Kristy and Cary really don't get along. She gives us a quick recap about what happened between them in the past and a recap about her friends too. This book comes after the Claudia/Stacey debacle so they aren't really talking. Mary Annie is still upset over breaking up with Logan but still thinks it was the right decision.
Claudia, Cary, Alan, Cokie, and Kristy are all in the same English class. Their teacher is on maternity leave, so they have this cool younger guy named Ted teaching their class. He wants them to better understand the differences between fiction and non-fiction, so he gives them a new assignment. They have to read a fiction book and write a report on how it made them feel and do a biography of a classmate. He pairs Kristy up with Cary and Claudia with Jeremy. This will go well.
Cary and Kristy immediately ask him to change his mind and give them new partners because of what happened when they paired up to teach that class before but he refuses. He tells them that they'll just have to learn how to work together. Kristy decides to get over it by thinking more about her upcoming Christmas party.
When they come into class one day, they find their principal waiting for him. Apparently, a parent complained about the list of books that he passed out. All eyes go to Merrie, who pretty much sounds like Mary Anne with a mom instead of a dad. She wears long dresses, knee socks, and has her hair in braids. Merrie blushes and looks away. The principal announces that SMS has a rule where teachers need to submit reading lists for approval first, which Ted didn't do. He's temporarily suspended until a hearing is held.
A substitute teacher comes in, and Kristy thinks she's bland until they start talking about Ted. The substitute convinces them to speak out on his behalf. This turns into a big huge thing, with parents on both sides of the issue. Merrie's mom is the leader of a group who thinks he's the devil, but most of the BSC parents are on the teacher's side.
Kristy ends up going to Cary's house to meet his family to learn more for her paper. His brothers tell her about how he cut hair off dolls when he was younger, stole a pack of gum, and other random things. She then winds up in his room and sees his journal on the desk. Kristy sees something about him being a hacker or something like that and how it's the reason they left his old town. She manages to slightly calm down before he catches her in his room.
Cary then comes to her house. Sam delights in telling him all about how Kristy once peed on Santa and a bunch of other stuff, including the "spaghetti incident." I really want to know what this is, but she refuses to spill. She begs him not to write about some stuff, they get into a fight, and she lets it slip that she knows about his past. Cary acts confused, then gets upset and stops talking to her. He ignores her in school and even gives her a list of questions to answer so he can finish his report.
There is a huge public meeting about Ted. Merrie's mom shows up and acts like a crazy person. Claudia's mom gives an eloquent speech that moves the audience before Kristy gets up to speak. Merrie's mom flips out again about how that one student doesn't speak for the entire student body. Merrie stands up to her mom and says that Kristy really does. I'll spare you a few chapters: Ted gets his job back.
Kristy has some problems with her party list. Claudia lets it slip that Jeremy told her how swimming with dolphins was one of his most memorable experiences. Stacey freaks out that he didn't tell her about it, and Mary Anne says that it was just one memorable experience and maybe he'll tell her the most one. Claudia reveals that he told her that but that she can't share, Stacey gets ticked, and Kristy wonders if they can both be at the party. She also wonders if Mary Anne can handle seeing Logan, especially when MA questions whether he'll bring a date.
After getting the cold shoulder from Cary, Kristy finally prepares to apologize to him. Before she can, Ted reveals that Cary likes to write and that he's working on a book idea in a notebook. She realizes that what she read was the book, but he points out that she still shouldn't have read it. After a few more chapters, she finally does apologize. He accepts but lets her know that they aren't really friends.
The night of the party finally arrives. Logan shows up alone, but he and Mary Anne spend the whole night avoiding each other and constantly being in different rooms. Kristy also notices that Jeremy spends more time with Claudia than Stacey and that he seems to have more fun with Claudia. Just when she thinks that Cary will never show up, she sees him with Alan. They talk, and after he makes a sarcastic comment, she realizes that they'll probably be okay.
*Cary makes a bunch of comments about how her home is so big and asks about the servants. It might be funny if Cary hadn't been to or by her house multiple times before.
*Kristy says that Nannie plans to make her amazing pecan cookies. Nothing says wild teenage party like pecan cookies.
*Nannie also asks her advice about how much garlic to put in her beef stew. Yup, I'm sure that a 13-year-old girl would know better than a woman with decades of cooking experience.
*Dawn comes to the party because she's back for Christmas, but she has jet lag, sleeps in late, and gets to the party after the other BSC members are already there. Jessi and Mal come in together too and keep giggling and talking. That makes the later books seem a little odd.
*Mary Anne cries and can't eat when she thinks about Logan bringing someone else to the party. Maybe you shouldn't have dumped him then?
*Ted wants them to look for other sources to write the biography project. Cary says that he found mentions of Kristy in a bunch of newspapers, but she says that he's still too new to town to have that kind of information. I'm guessing that most eighth grade kids don't have many mentions in any papers.
*Kristy specifically says that she has a computer in her room, which she hides when Cary comes over. The Internet was big when this book came out, but she never once thought to look him up. If he really caused some huge computer problem and people ran him out of town, it would probably show up online.
*Sadly, this is the last book in the Friends Forever series that I own. I'm not sure when or if I'll get around to reading the rest.