Posted in Making Out

Making Out #9: Zoey Plays Games by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant!)

Making Out #9: Zoey Plays Games by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)
Making Out #9: Zoey Plays Games by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Zoey Plays Games

Front Blurb: Life was bliss for Zoey and Lucas until Aaron showed up on the island. Now Aaron wants Zoey. Claire wants Aaron and Zoey’s got a secret that EVERYONE is talking about. How long before Lucas finds out that Zoey Plays Games

Back Blurb: Zoey plays games with Aaron and sets off a wave of broken hearts. Because Lucas is in love with Zoey, Claire has vowed to make Aaron her own. But the island is too small for big secrets.

Initial thoughts:

I don’t remember this book. It’s Zoey story, so that’s probably why.

Fun fact- this is the first Making Out book that wasn’t written by Grapplegate – they handed the series over to ghostwriters from book 9. Also, there are also no more reprints for these later books, so it’s firmly nostalgia from here onwards.

[Dove: Oh good, a Zoey book. You know how highly I regard the Passmore family in general, and Zoey in particular. This is the point where I really got sick of her nonsense, I think.]

[Wing: I’m pretty sure life wasn’t bliss for Zoey and Lucas, book, but cool. Coooool.]

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Posted in The Baby-Sitters Club

Baby-Sitters Club #9: The Ghost at Dawn’s House by Ann M. Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club #9: The Ghost at Dawn’s House by Ann M. Martin
The Baby-Sitters Club #9: The Ghost at Dawn’s House by Ann M. Martin

Title: The Baby-Sitters Club #9: The Ghost at Dawn’s House by Ann M. Martin

Summary: Dawn has always thought there was a secret passage hidden in her house. But she never thought there was a ghost… until now. All kinds of creepy things go on whenever Dawn’s at home. There are even spooky noises behind her bedroom wall!

Dawn is sure there’s a ghost in her house. And so are the other baby-sitters. But they’re so busy with their baby-sitting jobs that they hardly have time for a ghost hunt. Will Dawn and her friends ever solve the mystery, or will Dawn have to share her house… with a ghost?

Tagline: Creaky stairs, spooky noises, secret passages — it must be a ghost!

Initial Thoughts

That tagline sure did escalate quickly! I’m thrilled to be recapping this one. I love Dawn, I love ghost stories and secret passages and spooky noises. It’s September, which means my Halloween horror season has already begun, because I believe in long celebrations. [Necromommycon: Me too, me too! I’m already into my ancient-horror-movie binge, which starts up in late summer with monster beach movies and continues on through Halloween. And we’ve got costumes and some interior decorations happening, too. I hold off on the outdoor stuff until the end of the month because the neighbours have enough to put up with, I think.] [Wing: Some of my neighbours have put up their decorations and I am so thrilled I’m actually considering sending them a thank you card.] [Dove: *sigh* Being English sucks.]

We’re going to have a good, good time.

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Posted in The Famous Five

Famous Five #7: Five Go Off to Camp by Enid Blyton

Famous Five #7: Five Go Off to Camp by Enid Blyton
Famous Five #7: Five Go Off to Camp by Enid Blyton

Title: Famous Five #7: Five Go Off to Camp by Enid Blyton

Summary: Spook trains in the dead of night! And they seem to vanish into thin air – but where do they go? The Famous Five are on to it! But discovery of an unusual underground tunnel system, and a secret train-service, has them puzzled. If they follow the tracks, will they solve the mystery?

Initial Thoughts

Spook trains, secret, underground tunnels, and a mystery? Sounds like a typical Blyton holiday. And also like an A++ story for me to recap. Halloween season starts 1 September and so we are well into it. SPOOK TRAINS AND GO.

[Dove: I always wished that we could have a supernatural Famous Five – like the way Sweet Valley would leap off into the supernatural and then do an Etch-A-Sketch reset.]

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Posted in Goosebumps

Goosebumps #33: The Horror at Camp Jellyjam by R L Stine

Goosebumps 33 - Horror at Camp Jelly Jam by R L Stine
Goosebumps 33 – Horror at Camp Jelly Jam by R L Stine

Title: Goosebumps #33 – The Horror at Camp Jellyjam, a.k.a. “R.L. <3’s H.P.”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: Tennis… canoeing… monsters, anyone?

Summary: Sometimes, Winning Is Everything!

Swimming, basketball, roller hockey, King Jellyjam’s Sports Camp has it all. Too bad Wendy isn’t a sports freak like her brother, Elliot. But how excited can you get about softball? It’s just a game, right?

WRONG!

Because Camp Jellyjam is no ordinary sports camp. And Wendy’s about to find out why. Why the counselors seem a little too happy. Why they’re a little too obsessed with winning. And why the ground is always rumbling late at night…

Initial Thoughts

Since it’s now summertime I wanted to surprise everyone with one of the legendary summer camp Goosebumps books. But I couldn’t decide which to choose from. I’d already recapped “Ghost Camp” last year on my birthday, but I decided to go with one of the classic books since I reviewed a 2000 book earlier this summer.

This is one of the most bizarre books from the first 62, and looking back on it as an adult I’ve come to realize this is probably R.L. Stine’s attempt at doing an H.P. Lovecraft-style tale, but for reasons I’ll have to explain in the Final Thoughts. Unfortunately, the big twist in this story has been spoiled numerous times by the various international additions’ covers and the Classic Goosebumps reprint. Even the Goosebumps Graphix adaption (drawn by the legendary Kyle Baker), has the twist spoiled by the cover.

[Wing: Stine doing Lovecraft? I’M SOLD.]

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Posted in Making Out

Making Out #8: Aisha Goes Wild by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out #8: Aisha Goes Wild by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)
Making Out #8: Aisha Goes Wild by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Making Out #8: Aisha Goes Wild by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant

Summary: Aisha goes wild when a chance encounter rekindles all her old feelings about a guy named Jeff, who was her first great crush. She’s promised her whole heart to Christopher, but will a part of it always belong to Jeff?

Tagline: After Zoey breaks up with Lucas, and Jake breaks up with Claire, Aisha and Christopher are the only couple left on the island–until Aisha’s old boyfriend, Jeff, comes back into her life. Everything changes on Halloween night when… Aisha Goes Wild. [Wing: UMM. Nina and Benjamin say WHAT THE HELL.] [Rosey: RIGHT?]

Initial Thoughts

I am still shook that Jake is my favourite of the Island boys this read through. Also, I remember basically nothing about the plotlines in this book even though I know I’ve read it more than once. [Rosey: This is the one where Claire Gets “Catfished”. ]

[Dove: This is the last of the Grapplegate books, after this they are ghostwritten. Also, I have to admit, this is my least favourite for the “lead” story. I’m sorry, I don’t really like Aisha’s story – the amnesia plot does not work for me. At all.]

[Wing: WHAT I DID NOT KNOW THAT EITHER. Ghostwritten? My heart is broken.]

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Posted in Making Out

Making Out #7: Lucas Gets Hurt by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out #7: Lucas Gets Hurt by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)
Making Out #7: Lucas Gets Hurt by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Lucas Gets Hurt

Front Blurb: Zoey’s parents broke up, and it rocked her world. Then Lucas watched miserably as Zoey was comforted by her old boyfriend, Jake. Now Lucas tries to hold off Claire, his old love, who says she’ll do anything to get Lucas back. Whatever happens… Lucas Gets Hurt

Back Blurb: Lucas gets hurt when he watches Zoey, the love of his life, drift back into the arms of her old boyfriend, Jake. That’s when Claire appears, wanting to help Lucas forget his problems. But if Zoey finds out what happened between Lucas and Claire, will she ever take him back?

Initial Thoughts:

I wonder who is doing the Making Out recap this month? Oh… Fuck… Is it me? Messages Wing and Dove. Oh Fuck… it is me!

This is the one where Jake’s becoming an alcoholic and we meet Secret Sister. I can’t remember what hurts Lucas, though and I really doubt that he is having to “hold Claire off.”

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Posted in Sweet Valley

Sweet Valley Twins #57: Big Brother’s in Love! by Francine Pascal

Sweet Valley Twins 57 Big Brother's in Love by Francine Pascal
Sweet Valley Twins 57 Big Brother’s in Love by Francine Pascal

Title: Big Brother’s in Love!

Tagline: Jessica and Elizabeth have made the perfect match! [Wing: Considering that girl looks even more like a Wakefield than Steven does and that they are wearing weird matching outfits, I’m pretty sure Jessica and Steven are dating now.] [Dove: I had never noticed how much she looks like the twins.] [Raven: It’s been established before that the cover artist can olny draw two faces.]

Summary: Playing Cupid.

Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield usually find their older brother, Steven, annoying, but now they feel sorry for him. He’s been wandering around the house in a daze because he’s in love with Jill Hale. His problem is that Jill likes Steven’s best friend, and it looks like Steven’s going to be lovesick forever! The twins decide to help Steven get over Jill. Maybe Cathy Connors is the solution…

The twins think Cathy and Steven make a perfect couple, but Steven only sees Cathy as his friend. Can the twins help turn a friendship into true love?

Initial Thoughts

I don’t really like matchmaking stories, and I’m already annoyed by the mere premise of this book. This is going to be great.

[Dove: I hate Steven. But… I do actually like this book.]

READ AT SWEET VALLEY ONLINE

Posted in Podcasts, Sweet Valley, Sweet Valley

Sweet Valley Twins Podcast 28: Jessica’s New Look

Wing, Raven and Dove talk about Sweet Valley Twins 47: Jessica’s New Look. They also discuss Bleak Valley and how the book ties into this theory.

Music is provided by Stuart Taylor, who can be contacted on taylorstuart602@gmail.com if you wish to commission music.

You can read our recaps at Sweet Valley Online, tumblr or visit us at Facebook or Twitter (follow @SweetValley_)

Posted in The Baby-Sitters Club

Baby-Sitters Club #8: Boy-Crazy Stacey

The Baby-Sitters Club #8: Boy-Crazy Stacey by Ann M Martin
The Baby-Sitters Club #8: Boy-Crazy Stacey by Ann M Martin

Title: Boy-Crazy Stacey

Summary: Stacey and Mary Anne are mother’s helpers for the Pike family for two weeks at the New Jersey shore. Things are great in Sea City: There’s a gorgeous old house, a boardwalk, plenty of sun and sand… and the cutest boy Stacey has ever seen!

Mary Anne knows that Scott the lifeguard is way too old for Stacey, but Stacey’s in love. She fixes Scott’s lunch, fetches his sodas, and spends all her time with him… instead of with the Pike kids.

Suddenly, Mary Anne’s doing the work of two baby-sitters, and she doesn’t like it one bit. But how can she tell Stacey that Scott just isn’t interested—without breaking Stacey’s heart?

Tagline: Who needs baby-sitting when there are boys around!

Initial Thoughts:

I unabashedly love Sea City and wish it were real and I could vacation there, so this is going to be difficult to recap just because I love it all so much.

That said, I do have some issues with the title.

On the one hand, yes: I vividly remember that age when my friends’ group were getting interested in boys, only we were all doing that on wildly different schedules, so there were frequently times when one of us was visibly making a fool of herself and the others saw it and discussed it. I’m not sure “boy-crazy” was ever a term we used, but it fits the perspective and attitude I remember having.

But on the other hand: I kind of hate that we do this at all. It’s easy, looking back on this as an adult, to see that Stacey isn’t trying to be selfish (and definitely isn’t trying to look foolish!); she’s just grappling awkwardly with new feelings and experiences.

And I wish that, as a culture, we gave girls a little more guidance not just on the crushing/dating stuff, but on the “being an honest but also kind friend to the person currently wrestling with hormones and emotions.” Because really, I don’t remember anyone ever giving me clear instructions about not falling into the “not like the other girls” mindset, and I could have used them.

Besides, she’s not “boy crazy.” She’s making an ass of herself over one particular guy. It’s not, like, a generalized thing she does with every guy she meets.

My only memories of this book aside from Sea City itself were being mad at Stacey for not doing her share, but even more mad at Scott the lifeguard for taking advantage of her (and his other fans).

[Wing: So word to all of this and thank you for saying it so well. Unlearning the drive to reject “feminine” things so as to be “not like other girls” is a terribly hard thing to do, but important. It took me forever, and I rage at all the time I lost to it.]

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Posted in The Famous Five

The Famous Five #6: Five on Kirrin Island Again by Enid Blyton

Famous Five 6: Five on Kirrin Island Again by Enid Blyton
Famous Five 6: Five on Kirrin Island Again by Enid Blyton

Title: Famous Five #6: Five on Kirrin Island Again by Enid Blyton

Summary: What is Uncle Quentin up to on Kirrin Island? He won’t let anyone visit—not even the Famous Five! But he’s not alone on George’s island—somebody is watching his every move! Can Julian, Anne, Dick, George and Timmy the dog find out who and warn Uncle Quentin?

Initial Thoughts

*sigh* I’m really sorry, but I hate this one. This is the book I’ve been dreading, and hoping it wasn’t allocated to me. I don’t know why – it’s not particularly different to any other book in the series. Maybe it’s the fact there’s a silver tower constructed on the island, maybe it’s a lot about the adults, or maybe there’s just not enough godamned lettuce. Who knows?

Let’s do this thing.

(Also, I started this recap a month early because I knew it would drag hard.)

(For reference, the kids’ ages should be roughly: Anne: 13; George and Dick 14; Julian 15.)

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