SURPRISE! Just to keep things spicy, we're returning to the Super Thriller series, where the Wakefield twins are still slaving away (literally!) at the News. Murders are on the rise, and all the new kids are from Ohio. Superfriend Nick Riley is Marissa's guest, and together they marvel at Elizabeth's illicit new crush, Jessica's annoying new bestie, and the impressive neighborliness of Sweet Valley citizens.
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The transcript below is auto-generated, and very much in beta. Apologies for any nonsense!
On the Run (Full)
Marissa: [00:00:00] Welcome to sweet Valley diaries brought to you by the word glowering Sweet Valley Super Thriller Number Two, On the Run.
Hi. Well, what do you know about this Gladiators? This is an episode about a super thriller, but you didn't see that coming surprise. I'm your host,Marissa Flaxbart, and I am joined by one of my very best friends who I finally wore down. I thank you for being here, Nick Riley.
Hi, was that how you would characterize this, that I wore you down and now you finally, conceited to appear on sweet Valley diaries?
Nick: [00:00:53] I'll admit that it's pretty accurate
Marissa: [00:00:55] I just appreciate your wit and I appreciate that. I, sometimes you listen to this podcast, so you have actually a lot more background on sweet Valley high than many of my guests readers.
Nick: [00:01:06] but I'm trying not to let that taint the experience.
Marissa: [00:01:09] Oh, okay. Well, I hope it doesn't take the experience too, . So were you thrilled by super thriller? Number two on the run
Nick: [00:01:17] you know, when I saw the words super thriller, I kind of thought that was just a bit of marketing, but who boy, it does live up to the title.
Marissa: [00:01:26] Yes. We're going to talk through the whole plot of the book, but I wanted to give a little bit of background. So gladiators and Nick too. The first super thriller book, which I recorded with my dad. it was called double jeopardy which I'm sure somebody was sitting on at the sweet Valley high offices for a long time.
Like, Oh man, one of these days, we're going to name one of these books, double jeopardy, because it's about twins. It's perfect. Uh, but in that book, it's set up that the Whitefield twins have a summer internship at the local newspaper and this book continues that same kind of universe it's the summer. that's confusing in its own way because presumably it's the summer after junior year, but as soon as we go back to the main schedule, you know, that's all junior year again. So the events of these, this book, as far as I can tell, don't really have any effect uh, can't have any effect on the main timeline of the books.
Nick: [00:02:24] I was a little perplexed that it's just called "The News."
Marissa: [00:02:28] The sweet Valley news
Nick: [00:02:29] the bold choice of a name.
Marissa: [00:02:31] Well, well, it does what it says on the label, I guess. And I think that the fact that these books have no real bearing on the rest of the plot and must be part of the mindset here behind including so few characters from the normal sweet Valley universe, you know, like who, who do we have?
We have obviously Jessica and Elizabeth and the Wakefields. Could you make any heads or tails of Adam Maitland?
Nick: [00:02:58] Uh, no. In fact, I, his introduction was quite baffling to me.
There's a lot of information thrown into a very short period of time with him.
Marissa: [00:03:08] Adam Maitland. Yeah, it's just in the beginning of the book, classic sweet Valley high style. They explain really quickly about how Adam Maitland, his girlfriend was murdered. And he's been staying with the Wakefield. He's a friend of Steven's from college. That is all basically a very brief summary of the plot of the double jeopardy.
So the Adam Maitland is still here, but they might as well have just sent him home because they don't do anything with him in the book. but furthermore, the book talks about how Jessica was kind of like affected by having recently witnessed a murder.
Nick: [00:03:47] that comes up a couple of times.
Marissa: [00:03:48] yeah. Yeah. , when this book starts out, it's all about this mobster, right? Frank DeLuca, everybody is talking about this news story. It's like a national
Nick: [00:03:58] national news case. Yes.
Marissa: [00:04:00] Frank DeLuca is being tried for, you know, all of his many crimes, but that witnesses , testifying against him keep on getting murdered.
So it's like, no, one's going to come forward. And that's initially, , just like what's going on at the beginning. And Jessica doesn't want to hear, she's sick of hearing about the Frank DeLuca case because she's like, she's had it with crime in general.
Nick: [00:04:22] she's a little triggered
Marissa: [00:04:23] Yeah, which I mean, in a way it's kind of refreshing because I, Oh, you know, the joke on this podcast is that there's no trauma in sweet Valley.
And in this book, the characters past traumas are literally referred to like, head-on Elizabeth meets a boy. We'll get to that gladiators, but she wonders she and Jessica, I mean, they wonder about this guy's past trauma.
Nick: [00:04:45] The few scenes where Jessica. Has any sort of like insight or are we into her mind to see like what the trauma is? Like? She seems pretty disturbed by it. And then the book kind of just passes back to the main plot after that, but there's, there's like two instances where she seems like she's pretty significantly affected by this probably for the foreseeable future.
Marissa: [00:05:08] Yeah. One thing that I think could really be at play here is that Jessica makes some suppositions about , various characters in this book that I think are probably fueled by having seen, she didn't witness a murder, but she basically, she saw a dead body and became this like central cog in the solving of a murder.
So I mentioned before that there are very few of the like regular sweet Valley players that are a part of this book. But even so I was still blown away by the number of new teenagers that this book trotted out for us.
Um, the first of which was someone named Darcy Kaymen, ,
Nick: [00:05:49] I have a lot of thoughts about her.
Marissa: [00:05:50] all right. Well, well, I mean, let's just get into it. Darcy Kaymen, she shows up as an intern at the newspaper. I'm like, I'm like, uh, you know, I know I'm reading a mystery novel, right? So I'm immediately like on the lookout, like what's a miss here now.
Did I read this book before? Yes. I've read this book before, but I had no memory of the events of this book. It was like erased from my head.. It was a long time ago that I read it. But the note, I have very few notes on this book, but the first one I have says, Darcy came in a lunatic. She goes from, I love newspapers.
This is so exciting to newspapers. What could be more boring in two pages?
Nick: [00:06:32] Yeah,
Marissa: [00:06:33] that maybe she was like, mentally like, like, like, I dunno, I, I heard myself saying the phrase mentally unstable and I, I felt uncomfortable with it, but I guess I just mean in the way of these sweet Valley books, like she was a lunatic.
Nick: [00:06:49] Yeah, I think she's coded as that. And I think the book is kind of hinting on I guess the author's thoughts on her, because multiple times throughout this book, they refer to her as either the red head or the girl, which I thought was kind of strange. It's the only character they do that with, and I'm not sure what we're supposed to make of it besides it seemed like the book kind of winking at us, but yeah, she's, she's fake right from the jump.
And she even has that crazy line. It's like nine or 10 pages in when she's there talking about the DeLuca trial. And she makes a comment saying that her dad thinks that it's being staged by the media. So it looks like the legal system in this country really works.
Marissa: [00:07:29] Oh my gosh. That pushed a little bit of a button right now.
Nick: [00:07:34] Yeah. I mean, I was like, Oh, this is oddly fitting, but in a weird way, coming from her
Marissa: [00:07:39] Well, I can go ahead and read this passage. I have it here. This is Darcy's introduction to the entire office at the sweet Valley news. And to us, ,
Oh, are you listening to the trial? Darcy asked my father says, there's no way Frank DeLuca will go to jail. He thinks this is all just being staged by the media so it will look like the legal system in this country really works. In fact, my father thinks Jessica couldn't constrain herself. What does your father do?
Classic Jessica. She's just jumping right to it. Like, Oh, are you rich? Cause I wish it'd be probably friends.
He's a businessman, Darcy replied, but he knows all sorts of things about law too. And he's certain, this trial is going nowhere.
, and this is actually getting to some thematics in this book, right? Because there's a little bit of an argument. There are people Dan weeks and Seth, um,
Nick: [00:08:29] Miller.
Marissa: [00:08:31] Dan Weeks and Seth Miller , who were both characters in the previous book as well. They're like rivals in the newsroom. And, uh, Dan weeks thinks that it's basically like, is society inherently corrupt? Or like, well, good. When the day is essentially the theme here, believe it or not. So Dan weeks and Darcy and Jessica are like, well, I don't know, Jessica doesn't really care, but like, no one's going to come forward.
There are people are going to get paid off. Like this Frank DeLuca is going to go free. Elizabeth and Seth, and like, no, someone will be good. You know, someone will have the decency to come forward,
Nick: [00:09:10] Yeah. And Elizabeth is basically like shamed for having that perspective, which I thought was kind of funny.
Marissa: [00:09:18] Dan laughs at her and calls her a legal Crusader and then Darcy like joins in and even like makes an insult to Elizabeth later by calling her a Crusader, which is such a, so that does sound like an insult to me. Like, but she just feels like she's been told she's a goody two-shoes I think what she is, but whatever, we'll let that slide.
Nick: [00:09:38] she is, but I don't know. Darcy doesn't know that. And Darcy is just such a next level, like antagonist in this whole beginning section.
Marissa: [00:09:47] well, so I was really ready to like, have her be the bad guy, because, because of this weird, like mood swing thing she was doing, but as the book unfolded, I realized that it was really just that she's an opportunist when she's right there in front of the boss and the people she's trying to impress, she says that working at the newspaper is exciting and she loves it so much.
As soon as she's out of the office and just gabbing with Jessica, who she sees as like a kindred spirit, she's saying, she thinks it's really boring. And she wishes her dad could've gotten her any other job, which her dad just like hand, like the introduction of her getting this internship is like, well, my daddy knew somebody at the paper, so he got me this job right away, even though Oh, and she moved she's from Ohio.
She just moved to town from somewhere near Toledo.
Nick: [00:10:37] the detail will be important later.
Marissa: [00:10:39] Yeah, she's from Ohio.
Nick: [00:10:41] I mean, I I'm guessing this is intentional, but like, Jessica and Darcy are almost identical characters in this book. They are two sides of the same coin and it will lead to a point later I'll make where there's like one funny difference between them. But it was crazy that they painted them as such similar it's like everything from how they felt about this internship, to like how they treat men in this book.
It was, it was just striking how exactly similar to the two of them are.
Marissa: [00:11:10] right. And it struck me as. Upsetting because you know, Jessica is normally like she questions, Elisabeth's attitude and decisions a lot. But in this book, Darcy is openly like a bully essentially to Elizabeth. She, she play, she is rude to her. Like Elizabeth says, she clearly, the girl clearly doesn't like me, but like Darcy, she's got bully energy, you know, it's not that she there's something about Elizabeth that she dislikes is that she's decided that she's going to like play tricks on Elizabeth.
What are some of the things she does? She puts the dictionary on Elizabeth's desk and then complains openly
Nick: [00:11:50] like stole it off the library or something like that.
Marissa: [00:11:54] Something like that.
Nick: [00:11:55] well then there's the whole saga with the coffee when she gives her the wrong order purposely so that she brings a coffee that her boss is allergic to because it has creamer in it.
Marissa: [00:12:06] Yeah, so here's that part? I'll read it. This is Dan weeks' talking.
If you're not too busy, would you mind going downstairs to the coffee shop for me? I need a caffeine fix and I've got my hands full right now. Trying to hide a frown Darcy put down her magazine. She was in the middle of a good article in Ingenue magazine, her favorite, on how to win and keep a man. Getting coffee was the least appealing. Part of being an intern. She decided it was so degrading. Sure. She said, forcing a smile. You like it black, right? That's right. I hate anything in my coffee. Dan said, thanks Darcy. I really appreciate it. Here's some money. Get yourself something too.
So then she immediately turns around.
She sees Elizabeth gives her a dollar. So I don't know how much tan it gives her, but she gives Elizabeth $1 and tells her to go get a coffee for Dan with cream and sugar. There was so much about that passage. The, obviously the new magazine article is funny on how to win and keep a man that's a character detail.
But I also think going to get coffee is probably, is a really nice part of an internship because it means that you get to leave the office for a minute.
Nick: [00:13:12] and they all hate it.
Marissa: [00:13:14] Yeah. And it's funny that what we learn and I was a little bit, I was alarmed, but these kids are unpaid interns, which wouldn't be nearly as shocking if they were doing a little bit less work.
But like, what are the reason I'm getting into it is because Darcy's reaction to this being demeaning points to the fact that these girls are being asked to do or, or guys, if there there's a male intern that pops up later, but they're being asked to do like real research and journalism, like real like, Whoa, like they're holding the paper up with their, their work.
Nick: [00:13:52] editing it too.
Marissa: [00:13:54] Yeah. Oh, that's one of the worst things that Darcy does. She comes over and asks Elizabeth. Oh, is this the thing that you needed to turn in to Dan? And Elizabeth says, Oh yes, but I'm not done yet. But Darcy snatches is out of her hands, gives it to Dan and then says, Oh, I think there might be some mistakes in the last paragraph. And Dan is like, Oh, there are Elizabeth. Be sure to read more carefully. I was just like, ready to, I texted you that my blood was boiling. I was so mad at Darcy.
Nick: [00:14:22] Well and at that point, the book goes through a series where it's just like one after another instance, there's probably like four or five of them in a row. And at some point you're just like, Elizabeth, do you need to be petty back? And just take her down a few pegs here.
Marissa: [00:14:35] Yeah, Elizabeth keeps something. She's not going to be a baby about the Darcy situation. She's going to be professional, but it's when we finally get a peek into Darcy's perspective, it's clear that Darcy's just trying to have some fun, like she doesn't even really have a personal vendetta against Elizabeth.
She's just so bored at work that she has to live in it up. Um,
Nick: [00:14:53] bored. And she doesn't like that. She's she doesn't like that Elizabeth takes it seriously because Darcy doesn't take it seriously. And it makes it un-fun to be at work.
Marissa: [00:15:04] In last week's episode, we were talking a little bit about Elizabeth gossip column and book 52 shed some light on what the gossip column was like. Well, that comes up in this book as well, even though this book was written before, book 52, but regardless , Darcy brings up the gossip column just to like make fun of Elizabeth.
She pretends that she cares about being a serious journalist and is like, Oh, Elizabeth, don't you work on the gossip column or something on your paper. And then Elizabeth gets all defensive and has to like explain, Oh, it's not really a gossip column. Like she feels embarrassed about it. And Darcy doesn't care about journalism at all.
So she's literally just starting shit. She would be perfect on a reality show.
Nick: [00:15:47] Not even that she brings it up purposely in front of Dan and Seth to make Elizabeth look bad.
Marissa: [00:15:54] they're all out for, for lunch or dinner or something at like a local diner. I thought this was a cute detail. They call it the press club, but the book tells us that it's not really called the press club. It's just what they call it because, and I just thought that was really cute. Like the diner that the newspaper staff like lower run workers go, go chill out.
They acutely call the press club. But all of this Darcy stuff was leading back to my original point, which was that Jessica con keeps on telling Elizabeth that she needs to either sh she needs to give Darcy a chance. Like Darcy's not so bad. And she's one of the nicest girls I've ever met, even though Jessica is present for most of this bad behavior from Darcy.
And then once she understands what Darcy's been doing, she changes her tune to, you're going to need to apologize to Darcy. You don't want to get on the wrong side of a girl.
Nick: [00:16:46] Yeah. , it also, it gets to a weird point though. I had with the book where I wasn't sure why Elizabeth was mad at Darcy for how she's acting, because there's some points where she's acting the exact same as Jessica, especially in regard to like their attitudes towards work. And so
Marissa: [00:17:01] my gosh. Well try telling
Nick: [00:17:03] at Darcy, I feel like you should be mad at Jessica
Marissa: [00:17:05] Yeah, she should have been madder at Jessica. You want her to you like sometimes you do you want these girls to like have words and instead Elizabeth is just like, Jessica will never change, there was no use trying to, trying to talk reason to her.
Nick: [00:17:19] Yeah, she has a part later in the book where it's like one of the many times she talks about the concept of what is it called? Uh, identical opposites.
Marissa: [00:17:27] Oh, yeah.
That's a common phrase in this book, identical that Jessica and Elizabeth are identical opposites.
Nick: [00:17:33] Yeah. And she says like, even though we're identical opposites and we act completely different, like, I still like, just because she's my sister, like I have some sort of kinship with her with, or I feel protective of her.
Marissa: [00:17:43] I mean, sometimes that's the thing that makes me the most angry in the series. And sometimes I think that that is the glue. That's holding the books together because if Elizabeth didn't forgive Jessica for her many flaws, or if Jessica really like had had it with Elizabeth and could never get over it, like they would just be a constant rivalry. It would be a very different kind of series. But man, um, well can actually continue the plot summary by going back to this moment of, of coffee. Because the story really gets rolling. When Elizabeth goes to get this coffee for, uh, Dan that she asks for cream and sugar and she meets a boy named Eric Hankman and then she has to go talk to Eric Hankman again, a few minutes later because she takes the coffee to Dan weeks and he says, he's escalated it from hating anything in his coffee to, he is allergic to.
Nick: [00:18:40] there are two very important details that I feel like we have to discuss when we talk about his introduction.
Marissa: [00:18:44] Okay.
Nick: [00:18:46] Yes.
The book describes him as being unusually handsome, but at that point they have described every single male character as being handsome in this book.
So ... Either he's reached a new stratosphere of like Ohio rugged good looks, or this book is just really thrown out the superlatives.. But then the more baffling thing is that when he gives her the coffee, a full coffee cup, he puts it in a paper bag and gives it to her.
Marissa: [00:19:15] Oh, that's true. That is weird. Oh, also the coffee is costs less than a dollar because she has a single, a single us dollar bill that she gives him to pay for the coffee and he gives her change,
Nick: [00:19:29] w I can't get, I can't get over the detail either because later in the book, he will give a series of coffees into like, A paper tray. And so I thought maybe I read it wrong. So I went back to the page again, but no, sure enough it's as he puts it into a paper bag and I was so baffled as to why that would happen.
Marissa: [00:19:47] that does seem like a recipe for disaster. I don't know, maybe some sort of a historical coffee practice, but, um, here's the, here is the description of Eric Hankman because I know the gladiators are really anxious to hear what this very sexy man sounds like. So, listen carefully because the subtext is important here too.
Elizabeths glance kept coming back to the boy. He was unusually handsome and very appealing. He was tall, six feet, she guessed, with thick dark hair, hazel eyes, and a strong jaw. He smiled at the customer in front of her. And she noticed he had a dimple in his right cheek. Elizabeth laughed inwardly at herself. It wasn't like her to pay so much attention to a boy, especially someone she didn't know. And she had been concentrating so hard on him that when it was her turn to order, she felt herself blush. Hi. He said, smiling directly at her. Can I help you?
So they started talking and she finds out that he is a writer. He's a poet, especially. And there's something a little weird about him, you know? Like there's just something a little strange about Eric Hankman but she can't put her finger on it.
Nick: [00:20:57] well, it's probably these from Ohio, but she does not make that connection.
Marissa: [00:21:00] yeah. So what did you think when he said that he was from Ohio? I was like, really did the writers of this book not know any other States, like how
Nick: [00:21:08] aye.
Marissa: [00:21:10] I just wanted to add that Eric Hankman says that he's going to be a senior at sweet Valley high in the fall. So that means that he's in the same class as Elizabeth, so and Darcy too. Right? So they're all these kids are the same age. They're all from Ohio. And they're moving to sweet Valley this summer. It's like an influx
Nick: [00:21:25] I had suspected that somehow he would be related to Darcy, but that does not pan out to anything, but it just seems so odd that the book was going out of its way to point out Ohio
Marissa: [00:21:35] well, I think that, that must be why, like he's from Ohio. And I think that somebody must've thought it's too big of a coincidence if they're from the same town and Ohio is a big state that has several like smallish metropolitan areas. So they use that geography so that when Darcy starts calling a friend of hers named Sue who lives near Shaker Heights, which is where Eric is from.
Right. Am I getting all those details? Right? Uh,
Nick: [00:22:08] Sue will be a big source of gossip coming up.
Marissa: [00:22:11] Right. So she's just curious. Does soon know Eric because Darcy lays eyes on Eric when she finally goes to get coffee for real, she finally goes to run that errand and she is instantly in love. She's a real Amy Sutton. She's like. I lay eyes on a boy and my heart explodes with love. Like I'm going to go from stranger to in love immediately. So she starts mooning over it. And Elizabeth
Nick: [00:22:36] out of it.
Marissa: [00:22:37] well, yeah, that'll come soon enough. But Elizabeth is very like, Oh, Darcy loves Eric? Well..., she, and she starts to wonder like, well, why do I care? Like I've got my boyfriend, Jeffrey French. No.
Nick: [00:22:51] hold on. So this is this, this is a large topic of the book, and I have a lot of thoughts on this, but I feel like we need to make it clear, at least it was clear to me. I don't know if it was clear to you, but from the moment that Elizabeth and Eric meet, there is a strange amount of like, tension between the two of them, like crazy.
Marissa: [00:23:12] Elizabeth is forward for her. Like she asks a lot of questions. She, she immediately is like, Oh, we should get together sometime and read each other's writing. You know, they make, she makes plans to give him a tour of
Nick: [00:23:23] was gonna give him the full tour. Yeah.
Marissa: [00:23:25] Yeah.
Nick: [00:23:26] But it's weird because she's saying all that, but if her internal narration seems to be oblivious to what's going on, which to the book's credit is actually becomes kind of a more nuanced subject later on. But in the beginning I was just like yelling at the book.
Like, do you not see what's happening here?
Marissa: [00:23:40] Well, yeah. Well, they do get together and Elizabeth gives Eric a tour of sweet Valley that where she starts at Millers point. She starts at Millers point and she says to him. This is, it's an infamous parking spot, but it's daytime. So like we'll get out and just look at the view. Cause it's also a great view, but I mean, you got to think that like she must know that maybe starting it in for this make-out point is a little bit of a suggestive thing, but whatever, it's a great view. So then they go on the whole tour. They're gone all day and Elizabeth doesn't tell Jessica and Darcy, she like keeps it a secret that they're spending this time together for I don't know her own personal reasons, I guess, like she doesn't want to raise any eyebrows. So I think that she must know on some level that something is a little untoward here.
Nick: [00:24:31] I mean, because there's the whole like, undercurrent about Jeffrey, because we started the book with a phone call between the two of them. And then he calls a second time to say like, as if his ears are burning, like I'm feeling unusually jealous. Like, are you, you must have so many other boys
Marissa: [00:24:46] they have a psychic connection.
It makes you wonder what he's up to up in the San Francisco Bay
Nick: [00:24:51] Listen, he's teaching the bunk how to canoe
Marissa: [00:24:56] He's spending his summer with a bunch of boys in San Francisco and, uh, calling Elizabeth to ask her what she's doing. And he's going to, he says that he's going to be home in a few weeks, which I was kind of waiting for Jeffrey to show up at the doorstep and have that be the drama of the book, but it never happens.
Um, but one thing that I wanted to say about Elisabeth's confusion and how she seems like she's being a little dense at first is that they make plans to go see a movie , the new James Bond film.
Nick: [00:25:26] Well, so I'm pretty sure it's when they're on the tour that she says something and Eric comes back and says how he also wants to keep it a secret from everyone else.
And that it would be quote, "more romantic" if they did it that way. And she doesn't seem to have any sort of alarm bells go off when he says that phrase, even though she's kind of positive in her mind, the situation of like, well, I'm with Jeffrey, but here's this boy. And I hope he doesn't think it's anything more, even though she's acting that way.
Marissa: [00:25:57] Here's something that, from, from Miller's point, I marked this passage, so he's starting this kind of talk pretty early. But this, this passage also gets to another aspect of Eric's personality. So, , there at Millers point looking out at the ocean. Okay.
God, it's so beautiful.
Eric murmured staring out at the ocean, he turned back toward her and smiled. It reminds me of your eyes. Do you know that?
So, I mean, come on clearly enough.
To her embarrassment. Elizabeth felt her cheeks, turn red. Look, she said quickly pointing. You can see the mountains starting there. I love this spot.
She added quietly. It's so high up here so far away from everything. Still staring at the sea. Eric nodded. I know what you mean. He put his hands in his pockets. I'd love to take a boat sometime and sail all the way across. He said softly. Imagine what it would feel like days and days from anyone with only the water around you, Elizabeth shivered, there was something haunting in his voice.
Wouldn't you get lonely? She asked him, I think I'd rather have some friends around. Eric shook his head, a shadow, crossed his face and Elizabeth thought his eyes looked fierce. Who needs people? He demanded. I think it would be much better alone. Just me and the sea.
So. I mean, and it goes on to describe a muscle twitching in his cheek and Elizabeth feeling a little uncomfortable, but, um, yeah, he's it's so this is everything about Eric, right?
He's he's flirtatious, there's clearly something happening and also there's some kind of secret he seems to have.
Nick: [00:27:33] yeah. And that imagery of him on the boat will come up kind of indirectly in a subtle way. Where, when people are noticing his flashes of either anger, like emotional switches, they often will bring in the language of like rain or storm or something. Like water-based like that.
Marissa: [00:27:52] well, what a lovely, that's a very artistic note we have here for a first
Nick: [00:27:57] so striking every time they mentioned it.
Marissa: [00:28:00] When Elizabeth thinks about how she and Eric are going to get together to go to the movies, she thinks of it as a date, like she uses the word date, she says date.
And that they're just friends, like in the same breath. And I mean, like, I know that the word date can be used to describe any kind of thing of two people getting together, but it's like, even the book is, is ready to like, you know, say that they're dating.
Nick: [00:28:28] yeah. Yeah. I think it's aware of the language it's using.
Marissa: [00:28:32] Yeah. Um, and so here's a little bit more about Eric. Um, that's kind of serves the purpose of putting us in Elizabeth Head and making us wonder about Eric. Um, so they do read each other's poetry and it's very haunting .
It's all, it's all very, it's all very dramatic. But,
, by the end of the afternoon, Elizabeth had become aware of a pattern in Eric's behavior. As long as the conversation centered on Elizabeth, her family, her hobbies, her friends, Eric was open, friendly, cheerful, full of questions and remarks. But the minute Elizabeth tried to turn the conversation back to him.
He closed up, she could see his expression changed the second, she asked him anything about himself. That dark, almost angry, shadow crossed his face, and he tends to up, it made her almost afraid of him. Then the moment would pass and he would be himself again, sweet, open, friendly.
Nick: [00:29:23] this is like the first moment she gets serial killer vibes from him.
Marissa: [00:29:26] Yeah. Yeah. this progresses, right. They, you know, he tells her, he's been writing love poems. There's that moment where he's about to tell her how he feels. And Elizabeth starts thinking about what it would be like to kiss him. He, he, like, she like puts her fingers on his mouth and he kisses her fingers at one point, like,
Nick: [00:29:47] Oh yeah. I forgot about that.
Marissa: [00:29:50] Yeah.
Nick: [00:29:51] I think I audibly said, Oh no. When I read that
Marissa: [00:29:54] Oh, it was, it was an, Oh, no moment from Nick. That's great.
Nick: [00:29:58] There was a few of
Marissa: [00:29:59] I had to go
back and read it again because I thought for a second that maybe they had kissed and I was just like, Oh my gosh, Elizabeth, but I, but they didn't
Nick: [00:30:05] It's almost weirder.
Marissa: [00:30:07] Oh, it's definitely weirder. Yeah. Yeah. Elizabeth thinks that as soon as they talk about it, the delicate balance between them will be ruined and she'll have to tell him about Jeffrey.
And, uh, so she's just like living in our little summer girl fantasy, which, which is, which is okay. I mean, it's, but it's definitely all, well, we don't have to pass judgment on it, but what we can say is that it is very confusing for Elizabeth. She doesn't know. And is doubling down on why the whole thing is a secret.
She is not telling Jessica or Darcy anything Elizabeth claims that she only knows Eric from talking to him at the coffee shop before, during and after work. Like when she goes to buy coffee.
Nick: [00:30:52] Yeah, and I think this is probably more subtext of the book, but I thought what was frustrating, but also kind of interesting was that Elizabeth is ignoring such huge red flags here in terms of like, he even admits later that she doesn't know anything about him, really about Eric in that he always has this kind of switch when it comes to talking about any personal details about himself.
And so when she's kind of debating about like, how does she feel about him and especially like, would she choose him or Jeffrey? She has to kind of admit that like, he's. Bought into this illusion or this like scenario where he's this, you know, unusually handsome person who comes into town and he's mysterious.
And then he writes poetry and has all these kinds of like, like obvious the attractive traits. But then it's not really a relationship that's built on much. , and I thought that was kind of interesting. It's, it's frustrating in the beginning, but once you realize the book is in on that, I was more interested as it as like a real depiction of like what a teenage love would be.
Marissa: [00:31:57] Yeah, I agree with you. I mean, and I was primed, you were a little bit ahead of me reading. And so when you texted me that like, Elizabeth must either Elizabeth is stupid or, you know, she's getting herself or something like that, or she's just fully cheating on Jeffrey. And then it was like, by the time the book was over, the book was basically saying the same thing.
Like Elizabeth was saying the same thing to herself. Like, am I kidding myself or not? So we can talk more about that. But I feel like we have not revealed a particular detail about what happened with the Frank DeLuca case
Nick: [00:32:32] Oh, okay.
Marissa: [00:32:33] I, and I don't know if we should talk about it now or not because, um, it's a bit of a Chekov's witness.
Nick: [00:32:44] yes.
Marissa: [00:32:46] I mean, it's a little weird at the beginning of the book that there's all this talk about the Frank DeLuca case at all. Right? Like it has nothing to do with
Nick: [00:32:55] Yeah, it seems like it's setting up that the ma thematic debate you were talking about earlier, like, are people fundamentally trustworthy or are they corrupt? And then you're right. It seems like the book just drops it for a long period of time because it reaches what you think is some sort of conclusion.
And which also, I feel like we need to talk about it is that, is that legal strategy, a real thing
Marissa: [00:33:15] Uh, which legal strategy do you mean?
Nick: [00:33:18] that you can just have surprised last minute witnesses
Marissa: [00:33:23] I don't know. I think it might be,
Nick: [00:33:26] it just seems so odd that like when, when does have to be agreed upon or something like that, you can just secure a witness on the second, last day of trial and they just show up
Marissa: [00:33:34] that's a good question. I, I don't know if. Um, Oh, here. Surprise witnesses are an acceptable... Okay. Yeah, I guess, uh, I guess you can have, there's an article from American bar.org. The title of which is examinations at trial fun with surprise witnesses and fun as in like scare quotes. So I have to read that article at some point, but I
Nick: [00:34:02] Striker from the record, then
Marissa: [00:34:04] maybe
Nick: [00:34:04] the judge allows
Marissa: [00:34:05] like with a juror selection where like you only have so many rejection, like people that you can reject or something like, I dunno, I don't really know.
I'm not, neither of us are lawyers gladiators. If you know about how surprise witnesses work, go ahead and write in, and maybe we'll talk about it in a future
episode, but it's it's definitely a thing that happens on TV. So we'll let it slide in sweet Valley high. Um, but. So the surprise witness in this case is a guy named Dr. Ryan, who was like a doctor that cared for somebody who he was, I mean, not emotionally, but like physically cared for, uh, one of the previous like witnesses who had been killed after, after saying he was going to testify against Frank DeLuca. And this doctor basically, that's just like a linchpin by coming forward.
You know, he makes himself, uh, he basically is single-handedly responsible. His testimony is, is responsible for getting the conviction.
Nick: [00:35:07] it's like his testimony. The book is oddly specific about the situation, but it's like, he's the doctor of this person who developed some sort of like early onset diabetes, I think is what the book says. And he, over a series of time wrote down basically what was happening and how the DeLuca guy was involved in this criminal underworld and then left the note with Dr. Ryan,
Marissa: [00:35:33] Yeah. Which all
Nick: [00:35:34] Ryan like provides a note and they get a handwriting
Marissa: [00:35:37] Yeah. Handwriting analysis. Yeah. It seems like it would be dubious evidence at best, but it works. And I think, I mean, maybe the jurors were desperate to put Frank DeLuca away. I don't know. But, um,
Nick: [00:35:50] like everybody knew his guilt except for the legal
Marissa: [00:35:53] Well, and the whole world was watching, it was like the OJ Simpson trial or something like it was on the news was on the radio. There's a scene early on in the book when Elizabeth turns on the Jessica tries to change the station and Elizabeth like smacks her hand away. So, so that's something that happens at the beginning of the book. So just forget about that for now, gladiators, it might not be important at all. Who knows? Uh, so Jessica and Darcy.
They have their own little plot with Eric Hankman now, which starts with Darcy's interest in him. Did you notice, uh, that we had an, an LA sports team? I imagine you did notice
Nick: [00:36:32] when they mentioned the Dodgers.
Marissa: [00:36:34] Yeah. Somehow Darcy has two tickets to a Dodgers game and she has Jessica go ask Eric. I don't know. It's very convoluted. She's trying to, John, Darcy's trying to go on a date with Eric to a Dodgers game.
Nick: [00:36:47] This is another California detail, but do you notice right in the beginning of the book, they talk about Jessica having exotic schemes, including accompanying her friend, Lila to Carmel.
Marissa: [00:37:00] yeah, Lila is in
Nick: [00:37:02] as exotic. Okay.
Marissa: [00:37:03] I don't know, man. Maybe to Jessica. It is she's 16. We'll cut her some Slack, although she has been to France. So who knows?
Nick: [00:37:13] More exotic than France.
Marissa: [00:37:15] Eric turns her down because he's already got plans to go see this new James Bond movie, uh, which is probably the movie, the living daylights
Nick: [00:37:24] Ooh,
Marissa: [00:37:25] Timothy Dalton as James
Nick: [00:37:26] good research. Good callback.
Marissa: [00:37:28] Thank you. Timothy Dalton, giving a little bit of a Eric Hankman vibe, looking at a picture of him right now. He's got a cleft chin. He's got a doesn't it doesn't he have a cleft chin? Or am I making that up anyway?
I don't know.
Nick: [00:37:41] I can't remember.
Marissa: [00:37:44] Forget about doing it.
Nick: [00:37:45] detail away.
Marissa: [00:37:47] Um, so Darcy, as soon as she thinks that, okay, well, Eric, isn't in love with me. She pretty much drops him.
Nick: [00:37:53] She does this weird scheme. Where she is over him, but still tries to get him to go to a Dodgers game with her. And she, this is one of many times where he recruits Jessica to do it for her and basically says like, I don't know how you're going to do it, but just do it.
And Jessica in a very strange twist gets annoyed with Darcy for not being fully devoted to Eric, but it's exactly the same thing that Jessica has expressed in this book, how she feels towards other men's it's in fact, one of the things, the two of them bond about in the beginning and why Jessica likes her.
So it's such a strange note that she's annoyed at her for it.
Marissa: [00:38:30] that's funny. Although, I guess that is the thing that really happens, right? Like there are certain qualities that you w one has oneself that when you see it in others, it's attractive and certain qualities that you have on yourself that when you see it in others, you really don't like it. Perhaps even because it reminds you of something you just like about yourself.
Although I don't think Jessica would say, this is something she does likes about herself.
Nick: [00:38:51] No she's attracted to it. And Darcy until thirsty makes her do something about it. And then she doesn't like it anymore.
Marissa: [00:38:58] Yeah. Well, Darcy, I mean, Darcy switches her allegiance to yet another new boy, Andy Sullivan, who is a freshman at Stanford, but he doesn't, he doesn't matter to this book at all. He shows up he's a red herring.
Nick: [00:39:14] he's one of the many interns that work in this building. Everyone in this town seems to work in the Western building, including all of the unpaid interns.
Marissa: [00:39:24] Yeah, well, it's they called the Western building because it was literally the only building on the West side of town. No, I made that up. All right. So, so Darcy, when she goes and take matters into her own hands, she starts, um, teasing Eric about his writing and she starts looking at his journal and he's, he like scolds her and like takes it away.
And then she like teases him by ripping a page out of it. And it's a love poem. And that sh he tells her, he wrote for her about her to get her off the scent, I guess.
Nick: [00:40:00] yeah, he was trying to like misdirect so that he didn't have to admit that it's about Elizabeth. And so he like purposely writes this vague header that just says for her, but she, when she rips the page, he does it in a way. This happens a couple of times in the book, but Eric is like such a, so beholden to his job that when customers come in, people wait to do things to him and then he's stuck because he has to help the customer and like, can't respond back to them.
So she waits until he's serving someone. And then she goes behind the counter and rips the page out of the notebook. Cause she had already tried to look at the notebook and he took it with him behind the counter. And then he basically like throws his hands up and was like, I can't do anything. Cause I'm serving coffee to this person.
Marissa: [00:40:43] yeah, maybe that's what Elizabeth likes in him is that he is just so dedicated to his work.
Nick: [00:40:50] He is.
Marissa: [00:40:51] Uh, but Darcy immediately takes this to Jessica and Elizabeth and says that Eric has said it's about her, this love poem. And when Elizabeth
Nick: [00:41:02] Oh, yes.
Marissa: [00:41:03] she's just mortified because not, yeah, not because she knows that she was nearly caught in this sort of, not quite a love affair with Eric, but because she thinks that Eric was, was kind of.
Must've like she must've had a misunderstanding and Eric really is in love with Darcy
Nick: [00:41:25] This whole scheme to all of this, I think for so many, so many reasons, because it's like first off, Elizabeth, just completely somehow misunderstands the whole situation to the point where she should know better, because he even said like, I want to keep this a secret. So why would he tell. Darcy that he wrote this about her, but then also it's like, he was never interested in Darcy.
Like that was never a thing before, but Darcy's even saying in this situation, like, I don't even care about Eric. Like she's announcing to Jessica and Elizabeth, and she's already moved on and that she's just playing, playing with Eric here. So it's like, why, why even matter? But this is also one of my least favorite plot lines in any form of media where it's just like a fight that's caused by someone's misunderstanding or misperception.
And no one does anything to clarify. Like if someone had just asked the question, this whole thing would be solved and yet it becomes a larger issue because of it. And I was just yelling like, no at the book
Marissa: [00:42:27] this is like the axis point around which the entire sweet Valley high universe revolves. So it is
Nick: [00:42:33] not live in that
Marissa: [00:42:34] it's, it's challenging. And sometimes, um, here's, here's a little bit of insight into Elisabeth's perspective here.
, she could barely focus on the words below. So Eric really had written a love poem to Darcy.
She felt terrible. How could he, what about everything he'd said the day before to her didn't mean anything
then, uh, the next page later,
By Tuesday evening, Elizabeth was in a terrible state about Eric. She had thought about nothing else all day and had deliberately avoided him going out by a different exit.
So she wouldn't have to walk past the coffee shop and run into him every time she imagined him with Darcy, she got more upset. And not just because she didn't like the thought of Eric being interested in Darcy though. That was certainly most of it. Elizabeth was also upset because her own reaction was so strong and that meant facing up to the fact that she must have some feelings for Eric that went beyond mere friendship.
So Elizabeth is in a state and, but she can't tell anybody about it. So around this time, the Wakefields decide that they're going to invite Mr. Hinchman and Eric. So Eric and his dad over for a picnic, and they're also going to invite some other neighbors of theirs and whatever their names, the,
Nick: [00:43:54] the Beckwiths.
Marissa: [00:43:55] the Beckwith's. Yes. So Mr and Mrs. Beckwith and Mr.
Nick: [00:44:00] this is Rosie, the nosy neighbor over
Marissa: [00:44:02] Yeah. Mr. Beckwith keeps on telling Mr. Hinchman. I'm sure I saw you somewhere. I'm sure I recognize you. And Mr. Hankman keeps on saying no. We skipped an important detail, which is that Jessica and Darcy go very quickly from Darcy, interested in to Eric, to Eric is maybe a murderer.
So she'll be get into that.
Nick: [00:44:26] yeah, cause Sue was coming in hot with some details.
Marissa: [00:44:30] Yeah.
So you'll recall, uh, gladiators that Darcy has, has called her friend Sue to find out if Sue knows anything. She knows this Eric Guy, like she wants to get the scoop and Sue explains that. Okay. Sure. I don't know who Eric is, but guess what? There was a terrible murder in my town and a girl was murdered by her boyfriend and the boyfriend is on the run.
They don't know where he went. The boyfriend's name we later to learn is Chris Wyeth. Sorry. boyfriend means the murderer. His name is Chris Wyeth. And.
Nick: [00:45:02] over a series of phone calls though with Sue is like, it's like a slow drip of
Marissa: [00:45:07] Darcy says that she's going to call Sue from the Wakefields, but she'll call collect. So don't worry. Sue's family
Nick: [00:45:13] she has money. Her family has money
Marissa: [00:45:15] Yeah. So, um, the whole like long distance call pricing situation is actually really important to this book because it's why Jeffrey can only call three times a week or whatever.
Nick: [00:45:27] yeah. And I have to write letters some of the time.
Marissa: [00:45:29] Yeah. So Darcy and Jessica started out just being like, okay, well, let's, let's keep an eye out for anything that might be suspicious. And the more information they get from Sue, the more convinced they are that, uh, Eric Hankman is the guy that is on the run for having murdered this girl in Ohio.
That it starts to escalate around the time that Eric Hankman and his dad are invited over to the Wakefields for like a picnic with, uh, Mr. And Mrs. Beckwith, and Jessica is like really scrutinizing Eric. And so when Mr. Beckwith starts telling Mr.
Hankman, I'm sure I recognize you somewhere. And Mr. Hankman starts acting, shifty, like, like he's nervous about, well, he doesn't want to say who he is. Jessica starts wondering if maybe, you know, that points to her theory about Eric being true. Does that all make sense?
Nick: [00:46:30] Yeah. And, and the kind of underlying thing here is that Darcy and Jessica make a pact where they are going to go detective and watch everything that Eric does, but they make a promise that if he starts to date someone in the town, that they were going to call the police, cause then they knew that things would escalate and that he might strike again.
Marissa: [00:46:51] right. So here's where it's critical that Elizabeth has kept it a secret. And Jessica is kind of not fully noticing how weird Elizabeth is acting around Eric, because she's so focused on how Eric is acting. And Eric is acting weird and shifty too possibly because he has the secret of romance with Elizabeth.
But as readers at this point, I kind of think, tell me what you think about this, Nick. I think that the book is trying to make us really think, is this true? Like our, you know, our Jessica and Darcy, right? Like Eric could be a murderer.
Nick: [00:47:25] Yeah. I think it's leaning really hard on that.
Marissa: [00:47:28] Especially when Jessica decides after the picnic, that she's going to dress up like Elizabeth and go, you know, get Eric's notebook from him because Darcy says that the notebook will have secrets in it.
Nick: [00:47:45] well,
Marissa: [00:47:45] yeah.
Nick: [00:47:47] There's another detail that I think the book is kinda like push us in that direction, which we didn't mention earlier, but it's when Elizabeth and Eric are, I think a writer on there. Tour or maybe when they're going to the movies. I think it's actually, when they go to the movies that they're being followed.
Did we talk about that already?
Marissa: [00:48:02] Oh no. I forgot about that.
Nick: [00:48:05] Yeah. So the reading followed by the guy in gray.
Marissa: [00:48:08] A guy in a gray suit, like Elizabeth thinks they're being followed. She's a little weirded out. She asks Eric about it, but then the guy goes away.
Nick: [00:48:17] Yes. And so , I just felt like between that and all of the clues, it was dropping, it made it seem like he was being investigated for something. And Elizabeth is constantly having this thought of like, why would he be followed? Like why? Or is there anything just like Mercedes driving around sweet Valley following this guy who just rolled into town?
And I don't know. I feel like. While I enjoy the twist coming later. I, I feel like there wasn't really much of a way to predict what was going on. Not in a bad way, but I, to your earlier question, like, it seems like it's really trying to get us to the point of buying into this reality that Jessica and, um, Darcy have come up with.
Marissa: [00:49:01] yeah, so, I mean, with the following, it's like, Elizabeth spats the sky, but the Mercedes that you're talking about that's Jessica. So Jessica is pretending to be Elizabeth. She goes to Eric's house. She is able to convince Eric that she's Elizabeth, because Elizabeth has told Eric that the way that you can tell the difference between them is that Jessica never wears a watch, but Jessica thinks of this when she dresses up like Elizabeth.
And she, she, I mean, she doesn't know that Elizabeth told Eric this, but she knows. She knows this difference. Well enough, it must be well-trodden territory that she puts on the wristwatch. So her, her disguise works. She's done. Eric definitely thinks she's acting weird, but he says something that makes Jessica realize that he and Elizabeth are closer than Elizabeth has led on.
So now she's really nervous because what if Eric is a murderer and what if he's dating her sister or they're just have a close relationship, you know, then maybe her sister is in danger of also being murdered. And that's while she's thinking about all that, that she gets followed by a black Mercedes and a guy in a gray suit comes and like grabs the handlebars of her bike and steals Eric's notebook out of the basket and tells her that she'd better
Nick: [00:50:19] pushes her over.
Marissa: [00:50:21] Yeah. Pushes her over.
Nick: [00:50:22] She scrapes her, her palms.
Marissa: [00:50:24] Yeah.
Nick: [00:50:25] The
Marissa: [00:50:25] though.
Nick: [00:50:26] Yeah, the bike is okay.
Marissa: [00:50:28] Shanks,
Nick: [00:50:29] Okay.
Marissa: [00:50:31] the bookshelves is that specifically listeners. That's why we're both pointing it out.
Nick: [00:50:35] Yeah. The books, he was more concerned with the bike than her
Marissa: [00:50:41] So, um, now Jessica is on high alert, but Elizabeth has gone off to spend some time, uh, with Enid and Oh, but that's also a little bit of a ruse, right.
Nick: [00:50:54] Well, yes and no, though. So earlier in the book she had lied and said she was going to see Enid when she was not. When she was going with Eric, but then this time she, we learned second hand from, um, Mrs. Wakefield, that she's at Enid's and she's sleeping over because her mom went to a real estate conference in New Mexico or something, something
Marissa: [00:51:15] did
Nick: [00:51:16] yeah. And so at first we're thinking to ourselves, like, that's not true. There's no way that's true. And sure enough, she went to go meet Eric. We actually learned that she was at Enid's before. And that she's going to go back there to stay over the
Marissa: [00:51:29] Yeah. It's like a combo. It's like, it's like a half lie because she does spend the night at Enid's, but she is taking some time away from saying that needs to go meet Eric at the Beach Disco or something, but Eric never shows up. And the reason that Eric never shows up is my, Oh my God moment.
The, Oh my God moment is the moment , sometimes it happens. Sometimes it doesn't when I am reading, uh, one of these books and I say out loud, Oh my God, I say it in different tones. And sometimes that's genuine shock. And this time it was more, um, sort of sad, dismay. It was the tone of more of like, Oh my God.
Nick: [00:52:08] Well, so do you want some set up for it though?
Marissa: [00:52:10] Yeah, sure.
Nick: [00:52:12] Cause at this point, Jessica is. Totally concerned about the safety, because she's only heard from her mom that, that Elizabeth has gone out for the weekend. And I think she's fearing that she is actually that Elizabeth has actually with Eric. And so she's panicked, but she won't tell her mom what's going on.
So then he's trying to figure out how she can go and find Elizabeth and no one's answering the phone. And then she gets kind of, when she's going out to search, she keeps running into people. She knows eventually they corner her into going to, what is it? the
Marissa: [00:52:48] Dairi Yeah. Yeah.
Nick: [00:52:50] where, uh, and there, she's kind of stuck eating there and Darcy's there as well along with, um, Winston and, Oh man, I'm forgetting another one's name because they're talking about sports the
Marissa: [00:53:02] Oh, sure. So, okay. So it's at the Dairi burger, Aaron Dallas and Winston are talking a lot about Jeffery and what a great soccer player he is. Jessica is really trying to steer the conversation away from Jeffrey and Elizabeth in general, which I think is, is kind of interesting.
Um, she's just on guard. She doesn't know whether Eric knows about Jeffrey or not. Um,
Nick: [00:53:28] Because Eric shows up.
Marissa: [00:53:29] And Eric. Yeah. Oh, because Eric shows up and because Darcy and Jessica are at the table and he knows them, he comes over to join the table. But at this point Jessica's already been accosted by this man in the Mercedes who stole the notebook, who knocked her bike over.
So she's basically convinced that Eric is in fact the smarter or something, something bad is up. So Winston and Erin and everybody you're talking about Jeffrey,
listen, Jeffrey is good, but he isn't that good. Winston continued. There didn't seem to be any way to stop them.
Jessica felt ready to scream. She was so frustrated and anxious. We shouldn't be talking this way in front of Jess. Aaron said, affectionately leaning over to ruffle her hair. She'll go home and tell Liz. Right. And we know how loyal Liz is. One bad thing said about Jeffrey and she'll hate us all for months. Dead silence followed as Eric suddenly seemed to pay attention to what was being said, who is Jeffrey? He asked almost casually Winston famous for being a clown, pretended to be horrified. What you mean? You know, the Wakefield twins, and don't know about Jeffrey French. He's the light of Elisabeth's life.
Or as you common mortals put it, her boyfriend.
and, uh, , Eric is like, where is he now? But when, when, that you referenced to Jeffrey and Elizabeth came up, I was just like at home, like, God, this is the
Nick: [00:54:54] this leads to,
Marissa: [00:54:55] for him to find out.
Nick: [00:54:57] this leads though to the kind of biggest encapsulation of what I was mentioning back in the beginning, or the quote continues, and it says
Eric's expression changed swiftly as if a storm had blown up in a clear summer sky.
Marissa: [00:55:11] yeah, very true. That is that there's that imagery. So, and I do think that this is the book doubling down on this kind of misleading path because spoiler alert, gladiators, Eric Hankman is not a murderer, but leading us down this path of the sky does seem disjointed. Like there does seem to be something a little bit amiss here.
And, uh, Jessica is so worried like, Oh, well now she's angered him. Now she's angered the, the girl- murderer and he's going to go find Elizabeth and he's going to murder her. Um, so luckily, uh, she can put her mind a little bit at ease because. Enid and Elizabeth go up to Ian, his aunt's cabin in the woods for a night.
So Elizabeth is far away from Eric?
Nick: [00:56:01] but there's one thing that happens before that though, when Elizabeth is waiting at the, was the beach disco.
Marissa: [00:56:09] Yeah. At the beach. Just go
Nick: [00:56:11] So she waits for 50 minutes and then realizes that he's not coming
because she knows Eric would always be early. And when she goes to leave, she notices a car following her again. And it leads into the second chase sequence of this book after the bike chase sequences.
And she eventually pulls off, it seems like to some like wooded area or something like that. And the sky gets out in a car behind her and approaches her and seems to flash an FBI badge
and is asking about Eric. And she doesn't really have a lot of information to give him. And eventually the guy just kind of goes on his way, but then she's really perplexed as to what could be going on here.
Marissa: [00:56:52] Yeah. And so she goes and goes home. Oh, Jessica has left a note at Enid's house, but it's cat has, has chewed the note so that it is illegible.
Nick: [00:57:04] Domestic damage as the cat is known for.
Marissa: [00:57:07] Yeah, that's what it says. Um, the cat's name is Muffy, and the book tells us that MFI is famous for this kind of domestic damage, but, that's a little bit of reverse engineering here on the books part.
I never heard of Muffy's existence before. And we've had, we've had books about Enid and Enid's household. So, uh, at any rate, Enid tells, Elizabeth that the whole thing can wait to be sorted out with Eric on Monday and, and EDA doesn't know anything about. I mean Ian and Elizabeth, neither of them know anything about Jessica and Darcy's theory that, uh, Eric Hankman is Chris Wyeth, the, the girl murderer.
Nick: [00:57:43] Yeah. And on the flip side, Darcy is telling Jessica that they have to basically wait to go to the police cause that they don't really have any proof. And just cause basically like what more, what I need, which is crazy. Cause she has nothing at this point,
Marissa: [00:57:58] well, it is interesting following on the heels of the last book too, because the last thriller, because Jessica got in trouble for making up stories
Nick: [00:58:07] Yeah. She, uh, I wrote down this line cause I thought it was funny, but she said
. One more bit of proof in wild horses. Couldn't keep me from calling the police.
Marissa: [00:58:18] Yeah. Okay. There's a funny moment where, uh, the book describes that Darcy who having just come down with a cold is eating a bag of peanut M and M's to try to fortify her strength.
Nick: [00:58:30] Yeah. And then she doubles down and says her strategy is just to eat as much as possible.
Marissa: [00:58:35] Yeah, no, I, I dunno. I nurse, he had a cold. Exactly, but I guess so she could be home to get a, to get a package from, um, I mean, she does really have a cold, but I mean, why did the author of this book create a cold for Darcy? I'm not sure, but she's waiting. Sue is sending her in the mail, the composite sketch of the composite sketch of Eric Hank or not Eric Haman, the composite sketch of Chris
Nick: [00:59:02] Wyeth.
Marissa: [00:59:03] And so that Darcy and Jessica can see if he resembles Eric Hankman. And Darcy gets this envelope. And guess what? He looks kinda like Eric Hankman.
Nick: [00:59:16] yeah, this is a generalized composite sketch kind of looks like
Marissa: [00:59:19] Yeah. So Darcy rushes to the Western building to show Jessica the sketch. Meanwhile, Elizabeth is talking things out with Eric and Eric is like pulling her into a back room. Firmly, like Elizabeth says, you're hurting
Nick: [00:59:40] It hurts her. Yeah.
Marissa: [00:59:42] Jessica rushes to the coffee shop and she overhears this.
I think she overhears stop. You hurting me and calls out Elizabeth, you know? And Elizabeth is like, Jessica needs me, like, that's my sister. And Eric's like, you want her to talk? I mean, Eric is really angry, right. Because he's angry about Jeffrey and. Like Elizabeth has been lying to him or has, you know, a lie of omission or whatever.
But as the readers, even, we're not sure exactly what's happening now, like is so, so sorry. I'm sorry. Gladiators. Maybe I shouldn't have told you that. Maybe I ruined the, this photo's too. Spoilery for me to tell you as early as I did that, Eric is not a murderer, but I guess as I was reading the book, I was like, I don't think so.
It's just like, it's not the person, like this is too cut and dry. If the guy that did it is we just know, like, I
Nick: [01:00:30] this scene, the scene really tips it into the favor of, he might be a murderer. Because not only is he pulling her by the, so just to clarify, there's going to be so much piles up here in a few short pages, but this is the first instance where after Jessica sees him pulling Elizabeth forcefully out of the coffee shop, they are running down the street. And then he, uh, Eric pushes Elizabeth into an alley and then like forcefully covers her mouth and Jessica and Darcy are chasing after, but they don't see them go down that alley. So they keep running past. And Eric basically is like pretty threatening and saying that like she shouldn't Elizabeth shouldn't make any noise to attract their attention. And at that point you're like, what is going on here?
Marissa: [01:01:15] Yeah. I had a moment where I was like, was I wrong about, about him all along? Like, is he gonna, is he going to try? Is this going to be another book where it's going to be just like the last thriller and Jessica and Elizabeth are like, you know, having to fight off, uh, you know, some strong young man with the lead pipe,
Nick: [01:01:36] Yeah.
Even if he's not a murderer, this is a real warning sign.
Marissa: [01:01:40] Yeah, this is, it's a bad look for Eric. Like it's really bad. I mean, I'm, I'm the only reason why it's not affecting me more. It's just because I'm, I'm a jaded now having read so many of these books, but it's bad. And, uh, but there's something else, even worse that's happening. Meanwhile, in the coffee shop, a child is choking.
Nick: [01:02:01] this is, this is my Oh my God moment.
Marissa: [01:02:04] Yeah. Well, Eric, the dutiful, Eric steps away from his post for, you know, five minutes to talk to, to Elizabeth. And during that time a child starts choking on something.
Nick: [01:02:15] yeah, cause he had just served this mother and son. Timothy is we'll learn. His name is, uh, served them and then they step away. And it's only when he has pulled Elizabeth into the alley, then Jessica and Darcy are like, what are we going to do? We can't find them. And so they decided to run back to the Western building which I guess is a couple blocks away at this point.
And then it's when they get back to the building that, um, isn't Mr. Beckwith, who was in the coffee shop,
Marissa: [01:02:47] Mr. Beckwith is there in the coffee shop and Mr. Hankman is on a payphone nearby for some reason,
Nick: [01:02:54] but isn't it Mr. Beckwith who comes running out and was like, Oh my God, there's a young child choking in here.
Marissa: [01:02:59] Yeah. That's when Mr. Hankman is like, I've got to help an Eric somehow is there now too. And it's like, no dad. And he's like,
Nick: [01:03:08] Yeah, cause he heard that he heard the screams from the alleyway where they were, because there's a lot that's happening in a really quick period of time here. Cause Jessica is like basically going numb, even though they keep telling her, like, go find a doctor on the street and then go call the police. Or she basically doesn't do anything. And then Mr. Beckwith I think is like pushing her out the door at one point, a lot of character movement going on here.
Marissa: [01:03:30] Sometime Eric tells his dad not to help, which I mean, Eric's dad is, is supposedly a businessman. Like that's what we've Mr. . That's what we've learned about him before. Just like Darcy's dad, which is interesting, just a vaguely, a businessman from Ohio, but that also, again, another, another red herring, because it turns out that what, uh, Mr Hankman does, is he performs like an emergency tracheotomy basically on this boy? Yeah. In the middle of the coffee shop. And, and when he starts doing that, Mr. Beckwith is there and is like, Oh my gosh, that's where I know you from your doctor, Ryan, the doctor that testified against Frank Daluca and the big Frank DeLuca case.
So I'm like, ah, that's amazing. And immediately it's like you idiot because we know the one thing we know about Dr. Ryan, other than that, he did the thing that some people thought could never be done and went ahead and testified against Frank DeLuca, even though it was dangerous, we know that he was going to be put in the witness protection program.
So, he is, he is undercover in sweet Valley or undercover. It's not really the word, but he's got a new identity as Mr. Hankman of Ohio. And
now that his
Nick: [01:04:50] this is the giveaway.
I was thinking. It's weird that this is somehow the giveaway of his identity to Mr. Beckwith, because
he's doing this emergency tracheotomy he's, he's got like a, like a coffee shop, like butter knife and a straw and some towels. And he's just like, cut this kid's throat open and then tells the mom casually, like, yeah, he's fine.
Don't worry about it. Like
Marissa: [01:05:14] Going to the hospital, but, but, um,
Nick: [01:05:18] the whole thing. And then, yeah, like you were saying, he also he's like, Oh, now I know you. And it's like, wait, what, how do you know him? Because they
Marissa: [01:05:25] Why are you? You
Nick: [01:05:26] say
Marissa: [01:05:26] of
Nick: [01:05:27] they don't look exactly the same.
Marissa: [01:05:29] Yeah. He's, he's put on some weight, he's grown a beard he's like dyed his hair, black, like he's, he's, he's changed his appearance significantly. Yes. And also like Mr. Beckwith is just like randomly in the right place at the right time for this to
Nick: [01:05:42] listen, everyone works in the Western building.
Marissa: [01:05:45] as we've established, everyone works there. Uh, so it's right on the heels of this, that the Ryans. Well, how did these bad men get into
Nick: [01:06:00] Oh, well this is, this is my, I think third. Oh my God moment of this book is they? So basically the, uh, the Ryans, uh, which we actually learned that Eric's name is Michael Ryan. they go home because they're going to go start packing up to leave
and they're in the middle of packing
Marissa: [01:06:17] in case this isn't clear to you, Eric Hinchman they thought Eric Hinchman was maybe Chris Wyatt, but it turns out he's not Chris Wyatt. He's Michael Ryan.
Nick: [01:06:27] Yes.
Marissa: [01:06:29] in case you were confused.
Nick: [01:06:32] Well, here's the third name for
Marissa: [01:06:33] Yeah. Go ahead,
Nick: [01:06:34] but yeah. Oh, it's only when they're home packing that Elizabeth goes over to, I guess kind of say her goodbyes, although she doesn't really know what the situation is and that it was the third moment where I was just like, what is happening in here? Because they're there when suddenly is it like the door gets kicked in?
Marissa: [01:06:54] yeah, the door gets kicked in and who is it? But the man in the gray suit and the FBI agent and maybe some other dudes, um, there, there they are Frank
Nick: [01:07:05] Weapons drawn.
Marissa: [01:07:06] Yeah. W weapons drawn and they tell everybody to like, you know, come Mr. Heckman, like, or Mr. Dr. Ryan as the case, maybe, uh, like it has a suitcase he's getting ready to pack into run.
Like there, that's where the title on the run comes from. Right. They were on the run before, um, Chris Wyatt is on the run somewhere, but we don't know to where, but Eric Hankman and his dad are only on the run in the sense that they're. In the witness protection program until now, now they're on the run again.
And they, I think they aver that they will be on the run forever. So, uh, and also there's a Mrs. Hankman. I mean Mrs. Ryan and a sister that are still back home and wherever they're actually from, he is packing a suitcase, which he sort of like has to drop down the stairs when these guys tell him to come
Nick: [01:07:56] he has to like kick it slowly down the stairs.
Marissa: [01:07:59] It was an interesting detail, but yeah, they had them all at gunpoint and I don't exactly know what it is that they're planning on doing, but it's something,
Nick: [01:08:08] they say that they're trying to get information from both Michael and Dr. Ryan, and that they're willing to kill them if they don't get the information, but then they send Michael and Elizabeth upstairs to the den while they are going to interrogate the doctor.
And it's there that we have maybe the fourth. Oh my God. Moment of the book, which is when they talk about the good neighbor security system,
Marissa: [01:08:32] let's find that part because this is where, um,
Nick: [01:08:37] I
Marissa: [01:08:38] is trying to convince the Ryans that they don't have to leave because sweet Valley, like they might, you know, they're saying everywhere we go, you know, someone will find us out and like rat us out and there'll be ice. Frank DeLuca has men everywhere.
Like you don't understand, we have to leave. And , she's like, no sweet Valley is different. But then of course, these guys come and kick down the door and it's like, Oh, see, this is exactly what we were afraid of. Somebody did rat us out and now they're here already. So Eric and Elizabeth go upstairs.
And this is where Elizabeth tells Eric that he should ring the alarm. That is that the Ryan's never, uh,
Nick: [01:09:25] They didn't disconnect. You had to press the red button.
Marissa: [01:09:29] So let me find this,
Nick: [01:09:30] Elizabeth draws on her long and vast history as a home security expert.
Just so striking to me how quickly she launched into this whole speech about how the system worked.
Marissa: [01:09:43] In the den, Michael sank down onto the couch and Elizabeth sat down beside him, her head resting lightly on his shoulder. What could possibly happen now? She wondered, there seemed to be no way out of this awful mess. She'll let out a long sigh then gasped when she saw small alarm box on the wall behind the coffee table, Mike, look,
your father never disconnected the alarm system. The last owner of this house installed push that red button fast. What is it? Michael demanded, staring skeptically at the box. Elizabeth reached around him and pressed the button as hard as she could. It's called the good neighbor system. When you push it, it goes off in six other houses in the area that are also part of the network.
And in the police station, it's completely silent. So they won't know downstairs. Then one of the neighbors will call and say the first part of the password to your father. If he doesn't finish it, they'll come running right over to make sure he's all right. Michael looked at Elizabeth and disbelief. I can't believe any good neighbor system is going to be how much help at this point.
Elizabeth pushed the red button. Again, it can't hurt. She told him Michael don't you have any faith in people at all. Michael shook his head. Not when I think that one of those so-called good neighbors must have told those creeps downstairs, where to find my dad and me. How else did they find out where we live?
Elizabeth was a ghast no one would have told them she cried. Michael, you can't believe that.
so anyway, I, I just wanted to go to, just to give a little sense of this is the, it does come back to this thematics, like Michael can't believe that such a system would work. Elizabeth is like, no, your, your neighbors do care about you and she's pressing this button.
So I did a little research to see if this was a real thing. And while I was able to find some evidence of security systems becoming popular in the eighties that you know, did connect directly into the local police station. I couldn't find any. Thing by this name, at least it didn't. I was just curious, like, is this in any way, a real thing though?
Nick: [01:11:49] a state farm in contraction.
Marissa: [01:11:50] Yeah,
Nick: [01:11:51] Okay.
Marissa: [01:11:52] it should be. But gladiators, if you have any knowledge of some kind of similar kind of alarm system, I'd love to hear about it, but the phone rings and Elizabeth is like, you see it's working already.
Nick: [01:12:03] And this leads to my fifth. Oh my God. Moment of the book, huh?
Marissa: [01:12:10] Go on.
Nick: [01:12:11] Oh man. Okay. So the phone rings and the kidnappers tell Dr. Ryan than he should answer it, but act normal. Otherwise they threatened to kill him. And so he answers and the neighbor. Whose name escapes me right now, but tries to ask him for the password. And he just says like, Oh, I think you have the wrong number and hangs up.
And so in the span of what seems like maybe 30 seconds or so, all of a sudden the door bus open and a dozen neighbors come rushing into the room and rip all the guns out of the hands of the three men who are there. And it suddenly turns into like an action movie where they're like wrestling over the guns and trying to disarm everybody going on.
And then the police show up with two cruisers and Jessica Darcy, or somehow in the backseat of one of the cruisers.
Marissa: [01:13:03] somehow, I don't know how that happened, but, uh,
Nick: [01:13:08] all happens real quick.
Marissa: [01:13:09] I mean, in the book explains that there was nothing that these gangsters could do because they were so greatly outnumbered. Um, but still, it seemed like a bold move on the part of all of the, I guess all the neighbors. I mean, I guess the gangsters would have had to kill every,
Nick: [01:13:29] yeah. Sorry. If it's not clear the neighbors Russian unarmed, just open the door and just like, do like a charge straight.
Marissa: [01:13:36] While we know that these gangsters are armed because they come in with their guns drawn, but then luckily as Nick said, the cops show up pretty soon. So, and we find out that it wasn't any of the sweet Valley residents that ratted out the Ryans to Frank DeLuca's man. It was just some other tip they got from somewhere else.
Nick: [01:13:59] it wasn't any of the neighbors, but it's insinuated that there are criminal underworld elements that exist even in sweet Valley.
Marissa: [01:14:06] yeah. .
Nick: [01:14:07] I also reveal kind of the big information there about Michael Ryan.
Marissa: [01:14:12] Oh yeah.
Nick: [01:14:12] Or I guess Chris Wyatt I should say is that they were Chris Wyatt. They, they finally put a pin on that story.
Marissa: [01:14:21] tell us.
Nick: [01:14:22] They reveal because it's, the information is brought out that, uh, Jessica and Darcy had suspected that Michael slash Eric was Chris kind of want a confusing sentence.
And everyone's like, what are you talking about? And someone, I don't know if it's a police officer mentioned that Chris Wyeth had been arrested the night before. So case closed, I guess there's no murderer on the loose in Ohio,
Marissa: [01:14:48] And Darcy says, , yo, I guess Sue is not the most up-to-date gossip source, like information source.
Nick: [01:14:57] but it seems like he's really throwing her under the bus. I don't think Sue is guilty in this, this whole situation.
Marissa: [01:15:02] Well, that's, that's a pretty Darcy move, right? Like it could, nothing could ever be Darcy's fault. You know, she should just go home and get back in bed.
Nick: [01:15:12] Yeah, right. Rest up and
keep eating peanut M and M's.
Marissa: [01:15:15] She's still, she's still roaming around the towns spreading her cold germs. Everybody insight. That's the epilogue to this book is that all the police officers and all the neighbors in this neighborhood have a cold now.
Nick: [01:15:26] to say nothing of the awkward conversation of that, she already called out of work and then showed up at work anyways,
Marissa: [01:15:32] yeah. So like she couldn't have faxed the composite of,
Nick: [01:15:38] or just called the office and said like, Hey, it looks like him
Marissa: [01:15:41] like him. Yeah. Yeah. That would have worked, uh, Well, so now Elizabeth and Eric have to have a heartfelt goodbye. And I had to laugh a little bit because, you know, Elizabeth is going to have to think long and hard.
The book says about, you know, she's going to have to have a conversation with Jeffrey where she, you know, comes clean about all this. And I, I definitely like smiled to myself when I was reading about that. Cause I was like, and it's never going to happen because time doesn't exist in a, at least not in a straight line, not in this series.
Nick: [01:16:11] But it's funny too, because Darcy's the one who brings it up very like nonchalantly in the office. And then Elizabeth is just like, uh, yeah, it's a personal question. It's none of your business. And then she's basically like it's too soon. Like the emotions are too raw for me even to think about having to admit this to my boyfriend.
And it's like, Hmm, I don't know. That seems like avoidance to me.
Marissa: [01:16:31] Yeah. Well, she's been avoiding it all book, like talking about it. I think she wanted to pretend like it wasn't real. I think that was one of the more compelling aspects of this book, you know, it had nothing to do with the thriller, but it sounds like you agree, like that was, that was interesting to read.
Nick: [01:16:49] Oh yeah. And I think it was kind of wisely played because in the beginning I was thinking that it was unintentional and then it became clear around like three quarters of the way through that. Like, Oh, this is a point that the book is trying to make. And then I started to really appreciate what it was diving into there.
Cause I, I mean, listen, I understand the conflict there, even though it, the characters are sometimes making more obvious and frustrating choices. I understood what she was getting out there. And yeah, I think it gives a bit of nuance to the interior lives, especially of Elizabeth here.
Marissa: [01:17:21] Yeah. I mean, it's an interesting. Way to see Elizabeth, uh, because she it's, I mean, it's kind of fun to see her getting kind of excited about an, a guy, I guess, that's not her study boyfriend, but it's not, it's unusual. Like Elizabeth has had plots before where there's been some confusion about whether the person that she's with.
Is she on a date with him or are they just friends or does he thinks something's up? Like, that's been a plot driver before, like famously Nicholas Morrow when he first comes to town, Elizabeth agrees. There's a whole book about how Elizabeth agrees to go out to dinner with him, even though it looks like she's kind of just being nice because she's her serious boyfriend when like that, but she like knows that it's going to create a miscommunication.
So clearly she hasn't really learned her lesson, but in that book, she's never really, she doesn't really have the hops for necklace. Like she's. She's just kind of being nice and it's getting her into trouble and this, this one kind of starts that way. But I think if she really examined it, she would see
Nick: [01:18:25] Yeah,
Marissa: [01:18:26] there's something else going
Nick: [01:18:27] there's a whole, there's a sequence where she's wondering why she's feeling that kind of electricity. And especially like, there is a moment where he is envisioning herself kissing his lips and she's like,
Marissa: [01:18:39] and her
Nick: [01:18:39] I even having that thought burning? Yes.
Marissa: [01:18:42] her lips burn. When she thinks about kissing him.
Nick: [01:18:46] Sounds kind of painful.
Marissa: [01:18:48] Yeah. It's like, maybe your lips are just chapped. Like you need
some, you need some chopstick
Nick: [01:18:54] make stuff for that, you know,
Marissa: [01:18:55] Okay. So
Nick: [01:18:56] but don't get addicted to it.
Marissa: [01:18:57] it's like an inside show, but I mean, there's stuff on the internet about it. I guess there's like memes about chapstick addiction, right?
Nick: [01:19:10] Sure.
Marissa: [01:19:10] Sure. If not.
Nick: [01:19:13] There must be
Marissa: [01:19:14] welcome to an inside joke, gladiator. Uh, but should I read this goodbye poem? So Michael, the, you know, soon to be published poet, that he is, has left, uh, Michael is Eric.
Remember? Um, he has his written a goodbye poem to Elizabeth for her to treasure. So here it is in its entirety
it's titled goodbye poem
to say, we touched to say, you taught me to say, I saw things new to say, I love you. None of these is enough. My friend for your world with all its light and hope couldn't prepare me for this sorrow. This saying goodbye. Tell me, it won't matter. Promise me wherever I am.
You will be with me in the place where goodbye doesn't matter where forever is just an instant and our love, a bridge connecting, linking, making all things one.
Elizabeth put down the notebook, the tears streaming down her face. She didn't know if she would ever find that place Michael had described, but she knew she would never forget him.
Not as long as she lived.
And we'll never hear about him again. I predict, sorry, Michael Ryan. Um, prove me wrong. Book series proved me wrong.
Nick: [01:20:43] I imagined him kind of like, uh, having a Dexter moment where he's just as a lumberjack in a cabin somewhere.
Marissa: [01:20:50] Well, I don't know where they're going next. And. Elizabeth wishes that she could know, but they wonder, like, wonder where the Ryan's are right now. But, uh, yeah, that poem, I guess that was a free verse kind of, uh, kind of a deal when you read it out loud, it kind of just sounds like a series of sentences.
Nick: [01:21:10] Yeah. I don't know if I would say he was an acclaimed poet from the samples they gave us.
Marissa: [01:21:17] he's 16. I mean he's no, uh, teen poet Laureate, but
Nick: [01:21:25] and he was very self-conscious about it because he started off by saying that it wasn't very macho and like a very
Marissa: [01:21:30] I loved that. I love that because Elizabeth says, do you remember what she says back to him when he says it's not very macho. She says, who cares about macho? And I was
Nick: [01:21:41] Yeah.
Marissa: [01:21:42] heck yeah, sweet Valley high. That's what I want to hear. That's pretty forward-thinking for 1988,
Nick: [01:21:48] Yeah.
Marissa: [01:21:49] macho was all the rage still. I think,
Nick: [01:21:52] I mean, in
Marissa: [01:21:53] We were all supposed to be pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps,
Nick: [01:21:58] Yeah.
Marissa: [01:22:00] Reaganomics man, Thatcher, 1980s. What a time to be alive. Um, well I think that, that, that pretty much brings us to the end. I do wonder if Andy Sullivan who's the intern, the Stanford intern is going to come up in the next book because man, otherwise he's really doing nothing in this volume.
Nick: [01:22:21] He's introduced really just to be the target of desire for like a couple of pages.
Marissa: [01:22:26] Yeah. I mean, you wonder a little bit like, Oh, is he going to be actually like, he's the teenager that, uh, you know, that killed this girl back in Ohio and he's made up this really fancy, um,
Nick: [01:22:37] Oh, interesting.
Marissa: [01:22:38] for himself. That was the thought I had,
Nick: [01:22:40] You know, I didn't have that thought, but it's probably because he shows him so late in it that I just was already resigned to the fact that it must be someone we've already seen, but in fact, it's no one.
Marissa: [01:22:50] No. Well, Nick, I think we made it through a welcome to the world of sweet Valley, high readership. Um, I hope you enjoyed your experience.
Nick: [01:23:03] I did. It was, you know, you told me it would go quick and it, it did. I was especially the last like 50 pages or so it was hard to keep up with what was going on. And there were so many twists
Marissa: [01:23:14] these thrillers are especially, are really a tale of two halves. Like the first one can be kind of a slog. Like what's all this random information, like in this book, like, why don't, why are we following this mafia trial? And like, who are all these new characters and what are they doing and where are we now?
And then, uh, then the second half is just like, you're just turning page after page, trying to see how the, how the thrilling plot unfolds. The thrillingly. Census is your first and possibly only episode of see Valley diaries?
Nick: [01:23:47] woof.
Marissa: [01:23:49] No, I just thought maybe I wouldn't convince you to read another one.
No, no, no, no, you're not. This is not me grading you on the fly about your performance on this podcast, but just a thought that maybe if it was instant, took us, you know, 50 plus episodes to convince you in the first place that perhaps,
Nick: [01:24:07] put it that way. Geez.
Marissa: [01:24:09] perhaps you won't want to read another one, but I mean, there are more thrillers down the way, so I'll never say never, um, if you're in I'm in, but even, so I think that it would behoove me to ask you if you consider yourself more of a Jessica or more of an Elizabeth.
Nick: [01:24:26] Oh man, this is a loaded question. And I had a feeling you were going to ask this question. I, I mean, I think it has to, by default be Elizabeth, like, like there's not even a question to it, but I will say that Elizabeth is really. Pushing my buttons in this book, especially with her lack of awareness of what's going on.
So it did frustrate me, but if I had to choose between the two, I think I would say Elizabeth,
Marissa: [01:24:51] Yeah, I think that your conscientiousness in general, just by default makes you an Elizabeth since Jess. One of Jessica's main traits is that she doesn't really care about anyone by herself, a self-centered whirlwind, I believe is the way that she was described in a recent book.
Nick: [01:25:09] that tracks, even if it's just for workplace behavior, I have to go with Elizabeth.
Marissa: [01:25:14] Oh, right. Like everybody else is just standing around blabbing and she just wishes that Darcy would shut up for a minute so that she can focus on getting some work done. That definitely is like big Nick Riley energy
Nick: [01:25:27] Yes.
Marissa: [01:25:28] work energy. Sorry, we don't have to talk about it. Um, how about this? Uh, let's call it an episode. Thank you so much for doing this, Nick.
Nick: [01:25:44] you're welcome. It was fun.
Marissa: [01:25:46] Yeah. Yeah. I had been too, and this was fun to read. I I'm cramming in a few episodes recording a few episodes in a row right now and I read this book in a day and it was, it was easy.
It went down smooth,
Nick: [01:25:57] it goes smooth. It's a lot of action.
Marissa: [01:26:01] Um, gladiators, thank you so much for listening. I hope you enjoyed this kind of change in format. I know that in the past, we've only talked about special edition books when it's been on hiatus, but I just thought it would be fun. And like the scheduling worked out such that I thought maybe we could try to catch up so that at least chronologically, by the time we finish a season six, we will be in the, around the same place.
Maybe we can continue chronologically going forward. Let's see. Remember if you had any like information about a good neighbor systems or, uh, if you're a lawyer and you want to tell us about how surprise witnesses work. Like if you're an attorney.
Um, I mean, I know a lot of lawyers actually like a, like, it's kind of ridiculous how many lawyers I know, so I could
Nick: [01:26:48] all right. Don't brag.
Marissa: [01:26:50] No, it's, I think it's strange. I think it's genuinely strange. at any rate, uh, I still want to know if, if you have any insight into surprise witnesses or even more so good neighbor systems, uh, and you can tell me by sending me an email sweet Valley [email protected] or by visiting Instagram, where we're at sweet Valley diaries or on Twitter at sweet Valley. Um, you can visit sweet Valley diaries.net. I keep on forgetting. I've been meaning to put in a plug to four. There's a sweet Valley subreddit. And , I think you could definitely. Be a really fun place to have conversations about sweet Valley high.
So if you haven't checked that out, it's, um, you know, reddit.com/r/sweet Valley high. And I feel like there was something else about me.
Oh, I don't know what it was. I have a newsletter. It doesn't really have any handy with sweet Valley high or is the Valley diaries. Sometimes it will. But if you want to subscribe to my newsletter, it comes out every week. Uh, it's called Metaforia and you can subscribe by visiting flax, Bart dot sub stack.com.
And I will put a link in the show notes to that. I would love for gladiators to subscribe to my newsletter. You can find out a little bit about what's going on in my head, uh, outside of the world of sweet Valley high. Um, although again, sometimes the newsletter will be about sweet Valley high and thank you very much to all of you that have already subscribed to the newsletter.
And to the podcast, like, thanks, Nick. I appreciate it. Tell your friends about that and even more so about sweet Valley diaries, the podcast. We'll be back with you next week with another exciting installment until then, remember not to, , jump to too many conclusions about whether the new boy in town might be a murderer.
With that, I will say, uh, do by, by Nick.
Welcome to sweet Valley diaries. The podcast that you think is all about a small California town, but sometimes it's about Ohio. That's not sorry. That's not that's that's not how I want to say it.
Nick: [01:29:08] but it's accurate.
Marissa: [01:29:11] Yeah. What I want to say is, um,
Nick: [01:29:14] The book is brought to you by the word glowering.
Marissa: [01:29:17] I like that. I'll go with that. I'll take your suggestion. It'll be something different.
Nick: [01:29:24] I was just being silly. You can do whatever you want.
Marissa: [01:29:27] No. When I said it, when I, when it came out of my mouth, it didn't have the same ring to it that it had in my head. , all right.
Starting from the top. Good thing. This is an edited program.