Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sweet Valley University #21: For the Love of Ryan



For the Love of Ryan is one of those Sweet Valley University books that takes part in a standalone series of a few books. Sure they mention the same “gang”, but the new characters are quickly forgotten.

The gang from Sweet Valley University decide to head to the Sweet Valley Shore for the summer, which begs the question…seriously, how fucking big in this town? Plus the beach is closed for the first week or so because it hasn’t opened for the season. Uh, don’t the twins swim constantly in Sweet Valley? Oh that’s right, this must be 14 hours across town.

Elizabeth and Jessica head north with Winston and good old Liz can’t help but notice how great and put together Jess looks after the long trip. Jess immediately starts scoping the new guys on the beach while Liz gets comfy with her buddy from college Nina. Apparently they all put down a deposit on a summer house without even knowing if they’d make the lifeguard squad! I hate those twins and their “everything will work out” mentality.

On the first day of training, Jess meets a guy in a University of Chicago hat and decides he’s a pompous ass. She also sets her sights on Ryan Taylor because he looks great in swim trunks. UC guy hits on her and she tells him that Ryan is her boyfriend, but oops he’s actually leading the training session. Oh well, she’s convinced it’s only a matter of time anyway. They get back home and she discovers that UC guy is actually Ben, one of their new roomies. They also have Wendy.

Now here’s the thing that pisses me off. Wendy doesn’t have blonde hair or blue eyes so she’s automatically the plain Jane of the group. There’s also Rachel from a neighboring squad with jet black hair so she’s obviously the bitch of the summer. Great…

The author lets us know that things just aren’t right in Sweet Valley. Literally every 10-12 pages they point out that Jessica is doing great and Elizabeth sucks. They also mention poor Jess’s fucked up love life before letting her fall for someone else. Jessica goes after Ben with a vengeance, while Elizabeth sucks all over the place. She forgets to eat, trips on the sand, cuts herself, almost drowns, etc. and Ryan is always there with a scowl. Uh-oh, can you see where this is going?

Elizabeth starts to realize that she doesn’t really miss or think about her boyfriend Tom who’s off in Colorado for the summer. Then she realizes that she has feelings for Ryan. Of course she does, they talked for 10 minutes total. But she reminds herself that she’d never cheat on her boyfriend. Right because she’s never done that before.

Nina hooks up with a hot stud named Paul, though she tells him she has a steady. That leaves Winston, who spends a lot of time with Wendy and a stray dog they find. He starts doing a celebrity tour of the area, only to get shutdown by the police. Then he discovers that Wendy has a crush on local singing sensation Pedro Paloma (she even names her dog after them). Pedro asks Winston to take his house off the tour and Winston convinces him to ask out Wendy.

Jess gets Ryan to come out to a dance with her and he’s obviously feeling her since he asks her to dance to a slow song. Then he gets distant and leaves. Gasp, say it isn’t so! A guy rejecting one of the sweet valley twins? He must have balls of stone. However the whole gang manages to make the squad except for poor Winston.

At a beach party Liz gets sent back to the lifeguard house to get kerosene and runs into Ryan. He steps close to her and she flings herself at him. Of course Jess shows up, planning to seduce the poor guy and catches their kiss instead. She runs off, gets pissed at Ben for trying to help and then starts shouting at Liz when she appears. Wendy discovers that Winston set her up, gets angry at Pedro and comes home to yell at him.

Nina arrives and calms everyone down. By the end they’re doing a little “go us-teamwork” cheer that makes me want to hurl. Whatever could happen next?

So yeah, these characters appear in two more books before the gang heads back to Sweet Valley University. Then they’re not mentioned again until another three book series down the road. For the Love of Ryan pretty much sucked, but it could have been worse.