February 10, 2015

SVT #25, Standing Out: The Feminine Mistake

Posted in books tagged at 8:12 pm by Jenn

Billie is pretty as a tomboy! Leave her alone, Jessica!

Billie’s pretty as a tomboy! Leave her alone, Jessica!

Summary: Belinda Layton, AKA Billie, is having a tough time. She’s nervous about a big Little League game coming up, where she’ll be the starting pitcher. Her mom is having a baby, which means her parents have little time for her right now and will soon have even less time for her. And if that weren’t enough, she just got her first period and is worried about how the new changes to her body will affect her as an athlete.

What Billie doesn’t know is that her best friend, Jim Sturbridge, keeps hanging out with Sally Holcomb, who flirts with every guy in the sixth grade. Jessica thinks she deserves to know, because for some reason Jess thinks that Jim and Billie are actually dating, and that Jim is somehow cheating by talking to another girl. It’s all very middle school. Elizabeth and Jessica invite Billie to go dress shopping with them for Julie Porter’s birthday party. Jess secretly thinks tomboy Billie needs a makeover so Jim will think she’s hot and ditch Sally.

Billie’s various life stresses start catching up to her at Little League, and her game is off. Plus, she’s become more aware of all the time Jim and Sally are spending together. So not only do her parents not have time for her anymore, but now her best friend doesn’t either. Also, somewhere in hear, she overhears her parents talking about naming the baby William, and how they hope Billie will understand. The ghostwriter is too sloppy/lazy to clarify that they want to nickname the baby Billy, which means girl Billie will need a new nickname. This is one of the dumbest things ever to come from a Sweet Valley book.

Anyway. Wakefield twins to the rescue! Billie goes shopping with them and realizes that they’re pretty cool to hang out with. But then they run into Jim and Sally, and Billie gets mopey. Jessica advises her to adapt, because the dinosaurs couldn’t, and look what happened to them. No, seriously, this is her train of thought.

The day of the big baseball game is also the day of Julie’s party. Billie doesn’t do well at the game, and she gets pulled and replaced. Also, her dad doesn’t show up, despite promising to come. It starts raining and a bunch of people leave, but the twins and Amy stay to support Billie, which is really nice of them (and especially nice of Jess, who doesn’t normally do nice things unless she’ll get something out of them). The game gets postponed until the next day, and Billie hopes she’ll get to start again then.

The girls then head to Julie’s party, where Billie feels awkward in her new dress but, unlike the dinosaurs, adjusts. The makeover the twins did on her acts like a typical Sweet Valley makeover, giving her confidence and drawing people’s attention to her. And by “people’s,” I mean “boys’,” because that’s all that matters. Jim, however, ignores Billie. She’s about to melt down when her father arrives to take her to the hospital – her mother’s in labor.

Spending time with her parents and finally talking to her mom about things like her period make Billie feel much better about her family changing. And once the baby’s born, she’s so happy to be a big sister that the rest of her problems kind of fade away. She announces that she’s grown-up enough to go by Belinda instead of Billie, so her brother can have the nickname Billy. Somewhere, Steven’s future girlfriend Billie feels offended but doesn’t know why.

Time for the rest of the big game! Billie – sorry, BELINDA – gets to start again. But first we must validate her femininity and affirm her makeover! A guy on the team asks her out. Jim tells her he didn’t talk to her at Julie’s party because he didn’t recognize her. If he had, he would have asked her to dance. See, girls? Dress up all pretty and your male friends will fall in love with you! It’s that simple! I hate this book.

Belinda’s team wins the game, thanks to her excellent pitching. Who else is shocked? And then the Unicorns, who have been trying to find a way to polish their image, invite Belinda to join the club. Now Belinda’s life is awesome, and it’s all because Jessica gave her a makeover! Well, also because she had the support of her Little League teammates, and she was successful in the big game, and she discussed her issues with her parents and got closer to them, but I’m sure we’re supposed to think it’s because she curled her hair and wore a dress one time.

Thoughts: “It’s wrong to meddle or be a tattletale.” It’s also wrong to be a hypocrite, Elizabeth.

Why is Julie’s birthday party considered such a big deal? Isn’t she a nerd? Why are the Unicorns invited?

“As Billie held the baby, her father bent over and hugged and kissed her. She realized that this was the very first time she’d ever gotten his attention as a girl. He’d always complimented her on her athletic abilities, but none of those compliments had ever been as sweet as the one he paid her just now.” This is so, so messed up. “Tomboys, make yourselves girly and your fathers will compliment you!” UGH. Also, Billie, YOU WERE ALWAYS A GIRL. Not wearing dresses or makeup doesn’t make you a boy!

Why do they have to call the baby Billy? His name is William; there are plenty of other nicknames they can give him. You get to be called whatever you want, girl Billie! And wear whatever you want! That means you don’t have to wear makeup or perfume unless you want to! And you can be feminine without those things! AHHHH, I HATE THIS BOOK!

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