Thrown for a Look cover



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[overall synopsis]


Vicki's summer vacation takes several surreal turnsat the beach in Fort Lauderdale, a country club fitness center, a contentious family reunion, and especially a bombshell exposé by (and of) her sister Tricia.
    “You are not going back to the beach tonight, young lady!”
    “I wasn’t planning to, Daddy! It’s raining again.”
    (Still, if the rain should tail off…)
    Which it didn’t till next morning, at the same time and in the same way as before: after Vicki’d pulled on the mulberry maillot, grabbed a towel, strolled past the Los Vistazo pool deck and down the drive to cross the street... and set Gidget Goes to Florida back in motion. Again her flipflops touched the sand; again this caused the rain to stop and clouds to part and sun to shine through; again an invisible director cried lights! camera! action! and the throng of beach party extras sprang up with a gladsome shout. Again Vicki was encircled by her Studly Trio, for a second day of fun and frolic and funnel cakes, chase-and-catch between pelican fly-bys and warily sipped beer—till five o’clock struck and the rain resumed its descent, washing away A Whale of a Time Part II.


Fiona Weller spends her summer vacation in the Punkamonium that is '77 on the Sunset Strip—with sidetracks into Jazz Age starlet-harlotry, and arrival at the "L" Station that has no train.
    —since this was breakneck, a plunge into the jungle, as abrupt and precipitous as the doomed plane’s to the island in Lord of the Flies
    —and here came a stormburst of shredded riffs and stompdown chords to engulf the mob and pound it with pulsing throbbing thunderbolts, galvanize it into savage tribal chants that celebrated darkness and lightning, without and within—
    —so no choice but to dance and no room to do so except by jumping up and down, as if at a demented trampoline convention (pig’s head on a pogo stick!) yet space enough for you to be swept off your feet and knocked to the floor, fearing you’d be bouncily flattened—
    —but a dozen hands promptly reached to haul you upright. Only one belonged to Rerun (who stuck so close by your side you could feel the metallic nibble of her safety pins) and one each to Tawdry Meadows and Shudder Bugge (who honed in on you unerringly through the Whisky crush) but the others belonged to stranger-neighbors, unknown friends; and when they too took tumbles, you in turn reached and helped with their uprighting. It might be a savage mob, yet not a brutal one; no biting, no mauling, no tearing with teeth or claws. However...

33—A Pitcher of Gossipade

Laurie Harrison (everybody's favorite blabberyap) spends a rainy summer day watching her entire life unreel before her tearful eyes. hitch the sarong-towel more snugly under your armpits and trudge upstairs, remembering the “Tropic Island Cruise” costumes at last May’s Cicada Dance, and how Kim Zimmer’s had fallen off when she’d tried to hang herself afterward. Now there was talk that the Zimmers had separated and left Vanderlund, neither parent wanting custody of poor Kim, which in spite of all the mean things she’d said and done to you was a terrible thing to contemplate—
    —but nowhere near one-hundredth as bad as entering your own personal private bedroom wearing just a couple of wet towels to find your own little sister making out with Patrick Baxter while both were stretched out on Susie’s mattress WITH NOTHING ON ABOVE EITHER ONE’S WAIST—
    Laurie let out a scream that set the Clevinger sheepdogs to barking and Susie to saying “Can’t you knock first?” and Patrick to going “All riiiight!” at the sight of so much Laurie in so little covering, for which topless Susie slapped his face just hard enough to leave no doubt that no ménage à trois would be taking place here or anywhere, now or ever....

34—The Vhite House

Their bunch fragmented by unfeeling schedulers, Vicki & Co. face the First Day at venerable Vanderlund Township High School—where they are joined by a standout dash of color. 
    “We’re going to have so much fun! This is going to be the time of our lives!”
    And other axioms to similar effect. Leave it to Alex to associate so much fun with going to school—especially the First Day at a new (Joss would say old, old) school.
    The Big Green Limousine, mercifully on time, trundled into view; as did a figure racing up the sidewalk alongside it. This enlarged to a sapphire skimmer containing a young black female who clearly wasn’t cut out for cross country. “Running like a girl,” as an epithet, might be hotly resentable; but seemed apt for the ladylike flaps and flails propelling this latecomer and threatening to lose one or both of her shoes, if not the satchel jangling dangerously from its shoulderstrap.
devil with a blue dress blue dress blue dress
devil with a blue dress on
echoed in Vicki’s brain for no good reason, as she raised a hand in what she hoped would be taken as reassuring encouragement..