Sweet Valley High #25: Nowhere to Run

The moral of the story: Abusive stepparents are really just frazzled and need your cooperation and understanding. Also, if you’re a musician, you can’t be a journalist.

The Big Deal: Going away party for Grandma and Grandpa Wakefield


The twins’ grandparents are in from Michigan for a visit. Alice gets all weird about how excited the twins are to see them. She decides she’s going to work less so she’ll be home more often. She comes home early one night planning to make a big dinner for everyone and then gets all depressed and annoying when she finds out the twins are going out to dinner with the grandparents. She keeps planning things without telling anyone and then getting all upset when the rest of the family has made other plans. Then she cries about how useless she feels now that the twins are growing up and don’t need her anymore and I so don’t care. Alice finally tells Ned what her problem is and he tells the twins. They decide the best way to bring their mother out of the doldrums is to ask for her help organizing a going away party for the grandparents. And of course it’s a huge success. Ugh, on to the real story…

Emily Mayer (drummer for the Droids) is having problems with her stepmother Karen. Karen has gotten more strict since Emily’s half-sister was born eight months ago. To try to stay on Karen’s good side, Emily talks to Liz about joining the newspaper staff. She doesn’t really want to but Karen thinks writing is better than playing drums. Liz repeats to herself over and over that Emily is a musician, not a writer, just to pound into young girls’ heads that you can only be interested in one thing at a time. Emily confides in Liz and tells her that her mother ran off years ago. Emily’s been telling everyone she’s dead.

Things get decidedly V. C. Andrews-like here. Emily has a crush on her band mate, Dan Scott. He comes home with her after school one day to check out her new cymbals. Then Karen comes home and starts screaming about bringing boys home without permission. She says Emily is turning out just like her mother and she isn’t going to let her new baby grow up in a house with a tramp. All this right in front of Dan. What. A. Bitch.

Emily calls Liz, who tells her to come right over. When she gets there, all the Wakefields are at the dinner table. Emily sits down with them and asks if she can move in. (Keep in mind she and Liz were just acquaintances a week ago.) She tells them all her sad story and Ned says she can stay over that night as long as she calls her father after dinner. When she calls her father, he says he’s going to put her drums out on the street if she’s not home in an hour. Bastard. Emily goes home.

The next day at school she does that thing where she acts like a zombie and insists everything is fine. Robin Wilson did it after PBA blackballed her, Enid did it after she found out George wanted Robin, and now Emily is doing it. I fucking hate these kids. Anyway, Emily wants Liz to run an ad in the paper: she’s selling her drums. Liz talks to Dan, who tells her to go ahead and run the ad because he has a plan. He buys the drums, claiming they’re for a friend from another school, and stores them for when Emily changes her mind. Emily tells her dad the drums are gone and he accuses her of being a martyr. He’s kind of a dick. Emily spends the next week or so doing whatever Karen wants, mostly baby-sitting, but it’s not helping Karen act like less of a bitch. She finally can’t take anymore and tells her dad what Karen said about her mother. He gets totally pissed off, but at Emily instead of Karen. He gives her some spiel about respecting her stepmother and all that and now it’s clear to me that Emily really is living in a V. C. Andrews novel.

Karen gives the baby a doll with beads for eyes. One of the beads comes off and the baby swallows it. Karen totally freaks out and Emily has to slap her to get the baby away from her and do the Heimlich. Emily’s dad comes out of his study when he hears the commotion and demands to know what happened. He accuses Emily of trying to hurt the baby and Karen is still too freaked out to set him straight. Mr. Mayer tells Emily to get out of the house so she takes the money she got from selling her drums and leaves. She calls Liz from a payphone to come pick her up.

At the Wakefields’ house, Grandma Wakefield tells Emily a story about when she met Grandpa Wakefield. He was a widower with a kid when they got married. The kid, Louis, was eleven when Ned was born. Blah, blah, my, how this story parallels Emily’s. Granny tells Emily when Ned was born she was unfair to Louis because she was new at being a wife and mother. Just then Emily’s dad and Karen show up. Karen has finally seen the error of her ways and apologizes. There’s a big family group hug, Emily rejoins the Droids and gets her drums back and the Grandparents Wakefield have a terrific going away party. What. Ever.

Setup for the next book: Some sophomore we’ve never heard of before who works at the supermarket tells Liz he made a delivery to the Morrows’ house and saw Regina, who is supposed to still be in Switzerland. It’s very mysterious. Liz drives over there. The gates are locked so she goes to Bruce’s house. He calls Regina’s number and a woman claiming to be her aunt says she’s not there. That’s odd, Regina doesn’t have an aunt…

Also, the cordless phone is introduced to Sweet Valley. Bruce Patman shows his off to Liz.


Actually, there wasn’t much in Elizabeth’s closet that interested Jessica.

Then why is she trying to borrow something of Elizabeth’s in every single book, including this one?

The Cover:

Emily: I’m really upset. And my neck kind of hurts.

Liz: Really? Maybe it would help if I stand uncomfortable close to you, put my hands on you and look at you as if I want to rip your clothes off.

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  • nugirl77 May 5, 2009 at 4:48 am

    I agree Shannon: Regina Morrow was beautiful, absolutely stunning, on the cover of #18 Head Over Heels. I think it’s why I bought the book in the first place (OK, I was also curious about Bruce Patman being changed by LOVE!). Then I saw THIS cover – huge disappointment. She’s so Plain Jane. I resent shallow books that don’t present nicely! 🙂


  • nugirl77 May 5, 2009 at 4:51 am

    Oops, posted the above to the WRONG book! 🙂


  • Jenna May 6, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Liz is hoping that Emily is emotionally distraught enough to treat her like the god she is in her own mind. Liz is so selfless. . .

    The only reason I kinda like this cover is because it reminds me how Lila would look if she had any emotional problems. . . or a pinched nerve.


  • Kylie90210 August 3, 2010 at 12:41 am

    Agh, I hated Karen’s parents, and the fact that Grandma Wakefield’s story is so inconsistant with the Wakefield Legacy. AGH.


    Anonymous Reply:

    I know they could have reviewed the older books when making the legacy.


  • Natasha April 16, 2016 at 12:57 am

    I thought Emily was being unreasonable herself and needed to be more cooperative and understanding.


  • Alex Kennedy November 28, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Alice’s behaviour reminds me of Annie (7th Heaven – TV programme) when she was going through menopause.


  • Jessica W is an a Bad Person August 4, 2017 at 8:14 am

    I was about to purchase this book on Amazon, but then I realised it would only make me angry because of the way Emily’s witch of a stepmother acted. I feel sorry for some blended families – where the children are expected to get along and it is often the case that one of the siblings gets demonised. Just because the parents want to have a life together does not necessarily mean that things will be okay for the children.


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