Sweet Valley High #36: Last Chance

The moral of the story: Nobody in Sweet Valley is really dumb, they just need confidence!

The Big Deal: PTA dance and a “predance” party at Amy’s


Jessica thinks Cara and Steven should break up because Cara’s been all boring since they’ve been together. She starts working on both of them, telling Cara she shouldn’t get tied down and telling Steve that Cara’s been dating other people. They start taking her comments seriously and fighting all the time because they’re idiots. Jessica convinces Cara to go to the PTA dance with Ken. Cara, though hesitant at first, finally agrees. Why, oh, why does anyone ever listen to Jessica?

Julie Porter’s sister Johanna dropped out of school about a year ago, but she’s coming back and giving it another try. Johanna is in the bathroom reflecting on the relativity of everything. In school she always felt dumb, but at the Whistle Stop, the crappy diner where she worked, the other waitresses were always asking her how to spell and add things for them because she was the smart one. Because only idiots who can’t add become waitresses. Johanna decided to come back to school when she found a passage in a journal kept by her mother, who died six months ago. Mrs. Porter wanted Johanna to go back to school but never said anything.

Johanna is in love with Peter DeHaven, but he’s going out with Amy Sutton. Everyone thinks he’s too smart for Amy and that makes me laugh. Johanna is doing experiments in the chemistry lab when Peter comes in. He starts talking about all his plans for college and stuff and then invites Johanna to drive to Las Palmas Canyon with him that night. Jo is overjoyed. She realizes that at no point during the conversation did Peter ask about her, but she decides she can’t blame him because he has such important plans and she’s just a nobody. Johanna goes home and tells her sister Julie about Peter and Julie says she thinks Peter has gotten really egotistic ever since he won some science award. She also implies he only invited Johanna because Amy is out of town for the weekend. Johanna freaks out and cries and runs away to her room.

That night, on the way to Las Palmas, Peter explains his idea for a computer program he wants to design. Johanna is surprised she understands it, but decides Peter must be dumbing it down for her. They hang out at Peter’s friend Larry’s house for a while and Johanna is surprised when Larry asks her about herself. Then Jo and Peter go sit at the canyon and make out for a while. A couple days later, Johanna is at the Wakefields’ house getting some English tutoring from Liz. Jo tells Liz all about Peter and Liz tries to be supportive. Johanna is convinced Peter is going to break up with Amy any day now. Steve comes out to the patio to complain about his math homework, which consists of spatial puzzles. Johanna says she does stuff like that for fun and helps Steve zip through them. Liz and Steve are impressed, but Johanna insists it’s nothing special.

After leaving the Wakefields’, Johanna goes to Peter’s house and asks him about Amy. Though he doesn’t say so, Johanna gets the impression he’s going to break up with Amy soon. But the next day at school, she walks up to Peter, Amy, Jessica, etc. and says hi to Peter and he snubs her. Jo’s mortified and ready to quit school again, but Peter comes to her later and apologizes, claiming he feels like he needs to break up with Amy “gradually.” Jo forgives him and agrees to go to dinner with him because even though he’s acted like a douchebag, she can’t “help how she [feels] about him.” Ugh, stupid girl.

At home, Jo tells Julie she wants Peter to ask her to the upcoming dance. Once again, Julie expresses her concerns and tells Johanna that Peter already asked Amy. And once again, Johanna gets all freaked out and runs away, crying, to her room. The next day at school, Peter ignores her again, Jo gets upset again, Peter apologizes again and Johanna forgives him again. I feel like Johanna is living in Groundhog Day. She goes to Peter’s house with him after school and listens to him talk about himself some more. She wishes he would show interest in her, but knows she’s lucky he even wants to hang out with someone as ordinary as her. *gag*

Liz tells Jessica about Peter and Johanna, but it’s totally okay because Jessica promises not to tell a soul. Right. Amy disapproves of Jessica’s trying to break up Cara and Steve, so to get back at her, Jessica tells her Peter’s been cheating on her with Johanna. Amy confronts Peter, who says he would never be interested in someone like Johanna, but the whole time he’s thinking that he’d really rather be with Jo than Amy. And he just doesn’t know why he doesn’t let Amy break up with him. Johanna gets an A on a chemistry assignment – the highest grade in the class! – and goes off to find Peter to tell him about it. But she finds a note in her locker from Peter telling her he can’t see her anymore because Amy found out about them. And since Liz and Julie are the only people she’s told, and she knows her sister wouldn’t tell, Liz must be the one who told Amy. And even though “Elizabeth couldn’t have done that to her!” she still accuses her and freaks out when she runs into Liz a few minutes later. Jo decides to quit school again. For real, Jo needs to quit school and hang out at the Sweet Valley Sanatorium for a while.

Amy’s predance party is really crappy because Cara and Steve are with different people, Jessica’s mad at Amy and Amy’s mad at everyone. At the dance, Cara complains that the college girl Steve brought with him is draping herself all over him, which leads me to wonder why the hell Steve is even at this dance if he didn’t come with Cara. You’re in college, you freak. You don’t go to Sweet Valley High anymore. Ken tells Cara to just go ask Steve to dance, so she does. They start dancing and talking and they realize Jessica’s been messing with them. When they ask her why, she says she was just testing their love. Steve’s mad, but Cara says it’s really their fault for not trusting each other and Steve “huskily” agrees. UGH! Someone is going to have to take Jessica down one of these days, and it’s probably going to have to be me. God dammit.

Amy and Peter take a break from dancing and sit next to Liz, Jeffrey and Lila. Lila mentions Johanna and her A in chemistry. Amy says Jo must have cheated. Peter doesn’t say anything. Liz catches him alone later and lets him have it for being such a crappy friend to Johanna. On Monday at school, Peter asks Johanna if they can be friends and then immediately starts talking about a problem with the computer program he’s writing. Johanna gives him a suggestion and he laughs at her because her idea is too simple for a science fair. Later, Johanna hears some girls talking about how dumb she is, so she decides to prove them right by leaving school.

That night, Peter decides to go ahead and give Johanna’s suggestion a try, and surprise, surprise, it works. He finishes the program and wants to celebrate with Johanna. He calls her house to apologize and her father says Jo’s working at the Whistle Stop again. So Peter decides to go out there and make everything better. He’s convinced he’ll be able to apologize, explain everything and get Johanna to go back to school. It doesn’t work, thank goodness. After work that night, Jo goes home and has a talk with her father and realizes she shouldn’t have gone back to school for her mother, but for herself.

A couple weeks later, Johanna is back in school and flourishing. She’s made up with Elizabeth and started making friends. Peter comes crawling back to ask her out and she turns him down. Yes! Score one for a Sweet Valley girl!


Johanna had been living a life that few of her classmates would be able to fathom. She had worked long, hard hours, had grown accustomed to earning money, to working with people much older than she was, many of them from backgrounds entirely different from her own.

So, basically, Johanna was living like a normal person.

Amy, especially cute in her red-and-white uniform, just seemed so at home, as if she owned the school. She was the sort of girl Johanna had always feared and resented.

Me too, Jo, me too.

He knew Johanna was just about the best thing that had ever happened to him, and he was throwing away the chance to be with her for Amy Sutton, whom he barely liked.

So, um, break up with Amy? I hate that the only explanation we get for Peter’s motives is, “and he just didn’t know why.”

“Sure, why should you worry?” Elizabeth said sarcastically… “Why should it bother you that Johanna Porter’s not going to finish high school because you, and people like you, never gave her the support she needed?”

Okay, look, I know Peter’s been a huge douchebag throughout this whole book, but are we really going to blame Johanna’s dropping out on him? I kind of think that was her own decision.

The Cover: I think Peter is really Clark Kent. Oh, and you can tell he’s smart because he has glasses.

I don’t know why my recaps suddenly started getting so long. I’ll try to work on that.

Tags: , , ,

  • Abi May 4, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    NO! I like your long recaps! They are hilarious 😀


  • Kate May 4, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    I saw the glasses on the cover and thought, “That guy must be smart and a little bit geeky, or he’s going to have to get a makeover and become the star football player.”

    But since this is sweet valley, he’s smart. If it were a girl with glasses, she’d need a makeover.


  • Liz May 4, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    I stumbled onto your blog and love reading the long re-caps!


  • Jake May 5, 2009 at 12:39 am

    Keep em long!


  • nugirl77 May 5, 2009 at 4:54 am

    Jo looks very sour-grapes, and why does Amy Sutton always look so babyish and too young to be a SVH junior? 🙂 Peter is the best-looking one on this cover but I think his pants are pulled up way too high to be totally comfortable.


  • Jenna May 6, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    I love the long recaps!! In fact, you should go back and rewrite them from the start, 1500 words minimum 🙂


  • girltalkread June 8, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Shannon my recaps are sometimes like 5000-6000 words! And apparently my loyal fans still read on!! 😉


  • Kristine November 25, 2009 at 7:49 am

    I agree, Amy Sutton looks always babyish..

    I remember feeling sorry for Johanna when I was in my adoloscent years. After reading the recaps, I just feel that Peter is such a jerk and Johanna is so blind.

    Please keep the recaps coming Shannon. 🙂


    Karla Reply:

    Ah, Johanna just has brain drop. Happens to the best of us.


  • Shanti June 30, 2011 at 6:21 am

    Shannon, your recaps are the BEST! I totally love your sense of humour and analysis, it’s so awesome 🙂 Keep up the good work.


  • Kathryn Rebecca March 14, 2012 at 10:15 am

    What is Peter even looking at? It’s like he’s trying to get something out of Amy’s hair.


  • Vix May 7, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    What is Jessica’s obsession with meddling in Steven’s love life all the time?! It’s really inappropriate and kind of creepy.


  • kylie90210 April 24, 2013 at 1:57 am

    Is this the Peter DeHaven from SVT who Amy or Mary or someone crushed on? And now he’s all hot super nerd? I wonder what made Johanna think she was dumb in the first place? And Cara and Steven are kind of stupid for letting Jess get to them.


  • angela June 12, 2013 at 1:51 am

    Yeah I also like ur recaps shannon keep up the good work so loving ur blog


  • Anonymous January 13, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    With his pants pulled up so high he should be called Peter “High Pockets” DeHaven


  • Natasha June 4, 2016 at 3:07 am

    Where does Jess get off trying to break up Steve and Cara? She got away with it though as always. Peter was a douchebag and Amy a first class bitch. Liked her much better in SVT. I liked Johanna too-she was real.


  • This series is very odd August 17, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Why does Jessica think that it is her duty to break people up? she sees that people are happy, and yet she wants to destroy that.


  • Post a comment

    Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.