September 1, 2015
SVU #42, Sneaking In: Men Behaving Badly
Summary: If you remember way back to Good-bye, Elizabeth, Liz has just decided to stay in Sweet Valley instead of following Scott to Denver. She and Tom are now back together. Also, Jessica and Nick are still dating but having some trouble because he doesn’t want to be a cop anymore. Jess thinks he’s boring now that he wants to go to college and become a lawyer. So when Jess meets bad boy Clay DiPalma, she’s more than a little interested.
Isabella also meets Clay, though she’s not interested in him romantically. He flirts with her while she’s helping out with a Theta fundraiser, even after she tells him she has a boyfriend. Said boyfriend, by the way, has suddenly become a huge jerk. He sees Isabella and Clay together and Hulks out, basically accusing her of cheating on him. They make up, because Isabella has more patience than I do, but fight again when Isabella asks Danny to go to a frat party that all the Thetas have to attend. He only agrees to go so he can make sure she doesn’t hook up with any other guys.
Clay also flirts with Jessica, who, unlike Isabella, doesn’t mention that she has a boyfriend. Nick catches them talking and also Hulks out, punching Clay in the face. Now Jessica’s interest in Nick is rekindled – who wouldn’t want to be with a tough guy who punches other men? This is all very Jess/Rory/Dean, only without Nick dropping Jessica at the tail end of a dance marathon.
Clay shows up at the frat party, and since Danny’s being a drag, Isabella’s now interested. Nick tells her and Jessica that Clay is clearly bad news, which just makes Isabella want to get to know him more. She starts dancing with a bunch of guys, so Danny tries to get her to leave, because clearly this kind of behavior means she’s a slut. When Isabella refuses to go, Danny storms off. Isabella starts drinking, then smokes a cigarette with Clay, even though she doesn’t smoke.
This is where things go pear-shaped. Clearly there’s something in the cigarette other than tobacco, because Isabella starts hallucinating. She thinks monsters are after her, so she runs upstairs and jumps off a balcony. This is probably the best anti-drug PSA any Sweet Valley book has ever presented. Jessica and Lila find Isabella unconscious on the lawn and are understandably panicked. They tell Nick that they saw her with Clay, who has since disappeared, and Nick figures out that Clay must have put drugs in the cigarette. Tests confirm that the cigarette was laced with PCP.
Isabella spends the rest of the book unconscious, in danger of slipping into a coma. Danny’s upset, of course – but with Isabella herself, not just with the situation. If she hadn’t been whoring it up and smoking, everything would be fine. At one point he literally says that she got what she deserved. If what she deserved was the realization that she shouldn’t be with a jealous, possessive jerk, then yes, she got what she deserved.
Isabella’s condition starts affecting Danny’s grades, because he’s still doing schoolwork even though his girlfriend is at death’s door. His biochemistry professor is especially unsympathetic. Danny accidentally takes a copy of a big exam coming up, but returns it to her without looking at it, even though it could save his grade. The professor accuses him of stealing the test and threatens to fail him. Danny’s like, “Another thing Isabella screwed up for me.” Hey, Danny? Shut up.
Other people involved in this storyline are focusing less on Isabella’s behavior and more on bringing Clay to justice. Even though he’s technically off the police force, Nick decides to do some investigating on his own. He ties Clay to a big-time drug dealer responsible for all the drugs in Sweet Valley. Jessica pressures him into trying to take down Clay by himself, since the cops at the SVPD aren’t qualified. Shh, Jess. I mean, she’s not wrong, but this is still a bad idea.
Jessica proves to be a pretty good investigator herself, calling a friend who tells her where Clay bought a motorcycle he was talking about at the party. Through the motorcycle shop, Nick gets Clay’s phone number and pretends he wants to buy drugs. To no one’s surprise, Jessica wants to come along on the sting. Also to no one’s surprise, Nick is unable to convince her to stay away, so the two of them head to a run-down house to meet Clay.
Nick goes inside while Jessica listens at a window. Clay, who happens to be high, knows that Nick is a cop. He knocks Nick out, then decides to shoot him. Then he changes his mind and just leaves while Nick goes in and out of consciousness. I guess this is supposed to be a cliffhanger ending?
In other news, Elizabeth and Tom are super-happy to be back together, especially with Scott halfway across the country. Scott keeps trying to contact Liz, though, telling her how great things are in Denver and how she should regret not coming with him. But it turns out that Scott has been expelled from the DCIR for plagiarism, fabricating sources, and altering his transcript. Awesome. Elizabeth is very relieved that she stayed in Sweet Valley.
But there’s trouble in paradise. Tom has a deep, dark secret that makes him feel guilty through the whole book. At the end of the book, Elizabeth learns what it is. She finds a half-empty box of condoms in Tom’s room and realizes that he and Dana must have had sex. Oh, no! Two consenting adults with romantic feelings for each other had protected sex! It’s a scandal!
Thoughts: The title Sneaking In makes no sense. No one sneaks in anywhere.
This book is supposed to take place just a couple weeks after Good-bye, Elizabeth. Does that mean the last five books never happened? Then why did I have to read them?
“I’m used to Danny’s insane jealousy.” Sounds like a healthy relationship to me! Also, since when is Danny insanely jealous? He always seemed pretty normal to me.
Going to a drug deal with only Jessica as backup puts Nick in the running for dumbest cop ever. Which explains why he worked for the SVPD.
I assume Tom wasn’t a virgin before he and Elizabeth started dating, so what does it matter if he slept with Dana? He didn’t cheat on Liz. Why does she care?