There's a new girl in town, and she's making Alice very nervous. The start of ninth grade high school! is every bit as exciting, and challenging, as Alice had hoped, and feared, it would be. She finds her self confidence rising, and plummeting, depending on each new situation. Classes are definitely more interesting, but algebra is proving to be nearly impossible. Patrick is in the accelerated program so they aren't in the same classes anymore. And while she's thrilled to be chosen to work on the school newspaper, she finds that between an increased homework load and reporting assignments, she can't always join Patrick when he wants to go out. But the new girl in town, Penny, can...and does. Penny is everything Alice isn't perky, petite, and cute as a button, and she doesn't hide her interest in Patrick. Alice senses her seemingly perfect relationship with Patrick starting to crumble, along with her self confidence, and suddenly, Alice feels big and awkward and not particularly attractive. Could it be possible that Patrick could like someone else besides her? She can't imagine life without Patrick in it. But Patrick's behavior isn't the only thing that is baffling Alice. Elizabeth's nearly hysterical reluctance to go to her piano lessons has Alice and Pamela completely bewildered, until Elizabeth breaks down and shares an awful secret she's kept from everybody since she was seven... And as Alice struggles to keep her jealousy of Penny at bay, she watches her father handle unsettling news regarding his fianc . Alice learns what trust is all about, and how confidence in yourself, and in others, is the most important thing of all.