Sweet Valley High #25: Nowhere To Run
Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are having lunch at school and giddy with excitement because their grandparents are coming to visit from Michigan and they haven't seen them in over a year. It's cute how enthusiastic Jessica is about it, but also seems a bit out of character for her to be that excited about grandparents, to be perfectly honest. While discussing their upcoming plans, Elizabeth "couldn't help overhearing" the conversation going on between Dana Larson and Droids drummer Emily Mayer at the next table. Girl please, I bet she almost slid right off her cafeteria chair trying to listen.
Emily's new stepmother Karen has just had a baby and things are super tense at home. Emily feels like Karen is trying to push her out so it'll just be Karen, Emily's dad and the new baby in the house, so she suddenly tells Dana all this, gets upset and runs off. Later that day, Elizabeth is proof reading her latest column for The Oracle in the office after school when sexy Mr Collins arrives.
"I'm glad you're here," Elizabeth told him. "I could use some help on the article I'm writing on the tenure system."
Yeah, because sixteen year old high school students totally give a fuck about the details of their teachers' employment contracts. Great article there, Liz.
Mr Collins tells Elizabeth that Emily Mayer wants to try out for the editorial staff on the school paper, and that he told her Liz might be able to help her, whereupon Liz reacts like Emily has shown up and pissed on her doorstep.
"Emily!" Elizabeth exclaimed. "But why does she want to work for The Oracle? She's a musician, not a journalist!"
AND IT'S NOT LIKE YOU CAN BE BOTH, JESUS EMILY GET BACK IN YOUR BOX ALREADY.
Emily shows up, but looks like she's been crying. "Elizabeth caught her breath when she saw the girl. She looked awful." Well you'd better tell her how terrible she looks Liz, seeing as that's like your favourite thing to do. For once in her life, Liz manages to reel it in and instead asks her why she's thinking about joining the paper. Emily explains that it was her stepmother's idea and asks Liz if she can confide in her, despite the fact that they don't actually know each other that well.
"I've always admired you so much," she added wistfully.
STOP ENCOURAGING HER. GAWD.
Emily explains that her stepmother, Karen, has it in for her and is trying to convince Emily's dad to send her off to boarding school. She also hates Emily's drums and won't let her practice at home because of the baby (who is named Karrie by the way, which seems like criminally lazy naming on the ghostwriter's part) and thinks that writing is a much better pursuit than music, so Emily is just trying to do whatever Karen wants her to, so she won't have an excuse to kick her out.
However, Karen is a total wagon and keeps moving the goalposts, insisting on a curfew for Emily, which means she won't be able to practice with The Droids during the week, freaks out when Emily plays her drums even though it's within the agreed time slot and lands Emily with looking after Karrie on a night that Emily has plans, because she "doesn't trust" babysitters and knows that Emily can't risk saying no and kicking off a huge row.
Meanwhile, the twins are having a lovely time hanging out with their grandparents, who are of course, the most perfect old people ever. At a family dinner, their eyes twinkle no less than three times within two pages. It must be like trying to eat beside a discoball. While all this is going on, Alice Wakefield has started to feel like she doesn't spend enough time with the girls and gets all sad when she springs last minute plans on the twins but they're already doing something with the grandparents. She comes home early to make a surprise steak dinner for everyone, but the twins are going for Chinese with Grandma and Grandpa, and Alice and Ned couldn't possibly join them because Ned doesn't like Chinese food. Like, just stick the steak in the freezer and Ned can either get the Chicken Maryland or stay at home and make his own fucking dinner. Come on, Alice.
Anyway, Emily totally fancies The Droids bass player, Dan. He's been covering for her when she can't make it to band practice because of Karen's dumb curfew, although she's been keeping her troubles at home a secret from him as she doesn't think he'd be interested in her if he knew what a mess things were. Also, Emily has always told people in school that her mother died when Emily was young, but the truth is that she left without any explanation and fucked off to Chicago. Elizabeth is the only other person that knows this, because she's so amazing that she's easier to confide in than any of Emily's actual friends. This is explicitly stated, by the way.
So, Dan has arranged to call over to Emily's house after school so he can check out the new cymbals she ordered from LA and Karen will be out of the house at a doctor's appointment with Karrie, so what could POSSIBLY go wrong? Only Karen arriving home with the baby before Emily realised and immediately screaming at her for having a boy over without her permission and totally humiliating Emily by bringing her mother into it. She tells Emily that she's turning into her mother and that she won't have her baby growing up in a house with a tramp, and all in front of Dan. Karen! You fucking bitch! She then runs off upstairs crying, like she's the victim somehow and poor Emily is left there sobbing as Dan awkwardly leaves and it's all just HORRIBLE.
A distraught Emily then calls Elizabeth at home and tries to tell her what happened but breaks down crying.
"You sound terrible Emily, why don't you come over right away and we can talk about whatever it is that happened?"
Just couldn't help herself, could she. Emily decides to walk over to the Wakefields' house and honest to god, we get an ENTIRE page of Emily thinking about how great Elizabeth is, because when your life is falling apart, the transcendent Wakefield twins are the only thing to keep you going. Emily arrives at the house and ends up telling everyone at the dinner table all about what happened. She asks if she can stay with them "for a while", which is pretty awkward, considering that she and Liz are essentially casual acquaintances. Ned says that she can stay for the night, but only if she calls her father to let him know where she is. However, when she calls her dad he's clearly taken Karen's side and won't listen to anything Emily says, demanding that she come home or else he'll put her drums out on the street. Not cool, Dad.
|The absolute hack of Emily here. I mean, she looks nice and all, but she's the drummer in Sweet Valley's hottest band who are practically Jem & The Holograms, not some square tennis player who probably wears their jumper knotted around their shoulders. COP ON, EMILY.|
The next day at school, Dan tries to talk to Emily, but she's acting all cold and says she's quitting The Droids and selling her drums. She asks Liz to put an ad in the school paper for her drums, at which point Liz bombards her with questions about what happened when she got home, despite the fact that Emily just said she didn't want to talk about it. Elizabeth and Dan then decide that Emily giving up music is a terrible idea, as it means so much to her, so they come up with a plan where Dan will buy the drums for safe keeping. They also keep referring to her as a kid (Elizabeth: "You poor kid!" / Dan: "That crazy kid") which is weird and pretty patronising, considering they're all the same age.
At home, Karen continues to be mad at Emily for essentially no reason and when Dan calls to say that a friend of his will buy her drums, Emily is upset that he doesn't try to talk her out of it. Her father comes to talk to her that evening and when she tells him that she sold her drums he accuses her of being a martyr and says that he had hoped the three of them could come to a reasonable solution, which is a bit fucking rich, considering that he hasn't once listened to Emily's side of the story and appears oblivious to the fact that his awful wife is Lady Tremaine-ing the living fuck out of his daughter and is the one who has pushed her to this point.
For the next while, all Emily does is go to school and babysit Karrie. One evening, Karen gives Karrie a doll with beads for eyes because she's a fucking idiot, and the baby ends up swallowing one of the beads and starts to choke. Karen freaks out and starts shaking her and won't let go, so Emily ends up having to slap Karen to make her let go of the baby and then saves Karrie's life. Emily's dad arrives in to see the baby screaming crying, Karen being hysterical and Emily about to faint and immediately accuses Emily of trying to murder the baby or something. Karen doesn't bother her hole explaining the situation or even being the tiniest bit grateful, she just stands there crying, so Emily's dad, as usual, won't listen to Emily when she starts to explain and just tells her to get out, because he's a dickhead.
Emily ends up back over at the Wakefields' place, with her money from selling her drums and a plan to head for Chicago to try to find her mother. She calls the apartment where her mother had been living the last time they were in touch, four years previously, but it turns out that her mother remarried and moved to Mexico. Grandma Wakefield then comes in and tells Emily some conveniently relevant story about how Grandpa Wakefield had a son from a previous marriage when they got together and how difficult it was for her and this random uncle of the twins who is never mentioned again in the entirety of this series to get along at first, particularly after she had Ned.
While all this is going on, Elizabeth called Emily's dad to let him know where his daughter is (Jessica calls her a rat for doing so - ha!) and he turns up at the house with Karen and Karrie in tow. Karen apologises for being a horrible cunt to Emily and begs her forgiveness, explaining that she was jealous of Emily because she and her dad were so close. Emily immediately rushes over and hugs her and the baby and all the Mayers end up in a group hug, although her dad didn't actually apologise for being a tool and accusing her of trying to hurt her sister, but everyone's happy now so I guess that's all just FINE.
Meanwhile, Alice's weird jealousy of all the time the twins are spending with their grandparents is resolved when Ned tells the twins that their mother feels left out lately, so they ask her to help them plan a going away party for Grandma and Grandpa and that fixes everything in that completely pointless subplot that went absolutely nowhere. The Mayers are invited to the party too and Elizabeth surprises Emily by having The Droids set up in the dining room with her drums and the band then plays a set because these people are all fucking ridiculous. Afterwards, Emily figures out that Dan was the one who bought her drums and she tells him he's wonderful.
The look she gave him said it all. She had a feeling the two of them were going to make some pretty special music together.
There was a CRIMINAL lack out outfits in this one. Literally nothing! A blue scarf is about all we got out of it and I for one am DISAPPOINTED. Do better, ghostwriter.
Things I counted:
Number of pages: 153
References to the twins' blue-green eyes: 2
References to the fact that the twins are blonde: 2
(TWO? How are we supposed to remember that the twins are blonde with only TWO references?)
Amount of times Karrie is referred to as "little Karrie", in case we forgot she was a baby: 19