Nostalgic Bookshelf

Snarky recaps of nostalgic media, including Making Out, Baywatch, Blyton and Baby-Sitter's Club
13
Aug 2018
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

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25
Jul 2018

Famous Five 5: Five Go Off in a Caravan by Enid Blyton

[Famous Five 5: Five Go Off in a Caravan by Enid Blyton

Title: Five Go Off in a Caravan

Summary: The Famous Five are having a wonderful caravanning holiday. And when they discover a circus is camping nearby, they hope there’ll be plenty of entertainment.

But two of the circus performers are strangely sinister. The children soon realise that they’re not clowning around — but can they get help in time?

Initial Thoughts

That title is a lie. They go off in two caravans. [Wing: I appreciate your attention to this detail, a la my annoyance over that whole Smuggler’s thing last time.]

Which brings me to perhaps the most disturbing news of the entire series to date: I THINK JULIAN KNOWS WHAT SEX IS. I mean, at least vaguely. He knows it exists. I think. (He may also be having it with a series of farmers’ wives and daughters.) [Wing: Wait, is this not what we’re supposed to assume with him popping off to talk to the wives and daughters as they travel?]

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Initially, when I asked to recap this book, I only remembered the caravan part (not the significance of there being two caravans, just that they went off without adults in a caravan, which I was enormously envious of). The amount of freedom these kids have is mind-boggling to me. I mean, I am old enough to remember when it was normal for children to leave home in the morning in summer and only go back home for meals and when it got to be dusk, so we were basically away from adults for hours and hours at a time in the summer, but that was with the understanding that we were somewhere nearby. Like, in town, and preferably in the neighbourhood. Not off up the highway to some other town, or parked out in the country somewhere in a horse-drawn vehicle.

I really do love this series. It achieves a strange mix of cozy, meal-driven comfort and outrageous, I-would-never-have-been-allowed-to-do-that adventure.

[Dove: This is one of my favourite stories in this series. This is exactly the kind of thing I’d have loved to do as a kid. I didn’t go camping until I was in my late twenties, and when I did, I loved it. Tiny and I were incredibly resourceful in how to make tea without a kettle.]

[Wing: I was taking a drink when I saw the “Anne should just poison them all” tag and nearly choked to death.]

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24
Jul 2018
The End of Flutter Valley (G1 Cover)

The End of Flutter Valley (G1 Cover)

The End of Flutter Valley (G2 Cover... why?)

The End of Flutter Valley (G2 Cover… why?)

Title: The End of Flutter Valley (Parts 3-4)

Summary: That great maguffin aka the Sun Stone has been stolen by Queen Bumble and her Bees, putting Flutter Valley in dire straights. The witches are on the verge of claiming their new territory, the Flutter Ponies are captured (and recaptured, in Morning Glory’s case), and the Ponies somehow manage to stumble into Furbobia, where Baby Cuddles gets steamed.

Grade: This will be given when Dove and I finally reach the end of this 10 part epic.

Recap:

You have now reached episodes 3-4 of this harrowing 10 part, 2 hour struggle through this Flutter Vally-centric nightmare. I don’t know; I’m pretty sure Flutter Valley was covered in the major motion picture that had been released three freaking months prior to the cartoon’s debut, but Hasbro gotta make that merch money! Anyway, Dove will cover Parts 5-6 in the next batch recap.

 

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16
Jul 2018
Sweet Valley Twins Super Edition 4: The Unicorns go Hawaiian by Francine Pascal

Sweet Valley Twins Super Edition 4: The Unicorns go Hawaiian by Francine Pascal

Title: Sweet Valley Twins Super Edition #4: The Unicorns Go Hawaiian

Summary: Aloha, Unicorns!

Just when Jessica Wakefield becomes bored with Sweet Valley, [Wing: So every book then?] she wins a trip to Hawaii. [Wing: Wut. Already starting off with a Wakefields must win trope? Damn it.]  She takes five of her best friends from the exclusive Unicorn Club and they’re ready to have the time of their lives.

But things don’t turn out the way they had planned. Jessica has a streak of bad luck, Janet Howell is convinced she is a Hawaiian princess, [Wing: WUT. GOD DAMN IT.]  and Mandy Miller, Mary Wallace, and Ellen Riteman find out a secret they must keep from Lila Fowler.

The girls don’t understand why their trip to paradise is turning out to be the worst holiday ever… until they discover the curse of the Hawaiian volcano goddess! [Wing: WHAT THE EVER LOVING FUCK ARE YOU SHITTING ME RIGHT NOW. I DON’T WANT TO RECAP THIS.]

Tagline: It’s the trip of a lifetime! [Wing: Considering how rich most of Sweet Valley is, I doubt that.]

Initial Thoughts

WHAT THE FUCK I WANT TO BURN EVERYTHING DOWN OH MY GOD.

Over on Twitter, Dove encouraged me to post a list of the things I rage-feared would happen in this book. I did that right before I read anything about the book.

Here is my list:

  • Some sort of bullshit Hawaiian princess storyline
  • Only white people live in Hawaii except for the SUPER SPECIAL magical native.
  • Someone (probably Jessica) will be amazeballs at surfing without even trying.
  • Someone (probably Jessica) will be amazeballs at hula, just as good as the “locals.”
  • People who live in Hawaii will be called Hawaiians indiscriminately from Hawaiians being actual native peoples.
  • Everyone will wear cheap tourist “Hawaiian” shirts and plastic leis.
  • All the food will be “Hawaiian” simply by adding pineapple to it. There will be no mac salad, loco moco, malasadas, or L&L (oh my god I’m so hungry right now).
  • WW2 references + American imperialism.
  • Fucking haoles the whole entire lot of them, in that terrible stereotypical loud, brash, rich white American tourist way.

CLEARLY I DID NOT SET MY EXPECTATIONS LOW ENOUGH VOLCANO GODDESS CURSE OH MY GOD I NEED STRONGER LIQUOR AND MORE FIRE. [Raven: This is gonna be AWESOME.] [Dove: Or she’s going to drink so hard she falls off her chair and doesn’t finish the recap.]

Shallow: The girls on that cover are not wearing nearly enough purple. 

READ AT SWEET VALLEY.ONLINE

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5
Jul 2018
Making Out #6: What Zoey Saw by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out #6: What Zoey Saw by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Making Out #6: What Zoey Saw by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant

Summary: Zoey broke up with Jake after she fell in love with Lucas. Claire used to go out with Lucas, but now she’s with Jake. Are Zoey’s feelings for Jake really gone? Is Lucas totally over Claire? Their hidden desires are about to explode, all because of…What Zoey Saw.

Initial Thoughts

My god, the front of book summaries are kind of terrible and terribly dramatic, too.

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18
Jun 2018
Sweet Valley Twins 52: Booster Boycott by Francine Pascal

Sweet Valley Twins 52: Booster Boycott by Francine Pascal

Title: Sweet Valley Twins #52: Booster Boycott

Summary: No boys allowed.

Winston Egbert wants to join the Boosters, Sweet Valley Middle School’s cheering squad. No way, the girls say! A boy as a cheerleader? So what if Winston happens to be a terrific gymnast? So what if he makes up fantastic cheers? Jessica Wakefield and the other Boosters vow they’ll do anything to keep Winston off the squad.

At first Winston endures the girls’ nasty pranks, Charlie Cashman’s bullying, and his classmates’ giggles. But something happens to make Winston give up for good!

When the state cheering competition arrives, the Boosters are surprised to see that almost every other squad has a boy as a member. Without Winston, they’re sure to lose! Is there any way the Boosters can get Winston back?

Tagline: Winston Egbert wants to join the Boosters! [Wing: We get it, book. WE GET IT.]

Initial Thoughts

Oh, good, I bet this book is filled with gender essentialism. Y’all know how much I love that. BOYS? In CHEERLEADING? Heaven forbid.

READ AT SWEETVALLEY.ONLINE

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12
Jun 2018
My Little Pony: Escape From Catrina

My Little Pony: Escape From Catrina

Title: Escape From Catrina

Yes, there’s confusion if the villain’s name is spelled with a ‘C’ or a ‘K’, but based on officially released packaging as well as the fact she’s a damn cat-person, we’re sticking with ‘Catrina’.

This television special was released on March, 23rd, 1985. I would have been three years old. Thirty-four years have passed. Ouch.

Also, this is the box art I remember from childhood. It has ZERO to do with the actual events, and shows Danny(?) riding(?!) Spike, who’s much bigger then normal, and the Moochick is there(??) and the only hint of the actual villain was a photo on the back cover. Someone dropped the ball BIG TIME on this.

Summary: The Ponies are planning a ‘Welcome Back’ party for Megan, but things go awry when villainous Catrina and her reptilian henchman, Rep, steal the baby Ponies as well as the Rainbow of Light. A rescue ensues and new allies are discovered in the form of the Bushwoolies.

Grade: A solid B+. Catrina isn’t as scary as Tirek, though yet again the writers came up with a story involving mass enslavement, kidnapping, several near-fatal incidents, stranger danger, and drug addiction. The animation was about on par with the first special. Three original songs in one 30 minute special is also pretty impressive, even if they’re not great.

Initial Thoughts/Intro:

Me, circa 1985, with Glory and Baby Cuddles. Note the sweet MLP threads!

Hi all, it’s bat and I’m a long time MLP fan. No, really, the MLP toys coincided with the beginning of my existence on this planet and they were the one toy I was truly obsessed with. Screw Barbie, give me ALL THE PONIES!

I watched MLP from the very beginning, though time has faded some of my memories of the cartoon episodes. That said, “Escape From Catrina” was my favorite of the two initial specials and I watched it way too many times.

The MLP specials were known for pulling “big” actors and actresses to do voice work. This particular special features the enchanting Tammy Grimes as Catrina (she voiced Molly Grue in The Last Unicorn) and Paul Williams as Rep (he wrote “Rainbow Connection” aka that song made famous by The Muppets).

Catrina’s use of the witchweed potion caused some trouble down the road in later years, because the USA was big into the “War On Drugs” during the 1980s. “The Good Old Days” song was excised when this special was cut down to two parts for the syndicated cartoon series; I’ll get into more detail about that in the recap.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic will be shortened to FiM, because that is a long time title to type out.

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28
May 2018

Sweet Valley Twins #50: Jessica and the Secret Star, by Francine Pascal

Title: Jessica and the Secret Star

Tagline: What’s the new girl hiding? [Raven: A cock?] [Dove: That she’s been there all along and the Wakefield twins are just really fucking unobservant?]

Summary: Maria Slater has been an actress since she was three years old, but now that she’s twelve she can’t find any work. So Maria hopes to forget her past and start life again at Sweet Valley Middle School, where she can play the role she has always wanted: the typical sixth-grader.

But for Maria, being typical becomes harder and harder, especially when Jessica Wakefield discovers Maria’s secret past Everyone wants to be friends with a movie star, but will anyone want to be friends with plain old Maria?

Initial Thoughts:

HOLY FUCK JESSICA’S HAND IS FUCKING HUGE.

Also, there’s a black girl in Sweet Valley. Unexpected. I can’t see this ending well.

READ AT SWEET VALLEY.ONLINE

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2
May 2018
The Baby-Sitters Club 5: Dawn and the Impossible Three by Ann M Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club 5: Dawn and the Impossible Three by Ann M Martin

Title: Baby-Sitters Club #5: Dawn and the Impossible Three by Ann M. Martin

Summary: Dawn Schafer is the newest member of The Baby-sitters Club. While she’s still adjusting to life in Stoneybrook after moving from sunny California, she’s eager to accept her first big job. But taking care of the three Barrett kids would be too much for any baby-sitter. The house is always a mess, the kids are out of control, and Mrs. Barrett never does any of the things she promises. On top of all that, Dawn wants to fit in with the other members of the BSC, but she can’t figure out how to get along with Kristy. Was joining The Baby-sitters Club a mistake? [Wing: That is not at all what the story is about.]

Tagline: Dawn thought she’d be baby-sitting — not monster-sitting!

Initial Thoughts

Dawn is one of my favourite baby-sitters, and I’m thrilled to get to recap her very first book. I love how she complicates things with the club, especially the friendship between Mary Anne and Kristy, I love a bunch of her personality traits (particularly the way she loves ghost stories), and I love her enthusiasm about life. This is going to be fun.

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23
Apr 2018
Sweet Valley Twins 46 Mademoiselle Jessica by Francine Pascal

Sweet Valley Twins 46 Mademoiselle Jessica by Francine Pascal

Title: Mademoiselle Jessica

Summary: A model family…

Jessica Wakefield is sick and tired of spoiled Lila Fowler’s constant boasting. So when she reads about the Model Family competition being sponsored by Teenager Magazine, she’s tempted to enter just to put Lila in her place. The first prize is a fabulous, all-expenses-paid trip to Paris. To compete, all Jessica has to do is write an essay describing her perfect family.

But the family Jessica ends up writing about is nothing like her real family. Still, it’s just a joke, until her twin, Elizabeth, posts the essay by mistake. Now it’s good-bye France and hello trouble—unless Jessica can convince the Wakefields to pretend to be something they’re not!

Tagline: How far will Jessica go to win a trip to Paris? [Wing: Considering she buries people in the Mercandy backyard on a whim, I’m sure there’s no limit to how far she’ll go.]

Initial Thoughts

Two things: One, why are you posting your sister’s essay? WHY? WHY ARE YOU MEDDLING AGAIN? I DON’T FOR A SECOND BELIEVE IT WAS AN ACCIDENT.

Two, I cannot spell “mademoiselle” right on the first try to save my life. Fingers crossed that I won’t have to write it again in this recap, because The Carnival Ghost nearly killed me.

READ AT SWEET VALLEY ONLINE

 

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