Nostalgic Reads

Welcome back to another Nostalgic Reads! Today we go back to that perfect, perfect town of Sweet Valley, California and the beautiful people who live there.

About the Book

ShowdownTitle: Showdown

Author: Francine Pascal, Kate William

Series: Sweet Valley High #19

Pages: 176

First Published: April 1, 1985

Blurb: When Lila Fowler’s mysterious new boyfriend finally appears at her pool party, Jessica Wakefield is dazzled. Jack is handsome, sexy, and exciting – even more perfect than Lila described him. So Jessica wastes no time making sure he notices her, too.

Unknown to Lila, Jack dates both girls – Jessica during the week and Lila on weekends. But the sight of Lila’s happy face on Monday mornings is more than Jessica can stand! Jessica’s twin sister, Elizabeth, warns her to drop Jack before she really gets hurt. But Jessica would rather get Lila out of the picture. Then Jack will be hers – all hers.


Dear lord, this one is complicated. It’s stories like this that make me glad I was a nobody in high school!

The set up from the last book was that Lila had met a really cute guy who was working as a construction worker near her father’s office. She’s really into him, but at first is worried because he’s so blue collar (remember, Lila’s family is one of the wealthiest in Sweet Valley, which is saying something since nearly everyone we meet seems fairly well off). Turns out that Jack, the mystery man, tells her that he is actually from a wealthy family back east, but has decided to break away from his controlling father and make his own way in life. Lila finds this independence very appealing, but she is also relieved that he’s a fellow richie rich.

Also set up from last book is that Jessica is none too happy with Lila, since she won the bet with Lila, forcing Lila to write her term paper for her, which Lila totally bombed on purpose. Because of this (and because Jack is very handsome), Jessica decides she is going to steal him from Lila. And it seems to work. She gives Jack her phone number when he comes to Lila’s pool party and Jack calls her for a date. Jessica absolutely falls for him, is put off for a bit when she realizes he has spent a weekend with Lila, but then is reassured that Jack was only meeting up with Lila as friends.

Which is NOT what he told Lila, by the way. Lila thinks they will be getting MARRIED. Seriously.

Also at that pool party was Nicholas Morrow, who thought that Jack looked very familiar, but Jack insists that he doesn’t know Nicholas at all. This is important for later. Also important for later, during the pool party, some of Mr. Fowler’s expensive cufflinks disappear. Hmmm. Who could possibly have taken them?

The book continues with Jack leading both girls on and both of them completely falling for it. Liz has a weird feeling about him and tries to tell Jessica, but since when has Jessica ever really listened to what Liz had to say about anything? Cut to Jack and Jessica running into Nicholas and a friend while they are out at dinner and – surprise – Nicholas’s friend knows who Jack is. See, the Morrows recently moved to Sweet Valley from the east coast and Nicholas and his friend (who’s name escapes me, I think it’s David or something? – he’s in the story for all of two seconds) and David remembers Jack getting expelled from their fancy prep school. Jack is definitely not who he says he is.

Who is Jack? He has a tragic backstory where his whole family dies and makes Jack go slightly insane. So insane that his uncle scraped together enough money to send Jack away to school. Jack has built up this whole history for himself coming from wealth and having all the trappings of it – vacation homes, fancy clothes, etc. The problem is that if anyone starts questioning this fantasy too much, he flips out and actually pulled a knife on a girl he was dating at the prep school. Oh yeah, and he’s also on drugs. Which drugs? According to what Jessica finds in his bathroom, all of them – marijuana, lots of different pills, and “white powder.”

Of course, when Jessica finds the drugs and confronts Jack about everything, he freaks out and attacks her. Nicholas and David go to get Liz and they get Jack’s address from Lila and get there just in time to save Jessica. This story went from zero to sixty real quick, but the most unbelievable part to me comes at the police station, when Mr. Wakefield says that maybe Jack shouldn’t go to prison, but instead get therapy. Which okay, sure, Jack definitely needs therapy of some sort. But if this had happened to me, and my dad met me at the police station, there is NO WAY he would be speaking so kindly towards my attacker. He would want to take a baseball bat to the guys kneecaps then lock him up and throw away the key.

Ugh. So much drama!

The side plot for this book is that the editor of the school newspaper, Penny, is really sick and Liz is stressed out filling in for her. There are a bunch of mysterious photographs that keep appearing in the newspaper classroom and they are all really, really good. Penny wants to give the photographer a position on the paper. Liz discovers that the photographer is actually Penny’s little sister, Tina, who was afraid to tell her sister about her hobby in fear that Penny wouldn’t take her seriously. Turns out Penny is thrilled that her sister is so good and happy to have her on the team. It’s actually pretty cute.

What isn’t cute is that one of the photographs that Tina takes reveals that George Warren has been hooking up with Robin Wilson. Reminder to the class that George is Enid Rollins’s boyfriend and Enid is Liz’s best friend. Liz confronts George and Robin, who both feel terrible about this (Robin had a boyfriend too), but they are in love and are going to be honest with their other partners. They got close while taking flying lessons and George promises to talk to Enid right after he takes her on his first flight after getting his pilot’s license. While at the police station after the attack, Liz hears on the radio that a glider plane registered to George is in distress and about to crash.

So the next book focuses on Enid and George, depending on how they survive the plane crash. I’m pretty sure they both survive, but I don’t remember much else about their fates. I guess we’ll find out!

Categories: nostalgic reads

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