Sweet Valley High #83 – Steven’s Bride – published by Bantam Books, paperback edition, 154 pages.
Synopsis: When Cara Walker announces that she and her mother are moving to London, no one is more shocked than Steven Wakefield. After losing his first love, Tricia Martin, to leukemia, Steven can’t bear the thought of losing another girlfriend. Jessica Wakefield knows a way for Cara to stay in Sweet Valley – as her brother’s bride!
Steven thinks an elopement is the perfect solution, and at first Cara agrees. Then Cara begins to wonder if she’s ready to sacrifice her future to stay with Steven now. Does Cara have the courage to follow her heart – no matter what it’s telling her?
My thoughts: “This is one of the books from the series that I never got around to reading as a teenager, I think I stopped being interested in the high school stories at around the book 50-60 mark, and had moved on to Sweet Valley University. So it was exciting for me to pick up a book that I hadn’t actually read yet. New (old) Sweet Valley? Yes please!
This book was a pleasant surprise for me, because it’s one of the only Sweet Valley High books I’ve read where the characters make level-headed decisions, and actually think things over (even if it was after the fact for the most part). The basic premise is that Cara Walker’s mother gets a promotion that would see them both move to London. Both Cara and her boyfriend Steven Wakefield are upset at this news, because it means the end of their relationship. It’s amazing how much has changed since then. I mean, long distance relationships are hard but certainly not impossible in this wonderful age of technology that we live in.
Seeing Steven upset at the news, World’s Worst Friend Jessica Wakefield comes up with the brilliant idea that they get married, so Cara won’t have to leave. What could possibly go wrong? after impusively making this decision, they both spend two weeks feeling anxious about it. Because marriage is actually a Pretty Big Thing, as it turns out. I mean, when one of the reason’s you’re excited about getting married is because it means you can “stay up as late as you want”, it’s a concern. Anyway, World’s Worst Friend Jessica Wakefield tells everyone (except any adults of course) about the secret engagement, life goes on and Cara’s friends throw her a bridal shower. Included in the gifts are a VCR tape from WWF Jessica. What a gift. She also gets some sexy lingerie which makes her pretty nervous. Also Lila makes some snide comment about not being rich enough to buy Cara a TV and VCR for a present and I call shenanigans because she’s pretty damn rich.
Meanwhile, Cara’s father comes to visit (her parents are divorced) and announces his engagement to his auburn haired girlfriend that Cara has never heard of, Julie. Cara was convinced her parents who live in two different states and barely talk to each other were getting re-married (thus confirming she has no idea how an adult relationship works), so she’s pretty cut about the news. She also thought this would mean she’d get to stay in Sweet Valley but NO now she has to marry Steven and keep the damn lingerie.
Steven gets into law school but lies to everyone about it so they don’t pressure him to accept the offer. He instead bails on his life dream of becoming a lawyer and gets a job waitressing at Pedro’s. Jessica finds out and suddenly decides them getting married is a BAD idea, and does everything in her power to stop it, including telling Cara that Steven was accepted into law school.
Cara sits down with her mum (finally!) to discuss everything that’s going on. Cara’s mum is a #bossbitch and explains to Cara that although it’s difficult seeing her ex-husband re-marry, she’s feeling confident in her new life as a single woman and is proud of how she’s making good decisions for herself (you know you’re getting older when you can really relate to the adults in a story like this). Cara sort of listens to her advice, but goes off to get married anyway.
At the last minute, Jessica and Elizabeth spill the beans to Ned and Alice Wakefield who grab Cara’s mum and race to the chapel in Nevada where the couple are getting married. They are just in time to see Cara say “I do NOT!”. Steven throws a major hissy fit and storms out, refusing to talk to Cara. This right after he was ready to marry and spend his life with the poor girl which is a bit of a quick turnaround if you ask me.
Again, life goes on and Cara is getting ready to leave for London. Steven is still in A Mood and refuses to talk to her. Elizabeth has taken her brother’s side and doesn’t attend Cara’s going away party, but Cara decides to meet up with Elizabeth to tell her why she made the smart and level-headed decision not to get married at age 16. Because although Elizabeth was against the wedding from the start, she is angry that this is how things played out. Elizabeth finally understands, and goes to tell Steven what Cara had to say. Of course Steven listens to Elizabeth rather than being a man and listening to Cara when she tried to explain things to him, and races off to the airport to farewell Cara. Alls well that ends well, and the pair part on good terms. PHEW.
I was surprised at how kind and considerate Cara’s friends were in this book, considering how they’re total mean girls. Jessica putting someone else’s needs before her own was also something new… maybe she’s settled down since meeting her steady boyfriend Sam? Who seems adorable btw. The two joke about Jessica dying suddenly which is a bit awkward because Sam dies suddenly at some point later in the series. Oh, and speaking of the twins and their boyfriends, Todd Handbrake Wilson is a total downer about the whole marriage and commitment thing which has made Mates For Life Elizabeth very nervous.
The cover of this book is extremely awkward, it looks like Cara is standing next to a mannequin. Also strange for me because Steven looks a lot like my friend’s husband, although a lot more mannequin-like.