|Illustrator||W. Lindsay Cable|
|Preceded by||The Twins at St. Clare's|
|Followed by||Summer Term at St. Clare's|
Plot summary Edit
The newly sensible Pat and Isabel O'Sullivan depart for their second term at St Clare's, with their Cousin Alison joining them. Alison's character is airheaded and ditzy, but also a decent and kind-hearted person.
Other new characters include Lucy Oriell and Margery Fenworthy. Lucy is the archetypal school story girl — bright, kind and popular — although she is portrayed well, without the one-dimensional flatness this type of character can often have. Her father is a painter and Lucy herself is a talented artist. Margery is sulky, sullen, rude, antisocial and the other girls suspect she is older than them, nearer to sixteen years old. She also constantly acts up in class and is rude to teachers, who let her to the girls shock, although she shows a rare bit of kindness after being picked for a lacrosse match over the others.
A second former named Tessie holds a midnight feast for her birthday, but only invites a few as she cannot afford enough. She decides to invite Janet and the twins from first form, who in turn decide to steal a frying pan to have sausages. Another second former named Erica begins to suspect that their is a party and eventually threatens the information out of Gladys, a scullery maid. Erica decides not to snitch and instead steal food when Tessie manages to sneak them in, but is caught by her. Erica vows to stop the party. She snitches on them to Mam'zelle who catches the girls frying sausages and boxes Isabel's ears. The girls originally believe the snitch to be Margery, who's relationship with the rest of first form has been worsening, but Gladys tells the truth. They punish her through Coventry, and Erica seemingly accepts the punishment but vows revenge.
After Margery argues with the history teacher and throws a pen at her, the girls have had enough and decide to cut her out. Pat leads the year in this, causing them to not cheer for her in Lacrosse even after she scores three goals. Erica ruins Pat's jumper she was knitting and on a trip ruins her project, framing Margery for both. At half term, Alison learns Margery was expelled from her friends school and tells everyone after Erica frames Margery for more torment against Pat.
Margery pretends not to care about her increased bullying, but only Lucy seems to care about her feelings. A fire starts in the medical block leaving Erica trapped on a high floor, which Margery rescues her from, becoming a heroine in the process. Erica feels compelled to tell the truth, and is asked to leave St Clare's as a result, although she is allowed to stay until the end of term to keep reputation. Margery reveals her stepmother hated her and her father took her side, causing her bad moods. Lucy writes a letter home to her father who promises to try and be better to Margery.
Lucy's father is in an accident leaving his hands permanently damaged and unable to paint, so he has to remove Lucy from St Clare's. Margery manages to rally the year together to convince the teachers to allow her to apply for a scholarship, despite only older years being allowed for it. Lucy goes up against several older years, but prevails and is moved up to second form alongside Margery as a result.
Janet puts beetles into Mamzelle's spectacle case and then the girls pretend they can't see them, leaving Mamzelle to believe she is going mad. Mamzelle eventually checks into the nurses wing where she expresses stress over having to work and nurse her sick sister. Janet brings her flowers to apologise, and Mamzelle is so glad she isn't mad her crazy laughter convinces Matron she is going mad for a second time.
Characters in this book;
- Pat O'Sullivan
- Isabel O'Sullivan
- Alison O'Sullivan
- Lucy Oriell
- Erica (antagonist)
- Winifred James
- Belinda Towers
- Hilary Wentworth
- Doris Elward
- Miss Roberts
- Janet Robins
- Miss. Theobald
- Kathleen Gregory
- Shelia Naylor
- Rita George
- Miss Lewis
- Miss Jenks
- Katie White