A fifteen-year-old girl begins writing diary entries on September 16th. Her identity is anonymous, her hometown is unnamed and the specific year is not stated. With the suburban setting and her nuclear family (consisting of her Father, Mother and younger siblings, Tim and Alexandra), it's an average premise. From the very first scribing, her heightened sense of morality and intense observations are evident. She refers to the diary as a "special friend," and uses it as an emotional conduit.
The first month primarily contains the expected lamentations of an undistinguished teenager; she has a melodramatic breakup with a boy named Roger, faces ensuing scrutiny at school, dismisses her fifteenth birthday as "nothing" and self-loathes after gaining seven pounds of body fat. Her family also receives the news of her Father's promotion to Dean of Political Science at a different college. They will be moving to a new town and her and her siblings will be attending a new school. Although nervous to confront the change, the Diarist vows to reinvent herself in preparation for it. She uses the diary to solidify her statements, and jovially anticipates the moving process.
By October 26th, her proses reflect this optimism. She responds positively to school, goes on a date with a boy named Scott and begins actively assisting around the house. The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays pass, introducing her Grandmother and Grandfather. Despite her natural respect for her parents, the Diarist holds considerable admiration for her grandparents. As the moving date comes closer, The Diarist begins to face an existential crisis and questions her adaptability to a new environment. On January 4th, her fears are brought to fruition as the move is complete.
The following few fortnights are frightening for the Diarist. She perceives herself as a pariah at the new school, and struggles to socialize. She grows increasingly alienated and depressed, retorting to binge eating and gaining weight. Eventually, however, she meets a girl named Beth and the two formulate a fast friendship. By mid-June, school is out. The Diarist and Beth have become best friends who constantly accompany one another. One day, Beth reveals that she will be leaving to attend Summer Camp. The Diarist, upset over her friend’s impending absence, receives permission to vacation at her grandparent’s house.
Initially, the stay is dull and uneventful. One day, however, the Diarist reconciles with a former schoolmate named Jill in a department store. Jill invites her to a party being hosted on July 9th. She happily accepts to attend, unaware of the consequential course of events about to be sent into motion.
The gathering is seemingly casual, and the Diarist is instantly accepted by the partygoers. She really “digged the vibe.” After a little while, they all begin playing a game called “Button Button, Who’s got the Button?” A tray of beverages are given out, some being laced with LSD. The Diarist is unaware of this as she participates. Following her drink, she embarks on an intense and cathartic drug trip. A boy named Bill congenially coaches her through it.
The Diarist experiences both guilt and nostalgia after the intoxication wears off. She expresses her awareness regarding the danger of drugs, but ponders if the pleasure they provide is worth it. She continues to dabble with Jill and begins dating Bill, who introduces her to a growing list of substances, including “torpedoes.” Each high seems to be more vibrant than the last.
On July 23rd, her Grandfather suffers a heart attack. This experience intensifies her guilt, and although her Grandfather’s condition improves, the Diarist’s condition worsens. On August 6th, during the climax of an acid trip, she loses her virginity to Bill. In retrospect, she is not particularly emotionally-invested with him, but enjoyed the high nevertheless. She also realizes the risk of pregnancy. To combat the overwhelming guilt and anxiety, as well as the hyperactive side effects of “Speed,” she begins abusing her grandparent’s sleeping pills.
Upon returning home in late August, the Diarist’s dependency to sleeping pills devolves into using Tranquilizers and Dexies. She lies to her Mother and obtains a prescription from a doctor for even more powerful doses. Her parents begin to protest her unkempt appearance and demeanor, which begins to mirror that of a prototypical “hippy.” Beth returns from camp but opposes the party scene, which severs their friendship.
On September 6th, the Diarist meets a girl named Chris, who works at a boutique shop. The two become friends and Chris even helps the Diarist get hired alongside her. Unlike Beth, Chris accepts the drug lifestyle and introduces the Diarist to Marijuana. The pair begins dating two college-aged drug dealers named Ted and Richie. They become enthralled with their new boyfriends, as well the copious amount of substances which they can provide. The Diarist begins having casual sex and peddling drugs for Richie. In her blind idolization of him, the Diarist even sells Acid to a nine-year-old. One day, Chris walks in on Ted sodomizing Richie. This makes her realize that she and the Diarist were merely being used to make money.
Distraught with the recent circumstances, The Diarist and Chris impulsively decide to report Ted and Richie to the authorities, quit their jobs and move to California. After sneaking out to catch a bus, they arrive in San Francisco on October 26th.
The Diarist and Chris vow to quit using drugs and to find gainful employment. The first month of sobriety and job hunting is miserable. Chris eventually finds employment in an affluent antique shop owned by a socialite named Sheila. The Diarist finds employment at a jewelry shop. Sheila invites the girls to lavish parties and reintroduces the girls to drugs. One night, after getting high on Hash and Heroin, the Diarist and Chris are raped by Sheila and her boyfriend Rod.
The rape is traumatic, and on December 6th, the Diarist and Chris flee to Berkeley, California. While here, they open a jewelry shop. The shop is a minor success, predominantly used as a hangout for the local stoner kids. This allows the Diarist to subjectively observe the “drug kids.” Fatigued and homesick, the Diarist and Chris return to their hometown on December 23rd.
Upon returning home, the Diarist is warmly embraced by her family. The Christmas holiday helps to unify them, and the Diarist begins to regret her past decisions. Noting how aged her grandparents look, the Diarist once again vows to quit using drugs and accept responsibility for her actions. Whenever she returns to school, however, she is pressured and pursued by her former friends of the drug scene. One boy asks her if she’s “holding,” referring to her past of peddling. Another boy blackmails her to find a new dealer. Finding it increasingly difficult to escape her past, The Diarist disregards her vow. Her and Chris relapse one night, and decide to begin dealing again. They meet a dealer named Lane, who supplies them with drugs to distribute.
Shortly after, Lane is caught by the police. After Lane is detained and questioned, the police raid Chris’ house while the Diarist is there. Fortunately, the two were still sober at the time and were coherent enough to evade arrest. The incident did, however, reveal the Diarist’s drug use to her parents. In response, her parents began enforcing strict curfews and inflicting constant surveillance upon her. One night in March, after getting high on “co-pilots,” the Diarist runs away from home.
After dazedly hitch-hiking across multiple states in a high stupor, the Diarist finds herself homeless in Oregon. She goes to a homeless clinic and shelter, which supplies her with free vitamins and first aid, as well as dry clothes. She also attends a rally and seemingly joins a coven of “dopers.” The Diarist also openly prostitutes herself to strangers. This supports her hedonistic habits. The entries become increasingly mean-spirited as she experiences withdrawal. After stumbling across a well-meaning priest, she is returned home.
The Second Diary begins on April 6th, almost two years after the first entry.
The Diarist laments and repents for her mistakes and addictions. She, yet again, vows to abstain from drugs. She applies herself to the goal of becoming a drug counselor, so she can inform the ignorant users of the danger of drugs, having experienced it firsthand. At school, however, The Diarist is still victimized by her past. The principal informs her that he is aware of her history of dealing and using. One night, while studying, she experiences a flashback trip, waking up nude on the floor. Another day, a girl named Jan invites her to a party. After not attending, she faces ostracization and heckling from the partiers.
On May 1st, the Diarist’s Grandfather has a fatal stroke. This is the first death experience in her lifetime, and the funeral leaves a pivotal impression. She is traumatized with visions of decomposition and human carcasses. She meets a boy named Joel. The taunting from the party crowd becomes increasingly hostile. They were responsible for planting a joint in her purse, threatening to fill her Father’s gas tank with sugar and leaving a lit roach in her locker. Additionally, her Grandmother’s health deteriorates from depression and on June 16th, she died as well.
The shellshock from the deaths sends the Diarist’s into a deep depression, and the visions of decomposition become more frequent. On July 7th, while babysitting, she is unknowing laced with acid planted by Jan. The dose is exponentially high, her mindset is depressed and her tolerance is low after months of sobriety. The bad trip results in her grinding her fingertips raw, hallucinating her own death and decomposition, and being institutionalized in an asylum.
During the duration of the trip, which lasts for weeks, she envisions worms and maggots feasting upon her flesh. She is tormented by apparitions and voices resembling her grandparents. It’s not until August 9th that she is declared mentally intact enough to return home.
Once released, the Diarist is finally free from the drugs. Her father is invited to give a speech at a distant university, and during the vacation she reconnects with her family. Her relationship with Joel blossoms as well. In conclusion, her outlook on love and life seem to have matured in the most moralistic manner. She understands and accepts the faults of her past, but chooses to look forward to the unwritten future. On September 21st, the Diarist declares that she has outgrown her “special friend,” and decides to stop writing in her diary.
Three weeks after this, the Diarist was found dead in her home after her parents returned from the movie. The autopsy revealed the cause of death to be a drug overdose. Whether the overdose was intentional, accidental or unwillingly administered, nobody knows.