Sweet Valley High Super Star #2: Bruce’s Story

SS02The moral of the story: Writing a whole book about Bruce Patman does not make him any more likeable. In fact, it achieves the opposite effect.

The Big Deal: Two parties at the Patmans’ house


Alexander Patman (or, as Bruce calls him, “Grandfather Patman”) is in town for six long weeks to celebrate his seventieth birthday. He immediately creates tension between Bruce and Roger by constantly comparing them to one another. Bruce’s parents announce they’re going to Tokyo for a month right after Grandfather’s birthday party, leaving Grandfather with Bruce and Roger.

A girl named Tracy Atkins has a new haircut and Bruce is suddenly infatuated with her. Tracy is friends with Roger’s friend Lisa, so Bruce asks Roger to invite Lisa and Tracy to Grandfather’s party. Roger doesn’t get a chance to ask her, so Bruce gets all pissed off at him and asks her himself. Tracy’s brother has a “rare muscular disease” and goes to the Nicholson School for special needs kids. Nicholson School is having financial problems and is facing being closed down, so some community leaders came up with the SAVE program to raise money for it. No word on what SAVE stands for. Representatives from each grade will come up with and organize fundraising events. The reps are Liz, Lisa, Tracy and some freshman we don’t know.

After the birthday party, Grandfather announces that he wants Bruce and Roger to compete for who will get controlling share of the family business after Bruce’s dad retires. He’s going to take away their checkbooks and credit cards, then give each of them two thousand dollars to invest over the next month. Whoever has the most money when Bruce’s parents get back from Tokyo will be the winner. The next morning, the first thing Bruce does is get in a fender bender. The repairs will cost four hundred fifty dollars. Then he decides to take Tracy to a concert in L.A., so he spends a hundred dollars on tickets. He stops by Tracy’s house to tell her about the concert, but she turns him down because she has to babysit. So Bruce goes to the country club to try to sell the tickets. Nobody wants them, but he’s invited to play in a poker game in a few days. He accepts, thinking it will be the best way to earn money. Roger decides to invest in the stock market with the help of Lisa’s dad, a stockbroker.

Bruce loses eight hundred dollars playing poker. Lisa’s dad calls Roger and tells him he’s made five hundred dollars, but he thinks Roger should sell because there’s a rumor going around that the company he’s invested in is going to collapse. Roger thinks that’s a horrible idea and wants to hang on to the stock. Lisa’s dad finally convinces him to sell a few days later after the stock drops. Roger’s lost seven hundred dollars. The SAVE team has decided to have something called Harbor Days, where people can set up booths and sell stuff, then give fifty percent of their earnings to the fund. Bruce tells Tracy he wants to help and comes up with selling the names and addresses of girls he’s gone out with. He’s confused when Tracy gets angry. Then Tracy suggests “The Bruce Patman Guide to Dating.” Bruce thinks it’s a great idea and asks Tracy to help him put it together. Roger decides to get in on Harbor Days, too. He’s going to buy a bunch of white ball caps and visors and paint them however people want. When Bruce finds out, he’s determined to ruin Roger’s plan. He replaces Roger’s waterproof paint with water soluble paint and then cackles maniacally as he pays a kid to start a water balloon fight near Roger’s booth. Ronnie Edwards’ cap gets drenched and the paint starts running down his face. Then everyone wants refunds. Bruce is such a douchebag.

Bruce talks Tracy into finding out what Roger’s idea is for next week’s Harbor Days by telling her he wants to help make sure he does well. Tracy tells him Roger has teamed up with Jim Roberts, the photographer, and they’re going to enlarge some photos and sell them. Then Tracy starts to get suspicious of Bruce after he fails to turn in his earnings from his dating book. She follows him after school one day to a camera store, where he asks the clerk about photo paper and learns about overexposure. Then Tracy follows him home and out to the shed where Roger’s keeping his supplies. She sees Bruce look at the photo paper, and instead of trying to stop him or anything, she runs away in tears, feeling sorry for herself for being taken in by his charm. Stupid girl. That night, Bruce is spending the night in the basement to keep an eye on the ice cream he’s made for Harbor Days. He sees Roger come downstairs and look in the freezer, but then Roger goes back upstairs without touching anything. Bruce thinks Roger’s an idiot for not taking his chance.

Sorry, guys, I’m really phoning this in. This book is awful.

In the end, neither Bruce nor Roger messes with the other’s stuff, and at Harbor Days, they call a truce. Tracy tells Bruce that even though he didn’t end up ruining Roger’s photo paper, the fact that he was going to do so has ruined his chances with her. She still wants to be friends, though. A couple days later, the SAVE reps are lamenting the fact that they haven’t raised as much money as they’d hoped, but when they go to leave the classroom they find an envelope with just over a thousand dollars in it. Then the SAVE fund administrator or whatever finds on his doorstep a similar envelope with just under a thousand dollars in it. The Nicholson School is saved.

Grandfather Patman decides to have a surprise party for Mr. and Mrs. Patman’s return, and he’s decided that Roger and Bruce will reveal their earnings in front of everyone. Turns out they both decided to give all their money to SAVE, hence the two anonymous donations. Grandfather Patman is pissed, but Bruce’s dad (Grandfather calls him George, even though earlier in the book he was correctly called Henry) thinks Bruce and Roger learned an important lesson and did the right thing. Grandfather Patman comes around and expresses his hope that the boys will always cooperate and share with each other. I guess that means they’ll share ownership of the Patman Corporation, but it’s unclear. Henry Patman decides to become the Nicholson School’s permanent benefactor.

And the book is over. Thank goodness.


Filled with contentment, Bruce settled back in his chair. For just a minute, he was reminded that there was nothing better in the whole world than being Bruce Patman.

Yeah, this book is full of crap like this. I can’t believe I made it through the whole thing.

“Wake up, Bruce. Sleeping all day isn’t going to get you anywhere. When I was your age, I’d already run three miles by this time on a Sunday morning.”

Grandfather Patman sounds an awful lot like my buddy Don.

Elizabeth and her boyfriend, Todd Wilkins, were considered the perfect couple at Sweet Valley High. They were both good-looking, smart, and well-liked by everyone.

Being hot, smart and likeable must make up for the fact that they constantly fight and break up.

The Cover: My husband saw this one on my table and said, “Whoa, look at this guy!” Seriously, look at him. I think he practices that pose in the mirror every day, sometimes trying it with different jackets, sometimes looking the other way to decide which is his good side. Oh, I hate him.

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  • Jan aka Girl Talk Read June 22, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Seriously the WORST SVH book ever- I tried to read it to snark on it but I just cannot bring myself to do a blog on this book it’s just too terrible. Glad you did this Shannon.


  • tracy london June 22, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    that cover is seriously so shitful. of course, I can’t look away or anything. i am also glad you read and recapped the book, as i really don’t think i could bring myself to read it, it sounds awful. way to take one for the team.


  • Callie June 22, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    If I was as disrespectful and conniving as Bruce Patman is, my Grandfather would have beaten the tar out of me with the radiator hose and then flung those poker chips at me with a sling shot and he’d be right to do it.

    I ? old people. LMAO.


  • nugirl77 June 22, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks Shannon, you’ve saved us all again with your efforts: another SVH book I’ll thankfully never have to read. I loathe this guy, 1JERK1! 😉


  • Shannon June 22, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    It’s just ’cause I love you all so much that I wanted to save you from having to read this piece of crap.


  • Daners Isadora- Bond Girl June 24, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    In that cover Bruce looks like he’s stepped out of the International Male catalog.

    I hate Bruce Patman so very much


  • Jenn October 7, 2010 at 2:17 am

    Is that a bruise on Bruce’s cheek or is he just wearing too much makeup?


  • Isabellaa May 20, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    but Bruce’s dad (Grandfather calls him George, even though earlier in the book he was correctly called Henry) t

    HAHAHA, what is up with the constant forgetting of peoples names in this series?! Why does his name just magically change?! At least with Sweet Valley Confidential, it been 10 years, so maybe there were legal name changes, or just plain forgetfulness, but with this, it was LITERALLY earlier in the book. Stupid.


  • HGirl September 26, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I’m SO late to this blog (saw it on a link from FYA) but I have to say, I love it, and you! I sold the 10 SVHs I had in junior high to a used bookstore, only to start up a collection again when I hit my 20s, quite some time ago. I am missing a bunch after #50 though, so I am beyond grateful for your recaps and book covers. Also, too bad you stopped the “best outfit” part — that was awesome!


    Shannon Reply:

    Thanks for reading! Sadly, the outfit descriptions stopped being so hilarious as the books went on.


  • SarieB November 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I couldn’t stand how he kept calling Tracy “trace”. For some reason I found that very annoying.


  • Dorothy March 25, 2013 at 12:23 am

    Re: the cover, is that Bruce Patman – or Captain Jack Harkness!?

    I always loathed him, and an entire book from his POV sounds even worse, especially with the “oh but he donated money, therefore he’s got a sekrit heart of gold to go along with his card of gold” cop-out ending.


  • Anonymous March 18, 2014 at 3:22 am

    Thank God someone else sees this! There was another cover featuring Bruce that looked even more like Jack…can’t remember which but it was eery. Anyway, Jack is a million times more awesome then Bruce will ever be.


  • Kim January 1, 2016 at 11:03 am

    That cover tho. Bruce looks like he’s just trying too damn hard. If he were really as cool as the writers try to portray him as, he wouldn’t have to try to look cool or sexy or whatever tf he’s trying to pull off on this cover. It should be more natural. And looking at him, he’s not a bad looking guy, but I still don’t see why every girl in Sweet Valley is creaming their panties over him. He ain’t all that. His attitude, personality and arrogance is a total turn off.


  • Kim January 1, 2016 at 11:50 am

    I agree. By the way he’s written, I’ve never been able to tell whether we’re supposed to like Bruce or hate him. He’s a horrible character overall, always has been, but then the writer’s will try to “redeem” him by putting him with likeable girls (Regina) or have him do something good like donate money to a charity or in Confidential give him a complete personality makeover (I think we all know Winston’s character in SV Confidential should’ve been Bruce). I’ve always felt he was originally created to be a villain since book 3 when he treated Jessica like crap when they dated and they put the nail in the coffin when he tried to rape Liz in book 7, but as the series went on they decided to make him a core character and started doing little things to make him likeable to the readers like hooking him up with Regina, etc. I can say right now for sure that nothing they do will ever make me like Bruce. I take that back, I did find myself liking and rooting for Bruce in Confidential, but that doesn’t really matter cause to me that book doesn’t count.


  • Melissa January 10, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    I have a question not related to this book. I feel like I made this up in my head, but did Lila and Bruce hook up at one point when they were in some sort of accident and stranded in the middle of nowhere? I have been trying to find this book, but I have not been successful to prove that it actually exists.

    Thanks in advance!


    Shannon Reply:

    In all the books I’ve read, I think they only kiss once in this book: http://shannonsweetvalley.com/2009/07/08/sweet-valley-high-71-starring-jessica/


  • Melissa January 11, 2016 at 12:55 am

    Huh. That’s definitely not the book I remember. Maybe I did make the whole thing up. I can’t think of the name of it or anything, but I thought it was a special edition book. Hmm, this is going to be really disappointing if I can’t figure it out. Oh well. Thanks for your response.


  • Anonymous February 2, 2016 at 12:22 am

    No you didn’t make that up. That was a story in the svu series. I don’t remember the name but it was book #9 and it continues into book #10.


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