I have never given a Sweet Valley High book its own post before, but this book demanded it! This Super Edition is my favorite, hands down! You’ll have to see what all the fuss is about. 😉
“Malibu Summer” (Super Edition #4)
Sweet Valley Scale: 5 out of 5 Twins
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: First Place (On Almost Any List!)
Summer is here and the Wakefield twins can’t wait to join Lila Fowler in the fabulous, beach-lined Malibu. Elizabeth and Jessica have taken jobs as mother’s helpers and are looking forward to a dream vacation filled with gorgeous guys and Hollywood stars. The girls soon find, however that things are not always as they seem in sunny Malibu. Elizabeth falls for a guy much too old for her, and even though she feels guilty about it, she starts seeing him secretly. Elizabeth is desperate to keep her twin from finding out, while Jessica is much more interested in trying to get hunky Cliff Sherman to notice her and tracking down a star rumored to be close by. Can the girls straighten out their summer romances and the lives of the rich and fabulous, or is Malibu’s magic nothing more than an illusion?
Lila Fowler brags about her summer job as a mother’s helper in Malibu to Jessica, so Jessica decides she has to be one too, but her parents say they’ll only agree if Elizabeth joins them. Elizabeth has an internship at the city paper so she says no. Jessica tries to convince her, but it doesn’t work. Then Lila points out to Liz that she is being incredibly selfish since a summer in Malibu is so important to Jessica (forget the internship Elizabeth is excited about that could actually advance her career in a few years). Of course, since Elizabeth cannot stand the thought of being selfish, she agrees. (Cough, cough, doormat! Cough.) Jessica interviews for the position for the both of them and the woman in charge seems really excited about employing twins (it is seriously weird). The woman explains the two openings she has, one of the families has a problem child that keeps going through mother’s helpers and is ‘difficult’ and the other household has a newborn, but happens to be related to this teenage heartthrob singer named Tony Sargent, who is very much the rage right now. Guess who Jessica picks for herself? All that is left to do is to meet the families, but Elizabeth covers for Jessica (shocker) who can’t make it because of cheerleading practice. She believes that Jessica is being thoughtful after all because her family (The Bennets) lives in a mansion on the beach (like the house has wings – plural) and the family Jessica is helping (the Sargents) live in a tiny house that is more like a shack. I mean Jessica has to sleep on a cot next to the baby’s crib.
When they finally get to Malibu, Jessica is disappointed by the house she has to say in compared to the palace Elizabeth is in, and tries to convince her twin to switch houses with her. For once, it doesn’t work – the first six times Jessica asks. Jessica falls for the boy who lives next to the Bennets named Cliff, and Lila, after pages of bashing high school guys, hooks up with the ever dreamy Ben. Meanwhile Elizabeth has her hands full with the bratty child she is watching named Taryn, who is extremely unhappy; Elizabeth reasons that this is because her parents are unaffectionate and absent, and often fighting with each other. Jessica is actually really good with Taryn, and she tries to use this to convince Elizabeth to switch jobs again, arguing it is in the child’s interest and Liz still holds her own. Elizabeth offers to watch the Sargent baby, however, when it is her night off so Jessica can go to a party Cliff is throwing. While she is helping out, the Sargents tell Elizabeth they are having a friend over for a few days, named Jamie. He shows up and he and Elizabeth are instantly smitten with each other. Jamie is 21, however, so Elizabeth feels guilty about seeing him – it is surely wrong! She still secretly goes out with him anyway, which makes it easier for Jessica to spend more time at Taryn’s (to see Cliff). Jessica thinks Jamie is a boring intellectual, so she never suspects her sister would find him interesting.
A storm is coming (remember what I said when summing up Sweet Valley High: The Books Season 1 – trouble is coming!), which can’t be good. Elizabeth meets Jamie to tell him she can’t see him anymore, when the truth comes out. He is really Tony Sargent, who is only seventeen, in disguise (and makeup to make him look older) to avoid a groupie’s crazy boyfriend who is trying to kill him. How does the truth come out? Well the crazy boyfriend shows up and there is a knife fight of course! Elizabeth ends up hitting the crazy guy in the head with a vase, knocking him out cold. Meanwhile Taryn has run away and Jessica and Taryn’s parents find her on a bridge that is about to be washed away. Jessica manages to save Taryn, and goes with her to the hospital. Apparently, Taryn has pneumonia and needs to find the “will to pull through” if she is going to make it. (Yes, this is where the eyes get dizzy from all that rolling.) Jessica finds Elizabeth there because Tony needed stitches thanks to the knife wielding maniac and the two swap stories. Jessica is embarrassed and disappointed that she missed out on Tony, and Elizabeth doesn’t want to talk to him, sure that he just used her while he was in Malibu and a celebrity could never be truly interested in her. (Plus he lied, even if it was because he feared for his life – whatever.)
The end wraps up happily (this is a Wakefield production after all). Jessica helps the Bennets become a real family (gag) and Taryn finds the will to pull through and she does. Elizabeth is dragged to a concert Tony puts on (since he doesn’t have to hide anymore) and he sings a song he wrote for Elizabeth and she realizes he really loves her after all. This seriously made me go aww, even if it was super cheesy. Lila finds out Ben is fifteen (and very much a high school boy). Sure, it didn’t turn out so happy for her, but it certainly put a smile on my face (even if this exact plot gimmick has happened before with other characters).
I loved this book. Just how much? Well out of the first six Super Editions (the seventh Super Edition is not until 106 books later, and I haven’t read it yet) “Malibu Summer” is my favorite. The entire book was outrageous and full of lifestyles of the rich and not-so-famous, secret identities, summer love, celebrities, knife fights and rescuing children from natural disasters. Also, anytime Lila has egg on her face, is a bonus for me. (On that note, I still can’t figure out why Lila would get a job as a mother’s helper. She hates work and is super rich; she could just vacation in Malibu. It is the one plot point that has me stumped and seems the most farfetched. Isn’t that sad?) But seriously, if you are going to read any Sweet Valley High Super Edition, this is the one that should be at the top of your list: the best of the ‘Super’ Editions – how could you say no?
I forgot to ask, but has anyone heard of mother’s helpers in real life? I mean I read about them in other series of books (Fear Street) and know they exist in other series I have not read (The Babysitters Club), but have never heard of them in real life. Nannies and babysitters – yes, but mother’s helpers (which seems to only be a summer/vacation thing), not so much. Any who, fabulous book right! Now that it’s June, I find myself suddenly wanting to go to Malibu. If only I could convince my husband into going… 😉 Until next time!