Sweet Valley High Super Edition: Spring Break
The Wakefield twins are on their way to Cannes for a ten day exchange programme organised by Ms Dalton, the French teacher at school and it takes a chapter and a half of them dicking around on their flight, not eating the plane food in disgust (WRONG, plane food is great and I love the tiny bread rolls and everything stashed in its own lil container) and almost being left behind in New York when the passengers are given half an hour to roam duty free while the plane refuels (that doesn't seem right, even for the 80s) before they get to France. They're staying with a family called the Glizes, consisting of Avery, a single mother, her son René and her daughter Ferney who is on her way to Sweet Valley to stay with Ned and Alice as part of the exchange. Jessica wants Liz to hook up with someone to help her get over Todd and teases her about hot René in the photo of the family that she's looking at.
His tightly-fitting jeans were unmistakably French.
Steady on, Liz.
We also learn that Lila is going to Paris for her exchange and Enid has to stay in Sweet Valley to babysit and earn pocket money. It always sucks to be Enid. The twins eventually land in France and are picked up at the airport by Avery and a surly René who end up arguing in the car in front of Liz and Jessica after he's really rude to them and slags off American tourists. Liz catches that he says "mon pere" a few times while they're arguing in French and she wonders what the deal is with his dad and why he's got a grudge against Americans. Hey I wonder if the two are related.
The following day, the twins are left to their own devices as Avery (who is had to go to work and René, who was supposed to show them around, legged it on his moped after his mother left. Jessica isn't too impressed as she wanted to see the local sights and hotspots and now feels like she's stuck in the house on their first full day, but Elizabeth convinces her to join her for a jog.
"Are you implying that I have to work to keep my perfect figure?" Jessica asked, trying to keep a straight face.
So Wakefield. So relatable.
Jessica gets fed up with jogging after a while though and turns to go back to the house, telling Liz she'll meet her back there. While she's walking back, she meets a boy called Marc who's getting out of a silver Porsche in front of a huge fancy mansion and strikes up a conversation with him, because even though he's "kind of funny looking" and short with frizzy hair, his family are clearly minted and that's good enough for Jessica. She manages to get him to offer to take her to the beach club that his family is a member of that afternoon and pops back to the house to put on her gold lamé string bikini (YES GAWD) and spend the day at the beach. Elizabeth potters around the house for a while, before Avery and René arrive back, arguing again because Avery is mad at him for bailing on the twins and tells him to take them on a tour of Cannes that afternoon. He brings Elizabeth around in the car but drives super fast and angrily and gets even grouchier with Liz when she asks if they're going to the beach and he tells her doesn't swim ...anymore. Then his eyes cloud over and he looks out to the horizon because this is a soap opera. He takes Liz to a cafe and introduces her to two of his friends and then just tries his best to ignore her and leave her out of their conversations and slags off her French accent when she tries to join in. When he goes to the bathroom his friends tell Liz that his father is American and left Avery when he and Ferney were young, also that they're not sure what's gotten into him, that he's usually a nice guy. René then continues to be horrible to Liz for the rest of the afternoon when they all go for lunch and makes a show of her in the restaurant. When they get back to the house, Liz goes for a walk to get away from him and his jerk face and ends up finding a German Shepherd puppy. She takes the puppy back to the address that's on his tag and what do you know, he belongs to a countess. Because of course French aristocrats live in houses that any asshole can just toddle on up to. The countess invites Liz in for a glass of wine, they get on like a house on fire and she tells her to come back the following day.
Back at the Glize's house, Jessica tells Elizabeth that she had an amazing time at the beach, even though in reality most of the people she met there were boring friends of Marc's parents. Also most of the women on the beach were sunbathing topless and Jessica even joined in eventually, although as soon as she took her top off, she dove for the lounger and laid on her stomach. Gasp, half naked Wakefield twin! Escandalo! At dinner, René makes mean remarks every time his mother's back is turned and even Elizabeth snaps at him which makes Jessica realise that he must have been particularly awful to her earlier that day and establishes himself firmly at the top of Jessica's list of enemies.
The next day, Elizabeth meets the countess at her house again and is introduced to her grandson Jean-Claude, a handsome piece of ass in tennis whites with a deep tan, sandy hair and almost no English. He takes her out around Cannes and they go to the observatory and play boules with some old dudes and Jean-Claude is super flirty and a total charmer but not really Elizabeth's type so she's happy to just be pals. When he takes her back to the the Glize's house that evening they arrange to go to the beach the following day and Jean-Claude fills Liz in on the reason René is all weird about swimming. A few years ago he was swimming in the sea with his best friend, but he swam ahead and the friend got a cramp and ended up drowning, so he hasn't gone near the sea since. Then Elizabeth is all conflicted with concern for René despite the fact that he's been an absolute asshole to her, and thinks maybe she should try to talk him around or whatever. Ugh, let sleeping dickheads lie, Liz.
Meanwhile, back in Sweet Valley, it turns out that Ferney is the image of Tricia Martin, Steve's girlfriend who died tragically of leukemia. Ned and Alice are worried because Steve is obsessed with her and even though he doesn't speak French and she doesn't speak English, he's been spending all his free time with Ferney, dodging his actual girlfriend Cara and not returning her calls. Apparently he's deciphered that Ferney likes science and he's all excited because Tricia liked science too and wanted to be a scientist so that means Ferney does too and Steve is an idiot. Ned and Alice have decided that the best course of action is to do sweet fuck all and see what happens. Nice one, lads.
Jessica is wildly jealous of Elizabeth's new hot friend and is annoyed that she's arranged to go to the beach again with Marc while Elizabeth will be hanging out with the handsome grandson of a countess. We also learn that Elizabeth has told Jean-Claude that she's here with her sister, but that she couldn't remember the French word for twin, so he doesn't know that Liz has an identical twin and we can all see what's going to happen here. Jessica heads off with Marc to the beach and then Avery rings the house looking for René, but he's not there, so when Elizabeth answers and it turns out Avery needed him to pick up a prescription for one of her patients, Elizabeth agrees to do it, figuring she'll be able to get the bus into town and get back in time to meet Jean-Claude. She leaves a note on the door of the house for Jean-Claude before leaving, explaining that she might be a few minutes late, but then everything takes ages and there's a car crash on the way back so the bus gets delayed and when she finally gets back to the house, over half an hour after the time she was supposed to meet Jean-Claude, there's no sign of anyone. And that's because Jessica came home early from the beach after faking a headache because Marc was doing her head in. She took the note from the door, figuring that she'd explain to Jean-Claude that Elizabeth was going to be late, but when he came knocking and mistook her for Elizabeth, Jessica just went along with it and pretended to be her twin. Apparently it's "love at first sight" for Jessica, so she decides that Elizabeth wouldn't stand in her way and just straight-up steals her date for the day.
|LOOK at these demented bitches. Dressed like old ladies and as Anna, a Facebook pal pointed out, they both look like they're screaming. Just, walking around France, looking at the sights. Screaming.|
Jean-Claude is a bit confused at first because Jessica's French isn't as good as Elizabeth's, but she manages to blag her way through their day at the beach and they go swimming, waterskiing and diving off Jean-Claude's friend's boat, followed by dinner in a place up in the mountains. Meanwhile, Elizabeth has a horrible day after all the faffing around doing that favour for Avery and then when she's back to the house, René gets on her case again for no reason and they have a big row. Jessica eventually comes home and feels guilty when she sees that Elizabeth had a terrible day, but still weasels out of coming clean because she knows that if she tells the truth, Elizabeth will make her confess to Jean-Claude and then he might not want to see her anymore if he knows she lied. So she lets Elizabeth think that Jean-Claude must be mad at her for not being in time for their date and that it's not a big deal because she didn't even fancy him, whereas Jessica really does, so all this snakey behaviour is totally justified. This is so mean and also, why aren't the twins hanging out together, like at all? I mean, if you're going away with your sister, isn't it a bit weird to immediately ditch each other and hang out with strangers, instead of both of them going to the beach with Marc that first day, or both of them going out and about with Jean-Claude showing them the sights?
The following day, Jessica plays tennis with Jean-Claude while Elizabeth gets the bus into town on her own and goes for walks around Cannes, writes postcards and sunbathes at the beach. On her way back to the Glize's house, she picks up the post for the family and sees an airmail envelope for René. She hands it to him when she gets inside and he just scowls and throws it in the bin, unopened. Which is Elizabeth's cue to get all up in his business, asking him why he's not going to read it. The letter is from his father, and apparently he writes to René every month and every month his letters go straight into the bin. Elizabeth tells him he's being unfair and that he has nothing to lose by opening the letter and seems to be getting through to him and past his obnoxious asshole exterior. René then says that if he doesn't open the letter he supposes Liz is going to do it for him.
"I know you think I'm like that, the kind of person to meddle in other people's business, but that's not true. I wish I could make you understand that."
Sorry. What I meant to say was - AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Oh my GOD, here, have some self-awareness on me, Liz. GOOD GRIEF.
Anyway, at the precise moment when René actually reaches for the letter, Jessica breezes into the kitchen and ruins the moment, then makes a remark about René being afraid of water, which is pretty mean, considering he's traumatised from his friend's death so René storms out and Jessica's like, "fuck him, he had it coming".
Back in Sweet Valley, Cara is upset because she was supposed to meet Maria Santelli and a few others for pizza, but when she arrives at Guido's, who does she see all snug in a booth only Steven and Ferney. Steven has the decency to be at least look a bit ashamed and awkwardly asks her if she wants to join them, but Cara says it looks like there isn't room and runs back out to her car. Cara. For real.
D U M P H I M.
Anyway, after all that, Steve invites his friend David to hang out with them, because David studies French and can translate for Ferney. However, Steve soon realises that while science is her favourite subject at school, Ferney doesn't actually want to be a scientist. Apparently she did an experiment and made a new lipstick colour, but Steve is disappointed that she doesn't have "noble aspirations" like noble dead Tricia and he doesn't want to hear about it (UGH, maybe I want to hear about it Steve, it actually sounds pretty impressive, what cool experiments have YOU done, hmm?) and thinks she's silly and frivolous because she likes fashion magazine and wants to hang out with the other French kids and eat crepes. She's more like Cara was before the major emotional upheaval she went through which made Steven deem her worthy of his time, i.e. "more into her own personal pleasures, less aware of people around her, less adult, I guess." You know, like A SIXTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL. Maybe it's time to stop dating high school students Steve, ya big creep. He realises his mistake and goes grovelling to Cara who then forgives him and takes him back. Boo.
Jessica is off sailing to an island with Jean-Claude for the day and Elizabeth is left in the house on her own again. This host family absolutely sucks. Anyway, Marc calls to the house and when Liz answers, he assumes it's Jessica and asks how she's feeling. Elizabeth explains that she's not Jessica and she thought Jessica was out with Marc for the day so she quickly realises that her sister has ditched him for some other dude. He wanted to take Jessica to an art exhibit, so Elizabeth offers to go with him instead as she wouldn't mind some company. They have a lovely afternoon and end up making friends with the artists' daughter Veronique, who hits it off with Marc so he forgets about being ghosted by Jessica. Elizabeth gets back to the house, expecting to find Jessica there as she said she'd be back by half three, but it's five o'clock now and there's no sign of her. By seven o'clock, Elizabeth is properly worried because she has no idea where Jessica is and now there's a storm outside. René arrives home and and when Elizabeth tells him how worried she is, he tells her his friends saw Jessica with Jean-Claude earlier that day and goes on about how they just steal each other's boyfriends. Elizabeth calls the countess at home and she's all confused because she thought Jean-Claude was with Liz but tells her that he said he was going out to Ile Sainte-Marguerite on his sailboat. Elizabeth panics and gets René to bring her to beach where they sailed from but balks when she sees that she'll have to go on his moped, because Wakefields are forbidden from traveling "by motorcycle" after their cousin Rexy died and that time Elizabeth was in a terrible accident. She has to make sure Jessica is alright though and also, it's a moped so it's more like a hair dryer than a motorbike Liz, chill out. She hops on and René drives through the rain and the wind and the stormy weather down to the beach only to see the little boat struggling through the waves. Jessica and Jean-Claude are trying to control the boat but a massive wave tips it over and Elizabeth sees the boom hit Jessica's head before she falls into the water. Elizabeth runs in and swims over, trying to tow Jessica to the shore but the choppy water makes it super difficult. Then René appears, having put his fears aside and helps Liz to bring Jean-Claude and Jessica back to safety.
Jessica comes to and when she sees Jean Claude, Elizabeth realises that the two of them are in looooove and is amazed at the look on Jessica's face and the light in her eyes is "new and rare". Jean-Claude does a double take when he sees Elizabeth and registers her face, but Elizabeth sees her sister "make a silent plea" and introduces herself as Jessica. Oh GOD, kick the pair of them back into the sea. Jessica then goes out for dinner that night with Jean-Claude after Avery checks her over and gives her the all-clear because almost drowning on holiday ain't nothing to a Wakefield twin. While she's out, René knocks on Elizabeth's door and she thanks him for helping her save Jessica and tells him how brave he is. He apologises for being such a douchebag and explains that he was extra hard on her because he actually really likes her and it all got tangled up in his anger over his father so the two of them become friends and he's going to take her out on a date the following day. Also, Jessica comes clean with Jean-Claude and he still loves her so that's all great and there's no way we're ever going to hear about this dude ever again.
Jessica came super close for this accolade with these humdingers:
"Liz, where's the purple shirt you brought with you?" asked Jessica. "It'll go great with these." She pulled on a pair of black stirrup pants that clung to her body.
She jumped to her feet, quickly pulling on a pair of velour jogging pants and a loose, man-tailored shirt.
DAMN GIRL. But this one has to go to what appears to be Prince George, who is a time-travelling baby, spotted in the airport:
Elizabeth caught sight of a little boy dressed in blue, knee-length shorts, complete with crisp white shirt, suspenders, ankle socks, and navy oxfords.
Things I counted:
Number of pages: 216
References to the twins' blue-green eyes: 3
References to the fact that the twins are blonde: 9 (Heck yeah)