If you only read one Sweet Valley book (up to this point anyway) then this might be the book to read! I didn’t know what to expect, and honestly wasn’t expecting all that much, but this book delivers everything there is to love about Sweet Valley High and then some extra. Scheming, love, melodrama, parent plots, the fabulously rich, criminals, and just desserts are all in this book. I don’t remember feeling so satisfied (EVER) after reading a Sweet Valley High book, as I did with this book. I actually wanted to read it again! 🙂
*I know this is a longer post, but I promise you it’s worth it! 😉
“Lila’s Story” (Super Star)
Sweet Valley Scale: 5 out of 5 Twins
Lila Fowler is the richest girl at Sweet Valley High, and everybody knows it. She wears designer clothes, lives in a mansion and has an allowance at least three times the size of all of her friends’. And as an only child, Lila has always had all of her father’s affection. She has everything a girl could possibly want. But then Lila’s happiness is shattered when her father brings home a beautiful new girlfriend, Joan Borden. Joan also has a daughter, Jacqueline, who is the same sage as Lila. Soon it seems that Joan and Jacqueline are taking over Fowler Crest, and Lila is beside herself. And then Mr. Fowler drops a bombshell – he and Joan are getting married! If Lila can’t stop them, then her life will change forever… What will she do?
It’s the summer (again!) and Lila Fowler is ready for some excitement. She’s bored, but if this book imparts any kind of lesson it’s be careful what you wish for. Lila’s father is seeing this woman named Joan Borden. Lila can’t stand her, but at first this just seems like the typical – I don’t want to share my spotlight – sort of thing. Joan has a daughter Lila’s age named Jacqueline and Mr. Fowler thinks highly of her. He’s been extra strict with Lila’s spending lately, and Lila thinks it is because of how Joan is with her own daughter. He confronts Lila about a $600 charge on her charge card and Lila lies and says she never made the purchase. This blows up in Lila’s face when a few days later, Mr. Fowler lectures her and says if she wanted something special and asked he would have said yes, but he won’t tolerate lying. On top of that, there is no more getting out of meeting Joan and her daughter, they are coming over and Lila has to cancel whatever plans she has to meet them. And Mr. Fowler tells her she better be nice and welcoming.
When Lila meets them, she thinks that Joan is incredibly phony and is suspicious of her, while she hates Jacqueline. Jacqueline is so sickeningly sweet that it’s just obnoxious. I liked Jacqueline and thought Lila was just being mean because she thought being nice was the same thing as being weak. But we’ll come back to that.
Lila goes to a concert with the twins, and a bunch of friends, and enjoys herself enough to forget about Joan for awhile. During intermission she bumps into this super hot guy, and feels like she is in love. She has to be with this guy. Jessica tells her that his name is Evan Armstrong, and he graduated from Palisades High last year, but is dating another Sweet Valley High junior named Sonia something. Lila feels horrible until Jessica tells her that she knows that Sonia has it bad for Bruce Patman and says she would leave Evan for Bruce in a heartbeat. Lila swallows her pride and asks Bruce for a favor. This is a big deal not just because Lila is asking for help, and making a fool of herself over some guy (though both of these things are also big deals, and firsts) but because the Patmans and Fowlers are rivals and their families hate each other, so there is already no love lost between Lila and Bruce. Lila asks Bruce to get with Sonia so she can get with Evan. Bruce agrees to break them up, but Lila is going to owe him a favor later. Don’t do it Li – it’s making a deal with the devil! (Hey, even Jessica said the exact same thing.)
The next night, there is a party at the Beach Disco and Bruce worms his way in between Sonia and Evan by asking her to dance. Even though Sonia and Evan have been going together for a long time, it must not be that serious because all it takes is one dance before Sonia is ready to drop Evan. Evan is steamed and goes outside for some air when Lila comes out, and he recognizes her from the concert. They talk and Evan says he wants to spend more time with Lila, and she says she wants to get to know him too. He asks for her number and they make plans for Lila to watch him race the following day. Turns out Evan is really into cars and racing, and he is on a racing team. At the track, Lila pretends to be into racing and does a good job of it, which impresses Evan. They go out to dinner after, but it’s clear he is still somewhat hung up on Sonia, but not completely. Lila takes this as a good sign. They next day they make out at Miller’s Point and Lila starts spending all of her free time with Evan. Apparently, the feelings are mutual, because Evan breaks things off with Sonia and tells her that he has met someone else.
Back at Fowler Crest, however, things are going from bad to worse. Joan and Jacqueline are over all of the time, and the more time Lila spends with them the more she is certain that Joan is a fake bitch and Jacqueline needs to find a personality – stat! I have to admit, Joan is so super fussy; I would not put up with it. She always tells Mr. Fowler to only kiss her on the cheek because of her lipstick or to watch messing up her outfit and when picking out food when they eat out… I hate her, and I’m on Lila’s side for once (it almost never happens). Soon, Joan and Jacqueline are even spending the night, and Lila is horrified. Jacqueline is suddenly borrowing all of Lila’s best clothes because her stuff is back in L.A. I don’t understand why Lila just doesn’t set aside what she can borrow because then she is being “welcoming” and ensuring the bitch never gets her hands on Lila’s summer suedes or silk bathrobe, but Lila isn’t that quick apparently.
Lila’s father makes her introduce Jacqueline to her friends, and Lila is sure they’ll all see right through her, but they don’t. Jessica and Elizabeth, and Amy Sutton all think Jacqueline is great and really nice. This steams Lila even more. But then when she confides everything to Evan, he acts like she is being too hard on Jacqueline too. Lila starts wondering if Evan is just “too nice.” Later, Evan apologizes to Lila if he seems to not understand what she’s going through, he is just distracted. There is this race that he really wants to enter, but it costs $500 and he doesn’t have the money until his next paycheck, which he won’t get until after the race. Lila sees this as a chance to make sure they’re serious by loaning Evan the money. He doesn’t seem to like the idea and says no several times, but Lila insists. Evan says only if Lila agrees to let him pay her back as soon as he gets his paycheck and writes her an I.O.U. for the money. I don’t know if Lila understands that she can’t buy and sell people. And the people who can be bought, aren’t worth her time. Oh well.
Lila takes the money from her father’s petty cash stash that he keeps hidden for groceries and other incidentals. Lila knows he’ll notice but hopes he won’t right away (he has over $1000 stashed away). She decides to kill two birds with the missing money and plants the key to its hiding place in Jacqueline’s coat and then put a necklace of hers that Jacqueline was admiring under Jacqueline’s pillow. Yeah, I don’t see this going well at all. Later that same night, a chair arrives – Joan reupholstered a chair in her guest suite, without asking. This would piss me off to no end, you don’t change someone’s furniture for them as a “surprise” but that is what Joan claims it is. And then she realizes that she didn’t bring enough cash with her to cover the chair (shocker, right?) so Mr. Fowler pays for it himself. Lila’s mind is working, and so is mine, but I’m faster than Lila. I don’t think Joan has any money to her name. I think she makes outrageous claims and Mr. Fowler is too stupid (a.k.a. in love) to check any of it out. After Mr. Fowler pays for the chair, he asks everyone about the petty cash, and says the key was just lying on his desk. Lila wonders how the key got there, and because she is stupid, mentions how her necklace is also missing. If Jacqueline put the key back, don’t you think she did the same thing with your necklace, Lila? And that’s exactly what happens. Lila wants to check in Jacqueline’s room and everyone is offended, even Mr. Fowler. Surprise – it’s not there. It’s back in Lila’s room, making her look like a complete bitch. I mean she is, but for some reason I was pissed her plans were foiled, even though they were messed up in the first place.
The next day Lila finds out that Jacqueline failed to give her a message from Jessica. Jessica wanted Lila and Evan to join her and a bunch of others at this fabulous show. Lila is pissed, but Jacqueline claims she took a message and left it right next to the “missing” necklace on Lila’s desk. Up until this point, I thought Lila was being unfair to Jacqueline and thought the girl was really nice, but I should have known better because if this was some other Sweet Valley High character I would have been like, “In your face, Lila!” but instead I was really irritated and wanted Jacqueline to get hers. I guess my gut is smarter than my brain. Jacqueline even makes a remark about how the house may be haunted because things keep disappearing and reappearing, so you totally know this was intentional. When their parents get back, they announce they’re going to leave for Hawaii and will be gone for five days. DANGER! DANGER! Lila is upset that she has to be alone with Jacqueline for that long, and yet she doesn’t see the DANGER!
As soon as they leave, Jacqueline reveals herself to be a complete and utter bitch. Like so much worse than Lila and Jessica and Suzanne Devlin (from “Too Good To Be True”) all rolled into one. The whole sweet thing was an act to fool everyone. She treats Lila like crap and acts like she owns Fowler Crest. She takes all of Lila’s favorite clothes (and the most expensive), most of them have never even been worn yet, and monopolizes the phone and actually tries to steal Lila’s friends (you know when they call she says Lila is busy when she isn’t and then Jacqueline goes out with them instead – bitch).
Then one day, Jacqueline takes Lila’s car without permission, just as Lila is getting ready to leave to meet Bruce Patman, who is finally calling in his favor. Lila is so upset and has to take the bus. This is both cruel and unusual. I mean this is Lila “Princess” Fowler. It would be kinder to hit her with a bus, than it would be to make her ride on one. So of course, as soon as she meets Bruce he makes fun of her for it. And his favor? He wants Lila to convince Evan to drop out of the upcoming race, the same race that Lila gave him money to enter (oh the irony). Bruce has a big bet on his friend who is also in the race, and Evan is his only real competition. Lila is beside herself and trying to figure out how to get out of it when she returns home and has to ring the bell. Her house key was on the same ring as her car keys – fabulous. Jacqueline opens the door and Lila is surprised to see their parents back home early. They have an announcement to make: They’re getting married! Seriously, shoot Lila now. Worst. Day. Ever.
Lila finally gets smart. She acts like she is thrilled about the engagement and wants to throw them a party to celebrate. She suggests they make it a joint celebration with Jacqueline’s birthday party that is already in the works. This throws Jacqueline for a loop – good. She makes sure that the party is on the same day as Evan’s race. Then she tells him about the engagement and makes sure to get as much sympathy from him as possible about what a big change this is blah, blah, blah. She tells him she doesn’t know how she’ll get through the party without him and asks if he’ll come. When she tells him when it is she acts like she completely forgot about the race. When Evan mentions the race, Lila acts horrified and tells him to forget about it, so of course he tells her it’s just a race and he officially drops out.
One day, Lila overhears Joan and Jacqueline talking and her worst fears are realized. They don’t have a cent to their name, their entire backstory is bullshit (called it!) and Joan is only marrying Lila’s dad so that she can divorce him and receive alimony. Lila lets it slip to Jacqueline that she knows the truth (why? You just lost the whole element of surprise) but Jacqueline tells her no one will believe her because she has already tried to sabotage them so much, and has been caught lying recently. And of course she is right – that is exactly what happens. Lila’s father is furious when she tells him, but I have to give the girl props, Lila handled the matter delicately and I didn’t know she was capable of that.
The night of the party, Evan is spending all his time with Jacqueline and Lila is pissed. Evan tells her she is overreacting and she believes him and feels silly. She helps plan the wedding (it’s only three weeks away), hoping to find some way to expose the Bordens. Evan is coming over every day, but something is different. The night before the wedding, Lila finds him making out with Jacqueline. (Wait for it…) She hears them both talking about how to “handle Lila” until after the wedding. Then Evan mentions an upcoming race and how he’s bummed because he doesn’t have the $500 to enter. (Sound familiar?) He tells Jacqueline that Lila never supported his racing, and is obviously trying to get some more cash. Lila realizes he was using her the same way Joan is using her dad and feels humiliated. She cries, but neither Evan nor Jacqueline knows she saw anything, and Lila is determined to get them back.
The day of the wedding, Lila gets a stroke of genius and plants a few microphones in the sunroom where they’re going to be waiting to take their cue to start down the aisle. Just before it is their turn to go, Lila turns to Joan and tells her that she knows everything, because Jacqueline outed them weeks ago. Joan is horrified and then loses it on her daughter. She blabs the whole plan and asks Jacqueline how she could be so stupid before she is actually hitched with the dumbass – the dumbass being Mr. Fowler. Lila is thrilled, because she learned all about the sound system that morning, and her father, the minister and all of the guests are hearing everything. It’s their cue, and they walk down the aisle. The guests are standing and look horrified and disgusted with Joan and Jacqueline, but neither of them know why. When they make it to the altar, Mr. Fowler tells them he heard everything, and so did everyone else. (The poor minister, when he tries to put into words… this was one of my favorite parts.) Mr. Fowler tells the hag and hagette to get lost and never contact them again. Yes! He announces that since the food and music has already been arranged and paid for, the guests are welcome to stay and party, and the party is in Lila’s honor, for exposing the truth. Everyone cheers.
Evan (you didn’t forget about him, did you?) approaches Lila and her father and Lila is struck with genius again. She tells her father that Jacqueline gave Evan money for a race, and that was where the missing $500 went. Then she produces Evan’s I.O.U. and says he is very anxious to pay it all back. (Yes!) Evan has been served and now knows that Lila knows. But because that isn’t enough, Bruce Patman introduces Lila to his handsome friend Toby. Toby is the guy who won the race and the reason they wanted Evan to back out. Lila dances with him all night. Later, Evan asks Lila if she is going to stay mad at him over just one stupid mistake and Lila says that it looks that way. He asks who she was dancing with, and she tells him that she is dancing with the guy who won the race Evan dropped out of for her. And then she thanks him for dropping out, letting him think that it was really Lila using him all along, and not the other way around. Love it!
See, I warned you – super long post. But so totally worth it! Super Stars are just like Super Editions apparently, but focus on someone other than the Wakefield twins. I usually don’t like Lila that much – I hate entitlement and Rich Bitch Syndrome on principle, and she has both… bad. But this book had me cheering for her all the way. And I loved how not only justice was served, but poetic justice – all the way around. This was possibly the best Sweet Valley High book I have read yet! I kind of feel sad, knowing the next one just won’t live up to this. There’s just no way. 😛
*I don’t know why but this entire book I kept thinking about two different movies from years ago. “It Takes Two” because of trying to get rid of an wannabe evil stepmother who is all about the cash, and “Heartbreakers” because Joan and Jacqueline were totally these characters, only… trashier. 😛