Sweet Valley High #40: On the Edge

The moral of the story: Cocaine kills, but only if you’re a good person. Dumb poor people can do it as much as they want with no ill effects.

The Big Deal: Barbecue at the Wakefields’, fatal drug party

Synopsis:

Amy Sutton is convinced Bruce Patman is in love with her. They’ve been working together on an essay about drugs in Sweet Valley (what?) and Amy knows it won’t be long before Bruce succumbs to her completely and ditches Regina Morrow. Jessica thinks it’s great gossip and Liz is appalled that Amy would try to break up such a strong relationship. One day, while working with Bruce on their essay, Amy turns the charm on full force and Bruce kisses her. Suddenly all the changes he’s gone through since meeting Regina mean nothing and he’s back to thinking he should be able to have whatever he wants when he wants it. And no wonder I was always such a jealous and possessive girlfriend if a boy can’t even do homework with another girl without cheating. Bruce tells Amy he’ll break up with Regina soon. He stands Regina up for lunch and she ends up eating with Justin Belson. She doesn’t know him at all, but Jessica sees them together and worries because Justin hangs with a bad crowd.

The twins are having a barbecue and both Regina and Amy are invited. Liz wants to warn Regina that something is going on between Amy and Bruce, but Jessica convinces her not to. Jeffrey also thinks Liz should let it stay between Bruce and Regina, so Liz actually keeps her yap shut. The night of the barbecue, Justin Belson calls Regina to ask her to a movie, but she declines. Nicholas does the big brother thing and tells Regina she shouldn’t be hanging out with Justin because he’s bad news and Nicholas knows this because his friend’s girlfriend was friends with him. Whatever, dude.

At the barbecue, Regina feels like everyone knows something she doesn’t. After it gets dark, Liz and Jeffrey see Amy and Bruce making out behind a tree. Liz goes to distract Regina while Jeffrey separates Bruce and Amy. Regina spots them and yells at Liz, asking why she didn’t tell her what was going on. Then she goes to Bruce and demands his car keys because she’s going to drive herself home. She screams at Amy that she hates her and everyone else and then goes home and cries. I feel really bad for Regina.

Regina calls Justin and they go out the next day. He takes her to Kelly’s and Regina is extremely uncomfortable because, you know, they serve beer there. Justin tells her all about how he became a loser. His father owned a liquor store on Putnam Avenue, “which isn’t the greatest part of town,” and one day some kids killed him when they came in to rob the place for drug money. Justin says the only thing that got him through the tough times was his girlfriend Molly, but they haven’t talked much since Molly started hanging out with Jan, a hardcore druggie. Regina listens to his story and realizes he’s as lonely as she is. She vows to try to make a difference in Justin’s life since she couldn’t make a difference in Bruce’s. They start spending more time together and one day at lunch, Regina finally meets Molly. Molly says she’s having an “anything goes” sort of party on Saturday and she hopes Justin brings Regina. Justin tells Molly not to let someone named Buzz show up. I’m guessing Buzz is trouble.

Liz can’t stand to see Regina hanging out with the wrong sort of people and she’s sure that if Regina knows her real friends are behind her she’ll come back to the light. She tries to talk to her and apologize for what happened at the barbecue, but she just can’t help throwing in a few warnings about Justin and his friends. Regina gets defensive and tells Liz to leave her alone.

Amy’s cousin Mimi is at Sweet Valley College studying to be a social worker and she works at a clinic. What kind of clinic? Doesn’t say, but apparently it means she knows a lot about the drug scene in Sweet Valley. So Amy and Bruce talk to her to get information for their project. Mimi tells them about the party Molly Hecht is having and that a cocaine dealer named Buzz will be there. The people Mimi works for have been working with private detectives to get Buzz locked up. Mimi wants Bruce and Amy to tell anyone they know who might go to the party to stay away from Buzz because he’s been known to corrupt a few innocents in his time. Bruce calls Regina and tells her not to go to the party. He explains about Buzz and says he doesn’t want Regina to get hurt. Regina is pissed that Bruce acts like he’s got a right to care if she gets hurt. She’s determined not to take his advice. On Saturday morning, Jessica tells Liz everything Amy told her about Molly’s party and Liz freaks out. She immediately jumps up and calls Regina to tell her not to go. Regina has pretty much the same reaction as when Bruce called her.

That night Regina is getting ready for the party and thinking about how she really doesn’t feel like going. She’s been confused and upset since the barbecue and she feels bad for the way she treated Liz on the phone. She writes a mysterious letter and then she feels better about things. She and Justin go to Casey’s on the way to Molly’s and Regina tries to convince Justin they should just not go to the party, but he wants to go. He keeps talking about Molly and Regina realizes he’s still in love with her. She tells him to give Molly another chance and Justin thanks her for being a good friend.

Meanwhile, Liz is totally freaking out, pacing back and forth and wailing to Jessica about what she should do about Regina. Jessica says she should call Nicholas and make him deal with it. Liz thinks that’s a great idea and tells Nicholas everything. He decides he’s going to go to Molly’s and bring home his sister. Liz breathes a sigh of relief and goes on with her life. Nicholas, however, runs into some trouble on the way to Molly’s. He ran out of the house without his wallet so of course he gets pulled over. Since he doesn’t have his license, the cop takes him to the station. I didn’t start driving until the nineties, but that sounds a little extreme, doesn’t it?

At the party, Regina is having a terrible time. Someone has handed her a beer and she’s drinking it because she doesn’t want to call attention to herself. Molly’s friend Jan is a total weirdo bitch to her and apparently hates her for being rich and for stealing Justin from Molly. Molly and Justin have some kind of fight and then Buzz shows up. There’s a hush as someone turns down the music and announces Buzz’s arrival. Buzz is like some kind of punk Santa Claus, showing up with drugs for all the boys and girls. Regina tries to slip out, but Justin notices her and makes her sit with him for a while. Buzz starts cutting up the cocaine and Regina asks Justin what he’s doing. Everyone hears her and looks at her scornfully for never having seen cocaine before. They make fun of her and Regina gets mad and decides she’ll show them. She’s gonna try it. Yeah, Regina, that’ll learn ‘em.

Regina does two lines of coke and then passes out just as Nicholas shows up with the cops. She wakes up for a minute and asks to see Bruce and Liz and then passes out again. Nicholas calls Bruce and tells him to get Liz and meet him at the hospital. Liz, Jessica, Bruce and the gang are all at Lila’s house so everyone hears the news and wants to know what Justin and his friends did to Regina. Nicholas wanted to know the same thing. Because it couldn’t possibly have been her own choice. They get to the hospital and Nicholas tells them Regina had a heart attack from the cocaine.

Regina dies. The doctor tells them she had a rare complication from the cocaine: an accelerated heartbeat. Now, I’ve never done cocaine, but I get an accelerated heartbeat just from going up a flight of stairs. I can’t imagine it’s an “extremely rare” side effect of cocaine. Anyway, at school on Monday, everyone is all upset with Molly and Justin and want revenge, but they’re not at school. The next day, Liz gets a letter from Regina. It’s the mysterious letter she wrote before going to Molly’s party. In the letter, she tells Liz she forgives her and hopes they’ll be friends forever. Aw, that’s really sad. There’s a really sad memorial service for Regina.

Setup for the next book: Nobody likes Molly Hecht anymore.

Quotes:

She could barely think straight. Some drug dealer named Buzz was going to show up at Molly’s party! She couldn’t believe it. She just had to convince Regina not to go.

Everyone who’s been to a party where a drug dealer may have also been present and didn’t die from it, raise your hand.

“Speaking of pale,” Buzz said, taking a small packet of white powder out of his bag, “would you all just take a look at this!”

The group in the circle was quiet for a minute as they stared at the packet.

This party is ludicrous.

“Regina took a lethal amount of cocaine tonight and experienced an extremely rare reaction—rapid acceleration of the heartbeat, which brought on sudden cardiac failure.

That’s not rare! UGH.

The Cover: Poor Regina, left to stare forlornly at Bruce’s headshot.

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Comments
  • Abi May 8, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    I mean, it is possible to die from cocaine, but can’t the doctors just say that she got a severe allergic reaction instead? I don’t think the ghost writer did the proper research.

    Anyway, I finally see how Regina was a “real beauty”.. she looks super beautiful in the cover, but I don’t know, she kinda looks like she’s plotting ways to get back at Bruce lol.

    He’s such a piece of shit.

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  • Sarah May 8, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    *raises hand*

    Yeah, I’ve been to lots of parties with drug dealers & users, and I didn’t die either.

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  • Mara May 8, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    I’m not so sure how plausible her death is either, on the grounds of an accelerated heartbeat. I’m pretty sure that happens to everyone.

    Why is it that in all YA novels, there’s always some drug dealer super eager to share his expensive merchandise with uninterested goody-goodies? It doesn’t seem like a good profit strategy to me.

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  • Shannon May 8, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Abi, yeah, I don’t think they did any kind of research at all.

    Sarah, me too. But I guess we’re just lowly regular people. It’s not like we’re Regina or anything.

    Mara, that never made sense to me, either! It had to cost him a fortune to bring enough coke to the party for everyone.

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  • nugirl77 May 9, 2009 at 6:39 am

    I’ve never read this book, so thanks for the review Shannon! It sounds like the usual SVH combination of terrible sadness and ludicrous happenings whenever Francine Pascal’s team of ghost-writers decide to cover a real-life social “issue.”

    I thought about asking the unanswerable – WHY does Regina have to die? Then I thought, oh, of course she has to die – she DATED Bruce Patman! She loved him. Would you consider changing your Moral of the Story to, “Cocaine kills, but only if you dated and loved a jerk with the Porsche plates 1BRUCE1.” 😀

    And you guys know how I feel about Amy Sutton in this series. Grr! 😉

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  • Keri May 9, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    “Regina does two lines of coke and then passes out…”
    ^^^Ummm, that’s like the opposite of coke haha.

    I read it to Jeff and he said, “It should say ‘Regina does two lines of coke, runs a marathon and wins the superbowl, then searches for more’ if they want to be accurate.”

    BTW Ghostwriter, everyone’s heart beats fast after two lines of coke. And then you say things like, “Dude, feel my heart. I think it’s gon’ pop out of my chest like Alien or some shit. You like Alien? That movie’s fucked…hey, ‘member when Family Guy made fun of Alien? And the voice was like….I don’t even remember but it was awesome.”
    …..then you realize no one’s listening to you anymore haha.

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  • Jenn May 9, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Isn’t it funny how the ONE time Liz shuts up is the one time she probably should meddle? If my boyfriend was hanging out with a slut like Amy Sutton, I’d kind of want my friends to tell me lol

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    Anonymous Reply:

    Yeah but that’s a hard choice to make.

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  • Kate May 12, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Keri, that’s exactly what I thought…

    She passes out? But cocaine is a STIMULANT!

    And I tell you one thing, they gave me cocaine when I got my septoplasty (seriously, it said on my charts) and when I came to, my heart rate sure was accelerated. Fortunately, I didn’t pass out and die like Regina.

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  • Anonymous July 21, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Not only was there a barbecue at the Wakefields’, but there was also the fatal party at which Buzz and Regina cross paths!

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  • Karla January 12, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Regina’s memorial service WAS really sad! And this book + Nancy Reagan = never trying coke in my life. Yeah, I’m lame like that.

    I have, however, been at parties with coke dealers, many of whom are just average dudes in baseball caps, and have even sat next to people doing lines of coke, and I’m still here.

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  • Darren July 21, 2010 at 4:04 am

    Killing Regina was a very horrible mistake. I would’ve done a Bionic woman–a doctor performs surgery, fixes Regina’s heart, but then Regina wakes up and has amnesia. Then she winds up at Big Mesa High named Pamela Robertson, that then meets up with Bruce and remembers what they had and is reminded of the happy things she and Bruce had. That then breaks the amnesia Pamela has as she remembers she’s REgina Morrow. I never liked killing Regina like that, it’s just horrible as she was a great girl.

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  • Darren July 21, 2010 at 4:06 am

    Amy’s cousin Mimi? I would’ve used her half sister Ashley Sutton, and Ashley was starting college anyway! The cousin reference is getting too old!

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  • kat June 25, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    I barely remember the plots of most of these books but this one stuck out to me. I remember crying when Regina died but i remembered it as she had a bad heart or a hole in her heart. Even my 12 year old brain tried rationalizing the inconsistencies…

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  • Selene January 27, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    The only thing that happened to me when I did coke was that I sneezed for three days straight afterwards!

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  • Nirvana April 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Zoom in on Bruce’s head-shot. I swear you will scream.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Oh my god, he’s looking right at me.

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  • Gia January 13, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Why does this stuff never happen to Jessica. She never gets kidnapped, in a coma, in the hospital – nothing. It’s always the “nice person’ like Enid, Liza, or Regina. WWHHHYYYYYYY?

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  • Lila Freakin' Fowler December 16, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    “The next day, Liz gets a letter from Regina. It’s the mysterious letter she wrote before going to Molly’s party.”

    I can still remember being about 14 years old, sitting and reading this book in study hall. When I get to this part my first thought is “Maybe it’s from the dead letter office”. Then I get sent to the principals office for being disruptive because I can’t stop cracking up.

    What can I say, I was a demented 14 year old.

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  • Anonymous July 30, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    “Justin tells her all about how he became a loser.”–LMAO that cracked me up

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  • Anonymous December 11, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Why does Bruce like Amy all of a sudden when she’s been around for some time now? Why all that fuss about him changing his ways after meeting Regina in #18 Head Over Heels (and trying to rescue her in #26 Hostage), when he was to change back to his old ways so easily?! I was disappointed with this book. They shouldn’t have killed her off at least! She should have got her revenge from Bruce. Anyhow, it was a shame as I thought they were such a sweet couple.

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  • Natasha June 14, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    I just read this book and to clear things up Regina had a heart murmur and that contributed to the heart attack. Makes more sense.

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  • Alex Kennedy February 28, 2017 at 8:07 am

    If Amy had not been such a skank, it is hardly likely that Regina would have died.

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  • anon June 4, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Bruce’s lips are way too big. Yuck.
    And Elizabeth has a conversation with Jeffrey, and she’s wondering if she would want someone else to tell her if he ever had feelings for someone else. He then insists he’d never do that to her.

    Yet in Jessica’s secret diary, he had a fling with her.
    So contrived and sick.
    Amy is horrible in this book. Her goal after stealing Bruce is for him to take her to the country club and buy her expensive presents. But then again, I think Bruce is one of the guys who used to make fun of her in Sweet Valley Twins.
    I can kind of see why she would want him now, as if to prove she’s no longer the mousy, stringy haired tomboy.

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  • Jessica is Skanky July 17, 2017 at 2:09 am

    Regina had it all – looks, money, talent, smart… She made Bruce Patman change for the better. This book scared me so much (i.e. her “rare” reaction to cocaine). I am surprised that no one really turned against Amy. Bruce was overcome with guilt.

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