SVH Super Thriller #4: Deadly Summer

30 Jan

Estimated Elapsed Time: 3 weeks?

Summary/Overview:
We’re back on summer vacation, and the twins are still working for the Sweet Valley News.  There’s a brief, disappointing recap of the previous three books in the thriller series, and the twins reflect on what a summer it’s been.  There’s some talk about going back to school, and my mind breaks trying to figure out if they’re going back for junior year part deux or senior year.

Jessica and Lila have been playing around with a Oujia board.  Liz thinks it’s dumb, and she tells them so.  After insulting her twin and Lila, the girls decide to play a trick on Liz using the Oujia board.  Jessica snoops in her stuff to find some private stuff from Jeffrey and they get Liz to use the board with them. Liz is unnerved, but Lila and Jessica then get the board to tell her that Bruce Patman is dying from a mysterious disease.  Liz buys it and starts spending all her time with him. Bruce goes along with it, hoping to hook up with her.  Lila is pleased, thinking it will piss Jeffrey off and give her an in with him.

MEANWHILE, Liz has started receiving weird phone calls that coincide with the escape of a patient from a nearby insane asylum.  This guy, named Donald Redman, kidnapped a cheerleader in his youth (her name was Melanie) and went crazy when she got her jock friends to bully him.  He thinks Liz looks like Melanie and has begun stalking him.  His sister happens to be a lady that Elizabeth babysits for.  I am trying to care.  Redman calls in bomb threats and generally causes panic in Sweet Valley.

The night of  the “Be True to Your School” night, the Droids play and Liz and Jeffrey fight about Bruce.  The next day, Bruce calls Liz threatening suicide and she runs off to meet him.  When Jeffrey finds them embracing at the tennis courts, he goes ape shit.  Bruce smirks and Liz realizes that it’s all been an elaborate ruse and runs into the nearby tunnels to hide.

You know what’s coming, right?  She runs into Redman who holds her hostage, manages to capture Jeffrey and Bruce, too, and threatens to blow them up.  Bruce takes away his bomb and Redman follows him.  The bomb goes off, and Liz and Jeffrey think Bruce is dead.  He’s not.  He saved the day, kind of.  Everyone goes to the Dairi Burger.

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • Lila got the Oujia board on a trip to London, where it is “all the rage.”
  • The Droids play a song called “A-Plus.”  Gross.
  • Elsa, the sister of Donald Redman, claims he has a persecution complex, which is, believe it or not, an actual complex
  • Tropic Flame is the name of the nail polish Lila wears
  • Redman uses Dynamite to make his bombs.  Why not C-4?

Memorable Quotes:

  • “‘Can you die of leprosy?’ Lila asked with a malicious giggle. ‘I mean, if he’s got to go, he might as well have something really interesting.'” (61)
  • “It wasn’t something they could talk about, and Elizabeth knew they would never be able to describe what had really happened to them, deep inside.  The horrific experience had left an indelible mark on their souls.” (198)

(Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

I guess I just don’t understand why this book exists.  It’s not interesting in any way, shape or form.  The Oujia board plays way too prominent a role in a book that is way too short on plot.  Redman doesn’t come into play until well into the story, and by then it’s hard to care about what’s happening.

Also, Elizabeth is a first-class BITCH in this book.  She insults Jessica and Lila at the beginning of the story and continues to look down at them as they play around with the Oujia board.  Meanwhile, she falls hook, line, and sinker for Bruce’s fake illness and rationalizes away her weird, clingy behavior as doing him a favor in his last days.  If anyone has a complex here, it’s her.

Next up?  Liz decides between Jeffrey and Todd, who’s moving back into town.

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