This book was a surprise, just the right kind of ridiculous to make my sides hurt from laughter. You won’t want to miss it! 😉
“Slam Book Fever”
Sweet Valley Scale: 5 out of 5 Twins
Slam books are the newest craze at Sweet Valley High. They are do-it-yourself books of lists and predictions about everyone in school. They start out as fun, but soon they seem to stir up big trouble. First, Jeffrey French, Elizabeth Wakefield’s boyfriend gets paired up with Elizabeth’s friend Olivia Davidson under the category “Couple of the Future.” Then Elizabeth gets matched up with the new boy at school, A.J. Morgan in the same category, and Elizabeth’s twin sister Jessica is furious because she’s the one who has fallen hard for A.J. Will the slam books and their anonymous entries spell the end of happiness for Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield?
I have to admit I wasn’t expecting much from this book. The summary made it seem like a simple space-filler edition, but I was pleasantly surprised, and by the end of the first two chapters I was highly entertained. It was a solid 4.5 edition, even better than last post’s book. By the end of the fifth chapter, this Sweet Valley book was due for an upgrade. The first perfect five out of five twins in I don’t know how long! Why? Because everyone has lost their damn minds! I laughed so hard I cried, and then I laughed some more.
All right so Amy Sutton tells all of the cheerleaders about a great idea she has: slam books. Slam books are something that her high school back in Connecticut did and how they work is a bunch of people go out and buy the same kind of notebook and put their names on the inside cover. Then they divide the book into two parts, one for boys and another for girls and make up all of these entertaining categories like “Biggest Flirt” and “Biggest Jock” etc. The idea is to keep trading the books throughout the day and at the end of the day, whoever has your slam book returns it to you, so there is no way to tell who writes what. It’s like anonymous superlatives and funny future predictions. I have never heard of such a thing in real life, BUT I can see how it could be fun with a small group of friends that you trust. Less so for high school in general because let’s face it, kids can be cruel and teenagers are the worst! 😉 Everyone thinks they’re a great idea except for Elizabeth who warns them that it sounds like a good way for someone to get hurt. No one pays any attention.
Within days it really is full-fledged slam book fever at Sweet Valley High, and its first victim: Jessica Wakefield. Jessica is upset that she keeps getting “Biggest Flirt” in nearly everyone’s slam book. I’m not sure why she is upset, I mean I would put her in the category of “Biggest Sociopath” so the flirt thing doesn’t sound that bad. But Jessica is genuinely perturbed about it (and in total denial) and decides not to flirt anymore. Then she sees a new boy in school, named A.J. Morgan and actually this is where the book gives us a nice surprise – Jessica is actually shy around him. She isn’t just acting, but for some reason he gets her all hot and bothered (must be the curly red hair 😉 ) that she can’t put a sentence together and is constantly blushing. She’s actually sweet around him, and I never thought that would happen. When her friends see how she is acting around A.J. they think Jessica is just making a point that she isn’t a flirt, and Jess lets them go on believing that because she is so embarrassed.
Meanwhile, Olivia Davidson is throwing herself into work, and is starting up a school literary magazine. Part of the reason is because she and longtime boyfriend, Roger Patman, are having some serious problems and after a few chapters break up. This kind of bugged me because it is weighing so heavily on Olivia, but they never actually admit what the problem is. Neither of them have ‘someone else’ or was unfaithful or going through a crisis that put a strain on their relationship, and they always seemed to have such an ideal relationship, I kind of want some sort of explanation. Jeffrey French, Elizabeth’s boyfriend is helping Olivia with the literary magazine so they’re spending a lot of time together. Elizabeth doesn’t mind until Jeffrey and Olivia ends up in everyone’s slam books as “Couple of the Future.” Even then, Elizabeth doesn’t mind at first, until Jessica convinces her to be worried.
Jessica is still being really cute around A.J. without even trying. She is uncoordinated and completely off her cheerleading game, making a fool of herself at a basketball game (I still think it’s because of A.J.’s red hair). After the game everyone is hanging out at the Dairi Burger and people see a new couple listed as “Couple of the Future”: A.J. and Elizabeth! Jessica is now furious at Elizabeth, even though Elizabeth hasn’t done anything and Jessica hasn’t told anyone that she likes A.J.
The next day Jeffrey calls Liz and tells her he can’t meet her until 2:00 because he is taking pictures with Olivia for the photo essay that is going to be in the literary magazine. Elizabeth is irritated, and even more so when it is 2:15 and he still hasn’t shown, but then Cara stops by and tells Elizabeth she saw Jeffrey with his arms around Olivia. Now Liz is totally pissed and decides to go to the beach with Cara and Jessica instead of waiting around for Jeffrey. At the beach, the girls tell Lila Fowler what happened and Lila actually acts mature for a change. She encourages Elizabeth to talk to Jeffrey, but Rational Elizabeth has left the building. She decides the relationship is over. She decides to takes Jessica’s longstanding advice about not being tied down and decides to flirt with A.J. Jessica is mortified and this is what we call karma.
Elizabeth is acting like she did when she woke up from her motorcycle accident-induced coma, and everyone is shocked except for Jessica who keeps going between looking sick and looking as if she is going to murder her twin. Jeffrey and Olivia show up, but time for explanations has passed (Olivia had something in her eye and Jeffrey was helping her) and Elizabeth refuses to talk to either of them. Lila acts as a go-between and strikes out, so she takes Jeffrey to dinner at an expensive French restaurant to ‘strategize’ on how to win Elizabeth back.
Elizabeth is going out with A.J. and puts on a brave face (fake it until you make it) that even fools Jessica, who is furious at Elizabeth, but when she’s alone Elizabeth is crying over Jeffrey. Dear Lord… While Liz is out with A.J. Olivia stops by the Wakefield’s house and talks with Jessica. Olivia wants to find out who started pairing her and Jeffrey up in the slam books because she thinks that person is the one who is really responsible for the breakup. Jessica is on board; hoping that if Jeffrey and Elizabeth get back together then A.J. will be all hers. They put their heads together and for some reason it takes them way too long to figure out the only person who might have a motive is Lila, who is currently out with Jeffrey at that French restaurant. Remember, when Jeffrey first moved to Sweet Valley Lila was trying to make him her man, and she obviously hasn’t gotten over Elizabeth ‘stealing’ him away from her.
Jessica and Olivia come up with a plan to prove Lila is the culprit. They reason that whoever started the rumor of Olivia and Jeffrey as a couple, would not have written about it in her own slam book. Jessica poses as Elizabeth and she and Olivia collect everyone’s slam books. Jessica (as Elizabeth) says it is for her “Eyes and Ears” gossip column that she writes for the school paper. Once they have the slam books they see that every single book has Olivia and Jeffrey listed as “Couple of the Future” except for Lila’s. They rush to Elizabeth with their proof, and Elizabeth feels as foolish as she was acting. She sends Jeffrey a cute note to get him to meet her and apologizes. And since Jeffrey is so great, he also apologizes and says if he realized how upset she was, he wouldn’t have spent so much time with Olivia, helping her with the magazine.
To get back at Lila, Elizabeth and Olivia make a new category in everyone’s slam books and list Lila as the “Class Sneak.” I thought this was kind of lame, maybe I am a bit more vengeful, but I would have at least listed her as “Class Thief” which not only eludes to Jeffrey but also her whole history of shoplifting to get attention. But then again, I’m a bitch.
Jessica and A.J. also find a happy ending. A.J. finds Jessica and asks her out. He tells her that she is the only girl he is comfortable around because all of the other girls seem aggressive and flirtatious and he likes shy, sweet and demure girls. This is exactly how Jessica has been acting because she was bit so badly by the love bug, and even Jessica wonders how long she can continue acting that way – after all she wasn’t named the “Biggest Flirt” for nothing. 😉
The literary magazine is a huge success and Mr. Collins throws a party in the newspaper office. Jessica and A.J. attend along with Elizabeth, Jeffrey, Olivia and a few others. Turns out A.J. likes literary magazines and girls who like literary magazines… You know the kind of girl that is studious, hardworking, and serious, and if she is a writer – even better! A.J. obviously has the wrong twin, but he doesn’t know that yet. In the next book he is going to find out though – I can’t wait! 🙂
I love a book where the twins can swap personalities. Elizabeth got her naughty on, and for once I actually felt like Jessica could be a sane and functional human being. Of course, all the slam book silliness was icing on the cake.
I love that Jessica has finally met her match when it comes to a guy, and the guy is actually decent and normal. Not an older man, or a celebrity or a rich and arrogant prick (calling Bruce Patman), but just a nice guy in high school that is friendly, but old-fashioned. I guess the moral of the story is that it takes a hunky redhead to turn a sociopath into a human being. 😛