Caroline Pearce is a huge gossip and the kind of girl that no one wants to ever be around. Since she was feeling lonely one night and wished she had a boyfriend, she decided to just make one up. Her fake guy is named Adam and is from Cold Springs, a town a few hours away. Adam plays baseball and absolutely loves her. To make the letters more convincing, Caroline used lines from Robert Barrett Browning poems to his wife Elizabeth.
When the book opens, she tells her sister, Anita, all about the party that Bruce threw the night before. Since Anita was super popular in school though, it's not all that exciting to her. All she really cares about is that her sister is hanging out with the Wakefield twins and going to the beach with them. Caroline made that part up though, and when she stops by their house, Liz says she can't go and that Jessica is still asleep, so she goes by herself. She does stop long enough to see a letter in the trash can that blew over from Alice talking about a job offer in San Francisco.
Just as she's about to leave for the day, she sees Jess hanging out with Lila and Cara and invites herself over. She talks about how Annie almost broke up with Ricky because of some stuff that happened at the party and how John is in danger of getting kicked off the paper. Though she leaves for a minute, she comes back to hear Jessica doing a really rude impression of her and tries to laugh it off. Caroline then brings up the letter, and Jessica tries to act like it's nothing and that she already knew about it.
Jessica immediately tells Liz and they then talk to their parents. Some firm loves Alice's work so much that they offered her a much higher salary to work for them. Ned thinks it's a good idea and even started talking to law firms up there. Jessica throws an absolute bitch fit and rushes off to cry herself to sleep because her parents are so totes mean to her.
Liz comes to her and tells her that they need to come up with a trademark scheme. This leads to them making dinner that uses ingredients and dishes from all their parents' favorite restaurants. They then sign them up for a ton of mailing lists about Sweet Valley and start talking about all the crime in San Francisco. Jessica also pretends that her car broke down in this valley that her dad loves and has him come to get her so they can talk about old times. In the end though, their parents naturally decide to stay and revisit the idea after the twins leave for college.
Caroline finally tells Anita about her new beau, and Anita is so happy for her that she helps her pick out some new clothes and takes her to get her hair done. Jessica gets really pissed at her over the whole letter thing and starts thinking that Adam is fake. She tells her suspicions to Lila, and they start scheming to make her admit it. They get her to say that Adam will come to a party that Lila plans. Since he has no money, Lila even buys him a bus ticket.
There's some big play competition that Liz wants to enter, and she conveniently decides to use a bunch of Browning's poems in it. While reading her play to her family, Jessica realizes that a lot of the poems were in Adam's letters, which is more proof that he doesn't exist. She gets Caroline to read one of his letters in front of Liz and then gloats about how Caroline made up the whole thing. Liz thinks he just used the poems until Caroline admits the truth. She asks Liz not to read the play that weekend, which is part of the competition, and Liz says she'll think about it.
Caroline finally tells Anita the truth, and her sister feels kind of bad for her. She then lectures her on being a gossip and how she needs to change if she really wants friends. Liz gives her the same speech too. She also gets in trouble because she saw Bill Chase getting books from a teacher and spread a rumor about how he got help on his play. After getting lectured, she apologizes to him and learns that he just got a big screen test. Bill tells her that she can tell anyone she wants.
Hoping that she can pretend to spend the weekend with Adam and get out of the party, Caroline lays low for the weekend, but Jessica sees her coming out of a grocery store 20 minutes outside of town. She comes to school on Monday with a Cold Springs tee-shirt and says Adam gave it to her. While this satisfies most of the girls, it doesn't work on Jess. She and Lila pretty much demand that Caroline bring Adam to the party.
After talking to Liz once again, Caroline admits that Adam stole the poems in the letters but says that he's real. Liz is disappointed that she didn't tell the whole truth but relieved when Caroline tells her to read her play. She does read it in front of the whole crowd and wins first place. I like to think it's because Bill dropped out to focus on his screen test.
Cut to the night of the party. Caroline shows up in a sleek green satin dress and looks so good that most people don't recognize her. She gets up in front of everyone to tell them that Adam isn't real, but then a good looking guy who looks just like the guy she described steps up, kisses her, and introduces himself as Adam. His real name is Jerry, and he's a friend of Todd's from another school. They have such a good time together that she feels bad about lying and makes another announcement about who he actually is and how there is no Adam.
Caroline then runs off to cry, but Jerry tracks her down. He tells her that what she did was really brave and gives her another kiss. They spend some more time together, and he asks if he can really write to her. Oh, and Regina is now dating Bruce, which freaks everyone out.
*Ned points out that with both twins going off to college soon that they could really use the extra money. Given that Jessica basically loses a semester because she goes mental and Liz quits to run off to London, they really will need that money. Not to mention the fact that they'll have THREE kids in college and you know Jess ain't getting no scholarships!
*Given the number of times Jessica tried to run away from home or thought about running away, you'd think she might be a little excited at the prospect of moving, if only for the new guys.
*Liz's play is about the relationship between the two poets, but she checks out every single book of poetry either wrote to do it. She then puts in huge chunks of their work in her play. What the hell did she actually write?
*Jessica is such a mega bitch in this book! I get her being upset over Caroline telling people about the letter, but she acts like the chick ruined her life. Even Liz wonders what her deal is.
*Lila thinks Jerry is so cute that she cuts in on him dancing with Caroline, but he shoes her off and tells her that he's a one woman man. Love him!
*Liz lecturing Caroline on being a gossip is kind of ridiculous, especially given that Liz is actually a gossip columnist.
*Actually, everyone lecturing her is stupid. These girls constantly talk about each other and behind their backs all the time. If Caroline didn't say stuff to them, they'd just find out from someone else.
*Annie was supposedly mad at Ricky because he promised to drive her to the dance in his dad's Cadillac but showed up in his old car, then she broke her dress strap or something, he stomped on her foot, and then she caught him talking to Maria.
*Caroline feels bad when the other girls talk about how lame Winston is because she had a crush on him once upon a time. That's one of the few couples in these books that would actually make sense!