since Tricia Martin and he still isn’t coping. Jessica, who can’t even be wounded by the death of seven boyfriends before she’s twenty, decides to do some Liz-worthy meddling and set him up with Cara Walker.

At Cara’s party the next night, Jessica is all cranky because everyone fawns over Liz and because Liz and TBT are so happy. Geez, how dare they.

All this pent-up misery pushes Jessica right into the arms of a bad boy – hermit Nicky Shepherd.

We know Nicky is bad because, direct from the horse’s mouth: He spent a lot of time with the crowd from the Shady Lady and drove a fast car. There were also rumours about drugs.

However, he flashed Jessica a brilliant smile and she felt a little charge o f electricity run through her body.

And just like that, Jessica is sold [again].

Nick is all sad and lonesome, which of course turns Jessica on.

“How can you like being sad?” asked Jessica, intrigued.

“It’s easier than being happy,” replied Nicky. [Emo alert!]

So they make out in Cara’s boathouse, and of course spend a good hour on the dance floor, which seems a bit unusual for a loner-emo-hermit-boy, don’t you think?

In the C-plot, Ricky Capaldo [the guy Annie Whitman dated for the longest, i.e. 5 books] is involved in a bitter custody dispute in which his mother is denying his paternal grandparents access because Mr Capaldo won’t pay child support. Because Ned is a shit lawyer, [who has now added family law to his growing bunch of legal practices] he decides to discuss the case with Elizabeth, and get her to cover it for the Oracle. How appropriate Ned. Screw your client’s confidentiality, lets call in the media!! Then again, it is Liz, so he’d be lucky to get 137 characters in “The Eyes and Ears” column.

Jessica has lots of things to say, but Ned ignores her and praises Elizabeth’s opinion on the matter [she blabs on about the poor Capaldo children suffering due to a broken family]. He then encourages Liz to write an article for the Sweet Valley Freaking News about it, and tells Jess to spend her time worrying about something that will interest her more. Go Ned! [I think]

My only consolation is that after the trial, Ricky tells Liz to mind her own business. Go Ricky! Unfortunately, Ned keeps being a tool and encourages her that justice will be done if she prints her feel-good story. In the Sweet Valley News. Because people really care about custody battles over 16-year-olds.  I brought up the blurred distinction between lawyers and journos in Sweet Valley back here, but I think Ned is still a little confused as to their roles.

Meanwhile, Jessica is consoling herself in the back seat of Nicky Shepherd’s brown mustang. He even takes her to a party where the kids have joints, although Fran-Pasc makes the point explicitly clear that Nicky refuses the weed.

He does have several beers though, and Jessica accepts a lift home with him [idiot], and of course he wraps the Mustang around a pole.

I’m not saying I want Jessica to die or anything, but…didn’t Liz have about a teaspoon of  MJPP [Magic Jungle Prom Punch] and kill Sam Woodruff? Nicky’s pretty wasted. Just saying.

Nicky’s parents are probably going to be angry [as they should – maybe Nalice can take some tips?] so he decides to run away to San Fran. Jessica decides to go too! She leaves a note, which she might not have done if she were serious about leaving. Then again, this is Jessica so it’s clearly only a cry for help. And this is Sweet Valley, which nobody in their right mind actually leaves.

The bus scene reminds me of Margo’s journey from Cleveland. I’m not sure why, maybe the old women, newspapers, bag ladies and seedy busdrivers?

Of course, Steven and Liz race to Carver City in the trusty yellow VW, and return Jessica to the safety of Calico Drive, Sweet Valley while Nicky makes the trek to San Fran alone. Apparently emo-boy couldn’t stick it out though, because he turns up in Mystery Date to give the anti-jock demonstrations a hand.

The best part of the book is Liz and Jess getting told. The worst is that because I’m not a size-six blonde-haired aqua-eyed goddess, I cannot do this outfit the justice that sociopath did.

Some SVT recaps coming your way soon, and don’t forget the Team Margo Contest, winner will be announced on Thursday with the release of “When Lila Met Stacey”, Chapter 15

4 Responses to “The one that should be called, “Too Good To Be True” or SVH #21 Runaway”

  1. Daniella November 1, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    My job involves representing kids in court during custody issues. Therefore, I realize I know more about this issue than some ghostwriters might. However. Has ANYONE EVER READ an article about a custody battle in the newspaper that wasn’t some random celebrity’s divorce speculation? No. Why? Because that is SO illegal. In fact, in my state, if Elizabeth published an article like that, she would run the risk of a massive fine. This plotline has always bugged the hell out of me!

  2. Jenn November 2, 2010 at 12:19 am #

    I always thought that he didn’t really seem like Jessica’s type. He wasn’t rich and he didn’t have a super cool car either lol

  3. Erin January 26, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    I actually kind of felt for Jessica in this book because her family really acts like a bunch of assholes to her. One of the best lines was Jessica telling Liz that no one cared what she (Jess) had to say because they all might miss one of Liz’s pearls of wisdom. Ha!


  1. The one where Enid “The Drip” Rollins reminds us why she got that nickname « WHAT WINSTON SAW - May 29, 2011

    […] wonder Jessica runs away in the next book. This place is […]

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