Sweet Valley High #34: Forbidden Love

The moral of the story: If your parents are feuding with your boyfriend’s parents, the only way to bring them back together is to get engaged.

The Big Deal: Party at Lila’s


Maria Santelli and Michael Harris, two juniors we’ve never heard of and don’t care about, have gotten engaged despite the fact that their families are supposed to be feuding. Oh, and that they’re in high school. Jessica thinks it’s incredibly romantic while Elizabeth thinks they’re making a huge mistake. Maria is such an ambitious girl and Liz worries she won’t be able to do any of the things she wants to do if she gets married. Now, I’m not condoning two high school students getting married, but Liz seems to think their lives will be over if they do. She has to keep reminding herself it’s none of her business. Coincidentally, the twins’ social studies class will be working on a project for the next two weeks that involves the students pairing up into fake marriages. Jessica gets stuck with Winston and Liz gets Bruce Patman. And, of course, Maria and Michael are paired with each other.

Winston is running for student council PTA representative, and Maria is his campaign manager. They’ve been meeting every Tuesday and Thursday to go over things. But this particular Tuesday Michael makes Maria break her plans with Winston so she can help him pick out a gift for his sister. Michael finds Maria as she’s telling Winston they’ll have to just meet Thursday and acts all controlling as he steers her away. Then Michael insists Maria come to his tennis match on Thursday. Even though she knows she shouldn’t let Winston down again, she gives in because she loves Michael so much and doesn’t want to argue. Why can’t she and Winston just meet on Wednesday? That’s what I want to know. Doesn’t matter anyway because she decides it would be best if she just dropped Winston altogether because Michael doesn’t like the way he looks at her.

Maria calls Liz to ask if she can take over as Winston’s campaign manager. She says Michael is jealous of Winston and explains the whole thing. Liz refuses to take over because she thinks Maria should make good on her promise to see Winston through the campaign. Maria whines that Liz just doesn’t understand because she and Jeffrey haven’t known each other that long. Then she accuses Liz of being jealous before hanging up on her. The next day Maria feels bad about the way she’s been behaving lately and vows to tell Michael that she’s going to keep helping Winston no matter what. Michael relents, but makes sure Maria knows he doesn’t like it.

In their social studies class, Michael and Maria can’t agree on anything. He wants her to be a stay at home mom, he thinks hitting kids is a good form of discipline and he doesn’t believe in taking a problem kid to a psychologist. Maria starts to wonder if they’re really right for each other. Then, on the way to a party at Lila’s, they have an argument. Maria wants to tell their parents about their engagement, but Michael wants to wait. Then he accuses Maria of wanting to break up with him for Winston. So they’re all upset with each other and have no idea that the party they’re going to is a surprise engagement party. They get there and are all miserable. Maria starts to cheer up when she dances with Winston. Michael notices and announces to everyone that he’s going to run for student council PTA representative and that Maria’s going to help him. Winston is hurt and Maria is appalled. Winston runs off and Michael tells Maria that if she goes after him it’s all over between them. Maria gives Michael his ring back and goes to find Winston.

Meanwhile, across town, Caroline Pearce’s mother runs into Maria’s parents and congratulates them on Maria’s engagement. Ah, the Pearce family is just full of blabbermouths. The Santellis go get the Harrises and the four of them head up to Fowler Manor together. When they get there, Michael tells them he and Maria are not engaged anymore. The two families make up and are the best of friends again. Maria finds Winston and they make out. They go back to the party and Michael basically gives them his blessing.

Setup for the next book: Aaron Dallas seems to be developing an anger problem.


In the old days, Bruce would have been a pain to work with, she thought. He used to have an ego problem.

Yes, Liz, he did. He also tried to rape you. I guess I should get over that, considering nobody in Sweet Valley seems to care about it.

[Elizabeth] could feel her guard go up. She hoped Maria wasn’t going to ask her anything that might cause her to betray Winston’s confidence. She had assured him that his secret was safe with her, and she would never go back on a promise.

Can’t you just feel her wishing Maria would ask her something like that, just so that she can refuse to answer and be all self-righteous?

I’m telling  you I never knew

What love was, babe, and now there’s you.

Hold on to your love, girl.

Just some Droids lyrics. I was kidding before, but now I think Dana really is a lesbian.

The Cover: Michael and Maria look like they’re in their late thirties and like they’re both blind.

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  • HelenB April 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    My first thought was, “Why the hell is Maria even with him if he’s such a jackass? And if he hasn’t always been such a jackass then why doesn’t the ghosty try to convince us of that?”

    And then I thought, “Am I expecting actual character development? From SVH? Oh, self. You’re so silly.”


  • Jake April 30, 2009 at 2:41 am

    Just wanted to say that this was your most hilarious review yet. Good stuff.


  • Merrie June 11, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Love the white belt, Michael.


  • kylie90210 April 24, 2013 at 1:19 am

    I kind of wish this had taken place over two books, so we could have seen Michael and Maria actually together and dealing with the sneaking around thing. And also, Michael’s just all of a sudden cool with Maria dating Winston the same day they broke off their engagement? Cool.


  • angela June 12, 2013 at 1:08 am

    First off I think the cover looks dull and how can you just give the woman u were engaged to your blessing just after five minutes ending ur engagement *confused*


  • Christi October 26, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    There’s a mistake at the end of this book that I can remember noticing the first time I read it, back when I was about 12. Aaron Dallas steps on Roger Collins’ foot, it should have been Roger Patman. That was the first time I can remember a blatant mistake being made that I noticed


  • Natasha May 31, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Liz thinks Maria won’t ever be able to do what she wants to do once she’s married? Liz has no idea about marriage. She’s only 16 what does she know?? I hate it when Liz acts all self righteous and thinks she knows it all.


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