Someone call in the super snoopers. We have a crime on our hands.
I was working on a recap of SVU #41: Escape to New York, the third in the “spring break” series set in New York, following “Elizabeth [heart] New York” and “Private Jessica,” but then my roommate and I moved. Every single thing from our old apartment is present and accounted for EXCEPT said SVU book. If anyone sees a used copy of SVU #41 somewhere in New York, perhaps dropped from a moving box, that shit is mine. I want it back. Until then, I can only assume the movers coveted this item above all the others and made off with it to rejoice in the hilarity of Sweet Valley.
So if you are reading this, moving men: Well played. I expect your recap to be posted soon.
I’m a bit put out. I was in the middle of recapping that other one and I looked all over for it, but it was nowhere to be found. So then I had to start all over (oh, the humanity!) with this one. STRANGERFACE = FROWNY!
SVU #37: Breaking Away
The back of the book tells us that Liz is leaving SVU! Oh noes. What would we do if Liz left us? Sobsob. Jessica has decided to keep her twin at SVU by… pretending to be her(?). That’s right a genuine twin switch right here. I’m excited. I’ve not recapped a twin switch yet. Be gentle!
Elizabeth cooks Jessica a pasta dinner. Jessica refers to it as “gourmet” which makes me lol. She just threw some Barilla in hot water, Jess! Liz has made this on the hot plate in their dorm room. Random aside: At my college, they would not let us have hot plates for fear we’d burn the place down. I guess SVU is fine with the kids starting fires. Anyway, Liz is buttering Jessica up because she has some “bad news” to break to her twin. She got accepted to the “Denver Center for Investigative Reporting” in Colorado and is leaving SVU.
Jess is upset. I can’t figure out why. You would think she would love not living with her bossy, snooping sister even if she can’t be happy Liz is “succeeding” in the journalism world. I use quotation marks because that school sounds like a scam. No offense, good people of Colorado, but when I think “investigative reporting,” I don’t immediately associate it with Denver. Why would they accept her in the middle of the school year anyway?
Jessica goes and cries to Lila and Isabella. They’re both like, “Sweet! Ding dong the witch is dead!” Jessica whines about how no one understands what it is like to be a twin. Who else will pick up after her and organize her stuff? That is love right there.
We cut to Tom Watts who is doing reporter-ly things, but not as well as usual. The ghostwriter says, Tom’s thirst for reporting had been replaced by a stronger obsession: the pursuit of Elizabeth Wakefield. Uh-oh. I hear that’s how William White started out. I’m going to have to raise the “psycho killer advisory system to yellow (elevated). Don’t make me raise it to orange, Tom! Orange clashes with everything.
Where was I? Oh, right, Tom is going crazy. There are pages and pages in which Tom thinks about his wonderful relationship with Liz and what a “weasel” this new guy, Scott Sinclair, is. I’m sorry I can’t recap this line of thinking in more depth, but I zone out whenever I try to read it. Let’s just assume that Liz is wonderful and Scott is up to no-good-very-bad things.
Danny shows up and I think he’s there to rescue me but, sadly, no. He tells Tom that Isabella told him that Liz is leaving SVU! Oh noes! Tom can’t believe it. Danny says that everyone is talking about it. Really? Everyone? Because at my university, if someone dropped out maybe their roommate would talk about it but everyone else would be like, “Who? The girl on the TV station? No one watches that shit.” Tom cries.
Liz is walking around campus when she runs into (in sequence) Winston, Isabella, and Bruce Patman. No wonder “everyone” is talking about Liz; only four people go to this school. Liz goes to class and TOM IS THERE. She thinks that he has her schedule memorized. Oh, man, I told you not to make me do this, Tom. But I think it’s time to raise our psycho killer advisory system to orange (high). That’s right, ORANGE. I hope you’re happy.
Why do guys in Sweet Valley seem to think if they had a bad break up, the way to make things right is to stalk the girl for awhile?
Dana (the girl who loves Tom now, even though he so clearly is not interested) gets a visit from Scott (Liz’s new BF). Scott is like, “Make sure you keep things good with you and Tom.” And Dana is like, “this dude is weird.” And you know if DANA UPSHAW, who likes to hold onto men by intercepting love letters they write to other girls, thinks you’re weird, then you really are weird.
Ned and Alice call the twins at their dorm room. They are “thrilled” with Elizabeth’s news. I only mention this because now we can be sure it’s a bad idea to go to Colorado.
Nina and Winston throw a “Congratulations on getting into a made-up school” party for Liz. Even Lila and Bruce attend. I bet they just want to make sure she’s really leaving. They play a tape of Liz-related memories and photos, a la “This Is Your Life.” Sadly, this includes only the boring memories. Not once is crazy Margo mentioned. How can you talk about Liz’s life and not mention MARGO? I mean, Christ what a rip off.
Towards the end of the party, Liz and Jessica start fighting. Jessica says Liz is only going to “journalism school” to get away from Tom. (Now, here Jess is saying Liz still has feelings for Tom and she’s being chicken. Or possibly she knows that Tom is turning into a psycho killer. Either way, Jessica is quite perceptive here.) The fight ends with door slamming and Jessica going to Nick Fox’s apartment to pout. Randomly, Nick suggests taking a leave of absence from the police force to study law at SVU and Jessica is upset because she wouldn’t find him as sexy if he weren’t a cop. Oh, Jessica, your priorities are so straight.
Liz and Jessica make up. I’m sorry. No I’m sorry. Then Jessica says she’s going to throw Liz a huge going away party. Wasn’t that what they just did? I guess monumental events like Liz leaving Sweet Valley merit multiple parties. Oh, this is going to be BIGGER.
Liz walks around campus trying to get mental pictures of everything so she can remember it. Geez, Liz, you’re not going off to war or anything. She finds out that Scott has already gone ahead and canceled all of her classes at the registrar’s office. … Should that be something they let someone who is not the student do? (Attention people in college! Do me a favor and go try to cancel your roommate’s classes for the lulz and tell me what happens.) Liz goes to yell at Scott because she hates it when people do her work for her. He apologizes and says he wanted to save her the trouble. I bet Scott has a shrine to Liz in his dorm room and he prays to her, “Oh, St. Elizabeth of Sweet Valley, I cannot find my socks so I need you to meddle for me. Amen.”
Speaking of shrines to Liz, Tom somehow got invited to Jessica’s party (what?) and he’s decided to go with Dana. I’m sure this will end well!
Some guy named Jerome Jeffries calls for Liz. He is from the Colorado Journalism place. For reasons that are never really articulated, Jessica says that she is Elizabeth and agrees to meet him. She goes in a ridiculous outfit and crazy makeup. (The words “micro-mini” and “gold lame” are used in the same sentence.) She intends to make a bad impression and get Liz’s acceptance rescinded, but the dude thinks she’s wacky and fun. Whatever.
Tom runs into Scott at the library. They
The twins get ready for the party and Jess is all “we’ll never get ready for another party together” and I think, “She’s not dying” and then I think, “I wish she were dying. That’d be awesome.”
The party starts. I will now recap my favorite scene even though it’s not important. Lila and Bruce show up and give Liz two presents. One is a leather day planner and the other is a digital address book. Liz loves them. Lila says, “I wanted to get you something more glamorous, but Bruce insisted on these dull, practical gifts and then I realized he was right. These are perfect for you.” Oh, Lila, never change. Ned and Alice send Liz something called a “gorilla gram.” I don’t know what that is but it sounds dirty.
Tom tries to talk to Liz but gets cut off. Blah blah star crossed blah.
Nick talks to Steven about law school and he realizes, “Hey that shit sounds dull” and considers not going back to school. This makes me laugh. Steven Wakefield, boring the pants off people since 1984.
Finally, at long last, we get to the twin switch. I am giddy with excitement. Jessica still doesn’t want Liz to leave and she doesn’t like that Scott fellow. So she decides the way to get Liz to stay is to get her back with Tom. She slips into the bathroom and Liz-ifies herself. Tom is brooding outside about how he never got to tell Liz how he really feels when JessLiz shows up. She kisses him.
Actual!Liz is about to give her speech but since Jess isn’t around, she enlists Scott’s help to find her. Next we see Scott lead Dana to the kitchen, where she can see JessLiz kissing Tom. Scott seems oddly happy about hurting Dana’s feelings which she does not get since Liz is supposed to be his girlfriend (he knows it’s Jessica). Dana is crushed at first, until she puts it together that it is really Jessica, not Liz, kissing Tom.
Then Scott goes back into the party and brings Liz to see the scene (this must be one long kiss). Liz, like Dana, is crushed. She has herself a good cry and then gives her speech about leaving Sweet Valley forever. FOREVER! There is nothing for her here. NOTHING!
B-PLOT: Denise, Winston’s girlfriend, has credit card debt. I can only assume this “very special” b-plot is here to remind the kiddies about the dangers of credit. But it’s not like Denise had hospital bills or student loans or something that pushed her over the edge. She’s a student (read: has no job) and she buys expensive clothes. Somehow, she thought this would be okay. Here’s a tip for you, Denise.
Her great plan to fix her debt is to ignore the collectors calling her dorm. Then she tells Jessica she can cater Liz’s going away party because she’s such a good cook. I did not know this about Denise. Well, even if she isn’t, Jessica thinks pasta is gourmet!
During the planning stage, Jessica announces that they need lobster and caviar. I lol. I’m not a fancy event planner like irinaauthor, but I’m pretty sure all you need at a college party is a keg and maybe some Doritos if you want to be fancy. Winston and Denise buy lobsters for the party but stupidly leave them in the car for “hours” and they go bad. That would’ve never happened to a bag of Doritos! Those things could survive the nuclear apocalypse.
Winston buys her some tofu and tells her that no one will know the difference. I know tofu can have a lot of different flavors but it’s kinda hard to hide the flan-like consistency, no? You know what I would’ve purchased in this situation? A keg. I’m not saying people will mistake a keg for lobster, but if you get them drunk enough they won’t remember any of it.
… but Denise’s fake lobster manages to fool everyone at the party including Bruce and Lila. I’m calling shenanigans here. Bruce hires Denise to cater one of his parents’ parties. What a lame ending!
Both Liz and Denise’s plots are continued in the next book!
Au revoir, bitches.