Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sweet Valley High #53: Second Chance

Kristin Thompson is an ace (hee-hee) tennis player at Sweet Valley High. Her mom was a semi-famous pro player, but settled down a little when she was born. Her parents opened a chain of tennis clubs and then her mom got back into the swing of things (I seriously can’t help myself) and was flying to Wimbledon, when her plane crashed and she died. Kristin kind of keeps this from everyone and keeps to herself.

Liz Wakefield though isn’t deterred by anyone. She and Enid are starting a chapter of Big Sisters in Sweet Valley and one of the girls seems perfect for Kristin, mainly because she loves tennis. Liz suggests Kristin join the group and she isn’t sure because she doesn’t have a lot of time. See, she practices tennis from the moment she gets out of school, until dinner and in the early mornings too. After a three-minute long talk with Liz though, she’s sold on the idea.

When her tennis coach Dorrie has a dentist appointment, she has a whole afternoon to herself. She ends up watching some people heading towards the tennis courts and sees Bruce Patman playing. The other kids want to see her kick his butt…er, play him and she finally agrees. In the middle of the game, she realizes how bad it would look for him to lose to a girl and throws the game. Nice role model! Bruce is so appreciative that he asks her on a date.

The thing is that there’s a huge tournament coming up and she needs to focus. The winner of the tournament gets to train with a world famous tennis coach, become part of his team and compete in the Avery Tournament, which is some huge kind of deal. Kristin should focus all of her energy on that, but no woman can resist Bruce Patman.

Although he’s supposedly changed since Regina, he goes right back to his old methods. He tries wooing her and making himself the center of her life. The night before her tournament, he suggests ice cream and then takes her up the coast for a concert instead. The next day, she plays horribly and almost loses the match. Her dad lectures her on staying out late and acts concerned about her social life.

Then Bruce asks her to be his date at some swanky party thrown by his parents. It’s the night before the final tournament and she knows she should stay home, but goes anyway. Amy thinks she’s his date for the party, even though everyone else knows he asked Kristin. Kristin ends up feeling ignored and neglected, as Bruce spends the whole night dancing with Amy.

At the tournament, Kristin loses to another girl and feels terrible. Dorrie confesses that her mother planned on retiring completely from tennis after Wimbledon because she wanted to spend more time with her family. Kristin wonders if she should do the same thing. She loves tennis, but loves the idea of dating too. Her “little sister” cries to her because she tried out for a big deal tennis camp and failed, so she thinks Kristin won’t like her anymore. Kristin realizes she was acting the same way, makes the little girl feel better and decides to focus all of her energy on tennis and making next year’s team.

When school starts again, Bruce makes a big deal of her ditching him at the party. Kristin goes off on him and puts him in his place. He then proceeds to tell other people that she wasn’t a very good tennis player and he couldn’t date her. Yeah, I bet Amy is better at “indoor sports”. Then Kristin gets a call from the coach. One of the players sprained her ankle and can’t play for a month, so he wants her on the team. Despite wanting a normal life five pages ago, she agrees to be on the team.

Kristin wins her first match, with Liz, Jess, AJ, Jeffery and a bunch of other SVH students watching. Bruce approaches her after, wanting to take her out to celebrate her victory. She once again puts him in his place, pointing out that she has to focus on the important things in life and he isn’t one of them.

Oh and there’s a big essay contest going on where students must write about Sweet Valley in the year 2000. God I feel old now. The winner is named the king/queen of some stupid ball and a gift certificate to the local music store. AJ immediately starts writing his essay and Jessica just thinks about how good she’ll look as the queen by his side.

One more comment: I like when the books try to point out volunteer stuff, but I hate that it’s barely mentioned again! I remember Liz’s little girl pops up in the next book because she takes her to a bookstore and Jessica’s guy/psycho thinks she’s her twin. After that though, the little sister program just disappears completely.

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