2 out of 5 stars
Before Reading: Jessica and Lila are fighting over a boy??! Shocker!! They both look very plain on the cover to me. Not the dazzling beauties they're made out to be. Lila has creepy claw hands.
The Main Plot in 50 Words or Less: Lila finds a mysterious new hot guy in town and claims him. Jess decides she wants him too. The guy wants both of them, but may not be all he seems.
The Second Plot in 20 Words or Less: Liz discovers a budding new photographer for the newspaper and also a secret affair between two good friends.
Opening Lines: "I just can't wait to meet Lila's mystery man," Jessica Wakefield announced to her twin sister as they cleaned up after their usual Sunday family brunch.
Closing Lines: Elizabeth let out a horrified gasp. George and Enid! The ordeal was not over yet!
Best WTF Lines: "I didn't know Robin could write like this."
"She used to write all the time," Elizabeth explained, "before she lost all that weight. Remember? When she was the butt of everyone's jokes instead of the girl all the boys wanted to date?"
"She used to write because she needed some kind of outlet, a bit of comfort," Elizabeth continued. "Then when her life did that turnaround and she got onto the cheering squad and everything, she gave it up." [Seriously?? Seriously!? I'd expect this kind of talk from Jessica, but Liz?? UGGHHH]
Happenings in SV: Lila has a big swimming party at her fabulous mansion to welcome the new guy, Jack, into town (and her heart, hopefully). Penny, the editor of The Oracle, has mono so Elizabeth is in charge. I always wanted mono as a kid, especially after reading the Baby-Sitters Club book where Mallory gets it. (I haven't gotten to that one yet, darn it!) Luckily, Liz has the help of young, handsome Roger Collins, everyone's favorite teacher. One of the books does discuss his possible "relations" with a student, doesn't it? Anyway, Liz is a little overwhelmed at first, but she obviously does an awesome job.
Jack starts dating Jessica during the week and Lila on the weekends. Jess knows and doesn't care, Lila thinks she's the only one. Nicholas Morrow is pretty sure he knows Jack from somewhere and doesn't figure it out until a prep-school friend is visiting from out of town and recognizes him. Turns out Jack is bad news (duh) and created this whole fantasy world where he's rich and basically cons people (girls) out of money. Oh and he's on drugs. Conveniently, the two boys realize this right after seeing Jack & Jessica go driving off towards Jack's house and the boys immediately go tell Liz. She runs to Jessica's rescue, assuming the worst, and breaks in right as Jack is holding a knife to Jess' neck after she found his drug stash. The boys tackle Jack and Jessica does her best cheerleading kick to get the knife out of his hand. (No, really, that's what happened.) And everyone is safe.
Liz finds out that Enid's boyfriend is cheating on her with former fluffy girl, Robin. She has to decide what to do, besides you know, telling her best friend. The book ends with Liz confronting the cheaters and telling them to come clean or she would for them. George promises to tell Enid after he takes her for an airplane ride (he just finished getting his pilot's license with Robin).
Fashion Icons: At the swim party: [Jack] was dressed conservatively in a pair of khaki walking shorts, a green Lacoste shirt, and Top-Siders. When [Jessica] got within a few feet of [Jack] and had made sure he was looking in her direction, she slipped out of her terry-cloth beach robe, revealing a minuscule turquoise bikini that showed off her every curve.
Jessica stood in the middle of Elizabeth's cream-colored bedroom and modeled a slinky, royal-blue dress. It fell softly to just below her knees, with a slit up both sides to midthigh.
Dressed in camel-colored slacks, a button-down shirt in light-blue Egyptian cotton, brow loafers, and a matching belt, he looked as if he'd just stepped out of the pages of Gentleman's Quarterly. (I like how these books always describe the guys' clothes too.)
"How does this outfit look?" [Jessica] asked, turning slowly as she modeled her crimson sweater-dress, with the buttons running all the way down the back, and her flat-soled black sandals. Her hair was brushed to a shine, and one strand was woven into a tiny side braid.
Twin Hijinks: Jack confuses the twins at the swim party, but that's about it for this book.
Other Thoughts: Jack is obviously a skeeze, right from the beginning. Taking both girls' numbers? No. But Jessica knows that Lila really likes him and that doesn't stop her from macking all over him too. Elizabeth tries to get Jess to see how poorly she's treating Lila, but Jess doesn't care. Jack says he's a construction worker but used to be a rich playboy and ran away from daddy's stern rules. Both girls are convinced that he'll one day be the Prince of Sweet Valley, with the right girl on his arm.
The Next Book*: Can George and Enid avert disaster? Find out in Sweet Valley High #20, CRASH LANDING!
*(not necessarily what I'll be reading)