Stacey is chilling is Mr. Zizemore's math class when she hears that he'll be taking a short break as a student teacher takes over his class. After hearing the name Wesley Ellenburg, she starts thinking that he'll be a huge dork and that no one will like him. She even wonders if she should try to take control and make the other kids be nice.
No worries though because Mr. Ellenburg is a total hunk. She even thinks he looks like Tom Cruise. All the girls love him because he's hot, but then he makes a bunch of jokes and wins over the guys. Stacey falls in l-o-v-e love and decides to do whatever it takes to win him over. The other girls find it a little creepy and point out that he is nine years older than her, but age matters not in true love.
Since she has no clue what love really is, her version of winning him over is almost adorable. She spends extra time on her homework, dots her eyes with little hearts just for him, and even adds jokes. She also starts wearing dresses because she somehow decided that he prefers girls in dresses. It apparently works though because he asks her to stay late after school and help him clean up his desk, which makes all the other little eighth grade girls super jealous.
Wes needs help a second time, which just so happens to fall on a club day. When she stays late to help, he offers to drive her to her meeting. He accidentally brushes her leg, and she freaks out and thinks that he did it on purpose as a way to show how he feels about her. Wes is, however, completely oblivious to the way she feels about him.
That becomes abundantly clear when she writes him a poem that compares them to two stars in the sky. She stays late after class, gives him the note, and waits for him to read it. He gets really embarrassed, turns bright red, and then makes an excuse to take off. Stacey mopes around and feels mortified for a few chapters as he ignores and avoids her.
On his last day in class, she wears what she thinks is his favorite dress of hers and stares at him. She then works up the nerve to talk to him. Even though he barely says anything to her, she gets it in her mind that he loves her but is too afraid of his feelings. That leads to her thinking that he'll confess his feelings to her at the spring dance.
Stacey spends most of the dance staring at him from the shadows before dancing with him a few times. She finally gets him alone, tells him that she has a crush on him, and then clarifies that she's in love with him. Wes flips out, tells her that she's mature for his age, and makes it clear that there is nothing between them. At first she's horrified, but then she decides that she was crazy to ever think she was in love with him and is okay with seeing him hanging out with teachers and people his own age.
There is a short B-plot that introduces Mrs. Stone and her farm. She asks Dawn and Mary Anne to sit for Elvira the goat. They wind up taking the goat on a bunch of sitting jobs, the goat gets loose, and it eats their neighbors' trash multiple times. Even though it's a pain, they both love her and hate giving her back at the end.
*Wes drives a Toyota with rope holding the bumper on the car, a broken door, and a bunch of other problems. He explains it away as the car being seven years old. Um, I drive a 14 year old Toyota that has none of those problems.
*My best friend in college was an education major and did student teaching experiences. Hers mainly involved watching other teachers. Even when she taught, the teacher was there to watch and evaluate her. Wes takes over the class, and Mr. Zizemore just takes a vacation.
*His “favorite” dress is a navy blue dress with thin straps that flares out above the knee and has white polka dots on it. She also wears a yellow floral dress like the one on the cover to the spring dance.
*I know that teachers learn what to do to avoid inappropriate contact with students, and I'm pretty sure Wes broke every single rule in the book. Not only does he dance with a bunch of his female students, but he constantly lets Stacey stay after school alone with him and even is alone with her in his car.
*How can you even make a joke in math homework?
*Dawn and Mary Anne do a bad job of goat sitting. They feed Elvira everything from banana peels to Hostess cupcakes, all of which seem pretty bad for a goat.
*There are a few mentions of Sam. Someone brings him up when she's mooning over Wes, and he then goes to the dance with one of her classmates. I missed Sam when they started the whole Ethan thing. To make Sam even better, he actually calls when he hears about the dance to ask her, even though he goes to a completely different school.
*Stacey thinks it's “adorable” when Charlotte gets a crush on a boy in her class and basically acts like it's nothing compared to how she feels about Wes. Gag me.