The Sweet Valley High cheerleaders have been kidnapped! Co-captains Jessica Wakefield and Heather Mallone thought they'd found the perfect faculty advisor for their cheer squad in Nancy Swanson. But the cheerleaders don't know about the dark secret in Nancy's past. Or how dangerous she really is. Until Sweet Valley High's cheerleaders start disappearing ... one by one.
Read an Excerpt
Jim Croce was singing "Time in a Bottle" on the stereo as Elizabeth walked into the library at five o'clock that evening. A woman with long, light brown hair was standing at the reference desk. Her back was to the door, but Elizabeth recognized her right away.
"Hi, Ms. Swanson!" she called to the assistant librarian, practically skipping into the room in her haste to leave Brad behind and get started on her research for Scoop.
Nancy Swanson turned and smiled shyly. "Hello, Elizabeth," she greeted in a tentative voice. "It's always nice to see you here. I can turn off the music if it bothers you. Technically I'm not supposed to be playing it in here, but officially the library's closed for the evening."
"Oh, I'm sorry!" Elizabeth said. "Do you want me to leave? I can come back tomorrow."
"No, of course not," Ms. Swanson replied. "I have another half hour of work to do. There's no reason why you can't look around."
"Thanks," Elizabeth said. "And don't turn off your music. I always thought this was a pretty song. I just wanted to get a head start on some research tonight while Jessica's finishing up with the cheerleaders. I only need a few minutes." Elizabeth had run into Annie at her locker and learned that Jessica was still taking a shower, so she figured she had time to glance through a few yearbooks at least.
"How are you doing, Liz?" Ms. Swanson asked. "And how is your sister? The cheerleaders looked far out at the field hockey game last weekend! It's too bad Sara hurt her ankle."
"I missed the game," Elizabeth admitted. "But I agree about Sara. Besides that, though, Jessica was psyched about thecheerleaders' performance. She's been raving about it for days."
"The crowd really dug them."
Elizabeth looked at her curiously. "You never miss a game, do you? Of any sport! Not many faculty members make that much of an effort to show some school spirit. I don't even know many students who do!"
"I just like to support my school," the assistant librarian replied, raising a hand to her face as if to hide her expression.
As always, Elizabeth felt sorry for the woman. Nancy Swanson had been working at Sweet Valley High for only a few months, but she'd always been extraordinarily attentive to the students, especially the most popular ones. She always seemed to hang on Elizabeth's every word. And she never failed to ask about Jessica, though Elizabeth was sure her sister hadn't been in the library more than two or three times during her entire high-school career.
"Can I help you find anything today?" the assistant librarian asked.
"No, I think I know where to find what I need," Elizabeth replied. There was definitely something odd about the bland, quiet assistant librarian, Elizabeth thought. The woman always had a lonely, vaguely wistful look in her bright blue eyes. But Elizabeth couldn't fault someone who was always so friendly and eager to please.
"What's your research for?" asked Ms. Swanson. "That poetry paper for Mr. Collins's class?
"You're really amazing," Elizabeth said. "I don't know how you keep track of what every teacher has assigned, but you always know!"
Ms. Swanson covered her mouth with her hand again. Elizabeth knew it was a common habit of people who were extremely timid and easily embarrassed. Elizabeth felt sorry for her. She smiled encouragingly, ignoring the woman's blush.
"Actually my poetry paper is under control," Elizabeth said. "But maybe you can help with the research I need to do for another project." If there was one thing Ms. Swanson was good at, it was her job.
Maybe she'd feel better if she could help Elizabeth. "I'm working with a reporter from Scoop magazine, researching a story she's writing about Sweet Valley High. It's about the Girls of Seventy-six."
The assistant librarian's blush grew deeper. One corner of her mouth seemed to twitch downward, and she covered her lips with her hand again. "The Girls of Seventy-six?" she asked in a faraway voice.
"Don't feel bad," Elizabeth said with a smile. "I didn't know about them either. They were a Sweet Valley High cheerleading squad that won the 1976 state championship. The magazine is doing a piece on what they're all doing now. I need to look through some old yearbooks for background information."
"Nineteen seventy-six," Ms. Swanson repeated in her quiet voice. "That was a long time ago, wasn't it?" She paused for a moment and then gave Elizabeth a soft smile. "But you girls are a championship squad again this year! You know, Elizabeth, I'm surprised you decided not to stick with it. A lot of girls would give their right arms to be cheerleaders."
Elizabeth chuckled. "It might be hard to do the cheers without a right arm!" she joked. "Seriously, I'm just not a born cheerleader, like Jessica is. I can do the moves, but I always feel self-conscious out there in front of everyone. Besides, it feels like a waste of time. There are too many other things I want to be doing."
"School spirit is never a waste of time," Ms. Swanson said fervently.
"I hope a lot of other staff members feel that way," Elizabeth said. "Or this new faculty adviser rule is going to go down the tubes!"
"Have the cheerleaders picked an adviser yet?" Ms. Swanson asked, leading her into the stacks and pointing down the aisle to the section of bookshelves that contained the yearbooks.
"I don't think they've decided on anyone," Elizabeth replied. "Maria told me she was going to talk to the others this afternoon about choosing. It'll probably take them a few days to come up with a name. Then they'll need to convince that person to do it."
"I'm sure they won t have any trouble finding somebody. After all, this is a championship squad!"
Suddenly Elizabeth had a terrific idea. Nancy Swanson was full of school spirit, and she had a deep interest in cheerleading and team sports. If she became the cheerleading adviser, it might help her feel as if she was finally fitting into life at Sweet Valley High.
She smiled back at the assistant librarian for a second and then hurried to the yearbooks. But as she scanned the titles on the shelves, her mind wasn't on the Girls of '76. She was thinking about poor Ms. Swanson. Elizabeth felt suddenly full of determination to see the timid woman as cheerleading adviser.
"Now I just have to convince Jessica," she muttered under her breath.
Nancy Swanson watched Elizabeth's back as the girl walked farther into the stacks. Elizabeth had it all. She was bright, beautiful, and popular. Her sister was the flashy, exuberant Jessica. Her best friends were sweet, loyal Enid Rollins and sophisticated Maria Slater, a former child actress. And Elizabeth's boyfriend was Todd Wilkins, a basketball star and one of the best-looking boys at school. Teachers loved Elizabeth, and students looked up to her. Some people had everything.
"The Girls of Seventy-six," the assistant librarian repeated again under her breath. She could hardly believe she'd heard Elizabeth right. A familiar pain, a pinching sensation, gripped the left side of her face. The muscles tugged downward, pulling out of her control. Out of habit she covered her mouth with her hand. Suddenly she felt as if she were boiling over with hurt and anger.
"Why?" she whispered to herself. "It's not fair!"
Ms. Swanson scooted out of the rows of shelves until Elizabeth was out of sight. Then she closed her eyes and leaned against a bookcase until she regained control of her emotions.
Her hands balled into fists at her sides, and she told herself to let it go. She had to stay mellow. She couldn't start thinking about...that again.
It was too risky.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
VERY COOL BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This book is an awesome book. If you like adventures, i guarantee you'll love this book. 8 cheerleaders kidnapped; would you have ever thought it to happen?