The Big Deal: School dance
Classmate with a Problem: Twins, fighting
The Unicorns have been getting pissy with Liz because she never prints anything about the Unicorns and their shopping trips in the school paper. Liz tells Jessica she can write an article and she promises it will appear in the next issue, but apparently there’s just too much news going on right now and she has to leave the article out. Jessica is spending the night at Lila’s that night, so Liz has to wait until school the next morning to tell her the bad news. She thinks this conversation is much too important to have over the phone. So of course she isn’t able to get to Jessica before Jessica sees that her article is missing from the paper. Jessica is furious. She says the Unicorns are going to start their own newspaper. God, that’s going to be so awful. Can you imagine?
The Unicorns have a meeting to discuss newspaper business. Janet appoints herself editor-in-chief and lays out all the other decisions they’ll have to make, like who the other editors are and how many pages the paper will be. At the end of the day, the only thing they’ve decided on is that it should be printed on purple paper. At the next meeting, Janet, sick of the indecision, just assigns positions and tasks to everyone and decides on the name The Unicorn News, which everyone hates. Janet appoints Jessica as news editor, her second-in-command. Jessica is really happy about it until Janet starts giving her everyone’s articles and telling her to correct their spelling. Janet has a super important dance to plan, so she can’t be bothered with newspaper stuff right now.
Mary and Jessica are the only ones really taking things seriously, and they spend all weekend putting the paper together while the rest of the Unicorns go shopping and whatnot. And then they’re told they can’t use the ditto machine on Monday, which sucks because they wanted their paper to come out on Tuesday, the day before the Sixers. They aren’t able to use the machine until Thursday, and that’s when they discover the purple paper Lila bought is almost the same color as the ink and the paper is impossible to read. Still, the girls are sure everyone will want to read their paper, and they’re flabbergasted when almost nobody takes a copy.
Most of the Unicorns want to give up on the paper, but Jessica convinces them not to. Janet reluctantly agrees, but appoints Jessica as editor-in-chief because Janet herself is much too busy with the dance committee. Jessica actually seems to have a grasp of how things should be going. She decides to change the name to The Middle School News, print it on white paper, and make it four pages instead of eight. She also decides they won’t post just Unicorn stuff (they printed the minutes from their last meeting in the first paper, complete with a ten minute argument about what the Unicorns’ least favorite color is), but nobody can think of what they actually should print. Then Lila comes up with the idea of a fake interview with Donny Diamond, some famous rock star.
The Donny Diamond interview is a huge success. The Unicorns have to print more copies of their paper, while almost nobody is reading the stupid Sixers with its article about the cafeteria staff. Liz and Amy are feeling pretty crappy about it, and then Nora tells them the Unicorns are hanging posters advertising their next issue, in which Donny Diamond will be answering students’ questions. Liz is surprised Jessica never mentioned an interview with Donny Diamond, but she knows Lila works in the music industry and figures it’s all above board.
While going through questions for Donny’s column, the Unicorns find a letter that says the sender doesn’t think Donny actually knows the Unicorns and they should print a picture of them and Donny together in the next issue to prove it. Jessica manages to find a picture of all the Unicorns posing with Janet’s brother, Sam, and she pastes a picture of Donny’s head over Sam’s head. The Unicorns charge fifteen cents for the paper and end up making forty-five dollars. Meanwhile, Lila is in charge of the music for the upcoming dance, and she’s been advertising a mystery guest because she hasn’t come up with any ideas for music yet. Ticket sales are going crazy, and I’m guessing it’s because everyone thinks the mystery guest will be Donny Diamond, seeing as how he’s an honorary Unicorn now.
Letters keep coming in with questions for Donny. Even Ms. Langberg, the gym teacher, asks Jessica all kinds of uncomfortable questions about how they met Donny and what he’s like. But the Unicorns have already answered all the easy ones and these questions are harder. They also get another letter from the person who doesn’t believe Donny knows the Unicorns. This person says he/she knows the photo was a fake. Jessica is convinced it’s the Sixers staff sending the letters. I think it’s probably Ms. Langberg.
Liz starts hearing rumors that Donny Diamond will be at the dance. She knows that ain’t never gonna happen, and she tries to tell Jessica how disappointed people are going to be when Donny isn’t there, but Jessica just accuses her of writing those letters and runs off to find Lila. She tells Lila about the rumors and Lila freaks out because she still hasn’t found a mystery guest for the dance. Jessica and Lila try to talk to Janet, but she just says rumors are good for business. That’s not helpful, especially since brother Steven tells Jessica the news is all over the high school and the students there are getting their younger siblings to buy tickets to the dance so they can hear Donny Diamond. Then Lila tells Jessica her music industry uncle just called. He completely forgot he was supposed to be looking for someone for Lila’s dance, and it’s too late now to get anyone.
Ms. Langberg pulls Jessica and Lila aside the next morning and asks them point blank if they know Donny Diamond. Since they’re being asked by a teacher, they have no choice but to tell her the truth. Ms. Langberg tells them she understands how things got carried away and aggressively suggests that the dance is the perfect place to apologize to the whole school for lying. When she asks Lila who the mystery guest actually is and Lila tells her there isn’t one, Ms. Langberg says she’ll get her accordion-playing cousin and his band, Donald Kaminsky and the Polka Dots, to play and everything will be fine. The girls feel like they have to agree. I’m taking bets now on what Donny Diamond’s real name is.
At the dance, Lila and Jessica get up on stage and explain everything. It does not go over well. The crowd is booing and hissing, so the girls run off stage. Then the curtains sweep back and there’s a weird looking guy with crazy red hair and nerdy glasses playing the accordion. The crowd starts chanting, “WE WANT DONNY.” So Donald Kaminsky takes off his wig and glasses, grabs a guitar and starts playing. He was Donny Diamond all along, guys.
After Donny’s set, Ms. Langberg calls Jessica and Lila backstage and introduces them to Donny. He chastises them for telling lies about him and says he was the one who sent the letters. He showed up tonight because Ms. Langberg told him lots of people were expecting him and he didn’t want people to be disappointed. He approves when the girls tell him they’ll use the money they made from the newspapers for something the whole school can use and that they won’t be printing anymore newspapers. Then he tells them to round up the rest of the Unicorns so they can get a real picture taken with him. What a really nice guy.
Oh, the twins have made up at some point during all this, and Liz offers to let Jessica write an article about Donny’s appearance at the dance for the next issue of the Sixers.
How did all this begin? And where is it going to end? Elizabeth wondered.
Melodramatic tween is melodramatic.
“This list is much too long,” Janet said authoritatively. “The editors can come up with a shorter one.” Since there were no editors, it was not clear just when there would be a shorter list. Nobody seemed to mind.
This cracked me up because it reads like Douglas Adams. I’m sure that was unintentional.
“Editor-in-chief, huh?” asked the twins’ fourteen-year-old brother, Steven. “I guess we’ll have to call you Big Chief Jessie.” He put his hand to his mouth and did an Indian war-whoop. “Woo-woo-woo-woo.”
You’re hilarious, Steven. No, really. Super funny.
The Cover: I always loved the way Jessica looked on this cover. High-waisted jeans notwithstanding.