Welcome back to Nostalgic Reads! Today, we head back to Sweet Valley, California, a picture perfect town with picture perfect people.
About the Book
Title: Crash Landing!
Author: Francine Pascal, Kate William
Series: Sweet Valley High #20
First Published: June 1, 1985
Blurb: George Warren has been looking forward to taking his girlfriend, Enid Rollins, as a passenger on his first licensed flight. Afterward he’s going to tell her something he’s known for a long time — he doesn’t love her anymore, and their relationship is over. Then he’ll be free to date Robin Wilson, the girl he does love.
But as he and Enid are flying, George loses control of the plane and is forced to make a crash landing. Enid is seriously injured, and George is overcome with guilt. He can’t possibly break up with Enid now. But how long can he pretend to be in love with her and continue living a lie?
Boy, the 1980s really didn’t write well about people with disabilities. I know I’m re-reading these books with my more modern sensibilities, but still. Big yikes.
This book picks up right after the last one. George and Enid are flying in a plane that George rented after getting his pilots license. Suddenly the engine shuts down and they crash land into a lake. Enid is able to get out of her seat but George is knocked unconscious. As Enid saves his life, she injures her spine and can no longer feel her legs.
But here’s the thing – George, as we found out in the last book, has fallen in love with Robin. He had promised to take Enid on his first flight out of school and was planning on breaking up with her afterwards. Of course, now he feels incredibly guilty, not only because he is certain he caused the plane to malfunction, but also because Enid saved his life. How can he break up with her now! He must go on and stand by her no matter what. Even if it makes him completely miserable and insufferable for the entire book.
Enid, on the other hand, is at first very optimistic about her injuries. The doctors think that an operation will correct the problem so she can walk again. However, even after the operation, Enid still doesn’t seem any better, even though the doctors say there is no reason why she shouldn’t be. Add to that the fact that George’s sad behavior is really getting to her . . . yeah, Enid is a bit of a mess right now. She is absolutely desperate to keep George with her.
There are also rumors of George and Robin going around Sweet Valley High. George doesn’t bear the brunt of it since he’s already in college, but Robin sure does. She becomes the school pariah (at least for this book) and it ends up making her eat bad food and gain weight (gasp!). Of course, everyone notices the weight gain and it’s even more reason to criticize her. These books do enjoy fat shaming. It’s no wonder I felt like I had to be a size six when I was a preteen in order to be pretty.
Continuing on, Elizabeth decides to trick Enid into walking again. I wish I was kidding. She offers to babysit Mr. Collins’s son, Teddy, and together they work on a plan to pretend that Teddy is drowning so that Enid will jump in and save him. It works, of course, and Enid realizes that her injuries were all in her head, that a mental block, mostly surrounding her co-dependency on George, was keeping her in her wheelchair. She ends up feeling pretty okay about letting George go at this point, despite being almost hysterical earlier in the book, but I guess we need a happy ending so . . . yay?
As I said at the beginning of the review, these books do not handle disabilities well. It was a different time, sure, but still. I mentioned it in the review about Head Over Heels with Regina’s deafness and here both Enid and others refer to Enid being in the wheelchair with words that I’m pretty sure are considered slurs now. As such, I’m not going to type them here but it made me cringe reading them.
The side plot: Jessica enrolls in a cooking class and gets a major crush on the teacher, Jean-Baptiste. She wants to ask him out, which okay – hold on. This guy is a teacher in his 20s and we are supposed to not batt an eye that a 16 year old wants to date him? And also that if he decided to date her that would be fine? These books, I swear! Jessica’s plans are foiled when she discovers that Jean-Baptiste is actually married, but she also realizes that she likes cooking and wants to make something special for her parents for their wedding anniversary. She is determined to be the “good daughter” for a change. In order to set up the next book, the Wakefield parents end up treating Jessica absolutely terrible, which is really out of character for them, but the next book is called Runaway, so you can guess where this is going.
But you will have to wait for that one. Here at Nostalgic Reads, we switch series every ten books, which means next week we are headed back to Stoneybrook to see what the Baby-Sitters Club is up to. See you then!
Categories: nostalgic reads