Sometimes I like to pretend my grandmother is my cleaning lady, or Rosa’s Lie #81

Wow. No words for this glorious cover. First off, it looks like Rosa’s left boob is going to keep growing and overtake her whole body. Jessica’s jacket? Dayum. And Liz’s jeans are way high. My question is, how can one ever look at this and be okay with it? I guess we were. I was watching old episodes of 90210 and realized that Brenda’s jeans were under her armpits, but I still wanted to be her. So much that I had her bangs from age 15 to 22. That’s another story.

Rose Jameson is a sensation! She just started SVH, and at least 10 boys have asked her out so far. if you are a poor sophomore, that makes you the town whore. Pi Beta Alpha is alo accepting new pledges, and off course they want Rosa! She’s pretty! She’s popular! Does she hae any sort of personality? The book doesn’t indicate so. But, I guess, who cares?

But…shhhhh, don’t tell anyone…Rose is Mexican. She is really ashamed and doesn’t want anyone in Sweet Valley to know. That is why she changed her name from Rosa to Rose, and it relieved that her parents could pass for white. Now, before you pass judgement on Rosa, think about it. She is just a kid and living in Sweet Valley. Wouldn’t you jump at the chance to not be ostracized and tokenized? To further make her feel like shit, she watched Lila act like a bitch to her maid, who is Mexican. Lila complains….oh Lila, stop making it hard to like you! Apparently, all the Mexican kids at school hang out together. This is first I’ve heard of any non-Caucasion students, minus Jade and Manuel.

She is doing everything she can to hide it, and in fact, makes up this whole story about how she moved from Boston and her parents are decendents of colonists and her ancestors came over on the Mayflower. She goes overboard with the whiteness there. I am surprised she doesn’t tel anyne her family runs a working plnatation. She tells Lila that she was a debutante in Boston Society and that makes Lila putty in her hands.

Through all this pledging, Liz and Enid are both involved in the festivities. Oh, it’s okay for them to bash PBA but when they get the chance to judge people they jump right on board! Hypocrites! hate!

To make matters worse, Rosa’s grandmother will be visiting from Mexico. This is the first time she has seen Nana in years, and of course all she can think about is what will her new friends think? Also, Nana rules. I want her to have her own spin-off series. Could have been an awesome SV Saga, but can you imagine their depictions of Mexico? Lots of burros and sombreros. Anyway. Nana does awesome things like copy the pattern of Rosa’s favorite “American” dress and make her own with emroidery, etc. And bakes a fantastic cake for party Rosa is having for her friends, but Rosa thinks it looks too “Mexican” and throws it away, uneaten. At that same party, she had planned for her parents to take Nana to a concert, but Nana comes back because she frgot something and Rosa tells everyone that it “was just the cleaning lady.” OH. MUH. GAWD. Can we make a list of the most awful things that characters do? This may even be above anything Amy Sutton ever did.

Finally, at the closing pledge picnic, Rosa thinks she is going to get away with everything, but wouldncha know, a pesky Mexican girl has to go ahead and wonder into the picnic and fall into a well. What are the odds? Rosa can either let the girl suffer and die and keep her secret, or talk to the girl in Spanish and tell her to calm down. She actually hesitates for a while with that one. Finally, she decides to talk to the girl. Now, if I were Rosa, I could have still kept my cover by saying something like, “I picked up my Spanish during summers at our resort in Cabos San Lucas” or some shit like that. But she runs away in tears, and the gals come find her at home and tell her “It’s okay that your Mexican, we don’t mind, we’ll overlook it.” What the fuck? Again, another time that I wish a character would tell the SVH posse to fuck off and die and just be theselves, but no, acceptance by them is the only thing that matters.

Wait, Rosa has a little bit of a spine, because at the induction ceremony she decides not to join, because she needs to be a part of something that celebrates who she is and not “overlooks” it. Well, that was kind of a victory, although she vows to stay friends with everyone. Which, I don’t think happens because I am pretty sure we never hear from her again.

The secondary story is that Todd wants to amp up the frat because he is sick of Bruce being a dick. It took 70 books for him to realize this? They both propose pledges and keep proposing more and more obnoxious dares for each one. Finally, at the end, they kiss and make up and let everyone in. They WISH they kissed. Again, can we get some adult at the school to grow some balls and monitor this? One of the tasks is to steal a clock from the school and to steal a schoolbus. The good thing is that we get tons of SVH students coming out of the woodwork to add to the list. Although it is kind of weird, being at we are in book 70 and we’ve never heard about them until now.

Some quotes. I’m going to let them speak for themselves:

Sweet Valley, California! Rosa thought. It really is a place where dreams come true!”

[upon arriving at the PBA meeting at Casa Fowler] “In the back by the pool, there are a dozen fairy-tale princesses, Rose thought, and they’re going to make me a fairy-tale princess too.

[Lila, upon seeing Sandra Bacon with her boyfriend, Manuel] “I don’t know how she can date him” she murmered to Amy. “He’s so ethnic and working class.”

Shocker! The PBAs are co-sponsoring a dance with Phi Episilon. It must be a Friday.

One of the pledge tasks was to sneak into the men’s locker room and steal things. Liz claims she knows what kind of deoderant Todd uses. Ew.

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52 thoughts on “Sometimes I like to pretend my grandmother is my cleaning lady, or Rosa’s Lie #81

  1. snappleaddict says:

    To be at the top of the awful things list: Jessica spiking her sister’s drink so that she could be Prom Queen instead of Elizabeth.

    Actually, the list would probably be chock full of Jessica!

  2. Stacey says:

    Forget Disney World kids, Sweet valley’s the place dreams come true, and you get to be Fairy Princesses too! Oh the magic!

  3. Genevieve says:

    So I’m at the thrift store today and I came up with about 15 saddle club books. I think I’m gonna recap them. I might alternate between the cheesy YA books and the good kids books, because I totally found a copy of “From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” and who doesn’t love that book?

    I’ll leave SVH to Kate and Babysitters Club to Tiff though because they already do a seriously amazing job and I think I’ll leave that territory to them.

  4. Tiny Pants says:

    The cover immediately brings to mind that “Mom Jeans” commercial from SNL. I also was recently rewatching early episodes of 90210, and wow, I really didn’t remember them dressing quite as hideously as they do. In the second or third episode, Kelly wears an outfit where she layers leggings of various lengths and patterns — an idea she possibly got from the Sleepover Friends. But what really blew me away was an episode where Brenda was jogging, and Dylan flirts with her then proceeds to give her a ride on his motorcycle — all while Brenda is wearing a sports bra and a pair of running shorts that are pulled up practically to her sternum! I know the whole “high waisted” thing is coming back, but I’m not sure how people can’t look at some of these things and think wow, those just look horrible.

  5. Magpie says:

    Oh my god, Lila seriously does describe Manuel as “so ethnic and working class”!!! How was this ever published in a YA book? I’m in shock (it’s been at least 10 years since I last read this one). Wow. I’m surprised I’m not racist, as well as paranoid about my weight and brown hair.

  6. ihatewheat says:

    omg that was the best! Is that where Bren died her hair blonde and it was a bad wig?

    I memorized 90210 outfits by heart. Anyone remember the hideous outfit she wore on her first date with Dylan? later on, she wore a crushed velvet turtleneck. [shudder]

  7. Beth says:

    Magpie- I am Mexican and I am surprised I didn’t turn out racist, too! Ha! Damn you, Francine & Co!!
    I soooo remember this cover! “Mom Jeans”!!! (SNL-love it!) Wow- this totally brought back some vivid & horrid memories! Back when scrunchies were the shit and I coveted Brenda’s ruffle necked shirts and ribbon chokers……

  8. Magenta Galaxy says:

    I love how in SVH-land, the characters take on certain traits for one book, and you never get an inkling of that again. For example, how in this book, Lila and Bruce are tremendous racists, but they don’t ever make racist comments again. Awesome character development, ghost writer!

    And honestly…NO ONE caught on that Rosa was Mexican and not an Aryan-looking white Bostonian? I find that hard to believe…

  9. Ariel says:

    Back around 1989, there was a Latino guy from Texas who pretended to be a Rothschild. Duke or Count or something. He got found out eventually, and lost all his friends. Which is generally what happens when you lie to people. Just be who and what you are, and let the chips fall where they may.

  10. Laura says:

    Ugh! It cracks me up how in trying to make a “everyone is equal in St Elizabeth’s eyes” kind of storyline, the ghostwriters end up being horribly racist anyway…

    How is a cake “too Mexican?” Was it baked into the shape of Acapulco and then iced red, white and green? Did it have “My granddaughter is Mexican!” written carefully in buttercream on top?

    I never actually read this one – was Rose/Rosa one of those SVH peeps who turn up for one moral lesson and then fade into oblivion?

  11. Sexy Sadie says:

    Hi ! I just discovered your blog today. Looks great! Sweet Valley is supposed to be in California, right? But isn’t California supposed to be really diverse? Oh, well.

  12. Galleta says:

    “How is a cake “too Mexican?” Was it baked into the shape of Acapulco and then iced red, white and green? Did it have “My granddaughter is Mexican!” written carefully in buttercream on top? ”

    Nana Mexicana wrote a very sweet message in Spanish. Something like “To Rosa and her friends, with love from Nana”

  13. Eli says:

    Ugh yeah, I thought Rosa was hateful. The cake and the dress her grandma made sounded awesome.

    And srsly, Jess looks like she just finished recording a single with Color Me Badd in that outfit.

  14. Lois Waller says:

    ‘How is a cake “too Mexican?” Was it baked into the shape of Acapulco and then iced red, white and green? Did it have “My granddaughter is Mexican!” written carefully in buttercream on top?’

    OMG I’m dying over here.

  15. Diane says:

    I remember this one really well, probably because it was so appalling. The whole little girl down a well thing was just too much.

    Also, couldn’t she just keep her name? Her last name isn’t Hispanic-sounding at all, and it’s not like these idiots know that you don’t have to be named Lopez or something to be Mexican. She could say Rosa was an old family name or something. Agh.

  16. Amber Tan says:

    “Also, Nana rules. I want her to have her own spin-off series. Could have been an awesome SV Saga, but can you imagine their depictions of Mexico? Lots of burros and sombreros.”

    Agreed. But let’s not forget the tequila and mary-jane, m’kay! 😉

    “wouldncha know, a pesky Mexican girl has to go ahead and wonder into the picnic and fall into a well. What are the odds? ”

    With the demographics in SV? I’d wager slim to none…

    “Can we make a list of the most awful things that characters do? This may even be above anything Amy Sutton ever did.”

    Yes, we absolutely should (great topic) and it is definitely worse.

    “omg that was the best! Is that where Bren died her hair blonde and it was a bad wig?”

    Hell, yes! Even I remember that particular episode and I rarely watched 90210. IIRC some of my friends (guys no less) were hanging out, watching it when I happened to stop by their dorm one fateful evening. These dudes were also big fans of Melrose Place. Just say no, boys! 😉

    “The secondary story is that Todd wants to amp up the frat because he is sick of Bruce being a dick. It took 70 books for him to realize this? ”

    Well, we already knew Todd’s not the brightest bulb in the box. After all, he keeps dating Liz.

  17. Magpie says:

    Diane- Rosa’s family changed their name to waspy-sounding Jameson from Jiminez, so they’d probably find out her heritage if they did a little digging into her past 😉

    The cake incident made me cry, too! I remember thinking how harsh it was even as a little kid. I felt so sorry for Nana. Also, I couldn’t believe she just threw it away. Couldn’t she at least have saved it for later??

  18. Redstar says:

    Mexican girl in well, Rosa moves to town? Sounds like migration finally reached the borders of Sweet Valley (which is really not in contiguous CA but floating off the coast somewhere in the Pacific Ocean). I’m sure by now the town has passed all sorts of anti-immigrant laws, and the cheerleaders will have to host a fundraiser to pay for the sanctuary-for-good-looking-undocumented workers campaign Liz and The Oracle staff will mount.

    Only Rosa will have aged in the past 15 years, and she will now return in SVH issue #2008 and be a right-wing elected state official who schemes to shut down those meddling do-gooders in Sweet Valley who keep trying to make the world a better place for six-6-white-girls and their friends!

    Or something like that…

  19. Galleta cares too much about this says:

    Plus, I remember in book #50 (Jade Wu has issues with her Chinese heritage) a moment where Jade complains to her usually quiet and reserved ma that the other girls have found out that her grandparents have a laundromat. Mrs. Wu, who usually defends Jade, delivers the quiet smackdown “Your shame is in the wrong place. You have no business being ashamed of Grandpa and Grandma. That laundromat supported my siblings and I when I were little.”

    Somebody should have done it to Rosita. I am just sayin’

  20. southcitysadie says:

    So I’m not the only one watching the 90210 season 1 reruns every afternoon on SoapNet? The fashions are terrible, especially Brenda’s. I never fully appreciated what an awesome Super Bitch she was, though, as I was in my own Super Bitch stage at the time (approximately age 14-15).

    Brandon exemplifies the worst traits of both Wakefield twins, hopping from one cause/fuck (often the same person) to another.

  21. ihatewheat says:

    I smell a copyright lawsuit–

    Brandon=Liz (know it all goody goody)
    Brenda=Jess (bitchy)
    Kelly= Lila (rich snobby friend with daddy issues)
    Steve= Bruce (rich pompous guy)
    Donna= Amy Sutton (stoopid friend)
    Andrea=Enid (secretly in love with Brandon/Liz)
    Jim and Cindy= Ned and Alice (annoyingly perfect parents)
    early David Silver= Winston Eggbert
    Scott Summers= Regina (both ended in tragic deaths)(ok, that was a stretch)

    Dylan=Devon Whitelaw??

  22. Magpie says:

    No problem, Diane 🙂 I think that fact stuck in my head because it makes it so much worse that even her PARENTS changed their name to try and fit in!!! Way to set a good example for your child.

  23. Donna says:

    New to this website and LOVE it!! Ah, the memories and the joy in sharing with others who similarily had their high school expectations completely warped by SVH! And 90210!!

    Anyone else notice that Brandon and Brenda were also born four minutes apart (both Brandon/Liz being the elder) AND the Walshes and the Wakefield twins both had connecting bathrooms?? SVH ghostwriters moonlighting as 90210 scriptwriters perhaps?

    Back to Rosa’s Lie – I also cried when she threw out her grandmother’s cake and could never understand why the Jamesons’ felt they had to change their name and ‘act white’ to be accepted. Repressing your culture and everything you have ever known and grown up with cannot make for a happy, well adjusted human being. Celebrate diversity SV natives – we are all the richer for it!

    Fab work on this site ihatewheat – I spent a weekend in hysterics with each of your re-caps.

  24. Sarah C. says:

    Okay, let me first of all say that I am all for hips–I have a not-insignificant pair myself. But, in the world of Sweet Valley, I’m guessing wide hips and meaty thighs are bad news and portend Saturday nights spent eating cookies with Lois Waller rather than catching a Droids show at the Beach Disco.

    Is it just me, or are Jessica and Elizabeth looking a tad voluptuous? I mean, I think they look great, but this is Sweet Valley, which has a much larger percentage of models than other places. Remember Elizabeth’s self-loathing in SVU when she porks up to an “8 or maybe even a 10.” As a teenager who was an 8/10 when reading that, I actually do remember feeling kind of bad about myself for about 30 seconds.

  25. EnidRollins says:

    Maybe the cake had sugar skulls on it. Ya know, dia de los meurtes?

    Wow, Rosa is a J-E-R-K. I can’t remember the last time I pretended my grammy was a cleaning lady, honestly.

  26. Johnny Buck says:

    Y’all, don’t harsh on Rosa. Her plight reminds me of the time my Yia Yia baked a spanakopita in the shape of the Parthenon for the big sorority dance we had at my high school. I’m pretty sure I threw that out too. Als0, I told everyone she owned the diner next door. Wise up, ladies/gents. If you want to be pretty, popular, and allowed to hang out with gals as special as the Wakefields, you’ve got to stop fawning all over this notion of “culture.” It’s really icky and ethnic.

  27. ihatewheat says:

    “And srsly, Jess looks like she just finished recording a single with Color Me Badd in that outfit.”

    omg! Color Me Badd was my first concert, along with Paula Abdul, and MC Skatt Katt.

  28. Melody_Grey says:

    Looking at the cover, I must ask this question: is Jess the new linebacker for the football team? Also, I so own that dress Rosa is wearin

  29. Anonymous says:

    “I can’t remember the last time I pretended my grammy was a cleaning lady, honestly.”

    My Grandma would have beat the living tar outta any of us kids for even considering doing this. She may have been only 5 feet tall but she could kick some serious a$$ when she got riled. [sigh] I miss my Grandma. 😦

  30. audreyapple says:

    Wait, did they actually SAY they would overlook it? I thought you were paraphrasing! Jeez, I can’t believe I didn’t pick up how racist these books were when I was little.

    Also, how can a cake look too mexican?

  31. Dwanollah says:

    But where would a goody-goody like Liz stand on the groundbreaking “Donna Martin Graduates” issue?!

    I still remember cracking up when Rosa claimes she was hangin’ in a box with Princess Di and Fergie at Ascot or something. Can you imagine the Brinda Warsh smackdown if someone’d said that at West Bev?

  32. Sarah C. says:

    Merrie, yes I think of Pretty Woman! I once even tried on a hideous polka-dotted sleeveless belted rayon dresses in search of the classy Julia-Roberts-at-the-polo-match look.

  33. Rio says:

    “But where would a goody-goody like Liz stand on the groundbreaking “Donna Martin Graduates” issue?!”

    You konow she’d just take over Ahn-dre-ah’s role as the protest leader/spokeswoman.

  34. Karla Keffer says:

    I once even tried on a hideous polka-dotted sleeveless belted rayon dresses in search of the classy Julia-Roberts-at-the-polo-match look.

    AAAAHHHHH! Sarah C., I owned that dress in navy blue! The shame!

  35. Cathleen says:

    I have a Mexican Grandma and we don’t call her ‘nana’, it’s Abue, or Abby over there because the word for Grandma is Abuela. Silly SVH, I guess ‘nana’ sounds like something that ‘ethnic’ people would call their grandmas.

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