June 13, 2011
SVH #93, Stepsisters: The Sweet Valley Rainbow Coalition
Summary: Annie Whitman’s mom tells her she’s getting remarried, which is a shock to Annie, since she didn’t even know her mom was dating someone. Her fiancé, Walter Thomas, is a famous photographer, and he and his daughter, Cheryl (who’s Annie’s age), are moving to Sweet Valley from New York to live with the Whitmans. Oh, and they’re black. Annie doesn’t care about that last part, but she’s worried about how other people in Sweet Valley will react.
The Whitmans and Thomases buy the house next to the Wakefields, and the twins are happy to have a friend as their neighbor. They also don’t care that the Thomases are black. Walter and Cheryl arrive in Sweet Valley and everything seems to go well with the newly formed family. Annie and Cheryl are a little too nice to each other; each girl gives the other the bedroom she really wanted. Annie also gets a little weird about Cheryl’s race, not telling anyone because she doesn’t want to make it a big deal, but wondering if people will think she was trying to hide it.
Annie decides to throw a party to welcome Cheryl to Sweet Valley and give her a chance to meet a bunch of people from SVH. She realizes that all her friends are white and invites some non-white students, even though she doesn’t know them that well. Cheryl kind of figures out that Annie’s not really friends with those students, and Annie thinks Cheryl feels embarrassed. She tries to get Cheryl really involved in life in Sweet Valley, but Cheryl’s having trouble adjusting to life outside of New York and doesn’t like all the same activities Annie does. She does, however, like Steven.
Since Annie’s in Pi Beta Alpha, she wants Cheryl to join, too, so she nominates her. Suzanne Hanlon is her usual snooty self and comments that Cheryl’s a lot different from the other PBA members. She also indicates to Annie that if she makes all the food for a pool party Suzanne’s throwing, she’ll vote for Cheryl. In the meantime, Cheryl talks to Elizabeth and Rosa Jameson about PBA and comes up with more and more reasons not to become a member. She agrees to go to the pool party, since Annie really wants her to, but she’s been talking to Tony, Annie’s ex, who she thinks wants her back, and says she’ll only go to the party if Annie invites Tony.
Cheryl announces at the party that she’s going to decline membership to PBA since she has too many other things she wants to do. Annie blasts her for quitting after Annie stuck her neck out, and Cheryl plays the race card, for some reason, saying white people always want black people to be grateful to them. Cheryl talks things over with Steven, who notes that people can get along without having a lot in common – after all, Jessica and Elizabeth are identical in looks only. And then, randomly, Annie’s mom gets appendicitis, and she and Cheryl rush to the hospital, but Annie’s mom is fine, and then Annie and Cheryl make up. Like I said, random.
Thoughts: Okay, there is way too much going on in this book: Annie’s mom is getting remarried, Cheryl and Walter are black, Tony wants to get back together with Annie, everyone moves into the new house, Cheryl and Steven are hanging out, Cheryl feels out of place in California, Annie wants her in PBA…. This is like five books in one.
However, this book also contains a page-long teaser about the Prom Thriller miniseries. So! Excited!
“A lot of the other models Mom knows are black. Why shouldn’t she have fallen in love with someone who happens to be black?” Um, what? That makes no sense. “She knows black people, so it’s not surprising that she’s marrying one of them”? I mean, I know a lot of women, but people would be pretty surprised if I married one.
“You actually have sororities in high school here? Sweet Valley sounds like something out of a 1950’s beach-party movie.” Cheryl sure caught on quickly.