I think by book 51 the SVH ghostwriters had covered most of the pressing issues facing teens in the 1980s, and it came down to teen gambling and teen pregnancy. Of course, no one dared to do anything that had to do with sex, so it was someone’s job to make a moral tale for all about the dangers of gambling.
It can be dangerous. Remember what happened to Brandon Walsh? He went overboard with gambling on basketball games and eventually….his rich friend bailed him out. Yea, it can be bad.
Ronnie Edwards, who no one likes because he was mean to Enid and is not a Todd or a Bruce, is having problems at home with his single father. You know what that means- a life of dysfunction. He’s been dabbling in gambling and his bookie, Big Al, has given him lots of loans, like a Mustang convertible to drive. He’s showing the car around to everyone and metaphorically swininging his dick around. No one cares. Some guys try to beat him up for his car and Jeffrey and his super strong soccer legs come to bail him out. Suddenly Jeffrey is Ronnie’s best friend. Or Ronnie thinks.
Big Al, the bookie, specializes in taking bets on high school sports. Is this normal in the bookie world? I don’t know. If you are a bookie, fill me in. Ronnie owes a lot of money to Big Al, and Big Al sends his henchmen Max to rough him up a bit. Jeffrey starts to feel bad for Ronnie and considers throwing the game. Then Liz comes sniffing around to judge Ronnie and Jeffrey becomes mildly annoyed with her. Isn’t Jeffrey always sort of mildly annoyed with Liz? That’s why we love him.
The big soccer game. Liz has a person-in-need-boner, so she keeps an eye on Ronnie during the game. She sees Max come in and lead him away. Liz follows them to an abandoned warehouse (Sweet Valley seems to have several set aside for gang fights and torture). When Liz goes to a pay phone to call the police Max kidnaps her and holds she and Max captive. Liz, for whom death threats are a typical Saturday activity, thinks fast and they are able to knock out Max, and escape back to the soccer game in time to tell Jeffrey that he doesn’t have to throw the game. The police come to arrest Big Al and everyone runs off to celebnrate by binge-eating at the Dairi Burger. Except for Elizabeth and Jeffrey, who need time to make out.
In a side story that someone started and then never really came up for an ending with, Jessica, starts designing jewelery. And she uses a lot of feathers and big pieces of metal. How Claudia Kishi of her. Everyone loves them so she decides to bring them to a boutique to sell, and the boutique owner asks for more. Liz charges $900 worth of materials on her mom’s credit card, but then, as you can guess because you are not an idiot, the boutique does not want them anymore. So, Jessica took a GAMBLE on buying the supplies thinking her stuff would sell, but GAMBLING does not pay off. See how that worked? Gamblers never win, people. That’s the lesson of the day. Alice gets tiffed and makes Jessica promise to pay her back every week until she pays off her debt. Yet, as we know in the next book, she’ll probably charge a slutty gold lame dress from Lisette’s because of some dance coming up.
Do I even have to tell you that this one was a total stinker? The only thing that saved it for me was this exchange between Jeffrey and Ronnie:
Ronnie ran over to his side like a sick puppy. “Hi Jeff!” he said. “How did it go?”
“It’s Jeffrey,” Jeffrey snapped. “No one calls me Jeff.”
You heard it hear first. Do NOT call him Jeff.
That and there were about a dozen mentions of students and classmates never mentioned before. I may need to update the roster.