Friday, October 19, 2012

Sweet Valley Twins #64: The Charm School Mystery

Elizabeth and Amy see a new antique store/gallery opening and meet the new owner Monique Beaumont. Her husband runs the store downstairs and she has a charm school on the second floor. She tells them that she mailed invitations to attend a special party the following night.

Lila tells the Unicorns that her cousin attended charm school and married royalty, so they all decide to attend. Jessica is especially excited about the party, but she gets annoyed when their invitation arrives so late. They all agree to go, but Elizabeth refuses because she thinks charm school is lame. She and Amy hang out instead, and while flipping through her mom’s yearbook, she sees a woman who looks like Beaumont.

Jessica is in her element at the party. Beaumont thinks she looks like a princess (of course), and takes her aside. She tells her that she needs help deciding who to let into the charm school and insinuates that she only wants the wealthy kids. Jessica feels bad about it, but then gives her a list of names to add.

Elizabeth finds out that a rash of antique forgeries recently hit the market and decides that it most be Beaumont and her husband. She, Amy, and Marie agree to do whatever possible to get their parents to let them attend charm school. Amy’s mom thought the lessons were too expensive so she acts like a huge klutz and her dad decides to send her. Maria’s mom thinks the lessons are too similar to the Hollywood life they once led. Maria acts really rude at dinner with her mom’s boss and she sends her. Elizabeth makes fun of Jessica until Jess points out the benefits of charm school. She acts like it never occurred to her before and joins the class.

Beaumont announces that the best girl in the class will win the title of queen and get to lead the girls into the big party at the end of the program. Janet and Jessica make a bet about who will win. They keep doing random crap like tripping each other and making snide comments, which irritates the teacher.

Elizabeth and her group sneak away to check things out. She sneaks into the husband’s office and hears him on the phone and she thinks he’s suspicious. She gets back inside his office again and they find documents that proof the authenticity of the stuff they sell. They almost get caught, but pretend that she lost her backpack.

Meanwhile, Beaumont tells all the girls to write down a list of the most expensive items in their house. She claims that it will help them learn how to appreciate what they have. Jessica is upset because they only have a few things, while Lila has thousands of things. When Beaumont’s helper Richard stops by, she lies and tells him that they basically have two of everything that Lila has. Beaumont later comments on the differences between what she said and her list, so Jessica tells her that their mom likes her privacy.

Elizabeth finally decides that the Beaumonts must be forgers. Maria calls Mr. Fowler and a few other people and sets up a sting. Alice, Beaumont, and Mr. Fowler all arrive at Fowler Crest thinking that Alice arranged everything. An art professor walks in and Elizabeth announces that a painting Fowler recently bought is a fake. Oopsie, turns out it’s the real thing. All three girls get grounded and have to keep going to charm school, and Elizabeth can’t read her Amanda Howard books anymore.

Elizabeth gets picked on in school for what happened, and Beaumont teases her in class. She still thinks something is going on, but no one will listen to her anymore. She starts investigating on her own and hears Beaumont talking about robbing the parents during the special party. She also discovers that she’s going to be named queen to get her out of the way. Jessica won’t listen to her, but she does agree to help if Elizabeth actually gets named queen.

The ceremony/party night arrives and Elizabeth earns the queen title. Jessica runs out of the room yelling and crying and Liz runs after her. They switch clothes in the bathroom and Elizabeth runs to catch the robbers. Jessica pretends to be her through the ceremony, and she takes turns with Amy and Maria waiting by the phone for her to call.

Elizabeth goes to Lila’s house and sees no one. She also checks Ellen and Janet’s houses before deciding to run to her own house to call. While she’s on the phone, someone grabs her and throws her into the kitchen closet. It turns out that the robbers used Jessica’s list and thought they had the most valuable stuff.

Naturally the cops arrive in the nick of time and catch Mr. Beaumont and Richard. It turns out that Mrs. Beaumont really is the woman from Alice’s yearbook. They made a living robbing people and selling their things in the next town. Beaumont knew that Sweet Valley had a lot of rich people so they came back. The girls get their photo in the paper and everyone loves them again.

*Jessica tells her dad not to act “grosh” and it takes him a few seconds to realize that she meant gauche.

*The Jessica Janet bet is that the loser has to curtsey to the winner for one week.

*Someone says they should do an Elizabeth Wakefield mystery TV show where every week it turns out that there isn’t a mystery.

*Bruce pretends like someone killed him and Ellen asks Elizabeth who did it in a teasing way, and she snaps back that since it’s Bruce, it could be anyone in school LOL.

*What is up with Alice’s class? It’s way worse than the twins’ class. Not only did she have this chick, but the one who tried to steal her face in SVH.

*I’m not sure how well this scheme would work. They basically steal from one town, go to the next town, and sell all the stolen goods. Where do they get the fake histories for the items? And how do they not get caught?

*It’s nice to see Elizabeth actually get in trouble for something that has nothing to do with Jessica, but it would be nicer if she didn’t wind up being right.

*You have to love Jessica. She makes a little speech as Elizabeth, her parents realize that she’s Jessica, so she sticks her tongue out at Janet and basically tells her to suck it because she won.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sweet Valley High #45: Family Secrets

This is another one of those books that I devoured as a kid. I was 8 when the book came out and I’m pretty sure that I reenacted some of the scenes with my Barbie dolls LOL.

So, the twins are getting ready for their cousin Kelly Bates to come to Sweet Valley. Kelly is their aunt Laura’s daughter (Alice’s sister) and they haven’t seen her since they were kids. Laura’s ex-husband Greg was a douche and after she left him, she wouldn’t let Kelly even come back to town for a visit. Now that she’s getting married and Kelly can’t adjust to their new life, she lets her move in with the Wakefields until she adjusts.

Kelly looks almost exactly like the twins except that she’s a little taller, has darker hair, and her eyes are more green than blue. They tell her all about their friend Nicholas Morrow and how he can’t wait to meet her. Nicholas meets them at the Dairi Burger, they get along great, and he even invites her to the country club dance.

The girls decide to dress alike for Kelly’s first day at school. Everyone oohs and ahs over how much they look alike. Within a few days, Kelly is one of the most popular girls in school. While playing tennis with Jessica, Kirk Anderson walks over and introduces himself. He asks Kelly on a date and she goes even though Jess warns her that he’s a dick. When she gets home that night, she can’t stop gushing about how much she likes him.

Alice is a little uncomfortable with things because she knows that Greg is a dick. Laura made her promise not to say anything bad about him in front of Kelly, but she does tell the twins how he frequently cheated on his wife. Laura calls a few times and Alice gets stuck telling her that Kelly can’t come to the phone. Jessica shares a room with Kelly and she tells Liz that their cousin keeps waking up in the middle of the night with bad nightmares.

Kirk shows up late for his next date with Kelly, leaving her sitting around for 30 minutes. He tells her that he ran out of gas and then ditches her at the club to run off and talk to another girl who he claims is an old friend. Jessica hears through the grapevine that Kirk is back together with his ex Marci, but Kelly swears that they are just friends.

Kirk doesn’t show up for their next date, so she gets a ride to the beach with the twins. She runs into Kirk and Marci, but he tells her that Marci is just upset over her parents’ divorce. He ends up ditching her at the beach so he can take Marci home and “talk” to her a little more. Kelly gets upset and sends him a note in study hall asking about Marci. Kirk gets annoyed because she doesn’t believe her. Even though he swears he’s only interested in her, he rushes off to see Marci again.

Kelly conveniently has a birthday coming up and her dad is coming to see her. She announces that she wants him to move to Sweet Valley and she will move in with him. He shows up over an hour late claiming that he got stuck in traffic. He tells her that he wanted to get her something and found a great desk, but it would take too long to ship it so he didn’t bring her anything. He says they can talk about their living arrangements later and rushes off for a business meeting.

The big country club dance finally appears and the trio dress up like the hear, see, and speak no evil monkeys. Everyone at the dance loves their costumes, and Kirk suggests that they sneak off together to Miller’s Point. He brings along some beer, they start making out, and then he tries to put his hand down her costume. She pushes him off, he goes back again, and they have a huge fight. He starts screaming and smashing beer bottles and she runs away crying.

Liz and Jeffery come home and Jeannie and Tom bring Kelly home. Kelly finally remembers what happened when her mom left her dad. They had a big fight and her dad started breaking all of the dishes in the house. Her mom begged her to run for help but she was so scared that she just stood there.

Laura comes to Sweet Valley and admits that it happened just the way Kelly said. Kelly had been having nightmares about that night, but she could never remember it when she woke up. They decide to go back to Arizona, and Kelly agrees to give her new family a second chance. Then the book ends with Robin breaking down in tears because she got early acceptance to Sarah Lawrence.

*Penny doesn’t want Kelly to write an article about her impressions on Sweet Valley because she wants something with an angle. Yeah, because no one in town would want to read a story about how great the town is…wait a second.

*Liz is out of character in this book. She keeps asking Kelly to call Nicholas and break their date for the dance, especially after Kelly accepts Kirk’s invitation. In other books, she would just call and tell him.

*Nicholas vs. Kirk? Is that really a competition? Who in her right mind would pick that asshole over the hot rich guy?

*No one ever tells Kelly about all the mean stuff Kirk did. I’m pretty sure if I heard what he did to Penny, I wouldn’t even look at him again.

*Like everyone in school wants to know their costumes and bribe them for information. I’m not sure why they really give a shit.

*Sweet Valley is a creepy city. There are way too many people who look like the twins who manage to find their way to the city.