SVH#5: All Night Long

2 Mar

Total Elapsed Time: About 1 week

The Overview

In order to go to a lakeside party with older college boy Scott Daniels, Jessica lies to her parents and gets Elizabeth to cover for her.  Elizabeth isn’t happy about it, and worries about Jessica hanging out with Scott, who has a bad reputation and the creepiest pedophile mustache I’ve ever seen.  But she does it, because she’s a doormat.  She needn’t have worried, though, because the party is not much fun for Jessica, as Scott turns out to be kind of a drunken lecherous douchebag, and he refuses to drive her home when she refuses to put out.  Looks like Jess is stranded at the lake cabin until the next morning.

Elizabeth ends up having to pull double duty for Jessica all day, including eating two breakfasts and taking two versions of the tour guide test they were supposed to take to get licensed to be tour guides over the upcoming summer.  Todd tells Liz that taking the test for Jessica is stupid, and she freaks out on him, which is ridiculous because he’s RIGHT.  They fight, and she’s so upset that she bombs the test when she takes it for Jessica.  Jessica freaks out on her when the results are posted and basically blames her, which is also ridiculous because it doesn’t make sense.

The teacher agrees to let Jessica retake it because she looked so sick the first time through, and Todd and Liz make up.  It’s a tidy end to a weird storyline.

The B-Plot involves the most boring surf competition ever.  Bill Chase is competing against some dude named Sonny for the win, and Liz covers it for the school paper.  Bill wins, in the most anti-climactic storytelling the series has accomplished so far.

Memorable Quotes:

  • “Unfazed, Elizabeth replied dryly, ‘I’m probably the best friend you’ve got, Jess.  You just don’t know it.'” (9)
  • “I guess I knew it was doomed from the beginning.  How can I have a meaningful relationship with someone who believes in offshore drilling?” (75) [ed. note: this might be the first time that something genuinely funny was uttered in a SVH novel.]

Trivia and Fun Facts:

  • Elizabeth eats two hot dogs, a “generous” serving of potato salad, several rootbeers, and some marshmallows at the beach one night
  • Pop culture references made over the course of the book: Brooke Shields, Bo Derek (AGAIN), the creature from the Black Lagoon, Scarlett O’Hara, The Price is Right, and the Invisible Woman.
  • Dana Larson’s outrageous style is described in detail.  She shows up to school wearing an oversize T-shirt, a striped mini-skirt, purple tights, and black suede ankle boots.

(Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

While the plot of this book is pretty stupid and honestly quite boring, there’s not a ton to take issue with.  I think it’s weird that the twins are suddenly taking tests to become summer tour guides for the city, because it’s a plot line that is never brought up again (and aren’t we in the middle of fall in Sweet Valley land?) and therefore ultimately goes nowhere.  Jessica continues to act like a sociopath, Elizabeth is the biggest doormat we’ve seen yet (she even makes mention of needing to get “Welcome” tattooed on her chest), and the Wakefield parents continue to be suspiciously absent (although Mama Wakefield does manage to make pancakes on a school day for the girls).

Perhaps the most frustrating plot thread in this novel is the fight between Elizabeth and Todd about Jessica.  Todd gets upset with Elizabeth when she continues to cover for Jessica, going so far as to pose as her twin and take the tour guide test for her since Jessica is still MIA.  Elizabeth freaks out on Todd because he’s spoken ill of her beloved twin, and even though I feel like a small part of her must know he’s right, she refuses to see reason.  She then is so upset about the stupid fight with him that she fails the test because of being driven to distraction.

What kind of message does this send?  Defend your actions no matter how illogical they are?  Work yourself up over a spat to the point that it detracts from your schoolwork?  When Elizabeth and Todd make up, they call a “truce” instead of actually talking about what happened.  I find this confusing.  How do you move forward in a relationship if you can’t talk about what goes wrong?  I am over-thinking this.

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