The plot of this book is introduced in Sweet Valley Twins #6- The New Girl. I think I have a copy of that one somewhere to recap, unless I donated it to the library in a huge book donating frenzy I had. I will have to check. Basically, the twins’ friend Mary Giaccio ( who seemed like a real fucking bitch up until this book I am sorry- now we hear she’s smart and nice and friends with both Jessica and Elizabeth) meets Alice Wakefield, and is constantly up Alice’s ass. Mary always asks to stay for dinner, she helps Alice weed the garden, helps her cook and clean, and is always looking at Alice with awe. Some background on Mary- she’s a foster child. The Altmans are her current foster parents, and are quite nifty since they live right near the Wakefields. Mr. and Mrs. Altman tell Jessica and Elizabeth that the Altmans contacted Ned so they could file to adopt Mary- yep, Ned Wakefield is an adoption lawyer, family court lawyer, criminal lawyer, tort lawyer- I swear, thanks to YA novels I never knew attorneys had specialties until college! Ned tells Jessica and Elizabeth not to tell anyone, but one night Jessica accidentally spills grape juice all over a copy of the Sweet Valley Sixers, and Jessica has to retype an article in there so that Elizabeth won’t notice. Jessica then adds to the bottom of Caroline’s gossip column ” Guess who is getting adopted? ” or whatever. Yeah, nice, real nice, when you know Mary doesn’t know yet, Jess! Well, Mary freaks when she hears this because Mary tells Elizabeth that she has always hoped that her bio mom would find her and she knows that she has to be out there somewhere. Mary tells Elizabeth about when she was four years old, Mary’s parents divorced. Mary and her mom moved to Kansas and Mary’s mom was a waitress, and they never had much money. Then Mary’s mother met a woman named Annie DeSalvo, and Annie babysits for Mary a lot. Mary never much liked her. One day, Mary’s mom very responsibly leaves Mary with Annie while she leaves to take care of her mother in Florida ” for awhile” and that’s the last time Mary ever saw her mother. I am confused as to why Mary’s mom left Mary, as a four year, with a woman she didn’t seem to know that well- she’d known Annie for about 6 months- not long enough to me… but whatever. Annie took Mary to California, and abandoned Mary after a few months- after doing things like leaving Mary with a neighbor for days at a time and what not. A nice lady from the welfare department came in and put Mary in a foster home from there- some homes Mary liked more than others, but she really likes the Altmans- but Mary doesn’t want to be adopted by them because she is still hoping her bio mom is out there, even though Annie said Mary’s mom died. But, since Mary does not want to be adopted, she has to leave the Altmans soon- and may move out of precious Sweet Valley!!
By the way, most of this book is about all of the times Mary invites herself over every night to hang out with Alice, and Jessica pouting. Or else it’s about the Unicorns writing a cookbook filled with recipes submitted by celebrities- who knew celebs would be clamoring to send their recipes to middle school girls for their cheese-o cookbook? Well, of course it is Sweet Valley, and it does involve a Wakefield twin, and the world loves the Wakefields. They are literally the Poloroids of perfection after all- yes I know that’s the theme to the Clueless TV show- see if I care. 😉
Well, all’s well that ends well for Mary. One day after school Elizabeth spots a woman she thinks is Alice Wakefield. The woman starts asking Elizabeth all sorts of questions about Mary. The woman claims to be a family friend, but then Elizabeth figures out that the Alice look alike is Mary’s bio mother! Her name is Andrea Robinson, and Andrea tells Elizabeth she’s been searching for Mary all over the country for 8 years. She looked for every DeSalvo she could think of, then a ” smart detective” ( after 8 years?) found that Annie had used her maiden name of Giaccio when she and Mary ran away after Annie got arrested for some crime. So Mary being a Giaccio threw Andrea off. Finally, Andrea has located Mary in Sweet Valley, and Elizabeth says that Mary is with Jessica at the Wakefield home. The cover then gives away the ending- Mary answers the door, and sees this blonde woman who resembles Alice-and knows right away it’s her mother!! Mary is really, really happy of course. See, Mary always hung around Alice, in case you couldn’t guess – because Alice looks just like Mary’s mother. Andrea tells the Wakefields that she doesn’t want Mary to not be adopted, but she really does want to have Mary back after all these years, and Mary is more than happy to live with Andrea again. They speak to the Altmans, and they are sad to see Mary go, but they realize she needs to be with her mother again. But then Mary delivers sad news- Andrea can’t find a job or home in Sweet Valley- the homes are out of her price range, so they may have to move to the affordable San Diego, where Andrea has a job. Well , here comes Ned the social worker to the rescue! Ned gets Andrea a job and an affordable home like that!!! Of course, the home isn’t as nice as the Wakefields’ or the Altmans’, but it will do. YAY for happy ending.
As a kid, I loved this book. As an adult, I was pretty much skimming to get to an actual plot other than ” Mary invites herself over again to cut veggies with Alice and ignore the twins,” ” Mary comes over to discuss the recipes with Alice, and ignores Jess and Liz.” ” Mary comes over to clean the kitchen floor, and refuses to hang with the twins.” My goodness we GET IT! Mary invites herself over the house and fawns all over Alice as she ignores the twins!! Jeez!
Also, in the course of the Sweet Valley Twins series, Mary has THREE last names!! She’s Mary Giaccio from Books 1-7, then Mary Robinson from Books end of 7 until Book 13, and then Mary Wallace when Andrea marries Tim, and Tim adopts Mary so they can all have the same name. SHEESH that’s a LOT of last names in the course of one year!
Coming up soon- Sweet Valley Kids Super Snooper book, some BSC Super Specials like Baby Sitters Island Adventure and Baby Sitters Remember, Mallory and the Trouble with Twins, a Freshman Dorm book, and some Sweet Valley High gems like The Evil Twin and Brokenhearted! Stay tuned!