Will anyone ever speak to Molly Hecht again?
BUY A MUG. DO IT FOR REGINA.
Much of it was still a pot-smoke blur, but one thing was clear: no one wanted her in Sweet Valley. She didn’t belong there anymore. And she wondered whether she ever had.
What's worse than mourning the sudden, unexpected death of a young friend? Being the person everyone considers responsible for that death.
That's the premise of Outcast, and it might be true. Molly Hecht, at whose crazy party Regina Morrow tried cocaine for the first time and suffered a heart attack, was never a popular or well-liked girl. Now, everyone's suspicions that she was deserving of scorn have been categorically confirmed, and Molly herself is starting to believe that she's no good.
Here's what happens: Molly tries to talk to Elizabeth about how terribly guilty and lonely she feels, but Elizabeth basically runs away, not ready to forgive Molly for her role in Regina's death. Then she tries to visit Regina's grave, so she can apologize and seek forgiveness in person, so to speak. But Regina's brother Nicholas is there, and upon seeing Molly, he launches into a very uncharacteristic "What the hell are you doing here?!" kind of speech. Poor Molly gets no comfort at all from her parents, who are mortified that she threw a trashy party at all, not to mention that she allowed someone to die while attending it. Even Molly's old beau Justin Belson doesn't want to talk to her; associating with Molly only makes him feel more guilty.
This sob story is starting to get old. Won't someone realize how desperately sad and lonely Molly is feeling? Can't anyone admit that Molly's not to blame for Regina's death? Well, yes. Someone can and will, but only because he's going to take advantage of her.
That someone is Buzz. BUZZ! The horrible drug dealer that’s currently in hiding from the police! He finds Molly and uses his scum-of-the-earth charm to convince her that he’s the only one who knows how she feels. Lonely, unloved. Then, once he’s got her on his hook (figuratively speaking, of course), he reels her in by asking her to run away with him to Mexico. Running away sounds pretty awesome to Miss Molly, so she isn’t concerned when Buzz asks her if she has any money, then asks her to empty her college savings account to pay for their escape. That’s totally cool.
On the surface, Buzz’s come-on of empathy might seem plausible – after all, Buzz is way more responsible for Regina’s death than Molly is, and he’s such an “outcast” that the cops are chasing him! But shouldn’t Molly hate Buzz? Or at least be revolted by the sight of him? As a drug dealer, his trade – and, more specifically, he himself carrying out that trade – are a major part of what made Molly’s life so grim even before Regina’s death. Before Buzz offered her a shoulder to cry on, Molly had already vowed to try and sober up, lest more juniors die at her future parties. Why would she fall for Buzz now?
Basically, the book addresses this question thusly: Molly is weak and conflicted. That’s why she needs help, and fast! Guess who’s going to help her. I would give you three guesses, but if you’ve ever read this blog before, you already know the answer: Elizabeth to the rescue! Upon seeing how badly Molly is being treated by angry peers (and treating Molly badly herself), Liz is determined to let Molly know that Regina’s death wasn’t Molly’s fault. Regina alone was ultimately responsible for taking the drugs that killed her. She didn’t know she had a heart condition, and that the cocaine would kill her, but that’s the risk you take when you mess with the white stuff. Regina’s death was Regina’s fault. And God’s.
Liz can’t get to Molly on her own, so she enlists Justin Belson to help. She’s particularly worried, as she stealthily stalked Molly one afternoon and watched her withdraw a large amount of money from the bank while looking sad. She pleads Molly’s dire case to him just in the nick of time, and the two manage to catch Molly sneaking out of her house. They put two and two together and realize that she’s running away. Little do they know, she’s going with that awful Buzz! Justin pulls some pursuit driving tricks and cuts Molly off at a curve in the old abandoned highway (?). Elizabeth calls the cops from a nearby pay phone, but not before Buzz and Justin have a knife fight. Well, only Buzz has a knife. See, he really, really, doesn’t want to stay in Sweet Valley. He’s willing to cut up anyone who tries to stop him! Justin is forced to retaliate by finding a stick and using it to knock the knife out of Buzz’s hand. It works! You see, “He knew that Buzz was high on something, and he just prayed that would make Buzz’s reflexes slower than normal.”
Once Buzz is arrested, Molly is pacified, and everybody is back home, word seems to spread quickly that Molly is not to be shunned any longer. Even Nicholas Morrow and Jessica can see that she’s not to blame, which is really very big of them, as they are, respectively, related to the deceased and extremely shallow. She swears to clean up, she joins the Oracle staff, and she might even apply for that scholarship that Pi Beta Alpha started in Regina’s memory (see “B Story”, sidebar). To me, this seems like the height of gall, but apparently the students of Sweet Valley think it’s perfectly grand. And maybe so. I will let them judge, as they are better than you or I could ever hope to be.
In closing, I’d like to apologize for my prolonged absence. I read this book long ago, but didn’t write up the review. I have a good excuse, a really great one: a dog ate my book.
Seriously, though, I spent the night at the home of some friends, and one of their dogs chewed off the back section of my book.
That makes it kind of hard to look for quotes. :) Sorry.