After her parents move to Europe to teach, Zoe moves in with her cousin Sam and her Aunt Cathy and enrolls at Centerscore High. Sam attends cheerleading tryouts. Zoe goes to watch. Sam is repeatedly mean and rude to Zoe. Zoe meets Howard and fumbles for words around him, obviously interested in him.
Taylor, the head cheerleader, announces that the tryouts are due to fellow cheerleader Amanda being hurt. She broke her leg at the Winter Formal thanks to her boyfriend, Hector. Jessica and Maria tell Sam that they’ll all vote for her. Keith and Hector are about to throw Sam, but Hector lets go during her struggles and complaints, and Sam flies towards Zoe. Zoe catches her, and Taylor invites her to join the tryouts. The tryouts go well, but the cheerleaders can’t decide. They declare that there will be a second tryout at the end of the week for Sam and Zoe.
There are nine cheerleaders on the team, and Sam and Zoe compete to win their votes. Jessica and Maria are friends with Sam and will vote for her no matter what, so Zoe focuses on the other seven. Because it’s Zoe’s first week at Centerscore High, she’s allowed to attend any classes she wants to try them out. Each day she can attend two classes, which she uses to get to know cheerleaders. In addition, she can hang out with two people per day after school.
Zoe attends gym almost every day, practicing her cheerleading with Nicole and Jill. Nicole slowly warms to Zoe, but Jill stays cold until the end. By the end of the week, Zoe really impresses them. Nicole and Jill teach her the back handspring, the stand-up splits, and even the fabled quadruple backflip spin.
Keith seems to like Zoe but acts weird periodically. They hang out near the lake and go see a movie. Keith really wants to see Dusklight, and he cries during the movie. Zoe lets him cry, and Keith is thankful for that. He tells Zoe that the movie reminds him of his own love life with his girlfriend Chelsea who lives in Canada. He eventually reveals that he’s been acting weird because he thinks Zoe is really great but doesn’t want to cheat on Chelsea. They remain friends.
Zoe meets Rachel in math class. They hang out at the beach together, and Zoe suggests they make a sand castle. Rachel gets really into it, admitting that she’s kind of a closet nerd. Zoe later goes to an arcade to help Rachel when she becomes in over her head at a fantasy meet-up filled with nerdy guys.
Zoe also gets to know Amanda and Hector. They’re both cheerleaders and are dating. As mentioned earlier, Hector broke Amanda’s leg at the Winter Formal. They’ve been arguing about it lately as well as the fact that Hector’s so clingy. During the week, Zoe goes to a coffee shop with Amanda. Hector shows up acting paranoid, and Amanda storms out. When Zoe goes to Hector’s to give him advice, he comes on to her. Zoe denies him, and Hector admits to feeling like he always has to act like a player. He realizes he doesn’t need to do that and stops acting jerky and clingy towards Amanda. Amanda, free to hang out on her own, invites Zoe to go to the mall. Zoe suggests shopping for perfume where Amanda mixes perfumes together to make one that smells great!
The final cheerleader is Taylor, the leader. Zoe manages to become friends with Taylor just by showing how committed to cheerleading she is throughout the week. However, she hangs out with Taylor as well. Despite being told not to say anything, when Zoe sees Taylor at a loss for words around a hot guy, she talks her up and Taylor gets the guy’s number!
While Zoe spends most of her time getting friendly with the other cheerleaders, they aren’t the only people on her mind. Zoe goes for a walk with Howard, and they play catch with a football. He tells her to picture herself as a cheerleader in front of all the people, and Zoe gets a little nervous thinking about it, saying that Sam’s always the one who likes attention. Howards tells her about how he always felt like he was John’s sidekick last year, but now he’s a football star and popular, which makes Zoe feel better. Later they go out for coffee. While they get along well, Zoe sees Linda walk in with Kenji eating gelato. She asks Howard if they can go get some, and Howard reveals that he used to date Linda and that the gelato restaurant was “their place.” Later, after thinking about it more, he takes her there anyways and kisses her.
Zoe also tries to work on her relationship with Sam. She tries to be nice to her, even tutoring her in math despite it giving Sam more time to train for cheerleading. Aunt Cathy reminds Zoe that when they were kids, she always beat Sam at everything, which is likely why Sam is jealous now.
At the end of the week, it’s time for tryouts. Sam wishes Zoe good luck, and two compete. Zoe impresses the cheerleaders with her moves and wins the majority of votes. Taylor welcomes Zoe to the team, but Zoe stops her. She says that she and Sam come as a package deal. Taylor discusses it with the other cheerleaders, and they agree to accept Sam and Zoe! After the big football game, Howard admits his feelings for Zoe.
Bonus scene: Linda approaches Howard after the football game, telling him that she and Kenji broke up!