What would you do if your best friend confessed something really bad to you? That's the question Julie asks at the beginning of the book. While hanging out with her friends, they start gossiping about the upcoming party that Reva is throwing. Hillary is a gorgeous and super smart African American girl, and Taylor is a newer friend dating their good friend Sandy. Al, the loser of the group, then shows up.
Al was once a nice guy before he started running with a bad crowd. He shows up with a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other. After asking for 20 bucks, he starts threatening them. He tells Julie that he'll tell her mom he saw her smoking, even though her mom promised to give her $1,000 if she went through high school without smoking again after getting caught as a freshman. He then threatens to tell the school that Hillary cheated on a chemistry test.
She gives him the money just as Julie's mom gets home. Mom chats with Al for awhile and then flips out when she sees the beer can and cigarette. No matter what the girls tell her, she refuses to listen. She grounds Julie for the weekend, which means she'll miss the party of the year.
Hillary promises not to bring up the party but does tell her about Sandy. He spent the whole night following Taylor around like a little lost puppy dog while she spent the night flirting with other guys and ignoring him. Hillary even caught her making out with another guy. She's also unhappy that Al keeps blackmailing her about the test and even made her give him her mom's car.
After heading over to Vincent's house, who Julie is totally in crush with, they have to deal with Al pounding on the door. He finally gets in the house and threatens them all while acting like a douche nozzle. When Sandy tries to make him leave, they get into a fight that ends with Al punching him and knocking out a tooth. Hillary grabs him and throws him against the refrigerator. After shouting at him, Julie realizes that her best friend is way stronger than she ever imagined.
Since she's completely in crush with Vincent, Julie does whatever it takes to get close to him. She even wears her new vintage outfit to impress him. They chat a little until he tells her that Al borrowed his mom's car. Al then shows up with the car completely wrecked. Vincent goes crazy to the point where he throws himself on the guy, which is within his rights. Julie tries to calm him down while thinking about how she never realized she would kill Al in a few short weeks.
Okay, so Julie didn't really kill him, but a bunch of people did think she did. She calls Vincent to see if he wants to go the skating rink with their group. Wait, were skating rinks even popular when this book came out in 1996? Anyway, Vincent can't go. His parents grounded him over the car. They also forbid him from taking a job as a camp counselor next summer and demanded that he stay in town and work for his dad to pay for the repairs. He also can't have friends over either.
Julie goes and mopes around because Vincent isn't there. Hillary tries to convince her to go to a party with some random guy she knows, but she just wants to be alone. After seeing Taylor and Sandy sucking face, she decides to just try and catch the bus and go back home. While on her way to the bus stop, she literally stumbles over Al's dead body, with a skate shoved in his mouth.
The police bring her in for questioning, even though they don't think she had anything to do with his murder. At the funeral, her friends all seem even more quiet than usual and get together as a group later. Sandy sits them all down and confesses that he's the one who killed Al but says he did it for all of them. Hillary gets more upset than anyone and says he shouldn't have told them.
Julie, naturally, has a hard time being around anyone after that. She has frequent nightmares about Sandy chasing her and killing her. Hillary admits that she's had nightmares of her own. While talking about Sandy and how he murdered someone, they realize that Taylor heard everything and is less than happy. They also keep thinking that someone is following them but never see anyone.
The police come back to Julie's house and find her with Hillary. They give them a list of names and ask them some more questions. All it does is make Julie worry that now they suspect her. She later calls Vincent and asks him to the movies, but he can't go because he's still kind of grounded. Julie also sees an altercation between him and Sandy that ends with Sandy trying to punch him before storming off.
This leaves her with a lot of questions in her mind when she goes to the movies. While wondering about Sandy and what he did, she finally comes face to face with Taylor. Given that they haven't talked since the funeral, it's a little awkward. Taylor immediately starts in about how they should totally trust Sandy and how he's a good guy, even though he confessed to a murder. She's also unhappy that the rest of the group ignored them recently. Julie just mumbles an excuse and runs.
After coming home late one night, she sees Sandy follow her inside. He comes at her with a pair of roller blades but then just warns her that she needs to clean up after herself. He starts in with the same shit as Taylor, pretty much threatens her, and warns her that things have to go back to normal. She's so freaked out that she goes to Hillary, who admits that he did the same thing to her.
As if they weren't freaked out enough, Taylor then confronts them at school. She actually throws herself at Hillary, scratching her neck and trying to choke her. Gee, why wouldn't they want to be friends with them again? Hillary is so upset that she rightly wants to go the police, but Julie convinces her to think things over. Um, what is there to think about? Hillary says that she'll talk to Sandy before deciding what to do.
This turns out to be a bad decision. Hillary's mom calls later to ask if Julie knows where her daughter is because she never came home after school. Julie does a lot of pacing and worrying about whether she should call the police herself. Hillary finally calls and begs for her help. She confesses that she fixed their problem by killing their friend.
Julie gets to Hillary's house and finds Vincent and Taylor there. Hillary waited for everyone before she told them what happened. Her story is that she went to confront Sandy and convince him to go to the police. They had a fight, there was a struggle, and she hit him over the head with a sculpture that crashed his skull. Taylor then explodes about how she killed the wrong person because Taylor was the one who killed Al.
See, Taylor was sneaking around with Al behind Sandy's back. When he got in a bind, she stole money from her parents to help him out. He kept demanding more and more money and threatened to tell her parents. She finally told him to go ahead and tell because she was done. They had a fight, and “somehow” the ice skate laces wrapped around his neck and strangled him. Before they can do anything, Sandy walks into the room. He and Hillary faked the whole thing to make Taylor confess so he could finally get off the hook.
A few weeks later, Julie and Vincent are out for a walk. He tells her that he wants to confess something to her, that he's had a crush on her since third grade. Julie then screams, in excitement I hope!