This book was originally supposed to be called Love on the Run, but it was changed at the last minute, apparently. I kind of like the first title better! But either way, you get a silly pun … because Roger Barrett stars in this one … and he races … get it … he’s a runner … har, har.
The cover is the first to omit a Wakefield twin’s face! Instead, we get slinky brunette Lila Fowler and shy nerd Roger Barrett. I loved Lila as a kid, probably because we both have dark brown hair, and she was one of the few brunettes in the whole series that wasn’t portrayed as a dumpy nerd.
The plot: Well, it’s pretty much the exact same shit as the last book, with the story built around a dopey love triangle that we will probably revisit again and again in Sweet Valley: Shy Boy, thrust into the spotlight by his amazing talent , is hopelessly in love with bitchy, gorgeous girl who spurns him. Shy Boy has a good friend in a dumpier, nerdier chick, who’s secretly in love with him but who must watch as he ditches her for Sexy Bitch over and over. Shy Boy hides a deep, dark secret that torments him almost as much as Sexy Bitch’s withheld love does. Eventually, Shy Boy wises up and goes for Nerd Girl, but only after she’s cried herself to sleep over him multiple times (why not just ditch his dumb ass?) and Sexy Bitch has been served her comeuppance by having Shy Boy dump her just as she decides she wants him because he has a cool, previously hidden talent that makes him a star. Yep, I think that about covers it. Of course:
Shy Boy = Roger Barrett
Nerd Girl = Olivia Davidson
Sexy Bitch = Lila Fowler
Amazing Talent = Track racing
Painful Secret = Family is poor; must work as a janitor at Ned Wakefield’s law office building
Anyway, the big dance in this book (because there’s at least one in pretty much every book) is the Bart Dance. Hehehe, that reminds me of the Bartman. This Bart Dance is based on the big Bart Race that Roger runs in after Liz needles him endlessly to try out (although it’s Lila who finally convinces him). What a meddler. So annoying! The big prize for winning the Bart race is a full scholarship to Sweet Valley College, because everyone who graduates from Sweet Valley High is going to want to go to a school in the same town. Well, they all pretty much do, don’t they? So Roger agrees to race while knowing that he can’t, because his evil boss doesn’t obey occupational laws and will fire him if he takes off for it. But then big bad Mr. Wakefield gives his boss a stern talking-to and Roger’s good to go. Of course, he beats out Bruce Patman, Tony Esteban, and El Carro’s Joe Epson, wins the race, snubs Lila and ruins the victory party she planned for him by not showing up. Kind of like Bill Chase snubbed Jessica’s congrats on his newfound acting superstardom by running off to smooch DeeDee.
The writing isn’t nearly as good in this book. It just seems a little stiff. In fact, this book pretty much sucked.
The sub-plot: Jessica decides to be a lawyer, but ditches the idea after her first day doing grunt work at her dad’s office. But she does meet her latest obsession, Dennis Creighton. She starts staying late at her dad’s office every single weeknight to do “homework” (read: make out with Dennis, who doesn’t want to go anywhere else with her). Her secret is exposed when Liz behaves like a spy and follows her there to find out what she’s really doing. But then it turns out that Dennis insists on meeting only in the office because he’s only fifteen and can’t drive. Jessica ditches him because this is completely unacceptable. (Dude, I dated a 15 year old when I was 16. Big fucking deal!) She is actually kind of heartbroken over Dennis but consoles herself with a male cheerleader from El Carro High (where Dennis goes – burrrrn) named Kevin Borden.
-There’s also some little thing where everybody thinks Coach Schultz is dying of cancer or heart disease or some shit and thinks he’s going to quit after the Bart Race. Dudes … he’s fine.
WTF? Jessica thinks to herself that she won’t lie about her age to Dennis because it’s gotten her into so much trouble in the past. Is this an allusion to a previous book? I don’t recall her lying about her age to Scott Daniels or anyone else … and Sweet Valley Twins’ The Older Boy wasn’t out yet when this was published! Were they setting the stage?
-Bruce Patman’s running shorts are “short enough to expose nearly the entire length of his long, muscled legs…” Boy booty shorts!
-Who is Barton Ames (as in, the namesake of the Barton Ames Memorial Race)? All we know is that he was a young dude who loved to run and who died before his time … A mystery!
-Jessica likes Dennis so much because he’s a “gentleman” and knows when to stop “when their passions were reaching the point beyond which they would no longer be able to control themselves.” HAHAHA
-Oh yeah, we learn that Lila and soccer player Aaron Dallas tried dating in junior high, but there was no chemistry. But Lila thinks there’s chemistry between her and Roger?
-Random characters: Peter Sorley and Mark Riley, fellow runners in the BART.
-Jessica and Lila are seriously at their shallowest ever in this book. I almost can’t stand it. And Lila is written as the dullest, dryest character ever. Gag.
In the back of the book: Did you know Sweet Dreams had Special Editions? Is there a series that didn’t? 🙂 Seriously, that’s the hallmark of a good YA series … the SPECIAL EDITION!
Coming up next…A total whore has dreams of cheerleading superstardom! No, I’m not talking about Jessica!