Title: Wrong Kind of Girl
Author: Francine Pascal, Kate William
Series: Sweet Valley High #10
Blurb: Jessica’s at it again!
Jessica Wakefield has sworn never to allow Annie Whitman onto the Sweet Valley High cheering squad. Annie may have the beauty, talent, and spirit to be a cheerleader, but she also has the worst reputation in school. She goes out with a different boy every night, and all the kids call her “Easy Annie” behind her back. Jessica’s pulling every devilish trick to keep Annie from ruining the cheerleaders’ image.
Only Elizabeth, Jessica’s twin, knows what Annie’s really like. But can she change her sister’s mind before Jessica shatters Annie’s dreams?
Review: On a very special episode of Sweet Valley High . . .
Yeah, this is one of the ones that tried to take on some very serious subjects. Did they succeed? I would say that they mostly did. This book dealt with the dangers of gossip and bullying, and has a suicide attempt as a result of said bullying. As such, this is probably one of the more darker story lines in the series.
It’s also a case of Jessica being the world’s worst person, this time focusing her horribleness on Annie Whitman, a sophomore who is desperately trying to change her life. One of the ways she is doing this is trying out for the cheerleading squad. She is desperate. It is the key to everything. But Jessica, being Jessica, doesn’t think Annie is “good enough” for them. Annie has a bit of a reputation around school as being “easy.” She likes the boys. A lot. Often bad boys, including Rick Andover, the drunk who had nearly sexually assaulted Jessica in the first book.
Part of Annie’s backstory is that her mother was a teen mom and raised Annie by herself. Her mom is absent most of the time and often drinks heavily. She also has a live-in boyfriend who gives Elizabeth the creeps.
Let’s be honest. Jessica is no position to call any girl “easy” with the number of guys she’s pursued. In fact, one of the guys that Annie nabs in this book was one that Jessica had her eye on for a while, which didn’t help the situation at all. Jessica is afraid that the whole cheerleading squad will be tainted by Annie’s reputation and proceeds to slut-shame Annie to the other cheerleaders so that they won’t allow her to join. Which is a completely hypocritical, because Annie is an amazing cheerleader! She’s also been trying to get better grades, after being tutored by Elizabeth, who also tries to convince Jessica to change her mind. Which doesn’t work.
When Annie doesn’t get on the cheerleading squad, she swallows a bunch of pills in an attempt to kill herself. The cheerleader’s manager, Ricky Capaldo, a somewhat geeky guy with a heart of gold, has taken a liking to Annie and, knowing how devastated she was, goes to her apartment to check on her. He finds her unconscious and calls the ambulance. He also calls the Wakefields. Jessica realizes how awful she is, for at least a split second, and spends several nights at the hospital, along with Elizabeth and Ricky, trying to talk to Annie and get her to wake up. Which she finally does. Jessica lets her on the cheerleading squad and everyone is happy again.
So does this book adequately tackle these issues? I think it does, in an 80’s/early 90s sitcom way. Because of the format, it does have to wrap up things pretty quickly, but it does impart the seriousness of the situations at hand, which I think is a good thing. This was one of the story lines I actually remembered from reading it back when I was a teenager. So I guess it was good enough to have stuck with me.
Set up for the next book includes the mysterious Suzanne Devlin coming to stay with the Wakefields. The daughter of an American diplomat, Suzanne has lived all over the world. In addition to that, one of the twins will get to stay in New York while Suzanne stays with their family. Which one will they choose?