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One Book Wonder #3: Tom McKay from SVH #74 “Amy’s True Love”

25 Jul

 

This week’s one-book wonder is……. Tom McKay! And no, he’s not Amy’s true love.

amys true love

Pictured here as an effeminate Ken Doll. 

 

First of all, there is WAAAAY too much Amy Sutton in this book.

Even in the one token book about the one token non-heterosexual in Sweet Valley, the book focuses instead on Amy Sutton and her first world white girl issues.

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The Best One Book Wonder Characters: # 2 April Dawson from SVH #80 “The Girl They Both Loved.”

10 Jul
Image result for sweet valley high 80

Epic bangs, and product placement with the pink helmet.

 

April Dawson is the coolest lipstick-wearing dirt bike racer to ever rock Sweet Valley. The title, on the other hand, is a total misnomer, as only one of those dudes is in love with her [slash using her for her dirt bike skills. Read on].

Although April is a total ace dirt bike rider, it doesn’t take over her whole life. Her boring boyfriend Michael Harris [previously of the ill-fated engagement to Maria Santelli ], on the other hand, is so obsessed with dirt bike riding it has rendered him housebound. He legit complains about visiting his dying grandmother because he’ll have to miss a race and run the risk of Artie Western scoring more points for the Sweet Valley team than him.

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The Best One-Book Wonder Characters of Sweet Valley

20 Jun

 

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Paula, if that’s even your real name…..

For the next few posts I’ll be looking back at some of the awesome SVH characters developed just for one book, then left to the ether. Some of these characters were terrific, and just crying out for more plot-time to develop.

Given their own spin-off or allowed to be ghostwritten into further plotlines, some of these one-book-wonders could’ve wreaked serious havoc, or lent themselves to character building stories alongside the Wakefield twins.

Lets kick off with Paula Perrine from #92 She’s Not What She Seems

Poor Paula! She is so mousy and thin and timid and shy and we spend the first forty pages learning all about how sad she is because she has an absent/violent father and a runaway brother. Paula is a new student at SVH,and manages to weasel her way into Jessica’s crowd by sucking up to everyone and making people feel sorry for her. Including Lila, somehow. Meantime, Jessica has scored the role of lady Macbeth in yet another school play, but of course this is no ordinary play because a big time Broadway producer is conveniently going to be there! Paula butters Jessica up and feeds her already inflated ego, helping her recite lines. Jessica, in turn, gives Paula a makeover. When Paula suddenly finds her voice and is given the role of understudy to Lady Macbeth without telling Jess, Jess thinks she’s created a monster. Paula, the snitch, starts causing trouble behind Jessica’s back and turns Lila, Amy and Annie against her. She also has Elizabeth, as well as Jessica’s boyfriend, the ill-fated Sam Woodruff on side. [I find it so hard to read the #90’s titles in the lead up to jungle prom…..] There is also a graphic design contest for the best Macbeth advertisement poster [do these kids have nothing better to do, seriously?!] Paula manages to weasel her way into fiddling with the votes for the winning advertisement poster, so that Jessica is not front and centre. This girl is ruthless. Of course, it takes a schemer to know one, and Jessica fears something is amiss with this over-enthusiastic, “shy” girl. On the night of the production, Paula convinces Jess that she is in serious trouble due to something her father has done, and calls her “from a payphone in a seedy town an hour’s drive from Sweet Valley.”

Jess nobly goes across the tracks to save her friend – rather big of her given the play is opening that night – and of course there is no Paula at the deserted payphone. Paula, meanwhile, is at the auditorium and puts on a stellar performance as Lady Macbeth.  [By the by it’s unlike Jessica to be so considerate for a friend in danger, and also to not be the one concocting such marvellous schemes. I always feel sorry for her in the books where she does literally nothing wrong but based on past behaviour no-one [including her own twin] believes her when she’s actually telling the truth.]

Jessica bravely confronts Paula at the Wakefield’s afterparty, resulting in one of the most epic multi-person pool pushes in Sweet Valley history. Even Lila, Winston and Prince Albert land in the pool! [the dog, not the penis piercing]

Anyway, of course Jessica gets the chance to redeem herself and puts on a wonderful performance at the show the next night.

But seriously OMG why did we not see more of this Paula girl? She is un-freaking-stoppable. I’d have loved to see her take over Amy Sutton’s place and team up with Jess and Lila. What a formidable trio that would have been. She probably had some cosmetic work and ended up on the Bachelor instead.

Comments on any one-book wonders you’d like reviewed?

 

#GirlBosses of Sweet Valley

9 May

#girlbosses

Forget those tiresome Wakefields – there were so many kick-ass women in Sweet Valley. The majority only had a book or so to shine. Here, we pay homage to some of the Sweet Valley #girlbosses:

The Women in Sport:

Claire Middleton

claire midd

Accepted onto the football team when Ken Matthews is out with temporary blindness, Claire scores the winning try against Big Mesa in the final scene of Book #70 “Ms. Quarterback.”

 She also really gives it to Jessica, which I don’t fully agree with:

Don’t you think being a cheerleader is just a little bit sexist?” she blurted out. “After all, it’s just a bunch of girls prancing around in cute little costumes.” Continue reading

It’s a Pity Party! : The Top 5 Elizabeth Wakefield Shoulder Pat moments

3 May

 

 

1. In “The Love Bet” #68

love bet

Dana Larson and Aaron Dallas are, at 16, OVER the dating game, and who else should they confide in, but St Liz?! Hmm… can you see where this will lead? Meddlesome Liz gets all Jessica on them and decides to solve the problem by forcing them to get together! It takes a whole book, but surpisingly works. Even though in my mind Aaron Dallas is a mouthbreathing jock and Dana can do waaay better. My favourite passage from this book:

There was someone else who hurried out of history class as soon as the bell rang – Claire Middleton. Elizabeth had been meaning to have a word with Claire to see if she could break through the new girl’s shyness. Today, however, she just didn’t feel up to the effort. All her thoughts were on Aaron and Dana.

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The 8 BEST Sweet Valley High Parties

26 Apr

A nine-year-old me dreamt of one day going to glamorous beachside parties where hotties like Nicholas Morrow and Jeffery French would be sidling up to me with a soda. A fifteen-year-old me waited for boys who forgot to call in a sweaty school hall with a teacher-Dad as a bouncer. A thirty-year-old me has a “derisive snort” at the white privilege of it all but secretly longs for the day when I trade in watching true crime on Netflix in my PJs for a night out at the Fowlers.

The Sweet Valley parties had it all. Well, except for alcohol. And sex. And since they average one per book there’s about 150 to choose from. Here’s my top 8:

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Cue Phil Collins: It’s Playing for Keeps, Peeps

21 Mar

pfk

 

True to form, and to her personality disorder, Jessica gets all gone girl on us and tries to morph into Liz to impress handsome redhead A.J. Morgan, the latest new student at SVH to set her loins aflutter. She once overhead A.J. telling someone he didn’t fancy flirtatious girls, which of course means she needs an entire personality transplant to woo him. She takes up hiking, birdwatching, reading Emily Dickenson, and writing god-awful poetry; all of which basically makes a night with Enid Rollins look like a trip to Ibiza by comparison. A.J., unsurprisingly, is not into this chick at all and finds himself increasingly attracted to Pamela Jansen, a voluptuous brunette from yet another rival school we will never hear of again, Whitehead Academy.

Pamela and Jess both enter a fashion show at Lisettes where the winner takes home a $1K wardrobe from designer “Nadine”. Pamela is a total bitch, btw.

Lila and Amy are pretty cool and totally have Jess’ back, and Lila especially is full of sassy one-liners to remind Pamela just how tacky she is and just who she’s messing with. Lila and Amy team up to take down scheming Pamela and the result is awesome. Don’t mess with Lila Fowler, bitches.

Finally, the day of the fashion show arrives and Pamela goes rogue behind the scenes to sabotage Jessica’s chances and try to make her look like a fool in front of A.J. She deliberately rips Jess’ dress, then twists the zippers on her second outfit so it doesn’t fit. Luckily, with help from her squad, Jess manages to pull off the ripped attire with a laissez-faire air. Pamela’s final dastardly plan –  splashing cold water on Jess –  totally backfires, because Lila and Amy manage to pull back the curtain to backstage, so AJ gets all hard up seeing Jess having a catfight in a wet sarong and decides she is the girl for him. And they swear to be together forever, or at least until the previously recapped Two Boy Weekend, in five books’ time. And despite being sabotaged all afternoon, Jess wins the wardrobe. On a side note, I wasn’t there, but couldn’t $1000 buy you kind of a lot of clothes as a teenager in 1988? As in, she really doesn’t need to shop for the rest of junior year? I digress.

This is also the first book to unsubtly introduce shy ballet dancing sensation Jade Wu, who I assume must show up in the next book to contribute to 80’s tokenism and also to TEACH US A LESSON, before disappearing again until she is reinvented in senior year just when as were starting to get to know her.

And now for the cozzies!

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Fashion show at lunch! GIF credit tenor.com

 

Jessica bit her lower lip and stepped into her first outfit. It was a clingy, nubby knit dress in light blue cotton. As she smoothed the sleeves down her arms, she had to admire the way the dress showed off her figure. It was skintight, with a wide, off-the-shoulder neckline.

“Jessica is wearing an off the shoulder knit, mid-thigh and very formfitting,” the announcer’s voice crooned over the music just as Jessica reached the end of the runway. “Perfect for parties and special evenings on the town.”

 

Jessica’s voice was grim as she slipped the denim dress over her head. Two zippers ran up the sides of the dress to make it as skintight as possible. She grabbed a wide leather belt from a nearby table and cinhed it tight at her waist. Above and below the belt, two gaps [**created by Pamela!] showed through at each side, but in a daring, stylish way. She grabbed the Australian outback hat that matched the outfit and raced for the curtain.

And this:

Jessica frowned as she pushed her arms into a filmy, semitransparent robe. Amy put a necklace of clicking seashells around her neck…she felt the shock of ice water hitting her full in the face and chest. Ice-cold water dripped down her entire body, and her filmy beach-wrap clung to her in huge wet patches. She was through with playing the sweet, understanding type. This was all-out war.  

Let me know if you have any requests for next time :]

Also, I’m currently re-jigging the SVH-BSC parody “When Lila Met Stacey” and considering a small, [not-for-profit] release in paperback or hard copy form, so message or comment if you’re interested in receiving a copy.

 

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