Saturday, 13 January 2018

#SVHReadalong - Secrets

I was really excited to get stuck into the second Sweet Valley High book, Secrets, because it's one of the books that springs to mind when I think of the series.  The cover is one of my personal favourites, showing Jessica gossiping on a bubble-gum pink telephone as Elizabeth watches on aghast, even though this doesn't represent the story inside at all.

*Spoilers ahead*

Secrets follows on immediately after Double Love, with the main plotline focussing on Elizabeth's best friend Enid's dark, rebellious past.  Enid, who is in a relationship with possessive Ronnie Edwards, has been secretly writing to her old friend George Warren, a former joy-riding drug-using delinquent (there's talk of them using bennies.  In my youthful innocence I never used to know what they were referring to - it's actually benzadrine, a pharmaceutical that contains amphetamine).  When Enid shares this with Elizabeth, and accidentally leaves a letter in her friend's bedroom, it is found by conniving twin Jessica who uses the information to wreck Enid's relationship with an angry Ronnie who takes Enid to secluded Miller's Point to have it out with her.  Enid believes it is Elizabeth who has betrayed her trust.

Jessica is keen to be taken to the upcoming fall dance by Bruce Patman so she can be crowned queen, but when she finds out he's taking a nineteen year old, she pounces on newly-single Ronnie.  The story ends with Enid discovering the truth about who revealed her secret although, as George Warren turns up on her doorstep as she's about to go to the dance solo, reformed and handsome, she is thankful that things turned out the way they did.  Elizabeth's revenge on Jessica is to fix it so Jessica gets her dream of being queen of the fall dance, but paired with nerdy Winston Egbert as king.

The subplot is based around an unsubstantiated rumour that 'young and pretty' French teacher Ms. Dalton (who is dating Lila Fowler's father) is in a relationship with Ken Matthews.  Ms. Dalton takes leave from teaching as a result of the rumour and considers resigning, but Mr Collins - 'resident hunk' and adviser on the school paper The Oracle - stands up for Ms. Dalton.  When she returns to work, turning up at the dance, she ends up dancing with him.  As a teen I remember loving Mr. Collins with his Robert Redford looks and crinkly blue eyes SO MUCH.  Swoon.

Joyous mentions in this book - Jessica's bronze, wet-look swimsuit, the first references of the series for both Jessica's 'Hershey Bar' bedroom and The Droids - the best band at SVH.

Overall, although this book has a better structure than Double Love, I didn't like it as much, partly because I really, really don't like Ronnie (I understand his trust issues stem from his parents divorce, but still...he's possessive and manipulative and really creepy).

If you want to join in with the Sweet Valley High Readalong, share your thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #SVHReadalong.  Next up is the third book in the series, Playing with Fire.

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