Confessions Of A Bookaholic: Guilty Pleasure Edition #20 – Sweet Valley High Books 33-34

Here are two books where the twins kind of take the backseat while their friends take their turns in the spotlight. This is still a list you can’t miss though because there is a new addition to the Wakefield family and he is introduced in one of these books! 🙂

“Starting Over”

svh_starting_over

Sweet Valley Scale: 4 out of 5 Twins
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: First Place

Sally Larson is thrilled when she moves in with her cousin Dana and her family. After years of living in foster homes, she longs to have a real home and she is determined to make a good impression. As long as Sally listens to Dana and let’s her control her life, she thinks she’ll be accepted. After all, her cousin is pretty, popular and the lead singer for The Droids, Sweet Valley High’s popular rock band. Sally even hopes to overcome the resentment of Dana’s brother, Jeremy. But when Dana begins to resent her too, Sally is afraid she’ll have to leave, when she knows this is her last chance to make a real life for herself. Will Sally ever be able to call Sweet Valley home?

Dana Larsen’s cousin Sally is great, but without parents, she has been in foster care forever. I point this out because throughout the book I kept wondering why Dana’s parents didn’t pull her out of foster care and take care of her sooner. When she arrives, she is very traditional, quiet and thoughtful. Dana’s brother hates her because she gets his old room and he has to move up to the attic, which is larger and more private. I also didn’t get why this upset him? Sounds like a sweet deal to me. Dana keeps trying to control Sally, who she should be friends with, what she should wear and what she should do with her free time. Sally doesn’t want to upset Dana so she keeps bending over backwards to do whatever Dana says. But then Dana gets pissed at her, because Sally does her chores for her, and Dana’s mother gets upset at Dana for ‘taking advantage’ of Sally. Sally is sure she is going to be sent away now that both Dana and her brother Jeremy hate her guts. On the way home from school one day, Jeremy and Dana pick up some hitchhikers when Sally advises against it (really just to spite her) and they force the Larson kids to take them to a sleazy bar and try to force Dana and Sally out of the car. Sally comes to the rescue and convinces them to only take her. Dana and Jeremy feel terrible, go find some friends and they all crash the bar to rescue Sally. When the three finally get back to the Larsen home, they find out Dana’s parents have decided to adopt Sally. Yay!

This book was nice. It made me realize that I may not like Dana Larsen though. Kudos that the nice girl is also the one with streets smarts or as I like to call it common sense. Of course the most important thing to happen in this book was the twins’ storyline, which was very much in the background. Jessica brings home a puppy and the twins have to keep him a secret, certain that when their parents find out they have had a puppy for weeks without incident they’ll let them keep him. I don’t see that happening, if there wasn’t an incident, but okay. But there are many incidents and all of them are hilarious (and for once very realistic). Then they lose him when he runs away on a walk, and they are both so depressed that their father brings home a surprise for them. A puppy from the pound, and unbeknownst to their parents the same puppy they lost. Hip, hip hooray! They needed to have a dog already. They name him Prince Albert. The end.

“Forbidden Love”

svh_Forbidden_Love

Sweet Valley Scale: 3.5 out of 5 Twins
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: Runner Up

Maria Santelli and Michael Harris are engaged and it is the talk of Sweet Valley High! But they must keep their relationship a secret from their parents. Several years ago, the two families had a terrible argument and Michael and Maria were forbidden from ever seeing each other. The sparkle in Maria’s eyes almost matches the sparkle of her diamond ring… at first. But being engaged is a lot harder than Maria had expected. While she is used to doing things on her own, Michael acts as if he owns her now. Michael is even jealous of her helping out Winston Egbert with his campaign for Student Council. Maria begins to think that she and Michael were happier before their engagement. Will Michael and Maria resolve their differences and follow through on their wedding plans or will their secret engagement destroy their relationship forever?

Michael Harris and Maria Santelli are Sweet Valley High’s newest Romeo and Juliet. They get engaged and then things fall apart. Michael acts like a jealous, chauvinistic and possessive prick. I mean this guy makes Todd Wilkins look like a prince and if you have read any of my previous Sweet Valley High posts, you know just how much I like Todd Wilkins – namely, I don’t. Coincidentally (yeah right) the twins’ social studies class is doing a class project that involves students being placed in fake marriages with a partner. I have seen this done in books and on TV, but we didn’t do anything like this at my school. I am kind of disappointed because it seems interesting and even fun (like the teenage version of playing house) though I can pretty much guarantee I would have hated anyone I was paired with… anyway. Michael just gets worse and the project reveals that he wants to beat their children if they have terrible behavioral problems and he ‘won’t allow’ Maria to work. What a prince! Maria puts up with everything and I can’t understand why.

Meanwhile, Winston Egbert is running for student council representative and Maria is helping him with his campaign, but Michael gets jealous and keeps pressuring her to blow Winston off. She finally gives in and asks Elizabeth to help Winston, but Liz refuses telling Maria that she needs to honor her promise. (Hooray for Elizabeth not being a pushover for once – more of this please!) Michael and Maria are fighting on their way to a party at Lila’s that turns out to be a surprise engagement party for them. (Elizabeth was the only one who saw the party as ‘asking for disaster’ and I wondered why no one else had this type of sense; particularly when Michael and Maria’s engagement is a secret.) At the party Maria tries to cheer Winston up since she keeps brushing him off, by dancing with him. This pushes the creep in Michael over the edge and he gets everyone’s attention and makes the announcement that he is also running for the same position Winston is and Maria is going to be his campaign manager. Winston rushes off, Maria is so angry with Michael she gives him back the ring he gave her and goes after Winston.

Of course, even though the engagement is no more, both Michael’s and Maria’s parents find out about their kids being engaged because of the engagement party (who saw that coming?) but by the time they arrive, Michael and Maria are through. The families on the other hand, having come together to stop their foolish children become friends again.

As someone who has been in a real star-crossed love relationship I found Michael and Maria’s situation to be pretty weak. Their families were such great friends and yet the reason that all fell apart was always shaky. Also, Michael was a creep from the beginning so you never wanted them to work out. But, it was a steady Sweet Valley High story, as high school as it gets, for any diehard fan.


Prince Albert! 🙂 So, I’m not sure where or how they came up with that name, but I don’t care because there is finally a pet in this series. (I seriously have not noticed anyone having a dog or cat in these books yet. Is it just me?) Being the mature, sophisticated and grown-up individual that I am, I keep chanting, “Puppy, puppy, puppy.”

The next Sweet Valley High post will mark the end of Sweet Valley High: The Book Series Season Two. It also features the last Super Edition for more than 100 books (no joke). You won’t want to miss it! 😉

-DMW

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