Intro: Keeping with my Lila theme (because it makes me happy)!!!! I've never read this book before, possibly because it's from June of 1997, and I was more into SVH and Christoper Pike by this time.
Cover: We have a pool! Possibly the one at Fowler Crest, since this IS a Lila book. Jess is impossibly thin on the cover, with impossibly long legs. Lila looks younger than she did on the cover for #14, and she does not look happy. There's a black girl floating in the pool (Maria? Or is this the Rachel character?), and I am officially intrigued.
The back cover tells us that Mr. F is selling their house, which is now Fowler Mansion, and some bitch named Rachel Grant is moving in...to Lila's old room. Lila is pissed and out for revenge, but she also thinks Rachel has a secret...
Recap: This is one of the third person narrated books. I liked the early, first person ones, but maybe this will be easier to summarize...PLEASE!!!
We start with Lila waking up on a Saturday morning. She looks around her fabulous bedroom and thinks about how she loves her stuff. And life in general. I guess Mr. F has kept his promise to make more time for Li? We shall see...
Lila goes and has breakfast with her dad, and he asks about her plans for the day, because he's trying to make an effort. Li plans on floating in the pool and shopping with her friends. Mr. F, of course, can't even get their names right! But give him some credit, at least he's trying. He wants to continue a discussion about the house that he started in a previous book. (2 books prior, when the UC was on a cruise ship.)
Before I explain why he wants to discuss this, I have to list what we've learned so far about Fowler Mansion/Manor/Crest:
•Largest house in SV
•Olympic sized swimming pool
•Stained glass windows
•Imported Turkish rugs
•Wroght iron stairs
•Louis XIV dining table
•Horse riding stable in front yard
•Internet in every room
•Entire house equipped with a speaker system
The Fowlers also own a few other properties, which I feel the need to list:
•Condo in Vail
•Apartment in NYC
•Villa in Northern Italy
This is the reason why Mr. F has decided to sell the mansion and buy a smaller, more intimate cottage on Secca Lake. It only has SIX bedrooms, omg!!!! Apparently a 75 room mansion is too big for just the two of them, and they never even use the 4 sunrooms or the conservatory. The neighbors are also selling their house, and I'm happy that I know nothing about real estate. Lila walks around, dazed. She strokes the built-in spice rack, and the 3 balconies, plus the multi level sinks.
Lila's mood is not improved when the UC comes for a sleepover. They all discuss how much they love Lila's house and freeloading. Lila just sits and listens, feeling sad.
Three days later, the mansion next door sells. Wow, that seems...fast. Lila goes out to enjoy the pool while she still can. Pause, there's a girl in the pool! She's wearing the same suit as Lila, so she must be important. She's described as full-figured, and cocoa-colored, and I have no comments. She also boasts the longest, thickest eyelashes that Lila has ever seen. So we (myself and Li) automatically hate this ho. Bitch adds insult to injury by dropping her soda can into the pool. She also drops peanuts into the pool. Ewwww. Anyways, crazy girl claims to live there and tells LILA to get her another soda. Oh hell no!!!!
Pool Girl's friend, Tina, rushes to get the soda, and Lila finds out that she is the Rachel from the title, and Fowler Mansion is ghetto compared to Rachel's old house. Rachel's house had 2 movie theaters, and a full time projectionist. Plus, her stable held 8 horses, while Li's only holds 4. And her house had a climbing wall. (And I'm super annoyed by this chick. I call bullshit!!!!!). Rachel also hates Li's "ditzy" bedroom chandeliers. And, oh yeah, she has a MOM. She mentions that her mom is in Europe with Tina's mom, who is their decorator. Lila immediately hates this bitch, and when she asks Tina if Mama Rachel is as terrible as her demon spawn, Tina dodges the question. Shady...
Lila storms into Mr. F's meeting with Rachel's father, Mr. Grant (G, for short), and throws a fit. Mr. G further escalates the situation by saying that Li is just like his Rachel. Oh snap. Both fathers agree that they have spoiled daughters. To Li's dismay, Mr. F offers to let Rachel stay with them while Mr. G goes on a business trip...with Tina's mom (hmmmm)!!!! He accepts, and Bitchface will be staying for a couple weeks.
Oddly, we get a Rachel POV here. She hates this new girl, Lisa, Lily, Laura, whatever her name is. She's also jealous of Tina because she's lucky for some undisclosed reason. Plus, Rachel doesn't want to stay at the mansion, there's only one place that she wants to stay...
Back to Lila (yay!), she's still depressed. She thinks her friends only like her for her house, so she doesn't tell them that she has to move. She feels like the house is more of a Unicorn Club member than she is, being that her friends are always over, even when she isn't home! (Wow, that's rude as hell! And it totally reminded me of Billy Madison, so that's how I will picture Lila's house from now on...) Lila overhears something about Tina going home to her mother that night, and she finds this suspicious. (Maybe Tina has two mommies like I do!!!!!)
Rachel shows up for her extended sleepover with 7 duffel bags, an overnight bag, and 2 boxes with "KEEP OUT" written on them. Again, SHADY. Out of the mansions 3 dozen (yes, 36!) bedrooms, she immediately takes over Lila's room. Bitch starts ripping posters off of the walls and piles her stuff all over. I would have kicked her ass at this point, but Lila goes for the psychological attack and asks where Rachel's mom REASlLY is. Rachel lies, and Li is evermore suspicious.
The UC randomly shows up uninvited, because Lila has a better house than any of them. (Seriously, how rude!). Lila doesn't want to tell them that she's moving, or about Rachel upstairs, so she drags everyone to Casey's.
The book switches to Rachel POV again. We learn that she's unhappy about something, and that she wonders just how much Li knows about her mother. Suddenly, Jess bursts in to use the bathroom. Rachel tells her that she lives there...cover blown.
Jess of course questions Li about this, and Lila lies. She claims Rachel is the crazy daughter of one of Mr. F's college roommates, and that she's been kicked out of her asylum (ha!) so it's a big secret. Jess accepts this and no one else in the UC finds out.
Later, we get more Rachel. She's alone, and jealous that Li has friends. Rachel moved around alot, so all she has is Tina (who I haven't seen in awhile...). Rachel decides to be nicer to Lila. Li, of course, is not having this! When Rachel invites her to watch tv in her room, Li thinks she's just rubbing it in.
The girls continue their ridiculous show of one-upsmanship and this leads to a fight. Lila feels superior because she has friends, but Bitch Rachel has a MOTHER!!! Damn, she went there. Rachel's mother calls randomly and Lila, being pissed off and jealous, eavesdrops and thinks about how Rachel doesn't deserve a mother. Harsh, but I can't be too hard on Lila.
While eavesdropping, Lila learns that Rachel's mom can't see her for some reason. But, she has Lakers tickets... The Lakers play in LA (and I hate them! When they play my team, I get "KobeDrunk" aka- blackout drunk, and it's never pretty...), so Mrs. G is local. Also, the phone line isn't fuzzy like on normal international calls...
Lila, in true Lila fashion, calls Rachel out on this shit. She knows that the Lakers play in California, NOT Rome. (Actually, I think they have played in Europe on at least one occasion since this was written, damn future NBA Europe expansion!). Rachel considers killing Lila (for real, she's psycho!) but instead she just cries.
Jess overhears her blubbering (sorry, I'm finding it difficult to be sympathetic towards Rachel. Bitch, why lie? At least you HAVE a mom...) and informs Lila about the incident. Somehow, Ellen finds out about Rachel (aka- the crazy girl, lol) and BRUCE (first mention of him in ALL of my UC reading!!!!) does as well. Before the day is done, Kimberly knows, too.
Thinking quickly, Li tells Jess that Rachel is actually -wait for it- a ghost! Ridiculous, but UC Jess is pretty stupid, so she believes it. Caroline Pearce also hears about the ghost at Lila's, so soon all of SV will know as well. It's even going in the school paper!
Apparently, Rachel does not have to attend school during her stay at Lila's, so she's laying by the pool. She meets the new neighbors, Alexander and Amelia Q. Witherspoon, and wishes that her father had purchased their house instead. Her logic is flawed, however, she thinks buying the Witherspoon House = not having to deal with Lila. Ummmm, sorry hun, but that would make you NEIGHBORS...
Lila arrives home and shows Rachel the article about the ghost in the paper. Rachel asks if the house is really haunted, and Li confirms that it's haunted as shit. Rachel gets upset because her mom is afraid of ghosts, and because of this shell never come to visit Rachel now. Conversely, she decides that Lila may have just solved her housing dilemma. She decides to make Fowler Manor even more haunted so her father won't buy it.
Lila is still hung up on solving the mystery of Rachel's mom, so she calls Tina's mom and pretends to be a client referred by Mrs. Grant. Tina's mom falls silent, and Lila gets nothing. She also calls Tina and claims to be the authorities (not a total lie, she IS the authority on designer swimwear). Tina refuses to talk about Mrs. G, so Li comes up with a theory... Mrs. G is a fugitive "from justice"! Oh no, that is the worst kind of fugitive!!!!
Lila decides that she must have done something awful, like bank robbery. Or maybe she drowns babies, or even -omg- sneaks into Johnny Buck concerts with fake tickets!!!! Seriously, I love Lila!!! She calls the police to ask, but of course they reveal nothing.
Rachel begins setting up her ghost experiment. She walks around making ghost noises. Lila does this as well, in an effort to scare Rachel, but neither girl hears the other because the house is just too large. Jess and Ellen (who are apparently just hanging out at Lila's without Li even knowing...) see Ghost Rachel and inform Lila of her haunted attic. The neighbors catch sight of Ghost Lila and inform Rachel of her existence. So, basically, both girls are doing the exact same thing and both believe the house is haunted.
Rachel and Lila each run from their respective ghosts and end up crashing into each other. Scared, they decide to stay together and end up sharing one of the many couches. They get to talking about the UC and Li's friends. Rachel admits that she's jealous because she's always moving and she gets shipped away to boarding school. (Which I always thought would be awesome! Zoey 101 basically confirmed this for me, so SarahLynn Junior will be getting shipped away to boarding school someday...)
The following day, the Witherspoons ask Lila about the haunting. They suggest calling an exterminator (the fuck?! Are they serious with that?!) and give Li a letter that arrived in their mail by mistake. It's a letter for Rachel and it contains lots of paper. Rachel reads it and gets upset, so Li commits a felony and goes through the papers. It turns out that Mrs. G is a physicist at UCLA (my ever-assuming ass thought that it would end up that she was in rehab for the crack, I must admit...bad SarahLynn!) and the reason she's not around is that she's divorcing Mr. G. She blames herself for all of the problems this is causing Rachel. (As she should, that selfish bitch!!!! What kind of woman abandons her obviously disturbed teenage daughter?!)
Li talks to Rachel and learns that Rachel also blames herself. Lila quickly switches the subject to how sad she is, and how her friends love her house more than her. Rachel basically laughs at her and says she's crazy. And, we have a breakthrough!!!! Both girls realize that they, like, totally understand each other! That wrapped up well.
Later, the UC comes over and Li makes Rachel hide, but the UC has specifically come to ghost hunt! They're successful and they catch her. Rachel breaks down and cries. She tells them the truth and they're upset that Li didn't tell them she was moving. They assure Lila that they actually like HER, and not just because her house is awesome. Lila isn't mad at Rachel for spilling things and they decide to try this friendship thing.
Li and Rachel join forces and play Ghost one last time. Their plan: scare the Witherspoons into moving. Thus, the mansion next door to Lila's will be on the market. It works nicely, and both fathers agree to be neighbors. Mr. F had a change of heart and realized that he truly loved his mansion!!!! But it doesn't end there...Rachel gets invited to join the Unicorns!!!!! And she accepts!!!! Just so there's no weirdness, she tells all of them about her mother up front.
The book can't end without a setup for #19, so we get the girls looking at super thin model Katherine Pierce in a magazine. There's something "haunted" about her...and you don't get to find out what it is because I do not own "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World", apologies.
Rachel is a Bitchface. Plus, this was super difficult for me to recap because my sister is named Rachael, and autocorrect kept changing the spelling to my sisters version. I did enjoy the descriptions of Fowler Mansion/Manor/Crest, and all of the Lila actions. But, the ghost subplot was super lame and boring. Also, I read this a few months ago (before I broke my dominant arm and had to learn how to do everything right handed) and looking at my left handed handwriting makes me sad :(. It was just so pretty, I hate being a righty!!!