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23 October 2008 @ 10:56 pm
Sweet Valley Kids #62  
My library may have weeded out all the old school Sweet Valley but there's still SVK books in circulation! It's been awhile since I've posted anything so I thought I'd try my hand at recapping one. 

Thank you, thank you, just let your appluase die away, quite naturally, as if you really mean it!

This scene never happend! *spoiler alert* A ghost DOES appear at the party but the kids don't run away from the Wakefield house screaming in terror while the twins pat themselves on the back for a job well done-"Wow, cutting holes in that bedsheet really fooled them!"

Ballerina Ellen wins the prize for Most Freaked Out Expression. Princess Lila is runner up and I have no idea who the indian is. Kisho? Great idea, artist, let's dress the Japanese boy up as an American Indian to further encourage humiliating sterotyping, just like in that Adams Family sequel... 

We're Having a Party!

That's right, everyone in Sweet Valley has gone mental and are celebrating Halloween for the
FOURTH TIME this year! Maybe the Wakefield's didn't get a chance to host their Halloween party yet so its a do-over.

This entire book is told from Jessica's POV and, yes, it gets downright irritating with Jessica reminding us how wonderful her seven year-old-egotistical-self is on EVERY FREAKIN' PAGE!

She informs us she's seven and in 2nd grade in Mrs. Otis's class. She describes her general outward appearance but, guess what? There's
another seven year-old in her class with straight blonde hair, bangs, blue-green eyes, AND she has dimple in her left cheeck too, just like Jessica. Could it be magic? An imposter? No, it's just Margo Elizabeth, her twin sister! (But wouldn't it be awesome to have Margo in Sweet Valley for Halloween?)

The twins are having a party, as if you haven't already guessed. As they pass out invitations, Jessica assures her classmates that their party will be the spookiest of spooky Halloween parties EVER. They plan to serve great food, set up a spooky haunted dungeon in their basement and play spooky games. (due to a limited 2nd grade vocabulary, Jesica just can't get enough of saying the word, "spooky" ) They've invited
everyone in their 2nd grade class, even bullies like Charlie Cashman get to come. They tried to invite their brother Steven but he wouldn't  be caught dead at what he calls a "lame little kids' party". He's going to another Halloween party across town with his friends.
Wow! Two Halloween parties on the same night in Sweet Valley. This town ain't big enough for the two of 'em, you know so this means WAR! But, sadly, that's not what happens.

Ch. 2
Winston's Scary Story

Winston initiates the idea of telling scary stories during lunch recess to help everyone get in the proper mood for Halloween. He leads it off by jumping onto a bench, the perfect stage to tell this whopper of a tale. He claims this is a true story. It REALLY happened to him!

Once he and his family were vacationing in a cabin up in Piney Woods, California, supposedly a state park not far away. Outside the wind was howling, leaves were blowing around, everything was all creepy-like, THEN he hears a strange yodeling/moaning sound! Like this, he demonstates, "OOOOOOHHHEEEEEOOOOHHH" His audience shivers and gasps "
That's so scary, Winston!" in genuine awe (They're very dramatic for second graders). Then Winston's dad reminds him he needs to go outside. Yes, OUT THERE! Into that big, black, creepy night, all by himself, to the top of yonder creepy hill where Winston stupidly left his new birthday bike just lying there, out in the open where the rain and wind could damage it.

So, Winston's all alone on top of the hill. He comes to his bike when suddenly he hears the moaning sound again. He turns around and there's a man there! He's coming right at Winston! The man throws back his head and moans again. Then, right before Winston's eyes, he drops onto all fours and sprouts hair, turning into...a warewolf! 

His impressed audience gasps, 
"Oh, my gosh, what did you do?"

Without even blinking an eye, Winston replies, "I grabbed my handlebars and pushed my bike and ran as hard as I could all the way back to the cabin." 

*snort* I don't get it! Can Winston not ride his bike without training wheels? The creature-warewolf-thing is about to get you, Winston, why didn't you just jump on your bike and ride like the wind to get away? Don't you know "You got to ride, ride like the wind. To be free again!"
I'd also be demanding Winston show me his shin marks from tripping over the pedals while he ran. 

So, anyway, the other kids breathe sighs of relief that Winston, thanks to some pretty impresive olympic bike-sprinting, managed to escape the clutches of the warewolf.

Wow," Lila's eyes are huge, "you saw an actual warewolf!" (and lived to tell about it). They totally believe him and award his story "the scariest one told at recess today" Really? Compared to who else's? I'll admit Todd snuck one in before Winston's where the stranger he thought he heard tapping on his bedroom window outside turned out to be scratching tree branches and that's just lame, not even worth my time to recap. (Which I just did!)

All this time Jessica's been sitting here, listening to Winston's dumb story, fuming, because nobody's talking about
her fabulous party anymore. Even her best friend is ignoring her. How DARE they even forget, for one second, about HER PARTY? 
 An outraged Jessica jumps to her feet and confronts Winston,
That's nothing!" she shouts, "I know a much scarier story and it's a million times scarier than yours!"

Ch. 3 
Jessica's Scary Story or "Jessica one-ups Winston"

The kids scoff that Jessica even KNOWS any scary ghost stories. Jessica is so outraged smoke is practically pouring out of her ears. They don't believe her? Well, she'll show em'!

So, Jessica launches into her tale about their Wakefield ghost. He comes and haunts their house every Halloween. 
Oh, really," the others snark, "then, what's his name? Where did your ghost come from?"

It's the ghost of..uh..." Jessica pulls up the first name she can think of, "Jeremiah Wakefield!"
Yeah, you know the one I'm talking about, the famous gold miner in the Wakefield family. 

Who? Exactly. I've read both Wakefield family saga books and don't seem to recall anyone named Jeremiah but I did have a good friend once named Jeremiah, had some mighty fine wine. He was a bullfrog.

Anyway, Prospector Jeremiah was spirited off a cliff after being seperated from his camp and his donkey. What happened was this: he'd come into town for suppiles, was warned by the townsfolk, 'there's evil spirits in them thar hills' but when Jeremiah returned to his camp by the stream, his donkey got spooked and ran away and Jeremiah got lost looking for him. The spirits surrounded him and hustled him right off that cliff!

Jessica is such a talented story-teller, some of the more gullible kids believe her.
Did he...was he?" some tertiary character named Sandy can't even bring herself to ask it.
Boom! Flat as a pancake, all the way to the bottom!" Queen of Drama Jessica answers.
They found Jeremiah the next morning where he managed to tell his story about the spirits who fooled him into running off the edge of the cliff. The spirits had made him think his camp and his donkey were right there in front of him, (becasue everyone knows spirits can drive you crazy with their mind altering images!) Then he DIED and no one ever found his camp, his gold and his donkey were
never seen again! 
Now he haunts Casa Wakefield every Halloween still looking for his lost camp and his beloved donkey.
Yup, makes perfect sense a ghost would come haunt a house in suburbia which probably has a gold camp hidden in it SOMEWHERE.

The kids just look at each other, not sure what to think of this
tall tale ghost story. Elizabeth looks worried for her twin because she knows it's all cock-a-bull but is too much of a doormat to call her twin out. Winston suddenly shouts he doesn't believe her, he's read that story before. Jessica got it from a book!

Ch. 4
Needed: One Ghost

Confident becasue she got everyone to believe her, Jessica's sure SOMEHOW she can find a way to create a real ghost for the party. She tells them, "You'll see, the ghost of Jeremiah Wakefield will haunt you at our party!" and then recess is over.
Sad huh? Jessica's story has potential yet no one points out the fact that Halloween falls on Sunday this year and the Wakefield party is on SATURDAY so technically...yeah it's a mess.

That evening, Elizabeth kindly points Jessica to their brother's Wild West book. The one Winston was talking about and had obviously read. Jessica sheepishly admits she must have been unconsciously inspired by the story in the book. Liz innocently asks Jessica how she's going to manage to find a ghost to haunt their party? (Oh, so it's YOUR party now too, is it Liz?)

They reject several ideas: Steven can't be their ghost, he's going to another party, Ned can't, he'll be in the basement making scary noises for their haunted dungeon, hire an actor to play the ghost? Too expensive. Too bad, since we all know the twins have every celebrity's number from here to Hollywood on speed dial.

Also, Jessica sneaks a rubber spider from her brother's closet and is mysterious when Liz asks what she's up to, more on that later.

Bedtime for twinsies!
As Alice is tucking them in, Jessica confesses her made up ghost and whines to Mom about the mess she's gotten herself into. Everyone is expecting to see the Wakefield ghost at their party now so Jessica's got a MAJOR problem!

Alice is all nonchalant, "
Oh, really? Well, now that IS a problem. Let me think about it."  And basically tells Princess Jessica not to worry about it (now shut up and go to sleep).
Nice brush-off Mom. In one ear and out the other, eh? No punishment, no scolding her child for telling lies and demanding she march right back to her classmates and tell everyone the truth first thing tomorrow. God, I love Sweet Valley partenting. *
head desk*

Ch. 5
Gotcha! or "Jessica's practical joke"

At morning recess the next day, Jessica notices Lila seems sad about something but Lila isn't talking.

With Liz's help, Jessica plants the rubber spider in Winston's lunch box and shrieks with laughter when a surprised Winston yelps and his chair tips backward falling onto the floor in the luchroom. Jessica tells the lunch table group that's how scared they'll be at the party. After regaining his dignity and brushing himself off Winston says he STILL doesn't belive her ghost REALLY exists. Jessica says, "
You'll see."

Ch. 6
Gotcha Back! or "Winston's practical joke"

The next day is Wednesday, 3 days to go till the party. Jessica is at her cubby, hanging up her coat. She's about to question Lila, why is she so sad again this morning? When she hears scratching noises coming from a nearby broom closet. She goes to the broom closet door, opens it, and jumps back screaming as Winston in a Frankenstien mask scares seven years off Jessica's life. He laughs, "
Gotcha back!" 
An infuriated Jessica makes a mental note to get revenge on party night.
I say, you started this Jessica, serves you right!

During dinner the next night, Jessica thinks Alice should just serve Steven his meal on the floor out of a dog bowl, (I chuckle at the picture) he can't even use his knife and fork to cut his chicken properly!
I told you boys are yucky, Jessica tells the reader.
Suddenly Steven screams and throws his fork onto the floor because a large hairy spider is now dangling from it.
I dunno HOW Jessica pulled this off at the dinner table in front of her entire family but she cheerfully admits she had to test her joke out on a boy so she can try it on Winston tomorrow. She doesn't complain when Alice makes her get a towel to clean up the mess as punishment. She'll get Winston good tomorrow! Guess she had a memory lapse about the party revenge plan.

Ch. 7

It's still Thursday evening and Jessica is lying on her sister's bed still gloating over her joke on Steven. Elizabeth, seated at her desk, is busy whisking off some multiplication problems (in second grade?). Liz reminds her twin again about their promised party ghost, they can never show their faces again in Sweet Valley if they don't have one. Jessica gets an idea. All they need is a plain white bedsheet, Ned's biggest flashlight and a balloon.
Elizabeth is excited about Jessica's idea.
But first, Jessica needs some adult help (yeah, better to get permision first before slashing holes in all of Alice's best bedsheets) so she shares her idea with the parents. And does Jessica get grounded for fabricating stories about the Wakefield family tree? No! Ned and Alice's resonse to Jessica's idea is, "
Hey, that sounds like fun, let us help you."
I'M SERIOUS!! and Ned offers to help rig the whole thing up for them!!!! There must be some foreshadowing going on here, the parents obviously know something but the twins don't suspect a thing.

The girls spend the rest of the evening happily making party plans until bedtime.

Going too Far

It's Friday. Jessica, who's wisely been buying her lunch all week, carefully checks her cubby for any tricks from Winston. Finding none she goes to her desk and there's a fake bloody finger inside it. She tosses it at Winston and is properly pissed off.

At recess Lila finally admits to Jessica the reason she's looked so depressed. She has no costume yet for Halloween! Her mom can't/won't take her (to the most expensive costume-rental place in town if I remember the other books correctly) out to get one and Lila doesn't give us any reasons. Jessica generously invites Lila home with her that day where Alice will "fix everything".
Lila looks hopeful and agrees to come.
Wow, this is a first. Lila isn't even offended by Jessica's
noblesse oblige. 
Not to mention Jessica's confidence in her mom's ability to find instant Halloween costumes on demand. 

Now it's lunch recess. Jessica, Lila and Ellen are playing when Winston, minus the Frankenstien mask, jumps out and startles Jessica so badly that she's REALLY mad now (for being so jumpy?) but not to worry, she has her revenge plan ready!

She waits until Winston and Tom not-yet-gay McKay are having a contest to see who can hang upside down longest on the jungle gym. She climbs up to drop the rubber spider, the same one she scared Steven with dangling on a string, down into Winston's face below. Winston yells, looses his leg grip and falls to the ground scraping his knee. Winston is mad. Jessica is sorry. "
I'm going to get you for this!" he threatens her before limping off to the school nurse. The thought occurs to Jessica that maybe, just MAYBE she's gone too far.

I think this book should've been nambed "The Practical Joke War" instead of "The Halloween War". 

Ch. 9
Petrifying Party Props

It's Friday afternoon and Ned is painting corny lines on fake tombstones "Here lies Lester Moore. No les, No More." *snort* The twins are also helping with the painting. Lila is inside the house with Alice who is indeed "fixing everything" as promised by Jessica. She's making Lila a Halloween costume. They come outside where a happy Lila, now clutching a brown paper bag, will be driven home by Alice. 

Much to my chagrin, Alice hands the twins a can of spray-on cobwebs before driving off with Lila. Liz and Jess promptly go to town on the front yard and the interior of the house including the stairs. Passing the family room they see Steven asleep on the couch in front of the T.V. With an impish "
Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"  they finish off the spray-on cobweb can on their brother and go to dinner, innocent as angels. 
That must've been a pretty big can to go so far!

Upon waking to find himself covered in sticky cobwebs, Steven yells and starts knocking over all the lamps in confusion while the twins stay in their seats giggling. Steven shouts that he's going to get them! Alice scolds and makes the twins promise, no more jokes. Jessica and Elizabeth promise, but Liz sneaks a wink at her twin behind Mom's back!
Shut up Liz, you may have helped with this one but you've done nothing but be a nerd this whole book. Jessica's the QUEEN of practical jokes today.

Alice tucks the girls in later that night and Jessica thanks her for helping Lila find a costume. Alice tells them Lila's parents are having some problems (
foreshadowing!) so they should be nice to Lila, and that parents and grown-ups fight sometimes.

They fall asleep with Jessica reasurring a worried Liz that she'll keep her promise to her Mom about no more jokes (on Winston) and that her Wakefield ghost isn't going to hurt anyone at their party tomorrow night.

Ch. 10 
Party Time

The twins dress as identical skeletons which Alice made for them by painting bones on their black turtlenecks and black leggings. With their hair pulled back into identical ponytails they now have identical spooky, scary, skeleton Halloween costumes.
Which reminds me of this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFfpiJPJ18A about spooky scary skeletons, take a moment to enjoy!

Steven staggers into the room to show off his mummy costume to the twins (which Alice, who obviously has LOTS of unlimited free time on her hands, also made) before he leaves for his party.
Downstairs, the party food is all set out, a cassette is playing scary Hallowen sounds, the basement dungeon is decorated and ready (where Ned will supposedly hide and make scary noises), the Wakefield ghost is all rigged up and waiting. The doorbell rings announcing the first party guest !

Ch. 11 
The Haunted Wakefield House

Witch cookies are enjoyed by all at the party as more people arrive. Winston is Frankenstien, Charlie Cashman is a football player. Ricky Capaldo is a cowboy.

Then Lila shows up wearing a fancy princess dress with seaquins and shiny beads all over it. Alice even made a pointy hat with a scarf for her princess hat.
And to think she put it all together in just a few hours! Who knew Alice was actually a closet seamstress while that aspiring interior decorator student was just a front?

Elizabeth announes it's time to enter the haunted dungeon! Elizabeth and Jessica lead the way down to the basement. Her sister's white smile is so bright Jessica can see it in the dim light...and it just makes her want to t
odd punch all those perfectly white teeth out ONE BY ONE!
Kidding, there's no punching in this book, Todd or otherwise, its G-rated, you know.

So, the twins lead the way down the basement stairs and all the guests follow. Jessica anticipates how spooked everyone's about to be by their haunted dungeon! The twins glance at each other, surprised, as creepy organ music starts to play. That wasn't in the plan! Jessica's foot brushes a string and she gasps when a paper cutout of a monser falls from the ceiling. "
Don't act so surprised, Jessica," says Ken Matthews, "we know you helped set all this up."
"I didn't help set up that monster," she answers.

The twins hold hands in fright as they approach a large black curtain with a hole and a sign that reads, "
Put your hand in here." the twins are nervous, this wasn't planned either!
(Yeah, Dad was just supposed to hide down here and make scary noises!)
So, who wants to put their hand in? Ricky Capaldo is the only volunteer shallow enough to do it. He's completely grossed out by the squiggly stuff in a large glass jar labeled "Rejected brain sample".
We didn't do it!" the twins swear.
Lila suggests this might be a good time to get out of here and everyone agrees.

Going back upstairs a dozen bats suddenly drop down around their heads. Jessica screams and swats at them and everyone runs the rest of the way out. Elizabeth says she's completely weirded-out here and Jessica says maybe it's because its Halloween (or did Todd try to put his hands on Liz down in the haunted basement?)

Jessica ushers everyone into the foyer at the bottom of the stairs and announces it's time to meet Jeremiah Wakefield! Elizabeth gets the lights and Jessica plays the cassette tape of scary sounds again. Caroline squeals as a glowing ghost appears to float down the stairs, moaning. Winston, to Jessica's glee, looks VERY scared. Kisho is practically clawing the front door trying to escape. The lights come back on and the twins laugh, "
Fooled you," then Jessica shows them the secret of her helium balloon, flashlight and bedsheet trick . 

While the other guests complement Jessica on her genius, Winston, looking totally scared with big eyes and open mouth suddenly interrupts with, "
Uh, Jessica, if that's just a joke, then what's THAT?" and with perfect Abbott and Costello-farce he points, everyone turns around to look, and Jessica and Elizabeth grab each other. Oh my gosh, it a real ghost! And it's headed their way!

Ch. 12
The Uninvited Ghost

ALL the lights go out! The ghost-like figure is dressed in flowing robes, it glows green and white, it looks taller than Ned as it lurches through the living room toward the guests huddled in the foyer. It's holding out its arms and moaning,

"I am Jeremiah Wakefield."

It can't be Steven
, Jessica and Liz squeak in small voices, he's at a party.

Why have you disturbed my rest?" the ghost moans, "I was asleep until you called me here ,Ooooooh!"

"Wh-Who is that?" a scared voice questions,

I'm soooo lonely! I need a ghostly friend!" wails the ghost.
I'm cracking up over this part in the book because I haven't seen Ned yet and I'm sure it's him under that sheet acting like a total pervert!

I need a friend and I choooose...Jessica!"

The ghost comes right for her and Jessica runs shrieking, "
Daddy, Daddy, save me!" into the dining room to grab her father around the waist and bury her face in his shirt. Ah, bummer, Ned's been over there this whole time! So who's the ghost? It's Steven of course!
Steven, who'd been sitting on his friend Bob's shoulders joined forces with Winston to get back at Jessica for her jokes. Jessica declares defeat by calling for a truce and everyone is friends again.

The next day is Sunday and the twins get a FIFTH Halloween! Boy, if I were a teacher I'd be all for cancelling school Monday to let the kids get over their weekend sugar rush.

While out trick-or-treating Jess and Liz come to the Fowler mansion. The housekeeper, Mrs. Purvis answers the door and gives them their treats. As they turn to leave, Jessica can hear loud yelling coming from inside. The twins hope everything is OK with Lila and her parents.

That's right, let's skip Thanksgiving in Sweet Valley this year. Now hurry and go read the recap of
Lila's Christmas Angel before Sweet Valley celebrates Christmas AGAIN!
Joy to the world, all the boys and girls, Joy to the fishes...