Watch out Nora, Margo, and Jessica. There is a new nut job in town who just might be worse then you...okay, just as bad as you.
Sara, some random character I care nothing about, hurt her leg and is out for a few weeks, so Jessica convinces Lila to take her spot on the squad. Apparently, Jessica and Heather's fighting got so bad that their squad is now down to eight girls. While practicing, Jessica sees a hot guy with a camera. Her and Heather both go overboard to give him something to look at.
It turns out that his name is Brad and that he's in town on assignment for Scoop magazine. The lead reporter, Diane, was one of the Girls of '76. Even though we had three whole books that made a big deal out of the current squad, her squad went to nationals back in the 70s. She now wants to write an article on where they all are now. She hires Elizabeth to help her research what happened to the girls, and Brad goes around flirting with Jessica and hitting on Liz. He actually makes comments about how in some countries he could marry them both and how neither should mind if he dates them both.
Meanwhile, Sweet Valley High implemented a new rule that all clubs and activities must have an academic advisor. The girls hate the idea of someone controlling them and telling them what to do. Liz suggests they take to Nancy Swanson, the new library assistant. She's quiet, has a ton of school spirit, and pretty much lets the girls walk all over her, so she's the perfect fit. They don't know that she's obsessed with the 70s and keeps hearing voices and mumbling to herself all the time.
Nancy comes up with some big ideas for the squad. She teaches them a dance to Crocodile Rock, which I refuse to believe that none of them heard before. She also picks out new uniforms for them that are retro. If only she didn't talk to herself and mumble about the 70s squad, she would be the perfect advisor!
Elizabeth and Diane manage to track down all the girls on the squad except for one. She, Maria, and Enid end up finding some old yearbooks and see that there was another girl on the 76 squad originally. No one knows what happened to her, but they do learn that she had a medical condition that caused facial ticks and some other craziness.
Loretta was the one girl they couldn't find, but they do find her sister. Gina tells them that she dated this guy George. One night, she came home completely pale and with the cops in town. She told them that George tried to grab the wheel and drive her car off the road, they fought, and he died in the ensuing crash. His former girlfriend, and the same girl from the earlier version of the squad, showed up and screamed that she killed him. Loretta died a few months later.
Amy and Jade then go missing. Nancy says that they went to pick up the new uniforms, but they don't come back that night. Jessica is so busy dealing with Brad that she lies and said they had car trouble. When she sees him all flirty-flirty with Heather, she kind of snaps. She shows up at his hotel room, and he thinks that she's Heather. Brad admits that he dated them both and had no issues with lying to them because they were just having fun. Jessica agrees and they make out a little.
Heather then goes missing, so Jessica just lies and says that she went to pick up the girls. All the girls go missing except for Annie and Lila. They later show up when she's getting ready for another date. Nancy, who is in the car with them, pulls a gun and demands she get in the car. She then locks them in the basement and continues going cray-cray.
Turns out that Nancy was the original cheerleader. When she developed her completely made up medical condition, the others taunted and teased her to drop out. George was the only good thing in her life, but then she saw him making out with Loretta. He swore he really loved her and that Loretta threw herself at him, but then she spotted them again. She kind of went cray-cray back then, left the squad, dropped out of school, and disappeared with the exception of that time where she called Loretta a killer.
Nancy leaves the other girls locked in the basement. She just comes downstairs to yell at them about making too much noise and to pull a gun on Jessica. Nah, she actually just threatens her and leaves again. Nancy also leaves the water running, which fills up the basement. Amy and Jade almost drown, and Heather is nearly dead. They manage to get themselves free and get to the basement door but it's locked.
Since Elizabeth hasn't been around in awhile, she suddenly realizes that Nancy was the cheerleader in the yearbook. She rushes over to her house, tries to talk to her, and Nancy shouts at her. Liz manages to grab the trophy that the squad won back in the 70s before Nancy throws her in the basement too. Apparently, someone stole the trophy years ago, which is why no one in town ever remembered the original squad.
The girls decide to do a cheer and get Nancy's attention. Liz remembers some of the names from the old yearbook, which they add to the cheer. They tell Nancy that they just can't do it without her. She opens the door, the water – which has by now reached almost over their heads – crashes into her, she falls down, and they call the cops.
Brad shows up long enough to hit on Jessica, tell Heather that she looks good, and make a comment that neither of them meant anything to him. Diane screams at him, he misses the big shot of Nancy coming out in handcuffs, and she threatens to tell his girlfriend about his shenanigans on the road. Jessica and Heather kind of make up and agree to stop fighting all the time.
One week later, yes one week later, the article comes out. Good old Winston came to pick up Maria, had his camera handy, and got the big shot, which the magazine published. Liz gets a byline as a research assistant, and Ned continues not knowing what his kids do when he's not there.
*Jean and Sandra quit the squad because of the fighting. It makes me a little sad to lose some of the original characters in the later books.
*Why would anyone care about a cheerleading squad winning a title 20 years ago and what happened to them later? Scoop is supposedly a national magazine published on the East Coast.
*Ned is kind of cute in this book. There's a scene where he asks about Brad multiple times and the girls ignore him. At the end of the chapter, he repeats his question and looks super confused. It's also pretty sad that he doesn't know what the hell his teenagers do.
*Don't all schools require an advisor? Every sport, team, and club at my school and every school I know required one. It's kind of weird to think about them going to camp, taking off for nationals, and cheering at overnight games without having an adult nearby.
*Chrome Dome says that he didn't know about the Girls of 76 because of the stolen trophy and because it happened before he moved to Sweet Valley. Seriously though, no one remembered the squad and yet it's still a huge story?
*You have to love that the magazine not only edited the article and got the pictures ready but that it was published and finished in one week.
*Liz and Todd have a huge fight because she gets caught up in the story. Maria totally calls her on it and guesses that they fought because she ignored him for a job.
*Maria and Liz have a fight over who is cuter: Starsky or Hutch. Enid has no clue who either one is.
*When the whole squad goes missing, Nancy says they had a party at Maria's house while her parents were out of town. When they don't show up to school the next day, the parents pretty much just throw up their hands and say they'll deal with it later. Way to be parents, way to be.