Sweet Valley Twins #22: Out of Place
The Big Deal: Arts and Crafts Fair
New Kid with a Problem: Ginny Lu Culpepper, hillbilly
Ginny Lu Culpepper has moved in with her aunt, Mrs. Waldron, a teacher at Sweet Valley Middle School. Ginny Lu is from Tennessee, so she has red hair and talks loud. The first thing Ginny Lu does when she rolls into town is go to the middle school to find her aunt. She interrupts Elizabeth’s class to ask Mrs. Arnette where Mrs. Waldron is, and her voice and clothes make Ellen Riteman hate her immediately.
Mrs. Waldron takes Ginny Lu to the mall for some new clothes, and Ginny Lu is simply amazed at all the shiny sparkly things that just don’t exist in Stony Gap, Tennessee. Ellen and Lila appear out of nowhere and pretend to be helpful, giving Ginny Lu a bunch of really ugly clothes and telling her they’re all the rage out here in California. She comes out of the dressing room wearing the following items of clothing:
- Leopard-skin tights
- Blue and white striped knee socks over the tights
- Orange leather miniskirt
- Huge green sweater
- Banana earrings
Here is a visual representation of this outfit:
The saleslady asks Mrs. Waldron if Ginny Lu is color blind. Ellen and Lila have gathered a crowd outside the shop to laugh at Ginny Lu. The Unicorn Welcome Wagon, ladies and gentlemen.
The next day at school, Ginny Lu overhears Ellen, Janet and Lila talking about her. She decides she’s had enough and she runs away from school. She doesn’t stop running until she comes upon the stables, which is where Liz finds her when she goes for her horseback riding lesson. Ginny Lu has a way with horses, and she’s made friends with a pregnant mare named Snow White. Naturally, Snow White is Ellen’s horse. And naturally, Ellen shows up and yells at Ginny Lu to go away. Liz tells her to leave Ginny Lu alone and stop being such a bitch. Not bloody likely.
Ginny Lu gives Liz a doll she whittled, and Mrs. Wakefield says it’s “a lovely example of Appalachian folk art.” She’s an interior designer so she knows about these things. Liz decides Ginny Lu should enter her dolls in the big Arts and Crafts Fair at school. Ginny Lu would rather keep her head down and keep out of the Unicorns’ way, but Liz is determined and she eventually convinces Ginny Lu to enter.
Things are going just fine at the fair and everyone seems to be getting into Ginny Lu’s weird poem that she’s decided to recite, but Ellen makes fun of her. And so, like a true Sweet Valley girl, Ginny Lu freaks out and runs away in tears. She goes home and packs a suitcase, then goes to the stables to say goodbye to Snow White. She’s running away, back to the mountains, where life is simple for a redheaded girl who talks too loud and wears gingham dresses.
When she gets to the stable, Snow White has given birth and Ted the stable boy is having some trouble. The foal is premature and won’t stand up to nurse and Snow White won’t let Ted get near him. It’s Ginny to the rescue. Ted has called the Ritemans, so of course Ellen shows up during Ginny Lu’s rescue operation, but she finally gets it through her head that the foal will die without Ginny Lu’s help. After things settle down, Ellen apologizes and lets Ginny Lu name the foal. She names him Sooner. “Because he decided he’d rather get here sooner than later. And now that he’s here, he’s decided he’d sooner stay.” Ugh.
Meanwhile, in Jessicaland… Jessica let Janet Howell borrow Ned’s prized tennis racket, and she broke it. Jessica wants to buy a new one before her dad notices the old one is gone, but it’s fifty dollars. After a couple of failed attempts at getting money (selling Liz’s clothes in a garage sale and doing Steven’s chores to get his allowance money), she hits the jackpot when she finds out a local shop will buy Ginny Lu’s whittled dolls for twenty-five dollars each. She sets herself up as Ginny Lu’s agent and slithers away with ten percent. The new tennis racket is on the way and only Liz is the wiser.
Their father, who was usually warm and funny, had no sense of humor when it came to his tennis racket.
Well, sure. Who does?
“I think you should get started right away,” Steven declared. He pulled a broom and dustpan from under his bed and handed them to Jessica.
I’d just like to know if anyone else keeps a broom and dustpan under the bed.
The Cover: First of all, let’s just take a moment to really soak in Liz’s smugface. That self-satisfied “I sure am good at making friends” face just makes me want to puke. (Also, doesn’t she look a little like DJ Tanner here?) And second, Ginny Lu looks exactly like you would expect a Ginny Lu to look: like she came straight out of Little House on the Prairie. (No offense meant to any Ginny Lus in the audience.)