A 30-something's lovingly sarcastic journey through all of Sweet Valley High, and then some (with lots of swears)

#41 Outcast

Reminds me of an 80s soap opera or Lifetime movie!

This book was so very disappointing. Book 40 definitely marked a dark turn in the SV series. I therefore hoped book 41, in its quest to give us the inside scoop on Molly Hecht, would not hold back on her supposed heavy drug use. Guess again. There’re no scenes of Molly doing coke in her room, smoking a joint behind the school, or scowling at the assholes who mock her with Jan Brown. In fact, Jan Brown, Jay Benson, and the rest of the “bad kids” are nowhere to be seen. And that makes this book unbelievably boring.

The story starts as the Wakefields are leaving Regina’s memorial at the high school. Liz goes over to Bruce and Amy to tell them that Regina “understood.” They are relieved and can now commence with the guilt-free fucking. Sorry Liz, I would so not have let them off the hook that easy. Uh-uh.

Back home, Ned and Alice give Steven, Liz, and Jess a lecture about drugs that is probably long-overdue and lasts all of two seconds. Everyone cries. Liz and Jeffrey read some of Regina’s favorite Edna St. Vincent Millay poems together on the school steps. Everyone at the school talks about what an asshole Molly Hecht is and acts like she was the only one present at the druggie party. Justin Belson snubs Molly when she tries to talk to him. Molly’s parents, who are divorced, team up together to discipline her and tell her how awful she is for having kids over to do cocaine in their house, but never try to get her any real help. Of course not. And, you know Molly’s parents are divorced without my even having to tell you, because she has problems. Only kids from one-parent households have the major problems in this series. It’s a fact.

Molly goes to visit Regina’s grave and runs into Nicholas Morrow, who screams at her and pulls his fist back like he is going to hit her. We’ve seen him do that trademark move to girls before. El Grande Douche. Molly tries to talk to Liz, of all people, just because Liz and Regina were such good friends. Liz runs away while telling her she just can’t talk to her right now. Later on, Liz comes to regret this move – let the meddling begin! Funny how all last book she didn’t meddle when it counted. Now here she is practically trying to force Justin to talk to Molly, and cornering the poor girl herself every chance she gets. Molly is still pissed that Liz treated her like dick before, so she just runs away. I keep waiting for her to pop a pill, snort a few lines, or smoke a bowl, but she never does. You’d think Jan would at least be sneaking her something. Me confused.

Buzz Jackson contacts Molly. He’s in hiding because the cops are on his ass for supplying the coke that killed Regina. You know, since the private detectives KNEW he was going to show up to the party, you think they would’ve sent some undercover there to begin with and maybe that would’ve saved Regina. But nobody’s blaming them. Fucking ineptitude at its worst.

Buzz is, of course, the stereotypical drug dealer and the police in all of the U.S. have no bigger fish to fry, so he’s gotta get to Mexico. And he figures he can seduce Molly into helping him. Molly agrees to meet him out in the back parking lot of Kelly’s. Molly goes and buys them some bottles of Miller and they drink in the car. After one beer, Molly the supposed-hard-partier is already drunk. Then they pass a joint Buzz produces back and forth. Buzz starts telling Molly sweet nothings about how special she is, he loves her, and they make out a little which is gross. Sorry, I just have a nasty image in my head of Buzz as this acne-encrusted, emaciated, greasy version of Criss Angel. Buzz convinces Molly that she needs to run away with him to Mexico. She agrees and then when he immediately asks her if she has any money, she readily tells him she has over 2000 dollars that she had been saving for college. Wow, that must be some killer sensemilla Buzz gave her. Um, but for real, what happened to Buzz’s money? Isn’t he supposed to be a big time dealer? This is what he gets for giving away free blow at parties!

Liz figures out something is “wrong” with Molly (because she was doing so well before) and starts amping up her trackdown efforts. Everyone else sits around gossiping about what a “murderer” Molly is. Only Mr. Collins has the sense to point out that Regina made the choice to snort the coke. I wish someone would also point that while Molly hosted the party, she was hardly the only druggie there. I guess admitting there were other druggies would force Liz to try to help more people.

Liz basically blackmails Justin into doing something by saying she’ll help him write his English paper if he just talks to Molly. Justin says he’ll think about it. Then Liz realizes Molly isn’t at school or something and panics. I don’t know. Liz hears from Cara that Molly was looking for a bus route that went by the bank. In fact, Molly is there withdrawing most of her money. And then she runs into Liz with huge wads of cash that she has just withdrawn, and Liz does not understand that this might mean she is in fact trying to run away. HI, MY NAME IS ELIZABETH WAKEFIELD, AND I AM A FUCKING MORON.

Once Liz realizes this might be important – several hours later – she goes ahead and casually tells Justin, saying something like “Um, I didn’t think this was important before …” They speed off to Molly’s house, and Justin is going way faster than Nicholas was on the night of Regina’s death, but nobody pulls him over. They get to Molly’s house and see her carrying a backpack and driving off in her mom’s car. Her parents somehow have no idea that she is doing this.

I’m just going to wrap this up because this book fucking sucks and I truly don’t wish to ruminate on it any longer. They follow Molly to Kelly’s where she gets in Buzz’s car. Liz goes to a payphone and calls the police while Justin tails Buzz’s green bitchin’ Camaro down a little-used old road. There’s a brief car chase, Justin pulls an action star move, and Buzz runs off the road. For some reason, Buzz actually gets out of the car rather than just pulling back on the damn road. Justin convinces Molly to leave the scene with him and Buzz isn’t havin’ it. He pulls a knife, he and Justin fight, and Justin knocks the knife out of his hand with a stick and knocks Buzz out. The police come. Liz pulls up with Jeffrey and comforts Molly. The following day at school Molly shows up to see Liz in the Oracle office. Liz tells her she’s so glad that Molly has seen the light, but is stunned when Molly pulls out a fat blunt and lights it up right there in the office. The scent of kindbud wafts down the hall, attracting Mr. Collins who comes in and demands a favor in order to keep it secret! Liz shudders and says, “Whatever you want, Mr. Collins …” Oh wait, I’m sorry, I was just trying to make this more interesting. No, Molly just comes in to the Oracle office, expresses hope that she might one day write for this esteemed literary institution, thanks Liz for saving her life, and announces she is all better now. Just call her Liz “Instant Rehab” Wakefield!

The sub-plot: Jessica gets the Pi Beta Alphas to start a memorial scholarship in Regina’s name. Everyone is amazed that Jessica Wakefield would have such a charitable idea. She is all proud of herself but at the same time is daunted by the amount of work that such an idea entails. So it’s a good thing Mr. Wakefield offers to just do all the work. Jessica briefly wonders if she can use the scholarship to get close to Nicholas Morrow again, but it’s obvious that ship sailed a long time ago.

This cover is awful. Everyone has flat chests and horrible hair and two of these chicks are wearing pajama tops. I have no idea who the girls in the background are supposed to be. The woman is probably Molly’s mom, she looks old enough. I guess we could say she is Sandy Bacon since she does bear a very slight resemblance to how Sandy looks on the next book’s cover. And the brown-haired girl could be Jeanie since they are best friends, but her hair looks more like Maria Santelli’s, so I’m saying it’s Maria. I don’t know. Anyone got any better guesses? I’m sure they are supposed to be just randomly gossipy bitches.

Other stuff: I just gotta comment on something. In the earlier books, these kids drank. Sure, they didn’t do it often, but they did. Ned and Alice let the twins have champagne to celebrate special occasions. Cara brought out a six-pack at a party she had. Jessica got so wasted in NYC that she had to be sent back to her host family’s in a taxi cab. Jessica sipped a beer that older dude Scott gave her at a camp-out near Secca Lake. Bruce broke out some hard liquor or something at least a couple of times. Now, all of a sudden, this is decidedly absent. And I’m guessing we won’t see these casual alcohol incidents again. It just wouldn’t make sense now that everyone is acting like they never heard of a high school kid engaging in binge drinking or casual drug use. Not at Sweet Valley! We’ll see if I’m right, but I think any and all mention of casual drinking among the teenage set is bad news bears from here on out.

This drives me nuts: the Wakefields have a “special” dinner of Chinese take-out. EVERYONE EATS IT. Yes, that means Ned! There’s zero mention of how Ned is famously allergic to Chinese food. We even get a description of him popping a water chestnut into his mouth.

A random senior we never heard of before named Jennifer Morris pops up at a PBA meeting.

Lila makes a hilarious quote about how “people with breeding” are always so “gallant.” I really wish I had a collection of Lila Fowler quotes that I could turn to whenever the world just seems too confusing.

Liz and Jeffrey watch a public access channel special together. WOW, are these kids for real?

Coming up … Manuel Lopez and Sandy Bacon have been dating in secret. But Sandy’s parents aren’t going to like this! Ohhhhh noeeees! Sounds like a repeat of the whole Maria Santelli-Michael Harris story. BORING. The phrase “Romeo and Juliet” is even used, AGAIN!. Maybe the Droids will write another shitty ass song about it! Thankfully, we have our very first Super Thriller to get through first!


Comments on: "#41 Outcast" (3)

  1. Vanessa Saxton said:

    Hey, great site! Saw you at the Dairi Burger. I always wondered who the random gossipy girls were, too. For some reason in my childhood mind I thought one was Cara Walker. I also agree, this was a pretty horrendous book.

    • Hi Vanessa, thank you for dropping by! And I could see brunette girl being Cara Walker. The other random gossipy girl reminds me of this mean older lady I work with!

  2. I seem to randomly remember Ned’s allergy, but how in the hell can you be allergic to Chinese food? Rice? OK. Soy sauce? Sure. But Chinese food as a whole? WTH??

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