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
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,
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!