Sweet Valley High #60: That Fatal Night
The Big Deal: Party at Amy’s house
This book is about Terri Adams, a girl we’ve never heard of but who is apparently friends with Liz, John Pfeifer, Shelley Novak and Kristin Thompson. She’s the football team’s assistant statistician and she’s in love with Ken Matthews. After a big game, Amy Sutton invites everyone to her house for a party. As soon as Ken shows up, Amy plants a big kiss on him in front of everyone. Terri is upset and wishes she had stayed home. She asks Winston if she can get a ride with him. Winston’s car is in the shop so he and Maria plan to take the bus home from the party, but Ken wants to get away from Amy so he offers to drive them. On the way to Winston’s house, the rain is really coming down. After he drops everyone off, he gets into an accident. Because that’s the only reason it ever rains in Sweet Valley, to cause accidents. Todd is driving the twins home when they see Ken’s totaled car on the side of the road. The police tell them Ken is unconscious after being run off the road by a drunk driver. Because the rain isn’t enough to cause a crash; a drunk driver is always at fault. Todd, Liz and Jessica go back to Amy’s house and tell her the news. Amy plays the part of the grieving girlfriend, even though she and Ken have only been on a couple of dates.
When Terri gets to school on Monday, she can tell something has happened because the hallways are silent. She overhears Amy, Lila and Cara talking and she finds out about Ken’s accident. She also hears Amy say Ken never would have crashed if he hadn’t driven “that Terri girl” home. Terri runs to an empty stairwell and cries. Liz comes over and comforts her.
Ken spends the next couple days in the hospital with his entire head wrapped in bandages. I can’t figure out why, since the doctor makes a point of mentioning that he just has bruises and small cuts and he’ll look exactly the same when they heal. The doctor takes the bandages off and Ken is appalled to find he’s blind. The twins go to visit him at the hospital and at first he thinks he can get away with pretending he can see, but then they want him to read the card they brought him. He finally tells them the truth and Jessica screams, “It’s horrible!” Liz sends her to the cafeteria to get “soft drinks.” What teenager calls soda “soft drinks” during casual conversation? In the elevator, Jessica runs into Amy, who is coming to visit Ken. Jessica tells her that Ken is blind and Amy freaks out and leaves, telling Jessica not to even mention she saw her.
Amy walks up to Terri at school and says she blames her for the accident. If Terri hadn’t made Ken take her home, he wouldn’t be blind right now. And since Amy is popular and Terri isn’t, Terri believes everything she says and starts blaming herself. Once again, Liz comes out of nowhere to comfort her, and Terri asks her to talk to Ken’s parents about arranging for her to visit Ken at the rehab center where he’s learning to be a productive blind member of society. When they get there, they’re told they can only stay for ten minutes because Ken gets tired easily from all his rehabilitation. Now, I might have missed something, but as far as I can tell, the only thing wrong with him is that he can’t see. What kind of blindness rehab is going to tire him out to where he can’t even sit in a room with a visitor for more than ten minutes? He seems happy that Terri came to visit him, and when she starts berating herself for causing his accident, he tells her it was his own fault. Ugh, why do you damned kids always fight over who fucked up the most? It was the drunk driver’s fault. What’s the use of putting a drunk driver in the story if nobody ever pins the blame on him?
Ken stays in rehab for a month and then decides to go back to Sweet Valley High. That’s not normal, right? His first day back is all scary and difficult. Amy snubs him, everyone’s treating him strangely and he wonders if he should go to a school for the blind. I wonder the same thing. All morning, Ken’s having trouble adjusting so he goes to the football field at lunchtime to be alone. Then Terri sits down next to him and they have a great conversation about football and Ken starts to think about how awesome she is. Then he starts feeling sorry for himself and thinking no girl could ever like him now that he’s blind. He says he’s going inside and acts all indignant when Terri offers to help him.
That night, Terri is all aflutter about her feelings for Ken and she just has to talk to someone. She decides to call Liz, whose advice is to walk around blindfolded to find out what Ken’s been going through. Terri thinks that’s a great idea and does it. The next day, the twins throw Ken a surprise welcome back party in the cafeteria at lunch. Amy says hello to him and then blows him off. Ken’s all hurt, even though she already snubbed him yesterday and he didn’t even really like her to begin with. That night, Terri calls Ken and asks him to go to the beach with her the next day. Ken starts to say he can’t, but Terri tells him she’s never asked a boy out before and she’ll be crushed if he says no. Terri’s cute. I like her.
She takes him to North Haven beach instead of the regular Sweet Valley beach because North Haven is always deserted. They have a great time and start hanging out together every day. Ken is starting to get used to being blind because Terri’s so helpful. One day, after they take a run on the beach, they collapse next to each other. Ken wants to kiss her and starts playing with her hair, but then he pulls away because – say it with me – “What girl would be interested in him now?” Dude, she’s been spending every day with you for weeks. Do you think she’s interested in your scintillating conversational skills? Your vacant expression? No, she wants you, man. Ken realizes he’s falling in love with Terri, but after the way Amy dropped him, he apparently swore he’d never get involved with another girl again. This is the first I’m hearing about it, but whatever.
Ken starts acting really pissy toward Terri and she has no idea why. So she calls Liz again for advice. Liz tells her she should stop doing everything for Ken and let him learn to do it on his own. She also thinks Terri should tell him how she feels about him. So Terri goes to Ken’s house and makes him a milkshake and tries to summon up her courage, but when Ken asks her if she’ll read him his history homework, she says she can’t because she has her own homework to do. Ken gets all pissed off and throws his milkshake on the floor and says Terri’s tired of helping him and she should just leave. Terri says she’s been doing all these things for him because she loves him, and then she runs out the door. Ken feels like an ass, as well he should, and tries to call Terri a little while later but she’s not home. He thinks she must be at the North Haven beach and he’s determined to get there on his own. He walks to the bus stop and takes the bus there. He finds Terri and they declare their love for each other and make out a little bit. Then Ken notices that when he looks toward where the sun should be, the darkness is a little brighter. A few days later, his sight starts coming back.
Down in the first row of the bleachers, Sweet Valley High’s basketball star Shelley Novak exchanged high fives with her friend Kristin Thompson, who was well on her way to a professional tennis career. John Pfeifer, the sports photographer for The Oracle, was standing on his seat, snapping pictures of the celebration. His girlfriend, Jennifer Mitchell, was standing beside him.
Wow, it’s like a reunion of annoying and irrelevant main characters of books past.
She could just imagine the school giving him a special tribute as he stepped onto the field. Everyone would be watching her, too, to see Ken’s girlfriend’s reaction. Maybe their picture would be in the paper. Just thinking about it made Amy’s eyes mist over.
Ugh, I hate Amy.
“That Fatal Night”
Fatal: I don’t think that word means what you think it means. I’m guessing they were going for “That Fateful Night” and got confused.
The Cover: Oh, how I loathe Ken covers. He looks like such a moron. Terri has a Leelee Sobieski face. She’s cute.