Ken Matthews is the hottest thing to hit football in years, but he might not maintain his status for much longer. The big centennial picnic happens in a few days, and he's in danger of failing English. If he can't pass, he won't get to play in the big game. Luckily, Liz offers to tutor him so things should be okay. The ridiculous thing is that he just has to write a short story, which is a huge part of his grade. As long as he writes a story and submits it, he'll pass.
The problem is that he's now dating Suzanne Hanlon, and she doesn't have a whole lot of time for the things he likes. She likes foreign films and fancy restaurants, and he doesn't seem to like anything except football. She does invite him to come to dinner at her house, but things go wrong. Suzanne tells him not to bring up sports because her dad doesn't like athletics, but when he brings up business, her dad gets a little cold.
Elizabeth shows him a story she worked on and asks for his opinion because she apparently never shows her work to anyone. He loves the story and wants to work on it but keeps putting it off. Suzanne invites him out to a movie with her friends, and he thinks he can work on it beforehand, but then she suggests they go out to dinner. By the time he gets home, he falls asleep on his desk. Ken winds up writing a new front page and turning it her story as his own.
Liz probably wouldn't notice, but Mr. Collins decides to run the story in the big centennial edition of the paper. She doesn't want to out him so she says nothing. Mr. Collins decides to not even tell Ken about the story, but someone else does. He feels so bad about what happened that he wrote a new story about a student who cheated, and he gets Liz to replace her story with his in the paper.
Everyone reads the story, realizes what he did, and gossips endlessly about it. Suzanne dumps him because she doesn't understand how he could do such a thing, and Cooper calls him in to the principal's office. Mr. Collins loved the new story and would have given him an A had he turned it in on time. They decide to average out the F for the stolen story with the A to give him a C so he can play in the game. Totally fair.
Ken plays in the big game, wins, and everyone decides that he's a hero again. Suzanne runs up and tells him that she's proud of him. She decides they should start dating again and immediately starts talking about how they should meet up with her friends and skip the picnic. Ken decides to dump her because they have nothing in common and he'd rather play football.
The B-plot is all about Jessica. Bruce put her in charge of the picnic, and she delegated a bunch of work to Lila, but Lila skips town to hang out with her aunt in New York. She tries to get Liz to help out, though her twin says she should plan on doing the work herself. Jessica forgets to confirm with the caterer and doesn't have food. She makes a ton of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and hides because she thinks people are pissed. Bruce makes a big announcement about how she helped them reduce the budget and give more money to charity, and she laps up the praise like a puppy.
*I wonder how long after this Liz and Ken had their torrid affair? You know, the one never mentioned until years later.
*Elizabeth actually suggests that they keep up the lie by telling them that she helped him work on a new story, but he decides to take the "fall" anyway.
*Nice to know that SVH really only cares about sports. Cheating is cheating, and in the real world, he would be suspended if not expelled.
*Elizabeth works in the kissing booth and raises over $100. That doesn't seem like something she would agree to, and it actually seems like something she would find sexist.
*Suzanne is seriously snobby for a high school junior. She takes him to a film with subtitles from the 60s, makes him eat at four-star restaurants, and talks wistfully about playing with her butler when she was a kid.
*How do these kids keep getting so much time off from school??? Lila literally takes off a week just to go shopping with her aunt.
*Elizabeth's big story is about a kid from New York who comes to Sweet Valley and marvels at the wonders of his new town. Yup, that sounds about right. After all, what does New York City have on Sweet Valley?