Sweet Valley High #55: Perfect Shot

SVH055The moral of the story: Once you realize you’re beautiful, you will win every contest that comes your way.

The Big Deal: Varsity Club dance


There’s a dance coming up soon to recognize Sweet Valley High’s jocks. Amy and Jessica wonder if Shelley Novak, star of the girls’ basketball team, will show up. Jessica says Shelley is pretty, but Amy thinks she’s some kind of freak because she’s tall. Shelley would actually like to go to the dance with Greg Hilliard, her next door neighbor. She’s madly in love with him, but they’ve been friends since they were little and Shelley is sure he only sees her as a pal. She also thinks he’d never want to go out with her because she’s so freakishly tall (six feet). The high school has started offering ballroom dancing lessons and Shelley decides to give them a try in the hopes of becoming more graceful.

At the first dance lesson, Amy and Jessica decide they’re both in love with the instructor, Patrick. Shelley hopes Greg will be her partner, but he pairs up with his old girlfriend, Carol, and Shelley ends up with a guy named Jim Roberts who keeps stepping on her feet. Carol leaves by herself when the lesson is over, and Greg and Shelley walk home together. Shelley brings up the dance and kind of asks if Greg thinks they might go together. He’s caught off guard and tries to make a joke out of it by saying Shelley is too tall for him and they’d look ridiculous together. Shelley is mortified and vows never to forgive him or go back to the dance lessons.

A couple days later is a big important basketball game. Shelley plays badly because she’s so upset about Greg. She misses a shot she should have made easily and then notices Jim Roberts on the sidelines taking her picture. After the game, Jim asks her to go get a soda with him. Shelley is about to say no, but then she sees Greg and Carol looking like they’ve gotten back together. She loudly tells Jim she’ll go out with him, but Greg doesn’t seem to hear. She decides to go out with Jim anyway because he seems like a nice guy and he’s just as tall as she is.

Liz and Jeffrey are in the school’s darkroom one day when Jim comes in to develop some pictures. He’s extremely talented and they both try to convince him to enter this photography contest the Sweet Valley News is sponsoring. Jim declines, saying over and over that it’s just a hobby he does for fun and he’s not really any good. Jim and Shelley go on a few more dates and Jim keeps trying to take Shelley’s picture. She tells him over and over that she doesn’t like having her picture taken and he finally promises not to take anymore or to show anyone the pictures he’s already taken. But in the darkroom, Jeffrey sees one of the pictures and tells Jim he should enter it in the contest. Jim resists, but the more he thinks about it, the better an idea it seems. He thinks if he wins and the picture gets published in the Sweet Valley News, Shelley will finally realize what a beautiful girl she is. Oh, and this is how we know what a great guy Jeffrey is, because he encourages Jim to enter the contest even though it means he, Jeffrey, will probably lose. Jim drops the picture off at the Oracle office, and later Olivia tells Shelley what a great picture it was. Shelley freaks out and breaks up with Jim. Shelley talks to her best friend Cathy, who tells her she has a problem with her self-image, and breaking up with Jim isn’t going to solve that. So Shelley calls Jim to apologize, but he tells her he had the picture withdrawn from the contest and then hangs up the phone. Shelley feels awful and asks Mr. Collins if he can put the picture back in.

Jim wins the contest and tells Shelley he’s confused because he withdrew the picture. They have another argument for some reason. The day the picture is published, everyone keeps coming up to Shelley and telling her how beautiful she is and that she should be a model. When she finally brings herself to look at the photo, she realizes she really is beautiful. She reads the interview accompanying the picture and realizes she’s in love with Jim. She wants to tell him, but can’t find him anywhere. At the big game that afternoon, she’s playing badly because of all her emotions. At halftime, she writes Jim a note and has one of the cheerleaders take it to him. He stands up and smiles at her and all is well. Sweet Valley wins the game.

Shelley is surrounded by happy Sweet Valley fans and Jim takes a bunch of pictures. Then Greg comes up and asks Shelley if she’ll go to the dance with him that night after all. Shelley can’t believe his nerve and tells him she already has a date. Jessica is still sure she can get Patrick the dance instructor interested in her. She and Amy have a bet about who can dance with him first that night. Why is this guy going to a high school dance? Why do I still ask these questions? Amy and Jessica show up to the dance wearing identical dresses. Ha! They both want to die of embarrassment, but then Patrick shows up in a limousine with some gorgeous woman on his arm. Dude. Shelley wins an award and the prize is a five thousand dollar scholarship. Then she and Jim win a dance contest.


“Don’t you realize what an incredible breach of trust this is?”

Listen here, chickie, he took a picture of you. He took a picture of you playing basketball, which is something you do in front of large crowds of people anyway. Like, I know he broke a promise, but it’s not like he slept with your sister or something.

She didn’t hate being tall anymore. She was different from other girls, sure, but that didn’t mean there was anything wrong with her.

Well, that didn’t take much doing, just a guy liking her. Once again, Francine teaches me that the love of a man will solve all my problems.

The Cover: This actually isn’t a bad cover. They’re both cute and they don’t look too much older than twenty or so.

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  • Sally June 3, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    I totally agree with you on the cover. They’re actually both decent looking. I really like Jim’s eyebrows. /weirdness

    Also, thank FSM for men, I don’t know how I would overcome all of my issues, challenges, and false expectations if it weren’t for them. Who needs therapy or self-realizations?


  • Keri June 3, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    I’m almost surprised she didn’t magically get shorter before she worked out her personal issues…like when that fat girl (Robin, maybe?) got skinny before her life worked out.


  • Jen June 3, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Being 6′ tall (or damn close to it) I have to say Shelly just wasn’t looking at the situation the right way. For instance, you can totally reach the top shelf in the kitchen and when something falls behind your chest of drawers your arms are long enough to actually reach it. Being tall rocks!!


    Shannon Reply:

    I’m an average height, 5?4?-ish, and I always wanted to be tall. Now, somehow, I’m the tallest person where I work. I still think it’s funny when they come to me when something is too high for them to reach.


  • HelenB June 3, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    You know, Greg doesn’t really come off as a total dick here. I mean, he’s uncomfortable when he realises that his best friend has feelings for him, and inadvertently touches on her sore spot, and by the time he’s finally realised that he actually likes her why am I over-thinking this?


  • anon. May 17, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    this guy on the cover looks like elvis


  • Carly October 23, 2011 at 12:33 am

    The guy on this cover looks just like Ben Affleck! Hahaha.

    I just scored the entire SVH series for a sweet deal and I’ve been re-reading them all recently. I just stumbled across your blog and LOVE it! I’ve been reading each book and then your blog entry afterwards. Your summaries are hilarious.


  • Nirvana April 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Dang, Shelley looks like she’s trying to be sexy. Check out her hip.


  • Barbs June 23, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Shelley annoyed me – she was so self-conscious it was so irritating.


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