April 1, 2014

SVT #5, Sneaking Out: Dog Day Afternoon

Posted in books tagged , , at 6:44 pm by Jenn

Just say no to denim on denim, Jess

Just say no to denim on denim, Jess

Summary: Johnny Buck, America’s favorite rock star (or at least America’s teenagers’ favorite rock star) is coming to Sweet Valley for a concert! WHY AREN’T YOU MORE EXCITED? For $25, every Jimmy and Susie in Sweet Valley can listen to the Buck sing songs about…I don’t know. Kittens? Picnics? Something else inoffensive? Lest you think he’s just another product of the machine that gave us such artists as the Biebs, that other guy who’s kind of like the Biebs, and that third guy who’s also like the Biebs except Australian, even boys like the Buck. Or they pretend to because Bruce does.

Anyway, Jessica wants to go to the concert because the last time the Buck was in town, she and Elizabeth were deemed “too young” to go. But they staked out his hotel and he threw Jessica a hat. Well, actually he threw the hat to Elizabeth, but she snoozed and lost, so Jess grabbed it. She’s the bigger Buck fan anyway. And Elizabeth’s a pushover, so of course she let Jessica have it. Jess wants to take the hat to the concert and have the Buck sign it, since he obviously chose her out of all the other fangirls for this very important prize, which means it’s true luv. And Jessica wants to make him an honorary Unicorn. I’m sure he’ll love that.

Alas, Jessica’s hopes are dashed by Alice and Ned, who think the twins are still too young to go to a rock concert. Steven’s going but doesn’t want to play chaperone, which is understandable. And it’s not like it matters, since Jessica doesn’t have the money for a ticket anyway. But she decides to earn the money somehow, and figure out the logistics later.

Jess spots an ad looking for a dog-sitter, and though she hates dogs (and admits to being scared of them), she decides that’s the fastest, easiest way to make $25. The dog’s owner, Mrs. Bramble, is so impressed with Jessica’s maturity (cough) and love for dogs (cough cough) that she asks Jessica take the dog, Sally, home with her while Mrs. Bramble is out of town. Suddenly this dog-sitting job has turned into temporary foster care for a dog Jessica’s afraid of despite the fact that it’s a chubby, senior citizen cocker spaniel. But Jess has never said no to an easy paycheck, so she gets her parents to agree to let Sally stay with them. Mrs. Bramble pays Jessica up front, which is a horrible idea.

The only thing Jessica hates more than dogs is any kind of work, so she gets her family members to take care of Sally for her. Elizabeth is the only one who realizes she’s being manipulated. This works all the way through the morning of the concert, when Jessica’s the only one around to walk Sally. Mrs. Bramble is supposed to come back that afternoon and pick up Sally before Jessica goes to Lila’s to get ready for the concert. But Mrs. Bramble calls to say she missed her bus and won’t be in until that night, long after Jessica’s supposed to leave.

No way will Jessica give up on her dreams of lying to her parents and going to a concert to meet the supposed love of her life. She ties Sally to a tree in the backyard and splits. But Sally goes chasing after a squirrel and her leash comes loose. Run, Sally! Be free of these people! When Elizabeth comes home, she discovers that Sally’s missing. Being the responsible twin, she enlists Amy to help her find the dog, but they have no luck.

Jessica’s afternoon isn’t much better. Her and Lila’s seats suck, the acoustics aren’t very good, and at one point the Buck’s microphone dies. A bunch of people are upset enough to storm out, but the girls stay, still wanting the Buck’s autograph. The technical issues are resolved and the Buck resumes the concert, which Jessica now gets to enjoy from a better vantage point, since so many people left.

But then – a crisis! Jessica sees other girls with the Buck’s hats and realizes that the one he threw her wasn’t an object of his affection at all. He gives hats away like they mean nothing to him. While she’s dealing with her heartbreak, Jessica falls onto some grass, staining her clothes (which she borrowed from Elizabeth without asking). The girls head home, saddened by the reality that life is hard and sometimes rock stars don’t want to marry you.

Mrs. Bramble returns to town, and Elizabeth has to confess that Sally escaped. They do eventually find Sally at Mrs. Bramble’s house, where Elizabeth is confused by the concept of a doggie door. Alice is annoyed that Jessica left to hang out with Lila when she was supposed to be taking care of Sally, and she demands that Elizabeth call her and summon her home. Also, Jessica will have to give back the money Mrs. Bramble paid her. Elizabeth stalls, but that backfires because Alice decides they’ll just go to Lila’s and get Jessica themselves.

At the Fowlers’, Elizabeth gives Jessica the news that Alice is unhappy with her and she has to give Mrs. Bramble back her $25. Of course, Jessica spent that money on the doomed concert. She asks Elizabeth for a loan, but this is one time Liz won’t be bailing her sister out of an avoidable mess. Also, Elizabeth is upset that Jessica borrowed the earrings Liz bought for Alice’s birthday and then lost one.

Jess then has to apologize to Mrs. Bramble, and she ends up spilling everything she did – going to the concert without permission, spending the $25, and not liking dogs. Mrs. Bramble is sympathetic since she did some things as a child that she wasn’t supposed to do. She makes a deal that Jessica doesn’t have to pay back the $25, but she’ll have to walk Sally every day for a month. Jessica decides this is fair, especially since her parents never find out about the concert and she’s able to give Elizabeth a replacement for the earrings. I guess dealing with a slobbering dog is enough punishment for Jessica this time.

Thoughts: I enjoy Alice actually being a parent. Of course, it won’t last.

Johnny Buck’s supposed to be a rock star, but I can’t help thinking of him as being like the Biebs. They even have the same initials! Which are…also my initials. Okay, I’m not sure what that means.

The clothes Jessica borrows from Elizabeth are “a pale beige with a scoop neck and a raspberry jacket,” and leather slippers. Leather…slippers?

Jessica also doesn’t ask to borrow the outfit or the earrings Liz bought for Alice because she’s sure they would both understand how important the concert is to her and would want her to look nice. This is most likely one of the symptoms of Jessica’s psychopathy.

The Wakefields call the police about the missing dog, which is ridiculous, mostly because in SVH and SVU, they don’t call the police abut real emergencies.

Elizabeth: “Lots of animals find their way back from much farther away. Remember Lassie.” Alice: “Lassie did come home.” Freaking A, people.

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