Where are we? Sweet Valley Middle School, where the Unicorns are apparently allowed to do whatever the hell they want without the teachers supervising, or even being aware of what’s happening right there in the school.
When are we? The big Valentine’s dance.
Recap: The Unicorns (at Mandy’s urging) want to raise money for the Children’s Hospital, so they settle on the fantastically awful idea of a “servant for a day” event. Students can sign up to be someone’s servant, or for five dollars they can GET a servant (or ten dollars for two days). The servants have to do what their “employers” tell them. How the hell is this allowed in a school? The potential for disaster seems huge.
Elizabeth and Amy get into some stupid pranking war with Todd and Ken. The initial prank (swapping mayonnaise for vanilla pudding, ugh) is gross, and the whole thing is annoying. It culminates in Todd and Ken pretending to call a truce, and not only asking the girls to the dance but checking to see what colour their dresses are so they can buy corsages. Naturally they lace the corsages with sneezing powder.
This all ties into the main plot, though, because Elizabeth gets Jessica to CHEAT for her, and instead of randomly assigned servants she and Amy end up with Todd and Ken. They humiliate them by making them wear ugly ties and walk on their hands in the cafeteria (…what?), and then get them to do stuff like raise their hands to answer every question in class (but they have to give wrong answers).
That was kind of amusing to read, but I couldn’t help thinking about how irritating it would be for their teachers. I did get an answer to HOW THE HELL ARE THE TEACHERS LETTING THIS GO ON? though. They’re letting it go on because apparently they don’t know it’s happening. Mrs. Arnette comments that she doesn’t know what’s gotten into everyone this week, but they’re all acting very strange.
The thing with Mandy wanting to go to the dance with Peter, and Jessica (as her “employer”) making her ask him, made me wince. He tells her he can’t because he’s going with someone else, and that turns into a whole big thing of Mandy being mad at Jessica and seeking revenge, and on the other hand Jessica feeling guilty and going to enormous lengths to get Mandy and Peter together. This involves a lot of swapping around of servants, and I lost all track of who was supposed to be ordering who around.
But ultimately, Mandy’s revenge consists of Jessica having to sing “Feelings” to everyone in the cafeteria. Jessica’s solution, meanwhile, involves getting Winston and Grace to be friends again so Grace will go to the dance with him, dropping Peter, who she’d asked to make Winston jealous. Peter actually likes Mandy (conveniently), but he’d already said yes to Grace, so he had to turn her down initially. Was junior high dating really this convoluted? I didn’t have a boyfriend when I was twelve, and neither did anyone I hung around with; we just had crushes, and went to dances with our friends, not with actual corsage-bearing dates.
“You know, Peter is my servant, after all. If I wanted to, I could order him to take you to the Valentine’s dance,” Lila said to Mandy.
It was Thursday afternoon, and she and Mandy were walking over to Lila’s house for a swim in the Fowler’s huge deluxe pool.
Mandy’s eyes grew big and round. “No way!” she protested. “Whatever you do, don’t do that.”
“Why not?” Lila asked. “I mean, what good is having power if you can’t use it to get what you want?” (p. 61)
I won’t lie: I love Lila.
ElizaTodd Relationship Status: They pull a bunch of pranks on each other; Elizabeth rigs it so that Todd is her slave for the two days of the fundraiser; she expects him to ask her to the dance, which he does.
Supernatural Jessica: She thinks of herself as Cupid, but only in the metaphorical sense. There’s reference to a few weeks ago when she thought she could predict earthquakes, but whatever that was obviously happened in some other book.