After what was supposedly several months but only feels like a few weeks, Tricia Martin is finally ready to die. Since her family sucks totally and completely, only the Wakefield clan is on hand to bid her goodbye. Jessica tells her to "take care" because she doesn't know what to say to a dying person, and Tricia makes a big deal out of how Steve is one of the good ones and how his parents raised him right. Wonder if she would feel the same way after learning how fast he moved on.
When the rest of the family leaves, Tricia makes Steve promise that he'll look after her sister Betsy. Betsy is just super troubled and has a good heart, but she doesn't show it very often. After he agrees, she pretty much dies. Cue Betsy running into the hospital, screaming, crying, and drunk off her ass. She manages to sober up when Ned decides that she should come home with them for a bit.
Since Steve feels some weird sense of obligation, he goes out of his way to do whatever he can for Betsy, and since Jessica doesn't care about anyone but herself, she constantly whines about what people will think of her when they learn that a drunken slut moved into their house. Hm, doesn't seem like people say much about the slut already living there, do they? Betsy pretty much just mopes around the house when Steve isn't there and lights up like a bulb when he is there.
Elizabeth butts her nose into Betsy's business and discovers that she's a hugely talented artist. Of course she is. And that she can draw incredibly lifelike images of people. Of course she can. Steve convinces Betsy to come out to the club with him one weekend, and he introduces her to his friend Jason. Jason clearly has a crush on Betsy, but she acts like she just scraped him out from underneath her shoe.
Betsy agrees to go to an art class that he teaches, but she tells Liz that he's just like all the other guys. Apparently, he had the audacity to tell her she had talent and the nerve to suggest she let him help her in class. He clearly only wants one thing from her! Jason stops by for breakfast the next day, and when he mentions an art contest, Betsy seems wary but slightly interested. The winner will get a scholarship to some art school in LA. As soon as he offers to help her put together her portfolio and application, she freaks out on him and storms away from the table. Jason, Liz, and Steve decide to enter her in the contest anyway.
Jessica cannot handle people talking about her, so she decides to get Betsy kicked out. She goes through her stuff, assuming that she has pills or "dope" hidden, but she can't find anything. She then plays the nice sister card, claiming that she's oh-so-worried about her big brother and all the time he spends with Betsy. Jessica lets it slip that he made a promise to Tricia, which causes Betsy to snap. She packs her bags and takes off.
Jason and Steve show up all excited because she won the contest. Of course she did. Jessica tells them that Betsy went back to her old tricks, while strategically making sure that she doesn't reveal what she did. Jason and Steve rush off to track her down, heading to a bunch of shady bars that sound like my favorite bars, before they find her with Crunch and Charlie. Betsy pretends like she's having a lot of fun, drinking and making out with both guys.
Jason kind of snaps when the guys start calling him names and taunting him. One of them throws a punch, and he puts them in their place. Turns out that he's actually a black belt or something. Of course he is. Betsy hears that she won the art contest and completely does a 180. No more drugs, drinking, or slutty behavior; she's an artist now! Someone should tots teach Jessica how to draw.
Cut to a big party at the Wakefield house. Steve learns what Jessica did and yells at her, but she points out that he didn't tell her about the art contest, so they're even. Whatever. I really don't care. Betsy freaked out and went back to her bad behavior because Steve made a promise to her sister. Who cares? He was still trying to help her. Plus, it's funny that she's literally throwing herself at him in this book, but she later gets angry when he even attempts to move on with someone else. Blah.
There are kind of two B-plots in this one. One is all about Winston. He eats a shit ton of mini pizzas in the cafeteria and decides to break the record for most pizzas eaten at one time. He eats a bunch every day to enlarge his stomach, and then goes to Guido's for the big event. Liz lets us know that they have the best pizza in the state and that even people from out of town think so. Did you know that she often brings out of town guests by for the pizza? Anyway, he has to eat seven pizzas, but he only gets through 6.5 before puking. Jessica has a chance to celebrate though, because her arm was on the television report about him.
The other story is about Roger. Remember when he was poor, back before he oddly died in an off-screen way in SVSY and then came back to life in SVC? His mom has heart problems and winds up in the hospital. Hank Patman steps up to the plate and agrees to pay her medical bills, claiming that it's all because she used to work in one of his factories. After she dies, everyone learns that Hank's much richer brother (I thought it was all old school family money; how was he richer? And isn't Bruce's mom super rich too? How rich was this guy?) was actually Roger's father. He died in some tragic accident, she remarried, and they raised Roger to believe that dude was his dad. He's now the richest guy in Sweet Valley and moving into the Patman house.