Edward is a classic slacker. He's got better ways to spend his time than toiling over homework, and as long as he gets passing grades he's happy. When his fifty percent average is threatened he has to find a way to pull up his grades without applying himself. Edward discovers that special education students get more time to complete tests, and he thinks he's found the perfect scam. Little does he know that manipulating everyone around him will take more work than he ever imagined.
Friends are not always for keeps. Kate and Jake have always been best friends; always, that is, until Jake's cousin, Lionel, moves nearby and Jake starts spending time with him instead. Kate struggles with his abandonment and her own loneliness as she seeks new friends that share her likes and dislikes. And, perhaps there is a place in her life for her old best friend after all.
Justin is fascinated with the aged guard dog at the corner store. He names it Smokey and sneaks the dog treats. Smokey belongs to a company that supplies working dogs to local businesses. Justin is thrilled to get a job working for Smokey's company, until he learns about the mistreatment of the animals. When Justin can't shake his suspicion that someone in the company is involved in a rash of thefts, he tries to quit. But Justin knows too much, and his boss won't let him go.
Kate wants to enter the spelling bee, but she doesn't want to compete against her best friend. Kate is determined to win her spelling club's spelling bee, but the competition is fierce. She can almost put up with Violet's relentless claims of superior spelling ability, but when Kate and Jake begin to fight with each other, Kate is miserable. She wants to win the contest, but she doesn't want to lose her best friend.
Lawrence's dimples are far from delightful. Lawrence hates being teased about his dimples, but nothing he does seems to make any difference. Joe goes right on teasing him, and the teasing gets meaner and meaner. Finally, Lawrence notices something about his friend Stewart that may provide the tool he needs to tease-proof himself once and for all.
In most ways, Poe is like the other kids in his school. He thinks about girls and tries to avoid too much contact with teachers. He has a loving father who helps him with his homework. But Poe has a secret, and almost every day some small act threatens to expose him. He doesn't have a phone number to give to friends. He doesn't have an address. Poe and his father are living in a tent on city land. When the city clears the land to build housing, Poe worries that they might not be able to find another site near his school. Will Poe have to expose his secret to get help for himself and his father?
Liza, determined to prove that her mother's boyfriend is no good, starts researching the oil company he works for. Liza discovers a lawsuit against the company for compensation that is long overdue to Guatemalan farmers. She starts a group at school called GRRR! (Girls for Renewable Resources, Really!) and launches an attack on Argenta Oil. As her activism activities increase, her objections to her mother's boyfriend become political. She is learning to separate the personal from the political, but when her mother discovers her plans for a demonstration outside the Argenta Oil head office, the two collide in ways Liza least suspected.