Wow, did anyone ever tell you that you should be a model?

Well, this will be an easy one to sum up. Just reread Alone In the Crowd and replace songwriting with basketball. And being frizzy-haired with being very tall. And Guy Chesney with Jim Roberts, who is apparently 43 years old.

Shelley Novak? Really tiresome. She’s super awesome at basketball, but that doesn’t stop her from moping around 24/7 because she’s too tall for boys to like her. She meets Jim at a dance lesson** and he takes pictures of her. CONVENIENTLY there’s a photo contest but Shelley makes him promise that he won’t submit any pictures of her because-my god, she’s so tall! And so thin! And athletic! God, it is so embarrassing! Well, Jim does submit it, he wins, Shelley gets mad, makes a hundred people tell her a hundred times that she’s gorgeous and should be a model, realizes Jim is the same height as her, they kiss, and everything is fantastic. Nevermind that she’s a talented athlete. At the final game, everyone in the universe shows up to cheer her on and of course she wins the championship game through the power of having a boyfriend. Aaaaannnd the women’s basketball team is never heard of again. The SVH cheerleaders also cheer at this game- I am surprised Jessica doesn’t protest because it’s not a men’s game.

Again, Shelley’s life problems are solved once she gets a boyfriend. And is being tall really that awful? Shelley is six feet tall and very thin and pretty, and apparently in Sweet Valley, there are model scouts crawling the place, but they never see Shelley? I’m also sick of these non-Wakefield characters moping around and thinking their lives suck and being totally self-absorbed. Yes, they are teenagers, but please, Sweet Valley needs to put Zoloft in the water pumping to all non-Wakefield homes. That or their parents need to smack some sense into them. In Ms. Novak’s defense, she does try. But of course, a mother’s love is no match for the kiss of a teenage boy.

**Yea, this happened. In order to create a plot device where Jim and Shelley meet, they have a college student majoring in dance just randomly offer to teach dance classes after school. And Jim and Shelley sign up, which is so ubnlikely because they are both really shy. There are no  other teachers/chaperones present, of course. It turns out this dancer guy is the most!gorgeous!guy!Jessica!has!ever!seen! and she and Lila and Amy make fools of themselves trying to get his attention. Turns out he has a girlfriend. In reality, he would likely be gay. Wahhh-waaaahhhhh. Wacky hijinks all around.

Wow, and the title- see what they did there? It’s a pun. And has not two- but THREE different meanings! Shelley does “perfect shots” in basketball, and she has the “perfect shot” at love, AND Jim takes the “perfect shot” of Shelley to enter in the contest. Bravo, writers. [slow clap]

10 thoughts on “Wow, did anyone ever tell you that you should be a model?

  1. Sarah says:

    Wow! This is the best Christmas present ever! I played basketball in middle school and high school, so when I read this one, well, it was my all-time favorite SVH book. I can also personally attest to playing better ball when there’s a boy around. =) Anyway, perfect timing for this one. Thanks!

  2. Neek1981 says:

    A random line that I remember from this one was Jessica telling Lila that she would kill to have legs as long as Shelley’s. Does anyone else remember this? I think it was one of the only times in the series when Jess sounded envious of someone else’s looks.

    Shout out to all the Sweet Valley redheads:
    -A.J. Morgan
    -Susan Stewart
    -Random girl who worked with Liz and Jess at the newspaper office during that super thriller…
    -Caroline Pearce

    I think Shelley looks pretty here, but she has a weird expression on her face. This is a pretty standard JV basketball pose, but WHO is Shelley posing for? The guy with the camera is BEHIND her.

    I wonder how much Fran racked up from selling these books. As someone else pointed out, the writing is very simple, they produced one per month, and they probably only took about a week to write. The cover art is only appropriate/logical once in a blue moon. It seems like they were made dirt cheap, but how much did we pay for these? I think I bought mine at Wal-Mart for like, four or five bucks. Also, was the SVH series a bestseller series for kids? I thought I read somewhere that they didn’t sell as much as the BSC, but still I wonder…

  3. Mary Anne Bruno says:

    The women’s basketball team is heard from again in the book you recently recapped, “My Best Friend’s Boyfriend.”
    But only slightly.

  4. sara says:

    Oh barf. I re-read this book kinda recently, maybe a month or two ago, and suddenly remembered why I didn’t remember reading it as a kid: it’s soo forgettable. Shelley whining because she’s so tall and then throwing a fit about others seeing a photo of her was obnoxious. Why did they make these books featuring a non-Wakefield, non-main character anyway? Who cares about Shelley? Or Jim?

    • Regina Sorrow says:

      By the time I got to SVH most of the non-Wakefield books were out of print so when I found this at the library it was a real coup as it listed all the numbered books that were missing from shops. I had to hear about Regina Morrow’s death from one of Elizabeth’s secret diaries. I didn’t read Slam Book Fever until I was 22 years old!

  5. Jen S says:

    So, your main problem is being tall, beautiful, and a gifted athlete? Let me break out the world’s smallest violin here…

    But seriously, it is tough being that tall as a teen, and not everyone who’s tall is automatically model material, either. Plus, no matter how good she is at basketball, it’s not like female basketballers usually make enough to go pro anyway. It reminds me of a Doonsbury series done a few years ago, where Honey has an elaborate dream in which she tries to get various athletes to give up their enormous contracts with Nike, since it uses child labor. Jordan and the others all turn her down since they want to keep their millions, but when she gets to the female basketball player, the woman asks if she’ll have to give up her 2700.00 dollar endorsement.

    So ironically, giving up her athletics to focus on modeling may be a better path to riches for a girl. Sad, yes?

  6. Roger Patman says:

    IHW~gotta confess…I’m a little disappointed that you didn’t include the B-story with the recap. But let me guess, was it..
    a) Steve is home again on another break from college (which, by the way, why couldn’t I find a college like SVU where they are never in school) and he and Cara get into some lame-ass disagreement.
    b) Jessica charged way too much money on a credit card and has to (oh, the horror) find a job.
    c) There is a special edition for the Oracle and Liz blows Mr. Collins in order to be the feature writer.
    d) Winston wins the lottery and then enters a contest where he has to eat a 100 pounds of frozen pancakes.
    e) A dance (’nuff said).

    Don’t keep me in suspense!

  7. Magpie says:

    I agree that Shelley is really tiresome, going on about her height all the time, but I can’t bring myself to snark on that too much. One of my closest friends is 6’1, and it never ceases to amaze me how many people comment on it. People constantly make little throwaway remarks like, “I bet you wouldn’t have any trouble reaching that shelf”, so it doesn’t surprise me that somebody in Shelley’s position wouldn’t be able to forget that she’s tall. Then there are the people who comment on how difficult it must be to find a boyfriend who’s taller – as though her only consideration should be how she looks as half of a couple? A lot of men have the idea that “feminine” = “small”, which is annoying and patronising for women at either end of the spectrum (another friend of mine is 5 foot on the button and is always being treated as though she’s incapable of doing anything for herself by men who want to “protect” her).

    The problem with this book is that, YET AGAIN, they have Sweet Valley-ed the issue, and made it seem like all tall women insecure about their height will have their confidence problem solved if they only got noticed by a model scout or took up basketball. What if you’re six foot tall but suck at sports?!

    Sorry – I seem to have gone off on a ranting tangent, but this book hit a nerve 🙂

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