Perfect Size Six

October 2, 2017

#30 Jealous Lies

Filed under: Books #21-40,Uncategorized — mediumcore @ 4:54 pm
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“Someone doesn’t want Jean in Pi Beta Alpha–her best friend, Sandra.”

This is definitely one of my favorites even though it features my least favorite character in Sweet Valley-dom, Sandra Bacon. (How horrible is she? Twelve books from now, Sandra lets her boyfriend be investigated for attempted murder/arson instead of just admitting to her friends and family that she was dating a Mexican boy. Plus, just look at how fucking smug she is on this cover in her pink sorority jacket.)

Aside from just being a horrible person all around, Sandy Bacon is riddled with horrible self esteem. She’s super jealous of her best friend, Jean West, who by all accounts is prettier than her, smarter than her, and a better friend than her. (Cue my favorite Vanderpump Rules gif.) The one thing that Sandy has that Jean doesn’t is membership in Sweet Valley High’s *exclusive* sorority, Pi Beta Alpha. (Um, almost every girl at school -including Enid Rollins and Caroline Pearson- is in this so-called *exclusive* sorority. I don’t understand the big deal.)

giphy(2)_1Well, Jean missed out on the last pledge season due to her busy schedule, and Sandy intends to make her absence permanent. So the whole book revolves around Sandy plotting to fuck with Jeannie’s pledging a.k.a. hazing period.

Pledge task #1. Take Tom “maybe gay***” Mckay to the sorority party. Sandra knows that every guy would jump at the chance to take Jean anywhere, every one except Tom. The ghostwriter paints him as this sort of aloof, emotional guy who’s been burned by love (more specifically Jessica Wakefield). Plus, he already dislikes Jean due to some earlier perceived hallway snub, so Sandy thinks there’s no way he’d take her to the party.

The last girl he’d gone with was Jessica Wakefield, and a few people joked that she had turned him off the female sex forever, having strung him along until someone better came along.

***We learn much later in the series that he is sort of questioning his sexuality, when he develops feelings for Enid’s cousin, who’s visiting from San Francisco. (Subtle, Sweet Valley ghostwriter. Was her uncle from Fire Island unavailable for this story?)

giphy12Much to Sandy’s dismay, there appears to be a sort of love connection going on, & Tom agrees to be Jean’s date. Sandy being the absolute heinous bitch that she is, decides that she’ll go to Tom’s job and “accidentally” let it slip that this Jean only taking him to the sorority party as part of her pledging process. Ugh.

Tom is understandably pissed, so he wants to make Jean look bad in front of the Pi Beta Alpha girls. He’s a total dick about it, though, stringing her along for hours the night of the party, saying that he’s sick, but he’s coming. When the party’s almost over, he calls and says he’s at the hospital with food poisoning.

Jean goes to the party alone. All the sorority girls are pretty understanding of the situation, but Sandra demands proof that Tom is really in the hospital. So Jean calls the one hospital in Sweet Valley, and there, of course, is no Tom Mckay in the emergency room.

Jean comes up with a simultaneous revenge plan/alternate pledge task. She’s going to make Tom really fall in love with her. At the Friday the 13th dance, since it’s her birthday, she’s supposed to publicly call out who she wants to dance with, and she’s not going to pick Tom, which I guess is supposed to humiliate him. (Girl, your revenge skills need a little help.)

She springs into action the next morning, bringing a really nice care package to the “sick” Tom. He bumbles and stumbles over her nice gesture, thinking that he might have misjudged her. They go on a series of dates. He brings a picnic lunch for them to school. He takes her to an amusement park, & they share a nice moment on a ferris wheel. Jean confesses to Sandy that she’s fallen in love with Tom and can’t go through with the revenge plan. Sandy says nothing, because she’s a heinous bitch.

tumblr_nxoj783mNl1ug0wdso1_500Tom and Jean both confess their initial dishonesty. Tom tells Jean that Sandy clued him in on the PBA pledge task, which is why he stood her up. Jean, being the saint that she is, doesn’t confront Sandy & just waits for her to come clean.

Sandy, I guess to her credit, feels really bad about the whole situation and has a heart-to-heart talk/emotional breakdown with Mr. Collins, Sweet Valley High’s favorite English teacher/Robert Redford lookalike.

The night of the big dance comes, and Jean picks Tom to have the first dance with. The sorority girls have a total meltdown, so Sandy ends up publicly admitting her behind-the-scenes treachery. Sandy begs them to let Jean in and kick her out, but the sorority decides to keep them both. Jean and Sandy hug it out so happy ending, I guess?

Words of wisdom from the queen, Lila Fowler: “You’re incredibly lucky, Sandy Bacon,” Lila whispered as the other girls walked back to the dance area. “A lot of other girls wouldn’t have been half as forgiving.”

B-Plot: The twins’ brother, Steven, is planning on dropping out of college, so he can work/cruise around the world with his roommate. (I feel like this is total foreshadowing for when he comes out of the closet in Sweet Valley Confidential.) Instead of everyone calmly discussing their concerns about the situation, Elizabeth comes up with the “brilliant” idea to use reverse psychology to get him to stay. So everyone acts like Steven leaving to sail around the world is the best idea ever. His feelings get hurt, and he decides to say so another happy ending, I guess?

Relatable adult-shit moment: “What’s that?” Elizabeth asked him, trying hard to keep her voice nonchalant.

Steven made a face. “A bunch of junk Dad gave me this morning, insurance policies, medical plans, all that sort of thing. He says I’ll have to check out my coverage now that I’m leaving school.” He frowned again. “I never realized how much paperwork it takes just to stay healthy.”

Oh, poor, naïve Steven. Wait until you get the bill. As I tell teenagers everyday, enjoy being a kid while you can because being an adult sucks.

August 6, 2010

#8 Heart Breaker (or Surf’s up, Bitch)

“Will Jessica break Bill’s heart, too??”

Once upon a time, Jessica had a crush on Bill Chase, so she asked him to go to the Sadie Hawkins dance with her. Bill turned her down, since he still wasn’t over his dead ex-girlfriend, so Jessica, being the sociopath that she is, has vowed to get her revenge. Mwahaha!

It all started in the last book, #7 Dear Sister. Bill originally had a crush on Elizabeth, and during her breakup with Todd/hoedown, she agreed to go out with him. Liz ended up ditching Bill for Bruce, so Jess went instead, pretending she was Liz.  She then revealed at the end of the date that she was Jessica, so Bill’s affection shifted accordingly.

Wow. That was a lot of set up. I solemnly swear the rest of the book is a lot less complicated.

Bill and Jessica have snagged the leads in Sweet Valley High’s spring production of Splendor in the Grass. (That’s an interesting choice. I love the movie and all, but I would think that the topics therein (including suicide, abortion, mental breakdown, and implied gang rape) would be a tad controversial/ awkward in the world of Sweet Valley. Can you just imagine Jess, the drama queen, delivering these lines:

“No, mom! I’m not spoiled! I’m not spoiled mom! I’m just as fresh and virginal, like the day I was born, mom!”

Plus, it seems like the only scenes they ever rehearse are ones that involve Jess and Bill making out.

At stage left, we have DeeDee Gordon, who’s continuously mooning over Bill. I don’t blame her. He’s definitely one of the dreamiest Sweet Valley males, but remember, this is a world where attempted date-rapist Bruce Patman is the #1 stud. So all bets are off.

To summarize our love quadrangle, DeeDee likes Bill, Bill likes Jessica, and Jessica’s got the hots for (pre-gay) Tom Mckay (he doesn’t “come out” per se, but he becomes “confused” once he meets Enid’s hot, gay cousin in #75 Amy’s True Love. )

DeeDee appears to be making some headway with Bill, after he starts giving her surfing lessons, but Jessica won’t let someone half as beautiful and half as popular steal her manservant away from her!

It’s like whenever Jessica sees the two of them together, she pulls out her bag of tricks and reduces Bill to a puddle. Then, she alternately ignores him and flirts with Tom Mckay. DeeDee, meanwhile, hangs in there, like the masochist she is.

Things sort of come to a head when DeeDee’s Hollywood agent father comes to town. He watches the play rehearsal and declares that one member of the cast has huge star potential. He won’t say who, because he doesn’t want to make them nervous (???) for opening night, when he will bring one of his producer-friends who discovered Matt Dillon. So instead of making one person nervous, he makes them all petrified by default. Nice, Mr. Gordon.

Jessica knows that she’s the only one who could be a Hollywood star, so she starts operating under the belief that she will be the next Jessica Lange.  Who cares about Bill or Tom, when there’s Richard Gere?

A distraught Bill takes DeeDee for more surfing lessons during a storm. He’s so distracted by thoughts of Jessica that he doesn’t notice right away when DeeDee crashes and gets hit by her board.

He realizes he’s in love with DeeDee after a daring mid-sea rescue. He drags her unconscious body to the beach and can’t believe how beautiful she is. He starts performing CPR on her, but it quickly turns into a makeout session when she opens her eyes and says his name. I thought this was soooo romantic as a kid, but it seems really creepy in retrospect. How about you make sure she’s actually okay before you stick your tongue down her throat, Bill? Within five minutes of the near-death experience, they’re both saying “I love you” to one another. That was fast. (Maybe, this is foreshadowing for #22, Too Much In Love, where DeeDee becomes a Stage-5 clinger.)

Fast forward to opening night of Splendor in the Grass. The play’s a hit, and Mr. Gordon announces that the next Hollywood star will be……Bill Chase. Ooooh, burn Jessica.

Jess makes a last-ditch effort to win back Bill, but he very publicly lets it be known at Lila’s party that DeeDee’s his gal. Awww.

B-Plot: Todd’s ex-girlfriend, Patsy Webber, has moved back to Sweet Valley, and Elizabeth becomes extremely insecure because Patsy is so beautiful. She also dated Todd before Liz, which doesn’t help. Instead of discussing her insecurities with Todd, she just freaks out at all of Todd and Patsy’s interactions. Todd is just as inappropriate. If you have a girlfriend, you shouldn’t be spending all your time with your supermodel ex-girlfriend, giving her sunscreen rubdowns and conciliatory hugs.

I’m so tired of the Liz/Todd drama. It seems like they’re on the verge of breaking up over something stupid in every book. Countdown to Todd’s move to Vermont: 15 books.

Oh, hey, it’s Lois Waller (the poster child of Perfect Size Six): “(Liz) was reluctant to confide in Enid in front of the other girls. Lois Waller made her a little uncomfortable—always trying so hard to impress people, to be in the center of things.”

Perfect-size-six propaganda moment: “DeeDee knew she was running off at the mouth, making jokes to cover up for what she was really feeling. It was an old defense that dated back to when she’d been a chubby little girl and the only way she could keep the other kids from making cracks about her was to make them laugh first.”

(As a bonus of sorts, here’s one of the most dramatic scenes in Splendor in the Grass. Jessica would be playing “Deanie,” the girl in the bathtub. Lila would be playing her mother (haha!) Lila always gets the shaft in the plays.


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