Previously: We learned the valuable lesson that whores are not allowed on the cheerleading squad. Said whore then tries to commit suicide because she is sad and everyone is all LOL JAYKAY. You can join if you promise not to try and kill yourself again.
We end that book with the news that an old friend of Ned Wakefield, Mr. Devlin, would like to send his daughter to visit Sweet Valley for a couple of weeks, and would in turn be happy to host one of the twins in New York. The girls both want to go and we’re left with the question, “who in their right god damn mind would let Jessica go anywhere?”
Lorraine: We open the book with Jessica pulling a Veruca Salt because she wants a golden ticket a trip to New York right now, Daddy.
Papa Wakefield momentarily pleads poor and says his lawyer-ass couldn’t possibly afford to send both girls on a trip because they’ll be going to college soon and blah blah contrivance. He’s going to have to rip the sisters further apart by only loving one of them enough to send them on vacation.
Jessica has day dreams about dancing with Mick Jager and being gifted emerald necklaces. That’s what all the movies I’ve seen say New York is like. This isn’t weird at all.
Anyways, Elizabeth says that she loves Jessica but not really enough to just give her a trip to New York. She suggests deciding via coin toss. Papa Wakefield provides the coin, Jess calls tails and… it’s heads! YEEESSS. I like where this book is going already.
Sara: It looks like fate is on the side of the sane!
Lorraine: I felt a little silly for getting so excited but now that you’ve pointed out that Fate is clearly anti-Jess, I feel better.
Jessica is wallowing. Liz is trying to comfort her by saying that she can borrow her new culottes! Liz? Not a fair trade. Liz tells Jessica that she at least won’t have to miss Lila’s birthday bash or the school picnic (did we run out of dances to have?) and suddenly Liz is thinking about how she’ll miss out on these things. Jess catches Liz’s momentary frown and pounces like a mother fucking lion, y’all.
She’s all, “well, Todd will be lonely while you are gone for two weeks and don’t you know that Lila has always had a crush on Todd? And she’s totally hot and a flirt so naturally if you add this all together, it means that if you go to New York, Todd will cheat on you with Lila.” Lila is somewhere being awesome and taking exception to being used in this way.
Liz sarcastically answers, “why do I have a feeling I’m being talked out of going on this trip,” and before you can say “New York doesn’t want you Jessi-caca” Jessica is all, “you mean you’ll let me go?!” She goes to pack her bags. I shit you not. Jess is just all, “thanks Liz!” even though Liz never actually said, “I’ll let you go.”
So, I liked where this book was headed for about two pages. That sounds about right.
Sara: Maybe Sweet Valley is like the Lost island, and whenever someone leaves, they can’t come back? Hopefully?
Lorraine: These Lost references are stacking up! I feel like we’re upping our street cred every time.
Liz is helping Jess carry her million bags through the airport and teases her about King Kong and being mugged. When Jess says she might love New York enough to never come back, Steven asks if that’s a threat or a promise, and I love him.
After Jess is off, the Wakefields wait for Suzanne and of course she’s the most beautiful girl ever, because every girl we’re introduced to in the Sweet Valley-verse is the most beautiful girl ever. She’s tall and sophisticated and even has a British accent to boot. Plus, she loves! Sweet! Valley and is super impressed by everything she sees. The Wakefields love her because she cooks and cleans and fawns and isn’t Jessica.
We do get small hints that not all is well with Suzanne, though, like when she talks about how her parents are always shipping her off to places to get rid of her, sending her off to boarding school and wanting her to marry her 20 year old boyfriend Pete, even though she’s 16. But, like I said, small hints.
Sara: Hey, still not as bad as having drunks for parents or being fat!
Lorraine: Liz takes Suzy to the junior class picnic where all the boys fall in insta!love with her. Winston is the worst offender. He gets down on his knees and makes up songs to serenade her with. Later in the book, he spells “I love you Suzy” in toilet paper on the Wakefield’s lawn. I know what happens later in the book, so I’m not judging him too hard, but I’ll let you guys do that for me. Let the toilet paper bit sink in.
It appears that Suzy only has eyes for Mr. Creepy Collins. Yes, Creepy Collins is in attendance at the junior picnic, because what else does he have to do over a school break, but, uh, be creepy some more. And BBQ. And be the lifeguard.
Suzy jumps in the lake and soon starts to drown so Collins jumps in to save her. I’m sorry, but this is the only mental image I’m getting:
Suzanne is all clingy as Creepy Collins carries her out of the lake and even he is all, “ew. I got to go.” He bounces, leaving her to be attended by every other male in Sweet Valley.
Every boy, except for Todd, who is again filling his duty of trying to kiss Liz while she is worried about something. This time, Liz is suspicious of this whole “drowning” thing, as earlier in the book, Suzanne swam a million laps in the Wakefield pool with no problem. Why would she suddenly be a terrible swimmer?
Liz wonders, as Todd kisses her some more, I guess in between breaths and sentences, what Jess is up to.
Sara: Liz always uses kissing Todd time to think about pretty much everything except for kissing Todd. He must be a really awful maker-outer.
Lorraine: I don’t think I could get much thinking done if someone where slobbering over my face, y’know? My vote is on Liz being the bad maker-outer. She’s an excellent worrier, though,
We cut to Jess losing her breath over the most gorgeous guy who ever was. No, not Bruce. Not Todd. Not any of her past boyfriends, dammit! It’s a new most gorgeous guy ever! He’s Pete, Suzanne’s boyfriend.
Pete stops by with tickets to a concert he was supposed to see with Suzy and says he thought the Devlin Parents could use them. Jess thinks about how she should definitely be okay with seducing Suzy’s boyfriend because she’s never met that ho before, making it totally fair game. Jess asks if maybe Pete would want to go with her instead, and he jumps all over the suggestion and also recommends having dinner together as well.
Lorraine: As shit.
Jess takes a crap ton of time getting ready, helping herself to Suzy’s soap, scented oils, all of her make-up and finally a black dress. She’s sure she’ll win Pete over with her beauty and… lavender scent? Pete’s all, “isn’t that Suzanne’s dress?” and Jess is pissed that he didn’t even notice she looked hot in it. All through dinner and the show, Pete is standoffish, and when Jess thinks he’s leaning in for a kiss, he’s actually leaning over to open the car door and say goodbye. “Sleep tight, little Jessica,” he says. And I laugh and laugh. Jess cries, by the way.
Back in Sweet Valley, Liz is upset because she’s lost her gold lavalier. She knows she put it on her dresser but now it’s gone and she’s looked everywhere. Suzanne offers to help her look, after they return from their trip to the beach.
Sara: Liz doesn’t keep a very good eye on that stupid freaking lavalier, does she?
Lorraine: Yeah, well, Suzy totally has the lavalier in her pocket because she stole it. I’m not sure why, other than to give us another hint that Suzanne is actually BatshitCrazySuzy.
On the way to the beach, Liz asks if they can stop at Creepy Collin’s house because she needs to drop off some things for the paper. On school break. Riiiiiiiight. When they get there, Suzy is all, “I’ll take it to him!” and we get treated to some of her internal monologue that is slightly Margo-esque. It includes her calling SVH a hick town and admitting to playing games with everyone she’s met so far.
BattySuzy sees Creepy Collins watering his garden (not a metaphor for anything) and slinks up to him. He startles and BattySuzy gives him crazy-molest-me eyes. Batty is all, “mind giving me a drink from the hose,” and then she wet t-shirt contests herself in front of Mr. Collins. I dropped the creepy from Collins, because it doesn’t feel right to call him creepy with Batty dribbling water over here. She’s all, “whoops. I’m such a klutz” and Collins is all, “you know exactly what you’re doing.” Mmmmhmmm. She’s creepin’.
Sara: Sounds like Creepy Collins has been through this a time or two.
Lorraine: At the beach, BattySuzy is attracting boys and and Liz are all, “as long as she stays away from our men.” George, Enid’s boyfriend is all, “what about me?” and Enid jokes, “Oh I was just telling Liz you turned down a date with Bo Derek to hang out with me!” I only mention this because I feel it my duty to tell you whenever Bo Derek is mentioned in these books. (read: a lot.)
Back at home, Liz gets a phone call from Jess, who assures her the Devlins can afford the long distance charges. Liz can tell Jess sounds sad, but Jess hams it up anyways and says she’s having the time of her life!
Truth is, Jess is being neglected by the Devlins, much like Suzanne obviously is. Jess is invited to BattySuzy’s best friend’s house for a party. She gets there, and it’s all Gossip Girl up in there. They underage drink, of course, and talk about how they are going to invest their loads of money. Jess drinks a little too much champagne and ends up passed out in the bathroom. LOL.
Sara: She would.
Lorraine: Still keeping it classy.
Back in Sweet Valley, Todd has secured tickets to a Lakers game, but Liz promised Mr. Collins she’d baby-sit. BattySuzy is on hand to be all, “I love kids! I’ll babysit!” and so Liz is totally grateful. Suzanne shows up on Mr. Collin’s doorstep and he’s very distressed, as well he should be.
The second he’s gone, BattySuzy, who I might at well name Margo-Lite, starts treating the Mini-Collins like crap, telling the kid to take care of his own damn self. She’s busy, what with going through Collins’ stuff, taking luxurious baths in his bathroom and undoing buttons on her shirt to maximize cleavage.
Collins gets home and is trying to get BattySuzy out as quickly as possible, but she keeps pushing her chest out and trying to kiss him. It’s about as uncomfortable as it sounds. Collins makes it clear that his creep is only skin deep, and that he’s not actually going to kiss under-aged girls. Batty is highly insulted, and leaves the house crying.
Back in New York, Jessica is being shot down by Pete who admits to only hanging out with her again because the Devlin’s asked him to. Determined that every! boy! must! like! her!, Jessica gets super flirty. They are in a horse-drawn carriage and Jessica says she feels like she’s in a movie and all she needs is a leading man who looks exactly like Pete to come and kiss her. Pete just pats her on the head.
When they get back to the Devlin’s apartment, Pete fixes Jess an underaged drink and then turns the lights down and gets to kissing. Jessica is excited! But confused. Hadn’t he been treating her icily this whole time? Oh, wait, he’s getting grabby. He’s pushing this beyond regular teenaged kissing to “yes,some more sexual molestation for you, in case you hadn’t had your fill in the last 10 SVH books.”
Jessica tries to swat Pete away as he gets more violent. He pins her down and says that she’s been practically begging for this since she arrived in town and she shouldn’t slut it up so much, etc, etc. Jessica gets angry at him, at the Devlins for being negligent and… here it comes… even at Liz for allowing them to switch places. Aw, Jess. I love it when you get crazy, gurl.
Jess threatens to call the police and Pete is all, “and tell them what? That you invited me into your apartment and were practically begging me to kiss you and then when I did, you freaked the fuck out? Whatever, I’m leaving, but let me give you that leading man kiss first.” He lunges at Jessica and they start grappling when the Devlins walk in on the scene!
They kick Pete out and tell him never to come back around again.
Sara: Well, that was convenient!
Lorraine: Yeah, I supposed attempted rape is really easy to fix when you don’t believe in cops and stuff.
Liz comes home to find BattySuzy looking a hot mess and crying about what Mr. Collins “did” to her. Liz doesn’t really buy the story, because she knows Mr. Collins is a good guy, but Batty IS crying and can’t possibly be faking. The girls tell the Wakefield Parents that Collins attacked Suzy. Soon the rumor has spread and people are taking sides.
Some of the kids decide to get together and all contribute money towards a birthday gift for Lila. They decide to use part of that money to buy BattySuzy a “sorry you almost got raped by our English teacher” gift.
Sara: A whistle?
Lorraine: Pepper spray!
Just kidding. A blouse for maximizing sexiness and cleavage. Silly SVH kids.
BattySuzy goes off to meet her date for Lila’s birthday party and Liz decides to leave the “sorry you almost got raped by our English teacher” gift inside of Batty’s luggage. As she’s arranging things, surprise, surprise, she comes across her lavalier. Liz is all, “oh my. Why would Suzy have my lavalier amongst her things? It is impossible that she would be stealing…” doormat, doormat, etc, etc. Liz puts her lavalier on and goes to meet Todd.
Liz tells Todd about her lavalier magically appearing in BattySuzy’s luggage and Todd’s all, “I don’t know. Bitches be crazy.” Liz says that she can’t imagine someone lying and being manipulative to get attention or get their own way. Todd says, “…uh, like when Jess pretended to be you so Bill Chase would fall for her?”
Liz explains that that’s petty stuff and Jess would never behave very badly. Todd says, “…uh, like when she falsely accused me of rape?” Liz is deaf to all of this, however.
Todd and Liz decide to stop by Mr. Collins’ house and get the truth of the matter from him. He’s very sad, and we can tell this because he’s got the Five O’clock Shadow of Great Depression going on. Liz asks if he’s raped any underaged girls lately and Mr. Collins’ doesn’t say much before Liz is all, “OF COURSE YOU HAVEN’T. I’m sorry I ever doubted you.” Todd, Liz and Collins decide BattySuzanne is, well, batshit. Liz vows to not let her get away with lying about being attacked by Collins.
Liz gets to Lila’s party and confronts Suzanne right away. Liz takes her to the coat room and tells her she found her lavalier tucked away in her luggage. Suzanne forces out a single fake tear but Liz ain’t biting and tells her she’s a loser. BattySuzy’s true colors come out as she laughs maniacally and admits that she hit on Mr. Collins.
Pissed that Liz has discovered the truth and vowed to tell everyone, Suzy starts spreading a rumor that Liz bumped her head in the pool the day before. If you’ll all remember last time Liz bumped her head, she became WhoreLizabeth. Suzy tells Cara that her new bump has brought WhoreLiz back and Cara dutifully spreads the rumor. Suzy figures if Liz starts telling people that she tried to seduce Mr. Collins, everyone will just be all, “that’s WhoreLizabeth talking. She’s a whore.”
The rumor spreads fast and Liz loses her shit. She confronts BattySuzy in front of everyone. Batty acts innocent and it seems people think Liz has really lost it. It looks like Liz won’t be able to convince anyone that perfect Suzanne is actually a clepto-liar, but then! Winston trips over his own feet and spills his red punch all over Batty’s white Halston dress.
Suzy absolutely loses her shit, and screams at Winston for being a puppy dog and an idiot. This is enough for everyone to insta-hate Suzy and believe Liz. They start backing away from Suzy slowly, either because she’s nuts or because they are afraid to spill more food on her.
Liz thanks Win for accidentally spilling his drink and he admits to having been in the coat room when Liz and Suzy were talking. He overheard the whole conversation and confession, and realized that Batty was batty. He spilled the drink on purpose. Aw, I love Winston!
Sara: Oh, that zany Winston! If this was set in present day, he’d be an adorable Jewish kid from the CW.
Lorraine: LOL. IT’S TRUE.
So, no one believes Mr. Collins is as creepy as Suzy said, she leaves finally and Jess, once again the lesser of many evils, returns home. She doesn’t tell anyone she was almost raped, and just says she had a magical time in New York. Right.
Throughout this whole thing, Stephen, the older brother, has been sulking around the house because his girlfriend Trish has been breaking off dates after her father ran down a pedestrian while driving drunk. We end the book with everyone wondering if Trisha is cheating on Stephen, or if maybe, she’s keeping a bigger secret…
OR IF MAYBE HAVING YOUR DAD RUN DOWN A WHOLE PERSON IS SORT OF A BIG DEAL AND SHE NEEDS TO NOT BE GOING TO THE MOVIES RIGHT NOW?
Anyways, as far as SVH books go, this one was pretty damn enjoyable. And by that I mean I didn’t drink at all and didn’t want to kick innocent things or bang my head against any walls! I guess all the rape really kept it flowing.
Sara: Real rape and fake rape in one book is pretty exciting.
Next time on Sweet Valley High: Apparently Tricia does have a problem other than “my dad ran over a pedestrian.” Find out what it is in #12- When Love Dies.