Monday, December 10, 2012

Sweet Valley High #37: Rumors

It’s time again for the Bridgewater Ball, which actually means nothing because I think it only gets mentioned three times in the entire series. Jessica complains that it’s a bunch of stuckup people, but when pressed, she admits that she would go if someone invited her. Lila wants to go too, and she’s pretty annoyed that no one has asked her yet.

She also finds out that big time director Jackson Croft is coming to town to cast his next movie. Jessica thinks that it’s her chance to become a star. Elizabeth reads about how his son was killed by a drunk driver who hit his family, and she wants to interview him for the paper. She thinks that it will get kids interested in learning more about SADD.

The real story though is Susan Stewart. She’s a beautiful and popular girl who always dresses well, but no one knows where she came from. Her Aunt Helen is her guardian and the woman kept her mother a big secret. The rumor is that her mom was some heiress or model who couldn’t keep her child. Helen works constantly, but her mother sends money to support Susan.

Susan is also dating Gordon, this total douche bag who is rich. His parents love her so much that they invite her to play golf with them at the country club, and they encourage him to ask her to the dance. Lila keeps seeing her around the club and gets so jealous that she makes up a rumor about Susan. She tells Caroline and Cara that Susan’s mom is in a mental institution. The rumor spreads fast, and people stop talking to her when they hear that her mom killed someone. One of her Bridgewater friends even breaks plans with her for no reason.

Liz sees Allen moping over Susan and realizes that he has a crush on her. After seeing Susan crying in the library and having no friends, she talks to Allen. Allen ends up comforting her and telling her that he doesn’t believe the rumors. He gets up the courage to ask her on a date, and she accepts because Gordon not only broke their plans for the ball but he also dumped her.

Allen encourages her to talk to Helen and even drives her home from school. Helen tells her that she just can’t tell her the truth and leaves in a hurry. A few days later, she writes Susan a letter and breaks down in tears. It turns out that she’s actually her mother. She got pregnant by a man who couldn’t commit and moved to Sweet Valley to start over again. She tears up the letter and hears someone knocking on the front door.

In walks Jackson Croft, wanting to talk about the past. Yup, he’s tots Susan’s dad. They were together for awhile, but he was about to leave to film a documentary overseas. They broke up without her telling him she was pregnant. She wrote him one letter and then never wrote him again. He tells her that he wants to know his daughter and help them out more but he can’t promise anything else.

Helen tells him to leave and let her think about things, but then Susan gets home. She takes one look at them and knows something is going on. Helen rushes off, but Jackson tells her that he is her dad. He suggests that she move to Los Angeles to live with him and his wife, but all she wants to know is her mother’s identity. Jackson realizes that she doesn’t know and Helen rushes off in tears.

Susan finally puts it all together and breaks down in front of him. He basically tells her that she should talk to her mother and she finally goes into her bedroom. She tells Helen that when she was a kid, she always wished that she was her mom. They cry together and decide to start over again.

Jessica decides that Gordon is her ticket to the ball. She starts dressing more like Liz to show her demure side, but Lila is always by his side. When they go to the casting call, she learns that he asked her to the dance. Elizabeth gets her interview, and Susan shows up unexpectedly. When they learn her identity, Jessica immediately runs off to tell everyone that she sees.

Winston decides to throw a party for the “poor people,” and everyone shows up. Gordon asks Susan for a dance, and she comes back excited that he just asked her to the ball again. Lila gets pissed because he never broke their date, and Liz is sad for Allen. Susan thinks that he only asked her out of pity, but when he shows up filled with excitement, she realizes that she was stupid. She “breaks up” with Gordon in front of everyone and runs off with Allen. Lila tosses a glass of water in his face and storms off too.

The B-plot is that the twins think their mom is pregnant. She suddenly has weird cravings, has a doctor’s appointment that she doesn’t want to talk about, gets sick in the morning, and seems moody. Jessica finds a bag of new baby clothes hidden in her closet, and Alice starts talking about baby names. She calls Steven who comes back to help.

They start talking about how much they love families and babies. Steven offers to drop out of school and help out around the house. After their parents not saying a word, they finally sit them down for a family meeting. It turns out that Alice bought the clothes for a family friend, and that they were talking about leaving the twins alone while they went on a one-month vacation. Oopsie.

*Jessica is astounded that last year’s ball had $5,000 worth of flowers. Am I the only one who thinks Lila probably spends that much on flowers for a party at her house?

*A really annoying scene at the beginning has Liz reading an article in the paper and nodding her head in satisfaction because it is so well written. Yes, because a professional journalist needs the approval of a Wakefield twin.

*Bill Chase isn’t sure if he should go to the casting call until Liz talks him into it. And yet he never had a problem with it back in the early books.

*If the clothes were just a gift, why the heck would she hide the bag in the back of her closet and under stuff? Plus, she was literally rubbing her stomach and smiling at one point, very odd.

*So, Jackson was so into his work that he couldn’t settle down like Helen wanted. It apparently didn’t take him too long to change his mind, since he and his wife had a 14-year-old son and Susan is only 16. Looks like he was already married or dating someone when she was born.

*The book kind of makes it seem like he only came to see her because his son died. He always knew she existed, but he couldn’t make the trip from LA to check on her even once.

*UM, since when do directors host casting calls? I know that directors will sometimes pick the lead roles, but he’s casting non-speaking football player type background characters.

*Unbelievably, Jessica doesn’t get a callback, but somehow she’s perfectly fine with that.

*The big time director is not only willing to give Liz an interview about drunk driving, but he decides to do it right there. That’s pretty good given that the book makes a point of how he won’t even talk about that night or his son to anyone.

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