Sweet Valley Twins #9: Against the Rules
The Big Deal: Party at the Wakefields’
Jessica is disgusted by Liz’s behavior. Know why? No, she’s not trying to get the color purple outlawed or anything like that. It’s because she’s hanging out with Sophia Rizzo. Sophia is POOR! Her brother is a CRIMINAL! Their mother is DISABLED! Liz being friends with her is the worst thing that’s ever happened to Jessica.
Ned Wakefield has a client who has a daughter the twins’ age, and this client has invited one of the twins to L. A. to hang out with the daughter. Liz automatically offers to stay home and let Jessica go, but Ned insists the girls draw straws. Jessica loses. This, too, is the worst thing that’s ever happened to Jessica.
Sweet Valley Middle School is going to put on a play, and the two best English students from each grade are chosen to write it. Sophia and Liz are the sixth grade representatives, and Jessica can’t stand that Liz is going to be working with Sophia. Because, remember, she’s POOR! Even brother Steven warns Liz not to get too close to the Rizzos. He knows Sophia’s brother, Tony, is a CRIMINAL who went to REFORM SCHOOL. Sophia comes over to work on the play one night. Lila happens to be there, and Jessica tells her Sophia’s there to pick up a box of old clothes. She says this, of course, right in front of Sophia.
Liz is worried at the first play committee meeting because the two seventh grade reps are Mary Robinson and Peter Jeffries, a Unicorn and a friend of Bruce Patman’s. Liz is sure Sophia is going to have a rough time, but it all turns out surprisingly well. The other kids like Sophia’s ideas and she’s chosen as the head writer of the play. Liz is feeling good about things until she gets home and sees Steven’s black eye. Tony Rizzo punched him in the face, so now Steve and Jessica are pissed at Liz. Weird Wakefield logic, don’t ask.
When the Wakefield parents see Steve’s black eye, they tell Liz she can’t hang out with Sophia outside of school anymore. That really sucks because Liz just told Sophia she’d throw her a birthday party at the Wakefield house next month. See, Sophia’s never had a birthday party, on account of her being so POOR. Things are even worse when Liz finds out her trip to L. A. is on Sophia’s birthday. She begs her parents to let Jessica go instead, but they say that just wouldn’t be fair. Okay, the Wakefield parents are being ridiculous this week.
Steven suggests the twins switch places so Jessica can go to L. A. Ned and Alice are going to be at an all day beach party that Saturday, so Liz figures she can throw Sophia a little party while everyone is gone. Jessica loves the idea of switching places, of course, and thinks Liz is the best sister ever, but then in the same conversation she gets all pissy about Sophia writing the damn school play. She says she won’t be auditioning and neither will any of the other Unicorns because nobody wants to be involved with Sophia in any way.
Sophia collides with Jessica and Lila in the hallway at school and papers go flying everywhere. Before Sophia can pick them up, Lila snatches a page and starts dramatically reading a scene from the play. All the kids who have suddenly gathered around start laughing and Sophia runs away. Liz runs after her and Sophia tells her how much her life sucks. When she asks Liz to come home with her, Liz can’t help but say yes. She starts spending time at Sophia’s every night to work on the play, but she feels totally guilty about it. I don’t know why she doesn’t just tell her parents she and Sophia have to work on school stuff together.
Almost nobody will try out for the play at first, but after a few roles are cast and scenes are performed in English classes, people start to come around. Eventually, Jessica is the only holdout, but Liz tells her she won’t let her go to L. A. in her place unless Jessica at least goes to watch the play.
Opening night is a roaring success, and the last scene moves everyone to tears. After the actors take their bows, someone in the audience starts chanting, “Author! Author! Author!” Does that really happen? Sophia takes another bow, and on the way home, Jessica and Steven admit they were wrong about Sophia. Even the Wakefield parents concede that she’s talented. How nice of them.
Jessica goes off to L. A. the next day, Ned and Alice leave for their party, and Steven has some kind of basketball thing he has to go to. As soon as Liz is alone, she calls Amy and Julie to come over and set up for Sophia’s party. Pretty much the whole school – including Lila and Bruce – show up since Sophia’s a famous playwright now, but Ned and Alice come home early, before Sophia gets there. Oh, no! But wait, it’s all good. Liz had good intentions, so she’s off the hook. Ned even drives to the Rizzos’ house to pick up Sophia’s mother and bring her back to the party. While there, he gives Tony the number of a psychologist who might be able to help him out. Then Alice offers Mrs. Rizzo a position designing afghans for her interior design firm. Sophia has the best birthday ever and the world explodes in a sugary ball of cheese.
She was small and dark like her daughter, and, like Sophia, her clothes were faded from age and countless washings.
Sophia is faded from age and countless washings? (Cheap shot, I know, but misplaced modifiers crack me up.)
As her path took her back into her own familiar neighborhood, filled with spacious homes on carefully manicured lawns, Elizabeth wished that more people shared Sophia’s talent for understanding others. But, as Jessica came bounding out of the Wakefields’ front door, Elizabeth wondered if the happy, pampered kids of Sweet Valley would ever be able to put themselves in Sophia’s place.
Oh, not like you, Elizabeth! You’re the only kid in the whole world who can look past your carefully manicured lawn and reach out to the hopeless po’ folks.
The Cover: Liz looks like she’ll pull a muscle if she gets any friendlier. Amy looks like she just woke up. And actually, if I had to guess which kid on this cover is the poor one, I’d guess Amy. She looks like crap. At least Sophia’s shirt fits her.