Sweet Valley High Super Edition #9: Mystery Date
The Big Deal: Big dance, big football game, big party
The book opens with a dance at which the popular students finally seem to realize that there are other kids at Sweet Valley High. A big fight breaks out over what kind of music the DJ should play. The jocks want to hear the Beach Boys so they can dance to it, Justin Belson and the burnouts want some heavy metal, Keith Wagner and the hippies want something with meaningful lyrics and Dana wants some punk. The arguments escalate until finally Tad “Blubber” Johnson punches Justin in the stomach. And this is why the Droids should always perform at school dances.
Mr. Collins says the dance is officially over, so everyone leaves. The jocks end up at Ken’s house, where Jessica has to defend her sister, who dragged Todd off to the Dairi Burger. Olivia goes home and feels sorry for herself because she’s so weird that she doesn’t even know which group she fits into. She gets online and goes to her favorite chatroom, Virtual Hangout. She feels so much more confident under her screen name, Freeverse, because she can just be herself and nobody cares how she dresses. You know, Olivia, your clothes seem to cause you an awful lot of stress. Maybe you should, you know, stop dressing that way. Just for your own peace of mind, you understand. Olivia meets a guy whose screen name is Quarter and they start flirting. Olivia has no idea that Quarter is really Ken, who’s been feeling all sad and lonely since he broke up with Jessica.
Things at school aren’t going very well. Somebody puts a copy of Blubber’s D quality homework on a bulletin board, so the jocks get their revenge by spraypainting “Die, wimps, hippies, punks, and brains,” on the cafeteria wall. Then the hippies put little cards that say “Make Love – Not Football” in everyone’s lockers. It’s all very stupid. Then there’s a big football game. When Blubber goes out on the field, Nicky Shepard (I guess he’s back from San Francisco) starts booing him and calling him stupid. Blubber runs right into the stands and beats the crap out of him. Sweet Valley forfeits the game. Todd and the twins go to Casey’s afterward and Liz gets all bitchy and self-righteous when Jessica and Todd agree that Nicky got what he deserved for being an ass. She accuses them of sticking together just because they’re both jocks. Ken and Olivia each go home to their respective computers after the game, and I’m subjected to like ten pages of their crappy conversation. All you need to know is that they’re falling in e-love. They even have a cyber kiss that was a little uncomfortable to read about.
Freeverse and Quarter think it’s time to meet in person. For some reason, each thinks the other goes to El Carro High, so they decide on an ice cream shop in El Carro. Ken and Olivia get to the place and wave at each other, then they’re both upset when their dates stand them up. Even though Freeverse and Quarter have both explained to each other in detail what they look like, Ken and Olivia don’t get it. They wait a while, and then they each go home and get on their computers. They finally figure it out, and Olivia is pissed that Ken never mentioned online that he played football. For some reason, this matters very much to her and she doesn’t want to talk to him anymore.
Jessica has been stringing along two football players, Danny Porter and Bryce Fisherman. She gets them to agree to a joint date because neither guy wants to leave the other alone with Jessica. The three of them decide to go over to Blubber’s house to see how he’s doing. Blubber is in big trouble. His grades have been going down the tubes, and now with all the violence he’s exhibiting, he’s been suspended from school and the football team. When Jessica, Bryce and Danny get to his house, an ambulance is wheeling him out on a stretcher. He tried to kill himself because of all this crap that’s been going on. Oh, and his parents are splitting up.
The clique war kind of takes a break for a few days while everyone digests what happened to Blubber, but Liz and Olivia are sure it’s only temporary. They decide the best way to fix everything is to have a Walk in Each Other’s Shoes party in the school gym. Everyone has to borrow clothes from someone they wouldn’t normally associate with and wear them to the party. Of course, it’s a huge success. Lila dresses in somebody’s grungy clothes and dances with Justin Belson, who is wearing one of Bruce’s tuxedos. Bruce has borrowed someone’s pocket protector and polyester pants. Keith dresses in Todd’s clothes and wins the heart of Jessica, who is dressed as Dana. Liz wears Lila’s clothes, Todd dresses as Nicky Shepard and Mr. Collins borrows Todd’s basketball uniform, all the better to confuse Liz, I imagine. Oh, Liz and Todd make up, of course.
Olivia wears Claire’s football uniform and Ken comes dressed as a hippie. Ken apologizes for not being totally honest and Olivia apologizes for being so judgmental. They dance together and, I don’t know, I guess they’re a couple now.
“Hi, all!” Olivia typed. “Anyone ever feel all alone in a room full of people? : (“ She ended with an emoticon, a frowning face that could be read sideways, and then hit enter to send the message.
Yes, I got to learn all about emoticons and LOL and chatrooms and flaming.
Claire had been dating the powerful linebacker since a few weeks after he’d transferred to Sweet Valley High – since just after Jessica refused to go steady with Michael [Lewis].
Oh, I guess this actually happened.
“This is so bizarre,” Enid said. “Everyone usually gets along just fine.”
I know, Enid. It’s much easier for everyone to get along when we can pretend half the students don’t actually exist.
“When [Liz and Todd] are mad at each other, the whole school feels it.”
“And then you kiss me back, Freeverse, long and hard. And nothing has ever rocked me the way your kiss does.”
The Cover: I hate this cover. This chick looks like she’s thirty years old and I just don’t see Olivia wearing that. And then on the inside we’ve got some denim tuxedoed guy making her laugh for some reason. Blah.