Tuesday, March 30, 2010

#3- The Haunted House

Welcome to the first of many books where it's Halloween in the Sweet Valley Twins world. It's my favorite holiday though so I'm always more partial to these books. Anyway, in this one we find the twins and their friends spooked about the old Mercandy mansion. Apparently it's just really run-down and no one ever sees the man and woman who live there ever come out. Until the day Jessica and Elizabeth spot a new girl who's just moved to town. They find her name is Nora Mercandy and she's moving in with her grandparents because her mother has died. Liz and Amy of course become friends with the girl and she's perfectly nice, just a little shy. Jessica and the Unicorns however, decide it's their duty to make Nora's life miserable. Lila in particular is the one who really despises Nora after she beats her in a game of tennis. (Has anyone played tennis like that in middle school?) Not to mention Rick Hunter seems to like Nora and Lila likes him. Don't mess with Lila's crushes and you will learn that to the extreme in SVH. Lila is MEAN in this book. The girls treat Nora as their personal Unicorn slave. To make matters worse Liz and Amy are out of several classes working on the newspaper and they just happen to be the classes they have with Nora. So poor Nora feels completely abandoned because bitch Jessica doesn't tell her why Elizabeth isn't in class. Nora finds out the next day and Elizabeth is furious at Jessica for being a part of the bullying. Of course she doesn't tell anyone though and advises Nora to just wait it out until the Unicorns tire of her. What kind of advice is that?

I forgot to mention the reason why the girls are extra hard on Nora. Nora tried to take a stand and invite the Unicorns over to her house so that she can show them how perfectly nice her family is. The fabulous Bruce Patman meets them on the way and things don't turn out so good. Nora's grandfather comes outside and he's stumbling and speaking incoherently. So what's the reason for him acting this way? Well he's a ZOMBIE of course! Ah, 12 year old kids in the 1980's. Still Elizabeth is supposed to be smart and sensitive and it never crossed her mind that Nora's grandfather obviously had a medical condition? She just runs away when Nora tells her to leave instead of trying to console the poor girl? Ugh.

So Nora follows Liz's wonderful advice and does nothing. The Unicorns decide they haven't made Nora miserable enough yet and change courses. Instead of being mean to her, they'll be nice and gain her trust before they stomp all over her again. Nora falls for it which doesn't surprise me. She's new in town and naive enough to believe them. But Liz shows her smarts again and never suspects that their niceness might be a trick. Really? You could see it coming a mile away. So the Unicorns convince Nora to come dressed as a witch to Lila's Halloween party and sure enough, she gets there and she's humiliated. She runs away back to her house and finds Bruce and his buddies doing some good old-fashioned decorating (Toilet Paper). Liz, meanwhile, has followed her and the rest of the party decided to come too. Liz braves the house first and Jessica does the one good thing in this book and follows her sister inside. The rest come in and find Nora in the attic surrounded by magician's props and then find out that her grandfather actually was a famous magician. Everyone thinks it's so cool and Nora shows the kids a few tricks she's picked up from him. We also find out that her grandfather had a stroke and is NOT a zombie (I know, I was suprised too.) Wanna guess how it ends? Nora is finally accepted by Sweet Valley Middle School and gets a little date from super-cute seventh grader Rick. All is well again.

I always liked this book b/c of Halloween, but re-reading it now kinda bothered me. The bullying was just so mean, and those doing the bullying never get what's coming to them. The whole thing is just dropped by everyone. I know YA fiction does these things, but I don't know.... it just bothered me a little. I mean this girl lost her mother a MONTH ago and then has to deal with bullying? I can't be the only one who's bothered by that.

By the way did I mention Elizabeth and Amy dress up as clowns for Halloween? I found that hilarious as I wouldn't have been caught dead as a clown when I was 12.

So I originally was going to review these books in order but when I went to get my complete collection stored at my mother's house, I found out she had given them to the library a few years ago. I'm trying to get them all back but it's a slow process. So the next post unfortunately won't be #4 and will be picked at random instead from the ones I do have. And yes, I'm still recovering from the loss. Sadly, that news literally ruined my weekend. Aren't I sad?


  1. They are in 6th grade and they still believe in witches and haunted houses? What a bunch of toddlers! It's only fitting that they belong to the Pretty Ponies Club.