SVMS boys' soccer team just made it to the Division A section. That means nothing to me but is somehow a huge deal at their school. Before tryouts for the team, the boys say that they'll dedicate each goal they make to the girl they like. Aaron scores three goals to Jessica, but Lila says it doesn't matter because sixth graders never, ever make the team. Lila and Jessica are currently fighting because this book happens right after the psychic sisters one where the twins were on television and Lila is still jealous even though she says she isn't jealous.
Elizabeth gets called into Mr. Bowman's office because of an article she wrote on two kids getting thrown out of a local candy store. The owner of the store flips out because she only threw them out because they started a food fight before, but Liz never bothered to get her side of the story. She writes a retraction that puts the blame on the boys, only to find out that it was actually two completely different guys. Mr. Bowman then tells her she needs to be more objective.
Jessica is all gung ho when Aaron makes the team. He even stops by her locker and walks her to class like the older boys do with their girlfriends. Mr. Clark holds a meeting later in the day to inform the students that they apparently don't have a soccer field large enough for Division A competition. He tried to find another field to no avail. Randy then speaks up and asks if the kids can raise the money. Mr. Clark agrees but lets them know that they only have one week and need $5,000.
The kids all head to the mall to raise money. Jessica talks to a few people but doesn't get any cash. She does get a quarter from another middle school student but winds up giving him twice as much between her and Liz for his school's library project. Jess becomes impassioned with the idea of how sports can help the community and gives a huge speech, which leads to a ton of people donating.
At school on Monday, Mr. Clark holds another meeting and announces that the school will have its soccer field and all because of one student. Aaron is sure that he means Jessica and she's even about to stand up when he announces that it's all because of Lila. The kids only raised around $1,700, but Lila went to her dad and got him to donate the rest. She basically steals Jessica's speech, and everyone goes crazy. They all surround her and make a big deal out of her.
Elizabeth tries to talk to Jessica who says that Lila only did it to get back at her. Even though Liz doesn't believe her, Lila then wanders by and sneers at her in a really bitchy way for a sixth grader. Jessica is so upset that she runs outside and spends some time in the wooded area by the field, which makes her feel better.
When the construction crew comes in, they find that they will need to tear out a major section of the trees. Jessica is upset because she thinks the trees were there for her when her friends weren't. She also watches her favorite actress, Lois Lattimer, on television talking about activism and wonders how she can get involved.
Liz goes to the Nature Society to get some information for her article on the soccer field and meets Bill Watkins. He tells the twins that there are trees in Sweet Valley that are more than 400 years old and that it's a shame the school wants to tear down so many. Jessica urges him to get involved, he laughingly calls her Lois Lattimer, and tells her the Nature Society is way too busy for something like that. As soon as they get outside, she demands that Liz write an article calling for construction to stop. When Liz refuses because her article must be objective, Jessica springs into action.
She gathers a group of kids to help her, including Mandy, Amy, Maria, and Sophie. They get a ton of other support on their side, and the school winds up split right down the middle. The pro tree side call the others tree killers and the pro soccer field call the other side tree huggers. Mr. Clark comes across both sides having a screaming match and claims he'll listen to both sides equally, which never actually happens.
Elizabeth keeps trying to be objective, which as Todd tells her, is nearly impossible. A group of kids get thrown out of Casey's when they start a fight, and things get even worse at school. Janet eventually demands that Mandy and Jessica choose between being Unicorns and saving the trees. They choose the trees, and Mary winds up going over to their side too.
After speaking with a few teachers, she realizes that there is no right answer and asks both Aaron and Jessica to write their own editorials on the subject. Both also come to her with petitions they want the paper to print. She gets so annoyed that she goes to the Nature Society for help, and Bill loans her a bunch of books. Liz finds something in one of the books, goes to look at the trees, and then runs to call Bill.
Jessica and the pro tree side stage a massive demonstration. When the construction trucks show up, they all run outside and chain themselves to the trees. Liz shows up with Bill, who talks to the principal, and then goes to look at the trees. She thinks they're all on her side until he announces that all the trees must come down. Turns out that they have a massive tree disease that might spread throughout the city. She's so upset that she runs home and cries.
Steven comes home just to tell her that the high school kids are talking about how she's a huge loser. Ned and Alice then come home and say that the school doesn't have the funds to take down the trees and build the soccer field so they won't get a field. They then ground her for going overboard. Liz tells her that Mr. Bowman held her partially responsible for not doing research early on.
After a restless night, Jessica wakes with a great idea. Since the tree disease could affect the whole community, it's only right that the whole city share in the cost. Ned and Alice run to call the principal, who holds yet another assembly on Monday. This time, he praises Jessica for saving the trees and the field. Everyone is still unsure of how to act around her.
That all changes when the twins head into the cafeteria and find barely anyone there but hear chanting outside. All the kids in school get together to start another Save the Trees campaign. They want to raise money to plant new trees, and Mr. Clark even agreed to donate whatever money was left over after building the new field.
Cut to a few weeks later. Jessica and Lila are helping plant new trees and still picking on each other, which is basically business as usual. Mr. Clark wrote Lois Lattimer a letter about Jessica, and the actress wrote her back, so now Jessica claims Lila is jealous of that. Talk then turns to the upcoming festival that is the center of the love potion book.
*Mr. Bowman is a good one to talk. He claims that Liz must be objective because she's the editor, but then he never does a damn thing as the adviser. Sorry, but if there are major flaws in the SCHOOL newspaper, I'm holding the adviser more responsible than sixth grade writer.
*There are multiple people in this book who haven't been mentioned in awhile, including Grace, Belinda, and Dennis.
*Speaking of Grace, she jokes with the other Unicorns at the end about their booth for last year's festival, but I'm pretty sure she wasn't a Unicorn then. Didn't she only join the club later?
*Aaron comes to apologize to Jessica, but when she forgives him, he tells her she should just drop the whole trees thing because he assumes she only did it to get back at him.
*Ned and Alice talk with Jessica about all the protests and demonstrations they did in college but are then shocked, yell at her, and ground her for doing the same thing.
*Bill tells them that the trees by the school are actually only around 60 years old, which doesn't make sense. Ned says he and his dad both played in the woods when they were kids. If the trees are only 60 years old, the woods wouldn't have been tall enough or deep enough to play in when his dad was a kid.
*Everyone is so in awe of Lila because they can't imagine a kid getting an adult to pledge so much money like she did. Have they never met her before? She's the only sixth grader with her own credit cards and charge accounts. Lila probably could have just charged the entire cost.
*Wouldn't the Division A people look at the soccer field before agreeing to let SVMS join? They act like the school was added, then the leaders did an inspection and found the field wasn't big enough. They're literally set to start playing a few weeks before getting the news.
*It's funny that in other books Liz is all about adding her own personal slant to stories but now learns that she should be objective.
*She tells Jess that the newspaper is serious business and not a gossip column. Given some of the articles published in other books, it sure doesn't seem like a serious paper!
*Lila gets her own soccer jacket, and the team plans to dedicate all the goals they score to her all season long. They also make plans to get a picture of her and her dad for the paper, but he backs out at the last minute. I like to think that she never even bothered to call him...