Sweet Valley High #33: Starting Over
The Big Deal: Nothing. What the fuck, Sweet Valley?
Best Outfit: Dana – “skin-tight, black stirrup pants and a gold lamé dinner jacket, sleeves pushed up, over a black-and-white checked shirt.”
Dana Larson’s cousin Sally is coming to live with the Larsons. Sally has been living in foster care for years. Dana’s brother Jeremy is not happy about her moving in because he’s had to give up his room and move to the attic. Jeremy is a total jerkface to Sally, but Dana is pretty friendly. Sally takes one look at Dana’s stylish outfit (see above) and worries she won’t fit in at Sweet Valley High. Dana takes one look at Sally’s clothes and offers to take her shopping. At the mall, they run into Jessica and Liz, and Dana badgers them until they show her what they bought. I’ve decided Dana is obnoxious and I might hate her.
The twins are being mysterious because they’ve bought a dog collar for the puppy Jessica brought home. Their parents are out of town for the weekend and the twins are keeping the puppy a secret. The puppy, Prince Albert, manages to give the twins the slip while they’re walking him one day and he runs off. Days later, Ned brings him home from the pound as a present for the girls. And nobody was the wiser.
Dana keeps insisting Sally forget about her old life and just focus on her new life. She drags Sally to a Droids practice and is adamant that she join the band in some capacity. Since Sally can’t sing or play an instrument, Dana appoints her band manager. Sally doesn’t like the music and would rather be working for the school paper, but of course she doesn’t say anything. She wants to be accepted and not have to move again so she forces herself to do whatever Dana thinks she should do. Also in the interest of not being kicked to the curb, Sally does all the chores she possibly can. It’s nice at first but after a few days it starts to get on everyone’s nerves, especially Dana’s after her parents tell her she could learn a thing or two from Sally. Then Jeremy’s friend Mark asks Sally out and Jeremy gets even more obnoxious. Sally’s sure her aunt and uncle are going to kick her out any day.
Sally wanders over to The Oracle office and of course she ends up telling her whole life story to Liz, who encourages her to just be herself. Sally can’t seem to do that and keeps being annoying and helpful, but the more she tries the more Dana and Jeremy seem to hate her. Still, when Sally broaches the subject of maybe joining the paper, Dana acts like she doesn’t want her to be friends with Liz or have any responsibilities that would take time away from The Droids. One morning, Mrs. Larson tells the kids to come right home after school so they can have a family talk and they’re all sure Sally’s going to be sent away. On their way home that afternoon, Jeremy stops to pick up a couple of hitchhikers who make him take them to Kelly’s Roadhouse. They insist Dana and Sally come with them, but Sally saves the day because, you know, she’s street. She convinces the guys that Dana is a bore and makes them take her alone. Dana and Jeremy go for help and come back to Kelly’s with a couple guys and save Sally. When they get back home, Mr. Larson says “it’s all been arranged,” and everyone thinks it means Sally has to leave, but really he and Mrs. Larson have arranged to adopt her. Hooray!
“Elizabeth Wakefield to the rescue!” Enid teased, raising her hand into the air. “Fear not, all you sad, lonely people! Elizabeth will come to save you!”
This would be funny if someone like Lila said it.
Why weren’t they nicer to her, when she was breaking her neck to be agreeable and easy to get along with? A rare spark of anger kindled in Sally’s heart. Why did Dana want to keep her all to herself? Why should she have no other friends? Why should she do only the things Dana wanted her to do? It wasn’t fair at all of Dana to act like that.
But as quickly as it had flared up, her resentment died down again. “Dana wouldn’t do that,” she whispered aloud…Maybe she still wasn’t trying hard enough, she reasoned, beginning to feel guilty for her angry thoughts.
*deep sigh* Ugh, it’s okay to get angry. And you know, this is never resolved. Dana never explains why she didn’t want Sally to be friends with anyone or join the paper or anything.
The Cover: Dana looks like a hairdresser, and not just because she’s playing with Sally’s hair. Doesn’t she look like every hairdresser you ever saw in the 1980’s? And man, I don’t know what she’s doing to poor Sally’s hair.
Tags: Body Image/Self Esteem