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.