December 29, 2015
SVT #44, Amy Moves In: Things We Lost in the Fire
Summary: Elizabeth and Amy are working on a school project about endangered species. Amy invites Liz to spend the night, but Alice wants the family to go out to dinner, so Liz has to turn down the invitation. Jessica’s happy about this, since she feels like she and her twin haven’t spent much time together recently. I’m surprised Jess wants to spend time with Elizabeth instead of her own, super-cool, classy, non-boring friends.
The next day, Amy isn’t in school. Caroline Pearce fulfills her only role in this series by telling Liz that Amy’s house burned down, and when Amy jumped out a window to escape, she broke her leg. Elizabeth soon learns that there are numerous rumors going around about exactly how badly Amy was injured; they range from a broken ankle to multiple broken limbs that will require weeks of hospitalization. Elizabeth realizes that if she’d spent the night, she would have had to escape the fire, too. That would definitely freak me out.
Elizabeth walks home with Sophia, and they see that Amy’s house is pretty much just a pile of bricks now. That would freak me out, too. Liz is terrified that something horrible happened to Amy. But when she gets home, Amy’s there, with a broken arm (just one). She clarifies that the fire wasn’t too horrible yet while she and her parents were still in the house, so she wasn’t in that much danger. Her parents are staying with a family member while they look for a new house, but the Wakefields agreed to let Amy stay with them so she can be with a friend. P.S. Amy broke her arm when she tripped over an untied shoelace coming down the stairs. Not funny, but also funny.
The Unicorns are supposedly worried about Amy, but really just want to hear the real dirt on what happened. Jessica’s honored to be the first to find out what really happened. But she doesn’t, really, because Amy adds a few artistic flourishes to her story. Then some Unicorns come over, and the story begins to take on a life of its own. The smoke in the house was so thick that Amy could barely breathe! She was taken to the hospital in an ambulance with a police escort! She has the worst broken arm the ER doctor has ever seen! The Unicorns all buy it and pour on the sympathy.
Amy hangs out with the twins for the rest of the night, and then Elizabeth hears Amy crying herself to sleep. Aww, Amy. It’s hard not to feel sorry for her in this book. Jessica, however, is annoyed that Elizabeth and Amy are so tight, which leaves her on the outside. So Jess starts getting more involved in tending to Amy, doing her hair and arranging for her to ride to school in Lila’s dad’s new car. Elizabeth is suddenly the odd girl out.
At school, Amy’s fake fire story spreads, and Liz starts to catch on. Amy would rather have attention than be honest, so she doesn’t care about facts. In addition, she feels guilty – she thinks the fire is her fault. She scooped some ashes out of the fireplace to start a new fire, and she’s afraid that there was a live ember in the old ashes.
Back at home, Elizabeth tells Alice that Amy’s acting a little weird. Alice is like, “Well, her house just burned down and she lost all her stuff. Do you think that might have something to do with it?” She thinks Liz should just be a good friend, and things will work themselves out. Instead, Elizabeth tells Amy that they should get started on redoing their science project, since they lost it in the fire. With Jessica’s urging, Amy keeps putting off the project. I would think she could get an extension due to psychological trauma, but whatever. Amy’s much more interested in letting Jessica give her a makeover.
Elizabeth becomes more and more of a fifth wheel while Jessica and Amy bond. She’s so distraught that she sleeps with an old stuffed koala for comfort. With her new look, Amy is suddenly acceptable to the Unicorns, so she starts hanging out with them. Sophia and Julie make some snarky comments about the new friendship arrangements, guessing that the Unicorns will drop Amy as soon as they lose interest in her trauma.
For now, though, Liz isn’t very happy with the way things are. Amy’s now actively a jerk to her. They get into a fight about how Elizabeth only hopes Amy’s parents find a new hours because it means she’ll move out. Well, can you blame her, Amy? To win some points with the Unicorns, Amy tells them that Liz sleeps with her stuffed koala. The Unicorns spread the news, and suddenly everyone in school is calling Elizabeth “Baby Bear.” Um, okay. I bet half of them still sleep with stuffed animals, too.
Liz easily figures out that Amy spilled her secret, and the two start screaming at each other in Mr. Bowman’s classroom. After Amy leaves, Elizabeth sees the story she wrote for the Sixers about the fire. Only it’s the fake story she’s been telling everyone, not what really happened. Liz isn’t sure what to do about it. At home, she tries to make up with Amy, but Amy’s done with her and has decided to sleep in Jessica’s room from now on. Liz should be happy about that. By the way, Jess is upset about the “Baby Bear” thing because it makes her look bad. Shut up, Jess.
Elizabeth talks to Alice about what’s been going on. Alice doesn’t really know how to help, but she at least feels bad and tries to cheer her up. Alice gets a B- in parenting in this book. Elizabeth tries to be nicer to Amy, but she still can’t get Amy to work on their science project, so she decides to do her own. I can’t blame her for that. Amy hangs out with the Unicorns, who have all sorts of opinions about the new clothes she should buy. Amy stands up to them, which kind of surprises me, and it’s clear that her new friendships aren’t very steady.
Liz turns in her science project, telling the teacher that she and Amy decided to work separately. The teacher thinks Amy’s will be ready by the deadline, the next day. Amy’s too upset to ask for an extension. Then her mother tells her that they’re awaiting a report from the insurance company, and will soon know what caused the fire. Amy’s terrified that she’ll be blamed, and the family won’t get the insurance money. Amy doesn’t seem to understand what an accident is.
Amy goes to Elizabeth to let out all of her problems. Elizabeth tells her she still has time to rewrite her article, telling the truth about the fire. Liz will also help her with her science project. Liz is the best friend Amy will ever have, and she kind of doesn’t deserve her, but considering what Amy’s been through, we’ll let it slide. Amy also confesses that she thinks she might have started the fire.
Since this is Sweet Valley, everything works out. Amy finishes her science project and gets an A on an oral quiz. Mr. Bowman likes Amy’s new Sixers story. And the fire was caused by faulty wiring, so Amy’s off the hook. Also, the Suttons find a new house just a block from the Wakefields. And presumably the Unicorns go back to barely giving Amy the time of day, but you can’t have everything.
Thoughts: Mary loans Amy her favorite teddy bear because she’s the best person in any Sweet Valley series.
Elizabeth tells Alice that kids are calling her “Baby Bear,” and Alice basically says, “There are worse things they could call you.” Not the point, but thanks.
Julie and Sophia have kind of turned into a fun Greek chorus. Too bad Julie’s always so boring.
“I figure I don’t have to apologize to the Unicorns for lying because I told them what they wanted to hear.” That may be the most High School Amy thing that Middle School Amy has ever said.