Sweet Valley High #28: Alone in the Crowd

The moral of the story: Nobody in Sweet Valley is really ugly, they just need contact lenses and new hairstyles.

Best Outfit: Lynne – a jumpsuit in a bright royal-blue print layered over a T-shirt with a sash tied around her waist.

The Big Deal: Rock Around the Clock relay dance


Lynne Henry isn’t so much unpopular as invisible. Nobody seems to know who she is, and here’s why: thick glasses, unruly hair, a nose that’s a shade too long and a slightly prominent chin. Since she’s not a supermodel like everyone else at Sweet Valley High, she’s not worth anyone’s time. Lynne spends her school days alone dreaming about going home to her guitar. And she has a crush on Guy Chesney. They walk home from school together and talk about Linda Ronstadt and music and stuff like that. Lynne dresses herself in baggy, dirty jeans and bulky sweaters and then looks at herself disgustedly in the mirror. Man, she would have fit right in with my post-Nirvana crowd in high school. I think I see a fakeover in Lynne’s future.

The Droids announce they’re holding a contest for songwriters. Whatever song wins, The Droids will play it at their next big gig. Lynne records a song titled, “Outside, Looking In,” and submits it anonymously. Enid, Jessica and Liz are all excited about the contest because The Droids “could use a new song” (are people getting sick of The Droids?) and Jessica thinks the cheerleading squad will need some awesome music to listen to during their fundraiser. Which brings me to Jessica’s latest idea:

To raise money for new cheerleading uniforms, Jessica comes up with the Rock Around the Clock relay. They will put a rocking chair in the gym, and the cheerleaders will take turns rocking in it. There are eight of them, and they will each rock in the chair for three hours. People will pledge for them. This will all happen during a fabulous dance. This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of, but Jessica gets pledged twenty-five dollars for each hour she rocks so I guess some people think it’s okay. She goes over to Helen Bradley’s house because they’re going to use her rocking chair and they want to practice. I know, I know. When she gets there, she finds out Helen’s parents just bought the house of their dreams in L.A. and will be moving any time. Of course, Jessica is all upset about losing a cheerleader.

The Droids love Lynne’s song and make it their mission to find out who this “anonymous” is. Guy Chesney has fallen in love with the songwriter, but Lynne thinks he’ll be disappointed when he finds out it’s her and not some gorgeous Linda Ronstadt clone. She gets tired of looking like such a mess all the time and decides to do something about it. She gets out all the nice clothes her mom has bought her over the years, puts in her contact lenses and plucks her eyebrows. Her mom takes her to the salon to do something with her hair and the fakeover is complete. Why, Lynne was never ugly at all!

Liz goes to the music store for some records and wanders over to where Lynne is giving some kids a guitar lesson. When Liz hears her sing, she knows Lynne is the anonymous songwriter. She tries to get Lynne to come forward because Guy is in love with her and Lynne fawns all over Liz, telling her she wishes she could be confident like her and blah, blah, you know this scene, it’s in just about every book. Anyway, Liz promises not to tell anyone Lynne is the songwriter and then feels terrible for making such a promise. Ugh, quit making promises then. At the ridiculous Rock Around the Clock relay, Guy talks to Liz about how in love he is with the songwriter. Liz says she knows who it is but that the girl is shy and is worried Guy won’t like her when he finds out she doesn’t look like Linda Ronstadt. This gives Guy a clue and Liz gives herself forty lashes when she realizes she accidentally broke a promise. Lynne and Guy get together and the cheerleaders have raised enough money for new uniforms. Yay!

Setup for the next book: Amy Sutton, Liz’s best friend from middle school who moved to Connecticut, is moving back to Sweet Valley. Her parents bought Helen Bradley’s old house. Enid worries Liz won’t have time for her anymore.


“It must be so wonderful,” Lynne burst out, “playing with a group like The Droids!”

Guy looked surprised. “Not many people feel that way,” he said. “Not many girls, anyway. Most girls I know think music is OK as long as it stays in the background. But playing in a band…”

Aren’t there two girls actually in your band, asshole? Girls like music just as much as guys do.

Lynne looked as if she were really having fun, Elizabeth realized…With a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eye, Lynne Henry was actually almost pretty!

Oh, someone just shoot Liz. Please.

“What kind of title is that?” Ken Matthews asked. “‘Outside, Looking In.'” It sounds kind of strange.”

What kind of question is that? Just how stupid are you, Ken?

“Liz, don’t you think Enid’s getting more boring than ever these days?”

This made me giggle out loud.

The Cover: This is the best/worst Liz cover yet. Look how sickeningly sweet she looks as she comforts poor, ugly Lynne. I wish so hard that Lynne would bash her over the head with her guitar.

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  • HelenB April 17, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    In today’s terms, Lynne looks kind of hip and indie, and Liz’s shirt makes her look like she works in a sportswear shop. I find this deliciously ironic.


  • nugirl77 May 5, 2009 at 5:57 am

    Lynne’s glasses are hugely disproportionate! I understand James Matthewuse wanted to make a point about her lack of physical attractiveness in her frames, but, still, they are bigger than the safety glasses we had to wear in science class in school!!!


    Anonymous Reply:

    Funny how those glasses are in now. Everyone wears the “nerd” glasses or takes the 3-D ones and pops the insides out.


  • Merrie June 10, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    This was, and still is, my favorite SVH book. I loved the makeover books, which is why “The New Jessica” is my second favorite. I love how a new outfit could immediately change you into who you need to be. That’s 80s greed right there!

    A sorority at my college did a rocking chair fundraiser once. The minuite I saw the posters, I knew they swiped the idea from Jesssica!


  • Anonymous October 30, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Aside from the glasses, I think Lynne is cute. Who wears glasses that big anyway?
    Those have got to be some of the funniest/weirdest quotes, even for Sweet Valley. How could Ken not understand the title of the song? How silly. Also, I agree with you that Guy’s comment on girls and music was weird.
    Also, we get some of Liz’s usual pity: If a girl doesn’t look like a Wakefield, then she can never measure up. That’s probably why Lynne is only ‘almost’ pretty, and not a show stopper like Liz.
    Also, I think it’s interesting that they didn’t turn Lynne into a model, just that she’s only ‘almost pretty.’ Can’t believe we have a normal looking person in SV now. Seems like before this book, everyone was always a model look alike (ex. Liz, Jess, Regina, Lila) or else they were fat, awkward, and miserable (ex. Robin, Lois). No average-looking person exists, except for Lynne Henry.
    Also, hate how Guy falls in love with the writer of the song. What if it had been written by a man? Would he live happily ever after with Crunch McAllister?


    Shannon Reply:

    LOL @ Guy falling in love with Crunch McAllister.

    I’ve never thought about it before, but you’re absolutely right. Lynne has to be the only person in town who isn’t a fat slob or devastatingly gorgeous. Even Enid and Olivia are good-looking, just not as good-looking as the twins.


  • Karla January 12, 2010 at 10:06 am

    I hate, hate, hate the name Guy.


    Anonymous Reply:

    Guy is awesome. Have you ever seen Never Been Kissed?


  • Karla January 21, 2010 at 1:34 am

    Oh, and Lynne is way prettier than Liz! WTF? This cover reminds me of watching WKRP and knowing I was supposed to think Jennifer was all hawt, but to me, Bailey was and always will be the pretty one.


  • S.R. February 13, 2010 at 12:41 am

    This was one of my favorite books – I was always hoping I’d get a makeover and transform one day (still waiting! lol). Although consider Lynne ended up wearing ” a jumpsuit in a bright royal-blue print layered over a T-shirt with a sash tied around her waist” – I think I’m better off!


    Shannon Reply:

    Seriously. Apparently, they were jumpsuit-crazy back then. I’m glad I missed that particular craze.


  • Martha March 12, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Heh, just read this … and there’s the second black kid in Sweet Valley in there! (Lisa Reed) She is described exactly the same way they described Patty Gilbert though.


  • Lauren June 10, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    That sounds like a pretty typical guy AND Guy response, though. Pretending girls don’t like something you’re interested in just because it hadn’t gotten you laid in awhile or didn’t impress the last girl you were with. Too bad Emily didn’t overhear and shove his head through her bass drum.


  • Kylie90210 August 3, 2010 at 1:15 am

    Agh, Guy is irritating. So is Lyn. I actually don’t like this book at all :p


  • Angela2BPecked May 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Your assessments of the SV covers are rather humourous!

    I wonder if you were around during the 80’s since the hair and clothing styles depicted on the covers were considered attractive at the time.

    *My comment is pertaining to all the posts I have read so far, not just this post.


    Shannon Reply:

    Yes, I was around (and reading Sweet Valley books!) during the 80s. I know the clothes were attractive at the time. If they were still considered attractive, I wouldn’t be making fun of them.


  • Vix May 7, 2012 at 10:58 am

    This book drove me nuts even as a teenager. Other than the bizarre glasses Lynn clearly looked better before (a la the breakfast club when Ally Sheedy looks waaay better pre-makeover). And WTF Guy?! Who falls in love with someone on the basis of hearing a song they’ve written. That’s verging on delusional stalker territory – although clearly this lack of appropriate social boundaries is fairly normal in the world of SV!

    Totally loving your blog btw – I had a real love-hate relationship with these books as a kid and your comments are making me genuinely lol which is quite an achievement as I’m currently laid up with a raging ear infection 🙂


  • Nirvana April 27, 2013 at 11:36 am

    I totally agree. I hate how Liz looks like, “I’m so awesome aren’t I,” and Lynne is just like, “Please oh Wise One, make me prettier.” UGH.


  • Pyeknu August 31, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    This was always my favourite SVH book; when I started collecting them again recently, this was the first one I got. I’ve always been sympathetic to the loner characters, which Lynne certainly fits to a “T”. I just wish that the minor characters got a lot more exposure in the series. Ah, well . . .


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