Stepsisters: A Dramatic Reading

Cover courtesy of The Closet

MRS. WHITMAN: Annie, I’m back from another modeling gig in New York! Nevermind a boozy, single mother in a small town in California works as a model in New York, but I have some wonderful news!

ANNIE: You’ve found me a new Daddy? Because being from a single-parent household caused me to become a slutty suicidal basket case.

MS. WHITMAN: That’s right! He’s a famous fashion photographer!

ANNIE: YAY! How sophisticated!

MS. WHITMAN: But there’s just one thing…..he and his daughter are…black.


MS. WHITMAN: Don’t worry kitten. They are totally and intentionally not at all stereotypical! They live on the Upper West Side! Cheryl loves opera! Everyone will love them! Plus, I just bought a house next to the Wakefields! What can be more perfect than living next to that wonderful family?

ANNIE: Probably not having a black stepsister. What will I tell everyone! Wow, this is going to be so hard for ME!

ELIZABETH: Hi Cheryl! Welcome to Sweet Valley! I’m Liz, I write for the school newspaper, wear sensible skirts, and I am so welcoming and inclusive of all races.

JESSICA: Hi Cheryl, I’m Jessica, I am a cheerleader, I like headbands and lip gloss, and I am not even noticing that you are black! Wakefields are so open and welcoming of all races.

CHERYL: Hey, hi guys. Wow, people in Sweet Valley are so nice. Sweet Valley is the most beautiful place ever, even though I grew up in New York City. I’m not at all bitter for my father dragging me out of NY to live in a small, all-white town. I look forward to getting to know more kids.


CHERYL! OMG! I have to throw a party for Cheryl. Let me invite all our token students of colors Cheryl will feel better. Let’s pull Manuel Lopez and Jade Wu out of hiding. And, thank god Patty Gilbert was recently introduced in a previous book. And maybe some others that were never mentioned before.

ELIZABETH: Steven! You’ll be home that weekend! Why don’t you invite some college friends!

STEVEN: Good idea, I need to make some first. Plus, I’ll put an ad on the dorm bulletin board advertising for a black friend.

ANNIE: PERFECT! I am so glad we are neighbors. Nevermind that Jessica drove me to a suicide attempt once.

(At the party)

CHERYL: Why are there so many students of color here, Annie? And why do most of them say they don’t know you?

ANNIE: I, well, I just thought…it would make you feel more comfortable…I’m sorry…WAAAAHHHHHHHH (goes crying out of the room)

ELIZABETH: Oh Cheryl, you should not be so mad at Annie. I mean, this has been really hard for HER. She didn’t know how to make you comfortable, and was worried that other kids would be mean to you. Your move has been really stressful on HER. Come on, everyone, let’s go comfort Annie. Oh, but by the way, I am tolerant of all races. (They all leave)

CHERYL: Really? Really? Dad wanting a piece of ass from that model, and I have to live in crazy WASP town?

[At the football game]

STEVEN: So Cheryl, how are you liking your first football game??

CHERYL: I thought I’d miss New York City, but this is way better than all the museums, shows, culture, and shopping combined! I see why you all like it here! It’s the best place ever! It looks like things are going to be ok. Sweet Valley really seems to have a handle on this racism thing.

STEVEN: Well, get used to it, soon your days will be filled with football games, picnics at Secca Lake, and food binges at the Dairi Burger. And if your lucky, you may even be struck by a rare disease or attacked by a sociopath.

CHERYL: Gee, I hope so! Except that…I can’t drive!

STEVEN: What? You can’t drive? Let me withdraw from my college classes this semester so I can hang around here and teach you to drive.

CHERYL: Great! Our driving lessons will be a metaphor for the struggles we will have as Sweet Valley’s most famous interracial couple.

ANNIE: Cheryl, I’m really sorry. I just wanted to make things welcoming for you here. You don’t know how stressful you being black has been for ME.

CHERYL: That’s okay. I’m sorry I am black and this was stressful for you. Will you ever forgive me?

ANNIE: Sure. To show how much our friendship means to you, let’s go get our picture taken. I’ll wear stripes, you’ll wear polka-dots, and we’ll make ourselves look like a mid-40s lesbian couple.

CHERYL: It’s a deal! Then I’ll take you out for a double-scoop Sundae at Casey’s!

ANNIE: I hope it’s a vanilla AND chocolate sundae! Get it?

CHERYL: I think I do! It’s going to be all right after all.

A note: welcome to all new readers! I’m flattered that you all have been checking out the site. While you are at it, become a fan on facebook.

30 thoughts on “Stepsisters: A Dramatic Reading

  1. I'mLilaFowlerBitch! says:

    Haha @ the part about “pulling Manuel Lopez and Jade Wu out of hiding.” Minorities primarily lived in the shadows of the corners of the hall at SVH, to be called only when controversy was needed! LOL.I’m black and it’s funny I never thought about that when reading this books as a preteen.

  2. Mary Anne Bruno says:

    I will say that due to the poor resolution on my phone (from where I am reading this glorious blog), Cheryl looks white. I guess our cover artist couldn’t bear having a person of color that actually looked like a person of color, near the lilly white Annie.

  3. BartTempleton says:

    Unbelievable. She’s done it again. This is in the running for best recap ever.

    Some choice bits that were solid gold:

    –I’m not at all bitter for my father dragging me out of NY to live in a small, all-white town.

    –Let’s pull Manuel Lopez and Jade Wu out of hiding.

    —Come on, everyone, let’s go comfort Annie. Oh, but by the way, I am tolerant of all races.

    —Well, get used to it, soon your days will be filled with football games, picnics at Secca Lake, and food binges at the Dairi Burger. And if your lucky, you may even be struck by a rare disease or attacked by a sociopath.

  4. Whallie says:

    HA! “mid-40s lesbian couple” Totally! I can just picture Steven’s post for a black friend: Looking for a few brothers to party with a whitey in a perfect town of toasted white breads. Needed for impressing a sister who’s chocolaty delicious!

  5. Jen S says:

    HA! Yes, who would want to live in the purgatory of Manhattan when they could move to the Eden that is Sweet Valley? Living in a constant early ’80s afterschool special must be paradise on earth. I pray constantly for a a fanfic that has all the minority characters teaming up to burn down the town, rounding up the Wakefields and their ilk for some “re-education” involving electrodes and frozen pancakes.

  6. jns says:

    Oh my gosh, I just found your website and it is fantastic! I remember being such a devotee of these books in the 80s and you skewer them perfectly. Keep it up!

  7. Debbie says:

    Just found this site! I loved all these books 20 years ago, but none of my friends read them (in fact I often got teased for reading them)and at the time I had all these thoughts (listed here) but no one to share them with. So hearing the recaps as an adult has been a real delight. I hate to admit it but I did name my daughter Elizabeth (not because she was my favorite) but out of the choices I presented my husband (Elizabeth, Jessica & Lila) he choose Elizabeth. I was so happy because from age 10 on I KNEW I would have a daughter with one of those names. These books are/were awful, so inconsistent and unrealistic. Thanks Francine for warping our 10 year old minds! I grew up thinking blond was the only way to go, ALL drugs were beyond evil and being a twin would be like the raddest thing ever. I grew up in a private school (thus sheltered) in So Cal, (Orange County Baby!) so I thought I really did live in Sweet Valley and this was going to be my life when I went to High School etc. Ha Ha! Anyways, this has been so much fun reading the recaps and comments! Brings me back. BTW I will NEVER let my daughter (Elizabeth) read these books, I want her to have a good start on life.

  8. maybeimamazed02 says:

    “I’m sorry I am black and this was stressful for you.” Dude, you are amazing.

    Why the fuck would a MODEL and a FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER want to live in Sweet Valley instead of New York City?

    Oh right. Ingenue magazine, which once featured the late Regina Morrow. How could I forget?

  9. jns says:

    Anybody notice that Annie Whitman seems to have had a face transplant since the first cover she was on (around book #10 or so)? Her eye color has changed too.

    • Vanessa Saxton says:

      Yeah, what’s up with Annie looking like a soccer mom? Courtney Cox was the Annie inspiration (or so I’ve heard and it was partially confirmed on E!True Hollywood Story). So what does she look like a mom in desperate need of a hot oil treatment? I know it’s not shown on the cover but I am 100% certain she’s rocking some “mom jeans” too.

  10. Mary Anne Bruno says:

    Of course Cheryl is okay with leaving NYC. Not only is she living in Sweet Valley, she’s living next door to the Wakefields.

  11. Magpie says:

    “I’m sorry I am black and this was stressful for you.”

    That is one of the all-time best sentences on this blog! I LOLed for ages, and made myself look really weird.

    I seem to remember finding Cheryl really boring (I skimmed through her books), and now I realise it’s because the writers thought that “black” would suffice as her entire personality. Every attempt by SVH to broach racism is terrible, really cringe-worthy stuff.

  12. Neek1981 says:

    Laughing like hell at Debbie’s comment: “I will NEVER let my daughter read these books. I want her to have a good start on life.” HA HA HA!!!! Wise decision.

    You’re right Magpie. The minority characters never had a personality. They were always only described in terms of race. But the same can be said for all of the SV minor characters. No one had any personality except the twins, Bruce and Lila, and they were so full of shit that if I saw them in real life I’d have to punch them in their model-perfect faces.

  13. girltalkread says:

    Neek you are right no one had a personality except Lila, Bruce, and the twins. And God try reading Sweet Valley Twins books- none of the Unicorns have any personality except maybe Janet Howell, and of course Lila. And oh God ENID ROLLINS- no personality AT ALL!!!! Granted, she’s SVH.. but God Enid SUCKS!!!

  14. Magpie says:

    Neek – it’s true, nobody was particularly well-rounded as characters apart from those four. But the minority characters were ONLY given storylines that revolved around the colour of their skin and how difficult it was for them to fit in. At least the white characters were given plots that weren’t so one-dimensional – even if in Enid’s case, it was always something incredibly dull, like arguing with her grandmother. Though I will admit that it got a LOT better in the Senior Year books.

    And I totally agree – I would definitely like to deliver a nice punch to each of those smug twins! Lila and Bruce can remain as they are, because occasionally they stomp on Jessica’s ego a bit.

  15. Laura says:


    I just stumbled on your site, and have been reading it for hours. Love it, and love that you have willingly consigned yourself to writing hundreds of voluntary book reports, in the preservational, informational spirit of the internets. This book report, in particular, made me toss back my sun-streaked hair and laugh a whole-hearted Wakefield laugh.

    I totally read all these educational, and moralistic brain-builders when I was little. It’s probably why I’m the woman I am today. Moral. Clever. And accepting of all races.

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