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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Racing Hearts #9

I always thought Lila looked so pretty on this cover. Roger looks appropriately pathetic, and has some of the biggest glasses of all time hanging on his shirt.

This book is kind of like Heartbreaker, except the pathetic boy in love is poor Roger Barrett, who is literally poor. He even has to work a after school job! Omg! His mom is sick and his dad is a no-good drunk. Roger lusts after the gorgeous, rich Lila Fowler, who as you can imagine, wants nothing to do with him.
The poor guy even trips and falls on his face in the hall in front of Jessica and Lila. I can't think of two people worse to trip in front of.

Lila calls Roger "Bugs", because he "bugs her". Kind of a stretch, but alright.  Roger's BFF is Olivia Davidson, SVH's resident free spirit and weird-dressing artist. She has the hots for Rog, but he's too wrapped up in dreams of Lila to notice her. Elizabeth is the only one who knows about Roger's afterschool janitor job, because he works in her dad's office and she's seen him before. She actually manages to keep this a secret for a few books, she doesn't even tell Enid or Todd!
It would be THE worst thing ever if any of the SVH students knew about his job, because this is Sweet Valley, and teens aren't supposed to work as full-time janitors, if they work at all.

There's a big race coming up, (and a dance to accompany it, duh), the Bart. It's a big huge deal, and all the schools compete in the last race. The winner gets a full scholarship and major SVH popularity points. Everyone's at the first race to qualify for the big one, because these kids seriously go to every sporting event possible.

Elizabeth starts telling Roger he should join the race, because she sees him running like crazy all around school. Olivia agrees and they both start harping on him to run down to the field and enter. Roger isn't interested.
But then Lila decides to show off how much control she has over meek little Roger by convincing him to run in the race fior her.

Roger jumps at Lila's command and enters the race last minute. The always-adorable Bruce Patman is running in the race too, and finds it hilarious that Roger is racing.
"I guess this is what they mean by 'equal opportunity'. Even Bozos get to race."
Have you ever heard a high school boy call someone else a "bozo?".

Roger lets all of Bruce's B.S go right through him. Elizabeth sits on the sidelines wondering why Todd is in the race, since he never mentioned it to her. How did she not know? This is Elizabeth know-it-all Wakefield! Lila laughs at Roger from the sidelines and gloats about how he's going to lose. Oh Lila, you're so cold. Olivia silently fumes about Lila's cruelty, but is to scared of her to say anything.

Turns out Lila is wrong, because the race is won by non other than "bugs" himself, Roger. He comes in right before sore loser Bruce, who places second. Rog gets the hero treatment, and Jessica suggests to Lila that she should pay some attention to him since, "the boy who wins the race is going to be pretty popular around here. It wouldn't hurt to be seen with him."
As if they aren't popular enough.

Lila starts drooling all over Roger, but what she and everyone else doesn't know, is that Roger won't be able to enter the big official Bart race. He has a hard ass boss who would never give him time off for the race itself, let alone time off to practice. He doesn't tell anyone, probably because he's enjoying some attention for once, since SVH revolves around sports (yes, even track).

Lila tries getting Roger to hang out with her after school, but because of his demanding job and schoolwork, he has to keep turning her down. This only strengthens Lila's resolve to get Roger to ask her to the Bart dance.

Sub plot time! Jessica suddenly decides she would make an awesome lawyer, and asks her dad if she can work in his law office. She soon discovers that working in a law firm is not quite as exciting as she had thought. For some reason she seemed to assume she'd be fighting in court right away? Um, you know it takes a law degree to do that, right?

She's just about to quit, until she spots a hot guy working in the same buliding. Within a day or two, they're already meeting after hours to make out and dry hump on the copy machine. She tells Liz she's organizing her dad's office, but Liz knows her well enough to know there's no way that's true. Super spy Liz sneaks into the office and spots Jess and her guy sucking face.

But uh-oh, Rog happens to be mopping up on the same floor that Jess and her man are on, and Jessica sees him! Liz sees all of this, and rushes home to stop Jessica before she tells the whole world. Elizabeth is actually pretty cool here. She blackmails Jessica, telling her she'll tell their dad the real reason Jess is so eager about law if Jessica ever spills Roger's secret. Jessica agrees, but she's itching to tell Lila, because if Lila knew she was pursuing a janitor, she would DIE!

After this incident, Roger is totally stressing. He calls up Olivia, and confesses his awful secret.
"Go on, say it." Roger continued, "It embarrasses you to realize you're friends with a cleaning boy"
Come on Rog, this is Olivia you're talking to, not Jessica or Lila!

Of course Olivia is fine with it and thinks it's admirable that he's helping his family. Exactly. Yet Roger still thinks Lila is the girl for him. Sigh. He tells Olivia about how he won't be able to run in the race due to his tough schedule and unrelenting boss. He still hasn't told anyone else that, so everyone (including the coach and principal), think he's still in the running.

There's another little sub plot about a rumor involving the track coach leaving after this season, because he's  supposedly sick. Everyone starts thinking this is going to be his last time coaching for the Bart, and wouldn't it be nice if someone from SVH took home the trophy for him?

Jessica tells Lila she should have a retirement party for the coach after the race, since Roger couldn't possibly say no to an invitation for a party honoring the coach (oh, and the coach isn't even invited to this party. Nice). Jess can't wait for this party. She's planning on bringing her newest conquest, Dennis (the guy from the office) and casually telling everyone about Rog's past, so Lila is humiliated and has to go hide, and Jess and her new man get all the attention. And they say they're friends?

But before this delightful scene can happen, Roger boldly tells Lila that he's a janitor. She acts like a snotty bitch about it, of course, and Roger tells her off good, even bringing up the valid point that he doesn't like being poor anymore then she would. Go Roger!

But there's still the matter of the race. Roger goes to break the bad news to the coach, and surprise, the coach got a call from Roger's evil boss saying Rog can have time off to practice, and compete in, the Bart! The coach and Rog talk a bit more, and the coach tells him the rumors about him leaving/being sick, aren't true. Wow, guess Lila's party is really pointless now, huh?

Roger ends up winning the race and the scholarship, and Lila, fake as ever, throws herself at him again. Roger knows better this time, and blows her off. Doesn't this sound a whole lot like Heartbreaker? Whatever.
He finds Olivia, and kisses her passionately. Just like we knew he would.

Jessica's romance doesn't fare as well, turns out Dennis is only 15 (!) which is why he and Jess were limited to hanging out in closets together and he couldn't drive her anywhere. I really thought it was just because he didn't feel like springing for dinner at the Dairi Burger, since she was giving it away free already. Jessica could never be seen with a 15 year old in public, so she angrily dumps him. Within a day, she's over him.

Things wrap up with Jessica, Cara and Liz talking about Annie Whitman, who is "a girl watcher's delight" because she's in an ultra tiny miniskirt. Jessica comments "that girl's gotta hold the school record for most dates!" No, that would probably be you Jessica. There's some trouble coming up for Annie in the next book, Wrong Kind of Girl.

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