Can anyone save Regina Morrow?
Regina stared dully at the floor. Just shoot me now, she wanted to tell him. Just end this agony here and now! - p. 72
Okay, let's cut the crap. Every one of us is probably thinking the same thing right now: didn't you already review this book? The answer is no; you're thinking of Book 13. That was 13 whole books ago!
I can understand why you might be confused. After all, that other book was called Kidnapped! Not only does that sound like Hostage!, but those are the only two titles to date with exclamation points – I think the author believes they imply danger. Each book features a strange predator whose hand appears mysteriously behind the main character on the book's cover. And, as you might imagine, both books tell the story of the kidnapping of one of Sweet Valley's major players by someone you've never heard of. If I told you this is where the similarities end, it wouldn't mask the issue at hand here: How can one small town have so many kidnappings?! Two juniors in one year is an awful lot. Add hospitalizations and comas to the list, and it's a wonder the citizens of Sweet Valley haven't fled for nearby Oregon or Nevada.
Despite the dubious titular similarities, the plot of Hostage! really is vastly different from that of Kidnapped! And it might ease your worried minds to know that Regina Morrow actually gets kidnapped in Switzerland. She is then taken home to Sweet Valley – to her own home, in fact – where her kidnapper masquerades as an aunt (“Aunt Claire”) who's watching the Morrow Manor while Regina's parents are out of town. And out of town they most certainly are – they, too, are being held hostage in a neighboring village, in the home of a crazed ex-employee of Mr. Morrow's computing firm. The goal of these strange efforts is to use the captive Morrows (including Regina) to steal the planes for a super-powerful, very secret new computer chip the company has developed and sell it, thus becoming rich and ruining the Morrow empire at the same time. Making this whole fiasco a bit simpler is the astounding fact that Regina can now hear! Thanks to the special Swiss procedures she's been undergoing, she now has 80% normal hearing, the excitement of which was somewhat muted in this book by the whole kidnapping thing.
Elizabeth is tipped off to the problem when she hears that a grocery store delivery boy (Eddie) saw Regina at home. How strange, she thinks, since no one had any idea Regina was returning, including her boyfriend Bruce. She calls the police, but they are tricked by the whole “Aunt” ruse and ticked at Liz for what they consider a false alarm. They could have spent those valuable minutes trying to solve one of the hundreds of other kidnappings occurring in Sweet Valley every second! And so launches the exciting race to save Regina and her parents.
Elizabeth, Jessica, and Bruce start by hatching an ingenious plot to let Regina know that they’re on the case. They slip a note into a teen magazine and add it to the groceries that Eddie delivers to the Morrow house. She’s able to let them know that her parents are being held hostage. In case you were wondering, yes, there is another member of the Morrow family. At this point, the other Morrow, Nicholas, is intercepted by the Sweet Valley Avengers (Liz, Jess, and Bruce didn’t give themselves this nickname, but I think it sounds snappy!) and brought into the plan. He wants to take matters into his own hands, but the Avengers warn him that solving this problem will take careful planning.
But no, that’s not what happens. Bruce and Jessica use brute force and feminine wiles, respectively, to try and rescue Mr. and Mrs. Morrow. Elizabeth and Nicholas stand by at the computer chip plant to try and stall Claire as she and Regina exit the building with the hijacked plans. Cops are called eventually, but only at the last possible moment. And yes, yes, it’s all very exciting, except for the fact that you know quite well from page one that everything’s going to work out just fine in the end.
Surely, no more sorrow will ever befall the Morrow family again. Or, at least no more kidnappings…