Fame is not always an asset—Ruth Fielding ruefully draws this conclusion soon after she and Helen Cameron arrive at Ardmore College. Ruth finds that a certain group of girls, led by Edie Phelps, think that she is full of herself because of her success as a scenario writer. Ruth holds her head high and pretends that their criticism does not bother her. Ruth and Helen are delighted to learn that Jennie "Heavy" Stone has also decided to come to Ardmore. Jennie proclaims that she and her aunt decided that she would continue to gain weight unless she occupied herself in college. Jennie declares that she is going to lose weight. Ruth is puzzled over the behavior of Rebecca Frayne, who refuses to wear a powder blue tam-o'-shanter like the rest of the Freshman Class. Rebecca's behavior quickly brands her as a outcast. "Ashore! Put us ashore!" Ruth gasped. By the end of her first year in college, Ruth learns why Rebecca Frayne maintains such a haughty, sullen attitude and also uncovers the secret behind what happened to an unfortunate girl who was cruelly hazed during the previous school year.