Sweet Valley High #16: Rags to Riches

The moral of the story: Only bad people are poor. If you’re poor but a good person, one day you will become fabulously rich.

The Big Deal: Barbecue at the Patman estate and a party/dance at the country club

Synopsis:

At the end of the last book, Roger Barrett’s mother died and the news came out that Roger’s father was Hank Patman’s deceased brother, making Roger and Bruce cousins. Now, a week later, Roger has moved in with the Patmans. There’s going to be a big party at the country club to welcome Roger to the family and Jessica is determined to have the guest of honor as her date. Roger’s having a hard time fitting in at the Patmans’ and manages to spill wine all over a “very important” guest at dinner. Poor guy. Bruce’s mom is a total snobby bitch, kind of like she just stepped right out of a V. C. Andrews novel.

Meanwhile, Todd and Elizabeth think something’s up with Regina Morrow and come up with some wacky plan to find out what it is. They cut school to find out where she’s been going in the afternoons and follow her downtown. They see Regina and an older man disappear into a “glamorous” building. Lila, having just had a dentist appointment, sees her too. Also downtown is Roger Barrett and Hank Patman. Uncle Hank is buying Roger some new running shoes from the sports shop, which is called…The Sports Shop.

The Patmans have a barbecue to meet all of Roger’s friends before the big party at the country club. Lila harasses Regina about the man she met downtown. Olivia is sad because Mrs. Patman was rude to her, so Liz does her whole arm-around-the-shoulder thing and tries to cheer her up. Jessica spends the afternoon kissing Mrs. Patman’s ass, which pays off because Mrs. Patman tells Jessica she wants her to be Roger’s date to the country club party. The second part of Jessica’s plan consists of humiliating Olivia while making it seem like she’s trying to help her. Just what Jessica does best. Then she actually conspires with Bruce, who she hates, and they set up a game of tennis with Roger and Olivia. Jessica offers to take Olivia to the mall to get some tennis clothes at…The Tennis Shop. Oh, oh, and then, after they go to The Tennis Shop, Jessica suggests they stop at The Designer Shop. I’m not even kidding. I think Francine handed her ghostwriter some notes that said, “have J & O go to tennis shop,” and “L sees R at sports shop,” and hoped they’d come up with names for these stores on their own, but the ghostwriter misunderstood. Total originality fail.

Regina’s mystery man shows up on campus after school one day and Regina leaves with him. Lila does her best to spread the scandalous news that Regina is involved with a man old enough to be her father. I guess she’s jealous of Regina or something because we all know there’s only room in Sweet Valley for one pretty, rich brunette. Of course, Liz loses her appetite from worrying so much about Regina. Finally, Regina confides in Liz and tells her the man is Lane Townsend, a guy who runs a modeling agency. Regina is going to be on the next cover of Ingenue magazine. Of course she is. Liz is sworn to secrecy and she can’t even tell Todd about it. Lila follows Regina downtown and finds out about the magazine and is determined to stop Regina’s photo from running.

Jessica totally humiliates Olivia on the tennis court, though how this is supposed to help her win Roger I don’t know yet. Mrs. Patman has a chat with Roger and tells him she doesn’t think Olivia is right for him and he should ask Bruce to set him up with one of the girls he knows. Jessica manages to convince Olivia of the same thing. Roger and Olivia break up. Blah. Jessica goes to console Roger as soon as she finds out and cons him into asking her to be his date at the party.

Lila gets an appointment with Lane Townsend to audition for the Ingenue competition. Lane tells her the competition was cut short when they found Regina. Then he tells Lila she doesn’t really have the right facial structure for modeling and her face would look flat in photographs. Burn! Ha!

Roger overhears Mrs. Patman telling a friend that she was grateful to Jessica for breaking up Roger and Olivia. Roger is pissed. He hatches a plan (why do these kids always need a plan?) that involves Liz accompanying him to Olivia’s house. All that happens is that Roger and Olivia apologize to each other. I don’t understand why Liz has to be there. Roger takes Olivia to the party (though about halfway through the book everyone starts referring to it as a dance), Mrs. Patman be damned. Everything turns out okay, of course, and Bruce’s dad is actually a pretty cool guy and makes Roger feel welcome.

Setup for the next book: Caroline Pearce, resident gossipmonger, talks about her boyfriend Adam who lives a couple hours away and can’t make it to Roger’s party.

Quotes:

Her relationship with him had a long history. She had stuck by him when other people were making fun of him because they’d found out he was working as a janitor after school…Eventually, the two had come to love each other.

According to my interpretation of the SVH timeline, it was less than three months ago that Roger was outed as a janitor. I guess in high school that seems like a “long history.”

“I want to know where he found that bathing suit,” George announced. “It’s the tiniest thing I’ve ever seen.”

“It looks like a Band-Aid,” Todd agreed, laughing.

What I want to know is why George and Todd are so interested in Bruce’s skimpy Speedo. They shouldn’t be checking him out, at least not in front of their girlfriends.

Maybe Jessica really was becoming more considerate of other people’s feelings. All the same, Elizabeth couldn’t suppress a twinge of uneasiness about her sister’s newfound generosity. Was it possible Jessica had something else in mind other than good-natured friendship?

Is it possible? Is it possible? Liz, you and I need to sit down and have a talk about what your sister is really like.

Elizabeth flushed. However badly her twin behaved, she hated to speak ill of her to anyone else. In fact, Elizabeth usually ended up defending Jessica. But this time anger got the better of her. “Jess is at home, Olivia,” she told the girl. “She’s caused enough trouble lately!”

I bet Liz went home and gave herself twenty lashings for that bit of blasphemy.

Jessica and the Number 137:

None! I’m beginning to get seriously disappointed.

The Cover:

Roger: Boy, I sure am cool now with my blazer, two shirts and popped collar.

Jessica: I’m coming to GET you!

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Comments
  • Fear Street March 25, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    The cover to this thing cracks me up.

    Hilarious entry :p

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  • Megan March 25, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I don’t understand why Liz has to be there.

    Because Liz has to be the center of EVERYTHING!! 🙂

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  • HelenB March 25, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    I kind of love Liz’s massive blind eye when it comes to her sister. It is actually possible to love someone unconditionally and still notice their ridiculously outstanding faults!

    Also, how did you pick up on the 137 thing?! I never noticed it until I started to read your blog!

    [Reply]

  • Sadako March 25, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    I never realized when when I was a kid but Jessica Wakefield is evil!! Like, Ann Coulter was probably taking notes kind of evil.

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  • Shannon March 25, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Thanks, Fear Street!

    Megan, you’re right. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that!

    Helen, the 137 thing is just one of the things I remembered from when I was a kid.

    Sadako, I never realized it either! I was really surprised when I started reading them again at what a lunatic she is.

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  • girltalkread June 15, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Why does Roger Barrett remind me of Jason Bateman on the cover? But like a cheesy Jason Bateman?

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  • S.R. February 12, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    Roger does look like a cheesy Jason Bateman on the cover, never noticed that before!

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  • Kylie90210 August 2, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    RBP, one of the only guys in the world to turn down both Jess and Lila… bet he wouldn’t turn down Liz, agh.

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  • bayerngirl74 August 10, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Sigh, this was my first SVH book. It lead me on my path of self destruction – thinking that since I was blonde, I should be able to have as many dates as I wanted, etc. But in my school, the girls who went out with as many guys as possible was called a slut. So, sadly, I had to stick with only going out with a couple. I never understood the whole “dating a bunch of guys” thing, and how no-one thought it was skanky. But then, these chippies never really made out – strictly G rated material. I’ll bet guys didn’t even get over the clothes petting. How would Todd put up with that? He’s a motorcyle lovin’ horn dog.

    I wonder if I would have let Todd make out with me…hmmm, probably not, with the #6 cover. He looks douche-tastic.

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  • thepixiechick July 26, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    For some reason I loved the cover of this one. Isn’t this supposed to be the same guy as on the cover of #9? Why does he look absolutely nothing like that guy? And sorry to be indelicate but WTF is up with Jessica’s boobs?

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  • Nirvana April 24, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Roger looks nothing like his other cover. WTF is up with that?

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  • Gia January 8, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    I always thought I was the only one who noticed this 137 thing. I am glad that someone else did – and laughs at it like I do. As if there aren’t 137 other numbers to use in this series!

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  • Gia January 8, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Oh and about the cover – what is up with Jessica’s Madonna Pointy Boobs???? WTF?

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  • Natalie June 25, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    How is a building glamourous.. I am so ignorant lol
    Love your work <3

    [Reply]

  • Nikki July 8, 2014 at 10:32 am

    “Regina is going to be on the next cover of Ingenue magazine. Lila follows Regina downtown and finds out about the magazine and is determined to stop Regina’s photo from running.”

    Lila, just like her bff Jessica, always have to find a way to block and hate on someone else’s opportunity.

    “Mrs. Patman has a chat with Roger and tells him she doesn’t think Olivia is right for him and he should ask Bruce to set him up with one of the girls he knows.”

    lol Mrs. Patman wants Bruce to set Roger up w/ one of his leftovers…. I still don’t know if this is funny or gross :/

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  • Selena June 9, 2015 at 10:21 am

    “Mrs. Patman has a chat with Roger and tells him she doesn’t think Olivia is right for him and he should ask Bruce to set him up with one of the girls he knows.”

    Yeah, because setting up your cousin with the girls you almost raped is totally not weird or creepy at ALL.

    Not that Bruce’s mom would actually know about that, since attempted rapists are never, ever turned in in Sweet Valley.

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  • Dane Youssef May 7, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    “Meanwhile, Todd and Elizabeth think something’s up with Regina Morrow and come up with some wacky plan to find out what it is. They cut school to find out where she’s been going in the afternoons and follow her downtown.” –Shannon

    Elizabeth and Todd CUT SCHOOL?!? Dear God, the Earth just moved! How is this a physical possibility?!? The whole galaxy just doesn’t make any sense!Up is down! Left is right! Sideways is chocolate! How did this not make international news?!?

    –Sincere, DANE R. YOUSSEF

    [Reply]

  • anon May 13, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    The Roger on the other cover is way cuter than this one. Someone should write a Roger Lila fanfic.

    [Reply]

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