The Big Deal: Trip to Hawaii!
One day, Jessica and Mandy Miller are hanging out and they see a contest in a magazine for “the most outrageous pineapple recipe.” Just for fun, they throw everything they can find in the kitchen into a bowl and enter the contest. A couple months go by and they forget all about the contest until Lila happens to be reading the latest issue of whatever magazine it was and sees Jessica’s name. They actually won, and the prize is a trip to Hawaii for Jessica and two friends. She chooses Mandy, of course, and Mary Wallace. She wants Liz to go, but the Wakefields already have a ski trip planned with the grandparents over Christmas break and Liz would feel too guilty if she and Jessica both bailed. The Wakefield parents say Jessica can’t go because there won’t be a chaperon, so Jessica’s life is over for a minute, but then Lila calls and says her father agreed to pay for Lila, Janet, and Ellen to go, and he’ll even go to chaperon. Hurray!
As soon as they all get to their hotel in Hawaii, Mr. Fowler runs off to a business meeting, leaving his girlfriend in charge of the girls. Her name is Bambi. She’s an aspiring actress. Lila hates her, but Jessica thinks she’s actually pretty cool. Over the course of the first day: Lila finds a strange ring in the sand and decides to keep it even though everyone tells her she should give it to the police or something; Janet meets a boy named Kenji who tells her she’s the reincarnation of a Hawaiian princess named Keiko, and the legend says that if Janet leaves Hawaii, Pele will erupt and kill everyone; Mandy and Mary overhear Mr. Fowler telling Bambi she’ll be a great mother and assume that means they’re getting married, but they decide not to tell Lila what they heard until they have more information.
The next morning, Jessica gets a call from the Pineapple People, the company that held the contest she won. She and her friends have been invited to a tour of the pineapple factory. When they get there, it becomes clear to Jessica and Mandy that there’s been a mistake. Everyone keeps calling her Ms. Wakely, and when the Pineapple People bring out her recipe for a tasting, it’s a cake, rather than the weird concoction Jessica and Mandy made. Once they realize what’s going on, Mandy and Jessica feel bad, but they’re afraid they’ll get sent home if they say anything. That night, Lila has a nightmare that she’s on trial for stealing an artifact, Janet dreams that there’s lava everywhere, and Jessica dreams she’s drowning in crushed pineapple.
Things just keep going badly for everyone. Mr. Fowler buys Bambi a nice ring (not an engagement ring), which makes Lila mad. Jessica falls out of a tour boat and thinks she’s drowning, but then realizes she can stand up because the water is only three feet deep. Janet keeps asking locals if she looks familiar and is disappointed nobody recognizes her as Princess Keiko. Kenji, the same boy who told Janet she was a princess, runs into Lila and tells her the ring she’s wearing is cursed. Lila tries to take it off but it’s stuck. Jessica also runs into Kenji at some point, and he tells her she’s having such bad luck because she told a lie.
Mandy and Mary let the rest of the girls in on the conversation they overheard. While Lila is off with her cursed ring, the rest of the girls sneak into Bambi’s room to look for evidence that an engagement is happening. They don’t find anything, but Bambi comes in. While the girls are hiding, they overhear Bambi on the phone talking about how she hopes she’ll be a beautiful bride, but there’s a lot of competition out there. It’s obvious she’s talking about an acting role she’s auditioning for, but the girls don’t get that and they think they have their evidence.
Jessica, Janet, and Lila continue to have terrible luck at everything, and they each seek out Kenji separately to find out what they can do about their fate. He tells Janet there’s nothing she can do. She has to stay in Hawaii forever. He tells Lila she has to go to the tomb of some Hawaiian king in the middle of the night and the ring will come off. He gives Jessica a recipe and says she has to make it at midnight while wearing a ponytail on top of her head. This guy is a dick.
Lila and Jessica both try to carry out their tasks that night in secret, but run into each other and end up waking everyone up. The girls all finally talk about their bad luck and realize that bastard Kenji has been having fun with them. They come up with a great plan to have Bambi dress as the goddess Pele and scare the crap out of him, but Lila wants nothing to do with Bambi. The girls decide it’s time to tell Lila she’s going to have a stepmother.
Lila confronts her father the next morning and AS I SUSPECTED, all Bambi’s talk about motherhood and weddings was for an acting role. She and Lila have a talk and Lila realizes Bambi really isn’t so bad after all. The girls carry out their plan, and Kenji is good and scared. He invites them all to a New Year’s luau the next day.
Jessica finally goes to the Pineapple People and tells them their mistake, but it turns out she actually did win. For fun, they decided to give the prize to the grossest recipe. And Bambi, who left Hawaii early for her audition, calls Lila to tell her she got the part.
“Mandy, do you realize it’s only October?”
HOW IN THE FUCK IS IT ONLY OCTOBER? And then three pages later…
“Can you believe it’s almost Christmas?” Elizabeth asked one Saturday afternoon in late December as the twins entered the Sweet Valley Mall.
I give up.
The Cover: So, from left to right, we have Ellen, Mary, Janet, Mandy, and Lila, with Jessica front and center. Janet is…not what I was expecting.