SVH #12: When Love Dies

23 Mar

Estimated Elapsed Time: Four weeks


Steven Wakefield’s beautiful, doll-like girlfriend Tricia Martin has been acting strangely lately.  She’s been avoiding him: breaking dates and not answering his calls.  This distresses Steven greatly, and he does an equal amount of moping and crying about it before actually getting off his ass and going to Tricia’s to confront her.  She cries and tells him they’re better off not seeing each other.  So they break up and Tricia thinks about how it’s better that he doesn’t know she’s sick.

Liz is sad for Steven but Jessica is thrilled, because the Martins are one of the trashiest families in Sweet Valley.  Jess sees the breakup as her chance to set him up with Cara Walker, who’s been nursing a crush on him for years.  Steve goes out with Cara because he keeps hearing rumors that Tricia’s dating other guys.  Steve kissies Cara but thinks of Tricia, and I’m officially creeped out.  He ends up freaking out on Cara at a much-hyped college party, and their relationship is over before it really begins.

Meanwhile, the twins have started volunteering at Fowler Memorial Hospital.  Jessica finds out that Jeremy Frank, a local celebrity and TV personality is staying at the hospital with a broken leg, and so she drags Liz into her scheme to get close to him.  There are several contrived, boring scenes in which Jessica is uncharacteristically clumsy and either injures Jeremy or embarrasses him in some way.  He enlists the help of Liz to get Jess to back off by pretending to be super into Jess, going so far as to propose to her.  The plan backfires, and he has to come clean, but he offers her a guest spot on his show.

At the same time, Liz discovers that Tricia’s sick with Leukemia, and she angsts about it for a long time before confiding in Mr. Collins, who tells her that not all secrets should be kept.  Liz finally tells Steven what’s really been going on.  He races over to Tricia’s shanty and they both cry and gush about how their love is forever, however long that may end up being, and I feel sick to my stomach.

The book ends with Elizabeth getting kidnapped (complete with chloroform) by Carl the creepy orderly who has a major case of the Norman Bates.  Will Elizabeth be saved?

Memorable Quotes:

  • “‘Betsy’ll probably end up either pregnant or in jail in another year or so.  Maybe both.'” (5) [ed. note: God willing!]
  • “‘Jessica Wakefield, this is really the all-time dumbest idea you’ve ever had–and you’ve come up with some pretty dumb ones!'” (114)
  • “Forever, she thought.  Maybe forever wasn’t such a long time for them, but when you loved someone as much as she loved Steven, a day could be forever, even a moment.” (123)

Trivia and Fun Facts:

  • Not a lot of outfits in this book.  Cara wears a splashy Hawaiian-print halter dress to her own party
  • Pop culture references include: Love Story, the National Enquirer, Barbara Walters, and Romeo and Juliet

(Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis

As this is not one of my favorite books simply because Tricia Martin bores the snot out of me, I don’t find myself overly-critical of it.  Yes, the whole Tricia-has-leukemia thing is contrived and belongs in a Lurlene McDaniel novel, and yes, it’s clear that the ghost writer doesn’t actually know a thing about the disease, but that’s what we expect from the world of Sweet Valley.

The Jeremy Frank B-plot is irritating only because we’re supposed to buy the fact that Jessica would all of a sudden decide that being engaged to a perfect stranger would be a good idea.  The fact that it is alluring at all is so preposterous that it’s impossible to take it seriously.  If the reader didn’t know better, one would almost infer that Jessica is on to the scheme and is trying a bit of reverse psychology.  But that would be TOO clever.  So the reader must take it at face value.


One Response to “SVH #12: When Love Dies”


  1. SVH #83: Steven’s Bride | A Critical Analysis of Sweet Valley's Most Famous Twins - April 21, 2014

    […] thought: she and her mother are moving there in three weeks! Steven is devastated, because all the girls he loves leave him.  Miserable, he sulks around about Cara’s impending departure until Jessica is struck with a […]

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