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Ana Wrecks Your Life

The Perfect Girl
April 1991

Robin will do anything to keep George!

A dangerous obsession...


Robin Wilson's pretty, smart, and athletic, and her boyfriend, George Warren, adores her. Most students at Sweet Valley High have forgotten that Robin used to be an overweight loner. But Robin remembers.

When George becomes friends with a beautiful girl named Vicky, Robin feels George slipping away. If only Robin were thinner, George would drop Vicky in a second! Before long, Robin is obsessed with her weight. Elizabeth Wakefield suspects Robin is taking her diet too far, but Robin insists she's fine. What will it take to get Robin to admit that starving herself is not the answer to her problems?




I'd like to say that the reason this recap took so long is because of just HOW MUCH I hate this book, but it's not. I fucking hate this book. I hate it so much. What's worse is that it hates me in return.

But in reality the lapse was because I never got a break from the holiday crap that is retail and then uh, the world went into whatever *this* is now.

Anyway, back to how much I hate this book. I'm fairly certain that anyone reading this has a vague idea of what the book is about, but if not, I'm going to spoil it all for you: TW: Eating Disorder.


Soooooooo... this is one of my few SVH books that isn't all broken in and well loved and I'm not sure if it's because I got it later, from someone who only read it once or if it's because I fucking hate this book so much that I didn't re-read it much. I got super into SVH in third and fourth grade, and by then I was going from relatively average sized kid to chubby and by the time I would've read this, I'd be in the fat category. Sweet Valley has always been really terrible to its fat characters (let us not even begin to think of what'll happen should I ever make it to SVU and Liz's freshman fifteen!) but this book always felt like it had it out for them while trying to pretend that it just "worried" about them. I don't remember much about reading this when I was younger other than just feeling like absolute shit and this probably solidified my dislike of Robin.

As an adult, reading it made me want to throw it across the room SO MANY TIMES. I guess one of the things it really gets right is how former fat people are some of the absolute worst when it comes to how they treat anyone they think of as fat. Robin judges the fat people she comes across so, so much just for having the audacity to exist and it's exhausting. I know it's meant to be a reflection of how much she hates herself but ... I suppose I've gotten completely ahead of myself though. Let's rewind.

We open the book with Jessica informing the cheerleading squad about the latest catastrophe that requires their unique fund-raising skills. Turns out the gym floor needs to be replaced and it'll take forever if the school doesn't get help. So Jessica figures they'll come up with a brilliant idea (like their rock around the clock marathon) and help move things along. Robin comes up with the brilliant idea to try and break a world record and then Liz shows up and adds nothing to the brainstorming of initial ideas. Annie wants it to be food-centric and then Robin suggests the world's biggest sundae. Jess loves it but hates that Robin came up with the idea. :P

Liz suggests getting the Mayor involved as adults love cornering the mayor to air their grievances in person and also maybe call it Super Sundae if they hold it on a Sunday. The cheerleaders love it and plans are made to get to work ASAP.

After school, Robin is walking to the bus stop when her boyfriend, George, drives up and gives her a ride home. They flirt and George lets Robin know he's decided to take up flying again. Robin is thrilled at the prospect that maybe this means George is finally moving beyond his guilt. Y'know, because he stopped flying after he crashed a plane and nearly killed Enid, his girlfriend at the time... that he was cheating on with Robin. What's to feel guilty about, you sonofabitch? *cough* Sorry, my Enid love is strong. Thing is, between college and the flying class, he's going to be really busy and not able to see Robin very much. She's a little disappointed but knows how much flying means to him and we end with a weird nod at the problems to come. George teases her about loving her for her legs and Robin internally cringes because she's super down on how unfair it is that good looks (and especially thinness) open so many doors for women and she feels uncomfortable when someone mentions her looks.

TO BE FAIR, Robin's also got some family stuff on her plate. You might recall that her aunt offered to give her a full ride to Sarah Lawrence if she'd just basically become a whole new person and drop all her interests, like diving. Robin said no and now she feels guilty whenever she thinks about college or spends much time on her own interests because college is so expensive. And if I cling to this, I don't want to murder her the entire book. Just 99% of it. Sigh. Wait, no. I looked up Robin's last book and Aunt Fiona agrees to pay for Robin's tuition no matter where she goes and also, Robin's pretty likely to get a scholarship should she decide to tell her aunt to fuck off. So I take back my to be fair!

Robin and Liz discuss their weekend plans and Robin admits that she doesn't have any plans with George due to his new flying class. Liz invites Robin along to the beach after school, but Robin doesn't want to feel like a third wheel on Liz's date with Todd. Considering how odd Liz can be when her boyfriend is out of town, I'm surprised she didn't fully lean into that angle, but she does point out that Robin can't just not live her own life. Robin agrees but backpeddles when she remembers past third wheeling with Todd and Liz.

After school, Robin goes to practice and compares herself unfavorably to a junior high student. Robin, honey, you're 16. You should be bigger than a 13 year old, ok? Jesus. At the beach, Robin is uncomfortable when Liz compliments her body, saying Robin could be a swimsuit model. When Todd returns with ice cream, Robin slips into her sweatshirt and tries to hide in it. Todd makes a crack about Robin not being one of those girls who's always on a diet and Liz shoots him a "bitch, WTF?!" look that he misses entirely. Robin leaves pretty quickly and Toddles is confused.

George calls and tells Robin about his flying class and that he's paired up with a girl named Vicky. Because Vicky's good at math, Robin automatically assumes the girl is unattractive. If not for the fact that she later berates herself for this, I'd roll my eyes clear outta my skull. George says he's told Vicky all about Robin and that V would love to meet up sometime. Robin agrees, but figures it'll never happen because why the fuck would it.

On the Super Sundae front, Robin, Cara, and Jessica hit the town looking for ice cream sponsors/donations and hit paydirt at their first ice cream stop. I don't remember us ever hearing about Izzy's Incredible Ice-cream but uh, it's a chain, I guess. The manager is charmed by the trio and agrees to talk to corporate about donations. Cara & Jessica are thrilled and even more thrilled when Mrs. Loman offers them free ice cream to celebrate. Robin is less thrilled but doesn't want to be rude and say no... until a heavyset woman and her two chubby sons comes into the store and Robin is repulsed by the fat, so she says she's got a milk allergy (and receives two "whaaaaaaaaa?" stares from her fellow cheerleaders) and sprints out of the store. Because, you see, fat people make her sick.

I fucking hate this book.

It doesn't take long for George to bring Vicky to town, and Robin agrees only because George promises to con another friend along for the trip and double date. Said friend cancels, because of course, and Vicky turns out to be less of a human calculator in looks and more of a model. Of course. Robin immediately spirals into doubt and feels super fat next to Vicky and because she's so uncomfortable, she's a royal bitch to Vicky. Who is never anything but nice to Robin, btw.

I know I'm supposed to feel sorry for Robin as she worries that maybe George will do to her what he did to Enid, presumably with less accidental crashlanding... but I don't. Maybe it's because this is really quickly overshadowed by Robin's thought that if she just looks perfect enough, George will have to love her and not Vicky. George gets annoyed by Robin not dancing with him all night and how curt she is to Vicky and basically how rude Robin is in general, all night and I can't blame him too much. Yes, it's really clueless of him not to get why Robin would be threatened by Vickers but also Robin agreed to meet and hang out with Vicky. Her trying to play it off as not being the type to pretend to be nice to someone she doesn't like is bullshit because she spends the entire rest of the book lowkey doing exactly that to Jessica and the rest of the squad. Seriously, the contempt Robin seems to have for everyone on the squad except maybe Annie and possibly poor Sandy who winds up on the receiving end of almost all of Robin's outbursts is just insane.

George leaves the next day and Robin realizes she's gained three pounds and this is clearly why George is upset. No, Robin, he's upset for the reasons he already told you. You were a bitch to his new friend and flight partner. Sigh.

The rest of the book is us going along with Robin as she seriously restricts her eating (salads, no dressing, no snacks, an absolute ton of water) and ups her exercise to dangerous levels. She walks to school in the morning and it's not a short walk. The look of determination on her face reminds Liz of the way she'd look when doing her morning laps when she initially lost weight, but Liz also notices a new desperation in Robin's eyes. She worries, but not enough to figure out a way to intervene.

Since Robin and George are still on the outs, Robin reorganizes her closet in the most OCD way possible and is feeling super good about this control in her life. Still, she's thrilled when George calls to apologize for the Vicky fiasco and to make a dinner date for the weekend at Villa Marina. Robin's thrilled and spends ages deliberating about what to wear from her newly organized closet. At dinner, everything seems to be going okay, and Robin even orders real food. Alas, shortly before the salad course arrives, they get into it when George lets it slip that he'll be driving Vicky to her parents' house soon and Robin was invited, but since Robin said she didn't want to fake being nice, George said she couldn't come. Robin's grumpy and at first George thinks it's because she's worried about him, I dunno, crashing but no. Robin's just worried you're going to cheat on her the way you cheated on Enid. He's ticked that she doesn't trust him and he's also worried when she refuses her food and makes a bit of a scene. They leave early because they're both clearly miserable. Robin gets home and nearly gives her mother a heart attack when she screams about Mrs. Wilson putting Robin's clean laundry in her closet, thus disrupting the OCD system.

The next morning, Robin snaps at her mother for making pancakes and bacon and then feels bad, especially when she remembers that it wasn't all bad before her weight loss. Fat!Robin wasn't actually all that unhappy. Y'know, til she decided she had to be in PBA, that is. But we can't dwell on that too much, so let's have Robin snark about Lois Waller again.

This book loses me in so many ways, but the way everyone in this book treats Lois is just maddening. Lois seems very happy in the book and we're told repeatedly how happy she is, even going so far as to have her accept the "teasing" about her weight in stride. Fuck that noise, Elizabeth. That should not be expected, nor should it be accepted. Let the girl live her life. I hate how often her boyfriend is brought up, like it's barely okay that she exists as a fat girl to begin with, but if she didn't have a boyfriend, well, that would be the end of everything and we could just drum her out of the Valley.
Later, Lois offers to sell tickets to Super Sundae and Robin is pretty obviously repulsed by the fact that Lois dares to exist and also make jokes about liking ice cream because she's just so fat. I hate you so fucking much, Robin. Leave. Lois. ALONE.

Anyway, Robin manages to lose eight pounds in two weeks (wtf) and her coach notices and pulls her aside to ask what's up. Coach Taylor also points out that as an athlete in training, Robin shouldn't be dieting without a doctor's stamp of approval but doesn't push even though Robin's lost so much weight that her bathing suit is baggy. She does pull Robin out of the water (not literally) and send her home early and Robin's too tired and shaky (and cold) to argue. Robin worries about her inability to warm up and really worries when she notices her hand will not stop shaking.

As the book progresses, Robin snaps more and more at the cheerleaders and is just super unpleasant to be around, but no one calls her out on her lack of eating. Her mom tries, but Robin lies and says she eats a lot at lunch. With how gaunt Robin gets, I really have to wonder just how naive Mama Wilson is. Eventually the twins discuss how sick Robin looks and Liz is worried while Jessica is just appalled that Robin's gone so far on the diet that she's fucked up her looks. Jess, honey, shut the absolute fuck up. Between your health shaming poor Lois and worrying about Robin ruining the photoshoot later, you are the absolute worst.

Eventually, despite Robin's dictatorship of the Sundae festivities and her overall deterioration (where are the adults? Does Robin not have a class with Collins? We know she's in French, so why isn't Ms. Dalton stepping up?) health-wise, the Super Sundae Sunday arrives. Everyone's ready and waiting, but Robin has overslept. She realizes quickly that something is very, very wrong when she can barely move and it takes all her energy to get out of bed and get dressed. Still, she manages to make it to the football field and is tasked with opening the chocolate syrup, which she struggles mightily with. She manages to open one and stares too long into the void and faints. Luckily Todd is nearby and catches her. She's whisked away to the hospital with a diagnosis of pneumonia.

Robin wakes up in the hospital and is confused as to what happened. She can't find the words to explain how things spiraled so completely and George is scared by how far Robin has fallen and how fast. It's not until Vicky comes for a visit that anyone utters the word anorexia to us or to Robin. Vicky tells Robin that when she was ten, her parents started to seriously have problems and they decided that they wouldnt break up til Vicky, the baby of the family, was 14 at the earliest. Who the fuck decides 14 is a good age to go through divorce? No one, you dumbfucks. There's a reason most people pretend they'll wait it out til the kid goes to college. Since Vicky's parents were idiots, she decided that if she never grew up, they'd never get divorced. Feeling like a ticking time bomb, she acted out and eventually became, and I quote, a real "dopehead." Well, now we know why George and Vicky got along so well, huh? Vicky's parents got divorced anyway and Vicky realized that she'd wasted much of her life trying to stop something she couldn't. There's only so much control you have over the world and trying to exert too much control over everything will lead you to some very bad places. Robin gets it and admits that maybe Vicky's not so bad after all. She even goes so far as to tell George this later. There's a short talk with a doctor and Robin realizes that she's in over her head... so she breaks up with George because she needs to concentrate on her health.

The book ends with her stopping by school and Jessica flat out asks if she's eaten that date and Robin says she has. She leaves with her school work, as she wasn't ready to come back to school yet, and that leaves us with Jess inviting Enid over. Amy is less than thrilled until Jess asks about Enid's cousin, Jake. Jake is some hot hot-shot tennis dude and Lila is interested. Amy is less so, as she's got her eye on Tom McKay, even though he's dating Jeanie still.

I take it back. Robin's not the worst and neither is Jessica. Amy is. How could I have forgotten that?



Trivia:

  • The SVH varsity cheerleading team has a reputation for exciting fund raisers.

  • Robin's the one to suggest breaking a world record, Annie suggests that it should be related to food, and then Robin comes up with the sundae idea. Liz suggests they hold it on a Sunday so they can call it the Super Sundae. She also suggests Maria get her father, the mayor, to show up to increase interest.

  • When the rivalry between Jess and Robin regarding the cheerleading is initially brought up, Jess doesn't admit why it exists.

  • Robin considers tubby to be one of the tamer names she was called while buffalo butt is on the harsher end.

  • George (still?) drives a light blue GTO.

  • Robin is super sensitive when people compliment her on anything physical, from George teasing that he loves her for her legs or Liz telling her she should be a swimsuit model, and definitely when Vicky brings up her weight loss.

  • Robin takes the bus to the community pool.

  • Her coach is Dina Taylor.

  • Not really trivia, but not even 15 pages in and I had to note that the fat phobia/hatred was killing me.

  • Liz admits in an offhand way that Robin went overboard when losing weight initially.

  • Robin's Aunt Fiona sends a postcard from wet and dismal Paris and her next stop was Athens.

  • How many people keep brownies in the fridge? Robin's family does.

  • There are 12 students in George's flying class and while most are older, there are a few college students. There's a former diplomat and another guy who has a business restoring classic planes.

  • Vicky Carter is an oceanography major who does complicated calculations in her head faster than George can do them on a calculator (which leads Robin to imagine that Vicky is boxy, like a calculator), and is also a funny, experienced pilot. Vicky's tall (about George's height), slim, with a 'pale cap of blond hair' and bangs that fall to her dark eyes. She's got high cheekbones and is gorgeous.

  • Robin takes the co in co-captain seriously, even though she knows Jessica does not.

  • Jess cheerfully informs the squad that Liz will be doing the publicity for SS, with an article for The Oracle and also "Liz knows someone at the paper." Uh, Jess? Honey? You do, too.

  • Party Warehouse supplies a case (500) of picnic bowls and probably the spoons.

  • Izzy's Incredible Ice Cream is the first place the squad hits up for donations for the SS. Mrs. Loman, the manager, agrees to talk to corporate about donating and possibly being the only icecream supplier. Never heard of Izzy's Incredible before, so suck it, Casey's?

  • Cara sits on Robin's lap due to the Fiat being a two-seater.

  • Jessica apparently rescheduled the cheerleading yearbook photo and didn't tell Robin, but Robin found out just in time. Yeah, can't imagine why Robin doesn't love you, Jess.

  • Robin freaks out about accepting ice cream when she sees a heavyset woman with two chubby boys come into Izzy's. She claims to have a milk allergy and runs out before Cara and Jessica can call her out on the lie.

  • Lois Waller is dating Gene White and the two seem very happy despite the absolute fuckery that surrounds any mention of Lois, ever.

  • Week 2 of George's flying class, George says he wants to bring Vicky to meet Robin. Robin wants to say no, but can tell it's important to George, so she agrees.

  • There's a Professor Richardson running around George and Vicky's college. (SVU? It's never mentioned, but I'm guessing.)

  • The disaster date is to the Beach Disco where Robin says she doesn't feel like dancing, so Vicky and George dance the night away.

  • Robin's not comfortable with boys due to them not paying her positive attention when she was fat and she got with George immediately after becoming hot so she hasn't the practice with them.

  • George calls Robin Rob.

  • When Vicky asks to use Robin's bathroom, she sees and gushes over one of Fiona's paintings, and then sees a picture of 14 year old (thus fat) Robin. When she says she's impressed, Robin snaps that she knows she was FAT.

  • Robin realizes she's gained three pounds and freaks out, sure that this is what will drive George into Vicky's arms.

  • Robin's diet is no breakfast, plain salad for lunch, very light dinner. No snacks and lots of water. Immediately after making this list, she drinks three glasses of tap water.

  • Sandy and Jessica both think they're responsible for securing the kiddie pools for SS.

  • An annoyed Robin sends Annie back to Party Warehouse to secure the spoons, and sends Sandy with her.

  • Enid's mom is dating Richard Cernak at the TV station and Jess's eyes light up at this. Um, doesn't Amy's mother also work at the TV station? (She does. Dyan Sutton does sports.)

  • Robin has two younger brothers, Troy and Adam, that I completely forgot about.

  • Robin volunteers to be in charge of the money from SS because she doesn't think the rest of the squad is responsible enough to handle it. Robin, I see your point about like, Amy and Jessica, but what did Jeanie ever do to you?

  • Robin falls asleep in the library and the librarian gives her shit about it. I guess this is not one of those nice librarians, huh.

  • Robin's lost four pounds at this point and instead of being thrilled and calling off the diet, she doubles down.

  • George and Robin go to Villa Marino for their fancy disaster date.

  • Robin's lost eight pounds in two weeks. JFC.

  • George's term paper was for his political science class.

  • George thinks Robin's worried about him freaking out and freezing or maybe even crashing again but Robin's like, nope, more worried about how pretty Vicky is. George has the high ground here and instead goes with "why don't you trust me." Well, that's because you're a known cheater, George. However, had you continued to play the worry card, I'd be on your side 100%. I don't get why this kept getting brought up and brushed aside other than to showcase how irrational Robin was being.

  • Robin refuses to eat her Caesar salad and doesn't even accept her linguine with clam sauce, which causes a bit of a scene. George angrily tries to eat his lasagna (his appetizer was stuffed mushrooms) but can't finish.

  • Robin's reorganized her closet and when her mother hangs up her laundry and disrupts the system, Robin loses her shit.

  • Robin's 16th birthday cake was chocolate with marzipan frosting and raspberry jam filling.

  • Lois in this book is just somehow... off. Like she's chipper and I never got that impression of her. Then again, she's usually just trotted out to be the mocked fat girl so who knows.

  • Robin is bothered by the fact that Lois's hair is so pretty and that she doesn't seem embarrassed by being "so fat." Fuck you, Wilson.

  • Super Sundae will be held on the SVH football field at 1pm.

  • Coach Taylor notices Robin's weight loss and eventually sends her home when Robin's diving proves to be distracted.

  • Todd and Robin share a French class. Despite not having assigned seats, Robin blows up at Todd for sitting in her seat.

  • Jess flirts with the SV News photographer because you never know when you'll need professional photos taken.

  • Robin doesn't wake up til after 12:30 on Super Sundae. Her mom has taken Troy and Adam to a cookout, but it's still weird that a) they arent supporting Robin and b) they didn't make sure she was up before they left.

  • Robin faints after managing to finally open the chocolate syrup for the sundae. Todd catches her because of course he does.

  • Vicky's parents started having obvious trouble in their marriage when V was ten and decided that they wouldn't break up til V was 14 at the earliest. Vicky acts out, stealing liquor from home, smoking and doing drugs, in an effort to keep them together. Instead, she just winds up a major "dopehead" and they get divorced anyway.

  • Vicky's the first person to call Robin anorexic.

  • Dr. McCloud is Robin's redhaired doctor at the hospital.

  • The cheerleaders raised $673.50 for the gym floor. Kinda impressive if they sold tickets for $1 a pop and they only had 500 bowls.

  • Lila doesn't show up until the end of the book when it's time to tease #75 and Enid's tennis playing cousin, Jake.

  • The preview for the next book calls #75 Amy's First Love, but it'll actually be called Amy's True Love.




Quotes:
Robin laughed. "I don't know! I can only be brilliant a little bit at a time."
"There's Liz," Cara said. "She's brilliant all the time. She's the smart twin. -I laughed, I admit it. p4

Still, it bothered Robin that so much in life seemed to depend on physical beauty. It shouldn't be that way, she knew, but that was the real world. - I mean, she's not wrong. p8

Even though she had never had to go on a diet, Elizabeth was always aware of her weight. Some girls dieted religiously, and some girls were almost obsessed with the way their bodies looked. It was hard not to be conscious of it to some extent. Elizabeth just hoped her friends used common sense. She knew it had taken some pretty drastic measures for Robin to lose so much weight in such a short period of time. - I haven't the words. p17


Without George, Robin felt more than alone. She felt unattractive. It was going to be a long, lonely time without him. - p22

Jessica had apologized profusely, of course, but Robin hadn't believed a word of it. Jessica just couldn't stand sharing anything. -it's a shame I hate you, Wilson, because otherwise I think we'd get along. p27


It irked Elizabeth that Jessica could be so careless about someone whom she herself liked. - are you new here, Liz? Might I remind you Enid exists? p31/32

I don't normally do this, but the sheer amount of WTF on display means I have to share the misery:



"Why is everyone in this country so obsessed with being skinny?" Elizabeth said angrily. "It's not right. Girls and women are made to feel they're ugly if they don't look like models or like beauty pageant contestants."
"Well, models and beauty pageant contestants look good," Jessica said matter-of-factly.
Elizabeth made a sour face. "Beauty pageants. The whole idea makes me sick. Women being judged on their bodies. It's gross, when you think about it." - Why yes, I would like to be hit by the foreshadowing 4x4, thank you, ghosty. p60

Robin looked at Lois and felt completely baffled. How could Lois be so cheerful and enthusiastic? Didn't she worry about her weight? It didn't make any sense at all that Lois could actually joke about eating a lot of ice cream.
You'd think she would be embarrassed about being so fat, Robin told herself.
But Lois didn't seem embarrassed at all. p84


"Why can't you be that creative in school?"
"I reserve my talents for more important things, Liz." - Indeed Jess does. p90

She spotted Lois and her boyfriend sitting at a table not far away.
Doesn't it bother him that Lois is heavy? Robin asked herself. - Thanks, book, for putting that fear in a generation of kid's heads. p94

Lately eating had become an intensely private, personal act. She could not bear the thought of anyone seeing her eat, of anyone talking to her about food, of anyone asking her why she was eating so little. - for all I've complained about this book, this part right here is absolutely spot on and it breaks my heart. p97
Robin looked terrible. Part of Jessica was angry that their group photo with the mayor would look lousy because of Robin. But another part of her was really worried. - Ladies and gents, Jessica Wakefield in a nutshell. p104

"I'm ready!" she called out, slinging her camera over her shoulder.
"I'm not!" Jessica called back. - The Wakefield twins perfectly summed up. p105

"I was ruining myself for nothing. I thought I could control what people did and thought and said, but I couldn't." - I like you, Vickers. p123





First up, I'm sorry if this was as painful as the book was for me to read. I normally try to balance the snark with love but while I can work with boring or just insane, it's much harder to deal with Very Special books that feel more harmful than not.

Before I forget, again, I'd like to call the book out on how it treats George. Vicky makes a comment towards the end that "even she could tell he was being kind of a jerk about you lately, kind of selfish." I'm not George's biggest fan. I'm pretty sure you've figured that out. However, he was less selfish and more clueless. Vicky already admits that George is so gaga over Robin that he barely noticed Vicky being pretty. So maybe George thought that this was going to be about him getting over HIS fears and his hangups and definitely his guilt and instead of support in working through his issues, he gets Robin being incredibly jealous and paranoid. Which I understand, but since it's buried under her eating disorder, they never hash it out and so it bothers me. I still think he's trash for how he treated Enid, but I don't think it's fair to call him out for most of his actions in this book. Not the ones we saw, anyway.

I haven't a clue as to how accurate Robin's eating disorder is portrayed, even taking into consideration the condensed time frame we have to work with. I will say that I'm pretty sure that some beats are played just about as perfectly as they can be for the time period and the time allowed. I also won't fault the people behind the scenes for thinking this was a topic they needed to tackle. However, the execution is painful in so many places that I'm not sure it didn't do more harm than good.

It's not fair to not point out that there are some good things to be found. I think that most of the Super Sundae plot is cute and funny where it doesn't serve to just highlight Robin's unraveling or Jessica's total lack of empathy. I love the cheerleaders teasing one another and how they interact.
There are also a fair amount of callbacks to previous books and for the most part they're done well and are accurate. I love it when a SVH book chooses to lean into the history instead of completely standing alone. With that said, this book would have you believe that Liz didn't judge the absolute shit out of fat!Robin, and that poor Robin didn't show up shoveling food into her mouth at every appearance and how problematic that was. It's not mentioned but the scars are burned into my memory so they light up whenever the topic is mentioned. :/

While I hate it, I do still think that Robin's hatred of fat people and how she reacts is pretty accurate to how some former fat people feel/act. So points for realism are awarded, even if it pains me to do so.

Also, can we take a moment to discuss just how weird it feels that the only friend Robin seems to have in this book outside of George is Liz? I'm pretty sure that Annie is supposed to be Robin's friend but she's only ever mentioned when the other cheerleaders show up and it's never mentioned that Robin's lacking in friends. Also also, it's very weird to me that Robin and Liz are being portrayed as so close, considering the whole Robin/Enid history. I know Enid's usually given saint like levels of forgiveness but Robin's weirdness about Enid (justified) means that the Robin/Liz dynamic should also be weird and it's never mentioned as a thing.

Oh! Kid me was so surprised that Robin broke up, however gently, with George. That's about the only thing I definitely remember from my first read through. Adult me is proud of Robin for realizing she's put too much importance on him and that it's not fair to him, but more importantly it's not healthy for her. So while I hate this book (so much) overall, it does have moments of light.
Tags: b-list character spotlight, spotlight: robin, tw: eating disorder
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