So yeah, I haven’t done a SVT recap in a little while, not because I don’t like them, but because I’ve sorta been drunk with power with my Baby-Sitter’s Club and Are You Afraid of the Dark? bootlegs. I’m sure you understand–the outfits! the screencaps! the humanity!
Anyway, I’ve noticed that my recaps are getting a little bit wordy lately, so I’ve decided to change my format a little. I’m thinking that TV recaps will probably remain basically the same, unless anybody can think of a better format than, I don’t know, just doing a scene-by-scene summary like I usually do. As for book recaps, I’m going to try to do something with a wee bit more structure behind it. Here goes…
Back-Cover Blurb (with comments):
Everyone has always made fun of Sandra Ferris. She’s gawky and shy, and people whisper about her everywhere she goes. This makes no sense to me. Obviously, Ms. Ferris isn’t getting any action over in Sweet Valley. Why wouldn’t people spend more time whispering about someone like Jessica, who we all know is the town bicycle? But the Wakefield twins step in and change Sandra’s life by giver her a new look–hair, clothes, make-up, the works!
Suddenly, the ugly duckling turns into a beautiful swan, and that means trouble for Jessica. Now Sandra is getting all the attention. Oh, snap! That’ll teach you to meddle! And even worse, Jessica discovers that Sandra is running against her for Sweet Valley’s sixth-grade Citizen of the Year… and it looks as if she just might win. Duh, dude. Why the hell would anybody vote for Jessica as Citizen of the Year, given her near-satanic manipulation of all those around her? Jessica has to find some way to tame the monster she has created–and her time is running short.
What’s the Big Deal?:
This week is Sweet Valley Days, which is supposed to celebrate Sweet Valley’s pinoeer heritage. We’ll be having the Sweet Valley Days assembly, in which the mayor is going to stop by Sweet Valley Junior High and… I don’t know… make some speech or whatever? At some point after the assembly, there’s also the election for sixth-grade Citizen of the Year, an honor which seems totally arbitrary. You would think it would have something to do with volunteering or something but yeah, not so much.
We start off with a pretty pointless scene with the twins masterfully serving a voleyball in gym class. I guess it’s to illustrate how awesome they are? As if letting us know on page 3 about how gorgeous and amazing Jess and Liz are supposed to be isn’t enough? Dude, I get it already… Liz and Jess are basically the Rosalie Cullens of the school. I’m down with it.
In the locker room, Jess bitches about how she can’t sexify the gym uniforms a little more, then their friend from ballet class, Kerry, invites them to a party at her house later this week. Kerry is pissed about having to invite Sandra Ferris, a friend of her mother’s, who is apparently a “total loser” because she’s all klutzy and stuff. Like she’s afraid that Sandra’s going to start throwing guacamole like a chimp throws poo? I don’t get it.
Later that night, the twins race home. Jessica cheats–big surprise! Liz totally calls her on it, then backs off when Jess gets all sad puppy face–again, big surprise. At some point in the evening, the twins decide that it would be fun if Kerry’s party were ballet-themed, so they call up Kerry’s mother to tell her the new theme, as well as calling up all the other bitches and telling them to bring ballet-themed gifts.
Because, you know, it’s really their party, it just happens to be sponsored by Kerry and held in her house.
Cut to Kerry’s house later in the week, where it’s party time! Everybody treats Sandra Ferris like a piece of used toilet paper, and it’s no surprise that Sandra feels really left out and sad. Instead of, I don’t know, deciding that these girls are mean and probably wouldn’t be very good friends, anyway, Sandra desperately wants to be like them. It’s sad how realistic this is, but it doesn’t make me stop wanting to throw the book against the wall when Sandra’s inner monologue turns to the usual “I-want-to-dry-hump-the-Wakefields” crap.
Finally, Sandra can’t take it anymore and runs away crying, at which point St. Liz goes after her. Liz invites her to go bike riding tomorrow, which makes Sandra feel 100% better (never mind that all the other girls are still treating her like crap). After the party, Jessica yells at Liz for befriending a loser like Sandra.
The next day, Sandra comes over for the bike-riding date. Jessica is trying to sew a collar on to a sweater, and Sandra takes the opportunity to totally suck up to her by complimenting her mad fashion design skillz, all while saying really crappy things about herself.
This works well enough for Jessica to decide to take Sandra under her wing. The twins take Sandra to the mall and give her a total makeover.
At school, everybody goes apeshizz for the brand-new Sandy…
Erm, SANDRA. Sorry. I got confused.
Predictably, Jessica is suddenly really annoyed that somebody else would even DARE to take up the attention that is so rightfully hers. She MADE that ho Sandra and she can certainly destroy her just as easily.
And, again, predictably, Liz acts holier-than-thou and saintly throughout the whole thing, while actually being sort of a meddlesome bitch.
Anyway, Jess decides to run for Citizen of the Year. This is for two reasons: first, she wants the attention (duh), and second, she wants to knock that audacious beyotch, Sandra, down a peg so she knows who’s on top and who’s on bottom.
By the way, Citizen of the Year is really not that great. Mainly you get to ride on a parade float during the Sweet Valley Days parade. Yeah, that sure sounds glamorous to me.
Sandra decides to ask Liz to nominate her to be the student to introduce the mayor at the big assembly, even though she knows that Jess probably wants to do it. Sweet! Cat fight, anybody? Sandra says that Jessica has won lots of things, while she’s never won anything at all. Now that her confidence is bolstered by all the humane treatment she’s suddenly getting, she wants to be the one to get a bit of glory.
There’s some crap where Liz has to choose between who to nominate, Jess or Sandra, which is really too annoying to go into here. Somehow, Liz manages to be both blatantly HEAVY-handed as well as insanely UNDER-handed. That’s our Liz for ya. Oh, and there’s also a little bit of talk about Sandra potentially joining the Unicorns.
Well, it turns out that Liz just nominates both Jess and Sandra, totally wriggling out of any potential conflicts with either of them. The school administrators choose Sandra almost immediately. I wasn’t really surprised by this verdict–if you were a school admin, who would you choose to introduce the mayor: the pretty, slightly dorky girl with a clean reputation, or the devious vixen with a shady past? I’m guessing most people would choose Door Number 1.
Of course, this really fucks with Jessica psychologically. Now she’s even more determined to win the election for sixth-grade Citizen of the Year! She wants it so bad she can taste it! But wait–oh noes! Sandra’s going to run for the Citizen, too, now that she actually has a decent amount of self-confidence!
Jessica’s all, “Oh, frack. Time to break out the shivv!”
And Sandra is all, “Gee golly, I hope I win, though I don’t think I will, because Jessica’s so great. Did I mention that I have a shrine to her in my room?”
Jessica is now desperate to prove her good citizenship, so she does a couple of totally contrived charitable actions, like publicly donating to the Sweet Valley Literacy Program, crap like that. Somehow, this never really works out like Jess wants it to, since Sandra seems to be, I don’t know, a genuinely nice person.
Jess figures that if she can find some way to raise the rest of the money for the SVLP, then she’ll be a shoo-in for Citizen of the Year. And she’s all hyped up about wearing this pioneer dress she designed (which I’m thinking is probably just a clone of something from Little House on the Prairie, but sluttier) that should dazzle her constituents when she wears it to the upcoming Sweet Valley Days Parade. At home, Steven tells her she should make a commemorative booklet in honor of Sweet Valley Days (the way the high school does with the prom) and then donate the proceeds to the Literacy Fund. Jessica tells Steven that he’s a genius.
Cut back to Sandra’s POV the next morning, in which she reflects how uncool it is that Jessica is acting like such a bitch all of the sudden. Sandra thinks that Jessica’s been popular pretty much since birth, and it’s not fair that she suddenly gets offended that someone else happens to be getting a little bit of attention. Word, Sandra.
Sandra happens to hear Jess talk to Liz about “ads.” Sandra doesn’t realize that Jess is talking about Steven’s big idea, but Sandra gets an awesome idea of her own–why not publish a commemorative booklet in honor of Sweet Valley Days, with all the ad revenue and retail sales to be donated to the Literacy Fund?
Sandra tells Mrs. Arnette her awesome idea immediately, beating Jess to the punch. Hell yeah, baby! Mrs. Arnette thinks it’s such an awesome idea that Sandra should announce it at the assembly later today.
Wow, is it assembly day already? Hmm, ok, whatever. Anyway, Sandra does a kick-ass job introducing the mayor and presenting her idea to the school. Everyone applauds and even the mayor wishes her luck. Sandra feels like she’s walking on air…
Seriously, she does. It says so.
Of course, the twins are convinced that Sandra is a double-dealing ho who totally stole Steven’s Jessica’s idea. Jessica is hella pissed, Elizabeth is righteously indignant, and even Steven is a little disappointed (apparently he wanted to get into Sandra’s pants). Sorry, Steve. I don’t think that Sandra would even be able to survive in your family, so it’s probably for the best.
Meanwhile, Sandra is baffled about why both Wakefields are now treating her like crap. She just wants to be friends and get along with everybody, that’s all. Oh, Sandy, if only it were that simple. Sweet Valley is a harsh, blood-soaked place.
But Sandra doesn’t have a ton of time to worry about the Wakefields, because the next day is election day. And guess what? She totally wins! Yay, Sandra! But, hey, don’t tell anybody, because it’s a secret. The results will be officially announced tomorrow.
This new victory gives her even more confidence, which you would think would make her cocky, but it really doesn’t. It actually makes her pretty likable, especially when she decides to confront Liz and Jess about why they’re acting like such skanks toward her. Oh, and seeing Steve-o would be cool, too. Minx!
Let’s do a quick tally, shall we? So far, Sandra has “stolen” the mayor’s introduction speech, the Citizen of the Year award, and probably Jessica’s brother.
One word: awesome.
She gets to the Wakefield house and Steven treats her like crap because he assumes she stole the idea. He says that the twins probably won’t want to talk to her “after what you did to Jessica.” You’re a dick, Steven.
Sandra’s all, “I didn’t do nuffin’, honest!” But Steven successfully guilts Sandra into thinking that she IS a cheater, simply because she happened to hear a snippet of Jess’s talk about “ads.” Ugh, just when I was starting to like her. I’m almost disgusted with myself for being so damn gullible.
The next morning, over a delicious waffle breakfast, Jessica and Liz are all dreary because Sandra gets to ride on a special float in the parade later that day. You know, because the twins’ lives are so empty and devoid of social recognition. They were all excited about this damn parade, now they’re refusing to go at all because they’re not the centers of attention.
But (OMFG!) Sandra comes over… and she’s not wearing a prairie costume! And she apologizes to Jessica for “stealing” her idea. WTF?
Jess is all, “I told you so!” and Liz tells her to STFU so Sandra can properly apologize.
Sandra says that she didn’t mean to steal the idea, but that she did cheat (even accidentally) which means that Jessica should be riding on the float, not her. Never mind that the kids at school voted SANDRA in, and not Jess. Who cares about those paeons?
Oh, and Sandra talks about how all the attention supposedly went to her head, which is ludicrous, considering she’s been obsessed with making everybody happy throughout this entire story.
So, at the end of it all, Jess gets to ride in the GD float wearing her GD prairie dress. Ugh. Just another day in “Sweet” Valley, right? Can you tell how much I want to incinerate this book right now?
“I feel like an ugly duckling in a room full of swans,” [Sandra] thought sadly.
Seriously? Sandra, you’re tall and skinny. You may feel awkward now, but believe me, you’ll be laughing when you become America’s Next Top model. Chillax, girlfriend.
Sandra picked up Jessica’s sweater and looked at the collar. “What kind of stitch are you using?” she asked.
“I don’t know. Just a regular one, I guess.”
“This looks like a basting stitch. You should try making the stitches tighter and closer together. Otherwise it might not hold.”
Jessica didn’t want advice from Sandra. “I know what I’m doing,” Jessica said irritably.
Jessica, I seriously want to slap you right now. I know I say that a lot, but this time I really mean it. I’m sure if that stupid bitch Lila said that, you’d be licking her boots, but because it’s Sandra, you’re all, “You don’t know me! You don’t know my life!”
Oh, and have fun looking up what a “basting stitch” is, you idiot, since you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about.
Jessica waited until the class was seated. Then she raised her hand. When Mrs. Luster called on her, she said, “I noticed you were collecting money for the Sweet Valley Literacy Program. I hope everyone in the class will give some money.” She walked to Mrs. Luster’s desk and picked up the can. “I’ll start it off with one dollar.”
…Suddenly, Sandra jumped to her feet. “Jessica’s right… It’s important to support community programs. I’m donating two dollars.”
Jessica couldn’t believe Sandra could pull such a dirty trick. She doesn’t give a hoot about the literacy program, she thought angrily. She just wants to show me up.
Yeah, Jess, because you cared so much about it in the first place? If it isn’t the conniving pot calling the self-promoting kettle black.
The Moral of the Story:
Anyone who has the audacity to defy the Rule of Jessica is a cheater… period. Don’t argue–you know it’s true, and if you don’t, well, you’re obviously just a filthy cheater.