Let’s not beat around the bush on this one. Tony Esteban is a fucking idiot. And rarely ever heard from again. And possibly a token non white person, although it was kind of ambiguous.
Tony is the star athlete of the track team (wasn’t that Roger? Never mind.) And his father has high hopes and lives vicariously through Tony because Papa Estaban had a promising football career but then his wife got sick so he had to give it up. Seriously, what a fucking wench. Isn’t that the plot of every book having to do with an athlete?
Tony hurts his knee during a big match and is paranoid that he won’t do well for an upcoming meet where an Olympic coach is looking for recruits. Tony works out at the local gym and hangs out with a gym rat named Lou who gives him “magic vitamins” to make him do better. The fact that Lou likes to hang around with teenage boys at the gym is the first of many red flags.
Tony is dating Annie Whitman. Apparently he doesn’t mind that she’s a dirty whore and dated over two guys in her life. Annie gets concerned about these “magic vitamins”. Tony is in denial that they are steroids. And seriously, the amount of times “magic vitamins” is printed in this book makes me want to scream. So, Annie has a cousin who is some biology lab mad scientist creates fake placebo pills that she replaces the “magic vitamins’ with to prove to Tony that they are just having a placebo affect. And the writers just shot themselves in the foot with that one because earlier in the book they mentioned that Tony was becoming all aggressive and irritated without him knowing why, so how is that placebo affect?
Meanwhile, Roger has a family friend, a kid named Mitch who is sent to stay with the Patmans because he was misbehaving at home and was caught drinking (and apparently, the Patman estate is liquor free and reeks of high morals). He ends up idolizing Tony and it makes Tony realize that he can’t take steroids because he’s a role model! Or something. And yea, he does the right thing and turns himself into the coach and all this shit and everyone forgives him and Liz takes credit for turning his life around. And Tony’s Dad suddenly is all good and tells Tony that sometimes parents learn lessons from their children and of course isn’t mad. And Annie and Tony smooch and make up.
and OH MY GOD the subplot. Todd is getting annoyed because he and Liz never get any time to themselves so they can spend time not having sex, because they are SO POPULAR that they can never get away from their friends. Life is hard. SO unbeknownst to each other, they both hatch the same plan to kidnap each other to go to a fancy inn for dinner. And Todd has Winston grab Liz, blindfold hwer and force her into his car. Yea, great fucking idea Todd, especially since LIZ WAS ACTUALLY ONCE KIDNAPPED. Way to be sensitive about it. However, Liz doesn’t even seem to make the connection or mention the other kidnapping thus proving that these suck so bad that even the ghostwriters don’t read the ones they don’t write. Surely that came up in an editorial meeting, but someone gave the go ahead because they were too lazy to think of something else.