This Sweet Valley High list is kind of a big deal because a new character is introduced and is a serious love interest for one of the Wakefield twins. And I have to say for a series that lacks likeable guys, this guy really has it going on. 😉 You’ll have to read on to find out just what I mean…
Sweet Valley Scale: 4 out of 5 Twins
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: Runner-Up
It is pledge season for Pi Beta Alpha and everyone is the sorority expects Sandra Bacon to nominate her best friend, Jean West. But Sandra is getting tired of always hearing about Jean’s perfect figure, terrific grades and fantastic cheerleading skills. The sorority is the only thing Sandra has that Jean doesn’t and even though they are best friends, Sandra wants to keep Pi Beta Alpha for herself. When Sandra unwillingly becomes Jean’s pledge sponsor, she is determined to do everything she can to insure Jean doesn’t make it through the pledge period. How far can Sandra go, without losing Jean’s friendship?
This book was entirely high school. First off, Jean is that girl who is great at everything, but also the nicest and most ‘innocent’ person you could ever meet (well second to Elizabeth Wakefield of course). Sandra is jealous of living in Jean’s shadow, and is determined to keep her out of the sorority so she can have one thing Jean doesn’t. When she is pressured into nominating Jean, she decides to sabotage her instead (what are friends for?) by giving her the impossible task of landing Tom McKay who is far from interested. When Jean does, Sandra tells Tom Jean was using him to get into the sorority and he stands her up. Jean is given a second chance by everyone, if she can get Tom McKay to take her to the school dance coming up and then publicly dump him. Sandra argues Jean shouldn’t get preferential treatment and her true colors show. Jean, fueled by anger at Sandra for trying to get her kicked out of the sorority and at Tom for standing her up, agrees. Tom and Jean make up and he tells her why he stood her up. Jean realizes she can’t dump Tom in front of everyone, because she loves him. She confronts Sandra who tells her she was just afraid of losing Jean because Jean is so much better than she is (she is certainly a better friend anyway). They make up, and Sandra comes clean to the sorority about sabotaging Jean. This means Jean is still in the sorority without messing things up with her and Tom. Hooray!
In the background of all of this, Steven Wakefield, the twins’ older brother, decides to drop out of college to work on a cruise ship that his roommate’s father owns. Everyone is beside themselves, but Elizabeth suggests they all act fine with it, because then Steven will figure out how stupid it is. Steven gets pissed off that his girlfriend, Cara Walker, seems so casual about his leaving and his family doesn’t seem to care either. They should feel terrible, right? He finally figures out what they’re doing and decides to stay. In real life, this likely would have gone a very different way and very badly at that.
This is a very solid Sweet Valley High story, with plenty to feel guilty about. And here is a spoiler alert, it marks the first appearance of a brand new character, named Jeffrey French. He’s kind of (or at least becomes) a big deal and you’ll see why in the very next book! 🙂
Sweet Valley Scale: 4.5 out of 5 Twins
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: First Place
Jeffrey French has been at Sweet Valley High for just one week, and he’s already made quite an impression, particularly on the girls. Enid Rollins has a crush on the handsome junior, but just as she is about to claim Jeffrey for her own, Lila Fowler declares that he is the boy for her. Elizabeth Wakefield isn’t about to let Lila steal Jeffrey away from her best friend. But when Jessica, Elizabeth’s twin sister, finds out Elizabeth is helping Enid, Jessica vows to do whatever she can to help Lila. Jessica isn’t going to stand for Jeffrey ending with up with Enid and she is certainly not going to let herself be outwitted by her own twin!
This book claims to be the ‘hottest feud ever’ between the twins, but it is so not. Enid falls for new boy Jeffrey French and Elizabeth tries to help her land him. But Lila Fowler also wants him and Jessica can’t stand the thought of boring Enid Rollins going with someone as hot as Jeffrey, so she helps Lila. This is basically the story. Lila throws a pool party at her estate without inviting (or telling) Elizabeth and Enid and keeps calling him Jeffie (I found this somewhere between annoying and creepy). Elizabeth keeps trying to hook up Jeffrey and Enid, and is just as sneaky about it. Jeffrey, however, is clearly not interested in either girl. Instead, he is smitten with Elizabeth, who is absolutely blind to this fact. She pushes Jeffrey to auction himself off for a date at some school auction, and he does thinking Liz will bid on him, but she sets it up so Enid wins the date. They go out, realize they just don’t click that way, but by this time Elizabeth has realized she likes Jeffrey, so to make up for her feelings, she tries to push them together even more. Finally, Enid and Jeffrey both get pissed at Liz for not letting it go, Elizabeth gets a clue and Jeffrey tells her that she is the only girl for him. (Sorry, Todd, except that I’m not.)
Also, Jenny the twins’ annoying younger cousin (she is fifteen!) is visiting and worships Jessica, not leaving her side. Jessica treats her like crap (after all she is ten whole pounds overweight) but by the end of the book Jessica’s man falls for Jenny. This is the first time someone has stolen a guy from Jessica and it being Jenny, makes it oh so sweet.
You know you have to read this book, to meet Elizabeth’s new beau. I was a big fan of this book, and could completely relate to Elizabeth throughout it. I was always the last to know when a guy liked me, even if it was obvious to everyone else. And if I ever liked a guy I thought I shouldn’t, I tried desperately to set him up with a friend, knowing that would nip that temptation in the bud. Plus, I am definitely on ‘Team Jeffrey’. Todd Wilkins, while he was Elizabeth’s first love, was a possessive, chauvinistic pig on his better days. He bugged the crap out of me. Jeffrey is actually sensible, sensitive and has a more pleasant personality. He’s also completely whipped, which might also have something to do with it! 😉
I know that some of people who have read the series say Jeffrey is just a more watered down version of Todd. Right now I don’t think so, different looks, interests and personality traits already apparent make me brush this off, but time will tell. (I read very little of the regular series in high school and mostly just the Super Thrillers, Magna Editions, etc.) Even if that is all Jeffrey turns out to be, I’ll be happy because Todd was a bit much. A watered down version of him sounds just fine.
My Sweet Valley posts seem to have evolved into much more detailed accounts than I originally intended, but I am having too much fun writing them, so I am changing up how I do them. For the next few posts I will have two books per post, but then starting with the third season of the book series (Book #36) be ready for only one book per post. I might find two books short enough where I can pair them together (and if I do, I will) but I really like these shorter posts over the ones that are pages long. I mean I like to talk, but sheesh. 😉