Dawn's Wicked Stepsister (RS#31)

Original Publication Date: 1990

Ghostwriter? No, and Ann wrote the one just before this, too


We open with the resolution of last book's cliffhanger: Mary Anne catches Sharon's bouquet. Dawn tries not to be upset by it, focusing instead on the excitement of having a sister. Their parents spend the night at a hotel while the girls spend one last night at the Spiers' house. The next day, they all move in to the Schafers'.

Things are tense. Richard is a neat freak and Sharon does things like putting shoes in the vegetable crisper; the Schafers are vegetarian and the Spiers are omnivores. While the parents are usually painfully polite about things, Dawn and Mary Anne have several spats in their shared--and cramped--bedroom. We get to see lots of Mary Anne cattiness, like her boasting about having a boyfriend and implying that Dawn's fat. Things get so bad that Dawn realizes her idea of their sharing a room was a bad one. But how to get Mary Anne out of Dawn's room and into the guest room? A reasonable discussion perhaps?

Don't be silly. Use the secret passage to terrify Mary Anne into leaving! With her brother's help, Dawn comes up with an elaborate plan and succeeds in making Mary Anne believe the ghost of the secret passage is out to get her. Mary Anne moves into the guest room, the family decides to be more open with each other and not try to change each other's habits, and life goes much more smoothly.

And the moment you've all been waiting for. From the last entry: ...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...

And in this book, Dawn is looking for extra sitting jobs to earn money to buy Mary Anne a "Now We're Sisters" present because MARY ANNE surprised DAWN with one at the wedding. But in a bit of continuity win, Dawn gives Mary Anne a cat pin that she knew she'd like. The pin was one of Mary Anne's ideas for a birthday present for Sharon.

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: pretzels in her closet, Tootsie rolls and pretzel sticks in her desk

I think this is the first time that Claudia is described as actively not liking sports, rather than just not being on a team. Mary Anne hates sports, too, but I think that's been mentioned.

Their Families:

When Mary Anne comments that she and Dawn are stepsisters, Dawn corrects her "Just sisters." My mom has several varieties of siblings (full, step, half; and some of them adopted) but she's always just called them her brothers and sisters.

Dawn's parents were married 16 years ago, which is about when Stacey's parents got married. Must have been a bad year.

Dawn's mom doesn't drink coffee.

Dawn's dad is dating Carol in this book.

The Club:

Mary Anne recalls the Phantom Phone caller storyline from RS#2, including the burglar alarms she set at the Thomas house. Dawn recounts the Mother's Day surprise from RS#24.

"Mary Anne has not made a single scheduling mistake." Well, she did forget to write down a job in RS#27 until Dawn reminded her to. Dawn also gives the wrong reason for Mary Anne's being the secretary, but since Dawn wasn't in Stoneybrook when the BSC first formed I'll let it pass.

Dawn also says Kristy has never missed a meeting, but she missed a few in the first four books and another when Louie died.

Mallory leaves a meeting sick, which is a first for any BSC member. She turns out to have chicken pox for the second time. This is the book in which every Pike has something: the triplets share a case of viral pneumonia, Nicky breaks three fingers, Vanessa ends up with a badly sprained ankle and some abrasions, Claire and Margo get bronchitis, Mrs. Pike hurts her knee and is on crutches, and Mr. Pike burns his hand badly. Mallory, by the way, ends up with chicken pox scars in "unmentionable places."

SMS: Nothing new

PSA time:

Dawn seems to think that time zones are a miracle of modern science (that's the term she uses when describing the time difference between the East and West coasts). Someone needs to explain to her how Earth revolves and rotates around the sun. Hint: it's not that modern.


No one thinks to keep Tigger out of the way of the movers. Idiots. Although, it taught me to be sure the cat was safely stowed in a bathroom with a litter box, water, and food when I moved.

I find it bizarre that Dawn thinks dividers for silverware drawers (Richard's idea) are weird. What did they do before, just throw all the forks, knives, and spoons in a drawer haphazardly? She also criticizes Richard for going over their phone bill. But that makes perfect sense: what if they were overcharged?

Mom, if you read the bit about chicken pox scars and start to feel bad about the almost-invisible one on my chin again, don't. I like it.

The numbers:

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

Clients: 22

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 37 (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, pretzel sticks, 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)


Emily said...

My silverware is currently thrown into a drawer without divoders. :)

BSC AG said...

Emily: I know a family that does that, too. But would you whine about it if your stepparent offered a way to organize the drawer and switch his color-coded socks to "get back" at him? It's not that the Schafers don't have a divider, it's that Dawn's upset by it.

ali said...

Nice post as always. Just a thought with your PSA, the Earth rotates and revolves around the sun. Just saying.

BSC AG said...

Thanks, Ali. I'm sorry, but you could clarify: did I mistype something in the PSA? I haven't gotten enough sleep lately and honestly can't tell if you're just mentioning it or if you're helping me out by telling me I was unclear.

ali said...

Sorry, not clear of me! I just mean that the Earth rotates (on its axis) and revolves around the sun. When you switch rotate and revolve it looks like the Earth rotates around the sun or something or maybe revolves randomly in space. Sorry, astronomy semi-geek here.

BSC AG said...

I see, Ali. I was being a lot more general just to comment on Dawn's lack of understanding that the sun won't be at the same point of the sky in every place of the world.

Then you went sciencey on me and my pregnant brain couldn't take it. Thanks for clarifying!

The World of Lurlene Mcdaniel said...

to tell you the truth i dont think mary anne was horrible in this book like some would claim.

i mean the girl is leaving the house that she grew up in almost all of her life. and this is her first time getting used to sharon and dawn as a family.

dawn was the one who is horrible in this book. in fact dawn's horrible period. im glad she's gone.

Unknown said...

Does anyone else think it's weird that the shoes of the vegetarion family went into the veggie crisper? I leave random stuff in the fridge sometimes (my phone, the asprin) but you'd think that the veggie crisper would be safe since it would have a more important role in their diet...

SJSiff said...

Yeah, that's why some people think Sharon enjoyed certain herbs, if you get my drift...