Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sweet Valley Twins #65: Patty's Last Dance

Patty Gilbert is a major dance star. Don't worry if you've never heard of her before. She appears in the book before this one and like two SVH books before she goes off to wherever one-time friends of the twins wind up. She takes an advanced ballet class under Madame Baril with Kerry Glenn. You might remember her as the twins' close friend way back in the early books who kind of disappeared later.

Madame Baril makes a special announcement at the beginning of class to let them all know that Patty got the lead in Swan Lake. Kerry congratulates her, and even though she was worried she would lose the role to Kerry, Patty kind of ignores her and walks off. See, she's one of those stuck up ballerinas who thinks she can't have any friends. After telling her older sister Jana, and seeing her go off with her own friends, she starts wishing that she had at least one friend to celebrate with.

During their next rehearsal, Madame Baril notices something off when Patty leans over but says she was wrong. Patty instantly starts worrying that her body is all wrong and that she'll never be a professional dancer. After her mom measures her, she learns that she grew more than an inch and assumes that's it. Nope. Madame Baril thinks there's something wrong with her back and that she should get it checked out.

Since that means going to the doctor and possibly losing the lead, Patty just lies and says everything is fine. Madame Baril then tells her a story about her former best friend and fellow competitor. The other girl hurt her ankle once but refused to see a doctor because of her upcoming performance. Though she begged her friend to get help, the other girl ignored her. On opening night, she did a jump and instantly hit the ground because her ankle was broken. Though she recovered and came back to class, she never danced the same way again. Madame gives Patty the “look” before saying it's a good thing she's totally fine.

This naturally makes Patty keep freaking out until she finally tells her mom she needs to see the doctor. Of course she lies and says it was just for the show. The doctor quickly discovers that she has scoliosis and recommends she see a specialist. Patty looks in the encyclopedia and sees that she may need to wear a brace, which causes her to flip out yet again. The specialist agrees that she needs to get fitted for a Milwaukee brace as soon as possible.

Since she can barely concentrate, Madame Baril naturally notices. She finally makes the decision to replace her with Kerry in the lead role. Kerry speaks up for Patty and says she thinks it's just her jumps. If they work on the jumps together, she thinks Patty will do better. Madame agrees but gives them just two days. This leads to them becoming friends and even going to Casey's to split a sundae. Kerry introduces her to the Unicorn Club, and Patty starts wondering if maybe she does need friends. She also takes Kerry's advice and get fitted for the brace as soon as possible.

The two become such good friends that Kerry even offers to help her adjust after getting the brace and goes to the fitting with her. She also forces Patty to talk to a girl in a brace. The other girl answers some of her questions and then gives over her phone number in case Patty needs more help. Patty calms down long enough to think about what to tell her teacher.

Patty tells everyone at the beginning of rehearsal and says that she'll step down if needed. Madame tells her that she can still dance until she gets her brace and that it's still her role. The teacher asks if her doctor will let her dance later too. Patty admits that she can still take classes three times a week for up to an hour without wearing her brace. Madame basically tells her that she still has a spot in her class but acts butt hurt about Patty lying to her originally.

As this is Sweet Valley, Swan Lake goes perfectly. She even gets a standing ovation. When her parents get her up on stage so they can take a picture for later, she runs and grabs Kerry. Patty says that when she thinks back on that night, she wants to think about her new friend. Madame then takes her aside, tells her she taught another girl with scoliosis, and that she knows it won't be easy for Patty to watch others like that student did. She does, however, want to offer Patty the same job she offered that girl: assistant teacher. Patty cries and accepts.

In other news, Sweet Valley is obsessed with some new show called You'll Never Believe This. Hollywood Jones, a slick and good looking older guy, goes across the state to film people trying to break records. When he announces the show is coming to Sweet Valley, the girls go crazy. Jessica and Mandy come up with a plan to break the record for a dance marathon. Unfortunately, Liz finds out that the record is seven months and that the state record is over a month. They can only hope to break the record for kids under 14, which is just over 11 hours.

While kids line up to volunteer, they quickly change their minds after hearing how long they have to dance. Jessica sends a letter to the studio and lies to say that they have 100 people signed up when they really have a fraction of that. When she gets a nice kind of rejection letter back, she calls, speaks with Hollywood's assistant, and tells him that they now have 200 people signed up. The assistant then agrees that the show will come by.

They face stiff competition from Big Mesa. Their school planned a three-legged race and have 146 people signed up. Jessica lies to everyone about how she talked to Hollywood himself on the phone to get more people to volunteer. They wind up with just over 100 people. Hollywood does come to the school to interview her and lets it slip that he never spoke to her on the phone, that it was his assistant, which causes the Unicorns to sort of make fun of her.

Cut to the dance marathon. Hollywood and his crew come by to film, but he keeps pointing out that there aren't a lot of people there. He makes it clear that unless more people show up, they probably won't make it on his show. It doesn't help that multiple people drop out in the middle too. When he comes back and just looks bored, Jessica gets everyone to form a congo line around the gym. She yells for him to join them, but he refuses until she says it will look great on television. He then jumps right to the head of the line.

A few weeks later, they still don't know if they'll appear on the show. It turns out that they do, but that Hollywood blocked out Jessica and only focused on the last few minutes that featured him. Jessica kind of mumbles about how he stole the show from her, someone comments on how they were such good phone buddies and all, she turns bright red, and then she claims that he wasn't that good looking anyway.

Oh, and there's some new girl in school named Veronica. She just moved into the mansion next door to Lila and is kind of a bitch. She interrupts the TV interview with Hollywood Jones, complains about Lila singing next door, and whines about how her old school was so much cooler. In the end, she threatens her and Liz's teacher for giving her a bad grade and claims that he'll regret it. Thank god she's not older or we'd have another Suzanne Devlin on our hands!

*Patty started dancing when she was super little and is super shocked that Kerry moved up to the advanced class after just three years of lessons. Wouldn't that mean that Kerry is way better than her?

*My only knowledge of scoliosis comes from this book and the BSC book, so I have no clue how it works. Patty's doctor actually examines her in less than five minutes, has her bend over twice, and instantly knows it's scoliosis. Is that really how it works?

*Speaking of the BSC, I have to wonder which came first, this book or the one where Anna finds out she has scoliosis?

*You have to love that the ballet teacher wants to replace Patty like a week before the big show with someone who has never danced the role or even rehearsed it before.

*They get two days to make Patty better, but Kerry then skips the first day because of another commitment. They literally rehearse together one day, and Patty is suddenly awesome again.

*Kerry goes with her to the fitting, which is sweet and all, but literally no one else does. Where the hell are her parents with her insurance info??

*I don't get the whole madame thing. She tells Patty to see a doctor, tells her that whole story about her friend, and acts suspicious when Patty says she's fine. When Patty then confesses that she has scoliosis, the teacher is all shocked that she wasn't fine after all. What the heck?

*Patty gets tears in her eyes when she gets a standing ovation. No offense, but you're a kid and that means jack shit. My sixth grade production of Oklahoma got a standing ovation and that thing was crap! LOL

*Jessica truly starts out young. She swoons over Hollywood at the beginning, even after Liz points out that he's in his 30s.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Baby-Sitters Club #107: Mind Your Own Business, Kristy!

It's the 800th spring break in Stoneybrook, so Kristy needs to find something to do to occupy her time. She comes up with a great idea during their first sitting meeting: she should host a clinic to get the Krushers ready for their next season. Though she assumes that Bart will just bend over and help her, he actually turns her down because he doesn't want to share the tips he gives his players with to her players. She naturally freaks out and keeps complaining about it until Charlie volunteers his time. Since he's just looking at college brochures, he has nothing else to do.

Kristy is also excited because she wins tickets to a Blade concert at the beginning of the book. Unlike Johnny Buck from SVT, this is some random band we never heard of before. She entered a radio contest and somehow won. When Charlie offers to drive her, their mom suggests that she take Bart and Charlie take his girlfriend Sarah. Kristy shoots it down because her and Bart are over, and Charlie says he and Sarah are too. She seems more disappointed than he does because she really liked Sarah.

During their very first practice, the Hsu boys show up with a brand new sitter. Wait, there are other kids who babysit in Stoneybrook? She's super pretty, with long dark hair and wears cool clothes. She instantly starts giving Charlie the eye, and he suddenly can't concentrate on the ball. Kristy doesn't really like her but not for any specific reason.

Trouble starts when Angelica, that's her name, starts coming around way too often. Charlie gets a new haircut and some new clothes and douses himself in cologne. He even winks at her and starts rolling up his shirt sleeves to show off his biceps. Kristy thinks the whole thing is ridiculous and decides to get him and Sarah back together again.

Kristy calls Sarah and convinces her that Charlie needs help picking a college. They make plans to get together at this restaurant Argo to talk. She then cons Charlie into going out to eat, offering to treat him as a thank you for helping out. This almost goes badly when he asks Angelica to join them, but Kristy pitches a major fit that causes him to tell Angelica she can't go. He does offer to take her somewhere just the two of them. Sarah and Charlie freak out when they see each other and basically run away from each other. Charlie blames Sarah and says his ex-girlfriend used his sister until Kristy confesses that she set up the whole thing.

While helping out at the clinic, Abby overhears Charlie telling Angelica what happened. Angelica lights up a cigarette and scowls until Charlie soothes things over. Kristy gets so pissed off when Abby tells her that she stops talking to her brother. That makes things complicated since he promised to get a former MLB player and Hall of Famer Jack Brewster to come to the clinic. He spends all his time with Angelica and ignores his sister.

This carries over to the clinic too. Kristy feels like crap because the kids will only listen to Charlie. They ignore her, and Jamie even says that Charlie is the boss now. During one practice, Charlie and Angelica play on the swings together during the clinic and keep ignoring the kids. Kristy needs his help and sees him walking with his new gal pal far, far, far away. When she confronts him, he tells her that she doesn't need his help, rolls his eyes, and makes her feel like crap. She then tells him that he's just like their dad before storming off.

That fight puts Mary Ann right in the middle the next day. Charlie and Kristy keep sending her back and forth to deliver messages for them. When she finally speaks up, the two actually talk. This ends badly because Charlie announces that instead of taking one of his friends, he's taking Angelica as his date. That should be fun. Kristy tries to just focus on how much fun she'll have with Claudia and not the evil brat in the car with them.

Charlie convinces Watson to let him borrow his new car and makes Kristy sit in the backseat. Angelica is less than happy when she sees Kristy there and less so when she hears that Kristy is going with them. She even says, “no problem” when Kristy says she's the reason they even have tickets. Angelica is super pissed at finding out Claudia is going with them too. To make matters worse, Charlie has no experience with anti-lock breaks and keeps screwing up, which makes Angelica's motion sickness really bad.

Before they even get out of Stoneybrook, she convinces him to let her drive because she learned how to drive on a similar model. Angelica speeds on the highway, keeps changing lanes without warning, and plays the music way too loud. When a cop shows up behind them, she asks Charlie to take the wheel because, surprise surprise, she has no license. She then loses control of the car and hits the guardrail.

The cop asks for her license and tells them that they broke multiple laws. He also points out that Watson's insurance won't cover unlicensed drivers before taking them to the station since the car won't start. They miss the concert and have to wait for their parents to pick them up. Charlie gets a huge lecture, but no real punishment. He has to pay for his ticket himself, he's grounded from driving for a month or so, and he needs to “rethink his social attachments,” which means find a new girlfriend.

Charlie mopes around town and keeps calling Angelica who won't answer his calls. He comes by on the same day he's supposed to show up with Jack Brewster. Even though he promised the kids the guy would be there, he was so busy with his social life that he forgot to make the arrangements. After he leaves, Sarah comes by and tells Kristy that her “uncle” is Jack Brewster. She calls to ask for his help, and he agrees to come the next day, which makes the kids go crazy. Angelica then shows up with a note for Charlie and tells Kristy to either give it to him or she'll mail it and keep ignoring him until he gets it. She doesn't apologize for anything that happened and says since Kristy didn't pay for the tickets, it wasn't like she really missed out on anything.

After giving him the note, Kristy leaves but Charlie starts reading it to her. It's basically the most teenage girl note ever. Angelica say that she's just super mature and responsible, that her ex-boyfriend was exactly the same way, that they broke up because they were too alike, and that she chose Charlie because he was a big kid. She also goes on and on about how she would never, ever have tried to drive her ex-boyfriend's car because he was too mature to let her and because he was such a great driver. And, her parents didn't like that she let Charlie's personality rub off on her. They must be related to the Wakefields.

Charlie then breaks down because he thinks he is like his dad. Since his dad was immature and irresponsible, he turned out the same way. He can't decide on a college, has no idea what he wants to do with his life, and he spent his whole spring break playing with kids instead of hanging out with people his own age. They talk about how they had to grow up fast after their dad left. Kristy then tells him that when she has to make an important decision, she asks what Charlie would do. She leaves the room before she starts crying and sees that his eyes are wet too.

Jack Brewster turns out to be a lot older than they think but a great coach. All the Krushers go bonkers over him. A bunch of parents and other kids show up too, and Kristy has to have them stand back to give him time with the kids. Jack then asks Sarah to give Charlie some help on his stance. Kristy notices that Jack, Charlie, and Sarah are all trying not to smile and realizes that Sarah probably told Jack about her former relationship and thinks that everything will now be okay.

*Charlie dips grapes in Cool Whip, and both he and Kristy refer to it as frosted grapes. Um, frosted grapes are grapes you dip in egg whites or something else, then sugar, and then freeze, not this abomination.

*Kristy says her parents keep riding Charlie about picking a college and sending off applications. Since it's spring break of his senior year, he's kind of running out of options now.

*I find it really weird that Kristy would take Claudia to the concert. They never really seem to talk outside of meetings!

*Kristy says that the look on Claudia's face when her parents arrive at the station is one she only saw once before, when Claudia's dad caught her flushing a stack of $20 bills down the toilet LOL.

*Charlie's punishment is LAME! Why not make him get a job and pay for the repairs himself?

*No clue what is going on with Anne's notes at the end. It starts off about how she spent spring breaks in California as a kid and then goes on about how she first went to Disney World in preparation for the Super Special book. OK?

*Angelica was awful! Other than being slightly attractive, with a raging case of bitch face based off the cover, she has no redeeming qualities.

*The end with Jack Brewster made no sense. Kristy already told all the kids he would be there one day. They came and practiced as usual. When she told them he was coming again, every parent showed up with their friends and a bunch of kids from SMS came out too. Where were they all the day before?

*Some people didn't like this book because Kristy was too controlling. I actually don't think she was that bad. If she was really controlling, she could have just went and told the Hsus that their sitter kept smoking in front of their kids.

*Someone pointed out that Charlie originally wanted to take his friend Travis to the concert that that it might be the same Travis Dawn went gaga over!

*Claudia wears a barrette with a replica VCR on it. Everyone thinks it's cool, but Kristy just wants to know if a little video will pop out if she pushes the button.