Previously: When we last left Sweet Valley, Steven’s girlfriend had got the cancer. There was a lot of time spent in hospitals, thanks to the twins also conveniently volunteering as candy stripers. It was as she was leaving the hospital that Elizabeth done got herself kidnapped.
Lor: Jessica Wakefield comes barreling into her brother’s room, as the exposition tells us that she’s getting ready for a (shock!) party.
This entire brother/sister moment is a little creepy because Jess is asking Steven to zip up her dress and he’s just out of a shower, with only a towel around his hips. It gets even creepier when the narrator tells us, as Steven looks his little sister up and down, how sexy and evenly proportioned Jessica is.
Sweeney: You know, with the pervasiveness of pedo undertones to these books, it was only a matter of time before we added some incest to the mix.
Lor: We’re also told her neckline is about as low as is acceptable for a 16 year old. I’d love to know how low that is, exactly. Like what’s the difference between a 16-year-old neckline and a 17-year-old neckline, ya know? Either way: ho suspension.
Sweeney: I feel like we know Jessica well enough at this point to give a big ho suspension to her entire closet. I don’t even need to see it. I just know.
Lor: Anyways, all this ho-y-ness is to impress the new boy in town: Nicholas Morrow. If you’ll recall, he’s moved to Sweet Valley with his family, including his 16-year-old sister Regina.
Jessica promised to wait for Liz so that they could head to the party at the Morrow Mansion together. While waiting, Jessica gets a shiver-down-her-spine premonition, but decides to brush it off. Premonitions, while frequent in Sweet Valley, are apparently unimportant.
When Liz isn’t home by 8, Jess calls her friend Cara and asks for a ride. As they drive to the Morrow Mansion, Cara gets a little sadface over the fact that in the last book, Steven Wakefield totally rejected her. Jess offers this piece of friendly advice: Maybe after Tricia dies, you two could start over again.
Ah, death. The great romantic uniter.
Sweeney: Jess is such a wonderfully helpful/supportive sister. “Sorry your girlfriend’s got cancer, bro, but at least you have offers on the table for when she dies, which is probably going to be soon!”
Lor: She thinks ahead, which is also exemplified as Jess talks about how sure she is Nicholas will like her. Cara thinks, “Jessica is like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police- she always got her man.”
LOLOLOLOL. It’s even funnier ’cause the word “mounted” is in there.
Sweeney: Now the GWC is just doing this shit on purpose. I refuse to believe that was accidental.
Lor: Cara and Jess are the first to arrive at the party and they meet Regina. She’s all dark hair, blue eyes and long legs, because she’s rich, so she’s pretty.
Sweeney: Because fat people and poor people are both gross and therefore those things go together.
Lor: Regina greets Cara and makes small talk, but she completely ignores Jess. Jess tries to butt into the conversation a few times, but Regina seriously doesn’t even glance in her direction. After Regina trips over a rug, Jessica uses her Nancy Drew skills:
The stumble, the lack of response to Jessica-It was only natural to conclude that the Morrow girl was drunk.
Sweeney: Because only a drunk bitch would ignore the great Jessica Wakefield!
Lor: Jess calls out, “hey, where’s the booze?” and Regina finally answers her. She informs her that this is not that kind of party, and also, by the way, she’s deaf. For a second I thought she was just awesome for ignoring Jessica, but no, deaf.
Jess wonders out loud if Nicholas is deaf too, because that would be devastating. He isn’t, he tells us, as he also enters the room. He’s all dark hair, blue eyes, and Jess tells us, beauty from within. I think she means from within his pockets where he keeps all his money. They talk a little about Regina being awesome and about Jess being a twin.
Oh yeah! Remember Elizabeth?
She’s currently coming to, tied up in the back of kidnap-o-mobile. She remembers what happened to her long enough to then pass out again. Cool.
Sweeney: Well, that was super convenient and helpful for us, the readers! Thanks, Liz!
Lor: Max Dellon can’t play with his band, The Droids, until he fixes his grades. Liz was supposed to come over to help him study, but as we all know, she’s busy being kidnapped. When she never shows up, Max gets a premonition (YEAH!) sort of feeling. He sneaks out of his house to go search for Liz.
Sweeney: These premonitions are making me angry, because these people suck too much to be worthy of psychic powers. IT’S JUST SUCH A WASTE.
Lor: Back at the party, Nicholas and Jess are chatting it up when Todd interrupts. He says he’s worried about Liz and Jess gets another premonition-shiver. She ignores this one too and decides not to worry about her sister, because she doesn’t want to leave Nicholas.
Jess lies about Elizabeth baby-sitting for Mr. Creepy Collins, just so Todd will get off her back. Todd doesn’t really buy it but then he thinks, “it’ wasn’t like Jessica to lie where Elizabeth was concerned.” LOL. I’d link you to some examples, but just go check out books #1-12.
Sweeney: My first inclination is to try to declare this one of a million ways the story is inconsistent – like the GWC is trying to declare this to be Jessica’s character, in spite of the rich history of evidence to the contrary. Instead, though, I think this is probably a rare instance of actual continuity: Todd (like so many others) is consistently stupid.
Liz comes to again as she hears he captor approaching her. She tries to scream through her gag, but her captor assures her he isn’t going to hurt her. He tries to prove this point by creepily undoing her braid and running his hands through her hair. Yeaaaah, not really convincing, Mr. Kidnapper.
Mr. Kidnapper takes of Liz’s blindfold so that she can now see that he is Carl the orderly we met last book. Everything comes rushing back to Liz and she starts to cry.
It’s actually kind of sad. I mean, if you get over the utter ridiculousness of Liz being kidnapped – because of course she’s kidnapped – her fear and panic and the way she blames herself for not reporting Carl’s stalker tendencies? Sad. Carl promises again not to hurt her, and Liz gestures towards her binds. He says he can’t let her loose yet but he will un-gag her. As soon as he does, Liz screams for her life. That’s basically what I would’ve done too.
Back at the party, Todd is still feeling worried, so he decides to call Mr. Creepy Collins. Collins confirms that Liz is not baby-sitting for him and Todd understandably loses his shit, especially since Jess is just casually looking slutty by the pool. He marches over there AND SHOVES HER INTO THE POOL. I love Todd.
Sweeney: Todd, I’m not sorry for calling you stupid, but A+ for that.
Lor: Todd yells at Jess because it’s 9:30pm and there is still no sign of Liz. Jess remembers the last time she stood up Liz in order to chase after a boy. It ended with a motorcycle accident and a coma. Jess is (now) worried.
Sweeney: The number of times that Jessica Wakefield has done something to irrevocably fuck up Elizabeth’s life is absolutely staggering. It’s a good thing that Liz is still a Wakefield and thus guaranteed a happy ending, but still. How she hasn’t killed Jessica yet is beyond me. In fact, it’s my least favorite thing about Liz.
Lor: The Wakefield Parents get a call from Jess asking if Liz is home. She isn’t, so Todd and Jess are going to drive up and down the streets to see if her car broke down. The Parents are going to call the hospital. As Todd and Jess get in the car together, he angrily asks if lying about her sister was worth an hour of flirty times. Jess cries.
Liz asks Carl a bunch of questions about why he’s kidnapped her and it all boils down to a few, “I love you,” “you are nice to me” and “we are going to be together FOREVER” statements. Understandably, none of this makes Liz feel better. But, it does make me feel legit better about being mean to strangers. You never know.
Sweeney: Maybe we could introduce Carl to Anastasia Steele?
Lor: Only if he promises to murder-punch her.
Liz manipulates Carl into untying her for the sake of love, and she tries to run for the door only to realize that she boarded up inside the house. There is no escaping.
Jess and Todd’s search has proved fruitless so they head back to the Wakefield house. There, Papa Wakefield calls the police.
Max Dellon decides to commence an investigation of his own. He goes out on his motorcycle, which is our first clue that this won’t end well. Motorcycles in Sweet Valley = EVIL. Max finds Liz’s Fiat in the hospital parking lot and notices that the door is ajar and the keys are still in the ignition. He starts going through her things, looking for more clues, but of course, just then, two cops pull up. He tells the truth about Liz being missing but nobody cares, including the cops. They question him, but eventually have to let him go.
Liz wakes up on Sunday and she’s miserable. After she tried to run away, Carl burst out crying because he wants to keep her forever. Liz resigns to playing along, hoping that if she just waits it out, she’ll get rescued. Carl wakes up and comes to make Liz some frozen pancakes for breakfast because he overheard her saying once that she liked pancakes. He then feeds her the food, since she’s tied up, saying he’s seen her feed the patients at the hospital. CREEPYASSHIT.
Sweeney: If by CREEPYASSHIT you mean, “TOTALLY ROMANTIC,” then yes. Being treated like a hospital patient? Swoon!
Lor: Liz’s hope is that Carl won’t show up to work and people will put two and two together. Except Carl is a smart creepy mother fucker and has also deduced that not going to work would be suspicious. He leaves for the hospital and Liz cries.
The same morning, the Wakefields are busy moping and stuff. Alice goes through the motions of cooking for her family, and this seems to be a reoccurring character trait. Bad times make Alice get all robotic. Guys. A reoccurring character trait. In a Sweet Valley book. For a minor character. HIGH FIVE GHOST WRITING COLLECTIVE! It’s like a unicorn under a double rainbow.
People are gathering at the Wakefield house, organizing searches, crying and all being good looking together. Jess is in her room alone, but Nicholas comes up to visit. She isn’t even happy to see him. I’d feel bad for Jessica but there are about a billion more books in this series that say she doesn’t learn her lesson. Stupid Jessica.
Sweeney: Jessica deserves no sympathy for anything for the rest of time.
Lor: Carl comes home from work and tells Liz that there were cops all over the hospital questioning employees about her. He also says that there were rumors going around about her being a runaway. Liz’s heart breaks, but it’s really nothing compared to the news that Carl’s resolved to take her up into the mountains so that she can’t run away from him again and so no one will find them. He’s planning on taking her the next night.
Jess’ parents make her go to school, but we can tell she’s really sad because she has her hair in a ponytail. Lila shows up long enough to peer pressure Todd into confronting Max and this makes Jessica cry.
Meanwhile, Max is taking his test, even though Mr. Creepy Collins offered to let him postpone it, due to his tutor being kidnapped. That’s really understanding of him. Max is confident he passed.
Sweeney: Claudia Kishi taught me that this is a sign he failed.
Lor: Life lessons from idiots.
Todd confronts Max, and as usual, Todd gets a little roid-ragey. He lands one good punch before Jess intervenes. They finally all decide that the best course of action would be to go back to the scene of the crime.
UH… Shouldn’t that be something the police are doing? Won’t the hospital mind that you are walking around investigating stuff when you are like 5 years old? No? No?
Sweeney: Police are like parents or all other adult, authority figures in these books: they are useless at best. More often than not, they are actually impediments toward accomplishing anything. Lesson for kids: all the adults in your life are fucking useless, so you probably shouldn’t bother listening to them.
Lor: At the hospital and thanks to the contrivance fairy, Carl sees Jessica and mistakes her for an escaped Elizabeth. If Carl knew Liz liked pancakes, I call BS on him not knowing about her identical twin, but whatevs. We’ve reached the “book is almost over, don’t stop now” portion of the recap.
Carl’s suspicious behavior gives him away and Max tackles him. They hold him down until the police finally get there and drag him away. Carl would’ve gotten away with it, were it not for Max, Todd and Jess.
Sweeney: Meddling kids!
Lor: Jessica and two cops find Liz about an hour later, thanks to a conveniently easy confession. “Are you alright,” one of the cops calls out and Liz is all YEP! She’s not even untied yet and she’s all, “no seriously. I’m fine.” Because when you are Elizabeth Wakefield, you have to bounce back from things like comas and kidnappings fairly quickly. Jess and Liz hug and say how much they love each other and Jess cries. But not Liz because being kidnapped is NBD.
Liz wants to celebrate not being kidnapped anymore with a party. A PARTY.
Sweeney: I mean, Liz didn’t get to attend the lone party of this book. She was obviously getting a little antsy.
How does that work, by the way? “NO LONGER KIDNAPPED PARTY.” Do people dress up as kidnappers and the kidnapped?
Lor: Sounds like a good time. Please bring all the alcohol.
At the party, Liz is celebrating not being kidnapped by hugging up on Todd. Her mom sees their passionate embrace and gets a little concerned. She thinks Liz is tying herself down and wishes she was more like Jess, “who changed boyfriends with alarming regularity.”
WHAT KIND OF MOTHER ARE… Nevermind. Sweet Valley High mother. Got it.
The guests start arriving and for a final moment of stupidity, Nicholas Morrow shows up at the Wakefield house and falls in insta-love with Liz. I’m not sure how love at first sight works here, when he’s already seen Jess and didn’t fall in love with her.
But really, in a book where kidnapping is casually put up against parties and tests as plot points, that really should be the least of my hang ups.
Elizabeth – 2
Carl – 1
Enid – 1
Next time on SVH: Will Elizabeth leave Todd for Nicholas Marrow? And what are the odds that Todd fucks Nicholas’ shit up? Find out next time with Deceptions!