Sweet Valley High #38: Leaving Home

The moral of the story: It’s totally okay to try to sabotage your sister’s chances of getting into a really great school. She’ll get in anyway and then she’ll have to forgive you.

The Big Deal: Get Rich Quick party at Winston’s


Liz wants to go to Interlochen, a boarding school in Switzerland, for her senior year. Everyone else thinks she’s crazy for wanting to leave Sweet Valley. I’m just going to point out that Interlochen is in Michigan and leave it at that. Jeffrey is upset about the Switzerland thing and Liz thinks the best way to handle it is to show him her brochures and make him see how much it means to her to go. Even Liz’s parents don’t want her to go.

Winston has a lottery ticket, bought for him by his father, and he’s having a party during the drawing. Liz notices the first three numbers are 712, which makes her think of Jeffrey because his birthday is July 12. Winston and Maria go to a convenience store to get snacks for the party and they see a poor old man who can’t afford to buy his granddaughter a bag of cookies. Somehow Winston and the old man get their coats mixed up. At the party that night, Winston can’t find his lottery ticket, but finds one in the old man’s coat. It happens to be the winning ticket. Liz is confused because she thought his ticket started with 712. She asks Winston about it and he tells her his father had gotten him two tickets.

Winston doesn’t know what to do about the lottery ticket. He finds out where the old man lives and goes to his house, which is in “the poorest part of Sweet Valley,” to return the jacket and explain the lottery mixup to him. But Jack Oliver hasn’t been following the numbers and doesn’t even know he’s won. Winston rationalizes that the man doesn’t feel cheated or anything so he should just keep his mouth shut and the $25,000 is his. But he feels bad and buys Jack’s granddaughter a doll and has it sent to her anonymously.

Enid and Liz argue about Switzerland, then Liz and Jeffrey argue about it too. Everyone is being ridiculous and getting pissed at her for wanting to leave them all behind. Moreover, nobody can believe she’d want to leave a place as perfect and terrific as Sweet Valley. Then Enid and Jeffrey talk. They both feel bad about not being supportive of Liz and decide to show their support by putting together a scrapbook for her full of awesome Sweet Valley times. They use their lunch period to go to a craft store for some scrapbook glue. Jeffrey is supposed to have lunch with Liz, but he writes her a note telling her he and Enid are running an errand and sticks it in her locker. She doesn’t get the note because some sophomore boys snatch it and throw it away. Lila tells Liz she saw Jeffrey leave with Enid. Liz gets jealous.

Steve and Jessica decide to sabotage Liz’s chances of getting into Interlochen. Someone will be coming to the house and the high school to interview her friends and family, so they’re going to act like jackasses so the interviewer thinks Liz can’t possibly be as wholesome as she seems. When the guy, Mr. Sterne, comes to the house, there’s a motorcycle parked in the driveway, Steve hasn’t shaved and pretends he can’t function in college because it’s so far away from his family, their parents are late and Jessica is dressed like a whore. Elizabeth is livid. The next day, Jessica dresses exactly like Liz. She has enlisted the help of all her guy friends and she keeps running into Mr. Sterne, a different guy on her arm each time. Then, while Liz is meeting with Mr. Sterne, Steve keeps calling the school, pretending to be different guys, and asking for her. Mr. Sterne tells Liz her behavior is unacceptable. Liz is crushed. Then she looks out the window and sees Jessica dressed like her and understands. She is, once again, livid. She gives Steve and Jessica a piece of her mind, then goes for a jog. She decides to go past Jeffrey’s house and apologize for being so distant, but when she gets there she sees Enid’s car in the driveway. She assumes Jeffrey has forgotten all about her already.

Winston (remember Winston?) finally goes to the lottery people and explains the mistake, then goes to Jack Oliver’s house to tell him he’s the real winner. Jack thinks Winston is the finest young man he’s ever met. Lila’s mad that he gave back the money without having bought her a single present.

Liz is screaming at Jessica and Steven again when Mr. Sterne shows up unannounced. Jessica and Steven called him and explained what they did, and he thinks it speaks to Liz’s character that they love her so much they’d do anything to keep her from leaving. They offer her the scholarship. Then Jeffrey and Enid come by with their scrapbook and Liz realizes she’s been a real jerk. So she turns down the scholarship because Sweet Valley is “even more magical” than Switzerland.

Give me a break.


“They’ll never let her go. Trust me, Jess. Remember what happened when I wanted to leave school to join Bob Rose’s cruise ship?”

[the next page]

“Remember how concerned we were when Steven wanted to leave school to join his roommate on that cruise ship?”

Right, because going to a prestigious boarding school in Switzerland is the same as dropping out of college to work on a boat.

The Cover: Holy makeup, Liz! It’s a boarding school interview, not an audition at the strip club.

Does Sweet Valley even have a strip club?

Tags: , , , ,

  • Abi May 6, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Whoa! Jeffrey has the same birthday as me! I always knew I liked the guy, even if he did make the mistake of living in Sweet Valley.

    Actually, Shannon, there is an Interlochen (Interlaken) in Switzerland:

    The only reason I know this is because I went there on vacation.


  • Sadako May 6, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    I thought of the other Interlochen, too.

    Also, wow-Liz looks positively waxy on the front cover.

    Did not know that not being slutty meant you couldn’t get into a school. Man what’s Jessica gonna do now?


  • Jenna May 6, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    “Lila’s mad that he gave back the money without having bought her a single present.”

    Lila is the only person in Sweet Valley with rational thought processes.


  • HelenB May 6, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Weirdly, one of my favourite series of school stories is about a prestigious boarding school near Interlaken, Switzerland. Perhaps the ghosty has the same taste in reading as me?!

    This one of the few books where I feel bad for Liz. Apparently the reason she’s over-endowed in caring-about-other-people’s-business is because no one else has an ounce of compassion for her!


  • girltalkread June 5, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Wow this is reminding me of when Carol Seaver on Growing Pains wanted to go to Columbia but Maggie and Jason had their hearts set on Boston College b/c that is where they went to college, so Mike concocts that plan to hire those scrubby no tooth people to pretend to be Maggie and Jason, and Carol acts like some deliquent slut. LOVE that ep!


  • amy .L. June 28, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    i really like the book that i am reading now it is called sweet valley high, and by the way i have the whole collections.wow i really can’t believe that elizabeth is going to switzerland, also she has a boyfriend named jeffery that she is in love with, each day has gone by so fast, and then later she’ll have to leave them, that make jeffery feels so bad , and that is why these two people never talk for a long long time in a century.


  • Vivian July 21, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    HelenB, which story is that (located near Interlaken)? I really want to read it now!


  • Sandy July 31, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Why is it when a note is left behind it always gets blown behind a desk or snatched and thrown away. If they only had text messaging back then….


    Anonymous Reply:

    Then the text would go to the wrong person


  • Kristine November 25, 2009 at 7:52 am

    I like the sub plot about Winston and the lottery ticket.

    Again, Jeffrey showed what a wonderful boyfriend he is. Another point for Team Jeffrey 🙂


  • […] Morrow shows her a brochure about the Interlochen school, she knows it’s like totally fate (like Shannon pointed out in her review, the Interlochen school is in Michigan, but whatevs, Sweet Valley).  The school is internationally […]

  • Alex Kennedy July 11, 2016 at 6:43 am

    Liz’s friends all behaved poorly. She has the chance of a lifetime and they completely blew it for her. I understand that Jessica wants her sister to stay home. Their plan was quite juvenile.


  • Alex Kennedy January 14, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    I know that I am being VERY VERY petty, but aside from the first SVH cover (ie think it was Jessica), I always hated the twins’ hair. I liked the way in which the twins were portrayed in the TV series.


  • Post a comment

    Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.