When a new girl at the private school Alex attends starts rumors about Alex's favorite teacher, Alex and her eighth-grade classmates are not sure how to act around him or with each other. Simon is the coolest teacher anywhere. Forest Alternative is lucky to have him. When Stacy arrives -- a new kid with secrets, gleaming hair, and a tongue ring -- she sizes up Simon and agrees, adding: "He is a total babe." True. What Stacy says later about Alex and Simon after the class overnight camp out is not true, but looks as if it could be. Alex herself begins to wonder what's real, what's not. But she can't confide in her parents. They'd freak. And, after all, she does love Simon. Listening to Stacy though, everyone else is totally suckered -- most painfully Alex's best buddy and sort-of boyfriend, Tim. "Why were you hugging him?" Tim wants to know, and it's hard to explain. Simon did not do what Stacy claims!