Sweet Valley High Super Star #5: Todd’s Story
The Big Deal: Celebratory party at the Dairi Burger
So, there are a few things wrong with this book first thing:
- It’s summer. Again.
- Cara is in Sweet Valley and apparently has not moved to London.
- But this takes place after Todd has moved to Vermont and back.
- Jessica has not met Sam.
- But the twins’ Jeep is still referred to as “new.”
Todd’s been getting some weird hangup phone calls lately. He and Liz are at the mall one day when Todd sees a guy named Kevin Holmes and freaks out. Todd has never told anyone about this, but when he was living in Vermont, he tackled Kevin in an alley to stop him from mugging someone. After the trial, as Kevin was being led away in handcuffs, he told Todd he was going to get even with him. And now he’s in Sweet Valley. Oh, dear.
Meanwhile, Todd’s having problems with his dad. Mr. Wilkins wants Todd to follow in the old man’s footsteps and get involved in the business. Todd and Liz and a bunch of their friends have lined up two-week jobs at Secca Lake as day camp counselors, but Mr. Wilkins wants Todd to intern at his company after that. Todd doesn’t wanna, and Liz thinks he should say so, but Todd says Liz just doesn’t understand.
The first day of camp at Secca Lake, Todd is horrified to discover Kevin Holmes is going to be a counselor. Kevin, Todd and Jessica will be the sports counselors. Kevin acts like he doesn’t know Todd, and to everyone else he seems like a happy and likable guy. Todd starts to think maybe the guy has reformed, but then Kevin threateningly tells him not to tell anyone about the mugging. Todd tries to tell his parents his concerns, but they say they heard from an old co-worker in Vermont that Kevin was in Sweet Valley to start over. They even try to tell him to be friends with the guy. Jeez, no wonder these kids never want to tell the adults what’s going on.
Kevin keeps beating Todd at volleyball and basketball. Todd handles it badly and it makes him look like a sore loser. Everyone loves Kevin and can’t figure out why Todd doesn’t like him. Liz is totally idiotic and thinks Todd is so moody lately because he wants to break up with her. Kevin and Jessica have been making eyes at each other all week at camp, and one night he asks her out. Liz, who clearly hasn’t been paying attention, thinks they should make it a double date. She’s sure that if Todd just spends enough time with Kevin, he’ll warm up to him. Somehow, Todd gets talked into letting everyone meet at his house before the movie. When Kevin gets there, he starts kissing Mr. Wilkins’ ass, and Mr. Wilkins ends up offering to try to find him a job at Varitronics, his company.
In every scene at Todd’s house, his parents talk about how nicely Kevin turned out and how great it is that he turned over a new leaf. After Todd lies and says he had fun with Kevin and the twins on their date, his parents tell him to invite Kevin over for dinner that night. Instead of lying and just telling them Kevin can’t make it, Todd actually invites Kevin over. Todd catches Kevin looking through Mr. Wilkins’ desk and runs to his father to snitch. Mr. Wilkins tells Todd he asked Kevin to bring him something. Now he’s all disappointed in Todd for being so unforgiving.
On Friday, Todd puts himself between Kevin and Liz, and Liz gets all pissed off and wants to know what Todd’s problem is. He says he would just like her to stay away from Kevin. Liz wants him to explain, but Todd can’t. So Liz breaks up with him. She thinks this whole thing is about her because Todd is unable or unwilling to communicate with her.
Christ, I’m bored. This book is going on forever. We’re only halfway through.
On Monday, Kevin spends all day at camp flirting with Liz while Jessica stands off to the side with her hands on her hips. Todd is watching them when one of the kids in his group starts drowning in the lake. He jumps in, but Kevin swims faster and gets there first. Once the kid is safe, Kevin says Todd should have been paying attention. Todd finally snaps and says something about Kevin turning the rescue into a competition. So now Todd looks like an ass, like he just cares who made the rescue and not that the kid is okay.
Ever since camp started the week before, people’s stuff has gone missing: Liz’s lavaliere, Winston’s lucky hat, Cara’s keychain. And on Tuesday, Todd reads in the paper that an old man was beaten and robbed just a few blocks from the apartment Kevin is renting. At camp that day, he spends the lunch hour alone in the lodge, leaving everyone outside to talk about him. Kevin tells some lies about the way Todd was in Vermont, saying he had a reputation as a bully and had once had a problem with a girl who had jumped out of his car to get away from him. All Todd’s friends say they don’t believe it, but you can tell they totally do.
On Wednesday morning, everyone is talking about the second mugging that took place the night before. Kevin joins in the conversation and acts all concerned. Todd can’t believe a person could mug someone at night and be so calm about it the next morning. So now he thinks Kevin must be innocent. Someone interrupts Todd’s thought process to ask him what he thinks about the muggings. Todd doesn’t know what to say and gets all weird and walks off. That afternoon, Kevin asks Liz out to dinner. At that moment, Todd is walking by and Liz thinks that if she can catch Todd’s eye and if he looks hurt or upset, she’ll turn Kevin down. When Todd just looks at Kevin all angry and bitter, Liz thinks he doesn’t care about her, so she tells Kevin she’ll go out with him. On their date, Liz realizes Kevin is kind of a jerk who only wants to talk about himself and keeps talking about how “things are falling into place.” And he gets angry when she doesn’t want to kiss him goodnight.
Later that night, Todd is restless so he drives out to Secca Lake to hang out. While there, he sees Kevin mug Melissa, one of the other camp counselors. Todd is too shocked and stupid to do anything about it, so he goes home. The next day after work, Todd decides he has to get some of this off his chest, so he tells Winston and Aaron about his history with Kevin. He’s decided he’ll go to the police in the morning. He goes to the lake early Friday morning to tell the ranger he’ll need to take part of the morning off, but the cops are there and they arrest him. A pen with his initials on it was found in the “precise location” where Melissa got robbed. And no, this isn’t enough to arrest a man, but when asked, Todd says, “I wasn’t carrying the pen, it was in my car, and I didn’t go on the beach, I stayed in the grass.” So stupid.
That afternoon, the counselors are having a barbecue to celebrate the last day of camp. Everyone is all sad about Todd getting arrested. Everyone except Kevin, who suggests a game. He says he has a Frisbee in his car and Jessica offers to get it. She finds Liz’s lavaliere in the backseat, then gathers Winston, Aaron, Enid and Cara around her. They decide that if Kevin stole the necklace, he could have stolen all the other stuff, too. And if he did that, then maybe Todd was telling the truth about what happened in Vermont. And if that’s true, then maybe the wrong man is behind bars!
Todd’s father picks him up. Todd is a minor so he’s being released to his parents until the hearing. He has his father drop him off at the lake so he can pick up his car. At the same time, Liz and Kevin are taking a walk. As soon as they’re in the woods and away from everyone else, Kevin gets all weird and starts telling Liz she shouldn’t care so much about Todd. He starts to get really angry and Liz gets scared. Todd gets to the lake and asks Jessica and the others where Kevin is. They realize both Kevin and Liz are gone. In the woods, Kevin starts babbling about a car accident that killed his brother and about how he never meant to hurt anyone. Then he tells Liz he wants Todd to know what it’s like to lose everything. He starts strangling Liz, and then Todd comes out of the woods to save the day.
At the police station, Kevin’s big confession is that he killed his brother in a car accident a few years ago. Kevin’s parents have never gotten over it and have always treated Kevin as if they wished he was the one who died. So that’s why he’s a lunatic.
Everyone goes to the Dairi Burger that night to celebrate Todd’s heroism.
“You could’ve let things slide and lived with the fact that Todd wasn’t giving his share to your relationship. Instead you took a positive step to change things.”
I love that Enid thinks it was so good and right of Liz to break up with Todd for having a few bad days. I mean, seriously, call him moody or whatever, but she broke up with him after only five days of him acting that way.
Kevin was asking her for a date. Her first instinct was to turn him down. With her heart aching over Todd, Elizabeth knew she couldn’t enjoy herself with another boy, particularly a boy her own sister was very interested in. At the same time, it seemed cruel to reject Kevin outright.
It’s not cruel to turn down a date with someone you don’t want to go out with. It’s okay to say no!
The Cover: Ew, look at this guy. First of all, his shoulders are way too big. Second, he looks like he’s at least thirty. Third, he looks like he thinks he’s really awesome.