The sub-plot: It’s time for the Sweet Valley Centennial picnic! Jessica is in charge of it because Bruce said it was too much for him to deal with in the last book, what with his girlfriend being held hostage and all. Of course, now that’s all over and it’s still too much for him to deal with. (Read: his girl’s back and they are doing it like rabbits, I’m sure.) At least now we know what the whole point of the Centennial committee is! Too bad there isn’t a Centennial Queen pageant for Jessica to compete in. Anyway, Jessica gets Lila to agree to help her with shit (read: do most of it), but then Lila bails on her to go shopping in New York for the weekend with her aunt. Jessica freaks out when her picnic posters show the wrong date and when she forgets to call and confirm her food order with the caterer. She winds up making a ridiculous number of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and sets those out with potato chips, and then hides in a bush because she’s sure everyone thinks she’s an ass. But then Bruce drags her on stage, interrupts The Droids’ set, and explains to the whole crowd that Jessica did that to save the Committee more money so that they have more to donate to … something. The crowd goes wild and Jessica’s ass is saved.
February 20, 2010
This one wasn’t so bad. I’m tired of reading about secondary characters getting helped out by Elizabeth though. In this case, it’s Ken Matthews, star quarterback for the Sweet Valley High football team. Ken is failing English, and he has one more chance to make it right by turning in a short story prior to the big football game against Palisades. Because this school places academics above sports, which is a shock, no one is going to give Ken a free pass to play in the game if he flunks the assignment. This is true even though everyone says Sweet Valley can’t possibly win against Palisades without Ken in the game, since the Palisades High quarterback (some dude named Peter Straus) is supposed to be the hottest thing on a pair of cleats. So Ken just has to write a halfway decent story to save his own butt. There’s just one problem: Ken can’t come up with anything, not even one crap sentence. In the meantime, he’s spending most of the time that he should be using to write with his latest infatuation, Suzanne Hanlon. Suzanne is snotty and full of herself, and she drags Ken around to shit like Ingmar Bergman movies and Sweet Valley High literature readings and history lectures. Suzanne convinces Ken to hide the fact that he’s a football player from her father since her dad hates how sports take over academics and is always going off about it. Um, I kind of hate that too … although I certainly don’t hate football. Suzanne’s brother Jeffrey is a sullen whiner. And Suzanne’s friends make fun of Ken for confusing Ingrid Bergman with Ingmar Bergman and not knowing anything about foreign films. Ken can’t stand most of the shit Suzanne is into, but he pretends to, and even plays a Mozart tape she gave him in the car when she is around. Of course, as soon as Suzanne isn’t in his car, he replaces the tape with the Rolling Stones. Ken is sure this precious gem of a girlfriend is going to ditch him the second she learns he’s having trouble with English.
When Liz hears that Ken is failing, she goes out of her way to help him out … like usual. She gives him a copy of a story she wrote, complete with the outline, to try to inspire Ken. But he’s been spending too much time out with Suzanne, doing stuff he hates, so he is always too tired to get anything done. In a moment of desperation, Ken winds up turning in Liz’s story with his name on it. Mr. Collins doesn’t find anything suspicious in this or recognize his prize student’s writing style, and he turns the story in to the student newspaper (The Oracle) for publication in the special centennial issue without Ken’s consent. He truly thinks it’s Ken’s paper … lord. Liz is horrified and upset, but she feels sorry for Ken and so she’s just going to let it slide until he feels like saying something. Don’t worry: Ken suddenly gets the inspiration to write, and at the last minute he replaces the copy going to print with his own “story” which is actually the truth about everything that’s happened. The whole school is horrified, and Suzanne dumps him. But Principal Chrome Dome, Coach Schultz, and Mr. Collins agree that since Ken was honest, he gets a “C” and can play in the game. And he wins the game. Suzanne is even at the game, sitting by herself since all her ass friends hate football. After the game, Suzanne forgives Ken and he’s all ready to be her man again, until she immediately starts trashing football and talking down to him like she has for the whole book. He tells her she bores him and walks away and that’s that. It’s rather funny.
WTF: There are some typos in this book. At one point, Elizabeth laughs to herself about how Jessica can be furious with someone one minute, and then suddenly do a 180 and be “unforgiving” when she decides she wants something from the person. Try again, editors.
The centennial might be celebrating Sweet Valley’s hundred years, but it appears to be solely for high schoolers.
This is the third regular book in a row where Elizabeth meddles in someone’s business. Unfortunately, the next regular book is too. Ugggh.
Ken uses a typewriter to write his story.
It’s interesting that Suzanne doesn’t know about Ken failing English, since it’s all the rest of the school can talk about at the time. At my high school, no one gave a crap about other people’s grades.
Here’s all of the random secondary characters that we’ve never heard of before who appear in this book: Scott Trost (sophomore, and receiver on the football team), Allan Partridge and his girlfriend Meg Winters (seniors at SVH and Suzanne’s friends), Paul Larchesi (SVH drama kid), Mark Andrews (another fucking college kid, who is trying to get with Suzanne — of course! The girl selection at SVC clearly sucks), Ted Jenson (another senior who reads a stupid poem about a squirrel), and Joanie Shreeves (a goth kid, although this was before the word goth existed).
Liz is relieved that Jessica didn’t try to cook anything for the picnic after the way she poisoned everyone with those mussels. What the fuck Liz! Get over it already! Also, book 20 kind of rubbed it in that Jessica was a great cook who just fucked up that one time. So why does everyone insist on being such a huge asshole about it?
I am tired of having it drilled into my head that Liz is the best writer that ever existed on the face of the Earth. That’s the main point of this book, I think.
High school football games don’t go into overtime. If they get a tie, they get a tie. I was unaware of this.
Ken and Liz man the kissing booths at the picnic. Ken doesn’t even worry about what Suzanne will have to say about him smooching other chicks all day for money. And Liz gets worn out from kissing so many people. Should’ve put Jessica in there.
I can’t help but notice that this is the second rich Suzanne we’ve had in the series.
Writing this blog has brought me to the realization that I use the words actually and apparently way too much.
The back of the book has an ad for that free Love Letters newsletter. We are told the newsletter contains the “true facts” about Sweet Dreams series authors. “True facts” … nice redundancy.
The cover shows a totally bored and annoyed-looking Ken. He’s wearing a gold chain and he appears to be about to cry and throw a total spaz on Suzanne. Suzanne is kinda pretty, but her hair is hella ugly.
Set-up for the next book: Elizabeth sees a shy girl named Lynne Henry, whom we’ve never heard of before, standing by the stage looking longingly at The Droids and crying. And, of course Liz is going to get involved. Blaaah. But before that, the twins go to France for spring break, and I hate them.