Sweet Valley High #27: Lovestruck
The Big Deal: Centennial picnic.
This book is supposed to be about Ken Matthews’ girlfriend Suzanne Hanlon and how she wants to change Ken, but she’s hardly even in the book. It’s more about Ken’s English assignment.
For some reason I will never understand, Jessica is in charge of organizing Sweet Valley’s centennial picnic. She asks Liz to do the kissing booth and Liz agrees. I guess she’s looking for love now that Todd is gone. Liz thinks the picnic will be a much needed celebration, especially if Sweet Valley doesn’t win the big football game, a likely possibility since Ken Matthews won’t be able to play if he fails English. Liz offers to help him with his next assignment. She gives him one of her short stories to study, complete with notes and outlines.
Ken has dinner with his rich girlfriend’s family. Suzanne’s father says something about dumb jocks and Ken gets upset and starts to wonder if he is in fact a dumb jock. (Yes, you are.) He knows people think his relationship with Suzanne is strange because she’s all rich and sophisticated, but he sees Bruce and Regina on his way home (because Suzanne lives in the same rich part of town as them) and thinks that if they can make it work, so can he and Suzanne. Ken really is stupid though. He knows that if he doesn’t do well on this assignment he’ll fail English and won’t be able to play football, but every time Suzanne asks him to go out he just goes rather than work on his paper. Dumbass. Ken ends up turning Liz’s story in as his own.
Liz goes to a poetry reading organized by Suzanne. She likes Winston’s and Olivia’s poems, but nobody else’s. Interesting that the only ones she likes are her friends’. Liz reads a poem she wrote about her mother and of course it’s everyone’s favorite. Blah.
Mr. Collins loves “Ken’s” short story so much he decides it should be printed in the special centennial edition of The Oracle. Nobody asks Ken what he thinks before Penny makes copies of the story and starts handing it out. Liz reads it and is outraged. She’s fucking stupid though and doesn’t want to tell Mr. Collins that Ken plagiarized her story until she talks to Ken first. She tries to persuade the newspaper staff not to print the story, but they all think it’s so brilliant and she can’t convince them. Oh, I just hate her. If that was me I’d be all, “That bastard stole my story.” I sure wouldn’t be just sitting around waiting for him to turn himself in. Liz confronts him. He apologizes and says he’s going to tell Mr. Collins the truth, and suddenly Liz isn’t angry anymore.
Ken is on his way to see Mr. Collins when Suzanne appears at his side. She just heard about Ken’s story getting printed and she’s so proud of him that he doesn’t want to disappoint her. He suddenly decides he has to tell this whole thing from his side. He goes home and starts typing his own story. Too bad he couldn’t do that a few days ago. He works on the story all weekend and on Monday morning makes Liz read it and then put it in the paper in place of her story. Ken’s new story is about stealing someone’s paper and passing it off as his own and it’s obvious to everyone that it’s all true. He gets called to the principal’s office and Chrome Dome tells him that normally he would be given a failing grade in English and three days’ suspension, but that in this case there seem to be extenuating circumstances. Like what? Cheater couldn’t write his own paper so he stole someone else’s. What extenuating circumstances make that acceptable? Oh, it’s because he turned himself in. And because they need him to play football or they’ll lose the big game. Since the second story would have gotten an A if it had been turned in on time, Mr. Collins accepts it and gives it a C, which is high enough to let Ken play in the big football game. Way to play favorites with your jocks, Chrome Dome. Suzanne breaks up with Ken when she finds out he cheated on his assignment, but the rest of the school just loves him more for being so honest. After Ken wins the big game, Suzanne apologizes and then immediately tries to make Ken go to the library with her instead of to the picnic. He’s not interested.
Jessica screws up with the catering company and has to make a ton of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the picnic, but it works out because it means more money for whatever charity this whole thing is for. Wakefields always win. The end.
Mrs. Wakefield looked especially beautiful that day, Elizabeth reflected, probably because she had had a chance to relax, having taken a day off.
I wish taking a day off work was all it took to make me look especially beautiful.
The story – her story with Ken’s name on it – sat on top of the pile of papers. Elizabeth had no choice but the let The Oracle print it, although it would forever color how she felt about Ken.
You stupid bitch, of course you have a choice. Fucking tell somebody!
“You see, Suzanne, history lectures bore me, art films bore me, your friends bore me, and, if you want to know the truth, I guess you bore me, too.”
Damn, that was harsh. Kind of awesome, though.
The Cover: What is wrong with Ken? Seriously, he looks like one of those dramatic paintings of Jesus that scared the crap out of me when I was little. Suzanne’s cute, I guess. Notice the pearls.