Sweet Valley High #65: Trouble at Home

SVH065The moral of the story: One week of overtime at work will ruin your marriage.

The Big Deal: Wakefield family trip to Tahoe.


Maria Santelli’s father is running for mayor of Sweet Valley and the Wakefields are behind him one hundred percent. Then Mr. Santelli is accused of accepting bribes after a large sum of money is mysteriously deposited into his bank account. He and Ned Wakefield are good friends, so he asks Ned to defend him in his upcoming trial. At first Ned doesn’t think it’s a good idea because he doesn’t practice that kind of law, but the kids convince him to do it. Alice is unsupportive because it’s going to take a lot of his time and energy.

The Wakefield clan is falling apart. Ned is working long hours on Mr. Santelli’s trial and Alice’s interior decorating firm is trying to land a big project designing a new wing at the mall, so she’s working long hours as well. When Ned and Alice are together, they mostly ignore each other. Jessica has discovered a 900 number for teenagers to meet each other and she’s been spending hours talking to some kid named Charlie. Why she and Charlie don’t just exchange numbers and call each other for free, I don’t know. Liz starts doing all the grocery shopping and whatnot and then getting pissed that nobody is helping her. Jessica points out that nobody asked her to do that stuff, so she should just chill out.

Liz decides to make a great family dinner to bring everyone together again. She decides to make…spaghetti. Way to go for the gold, Liz. Ned comes home all depressed because Mr. Santelli’s trial was suspended or thrown out or something, Liz ruins the spaghetti and then Alice comes home happy because her firm got the design job. Ned snaps at her and says he guesses she’ll be home even less now than she has been lately. Ned and Alice are acting like Todd and Elizabeth. I can’t stand either of them. Like, nothing’s happening in this book except them fighting. This may end up being a short recap.

Mr. Santelli withdraws from the race and Ned blames himself for ruining the man’s career. Meanwhile, Alice has become kind of a celebrity for landing the mall project. The whole family goes to a fraternity dinner with Ned and everyone makes a fuss over Alice, which makes Ned feel sorry for himself. Ugh, I hate him. Some jerkface associate Ned works with makes a comment about Ned’s case getting thrown out. Ned storms out of the restaurant. The rest of the Wakefields follow him and Alice tries to tell him to go back inside, but Ned yells at her for making him go to the dinner. Then he gets in his car and drives off. (Don’t worry, they arrived in separate cars.) A couple days later, Henry Patman and Mr. Santelli’s financial adviser come by the Wakefields’ house and ask Ned to run for mayor. Ned tries to find Alice, but she’s just pulling out of the driveway to go to the office. So of course they have a fight about how much she’s been working and he doesn’t even mention running for mayor.

The Wakefields have been planning a trip to Tahoe for the weekend, but now Alice is acting like she won’t be able to go. Liz talks to Julia, Alice’s assistant, and asks her to help convince Alice she needs a break. Julia says she’ll do it as long as Liz gives her a phone number to get in touch with Alice in case of emergencies while she’s gone. Their cabin doesn’t have a phone, but Liz gives Julia the number to the main inn.

Once they’re all up in the mountains, everything seems to be going great. Then Jessica, who overheard Ned’s conversation with Mr. Patman, mentions something about Ned running for mayor. Alice freaks out that Ned hasn’t said anything about it to her and they have yet another fight. Then some kid rides up on a bicycle and tells Alice she has a phone call at the inn. Ned is pissed off that she gave out the number. Later, Liz tells Alice that she was the one who gave Julia the number. Alice forgives her and tells her Ned is just looking for reasons to be mad at her for some reason.

They all decide to go horseback riding the next day, but Alice gets another phone call. They all wait for her for a long time, then she comes back and says she has to go home to fix some kind of disaster at work. She and Ned fight, he says he’s going to run for mayor, she says she doesn’t care, he threatens divorce if she leaves. She leaves.



Re: Ned contemplating taking on Mr. Santelli’s case:

“You’d probably have to work long hours,” [Alice] added, “and right now, right after I’ve just taken on more responsibilities at the office, I’m not really sure…”

Ten pages later, after Alice is chosen to head up her design team:

“Isn’t this going to mean awfully long hours? I’m sorry to say this, Alice, but right now—especially with my commitment to Mr. Santelli—is it really such a good idea for you to be taking on this much extra work?”

What a dick.

“If you leave now, you’re leaving me. You’re leaving our marriage.”

Yes, he says this to his wife right in front of his children. What an awesome guy.

The Cover: Aw, poor little orphan children. The twins look all sad and hungry, like they’re about to go out on the streets begging for food. Steve, naturally, looks bored.


  • Jan aka Girl Talk Read June 19, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Steven looks like Mr Spock again! Incidentally- one of my favorite SVH books as a kid!


  • Jan aka Girl Talk Read June 19, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    and OMG Shannon- you are right Ned and Alice are sooo Todd and Liz in this book and gosh Ned acted like a TOOL!


  • Kate June 23, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    I was going to make fun of the family by making some snarky comment about how blond the girls are and how dark brown Stephen’s hair is and how that must mean Alice was sleeping around…

    but then I remembered that my husband is dark and his brother is blond and thought better of it.



    Shannon Reply:

    Wow, they really are different!

    You have to remember that Steve looks like “a younger version of their father.” I’m reminded of this in every book, I just like to spare my readers that redundancy, ha.


  • Ned Wakefield June 23, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    It’s all Alice’s fault y’know. Little do the ghosties know that I take her outside our split-level ranch house and beat the crap out of her for her antics. You think hypocrisy and verbal abuse are bad. . .


    Shannon Reply:

    I knew it! Oh, Ned, you’re terrible!


  • Sandy August 3, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    My thoery is Liz looks for qualities in a man similar to how her father acts. Ned has tantrums, Todd has tantrums and she feels complete.


  • Darren August 17, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    I wonder if maybe Henry Patman tried to undermine the Wakefield marriage for he still had a thing for Alice? Maybe that’s why Henry’s wife Marie was up in arms about it in a later 3 part arc that had the Patmans divorcing because Henry was allegedly married to Mrs. Wakefield, very briefly. I assume the Patmans resolved that issue and dropped any issue with the Wakefields if there was one.


  • Jenn October 7, 2010 at 2:12 am

    Jeez. They are thinking about divorce after a couple of bad days? The Wakefields would never make it in the real world.


    Anonymous Reply:

    I think they did the same thing they do with every serious issue, just throw it in there haphazardly.


  • wendy July 28, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    I think the ghost writers meant to say Lake Arrowhead, not Lake Tahoe. There is no way they could leave Lake Tahoe at 6pm and make it home for dinner, especially when Sweet Valley is somewhere between Orange County and San Diego.


  • Krista November 2, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Um, I’m not a lawyer or anything, but isn’t a case getting thrown out a good thing if you are the defense (as Mr. Santelli was)? You’ve proven the case has no merit, or something like that? So why’s Ned so depressed?


  • beej April 25, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Ned and Alice Wakefield are overgrown brats.

    2 or 3 weeks of not spending much time together after 20 years of marriage is cause for divorce?Really?


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