Alice doesn’t live here anymore, or #25 Nowhere to Run

The ghostwriter of this one FAILS AT LIFE.

I know it is like crying wolf when I keep saying that “this is the worst SVH book ever” but maybe this one is it. The ghostwriter not only failed basic literature classes, but also was either raised in Antarctica or inside a plastic bubble because no one in reality ever acts like this. It’s like an unfunny episode of Full House.

I can barely write about it. But, the cover already tells us several things:
1. Emily is a brunette, and is therefore not as good as a Wakefield.
2. Liz is concerned for her, so you know that Emily’s life must be complete shit.
3. Neither of these teens have breasts.
4. Liz’s barettes do not match her outfit exactly, so she probably woke up late and was in a hurry.

Here we go. Emily Mayer, who is the drummer of the droids, grew up with her father after her mother left them when Emily was a kid. Because SVH is all up in useless gossip, she is ashamed that her mother left and told everyone that she died. Mr. Emily just married a heinous bitch named Karen who just had a baby named Karrie. Yes, that’s her name. Karen bosses Emily around and makes her babysit all the time and always blames her for everything and is basically acts like the stepmother from hell. Mr. Emily is a complete pushover and does not notice any of this and tells Emily to be nicer to Karen, because Karen is having a rough time. It seems like Karen even hates her own baby, but that’s another issue. Karen forces Emily to quit the drums and it all comes to a head when Em and her crush/The Droids bassist are practicing in Emily’s basement and Karen comes down and yells at Emily. Now, it can be embarassing when your parents yell at you in front of your friends, but for Emily it’s like the sign of the apocolypse.

Of course, she runs to Liz for help. She doesn’t even know Liz, but of course she “hears” that Liz is good at helping people with their problems. I’ll bet it’s because Liz hangs up fucking flyers in the bathroom with the little tear-off tabs with her home number. Karen is with Karrie when the baby starts choking and Emily performs the Hemlich maneuver (I guess she was paying attention to the poster in the high school cafeteria) and saves the baby. Mr. Emily comes home and sees the situation and thinks Emily hurt the baby and Karen does nothing to defend her. What the fuck? This just went from family drama to Law and Order. Emily plans on running away but finally Karen and Pa come and beg her to stay and Karen admits she doesn’t know how to raise her own child and she is sorry and Mr. Emily sees the error of his ways. Oh yea, and Emily sold her drums earlier but her crush Dan bought them from her to eventually give back to her and of course they get together at the end. Because how else would you know that the book was ending if there wasn’t a new couple formed?

Elsewhere, Ned’s parents, Grandma Wakefield and Grandpa Wakefield, are visiting from Michigan. And yes, the twins and Steven call them “Grandpa Wakefield” and “Grandma Wakefield” so there’s that. Like they want to be sure to note that they are actually Ned’s parents. [Were they mentioned in the Wakefield Legacy?] Jessica is enthralled with them and talks of nothing else. At first I was thinking, wow, Jessica is actually respectful of her elders, but it’s actually because she is jealous of the other kids who get to see their grandparents often. Leave it to Jess to make it about herself. They do crazy shit like go hot air ballooning and eat Chinese food with the twins. We get some passages from Alice’s point of view, and she starts to feel like a bad mother because the twins would rather spent time with their G-parents than her. First of all, they are visiting for like a week, so what the fuck Alice, just let them spend time together. Second of all, you JUST NOW REALIZE that you are a bad mother? How about the fact that one of your daughters is the biggest cocktease in the county? Or the other one is a condescending asshole? Ugh. Why even bring up this plot? Ned tells the twins this and what is their solution? They plan to throw the g-parents a going away party and ask their Mom to help them out. That automatically makes Alice feel better. Not only do the twins solve everyone else’s problems, but they also have a special power over adults.

Of course, Emily runs straight to the Wakefields after she runs away and of course, Grandma Wakefield forces her on her bosom and demands she talk to them. And then the Mayers come over to grovel towards Emily there so the Wakefields can look on smugly. Charles and Caroline Ingalls pulled this shit all the time.

What’s the moral of the story? If you don’t have a hetero-nuclear family, you are shit out of luck. And babies choke sometimes. Oh, and parents, you should always bend over and take it from your kids. I think the kids are taking lessons from the Stephanie Green school of controlling your parents.

Grade: F

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36 thoughts on “Alice doesn’t live here anymore, or #25 Nowhere to Run

  1. Anonymous says:

    I live in MI and that is how everyone I know calls their grandparents! i.e. “Grandma Last Name.” I wonder if this is like some strange MI custom that I never realized.

  2. Anonymous says:

    No worries, it’s not insulting. I just never realized this might be a Michigan phenemenon. I wonder if the ghostwriter was from there. I think it’s just as dumb when people call their grandparents made up names like Poppy and Nonny and such. It’s just what you grow up with I guess!

  3. Carly says:

    I called my grandparents with their last names when I was a kid, but not in their presence. Just to distinguish between the two to my parents. And my cousin called my grandma “Nina” instead of “Nana” so now everyone just calls her that.

  4. Merrie says:

    I called my grandparents by their last names. But my parents are divorced, so it was the best way to keep them straight. My kids have 14 grandparents (husband also comes from divorced parents and we both have grandparents still living), so they have various names for everyone. Needless to say, birthdays rock!

  5. Magpie says:

    I’m not sure I’ve ever actually read this one, but I have read the summary version in “Elizabeth’s Secret Diary”, and that pissed me off enough!

  6. southcitysadie says:

    I’m from northern Illinois, DH is from southern Illinois, and we always called our grandparents by their last names too, rather than by nicknames or short versions of Grandmother/Grandfather. In their presence, though, it was always “Grandma” and “Grandpa.”

    Poor Emily. Not only is she accused of hurting her half-sister, but she is wearing that enormous polo. This may be one of the most condescending Liz covers.

  7. Amber Tan says:

    “It’s like an unfunny episode of Full House.”

    Wait…there are FUNNY episodes of Full House?! 😉

    “…she “hears” that Liz is good at helping people with their problems. I’ll bet it’s because Liz hangs up fucking flyers in the bathroom with the little tear-off tabs with her home number”

    BWAHAHAHAHA!!! 🙂

    “you JUST NOW REALIZE that you are a bad mother? How about the fact that one of your daughters is the biggest cocktease in the county? Or the other one is a condescending asshole?”

    And, let’s not forget that your only son is a TOOL, Alice.

    “plan to throw the g-parents a going away party”

    Is that a typo, ihatewheat? You really meant dance or pool party, right? 😉

    “Emily runs straight to the Wakefields after she runs away and of course, Grandma Wakefield forces her on her bosom and demands she talk to them.”

    So that’s where Liz gets her Little House on the Prairie Syndrome. It’s a genetic predisposition, just like Bruce Patman’s propensity for attempting date-rape.

  8. Count Tisiano says:

    I believe that, according to ‘The Wakefield Legacy’, Ned grew up in Sweet Valley. His father was from New York, and met his (Jewish) wife during the war, after which they settled in her (Hannah Weiss)’s sunny Southern CA hometown. Perhaps the Wakefield grandparents moved to Michigan after Ned grew up? (Though why would anyone ever leave Sweet Valley…?) I guess it’s yet another instance of classic SV lack of continuity, from the keen ghostwriters who brought us such moments like the time Olivia Davidson came back from the dead (having been offed by the Wakefields refridgerator during the Earthquake!) to attend the SVH Christmas reunion party which was held during the twins’ freshman year of college…

  9. Magenta Galaxy says:

    “Mr. Emily comes home and sees the situation and thinks Emily hurt the baby and Karen does nothing to defend her. What the fuck? This just went from family drama to Law and Order.”

    I think, simply “what the fuck” sums up this entire book very well! Because each and every thing that happens in this one…is a big, giant “what the fuck” kinda moment!

  10. Magpie says:

    “His father was from New York, and met his (Jewish) wife during the war”

    This technically makes Ned Jewish, right? Since his mother is Jewish. I have read the Wakefield Legacy about 20 times, and I never picked up on that before!

    Funny how it is skimmed over in the rest of the series.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is my first time commenting because I never even read the Sweet Valley books when I was a kid (but I love your blog anyway)! Aren’t you not supposed to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on choking infants? I think you’re supposed to slap them on the back. So I guess Emily actually was hurting her sister after all.

  12. Cheryl Slade says:

    So how come Emily is supposedly in this wild, hip high school band but she had to borrow one of Liz’s most boring polo shirts for the cover?

  13. Eli says:

    Haha, glad you caught the non-matching barrette thing. It was the first thing I noticed. How can Elizabeth be wearing yellow barrettes and an olive green shirt!?! That just blew my preconceived Sweet Valley High notions out of the water. My other observation was along the lines of Cheryl Slade’s…THIS girl is the drummer in a rock band? Srsly!

  14. kiwimusume says:

    Dear cover illustrator,

    Emily is referred to in numerous books (and I’m positive that that includes this one) as “petite”. So why is she the same size or taller than Elizabeth?

    No love,

    Me.

    PS: What the others said about the barrette boo-boo. Unless Jessica suddenly developed a fetish for olive green barrettes, in which case please disregard this part.

    Also! There is a really annoying, obnoxious girl on YouTube called Emily, who claims to be fluent in Japanese (despite not knowing the difference between but and so, eg “This book is a pile of suck but thedairiburger gave it an F”) and makes inane “educational” videos about the Japanese language. Her dream apparently is to become a D-grade singer in Japan, which makes me wonder if this is the Emily from this book and the Droids didn’t pan out.

  15. MaggieCat says:

    “And, let’s not forget that your only son is a TOOL, Alice.”
    Not her problem. Sweet Valley operates on a strict pattern of gender conformity so that’s Ned’s fault.

    Re: Olive Barrettes– I choose to believe she is wearing yellow pants. Otherwise my faith in the order of the SV universe will be irrevocably damaged.
    (Also, I’m sad to say I totally did that when I was young– socks/ponytail holders/jewelry were always colour coordinated with the outfit. I outgrew that around about 12 though, Liz.)

  16. Katrina says:

    When I was in high school I was baby sitting a child that choked. It involved Barbies and hard candy that I probably shouldn’t have given her, but it was still scary. Then gross when she puked when it dislodged. I think this is why I hate kids.

  17. Amber Tan says:

    “And, let’s not forget that your only son is a TOOL, Alice.”
    Not her problem. Sweet Valley operates on a strict pattern of gender conformity so that’s Ned’s fault. ”

    Hee, MaggieCat! I stand corrected. 🙂

  18. Amber Tan says:

    “This technically makes Ned Jewish, right? Since his mother is Jewish.”

    Yes. Yes, it does (blue and silver Christmas tree notwithstanding).

  19. Beth says:

    Hey! Don’t snark on the tree, ok?! 🙂 j/k!
    I loved this book! Why? I do not know, it could be my affection for drummers,but whatever….

  20. I like toast says:

    I don’t know….I’m from Michigan and I never called my grandparents by their names. The one on my mom’s side was granny and the ones on my dad’s side were grandma and grandpa. Of course, my dad’s parents lived in a different country, so it wasn’t all that hard to keep them straight.
    I didn’t realize until these reviews just how condesending Elizabeth was. I’ve always hated her (I’m probably the only person on earth that really likes Jessica), but geez. Just about every cover has her mothering somebody. Good Lord. They need some counselors or something in that school.

  21. Magpie says:

    “blue and silver Christmas tree notwithstanding”

    Maybe it’s actually a part of the pagan rituals regularly carried out by the Wakefield clan? 😉

  22. christine c says:

    goodness! i just found this site and finished reading all the svh recaps. SO MUCH FUN!!!! thank you for making me laugh out loud. love this!!!! i’m going to share this site with some high school friends.

  23. Penny says:

    Michigan girl here, too…and much to my chagrin, I realize that I have a “Popi” and a “Nani,” which are pronounced….precisely like Nonny and Poppy. Hee. (The other side is just plain ol’ Grandpa and Grandma, no last names either way….but I’ve definitely, definitely heard plenty of that among my friends.)

  24. Dwanollah says:

    JEWISH?!?!?!

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist another Little House on the Prairie reference!)

    I’m still pissed that they left the whole Grandma Wakefield and Louis thing out of the Legacy books. Stupid ghostwriters. Although I remember actually LOOKING FORWARD to that when I got the Wakefield Saga book, and being disappointed when it fell under the Sweet Valley Continuity Sux Bus, which shows how lame I am.

  25. Amber Tan says:

    “Maybe it’s actually a part of the pagan rituals regularly carried out by the Wakefield clan? ”

    Probably. Hey, anything is possible in the Land of Suspended Disbelief, right? 😉

    “JEWISH?!?!?!

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist another Little House on the Prairie reference!)”

    Bwah, Dwanollah! 🙂 That was Mrs. Olson in the episode in which Nellie gets engaged and her beau reveals that he is indeed Jewish, right? The very same episode where he cracks eggs over Nellie’s head because she’s being such a bee-yotch IIRC.

  26. Sarah C. says:

    I liked that Grandma Wakefield is pursuing a Ph.D in History at the University of Michigan. Um, that’s a great, competitive program–it’s not really designed for retired grandparents who want to fill a few spare hours.

    money quote:
    “For the first time since she was a little girl, Emily felt like she was part of a family, a real family, with a father and a mother.”

    The word “and” is even italicized, just so we get the importance of what Ihatewheat calls “the hetero-nuclear family.” Because that’s what a real family is in Sweet Valley, and if you have an extraneous Mexican grandmother, you must pretend she is the cleaning lady.

  27. Vanessa Saxton says:

    I remember hating this book. I also remember thinking that there is no way Liz is on the cover. I swear it was Alice because she looks about 40.

  28. Goldray says:

    This book sucked so bad, I’d rather reread all three of Jessica’s Secret Diaries and all three of Elizabeth’s Secret Diaries than the first two chapters of this one. That’s pretty damn bad.

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