Break open those Lip Smackers and get your Lisa Frank organizers ready, friends. It’s a new school year, and we’re hopping in the red Fiat Spider and cruising straight back to 1988. That’s right, Gladiators. It’s time for another edition of Lessons from a Sweet Valley Reread!
This time around, I decided to revisit Sweet Valley High #48: Slam Book Fever. I chose this book for several reasons, mainly because:
- It’s called Slam Book Fever.
- It’s a special book fair edition and I wanted to know what that meant. (That remains a mystery.)
- The composition book and Jessica’s fierce sweater on the cover were too nostalgia-ridden for me to pass up.
Before we let our Dairi Burgers get cold, let’s dive right into the many lessons I learned from this back-to-school read.
The Magical Land of Connecticut Holds a Lot of Weight
Amy Sutton drops the fact that she lived in Connecticut into every single conversation. When she tells her fellow Sweet Valleyers that everyone at her old school in Connecticut uses slam books, they are rapt. Books where everyone anonymously fills in categories like Best Kisser and Least Likely to Go Out on a Date Before the Year 2000? What could possibly go wrong with that idea? No one’s feelings will get hurt. They do it in Connecticut!
Guys. You live in Sweet Valley. You have beach discoes and the Dairi Burger. There is literally no place cooler.
Slam Books are Flawed
I mean, obviously. No good can come out of these slam books, especially with people writing in “Jeffrey French and Olivia Davidson” as Couple of the Future when everyone knows that Jeffrey is Liz’s steady guy. But even with that aside, Ken Matthews gets Biggest Jock? Is that all he is? How about Dreamiest Studmuffin? Perfect Human? Best All Around? Oh, excuse me. Best All Around is already taken by Enid Rollins. ENID ROLLINS. Flawed.
Lila Fowler Should Have Her Own Reality Show
Who is the scheming mastermind behind the Jeffrey/Olivia future couple hullaballoo? Spoiler alert! It’s Lila Fowler, who has only been pining over Jeffrey since he transferred to SVH. Not only has Lila plotted this whole thing as a way to steal him away from Liz, she offers to play mediator, telling Liz that she’ll talk to Jeffrey on her behalf; then she whisks Jeffrey off to L’Escalier for a fancy schmantzy French dinner. When she’s not plotting, she’s hanging out at the beach in her gold bikini from Milan, on her towel that says THE RITZ. Dang, that girl is glamorous. But don’t think she’s all about the glitz that comes along with being the only daughter of a computer tycoon. Lila eats chicken surprise from the school caf, just like the little people. Sure, she pokes at it and complains about it, but why isn’t she bringing prime rib and caviar from home? WHAT’S THE REAL STORY?
I now remember why Lila was always my favorite character. Tell me you wouldn’t watch her every week on Bravo.
Jeffrey French > Todd Wilkins
Full disclosure: I’d almost forgotten about the brief period of time when Todd moved to Vermont and Liz immediately got super serious with Jeffrey French. Jeffrey French is so far superior! He works for The Oracle! He’s a really cool photographer! He doesn’t get manipulated by Lila’s tomfoolery! Now, I don’t want to jump to any conclusions here, but if it were Todd Wilkins getting caught up in Lila’s plot? He’d probably be living a Fowler Crest right now playing pool boy. That guy’s got no backbone.
Elizabeth Wakefield is Not That Intuitive
It seems like Liz is always the victim of one of Lila or Jessica’s schemes, but sometimes I wonder if she brings it upon herself. Instead of listening to her gut and trusting her awesome boyfriend, she gets all caught up in the slam book fever and the fact that Cara Walker saw Jeffrey with Olivia—when Jeffrey already called and told her he was with Olivia working on a photo shoot for the literary magazine. Instead of using her rationale or, you know, talking to Jeffrey, Liz decides to flirt with the new boy in school, A.J. Morgan, who anyone with eyes can see that Jessica is gaga over. Jess turns beet red whenever she’s in his presence! And when Jessica gets upset about it, Liz is like, “Why, what have I done?”
Where’s your twintuition, Liz? Where is it?
Elizabeth Wakefield is a Terrible Flirt
Her come on line to A.J. Morgan? “Come and buy me a hot dog.” You drive a red Fiat Spider, Liz. You can’t afford your own hot dog?
Well, gang, that’s all I have on the lesson plan for today. My main takeaway from this book? Slam books are bad. My minor but more surprising takeaway? Aaron Dallas has the best legs in Sweet Valley.
I can’t confirm if that’s true (my vote would be Ken Matthews), but the slam books say it is. I guess the only way to find out is to keep reading! I’ll catch you all at the Dairi Burger for the next reread.