So yeah, that’s Robin Wilson, the chick who George cheated on Enid with. She’s pretty, but she’s not even half as gorgeous as they say she is, so I guess she and old George have that in common. We know Robin is co-captain of the cheerleaders with Jessica, that Robin used to be fat, and that she’s a teen pilot, but apparently she’s also got “champion diver” on her resume. Her coach is Dina Taylor, an Olympic silver medalist. She’s also now very close friends with Annie Whitman. Hmmm, that makes sense – they both were victimized by Jessica, and presumably both hate her. They’ve been largely absent from cheerleader scenes in previous books, so I guess they’re keeping their distance from old Queen Bitch. Understandable!
Anyway, the story: Robin’s wealthy artist Aunt Fiona Maxwell has offered to pay for Robin’s college for the full four years. There’s just one catch: Robin has to go to Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where Fiona and another family member went. Robin’s mom assumes Robin will just do what her aunt wants. George assumes Robin will just go to UCLA so she can stay close to him. Robin has no idea what she wants to do and hates everyone trying to make an important life decision for her. Unfortunately for her, she’s applied early admission to Sarah Lawrence – meaning she’ll skip her senior year to go there – and has been accepted. The whole Wilson family rejoices and Robin’s mom is convinced Robin’s mind is made up, and don’t even want to hear it when she says she still isn’t sure. Robin decides to keep her acceptance a secret from George, only telling Annie and – what a fucking idiot – Jessica. Needless to say, Jessica tells her sister and then her dumb sister tells George at the library, not realizing Robin didn’t want him to know. George is infuriated, so Robin calms him down later by lying and saying she’s decided not to go to Sarah Lawrence. But things aren’t getting any better for Robin: Aunt Fiona is coming for a visit, and Robin is terrified of what to say to her. And Robin also isn’t getting along with Annie, because she thinks Annie told George. (Right.) The stress is making Robin batshit crazy: she keeps fucking up her diving, much to the delight of her competitor, Tracy King. And she gets in a fight with Annie in front of all the other cheerleaders in which she accuses Annie of telling George because she wants to steal him for herself. Annie, you’re never getting away from your old slut rep, are you? Jessica is secretly pleased that Robin is flipping out because she views Robin as some of her biggest competition.
Aunt Fiona shows up to stay at the Wilsons’s house while attending the opening of her new art gallery or something. She really is an insufferable snob, greatly exaggerated for our benefit. Of course, we could guess that she would be since she’s wealthy and all, and nice wealthy people are a rarity in SV World. Aunt Fiona is so happy about Robin and Sarah Lawrence that she’s also going to buy Mrs. Wilson a new kitchen. Of course, Alice Wakefield is going to design it. Robin realizes to her horror that her mother expects her to shut the fuck up about college already because the kitchen means more to her than her daughter’s happiness does. No, for real.
Aunt Fiona takes the Wilsons out to eat at Cote d’Or in Malvina. Robin tells them all that she doesn’t necessarily want to go to Sarah Lawrence and they all freak out. Aunt Fiona tells Robin she can’t have the money if she doesn’t go to Sarah Lawrence, and come on, that’s her right to decide how to spend her own money. Robin makes a huge childish scene, yelling, “I wouldn’t take your money if I were starving to death” and tears out of the restaurant and gets George to come pick her up. Wow, my parents would have my head if I dared embarrass them like that. But Aunt Fiona and Mrs. Wilson just let her do it and no one goes after her to make sure she hasn’t been kidnapped or anything when Robin doesn’t return to the table. And they apparently never discipline her or demand to know what the fuck was up with that.
Liz calls Robin and tells her that she was the one who told George about Sarah Lawrence, not Annie. Robin feels like an ass. Good. The next day, she goes to her diving competition fully expecting no one to show up and support her, but they all do. There’s a convenient delay of a half-hour when a judge is late, which gives George enough time to go get Robin’s family. He tells Robin later that it took a lot of talking to get them to come, but they seriously show up just minutes later. (George explains he had to tell Fiona that Tracy’s mom is the one with an ugly carriage boy statue in her yard that Fiona had been deriding, in order to get her to come. I’m glad that’s what it takes to get an aunt to support her niece …)
Of course, Robin beats out Tracy to take top prize by like, two points. And George realizes he was also wrong to try to tell Robin what to do. And then Robin apologizes to Annie and Annie immediately forgives her for being a complete and total asshole, in the blink of an eye. Robin tells the Wilsons she will make the decision about where to go to college herself. Aunt Fiona says she’ll pay for it anyway because she admires Robin’s stubborn nature. Presumably, Mrs. Wilson can calm the fuck down because she’s still getting her fucking kitchen. Problems solved. Everyone is happy. Woo woo.
The sub-plot: Jessica takes on a babysitting job to make more money. Her charge is a five-year-old girl named Allison Kane, and the boy who hired Jess to watch her is her older, college-age brother, Alex Kane, who of course is devastatingly handsome. Alex needs the extra time away from Allison to write songs because he’s a world class musician. So Jessica decides the best way to capture him is to pretend to be a world-class recorder player. Yeah, you heard me. Recorder! That plastic instrument we had to play “Hot Cross Buns” and “Brother John” on in the 4th grade! Jessica goes to buy a recorder and gets a plastic one rather than the expensive wooden one (which my dad actually has … so I guess maybe the recorder can be seriously played … I don’t know, he never plays it) and a lesson book, but she sucks at it. Elizabeth sees her playing it and gives it a try, only to find she immediately rocks at it without even trying. Of course. I fucking hate Liz. Liz feels bad that she is, once again, better at something than Jess, so she plays it in secret when Jessica isn’t around, all the while beating herself up for it. Spare me your fake martyrdom, Elizabeth. Ha ha, then Ned and Alice hear Liz playing beautifully upstairs and assume it’s Jessica, then Jessica comes home soon afterwards and “continues playing” and it sounds like shit. Then Ned and Alice mention to Jessica that they heard her playing and it sounded gorgeous until the end, when it suddenly turned to crap. Jessica is confused and Liz is ashamed of herself.
To get Alex to notice her already, Jess pretends to faint. Jessica is a good actress, so I guess she could pull this off. I guess. But even though she’s been annoying the shit out of Alex by interrupting his composing every other second, it’s her fainting that gets Alex to come clean that he does in fact want to go out with her – maybe two years later, when he’s done attending school at Juilliard in New York! Jessica is outraged that he would choose a piano over her. Okay, are we really supposed to believe that after all that work, Jessica would give up rather than try to seduce him for right now? This is Super Cocktease Wakefield we’re talking about!
Obviously, Jessica couldn’t care less about the dumb recorder now, but Liz is still slinking around feeling bad. It’s all over when Jessica catches Liz playing it and doesn’t give a shit. But then Liz continues to have problems concentrating on playing because she’s worried about Robin and Annie fighting, because she knows SHE was the one who spilled Robin’s secret to George. Liz should take that effing recorder and shove it where the sun don’t shine.
Other stuff: Robin has two younger brothers. Adam is in ninth grade and Troy is in eighth. And Mrs. Wilson’s first name is Irene.
Repeating names alert: A dude named Eddie Roth hangs out with the usual SV boys at the beach. The Eddie count is now at four – at a minimum.
Lila brings a fucking Oriental rug to the beach for her and Jessica to use as a beach towel! Oh, that Lila. Seriously, though, that sounds kind of … uncomfortable.
“She felt a bit light-headed from blowing so much […]” -Liz, after a session of secret recorder playing in Jessica’s empty room.
Aunt Fiona tells Robin that she’s glad Robin got rid of the “baby fat” she’d had. Dude, if all it was was baby fat, then I hardly think Robin was the giant hippo that everyone said she was.
Robin thinks to herself that she can’t wait to go to college because of “the classes, studying, stretching her mind […]”. Okay, am I the only one here who couldn’t wait to go to college because of the boys and the partying?
Liz writes a feature for The Oracle about Robin’s diving championship. Isn’t John Pfeifer the sports writer? What’s happened to him? He’s been missing from the last several Oracle plots. I know for a fact he comes back later (…) but it’s like he gave up on the newspaper. Good for him.
Elizabeth meets Enid at the Dairi Burger to tell her about the recorder business, and the scene opens with Enid bringing her a root beer. I swear to God, every scene with these two at the Dairi Burger had Enid rushing to do Liz’s bidding and bring her a fucking root beer or get her food or place her order.
Adam and Troy had to ask special permission to get Cokes with dinner at Cote d’Or. Hmmm, maybe because it will make them even more hyperactive? Or maybe parents were actually concerned about childhood obesity back in the 80s? That must be it, because Aunt Fiona orders Cokes for them, but no one asks Robin if she wants one. Wouldn’t want that baby fat to come back on!
Speaking of Cote d’Or, it’s named after a real place in Burgundy, France and means “golden slope.” Random trivia. I think Francine Pascal has a home in France in real life.
Random character: Karen Doyle, another diver.
I think this is the first book in the series to mention “compact discs.” Hehe.
Liz meets Julie Porter’s neighbor, Josh Bowen, and of course he acts like he is meeting a fucking celebrity. Kill me.
I’m really surprised we didn’t have a scene where Aunt Fiona meets Liz and acts like she’s a remarkable young lady or something. I really am.
Coming up next: The Phi Epsilon fraternity, which I don’t think we’ve heard much about since the very first book, is having a pledging season. And Julie Porter has an obvs crush on its most notorious brother, Bruce Patman.