Racing Hearts), hot girl. Not a granny. Jessica has her evil face on, and a pretty cheap looking cheerleading sweater on as well.
This has always been one of my all time favorite SVH books, because it has cheerleading, attempted suicide, hot sex, (well, more like hot implied-almost-sex), and a sleazy step-dad! Annie Whitman is the school tramp, and she's so dense that she has absolutely no idea that everyone calls her "Easy Annie". It's never all the way clear if Annie actually goes all the way with the many boys she dates, but I would like to think she does.
Cheerleading tryouts are coming up (even though they just had tryouts 6 books ago), and there's only two spots available, which is kind of strange since the squad only has 5 girls to begin with. They can't fit a few more girls? Being a former cheerleader myself, it was pretty clear that this ghostwriter knew nothing about cheerleading.
Annie wants nothing more then to be on the squad, because she knows being a SVH cheerleader will solve all of her problems (which include a creepy step-dad and a drunk mom).
To be on the team, you need a certain grade average, and Annie is so busy with boys that she's been lagging in math. She enlists Elizabeth to tutor her, because duh, Liz is smart in every subject (not to mention good at any sport she might try). Annie opens up to Liz like we expected her to, and we learn that her no-good dad walked out of her life and her mom is a former model who is "different", as Annie puts it. Later, when her mom comes stumbling in, we find out "different" means "drunk".
Liz, hoping the rumors are just exaggerations, slyly tries to figure out what Annie does in her spare time.
"Annie, with all the schoolwork you've been doing, I guess you don't have much time for dates"
Annie's answer to this is gold.
"Oh sure," Annie said casually, "I think it's important to have a good social life"
She does kind of have a point though, because when Jessica trollops around, it's being "social", not slutty. Of course things don't work like that for Annie, because she's not a Wakefield twin. Jessica is determined to keep Easy Annie off of her squad, declaring that she's "not going to have the whole squad tainted" on account of a tramp like Annie. SVH doesn't have an adult monitoring/coaching the cheerleaders like they should, or any adult supervision anywhere, so it should be pretty easy for Jess to get away with this.
The first round of tryouts starts, and here is the grueling routine they had to do:
"Each girl came forward as her name was called, and did the basic Gladiator cheer, the side kicks, and the Y-leap, and the final flourish, yelling 'We who are about to win, salute you! Go, Gladiators!' "
First off, that cheer makes no sense. We salute you? And what the hell is a Y-leap? Final flourish?
Annie blows every girl out of the water. "She added flourishes and fancy moves that some of the girls on the squad had been working on for months."
Interesting, since there is like no mention of Annie ever practicing any of these "flourishes" or dance moves before the tryouts.
Ricky Capaldo makes his first appearance in this book, as the cheerleader's manager. He's into Annie from the minute he sees her perform. Annie makes it through to the next round, and to top it off, she leaves the tryouts with a guy Jessica wanted! Uh-oh, bad idea Annie. Jess is territorial over her many men.
"Jessica watched in annoyance. She saw Annie move up the steps to join handsome Tim Bradley. She was mildly interested in Tim herself, and had thought he was there to watch her, and maybe buy her a Coke afterwards. But there he was, leaving with Easy Annie!"
Hmmm, buy a spoiled tease a Coke at the Dairi Burger, or get some action with Annie? I would have left with Annie too, Tim.
Tim is Helen's, (a cheerleader), brother and Jess hisses to Helen "Don't you care if your brother runs around with the school tramp?"
Liz continues to tutor Annie, and is waiting for Annie in her apartment (yup Annie doesn't even live in a house like everyone else! No wonder she's troubled.) The ever-classy Mrs. Whitman strolls in drunk and starts hounding Liz with questions about her daughter, who she clearly knows nothing about.
Mrs. W explains that she's too busy (doing what? She doesn't seem to have a steady job), to pay attention to Annie. Liz, self-righteous as always, privately thinks "My mother's always busy too. But she always has time for Jess and me." Not really, but okay Liz, believe what you want.
Poor Annie just keeps making things worse for herself without knowing. She shows up Jessica in a dance contest at the Beach Disco, and continues to "date" every guy in sight. She sails through the next auditions, and once again impresses everyone but Jessica. Jess is starting to realize that Annie is actually good, and that the other cheerleaders might vote for her despite her grungy rep. Jessica simply will not stand for a slut on her squad , (she's already filled that position), so she gets to work making sure Annie will not be voted in.
She knows Helen's vote will make or break whether Annie gets in , and explains to Helen that if a tramp like Annie is on the squad "everyone will think we're just like her!"
Jessica has to slowly explain to Helen (who seems a little slow), that if she can vote for Sandy Bacon instead of Annie even though Annie is a way more talented cheerleader then Sandy. Helen can barely comprehend this.
"You mean even if Annie's better, we can vote in Sandra?"
Unaware that her chances on the squad are zilch, Annie starts getting more confidence, and stops doing every guy that comes her way. She even starts developing a little crush on Ricky, and he likes her too. He does wonder if the racy stories are true, and thinks Annie is way too sexy and has too many guys into her to go for him.
The ghostwriter makes sure to remind us many times that Elizabeth disapproves of Jessica's scheming and is super worried about what's going to happen with Annie. Because this is Liz, the caring twin! She and Todd bicker about it a little, but there's no major break up.
So the last round of the try-outs goes down, and of course Annie is amazing, and Sandra Bacon falls doing a split. Huh? Sounds painful. The cheerleaders gather and all of them vote Cara Walker in. Then the subject of Annie Vs Sandra comes up, and all hell breaks loose. Helen backs out of the deal she made with Jessica earlier, and votes for Annie (nice to see someone stand up to Jess, even if it's for a second).
It looks like Annie is in, until Jessica throws a temper tantrum, and threatens to quit the squad if Annie gets in. They give in, because Jessica is "the heart and soul of the squad"
Oh please! I don't think Jess even has a soul.
Annie gets the bad news from Ricky, and as expected, breaks down. She demands to know how the voting went down, and who didn't vote for her. Ricky finally gives in and tells her everything. Finally, someone lets Annie know what people are saying about her! She doesn't take this too well, and rushes off, refusing to talk to him for days. Ricky describes to Elizabeth how he let Annie in on the harsh truth.
"I gave it to her with both barrels Liz"
Like every other guy in SVH...haha I couldn't resist.
Rumors start circulating that Jess called Annie "Easy Annie" to her face etc. etc. , and Liz of course confronts Jessica (interrupting her tanning time. The nerve!). Jessica's response is "Lizzie, do you think I'm an absolute total beast without any feelings?"
Ricky shows up at Annie's place to see if she's okay, and finds her knocked out on the floor. Annie is rushed to the hospital, and we find out she tried to kill herself! Well of course, what reason is there to live if you aren't a SVH cheerleader? I can't think of any.
Jessica throws a pity party for herself, sayng it's all her fault, (yeah it kind of is Jess), and everyone rushes to assure her that she's not a bad person etc. etc. Wtf. Meanwhile, Annie has "no will to live" according to the doctor. After hearing the whole story about why Annie did it, his medical advice is basically to let Annie on the squad so she has the will to live. I don't think I'd want that doctor taking care of me.
Jessica sees the error of her ways, (I guess it takes something as dramatic as suicide get her to admit she's wrong), and decides to let Annie on the squad. Annie wakes up and receives the good news. Her mom comes in, (where has she been for most of this?), and promises Annie that creepy step-dad Johnny is gone for good. Everything is just perfect, except Ricky and Annie never officially get together like they're supposed to! Wtf?
There's not much of a sub plot in this one, just some mentions of how Steve is all hung up on Tricia Martin, and Jessica can't stand it because the Wakefields are way too good for the Martin family. Snore. Get over it Jessica. You never even have to see Tricia or deal with the family, so butt out! I really never cared for the Tricia and Steven storylines.
Oh, and there's the set up for the next book, Too Good to be True. Ned and Alice are friends with some random rich couple living in New York, and they've arranged to have the daughter, (Suzanne Devlin), come down and stay with them, while one of the twins goes to New York to stay with the Devlins. But which twin will it be? Don't we all know already?