I’d be lying if I said this book was special, but it is one of only two Sweet Valley High books so far to focus on a racial minority, so that’s something. We’ve already seen Sweet Valley High’s token Asian, now it’s time to focus on the token black girl.
Sweet Valley Scale: 3.5 out of 5 Twins
Patty Gilbert is thrilled when she finds out her boyfriend, Jim Hollis, is coming home from college for a weekend visit. But then she finds out that her older sister, Jana, who lives in San Francisco is coming to visit the same weekend. When Patty tells Jim that she’ll have to spend most of her time with her family, he blows up at her and before Patty knows what’s happening they have a huge fight and break up. Patty feels terrible, but at least she knows she’ll be able to confide in her sister. But as soon as Jana walks in the door she announces that she’s getting married in two weeks! Jana’s so excited about the wedding plans that she has no time for Patty’s problems. When Patty tries to talk to Jana alone, Jana let’s off some steam about the wedding and Patty explodes and tells Jana that she’s being selfish. They have a huge fight and both decide if would be better if Patty doesn’t come to Jana’s wedding. Has Patty lost both her boyfriend and her sister forever?
Patty Gilbert is a senior at Sweet Valley High and an amazing dancer. Elizabeth Wakefield is writing a new feature for the high school newspaper, which profiles a different senior each week, and since Patty is so fabulous, Liz wants to focus on her first. Patty tells Elizabeth the interview will have to wait until Sunday because her boyfriend Jim Hollis is coming to town for the weekend. Patty is super excited because she hasn’t seen him in weeks. She doesn’t really tell anybody, but she is starting to get insecure about her relationship with Jim. They’ve been dating for ages (at some point it mentions a two-year anniversary so for once “for ages” means something) but things are different now that Jim is in college. His school is two hours away, and he used to come home every weekend, and call almost every day, but now he seems too busy to do much of either. Patty knows she’ll feel better as soon as she sees him though.
When Patty gets home from school her mother is talking on the phone excitedly. When she’s off, she tells Patty that was Patty’s older sister, Jana, who lives up in San Francisco. Jana is coming to visit this weekend and has some big news she wants to share, and is hoping for a big family weekend. Jana has not visited since she first moved to San Francisco six months ago. Patty is happy to see her sister, but disappointed about Jim. She calls him at college to see if he wants to come the following weekend so he can have Patty all to himself, otherwise she’ll have to split her time between the two of them. She calls Jim repeatedly for the next few days, even past midnight and no one is ever there. I don’t know about you, but I’m instantly going to some TLC (“No Scrubs” especially) or Destiny’s Child (“Say My Name” or “Bills, Bills, Bills”) place and I’m just ready for things to get to Jazmine Sullivan’s “Bust Your Windows” place. He apparently doesn’t have voicemail so Patty isn’t able to warn him. She just hopes it will all work out.
That Friday, Jim calls as soon as he arrives at his house and Patty practically flies over. Everything is great for about twenty minutes, until Patty mentions Jana’s visit. Jim freaks out and accuses Patty of caring more about her sister than she does about him (um, shouldn’t she? They are incredibly close sisters and Patty hasn’t seen Jana in six months – whatever) and then Patty fires back about him never being at his place and is he seeing another girl behind her back – blah blah blah. Things are said and they break up? I question this, because so does Patty. They don’t officially break up, but Jim says if she doesn’t trust him then maybe he should see other girls, and Patty tells him to do so because she doesn’t need him. So they kinda sorta maybe broke up.
Patty is devastated. When she gets home she realizes Jana must already be home, because there is a strange car in her driveway. When she goes inside her house, she finds Jana there with a man she has never met before. Jana introduces her to her fiancé, Ted. Surprise! They’re here to tell everyone they’re in love and getting married… in less than two weeks… and then moving to Germany. Ted is in the Air Force and has been stationed there, and they don’t want to wait until he comes back to the states. It’s a lot to process, but there isn’t time because there is a wedding to plan and only two weeks to get everything done! Side bar if I may, this is nuts. I mean they try to do a bridal shower, book a church, have a rehearsal dinner, a big reception… I can’t imagine a time when this was ever possible unless someone had some major cash, and they don’t because they don’t even have a pool in their backyard (hey if the book can go there, so can I). You can elope or have something super small in two weeks, but not the kind of wedding they’re planning.
Suddenly everyone is talking about the wedding all of the time! Patty tries to talk to her sister, but she is just too distracted with the whole “getting married” thing. Jana asks Patty to be her maid of honor, but beyond that they are never alone. Patty’s best friend, DeeDee Gordon, convinces her to go to the movies with her, her boyfriend Bill Chase, and Bill’s friend Craig. Not as a setup, just as a way to get away from the wedding craziness and take her mind off things. Patty thinks things can’t get any worse when it turns out the movie is some romantic flick, but she was wrong. When the movie is over and they’re getting ready to leave Patty sees Jim with a gorgeous woman, and they’re laughing and talking closely. Patty freaks out, and right before she makes a mad dash out of the theater, Jim sees her next to Craig. We all know big drama is about to follow.
DeeDee takes Patty home and Jim calls after thirty minutes and tries to explain. Patty intended to give him a chance, but loses it and accuses him of cheating again, and then Jim brings up Craig and they both yell and Patty says she never wants to talk to Jim again, so he shouldn’t even bother and hangs up on him. I would be cheering her on, if she hadn’t been so hysterical about it. Personally, I don’t care how this book ends, I think Jim is no good (if you can’t pick up a phone, or answer one, and you’re all secretive, and jealous, and freak out about family obligations I am not going to think favorably of you – that’s just how it is).
The next day Patty has her interview with Elizabeth at Liz’s house. She ends up telling Liz about her problems (you’re shocked, I’m sure) and Elizabeth encourages her to talk to Jim. The girl he was with may have been as innocent as she and Craig had been. Patty feels hopeful and drives to Jim’s house before she’ll lose her nerve, but she sees him outside playing Frisbee with the same girl and keeps on driving. She acts like she just caught them lip locked or something. When did Frisbee in the front yard become so scandalous? Seriously?
Patty is miserable over the next few days as her heart keeps breaking over and over again. (Sorry, I’m not responsible for the melodrama, blame the book.) She decides she has to talk to her sister, and skips her dance class so she can see Jana while her parents are still at work. When she tries to talk to Jana, Jana totally loses her shit. I mean I know I was stressed with the wedding planning stuff at times, but I never lost it like that! And I was juggling real problems like how to make sure my mother didn’t punch the cameraman, a server, the DJ or any of the guests and how to handle other crazy relatives, who are legitimately crazy on top of all the normal stuff. Girl, get it together!
(Though maybe this was realistic for a wedding with only two weeks to do everything. Roy – my husband – proposed to me in December, and we married in June. This was perfect because before we got engaged but were talking about such things I told him I knew if I had a long engagement I’d go nuts, but there has to be enough time to book things, so my ideal engagement was six to nine months. And even then, people thought I was crazy for getting married in seven months.)
Patty is pissed at Jana’s outburst and really lays into her. She tells Jana she’s being wedding obsessed and selfish and Patty doesn’t even want to be in the wedding anymore. Jana says some things, Patty says some more things and before you know it Patty is no long invited to, nor does she want to attend, Jana’s wedding. For the first time ever these sisters are seriously feuding and refuse to even be in the same room with each other. Did siblings ever actually pull this? I’m just curious.
Let’s break for the B-storyline. Jessica is bored with all the boys she knows so she hits up a local craft fair to meet guys. Immediately I’m wondering why. I mean not to be stereotypical, but it’s not like the kind of guys Jessica is into are going to be there, and I’m not just referring to sexual orientation, but I mean there is that to consider too. 😛 She sees DeeDee selling these wonderful T-shirts she designed and hand painted. DeeDee asks Jessica to watch her booth for just a second, her helper is sick, and DeeDee needs to grab a quick bite to eat. This can only end in tears. As soon as DeeDee leaves, the most gorgeous man Jessica has ever seen walks up to the booth. His name is Vincent and he owns a boutique in town and wants to talk about buying a bunch of shirts for resale. Jessica is sure this is a ploy to go out with her, so she lets him think she’s the artist and gives him her number. He calls a few days later, and they set up a time for Jessica to show him and his business associate, Cassie, some more of her shirts. But DeeDee is completely sold out so Jessica decides she’ll have to make some of her own. Of course this is a disaster and even Jessica admits they look hideous. But Jess still shows up and acts like they’re fabulous. Unfortunately, neither Vincent nor Cassie is buying it. Jessica is forced to come clean and gives them DeeDee’s number. DeeDee is so thrilled that a store is interested in her shirts, she doesn’t even care about whatever Jessica did, and doesn’t ask.
Elizabeth admires Jessica’s earrings one day and Jessica tells her that she bought them at the craft fair from Jim Hollis’s cousin who was in town for it. Elizabeth realizes that Jim’s cousin must the mystery girl from the movies and goes to tell Patty. Jana answers and Elizabeth tells her, assuming Jana already knew about the breakup. Jana feels bad for Patty, but apparently not enough to bury their feud. The next day, Jana messes up and is going to miss her dress fitting because she got the time wrong. For once she doesn’t have the car because Patty had to take it for a dentist appointment and her mom won’t get back with the other car in time because of Jana’s mistake. Then Patty comes home to pick up her tights on the way to dance class, which she is already late for. They still haven’t spoken, but Jana pleads with her sister to take her to the bridal store. Patty says no at first but finally relents. Once Patty drops Jana off, Jana begs her to come inside because she needs someone’s opinion, but Patty knows if she goes in she’ll probably miss her class entirely. I’m not sure why Patty does it, because she says as much before she agrees, but she does.
When Patty sees Jana in her dress there is a temporary ceasefire and Patty is hugging Jana, telling her how beautiful she looks. But afterwards, back in the car, Patty is waiting for an apology. Luckily, she doesn’t have to wait long. Jana apologizes and then Patty apologizes and they go home and have one of their sisterly heart-to-hearts that Patty had been longing for. It’s a Hallmark moment. 😛 So Patty tells Jana all about Jim and what went down and then shows Jana a letter she wrote Jim. It’s all apologetic and sweet and explains everything, but Patty decided not to send it because once again, Jim is not answering his phone at all. Back to square one. Jana tells Patty she should send it, but lets it drop. But then a few days later, Jana realizes Patty still hasn’t mailed the letter, so she mails it with a note from herself, and calls Jim’s mom for his address. Turns out he is participating in special geology class for two weeks in the mountains, which is why he hasn’t been answering his phone.
At the rehearsal dinner Ted slips out once the toasts are over and doesn’t come back. Patty mentions it to Jana, but Jana just brushes it off. The next day is THE day, and everyone is a bundle of nerves. When it comes time for the procession, Patty walks down the aisle and there’s Jim! He kisses her, gives her a gentle squeeze and takes his seat. After the ceremony, Jim tells Patty that Jana mailed her letter and asked him to call her while Patty was at school. He did, and they planned this surprise. But because he was away on the geology thing, he didn’t have a way back, so last night Ted drove out to pick him up so he could be here in time for the wedding. Patty gives her sister and new brother-in-law a big hug and thank you. Everything is wonderful again! And I need something stronger to drink. 😛
These books are getting so much more involved, but not more interesting. I’m trying like crazy to hurry and get through these so I can get to the good stuff! (Yes, I still hold out hope that there will be some good stuff, I mean the last Sweet Valley book Lila’s Story was the most awesome book yet. There needs to be more of those.)