Sweet Valley High #87: My Best Friend’s Boyfriend

The moral of the story: It’s okay to steal the guy your ugly best friend likes. She’s ugly, she won’t mind.

The Big Deal: These kids really need a party or a dance. They’re getting all tense these days.


Denise Hadley and Ginny Belasca are best friends, which seems odd to most people because Denise is totally gorgeous and outgoing while Ginny is shy and plain. One thing Ginny has going for her is the fact that she’s a great listener. Denise is always trying to get her to volunteer at Project Youth, and one day Ginny finally agrees. One of her first calls is from a guy named Mike who is having trouble with his stepfather. Ginny gives him some advice, and Mike thanks her and asks what her name is and what days she works at the hotline.

Jessica goes to Project Youth one day to pick up Amy, but Amy comes out all upset about a call she just took from a girl whose teacher keeps hitting on her. Amy feels bad for saying anything and won’t say what school the girl goes to. A few days later, Jessica tells Liz and Todd about the girl. Liz is just sick about it and decides to write an article to raise awareness and tell girls what they should do if they find themselves being sexually harassed. The Oracle gang thinks it’s a good idea, but Mr. Collins is reluctant because it brings back horrible memories of Suzanne Devlin. He finally relents, but wants the article cleared with him before it goes to print.

Ginny hears from Mike a few more times, and he says he’s worked it all out with his family and wants to thank Ginny in person for helping him. Ginny thinks she’s much too ugly to meet him, so she asks Denise to go in her place because she’s so much prettier. Denise doesn’t want to, but Ginny is, like, hysterical, so she finally agrees.

Liz is getting all into her research for the sexual harassment article. She’s neglecting Todd and scoffing at Jessica’s warnings that Todd seems pretty lonely lately. Then the whole world comes crashing down when Mr. Cooper tells Liz she can’t do the article because it might make people think there is some kind of harassment going on at Sweet Valley High. Because you know the whole world reads the damned Oracle.

Denise plans to tell Mike who she really is and explain to him that Ginny is shy. But when she sees him, he’s so gorgeous that she gets tongue tied and ends up pretending to be Ginny. She’s been having trouble lately with Jay, her boyfriend, so when Mike asks her to a movie on Wednesday, Denise agrees. When she tells Ginny everything later, Ginny gets all sad at the unfairness of it all as if it wasn’t her idea to begin with.

Liz and Penny are super pissed that Chrome Dome is telling them not to run the article. Liz is mostly pissed at Mr. Collins, because she’s sure he was the one who talked to Mr. Cooper in the first place and told him it was a bad idea. Jessica suggests she write the story anyway, so Liz writes a grand article that somehow manages to blend the subjects of sexual harassment and censorship into one big smoothie in the flavor of Wakefield Smug. Mr. Collins thinks the article is wonderful and says he’ll let them print it, but warns them that people might be upset about it.

The next time Denise goes out with Mike, she insists on bringing Ginny along for some stupid reason. Ginny pretends to be Denise, and Mike gets along with her splendidly. The conversation flows much better between them than it does between Mike and Denise. At the end of the night, Denise tells Mike she did have a boyfriend, but she broke up with him for Mike. Mike glances at Ginny and looks uncomfortable, but agrees to meet Denise for lunch on Saturday.

Mike calls Project Youth and somehow does not recognize Ginny’s voice. He tells her his story, which basically boils down to him not liking “Ginny” as much as he thought he would. Ginny gets all upset when he says he met another girl he really likes, not realizing it’s probably her.

When the galleys come out for that week’s paper, Mr. Cooper is pissed and tells Liz and Penny they’ll have to delete the article and run the paper without it. Jessica says Liz should distribute the article on her own, so Liz takes it to Ned’s office that weekend and runs off a bunch of copies.

When Denise and Mike have lunch on Saturday, he tells her it’s not going to work out. She’s kind of relieved she doesn’t have to pretend anymore, and she’s tempted to tell Mike the truth about everything, but decides it’s too much trouble, especially since Ginny already said she isn’t interested in Mike that way. They’re walking out just as Liz and Todd are walking in, and Liz says, “Hi, Denise. Say hi to Ginny for me.” It actually made me giggle. Denise explains everything and then realizes Mike really likes Ginny. In the end, Mike and Ginny hook up, and Denise gets back together with Jay.

Liz, Penny and the rest of the Oracle staff hand out their “underground” paper on Monday morning. In my mind, Liz looked something like Regina George in this scene, distributing her paper and then smugly watching everyone go crazy over it.



Everyone thinks they’ve done a wonderful job, but they get called to the principal’s office. Don’t worry, good old Chrome Dome Cooper ends up letting them off scot free and telling them he trusts them with the paper. Jessica sums up the whole thing by telling her parents, “Big success, no problem. School hero, et cetera.”


John put down his photographs and nodded emphatically… “There are lots of things that guys don’t realize are offensive to girls unless someone tells them. Men and women see things differently, and sometimes you have to tell guys how a girl sees a situation that might be scary to her.”

Is that going to be your excuse next Wednesday? Jerk.

Shelley Novak was a junior at Sweet Valley High, and had created something of a controversy when she had tried out for the varsity boys’ basketball team.

If that ever happened, Francine forgot to tell us about it.

The Cover: Well, they’re both pretty ugly, so I’m not sure which one is supposed to be Ginny, but boy, Mike sure ain’t no prize, huh?

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  • Enid Rollins August 6, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Mr. Collins was upset about an article about teachers harassing students? But Suzanne set HIM up and he was CLEARED! What a self-absorbed cock…


  • Merrie August 6, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Wait — I saw this book in its movie form: “The Truth About Cats and Dogs.”


    Lelandria Reply:

    And again redone in Hallmark’s A Crush on You.


  • Mara August 6, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Merrie stole my comment. I was totally going to say that! It’s exactly like the truth about cats and dogs, which is a pretty crappy movie. This plot is so tired, but I love the way these kids are always scheming. You’re right about the cover, too…none of them seems particularly blessed in the aesthetics department.

    Mean girls reference=brilliant.


  • girltalkread August 6, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    And let me add- maybe Francine combined the plot of Shelly Novak with Claire Middleton- maybe Francine forgot completely about Claire!


    Lelandria Reply:

    Idk Francine evens knows whats going on after book one she prob just slaps her name on the cover’s to get the money but doesn’t care what happens as long as the twins don’t die, get disfigured, overweight, etc.


  • Daners Isadora- Bond Girl August 6, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Mr. Collins is reluctant because he’s creepy.

    And who knew a high school newspaper could be so damn political


  • Christine August 7, 2009 at 2:51 am

    Been reading your entertaining recaps and thought it was about time I thanked you! I check every day, and lucky for me, you usually update every day. Bless you for being so quick and prolific. I’m glad there are so many Sweet Valley books (are you planning to do the later spin-off series too?) because I’m not looking forward to the day you run out of books and the blog is over! Yours are definitely my favorite Sweet Valley recaps…more like reviews with smart observations and criticism…funny too, of course, but not in a trying-to-show-off-how-funny-you-are kind of way, unlike some other recap blogs I’ve seen. I also love the fact that you tend to avoid using trendy teen-speak slang (I can’t get into Margo Rising because of that). Well, thanks again!


  • Kate August 7, 2009 at 11:41 am

    From the cover:

    “Will the real Ginny please stand up?”

    … please stand up, please stand up!

    I just keep rapping it over and over in Eminem’s voice!


  • Smiley August 12, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Don’t forget ‘Roxanne’ with Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah. Also the originator of this plot, Cyrano de Bergerac.


  • makara February 7, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    mike looks like corin nemac from parker lewis can’t lose…hahahahaha


  • Suzanne April 6, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Al Gore…the teenage years :-p


  • JulieCaroleRayo August 12, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Truth: this was the first SVH book I ever read – I remember how disappointed I was when I read the next one and realised that the stories revolved around the twins – I thought I was gonna find out all about Ginny’s new relationship lol.

    The cover – for some reason I always thought Ginny was the redhead in green. I have no idea why I thought that *grin*

    I know I’ve discovered your blog late but am so enjoying reading all your recaps – it’s kept me busy for days 🙂


  • Natasha August 13, 2017 at 2:46 am

    Denise has red hair so I’m guessing the one with the red hair is Denise. The guy has a really smug look on his face.

    Haven’t they already done this plot before? Two girls falling for the same boy?

    Mr Collins is so creepy and inappropriate to have a close friendship with a sixteen year old student. Yuck.


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