Confessions Of A Bookaholic – Guilty Pleasures Edition #69 – Sweet Valley High #63 – The New Elizabeth

It’s back to high school in this Sweet Valley High book full of drama, rumors, revenge, competition and a romance that would be better off shot, and laid to rest. So you know, full of the usual Sweet Valley High stupid. 😛

“The New Elizabeth”

svh_the_new_elizabeth

Sweet Valley Scale: 3.5 out of 5 Twins

If one more person calls Elizabeth Wakefield responsible, sensible or predictable, she’ll scream! In an effort to prove she can be as adventurous as her daring twin sister, Jessica, Elizabeth decides to secretly take up surfing. That will show her friends that she knows how to take risks. But from the start, Elizabeth’s new hobby causes some problems. Elizabeth has a sneaking suspicion that her surfing instructor is in love with her. And even worse Elizabeth has to lie to her steady boyfriend, Todd Wilkins, in order to keep her surfing a surprise. Todd is becoming suspicious and angry, and Elizabeth is beginning to wonder if a daredevil reputation is worth the trouble after all.

The entire book I kept thinking, “This is so stupid.” And then the end made me want to scream. So hold on tight, as I try to get through this. Elizabeth Wakefield is convinced she is boring and too predictable. I’m not saying I disagree, but I don’t see a problem yet. She decides to do something daring so she can prove to everyone else that she can take risks just like her twin sister, Jessica, can. I’m already bored.

For some reason taking risks actually means risking her life, at least to Elizabeth. She thinks about taking up hang gliding or all of these other extreme sports. Maybe I’m lazy, but for me being less predictable means going off book, forget about planning and routines and be spontaneous. It does not mean free-falling hundreds of feet to make a point to my “friends.” When she goes to a sporting goods store she realizes that all of these crazy sports cost a lot of money, but then she sees a sign advertising surfing lessons for $5 per hour. And she can afford that. She drives to the place mentioned on the flier and meets this guy named Sean, and his friends. Sean made a bet with his friends that he can teach the next person who walks in how to surf and they’ll be so great they’ll win an upcoming competition next month. Liz is the lucky winner, which means free lessons and a free surf board to rent. Radical.

Liz keeps sneaking off to go for surfing lessons three times a week. She tells everyone she is working on a marine biology project for extra credit. I can see everyone buying this except for the extra credit part. Anyways, surfing is a lot harder than Elizabeth expected, but she is a natural and still picks it up quickly. Her boyfriend Todd Wilkins is starting to complain about never seeing her. Sure there are four days out of the week she isn’t sneaking off, and yes they go to school together, and eat lunch with each other every day, but apparently that is just not enough time. Liz, dump his clingy ass. Meanwhile Sean keeps flirting with Liz, which makes her uncomfortable, but she brushes it off as innocent, because she thinks that Sean is dating his friend Laurie. At least, that’s what Laurie implied, but really Laurie is just really jonesing for him and he doesn’t really notice her at all. Sean keeps trying with Liz and finally asks her out, but Elizabeth says she has a boyfriend and finds out that he isn’t with Laurie, so Laurie must just be really into him. But everything is cool and they keep going with the lessons.

One day the waves are rough because a few days ago the weather sucked. Sean tells Elizabeth he isn’t sure she should be out there with the water the way that it is, but Elizabeth already had to miss two lessons because of the rain and the competition she is going to enter is only two weeks away. But Sean knew what he was talking about, and Elizabeth wipes out, hits her head and then gets caught in a rip tide. Sean rescues her, and she’s done for the day but still plans to keep surfing because even though she’s terrified after nearly drowning, she knows if she takes a break she’ll never start again. Good girl. Jessica has the car that day, and because of the whole almost dying thing Sean insists on driving her home so she won’t have to take the bus.

When they’re on Elizabeth’s street she sees Todd’s car in her driveway because they have a dinner date. She asks Sean to let her out a few houses away. Elizabeth isn’t the least bit embarrassed and doesn’t feel guilty, but she knows Todd will wig if he sees Sean. Isn’t this just one more reason to dump the guy? I miss Jeffrey “I trust, believe in and support you,” French. Liz, you’re so stupid, I still want to violently shake you for choosing Todd over Jeffrey. When Elizabeth gets to her house, Todd is being an ass. Elizabeth is still shaken by her ordeal of nearly drowning, and Todd is treating her like crap. He tells her he’s busy and breaks their date. Elizabeth is sure that Todd saw Sean, but he isn’t saying anything about it. God, I want to make Todd see stars by breaking out my combat boots and… well I’m sure you can figure it out.

While Liz has been busy surfing, Jessica has been busy with revenge! Caroline Pierce, former Sweet Valley High gossip queen, told a few people about Jessica pretending to be Magenta Galaxy and Daniella Fromage to land some new guys (See: Who’s Who – it’s a hoot). Jessica is furious, but I don’t get why. It’s not a rumor, because it’s true, and yeah it isn’t Caroline’s business, but A) how many people has she really told, B) who told Caroline, because someone had to, and C) At least six people already knew about these antics, so we’re not exactly talking about a state secret here.

Anyway, Jess is hell-bent on getting Caroline back, but she doesn’t know when to quit. Caroline took her parents’ car one night without permission and put a dent in it, so she had to get a job at Unique Boutique (that’s seriously the name) to pay for the repairs. Jess keeps going in and being any customer service rep’s worst nightmare. She messes up stacks of clothes, makes Caroline wait on her and wastes her time, and in that fake cavity-inducing sweetness is a complete bitch to Caroline. But since Jessica isn’t outright about it and Caroline’s manager is watching, Caroline just has to take it. Jessica does this at least ten times, even making an excuse so the manager makes Caroline carry out Jessica’s shopping bags that are actually filled with textbooks out to her car, in the pouring rain, and Caroline gets drenched. Liz keeps telling Jess to cool it, but she never learns. Then one day, she comes in and Caroline is all sweet to her. Jessica knows something must be up, but goes with it. The entire time I’m like, “Danger, DANGER!” but that’s because I’m smart. Caroline helps Jessica pick out tons of clothes to try on. Then when Jessica is changing, Caroline comes into the dressing room and picks up everything she already tried on to make room for some more clothes she found for Jess. But Caroline takes Jessica’s actual clothes as well, so Jessica is only in her bra and underwear, and there are no more clothes in the dressing room. Then Jessica hears Caroline tell off her boss who is being her usual witchy self. She has enough money to pay for the damages and she quits. Caroline walks out of the store, with Jessica’s clothes! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “Never fuck with a redhead.”

It’s time for the surfing competition and Elizabeth has made sure that a lot of her friends are going under the ruse of wanting to give them her big marine biology presentation and how much that means to her, and then using the surfing competition, which is supposed to happen right beforehand as a way to bribe those not otherwise interested in going to support Elizabeth. Right before it’s her turn Elizabeth overhears Laurie (Sean’s wannabe girlfriend) talking about how she really hopes she wins so she can impress Sean and finally get him to notice her, and it might be her last chance. Laurie has never seemed interested in surfing before, so Sean has no idea she’s been secretly practicing just like Liz has.

Elizabeth decides to throw the competition so that Laurie can win and land her man. And this pisses me off to no end. I mean I want to punch her in the face. First of all, the entire book built up to Elizabeth winning this competition, and all of a sudden it’s nothing? Second, while I am super competitive, I would much rather lose something than have someone let me win, even if I didn’t know it. Because that means they never gave me the chance to legitimately beat them, and they never considered the idea that I could. That’s a major insult! But Liz intentionally wipes out, and her friends are still impressed she tried, but keep giving her shit about being a klutz and to hang up surfing. And now I want to backhand anyone who makes these kind or remarks. I need to cool down.

Laurie wins, and Sean finally notices her, so there’s that I guess. The only thing that kept me from throwing this book across the room is that one of Elizabeth’s classmates, Bill Chase, who is a competitive surfer could tell Elizabeth wiped out on purpose. When he asked her why, Liz said it was in the name of love. Gag me!


All right, I’ll be honest. This book made me want to slap so many people that I considered checking into anger management. And the book ended with a teaser for the next book (which I am saving for that post) that makes me think the next book is going to make me even more slap-happy. Breathe, Michael. Breathe, Michael. Sweet Valley High is supposed to be this stupid. I have to keep telling myself that. Wish me luck!

-DMW

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