Sweet Valley High #66: Who’s to Blame?

SVH066The moral of the story: If your whole family is fighting, they’ll probably all make up if you run away from home.

The Big Deal: Costume party


Before we were so rudely interrupted by Bruce’s sad excuse for a story, Ned and Alice Wakefield were in the middle of splitting up and Jessica was spending all her free time talking to a guy named Charlie, who she met on a teen party line. Ned had just decided to run for mayor of Sweet Valley. This book opens with Ned moving out of the Wakefields’ lovely split-level home and into a crappy apartment that makes Liz want to cry. Liz wants to cry a lot of the time, actually, because she’s determined to blame herself for her parents’ breakup.

Alice gets the phone bill and Jessica has to tell her it’s so high because of the party line she’s been calling. Alice tells her she’s suspending Jessica’s allowance and making her get a part-time job to pay off the bill. Jessica thinks that’s unfair, so she complains to daddy and he offers to talk to Alice about softening the punishment. At school, Amy and Lila are hounding Jessica about Charlie and making fun of her for having a boyfriend she’s never even met, so Jessica tells them she and Charlie are going roller-skating on Saturday. This is a great big lie, and Jessica decides that she’ll have to convince Charlie to go roller-skating with her, and if he comes up with another excuse not to meet her, she’ll tell him it’s all over between them. Luckily (I guess) for Charlie, he agrees to meet her at three o’clock on Saturday at the roller rink, and he’ll be carrying a red rose.

Liz does poorly on an English paper and wants to tell Mr. Collins what’s going on, but doesn’t feel like talking about it. Then she goes for a bike ride and ends up staring at her father’s apartment building for twenty minutes. When she gets home, there are two messages from Todd on the answering machine. Liz forgot she was supposed to go shopping with him to help him pick out a birthday present for his mother. Liz apologizes and says she wants to stay home with her mom. Todd tells her to remember he needs some attention sometimes, too. What an incredible jackass. So now Liz is feeling guilty about that. After school on Friday, Todd tells Liz he got tickets to some show and wants to take her out that night. She tells him she wants to be with her mother and he gets all disappointed and tells her it seems like she doesn’t want to be around him anymore. She kind of says, “Yeah, you’re right.” She breaks up with him because she’s so disillusioned about relationships and she’s sure she and Todd would break up sooner or later anyway. She’s also feeling like such a screw-up lately that she figures Todd is better off without her.

Ned calls for Alice and they have a fight about Jessica, then Alice yells at Jessica for going behind her back to Ned. A few days later, Jessica asks Lila if she can borrow some money to buy a new outfit for her date with Charlie. Lila says no, but tells Jessica how to play her father for money and gifts now that he’s probably feeling all guilty about the separation. So daddy buys her a suede vest and “western-looking” jeans and she goes off to the roller rink. Amy tags along just to make sure Charlie is real. There’s a guy with a red rose who introduces himself as Charlie, but Jessica thinks his voice is different than it sounds on the phone, and he acts all stiff and weird. Then Charlie calls her later that night to tell her what a great time he had and Jessica assumes he’s just bad at first dates. They have dinner on Wednesday, and Jessica tells him afterward that she doesn’t want to see him again, though she’d still like to be friends and talk to him on the phone. One day, she calls the party line again and talks to one of her phone friends, Sara. Sara tells Jessica that the guy she met wasn’t really Charlie. The real Charlie doesn’t think he’s good-looking enough for Jessica, so he got a friend of his to pretend to be him.

After a conversation with Jessica, Liz decides breaking up with Todd was a good idea, and she’s going to play the field from now on. She goes to school on Monday wearing one of Jessica’s miniskirts and by lunchtime she has a date with Paul Jeffries, who is apparently a womanizer, at least according to Enid. On Tuesday, she goes out with a different guy. Jessica starts to get annoyed that Liz is getting so much attention from the guys at school. She picks a fight with her after school one day and Steve gets involved. The whole thing escalates until Jessica says their parents’ breakup is all Liz’s fault because Liz gave Alice’s assistant the phone number at their cabin in Tahoe.

Liz tells Enid she’s going to run away from home. She figures either her grandparents in Michigan or her aunt and uncle in Texas will take her in. Enid tells her she’s crazy and offers to let her stay at her house. Liz agrees and writes a letter explaining that she’s staying with “a friend.” She and Enid deliver the letters to Ned and Alice. When Ned gets his, he goes to the Wakefields’ house and everyone is all frantic about where Liz could be. Enid’s phone is busy all night and nobody else has seen her. The next morning, Liz feels much better after a whole night of relaxation. She puts Enid’s phone back on the hook and waits for her mom to call. Alice comes to pick her up and the whole family sits down to talk. Liz finally gets it through her thick skull that she’s not to blame for her parents’ breakup.

Things are almost back to normal, or at least on their way to normal (I can’t tell if Ned’s moved back home or not), but Jessica wants Liz and Todd to get back together. She enlists Steve to help her. On Sunday afternoon, Jessica gets a look at what Liz is wearing and then dresses the same way. She calls Todd and tells him to meet her at Secca Lake to talk. At the lake, she tells him she wants to get back together. He says he loves her and wants that, too. Liz hears the whole thing because Steve made her take a walk with him to a spot where they could eavesdrop. Jessica pretends she needs something from her car and gets up, letting Liz take over from there.

There’s a costume party at school and Jessica is all pissed that she doesn’t have a date. She knows Amy doesn’t have a date, either, so she decides that she’ll take Fake Charlie and Amy can take Real Charlie to the party. She calls Charlie up and tells him she knows the truth and somehow manages to convince him to go to the party. Brook (Fake Charlie) is as boring as ever and is dressed as a golfer. Charlie is a pirate, Jessica is an “intergalactic princess,” and Amy is a cheerleader. That’s right, she just wears her cheerleading uniform. Jessica expects Charlie and Brook to be fighting over her all night, but it doesn’t happen and it makes her furious. (Setup for the next book:) She decides she’s going to help her father win the race for mayor so all her “friends” will be jealous when she’s the daughter of such an important person.


“But I need your help choosing a birthday present for my mom, remember? What am I going to do now? Her birthday’s tomorrow!”

Hey, Todd, how about you shop for your mother yourself? Jackass.

“Why should this time be any different from usual? I’m impulsive and Steven’s stubborn and only Elizabeth is perfectly reasonable.” She glared at her sister. “Why don’t you stop and listen to yourself for once? You sound so self-satisfied!”

Tell her, Jess!

True, he wasn’t classically handsome. He had a bumpy nose, he was a little too thin, and his eyes were spaced too close together, but there was something very appealing about him.

Jeez, I’d hate to see what Jessica would think of real people who live outside Sweet Valley.

The Cover: I love the tagline. “Elizabeth is running away!” Yeah, she spends the night at Enid’s house. Hardly the dramatic act I was envisioning. This cover ranks right up there with Jessica’s Runaway cover.

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  • Abi June 23, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    What’s up with these fools thinking that running away is the way to go?


    Shannon Reply:

    Seriously. I need to make a tag for people running away. Just off the top of my head I can think of three books about stupid kids running away.


  • tracy london June 23, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    How is it that no one in the Wakefield fam could figure out that Liz was at Enids house?? Where the hell else would she go?


    Shannon Reply:

    I know. For all her “popularity,” I can’t think of anyone besides Enid who would let her crash at her house at a moment’s notice like that.


    Anonymous Reply:

    They do figure it out but when they try to call they get the busy signal because Liz left the phone off the hook.


  • rachierach June 23, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    your blog is awesome, i love it.


    Shannon Reply:

    Thank you! It’s fun to write, too.


  • Merrie June 23, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    You know Liz was so messed up in this book? She doesn’t have a Liz Wakefield who can swoop in and fix everything with just a few condescending looks and pats on the shoulder.

    Oh, the curse of being the only Liz Wakfield.


    Lelandria Reply:



  • Sadako June 23, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Jess would faint if she had to meet real real people. Like Cornelius on Planet of the Apes ugly not Mary Anne on Gilligan’s Island ugly.


  • Jenna June 23, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    She had to settle for boring old Enid to come to her rescue. And even then, the reunion still took place at the Wakefield home!


  • HelenB June 23, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Ugh, Todd. Of course when your girfriend’s parents have just split you should be demanding she spend all her time thinking about you! Also, if I was Liz I’d be pissed that Todd still couldn’t tell me and my sister apart!


  • Shannon June 23, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Merrie, you’re so right! Poor Liz. It almost makes me feel bad for her.

    Sadako, I agree. She’d set one foot in the real world and see things she’s never seen before (like acne) and just fall right over.


  • nugirl77 June 24, 2009 at 7:16 am

    What’s an intergalactic princess? Is Jessica virginal Princess Leia in the white robes, or kinky Princess Leia in the metal collar and bikini? 😉

    I think Amy should have gone to the costume party as … Amy. She plays herself so well, she doesn’t even know she’s acting! Geddit?! 😀


  • Shannon June 24, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Jenna, I know, poor Enid. It’s funny, she’s hardly even in the books these days, but the ghostwriter still claims she and Liz are best friends.

    Helen, seriously! I would be SO mad if I knew my twin could impersonate me well enough to fool my boyfriend. I’d start getting all kinds of ideas.

    nugirl, I have NO idea what an intergalactic princess is. I think she had silver tinsel or something in her hair, if that helps.


  • Jenna June 25, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    My previous comment didn’t post. . . I probably eff’d up trying to post a link of some intergalactic princesses.



    Shannon Reply:

    Yeah, it went to spam for some reason.

    I love Romy’s dress. I’d totally wear it, intergalactic princess or no.


  • Krista November 2, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Why don’t they just go over there then? And where the hell does Liz get off taking another family’s phone off the hook!?


  • Gia January 14, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    So wait – didn’t Todd’s mom have a bday in 15 deceptions. isn’t that when he caught her out on a date with Nicolas Morrow?


  • Alex Kennedy July 15, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Liz really annoyed me in this book. She is clearly an intelligent girl. Why should she feel responsible for what happened to her parents.


  • Alex Kennedy March 1, 2017 at 8:40 am

    OMG!!! Liz did poorly on an English paper? Is there such a thing? Mr Collins should have given her a sympathy grade. For such a smart twin, she acts like a fool. Only six year olds run away from home. Of course the divorce is not her fault. How could she even contemplate such a thing. I am more surprised that she is able to even recognise Negligent Ned and Absent Alice as they are away so often!!!


  • Natasha April 22, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Todd was so needy! It was all about him. He wasn’t supportive at all.

    Jess was bad in this one-she thinks she’s so clever manipulating her poor father for money.


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