Sweet Valley High Super Edition #6: Spring Fever

The moral of the story: Kansas sucks.

The Big Deal: Party at Annie Sue Sawyer’s house and a big square dance.

Synopsis:

For their spring break, the twins are off to Walkersville, Kansas. They will be staying with their mother’s aunt and uncle, the Walkers. Alice tells them how quaint and lovely Walkersville is and suggests Jessica dress conservatively. We don’t want her to scare the simple folk in Kansas and Uncle Herman is mayor of Walkersville, so we don’t want anyone thinking badly of the family. When they get there, the twins are just delighted at what a “sweet little town” Walkersville is. Aunt Shirley and Uncle Herman take them on a tour of the town. Jessica wanders off to flirt with some guys and then can’t figure out why their girlfriends seem to hate her. None of the town’s teenage girls (all six of ’em) are interested in being friends with the twins.

There’s a carnival in town and the twins are all excited to go. Mrs. Walker doesn’t like Jessica’s outfit (a jumpsuit with rhinestones on it) and pats her hair nervously when Jessica insists on wearing it. She warns the girls not to get involved with the “carnies” because that sort of thing is frowned upon here in Walkersville. So the first thing Jessica does is fall in love with the carnival owner’s son, Alex. And it turns out he has an identical twin named Brad who would be perfect for Liz because he wants to be a journalist. As they’re conversing, Annie Sue, the ringleader of the Walkersville Witches (I just made that up myself), comes over with her boyfriend Dennis, who thinks Jessica’s rhinestones are diamonds, and tries to take Alex’s attention away from the twins. It doesn’t work and she stalks off. Jessica makes plans to meet Alex after the carnival closes, but when she tells Aunt Shirley, the woman clutches her heart and asks for her pills, because people from Kansas never go out alone at night. So Jessica pretends to go to bed and sneaks out.

The next day the twins are volunteering at their uncle’s soda shop when Dennis and his buddies come in. The twins are hanging out with them and having a good time, but then Annie Sue and her friends show up and Annie Sue starts telling lies about the twins making fun of her. She gets everyone to leave the soda shop and the twins decide to ignore her, but later that day Annie Sue’s grandmother invites them to spend the day at her family’s farm. When they get there, Annie Sue isn’t there yet but her little sister Janie has been instructed to be a total brat to the twins. Annie Sue’s grandmother is a very pleasant old woman and she and Aunt Shirley both think there must be some reasonable explanation for why Annie Sue and her friends never show for lunch because Annie Sue is such a sweet girl. The twins are mortified about getting stood up. Whatever. If it was me, I’d be happy the bitch didn’t show. More food for me and less bitchery, too.

Liz goes into town and notices a couple of Annie Sue’s friends wearing headbands and sweatshirt dresses just like Jessica’s. The twins are like Regina George, everyone wants to look like them because they’re so fab and Kansas has never seen anything like them. Liz spends the afternoon with Brad and gets all freaked out when she realizes he’s crushing on her because what about Jeffrey? It’s really hard being so damned adorable.

Jessica keeps sneaking out to see Alex. Every night at nine o’clock she says she’s exhausted and going to bed, then she goes out. Aunt Shirley and Uncle Herman are ridiculous and start to get worried that Jessica’s depressed or bored or sick and oh my god, this book is freaking horrible. Annie Sue sees Jessica making out with Alex that night and Jessica knows she’s going to get in trouble for being with a “carnie.” Sure enough, the next day Annie Sue demands Jessica give her the headband she’s wearing or she’ll tattle. Jessica, instead of letting Annie Sue just go ahead and tell the Walkers what she saw and then claiming it’s a lie, gives in.

The twins are planning to go to the Big Square Dance with Alex and Brad on their last night in town, but the Walkers get all freaked out about it and say they have to discuss it before coming to a decision. I fucking hate this book. They end up deciding the twins will not be allowed to go to the square dance with two boys whose families the Walkers don’t know anything about. Jessica runs away from the dinner table and then sneaks out to see Alex one last time.

Jessica gets to the corral (did I mention Alex is the carnival’s horse guy?) just in time for Alex to run off to meet with Annie Sue’s father, who will be buying the horse Jessica has grown fond of. He asks Jessica to watch the corral and then leaves. And just then Annie Sue comes along and decides she can ride Midnight since he’s almost hers anyway. The horse freaks out because he’s not entirely trained yet and Jessica has to save the day.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Aunt Shirley finds out Jessica has left the house without permission and just about loses her mind over it. She, Uncle Herman and Liz hop in the car and head for the carnival. They get there just as Alex and Jessica are calming Midnight down and saving Annie Sue from getting thrown. Annie Sue, her father, Alex and Jessica each take a turn insisting to the crowd that has gathered that the whole thing was his or her fault, and then someone suggests a round of applause for Alex and Jessica. Annie Sue apologizes to Jessica and explains that the reason she was so terrible was that she was jealous and insecure. Because, you know, she’s from Kansas so she’s not glamorous and she’s never dated an older guy like Jessica has. Annie Sue makes everyone go back to her house for a big party to celebrate almost getting thrown off a horse. Liz sees a cut on Alex’s hand, notices it’s in the same place Brad cut himself a few days ago and realizes there is no Brad. Alex is just one guy who’s been playing the twins for a coupl’a foo’s. Liz tells Alex to make an excuse for why Brad can’t go to the square dance and she’ll go along with it to save Jessica from getting hurt.

At the square dance, Liz and Annie Sue make Alex miserable by making him switch dance partners all night. And then he apologizes and Liz kisses him on the cheek. Or something. I don’t care. The book ends and Shannon breathes a sigh of relief. The end.

Worst book ever. The twins’ aunt and uncle are portrayed as simpletons from yesteryear, Annie Sue’s boyfriend has never seen rhinestones before, Annie Sue has a “Sue” in her name, everyone lives on a farm. The list of stereotypes goes on and on. The worst, the absolute worst, is the over-the-top-ness of Aunt Shirley. Clutching her heart every time something out of the ordinary happens, not letting the twins out of her sight. Ugh.

Quotes:

“I met a nice guy there tonight, and I’m supposed to meet him when the carnival shuts down.”

“You met–” Aunt Shirley turned white. “Herman,” she said weakly, clutching her heart. “My pills–“

No joke.

“Left? Left where? Herman!” Mrs. Walker called, clutching her heart. “Something terrible has happened–Jessica’s run away!”

This book is so horrible.

The Cover: They actually wear those outfits to the square dance. The only thing changed is Liz’s shirt, which is supposed to have red and white checks.

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Comments
  • Kate May 1, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Worst book yet?

    I’m pretty sure they’re singing “Oklahoma!” on the cover.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    It really is. Most of them are bad in an awesome way. This one is bad in an infuriating way.

    I agree about the cover.

    [Reply]

  • Kate May 1, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    ETA: As a round. They’re definitely singing it as a round.

    [Reply]

    sour_hill Reply:

    I’m see Jessica as Ado Annie, and of course Liz as Laurie.

    [Reply]

    sour_hill Reply:

    Crap, I meant to say I could see, not I’m see. Whoops!

    [Reply]

  • Erin May 2, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    I hated the fact that Janie is supposed to be Annie Sue’s little sister, but then Annie Sue herself says that she’s an only child. I know SV is famous for continuity issues, but in the same book??!!

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    You know, I didn’t even notice that! I think I was trying to get through this one as quickly as possible and didn’t notice the little things. But wow, that’s pretty bad, even for Sweet Valley.

    [Reply]

  • R. G. Quimby May 4, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Am I the only one who got flashbacks of the first season of The Surreal Life with Paris and Nicole while reading this recap?

    [Reply]

  • nugirl77 May 5, 2009 at 4:58 am

    Well at least Jess didn’t fake everyone out with simulant diamonds – just rhinestones! 😉

    [Reply]

  • Renee February 17, 2010 at 3:47 am

    Wow, I somehow missed reading this one as a kid, but as a Kansan I’m not sure if I should be offended or laugh my ass off at the ridiculous cliches… Not that I’m surprised by them, of course. Books and television of much higher quality than SVH have fallen into the trap of mis-characterizing rural areas of the U.S. The whole “clutching at her heart” thing is a bit ridiculous and over-the-top though…

    [Reply]

  • Megan March 17, 2010 at 11:09 am

    I’m pretty sure this is the first SVH I ever read as a kid, I found it in a second hand shop then I started reading the proper series. Looking back it really is very out of place to the rest of the books and it is kind of a one off forget any of this ever happened kind of storyline.

    [Reply]

  • Olivia September 26, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    As a kansan I am was very offended by this book, it’s just so
    stupid! First of all I usto live in California do I happen to know that they are about the same besides the fact Kansas has less population more farm land andno beach. I seem to recall a part where the teens ask if they can wear a gingham and annie sue says something like ‘sure, every Kansas girl has at least 3 in thier closet’. I have never owned one or known anyone who owns one.
    Oh and for the record I have never heard of anyone having a square dance either.
    I almost quit reading the series after this book.

    [Reply]

  • pibetaalpha May 17, 2011 at 2:31 am

    Jess deserves Annie Sue’s nonsense as karmic payback for books 1, 2, 4, 10…

    [Reply]

  • kat June 25, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    I am living in kansas and the moral of the story made me laugh right off. I am originally from michigan and i know of more towns there who are ‘back in time’ more than kansas. Thos blog is awesome. Way to get through the whole series again. The synopses are almost better than wading through the books again. Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Thank you! I’m from the Midwest and yeah, I’ve never come across a town like the one in this book.

    [Reply]

  • Jenna September 14, 2012 at 5:33 am

    What she actually said was “I have at least three of those in my closet.” when Jess said she’d love to find one. She didn’t say all Kansan girls had them.

    It’s just a book, nothing to get offended over.

    [Reply]

  • kylie90210 April 24, 2013 at 1:49 am

    Ugh, I’m not even from the US and I knew this was BS. I didn’t like this book when I was a kid either, but kind of thought good on Alex/Brad for getting one over Liz and Jess after all their twin switchin’. But yeah, sucky book.

    [Reply]

  • lemonypiecrust July 24, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Oh god. I know it was the 80s and all, but I can’t believe Jessica was caught wearing that outfit. I thought she had style, man.

    [Reply]

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