Steven is once again back in town to help Cheryl Thomas. Since she's from NYC, she has no clue how to drive. It doesn't take long before people start thinking they're a couple. Steven denies it and then wonders why he never made a move on her and if it's because she's black. After Annie confronts Cheryl, she wonders if she doesn't think of him in that way because he's white. Though she apparently had a lot of white friends back in NYC, she never dated a white boy.
That all changes when they head out to eat after a driving lesson. The waitress in the restaurant acts really snarky, and there's conveniently a group of skin heads at another table. They keep staring at them and making snide comments before Steven and Cheryl get up to leave. One of the guys makes a comment about how a California sun tan must not be dark enough for him. The two drive to the beach and wind up kissing.
Since this is Sweet Valley, kissing means that you are instantly in a relationship. Steven tells the twins, and Cheryl tells Annie. It quickly spreads around school that the two are dating, and reaction is mixed. Surprisingly, Lila is one of the ones against an interracial relationship. There's a big moment where all their friends go to sit with Cheryl and talk about her new boyfriend.
Steven realizes that he doesn't feel comfortable when he's alone with Cheryl. Since the twins both have plans, he invites down a bunch of people from SVU, including his one black friend Martin. They all go out dancing and put on a good front. Cheryl realizes that she feels more comfortable with Martin and that they have a spark that she doesn't have with Steven. She just kind of brushes it off.
This sums up the whole book. Every time he touches her, she thinks that she doesn't want him touching her. Steven has to force himself to be affectionate around her. Both of them assume that if they don't like each other, they must be racist. Liz is the only one who seems to pick up on things, but when she calls him out on it, Steven kind of assumes that she's racist too.
Cheryl also has to write a speech for the upcoming wedding and asks for his help. It always comes out more angry and less happy. She tosses in a bunch of stuff about how people are so racist and her dad and Mona show that they can overcome racism. Even though it feels off to her, Steven convinces her that it's perfect.
Jessica wants to do something special for the wedding and says that the twins will make the wedding cake. They run into Bruce, who makes a rude comment about how the cake should be half chocolate. While making the cake, Jessica imagines marrying Sam with a big party on the beach. Liz kind of confesses that she imagines marrying Todd and that she can picture him being a big part of her life. Yeah, as your brother in law.
Cheryl has a long talk with Mona and mentions how she is proud of them for overcoming adversity. Mona tells her that it has nothing to with that and how it's all about love. She also tells her that if that's why she's with Steven, she's doing it for the wrong reason. This all makes Cheryl sit and think. Meanwhile, Steven drives down to break up with her and chickens out at the last minute.
Cut to the wedding and reception. Annie gives a glowing speech about love. Cheryl gets up, drops her notes, and gives a new speech all about how much love means and all that jazz. Steven realizes that she was talking about them. When she comes back, they decide that they just aren't suited for a relationship and tell everyone that they're just friends.
Jessica tells Lila that they had the most amicable break up in history and that they're no longer together. Cheryl gets her license and drives up to SVU. They decide to be best friends before she leaves. Martin sees her on campus, she lets it slip that she and Steven are no longer together, and he says nothing. Right before she leaves, he comes up to ask for her number and she gets all giddy.
*Liz must be taking lessons from Dawn Shafer's book of vegetarianism. She's making kabobs and asks if scallops and shrimp are okay or if vegetarian Cheryl needs kabobs with all veggies.
*I told the plot of this book to a friend who comes from California, and she completely rolled her eyes at how ridiculous the plot was with people being so racist in southern California in the 1990s.
*This book is so cray cray. Anytime anyone points out that they don't seem happy, Steven immediately pulls the racism card.
*What is up with them being trail blazers? Annie is white-white, Tony is Hispanic, and no one cares. Plus, Sandy dated Manuel in the past and no one said crap.
*There's a scene where Steven looks at Cheryl and her face blends into Cara. Ignoring the skin color thing, these two girls looked nothing at all alike.
*The twins test recipes. Both of Jessica's cakes come out flat and taste nasty. Turns out she added too much flour to one and used orange peel in the other. Why would anyone let her make a wedding cake?
*They also go out and buy a bunch of equipment to make the cake, including decorating tools and cake pans. I'm sure Ned loved seeing that credit card bill.