April 8, 2014

SVU #15, Behind Closed Doors: Jessica Hooking Up With a Professor Was Completely Inevitable

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 8:25 pm by Jenn

Twin on the left is doing an impersonation of me in math class

Twin on the left is doing an impersonation of me in math class

Summary: Jessica is placed in a medieval history course, and she’s not happy about it. She tries to get her schedule changed, but the registrar is immune to her charms and won’t help her out. Jessica is, by the way, in a very “down with love” place. She and Randy have broken up (after all that stalking – er, I mean, admiring from afar), and she’s decided that since she hasn’t had any good luck with love so far in her life, she never will.

One Friday night, while everyone else is at a party, Jessica goes to the bookstore to get books for her new class. She runs into a guy named Louis who really likes medieval history, and he sparks her interest in it. He also sparks her interest in him, and they have coffee together. Little does Jess know that Louis isn’t a fellow student – he’s her medieval history professor. Plot twist!

No longer down with love, Jessica starts spending time with Louis outside of class (all in the guise of doing schoolwork, of course). They run into each other on the beach and build a sandcastle together. Then Louis spots some woman and panics, as he’d apparently come to Sweet Valley to get away from her. Jessica thinks he’s panicking because she’s been flirting and showing interest in him. She writes a mostly mature note apologizing for getting so personal.

After their next class, Louis asks Jessica to meet him in his office, even giving her a key. He tells her that they need to remember that he’s the professor and she’s his student; they can’t have a personal relationship. Jessica runs out dramatically, Louis follows her, and there’s kissing. Way to hold that line, Louis.

Todd learns that he’s not going to be allowed back on the basketball team, and he’s ticked (understandably so, since he’s being punished for the department’s screw-ups with illegal recruitment – he didn’t do anything wrong). When Elizabeth hears about this, she decides to make Todd her pet project and get him back on the team. She wants to do a story on the situation for WSVU. Tom pulls rank, telling her to let it go. Someone’s jealous of someone else wanting to spend time with her ex…

Tom’s about to go out of town for two weeks, and he assigns Elizabeth to work on a story he was supposed to do about alumni donations. While she’s researching, she learns that the athletics department has gotten a ton of donations over the past few years, but the money hasn’t been used for anything. In fact, the dean told Tom that there haven’t been any donations.

Elizabeth discusses the disconnect with Todd, who confirms that no money has been spent by the athletic department. So Liz talks to a coach, who says there haven’t been donations in years. When she tries to talk to another coach, the first one kicks her out and warns the second that if he ever speaks to her again, he’s fired. Elizabeth finds a list of donors and supposed details of how their donations were used. She thinks the money’s going straight into recruits’ pockets.

Todd reminds Elizabeth about Mark, Alex’s boyfriend who was also busted for taking illegal recruitment offers. Mark didn’t take any money and doesn’t know anything about other athletes accepting payment. At this point, Todd is the only person Liz has really talked to about the situation, since Tom doesn’t want to hear about anything involving Todd. Tom’s a big jerk in this book.

Next Liz decides to focus on getting Todd back on the basketball team. She meets with a faculty member who tells her that Todd can plead his case before the alumni association. Todd’s happy to hear that, but tells Gin-Yung not to come to the meeting. He tells her that the association will see him more favorably if she’s not there. He actually doesn’t want her to have to hear about the whole recruitment scandal. Poor Gin-Yung is very patient in this book. Also, unlike Tom, she has no problem with Todd spending time with Elizabeth, and seems to genuinely like Liz.

Anyway, the day of the meeting, Todd is ambushed by a couple of guys in black. They beat him up and tell him to warn Liz not to keep digging around the athletics department. Todd misses the meeting and asks Elizabeth (who finds him bleeding) not to tell Gin-Yung about the attack in case getting her involved could put her in danger. But Gin-Yung’s no dummy, and when she asks Elizabeth for the truth, Liz tells her. Gin-Yung, who knows a ton about sports, thinks there’s a scandal involving point-shaving and gambling. Elizabeth and Todd pursue that angle by talking to a player who was kicked off the team for poor performance, though his skills seem to be intact.

Bruce decides to move off campus and asks Lila to live with him. There’s a weird scene where a real estate agent shows them a horrible apartment that no one would ever want to rent, let alone two supremely rich college students. They end up getting a beach house. The only problem is that Bruce’s decorating tastes are horrible. At least someone in this book is happy.

Remember how college is sometimes about academics? That’s what Winston’s here for. He’s been spending so much time with Denise that his physics grade is slipping. His dad is very strict when it comes to school, and Winston’s worried that if he fails, his father won’t pay his tuition. But Winston has very little willpower, especially when it comes to Denise, so he has trouble making himself skip socializing to study. Then when he does study, he falls asleep and misses a study group.

Winston asks his professor for help, but the professor isn’t very sympathetic. He wants Winston to study in order to learn, not just to pass tests. Winston decides to ask Denise to keep her distance until his big physics test; otherwise, he’ll have to drop out and go to community college, which means even less time for them to spend together.

Winston makes some headway in studying but again asks his professor for help. The professor says he’ll give Winston a study guide just this one time. Turns out the professor is kind of a jerk – the study guide is just a note telling him to read his textbook. But while Winston’s getting the guide from the professor’s office (the professor isn’t there), he spots a copy of the test. The devil and angel on Winston’s shoulders have a brief discussion, and the devil wins. Winston’s a cheater! Winston’s a cheater!

Thoughts: Jessica: “There’s no way I’m sitting through some boring class, listening to a dorky professor lecture about stuff that happened hundreds of years ago.” Then you shouldn’t have gone to college. That’s what 50 percent of it is.

Winston’s physics professor is Dr. Stark. I hope their final project is building an arc reactor. (There it is, folks. The nerdiest thing I’ve ever written.)

Nina has a Lenny Kravitz poster in her room. For once, the ghostwriter picked a celebrity a college student would actually find attractive.

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