Original Publication Date: 1990
Ghostwriter? Nope, all Ann
Mary Anne's dad suggests to her and Dawn that they plan a small surprise birthday for Dawn's mom. While at dinner, he proposes by having an engagement ring slipped over a candle on the birthday cake. Mary Anne and Dawn are thrilled: they'll be stepsisters!
Their parents plan a small wedding, but the girls talk them into a slightly larger one: a brief ceremony at a church with a few guests (including, of course, the BSC) then a dinner reception. There are a few hiccups along the way; for example, Mary Anne is the last to find out that she and her dad will move to the Schafers' house. She's worried that Dawn's mom won't get along with Tigger since she doesn't like cats, and not thrilled about leaving the only home she's ever known, but things work out. (Of course, had their parents discussed things with their children a little more, things would have been a little smoother)
By the time the wedding rolls around, most things are smoothed out. Mary Anne's still concerned about combining a vegetarian household with an omnivore one, and a little worried about the Tigger issue, but mostly it's a happy day. Since Mary Anne and Dawn have learned nothing from the book's subplot about the Arnold twins fighting because they're forced to share a room, they plan for Mary Anne to move into Dawn's room rather than the Schafer's guest room.
As many of you know, this book ends with a cliffhanger, with Dawn's mom's bouquet being thrown right toward the two girls. But just before that, Dawn surprises Mary Anne with a silver hair clip, as a "Now We're Sisters" present. I repeat, DAWN gives it to MARY ANNE. Stay tuned for what may be the most famous continuity fail.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: M&Ms under her bed, crackers in her desk
Mary Anne gives a recap of who has pierced ears and how many holes they have, and the counts all match what they were in Mallory and the Trouble with Twins. She and Kristy still plan to never pierce their ears.
Mary Anne also confirms that, due to her diabetes, Stacey has to test her urine. Stacey mentioned that Baby-sitters' Summer Vacation, but why would she tell her friends? Not that she should be ashamed of her diabetes, but what kind of conversation were they having that that would come up?
Mallory and Jessi are still making gum-wrapper chains.
These last few books have been really good about letting us know that Jessi is black without being awkward about it, none of this "But we'd still be friends with her if she were purple!" weirdness.
Claudia's leg still aches before rain.
Stacey's diabetes has been a little harder to control lately.
Mary Anne recently grew a few inches, but Dawn's still taller.
This will be important to know for the next book: sharing a room was Dawn's idea and she pushed Mary Anne into accepting it.
Dawn's mom doesn't like having big surprises thrust upon her (like a surprise birthday party) or waiters singing to her. Smart lady.
Charlie buys the Rust Bucket (his "new" car).
Mary Anne's dad puts off telling her about their impending move to the Schafers' because he knows it will be hard for her to hear. She must have inherited that trait from him.
Mary Anne thinks it's tacky that her Dad and Sharon invited (a small group of) people to the wedding over the phone rather than sending out mailed invitations. I'm with her on this, but at least they didn't do on Facebook.
Jeff still collects free things on the airplane ride (salt and pepper packets, that sort of thing). He is also noticeably awkward around his step-father-to-be, but tries to offer suggestions of what they can do by mentioning that he enjoys going to baseball games. Mary Anne's dad should probably have noted that and made it a point to find a sports game to go to on the family trip they take in the next book.
How awkward must this be for Jeff? He barely knows Mary Anne's dad at all.
So, the girls are supposed to read the BSC notebook, right? Meaning they all read about the "Superbrat" back when Jessi was sitting for Derek Masters? Then why do none of them suspect that Marilyn Arnold's friend Gozzie Kunka is fake?
SMS: Nothing new
Dice is plural; die is singular (meaning, for the game pieces).
Dawn's mom and Mary Anne's dad have a friend named Stu, like the McGills do. But I think it's a different Stu. This must be in vein with so many dads in the series being named John and working as attorneys; they also have friends named Stu.
When Mary Anne notices the Pike triplets laughing at scantily-clad angel in the church's stained glass window, she thinks she should tell Mallory not to let them into any museums until they're 20. I remember being at a museum with my younger brother when he was about 8...and eye-level with the statues' waists. When we saw the statue of Cupid and Psyche, he remarked, "So, Cupid's a boy, then."
Starting 8th grade: 2
Halloweens in 8th grade: 1
Summers after 8th grade: 1
BSC Fights: 5
SMS Staff: 15
Students (other than the BSC): 35 8th graders, five sixth-graders, five unspecified
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 36 (bubble gum, Butterfingers, butterscotch candy, Cheese Doodles, a chocolate bar, cookies, Cracker Jacks, crackers, cupcakes, Ding-Dongs, Doritos, gumdrops, Fritos, Gummi Bears, Heath bars, Hershey's kisses, Ho Hos, jawbreakers, licorice, licorice whips, Lifesavers, M&Ms (regular and peanut), Mallomars, marshmallows, mini candy bars, Oreos (Double Stuf), popcorn, pretzels, Ring Dings, root beer barrels, salt water taffy, Snickers, taco chips, Tootsie Roll Pops, Tootsie Rolls, Twinkies)
Crushes: Claudia-5 (Guy, Austin Bentley, Timothy Carmody, Trevor Sandbourne, Will Yamakawa), Dawn-1 (Parker Harris), Mary Anne-2 (Alex, Logan Bruno), Stacey-5 (Toby, Pete Black, Pierre D'Amboise, Scott Foley, Sam Thomas), Kristy-1 (Bart Taylor)