Throwback Thursday: Retro Reads – The Girls of Canby Hall #9: Boy Trouble

Throwback Thursday: Retro Reads

We’ve all heard of Throwback Thursday, the day you post photos from the past to Facebook or Instagram. Retro Reads is my bookish version of Throwback Thursday. I’ll be rereading and posting a recap/review of books I loved when I was younger, mostly series books. Fair warning: These are more recaps than reviews. They will be thorough and there will be spoilers.

For the first few weeks, I’m going to be transferring my previously posted Girls of Canby Hall recaps over here.

Boy TroubleThe Girls of Canby Hall #9: Boy Trouble
Author: Lucille Warner writing as Emily Chase
Published: 1984
Goodreads

Never get mixed up with your roommate’s boyfriend.

The girls of Canby Hall find that rules were made to be broken, when Shelley starts dating Randy behind Dana’s back. Of course, Dana’s busy schedule was the reason that Shelley and Randy went out the first time — at Dana’s request. But the new couple really like each other, and forget that it’s hard to hide anything in a place as small as Canby Hall. Shelley’s going to need some fast answers, and Dana’s going to have to do a little soul-searching for the girls of Canby Hall to make it through this one…

Friday night: date night! Not for Dana, who only wants to stay home and catch up on her homework. She has a book report — A book report? In high school? — due and a Spanish assignment she hasn’t even looked at yet. I thought Dana took Latin. Maybe that was last year. Anyway, she doesn’t want to go out with Randy, so she does the logical thing: she sends Shelley. Don’t you always send your best friends out on dates with your boyfriend?

Faith thinks it’s a bad idea, but keeps her thoughts to herself. Why, Faith? What could possibly go wrong?

Shelley and Randy have fun together. They have a lot in common, both being country-types, and they had both been wanting to see The Grapes of Wrath while Dana and Tom didn’t. Shelley is able to open up to Randy about her childhood and family in Iowa in a way she can’t with Tom. Randy’s more like Paul, her boyfriend back home: comfortable, but with something extra that she can’t pinpoint yet.

Dana, Faith, and a few other girls are listening to Faith’s Billie Holiday records when Shelley returns to her room. She tells them about the movie, which is set during the Depression.

“When was that?” Casey asked.

“I don’t know, exactly,” Shelley answered. “Fifty, sixty, seventy years ago.”

“Ancient history,” Cheryl murmured. “Who cares.”

Perhaps Billie Holiday might.

Dana keeps her date with Randy on Sunday, which is too bad because Shelley would have enjoyed a hearty brunch with Randy’s family. Now that she’s moved past her crush on Michael, Dana is really starting to like Randy.

As the girls are on their way to classes on Monday morning, Pamela passes by and makes a crack about friendship. She has her first class with Dana and Faith, and wastes no time in telling Dana that she spotted Shelley and Randy having pizza together on Friday night. When Dana doesn’t react, Pamela continues, stating that they looked “utterly entranced with each other.” Class has begun by this time, and Pamela is called out for talking. Ms. MacPherson asks Pamela to share with the class, so she announces to everyone that Dana’s roommate and boyfriend were out together over the weekend.

Pamela gets a reaction from the class, and Dana blushes and tries to explain that she sent Shelley and Randy out together. Everyone laughs, which is not the support against Pamela that Dana was hoping for.

Shelley has special permission to go to Waterville, two towns away from Greenleaf, on the back of Tom’s motorcycle. The library there is holding a book for her. Tom has to go on to Boston, so Shelley is to catch the noon bus back to Canby. Tom warns her not to miss it. The next bus isn’t until 4:30 and will get her back so late that she will be in trouble.

It’s only 10:45 by the time Shelley retrieves her book, so she pokes around the unfamiliar library and becomes engrossed in the theater section. Selecting some books, she’s surprised to run into Randy, who’s come to Waterville for barbed wire and library books. He invites her to join him for lunch, since it’s just a little after noon.

Shelley’s panicked about missing her bus, but Randy offers to drive her back after they eat lunch. Before Randy shows her around Waterville, Shelley calls Alison and explains that she missed the bus and will be back late. They spend the afternoon together, and as they head back to his truck, Randy takes Shelley’s hand.

And kisses her.

Shelley knew she was slipping into a situation that was completely, thoroughly, wrong — and yet was almost irresistible to her.

She tries to protest, to say that Dana’s her roommate and one of her best friends and Randy is Dana’s boyfriend. Randy replies that he’s not married to Dana. He likes her, but he likes Shelley too. He wants to see Shelley again.

He offers to tell Dana about the day they’ve spent together, but Shelley doesn’t want that. He says they can tell her together, but Shelley says no to that, too. Then he says they don’t have to tell her, and Shelley agrees.

THIS WILL NOT END WELL. CHEATERS.

Shelley was never my favorite of the girls (probably Dana was) but I don’t really remember this side of her. I mean, I knew this happened, but…ugh. TWO boyfriends aren’t enough for Shelley? She needs a third?

Randy drops Shelley off outside the gates of Canby. They kiss again before she gets out of his truck, and he promises to call her. Surely someone who answers the phone at Canby will recognize his voice and know that he usually calls for Dana?

Shelley escapes into a long bath and then her bed, feigning exhaustion. She knows her feelings for Dana’s boyfriend are wrong and she tries to convince herself that she and Randy are just friends.

Dana answers the phone when Randy calls for Shelley, but he covers and pretends he was calling for Dana. Dana invites him to her Choral concert and a party afterwards next weekend, and they also make a date for the coming Saturday night.

Dana and Randy end up doubling with Faith and Johnny, and as they’re standing in line for a movie, they see Tom and Shelley entertaining the crowd, with Tom dressed as a clown. As the line begins to move forward, Johnny pulls Tom and Shelley along. Shelley and Randy end up sitting next to each other, sandwiched between Dana and Tom. Shelley once again tries to convince herself that she and Randy are friends and that she’s in love with Tom.

Casey fails a test and while she’s upset over it, Pamela sees her vulnerability and moves in. She invites Casey to go to Greenleaf with her and her two friends. The group gets into trouble in the supermarket, after they accidentally knock over and bust open two bags of sugar and then veer into the ketchup, breaking several bottles that spill all over the sugar, and in their haste to run away, trample some cakes. The store manager corners them and calls Miss Allardyce, who brings Alison along to pick up the girls. He tells them not to come back for a month. Pamela has an attitude and tells him there are plenty of other stores in town.

Miss Allardyce is furious. She drives the group back to Canby and tells the girls to clean up then meet at her house. She restricts them to campus for three weeks and revokes all special privileges.

Shelley sneaks away to a pay phone to call Randy. They’re both feeling guilty and uneasy, but they arrange a date anyway. Randy takes her riding, and then back to Waterville to eat. When they get to the diner where they ate before, Shelley makes him keep driving: she saw Pamela on the street, and she thinks Pamela saw them too.

Later, Shelley’s not sure if it was Pamela. Pamela is, after all, still confined to campus, and she hasn’t said a word about it to Shelley in the following days.

Shelley can’t resist. The next time she sees Pamela, she brings up Waterville to see if Pamela has any reaction.

“…I just thought I saw you there. Outside the coffee shop near the library. Randy and I –” She went scarlet. “Tom and I were there for lunch and I though…”

Oh, Shelley.

Shelley is relieved when Pamela denies being in Waterville. Pamela, though, caught her slip, and Pamela was at Baker on Sunday when Tom stopped by, looking for Shelley.

Dana and Faith head into Greenleaf to run some errands. They meet Tom on his way to campus to see Shelley. Dana’s sure that Shelley has gone back to Waterville to return a library book, but Tom is under the impression that he and Shelley have a date.

Dana and Faith stop for ice cream when they get to town. The boy at the counter tells him that he can’t serve them. He’s been told not to serve any Canby girl for two weeks. Dana and Faith are confused but decide they can’t do anything about it and go on to return a sweater at another store. But the woman there won’t help them either. She informs them that no Canby girl is welcome in Greenleaf stores for two weeks. Faith’s friend at the camera shop confirms this. It’s all a direct result of the antics of Casey, Pamela, Ellie, and Mary Beth at the supermarket.

Dana and Faith are rattled and want to get back to campus as quickly as possible. When they get there, they tell their story. Shelley can’t believe it. She has a friend at the jewelry store and she’s sure he won’t turn her away. She’s on her way to check out some stores that Dana and Faith didn’t try when another girl comes in with the news.

Shelley calls Tom to pick her up and take her to Greenleaf. She doesn’t have any luck either. While she’s gone, Dana and Faith go to Alison. Alison calls the houseparents at the other dorms on campus to see if they’ve had any reports. They have, so Alison calls Miss Allardyce.

Miss Allardyce calls the four girls involved in the supermarket trouble to her house. She tells them to write letters of apology to the supermarket manager and dismisses them. Pamela tells the other girls that she’s not going to write her letter and insists that her mother will pay for everything they ruined. Mary Beth and Ellie are going to write their letters right away, but Casey says she has too much homework to do.

Pamela says the stores need the Canby girls’ business in order to stay open. Casey isn’t so sure but she’s willing to find out. Ellie and Mary Beth try to get Casey and Pamela to write their letters, but they hold strong.

None of the girls in Baker can concentrate on their homework until Casey, Pamela, and Mary Beth return to the dorm. (Ellie lives in a different dorm.) Mary Beth apologizes to everyone who’s assembled to meet them and says she’s going to her room to write her apology letter. Casey and Pamela stay tough and tell the crowd that they aren’t writing their letters. After Alison breaks it up and sends everyone back to their own rooms, the group breaks up but warns Casey and Pamela that they better write their letters.

The next day Faith and Grace are trying to decide whether to do a feature on the boycott of Canby by Greenleaf stores when Pamela walks by the newspaper office. Grace asks if Pamela is going to write her letter. Pamela says no, she’s not writing it because she has guts, which is more than she can say for some people. She tells Faith that one her roommates does like to take chances, that she’s been having romantic dates with Randy in Waterville. Faith and Grace naturally assume Pamela is talking about Dana, but Pamela points out that Faith has more than one roommate. Faith and Grace don’t want to believe Pamela, but Faith decides to find out for sure and asks Grace not to say anything to anyone.

A few days later Miss Allardyce calls an assembly and announces that Pamela and Casey haven’t written their letters, and that until they do, every Canby girl is restricted to campus. Way to instigate some peer pressure, Miss Allardyce.

Most of the girls are upset — many of them has plans off campus — but Shelley is secretly relieved because she won’t be able to see Randy. When she admits that she doesn’t mind, Faith instantly knows that Pamela was telling the truth and when Shelley looks at Faith, Shelley knows that Faith knows. Faith excuses herself to go to the newspaper office, and when she returns to Baker angry, she meets Alison, who insists that Faith join her for a talk.

Faith tells Alison that she’s upset about Casey, then admits that Shelley has been seeing Dana’s boyfriend. Alison’s advice is to do nothing. Casey isn’t Faith’s responsibility, and neither are Dana and Shelley.

Rumors about Casey and Pamela fly around campus. Dana helps organize a meeting of the Baker girls, including Ellie Bolton who lives on the fourth floor. Hmm. Would this be the same Ellie Bolton who was involved in the incident and lives in another dorm? The group decides to take action. They’re going to first visit Casey and then Pamela and talk some sense into them. When they get to Casey’s room, she’s already cracked and is working on her letter. For some reason that’s enough and the group disbands, never reaching Pamela’s room.

Casey tells Pamela that she’s written her letter and that Pamela needs to write one too. Pamela still refuses. The next night, the group reassembles to go to Pamela’s room. Why couldn’t they just have gone the same night they went to Casey’s? This is stupid. Pamela’s prepared for them and says that she doesn’t care that the whole school is on restriction. Then she closes the door and goes to bed.

Faith suggests the silent treatment. It’s the only thing she can think of to get through to Pamela. No one on campus will speak to or acknowledge her. It takes several days to get the entire school on board with the idea, but eventually everyone has been informed.

It takes Pamela a few class periods to catch on to what’s happening, but when she does, she stays strong for a few more days. By the fourth day, she’s angry. On the fifth day, she writes her letter.

Dana’s choral concert goes on as planned. Everyone hates the polyphonic medieval music, as they expected from past performances. Dana throws a small party for her friends as a sort of bribe/thank you for them attending the concert. Randy isn’t able to make the concert, but does go to the party. Shelley is overly nice, trying to be casual, but Tom immediately notices that she’s acting unusual and confront Shelley after Randy walks away. He’s heard some rumors that he didn’t believe…but he does now. He storms out.

When Randy finds Shelley crying, she tells him that Tom knows about them. Randy tells her that they can’t date, and Shelley agrees that they’re hurting too many people. They agree to be good friends and hug, just as Dana walks into the room.

Dana runs out, followed by Shelley. In their room, Dana asks Shelley if she’s been dating Randy. Shelley says they were saying goodbye when she saw them. Dana asks if Faith knew, and Faith admits that she suspected there was something going on but couldn’t tell Dana. Dana’s mad at both of them and leaves. She runs for a while until she realizes she’s near Michael’s house. When she knocks, he answers the door all dressed up. He’s going out but has some time to talk to her. Dana explains about Shelley and Randy, which catches Michael by surprise, and even more so when she says she asked Shelley to go out with him in the first place. Michael questions Dana until she realizes she asked Shelley to go because she hadn’t wanted to,not because she had too much homework. She insists, though, that she didn’t mean for them to start dating. Michael tells her she has some thinking to do and that if she wants to talk more, she should make an appointment to see him next week.

Faith and Shelley talk, and somehow manage to convince themselves that it’s as much Dana’s fault as it is Shelley’s.

“I mean, she should have known how much you and Randy have in common. She may have wanted this to happen and never even realized it herself.”

“Do you mean it’s just as much Dana’s fault as mine?” Shelley asked, her eyes wide.

“It doesn’t make too much sense otherwise, does it? I mean, I would never send Johnny out with anyone else. Would you want Tom or Paul to go out with another girl?”

Okay, Faith has a point with that last sentence, but I think it’s going a little too far to say it’s Dana’s FAULT that this happened. Dana may have asked Shelley to go out with Randy ONE TIME, but she didn’t ask her to continue to see him behind her back or to kiss him or take out of town trips with him.

Dana takes a walk to begin her thinking and decides that she likes Randy but never really feels comfortable with him because they’re so different. She knows that she doesn’t want to go out with Bret again but would never have asked Shelley to go out with him when they were together because her feelings for Bret were so intense. She doesn’t feel that way about Randy.
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Back at the dorm, she goes to her room. Shelley asks Dana to forgive her. Dana’s not ready yet, so Shelley tries the “But it was all your idea in the first place!!!” tactic. Dana’s not buying it.

She goes to the payphones to call Randy and they arrange to meet for pizza. Randy apologizes and says it wasn’t planned. He hadn’t ever even noticed Shelley before Dana asked her to go out with him that one time. Dana cuts him off and says that everyone keeps trying to tell her it’s her fault. They have it out and suddenly Dana realizes that everyone was right. It WAS her fault.

WHAT? NO!

Dana sees now that Randy and Shelley have so much in common (small-town life). She tells Randy that she forgives him and asks him to forgive her too. Then she doesn’t even let Randy eat pizza. She asks him if she can take it back to Canby to share with Faith and Shelley. I guess he’ll have to be satisfied with Dana’s forgiveness, but it’s okay because he had just finished a huge snack when she called.

Dana tells Shelley that she forgives her and they share the pizza.

Jenna

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