Adina has always wanted to be a part of the annual fashion show at her school for the arts. Now that she's finally in the ninth grade, she and her friends can audition. She knows their act could be perfect. They've got great music, gorgeous costumes and wicked dance moves. But Willow is being her usual flaky self, and Sandra's getting touchy. Maybe even a bit mean. Luckily, Seth remains steady and reliable. Their biggest competition is the annoyingly perfect Prima Donnas, who are doing everything they can to undermine Adina and her friends. Adina is used to working hard at everything she does, including her violin, art, drama and singing classes. But her friends are getting sick of her ordering them around. They just don't get what a huge deal this is. When one of the Prima Donnas gets injured during their audition, minutes after Sandra storms off in a huff, the two groups realize that in order to succeed, they may have to work together.
Hailey McEwan has many interests - soccer, field hockey, animation. She'd probably never have started singing if her best friend, Crissy, hadn't persuaded her to take singing lessons and join her choir. No one had any idea that Hailey would be such a natural, least of all Hailey herself. A shared love of music from pop to opera has been a big part of the girls' friendship, but when the two face off in a competition for a role in a production of The Marriage of Figaro, their closeness turns into a bitter rivalry. Hailey will have to make a tough decision. Is opera as important to her as it is to Crissy? And is landing a role worth losing her best friend?
Brielle and Tawni have played cello side by side in orchestras since they were nine years old. Brielle has always played second chair to Tawni's first, and she's been happy with that arrangement. When Tawni is injured, Brielle suddenly finds herself principal cellist. Not only does that mean she'll be thrust into the spotlight, but it also means she is now leader of the cello section. Brielle is terrified. Is she good enough? Will the other musicians accept her? What if she screws up? Despite her fears, Brielle rises to the occasion. Her cello skills, and her leadership skills, improve as she grows into her new role. But just as Brielle is beginning to feel confident, Tawni returns. And she wants her job back. If Brielle steps down now, she'll lose her place in the spotlight. If she doesn't, her friendship could be in jeopardy.
Jane has no interest in boys. Her mom, Sherry, has brought home so many creeps over the years that Jane has decided to focus for the next five years on her studies. Her best friend, the boy-crazy Kiara, is obsessed with online quizzes and convinces Jane to help her create a questionnaire that will determine whether muscular Liam or Omar with the cute eyes is her true soul mate. Their friendship is tested when the answers come back with a surprising third option, the quiet and awkward Javier. Jane fails to reveal the results, which leads to some heated words being exchanged and long-held resentments (and possible secret crushes) being revealed. One of the besties will have to swallow her pride to make the first move and try to repair the damage.
Ethan is an anxiety-ridden loner who relies on medication to get through his day. During one of his fairly frequent panic attacks, a girl from school named Gabriella comes to his rescue. Gabe, as she prefers to be known, is facing her own inner turmoil. She has always been a tomboy, but the more pressure she faces to act and dress "like a girl," the more she wonders just who she really is. When he learns that Gabe is being constantly harassed at school, Ethan discovers he is able to overcome his own fears in order to stand up for his new friend. Then Gabe finds a disturbing note in her locker, and the threats begin to escalate. Ethan confronts the person responsible, but things take an unexpected turn, and he suddenly finds himself being questioned by police, accused of assault. With a dose of courage and a surprising ally, the two friends come up with a plan to set things right and end up discovering who they really are along the way.
Daniel Abel is surprised when, instead of being punished for "pantsing" another eighth-grader, he is invited to become an ambassador of Mountview High at the school's upcoming open house. What he doesn't realize is that he is part of a social experiment on bullying being conducted by the local university. He is a little nervous to learn he will be working with Jeff Kover, a tenth-grader with a reputation for being the biggest bully in the school. Daniel has never thought of himself as a bully. He just likes kidding around. But hanging out with Jeff will change Daniel's perspective on bullying and force him to examine his own behavior.
Cassie, who is spending the summer with her aunt while her parents go through a divorce, becomes friends with Joey, a boy in a wheelchair who lives nearby with his grandmother.