Everyone’s favorite scheming twin is at it again. Whoa, wait a second. This scheme is all Elizabeth. Goody-goody Elizabeth Wakefield is being sneaky, and playing with people’s lives just like Jessica usually does. And Jessica isn’t a fan. All right, my interested is piqued. Onward! 😉
“The Love Bet”
Sweet Valley Scale: 4 out of 5 Twins
Dana Larson is fed up with love. She tells everyone that she prefers spending her time singing with her band, The Droids, and writing music instead of wasting her time on dates. Aaron Dallas is fed up with love too. He insists that soccer is much more important to him than girls. But Elizabeth Wakefield has a plan to make Dana and Aaron fall in love… with each other! Elizabeth’s boyfriend, Todd Wilkins, reluctantly agrees to help, but he bets Elizabeth that she won’t succeed. After all, Dana is a rock singer Aaron is a total jock – they have nothing in common. Everything Dana likes, Aaron hates and vice versa! Elizabeth thinks she’s creating the match of the decade, but Todd thinks she’s headed for a matchmaking disaster. Who will be right and win this love bet?
Dana Larson is fed up with love. So fed up, she actually writes an impromptu song about it at a party Patty Gilbert is having and performs it for everyone after making her declarations. Aaron Dallas is also fed up with love. At first I was like, “OMG what about Heather!” And then I realized I read way too much Sweet Valley High if this was my kneejerk reaction. Heather was Aaron’s serious girlfriend for awhile, and I quite liked her. She had been with him through so much… But she wasn’t killed off, and didn’t get with someone else and Aaron didn’t suddenly get stupid and dump her – she moved away. So I don’t have to be angry at the ghostwriter for the circumstances of their relationship ending. (Again, I obviously read way too much Sweet Valley High!)
Later that night Elizabeth Wakefield and her boyfriend Todd “Asshat” Wilkins are musing about how Dana and Aaron are both “over love” but they don’t buy it. Todd makes a joke about how they should get together, and Elizabeth thinks this is a wonderful idea. I don’t know why she does, but I have to agree that artist-types and athlete-types together are usually HOT. Todd tells her he was just joking, so she suggests they make a bet. They’ll try to (secretly) set up Dana and Aaron, but just set the groundwork. If they fall in love then Elizabeth wins, and if it is a disaster as Todd predicts then he wins. The loser will have to fulfill three wishes made by the winner. Does anyone else think this sounds like the lamest thing ever?
On Monday, Elizabeth enlists the help of Penny Ayala and Olivia Davidson. Dana is coming to look over the proof of her “Fed Up With Love” song that they’re putting in the paper. Why? The girls are talking loudly about how Aaron couldn’t stop talking about Dana. Dana hears them and they suddenly get quiet and act all shifty, but the whole idea was for Dana to overhear. Todd, with the help of Penny’s boyfriend, Neil Freemont, and class clown Winston Egbert pull the same thing on Aaron. But they were much more subtle about it, smarter too. Now Aaron and Dana both think that the other person likes them. So they keep blushing whenever they see one another.
Elizabeth asks Dana to go to a movie with her and Todd, while Todd asks Aaron. They all ride together, and I don’t understand how Aaron and Dana cannot see through such an obvious setup. It makes me hate them a little. They go to the movie and then out for a pizza afterward. Dana is surprised that Aaron can actually carry on a decent conversation and he makes all these insightful and sensitive observations about the movie. Dana is starting to fall, and then Aaron brings up her song “Fed Up With Love” and how right it is. A big boo on love. Dana catches herself and agrees.
Elizabeth isn’t giving up yet though. Todd invites Aaron to a jazz music festival and suggests that he invite Dana to go with them. He does, and he and Dana at this point are obviously really into each other, but they’re both also really stubborn so they try not let on that they are. At the festival Dana and Aaron talk about their passions, which leads into how music is like soccer. I wanted to write a letter to the ghostwriter at how absurd this was. I mean the idea is a reach, but if it was written well enough, I could have bought it. No such luck here though. Dana admits that she has never been to a soccer game, so she agrees to go to the next home game. This time she is the one who reinforces it’s strictly platonic: “Friends should take an interest in each other.” Sigh, followed by a facepalm.
Dana is so into the soccer game it’s not even funny. I mean when I dated jocks in high school, I would only occasionally go to a game. And then it was just about a big show of support. It wasn’t like I suddenly “got it” or cared to. Dana, you’re losing yourself girl! By now, it looks like both Aaron and Dana are going to be a sure thing, so Liz decides to give them one more push and after that she’s done, regardless of which way it goes. They decide to go to a play together (Elizabeth, Todd, Aaron and Dana), but this time they’re taking separate cars, and Aaron is picking up Dana himself. Dana is thrilled and then that morning she finds an anonymous card in her locker. It’s romantic and mushy and someone has written, “Roses are red, violets are blue, I’ve changed my mind, how about you?” Elizabeth is less enthused though – she recognizes Todd’s handwriting. Elizabeth convinces Dana not to say anything about the card to Aaron and then hunts down Todd herself. She accuses him of trying to sabotage the couple so he could win the bet, but he claims he was just trying to help them along, and he just didn’t think. I totally think Todd is devious enough to try to sabotage someone else in order to win a bet with his girlfriend, but I believe him in this instance. Because he’s just not that smart, and his whole defense here is, “I’m just not that smart.” Sounds legit to me.
Elizabeth and Todd bail on the play at the last minute, so it becomes a real date for Dana and Aaron. They have a wonderful time and then go to this romantic café for dessert. Aaron is about to confess his feelings when Dana interrupts him and says he doesn’t need to, he said it all in his card. Aaron tells Dana he never left her a card and when he reads it he recognizes Todd’s handwriting. I don’t know how many high school boys can recognize each other’s handwriting, unless it was like a real funky signature or something, so this seemed a little suspect to me. Dana is so mortified as she realizes this has been a setup the entire time that she runs out of the café without another word. Ugh. Why does a girl always have to run away stupid, when one single conversation could clear everything up. She’s certain Aaron doesn’t like her and it was all Todd and Elizabeth’s doing, and he was just about to tell her how he feels. Grrr…
While all of this has been going on, Jessica has been busy. First, when she finds out about the scheme her sister cooked up, she’s pissed. Because she relies on Aaron being one of her backup guys when she gets bored or can’t find a date. How could her sister do this to her? There is an upcoming “Battle of the Bands” where three other bands have challenged The Droids (Dana’s band) to a contest. It’s being sponsored by a local radio station and the winner gets to go to LA to play at a hot club. Jessica convinces Lila Fowler to be a roadie for a competing band so when their band wins they can go to LA and meet rock stars. Jessica’s idiocy never ceases to amaze me.
Even though Jessica loves The Droids, the idea of Dana getting with one of her backups is too much, so she looks elsewhere for a band. The only band that needs some roadies is called Spontaneous Combustion. Unfortunately, all of the guys in the band are super ugly. And they smoke. And their music is terrible. Like so bad, Jessica’s ears hurt and she refers to it as noise pollution. But she sticks with them and this has me so confused. Did Jessica forget that unless they win the Battle of the Bands, she won’t be going to LA? Why stick with a bunch of losers? And while Jess is usually harsh, I agree with her. They’re losers. (They also keep referring to Jessica and Lila as “chicks” and are sometimes handsy. If they had tried that on me they’d each be missing a ball.)
Back to the Dana/Aaron fallout: When Dana gets home she calls Liz and tells her she knows everything and tells her off. Dana refuses to take any of Elizabeth’s calls, and doesn’t take any of Aaron’s either. Elizabeth accuses Todd of purposely wrecking everything again, and then they fight and break up. (It wouldn’t be a Sweet Valley High book if they didn’t break up.) Then Jessica gets home after a terrible night with Spontaneous Combustion and she yells at Liz and refuses to talk to her. Everyone is pissed at Liz, and I’m just wondering why she always has to meddle. Elizabeth and Jessica make up, but no such luck when it comes to Todd and Dana.
It’s time for the Battle of the Bands, and as Dana is getting ready, Aaron corners her and tells her that they need to talk. Out on the soccer field Aaron tells Dana that even though he didn’t send the card, he loves her. And then Dana says it back and they kiss and blah, blah, blah. Aaron also tells her that Elizabeth and Todd thought they would like each other, which is why they interfered but now they’re not talking to each other. But one thing at a time… The Droids kill it at the music contest and are declared the winners, while Spontaneous Combustion had some equipment blow out. Love how this goes back to their name, but hey, they should have stopped getting handsy and calling Jessica a chick.
That following Monday, Elizabeth gets an “anonymous” card in her locker from Todd, saying to meet him after school so they can make up. When Elizabeth sees Todd, they run into each other’s arms (gag!) and make up. But they both think the other one made the first move. Apparently, Todd got the same card. As they try to sort it out, they see Aaron and Dana drive by they smile and wave. Look who got set up now. 😛
Elizabeth is officially the winner of the bet. And as expected, she lets her douchebag of a boyfriend off easy by wasting all three of her wishes: 1) They’ll never fight again over something so stupid. 2) They’ll be together forever. 3) That Todd give her the most amazing kiss right now. Todd responses, “One Todd Wilkins Deluxe Smooch, coming right up!” And I just threw up in my mouth a little.
You know what bothered me the most about this book? Jeffrey French, the guy Elizabeth should have stuck with, is not in this book. Sure they broke up, but he has been in a few books since that happened and he is so much better (and more interesting) than Todd. But the reason it was such a shock for this particular book is that Aaron Dallas is Jeffrey’s best friend, not Todd’s. And Jeffrey is one of the stars of the soccer team (Todd only plays basketball) and the soccer team had a couple of games and celebrations in this book. Where the heck is Jeffrey French?