Sweet Valley High #10: Wrong Kind of Girl
The Big Deal: Everyone goes to the Beach Disco. I can’t decide if this is a party or a dance or what.
Synopsis: So, Annie Whitman lives with her single mother, who had Annie when she was only sixteen. You know what that means in Sweet Valley: trouble. Lack of a normal two-parent home has made Annie a slut. She goes out with a different boy every night. She probably even has sex, though it’s unclear. She and her mother live in an apartment, rather than a nice split-level ranch home. That’s how you know they aren’t the sort of people you want to hang around with. Mrs. Whitman’s boyfriend, a greasy jackass who flirts with Liz, lives there too.
Annie wants to be on the cheerleading squad more than anything in the world. But Jessica can’t let someone like that on the squad! What would everyone think? Most of the rest of the book consists of Elizabeth doing her damnedest to get Annie on the squad and Jessica trying equally hard to keep her off. All the while, Annie herself has no idea that she has a reputation that has earned her the nickname Easy Annie. Is she mentally challenged? How can she not know that if you go out with lots of different boys nobody wants to be friends with you? Wait, I seem to recall that Jessica goes out with lots of boys, too…
When Annie finds out she’s one of the eight finalists she tells Liz that she’s going to cut back on dating. She used to feel like she needed all that attention from boys, but now that she’s got cheerleading, she feels better about herself and blah, blah, blah. Really? It only takes sixty-two pages and a cheerleading tryout to undo all the whatever that made you that way in the first place?
Thrown in just for fun is a scene at Todd’s house. Elizabeth doesn’t want to tell him what’s bothering her for some reason and Todd gets all weird and accuses her of being interested in another guy. They make up on the next page. Todd’s mother is inexplicably baking a cake.
When it comes time to vote on the new cheerleaders, Jessica tells the squad she’ll quit if they vote Annie in. Annie has a fit about not being chosen and Ricky Capaldo tells her it was all Jessica’s doing. She disappears for a few days and then Ricky calls Liz to tell her Annie’s tried to kill herself. Seriously.
The twins race to the hospital where they meet Ricky. Jessica is feeling sorry for herself for having caused such a horrible thing. The doctor tells Mrs. Whitman that Annie has no will to live. Upon hearing this, Jessica tells the doctor everything, explaining her part in what happened. And instead of telling her that nobody can be blamed for a suicide except the victim, he tells her to tell Annie she can be a cheerleader.
Are you fucking kidding me?
So Annie’s on the squad, she and Ricky are boyfriend and girlfriend, Mrs. Whitman breaks up with her slimy boyfriend and everyone lives happily ever after. The end.
Elizabeth tried to imagine what life would be like without her mother and father. Impossible, that’s what! She was so proud of her tall, dark-haired, good-looking father…
Is it sad that the adjectives she uses to describe her father all pertain to his looks? Really, at sixteen, did we care in the least how attractive our parents were?
The Surfers’ Waves began whipping up a foam of music, and Todd and Elizabeth happily plunged into the rhythm…
*facepalm* Oh come on! I can’t decide if it would be better if this was done on purpose or not.
“How could they do this?” he snapped suddenly, sitting up. “What kind of stuck-up, mean kids could do this to a poor, scared girl?”
Jessica was crying now, tears running down her face.
Ricky saw her and slumped back into his chair. “Oh, no, Jess, I didn’t mean it. I – you – I don’t know what I’m saying!”
No, Ricky! Come on, give her hell! For once, someone knows for certain that Jessica really fucked up, but even when she’s caused an attempted suicide she’s too perfect to be called out on it.
“Mrs. Whitman, I don’t know why your daughter did this to herself, but she seems to have no will to live.”
Laughing hysterically, all I can think of is the doctor on South Park saying, “he needs more time.”
Jessica and the number 137
“The two of us together would be sensational!” she’d told Elizabeth at least a hundred and thirty-seven times. p. 2
The Cover: We have to talk about this cover. First of all, is that really Annie Whitman, the chick who’s supposed to be so beautiful that she turns heads wherever she goes? She looks like a reject from Fame or something. And what’s with Jessica’s expression? Either that’s her evil “I’ll get you, my pretty” face, or the artist started drawing Liz but threw a SVH cheerleading sweater on her when he found out what the tag line was going to be. And if you look carefully, you can see a tear rolling down Annie’s cheek. Go on, click on it. I linked it to a larger image just so you could see for yourselves.