August 30, 2016

SVT #62, Sarah’s Dad and Sophia’s Mom: The Parent Un-Trap

Posted in books tagged , at 5:03 pm by Jenn

You okay there, Liz?

You okay there, Liz?

Summary: The twins’ art class is split into groups to create murals to hang up in the library. Elizabeth goody-two-shoeses her way into heroically coming up with recycling as a theme. I guess “books” would be too obvious a theme. Elizabeth is teamed with Sarah Thomas and Sophia Rizzo, which is fine with her, since she likes them both. Unfortunately, Sarah and Sophia don’t know each other, and when they meet, they immediately clash. Sarah is immature, spoiled, and prissy, while Sophia is tough and outspoken. If one of them were a boy, this would probably end in a love match. (In another series, it could end in a love match without one of them being a different gender, but there are no lesbians in Sweet Valley.)

The project doesn’t get off to a good start, despite Sophia’s art skills. The girls keep baiting and taunting each other, making Elizabeth tell them they’re both acting like children. When the girls decide to work at Sophia’s house one afternoon, Sarah gets nervous because the neighborhood isn’t gated and there are no maids and stuff. Sophia, on the other hand, thinks Sarah is a snob because her father can take time off work to drive her places. Girls, girls. You’re both awful.

Things get more and more heated, until the girls are working in a studio after school one day and Sarah and Sophia get into a paint fight. Their teacher, Mr. Sweeney, ends up in the middle, covered in paint. Elizabeth is let off the hook, since she stayed out of the fight, but Sarah and Sophia’s parents are called in to speak to Mr. Clark, the principal. Despite basically being fluent in English, at least from the dialogue we get from her, Mrs. Rizzo has trouble following the conversation. It turns out that Mr. Thomas, who has traveled to Italy a lot on business, speaks the language and is able to help her out. Sarah and Sophia are assigned to clean up the studio and get it ready for repainting, which seems like a pretty minor punishment.

Mr. Thomas clearly wants to spend more time with Mrs. Rizzo, so he invites her, Sophia, and Sophia’s brother Tony to have dinner with him and Sarah. The girls are furious and fight the whole time. Their parents, however, are smitten with each other and want to hang out more. The families go to a baseball game and picnic together, basically ignoring Sophia and Sarah as they continue to act like children. Even so, they notice that their parents are happy with each other, and each girl starts to like the other one’s parent. Plus, Tony gets along really well with Mr. Thomas, and he definitely needs a positive male figure in his life.

On the picnic, Mrs. Rizzo talks about a pink dragon kite she had when she was a kid. Mr. Thomas asks a bunch of questions, mentioning that he likes to make kites as a hobby. Obviously this will be important later. The girls are so obnoxious that their parents and Tony throw them in the lake. The girls almost let go of their rivalry, seeing how dumb they’ve been acting, but they quickly realize that their parents’ relationship might be going somewhere serious, which means they could end up stepsisters.

The girls team up, for once, but not for anything good: They’re determined to split up their parents. They try to sabotage their parents’ dates, but they fail. They should have asked Lila for help. She’d rock this plan. Anyway, Sarah finds some pictures of Mr. Thomas and his ex, Annie, and the girls write notes on them telling Mrs. Rizzo that Annie and Mr. Thomas are engaged. Mrs. Rizzo falls for it and dumps Mr. Thomas, who’s completely clueless.

Both parents are miserable now, which doesn’t exactly make Sophia and Sarah happy about their plan being a success. Sarah finds a kite Mr. Thomas was making to give to Mrs. Rizzo, and she realizes how much her father really liked her. She confides in Elizabeth while Sophia confides in Tony. They’re advised to come clean so their parents can make up. The girls also start chatting with each other and slowly get over their rivalry. It’s time for them to team up again, this time for a good cause. Sophia and Tony take Mrs. Rizzo to Secca Lake, where they see Mr. Thomas flying the pink dragon kite. Suddenly everything is good again, and everyone’s happy. At least until Sarah and Sophia inevitably get into another fight and tear the families apart, or something.

B-plot: Jessica lies to Charlie Cashman that she’s related to a famous baseball player, Quake-Field Wakefield (what a horrible nickname). When some kids pressure her to get in touch with him so they can include him in their art project, she says their great-great-great-grandparents (she keeps forgetting how many “great”s she put in there) started a feud, and their sides of the family don’t speak anymore.

Some of the guys in the twins’ class write up a petition for Quake-Field to come to Sweet Valley so the two sides of the family can work things out. Jessica tries to avoid the whole situation, even refusing to answer the phone at home so she doesn’t have to answer any questions. But she also can’t let her parents answer the phone, since one of her classmates might bring up her lie.

The boys eventually send Quake-Field a letter begging him to set aside the feud. Quake-Field admits that his real name is something long and German; he’s not actually a Wakefield. The lie comes out, but Alice realizes that SHE is related to Wakefield, as some relative on her side of the family has the same German last name. She gets a hold of her long-lost eighth cousin (or whatever), and he ends up agreeing to come to SVMS and pose for a mural. So remember, kids: Sometimes lying pays off.

Thoughts: Somewhere between her last book and this one, Sarah became unbearable. I don’t blame Sophia for not wanting to hang out with her.

Sophia: “This is all your fault.” Sarah: “My fault. How do you figure it’s my fault?” Sophia: “Well, it’s somebody’s fault. It’s not mine – so it must be yours.” Uh…good one?

Quake-Field got his nickname in Little League. Who nicknames a kid Quake-Field? It would be dumb even if Wakefield were his real last name.

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