I hope you’re ready for some serious far-fetched melodrama, because this book gets back to what Sweet Valley High does best! 😛
“That Fatal Night”
Sweet Valley Scale: 4 out of 5 Twins
Terri Adams loves football, and she is one of the Sweet Valley High Gladiator’s biggest fans. She is also the biggest fan of Ken Matthews, the team’s star quarterback. Terri thinks Ken has everything going for him – he’s good-looking, popular and he has led the Gladiators to an undefeated season. Then one rainy night, Ken is in a terrible car accident that ends up leaving him blind. Suddenly, his football career is over, and his friends are so uncomfortable about his blindness that a lot of them avoid him. Ken would be absolutely miserable if it weren’t for Terri. She is the one person who is always there when he needs her. But when Ken realizes that he is falling in love with her, he is convinced that she could never return his feelings. Will Ken and Terri ever be more than friends?
I have to say this book wasn’t my favorite, but at least it didn’t piss me off as much as the last one. Sweet Valley High’s football team the Gladiators, are undefeated and a large part of the credit goes to the team’s quarterback, Ken Matthews. The book opens up with a close game, where all of the characters of convenience (characters that don’t exist until they’re needed to serve a specific book plot or plot twist and then they disappear again) are grouped together (Kristin Thompson, Shelly Novak, Jennifer Mitchell, etc.), because supposedly they’re all friends. They’re watching the game with Terri Adams. Terri is this kind, smart chick who is really into football. I mean like seriously. I didn’t understand half the shit that came out of her mouth, but I bet you any football fan would. She is the team’s assistant statistician. They cheer the team on and Ken wins the game and then we realize Terri is in love with Ken, and has been for some time, but since she is just pretty and not a knockout, he hasn’t noticed her much.
Amy Sutton invites everyone to her house for a big party to celebrate the victory – Ken’s victory. Amy has been trying to get her hooks into Ken for the last few weeks and while they have gone on a few dates, Ken doesn’t really want to get serious with Amy. So he is pretty irritated when she grabs him and plants a big kiss on him in front of everyone at the party. So irritated that he is looking for an escape route. He chats up Terri and her friends, and then just Terri, and Amy is shooting daggers at Terri through her eyes. Winston Egbert and his girlfriend Maria are getting ready to leave and have to take the bus because Winston’s car is in the shop, so Ken offers to take them home. As he gets his coat, Terri asks Winston if she can get a ride home with him. She is trying to get away from Amy’s withering looks. Winston asks Ken if there is room and he says there is and suddenly Terri tries to get out of it because she doesn’t want to piss Amy off any more than she already is. But it’s too late.
Ken drops off Winston and Maria first and he and Terri have a decent conversation until he gets to her house. The rain that had started before gets really bad, making it hard to see. Terri suggests Ken wait it out at her house, but he wants to get home, and he already has to stop back at the party to say his goodbyes, so he declines. On the way back, a car is coming right at him and Ken swerves to avoid a collision with the car, and slams into a tree instead. (Remember, whenever it rains in Sweet Valley it means there is going to be a terrible accident, some kind of attack and/or someone is going to die. Every time. )
Jessica Wakefield is annoyed by her date because he is more full of himself than Bruce Patman and keeps bragging about his IQ when he was five. I’m not sure why Jessica never pointed out that apparently it stopped there. She grabs a ride with her sister, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth’s boyfriend, Todd Wilkins. On their way home, the three of them see an accident and Elizabeth recognizes Ken’s car. They get out and ask what happened, fearing the worst because Ken’s car is done for, totaled – there was never a chance. The officer confirms Ken’s identity and tell them that he is going to the hospital, and isn’t conscious and that’s all he knows. But when they see Ken on the stretcher it looks really bad. They go back to Amy’s to break the news to the people who are still there. Amy breaks down as if she were just told that her betrothed was killed.
The next day Amy wants to visit Ken and asks Jessica to go with her, but then she chickens out and wants Jessica to do some recon instead. Luckily, Ken can’t have visitors yet, so both girls are off the hook. That Monday at school, Amy is telling everyone that the accident happened because of “that Terri girl” begging Ken for a ride. I want to punch Amy, but this desire is nothing new. Terri overhears Amy and is devastated because A) she had no idea Ken, the boy she loves, was in an accident, and B) she totally agrees with Amy. Ugh. Terri runs to a deserted stairwell to cry, and Elizabeth finds her and tells her not to worry about Amy, she’s just running her mouth with nothing to say, as usual.
A few days later, the doctors remove all the bandages covering Ken’s face. This never made sense to me, his entire face should not have been bandaged up like that… And they realize Ken is blind. The doctor makes arrangements for Ken to go to a rehabilitation center to help him adjust to being blind. Ken is devastated and the doctor does say that it could be temporary: over time Ken may get some or all of his eyesight back. But he shouldn’t count on it.
The twins visit Ken and bring him a card signed by a bunch of students from school, but he can’t read it. He tries to make up an excuse but then realizes it won’t be a secret for much longer. He tells them he’s blind. Jessica is all weird, so Elizabeth asks her to get them all some sodas and she leaves. On the way back to Ken’s room, Jessica runs into Amy, and tells Amy that Ken is blind. Amy wigs out, and tells Jessica not to tell Ken he ever saw her there. That girl is GONE! At school, Amy goes up to Terri and makes a huge scene about how it is all Terri’s fault that Ken is blind, in front of half the student body. I still want to punch Amy, but now I want to punch all of the spectators in this scene because none of them punched Amy. Why doesn’t anyone point out that Amy hasn’t even been by to see Ken?
Terri keeps blaming herself and asks Elizabeth to arrange a visit for the two of them and Ken. He has been at the rehab place and they don’t normally allow visitors. But this doesn’t make much sense to me. They set it up and when Terri sees Ken she cries and apologizes, still convinced it is her fault. Why hasn’t anyone blamed the drunk driver (the car coming at him, the guy was caught and super drunk), or even Amy Sutton? I mean if she hadn’t tried to jump Ken in front of an audience, he never would have tried to get away. Ken tells her it’s not her fault and they have an otherwise nice visit. Ken is in rehab a month and this month is barely mentioned. I wish we could actually experience even one instance at this school for the blind rehab place, but I guess that would make this a better book than it was prepared to be.
When Ken returns to Sweet Valley High he is feeling bitter and frustrated, which is understandable, especially since most of his friends are avoiding him because they’re so uncomfortable with his blindness. I understood how this was a fear of his, but to actually have it come true was seriously fucked up. In fact, Terri is the only one who is acting normal around him. They talk football and Ken enjoys himself so much he forgets about his blindness, but then he realizes Terri probably just feels sorry for him and could never actually be into him because he’s blind. Dude, you may be blind, but she isn’t and you’re still a hot jock. Get over it.
The twins and their friends throw a surprise “Welcome Back,” party for Ken, but again there are a lot of no-shows. Amy has moved onto this guy named Scott, who is the new quarterback for the football team since Ken can’t play anymore. She doesn’t even have the decency to tell Ken herself, he has to overhear it. You know it’s bad when even Jessica thinks it is kind of messed up.
Terri calls Ken and asks him to go to the beach with her. He starts to say no, but she says she has never asked a boy out before and if he says no she’ll be crushed. I’m shocked this line works, and I wonder why I never tried it out in high school. She takes him to North Haven beach because it is always deserted. At first Ken is all depressed but Terri keeps it light and convinces him he can still do a lot of the things he used to do like running. And they run down the coastline together. I thought this was super sweet. Even sweeter – they start hanging out and going to this private beach every day. Ken realizes he is starting to fall in love with Terri, but again convinces himself that she could never be into a blind guy and feels sorry for himself. So he starts acting like a prick towards Terri.
Terri doesn’t know what she did wrong to make Ken so angry all of a sudden. She asks for Elizabeth’s advice. Elizabeth tells her to be honest with Ken about how she feels about him. She also tells Terri to stop doing everything for Ken. He went to rehab to be independent so let him be independent. Here, here! Terri goes to Ken’s house and tries to talk to him but he gets angry and tells her to leave. He has a tantrum and actually throws a milkshake. Terri tells him she’s been helping him because she loves him and then she cries and runs out the door. Ken calls her at home, but she isn’t there so he decides to go to North Haven beach, certain she’ll be there. His dad offers him a ride, but he says he needs to do it on his own. A friend passes him on the street and the same thing happens. But Ken is determined to get there himself.
When he gets to the beach, he hears Terri and Terri sees him. They cry out each other’s names, and Terri rushes into Ken’s arms. Ken apologizes and tells her he was only so weird because he loves her too, and was certain she didn’t love him back. They kiss passionately, and stay for the sunset. Ken realizes while he can’t make out shapes, he can see the brightness of the sun… Maybe there is hope for his sight yet!
Was anyone else irked by the title? I mean, I don’t know what this says about me, but I was kind of hoping that someone died. Like Amy Sutton. Just kill her off, and it will all be fine. But seriously, “fatal” got my hopes up and then they were dashed. Even worse, Amy never even got hers in the end. Oh well, the hope that she eventually will, will get me through the next book! 😛