Mr. Bowman introduces his students to horror literature, but they all whine because old books and movies aren't scary. He reads to them from Frankenstein and gives out a list of books and stories. He wants them to pick one, read it, and write a paper or do a project about it.
That same day, Jess runs into Liz and her friends and has to use the bathroom. Since she's too scared to go upstairs by herself, she convinces Lila and Liz to go with her, and Amy and Maria go too. They run into Janet, who tells them that the bathroom is broken and they have to use the one on the top floor. No one wants to go with her, so she makes fun of them until they all agree.
While in the bathroom, she sees a furry arm reach inside and flip off the lights. They then hear moans and the sounds of glass breaking and freak out until they also hear someone laughing. Bruce, Charlie, Aaron, and Brian pulled a prank on them. They had a tape recorder all set up, and Charlie covered his arm with a brown sock. The boys keep making fun of the girls and spread the story all over the school.
This leads to something of a prank war. Jessica and Lila pretend they have a crush on Charlie, which makes him uncomfortable. While watching a movie in class, she offers him candy from a box. He suddenly starts screaming and interrupts the class. Bowman makes Jessica show him what was inside the box, which was her finger painted to look dead. The boys then prank Lila and leave threatening notes for the girls before hanging a doll that looks like Liz in her locker.
It all comes to a head when Janet finds a threatening note in her locker. She schedules a meeting to decide what to do about the boys. The Unicorns wind up working with Liz, Amy, and Maria to get them back. Janet thinks they should test out some of their ideas and Jessica suggests Steven. Liz isn't on board until he shows up and acts super annoying.
They try out a bunch of pranks on him. They put a plastic spider in his cereal, which he finds, and then hides a rubber cockroach in the bowl, which causes him to run away screaming. They arrange for a tape recorder to play screams from his closet, float fake "ghosts" past his window, hit him with frozen red Jello, and put red food coloring in the shower, which makes it look like blood coming out. Needless to say, Steven eventually decides to get back at the twins.
The girls then play some of the same pranks on the guys in school. The guys wind up practically crying in fear a couple of times, which leads to the girls hosting a celebration party at the twins' house. They hear weird noises outside and see a mummy at the window. Just as they start to freak out, Liz realizes that the "mummy" is wearing Nike shoes.
They then paint a disgusting face on a sleeping bag with glow in the dark paints and run outside, pretending like something is chasing them. Jessica and her friends then come running out with the sleeping bag over them. All the guys run away in fear, but they catch three and drag them back into the house.
Charlie keeps up his mummy act and tries to grab Jessica, but Liz turns the water hose on him and makes him go in the house too. They then make the guys sign a contract that shows they (the girls) won the prank war. They also make the guys call them "Your Awesomeness" and cluck like a chicken.
As soon as they get that out of the way, they hear a bunch of weird noises and realize something is in the basement. Jessica gets trapped in the pantry when the lights go out, and everyone else is stuck in the living room crying and whimpering. No worries though. It was just Steven playing a trick on them. He tells them that he's basically the champion and they all suck.
Everyone goes outside for some fresh air and sees two gruesome figures walking down the street. One has an eyeball hanging from its eye socket, and one has no face at all. Elizabeth actually hides in the tree, and some of the other girls run inside and lock the door. The figures get closer and reveal themselves to be Ned and Alice. The girls kept making fun of the movies they found scary that they dressed up to get back at them.
*Ned and Alice are pretty bad parents again. They both lecture the twins on playing pranks on Steven and how they need to give him a break but say nothing to him. He even plays a prank where he makes the twins AND Ned think he cut off his finger and they don't say a word.
*Steven comes up with a joke that took me multiple readings to get. Knock knock. Who's there? A tape recorder. A tape recorder? Agh! It's a joke about them getting scared in the bathroom but I really didn't get it.
*Is stuff like Sherlock Holmes and Frankenstein really appropriate for sixth grade students? Those two and Dracula are on the list of things they can read.
*Jessica freaks out in the pantry because she read one of Poe's stories and thinks someone is bricking her inside it. Elizabeth is so scared after reading a Doyle story that she can't handle being around dogs.
*Maria can apparently impersonate Alice exactly. They play a prank on Steven where they make him think he ate a candy bar filled with rat poison. When he doesn't believe them, the twins pretend to call Alice on the phone. Maria can do her voice so well that he immediately thinks she's his mom. I call BS.
*Where did this Brian kid come from? He turns up in the beginning of the book and is supposedly part of that little group. It just made me wonder if they forgot about Todd.
*There's some new Johnny Buck song out where he sings "Gotcha gotcha gotcha gonna getcha" or something similar, and no one can stop singing it.
*Steven fantasizes about Johnny Buck writing a new song about him after hearing how he got back at the twins and their friends. Given that this is Sweet Valley, I'm surprised it didn't happen.