Monday, December 30, 2013

Girl Talk #3: The New You

By L.E. Blair. Published 1990.

Sabrina has read in one of her many magazines that that Belle Magazine is doing an American Beauties Search at the mall. They will have special beauty experts to give you advice on your look, and even give you a total makeover, and there will be photographers to take before and after photos. Sabrina is all about it, of course, and Katie thinks it sounds like fun. Randy will go just to watch the others. Allison doesn’t think they’d want to take pictures of an incredibly tall girl, and she points out that there will be too many people for them to give everyone a makeover, but nobody listens to her. However, she agrees to go, if only to watch.

Sabrina also reads about a hair remedy that she wants to try. It involves flour, water, and an egg. It goes about as you’d expect. It turns into a sticky mess in her hair, that she can’t get out. Then she notices there was another page, where it says there’s also supposed to be olive oil and lemon juice. Oops. Good going, Sabs. The girls all work on it, though, and end up eventually getting it out.

The girls find out that Stacy the Great and her minions will also be there at the mall, hoping to get discovered. Stacy of course says that they don’t have a chance, and Randy predictably gets mad. They also make fun of Allison being so tall. Where the hell do these girls get the idea that being tall is a bad thing when it comes to modeling?

At the mall, it turns out Allison was right, and there’s about 500 girls there. About 50 girls are randomly given tickets to actually get makeovers, and Allison is one of them. So are Stacy and her awesomely named friend B.Z. They fill out information forms, and are split into groups. Allison and Stacy are part of a small group of five that are told they may be used in an American Beauties campaign. Allison thinks they won’t really want her, and she’s not sure if she’s disappointed by that or not.

The next day at school, Stacy informs Allison that Belle called her mom at lunch time. Allison figures that means they’re not going to call her. But when she gets home, her mom tells her they called, and want her to do a photo shoot the next day. The bad news is that she has to ride to and from the shoot with Stacy.

The day of the shoot, Stacy the Great actually seems…nice. She says she’s nervous, and she and Allison should be friends, since they know each other. When they get to the football field where the shoot’s being held, they find the other three girls, as well as five football players. Allison has a pretty good time talking to and working with one of the players, Bruce.

The shoot seems to have given Allison some confidence, because the next day she wears different clothes and her hair down. She usually wears it in a braid or a ponytail.

Also that day, Stacy sends her a note saying to meet her at Fitzie’s, that she has a surprise. Her friends want to take her there as a celebration anyway, so she figures, why not? When Stacy gets there, she has the contact sheets from the shoot. Sabrina tries to look at them, too, but Stacy and her friends are real bitches to her, and she leaves upset. Allison is too nice to say anything, and Randy gets upset with her for that. None of her friends talk to her the day at school.

The next shoot, held in a store at the mall, isn’t as much fun as the first one. Allison doesn’t like her outfit, her hair is weird, and it turns out, modeling isn’t just flirting with cute boys. It can actually be hard work. But during a break, she sees Bruce outside, and she gets to talk to him. Stacy comes up and tells her Darla, the woman in charge of the shoot, is looking for Allison. Stacy begins talking to Bruce as Allison leaves.

Darla says she wants Allison to come to New York and model, and for Allison to think about it. When she sees Stacy, Stacy tells Allison to call her mother for a ride home, that Stacy’s mom (heehee) isn’t coming, because Bruce will be giving Stacy a ride home. Allison gets upset, but when she runs into Bruce again, he tells her that he actually wanted to give Allison a ride, and he just asked Stacy because he knew they were already riding together. But Allison says no, because she doesn’t think her parents would want her riding with a stranger. This is an unusual case of smart thinking by a YA character.

Allison is missing her friends, so she goes down to Fitzie’s to wait on them, to show them she hasn’t really changed. At Fitzie’s, Stacy makes a big deal in front of everyone about having the layouts for the magazine already. But when it turns out she’s been cut out of most of the pictures, and Allison’s featured in a lot of them, Stacy says it was just an amateur operation. Allison says that that’s not true, and totally stands up to Stacy. Stacy storms off. Allison’s friends are proud of her, and everything’s all good between them again.

o   Room porn: Allison’s room is painted in a cream color with stripes of rust red and brown near the ceiling. That matches the rag rug, comforter, and curtains. She has a rolltop desk, two floor-to-ceiling bookcases, and a window seat.

o   On the way to the makeover, the girls get really excited about watching videos and eating popcorn balls at Sabrina’s later in the week. It’s very quaint.

o   Allison is 5’7”. I really don’t consider that freakishly tall.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Dawn Rochelle #2: I Want to Live

By Lurlene McDaniel. Published 1987.

We open on Dawn’s fourteenth birthday. She’s been in remission for almost a year, but worries about her cancer cloud her thoughts all the time. She still misses her friend Sandy. A “friend” Rhonda comes over, but she really just wants info on Dawn’s older brother, Rob, and says annoying things about cancer camp.

Rob comes home that weekend for Dawn’s birthday, and they act a little too close to me. Snuggling and shit. It’s getting a little too Flowers in the Attic for me. He says he wants to go to her next checkup with her later in the week.

At said appointment, Dawn has to have a spinal tap, which doesn’t sound very pleasant. She is also still receiving chemo, as maintenance. Dawn gets embarrassed by throwing up in front of Rob on the way home, but he’s cool about it.

Rob’s girlfriend Darcy comes to visit. She gives Dawn a little glass teddy bear for her collection. Dawn’s a little jealous of her, and thinks she’s a bit too perfect. During a special dinner, Rob announces they’re engaged, and plan to get married that summer. They ask Dawn to be a bridesmaid, but she says she’ll think about it. She’s not sure Darcy really means it.

Nothing has really happened with her crush, Jake, and now he’s going to be moving. On the last day of school, he creepily asks to touch Dawn’s hair. She lets him. It’s a bit weird.

Dawn returns to camp, and meets up with her friend from last year, Mike. The two of them start planning for another prank on Dr. Ben. On the first night, they have the bonfire, and Dawn adds both hers and Sandy’s ashes.

On skit night, where Mike’s cabin wins by performing in drag, Dawn and Mike enact their prank for the year, covering Dr. Ben in eggs and flour.

Back home, Dawn is tired, and isn’t sure she’s up to helping with all the wedding planning. Then they get a call from her doctor, asking the to come in.

Her doctor gives the family the news that Dawn has relapsed. Their best bet is a bone marrow transplant. Rob is the closest match. He’s ready to give her as much as she needs. There are risks, because they’ll have to suppress her immune system first,. It may not even work, there’s a fifty-fifty chance of survival.

That night at dinner, Darcy is there with the wedding invitations. She wants to know if the operation will be after the wedding. Later, Dawn hears Rob and Darcy arguing. Darcy wants her wedding to be perfect, but Rob’s more concerned about Dawn. Dawn feels her cancer is now ruining Rob’s life, too.

Dawn checks into the hospital, and is given a private room and nurse, named Katie. The first thing she has to do is have her own bone marrow harvested, in case she rejects Rob’s. Then she goes into isolation for a week while she’s given the immune suppressants. She learns she’ll lose her hair again, and gets upset.

On the day of the transplant, Dawn and her mom wait while Rob’s bone marrow is harvested. When it’s done, the doctors hook it up to Dawn. It will take five hours.

A few days after the transplant, Dawn spikes a fever and becomes delirious, and fa
lls into a coma. She’s fighting a couple of different infections.

We learn Rob has called off his wedding to Darcy. She was being a real bitch about being around all the sickness. Good riddance, Darcy. Rob instead is getting to be friendly with Katie.

Dawn comes out of her coma, and appears to be improving. They talk of letting her go home soon, but then she has another fever. This time, Dawn flat lines, and they try jump-starting her. Rob calls her name, begging her to come back. It works.

Once she’s better, Dawn starts looking forward to the future for the first time in a long time.

o   For her birthday, Dawn receives a pink boombox and a pink sweatsuit. Delightfully 80’s.

o   When the family goes in to see the doctor, he thanks them for coming in. “We assume it’s about Dawn,” Dawn’s father says. Well, no shit.

o   The bone marrow looks like a bag full of red jello.