I never read the book before this one, but the beginning pretty much sums it up. Elizabeth was supposed to go to prom with Devon, but she asked Jessica to help her so she could go with both Devon and Todd. Todd took Courtney Kane to make Elizabeth jealous, but they ended up spending time together. Devon found out the truth and hung out with Lila, so everyone pretty much hates everyone.
Enter the Battle of the Junior Class, a totally made up event where different schools compete against each other the weekend after prom. Everyone is conveniently at Lila's house for a big pool party when Ken Matthews and Olivia Davidson show up with news about this year's event. It's a random talent show where each school can basically do anything they want.
SVH kids immediately start fighting over what to do, but they finally decide on a dance thingy, whatever. The only rule is that they can only have eight students participate. Sweet Valley winds up with Liz, Jess, Devon, Ken, Olivia, Lila, Maria, and Winston. Devon makes and decorates the sets, while Ken just runs errands, so Winston is the only one in the show.
They show up at Palisades High and find someone else in their assigned practice space. The girls from El Caro refuse to leave, and their leader, Erica, even makes a few rude remarks about Olivia's clothing. Since Olivia is a huge pushover, she just meekly walks away and agrees to practice somewhere else. One of the few adults in charge shows up, Erica lies about SVH agreeing to trade with them, and Olivia just goes along with her story. The one bright spot is a girl named Tia who tries to be friendly to them.
This book is so horrible that I think I'll just give each person a different paragraph. Liz thinks that being in the show will give her time to spend with Devon, but he just kind of ignores her. They randomly touch a few times, and he jumps away like she's on fire. They finally end up alone and almost kiss, but Devon tells her that he's basically sick of her jerking him around. He decides that they shouldn't date because she clearly isn't over Todd.
Jessica runs into this hot guy named Josh from Palisades. She does some hardcore flirting with him, but then she starts see Christian everywhere. Josh comes to pick her up from the date, brings Christian, and she passes out. Just messing with you. It's actually Christian's brother who she never met before. He was at the school visiting old friends.
Ken has a run-in with Erica and since she helps him pick up stuff he dropped, he thinks she's cool. He mentions this to Olivia and keeps mentioning it even after she tells him that Erica was rude to her. Erica does it again when he's not around, and Jessica spills grape juice all over her shirt. Ken then asks Olivia when she's going to apologize for what Jessica did.
Olivia immediately turns into one of those whiny and needy girls. She thinks that Ken wants someone pretty and popular like one of the Wakefield twins. She cancels on him for the dance and gets annoyed that he doesn't offer to stay with her, and she cries multiple times because it's clear that he doesn't love her anymore. Olivia even tells Liz that they're about to break up.
The girls have multiple encounters with the El Caro girls, and they find that the school ruined their sets with orange and black paint. They only find out because Tia tells to check it out at the dance. Everyone freaks out about the costumes, but Olivia took them home with her. They also decide to do something in return.
Jessica sees Christian in her room that night, and he tells her that he came back to warn her about rivalries and what could happen. She doesn't think he's really there, but they make out and fall asleep cuddling in her bed. When she wakes up, she calls the other girls and cancels the plan. Oh, and she also finds out from Josh that his school plans to do something special and have a slideshow that ends on a picture of Christian.
Their whole special performance involves a twin dance thingy, but on the day of the show, Jessica gets wicked sick. While she's throwing up, she tells Olivia to take her place. This also involves having a harness attached to you and dropping from the catwalk. Olivia flips out but agrees to do it.
Ken, who can't figure out why Olivia is pissed at him, tells Todd all about how nice Erica is while helping him. They hear some El Caro girls talking about screwing up the big show, follow them, and learn that Erica plans to turn off the lights when Jessica gets to the catwalk. He suddenly realizes that Erica is a huge bitch and runs to help. They find Olivia on the catwalk, the lights go out, and he goes up to rescue her. Yeah I know, it doesn't make sense to me either. Olivia apparently can't walk two feet in the opposite direction or stand there.
Ken and Todd drag Erica out on stage and tell everyone what happened. She fake cries, her boyfriend runs up, and he threatens to knock Ken down. A bunch of other people rush over to fight, Jessica flips out, and she begs Josh to put on the slideshow with the picture of Christian. Seeing his face reminds all the SVH people of what happened. The SVH students stop fighting, the Caro kids make fun of them, and then a bunch of Palisades kids stand up for the SVH students.
Suddenly, we're at the Dairi Burger. Palisades won by having someone read a poem over their slideshow. Um, okay? Jessica and Jason stand behind with Josh for pictures of the winners. Wait, what? They show up just in time to celebrate. Even though five seconds ago they all thought Olivia was about to die, now they just want to talk about the twins' upcoming birthday party.
*Did every school in your county have prom at the same time? All of the schools in my area have proms at some point within a one-month span but not on the same night or weekend.
*Liz says that she's doing the noble thing and she'd do anything for Devon even if it meant walking away so he can be happy. Um, that's nice of you Liz given that he already ended things with you when you decided that.
*So, Christian had a brother who looked almost exactly like him and never bothered to tell her that? I know that he mentioned his brother was super smart and pretty much just like Liz, but I find it hard to believe that he would have a doppelganger.
*Oh, and Jason (the brother) was in boarding school, which is why he didn't come back for his brother's funeral. Hm, pretty sure they would give you time off for that.
*Jessica is pretty ballsy in this book. She thinks about how Ken deserves someone pretty and peppy like her instead of Olivia. Maybe if you hadn't cheated on him...
*She also wonders why they broke up. Seriously? With all your sudden memories of Christian, you would think that she'd remember cheating on her boyfriend with him.
*Why is it that the girls in these books always think about how they're cheating on their boyfriends with new guys? You're also cheating on your new guys with your boyfriends. Ever think about it that way?
*Olivia agrees to make costumes for everyone in the show. Seriously? She can make eight costumes in less than two days?
*I don't understand this at all. Each team needs eight people, but what the hell did eight people do to make a slideshow and read a poem? And why did that win when they made a huge deal about how people spent hours working on this?
*And why did Jessica have to stay after if they were only taking pictures of the winners? She clearly didn't win anything.
*I love how some of these books use the twin thing because it gives them an advantage, like how no other school has ever seen twins before. Look, I went to a high school that had roughly 300 people total and even we had a set of twins.
*I am so glad I stopped reading these books around the 120 mark. I think I would have gone crazy later on in the series.
*It's convenient how Jessica suddenly never got over Christian's death. How many guys has she dated since he died?
*Ah yes, and she apparently had Christian's surfboard on display in her room since his mother gave it to her after his funeral. I'm pretty sure that would have popped up at some point.