The Wakefields are going to Mexico for five days, and since it's a few days before they leave and they haven't mentioned a sitter, the twins and Steven think they have the house to themselves. Jessica instantly decides to throw a party, but Steven planned to throw his own party, so they decide to combine parties. The only problem is that they have no money. They find a solution when Ned asks them to clean out the garage while they're gone. They can have a yard sale and keep half the profits with the other half going to charity.
Two days before they leave, Ned reveals that they hired a sitter named May Brown to stay with them. Jessica pitches a fit, but it's too late. She'll be there. They come home from school to find May waiting for them in the kitchen. She immediately gives them a list of her new rules. No more than one hour of television per day, nine o'clock curfew even on the weekends, and no snacking between meals. They can only have a glass of fruit juice if they feel hungry when they get home. They also have to get up at 5:30 in the morning and take a two mile walk at night.
No one is happy with the rules so they decide to revolt. Jessica dresses like Elizabeth because May can't tell them apart, and Steven makes coffee that he doctors up with cinnamon, Tabasco sauce, bay leaves, and some other crap. When she feeds them spinach and broccoli, Steven throws his out the window after he distracts her and makes her leave the room. The twins also set a bunch of alarms in her room for the middle of the night tuned to hard rock stations.
The day of the yard sale arrives, and Elizabeth puts a box away in the garage that has a bunch of antiques. She only sells a few things before Jessica comes home and takes over. Some random guy buys a wood rose in a glass case for $75 and leaves before Elizabeth comes out and realizes that it was Alice's descendant's rose. They try to chase down his car, but it's too late.
While all this is going on, Amy shows up with a new boyfriend who she met at the mall. She introduced him to Elizabeth who doesn't like him because he complains about the yard sale and kind of seems like an ass. Elizabeth checks with a bunch of antique shops and yard sales but can't find the rose. She meets Amy, Rob, and Todd for ice cream and stops by the last antique shop in town. May later flips out on her and accuses her of lying about where she was.
They still don't know what to do about the party, but Steven comes up with a plan. He makes a big stink on the day of the party and runs off. Jessica tells May that he once ran away to Los Angeles, but Steven later calls and says that he's stuck at a convenience store a few hours away. May rushes off to get him, and he walks through the door with party food.
The party winds up being a huge success, but the twins' friends start leaving early. Jessica catches Rob trying to steal some of her CDs, and when Ken calls him out on it, Amy breaks up with him. Aaron almost kisses Jessica, but someone starts a food fight and he ends up leaving. The twins hide out in the kitchen with most of the food, and May shows up. She storms upstairs and pack up her stuff, claiming that she can't help them anymore. They beg her for a second chance but she refuses.
The three are trying to figure out what to do next when May comes downstairs, blows a whistle, and makes everyone leave. She apologizes for being too rough on them and explains that she hasn't ever sat for older kids before. She usually watches younger kids, but she wanted to avoid the problems that she noticed her friends had with their kids.
The twins and Steven get up early the next morning and get the house cleaned up and in order. May shows up with Alice's rose in a bag. She tells them that she found out about it when she saw Elizabeth coming out of an antique store. Jessica makes her an honorary grandmother certificate, May points out that she spelled honorary wrong, and everyone has a good laugh before she walks off into the sunset.
*Ned claims that if they were going somewhere else, they wouldn't have a problem leaving the kids alone. Um, they're still 14 and 12 and firmly in need of a sitter!
*May leaves before the Wakefields come home, which seemed strange. Wouldn't she want to tell them how the week went or at least get paid?
*It's a little crazy that she can't tell them apart but only because she keeps bringing it up. She complains that they look too much alike and says she doesn't know what to do. It's not like they can change the fact that they're twins.
*The guy who bought the rose put a $200 price tag on it, but she talked him down to just $50. I call BS.
*It's kind of cute that Amy constantly avoids Rob and tries to spend as much time away from him as possible, but she doesn't break up with him because she wants a boyfriend. It seems pretty realistic. It's also realistic that Ken avoids her because he doesn't want to see her with another guy.
*This is one of the only SVT books that I've come across where there's a mention of Ken and football. The earlier books mentioned that he was shorter than the other students and loved basketball.