In an effort to make these posts somewhat easier to read, I’m condensing them a little. That’s easy to do with this book because it’s as boring as it looks. DeeDee has gotten some kind of complex about independent women because she thinks her dad left her mom for being too “her.” Now she’s scared shitless that Bill might ditch her, too, even though he actually loves her for her feisty, stand-alone nature. DeeDee ditches her art classes, hangs around Bill all day, refuses to make decisions without his consent, and is a general pain in the ass. When DeeDee hears that Bill went on a “friend date” with Dana Larson, who’s apparently already attached to some older dude from out of town, she flips out. (And of course she hears this from Jessica, who still hates DeeDee for “stealing” Bill from her.) They break up, and I’ll give you one guess who steps in to save the day! Elizabeth is in charge of a talent show (who else would do it?), and she fakes being sick so that DeeDee – who’s reluctantly in charge of the designs – will have no choice but to step up and take control. Or, you know, she could’ve just broken down and ruined everything, but this is Sweet Valley. DeeDee saves the show, Bill is impressed, and they get back together. Clap clap clap. DeeDee also makes up with her best friend Patty Gilbert, who I believe is the lone black character in the entire series so far, and who I also don’t think we’ve ever heard of before!
The sub-plot revolves around Alice and Ned going away for a week and leaving the twins by themselves; I guess they assume Elizabeth will stop Jessica from getting too wild. But Jess promptly breaks the washing machine and causes a grease fire in the kitchen. (I guess we’ve seen the end of the “Jessica is a gourmet chef” arc.) To top it off, Jessica decides to throw a wild party. Liz whines that she wants nothing to do with it but doesn’t really do anything to halt it. You can already tell she’s going to get off scot-free when things go wrong. (She apparently never learned anything from the one they threw in middle school … “THE BIG PARTY WEEKEND” anyone?) Lila promises to get her college sophomore boyfriend Drake (maybe Drake Howard from book 16?) to bring some of his frat brothers, and Jess is SHOCKED when they show up with BEER! Well, I am SHOCKED that frat boys would even have any interest in attending some 16-year-old’s party. While Jessica frets that they are out of soda (yes, she really does!), Lila flirts with some senior smart dude named Peter West, then makes out with Drake on the couch for half an hour while Peter scowls. A “skinny senior” named Louisa dances “wildly” with Drake’s friend Ted and then pukes in the precious Wakefield toilet, which is now tainted forever. Winston puts on a magic show for all the nerds at the party and promptly breaks a crystal vase. Someone else spills beer all over Mrs. Wakefield’s interior design plans. The police come and, get this, they don’t even really give a crap. I would think in this town, they’d consider this a major offense. But all they demand is that someone who is 18 or older take responsibility — and wouldn’t you know, Steven shows up in the nick of time. Then the officers basically laugh it off and walk away. Uh, okay. The twins get DeeDee to retrace the ruined plans so that Mrs. Wakefield is never the wiser. But as for that vase? Rather than just making up a story about how it got knocked over or something, Jessica goes ahead and confesses the whole thing to her parents! I guess they would’ve heard about it from the neighbors eventually anyway. She catches only a tiny amount of shit for it, and Elizabeth gets absolutely none, even though she didn’t exactly bar the door.
I get that this book is supposed to warn girls about losing their sense of self to a boy. But seeing as the message is coming from a series that repeatedly insinuates girls also aren’t anything special unless they have a boy who loves them, I think that’s laughable. So is the fact that the ghostwriter keeps rubbing it in that DeeDee isn’t pretty and that’s not why Bill loves her (in case we couldn’t already tell from her weird eyes and pseudo-mullet on the cover. I wonder if Amanda Bearse modeled for it, not to slam her but it kind of looks like her). Bill even thinks to himself at one point that DeeDee isn’t that pretty, but that’s okay because he loves her spirit, or some shit. OKAY! WE GET IT! SHE’S NOT A WAKEFIELD!
This book also introduces us to a slew of brand new one-shot characters. I’m sure we won’t hear from most of them ever again! This includes some dude that Enid has a date with named Paul. I guess they’re trying to make sure that she doesn’t come off as THAT big of a loser. And Patty and her college boyfriend Jim double-date with DeeDee and Bill, and I’m sure Jim must’ve dumped Patty after he saw what dumbass friends she has … and realized he’s dating a 16-year-old.