This is the first cover that shows Cara. She’s got a totally 80’s-tastic feathered hairdo and bangs, and appears to have some fuzz on her upper lip. Her outfit is interesting. Steven looks like an SVH teacher rather than an 18 year old (or 19 year old, depending on which book you are reading).
Cara’s parents split up in the last book and her dad moved away with her brother, so she has changed, apparently. Now she’s caring and understanding (and still boring). She “understands what it’s like to lose someone” even though you know, her dad and bro are still alive and all. She’s also moved to a new apartment with her mom, which confuses me because I would think her mom would just keep the house. Well, what do I know. Cara still really likes Steven, and he’s started to genuinely like her. But Steven has been hanging out with Betsy hardcore so they can talk all about Tricia, and Betsy doesn’t approve of Steven dating anyone else ever again.
Jessica still hates Betsy and she still wants to set Cara up with Steve, even though she apparently couldn’t care less about Cara’s problems. She never talks to her about them and just rolls her eyes whenever Cara seems “nice”. You’re such a great friend, Jessica!
Meanwhile, Liz also doesn’t want Cara and Steve together, because she’s convinced Cara is a gossipy ass. I’m sorry, but who is it that writes “Eyes and Ears” again? Steven yells at Liz for being judgmental, and it’s TOTALLY AWESOME!
There is a high school charity volleyball game between SV and their rival Big Mesa, and Steve, who loves hanging around high schoolers, goes to the follow-up dance at the Caravan with his friend Artie Western, who’s a senior. Cara eagerly talks to Steven and he ignores her and makes her feel like an ass, all because Betsy Martin shows up and he doesn’t want Betsy to yell at him again. Wuss. Betsy, too, just loves going to high school events and is apparently home all the time. Is she done with art school already? (She’s still dating Jason Stone by the way) Artie has a crush on Cara and they dance and she agrees to go on a date, then begs off because she doesn’t really like him and we never hear from him ever again. Steve apologizes to Cara for being a dick, she understands, they start dating but take it slow which she understands, and he wants to hide it from everyone and she understands. She’s just so damned understanding! They go to the Valley Inn for Cara’s birthday (her sixteenth or seventeenth? Still jailbait either way) which was apparently Tricia’s favorite place, and her favorite song “Always” plays while Steve is dancing with Cara. Steve flips out and dashes out of the restaurant leaving money for the meal but not for Cara’s cab ride home. Class act Steve. Cara is humiliated once again, but for some reason, still wants this sad mopey dude. So of course, Betsy gets a talking to from Liz and she then arranges to reunite the two would-be lovers on the steps of the high school using mysterious, anonymous notes. She also has Teddy Collins present them with drawings of one another. They get together, kissing and declaring their love as Tricia smiles down …ew.
If you think the sub-plot might provide some kind of reprieve from this mess, think again! There are two dumbass storylines. In one, Elizabeth sees Michael Sellers, a Big Mesa volleyball player who’s on the opposing team, around Sweet Valley and then in the charity game. He looks so much like Todd that she gets obsessed. She fucks up most of the game and he notices her and Jess is all over that and encourages Liz to bone him. However, at the dance Michael acts like an ass and Liz finally dumps him to hang out with Winston, realizing how silly she was being. I think she was being positively mental myself. Liz, you need help.
The second storyline involves Jess overhearing her mom talking to Winston’s mom Sharon about her movie director brother who is coming for a visit. Jess worms her way into Winston’s house and life in order to meet said director, and it’s pretty creepy. Although Winston has always had a crush on her, he is suddenly less dazzled by her and curious about why she wants to hang out with his 40 year old uncle Marty so much. It turns out Marty isn’t a director — that’s the OTHER brother Phil, who wound up having to fly to Europe instead — but a civil engineer working on a trash project. Jess has to sit through an hour of talking about trash after telling Marty she’s very interested in his work. She is so upset afterwards that she can’t eat until Liz agrees to treat her to a giant Dairi Burger meal, which of course will not stick to her perfect size six frame at all. Meanwhile, everyone now thinks Jess wants a piece of Winston, and she is humiliated. Didn’t they already think that in book 2? She lived through that one! Cut the melodramatics, Jess! You need help also.
Here are some other things that we learned from this book:
-Jessica has a “brown princess phone” which I guess is supposed to match her “Hershey Bar” brown-painted room. Fug-tastic.
-Alice laughs and tells Jess something like, “Oh Jess, you know I never rely on you for anything.” HAHAHA, IT’S FUNNY ‘CAUSE IT’S TRUE!
-At the dance at the Caravan, “Elizabeth walked over to Enid, who was standing on the sidelines.” If that isn’t a line to sum up the entire friendship, I don’t know what is!
-Enid feels sorry for herself because she isn’t dating anyone. Guess it didn’t work out with that Paul dude a couple of books back. Who was that by the way? Maybe Paul Sherwood?
-Lila is apparently a stellar volleyball player, because of course they have their own court at home.
-In a jaw-dropping moment, Steve learns from his dad in a heart-to-heart that he is named after his father’s best college buddy, who was killed their junior year in a car accident. Yes, Ned named his kid after his dead friend, and Steven just now learns about this. But Steve is basically just like, OK, whatever Dad, thanks for trying to relate. WTF!!!!!
-What type of fucking law does Ned Wakefield actually practice? He is conveniently involved in saving the school football field in book 1 (civil law/property law?) AND arguing for visitation rights for Ricky Capaldo’s grandparents in book 21 (implying family law). We are told at one point (again, I think book 1) that he does deal with civil cases, but then, in this very book I believe, we hear that he has to spend his day reading up on a case he is “defending.” Many books later, we learn he deals with CRIMINAL law. WHICH IS IT?
Back of book: Ads/order forms for Caitlin, SVH, and Sweet Dreams Winners.
Next: Emily Mayer, drummer for the Droids, is upset because her dad and stepmom want to send her to a boarding school. Also because her new baby half sister’s name is Karen and her stepmom’s name is also Karen and the baby cries and keeps her awake … and I think we are supposed to care about this. However, before we can even get into the story, we have an awesome Super Edition that was published first! YES!