Since it's been a few books since Sweet Valley had an underprivileged person, we get this book. Dana Larson, who we all know is the lead singer of The Droids, has an unknown cousin named Sally coming for a visit. Sally was just a little kid when her mom up and left her, and the Larsons were nice enough to let her float around in foster homes for 10+ years before deciding, hey, we should let her come stay with us.
Dana is excited at the idea of having a new sister, but her brother Jeremy could care less. His parents made him give us his room next to Dana and gave him the entire attic, which has its own separate entrance. No teenage boy in history would ever turn down that room, but he mopes and whines like they're making him sleep in a tent in the yard.
Things don't go exactly the way that everyone planned. Sally is so worried about getting sent back that she tries to do what everyone wants her to do instead of what she wants. Dana pressure her into joining The Droids, and since she can't sing or play an instrument, she becomes their manager. Dana also takes her shopping and makes her buy a bunch of wild clothes when she usually dresses like Liz. Jeremy just pops up to be a nuisance and an ass.
Jessica doesn't care about Sally because she brought home a puppy. Some random guy at the football game was giving away Labrador Retrievers, and she wanted one. She convinces Elizabeth to help her take care of the puppy while their parents are away and hide it from them when they get back until she can convince them that they need a dog.
The first few days go pretty well, but all hell breaks loose when Ned and Alice get home. Ned hears the dog howling, and Jessica convinces him that it was her radio. She then hides the puppy in the basement and invites Lila over to see him. Turns out that the puppy chewed through a hose on the washing machine. She has to pay a repairman to come out and fix it and sneak the laundry to a neighbor's house.
They finally decide to name the dog Prince Albert, but when Jessica talks about getting a puppy, her parents balk. They think it's just a passing fad and that she'll forget about it within a few days. While taking him for a walk, the puppy slips his leash and runs away. The girls are heartbroken, and them and their friends search for days, but he's gone. No worries though. At the end of the book, Ned comes home with the same puppy, which he found at the pound and adopted for them.
Back to Sally. Jeremy's best friend Mark comes over and makes it clear that he likes her. Even though he invites her out with them and later asks her on a date, she turns him down because it would just annoy her cousin. Dana keeps pushing her to spend more time with her and less time with anyone else. She somehow gets really annoyed when her mom encourages her to encourage Sally to take the car out one day. She vents to Jerry about her.
When she does take the car, Sally winds up back at school and meets Liz. They talk about writing, and it turns out that she really wants to be a writer. Liz encourages her to join the staff, but when she gets home, Dana pitches a fit. Dana whines about how it will take away from The Droids and how if she cares more about having a social life than her cousin, it's fine. Sally immediately backs down and even turns Liz down when she calls to ask her about going shopping.
When Sally hears that her uncle went on a special trip to talk to his lawyer, she decides that he must be sending her back. She, Dana, and Jeremy take a trip together, and Jeremy decides to pick up some random hitchhikers on the street. Sally is somehow the only one that thinks this is a bad idea. The guys ask for a ride to Kelly's, Jeremy turns them down, and they decide to not only get a ride but also take his wallet and the girls.
Sally decides that she needs to do something big. She puts on this fake voice, tells them that Dana is a bore, and convinces them that the three of them can have more fun together. Jeremy basically ditches them and takes off, but then Dana realizes that Sally did it to protect them.
Jeremy runs to Mark's house where conveniently he's with John P and Ken Matthews. They all go back to the bar, confront the guys, get Sally back, and get their money back. Dana and Jeremy then both refer to her as their sister, which makes Sally cry. The only problem is that she's getting sent back to the foster system.
When they get home, the adults are waiting for them with some important news. Dana and Jeremy try to butt in, their dad tries to shut them up, and Sally apologizes for things not working out. They then reveal that the reason he met with his lawyer was to confirm the paperwork to adopt Sally. She's now part of the family and a Larson...again.
*Lila is kind of cute in this book. She turns up her nose at Prince Albert because he's not a purebred. As soon as she touches him, her heart melts.
*She also agrees to drive around town looking for him when he gets loose.
*Proof that Jeffrey is the only character in these books that has any sense. He gets snippy about Jessica and how she always drags her twin into some crazy scheme. Of course he then backtracks when Liz whines about how she's her sister.
*Mr. Larson flies to San Francisco to meet with his attorney and flies back later the same day. What, are there not family law attorneys in Sweet Valley? I'm surprised he didn't just call Ned like everyone else does.
*Enid cancels plans with Liz because a friend asked her to go to a formal garden party. Her friend promised there would be cute guys there, and Liz thinks it's cool because Enid is apparently still hurting over the whole George thing.
*Seriously, the Larson family is messed up. Dana and Sally played together as girls, but they haven't seen each other since she went into foster care. When she reaches her teen years, they suddenly decide that they should adopt her? Where the hell were they the last 10 years?
*Dana is super protective of Sally because she doesn't want people to know about her past. Yeah, I can see that. Why would you want your friends to know that you basically ignored a member of your family for a decade?