Mrs. Otis, the twins' teacher, announces that they're having a special guest: some zookeeper will bring in some animals for the class. One student gets to be the helper. All the kids get their names put on the board and then ten stars after them. She'll take one star off every time they do something bad, and whoever has the most stars at the end of the week is the winner.
Jessica and Ellen both lose four stars the first day because they get caught whispering in class. Even though Lila was whispering too, the teacher never caught her. Somehow, both she and Liz have the most stars out of everyone. Jessica and Elizabeth both head over to Amy's house and play in the yard. Liz climbs up the tree, loses her balance, and falls out.
Mr. Sutton calls Alice and then rushes the group to the hospital where they learn that Liz broke her arm. If you read the title of this book, you probably aren't really that surprised! Even though she feels totally fine, Liz has to take the day off school. When she comes back, she's suddenly the focus of everyone's attention. Everyone wants to hear how it happened and ignore Jess when she tries to talk.
Jessica is already super jealous because Liz got tons of attention when she was at home too. The Suttons sent her a balloon bouquet, their grandparents sent her candy, and her parents fawned all over her. Jessica sees Lila steal Elizabeth's homework and tear it up but doesn't tell anyone, not even when their teacher takes away a star because she doesn't have her homework. Caroline says she saw what happened, but Mrs. Otis refuses to do anything because she has no proof and no one backs her up.
Lila loses a star later when she gets caught whispering to Ellen. Since they both have the same number of stars, Mrs. Otis holds a tiebreaker. She asks them both to describe a nocturnal animal. Lila thinks it's like a woodpecker who knocks a lot. When Liz correctly describes it as an animal who is active at night, she gets to be the assistant zookeeper. This naturally sets off Jessica.
She refuses to talk to Liz and just kind of treats her like crap. Alice makes them sit down and eat some cookies, which causes Liz to finally asks what's up. Jess freaks out and admits that she wishes she broke her arm too, so they both laugh and laugh. Liz then gets to hold a tarantula and pet a baby tiger cub. To get Lila back, they put a fake spider in her lunchbox and everyone laughs again.
*Alice surprisingly doesn't blame the Suttons. Even though it wasn't their fault, she tells Mr. Sutton that it could happen to anyone when they meet at the hospital.
*I kind of feel for Jessica in this one. She's literally telling everyone what happened but they refuse to listen to her. When Liz comes back the next day, she tries to give her opinion on what happened and they all ignore her again.
*This contest is kind of ridiculous. Mrs. Otis never catches Lila whispering, despite her having a conversation with Ellen and Jessica four different times. She then thinks she hears her talking later but doesn't catch her for like an hour. They also lose points if they forget their homework or are late to class.
*How is it fair for Liz to win the contest if she misses a whole day? If you lose a star because you come in late, she should lose a star for not coming in at all.
*Broken bones suck ass! I don't know if I ever mentioned this before, but I completely shattered the growth plate in my left ankle in between eighth and ninth grade. I had surgery that summer and spent four weeks in one cast, six weeks in another, and then a walking cast. I was still in some type of cast almost through Christmas! And, my gym teacher wanted to know why I couldn't participate lol. To make matters worse, the doctor decided to go ahead and schedule a surgery to take out the pins her put in for my spring break. Never shatter your growth plate!