Jane Retton keeps a fictional diary that somehow ends up being copied and splashed all over school. In her latest entry she wrote about how she lost her virginity to her boyfriend, but it was a lie! The mean cheerleader is obviously behind this smear campaign (because Jane once said something sort of nasty about the cheerleaders in the school paper), and her boyfriend is denying it (she thinks it’s cos he’s a lame-o dude thinking about his own reputation but he mostly didn’t want to call her a liar to everyone). Jane decides the best way to pay them both back is to orchestrate an accident in which they’re at fault for her death. But of course she’s not really going to die. So she falls/is pushed overboard on a boat, but then everything spins out of control, and people die for real.
Throughout the book there are also ‘In the Room’ chapters, where Jane’s friend Alice is being questioned about the events by a police officer (who I swear does things so off the books that he would get in so much trouble in real life).
This one is definitely dated. It’s also clearly a rush job. It’s 122 pages long and the action starts pretty much straightaway with no build up or time to invest in the characters. And the overall motivation for it all… SPOILERS, just in case. So Jane is humiliated and her reputation is ruined because she supposedly had sex WITH HER BOYFRIEND. This makes her a slut. WHUT? Was/is this a thing? And the person who sabotages her plan and shoots at her/sets her hideout on fire is Alice, because she used to date Jane’s boyfriend and he maybe gave her herpes (but only cold sore virus because she is a good girl with a terrifyingly skeevy father, so there’s issue there and she hasn’t had sex). Due to said weird father Alice seemingly has no real sex education and thinks the boyfriend gave away the virus by kissing her and must be punished for it. It is a wild ride for so few pages.
This was one I liked a lot as a kid but it definitely does not hold up.
Also has gems like, “Sharon could eat whatever she wanted and never gain a pound. Nothing like a hyperactive thyroid to keep off the inches.” Because yes, an illness is brilliant and a life’s goal should to be thin no matter what the cost. And the detective who is, I guess, the good guy, is all judgey about Patty the cheerleader: “Patty had obviously been around.” She’s attractive and coming on to him so she is therefore a devil. There’s just so many weird hang ups and slut shaming in this book, probably in a lot of Pike books, that I never picked up on as a teenager.