Tag Archives: winston egbert

The one where Winston Egbert gets what he always wanted: Jessica’s Secret Diary Volume II

29 Mar

My original reaction to these “Secret Diary” editions was that Fran-Pasc was so stumped for new ideas that she had to rehash the events of sixty-odd Sweet Valley books. I probably wasn’t that far off the mark, because the next 77 titles just progress in their ridiculousness [Vampires! Werewolves! Crazy Freddy! French Royalty!]. However, this particular volume is a remarkably amusing read, not only because Jessica Wakefield KEEPS A FUCKING DIARY, but also because she snarks pretty much every Elizabeth-centric event that went down in books #40-#55.

Ten bucks says the ghost-writer in charge of this book secretly enjoyed mocking all the happy endings and Elizabeth heroism we were fed.

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The One Where Winston Doesn’t See Anything, or SVU THRILLER EDITION #7, “WHAT WINSTON SAW.”

20 Jan

Think of the five worst SVH plotlines you’ve ever read. Trouble narrowing it down? Me too. But there’s a fair bet that you’ll come up with the following combination rearranged and chucked into Fran-Pasc’s winning formula:  Psycho murderers. Check. Glittering knives. Check. A police department so incompetent that a bunch of dumbass teenagers does a better job. Check. An evil blonde vixen. Check. Elizabeth Wakefield shoulder-patting her way to triumph. Check.

This book, “What Winston Saw” incorporates all of the above, and more. On one hand, I cannot believe I named my blog after it. But on the other, it really does encompass everything I know and love to hate about Sweet Valley:

Winston Egbert has a brand new life, thanks to replacing his geeky specs with a set of contacts and acquiring a new job as assistant to the University Dean, Mr Franklin.

Winston thinks his girlfriend Denise is doing the dirty on him with Bruce. Given that Bruce is the Sigma president, wealthy heir to the Patman fortune and an all around hunk of man, Winston wonders who could blame her:

All his life, Winston had been known as the goofball, or the class clown. Beautiful, sexy women just didn’t throw themselves at his size twelve feet. Denise was the only exception, and Winston knew that a guy like him could never be so lucky twice in one lifetime.

Well excuuuse me! Have you forgotten Maria Santelli? You know, the mayor’s daughter slash hot cheerleader who blew off her engagement for you, and spent the next 120 books going to every junior year dance with you and tripping over your massive feet? Oh, that old thing…

But obviously someone else got the memo about a man with big feet: the bosses’ wife, a leggy blonde known as Amanda Franklin, gets all Annie Whitman on us [without the pills] and starts coming on to Winston.  We know she is a whore because she has red toenails and a sequinned slip with a thigh-high slit. The dialogue is like a really, really bad porno.

Stuff like,

“What’s in the garden?” Winston asked in a husky voice.

“Many surprises,” Amanda whispered, her mouth so close to his that Winston could breathe in her words. She slid her hand under the lapels of his sports coat and pressed her hand against his chest.

“I can make you forget the terrible things Denise has done to you.”

I can’t write anymore, it’s so dreadful. I’m literally blushing like a nun in a brothel.

Winston decides his new contact lenses are responsible for this attention.

Anyway, they’re at some kind of academic cocktail party that Elizabeth Wakefield has to cover for WXSV. On seeing the dean’s wife having a crack at her friend, Liz meddles, and doesn’t sleep with Tom. They could have seriously saved ten year’s worth of ghostwriter salaries by writing the same four paragraphs and inserting them into every SVU book:

Liz covers a breaking story on campus.

Tom whispers sweet nothings in her ear and nuzzles her neck with vigor.

Liz wards off his advances and tightens the screws of her chastity belt.

Tom trudges off to bed with blue balls.

Liz ponders her latest charity case and goes to weep pity on the poor soul, shoulder pats aplomb.

This time, Winston is the case in point, and although I thought she’d left the Eyes and Ears behind at SVH, she is determined to pry into the Denise-Bruce-Winston-hot-bosses’-wife-quadrangle.

Because this is Sweet Valley, an evil murderer called Jack is lurking around on campus. We know he is evil because he smokes and drinks whiskey. He is on the run after knifing his childhood sweetheart, Gina, who he caught making out with another dude.  Elizabeth just happens to be running across campus at midnight to shoulder pat Winston, and the murderer is so taken with her beauty and resemblance to Gina that he decides to attack her. [I just had a thought – Maybe Gina was really Margo? That would be 137 shades of awesome.]

After the party, Amanda is all “hey yeah you with the sad face” and somehow finds herself entwined in a passionate embrace with Winston [Go Winston!] in his dorm room. Just when he gets a conscience and decides to kick her out, she goes over to the window.

Winston’s eyes bulged in horror. She’s going to kill herself! He thought in panic. I shouldn’t have rejected her.

You wish buddy – turns out she’s spotted St Liz copping a beating, and her face has scared off Jack the attacker.

After the crazy man leaves Liz for dead in the bushes, Winston and Amanda decide not to call the cops, ‘cause then everyone might find out that they were fooling around. How logical.

Winston boots her out and LETS HER WALK ACROSS CAMPUS ALONE. OK, so he offered to chaperone, but still. That’s a low, Patman-esque move –  I thought better of Winston.

The next morning, Winston wakes up to find that someone has been brutally murdered at the local bar and grill. Thinking it might have something to do with the attack Amanda witnessed, [because EVERYTHING is linked in Sweet Valley] he decides to contact the police. However, Amanda the infidel won’t cooperate, so Winston decides he will pretend to be the witness. And this will help the investigation how exactly?? From photographs, he “identifies” a suspect, who happens to be an undercover cop. Winston is overcome with guilt and decides to conduct his own investigation. As luck would have it, he runs into a guy who matches Amanda’s description of the attacker and follows him across Sweet Valley. He tracks him to the Gangbusters Saloon on the outskirts of town, a place that makes Kelly’s Roadhouse Bar seem like a chapel.

Gaa, these plots are bad. And long. If this were SVH, we’d be onto our second stack of blueberry pancakes by now.

Over the next hundred pages, Jackson goes around Sweet Valley killing any blonde he catches making out with someone. Winston tells a bunch of lies to the detectives – and the court – to avoid implicating himself Amanda in anything. That’s OK, Win – I’m sure committing a federal offence has nothing on confessing to a pash with a stranger who you fended off anyway.
He also finds out that Denise wasn’t cheating at all – just spending a stack of time with Bruce so she could borrow his Porsche. While Lila was out of town. Riiiiighht.

Under the command of St Elizabeth, Winston finally fesses up to his girlfriend, and all is forgiven, never mind that he should be convicted of perjury. But it’s all too little too late…

Winston is then named as the prime murder suspect by some warped Sweet Valley logic that I cannot follow, and Amanda refuses to give him an alibi, instead telling her husband that Winston is a crazy stalker.  At the theatre, yes, the theatre, that night, Jack murders Amanda [having realised that SHE was the real witness], and drops the bloodied knife at Winston’s size eleven feet. The fuck? Of course, Dean Franklin appears, and Winston’s only option is to run away. Where does he go? I’ll give you three guesses…

Back in Elizabeth Wakefield’s dorm room, Denise, Liz and Winston hatch a plan [Tom Watts has been absent since the blue balls incident of chapter two.] Denise dresses up in a cleavage-showing leather mini and blonde wig, to attract the killer’s attention, and Liz and Winston team up to get the killer once he’s been booby trapped.  Sounds like a recipe for disaster, but of course the plan goes off without a hitch.

Jackson is captured and taken away forever, and Winston’s murder/perjury/misleading court charges are dropped. Never mind that his lies allowed Jack to go around murdering more innocent blondes – all Winston loses is his job. Good God.

Finally, the sun comes up, and our A Team settle in to a pancake breakfast over the Sunday papers:

Winston read the headline aloud. “ ‘Sweet Valley Serial Killer Sentenced to Life in Prison.’  I thought I’d never see the day.”

Really Winston? Really? In the past three years you’ve witnessed your friends being kidnapped by crazed orderlies, stalked by evil dopplegangers, held at knifepoint by ex-convicts and tied up in a flooded basement with a gaggle of cheergirls, and you thought you’d NEVER SEE THE DAY.

You can hang your size- eleven shoes on that.

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:

Are You Team Winston Egbert?? It’s Giveaway Time!

25 Jul

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You’ve Just Been Winston-ed! Or #34, “Forbidden Love”

7 Jul

On first glimpse, I thought the cover art must have been Maria’s parents. Michael looks like Charlie Sheen. Maria looks drop dead HAWT but a little on the skinny side. Also, is that a barrette? Maria, I thought better of you!

We begin at 137 Calico Drive, where Jessica is gushing about the recent engagement between Michael Harris and Maria Santelli, whose families have been feuding for 4 years over some failed business partnership of which the details are rather sketchy. Liz has a furrowed brow and is worried about this “enormous mistake”, so we should know already that the marriage is DOOMED. “A nice guy – but a husband?”

Next thing, its cheerleading practice, and Maria is swearing vapid floozies like Amy Sutton and Lila Fowler to secrecy over the engagement, because the Santellis would flip if they found out about her sleeping with the enemy. Good luck with that.

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COLLECTING….

17 Jun

To the disdain of my poor parents, every week there is an express posted bundle of sweet valley twins/high/university books sent to my old bedroom in their suburban home. Ebay has been an godsend for young adult fiction tragics like me…..

My poor dad sees my weekly spending on such nonsense and rues the day he binned my sweet valley/BSC collection….

More Egbert madness coming soon!

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