While lounging around the house, Jessica comes across an ad for the Miss Teen Sweet Valley competition. The city council or something wants to use it to raise money for a new community swimming pool. Steven has some new friend named Frazer he keeps bringing around. Since Jess ran out of high school boys, she wants Frazer and she assumes winning the pageant can make that happen.
It doesn't take long for Liz to jump in and decide that pageants are tots wrong. She and Enid get a bunch of other people, including Olivia and Dana, to help them picket. I'm dead serious. They actually make a bunch of signs and picket.
Since Jessica doesn't want to tell anyone she's entering, she keeps it a big secret. Amy decides to enter, but Lila thinks the whole thing is ridiculous. Jess buys a brand new dance outfit and hits some new store to pick out an evening gown. She somehow convinces the shop that it would be good publicity to let her wear the dress for free. She finally tells her parents that she entered at the same time that Liz announces her campaign.
Jessica sits down with Alice and asks for help paying for dance lessons. She wants to beat these two other girls who are her biggest competition. One is a classically trained actress and the other is a skilled pianist with a hearing impairment. Alice agrees to pay for the lessons as long as Jess pays her back. She keeps hearing about all the prizes, including a shopping spree and $10,000, which will let her pay back her parents and buy a new car.
Elizabeth is so upset over the pageant that she writes an editorial. Since California newspapers have little too do, an editor calls her and asks if she can run the article in the Sweet Valley Times. The news station sees Jessica's name on the entry list and asks them both to appear on television. Liz comes out great, while Jessica comes off shallow and immature. No!
Frazer comes over to swim and completely ignores Jess. Things get worse when Liz tries to talk to her about how winning isn't everything. Jess flips out, and they fight some more. They spend most of the book either not talking or just being bitchy to each other. Jess also has problems in her dance classes, with her teacher constantly yelling at her. He finally tells her that he pushed her because she's so talented but lacks discipline.
Liz then announces that she can stop the pageant once and for all. Apparently, the founders need permission from the school superintendent, but he's been in the Soviet Union since before the plans started. Jessica storms away, and when Liz tries to talk to her, she finally tells her about her dance lessons and how hard she worked. Liz goes to the principal and changes her mind about stopping it but decides that someone else will need to tell her twin.
The pageant finally arrives. Jessica does well in the interview section, but during her dance routine, she trips and falls. Though she gets up and finishes, she runs off in tears. Liz didn't plan on going but changed her mind, so she runs after her. Jess refuses to go back out, so Liz puts on her bathing suit and does the swimsuit portion. That gives Jessica the confidence to go back out on stage.
It comes down to Jessica and two other girls. She gets a question about the most important person in her life, which gives her a chance to talk about Liz. The other two girls didn't stand a chance. Even though Jessica wins, Frazer, who came along with Steven, still doesn't give a shit. He even has a date lined up and can't wait to leave.
Ned and Alice take the girls out to celebrate, and everyone oohs and ahhs over how great Jessica looks in her sash and tiara. Then, Ned reads off the list of prizes she won. It's all lame stuff like a free hair cut, 10 movie rentals, a $100 cash prize, and stuff like that. Liz later confronts her about why she wanted to win, and Jess finally confesses about Frazer. No worries though. He shows up at the end and asks her out.
*Amy is all shocked when Jessica signs up for the pageant. Did she really think Jess would miss out on a chance to be the center of attention?
*Isn't it funny that Jessica is such a talented dancer that both her middle school and high school teachers were incredibly rude to her just to push her more?
*Amy wears a little sequined tuxedo outfit and does a baton routine, which I thought sounded way cuter than the white dance outfit Jess wore.
*Jessica worries that she only won because of her looks. I thought there would be some type of resolution, but nope. She pretty much won because she's pretty.
*Liz flips out about how Jessica listens to how she thinks but doesn't actually "hear" her, and yet, she doesn't really listen to her twin either. While collecting signatures to protest, some lady says she likes watching pageants and Liz kind of railroads her into signing. Way to listen and hear other people!
*Enid is the only one who points out that it's some rinky dink local competition and not Miss America. If Liz really cares, why isn't she out protesting national or even state pageants?
*Why can't Liz just let people do what they want to do? If you don't like it, don't watch. It really doesn't get more simpler than that.
*Liz is all surprised when Jessica tells her about her dance lessons. Jess says something along the lines of, "what? Did you think I would just show up and look pretty?" Isn't that what she usually does?