It's once again vacation time in Sweet Valley, but instead of being our 345th summer vacation, it's now spring break. Joe, Steve, Lila, Amy, Elizabeth, and Jessica all head to the beach to relax, and the twins decide to go snorkeling. Jessica is oh so tired of snorkeling in the same place and wants to go to Pirate's Cove, a cheesy looking place off from the main beach.
Though they agree to use the buddy system, Jess immediately heads off on her own. Liz is upset but gets distracted by all the cool stuff she finds in the water. After spotting something weird, she sees the water start churning. She manages to grab the barnacle encrusted object and toss it in her diving bag before getting out of the water. Liz hears the sound of a woman crying and starts freaking out until Jessica shows up. They see a grizzled old man watching them and Liz hears a woman's cries in the winds. Even though she swears she saw a shipwreck in the water, Liz doesn't want to talk about it with anyone else.
Steven is worried that the spring break will be lame but then finds an advertisement for scuba diving classes. They all head off to Pirate's Cove and try looking for the number advertised on the flyer; 1779. They don't see the number, but then Liz notices that a building number changed from 200 something to 1779. It turns out that the man teaching the classes is the same man they saw on the beach watching them. Everyone agrees to let their kids take a class taught by some man they never saw or met before, and the Wakefields even pay for their kids to rent new equipment.
Liz has a horrible dream where she sees a gorgeous princess-like woman standing on the bow of a ship with another man. She also sees a man with a thick beard come running up from the bottom of the ship. The waves start churning and the boat goes down. She wakes up worrying and wondering if the dream was real. Liz also throws away the object she found in the water because it looks like it will take too long to clean.
A few days later, both twins get a letter in the mail. It's a chain letter on old-fashioned parchment paper with a bunch of lines about the Curse of Carlotta. The letter says to send the letter to six people and keep searching to bring two lost items back together again. Liz refuses to do it, but Jessica immediately makes copies and passes them out to her fellow Unicorns.
Both Lila and Elizabeth refuse to send the chain letter. Elizabeth refuses because she doesn't believe in curses and Lila because her dad's secretary always does her correspondence for her and is out of town. That turns out to be a huge mistake when she has a series of unfortunate accidents. She trips, loses her favorite watch when the clasp breaks, falls again, spills ink all over herself, and keeps hurting herself. She finally decides to type out the letter on her dad's computer, but she makes a mistake that causes the computer to go crazy. It deletes a bunch of files, sends out copies of the letter to everyone connected with her dad's company, and her dad actually grounds her.
When they finally go to one of their classes, Liz gets tasked with tracking down their teacher Joshua when he doesn't show up. She stops by his office, sees him decked out in scuba gear, but when he turns, there's no one inside the suit and it hits the ground. She keeps having dreams where she sees a beautiful young woman and a gruff pirate on a ship. Later, she goes scuba diving with the group, taps on Joshua's shoulder, and passes out when he turns and there is no one inside the mask.
This whole book irritates me because it's basically Liz having nightmares about the ship for a good portion. She then spends most of the book alternating between blaming Jessica, Steven, or Lila. Lila shows up with an idea for Elizabeth to dictate the letter on tape and mail out copies that way. They hear someone on the tape talking about Carlotta and flip out, but Lila later decides they did it to prank her.
Some random dude named John shows up at their doorstep. He says he works for a company associated with Fowler and received the letter. His family has a connection to the story that he wants to show the twins. They show up on the beach the next day, and he takes them to show them this weird thing in the ocean. He says his dad took him there, his grandfather took his dad, his great grandfather took his grandfather, etc. and told them that they should never touch it or be cursed by Carlotta.
The twins show up for another class and are eating with their friends when Janet realizes she forgot her lunch. Everyone donates food to her, but when she goes to eat the sandwich that Liz gave her, Steven smacks her. He saw a scorpion climb out of Liz's lunch bag. This gives Liz one more reason to wonder if she's going crazy or if she's actually cursed.
Elizabeth finally goes to the library and asks for help researching the shipwreck. She sees something that blows her mind but tells no one. Another letter comes with a request to reunite the two hearts, and she then has a dream about the same thing. She learns that it can only happen on a star-less night, which she thinks must mean during a storm. Liz also realizes that the crusty thing she found in the ocean is one half of a heart necklace that Carlotte's love gave her and that the other half is the piece in the ocean.
After convincing Jessica and Steven of the truth, a storm comes in and they decide to head out. They manage to get the other heart when John shows up. He wants to reunite the two, which will make a map that leads him to some fortune relating to his family. Liz puts the two pieces together before he can attack and forms the map. Unfortunately, he grabs the necklace from her, accidentally trips, and drops it in the ocean.
Sadly, there's no real resolution. Everyone heads back home to talk about what happened. Steven points out that every time something weird happened, Liz was the only one who saw it. He also points out that she took calligraphy classes the summer before. Steven thinks that she heard the story in the past and made up the whole thing, which then suddenly became real or something. Jessica totally agrees with him too. Liz then tells them that Joshua's name was on the passenger list for the ship and that he was the one who caused the shipwreck. I guess he's just been hanging around ever since. Liz then has a dream where she sees Carlotte and her lover reunited again.
*They make a mention of them taking the bus to the beach, but they have TWO coolers and multiple bags of food and snacks. How did they get all that on the bus?
*Ned apparently took one scuba diving class, got claustrophobic, freaked out, and never went back. Jessica asks him to join their class, but he says he's too busy with some upcoming trial. Too busy to go to one class with your kids? Nice Ned, nice.
*The cover is totally misleading. Liz finds the heart while snorkeling, not scuba diving, and it's crusted over with barnacles, so she can't even tell what it is.
*I love that Lila can't even write her own chain letters. When she does start to write them, her pen blows up in her face. She points out to Jessica that once you write with a pen like that, you can't go back to using an ordinary pen.
*Ned and Alice actually let Liz keep taking the classes, even after she passes out, runs home, and spends the whole night in bed.
*George grounds Lila but later changes his mind and lets her off the hook. They all think it's a sign that she's no longer cursed by the chain letter.
*Joshua tells them to pair up with older ones with younger ones during their classes. Yes, because someone two grades higher is obviously totally more mature.
*Jessica sends her letters to the members of the Unicorn Club. Who the heck will they send their letters to?
*Lila apparently has her own bathroom with a jet spa, whirlpool tub, private telephone, and towels with her monogram on them.
*There really is no resolution. John basically just sits down and cries when the locket hits the water, and the Wakefield kids just go home.
*Jessica and Steven think they'll find the treasure and be richer than anyone in the world. Steven even plans to buy the Rams. Elizabeth tells them to calm down but later starts imagining funding all these projects in Sweet Valley. Naturally, she's way better than them.
*Liz plans to buy benches for downtown for people to sit and eat during their lunch breaks when they find the treasure. Seriously? How does a town like Sweet Valley not have freaking benches downtown?
*She also runs into Janet and Lila. Lila makes a snide comment about never buying anything on sale, while Janet huffs and puffs because she just bought a ton of sale stuff. Liz thinks a rude comment about how she'll show them up when she gets rich and then feels bad because she's just like them. Given what I know of her teen years, she's actually way worse then them!