I did a little happy dance in Half-Price Books when I found this one on the clearance shelf. I heard that the store no longer buys SVT or BSC books, but every time I go in, I find at least one book I don’t have. Imagine my surprise when I discovered TEN BOOKS that I didn’t have and all for just 50 cents each.
This one starts with Jessica and Ellen finding a metal box buried in the backyard, when they attempt to help her little brother bury his pet bird. I would really love to know what happened to poor Ellen Riteman. Did she move away? Get pregnant as a freshman? Anyway, her brother Mark wants to open the box right away, but they don’t want to share with him. Jessica pretends to sprain her ankle again and sends him back to her house for her crutches.
As soon as he leaves, they cut the lock off the box and finds photos, letters and $200. They agree to split the money and when he comes back, they pretend that they just got the box open. Mark wanders off and they read through all the letters. A man named William wrote them to Jane, asking her to run away with him and not marry the man her parents wanted her to.
Jessica comes home later that night with a ton of new stuff, including a new Walkman just like the one she ruined a few weeks earlier. She lies and tells Elizabeth that she found it at the mall. Ellen comes to school the next day with a pair of fancy gold earrings and tells everyone that her aunt sent them to her as a gift.
Elizabeth is in the process of running for class treasurer against dorky Peter DeHaven. He decides to get new tennis shoes like everyone else wears, but they all make fun of him for wearing the shoes with brown socks and brown pants. Then he buys flashy surfer shorts and gets picked on for leaving the tag in place.
The school is selling candy bars to pay for a sixth grade field trip to Disneyland. Amy is in charge of the money, but the money box mysteriously goes missing. Liz keeps seeing all of Jess’s new things and suspects she stole the money. She confides in Amy, who gets pissed off and tells Caroline. Everyone decides that Jessica and Ellen are guilty.
Ken feels bad and starts spending time with Liz because everyone hates her. Amy gets pissed off again and quits as her campaign manager, going to work for Peter instead. Mark hides in Ellen’s closet and when he overhears them talking about the money, he threatens to tell their parents. He does, but they pretend he made the whole thing up.
Jessica and Ellen start feeling bad because everyone thinks they stole the class money. They decide to come clean and tell their parents the truth. They see a woman coming down the street and since she looks just like the woman in the picture, they freak out and think she is a ghost.
The woman comes up and tells them that her grandmother lived in the house as a young woman. They tell her the whole story and she smiles because she’s in a similar position. The story makes her realize that she should marry the man she loves, even though her life will be hard. Their moms show up together because they were called into the school. Laura lets them keep the money and takes the box. The moms decide that Mark should get the leftover money.
Amy does a complete makeover on Peter, getting him in cool clothes. He does a rap at the debate and everyone seems to like him. They accidentally get locked in a supply closet and find the missing trip money. Amy apologizes, makes up with her and later makes up with Ken. They turn the money in and because everyone likes Jess again, they vote for Liz and she wins the campaign.