Tag Archives: Christmas Edition

My Christmas Wish: Sweet Valley Twins Special Edition “A Christmas Without Elizabeth”

13 Dec

I am totally digging this cover. For starters, there’s a shot of a woe-begone Liz with all her hair chopped off, sporting a fugly and completely unflattering red ensemble. But that has nothing on the title, nor the by-line: ““What If Elizabeth Had Never Been Born?” Oh, what if! Please, ghostwriters, make my day –

The first part of the book is actually rather likeable. Jessica had been elected head of the SVMS party planning committee, and like Angela of “The Office” fame, the power is going to her head. She has a kitty of $186 to spend, once she’s come up with a knockout theme to impress all the boys she’s after. Liz, meanwhile, is helping at the homeless shelter, and she befriends a poor family called the Glasses, whom she can pity and shoulder pat whenever she likes. The volunteer work is so all-consuming that she is blowing off TBT, Amy, homework and even the Sixers. She steals the $186 and gives it to Mrs Glass to put a down-payment on a rental property. Because they are poor, I fear it may be a place on the Wrong Side Of The Tracks, possibly near The Shady Lady or The Martins. Mr Glass is “working away” and uncontactable, and without the money for a week’s rent, the family are evicted. That night, Jessica figures out that her twin stole the money, and Elizabeth is the subject of everyone’s anger from the Glass kids to the Unicorns. And so she bawls, and feels sorry for herself and wishes that she had never been born… [If Only].

That was the first part of the book. The good bit. From here on in, Liz is taken around town by a spectre, whose sole purpose is to visit Liz and prove how wonderful she is and how the universe wouldn’t function without her. The angel, however, is fairly shrewd, making this observation about St Liz:

“Personality Problems Profile. Elizabeth can be very self critical. She takes on more responsibility than is age-appropriate. She can be stubborn and exhibits a tendency towards self-righteousness. She is a major goody-goody.”

She then takes Liz for a spin around the Valley, “A Christmas Carol” style, showing all the things that would’ve happened had Elizabeth never been born:

#1 Without Liz, Sophia Rizzo is a social pariah, and her brother ends up in reform school because he got in so many fights defending her.

#2 Sophia’s mom and Sarah Thomas’ dad never get married.

#3 Sarah Thomas is dead. [Apparently without Liz, she would have died from falling down a flight of stairs.]

Dear God.

#4 Denny Jacobsen is dead. Without St Liz, there was no-one to rescue him when a monster wave hit and his surfboard whacked him on the head.

I’m starting to see a pattern here.

#5 Brooke Dennis a social outcast. [Maybe a leper?]

#6 Mary Giaccio/Wallace is still in foster care and has mousy, limp hair.

#7 TBT is miserable and boring without the love of his life and stays at home playing video games all day [so really, nothing’s changed.]

#8 Amy and Winston are not on the Booster’s cheer-squad. OK, I read Booster Boycott, and Liz had nothing to do with me being on that squad, dammit!

#9 I get beaten up by Jerry McAllister and Charlie Cashman. [Would’ve liked to see Liz stopping that one. ]

#10 The Unicorns are called the Sharks and they smoke actual cigarettes! OMG!

Enough, spirit, enough! Show me no more!

#11 Alice is accused of having an affair and Nalice divorces, because there was no St Liz to defend her! [She’s been boning Hank Patman all along, I knew it! If only Liz had covered it up and she could continue her wicked ways….]

#12 Ned is a divorced alcoholic who hangs out at Kelly’s.

#13 Steven has a tattoo, an earring and a ponytail. He is also in the hood. This is what happens as a direct result of a divorce in Sweet Valley. And the divorce is a direct result of Elizabeth never having been born.

Here’s an excerpt of the Wakefields, sans Liz:

Mrs Wakefield ran out the door after him. “Will you at least be home to open gifts tomorrow morning?”

Steven stopped in midstride halfway across the lawn. “Did you get me that CD player I want?”

“Steven, you know we don’t have that kind of money –“

“Then the answer’s no.”

 

#14 Without Liz, Jessica is ugly and unpopular. When the Sharks come round pretending to be her friend, she jumps at the chance. They then force her to scale City Hall and remove the star from the top, and she falls to her death.

It is now that Elizabeth realizes she is crucial to everyone’s livelihood, and agrees to go back to the real world.

When she “wakes up”, she’s at the SVMS Christmas party, as the guest of honour. A guest of honour? At a fucking Christmas party? With all this miracle work, she’s practically Jesus Christ, so why am I not surprised?

Everyone is gushing over her, and the crowd cheers every time she opens her mouth. Then the friggen Glasses turn up with good news – they’ve moved into an even better apartment! In the space of one day! Even Mr Glass is there, which is surprising because I was beginning to think he might be George…

The moral of the story – Elizabeth Wakefield is central to the functioning of Sweet Valley, to California and to the entire solar system. Can I have the past two hours of my life back? Please? Francine, if you’re reading this: “A Christmas Without Elizabeth” is the perfect title for a spin-off series, where Margo finally has her way….Just a thought.

***

As many of you know, I am a major Sweet Valley nut. But above and beyond that, I am a Christmas dork. I freaking love Christmas. I turn into this corny, caroling version of myself. So this year, I decided to put a Sweet Valley spin on my Christmas decorations. The Evil Twin scene from last week is in the living room. And this is what became of my book collection:

PICKING UP WHERE MARGO LEFT OFF: SVH#111 “A DEADLY CHRISTMAS”

30 Nov

It’s been just ten books since Margo fell to her death in the Fowler’s pool house [or DID she?] but already it’s that time of year again! Yes, by book #111 we enter our fifth Yuletide celebration of the year! Congratulations, Francine, on mastering the fifth dimension and allowing the twins to remain sixteen for five successive Christmases.

But enough of that, and onto the insanity that is: “A Deadly Christmas.” It is probably the most sexual Christmas of the SVH series, but you must first understand that although “Playing With Fire” implied that Jessica was doing the unspeakable with Bruce, she is in fact a virgin in this one. Only in Sweet Valley.

Cover courtesy of ShannonSweetValley

I love the cover, because Jessica looks like she is about to be burnt to death. For reals, this time. Also, I get all nostalgic about the cutouts, with the deceivingly pleasant, festive exterior. Mwah ha ha!

I also love the plot, which is centred around Jessica falling madly in love with a guy who is trying to screw over the Wakefields. Among my favourite SV books are those where Jessica thinks she’s met “the one” and he’s all “Ha blondie – let’s see how much I can get out of you while I concurrently screw your sister/hook up with Lila behind your back/ win at tennis.”

In the previous five books of this miniseries, the Wakefields have been visited by an old family friend who we’ve never heard of before, called Sue Gibbons. [Remember, Sue = EVIL in Sweet Valley]. She bears the news that not only has her mother died [which is true] but that she has a rare, terminal blood disorder [which is not.]

Sue and her environmentalist fiancée Jeremy want to have a Sweet Valley wedding, of course. But there’s a twist – Sue’s deceased mother disapproved of Jeremy, so if the couple are married, Sue will not receive the inheritance. Instead, it will be left to Alice, who will probably blow the whole thing on renovating the Spanish tiles or sneaking off to the Hilton Hotel with Henry Patman. So Sue and Jeremy concoct a devious plan  – to fake a break-up and steal the money!

Jeremy pursues a lovestruck Jessica Wakefield, to try to convince the Wakefields that the engagement is off. Then Sue comes up with the mysterious blood disease, and Jeremy agrees to marry her. In the aptly titled “Left At The Altar” Jeremy ditches Sue and makes Jessica his fiancée. But really, he’s only breaking it off so Sue and he can run off with the fortune. Or at least that’s what Sue thinks…Instead, Jeremy is out to rip off all of them and return to Costa Rica with his wife, and his fortune. THE FUCK?! Ugh, I take it back. This plot is awful and makes zero sense. For example, why bother planning the wedding? Why doesn’t Sue pretend Jeremy doesn’t exist, take the damn money from Nalice and then elope? Also why is it that because Jeremy is found to be a career criminal he can’t be an environmentalist? Haven’t you heard of Peter Garrett? You may have mastered the dimension of time, Fran Pasc, but the characters are still completely 1-D.

The real fun is watching Jeremy wrap both girls around his finger.

He kidnaps Sue and ties her up in a cabin, then demands the inheritance from the Wakefields as ransom. Methinks young Jeremy is a complete sicko, because at this point in time, Sue is entitled to the inheritance anyway. [Don’t worry, the dumb ass Wakefields don’t suspect it’s him. Idiots.]

Next, he plans a romantic getaway with Jessica, and asks her to do the deed and prove her love for him. Seriously? She’s sixteen, you dirty man. Jessica agonizes about it, and thinks about condoms [yes, they say the C-word in this one!], and shivers a lot. I think they used the same ghostwriter from every single Elizabeth-centric story arc in SVU.

We learn that he is planning to scoot with the money in exactly ten days because he is a very devious man. [Ten bucks says he checks into The Shady Lady on the way out.]

I have ten days to kill so I might as well enjoy myself, Jeremy thought. Might as well get some kicks along the way.

Excuse me while I go file a DOCS report.

Of course, super sleuth Liz is onto it by then, and his true identity is revealed and Jessica is rescued from the burning cabin and everyone lives happily ever after and sings bloody Christmas carols and Sue has no rare blood disorder after all. Sheesh!

In the B-plot, Lila is dating a starving artist, called Robby. First he pretends to be rich, then she pretends to be poor, and now they are happy. Yawn. Who kidnapped our Lila? I can’t wait till the camp miniseries where she hooks up with Beauregard Creighton the Third and they get caviar shipped from Paris.

But now I will leave you with this, a quote from everyone’s favorite hypocrite,

“Now he was engaged to Jessica and supposedly through with Sue, but Elizabeth didn’t trust him for a second. In Elizabeth’s opinion, if Jeremy cheated on Sue, that meant he wouldn’t hesitate to cheat on Jessica, either. While Jessica was fickle and impetuous when it came to matters of the heart, Elizabeth drew great happiness and satisfaction from the fact that she and her boyfriend, Todd Wilkins, had weathered romantic storms to forge a relationship that would last.”

Smug bitch.

I suppose the 13 infidelities she committed during junior year don’t count as cheating?

People in glass houses, Lizzie. People in glass houses usually get pushed and lacerate their carotid arteries, like Margo did. Here’s hoping.

Any others you’d like to see for our Christmas countdown? I will do anything from the BSC to Sweet Valley Twins, High or, with gritted teeth, University. I am keen to get my hands on a particular SVT Super Edition, “A Christmas Without Elizabeth.” It sounds AWESOME, although possibly too good to be true…

IT’S A SWEET VALLEY CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN!

22 Nov
As the festive season approaches, I can’t stop thinking about all the hysteria that might ensue:

Evil twins, pool pushes, Fowler parties, broken engagements, and Jessica Wakefield getting trapped in a burning house…..[fingers crossed]
Christmas is indeed a magical time, especially in Sweet Valley where you celebrate an average of six every year, much like the Halloween epidemic in Stoneybrook.
So to celebrate, I’m donning my Ken-Matthews-inspired elf suit, and in the six or so weeks leading up to December 25, I will be recapping the best Sweet Valley Christmases [and maybe even a BSC Christmas or two.]
Wreck the Halls With Bloody Bodies, Peeps!

Christmas Edition #1

Sweet Valley University #8 “Home For Christmas.”

I’m not the biggest fan of SVU: The virginity saga, the dead boyfriend syndrome, the attempts at Enid, nay, Alexandra, having a personality…However, Winston getting babes and the inevitable hook-up of Bruce and Lila made several of these abominations bearable. And so to kick off Christmas Season, I will make a rare exception and recap “Home For Christmas.”

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