About the Book
Title: Rags to Riches
Author: Francine Pascal
Series: Sweet Valley High #16
First Published: January 1, 1985
Blurb: Roger strikes it rich …
No one would have guessed that Roger Barrett, the poorest boy in Sweet Valley, was really one of the Patmans, the wealthiest family in town. But when Roger’s mother dies, the secret of his birth is revealed, and overnight he becomes a millionaire!
Immediately Jessica Wakefield sets her sights on Roger and his newfound wealth. Only one thing stands in her way–Olivia Davidson, Roger’s longtime girlfriend. But not for long. Jessica has a surefire plan to take care of her!
This book is yet another entry into the “Jessica-is-the-worst-person” list. She is honestly one of the worst people I’ve ever read about. It’s so weird how she is portrayed as someone who is in any way relatable or likeable. How did this not bother me all that much back when I read this in middle school?
Ugh. Anyway, our main storyline involves Roger Barrett, or rather Roger Patman now. We learned in the last book that Roger’s mother, who passed away, had actually been involved with the brother of the Patman patriarch. After her death, this was revealed and Roger was brought into the Patman family. As you can guess, this was a bit of an adjustment. Bruce, in particular, is not particularly welcoming to his new cousin. This is not helpful to Roger, who desperately wants to fit in to this new family who has taken him in and who feels very self-conscious.
Enter Jessica. Jessica didn’t care about Roger at all when he was poor, but now that he’s a Patman, she wants nothing more than to be his date to the special party at the country club to welcome Roger to the family. The problem is that Roger has a lovely girlfriend named Olivia, a down-to-earth artsy girl who is not sure how she can fit into Roger’s new life. Jessica uses this to try and get close to her, sabotaging her at every opportunity, and even conspiring with Roger’s aunt to get Olivia out of the way. It almost works, until Roger discovers what Jessica had been doing. He stands up to his aunt and takes Olivia to the party. Yay!
The side story has to do with Regina Morrow. Regina has been seen “dating” an older man. Lila Fowler, who has resented the fact that she’s not THE rich girl in town anymore, decides to spread the rumor around school. Because of course she does. It backfires on her big time when it comes out that the older man is not Regina’s boyfriend, but an agent at a top modeling agency who had scouted Regina for the cover of a prestigious magazine. Lila tries to get into the agency herself and is flatly rejected. It is glorious.
The hook for the next book is the fact that Caroline Pearce, the school gossip, has a long distance boyfriend who she has been getting letters from in the mail. For some reason, he wasn’t able to come to the fancy party. This makes everyone wonder about him – because this is Sweet Valley, which means everyone is all up in everyone else’s business!
Categories: nostalgic reads