Sweet Valley High Senior Year #15: On My Own

The Moral of the Story: If you have to keep telling yourself you’re over it, you’re probably not actually over it.

The Big Deal: Swim meet, athletic awards ceremony

Synopsis:

Ken Matthews goes to take a shower one morning and finds the bathroom door locked and the shower running. This is odd because he and his father live alone and Mr. Matthews is usually out of the bathroom by this time. Ken knocks on the door and a woman in a bathrobe opens it. She introduces herself as Asha and says she’s heard a lot about him.  And bad parenting rears its ugly head once more. Ken isn’t sure how he feels about his dad having a girlfriend.

Liz and Conner have a really pointless fight about Jessica ditching Evan at the Riot the other night. I don’t know, Conner’s pissed because he thinks Jessica’s being snobby or something. It’s really stupid. Everyone teases Jessica at lunch and accuses her of not liking Evan because he dresses grungy. Whatever, who cares? Jessica is sick of people acting like she’s so shallow, so to get everyone to back off, she announces that she’s going to ask Evan out. She finds him after school and is dismayed to see him looking especially grungy, but she asks him to go out with her the next night. He says yes and Jessica is surprised to realize she’s actually excited about the date.

Andy is still freaking out about Six kissing him and he tries to avoid her. Tia says he needs to tell Six he’s not interested, so Andy marches off to do just that. When he finds her, she puts his arms around her and Andy starts to think maybe this having-a-girlfriend thing might not be so bad.

Ken gets a call from Dan Murphy at the Tribune, which is where his father and Asha work. Mr. Murphy wants to know if Ken will be able to receive his award at the athletic awards ceremony the Tribune hosts. He’s won the spirit award for rejoining the team to cheer from the bench after being MVP last year. Ken is upset that his father didn’t tell him about the award and he’s sure this lack of communication is somehow Asha’s fault. A few days later, Ken finds a card in his backpack from Asha, congratulating him on the award. Seems like a pretty sweet thing to do, but Ken is pissed that she invaded his space and is breaking up his little family. Whine, whine, whine. He tries to talk to his dad about it, but Mr. Matthews is unresponsive and tells Ken to mind his own business.

Evan takes Jessica to some weird health food restaurant because he wants to “challenge” her. He really likes putting her in uncomfortable situations to see how she’ll react. When she turns out not to be just a dumb blonde, he’s totally surprised. What a guy. Jackass.

Conner’s acting like he’s pissed about Liz’s job. He clenches his jaw moodily and tenses up whenever Liz mentions going to work. He feels like she’s spreading herself too thin and missing out on what’s “really important.” Meaning him, I guess. Evan asks Conner and Liz if they want to come to his swim meet, and Conner gets all agitated when Liz says she’d like to go. Andy starts talking to Conner about his date with Six and looking for advice about dating, and Conner tells him to run. What is this guy’s deal?

Jessica, Tia and a few other cheerleaders go to Evan’s meet and cheer him on as he wins two races. The whole time, Jessica thinks about how different this is from football and pats herself on the back for being so totally over Will. Jessica goes to work that night and Jeremy tells her he’s getting one of the Tribune’s athletic awards. He asks Jessica to go to the banquet with him. She tells him she’s kind of seeing someone, but he says he still wants her to go as a friend, no pressure. Jessica mentally berates herself for breaking up with such a nice guy to go out with Will. She says she’ll go with him, and tells Evan the next morning. He doesn’t take it very well. He says he wants to “cool it” with Jessica until she can stop being a flake. He and Conner go out and play pool that night to try to forget about the Wakefields.

Jessica goes to the banquet the next night and almost chokes when she sees Evan walk in with some really hot chick on his arm. Jeremy notices her staring at Evan when he accepts an award for swimming, and he says she should go talk to him. Dammit, Jessica, why can’t you just love Jeremy? He’s such a nice guy! Evan asks Jessica about the ex she arrived with. Will is there, too, so Jessica is having a very “this is your life” moment. She starts crying when Evan asks her who she really wants to be with. Meanwhile, Ken is pissed when his father never shows up, and even more pissed when his dad’s boss says he overheard Mr. Matthews making a dinner reservation for that night.

After the banquet, Jessica and Liz go to the Riot. Conner and Liz make up, so that’s all good. For now. Andy makes Six angry when he dances with Tia and leaves Six alone with Conner. She tells Andy she wanted to spend some time alone with him, and he promises to take her on a real date the next day. He isn’t totally sure he really likes Six that way, but I guess he’s going to find out.

The Cover: Blah.

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Comments
  • Lila March 19, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    If you think Evan sucks now, wait until later in the series when he wants Tia to GIVE him her spot at Berkeley–because he thinks that he deserves to go more than she does.

    Also, this book might not be the best example, but I grew to love Jessica in this series. She’s not a sociopath and is actually more like a real teenager. Liz still sucks.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    What? My, the douchebaggery in store…

    I agree that Jessica is much better in this series and I can’t figure out why they didn’t do the same with Liz. She for sure goes through a personality change, but if anything she’s even more annoying than before. All she does is sit around acting depressed about Conner. Forever.

    [Reply]

  • Smiley March 19, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    I haven’t read the Senior year series but based on your summaries, Jessica seems to have turned into a frightened, less confident version of herself. Her classmates used to revere her and now they make fun of her and she doesn’t know who or what she wants. I think I like crazy sociopathic Jess better.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    She’s just a lot more realistic in this series. She has more realistic concerns and reactions to things. She used to be a caricature of a popular high school girl, and now she’s a little more well-rounded and isn’t just always out to get the hottest guy or beat Lila at some competition.

    I think Crazy Jessica is more entertaining because she’s crazy, but Senior Year Jessica is a better written character.

    [Reply]

  • Elizabeth March 19, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    I always marvel about how going out or kissing once makes these characters think they are in official relationships. Evan, Six, etc.? If I were Jessica, I wouldn’t have even told Evan about going to an event with Jeremy, unless Evan wanted to make conflicting plans! We’re still free to GO ON DATES until we’re exclusive with someone, right? No wonder everyone’s always getting so confused and getting their feelings hurt all the time.

    Conner needs to see a counselor or something. That would be a good story line – get some actual adults involved.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I am SO with you on all of this. Especially Conner needing counseling. Seriously.

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  • Sadako March 19, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Jess NOT a sociopath?!

    And now I have “On my own” from Les Miz stuck in my head!

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  • Jessica Squits the Quad March 19, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Conner is such a douche. He yells at Liz at the start for her sister leaving Evan there alone, then he gets mad later for Liz wanting to support Evan at the swim meet? Make up your mind!!!

    Evan was annoying. But I thought it was pretty funny when he told Jess that maybe she should just be single. A thought that has never occurred to Jessica Wakefield!!!

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Ha, that part was pretty good.

    [Reply]

  • Dee March 20, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    So basically Connor doesn’t like to have clingy co-dependent girlfriends, however he gets mad at Liz for being independent and having a life of her own that includes friends, school, and a job. Uh-huh.

    Sweet Valley Teenagers in love. Gotta love it.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. Conner’s “complicated.”

    [Reply]

  • Lindsay March 22, 2010 at 11:08 am

    I want to punch that cover. Is that healthy?

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Oh, absolutely.

    [Reply]

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