July 28, 2015
SVT #35, Amy’s Pen Pal: P.S. I Hate You
Summary: What I took away from this book was that Amy’s so dull, even her pen pal doesn’t want to hang out with her. This is the equivalent of your imaginary friend ditching you for being boring.
In book 34’s setup for this one, we learned that Amy has a pen pal who hasn’t written her in a while. In this book, the pen pal shows up at Amy’s door. Her name is Samantha Williams, and she’s from San Francisco. She claims that her parents went camping over the long weekend, so she came to visit Amy. Didn’t Amy get the letter saying Sam would be coming? And didn’t their lack of communication over the topic mean that the Suttons were okay with a houseguest?
The Suttons can’t exactly kick Sam out, and since her parents are off in the woods somewhere, they can’t call to confirm that Sam’s allowed to be there. So Sam gets the okay to stay all weekend. Learn from this, kids. This is how to get away with whatever you want. Amy shows Sam around town and introduces her to the Wakefields. Sam borrows some clothes from Elizabeth so she can go to a party at Lila’s house. I’m surprised she doesn’t borrow clothes from Jessica. Who’s excited about wearing someone else’s khakis and flowered blouses?
At the party, Sam hits it off with the Unicorns, to Amy’s dismay. Sam’s family seems to rival Lila’s in the wealth/connections department. They have a house in Hawaii! Sam has a horse! She’s won blue ribbons in riding competitions! She’s famous in San Francisco for being a DJ! She’s dating the son of a famous actress named Glinda Paris! The Unicorns love her, which makes Amy fume. She fumes even more when Sam dances with Ken, Amy’s crush. Understandably, Amy doesn’t like being brushed aside by someone who was supposed to be her friend – especially when she’s being brushed aside for snobs.
Lila’s so excited to have Sam around that she wants to make her an honorary Unicorn. Amy has to tag along when the girls go to lunch together. Her annoyance with Sam grows, but soon she’s not the only one upset: Jessica doesn’t like Sam either. She’s started to notice some discrepancies in Sam’s stories. For instance, Sam said she won a spelling bee, but at the party the night before, she said she’s a bad speller. The biggest standout is that Jessica remembers reading an article about Glinda Paris that mentioned that her son is only nine. Why would Sam be dating someone so young?
Jess takes her suspicions to Elizabeth, who decides to help uncover the truth, for Amy’s sake. Amy’s on board for taking Sam down, since Sam has spent practically the whole weekend with the Unicorns. Jess tells the Unicorns that she thinks Sam’s a big fat liar, so they decide to give her a test. They make up a story about rock star Melody Power being in the hospital while filming near San Francisco. (Wait, now she’s an actress? Is Melody Power supposed to be like Madonna?) Sam immediately jumps on the story, saying she visited Melody. So now the Unicorns know she’s just a phony.
As revenge, the Unicorns decide to embarrass Sam using Dave’s live radio show. They’ll make her think that Dave wants her on his radio show to talk about her visit with Melody. Since Sam is supposedly famous, Dave should know who she is, and when she goes to his booth, he’ll welcome her. The Unicorns expect that, instead, Dave will expose her for lying about being a DJ, and she’ll be humiliated in front of everyone. They tell Sam that they’ve arranged for her to be on the show, which freaks her out, but it’s too late for her to come clean.
Meanwhile, things are getting worse between Amy and Sam. Amy calls Sam out for spending so much time with the Unicorns when she supposedly came to town to hang out with Amy. Sam pulls a Gretchen Weiners, basically saying it’s not her fault that she’s popular and Amy isn’t. Oooh, none for Sam Williams, ‘bye. When Elizabeth tells Amy what the Unicorns have planned, Amy wants a front-row seat.
Before everyone goes to the mall for the radio show, Mrs. Sutton calls Sam’s parents to solidify her travel plans. She and Amy are shocked to learn that Sam never had permission to visit Sweet Valley – she ran away from home. Her little sister has been sick, and Sam got fed up with not getting enough attention, so she jetted. The Williamses are on their way to collect their daughter, and Mrs. Sutton, Amy, and Elizabeth agree not to tell Sam, in case she tries to bolt.
Now Elizabeth and Amy don’t feel as good about humiliating Sam. They’re just not sure how to warn her without letting her know what they know about her. Elizabeth comes up with a plan, and with some help from Steven, they get Dave to welcome Sam onto his show and talk about bland topics like her time in Sweet Valley. There’s no mention of Melody Power, and no indication that Sam has told any lies.
The angry Unicorns tell Sam all about their plan. She gets upset, and Amy and Elizabeth comfort her, which surprises Sam. They all go back to the Suttons’, where Sam’s parents have already arrived. The family makes up, and Sam learns that her sister’s going to be okay. She and Amy also make up, though I’m not sure Sam is ever mentioned again.
The B-plot is about how Jessica wants to win the competition to name Dave Carlquist’s new radio show. She’s submitted a bunch of lame entries with names like “Teen Talk.” Very creative, Jess. The competition winner gets to have a big party at the new teen club, Jupiter. Jessica is sure that Dave is hot, and she’s desperate to meet him. Fortunately, she has an excuse to hang around the mall, where Dave will be hosting a live show – Steven has joined the radio club at school and is helping put together the show.
But whenever Jess stops by, she just encounters Steven and his nerdy friend Buddy. Jess can’t be bothered to give Buddy the time of day. Guess what? Buddy is Dave! Maybe Jessica should have been nicer to him. Elizabeth ends up winning the contest with the inspired entry “The Awesome Hour.” Elizabeth, no. She feels bad that Jessica didn’t win, so she says she’ll let Jess help throw their party at Jupiter. Yes, let’s reward Jess even though she didn’t do anything.
Thoughts: The cover of this book advertises “more pages, more fun.” Well, it’s half right.
“How great can she be if she’s Amy Sutton’s friend?” asks the girl whose sister is Amy’s best friend.
“Do you mean Sam is stretching the truth a little bit? Is that so important?” First of all, Elizabeth, Jess is accusing her of straight up lying, not “stretching the truth.” And second, since when are you okay with anything other than 100% complete honesty?