Were you ever been plagued by rumors in high school, at least at one point? If the answer is yes, then read on to find out how to handle such a thing (and how it all turns out) in the wonderful world of Sweet Valley High. 😉
Sweet Valley Scale: 4 out of 5 Twins
Every girl at Sweet Valley High dreams of attending the fabulous Bridgewater Ball and Susan Stewart is no exception. The wealthy and handsome Gordon Stoddard asks Susan to accompany him to the ball and she is ecstatic. Nobody knows where Susan gets her money and style from – or who her real parents are – but there is no doubt that she is beautiful, friendly and fun to be around. But jealous Lila Fowler starts spreading vicious rumors about Susan’s mother – who she really is and why she abandoned Susan when she was a baby. No one wants to talk to Susan anymore, not even Gordon. To clear her name, Susan has to find out the truth about her parents. But is she better off not knowing?
The Bridgewater Ball is a very big deal. If you don’t take away anything else from this book, you must understand that. Even though it is an event in a town twenty miles away from Sweet Valley and only the most elite attend (so like a small handful of people in Sweet Valley) and by the way, the book ends before the Bridgewater Ball even happens. BUT, it is a very big deal. Anyway, Susan Stewart is kind, beautiful and a complete mystery. She does not know who her parents are and lives with a guardian she calls Aunt Helen. Every now and then her mother sends money to them, so everyone assumes Susan’s mother is rich and famous. (Okay, maybe this was an eighties thing, but why? I don’t understand how that translates to rich and famous. Anyway…) This makes Susan acceptable dating material for Sweet Valley’s elite and she has been dating Gordon Stoddard.
Lila Fowler is jealous because she doesn’t have a date to the ball so she decides to steal Gordon from Susan because they used to be a thing or something. She spreads a rumor that Susan’s mother has been in a hospital for the criminally insane this entire time. Everyone is talking about Susan behind her back (don’t you love/miss high school?) and Gordon drops her. What I don’t get is why she is with Gordon in the first place? He doesn’t sound super hot, and on his best day comes across dull, boring and entitled. I mean he is like a lamer version of Bruce Patman. Not as hot or as rich, but just as douchey. Even when he and Susan are together and happy, the reader doesn’t get a strong inclination that either of them is feeling it. Finally, Gordon’s parents names are Farley and Binky. Yes, Binky. I don’t know whether to giggle or mock, but that name is right up there with a character I came across in another book named Bikini. As in her actual name, but I digress. Susan finds out why she no longer has any friends and is mortified and desperate to know the truth about her mother, but her Aunt Helen refuses to tell her anything until she is eighteen. On another seemingly random note (for now) some famous movie director named Jackson Croft is having a casting call in Sweet Valley for a movie and everyone is excited.
While all of this is happening, Hurricane Jessica (Jessica Wakefield) believes her mother is pregnant after learning about reproduction in health class. Elizabeth thinks she is nuts until Jessica snoops and finds baby clothes in her mother’s closet – oh my! Jessica calls her brother about an emergency and has them all believing this craziness. (Again, why does anyone listen to Jessica?) This leads into the best scene of the book, when the twins try to get their mother to fess up to her pregnancy by dropping hints and their father soon loses it and asks which one of them is ‘in trouble’. I laughed so hard, I cried.
Susan corners her Aunt Helen when Jackson Croft shows up and the truth comes out. Aunt Helen is Susan’s mother (shocker, right?) and Jackson Croft is her father, but she made up the story of being her guardian because people back then were so hard on unwed mothers, yaddy yada yada. I don’t know about you, but this would seriously do some damage. I’d be happy my mother was someone I cared about so much, but having your own mother lie to you for your entire life about being your mother… awkward. Thanks to Jessica ‘Blabbermouth’ Wakefield soon everyone knows the truth and Susan becomes socially acceptable again. Gordon tries to get back with Susan, but she tells him to piss off and Lila, who successfully stole Gordon for the Bridgewater Ball, is so mad that he tried to get back with Susan she dumps her soda on him (it is one of the few times that I like Lila as a character).
The only thing that would have added to this book was if Susan had gone all Lara Croft on Gordon. I mean now that we know her father’s last name is Croft, did anyone else go there? I certainly did, like right away. 😉
This book is another solid effort, and a must for any Wakefield fan. I mean the whole baby trip of Jessica’s will have you laughing as hard as the twins’ parents laughed at them when they figured it out – probably harder. What are you waiting for? 😉