|SVT #25 - Standing Out
||[Apr. 29th, 2009|10:37 pm]
Elizabeth and Jessica are better than you.
Hiiiiii! I just read my first SVT book and it was sooooo good I had to share it! ...err, okay, snark it. :D I grew up reading SVH -- and obsessively re-reading (I'll spare you the gory details of how anal I was about this). I remember lamenting the fact that I was too old to read the Twins' series when it came out. Hee! BUT ALAS, THIS COMMUNITY HAS GIVEN ME NEW REASON TO VENTURE FORTH INTO SVT.
The cover lacks both Elizabeth and Jessica. How odd! The "SVLL" bugs me. Shouldn't they have an actual team name on their uniforms and not just Sweet Valley Little League? Lame. They're called "the Rangers" in the book. Maybe they're afraid the Texas Rangers would sue or something. Anyway, that's our heroine, Billie Layton, in the middle. I'm assuming the boys are Jim Sturbridge and Aaron Dallas. They're obviously posing for a picture, but I don't recall that happening in the book. For shame, cover artist! Also, the tagline of "Can a girl really be one of the guys?" doesn't really fit the plot of the book. Bah.
Our tale begins with Jessica congratulating tomboy Billie on her great basketball game that afternoon. Yep, the girl plays basketball and baseball, and is the star of both teams! But Billie is blue: she confides that her mom is having a baby. A BOY. Jessica's all "OMG you already know?" and Billie explains that since her mom's so old she had to have tests done, so they found out that way. Ah, the 80s! And just after Billie tells Jessica that at least she can count on her BFF Jim Sturbridge (whom they keep referring to by his full name, which drives me batty), the girls see him talking to Sally Holcomb, the biggest
slut flirt in the 6th grade! Why would he be with her and not Billie? wonders Jessica. Gee, Jess, because boys like sluts flirts more than mopey tomboys?
Jessica's not supposed to tell anyone about what Billie said to her (because having a boy best friend is soooo scandalous?) but of course she spills to Elizabeth and Lila. Jessica and Lila are making cookies in home-ec the next day, and Jessica muses that Lila always gets the easy jobs like mixing dough while everyone else has to do the hard stuff like chopping nuts. ...chopping nuts? Why don't they give these kids the already-chopped kind? Why hasn't anyone sliced off their finger yet? Anyway, Lila goes on to bitch about Slutty Sally wearing a purple sweater when she is not a Unicorn, and therefore, has no right to wear the color. Ha! Lila finagles her way out of doing the dishes by claiming she has to talk to the teacher, but lucky for Jess, Liz is already done making her cookies and she comes over to help.
So the twins discuss Billie's boy situation and if they should tell Billie about Lila seeing Jim and Sally at Casey's place together, and Elizabeth says "It's wrong to meddle or be a tattletale." ...okayyyy, so I guess it's Pod!Elizabeth in this book.
Later, in gym class, Billie goes into the bathroom and ZOMG it's her first period! And she doesn't have the things she needs! Jessica, who was in there fixing her hair, runs off to fetch Lila's "things" from their shared locker, explaining that it hasn't happened for her yet, but Lila fully believes in being prepared. Practical!Lila to the rescue!
So now Billie obsesses about her period. At lunch with Jessica, she looks around the room and wonders who all has got theirs already, and if she's suddenly gonna grow boobs now and won't those get in the way of her arm when she pitches? LOL I guess this was written before there were athletes like Jennie Finch!
Later, in the library (will this school day never end???) Billie angsts to us readers that her mom doesn't have time for her -- she can't tell her mom about her period yet because her mom is too busy helping students in the library. Then at her house (okay it finally ended) she angsts to her good buddy Elizabeth that she never does stuff with her dad anymore. Yup, Billie's kinda whiny in this book. Elizabeth invites her to go out shopping with her and Jessica later that week to get new clothes for Julie's birthday party that weekend, which all three girls have been invited to. Billie says goodbye to Elizabeth, and as she's coming back from the doorway she overhears her parents talking about the baby. She "didn't mean to eavesdrop" but she hears them decide that they're going to name the baby William, after her grandfather. They hope that Billie won't be upset about this. Gee, ya think maybe you might not want to talk about stuff when you know your daughter's right down the hall? Dumb! Billie, of course, runs upstairs to cry. They're taking her name! How could they?!
Actually? No, Billie, they're not -- your name is Belinda. Personally, I think it would be cute if they nicknamed the baby Willy. Willy and Billie! Awww!
At an "emergency" Unicorn meeting, Lila announces she got a new dress with purple velvet ribbons on it for Julie's party. ...um, okay, I'm picturing the sort of dress that maybe a 6-year-old would wear. I didn't go out and buy dresses for birthday parties at age 12! But then, the birthday parties I went to then were slumber parties, with pizza and movies and threatening to freeze people's (training) bras when they fell asleep. Apparently they don't do that in Sweet Valley.
The next day, Billie has baseball practice. She's going to be the starting pitcher for a Huge Game against the Rebels on Saturday (before the party!) so she has to prepare. Best line in this segment: For the first time, she noticed that all the other players on the team were boys. Really, Billie? Because you got your period you can now distinguish between the sexes? Awesome! Anyway, Billie has a rough time, she's not on top of her game at all -- and to make things worse, Jim Sturbridge ditches their usual walk home from school to go be with Slutty Sally.
The next day is shopping day! Alice drops off Billie, Jessica, and Elizabeth at the mall to go dress shopping. Billie picks out a blue denim skirt. Right on, Billie! That's a good choi----er, no, it's not, Elizabeth nixes that idea! Blue denim is not "quite right" for the party. Elizabeth finds a "pink dress with ruffles at the neck and sleeves" and presents that to Billie. Billie is HORRIFIED (and rightly so!) and says OH HELL NO. Billie manages to find a pretty blue dress that she kinda likes. It has a lace collar, but she's okay with that because the lace is soft, not prickly. (huh?) And it has a blue velvet ribbon around the waist. ...well, it's better than pink and ruffly, I guess! She's a little hesitant when she tries it on, but that's the one Billie ends up buying, with some coaxing from the twins.
The girls are about to leave the mall to go wait for Alice to pick them up, when all of a sudden they run into Jim and *gasp!* Slutty Sally! They awkwardly say hello and continue on their way. Billie dramatically plops down on the bench whining about how much her life sucks. Jessica, bless her soul, tells her to remember that dinosaurs went extinct because they couldn't adapt. Oh, Jess <3
Saturday finally comes -- the day of Billie's big baseball game and then Julie's party! But the game starts horribly for Billie. She sucks so bad that she gets pulled from the game in the second inning for a relief pitcher. And it starts raining! In Sweet Valley! Yes, it does happen! Elizabeth is worried that Billie will think they're ditching her if everyone leaves early. Lila doesn't care about that, of course; already bored, she declares she's leaving -- she doesn't want her hair to get stringy for Julie's party, after all. She orders Jessica to leave too, but Jess stands up to her and stays put, sharing an umbrella with Liz and Amy. Awwww.
They postpone the game 'til tomorrow cuz of the rain, and the coach says he'll decide on a starting pitcher then. Ohhhh will Billie get a chance to redeem herself? Can't wait to find out!
Billie whines that she doesn't feel like going to the party now, and her dress is wrinkled (she brought it with her so she could get ready with the twins after the game)... and she's all wet and blah blah little miss grumpypants. The twins convince her they can fix her dress and she can take a shower and they'll do her hair and everything's peachy! Elizabeth irons the dress while Jessica curls Billie's hair. When Jessica pulls out a tube of lip gloss, Billie's all "no no, you've gone too far, I can't wear make-up!" Teehee! But they talk her into the lip gloss. (don't girls start wearing lip gloss when they're wee? Seriously. I hope she at least wore Chapstick or her lips must be in bad shape by now!)
Billie puts on her dress and white pantyhose and white shoes, and the twins give her pearl jewelry to wear. She looks at them all emotional-like. They were the greatest friends she'd ever had. Haha, too bad for you this is probably the only book you get to hang out with them! Next book you'll be back in loserville!
Okay, I love this next part. Ned is going to drive the girls to the party. Yay Ned! He's waiting for them as they come down the stairs. Billie saw his expression change as she reached the bottom step. His eyes widened, and then he whistled, slowly, under his breath. LOL PEDO MUCH THAR, NED?
So at the party, all the guys are fawning over Billie. They all want to dance with her and fetch her frosty beverages. She is HOT STUFF. She's happy until she sees Sally and Jim. Sally's wearing a dress that reveals her shoulders and makes her look at least fourteen! Now Billie feels she looks like a baby. (yeah, I think you do too, dear, sry2say) Jim looks up and sees Billie looking at him. Billie waves, and Jim doesn't wave back. He just looks away. That's the last straw! Billie runs out to go emo somewhere but alas, she can't! Her dad is here, he's come to take her to the hospital because her baby brother's being born!
At the hospital, Billie finally tells her mom about getting her period. And fail!dad, who missed today's game, vows to make it out tomorrow. Suddenly Billie doesn't care about pitching horribly that day and that Jim's being a jerk. It's all good -- her little brother's on his way and she's excited now! A while later, the bun pops out of the oven, and Billie falls in love when she holds him. And he smiles at her. Um, I thought newborns couldn't smile right away? Whatevs. Billie declares that she's too old for a nickname like Billie, and she'd like to be called Belinda now. Guess she made peace with parting with her name real easily! So for the rest of the book she's referred to as Belinda. I like Billie better. *pout*
The next day,
Billie Belinda gets ready for the game -- and she yoinks a squirt of perfume and some lip gloss from her mom. See, you can be girly and into baseball at the same time! And some shmuck named Pete Stone totally asks her out. She has to turn him down, cuz her dad is taking her back to the hospital after the game, but she's happy Pete's noticed her. Won't be long now before she says Jim who? Except... nope, here comes Jim. He tells her he didn't recognize her at the party yesterday. That's why he ignored her! He didn't know it was her until Jessica told him! LMAO. He says he was sorry that she left, cuz he wanted to ask her to dance. She is completely won over by this. Uh... hello? What about Slutty Sally? But hey, they're twelve, relationships only last a week at most, I suppose! (and, to be fair, the book leaves it open to interpretation -- they don't kiss or anything. It's not SVH! Hehe) Billie Belinda, of course, is chosen to start the game and she (of course!) pitches a complete game shut out. YAYZ it's a happy ending! And it gets even happier -- Billie Belinda gets invited into THE UNICORN CLUB. Wowie, I guess I'll have to take back what I said about her never hanging out with Jessica again, at least! (I haven't read any other SVT books, just noticed the trend of people disappearing after one book in the snarkings I've read here!)
And then there's the lead-in to the next book: The Unicorns talk about an upcoming high school rock concert at Secca Lake, and this random boy Patrick Morris shows up and whines about how he can't go because the concert will go past his curfew. Jessica's appalled -- she says that curfews went out with the Dark Ages. LOL only in Sweet Valley! How will Patrick react to his parents' strict rules? Find out in SVT #26, Taking Charge!
...whoa, that was long. And I didn't even mention the Unicorn B plot as it didn't really go anywhere. Heh. This was fun. Hope you enjoyed!
LMAO. Excellent snark, I totally remember this book.
That part about Pervy Ned really creeped me out..how inappropriate was that?
Edited at 2009-04-30 06:23 am (UTC)
Yeah, no wonder Mr. Collins doesn't seem inappropriate to Liz later in life!!!
Ooh, I don't think I ever read this one.
I now want to. I think. Or maybe not.
At least the baseball parts were realistic...ish. I kind of want to read more now! But I'll stick to reading people's recaps :)
Ew, pedo!Ned. That's seriously creepy.
This book sounds seriously ridiculous. Really, she never noticed she was the only girl? Really?
And how convenient that she decided to start going by Belinda the very minute baby William was born.
LOL! Excellent snark, thanks, I've been missing this community!
Yes, yes, and yes! lol
Thanks! Since I just discovered this glorious place, I have lots of recaps to catch up on. Once I catch up I'll probably miss it too... NEEDS MORE SNARK!
HAHAHAHA this book. Which I had never read, so thank you! And whoa, Billie = Belinda of later! That is crazy that she just decides to change what name she goes by and everyone, including the narrator, goes along with it for the rest of eternity. I don't think my school worked that way; you didn't actually get to pick what people called you, heh.
I am annoyed that they're making cookies in Home Ec though. What about that book a zillion titles later where Jess can't bake to save her life, except she magically makes the world's best cookies
The school would probably be okay with it, since it's her legal name -- she was probably correcting her teachers to say "Billie" the first day of class and all. But it's funny that everyone switches over so easily, yeah!
Haha, well, maybe if Lila had let her do stuff besides chop nuts, she'd get to mess up those cookies? #89... so far away from where I'm at... will.not.skip.ahead :)
This was the first Sweet Valley book I ever read too.
Excellent snark =]
Awww, yay! I like baseball so I thought maybe it wouldn't be too painful. lol
Really, Billie? Because you got your period you can now distinguish between the sexes? Awesome!
Penii are the Thestrals of Sweet Valley.
OK, so Steve and Jess are fucking each other, Elizabeth is a serial cheating cheater and now Ned's a pedo. Is there a book where Alice turns out to be, like, a dominatrix or something?
Penii are the Thestrals of Sweet Valley.
LOLOL yes! Except somehow Lila and Jess can magically tell without having had their periods yet. Ghost writer needs to read up on her magic a bit more.
Haha, poor Alice, she's the bland one in the family.
Why couldn't they have Steven do the whistle thing? Then it would be much less creepy since he's only two years older than them.
Yeah, really! That would have made much more sense! But alas, that must be why they didn't do it. hehe
At least Billie's own dad didn't even notice how she was dressed until they were at the hospital.
Omg THANK YOU! This was my all-time FAVORITE SVT book. Ever ever ever! I used to borrow it from my grade school library almost every month until I got too old to enter the place. Haha.
My pleasure! Haha, I used to go check out SVH books every day from the library. I remember there was a big demand for #7 Dear Sister, and the librarian held it for me when I got up to that one, because she knew I'd be good about returning it the next day. lol
I kinda want to read more SVT now.
They all want to dance with her and fetch her frosty beverages.
And slip her roofies...
Hee! Well, if anyone did manage that, they'd be sorely disappointed when Dad showed up to whisk her away before any liberties could be taken! Maybe she was drugged somehow...and that's why she was suddenly cool with all the changes all at once like that? :D
Why don't you have a seat over there, Ned?
Excellent snarkage! I remember this book. It was one of the first SVTs I read.
Ahahahahaha WIN! "I wasn't gonna have sex with her, honest!"
Thank you! I bet you didn't even notice Pedo Ned back then :)
Billie saw his expression change as she reached the bottom step. His eyes widened, and then he whistled, slowly, under his breath.
OH GODS I FEEL UNCLEAN.
*offers you brain bleach!*
Poor Ned, before this book we thought you were just a fail!lawyer, but now you're a pedo too?!
Excellent recap. This was one of my favorite SVT books (is baseball ever even mentioned anywhere else in the SV-verse?), but you're so right about the tagline being the absolute opposite of the actual plot. I wanted to read a story about a girl in Sweet Valley who tries to be one of the guys, and succeeds! but of course, it being Sweet Valley, that story could never be told. I really liked Billie's character but thought the makeover bit was a bit much. Too much velvet, ribbon and lace *shudder*. And white pantyhose with white shoes.
This must have been written at the height of Belinda Carlisle's popularity, because no self-respecting tween at any other time in the last 50 years would willingly submit to being called "Belinda."
Thanks! I can't recall baseball being mentioned, but it seems they must have had baseball players here and there. They've got football, basketball, soccer... it must be slipping our minds.
And thank you -- even for a GIRLY girl, I swear those outfits they were all wearing were ridiculous for 12-year-olds. They would have been better off doing this story in the SVK-verse!
Oh yeah, this was 1989... that sounds about right. ~Oooo baby do ya know what that's worth? Ooooo heaven is a place on Earth!~
"Haha, too bad for you this is probably the only book you get to hang out with them! Next book you'll be back in loserville!"
Hahaha! so true... saint liz can only help 1 person for a minimum of a week before she gets a new charity case...
Is that how it goes? Yeah, I think you're right, this book took place in about a week! At least Jess was helping too. In fact, Jess started the whole thing. Liz was all "we shouldn't meddle" at first. lol
Ned's Pedo Whistle-Gate definitely skeeved me out too, although I'm sure it struck me as totally innocent when I first read this. Sadly though, the whole "mix it up by wearing a hot dress instead of your usual jeans/sweats/whatever for a change" thing actually does seem to work pretty well for the guy-getting, at least in my experience. So there you go, Billie/Belinda: you've just learned a valuable lesson in the way the world works! ;~)
Yeah, I mean... that's presumably why her BFF Jim is hanging out with a slut in the first place. She's girly! Which makes him feel manly! But if I wore a dress with a lace collar and velvet sash, plus white pantyhose and little white shoes... at age 12... I think the boys would have pointed and laughed! But hey, it's Sweet Valley, and the other girls were wearing such sweet outfits too. I think the boys at the party were acting mature beyond their years, with the dancing and the drink-fetching! :)
And Ned... couldn't he have just said "You look lovely, Billie" and complimented his daughters in similar fashion? WHY THE WOLF WHISTLE? Ewww!
I KNOW, eww! I had to laugh at that. And of course little kids reading it don't think anything of it, they'll just think "wow, yay, Billie's pretty now!"
Thank you! <3
Weirdly, I remembered the thing about the collar made of soft lace. No idea why that detail stuck in my head for all these years.
You remember the lace, but I bet you don't remember Ned being so creepy! Hehehe.
I was totally freaked out by this book at the age of 8 or so because her dad was like, "We only called you Billie b/c we REALLY wanted a boy but then you came along and we were all - meh, what the hell, but now we have a proper man-child on the way so obviously you have to give up your name, 'kay sweetie?"
I am now totally freaked out by Ned's inappropriate leering at a 12 year old.
Also, why did Billie get accepted into the Unicorn cabal without all the usual tests of her commitment to the Party and pledges of devotion to the Divine Janet?
They were pretty nonchalant about the name thing, within her earshot! Poor kid. But obviously she didn't mind giving it up the second the kidlet was born, lolz. I still don't get why they couldn't have named him William but then called him... uh, William? Or Will? It's a perfectly respectable name. Doesn't have to automatically turn into "Billy."
I think Pedo!Ned was probably the most entertaining part of this story. It certainly got the most reactions here :)
I think Billie got in so easily because the Unicorns were trying to improve their image by diversifying a bit. That was the B plot that never really went anywhere (except to let Billie in, I guess!) -- they were getting a reputation for being elitist. Well, duh, they ARE! That's the point! Why have a "cool" club of special snowflakes if everyone and their brother can join? That's not the way adolescent minds work!
LMAO you're right! Egads, how did we not see this coming??
Billie dramatically plops down on the bench whining about how much her life sucks. Jessica, bless her soul, tells her to remember that dinosaurs went extinct because they couldn't adapt. Oh, Jess <3
I literally lol'd.
And pervy Ned = BAD. That's creepy.
I think newborn babies can smile, but it's usually just gad. Fun fact.
2010-06-17 06:24 am (UTC)
Nobody is gonna tell me I can't wear purple because I'm not in some stupid, babyish club! If one of those Unicorn freaks had said that to me, I would have made THEM purple... and black and blue.
2010-09-17 01:31 pm (UTC)
Re: AS IF
At age 12, I was too shy and wimpy to do that, I would have just dutifully not worn purple. (here's a Cher icon for your "as if")
2010-09-15 02:15 am (UTC)
If Lila griped at me for wearing purple despite not being a Unicorn, nothing would have stopped me from plowing my fist in her face. I hate snobs, particularly those who are "new money" because it's like they forgot where they came from.
2010-09-17 01:29 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but... it's Lila! Everyone loves Lila!
Thanks for reading :)
Wow, you mean theres ANOTHER SV character who also gets her period? This is insanity! The Spanish-style bathrooms of Sweet Valley were never intended to be used.
Can someone explain to me why Jessica had no problem with Billie being a tomboy and being part of the Unicorn Club but she had a problem with Amy being a tomboy and joining the Boosters? Either she's a huge hypocrite or a major ass-kissing suck-up because Billie is one of their school's best athletes.
Or Francine fails at continuity? Hehe.
I forgot all about this post. I love getting comments on old stuff. And I'm glad people are still reading the lovely snarkings in this community :D