Thrown together by an alphabetical seating arrangement, two fifth graders, Mikey Elsinger and Margalo Epps, have a friendship as complex as the friendships most fifth grade girls have. They are loyal to each other; they betray each other. They are mischievous and kind, sweet and vindictive. But the biggest test of their friendship comes when Margalo places a squashed squirrel in the lunch sack of Rhonda Ransom, a "bad girl" in her own right and hardly a victim. Turns out Rhonda had spitefully derailed Mikey's chances to be elected class president, and Mikey and Margalo have to face the principal together when Margalo's act is discovered. It takes an experienced teacher like Mikey and Margalo's to find out what makes these bad girls tick.
Veteran children's author Voigt gives readers complex, believable and continually developing characters in Mikey and Margalo, "bad girls" who are motivated not by any malice, but anger and loneliness, and who manage to entertain their readers along the way.