So we’re done, right? Elizabeth and Jessica wound up with Bruce and Todd, respectively, which is totally crazy go nuts because it’s the opposite of who was paired up with whom in high school! Madness. Even new character Will had an off-Broadway play performed once that is already more successful than Hamilton, apparently. So we’re all good now, right?
Oh ho ho. WRONG.
Epilogue: For All Sweet Valley Fans of Old
As opposed to the rest of this book, which was apparently not for Sweet Valley fans of old. Which… is actually kind of hard to argue against, when you think about it.
The epilogue covers the wedding, which is weirdly less notable for the wedding and more notable for hitting Fifty Shades of Grey levels of “aaaand here’s everything I’ve been listening to on Spotify lately”.
The procession started with two little flower girls, Todd’s six-year-old cousins, flinging petals to the tune of “Sing” from Sesame Street. […] Elizabeth, the maid of honor, dressed in deep blush and carrying matching flowers, was escorted by Bruce Patman, a last-minute (only this morning) usher addition. Both looked radiant. They walked to a mélange of Beatles’ music. [Jessica] was dressed in a strapless sequined gown. Together they walked to the strains of “All I Ask of You” from The Phantom of the Opera.
…does this feel really all over the place to anyone else? Is anyone looking at this combination of things and thinking, “Aw, hell yeah, now that’s what I call a wedding!” I haven’t been to a wedding in a while, I’ll admit, but the former college radio DJ in me is panicking about trying to transition between these songs:
That’s about all we get of the wedding itself, because then we go into a laundry list of all the old Sweet Valley High minor characters, who all apparently showed up at this wedding. It is literally a list, complete with the individual’s name in bold, in case you’re… I dunno, not reading.
Bill Chase drove up from San Diego. He’s still great-looking, with his signature long blond hair and blue eyes
Now, before you go thinking that this is just going to be a boring list of names we barely recognize and clarification that they’re all still insanely attractive, let me assure you that most of it is strawberry-flavored batshit insane.
Three years ago when he was competing in a triathlon in Australia he was attacked by a shark and lost his right leg below the knee.
Tough break for all the Bill Chase fans out there! One day you’re all, “Oh, wow, remember Bill from those books I read when I was a kid? What a character.” And then this book comes out and you find out that Francine Pascal Game of Thrones-ed him into a shark attack in two throwaway paragraphs at the end of the book.
And, sure, having every minor character who didn’t make it into the book show up at the wedding is a nice way to tie a bow on this sequel! Even if not all of it really makes sense.
Roger Collins, known only as Mr. Collins the Robert Redford double, was there. Elizabeth was delighted to see her favorite high school English teacher and faculty advisor for The Oracle, the high school newspaper.
Who, naturally, was at Jessica’s wedding.
Now, unfortunately, we’ve only read two Sweet Valley High books on this blog, so most of these names we don’t recognize. Thankfully, their stories are all terrible and/or absurd.
Charlie Markus, a truly nice guy
I already seriously doubt this.
[Charlie] came with his wife, Annie Whitman, aka Easy Annie, the girl he saved in high school by teaching her to have self-respect.
I vote we never read whichever Sweet Valley High book this happens in.
He just finished his latest novel with Annie as the protagonist. She’s okay with it except for the title – Easy Annie.
Holy shit, Charlie sounds like such a garbage dude.
We get a little bit of resolution for some of the characters who did get to have a scene, though, like Lila. Although “resolution” may not really be what some of this is.
[Lila Fowler’s] date for the wedding was Jeffrey French. […] Somewhere after the soup course, Lila lost interest in Jeffrey.
So that’s the gist of what we’re all getting in here. But if there’s one thing that connects all of it, remember that weirdly disconnected, matter-of-fact, Wikipedia-esque tone we read “and Bill was mutilated by a shark” in? It’s probably not a huge surprise to say that Sweet Valley Confidential continues to be confoundingly written, but…
Annie Whitman, aka Easy Annie, so called because of her promiscuity in high school, married Charlie Markus, the boy who saved her.
We… we just read that? In this epilogue?
Bruce Patman was, as always, Bruce Patman.
Wasn’t Bruce Patman’s entire subplot in this book that he had become a totally different person since high school?
In the last few years, they’d learned to love Bruce, too. He’d changed that much.
I like how these two excerpts about Bruce Patman are only on the same page in that they are literally on the same page.
Unfortunately, Caroline has had to battle cancer.
We saw Caroline earlier in this novel. Why are we being told this like it’s the first time?
[Caroline] needed the wedding for her gossip blog, which she puts out six days a week to the tune of five hundred hits a day.
Our blog traffic is triple that and we’re not “well known” or anything, so I’m honestly uncertain if we’re supposed to find Caroline’s blog impressive or a little sad.
Enid Rollins was Elizabeth’s best friend from grade school, but hasn’t been so for a long time.
YES. FINALLY. A CHARACTER WE KNOW. Enid was all over the first two Sweet Valley High books, so I imagine the excitement I have to learn what happened to her (and why she wasn’t in this book) is what fans are supposed to be feeling for all of these names, so let’s see what we’ve got here.
Too much drinking led to a dependency, but she licked that and became a doctor, a gynecologist. […] One would think her background might have made her more understanding of vulnerability, but unfortunately, it hasn’t. In fact, Enid has turned arrogant and extremely right-wing. She is totally enthralled with her own accomplishments and has great plans for herself.
…well, we were already told this earlier in the novel, so maybe we can get a little more about how this came to be or-
She refused to come to the wedding with A.J. and made him sit at another table— where he ended up having a great time with an adorable cousin of Todd’s from L.A.
Enid was beyond pissed off.
Ok. Nevermind. I guess Enid’s very existence is just a joke now. That’s cool. I grew up with the Star Wars prequels, so I get what that’s like.
So after it goes through all the minor characters who conveniently all went to the wedding, the epilogue takes a bit of a hard left turn.
Of course, there were those people who weren’t there for the obvious reason.
Winston Egbert had died earlier that year.
Sweet Valley Confidential Writer: What if at the end of the book, we just list every minor character in the series who’s dead?
Sweet Valley Confidential Editor: Yep, sounds good.
The epilogue ends with a short recap of what the wedding was like for Elizabeth and Jessica. We learn that Elizabeth “and her lover looked at each other with such passion that it was hard to know who was getting married”. The book thankfully misses this opportunity to make another “BECAUSE TWINS! HOW WACKY!” joke.
Jessica Wakefield, even in her sequined cream strapless wedding gown, still looks exactly like her twin
Nevermind. Apparently a very important point to reassure fans about in this ten-years-later sequel was that the identical twins are still identical. We can all rest easy now.
Actually, being the bride, with that ethereal quality that only brides have, she’s a hair more exquisite than her sister.
PLEASE MAKE UP YOUR MIND, SWEET VALLEY CONFIDENTIAL.
Thankfully, we’re out of minor characters whose lives this book can ruin and this book is finally ending. One more borderline incoherent and out-of-the-blue thought for the road, book?
Happily, still Jessica, the one without the watch who always says that nothing starts until she gets there, is absolutely right today. The entire wedding party waited an extra fifteen minutes for the bride to appear.
She was well worth the wait.
Next Sweet Valley book we read, I am exclusively referring to Jessica as “the one without the watch”.