SVMS has an exchange student named Arthur Castle coming for a visit. He's from this tiny, tiny, tiny little country named Santa Dora, and all the students plan to do big projects about his country. Liz does an article for the Sixers and creates some random map, but Jessica plans to do an oral report on the royal family.
The Unicorns plan to throw a little welcome to Sweet Valley thing for him, but Lila decides that it sounds too lame and that they need to do something even more special. They finally decide to throw a party for him too because apparently that's what Unicorns do best. Elizabeth gets the Sixers writers to create a scrapbook for him filled with fun things about America.
Arthur comes to school, and everyone pretty much thinks the Unicorns go overboard. I'm not sure why because all they do is make a banner out of a sheet, give a little speech, and pass out authentic Santa Doran pastries they made themselves. Arthur gets a little nervous every time anyone brings up anything about his home and doesn't seem too thrilled with bringing attention to himself.
When someone asks about what his parents do, he makes an excuse to leave. When they ask absolutely anything about Santa Dora, he's suddenly late for dinner or remembers something he desperately needs to do. The only person he really seems to like is Liz and that's because she treats him like anyone else. He asks her to walk him home, which pisses off the Unicorns because only they're allowed to monopolize his time.
While hanging out with Liz, he goes to pay and drops a wad of his money on the ground. When she picks it up, wouldn't you know it, Arthur is on the money. Turns out that he's the crown prince of Santa Dora. He tells her that he wants people to treat him like a normal kid and begs her not to tell anyone. She agrees and gets her friends to spend more time with him.
Arthur then mucks it all up by coming up to Jessica in the hallway and revealing who he is without actually checking to see which twin she is before running away. Since she absolutely cannot keep a secret, she immediately runs to the Unicorns and calls a special meeting to tell them everything. They ramp up their party plans, start treating him like a prince, and Janet even curtsies and calls him Your Highness.
The Unicorns then drag him to a bunch of special events, including the symphony, the historical society, and some museums. Amy and the other girls decide that the scrapbook is a stupid idea for a prince and scrap the whole thing. Arthur is so miserable that he pretty much just sits back and does what everyone else wants to do.
Arthur blames Liz for his secret coming out because she was the only one he told. Elizabeth is so upset that she skips the big Unicorn party and he takes Jessica as his escort. I doubt this is the first time she's an escort for a rich guy. Jessica picks up on how miserable he is, and he tells her everything he told Liz and everything that Liz told her about him wanting to be a normal kid. Jessica confesses about what happened and lets him know that her twin really did keep his secret.
To give him the experience that he always wanted, Jessica convinces all the kids in school to treat him like a normal kid. They throw spitballs at him, push him out of the lunch line, and act like little assholes. Arthur is so happy that he can't complain. The principal makes Liz give a speech and present him with a copy of the special newspaper made in his honor. Someone throws a paper airplane at him in the middle of his thank you speech, and everyone just has to laugh. Oh, and he takes the twins to some fancy dinner party as his dates and introduces them to his parents.
*The whole project thing is just plain weird. They can basically choose to do anything they want and everyone will get graded the same way. So, Elizabeth making a map and Jessica giving a speech in class is worth the same amount of points as someone who does an in-depth research project.
*Why is Arthur on the money anyway? It's not like Prince William or Prince Harry is on money. Wouldn't they have established money that they don't change?
*Jessica has to show all the Unicorns how to curtsy, which I find unbelievable. I was younger than them when this book came out and already knew how to do it.
*Arthur looks like Butch Patrick on the cover. Also, why is Elizabeth in a wedding dress? There is nothing in this book that even hints at any type of romance.
*I actually found this one at a book sale alone with the SVH book where he comes back and falls for Dana. I look forward to recapping that one as soon as I get through more of the Spooksville series.
*Um, Arthur buys a Confederate flag hat and someone gives him a Confederate flag. Are those really the kind of things we want him taking home to show his people?