In case you didn't know, Maria Slater is one of the best actresses in the world. After a long career, she reached that awkward age when actresses can't find work, and she and her family moved to Sweet Valley. She also became a member of the Unicorn Club after they chilled out and the evil Janet went to high school. In the first book, they had a prank war and did some damage to the school. Now, they need to come up with money to replace the principal's toupee and paint the school lockers.
Mandy comes up with a good idea. Some new thrift store just opened, and the owner needs someone to watch it for a few hours every day, conveniently right after school. She and Maria go over after school the next day, and it turns out that Maria once worked with the owner. She was a big star but lost out on roles when she got older. She didn't have the money to live in Beverly Hills, but she had money to buy a house and open a store in Sweet Valley. Her granddaughter Evie was a big fan of Maria's and shows up at the store. The woman agrees to let them work in the store.
When going over to the center, where the principal made them volunteer to work with kids, they find out that the roof collapsed. They have to close down completely until they can raise the money to fix it. While working in the thrift store a few days later, Tom Sanders walks in. He's in town to direct a new movie and is conveniently a huge fan of hers. He offers her a role for double, she counters with triple scale, and he agrees before giving Mandy a job in his costume department.
Maria is telling everyone about how much money she'll make at school the next day when Evie shows up. She gushes about what a great actress she is and how she's just so amazing. The other Unicorns get a little surprised because Maria apparently never talks about her acting career. Mandy also turns out to be some big fan of the grandmother and gushes about her.
The Unicorns decide to start a thrift store trend in school, which will make people go to the store and buy more stuff. They all make up outfits and wear them the next day. They also agree to give Randy Mason a makeover. He supposedly looks like a cross between Elvis, Buddy Holly, and James Dean, but it seems lame to me. They put him in black glasses, a skinny black tie, a short sleeved white shirt, black pants and socks, and red tennis shoes.
Tom Sanders comes to school, sees everyone, and decides to film her scene at the school. He also lets her know that she's working with Brad Marshall. He's the hottest and latest big shot teen star. After her sister teases her about the crush she had on him when they worked together in the past and everyone laughs at her about how they have to kiss each other.
Maria decides that she absolutely cannot do it. Evie was super excited about seeing the cash coming in to the business because it meant they could get back on their feet again. She unfortunately wanders in and overhears Maria faking being sick as she practices for talking with the director. Evie explodes on her about how she'll disappoint everyone and lose the money that she promised. She feels bad but still plans to go through with it. She's also ticked because she found out that she lost the lead role in the school play to some other girl.
After spending a day at home "sick," her mom tells her that she needs to tell the director she can't be in the movie. Before she can, Evie shows up with the whole club behind her. They find her in bed with part of a mud mask on her face and a stack of magazines in front of her. When they call her out on her BS, she claims that she's really sick. Then they announce that they brought Brad with them, Maria screams and runs away, and they all laugh because it was a joke. Clara, Evie's grandmother, shows up and offers to help her get ready for the movie.
Naturally Maria does a great job, and the director only has to shoot it once. Jessica manages to maker her way into the scene too. He passes out film jackets for everyone, and Mandy makes a passing comment about how they need club jackets. At their next meeting, they announce that they took care of the lockers but still need to make money for the toupee. Mandy also shows them the purple satin jackets that the director sent for the club with their names and Unicorns on them.
Jessica notices an extra jacket in the box, which gives Mandy an idea. She thinks they need to add an extra member and she nominates Evie. They all agree and go to talk to her. She accepts even before they can ask her. Maria then goes to see her drama teacher and talk about the school play. He tells her that she can't get the lead role in everything and that others need a shot too. She kind of gets his point and realizes that she needs to calm down some.
*One of Mandy's super cool thrift store outfits is a ribbed tee with a string (?) vest over it, baggy pants, and a hat that Maria describes as looking like something a Smurf would wear.
*While thinking of fundraising ideas, Jessica suggests a bake sale, and Maria says Liz is the only one who knows how to bake. Then what the hell did they do in all those home ec classes?
*There's a throwback to a SVT Super Special book! Maria talks about a director filming a horror movie and the annoying pre-teen star of that movie.
*Mandy makes some thrift store outfits for her and Maria. One is cut off sweatpants, stockings, a beaded sweater, and lace up boots. Another is a metal belt made into a headband, seamed stockings, clogs, and a flapper dress.
*Maria says triple scale for a day's work will make more than enough to put a new roof on the center. Um, I beg to differ? I looked it up, and scale today is around $800 a day, which would be $2,400 and not enough for a new roof. Plus this was supposedly a small cheap film, so she'd probably earn less.
*Maria filmed a commercial for macaroni and cheese that set a new advertising record for the number of boxes sold after the commercial aired.
*Maria gets a big head and thinks she can rule the world. She then fails at using her acting techniques and experience to get people to buy a chair from the store and then at making her teacher change her grade on an essay.
*Her whole scene? She plays a nerd standing at her locker when Brad comes down the hall. They seriously each have 3-4 lines, he kisses her and then walks away. That was it!
*I'm not too crazy about Evie. She's really serious, all she cares about is her music, and she doesn't really have a connection with anyone else in the club except Maria.
*Given the way that Maria looks on the cover, I can see why she stopped getting roles. Whoever did this cover made her look a little man-ish. I'm not sure if that's Elizabeth or Jessica, but it does look a lot like the girls on the SVT books.