Mandy Miller started spending a lot of time around the Unicorns lately and keeps making it clear that she wants to be a member. Janet calls an emergency meeting and tells the girls that it's time they tell her no way. They all nominate Jessica because Mandy seems to like her best. Before she can tell her though, Mandy announces that Mrs. Arnette just gave them a new assignment and that Mandy picked her as her partner.
Some new museum just opened around Hollywood and decided to host a contest for local schools to do projects about the 1920s. The teacher gives them complete control over what they want to do. Jessica is already a little upset because she got a midterm progress report that she has to show her parents about being late to class all the time. When she flips out about being partners with a clown like Mandy, Elizabeth tells her that no one else wanted to be her partner and Mandy was the only one who even offered.
Mandy comes up with a great idea. Her grandparents did vaudeville and her family still has their costumes. The girls come up with a routine, Mrs. Miller adjusts their costumes, and they start spending a lot of time together. Jessica suggests that Mandy borrow some of her clothes, thinking that if she looked better, the Unicorns might want her. Mandy turns her down and points out that she likes looking a little different.
While rehearsing, they both find a feather boa, fight over it, and Mandy falls when it breaks in half. She finds a strange lump under her arm but blows it off. Jessica finally tells her the club doesn't want her. Mandy blows up and says she wouldn't join if they offered her a million dollars. Though they avoid each other for a few days, they eventually make up.
They try out their routine in class, and it goes great except that Mandy screws up a few times. She then gets sick with the flu and misses a few days of school. When she comes back, she passes out and goes back home again.
Mrs. Arnette asked the girls to make a video of their performance, but with Mandy sick, they can't do it. She gets them a late deadline for the contest, and Mandy agrees to let Liz take her place. Their project actually wins first place with Amy and Liz winning second place. The contest peeps want them to do their routine live and in person.
Unfortunately, Mandy calls and asks Jessica to come over. Mrs. Miller talks to Alice first, and Jessica asks Liz to go with her because she thinks it's bad news. Mandy tells her that the doctor determined she has cancer and that she needs surgery. Though she tries to play it cool, Jessica knows that she's upset. Mandy tells her to pass along the news to everyone in school or to just tell Caroline and let the gossip queen take over.
Jessica tells Lila the next day, who immediately runs to tell Janet and tells Jess not to come with her. She does tell Caroline, and everyone in school knows by the end of the day. Jessica later hears that the Unicorns pooled their money to send Mandy a bunch of flowers and a card. She breaks down to Liz and bonds with Amy and Brooke over cancer. The other club members play it cool around her and never even bring up the other girl's name.
That makes it pretty surprising when she stops by Mandy's house and sees the whole club there. They act super awkward, and Janet even suggests that she leave. The Unicorns keep showing up to hang out with Mandy but never mention her around Jessica or even tell her their plans. Janet finally tells her that they thought it was awkward and that Mandy hated her since she was the one who told her she couldn't join the club.
She comes through the surgery fine and cancer free, but she loses her hair from the precautionary treatments the doctors do. Jessica learns that Mrs. Miller bought her an ugly red wig that looks like something little orphan Annie would wear. The Unicorns raised a bunch of money to throw some super huge party. Janet calls a meeting to talk about Mandy and admits that she's different and would be a good fit for their club. Ellen and Lila aren't too sure, but when the club votes, only two people didn't vote for her.
Jessica tells them about the wig and suggests they cancel the party and use the funds to buy her a good wig. They throw in their allowances and get money from their parents too. The whole club buys the wig and takes it to her house but lets Jessica show it to her. Janet then asks her to join, but Mandy says she needs some more time to think it over.
Elizabeth and Jessica do the vaudeville routine in front of the crowd. Jessica brings Mandy up on stage and announces that she was the brains behind the whole thing. A news station was on hand, filmed the routine, and show it on television later that night. Mandy then tells the Unicorns that she'll join their club but that she won't change her looks or attitude before telling Jessica that she fully plans on running for president next year. Sadly Mandy, next year will take 15 years to come...
*Amy says that the Unicorns will just take advantage of Mandy like the way they did her after her fire. Looks like someone likes to rewrite history! Amy totally hung out with them and even lied to make herself look better to them in that book.
*I don't think the ghostwriters get how being popular works. Supposedly, even though Jess is super popular, no one wanted to work with her because they were too worried she would get them a bad grade. If you were popular in my school, everyone still wanted you.
*Lila and Ellen refuse to tell anyone about their project because it's so great and amazing. In the end, it turns out that they just did a normal book report.
*Liz and Amy win second place. All they do is tape some old movies off TV and write a report about the early days of movie making. Is that really worthy of a second place prize?
*First prize gets a new computer for the school. Second place gets a dictionary. Ooh-ooh.
*When talking about the girls in the club, Jess pretty much says that Lila is the rich one and that Ellen is the popular one. Since when is Ellen so popular? I always thought she was the clumsy one.
*Mandy has an annoying little brother who walks around with an iguana all the time and a perfect older sister named Cecilia who she calls Saint Cecilia. I'm pretty sure that she's an only child in the later books.
*Jessica freaks out the first time she sees the lizard but later rolls her eyes when Ellen does the same thing. She's such a little bitch sometimes.
*Mandy absolutely does not fit the Unicorn mold. I have no clue why she even wanted to join. She seems like a better fit for Elizabeth's group of friends.