Sweet Valley Twins #13: Stretching the Truth

The Moral of the Story: Everybody loves a tugboat!

The Big Deal: Birthday party for Mary


Mary Robinson is feeling down. Her long lost mother went and married this Tim Wallace guy and Mary feels left out. But for some reason she’s going around telling all her friends that Tim is this rich architect who buys her presents and is designing a mansion for her and her mom. He’s not. He’s a handyman who just bought a tugboat.

The twins can tell something is bothering Mary. She rushes straight home from school every day, her grades are falling and – worst of all! – she keeps missing Unicorn meetings. The Unicorns have a special lunch meeting just so Mary can be there, but Mary has gone home to have lunch with her mom. Janet decides to continue the meeting after school and if Mary’s not there, she’s kicked out of the Unicorns.

Mary manages to make it to the Dairi Burger for the meeting, and she’s mortified when her mom and stepfather walk in. Tim pulls up a chair and starts talking to the Unicorns. Mary fakes a stomach ache when he starts talking about the tugboat (Mary’s been telling everyone it’s a yacht). Mr. and Mrs. Wallace take Mary home and try to think of some way to make her feel better about things. They decide to throw her a surprise birthday party on the tugboat. So now they’re spending even less time with Mary because they’re always heading off to the harbor to fix up the boat. And Mary’s friends are always talking about the party, and they shut up whenever Mary comes near.

Mary tells Liz she’s afraid nobody likes her anymore, so Liz spills the beans about the party. Mary’s pretty happy until Liz tells her the party is going to be on the boat. Oh, no. She’s sure nobody will want to be her friend when they see her stupid tugboat. The day before the party, Mary fakes another stomach ache so she can leave school early. When her mom and Tim don’t seem overly worried about her, Mary decides the best thing to do is run away. But as soon as she walks out the door, she trips over her bike and hurts her arm. Tim comes outside to investigate, sees Mary’s arm is hurt, and offers to carry her inside. Because she can’t walk with an injured arm? Tim promises he won’t tell Mary’s mom that Mary was running away, and Mary decides she trusts him and it’s okay with her if he adopts her.

Now that she’s discovered what a nice guy Tim really is, Mary guesses she ought to go to the damn party. She shouldn’t have worried, of course. All her friends think it’s super cool that her family owns a tugboat, and everyone thinks Tim is dreamy when he takes out his guitar and sings a song he wrote just for Mary, and then all the songs from the Unicorns’ current favorite movie.


Elizabeth frowned. She missed spending long Sixers work sessions with Mary, the two of them typing and laughing for hours on end.

I keep picturing Liz and Mary laughing insanely while they type. Reminds me of Hyperbole and a Half’s Internet Forever.

[Tim] took out his guitar and sang a simple melody about love and trust. Each verse talked about building love like a house, adding room after room until the house had turned into a castle. The chorus was, “There’s always room for more love.”

Barf. We get more lyrics later on: “Love takes time, love takes work, but now my love castle is finished, and my princess can move in.” Ew.

The Cover: Mary looks exactly like the twins, and I don’t know who that other person is supposed to be. My husband saw this cover and said, “It’s Pat!”


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  • Jane June 30, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    I love, love, LOVE Hyperboleandahalf.blogspot!

    And your recaps!


  • Danielle June 30, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    I don’t know why they kept giving Mary plots, she’s so boring

    And I think that is supposed to be Jessica on the cover (because of the purple)

    Great recap! 😀


  • Annie June 30, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Yeah that really doesn’t look like Mary on the cover. I’d say it’s Jessica. The other person does look like a Pat though.

    Oddly enough, I have absolutely no memory of this book, but I know I must have read it. I must be repressing it.


  • Beth July 1, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I always thought the dude (?) on the cover was Bruce for some reason…but I’m not sure why Jessica and Bruce would be on the cover if the book is about Mary? It looks like they started to draw a girl, but then hurriedly gave him/her a buttoned-down shirt, a flat chest, and short hair…and is that white in his/her hair? WTF? The only guy who could possibly have white hair would be Tim, but why would he be flirting with Jessica on the cover? I need to stop thinking about this:)


  • Whallie July 6, 2011 at 11:20 am

    That’s totally Jessica and some bull-dyke on the cover. No offense. Just sayin’.


  • Anonymous July 6, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    that is a total pat. my understanding when i first saw the cover was that the girl on the left was either jessica or elizabeth, and the thing on the right was supposed to be mary. i had no other explanation! i’m so confused though. there is no way that it is female. but if you click on the cover and see it big, it has lipstick and long eyelashes. wtf, i need to know what/who it is supposed to be! someone needs to contact francine asap.


  • Anners July 20, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    That book pissed me off. And that person on the right has troubled me for just about 20 years.


  • Claire July 29, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Mary’s a dick.
    “Tim promises he won’t tell Mary’s mom that Mary was running away, and Mary decides she trusts him and it’s okay with her if he adopts her” – Um ok. Because the best thing you can teach young girls is to trust a strange man after saying one nice thing. Good one Francine.


  • Rosie August 6, 2011 at 4:16 am

    That’s definitley Jessica on the cover. And it’s just some random guy she’s talking to, the cover artist didn’t have anyone in mind I don’t think. There supposed to be looking at Mary’s tugboat and thinking ‘THIS is what we’re having a party on? Ew.’


  • Jenna September 22, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Pat’s totally telling Jessica that his dick is way bigger than that tugboat. And he’s got the mascara to prove it. Or something. . .


  • Emma October 11, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    This blog is great! I read those books translated and never knew if the unlikely parts was to be blamed on the 80’s, the cultural differences or Francine. Now I know it’s Francine!

    Also, this is great to read since the third book was never translated to Swedish and this Mary book and the Ithig book was mixed up into one. Finally I know why Ithig was mixed up in it at all!


  • tracy January 7, 2013 at 2:17 am

    This is Jessica talking to Bruce (what a prettyboy, who knew?) when arriving at the party. He’s pointing towards the boat.


  • Sushi April 10, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    No way that’s Mary on the cover, we already saw her on the cover of Three’s A Crowd and she looked totally different. I refuse to believe that other person’s Bruce though. 13 books of how dreamy he is would surely have mentioned that he likes to wear makeup.


  • Steff September 11, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    I remember buying this book because I thought Jessica (obviously ´cause the purple sweatshirt lol) was about to have an exciting date with this guy and trying to escape or something (hahaha silly me!)

    Then the descritption below, the curly lashes, the lip gloss… OMG it´s been 25 years of thinking that was Mary with the most horrible haircut…


  • Natasha October 26, 2016 at 5:44 am

    That’s not Mary. Mary has wavy blonde hair. Have a look on the cover of Three’s A Crowd. That’s Jessica and I always thought it was Bruce.


  • Alex Kennedy January 14, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    ^^^Hi Natasha. I think that the illustators WANT the readers to think that it is Mary. We all know that Mary is londe and looks similar to the twins. There is really Something About Mary that is really wrong in respect of the cover.


  • Jessica is Evil March 31, 2017 at 7:29 am

    OMG!!! Mary missed a Unicorn meeting!!! How tragic!!!


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