(Nov. 23-Dec. 3) Sheila's towering, flashy apartment bedazzles Alice and Chris, and the beautiful guests are even more stunning. The girls are lured into smoking what appears to be marijuana and sleeping in the bathroom until the next day. Unable to remember the night's events, Alice worries she may have gotten pregnant again and resolves to take birth-control if she's going to continue partying—which she does, viewing independently wealthy party-girl Sheila as a role model. One night while with Sheila and her boyfriend, the girls try heroin. Alice realizes that Sheila and the boyfriend had raped and brutalized them while the girls were high on heroin. When they return home, the girls decide that they must kick their drug lifestyle. They plan to start up their own boutique, although Alice feels bad about leaving Mr. Mellani.

(Dec. 5–10) With Chris's business know-how and Alice's artistic talent, the girls find a new apartment in Berkeley and open a jewelry shop there. (Dec. 12–15) Their shop does decent business and turns into a hangout for the neighborhood kids, who watch TV and listen to their stereo. Alice listens to the Beatles' "She's Leaving Home" and cries, identifying with the song's teenage runaway. She plans to return home around Christmas, though she doesn't mention it to Chris yet. (Dec. 17–18) The inane, drug-related chatter of the relatively privileged kids annoys Alice and makes her more lonesome for home.

(Dec. 22–25) Alice telephones home and tells her emotional mother that she and Chris will fly home. Her entire family meets her at the airport (as do Chris's parents, who reunite for the first time in years), and her grandparents fly in to stay for Christmas. Richie and Ted are not listed in the phone directory, which relieves Alice. The holiday spirit and family camaraderie revives Alice.

(Dec. 26-Jan. 1) Alice feels like her family accepts her as an adult, and she reflects on the difficulty of finding oneself in adolescence. She hopes the most trying times have passed. She sees a Christmas card from Roger's family and decides she must forget about Roger, as it was only puppy love. The family throws a New Year's party for the people in her father's department. Alice has a great time listening to the guests' anecdotes and cleaning up afterward with her family and Chris.

(Jan. 4–13) Alice begins school, and she wants to learn Spanish. A classmate asks her if she is selling drugs, and Alice has to convince him that she isn't. She's invited to a party, but she asks her mother if she and Chris can do something with the family instead. She also confides that some kids at school are trying to get them back into drugs. Her mother agrees that they will plan family activities for the next few weekends, and they have a great time in a mountain cabin.

(Jan. 14–21) A classmate, Lane, pressures Alice to get him drugs and even physically twists her arm in an effort to threaten her to get him some. He calls her at home, and Alice's mother senses something is wrong and encourages her to stay home from school, although Alice doesn't confide in her. School grows more complicated as it seems like everyone wants to lure Alice back into drugs, yet her mother is none the wiser.