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Sweet Valley High #6: Dangerous Love October 11, 2011

Filed under: Sweet Valley High — kitschythrift @ 11:54 am

Todd Wilkins did the unthinkable…he got cool. Okay, so he just bought a motorcycle, but that’s still one of the coolest things he ever did, in any Sweet Valley universe. Unfortunately Liz can’t ride with him and she hasn’t got around to telling him that. At first she just thought he was all talk, but then he got the money together and she chickened out.


Jessica reminds her that their way-cool cousin Roxy did in a head-on collision exactly one day after buying the motorcycle that no one wanted him to buy. She also thinks Liz should move on and start dating other people. Liz prefers pretending like she has a cold and making up other excuses for not getting on the bike.


Todd finally confronts her about it and she tells him about Roxy. Todd can’t believe that she would think he might pick a motorcycle over her and decides they should just make the most of the time they have together. He shows how trustworthy he is and how much he loves her by immediately giving a ride to anything in a skirt.


Enid’s sweet sixteen is coming up, which I find hysterical. I’m pretty sure only the early books mention that she skipped a grade and is technically a year younger than everyone else. Jessica desperately wants a date with her cousin Brian and cons Liz into asking for her. Enid shoots her down (denied!) because Jess is a huge slut and a bitch. those are her reasons too!


She points out that Jess just had a date with another guy and when Liz tries saying that it wasn’t serious, Enid says she shouldn’t dick around her cousin either. Don’t worry though because in a few pages Enid calls and changes her mind. She decides that she should forgive and forget, bo-ring!


The Dairi Burger is having its grand reopening in this book, which I think they forgot to mention in the Sweet Valley bible. In every other series (including SVT), the Dairi Burger is the hottest place to hang out. In this book, it’s a dive place that no one really likes, so the owners give it a facelift.


Jess’s new boytoy Danny accidentally hits Crunch McAllister’s van and he pins the guy against his car. Todd flies in on his motorcycle, Crunch nearly wets himself and Todd lets him take it for a ride, saving Danny. Liz sees green when the owner thinks Mandy, the girl Todd rode up with, is his girlfriend. She even gets jealous when he offers Enid a ride.


Max Dellon kindly offers Liz a ride a few days later and puts the moves on her. It’s actually kind of funny because he tells her that a closed car can be more fun than an open motorcycle. I totally see him wiggling his eyebrows as he says it. He chases her down, Todd sees the exchange and blows his top over her getting so close to another guy.


The night of Enid’s big party finally dawns and Todd isn’t there. He had to go to a party for his grandpa, but promises to get there as soon as he can. The group all plans on leaving the fancy party for the local dance club and Todd still isn’t there. Enid’s mom offers Liz a ride, so she waits around. Jessica was supposed to give her a ride, but is shacked up with Brian, Enid’s cousin. Todd shows up and tells Liz that he made a deal to sell his bike to Crunch. She feels so bad that she decides to take one ride with him. He refuses, but she pushes the issue.


Jessica stops making out for five seconds because she finally remembers her sister, 30 minutes after she was supposed to pick her up. Brian, who is a sophomore in college by the way, does not want to stop tapping a hot 16-year-old ass, so he puts her off. They go back to kissing, but she stops him again and tells him they should check on her sister.


On the way back, they come across an accident and she recognizes Todd’s bike. Worrying about how to tell Liz what happened, she jumps out of the car and sees them loading Liz in an ambulance. As she jumps inside, she vaguely hears Crunch talking about buying the bike. Everyone rushes to the hospital and the Wakefields blame Todd for everything, even throwing him out of the waiting room.


Mr. Collins arrives because god forbid his star reporter take a dump without him present and stands by Todd’s side. Ned jumps all over him again and Jess bursts into tears because it’s all her fault and frankly, well it kind of is her fault. Is there even one instance in any Sweet Valley book where she puts Liz in front of a guy? Once Jess takes responsibility, everyone climbs all over themselves making her feel better.


The doctor suggests they talk to Liz and try to get her to wake up. The book ends with Jessica and Todd begging her to wake up. I wonder if anyone thought she might actually die…


Goosebumps #50: Calling All Creeps! (R.L. Stine) October 10, 2011

Filed under: Goosebumps,R.L. Stine — kitschythrift @ 11:53 am

Ricky gets picked on by everybody in his school. He joins the school newspaper, but that doesn’t stop the teasing. One day, a guy chases him into the library and he spills soda all over editor Tasha’s keyboard. She screams at him and kicks him off the newspaper. She calls him the next day and asks him to cover the charity car wash.


When Ricky gets to the school, Tasha gives him her dad’s very expensive new computer. Can you see where this is going? She warns him that if he messes up again, he won’t get a second chance. Naturally, the four same bullies chase him all over the car wash, drench the camera, and trip him so he falls on it and breaks it.


To get back at Tasha for kicking him off the newspaper, he sneaks into the office late one night. He puts a note on the front page, saying that if you’re a creep, then you should call Tasha after midnight with her number listed. He wants to see what happened, but he keeps getting distracted all day and never sees a copy of the paper.


His friend Iris calls at midnight that same night, trying to tell him something. Her dad starts yelling at her, so she hangs up the phone. Immediately, Ricky gets three new phone calls from people saying that they are creeps, before his dad yells at him over the late night calls. He finds out that Tasha found his note and changed it to his number before the paper went out.


Ricky tries meeting Iris that day, but the bullies grab him and drag him into the woods. They announce that they are creeps and ask him why he never identified himself as their commander. They change into huge monsters and show him a bag of seeds that will change everyone else into monsters. He tries telling other people what happened, but no one believes him.


The bullies meet the next day, intent on hiding the seeds in the school cafeteria. They force Ricky to sneak inside and he spills the seeds on the floor. They give him another bag and he dumps them in the macaroni and cheese. Fortunately, no one eats the mac and cheese because it is so disgusting. The bullies corner him outside and Iris jumps out, pretending to also be a creep.


Iris is human, but they follow the monsters’ plan because they don’t know what else to do. They bake chocolate chip cookies and hide the seeds inside. They take the cookies to the school bake sale and Ricky warns everyone about eating them. One of the monsters drags him off and remind him that anyone who eats the seeds will become his slave. Ricky decides that having slaves is much better than getting picked on all the time, so he runs off, passing out free cookies…


The Babysitters Club #45: Kristy and the Baby Parade October 9, 2011

Filed under: Anne M. Martin,The Baby-Sitters Club — kitschythrift @ 11:52 am

Kristy gets bored sitting for David Michael and Emily one day, so she lets them make collages. When flipping through the paper, she sees an ad for the upcoming baby parade and decides to enter Emily. She wants to tell the other members about the parade, but Mrs. Preziosso calls first, needing a long-term sitter for Jenny and Andrea. Before anyone takes the job though, she wants them to attend a baby care class. Kristy gets the job and all the other girls agree to go too.


Naturally they all love the class and do great. The teachers host a graduation event and a bunch of their family members go to it. The teacher announces that only two people passed with perfect scores. One is a new father and the other is Kristy. She acts all shocked, but can’t stop beaming. They pick up a bunch of new clients, including Mrs. Salem and her two twins.


Kristy is nervous about sitting for Andrea, but puts on her big girl pants. She tries planning a bunch of activities for Jenny, but discovers that sitting for a baby takes a lot of extra attention. Mrs. Preziosso asks her to help make Andrea’s entry for the parade. Later the girls all decide that they should make a float and enter it with a bunch of kids they sit.


Of course things go bad from the first moment. Claudia makes a shoe/boot from chicken wire, but it looks wonky. Stacey mixes an orange-red color for the boot, while Mallory picks pink for the costumes. Jessi, Dawn and Kristy all notice the problems, but decide not to comment on it. The girls even fight over what idea to use for the float. Before deciding on the old woman in the shoe, they want a ball park (Kristy), Surfing USA (Dawn), Misty (Mallory), Three Little Kittens (Mary Anne), New York skyline (Stacey) and an alien invasion (Claudia).


Kristy works on Andrea’s entry, which involves her dressed as a queen and riding in a coach. Jenny keeps pouting because she wants to enter the parade, even though she’s too old. She sings, dances and does gymnastics, before Kristy snaps. Kristy tells her to help make the coach and then she can share the prize, even though she knows she shouldn’t make promises.


By the time the girls get the float ready, no one likes it. They have a huge fight and Dawn decides that Eleanor Marshall should wear a completely different outfit. Mallory freaks out because she didn’t make costumes for the BSC and they get pissed. They all go home annoyed at each other.


They meet the next day with Charlie planning on pulling the float. He puts on a hat and sunglasses so no one will recognize him. They ride in the parade with no one talking to each other. Kristy sees all the other floats and feels bad that they didn’t spend more working on their costumes and float. They don’t even place in the parade, but Andrea wins first in her division.


Later that night Kristy starts feeling bad and calls Mary Anne to apologize. The girls all meet at the next BSC meeting and make up over their fight. Oh and Charlie drives the float to the junk yard and dumps it.


*What kind of 13 (or 11) year old girls get so excited about taking a class on caring for babies. The teacher doesn’t even act surprised that they’re there, even though the rest of the class are new parents or expectant parents.


*Dawn tells the other girls about her new strategy for dealing with temper tantrums, which involves tucking a kid in bed and talking to them in a soothing tone. Um yeah, that would so never work. I want to see her pick up a screaming kid and put them in bed!


*Claudia dresses like a giant watermelon at one point, with watermelon earrings, black pants with green streaks, black boots and a red shirt with green buttons.


*I know I have said it before, but how has Claudia made it this far in school? On the signs, she misspells “shoe” “there” and even “woman.”


*Mrs. Preziosso is a pretty terrible mom. She gets so excited about the baby parade that she barely spends any time with Jenny. Then she lets Jenny destroy the float with a bunch of stickers.


*Kristy somehow manages to cover the wheels on Andrea’s stroller with gold painted cardboard wheels, makes a silver canopy and creates a horse that looks like it’s pulling the stroller…just with stuff from Mrs. Preziosso’s sewing room.


*According to Kristy, the baby parade only happens every two years. It must be a big deal because I think several months pass in this book from the time she sees the announcement to the time it happens.


*Other floats include a Wizard of Oz, Merry Go Round and Star Wars themes. The Star Wars one has a kid dressed as Chewbacca, which seems mean.


Goosebumps #22: Ghost Beach October 3, 2011

Filed under: Goosebumps,R.L. Stine — kitschythrift @ 5:23 am

Jerry and his little sister Terri (how cruel are their parents!) are spending a few weeks with their dad’s cousins Agatha and Brad. The night before they leave, Jerry has a nightmare involving the two of them exploring a cemetery and a hand coming up from the ground. Terri makes fun of him and they head off for their trip.


Terri convinces him to go out and explore the cemetery. They accidentally stumble upon a hidden cave, but three local kids show up and introduce themselves. Louisa, Sam and Nate are siblings that live nearby. They warn them about a ghost that lives in the cave and they laugh it off. They do ask their family, who tell them that the cave is just dangerous.


The next day, Jerry and Terri go out picking flowers and he finds a skeleton. Terri freaks out until he realizes that it belonged to a dog. The other kids tell them that the ghost kills dogs because only dogs can recognize ghosts. Their cousins tell them later that the other kids are neighbors.


Terri loves pressing wildflowers, bird watching and rubbing tombstones, so she drags him back to the cemetery. They discover that everyone in the cemetery has their same last name: Sadler. Terri also finds three headstones belonging to three kids that did in the 1600s: Louisa, Sam and Nate. They run home and tell their cousins.


Agatha laughs it off, telling them that the Sadler family came there from England during the 1600s and settled the area. A lot of people in town are named after their ancestors. She also tells them that if they look hard enough that they will find tombstones with their names on them. Brad laughs and says that he isn’t ready for the cemetery yet. Apparently the original kids were the children of one Sadler relation. The settlers all died during a harsh winter, including the kids.


They keep playing with the kids and sneaking off at night to peek at the cave. They see flickering lights, which the kids say is proof of the ghost. Agatha and Brad tell them that it’s a natural effect that just looks like light. They also see what looks like an old man walking around inside the cave.


Somehow the other kids convince them that they need to kill the ghost. They venture back into the cave and come face-to-face with the ghost. He grabs Terri’s arm and drags her deeper into the cave. When they tell him that they think he’s the ghost, he just laughs. He introduces himself as Harrison Sadler and tells them that he is a distant relative from England. He researched their family and came for a visit, but instead encountered the ghost kids. He tells them that Louisa, Sam and Nate are the ghosts. They run off and he yells after that they should visit the southeast corner of the cemetery.


Terri says that area is where they found the old tombstones and ventures back over. This time, they find two new graves with their names inscribed on the tombs. They rush off and run right into the other kids. Basically Sam convinces them that they need to go back and kill the ghost once and for all.


They go back to the cave and Harrison jumps out. He fights with the kids and Jerry doesn’t know who is real and who is a ghost. Suddenly, a dog comes out of nowhere and attacks the kids. The dog pushes the kids back, until they go through some sacred rocks or something and disappear, or “die.” Just before she disappears, Louisa whines that all she wanted was to have a life and that she died too soon.


Jerry and Terri run back to the house, where Agatha and Brad are sitting up and worrying about them. They tell their cousins the whole story of what happened and they get back blank faces. Agatha warns them that she told them to stay away from the cave. A dog shows up at the back door and Terri tries petting it, but it backs off growling. It shoots past her, pins Agatha against the counter and keeps growling. As the book ends, she asks Brad what they are going to do, now that the kids know their secret.


Goosebumps Series 2000 #21: The Haunted Car October 1, 2011

Filed under: Goosebumps 2000,R.L. Stine — kitschythrift @ 5:20 am

Mitchell, his little brother Todd and their parents moved to a new rundown house. His dad is constantly working around the house and they don’t have a lot of money. Mitchell hates their car and asks his dad if they can get a new one. His dad refuses, until the brakes go out and they almost die. Mitchell finds an ad in the newspaper with a like-new car that you name your price on and he convinces his dad to go.


The car looks great and when they take it for a test drive, it runs great. His dad claims that they will not buy the car, but the seller offers it to them for $5,000 if they drive it away that day. They take the car home and everyone loves it. Mitchell begs his dad to take him for a ride, but he refuses. That night he sneaks downstairs and climbs inside the car. The doors lock behind him and he can’t get out. He struggles, but can’t find the door locks. Luckily a girl opens the door and lets him out. Her name is Marissa and she just moved into a house down the street.


Mitchell decides not to tell anyone what happened. Some neighborhood boys come over and he shows them the car. They climb inside, the doors lock and the air conditioning comes on. They manage to get out, but he becomes convinced that the car is haunted. Of course, no one believes him, except Todd who believes that their house is haunted.


Todd thinks the ghost is Marissa because she always appears when things go wrong. To prove his brother wrong, he takes him down the street to her house. There they learn that the house is completely empty and no one lives there. He goes to the house of the seller and sees a picture of Marissa with “In Loving Memory” over it and runs home. His parents refuse to listen to his stories about ghosts and ground him because they discovered him sneaking out to the car.


Mitchell has a few more run-ins with the car. He hears a voice say, “I’m evil” coming from the radio and has the doors lock again. His whole family goes to visit their cousin, leaving him home alone. He sneaks out to the car, the doors lock and it takes off. He sees a girl that looks like Marissa sitting in the car and she claims that she wants to kill him.


The car drives all over town before taking him back home. When they get there, he sees his house on fire and almost burnt to the ground. Mitchell tells the ghost that if she had left him home, he would have burned to death in the fire, so she actually saved his life. The ghost starts screaming and disappears. He runs from the car and has a reunion with his family.


Marissa appears and reveals that she had an identical twin sister Becka. Becka stole the car one night, crashed it and died. Her father never got over it and sold the car as soon as he could. He tells her what happened and she says that she followed him to warn him, but is happy that it’s all over.


The next day his dad calls a mechanic because he can’t get the car started. The mechanic takes one look under the hood and thinks they are joking because the car has no battery. Mitchell’s dad scratches his head and wonders how they ever drove it around town without a battery…


Goosebumps #60: Werewolf Skin September 30, 2011

Filed under: Goosebumps,R.L. Stine — kitschythrift @ 5:19 am

Alex Hunter is heading off to the small town of Wolf Creek for a few weeks. He loves photography, so he is staying with his Uncle Colin and Aunt Greta who work as professional photographers. They warn him about the creek and act kind of funny around him. Plus, he notices that they look a lot older than they did the last time he saw them.


Their house looks nice, but the house next door has an overgrown lawn and looks abandoned. They warn him to stay away from that house because the Marlings’ don’t like people. He meets a neighborhood girl Hanna, who takes him to school and tells him about the people in town. They go on a walk in the woods, but she makes him leave before dark. They run into classmates Arjun and Sean who make cryptic comments about werewolves.


Alex hears weird noises that night coming from the house next door and looks for his camera. Realizing he left it in the woods, he runs outside to grab it. Coming back, he wanders into the Marlings’ yard and noses around. The next day, he gets a warning. The couple saw him and called his family. They also threatened to call the police if he did it again.


In his first class, the teacher devotes the period to werewolf lore because Halloween is coming up. According to the teacher, werewolves are human people and during a full moon, they put their wolf pelt on and go outside, where it merges onto their skin. Arjun and Sean tell him to meet them outside that night and they will show him proof that werewolves exist.


Alex tries sneaking outside, but finds his door locked and metal bars installed on his windows. His aunt tells him the next day that they did it for his own protection because of the other house. Hanna tells him that the couple are werewolves and all the kids in town known it. He tells his uncle, who says that the family has two dogs that make a lot of noise at night.


Alex keeps hearing the noises coming from the house. He sneaks over one day and sees wolf pelts sitting in the closet. He tells Hanna and she agrees to help him sneak the pelts out. Then he hears weird noises and sees werewolves emerging from the house. He follows them all night, but the next morning he is shocked when they transform into Greta and Colin.


On Halloween night, the two kids steal the wolf pelts and wander around town wearing them. His aunt and uncle start chasing them and they run into the woods. The moon comes out and the two start screaming in pain. They suddenly stop and stand upright. They rush over and thank the kids for freeing them from the curse. Apparently the only thing they had to do was get through one full moon without changing and yet never thought of doing it before.


Alex and Hanna head home, where they put the pelts back in the house. It turns out that no one lived there in a long time, so his aunt and uncle used fictional occupants to explain the werewolves. He goes inside and sees one pelt there. He turns to Hanna, who reveals that she is a werewolf and used her own pelt that night. Then she attacks and the book ends with him screaming. Too bad that the whole time she wore the pelt, she never transformed into a werewolf so the book really makes no sense.


The Baby-Sitters Club #23: Dawn on the Coast September 9, 2011

Filed under: Anne M. Martin,The Baby-Sitters Club — kitschythrift @ 5:58 pm

Dawn is going back to California for two weeks for spring break. Sharon is a little sad about her leaving, but takes her out for a celebratory dinner. After a breakfast of dry granola, she hops on the plane. She thinks her flight attendant looks like a kewpie doll and the woman ignores her the whole time to flirt with the guy sitting next to her.


From the moment she gets to California, she feels like she never left. Her dad takes them to Disneyland, the housekeeper makes healthy dishes all the time and she loves the sun. Sunny invites her over for a surprise and reveals that she started her own babysitting club with some girls in the neighborhood. They have meetings, make their own kid kits and are making their own collection of healthy recipes for kids. One of the girls even loves scary stories just like Dawn.


Dawn also gets a sitting job with two of the kids she once babysat for. She takes Clover and Daffodil to a carnival and loves being with them. The more she thinks about it, the more she wants to stay in California. She finally broaches the subject with her dad and he agrees to talk it over with her mom. She asks for a few days to think things over.


Sunny is excited and thinks she should move back. She makes a pro and con list that shows California as the winner, but can’t make up her mind. She tries calling Mary Anne, but she isn’t home. Then she realizes that she wants to share California with the people in her life, but moving back wouldn’t feel the same and she wants to go home to Connecticut.


Jeff acts out, but finally asks why she doesn’t want to come back. He thinks that she doesn’t want to live with a bunch of guys. She explains how much Connecticut feels like home. Her dad tells her that he knew all along she would go back. Dawn calls her mom, who reveals that she always knew Dawn might want to move to California.


The entire BSC comes to the airport to welcome her home. They giggle and gossip about her trip and everything that happened in town. Dawn thinks about how much she loves her mom, Connecticut and all of her friends there.


*How does Dawn know what a kewpie doll is or looks like? She doesn’t seem like the type to know about obscure dolls.


*Part of why Dawn decides to come home is Nicky Pike. He feels left out in his family and sneaks out to the secret passage. Kristy finds him and he tells her that he can’t wait for Dawn to come home, so she writes her a letter and tells her.


*Dawn’s dad tells her that she should bring the entire club back for a visit.


*I wish I had two weeks for spring break! Hell even in college I only got one week off for spring break.


*It always feels weird when Jessi writes one of the older girls. Here she sends Dawn a postcard after visiting her old neighborhood. It just doesn’t seem like they have any interaction outside of the club meetings.


*Dawn buys every member a pair of Mickey Mouse ears and gets Mary Anne a stuffed Minnie Mouse doll. That is a lot (a lot) of money. I remember paying like $20 for a pair of ears when I was a kid.


*Sharon is still dating Trip in this book and mentions that he’s taking her to a humor lecture. When she mentions her plans for the two weeks, she never even mentions Richard. And then she turns around and marries him in seven books.


*Dawn mentions at least three times that she could never, ever leave her mom. Talk to me in 50 books or so.