Title: Boys Against Girls
Tagline: Elizabeth and Jessica team up to battle their biggest enemy – boys!
Summary: All the girls in Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield’s sixth-grade class are about to explode! Mr. Davis, their new teacher, is giving all the good assignments to the boys and treating the girls as if they were less than human. And now boys are even beginning to think that they really are better than the girls!
Something definitely has to be done. Led by Elizabeth and Jessica, the girls come up with a surefire plan to teach the teacher and all the boys a lesson they will never forget!
I love this book. I think it’s a great example of what the writers can do when they use Jessica’s scheming for good instead of evil.
The Cover: Behold the boy with no bottom half! See how he ends below the t-shirt and floats intimidatingly at a Wakefield twin.
[Wing: Well, you did promise me real ghosts and other horror things in this series. Maybe it’s starting earlier than you thought.] [Raven: In my headcanon, he’s a centaur.]
We open over breakfast, where Jessica is enthusiastic about getting a new homeroom teacher. (Side note: Anyone who’s not American, what the fuck do we call “homeroom”? This has been bugging me since our last podcast. Was it really just “registration”, even if it took longer than five minutes?)
[Wing: I’ve never actually had a homeroom. From a quick read, it sounds like a special time at the beginning of the day when teachers take role and there are announcements. Our teachers took role in every class, though there were a couple times a day for announcements. I don’t really understand the point of homeroom.] [Raven: Sounds like Registration to me.]
Ned comments that he’s sick of them bitching about the revolving door of substitute teachers they’ve had to endure. And yeah, no, this was literally the last sentence of the previous book, there has been no ongoing moaning from the twins about this that we’ve seen. Remember how in book 1 they foreshadowed Nora Mercandy’s arrival for book 3? Can we please have that back? If they’d threaded this into the previous couple of books, that would have been very handy.
[Wing: Well, there was that substitute in the Ithig book, and that didn’t go well at first either, but I agree, his grumpiness over them complaining about their teachers comes out of nowhere just because this ghost writer needs to engineer conflict and keep the Wakefields from talking to their parents. But ghost writer, the Wakefields almost never talk to their parents, my shock at Jessica asking for help last book aside, and you really didn’t need to manufacture some sort of reason they couldn’t.] [Dove: In Ithig, that sub was for music, not homeroom.] [Wing: Right, but it was a sub that went badly.] [Raven: Suddenly, I crave a sandwich.]
The new teacher is called Mr Davis. Jessica hopes he’ll be cute. Elizabeth hopes he’ll have a brain. And this segues neatly into the way that the twins are identical looking, but Jessica is a vapid whore and Elizabeth is a dull prude. Today, for example, Jessica is wearing a purple skirt and a hot pink t-shirt; whereas Elizabeth is “perfectly content with her neatly pressed jeans and a tailored blouse”. I take it I’m not alone in imagining military creases down the front of Elizabeth’s jeans?
[Wing: I would much more believe she tight rolled her jeans than she pressed them.]
Elizabeth is very excited for the coming weeks. At the moment, there’s a softball tournament going on between the homerooms. Their team is the Tigers, and they’re doing very well because they discovered that Jessica has a talent for catching balls in the outfield. [Wing: Allegedly, these games have been going on for awhile, and yet we’ve heard nothing about it until just now. HOW CONVENIENT.] Elizabeth herself is looking forward to the Sixth Grade Follies, where each homeroom puts on a skit. Apparently Nora’s had a brilliant idea, and Elizabeth wants to direct.
I was just about to ask where Sophia and her writing talent went, but I have to be honest, I’ve never seen any evidence of Sophia being in the same homeroom as them.
For half a second, Jessica wants to be the star, but then decides not to because all of the hard work of learning lines and turning up to rehearsals, etc, would cut into her Unicorn time. So she offers to do makeup instead.
They get to class before their new teacher. Jessica immediately sits with Ellen and Lila, who are fussing with their appearance. Elizabeth sits with Nora and Amy, and they mock the Unicorns for caring about how they look. Elizabeth asks what their new teacher’s subject is, and Amy says she thinks he teaches English. This makes Elizabeth happy, because anyone who teaches English can’t be bad. (Yes they can: Mrs Martin and Mrs Skates, I’m looking right at you. You are absolute bullies and breathtakingly awful teachers.)
Tom McKay ambles over and says that Jim Sturbridge (remember him? He’s the dude who nominated Randy for student president) has been trash talking about the softball game, but little does he know they have Amy and Jessica who are awesome at playing. [Wing: UM. But he should know, if they’ve had all these games already. They would have watched other teams play.]
Mr Clarke, the principal, walks in with Mr Davis and introduces him to the class. Mr Davis announces that changes must be made to homeroom.
As he takes register/roll call, he tells everyone where he wants them to sit. The class are a bit taken aback by this, since being forced to change seats is usually a punishment for playing silly buggers.
By the time he’s done, the boys are on one side of the room, the girls on the other. In short order, Mr Davis assigns the class tasks as follows:
- Watering the plants: Ellen Riteman – Ricky Capaldo usually does this because he gets in to class first, but Mr Davis insists Ellen do it.
- Gerbils: Jessica Wakefield.
- Messenger (taking notes to the office): Charlie Cashman, who is generally a goon, and Amy notes that if Mr Davis lets Charlie out of the room, he probably won’t come back.
- Tidying the room: Amy Sutton, Elizabeth Wakefield, Nora Mercandy and Lila Fowler – but if they need the big strong boys to move desks or do anything manly, then of course they’ll assist you delicate little flowers.
It occurs to me at this point that Wing has probably stabbed her Kindle with a basilisk fang.
[Wing: You warned me too much. I printed out multiple copies so I could set them on fire. Fire count: 1!]
[Raven: Sexism aside, they should SO write a Sweet Valley Twins Super Edition entitled “Gerbils: Jessica Wakefield.” Taken out of context, it conjures up so many stories.] [Dove: You know what this post lacked? Reasons for Facebook to block us because of “questionable content”. Thanks, Raven.]
Mr Davis then asks what’s happening and cool at Sweet Valley Middle – that is, he asks the boys, the girls can get fucked. Ronnie Edwards tells him about the softball games and the forthcoming skits, and then says that tomorrow they’re going to San Diego Zoo. Elizabeth organised it, and the money is in the desk. (Really? After the debacle of Disney World money, we have moved on from locking the money in a locker and telling no-one, to leaving it in a desk and telling everyone?)
Mr Davis peels off a chunk of bills and hands it to the girls and tells them to get in the kitchen and make him a sammitch. Well, actually, to buy provisions and make enough sandwiches for the entire class tomorrow. Elizabeth wants to say that they collected that money to buy lunch at the zoo, but is too depressed to say so. Next up, Mr Davis asks the boys what they want to see at the zoo and ignores the girls.
[Wing: Fire count: 2!]
At the end of the class, the girls huddle up to share their outrage at the colossal wazzock that is their new teacher and his views that girls are smaller, weaker and less intelligent than boys (and deserve to be paid less). [Wing: Fire count: 3!] [Dove: You upped the fire count because the girls agreed he was a sexist wazzock?] Lila says she’s going to complain to her father, and Amy tells her that’s babyish. No, Amy, that’s sensible. You guys have a legitimate complaint, and someone like George Fowler will get that complaint heard.
The next day, Amy, Nora and Elizabeth are up early making sandwiches containing mustard, bologna and cheese. Now, I dislike two of those things and I don’t even know what bologna is, [Wing: I know I’ve asked this probably a billion times over the years, but HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE CHEESE?! Also, bologna is a cheap sliced lunch meat here, and per Wikipedia, is known as Lyoner in Europe? Also, story time! My dad likes fried bologna, and when I was but a wee!Wing, I wouldn’t eat it, because it was dirty bologna. He still likes to tease me about it.] so I’d feel swindled if I’d handed over my pennies and got that in return, when I could be LIVING OFF FUNNEL CAKE for the day. (Side note: Wing got me hooked on funnel cakes in 2004, and I’m still strung out over it.) They also get an apple, a brownie and a packet of chips. [Wing: Have you started counting down the days until Funnel Cakes 2017? We’ll have to try a funnel cake in each place we visit.] [Dove: I AM THREE WEEKS AWAY FROM FUNNEL CAKES, BITCHES!*
* It’s ok, I’m taking the word “bitches” back. See my previous work on PointHorror.com]
Jessica appears and decides to make a disgusting sandwich especially for Mr Davis of bologna, cheese, peanut butter and jelly, pickles and flaked coconut. And I suspect at the moment, providing Wing didn’t stab her Kindle, she’s now wearing her “Jessica, you are adorable” shirt.
[Raven: I’m pretty sure, if the roles were reversed, the boys’ version of a Revenge Sandwich would be MUCH more sinister…]
[Raven: … And by “sinister”, I mean “dripping with jizz.”]
[Dove: Again, thanks for the “questionable content” warning.]
Steven comes in and takes a sandwich, and… I don’t know, is this more sexism, that he’s taking the girls’ work without a word of thanks. Or is it “ha ha, Steven’s eating again, but because he’s not fat, it’s cool and funny”? [Wing: It’s both! Two for one! This ghost writer is great at multitasking. Fire count: 4!]
On the way to the zoo, the girls are sent to the back of the bus (which is… bad? The back seats are the coolest seats in England). [Wing: They are here, too, but someone like Elizabeth would probably want to sit up front.] At the zoo, Mr Davis only talks to the boys. He’ll politely answer the girls, but not engage with them deliberately.
When the girls are handing out the sandwiches Jerry McAllister is very ungrateful. Elizabeth suggests if he’s that bothered, maybe he should have made the sandwiches, he states that’s “woman’s work”. [Wing: Fire count: 5!]
Mr Davis then makes the girls fetch sodas for everyone, which takes several trips, and although the text doesn’t actually say it, bites into their lunch break. They’re busy serving the boys, while the boys sit down and eat and drink the stuff their womenfolk prepared and fetched for them. [Wing: Fire count: 6!]
Mr Davis eats a bite of Jessica’s foul sandwich and turns rather green.
Later in the day, he buys everyone an ice cream, and Elizabeth suggests that this is a sign that things will get better. Amy, with wisdom beyond the scope of this series, points out he doesn’t need to buy them stuff, he just has to act like they’re human. [Wing: I love you in this moment, Amy.]
On the bus on the way home, Mr Davis announces that they’ll be having class discussions in the morning and tomorrow they’ll be talking about poetry. Elizabeth goes into throes of joy over this. Surely someone who loves poetry can’t be all bad. Uh, Liz, remember when you thought because he was an English teacher, he’d be awesome? Learn from your fail, kid.
The next day, none of the girls want to read their poem aloud or even think about it. It’s a silly babyish poem (“In my garden, every day, the little fairies come and play. They romp among the leafy bowers, dancing with my pretty flowers…”). By contrast, the boys have a manly poem about a soldier fighting for freedom and independence. [Wing: BECAUSE AMURRICA.]
Mr Davis has a lively debate with the boys, and comments that the girls don’t have much to say about their poem. When Amy points out that it was girlish word vomit, he merely says that he thought the poem was appropriate for them.
[Raven: Okay, time for a little rant. As with a certain ballet teacher that will remain nameless, I presumed early on that Mr Davis was merely “teaching” the class about inequality and sexism through examples of such, and that the book’s denouement would see him highlighting the terrible things he’d done in order to teach the class some valuable lessons, a la Jane Elliot’s Blue Eyes Brown Eyes test. However, as things progress to almost comical levels, and because of the aforementioned unnamed ballet teacher debacle, it soon became clear that no, again, HR had done another piss-poor recruitment drive for new staff and had employed a bonefide fuckwit. So fuck the recruitment team at Sweet Valley Middle School, fuck Mr Davis, and fuck
Madame André the unnamed baller teacher.]
Next up, Mr Davis brings up the skit. In an attempt to side-step his sexism, Amy bellows that she nominates Elizabeth as director and Nora shouts just as loud that she seconds it. Mr Davis no-sells this, and announces that Tom McKay is director (Tom himself looks uncertain by this turn of events). Mr Davis tells Elizabeth that if she’s really good, and wears something pretty, she can be his assistant and fetch food and drink for the cast and crew. Elizabeth says no to this, and for half a second, I like her.
Nora says she’s written a script, but they are, again, thwarted by the penis:
Ross Bradley stood up and waved a few sheets of paper in the air. “I got this from my brother. He’s in college, and his fraternity did this skit. It’s really cool. See, a bunch of guys are in this jungle, trying to capture an ape. Only they can’t, ‘cause the ape’s very strong, and he keeps knocking them all down. So all the guys dress up like apes and trick the real ape into following them. My brother says all his friends at college thought it was funny.”
Elizabeth didn’t think it sounded funny at all. She thought it sounded very stupid. And it didn’t have even one part for a girl in it.
Elizabeth is right. This sounds stupid as fuck. And seriously, a bunch of university students think this is funny? That is not a good indication of the quality of student produced by (presumably) Sweet Valley University. [Wing: No, a bunch of frat boys found it funny. 99% sure while drunk. Without the alcohol, it loses all its small amount of humor.]
Then the girls have to clean the class, and today a couple of boys throw things on the floor, just so the “homeroom maids” have to pick them up.
On Thursday afternoon, Jessica invites all the girls from homeroom over for a confab. And this is where I love Jessica. I keep telling the other two that these books get better, and I hope this book will give them an idea of how. The twins are far more interesting when an external force is pressuring the twins and their friends. It forces them to stop bitching at how each other’s friends are pointless/vapid/boring/etc and actually interact, despite those differences.
Now, Elizabeth’s suggestion is that they go on strike.
Jessica, far more interesting, suggests that they act the way they’ve been treated. They can’t water the plants because the watering can is too heavy. They can’t tidy up because they’ve just polished their fingernails. They can’t feed the gerbils because they’re scared of tiny animals. And – for bonus points – every time Jessica touches her right eyebrow, all girls must giggle.
[Wing: But here’s the thing. It might be more interesting, but it is also far less effective than a plan strike would have been, which in turn would have been even less effective than FUCKING TELLING AN ADULT. I know that’s too much to ask for in this series, though. And no, telling an adult isn’t a magic solution that will solve everything, and a lot of time, adults don’t believe that sexism happens in schools (or racism or homophobia or transphobia, etc.); however, if Lila fucking Fowler would have told her father, heads would have rolled.]
[Raven: While I totally take Wing’s point, I do think this criticism could be levelled at almost every situation in every book. I mean, I think I’d drop out of the series if I had to read “Sweet Valley Twins #X – Elizabeth Tells A Teacher” every bloody week. Although having Daddy Fowler swoop in on a golden pegasus and behead every motherfucker with his platinum battleaxe would be spectacular.]
[Dove: I’m still waiting for Sweet Valley Twins #187: Lila Fowler Sues the World.]
The next day, all girls – even Amy – frock up in their frilliest dresses. They give all their girlish excuses, and then immediately set about ignoring Mr Davis and gossiping and whispering, like girls are supposed to do. Mr Davis just shakes his head and says, “Girls will be girls.”
They’re going to have a visitor – Mr Clarke, the principal – on Monday, so what should they discuss? The girls immediately jump in: fashion! Makeup! TAMPONS! Well, not the latter, but the girls are having fun in their new roles as feeble-minded oestrogen-filled clichés.
Ultimately, Mr Davis decides on democracy. He’s determined to show Mr Clarke that “we have the smartest boys and the sweetest girls in the sixth grade.”
[Wing: Fire count: 7!]
They discuss the softball game, and Mr David is jaw-on-the-floor shocked that girlies are playing sport. The boys, by this time, are getting a bit alarmed by how the girls are acting.
[Wing: Fire count: 8!]
By the time the game rolls around, the boys are getting fed up. The girls shriek and flinch every time the ball comes near them. If they do hit it, they daintily skip from base to base instead of running, and the fielders keep meeting up midfield to give the illusion of being involved in an intense conversation.
Unfortunately, this backfires on them. This solidifies the idea that the boys really don’t need the girls in play and the girls are thrown off the team.
[Wing: Fire count: 9!]
And I can’t even bitch at the writer for stupidity here, because if the girls had played well, it’s not liked they’d have got the credit for it. Either way was a gamble and it failed.
Elizabeth tries to console Amy on the walk home, but Amy wishes Mr Davis would leave so that things can get back to normal.
“Maybe we could get him fired,” Jessica suggested.
Elizabeth was shocked. “Jessica!”
“It’s the only way,” Jessica said. “If he’s not going to leave on his own, we have to make him leave.”
This is the Jessica I love. When she’s using all of her evil powers for good. She’s still being a dick, but it benefits people other than herself. [Raven: And if you repalce “get him fired” with “have him killed,” it’s still in character!]
Her grand plan is to highlight how crap Mr Davis is as a teacher when Mr Clarke visits their homeroom on Monday. And that’s a pretty good plan.
On Monday the girls are set. Gone are the silly frilly frocks, today they are scruffy, in jeans and t-shirts. Once the bell rings, it’s go time. The girls start chewing bubblegum and blowing bubbles. [Raven: “Bubbles” is their affectionate nickname for Mr Nydick.] Mr Davis doesn’t notice, because fuck those girly bellends, but Mr Clarke does and asks him about it.
Mr Davis flounders for a minute, then asks the girls to get rid of their gum. They moan about it, and then drop their gum on the floor (wrapped in paper, they’re acting grubby, but they draw a line!).
Mr. Clark was aghast. “Girls! Pick those up!” He turned to Mr. Davis. “Are they always like that?”
Mr. Davis looked at him blankly. “Who?”
“The girls!” Mr. Clark exclaimed. “Do they always behave like this?”
“The girls?” Once again, Mr. Davis stared at them as if he’d never seen them before. “Uh, no, not usually. Now, class, can we get back to our discussion?”
Mr Davis tries to get a discussion going, but ignores the girls. Mr Clarke, however, calls on them. The girls give deliberately dumb answers, and those that aren’t answering, gossip. Loudly.
Yet again, Mr Clarke demands that Mr Davis gets control of his class. Mr Davis shrugs it off, with the words, “What can you expect from girls?”
And Mr Clarke, why on earth aren’t you responding to this? An adult teacher – a representative of your view on education – has written off half the class as a waste of time, purely based on the fact they have ovaries, and you… do nothing.
[Wing: Fire count: 10!]
The girls quiet down into a bored stupor. Jessica even feigns a snore. Mr Clarke demands that Mr Davis engage with the female half of his class. Once again, the girls fake idiocy, either giving comedy wrong answers or just saying they don’t know.
At this point, Mr Clarke drags Mr Davis out of the class for a discussion in the hall. Jessica runs to the door to eavesdrop. Mr Davis is told that if he doesn’t get the class in shape, he’s in big trouble. [Raven: And it’s round about now I officially throw in the towel with the teaching staff at the godforsaken school. Firstly, Mr Davis has categorically revelaed this ain’t no Big Damn Lesson he’s teaching through ninja mentor skillage, and secondly, Mr Clarke should do more than he does in order to fix things. Seriously, any independant review of this school would see it closed down immediately.]
Mr Davis hurries back in alone and asks for an update on the skit. The boys look blank. Update? Nah, dude, we’ve just been fucking it off. But it’ll be fine, because it’s apes and shit. And we’re boys. And it’ll be funny.
Next thing to discuss is that the town council is considering a proposal to remodel the school, and they want a few representatives from the school to attend their meetings and give feedback. They need three kids from each homeroom. (That’s a lot of kids. How many homerooms? And we’ve got three years at that school, so… yep, lots of kids.)
Elizabeth and Amy want to be the reps, but they know Davis will just choose boys – but Mr Davis has decreed that they will vote on this. Not sure why he’s suddenly open to democracy now… although you could argue that he can already see how the skits are going to turn out, and on reflection, picking a name out of thin air probably isn’t always going to net the best results.
Today is Monday, and the nominations and voting will take place on Wednesday. [Raven: Yay. More class voting subplots. THIS IS NEW TO THE SERIES.]
After class, Elizabeth tells Jessica she wants to be on that committee. And Jessica, reassuringly, says that she will put her devious little mind to it.
At dinner, they discuss the committee.
“I’ve got some ideas,” Elizabeth said. “We need a bigger art studio, and a darkroom for photography. And a new auditorium with a bigger stage and real lighting. And a real science laboratory. And – oh, I don’t know, lots of other stuff.”
Wow. Just who is funding all this? I bet when they said “remodelling”, they actually just meant that they’d neaten up the school field and maybe add one of those grim “mobile class rooms” that shake in high winds and never get warm in the winter.
[Wing: Ah, but you’ve forgotten they live in Sweet Valley. That school has bucketloads of money.] [Dove: And also no weather, so my last two complaints about the grim mobile classroom don’t matter either.] [Raven: Surely they can fund all this by holding more parties and charging the students an entry fee. Go Team Randy!]
Elizabeth says that the vote will be tied on her getting on the committee, ten boys, ten girls, and then Mr Davis will vote to break the tie and side with the boys. Ned tells them off for moaning about their teachers, and Alice laughs off the idea that a teacher might have any kind of prejudice. And, Wakefield seniors, I know you suck at parenting, but isn’t Elizabeth your favourite? The one that doesn’t lie or embellish? If she says the teacher is sexist, she’s not lying or embellishing.
After dinner, and without the moron parents in earshot, Elizabeth and Jessica discuss the situation. Elizabeth says that if one boy is off, then she and Amy will get on the committee. Jessica toys with the idea of kidnapping a boy and tying him up – which I’m absolutely certain she will do one day – but gets sidetracked by a less illegal plan.
Elizabeth says that Ricky Capaldo is such a nervous type he’d die of fright in front of the town council, and even though he doesn’t want to do it, if he gets nominated, he’ll win.
A lightbulb goes off above the head of our very favourite sociopath.
The next morning before school, Jessica corners Ricky and gushes over how brilliant he would be on the committee, and how she’s sure he’s got loads of ideas, and she’s going to nominate him. She leaves the room, and Elizabeth takes over. She says that Jessica can’t be stopped (and this is absolutely and unequivocally true, all the books show this), so the only way to avoid being nominated would be to be off sick.
On Wednesday, Ricky’s off sick, but there’s no sign of Lila either as homeroom starts.
Mr Davis asks for nominations, and after Elizabeth and Amy nominate each other, he gives them a patronising talk about they should think long and hard before signing up for such a manly pursuit.
[Wing: Fire count: 11!]
Elizabeth nominates Nora in response.
And damn, if I don’t love Elizabeth – just a tiny bit – right now.
Mr Davis rallies the boys, and eventually they nominate Charlie Cashman, Jerry McAllister and Ronnie Edwards.
Just as it comes to voting, Lila charges in with a note to excuse her lateness. It’s my personal opinion that Lila knew how stressed everyone would be and wanted to make a dramatic entrance. Because that’s how Lila rolls.
Naturally, all three girls land on the committee and none of the boys do. Nora admits that Ronnie would probably have been better than her, and Elizabeth privately agrees, but this is war.
After school, Jessica finds out that the boys are practicing their skit in the cafeteria, so she, Elizabeth and Amy all go and have a peek. The boys are goofing off, they don’t know their lines, Tom does not have control and it’s rubbish. Tom sees them and asks Elizabeth to help, she can be assistant director, but tell no-one, it’s a secret. [Wing: TOM! NO! YOU WERE SO GREAT LAST BOOK! Fire count: 12!] Elizabeth is like, “fuck that shit. You didn’t want the girls involved, so we’re not involved.”
The next day is the day of the Sixth Grade Follies. And everyone but them has a good story to tell. One story involves a star football player who never takes off their helmet, and when they finally do, it’s revealed that the star is in fact a girl. Jessica and Elizabeth note that Mr Davis probably didn’t understand that one.
It was awful, even worse than it had seemed the day before. The boys were running all over the stage, bumping into one another. Most of them forgot their lines, and the ones who remembered theirs couldn’t even be heard from behind their masks. No one could figure out what was going on.
Some kids in the audience started booing. Elizabeth bowed her head in shame. When the skit was over, there was hardly any applause at all.
As they file out, Elizabeth hears Mr Clarke complaining about Mr Davis.
[Raven: While I totally support how the skit went down, and acknowledge the sexism inherent in the book, I hope later in the series there’s a similar story in which the entire sixth grade consipre behind Elizabeth and Jessica’s back in rebellion against the fact that they get all the lead parts and best assignments. I can imagine that, by book 100, the whole class would be sick to the back teeth of the Wakefields stealling all the spotlights, week in week out.] [Dove: A Christmas without Elizabeth proves the the world would fucking crumble without the Wakefields doing their centre-of-the-world thing.]
The next day, Mr Davis admits that possibly the girls should have been involved, as girls can act quite well sometimes. He explains his background is at all boys schools, and going forward he’ll try to come up with stuff for girls to do. Elizabeth is hopeful about this, but she’s failed to notice he never apologised, and still hasn’t said anything to indicate that girls are equal – the only thing he’s noticed is that girls need to occupy their time.
Amy asks if they’re back on the softball team, and Mr Davis basically says, “Hell no! No, sport is only for boys, because you girlie-wirlies are so delicate and tender. We shan’t have a hope of winning if you frilly little frou-frous play!”
[Wing: Fire count: 13!]
Elizabeth tells the girls to suit up in their sports kits anyway, because if they’re allowed to play, they’re going to visibly not be allowed to play.
The girls sit on the sidelines feeling miserable, because the boys aren’t getting it done. Mr Davis is livid with the team, and accuses Tom McKay of catching like a girl. What a nice fellow Mr Davis is.
[Wing: Fire count: 14! And 15!]
Janet Howell asks Jessica why she’s not playing and when Jessica tells her, Janet’s head nearly spins off into another dimension. Jessica then goes and tells the other Unicorns what’s going on. The Unicorns disperse into the crowd and within minutes the crowd is yelling “We want the girls! We want the girls!”
[Wing: For the first time ever, I love the hell out of the Unicorns. All of them. As a group. A terrible, powerful, ridiculous group.] [Raven: Club Motto: “You Fuck With Us, You Get The Horn.”]
The boys ask them to play, and Elizabeth says no, they won’t, not until they are equal citizens of the class once more. Oh, and Mr Davis has to agree this too. Tom goes to negotiate with Mr Davis.
Mr Davis approaches and grudgingly gives them permission to play. Elizabeth holds her ground, they’re not playing until they get an apology. Mr Davis says no, teachers don’t apologise to students, but the girls hold out. Finally they get this:
“All right,” he said. “I apologize. Now will you get out there?”
And that’s apparently all they need. They run out and win the game, and it’s like the end of every sports movie ever, with the team hug, and the players being hoisted on people’s shoulders and WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS MY FRIIIIIIIIIII–EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEND blaring, while confetti rains down and Hans is proud of you and Gordon Bombay kisses Casey Conway and it’s so romantic…
Or, you know, the first half of that paragraph.
[Wing: Now I want to start recapping cheesy wonderful sports movies. QUACK QUACK QUACK QUACK QUACK.]
Mr Davis admits he doesn’t understand girls and then buys them pizza and… and that’s it. It’s all good. Talk about getting away with shit. I like to believe that Lila had no belief in the Wakefields’ plan and lodged a complaint anyway. (And this may be true, because I just started reading #102 and Mr Bowman is now their homeroom teacher.)
[Raven: The entire ending was rushed. And Mr Davis didn’t learn a thing. He should be packed into a cannon and fired at the fucking sun.] [Dove: Agreed. I felt like the only thing he realised was that he had to say two silly words to those walking ovaries and the sports achievements of the
real people boys would be back on track.]
And the final chapter is setup for the next book. They’re about to go on a family picnic, but Alice pulls out at the last minute because she doesn’t feel well. Ooooooh. (I hope she dies.)
So far, I think this is the best book of the series. I like it when something bigger than the twins is in play, because it means that they stop bitching about how shallow or boring each other’s friends are and team up to get shit done. And by “get shit done”, I mean that Elizabeth lets Jessica’s evil schemes run without interference.
There are other books I like better overall throughout the rest of the series, but as of the first 17, this is the winner for me.
[Wing: I definitely don’t think this is the best book even of the 17 I’ve read, but I did enjoy it a lot more than I expected. Shit.
Final Fire Count: FIF-FUCKING-TEEN. Fuck you, Mr Davis. Fuck. You. I pretty much burned down a small forest because of you.]
[Raven: This was okay, but definitely not a patch on some of the books we’ve recapped lately. I do like it when the twins join forces though. However, I can’t overlook the awful teaching at Sweet Valley Middle School any longer. It’s starting to make me legitimately angry. I hope there’s a slew of books in Sweet Valley High that deals with the twins’ therapy sessions as they struggle to come to terms with their abuse at SVMS… Sweet Valley High #25-#27: The Sleepers Trilogy.]
[Dove: Not gonna lie to you. By the time we hit Sweet Valley High, people start dying. I’m not saying the behaviour at Middle School is completely to blame, but it’s definitely a factor.]