Tales of the “comfortably well-off”
#1 Jeffrey French fan Shey Zanotti is back, and she's not the only one! Remember Todd Wilkins, Elizabeth's first love, who moved away to Vermont...at some point earlier in junior year? Can you believe that was 35 books ago? Now the Wilkinses are returning, and richer than ever. So what does that mean for Liz and her new longtime beau (yes, it's still junior year, but don't get hung up on that) Jeffrey? Well, the title of the book may give us a clue...
Shey's previous appearance, FAMILY SECRETS
SPECIAL CHRISTMAS with Dad
Transcript is automatically generated and particularly egregious this week. Hoping to fix this soon.
Book #58: BROKENHEARTED
Welcome to sweet valley diaries, the podcast where the rich get richer and the prettiest girls get to have two boyfriends.
who is Elisabeth's true. Love.
Oh, hello, gladiators.
Welcome too. Sweet valley diaries. I'm your host Marissa Flaxbart. And I am joined once again by Shey Zanotti. Hello, Shey.
Uh, so Shey, you were a guest on sweet valley diaries once before, way back when, uh, family secrets, I believe were Kelly Bates was in town having a rough time.
Yes. The identical cousins.
Yes. And when you were a guest on that episode, there were some
people who wrote to me that were really excited that I had found another guest that was knowledgeable in the ways of sweet valley high. Uh, so I was really thrilled to have you
to ask you to be back again, to talk today about book number 58 broken hearted.
And I hope it wasn't too painful for you. I hope you are not broken hearted after having read this book a little.
It's an upsetting book.
Well, we will dig right into it. I, um, as I was telling
Shey, before we got started gladiators, one of the reasons why I thought this would be a good opportunity to have her back, uh, if she was willing, which thank you Shea, for being willing was that I know you are a big fan of Mr.
Jeffrey, French and
everything about like the cover of this book. And the tease for the previous book is pointing to maybe like final, final moments for Jeffrey in terms of being Elizabeth's boyfriend. So I thought your presence could be a strong counterpoint to my typically vociferous, uh, pro Todd perspective, which, you know, we'll get into, but it's,
I think it might actually make so much sense to talk a little bit about the cover of the book right
It's given me a first of all, I just have to get this out of the way they're giving me real children of the
corn vibes. Yeah,
yeah, yeah. I thought that too. I'm like, oh, this is a lot of blondness so
blonde and I don't even have like a particularly faded copy of the book. Sometimes they fade to an even paler
blonder, a look than they usually have.
But boy, Jeffrey has never looked so much
like, um, Hitler youth. I mean, I'm sorry to project that onto blonde people everywhere, but
it's almost. Like flowers in the attic.
Well, so he looks pretty sad. He also looks kind of like he is staring into empty space as if he has lost his, uh, his vision, but that is not a part of the book gladiators that's. I mean, we wouldn't put it past a sweet valley high, in fact, like buckle up for a few books from now, uh,
spoiler alert. Um, but
also we have this shirt that he's wearing, which I mean, that, that, that pushes us straight back into the eighties.
I guess if we were thinking that maybe this was from a different era, uh, never. Can we describe the shirt
the Jeffrey's wearing? I mean, it's.
hype. He's got a blue and green vertical stripes on like a button down shirt, but the shades of blue and green are very close to each other. Um, I think
Elizabeth looks probably to represent her eyes. Uh, yeah. Yes. And we'll
answer, you know, what the shirt, the light blue, green of her eyes. Yeah, sure.
The aquamarine together. And it really is. Elizabeth looks stunning on this cover. She's really, she's got that sad pathos look in her face, but boy, she looks, she's looking pretty.
Um, this book had a funny line that, um, I thought would be useful to us for future covers. If we're sometimes on these books, that can be a little bit challenging to figure out which one of the twins is a witch on a cover that has both of them on it. And so I thought there was like a handy little guide very early on in this book where it said
the twin and the wild zebra striped miniskirt had to be Jessica while the twin in conservative khakis and a comfortable short sleeve cotton shirt was
bound to be Elizabeth.
And that's not describing a literal thing that happens. That's just like Jessica thinking about how, like what's a good rule of thumb to be able
to tell the difference
between the two of them. But it sounds
like Elizabeth works at target.
Khakis and just look at, come a sensible shirt. And she she's wearing like a, like a button
down, like sham Bray kind of.
Shirt in this cover and has her nails noticeably unpainted. So anyway, should they both look very sad on the cover of a book called broken hearted, Jeffrey and Elizabeth? Yes, but I mean, they
look a couple who's lost their child tragically
or something. Yeah. Yeah. Like I having not read this book before, pardon me was like, is Jeffrey going, gonna die?
Like, is Jeffery going to move away? Like, how is this
being handled? Like what's going on here? And
cover of the book certainly leads us to wonder, um, although this subtitle who was Elisabeth's true, love doesn't point to any other like greater intrigue. Certainly at the end of last week, we had this big tease turns out Todd Wilkins is moving back to sweet valley.
Don't don't done so gladiators. If you didn't listen to last week's episode for some reason now, you know, uh, that's that's what this one's about. Um, Hm. Well, you know, the look of the subtitle of the book poses, this question who was Elisabeth's true. Love, how would we say Elizabeth is handling this dilemma at the outset of the book
She's having a nervous breakdown from maybe the third
page. Yeah. The book describes her as being sort of like overcome with anxiety in a way that
I have to admit, I found very relatable. Like she just couldn't stop
thinking about this dilemma throughout the book. She's like making lists in her head, you know, Todd or Jeffrey Todd or Jeffrey.
She makes it a dilemma before anything has happened. Right?
Well, at the beginning of the book we learn and I would, if, gosh, if I were Elizabeth, this would be troubling to me too. We learn that Todd has not contacted Elizabeth at all to say that he's moving home. So she starts finding out that like some of his buddies have gotten letters from him and phone calls and.
Uh, Elizabeth hasn't heard anything from him about his return. So she's kinda like who knows if, what his deal even is, maybe he's dating someone. Maybe he decided he hates. Well, she's still, he comes home who I choose.
I'm like, no, one's giving you a choice. The man hasn't contacted you. He has not talked to you also.
What are you expecting from a 16 year old boy? Like how many handwritten letters do you want from a 16 year old boy?
She's definitely starting from this position of you think that the, like the sensible, like the most sensible version of Elizabeth starts out this whole dilemma by thinking, you know what, there's not a problem until there's a problem.
So Jeffrey's my boyfriend. I'm just not going to think about Todd when he shows up. If there's something we'll cross that bridge when it come to it. But that is just not where she's at. Um, here is where she's at. I can read a little passage here. Um, this is Jessica walking into Elizabeth's room at the beginning of the book, and basically just stating the problem outright.
You're not exactly jumping up and down about the prospect of Todd moving back. She observed. Don't you want to see him again? Of course, I do a little bit tugged at the window shade and it sprang up with a snap, but it's not just a question of seeing him again. He's moving back for good. I just don't know what's going to happen.
Oh, you mean because of Jeffrey, they'll have to fight for you. I guess like in the old days, a duel,
the idea clearly appealed to Jessica. She giggled
picture Todd and Jeffrey going at it with French fries and the dairy burger.
So Jessica's no help. She's excited about how Elizabeth is going to have be the one that has the dramatic storyline in this one for once.
It's so romantic being fought over with French fry. swords, yeah.
Well, and one other thing that's brought up early on in this book that I don't know if you caught this, but I was really curious if the authors were even going to broach the subject or if they were just going to pretend like it had never happened, but so.
Well, Todd Wilkins gladiators. If you haven't listened to the podcast from the beginning, if you're not really well versed in the world of sweet valley high. As a whole, you may not know anything about Todd Wilkins because he actually hasn't been a part of the books for awhile. Now, Todd Wilkins moved away.
I was actually surprised to see this. He moved away way back and book 23
say goodbyes when he moved away.
And then there was the special edition book called special Christmas, where he comes back to town for a little while. And Suzanne Devlin, who is from New York and had previously been a real thorn in
Uh, in fact, she's the one that like almost got Mr. Collins fired because she made up a story about him coming on to her. She has reformed and Todd falls in love with her in the special edition books, special Christmas. And they like, she gets motto, but they kiss. I don't know. It's all soul drama. Listen to that one.
If you have a very special Christmas. Listen to that one. If you want to hear my dad say special Christmas, a bunch of times, he thought it was a really
ridiculous title and it is, but this book takes that information head on. Did you catch that? Did you notice it in passing Shea?
Oh yeah, they bring it up.
ludicrous one that he falls in love over Christmas
vacation with a girl
that does not live in the same state as him. So, because she's from New York, he's in Vermont, they're both in California. She's
with the Wakefields for the holidays. Like Y Y I don't also, I have a hard time with things like the Christmas special additions and the like summer and holidays, because.
Then I lose my place. Absolutely. Well,
Christmas, they only wrote the one Christmas one so far. I mean, later on, there'll be more Christmas books famously, but so far in the special additions, they focused more on summer and a little bit on spring break, but it is, Christmas is a little bit of a problem in this kind of ambiguous timeline.
And I think it's significant that something that ha an event that happened in the, in a special edition book is now coming back, like is known. So we know that we're like
post-Christmas in the world of the books. I mean,
it's impossible. And it will drive you crazy to try and impose a timeline, uh, onto these
It does in some way, because now it's perpetually junior year, but now you've told me this is somewhere between
January and June. Yeah. Like it's absolutely.
It's gotta be in that timeline now. So now I'm like, wait, so she's been with Jeffrey for how long then? And it becomes, you know,
you weren't really
with Todd for that long then, and now you're with Jeffrey.
It's been much longer. I mean, even if we're going to grant the impossibility, like the impossibility of the timeline, and we're just measuring based on books, book 23 that's. So that's the Todd and Elizabeth get together and book one or two. Uh, the first book is about Todd having a crush on Elizabeth and Jessica kind of messing it up.
Right. Then he leaves in book 23 and now it's book 58. Now Jeffrey didn't get onto the scene immediately. Jeffrey joined the party at about book 30, 31, but that's still more than 23 books worth of relationships. So, you know, crunch the numbers there she's been with
Jeffrey longer than she was with that.
Yeah. Well, especially if we know then because they were together sometime in the fall of junior year and he left. Sometime in the fall of like, they were together for like a month at Christmas, right.
love he was talking, he describes him in this book, her first
love. Um, and she's clearly that haunts her somewhat too.
But I guess we should say in the interest
of moving forward through
of this book, which we probably could get
through pretty quickly, but we might as well go through the twists and turns. Cause that's what sweet valley diaries is all about. Eventually she does get a letter from Todd and she sees based on the postmark that it's been it's like gone everywhere.
Like he basically got lost in the mail and he sent it. The postmark is from like three weeks ago. It's like
pandemic level math.
And I don't know, global listeners if this happened where you live, but here in the states, we had
some issues with the mail during the
pandemic. Not, not totally cleared up, but a little better now, but oh my gosh.
Trying to send something for a while. It was like really up in there. Anyway, the the message is like, it's all about, I mean, it's this heartfelt letter from Todd and it says, oh my gosh, if she'd actually gotten this letter, she really would have been under
anxiety for a longer time because it spells
out like, I'm not seeing anybody.
I know that you are all, but I still have feelings for you. I can't wait to see you I'll be home on Sunday, the 15th or whatever it says, I might've made that up. And she's the
first person he wrote it. It is kind of heartbreaking because then you know, this poor teenage boy who has put something on the line has been sitting there packing up, going.
Wow, Elizabeth hasn't called me or written to me, I guess. She, uh,
and so that is actually a really interesting glimpse into Todd's mindset. So that's one boy then of course, the other boy is Jeffrey and this book also offers an interesting glimpse into his mindset because Jeffrey, it sounds like, has heard a lot about Todd and it's all been like, oh, Todd's the
He was a basketball star, everybody.
He's so great. He's our buddy. He moved away. So Todd is disliked big man on campus. Hasn't heard that much from Elizabeth about what their relationship was like, but just sort of knows the
only other guy my girlfriend has dated is this amazing guy named Todd. And now he's moving back to town.
I mean, Jeffrey Jeffrey French is the best of us out before the book is through.
But so here's the, here's the glimpse from of Jeffery's perspective on Todd before Todd returns. Elizabeth has just kind of told Jeffrey that Todd is coming back and Elizabeth, I guess to her credit, rather than just being like Jeffrey, I know you must be worried about Todd, but you shouldn't worry about him.
I love you. The most
Elizabeth is like really carefully not saying that because she doesn't know how she feels like she's also not telling Jeffrey that, but she's just like, I can't lie to him. So instead I just will say nothing. Yeah. I don't know. It's it's morally gray, uh,
her decision, but, okay. So here's, Jeffrey's uh, POV.
What sort of threat was Todd Wilkins? When Jeffrey first started seeing Elizabeth, he knew there had been a serious romance in her past, but Jeffrey had never felt Todd's memory come between. Until now, and now it wasn't just Todd's memory. That was troublesome. It was taught himself who would be back in town any day.
And not only that, but he had a new and improved image. Apparently he used to be a nice ordinary guy, a regular sweet valley, high junior. Sure. He was a basketball star and all that, but he wasn't Superman. Now though, Todd's dad had become a corporate president and Todd would have an affluent lifestyle that impressed even Lila Fowler.
So how about that? Shall we get into that business. I mean, I do want to talk
about Todd being a basketball star because. One again, timeline. Their whole relationship happens in the fall of junior year. He was just really great on the JV team in the sophomore year. Was he a basketball star as a freshman, as a sophomore?
Like what, what has he done for sweet valley high? Cause it's not basketball. Maybe he's been an ACE on that team since sixth grade. You know, he's always been basketball, man. He had an early girl sport.
I don't know. We're just making up Todd stories now, but Todd's dad has become the president of something called.
I want to say vivid, tronics,
something like that, something wonderful. Yeah. And Todd
is moving into like, so he's moving into a house on the same street as Fowler crest, and he's not going to go to
sweet valley high. He's going to go to a school. Who's the name of which I didn't really fully appreciate it until I said
it out loud a little bit before we started recording.
Love it. Academy, L O V E T T. Love it. I dunno Todd's is like big shot. I mean, that seems like it has red flags of its own because look, we already have had characters, like when Roger Barrett became Roger Patman, he put a lot of strain on his relationship with Olivia Davidson, which these, this book doesn't mention that at all.
really that worried
about if, if Elizabeth and Todd's relationship is going to be strained in the future because of, I mean, that might be fodder for the next books. We'll see, but not to get ahead of ourselves. Oh. Um, but Todd, going to love at academy is especially interesting to Jessica
who is looking for a husband at 16
years old seems like inappropriate part of the podcast to talk about boys.
that, uh, Jessica thinks I've got a few little passages here about this.
If Elizabeth got back together with Todd, she would probably start spending some time with him. At Lovett. And Jessica would join them. She had absolutely no qualms about playing the part of the third wheel after all.
She would only tag along enough to find a fourth wheel, her very own. Lovett man.
And then, um, it goes on, she's a ogling at a couple of sweet valley boys. Excuse me, you two. Jessica walked away from Aaron and Ken, flashing them both a big smile. They were both very attractive. She had dated each of them a number of times.
In fact, not too long ago, she had contemplated falling in love with Ken, for lack of anything better to do,
which by the way, this book hasn't forgotten
the events of, uh, lost at sea. But apparently the book right after loss of see, forgot what happened. The lost at sea granted, they're not talking about
Jessica getting lost at sea, but anyway, Continuing on, uh, the romantic possibilities at sweet valley high were really wearing thin, but now a whole new world was about to open up before her Jessica was convinced she was going to have access to a whole new student body or bodies. She
Oh, Jessica, I just it's wearing thin because you've dated all sweet valley high. Yeah. She didn't even make it happen with Ken. Again, she just like had a flirtatious
conversation with him where they reminisced about how they dated once before the books even started. So she was just impatient. She's really excited about these.
their student bodies,
her up for life. Like throughout this book, it's continually about Jessica checking these men out and going, I feel like a politician's wife or, oh yes. This is what these people do and how the other half lives and oh, the BMW. Oh, the Mercedes. Oh yeah. But, and they talk about, there's something that some phrase oh, Elizabeth says something about the Wilkins were comfortably well off, just like the Wakefields
before I noticed that too comfortably well off is how they were like
Oh no, you're rich. You're
comfortably, right? Comfortably. Well off is code for upper-middle-class. So now Todd's going from being upper middle class to being just upper upper class. And so Todd shows up, he comes
home and he
calls Elizabeth from the airport on a payphone and is like, I'm going to drop my stuff off at the house.
And then I'm coming straight over to you. And he shows up in a
shiny black BMW. So whatever his old Datsun, he sold once upon a time. And
now he's got a
shiny black BMW is moving up in the world, just waiting at the
house for him. I would've thought it was a rental car or something, except,
uh, he continues to drive it through.
He's so thirsty
because this girl has not
responded to him for three weeks
and he's still calling her from lax
being like, Hey, I had to put money into this telephone because it's the eighties so that I can talk to you. And I'm going to come over, even though I know you have a boyfriend
And I mean, it's awkward for Elizabeth with
Jeffrey. There's a lot of like, oh, it would be so natural to just kiss Todd right now, but I can't kiss him because he's not my boyfriend, you know? And then it seems like at a certain point, she's kind of doubling down on spending time with Jeffrey too.
Like if, if I just spend more time with Jeffrey, then that will make it clear to me that he's the one. It's my boyfriend, like, I'll forget, I'll stop thinking about Todd, but this is where Jessica is scheming around. Love it kind of factors in because, uh, oh, so Winston Egbert has a party at his house where, uh, it's basically like in Todd's honor, like, Hey, welcome back, Todd.
And everybody comes and that's where Jeffrey and Todd meet each other for the first time. Also, why is Winston
having a party?
all the sweet valley high suddenly showing up for Winston's
party? God, but like, you know, it's interesting, you mentioned that because I don't know if this will have come across in the podcast, but there's this like undercurrent that has popped up throughout this series, but never really gotten its own kind of.
Storyline that it seems like Winston and Todd or, and they're like, parents are really good friends. Winston's mom was like one of the first people that found out that the Wilkins is we're moving home. When Todd comes back to town briefly, and it, for a couple of books, he stays at the Egbert's house. So even though Todd and Winston don't seem like they're best buddies or anything, there's definitely some kind of like lower that is baked into these books about the egg Burts and the Wilkins is.
Curiously. I still don't
see all sweet valley high showing it, but Winston Egbert's house, I guess it's only because of time. Yeah, I think it might be, but I don't know. Winston is sort of like low key popularity in his way.
I mean, it's not literally popular, but it's like his class
clown status gets him in with all the, uh, all the cool kids.
Plus there was the being lost at sea, so
That'll, that'll really bump you up in the, uh, in the local, like
celebrity moment of the high school. So I would say that Todd and Jeffrey, like meeting at this party, it's like awkward, but it's not openly antagonistic. I think what I love about
that moment is Jessica forces it to happen.
She just. This is how she's trying to help her sister. She's like here, I'm going to bring Todd over. Look at them, both
Liz look like it's, she's trying
to under like, yeah, the book literally says, if she sees him standing next to each other, it'll be easier for her to make a decision, which says a lot about Jessica's, uh, standards like her rubric for how she's judging men is purely based on like, let's have a lineup and we'll pick them.
We'll pick them that way, which is the served her so well. She's run out of men at sweet valley high
anyway, so now, so now she's getting onto to love at academy and she gets Todd to take them there one day, which I was like, what day is this? And why are they not at their own high school this day? But Todd takes them around at love at academy, which is in a nearby town called Cedar or something.
Yeah, it's called OHI. They go, hi. They go to a boarding
school in Ohio, right? Right. Well, it's coded. OHI is coded as Cedar something. Oh, I think maybe this is where Jessica wet with that boy that she was cheating on Aaron with, uh, into boy weekend.
Every weekend is boy weekend for Jessica.
Well, for Elizabeth too.
Apparently. So at this party, there are a few people around right. There is, um, somebody named Courtney Kane who. Todd has been spotted with at the, at the country club. His parents are a member of the members of the country club now, and that's slightly troubling, but, um, all the reports of this are kind of like through Alila Fowler.
So Elisabeth's trying not to give it too much credence. So Courtney Kane is there and there is a fellow named Sheffield, Eastman Sheffield, Eastman enters the scene. Thusly.
Todd, I see you brought Elizabeth, a deep male voice observed. Then the speaker chuckled, whoa, two Elizabeths! Jessica and Elizabeth both turned and looked right into the clear blue eyes of a boy who could have passed for a young Paul Newman.
Elizabeth felt Jessica elbow, her sharply in the ribs. Yep. This is Elizabeth Wakefield. Liz. Todd put an arm around her waist and Elizabeth suddenly felt relaxed and secure. It was reassuring to know. Todd had told at least one of his new friends about her, and this is Jessica Liz, his twin sister, Liz, Jess.
I'd like you to meet Sheffield Eastman. Sheffield shook their hands, dazzling them with a perfect smile. But despite his looks and the designer cut of his sports jacket, his manner, wasn't in the least snobby. I'm glad to meet you both. He said, so this is the guy that Jessica has got her sights set on now, Sheffield Eastman.
it's the eighties.
So are you're picturing his,
uh, his sports jacket and his like embroidered, like gold
I'm with the
Paul Newman. Like we're girls in the eighties, into Paul -- teenage girls into Paul Newman?, not, not Eric Stoltz, not Michael J. Fox, not Robert Downey Jr.
It's so funny that you should mention that because when I read
it and I saw that the authors had had the restraint to write a young Paul Newman, I was like,
So you recognize that you are older than the girls, the audience that's reading this book and that it would, that those girls are not lusting after Paul Newman in 1989.
be something if Alice'd said it, if Alice was like, he reminds me of a young Paul Newman, I'd be like, okay, that's a mom thing. Right.
But instead we're like
in the, these teenagers heads, I mean, young Paul Newman can get it, but like. It is, it is kind of funny that that stood out to me as well, but I was, uh, ready to sort of be
like, okay, good job. At least you said a young Paul Newman book,
but I'm seeing here that Mr. Wilkins is now the president of Vera Atronix.
I don't know if that's what I said before, something, eighties and Tronic. Okay. I'll
listen back and
see if I said Vera tronics the first time. Um, so while they're at this party, so they're at this party, the Lovett academy is a school where some of the kids are boarders and some of the kids are commuters.
So like Todd and Sheffield, they're both commuters. It's so interesting. The way that this book bends over backwards to like justify the existence of a school like this and why Laila, Fowler and Bruce Patman don't go there even though they're so, so rich, but this is like maybe the second or third time we've gotten a glimpse into this other world beyond sweet valley where people are even richer than they are in sweet valley.
Uh, it's just like, whoa. One of those super, super rich people. Is this Courtney.
Character. I mean, Courtney cane. Yeah. Couldn't be more eighties or else like a Batman
villain. Definitely sounds like a Batman villain. Like I wonder what her alter ego she's like horse girl. Yeah. Yes.
That was the first thing that came to mind.
I don't know if there's a bad feature of the book. She just thunders around the boarding school on a horse. Right, right, right. There's a moment when
we are suddenly just like definitely the book starts a new chapter and shifts us right into Courtney Kane's POV in a way that only a sweet valley high novela can
all out of nowhere, this character that did not exist before this book
gets her own POV.
And we could see that she is up to no good. Um, but before we get there, Um, here is how Courtney's like very existence is already playing into the whole of the Beth Todd Jeffrey Love triangle. So as I mentioned, Todd and Courtney have been like going to the country club together a little bit, and Elizabeth has heard about it and Todd's like, listen, I, my, my parents kind of want us to hang out together because she's, uh, her, the daughter of somebody that's her dad is a chairman of the board for Vera tronics.
Elizabeth paled slightly. So what you're saying is that you had to be Courtney's date because of your dad's new position, kind of like having to attend private school and playing tennis at the club. She added silence. Exactly. Todd appeared relieved that Elizabeth understood. It's all pretty dull Liz. This school, and that reception last night, believe me, I'd much rather be hanging out at the Dairi Burger. As they made their way to the refreshment table for a drink. Elizabeth wished she could believe Todd, but it didn't look dull to Elizabeth. Todd seemed to be enjoying himself, which was fine. Elizabeth decided friendly.
She was dating another boy and had absolutely no claim on Todd. And really, he must think she was naive if he expected her to believe that escorting rich, beautiful Courtney Kane was a chore to him. "Why doesn't Todd just come right out and say it?" Elizabeth thought accepting a glass of ice tea garnished with lemon.
He had only invited her to love it today because he felt it was the polite thing to do, but taking her and Jessica for a tour and letting them tag along at this party, that was the real chore.
So Elizabeth is like, I might as well face it. Todd's lost to me.
This is like halfway through the book. She's stumbling down on Jeffery based on just like things that she's making up.
She's doubling down on Jeffrey, who is her boyfriend and is upset even though in her head. She's like, how will I ever make a choice? No one has asked her on his ass for that Houser. At some
point, I don't remember if it's before or after this, like, I will wait for you. And Elizabeth is like, no, Todd, that's not fair.
And he's like, yeah, I don't care.
Whatever I do what I want. And I'm going to wait for you to not be dating Jeffrey anymore. Like, not just, I'll wait for
you to make a decision, but basically like, I'll wait for you to be free. So bizarre.
So crucially from a 16 year old hot
commodity, like Todd. Yeah. Yes. Yes.
As the book continues, we do get that POV from Courtney cane where she's
riding a horse called the moon's shadow at school. And the like school
stable master is like, you better be back in an hour. And she's like maybe,
and she rides a horse to go over to wherever Sheffield. Eastman is playing
tennis with his brother, whose name is Kent.
very rich white people in the 1980s at this point. Uh,
or maybe still today. I don't know, but here's something that Courtney thinks.
It was a beautiful sunny Monday and everything's going my way. Courtney thought smiling. She recalled a conversation with Lila Fowler at the country club on Friday.
Lila had been shameless. She might as well have taken notes, but after all, that was what Courtney wanted. She wanted Lila to absorb every word and then repeat them syllable for syllable. For Elizabeth Wakefield's benefit. Poor Lila. Courtney said out loud to MoonShadow ducking her head to avoid a low tree branch.
It really is too bad. Her father didn't send her to love it. She has everything in the world going for her, but she could use a little Polish.
This is Courtney talking to a horse about Lila. I just want to highlight that. Talking to a horse .
About Lila Fowler.
Just what are these grounds like? She takes off like, is she going through the woods to get to a tennis court?
Like, why is she avoiding tree branches? What is she
I just don't know. But I do know that she's scheming. Cause she goes
and tells Sheffield Eastman, um, that Jeffery has given. So she's taught like fully telling stories about kids from other schools that are somehow related to this other new kid.
They all just met. Right? So she's like Elizabeth Wakefield. Todd really seems hung up on her, but she has a boyfriend, Jeffrey, French, and Jeffrey just gave Elizabeth the ring. So it's practically like they're engaged. So she just makes this up wholesale and is like Sheffield. Don't tell anybody about that.
So she's like really scheming she's sure. Just like she was sure with YLS, she's sure that Sheffield is going to talk to Todd about it. Yeah. And he does. So she's a criminal mastermind. This girl,
she really is. She's conniving. She is a true eighties.
Soap, opera, drama villain. Yeah,
she, she is what were all those shit like knots
and, um, well, dynasty Falcon crest, not since I've been here in sweet valley, not since Annie Sue back in Kansas, have we gotten such a schemer and before her.
Suzanne Devlin. So we have a rich history of snobby, rich schemers. Um, but it's been a while. So I'm glad I was glad to see a new one back. Oh, wait. No, I forgot about the girl that Erin not Erin. Oh, I called him Erin earlier, too. AJJ Morgan. Oh, Jessica's old. Boyfriend's name is AGA Morgan. Not Eric did ha happened already.
Yep. And, uh, Hmm. I was also, there was the sexy girl that was trying to lure him away from Jessica when Jessica was being a real wet blanket. So I don't remember her name right now, but she was another, she was even, she was maybe of all of these people, the most like Courtney cane. Because she even went to like a snobby private school nearby and she was very voluptuous and a femme fatale type.
I love that. I love the AJL already happened.
Yep. Does that mean
Sam happened to already? Well, I don't know anything about Sam. Oh, exciting.
I love it when I don't and I fear about things I don't know about it yet. Um, okay. So keeping an eye out for Sam and, uh, yeah, so it's basically like Jessica is going on dates, which I feel these men, he seems cool.
And his big thing is that. He is nice. He's like a nice, good guy. That's his deal. But then we have Elizabeth trying to figure out, like she has this for once, like actually helpful conversation with her mother. Alice Wakefield is helpful and gives her like some pretty solid advice. I thought, which was, she finds out that Elizabeth in trying to decide between Jeffrey and Todd has kind of been making all these pro con lists.
But Alice is like, did you fall in love with Todd because of a list of his good qualities? Like, did you fall in love with Jeffrey because of a list of his good qualities? Like no, Alyssa is not gonna tell you what you need to do here. You have to listen to your feelings. What did you think of that? I like when Alice
gets her, her mom on, she doesn't
Right? Well, as long as we're talking about Alice Wakefield, who is a interior decorator, this book revealed. Deliciously juicy home decor detail at the Wakefield's house that apparently they have a copper colored refrigerator.
Did not notice that. Yeah.
Uh, that's just that jumped out at me. I don't think that that has ever been described as such
before am I?
I was doing some
Googling trying to see what the copper colored refrigerator might've looked like, and I'm still not totally sure, but it seemed like a seventies thing that was happening. We had actually, it made me remember that we had a like harvest gold refrigerator when I was growing up like very seventies.
I mean, my parents got married in the eighties, so the refrigerator was probably from like 1981 or something, but yeah, harvest gold. It was ugly as hell, but I didn't know any better, you know, it's just our refrigerator.
I've never thought about
Like, I couldn't tell you what color our refrigerator
was growing up.
Well, it's probably because it was likely a normal, a normal refrigerator color, like
Chrome. Yeah. Yeah. What's happening. Like what we're careening quickly toward here is that Todd Wilkins is having a big party at his house, of course, to like introduce his house and his new status and everything.
The fact that he's back to the town, he's told Elizabeth about it, but because of Courtney canes, scheming, there's all this like, confusion about whether Todd is going to ask Elizabeth to be his date, which would be pretty bold frankly, or like, is he going to ask Courtney to be his date is Courtney and a cohost the party with him?
Like there are all these rumors flying around. Yeah. Elizabeth finally gets this like formal invitation in the mail and she thought it was just going to be like a casual party. But she doesn't know the new Wilkins is a guest cause it's like engraved invitations and it's
like a formal party with like fancy like prom dresses and
shit, I thought.
But when she gets the invitation in the mail, it says it's for Elizabeth Wakefield and friend, like bring a date, which
again, Elizabeth is upset about despite the fact that she has a boyfriend, she's kind of starting to pick
up on her own hints here. That like
the fact that
she's, she's so distraught over the fact that Todd didn't invite her to be his date to his party that she's
like, Ooh, maybe that's a sign, but I'm more emotionally invested
in Todd and poor Jeffrey is just like, knows that Elizabeth is torn up about something.
And Elizabeth is clearly just like going through the motions, you know, trying to put on a happy face, but is clearly very upset about something or other. And they go to the party together. Oh, did you notice that Elizabeth comes and picks up Jeffrey in the fiasco, but then gets out of the car and Jeffrey drives to the party?
Yes. I had to go back and
reread it. I was like, wait, why is Jeffrey driving a
Fiat? Like, oh, I see they really, they spelled it all up for
Super, super feminist
let's switch places. So
you can drive me to the party, to your ex boys.
Yeah. Up in this place, which is like down. This is where we find out that it's like on the same street as the follower crest, whatever that means.
And, uh, it's a huge and imposing and Todd is there, but there's no valet, is there no valet, there should be a valet. I don't like that kind of party, but I guess it was just places to park. This is clearly. In the Hills, like, um, when, sorry, this is I'm speaking from personal experience as like someone who lives in LA and has worked for wealthy people that lived in the literal Hills of Beverly Hills, you kind of do have to hire a valet because there's no place to park.
Those streets are so windy and narrow
and they say that there are already a couple dozen
cars parked. Well, I guess it's just another mark towards this litter, not being the Los Angeles Metro area, because wherever they're parked, wherever, whatever hill they lived on, there must be some like wide ass drives for
people to build their own
magnificent driveways on or whatever.
I don't know, parking lot parking lot.
Oh, that's the next wave in? Uh, the 1%, uh, buildings
came their own parking lots, so, okay. We've got. This party, Elizabeth, the whole party. She was just like counting down the minutes until it will be over essentially. Uh,
she just doesn't talk to Jeffrey anymore. They're still together.
She just doesn't ever speak to him
and he's really trying to be a good sport. But, um, there was this moment when things, I don't know, I was kind of wondering like, how was the song? And I come out like what's going to happen. And the book had some real intrigued deliver for us, uh, Jeffrey over Elizabeth shoulder, while they're dancing, sees Courtney Kane slip a note in Elisabeth's like jacket or purse or something.
And Jeffrey's like, Hmm, I wonder what's up. Elizabeth goes to the bathroom and Jeffrey goes to find Courtney who was just slipped this note in Elisabeth's, uh, Pers. Do you remember whether it's her purse or pocket? It's really not important. It's her pocket.
Yeah. Courtney wrote this completely false note from Todd telling Elizabeth to come meet him out in a gazebo and then she's all.
Oh, I don't feel well, Todd, please take me out from some air, but makes him walk across the whole dang property through an Grove.
She says that she wants to lie down
in the gazebo, which I thought was so weird. Like this is
cause Depot have beds, like, like I'm familiar with the concept of a gazebo. You know, I lived in a small town that had one won several.
In fact, I'll I read lots of romance, novels, gazebos are
often important fixtures in those. They don't usually have
like beds or like even like a chaise long. Like they don't usually have.
That, I mean, sound of music. You get some benches, I guess she couldn't lie on the bench. Yeah. Oh, so bizarre to pass the orange Grove in the gazebo, you have an orange Grove,
not some orange trees.
That also was good.
Serious romance, novel
vibes, like, like re historical romance novel. That's like whole property that they have endless the secret meaning. Cause like, you know, the couples have to go meet where it's dark and nobody will see them. You know, if they're going to have a rendezvous or else there'll be still be a scandal.
Right. That happens on Britain. So, um, but also in romance novels, like the ones that the Bridgeton series is based on, but uh, Todd's
like dragging her the whole way. Cause she's like, she turns, she pretends to
turn her ankle also something that
has definitely happened in romance novels
that I've read. I have a headache, please help me outside too loud.
Even outside the party is too loud. Listen, I get migraines.
No one has ever had to help me get
somewhere. Yeah. And Todd is weirdly like, he's both, like, this seems like. A lot, but he's like going along with it, even when she says she wants to lie down in the gazebo, he's like, okay, if that's what you want is when he says something like
that, that's what you want.
And that's what you
want to do. So he takes her there. And meanwhile is with us in the bathroom. She's reading the note, which she notices was printed and Todd never prints, but she just noticed, she doesn't think that much about it. She was like, oh, Todd is a cursive boy. Okay. Another thing I like about it.
Well, everybody was in the eighties, but it's a such a weird like point. Like does he? I don't know.
Um, so then. Courtney, like as soon as they could to the gazebo, she's like all hands and she gets real handsy with Todd and then she starts kissing him. I, you know, Todd being
a 16 year old boy, when he finds that someone is kissing him, me returns the kids just a little bit.
And he's like, oh, this is happening. No. Okay.
Um, I can't really fault him for that, even though, as soon as it's over, he's just like in a daze and he D he has no idea that Elizabeth has like, sneaked up on them and seen this happen. He's completely unaware, but not just Elizabeth. Yes. Tell them, tell the gladiators what's happened.
has gone off to find out what is going on with Courtney as well.
Courtney. So he, he heard her whole speech to Todd her whole trumped up speech. He knows exactly what has unfolded, and he has seen the look on Elizabeth's face when she caught them kissing.
But nobody has seen him with his glowing blonde hair is luminous eyes, literally
like flashlight hair.
And he is, he Elizabeth even drops the note from Courtney. So he has the benefit of being able to read exactly what he fills with saw. And he puts all the pieces together and then bless his heart
because Jeffrey French is the best of us. Yes.
Okay. So here's what Jeffrey thinks.
"Now I'm the one who has to make a choice," Jeffrey realized. Jeffrey knew whom he loved,
ugh, love that grammar. Okay.
Jeffrey knew whom he loved. Elizabeth was the most important person in his life. And he would do anything to keep her and he could keep her by staying quiet about what he'd seen. She and Todd would never know how Courtney Kane had manipulated.
But I'd know, Jeffrey thought heaving, a troubled sigh. He knew he would pay for it every day. Every time he was with Elizabeth, in order to have her all to himself, Jeffrey would have to shoulder a heavy load of guilt. He could keep quiet and feel guilty, or he could tell Todd the truth about Courtney's scheming and risk losing Elizabeth forever.
and he goes on and thinks about how great Elizabeth is and thinks Elizabeth had never let him down. And I can't let her down. Now Jeffrey's throat ached with on the shed tears in the end. If I really love her, isn't it, her happiness. That's it's important.
I mean, I mean, that's it, but also. Elizabeth has been letting you down for weeks, Jeffrey.
She has been with Todd in her mind
that whole time sort of kissed once. Although both of them was like not counting it as real, like, cause their lips brushed. And I'm sorry, like
not to pull out the rule book on kissing and like cheating
behavior here, but I'm pretty sure
if two people
touch, that means that they kiss when I was in high school.
Uh, I dunno, we were on a trip somewhere and my best friend was with us. And there were always these like boys at hotels and stuff. And I definitely got into a situation where it was like, I don't know, I don't know what happened, whatever. And I remember Christy Rouse looking at me by vending machines. It goes.
Did his lips touch yours? Then you kissed.
Oh my gosh.
I am so glad that you told that story. I live on sweet valley diaries for an actual true life high school drama story. Yeah. And they ended, they had it.
I mean, yes, yes. I guess I was just very Christie was right. You Christy was from you and kissed and Elizabeth and Todd kissed, even though it was like an accident.
I don't know. She does not bring that up to Jeffrey. And,
um, she like runs away right after it happens. And Todd's, they're both kind of like, I wonder if that's good or
not, like, is that a good sign that she ran away after we sort of almost kind of kissed??
it's a good sign for who? I don't know. It's all just so confused.
Speaking of confused people, Elizabeth is really upset and confused. She leaves the goddamn
party. She takes her fiance and she, I
know how to drive it again. I guess she drives it to Seca lake,
which this book is leaves Jeffrey Jeffrey.
There doesn't tell a soul. She's just like so
up for him. She does look for history.
But she can't because he's out high to find him cause little does she know? He was like a feet away from her the whole time
she drives mindlessly, like swerving in her lane. Like she
should not be behind the wheel. And
when I, when the book describes where she drives, it's like, she's at this, like at second lake at night on an abandoned road that you're
not supposed to drive down, going
towards a boathouse.
That's also abandoned. And I'm like, Elizabeth, you have been kidnapped so
many times. I was like,
what is going to happen? There's not enough
pages for this book to have a whole kidnap and rescue blot, but this seems bad. Sounds like a horror movie waiting to happen. Also, this is
some real, I mean, not to pull this card, like the, I've read every sweet valley book up to this one card, but like.
Why am I here, if not to do that. And this is some real reverse engineering here of, uh, this book suggesting that this abandoned boat house at second lake was a really important place to Todd and Elizabeth. So important. In fact, that when Jeffrey is the like Uber mench, speaking of Superman of the whole sweet valley high male universe and tells Todd what happened, what Courtney did about the letter, all of that.
Todd knows that since Elizabeth's not at her house, which is the first place he goes to look for her, she must be at the abandoned boathouse at second lake. Yes. Even though it's never come up before. Pretty sure it hasn't. I mean, listen, all these teens love the hell out of some Seco lake. Like they got a second leg left right.
And center, but I never
that that abandoned boathouse, the Secca Lake was specifically Todd and Elizabeth's, like special spot, but sure enough, it is, and Todd finds her there and he tells her what happened and he's left his own party. Yeah.
Elizabeth had been nestled in the crook of Todd's arm. Now she sat up and pulled away from him, slightly Jeffrey.
She thought Todd and I wouldn't be together at this moment. If it weren't for Jeffrey, he had been the one to figure out what Courtney had done. Then he'd share the truth with Todd, even though he must have known, he might be sending Todd straight into Elizabeth's arms. It was a brave, generous and unselfish thing to do.
Elisabeth's throat ached the tears threatening once again.,
Oh,it's very similar to Jeffrey's throat recently. Okay. Maybe they have the same illness.
Jeffrey had done many sweet things for her over the course of their relationship, but this last gesture was perhaps the sweetest of all. At
which point, I guess the book could have been, like "Elizabeth realized that this one that was unselfish act of love
was worth more to her than anything she and Todd had ever shared.
And also she's been dating Jeffrey for 28 books and she only dated Todd for 23."
But, um, it doesn't instead, it's just like "Todd it's as if you never left,"
gone for like three weeks.
Yeah. Todd literally does say it's like, I never left. And Elizabeth, like, no things are different now and that's right.
And, and you don't go to my, my school anymore. Um, and you live in this Brian House and you've got like scheming chicks trying to, trying to trick you, but. That is the setup then to the tease for book 59, which, uh, would you care to read the little teaser for book 59? I just
closed everything. Well, I want to, as
while you're pulling it up, let me just read the last couple of sentences.
She and Todd had shared the past and conquered the obstacles of the present. Their future together started tomorrow. I mean, I would argue the future started right... Every second is the beginning of the future, but whatever semantics and it could be, would be even better than their past. So some real bold time time play from these books where time doesn't really exist.
But anyway, go ahead.
Is everything Rosie and Elizabeth and Todd's future? Find out in Sweet Valley High in number 59, In Love Again.
That's exciting. So back for more, is it going to be just like before, as I recall, just
like before for Elizabeth and Todd is like Elizabeth,
constantly the least rational about everything related to Todd as that she is about anything in her entire life as already
evidenced in this book from the moment he is going to
uh, innate rationality is just like thrown out the window.
She'll pay for it.
Yeah, probably. Well, I mean, and whether or not. Nevermind. I don't even want to get into it. I was going to make a comment about sweet valley, confidential gladiators. If you ever hear me say something that seems to be disregarding the events of Sweet Valley Confidential, you can go ahead and just trust that I know what happens in Sweet Valley
Confidential, and I just don't fully accept it.
So, um, and it's Elisabeth's own fault from cheesy,
but other than Jeffrey French
Jeffrey, French isn't even in those books. So it makes me wonder, like what's going to happen to Jeffrey French before these books are out. But
anyway, um, you have a lot of thoughts and feelings, as I recall about Jeffrey French, some of which we've gotten a little glimpse at let's, uh, let's remember Jeffrey French together in our extra drama episode next week for now.
Do you have any thoughts about whether you're an Elizabeth or a Jessica or someone else? Uh, Courtney, maybe
I have always been an Elizabeth. Until we
get to this book. Sure. So
you're in Elizabeth with Jeffrey
uh, Jeffrey Elizabeth we'll call it. I don't like what she does. It's out of character for Elizabeth.
How irrational she is. It doesn't, it doesn't make sense to me. I mean, I
am a Geoffrey French fan
and if I had to make a list, it would be Jeffrey.
Yeah. Well, and I wish the book had given us the benefit of Elizabeth lists. Like what were the things about Jeffrey versus Todd? What was she putting on her list?
And we don't really get a glimpse of that. Maybe she liked basketball over soccer.
Yeah. Maybe she likes Chestnut brown hair and silver blonde
hair. This, this is the thing. Jessica being Jessica. When she actually gets a relationship. I feel like it's a way more devoted girlfriend than
Interesting. Oh, well we can't end this episode
without letting me let haters know what goes down with Sheffield Eastman.
Okay. Here, here's this in, in closing sort of Sheffield has had, this thing has been alluding to throughout the brief time has known Jessica, which is that he's making a special petition to spend his senior year doing this, um, like special trip, uh, taking some time away from school.
And we know that he's like a globe Trotter. He has been to Africa. He's been to Switzerland. Surely he's been to great Britain. He's been all around Greece and he's been a lot of places. So Jessica is like trying to get him to talk to the other, like her friends at the party about, about him so that she can basically like, they can be jealous of her and like bask and how cool and awesome.
And like suave he is. So here is what Sheffield finally reveals like what his big plan is to have like special dispensation to do something more involved than just like writing a paper for his senior project.
So I asked to take a semester off to do some special research for my thesis. And my proposal was just approved.
He announced excitedly Jessica beamed Sheffield would probably be spending the semester touring the medieval cathedrals of Europe trading bonds on the floor of the New York stock exchange climbing, Mount Everest. What does your project involve? Asked Ken Jessica held her breath. She kept her eyes trained on Laila's face.
This was one reaction she didn't want to miss. Well for a while now I've really been thinking about my lifestyle and privileges. Sheffield began. I have everything I need to be comfortable, and a lot more, but there are a lot of people who aren't nearly so fortunate. I've been volunteering occasionally at a homeless shelter in Santa Barbara, and next year I'll be living there and working full time.
It took a moment for Sheffield's words to sink into Jessica's brain. She watched as Lila's pout changed into a look of amusement. "A homeless shelter? What?!" Jessica turned and stared disbelievingly at Sheffield.
So this is like a fucking deal breaker for Jessica. Like she's so offended that he's going to do this
What does he mean? He's going to live at
a homeless shelter? Like I kind of how
problematic that is. Like you're taking a bed from a
Well, maybe he means he's going to live in Santa Barbara and work full time at the homeless shelter.
Let's absolve Sheffield of Any, of any,
uh, any doubts here? Because
I want to focus on Jessica and
Lila's reaction to this. Like you're
doing what? like, gross! He says,
he's going to sell his Mercedes to donate the money
to charity. Jessica thinks, "his Mercedes that gorgeous midnight blue car in which she arrived at the party.
Jessica just kept staring at Sheffield. How could he do this to her?
So disgusting. Oh my God. Can you imagine the like, like, I don't know,
gen Z like readers for serious, like this like reaction.
To the like, charitable, like good works of
a male character. I don't know.
Nevermind. I think you should have a Gen Z reader on yeah.
To give their take.
Yep. I think you're probably right. Yep. Um, well, listen, Shey, thank you immensely for going through the pain of losing Jeffrey. We had a cat being a guest on the show. It's always wonderful to have you. I hope that someday you can be back again. I don't know what the future holds for Jeffrey, but uh, we're going to keep an eye out.
I'm curious. Is he going to move away? Is he going to die? Are they just going to stop talking about him? We'll find out. Oh no. Um, so until next week, gladiators, uh, this is Marissa saying if the lips touch, it's a kiss. That's my advice for you this week. Uh, you can, uh, please tell a friend about Sweet Valley Diaries.
Uh, follow us on Instagram at sweet valley diaries or on Twitter at sweet valley. Um, I was a couple of weeks ago. I was a guest on Babysitter's Club Club, much to my surprise once again. So if you listen to their episode about Wrong Kind of Girl, Number 10, which you may recall is the book that made me start writing and blogging about Sweet Valley High, uh, way back in 2006.
Uh, I found it in a bin and it was shocking to me. So then they called me up and I was briefly a guest on the show, which was a lot of fun. Um, you can subscribe to my newsletter if you want. It's not usually about sweet valley high, but sometimes it is. And you can do that by going to flaxbart.substack.Com until then.
Until next week. I mean to say, bye.
It is is everything rosy in Elizabeth and Todd's future find out in sweet valley, high number 59, and love again, everything. All right. Let's see if you can parse this message that I'm sending you.