Far From the Shallow Now or SVU#31: Lifeguards “The Truth About Ryan”

1 Mar


svu ryan


We’re not in Sweet Valley anymore. That’s right, we’re in Sweet Valley Shore, where the twins and all their friends have taken jobs as live-in lifeguards. Gone are the summers spent super-sleuthing around sweet valley in the fiat, getting locked in a tower by European royals, or saving the universe through investigative journalism. Some things never change though, and the book starts with Liz on the side of the road in her jeep, which has broken down AGAIN [not at the hands of Todd, an earthquake, or a psycho stalker this time though]. Due to these pesky jeep issues, she missed an important date with current BF, chief lifeguard Ryan Taylor, who is celebrating one year of sobriety. So after staying up all night waiting for a prognosis on the car, she gets all prima donna with the creepy mechanic [who, like many characters in SVU doesn’t buy into the Wakefield BS], and finally hails a cab to the beach to start her 8am shift. By that stage, Ryan is over her and her uptight ways, and has fallen off the wagon. Ryan becomes cold and withdrawn. The Liz-Ryan plot, in short:

IMG_1440 copy

You’re just fucking ugly



Have you been drinking?

In a lapse of judgement, Ryan quits his job, then that afternoon in a scene that makes no sense, finds himself “rescuing” [actually kind of attacking] a happy couple in the water under the impression that they are drowning. Then he is rescued by two of the other guards.



“I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in”

Then Ryan, in a hungover haze


Gratuitous Hangover shot. I wonder if Ryan looks like this?


decides liz is a killjoy, and he should definitely hook up with Jess instead. She does well, to her credit, and resists blue eyes for at least 48 hours.

i just want to look at you


lady gaga


In the B plot, Jessica finds that last year’s summer love, Ben Mercer [who is kind of a major douche], is all wrapped up in his stuck-up new GF Priya. Even though he is quite horrible – basically calling Jessica fat in one scene – it takes her three quarters of the book to get over him. She is so likeable for around one scene, where she spurns Ryan’s drunken advances and plans to go out on the town with her friend Miranda. Two seconds later, she is all dolled up in something straight out of Picnic at Hanging Rock, [but see-through, and of course sourced from Elizabeth’s closet] and she makes a bee-line for blue eyed Ryan. Before long, they are making out and then in comes Lizzie. Tsk. Should have taken that internship.

The C plot is far more wretched and disturbing, with a Margo-esque character [complete with dyed blonde hair] out for Nina Harper’s blood. Ooh. So Nina, after apparently catching out her love-rat university boyf with ANOTHER WOMAN, has now sworn off men for the WHOLE summer. But like Jessica, that all dissolves in 5 seconds when she starts sleeping with surfboard mogul millionaire slash enlightened hippie Stu. After professing their love on a moonlit night surrounded by incense, strange things start happening. Nina finds her bikinis slashed, she is inexplicably knocked unconscious in Stu’s bedroom, and pushed face-first on some hot coals [more on that in a sec]. It seems someone is really channeling Margo when the scorned ex-lover behind all this casts a fishing line out to sea with a life-like baby doll to trick Nina into thinking a baby has drowned on her lifeguard watch. The creepiest [best] bit, really, is when the dismembered doll turns up in Nina’s bedroom. Turns out the woman behind all this, Rachel Max, had a one-nighter with Stu last summer, but he brushed her off after she got all clingy the next morning and MOVED HIS MEDITATION CHAIR. The horror. After a prison stint [not explained in this book] she comes back for Stu and will take out anything in her path with a sardonic smile and a bloodcurdling scream….

Oh, and she’s apparently pregnant, you guys. Pity Margo never thought of that.


The coal walk scene is so epic. It was at a communal beach day with lots of hippies supposed to be part of Nina’s integration into Stu’s world of living in the moment [a la Pam Beesley]


but I can’t get this picture out of my head thinking about her faceplanting on the coals with a sadistic shove from Rachel Max:

The D plot features Winston’s foray into alternative therapies when he takes his good friend, Wendy Paloma [?relation to the upmarket restaurant of the same name] to every tarot-reading professional on Sweet Valley Shore to help her reconnect with her rock star husband, Pedro. Pedro clearly does not give a shit about her and does not surface from his very important schedule for the entire summer, but Winston, being the good ol’ buddy he is, provides a shoulder to cry on until Wendy realises well duh,

IMG_1438 (1)

Man I was a late-comer to the office. So many parallels.

On the plus side, SVU is slightly more multi-dimensional. I like that they treat alcoholism as a serious addiction and that Elizabeth can’t just come in and fix everything with one swift shoulder pat. I also like that Jessica was slightly more normal, i.e. was the only one to actually care enough about a friend to express empathy when Ryan quit and Nina was shoved into the deep end as head lifeguard. And she restrained herself until the FINAL SCENE before the cracked and kissed Elizabeth’s boyfriend. I mean, that’s some serious character development. Cue sudden urgent need to complete my SVU collection, stat.


Some comments the ghosties couldn’t resist:

Ryan, choosing between his AA meeting and the aptly placed Bottleshop next door:

“eenie meenie  minie moe,” he thought, “whiskey, rum, or gin to go.”

“Elizabeth,” he spat. “Fat chance of her help. That’s like throwing a lifesaver to a drowning man – the cherry flavoured variety.”

Then this gem, from Margo Rachel:

The young woman grabbed the bottle of peroxide from the bottom drawer and sprinted down the hallway. “It’s an emergency,” she screamed, banging on the door of the communal bathroom. She pushed an elderly man aside as her emerged from the room. “Out of my way!” 

Outfit recaps: Jessica was about to give up when she came upon a sheer white blouse and a long, white raw-silk skirt hiding in the farthest reaches of Elizabeth’s closet.


Or was it Tricia Martin’s??

Till next time!

2 Responses to “Far From the Shallow Now or SVU#31: Lifeguards “The Truth About Ryan””

  1. Ms. Kitsch April 26, 2019 at 11:27 pm #

    Love this!! I hope you recap more SVU books, especially the Thrillers, they’re so epic! Jess definitely gets more character development and becomes a much more well rounded and sympathetic character in this series. Enid actually gets a personality and a life outside of being Liz’s lap dog and becomes one of the most interesting characters in the series! Liz, of course, remains boring, and Lila is still an absolute queen. There’s a lot to love in SVU – and a lot to snark. 😉

    • winstonegbert April 27, 2019 at 6:25 am #

      and a LOT of non continuity (like Olivia rising from the dead, multiple events inserted into SVH that never happened….)

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