Sweet Valley High Senior Year #32: Road Trip
The Big Deal: Winter break
It’s winter break. Jeremy’s family has moved to Arizona and he wants to drive there to help them get settled, but his parents say someone has to go with him. His friends can’t make it, and Jessica has to go to a family reunion up north (in a convenient plot contrivance that makes this an almost entirely Wakefield-free book). Jessica suggests Jeremy take Evan. I guess she doesn’t think there’s anything weird about forcing a guy she dated onto her current boyfriend. Jeremy hardly knows the guy, but he can’t think of anyone else to go with him so he says he’ll ask him. Evan jumps at the chance to take a road trip and asks if Conner can go, too. Jeremy isn’t so sure about that, but Evan convinces him Conner’s not as bad as the Wakefield sisters would have him believe.
Melissa makes Will tell her what he knows about Mr. Matthews and the Michigan scholarship scandal. He’s no match for her unblinking Psycho Gaze of Death, so he has no choice but to tell her everything. Then he asks her not to tell anyone. Yeah, right. Will doesn’t want to ruin Ken’s life, because that will in turn ruin his own internship with Ken’s dad, but he does want to tell Mr. Matthews what he knows. However, when he gets to work, Mr. Matthews sends him on assignment with another reporter to interview some of the Forty Niners. That’s much too awesome an assignment for Will to pass up.
Tia and Trent have been hanging out lately, and Andy convinces Tia that Trent is interested in being more than just friends. I guess he must be over the whole this-chick-cheated-on-her-boyfriend-with-me thing. So Tia thinks maybe she should pursue it, but then Angel shows up on her doorstep. He’s come home for winter break and he wants to get together and catch up. Tia immediately emails Andy and tells him she won’t be calling Trent because she and Angel are getting back together. Andy thinks she’s being a little presumptuous and tells her she might be jumping the gun, but Tia insists she has a feeling that things are going to work out with her and Angel this time. So they go out and it’s like nothing ever changed, but when they start talking about the future they remember why they broke up in the first place: long distance relationships suck. They have a mutual and drama-less breakup, and then Tia calls Trent.
The road trip isn’t really much fun. By mid afternoon, Jeremy has talked Evan’s ear off about how guilty he feels about staying in Big Mesa, and Conner has fallen asleep in the backseat. When Evan takes the wheel, Jeremy falls asleep, too. Evan sees a sign for Las Vegas and decides to say to hell with Jeremy’s anal itinerary. He heads for Vegas. Jeremy’s pissed when he wakes up, but Evan convinces him he might have fun. Jeremy is doubtful. All three boys are surprised when places like the Luxor are way out of their price range, and they end up at some old crappy hotel that isn’t on the strip.
Melissa and her friends are hanging out at House of Java when Ken and Maria come in. Because she just can’t help but be a bitch, Melissa starts making fun of them. Ken tells her to shut up and they start arguing. Melissa wins the fight by telling Ken he didn’t actually earn his scholarship, that his father bribed the scout. Ken goes to the newspaper office, but Will is there and his father isn’t. Ken tells Will what Melissa said, and Will looks sheepish and says Ken should talk to his father about it. So Ken goes home and confronts his dad, and Mr. Matthews tells him this is the way the world works and he’s waiting for Ken to thank him for getting him into such a good school. Ken is bewildered.
The boys meet a girl named Laney at a coffee shop, and she offers to give them an “insider’s tour” of Vegas. Evan’s the only one who feels up to it, so off he goes. Conner takes off to go have a look around town while Jeremy drinks coffee and wrings his hands all night while he waits for them to come back. He wants them to come back soon because, as he keeps repeating, he wants to get an early start in the morning. Evan goes on roller coasters and has a great time with Laney. Conner meets a Wise Bartender who tells him he needs to cut out the drinkers in his life (Alanna). Jeremy calls his mom and tells her he’s in Vegas. She thinks it’s good for him to have a little fun, and Jeremy is upset because he thinks she should be worried. How is it possible that Jeremy is only a fun guy when he’s with Jessica? Get him away from Jessica and he’s a damned stick in the mud.
The waitress at the diner tells Jeremy that Laney called. She and Evan want him to get over to the Elvis Chapel to be a witness. Jeremy rushes over there to stop them from getting married. Laney and Evan start laughing when they see how panicked he is. They’re all going to be witnesses at the next wedding, that’s all. Jeremy is mad at first, but he finds the whole wedding so absurd that he ends up laughing uncontrollably and having a good time. He and Evan get back to the hotel at the same time as Conner, and Jeremy surprises them both when he says they should all sleep in the next morning.
Evan threw his head back and laughed.
In every single one of these books, someone throws his or her head back and laughs. It’s usually Tia, but if it’s not her it’s someone else. And whenever I picture someone laughing that way, it looks evil and menacing.
The Cover: Well, I guess that’s what Evan looks like. Too bad we can only see half his face.