Sweet Valley Twins #4 Choosing Sides

Jessica, Ellen, Lila and Janet decided to start a cheerleading squad called the Boosters. In book 3 Mary Giaccio ( who was a total bitch until book #7 for no good reason) was to be one of the four original Boosters, but I guess Janet Howell used her authority to be one of the founding members instead. Auditions have to be open to other girls besides Unicorns. As we left Book 3, remember, Amy Sutton told Liz that she was going to try out for the Boosters, and Elizabeth was none too happy.

Jessica is practicing cheers before dinner, and then Mrs. Wakefield has Elizabeth call Jessica down to dinner. At dinner, Jessica complains about how Ms. Langberg, the gym teacher, said that the auditions have to be open to any girl at Sweet Valley Middle School who wants to try out and this is truly distressing to Jessica. Jessica says ” so many gross girls have tried out, it’s pathetic.” Among these gross girls is Lois Waller who is so fat she could be two people according to Jess, Leslie Forsythe who is scrawny ( so I guess a Boosters cheerleader can’t be too fat or too thin) and always has a runny model ( and who I think became Shandi on America’s Next Top Model), and that icky tomboy Amy Sutton.  Mrs. Wakefield admonishes Jessica for calling Amy icky in front of Liz, and Jessica says she hopes Amy doesn’t think that she can be a Unicorn by getting into the Boosters. Elizabeth says Amy just wants to be a cheerleader and Jessica says Amy was such a klutz in gym class and cheerleaders are supposed to be graceful and beautiful, and Amy is just not cut out to be a Booster at all.

After dinner, Lila calls. Elizabeth answers but Lila doesn’t know it’s Liz, and starts talking to Liz as if it were Jessica. Lila tells Jessica there has to be a way to get rid of all the gross girls who are trying out for the squad, and then Liz tells Lila when she can get a word in that it is Elizabeth Lila is talking to and not Jessica. Elizabeth then calls Jess to the phone. Jessica tells Lila she will agree to whatever Lila decides is the best way to be rid of the gross girls, as long as Ms. Langberg wouldn’t find out. Lila tells Jessica that it will definitely look like a fair tryout, and not to worry.

When Jessica and Elizabeth walk to school with Nora the next day, Nora informs Liz that boys’ basketball tryouts are also today, as well as the cheerleading tryouts.  After school, Elizabeth heads to the gym to cover the tryouts for both the basketball team and the Boosters.  At one end of the gym Elizabeth sees a bunch of nervous looking girls in leotards and gym suits waiting for the Booster auditons.  Elizabeth goes over to Amy to try to convince her not to try out for the Boosters, but Amy isn’t hearing it. Amy tells Liz that she is confident that if the Unicorns see that Amy is good she will be able to join the squad, and nothing is going to stop her. Amy then adds she knows Elizabeth is just trying to be a good friend.  Lila, Ellen, Janet and Jessica all come out of the locker room in matching purple leotards and white tights, and identical regal and bored looking facial expressions.  Lila goes to the front of the crowd, gives a bunch of girls cold  looks and starts making checks on a clipboard. She is so intimidating that some girls immediately leave the line and the gym. Lila announces that she is going to teach the remaining girls one cheer and they have to perfect the cheer for the second round of tryouts next week.  Jessica then shows the girls the cheer – It’s ” Tom, Tom he’s our man if he can’t do it no one can!” Oooh hard. Well some jumps are included in the cheer too,and Elizabeth can see that Jessica has inspired the girls with her graceful movements, gorgeous blonde hair and clear voice. PUH-LEEZ.  Jessica does the cheer again slowly for the girls to try and most of them look really awkward.  Ellen  then has the girls do some baton drills.  Ellen is apparently a great baton twirler, and Amy is one of the girls doing the baton drills with Ellen in the first round. Elizabeth is surprised that Amy is acting as if she’s twirling a baton for the first time,and not showing the Unicorns what she can really do.  Lila whispers to Jessica ” what a bunch of dorks” and Jess then gives Amy a cool glance and Amy gets so embarassed, she drops her baton. Then Jessica thinks that Amy is such a klutz, not even Elizabeth will be upset when they cut Amy from the squad!

Elizabeth is tying together the basketball and cheerleading tryouts for her article.  The boys are dribbling the basketball and making some shots for the basket. Ken Matthews comes out of the locker room and looks very hesitant. Then Bruce Patman screams ” hey midget!” and totally embarasses Ken.  Ken trips over Elizabeth’s backpack as he’s going to leave the gym.  Elizabeth asks Ken why he is choosing to leave tryouts. Ken says that he’s the shortest guy in the whole school and he will never make the team so it’s not even worth trying out.  Elizabeth tells Ken that if he really wants to join the team, nothing should stop him. Yet Elizabeth doesn’t want Amy to try out for cheerleading, even though Amy really wants to do it. Well, of course Elizabeth has inspired Ken to go through with trying out.  Coach Cassels has the boys line up, and Coach Cassells lights up when he sees Ken Matthews has tried out, because Ken’s dad Scott was one of the best players Coach Cassels ever coached. Coach Cassels thinks that Tim Davis, the tallest boy in line, is Ken and claps a hand over one of his shoulders, but then Bruce yells ” no that midget is Ken Matthews!’ Coach Cassels looks shocked, but thinks there’s still hope for Ken as his dad was such a talented ballplayer. But Coach Cassels soon sees that Ken can’t score any goals, can’t dribble, and can’t pass. Coach Cassels tells Ken he will give him a chance because of the respect he has for Ken’s father, but if Ken doesn’t improve he will be cut.

After school, Elizabeth sees Ken.  Ken tells Elizabeth tryouts were horrible and he can’t play basketball. Elizabeth says Ken can come over her house, and maybe Steven who plays JV basketball can give Ken some pointers.  Ken tells Elizabeth he does hope to make the team so that his father will be proud of him because basketball means a lot to his dad. Steven tries to teach Ken about basketball but Ken appears to be hopeless- he can’t shoot, or make any baskets, or pass as we already know. Ken is really dejected after Steven gives up on teaching Ken basketball but Elizabeth gets an idea. When Elizabeth and Jess were little Steven always hogged the basketball so when the girls wanted to play basketball they used a tennis ball. It was a great way to learn how to dribble and pass the ball because it was so small. Sure enough, Ken finds the tennis ball a lot easier to handle and he is doing much better with the tennis ball. As Elizabeth and Ken are practicing, Bruce Patman rides by on his bike and starts laughing at Ken and Liz and calling them the junior basketball league. Ken runs off and almost runs into Jessica.

 Jessica is upset that Ken was over and she doesn’t appreciate Elizabeth inviting geeky guys over especially if say, Bruce Patman rides by. Elizabeth said Bruce did come by and Elizabeth doesn’t really care. Jessica then tells Elizabeth that if she talks to Amy that night to try to convince her to drop the auditions so that Amy isn’t embarassed when she’s cut. After all, Elizabeth sees what a klutz Amy is.

Amy does call, and she tells Elizabeth she wants to be a Booster more than ever. Amy then asks about why Elizabeth was talking to Ken Matthews and Liz wants to keep Ken’s secret so she says Ken just apologized for tripping over Elizabeth’s bookbag.  The next day at school, Ken goes up to Elizabeth and says the tennis ball trick is working great.  Elizabeth tells Ken she’s glad to be of service and as they are shaking hands, Bruce starts teasing Ken and Liz and calling them lovebirds.  By lunchtime, Bruce has told all of Sweet Valley Middle School that Elizabeth and Ken are a couple.  When Jessica hears, she’s upset and pulls Elizabeth aside after dance class and tells Elizabeth to put a stop to the rumors because if kids think Elizabeth and Ken are dating, it will somehow ruin Jessica’s reputation.  Elizabeth thinks that she won’t do any such thing because if kids choose to believe dumb rumors that’s their issue.

After school the next day, Ken, Amy and Liz walk home together. Ken is upset over how the boys are treating him and teasing him and all and Amy tells Ken not to let those dumb boys stop them from something he wants to do, and Amy also talks about how she is trying out for cheerleading even though Lila and Jessica don’t want her to.  Ken is playing basketball with the tennis ball and he is improving a great deal.  Ken decides that if Amy can stand up to the Unicorns and try out for the Boosters, Ken can go for his dream of playing basketball. Amy, meanwhile, is twirling her baton like crazy to practice for Booster auditions.  Amy’s mom calls Amy in saying it’s dark out, and then Lila and Ellen call Amy and tell her to drop out of auditions because plenty of girls are better than Amy is. Amy pretty much tells Ellen and Lila to go to hell.

At lunch the next day, Lila tells Jessica that her favorite singer, Johnny Buck, is going to do a concert in Sweet Valley. Jessica says she HAS to go to the concert this year. Last year, Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield said Elizabeth and Jess were too young to go, but they are in middle school this year so hopefully Ned and Alice will let Jessica attend the show this year- they just HAVE to! Then Janet goes to the lunch table and tells the others that Amy has to be stopped. Jessica decides that the Unicorns will draft a letter to Amy from Ken Matthews. In the letter, Ken writes that Amy should just drop out of the Boosters because most of the other girls trying out are much better and by the way Elizabeth agrees.  Jessica adds the part about Elizabeth because she wants Ken and Amy to stop talking to Liz. Why that’s Jessica’s business I have no clue. Then Jessica suggests one more letter- a letter from Amy to Ken- a LOVE letter.  Later on in the day Amy tells Liz she found a letter that was supposedly from Ken telling Amy not to go through with auditions for the Boosters, but Amy knows Ken would have never written that letter because of the conversation Amy and Ken had the other day.  Amy and Liz see Ken and he blushes and runs away from them. Ken thinks it’s annoying that girls always get mushy and he thought Amy just wanted to be friends.

Lila and Ellen are in the bathroom at school laughing over the letters and saying that if Amy still insists on trying out they will totally embarass her at tryouts. Lila and Ellen don’t realize that Elizabeth was in the stall listening. Elizabeth decides to stop Amy from going to auditions before something awful happens. On the way to auditions, Elizabeth runs into Ken. He won’t talk to Liz at first but then Elizabeth asks Ken if he got a letter from Amy and insists on seeing it. As Lila and Ellen quoted the letter, Liz knows it was their dirty work and tells Ken that the letter is a fake and Amy just wants to be friends.  Elizabeth tells Ken the Unicorns don’t want Amy to be a Booster.  Elizabeth then sees Amy and tells her not to try out because the Unicorns are planning something devious and Amy says they can’t exactly murder her in the gym in front of everyone.  Elizabeth tries telling Amy it could still be horrible and Amy says she doesn’t care and she wants to be a cheerleader more than anything and nothing will stop her, and Amy does call out Liz on her shit- ya know how Elizabeth told Ken to ignore Bruce Patman, but can’t let Amy audition. Elizabeth finally wishes Amy good luck, and Amy says she thinks she will really need it!

Then Elizabeth sees Ken walking out of the gym because he’s too nervous to try out for the team and face Bruce’s taunting. Elizabeth tells Ken what Amy said about not giving up no matter what, and Ken says he will go through with tryouts for Amy because if Amy can be brave against the Unicorns, he can be brave against Bruce.  At Booster tryouts, the 7 remaining girls have to do a cheer- complete with baton twirling- with the Unicorns- each girl will cheer alone with the Unicorns and if they drop the baton once they are OUT!  A pretty blonde named Penny tries out first and poor Penny drops the baton and runs out of the gym crying.  A friend of the Unicorns named Grace is next and she does the routine perfectly. Then it’s Amy’s turn. Remember the cheer is ” a boy’s name he’s our man if he can’t do it no one can!” ya know like ” Frank, Frank he’s our man” for example. Ellen says the name they should use should be KEN!!! Amy thinks it’s pretty low to suggest Ken’s name but at least the Unicorns will cheer with her! Well- NOOOO- As  the cheer starts, Lila, Ellen, Janet and Jess step away from Amy and have Amy cheer Ken, Ken he’s our man ALL BY HERSELF IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE GYM!!!! Amy, of course, is mortified but decides to continue the cheer anyway- and does it perfectly and even does this wicked elaborate baton routine- Amy is better than Ellen at baton! And then Bruce is laughing as Amy is doing this, and Bruce is so distracted that Ken steals the ball from Bruce and makes quite a few baskets! Ken is playing basketball like he’s never played before!  After the  kids in the gym ( yeah tons of kids showed up to watch the final rounds of b- ball and cheerleading tryouts) start cheering wildly for Ken and Amy, the Unicorns realize Amy is great and practically beg Amy to join the Boosters!  And Ken said Coach Cassels said he definitely made the team!  After that excitement ( and after Liz tells Amy she’s sorry for doubting her) Amy tells Elizabeth about Johnny Buck. Elizabeth thinks that she hopes Ned and Alice will let her and Jessica go to the concert this year, especially since Jessica adores Johnny Buck. And of course that leads to the next SVT book (that I read at least 50 times from about 4th-7th grade and loved) Sneaking Out.

Stay tuned this week to a Unicorn Club book recap, and next week it’s the world of Christie Winchell, Jana Morgan, Katie Shannon, Beth Barry and Melanie Edwards-AKA the FAB FIVE!

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