Why do “hellish ordeals” like this only happen to Liz? Does Francine Pascal assume that we won’t care if Jess gets kidnapped and tortured and never returns home again? She would not be wrong, but…
Liz doesn’t look that scared for someone about to be kidnapped by Thing T. Thing. Instead, she looks like she’s gasping in surprise at the sight of Mr. Collins’ erection for her or something. That’s probably whose hand she thinks it is.
Liz and Jess have been working as candy stripers at the Joshua Fowler Memorial Hospital, where Liz has captured the eye of Carl, a “sad-looking lonely hospital orderly” who’s twenty-five but is depicted as some creepy forty-something. Carl kidnaps Liz just as she’s about to get into the Fiat while Jess is busy dressing slutty for a party hosted by rich newcomers Regina and Nicholas Morrow. As you can guess, Jess wants Nicholas, although she does stop to check out her own damn brother, Steven: “She really thought her brother was the most handsome guy in Sweet Valley.” What’s with this family lusting for each other’s good looks? No wonder Steve’s always home from school—no one at college wants him like his sisters do.
Sincerely—although this might be totally obvious, the majority of this book is useless. Despite the exclamation point in the title, nothing much happens. It takes us thirty pages before we get a mention of what Liz is up to, let alone the kidnapping. She awakes from a chloroform-induced slumber to find herself tied to a chair in Carl’s dump of a house, all because he developed a bit of a crush on her ever since she helped him pick up a tray of dropped supplies. She tries to escape a couple times but that sly dog Carl is just too swift for her. He treats her nice enough, for a lovesick kidnapper, that is. He fork-feeds her frozen pancakes (her favorite!), buys her a sweater and some crappy books she’ll never read, and vows to take her to the mountains where she can bathe in a stream…and never escape.
Eventually, everyone freaks out when they realize Liz isn’t at the party or tutoring Droids’ guitarist Max Dellon like she promised. Max goes to the hospital to look for her and finds her scarf, sweater, and purse still sitting in the Fiat and the driver’s side door is still open with the keys in the ignition. The cops come and arrest him because everyone who doesn’t go to the high school is an idiot. He gets released but people at SVH still doubt his innocence, like Todd. So Todd’s punches Max in the hallway at school and Jess is too upset to do her hair, and the three of them decide to return to the scene of the crime to look for clues. Carl just so happens to be working that day and freaks out when he sees Jessica, whom he thinks is Elizabeth. (If he’s so obsessed with Liz, why did he never realize she had a twin? Duh.) He gives himself away, obviously, and the cops come and arrest Carl without thanking the SVH-goers for being smarter than them and doing their job. Magic twin powers save the day!
The story ends happily enough. Max Dellon aces his English test (without Liz’s help), Liz and Jess throw a party, and there’s no leftover trauma whatsoever!
- Once again, Steven’s purposelessly home, being a loser.
- Jess and her friend Cara Walker apparently share an unspoken rule: “Thou Shalt Not Chase After The Same Boy As Your Best Friend.” Wow, considering Jess goes after freaking everybody, that leaves Cara with a raw deal.
- Regina Morrow was born deaf, but before Jess learns this, she assumes that Regina’s ignoring her and thus must be drunk. SERIOUSLY.
- Todd knows Mr. Collins’ phone number by heart, probably from calling it all the time to ask if he’s done petting Elizabeth’s sweater yet.
- When Alice actually worries about one of her kids for the first time in her life, Ned says, “Did you realize you get these cute little lines around your mouth when you get upset?” and suggests they go upstairs. Gotta love ‘em.