Tag Archives: elizabeth finds a new hobby

SVH #119: Jessica’s Older Guy

16 Feb

jessica's older guy

Estimated Elapsed Time: 5 days

Summary/Overview:

Jessica and Liz are smack-dab in the middle of their college-immersion week at SVU.  Jessica is still trying to juggle dating Zach without him finding out that she’s really in high school AND without sorority girl Magda finding out that she’s dating the dude Magda is into.  She’s also still trying to cover for Liz with the sorority, because it’s important to her that they both make a good impression for when they rush in two years.  Jessica also starts to feel serious guilt over lying to Zach about her age, but tries to suppress it, because that’s what she does best.To convince Magda that she’s not dating Zach and stay on her good side, Jessica visits the sorority and lies about Liz, saying that she’s an out-of-control flirt.  The girls buy her story and she’s back in solid with the Thetas or Zetas or whatever the fucking sorority is named.  Then she decides that she will stay at SVU, too.  Because this story makes so much fucking sense.

Meanwhile, Liz has convinced herself that she’s ready to start college like tomorrow and has already told Todd she wants a long-distance relationship.  Her first day at the news internship doesn’t go very well, because her boss is a total lech and she does menial tasks like fetching coffee and making copies.  Then she further embarrasses herself that evening when she opines about capitalism with a bunch of Ian’s Marxist friends, and she’s mortified about how much she doesn’t know.

Todd is understandably not cool with this new revelation, and he angsts about it a lot to Ken, who is unaware that Jessica is totally dating someone else while on a week-long vacation.  Todd drives around and moons over Elizabeth.  It’s been like three days, dude. Chill the fuck out.  He meets with Ken, who is distraught over the news that Jessica has decided not to come back, too, as well as Lila and Enid, and the three brainstorm ways to get the twins back.  They briefly discuss kidnapping and deprogramming, which feels extreme, and finally settle on a bit of reverse-psychology.

It starts to work immediately, because everyone in these books are complete and total idiots.  Enid calls Liz and makes her miss SVH gossip.  Steven and Billie make a huge, healthy breakfast with “tofu salad” to teach the twins about brain food after pulling an all-nighter.  Alice tells them she’s happy to have a break from being a parent.  Whatever, this is the most obvious thing ever.  The culminating event will be a surprise party at Steven and Billie’s on Saturday night with all their SVH friends.  The teens even prepare a slideshow.

Jessica manages to convince Liz to pose as her on the night of the Zeta fraternity dance so she can go with Zach without Magda being the wiser.  Liz reluctantly agrees, and the girls wear dresses that the other would normally wear.  It works, and Jessica is having a great time with Zach while Liz deals with the blind date she’s been set up with via Magda.  Then Magda tells her she just found out that Zach is actually in high school, which Liz finds hilarious.  Todd and Ken crash the party, mistake each twin for the other, and get mad.  Liz and Todd make up immediately but once Ken realizes that Jessica’s been cheating on him, he storms away.  Jessica finds out that Zach is in high school and they both yell and then laugh at the irony.

Back at the apartment, the twins are surprised by the whole gang, minus Ken.  They realize they’re totally being reverse psychology toyed with, but they allow their friends to reminisce all the same.  Everything is well again, and the twins decide to stick with high school.  Jessica catches up with Ken and tells him that it took her cheating on him with Zach to realize she really loves him.  They make up.

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • According to this book, SVU is 2 hours from Sweet Valley.  Which…what?
  • Outfit alert! Jessica wears a salmon-colored babydoll dress on her picnic with Zach.
  • SVU’s football team is called the Vanguards

Memorable Quotes:

  • “But I feel sorry for you–Elizabeth sounds just awful,” Magda said. (55)
  • “I think the value of capitalism is freedom,” Elizabeth put in, stirring her cappuccino thoughtfully. (72) [AND HERE IS WHERE I LINK TO AYN RAND’S SWEET VALLEY HIGH]

A (Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

LOL forever at Liz deciding she’s just going to stay at SVU.  Like that’s how it works.  I actually can’t even snark on this because it’s so dumb.

What are the odds that the totally inappropriate dude Jessica has been seeing is also in high school and is also lying about attending college at SVU?  Pretty slim, right?

Something that really bothered me in this book is how Jessica continues to cheat on Ken but the second she sees him again she realizes that she really loves him.  I realize that in order to keep the books about the twins interesting, the ghost writer has to feature stories about them meeting new dudes and falling in love (see: how boring Todd and Liz are all the time because they’re so static), but then have Jessica be single.  There’s no reason for her to chronically cheat on her steady boyfriend like this only to “learn her lesson” and go back to him because he’s her true love.  Like, it sends such a weird message and it really chafes me.

Advertisements

SVH #107: Jessica’s Secret Love

9 Jul

jessicas secret love Estimated Elapsed Time: 2 weeks

Summary/Overview: 

Jessica and Lila meet some dudes on the beach when a Frisbee collides with Jessica’s head.  Lila goes off with one, named Robby, immediately, while Jessica and the other unnamed dude make googly eyes at each other.  It is love at first sight, they kiss, and before she can get his name or give him her number, he tells her they can never be together and then runs away.  Jessica is completely distraught and can’t believe her friends won’t take her seriously when she tells them she just met her soul mate.

Alice gets a letter from her dear dead friend’s daughter, Sue Gibbons.  She is planning her wedding and wants to do it in true California style.  So Alice invites Sue to stay with the Wakefields while she plans the wedding.  Sue arrives and is lovely but sad.  She tells the twins all about her dream man fiance, Jeremy, and Jessica gets excited when she realizes that they might know her mystery man, who she has found out works for a conservation group, too.

Imagine Jessica’s surprise when her mystery man turns out to be one Jeremy Randall, fiance to Sue and general creepster.  They’re both shocked when he shows up at the door, but neither one says anything.  Jeremy sits with the Wakefields and they talk about the wedding.  It’s clear that Jeremy has a different idea about the kind of wedding they should have, and Liz and Jess are surprised when Sue just goes along with what he says.  Jessica decides that she’s got to try to convince him he’s with the wrong girl, and after confiding in Elizabeth, who tells her to leave it all alone, she plots and plots.

The first thing she does is lie to Jeremy about what time they’re supposed to go ring shopping with Elizabeth.  At the mall, he picks out the ring Jessica chose and then they have a moment where the clerk thinks she’s his fiance.  Then, later, she finds out that Jeremy is taking Sue to the Carousel, and she begs every dude she’s ever dated to take her there, finally getting Bruce Patman to agree.  They go and it’s a weird encounter.  Jeremy seems jealous, which thrills Jessica. Things continue to truck along, in terms of wedding planning.  Jessica and Jeremy alternate between making eyes at each other and sniping at each other, and tensions between Sue and Jeremy seem to rise, too.  They seem to be getting married for very different reasons, although neither will admit it.

Jessica and Liz go with Sue to look at wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses and Jessica freaks out about the fact that she should be the one marrying Jeremy.  She goes so far as to “accidentally” throw Sue’s dress under the wheels of a truck, thinking it will ruin it, but Alice is able to fix it.

Ned and Alice throw an engagement party for Jeremy and Sue, and Jeremy and Jessica sneak outside to kiss.  Jessica is sure this is true love.

The B-Plot involves Elizabeth questioning her romantic life after the whole fiasco with not-a-were-wolf Luke.  Because Todd is away vacationing with his family and doesn’t actually know about Luke, Liz turns to self-help books to get in touch with her inner goddess or whatever.  She makes her friends have discussions about the books she’s reading and then drags Jessica to a seminar about the books, where they wear animal furs and pick new names for themselves.  Liz goes with “Runs with the Wind.” I go with vomit.

Oh, and Lila starts to fall for Robby, who is a talented artist and who also appears to be super poor, despite Lila thinking he is very wealthy.

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • Sue is staying in Steven’s room even though it is apparently summer vacation.  Whatever.
  • Sue is 18 and Jeremy is 23, and I am creeped out wholly.
  • Jeremy and Sue both work at Project Nature, and Jeremy “specializes in computer programs that track deforestation”
  • When the girls look at engagement rings, Liz picks out a pearl surrounded by diamonds, while Jessica prefers an oval sapphire in a gold band with triangular diamonds on each side.
  • The self-help books Elizabeth reads include Real Women, Bad Men and  Primal Woman, Woman of Strength 
  • Apparently the Carousel is one of Jessica’s favorite restaurants.

Memorable Quotes:

  • “Even though Jessica wanted to be friendly to Sue, she couldn’t help feel a twinge of jealousy–here this girl was just a little older than Jessica, and already planning the rest of her life with her husband.” (26) [This is not a normal thought for a 16-year-old who hasn’t grown up indoctrinated by the Church.]
  • “‘I mean, finally we decided we had to get married before we got into trouble.’ Sue blushed and gave a girlish giggle.” (29) [Fucked.]
  • “‘It just goes to show you how troubled the relationships between men and women are.  If Sue were really strong within herself, maybe Jeremy wouldn’t be attracted to other women.'” (66) [WHAT]

A (Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

It took me several days to sit down and read this book, despite carting it around with me.  I don’t care about this mini-series (which, by the way, claims to be a two-parter on this book’s cover, but is really like four books?), and I don’t believe for a second that Jessica would decide she wants to get married to a stranger all of a sudden.  I get that she’s the flighty, impulsive twin or whatever, but I don’t buy for a second that she would be fighting to get married this young.  I just don’t.

And I don’t understand anything else that happens in this book, either.  Why is Sue staying with the Wakefields when she still has family?  If she has as many friends as she claims she does, why is she making Jessica and Elizabeth, two girls she has met maybe one other time in her life, her BRIDESMAIDS?  This is clearly to further the plot and nothing else, and it’s bullshit.

Don’t even get me started on Elizabeth’s weird, pseudo-feminism bullshit, either.  It’s the most fucked view of feminism and actually ends up doing more to blame the woman than anything, and it’s gross.

SVH #88: Love Letters for Sale

7 May

lovelettersforsale

Estimated Elapsed Time: 3-4 weeks

Summary/Overview:

Seriously, this book is the worst.

After Lila and Amy complain about having to write letters to relatives, Jessica gets an idea for her latest money-making scheme: a letter writing business in which people can pay her to write letters for them!  She enlists the help of Liz, who wants money to buy Todd a gift, and the two get to work setting up a post office box (so it’s anonymous) and flyers for their business.  They plan to charge $5 per letter.  Despite the fact that this is literally the dumbest thing they’ve ever done because it requires people to write letters about what they want their written letters to say, the business takes off, and the two are soon very busy with their letter-writing business.  Liz writes all the letters while Jessica supervises and handles the “books,” whatever that means.

Because they’re so busy, Liz starts ignoring Todd a lot.  This pisses him off, and he starts spending time with Shelley Novak, who is pissed at her boyfriend Jim because he’s so obsessed with photography.  Shelley gets all moon-eyed about how Todd is the perfect dude and even tells Liz this at one point.  The whole thing is creepy and weird, but whatever.  As Liz spends more time doing the letter writing business and less time doing Todd, Todd grows increasingly frustrated.

Here’s where things get extra convoluted and incredibly boring at the same time: Shelley writes to the twins to write a letter to her crush.  Jessica figures it out and instead of throwing the letter away, changes the details, thinking Liz will tell the girl in question to not pursue another girl’s dude.  Instead, she thinks that anyone as nice-sounding as the boy in question should be deserving of a doting girlfriend, and writes a great love letter.

An incredibly long story short, Shelley sends Todd the letter, Todd decides he wants a girl who appreciates him and sends the letter writing business a request to write a letter to his girlfriend breaking things off and another one to Shelley saying game on.  Jess tries to intercept the letters by not sending them and then when they get sent by pretending to be Liz and begging the mail man not to deliver the letters.  This book is literally the worst.  Of course Liz gets Todd’s letter,  freaks out, starts stuffing her face with food (this is a thing that actually happens in the book), and is generally a total mess.  Jessica asks Sam what to do, and he tells her to come clean about what’s happened.

Meanwhile, Todd and Shelley go out and don’t have that great of a time.  They both realize that they were mostly  upset about their significant others ignoring them and decide figuring out who is behind the letters will solve everything.  At this point, I’m convinced that the ghost writer has forgotten the plot and thinks that the letters are being constructed by Jess and Liz, instead of them parroting out what they were told to write.  Todd lurks at the post office until he sees Jessica go to pick up the mail and confronts her.

He writes one last letter to the business and tells Liz how great she is.  She buys him a letter jacket, they make up.  Then Todd buys her a matching jacket and I throw up.

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • The coach of the girl’s basketball team is called Coach Tilman
  • Shelley Novak recently won a $5,000 scholarship for her basketball playing skills.  Did we already know this?
  • There’s a deli called Howard’s that has Todd and Liz’s favorite cheesecake.  Jesus these two are boring.
  • Apparently Annie Whitman and Tony Esteban are “on the outs”
  • Sick of hershey bar brown, Jessica repaints her room purple.

Memorable Quotes:

  • “‘He wants us to be rude,’ Elizabeth had gasped when she read the letter. ‘Look at the language he uses.'” (36)
  • “Any girl who would ignore someone as great as this guy obviously was–tender and caring, a real sweetheart–deserved to be shaken up a bit.  This guy sounds a lot like Todd, she thought. And anyone who wouldn’t appreciate a guy like Todd, Elizabeth decided, deserves the single life.” (87)
  • “‘Well?’ Elizabeth demanded. ‘Why do you want to go out with someone else?’ ‘I didn’t want to, but you gave me no choice,’ Todd replied defensively.'” (123) WHAT?!

A (Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

…what, really is there to say?  The central premise of the business is actually kind of cool in theory.  But instead of having people call in and dictate what they want said in their letters, which makes so, so much more sense, the twins have people WRITE LETTERS TO BE WRITTEN AGAIN BY SOMEONE ELSE.  As if that wasn’t ridiculous enough, the client has the option of then RE-WRITING the letter they get so it’s in their own handwriting.  WHY? WHY? WHY?

Talk about middleman bloat.  Or whatever the phrase is that I’m looking for.

Furthermore, what about Liz’s response in this book is at all rational?  She wants to show her boyfriend she cares, so she spends more time away from him?  She doesn’t call Todd out on his completely ridiculous statement that she didn’t give him a choice but to go out with someone else? What?

SVH #76: Miss Teen Sweet Valley

28 Mar

miss teen sweet valley

Estimated Elapsed Time: 3 weeks

Summary/Overview:

The Sweet Valley Chamber of Commerce is hosting a beauty pageant for girls ages 15-18 as part of a fundraiser for a new community pool.  Just go with it.  It’s going to be hosted in the Sweet Valley High auditorium, and Jessica is stoked to participate, because she knows she’ll win.  Elizabeth is horrified at the concept of the pageant because she believes they’re sexist, outdated, and bring women back.  So she decides to stage a protest in hopes of changing the minds of Sweet Valley officials.  Jessica is horrified that Elizabeth would do this, so the two girls end up fighting a lot and not speaking to one another for most of the book.

Meanwhile, Jessica gets serious about the competition.  She hopes to attract the attention of Steven’s college buddy Frazer McConnell, who so far has been completely uninterested in her.  She also loves the idea of winning–and the rumors about the increasingly extravagant prizes for the winners doesn’t seem to hurt her desire, either.  People at school keep talking about the prizes, and the winning amount keeps going up–like up to $10,000, which Jessica thinks will buy her a car.  But she doesn’t consider for a second that giving away that kind of prize money would completely negate the fact that this is a charity fundraiser?  Whatever.

Liz is determined to bring the pageant to a grinding halt.  She enlists the help of her friends to sign a petition and even goes to the mall to collect signatures and hand out flyers.  The group protests in front of the Chamber of Commerce and continues to fight the good fight, much to Jessica’s dismay.

As determined as Liz is, Jessica also has a lot of drive and resolve.  She figures her biggest competition is not Amy Sutton, who is going to twirl her baton as a talent, but Maggie Simmons, a talented actress at SVH, and Sharon Jefferson, a deaf pianist.  Okay.  So Jessica decides to take some dance lessons to brush up on her skills.  With the help of a loan from her mother, she’s able to pay for lessons with Mr. Krezenski, who is actually kind of awesome throughout the book.  He’s hard on her but tells her she has enormous potential, which helps push her even further towards her goal.

Right before the night of the pageant, Liz discovers a loophole in the SVH bylaws or something.  The school can’t host an event that is for-profit (it’s not really, though) without the express permission of the school’s superintendent who has been out of the country all this time.  But before she brings this evidence to Mr. Cooper, she talks to Jessica, who tells her about how hard she’s been  working, and Liz’s resolve crumbles.  She doesn’t say anything, and the show goes on.

During Jessica’s dance number, she trips and falls, but gets back up and finishes.  She’s humiliated, though, and rushes backstage to pack her things and leave halfway through the competition.  Liz goes to try to talk her into staying, but Jessica refuses.  So Liz puts on Jess’s swimsuit and does probably the grossest twin switch the series has seen yet (but we aren’t at the Secret Diaries yet, so whatever).  Then Jessica ends up rejoining the evening in her dress, and wins the competition!  Hooray!

The book ends with Frazer McConnell finally asking Jessica out.  Like this was going to end any other way–we already have our ambiguously gay dude in Sweet Valley.

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • Rumor alert: the prizes for the contest allegedly include a shopping spree at Simple Splendor, a brass bed, a stereo, $1,000 cash (or maybe $5,000)
  • Actual prizes: free bowling, free video rentals, a haircut, and like $100 cash
  • Jessica’s perfect pageant dress is a pale pink chiffon number with a full skirt and stitched pearls on the bodice.
  • Cara has a cousin named Barbara, and apparently she’s pretty hot.
  • The school district’s superintendent has been away in the Soviet Union to meet with educators there.  WHY, though?

Memorable Quotes:

  • “Until that day, she had known Mr. Krezenski only by reputation. Elizabeth had watched a special on public television about his career as a dancer and his dramatic, daring escape from some little country in Eastern Europe, and she had talked about practically nothing else for a week after the show.” (55)

A (Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

To be honest, this might actually be my favorite Sweet Valley High novel, which makes it harder, though not impossible, to snark on.  So here are my thoughts on this:

I see both sides of the argument here, but Elizabeth’s argument is a lot stronger.  Beauty pageants are totally sexist, totally outdated, and totally ridiculous.  But that’s just it: they’re ridiculous.  For the most part, people don’t take them seriously, which is probably why Elizabeth has so much trouble drumming up strong support for her cause: NO ONE CARES.

That being said, I think it’s super, super weird that this event attracted underage girls to parade around in their bathing suits and no one batted an eye.  That doesn’t raise red flags for anyone?  Really?

SVH #63: The New Elizabeth

19 Feb

the new elizabethEstimated Elapsed Time: 1 month

Summary/Overview:

Elizabeth is tired of being the boring, predictable twin, so she decides to take up a new, exciting hobby.  After deciding that hang gliding and scuba diving are both too expensive, she sees a flyer for surfing lessons at a nearby beach, and she goes for it.  There, she meets Sean Blake, who tells her that he’ll teach her how to surf and help her win a surfing competition at Moon Beach in only a month!  The two get to work, and Elizabeth turns out to be a natural on a board.

But as they spend lots of time surfing together, Liz deals with mounting pressure to tell people in her life what she’s been up to.  Everyone in her normal life thinks she’s working on an extra credit project studying marine biology, and Todd is especially annoyed by how preoccupied she is.  When he sees her come home with Sean one day, he blows up at her.

It doesn’t help that Sean seems really, really into Elizabeth.  She repeatedly brushes off his attempts to hang out after surf lessons, and she can see how much it bothers his sort-of girlfriend Laurie McNeil.  After a near-death brush with a riptide, Elizabeth is ready to compete in the competition.  At the last minute, she throws the competition by pretending to lose her balance and wiping out on her turn, making sure that Laurie, who has secretly trained and entered the competition, will win.  This secures Laurie’s place in Sean’s heart, I guess?  It’s never fully explored.

The B-plot involves Jessica getting even with Caroline Pearce for spreading stories about Jessica’s brief foray into the world of computer dating as Magenta Galaxy and Daniella Fromage.  Caroline is working at a new store called Unique Boutique, and Jessica goes in with Lila and Amy and basically makes Caroline’s life a living hell.  This is so stupid that it’s hard to care, but Caroline gets even by taking Jessica’s clothes out of the dressing room while she’s in her underwear and then quitting on the spot, leaving Jessica stranded.  Whatever.

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • This book is Liz-centric, which means it’s light on the fun facts.  Liz is the worst.
  • In an attempt at continuity, there’s a joke made about Anacapa Island, where Jessica got shipwrecked that one time.
  • The local museum has an exhibit about the history of communication.

Memorable Quotes:

  • “‘But imagine a world full of Elizabeth Wakefields,’ Lila said.  ‘Could you imagine a duller, more predictable place? I think I’d go crazy.'” (2)
  • “‘Todd called at three-thirty, four-thirty, and five-thirty,” Mrs. Wakefield announced when Elizabeth walked into the kitchen…’My guess is that Todd misses you,’ she added.” (45)  [blogger’s note: My guess is that Todd is a creepy, controlling asshole. But hey, “potato,” “vodka.”]

A (Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

The problem with this book is that it serves as a sort of companion novel to The New Jessica, wherein Jessica underwent a crisis of conscience and tried to become someone new.  The difference there was that Jessica dyed her hair and tried to be “vaguely European,” and the result was sort of hilarious and at least a little interesting.

That isn’t the case here, because Liz doesn’t actually try to alter her personality so much as take up a new hobby, which isn’t really her problem.  She has plenty of interests and hobbies (see also: journaling, writing serious news articles, reading, clutching her pearls), she just sucks as a person.  Taking up surfing doesn’t fundamentally alter how fucking boring she is.

Actually, what stuck out to me in this reading of the novel was how uncomfortable I was with the dynamic between Sean and Liz.  It’s clear from the beginning that Sean is super into Elizabeth, but she continues to avoid the issue, choosing to spend time with him and let him sort of come onto her without ever really dealing with the issue until she feels like she absolutely has to.  This feels weird to me, and it might be situational for the time period, honestly.  Something like this occurring in a YA novel now wouldn’t be stood for, I think.  Readers would be angry at how passive Liz is, despite her disinterest in Sean.

Also, he sort of has a girlfriend and essentially drops her until she proves she can surf.  It’s gross.

Next up: BORING Steven Wakefield being haunted by another Tricia Martin doppelganger.

SVH #46: Decisions

18 Nov

Estimated Elapsed Time: 2 weeks

Summary/Overview:

Robin Wilson has been accepted early decision to Sarah Lawrence.  The book goes on and on about how she has to have the perfect grades to get into college a year early, and I want to throw the book against the wall, because “early decision” does not mean that you decide to go to college a year early.  It means that you apply early in your senior year and you are locking yourself into attending that school if you get in.  OKAY?  At any rate, Robin’s aunt has pushed her into going to Sarah Lawrence, because she’s an alumna and will pay for Robin to go.  Robin’s mom also pushes her to go there, because it’s a full ride.  Robin isn’t sure if she wants to go.  She waffles about this without actually weighing the pros and cons for the entire book.

Things go from bad to worse when her boyfriend George Warren blows up at her about even thinking about going to college across the country.  Robin hadn’t told him, so she assumes that her best friend Annie Whitman did, and the two have a fight.  Robin feels terrible, and it’s affecting her diving abilities, which is bad, because there’s a huge competition coming up.  To add serious insult to injury, Robin’s aunt Fiona comes into town and freaks out when Robin says she isn’t sure about Sarah Lawrence.  She also disparages diving as a sport and acts like a total snob.  She tells Robin that if she doesn’t go to SL, she’ll never see another penny from her.

Robin’s not doing well during the warm-ups at the diving competition because she’s so depressed.  When she sees George pull her family into the bleachers, she feels a swell of confidence and totally rocks the diving competition.  Afterward, Robin and Annie make up, George and Robin make up, and Robin and her aunt make up.  Fiona tells her she’ll pay for college wherever she wants to go.

The B-Plot has to do with Jessica getting a babysitting job for the Kane family.  She ends up falling for Alex Kane, the little girl’s older brother.  Alex is a serious musician trying to work on his senior composition, and when Jessica can’t seem to get his attention, she decides to become a musical prodigy…using a plastic recorder.  The problem is, Jessica’s terrible.  She can’t get it to work right, and nothing seems to catch Alex’s attention.  When she fakes a fainting spell, he’s concerned, and then he starts to tell her that once he’s done with grad school, maybe they could date, she decides she’s no longer interested and that’s the end of that.

Also, Liz discovers that she’s really good at the recorder, but she doesn’t want to step on Jessica’s toes, so she angsts about whether or not she can take it up as a hobby.  Jessica doesn’t care though, so Liz decides to pursue it.

Memorable Quotes:

  • “‘Don’t worry,’ Robin said.  ‘Every time I go to diving practice and see myself in a bathing suit, I say, “Don’t eat–don’t eat.” So far it’s worked.'” (10-11)
  • “Obviously the way to this man’s heart was through music, she reasoned.  So it was equally obvious that although she had no ear for music, sang off-key, and had never wanted to learn to play an instrument, Jessica had to become a serious musician.  It was as simple as that.” (19)
  • “Sometimes she felt like living with her impetuous twin was like being part of a soap opera!” (28) [Did they just break the fourth wall?]

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • Robin has two little brothers: Troy (8th grade) and Adam (9th grade)
  • Aunt Fiona carries Gucci luggage and favors chunky jewelry with semiprecious stones

(Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

There are so many things wrong with this story that I feel overwhelmed every time I try to begin to analyze it.  Let’s start with the issue of Robin herself: her weight is still mentioned constantly, she lets people walk all over her, and she can’t seem to make up her mind about anything.  Is this the strong-minded girl who turned down PBA after they decided to take her once she was skinny?  I mean, she’s always been weird about her weight, but since when does she let George yell at her and make her feel like shit?  Ugh.

Also, the issue of Aunt Fiona: the woman is a caricature of what an overbearing adult is supposed to be.  The woman is like every bad stereotype pop culture has ever had of a wealthy, privileged woman who tries to enforce her own ideas about life onto other people.  She uses her money as a weapon and maintains her power by making everyone else around her feel stupid, small, and uncultured.  This is Sweet Valley, so we know that she’s going to have a change of heart by the end of the book, but she’s so obnoxious that the ending isn’t cathartic so much as disappointing.  I wanted Robin to push her into the pool or something.