I never read the book before this, but this one sums it up perfectly. Sweet Valley Middle School hosted a TV dating show, kind of like “The Dating Game.” I find it gross that anyone would watch 6th graders dating, but whatevs. Elizabeth freaked out and couldn’t go on stage, so Jessica took her place and accidentally picked Todd. Patrick was supposed to pick his girlfriend Sophia, but accidentally chose Maria. Amy winds up with Aaron Dallas and Janet gets a dorky guy named Donald.
All of the couples get to spend the day at a new amusement park and if they make it back on the bus together, the school gets a free dance. Jess is excited because Lila keeps bragging about going to the park and she hasn’t gone yet. Since they load the kids on the bus right after the show, she gets stuck with Todd.
Liz and Sophia stay behind and overhear some workers talking about exposing cheaters. Since they both cheated, they rush off and sneak into the park. Jessica hates Todd, but has to be nice to him because he dates her sister and he thinks that she is Liz. She would rather cozy up to the host of the show, a teenager named Byron. When Liz gets to the park, she rushes off with Todd, leaving Jessica with Byron.
Maria and Patrick meet Marshall, who says he is Byron’s cousin, but in a sneaky way. They like each other, so Patrick lets them go off together. Sophia warns him about the cheaters, so he attaches himself to Maria and will not leave her side. Everyone ends up fighting over something.
Sophia hears Patrick pledging his love to Maria and flips out. Maria runs off in tears because she likes Marshall. Liz and Todd have a fight because he thought she wasn’t paying attention to him earlier. Oddly enough, Amy and Aaron and Dennis and Janet wind up as friends. Byron confronts Jessica, letting her know that he knows she isn’t her twin. Liz and Sophia hop on the bus and head home.
Maria is late getting back to the van. Byron tells them that if she doesn’t get back in ten minutes, the dance is off. Amy runs back into the park, tracks her down and makes her get on the van. Everyone goes back to the school and meets for the dance. Byron says that they all win because the deal was that the left with who they went with and since Jessica went and left with Todd, it counts.
Then, Byron announces that he is launching a new show that looks at the ups and downs of dating. He shows a bunch of video footage of kids fighting during the day at the park. Instead of being pissed off, they all think that it is hysterical. Elizabeth apologizes to Todd, Sophia apologizes to Patrick and they all dance.
Maria sneaks outside and finds Marshall. She apologizes for acting stupid and tells him that she likes him. They end up talking about movies instead of dancing. Byron sweeps Jessica off her feet and they share a bunch of dances, which makes her the center of the dance.
*I am confused because I read the last book in the SVT series and Jessica is pissed because Lila goes after Aaron, her sort-of boyfriend. In this book, she mentions that they kissed and he is kind of her boyfriend. Yet she doesn’t care that he goes out with Amy and throws herself at Byron.
*Apparently it is perfectly acceptable in Sweet Valley for 12-year-old girls to hop on a bus and take an hour-long trip alone because both Liz and Sophia do it, twice.
*The whole dance thing is ridiculous. If any of the kids screw up, they cancel the dance. BUT, they spent all day decorating and invited the whole school. Can you imagine the bad publicity if they cancelled it at the last minute?
*Again, I have to ask, why would anyone want to watching sixth graders dating? They plan two different shows around the idea and it skeeves me out.