Sweet Valley High #46: Decisions

The moral of the story: It’s okay to refuse a gift and be a bitch to your aunt as long as you have some kind of talent that will melt her heart later.

The Big Deal: Diving competition

Synopsis:

Robin Wilson has been accepted for early admission to Sarah Lawrence. She doesn’t want to go, but it’s her only choice if she wants to go to college. Her aunt will pay for her to go to Sarah Lawrence but nowhere else, and Robin’s mother can’t afford to pay for college on her own. Robin doesn’t know what to do and she’s afraid to tell her boyfriend, George, because she doesn’t think he’ll take it well. Only her best friend Annie Whitman knows. Oh, and Jessica, who tells Liz.

Jessica has gotten a baby-sitting gig for a kid named Allison. Allison’s parents work late and her brother Alex is a music student at college. He needs time to compose, so he hires Jessica to watch the kid while he works on his music. Alex is, of course, the most gorgeous man Jessica has ever seen. It’s clear he really loves music, so she decides to get herself a recorder and learn to play. Then he’ll have no choice but to fall in love with her. Liz comes home to find Jessica making horrible noises with the recorder. Jessica thinks the instrument might be broken so Liz picks it up and tries to play a note. It sounds fine for her and she thinks it was fun to play, but she doesn’t want to take it up as a hobby because it would hurt Jessica’s feelings if she was really good at it.

Liz runs into George at the library and tells him she thinks it’s great that Robin is going to Sarah Lawrence. He kind of freaks out and Liz realizes Robin hasn’t told him yet. When she gets home, she feels bad and wants to talk to someone, but nobody’s home. She wanders into Jessica’s room and picks up her recorder and starts to play. She’s really enjoying herself, but puts the recorder away because she doesn’t want to interfere with Jessica’s new hobby and end up outshining her.

Robin tells her mother she’s not sure she wants to go to Sarah Lawrence. Her mother tells her how immature and selfish she’s being because Aunt Fiona will pay for the Wilsons to remodel their kitchen if Robin goes. Because it’s not at all selfish to condemn your daughter to four years away from her friends and family just so you can get a new kitchen. George tells Robin he knows about Sarah Lawrence and they have a fight. Robin assumes Annie Whitman must have told him, so now she’s not speaking to Annie. Jesus, every Sweet Valley book is like an episode of Three’s Company. Jessica overhears the fight between Robin and Annie and figures out that it’s really her fault for telling Liz about Sarah Lawrence, but since Robin is such competition for her, she decides to keep her mouth shut. She figures that if Robin doesn’t have Annie for a best friend or George for a boyfriend, there really isn’t much to keep her in Sweet Valley.

Liz goes to Jessica’s room to look for her sunglasses and sees the recorder. As though the devil is guiding her hands, she picks it up and starts playing. She feels totally guilty when she realizes she’s been playing for an hour. Then Jessica comes home and starts playing and she sounds horrible. That night at dinner, Alice tells Jessica she heard her practicing and that she sounded really good until the end. Liz feels awful that her mom heard her and thought it was Jessica. This is the dumbest storyline ever. Liz tells Enid about the recorder and says she wishes she could play without sneaking around. Enid is the voice of reason and tells her to just ask Jessica if she cares, but Liz “just can’t.”

Jessica lets it slip to Liz that Annie and Robin are in a fight because Robin thinks Annie told George about Sarah Lawrence. Liz feels so bad for not having said something to Robin right after she talked to George. Meanwhile, Jessica is still trying to get into Alex Kane’s pants, but he doesn’t seem to be taking the hint. Knowing she isn’t going to be able to woo him with her recorder playing, she decides to use the old fainting trick. She pretends to faint in front of him and he suddenly falls in love with her and asks if she’ll wait for him while he’s at Juilliard for the next two years. That’s not what Jessica had in mind, so she bails and decides to forget all about him. She goes home that night and walks in on Liz playing the recorder. Liz starts apologizing and being weird, but Jessica says she doesn’t care.

Aunt Fiona takes Robin and her family out to dinner and Robin finally tells her she’s not sure she wants to go to Sarah Lawrence. She’s not saying no, she just wants to think about it. Fiona is all upset and says that if she doesn’t go, she’ll never see another penny from her again. Robin says that’s just fine and leaves the restaurant. She calls George to come pick her up and when she tells him what happened, he gets all indignant about Fiona trying to interfere with “our plans.” Robin realizes George is being just as bad as Fiona and tells him to just drop her off. When she gets home, Liz finally calls and tells her she was the one who told George about Sarah Lawrence.

Robin has a diving competition the next day, and her warm-ups are going very badly because she’s so depressed about everything. Then she sees George dragging her aunt, mother and brothers onto the stands. They start yelling out encouragements and suddenly Robin can dive like a master. She wins the competition and her coach says she should be able to get an athletic scholarship somewhere. Aunt Fiona sees she’s been fighting a losing battle and offers to pay for college wherever Robin ends up wanting to go. Robin apologizes to Annie and George apologizes for trying to run Robin’s life. Everyone is happy.

Quotes:

Annie was always so easygoing and lighthearted, taking one day at a time.

Yeah, except for that time she attempted suicide just because she didn’t make the cheerleading squad.

“I don’t know—maybe I realized a while ago that I needed something else besides writing. I think the recorder could be it,” she finished wistfully. “But I can’t.”

Ugh. Seriously, all the scenes with Liz and the recorder, you’d think she was sleeping with Jessica’s boyfriend or something, the way she talks about how guilty she feels. It’s ridiculous.

Jessica and the Number 137:

“I swear, Robin was acting like the world was about to explode into a hundred and thirty-seven million pieces.”

“Right, Liz. You’re just a hundred and thirty-seven times better than I am.”

The Cover: Good lord, how old is George supposed to be? This cover looks like Robin is having a fight with her father. Oh, and check out Robin’s popped collar and jean jacket. Very nice.

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Comments
  • tracy london May 20, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    It always made me laugh and laugh at liz with that recorder. it just seems so phallic. and she was all addicted to that shit like it was made of crack cocaine. ahh, such drama and angst.

    also, this?

    “Jesus, every Sweet Valley book is like an episode of Three’s Company.”

    word.

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  • Mara May 20, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    George really does look creepily old. And are you really saying you wouldn’t force your child to attend a school against her will for a shiny new dishwasher?? For shame.

    The recorder storyline. Oh. My. God. First of all, it’s A RECORDER. We learned to play them in 4th grade and they are not exactly the height of musical expression. Liz has some repressed sexual energy or something, because this love affair with the recorder is absolutely ridiculous.

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    Shannon Reply:

    I know, I would never fit in with the Sweet Valley housewives. *hangs head*

    Yeah, the entire recorder storyline is awful, stupid and unnecessary. All it did was make me hate Liz even more than I already did. I didn’t even think that was possible.

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  • nugirl77 May 23, 2009 at 5:20 am

    I tried out for the recorder band in school and didn’t make it, so I can sympathize with Jess on this one! My dream was to play the piccolo, but I couldn’t do that until I’d mastered the recorder. So, I too, like Jess, had an ulterior motive! 🙂

    Robin (the skinny, popular version) is just how I pictured her, post-weight-loss.

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  • Anonymous June 7, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Liz was suspiciously guilty over that recorder.
    maybe it was like “This one time at band camp”

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  • Selenie April 6, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I think George looks hot! (but I have always had a thing for older men)

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    Anonymous Reply:

    He looks hecka old! Needs to dye his hair.

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  • Anonymous April 17, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    I hate how Liz is feeling soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo guilty over playing the recorder better then her sis yet she never feels this same remorse when she cheats on her bfs like a 137 times.

    And what’s the whole deal with her being able to do everything so wonderfully her first time? Awesome at riding the horse enough to get first place although she had only ridden one once before, awesome at surfing enough to hang ten and win although she had never done it, awesome at the recorder, etc?

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    Anonymous Reply:

    I’m glad she sucks at singing. It adds some realism.

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  • Kathryn Rebecca March 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Reading your description of how Jessica comes home to find Liz playing the recorder makes me imagine such a ridiculous scene. Jessica hears playing and opens the door, and there’s Liz, in her room, playing the recorder with so much emotion. She notices Jessica and stops playing. There’s awkward silence for several minutes as Liz slowly lowers the recorder from her mouth. Then Liz starts apologizing profusely about not being able to resist the siren call of the recorder.
    Hilarity.

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  • Krista December 11, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Kathryn Rebecca, that would be fabulous.

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  • Natalie April 30, 2014 at 5:26 am

    I love how Liz assumes she is going to be fabulous and really outshine Jessica at everything and everyone shall adore her as opposed to just being good at something

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  • Selena June 9, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    Everyone thinks Jessica is the crazy one…maybe she’s crazy from growing up with Liz. That girl needs therapy and valium.

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