The Big Deal: Party at Ellen’s
Classmate with a Problem: Arthur Castle, prince
The sixth grade is super excited because they’re about to get a visit from Arthur Castle, an exchange student from Santa Dora. The Sixers is going to put out a special issue. The Unicorns, not wanting to be outdone by a dumb newspaper, decide to throw an elaborate party with all kinds of Santa Doran food and decorations.
When Arthur makes his first appearance in homeroom, the Unicorns make a big spectacle of themselves with a welcome cheer and some Santa Doran pastries that taste like cardboard. Liz can tell Arthur doesn’t like the spotlight. In science class, Liz and Arthur bond over the differences between Fahrenheit and Celsius, and Arthur asks Liz to walk home with him after school. Along the way, Arthur tells Liz he’s feeling very frustrated because he wants to know about America and all anyone will talk to him about is Santa Dora. Liz and Amy decide to take him to the mall, since that’s super American. They also come up with the idea to put together a scrapbook of American stuff that he can take home with him. Jessica thinks that’s a stupid idea, but she contributes a picture of Johnny Buck.
Arthur has a great time at the mall. He buys a football and a baseball bat and all kinds of other American things (including a “stuffed Texas longhorn steer” and a history of the Texas Rangers, wtf I thought this was California) and then they all go back to Amy’s house for milk and cookies. He asks a million questions about America, but clams up when they ask him about his country. The next day, Liz and Arthur go to the beach and then get some milkshakes at Casey’s. Arthur goes to pay for the shakes and a Santa Doran bill falls out of his wallet. Liz picks it up and notices the face on the bill is Arthur’s.
Well, it looks like Arthur’s real name is Arthur Castillo and he’s the prince of Santa Dora. He begs Liz not to tell anyone because he just wants to be a normal kid for a minute. Liz promises to keep his secret. The next morning, Arthur runs up to Liz at school and doesn’t even let her speak before he once again begs her not to tell anyone he’s a prince. Then he runs off down the hallway. But oh no! That wasn’t Elizabeth, it was Jessica! This is the greatest news ever and she can’t wait to share it with the Unicorns.
The Unicorns go crazy. They all teach themselves how to curtsy and Jessica gets a book out of the library about how to act around royalty. So the next day at school, they all call Arthur “Your Royal Highness” and fawn all over him. Arthur calls Liz that night to tell her how upset he is and he doesn’t believe her when she says she didn’t tell anyone. Now everyone is treating Arthur differently. Even Amy thinks the scrapbook is a stupid idea now. Liz feels awful about everything and she continues to work on the scrapbook. She decides to stay home from the Unicorns’ party. She and Arthur were supposed to go together, but he’s going with Jessica now.
Arthur is acting all mopey at the party and Jessica finally asks him what his deal is. He tells her he just wanted to be a regular kid and it’s all Elizabeth’s fault that he had to go to museums and stuff all week instead of doing fun kid stuff. Jessica finally tells him that she was the one who blabbed. Arthur, ecstatic that Liz was really his friend all along, leaves the party to go talk to Elizabeth.
All is forgiven. Arthur isn’t mad at Liz and Liz convinces him not to be mad at Jessica either. Jessica still feels bad so she spreads the word at school the next morning that Arthur just wants to be treated like everyone else. Apparently, everyone else always gets hit with spitballs and paper airplanes and gets knocked over by Charlie Cashman. I’d be pissed, but Arthur enjoys his last day in Sweet Valley immensely. He loves his scrapbook and he invites both twins to a party at the Santa Doran consulate in Los Angeles where they have a wonderful time. And everything is fine until he comes back to town and proposes to Dana.
Setup for the next book: There’s a new girl named Sandra Ferris and she’s ugly.
So for the next half hour, under Jessica’s direction, the Unicorns practiced curtsying to one another and murmuring, “Yes, Your Royal Highness,” and “No, Your Royal Highness,” and “So kind of you to say so, Your Royal Highness.”
Picture a roomful of the most popular girls from your middle school spending thirty minutes teaching each other how to curtsy. Kind of hilarious.
The Cover: I hate this cover. Arthur looks like a lizard. What are all those medals for, Arthur? And Liz looks like she’s on her way to her wedding except she forgot to do something with her hair.