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.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Friends Forever #10: Stacey’s Problem

The problem with Stacey is that she doesn’t really have a problem. She and Claudia are now best friends again, and the two spend one night making pizza with her mom. Maureen is in a good mood, joking with the girls and making slices with anchovies. She even agrees to play a game with them before suddenly developing a headache and eating in her room.

Stacey goes to NYC for a weekend with her dad and meets with Ethan. She mentions that she still likes him and might be in love with him but they need to take their time together. She spends a lot of time with Ed and his girlfriend Samantha. They check out a designer clothing exhibit, and get along really well. Ed tells her that they got engaged and Stacey realizes that she doesn’t really know Sam.

Ed decides to call Maureen and tell her about his engagement. When Stacey gets back in town though, she breaks down and tells her mom herself. She later hears her mom crying and Maureen tells her that it’s just because things are changing. She then takes the step of calling Ed and congratulating him on his news.

Stacey talks things over with the BSC and they decide that her mom needs to start dating again. Claudia gets her hands on a dating tape, and they all watch it together. No one can agree on any guy for her mom and they give up. It turns out that Maureen got a date for the weekend with a guy she knows from work and he’s taking her to a fancy dance. Stacey helps her mom pick out an outfit and then heads off to NYC again.

She sneaks away a few times to call her mom during the weekend and she even tells Sam about her concerns. On Sunday morning, they go out to eat and she sees Laine in line. Laine acts like nothing happened between then and tries to get Stacey to join her group before telling her to call and walking away. Stacey finds out that her mom’s date didn’t go well and wants to rush home, so Sam agrees to drive her.

Stacey spends the next few days worrying about her mom. Then she comes home and finds her mom cooking. She sits her down and gives her some big news: she decided to go back to using her maiden name since there will soon be a new Mrs. McGill. She also tells her that she might quit her job and open her own clothing store, which gets Stacey excited.

While all this is going on, Mallory comes home from boarding school. She feels really left out because Byron took over her role as the oldest child. She wants to sign up for a bunch of summer classes at the rec center with Jessi, but she has a full dance schedule. Stacey tells her to just give it some time until everyone adjusts to her being back and until school lets out so they can have more time. Mallory does find some information for them online, and she decides to keep finding new things and sending it back to them.

*Mallory started an internet club at school to help girls who didn’t know how to use the computers. Naturally she was so good at everything that she became president.

*Vanessa thinks that Mallory is just pouting because they kept going on without her and didn’t drop everything when she came home.

*It would be nice to see a few other divorced people not find someone new/get married so fast. It hasn’t even been a year (technically) and Ed is engaged while Maureen just had a bunch of bad dates. Then again, Dawn’s dad got engaged, broke up, engaged again, married and had a kid in a year.

*Stacey kept worrying about what to tell her mom or what to say to her, so she was glad that her dad agreed to do it. But, she just blurted out the news anyway.

*Ed is kind of a dick. He actually wanted Stacey to deal with telling his ex-wife about his engagement until Sam said he should call her.

*Um, Stacey didn’t even know what Sam did until this book. Shouldn’t your only child know things like that before you propose to someone?

*Oh, and Samantha is actually a fashion photographer. She says that she worked as a model until she got too old and then started taking pictures. Yup, that totally sounds like how you become a photographer.

*She’s getting ready to leave on a longer assignment to Alaska. Given what we know about Ed, it doesn’t sound like something he would be happy about.

*The entire BSC wants to work at Maureen’s new store, but she points out that it violates child-labor laws. That’s funny because it never did before.

*Laine actually mentions King! She says that they “grew apart” since she saw Stacey last, which given that everything in the series happened in a year, was like two months ago.

*Laine is also a little goth, or at least that’s what I picked up from the book. She has blue eyeliner on and the way she talks makes it seem like she’s goth. I wonder if she can rock that look while working her fancy summer job.

*I thought that when they switched to the FF series, the girls agreed to meet less often. In this one, Stacey mentions that they still have three meetings every week.