Saturday, January 7, 2012

My Heart Will Go On or: Is There Life After Boys?

Story Order: #5
Publication Order: #2 (1987)
Time Covered: 7th Grade

So Linda chose to go to the all-girls private school. Life and adventures awaited her. There was no way readers of We Hate Everything But Boys could stand to not find out what happened to Linda at Huntington. Thus, we get the first legit sequel in the Linda series and we wonder, is there really life after boys?

Plot Summary
It’s the day before the first day of seventh grade for Linda who is regretting her decision to go to Huntington. Whilst hanging out with The Crowd--Darlene (friend), Suzy (friend), Ken (Suzy’s crush), Harley (Darlene’s crush), Jeff (Linda’s “boyfriend”), and Sue-Ann (that skank who also likes Jeff)--Linda gets tired of hearing about how great a time they’re going to have at the public junior high, 515 and so she runs off.

Jeff (because he is so fucking perfect in a 1950’s sort of way) runs after her and offers to buy her a soda at the candy store. Later he walks her home, puts his arm around her shoulder and opens the door for her.
As he turned to go, he looked at me, and his blue eyes shone. “Don’t worry, Linda. It won’t matter that you’re going to a different school. You’ve still got your friends. And you’ve still got your boyfriend, too.” He grinned impishly, and then he ran off down the stairs.
Yep, everything’s gonna be allllllllllllllllllllll right.

So Linda starts Huntington and the only other person she knows is mousy Jan Zieglebaum. Instead of joining any clubs or participating in extra-curricular activities, Linda is anxious to get back home so she can hang out with her friends and Jeff. However, they have their own after school stuff which causes her to cling to Jan and her friends, Rosalie “Roz” Buttons and Fran Zaro.

Luckily, Darlene invites Linda to play in a coed football game in the park. Linda invites Jan who invites Roz and Fran--which as you can imagine, doesn’t go over too well. Anyway, Jeff tackles Linda in the game and we get a little sexual tension…
For a moment, we just lay there. His body was on top of mine. I could hear his breathing in my ear. I forgot about football. I forgot the pain radiating from my elbow. I forgot Jeff’s weight crushing my chest. All that mattered was that I was lying there in his arms, closer than I had ever been to him before. It was wonderful!
Despite believing that being tackled by Jeff in a weekend football game solidifies her position as girlfriend, Linda is pretty much cut out of The Crowd by Halloween. She is invited to a party (drink!) with Jan, Roz, and Fran, but decides to hold out for better things. Darlene rushes to get Linda invited to Lawrence’s Halloween party (drink!). Sue-Ann is a huge cunt (as usual) but Jeff seems really happy Linda could attend. They even kiss during a weird bob for apples/kissing game.


After Halloween, most of The Crowd joins a Journalism club, so Linda starts hanging out with Jan and her Huntington friends, Merl and Helen. They go ice skating in Central Park and Jan gets sick. While visiting her, Linda hits it off with Fran and Roz. Then she goes to Merl’s birthday party (drink!)

Then comes the first snowfall and Linda goes to Suzy’s apartment building to ask her to go sledding. She grows nostalgic for the year before when she and Jeff built a snowman and bonded. While staring up at his window, Jeff comes up behind her and informs her that he and Suzy are now a part of the Choral Music Club. He invites her to their concert, but Linda doesn’t have a good feeling about it.

Linda asks Jan, Fran, Roz, and Roz’s older sister Lily to go as airbags. Linda is ignored by The Crowd, as usual, but Darlene invites her to pizza afterwards. Linda says no, to be loyal to Jan et al. and Jeff goes with his friends. However, every cloud has a silver lining. A hot ninth grade boy named Mark starts flirting with Linda.

In my mind, all these "older guys"
automatically look like teen idols from when
I was 13.

On a later date, Linda, Jan, etc. go to the ice cream parlor and accidentally sit next to some Older Boys from 515: Mark (dark-haired), Gary (blonde), and Randy (dorky with big ears). Linda realizes that Mark is super nice and that his smile is nicer than Jeff’s!!!

Then there’s a subplot about the Huntington girls volunteering at the Manhattan School for the Blind…which, yay, good for Linda helping the visually impaired.

Now back to the good part…Linda decides to have a New Year’s Eve party and invite The Crowd. It’s her last chance! But when she calls around, Darlene and Suzy are already busy and apparently, there isn’t another party going on…so, Linda just has a slumber party (drink!) with Jan, Fran, and Roz. They experiment with makeup and leg shaving! Tee-hee-hee! Then Linda chances to look out the window.
Under the glow of the streetlamp I could see them all standing there in front of Marvin Haven’s building. They were all dressed up, for they were going to a real New Year’s Eve party.
They were all there. Everyone who was anyone. Lawrence was standing with his arm around Darlene. Suzy was smiling up at Ken, who was stomping his feet in an attempt to keep warm. Lisa Finklestein and Rena Widmark were hovering around Harley… Then, as I watched, I saw them coming down the block. Jeff Davidson, who used to be my boyfriend, holding the hand of my archenemy, Sue-Ann Fein.
Fran, Roz and Jan comfort Linda and tell her that she’s better off without Jeff and The Crowd. Linda realizes her real friends have been there the entire time! Screw Suzy and Darlene! And screw the memories! The foursome vow to BFF’s 4-eva and only go after older boys!

So, we’re 85% through Is There Life After Boys? and we’re only to New Year’s. The last two remaining chapters follow Linda and friends in their quest to get the Older Boys to like them back.

  • Linda likes Mark (brunette and seemingly perfect)
  • Fran likes Gary (blonde and a dick)
  • Roz and Jan like Sheldon (that baseball player from WHEBB)
  • Nobody likes Randy 
Linda and Fran attempt to engage Mark and Gary by asking them questions about photography n’ shit. Then this skank named Sylvia starts flirting with Mark. Apparently, she lead him on but then started dating an older guy. Fran decides the best thing to do is confess her and Linda’s respective feelings for Gary and Mark, because nothing else has worked so far. Amazingly, it sort of works. Week after week, the “couples” practice photography in the park.

While waiting to meet up with Mark, Gary, and Fran, Linda strolls through the park and sees her old friends watching the boys play a baseball game much like at the end of We Hate Everything But Boys.
“Oh--hi, Linda,” was all Darlene managed to say.
“What’s so funny?” said Suzy with a nervous giggle.
“Oh, I don’t know,” I shrugged. “Maybe it’s seeing you all here, just the way you were last year, watching the same boys play ball. It’s like nothing’s changed, and yet, at the same time, everything has.”
Then Linda turns her attention to Jeff on the pitcher’s mound.
As I watched, he tossed in a perfect pitch, striking the batter out. The girls next to me let out a cheer, and Jeff looked up to them for approval. When he looked up his eyes met mine, and for a moment he looked absolutely stunned. Then he smiled a kind of sheepish half-smile and turned his attention to the ball once again.
I watched him for a moment and found, to my great surprise, that I felt nothing. I could have been watching Harley or Ken, or even Marvin for all the difference it made to me. Jeff just didn’t mean anything to me anymore--it was finally all over.
At that moment, Fran enters with Sexy Mark and Sexy Gary and the girls are left drooling as Linda walks into the future with the Older Boys.

I first read Is There Life After Boys? the summer after I graduated from high school. I finally had a debit card and the ability to buy used, out-of-print YAF from The first thing I ordered was naturally the nine Linda books I didn’t own/previously steal from Oakesdale School District.

That summer, I started re-reading. The first two prequels were tough, but 2 Young 2 Go 4 Boys and We Hate... wetted my appetite. I would finally find out what happened to Linda and her own-true-love Jeff Davidson!!!


The first time I read Is There…, it sent me into such a mild depression that I couldn’t bring myself to finish the series. You see, just finishing high school, I was about to go off to college--a coed college, but college just the same. I was to be separated from all my old friends and my object of affection--not my boyfriend, but separated just the same.

This book was an unfortunate example that I could lose contact with my high school friends even though we promised to FRIENDS FOREVER! Jordyn no liked, bad medicine.

Fast forward to 2012. Upon re-reading Is There… a second time, I was less depressed.

First of all, Linda, Linda, Linda why did you go to Huntington? I mean, I get it. I get it, okay? Education is more important than your social life! You can make friends wherever you go! Real friends are loyal and will stick with you no matter where you go to school! I get it! But Jeff Davidson…there is but one Jeff Davidson and you let him go!

Hey, he could look like this one day!

I guess that’s not fair. In agreeing to be boyfriend-girlfriend, the imaginary contract clearly states that neither party is allowed to cheat. But he’s a twelve/thirteen year old boy. He has no integrity. Of course he’s going to go for Sue-Ann if she’s persistent enough. And Christ, is she. As much as I hate that little twat, she did the work and I’m sorry, Linda, but she deserves him. (I will admit that Sue-Ann’s only sins are being snotty to Linda. For all we know, she could be a much better match for Jeff. Just sayin’)

Seventh grade relationships die faster than carnival game goldfish, so I’m really only slightly saddened by the exit of Jeff Davidson. What hurts the most is the ending of Linda’s friendship with Darlene and Suzy. They’re were such good friends! Especially Linda and Darlene! They cried together and talked about periods! THEY WERE WHEBB!!!

Well, life goes on. Linda makes new friends who aren’t as “cool” as the members of The Crowd (my capitalization, btw). So what if Jan is underdeveloped and boys don’t like her? So what if Fran has frizzy hair and a “nutty” personality? So what if Roz…well, I don’t know exactly what’s “wrong” with Roz other than she hangs out with flat-chested Jan and crazy Fran. Whatever. Linda has real friends now, friends she’ll have until the end of the series!

Even though the word BOYS is a part of the title, this isn’t exactly a romantic story. It’s the story of how Linda goes to private school, loses her friends and boyfriend, and then makes new friends and gets a new crush in Mark. (Just Mark, he has yet to be given a last name). Oh, Mark…how…just…very bland you are. I know we haven’t really been given a chance to get to know him, but he seems to have no faults…other than liking that skank Sylvia. (What’s up with that?)

We have now entered the next phase in Linda’s love life; Older Boys. In the next book, watch as she chases after high school boys as it seems every girl in America does, except me. 

Useless Character List For My Enjoyment
  • Linda Berman - Protagonist (1-5)
  • Jeff Davidson - Linda's "boyfriend" (3-5)
  • Sue-Ann Fein - Linda's rival for Jeff (3-5)
  • Darlene Mason - Linda's best friend (3-5)
  • Suzy Kletzel - Linda's best friend (3-5)
  • Ken Wolfson - Suzy's crush (3-5)
  • Harley Silver - Darlene's crush (3-5)
  • Jan Zieglebaum - Other girl going to Huntington (4, 5)
  • Ira and Joey Berman - Linda's twin little brothers (1-5)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Berman - Linda's parents (1-5)
  • Jo Rondi - Big sister at Huntington (5)
  • Ms. Bouton - Linda's homeroom teacher (5)
  • Merl Marks - Rich friend from Huntington (5)
  • Helen Niven - Friend from Huntington (5)
  • Samantha Milken - Snotty girl from Huntington (5)
  • Mr. Lawton - Hot English teacher at 515 (5)
  • Mrs. Zieglebaum - Jan's mother (4, 5)
  • Rosalie "Roz" Buttons - Friend of Jan's (5)
  • Fran Zaro - Friend of Jan's (5)
  • Lisa Finklestein - Girl in the crowd (3-5)
  • Lawrence Carlson - "Mature" guy and later Darlene's "boyfriend" (4, 5)
  • Marvin Haven - Creep from Linda's building (3-5)
  • Mrs. Marks - Merl's mother (5)
  • Nora Whitmire - Merl's snobby and rich friend (5)
  • Carla LeClaire - Broadway actress friend of Mrs. Marks (5)
  • Ms. Jean Wise - Junior high division head the the Manhattan School for the Blind (5)
  • Harriet Crucker - Student at MSB (5)
  • Jeremy Layne - Student at MSB (5)
  • Lily Buttons - Roz's older sister (5)
  • Gary - Older boy Fran likes (5)
  • Mark - Older boy Linda starts to like (5)
  • Randy - Older boy and friend of Gary and Mark (5)
  • Sheldon - Older boy Roz and Jan like (4, 5)
  • Sylvia - Skank Mark liked earlier in the year (5)

Linda's Kiss List For My Enjoyment
  • Lawrence Carlson (4)
  • Jeff Davidson (4, 5)

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