Dancing in the Dark- but not like Bruce

I have decided to review one of the ” Girlfriends” novels, as when I was about 17 years old ( the same age as the girls in these books!) these books were easily some of my favorites. Unlike Sweet Valley High, wow some of these girls actually have sex and it’s not necessarily horrible or scary!! Or at least the girls are actually sexual beings who may think about it once in a great blue moon!!! I also did like the diversity of the characters, though now as I read this as a 30 year old woman, Nicole Grey ( the author) may have been a little too into diversity odd as that may sound.

The ” Girlfriends” novels follow the lives of 5 high school juniors living in Chandler, Washington. The 5 girls are Janis Sandifer-Wayne- long haired blonde, lives with 2 hippie and many animals, including a skunk ( WTF??), she is into many social causes and to me she is basically an older version of Dawn Schafer from the Babysitters Club- not cool. In Book 1 of the series, Draw the Line, Janis lands a boyfriend named Brian, who is not your typical high school jock- though honestly sometimes he IS. UGH! I honestly don’t get why Janis and Brian are a couple because all they seem to do is argue with each other.  But moving on… Cassandra Taylor is African American, her family is a total carbon copy of ” The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire”-shit, she even has a nerdy bro named Carlton! Cassandra is a ballerina ( it seems that most young adult novels have to include a dancer) and in Book 3 we learn that Cassandra is a bulimic!!! While Cassandra is in the hospital, she falls in love with another dancer and peer counselor, Faizon, who on paper does seem to be a parent’s worst nightmare- he lives in a men’s shelter, it is unclear as to whether or not he is paid to be a peer counselor, etc but oh Faizon has a heart of gold and is pretty much the answer to Cass’s prayers- DREAMY!!! Cassandra’s cousin Natalie is 16, straight out of South Central LA- her mother wants her to live with Cass and her Fresh Prince fam right after the LA riots- see Nicole Grey is totally into current events! Natalie has always struggled as her mother is white (and an LA cop) and her father is black ( her father is Cass’s mom’s bro) and left the family when she was a baby so of course as a biracial girl Natalie has never fit in…. Stephanie Ling has a mom who is pretty much a bitter bitch, 2 younger sisters, and a job where she apparently has to work 40 hours a week from what it seems ( child labor laws, people!!) to help support the family. Stephanie did have a boyfriend named Phillip but he is killed in a  motorcycle crash in book 3. Phillip was just about the most smitten boyfriend you could ever have- too bad he had to get offed. And the last character to introduce is Maria Torres, my favorite character- she is Mexican, her older brother Jesse is a whore, and this gross guy named Leaf almost rapes Maria in book 2 of this series. Maria is also a former cheerleader as well as a former member of the ” popular” crowd. Maria also has big boobs- that is discussed QUITE A BIT in every book!!

Now I am reviewing the 5th book in the series ” Dancing in the Dark.” The book starts with Cassandra and Faizon kissing at her door after all of them go to a bar ( Iron Mike’s baby!) for New Year’s Eve. Now apparently all the gals can go to Iron Mike’s because Jesse’s band plays there- OK…. Well as Cassandra and Faizon profess their undying love after knowing each other for maybe a month.. yeah in Girlfriends these gals fall HARD AND FAST- Natalie is all upset because Edan, a member of Jesse’s band and Cleo’s brother- to review, Cleo is this gal who supposedly ” died” in a ski accident three years earlier, and she has since recovered and loves reading people’s auras and wearing gauzy minidresses that show off her kick ass figure. And Jesse the whore finds her really sexy but is still being a whore. Naturally. Stephanie is in her bedroom reading letters and cards that her gay daddy had written to her-he sent cards and money every year for the past 7 years since he left the family because he came out as gay and got a hottie boyfriend. Stephanie’s mom chose never to let Steph and her sisters because she is a total cunt bag- seriously, she really is. Stephanie eventually decides to call Daddy Ling, and they meet in San Francisco- naturally – the gay Asian man HAS to live in San Francisco!!!!! And naturally the reunion is beautiful. But that is near the end, so I am WAY ahead of myself.

So the day after, Janis is having breakfast with her adoring parents who never argue with each other- and Janis never argues with her parents. I swear, Janis and her fam are worse than Family Ties. Even Mallory and Jen fought with Steven and Elise once in awhile!!! Janis learns that some people in the neighborhood do not want Harmony House open- to review, Harmony House is a home for HIV positive toddlers and yes people in the neighborhood are against it due to their fears of AIDS- which, this book was written in 1993 so there was a little more AIDS awareness by then-but apparently not enough. So Janis decides to bring the toddlers in front of the people protesting, all of the protesters fall in love with the tots, and things are sha la la la again. Now incidentally, Janis claims to be all into the environment- yet she drives a Ford Bronco! HELLO! GAS GUZZLER MUCH?????! EESH this gal annoys the shit out of me.

Maria is being sexually harassed by the football coach. Whenever she walks into the gym, the coach makes lewd comments about her boobies. Yeah imagine the COACH is making lewd comments about a student’s titties- ewwww!! So Maria and Janis get their revenge by tying themselves to the coach until he says he will stop the comments. And then Janis’s man is all pissed because the coach ends up resigning because of this incident and goes to coach at the football team’s rival high school. OK Bri so the fuck WHAT????? The coach is harassing Maria you- BOOB!!!!! I don’t get why Brian was so bent out of shape- and again, Janis and Big Bri have issues! Why are they dating again???

Stephanie, who to me has gotten over her first love’s death fairly quickly- starts dating the Italian dude, Joey, who is fixing the floors of the cafe where Steph works- the Green Cafe. Of course, Joey comes from the typical Italian family, and his mom is all pissy when Joey brings Stephanie home for dinner. What annoys me is it is never revealed how old Joey is- I assume he’s in his early 20’s but who knows??? Anyway, about 2 minutes after Joey and Steph start dating Joey is talking MARRIAGE???? Luckily, Stephanie put a kibosh on that right quick!!!

In other happenings, Cass and Faizon finally fuck- WITHOUT A CONDOM! So for most of the book, Cassandra is obsessing over whether or not she will get her period- which hey at least these gals GET periods!!!! That’s rare in a YA novel!! But yeah Cassandra you are 17 and not 6- use a condom, bitch! Thank GOD Nat set her straight!!! Natalie spends most of the book obsessing over Edan the white boy rocker and when Edan and Jesse talk, Edan obsesses over Natalie. They have GREAT, ELECTRIC heat between them- Nat wants to fuck this guy so bad it hurts.

The end of the book takes place during a huge ski trip whereby lots of folks come and ski, and frolic, and what not. Maria gets cozy with Janis’s buddy Simon Pearlstein, who seems to only eat pretzel sticks. Natalie keeps trying to fuck Edan and is constantly unable to. Cassandra FINALLY gets her period woooooo!!!! And then Edan and Cleo’s parents say that a huge storm is coming and they have to evacuate  the cabin immediately. Nat thinks- Dude now I can be alone with Edan ( OK she’s all about street slang so she wouldn’t say Dude) so she asks to ride with Edan in his car. Edan forgets his wallet so they have to go back to the cabin- but they can’t leave because they are SNOWED IN! And as the book ends, Nat and Edan are sooo gonna fuck but then some blonde BEEYOTCH who they ran into at the general store and Janis told off for wearing fur mittens runs in needing help. And the book ENDS! WHAT THE FUCK??? Do I even HAVE Book 6? And damn it Edan and Nat stop being stubborn and just screw already!

To review- Jesse Torres- whore. At the beginning of the book, Natalie thinks that Slash from Guns and Roses is hot! Ummm Ok when G and R were popular Slash always wore all of his nappy, curly hair in front of his face so how would you know if he was hot or fugly under all that hair??? Personally, he was, like, my hero as I have the same hair and finally someone cool has hair like mine- but still. I can’t believe how self righteous and veggie Janis is- JUST LIKE DAWN FROM BSC!!!! And it seems that Janis also rocks ” California casual” though she lives in Washington! I HATE Stephanie’s mom. And while I am glad that Stephanie is not really a stereotypical Asian- well except that she gets good grades- and well Cassandra is not a stereotype either other than the fact that she is sort of a Lisa Turtle/ Hillary Banks type- well except neither one became bulimic- for the most part this book tends to be a little stereotypical- OF COURSE NATALIE HAS ISSUES because shes’s biracial! Naturally, Maria speaks Spanish and her parents expect her to be a virgin. Although at least Girlfriends recognizes that not only white people live in this world unlike Sweet Valley High! Also ummm Nicole my friend- too many social issues in one book- racism, AIDS awareness, homosexuality, sexual harassment, etc etc etc. It’s a little much,even for a social worker like moi!


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