September 27, 2016

SVT #65, Patty’s Last Dance: Not Here to Make Friends

Posted in books tagged at 5:01 pm by Jenn

Girl in the multicolored tights: WOW

Girl in the multicolored tights: WOW

Summary: Even though Patty’s not friends with the twins, this book is all about her. Actually, Patty’s not really friends with anyone. She’s too focused on someday becoming a ballerina to do things like socialize. After all, you can’t make friends with girls who might beat you for roles. Patty doesn’t even bother being friends with Kerry Glenn (who’s previously been mentioned as a ballet classmate/friend of Jessica’s), a super-nice girl. Patty’s lack of friends only strikes her as sad when she wins the lead in a performance of Swan Lake and has no one to celebrate with.

Patty’s dance teacher, Madame Baril, notices that something’s off with her posture and advises her to get it checked out. Instead of worrying that there’s something wrong with her, Patty gets nervous about Madame Baril scrutinizing her. At home, she asks her sister Jana if something’s different about her, but Jana just thinks she’s taller and that’s changed her posture. Now Patty’s worried that she’ll end up too tall to be a ballerina. This girl has a lot of worries.

Madame Baril disagrees that growth is Patty’s problem – she needs to see a doctor and make sure everything’s okay. Patty thinks this is overkill and just tells her teacher she saw a doctor and everything’s fine. Madame Baril scares her by telling her about a girl she once taught who danced on an injured ankle and hurt herself so badly that she couldn’t dance professionally. Patty immediately gets a doctor’s appointment and is soon given a diagnosis: scoliosis. She’ll probably need to wear a back brace, which could be a serious obstacle in her dream of becoming a professional dancer.

Patty looks up scoliosis in the school library (aw, pre-Internet research methods, how cute) and freaks out. The brace looks like a torture device, and she refuses to think about having to wear one. Because she’s so preoccupied with her health, Patty struggles in her dance classes, leading Madame Baril to decide to give her role to Kerry. But Kerry thinks she can help Patty polish up her moves and keep the role.

Patty learns that she will, indeed, need to wear a brace for a couple of years. She’ll be able to take it off for hour-long dance classes a few times a week, but that won’t be enough to get her on the road to being a professional ballerina. Patty decides that Swan Lake will be her swan song (I’m so mad the book doesn’t say this. Come on! What a perfect opportunity!), so she works hard with Kerry to make it a great farewell performance.

The girls start spending more and more time together, and suddenly Patty has a friend. When Patty trips during a move and worries about her skills, she confides in Kerry that this will be her last performance. Kerry advises her to get the brace on as quickly as possible (after Swan Lake, of course) because the sooner she starts wearing it, the sooner she’ll get better and be able to stop wearing it.

The girls go to Casey’s together and meet up with some of the Unicorns. Patty ends up telling them she has scoliosis, and the girls are sympathetic. Patty realizes that, hey, maybe having friends is…good? She even agrees to participate in the B-plot. Kerry goes with Patty to get her brace fitted, and encourages her to chat with another girl in the waiting room who has a brace. The girl promises that wearing a brace isn’t as bad as it seems, and she understands where Patty’s coming from since she’s a gymnast. But she’s started swimming for exercise and now she really loves it, so maybe Patty will find something else she likes along with ballet.

Of course, Patty gives a terrific performance in Swan Lake. Madame Baril invites her to be an assistant teacher while she’s not able to dance as much over the next couple of years. So Patty has a new role and new friends to hang out with. If only she had a personality.

The B-plot also has to do with dancing. There’s a new show everyone loves, You’ll Never Believe This, which features kids breaking silly records. The show is coming to Sweet Valley, so Jessica, always the Lucy Ricardo, resolves to get on it. The Unicorns come up with the idea of having a dance marathon. They’ll have to dance for 12 hours to break the record. Suddenly people aren’t quite so excited about participating. But Jessica’s determined to get on TV, and she’s not going to let her lazy schoolmates ruin her chance.

Jessica figures that if she can reach out to the show’s host, Hollywood Jones (call me crazy but I don’t think that’s his real name), and convince him to feature SVMS, kids will want to come to the marathon. She lies and says 100 people have signed up to participate, even though it’s really less than ten. Then she learns that Big Mesa is having a 146-person three-legged race in a bid to be featured on the show. Jessica has even more motivation now to get on TV. She manages to put in a call to Hollywood’s assistant, and when he learns that they have 200 people signed up for the marathon, he promises that Hollywood will be there with cameras.

Now the Unicorns have to sign up a bunch of people to make Jessica’s lie a reality. They manage to sign up 124 people, which is pretty impressive, but, you know, not 200. The day of the marathon, not everyone shows up, and a few people have to drop out. Hollywood is less than impressed with the “200 people” at the event. Jessica doesn’t really care, since Hollywood’s a phony and she gets to be on TV anyway. She makes sure they have a flashy ending, with everyone doing the conga to a Johnny Buck song and having a great time. She even gets Hollywood dancing. SVMS is featured on the show, and everyone ends up happy.

Thoughts: Kerry’s awesome. Instead of the Unicorns, there should be a Cool Girls Club with Kerry, Mandy, Melissa, Maria, and Mary.

Lila’s neighbors have six tennis courts. When would having that many courts EVER be necessary?

There’s no other way to think of Hollywood Jones than as Ryan Seacrest.

Once again, Jessica lies and suffers no punishment. No wonder she becomes so horrible in high school – she spent her childhood getting away with whatever she wanted.

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