Friday, October 26, 2012

Sweet Valley High #42: Caught in the Middle

Everyone at Sweet Valley High is atwitter because Sandra “Sandy” Beacon is now dating Manuel Lopez. Manuel invites her over to his house to spend time with his family and he really wants to meet her parents, but she keeps putting him off. He also wants to take her to the upcoming Mexican festival, but only if she tells her parents first.

Sandy does make an attempt to talk to her mom after she reads about the Mexican festival. Her mother is slightly disgusted that “those people” want to host such an event because apparently there was some riot in another town at one of those festivals. Sandy broaches the idea of her dating a guy from a different background and her mom is appalled. Sandy excuses herself and then feels bad because her mom makes it clear that she wants her to hang out.

Jeannie warns her that Liz added an item about her new relationship status in the Eyes and Ears column. Sandy freaks out because her mom often reads the paper and she can’t know about Manuel. She tracks Liz down and begs her to take it out of the paper. Liz thinks it’s funny because everyone already knows about them, but she agrees to do it anyway.

The West and Beacon families get together for a cookout. Mrs. Beacon keeps talking about how much time the girls spend together and Jeannie gets uncomfortable because Sandy keeps using her as an excuse to spend time with Manuel. Sandy’s parents bought her a small motorboat for her birthday and Manuel wants to visit Secca Lake. She approaches Jeannie, but her friend already has plans and tells her that she’s tired of being her excuse.

Sandy runs into Liz and asks her to go. Liz says they would probably rather be alone, and she lies, saying that Manuel wants her to go. She then tells Manuel that Liz practically begged her to come along. While on the water, Liz lets it slip that Sandy begged her to come and Manuel gets weird.

The boat stops working and Sandy decides to tinker with the engine. The boat explodes, throwing everyone into the water, but Manuel pulls her to safety. When she wakes up, she asks him to leave and Liz to take credit for saving her. Manuel isn’t happy, but he will basically do anything she asks. Liz is especially uncomfortable because the paper runs a story about her and everyone in school thinks she’s a hero. The Beacons even buy her an expensive bracelet in appreciation.

Sandy has some bad burns on her hands but she’s in good shape. She tells Liz about her parents and gets to talk to Manuel a few times. Liz goes to see him and they have a long talk. When Sandy comes back to school, he breaks up with her because he wants to be with someone who is proud to be with him. Sandy talks to her mom a few more times about dating a guy who isn’t Caucasian, but her mom just wants to fix her up with a cute guy from the country club.

The police bring Manuel into the station because someone saw him near the boat on the day of the explosion. He says that he is a friend of Sandy’s and they call her down to the station. Her parents come with her and she lies, saying that she never saw him before. They start to drag him off and she finally breaks down. She confesses that they’ve been dating and tells her parents everything.

Mrs. Beacon is in shock, but Mr. Beacon is okay with everything. He invites Manuel to the country club dance and thanks him for saving their daughter’s life. Manuel agrees as long as he comes to the Mexican festival and Mr. Beacon thinks it sounds like fun. Mrs. Beacon finally comes around and thanks Manuel before admitting that it might take her some time to get over her prejudices.

The B-plot is that it’s Lila’s birthday and Jessica wants to throw her the ultimate surprise party. She gets everyone to pretend that they don’t care about birthdays and that they have plans already. Lila gets so mad that she stops talking to them. On the day after her birthday, the girls drag her to the Wakefield house and surprise her with a huge party.

*Does this mean that Lila is actually 17 now? The twins are always 16 in SVH and since Lila is already driving, I’m assuming that she’s slightly older than them.

*I know the book is supposed to be about “true love,” but Manuel is a moron. He is literally willing to take the fall and let them put him in jail for tampering with her boat. When Mr. Beacon asks him about it, he says that he loved her and wanted her to be happy.

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