I read the shit out of this one when I was younger. I don’t know what I enjoyed so much. Maybe it was the sexual tension between Jana and Randy Kirwan.
I couldn’t find a pic of the cover, which is too bad because Randy Kirwan looks great. He is wearing a members only jacket, rully tight jeans, and his hair is slicked back.
At the end of the last book, whichever it was, Randy asks Jana out on a date to hang out and get pizza after his football game. (The elementary school has a football team, I guess). Jana is of course super excited, proabably more so because of all the attention she is getting from the other kids more than going out with Randy. So they go out and the date is pretty cute I guess. They talk about stuff they like to do for fun and about school. Taffy is super jealous and glares at them the whole time. ‘Sokay, Taff, you’re better than that! Pay no mind to Jana!
So the next day at school, Wiggins (the teacher) announces that they are starting a unit on computers. Ah, the eighties! I remember when we did our unit on computers. I loaded a cassette for eight hours into the computer so I could get a green screen and write my name. Okay, so a major pet peeve of mine is misrepresenting computers and technology. Like in a movie where the screen flashes and has unrealistic commands. [See Mission Imposible for the most egregious violation. Enter “jam security sytem” and then press “enter”.] “For this experiment, you will each fill out a questionnaire about things you like and dislike. Then I will feed your answers into the big computer in the principal’s office . This afternoon, right after lunch, you will each get a personal reply from the computer. It will tell you which boy and which girl in this class you have the most in common with.”
First of all,
How is this allowed? A teacher pimping out their sixth-grade students to each other?
How in the hell will this work? The kids fill out essay questions and then they are simply fed into the computer? Is there handwriting recognition software? Don’t all the answers need to be coded? I can see if it was clearly scantron, but come on people.
How does this teach kids about computers? I smell a lawsuit from some kid’s parents who are matched up with creepy kids. Of course, you wouldn’t believe the shit schools did in the 80s. In first grade we had to dress up like pilgrims and Indians.
Meanwhile, Jana of course wants to match up with Randy, so she answers the questionnaire based on what Randy’s answers are. Nice. Give up your own interests and just pretend they are what the boy’s is.
Well, Wiggins, don’t say I didn’t warn you:
Most of the girls matched up with Randy, and he gets so embarassed he doesn’t want to say who his girl match it. Everyone gets mad at Jana because the boys follow his lead and won’t tell who their matches are. It’s kind of unfair, but is nice to see Jana get a kick in the ass. So Randy starts getting really conceited about all the attention and Jana gets mad at him for it. She even leads a semi-demonstration with the girls in the class where they stand in the playground and yell “BOYS ARE JERKS! GIRLS ON STRIKE!” Meaning, they go on strike from helping the boys out or lending them paper or pencils. Jana’s a regular Rosie the Riveter.
They go to another football game and Randy gets hurt and Jana gets all concerned and decides to forgive Randy. They sit together and then walk home together, and Randy reveals that he matched up with Jana (uh, obvs because Jana filled out the thing exactly how she thought she should answer) . And then he kisses her. On the lips! The end. Of course, any ending is wrapped up with a kiss, because that is the ultimate happy ending, right? Vomit.
Also, other stuff:
Melanie matched up with Taffy Sinclair for a friend. This is foreshadowing for when they become friends during their modeling class and Taffy teacher her to be bulimic. That one was awesome, I don’t have a copy of that one but I plan to.
Katie Shannon gets “Computer Error #14” for her boy matchup. Apparently because she’s a feminist and all feminists either hate men or don’t deserve a man. Great.
To the football game, Taffy wears lavendar pants and white rabbit fur coat. Um, glamorous?
I think I knew why I loved this book so much. I wish that I was involved in high drama in elementary school. My life was just not exciting. I mean, I loved school and learning long division, but never this type of drama. Here’s something I can’t believe I am admitting. I used to write “fanfiction” about the popular kids in my class. Meaning, I’d write stories with me and them as the characters, as if we interacted. I recently found these in the attic of my parents’ house and thankfully burned them.