Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sweet Valley High #3: Playing With Fire


Here it is! The most pornographic and adult of all Sweet Valley books, with the notable exception of the Sweet Valley Confidential books, which don't really fit with the series.

Jessica has to go to the big dance with Winston because she screwed up in the last book and her sister basically wants to punish her. Winston starts dancing around like a crazy person, so she looks around at the crowd to hopefully find someone to save her. Enter Bruce Patman, the hottest and best looking guy in the entire school. He cuts in, and one dance leads to another.

Liz finds Winston moping by the punch bowl, but he claims that it's fine because they're going to a party at Ken's house. Jessica then shows up, announces that she's going to the party with Bruce, and pawns Winston off on Robin. Even though Jessica is supposed to be a bad ass, she's pretty tame. She flips out when Bruce unties her bikini in the water, and she follows him around like a little lost puppy dog.

Liz constantly worries that Jess and Bruce are a bad combination. She tries to interrupt them, but Bruce makes it clear that she needs to vamoose right away. He also lets Jessica know that he's in control and if she doesn't like it, she can leave. Liz catches them making out, and it seems like she caught them in a fairly compromising position.

Things are really hot between Jessica and Bruce for the first few days. They go everywhere together and do everything together. When it comes time to play tennis, she starts to play her best and almost beats him, but he flips out about losing. She decides that she'd rather lose than risk losing him, so she throws the game. She even starts shopping at fancy country club shops to fit in with the people he hangs around.

Jess learns that she's in danger of failing her chemistry class, but when she tells Bruce, he doesn't really care. She decides just to copy off Emily's test because she's really good, but it doesn't go the way she planned. Emily is super distracted because some random guy saw The Droids play and offered to make them stars. Tony keeps making big plans for them, but he books them in these shady little clubs. She's so busy with the band that she doesn't have time for school.

Bruce tells Jessica that he knows where the teacher keeps the test, but he won't actually steal the test for her. Robin conveniently comes over, starts begging for a PBA nomination, and Jessica turns devious. She tells Robin that if she steals the test, she's look good in the eyes of the sorority. She then has Robin put the test in Emily's locker, thinking that she can then cheat off her test. They both wind up failing the test because Mr. Russo decided at the last minute to change the answers. Emily confesses to cheating, but she doesn't tell on Jessica.

While all this is going on, Bruce starts pulling away. He makes up excuses why he can't take her anywhere, and when they do go out, they just make out in private places. Todd tells Liz that Bruce made it clear he gets anything he wants from her twin anytime he wants it, but she doesn't believe him. In her next column, someone slipped in something about Bruce at a race. Bruce tells Jess that he lent his car to someone else because he was with his "sick" mother at the time. John admits that Bruce was there with his "navigator," but he can't tell her who that is.

Bruce even convinces her to quit the cheerleading squad. He pretty much makes her fake being sick to skip a big game so they can spend the night together, and he calls them a bunch of chicks with fat thighs dancing around in short skirts. She gives up all of her plans just in case he might call, but he almost never does. People keep whispering that he's cheating, but no one actually says anything to her.

She spends the whole day getting ready for his birthday, telling her twin that he planned something special for them. Liz is astounded because Bruce planned a big party at the country club and told no one to tell Jess, so she realizes that he did it just to ignore her again. He doesn't look at her presents, tells her that he only planned the party because she kept whining about missing her friends, and acts put out that she isn't happy he lied again.

Bruce spends most of the night ignoring her. He dances with all the cheerleaders, only talks to her a few times, and barely notices that she's there. He takes the whole party out for pizza, excuses himself to make a phone call, and comes back to say that his sick grandmother needs his help. Liz and Todd offer to drop Jess at home, but Liz actually has Todd drive around for awhile before going back to the pizza place.

Jessica sees Bruce's car back in the parking lot and gets all excited, but it turns out that he left to pick up his other date. She snaps, throws pizza in his face, and tosses a pitcher of soda on his head. He trips, falls into the fountain, and everyone laughs at him. Jessica then tells Winston that she owes him a date, they run out to the parking lot, and she lets all the air out of Bruce's tires while Winston watches.

Oh, and The Droids never play any place good. Max does research on Tony, finding his picture in a bunch of magazines, but he starts calling Dana all the time. When he finally hits on her, she finds out that he got fired from his job and only worked with them because he had the hots for Dana.

*Is it just me, or does Bruce look like a child molester on the cover of this book?

*If Jessica is such an "amazing" tennis player, why doesn't she go out for the team? In the later books, she likes playing, but she isn't nearly as good as the players on the team. Here, she's so good that she can beat Bruce, who is the top player in the school.

*Does this mean that Bruce is (gasp) Jessica's soul mate and not Liz's soul mate? After all, she supposedly always has the upper hand with every guy she ever dated except him.

*Can we all just agree that this is the book where she loses her virginity? Liz and her friends see them parked together on a winding road, he tells people that he gets what he wants from her, and she comes home in the middle of the night.

*Yeah, so when I was in high school, I'm pretty sure my parents would give a shit if I didn't come home until 3 am. Ned and Alice never even notice.

*I was scandalized by this book when I was a kid! When he untied her bikini top, I actually sat there with my eyes wide and my mouth open.

*This is one of the books where Robin is "fat," so they naturally have to mention it every time she appears in the book. Jess thinks that no one that fat should wear the same clothes she does, PBA doesn't want any fat girls, and that if she lost a lot of weight, she might actually look good.

*It's books like this one that make me wonder why people love Bruce and Liz so much. I liked him with Lila in SVU, but I'm not sure I could ever date someone who (a) tried to date rape me and (b) pulled this shit with my sister.