SVH #27: Lovestruck

27 Jun

Estimated Elapsed Time: 2 weeks

Summary/Overview:

Ken Matthews has a problem.  He’s failing English–hardcore, and if he doesn’t pull his grade up, he won’t be able to play in the big football game against Palisades High School as part of Sweet Valley’s Centennial celebration.  Mr. Collins makes a deal with Ken: if he does well on his short story assignment, his grade should be a passing one, and he can play.  All Ken has to do is write a short story and he’ll be a golden god again.

But it’s really hard for Ken to concentrate on the English assignment, because he’s totally in love with Suzanne Hanlon, a rich, snobby girl who’s into artsy things and can’t understand why Ken likes to spend all his time wearing shoulder pads and running around on a football field.  She dominates much of his time, dragging him to classical music concerts and weird Swedish films, and Ken procrastinates more and more on his English assignment.  Even asking Elizabeth Wakefield for help doesn’t do him much good, though she tries to illustrate the writing process by lending him one of her short stories, complete with notes and an outline and everything.  Oh, Liz, this will end badly.

The assignment is due and Ken has nothing to show for it, so he panics and turns in Liz’s story as his own.  The problem is, the story is so good that Olivia Davidson wants to publish it in the school paper as part of the special edition for the centennial celebration.  The second Liz reads the copy she knows what Ken has done, and she confronts him.  He apologizes profusely and promises to set things right but is derailed by Suzanne, who’s so excited that he’s showing promise as a cultured person and not a neanderthal.  Ken goes home and writes a short story that mimics his own life and has Liz switch out the story before the paper goes to press.

After the school goes crazy with the scandal, Ken meets with Mr. Collins, Chrome Dome Cooper, and Coach Schultz.  They agree to let Ken play because his story was very good and because he learned a valuable lesson.  Ken plays in the big game, wins it for Sweet Valley, and sees how stupidly blind he was about Suzanne, who wants to direct his life and can’t accept him for who he really is.

The B-Plot involves Jessica trying to organize the Centennial student picnic, which is to take place after the big football game.  She enlists the help of Lila, who scampers off to New York at the last minute, leaving Jessica with all the planning.  She’s overwhelmed and forgets to confirm with the caterer, which means that on the day of the picnic, there’s no food.  She solves the crisis by putting together hundreds of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (no one has a peanut allergy in Sweet Valley, I guess), and the entire operation is a rousing success.  In fact, the food switch means that she saved a ton of money, allowing the committee to donate more to the charity of the week.  Hooray!

Memorable Quotes:

  • “Mrs. Wakefield dropped a towel on one of the lawn chairs and turned to the twins. ‘So, what’s on the agenda for this afternoon?  More daring rescues?  Foiling an assassination plot?  Or are you two just going to try something simple, like taking over a small country?'” (9)

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • Mrs. Wakefield apparently has a daily swim in the family pool.
  • Suzanne’s family owns 2 Rolls Royces.
  • Suzanne likes Mozart and Ken likes the Rolling Stones.  This is the real reason that they aren’t compatible.
  • Elizabeth agrees to man the kissing booth at the picnic.  My 2010 mindset and raging hypochondria cannot comprehend her willingness to do this.

(Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

There’s not a lot to say about this one, really.  In terms of plots, it’s not terribly offensive.  I mean, Ken steals Elizabeth’s story and tries to pass it off as his own, but he feels like a total shit about it the entire time, and he ends up writing a story of his own and coming clean without having to be blackmailed or anything (I realize that there was a certain amount of pressure on him since it was going to be published, but you know what I mean).  He also figures out that Suzanne is a total buzzkill and drops that shit before I wanted to tear my hair out.  She’s pretty boring and completely bossy, but I kind of figure that her personality flaws are a result of her environment more than a deep-seated drive to be evil.

It’s also nice that this book offers quite the reprieve from the twins.  The B-Plot is hardly touched upon at all, and because of this, the entire book seems to fly by.  It doesn’t just have to do with the fact that I skimmed over any page that dealt with sports of any kind, right?

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One Response to “SVH #27: Lovestruck”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. SVH: Elizabeth’s Secret Diary, Vol. I | A Critical Analysis of Sweet Valley's Most Famous Twins - July 16, 2014

    […] I can’t tell anymore).  Also, Liz’s writing is SO GOOD that people steal it, like Ken Matthews did that one time but he totally learned his lesson and they’re cool […]

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