I always forget that there's some of the early, early books that I've never read before, and this is one of them. I can't remember if I read this as a kid or not, but I know I never recapped it before, so here goes!
Roger Barrett went from the poor kid who can't even afford running shoes to one of the richest men in Sweet Valley overnight. Remember when his mom got all sick and was dying in the hospital and the Patman family finally decided to step up and take care of her? Well, now she's dead, he's living with Bruce, and everyone pretty much wants to know why he can't be more like Bruce. Um, maybe because he's just not a huge douche canoe?
Marie, Bruce's mom who is way nicer in the last books, pretty much just looks down his nose at him. She doesn't like that he has an interest in medicine instead of the family business, she thinks his clothes are gross, and she really doesn't like Olivia. It's clear that she'd much rather just be chilling with her servants fetching her Valium and lounging by the pool than dealing with a normal person living in her home.
This definitely comes to a head when Mr. Patman (good old Hank) invites some business associate and his wife to dinner. The women turns her nose up and makes it clear that she dislikes Roger from the very beginning. When he accidentally spills wine on her, it's on. No, seriously. She throws a massive hissy fit and says that her dress is ruined. When he points out that it landed on the table and barely on her dress, she flips out even more.
While all this is going on, Olivia starts worrying that she won't fit in with his new life. Jessica, being the manipulative witch that she is, decides that this is the perfect time for her to snag Roger for herself. Though she never had any interest in him, she suddenly decides that she must win him over so she can be his date to some big party. She and Marie basically work out an agreement that Olivia will be history within a few weeks.
Since she's a high school girl, she really can't do much damage, right? She makes Olivia take *gasp* two plates of food at a Patman party, which leads to Bruce making rude jokes about her being a fat ass. She then suggests that she and Bruce play doubles with Olivia and Roger. Jessica pretends like she hasn't played in a long time, but then she makes Olivia look like a moron on the courts. She also insults the dress that Olivia wanted to wear to the party and makes her feel like an idiot for even attempting to wear it.
While all this is going on, Todd has his eye on Regina. He keeps seeing her sneaking out of school early and convinces Elizabeth that they need to follow her. They see her sneaking away with an older man, which Lila sees too. Lila then spreads rumors that Regina is having an affair with an older man.
It actually turns out that he's some huge modeling agent. He was in charge of a modeling contest, saw Regina on the street, and awarded her the top prize. Lila tries to steal her thunder, which leads to the guy telling her that she's basically pretty girl pretty and not model pretty. Her win lands her on the cover of the magazine, so everyone loves her again.
Jessica uses her manipulative side to convince Roger that Olivia is no longer right for him and that she doesn't like him anymore, and she convinces Olivia to just give up on him. She then arranges to be Roger's date for the dance. Liz, worrying about her friend, goes to Olivia and finds out what happened. Roger overhears his aunt on the phone with the bitchy lady and talking about how Jessica manipulated him this whole time. He goes to Liz, who naturally agrees to help.
Roger and Liz basically tell Jessica that they know what she did without actually telling her. They point out that she's been so helpful lately that she'll obviously want to help Roger and Olivia get back together. Liz takes him over to her house, they apologize for being stupid, and make up. They go to the dance together, and Jessica calls Neil Freemont for a date at the last minute. Oh, and Roger stands up to his aunt for once.
*The Neil thing is funny. Jessica's been "seeing" him for awhile, but she points out that she really only sees him when she has nothing better to do. Ned gets a little excited when he sees the same guy coming around, and Jessica basically tells him to chill out. It's like he knows his daughter is a whore and does nothing about it.
*Olivia's dress really isn't appropriate. It's some kind of cotton material with little white flowers on it. Liz says she looks like a goddess in it, but Jessica thinks it would make a better beach cover up. I have to agree with Jess. It doesn't sound like a fancy party dress.
*Bruce wears a Speedo! Strangely enough, George and Todd are way too interested in it and pointing out that he's in it.
*I don't know about you, but if my boyfriend was watching some hot girl so closely that he knows when she goes and where she goes, I'd be worried. Liz just thinks it's sweet that Todd is so concerned about one of her friends.
*You have to love the modeling contest too. It's apparently been advertised in the magazine and made to be a huge deal in town. Lane, the agent, then sees Regina on the street and just chooses her as the winner. I'd imagine that the girls submitting their portfolios weren't too happy.
*Hank takes Roger shopping to pick out some new clothes and sports equipment in this book. You'd think that maybe he would have done that a little sooner?
*The Patmans are kind of evil. Apparently Roger's mom and dad had an affair, they broke up, and she raised him to believe another guy was his dad. His real dad later died in an accident, but this book makes it clear that he always knew he had a son and made him his sole heir. So, why didn't the Patmans or their lawyer do something before his mom ended up on her death bed?
*Hehe, I loved when Lila went to see the agent and he told her she wasn't model worthy. It's nice to see these girls get knocked down every now and then.