Sweet Valley High #37: Rumors

The moral of the story: If you are an illegitimate child but you are a good person, your father will turn out to be a rich and famous movie director and everyone will love you.

The Big Deal: Everyone keeps talking about the Bridgewater Ball, but the book ends before it happens.

Synopsis:

The Bridgewater Ball is coming up and everyone is all excited about it, even though it’s an exclusive event in a town twenty miles away and nobody from Sweet Valley is going except the super rich people. Lila is going, even though nobody has asked her yet. She’s inexplicably mad that Susan Stewart is going. Susan is a mysterious girl who doesn’t know who her parents are. She lives with a guardian whom she refers to as Aunt Helen. Susan’s mother apparently sends money from time to time and everyone thinks she must be someone rich and famous. This makes Susan one of the Sweet Valley elite, which is how she snagged her country club boyfriend, Gordon Stoddard, and an invite to the Bridgewater Ball. Just FYI, Gordon’s parents are named Binky and Farley. Awesome.

Jessica’s health class is learning about reproduction and Jessica finds out women in their forties can still have children. She is immediately grossed out by the thought of someone her mother’s age giving birth. Lila tells her it could happen and Jessica says that no way is her mom having another kid. Ugh, this is going to be one of those books, isn’t it? At home, Jessica reads about pregnancy cravings in her health book just as Alice expresses a hankering for pistachio ice cream. That and mention of a doctor’s appointment are enough to convince Jessica that her mother is pregnant. She immediately ropes Liz in and they decide they’ll just have to spy on Alice and search her room to find out the truth. Instead of, you know, asking.

At school the next day, Liz realizes Allen Walters has a crush on Susan and encourages him to be friends with her. Allen is too shy though. Lila can’t stand Susan and doesn’t think she should be going to the Bridgewater Ball just because her mother is supposed to be someone important. She starts a rumor that Susan’s mother has been in a hospital for the criminally insane.

Jessica finds baby clothes in her mother’s closet and freaks out. She and Liz decide to get started on the next part of their plan, which consists of talking about babies and big families to subtly let Alice and Ned know that they’d be okay with a new sibling. That plan backfires when Ned asks them “which one of you is in trouble?” Ha ha, as if the Wakefield twins would do anything so reputation-shattering as have sex. In the newspaper the next morning, the Wakefields read that Jackson Croft, a famous movie director, will be coming to Sweet Valley to do a casting call for his next movie. Jessica is sure she’ll get casted. Later, Jessica calls Steve at college and tells him there’s an emergency, so he comes racing home. The twins tell him Alice is pregnant and he gets in on the madness.

Susan is losing friends left and right and she doesn’t know why. When Gordon breaks up with her she demands to know why and he tells her what everyone is saying about her mother. She goes running through the school corridors until she slams right into Allen Walters. He tells her he doesn’t believe the rumor and comforts her. When she gets home, Susan asks Aunt Helen who her mother is, but Aunt Helen says she can’t tell her, which makes Susan believe the rumor is true. Lila tells Jessica she might be going to the Bridgewater Ball with Gordon Stoddard now that he’s broken up with Susan and Jessica decides she should be the one to go with him.

Liz and Allen are apparently the only people left in town who will talk to Susan. Allen asks Susan to go out with him next Saturday night. That’s the night of the Ball, but Susan isn’t going anymore so she agrees. Meanwhile, Aunt Helen is at home freaking out over whether or not to tell Susan the truth, which is that she is actually her mother. She got pregnant but the father couldn’t marry her because he was at the start of an important career. She moved to Sweet Valley and told everyone she was Susan’s guardian because “back then, how could an unmarried woman raise her child without being shunned or scorned?” She decides she can’t tell Susan the truth, not until she’s eighteen and about to go to college. Just then, Jackson Croft, movie director, shows up at the door.

So it turns out Jackson is Susan’s father. He asks Helen if he can meet her, but she says she wants to explain first. Then Susan walks in and the whole sordid story comes out and she realizes all the money that supposedly came from her mother really came from Aunt Helen working two jobs. And here’s the worst part: Susan is angry, but Jackson tells her how much Helen gave up for her and makes Susan feel bad for taking advantage of her aunt. How sick is that? So Susan goes to her mother and they have a hugging, crying time and all is forgiven. I think I’m gonna throw up.

At Jackson Croft’s casting call, Liz, Jessica and Enid are talking to him because Liz wants an interview for the school paper. And they somehow managed to get him alone, I guess. Susan shows up while they’re talking and says a few revealing things. Jessica disappears before Susan is even done talking and pretty soon everyone knows that Jackson Croft is Susan’s father. So now everyone likes her again and her social status is back to normal. Ugh. At the Beach Disco the next night, Gordon asks Susan to go to the Ball with him, which pisses Lila off, and Susan is all ready to say yes, but Liz reminds her that Allen likes her. Susan thinks Allen was just being nice, but just then he comes up to her and starts talking about plans for their date and she realizes he really does like her. She tells Gordon to fuck off. So Gordon tries to get chummy with Lila again and she dumps her soda on him.

Jessica, Liz and Steven confront their parents and say they know Alice is pregnant. Ned and Alice laugh at them. Ha ha.

Quotes:

“It says here that more and more women are choosing not to have any kids at all so they can devote all their time to their careers…”

“What a shame,” her mother said, frowning. “I enjoy my work, but my family is much more important to me. Much more,” she repeated emphatically.

Zark off, Alice. Don’t act like you’re not a terrible mother.

“She was a young woman with no husband. She had you. Maybe she had seen the way kids with no fathers were treated.”

You know, when I was a kid, I didn’t know or care anything about my classmates’ parents. Just sayin’.

The Cover: Aw, look at that tear glistening on Susan’s face. Poor thing.

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Comments
  • Kate May 5, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    So sex exists in sweet valley! Good to know.

    [Reply]

  • HelenB May 5, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Jessica is sure she’ll get casted.

    I read that as “castrated” and man, that would make such a better story.

    [Reply]

  • Sarah May 5, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Wait, so where did the baby clothes in the closet come from?

    I also did not care about my friend’s parents and their marital status, though I did brag to everyone about how young my mom was when their moms were all old already (you know, in their 30’s).

    [Reply]

  • Jenna May 6, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    How has nobody in Sweet Valley noticed that Jessica is completely insane? I mean, Steven and Liz are just stupid, but Jessica is completely nuts!

    I think Ned got a little close to his kids at an early age, which is why they are so quacked. .

    [Reply]

  • girltalkread June 4, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Personally I found Susan Stewart to be FETCHING on this cover- like seriously my 9 year old little self found Susan gorgeous- I swear it was my first girl crush!! 😉 heh!!

    [Reply]

  • Jane March 25, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Did we ever find out what Alice’s health problem was??

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Oh, she didn’t have a health problem. She just had a doctor’s appointment.

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous April 17, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Notice how they take this storyline of unwedded mother pretending to be Aunt in The Wakefield Legacy.

    [Reply]

  • Vix May 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    I’m confused…so everyone stops talking to Susan because her mother is supposed to be criminally insane and the only issue raised with this is that it’s an untrue rumour as opposed to the fact that refusing to be friends with someone because their parent has mental health problems is WEIRD? Also why is Susan’s father talking as if he was in no way responsible for her fatherless state and like you I don’t actually recall being fussed whether my friends had fathers or not. I may be losing my mind slightly and starting to take this all a little too seriously…..;)

    [Reply]

  • Natalie April 23, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    For a “shy nerd” ol’ Allan Walters gets all the hotties to the yard..

    [Reply]

  • Erica Chestnut October 21, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    This book sucked!! Also, this was one of the more unrealistic plots I have read in this series and that is really saying something. Then, the fact that Susan is going to get back together with Gordon and stand-up Allen and then “oh, no Allen you’re my real friend” literally happened in about a page and a half blew my mind. Clearly, the story was over and the ghostwriter really wanted to wrap it up.

    [Reply]

  • anon June 3, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    Roger is referred to as Bruce’s half brother in this book. Seriously? The ghost writers didn’t read Rags to Riches?

    [Reply]

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