Sweet Valley High Super Edition #6: Spring Fever
The Big Deal: Party at Annie Sue Sawyer’s house and a big square dance.
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.
“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–“
“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.